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The Social and Economic Condition of the Highlands of Scotland Since 1800

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.

Parish Minister of Kinloch-Rannoch.

PERTHSHIRE, 20th March, 1906.

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