Lochinver, Sutherland, 27 July 1883 - Evander Mciver

EVANDER M’IVER [Factor for the Duke of Sutherland, transcriber's note]

27640. The Chairman.
—There is a statement which we have heard to-day for the first time, with reference to this part of the country, and that is that the arrears of rent of the outgoing tenant are exacted from the incoming tenant as a condition of his admission?
—The rents of the small tenants are paid at the term of Martinmas for the year from the Whitsunday preceding to the Whitsunday following, but the crop of the following year is the crop for which that rent is paid. The tenant goes away at Whitsunday, and the crop has to be reaped off the lot. The tenant who comes in generally gets that, and the incoming tenant pays the arrears, which is really the debt of the outgoing tenant.

27641. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Who gets the crop?
—The man who goes in.

27642. The Chairman.
—He gets the crop and pays the value of the crop?
—No, he pays the rent.

27643. Do you pay in anticipation upon that crop?

27644. When a tenant leaves the property for one reason or another, we may say one or two years in arrears of rent, is such a sum ever exacted from the incoming tenant as a condition of his being admitted to the holding?
—A year's rent is sometimes charged, but the year's rent gives him the right to crop the lot that year.

27645. But the year's rent charged to them may be more than the value of that particular crop?
—Yes, but it is paying the debt of the man who is going away. It is not paid to the Duke, it is paid to account of that tenant.

27646. But still the Duke or proprietor may receive it in part payment of arrears of rent?
—He does.

27647. But more than a year's arrears is never exacted?
—I cannot condescend upon any particulars regarding it. I cannot tax my memories whether two rents or one rent was paid; but I am certain that one year's rent is sometimes paid. But it is very rare.

27648. You don't remember in the period of your management ever having exacted more than one year's rent?
—I don't at this moment.

27619. Do you think it impossible that it could have been paid?
—I would not say it is impossible. I cannot say.

27650. There is again the question of the increase of rent payable upon the death of the outgoing tenant. We understood from you yesterday that that was by no means an increase of rent which was liable to indefinite continuation, it would not be payable upon a long series of successions?
—Previous to the valuation which was made of the small crofts in this district, when the tenant died a small sum was sometimes added in the case of a son succeeding the father, but never in the case of a widow succeeding her husband; but since the valuation of the lands was made the additional rent fixed by these valuators was charged.

27651. That is to say when the limit of valuation has been reached, no further addition will be made in connection with death?
—It appears to me that there is a misapprehension in the minds of the people who have spoken on that subject.

27652. Do you think they thoroughly understand it, or have they been unwilling to understand it?
—They have so many misunderstandings that I am not at all surprised at it; they have so many misunderstandings as to what is done by the landlord's agent

27653. Don't you think it would be desirable to make it thoroughly understood by them that there will be an end at a particular point, to these increases upon death?
—That I thought they always understood.

27654. A grievance has been spoken of in connection with the salmon fisheries, of the suppression of liberty to fish with the short lines on the shore; could not some arrangement be made in connection with that question?
—I think that is a most absurd complaint. The number of bag nets is small over an immense stretch of coast. They are only about 100 yards out from the sea-shore, and if the people go beyond that, as they generally do, the nets should be no hindrance. The nets are fixed to the land at one end, and the other end is secured by two anchors, so that they never move. If the people go with their lines close to these nets it is possible they may come in contact with ropes and nets. But the bag nets are not more than 100 yards from the shore.

27655. There is no prohibition on the part of the estate management of fishing of that kind?
—No, I never heard of a complaint until this day.

27656. Do you think it is possible that the men in connection with the salmon fishery interfere with or pull up or destroy the short lines?
—I am sure they don't. They have no business to interfere with them.

27657. If the lines cross them by accident?
—Yes; or by people setting their lines too close to the bag nets.

27658. One of the delegates to-day read a long paper in which several instances of alleged injustice or oppression were mentioned as occurring to poor persons, and especially of the class of widows. What remarks would you like to make upon that subject?
—A great many of the statements made to-day were perfectly new to me; I never heard of them before, and did not know such complaints could be made. The complaints I heard made were in connection with the improvement of the farm of Clashmore. Clashmore was a township with a lot of small tenants in it. They cultivated the lots very partially, and the Duke of Sutherland one day, standing on the hill pasture, asked me, would it not be a good thing for the employment of the people if we were to set agoing a small farm here, on which we could show the people what crops could be grown by proper trenching and drainage, and farming on the regular rotation. I said I thought it would be a good thing indeed, and would give a great deal of employment to the people of this place, Clashmore was fixed upon as suitable for the purpose. In carrying out this improvement it was necessary to remove some of these tenants, but the Duke laid out a considerable sum of money in improving land to give lots to these people who were so removed.

27659. He laid out a sum of money in improving the land. Can you give us some details of that?
—I think I can. I think it is in my memorandum which I have from the books of the office. In 1872 and following years to 1877, the farm of Clashmore was improved and created purposely to give employment to the people of the Stoer district around in draining, trenching, fencing roads, and making culverts and dykes. There was spent from the beginning to the end £3328, 13s. 10d. in making that land. The houses, including offices, mill, and farmer's house upon the farm, cost in addition £1635, 15s. 4d.

27660. Sir Kenneth-Mackenzie.
—Does that sum include improvements upon the croft lands too?
—No, that was separate. There was spent between £300 and £100 in improving the crofts for these tenants; and they got £90 in money and materials for the purpose of assisting them to build new houses

27661. The Chairman.
—When the model farm was finished, and when the proprietor no longer required to make any further outlay upon it, to whom was it let?
—To Mr Brown, the tenant of the hotel here. There was no arable land hereabout, and he required it for the purpose of providing hay and oats for his establishment.

27662. How far off is it?
—About ten miles.

27663. Does Mr Brown occupy these extensive dwelling houses and offices?
—It is his servant who occupies the house, but he occupies the farm.

27664. As the land was not to be let to a resident farmer, it occurs to me that the experiment might have been prosecuted a step further, and that the improved land might have been re-let to the crofters or small tenants?
—The Duke decided it otherwise — that it should be given to the tenant of the inn.

27665. We heard one of the witnesses say that it is true that when transferred to another township he received as compensation £ 10 towards building houses, and also, I think, timber, lime, and glass, but he stated that the slates alone upon his new house cost him £17, 10s. and were carried from this place ten miles on. Is that credible?
—It is quite true that he got the slates. What the exact amount was I cannot tell, but this I know that they are not paid for yet. They are partly paid and partly not paid, and there is a considerable balance due. It was given many years ago, on the understanding that it was to be paid at the end of one, two, and three years.

27666. It may possibly be that that makes the position of the man harder still?
—Well he has not been troubled in the least about it.

27667. Do you wish to make any statement with reference to this alleged case of severity exercised towards widows and poor people?
—I am not conscious or aware of any cases of severity towards widows.

27668. Are you under the impression that these statements are entirely unfounded?
—I have no recollection of anything of the kind. It was necessary to move them in making this farm, and the farm was dyked and a certain number of parks made in it; and these people lived upon the ground, and it was necessary to remove them to their new places. I am not conscious that in doing so there was ever any severity used towards them. If it was, it was without my knowledge, and personally I never heard a complaint about it.

27669. Mr Cameron.
—It was stated by one of the delegates when he was asked, if there was ever any work given by the proprietor? No, but that a walk was made by the previous proprietor?
—There is, at this moment, work going on in the neighbourhood of that man's place. There is a path three miles long going on within the forest of Glencanesp, and the contractors complained to me that they had great difficulty in getting men to work. Murdoch Kerr, who made the complaint of no work, is a road contractor, and has fourteen miles of road under contract to keep it in repair, which keeps him constantly going.

27670. Can you state generally what work is now going on in the various districts from which we have received evidence to-day?
—There is not much work going on at present from the Duke of Sutherland.

27671. I want to ask you one question about the conversion of farms into forests. The question was asked, ' When a big farm cannot be let, what is its fate? Forest is it not?' And the answer was, 'Yes, forest.', Can you say how many farms have been of recent years converted into forest?
—None for many years, until last year, the forest of Glencanesp. Mr John Scobie was tenant of it as a sheep farm, but on succeeding to Keoldale, on the death of General Scobie, he gave up his farm, and
went to Keoldale. The Duke did not think it right that one man should have both, and this farm was left upon the Duke's hands. It is a very difficult thing to get a sheep farm off his hands, and he converted it into a deer forest.

27672. But with that exception, no farms have been converted into deer forests?
—Not for ten years. There was an addition made to the Reay forest about twelve years ago.

27673. No other conversion with this exception, and that of part of the Reay forest?
—None else.

27674. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Has the farm at Clashmore succeeded at all well? Has the improved ground turned out of value?
—A part of it did well; but it was a very bad spot, and most difficult to improve—so difficult that it cost £34 an acre to improve it.

27675. I think the sums you gave, including the building improvements, will make it about £ 50 an acre?
—Yes, taking the improvements.

27676. Does it not produce satisfactorily?
—-No, I think it was a very bad speculation. I think whenever land costs more than £20 to improve
it, in a bare country with a bad climate, it is too much.

27677. But, after having expended all this money, do you get fair crops out of it?
—There were very fair crops, but it was limed and drained and trenched, and everything done to make it a good farm; but a great part of it was a very poor subject.

27678. Do the tenants continue to get good crops?
—Yes, better; but that is not to be wondered at.

27679. Mr Macdonald complained that new land had been given to him, but it was worthless?
—The subject was not good, and although a lot of money was spent upon it, it was not a good speculation.

27680. Was there as much money spent upon it as upon Clashmore?
—Yes, it was drained, but not limed.

27681. Has the tenant not limed it?
—No, the small tenants here don't lime their land.

27682. There was a complaint made with reference to the rates; it was stated that in consequence of the sheep farm of Glencanesp having ceased to be a sheep farm, the rates fell heavier upon the tenants?
—The Duke of Sutherland had the farm in his own hands that year and received nothing for it It was entered in the valuation roll for £700, and he paid both as a landlord and as a tenant for it. The former rent had been £1000.

27683. But you could not get that rent again?
—We could not get £700.

27684. Would you have taken £700?
—If a good tenant had offered, we would have been very much disposed to do so, I think.

27685. You had no offer?

27686. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Before leaving the subject of Clashmore, will you tell me what is the present rent you get for the enormous expenditure of about £5000?
—Just £90.

27687. I am afraid it was rather an unfortunate day when you and the Duke were looking down from the hill?
—It was unfortunate for the Duke, but it was fortunate for the people who were employed to make it.

27688. Was it fortunate for those poor people whose land it was?
—Perhaps it was not.

27689. The result is that the thing has turned out a bad speculation, and the people who have been removed are since dissatisfied?
—That is so.

27690. There was a complaint made in one of the papers of the farm that is now put into forest
—a complaint which the delegate was not able to explain—that the burden of the rates fell upon them in consequence of the matter being in the Duke's own hands. To the extent of £300 there was a loss of taxable value to the people?
—There was a loss to the Duke and to the parish, because the rent could not be obtained for it.

27691. Why did you fix upon £700?
—Because we thought that was the rent we should have taken if we could have got a good tenant for it.

27692. What are you to get for it as a forest?
—It is given to a gentleman upon very easy terms.

27693. Are you laying out much in the way of buildings for him?
—We have not begun to do anything. The farm house remains as it was. Lord Cloncurry has taken it for this season, and is paying a small rent for it. He is living in the hotel, and he has taken the forest on the understanding that if it pleases him he is to keep it at a particular rent.

27694. You are aware that applications have been made for land: did it not occur to you that there was now an opportunity of doing something in the direction of complying with these applications?
—There will be two large farms out in this district next Whitsunday, and it is not yet decided how they are to be disposed of. The Duke has it under consideration, and it has been a matter of correspondence between him and me that we should endeavour to supply the loss which Mr Williamson explained to-day—that we should try to have some middle class farms, or such farms as it would be an object for the crofter to look forward to obtaining.

27695. It is said that the fence which you have erected is a barbed one, and only three feet high?
—Such fences are very common, and is the kind of fence that is now erected. It is not intended to be a deer fence. I may mention that the pasture of the tenants of Inverkirkaig and Strathan adjoining the forest of Glencanesp, was rather limited, and they petitioned the Duke to give them that portion of the low ground of Glencanesp to increase it, and the Duke has kindly complied with their request, and added 2000 acres to their pasture. They are to pay £ 21 additional rent for these 2000 acres and this fence, which is referred to, is erected between the forest and the new portion of the ground they have received.

27696. It will not, in point of fact, keep the deer out from their ground?
—I really don't know, I have never seen the fence myself. The Duke has put up the fence at his own expense.

27697. We have been told that Glencanesp forest is about 50,000 acres in extent?
—That is a mistake—a great exaggeration—it was only 35,000 acres in extent before the 2000 acres were taken off. I measured it carefully and came to the conclusion that its contents were 35,000 acres, and now, when the 2000 acres have been taken off it will only
be 33,000 acres.

27698. What is the acreage of the portion added to the forest twelve years ago?
—I should think 5000 or 6000 acres.

27699. Were these 5000 acres part of the parish we are now in?
—No, part of the parish of Eddrachillis.

27700. There was no forest in this parish until the one at Glencanesp was made?
—No, this was the first and only forest made.

27701. What is the extent of the forest in the other two parishes?
—As near as I can say the Reay forest contains 60,000 acres, that is the only other one there is.

27702. In what parish is the Reay forest?
—It is in the parishes of Durness, Eddrachillis, and Lairg.

27703. Can you give us any idea how much of the 60,000 acres was originally forest?
—The whole of that ground was under sheep up to 1840, when a portion of it was forested.

27704. And although there was always what was called the Reay forest there were sheep on it?
—There was no part of it forest originally, but it was called the Reay forest because Lord Reay shot deer over that portion of his estates.

27705. But there were sheep on it in his time?
—In the days of the last Lord Reay there was, but it is not so long since sheep were introduced into this country; I think it would be about the beginning of the century.

27706. Were the tenants large or small, allowed to send sheep all over the old Reay forest, or was it used exclusively for deer?
—I have endeavour to ascertain what the tradition of the country on that subject was, as I had no other means of arriving at the truth, and the information which I got from old people was that, previous to 1830, there were about twelve crofters living on what is now called Reay forest. They lived down in the low parts of the forest and had cattle and horses. In the summer they went to shielings up on the hills, but Lord Reay had the hills for sport

27707. Was it good sport?
—Very fine, and it was very extensive, much more so than it is now. The hills were of no value in those days, and he shot over the whole of them.

27708. Do the salmon nets extend all over the coast?
—Each station will have about six bag nets.

27709. How many stations are there?
—From Cape Wrath to Lochinver, five or six stations.

27710. Are these stations generally in the vicinity of the localities where the crofters are?
—They are all along the coast, near the sheep farmers and the crofters.

27711. Is there plenty of coast open to the fisherman here?
—Any quantity; the complaint about that is a most frivolous one in my opinion.

27712. Probably it arises from this, that in some cases they are very near the houses of the crofters?
—There may possibly have been a net at Auchmelvich.

27713. Which may have been troublesome?
—It should not have been.

27714. You said yesterday, when I asked you about some clearances which took place in Durness that it was before your time?
—Yes, these clearances were carried out by Mr Anderson, Rispond.

27715. Can you say as much for the clearances we were told about to-day in the fifty townships of Assynt enumerated?
—That I also wash my hands of personally; it was done about the time I was born.

27716. But I am afraid Assynt then belonged to the Sutherlands %
—Yes, it has belonged to them for nearly two hundred years.

27717. And, therefore, they are responsible for what has occurred, right or wrong?
—I stated yesterday that in the year 1840 the Duke of Sutherland had made very large abatements of arrears of rents to small tenants, to the amount of some £5000, and I think it proper here to state that, although £2241,11s. 2d. was due by the small tenants of Assynt, and was wiped out altogether and never again asked for, in my own time, since I became factor, in cases of poverty and distress where the people really were poor, and I thought deserving, I myself have abated £780 to the people of this district

27718. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—You have reduced the amount to that extent?
—I wiped out arrears to that amount. It was asked to-day why the rents of the small tenants were not reduced, and I wish to state that fact.

27719. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—It was asked rather why abatements had not been made?
—I think I can explain why they were not given. Since I came to this district the rents of the small tenants have increased comparatively little, whereas the rents of the large grazing farms have increased from £4135, 13s. 8d. in 1845, when I entered on the factorship, to £8928, 15s. 10d. in 1880; in other words the rental of the large farms was more than doubled between 1845 and 1880 throughout the district. The rental of these large farms in 1845 was £4135, 13s. 8d.; in 1860, £6105, 11s. 6d.; in 1870, £6747, 12s.; in 1880, £8928, 15s. 10d.

27720. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Were these rents raised by competition?
—Yes, when a farm was vacant it was advertised.

27721. You accepted competition rents?
—Yes; but since 1880 the rents have been reduced by about £5000.

27722. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Yes. The reason why the small rents could not be reduced was that they had not been increased,
and the others had. It was stated that there were two hundred cottars in Assynt. I cannot vouch for the correctness of that, because I have it in the lists given to me that there are only 113 in the whole of the
three parishes.
—[Rev. N. N. Mackay]. May I be allowed to explain. I made the statement I think in my paper, and I took the best care to be sure it was correct. I asked the inspector of poor if he could give me any data of that kind, and he told me he had the return of the registrar; and on consulting that I found the number of families in the parish at the last census, and then I found the number of crofters and the number of paupers, and taking the crofter families from the families we had altogether and counting the number of paupers, we made out that there •were something like 200 cottars. What I said in my paper was, ' about 200.' We were giving relief in the parish this year, and made out a document for the information of the people in the south who sent us relief, showing how many crofters and how many cottars got assistance. The clerk of the committee made out a return, and I found that he returned 207 cottars and 165 crofters, so that when I stated that there were about 200 I was below what the clerk of the Relief Committee brought out in his report.
—[Mr M'Iver]. Previous to the year 1880 there was a large number of parties throughout this district
—cottars who had houses and cut peats, and many of them got grass for cattle from their neighbours, and bits of arable land to till, and over these people the proprietor had no control whatever. They were not in his books at all, but were perfectly independent of him. I asked the ground officers to send me in the list of those who had houses in the three parishes in this district, and 113 were entered in the rental at a rent of 10s. each, so as to give us a connection with each other, and so that we should have some control over them. I may mention that in the year 1861 Mr George Loch set agoing a system of assisting the tenants with wood, lime, glass, and slates to improve their houses, and since that time I have paid in timber, lime, and money for the small tenants, £1470, 10s. 10d and slates to the value of £551, 19s. have been given on credit. But these slates are expected to be repaid. When I came to Scourie I found that the Assynt tenants had no lots of land, they occupied it under the old run rig system, and one of my first anxieties was to place the matter on a better footing, and make lots throughout the parish. This was done, and in doing so there was a considerable amount of expense incurred on the farm of Culklinachanaran, there was a considerable sum of money expended on dykes, roads, and drains, I think about £200 or £300. I wish to state, with regard to the telegraph, that I think Sutherland was very ill treated and very unfairly used with regard to it. The telegraph was brought to the west coast of Inverness and Ross, but there was not any brought to the west coast or the north coast of Sutherland. The Duke of Sutherland brought the telegraph to Lochinver and undertook to pay £70 a year for seven years as well as one half the expense of the messages sent away and the same to Tongue. In Scownie and Durness there is no telegraphic line, and we think perhaps the Commissioners might mention this in their report as a grievance and complaint.

27723. The Duke was compelled to undertake a guarantee of £70 a year for seven years?
—Yes, but he has not required to pay that, it has come down to £45 a year.

27724. It is a loss as yet?
—A great loss. I cannot say that 1 agree with the opinions expressed here to-day as to the fitness of much of the land in this parish for crofters. The arable land is very limited and the climate is very bad. It might do for sheep farming, but certainly not for cropping.

27725. Has Clashmore frightened you?
—It certainly has frightened me, and the Duke of Sutherland has been frightened by larger improvements. The stock on Clashmore farm, if given to the crofters, would be valued as the prices of sheep go, at something like £10,000, and the stock of Ardvar would be £5000 at the present price of sheep, that is, £15,000 for stock of these two farms, which some people, perhaps, would give for these two farms.

27726. How much would be realised for these in the market if they were sold now?
—Not so much, but a person taking these two farms might lose from £1000 to £2000.

27727. Mr Cameron.
—He would require to keep most of them to stock the ground?
—Any person who took it would require to keep a portion.

27728. What deduction would there be between the valuation rate and the open market rate, say per sheep?
—It would require a little consideration that—ten or fifteen per cent.

27729. It would depend on the valuation a good deal?
—No doubt it would depend on the amount of valuation. There is always an additional sum put upon a sheep stock in consequence of its being fitted for the land on which it is reared. A person who comes in pays the value of the sheep and the value of them as belonging to the farm. Strange sheep won't do
on a farm, sheep reared on it are a necessity for it.

27730. Do you think the rate fixed by valuation has any reference at all to the class of persons who has to take over the stock?
—Do you think that would be more highly valued to the proprietor taking the land into his own hands than to a tenant?
—I dare say the valuers would be inclined to put as much as possible upon the landlord.

27731. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—More particularly if it were deer forest?
—We had no complaint of the valuation of Glencanesp, and the day it was gone over I would have been glad to give £500 over to any person who would have taken the stock. But we got out and lost nothing —sheep rose. It was stated here to-day that two tenants were taken in at Auchmelvich and there was no reduction of rent made. I have a distinct recollection of taking in a shepherd or herd whom the tenants had introduced upon the farm and quarreled with. They left him in his croft and made him pay rent, and I insisted he should be put on the Duke's rental, and I deducted that rent from every other tenant in Auchmelvich—a certain proportion of it. One delegate yesterday mentioned that he had never got any work from the Duke of Sutherland. Now I think it my duty, after being thirty-eight years in the service of the Duke of Sutherland, to express in the highest terms, the kindness and the liberality with which the tenants have been treated, in my opinion, by the Duke of Sutherland. I have served both father and son. This year when it was stated that seed was required, I happened to have occasion to go to London, and I went to the Duke of Sutherland and told him seed was required; and he asked me how much money would be required, and I told him the amount I thought would be required, and in the most generous, kind manner, he granted it at once. A certain amount of seed was given to every man on the estate in the district of the three parishes who wished for it, on the understanding that it is to be paid at Martinmas with the rent.

27732. The Chairman
—Paid in instalments?
—We expect it will be wholly paid.

27733. In one payment?
—Yes, it is given on those terms. There were several things said here to-day regarding myself, but I don't think they are worth notice.

27734. You incidentally stated that you did not think agricultural improvement was profitable if the outlay in reclaiming the land exceeded £20 per acre. Does that include the expense of the first liming?
—No, I did not include the liming in that.

27735. Would you really think it profitable here to expend £20 per acre upon the improvement of arable land?
—No, 1 would not in such a poor climate and with such an inferior soil.

27736. What would be the highest rental per acre that could be prudently taken for improved arable ground here?
—I think there is very little land in this district worth more than 10s. an acre.

27737. Then it is impossible to expend anything like £20 on reclaiming it with advantage?

27738. Because the original rent is nothing almost?
—It is so.

27739. But can any land be reclaimed and made into tolerable arable ground by an expenditure of £10 per acre?
—In parts of the country where there are no stones, and where there is not much drainage required. On the east coast of Scotland—Morayshire and Nairn—they improve the land without drainage, they just put on the oxen and plough it up, and there it is done for a small amount; and in the climate it pays very well. A number of tenants took in a great quantity of land in that district, in that manner, at their own expense, having a lease of 19 years.

27740. Can that be done in Sutherland?
—No, there is no place where that can be done; it is such a boggy, mossy, rocky, and stony country—
none that I know of in this district at all events.

27741. Professor Mackinnon.
—You heard Mr Hugh Mackay's statement about this alleged arrangement between the proprietor and the people at the time of their going away to the army?

27742. Of course, although you were not in the country yourself, you have been in constant communication with gentlemen who were, and whose people were in the country but whose families were not mixed up in that. Do you know what their view was in regard to that tradition?
—I have often heard that statement made by the humbler classes, but I never had any conversation with the better classes on the subject. I know that it is the impression in the mind of a number of the smaller people in the country.

27743. And has the feeling also come in among them that where they did not provide a man they had to provide the money?
—Yes, that is the feeling.

27744. But of course you are not able from any outside evidence to say anything about it?
—No, I am perfectly ignorant on the subject.

27745. There was another statement that came down by tradition, namely, as regards the people before the clearances. Have you heard anything reliable about that?
—The story I have always heard about it was that they were in extreme poverty.

27746. I think there is evidence of that —that there was a great
number of people in extreme poverty?
—And that a constant recurrence of the famine led to the clearances, but whether that is true or not I
don't know.

27747. It might be true that a large number were in extreme poverty, and yet some be in the position which Mr Mackay described ?
—Quite possible.

27748. The Chairman
—Have you ever heard any tradition about the alleged contract which existed at the time the Highland Regiments were raised?
—I have just been stating to Professor Mackinnon that there is a feeling and impression in the minds of the humbler classes in Sutherland, that of those who went into the army their friends were not so well treated as they expected, but I never had any information that I could rely upon.

27749. Sheriff Nicolson.
—Is there any estate record that can be referred to on the subject?
—There may be at Dunrobin, but I have none.

27750. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Was there not the same tradition in Lews?
—There was.

27751. And in Skye?
—Yes, about the 78th.

27752. Professor Mackinnon.
—There was particular mention of a rise of rent in the township of Auchmelvich, do you know anything about it?
—No, and I was very much astonished to hear it.

27753. As a matter of fact the rise of rent on crofters' land in your time is so small that it is scarcely worth talking of?
—The amount put on altogether was not large.

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