Tag Archives: destitution

1999.134.4

Letter of 1847 from the Secretary of the Board of Fisheries

Transcription of a letter of 1847 from the Secretary of the Board of Fisheries to the Marquis of Lorne.

Courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Argyll

The failure of the potato crop in 1846 led to widespread food shortages in the Highlands and Islands. In an attempt to provide work for people suffering from destitution, the government decided to improve ‘certain creeks on the west coast of Scotland’.

The Board of Fisheries sent an inspection team to Tiree and neighbouring islands to examine the state of the fishing boats, lines and piers. They concluded a total of £2,199 was needed to develop the fishing industry on Tiree, Mull and Iona and that the Duke of Argyll should pay half the costs.

The Marquis of Lorne argued against this proposal with some justification as the estate had tried for many years to encourage islanders to combine crofting and fishing with little success. However, in 1847 the Duke agreed to pay £690 towards building four new piers at Balemartine, Hynish, Milton and at the Green in Kilmoluaig.

1999.134.5

Photocopied letter dated 18/1/1847 to the Marquis of Lorne from Mr Dick Lander, Secretary of the Board of Fisheries.

Letter dated 18/1/1847 to the Marquis of Lorne from Mr Dick Lander, Secretary of the Board of Fisheries, acknowledging receipt of £690 10/- being half the sum required to improve certain creeks on Tiree.

fisheries.jpg

1998.197.2

Photocopied letter dated 28/3/1847 from the Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod of Glasgow to Lord Lorne.

Letter dated 28/3/1847 from the Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod of Glasgow to Lord Lorne about the dreadful state of destitution and expressing disapproval of the channelling of relief funds through members of the Free Church.

1998.44.1

Township history for Baugh researched and written by Hector MacPhail.

Information about prominent people in Baugh – Dr Buchanan and the MacFarlane family – and about Port a` Mhulinn and the Poor House.

2001.2.3

Photocopied list of families in Tiree who received articles of clothing from Inverary, January 1847 (bundle 2528).

List of families in Tiree who received articles of clothing sent from Inverary, January 1847, giving township, heads of family, status (crofter, cottar, widow, etc), number in tack and description of articles received.

1999.11.3

Payments to emigrants from Tiree to Canada in August 1849

Transcription of a list of payments made to emigrants to Canada in August 1849.

Courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Argyll

In 1847, the second year of the potato famine, the Central Relief Board assumed overall control of the relief efforts of the Free Church and the Destitution Committees of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The following year inspectors were appointed to ensure that all recipients passed the ‘destitution test’.

No-one was eligible for relief until all their means were exhausted. Able-bodied labourers were excluded as were those who had a legal claim to subsistence from the Parish. Those considered fit enough were expected to labour outdoors on public works, the rest to spin, knit or make nets.

To ensure that only the truly destitute would accept relief, the meal ration was cut to one pound a day and paid for by the whole labour of the recipient. Such harsh conditions and the promise of assisted passages from the Estate persuaded a further 364 to emigrate from Tiree in 1849.

1997.49.1

Petition from Poor Persons in Tyree for Aid to Emigrate

Transcription of a petition for assistance to emigrate appended to ‘Crofts and Farms in the Hebrides’ by the 8th Duke of Argyll.

This petition was sent in 1851 to Sir John MacNeill, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for the Relief of the Poor in Scotland. Sir John was married to a daughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll, who appended the petition to his ‘Crofts and Farms in Hebrides’ addressed to the Napier Commission of 1883.

A hundred and thirty-six islanders signed the petition. Ninety-nine of them were landless cottars; the remainder were small tenants, of whom only four paid rent over £10 a year. They represented the class of islanders that the Duke was anxious to clear from his estate.

Around a third of the petitioners were given assistance to emigrate with their families on board the ‘Conrad’, ‘Birman’ and ‘Onyx’ in July 1851. Another twenty-seven families from the island left with them.