People have drawn parallels between the HLLRA and the Irish Land League and you often get these terms used interchangeably, for example. You often get the HLLRA called the Highland Land League, which is anachronistic because the Highland Land League doesn’t form until 1886. I would say they’re quite different in many respects because the Irish Land League, although it’s organised centrally and extremely well organised, it touches every aspect of Irish society in the late 1870s and early 1880s. The Irish Land League is active, for example, in local elections and Poor Law elections and different aspects of society. They put a great deal of social pressure on communities not to occupy houses of people that have been evicted and so on for fear of boycotting and physical harm and this happens in the Highlands. You do get certain instances of it in 1882, for example, of threats being made to people who might occupy a tenancy of somebody that’s been evicted. You get threatening signs being put up around the Isle of Skye, Lewis for example, but it’s not the same all encompassing movement as the Irish Land League. The HLLRA, even more than the Irish Land League, is a movement from above which then gets local branches. It discusses land reform, it certainly puts Highland land reform on the agenda and ...

  • Andrew Newby
Thursday 29th April 2010