MACKENZIE'S History of the
Highland Clearances, lvi with its thrilling and almost incredible
narratives of oppression and eviction, has been for a long time out of
print. In view of the current movement, described by Mr. Asquith as an
"organised campaign against the present system of land tenure," it has
occurred to the holder of the copyright, Mr. Eneas Mackay, publisher,
Stirling, that, at the present juncture, a re-issue might be expediently
prepared. He recognised that the story of the great upheaval which,
early in the nineteenth century, took place among the Highland crofters
would be of undoubted interest and utility to those who follow the
efforts now put forth to settle the land question in Scotland. At his
request I readily undertook the task of re-editing.
The circumstances, or
points of view, having changed in no slight measure since the first
appearance of the work, I decided to subject it to a pretty thorough
revision—to excise a large mass of irrelevant matter and to introduce
several fresh articles. Donald Macleod's "Gloomy Memories" are omitted
out of considerations for space, and because it is proposed to reprint
them shortly in a separate form. There is included, for the first time,
a vindication of the Sutherland Clearances by Mrs. Harriet Beecher
Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and another by Mr. James Loch,
principal factor on the Sutherland Estates during the time the removals
were carried out. There are also given graphic and realistic word
pictures of these evictions by the Rev. Donald Sage. The general
arrangement of the book has been altered to the extent of grouping
together the accounts relating to each particular county, and
descriptions are added of a number of Clearances which were not dealt
with in the first edition.
I have pleasure in
acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Ian Macpherson, M.P., and Dr. J: H.
Fullarton, London, for kindly looking over the proofs.
Special and very sincere
thanks are due to Mr. John Henderson, secretary of the National Library
Club, London, who manifested the kindest and liveliest interest in the
undertaking. Not only did he read the proofs with scrupulous care, but
he was ever ready to give advice and offer suggestions when cases of
doubt arose. To me, one of the most pleasant memories connected with the
labour of editing is the valuable assistance always so promptly and
cheerfully given by Mr. Henderson.
I greatly appreciate the
courtesy shown by Messrs. Daniel Ross & Co., Ltd., publishers, Wick, in
permitting extracts to be taken from Mr. Sage's Memorabilia Domestics.
Regarding the Publisher,
I may be permitted to mention that he rendered my task very easy by
providing, sometimes at considerable trouble and expense, all works of
reference which I considered would be of service in endeavouring to make
this History thoroughly accurate and reliable.