Mrs MARY CARMICHAEL, late of Park—examined.
37321. The Chairman.
—What statement do you wish to make?
—That I was ejected against my will; that is my chief complaint. '
Statement of the Case of Mrs Mary Carmichael, late of Park, Lismore.
Dugald Carmichael (deceased), father of Neil Carmichael (also deceased), husband of the above Mrs Mary Carmichael, became tenant of the farm of Park about forty-five years ago, at a rent of £88 sterling per annum. About twenty-five acres of the farm were soft, mossy ground, which the said Dugald Carmichael drained and made fit for crop, the proprietor paying about half the expense incurred. About twenty years ago the late factor, Mr Gregorson, for reasons best known to himself, attempted to remove the above Neil Carmicbael from the farm of Park, he having become tenant on the death of his father. The attempt' was not successful, but, in face of the fact that the tenant bad expended a large sum in improving the farm, the rent was raised to £92 sterling per annum. The tenant, Neil Carmichael, afterwards built over a mile of dykes round the farm, the proprietor again paying half the expense. About fifteen years ago a new dwelling house was erected, to which the tenant, Neil Carmichael, carted the whole of the material, and provided the stones, sand, and lime. He also paid the cost of plastering two rooms on the ground floor, and of the whole interior work of the upper flat—including partitions, doors, lathing, and plastering of walls and ceiling. Two years ago the above mentioned Mrs Mary Carmichael, who became tenant on the demise of her husband, built a barn at a cost of £30, of which the proprietor paid £10. There was a lime work on the farm, which was sublet by the tenant with the consent of the proprietor for a period of four years. The party to whom it was let kept it for five years and omitted to pay the rent for the last year, which the factor, Mr J. Fraser Sim, has promised to pay, but has not yet done so. Finally, the above Mary Carmichael was removed from the farm of Park at Whitsunday 1883, although the rent was paid up in full, the proprietor giving no reason whatever for so doing. She was refused when she applied for another farm on the estate, although there were more than one vacant at the time, and was interdicted from ploughing a portion of the farm which she considered she had a right to do in the spring of this year. She now occupies a small holding on the Balliveolan estate, which she has through the kindness of Mr J. Fraser Sim, the factor. Considering that she has been very harshly treated by the proprietor of the farm of Park, who has thus removed her from her farm which she had improved at so much cost, she begs to lay this statement of her case before the Royal Commission.
37322. Had there been misunderstandings and quarrels in your family which made it undesirable for the factor that you should remain on the estate ?
—Well, there might have been a little of that. The eldest son might have been foolish at times, but he had many brothers all the world over; and what I would wish particularly would be that the laird might have given him serious advice, and caused him to be a help to me. Instead of that the only advice he would give was that he should be removed from the place against my will; and the end of it has been that I have lost my man's place.
37323. Had you a younger son who could have carried on the business of the farm possibly with you ?
—Yes. I have been tried more sorely than any other in the country has ever been, and that is bad enough.
3732L Who is now the tenant of the holding from which you were removed ?
—A neighbour of my own —M'Coll.
37325. The holding from which you were removed is held by another person who is no relation ?
37326. Does the new tenant pay a higher rent than your husband paid and than you were willing to pay ?
—I don't know what rent he pays, but I know this, that the thing was considered so unfair at the time that he was the only offerer.
37327. You say you have now got another holding?
—My son has another holding. I was writing to the laird himself and not the factor, because he knew my husband very well, and latterly I asked him for a dwelling merely, and he would not give me that.
37328. You say in this memorial you now occupy a small holding on Balliveolan estate, which you have through the kindness of Mr Fraser Sim, the factor. You now therefore occupy another holding on a different estate ?
—It is my son who has it, and I live with him.
37329. What son is it—your younger son or the elder son ?
—The elder one.
37330. Your complaint is that you were removed from your husband's former holding without, as you think, a sufficient reason?
—Yes, that is it.
37331. It is the same factor for the two estates, but you are now on a different estate ?
—Yes, that is quite the case.