26 NOVEMBER 1887, Page 3

Social disorder spreads fast. There is a deer " forest

" in the Island of Lewis, with eight hundred deer in it, which pays more rent than when let as poor grass-land. The crofters of the island, however, say that, wanting the land, they go hungry ; and hunger being in our day an excuse for anything—though, oddly enough, no other mortal sickness is so held—they have turned out in large bands to reclaim the land by killing the deer, occasionally with great cruelty, the poor beasts taking to the sea, as they do from Exmoor, as a sure refuge—it was one once, when they were bunted only by other animals—and being drowned there. It has been necessary to send sixty marines to Lewis; but the population was found so excitable, that they were followed by four hundred soldiers. We can- not sympathise with the desire to keep deer-forests, which have neither the advantages of wild land nor of cultiva- tion ; but it is absolutely necessary, if our civilisation is to be preserved at all, to prevent the wants of men from being made the measure of their rights. The men of Lewis are fitting objects of pity, and a great subscription to give them farms in Canada would well become Scotland, now so rich ; but they have no more right to kill deer than to steal spoons. The silver would feed them more easily than the rough land will. It would be wise, as well as Christian of Lady Matheson, who is said to own the property, to compromise with her crofters ; but the land is hers, not theirs, and one man has no more right to whip another into being charitable than into being criminal.