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EDINBURGH: MACPHERSON & SYME, PRINTERS,

12 South St David Street.

2

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 Sa 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 judgment are accurately accumulated, so as to be fittingly placed before the public. The object of the writer has been to pursue a middle, truthful course neither exaggerating nor extenuating social evils—but depicting with plainness, sincerity, and dispassionateness, the fearful facts which were presented to his perceptions. The upright, liberal administration of property is the true test of a nation's prosperity-for where men oppress the poor to increase their riches, there can be no soundness in the state of society--all is false and hollow-power has no permanence-and servitude has no valid inotives for subjection.

Some Miscellaneous Articles upon topics of enduring interest have been added to this collection, and it is hoped that their introduction will not be deemed obtrusive. To Scottish readers it will be hardly necessary to apologize for the insertion of Essays touching the theological repute of Chalmers, or the literary renown of Jeffrey.

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