FURTHER STATEMENT by JOHN BRUCE, Esq. of Sumburgh.
SANDLODGE, 23rd February 1884.
Referring to the evidence by the Conningsburgh delegates, James Smith addressed a letter to the Commissioners, complaining of my conduct towards him. His complaint is this. He became my tenant in the cottage in 1856, at the low rent of £3 per annum, and after he had possessed the place about four years, he asked me to give him a nineteen years' lease, which I promised to do, and he was to come to Sandlodge some day and settle the terms, and have the lease written out. He came once, but found me engaged and unable to attend to him ; but he never came again for this purpose, and no lease was ever written out. He had only my promise. The difference between us then was, at what date ought the verbal promise of a lease to commence from ? If from the date of his entry on the premises, he had then been in possession more than twenty years when his rent was raised. But if his entry ought to commence at the date on which he asked for a lease, and I had promised to give him one, then, at the date on which his rent was raised, he was short four years of the promised nineteen years' lease.
On reconsidering the matter now, I have given James Smith the benefit of every doubt and doubtful point, and have paid to him with interest the extra rent which he had paid, and which he claimed, to his perfect content and satisfaction; and he went at once to Mr Clerk, Free Church minister, and delegate for Conningsburgh, and asked him to write to the Crofters' Commissioners and withdraw his letter of complaint against me. Mr Clerk promised to do so, but suggested to James Smith that I should also withdraw my letter to the Crofters' Commissioners, containing any statement which I may have made against him. I now wish to have suppressed and withdrawn all that is in my letter to the Crofters' Commission reflecting on James Smith.