Edinburgh, 24 October 1883 - Alexander Carmichael / North Uist

ALEXANDER CARMICHAEL, 30 Royal Circus, Edinburgh —examined.

46121. The Chairman.
—I believe you have a written statement that you desire to read to the Commission?
—Yes. ' I lived in the Outer Hebrides for sixteen and a half years as a Government official. I know the people, and they honour me with their confidence, and it delights me to say that those of North Uist have always spoken gratefully of the peace they have enjoyed, and the treatment they have received, since the late Sir John Powlette Orde, Bart, bought the estate in 1855. Sir John never raised a rent, never evicted a tenant. To his numerous tenantry in North Uist the late Sir John Orde was the kind, considerate, courteous geutleman, and the soul of honour. He died in 1879, regretted by his people. Both the late Sir John and the present Sir John Orde have been represented in North Uist by Mr John Macdonald Newton—a gentleman pre-eminently distinguished throughout the Highlands and Islands for his ability and integrity, judgment and sagacity, benevolence and modesty. From my knowledge of their condition, I have been urged from various quarters to give evidence before this Commission concerning the treatment of the people of the islands of Barra, South Uist, and Benbecula. I might say much, but, censuring being uncongenial to me, I refrain. In justice to the living and the dead I am, however, constrained to say this much regarding the late Sir John Orde and his factor, believing as I do that had the Highlands and Islands of Scotland generally been blessed with proprietors and factors of like-minded humanity and unselfish sagacity, this Commission of inquiry into the condition of Highland crofters had not been demanded.

46122. We are very much interested in receiving your testimony as to the good qualities and good deeds of the family of Sir John Orde, but I observe you have dwelt particularly upon the fact that they have never evicted anybody, and have never raised any rents. Now, I would like to know whether there is on this property any system of active encouragement for the improvement of the people by their own exertions. For instance, is there any co-operation between the landlord and the tenant for the improvement of the dwellings?
—I meant only to give in that letter—I did not mean to make any statement beyond that letter.

46123. You don't desire to be questioned upon it?
—Not to enter into particulars.

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