ALLEGED CASES of Hardship on the Estate of His Grace the DUKE of SUTHERLAND, K.G.
EXTRACT from LETTER of ANGUS SUTHERLAND, Glasgow Academy, Glasgow (aged 30),
Delegate from the Federation of Celtic Societies.
I had the honour to appear before you on a previous occasion, namely at Helmsdale, Sutherlandshire, on Saturday, 6th inst. On that occasion I submitted a statement on behalf of the crofters of the parishes of Loth and Kildonan in that county. At a subsequent sitting of the Commission, namely at Golspie, Sutherlandshire, on Monday, 8th inst., your Lordship, in order to check some of the assertions contained in my statement, put certain questions to Sir Arnold Kemball and Mr Peacock as representing the Sutherland estate management. I am entirely satisfied with the general result of that examination. I desire, in passing, merely to note the wonderful faculty of memory displayed. As to money spent or misspent on the estate for the last thirty years, everything was known and remembered; but when questioned as to the grievances of the people and the curtailment of their scanty privileges, memory was a blank, or it happened before their time. I offer no opinion as to the truthfulness or otherwise of the statements then made. My position is simply this :—
I made certain statements ; some related to matters of fact, others were matters of opinion. What I stated as matters of fact, I am prepared to substantiate in any reasonable manner ; what I stated as a matter of opinion must of course be taken for what it is worth, like every other opinion submitted to the Commission.
At Helmsdale, your Lordship tried to get at the principle of what is locally known as the ' death tax’. I was asked if this increase of rent was progressive. I replied that I was not aware at the moment of any case where there were two successions to the same holding within my memory except one, and that a witness coming after me would be better able to say if there was a progres sive increase of rent. That witness stated that there was. The estate management
denied the principle, with qualifications of course. I now submit documentary proof that the increase of rent is progressive. Here are three receipts granted in the case referred to, (I)in the year 1872, to John Macdonald (father) for £1,10s. 8d ; (2) in 1880, to Janet Macdonald (daughter) for £2 , 8s.; and (3) in 1881, to Margaret Macdonald (daughter) for £ 3 , 8s. [These receipts examined by me, and bear out Mr Sutherland's statement. Subject in each receipt: Nos. 25 and 321, Gartymore.' C. FRASER-MACKINTOSH]The receipts all bear the signature Joseph Peacock. In nine years the rent has been trebled. This is the only case of two successions to the same holding within my memory that I am able at present to recall, and you have the result. So much for the assertion that increase of rent is not progressive. I stated that part of the holdings of nine crofters was taken from them on the pretence that the proprietor wanted it for the purpose of planting trees, and that upon that understanding the people gave up the land, and that the land was immediately added to the holding of an estate official, and that not a tree was planted there to this day, though this happened ten years ago. The Sutherland estate management did not deny that this had been done, but Mr Peacock is reported to have stated that it happened before his time. Now at the Golspie sitting itself, it was stated that Mr Peacock had been factor for twenty-five years, and if the above transaction took place ten years ago (as it did) Mr Peacock must have been factor for fifteen years before it took place. I have here the names of the nine people who were thus deprived of part of their land, and can hand them in if desired.
Crofters of West Helmsdale, parish of Kildonan, county of Sutherland, who were deprived of part of their holdings on the pretence of the land being wanted by the proprietor for a plantation, but which was at once added to the holding of the harbour-master :—
1. Peter Poison.
2. William Gunn.
3. John Macintosh..
4. Francis Macintosh.
5. Alexander Macintosh.
6. Hugh Bannerman.
7. Isabella Bannerman.
8. Alexander Mackenzie
9. William Sutherland.
I also stated that the small holdings in the parish of Loth, as they fell vacant, were added to the neighbouring large farm of Craikag. This was not denied, but the number was doubted. I have here a list of thirty-three holdings which have been so added, and can hand it in if required.
Small holdings added to the large farm of Craikag, parish of Loth, county of Sutherland :—
1. Alexander Sutherland.
2. Lucy Sutherland.
3. Margaret Gilchrist.
4. Margaret Mackay.
5. George Sutherland.
6. John Murray.
7. John Grant.
8. William Ross.
9. Donald Mackay.
10. William Ross.
11. Widow Bannerman.
12. George Mackintosh.
13. Roderick Ross.
14. John Sutherland.
15. Hugh Sutherland.
16. Janet Matheson.
17. Widow Mackay.
18. Christina Macintosh.
19. Margaret Bannerman
20. Alexander Sutherland, senior.
21. John Gow.
22. Alexander Sutherland, junior.
23. Widow Budy.
24. George Gordon.
25. John Mackay.
26. George Sutherland.
27. James Gordon.
28. Margaret Fail.
29. Barbara Sutherland.
30. Joseph Sandison.
31. Alexander Campbell.
32. The Schoolmaster's holding.
33. Mary Bannerman.
There was also doubt thrown upon the statement, that part of the holdings, of fifteen others was added to the holding of the local ground officer. I have here a list of the names of the persons who were so deprived, and can hand it in also if required. Mr Peacock is reported to have stated that it was added to the holding of the present ground officer. In justice to that gentleman I am bound to correct that statement. It happened before the time of the present ground officer, but during Mr Peacock's time.
Crofters of West Helmsdale, parish of Kildonan, county of Sutherland, part of whose holdings were taken away, and added to that of the local ground officer.
1. John Murray.
2. Widow William Mackay.
3. John Fraser.
4. Donald Munro.
5. Widow Joseph Macleod.
6. Donald Sutherland.
7. William Macleod.
8. William Bannerman.
9. Christina Bannerman.
10. John Ross.
11. John Macdonald.
12. Robert Ross.
13. Robert Gunn.
14. Christina Ross.
15. Widow Alexander Bannerman.
There were several other inaccuracies, but in consideration of the value of the time of the Commission I let them pass.
I crave the indulgence of the Commission while I read a letter in regard to evidence given at Golspie concerning Alexander Gunn, Inchcape, Rogart
GLASGOW, 19th, October 1883.
ANGUS SUTHERLAND, Esquire.
DEAR SIR,—I have just learned from our mutual friend M r J. G. Mackay, that you are to appear to-morrow (Saturday) before the Royal Commission, to give evidence on matters regarding the county of Sutherland, and I shall feel greatly obliged if you will kindly bring before the Commissioners the case of my brother Alexander Gunn, Rogart, who gave evidence before the Commission at Golspie, and the explanation afterwards made by Mr Peacock, factor on
the estate, maliciously reflecting on my brother's character. Will you please state to the Commissioners that m y brother was never guilty of any irregularity, and that the statement made by the factor is a vile insinuation, attempting to cast opprobrium on my brother to cover his own grinding process of management. In proof of which my brother has by private letter, and publicly through the columns of the Scotsman newspaper of the 15th current, resented the indignity cast upon him, and calls on the factor for an explanation.
M r Peacock has also been written to on the subject by Gilbert Gunn, lance-corporal in the 93rd Regiment (Sutherland Highlanders), eldest son of the said Alexander Gunn, challenging the factor to prove the insinuating aspersions cast on his father, and so far there has been no reply to either. You can see that this sort of treatment is no great encouragement for young men from the county joining the Territorial Regiment.
I enclose copies of the letters above referred to, viz., Alexander Gunn's letter to the Redman, on the 15th current, and his son Gilbert Gunn's letter to the factor on the 11th current, which you are at liberty to use in evidence, and trusting the matter to your hand, in which I trust you will oblige,—I remain, Dear Sir, yours truly, THOMAS GUNN.'
SIR,—I read a paragraph in your paper of October 9th, that M r Peacock, on being asked as to the increase of rent referred to by me, said that the increase was due to irregularities on m y part. The Duke had in view putting me out altogether, but His Grace decided to put on the valuation rent as a sort of mild punishment. I do not know of any irregularity on m y part. I was never behind in paying m y rent, nor broke any of the estate regulations, unless they consider it an irregularity that I sheltered the Rosses at Inchcape when on the point of starvation, after being deprived of their holding, and inhumanly used by some of the Duke's officials ; or, secondly, that I remonstrated against the removal of Widow Alexander M'Kay, Inchcape, over seventy years of age, who was dragged out of her house to the hill, where she was for nearly two days, after which she went into her own barn, where she spent the remainder of her miserable life. If there has been any case of irregularity on my part it is unknown to me, and I consider it unjust to punish a man for what he is ignorant of. So I wait an explanation from Mr Peacock about the so-called irregularity.—I am, & c ALEX. GUNN, Tenant.'
GLASGOW, 11th October 1883.
J. PEACOCK, Esquire, Factor, Golspie.
SIR,—My attention has been called to the proceedings at the meeting of the Crofters Commission at Golspie, where you are reported by the North British Daily Mail to have stated that my father, Alexander Gunn, Inchcape, Rogart, was on inquiry found to be implicated in some irregularites for which a fine of 25s. per annum was imposed as a mild punishment. Will you please let me know, per return, if you confirm this report, and if so, I challenge you to verify your statement, and call upon you now to let m e know—
1st, The crime with which my father was charged ?
2nd, Before what tribunal was he tried, and the date ?
3rd, The name of the judge who sentenced him to pay a fine of 25s. per annum, and ordered the same to be paid to his grace the Duke of Sutherland ?
4th, And if you can state whether his grace is aware of this item forming part of his revenue ?
I beg to request that you give me a distinct and categorical answer per return post to each of the foregoing queries,—and waiting your reply, I am, your obedient servant,
GILBERT GUNN, Lance-Corporal,
93rd Regiment, Sutherland Highlanders.
I mean to confine m y few observations to the county of Sutherland, for the double reason that I know it best, and that it affords the best and most complete illustration of the system that has brought the Highlands of Scotland to the present unsatisfactory condition. Not only is the county of Sutherland representative of that system, but my native parish of Kildonan is a strictly representative one in that county, and whatever applies to it applies to the county at large, and to a great part of the Highlands. There is no necessity to recur to what happened there some seventy years ago. Several justifications have been attempted of what was done then ; but let us look at the facts as they stand to-day—the result of seventy years of unimpeded and unfettered sway, and let us judge the system by its results. In making this estimate of the value of the system by its results, I am content for the time to lay aside the historical aspect of the question altogether. To sum up the situation then, there are in this model county three sharply-defined classes—proprietor and factors, large farmers, and crofters. Each of these classes has been heard before this Commission, and not one of them is content. Their grievances may be summed up as follows :—
Proprietors and factors—decreasing revenue, increasing rates, and no return on investments. Large farmers—unable to meet their legal obligations, and going to ruin generally.
Crofters—too little land, with plenty lying waste beside them, increasing rents on their own improvements, oppression by estate management, and great and growing discontent.
This is the nett result of seventy years of the Loch and Scotsman dispensation. It has been asserted that something required to be done in order to do away with the middlemen. Granted that this was necessary, where was the necessity of doing away with the people at the same time ? He would be held to be a very unskilful and illogical physician who, in order to cure toothache, would take off a man's head. Whatever may have been the faults and shortcomings of the middlemen, they discharged important social functions, and were qualified to do so. Their successors—the sheep-farmers—bad not these functions to discharge, nor the qualifications to discharge them if they had. Thus the useful functions performed towards the people by the middlemen ceased, while the oppression was ably continued and improved upon by factors and ground officers.
It has been stated on behalf of the Sutherland estate management that there has been a tendency to enlarge the bounds of the crofter population. All I have got to say on the point is, that neither has my own experience nor the evidence led before you shown anything of the kind. We have the fact brought out, however, that the tenant of the large farm of Craikag, in the parish of Loth, has a clause in his lease providing that all the crofts as they fall vacant are to be added to his farm. For aught we know to the contrary there may be a clause to the same effect in the lease of every large farmer in the county; and in that case the only limit to the rapidity of consolidation would be the rate of the extinction of the crofter population. Whatever effect the march of events may have had on the policy of the estate management, we have it on the authority of the Scotsman newspaper that the object of the Duke of Sutherland's reclamation works was to enable the sheep-farmers to winter their stock without being under the necessity of sending them out of the county.
A great deal has been made of the fact that the rates paid by the proprietor plus the rates paid by the large farmers exceed the rental of the crofters ; but I consider that to be an argument capable of proving something very different from what was intended. There can be no doubt that of all the phases of this land question, in the Highlands especially, statistics that relate to pauperism are the most instructive and important. I think it a question of far more importance how the many may be able to make a decent livelihood, than how the few can make fortunes. It must not be forgotten that rates are assessed upon property and not upon persons, and that crofters pay rates as well as proprietors and large farmers, and upon a much higher valuation. The fulfilment of an obligation imposed by statute cannot, with any fairness, be claimed as a virtue. Whoever holds the land must pay the rates. The crofters would pay them as well as the large farmers, and as a matter of fact they pay more. Strictly speaking, however, no crofter is a pauper. Otherwise we would have the anomaly of a man being a ratepayer and a pauper at the same time. In practice, and so far as known to me, no person in Sutherlandshire receives parochial relief if he holds any land. It is only the landless who are paupers. If they are landless of their own free will, then they are blameworthy, but if they are landless against their will, then doubly great is the guilt of those who have made them so ; and I can scarcely conceive anything more mean and contemptible than forcibly making people paupers, and then turning round and reproaching them with their pauperism. It cannot be denied, and it is within my own knowledge, that pauperism is largely on the increase ; but the important question is, What is the cause of that pauperism ? Within even my memory it was considered a reproach to be a pauper, and nothing short of the direst necessity would induce any person to accept parochial relief. The stigma of pauperism was regarded with the most positive horror. Many and many a time have I seen old people on the brink of the grave, when their children were forced to emigrate, lament that they themselves would have to be buried at the public expense. The grief of parting for ever with their children was intensified by the dread of this fate—a fate which a witness giving evidence before this Commission at Lybster aptly and forcibly characterised as the ' the burial of an ass.' It is surely interesting and edifying to trace back to its origin this honourable feeling,—this dread of pauperism. In Sutherlandshire there cannot be a shadow of a doubt that it had its origin in the circumstances of the people before the clearances. Nothing tells the history of a people so clearly and unmistakably as the survival of a popular sentiment. Dread and loathing of pauperism could have its origin and growth only in a comfortably circumstanced community A normal condition soon ceases to be an object of feeling one way or the other. I myself have seen, in m y native parish, the decline and I fear the death of this honourable feeling; and I have not the slightest hesitation in laying its death at the door of the large-farm system. The simplest statement of the problem is this : two thousand people were impoverished that six people might make fortunes out of their confiscated labour. This was simple enough, and required but little inspiration' or 'masculine energy' to carry it out. But side by side with this fortune-making grew up other questions—social, moral, and economic. Before the Kildonan clearances £8 collected at the church door sufficed to maintain the poor of the parish in comfort. In the year 1882 they cost the parish £50. That is to say, during sixty-seven years of the so-called ' improvement' system, pauperism has increased close on 700 per cent., and that in the face of a decreased population. A more complete and crushing condemnation of a system of ' rural economy' I venture to think statistics cannot supply. But this is not all by any means. It was stated before this Commission over and over again that the sheep-farmers of Sutherland were getting an abatement of 50 per cent off their rents ; and if I mistake not it was also stated that this abatement was to extend in all over five years. Now, referring to the parish of Kildonan again, the rental of the sheep-farmers in that parish as per valuation roll amounts to £4180. Deduction of 50 per cent, on the same for one year is £2090, and for five years, £10,450. The maintenance, & c , of the registered poor cost the parish for the year ended 14th May 1882, as per official return, the total sum of £44, 7s. 11d.; and we have the authority of the estate management for saying that the Duke of Sutherland's share of that was £231. Now, dividing the one sum by the other, we have that his six sheep-farmer paupers cost the Duke of Sutherland in five years as much as his sixty crofter paupers in forty-five years, another striking result of sixty-seven years of ' improvement.' But great as is this pecuniary loss, it is but trifling compared with the moral loss. This is simply incalculable. The amount of moral degradation implied in the compulsory pauperisation of a people famous for their self-respect and moral integrity, furnishes an example of incapacity and shortsightedness unequalled in the annals of human folly. I am not prepared with any cut and dry theory as to the remedy for the present state of the Highlands. Generally speaking I agree with Mr Purves and I am glad to be able to agree with him on any point) that education is be agency that will have most to do with the settlement of the question, though I anticipate that it will operate to that end in a very different manner from what he anticipates. Mr Purves thinks that the effect of education will be that the people will leave the Highlands—their native country—entirely to him and his class. But if they also are to be paupers as they at present virtually are in Sutherlandshire, I fail to see where the benefit could be even to the landlord, while I have no difficulty in seeing where the expatriation of the people would be a great loss to the nation. I think that education will have the effect ultimately of removing Mr Purves and his class, for ignorant people will submit to many hardships and oppressions that an educated man with a knowledge of his rights and capabilities would not for a moment submit to. I can appeal to Mr Purves himself with confidence on this point, and I have no doubt his experience will confirm m y statement. But the education the Highland people stand most in need of is not that directly supplied by the School Boards, but education in their political rights and privileges. Of course they are at present outside the pale of the constitution, but that is a state of matters we all hope to see remedied very soon. Let them once have a voice in their own destiny, and the rest is a mere matter of time. I can see no difference in the way by which matters must be righted in the Highlands and the way in which matters have been righted elsewhere. The question in the Highlands is but a local manifestation—aggravated no doubt by local circumstances—of a much wider question—a question which I venture to think will occupy public attention more and more as time progresses. Two principles diametrically opposed to each other are here brought face to face, namely, the right of the state to govern and protect the subject, and the right claimed by the proprietor of land to do with his own as he likes. The crofters of the Highlands now claim the one, the proprietors of land have for a long time claimed and practised the other. The two are incompatible. I confess that I can see no via media—no device by which a present and temporary settlement can be arrived at until public education is ripe for a final and logical settlement of this important question.
LONDON, 1st December 1883.
DEAR SIR,—The Duke of Sutherland has perused the accompanying letter (with its enclosures), forwarded to me by Mr Peacock under flying seal, and by his Grace's desire I forward it to you. I have only to reiterate the hope which I expressed in person to the President of the Royal Commission, in the Duke's behalf, that opportunity should be allowed to the factors on his Grace's estate respectively, of explaining any grievances (arising out of deviations from estate rules), however exceptional, which may be alleged against these gentlemen. It is not only his Grace's wish that wrong, if proved to have been perpetrated in his time, should be righted, but that its recurrence should be effectually prevented.
A. B. KEMBALL
To Mr Joseph Peacock, Factor for His Grace, the Duke of Sutherland, K.G., Golspie.
Helmsdale, 8th November 1870
We , the undersigned, hereby agree to give up possession, as from Whitsunday 1870, of the detached bits of land or pasture that we respectively occupy on the face of the Shore Braes, at West Helmsdale, north of the Parliamentary road, and between the lot occupied by Donald Watson and the Castle Park, it being understood that our rents are to be reduced as understated for the land so given up.
2. Reply on behalf of The DUKE of SUTHERLAND to the Statement by
Mr. ANGUS SUTHERLAND, Glasgow Academy, Delegate from the Federation of Celtic Societies.
Golspie, Nov. 28, 1883
MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,
The following remarks on the statement by Mr. Angus Sutherland will be confined to matters of fact, in explanation of the cases he mentions:—
Case of MARGARET MACDONALD, 25 and 321 Gartymore.
In 1848, John Macdonald (father) succeeded his brother Robert at a rent of £1.
In 1869, the father got an additional piece of ground, for which he paid 10s. per year.
The eightpence, charged in addition, was the tenant's proportion of school salary and road money then collected with the rents.
In 1873, the widow of John Macdonald succeeded at the former rent—£1, 10s. 0d.
In 1876, Janet Macdonald (daughter) succeeded on her mother's death, and the rent was increased to £2, 8s. 0d.
In 1877, the re-valuation of the crofts was made.
In 1881, Margaret Macdonald (daughter) suceeeded on the death of her sister Janet, and the rent was then fixed according to the valuation, at £3, 8s. 0d., at which it now stands.
The father and his widow were thus in possession from 1848 to 1876—28 years—and, with the addition made in 1869, held 5.3 acres arable and 3.1 acres unimproved land, besides a share of the hill pasture, at £1, 10s. 0d. per year, being less than half the value of the arable land alone, as fixed by the valuation in 1877.
It remains for Mr. A. Sutherland to explain how " in nine years the rent has been trebled." I may add that I never before heard the phrase " death tax " or "death premium," and I have been 25 years factor on this estate.
This case is extremely exceptional in the rapid changes of tenancy that have taken place.
Cases of WEST HELMSDALE CROFTERS, 9 and 15 in No.
It is alleged that portions of 9 crofts in West Helmsdale were taken under pretence of forming a plantation, but were at once added to the holding of the harbour master, and that portions of 15 others were also taken and added to the ground officer's holding.
If Mr. Sutherland had, when he first brought forward these cases at Helmsdale, mentioned that the construction of the railway was the cause of the changes—thus fixing the date when they took place,—it would have then and there recalled all the facts, which are simply these :—
In the extension of the railway to Helmsdale, and within a quarter of a mile on the south side of the station there, it was necessary to divert the public road In order to make way for the line, which encroached on the cultivated parts of some rigs of land occupied by these crofters, and left them only a steep brae face, very wet, and quite unfit for cultivation. His Grace desired to improve the appearance of this brae, and the tenants were asked to give it up. This they did at once, quite willingly, and on Nov. 8, 1870, signed a Memo to that effect, a copy of which I enclose (along with the original, to be returned after verification), in which it will be noticed reductions of rent from 2s. 6d. to 3s. for each rig were given, amounting in all to £3, 10s. 6d per year.
It will be observed that there is no mention of planting in this Memo, it was, however, spoken of by those in charge of the Railway works, as a means of beautifying the approach to Helmsdale ; but this ground was found to be unsuitable—some other bits of land nearer the station were utilized for this purpose. Subsequently it was decided to add the eastmost portion of the brae to the adjoining croft then occupied by Robert Cruickshanks, and the westmost portion to that occupied by Mrs. Mackay, the mother of the present harbour master. A few years later, an exchange of crofts took place, and some re-arrangements were made, by which the eastmost portion of the brae was added to the ground officer's holding, along with another small piece of land that had fallen vacant. It was this latter addition that I had in view when giving evidence at Golspie.
Case of ALEXANDER GUNN, Inchcape, Rogart. Evidence,
In this case it was stated at Golspie that Gunn's rent had been last raised on account of some irregularities in which he was found on inquiry to be implicated.
His brother William, the former tenant (who died in 1866) paid £6, 6s. a year.
Alexander entered in 1866-67 at £5 6s 10s. 0d. per year.
In 1873, he was supplied with timber and lime gratis, to the value of £28, 10s. 0d., to assist in building a new house.
In 1876, he was allowed £5 for reclamation at 5 per cent., which increased his rent to £6, 15s. 0d.
In 1879, his rent was increased to £7, 16s. 0d., being the amount fixed in the valuation of 1877—the holding consisting of 12'2 acres arable and 6.'5 acres pasture unimproved, besides a share of the hill grazing. Gunn's own statement of his stock for the return to the Royal Commission gives 2 horses, 5 cattle, 11 sheep, and 1 pig.
The rent was increased in 1879 because His Grace considered he had good reason to be dissatisfied with the conduct of A. Gunn and his family respecting a small house near the boundary of his lot, which had become vacant by the death of Barbara Leslie, and was promised to Christy Mackay, to whose occupancy thereof Gunn and his wife were strongly opposed. On the night of Nov. 9, 1878, this house was partly broken down, and in the ordinary course the matter was reported to the police. On the 29th of the same month, this cottage was partly destroyed by fire, under circumstances that could not fail to give rise to suspicions of a very painful character. The police inquiries resulted in Gunn's wife, along with Christy and Jessie Mackay, being apprehended. Subsequently Christy Mackay was convicted on her own confession of the crime of malicious mischief on the 9th Nov. and fined 10s., but no sufficient evidence could be obtained as to the cause of the fire on the 29th Nov.
The irregularity on the part of A. Gunn, as it appeared to His Grace, was that from the first he exhibited great aversion to the tenant selected for the vacant cottage ; and that on its partial destruction, first by pulling part of it down and then by setting fire to it, it did not appear that Gunn or any of his family had made the slightest effort to protect the property, but that on the contrary they made no secret of their desire to prevent its occupation by the tenant selected for it by the proprietor.
In places so far removed from police supervision as Inchape, His Grace thinks it not unreasonable that the inhabitants should understand that it is a duty incumbent on them to take due care of property to whomsoever it belongs, and, if they are unable to do so, at least to afford every assistance in bringing to punishment persons guilty of maliciously destroying it. In this respect, His Grace concluded that Gunn had failed in his duty, and to mark his displeasure he put Gunn under notice of removal. Gunn, however, evidently saw it was his interest to stay, and His Grace permitted him to do so on condition that the rent should be as fixed by the valuation of 1877. Gunn agreed to this, but owing to an oversight in the estate office—which Gunn did not fail to take full advantage of (conduct it is unnecessary to comment upon)—the increased rent was not paid for the two following years.
Case of 33 HOLDINGS in Loth, said to have been added to Crackaig Farm. In this, as in other cases, Mr. A. Sutherland gives no dates, or any information to fix the period when this absorption is alleged to have occurred, but merely gives a list of 33 names. Respecting these, inquiries have been made, extending back over 40 years, in some cases more ; and according to the information obtained, it appears that many of these holdings were sub-tenancies under the former tacksman of Crackaig or Lothbeg, to whom the tenants paid higher rents than are now charged for similar holdings, and, in addition, had to render services from which the crofters are
In the negotiations with the former lessee of Crackaig, it was arranged to put an end to these sub-tenancies; and as the holdings fell vacant, certain of them were to be added to the farm within the boundary of which they were situated.
As the result of the inquiries about the 33 names above mentioned, the information obtained may be thus tabulated :—
7 crofts have been added to the farms of Crackaig or Lothbeg by vacancies arising from deaths in 5 cases, the tenants leaving no successors ; and in other 2 cases by the voluntary removal of the tenants to better holdings elsewhere.
11 cottars having died out, and their cottages not being further required, or not worth repair, the sites, including in some cases small gardens, were added to these farms.
7 crofts are still occupied by the successors or survivors of parties included in Mr. Sutherland's List, assuming the names to have been correctly traced out.
7 names appear to be double entries for one and the same house or holding, or are cases where the parties cannot be traced.
1 site of the old parochial school (now the public school) erected specially for the accommodation, at the most convenient place, of the children of the crofters and cottars.
The correctness of this analysis, it may be stated, rests upon information obtained from old people now resident in the locality. This statement being merely one of fact, all that need be stated in conclusion is, that Mr. Sutherland's calculations on page 6 of the proof of his statement are founded on hypotheses altogether erroneous.
I have the honour to be, etc,