MR. JOHN M'LEOD (Sutherland)
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that a division of the Crofters' Commission, presided over by Commissioner M'Intyre, recently held sittings in the parish of Clyne, Sutherlandshire, for the purpose of hearing 888 applications to fix a fair rent; and that, although intimation was made to the Crofters'Commission many months before that the crofters had appointed an agent to represent them at the inquiry, no intimation was made to that agent of the fact of the sittings being held, and consequently the crofters were wholly unre-presented; and whether, in view of these circumstances, he will make an order that the Crofters' Commission shall immediately re-hear the applications so soon as appeals against the decisions complained of have been lodged?
§ SIR G. O. TREVELYAN
Commismissioner M'Intyre, with two assessors, held a series of sittings in the parish of Clyne, Sutherlandshire, commencing on 29th November, and continuing the same during December. As to the matter of intimation, notices were sent on 14th November to the Rev. John Murray, Free Church Minister of Clyne, and Convener of the County Council; to Joseph Macleod, the County Councillor for the parish, and to Dr. Murray, Brora, who took an active interest in crofters' affairs, intimating that sittings would be held on the 22nd of that month. At the request of Dr. Murray, on the one hand, and of the factor for the Duke of Sutherland on the other, the sittings were postponed to a later date. On the 19th November (ten days before the first sitting, which was held on the 29th) an official notice was sent to each crofter individually, advising him of the date on which the application relative to his holding would be heard. It was the duty of the crofters interested to inform their agent of the sitting, if they had one. The crofters appeared at the hearings, and stated such facts as they desired to bring before the Commissioner, but in no case was ally complaint preferred that their agent had not received notice, nor any Motion made for an adjournment to enable them to instruct or communicate with their agent. With reference to appeals, Commissioner M'Intyre, during his recent inquiries in Clyne, disposed of 196 applications, and against his decisions 7 appeals have been intimated, and, of these, 5 have since been withdrawn, leaving 2 appeals out of 196 decisions awaiting the consideration of the Commissioners as a Court of Appeal.