Appendix XXIII

1.—NUMBER of DECREES of REMOVING from Agricultural Small Holdings obtained against Crofters on the various Estates in the Isle of Skye in each year from 1840 to 1883 inclusive, ascertained from the Records Decrees of of the Sheriff Court at Portree.

Columns:
1 - Lord Macdonald's Estate
2 - Macleod's Estate
3 - Glendale & Husabost
4 - Waternish, Stein and Lochbay
5 - Greshornish
6 - Coishletter
7 - Edinbane, Skeabost and Bernisdale
8 - Skeabost and Bernisdale
9 - Lynedale
10 - Triaslan, Clachanish
11 - Kilmuir
12 - Strathaird
13 - Raasay & Rona
14 - Yearly totals
Year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

1840

36

6

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

49

1841

46

7

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

7

0

54

1842

33

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

41

1843

40

10

3

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

6

11

72

1844

40

15

0

1

0

0

9

0

2

0

0

1

0

68

1845

26

6

2

0

0

0

9

0

0

0

0

3

11

57

1846

41

4

6

0

0

0

6

0

1

5

0

0

23

86

1847

52

2

4

4

2

0

8

0

0

4

0

0

8

83

1848

30

13

0

1

1

0

8

0

1

8

0

5

8

75

1849

53

0

2

0

0

2

7

0

7

2

0

0

4

77

1850

73

22

5

8

0

0

12

0

1

0

0

7

4

132

1851

10

2

1

5

0

0

9

0

0

1

0

5

6

39

1852

47

11

0

2

0

2

7

0

0

1

0

6

8

84

1853

38

9

1

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

0

4

4

62

1854

12

13

3

0

0

0

11

0

0

1

0

4

6

50

1855

9

14

3

0

0

0

3

0

0

1

0

5

1

41

1856

17

5

3

1

0

0

7

0

0

0

3

1

0

38

1857

17

5

1

1

0

0

4

0

2

1

10

1

2

44

1858

6

10

0

1

0

0

5

0

0

0

6

0

2

30

1859

4

6

2

2

1

0

4

0

1

1

1

0

2

24

1860

9

0

7

1

0

0

12

0

0

1

5

1

1

37

1861

16

2

5

2

0

0

16

0

2

1

1

0

1

40

1862

6

2

3

4

0

0

6

0

0

0

11

0

0

32

1863

11

8

9

1

0

0

2

0

0

2

7

2

2

44

1864

13

2

4

0

0

0

3

0

4

2

24

1

3

56

1865

13

5

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

32

0

0

52

1866

8

5

2

2

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

3

23

1867

5

2

7

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

2

2

0

21

1868

3

7

3

2

0

0

2

0

1

0

1

0

0

24

1869

2

3

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

4

5

25

1870

11

2

5

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

1

0

1

23

1871

10

2

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

2

1

0

1

19

1872

3

1

5

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

16

1873

3

2

3

0

0

0

0

8

1

1

2

0

0

20

1874

5

2

1

3

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

14

1875

5

2

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

1

14

1876

4

3

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

13

1877

2

1

2

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

3

0

0

11

1878

6

1

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

12

1879

4

2

2

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

2

0

0

12

1880

3

1

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

0

0

10

1881

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1882

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1883

0

0

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

Total

776

223

112

55

5

4

165

18

27

38

124

67

126

1740

The above Decrees have proceeded on Summonses containing on an average 4 sets of Defenders each. The above total therefore multiplied by 4 gives the number of Heads of families warned to remove as 6960. And taking 5 as the average number of individuals in each family, gives £34,800.
As the number of individuals of the Crofter Class in the Isle of Skye, who between the years 1840 and 1883 have had the fact of the insecurity of their tenure impressed upon by process of Law directly affecting them, and at an expense to the 6960 Heads of families of an average at 10s. each = £3480, stg. DUGALD MACLACHLAN

2.—REPLY by ALEXANDER MACDONALD, Esq. of Treaslane, Skye.

PORTREE, November 9, 1883.

My attention has recently been drawn to the alleged statistics of summonses of removal, issued at the instance of proprietors in the island of Skye, against tenants and crofters during a considerable number of years past. While calling in question the accuracy of these reports or statistics, and drawing attention to the absence of all detailed information respecting them, I beg leave to make the following general remarks on the subject for the information of the Commission, viz., 1st, the number of summonses issued does not of course show that all the persons summoned to remove were actually removed, and it cannot safely be inferred from the fact of the summonses being issued that even a very small proportion of the persons warned were actually removed under them.
Before a person can be ejected under a summons of removal, the following steps of procedure are necessary, viz., (1) a decree of removing must be pronounced, (2) the decree of removing must be extracted, (3) there must be a charge of removing following upon the decree, (4) this is followed by an ejectment or eviction.
It must therefore be manifest that if it be intended to show that all the persons said to have been summoned to remove in consequence of the summonses were actually evicted or ejected, the statistics given should have been not the number of summonses of removal issued, but the number of decrees of removal extracted and followed by eviction. If even the number of decrees of removal extracted were given, the proportion which they would have to the decrees of removal pronounced, but not extracted, would be found to be extremely small. Besides this it is the fact that many extracted decrees of removal are never followed up by eviction. It therefore follows that even the numbers of extracted decrees of removal, and far more so the number of summonses issued, would be utterly misleading and valueless as affording any index to, or evidence of, the number of ejections or evictions. The truth is that summonses of removal have, in by far the greater number of cases in Skye, been used for one or other of the following purposes :—viz., (1) For the enforcement of payment of arrears of rent It would be found, and could be proved on investigation, that non-payment of rent accounts for fully nine-tenths or more of the whole summonses of removal issued. That this is the case is perfectly notorious among the crofters themselves, and they perfectly well knew that if they paid their rents they had nothing to fear from the summonses. The inference accordingly to be drawn from the large number of summonses of removal said to have been issued is, that there was a very large number of tenants who required to be summoned to remove in order to enforce payment of arrears of rent. It may be explained that the reasons for raising summonses of removal in order to procure payment of arrears of rent rather than the common method of recovering by raising ordinary summonses for debt, were and are the practical difficulty of identifying the stock and effects of crofters, such being very frequently alleged, when legal diligence was used, to belong to persons other than the crofters or tenants, as, for example, to their fathers, brothers, or sisters, &c. In short, the true deduction to be drawn from the existence of a large number of summonses of removal is that it would, in justice to the proprietor, to be most unsafe and inexpedient to give anything like the desired fixity of tenure to tenants or crofters against whom it was necessary to issue so many summonses of removal for non-payment of rent.
(2) The next most usual cause for issuing summonses of removal (after that of non-payment of rent) was and is for the maintenance of order and justice among the tenants or crofters themselves. It frequently happened that on account of disputes between neighbouring townships about marches and various other matters of contention, it became necessary to warn the whole of the tenants or crofters of a township. Every factor who has any experience in dealing with large bodies of small tenants must be able to recall many instances of the absolute necessity of using summonses of removal in cases of the kind just mentioned in order to bring about a settlement. Besides disputes between townships of crofters, a great many summonses of removal are also to be accounted for by the necessity of using them in order to settle disputes between individual crofters or several crofters in the same or different townships, as, for example, in cases of tenants being very quarrelsome and abusive to their neighbours, or keeping a large overstock of sheep, cattle, horses, to the prejudice of their neighbours, &c. In fine, the instances in which summonses of removal had to be used for the purpose of preserving order and discipline among the crofters themselves are far too numerous to mention in detail. As showing the small number of instances in which summonses of removing in Skye have been extracted and followed by enforced eviction or ejection, I may mention that although I have myself been acting as factor, assistant factor, and law agent on most of the Skye estates for the last twenty years or thereby, I can remember only four or five enforced evictions of crofters at the hands of the officers of the law, and these were, with, I believe, one exception only, on account of misbehaviour or misconduct on the part of the crofters, and complaints by their neighbours in consequence.
Finally, I may be allowed to point out that changes rendering summonses of removal necessary might frequently be required for the public benefit on improving estates. Such summonses or changes would not be required on estates where there was little going on. I shall feel much obliged by your acknowledging receipt of this communication, which I trust you will be good enough to engross in the records of the Commission as a reply to statements on the other side made with the intention of showing that there have of late years been as many evictions in Skye as there were summonses of removal.

ALEX. MACDONALD, Factor, & c

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