ALEXANDER M'LEAN, Crofter, Lower Meiloveg (50)—examined.
7610. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—How many crofts do you hold?
7611. You held at one time two crofts ?
7612. How long is it since then ?
—About nine years ago.
7613. How long did you hold these two crofts ?
—About twenty years.
7614. It is said you paid £20 for entrance to a croft; is that true?
—Yes; and I had to pay it at once.
7615. Was that for one of these two crofts you speak of?
—Yes, one which a widow had.
7616. Did you retain it for twenty years after getting possession of it?
—No; the croft was taken from me in a year or two afterwards.
7617. Then had you at one time three crofts?
7618. When did you pay this £20 ?
—About ten years ago.
7619. Had you two crofts before then ?
—No. The crofts had been set about forty-five years ago, and my father had these two crofts. A sister
of mine married, and she had no place to go to, and my brother gave her one of the lots. Her husband died of fever in Greenock, and left four orphans, and the orphans got on the poors' roll for a year or two. The widow married then, and her husband was not wanting to have anything to do with the orphans. Her children were left with me, and the poor relief was taken from them. Arrears accumulated on the widow during the time she occupied the lot, and it was a lot which was lotted out for the fish-curer originally. It was not safe for any one to get this lot, for the landlord could take it from them at any time; and when Tormore came to be factor he asked me to pay the arrears which had accumulated on the widow. I said there would be no use in my doing so, and I would not do so, for whenever I commenced to take the fish the lot would be taken from me. He said if I would pay the arrears the land would be mine, and it would not be taken from me, I accordingly paid £20.
7620. How long ago was that ?
—About ten years ago. The next year he served me with a summons of removal from that lot. I got a summons to remove twice before I let it go, and when I saw he was following me with these summonses of removal, I thought it was as well to let the croft go, and I did so. I spoke to him when he was last at Hamara about it, and asked him for the £ 20 back. He said it was not into his pocket the £20 went, and I said it did not matter to me into whose pocket it went —it was to him I gave it.
7621. Was the name of your brother-in-law ever put into the rent book?
—It was he who was paying it to the landlord, but it was my father's name which was in the lot,
7622. And it was against your father and against you that the arrears stood in the book?
—Yes, they had no business with me; but they knew they could not get the money from my father, and therefore they fixed upon me for it.
7623. The Chairman.
—Is it the custom for incoming tenants in this country to pay arrears of out-going tenants ?
—It was the practice, unless it is now given up.