KENNETH M 'PHEE, Crofter, Edinbane (about 55)—examined.
3787. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected a delegate ?
3788. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—You saw this paper before it was handed in to us ?
—I heard it read.
3789. And you agreed in all that was stated in it ?
3790. It states that a man for selling a stack of corn off a farm, though he had offered it to Mr Robertson several times, and was in sore need of ready money, was punished by having his rent raised from £3, 8s. 5d. to £4, which he still pays. Are you the man that sold the stack of corn ?
—I am the man.
3791. Was it against the regulation of the estate to sell the straw off the farm ?
—Yes, it was against the regulations to sell corn off the estate without giving the proprietor the offer.
3792. Are you bound to consume the straw and apply the manure to the land ?
—That is a rule which was made by the late Mr Kenneth M'Leod. I never saw it written, nor did I hear of any one who saw it
3763. Are the tenants all aware that that is the rule of the property?
3794. Do they complain of that rule ?
—I don't know that they are complaining.
3795. Do you think it is necessary to good cultivation that the manure of the straw should be returned to the land where the straw was grown
—Yes, but no man would put the straw off the estate if he had cattle to consume it. I had more fodder than I could use for my cows.
3796. How many had you ?
—Two cows is the summing, but I had not two at that time.
3797. You had one?-
3798. You are now paying £4 for the half lot ?
3799. Is the only reason that the rent was raised the fact that you sold this straw without offering it to Mr Robertson ?
—Mr Robertson said so to me. He gave that as the reason to me.
3800. The rent was raised as a fine for contravening this rule on the estate ?
3801. Is that fine ever to come to an end?
—I do not know, but that fine is on me yet.
3802. For how long has that fine been running?
—I don't know, but I have paid it seven times
3803. And you have no expectation of its being remitted ?
—I expect it to be remitted to me sometime, but it has not been remitted yet.
3804. Have you asked to be relieved of it at any time ?
3805. More than once ?
—More than once.
3806. What was the answer ?
—That I would have a vote.
3807. And it is now kept at £4 in order that you may have a vote ?
— Yes. Mr Robertson did not mention vote, but when I saw that he was qualifying those who had not a right qualification for voting, I understood that that was his motive in making my rent £4.
3808. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Whether would you rather have the vote or your old rent ?
—I did not want the vote at all
3809. The Chairman.
—You have stated that it was the rule of the estate that the straw was to be consumed on the land, and that is for the improvement of the land. But, when the straw is threshed, is there any obligation to offer the corn for sale to the factor ?
—I don't know. I never saw it in my own case, or in the case of others, in the township that they had more corn than they required.
3810. Mr Cameron.
—Are you a fisherman?
—I am not doing much fishing. I used to go to the east coast fishing, but it is four or five years since I gave that up.