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So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the
sun : and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no com-
forter ; and on the side of their oppressors there was power ; but they had no
comforter.-ECCLES. iv. 1.

EDINBURGH:

JOHN MENZIES, 61 PRINCE'S STREET;

C. KEITH, 21 CHURCH STREET, INVERNESS.

M.D.CCCL.

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PREFACE.

The present publication owes its origin to a strong and general desire expressed throughout the Western Highlands and Islands, that there should be a cheap reprint, in a collective form, of the numerous Articles bearing on the social condition of the North of Scotland, which appeared from time to time in the Inverness Advertiser. Although the Articles in question were mainly written on the editorial spur of the moment, they were essentially the product of close local observation, and of deep after meditation—they are therefore entitled to a measure of confidence which cannot always be safely conceded to the speculations of newspaper essayists, whose range of personal enquiry is limited to their writing chamber. Before the author framed a sentence concerning Highland themes, he took an extensive survey of the state of the country--made himself familiarly acquainted with the actual condition of the people,and endeavoured to draw a clear line of distinction between causeless complaints and justly-alleged grievances. This was not the work of a day, for the discovery of truth is a painful and difficult process, where oppression frowns upon a crushed community. Oppressors disclaim or disguise their acts of despotism, and slaves deprecate disclosure ever while smarting under the sorest wrongs. At length, however, the real state of things becomes apparent to a patient investigator, and the materials for forming an impartial

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