Page 36 - Gloomy Memories by Donald MacLeod Eyewitness to Highland Clearances
ISSUE : Issue 46
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1
from the rats and other vermin, by his faithful colly, his companion and protector George Munro, miller at Farr, residing within 400 yards of the minister's house, had his whole fam? ily, consisting of six or seven persons, lying in a fever; and being ordered instantly to remove, was enabled, with the assistance of his neighbours to carry them to a damp kiln, where they remained till the fire abated, so that they could be re? moved. Meantime the house was burnt. It may not be out of place here to mention generally, that the clergy, factors, and magistrates, were cool and ap? parently unconcerned spectators of the scenes I have been describing, which were indeed perpe? trated under their immediate authority. The splen? did and comfortable mansions of these gentlemen, were reddened with the glare of their neighbours flaming houses, without exciting any compassion for the sufferers; no spiritual, temporal, or med? ical aid was afforded them; and this time they were all driven away without being allowed the ben? efit of their outgoing crop. Nothing but the sword was wanting to make the scene one of as great bar? barity as the earth ever witnessed; and in my opin? ion, this would, in a majority of cases, have been mercy, by saving them from what they were after? wards doomed to endure. The clergy, indeed, in their sermons, maintained that the whole was a mer? ciful interposition of providence to bring them to repentance, rather than to send them all to hell, as they so richly deserved! used in erecting an Inn (one of the new improve? ments) there, and the minister's house converted into the dwelling of a fox-hunter. A woman, well known in that parish, happening to traverse the Strath the year after the burning, was asked on her return, what news? "Oh," said she, "Sgeul bronach, sgeul bronach! sad news, sad news! I have seen the timber of our well-attended kirk, covering the Inn at Altnaharrow; I have seen the kirk-yard, where our friends are mouldering, filled with tarry sheep, and Mr. Sage's study room, a kennel for Robert Gunn's dogs; and I have seen a crow's nest in James Gordon's chimney head!" On this she fell into a paroxysm of grief, and it was several days before she could utter a word to be understood. Donald MacLeod's letters were lished in 1841 in his HISTORY IN SUTHERLANDSHIRE. ' lathered and pub- )F THE DESTITUTION Donald MacLeod emigrated to Canada. In 1857 in Woodstock, Ontario, he published the first edTtion of GLOOMY MEMORIES IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND. This book was his response to Harriet Beecher Stowe's SUNNY MEMORIES OF FOREIGN LANDS • an i"ll- informed defence of the Sutherlandshire clearance policies. GLOOMY MEMORIES includes a reprinting of his letters from the 1841 book. Our thanks to Norman MacDonald, Sydney, for intro? ducing us to Donald MacLeod's writings. After a considerable interval of absence, I revis? ited my native place in the year 1828, and at? tended divine worship in the parish church, now re? duced to the size and appearance of a dove-cot. The whole congregation consisted of eight shep? herds, with their dogs, to the amount of between 20 and 30, the minister, three of his family, and myself! I came in after the first singing, but, at the conclusion, the 120th psalm was given out, and struck up to the famous tune, "Bangor"; when the four-footed hearers became excited, got up on the seats, and raised a most infernal chorus of howl? ing. Their masters then attacked them with their crooks, which only made matters worse; the yelping and howling continued till the end of the service. I retired, to contemplate the shameful scene, and compare it with what I had previously witnessed in the large and devout congregations formerly at? tending in that kirk. What must the worthy Mr. ' Campbell have felt while endeavouring to edify such a congregation! The Barony of Strathnaver, parish of Farr, 25 miles in length, containing a population as numerous as Kildonan, who had been all rooted out at the general conflagration, pre? sented a similar aspect. Here, the church no long? er found necessary, was razed to the ground, and the timber of it conveyed to Altnaharrow, to be jCj/nwood Located in a lovely 1870s home on a beautiful corner lot in the centre of Baddeck. We feature a fine selection of Nova Scotia art, Maritime handcrafts, British woolens, and books and music of local interest. We mail anyvrhere. Come in and visit our shop. Art • Antiques • Handcrafts • Woolens BADDECK OPEN daily may l to DEC. 24 295-2950 V?dne/ (36)1 FOR A REAL CAPE BRETON WELCOME TO CAPE BRETON - OLD SYDNEY PUB Finest Food and Beverages * Nightly Dancing * Fresh Seafoods * Everything We Serve Is Homemade * * A Comfortable Atmosphere for a Meal and a Good Time "'' Phone 539-3003 581 Grand Lake Road, Sydney '''H'"''' The Sydney-Glace Bay Highway, off Route 125
Cape Breton's Magazine