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The History of the Highland Clearances
Notable Dicta - A Highland Sheriff


Mr. Robert Brown, Sheriff-Substitute of the Western District of Inverness-shire, in 1806, wrote a pamphlet of 120 pages, now very scarce, entitled, "Strictures and Remarks on the Earl of Selkirk's 'Observations on the Present State of the Highlands of Scotland.'" Sheriff Brown was a man of keen observation, and his work is a powerful argument against the forced depopulation of the country. Summing up the number who left from 1801 to 1803, he says "In the year 1801, a Mr. George Dennon, from Pictou, carried out two cargoes of emigrants from Fort William to Pictou, consisting of about seven hundred souls. A vessel sailed the same season from Isle Martin with about one hundred passengers, it is believed, for the same place. No more vessels sailed that year; but in 1802, eleven large ships sailed with emigrants to America. Of these, four were from Fort William, one from Knoydart, one from Isle Martin, one from Uist, one from Greenock. Five of these were bound for Canada, four for Pictou, and one for Cape Breton. The only remaining vessel, which took a cargo of people in Skye, sailed for Wilmington, in the United States. In the year 1803, exclusive of Lord Selkirk's transport, eleven cargoes of emigrants went from the North Highlands. Of these, four were from the Moray Firth, two from Ullapool, three from Stornoway, and two from Fort William. The whole of these cargoes were bound for the British settlements, and most of them were discharged at Pictou."

Soon after, several other vessels sailed from the North West Highlands with emigrants, the whole of whom were for the British Colonies. In addition to these, Lord Selkirk took out 250 from South Uist in 1802, and in 1803 he sent out to Prince Edward Island about 800 souls, in three different vessels, most of whom were from the Island of Skye, and the remainder from Ross-shire, North Argyll, the interior of the County of Inverness, and the Island of Uist. In 1804, 1805, and 1806, several cargoes of Highlanders left Mull, Skye, and other Western Islands, for Prince Edward Island and other North American Colonies. Altogether, not less than 10,000 souls left the West Highlands and Isles during the first six years of the present century, a fact which will now appear incredible.


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