Balmacara, 2 August 1883 - Donald Matheson

DONALD MATHESON, Crofter (47)—examined.

30362. The Chairman.
—Where is Kirkton ?
—Round about here.

30363. Have you been elected a delegate ?

30364. Were there many people present when you were elected ?
—The whole, with the exception of one.

30365. How many crofters paying rent to the proprietor are there in Kirkton ?

30366. Have you got a memorial for them to present?
—Statement by the Kirkton Tenants, parish of Lochalsh. Between 1847-49, nine families emigrated from Kirkton, and at the latter date the township was divided into eight shares, of which Mr David Logan got five. The whole rent wa3 £85, including hill pasture of Altan Ban, near Pait Monar, on which all our stock, with the exception of the milch cows, were grazed for the summer half-year. This arrangement subsisted till 1852, when Mr Logan left, and the eight shares were changed to four. At the same time Altau Ban was taken from Kirkton, and was given to the late Mr Mitchell of Attadale, who was gradually forming a large sheep farm out of the grazings belonging to other townships; but there was no reduction of rent. Besides this, a considerable portion —about the fifth part —of our home hill pasture was taken from us and added to the Balmacara Hotel farm, or Iteraig, for which a reduction of £11, 11s was allowed. This continued till 1859, when a new arrangement was made by joining Old Glebe to Kirkton, and dividing the whole anew into six shares. Old Glebe, whilst in occupation of Sergeant Macrae, paid a rent of £30, but when added to Kirkton charged £40. In the consideration of outlays by proprietor for building houses, byres, &c, the rent at the same time was increased to £20 each, or £120 for the whole township. Then afterwards, in 1862, £ 10 each additional rent was laid on us in the name of interest for improvements, rising the rent to £ 30 each, or £180 in all, besides road money and poor rates. It may be stated that, according to an entry in our rent books, the total amount certified to have been expended in these improvements is £1261, 12s. 10d. We continued paying at this rate till Martinmas 1881, when we got a reduction of £6 each, or £36 for the whole, which leaves us paying now £24 each, or £144 for the whole farm. Our present stock consists of 250 sheep of all kinds, 18 milk cows, and 6 horses. Any young cattle we keep or wish to rear, we have to send every year to summer to the Isle of Skye. As may be understood from the foregoing figures, we have experienced very great difficulty in making a living at all out of the place; in fact, many of us could not have held at all, if not assisted by friends, or having means otherwise; and as for those who had no such means or assistance, it has been an arduous and long-continued struggle for existence for years back. In order to make this clearer, we have only to mention the rent and stock of some of our neighbouring big farms by way of comparison. The farm of Balmacara pays a rent of £320, and is understood to carry a sheep stock between 1000 and 1500, besides cattle and horses. Auchtertyre pays £200, and carries between 700 and 1,800 sheep, with cattle and horses. Conchra pays £325, and has a stock of about 1500 sheep, with the usual accompaniments of cattle and horses, we wish to point out that these big farms support only one family each, whilst our small one, besides supporting six families as tenants, is also burdened with other four families of cottars and squatters. We also regard it as another great grievance, that at least three-fourths of the best land of our native parish is in the occupation of six large sheep farmers and one deer forest; and we believe it would be for the benefit of the people generally if the land was more equally divided. Having now stated our grievances, we beg respectfully to mention to the Royal Commission that the following are what we require in order to enable us to live in a fair state of comfort and contentment:—
(1) That our rent be reduced to what it was before the improvements were made;
(2) Fixity of tenure as long as we pay a fair rent;
(3) Compensation for any improvements we might make in the event of removaL All the tenants concur in this statement, with one exception.—DONALD MATHESON, DUNCAN MACRAE, delegates.'

30367. Mr Cameron.
—You state your rent was reduced from £ 30 to £24, why was the reduction made ?
—1 cannot say, but it was done by the proprietor.

30368. What year was that ?

30369. Was it done after any statement made by the tenants?

30370. You expressed a wish to have the rent reduced?
—Yes, to the factor.

30371. Did you state by how much you wished the rent to be reduced?

30372. You asked for a reduction of rent ?

30373. And you got to the extent of £ 6 out of £30?

30374. Were you satisfied with that in 1881 ?
—So far; it was a great help to us.

30375. Have things gone so much back since 1881 that you expect a still further reduction ?
—Yes, the price of wool is decreasing.

30376. Do you and your neighbours consider yourselves as crofters or farmers, with this amount of land and the rent you pay ?

30377. But I suppose your crofts give as much work as occupies the whole of your time ?
—Most of the year.

30378. Do you keep one or two horses each ?
—-One each.

30379. When were the improvements made on which you pay the interest, which you now want to have done away with ?
—It states in the paper.

30380. £10 each additional rent was laid on in name of interest for improvements,' but I do not think it mentions the date. This continued till 1859, when a new arrangement was made by giving the Old Glebe into Kirkton, and dividing the whole anew into six shares. The Old Glebe, while in the occupation of Sergeant Macrae, paid a rent of £30. But when added to Kirkton paid £40. In consideration of outlays by proprietors for building houses, byres, &c, the rent was at the same time increased to £ 20 each. Was all that done in 1859 ?
— Yes.

30381. There is no date given—did all that take place together ?
—Of course it did ; we commenced paying it in 1859.

30382. Then the improvements were made in 1859?
—Yes. The improvements were not made, but after the arrangement was made we agreed to pay £20 each for building new houses and byres and barns, and we commenced paying it at once.

: 30383. Was any land improved at that time ?
—Yes, they commenced shortly after that.

30384. Do you know what interest you paid on these improvements ?
—It was 5 per cent, we promised.

30385. On what grounds do you wish that 5 per cent, now taken off? Are the improvements not as available now ?
—Because we consider the amount is paid up, and the lots are too dear.

30386. But 5 per cent, cannot pay up the capital as well as the interest of money expended on improvements?
—Of course, when the money is paid by proprietors.

30387. If the money is paid up you think the charge made on the tenant should cease ?

30388. But have you ever heard it stated that when a proprietor borrows money from a company, or in old times from the Government, the charge made, which includes the paying up of capital as well as interest for twenty-five years, is £6, 14s. 6d. or something like that?

30389. Perhaps you thought that if a proprietor borrowed money to cover capital as well as interest the rate would be 5 per cent. ?

30390. You are not aware it was more ?

30391. That 5 per cent, only represents the interest without paying the capital; and if you wish to pay the capital too it would require to be more—you are not aware of that ?

30392. In point of fact, you and your neighbours wish for a reduction on two grounds—first, because you were under the impression that the whole of the money spent on improvements has been paid off by the tenants; and secondly, owing to the low price of wool ?
—Yes; and more than that, we never got a reduction for the hill which was taken from us in 1852.

30393. But a new arrangement was made in 1859 was it not?
—That was made because the proprietor told us the rent, and the factor charged more than the proprietor said it would be in 1852.

30394. But in 1859, when the arrangement was made, did the tenants express themselves as satisfied, or did they remonstrate?
—It was all the same whether we would or not.

30395. But did you as a matter of fact say it was not a fair arrangement, and that you wanted something in respect of the hill pasture being taken ?
—Of course I had to do it, or leave the place.

30396. You thought you had to do it?
—Yes, I was forced.

30397. In what way were you forced ?
—He told me I would lose what I had, unless I would make that arrangement.

30398. What did the other tenants say ?
—Some of them did not say anything with the exception of one, and he spoke to me, but at last he yielded.

30399. But in fact there was in 1859, when this arrangement was made, a feeling generally expressed amongst the tenants that it was an arrangement which was not fair towards them, and too favourable to the proprietors?

30400. Did you speak to the factor about the place being still too dear in 1859?
—Of course we did, but he said we would get this work done, and we agreed upon the point. But we never thought it would come more than that until he commenced improving the land ; and he never
asked what he should spend, but kept on aU along until we were charged at that rate. It was all the same whether we would complain or not.

30401. How is the present stock of sheep divided amongst you? Is it all common?
—Common, under one man.

30402. How much arable land have you got ?
—About ten acres each, I should think.

30403. How many cattle have you each ?
—Three, perhaps.

30404. Supposing that the proprietor was to reduce your rent on account of the low price of wool, would you be willing to pay an increased rent if the price of wool were to rise again ?
—For all the wool we have it would not benefit us so much; even £ 1 or £2 a year would be something.

30405. £ 1 or £ 2 ?
—£1 or £ 2 of reduction.

30406. You would be satisfied with a small reduction now ?

30407. You do not think your rent is very much too high since this reduction was made ?

30408. By how much ?
—If it was the old rent.

30409. Without the money for the improvements ?

30410. Do you think you ought to have the improvements absolutely without paying for them ?
—If it could be done.

30411. Do you think that, provided you got the improvements now for nothing, after a certain number of years, that would be an encouragement to any proprietor to improve his Land for other tenants, supposing they wanted it ?
—I should think it would.

30412. You think it would be an encouragement to a proprietor to improve his land if after a number of years the tenants expected to have the improvements for nothing, and to get the reduction of £6 in their rent besides?
—I should think it would.

30413. You think the proprietor would like that, after expending money upon his property and getting no return ?
—Has he not got a return when it is paid up and getting his land made better ?

30414. Is there any use making the land better if there is to be no more rent got for it ?
—If he makes the farms smaller and charges the same rent; and if a man on making improvements gets that part of the farm taken from him.

30415. How did you get at the stock which the various sheep farmers keep ?
—I got it on good authority.

30416. You are satisfied in your own mind it is accurate ?

30417. Do you know all the sheep farmers personally?

30418. Have you heard that they also complain of the low price of wool ?
—I have not seen them of late.

30419. Have they got leases?
—I think they have.

30420. You have no leases ?

30421. Would you like to have a lease ?
—Yes, if we got the place at a fair rent which would pay us.

30422. Was a lease offered you in 1859?
—I do not know; I was not present.

30423. Did your neighbours ask a lease ?
—I do not know.

30424. You do not know whether there was one asked ?
—I was not present.

30425. In 1859, if a lease had been offered to you, would you and your neighbours have taken it on the terms on which you then engaged ?

30426. After the improvements were made?

30427. If you had accepted the offer of a lease and got a lease, you probably would not have had this £6 of a reduction ?
—I cannot say.

30428. It never occurs to these large sheep farmers to ask reductions during their lease?
—They got more reduction than we got.

30429. At the same time?
—I don't know.

30430. Do you mean that the large sheep farmers got reduction during the currency of their lease ?
—I cannot say what time they got it, but I know they got it.

30431. Are you sure you had no lease in 1859?
—I cannot say. I never knew of it. Perhaps there may have been some written agreement.

30432. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh
—Who was the factor in 1859 ?
—Mr Finlayson.

30433. What became of him ?
—He died.

30434. Was he a good factor?

30435. He did not do much good to the people in Lochalsh ?

30430. Nor to the proprietor either?

30437. The loss of part of your pasture which was given to the inn was a very serious loss, was it not?

30438. In fact, unless you get it back, the township will never get over it?
—I cannot go that length.

30439. How far will you go ?
—It is a great loss to us.

30440. What is the name of the tenant of Balmacarra Inn ?
—Robert Macleod.

30441. Where did he come from?
—Sutherlandshire originally.

30442. If your figures are correct in your statement about the rent and the stock kept by the other farmers you have mentioned, your township is paying more than you ought by a good deal ?
—Yes, as far as I understand. I know the rent is right, because I had the valuation roll when writing that paper.

30443. And neither you nor your co-crofters understand why you should be charged more rent than the big men ?

30444. In fact, I suppose you would think it would be more reasonable to give the poor men the cheaper rent?
—I should think so.

30445. Whatever money you may earn or raise out of your croft, suppose you spend in the country ?
—Yes, and more if we could get it.

30440. And it is the same with the other crofters ?
—Yes, unless they have means otherwise.

30447. The fact of you and the other people staying in the district or locality like this all the year round, and spending in the district whatever you can afford to spend, is helping the district, is it not ?

30448. Supposing there is a big farm and the tenant is not resident, is he of any particular use to the district?
—No, I do not think he is.

30449. He may be very useful to the landlord in paying a big rent?

30450. What other use is he ?
—I do not know any other use he is.

30451. He helps, of course, to pay his share of the taxes?
—Of course, he pays his own share.

30452. You have been sent here to-day?

30453. You have heard some of the previous delegates tell that no natives of the district hero are employed in offices of trust. Is that correct ?
—I do not know of any.

30454. Do you think it is true what the previous men have said ?
—As far as report goes, it is.

30455. The proprietor is a Highlander himself ?

30456. A good Highlander ?

30457. Does it surprise you and other people, therefore, that he does not do something more for his countrymen ?
—Many a time.

30458. You state that had you known the improvements would cost n. so much you would have hesitated about going into the arrangement ?

30459. Had you or your co-crofters any control over the expenditure made by the factor at the time upon your place ?
—Not the least.

30460. He did what he liked, in fact ?
—He did what he liked.

30461. And whatever it was, you were obliged to pay interest on it?

30462. Was all the money laid out on your land necessary, or was it overdone ?
—I rather think it was overdone.

30463. You say if you have any cattle which you keep or wish to rear, you have to send them every year to summer in the Isle of Skye. Is that true ?
—It is.

30464. Are not the bounds of Lochalsh very extensive?

30465. Would it not seem curious to a stranger that there was not enough pasture in Lochalsh for your beasts, and that you should have to go to the Isle of Skye ?

30466. But it is true ?

30467. How do you account for that1?
—Because most of the pasture here is occupied by large sheep farms and larger forests.

30468. Is the large sheep farmer not willing to give you the summer grazing ?
—Yes, for some time; but he won't give it for the whole year. He won't give it longer than the month of August.

30469. Only for such a short time as would not suit you ?

30470. You say the ground is occupied by deer. Is it true that people in the low ground used to send their beasts in former times to the high ground now occupied by deer ?

30471. And that is cut away from you?

30472. What places can you get in Skye where you can summer the beasts ?
—On Lord Macdonald's place.

30473. Upon the large farmers ?
—No; the small tenants.

30474. You have written this paper, no doubt, with something particular iu view. Would you mention the particular part of Skye?
—Sleat, near Isle Ornsay.

30475. And to some extent you can get summer grazing there?

30476. It is not far away, except that you have to cross the sea?
—We have to cross Kyleakiu.

30477. Who is the tenant of Auchtertyre ?
—David Logan.

30478. Is that the only farm he has got?

30479. Where did he come from ?
—The low country.

30480. Who stays at Conchra?
—Dr Duncan.

30481. Where does he come from?
—The low country.

30482. Is there any native at all having a big farm?
—Yes, one at Auchmore—Roderick Donaldson.

30483. What rent does he pay?
—About £155.

30484. Do you pay poor's rates?

30485. According to your paper, besides paying your share of poor's rates, you are burdened with four families of cottars and squatters ?

30486. Do they pay you any rent ?
—No, we never charge them anything.

30487. Have they got potato ground ?
—We give them potato ground.

30488. Do they not give you any labour ?
—They cannot afford to give much. They are obliged to labour for themselves.

30489. Do these four families belong to the town? Are they friends of crofters or people who squatted down?
—Not as far as I know.

30490. Are they ah outside people who have settled down upon you?

30491. Are they relations of your own ?
—No, not as far as I know.

30492. How came they there?
—Some of them were there before I remember.

30493. And they are there yet ?
—They are there yet

30494. Always at the expense of the crofters?

30495. You say there are six large sheep farms. You mentioned the names of four of them ; what are the names of the other two ?
—Braentrah, occupied by Mr Stewart; and Fearnag, of which Mr Macrae is tenant.

30496. He is a native ?

30497. And he is a Highlander?
—No; he came from Australia here.

30498. But his name -would denote that he came from some part of the Highlands?
—I suppose his people belonged to Kintail.

30499. Did anybody help you to prepare the statement you have written?
—My neighbours did,

30500. You and your neighbours met and talked it over ?

30501. Did anybody from the outside world prompt you?

30502. You got no help from the outside; it is your own?

30503. Is it written by yourself?
—No, it was a schoolboy who did it,

30504. Where does he belong to ?
—Our own place.

30505. Who put it in this language ?
—No man did it for us.

30506. The Chairman.
—You say that the croft consists of ten acres and supports three cows and one horse. Are all these crofts of the same size or nearly ?
—All about the same ; they are supposed to be the same.

30507. And the share in the sheep stock is also the same ?

30508. Is the shepherd for the sheep paid in common ?

30509. How many sheep belong to each share ?
—There are 250 sheep in all; between 40 and 50 sheep to each.

30510. Three cows, one horse, and between forty and fifty sheep?

30511. Ten acres of arable land, and you pay at the present moment £24?

30512. With a good house ?

30513. And sufficient offices ?

30514. Are you a married man?

30515. Have you sons able to assist you ?
—One of fourteen years old.

30516. Do your wife and daughters assist you in the management of the farm ?
—My wife is absent from me.

30517. Are you and your family able to manage and labour the whole of this little farm ?

30518. Are you obliged to hire labour?

30519. Besides what you pay to the shepherds ?

30520. For the purpose of working the farm ?

30521. You do not hire any horse labour?

30522. You exchange horses with your neighbours?
—Yes, we are working in company.

30523. When you hire any labour, do you take the labour generally from these cottars' families or persons outside ?
—I keep a servant myself.

30524. You mean a female servant?

30525. Do you hire any labour from the cottars?

30526. You never have any labour from these poor families ?

30527. Not even for harvest?

30528. Do the other crofters on the ground never employ these poor people?
—They will be working for them oftener than for me; but I do not know whether they would pay them or not

30529. What is the reason you do not employ these poor people ?
—I cannot afford to pay them.

30530. Then these cottars are in receipt of good wages ?

30531. In what sense are these four families of cottars a burden on the crofters if they are receiving good wages—do they cost you any money?
—We give them potato land and the like of that.

30532. Do they not pay anything for the potato land?
—No, I never charge.

30533. You say some of the crofters employ them, does the potato land count for part of their wages ?
—I cannot say.

30534. What do you think?
—They pay them one way or another, I should say.

30535. But do you think that the enjoyment of the potato land counts for part of their wages?
—I should think so.

30536. Who built the cottars' houses?
—There were some of them built by some of the tenants who left the place long ago. When the proprietor built new houses for the present tenants the cottars got the old ones.

30537. Do they pay any rent for these old houses at all ?

30538. Are there any of the cottars who receive parochial relief?

30539. Do they fish ?

30540. Generally speaking, are the other crofters or small farmers in your settlement obliged to hire any labour, or can they generally cultivate their little farms by their own labour ?
—By their own labour.

30541. What sort of living do they make out of it ; are they able to support their families out of the produce and the stock of their little farms ?
—Oh no, working day's wage mostly throughout the country.

30542. They go and work?

30543. At day's wages ?

30544. Then these £ 24 crofts do not support the families who live upon them ?

30545. What was the nature of the improvements made by the proprietor? Was it.drains?
—It was draining and building dykes.

30546. Stone drains or tile drains ?
—Some of them tile and some of them stone drains.

30547. Which answer the best ?
—The stone drains.

30548. Are they both working now ?
—Some of them.

30549. And did they produce a great improvement on the land when they were made ?
—Yes, when they were made.

30550. Was the land limed at the same time ?

30551. Has any lime ever been applied to the land?

30552. Do they never use lime in this country ?
—Not with us

30553. You say that it was also enclosed?

30554. Was it quite open before that?

30555. Were there enclosures upon the ground?
—There were enclosures at the roadside and elsewhere.

30556. What sort of enclosures did the landlord make?
—Wire fences and stone dykes.

30557. Were they very useful?

30558. They did a great deal of good ?

30559. Did they enable you to improve the cultivation'? Do you use improved grass ?

30560. If they had not put up these fences, could you have introduced the same improvements ?
—I think so, but we would have had more trouble; we would have had to herd the cattle.

30561. Therefore you think it is a decided improvement to have made the enclosures ?

30562. Do the enclosures divide each lot from the next?

30563. How do they do?
—Every park is divided into six equal shares.

30564. And these shares are not fenced ?

30565. There is no fence between the shares, but there is a fence between the parks ?

30566. Does that work well?

30567. You have no complaint to make about the enclosures?

30568. Have the drains fallen into a bad state ?
—Some of them.

30569. Have they been re-opened?

30570. Have the tenants given themselves any trouble to keep them open ?
—A little now and then.

30571. Do you think they might give themselves more trouble?
—Perhaps at times.

30572. There is some mention in the paper about deer forests. Who made the deer forest ?
—I suppose Sir Alexander Matheson.

30573. How long ago ?
—I cannot say.

30574. Is there much land in the deer forest which would be useful for sheep and cattle pasturing?

30575. Is there much of it very high which would not be useful for sheep and cattle ?
—I do not think it.

30576. Was the land occupied as a deer forest formerly, occupied as summer shielings ?
—I do not think it, so far as I can remember.

30577. Were there always some deer there in former times?

30578. Is it not a real hardship sending the cattle across the sea? Are they ever injured by it?
—Not any of mine.

30579. Are they sometimes delayed either in going or returning ?

30580. So that you cannot get them back when you want them ?
—Yes, if the wind is too high in the ferry.

30581. Is there any inconvenience in the markets? Are you sometimes unable to send the cattle at the right moment ?
—There is no inconvenience in that respect.

30582. You said that most of the large farms were let to south country people or strangers. Was that because strangers were preferred or the strangers have more capital than the natives ?
—I rather think they were preferred.

30583. You think they loved the south country people better?
—That is my opinion.

30584. Were the large farms formed in Sir Alexander Matheson's time or in former times ?
—Most of them were formed before his time.

30585. Can it be said generally that Sir Alexander Matheson has shown an inclination to form big farms in contradistinction to small holdings ? Has that been his policy on his estate, to form big farms and turn out the little people ?
—With the exception of that hill pasture I have mentioned.

30586. With the exception of that which belongs to the deer forest, that is the only case ?
—I think so.

30587. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Was that land for the deer forest taken from you ?

30588. Professor Mackinnon.
—Is it in summer that you send the cattle to Skye ?

30589. And it is overstock?
—-Of course we have not a place for them.

30590. And you take them back in winter?

30591. That means that your arable ground will winter more cattle than you have summer pasture for?

30592. Where do you get pasture for the cattle in Skye ?
—On Lord Matheson Macdonald's estate.

30593. Is it on the small crofts or on the big farms ?
— On the small crofts.

30594. Because they are too poor to keep cattle themselves ?
—I don't know; they are more liberal, I think.

30595. How many sheep does your pasture carry ?

30596. Is that what we call the summing?

30597. Is that what you are allowed to keep on ?
—You can keep as many as you like, but that is the stock we have on.

30598. What stock is it estimated to carry ?
—I do not know.

30599. When was the stock counted at 250 ?
—At last clipping.

30600. Two hundred and fifty large animals?
—Yes, with the exception of four or five tups. I suppose if the hoggs could be sent to the low country, the pasture might carry 300.

30601. I suppose you can reduce the number of sheep and increase the number of cattle if you so please ?
—I suppose we might if we so pleased.

30602. And if you did that you would not have to send the cattle to Skye for summering?
—Not if we had not sheep at all.

30603. How many sheep would the hill pasture which was taken from you carry ?
—Between sixty and seventy along with the other place. I cannot say that alone.

30604. And you think your rent is out of proportion to the rents round about ?

30605. Far too high ?

30606. If the rent was lower, that size of croft ought to be able to maintain a family?
—Yes, in some years, if it is a good season; but in such a year as last it would not.

30607. Last year was exceptional, but in ordinary years it would keep a family ?
—Sometimes it would and sometimes not.

30608. You talk of having hired labour except for the house. Do you think that a man and a boy is not quite sufficient to work a croft of the size of yours ?
—They would have enough to do to keep it in good order.

30609. It is more for the house than the farm that you require to get the servant ?
—I require to get her for both.

30610. What time of the year do you require service on the croft most ?
—In the time of harvest.

30611. And a little in the spring?
—Not so much in spring.

30612. Who were employed on the improvement of the crofts ? It was not yourselves ?

30613. Outside people ?

30614. You think you would yourselves have improved them equally well at a less cost ?

30615. And that would have been the better way ?

30616. I suppose the reason for putting a fence round each park is that by that means you are enabled to leave out of crop the whole park at a time ?

30617. And is your own sixth share always the same bit of ground in the park ?

30618. How many parks are there?

30619. How do you work them?
—We work them in rotation. There is one of them that is in two parks ; it is double.

30620. How do you work them?
—In a five-shift rotation.

30621. One potato and turnip, one oats, one barley?
—No, we do not sow bere.

30622. Two oats?

30623. Two grass?
—We have two oats, two grass, potato, or turnip.

30624. Two oats ?

30625. Two grass?

30626. And potato alternately with turnip?

30627. And in a good year the croft could support the family if the rent was reasonable ?
—Some years.

30628. An ordinary average year?
—No, it never supported the family.

30629. Instead of £24, what would you consider a reasonable rent for the croft just now?
—£17 each.

30630. Would you be prepared to take the place upon lease at that rent ?

30631. But not more ?

30632. You must have considered it very highly rented when it was £30 ?
—Of course.

30633. The return I have here gives thirteen acres as the size of the crofts, but you say ten ?
—That counts the patches. I know in some of the parks there is not six acres.

30634. And your own stock is just exactly the summing?

30635. But there are some who have considerably more ?

30636. And it is these who have to send cattle to Skye ?

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