The second of two open lectures by Professor Rod Edmond, a migrant New Zealander at the University of Kent.

On one side of his family his grandmother was born in 1849 at Ardmair, north of Ullapool.  I found Ardmair on GoogleMaps with some searching.  It’s an open grassy bay over the hills from Ullapool, a place to stop and camp.  Fourteen families lived there as crofters.  They emigrated at the end of December in 1853 to Tasmania.  Their last sermon was taken from the Book of Isaiah Chapter 11:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…

And it shall come to pass on that day,

That the Lord shall set his hand again

the second time to recover the remnant of his people that shall be left…

from the islands of the sea.

And he shall set up an ensign for the nations,

and gather together the dispersed of Judah

from the four corners of the earth.

Ullapool was a new town set up for the herring industry.  It had not been successful as the harvest stocks shifted to new waters.

On the other side of his family Charles Murray came from family of tenant farmers in Aberdeenshire to be a missionary on Ambrim Island in Vanuatu.  His history there was covered in the first lecture.  The Murray family lived on a tenant farm which has been owned by the Cumine family for 200 years.  The anniversary is coming up.  They farmed the land in the Hunger Years after the end of the Golden Summer of Scottish agriculture.  The tenancy agreement lasted for 19 years, meaning that what investment they put in the land could be lost at the end of that tenancy and returned to the land-owners.  Two generations, two tenancy cycles.  The third generation scattered around the world to Ambrim in the New Hebrides, and India, and Kalamazoo in America.  After 1884 other people took over the tenancy.

The McLeods were dispossessed by the Clearances.  The stories passed into oral history and biblical language.  They took on an emotional memory, stronger than the evictions of Ireland, that are still debated, still re-told.  The people tell their own stories, recording as much detail as they need.  In the literature Patrick Sellar, the factor of the Duke of Sutherland, is the agent for change.  How much were the people already dispossessed from their land in a religion and society where the inner Patrick Sellar evicts emotion and burns out love?  (A friend told me I should write that quote down, so it is not verbatim.)  They were driven out by people who thought morally, ecologically and economically they were doing the right thing.

For both the tenant farmers, and the crofters dispossessed by the Clearances,  the story they told was in their literature.  The historians in the audience got energetic about that.