JOHN M'LENNAN, Crofter, Cuaig (63)—examined.
29911. The Chairman.
—Have you anything to say ?
29912. Why did you come here?
—To see what you were doing.
29913. Are you satisfied?
—Well, the deer come and eat our crops. It is a hard thing for a man of my age to watch out every second night to preserve my crops, and after all that the crops should be eaten up.
29911. Have you any one at home to assist you ?
—I have only two sons and they are at the east coast fishing to provide food for us.
29915. How many crofters are there in your place ?
29916. Do they all suffer from the deer?
—Yes, in the same way.
29917. Do you appoint a watcher at night amongst yourselves?
—Four every night.
29918. Does the proprietor pay them?
—We never asked him to pay.
29919. Does the proprietor ever help you or pay you any compensation for the damage done by the deer ?
—We never asked the proprietor anything.
29950. Is it true that the deer really do you much harm ?
—Of course, quite certainly; how can it be otherwise ? Although I could take my watch one night it would be very difficult for my wife, who might perhaps be nursing, to watch the next night. One might keep watch, but the other might not; and so the crops are lost.
29951. Have you asked the proprietor to put up a fence?
—Yes, we spoke to him about a fence, and he said if we would put the stone ourselves he would put the iron.
29952. What do you mean by putting the stone? How high would you have to build the stone dyke ?
—Three feet high, all the stone wall.
29953. And how long would it be ?
—Over a mile.
29954. Are there many stones about the ground ?
—In some places there are plenty stones along the course of the dyke; in others not.
29955. Would you not do well to take the proprietor's offer and help him to lay the stones down ?
—Perhaps it would; I believe we would be better off than we are if we did; I am certain of it. But we thought that the proprietor might perhaps help in building the stone wall if we gathered the stones.
29956. Would you gather the stones if the proprietor would employ skilled labour to build the dyke?
—I can only speak for myself; I would have been glad of that for many a long day; but the others are away at the east coast fishing and I cannot speak for them on that subject.
29957. Perhaps when they come back you will speak to them about that and make an offer to the proprietor?
29958. How far are you from the place where the ironwork could be got. Could it be brought to your place by sea?
29959. Would you help to carry it up to the ground?
—Everything we could; we would give assistance in every shape.
29960. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh
—-How many heads of families did you say there are at Cuaig?
—There are eight lots and three families that live upon the township in addition.
29961. Are all these families except two, yourself and the other man, away earning wages ?
—Every one of them except myself and my neighbour here. There is just one other man, and he is too old to come here —he is lame.
29962. Your crofts even at the best do not support you, far less when you are troubled with the deer ?
—No, they would not support us although there were no deer ; we never look to that. They would help us; they would assist us; and they often assist us, although the deer are injuring us; but if fences were set up they would assist us very much.
29963. Were you deprived of anything when the forest was made a forest ?
—No, we have plenty of hill pasture. That is all our complaint.
29964. Are the deer increasing in number?
—Yes, in our place anyway.
29965. Is there any township within some miles of you ?
—Yes, and that township the crofters themselves fenced.
29966. How many miles is it from you ?
—About a mile, or a little more. There is another township, Fearnmore, where the deer never came.
29967. Are you aware that the forest has been let for some years past ?
—I cannot tell; I know nothing about it.
29968. Are you not aware that the proprietor himself has not been sporting for some years?
—I know the proprietor does not stop there; others do; I don't know whether it is a tenant or not.
29969. Although you might not wish to trouble your landlord at the same time, since the place is let to a tenant, why don't you come down upon the tenant for damage?
—We did not know that we could do that, but evidently we know it now.