STATEMENT by the Rev. JAMES Ross, Free Church Minister, Bracadale, Skye.
FREE CHURCH MANSE, BRACADALE, DUNVEGAN, SKYE,
2nd June 1883.
I received by the last post your letter of the 26th ult. I cordially thank the Royal Commission for the privilege of being permitted to make a written statement, as I was unavoidably absent when the Royal Commission met here. I have nothing particular to say; I am comparatively a stranger in this place. I was ordained in this parish by the Free Kirk Presbytery of Skye and Uist in August 1877. Since then I found the people very quiet and agreeable, and on the whole well behaved. The crofters are in general very poor and in straightened circumstances compared to what their forefathers were. How this state of matters was brought about has been well stated by the delegates chosen to represent the parish before the Royal Commission, and I need not therefore refer to it again. But notwithstanding the reduced circumstances of the people they are in their own way very industrious, striving to make an honest livelihood in trying times. The children show great attachment to their parents, using all means in their power to supply their wants and to make them happy. The people are very fond of their native land. I believe they would not exchange their native hills and glens for any other place on the face of the habitable globe if they could remain at home. And when compelled to leave home, and when they And themselves home-sick in far off lands, the words of the Hebrew captives who said—
"By Babel's streams we sat and wept, When Zion we thought on," are still descriptive of their feelings. I trust, therefore, the Royal Commission will not countenance emigration, but that they will be the means of securing better and larger holdings for the poor crofters; for it is written, " In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince" (Prov. XIV. 28). Trusting that the mission of the Royal Commission to the Highlands and Islands will be productive of much good.