EWAN MORRISON, Crofter, Drumuie (74)—examined.
1259. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected a delegate by the people of Drumuie ?
1260. How long have you been upon your croft?
—I am that age upon it, and my father before me.
1261. What is the size of your croft, and what is the rent you pay?
— £5 is my rent, exclusive of rates.
1262. How many cows and how many stirks?
—Four cows, without followers, and a horse.
1263. How many acres of arable ground?
—I think about 4 acres; much of it useless for crops.
1264. How much was the rent when you were a boy?
1265. When was it raised?
—A short time since it was raised by Tormore 3s. in the pound.
1266. What are the complaints which are made by the people whom you represent at Drumuie ?
—Their one particular complaint is that they are in a confined township, without sea or hill pasture, and we had hill pasture before now.
1267. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—How many crofts are there in Drumuie
—Six crofts, and six families occupy the six crofts.
1268. The Chairman.
1269. About how many?
—Two cottars, but they don't pay anything to us at any rate. We particularly want hill pasture; we cannot live without it.
1270. When was the hill pasture taken away ?
—The factor took it from us, and added it to another township.
1271. What township?
—It was added to the farm which is now occupied by Mr Mackay, the home farm of Portree.
1272. How long is that ago?
—A long time since; I believe fifty years ago. A little reduction was made at that time in our rent. We made some work on our lots ; we got some rent remitted to us on account of that. We are paying the interest of that money till now, though it should have been paid out in sixteen years. But the pasture connected with our township is so bad that it is not worth walking over. Our families cannot exist in our townships for want of sheep stock—buying everything that the family needs, and having no sheep, and the only thing we want is the hill pasture.
1273. If you had a hill pasture would you find stock to put on it?
1274. Could you pay rent for the hill pasture?
—Yes, every crofter in our township could do that.
1275. Have you ever asked the factor or the proprietor to give you hill pasture ?
—We did not ask our present factor. We never asked hill pasture—I did not at any rate; but we intended.
1276. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Do you complain at all of the rent?
— We do not complain anything particularly of that, if we would only get the hill pasture. We want the late increase in our rents to be taken off; about 3s. in the £ .
1277. Are the crofts worse than they were, or are you able to get crops still on your land ?
—Our crops are much worse than they used to be. It is not much use over and above feeding our stock. It will not altogether feed our stock. We have to provender for them otherwise.
1278. What provender do you buy generally?
—£3 to £4 worth of corn.
1279. Straw or hay?
—Just as happens to be most obtainable.
1280. The Chairman.
—Have you anything more you wish to state before you retire ?