Bracadale, Skye, 18 May 1883 - Alexander Cameron

ALEXANDER CAMERON, Cottar and Taylor, Cuilore (38)—examined.

6382. The Chairman.
—You have handed in a letter to the Commissioners, in which you say :
—' I was summoned before the Sheriff for disobedience in not keeping a maid servant for Mr Scott, the sheep farmer. Wages for summer 6d. and 8d. per day, which would not keep soul and body together. I got a letter from the factor to come to an arrangement, and he told me to be humble under the hand of oppression, as the laird did not care a straw should Mr Scott put every living soul of us out in the sea. I then had to submit under the yoke, and had to pay an extra pound all round, and a year last spring at the last account, then I was able to pay the last of the tithe. I got a letter from Scott that my brother and sister were not allowed to cut the peats, till forced to yield, I sent this note to the proprietor, telling him Scott's demand was reasonable. I then went to Dunvegan, and laid my grievance to him, but no remedy.'

6383. Then your complaint is that you are obliged to supply labour to the farmer for 6d. or 8d. a day ? Is that the case ?
—That was the way at first, but as I was not performing the service, I had to pay £1 more. But this extra payment ceased a year last spring.

6384. Then you have to supply the labour of a woman to the farmer? How often is the labour exacted;—how many days in the year ?
—I believe not more than fifty days.

6385. When you or your family entered their present place of residence, was it understood that this was one of the conditions on which they got their place ?
—I was not aware of anything of the sort.

6386. Ever since you have resided there have you always had to supply labour to the farmer ?
—We were paying the rent for the place, and when a person could get home to do the work we sent that person. It was I myself who was doing the work all along, but he was at me to get a woman servant to do the woman's work on the farm.

6387. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh,
—Had you such a person in your family?
—No, and therefore this extra money was laid upon me till it was taken off last year.

6388. The Chairman.
—Was this woman a substitute for the labour of some member of your own family ?
—-Not when it began with me. I had a sister, but she got married. It was after my sister married that it began.

6389. Did your sister do the work before she was married ?
—Yes, she would be giving days' work like any other person in the village; but should I get a servant to work all she would get to do would not keep her in food for three months.

6390. Have you asked the tacksman to accept some payment instead of the services of the woman ?
—No. The rent was reasonable, and I was paying it.

6391. Do they now ask you for that woman's labour at all, or has the whole hardship ceased ?
—Yes, my cause of complaint ceased last year, but he has taken a good deal of money off me because of it. It is a case with several others in my township as well as myself.

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