Bonar Bridge, Sutherland, 9 October 1883 - John Crawford

JOHN CRAWFORD, Factor on the Sutherland Estates, Tongue District (71)—examined.

39590. The Chairman.
—We understand you have a statement to read to the Commission?
—' I have been factor for the Duke of Sutherland in the Tongue district since Whitsunday 1859. The district extends from the march of Caithness on the east to Loch Eriboll on the west, and from the sea on the north to Benarmin on the south. The population of the district under my care is, by last census, 3900 souls. Rental shown by the valuation roll of the county is £17,959. For the convenience of the Commissioners, and in the interests of the inquiry, I propose to deal categorically with the statements of witnesses at Bettyhill on 24th and 25th July last, so far as they relate to the property under my factorship. The Rev. James Cumming, witness, made statements as to what he was pleased to call oppression and misrule on the part of the factor, and illustrated these facts by references to—
1. Fines.
I herewith submit copy of estate regulations in force before the Reay property was purchased by the Duke of Sutherland (Appendix No. 1 and No. 1A). These have been continued with considerably less
stringency until now. Being sixty miles from a law court, if order is to be maintained amongst a crofter population, the landlord must establish suitable rules to enforce it other than by formal process of law. Small fines of 2s. 6d. or 5s. are inflicted for repeated transgressions by cutting feal or turf on green ground, improper peat cutting, subdivision of the lots, and for taking in permanent lodgers.

2. Harsh Treatment on the part of Officials, of which the following are instances:
—(1) As to Thomas Morrison and Angus Rankin in a case of removal (Appendix No. 2). Rankin was tenant of a lot of land at a per annum of rent. He was an old man living alone. About 1865 he applied for and obtained permission to take in Thomas Morrison as a lodger, whose wife was to keep house and attend to Rankin. This arrangement continued until 1878, when Rankin's condition, from Morrison's neglect, was found to be lamentable, and the old man was placed under the charge of the inspector of poor, who had him attended to until his death. By estate rule it is inconsistent for a man to be both a tenant and a pauper. Rankin and his lodger were therefore asked to grant a voluntary renunciation of the place that a new tenant might be selected. By advice they declined—mentioning Mr Cumming as their adviser —and formal steps were taken to obtain possession. On the term day the key of the house was asked and refused. Ejectment was about to be enforced when Morrison, for the first time, intimated his wish to take the lot. I stopped proceedings, and told Morrison the terms on which I was prepared to recommend him as tenant, viz., on his paying the expense of legal proceedings, amounting to £4. That the old rent of Is. would be the rent for crop or downlay 1878, and that the new valuation of Messrs M'Donald & M'Kenzie of £3, 7s. would be his future rent for crop 1879, and thereafter during the Duke's pleasure. He agreed to these terms at once, and has continued in possession, paying from and after 1879 the rent of £3, 7s. as mentioned.
(2) The case of George M'Kay (More), Talmine. This man also occupied a lot for over forty years at Is. per annum of rent. He applied for permission to take in a relative as joint-tenant and successor. Consent to this arrangement was. given on the condition that the new valuation of the croft, £3, Is. 6d. per annum, should be paid from and after the term of Whitsunday 1878, when the joint-tenancy began. He and his relative had free option to accept or reject this proposal. They voluntarily accepted the joint-tenancy on the terms mentioned, and paid the rent accordingly until 1882. In consequence of one of George's sons being drowned in Talmine Bay, and another who went abroad not being heard of for some years, by which the old man was left without help other than by his late son's widow, the Duke of Sutherland has reconsidered this case, and has reduced the rent to a nominal sum of 10s. per annum, on condition no other party is admitted to an interest in the lot other than his son's widow.
(3) Case of Hugh Munro, Talmine. This man occupied for a similar period at 4s. 10d. per annum, and having made a similar request for the admission of a friend, he got a similar reply. He and his friend William Munro agreed to pay the new valuation, £2, 18s., as from Whitsunday 1877; and they have since regularly paid it without complaint.
In each of these three cases above mentioned, according to the practice of the estate, no change in the rent would have been made so long as there was no change in the tenancy, and so long as the sitting
tenant chose to continue in possession by himself.

3. Improvement of Houses and Lots, which Mr Cumming confines to the last few months, and were instigated, as he alleges, by the appointment of the Royal Commission.
—I have to state that in 1862 I applied for and obtained a grant of £150 for purchasing lime and timber by way of assisting the crofters in building division walls between their families and their cattle. The only condition required of the tenant in order to share in this grant was that he should supply the necessary labour; and in cases where slates were used for new roofing of cottages, they were supplied by the landlord at cost price, and the tenant was allowed three or more years, according to his circumstances, for their repayment. These grants, and the conditions on which they could be shared in, are well known since 1862 to the tenantry in this district. This allowance of £150 was annually continued by the Duke, but for ten years the grants of lime and timber were only very partially taken advantage of by the tenants. In 1873 the allowance was slightly exceeded, but for the next five years the full amount was not applied for by the tenants. From 1879 to 1882 inclusive, very considerable progress was made in improving existing dwelling-houses and in erecting new ones of a superior character, and, by way of encouraging this movement, the Duke, with his usual consideration for the comfort of his people, more than doubled the annual allowance. For dwelling-houses of the better class the crofters were allowed from 30 to 50 bolls of lime, timber for roofing, flooring for parlour, closet, and attics, partition and door standards, and glass for windows; slate at cost price on three or more years' credit. State showing annual allowance and grants applied for from 1862 to 1882 is herewith submitted (see Appendix No. 3).

4. Improvements of Lots.
—Improvements, as a rule, are very imperfectly executed by the crofters, especially drainage. I prefer that improvements be done by the landlord, because they are better done. A crofter rarely possesses sufficient capital, or the practical experience requisite, for carrying on such works with expedition or benefit to himself. When the landlord improves, the tenant, as a rule in this district, executes the work either by contract or on day's pay, and he has a special interest in having it well and cheaply done. While maintaining his family by his daily earnings, he at the same time secures the foundation for future profit as well as comfort. 5. Mr Cumming refers to the persecution of people on the estate for poaching. I do not remember more than four, or at most five cases, during the whole twenty-four years of my factory here. Two of these were of trivial character, and were dismissed with an admonition. Two were of more serious character—one being combined with a charge of theft—and these moreserious cases were prosecuted by the procurator-fiscal, and resulted in conviction and sentence. One of these cases was referred to by William M'Kenzie, delegate from Strathhalladale. Mr Cumming complains that I am eyes and ears, hands and feet, to the Duke of Sutherland. I have to thank him for this no doubt unintentional compliment, for I always consider it my duty so to act for his Grace in his absence. The next witness examined was William M'Kenzie, Trantlemore, Strathhalladale. This witness did not by any means represent the majority of the crofters in the Strath, nor even a respectable minority of them. He gave a very inaccurate report of the hill grazings in connection with the Strath lots. The grazing is fairly good, some of it very superior, and on an average quite equal to the general grazing on that side of the country. The average extent is estimated at about ninety acres per croft. The people of this Strath are considered on the whole about as comfortable and independent as any hi the county. There are, no doubt, poor people amongst them, as there always will be in every community, but this does not arise from any peculiarity in the management.
Adam Gunn, delegate from Strathy, complains of smallness of lots and high rents. The Strathy-point and Totegun lots average 7½ acres arable and pasture, besides hill grazings. There are thirty tenants, occupying a
cumulative rent of £73, 5s, 3d. —average per tenant, £2, 8s. 10d. New valuation of this township is £97, 10s. 6d. Last year the Duke made a township road of two miles in length for this place at a cost of £184, by which the crofters will be much benefited; and this year his Grace has made another road to the township of Brawl, over a mile in length, at a cost of £160, which will also be of great service to the tenants of that place, while at the same time it has —in connection with other works of reclamation of land going on in the district —provided labour during a season of local pressure. These reclamation works consist of draining and trenching waste land for the crofters, to some without interest during first five years, and to others at 2½ and 3 per cent, on outlay, according to the quality of the land and expense of reclamation. The following are the present rents charged in the townships said to be represented by this witness, and the new valuations by Messrs M'Donald & Mackenzie, from which the Commissioners can draw their own conclusion, viz :
—Strathy Present rent, £98 / 4 /8, new valuation £134 / 11 / 6
Balligall - £23 / 9 /5, new £38 /15/ 0
Brawl - £19 /4 / 10 new £ 26 /10/ 0
Altiphuerst £6 /18 / 6 new £ 16 /11 /6
Laidnagullin £ 18 / 12 / 6 new £ 29 / 6/ 6

Other townships are on a similar scale. John M'Kay, Melvich, delegate for Melvich and Portsherray district. This person's evidence is grossly inaccurate and misleading. I will refer to his own case first. He obtained his present lot in 1873. See letter of 4th August 1873, and minute of agreement of 8th August and acceptance of same date. John M'Kay by these missives got twenty acres of arable land, with pasture in addition, for the annual rent of £10 sterling (valued at £14, 3s. 6d.). He was bound to erect a dwelling-house and offices, with right to the usual building privileges. He had also by these missives the option to improve and take in nine acres adjoining his lot, at a nominal rent of 2s. 6d. per acre. He has been in possession for ten years since his entry in 1873. During this period he built office houses but not a dwelling-house, and he lives in what is properly the barn. During the same period he has not improved any part of the land put at his disposal; while, on the contrary, I have more than once spoken to him on the subject of improvement, and offered to improve for him on the terms that he should pay a small interest on the outlay. These offers on my part he always declined, stating that he already had as much land on hand as he had means to manage. The land by the river side to which he refers is not suitable for tillage, inasmuch as it is subject to being from time to time flooded. It is singular, and worthy of observation, that if the crofts in Melvich district are so poor and high rented as this witness describes them, how the valuators could have considered them of so much more value than the tenants presently pay for them. The following example may suffice:
—The township of Melvich presently pays £95, 6s. Id. The new valuation amounts to £175, 2s. 3d. Portsherray presently pays £112, 14s. 4d., while the new valuation amounts to £155, 2s. 6d.
Hector Munro, delegate from Scullomie. His statements are quite inaccurate. The township contains 57½ acres of fairly good land. The cumulative rent of the township in 1859, including hill grazing, was £61, 7s. 7d. In 1882 it was £57, 15s, 4d., including hill grazing. The new valuation is £60, 15s. In 1878 a waterspout did some damage to the banks of a small burn he refers to. The Duke spent a small sum in executing repairs, and an offer was made by me last year to cut a new channel, so as to direct the stream another way, on condition the two tenants interested would pay interest on the expense. The amount would probably not have exceeded 3s. each. This offer was refused. The Rev. John Ross M'Neill, delegate, Strathtongue. Mr M'Neill came recently to the parish of Tongue, and an entire stranger to it. He has hardly had time to know much of the people, and his knowledge of the working arrangements between landlord and tenant must be very slender indeed. Finally, it is not too much to say that his evidence is obviously founded on mere hearsay, which has not been by any means carefully sifted. It is not true thatthe Coldbacky rents have been doubled, cr even to any extent increased. On the whole, they have been reduced, at my solicitation, within the last twenty years. The current rent of Coldbacky is £40, 18s. 2d. The new valuation is £44, l i s . The township of Rhitongue is presently rented at £29, 15s. l i d . The new valuation is £35, 8s. The township of Braetongue is rented at £57, 14s. 10d. The new valuation is £95, 9s. 10d. In every instance the new valuation is higher than the actual rents charged. This witness refers to a new activity he has observed in the building of houses within the last six months. There has been nothing special in this way to my knowledge. The improvement of dwelling-houses has been going on since 1862, but with more activity within the last five years, as my separate statement of expenditure will show. (See No. 3 Appendix.) Peter M'Kay, builder,Strathtongue, delegate, complains of losing employment, of high rents, and oppression by the factor. On my appointment in 1859 I gave all the old contractors the first chance of work, and afterwards retained the services of those whom I found most reliable. I wished to impress on the contractors that their real interest, as well as the Duke's, lay in the honest discharge of their duty. That people who did inferior work, and charged exorbitant rates, would not be employed by me as contractors. Mr M'Kay's croft consists of over thirteen acres arable and over five acres pasture. Rent £5, 5s. 4d., as stated by him. He, however, omitted to mention in his evidence that he has a relative living on the lot with him, whose stock of sheep is probably equal to his own. I am
not aware of ever having interfered between this man and the Duke. I have no knowledge of the Duke's desire to remit his rent for the remainder of his life. The new valuation of this lot is £12. The other townships referred to by this witness are Blandy, rented at £16, 6s. 10d., and valued at £20, 5s.; Strathtongue, present rental, £23, 19s. 10d., new valuation, £31, Os. 8d. Angus M'Kay, Cattlefield, crofter's son, delegate for three townships of Farr. His complaint is as to the small-ness of lots, high rents, and acts of oppression on part of officials. The present rental of the townships said to be represented by this delegate are all under the new valuation. The land is of fair quality. I deny in toto the alleged cases of hardship mentioned by this witness.
1. As to the erection of a store on the late Angus Gordon's croft.—It became necessary for the convenience of landing lime, timber, &c. in the Naver River, for both large and small tenantry improvements going on, to erect a storehouse on the beach. This was done in a creek just above high-water mark, and opposite the late Angus Gordon's lot. A cart track was made, sloping down a steep bank, mostly outside the arable land, for access to this storehouse, and to which the tenant consented.
The track admits of the crofters carting sea-ware from the river in place of carrying it in creels on women's backs as formerly. The actual quantity of arable land taken up by road is not more than eighteen square yards. The Duke has no interest in the storehouse beyond the convenience it affords to the improving tenants of the district for storing lime, timber, &c, allowed by the landlord for their new houses whenunable to cart these materials direct from the ship.
2. Cases of oppression and unjust treatment to two old women.
—Previous to 1862, John M'Kay, a crofter in Airdneiskich, deserted his lot, leaving two old sisters upon it. One was in delicate health. They were quite unable to do anything with land, and voluntarily agreed to remove after the crop of 1862 was reaped. I gave them a house elsewhere. They were afterwards placed on the roll of paupers, and supported by the parish. From whatever source this young man may have got his information—for the event he refers to so pathetically took place about the time he was born—there is not one word of truth in it. There was no written renunciation ever asked or obtained from these old women, neither was there the slightest act of compulsion exercised, far less deception, as he alleges. The transfer from one place to the other was strictly voluntary, and beneficial to the parties concerned. The land thus vacated, with other land thereafter voluntarily given up, was partly divided amongst the tenants of the township, and a new arrangement of marches made, which has very much added to the harmony of the place for the last twenty years. Rev. Donald M'Kenzie, Free Church minister, Farr, delegate, complained of oppression by officials, and undue interference at School Board and Parochial Board elections. I emphatically deny every statement this witness makes relative to oppression or undue influence at School or Parochial Board elections, I never interfere withpeople going to the Duke about their matters. It is well known that I rather encourage this course. The Duke is as easy of access to the poorest tenant on his estate as he is to me. His Grace entertains a parental regard for the well-being of all his people, and would not tolerate any antagonistic feeling or action on the part of his officials. As regards His Grace's enterprise for the benefit of his estate, I have only to point out the fact that there has been spent in my district .done within the last thirty years the sum of £148,826 in permanent improvements. (See Appendix No. 6) This sum has been disbursed to the extent of about two-thirds in the form of wages amongst the resident population during the last twenty-one years. I have never solicited, directly or or indirectly, a single vote at a School Board election, but I have notwithstanding always been placed at the head of the poll by the free-will of the electors. (Appendix No. 7.) the memo. I beg to submit to the Commissioners will show the amount of work I have undertaken for the board. My services have been gratuitously from first to last, and, except by Mr M'Kenzie, have been gratefully acknowledged. Hew Morrison, schoolmaster, Brechin, delegate for Torresdale district. Mr Morrison's statistics are rather at fault. There are, as he states, eighty tenants in the district referred to, occupying 316 acres of arable land (in place of 246 acres as stated) at a cumulative rent of £264, 14s. 6d., equal to 16s. 9d. per acre (not £ 1 , 2s.), but with hill grazing only 8½d. per acre over all. New valuation of the township embraced £304, 13s., being £40 per annum more than the rent exacted.
Ewen Robertson, delegate for Tongue and Invernaver, refers to cases of oppression. Inchverry case.
—In 1862 George MTntosh went abroad and left his sister on the lot without help, and unable to manage the land —upwards of 10 acres in extent. The lot was divided —the sister retaining 3½ acres, without grazing, at £ 2 per annum of rent (new valuation £4, 13s.). The remainder was let to John Munro at £6 per annum (new valuation £6, 14s.). This arrangement was willingly accepted, and the rent has been regularly paid to this day.
Braetongue case.
—Widow George M'Kenzie had two sons and a son-in-law living with her. They went to Canada last year. Neither of them ever applied to me for the lot. The widow came to me about the middle of February last, and asked me to take the lot off her hand as she could not manage it. I did so, and same day re-let the place to a neighbour, reserving a parlour and two bedrooms for the widow's use. Invernaver case.
—Some time ago the tenant of Invernaver applied for a section of Achnabourin farm adjoining their township. This could not have been granted without sacrificing the farm-house and offices pertaining to the farm, as they were situated on the section of ground asked for. An additional injury would have arisen from cutting off a portion of upland grazing ground, of which there is already too little for the benefit of the stock. If these tenants had asked the whole farm, and agreed to manage it as a joint-stock concern, I believe the Duke of Sutherland would have favourably considered such an application, providing they could have given satisfactory evidence of their ability to stock the farm and pay a reasonable rent for it. This probably would have been too heavy an undertaking for them; besides there is reason to believe that their idea of managing a club farm not very far from being matured. In an appendix to the foregoing statement (Appendix No. 8) will be found the various documents alluded to in it, and others relating to general statistics of estate matters bearing on the question at 'issue, which will, I trust, afford the Commissioners the material for forming an accurate opinion as to this district management. The Commissioners will find from these documents that the present Duke of Sutherland has expended between 1864 and 1882 in the permanent improvement of the estate in this district about £133,000, and that the increased rental is only about £1757 per annum, or equal to about 1½ per cent The chief benefit of this large outlay has accrued to the local tradesmen and labouring population as already stated. From my personal observation and knowledge I can confidently affirm that the condition of the crofters has greatly unproved and is improving. They are better clad and better housed; and I am certain they are in all respects in a better condition than they were thirty years ago. I may add, in conclusion, that since the inquiry at Bettyhill; I have received many verbal and written communications from crofters, denying that the delegates who appeared there correctly expressed the true views of the population, and I am satisfied from my own experience, gained from personal communication with the tenants during these many years, that they are, as a body, as happy and contented as any in Scotland. Finally, I have to express my sincere thanks to Lord Napier and the other Commissioners for granting me the privilege of making this statement, after reading the publication of the evidence, as my infirmity of deafness prevented me from hearing the statements tendered by the delegates at the meeting of the Commission and of giving rebutting
evidence on the spot, as I should otherwise have done.

39591. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—I can only put a very few questions to you, as I don't think it fair to the people here that you should be examined at great length. You stated in your paper to-day that the Duke of Sutherland has a parental regard for his tenants ?
—Yes; it has always been my experience.

39592. That, I suppose, includes the crofters?
—Yes, all of them—crofters and cottars, and all under his care.

39593. They are all treated alike?
—As far as I know.

39594. Are there any arrears or any considerable arrears of rent in your district due by the crofters at this moment?
—There is, perhaps, about £400.

39595. Has there not been a considerable reduction of rent made to large tenants, whereas there has been no reduction made to the small tenants?
—There has been a considerable reduction made to large tenants, and instead of making a reduction to the small tenants the Duke has expended £515 this year in providing seed corn and potatoes for them. He has also given me £500 to lay out in works of trenching and improving their lots, and one thing and another, that will all be expended this year, besides other works that have gone on during the year in the district.

39596. And you think that is a fair equivalent to the small crofters for the abatement that has been given to the large farmers?
—I think it is, considering the rents at which the lots are let.

39597. For how many years will the abatement to the large tenants run ?
—Some of them from three to five years.

39598. Then may we take it for granted that for the next three or five years equal benefits will be given to the crofters?
—I have no idea as to that.

39599. Allow me to put another question to you. Have the large tenants on the estate of Sutherland, with one or two exceptions, not the right of shooting upon their farms and otherwise ?
— Some of them have; they pay a fair rent for it, just as a sporting gentleman would do.

39600. Are you able now to state that there is a very considerable profit made by the large tenants in dealing with these shootings —in subletting them?
—That may be in some instances, but though one or two of them are getting more rent they are giving an equivalent in the shape of gardens and keepers, and grazing for cows, and things of that kind, which are not taken into account by the public.

39601. Do any of the shootings that are let to the big farmers include any of the hill ground of the small tenants?
—That is so in Strath Halladale. Mr Patterson has the shooting over the ground and over the small
tenants. Their ground is lying, in fact, in the centre of his, and his ground is between them and the shore again.

39602. When the large tenant lets his shootings does he not very frequently—I may say as a matter of course —reserve certain sporting rights to himself and exercise those sporting rights?
—Sometimes he does, but to a very small extent.

39603. Is it not possible, therefore, that the large shooting tenant may be sporting upon the grazings of his crofter brother tenant?
—No, except Bighouse, I don't know of any case in my district.

39604. Is it not consistent with your knowledge that the rents given by the sub-tenants are a great deal more than the rents paid to the Duke?
—I have already mentioned that in some instances that is so. But that arises very much from this, that if the tenant takes the shooting along with the grazing, shootings rise and fall, as you know, and are increasing rather than decreasing. There is more demand for them, and consequently the tenant very naturally takes advantage of a rise, just as the proprietor would do.

39605. Would you give the right of shooting to the small crofters over the hill grazings that belong to their possessors?
—I don't think it would be a good thing for them.

39606. Can you say now unqualifiedly that the small tenants and the big tenants are precisely on the same footing?
—I don't quite take in what you mean.

39607. I go back to your original observation, and that is that everybody on the estate of Sutherland was under the parental administration of the Duke, and all were upon an equality?
—I go further, and say that the Duke has more regard for the small tenantry than he has for the large. The latter are able to help themselves, and it is his duty to help the smaller class; and it is my duty as a factor to carry out his wishes, and to the best of my ability I do it.

39608. No doubt; no one questions it. Will you explain why you prevent the small tenant or tenants who may have some portion of hill grazings turning a penny, as we may call it, by letting that to a subtenant, and thereby enabling them the more readily to pay their rent?
—I don't think that could be properly done, because all and sundry have an interest in the outrun, and whatever might be got for it would require to be subdivided according to their several interests. I don't think it would work, and I don't think as much would be got for it as would be worth the undertaking.

39609. Can you give us an idea how much of the area of the county of Sutherland and hill grounds do belong to the crofters, because we have been told a very large proportion of the county is under crofters?
—Yes, somewhere about 50,000 acres in the Tongue district.

39610. Surely those 50,000 acres are worth a good deal in the matter of sporting?
—It would be so if they were all lying together, but when the grazings are lying in strips here and there they are very much more disturbed than the large grazings, and consequently there is not the same amount of game on them. I don't believe any body would take them alone.

39611. Leaving that point, I wish to put a question to you with regard to your observations about the Parochial Board, in which you very severely comment upon the Free Church minister of Farr?
—Yes, and I think with very good reason.

39612. You stated your services were given for many years voluntarily and gratuitously?
—From first to last.

39613. Was it not a fact that a sum was voted to you which was found to be illegal?
—It was voted to me, but I did not accept it.

39614. Why?
—Because I simply wished my services to be gratuitous, and did not wish to introduce a bone of contention among the people. They were all very favourable to that with the exception of one man. I did not wish to have anything whatever to do with it, and I shook my hands clean of it altogether.

39615. Recollect we are not supposing you yourself had anything whatever to do with this. I simply wish to bring out that the other members of the board, or a majority of the board, did propose to vote a
certain sum to you which it was afterwards found was illegal?
—But apart from that altogether, whether it was legal or illegal, it was the same to me; I declined it.

39616. Were you also clerk to that board as well as chairman?
—I was from the beginning.

39617. Are you still so?
—I am.

39618. Did you ever hear of any other parish in Scotland where these two offices are conjoined?
—I don't know, but we had no other alternative but to do it, or employ a clerk from some other part and pay him for it, which was adding to the rate of the parish, already heavy enough.

39619. And it was really for the sake of economy and convenience?

39620. You don't, I suppose, say it would be a proper thing to be done ordinarily in boards?
—I would be very glad to get quit of it, and had it not been from a sense of duty and a wish to do what would be a benefit to the people as well as to the Duke, I should have had nothing to do with it.

39621. You stated in your paper that there were very few prosecutions for game offences in your time?
—Very few, indeed.

39622. You stated that one or two were of a trifling character and others were of more importance, and because they were of more importance they were taken up by the procurator-fiscal?

39623. Is the procurator-fiscal not the private agent of the Duke of Sutherland?
—Not that I am aware of.

39624. Who was the agent?
—The Duke's agent was Mr Gray, latterly Mr Traquair, and now Mr Tait.

39625. Does Mr Fraser, Dornoch, not do anything for the Duke?
—He has done nothing as law agent to my knowledge.

39626. At the end of your paper you have made some reflections upon the delegates who appeared at Bettyhill?
—No; I made no reflections. I have simply stated that I had written and verbal communications to the
effect that they did not represent the true interest and feeling of the population.

39627. May I ask how those documents came to you?
—They came by post.

39628. Signed by the parties?

39629. Credible people?

39630. Do you think it a right thing for you to go and put that into your paper?
—I don't see why not.

39631. Without stating who the persons are who took it upon themselves to question what the delegates who were duly elected at public meetings said to the Commission?
—I give no names. I don't make any reflections myself about them. It is a matter of no moment to me
whether they were rightly or wrongly appointed.

39632. But do you think it is right in you to make reference in this important paper which you have lodged, to the testimony given by delegates duly appointed at public meetings, when you don't mention the names of those who question what the delegates said?
—I don't see anything wrong in it for my part.

39633. You allow a man or men privately and secretly, to attack what the delegates said in public?
—I am quite willing to lay the letters I have received before the Commission.

No comments:

Post a Comment