ANGUS CAMPBELL, Crofter, North Bragar (57)—examined.
15434. The Chairman.
—What statement have you to make to the Commission?
—That the poverty of the people was caused by overcrowding.
15435. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—How many crofters are there on North Bragar ?
15436. How many were there when you first recollect ?
—Twenty-eight crofts. In my father's time there were twenty lots.
15437. How many families ?
—Twenty. In my recollection there were twenty-eight crofts, but probably abont thirty-three families.
15438. How did the increase to forty arise?
—The greater number of them belonged to the place. A few were sent in upon us from Galston.
15439. How many people came from Galston?
15440. How long is it since that clearance took place?
—About twenty years ago.
15441. Who has got the land?
—I do not remember who got it twenty years ago, but at present it is vacant so far as I know. The old tenant has not yet been succeeded.
15442. Is it a big place?
—About four miles broad.
15443. How many families would it keep comfortably?
—It would keep sixty families comfortably.
15444. Without any hill ground except itself ?
—With its own hill pasture just as it is. There are four townships.
15445. What became of the people in these townships?
—The greater number of them went to America. Others of them were scattered here and there.
15446. Does this crowding deteriorate the soil?
—Yes; we are quite convinced of that. I believe just now the two Bragars are only two miles broad, and there are over 600 souls on them.
15447. Is the pasture very much over-eaten ?
—The pasture is necessarily injured by over-eating, and it is necessarily exhausted.
15448. Do you think your stock has deteriorated in quality in your lifetime?
—Yes: it is very nearly worse than if it did not exist at all.
15449. Do you really think that the stock is worse than it nsed to be; is it poorer in quality ?
—Yes; it is of worse quality than when I was young.
15450. Is that due to any extent to the fact that you use bad bulls ?
—That accounts for it partly, and the inferior pasture accounts for it too. The best of the pasture land we had was settled upon six crofts. Then there was an additional 6s. added on from 1841 to 1843. It has not been put on the last two additions to the township, which were made during Mr Mackay's time. Everything contributes to over-stocking. As the rent is increased, over-stocking follows of necessity.
15451. And what you want is that a certain number of families in this township should be removed to other places ?
—My croft is only twentynine yards broad, and is about one mile long.
15452. But what I want to know is whether you think a certain number of the crofters at North Bragar should be sent to another township or another place ?
—That is the only way in which those who remain can be made comfortable.
15453. Would you like to be one of those who would go for the good of their neighbours, or would you rather stay and get ground?
—My opinion is that if we had to face such a contingency we would cast lots and deal fairly.
15454. But you wish to have such a contingency to face?
—Yes, we do.