An Litir Bheag 439
Bha iasg a’ tighinn gu tìr anns an t-Sròm. Bha e an uair sin a’ dol gu margaidh air an rathad-iarainn. Bha sin a’ tachairt a h-uile latha eadar Diluain is Disathairne. Agus, seadh, eadhon air an t-Sàbaid fhèin. Cha robh muinntir na h-Eaglaise Saoire anns an sgìre toilichte mu dheidhinn sin.
Thàinig gnothaichean gu ceann air an dàrna latha dhen Ògmhios. Aig meadhan-oidhche, oidhche Shathairne, bha bàta aig a’ chidhe. Bha sgioba a’ bhàta agus luchd-obrach na rèile a’ toirt bogsaichean sgadan aiste. Ach bha luchd-iomairt a’ cur stad orra. Bha ceud dhiubh ann. Bha maidean aig feadhainn aca.
Mhìnich an luchd-obrach gun robh an obair aca riatanach. Ach thuirt an luchd-iomairt riutha gun robh iad a’ briseadh lagh Dhè. Ghèill an luchd-obrach.
Bha manaidsear an stèisein air fios a chur a dh’Inbhir Nis mun t-suidheachadh. Latha na Sàbaid, aig aon uair deug sa mhadainn, thàinig seachdnar phoileas air trèana sònraichte. Bha Àrd-chonstabal Siorrachd Rois nam measg. Bha ceud gu leth neach-iomairt air a’ chidhe, ge-tà. Dhiùlt iadsan falbh.
Cha robh an sguad poilis mòr. Ach leum iad a-staigh am measg an luchd-iomairt. Bha iad ag iarraidh orra falbh bhon chidhe. Dh’fheuch iad sia tursan. Bha sabaid ann. Dh’fhuiling an dà thaobh buillean. Bha feadhainn air an goirteachadh. Ach, a dh’aindeoin sin, cha robh taobh seach taobh deònach gèilleadh.
Bha ministear a’ fuireach anns an Taigh-òsta ann am Port an t-Sròim. Bhuineadh e do Na Hearadh agus bha e na mhinistear anns an Eaglais Shaoir. Leis gun robh Gàidhlig aige, thabhann e a thaic do na poilis. Bha e deònach a dhol a-mach a bhruidhinn ris an luchd-iomairt.Chaidh e a-mach. Dh’iarr e air na daoine gun a bhith ri fòirneart. Dh’iarr e orra leigeil le luchd-obrach na rèile tilleadh don obair aca. Ach an robh e soirbheachail? An robh na daoine deònach èisteachd ris? Innsidh mi dhuibh anns an ath Litir.
The Little Letter 439
There was an event at Stromeferry in 1883. It was in the news throughout Britain. We call it ‘The Stromeferry Riot’.
Fish were being landed at Strome. It was then going to market on the railway. That was happening every day of the week from Monday to Saturday. And, aye, even on the Sabbath itself. The people of the Free Church in the area were not pleased about that.
Matters came to a head on the second of June. At midnight on Saturday there was a boat at the pier. The boat’s crew and the rail workers were taking boxes of herring from her. But the protesters were stopping them. There was a hundred of them there. Some of them had sticks.
The workers explained that their work was necessary. But the protesters told them they were breaking God’s law. The workers yielded.
The station manager had informed Inverness about the situation. On Sunday, at eleven o’clock in the morning, seven police officers came on a special train. The Chief Constable of Ross-shire was among them. There were a hundred and fifty protesters on the pier, however. They refused to leave.
The squad of police was not large. But they jumped in among the protesters. They were wanting them to leave the pier. They tried six times. There was fighting. Both sides suffered blows. Some people were hurt. But, despite that, neither side was willing to yield.
There was a minister staying in the Hotel at Stromeferry. He belonged to Harris and he was a minister in the Free Church. As he was a Gaelic-speaker, he offered help to the police. He was willing to go out and speak to the protesters.He went out. He asked the people not to be involved in violence. He asked them to allow the rail workers to return to their work. But was he successful? Were the people willing to listen to him? I’ll tell you in the next Litir.