Disturbance in Ross-Shire

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This article was published in the 8 April 1852 edition of the The Caledonia Mercury of Edinburgh, credited there to the Inverness Courier.

    DISTURBANCE IN ROSS-SHIRE --- An officer employed in the Barony of Coigach, on the west coast of Ross-shire, in issuing summonses of removal, in the name of the Marchioness and Marquis of Stafford, against some forty small tenants or so in that locality, having been laid hold of and deprived of the papers, Mr. Cameron, the Sheriff-Substitute, and Mr. MacKenzie, the Procurator-Fiscal, repaired to the district to invistigate the deforcement. On reaching their destination, the party were met, at two different points, by a considerable number of persons of both sexes, the front ranks being composed of women, and the men occupying the rear. While they were all perfectly civil to the Sheriff and Fiscal, they made the most unequivocal demonstration of a determination not to receive the notices from the officer, who had proceeded along the coast in company with Mr Scott in another boat, for the purpose of delivering them. Mr Scott afterwards joined the Sheriff's party. It was suggested to Mr Alex. Mackenzie to propose to withdraw the letter of renunciation of the lease, and he did so. Mr Scott acceded to the proposal, and the Messrs Mackenzie being then the tenants for another year, the service of the summonses became unnecessary, and no attempt to serve them was made. This arrangement was instantly communicated in Gaelic and English to the crowd. Some believed, and were satisfied ; but others doubted, and were distrustful ; and while the gentlemen were taking some refreshment preparatory to their return, took the summonses (now useless) out of Mr Scott's boat and burnt them ; and some scores of women dragged the boat up the face of a hill for about two hundred yards from the water, one man sitting in it, the whole cheering them on, and placed it high and dry in front of the inn! And there it had to be left ; and Mr Scott and his crew were carried back in Mr Mackenzie's boat with the Sheriff's party to Ullapool, where they arrived about midnight. The lawyers, we understand, say that there was no deforcement in law on the first occasion, the officer apprehending opposition having left his warrants at home ; but a report of the whole proceedings has been made to Crown counsel for their consideration and instructions. --- Inverness Courier.

There are many different reports of "the Coigach Insurrection", most differ on details, but all agreeing it was a major event in the history of the Highland Clearances, affecting history of the society beyond Coigach. Alexander Mackenzie, noted above as the Tacksman reluctantly forced to renew his lease had as partner another Ullapool Merchant, William Mackenzie, from genealogy I am pretty certain Alex's first wife, Jane, was a sister of William's father, see the file Mackenzie of Achiltibuie. The person aboard the boat carried up the beach was in other accounts noted as a woman, a "lady skipper".

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