The Scottish Crofters
The following is The Scottish Crofters by David Bennett King (published in Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1885):
It is hard to dispel the halo which poetry and romance have thrown about the Scottish Highlander and see him simply as he appears in every-day life. And indeed, all fiction aside, there is in his history and character much that is most admirable and noble. On many a terrible battle-field his courage has been unsurpassed. His brave and tireless struggle for existence where both climate and soil are unfriendly is equally worthy of respect. Then, too, his sterling honesty and independence in speech and action and his high moral and religious qualities combine to make him a valuable citizen.
Such considerations account in part for the interest which has been excited in England by the claims of the Scottish crofters. There are, however, other reasons why so much attention has of late been given to their complaints. Their poverty and hardships have long been known in England. The reports made by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by Sir John McNeil a few years later contain accounts of miserably small and unproductive holdings, of wretched hovels for dwellings, of lack of enterprise and interest in making improvements, of curtailment of pasture, of high rents and insecurity of tenure, very similar to those found on the pages of the report of the late Royal Commission. While in this interval the condition of the crofters has but slightly, if at all, improved, there has been a very considerable improvement in the condition of the middle and lower classes of the people in other parts of Scotland and in England. The masses of the people have better houses, better food and clothing, while with the development of the school system and the newspaper press general intelligence has greatly increased. The accounts of the poverty and wretchedness of the crofters now reach the public much more quickly and make a much deeper impression on all classes than they did forty years ago. While these small farmers are not numerous,--there are probably not more than four thousand families in need of relief,--many of their kinsmen elsewhere have acquired wealth and influence and have been able to plead their cause with good effect. In this country "The Scottish Land League" has issued in "The Cry of the Crofter" an eloquent plea for help to carry on the agitation to a successful issue.
Another reason for the increased attention that has lately been given to these claims is found in the rapidly-growing tendency to concede to the landlord fewer and fewer and to the tenant more and more rights in the land. The recent extension of the suffrage, giving votes to nearly two millions of agricultural and other laborers, leads politicians to go as far as possible in favoring new legislation in the interest of tenants and laborers. The crofters' case has therefore come to be of special interest as a part of the general land question which has of late received so much attention from the English press and Parliament, and which is pretty certain to be prominent for several years to come.
Those who are familiar only with the relations existing between landlord and tenant in this country are naturally surprised to find the crofter demanding that his landlord shall (1) give him the use of more land, (2) reduce his rent, (3) pay him on leaving his holding for all his improvements, and (4) not accept in his stead another tenant, even though the latter may be anxious to take the holding at a higher figure or turn him out for any other reason. In addition to all this, the crofters demand that the government shall advance them money to enable them to build suitable houses and improve and stock their farms. An American tenant who should make such demands would be considered insane. No such view of the crofters' claims, however, is taken in England and Scotland.
What, then, are the grounds upon which these extensive claims are based? Why should the crofter claim a right to have his holding enlarged and to have the land at a lower rent than some one else may be willing to pay? The reasons are to be found partly in his history, traditions, and circumstances, and partly in the present tendency of the legislation and discussions relating to the ownership and occupation of land.
Under the old clan system, to which the crofter is accustomed to trace his claims, the land was owned by the chief and clansmen in common, and allotments and reallotments were made from time to time to individual clansmen, each of whom had a right to some portion of the land, while the commons were very extensive. Rent or service was paid to the chief, who had more or less control over the clan lands and often possessed an estate in severalty, with many personal dependants. In many cases the power of the chief was great and tyrannical, and many of the clansmen were in a somewhat servile condition; but the more influential clansmen seem sometimes to have retained permanent possession of their allotments. Long ago sub-letting became common, and hard services were often exacted of the sub-tenants, whose lot was frequently a most unhappy one. The modern cottar, as well as the squatter, had his representative in the dependant of the chief, or clansman, or in the outlaw or vagrant member of another clan who came to build his rude cabin wherever he could find a sheltered and unoccupied spot. No doubt many of the sub-tenants, even where they held originally by base and uncertain services and at the will of their superior, came in time, like the English copyholder, to have a generally-recognized right to the permanent possession of their holdings, while custom tended to fix the character and quantity of their services. The population was not numerous, and it was probably not difficult for every man to secure a plot of land of some sort.
The crofters of to-day have lost for the most part the traditions of the drawbacks and hardships of this ancient system, with its oppressive services, to which many of their ancestors were subject, and have commonly retained only the tradition of the right which every clansman had to some portion of the clan lands. In 1745 the clan organizations were abolished and the chiefs transformed into landlords and invested
with the fee-simple of the land. But, while changes were gradually made on some estates in the direction of conformity to the English system, most of the old customary rights of the people continued to be recognized. The tenant was commonly allowed to occupy his holding from year to year without interruption. Money rent gradually took the place of service or rent in kind, but the amount exacted does not seem to have been often increased arbitrarily. The rights of common, which were often of great value, were respected.
The descendants and successors, however, of the old Scotch lairds did not always display the same regard for prescriptive rights and usages. In some cases the extravagance and bankruptcy of the old owners caused the titles to pass to Englishmen, while in others the inheritors of the estates were more and more inclined to insist upon their legal rights and to introduce in the management of their property rules similar to those in use in England. Early in the present century sheep-farming was found to be profitable, and many large areas of glen and mountain were cleared of the greater part of their population and converted into sheep-farms. Many of the mountainous parts of Scotland are of little use for agricultural purposes. Formerly the crofters used large tracts as summer pastures for their small herds of inferior stock. By and by the proprietors found that large droves of better breeds of sheep could be kept on these mountain-pastures. The crofters were too poor to undertake the management of the large sheep-farms into which it was apparently most profitable to divide these mountain-lands, and sheep-farmers from the south became the tenants. By introducing sheep-farming on a large scale the landlords were able, they claimed, to use hundreds of thousands of acres which before were of comparatively little value. The
large flocks of sheep could not, however, be kept without having the lower slopes of the mountains on which to winter. It was these slopes that the crofters commonly used for pasture, below which, in the straths and glens, were their holdings and dwellings. The ruins of cottages, or patches of green here and there where cottages stood, mark the sites of many little holdings from which the crofters and their families were turned out many years ago in order to make room for sheep-farms. The proprietors sometimes recognized the rights of these native tenants, and gave them new holdings in exchange for the old ones. The new crofts were often nearer the sea, where the land was less favorable for grazing and where the rights of common were less valuable, but the occupants had better opportunities for supplementing their incomes from the land by fishing and by gathering sea-weed for kelp, from which iodine was made. There were, however, great numbers who were not supplied with new
crofts, but turned away from their old homes and left to shift for themselves. Some of these, too poor to go elsewhere, built rude huts wherever they could find a convenient spot, and thus increased the ranks of the squatters. Others were allowed to share the already too small holdings of their more fortunate brethren, while others, again, found their way to the lowlands and cities of the south or to America. The traditions of the hardships and sufferings endured by some of these evicted crofters are still kept alive in the prosperous homes of their children and grandchildren on this side of the Atlantic. The process of clearing off the crofters went on for many years. In 1849 Hugh Miller, in trying to arouse public sentiment against it, declared that, "while the law is banishing its tens for terms of seven and fourteen years,--the penalty of deep-dyed crimes,--irresponsible and infatuated power is banishing its thousands for no crime whatever."
Lately, owing to foreign competition and the deterioration of the land that has been used for many years as sheep-pastures, sheep-farming has become much less profitable than formerly, and many large tenants have in consequence given up their farms. The enthusiasm for deer-hunting has, however, increased with the increase of wealth and leisure among Englishmen, and immense tracts, amounting altogether to nearly two millions of acres, have been turned into deer-forests, yielding, as a rule, a slightly higher rent than was paid by the crofters and sheep-farmers. Much of this land is either unfit for agricultural purposes or could not at present be cultivated with profit. Some of it, however, is fertile, or well suited for grazing, and greatly coveted by the crofters. The deer and other game often destroy or injure the crops of the adjoining holdings, and thus add to the troubles of the occupants and increase their indignation at the land's being used to raise sheep and "vermin" instead of men. Most Americans have had intimations of this feeling through the accounts of the hostility that has been shown to our countryman, Mr. Winans, whose deer-forest is said to cover two hundred square miles. While evictions are much less common than they were two or three generations ago, there has all along been a disposition on the part of the proprietors to enclose in their sheep-farms and deer-forests lands that were formerly tilled or used as commons by the crofters and cottars. In comparison with the crofter of to-day the sub-tenant of a hundred years ago had, as a rule, more land for tillage, a far wider range of pasture for his stock, and "greater freedom in regard to the natural produce of the river and moor."
Many of the crofters belong to families which have lived on the same holdings for generations. It is a common experience everywhere that long-continued use begets and fosters the feeling of ownership. This is especially true when, as in the crofter's case, there is so much in the history and traditions of the people and the property that tends to establish a right of possession. Besides, the crofter, or one of his ancestors, has in most cases built the house and made other improvements: sometimes he has reclaimed the land itself and changed a barren waste into a garden. The labor and money which he and his ancestors have expended in improving the place seem to him to give him an additional right to occupy it always. It is his holding and his home, the home of his fathers and of his family. While he may be unable toresist the power of his landlord, and may have no legal security for his rights and interests, he regards the curtailment of his privileges or the increase of his rent as unjust, and eviction as a terrible outrage. "The extermination of the Highlanders," says one of their kinsmen, "has been carried on for many years as systematically and persistently as that of the North-American Indians.... Who can withhold sympathy as whole families have turned to take a last look at the heavens red with their burning homes? The poor people shed no tears, for there was in their hearts that which stifled such signs of emotion: they were absorbed in despair. They were forced away from that which was dear to their hearts, and their patriotism was treated with contemptuous mockery.... There are various ways in which the crime of murder is perpetrated. There are killings which are effected by the unjust and cruel denying of lands to our fellow-creatures to enable them to obtain food and raiment."
The feeling of the crofters in regard to increase of rent and eviction is very similar to that of the Irish tenantry. Very recently Mr. Parnell uttered sentiments which both would accept as their own. "I trust," he said, "that when any individual feels disposed to violate the divine commandment by taking, under such circumstances, that which does not belong to him, he will feel within him the promptings of patriotism and religion, and that he will turn away from the temptation. Let him remember that he is doing a great injustice to his country and his class,--that though he may perhaps benefit materially for a while, yet that ill-gotten gains will not prosper." Where crofters have been evicted, or have had their privileges curtailed or their rent raised, they and their descendants do not soon forget the grievance. Claims have recently been made for lands which the crofters have not occupied for two or three generations.
The Scotch landlords are not, as a rule, cruel or unjust. On the contrary, some of them are exceedingly kind and generous to their tenants, and have spent large sums of money in making improvements which add greatly to the prosperity and comfort of those who live on their estates. Many of them recognize the right of their tenants to occupy their holdings without interruption so long as the rent is paid regularly. The natural tendency, however, to insist upon their legal rights and to make the most they can out of their estates has led to not a few cases of hardship and injustice. A few such instances in a community are talked over for years, and often seriously interfere with the contentment and industry of many families. The traditions and recollections of the many evictions which have occurred during this century have often caused the motives of the best landlords to be suspected and their most benevolent acts to be misunderstood by their tenants. The crofter system has been an extremely bad one in many respects. There cannot be much interest in making improvements where the tenant must build the houses, fences, stables, etc., but has no guarantee that he will not be turned out of his holding or have his rent so increased as practically to compel him to leave the place. The kindness and humanity of the landlords have in many instances mitigated the worst evils of the system; but, while human nature remains as it is, no matter how just and generous individual landlords may be, general prosperity and contentment are impossible under the present arrangements. The discontent and discouragement caused by the action of the less kind and considerate landlords and agents frequently extend to crofters who have no just grounds of complaint, and troubles and hardships resulting from idleness or improvidence or other causes are often attributed to the injustice of the laws or the cruelty of the landlords.
The poverty of the crofter often renders his condition deplorable. His holding and right of common have been curtailed by the landlord, or he has sub-divided them among his sons or kinsmen, until it would beimpossible for the produce of the soil to sustain the population, even if no rent whatever were charged. Some years ago he was able to increase
his income by gathering sea-weed for kelp; but latterly, since iodine can be obtained more cheaply from other sources, the demand for this product has ceased. In some places the fishing is valuable, enabling him to supply his family with food for a part of the year, and bringing him money besides. He is, however, often too poor to provide the necessary boats and nets, while in many places the absence of good harbors and landings is a most serious drawback to the fishing industry. Sometimes he supplements his income by spending a few months of the year in the low country and obtaining work there. In most cases, however, a large part of his income must be derived from the land. If there were plenty of employment to be had, the little holding would do very well as a garden, and the stock which he could keep on the common would add greatly to his comfort. As things now are, he must look chiefly to the land both for his subsistence and his rent, and, with an unfruitful soil and an unfriendly climate, he is often on the verge of want.
Still more wretched is the condition of the cottars and squatters. The latter are in some places numerous and have taken up considerable portions of land formerly used as common, thus interfering with the rights of the crofters. They appropriate land and possess and pasture stock, but pay no rent, obey no control, and scarcely recognize any authority. The dwellings of this class and of some of the poorer crofters are wretched in the extreme. A single apartment, with walls of stone and mud, a floor of clay, a thatched roof, no windows, no chimney, one low door furnishing an entrance for the occupants and a means of ventilation and of escape for the smoke which rolls up black and thick from the peat fire, furniture of the rudest imaginable sort, the inhabitants--the human beings, the cows, the pigs, the sheep, and the poultry--all crowded together in the miserable and filthy hut, make up a picture which the most romantic and poetic associations can hardly render pleasing to one accustomed to the comforts and refinements of modern civilization. Of course many of the crofters live in greater comfort, and some of the cottages are by no means unattractive. But the Royal Commissioners say that the crofter's habitation is usually "of a character that would imply physical and moral degradation in the eyes of those who do not know how much decency, courtesy, virtue, and even refinement survive amidst the sordid surroundings of a Highland hovel." An Englishman who, on seeing these "sordid surroundings," was disposed to compare the social and moral condition of the people to "the barbarism of Egypt," was told that if he would ask one of the crofters, in Gaelic or English, "What is the chief end of man?" he would soon see the difference.
With such a history, such traditions, grievances, conditions, and hardships, it is not strange that the crofter should be ready to join an agitation that promised a remedy. Some of his grievances and claims have been so similar to those of the Irish tenant that the legislation which followed the violent agitation in Ireland has led him to hope for relief-measures similar to those enacted for the Irish tenantry. The Irish Land Act of 1870 recognized the tenant's right to the permanent possession of his holding and to his improvements, by providing that on being turned out by his landlord he should have compensation for disturbance and for his improvements. It did not, however, secure him against the landlord's so increasing his rent as practically to appropriate his improvements and even force him to leave his holding without any compensation. The Land Act of 1881 secured his interests by establishing a court which should fix a fair rent, by giving him a right to compensation for disturbance and for his improvements, and by allowing him to sell his interests for the best price he can get for them. It also enabled him to borrow from the government, at a low rate of interest, three-fourths of the money necessary to purchase his landlord's interest in the holding. This legal recognition and guarantee of the Irish tenant's interests have led the crofter to hope that his claims, based on better grounds, may also be conceded.
The changes recently made in the land laws of England and Scotland, and the activity of the advocates of further and more radical changes, have increased this hope. Progressive English statesmen have long looked with disfavor upon entails and settlements, and there have been a number of enactments providing for cutting off entails and increasing the power of limited owners. The last and most important of these, the Settled Estates Act, passed in 1882, gives the tenant for life power to sell any portion of the estate except the family mansion, and thus thoroughly undermines the principle upon which primogeniture and entails are founded. Much land which has hitherto been so tied up that the limited owners were either unable or unwilling to develop it can now be sold and improved. New measures have been proposed to increase still further the power of limited owners and to make the sale and transfer of land easier and less expensive. Many able statesmen are advocates of these measures. Mr. Goschen in a recent speech at Edinburgh urged the need of a land-register by which transfers of land might be made almost as cheaply and easily as transfers of consols. By such an arrangement, it is held, many farmers of small capital will be enabled to buy their farms, and the land of the country will thus be dispersed among a much larger number of owners. There has also been a very marked tendency to enlarge the rights and the authority of the tenant farmer. The Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883 gives the tenant a right to compensation for temporary and, on certain conditions, for permanent improvements, and permits him in most cases, where he cannot have compensation, to remove fixtures or buildings which he has erected, contrary to the old doctrine
that whatever is fixed to the soil becomes the property of the landlord. The landlord's power to distrain for rent is greatly reduced: formerly he could distrain for six years' rent, now he can distrain only for the rent of one year, and he is required to give the tenant twelve instead of six months' notice to quit. The tenant is therefore more secure than formerly in the possession of his farm and in spending money and labor in making improvements that will render it more productive. Other changes are proposed, which will give him still more rights, greater freedom in the management of the farm, and additional encouragement to adopt the best methods of farming and invest his labor and money in improvements. Many of the land reformers advocate the adoption of measures similar to those that have been enacted for Ireland. It has for some time been one of the declared purposes of the Farmers' Alliance to secure a system of judicial rents for the tenant farmers of England. An important conference lately held at Aberdeen and participated in by
representatives of both the English and Scottish Farmers' Alliances adopted an outline of a land bill for England and Scotland, providing for the establishment of a land court, fixing fair rents, fuller compensation for improvements, and the free sale of the tenant's interests.
The wretched condition of the dwellings of the agricultural laborers in many parts of the country has attracted much attention, and plans for bettering their condition have frequently been urged. Lately the interest in the subject has increased, prominent statesmen on both sides having espoused the cause. In view of the political power which the recent extension of the suffrage has given to the agricultural laborers, there is a general expectation that a measure will shortly be enacted requiring the owner or occupier of the farm to give each laborer a plot
of ground "of a size that he and his family can cultivate without impairing his efficiency as a wage-earner," at a rent fixed by arbitration, and providing for a loan of money by the state for the erection of a proper dwelling. The provisions of the Irish Land Act and its amendment relating to laborers' cottages and allotments suggest the lines along which legislation for the improvement of laborers' dwellings in England and Scotland is likely to proceed.
Then there is the scheme for nationalizing the land, the state paying the present owners no compensation, or a very small amount, and assuming the chief functions now exercised by the landlords. No statesman has yet ventured to advocate this scheme, but it has called forth a great deal of discussion on the platform and in the newspapers and reviews, and has captivated most of those who are inclined to adopt socialistic theories of property. Mr. George himself has preached his favorite doctrine to the crofters, whose views of their own rights in the land have led them to look upon the plan with more favor than the English tenants. Others, too, who have plans to advocate for giving tenants and laborers greater rights have taken special pains to have their views presented to the crofters, since the claims of the latter against the landlords seem to rest upon so much stronger grounds than those of the English tenant.
The agitations for the reform of the land laws in Ireland and England, and the utterances of the advocates of the various plans for increasing the rights and privileges of the tenant, have led the crofters to dwell upon their grievances until they have become thoroughly aroused. They have in many cases refused to pay rent, have resisted eviction and driven away officers who attempted to serve writs, have offered violence to the persons or property of some of those who have ventured to take the crofts of evicted tenants, and in some instances have taken forcible possession of lands which they thought ought to be added to their crofts. The government found it necessary a short time ago to send gunboats with marines and extra police to some of the islands and districts to restore the authority of the law. The crofters and their friends are thoroughly organized, and seem likely to insist upon their claims with the persistency that is characteristic of their race. It is now generally conceded that some remedy must be provided for their grievances and hardships.
The remedy that has been most frequently suggested, the only one recommended by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by Sir John McNeil in 1852, is emigration. The crofting system, it has often been urged, belongs to a bygone age; it survives only because of its remoteness from the centres of civilization and the ruggedness of the country; the implements used by the crofters are of the most primitive sort, while their agricultural methods are "slovenly and unskilful to the last degree." It is impossible for these small farmers, with their crude implements and methods, to compete with the large farmers, who have better land and use the most improved implements and methods. Besides, many of the crofters are, and their ancestors for many generations have been, "truly laborers, living chiefly by the wages of labor, and holding crofts and lots for which they pay rents, not from the produce of the land, but from wages." If they cannot find employment within convenient distance of their present homes, the best and kindest thing for them is to help them to go where there is a good demand for labor and better opportunities for earning a decent livelihood. To encourage them to stay on their little crofts, where they are frequently on the verge of want, is unkind and very bad policy. One who has seen the wretched hovels in which some of these crofter families live, the small patches of unproductive land on which they try to subsist, the hardships which they sometimes suffer, and the lack of opportunities for bettering their condition in their native Highlands or islands, and who knows how much has been accomplished by the enterprise and energy of Highlanders in other parts of the world, can hardly help wishing that they might all be helped to emigrate to countries where their industry and economy would more certainly be rewarded, and where they would have a fairer prospect for success in the struggle for life and advancement. Many of them would undoubtedly be far better off if they could emigrate under favorable conditions. The descendants of many of those who were forced to leave their homes by "cruel and heartless Highland lairds," and who suffered terrible hardships in getting to this country and founding new homes, have now attained such wealth and influence as they could not possibly have acquired among their ancestral hills. The Royal Commissioners recommended that the state should aid those who may be willing to emigrate from certain islands and districts where the population is apparently too great for the means of subsistence.
The crofters are, however, strongly attached to their native hills and glens, and they claim that such laws can and ought to be enacted as will enable them to live in comfort where they are. The present, it is urged, is a particularly favorable time to establish prosperous small farmers in many parts of the Highlands where sheep-farming has proved a failure. The inhabitants of the coasts and islands are largely a seafaring people. There is quite as much Norse as Celtic blood in the veins of many of them, and the Norseman's love of the sea leads them naturally to fishing or navigation. The herring-fisheries, with liberal encouragement on the part of the government, might be made far more profitable to the fishermen and to the nation. Besides, the seafaring people of the Highlands and islands "constitute a natural basis for the naval defence of the country, a sort of defence which cannot be extemporized, and which in possible emergencies can hardly be overrated." At the present time they "contribute four thousand four hundred and thirty-one men to the Royal Naval Reserve,--a number equivalent to the crews of seven armored war-steamers of the first class." It is surely desirable to foster a population which has been a "nursery of good citizens and good workers for the whole empire," and of the best sailors and soldiers for the British navy and army. Public policy demands that every legitimate means be used to better the condition of the crofters and cottars, and to encourage them to remain in and develop the industries of their own country, instead of abandoning it to sheep and deer. Private interests must be made subordinate to the public good. Parliament may therefore interfere with the rights of landed property when the interests of the people and of the nation demand it, as they do in this case.
It was on some such grounds that the Royal Commissioners recommended that restrictions be placed upon the further extension of deer-forests, that the fishing interests should be aided by the government, that the proprietors should be required to restore to the crofters lands formerly used as common pastures, and to give them, under certain restrictions, the use of more land, enlarging their holdings, and that in certain cases they should be compelled to grant leases at rents fixed by arbitration, and to give compensation for improvements. The government is already helping the fishermen by constructing a new harbor and by improving means of communication and transportation, and proposes to greatly lighten taxation in the near future.
The bill which the late government introduced into Parliament does not undertake to provide for aid to those who may wish to emigrate, or for the compulsory restoration of common pasture, or for the enlargement of the holdings. It does, however, propose to lend money on favorable terms for stocking and improving enlarged or new holdings. As a convention of landlords which was held at Aberdeen last January, and which represented a large amount of land, resolved to increase the size of crofters' holdings as suitable opportunities offered and when the tenants could profitably occupy and stock the same, the demand for more land seems likely to be conceded in many cases without compulsory legislation. The bill defines a crofter to be a tenant from year to year of a holding of which the rent is less than fifty pounds a year, and which is situated in a crofting-parish. Every such crofter is to have security of tenure so long as he pays his rent and complies with certain other conditions; his rent is to be fixed by an official valuer or by arbitration, if he and his landlord cannot agree in regard to it; he is to have compensation, on quitting his holding, for all his improvements which are suitable for the holding; and his heirs may inherit his interests, although he may not sell or assign them. Such propositions seem radical and calculated to interfere greatly with proprietary rights and the freedom of contract. They are, however, but little more than statements of the customs that already exist on some of the best estates. Just as the government by the Irish Land Law Act (1881) took up the Ulster tenant-right customs, gave them the force of law, and extended them to all Ireland, it is proposed by this bill to give the sanction of law to those customary rights which the crofters claim to have inherited from former generations, and which have long been conceded by some of the landlords.
Such a measure of relief will not make all the crofters contented and prosperous. It will, however, give them security against being turned out of their homes and against excessively high rents, and will encourage them to spend their labor and money in improving their holdings. If some assistance could be given to those who may wish to emigrate from overcrowded districts, and if the government would make liberal advances of money to promote the fishing industry, the prospect that the discontent and destitution would disappear would be much better. The relief proposed will, however, be thankfully received by many of the crofters and their friends.