Appendix LXXII.

Appendix LXXII.


STATEMENT by John BARCLAY, Public Accountant, Inverness.

The Reay country, embracing the parishes of Tongue, Dumess, and Eddrachilles, having been acquired by the noble family of Sutherland by purchase from Lord Reay in 1830. I entered the service of that family the following year as accountant, & c, in the office of the Tongue division of the Sutherland estates, from which I retired, on my own solicitation, at Whitsunday 1865, after a service of thirty-five years. Besides the duties belonging to that office, I had to discharge those of Justice of Peace Clerk and Road Trustee, Treasurer and Clerk for the Reay district, as well as those of Actuary for the Tongue branch of the Sutherland Savings' Bank, and those also of
other offices for a very considerable portion of these thirty-five years. I was, in fact, a recluse, and to relieve the irksomencss of arduous toil I followed the bent of my mind for statistical information, in which I had peculiar opportunities as regards agricultural affairs, having had through my hands the accounts of some sixteen sheep and corn farms, and from having also had close and minute dealings with the general estate arrangements with the numerous small tenantry and others belonging to the district in which I was placed.

A portion of these statistical compilations of mine was submitted in 1849 to the late Mr Loch, senior; and this part, with a very considerable extension, was also submitted, in 1855, through a gentleman of position and eminence, to the late Duke of Sutherland and to Mr George Loch. Along with these documents there was also submitted a statement, which embodied averments having application not only to Sutherland, but also to the whole Highlands; and with regard to which His Grace the late Duke of Sutherland gave expression, in a letter to the gentleman I have referred to (14th November 1855), to his opinion of my first compilation, in the following terms:—

The next after that which took my letter to you brought the packet from London of Statistics. It appears to me to be a wonderful collection, which must have required most earnest desire to master the subject; a great sacrifice of time and close application of mind; extraordinary diligence and perseverance in an arduous work; and that I have very great reason to be grateful for it.'

Having been requested to come before this Commission here, I deem it now my duty, in the circumstances in which I have been placed, to lay that part of my labours having reference to the subject of this inquiry before your Lordship and the other members of this Royal Commission, in defence of the position I have taken, and in vindication of the interests of those other proprietors and people which I humbly conceive m y labours were then, as they are now, calculated to serve at the present juncture. This much here about myself and my work, which I have felt myself called on to narrate, as I am only known to one member of this Royal Commission.

In that statement referred to as having been submitted in 1855, I undertook to show from documents, and by living testimony, and from inspection of the grounds.

1. That the large sheep farm system did not produce a gradual improvement of the soil, but tended rather, in Sutherland, the opposite way; that from leaving almost all the operations to the work of nature, the fund of home industry was reduced to a minimum; and that, by locking up the more improvable parts from cultivation, the losses to the estate and to the people were manifold.

2. That about one-tenth of the productive acreage on His Grace's estates then occupied in permanent pasture was capable of profitable cultivation; that ground in cultivation, at a ratio of one acre in tillage to every nine in pasture, afforded nearly ten times as much home labour as when exclusively in pasture; that the union of culture with pasture farming increased the productive powers of both the cultivated and pasture lands vastly, supplying, what is otherwise not the case, a continuous and unstinted quantity of food to the stock throughout the year; and that by this combination results were obtainable of the highest benefit,—to the landlord and the tenant in enhanced rents and profits, and to the artizan and labourer in full home employment.

3. That, by breaking up the large farms into a gradation of sizes, the pressure upon the small tenants would be at once relaxed, by affording them extended means for improving the soil, and for obtaining labour at home to sustain their families—so much so, that the result would be a progressively increasing rental from the lands newly brought under cultivation, and also an increased rental, immediately, from the old cultivated lands then held by the small tenants, since they, under such a system, would (what they then could not) be in a position to pay a fair rent for their lands, out of the surplus value of produce, after the due maintenance of their families.

4. That under such a system of subdivision a great number of the labouring population, not directly engaged in agriculture, would be absorbed in the various trades and employments connected with, and contingent upon, farming operations; and that claimants for parochial relief would necessarily be greatly reduced, in point of numbers, from the higher level to which the general body of the community would be raised in their means for supporting themselves and their relatives.

5. That many of His Grace's small tenants had, under circumstances much less advantageous than those assumed in the system above suggested, doubled, and in some cases tripled, the value of their lots, by improvements, within the last twenty-five years; and that, as a general rule, the native people over His Grace's whole domains had, whenever any extra means came into their hands, thrown the greater part of it unreservedly into buildings and improvements of the soil.

6. That were His Grace to see it proper to adopt a well-considered system of division, the great body of his people would hail his resolve as one which would afford them the means for enabling them to work out a comfortable home for themselves and their families, with an increased revenue to His Grace; and that they would earnestly exert themselves until they had, as a general rule, accomplished their object; and that the fruits of such a system would be soon apparent to all, in the great benefits that would arise from it to His Grace and to his people, and to the country at large. And. as regards game, I now beg leave to add this further averment, which extended opportunities since I left His Grace's service have afforded me of being able to affirm—namely, that wherever cultivation and cover, particularly wooded cover, co-exist most extensively in the Highlands, there do game and deer most abound, both in numbers and variety, as well as in prolonged and easier opportunities for sport.

I take the following examples, among others, in the northern counties of which I am cognisant:—(1.) Dornoch, a sea-bounded parish on the north, east, and south, having the parishes of Creich and Rogart on the west. By running a, line from the Mound on the Little Ferry on the north, across to the boundary of the parish on the Meikle Ferry on the south, the portion which I have indicated will contain about 20,000 acres, about one-fourth of which is cultivated or in permanent pasture, under holdings ranging from two to 500 acres, but more than nineteen-twentieths of those holders are crofters and small tenantry located over this whole section; about another fourth is covered with planted wood, mostly from sixty to ten years' growth, intersecting the cultivated lands, and spreading over the whole extent; and the remaining half of 10,000 acres is heathery moorland, also interspersed with and adjacent to the cultivated grounds and woods. The population on this district is, or was not many years ago, nearly 3000, one-half of whom may be in Dornoch and the fishing village of Embo, and the remainder of about 1500 reside on their landward holdings. On these grounds are to be found red deer, roe, and fallow deer, grouse, black-game, woodcock, snipe, pheasants, and partridge; also duck, wood pigeon, and hares and rabbits in abundance. In the estuaries of the adjoining ferries are seal and a variety of sea-fowl. In every portion of these grounds red deer are to be found in, and on the margins of, the woods to within less than a mile of Dornoch, and along the ferry sides and the public roads.

(2.) Abernethy in Strathspey—an inland parish with extensive cultivation, and planted wood and moorland, with a resident farming population also widely spread. In an hour's drive in the close neighbourhood of the village of Nethy, I, along with another, have lately seen in the woods there two small herds of red deer rising from their lairs within eighty yards of where we were passing, and they scarcely seemed to heed our intrusion, as they did not leave the place where they lay; and

(3.) Other districts are known to me where, with cultivation and cover, game is equally abundant,—such as Golspie in Sutherland, and the parishes of Banff and Boyndie on the estates of the Earls of Fife and Seafield.
Observation and experience over a period of sixty years convince me that the presence of deer and game on lands having cultivation and cover is quite compatible, under proper regulation, with the presence of a numerous agricultural population, and that wastes and solitudes do not furnish the same sporting advantages, either as regards numbers, variety, access, or pportunity.
I now proceed to lay before you the documentary and other evidence having reference to the several points alluded to in the foregoing statement by me.

1st. General principle.
From Mr Sanderson's fof 15 Manchester Buildings, Westminster),
Letter to the Times, dated 25th September 1865.

All barley and root-producing and sheep-carrying soils yield more value under a regular tillage course than they would under grass, therefore the extension of grass on such soils is not desirable.

As a rule in farming, however, it is unprofitable to adhere to one description of produce whatever it is; and the most successful farming is that which yields the greatest variety—corn, beef, mutton, and wool.

2nd. Advantages of mixed farming
Extract from the General Observations on the County of Roxburgh in the Statistical Account of Scotland, in 1841.

It is a remarkable fact, that on a farm, we will suppose, of 1800 acres, which towards the close of the last century was devoted almost entirely to sheep pasture, there may be now from 500 to 600 acres in regular rotation of crops, while the number of sheep kept upon the farm has been in no degree diminished, and these are kept and fed in a far superior manner. The number of sheep at the close of last century, compared with that at the present time in the finest district of the country, the same gentleman whom I have quoted above, calculates as about 3 to 4; and the weight in the present time cannot be taken, he thinks, at much less than double that of the former period.

It would thus appear from this extract that mixed, as compared with pasture farming, produced nearly eight times as much weight in mutton, and, doubtless, correspondingly in wool, though no reference is made to that article, besides all the com and cattle produced on the cultivated portion of the farm.
3rd. Small or crofter farming as compared with large pastoral farming.

Valuation of the portion of the Parish of Reay in Caithness, furnished by Mr Millar, valuation clerk.

No
Proprietor
Periods


Remarks


1814
1830
1855-56

1
Sir John Gordon Sinclair
£1250
£1294 12s 8d
£1325 4s
Chiefly if not wholly pasture
2
Captain Macdonald
£762 7s
£869 13s 4d
£1152 4s
Partly pasture and partly improved
3
The Crown
£70
£94
£150
Chiefly if not wholly pasture
4
James Sinclair of Forss
£209
£404
£634 5s
Improved by crofting and otherwise, rental tripled in 40 years
Percentage increase on rental of pasture farming as on No. 1, for Period from 1814 to 1855,—6.
Do. do. on crofter and arable do. as on No. 4, for do., 203.

In comparing the advance in values between 1814 and 1855—6, on the Forss estate, above noted, it has to be kept in view that the rent of land was at the former period proportionally higher than it was in 1855, and that, were the means in existence for drawing out a fair comparison, the percentage increase would show a still larger amount than is here stated; and in such cases as those on Forss, where land has been reclaimed and houses built principally at the tenant's own expense, the increase to the landlord is still farther enhanced, by having saved this outlay which he would have made, besides the additional gain to the property from increased employment and greater comfort to the labouring classes, and consequent decrease of claims for parochial relief.

Sir John Gordon Sinclair's property (being No. 1 in preceding Table), or the greater part of it, which was formerly in pasture, was subdivided about 1857, and the rise on its rental in consequence was, on entry, nearly 100 per cent; and at the end of the then current leases, which were granted on improving conditions, another great increase will doubtless have occurred. I believe this estate is still under the management of Mr Tait, the gentleman who so
ably arranged the first subdivision.

4th. Extent and rent of Sutherland crofters and small tenantry holdings &c.

Extract from Mr James M'Donald's Report of the Agriculture of the County of Sutherland in 1880.
According to the returns collected by the Highland and Agricultural Society in 1833, there were at that time in the county of Sutherland 2580 crofters. . . . The total extent of bill and arable land held by these 2580 crofters was estimated at 106,864 acres, of which 10,276¾ was given as
arable. . . . Crofters pay from 15s. to 20s. of rent per arable acre, including hill grazings.

These 10,276¾ arable acres in 1853, which Mr M'Donald refers to, are now increased by perhaps fully 700 acres within the last 30 years, making an estimated total now of 11,000 acres or thereby, or fully one acre cultivated to nine in pasture, which, at the mean of the above quoted rates, give a rent of 17s. 6d. per acre, or a total rental of £9625; and which amount, divided over the total acreage of 106,864 occupied by the small tenantry, yields an average rent for cultivated and pasture lands of fully 1s. 9½d. per acre. This corresponds to within 2½ d. per acre with my estimate of mixed farming rents made in 1855, and presented in a table following, setting aside the value saved by the personal outlays of the small tenantry in buildings and other improvements. These buildings and improvements have been so very considerable within the last sixty years as in many cases to exceed the purchase price, on their first entry by the tenants, of the lands occupied by them; and would, it is believed, amount to such a sum as, if capitalised, would yield an annual rent exceeding very considerably £5000 ; making, at that amount, when added to the rental above noted, a total nearly approaching £15,000, or a sum equivalent to the rental paid for the whole of the sheep grounds on the Sutherland estates at the tune I gave in my statement in 1855. Thus it would appear that the small tenantry on the Sutherland estates are yielding an amount for about one-tenth of His Grace's lands—lands not considered
equal in quality to his other pastoral acres—corresponding very closely to the whole pastoral farmers' rents in 1855 for the other nine-tenths of nearly one million of acres, or fully more than one-half the whole rents now paid by the pastoral farmers!

This result, taking every circumstance into account, exhibits an effort by a people that I humbly believe has no parallel in the agricultural annals of Scotland.

The table now following (and which was also submitted along with my statement, already referred to) formulates the gross raw produce per acre of Sutherland grounds under pastoral and mixed farming. It exhibits, to the best of my judgment, a correct estimate of income and expense at the rates current in 1855, and of the approximate amounts, divided into expenses,
tenants' profits, and rent, under the two several modes of farming. The changes on these rates at the present tune are—on mutton produce, a very great increase, and wool being very considerable on an average of years, although much the same now as prices were for that commodity in 1855, and on outlay a very large increase also, particularly on wintering, which is now fully 150 per cent, more than prior to 1850; but this table may be taken, in its results of surplus for tenants' profit and for rent, as not being greatly different from those of recent years. Premising further that the produce for pastoral farming is stated full, while that for the cultivated portion of mixed farming, on the other hand, is set down at a low rate, purposely to obviate any charge that I had magnified the latter at the expense of pastoral farming.

ESTIMATED ANNUAL VALUE OF RAW PRODUCE FROM EACH IMPERIAL ACRE OF HIGHLAND SHEEP GROUNDS, HlLL AND DALE COMBINED.

Under two modes of management, as in 1855.

N.B.—Seven acres hill and dale, of hill grounds, are required for each stock sheep, and each produces 14s., that is equal to 2s. per acre, or for nine acres, . . . . . .£0 18 0
And an acre under cultivation produces, on an average, . . 3 10 0
Together, . . . . £4 8 0
or equal to 8s. 9 ½d. for each of ten acres under System No. II. below.

Divisions
I. Under sheep farming at present
II. Under mixed farming with one acre in ten under tillage
Remarks
I. Expenses



1. Circulating at home, in wages, clipping and smearing &c
£0, 0s, 3d
£0, 3s 0d
These outlays under system II would afford permanent home labour to the people, not taking into account the great first outlay in reclaiming the land and furnishing the necessary roads, farm buildings &c
2. Circulating abroad or beyond the locality in shepherds’ meal, smearing materials, turnip wintering, herdings at turnips, travelling expenses &c
£0, 0s, 4d
£0, 0s 9½d

3. Consumed by the shepherds’ horses &c on the farm
£0, 0s, ½d
£0, 1s, 0d

Total expenses
£0, 0s, 7½d
£0, 4s, 9½d

II. Tenants profit
£0, 0s, 11½d
£0, 2s, 0d
Greatly more capital is required by the farmer under system II, and the 2s. per acre is estimated to yield him 15 percent thereon.
III. For rent and taxes (Road money and school salary)
£0, 0s, 5d
£0, 2s, 0d
The portion for rent under No II (mixed farming) is nearly five fold that for No 1 or pastoral farming
Raw produce per acre
£0, 2s, 0d
£0, 8s 9 ½d


NOTE.—The values both of sheep and wool have risen very considerably since this estimate was first prepared, as have also the outlays, particularly those for wintering,which have risen fully 150 per cent.

It will have been seen from the evidence already submitted to this Royal Commission that mixed farming in other parts of the Highlands gives even a higher rent per acre than the 2s. stated by me in this table. His Grace of Sutherland's small tenantry rents would exceed that amount very greatly were the value of their improvements taken into account, and full effect given to the
value of the grounds occupied by them on the old Sutherland estates, as these generally are very moderately rented, or were so when I knew them in 1865; but the Reay country proper and the Bighouse estate then paid considerably higher, although the former—that is, the Reay country—on its acquisition by the Sutherland family, got an average permanent reduction of 17½ per cent., some receiving 80 and others 10 on the hundred pounds. It will also be found that in those districts in Sutherland where least change had taken place in the way of removals prior to 1820, there the rental is much higher, as, for example, Dornoch, where every acre, cultivated and moorland, yields a yearly rent of 3s. 6d., while its value per acre for game and angling may be about 9d. In short, taking the capitalised value of the tenantry improvements on this parish, they are paying a rent very close on the feu rents obtained by M r M'Kay for his lands at Rosehall, namely, 5s. per acre, or a sum for three years' amount, of 15s., that would meet the purchase price of the Sutherland sheep lands at the now stated rents of 6d. or 7d. per acre.

And so of Creich and Rogart.
The total acreage of Sutherlandshire is estimated at, on a base line . . . . . . . . 1,300,000
but with inequalities of surface it is calculated to be fully one-sixth more, or about 1½ millions.
And after making an allowance for bare mountain tops and other totally unproductive acres in lochs, foreshores, and roads of, say 200,000
there remains of productive land . . . . . 1,100,000 acres.
Whereof I have estimated there are from 100,000 to 110,000 capable of profitable cultivation ; and of this extent about 31,000 is already cultivated, so that there would appear to remain somewhat over 70,000 acres still to be reclaimed. Mr Macdonald states the whole acreage, cultivated and reclaimable, to be about 48,300, leaving, in this way, only about 17,000 to reclaim. A statement such as this, I humbly think, could not have come but from one who had not taken a full survey of the county. For by taking the district, beginning at Loch Erribol on the west, and coastways to Baligill on the east boundary of Farr, and proceeding southward to the Kyle of Sutherland, on lines running parallel from those points, this great central belt, embracing the parishes of Tongue, Farr, and Lairg, with a small portion of Creich, I estimate as containing more than twice the number of acres Mr Macdonald has stated—that is 40,000 acres at least—for this area embraces the great Shin basin, which contains within its mountain ranges, and rising from its loch sides at an elevation of 270 to 600 feet landward, an extent of reclaimable land, with that already under cultivation, capable, under an ordinary fiveshift course, of wintering the whole hog-sheep on the Sutherland sheep farms usually sent to other grounds for that purpose. Mr Macdonald, as already said, has stated the total reclaimable acres at 48,300. Fullerton, in his Geographical Dictionary of Scotland, has made them 150,000, and I, in my original statement, as being from 100,000 to 110,000.

That estimate was made by me after using the best information I could obtain, and with a desire not to overstate the extent. Further, that number did not embrace an acre at an elevation above 600 feet from the sea-level—that is a height not more than half as high as are cultivated lands in the districts of Braemar and Kingussie, where arable farming is carried on at heights of 1200 feet.

The area of the northern counties, with Shetland and Orkney included—that is from Shetland to Argyle, is stated to be about 11,381,646 acres, And that of the eastern counties having Highland districts, that is Aberdeen, Banff. Moray, and Nairn, is also stated to be . . . . . 2,177,344 „
Together, . . 13,558,990

And the extent under cultivation in these districts, about ten years ago was about 1,800,000
Leaving thus in their natural state . . . 11,758,990 or nearly 12,000,000 acres.

I have estimated that at least one-twelfth, or 1,000,000 acres, are capable of profitable reclamation ; and that while some counties may have about one-half, such as Caithness, and others 1 in 10 and 1 in 25 acres so capable, still, it may be pretty safely stated that the Sutherland average of 1 in 10 acres can, over all, be reclaimed.

A Sutherland small or crofter farm, leased upon the system I have tabulated, and having half a mile in extent, or 320 acres, in pasture and cultivation, would stand somewhat like this in its annual returns :—
I. When first taken up out of pasture lands of average quality produce:

4 acres of old cultivated land (produce of which large) at £5 = £20 0 0
316 acres in pasture, carrying 45 sheep at return from each, after loss, of 10s = £22 10 0
320 acres.

Poultry (kept in commonbarn door way), . . . £4 10 0
Good, from having free house, peat fuel, and garden and water, but which would be payable in a town, . . £16 0 0
Total raw produce, being 4s. per acre, . £63 0 0

Outlay—
Rent and landlord's taxes for cultivated land, 4 acres at 16s. £3 4 0
316 acres at sheep farm average rate of 6d. per acre £ 7 16 0
TOTAL £11 0 0

Balance in money and good for family maintenance, outlays of farm, and interest of capital, . . . . .€52 0 0

II. When improved to the extent of 1 acre in 10 of same quality as No I.

Produce
32 acres cultivated land at £3, 10s., . . . £112 0 0
288 acres in pasture, carrying 50 sheep at return from each, after loss, of 11s.6d.. . . . £28 15 0
320 acres.

Poultry (kept in ordinary barn door way), . . £6 5 0
Good, from having free house, peat fuel, and garden and water, but which would have to be paid for in town, . £16 0 0
Total raw produce, being 10s. 2½ d, per acre, . £163 0 0

Outlay —
Rent and landlord's taxes for cultivated land,
32 acres at 16s, . . . . £25 12 0
288 acres at 6d, as above, . . £7 4 0
TOTAL £32 16 0

Balance in money and good, for family maintenance, outlays of farm, and interest of capital , . . £130 4 0

Croft No. I. would thus leave the tenant in money and money's value £1,
and No. II. would leave fully £2, 10s. per week.
In the foregoing estimate of produce from a crofter's holding, I have set down the portion earned from poultry as is now ordinarily obtained, but far better returns can be got by more systematic husbanding. In fact, these at first are incredibly great, until one deals with the matter with arithmetical closeness. Seeing this, and knowing something about these 'little folk,' I deem it right to lay before you the following facts:—That the tending of poultry is a domestic concern in which the child of four to the grandam of eighty years take a part; that the capital invested is only about one-twentieth of that required for sheep of equal producing capacity; that such stock by good management produces much more than any other live stock on the farm, and that a well-conducted henery could be made to produce largely in increasing the means of the crofter, and that the work of tending is family home work, and the extra saleable food, as com, &c, given this sort of stock yields a better and easier return than when sold off the croft. Further, that the people are already trained to the business ; that Orkney shipped to Leith, fifty years ago, ..62500 worth annually of eggs, and that very recently I saw a statement (which I regret it is not in my power to lay before you) showing a prodigious increase on the above amount for exported eggs last year from that place. Again, I have read that some eight years ago France sent annually to Britain upwards of six hundred millions of eggs, yielding some two millions of British money; and that, having ate French eggs, I can avouch that we of the north could send them to the English market larger, better, and fresher than those that come from France. Still further, it may be taken as within the mark to say that three hens fairly well tended will return as much profit as two sheep ; and that by the time the ewe lamb has come to have a lamb of her own a single hen will have laid as many eggs as, if hatched, would produce and reproduce, I shall say, to be on sure ground, 300 fowls ! This seemingly small affair has much in it in connection with the economy of small farming, and on that ground I respectfully submit my views for your consideration. Sutherland (and I take that county as an example for the whole Highlands) contains at least 1600 square miles of pasture lands presently under sheep;
divided into half-mile farms or crofts these would yield 3200 homes with 320 acres hill and dale attached to each. Highland families average as high in number as six; under such a division her vales and slopes are capable, as I have shown, of maintaining well and as comfortably, in a generation's time, as a high-waged artisan, a population of 19,200, depending all but solely on agriculture : that is a people more numerous than her present rural population who inhabit her borders, and that besides the various other families, from those of the learned professions down to the humblest son of toil, which the equipment of a well-conditioned agricultural community requires. I very humbly conceive that every deserving clansman and every son of the ' broad bonneted' m e n of Scotland has a claim to a position in his country such as I have been indicating, and that not for the purpose of subduing and improving her soil to be engrossed in larger possessions, but as a settled and permanent member of an order of workers in our State, which I firmly believe can, under proper light and encouragement, educe better results from their labours than can any other class of farmers in our land. The region of our Highlands, properly so called, has within its borders means for maintaining a population well nigh double the number of its present inhabitants; and class them as you best may, still I would, through the privilege I enjoy of addressing this Royal Commission, raise my humble voice for giving to that people a broad base in your agricultural grade.

Were I to speculate on the probability of the development of the agriculture in the Highlands in the direction I have been submitting to you in this paper, and of the concurrent progress in other departments having for their object the advancement of the best interests of the Highlands and the Islands of the North, I would count the cost in a rough general way as likely to be something approaching to the following sums:—
Reclamation of, and roads and buildings for, 1,000,000 acres, £30,000,000
Stocking, and agricultural schools, . . . £,500,000
£37,500,000
Planting 1 ½ to 2 millions acres, . . . ' . 7,500,000
Railways, and ferry roadways and bridges, . . 5,000,000
Coast and refuge harbours, lighthouses, cultivation of shellfish for bait, & c , in sea lochs, &c, . . £5,000.000
£55,000,000
distributed over the next thirty or forty years.

This does seem a very large sum, but I believe some single lines of railway in England have cost much more. Yet such a consummation as this outlay implies would place the whole Highlands in a position of advancement, such as some districts within its borders already enjoy—as, for example, the estates of Lord Cawdor, the Earl of Moray, Culloden, and Lord Lovat, and the other proprietors on both sides of Inverness, where cultivation and planting are extensive, and coasting harbours in close proximity to these lands, with railway communication passing through them. The afforesting of the large tracts of country would provide an additional source of labour permanently large, would give cover to deer and game, would give shelter and food to farming stock, would provide a supply of timber for house and boat-building and farming purposes, so as greatly to cheapen the outlays for all such works, as well as greatly add to the comforts and conveniences of all the inhabitants ; moreover, the clothing of our mountain sides and slopes with the verdure of our native pine, and with the larch, and with hard woods, would greatly add to the scenic splendour of the 'bleak majestic hills of this our northern region.

As to agricultural schools, and schools for teaching generally the everyday business of life in the Highlands, I have written urging their need now nearly forty years ago, and I partly succeeded in obtaining my object. Their want has been felt both south and north, and they are now in pretty general requisition.

The improvement and extension of the cultivation of the shell-fish in our sea-lochs on most of the eastern, northern, and western coasts is another very desirable work. I believe I hold the written opinion of a practical man who had visited almost every loch in the Highlands, that those fisheries could be greatly improved and extended, to the advantage of the proprietors and fishermen in particular, and to that of the community generally.

Harbours of refuge on both sides of the Moray Firth, at least, and coasting harbours, where not already built, are a felt want, as the Royal Commissioners, I believe, have been so often told during their present inquiry. The cry of the fishermen and of others interested fills the public ear at the present time. They are not only a local but a national want,—for did not the late Captain Samuel M'Donald state, some years ago, that from the West Highlands there were from among these fishermen then some eight or ten thousand naval volunteers; and is not the safety of the lives and the property of so many thousands of our fishermen and seamen a matter of national concern ?

But will all these immense outlays pay? Well, the works of reclamation, and of farming, afforesting, and railway extension are all calculated as being able to do this commercially; but there is beyond all that, I humbly conceive, a great national question. There is the developing of the natural resources of that country which has produced tribes and races peculiarly all its own from him with the ' Heaven-erected face,' to the mettled garron, and the Barclay shaggy, the yet unexcelled ox,—there is the counter-working of that revolution, which, through the deluding and inhuman cupidity of selfish men, drove into exile and poverty a brave, a loyal, and an unconquered people ; there is the reinstating in their homes the remnant of that same people, whose deeds of renown in war have been equalled, were they fully known, by their laborious toils in the arts of peace; and there is the ' turning of the eyes to the hills,' and the walking in the ways of that Divine economy in the subduing and replenishing of the earth—of the which their fathers, and they also, and the rustic fathers of all Scotland, have left so bright an example over the whole face of this our native land.

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