ANGUS M’LEAN, Crofter, Lower Hallistra (63)—examined.
3054. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely chosen a delegate by your people ?
3055. What representations or statement have you to make here on Angus behalf of those who sent you ?
—We desire to get help to feed ourselves M'Lean. and our stock.
3056. What kind of help? In what form?
—Hill pasture. (see Appendix A. VII). No crofter can do well without sheep and horses. He is not a farmer without these. I have nothing more to say just now, but if we would get that I think we would be better off than we are.
3057. Professor Mackinnon.
—How many crofters are there in your particular township ?
—Seven paying rent. The landlord has his shepherd on another croft. We are together eight crofters.
3058. What is your stock ?
—Some have two cows, and someone.
3059. How many acres will there be in the croft ?
—I have never heard the acreage.
3060. Off and on?
—Just as Donald M'Kinnon's.
3061. And you have not a bit of arable ground behind the fence ?
—No ; I am in the same township with Donald M'Kinnon. He is one of the seven.
3062. The Chairman.
—Do you agree generally with what Donald M'Kinnon said?
3063. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Is there a demand for crofts? If one of the occupiers wishes to give up his croft, is there any great demand for it in the neighbourhood ?
—No; one of us, a crofter, has given up his croft already, and I do not see any demand for it.
3064. Has it not been occupied since ?
—He has given it up at this present term.
3065. And nobody has asked for it ?
—No, I have not heard.
3066. Where did that crofter go to ?
—It is - the post,' and he is in the house yet.
3067. Has he cropped the land this year ?
3068. Is the land under crop ?
—Yes ; it is vacant.
3069. The Chairman.
—If the croft were offered at a lower rent, would there be people inclined for it ?
—Yes, I am sure that if the rent were less somebody would take it.
3070. Has there been any increase in the number of farmers in Hallistra in your time ?
—I cannot say.
3071. Are there more than eight families in Hallistra as well as crofts?
3072. Professor Mackinnon.
3073. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Were there always eight since you remember ?
3074. And what becomes of the young people ?
—When our land was cut into crofts we were put down by the sea-shore. The young people leave the country.
3075. Can they not get houses here?
—Yes, they must go away to earn money for us and for themselves.
3076. Are there peats near at hand?
—No, our peat moss is two miles away from us, and I have to carry the peats on my back.
3077. The other witness talked of cart-loads of sea-ware. Do you hire horse labour both for the peats and for the sea-ware ?
—No, a cart cannot travel our way.
3078. Do you require horse labour to cultivate your land?
—No, not now. I t is just turning it with the cas chrom and the spade.
3079. Professor Mackinnon.
—Your memory can go easily back before the time that the crofts were split up, and I understand the rent has not been changed since. What was the rent before?
—I pay now £8, 5s. of rent; and before the lots were cut up I could keep four milk cows for that sum and two horses, and as many sheep as the place would carry. There was no summing.
3080. How many sheep ?
—There were some with six or seven, some ten or twelve, and up to twenty. Some, perhaps, would have none.
3081. Four cows, two horses, and twenty sheep for £8, and now two cows for £8, 5s. ?
—I have two cows and a two-year-old, and for the past five years I have been paying 12s. additional for grazing for them.
3082. The Chairman.
—Has any return or reduction of rent been made within the last two or three years ?
—No, it is the same rent we are paying for the twenty-five years during which we have been in our present crofts.
3083. Where were you before?
—I was down at Trumpan before that.
3084. Mr Cameron.
—Does the £S, 5s. include rates and taxes I
—The rates and taxes are exclusive of the £8, 5s.
3085. The Chairman.
—Do you pay for a doctor?
—I think we pay 2s. in the pound between poor and school rates. Wo don't pay doctor's money.
3086. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Do you pay road money ?
3087. Professor Mackinnon.
—Is there a road?