While this island felt the warmth of the new life that the Highlands generally experienced in the years 1839 to 1843, there was no very noteworthy awakening till 1859. At the request of the Highland Committee of the Free Church, the Rev. Mr M'Neil of Campbeltown visited Islay, "an island with a population of 12,000 souls, many of whom were totally indifferent even to the outward means of grace." Dr Maclauchlan reported:—"second-week M'Neil's visit was abundantly acknowledged as a means of awakening interest in spiritual things. Hundreds came to hear who never came to hear before; meetings for prayer were organised; many seemed to be turned to the Lord; and although we cannot but expect that many of them will prove stony-ground hearers, I doubt not that many have been truly won to Christ." Rev. Mr. Munro of Campbeltown reported to the Assembly that, as an instance of the interest the people were taking in religious matters in Islay, although it was their busy season, and they were employed in reaping their crops, there was scarcely an individual about the place who did not leave his work and come to hear the Gospel preached.
‘Revivals in the Highlands and Islands’ by Alexander Macrea – Re-published in 1998 by Tentmaker Publications