Shieldaig, 1 August 1883 - Duncan Maclean

DUNCAN MACLEAN, Butcher, Slumbae, Loch Carron (73)—examined.

30043. The Chairman.
—What have you come here for ?
—I have very little cause of grievance for myself; I have come here to speak for the poor people.

30044. Who authorised you to come?
—I got authority from Clach-nacuddin—from Dean of Guild Mackenzie, and several other people besides.

30045. Where was the place where the meeting was ?
—About Jeantown. There were only three houses, and there are ninety people now.

30046. What was the meeting—how many people were there?
—We used to meet, so many of us, now and again, and they asked me to come and speak, not that I was going to put any one down.

30047. Why did the people in that meeting not elect you a delegate ?
—They were all long before proposing to do so.

30048. Have you any written statement or paper?

30049. If you will make a short statement yourself we will hear it ?
—At the time of the Mackenzies they took the most of the best of the country, and gave it into a sheep farm, which was the curse of our Highlands. The estate was about that time about thirty-five miles long by twenty-five broad. And after that —the time when the Mackenzies sold the estate again —it was divided into so many parts when it was bought by the Duke of Leeds. They made so many parts in it that I saw sixteen proprietors in all the bits they put on. Now the best of it is under deer. There were thousands of sheep formerly on that, and plenty cattle and tenants, and even the ground is getting worse with heather and bog, that it would not maintain half of what it did before. And besides that, if the proprietors would give us the land we would give far more value than the great farmers do; for the great farmers get what they want, and we won't. We would be a great help to the Government rather than one man; we would give them so much revenue —tobacco, whiskey, and tea,—and pay all these things; and there would be a great deal of people in the country instead of one man having the best of it for a few deer. I could go on at the like of that for a while. And besides that the Government would have a good many soldiers.

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