See Appendix XLIV
STATEMENT by the Rev. JAMES STRACHAN, Minister of Barvas,
MANSE OF BARVAS,
STORNOWAT, 1st September 1883.
—I am instructed to send you, for the information of the Commissioners, the accompanying statement, which has also been sent for publication in the Inverness Courier, the Northern Chronicle and the Scotsman newspapers.—
Your obedient servant, JAMES STRACHAN.
The SECRETARY, Royal Commission
(Highlands and Islands).
STORNOWAY.—The late Sheriff Macdonald
With reference to the aspersions recently cast on the judicial conduct of the late Sheriff MacDonald by Mr Napier Campbell, solicitor, before the Crofters' Commission at Stornoway,
—We, the undersigned, beg publicly to record that the worthy sheriff was personally well known to us for many years, and to most of us, during the whole of his career in the Lewis, and that he was always regarded by us, and, we believe, by the public generally, as an upright and impartial judge, and as a man of the most humane and kindly disposition. With regard to the crofters—in connection with whose affairs his official administration has been assailed—we can testify that he manifested at all times a warm interest in their welfare (as well as in that of the people at large) ; and we are persuaded that all his decisions were based on what he conscientiously considered the essential right and law of each particular case, without fear or favour of rich or poor. That Sheriff MacDonald, like other judges, may not have committed errors in judgment we do not, of course, presume to assert; but we know that anything like harshness or injustice was wholly foreign to his nature; that the sentences pronounced by him leant, as a rule, far more to the side of mercy than of severity; that in private life he was so genial and loveable as to be still mourned by numerous attached friends; and that his memory is held in the highest esteem by the general community.
It was, therefore, with not less pain than surprise that we observed Sheriff MacDonald's good name to be evil spoken of; and a sense of justice constrains us to publish this statement in vindication of his character.
ALEXANDER MORISON, Lloyds Agent - ROD. MILLAR, J.P.
KEN. MACKENZIE, J.P. - CHAS. MACRAE, J.P.
JAMES STRACHAN, J.P. - KENNETH SMITH, J.P.
— I am requested to add that, had it been deemed necessary, it would have been easy to get the foregoing statement signed by a multitude of other names.