NEIL M'LEOD, Crofter and Fisherman, Braig (35)—examined.
8092. The Chairman.
—Have you been freely elected by the people of Braig?
8093. How many families are there in Braig?
8094. Will you make a statement?
—I wish to state simply what others have said—heavy rent. We were put in Braig ten years ago, and where we were before we could keep four cows. We have only two now. I think they died because of the scantiness of the grazing on our crofts.
8095. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Do you mean you took four there, and two of them died?
—Yes, two died.
8096. How many families are there on the crofts?
—There is a family on each croft.
8097. What is the summing?
—Four cows, but three were quite enough to get justice.
8098. Any sheep?
8099. No horses?
—No, but there is one ass next to the lighthouse.
8100. Any stirks?
8101. Four cows, one stirk, and five sheep?
8102. What is the rent?
8103. How many animals have you got on your own croft?
—Two cows, one stirk, and five sheep.
8104. Has the rent been raised in your recollection?
—Yes, it was Mackay who raised it. He shifted us from Dryharbour to the place where we are now, near the lighthouse, that he might get additional rent of the place, and he laid £ 20 upon the three of us.
8105. Has the present proprietor done anything to improve your houses or your holdings?
—No, nothing. We ourselves built our houses in Mackay's time.
8106. Do you live chiefly by fishing?
—I am one of the hands of the lighthouse packet.
8107. What would you propose to do in order to improve your position?
— I think, if the people were thinned, that those who remained would get proper pieces of land.
8108. How would you thin the people?
—They would be shifted up to the townships which are waste in Raasay.
8109. Suppose that the proprietors showed a disposition to shift some of the people on to the vacant land, would others of them be, in that case, more inclined to emigrate if Government gave them encouragement?
—I have not ascertained that they would be willing to emigrate. They think that they would make a living in this place itself if it was left to a few.
8110. Do you know any people in this country who have emigrated to Australia or to America?
—To New Zealand.
8111. Do you know whether they are paying rent there, or whether they are settled on land belonging to themselves?
—I don't know.
8112. Do you know, whether generally in Canada or Australia, when people go there, they remain in the position of tenants, or get land of their own?
—I think that they get land until they pay for it.
8113. What do you mean! That they get the land on credit?
—Yes, until they pay for it.
8114. Does it take them long to pay for it generally?
—Some of them I understand get twenty years or thereby to pay it.
8115. You agree generally with what you have heard the others say?