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Read Second Shetland Truck System Report Part 144

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5489. But you say they would get money if they asked it?-If they were to ask for money, I don’t see any reason why they should not get it as well as goods.

5490. And to the same amount?-I cannot say for that.

5492. Do you mean that the money which they would get if they were asking for it in the course of the fishing season would be regarded as a loan, and not as a payment for their fishing?-No.

5492. Suppose a man were to ask a fish-curer for an advance of money in July, would not that advance of money in July, would not that advance be looked upon as if he were asking for a loan of money?-No; that is not generally the way they would do. If I were fishing to a fish-curer, and giving him my fish, and if I were to ask for some money, it would just go to my account in the same way as if I was taking out goods until the fish were sold at the end of the year when I settled, and my fish would pay for that money as well as for the goods.

5493. But would it not be considered a favour to give money in that way?-I don’t think so.

5494. Do you think the fish-curer would be bound to give you money if you asked for it in the beginning of the season?-Yes.

5495. And would he be as ready to give it to you as he would be to give you goods?-No; I don’t think he could be expected to do that. However, I cannot say much upon that subject, because I never asked for much money,

5496. Did you think it would be asking a favour to ask for money?-I cannot say.

5497. Did you think the merchant would rather give you goods?- Of course he would expect us to take the goods, from the way of dealing which prevails.

5498. Do you mean that the practice is for the men to get goods advances rather than cash advances during the season and before the settlement?-That depends upon the circ.u.mstances of the men who are fishing. Sometimes they require money to pay their rent with, and that is generally advanced to them in money; but when they require goods they usually take them from the fish-curer by whom they are employed.

5499. Do you mean that they don’t get money unless it is required by them for some particular purpose?-No; unless they have money to get on their own earnings. If they have money over at settlement time, they will get it in cash when the account is balanced.

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5500. Of course they get it at settlement time; but before then can they get money from the man who employs them, unless for some particular purpose?-No.

5501. Any advances that are made then are made in goods?-Yes; unless they are required in money.

Brae, January 10, 1872, JOHN HENDERSON, examined.

5502. You are a fisherman at Mossbank?-I am.

5503. On whose land do you live?-On Sheriff Bell’s.

5504. Are you bound to fish to any particular merchant?-No; not unless I go to the Skerries.

5505. Who do you fish for just now?-For Mr. Pole.

5506. Are you settled with at the end of the year like the other men?-Yes.

5507. Do you deal at Mr. Pole’s shop?-Very little.

5508. Where else do you go for your articles?-To any shop where I think I can get them cheapest and best.

5509. You are quite at liberty to go where you please?-I am.

5510. You can deal at Lerwick or at Voe, without running any chance of losing your engagement for the next season?-I can.

5511. Have you generally a good lot of cash to get from Messrs.

Pole, Hoseason, & Co., at the end of the year?-I have generally the part of my earning to get.

5512. Why don’t you deal more at Mr. Pole’s store?-Because, when I have money, and can go anywhere else, I can perhaps get my goods a little cheaper.

5513. Is it not handy for you to deal at the Mossbank shop?-It is handy, but it is no great hardship for me to go anywhere else if I think I can get my things a little cheaper.

5514. Can you tell me any articles that are cheaper in the one place than in the other?-Meal, for instance, is always higher in Mossbank than it is in Lerwick. Taking the meal from Mossbank at the retail price, there will be a difference of perhaps 8s. or 9s.

per sack on that, and on buying a sack in Lerwick for cash. The sack is 280 lbs. weight, or 2 bolls, and that is a difference of 4s. or 4s. 6d. per boll.

5515. When did you try that?-I have tried it now for a good few years.

5516. Is that the difference if you buy it wholesale,-a sack at a time?-Yes.

5517. If you were buying a sack at Mr. Pole’s store, how much would you pay for it?-I have never been under the necessity of buying a sack there. What meal I have bought at their shop has always been in small quant.i.ties: perhaps about a quarter boll weekly.

5518. What is the price of a quarter boll?-It is different prices: sometimes higher and sometimes lower.

5519. What did you pay for it last?-I have not had a quarter boll of meal from Mossbank this year at all, because last year we thought it too dear, and therefore we gave up taking it.

5520. Tell me any particular time when you bought meal at Mossbank, and found that at the same time, or within a short time after it or before it, you could have got the same meal in Lerwick for less money?-Not the past summer, but the summer before, I had meal from Mossbank, taking it in small portions as it was required, such as a quarter boll weekly; and at the same date, when I was getting these small portions, I got meal from Lerwick to my own house for about 10s. of difference on the sack,-only the meal that I bought from Lerwick was a whole sack, and ready money was given for it, while the meal bought from Mossbank was in small portions, and it was got on credit until the time of settlement.

5521. Do you think that difference was not accounted for by the difference between wholesale and retail prices?-For instance, would you not have got the two bolls at Mossbank, if you had bought that quant.i.ty there, as cheaply as you got them at Lerwick?-No; there would have been 5s. of difference if I had bought two bolls there.

5522. But there would be the expense of carrying the meal from Lerwick: that would be worth something?-That was 8d., and the shipping of it 2d.

5523. Is there any other article you think you have an advantage on in the same way?-Yes; there are different articles. For instance, lines are one thing we require, and for my sixth share, I would have nineteen lines in my bundle.

5524. Do you buy your own lines?-I do.

5525. Is it the practice with men fishing for Pole, Hoseason, & Co.

to do so?-Some of them do, and some do not; some of them have lines of their own; some buy them and pay for them by instalments; and others hire them. Last year I went to Lerwick and bought my own lines; and my nineteen lines, when they were ready to go to sea, cost me 2, 1s. I heard some of the men who were in the boat say that their portion of the lines, of the same quant.i.ty, cost them 51s. or 52s.; that would be paid for at settlement.

5526. Could they have got them cheaper at Mossbank if they had paid for them there in cash?-I could not say for that, because I never inquired into it.

5527. Is there anything else you can mention which you can buy cheaper elsewhere than you can at Mossbank?-If a man has ready money, he will always get little discount wherever he may purchase his goods.

5528. Then I suppose it is the fault of the men themselves that they do not get their ready money from Pole, Hoseason, & Co., and use it as they like?-Mr. Pole won’t refuse money to any man who has it to get; or if he knows he is an honest man, he will give him an advance of money, although he does not have it earned.

5529. But if a man could carry on to the end of the year, he would get all the price of his fish in cash?-Every penny.

5530. And then he could do with it as he pleased, and buy where he chose?-Yes; he could go to any place that was cheapest.

5531. Have you heard the evidence of James Hay and Andrew Tulloch?-Yes.

5532. Do you think that what they stated about the system of things here was generally correct?-I cannot say that there was much wrong in what they said; but I think there would not be a better plan than ready money if it could be obtained.

5533. Would not all the fishermen get ready money if they contracted to have a fixed price for their fish, to be paid to them as the fish were delivered?-They would. There is no fish-merchant who would not pay them the value of their fish in money if they have it to get; but how can they get it in money if they take it out in goods? They cannot expect that.

5534. But if the men made a bargain that they were to be paid in money for their fish every time they were delivered, they would not take it out in goods then?-No; they would have money.


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