Mr THOMAS SELLAR, Hall Grove, Bagshot, Surrey (63)—examined.
45269. The Chairman.
—You have a statement to make ?
—The object which I have in coming before you is to rectify statements which have been made to you respecting the conduct of my father, the late Patrick Sellar, who in the early part of the present century was factor on the Sutherland estate of the Marquis of Stafford. I have been most reluctant to come and occupy your time with what appears to me to be at the present day a purely personal and historical question. But after the statements which have been made to you, I have felt, and I trust you will think I am justified in feeling, that I was required by every consideration of duty and of honour to come and appeal to your indulgence. I have put what I have to say in print, and, with your permission I shall read it, partly because, not having the habit of speaking in public, I shall probably occupy less time by so doing, and still more because, in a matter of so great interest to me, and to the other members of my family, I have desired to be as accurate and precise as possible. There runs through the Sutherland evidence which has been presented to you the impression that to Mr Sellar was due the initiative of the policy of the clearances carried out in that county, and that he alone was responsible for the execution of that policy. No other agent is ever referred to. It is proper, therefore, that I should make you aware of what Mr Sellar did in the matter; and in the first place, as to his share in initiating the policy. He was designated the factor, but there was a resident commissioner on the estate, and there was no separate law agent. In point of fact, the commissioner, who was acquainted with the management of land, performed most of the ordinary duties of a factor; and Mr Sellar, who was a lawyer, and had, up to that time, little or no practical experience in the management of land, performed mainly the duties of law agent. His duties were described by himself on two separate occasions, once in his judicial declaration of 1815, and again in a statement he printed and circulated in 1825. They were, shortly, the collection of the rents, the preparing of the leases, and the carrying legally into effect of such arrangements as should be directed by the commissioner acting under Lord and Lady Stafford's instructions. It will thus be seen that he had really no power of initiative. His duty was confined to carrying legally into effect such arrangements as the commissioner directed. So much as regards his power of initiative. Next, what share had he in carrying out the clearances? To enable you to appreciate his share in carrying out those clearances, it will be necessary for me to give you a narrative of them. I have made diligent search for information respecting them in every quarter where information was to be bad, but I have been able to learn little that is not contained in Mr Loch's book, published in 1820, on the improvements on the estates of the Marquis of Stafford. Mr Loch enters largely into the motives of the policy; and after stating those motives, and the objects sought to be attained, he goes into some details, though these are principally confined to the transactions which occurred while he was commissioner. He states, at page 76 of his book, that the removals from the interior to the sea-coast commenced in 1807, and that they were carried out from that period as the different tacks expired. I can find no details of what the clearances were from 1807 till 1810. They are believed to have been chiefly in the southern part of the county. One large sheep farm in the interior was, however, then formed. It extended north and south from the village of Lairg to Loch Naver, including the mountains of Ben Chebrig and Ben Ormin, and east and west from the river Tyree, falling into Loch Shin, to the head waters of the streams falling into the Brora and Helmsdale, and it was roughly computed, Mr Loch states, to extend over 100,000 acres. Mr Sellar entered upon his duties as " factor" in 1810 at, it is believed, the Martinmas term of that year; at the same time as Mr Young became commissioner. Mr Young resigned in 1816, when Mr Loch, who had been previously commissioner on Lord Stafford's English estates, succeeded him; Mr Sellar continued to occupy his post till Martinmas 1818, when he also resigned, as he had just succeeded to a considerable property on the death of his father, and had to attend to his own affairs. There are no details whatever in Mr Loch's book of the removals between 1810 and the time he became commissioner. The only account of them which I have been able to discover is contained in the paper which Mr Sellar printed and circulated in 1825, and is as follows :
—The first district," he says, " in which I desired to carry the new arrangements into effect was the parish of Assynt. It was at the term of Whitsunday 1812. The mountains were divided among the persons who had formerly been tacksmen or middlemen in that parish. I expedited the necessary warrants; but the gentlemen who were to receive possession had so much influence over the people that little or no interference of mine was necessary. In spring 1813, I was desired to carry into effect similar arrangements in the parish of Kildonan and part of Clyne, the mountains of which were to be put under Cheviot shepherds as well as Cheviot sheep. Such was the tumult occasioned by this proposal, that before the notices could be served it was necessary to call in military aid. At the term of "Whitsunday 1813, however, the mountains were put in possession of the sheep farmers and their shepherds ; and the people were transferred to the neighbourhood of Helmsdale, where the Marquis of Stafford then proposed to build a harbour, and to establish a herring fishery. In the year 1814 it was proposed to arrange in like manner the ground near the sources of the river Brora, the parish of Farr: I was desired, in consequence, to prepare myself for removing the population of these districts to the neighbourhood of fishing ground. These districts were intended to be divided into sheep farms; but, much to the relief of my official duty, the farms, excepting one, were not taken by sheep farmers. That one being taken by myself, it was in my power to leave one-half of it, for four years, in possession of the old tenantry, who were of course allowed the whole of those four years to transfer themselves, their families, and property to the new allotments provided for them; so that, in point of fact, there were removed in 1814 only twenty-seven tenants, and one tinker or caird, who had taken possession of a piece of extremely wild ground in a morass among the mountains. I continued," Mr Sellar adds, " in the employment of the Marquis of Stafford until Martinmas 1818, but no further arrangement of the estate followed." The clearances subsequent to the period at which Mr Sellar ceased to be connected with the management of the estate are referred to, as I have already stated, in some detail, by Mr Loch. After describing, at page 68, the frightful misery of the year
1816, and stating that while such was the distress of those who still remained on the hills, it was hardly felt by those who had been settled on the coast, he goes on to say
—" If any doubt had remained of the propriety of the system which had been adopted, the experience of 1816 certainly put that doubt to rest. There could be no hesitation," he continues, " on the part of those who had the management, to advise that that system should not merely be continued but extended." He then states that the tacks of a large portion of the estate expired at the respective terms of Whitsunday 1818, 1819, and 1820, and that it was determined, for reasons which he describes, that the removals from the lands referred to should be postponed till 1819 and 1820, and should be completed at the Whitsunday terms of those years. Accordingly, at Whitsunday 1819, and at the same term of 1820, the removals from the large portion of the estate to which Mr Loch refers were carried out. They were mainly from the upper
parts of the Strath of Kildonan and of Strathbrora, and from the west or proper left bank of the Naver. It will thus be seen that, relatively to the whole extent of the clearances, those carried out under Mr Sellar's
directions were comparatively small. The Assynt clearances of 1812 he took no active part in. What he did directly carry out were the evictions of 1813 in the lower part of Kildonan, on the right bank of the River Helmsdale, and those of 1814 on the upper part of the east or proper right bank of the Naver. But it is said that at all events he cleared Strathnaver. Here again is a complete misconception. The west bank was cleared in 1819, after he had ceased to be in the employment of the Marquis of Stafford. As to this there is no doubt whatever. This bank, as you have seen as you passed through it, is in certain parts susceptible of tillage, so far, at least, as regards soil. The other bank, in the upper part of the strath, consists of heathy hills, on which there are few signs of former settlements, and on which, whatever may happen on the west bank, it is not likely that the plough will ever turn up the soil. It was the last named portion of the strath, the upper part of the east bank, and it only, of which Mr Sellar conducted the clearance. Hitherto I have dealt with matters which do not necessarily imply culpability on Mr Sellar's part. I now propose to bring under your notice allegations imputing culpability to him, some of them of a grave character. The first place at which these allegations were made before you was at Bettyhill, at the foot of Strathnaver, where an old man named Angus M'Kay, cottar, Strathy Point, who said he was eleven years old at the time of the evictions, thus described his recollections of what occurred in 1814 :
—" I and my brothers, who were young. were," he said, " asleep in bed, and there was a woman came in, and said, ' Won't you wake up ? Sellar is burning at Rhiloisk.'" The following examination then took place:
—" Q. Did you see any burning houses yourself in Strathnaver? A. No, I did not. Q. Do you know that a number of houses were burned at that time ? A. Oh, yes, yes. Q. Many houses ? A. All from the River Owen Malloch, and another river coming into Strathnaver on the east side down to Dunveddan Burn. Q. The houses were burning? A. That is said, but I cannot say ; I saw nothing. I was in bed. Q. You were told at the time? A. Yes." The burning of houses cannot be carried on in a corner and out of sight It must be visible to all. How could it be that such a conflagration was not visible to this man, if such a thing occurred ? How, at all events, was it that he did not say that he had seen the blackened remains ? This man's evidence curiously illustrates how the belief in those burnings took root. Though he was on the spot and must have seen them, had they taken place, but did not see them, he is yet willing to maintain that houses were burned all down the strath, simply because, as he stated, it was so said. He refused emphatically to say that he had seen any burning houses himself; and, on being pressed on the subject by the question, " The houses were burning (that is the houses all the way down to Dunveddan), he answered, " That is said, but I cannot say ; I saw nothing. I was in bed." This man was the only witness, during the whole of your inquiry, who appeared before you stating that he had been in Strathnaver at the time of the evictions of 1814. But others spoke to the burning of houses at that time. Angus Mackay, aged 22, a student of divinity, presented resolutions agreed to at a meeting of crofters and cottars in Farr, in which it was stated that they and their forefathers had been cruelly burned like wasps out of Strathnaver. At Helmsdale, Angus Sutherland, teacher in the Academy, read a statement in which it was declared that in the years 1814: to 1819 the people of the parish of Kildonan were ejected from their holdings, and their houses burned to the ground, under circumstances of the greatest cruelty, the houses in many cases being set on fire while the people were still in them. These burnings were carried on, it was stated, under the direction and supervision of Mr Patrick Sellar, &c. It was added that there was abundance of contemporary literature, testifying to the barbarity of the proceedings, and that there were still living witnesses of them. I may observe, with reference to what the witness calls the abundance of contemporary literature, testifying to the barbarity of the proceedings, that I have ransacked the British Museum over and over again, times without number, for contemporary literature of all sorts having any bearing on those times, and I say unhesitatingly that, besides Mr Loch's book, there is no contemporary literature which testifies in any manner to the character of the proceedings at the clearances, except the report by the future Lord Robertson of the trial at Inverness, in 1816, of Patrick Sellar. The witness was pressed to inform the Commission what authority he had for stating that houses were set fire to while people were in them; and then it came to light that his authority was a person of the name of Poison, who had told him that his mother-in-law's family was evicted, and her house set on fire while her infant children were still in the house, one of those infant children being Poison's future wife. Mr Angus Sutherland's proof of the burnings from witnesses still living was at this point of his evidence reduced to a statement derived from a man who could himself know nothing directly of the circumstances of the case; and Mr Sutherland so far modified his original allegation as to say that he had no objection to " clearances" being substituted for " burnings," and that he had put in the word " burning " simply because that was the word used by the people. As to contemporary literature he came down to this statement: " Well, generally, of course, there is some sort of literature on the question." Subsequently, on being urged to produce some better evidence of the burnings which he had alleged, all he could say was that he had beard John Poison relate, though only once, the story of the burnings, that there were several people living who remembered them, and that Mr John Ross recollected them. John Poison and John Ross appear to have been both present; but neither one nor the other, though under the circumstances one would have expected Mr Sutherland to produce them, if they could have helped him, came forward to confirm him. He then went on to say that it was a well-known historical fact that there were burnings—as well established, he said, as the existence of Sir William Wallace. I have now enumerated all the statements made to you, which have come under my notice, accusing Mr Sellar of having burned houses, except the statement at Bonar Bridge of a burning which, having occurred, according to the witness, in 1819, could not have been the work of Mr Sellar. My answer to these statements is, first, that Mr Sellar himself denied absolutely that during his factorship any house was burned by his orders, except the hut, or, as he - said, the timber only of the hut of one Chisholm, a tinker and squatter, on an outlying part of Strathnaver; and, second, that he was tried at Inverness on an indictment, in which, among other things, those charges of house-burning were set forth ; and though twelve residents of Strathnaver were examined to prove the charges, not one of them, when he appeared in the witness-box, could say, except in Chisholm's case, that he had had his house burned, or had seen any other houses burned. How could there have been such a failure of evidence if the charge of burning houses had been true ? What explanation can be given of these witnesses being unable to prove the destruction of their own and their neighbours' houses by fire if they were so destroyed ? The blackened ruins, at all events, must have been there, visible to all. I say it is entirely untrue that any house was burned except in Chisholm's case. Besides these charges of burning houses, accusations are made of other acts of cruelty and oppression committed by Mr Sellar. As to these, I have to 6ay that Mr Sellar's conduct was submitted, to an investigation such as, in this country, does not often occur. He had, as his personal enemy, Mr M'Kid, the sheriff-substitute of the county, whose conduct and animus towards Mr Sellar were of such a nature that when they were proved at Mr Sellar's trial, his evidence was passed over in confortuity with the procedure of that time. This man, bearing this enmity, undertook to get up the case against Mr Sellar, —to take the precognition, as it is called. He describes in a letter to Lord Stafford, written in May 1815, immediately after returning from this precognition, what he had done. The letter will be found in the report of the trial. He says in it
—" With this view" [the investigation of the charges made against Mr Sellar] " I was induced to go into Strathnaver, where, at considerable personal inconvenience and expense, with much patient perseverance I examined about forty witnesses." Will it be believed, under such circumstances, that any charge which any one could make was not traced out by Mr M'Kid, and was not embodied in the indictment ? Charges might have been aggravated by such a man ; they could not have been extenuated. On those charges Mr Sellar was brought to trial, and the whole of them vanished at the touch of legal investigation. One charge only, that in the case of the man Chisholm, had any semblance of evidence tendered in support of it—evidence, such as it was, which was rebutted by the evidence for the defence. The rest of the charges being unsupported by any evidence whatever, were, as a matter of course, withdrawn from the consideration of the jury, and on the one case left to their consideration they at once and unhesitatingly gave an unanimous verdict of acquittal. To revive and restate the very charges made in the indictment, as has been recently done by certain gentlemen, is surely monstrous. It is equally out of all reason for men to come forward at this time of day and make new charges. I say, if these new charges were true, it was impossible for Mr M'Kid, imbued as he was to such a degree with personal enmity, to have missed them, when he examined those forty witnesses on the spot, within a year of the time when the events happened which were the subject of his inquiry. I cannot pass from Mr M'Kid without stating that in his letter to Lord Stafford, already quoted, though he enumerates and accentuates all the charges which had been made against Mr Sellar, he charges him with no burning of houses, except in Chisholm's case. I must also mention that this same Mr M'Kid, who examined those forty witnesses in. Strathnaver, and who knew more of the circumstances than probably any one else, had, at a subsequent date, namely, on the 22nd September 1817, to come forward, and acknowledge, in a letter transmitted through the hands of his law agent, an Edinburgh writer to the Signet, that the statements to Mr Sellar's prejudice, contained in his Strathnaver precognitions, were to such an extent exaggerations as to amount to absolute falsehood, and he added that he was thoroughly ashamed of having given credence to them. I say, in conclusion, that every particle of authentic evidence in existence is in contradiction of those tales of burnings, and of those monstrous tales of cruelty alleged against my father, which, disproved at the time, were revived five-and-twenty years subsequently by a mendacious partisan, have been propagated by irresponsible agitators, and are given credence to by a credulous people. I propose to put in, and I now tender as evidence, a certified copy of the correspondence with Mr M'Kid, taken from the records of the Sheriff Court of Dornoch, where it was recorded at the time. I refer at the same time to the report of the trial, which will be found in the appendix of a book I recently published, entitled The Sutherland Evictions of 1811. Before closing, I wish to say a word with reference to statements made before you at Loch Aline, in Argyllshire, one of them being that summonses of removal were taken out against forty-eight families by the proprietors of Acharn and Ardtornish, before they sold their estates in 1838 and 1844 respectively to Mr Sellar, and another, which the witness seems to have had some hesitation in making, being that Mr Sellar evicted forty-four tenants from the estate of Acharn. These statements are untrue. The Sheriff Court books of Tobermory have been searched between 1837 and 1845, and no summonses of removal have been found at the instance of Mr Gregorson, Mr Sellar, or any one else, against any one on those estates. There were no evictions on them. Any changes which took place were voluntary. The only summons of removal which has been discovered during the period in question at the instance of Mr Sellar, or of the previous proprietors of the estates, is one issued by Mr Sellar in 1843 against one Allan MacDonald, described as pretended fishing tenant of Kinloch-Aline. This man's holding was on neither of the estates, but was on a bit of ground at the mouth of the river, acquired from a neighbouring proprietor, for the convenience of the fishermen. The salmon nets were taken off in 1843 for a time, and thus this man's services were no longer required.
45270. With reference to the alleged clearances of the two estates of Acharn and Ardtornish before they were sold to Mr Sellar, although there were no summonses of eviction taken out, is it denied or admitted that there were a great number of removals of families living on these two estates shortly before the sale ?
—You will observe that these are events long gone by ; and in order to enable me to inform you accurately of what occurred I must go into the story at some length. I have had all my father's papers looked into which were not destroyed. I have also had the books of the successors of his then law agents looked into, and all they could give me was a list of papers handed to the agents for the present proprietor. I have gone to these agents and got all the papers I could get, and the only paper which throws any light upon the matter is one dated 1825, when a valuation of the estate was made, and it is stated in that valuation that two-thirds of the estate were then under sheep in the hands of the proprietor and one-third in the hands of six tenants. I have not been able to trace by documentary evidence what became of these six tenants, and I was under a strong impression that they were not there when my father got the estate, for this reason, that he settled with the large tenants directly for the whole sheep stock. Until the last few days I was under the impression that that was the case. But I have made inquiry amongst the people of the district, and they say those six tenants were still on the estate when my father bought it, and that they were tenants occupying a kind of club farm together; that my father said, ' I do not wish to put you out, but I wish you to be collectively responsible' —this is what the people of the country say —' for the rents of this farm, because you have it in company.' They declined and voluntarily went out, and the large tenants, the M'Lauchlans, went out with their servants. I can find no trace of any others going out. The servants went out because my father brought his own servants in. That is the best information I have been able to get—I give it as precisely and accurately as I can—and the whole number of persons who left the estate then were those six tenants—I believe so because the people say so —and the Messrs MLauchlan, who delivered over 2100 sheep, and their servants.
45271. Those six tenants, according to your account, left the estate after it was purchased by your father ?
—I don't know ; but what I fancy is this, that it must have been before my father took possession of the estate, because he took over the whole sheep stock of the farm, and they were delivered by the Messrs M'Lauchlan—2100 sheep stock.
45272. Do you find that he took over the sheep stock of this club farm ?
—There is no record of these tenants whatever, and that is what made me be under the impression that it was all in the hands of M'Lauchlan; but I have heard that these people were there.
45273. As far as I understand the allegation was that a certain number of tenants were removed before the sale, and that that was effected as a condition of the sale ?
—That is quite absurd; no such thing was done. I may explain that Mr Gregorson was not the owner of the estate, but Mr Fraser, solicitor, London; and Messrs M'Lauchlan were tenants of Mr Fraser, and the six tenants I have referred to were sub-tenants of Messrs M'Lauchlan. I believe that information is accurate.
45274. You have not been able to find any evidence of the departure of a considerable number of small tenants immediately previous to the purchase, or connected with the purchase of that estate?
—Absolutely none, and I have inquired amongst people still about the place, whose memories may not be accurate, but who concur in denying that there was anything of the nature of evictions. All they say is that these six tenants and the servants went.
45275. That has reference to the estate of Acharn?
45276. Have you any other statement to make respecting Ardtornish ?
—It is said that there were four removed. I suppose they were four of Mr Gregorson's servants; but I know nothing about it.
45277. With reference to the allegation of the removal of persons through the instrumentality of your father from the Sutherland estates, I understand you to state generally that there is no evidence whatever that he was ever in such a position as to be an adviser in promoting the general policy of the estate ?
45278. Is there any evidence that he was opposed to that policy ?
—No; the evidence is to the contrary. I can read it to you if you like. He mentions in a letter which is published in this book of Mr Loch's that when he went there he was imbued in the highest instance with the opinion that this removal was an unjust thing.
45279. Which removal ?
—These removals generally.
45280. I should like to hear an extract from a letter of your father's stating that the policy was in his mind an injurious one, or one to be condemned ?
—No ; on the contrary, after seeing the country, he says it is one to be approved. He says
—'You desire an account of my own particular progress, and to that I shall confine myself; but I cannot help mentioning a circumstance which you will scarcely believe of a man who farms a good many thousand sheep now feeding in districts lately occupied with inhabitants, and that is, that I came to this country full of the belief that the growth of wool and sheep in the Highlands of Scotland was one of the most abominable and detestable things possible to be imagined. The reports of the Highland clergymen in Sir John Sinclair's book of statistics, the essays written in the periodical publications, and the general assurance of every Highland gentleman whom one met with in the low country, and of every low country gentleman who had never been in the Highlands, convinced my mind, as it did that of others who possessed similar means of forming their judgment, that the inroads then made on the ancient habits and manners of the children of the Gael were cruel and impolitic in the extreme.'
45280. What is the date of that letter?
—1st May 1820.
45281. And that was his origiual opinion?
—Yes. 'Before I had been one or two years in Sutherland, I explored the interior of the country. I found it to consist of extensive tracts of peat bog, broken into mountains and rocks and wild scenery, and interspersed here and there with patches of land under imperfect tillage near the river banks; each patch, or haugh, or field surrounded by a country of bog, the exhalations raised by the sun from which were condensed during the night on the crops attempted to be grown, and which had during four years out of six mildewed and been destroyed. I found an infinity of fine Alpine pasturage which, by reason of the softness of the bog, or inaccessible nature of the ground, the cattle of the Highlanders never cropped. I found that while the cotton grass was in spring flowering with great luxuriance and fading untouched, the cattle were dying by scores. One gentleman, Captain Matthieson of Shiness, lost 200, I think, in one spring ; and Colonel Sutherland of Culmaily buried, the first year I came to Sutherland, eighteen milk cows and a bull in a hole or ravine. Moreover, the inhabitants of the Highlands were fed every second or third year with meal imported by the proprietors from other countries, and all this misery was endured in contending, in a country so situated, against nature; countless myriads of herrings, cod, ling, &c, at the same time swarming around the coast and in every creek and bay of it untouched; why ?—because the people in the interior remained in misery there, preventing it from being possible to apply its pasturage to any useful purpose; and those on the shores were the sub-tenants of gentlemen whose style of education and pursuits through life made them quite indifferent to the treasures spread out before them.'
45281*. Then he altered his opinion by the year 1820?
—Within one or two years after his arrival.
45282. About what year was this change of opinion ?
—He came to the country in 1809, and he says ' within one or two years.'
45283. His change of opinion in favour of clearances and the transformation of the industrial character of the country ?
—Yes; it must have taken place about 1811.
45284. And it remained his opinion until when ?
—Till the end of his life.
45285. He always remained of the opinion that the policy had been a salutary and useful one ?
—That the results had been beneficial. I never heard him discuss anything more than that.
45286. At what age did he become himself engaged in farming operations ?
—He became engaged first in 1809 in the farm of Culmaily, an arable farm.
45287. What farms did he afterwards take ?
—He acquired in 1814 the farm on which these clearances occurred—the one in Strathnaver, with which he had to do, on the upper portion of the east bank. In 1819, I presume, he acquired the farm of Morvich in Strathfleet, where he lived; and in the same year he acquired the other bank of the Naver.
45288. It was an arable farm he acquired in 1809 ?
45289. And in 1814 ?
—That was purely a pastoral farm.
45290. And in 1819 ?
—The arable farm of Morvich in Strathfleet; and at the term of Whitsunday 1819 he acquired the west bank of the river Naver.
45291. Did he hold, for a brief period at least, the whole of these farms while he was factor?
—He got the farm in 1809 before he was factor; he got the farm in 1814 when he was factor.
45292. And the two farms in 1819 ?
—He had ceased to be factor then. I think, in fact, that in 1817-18, when his father died, he paid very little attention to the duties of factor. He had a clerk who attended a good deal to the business, and I fancy he had very little to do with it. The only farm he took when he was factor was in 1814.
45293. How long did he retain the two farms which he took in 1819 ?
—The lease was for nineteen years, and expired in 1838 ; and in that year a considerable portion was given to others ; and at the next term, 1857, they were diminished still further. My brother had succeeded by that time, and he is now tenant of a portion only of the west bank of the Naver.
45294. Then your father and the members of his family have remained tenants in a portion of these farms up to the present day ?
—Up to the present day.
45295. And you, in justice to your father's memory and on his part, as it were, and on the part of your family, repudiate altogether that he had any share whatever in advising the adoption of that policy ?
—I have no knowledge of what he may have said if he was consulted ; but what I say is, that he was not in a position to take the initiative. —I take it there were conversations —I don't know —but anyhow he had nothing to do with the initiative.
45296. Who was the adviser?
45297. And your father never saw any cause to regret it either as a moral or an economical proceeding ?
—I never asked him how he viewed it from a moral point of view. That is a question I would not put to my father. As an economical proceeding, I from the first heard only one account from him. I take it, and I say it frankly for myself, that these compulsory clearances are things of ruder times long gone by when the views as to the rights of landlords over land were very different from what they are to-day—moral rights. I speak personally my own view, without meaning to commit any one.
45298. But I should imagine that the ties of affection and duty between proprietor and tenant, or chief and dependent or clansman, were more lively and powerful at that period than they are now ?
—I think, if you read the books of that period, you will find that it was not so. You will find it was the very reverse; it was a question altogether for landlords.
45299. On the part of the people, I mean, towards the landlord ?
—I can only tell you what the literature of the day shows—that you will find the contemplation was—Lord Selkirk's book, for instance —that it was perfectly useless to keep people there ; they were only ruining themselves. Let the people sell their stock, it was said, and go to the colonies; and those that have not stock, let them go to the towns. There was no mention then that it was the bounden duty of the landlord to look after them.
45300. I do remember that Lord Selkirk was a great advocate of emigration ; but I think he was an advocate of regulated and beneficent emigration. I don't think he contemplated turning out the people to find their own way. I think his notion was a system of government and encouraged emigration ?
—I think if you read it you will find nothing in the way of assistance to the people. I am speaking of the whole tenor of the literature of the time; it had little or no reference to care for the people who were to be removed.
45301. I thought Lord Selkirk had himself gone out to America and purchased ground and carried the people there, and given them his own personal supervision ?
—Yes, he did.
45302. I imagined that the whole tenor of his policy was a benevolent and superintended emigration?
—I am speaking now —I forget what Lord Selkirk's book is called—but if you read the literature of that day you will find there are very rare instances of any person thinking it the duty of a landlord to look after his removed tenants; and we know the changes which have taken place in public opinion in recent times as regards the rights of landlords over their land. Opinion changes.
45303. We will admit that a purely economical idea with reference to the management of land and the interests of it have materially altered since the first twenty or thirty years of the present century ?
—I must say distinctly that, so far as I am concerned, I do not feel called upon to go into a defence of the Sutherland clearances. I think it would be an impertinence in me to do it ; but I must say that, so far as I can make out from anything I have been able to read, it was not from notions of purely economical results to the estate that this policy was adopted, but with the idea that the people were in such a condition of distress that they could not live. Every few years they were dependent on the landlord for support, their crops having failed. The population were dependent on purely agricultural resources, and whenever their crops failed they were necessarily destitute; and it was with the view of remedying that state of things that this policy was adopted, as well, no doubt, as for the economical development of the estate.
45304. However, your business at present is to vindicate your father against those charges ?
—Yes; the other matter I really don't feel concerned about. I had better volunteer a statement. You know there is this extraordinary statement everywhere as to burnings. Now, it is unquestionably the fact that there were burnings, and I will read what Mr Loch says as to the burnings which took place in 1819 after my father ceased to have anything to do with them ; it may save time if I tell you at once. He says
—'In 1819 some of the people were impressed with the notion that if they resumed possession of their holdings they would be enabled to retain them for another year, and that something might happen during that period to prevent the arrangements taking effect. In this view they retired upon the approach of the sheriff officers, taking with them all their goods; but as soon as the constables left the glen they reappeared, and constructed new or repaired their old turf huts, and re-occupied their former possessions. This was done in no offensive manner towards the factor. It, however, rendered a second ejectment necessary, a measure distressing to the people themselves and in which they acquiesced with the same good temper and obedience as they had done in the first instance. It, however, made it necessary for the local management to adopt some measure to prevent the possibility of its repetition, and to prevent it taking place at all in other cases; this was to be accomplished either by removing or by destroying the timber, the remote and inaccessible situation of the huts rendering it impossible for the people to remove the timber at all or at an expense far exceeding its value, was, as has already been stated one of the causes which induced Lord Stafford to become purchaser of it. This reason also necessarily prevented those who had to carry the arrangements into execution from effecting this. The streams were too small to admit of floating it down to the coast; and in many instances it was placed at too great a distance from their course even if this had been practicable, and carts could not be brought within miles of these habitations. In the exercise of their discretion, the local management adopted the only course which could be pursued, that was to collect and burn it. The fact is, moreover, that much of the timber which was destroyed in this manner was done by stock farmers themselves, after they had got possession of the lands and were in the occupation of the farms. This simple and necessary act arising out of the peculiar circumstances of the moment, and equally required for the sake of the people and that of the stock farmer, and executed without the knowledge of Lord and Lady Stafford, has been falsified in every way by the directors of that selfconstituted society whose motives and conduct have more than once been already alluded to. The most positive and direct denial is given to every account in which it has been attempted to apply to these proceedings the character of cruelty and oppression arising either from a premeditated plan or from the inadvertence of the moment. Wherever it was possible to carry off the timber with ease it was not purchased, but left to the tenants in the usual way. Such was the case in the parish of Loth. Yet so determined were the propagators of these falsehoods to misrepresent every fact, that they asserted that every house in this parish had been destroyed by fire—a statement equally without foundation and malicious. In order to make this further plain he says—So minutely and carefully were the proceedings conducted, that a memorandum was made of each case by the procurator-fiscal, who is the public prosecutor of the county, at the time of each removal, of the state and condition of each cottage. To these minutes reference may be had as occasion may require, and they serve as a most complete and thorough
refutation of all the falsehoods and calumnies which have been propagated regarding these transactions.'
45305. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh
—No doubt, Mr Sellar, it is a very painful position for you to be in to-day ?
—Painful! Not at all. Excuse me; not at all.
45306. Very good. I shall confine myself to putting questions to you entirely arising out of what you have yourself stated to-day. I have no wish to go into anything except what you have done yourself ?
—Go into anything you like ; if it is a proper question I will answer it.
45307. You know very well, I suppose, the history of the proceedings at the trial of your father?
45308. Are you aware that the evidence of one of the witnesses—and the most important witness—was thrown out?
—Mr M'Kid, I presume you allude to—yes; and I am also aware that the Advocate-Depute stated that he was not important. He was called purely on a technical point. I will read to you what took place, so that there may be no doubt about it. And this very man afterwards said the whole statements were lies. Here is the passage in the report of the trial:
—' The first witness proposed to be adduced was Mr Robert M'Kid, sheriff-substitute of Sutherland, to whom it was objected that the proposed witness has evinced malice, or partial counsel, or both, against the pannel, in so far as he imprisoned him without a complainer,' and so on. ' Answered by the Advocate-Depute : That if it had been true that the pannel was imprisoned without a regular complaint it was only an irregularity in the proceedings, and the Court of Justiciary stated in their finding on the petition for liberation irregularity as the ground for allowing bail;' and 'that the only point on which the prosecutors propose to examine Mr M'Kid is as to the practice of Sutherland with respect to the rights of outgoing tenants to retain possession of their barns until the term of removal from the arable ground as to which he conceives him the fittest person to speak as judge ordinary of the bounds ;' so that he was merely a technical witness, and not an important witness.
45309. Now will you please answer my question directly, was the evidence of one of the witnesses thrown out by the Court?
—It was not rejected.
45310. Answer me yea or nay ?
—It was not rejected. Lord Pitmilly said he could not reject it, but he advised the prosecuting counsel to pass it over under the circumstances of the case.
45311. Was it withdrawn by the prosecution?
—It was withdrawn.
45312. Well, we have come to it at last?
—Yes. I wish to be as straightforward as I can and to give you all the facts. You asked if he was the most important witness, and I said he was not, and I think I have shown you he was not, and was not considered to be so by the Court.
45313. Are you sufficiently acquainted with the present law of Scotland to say that the objections there stated for your father are such as would now be listened to for one moment?
—Procedure has changed, and they would not now be allowed. I am not a lawyer, and I can only say that things are not now done; but it was the procedure of the day. My Lord, I should say that I think six or eight witnesses were objected to on the same ground ; there was not one of them rejected, but Lord Pitmilly said, with reference to M'Kid's, ' In the circumstances, I advise the Advocate-Depute to pass it by.
45314. Has the constitution of juries who try such cases been very much altered now, and popularised from what it was at that time?
—I don't know; I am not a lawyer. I will read the names of the jury if you please.
45315. Please answer me directly. If you don't know it, say so?
—I think I am entitled—when asked a question, I shall answer it directly, and I shall give then an explanation of it, if you please.
45316. You don't know whether the constitution of juries in criminal trials is now different from what it was ?
—I know absolutely nothing whatever about it. I suppose things have been popularised, but I have no knowledge upon the subject.
45317. You referred to a letter which was written by Mr M'Kid; do you know the circumstances under which that letter was got from Mr M'Kid ?
—It was given by him:
45318. Do you know the circumstances under which it was got ?
—Yes, it was got from Mr M'Kid.
45319. What were the circumstances?
—I had better read the correspondence. I think it is the best way to explain it, rather than stating
45320. The Chairman.
—I think a distinct question was put to you. Do you know the circumstances under which the letter was procured from Mr M'Kid, or was written or supplied by him?
—I know the circumstances so far.
45321. Can you not state these circumstances viva voce ?
—I may say there was an action raised against Mr M'Kid, in consequence of his conduct, by my father. The agent for Mr M'Kid was Mr Gordon of Carrol, W.S. He appears to have come to my father during the proceedings, and to have offered to pay damages, and to pay the costs, and I suppose my father insisted—but I don't know how it occurred—that he should have a statement from Mr M'Kid as to the circumstances in the matter, and the letter was written in that way. I should like to read it to show you the circumstances.
45322. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—I will put it in this way, Was it not in consequence of a threat of proceedings in the Court, either to be
begun or actually begun ?
—Proceedings going on.
45323. Do you know what Mr M'Kid's position was then; are you aware that he was a very poor man ?
—I believe he was. But what is the inference which I am to understand is to be drawn from this ?
45324. Never mind the inference?
—Pardon me, it is a matter of character, and I do not wish it to be left in that way. I think I am entitled to know what you exactly mean ; and I think I ought to be allowed to read the whole thing.
45325. The Chairman.
—I think the impression left by the last question and answer might be that the letter was wrongfully extorted from a poor man by Mr Sellar or his representatives. If we were to leave the matter there, that impression might prevail on the minds of those who are here; therefore I think Mr Sellar may read any explanation.
45326. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—The first letter is : —- From Mr M'Kid, late sheriff-substitute of the shire of Sutherland, to 'Mr Sellar.
—Drummuie, September 22, 1817.
—Sir, Being impressed with the perfect conviction and belief that the statements to your prejudice contained in the precognition which I took in Strathnaver in May 1815, were to such an extent exaggerations as to amount to absolute falsehoods, I am free to admit that, led away by the clamour excited against you on account of the discharge of the duties of your office, as factor for the Marchioness of Stafford, in introducing a new system of management on the Sutherland estate, I gave a degree of credit to those misstatements of which I am now thoroughly ashamed, and which I most sincerely and deeply regret. From the aspersions thrown on your character, I trust you need not doubt that you are already fully acquitted in the eyes of the world. That you would be entitled to exemplary damages from me, for my participation in the injury done you, I am most sensible; and I shall therefore not only acknowledge it as a most important obligation conferred on me and on my innocent family, if you will have the goodness to drop your lawsuit against me, but I shall also pay the expenses of that suit, and place at your disposal towards the reimbursement of the previous expenses which this most unfortunate business has occasioned to you, any sum you may exact, when made acquainted with the state of my affairs —trusting to your generosity to have consideration to the heavy expenses my defence has cost me, and that my connection with the unfortunate affair has induced me to resign the office of sheriff-substitute of Sutherland. I beg further to add that, in case of your compliance with my wish here expressed, you are to be at liberty to make any use you please of this letter, except publishing it in the newspapers, which I doubt not you will see the propriety of my objecting to.
—I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, ROBERT M'KID.
—Addressed to Patrick Sellar, Esq.
My father's reply was as follows :
22nd September 1817.
—Dear Sir, I have instantly received, through your hands, Mr M'Kid's letter to me of this date, and I have heard from you an explanation of the state of his affairs, which (as he is no longer possessed of the power legally to deprive a British subject of his liberty, and otherwise to oppress him under the form of the law)
induce me, from compassion to Mr M'Kid's family, to drop my suit against him on his paying the whole expences of the said suit, and placing at my disposal £200 sterling,—and having just now received your obligation as security for Mr M'Kid's performance of this, I cheerfully give this authority for dismissing the process. From the moderation with which I have acted towards your client in this affair, you will believe, I am sure, that I have no wish to distress Mrs M'Kid and her family and connections by any publication on the subject in the newspapers. At same time I have explained to you that such publication may happen in the course of the trial of the other participators in this affair without my being able to prevent it. —I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, PATRICK SELLAR.
—Addressed to Joseph Gordon, Esq. of Carrol, W.S.'
45327. I suppose you have no means of knowing from what source this £200 came ?
—I had better go on and read what Mr Gordon says in reply.
45328. The Chairman.
—You might answer that question a little more directly. Have you any means of doing so ?
—I have the means, but I should like to read the letter, because the insinuation is that my father found the money.
45329. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Oh no, nothing of the kind ?
—It looked very much like it.
45330. That supposition is quite wrong. I don't see how that possibly could be ?
—Well, the source from which the money came is mentioned in this letter.
45331. Your father said that Mr Gordon gave his obligation for it ?
45332. The Chairman.
—Can you not give it without reading the letter ?
—My recollection is not such that I can. I know there is mention of friends in Caithness and Mr Gordon. The letter is as follows:
—From Joseph Gordon, Esq. of Carrol, W.S., to Mr Sellar.
— Culmaily, September 22, 1877.
—Dear Sir, having just now received from you a letter authorising the dismissal of your suit presently depending before the Court of Session against Mr Robert M'Kid, sometime sheriff-substitute of Sutherland, now residing in Thurso, upon his paying the expense incurred by you in said process, and placing at your disposal the sum of £200, I oblige myself as surety for him that he shall fulfil these terms on or before the 12th day of November next, it being understood that in case Mr M'Kid may not have in his power to raise funds for the payment of the said sum of £200 sterling, you will take the acceptance of a respectable gentleman at three months as cash.
—I am, dear Sir, your most obedient servant, JOSEPH GORDON.
—Addressed to Patrick Sellar, Esq., Westfield, Culmaily.' That is all I know about it.
45333. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—He did not appear to have had it himself ?
—I don't think he had.
45334. Do you know what became of Mr M'Kid afterwards ?
—No; I endeavoured to find out, but I could not learn anything about him.
45335. Did he disappear altogether ?
—I wrote down to know what had become of him, but I could learn nothing whatever about him.
45336. Do you know that he afterwards filled some important office ?
— No, I do not. I asked, and could get no information. I did not wish, if there were any descendants left, to hurt their feelings any more than I could help.
45337. You stated that your father had no initiative—you dwelt upon that word—in the putting out of these people from their possession; and you stated that your father's papers, or most of them, had been destroyed; how do you say that he had no initiative ?
—Upon the evidence of what his duties were, he was not in a position to have the initiative; the commissioners had it.
45338. You think from the subsidiary position he held on the estate he could not have had the initiative ?
—Yes, I think I made that very clear.
45339. Will you answer me this? Is it not the case that over and over again most important procedings, some of them of a very violent nature indeed, to crofters and others, have been initiated by persons in such an inferior position as ground officer?
—I really don't know; I know nothing of it. I don't think a ground officer would be entitled to go and clear out a country side.
45340. You state that when your father took the farm on one side of Strathnaver it was convenient for himself to allow several people to remain there four years; why did he allow them to remain there four years ?
—I presume it was convenient to him.
45341. And convenient for them?
—I know nothing about that.
45342. Don't you take a little credit in the statement that he had the kindness and good feeling to allow them to remain to look about them ?
—I don't know how I should have expressed it, but I read to you what my father had written. What motive he had in allowing them to remain the four years I don't know. It was for his convenience, I presume, but the result was that it gave them four years.
45343. It was not that it had dawned upon him that he ought to do something for these poor people?
—How can I tell? How is it possible? How can I say what was in his mind seventy years ago ?
45344. While holding this office, whatever it might be, he took himself a farm in Strathnaver ?
—The farm on the upper part of the right bank.
45345. From which a number of people were put out ?
—Yes, for which he was tried.
45346. You read an extract from a letter from him to Mr Loch, in which he indicates the opinion that the inhabitants of these glens were in a state of misery ?
45347. Did he find these glens such a very wretched thing when he took them ?
—How can I tell what he found ? I was not alive in those days.
45348. But the localities which he has described in the letter as totally unsuitable for people to live in, he himself took ?
—I don't know whether it was these particular tenancies he referred to. He took the Strath from the Mallard to Dunsedan Burn, and he had the rest afterwards. But how can I tell what was in his mind?
45349. You mentioned in one of your statements that with regard to the burnings—and I am sure I have no particular wish to enter into the matter ?
—I wish you would.
45350. You mentioned two men who were supposed to be present ?
45351. Who knew something about the burning, but were not produced?
45352. Yon mentioned that the name of one of them was John Ross?
45353. You have stated that except the case of Chisholm there were no burnings?
—On my father's part —none, I am certain of it, on the evidence. I have looked at the evidence with a most critical eye, and I am certain my father burned no place except this house of Chisholm's. What happened in 1819 was another thing altogether, and my father was not factor then.
45354. May I ask your own opinion on the matter, Mr Sellar ?
—If you ask me my own opinion about the policy of making the clearances I shall most distinctly decline to give any opinion. It is not fair to me to ask me ; I have come here upon the question of whether my father was guilty of cruelties or not. I believe a good case could be made for these clearances, but those who are interested in them have not thought right to come and defend them, and it would be an impertinence on my part to give an opinion; it is their duty and not mine.
45355. The Chairman.
—You have stated that you decline to give any opinion; why should you go any farther ?
—I am entirely at your command. I ought to say, however, that my own personal opinion upon the question of compulsory clearances at the present day
45356. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Have you been at Ardtornish ?
—Yes, but not recently. I was there twelve months ago. I have been over the whole estate.
45357. Did you see the remains of a great number of houses?
—No. And I was there in 1840, and I have no recollection of seeing the signs of crofts recently cleared, and none of my brothers, nor any of the shepherds, have any recollection of them either; that is what made us believe up till recently that there were no tenants except Messrs M'Lauchlan.
45358. Have you the correspondence that took place at the time of that purchase ?
—I have mentioned that I have every kind of thing turned out for the purpose of trying to get it. My brother tells me the papers were all put in a barn, and some shepherd carelessly, thinking they were of no value, went and burned them, and they are not to be had. I merely have my father's books and nothing else. Then I went to the successors of his law agents here, and the only thing they could give was a receipt for documents handed over to the law agent for the purchaser. I have all these here, but they throw no light upon the matter.
45359. Your evidence is rather of a negative class about Acharn and Ardtornish?
—Pardon me, I say positively there is not a summons of removal at all; and with regard to the other things upon all the evidence I have been able to discover upon the place, and from the people, it would seem there were the six people I have referred to, who appear to have been sub-tenants of Messrs M'Lauchlan.
45360. The story that was told us at Loch Aline was that so many families ?
45361. That forty-eight families that were upon these estates prior to the purchase by your father were not there now, and were either summoned out or were forced out; is that true or is it not?
—Pardon me, that is not what they said; they said forty-eight summonses of removal had been taken out by the previous proprietor. I have the notes here. It was not forty-eight families removed, but forty-eight summonses taken out.
45362. Is what you question that there were forty-eight summonses, or removals ?
—I question both. I not only question it, I deny it.
45363. And you think the persons who gave that evidence were speaking quite at random ?
—Quite at random; they could not say there were forty-eight summonses of removal when there were none at all.
45364. Don't you think a person of the class of most of the delegates we had may have been confounding summonses of removal with notices to quit, or that kind of gentle pressure which is sometimes used ?
—I deny that the people were there. I don't know anything about the delegates. This man was one of the inferior servants on Mr Smith's estate, and I am told he left his employment last year.
45365. But is it not likely that he would confound summonses of removal with notices to quit ?
—The statement was contained in the written paper, and was to the effect that forty-eight summonses of removal were taken out.
45366. But there are no people there now?
—Yes, there are.
45367. How many?
—I don't know; I am not landlord. All the cottars who were on the place when I was there in 1840 remained until my father died in 1851.
45368. I think we were told that a number of people were employed, but they did not reside upon the property?
—I am speaking now of what to my own knowledge occurred, that these cottars who were on these
estates when I was there in 1840, and subsequently, never were removed while my father was there.
45369. Professor Mackinnon.
—At what date did your father purchase the estate?
—Acharn in 1838, and Ardtornish in 1844.
45370. The state of the evidence about tenants is something like this, that in 1825 there were six tenants, and now there is only inference that there were any tenants in 1838?
—I admit that from the evidence it appears they were there.
45371. In the other case, the documents themselves would show that our witness spoke rather wide ?
45372. Whether the six tenants were there or not?
—The six, I presume, were there.
45373. So far as the documents show it would appear they were sub-tenants of the large farmer; but there is no proof of the matter ?
—No positive proof; but I admit it.
45374. And I think you stated already you would prefer not to enter upon questions of policy ?
—Really it is no affair of mine.
45375. The Chairman.
—The only point upon which I want information—it is perhaps already known from published correspondence—is with reference to the fine or payment of £200 accepted by Mr Sellar from Mr M'Kid ?
45376. When you use the word 'damages' that would seem to imply that it was given in consequence of the sentence of a court of law?
—In lieu of damages may I say then ?
45377. Well, was that payment by Mr M'Kid to your father ever made ?
—I have no doubt it was paid. You may take it that it was paid. It is not relevant to the matter, but I have applied to my brother in the north for some information as to what my father did as an employer of labour, and I have a letter from him in regard to that which I hope you will permit me to hand in.
45378. You are perfectly at liberty to make any statement, written or verbal, for your brother ?
—The letter he sent me was as follows :
—Hartfield, Teem, KB., 13th October 1883.
—It is out of my power to extract from my father's books, as you ask me to do, the amounts which he spent in giving employment to work people in Sutherlandshire and in Morven in Argyllshire, from 1810, when he took Culmaily farm, till 1851, when he died; but the following statement will show how extensively he employed the people :
—At Culmaily and Morvich he had about twelve families, half of them cottars resident on the farm, and they were employed during the whole year. He had about twenty men and twelve women constantly employed during winter; in summer he employed about twenty-four men, twenty-four women, and sixteen boys and girls; in harvest he had about thirty men working on the farm, and seventy to eighty women. The married farm servants had a cow kept on the farm, and the cottars had a croft and a cow's grass rent free. In addition to this regular employment of people, some of whom resided on the farm, and some came from Rogart, he gave a great amount of work from time to time to the people of Rogart, chiefly in improving the farms, between the years 1810 and 1830. He got Culmaily, with 300 or 330 acres of arable land, in poor condition; he improved the land by trenching the hill and by drainage until he got it up to 470 acres, which he fenced with ten miles of excellent stone dykes. He diverted the Culmaily burn by a channel nearly a mile long, made farm roads, and built four cottages and a large steading, with meal and threshing mills. These works, if now executed, would cost probably £7000 to £8000. He got an advance of £1500 from the proprietors, but the rest of the money which he spent he provided. At Morvich he added about 170 acres to the farm by reclaiming land of which part had been under moss, and part had been under tide water before the ' mound' was made. He straightened the channel of the salmon river the Fleet for a considerable distance, and embanked it. The Morvich improvements, which he executed at his own charge, would now cost something like £3000. He limed both farms, and had them always in the highest cultivation. He employed in these reclamations chiefly his neighbours, the people of Rogart. Previously to 1810, the people of Rogart and Golspie had not had the opportunity of being trained to modern agriculture, or even to steady industry ; but when I came to take charge of the farms in 1841, I found them to be such steady, honest, and cheerful workers, that it was a pleasure to work with them. On the Strathnaver sheep farm, which was then much more extensive than it is now, he made great improvements entirely at his own expense. He surface-drained the whole of the land, built eight or nine shepherds' cottages, sheep fanks, and enclosed parks; round the parks he built stone dykes, which are still
good. These improvements represent labour that would not now be executed for less than £3000. He brought his leading drainers, dykers, and builders from among the people he had trained at Culmaily; and
these leading men, who did the work under contract, found their labourers partly in Rogart and partly in Farr. At the commencement of his arable farming in the parish of Golspie, at Culmaily, he brought his leading ploughmen from Morayshire, but in a short time the ploughmen came to be young Sutherland men. In the same way his first shepherds were chiefly selected in Roxburghshire, where they had been
trained to the management of the best Cheviot sheep. In a short time young Sutherland men were trained to be the shepherds. In 1838 he bought Acharn, in 1841 Clonlaid, and in 1844 Ardtornish. These estates in Morvern, Argyllshire, were all under sheep when he acquired them. The land had been under blackfaced sheep, but he converted the stock to Cheviots, and he brought his Sutherlandshire shepherds with him. He carried on improvements on his Argyllshire estates in his usual active manner until his death in 1851, and he gave a great deal of work to the people of the country. He brought his leading dykers, drainers, road makers, &c. at first with him from Rogart, when he went to live in Morvern, as well as his shepherds and ploughmen; the people of the country worked with them, and the labourers I found on the property in 1842 had become equal to those he had brought with him from Sutherland. He spent in actual improvement of the property, —apart from ordinary farm labour, between 1838 and 1851, the sum of £4840, 17s. 10d., of which upwards of four-fifths was for labour. This sum represents a much larger employment of labour than a like sum now expended would do, owing to the great advance in wages which has since taken place.
—P. P. CELLAR." '
45379. Professor Mackinnon.
—There were a great many removals in Morvern before your father had any property there, and since ?
—I don't know.
45380. So far as you know, you are not aware of his being personally concerned in any of these?
—None; there was no removal by him subsequent to his taking possession; abandonment of their tenancies by the Messrs M'Lachlan, and six sub-tenants, with the servants on the farm.