St Kilda, statement by factor

I, JOHN T. MACKENZIE, having been called upon to give evidence before the Commissioners at Portree on the 23rd May, now beg leave to submit my written statement.

I am 54 years of age. I am well acquainted with Skye, having lived there the greater part of my life. I hold various public offices of trust. I am also factor for St Hilda. I observe that the Commissioners visited that island on the 1st of June. I read the evidence given before them on that occasion. I have no comments to offer thereon ; suffice it to say that Mr M'Kay omitted to mention that a medicine chest is kept on the island under his own charge, and that he himself is possessed of some skill in the proper dispensing of those medicines.

Angus Gillies, in his evidence, when he said the factor sent a vessel with meal on 3rd May, omitted to mention than in addition to meal, there was also sent flour, seed oats, and potatoes. The potatoes were, by Miss M'Leod's special orders, given at half price, viz., 5s. a barrel, she undertaking to pay the other half out of her own private means.

The natural products of the island, such as feathers and oil, are falling out of view, other industries taking precedence. Prosperity lies before the St Kildeans in the fishing occupation, which made a start a few years ago. Unfortunately certain circumstances have hitherto retarded its progress. I am glad, however, to say, that a fresh start has again been made with every appearance of success, if encouraged in the right direction and in the proper way.

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