MEMORANDUM BY MR FRASER MACKINTOSH OF DRUMMOND, MP.
I HAVE signed the foregoing Report, but feel constrained to record that on the following points it does not meet my views.
I. On the Land Question—
1. I cannot) agree to the figure of £6 being the proper minimum rent under which a crofter cannot apply for an improving lease, or benefit by the steps proposed for ameliorating his condition. I do not wish to perpetuate small crofts, but at same time there is no use in at-once insisting upon poor people doing instantly what is practically impossible. The figure of £4 would in my opinion be, though high enough, a fair one, and, having been recognised by the Valuation Act of 1854, has a distinct significance. The fixing of £6 will cut out so many deserving crofters
that I cannot be a party to their exclusion from the humane proposals in the Report.
2. As to the undivided scatthold in the Northern Isles. While approving of the proposed mode of division, I must not be held as admitting that commons belong exclusively to proprietors. The old decisions of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, which arbitrarily stretched feudal rights as regards commons, under the Act for their division, would require to be fortified by the Court of last resort before it could be admitted that udal rights were by implication superseded.
The Report on this head must be qualified, so far as I am concerned, in these two respects, as follows, viz.:—
1. No State help should be given to individuals, but only to the entire family resident on the croft proposing to emigrate.
2. The localities designated, viz., ' The Northern Hebrides, and, to some extent, the adjacent coasts of Ross, and perhaps Sutherland’ are too wide, and no necessity for State interference as regards emigration has been established, except in the case of the Lews, and some of the minor islands of the Hebrides. Re-occupation by, and re-distribution among, crofters and cottars
of much land now used as large farms will be beneficial to the State, to the owner, and to the occupier. Until this is done, much as I deplore the present position of congested districts, I must view with jealousy State-aided emigration.
C. FRASER MACKINTOSH