Testimony of MacKay Clansfolk re Sutherland Cleareances

[Crest of clansfolk of Clan MacKay] Crest of Clansfolk of Clan MacKay
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The halls, where our ancestors first saw the light,
Now blackened in ruins they lie.
And the moss-covered cairns are all that remain
Of the once pleasant homes of MacKay.

Method of Recording: Testimony of Living Eye-Witnesses, 1883

Mr. John Mackay, C.R., Hereford, the well-known friend of the Highlanders, himself a native of Sutherlandshire, sends us the subjoined important documents. He writes in the following terms:

While at Bettyhill in August last [1883], during the sitting there of the Royal Commission, I had the pleasure of meeting several old men in the neighbourhood. On entering into the conversation with them, upon the subject of the Strathnaver Clearances, I found their recollection of them so vivid, and their relations so truthful - none of them would say anything more than he himself saw - that I thought it was worth something to have them taken down there and then.

But not having sufficient time at my disposal, and being informed that there were many more in the parish who had been eye-witnesses of those scenes, I got Mr. Angus Mackay, Divinity Student, Farr, to take down the evidence for me, and have it attested.

The statements, in all cases, were carefully taken down in Gaelic, translated into English, read to the declarant again in Gaelic and English in the presence of the witnesses who attest them, and who understood both languages.

The statements were then signed by the cross or name of each declarant in the presence of witnesses, who there and then attested each document on the date recorded upon it, in presence of the declarant. Mr. Mackay has since presented them to the Royal Commission as part of his evidence in Edinburgh.

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