JOHN MACDONALD, Farmer and Factor, Newton, North Uist—re-examined.
13306. The Chairman.
—Do you wish to give any explanation about Bernera, or was there anything incorrect in what was stated?
—I cannot say I recollect anything.
13307. Can you say generally whether you think the small tenants of Bernera suffer any peculiar hardships or disadvantages?
—The greatest hardships they suffer, in my opinion, is their own doing in the subdivision of the lands.
13308. Is their crowded condition more owing to the natural increase of the population, or to persons having been brought from Pabbay or other places among them ?
—To the increase of the population most.
13309. Were any brought there from other places?
—I was not acquainted with the place at the time they may have been brought there.
13310. Has any effort been made or any care been taken by the proprietors to carry the young people away or provide for them in any other place, and in any other manner ?
—The Dowager Lady Dunmore always took a great interest in the young people on the estate, and I believe she would have done something for them, if they were willing themselves to leave the place. She was always willing to assist, and always assisting the poor people on the estate. She is always kind to the people, and I am aware the present countess does as much as is in her power for the people. She often helped them.
13311. They complain of having been deprived of two small islands which had formerly been associated with their place ?
—I have heard that stated, but I was not acquainted with the place at the time that happened.
13312. How long have you been in the tack at Borv ?
13313. Do you think the people have been deteriorating during that time in their condition ?
—Not till very recently. The failure of the crops and bad seasons have conduced to that.
13314. Who is in possession of those two small islands which they complain have been taken away from them ?
—The proprietor, Lord Dunmore. That is Hermitray and Susay.
13315. What use does he make of them?
—He has cattle on both islands.
13316. Does he keep any manager living on them ?
—No, there is no one living on either of the islands.
13317. Do you think that these islands would really be very useful to the people ? Do you think they would do them much good if they had them ?
—If they could stock them they would,
13318. You have no house on the farm of Borv ?
13319. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—You said that until the last few years the people did not seem to be falling off at Bernera. Don't you think, judging by the number of families there now, that they are very much crowded ?
— They are very much crowded.
13320. Don't you really think something ought to be done? I don't ask you what, but something ought to be done ?
—Well, for the benefit of those who remain, and the benefit of those who go away, I really think something should be done.
13321. For the benefit of all concerned?
—For the benefit of all concerned, the island should be relieved of a portion of its present populatiou.
13322. How many people do you think there would be there in the time of the famous Six Norman Macleod?
—I cannot say at all He was living in the end the crofters now possess, and had it as a farm. I don't know whether he had the other end of the island.