Lerwick, Shetland, 13 July 1883 - Laurence Jarmson

LAURENCE JARMSON, South Connigsburgh (42)—examined.
(See Appendix A, L.)

18432. The Chairman.
—What is your profession?
—Fisherman and crofter.

18433. Were you elected by the people of South Connigsburgh?

18431. Will you tell us how you were chosen?
—They just wished me to come here. Mr Clark, minister, and I were asked to come and represent the case.

18435. Was there a meeting?

18436. About how many people were at the meeting?
—A good many; most of the tenants were—most of the men.

18437. The crofters and fishermen?

18438. Were there fifty or sixty, or more?
—No, not that many.

18439. Twenty or thirty?
—About twenty.

18440. And how many delegates did they elect?
—Only Mr Clark, the minister, and I.

18441. And John Smith?

18442. Is he here?
—I do not know.

18443. Have you got any letter to present on the part of the people?
—Mr Clark had the minute of the meeting.

18444. Will you be so good as to make a verbal statement ?
—In the first place, we complain about our rents being raised some time ago. Our lands were raised very nearly a third, and some more that, about ten or twelve years ago. Some were raised as high as 13s. in the pound.

18445. How many years ago?
—About ten or twelve years ago.

18446. What else?
—We found it was intolerable for us to pay this. We saw we could not pay it, and a lot of the men went to the proprietor land told him we could not pay it, and that we must have some reduction.

18447. Who was the proprietor?
—Mr John Bruce, jun., of Sumbrugh.

18448. What happened then?
—Then he drew out a statement for us to sign, that we would agree to fish to him from that day forward any time he might start a fishing station; and we were not to lodge another fisherman without he fished for Mr Bruce; or, if a father has sons, and they objected to fish for Mr Bruce, they would have to go. He gave some a reduction of 5s. and some more or less, when they signed that document. But I never signed this, to bind myself for lifetime; and each man only got so much when he did sign it

18449. Mr Cameron.
—Have you a copy of that paper?
—No; Mr Clark has it.

18450. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Where is he?
—He is not through.

18451. Has he come?
—Yes, he was to come by land; I came by sea.

18452. You think he is on the way?
—Yes, I think so; he told me last night he was to be here decidedly to day. A few years after that, the
landlord came and took away our scathold from us —our hill pasture. He came with another paper for us to sign to give it up, and perhaps it would do us no harm. Most of the tenants signed that they would give it up, but it was greatly against their wills. But they could do no other, because it was said we might be sent off if we disappointed the landlords and a good many signed it against their wills, to give up the hill.

18453. The Chairman.
—Did he take the whole hill, or a portion of it?
—He took the whole hill first, and we had a debate with him, and we got back a portion of the worst of the hill, where our turf was cut after paying £20 for shifting his wire. The money was raised by us, and paid for shifting the wire.

18454. Did he give you a reduction of rent when he took away the hill?
—Not a penny.

18455. How much of the hill pasture before was taken away?
—Nearly three miles in the side of the square.

18456. Three miles?
—Three each way.

18457. How much of that did they give you back?
—We did not get, I think, but half a mile on the side of the square. It is a little angular, but if it were measured square, I don't think it would be much over half a mile. In addition to this, we have three days' work in the year for each merk of land we hold.

18458. Has that always been paid?
—Yes, that is in addition; and we have to pay a fowl for each man, with our raised rents.

18459. Anything else?
—That is about all.

18460. Mr Cameron.
—How many crofters are there in your district?
—Perhaps forty or sixty, more or less.

18461. How far do they live apart from each other?
—Some live pretty close to one another, and some perhaps half or three quarters of a mile; the land is all divided, and each man has a bit all round him.

18462. But how far would it be from the extreme end of the village to the other end; how far does one man live from his furthest off neighbour?
—Pretty near two miles.

18463. The crofts extend over a space of two miles?

18464. How far do crofts extend to the back; how much hill pasture have you?
—Only a little bit, about two miles from the sea.

18465. What amount of stock is kept by the crofters?
—Generally a cow and a pony. The smallest croft can only keep a cow, because we have no pasture for them to feed on; and if we keep more, we must lay down the croft to raise grass.

18466. And no sheep?
—Some have a few sheep kept on other men's scatholds. They get permission from the holders to keep one or two sheep, but a good many have none at all.

18467. But no sheep are kept in the land properly occupied by these crofters?
—No, there is no room.

18468. How much arable land is there on each croft?
—From five to ten acres; they vary a little. Five acres would be about the average, but I don't think the highest would much exceed ten acres.

18469. Under what system of cropping is that land worked?
—I think oats, bere, and potatoes.

18470. How many shifts do you put it into?
—Generally potatoes, then bere, then oats, and then it will come to bere again, and then to potatoes.

18471. And no grass at all?
—The most is laid down in grass; the best ground is never laid to grass. I am forty years on it, and there is some of the croft I never remember being laid to grass.

18472. What steps do you take to renew the richness of the soil, which must be exhausted by that system?
—By manure.

18473. What kind?
—Sea-weed chiefly, because we are prevented from taking the soil off the hill. We used to go to the hill, and take off the soil and mix it with cow-dung to make manure; but we are greatly prevented from taking this now, and the most we use is sea-weed.

18474. Of course, you don't buy any artificial manure?
—No, we are not able to buy it.

18475. And you can make very little farm-yard manure with one cow?
—Very little.

18476. Is it the experience of the older people that the land has deteriorated in quality owing to cropping?
—Materially, since we were prevented from taking the soil out of the hills to make manure.

18477. Is that your own experience?
—Yes, it is my own experience.

18478. Do you find much difference in the seasons; are they worse?
—No, they are sometimes better and sometimes worse—much the same as before.

18479. What is the ordinary rent paid by each crofter in this village?
—I do not think there is any so high as £12, and those on the smallest crofts will be paying £3 to £4.

18480. Does a man who has five acres keep a cow and a horse?
—He can scarcely keep a cow and a horse, but some keep two cows and two ponies. But the very lowest cannot keep a cow and a horse, only a cow. He will pay about £3, holding five acres and a cow.

18481. But this cow or these cows and ponies have outrun; you have some hill pasture, although not much?
—Those who are farthest from it have no outrun at all. It is a long distance, and it is so small that our
cows cannot travel to it.

18482. The hill pasture is all in one block at one end of the village; is that it?
—Yes, the hill pasture goes right across to the sea; it is at one end of the village.

18483. Then it is more available to crofters who live at one end of the village than to those at the other?

18484. And the distance is too far for your cows to travel?

18485. How far would it be to the farthest extent?
—Fully two miles.

18486. What have you got yourself in the way of stock?-
—I keep two cows.

184S7. And how many acres of ground have you?
—About six or seven.

18488. And do your cows go to the hill pasture?
—No, I feed them on straw in winter, and in the summer time they feed round the farm; and the poorest soil I lay down in grass for them —soil which cannot be wrought for any kind of grain.

18489. You don't let them into the fields you cultivate?

18490. If they are not in the fields you cultivate, they must be outside?
—Yes, with a band on them.

18491. On whose land?
—They feed on the property for which I pay —on what we don't lay down in crop, and where grass is growing; there are bits of shallow, rocky ground which don't grow oats.

18492. You don't include that in the six or seven acres of arable ground?
—Yes, I think it will be about that altogether.

18493. That is within the cultivated area, and you prevent them from trespassing on the crop by a tether?

18494. And the land beside the cultivated bit of ground belongs to another?

18495. There is no common grass beside your croft ?

18496. What do you pay for the land?
—£4, 19s.

18497. Was your rent raised at the time the rest were raised?
—Yes, all at the same time.

18498. Was any reason given for raising the rents?
—No, nothing; they just brought a letter at Whitsunday, stating we had to be prepared to pay such rents as might be demanded of us at Martinmas, and then we got a note of what our rents were to be.

18499. That was twelve years ago?
—Ten or twelve years ago.

18500. Did the crofters remonstrate at the time against this raising of the rents?

18501. And was any answer or reason given in reply?
—No; when the paper came out that we were to fish to him from that time in all time forward, and he would give a reduction, I did not sign it, and therefore I had no reason given.

18502. Do you think it was in order to get this advantage for the fishing?
—I could not tell.

18503. All you know is that the rent was raised?

18504. Do you fish yourself much?
—Yes, I fish in the fishing season.

18505. How long does it last?
—It commences in March, and ends in the latter part of September.

18506. It is the cod and ling fishing?
—Yes, and the herring fishing too.

18507. What kind of fishing is most renumerative?
—The herring fishing, if it is anything good.

18508. How long does it last?
—Three and a half months. From the first of June to the latter end of September.

18509. Has the herring fishing improved of late years?
—Oh, yes, materially; from the time the Scotch curers came down and offered anything like a price, men have been able to get big boats, and it has improved a great deal. But before, we got no price; the landlords gave nothing of a price, only 7s. per stone or 10s. a cran or higher; in rare years they might go the length of 12s. or 13s.

18510. Did you always sell the fish to whomsoever you liked?
—Yes; some time ago, thirty years perhaps, or over that, our fathers were bound to fish to the proprietor, and then some of them stopped it, and would not be bound at the low prices, and then the proprietor made them pay what he called fish profits. When there were two men in one house he made them pay £1 , and where there was one man in a house 15s.; and then they got fishing to any man they chose.[see Appendix A. XLIX]

18511. What is the school rate in your parish?
—I could not exactly say.

18512. What do you pay yourself; what does it come to in the pound?
—I think I pay 12s. or 14s. altogether in addition to the rent; the proprietor takes it in, and puts on the poor rate and school rate on the rent.

18513. A little above 3s. in the pound?
—Something thereabout.

18514. When you talked of your rent, did you include the rates in your rent?
—No, the bare rent.

18515. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—You say that the proprietor has wanted three days' work for each merk of land, that is a day for each
merk; what kind of work is it you have to do?
—Agricultural labour; working on the farm generally.

18516. Do you get anything for that?
—No; and if we don't give the days' work, at Martinmas he charges 2s. for each day we don't work. If
I work two days' work in the year he charges 2s.; if I work only one day, he charges 4s.; and if I don't work any of the three days, he charges 6s.

18517. How much was your own rent raised at the time you speak of, ten or twelve years ago? It is now £4, 19s., what was it before?
—£3, Is. 6d.

18518. Did you get no advantage whatever from the proprietor when the rent was raised to the present sum?
—Nothing whatever.

18519. You told us a good part of a hill was taken away from you at first: who has got the part of the hill that has never been given back to the people?
—The proprietor keeps it as a sheep farm for himself.

18520. You have stated that the piece which was given back to you is not convenient for yourself personally; was any part of that hill suitable for you?
—Yes, it lay much nearer my tenancy than what we have at the present time.

18521. Did the proprietor give any reason for taking away the whole of the hill pasture from you ?

18522. When the hill was taken from you, and he took your cattle, was it a favour for him to buy them, or would you rather have sold them yourselves?
—We would rather have sold them ourselves.

18523. And he not only wanted to have your land, but he wanted also to take your cattle at his own price?
—They were called into a public sale, and if any person bought them, the money had all to go through his hands.

18524. Was the township in arrears when this happened?
—No, it was in arrears before, but they were wrought out mostly.

18525. Was this £20 you speak of that was charged against you for removing the wire actually paid?
—Yes, it was actually paid.

18526. You said that you had received a notice that the increase of rent was to be put upon you at next Martinmas; when did you get notice of what the exact sum would be; I think you mentioned you got notice by letter of what it was to be?
—Yes, but I could not exactly tell you what date it would be.

18527. Was it some time after the term of Whitsunday?
—Yes, we first got notice to be prepared to pay the rent, and then we got notice what it was to be.

1S528. And that increased rent was to be paid at the first term?

18529. You did not agree to fish for the proprietor ?
—No, I did not sign that paper, and got no reduction of rent. I did not bind myself to fish to him, or make myself a servant to any man for a lifetime.

18530. And you are paying the high rent?

18531. Is there any body else paying it that you know?

18532. They rather pay it than become bound to work?
—Not the old rent; they got a little reduction, something betwixt the old rent and the first rent, but not so low as the old rent.

18533. When you had the whole hill?
—Yes, we had the whole hill at the time.

18534. How is it working with regard to the other people who are fishing for him?
—He has never started a fishing station yet; but they bound themselves, if he wished to take a station, to fish to him.

18535. You are all fishing as you like?
—Yes, at the present time.

18536. Was not that system, wanting you to fish for him, going back to the worst kind of truck?

18537. That is why you objected to it?

18538. It was not for the benefit of yourself and other crofters that this was going on?
—No, it was not. If we fished to him, we would have to take what prices he liked to give us; and he would give us no notice of what the price was to be until Martinmas, when we came to settle, and we would have to take whatever prices he would give.

18539. Who is this proprietor; has he long been proprietor?
—It is about twenty years since he got the lease from his father. His father is living, and he got it from his father about twelve or twenty years ago.

18540. Is he not laird or proprietor?
—He is there, but his father is still living, and he is leasing under his father.

18541. Have the family been long proprietors?
—Oh, yes; I could not say when they came to be proprietors.

18542. Was something attempted to be done to any other of the tenants of Sumburgh except yourselves?
—At Dunrossness, they had to fish for him when he got the lease from his father, and they are fishing
for him yet. He has another place in Sandwick parish, but he did not ask them to fish much for him.

18543. It is not fishing for his own family or table; he sells them?
—No, it is for fishing in the way of making a profit out of it, in the way of business.

18544. Do the people in the townships feel very sore about this matter?

18545. And that is the reason they had the meeting to delegate you and Mr Clark to come here?

18546. Is there any such thing going on in other parts of Shetland?
—I cannot tell. I don't travel much about. I should say every part is much the same.

18547. There are similar things in other parts?

18548. Are the fishermen generally about here much in debt to the fish-curers and merchants?
—Some, buying big boats, had to get advances, and some of them have not got their boats cleared; but some of them are not due much.

18549. Are you in debt yourself to any fish-curer?
—No, I am not; but I have no share of a boat, I work on the half-catch system; if I had to go into a share of a boat, I would have to be a good deal in debt.

18550. Supposing a man is dealing with a fish-curer, and that he is in his debt and gets money upon credit; and supposing there is another man who works for the same person, who is not in debt, will the fish-curer sell. his goods cheaper to the mau who pays ready money than to the other?
—Yes, generally it will be from perhaps three to ten per cent, dearer if you come and go into the merchant's shop, and mark the goods until Martinmas; it will be dearer than to the man who pays ready in one.

18551. Have you known it as high as ten per cunt.?
—Perhaps not ten, but from three to five per cent.

18552. Five per cent, is not very much; it is the common discount on many things?

18553. Do you say it does not exceed more than five per cent.?
—I don't know exactly, because I never had much, I have dealt a little that way, but never a great deal. I always deal on the ready money system.

18554. In speaking to other people in that position, have you heard them saying of what they have been obliged to pay when getting goods on credit ?
—Yes, I have always heard that it was a good bit dearer than ready money.

18555. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Does the landlord prevent the merchants from establishing shops on the property?
—He did once, but there have not been many shops established lately. I don't think he would prevent it so much now; but once he did prevent it.

18556. But that is done away with now?
—Yes, to a great extent.

18557. You have no difficulty in finding merchants within reach of you?

18558. Professor Mackinnon.
—You say you fish on the half-catch system. What is that system?
—Getting one half of what is caught, as a shareholder in the boat —one half of the produce of the boat. We would gross £100, and £50 would go to hold up the boat and gear, and £50 would be divided amongst us for prosecuting the fishing.

18559. The boat belongs to the fish-curer?
—The boat I go on does not; but there are fish-curers who have boats in the same way.

18560. They lend the boat and gear, and keep them in good order and they get half the value of the fish?

18561. And the crew get the other half?

18562. Is the boat you work in at the herring fishing or at the cod and ling?
—All together.

18563. Is it a large boat?
—Forty-four feet keel.

18564. When the curer advances money to a crew to buy a boat of that kind, what is the exact nature of the arrangement between them with respect to paying back the money?
—The general way of paying it back is that he gets the one half of the fish to go to the debt of the boat until it is paid up, and, according as his men and he arrange, a little interest is taken on the balance—from three to five or eight per cent, as they arrange about it

18565. And whose is the boat meanwhile?
—The boat is held by the fisherman.

18566. From the day he takes possession?
—Yes, until he clears her.

18567. Do they insure these large new boats?
—Some of them do.

18568. The fishing has been very successful this year?
—No, it has almost failed this year as yet.

18569. But there is a great deal of the fishing season before you?
—Yes, the most important part is still to come.

18570. There is a large number of Isle of Man boats in the harbour here?

18571. They are larger than yours?

18572. Are they better?
—There is more accommodation for the men lying away from home, but our boats lying near our homes, are as good for us.

18573. They suit the Isle of Man people better because they can live in the boats?

18574. How long have you been paying rent yourself for your croft ?
—For twenty years.

18575. What was your rent when you began to pay ?
—£3, Is. 6 d

18576. I think you said that twenty-five years ago the rent was smaller, when the people were obliged to fish for the proprietor?

18577. And when the proprietor lost that privilege, he charged them a sum of money which virtually made a rise of rent?
—Yes, he called it his fish profit, and, somehow or other he could not keep up that charge, and then he made up the rent.

18578. And then he raised the rent from £3 , Is. 6d. to £4 , 19s.?
—Yes, and a few years after that he took our scathold from us.

18579. The hill pasture; and afterwards a bit was restored?

18580. About the wire fence for which you paid £20—who made the charge?
—The proprietor. The proprietor said it would cost £20 to move it, —to put the wire down. After long debate with him —we could not do without some part of the hill.—he said he would give us this back if we would pay £20 for shifting the wire.

18581. You say you are prohibited from taking soil out of the hilll; do you consider that a grievance?
—Yes, that is a great disadvantage.

18582. Were you not aware that it was injuring the pasture very much?
—Well, to some little extent it might, but there was plenty depth of ground left on it. We were leaving plenty depth of earth.

18583. You think it was not injuring the pasture so much as it was improving the tillage of the croft?
—No; and where we were taking that turf off it is all grown over now with grass the same as it was before. You would scarcely know it had ever been taken off.

18584. Are you prevented taking it off the small bit of hill pasture which remains with you?
—Yes, to some extent he is stopping us taking it off. An officer was on the property some few weeks ago asking who had been cutting it off, and they would not inform one on another, and said they could all be fined; and they are now fearing they will have a fine to pay for taking it off at the coming Martinmas.

18585. In addition to this rent of £4, 19s. you have three days' labour for each merk of land?

18586. What is the size of a merk?
—It varies.

18587. How many merks have you?
—I have three.

18588. And you also give three hens?

18589. A merk, in your case, would be very near two acres?
—About two acres.

18590. That is an old custom in the country?
—Yes, I believe an old Danish system of keeping up the measure of land.

18591. What you call scathold is what we call hill pasture, at the back of the turf dyke ?

18592. The deep sea fishing begins in March and ends in September?

18593. After the harvest work of the croft is done what do people do in winter and early spring?
—Generally the fishermen are mending nets and preparing for fishing, and we have to bring the peats from the hills on our backs.

18594. You have ponies?
—I have none, and many more are like me. If you go through the country you will see little baskets of straw, and we go to the hill with these for our fuel. And, if it is a fine day, we may go out along the shores fishing with the small boat for haddocks. The name for the deep sea fishing is the haaf.

18595. What is shore fishing called?
—Generally going with haddock or hand lines; and when a heavy gale throws sea-weed ashore, we gather it for manure; and with that and procuring fuel, we are always busy.

18596. You settle beforehand the price of the fish with the curer at the commencement of the season?
—Yes, with the Scotch carers we always know the prices before we start.

18597. And is it with Scotch curers you work?
—Yes, but with the Shetland curers we generally never know the price until we come to settle.

18598. Supposing you didn't know the price of the fish, and that you were drawing from him, all the while, goods for the support of your family, do you also know the price of the goods?

18599. Is it the common habit to keep a book?

18600. For each family?
— Yes.

18601. And the settling time comes about November, and a balance is struck?

18602. And, if there is a balance in favour of the fishermen it is paid in money?

18603. With an ordinary year, and in the ordinary run of the country, is it common for a balance to be in favour of the fishermen?
—With a few it is, and with a lot it is not.

18604. And which is oftenest?
—It is as often against the fishermen as with him.

18605. Taking one year with another?

18606. Is it the practice yet for small boys to be employed?

18607. And do they have separate accounts of their own with the curer?

18608. They are paid their own accounts?

18609. And are settled with, once a year, in the same way?

18610. What is the earliest age at which they commence?
—Twelve or thirteen or fourteen years of age.

18611. Do the School Board allow them to be employed at twelve?
—No; but before the School Board was they were, and even fully as early as twelve; necessity bound many of them to go and work for themselves then.

18612. How do the Isle of Man fishermen cure their fish —in their own boats?
—No, I think they are fishing to curers here. Their boats are too small for curing on the boats.

18613. But they carry a large number of nets?

18614. You say your proprietor on one part of his property has still people under contract to fish for him?

18615. Are there other proprietors who still act on the same principle?
—I could not say.

18616. Can you tell me if there are any Shetland curers who have tenants under themselves, who pay rent for their croft, and who are bound to go and fish to him?
—This same proprietor at Dunrossness has tenants paying for their crofts, and who are bound to fish to him.

18617. But do you know if there is any curer in the country who rents land and sublets it to crofters who pay him for their crofts, and who are also bound to fish for him?
—No, I know of none of that description now.

18618. There used to be?
—Yes, there was, but I know of none now.

18619. I understand you to say you don't know, except your own proprietor, whether there are other proprietors who have people fishing for them ?
—There might be in the north, but there are not so far as I am aware, in the south, any proprietors whose tenants are bound to fish for them, except Bruce at Dunrossness.

18620. And he has not established a curing station in your portion of his estate?

18621. But he has some of his people bound to fish to him, if he choose?

18622. There are many like yourself not bound?
—Yes, but the great majority bound themselves.

18623. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—Was it you who spoke out?
—No, some the men, at the time south, were sailing, and some at the same time as I didn't do it.

18624. Professor Mackinnon.
—Were you the only one at home who would not pay?
—No, there were one or two besides myself.

18625. And your rent was not reduced?

18626. And were the rents of the others reduced?
—Some five and some ten per cent.

18627. Sheriff Nicolson.
—What price did you get last year for cod and ling?
—8s. 6d. for ling, and 7s. 6d. for cod, and 5s. 6d. for tusk.

18628. For what quantity?
—By the hundredweight.

18629. Has the price risen very much within the last twenty or thirty years, or has it remained much the same?
—It has risen a little within the last twenty years, but before that it was as high as what it is now almost. Before that, about forty years ago, it was pretty nearly as high as it is now. It got much lower twenty or thirty years ago. It was then as low as 4s. 6d. a cwt.

18630. Was that because the take of fish was so great?
—No, the merchants said the price was so low south, where the fish were sold, that they could pay no more. But it has increased from that up till last year, when it was 8s. 6d. a cwt.

18631. Professor Mackinnon.
—I suppose you know the southern markets now better than you did twenty years ago?
—Oh, yes.

18632. Sheriff Nicolson.
—At what time of the year is the price of the fish fixed?
—At Martinmas, generally, we settle. Some curers may make an offer in spring when they commence to fish, but, as a general rule, it is only when you come to settle that the curer tells you. Perhaps he says that is all he can afford to give; but it has lately been more prevalent to know the price of the fish when several boats come down. They won't fish without knowing the prices, and the curers who employ them have to fix the prices. But before that, we could not get a price; we had to take what we could get when the fishing was finished. We didn't know what we were fishing for until it was got.

18633. Was it the custom in your part of the country when fish were being dried to get the people to spread them out?
—A man undertakes to cure the fish for so much a ton, to dry fish for the curer, and he can employ labourers to work, and he has to pay the labourers

18634. The Chairman.
—You told us the proprietor made you pay £20 for shifting a wire fence. Is the wire fence now put round the arable ground of the crofters or round the hill pasture?
—Round the hill pasture.

18635. Is it useful to the crofters where it now is?
—No, it is of no use, because he has occupied it and the bit he left is of little benefit, because it is the worst of the hill.

18636. But is the wire fence round the small piece you have?
—No, there is no wire fence round it, and we had to pay for removing it.

18637. What has he done with it?
—Put it upon the new enclosure.

18638. The wire fence is of no use to you?
—No, it is a great entrapment, because it is not sufficient to keep out our old Shetland sheep, and every time he catches our sheep we have to pay for them.

18639. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—It is good enough for the big sheep?
—Sometimes a few of them will come through, but not often. Every time he catches our sheep inside we have to pay 6d. a head for them.

18640. The Chairman.
—If there were no fences their sheep would go still more frequently in upon his land?

18641. What can you sell off your croft; are you able to sell an occasional stirk?
—I can sell nothing unless an old cow, and then I have to buy a young one for it.

18642. But if you have two cows, can you not raise a young one yourself?
—Sometimes, and sometimes I must cut off the old one when I am bringing up the young one.

18643. Do you never sell a calf or stirk?
—Very rarely.

18644. If you sell a stirk how much do you get for it?
—-Generally £1 for every year of their age—£2 for a two-year-old, and so on.

18645. Do your neighbours not get more than £2 for a stirk one year old ?
—They never get £2; they may get a little over £1 if they are a little fatter or leaner, but never over £2.

18646. When you buy a cow how much do you pay?
—£6 or £7—say from £5 to £8—the prices vary.

18647. When you sell a cow how much do you get?
—From £3 to £5; very seldom below £3 .

18648. Mr Fraser Mackintosh.
—Is the proprietor in the habit of exacting the sheep money from you?

18649. The money is paid before the sheep are let out?
—Yes, I have no sheep to pay for; but the tenants have to pay.

18650. Is that going on every year?

18651. You say that the labour you were obliged to give was for agricultural work to the proprietor?

18652. Has the proprietor no agricultural labourers of his own?
—Yes, he keeps a ploughman there regularly working, but we have to do and work three days' work for him.

18653. The Chairman.
—When you come to work for him the three days' labour do you get food?
—Yes, we get breakfast and dinner.

18654. Mr Cameron.
—But you can compound that for days' wages?
—Yes, he charges 2s. per day.

18655. Professor Mackinnon.
—If you work more than three days you get 2s. for the odd days?
—I do not think he would take us to work odd days. I never went except three days.

18656. What is a day's wage in the place?
—I could not say —2s. to 2s. 6d.

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