De Bow's Southern and Western Review
Douglass Jerrold
New Orleans: De Bow's Review, May 1857

  [Editor's Note:] Thus does Douglass Jerrold beautifully and touchingly advise Mrs. Stowe in regard to her future labors.

  "Madam: You are now a visitor at the princely Castle of Dunrobin, and will be there for a brief season, the guest of their Graces who own it. You will there meet with all that wealth can purchase, all the influence can command, all that art can produce, and all that ducal hospitality can do to make your stay desirable. You will receive that attention and kindness which the Duke and Duchess award to their visitors, and you will perhaps leave Sutherlandshire with its "sunny memories" engraved on your recollection, and the sentiments to which you have already given expression regarding that country more deeply impressed on your mind.

  "It is also stated that, during your stay, the annual exhibition of industrial products is to take place, and that more than usual effort is to be made to get the females of the district to turn out in their best, radiant with more than ordinary smiles; and that farmers and factors, with their families and their dependents, are to swell the gathering, so as to make its proportions and appearance bulk before you as largely and respectably as possible.

  "Thus, Madam, will the former handful of dust be thrown in your eyes, with the view to obtain from your pen another testimony to the operation of that system of "civilization" which is still "struggling" in that country. You will see decent, well clad Highland girls kindly spoken to by the titled party visiting Dunrobin; you will be pointed to nicely whitewashed cottage-houses skirting the highway of the Eastern District, and you will be told that these are the habitations of those whom a portion of the press has represented as being down trodden and oppressed.

  "So far well. But, Madam, every landscape has a background; every picture has its shade. You see but little of Sutherland when you travel from the Meikle Ferry to Dunrobin, or inspect the druggets and stockings and plaidings of the Sutherland females in the show rooms opposite the Golspie inn. These are but the gaudy trappings of the country—these are but mere meretricious adornments, ginger-bread appendages, superficial gewgaws. They merely resemble the balls and merry-makings that are occasionally to be seen on the worst slave estates of the Carolinas, and are no more fair specimens of Sutherland that is little Eva's father of the average character of the slaveholding fraternity. Madam, I implore you not to be again fascinated and hoodwinked by the obsequious attentions paid you, or by the gotten up for the occasion display, which you will witness at the exhibition room, nor by the external polish and air of cleanly comfort which the whitewashed cottages of Eastern Sutherland exhibit. If you found on these your opinion of Sutherland as it is, you will leave an impression as false and incorrect as if you had looked upon the worst of George Sand's novels as the embodiment of morality, from having read one of its most moral pages.

  "May I beg of you to take a solitary tour to the West of Sutherland? Keep aloof from factor or commissioners; have your eyes and ears open, and with the feelings of the authoress of Uncle Tom's Cabin, investigate for yourself into the present and past condition of the general body of the inhabitants. Go to Armadale and inquire for one Angus Sutherland; go to Tubug Skerray, and ask for a look at the site where the house of one William M'Kay once stood; inquire into the history of the treatment of these and thousands of other men, active, able, and willing to work, but with their wives and little ones cast out. You are a mother, Mrs. Stowe, you have given proof that you can in a large measure sympathise with a mother in her maternal yearnings after her little ones. Will you, therefore, kindly ask the wife of Angus Sutherland how she felt when, less than three months ago, she and her little ones, then ill of the measles, were thrown out of their humble home? Will you get the wife of William M'Kay to narrate to you how, only last year, a few days after suffering the pangs and going through the perils of maternity, she, with her new born white babe, and other little ones, were mercilessly carried out in a sheet, and left to bivouac on a bare hill, without home or shelter?

  "Will you ask the oldest inhabitants of the bare rock sides along the bleak and ragged shores of the West, how it happens that they starve out a drizzling existence on these unproductive wastes, while for scores of miles, ten thousand times ten thousand available acres lie in bleak and barren desolation? Will you ask them to tell you how it happens that whole straths and glens, once vocal with the merry laugh of hundreds of happy cotters' children, now echo nought save the bleating of sheep, or the huntsman's horn, or the sportsman's rifle? Will you inquire how it happens that the population of Lairg is only a third of what it could boast in 1801, how Loth has diminished a third; Kildonan by three-fourths; Creich by 1500; and other parishes to a less extent, so that the whole county of Sutherland has not increased 7 per cent. during the whole of the last fifty years.

  "Will you ask if it be true that the country which obtained a distinguished niche in the annals of this country, for the number and prowess of its soldiers, cannot now get half a dozen of its sons to recruit it even for the militia, or to act as volunteers in being merely trained for defence of the coast; if it be a fact that since the commencement of the present century, more than fifteen thousand of the aboriginal inhabitants of Sutherland have been thrust out from the land which their ancestors from traditionary ages occupied, thrust out, not because convicted of crime, not because guilty of laziness, not because of arrears of rent, not because of immoral conduct, but to convert their holdings into monster sheep walks and grouse grounds; if it be true that the result of this system of clearances has been a serious loss to the noble proprietor, and that the whole issue has been shame and confusion of face to the promoters of the Loch policy, which has been shown to have been, in its invention selfish and heartless, in its development merciless and inhuman, in its operation unpatriotic and unsuccessful, and in its general result a mockery, a delusion, and a snare?

  "Obtaining, by personal inquiry, irrespective of the chapter in your "Sunny Memories," the facts of the case, and coming into personal contact with the inhabitants, you will, I venture to assure you, have abundant materials for a work which will rival even Uncle Tom's Cabin."