IN issuing from the press, at
this time, in book j form, his excellent essay on the Highlands and Western
Islands of Scotland, I am of opinion that Mr. Beaton is conferring a
distinct benefit on his countrymen. His little treatise is undoubtedly one
of the wisest and best ever written on the subject. The author of the essay
now lives in South Africa, where he discharges the duties of an important
and responsible situation; and it says a good deal for him that, in the
midst of all his toils and anxieties in that part of the world, he can still
find time to plan out schemes for the improvement of his dear old native
land, and for the amelioration of the material and social condition of its
inhabitants. Mr. Beaton is no mere theorist or day-dreamer. On the contrary,
as a successful engineer, with an extensive and varied experience, he knows
thoroughly what he is writing about; and he clearly demonstrates that the
suggestions he makes, if carried into effect, would not only be of present
benefit to the Highland people, but would actually pay, and in most cases be
a source of future enrichment to the nation at large. I am fully persuaded
that in his book Mr. Beaton gives voice to the demands of all reasonable and
common-sense people in our Highlands and Islands; and I trust that our
legislators will "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" his modest and
moderate proposals, which, I feel perfectly sure, will be helpful to them in
their deliberations on the subject.
On account of the great
distance between Johannesburg and Stirling, Mr. Beaton requested me to
revise the proofs of his volume, a task which I readily agreed to undertake;
and I accordingly endeavoured, so far as possible, to correct those small
errors in spelling which have such a tendency to creep into a printed book.
Of course, Mr. Beaton himself is to be held responsible for the final
revision of his work.
JOHN SINCLAIR, B.D.,
Parish Minister of Kinloch-Rannoch.
THE MANSE, KINLOCH-RANNOCH,
PERTHSHIRE, 20th March, 1906.