Barra, 26 May 1883 - Norman Mclean

NORMAN M'LEAN, Free Church Catechist, Barra (48)—examined.

10983. The Chairman.
We shall be very happy to receive any written statement from you in regard to the people ?
—I have no written statement; I did not expect to speak here at all.

10984. Well, if you have anything to state to the Commission we shall be glad to hear it. Your communion is not a very large one ?
—No. All I have to say I can say in a few minutes. I find them very much improved from the time I came among them fourteen years ago. I find that the people whom I call my own especially are very much better off now than they were when I came among them. The most of them have far better houses. Some of them when I came among them had very miserable houses indeed—houses which I would not consider a good stable for my pony. But now it is very different. Some of them have got houses in which the proprietor might put up for a night. Their stock is better, their clothing better, and their feeding better. I have never yet heard any of our people coming to me and complaining of any grievances they had in regard to land or anything of that kind. With regard to other people of a different denomination, I have experienced very great kindness among them since I got acquainted with them. I once had as many as sixty or seventy of their children in my school, and some of these are now getting on very well, and some have sent most favourable accounts from New Zealand. They were at one of the Edinburgh ladies' schools. I still continue to experience very great kindness among the people. They live kindly and peaceably among each other, and there were no strivings or rows uutil very lately. As to the cause of that I don't like to say much.

10985. What do you think is the cause of these divisions or the bad feeling that exists ?
—Well, I may not fix on the right thing, and I am far safer not to say anything at all.

10986. You teach the Shorter Catechism

10987. Would you receive Roman Catholic children, and dispense with religions instruction in their easel
—Not now. Since the public schools were opened I have not got any of them to my own school at all.

10988. Did you use to get them ?
—Yes. They all read the Bible and learned the Shorter Catechism when at my school.

10989. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
And they were not the worse of the latter
—I don't think it.

10990. Professor Mackinnon.
Would you have received them without insisting on the Bible and Catechism formerly
—Yes. I never insisted on it unless they were willing themselves.

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