ANGUS M'FARLANE, Crofter, Harlosh (52)—examined.
4200. The Chairman.
—How long have you been in your croft?
—I have been twenty years in the township, and ten years on my present croft.
4201. Were you elected by the people of Harlosh to be their delegate ?
4202. How many of the people joined in electing you ?
—I cannot be sure how many were present on the night on which we were gathered. That was Saturday last, in the schoolhouse at Kihnuir.
4203. Were all the crofters there, or most of them ?
—There was a good number of them.
4204. And they elected you?
—Yes; and the minister was present.
4205. How many do you mean by a good number?
—There were up to twenty.
4206. What statement have you to make on behalf of those people ?
— That we are gathered together on the worst spot of Mr Scobie's tack, near the shore, and that we are surrounded by a dyke, which dyke is surmounted by wire fencing to keep us into the shore. We ourselves were made to pay half of the expense of that dyke to keep us in that pinfold. I myself in one year paid to account of expense of that dyke 24s. 4d., to the best of my recollection.
4207. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Are you paying every year for it?
— No, we are not paying it every year. The delegate who preceded me was making complaint that we were without roadway. Our road lies through a peat moss, and in winter we cannot use it for taking home our peats. Where there are two women taking home a creel of peats each, the one woman often has to drag the other out of the mud, the road is so bad. Now, as a remedy for the hardships of the people, I think they should get the ground and the hill pasture along with the arable—from ten to twelve acres of arable ground along with as much hill pasture as would graze from forty to sixty sheep, with four cows and their followers, and a horse to work the ground. They cannot make use of the ground without a horse, even should they get that ground; and even should they have such land given them it would be without profit to them, unless they would get assurance from Government that no landlord would have the power to evict them, after they had cleared that ground and improved it for themselves.
4208. The ground you would have to get would have to be taken from tacks ?
—Yes ; the tacksmen have the ground.
4209. Would you, at the outset, be willing to pay what the tacksmen pay for it ?
—Yes, indeed we would
4210. Sheriff Nicolson.
—Does Mr Scobie reside in Feorlick?
—No, not in the island.
4211. Has he ever resided there?
—I am not aware that he was ever residing there.
4212. Who has charge in his absence?
—A man of the name of John Clark.
4213. Ground officer?
—As manager; he is overlooking everything.
4214. How long is it since any tacksman resided at Feorlick ?
—I cannot enter upon that, for there are only twenty years since I came to Feorlick, and Scobie was there before me.
4215. He has Balmore too ?
4216. There used to be a tacksman living there ?
4217. Is there a tacksman at Vatten now?
—Yes; they are included in one tack.
4218. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—If the Harlosh people got Feorlick could they stock it ?
—I believe they could not very well do so on their getting it; but I do not doubt they would be able to stock it through time.
4219. They could not pay rent for it till it was stocked?
—Yes, they could do it. They are paying rent already every year. I am only paying £2, 13s. and a few pence. I am at the least spending £8 in purchasing meal. Would not that pay a good bit of land for me?
4220. How many people are there in Harlosh ?
—I think it is twenty-nine lots.
—I cannot tell the number of inhabitants. There are thirty families in Harlosh.
4222. Sheriff Nicolson.
—Do you get the sea-ware free?
—No, we do not get it free. We have free as much sea-ware as our fore-shore yields, but we pay Scobie for what we get from the rest of the shore.