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From Finlay Johnston Payne, courtesy of Janna Best

I went back to John Ramsay's diary of the trip and re-read most of it.  From all my reading of Islay history, including the 2nd Edition of Margaret Storrie's book (read on the plane on the way home last November) and other recent publications and from the "ancestral memory" of the Johnstons I have found no evidence of the kind of forceful evictions from Islay that took place, alas, from Lord MacDonald's estates on Skye or the Sutherland evictions where houses were burned around families.

Islay people were fortunate in having enlightened landlords in both the Campbells and John Ramsay. By the way, I believe the Dugald Carmichael that John Ramsay refers to at Page 111 of his book was the grandfather of Franklin Carmichael one of the Group of Seven, who came from Oro.

There are still a lot of people who are not fully informed about the circumstances of the emigration from Scotland. When it comes right down to it most of the emigrants had no real alternative - it was either emigrate or starve.  This simple fact gets lost in an over romanticized view of history. I remember very well the first time I asked my mother why her great grandfather had emigrated (this question probably arose from a history lesson at school),  the answer was immediate and unqualified, "To give his ten children greater opportunity than they would have had in Scotland."  And any published correspondence I've seen from the emigrants supports this conclusion...

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