Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/The distress in Skye

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The writer of a letter in the “Times” of December 2nd, dating from the Theological College at Wells, has thought fit to dispute the statements as to the distress existing in Skye which were made in a recent number of Once a Week.[1] To this the Editor can reply that the writer of the article had the information there quoted from the Minister of Sleat, and that on various other points he has a satisfactory answer to his critic’s objections. The author of the paper himself says, in reply to the writer:

“The valuable farms that he speaks of, belong to the lairds; those which I speak of are the crofts of the peasantry. It was of agricultural products that I spoke, as being the only things attempted, viz., oats and potatoes. Of course the sheep and cattle of the great graziers are not destroyed by the rains; as for the failure of the oats and potatoes, look at Mr. Forbes’ letter; as for the price of fish, the people have not money wherewith to buy. As for the peat, all accounts agree that there is this year a double stock throughout Ireland, from the drying of two years’ stock; from the north of Ireland a freight would cost little. Let people judge, however, how to supply the fuel, but it must be sent. The narrowest part of the strip of stormy sea is one mile broad; at this season so stormy that for many days together the ferry cannot be crossed. The south-east part of the island is the agricultural part—in which lies Sleat; I need not say that the most distressed portions are those where the land lies lowest, and where the peasantry chiefly live, from their dependence on the fishery.”

Such are the chief points of the letter in the “Times,” to which our contributor thinks it necessary to make this cursory answer.—Ed. O. a W.


  1. See pp. 625—6.