MURDOCH MACDONALD, residing with his aunt and working her crofts, Knockan (33)—examined.
27475. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Were you elected a delegate to come here?
27476. How many people were present?
—All the tenants except one, they met in the church at Elphin.
27477. How many tenants are there altogether?
—Fifteen in Knockan and eighteen in Elphin —thirty-three altogether; fifteen cottars and
27478. What is the total population—upwards of 100?
27479. What did the people there authorise you to say?—
(1) That there are too many of them for the land they have in Knockan and Elphin;
(2) Too many lots divided for other families;
(3) Death rent increased;
(4) Incoming tenants paying arrears of outgoing tenants, if any;
(5) No encouragement offered to them for improvement;
(6) No valuation for the houses on leaving;
(7) No lease or fixity of tenure of land;
(8) More land is required for cultivation, as it is getting poor with continual farming;
(9) No labour of any kind. And we would like to get club stock by Government money.
27480. We have been told that some twenty years ago, there was an attempt at eviction of these townships?
27481. Was the same number of people there then as there is now?
27482. They have rather increased?
27483. To any great extent?
27484. How is that; is it from the natural increase of the townships, or that the people were put in?
27485. How many have been put in there since twenty years?
—I cannot go back that far, but I mind of four or five myself.
27486. Four or five families?
27487. Did they get a share of the crofts or were they simply put in as cottars?
—As cottars and crofters; the crofts were divided and subdivided.
27488. By whose authority?
—Mr M'lver or the ground officer.
27489. Then these increases were against the wish of the possessors?
27490. And it is in consequence of these increases that you are now complaining you are too crowded?
27491. Was any land taken from you?
—Not to my knowledge.
27492. You have no leases as I understand?
27493. What is about the largest rent now paid on the township?
27494. Have you a good deal of hill pasture?
27495. Is it good?
— Pretty fair.
27496. Supposing the number of families had been left as they were twenty years ago, at the time they were threatened to be put out, was there enough of land for them?
—They would have had a better chance.
27497. Is there any place near at hand where the surplus population could be sent to?
—Lead beg, part of forest.
27498. Was it at one time under crofters?
27499. Is there some old cultivation there?
27500. And is it convenient to Knockan and Elphin?
—Just quite close, marching with them.
27501. Could that be leased without their removing from their present houses?
—Not very handily, but it could be done if the place were fenced; it marches with their ground.
27502. Is that a forest of old standing?
—No, it was made two years ago.
27503. There were people removed out of it at one time?
27504. So that it was first under crofters, then under sheep, and now it is under deer?
27505. What will be the next stage?
—I hope it will be crofters again.
27506. Do you think that would be the best adaptation of it?
—I have no doubt of it.
27507. Both for the people and the land?
27508. Professor Mackinnon.
—The townships are pretty near each other?
27509. So that you know the circumstances?
—Yes; there is only a burn between them. You might say they are the same, but have only a different name.