Chapter

‘A Sort of Fenian Conclave in the Country’: The Development of a Highland 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623754.003.0010
‘A Sort of Fenian Conclave in the Country’: The Development of a Highland Land Question

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The ‘Crofters' War’ ultimately had its genesis in the post-Culloden reorganisation of Highland estates, the creation of crafting, and the large-scale clearance of people for sheep, most notoriously in Sutherlandshire. Large-scale social engineering, often leading to migration either abroad or to urban areas such as Glasgow or Dundee, continued throughout the nineteenth century. Thus, even prior to the famine, the Glencalvie evictions in Easter Ross had brought landlord-tenant relations in the Highlands back to public notice, and prompted some discussion of land reform. Significant Irish emigration to Scotland had commenced in the latter part of the eighteenth century, and work by McCaffrey and Mitchell has indicated that these immigrants played a much more significant role in the political life of Scotland, particularly in the Chartist and Reform movements, than had been previously recognised. This immigration allowed Irish political issues to assume a great importance in communities outwith Ireland itself, and the politicisation of the Irish in Britain was to be a major factor in the crofters' cause becoming a national issue in the 1880s.

Keywords: Crofters' War; Highland estates; social engineering; migration; land reform; Irish emigration; political life

Chapter.  9284 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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