The mention of the name of Patrick Sellar arouses strong emotions among Highlanders everywhere symbolising as it does a chapter in Scottish history which has been remembered for well nigh two-hundred years.
In 1814 Sellar, set about removing the crofters from his land in Sutherland in order to indulge his new found passion for sheep farming. Much has been written about the Highland Clearances and of Sellars’ part in it – but what of his early life?
Through a collection of seventy hitherto unpublished letters and contemporary material GM Fraser traces the first ten years of Sellar’ working life, firstly in his father’s law firm in Elgin and subsequently as a farmer in Sutherland. His determination to carry out agricultural reforms, regardless of the consequences, caused the largest upheaval of the population that the Highlands has ever seen. But was he as black as he has been painted?