DONALD MACKENZIE, Crofter and Fisherman, Crossbost (68)—examined.
17671. The Chairman.
—What is the number of families in Crossbost?
—There are thirty-one paying rent, and twenty other families that pay no rent.
17672. Were you freely elected by the people of Crossbost ?
17673. Were they all together at your election?
17674. Tenants and cottars ?
17675. What have you to say on the part of the people you represent?
—Crossbost, June 11, 1883.
—Gentlemen, Our first complaint was to be driven away from Lochshell forty years ago. The fire was drowned on the hearths by the officers of the estate. They were fined £50 sterling for not leaving the villages on the appointed day. The people of the two villages were put to a smaller village than either of the two they were driven from. When the people came to Crossbost they had a small village five miles from Crossbost for herding; it was taken from them, and rented to another man, and nothing taken off the rent of the village for it. Another piece of ground was taken from us at the end of the village, rented for £ 5 , 10s. and nothing taken off the rent of the village for that. Four new crofters were set at the end of the village, and paying rent to the estate, and nothing taken off the rent of the village.—Delegates for Crossbost, ALEXANDER MACKENZIE and DONALD MACKENZIE.
17676. When you came from Lochshell forty years ago, how many were put into Crossbost?
17677. What was the rent of those twenty-seven?
—The rent of the township was £ 50 before we came to it. There was only one man there before we came to it.
17678. And he paid £50 for it?
—The rent was raised to £60 when we got it.
17679. Was that township very much smaller than the places you left?
—Yes; none of it had ever been cultivated except a little spot in the middle, and there was only one house in the township when we came to it.
17680. What is the rent now of the whole township?
—So far as I remember, it is £88.
17681. That includes the men who are mentioned in this paper, and who were thrown in upon the others and no rent taken off for them?
17682. So that the place which one man had forty years ago for £50 is now divided among thirty-one tenants, and they pay £88 for it?
—If I recollect rightly, that is so.
17683. The marches of the township are not changed?
—No; a great deal of the rights of the township have been taken from us.
17684. You have not so much land now as the man who paid £50 had ?
—We have not.
17685. Were you yourself one of those who came from Lochshell?
17686. What kind of place had you there?
—A very good place. We had plenty cattle and sheep there, but it did not last long.
17687. Had you yourself a croft at that time, or had your father a croft ?
—I was in my father's house at the time.
17688. What was his croft rented at ?
17689. What stock had he when you left it?
—Four milk cows, seven young beasts, and about fifty sheep.
17690. And you kept the whole of that stock in those days for £2, 10s. of rent ?
—Yes. The place was good. There was a good outrun or back. I cannot keep one cow to-day, unless I pay for her food out of my pocket.
17691. What is your rent?
—I paid 30s. formerly, and it is now as high as £2, 6s. including taxes.
17692. What stock are you allowed to keep upon your croft ?
—A cow with her followers for every £ 1 of rent is the summing.
17693. How many sheep are you allowed to keep?
—Five or six or seven per £1 of rent.
17691. How many families do you think this place of Crossbost night be able to keep ?
—I think twenty families, and all its former rights should be restored, so that we could make something of a living out of it
17695. Would it be easy to restore its former rights?
—I don't know. They know that themselves.
17696. Would it be easy to restore the march if the proprietor were willing to do so ?
17697. How far is the place you left forty years ago from the place you are in now ?
—A very long way off. There is a ferry across the loch from here, and five miles to walk afterwards.
17698. Does it now form part of the farm of Park ?
17699. Who has it now?
—Roderick Martin. It is part of the farm of Oronsay.
17700. Would you like to get that back?
—That is what we desire.
17701. If you got a good croft there, or at any other part of the farm of Park, would you be able to put stock upon it ?
—Yes, we would certainly try to do so.
17702. Ar there many in your place that would do the same thing?
—Yes ; the place wo dd soon stock itself if there were a few put upon it.
17703. If you are able to stock a new place, why do you not keep the whole stock upon the place you have?
—What is the good of keeping stock when if I have only one cow I have to buy food for it? There are two farms closing in upon us at the back, and we are shut in like sheep in a fank.