Barra, 26 May 1883 - Rev James Chisholm

The Rev. JAMES CHISHOLM, Roman Catholic Clergyman, Barra (29) —examined.
10961. The Chairman.
—You desire to make a statement to the Commission?
—I have a statement to make with regard to a certain grievance in Barra in reference to the teachers of the schools. We in Barra here are almost entirely Catholics, and still we have to submit to seeing our children taught by teachers who do not belong to our own denomination. I put in a pamphlet containing a full  statement, and which your Lordship and the rest of the Commission may consult, and which explains the whole matter.

10962. We shall find the substance of the grievance in this document?

10963. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.—Does it relate to Barra alone?
—And also to South Uist.

10964. To this district ?

10965. Professor Mackinnon.
How many schools are there in Barra
—There is one in Mingalay, and there are three in the island of Barra. At Mingalay all the children are Roman Catholic, and are taught by a Protestant.

10966. Is there any Catholic teacher at all ?
—There is one in Barra, at North Bay, in one of the board schools.

10967. Are you a member of the school board?
—Yes; I have been elected lately a member of the school board.

10968. How many members are there?

10969 The Chairman.
Is the teacher a female teacher ?

10970. Professor Mackinnon.
Would there be any difficulty iu getting a male teacher ?
—No difficulty.

10971. We are told that the population is 2000. How many, speaking generally, of these are Protestants?
—From inquiries I have made, I suppose there will be twenty Protestant children attending all the schools.

10972. The Chairman.
In conformity with the resolution of the school board, what religious instruction is given in the schools ?
—There is no religions instruction whatever given in the schools.

10973. Was there any discussion and resolution in the schoolboard on the subject?
—There was, about the appointment of a teacher.

10974. And not about religious instruction
—Not so far as I know. I am a new-comer, and you will find all the discussious fully explained in that book.

10975. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie. Your board is elected by the ratepayers of Barra ?

10976. Was there a poll?
—There was no poll. I am not very well aware how they were chosen, but I think they were chosen more or less from the parochial board.

10977. Who chose them ?
—I cannot well speak to that.

10978. Well, you will have an opportunity at next election of rectifying the matter ?
—Yes, at next election we can rectify the matter; but we are more or less afraid of appealing to the people, because they might be affected by superior influence, owing to the factor not belonging to that denomination.

10979. Mr Cameron. How many Catholic priests are there on the board ?

10980. And you are not satisfied with two—you think it is not a right proportion ?
—It is a minority—two out of five.

10981. You would like to have three out of five ?

10982. The Chairman.Or more?
—A majority will do.

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