JOHN CAMPBELL, Crofter, Bailenoe (77)—examined.
34235. The Chairman.
—Have you a paper?
—'The principal grievances or hardships of which we have to complain are the following :—
At the time when Mr M'Nicol had the neighbouring farm, three crofts and their share of the common were taken from us by Mr Campbell the factor, and added to Mr M'Nicol's farm. Mr M'Nicol also desired the stock of the three crofts to be grazed in our township, and since we refused £10 more rent was laid on us forbye the loss of the crofts. The stock of the schoolmaster's croft, which previous to Mr M'Nicol's time was to be grazed on his farm, was forced on our township without any payment. At another time a croft was cut off our common for a man who in the course of some years went to America. The factor, Mr Campbell, then gave it back as at first, but laid on us the rent charged on the tenant who left. He (factor) sometime after gave the croft to a blacksmith, a favourite of his own, and charged a new rent, but did not lower our charge. A short time ago another croft and its share of the common were taken from us, and added to the same tack. At the time of the neighbouring tack being cleared two of the crofters got share in our township, and also the very best. All such doings greatly spoiled our township, and led to one of our best roads being closed. Our township was drained, and the interest of the money spent in so doing was laid on us as extra rent. This was promised to be taken off in the course of twenty-one years ; but we are now thirty-five years paying it, and still no signs of lowering such rent. Crofters who lost their holdings in other townships built houses on our common grazing ground, and these being so scattered greatly ruins our grass. What we want now is a lowering of rent; for at the rent charged at present we are unable to take a living out of our crofts, if our sons and daughters did not send us help from other quarters. We also want the crofts mentioned above restored, which would greatly make up for our loss, for four of us have only one croft each at present.
34236. How long has Bailenoe been a township ?
—It was under crofters of old.
34237. What is the name of Mr M'Nicol's farm ?
34238. Was that an old tack?
—No; it was under crofters of old times, there were twenty-one there.
34239. You say, ' A short time ago another croft and its share of the common were taken from us and added to M'Nicols' tack,' how long ago was that ?
—Four years ago.
34240. How did the croft which was taken away and added to the farm become vacant ?
—The man that occupied it got a croft in another township.
34241. And would the crofters at Bailenoe have been glad enough if that had been divided among them ?
—Certainly they would have much preferred it.
34242. How long is it since the drainage was executed?
—There was some made thirty-five years ago; then for the last twenty-eight years a few have been made now and again.
34243. By whom was the drainage done, by the crofters themselves or outside people ?
—Partly by the crofters and partly by outside labourers.
34244. Were they stone drains or tile drains ?
—Partly the one and partly the other.
34245. Was the work well done ?
—Yes, very well done.
34246. Did they do a great deal of good to the soil ?
—Yes, as long as they were open.
34247. Is the land still the better for it, or has the land become as it was of old ?
—Those that were first done are of no good now ; the ground has gone back very much. Those that were more recently done are doing good.
34248. How long did they continue to do good ?
34249. Did any of the crofters open the drains again and relay the tiles ?
—Some of them.
34250. And did that do good again?
—Yes, they were better.
34251. Why did not they all do it?
—They cannot do it ; there are no stones, all the stones have been used up. They cannot blast the big rocks.