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they wore the same which she had left in the cave. She assured him they were, and did him the flattering compliment to add that she would thenceforth keep them carefully as a memorial of his hardihood.
"A dear memorial it has been to somebody," was the Captain's only reply, while lie wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and with a tremulous hand, helped himself to a glass of wine. The ladies all looked alarmed, drew nearer to the fire and each other, and eagerly asked what had happened.
"Whatever has happened," said the adventurer dryly, "I shall make no more midnight visits to the Uaimh-a-Bhodaich. Miss Grisilda," he added, "you may triumph in your argument without a dissenting voice before I again enter the lists against you; and if you knew at what expense I have gained the het, you would to-morrow accept the hand of some one of your suitors, that you might have an opportunity of paying me your forfeit."
"I am glad, at least, Captain," said Miss Grisilda, overlooking the point in this last remark, "that you have been frightened out of your scepticism. But, for goodness sake, tell us what you have seen or heard to make you look so pale and bewildered. It is enough, I protest, to make one die of terror to look at you."
"Do tell us what you have seen, Captain, or what you have heard," demanded, at once, some half-dozen of voices.
"Did you meet with the Bodach V said one.
"Had you a scuffle with him ?" said another.
"Did you hear the wild troopers of the Corry f' said a third.
"0, can't you tell us all about it, Captain, without any urging 1" summed, up a fourth in a coaxing tone.
The pale-lipped querists meantime had crowded still nearer together, and caught hold of each other's arms, while they darted many suspicious looks towards the door.
"I am unwilling to spoil your night's rest," said Maclaine, thus assailed; "but since you insist upon it I shall tell you a part of what I heard and saw, though the whole you must not expect me to relate till I see the light of another day. Meantime I pledge my word to the truth of all I tell. Well, a3 I was going along by the old church-yard, humming to myself my new words to Faillirin, illirin, I suddenly observed something white before me."
"Gracious!" exclaimed Miss Grisilda, interrupting him, and shrugging
her shoulders, while all the other Misses shrugged in sympathy with her.
"I halted to take a view of it," resumed the narrator, " and if ever a
sheeted ghost was seen in a church-yard at midnight, I protest that was
"Preserve us all!" with upturned eyes, again exclaimed Miss Grisilda.
"I rubbed my eyes," continued the Captain, "lest they might be imposing upon me. But still the white figure stood upright before me. At length it advanced a few paces towards me, and uttered some sounds resembling an eldrich laugh.''
('Io be Continued.)
EVICTIONS AND THE HIGHLAND CJROFTER.
I have just fiuished reading your pamphlet on the Highland Clearances, concluding with a description of the Highland crofter.
Your footnote at the end, saying yuu would be glad to have the views of those who had given the subject any attention, induces me to give you mine, such as they are, though I by no means pretend to solve the difficulty. Yet, I think discussion from all points of view will, if it does nothing else, at any rate, tend to throw some light on the question, and that ultimately it will be found that, like many other difficult problems, it will sooner or later right itself.
I read with melancholy interest your account of the evictions, and though I agree with you in the main, still I differ from you in some particulars.
In the first place I don't think the past evictions should all be placed in the same category of harshness and bad policy. That an eviction must smack of more or less harshness to the evicted is certain, but that such an eviction was necessarily a folly as well as a crime, may bo an open question; and to decide on this, bul'ore arriving at a just conclusion, one ■would require to have the whole circumstances of each eviction before one, such as the position and prospects of the tenant previous to eviction, and what would have been the probable results had those evictions not been carried out.
Are we justified in concluding that in each and every instance of eviction the object of the proprietor of the day was to obtain an enhanced rental 1 and to accomplish which the rights of property were strained to too groat a length, and the duties of the same left quite out of sight. If such, indeed, were the motives that called for such harsh measures, then the very memory of the actors deserves to be execrated; but, taking a calm and perfectly impartial view of what the then position probably was, it is quite possible that some of the proprietors might have been actuated by the highest motives for the ultimate interests of the evicted, if they happened to have been at the time in a really miserable condition.
It is now probably impossible to arrive at the then actual existing state of afi'airs, and the only way to judge, even approximately, of what it was is by analogy, taking the present general position of the crofter as our basis in considering the matter, though it must be borne in mind that steam has greatly altered the circumstances since, and that an eviction that might have been justifiable in former days, might be the height of folly now-a-days; but before entering into a consideration of the question in this aspect, I must state a fact in connection with two of the sad instances you give, and though it may not throw a ray of light on the dark picture you have painted, will, at any rate, deprive it of one of its gloomy features. What I mean refers to the evictions of Boreraig and Suishinish, Isle of Skye, in 1853.
Though your account of those evictions may not distinctly say so, still it infers that the late Lord Godfrey Macdoiiald, though, as you say, he bitterly regretted the evictions afterwards, at the time apparently sanctioned them. You are evidently conversant with the fact that he was in the hands of trustees when the evictions from the townships in question were carried out. What I have now to say is that those evictions were not carried out with Lord Macdonald's sanction, but in direct opposition to his wishes and in violation of his feelings, as testified by several Skye gentlemen who were with him at Armadale at the time, and to whom he expressed his annoyance and grief, his hatred of the business, and his sympathy for tho evicted tenants, but he was powerless in the hands of his rapacious agent. It is quite true he occupied the position mentioned by Mr Donald Koss, but against this we must put the fact that he himself was not aware of the power he possessed at the time, and it is a satisfaction to know that no Skye man's hand is stained by this blot.
The real point at issue is, what really was the position of the crofter in those days 1 It seems to me it was very much the same as it is now, minus the advantage of steam of the present day, but it is apparent that, whether for weal or woe to the crofter, his position has attracted more or less sympathy or the reverse for a long time past, and all sorts of fates have been suspended over his unfortunate head, embracing schemes extending from proposals for his banishment altogether from the land of his forefathers, down to the replacing him in possession of his original glens, according to the notions of his enemies or friends. Some have recommended improvement of the crofter's holding, while others say he should be left alone. All these views may be equally worthy of consideration except the banishing theory, which happily is now impossible even should it be tried; so we may dismiss it as cruel in intent, and deserving of no further notice.
The general impression seems to be that the present crofts are too small, and if the minimum could be fixed at £10 of a yearly rental, that would be all right. This, no doubt, would work well in some localities, and during a limited period, but when we come to apply the rule to members and the existing state of affairs, like most other rules, it has its exceptions, such, for instance, as in the case of widows. It is well known, a widow, if she has not a strong and grown-up family, or some capital to tall back on, cannot, as a rule, continue to retain a holding of this size, though she might manage to keep up one paying £3 or £4 of a yearly rental, and presently we shall see the reason why. If capital had been tho stock-in-trade that worked the croft during the husband's lifetime, the widow, no doubt, would be able to retain the holding, and continue to work it as the husband did during his lifetime, but labour being the real stock-in-trade, it ceased with the husband's life, hence the widow cannot continue to work or hold the croft in question. Yet she can hold a smaller one, as she has still a small command of labour, i.e., what she represents in her own person.
Take an average family of, say half-a-dozen, viz., husband, wife, and four children. To support this family in the present day requires the sum, say, in round figures, of from £30 to £40 a year, according to management, but I shall base it on the following calculation, supposing the family requirements to be £30 yearly:—
Say a croft yields three rentals. A croft or any other piece of ground fairly rented should yield three returns. At this rate a croft paying £10 yearly rent and rates, should yield equal to £30; deduct rent, &c, £10; balance, prolit, £20; still leaving him a balance of £10 to make up from some other source to meet his requirements. Extend this calculation, and it is only when we reach the £15 holdings that they can be said to be self-supporting. Everything depends on the yearly expenditure. If £30 yearly, a fifteen pound holding would be sufficient; but if £40, then a twenty pound holding would be necessary, but to thoroughly understand it, let us look all round it, and suppose the said family requirements not to exceed £25 annually, even then a ten pound holding would leave a deficit of £5, and it is only when we reached the twelve pouud holdings they could be said to be self-supporting.
The croft, if ever so small, requires a certain amount of capital invested in it to stock it A croft paying a yearly rental of £10, would represent a capital of about £G0 sterling in round figures,* viz.—
4 Cows at £9 ... ... ... ... £36
3 Stirksat£3 ... ... ... ... 9
20 Sheep at £15 ... ... ... 15
£60 and so on, till we reach the twenty pound holdings, which would represent a capital of, say, £120.
.Now we are face to face with figures, and here is the difficulty and the real reason why we have not a small prosperous tenantry—simply the want of capital. Imagine the whole of the Highlands now laid out in lots of the yearly value of from £10 to £20, how many could be found willing and capable of taking up the same I The foregoing is theory, now what are the facts)
I have not the means at hand to enable nie to judge as to the position of the whole of the crofting population of the Highlands, my knowledge being limited to the position of the class in the Island of Skye, and I arrived at the following figures which may perhaps be taken as an index to other parts of the country; at any rate, they speak for matters as they stood in this Island
The figures in question are taken from the Inverness County Roll for 1878-79, and since then the rent has not been increased or reduced to any such extent as would in any way affect the following calculation or conclusions, and refer entirely to the agricultural portion of the community, and I have been careful not to mix up with these figures such entries as "Croft and house," for, as a rule, such means that the house is a fairly good one, and that the rent is paid for it, the bit of ground being thrown in to the bargain, and has nothing to do with the subject under inquiry —the crofting system. The gross rental of the Island of Skye in
* Taking £60 as the average capital invested in holdings of a yearly rental of £10, gives £6 of invested capital for every £1 of rent paid, which may be considered fair for holdings of from £5 to £20, but may be slightly high for crofts of £-3. I therefore estimate the capital invested in the latter at about £5 for every £1 of runt. This shows the capital now invested in land in the Island of Skye, which is not entirely self-supporting, to be upwards of £40,000, viz.—
610 Tenants at £16 ... ... ... ... ... £9,150
935 do. at £35 ... U2.725
1878-79 amounted to £36,802, including Raasay, but the purely agricultural portion of the above collected Iroin tenants amounted to only £27,812 8s 3d, to which may be added £3,145 13s lOd in the bands of proprietors, making a total of £30,958 2s Id. The remaining £5,8-14 includes rents derived from shootings, fishings, houses, &c, and subjects other than land.
One of the headings, and indeed the principal one, I only guess at, and though I enter the sarao in stated figures, still it is only an approximate estimate of the exact numbers. I mean the number of tenants' holdings under £4 per annum. The names of such tenants do not appear in the County Roll, but the sums paid by them are entered as paid by proprietor for tenants under £4—such and such an amount. It is therefore impossible to arrive at tho exact numbers. On one estate, however, and that estate is well known as being typical of what is fair in rent—the entries under this heading in the County Koll appear as such and such an amount of rent paid by the proprietor on account of so many rents under £4, and the average comes to exactly £3 for each. On another estate I am acquainted with the average rental of tenants paying under £4 comes to £3 10s each, but taking the Island all over I have put down the average at £3 each, and I don't think I can be far out. Since writing the above I have just seen Mr Walker's—the Commissioner on agriculture— report on the state of crofting in the Lewis, which appears in the Inverness Courier of the 7th July, showing the average rental of 2,71)0 crofts to be £2 18s all round. Tho average rental in Skye, it will be seen, is considerably higher:—
610 Tenants, paying under £4 yearly, pay between them in all £1,832
17s 2d, or an average of £3 each. 935 Tenants, paying £4 and upwards, but under £10, pay £5,348 10s
lid, or an average of £5 16s 6d each. 178 Tenants, paying £10 but under £20, pay £2,154 lis 4d, or an
average of £12 2s each. 25 Tenants, paying £20 but under £100 a year each, pay £993 9s lOd,
or at an average of £39 14s 4d each.
Then come the gentlemen farmers, 33 of whom, paying over £100 a year each, swell the rental by £17,483, or an average of £529 15s 9d each.
Total Tenants, 1781.
610 of whom, @ £3 each, £1,832 17 2
935 „ @ £5 16s 6d 5,348 10 11
1545 paying £7,181 8 1
From the above it is seen that the vast majority pay under £10 of a yearly rental, and if we add to the above number, the third class, Lumbering 178, at £12 2s each, £2,154 lis 4d, wo have a total of 1,723 tenants, paying £9,336 19s 5d, whose holdings are not sell-supporting.
The land no loubt greatly, or, we may say, mostly, contributes to the support of the above, but, as a matter of fact, it only supports in entirety the small minority of 58, who pay between them the large sum of £18,476 9s lOd, or twice as much as the vast majority of 1,723. It is