Tiree, 7 August 1883 - Angus Munn

ANGUS MUNN, Crofter, Heanish (44)—examined.

33542. Professor Mackinnon.
—You have a statement to submit to the Commission?
—' Unto the Honourable the Royal Commissioner, appointed to inquire into the Condition of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the Statement of Angus Munn (44), crofter and fisherman, Heanish, Tyree; Humbly sheweth, That we have been forcibly deprived of our holdings of two crofts, during our father and mother's lifetime, to make room for another party who got into the factor's favour, and on going to his Grace the Duke of Argyle to Mull, he advised us to come home and that he himself would look after it. On the factor becoming aware of this he reported that we had no stock to stock the ground with, and on being challenged by the factor as to the stock, we had to call witnesses to let them see what number of stock we had; and on the factor's becoming aware of this, he, in a rage, asked us about the stock. Having replied in the affirmative, he said, " Did I not tell you that you were not to have a hoof on the grass after a certain day?" On being questioned as to what was to be done with them, " Drown them," said he. We had then to confine them in our byres until some of our cattle died. Now, on his Grace having found this out, and that we were able to stock the ground, he further instructed the factor to reinstate us on the crofts; but after all we never got but one of the crofts we had before, after being two years from us, and much rent was imposed upon us on that croft than what was before. Mr Geikie was the ruling factor for his Grace at that time. The crofters grieve for high rents, as it was about doubled within the last thirty years, exclusive of rates; and our land, by constant rotation, does not yield the one half of the produce it used to do previous to the rent being raised, and by that reason, we are buying our meal regularly from the south, and also feeding stuff for our cattle. The most useful part of our common pasture was taken from us and added to the one in whose hands the greater part of the township is. Our demands are
—More land, fixity of tenure, fair rent, compensation for improvements.
—Delegate, ANGUS MUNN.
—P.S. We also complain of our harbour accommodation, and for larger fishing boats, such as are required for that part of our industry

33543. How many crofters are there in Heanish ?
—Four just now, and the minister counts for one; that is five, who have got three crofts.

33544. What is the whole rent of the place?
—I pay £ 7 and a few shillings; I cannot tell the total rent of the place.

33545. You say the rent was doubled within the last thirty years; what was your rent at that time ?
—We had only one croft at that time, and we paid 40s. to 50s. for it.

33546. And do you pay your present rent for the same land you had then ?
—Yes, for the same land we pay now £7, for which we paid formerly 40s. to 50s.

33547. But the two crofts that were taken from you were not restored to you ?
—Yes, we got the one that we have now.

33548. But not the other one ?
—Not the second.

33549. How long ago was that ?
—Nearly twenty years ago.

33550. What was done with the other croft which was not restored to you ?
—It was given to a neighbour and favourite of the factor's.

33551. Had he no land before?
—Yes, he had.

33552. How much had he before?
—He had three crofts.

33553. And you were not in arrears when that croft was taken from you ?
—Yes, we were a little in arrears.

33554. Did you or your father make any improvement upon these two crofts you had ?
—Yes, we made some drains, and we put some soil upon the rocky ground.

33555. Was the land worth more after you did that than it was when you came into possession of it first ?

33556. Was it not yielding better crops?
—Yes, the portions that were drained were yielding better crops, but the other portions were getting worse

33557. How ?
—Because it required to be ploughed every year, and we could not give it rest,

33558. Why did you need to plough it every year?
—Because it was so small; we were not able to support ourselves unless we ploughed it every year.

33559. When was the part of the common pasture taken from you ?
—About sixteen years ago ; it was in Mr Geikie's time.

33560. What reason did he give for doing so ?
—No reason at all, but his own good-will and pleasure.

33561. To whom was it given?
—To the man who got our croft—the favourite.

33562. What was the extent of it?
—About three acres, rock and all

33563. What stock do you keep now ?
—One horse and two cows. This portion of outrun which I speak of was used as a passage to the general
outrun of the place for the cattle, so that it is not merely the loss as pasture land, but the loss of it as a direct road. We have now to make a circuit of a mile to get to the outrun upon which our cattle graze. There used also to be horses upon it some portions of the year.

33564. What feeding stuffs do you get for your cattle?
—Pease-meal and bean-meal.

33565. Do you use that food all winter ?

33566. What generally does it cost you?
—26s. or 27s. per bag; it is in bags we buy it.

33567. How many bags do you use in a season ?
—Two to four usually.

33568. How many bolls of meal have you had to buy since last autumn for yourself ?
—Nearly twenty.

33569. At how much the boll?
—Fifteen to twenty shillings off and on—oatmeal 20s., flour about 15s.

33570. Do you fish ?

33571. Do you make your living by fishing ?
—No. I was obliged to take to the fishing when I lost the second croft. My father and mother were bedridden, and I had to support them.

33572. Were the two crofts sufficient to support them ?
—Yes, we were able to live by them, but it was just hard enough.

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