Glen Discovery in GlenLyon
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A Great Liberal Demonstration - Grantown on Spey March 1911

I am grateful to Mr Hugh Green (a descendant of Alexander Tulloch) for sending me the following newspaper extracts concerning a Liberal Party Meeting in Grantown on Spey in March 1911 which was addressed by Joseph MacLeod (my great-grandfather).

Alexander Tulloch was the founding owner and editor of the the Strathspey Herald (locally known as the 'Strathy'). Joseph and Alexander's father, Hugh, were good friends and political allies from West Helmsdale - but Alexander went his own way and became a prominent Tory!

A United Kingdom general election was held from 3 to 19 December 1910. The political context was the effort of the Liberal government to pass its 1910 budget, with higher taxes on the wealthy which had been blocked by the House of Lords. The Government called an election to get a mandate for the Parliament Act 1911, which would, thenceforward, prevent the House of Lords from permanently blocking legislation from the House of Commons.

Following the General Election, in January 1911, the Conservatives, led by Arthur Balfour with their Liberal Unionist allies, and the Liberals, led by H. H. Asquith, were deadlocked. The Conservatives had won the largest number of votes, but the Liberal Party under Asquith had taken more seats and were able to form a government with the support of the Irish Nationalists. The House of Lords finally gave way and the budget was passed.

This was the last election in which the Liberals won the highest number of seats in the House of Commons and, indeed, in which any party other than Labour or the Conservatives won the most seats. It was the last general election to be held over several days and the last to be held prior to the First World War.

Joseph MacLeod was the Liberal organiser for the Inverness Constituency. In March 1911 he organised this meeting in Grantown on Spey in support of the Parliament Act. The Conservative-supporting editor of the Strathspey Herald wrote sarcastic editorials.


There is to be a “Great Liberal Demonstration” tonight (Wednesday) in Grantown. These who attend it will be able to tell us afterwards what distinguishes a "demonstration,” and a great one at that, from an ordinary political meeting, which, it is announced, will be addressed by J. V. Haig, Esq., F. J. Robertson, Esq., " and others ” — their names or territorial designations are not given. We have reason to believe that one of the unidentified is Joseph Macleod, Esq., employed as a Liberal organiser in Inverness-shire. His special watchword is “Back to the Land.” Mr Macleod should impress it as earnestly as an official of the Inverness-shire Liberal Association can afford to do on the distiller member for the constituency, Sir John Dewar, who has a deer forest in Inverness-shire — your true Land Law reformer for the deer — and also on Sir A. Williamson, who has joined the happy, privileged fraternity of shooting tenants by a sub-let of North Caennacroc in the same excellent sporting county.

We are assured that J. C. Haig, Esq., Edinburgh, is "one of the most vigorous advocates of Free Trade.” Free Trade is certainly more popular in cultured, exclusive Edinburgh than in the industrial city of Liverpool, which, despite the presence and influence of Sir A. Williamson, has given an almost solid vote for Tariff Reform. F. J. Robertson, Esq., is a power among the “Young Scots” in Edinburgh, a Society which, Mr Gulland, M.P., considers — this was a joke, of, course — capable of furnishing the 500 dummy Peers requisite for the success of the Radical programme of Home Rule and Socialistic legislation. In his native town of Wick, Mr Robertson was easily the most confident and the most facile speaker in the local debating society and the Temperance Lodge. He has studied politics to such advantage that when Mr Robert Munro, M.P. for the Northern Burghs, was on the look-out for an election agent, his advisers promptly recommended Mr Robertson. He has spoken so often that, like Mr Haig and Mr Macleod, he feels quite at his ease at a “Great Liberal Demonstration.” The audience, we are sure, will be impressed. There is an advantage in having two trained political agents to assist J. C. Haig, Esq., with whose qualifications we are not so familiar, but it should be sufficient to know that he promised, to be as “vigorous” on Free Trade as Mr Macleod should be on the iniquity of the land laws in general and the policy of deer forests in particular, or as “vigorous” as Mr Robertson in championing the cause of the Edinburgh Young Scots.

From the point of view of the audience, it should be more satisfying to hear men who have specialised in platform oratory, who are almost “word-perfect,” and who could deliver the same speeches in Dulnain Bridge half-an-hour later with equal dexterity, than to be compelled to listen to men with less experience of political “campaigns.” Fortunate is the party having at their command scores of such organisers. We have the authority of Mr Lloyd George for the statement that the richest men in the House sit on the Liberal benches. But how much more gratifying would be this “Great Liberal Demonstration” if Sir Archibald were present. After all, he has not much in common with the three gentlemen addressing his constituents tonight. He is not “vigorous” on the land laws, and his conservatism does not appeal to the Young Scots. Sir Archibald will be glad, doubtless, to hear how his supporters have demonstrated in his absence. He will be grateful, too, that they never look for him except on the eve of an election. He is an important, busy man, whose time would be almost wasted at a village demonstration.


Scriptural Texts and Hereditary Politics.
Startling Disclosure by Mr Joseph Macleod.
“Song of the Milkmaid” and "Back to the Land.”

A diverting speech by Mr Joseph Macleod, Sir John Dewar’s Liberal organiser, was the feature of the meeting in the Institute on Wednesday evening of last week. The meeting was largely attended, many ladies and young men being among the audience. On the platform were the two speakers, Mr Haig, an official of the Free Trade Union; Mr Joseph Macleod, Liberal organiser in Inverness-shire; Bailie Grant, who presided; Mr Claude Wilson, Liberal organiser for Moray and Nairn, who had a gramophone with records of Mr Lloyd George’s speeches; Messrs George Harvey, J. S. Grant, James Kerr, A. Rimmington, D. Macpherson, A. Laing, Robert Cruickshank, and J. F. Westwood. Before the arrival of the speakers there were gramophone selections and a musical programme contributed by Mr Jeffries, Miss Nancy Grant, and Mr McKinnon.

The Chairman, alter explaining that Sir A. Williamson had not visited that part of the constituency at last election because he had been called away to assist some of his friends fighting rather stiff battles in other places, said they were proud to belong to the Liberal party when they thought of the great work it had done for the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. (Applause.)

They were proud of their great leader, Mr Asquith. (Applause.)

They were proud of their Cabinet. In all history they could not find a Cabinet with so many men of outstanding ability. Bills which had cost the House of Commons many months of laborious work were, if not absolutely rejected by the House of Lords, sent back so mangled and mutilated that even the farmers hardly recognised them. The House of Lords, in his opinion, was an antiquated relic of feudalism. (Applause.)

It was a standing disgrace to twentieth century, civilisation. Its gross partisanship offended their moral as well as political instincts, and the task of reducing it to its proper place of subordination in their free Constitution was one that appealed to every thoroughgoing Liberal within the House of Commons and out of it. What would many of their forefathers have given to have lived to see that day? Let them remember that the grand and glorious heritage they now possessed and enjoyed had come down to them as the fruits of their forefathers’ unceasing loyalty to the great Liberal cause. Let them see that in their day they would be found as faithful to it as their fathers were found in theirs. (Applause.)

A Free Trader.
Mr Haig took the audience into his confidence so far to tell them that for some time past he had been speaking in the backwoods of Surrey, where people were ready to swallow Tariff Reform fallacies. People in the north of Scotland reasoned and thought for themselves. They were not willing to believe that the foreigner pays the duties, or that they could create employment in this country by stopping their Foreign trade. For twenty-five years he had studied economical questions, and he had never known a time when the trade of this country was in such a satisfactory condition. He could almost imagine the time when even the Tariff Reformers would have to rejoice in the prosperity of their own country. (Laughter and applause.)

Last year our exports of British manufactured goods amounted to 340 millions sterling, and imports to 156 millions. Referring to the speech made by Mr Norris Mackay at a smoking concert in Grantown, Mr Haig said he would advise him to get a small handbook on elementary economy, and he would never make such a speech again. Mr Mackay had said it was a popular fallacy that this country had no tariff. Everybody knew they had certain tariffs, but the difference between our tariff and the tariff of other countries was that the proceeds of ours went to the revenue for great public objects, while under the Protectionist tariff the great bulk of the money went into private pockets. Free Traders did not say that our system of taxation was perfect, but they said it was ten times better than Protection — (applause) — and they would not be satisfied with their tariff until they had taken off the duties on the necessaries of life. The more they increased the food taxes — the keystone of the Tariff Reform policy — the more they increased the proportionate contribution of the poorer class. How much consolation would they derive from the fact that thereby they would be “broadening the basis of taxation?” Mr Haig then examined the proposal to tax the import of manufactured goods. He wished he could get the name and address of the obliging foreigner who paid the duties. He had never yet found an intelligent foreigner who believed that the foreigner paid them. Because the foreigners were foolish enough to allow their Governments to tax food and clothing we should follow suit seemed to him a most ludicrous form of logic. (Applause.)

Working men did not emigrate to America because it was a Protectionist country, but because there were free grants of land. They were not tied down as we were under a feudal system. They became proprietors of the lands they tilled. Having alluded to the Canadian farmers' protest against the tariff on implements, he said he could not understand why so many farmers in this country were blind to the practical effects of Protection. They stood to lose by it, not to gain.

The Unspeakable Landlord.
Could the Etheopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? He did not believe that the landlord was in anyway different now from what he was sixty years ago. If the duties were raised he would pocket the lot. He did it before when the people were starving, and he would do it again. Did they think that the Duke of Sutherland and the other landlords agitating for Tariff Reform were actuated by patriotism? No, they were doing it out of plunder. In a recent issue, the “Strathspey Herald” gave the names of nine persons found in the list of subscribers to the Free Trade Union. The insinuation was that the subscribers to the Union were mostly foreigners. He knew one or two of those men, and they had lived in this country probably a great deal longer than the proprietor of that paper. (Applause.)

It did not follow that because a man had a foreign-sounding name he was a foreigner. They were all foreigners if they went back far enough. And if a man with a German name lived in this country was he not to be permitted to work for its prosperity? He (the speaker) gave a categorical denial to Mr Mackay’s statement that unemployment was more general in this country than in the United States. (Applause.)

At the outset Mr Macleod congratulated the Liberal Association on their excellent organisation. That was proved by the fact that at last election they had had a walk-over, the Tories having realised the hopelessness of trying to win the seat for the Tory party. And thus it was in most of the northern constituencies. He had no reason to doubt that many constituencies were strong for Liberalism, and would probably return a Literal candidate if the voting power were in the hands of those resident in the various districts. (Applause.)

The “Strathspey Herald."
Producing the most recent issue of the “Strathspey Herald,” Mr Macleod said a special part of it was devoted to advertising that meeting. He was always glad when the Tory papers spoke of them. It showed how effective was the work of Liberalism. It showed the hopeless condition of the Tory party when they began to attack the Liberals. Mr Macleod proceeded — The editor says “ one of the unidentified is Mr Joseph Macleod.” I think I can be identified anywhere. (Laughter.)

I think if you see me once you can always recognise me again. (Laughter and applause.)

And I am sure my friend the editor of the "Strathspey Herald” should have been well able to recognise me, because he has seen me many a time before ever I appeared before an audience in Grantown. But I am afraid the editor of the “Strathspey” does not possess the robust Liberalism of his father. If he did, he would write on the Liberal side. (Great applause.)

I know his father well, and he is one of the finest Liberals you can get in the north of Scotland today—one of the finest men that ever you came in contact with. (Renewed applause.)

There is not a more affable and more kindly disposed man in the North. I am deeply sorry that his son should be on the wrong side of politics. (Loud applause.)

Landlords’ Rapacity.
The speaker proceeded to say that the question of vital importance in the North was the land question, and he would like that the people should take a deeper interest in it. It was hard that so many of their young men and maidens should have to cross the Atlantic to earn a livelihood. The most fruitful cause of emigration was the land monopoly that existed in the northern counties. He appealed to the Tories, if there were any in that hall, to seriously consider their opposition to the settlement of the land problem. (Applause.)

If the population , was to be continually depleted by the flow of emigration, the consequences would be serious. Their Tory friends were always telling them that emigration was a good thing, yet the very people who advocated it remained fast in this country. That was not a party question. (Applause.)

The populace of a countrv was its best asset. He was strongly opposed to a policy that compelled so many of our people to leave their homes. (Hear, hear.)

If anybody was responsible for this state of affairs it was the House of Lords and the Tory party, who had opposed the land policy they all desired. For nearly thirty years he had been one among many calling aloud for a settlement of the question, and after thirty years, when they thought they were entering the land of Canaan, the House of Lords, an irresponsible Chamber, stood in the way of the benefits which ought to accrue to the people from the land. (Applause.)

The wild beasts of the fields were of more value in the eyes of those men than their fellow creatures, created in the image of God.

Sir Reginald Macleod, speaking in the depopulated district of Strathglass, said -
“I suppose the greatest grievance you have, is the fact that they have made your whisky so much dearer.” Their greatest grievance was that their young men and maidens contemplating marriage could not get a house in which to live. The proprietor of the estate would not build one and rent it to them, nor would he grant land upon which to build. Consequently the young men and women after marriage had to leave the district, which thus became de- populated. I know that if my friend the editor of the "Strathspey Herald ” would tell all he knows he could back me up in this assertion. (Applause.)

He knows the North well. He knows many of the beautiful Straths not only in his own native county, but in other counties as well. He knows the difficulty our young people has to contend with. If they got the land policy on the lines of the bill which the Secretary for Scotland had passed in the House of Commons twice, but which was rejected by the House of Lords, many of the people would take holdings. It was important that they should induce the young men and maidens to remain in the healthy rural districts. Oh! how he longed for the time when they should bear the song of the milkmaid in those straths and glens as they used to hear it in days gone by, and when thev should have a happy peasantry peopling the Highlands. The time was coming: he was hopeful it was not far distant. When the powers of the Lords were taken away they would have measures for the betterment of the people. (Applause.)

Scotland was unanimous about the land policy. Mr Balfour had adopted small ownership, but the Tories, although enamoured of that policy, had not the courage to contest four of the biggest constituencies in the Highlands, because they knew that their land policy was a hopeless one. Their policy was that the people should be made to buy the land at an enormous price, the State to find the money. The landlords wanted to get rich at the expense of the people of this country. There might be something said for land purchase after the land had been thoroughly valued. The land purchase system had been a failure in many places. To ask a man of 40 or 50 years of age to purchase his holding! He would be well nigh a hundred years before he became a peasant proprietor. They did not want to buy their own creation. Who created all those straths and glens and made them to blossom like the rose? The people, their forefathers, by their industry and labour. (Applause.)

Was it fair that they should pay for what they themselves had made fertile and productive? The people wanted fixity of tenure, fair rents, compensation for improvements, which was as secure as any purchase could make it. They wanted permanent security, and the holding to be handed down from father to son. The Tories said the Crofters Commission was an expensive piece of machinery. They said nothing of the £124,000 which the Commission had found had been taken wrongly from the poor people. No word about the great sums the landlords had been filching all along the line. The rents had been reduced 25 per cent, all along the line. Many parts of the Highlands were excluded from the Crofters Act because at the time the Tories were so strongly opposed to the measure that the Liberals were glad to get a small measure of improvement. Today the crofter could crack his finger at the landlord. The man who had the benefit of the Act need not go with his hat under his arm when he met any of those fellows, the factors. He need have no fear of his life or be afraid to declare himself at the poll. The people wanted perfect security from the tyranny of the landlord. The Tories did not know in what direction they were travelling in regard to their land policy. They were capable of producing a scheme and rejecting it half-an-hour after.

Sir John Dewar - Reformer.
Mr Macleod described the Referendum as unsuited to this country. It would have the effect of entrenching the House of Lords more firmly than ever it was before. The Referendum was a Tory trick. He had watched the Tories for a long period of years, and every time they could mislead the people they had tried to do it. The landlords had had too much power over the people, who had too long been subject to the rule and authority of the lairds. They wanted the lairds put aside, so that they would not dominate the situation as they had been doing all those years. A settlement of the land problem was vital to the people. The land should be developed and made of the best possible use to the people. In the Isle of Skye since the passing of the Crofters Act in 1886 no less than 1500 new houses had been built and 171 new houses erected on new settlements. Look how much could be done if the landlords did not stand in the way, preventing access to the land. The Act which the Liberals wished to pass would give the Land Court power to take land by compulsion whether the landlord was willing or not.

Mr Macleod proceeded — I notice that although the editor of the "Strathspey Herald” is a ready writer, he is not altogether accurate. He speaks of Sir John Dewar as the distiller member, and I suppose he is trying to give me a hit when he mentions Sir John Dewar. I am not ashamed to represent him, because he is a thoroughgoing man on the land question. (Applause.)

Although I am a strong temperance man and a Good Templar, I do not think it is fair I should be hit because Sir John happens to be a distiller. But I do not want to refer to that so much as to the statement regarding a deer forest. The editor says that Sir John Dewar has a deer forest in Inverness-shire. That is inaccurate — I do not like to call it by its real name. (Laughter and applause.)

Sir John has not a deer forest in Inverness or out of it. If my friend had been reading the papers he would have seen that Sir John had been interesting himself in some ground that had been recently added to deer forests — ground at Braeroy. I can assure you that Sir John is very strongly opposed to deer forests, and he brought up the matter in Parliament. The editor has doubtless been thinking of the estate Sir John has bought in Perthshire. But there is no deer forest on the estate. It is composed of small farms. There are a few trees. (Applause.)

It is well that some of us should meet together like this, and put wrong things right, because the Tories will not take the trouble. If you write to those papers to tell them they are wrong they won’t put it in. If I did not know so much about Toryism I would not speak so strongly. I am opposed to the system that is so detrimental to the well-being of the people. I wonder if those fellows ever think whether they are going to Heaven. (Laughter and applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, men who will tell the people downright lies — it is a serious state of matters to think we have got men in the world to mislead our people into believing that black is white. It becomes you and I, if we are sincere at heart, to try to do all we can to leave this world better than we found it. Then we must be up and doing, for we cannot rest satisfied believing that other people will do the whole work. (Applause.)

At election times you have all those aristocratic ladies codling round to call upon you. Why should our fair maidens not be as attractive to the electors? I am sure our fair maidens have as nice faces as those aristocratic ladies have. (Applause.)

I am sure that one of those nice young ladies would influence me more than one of the aristocracy. You have all seen the advertisement by the Canadian authorities asking 5000 young women to emigrate for marriage in Canada. What a downright insult to our virtuous maidens! We do not need to go to America for matrimonial purposes. We have fine young men in this country without crossing the channel. (Applause.)

Do you marvel that they sometimes imposed upon our fathers and grandfathers as they did? I often wonder how they stood out as bravely as they did. Young men! come forward and support the party who want progress, who want to do something to relieve those who are in distress. And then it will be said of you and me at the last — " Well done, good and faithful servant, enter,” &c. I always like to remember that text—“ Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these, my brethren,” &c. Oh! my friends, if we took our Liberalism from the New Testament not one would sit idly by. You would be actively engaged in the work, because it is God’s work. We are trying to relieve those in distress. That is New Testament doctrine. I would not be a Liberal today if I did not believe in it. When a measure of land reform is carried, times will be better. Stand shoulder to shoulder, and be united as Liberals. Never fear the Tories. They will never do any good for you. They will always stand in the way of progress. Never mind the Tory papers and Tory orators. The whole purpose of Liberalism is the emancipation of the people. (Loud applause.)

An Incomparable Government.
Mr George Harvey moved — “ That this meeting expresses its unabated confidence in the Government and Prime Minister, and its satisfaction at the whole-hearted determination with which the Parliament Bill is being pushed forward in the House of Commons. It also desires to convey to Sir Archibald Williamson an expression of continued confidence in him as representing the constituency in Parliament.” Three times in succession within the past five years had the present Government been returned to power, a thing unprecedented in the history of the country, Mr Harvey said, since the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832. By their legislative achievements they had earned the confidence of the electors. They had brought reconciliation to South Africa, and Liberals hoped it would not be long before the same principles applied to that distressed country Ireland, bringing it a measure of appeasement and relief. The Government had stood between the country and Protection. It was argued by their opponents — If Protection is good for all the European countries, why would it not be good for us? Simply because Britain was not like those other countries. (Applause.)

Conscription, for instance, was necessary for the Continental nations. It was not necessary for us. Our situation was such that we were principally and mainly a manufacturing country. Our people were given employment by manufacturing the raw materials which we got from the whole world. Social reform had been made possible by the Budget. Old age pensions, an earnest of what the Government intended to carry out, had been granted without adding to the burdens of the poor, upon whom Protection would inflict a serious injury. Astride of the Liberal party and the forces of progress was the House of Lords, who had committed the most gigantic blunder in political history when they took upon themselves to interfere with the financial provisions of the year. Mr Asquith was a man of transcendent ability, and no man could have got work more suited to his particular genius than the defence of Free Trade. He was incomparable when dealing with the constitutional question. It was a compliment to Sir A. Williamson and to the acceptance with which he discharged his duties in Parliament that he had a walk-over at last election. The Conservatives did a very wise and discreet thing in not putting him to the trouble of a contest, but that could not be expected to occur again. Liberals respected Sir Archibald for his loyal support of the Government. They recognised in him a great supporter of any local interest, whether inside or outside Parliament. (Applause.)

Mr A. Laing seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.

The Promised Land.
In moving a vote of thanks to the speakers, Mr D. Macpherson eulogised the speeches of Mr Haig and Mr Macleod. The Conservatives, he proceeded, were at the present time in a funk. They dared not show their true policy. All they could hope for was that they would be able to mask it during an election. The Liberal policy was open, so that everybody who runs may read and understand. The Liberals stood for righteousness, for justice, and for liberty, and with the help of the British people they meant to carry that policy through. “Thank God, we are now in sight of the promised land, and we do not mean to rest until we have reached it.” (Applause.)

Mr Westwood moved a vote of thanks to those who had contributed to the musical programme.

With a vote of thanks to the Chairman the meeting terminated.


The promoters of what was dignified by the name of a " great Liberal demonstration ’ kept a little boy driving a tiny fruit cart through streets of Grantown for an unconscionably long time displaying a big hoarding with the leader " The Curbing of the Peers by the Friends Of the People.” The boy rung his bell so persistently that the Liberal organisers of Elgin end Inverness-shire and Mr Haig were attracted to the hotel window. The boy, the cart, and the bell were not in the programme. The strangers commented admiringly on the enterprise of the local Association, and felt that here indeed was a welcome befitting the “friends of the people.” They went with light hearts to the “demonstration,” each having possessed himself of a copy of the “Strathspey Herald,” Mr Haig even taking several back numbers. In the unexplained absence of the Young Scot, Mr Robertson, he was entitled to regard himself as the lion of the evening.

Messrs Macleod and Haig had been preceded to the hall by Mr Claude Wilson, whose gramophone did scant justice to the Limehouse orator. The audience did not appear to understand a word of the speech. Their patience and assumption of interest were worthy of all praise. Considering how hard the promoters had worked it was rather disappointing that the electors did not demonstrate in larger numbers. All the ladies and non-electors lent both force and dignity to the demonstration, but though heirs to that “grand and glorious heritage” of Liberalism, and united in their admiration for the strange coalition of Socialists, Radicals and Irish Home Rulers, who have nothing in common apart from their Constitution-wrecking designs — the ladies and non-electors cannot really be reckoned as an effective force in the curbing of the Peers. Some of the enthusiasts regretted that there was not a better representation of Unionists — or Tories, as they were always designated by Messrs Haig and Macleod. (By the way, the term Radical is never used in Grantown nowadays. Sir Archibald doesn’t like it.)

Well, the Unionists would be disposed to take more interest in demonstrating Liberals if the local Young Scots could only be restrained. Who can forget the ardour shown by the exponents of Liberalism when a few Unionists ventured to appear at one of Sir A. Williamson’s meetings and attempted to ask a few questions? The Tories are compelled when they arrange a meeting to appoint stewards and seek police protection, and when they bring a candidate he is maltreated. Liberal meetings here are more decorous than a sitting of the Presbytery, which proves at least that Unionists believe in freedom of speech. The great majority of the Liberals are also believers in free speech. The pity is that a section of their followers are so intolerant as to give good ground for complaint by Grantown Unionists that their election meetings are always disturbed.

The speeches, particularly that of Mr Macleod, were entertaining enough. Nothing short of a sensation was created by the Liberal organiser’s revelation that we had not, like most Highlanders, inherited our politics. The audience, almost stunned at first by Mr Macleod’s dramatic exposure, demonstrated in earnest when they realised its tremendous significance. They cheered lustily, and encouraged by his success in rousing their enthusiasm, the organiser went on to insinuate that we had never heard the song of the milkmaid. To both charges we plead guilty, with the reservation that we cannot in fairness be held responsible for the political views of our relatives. And, moreover, have grave reason to question Mr Macleod’s claim to having heard the milkmaid’s song. It may seem a small matter, of course, but the audience attached some importance to it on Wednesday night. So many have since, out of the goodness of their hearts, expressed sympathy with us, kindly assuring us that Mr Macleod’s indictment will not in any way affect their future relations with us, that we are constrained to add that this sympathy is misplaced. We remain impenitent.

Is there any reason, after all, why we should humble ourselves because the politics and some excellent attributes of our forefathers have not been our portion? Mr Macleod is much enamoured of the hereditary principle, but he should not judge too hardly those whom it may have treated unkindly. In this age of gramophones and demonstrations we should be permitted to think for ourselves and choose our own political banner. If only the audience knew how greatly we were tempted to make a counter revelation that night!

We were tempted to disclose that Mr Macleod's aunt was once suspected of leanings towards Conservatism, but we think none the less of him on that account. In his leisure moments — if Sir John Dewar’s organiser can ever have leisure - he might, however, seriously ask himself whether the fathers are to be always allowed to select the politics of the sons, Tory or Radical, Socialist or Fenian? If the succession must not be disturbed, of what use are organisers, who are paid to make converts?

A successful pleader need not be convinced of the innocence of his client. A political agent need not believe all of what he tells his audience; indeed, the more daring he is the more impressive do his utterances appear. After listening to Mr Macleod the other evening, we could sympathise with Sir Reginald Macleod’s complaint of the gross misrepresentation from which he suffered when contesting Inverness-shire. The organiser tells us that his voice has been calling aloud for thirty years. He should be more careful how he uses it. Mr Macleod has never met the type of tyrannical landlord he depicted at the meeting. Nor has any of the Grantown demonstrators. Much of his address would have been serviceable in the early days of the Land League agitation, and then yet in parts of the Hebrides, but it was only amusing to those who know the facts and who decline to follow sham reformers of Sir John Dewar’s kidney.

The Duke of Sutherland is one of the most enlightened and liberal landowners in the kingdom, a fact acknowledged in both Houses of Parliament by members of the Government. We do not quite understand Mr Macleod's statement that the landlords filched £124,000 from the poor people. Where did he get this figure? To what part of the country does it apply, and how many hundred years did the amount take to accumulate? The Crofters Commission unquestionably did good work from the crofters’ point of view during the first few years of its existence. For many years past, however, it has been a very expensive Commission to the country. So far as the crofters are concerned, they would have been much better off if the Government had distributed among them or spent upon their holdings the enormous amount paid over in salaries to the Commissioners and their officials.

Frankly, we do not believe that Sir Reginald Macleod ever said in Strathglass—" I suppose the greatest grievance you have is the fact that they have made your whisky dearer.”

Sir Reginald would not be guilty of any such foolishness. Strathglass is doubtless interested in the price of whisky, and they have more than ordinary interest in Sir John Dewar, whose firm made a profit of £90,000 last year in the distillation of the spirit, but land purchase was the chief theme of Sir Reginald’s speeches, not whisky, and in this connection we would be glad to know his critic’s authority for the assertion that land purchase has been a failure in most places. We could have wished that there had been fewer quotations from Scripture in the oration. If the Radicals are to discard the hand¬books of the Liberal Publication Department in favour of the New Testament, their opponents will be compelled to retaliate. Leave religion alone. Cease prating about “good and faithful” service “for the least of these, my brethren.” Neither party has the monopoly at righteousness. Mr Macleod and others of that ilk should not disturb themselves as to the future destination of those whose views they profess to dislike. Let us hope there will be room for representatives of both parties.

Judging from his remarks about our “fair maidens," the organiser seemed to be in ignorance of the valuable work they have done. Far from being averse to canvassing, Grantown's fair maidens worked like Trojans during the last contest, their efforts culminating in a grand tea to the wives of the Radical electors on the eve of the poll. Mr Macleod, we know, is a Good Templar by habit and repute. He is also a Liberal who prides himself on his consistency. How can he reconcile the principles of the Templar Lodge to which he belongs with working so strenuously for the return of a distiller who supplies the whisky which has ruined so many Highland homes, allying himself with a traffic the control of which is a problem more pressing than the land question? In eulogising Sir John, he was careful to refrain from mentioning the fact that the distiller had opposed the “People’s Budget” at every point, and refused to vote for it because it imposed a tax on Dewar’s whisky.

Mr Macleod was very indignant with us for twitting Sir John with the possession of a deer forest in Inverness-shire. We were inaccurate in that respect, but Mr Macleod in correcting us was guilty of what we will also consent to speak of as an inaccuracy, although on the part of Sir John's organiser the mistake was almost unpardonable. He said that Sir John had not acquired a deer forest, but an estate in Perthshire. It consisted of small farms, adding, airy fashion, also a few trees. Again the audience demonstrated. We have taken the trouble to consult the valuation roll for Perthshire. The estate of Dupplin, including a castle, extensive policies, woodlands, and parks, shootings and fishings, is one of the largest in the county. Mr Macleod should go there to hear the song of the milkmaid, for instead of a few “small° farms and trees, it has many farms, some of them exceedingly big. Three of them are rented at over £500 per annum, three over £400, six over £300, and the rental of five exceeds £200. The rental of the various shootings ranges from £310 to £30, and the fishing is £390. Small farms! Now, the speaker would have induced his hearers to demonstrate once again had he proposed to break up the farms on the Strathspey estate. We are sure Mr Macleod would have no hesitation in proposing it.

But look how few are the opportunities for the land reformer in Strathspey as compared with Dupplin. The largest farm on the former estate is Dalvey, with a rental of £270. What a chance for Sir John to show his faith in the policy of small holdings! Will Mr Macleod press him to abandon those shootings and settle a “happy peasantry” on those huge farms? No, he won’t. Sir John is a Liberal landowner, and therefore exempt from reformers’ criticism. What is wrong in Tory lairds is a virtue in new-made Liberal baronets and owners of shootings. Sir John will guard his big farms and shootings as jealously as he tried to guard his whisky, and Mr Macleod will continue to stump the country yearning for the song of the milkmaid. We did not place Sir John in the proper county, having been misled by a question asked in the House of Commons. The distiller, as we learned the other night, interested himself in Brae Roy, where he heard that extensive clearances were being made for the purpose of forming a deer forest. The Lord Advocate replied that the land is almost all above the 1000 feet level, and rises in places to more than 3000 feet, that the only habitations were two shepherds’ houses, which would continue to be inhabited. Then someone asked if it were not a fact that Sir John himself had a deer forest in Inverness-shire. The House laughed, and no answer was given. Mr Macleod shrewdly said nothing of our member’s deer forest at North Caennacroc. He detests deer forests, holds them largely responsible for the alleged land hunger in the Highlands, and then comes to Grantown to strengthen the hand of one who chases the deer. Mr Macleod spoke regretfully of the time that had elapsed since he tasted venison. If he sees fit to transfer his services to this constituency we are sure Sir Archibald will not forget him next season.