Letterfearn, 3 August 1883 - Murdo Macrae (Inverinet)

MURDO MACRAE, Crofter and Shoemaker, Inverinet (55)—examined.

31358. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Do you hold land direct from the proprietor ?

31359. To what extent?
—About two acres.

31360. How many families are there in Inverinet?
—About twenty.

31361. Did they meet and choose you to represent them here?

31362. How many families were represented at that meeting ?
—The great majority of them were there.

31363. Did they choose others besides you?
—The two others who are with me.
—Rev. Mr Morison. There is a statement in the paper which I handed in referring to this place; I should say, however, that there is at least one of the tenants who dissents from the statement, and says he is satisfied with the state of matters as they are. He wished me to say that on his behalf. He is referred to in the statement.

31364. Who is the exceptional man who does not agree to the paper?
—Roderick Macrae, who is stated in the petition got a cow's pasture which was taken from the others.

31365. [To Murdo Macrae]. There are complaints in the paper of the position of the people at Inverinet, have these complaints been made before to the proprietor?
—We have complained to the factor in regard to these grievances.

31366. Which grievances do you specially refer to?
—Last year about this time the factors went round asking us by authority of the proprietor if we had any grievances. We said that our chief grievance was that we were paying rent to the proprietor for pasture that would not keep a cow. The reason we could not do that is that, when the township was first formed, ten sheep were sent out for each cow; we lost this, and the tenants then got the sheep —those who have still the sheep. When these got the sheep there was no special land reserved for cattle ever since, and the proprietor allotted cow's grass to each of those whom he deprived of the sheep. When the upper tenants got chief control of the sheep they did not reserve any land for the smaller crofters for pasturing their cattle on, and therefore they cannot keep cows at all, because if they take them into their lots then they would have no winter keep for them, or potatoes either.

31367. Did you have to give away your sheep stock, or did the proprietor insist on taking them from you ?
—I was not in the place at the time; my father had the lot; but the people were all anxious to keep the

31368. Was your father a tradesman, or had he any means of living besides his croft?
—No other means.

31369. Were any of those who were deprived of their sheep tradesmen or labourers about the township ?
—One was a crofter, and the rest were at work which they got from the proprietor at the time.

31370. Were they employed on the policies of Inverinet?
—Yes, they were engaged there improving about the proprietor's residence at Inverinet.

31371. And the sheep were taken from you with the intention of classifying the holders there into farmers and labourers ?
—Quite so; they were taken from those who were reduced from the condition of crofters, and allowed to those who had the status of tenants.

31372. And you would now he satisfied if there was sufficient grazing for the cows ?
—That is the one thing we complain of here.

31373. How many are there now of the larger tenants?
—There are several; there are six shares, but one of them is halved.

31374. Are there not seven also of the labouring class?
—Six in all, but one of the lots is in possession of the local schoolmaster.

31375. How many are there on the land?
—Six, I believe.

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