DONALD M 'INNES, Crofter, Duisdale (75)—examined.
5388. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected a delegate
5389. Are you a fisherman also ?
—No, I have become too old for that.
5390. Were you a fisherman ?
5391. The following is the statement from Duisdale Beg:
—'The chief complaint here seems to be that the rent is too high for the amount of land held. I n one case, it was explained that the land is exceedingly wet, and required to be drained. It was also stated that two pieces of hill pasture were taken from them without the rent being reduced. It was agreed to appoint Donald M'Innes as a delegate from Duisdale Beg. Have you got any statement to add ?
—Not much. We are four of us, who have a bit of ground as I have, and the four of us can only keep a stock equal to what is kept upon a full lot. We four of us only have half a lot each. One of us, who occupies a piece of a lot, pays £12 for that piece, and is only able to keep upon it two cows, and the other two pay £2, 15s. and one £4, 15s.
5392. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—What pasture did they lose?
—It was a piece which was upon the hill taken off our pasture. The part of our grazing which was taken from us was a piece that extended to the back of the tack marching with us, and it was taken from us in order to straighten the march.
5393. Was the march then fenced?
5394. Was there no iron fence put up ?
5395. What was it straightened for ?
—Because the tacksman had ground on each side of it; on the north and south of this piece which was taken from us.
5396. Was there not a trifling reduction of rent on account of this?
5397. Who is the tacksman?
—Mr Macdonald, Ord. We had it for a year before Mr Macdonald got the tack on the other side, and when he got the tack he insisted upon getting this piece of our ground also.
5398. Did you only have this piece of ground for one year?
—We had it for one year, but it always belonged to our place.
5399. Sheriff Nicolson.
—How long have you been there yourself?
— From the time the township was originally settled,
—all but seven years.
5400. What do you mean by settling the township
—was it from the first of it ?
—Yes. Tormore made the township to give it to poor people.
5401. There were no poor people there before ?
—No, it was part of a tack previously. It belonged to the tack of Knock, and before then one farmer had it.
5402. Where did you come from yourself ?
—From Strath. I was in Boreraig, and when Boreraig and Suishnish were cleared I came here was going to the landlord with my rent for the lot, and I was turned back, and he told me my lot had been given to another person.
5403. What lot?
—It was in Drumfearn that I got a place after I was put out of Boreraig. My rent for it was refused at Martinmas, so that I could be summoned to be removed at the next term.
5404. Do you remember about the removal of tho people from Boreraig ?
—Very welL I was upwards of thirty years there.
5405. Were your people there before you %
—Yes, my grandfather was paving rent to the first of the Macdonalds who came into tho property.
5406. Were there not some great hardships endured when these people were put out of Boreraig ?
—Yes, there were some of the people perished through the hardships
—putting them out of the houses.
5407. Did you see that yourself ?
—Yes. I was neighbouring with the people, and I knew them perfectly well
—as well as I knew any of my family.
5408. Did more than one person perish ?
—One man perished. It was in time of snow when they were evicted.
5409. Was that the cause of his death?
—His death was caused by his being evicted in bad weather out of the house.
5410. What time of the year was it ?
—Winter and spring.
5411. Were you in a comfortable condition while you were there?
— Yes, until others were put upon us there; when other townships were cleared, and the inhabitants were placed among us.
5412. How long were you at Drumfearn ?
—Not above three years.
5413. Why were you put out of that ?
—The ground officer preferred to give my lot to another. (see Appendix A. XXIV)
5414. How many cows have you in Duisdale ?
5415. How many sheep ?
—Two or three.
5416. A horse?
5417. Of course you have to live altogether upon bought meal ?
5418. How do you make the money to pay for it ?
—By selling my stock and earning the rent.
5419. Do you work yourself?
5420. At what ?
—Herding cattle and sheep.
5421. How much did you pay for meal since the new year ?
—Four or five bolls along with the little potatoes I had.
5422. What beasts did you sell last year ?
5423. What did you get for them ?
—£4 or £5 for one, and £3,10s. for another.
5424. Is that an ordinary thing for you in the year?
—Sometimes, according to the price that is going. There is another thing. Where we are to-day upwards of twenty families from Camuscross cut their peats on our cow's grazing.
5425. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—You seem poorly clad ; have your circumstances fallen off since you were a younger man ?
5426. Have you a family to help to support you ?
—I have only two of my famdy staying with me.
5427. The Chairman.
—How many different places have you been settled in during your life ?
—In the three—Boreraig, Drumfearn, and Duisdale.
5428. Where were you born ?
—Strathaird. I was taken to Boreraig when I was twenty days old. I was thirty-five years in Boreraig ; then I was taken to Drumfearn, where I was for three years; and then I was brought to Duisdale.
5429. Then you have been removed from Boreraig to Drumfearn, and from Drumfearn to Duisdale. Have you a better or worse croft in Duisdale than in Drumfearn ?
—The croft which I have would not be worse than the one I had at Drumfearn, if there were means of draining it.
5430. And the croft you had at Drumfearn, was that better or worse than the one you had at Boreraig ?
—It was not better.
5431. Was it worse ?
—Yes, it was worse than the one I had at Boreraig.
5432. What was the name of the eviction in which you said some one perished ?
—Boreraig and Suishnish. The man belonged to Suishnish,
5433. Where were these people removed to ?
—Some of them were sent to this part of the country, and others to Breakish in Strath.
5434. Did the man perish on account of the exposure he was put to or was he a person in weak health who might have perished otherwise?
—The man was found dead at his own door after he had been evicted. That was when the trustees had the property.
5435. Were the houses pulled down and the fires extinguished? Did the people go out against their will'?
—Yes ; their fires were extinguished, and their houses knocked down, and themselves put out very much against their will—the officers compelling them.
5436. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—What was the name of the person who died ?
5437. About the drainage of your present croft, have you applied to the factor to have drainage effected upon your crofts ?
—Not much. "We have not done much yet. The factor himself is seeing the crofts are wet.
5438. But if the factor would employ you to drain the crofts, would the land be very much benefited ?
—Yes; what we ourselves drain is doing welL
5439. Would you pay a little additional rent as interest on the money the factor spent in wages ?
—Yes, we would be willing enough to pay interest, if it would not be very heavy.
5440. Is the land which you yourself drained benefited very much by it ?
5441. Does it bear better crops ?
—Yes, very much.
5442. Are the potatoes healthier ?
—Yes, but sometimes the river which passes near the ground of some of our number takes away our potato ground.