ARCHIBALD FLETCHER M'GILLIVRAY, Crofter and Fisherman (30), assisted by JOHN M'INTYRE, Crofter's Son and Fisherman, Camusbain, Arnisdale (37)—examined.
31802. Mr Cameron.
—Have you any written statement?
31803. Have you heard the evidence given by the last witness?
31804. Do you generally agree with the statements he made?
31805. Were they, in your opinion, all quite accurate statements?
31806. Is there anything you wish to add to those statements?
—We are ruled in every respect in the same way as they have described; but, as regards cattle, we have none at all. There is only one cow in our township. There were two a fortnight ago, now there is only one.
31808. How many heads of families are there in your township?
—Twenty-two who pay rent and four cottars; and there are two other houses inhabited, I believe, by paupers.
31809. To whom do the twenty-two crofters pay rent?
31810. To whom are the four cottars paying rent?
—Two pay to Mr Baillie, and the other two don't pay at all for their houses.
31811. You say there is only one cow among the twenty-two\crofters, have they no hill pasture at all?
31812. How were these two cows of whom you spoke supported?
—Before, this farmer was giving us grazing for the cows, and charging £ 3 for each.
31813. Was that the same farmer of whom we have heard?
—That was Mr Mundell of Eilanreoch.
31814. Used Mr Mundell to allow a cow's grass at the rate of £ 3 per cow to each of the twenty-two crofters, or only to a certain number?
—No, when he came first there were four cows, and he sent them all away and would not allow any to be kept.
31815. So you have had no cows except these two during the whole of Mr Mundell's tenancy?
—It was on the acres which they have among themselves that they grazed these two cows.
31816. Then the farm of Eilanreoch came into the proprietor's hands at Whitsunday last?
31817. Was there any change made about the grazing arrangements when Mr Baillie took it into his own hands?
—The people to whom the two cows belonged went to the factor and spoke to him on the subject, and he allowed them to send the cows to graze ; but they don't know yet what the rent will be for that.
31818. [To M'Intyre].
—Have you anything to add to the statement made by your co-delegate on the subject of these cows?
—Nothing more about the cattle.
31819. [To M'Gillivray].
—What became of the one cow that was pastured this year?
31820. What rent do you pay?
—£2 for an acre of land.
31821. [To M'Intyre].
—And what rent do you pay?
—The same; but on this side of the country they only pay £ 1 an acre.
31822. How do you and the other crofters support yourselves?
—We support ourselves by fishing, and not by the land.
31823. Do you mean herring fishing or white fishing?
—-The herring fishing alone.
31824. Do you get any employment at all in this district other than that of fishing?
—Not at all
31825. Is there any land adjacent to your crofts which would be suitable for you if you could get it?
—Plenty, if the farmers would give it to us.
31826. Are the people very poor?
—We are not so very ill off; but no thanks for that to either the proprietor or farmer.
31827. Would the people be able to buy a cow apiece if they had the grazing for it?
—Some of them could, and many of them could not.
31828. If you got grazing for a cow apiece at a moderate rent, so as to give milk for your families, would you be satisfied with your acre of land, and continue to devote yourselves entirely to fishing?
—We would not.
31829. What would you like?
—We would desire five acres per croft.
31830. In order that you might be wholly independent of the fishing?
—No, I could do with the fishing besides that
31831. If you were occupied in fishing could you manage five acres of land and do justice to it?
31832. What stock would be required to go along with that five acres of arable land?
31833. Would the people to whom you alluded just now as being partly able to purchase one cow be in a position to purchase five, or how many of the crofters would be able to buy five?
—Those of them who, I said, could buy one cow could not buy five.
31834. How many do you think could buy five?
—-There is not one of them could buy five.
31835. [To M'Gillivray].
— Do you agree with your brother delegate that you would not be satisfied with an acre of ground, a cow's grass, and to continue to prosecute the fishing?
—I agree with the answer he gave to that question-
31836-37. You both wish to become farmers in the sense that the chief portion of your time should be devoted to farming rather than to be fishermen with a home and a cow's grass?
—M'lntyre. We would prefer that. There are some years when we can make no fishing, and if it were
not for the merchants that help us we would not be alive. We would get no work from the proprietor.
—M'Gillivray. I have something to say about our houses. They are built on the shore. We built them ourselves, for the proprietor gave us no assistance. We had to pay for the wood which we got from him for the purpose. We spoke to the factor about a change of site for the houses, and as an answer he asked us whether the sea was coming over the roofs of them. We said it sometimes did ; and he told us then that we should put back doors upon them, and when the sea came in that we could run away. I should like to see himself flopping in the midst of them. I have something else to say about some assistance that he was going to give us. About eight or nine years ago a storehouse was erected by him for the sale of barrels for our fishing. He did this in order that we might get these things cheaper from him than they could be got elsewhere. When the salt came he charged 2s. 6d. a cwt., and two cwt. and a half go to make a barrel of salt. That was 6s. 3d. a barrel; and we can get the same quantity from the vessels which brought the salt into the loch for 3s. 6d. or 4s. Then second-hand barrels came to the store, and he charged 5s. for them. A bundle of hoops came with them, and they were lost. To prevent that loss falling upon the laird, there was 2d. added to the price of each barrel, and they were charged 5s. 2d. Now it is for you to judge whether the benefit was on his side or on ours ; I think it was for himself.
31838. Did the people get any assistance from the proprietor when they lost their boats in the storm two years ago?
—We got wood; and it would have been better for us to have bought it, such as it was; it would have been as cheap for us.
31839. Explain that?
—The wood came from Loch Duich. It was cut by the proprietor's people there, and the people who did the work were paid out of the money which was contributed for the assistance of the fishermen. When we went to get that wood there were some who required only one tree, and they spent two days and a night in going for it. If they had got the money which was subscribed for the purpose from the committee who had charge of it, it would have been cheaper for them to have bought the estate wood than to have gone for the wood to Loch Duich.
31840. The Chairman.
—Are you obliged to buy salt from the factor?
—We are not obliged to buy our salt out of the store.
31841. Does the factor still sell salt?
—He does; he has given the store to a man from the east country. He would not give it to any of us.
31842. Is the factor now quite separate from the store?
—Yes, as long as it is rented to the other man. He lost the trade of the salt, and was making no profit by it, and therefore he gave it up.
31843. Have you perfect liberty to buy all your commodities where you like?
31844. Have you perfect liberty to sell your fish anywhere you like?
31845. You state that you pay £2 for one acre of land. That includes the stance of the house, I suppose?
—The proprietor says it is, but I say it is the Government land—that it is on the shore where the houses are built.
31846. Do I understand you right when you say the proprietor has never given you any sort of assistance either in building or repairing your houses
—We never did get any assistance; we had to pay for the wood which we put on the roof.
31847. Has the proprietor done anything to erect a pier or build a seawall for the protection of your houses, or has he ever done anything to encourage your industry of fishing?
—He never did anything of the kind. On the contrary, I think they would like that we should be put in
wooden houses, and set out upon the sea.
31848. Has the proprietor ever shown you any kindness, or assisted you in sickness, or done anything for your families in any respect?
—He has not; he has never come our way.
31849. In consequence of the scarcity last year, was there any distribution of seed or food to the poor in your place?
—I think we got about one peck of potatoes in our family; and if it grows well he will get the peck back,
31850. Are you expected to pay for these seed potatoes, or were they given to you as a gift?
—-We got them as a gift, but the greater part of them were not worth planting. They had gone to nought before we got them.
31851. How much land will a peck of potatoes plant?
—I cannot say. A peck is the fourth part of a barrel
31852. But would it plant half an acre?
—I think twenty yards square is about the most that it would plant.
31853. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Has there been any work of any consequence going on on the estate for some years past?
—The sub-factor had some works going on, for which he employed people of his own choosing; but none of us got any of the work.
31854. What kind of works were they?
—Fencing and cutting trees and that kind of work.
—[M'Intyre]. It is from Mr Bass we get work.
31855. May we say that all the rental that can be drained from the estate, is spent elsewhere?
—He does not spend a shilling of it upon us, at any rate.
31856. Are the people in your township of Camusbain able to purchase milk for the use of the children?
—Some can and some cannot.
31857. From whom do you purchase it1?
—Mr Milligan's manager.
31858. How many cows does he keep?
—I cannot tell.
31859. Does he keep so many that he can afford to sell you the milk?
31860. So that, practically, even if the tenant were willing to sell them milk, they could not get it?
31861. That is to say, if every one of the people were able to buy milk?
—Yes. Four years ago they wished to put a tax of 9s. of road money upon every member of our population of eighteen years and upwards, whether the person had land or not, or whether there were twenty members in a family or one; and, what is more curious, I have the receipt for that, in which there is no name of any person to whom the money is paid. This is the receipt:
—Mr Archibald M'Gillivray, Camusbain, Glenelg District Road Trust, 1879, March 25.
—To road assessment for the year ending Whitsunday 1879, 9s.' I did not pay it.
—[M'Intyre]. That notice was sent to every person of eighteen years and upwards in Arnisdale.
—[M'Gillivray]. That notice came from Mr France, the sub-factor, who was also postmaster, and sent these notices by the post.
31862. How long was Mr France factor?
—[M'Intyre]. He was factor all along in our opinion.
31863. Was he postmaster all the time?
31864. How long was he postmaster?
—[M'Gillivray]. I am not sure.
31865. Was he in that office for a year or two?
—More than that.
—[M'intyre]. Four or five years.
31866. Would every letter that was sent away and every letter that came be seen by him?
31867. Did the people like such thing as that?
31868. Was there any competent person belonging to Glenelg who could do the business except the factor?
—[M'Intyre]. There were plenty; but he wanted that and more for himself if he could have got it.
31869. Professor Mackinnon.
—What is your rent?
—[M'Gillivray]. We are to pay £2, the same as at Corran.
31870. And each one at Camusbain paying rent got this notice to pay road money?
—It was sent to every person of eighteen and upwards.
31871. Was it sent to every one, whether he paid rent or not?
31872. Your boats were much injured by the high tide of two years ago, were they not?
31873. And some were injured less than others?
31874. That is what you meant when you said that some of the people required only one stick?
— That is so.
31875. That some of the boats required less mending than others?
31876. Who had the distribution of the money which was contributed for meeting this disaster?
—The committee included Mr Macdonald, parish minister; Mr Fraser, teacher; Mr M'Intosh, of the hotel; the doctor; and somebody else whom I don't remember; Mr M'Leod, Free Church minister.
31877. It was not the School Board who had the distribution of it?
—I think the members of the School Board were on that committee.
31878. The schoolmaster was not on the School Board?
31879. Was any one connected with the administration of the estate on the committee?
— [M'Intyre]. France was.
— [M Gillivray]. Latterly, but not at first.
31880. Then it was this committee that agreed to supply your loss by getting wood out of Loch Duich, and paying the people who were to cut it down?
—Yes, it was the committee that paid the expense of cutting the wood.
31881. I suppose they thought that would be a better and a cheaper arrangement, because the proprietor would give the wood for nothing, than to go and buy the timber elsewhere?
—It seems that was their opinion.
31882. But you think because you had to go so far away for it, that it would have perhaps been cheaper to have bought prepared timber for you, than to have sent you to Loch Duich for the felled tree?
—Yes, it was dearer for those who wanted only a little wood.
—[M'Intyre]. France refused it to mè although it was cut at Loch Duich, and I had applied to the committee to get it there. I had to go and buy it at Sleat, on the estate of Lord Macdonald at Armadale.
31883. If you required a great deal of timber it would have been cheaper to have got it at Loch Duich, than to go and buy it in the market?
31884. What do you mean by saying that the site of your house is upon Government land, and not upon Mr Baillie's land?
—Because it is under high water mark, and the sea goes over it when there are high tides sometimes.
31885. It is because there is a belief among you that a fisherman is entitled to build upon the sea-shore to enable him to prosecute the fishing; is that the explanation?
—[M'Gillivray]. No; but we think when he charges us £2 for the house when it is upon the sea-shore, and liable to be over-run by the sea, that these houses ought to have been built by himself for which he so charges.
31886. Do your houses front the sea?
31887. The doors are to the sea?
31888. And when the factor advised you to open the back door it was to enable you to escape by the back because there could be no escape by the front?
—Yes; we were not so foolish but that we knew that without his telling us.
31889. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Did the estate management ask you to perform any labour for repairing or making the roads?
—Yes, we were doing three days' work per annum.
31890. And was this payment of 9s. in place of that labour?
—No, we are now paying 6d. in the pound.
31891. But did this payment come in place of the three days' labour
—Yes, it was after the three days' work ceased that this notice came.
31892. And was that three days' labour given by every male over, eighteen years in the place?
—No, it was not in France's time at all. The three days were only upon each croft, and for one person to do the work.
31893. And when did that cease?
—I think about seven years ago.
31894. And have you paid anything in place of it since?
—Two years, ago we paid 6d. in the pound, and last year we paid Is.
31895. Do you know in whose handwriting the notice is that you showed?
—I don't know.
31896. How was it delivered to you?
—By the postman.
31897. Who is the tenant of Astour?
—James Thin, from Macduff.
31898. Is he a curer?
31899. Do you sell fish to him?
—Yes; he buys the herring in autumn.
31900. Did you want the store for yourselves?
—A man belonging to the place wanted it to live in, but he could not get it.
31901. Is it not more advantageous to you to have a curer there?
—There were plenty other curers at that time.
31902. You stated that you had grazing for your cows on Eilanreoch, and that you purchased your meal from Mr Milligan in Arnisdale—are you situated on the march between these farms?
—We just lie between the two.
31903. And the addition to the land, you presume, might be taken from either farm?
—It would be most convenient for us to get it from Mr Milligan's farm; that is the pasture which we had before.
31901. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Are you aware that compulsory labour on the roads has been entirely done away with, and an assessment laid on of so much in the pound of rent?
—We think so, because we have been paying that assessment for the last two years.
31905. The Chairman.
—Were the roads upon which the people gave this obligatory labour public roads, or branch roads for the service of your own township?
—It was the high road over the country side.
31906. And was it a road which was maintained by the assessment or a road maintained by the proprietor and yourselves?
—It was a road maintained by the assessments paid by the proprietor and occupiers.
31907. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Is there a bridle path to Arnisdale?
—It is a high road.
31908. How long is it since it was made?
—It was made before I was born.