Stenscholl, Skye, 11 May 1883 - John Mackenzie

JOHN MACKENZIE, Crofter, Malagir (68)—examined.

2788. The Chairman.
—How many years have you been on the croft?
— since I was born. I was born on the croft; my father had it before me.

2789. Have you been elected a delegate freely?

2790. You are an old man, and you remember old times. Can you tell us whether you believe the people were much better off when you were young than they are now?
—I can say with truth that they were better off in my young days than they are now.

2791. Were they better dressed than they are now, or were they more substantially dressed ?
—Yes, they were shod and clothed much better than they are today.

2792. Did they make their own shoes, or did they buy their shoes in those days ?
—I used to buy them.

2793. Sheriff Nicolson.
—But was it common for people to buy them ?
—Yes, we used to buy boots, and make the shoes at home with thongs of leather.

2794. The Chairman.
—Were they better fed in those days than they are now ?
—Yes, doubtless.

2795. In what respect was their food better than it is now?
—They can only live now by practising the utmost economy. I remember in my own township none of the families would need to go to borrow from another family. They were not in the necessity of borrowing anything when they were tenants of Lord Macdonald.

2796. Had they to buy meal ?
—We would be buying but very little at that time. Some families would not need to buy half a boll of meal from end to end of the year, and there might be some families able to sell meal

2797. Were the potatoes better in those days ?

2798 Was that the time they made kelp ?
—They were making kelp at one time ; those of the crofters who were living near the shore.

2799. Did the Malagir people make kelp?
—No, the Malagir people were too far up on the hill. They are not getting the use of the sea in any way. They have no road. Our children cannot go to school in bad

2800. The Chairman.
— Has your place lost any hill pasture ?
—Yes, the whole district was entirely deprived of hill pasture, and our stock are crowded in so that they arc spoiled.

2801. We have heard of several places losing hill pasture. Was that hill pasture all in one lot, or was it in several different places throughout the country ?
—It was held in common by the different townships. No township was prohibiting another.

2803. Was it a very large place ?
—It was a very wide pasture, and was better than three times its own area. After our being deprived of the hill our rent was raised. It was more than doubled on us.

2803. Is it being diminished now ?
—Yes, it was reduced by 5s. in the pound, but that is only the good-will of the proprietor for the year. We have no assurance of its being continued.

2804. If you had the assurance that it would be continued, would that give you some satisfaction ?
—Unless we got the rent reduced to a sober rent we cannot hold up to it long. We will soon lose all we have. Our stock has got reduced, and our money has gone. We were hearing of good news from Ireland. We were much inclined to turn rebels ourselves in order to obtain the same benefits.

2805. Have the people, in consequence of discontent, done any injury to the proprietor or the factor or any other person in authority ?
—No, I am not aware that anything of the sort took place.

2805a. Have you been a fisherman ?
—No, I was living on the hill.

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