Monday, 11 March 2013

Crofting History: 'Preaching the Land Gospel': Rev. Donald MacCallum (1849-1929)

Preaching the Land Gospel: the Rev. Donald MacCallum (1849-1929) in Skye, Tiree and Lochs, Lewis
Donald E. Meek

(Lecture given at an Islands Book Trust Conference, 'After the Clearances', in Balallan, Lewis, in September 2012)

In July 1986 - on the centernary of the unrest in Tiree, which led to the dispatch of gunboats and the arrest of
ringleaders - Tiree crofters commemorated the Rev. Donald MacCallum by refurbishing the cairn built in his
honour in 1889, when he went to Lochs, Lewis.  To the left of the cairn, wearing a fawn raincoat, is
Angus ('Ease') Macleod, from Calbost, Lewis, and founder of the Scottish Crofters' Union.

It is quite some time since I began my research on the Rev. Donald MacCallum, who has a very close connection with Park and with the parish of Lochs, Lewis, in addition to several other Hebridean parishes, including the quoad sacra parish of Heylipol, in my native island of Tiree.   Looking again at my file some thirty-five years later, I am astonished at how much information I had gathered in the mid-1970s with the help of my wife Rachel, and how little of that material I actually published.  Obviously, I was collecting material for a biography of Donald MacCallum, but, as the chains of the academic prison-house began to close around me, my noble intentions were subjected to other, apparently more pressing, demands.  My main publication on Donald MacCallum was an article entitled ‘The Prophet of Waternish’, which appeared in the West Highland Free Press in July 1977.[1] So I now return most gladly to one of my earliest research interests, and to a personality who may have been neglected by me, but who has certainly not been forgotten.  In the course of some wider reflections on the land agitation in the Highlands and Islands, I have had reason to refer to the Rev. Donald MacCallum on numerous occasions, but not in any systematic way.  In reassessing the so-called ‘Prophet of Waternish’, I am particularly aware that, although I and others initially tended to portray MacCallum within a single frame, his career was much more varied than that.  In fact, it is more than evident that MacCallum fulfilled different roles in his various parishes, and that he adjusted his approaches and activities accordingly.  He should not be seen as the ceaseless and consistent preacher of ‘the land gospel’ in Skye, Tiree and Lochs, but as a leader whose ‘functions’ corresponded broadly to the needs of each stage and each local context of the land agitation in which he found himself.

Angus 'Ease' and I were given the great privilege of speaking when MacCallum's cairn
was rededicated.   Angus can be seen with arms folded to the right of the lectern.  Standing behind him is
the late Neil MacLean, formerly of 'Carnan', Caolas.  To Angus's immediate left is Neil MacDonald,
Skipinnish (father of Flora MacPhail), and in the green jacket beside Neil is the late Hugh Archie MacLean,
from Salum, formerly Chairman of the Crofters' Commission.  Along again on the right of the picture are
John MacPhail, 'Ardmay', Balephuil (I think!), the late John MacFadyen, Barrapol, and the still very present
Lachie Brown!   Standing to my immediate left, and only partially visible, is Alex MacArthur, Heylipol,
'Ailig Beag', who organised all aspects of the occasion.  Alex now lives in Ballymena, N.I.

Early days

Donald MacCallum was born in 9 October 1849 at Barr a’ Mhuilinn, Craignish, Argyll.[2]  He had a brother Malcolm who was also a well-known Church of Scotland minister and a prominent ‘land leaguer’, who later (in 1915, when he was minister of Muckairn) published a series of lectures entitled Religion as Social Justice.[3]  Malcolm MacCallum was also Chairman of the Lorn District Committee of Argyll County Council.  There were three other family members – Colin, also a Church of Scotland minister, though less distinguished than his brothers; Dougall, who lived latterly with Donald in his last parish in Lochs, and who, if remember correctly, acted as his grieve; and a sister, Martha, who kept house for Donald during most of his ministerial career.[4] 

MacCallum’s boyhood experience of his native area contributed to his later profile, as well as to his speeches.  He was evidently aware in his campaigning years that a substantial change had occurred in the social configuration of Craignish, and he referred to it in 1884 as ‘that once lovely place…now turned to a waste howling wilderness’.  When he was at the height of his rhetorical powers in the first half of the 1880s, he sometimes alluded to evictions which had taken place at Arichonan, part of the estate of Malcolm of Poltalloch, shortly before he was born.  He even remembered a Gaelic song inspired by the Arichonan eviction.[5]  The following extract from a speech given in Morvern preserves the typical MacCallum ‘flash-back’ to the days of his youth, with reference to ‘Glen Avon Mhor’, then and now:

‘This week I visited the haunts of my youth.  O the sad change that has come over them!  For the song and joy there is desolation and gloom.  Desolation reigneth in my once lovely glen.  One side of this glen, as if by a paralytic stroke, has been completely blasted.  The leprosy of landlordism has left it withered and hideous.  On the other side, a little life remains, yet the cancer of factorism is fast sucking the last drops of its once exultant heart blood. I went to rejoice over the goodness of God, and had to lament over the havoc which the destroyer wrought.  The work of improvement commenced here by first weeding out the people.  Then it was put under stots, and now to get strangers to inhabit it mud houses  are raised.  I suppose when the present tenants will be compelled, through excessive rents and want of houses, to walk the plank, more mud houses will be raised to accommodate the strangers.  Proudly will many a proprietor now say – “I rejoice I have no crofters on my estate.”  Is the pirate who will destroy every soul in the vessel taken by him better than he who may spare a few, though that few may bear witness against him?  If so, the proprietors who have no crofters to bear witness against them are better than those who have a few crofters on their estate.  Did you ever hear of the eviction at Arichonan on the Poltalloch estates[?].  I intend some day to give the world the particulars of that horrid event, and it will now be seen that those who have now no crofters are worse than those who have left a few to bear witness against them.  There are land pirates as well as sea pirates.’[6]

Although MacCallum’s speeches are preserved mainly in English (and it seems that they were delivered mostly in English), Gaelic songs, proverbs and stories were among the strands that he used to give them their distinctive pattern.  This was, of course, a reflection of the strong vein of Gaelic tradition, including the practices of the ceilidh-house, which flourished during his boyhood in Craignish.  MacCallum knew how to ‘fire up’ his audiences, but he also knew how to relax them, or reinforce a point, with a story or two in the time-honoured Gaelic way:

‘Did you ever hear the fable of “The Gille Carach [Lad of Tricks] and the Drover”[?] To put an end to the Gille Carach and his tricks[,] the neighbours put him in a barrel and carried him away to throw him down a steep hill.  On the way they came to an inn and, leaving the barrel on the road, they went to take a dram. While they were in[,] a drover with a herd of cattle came that way.  The drover struck the barrel with his stick.  Said the Gille Carach – “Who is there?” “A drover with a herd of cattle,” was the reply. “What are you doing in the barrel?” “I am here in a most glorious world where I can get as much gold and silver as I can desire,” said he.  “Will you let me in a while?” said the drover.  “With the greatest pleasure,” he answered; “there is more than enough for me.  But you must let me out and allow me to close the lid on you again.” “It is a bargain,” said the drover. The Gille Carach was let out, and the lid was closed on the drover.  The Gille Carach went his way with the herd of cattle, and the drover was thrown down the hill in the barrel.  As the Gille Carach did to the drover, so would the lairds do to us.  They make as try to believe that we will get plenty of gold and silver in the emigration barrel, and when once they will get the lid closed upon us[,] they will be off with our substance and cattle.’[7]

MacCallum also liked to compose Gaelic verse and song, in keeping with another of the standard conventions of his native community.  In later years, he was particularly fond of composing poetic eulogies in honour of those who had fought alongside him for crofters’ rights. 

The contribution of Craignish to the formation of Donald MacCallum as a bearer of Gaelic tradition and as a defender of the Gaelic community is ever-present in his speeches and especially in his role as a leader of his people in different parts of the Highlands and Hebrides. His ability to identify with each of his principal parishes, not merely as a formal ecclesiastical unit, but as a community of ordinary people defending its traditional rights, was a feature of his pastoral concern which distinguished him from many of his fellow ministers throughout his tempestuous career, with all its ups and downs, including a brief spell of imprisonment.  One of his favourite Gaelic proverbs summed up his position: ‘Is fheàrr tuiteam anns a’ cheartas na seasamh anns an eucoir’ (‘It is better to fall in the cause of justice than to remain standing in the cause of injustice’).  Whatever faults Donald MacCallum may have had – and he had plenty in the eyes of many of his ministerial contemporaries – social climbing, self-advancement and courting the aristocracy were certainly not among them.

MacCallum trained at Glasgow University, where he achieved considerable distinction as a student.[8]  Glasgow was the principal Scottish city in the creation of a pro-Highland social conscience in the 1870s, as its networks of Highland territorial societies and bodies of political activism offered platforms for speakers with ‘advanced’ ideas about the land question.[9]  It would be the ideal context in which the young MacCallum could break free from the ‘strict[ly] Conservative’[10] tenor of his upbringing in Craignish.

Completing his Glasgow studies, MacCallum began his career with two periods as an assistant in different parts of the Highland mainland. These further deepened his awareness of social change, and accompanied the gradual espousal of a ‘radical conscience’ with regard to Highland land ownership.  He served briefly as an assistant at Lochgair, but more importantly in Morvern alongside the Rev. John MacLeod (brother of ‘Caraid nan Gàidheal’), where he was able to observe at first hand how the region had been altered by improving landlords.  These included the notorious Patrick Sellar, who moved to Morvern after playing his part in the infamous Sutherland clearances.  In his own words, MacCallum found ‘the cancer of landlordism fast sucking up the last drops of the heart blood of the land’ – colourful rhetoric indeed.  In later years, MacCallum returned to Morvern, but seemingly with a sense of disappointment that the Morvern people had not been able to fight for justice as purposefully as the Skye people had done.  He did his best to encourage them, giving a speech there in July 1884, which may have stimulated the formation of a local branch of the Highland Land Law Reform Association a month later.

From Morvern, MacCallum moved as minster to Arisaig, where his radical leanings were furthered strengthened.   In the summer of 1883, he represented the crofters of Arisaig before the Napier Commission, and argued that the changes of ownership of the estate – six changes within sixty years – had contributed to its current plight.  Clearing had occurred from the Strath of Arisaig to make way for sheep-farms and deer-forests.  More alarmingly, the restrictions imposed by the then landlord, encapsulated in the ‘Seventeen Commandments of Arisaig’, angered MacCallum.  He often referred to these ‘Commandments’ in his later speeches, lamenting the ‘miserable slavery in which my countrymen are steeped’, when they would submit themselves to such regulations and specifically to one which stated:

‘Every son among you who will come to the age of one and twenty years on my property will be bound to find accommodation elsewhere, and every daughter as she marries shall be sent out from among you.’[11]

Drawing characteristic Old Testament parallels, he referred scathingly to those who would serve such landlords, and even worship them:

‘In the high places of the deer forest of the vast howling wildernesses they will set up a burnt-offering. Some of those who lost all favour for speaking the truth, in their infatuation will offer themselves to be priests in the high places of desolation to minister at the offering of fire.  They will pray that the young heir will be a “chip of the old block” – that he will finish the work of desolation commenced by his forefathers – that those his father will leave he will send away.’[12]

The imagery in this speech, delivered in Morvern, suggests that for MacCallum his time at Arisaig was indeed a baptism of fire, confronting him with the restrictive practices of landlords.  His strong stand against these practices was deeply appreciated by his parishioners, but he was soon on his way to another locality – Skye – where dramatic events, including the Battle of the Braes of 1882, had occurred, and military intervention was in progress.

Rev. Donald MacCallum 'in action' late in life, unveiling a monument to Donald MacRae,
'Balallan', in Glasgow in 1924.

Demagogue days

Early in 1884, MacCallum was inducted to the parish of Hallin in Waternish, where he became particularly famous or infamous, depending on your point of view.  It is possible, indeed quite probable, that he was encouraged to go to Hallin by John MacPherson, the Glendale Martyr, who was a close friend in every sense.[13]  Most interesting, however, is the nature of the parish itself, which was quoad sacra, and strictly beyond landlord jurisdiction.  The parish did not need the landlord’s approval for its ministerial candidate or nominee.  The same was true of the parish of Heylipol in Tiree; it too was quoad sacra, Heylipol parish church being known as eaglais nan daoine (‘the church of the people’, i.e., a ‘chapel of ease’ supplementing the work of the endowed parish of Kirkapol).  It is certainly the case that the local landlords of both Hallin and Heylipol did raise objections to MacCallum, but their objections did not prevent his appointment.  We have a description of MacCallum from his Waternish days, penned by a minister of Skye origins, the Rev. Norman MacLean, in his book, Set Free:

‘MacCallum was very young and very eager and, as he spoke, he was carried away by his own eloquence.  He was a fair-haired man, circular about the waist and five feet three inches high.  His face was fringed by a thin rusty beard.  His pale-blue eyes gazed on the world with a look of innocence to which all guile was alien.  That speech made him a hero in the parish.  The people flocked to weekly meetings where the rapacities of landlords were depicted in all the glowing metaphors of the Gaelic language; but on Sundays his church was left desolate as before.  The little minister was good enough for expounding the meat that perisheth, but the living Bread was to be sought elsewhere.’[14]

Hallin had been left ‘desolate’ (with only three communicants, according to the records), not by MacCallum’s preaching, but by the effect of the Disruption of 1843.  MacCallum did not lack congregations elsewhere, of course, as he was active throughout Skye.  In April 1884, he was in Glendale, standing alongside John MacPherson, and in May of that year he was the principal speaker at a large meeting of crofters at Fairy Bridge, which was also attended by the Skye poetess, Mairi Mhòr nan Oran, Mary MacPherson.  Mary was greatly inspired by MacCallum’s speech; it seemed to her that an apocalyptic ‘new day’ had been glimpsed:

Chunnaic sinn briseadh na fàire
Is neòil na tràillealachd air chall,
An là a sheas MacCaluim làimh rinn
Aig Beul Atha nan Trì Allt.[15]

(‘We saw the breaking of the dawn, and the dispersal of the clouds of thraldom, the day MacCallum stood beside us at the Mouth of the Ford of the Three Streams.’)

Mary MacPherson’s sentiments were not, however, shared by MacCallum’s colleagues in the Presbytery of Skye.  Matters had begun badly at Hallin when MacCallum failed to appear for his induction at 3.00 p.m. on 30 January 1884, and the induction had to be postponed until the first Wednesday of March at 12 noon.  At the Presbytery’s meeting on 7 April 1885, MacCallum was accused of failing to submit his answers to the Queries on Presbyterial Superintendence by the due date.  Complaints multiplied thereafter. At its meeting of 1 December 1885, the Presbytery expressed its displeasure with MacCallum for the nature of his apology to Captain Allan MacDonald, Waternish, which was published in The Scotsman, and it was no less displeased with his absence from the meeting:

‘The Presbytery express their great dissatisfaction with Mr MacCallum’s absence from duty today, more especially that they are informed he is going about the country as a political agent, a course which the Presbytery think is unbecoming in a clergyman.’[16]

His ‘Lectures’, as the Presbytery called them, were being published by The Oban Times, and this gave it the opportunity to take him firmly to task at its meeting in Portree on 6 April 1886.[17]  An apparently contrite MacCallum was formally censured by the presbytery:

‘Dr MacKinnon moved that the Presbytery[,] while freely admitting Mr MacCallum’s right to advocate the cause of the crofters, whom they are as anxious to see in possession of their just rights as Mr MacCallum can be, highly disapprove of the manner in which Mr MacCallum has incited the crofters to violence and to class hatred, and of his having in his addresses made statements which he himself now admits to have been untrue, [and] express their serious disapprobation of his having associated in the said work with a man who scoffs at Christianity and calumniates its author.  They further express their disapprobation with his continued absence from his parochial duties, and for these reasons they appoint the Moderator seriously to censure Mr MacCallum for conduct so unworthy of a clergyman, and admonish him when for the future advocating the crofters’ cause to adhere to truth and to the use of language such as becomes a minister of Him who came into the world to proclaim peace and good will to men, and who on ascending on high, left peace as a legacy to His followers.’[18]

The motion was carried, and MacCallum was duly censured.  Although he is said to have ‘received the censure in humility, and to have promised to submit in all meekness to the admonition of the Presbytery’,[19] the Presbytery on 21 April expressed its disapproval of MacCallum’s public denial of his admissions and his ‘defiant attitude’.  On 4 May, with reference to letters published in The Inverness Courier and The Oban Times bearing on his disagreement with Captain MacDonald of Waternish, it claimed that he had been ‘overtaken in a series of heinous ecclesiastical offences’, and appointed a committee to make him ‘penitent’.[20] The committee played cat and mouse with MacCallum, who managed to elude its grasp.  On 6 October 1886 the Presbytery again censured MacCallum, who then appealed to the Synod of Glenelg.[21]   This particularly troubled year reached its peak when MacCallum spent a weekend in Portree jail in the middle of November, followed by a police raid on his manse in Waternish.[22]   The year 1887 seems to have been less boisterous for both MacCallum and the Skye crofters, probably because the Crofters’ Commission had arrived in the island.  Even so, given MacCallum’s irrepressible speech-making, his maverick tendencies and his ‘run-ins’ with the authorities, it must have been a considerable relief to all parties when the Presbytery eventually met at Portree on 31 October 1887 to discuss his call and impending translation to Heylipol, Tiree.[23]

Rhetorical themes and styles

The accusations made by the Presbytery of Skye against MacCallum included his failure to conform to matters of procedure, his disagreement(s) with Captain MacDonald of Waternish, his letters to the press and his published ‘lectures’.  These ‘lectures’ or ‘addresses’ were undoubtedly the distinguishing feature of his time in Skye.  What, then, were the principal characteristics of Donald MacCallum’s speeches?  A quotation from a speech given at Fairy Bridge, Skye, on 13 May 1884 at a mass gathering of crofters will provide a flavour of his favourite themes and his rhetorical style (in addition to other quotations used earlier in this article):

‘Be not void of self-respect.  Consider yourselves to be the children of God and not the slaves of men.  God created you in His own image, and redeemed you by the blood of His Only Begotten Son, Christ Jesus, Our Lord.  If this island is too small for our[selves?] and the lairds, you are the heirs of that land where the officers will not enter with the fierce bombshell – ‘The legal notice to quit.’  You are heirs of the House of many mansions.  If a man will not respect himself, no one else will respect him.  And how?  He knows himself better than anyone else does, and with that knowledge of himself, when he does not respect himself, it is plain that he does not deserve to be respected.  Give honour to a man for what he is, and not for what he has.  The wealth is not the man.  Love and honour the man who is pure, kind, faithful, and godly, should he be as poor as Lazarus was.  Avoid the man who is unclean, deceitful, and worldly[,] should he be as rich as Dives was….

‘The land is our birth-right, even as the air, the light of the sun, and water belong to us as our birth-right.  Man cannot live without a part of the land. We cannot go up with the birds and take up our abode beyond the clouds.  We cannot go down to the bottom of the sea and live with the whales.  And even could we, the lairds would claim us as their property, as they claim the birds and the fishes.  They are the lords of sky, earth and sea.  Often was I thinking of the wilderness of the people who inhabit foreign lands, into which a white man never entered.  Often did I think that an armed force should be sent to open up these lands for us.  I often lamented that we could not even see our God’s wonderful work in those regions.  But I did not consider that our own lands were being closed up, and that soon we could not see our God’s wonderful work in our own lands.  I did not consider that soon it would be necessary to send an armed force to open up our own land.  If the law can keep us from any part of the land, it can keep us from the whole.  If the law that can do that is right, then God created us in vain with bodies that cannot live without a part of the earth.  Do you know why there are no sun-light leaguers?  It is because the sun cannot be bought and sold.’[24]

MacCallum proceeds to expound the Old Testament story of King Ahab and his appropriation of Naboth’s vineyard, the former representing the avaricious Highland landlord and the latter the vulnerable crofter.  Thereafter, he compares and contrasts the lot of the Highlanders with that of the Irish, and mounts a stout defence of Henry George, ‘The Prophet of San Francisco’ who had recently toured Scotland, against the dismissive arguments of the Duke of Argyll.  He concludes his oration with reference to the Report of the Napier Commission, which he regards as vindicating the crofters’ position.  Thus, MacCallum’s speeches in this period consisted of a heady brew of Gaelic anecdotes, proverbs and (sometimes) poems; allusions to, and expositions of, favourite biblical narratives; strong opinions on ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ and their relative status; condemnations of factors and landlords; rebuttals of arguments expressed by landowners and their perceived ‘lackeys’; and affirmation of reports and activities supportive of the crofters’ cause.  These hyperbolic effusions, which tended to major on generalities rather than specifics, penetrated people’s ears and memories by means of resoundingly colourful phrases like ‘the leprosy of landlordism’, and the liberal use of irony, sarcasm and a bitingly dry wit, aimed most frequently at exposing the apparent inconsistencies in the treatment of ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ by ‘landlordism’, his unfailing bête noire.

Was this ‘message’ distinctively and uniquely MacCallum’s own?  In broad terms, it can be said that, although the rhetorical style and content are very much MacCallum’s, political preaching of this kind was common in the 1880s.  MacCallum was probably influenced, or at least encouraged in his practice, by the work of John Murdoch, the veteran Highland land-reform campaigner, in developing and applying a biblically-derived set of arguments which Murdoch summarised as The Land Question answered from the Bible, published as a pamphlet about 1883.  This formulation was derived predominantly from the Old Testament (with 36 citations) with much less support from the New Testament (13 citations).  Murdoch laid considerable emphasis on the landlords’ desire to extend their territories by appropriating crofting land.  He gave the story of Ahab’s ‘land grab’ of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21: 1-16) particular prominence, with suitable application to circumstances in the contemporary Highlands.[25]  MacCallum was fond of summarising and applying this same story in his speeches.  Elsewhere I have stated that ‘By publishing the pamphlet, Murdoch probably intended to provide crofters with a selective but systematic Biblical basis for their claims against their landlords’, especially in the context of the Napier Commission which toured the Highlands in 1883.[26]  Political preaching was likewise characteristic of Henry George, whose orations, delivered when he was in Scotland in 1884, showed a similar amalgam of Old Testament themes and contemporary political applications.[27]   Such biblical awareness, and the broader political arguments which claimed that freedom had been lost by departing from biblical and Christian principles, also informed the thinking of early socialists on this side of the Atlantic, most notably Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour party and MacCallum’s near contemporary.[28]

Less specific parallels to what was happening in Skye in the 1880s can be found in Europe in the early modern period. Millenarian movements, deriving their messages from the Bible at times of social stress and dislocation, were well known in Europe, and have been described by Professor Norman Cohn.[29]  Their leaders were often dubbed ‘prophets’, and MacCallum himself was nicknamed ‘The Prophet of Waternish’. The Bible was also of great importance to the political radicalism associated with the civil wars of the seventeenth century, especially in England, with its Fifth Monarchy Men, Ranters, Diggers, Levellers and others who have been studied by Professor Christopher Hill.[30]  Again, the use of the Bible as a key text of ‘liberation’ (in a more literal sense) is more than evident in anti-slavery sermons preached in the USA in the first half of the nineteenth century. 

Variations of this ‘political gospel’ have also appeared periodically since MacCallum’s time, most noticeably and strikingly in the approach to tackling poverty which came to prominence in Latin America especially after 1970.  Known as ‘liberation theology’, it was promoted by Roman Catholic priests, such as Gustavo Gutierrez from Peru, who set out its main characteristics, and it was articulated supremely by Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in the 1970s.   This formulation of the biblical message was characterised by its ‘preference for the poor’, whereby it sought to make them aware that they could espouse a new future, promised for them in the Bible.  God, it was claimed, was with them, on their side, and living in them.  Unsurprisingly, ‘liberation theology’ and especially its implications were not well received by the institutions, political and ecclesiastical. The priests who were at the forefront of the ‘liberation’ movement were severely criticised by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is currently Pope Benedict XVI.  They even ran the risk of being perceived as ‘Marxists’ and consequently as communists by right-wing, US-supported juntas, most notably in El Salvador.   Archbishop Oscar Romero was himself shot dead when celebrating Mass on 23 March 1980.[31]  In the outright opposition of the institutional Roman church to ‘liberation theology’ and its ‘unruly’ promoters, we see a close parallel to the Presbytery of Skye and its handling of MacCallum when he was hauled before it.

Given the broad similarity between MacCallum’s (and Murdoch’s) ‘land gospel’ and twentieth-century ‘liberation theology’, we may well ask whether there is any common source for this understanding of the Bible.  As far as I can judge, there is no common source – only a common experience of suffering by ‘the poor’, which becomes the focus of rhetorical attention by those who wish to alleviate poverty and oppression.  It would seem fair to suggest that the message of ‘release to the captives’, which was central to the first sermon of Jesus Christ and forms one of the corner-stones of ‘liberation theology’, is ‘re-discovered’ or becomes meaningful and overt in contexts of oppression at different stages in history.  It is a message delivered to the poor by intermediaries such as priests or ministers, and it is welcomed by the poor because it affirms their value to God.  In such a context, the Bible becomes a textbook not for the maintenance of the status quo, but for a social revolution and the creation of a new world order, which reverses the fortunes of the poor.  Opposition to ‘liberation theology’ arises within the established churches because this interpretation of the Bible ascribes a secular, material and ‘social’ significance to ‘poverty’, and not solely (as it is commonly understood) a spiritual significance.  The churches then have to consider whether they have assisted in the creation of the poverty which requires to be alleviated. Are they, or are they not, ‘on the side of the poor’? Whatever may be said for or against ‘liberation theology’, it is beyond question that the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, is very much aware of the exploitation of the poor, and that there is a horizontal axis within the scriptures which always has to be borne in mind, alongside the incarnational vertical axis.  Concern for the material and earthly dimensions of life co-exist in the Bible alongside a concern for the spiritual dimensions.  There is therefore no need to invoke Karl Marx to understand how the message of the Bible, when interpreted in this way, becomes dangerous to, and even subversive of, an existing ‘establishment’.[32]  It is a matter of where the ‘emphasis of interpretation’ is placed, and to whom it is directed.

Advisory days

The social and political emphases of MacCallum’s ‘lectures’, with their ‘liberal’ and even ‘liberationist’ approach to theology, provoked anger among his colleagues in the Presbytery of Skye, as did his absence from his parish in Waternish, but he was soon on his way to another parish, namely Heylipol in Tiree.  It should be noted that there were those in Skye who wanted to retain him, but it is no less significant that a statement of support was signed by 44 adherents, and not members, of the Hallin church.  By contrast, MacCallum’s call to Tiree was signed by 200 members.  However, the first call was annulled by the Presbytery of Mull, following an intervention by the Duke of Argyll, and it was the second call that was sustained.  This second call was evidently the outcome of a somewhat boisterous meeting of 600 people in the Tiree church, in which the clergymen present are said to have been ‘booed’ by the congregation!  Lively times, indeed![33] 

In Tiree, MacCallum found himself in the midst of a community which believed that it was in some important respects worse off, rather than better off, as a result of the passing of the Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act of 1886.  The problem centred on the lack of provision of land for cottars, who were not given any land or security of tenure by the act.  Apparently, a crofter who gave land to a cottar was at risk of being turned out.  In this context, MacCallum provided robust leadership, outlining developments in ‘long and interesting address[es]’, and explaining ‘the advanced position the Land League now holds’.[34]

MacCallum’s ability to advise crofters and especially cottars on how they should proceed in their case against high rents and lack of land is more than evident in the reports of Tiree Land League meetings in The Oban Times. The business before a meeting held in Moss Schoolhouse on 9 April 1888, for example, represents the concerns of the time:

‘Rev. Mr MacCallum, who presided, stated that the business before the meeting was 1) to consider the memorial prepared by the Committee to be sent to the Secretary for Scotland; and 2) to consider what should be done in regard to the answer that was said to have been given by the Duke of Argyll, through the factor, to the cottars, who sent him a petition for land.’

The memorial, as explained to the meeting by the secretary of the local Land League branch, was about the following matters: 1) methods adopted by the Commissioners in fixing fair rents, which were deemed insufficient; 2) the apportioning of rent when certain crofters’ crops were still in the ground, which had caused ‘a tax to be put on the superior industry of the crofters concerned’; 3) ‘that in several instances crofts which had been reclaimed from nature by the present holders and their predecessors had been charged with rents equivalent to their actual marketable value’; 4) ‘that crofts which were greatly damaged by sand blowing on them were not reduced in rent in accordance with this damage’; 5) ‘that an unreasonable amount of arrears was ordered to be paid, and that they were quite unable to meet the demands made on them’.  The challenges facing Tiree fishermen ‘because the island was exposed and had no harbour’ were also discussed.[35]

Although MacCallum was particularly well known for his orations, he was no demagogue in his Tiree days, making ‘inflammatory’ public speeches round the island.  Rather, he put his analytical and memorial-writing skills at the service of the island’s crofters and cottars.   His commitment to their needs was evidently quite outstanding, and it was deeply appreciated.  When MacCallum left Tiree in 1889, crofters erected a fine cairn in appreciation of his efforts.  This was a truly remarkable tribute to his contribution to their lives during his very short occupancy of the Heylipol charge.  It sprang spontaneously, immediately and directly from the crofters’ and cottars’ experience of MacCallum’s leadership.  It was thus uniquely eloquent in its own time, and remains so to the present day. 

To be honoured within one's lifetime by means of a cairn was, and remains, an exceptional
mark of esteem.   'Tur MhicCaluim' ('MacCallum's Tower') is eloquent in a manner which
surpasses all his own speeches.  It was the refurbishment of this simple monument in 1986
which inspired Angus ('Ease') Macleod to undertake the series of 'Cuimhneachain nan
Gaisgeach' ('Memorials to the [Crofting] Heroes') in Lewis.

Although Tiree crofters and cottars must have been deeply sorry when MacCallum left the island after such a short ministry, they understood that he was facing practical difficulties.  As Donald Sinclair remarked at his farewell presentation (which consisted of a diamond ring for himself, and ‘a silver necklet and locket of India workmanship’ for his sister), ‘They found no fault with him for leaving, for all the salary he got would not keep him in pocket-money.  He did not get the supplement his predecessor was in the habit of getting.’[36]

Nor would they have been surprised that he was moving to the parish of Lochs, Lewis. A fascinating dimension of Tiree’s land agitation in this period is the keen interest which its crofters and cottars took in the condition of their fellow islanders in Lewis. At their meeting on 21 February 1888, at which Donald MacCallum as chairman was ‘received with hearty ringing cheers’, a resolution was proposed that

‘this meeting express deep sympathy with the Lewis people in their present struggle against the tyrannical and oppressive landlord-made laws; resolve to co-operate with them in their efforts for freedom until the land be restored to the landless, and the people be put in their rightful inheritance.’[37]

The Oban Times further records on 31 February 1888 that:

‘A concert in aid of the Lewis crofters was held at Moss schoolhouse on the evening of Friday 16th inst.  The Rev. Donald MacCallum occupied the chair and gave an interesting address…The collection, after the expenses were defrayed, amounted to £4.4s, which was sent to Mr Donald MacRae, Balallan, for distribution among the crofters.’[38]

This act of generosity followed the trial in Edinburgh in January 1888 of the six men (including Donald MacRae) who were arrested for their part in the Park ‘incursion’ of November 1887, but who were acquitted at the trial.  It suggests that, in his various movements throughout the Highlands and Islands, MacCallum was not only offering leadership and good guidance on crofting matters, but also creating, or at the very least cementing, a bond between different communities in what was perceived to be a shared struggle against landlords. 

Development days

As happened in Skye, MacCallum arrived in Tiree after the local agitation had reached a climax, with the occupation of Greenhill Farm, the dispatch of gunboats and the arrest and trial of crofters and cottars in 1886.  His departure to Lewis followed a similar pattern, taking place after the headline-making Park ‘incursion’, masterminded by the Balallan schoolmaster, Donald MacRae.

MacCallum’s induction to the parish of Lochs is fascinating, not least as a glimpse of the way in which ecclesiastical politics could be used to support social politics, and especially the campaign for land rights.  Various newspapers  carried their own versions of how MacCallum came to be inducted to Lochs.  The Oban Times reported soberly as follows on 13 April 1889:

‘It may be remembered that after the death of the parish minister here (the Rev. Ewen Campbell), a number of Free Church people sent in claims to be admitted on the roll of the Established Church.  A meeting of session was afterwards held to consider these claims, with the result that 86 of the applicants were admitted.  A large meeting was then held in the church – the Rev. Mr Stuart, moderator of session presiding – to elect a committee to look out for a suitable minister.  The meeting was unanimous throughout, and 11 were admitted to form the committee, of which Dr MacAulay was made convener and Mr Alexander Crawford clerk.  At the close of the meeting the committee sat in private, when it was unanimously resolved to nominate to the congregation the Rev. Donald MacCallum, Hylipol, Tyree, as a suitable candidate to fill the vacancy.  Mr MacCallum has since intimated his willingness to accept the call.’[39]

However, a periodical called The Democrat put another spin on these remarkable events, and was cited approvingly in The Oban Times.  The Democrat wrote:

‘Rev. Ewen Campbell, the Established Church minister of Lochs, terminated his long life a few weeks ago, and the ministers, the estate officials, and the castle hangers-on were just about to put a man of their own in his place, a man who would do no barking but at those who might be obnoxious to the rulers of the estate, and who would not disturb the slumbers of the ministers of the Free Church, whose well-understood policy it is to keep on good terms with the estate officials and with the men who held the large farms.  The Free Church pastors were of one mind with the Established Church stipendiaries; both were pleased to think that the glebe of Keose could be speedily filled without any popular interest being awakened in the selection.  The stipendiary minister might enjoy the teinds and one of the largest glebes in the kingdom to the entire satisfaction of the two Presbyteries, always provided that he let sleeping dogs lie.  Indeed, the small clique which used to carry out their views had the matter settled as they thought, and they were going to have no land leaguer who would be a thorn in their sides.  But just as their little scheme was ripe, and nothing to do but put the stamp of the Presbytery of Lewis upon it, a band of men, with Donald Macrae, Balallan, appeared on the scene, and the strongest man in the Presbytery fell sick, so there could be no quorum.  Since then the applicants for admission to church privileges have gone on increasing, and the fathers of the parish know not what to do.  The hangers-on of the castle have been greatly put about, and so have the Established Church faction, but the party most affected is the Free Church Presbytery.  These latter ministers are positively alarmed.  The less the vitality of the Established Church, the more secure were the Free Church ministers in the trust of the people.  At the present moment no-one can be sure how the Presbytery will act, or how the applicants for admission will stand their ground; but, however the strange contest ends, it’s very striking and will be found most edifying.  Just fancy the guardians of the endowed church put about by the feet of men seeking readmission to her fold.  As these guardians cannot quite close the door thus, they have had some of their friends among the people trying to get some of their number to claim admission, so as to swamp the votes of those who are bent upon having a real live man in the parish church.  The readers of the ‘Democrat’ will understand how it happens that Free and Established clerics as well as estate functionaries are in such a state of perturbation over what looked like a healing of the breach between the two churches.  It has oozed out that if the people have their way they will elect Mr Donald MacCallum, late of Waternish.  Mr Donald MacRae is leaving Balallan, but if Mr MacCallum becomes parish minister, Mr MacRae may leave the district with an easy mind.  The work begun by him will be carried on by the minister, and Free Church ministers as well as estate functionaries have a good chance of being awakened to a sense of something higher than “lording over the heritage of God”.’[40]

Here we have an excellent example of people voting with their feet, to the extent of re-joining the Established Church at a critical juncture, in order to select a new minister for a vacant parish.  The power of the Free Church in Lewis was such that it could even ‘manipulate’ events in the Church of Scotland for the wider social benefit of the area.

Donald MacCallum appears to have found the Old Parish Church of Lochs and the especially the large Keose Glebe very congenial, as he remained there until his retirement in 1921. The land issue, of course, had not ‘gone away’; it merely took another, more down-to-earth, particularised form, with threats of land-raiding and even an incursion into Keose Glebe.  I.M.M. MacPhail records that

‘Some cottars from the overcrowded townships of Crossbost and Leurbost had threatened the minister in 1892 that if he did not put into practice his gospel about the people’s right to the land they would take over his extensive glebe.  This they did in the spring of 1893, marching to Keose and measuring off lots for themselves.  MacCallum set off for Stornoway to consult with the Lewis chamberlain, who advised him to ask for police protection.  The police however suggested that he should use the proprietors’ and tacksmen’s usual method of applying for interdict, which he was unwilling to do.’[41]

The old radical had become a ‘tradical’, and in effect a landlord, concerned to protect his ‘estate’, which confronted him with embarrassing choices.  The eventual division of Keose Glebe in 1932 had nothing to do with MacCallum, who had retired eleven years earlier and had been in his grave for three years before it happened.  Overall, MacCallum’s activities in Lochs conformed much more closely to those of the conventional parish minister than his earlier profiles had done.  This probably reflects a ‘settling down’ on MacCallum’s part (even if his domestic life was somewhat tempestuous), but it also suggests that, with land-raiding in the air, the struggle had entered another phase, when ‘getting round the table’ was important, and there were new opportunities for participation on boards that had been established for the express purpose of tackling land resettlement.   For example, MacCallum served on the Lewis Committee of the Congested Districts Board from 1903 until it was disbanded in 1912.  Yet, he did not forget his earlier parishes, returning there to speak from time to time, as he did in Tiree in 1911, when issues relating to rent were still pressing.[42]

MacCallum’s former rhetorical skills were now, however, deployed at indoor meetings and mainly at critical junctures, when he had to represent his people before commissions, such as the Deer Forest Commission of 1894, where he inveighed against ‘landlordism’ with characteristic passion,[43] and again at a Land League meeting held in Stornoway in March 1918 shortly before Lord Leverhulme took ownership of Lewis.  Thirty years after his Skye adventures, MacCallum was prophesying the arrival of a further new dawn, on this occasion with reference to the end of the First World War.[44]  Whether he saw yet another new dawn beyond the gathering gloom of the impending Leverhulme era is questionable, but it seems highly likely that his condemnation of landlordism at the Stornoway meeting was directed at Bodach an t-Siabain (‘The Old Codger of Soap’), with whose views on crofters he would not have agreed.  His published speeches from this period tend to be prolix and somewhat tedious, lacking the cleverly varied content, passion and dynamism which had characterised his Skye orations.  It is hard to resist the conclusion that, by the early twentieth century, MacCallum was largely passé, ‘yesterday’s man’, with little to say directly (rather than indirectly through boards and committees) to the emerging new world of land-raiding and enforced division of farms.

MacCallum was, however, active in schemes to provide employment for local men.  For example, he contributed to the establishment of the tweed industry at Balallan, even ‘standing in’ for the Duchess of Sutherland who was unable to attend an opening ceremony.[45] Like some other Church of Scotland ministers of the period, he also recruited young men for the estancias of Patagonia, and wrote references for candidates.  ‘This’, notes Greta MacKenzie,

‘explains why so many Lochs men headed for Patagonia during these first decades.  From the village of Keose with its fifteen crofts there were thirty-two young men employed in Patagonia between 1903 and 1928, thirteen of whom did not return. From 1899 [to] 1937, fifty-six men from Balallan went to work on the pampa and of that number, thirty-one stayed to live out their lives in the various republics of South America, whilst from Lochganvich, Achmore and Cleascro, twenty-two young lads departed.  Many men from all the other Lochs villages, together with several from Uig, Carloway, Callanish, Bernera, Stornoway and Laxdale areas, made their way to Patagonia.  Rev. MacCallum’s recruitment spread further afield to Harris and Uist and together with recruitment by Northern newspapers of the time, many scores of men made their way across the Southern Atlantic.  Most of them did return after several years but a fair number settled there, bought land themselves and established their own sheep-farms, some of which exist to this day, run by children and grandchildren of the original immigrants.’[46]

Given MacCallum’s pre-1900 determination to retain Highlanders and islanders on their ancestral lands, this may seem a strangely contradictory role to espouse.  However, it can be argued that this was not ‘emigration’ as such, but an attempt to encourage young men to obtain longer-term employment where there were good prospects, even if this meant travelling and working far from home.  As the evidence shows, the majority of workers who went to the Patagonian pampas returned to Lewis.

In his later years, MacCallum remained unflinchingly loyal to his friends, whom he loved to salute and commemorate in Gaelic verse, and he also enjoyed something of a reputation as the ‘grand old man’ of the fighting days of the Highland Land League. In 1926, three years before his death in Glendale, Skye, where he spent his retirement, he unveiled a monument to his fellow fighter, Donald MacRae, Balallan, in the Western Necropolis, Glasgow.[47]  His last known public appearance was in 1928 at a Labour Party rally in Portree, where he was seen and heard by the young Sorley MacLean, who often referred to the occasion.

Assessing the Rev. Donald MacCallum

How do we sum up the Rev. Donald MacCallum?  Supremely, it can be said that, in standing beside crofters and cottars in their hour of need, MacCallum filled an enormous gap in leadership within the Highland land agitation movement.  Leaders there were, and ministers there were, who supported the crofters’ cause, but none was as eloquent or as committed as the Rev. Donald MacCallum in his hey-day. Although he was in the ‘establishment’, he was not of the establishment, and he thus provided an ideal bridge between the struggling crofters (and cottars) on the one hand and the ‘upper levels’ of potential empowerment on the other. Institutions would pay attention to MacCallum, if only to condemn him.  As a ‘maverick minister’ with a high political profile, he was ‘news’, and he made headlines, especially in his perceived ‘misdeeds’, and this in turn heightened interest in the crofters’ cause in the mid-1880s.  In the process, he took the rough with the smooth, and was prepared to face poverty and humiliation as the price to be paid for his stand.  It says much that few comparable clerical figures emerged on an equal footing in the western world until the ‘liberation’ movements which stirred Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century.  MacCallum broke the contemporary clerical mould – resoundingly – when he was at the height of his powers.

MacCallum was also sensitive to the needs of each area in which he served, he and should not be seen as an itinerant orator throughout his days.  As this article has sought to demonstrate, his roles changed as required in each parish. He also lost much of his pugnacious energy, not only through ageing, but also because his methods were largely outmoded by 1900.  If his last ministry in the parish of Lochs was not as ‘radical’ as his earlier ministries in Skye and Tiree, that reflected the tenor of the times to some extent.  The wide expanses of Keose Glebe must have helped to tame his radical spirit, but it would surely be churlish to deny a measure of comfort to a man who, in the first half of his life, had denied himself many, if not all, of the comforts enjoyed by his fellow ministers, so that he could be identified with ‘the poor’ in their suffering and hardship.  Even so, it is probably not unfair to conclude that he (like many others before and since) gradually lost his revolutionary spirit, and moved ever closer to ‘the establishment’ as time passed.   The man who once broke the mould eventually conformed to it, at least in its broader outlines.

How is MacCallum seen today? Have his oratory and his views on landlordism made any lasting impact?  There is a surprising answer to these questions, and it comes from a landlord.  Adam Nicolson in his book Sea Room, which relates to his ownership and experience of the Shiant Islands in the parish of Lochs, offers a valid, though not uncritical, concluding perspective on the erstwhile preacher of ‘the land gospel’:

In 1894, the Reverend Donald MacCallum, the highly emotional Minister of the Parish of Lochs in Lewis, of which the Shiants have been a part since the 1720s, made a long and passionate statement to a Royal Commission that was hearing evidence on the state of crofters in the island. Rolling in its Biblical allusions, wildly overstated, dependent more on a rhetoric that goes back to the subversive roots of Christianity itself than to any modern understanding of rights and responsibilities, it is one of the grandest attacks ever made on the idea of the landlord. ‘Great evils,’ MacCallum began largely,

‘have necessarily resulted from the fact that land, lake, river, and estuary are appropriated to the sole use, and regulated by the will of, a few irresponsible individuals styled by themselves and others as lords. Every man has a right, natural, and God-given, to the earth and its fullness – its fullness of light, air and water, of vegetation and fruit, of beast, bird and fishes, of metals and minerals. The lords who first sold the land had no right to do so, and therefore the lords who bought the land are not the owners thereof. That which a man has no right to sell cannot become the property of the man who buys it.’

MacCallum went on:

‘Lordism [sic] impoverishes the land. The wealth that is on sea and land, instead of being used in rearing the families of those who earn it, is spent in providing luxuries for idle lords. The destitution and the plague which follow in the wake of this usurper lift up their voices against it and condemn it. Lordism devastates the land. On the face of the deserted villages, once the happy homes of the free and the brave, now lying in silent desolation, we read: ‘The scourge of lordism has passed over us.’ I never heard of any creature having a swallowing capacity equal to that of lordism. The cattle and the ears of corn which Pharaoh saw in his dream come nearest to it.’

Adam Nicolson then sums up MacCallum as follows:

Under cross-examination from the Commission, MacCallum was taken apart. He clearly knew very little indeed about the issue over which his pulpit language had taken such magnificent flight. He had no idea of the acreage of his parish, the number of its inhabitants, the amount of fertile arable ground available to them or the productivity of the lands which he claimed they were denied. He was humiliated by the lawyers. But his words, which I first read twenty years ago in the enormous volume the Commission produced, continue to resonate with me. Perhaps what MacCallum has to say is true of all property, but the outlines are especially clear in this stark and naked landscape. My claim on the Shiants, not to put it too finely, is dependent on a succession of acts of violence, quite literally of murder, rape and expulsion.  Money may have passed hands recently – my father paid £1400, Macdonald £1500, Compton Mackenzie £500 – but what the Rev. MacCallum said is true:

‘The lords who first sold the land had no right to do so, and therefore the lords who bought the land are not the owners thereof.’[48]



[Addresses by the Rev. Donald MacCallum.] Duncan Cameron, Oban, 1884. [My photocopy of this rare booklet has no cover page, and consists of four addresses delivered in Morvern, Glendale, Fairy Bridge and Stenscholl respectively.  Each address has its own page numbering.  I have referred to each address by its place of delivery.]

Cohn, N., The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages.  Granada Publishing, London, 1984.

González, O. E. and González, J. L., Christianity in Latin America. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008.

Hill, C., The English Bible and the Seventeenth-century Revolution.  Penguin, London, 1994.

Hutchinson, R., The Soap Man: Lewis, Harris and Lord Leverhulme. Birlinn, Edinbugh, 2003.

MacCallum, D., ‘My Arrest’, in J. Cameron, The Old and the New Highlands and Hebrides from the days of the Great Clearances to the Pentland Act of 1912, 109-112.  James Cameron, Kirkcaldy, 1912.

MacCallum, M., Religion as Social Justice.  John Smith & Son, Glasgow, 1915.

MacColl, A. Land, Faith and the Crofting Community: Christianity and Social Criticism in the Highlands of Scotland 1843-1893.  Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2006.

MacKenzie, G., Return to Patagonia. The Islands Book Trust, Kershader, Lewis, 2010.

MacLean, N., Set Free.  Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1949.

Meek, D. E., ‘The Prophet of Waternish’, West Highland Free Press, Friday 8 July 1977, 2, 7.

Meek, D. E., ‘“The Land Question Answered from the Bible”: The Land Issue and the Development of a Highland Theology of Liberation’, Scottish Geographical Magazine 103, no. 2 (September 1987), 84-89.

Meek, D. E. (ed.), Tuath is Tighearna: Tenants and Landlords.  Scottish Gaelic Texts Society, Edinburgh, 1995.

Meek, D. E. (deas.), Màiri Mhòr nan Oran: Taghadh de a h-òrain le eachdraidh a beatha is notaichean.  Comann Litreachas Gàidhlig na h-Alba, Dùn Eideann, 1998.

Meek, D. E., ‘Radical Romantics: Glasgow Gaels and the Highland Land Agitation, 1870-1890’, in S. Kidd (ed.), Glasgow: Baile Mòr nan Gàidheal: City of the Gaels, 161-85. Department of Celtic, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, 2007.

Nicolson, A., Sea Room: An Island Life. Harper Collins, London, 2001.

Shields, C., ‘The Role of the Reverend Donald MacCallum (“The Prophet of Waternish”), in Aimhreit an Fhearainn: The Land Struggle in Skye and Lewis. The Islands Book Trust, Kershader, Lewis, 2011.

SRO H2/330/5.  Records of the Presbytery of Skye.

The Oban Times, 1861-.  Oban.

Torrance, D. (ed.), Great Scottish Speeches.  Luath Press, Edinburgh, 2012.

West Highland Free Press.  Broadford, Isle of Skye.



[1]Meek, ‘The Prophet of  Waternish’.
[2] Useful biographical information can be found in Shields, ‘Role of the Rev. Donald MacCallum’. 
 [3] MacCallum, Religion as Social Justice. For an important general assessment of MacCallum and other ministers in this period, see MacColl, Land, Faith and the Crofting Community.
[4] Information from the late Professor Derick S. Thomson.
[5] Meek, Tuath is Tighearna, 61-63.
[6] [Addresses], Morvern, 10.
[7][Addresses], Fairy Bridge, 10.
[8] Shields, ‘Role of the Rev. Donald MacCallum’, 42.
[9] Meek, ‘Radical Romantics’.
[10] [Addresses], Glendale, 1.
[11] [Addresses], Morvern, 4.
[12] Ibid., 5.
[13] MacCallum succeeded the Rev. David Johnstone, who had recently been translated to St Columba, Paisley.
[14] MacLean, Set Free, 54.  MacLean’s comments on ministerial attitudes to the land agitation in Skye are worth reading in full, ibid., 53-56.
[15] Meek, Màiri Mhòr nan Oran, 179.
[16] SRO H2/330/5, 6 April 1886.
[17] MacCallum’s ‘lectures’ were published regularly in issues of The Oban Times, and the newspaper also published the booklet of his [Addresses] in 1884.
[18] SRO H2/330/5.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] MacCallum, ‘My Arrest’.
[23] SRO H2/330/5.
 [24] [Addresses], Fairy Bridge, 4-5.
[25] Meek, ‘“Land Question Answered from the Bible”’, 84-87.
[26] Ibid., 87.
[27] Torrance (ed.), Great Scottish Speeches, 57-59, provides extracts from a speech by Henry George given in Glasgow in February 1884, part of which (59) resembles MacCallum’s remarks on the lairds and the land cited above.
[28] Ibid., 63-65.
[29] Cohn, Pursuit of the Millennium.
[30] Hill, English Bible.
[31] González and González, Christianity in Latin America, 254-69.
[32] This does not mean that there was no Marxist influence on ‘liberation theology’ and its practitioners, or that it did not interact with Marxism; see ibid., 256.
[33] Oban Times, 5 November 1887, 17 December 1887, 24 December 1887, 31 December 1887.
[34] Ibid., 25 February 1888.
[35] Ibid., 21 April 1888; 28 April 1888.
[36] Ibid., 15 June 1889.
[37] Ibid., 25 February 1888.
[38] Ibid., 31 February 1888.
[39] Ibid., 13 April 1889.
[40] Ibid., 20 April 1889.
[41] MacPhail, Crofters’ War, 143.
[42] A speech given in Tiree in 1911 is extant in another small untitled booklet.
[43] See footnote 48 below.
[44] Hutchinson, Soap Man, 75-76.
[45] I owe this information to the kindness of Mr Angus Smith, Keose Glebe, Lochs. I am very grateful to Mr Ken Roddy MacKay, Lochs, for putting me in touch with Mr Smith.
[46] MacKenzie, Return to Patagonia,  6-7, 15.  A letter of reference for Murdo MacLeod in MacCallum’s hand is reproduced on p. 7.  Another letter (from 53 Church St, Inverness), requesting his help in ‘recommend[ing] us six good reliable men’, is reproduced on p. 15.
[47] Oban Times, 25 September 1926.
[48] Nicolson, Sea Room, 9-11.

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