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On Emigration and the State of the Highlands
Appendix D.


In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. x. p. 366,—parish of Harris,—are some details concerning these different classes of occupiers of land; which may serve to illustrate the outline that has been given:—The whole of this, ike most other estates in the Hebrides, is occupied by three different orders of tenants: Ist, Principal tacksmen, or gentlemen; 2d, Small tenants; 3d, Cotters. The common and ancient computation of lands in these countries is by pennies, of which the subdivisions are halfpennies, farthings, half farthings, " clitigs, &c. Of these a gentleman, according to the extent of his tack, possesses a vast many, perhaps twenty pennies, perhaps many more. This reckoning comprehends muir, pasture, and arable lands, for which the tacksman pays so much yearly rent in the lump during the currency of his lease. Of this extensive possession he may subset a third or a fourth.

Each sub-tenant in Harris generally holds the division of a farthing, for which he pays, according to the supposed value of the lands, from 20s. to 40s. in money, besides personal services, rated at a day’s labour per week, to the principal tacksrnan. The personal services of so many sub-tenants are reckoned indispensable under the present mode of management, in addition to the prodigious establishment besides of cotters and household servants, both male and female, which a gentleman supports in order to carry on the common business of the farm throughout the year. The single article of fuel costs a vast expense of labour. A gentleman, according to the number of fires his farm requires him to keep up, cuts of peats from thirty to fifty irons, and the cutting of an iron employs four men; the drying, stacking, and leading them home, require an expense of hands in proportion. Repairing of the feal-dykes and inclosures (a work of perpetual labour,), weeding of corn, making of kelp, reaping of the different crops, hay, barley, oats, and potatoes, in harvest, and the laborious tillage for raising these crops in winter and spring; besides the thatching and repairing of houses, tending and herding the cattle, cows, horses, and sheep, separately, with a great variety of other processes in this complex system, all require such a multitude of servants that a stranger is naturally struck with astonishment, and wonders how the produce of the most lucrative farm is able to support the expense of so large an establishment of domestics.

The small tenants are described p.368.

A small tenant farm is a little commonwealth of villagers, whose houses or huts are huddled together with too little regard to form, order, or cleanliness, and whose lands are yearly divided by lot for tillage; while their cattle graze on the pastures in common. The small tenants in this country, who hold immediately of the proprietor, have leases like the principal tacksmen, and possess some a penny, some half a penny, and some a farthing of lands.

The stock or sooming for the pasture of a farthing land, is four miilch cows, three, or perhaps four, horses, with as many sheep on the common as the tenant has luck to rear. The crops vary according to the different qualities of the farms, but may be computed in general at four or five boils a farthing, for which the tenant generally pays from 30s. to 40s. rent. This might be reckoned good pennyworth of lands; but when it is considered that the cattle of these tenants, miserably fed throughout the year, and often dying through mere want in the spring season, are neither marketable nor yield much milk; besides that, their crops are commonly insufficient to support their families for half the year; the poverty of this class of people, in general, is easily accounted for. The author goes on to state, that the produce of the small farmer only supports his family from harvest until the end of spring; and that he pays his rent, and subsists during summer, by the manufacture of kelp and other "employments."

The cotters are described p. 369.

The third class of the people, whom we have denominated cotters, are tacksmen’s servants, constantly employed in the labours of the farm. They have generally grass, on the same pasture with their masters cattle, for one milch cow with its followers, i.e. a three-year, a two-year, and one-year old, a working horse and breeding mare, besides sheep, in the number of which they are seldom restricted, and a farthing’s division of land for corn and potatoes, with its proportion of sedware for manure. They have also a kail-yard, fuel, and a weekly allowance of a peck of meal. They are allowed a day in the week to work for themselves, which, with the help of their families, is sufficient for raising and repairing their crops. A grieve or overseer, and grass-keeper, if married men, and holding lands in lieu of wages, have more in proportion to the weight of the several charges committed to them. Having no rents to pay, and being seldom under the necessity of buying meal, unless the harvest prove very bad, they live, on the whole, better than the tenant of a farthing land.


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