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In 1874 the Highlanders of Ross managed to stop an overseas grain shipment. In 1882 another famine came and the sheriff of Inverness-shire requested military aid. A Royal Inquiry Commission was set up in 1883 to investigate eviction claims. Crofters who spoke against certain landlords were evicted and the Highland Land Law Reform Association was born. In 1884 The London chapter of the organization introduced a bill suspending evictions and establishing fair rents and educational opportunities for Highlanders.

 While the bill was languishing, Highlanders protested landlords with the No Rent campaign. The government sent in the Marines. In Loch Dunvegan the marines read the Riot Act to the Highlanders. After eight months of stalemate the Crofter’s Act was passed in 1886 to provide rent and eviction control and Highlanders and landlords went to court. Angry Highlanders squatted on property and raided estates for deer. After a run in between the marines and the residents of Aignish The Local Government Act of 1889 set up county councils to address complaints. The Isle of Skye was cleared of its inhabitants by the county council. By 1902 the land was virtually emptied of people. In 1976 Crofters were finally allowed the opportunity to buy their own farms, but are not allowed to transfer them to their children. The landlords have kept the land and resources under the Feudal Tenure Bill
In no country in Europe are the rights of proprietors so well defined and so carefully protected – Sir John Sinclair

Of Scotland’s 19 million acres 88% of the land is privately owned with the other 12% owned by the forestry and agricultural commissions directed by the House of Lords. Most privately owned land in Scotland has not been exposed to sale for more than 100 years. At least 25% of estates over 1,000 acres have been held by the same families for more than 400 years. In the Highlands, more than 50% of private land has not been exposed since 1945 while 25% has not been exposed at any time in the 20th century. (4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 118, 119)

Many a thing have I seen in my own day and generation. Many a thing, O Mary Mother of the black sorrow! I have seen the townships swept, and the big holdings being made of them, the people being driven out of the countryside to the streets of Glasgow and to the wilds of Canada, such of them as did not die of hunger and plague and smallpox while going across the ocean. I have seen the women putting the children in the carts which were being sent from Benbecula and the Iochdar to Loch Boisdale, while their husbands lay bound in the pen and were weeping beside them, without power to give them a helping hand, though the women themselves were crying aloud and their little children wailing like to break their hearts. I have seen the big strong men, the champions of the countryside, the stalwarts of the world, being bound on Loch Boisdale quay and cast into the ship as would be done to a batch of horses or cattle in the boat, the bailiffs and the ground-officers and the constables and the policemen gathered behind them in pursuit of them. The God of life and He only knows all the loathsome work of men on that day – Catherine McPhee, North Uist © 1928

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© 2000. Christine O’Keeffe, Ver. 1.1. Friday, September 14, 2001