ALEXANDER MACKENZIE (42) assisted by ALLAN MACKENZIE (78), Letters—examined.
28682. The Chairman.
—[To Alexander Mackenzie]
—What are you ?
—I take charge of a yacht for Mr Morrison.
28683. Where is your residence ?
28684. Have you and your co-delegate crofts 1
—No. Allan Mackenzie
—I had a croft but it was taken from me fifteen years ago.
28685. Were you elected a delegate ?
—I was chosen as a delegate, but Allan Mackenzie appears for himself.
28686. Are you acquainted with the condition of Letters ?
—I am pretty well acquainted; I have been there since I was a boy.
28687. What complaint have you to make at Letters ?
—They have the same grievances as the people of elsewhere, but they are not altogether pleased with their landlord for all that.
28688. Who is the landlord ?
—Mr Cameron, the parish minister.
28689. What is your complaint if you have any ?
—They are particularly complaining of the extent of their land. It is about twenty-eight yards in breadth at the foot of the croft in some of them : in others it is broader than that. It is very difficult to work the land. They have to carry all on their backs, their manure and everything else.
28690. Can the minister make your crofts any wider?
—There is a piece of ground on the upper end which they had before, and which might be added to the crofts. At that place there were four lots formerly.
28691. When was it taken away?
—I am not quite sure ; it is a good many years ago. Some of the people went to America.
28692. Did the minister take the land into his own hands?
28693. Do they pay their rents regularly to the minister?
—Some of them do not pay rent at all; they cannot.
28694. But do all those pay rent that can ?
—I think so.
28695. Is the minister an indulgent proprietor ?
—He is very kind to them in some things. Some of the rents were raised when the election for the School Board was impending, in order to entitle the occupants to votes.
28696. But if the rents are not paid it does not much matter whether they are raised or not ?
—But they are afraid that the person who comes after may be more severe, and that if they don't pay they will be turned out.
28697. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Have you any other complaints ?
—I don't know of any other great complaint that they have, except that they could wish the proprietor to allow them to keep some sheep.
28698. Have they any sheep ?
28699. [Allan Mackenzie.]
—What do you complain of?
—My complaint is that I was deprived of my land fifteen years ago. We were left for twelve years in a bothy into which the sea came and destroyed everything. About three years ago the minister gave us another house. I held a croft formerly under his predecessor, Dr Ross, and I kept some sheep, and the present minister complained that I had those sheep. He had forbidden our having sheep. I suppose it was on account of that that he took my land from me. I was not in arrears.
28700. Would you not have been better off if you had given up the sheep and had kept the land ?
—I had always been accustomed to sheep, and did not like to part with them.