HC Deb 10 March 1891 vol 351 cc584-5
DR. MCDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been drawn to a paragraph in the Oban Times of 28th February, re the eviction of Coll Macdougall, a blacksmith and crofter on the Soroba estate, near Oban, from which it appears that Macdougall owed no rent; that in the absence of Macdougall, his wife and young family were obliged, on account of the wind and rain, to forcibly re-enter the house during the night to shield them from the severe weather, and are now suffering from the effects of the exposure; whether Macdougall was made a notour bankrupt, and so put beyond the benefits of the Crofters' Act, through a series of lawsuits (the costs of which he was unable to pay) raised against him by the trustee on the estate, in conjunction with the tenant of the same, to whose farm the croft on which Macdougall was born is now to be annexed; and whether he can take any action in the matter on behalf of the evicted family?


I have seen the paragraph in the Oban Times referred to in the question, and from inquiry I have made, it appears that the statements are very inaccurate. The eviction took place in virtue of a decree obtained from the Sheriff in an action which Macdougall defended. He was in arrears of rent for a piece of ground which he at one time held, and he had not paid the rent due at Martinmas last. Macdougall was at work when the proceedings began, but came back before they were concluded. He refused the offer of a house in Oban which was made to him by the agent who undertook to be responsible for the rent till Whitsunday, and he forcibly re-entered the house the same day. I am informed that the weather was fine on the day the eviction took place, and it is not known that his wife and family are suffering exposure. In 1887 Macdougall was a notour bankrupt. In consequence of his taking forcible possession of a piece of ground upon the estate of Soroba, the proprietors were obliged to raise an action of interdict against him, which was opposed, and, after considerable litigation and expanse, perpetual interdict was granted, and he was found liable in expenses, and again in 1889 he was found liable in expenses in another action of interdict which he also defended. I do not see any grounds for interference on the part of the Crown Authorities.