Barra, 26 May 1883 - Farquhar McNeill

FARQUHAR M'NEILL, Crofter, Bravaig (61)—examined.

10930. The Chairman.—Were you freely elected by the people of Bravaig ?

10931. Have you any statement to make to us?
—The people are badly off without land. In the place in which I am four crofters and nine cottars are now upon the place that was formerly occupied by one man—thirteen families in all. There are four families upon one croft, three upon another, two upon another, and so on; and it is but poor land at the best—it is exhausted, yielding no crops in consequence of being continuously turned. They got land for potato ground, and they pay dear enough for it I think—3s. for the planting of a barrel of potatoes—and carrying sea-ware to manure that ground for 12 miles in small boats which will carry only a ton and a half each, so that the people are in very sad plight, and if they could at all afford to get better lands they are much in need of them.  The little stock that they keep upon the ground they have got is not their own, but belongs to the merchant who kept them in provisions.

10932. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.—Was there not an emigration from Bravaig some years ago?

10933. Before that emigration took place, were there not more than thirteen famlies in Bravaig ?
—Yes. The township is but small There are nineteen entered in the rent books, and there are sixteen cottars.

10934. When did this emigration take place?
—Thirty-two or thirtythree years ago.

10935. Was there not a bigger population then than there is now?
—I don't think there were many more.

10936. Is there land in the neighbourhood that would suit you?
—Yes, but the land that is beside us is not suitable land for poor people to live upon. It is not suitable for cultivation; it would pasture sheep.

10937. And what they want is more arable land and not pasture?
—Yes ; that is the land that would suit poor people—that would yield crops after being worked.

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