JOHN ROBERTSON, Cottar, Ashaig (30)—examined.
4972. The Chairman.
—You represent the cottars at Ashaig ?
4973. In general terms, what is the nature of your complaint ?
—Want of land, —want of a place from which we can extract a living. We have no means of living. All the land on which we live belongs to the tacksman, Mr M'Kinnon of Kyle. We have no security for our tenure, but the day we refuse to work for him we may be turned off.
4974. Do you pay your rent in work or in money?
—We offered rent to him at first, but he would not take it, and now it is the rule that we have to work for him any day he requests us.
4975. Is he very hard in requiring the work, or is he kind, on the whole ?
—Every time he needs us, we have to work, and that is often.
4976. About how many days in the year?
—Some years it may come to sixty days, and others to forty. We were thinking if we could get a bit of the land that was about us we we would pay for it
—land on which our forefathers were long ago.
4977. Do you go fishing ?
4978. Does the farmer ever prevent you going fishing at the proper season when it is necessary for your families ?
—If he requires our services at that time, we must needs leave somebody in our place to do the work.
4979. Does he make the women and the children work ?
4980. Does he pay them in money wages?
4981. Have you any land round your cottage?
4982. About how much ?
—About one acre.
4983. Not enough to keep one cow ?
—We are not allowed to keep a cow, but we do it.
4984. How do you feed the cow ?
—We feed the cow with the produce of the acre, combined with what we get by half-foot cultivation elsewhere.
4985. Does the farmer allow you to keep any sheep on the hill ?
4986. Sheriff Nicolson.
—How many families are there at Ashaig ?
—Six families who have land, and four who have no land at all—fifty-seven souls altogether.
4987. The Chairman.
—And those who have no land at all, do they also pay rent to the farmer in labour
—They work for him, but they do not pay rent.
4988. Do they work as much as those who have land ?
4989. Are the other three from the same placed
4990. And do they agree with what their friend has said ?