THOMAS GRAHAME, Glasgow, General Agent for Scotland of the Dominion Government of Canada (43)—examined.
43890. The Chairman.
—Have you a statement which you wish to read to us ?
—I have. ' My Lord, I beg to submit a statement regarding the people in the West Highlands and Islands, chiefly in connection with emigration to Canada. In the first place, I may state that I was born in Canada, and lived a great part of my life adjacent to a large Highland settlement, and that I have on three several occasions gone through considerable portions of the West Highlands and Islands, the last occasion being this autumn, for the purpose of seeing the people, and obtaining information regarding the likelihood and advisability of large numbers of them emigrating to Canada. I have found in the course of my visits to various portions of the districts referred to, that there is a very great surplus population in some parts; that the lands are sterile, and poor in general; the quantity of the land too small for the people to do any good upon; and, in many parts, the soil depreciating in fertility from a variety of causes. A large farmer in the South Hebrides told me that in his time the land has become much less fertile than in his younger days. The people are far too numerous, and from a quarter to a half might advantageously go from many parts which I have visited, to a country like Canada, where there is any quantity of fertile land to be got, up to 160 acres for nothing, and by acting in this way they would very quickly be far better off than they could ever expect to be in the Highlands. Even though more land was got for them where they are, the same evils would, in a short time, accrue on a larger scale than those which at present exist, from the greatly increased over-population which would be attendant upon this, as they are a wonderful people for increasing rapidly in numbers. In the part of Canada where I have chiefly resided there is a large Highland element, the settlement having been effected over forty years ago. The people when they arrived had, in most instances, nothing at all, and now they and their descendants have got into positions of such affluence and comfort as they could never have anticipated as possible in the Highlands, many of them being large proprietors of valuable lands, and others having succeeded equally as well in other ways. One has only to take note of the names of great numbers of our public men in Canada, such as Macdonald, Mackenzie, M'Pherson, Campbell, Cameron, M'Lean, &c, to see how well people from the Highlands have succeeded in the past, and there is no reason why they should not succeed as well, if not better in the future—better, as a rule, from there being more fertile lands to go upon than those which the settlers of former times took up. During my last visit to the West Highlands I met in various parts with large numbers of people who were quite prepared to go if they only had sufficient assistance. These people, in several cases, met me by special arrangement, and, in one instance, over one hundred crofters had an interview with me at the same place, with the view of getting information preparatory to going out. I also saw and learnt of a great number of young women who were inquiring as to the rate of wages in Canada; who were most anxious to go out if they were only provided with sufficient means to do so, and who told me they have nothing to do where they are, whereas there is a very great demand for domestic servants in all parts of Canada at very good wages. I may say that during my trip I met with Lady Cathcart, and had several conversations with her regarding the people on her estates. She has been taking a great practical interest in their welfare, and has obtained and diffused a very great deal of information entirely of her own accord, and without assistance in any way from legal agent, factor, or otherwise. She has in fact devoted a great deal of her time to this subject, and has been most generous and kind to them in every respect. In regard to the reclamation fields on her estate, she employed the crofters at good wages in draining and fencing the land, in putting in the crops, taking them off the ground, and in many instances gave large quantities of the potatoes produced for seed to the crofters, which this year has turned out about the best crop they have had for forty years. This improvement is, to a great extent, to be attributed to the quality and new varieties of potatoes which Lady Cathcart provided from the original seed planted upon these lands. In reference to the emigration of the crofters from her estate last spring, I think she has set an example worthy of being followed up by the Government. I may say I was from the first consulted by her Ladyship on the subject of the emigration of the people upon her estates, and advised her as to the mode of carrying out her plans. Her people went out last spring from , when I saw them off by Allan Steamship from Greenock to Pipestone Creek, Moosomin, N.W. Territory via Quebec. They have got on in the most satisfactory way since their arrival, and have been writing to their friends strongly advising them to follow as soon as possible. I was shown by Lady Cathcart copies of a number of private letters of this character. These letters show clearly how much better they are off than their brethren whom they have left behind ; and from later ones I understand they mention that in Brandon, the only town of any size near their settlement, every third person they met speaks Gaelic ; and more homesteads have already been taken up for those intending to go out next year. I would suggest that the Home Government could not do better than follow in the lines adopted by Lady Cathcart, by which they should advance £100 to each family going out to a similar district of Canada to settle on the same description of fertile lands on the security of the Act of the Canadian Parliament to amend the Dominion Land Act, viz., 44 Vict. cap. 16, sec. 10, by which they have the first lien upon the land, and are entitled, if they think fit, to charge interest up to the rate of 6 per cent. In fact, this would simply be a loan of £100 to each family on the very best security, and at first-rate interest. In order to place this matter clearly before the Commission, I put in with this a copy of the Act, several maps of the Dominion, and other documents which may be thought of use in the consideration of the matter by the Commission. In such a case the money should not be advanced till the people were on the spot, and prepared to take up their lands, and even then it would be advisable for some competent person to see that they were comfortably located, and that the necessary articles were purchased for starting them upon their farms. Then the Canadian Government would act in the same way as in the past in regard to assisted passages, free grants, and our agents being ready to do all in their power to see the people satisfactorily to their destination. Next comes the question of how they are to furnish the cost of going out for themselves and their families. In some instances, though they would be few, by the sale of their stock and implements they would have sufficient to take them out; but in the majority of cases that would not be enough. One suggestion is that the Home Government should advance this sum in a similar way to what was done in Ireland; another is that the landlords should advance it when necessary ; and a third is that at any rate a great part of the requisite amount might be obtained from the Mansion House Fund. If what was necessary in this respect was not fully forthcoming otherwise, I think, it would only be the bounden duty of the Home Government to see that this was accomplished, as what is proposed to be done on their part in an early portion of this suggestion would simply be a loan. By the above means, so far as the finances are concerned, I can see no difficulty in the way of a very extensive emigration to Canada next year, and in following seasons, on a very satisfactory basis to all concerned. Now, under the circumstances above narrated, and from the most reliable sources of information which I could obtain, I should estimate, and I place it at the lowest calculated on all occasions, that there should be an emigration of at least several thousands from the West Highlands to Canada next year, viz., 500 from Lady Cathcart's estates, 400 from Harris, 500 from Lewis, 600 from Skye and Tyree, several hundred from the other small islands, besides those who may go from the mainland, to be followed by many more in the succeeding seasons. If a start is made, there is no saying, in fact, how many may go. In many cases I have learnt that the ministers and priests object to emigration. This is easily understood, as in most instances they have a natural desire to have as many of their flocks about them as possible in their own interest, though no doubt many of them conscientiously believe that the people are best where they are, from their want of knowledge of other and newer parts of the world. What I would suggest in regard to this is, that a due proportion of the ministers and priests should go out along with their people. Although it would be advisable for Highland people going out to be close to each other, I do not think it would be essential for them to be so close together as to exclude entirely other nationalities, as I think by mixing with others a spirit of emulation would be engendered among them, which is much wanted, from their former experience of life, and that they would be none the worse on this account of being interspersed to a certain extent among, and intermarrying with, English, Lowland Scotch, and other people. This matter I speak of from personal observation. There are several other matters to which I may refer, as I see they have been attracting the attention of the Commission, and upon which evidence has been given. As to the advisability of emigration, in a national sense, I would simply say, that those going from the Highlands to Canada still continue to be a source of strength to the empire, not as is too frequent in the case of those going to foreign countries from other portions of Her Majesty's dominions, when they become mimical to our country. There is no more loyal people than the Highland Scotch and those of Scotch descent, and this is saying a great deal, because, as a rule, colonists are proverbial for their loyalty. Whatever the local political differences may be, they are united in their determination to preserve the connection between the mother country and the colony. I may also say that there is no fear of emigration not leaving enough of people to find defenders for the country in time of need, as seems to be anticipated by some, as, from the experience of the past, there will be any wanted quantity of increase of numbers in a short space of time. In fact, I consider the carrying out of the scheme I have suggested would be a national benefit all round, —in the first place to those who go; in the next to those who remain, —as they will have more room and scope for their energies; and to the nation generally, as well as the landlords, in having a source of trouble and aggregation of evils of many kinds finally disposed of. If, as I have no doubt, large numbers are prepared to go out next spring, I fully anticipate special arrangements could be made by which ocean steamers would be sent to important places in the West Highlands, such as Stornoway, Portree, Lochboisdale, &c, and this would be a great saving of expense to those emigrating. Another point which has struck me as of importance is this, that whatever may be accomplished in the way of emigration, it would be a great mistake in the existence of those who remain to have so many of them continue in the state of life in which they are at present; neither one thing nor another, dragging out a miserable, lazy, and uncleanly existence; and this is to a very great extent, doubtless, from having no certain fixed mode of occupation. They are fishermen at some times, crofters at others, gillies on some occasions, but without sufficient continuous occupation to steady them in life. What I would suggest in this respect is, that if they are fishermen they should have nothing to do with the laud. Let them have their houses for their families, their cow's grass, and a little garden each, and attend to the prosecution of their duties as fishermen. If they are crofters, let them have a sufficient amount of ground for themselves and their families to live upon in a satisfactory way, say three or four times the general amount as at present held in a croft, and then let those who are superfluous in numbers emigrate to the colonies, where they will be the best off of the whole lot. At the same time, by this process being adopted, it gives a chance for those who are left behind to obtain a decent livelihood, and not exist as at present in a worse shape in many cases than the people of semi-civilised tribes.
43891. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—You mentioned a settlement that was made forty years ago, and turned out very successfully ; in what part of the dominion was that ?
—In the county of York, near the city of Toronto.
43892. To what part have these settlers of Lady Gordon Cathcart gone'?
—To the north-west territory, just adjoining the territory of Manitoba.
43893. Is there not a great difference of climate between Toronto and the north-west territory ?
—No, I don't think there is any very great difference. The winters are a little colder in the north-west, but they are clearer and there is nothing whatever prejudicial to health, or worse in any respect in the north-west than in Ontario. I have many friends who have gone there, and they prefer the climate to that of Ontario.
43894. How long have they been settled there?
—In some instances ten or twelve years.
43895. You think there is no likelihood of severe winters occurring which would be dangerous to life or prejudicial to health ?
—No, not at all. I think the winters there are very much preferable to those of the Hebrides.
43896. What is the length of the winter in the north-west territory ?
—The winter usually commences in the beginning of November and lasts till April, and it is clear, steady cold, with occasional snowstorms. There is not the amount of snow that there is in the eastern provinces. In Quebec and New Brunswick there is a far greater amount of snow than in the north-west.
43897. What is the temperature in these months ?
—The temperature runs very low in these months, but from the clear nature of the climate, people do not feel it at all as they would do in a damp climate.
43898. Do they require to dress in any special way ?
—They require to dress with very warm clothing in winter, especially when going long distances, but the winter is never so severe as that they cannot work out on almost all occasions. There may be a day on which there is a very severe ' blizzard' or snowstorm, but that seldom occurs.
43899. Would they have to procure special clothing on reaching Canada?
—They would be the better of warmer clothing than here,—great coats and caps probably, but that would be all.
43900. At what employment could they engage in these very severe winter months ?
—A great deal is done in the winter months. On the Canadian Pacific Railway, which is in course of construction, there are large numbers of people employed all the winter.
43901. And the snow is not so deep as to prevent work going on?
—No, not at all
43902. You mentioned that at one part of the Hebrides or west coast of Scotland you met over one hundred who were anxious to emigrate?
—There were one hundred who met me with the object of getting information as to emigration if they could get assistance to go.
43903. Where was that ?
—It was in the north portion of South Uist, adjoining Benbecula.
43904. Have many gone from that place already?
—A good number have gone. Several of those crofters whom Lady Gordon-Cathcart sent out last spring went from that district, and the reason why the people were so anxious for information, I suppose, was that many of them had been receiving letters from their friends in reference to the country.
43905. The expense of Lady Gordon-Cathcart's scheme of emigration seems very considerable. I understand she advanced them £100 apiece, and gave them nearly £100 a piece in addition as valuation for their improvements and stock ?
—Yes, in some instances the latter.
43906. Do you think that with a less outfit than £200 they could go to Grahame. the north-west with a prospect of settling successfully there?
—I think £200 is quite sufficient for each family. Less in fact might do if they go upon this principle which is frequently adopted by the poorer people who settle there. The poor settle close to each other on free grant lots, and the same yoke of oxen may serve for two, and the same implements for four, and there would be a very great saving by people going out together.
43907. If two families united in purchasing those implements, would that be sufficient to provide them with subsistence into the coming season ?
—There would be enough to provide them with sufficient subsistence in the coming season and purchase all the implements they required. There can be no doubt of that, from the experience of the past.
43908. I understand you to suggest that the Government of this country should do the same as Lady Gordon-Cathcart has done with regard to a large number of persons ?
43909. In what period do you suppose that £100 could be repaid ?
—I should say it could usually be repaid in five or six years. I have not the least doubt that those people settled in Pipestone Creek will be worth in a few years from £500 to £1000 each.
43910. How is their profit made?
—Their profit is made in this way. They get free grants of land—land that would cost 30s. in the same
district. Then it costs 30s. an acre to back set, and put the prairie land in fit shape to produce crop. Then the cost of their buildings, fences, and so on, would be very considerable; so that would of necessity make the land at the end of five or six years worth the amount I spoke of, besides the increase in value in other respects as the settlement gets populated. As the settlement gets populated the lands adjoining those settled upon increase in value and their lands increase in value also.
43911. You mean that if they sold their land they would be able to repay the loan. What I want to arrive at is, what produce they will have which will enable them to pay off their debt ?
—They would be making money each year for their crops. After the first year was over,—and
they would have sufficient to tide them over that,—they would make money every year by the proceeds of the crops upon their lands.
43912. The sale of their crops ?
43913. What distance are they from centres where they can dispose of these crops ?
—These crops can be disposed of at the railway station adjoining. They are within six miles of the railway station ; and a great deal of their crop could be disposed of locally for the purpose of supplying new settlers with seed, and for the supply of their families. For a considerable time in the newer districts, there will be a considerable demand for whatever is produced in that way.
43914. I suppose the land near the railway is being gradually taken up ?
—It is being taken up very rapidly.
43915. For how long do you think there will be available land within six miles of the railway ?
—It depends on what portion of the railway you refer to. The railway extends more than 1000 miles west of where they are settled,—that is, to the Pacific Ocean. In the poorer districts and near the mountains such land will be available for a considerable time, but in the fertile districts it will be taken up very quickly.
43916. Will you give it three years ?
—I should say on this side of the Rocky Mountains particularly, the fertile lands within twelve miles of the railway will be taken up within three years.
43917. But at the present time fertile lands can be got within six miles of the railway?
—Yes, at the present time.
43918. What is the proper time for emigrants to go on to Canada, to the north-west ?
—Much the best time is the end of April, when navigation is open in the St Lawrence. At the same time, you get more satisfactorily up the country by going in the end of April and beginning of May. The temperature is much better for people travelling, especially women and children.
43919. That is, of course, too late to lay down crops for that season ?
—Not too late to put in a little crop. Those who went out last season went out in the end of April, and put in a considerable quantity of crop, and a large quantity of potatoes, and these potatoes turned out splendidly.
43920. Was the land prepared for them?
—No, it was not. They prepared it themselves, and they had very considerable delays in selecting their lands, from being the first who went out, whereas if others went out the lauds might be selected adjacent, to where those people are settled. They lost two weeks at least in that way. In a climate such as the north-west, crops can be put in much later than one would anticipate. I think a great deal of their potatoes were put in from the first to the middle of June, and they were fit for use that season.
43921. You mentioned that 3000 ought to go from the West Highlands next season ; that means persons, not families ?
43922. Are there any other parts excepting the north-west available for emigration ?
—Yes ; considerable numbers go to Ontario, Nova Scotia, and other parts; but the north-west has a great attraction from the lands being so fertile and easily worked, and that is the reason why the great rush is to the north-west. They could go to Ontario, where they have friends located, and where there are Highland settlements in the counties of York, Huron, and Bruce, and Glengarry.
43923. Is that not entirely occupied ?
—Glengarry is chiefly occupied. There are not the same facilities for people doing well in the older districts that there are in the north-west, —getting lands so much cheaper and easier.
43924. Are there any free grants given in Nova Scotia ?
—Yes, and in Ontario as well.
43925. To what extent?
—Varying from 100 to 200 acres,—100 in Nova Scotia, and 200 in Ontario. In these places, however, it must be remembered that all the free grant lands are covered with timber, and there is a great deal of work necessary to be done before the land can be cultivated, and that makes a very great difference. Of course there is this, that in the older provinces men can get very good wages, and save a little money in that way preparatory to taking up their free grants in Ontario, or going to the north-west.
43926. The Chairman.
—I think we need hardly seriously consider the project of Government emigration for next summer. Before Government can move, it generally takes a good deal of time, and it would be perhaps more prudent to speak of the summer of 1885 than 1884. Now, in what state do you think in the year 1885 the lands adjacent to the railway beyond Brandon will be found ? Will there be .any of the squares beyond Brandon still available as free grant land, or will the free grant land all be taken up, either by settlers or speculators ?
—Only settlers can take up free grant land. Speculators cannot take up free grant land.
43927. It must be all taken up by actual settlers?
43928. But I suppose they can sell it ?
—They cannot sell it till they have occupied the land for three years at least.
43929. But you think all the squares immediately touching the railway will be occupied by 1885, for several hundred miles west of Brandon?
—I would be inclined to think that by that time a great deal of them must be occupied, but it should be remembered there are branch lines of railway going north and south, and there are free grant lands upon them.
43930. How far do the square mile lots laid out by Government go back from the railway on either side? Is the country all lotted out in these squares ?
—The whole north-west is allotted in that way. The alternate sections are homestead lands for settlers.
43931. And the other sections'?
—They either belong to the Canadian Pacific Railway or to the Government. The Canadian Pacific have alternate sections for twenty-four miles on either side of the line, and where they think the land is unsuitable for their purpose they can take other lands suitable for their purposes.
43932. How far do you think in 1885 the people would have to go backwards from the railway within 300 or 400 miles of Brandon ?
—Of course one is only forming an estimate, but I imagine they would not have to go further than ten or twelve miles at any rate to get free grants of land not more than 300 or 400 miles west of Brandon.
43933. Well, a square mile lot contains 640 acres ?
43934. We generally hear of a 160 acre lot as being an eligible lot for a family to settle upon, but do you think, that in the case of those Highland settlers going out in groups, they might be content with smaller lots than 160 acres? Would eighty acres be a provision for a family, in the first instance ?
—Well, it might be sufficient in the first instance, but I do not see any reason why if they are taking up any portion they should not take up the whole 160 acres, because they are under no greater obligations in taking up the 160 acres than in taking up the eighty.
43935. If they went out from the same township in the West Highlands
with their relations and families, might they not like to settle nearer
—Yes, being close together might be an advantage in that way. Eighty acres would be quite sufficient for a limited sized family to work upon. Of course, as the families grow up, they can go to more distant parts and take up other free grants. Any male over eighteen is entitled to take up a free grant.
43936. And if you go on the basis of eighty acres you get eight families or forty souls established on the square mile ?
—Yes. Of course, it must be remembered that of the 320 acres only 160 acres are free grants, and the rest are pre-emption lots. A settler with 160 acres has the first right to an additional 160 by paying a certain sum varying from 8s. to 10s. an acre, depending on the locality of the free grant.
43937. How long will this pre-emption grant be kept waiting for him ? Must he purchase it the first or second year, or is it kept longer ?
—It is kept for him for about three years.
43938. But if the people were settled a little closer together than the 160 acre lot would afford, then the cultivation might be carried on more economically by an interchange of animals ?
—Yes, there might be that advantage. They might be closer together, and the animals would not have to go long distances.
43939. It strikes us, having heard a great deal of this benevolent action of Lady Gordon-Cathcart, that her plan, so honourable to her, is so expensive that she herself cannot go on with it, and nobody else could adopt it. So far as I see she provides them with £200, or in one form or another it costs her £200 to emigrate every family ?
—Well, that meant, in the case of those who went, it would cost her for the improvements they had made, and one thing or another, sums ranging up to £100 outright, and £100 was advanced as a loan to each family on the security of the land on which they settled.
43940. I think we may set aside so generous a scheme as that and find out how it can be done more economically. You speak of Government advancing £100 to each family. That I understand to be for their settlement in the country itself ?
43941. Besides their transport ?
—Besides the cost of their transport.
43942. To whom do you propose the English Government should pay this sum? Is it to be paid to the Dominion Government or to the family, or to some middleman ?
—-What I suggest is that an arrangement should be made between the British Government and the Canadian Government, and some agent should be appointed as arranged between them to be with the people when they went in large numbers, to see the money was applied as they wanted it in the purchase of implements and provisions sufficient for the first year when they went on the land.
43943. No intermediary company, or anything of that kind ?
—No, I would not think of anything of that nature.
43944. Then the Government is to advance £100 to the Dominion Government, who are to provide agency for settling the people ; who is to pay that agency? It might come to be rather an expensive agency
—the parties employed to look after the people ?
—I think the Canadian Government would undertake that through their own agents so far as the settlement is concerned.
43945. You think the Canadian Government would appoint agents and pay them ?
—Ths Government have already agents giving every advice and assistance to people going out, and settling them satisfactorily, and no doubt they would provide anything that was wanted in that way in case a large number went out
43946. They would provide other agents ; they would extend their agency ?
—Yes, they would extend their numbers if requisite.
43947. Well, supposing the square mile was adopted as the basis of a settlement, and filled at once with Highland emigrants, that would be according to my calculation eight families ; would you propose to take those eight families from the same island, or the same part of an island, or would you mix them from the first ?
—Well, I have never thought over that. I think it would be well for those who go from the same locality here to take up their abode in the same locality there. You must remember they would not be altogether adjoiuing each other. There are only alternate sections eligible for free grants. The Canadian Pacific Company have a section between each which is not available for free grants at all.
43948. But if eight families were on the square mile they would be all on the square mile ?
—There would be this difficulty, that there are two 160 acre free grant lots and the other two are pre-emption lots.
43949. I propose to set aside that arrangement ?
—Well, an arrangement might be made to do that.
43950. To put eight families from the same township in Scotland on a square mile there ?
43951. Suppose such a settlement placed ten or twelve miles back from the main railway, what is the provision for fuel ? That would be the first difficulty of an emigrant in winter. Is there any fuel on the ground ?
—There is no difficulty about that. There is plenty of fuel,—any quantity of timber in many districts,—and people would be very foolish if they settled where there was not abundance of fuel in the neighbourhood. I may say there have been large discoveries of coal in many districts, and that coal has been used on the Canadian Pacific Railway, and in the engines there.
43952. We must trust the Dominion to make these settlements on places where they would find fuel ?
—Yes, that would be the object of the Government.
43953. I suppose there are places where there is no fuel, or very little?
—There are portions of the prairie land where there is no timber at all, but I cannot advise people to settle there.
43954. But it is not matter of advice. They must be taken there and settled there by the Government. You mentioned that the temperature is very low; what do you consider a fair average winter temperature ?
Is it below 20° below zero in the north-west, beyond Brandon ?
—It is below 20° below zero at times.
43955. Would the temperature on a fine working day in December or January be between 20° and 40° below zero ?
—Occasionally—very rarely—it would be below that. In all my experience in Ontario I have rarely
seen it below 10° below zero. I have occasionally seen it between 10° and 20° below zero, but even then I have seen people working without the least trouble. I have often curled with the thermometer between 10° and 20° below zero.
43956. Curling is a pleasant sport; but the temperature west of Brandon is lower than in Ontario ?
—At times it is lower in winter.
43957. Do you think it is often lower than 20° below zero ?
—Not frequently. It may be in occasional cold snaps below that, but not for any continuous length of time.
43958. I am bound to say that my impression is rather different from what I have heard, and that I think it is from 20° to 40° below zero. At any rate the fact is, according to your account that the railway works are continued through the whole winter, except on exceptionally bad days ?
—Yes, the railway works are carried on the whole time with very few exceptional days.
43959. In the case of families going out, you were asked how the people would get money to pay for the land, —whether it would be by the sale of crop or otherwise. Don't you think the people would be more likely to get money to pay for their land, from auxiliary sources, —by some members of the family working out ?
—Yes, a great deal could be done in that way. They could be working out when there was no great amount of work to do on the land in harvest or seeding operations. When these were completed a very considerable number of the members of a family, if there was a large family, could be working out, and that is the way a great number of the new settlers do from the start. If there are three or four of them, two will manage the farm and two are out working on wages.
43960. Supposing a block or square mile with eight Highland families upon it, how do they feed their cattle in the first instance. In summer do the cattle run out on the grass, or are they all fed in houses ?
—In summer they are allowed to run out on the prairie until there is a large amount of settlement; and in the winter, in Manitoba, where there is a considerable quantity of trees, cattle and horses have been wintered out in these forests without any shelter at all.
43961. But in summer they have no difficulty in running out. The grass is never so burned up that there is no pasture on the ground ?
—No, it is never so bad as that in any districts. Of course, where the prairie is very open the grass is burned by fire being set to it occasionally, but this is only the case when the lands are not settled upon, with very rare exceptions.
43962. But it is never so dry from the effects of the sun as to burn up the grass?
—No; there is always good grazing during the summer.
43963. Then, if you can imagine a square mile with a Highland colony upon it, they would have no difficulty in having a common run like their common pasture at home in the middle of it ?
—Yes, they could easily have that.
43964. You spoke of sending out a clergyman with them, and the clergyman must, in the first instance, have some provision. Do you think you would be inclined to give the clergyman a lot, or two lots perhaps?
—Certainly, he would have his lot too in the same way as the others.
43965. Provision might be made for endowing the minister with a glebe from the first, or with a farm for his family ?
—Of course he could get his free grant the same as the others, in the first place.
43966. Speaking of the old colonies with which Highland emigration was associated, these in early times were Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island ?
43967. You see the Highlanders are fisherman as well as agriculturists; are there any of these old colonies in which the Highlanders could practise their fishing industry with advantage and have grants of land too, or is the whole margin of the old colonies now taken up ?
—All the most available portions of the old provinces are taken up as far as land is concerned. There are free grants in these provinces, but the land has not the same advautage as further west. Undoubtedly there are good fisheries adjoining these provinces.
43968. You do not advise the Highlanders then generally to stop short of Brandon ?
—Well, I would say, going out with the intention which they usually have of getting laud of their own, undoubtedly the north-west is the best place for them.
43969. If they went out in the month of April, and got on to the ground in the month of May, would they be able to put up some kind of shelter themselves for the first year or two, or would the Government provide them with houses?
—The Government has never done anything of that nature. I cannot say whether they would do anything of the kind in the future or not, but it is a very simple matter putting up houses that will suit in the first place. Frequently, the settlers camp out under canvas until they have time to put up some temporary residence of wood. Then in the autumn they improve upon this, and make it stronger, and warmer, and larger. That is the usual course pursued.
43970. You have personally been up among those new settlements beyond Brandon ?
—No, but I have been in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
43971. Do you see the children running about in winter?
43972. They are not obliged to keep to the house?
—No. Little children in very cold weather keep inside, but the larger children run out in winter.
43973. Do the children go to school in the dead of winter?
—Yes, they go to school the same as in summer.
43974. How are these settlements provided with schools ?
—Well, at first there is a difficulty in that respect. There is no school accommodation at first, but the school accommodation is brought about very rapidly. Two sections iu every township are set apart for school purposes by the Government. Therefore, there will be a large fund for school purposes in time to come, and the local Government does everything in its power to promote education as quickly as possible. Of course, in the new settlements, where there are only a few people, it could not be expected there would be a school for a little time. But the whole of Manitoba was a wilderness ten or twelve years ago, and now there is a very good school system through the most thickly settled portion of it.
43975. When the people arrive at a place like that, such as we suggest, can they cut the natural grass in the first summer for hay ?
—Yes, it makes excellent hay. As much as from three or four tons an acre is frequently cut.
43976. Just as it stands ?
43977. What month can it be cut in ?
—They can cut it all the time from June to August
43978. So there is no anxiety about the safety of the cattle in the first winter ?
—No, there is no trouble about them at all. Mowing machines can be used at the start.
43979. If they arrive in May, can they still sow corn? I think, in Lady Grahame. Gordon-Cathcart's letters, I saw potatoes mentioned. Can they, the first summer, reap a crop of corn ?
—Yes, they sowed a good deal of grain the first summer.
43980. Mr Cameron.
—With regard to the severity of the climate in winter, most emigrants who go out and have farms, do not require to work on their own farms at all during winter ?
—There is not much work to be done on the farm proper during winter, but all the timber work is usually done in that season, —hauling the timber home for firewood and getting preparations made for the ensuing summer, —in fact, everything pertaining to working timber.
43981. So if they had sufficiently large holdings to maintain themselves they would not require to work on the railway or elsewhere ?
—If they once were fairly settled on their lands, and had sufficient to live upon. The only reason people would work on the railway or public works, would be to eke out a sufficient sum to carry them on in the world; but if they had work sufficient to occupy them, they would not require to go out to work at all.
43982. If these people were to go out and occupy a whole square mile, what would be their power of expansion ?
—Under the present system they have power of expansion by those blocks to which they have a right of pre-emption; but if they had a whole square mile, suppose some of them made money, and wished to become larger farmers, what would become of them ?
—They would require to go further back to the most available spot, or, if they had sons over eighteen, settle them on other lots as closely adjoining their own as possible. In the old settlements, such as York,
people who wanted farms for their sons had to go thirty, forty, or fifty miles futher north or west. As a rule, the great bulk remained,—the old people and eldest son remained, and the younger ones went up to the new districts.
43983. The younger members hived off ?
43984. Supposing a project was entertained and taken in hand by Government, but delayed from causes pointed out by Lord Napier, you said you were afraid the ground might be taken up by others ; of what other nationalities would those be ; what other people go out to Brandon besides settlers from the Hebrides ?
—There are a great number going out there from the older peopled districts of America and Canada, English people, Scotch, and Irish, some from Scandinavia, Germany, and different parts of the world.
43985. Do many Irish go there ?
—I believe not a great number. The great bulk of the Irish have hitherto gone to the United States.
43986. But still the place is getting filled up very quickly ?
—Very rapidly indeed. A great number have gone to Manitoba and the northwest this year, and those who have gone out are writing most satisfactorily of the country, and wishing their friends to come out.
43987. With regard to the letters from Lady Gordon-Cathcart's emigrants, you mentioned they spoke very hopefully of their prospects, and seemed rather to encourage their relations who were left behind to follow their example ; have you found in the Hebrides any unwillingness to emigrate on the part of the people ?
—Well, of course, those who were not willing would probably not speak to me. I did not come in contact with any who expressed any unwilliugness. Those whom I came in contact with wanted information from me, and thought of going, and were prepared to go, as many of them should, if they had a sufficient amount to go upon.
43988. In those letters from Lady Gordon-Cathcart's people was any surprise expressed that the people should be unwilling to follow their example —was any allusion made to reports unfavourable to the colony to which they had gone ?
—In their letters it was stated that the reports they had heard were untrue. In one instance, they said they were all lies. The reports that were circulated throughout the Hebrides, I don't know by whom, had been perfectly incorrect, they said, and they were perfectly satisfied in every way with what they had seen of the country.
43989. Did they go into any details as to the comparison to be made between their position out there and what it had been before they left ?
—Yes ; in several instances the statement was made that they were in quite a different position, when they were under no bondage to any person, that the land was their own, and that in every way they were much better off than they would be at home.
43990. In fact, they generally expressed their great surprise, after the reports they had heard at home, in finding what a happy life they were leading, and what good prospects were in store for them ?
—Yes, instead of finding the difficulties and troubles they anticipated, they found almost none. The chief trouble mentioned was that the mosquitoes were troublesome for a little while, but they were no worse than the midges in the Hebrides.
43991. Did they allude to any want they felt in having no minister ?
—Yes, the want of a minister was alluded to in one case.
43992. Of course, if the population was sufficiently large, that want could be supplied, as his Lordship pointed out ?
—Yes ; but very probably they would like to have a minister from their own district.
43993. To come back home for a moment. In case emigration was attainable on a pretty extensive scale from the West Highlands, would you be inclined to recommend any restriction upon proprietors as to what should be done with the vacated crofts, so as to prevent a repetition of the same overcrowding ?
—What I would suggest in regard to that, is that these crofts should be added to those of others settled upon the land to enlarge the amount of each croft. Instead of a £ 3 or £ 4 croft, let there be a £ 20 or £ 30 croft, and there would be a chance of a man doing something satisfactory for his family.
43994. And that would give a chance to the people. Those who preferred to emigrate might emigrate, and those who preferred to remain at at home might have larger holdings, remaining where they were ?
43995. Mr Fraser-Mackintosh.
—You have told us that you were born in Canada?
43996. Do you consider yourself more of a Canadian than of a British subject ?
—We are all British subjects. I am as much a British subject as any one born here.
43997. Do you look more to the interests of Canada or to the interests of the mother country ?
—Well, we want to make the interests as much identical as possible between the colonies and the mother country.
43998. You will not admit there is any difference in your mind or any bias in favour of Canada or in favour of the mother country ?
—Well, naturally I think a great deal of Canada, and want to do all I can for her interests.
43999. Of course, you are of Scottish extraction. Your father has left his name in Scottish poetry ?
—Yes, my father was a Dumfriesshire man.
44000. And he has left his name well known ?
—My father's name was well known in the county of York in Canada.
44001. To come to what you were stating about Lady Gordon-Cathcart. You seem to have been advising with her about these emigrants ?
—Yes ; she consulted me three years ago on the subject of people going out from her estates to Canada, and since.
44002. You stated that a great deal of work was given by her in South Uist, and upon those estates ?
—So I was told.
44003. Can you say whether it is true that a great deal of the labour, on these parts of the estate was imported and not local labour ?
—As far as I can understand, the great bulk of the work was done by the natives, in the reclamation work. The imported work was simply for the work about Loch Boisdale, about houses that the natives were not so well-adapted for.
44004. Have you been through the Highlands a good deal?
—I have been a good deal through the Highlands, the West Highlands particularly.
44005. Are you prepared to say whether or not there is a good deal of land still in the Highlands capable of profitable reclamation ?
—So far as I have seen, speaking more particularly of the islands which I have gone through to a greater extent, I do not think there is any great extent of land which could be reclaimed satisfactorily. I am afraid the cost would be so enormous and the results so unsatisfactory, for so many bad seasons occurring as I have been told, that there would be very great risk of spending capital without any good results.
44006. You used the expression, I think, that Lady Gordon-Cathcart, in sending some of her people out at this great cost, set an example which the Government might well follow. Suppose they found that there is in this country, in the Highlands, a good deal of land capable of profitable reclamation, do you think it is the duty of the Government, in those circumstances, to diminish the Highlands by sending them away to another country ?
—That is the question. If there is sufficient land for improvement in the Highlands, I think it right that it should be improved, if it is of a character available for people to settle upon.
44007. Now, emigration has been tried on a very extensive scale in former times in the Highlands, has it not ?
—Yes, in many districts.
44008. But apparently the state of the people now is as bad as if no emigration ever took place; is it not so?
—It is, I imagine, just as bad as ever it was in some districts.
44009. Is it not the fact that the population in several parishes of the Western Islands has decreased within the last thirty years'?
—I am not aware the population has decreased. I thought the population had increased as a rule.
44010. Very likely it has in some places. I am taking the whole Hebrides, North and South ; will you say whether or not the population has, as a rule, decreased ?
—I have always understood the population had increased of late years, taking the Hebrides all over.
44011. Are you sure of that?
—So far as my knowledge goes, I have always understood that to be the case.
44012. Suppose I am correct in saying that the population has decreased, notwithstanding the emigration, how do you think that further emigration would benefit the people ?
—The reason I think emigration would benefit the people is, that I think they are in too great numbers there, undoubtedly, and they have a far better country to go to, far better land to work upon, and far better prospects of benefiting themselves in the future.
44013. I quite agree with you that in certain localities there is a congestion, but take the islands all over, you will not say, I presume, that certain localities are not very sparsely peopled, and with very good land too.
—Well, I never saw any places where they are so very sparse, excepting when the lands were almost unfit for cultivation of any kind, or any land I considered very good. I don't think any land in the Hebrides compares at all with the fertility of the laud in the north-west.
44014. Take the case of Islay?
—But Islay is not a portion of the Outer Hebrides, I understand.
44015. It is one of the Western Islands?
—I thought you meant the Western Hebrides, from Lewis down the Long Island.
44016. You spoke about its being desirable that thousands should leave next year, and you mentioned the localities from which you would take them; now, is it or is it not a weakness to the country, that so many should be removed, and a power and strength to the country to which they go?
—I don't think it is a weakness sending a considerable portion out to a colony which is part of the empire, and especially when we know that the increase of population is so rapid in this country. Increase of population is always going on.
44017. There is an increase over Scotland and over England, but generally the population of the Highlands and Islands is by no means on the increase. Now, I want to follow out a question put by Lochiel; will you tell me what is the use of sendiug people away from the Highlands, unless the condition of those left behind is bettered ?
—Certainly : I think that should be the object in having a large number to emigrate, that it should be better for those who remained behind.
44018. Hitherto has it benefited those who remained'?
—So far as my experience has gone, hitherto, emigration has not been on a sufficiently large scale. There have only been a few who have gone out a ta time, and the number is inappreciable. In the olden days, thirty or forty years ago, I don't know what the results were.
44019. I suppose you do not deny there has been a good deal of distress in the Highlands last season ?
—I believe there has been a great deal of distress in some portions, and I suppose a great deal of that has been from the failure of the crops, and I am told it is too frequently the case that the crops are not saved in good condition.
44020. Are you aware that forty or fifty years ago, at the beginning of the century, between 1800 and 1820, the population in the Western Islands was very much greater than it is just now?
—I am not certain about that. I have not studied the subject so far back as that.
44021. Supposing it were true that the numbers were then very much more, is there any reason why the same area should not support the same population that it did sixty years ago ?
—Well, I am told for one thing that the land has decreased in fertility in many parts. I was told by a large farmer in South Uist, that in his recollection the land has deteriorated very considerably, whether from want of manure or not, I cannot say.
44022. You think that is the reason why the district will not now support the same population ?
—That may be one reason.
44023. Professor Mackinnon.
—You have gone over the whole length and breadth of Canada, I suppose ?
—Yes, I have been over a great part of Canada. I have not been much over the north-west beyond Winnipeg, but I have been all over British Columbia.
44024. And you can say that those who went out from the Western Highlands thirty or forty years ago are quite comfortable ?
—Yes, those who went out and went to the district where I lived have got on admirably, and are in most respectable positions now.
44025. Although they were quite destitute when they arrived ?
—Most of them quite destitute when they arrived. I know that many of them had nothing when they arrived in the district, and my father did a great deal to assist them.
44026. You went over a grent portion of the Western Isles of late ?
—Yes, through the Hebrides and portions of the mainland.
44027. Places where those people went from ?
44028. And you found the people there in a most wretched condition. You state that they are in a worse condition than many semi-civilised tribes ?
44029. And your sole remedy for this state of matters is to remove a large number of them away ?
—I think that would be the best remedy in many districts where there is such a congestion of population.
44030. And to give their lands to their neighbours who would remain behind ?
44031. In the form of £20 to £30 crofts?
44032. And the way you propose, in order to provide funds for this purpose, is to get the Government to advance the money upon the security of the land ?
44033. That, of course, is asking us all to contribute our share in the shape of taxation. You want money to be provided out of imperial taxation ?
—It would only be a loan. The great bulk of the money would simply be a loan.
44034. But in the meantime to be provided by the British people ?
—Yes, in the meantime,—a loan on good security.
44035. What security would you take before you would ask the nation to provide funds to send away those people, that the land left behind should be given to their neighbours after they went away ?
—The security given by the people would be a paper executed by them, saying they were prepared to repay the money that they got upon the land so far as Canada is concerned.
44036. You know that in the past the land vacated by emigrants in the North Highlands was not given to their neighbours left behind ?
—I don't know whether that was the case or not.
44037. Did you go through Skye ?
—I was through a portion of Skye.
44038. Did you not see large waste places there, that forty or fifty years ago were occupied by people ?
—I saw large waste places, but whether they would be adapted for cultivation satisfactorily or not, I do not know.
44039. I don't say whether they are adapted or not, but were they not cultivated ?
—I don't know as to that.
44040. But you would wish that the land the people occupy just now should be given to their neighbours who would remain behind ?
44041. What security would you take before you would ask the country to provide money to send them away, that that would be done ?
—I should imagine that that would be arranged between Government and the landlords. The landlords should undertake that in case of a certain number of crofters going, the land thus left behind in crofts should be added to other crofts.
44042. Do you think that a £20 or £30 croft in this country would enable a man to live in comfort ?
—Well, not in the same comfort as he could live in Canada, but comparative comfort,—far greater comparative comfort than that in which they are living now.
44043. Then, supposing they were to live in comparative comfort, don't you think that part of the money that we would have to subscribe in the shape of taxation, and give to the people in order to send them abroad and settle them abroad, might not be given, and lent in order to settle them at home ?
—Well, that is a question for the consideration of the Government, but if there were opportunities for settling the people satisfactorily here by doing something of that nature, I see no reason why it should not be done.
44044. I ask you the questiou, because you have gone over both countries, and because you are advising that the one thing should be done in order to settle them in Canada ; would you not also say it would be a wise thing to do in order to settle 6ome of them in Scotland ?
—I do not see any advantage in settling them here. I think there are far greater opportunities for the people in going out there, especially from those districts where they are far too numerous. If those who remained were given the crofts left, I think there would be some fair chauce of the people doing well.
44045. Don't you think that, side by side with giving them the crofts vacated by the people going abroad, some of the money that it would be necessary to give to emigrants might be expended in order to people some of the waste places in this country that are capable of cultivation ?
—Well, money might be expended in that way, but I think it would be far better expended in the mode I suggest.
44046. For the last twenty or twenty-five years, and it has been increasing evidently, there is a reluctance among people to go away. I was very glad to hear from you that there seems now to be a willingness
among them to go away?
—There was a decided willingness expressed to me by a very considerable number in Uist and some other parts.
44047. You would not mistake it for the natural curiosity of the people to get information ?
—No, I did not mistake it for that; because they came anxiously for the purpose of seeing me, and telling me they were quite prepared to go if they had sufficient assistance. There were a great number who were naturally curious and wanting information from me who did not express that opinion, but there were a great number who did express that desire and wish.
44048. Was that in South Uist ?
44049. You expressed an opinion towards the close of your paper, that of those who would remain behind some ought to betake themselves to the land as a livelihood, and some ought to betake themselves to the sea?
44050. We heard a variety of opinion upon that question ; might ask you what your experience of such matters has been ?
—From what I have heard, the east coast fishermen, sticking to their occupation entirely, have succeeded and done very well, much better than the west coast ones, and it seems most natural that people would be much better by sticking to one fixed occupation than having several occupations.
44051. By those who advocated the combination of the two, it was stated that on the east coast there was fishing the whole year round more or less, and also that there is a market for fresh fish, but that on the west coast fishing in winter is impossible, and that as yet at all events there is no ready market for fresh fish; would that, do you think, make such a difference between the practice on the east and west coast as to affect your opinion one way or another ?
—My idea from what I have heard is that the fishing interest could be developed very largely in the west, and that will be done in the course of time when the communication between a large city like this and the populous parts of the Western Isles is developed more largely. As the result of that, I have no doubt the fisheries will be further developed.
44052. You look to that in the future rather than to things as existing at present?
44053. How much money do you think it would be necessary to advance to each family upon an average, considering the little means they have themselves, in order to settle them in the north-west ?
—If they went upon their land with £100 clear, each family, I think that would be sufficient to make a start and get on. I know many have done so on that sum already.
44054. The Government of Canada is giving the land for nothing?
44055. Do they give any facilities for going across ?
—Yes. Passages are assisted very much,—so much so that the through rate has been reduced from £6, 6s. to £ 3 for agricultural labourers and their families from to Quebec, and of late it has been reduced considerably. By getting assisted passages through me in this country, as Government agent, I can send people all the way from to Winnipeg—grown up people —for £6, 8s. 5d., that is by the Lake route ; or £7, 8s. 11 d . if they so by the railway all the way.
44056. And I suppose, if a good number went away from one district, facilities would be given whereby they could be brought from that district without much expense?
—Yes, extra facilities would be given both on this side and the other side if people went in some numbers.
44057. £100 on arrival, and such a sum as would take them across?
—Yes, to their destination. That is for an average sized family.
44058. Do you think, from what you saw when you were there, that the means of the families when realised would send them across?
—That is what I have thought a good deal of, and I am very doubtful about it. It would depend on the people who went. In some parts where crofters are a little better off than their neighbours that would be sufficient. It depends very much on the extent of their stock ; I suppose the stock is the chief thing they could realise upon; and also upon whether they were indebted to any extent. Taking it all through, I don't think it would be sufficient.
44059. So you would contemplate a little more expenditure than £100 per family ?
—Yes, a little more than that.
44060. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie.
—Did not the Dominion Government make some proposal to the Home Government for promoting Irish emigration?
—I think that proposal originated from the Home Government. There was some proposal between the two; I am not certain how it originated, but I think the proposal was made by the Imperial Government, that on a certain amount of security being given by the Canadian Government, a number of people would be sent out, but the Canadian Government would not accept that condition. I believe the Canadian Pacific Railway Company have done something with the Imperial Government, but what the terms are I don't know.
44061. I have seen in print, in a magazine, a copy of the proposal apparently made by the Cauadian Government; you have not seen it?
—No, I do not remember seeing the proposal to which you refer.
44062. Do you think it possible that among the 600 families whose emigration you think would be advisable next season, some might be unsuccessful ?
—Well, it is possible. It is highly improbable they would be, because from my experience of those who have gone out in the past, if they are ready and willing to work, there is no fear of their getting on all right.
44063. Some of them might suffer from sickness?
—Of course, some of them might.
44064. Have you any idea what proportion of unsuccessful settlers there are in the north-west ?
—I have never heard of any at all who were ready and willing to work and healthy.