MURDO M'LEAN, Crofter, Edinbane (60)—examined.
3589. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected a delegate by your people?
3590. How long have you been on your croft ?
3591. On the same croft?
—Yes. I would like, before I say anything further, that I would have the assurance that no vengeance will be taken on me for anything I say here to-day, for one of the delegates who are here to-day was told by Mr Robertson, the factor, that he must take care what he was to say here to-day.
3592. Who is the factor on the estate to whom you belong?
—Mr Robertson, Grishornish.
3593. Is he here to-day?
—He is not present.
3594. Is there any one present who represents the estate?
—I do not think there is any one here to represent the estate.
3595. The Commissioners are not able to give any guarantee to you for the conduct of the proprietor, and they cannot engage to interfere between you and the proprietor or between you and the law; but we hope and confidently believe that no proprietor will offer any ill-treatment to anybody on account of what is said here to-day. We hope and think that all the proprietors wil follow the example which has been given by Mr M'Donald, and which is to be given by M'Leod to-day, who have stated, or will state, that there is perfect freedom of statement on the part of the witnesses. Now, if you feel you are able to tell the whole truth, you may remain and give evidence; but if you do not feel you are able to tell the whole truth, you may retire ?
—I will tell the truth, for the truth will assert itself at any rate.
3596. Now, what statement are you charged to make on the part of those who have elected you a delegate ?
— Statements prepared by the Tenants of Edinbane. Our lots are from 6 to 8 acres of arable land. There are about 20 half lots from subdivision. A large piece of the hill has been taken from us called Ben Dhu, and no compensation, given. Several of our lots have been taken down by 1 acre, and no reduction of rents. The proprietor has never done anything for the land. The houses are built and maintained by ourselves. On removal we get compensation for the roof only. We think our rents too high, when so much land has been taken from us, and the rent in many cases raised. They were last raised to give the factor Mr Robertson votes. We are not in arrears. Seven days' work is claimed by Mr Robertson from each lot, and 2s. is taken from us for every day we miss. He likes us to give him the first offer of stock, but he does not fix the prices. A lot is allowed four cows and twenty-four sheep. Four cows are too many for the pasture. The profits from sheep go direct to Mr Robertson for rent. We never touch a penny of the money. The money from our sheep for the rent, instead of being put in the bank for us until Martinmas -when it is due, is kept by Mr Robertson for his own use, and we get no interest from him for it. We cannot utilise fishing for the want of proper boats, &c. Fishing should be distinct from crofting. There were plenty of evictions in Grishornish and Coshletter before the time of the late Mr M'Leod. Many of us have seen the law officers come and strip the roofs in Edinbane, and pour water down on the fires. The people evicted mostly emigrated. They got no compensation. The land is now largely in the hands of Mr Robertson, the factor. We would migrate, not emigrate. No Gaelic is taught at our schooL We would like our children taught to read the Gaelic Bible. The school rates are a shilling. Fees for standard IIL Is. 6d. There are eight paupers on the estate; most of these on Ben-Dhu have come from other places. Several cottars have been removed by the late Mr M'Leod and by Mr Robertson from Grishornish and Coshletter and put upon us. The poor-rates are 8d. Mr Robertson, the factor, has the lands once belonging to us of Kerrol and Ben-Dhu in his own hands. We received no reduction when these lands were taken from us. Mr Robertson keeps a meal-store, and we nearly all deal with him. We are this year already very deep in his books for meal. When Mr Robertson put the money on to our rents, for votes for himself as he said, he promised to make it good to us, but he has never done so, although we protest every year. We can give many other instances of oppression. One man took in a lodger against Mr Robertson's wish. He was fined a £1, and had to pay the £1 for five or six years, and was only pardoned last Martinmas. Another man for selling a stack of corn off the farm, although 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. The year before last two men quarreled about the march of their crofts. Mr Robertson ended the quarrel by fining the man with the largest croft 10s. a year on to his rent, and no corresponding reduction to the man with the small croft. In November last the factor put 7s. on to a half lot, with the reason stated, " I want to make a gentleman of you, and give you a vote." Mr Robertson has two shares of sheep in the hill, and although we complained, he will not pay for the grazing, and he refuses to let our sheep go over the lands of Kerrol, which is our right in winter, and makes us twice a year build up the dyke that keeps our own sheep out of our own grazings. We have to submit to such things as these, for fear of being evicted. Reforms wanted. More land and fixity of tenure. We cannot improve our lands at present as they will not support our families while we are improving them; but if we had enough of land to keep us on it the whole year round, and if we were made secure against fines and evictions from petty spite of the factor or other causes, we would improve it, and there would be no more heard of destitution in hard years like this. When the credit which this bad year drove us into is settled for, there will not be much of our stock left to us we think. Our delegates will be able to give evidence to all the above. The delegates appointed are MURDO M 'LEAN, NEIL GILLES, KENNETH M 'FIE, EWEN M 'LEA N.'
Mr Robertson, Grishornish.
—I wish to state to the tenants of Edinbane that whatever they state here, no notice of it will be taken by me whatever. They are quite at liberty to say whatever they choose.
3597. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—How many crofters are there in Edinbane
—Twenty-five whole crofts.
3598. How many of these are subdivided?
3599. That makes thirty-five families in possession of land ?
3600. Are you speaking for any other townships besides Edinbane ?
— Only for Edinbane.
3601. There was another township named Coshletter, are you not speaking for Coshletter?
—There are no tenants there; the landlord has it
3602. For how long has there been that number of tenants in Edinbane?
— t was at first apportioned out into twenty-five lots. That was long ago.
3603. You have been twenty-nine years a crofter; were they apportioned out when you first remember, twenty-nine years ago ?
—They were divided at that time as they are now.
3604. And were they divided long before that time ?
—Yes, I cannot tell how long it is since the division was made.
3605. Since how long have ten of those crofts been subdivided ?
—A long time before we came to Edinbane.
3606. Then there have been thirty-five families in possession so long as you remember?
3607. Are there any cottars upon these lands of Edinbane in addition to the thirty-five families holding land ?
3608. What number will there be?
—There are ten, I think.
3609. Have those ten families always been there?
3610. When did they come? Were they born there, or were they brought in there ?
—They were brought in. Most of them were brought in.
3611. Where were they brought in from ?
—Most of them from Coshletter and Grishornish.
3612. How many?
—Six were brought in from outside Edinbane. They came from Grishornish and Coshletter, one being from Grishornish.
3613. And four were born in Edinbane?
—Yes. There are four of these six paupers.
3614. How long is it since they were brought in ?
—It was in the late proprietor's time; he brought in four of them, and Mr Robertson two.
3615. Will that be twenty years ago ?
—It is more than twenty years since Mr M'Leod brought in the four.
3616. Do these cottars get part of their support from the thirty-five families who have land ?
—It is the land of the crofters which they have, but it is to Mr Robertson that they pay for all that.
3617. Are the cottars paying rent ?
—They are paying 5s. a year.
3618. Do the crofters find it a burden upon them to have those cottars situated among them ?
—The crofters will be helping them more than the cottars are a help to them.
3619. But except for these cottars, they are not more confined in their arable land than they were so long ago as your memory recollects ?
3620. Then your principal complaint is that you have not enough of land. Is that so ?
—We are complaining of the arable land. One crofter would need to have as much as any three of us have.
3621. Where would you expect to get this additional arable land?
—Is there not plenty of land waste in the Isle of Skye ? Is not the property of M'Leod waste altogether ? There are no more than three crofter townships on the M'Leod estate, and the rest all waste land,—sheep and deer.
3622. On the property of Grishornish is there arable land to be given to them outside of the home farm ?
3623. On Grishornish itself ?
3624. Is that land from which crofters have been removed ?
—Yes. It is from Coshletter we were brought, and there are many others in our township who were brought from Coshletter also, because of the sheep. This was when Mr Cameron bought the estate, and made Coshletter into a sheep tack and removed us from it.
3625. Have you any idea how long ago that was ?
—Twenty-nine years ago
3626. But twenty-nine years ago there seem to have been the same number of crofting holders that are there now. What became of the families in Edinbane before tne Coshletter people got possession of the Edinbane crofts ?
—Some of them went away to America and others to Australia. You have heard how the law officers were extinguishing their fires and knocking down their houses.
3627. And the Coshletter people went into these knocked-down houses?
—Yes, when they were removed from Coshletter themselves.
3628. You mentioned that when the houses are built by themselves, and when they are removed, they get compensation only for the roof. Have there been many removed of late years who had compensation given for the roofs of their houses ?
—None of late.
3629. How long is it since there have been any such removed ?
—Some of them got removings, but were not evicted. One got a removing this year, but was not evicted.
3630. Therefore there is no instance in your recollection of this compensation for the roof ?
—I do remember an instance of such compensation. When we ourselves came to Edinbane, we had to pay for the roofs of the houses which we got.
3631. Did you get compensation for the roofs which you left?
—I got a little, but others did not, for the shepherd went to live in the house in which I had been.
3632. Those only whose houses were made use of received compensation for the roof which they left ?
—Yes, that is so. Only those whose houses were made use of got compensation. I myself took the roof of my byre and stable with me to Edinbane, for I would not get anything for it.
3633. We are talking of twenty-nine years ago, and you do not remember any similar instance since ?
3634. You mentioned that they paid, in addition to their rent, seven days' labour, or, failing their giving the labour, 2s. a day. On what is the labour employed ?
—Reaping or cutting hay or grass.
3635. It is not upon your roads?
—No, it was upon the home farm.
3636. With such a croft of six or eight acres, you have a stock of four cows and twenty-four sheep and no horses ?
—Some have horses.
3637. What rent do they pay for that ?
—Some of them up to £8. But we have to pay 10s. additional for the wintering of the horse, and we have to take grazing for the horse elsewhere during the summer and autumn.
3638. Then the horse is not included in the rent?
3639. Setting apart last year, which was exceptional, has the produce of the arable land been diminishing ?
—Yes, the land is getting poorer and the crop scantier each year.
3640. What is the cause of that?
—Incessant cultivation for the past seventy years and more.
3611. Have you ever tried leaving out part of it, and seeing whether the remainder would not give a better crop ?
—We tried that; the land is very much exhausted. I tried grass in a part of it during the past three years, and I had to give it up.
3642. And you are of opinion that the land is not worth the rent it was originally worth ?
—You know the holding is so small, and as part of it cannot be left out of cultivation to enable it to recover, that is rendering it worthless.
3643. But you did not try leaving part of it out ?
3644. And that did not succeed with you ?
—-No ; not in grass. Those of course who had only half lots could not leave any part of it out.
3645. You mentioned that Mr Robertson kept a meal store, and that you dealt with it. Are you bound to deal with Mr Robertson for meal ?
—No, but his store is the most convenient.
3646. It is made a matter of complaint in this statement that they had to deal with Mr Robertson, as I understand ?
—Mr Robertson will not be pleased if we go elsewhere to buy.
3647. What are they paying to Mr Robertson for meal ?
—Last year 23s. a boll.
3648. At this moment?
—I do not know what the price is this year.
3649. Don't you know the price of the meal when you take it out of the store?
3650. The price is not fixed when you get it ?
3651. You said that Mr Robertson asks the first offer of the cattle. Is the price fixed when you give the cattle?
—He offers a price for them, and of course if the party gets a higher offer Mr Robertson does not insist on the beast being sold to him.
3652. Then is it a matter of complaint that Mr Robertson expects the first offer ?
—It is the case with the cattle very much as has been stated about the fodder and about the meal
3653. Do you sell corn to Mr Robertson?
—Yes, sometimes; some of them.
3654. Will the price be fixed when they sell it ?
3655. At the time?
3656. Then do they sell their cattle to anybody else than Mr Robertson ?
3657. And Mr Robertson does not take vengeance on them for that
3658. When do they know what the price of the meal is which they get from the store ?
—At the time of payment.
3659. When will that be ?
—At Sligachan, about September or Martinmas.
3660. "When they sell their cattle ?
—No; that is the time of payment independently of the times when they realise their stock.
3661. Is the price they have to pay dearer than that at which other meal-dealers in the country are selling it?
—For some time now no other meal-dealers come our way. There used to be vessels with meal
coming our way, but not since Mr Robertson has been keeping the store himself.
3662. But you know the price at which meal sells at Portree generally ?
3663. Is the price that is paid at Grishornish for meal dearer than the Portree prices ?
3664. What will the difference be between the Portree and Grishornish prices ?
—Those who buy in Portree would have to pay carriage for the meal from Portree,—those who would not themselves be able to carry it The meal in Portree was about £1 or 21s. a boll last year.
3665. And you were paying 23s. at Grishornish?
3666. Is that difference in price reasonable for the transport of the meal for that distance?
—The difference is more than the carriage would be accounting for.
3667. Will the 1s a boll pay for the carriage of the meal from Portree?
—That is the dearest it will be. Some of it is less than that.
3668. It is mentioned in the paper that there was a fine exacted for selling a stack of corn off the farm?
—The delegate is present from whom the fine was exacted, and he will speak. His name is Kenneth M'Fie.
3669. In regard to the stock, how long has the stock on the hill been on its present footing as to management?
—I cannot say how long it is since the sheep stock was made a joint stock.
3670. Is it long?
3671. Was it before Mr Robertson became factor?
—It was in the former proprietor's time, when Mr Macdonald of Orde had the management.
3672. Before then each man managed his own sheep for himself?
3673. Some of them had fewer sheep and some more. How did they get equal shares in the stock to begin with ?
—Those who had none or those who had less than their share did their best to buy from outsiders who had more than their summing of sheep.
3674. Now it is likely the people from outside had very little money to buy stock. Who advanced them the money to buy stock ?
—They got the money themselves. Those who had not sheep at all Mr Robertson supplied, for which they paid him money. My share was less than eighteen sheep, and I paid £18 for them to Mr Robertson.
3675. Am I to understand you had only six sheep of your own, and that you bought eighteen ?
—My family had two lots, and we had only six sheep on one of them. We had a whole share on the other one.
3676. Then the stock does actually belong to the tenant, and is not pledged in any way ?
—No, it is not pledged to the landlord or to any other.
3677. How is the stock managed?
—Do the people appoint any person there among themselves to manage the stock ?
3678. How many of them are there?
3679. Does the proprietor interfere with the management?
—We are at liberty to sell anything to the value of £10, but beyond £10 we are not at liberty to sell without the consent of Mr Robertson.
3680. There are six hundred sheep in the hill, I understand?
3681. Twenty-five shares of twenty-four sheep each ?
—There are twenty-nine shares.
3682. Twenty-nine whole shares ?
—Yes; there are twenty-eight shares, and the shepherd has one share as his wages.
3683. Then two of these shares Mx Robertson has himself?
3684. That makes twenty-five shares, and one for the shepherd and two for Mr Robertson, which makes twenty-eight These are the whole shares ?
—Yes, and the hotel-keeper has half a share, and another man who lives in Kerrol has another half share, making twenty-nine shares altogether.
3685. And there are twenty-four sheep on each share ?
3686. Are they selling lambs or wedders?
—We sell lambs.
3687. How many lambs will you sell in the season?
—Between 100 and 120 tups.
3688. Who has the selling of those lambs?
—We ourselves try to sell them, and Mr Robertson does the same.
3689. And to whom is the money paid?
—If we get the money we hand it to Mr Robertson, and if Mr Robertson gets it he keeps it.
3690. Have you no bank account?
3691. At what time of the year do you receive payment for your lambs from the purchaser ?
—The purchaser pays on delivery.
3692. What is the time of delivery
—About Lammas is the usual time, or past Lammas.
3693. And Mr Robertson keeps the money till Martinmas?
3694. And what they complain of is that they miss the interest of the purchase price of the cast for that time
—Yes, that is what we complain of.(see Appendix A. XVII)
3695. Do you have a settlement at Martinmas ?
3696. Is there ever a profit upon the stock after paying rent and expenses?
—It will not pay the rent and expenses altogether, but it is helping us to pay the rent very much.
3697. Do you hold more than one croft?
—Yes ; two crofts.
3698. And you are paying £16 of rent?
—I am paying £13.
3699. How much of that rent was paid last Martinmas by your profit off your two shares on the hill?
—£10, 10s. and some pence.
3700. So you had only £2, 10s. to pay besides for the croft?
3701. Mr Cameron.
—Is the wool of the old ewes you sell off the farm disposed of in the same way as the lambs ?
3702. That is to say, the money is paid over to Mr Robertson?
3703. Did you sell your wool last year?
—It is the wool-brokers in Glasgow who are buying the wool. They advance the money if it is not sold at Martinmas.
3704. And the old ewes are sold at the same time as the young lambs?
3705. And they are delivered, I suppose, at the usual time
—at the end of harvest ?
—Yes, except last year.
3706. You say that several of the lots in your township were reduced by one acre ?
3707. Do you know anything of that yourself?
—I know it was taken off them.
3708. Was it not taken off you?
3709. And it is also stated that no reduction of rent was given in consequence. Was that so ?
—Yes no reduction.
3710. What became of that one acre that was taken off?
—It was added to the innkeeper's farm.
3711. How many acres did the innkeeper get in that way?
—I cannot Bay.
3712. Off how many crofts was the one acre taken ?
—I do not know, but I think it was taken from three crofts.
3713. I suppose then the three crofts were all contiguous?
—They were all beside one another.
3714. And beside the innkeeper?
3715. So it came very handy for the innkeeper to get this land?
—Yes, it was just below the main road.
3716. Now, did these crofters ever ask for any reduction of rent ?
— They got the first year from a farm in Kerrol for it; more than what was taken from them.
3717. How far is Kerrol away from this place?
—It is just beside us— part of our town.
3718. How long did they retain that land?
—Only one or two years, till Mr Robertson came in, and he took that land away from them, and gave them no reduction.
3719. Are their holdings as they are now, without that acre which was taken off, as good, or better, or worse than the neighbouring holdings ?
— Well, they cannot be so well without this taken off them, and nothing got for it, when the rent is the same.
3720. But if the holding was originally much better, and he took off an acre, that might reduce the value of the holding to be equal with the others. Was that so, or did they all start equal ?
—These three crofts were equal with the other holdings.
3721. So, in consequence of the reduction of land, they are worse than the other holdings
3722. It is stated in your paper that the fishing should be distinct from the crofting. Will you explain what is meant exactly by that?
—If a man had as much land as would support his family all the year round, if he himself will not be about the croft working it, he cannot improve it, and bring it to its utmost cultivation. If a man had as much land as would support his family, the working of the land would keep him going without having to go to fish.
3723. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Then do you mean a fisherman should be a fisherman purely
—Yes, unless they would go to fish a little for their families.
3724. Mr Cameron.
—Then, as I understand, you think crofters should be crofters and fishermen should be fishermen, and that they should not intermix these occupations?
—Yes, but to get as much land as would enable him to support his family comfortably through the year; and if we would get that, I do not believe we would be troubling landlords or other people for help.
3725. But what do you mean by those who are to occupy themselves with fishing ? Do you mean the fishermen are to have no land
—I do not think that. I think every fisherman ought to have a little land along with his house.
3726. Then do you think the fishermen should not have as much land as the crofter Ì How much land
—I think the fisherman would not be able to manage so much as the crofter, as he would not be able to devote his time to fishing.
3727. Then you think there should be two classes—one of crofters with large crofts, and one of fishermen with small crofts?
—Yes. The fishermen with us have not very large boats, and they are only fishing as much as will keep their families going, and therefore, I think, so far as we are concerned, we should have the land, as much as would keep our families in comfort.
3728. Are you not aware that one of the great grievances through the whole of Skye, as generally understood, is that the very system which you speak of as a good system, has been carried out, namely, that the crofters have been moved from crofts where they have been comfortable, and put down on small crofts near the sea, where they have been expected to make up their livelihood by fishing?
—And is it not that which has spoiled them, and made them poor people Ì They were taken from other parts and packed by the sea-shore, and the best part of the land under sheep.
3729. Does that not agree with what you said just now, that crofters should be crofters, and that fishermen should have smaller holdings, and occupy themselves with fishing?
—I do not mean that such a fisherman ought to be among us at all. I do not mean that among us there should be people placed on small crofts, in order that they might devote themselves to fishing.
3730. Will you give in your own words your ideas how fishing should be prosecuted ?
—I myself have got two nets at home, and last year I did not fish more than a barrel of herring with them, and in that way, how could I depend upon fishing ? I am only losing my time with it.
3731. Then, will you say distinctly that fishing is altogether a mistake for the people in this district, and that it should be discontinued ?
—I know that a fisherman without land would not do in our place.
3732. It is mentioned in that statement that one of the crofters took in a lodger, and was fined for it. What was the lodger?
—He was a hawker—a rag collector
3733. What are the farms and deer forests you alluded to as being Macleod's property which were waste ?
—Minginish entirely, the parish of Bracadale altogether, except a little that was given to the cottars in Struan.
3734. Would all those large farms be suitable for crofters, or did you only mean a proportion of them?
—Yes, it is there that the crofters would get justice. The best land in Skye is there.
3735. Do you think those two farms of Glenbrittle and Talisker would make suitable crofting farms ?
—Was it not crofters that were on them before ? It is there that crofters would thrive—good strong land, if it were taken under cultivation now.
3736. And what would they do with the higher part of the land ?
— They would stock it with sheep and cattle.
3737. Have they got capital in order to do that?
—If they got good land it would be easier for them to get money. If they were located on the land in such a way as that neither landlord nor anybody else would interfere with them, they might get assistance from Government to buy the land.
3738. Have you any idea of the value of the sheep stock upon these two farms I have mentioned, at the present time ?
3739. What is the deer forest you allude to as being wasted?
3740. Do you know yourself where the deer forest is?
—In the Cuchullins and Minginish.
3741. Would the land where the deer are be suitable for crofters to cultivate ?
—Not in the upper parts of the mountains.
3742. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Was the paper you have handed in composed by the people themselves on the spot ?
—Yes, it was made up in Edinbane.
3743. Is there enough of land for the crofters upon the estate of Grishornish according to their views, apart from the landlord's own farm, that could be given back to them ?
—Yes, but M'Leod of M'Leod has much better land, if we could only get it.
3744. Will you explain now about the votes; do you mean Parliamentary votes, or what votes ?
—School board votes.
3745. One of the complaints is that Gaelic is not taught in the school. Why is that ? Does the school board prevent it ?
—I don't know, but the schoolmaster is a south country man, who has no Gaelic.
3746. Who is the chairman of the board ?
—I don't know.
3747. Is Mr Robertson one of the members of the board ?
3748. Can he speak Gaelic?
—He does not speak it, at any rate.
3749. Is he a Skye man ?
3750. Why does Mr Robertson wish to get from the people the first offer of their cattle, and wish them to go to his store ? Does he do so from philanthropic motives, or for the purpose of making a profit himself?
—To make profit to himself, no doubt.
3751. Do you wish to abolish the two things? Would the people rather be free of this first offer, and free of the store ? Would you prefer that the store was not there
—We were, at the beginning of this spring, very much in straits for meal, and we thought that he should have had a constant supply of meal in his store, and were it not for the supply of meal that Dr Fraser got, there would some of us have perished.
3752. Then, there was not meal in the store all the year round ?
— There was no meal at that time.
3753. You state that sometimes Mr Robertson sells the sheep for them, and sometimes they sell them themselves, and when they sell they give the money to Mr Robertson. When he sells for them about Lammas, does he tell them, when he sells, what he gets, or do they know nothing about it till Martinmas ?
—He tells us the price at the time.
3754. And the only complaint they have about that is the loss of the interest ?
3755. Is the present proprietor of age?
3756. How long is it since the late Grishornish died ?
—I cannot exactly say.
3757. Is it ten years ?
—It is more than that.
3758. Has Mr Robertson been the factor all the timel
3759. Was the late Mr M'Leod of Grishornish a good landlord
—We were putting up with him as he was.
3760. Then who was his predecessor? Was it a man commonly called Corriechoilie ?
3761. How long was he proprietor?
—A few years.
3762. Who had it before him?
—Mrs Murray, the widow of Mr Murray of Grishornish, and it was left with her in liferent.
3763. Do you recollect when it belonged to the family of M'Leod ?
—I remember when M'Leod of M'Leod bought Grishornish.
3764. But when it originally parted from the family ?
—M'Leod sold it shortly before he became bankrupt.
3765. Have you any idea how long ago the first parting from the family took place?
—No, that was before my time. When Sheriff Macdonald was, I think, in Grishornish; it was he who was selling the land in Grishornish, and other portions of the estate.
3766. What object had Mr Robertson in making voters for the school board ? Is the election not conducted by ballot ?
—His reason was that he was expecting to get some votes himself in consequence. I cannot be sure, but that is what I think.
3767. Has there been any contest in the parish for the school board ?
—Did you ever give a vote yourself?
—Yes, there was a contest.
3768. Did Mr Robertson, or anybody in his behalf, ask the people for their votes ?
—I cannot say that Mr Robertson did ask us out and out.
3769. Sheriff Nicolson.
—Had you a brother in the army ?
3770. Was your father a crofter?
3771. What rank did your brother rise to?
3772. The Chairman.
—You stated that in your opinion there ought to be large crofters, and that there ought to be fishermen separately, with small portions of land. Can you tell me whether you ever heard of a crofter being anywhere removed from his croft for the purpose of improving the crofts of those who remained behind, or whether when a person is removed from his croft the land is always given to a tacksman or farmer ?
—I am not aware that crofters have been removed from townships for the
purpose of bettering the condition of those who are left behind, or that crofters have been removed from holdings for the purpose of having better holdings given to them.