Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, waves of tenant evictions swept through northern Scotland in what would become known as the Highland Clearances. Wealthy landlords, discovering hardy breeds of sheep that would flourish in the severe Highland climate, replaced populated farms and villages with higher-revenue sheep farms. The former tenants faced the choice of migrating to other parts of Scotland or emigrating to other countries. Stonemason Donald Macleod's collected writings provide one of the few existing chronicles of the Clearances from the perspective of one of the evicted tenants. The majority of contemporary reports of the Highland Clearances were composed by journalists or the parties who put the evictions into effect. Landowners did not maintain accurate numbers of evictions and the negative consequences that resulted. Villages were destroyed to discourage tenants from returning, often before they could remove themselves or their possessions, resulting in severe hardship and even death. Originally a series of newspaper articles grouped by topic and published over a period of many months, Macleod's writings have remained largely unread.
MacGowan edits and annotates the letters to present a chronological and powerful account of the tragedy.
DOUGLAS MACGOWAN is the author of numerous articles and one book on Scottish history, Murder in Victorian Scotland. He is a regular contributor to the magazine Celtic Heritage and has also written for The Highlander, Dalriada Journal, Garm Lu, U.S. Scots, and the Scottish Journal. A native of Chicago, he and his wife live in Redwood City, California.
Foreword Preface Introduction The Early Years: 1800-1811 The Years of Burning:1812-1814 The Trial of Patrick Sellar and Afterwards: 1815-1816 Further Clearances: 1818-1820 Life by the Sea and Problems with Livestock A Royal Visit, Clergymen, and Another Book: 1822 Lady Stafford's visits, the Debt, and a Return Home: 1827-1830 The Macleods are Cleared: 1831-1834 New Houses, New Titles, and a Memorial Statue: 1832-1834 Crop Failures and Attempts at Relief: 1836-1837 Further Taxes, Another Death, And Macleod's First Writings: 1838-1839 Macleod's Continued Writings and the Durness Riots: 1840-1841 Afterword Notes Bibliography Index