Scotland, Ireland and the Land Question

Andrew G. Newby

in Ireland, Radicalism, and the Scottish Highlands, c.1870-1912

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623754
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653645 | DOI:
Scotland, Ireland and the Land Question

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Malcolm MacNeill, a civil servant with considerable experience of the Scottish Highlands, was dispatched in 1886 by the Scottish Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to gather information on the mood of the crofters, and the reasons behind the ongoing land agitation. The subsequent report demonstrated the long-standing suspicion that a crofting community generally considered loyal, even docile, could only have been roused by external agitators, either ‘Irish’ or ‘socialistic’. Such involvement came to be taken for granted by contemporaries, but its precise nature was never truly resolved. The perception that the ‘Crofters' War’ was an assertion of a shared Celtic consciousness may have had some truth during the 1880s, chiefly because of the dominance of Irish home rule on the political agenda. In political terms, however, it was a short-lived and fractious conjunction, a temporary expedient nurtured by radicals aiming at a much more inclusive agitation throughout Britain and Ireland.

Keywords: crofters; Scotland; Irish; radicals; agitation; Crofters' War

Chapter.  4050 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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