The commission was a response to crofter and cottar demonstrations against excessively high rents, lack of security of tenure on land that had been in families for generations and the forced evictions of crofters.
|Lord Francis Napier|
10th Lord Napier, as its chairman,
under William Gladstone's Liberal Government of the United Kingdom. TheCommission had five other members and published its report, the Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry Into the Condition of the Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, in 1884. The other members were:
- Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Inverness-shire
- Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch
- Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, MP for Inverness Burghs
- Alexander Nicolson, Sheriff of Kirkcudbright
- Professor Donald MacKinnon, first occupant of the Chair of Celtic, Edinburgh University.
The commission began its work in Braes on the Island of Skye and travelled the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands (including Orkney and Shetland) gathering evidence from crofters, landlords and others who were familiar with the plight of the indigenous population. The final report was hastily published in 1884 and led obliquely to the 1886 Crofters’ Holding Act.
The Napier’s Report is a valuable piece of documentary evidence from the Highlands and Islands (including Orkney and Shetland) in 1883, presenting facts and information on the population, as well as the political, historical and social climate of the time.
The report can be downloaded here