Absentee Landlords

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXIV

In 1771 a grace was granted to the Catholics, by which they were allowed to take a lease of fifty acres of bog, and half an acre of arable land for a house; but this holding should not be within a mile of any town. In 1773 an attempt was made to tax absentees; but as they were the principal landowners, they easily defeated the measure. A pamphlet was published in 1769, containing a list of the absentees, which is in itself sufficient to account for any amount of misery and disaffection in Ireland. There can be no doubt of the correctness of the statement, because the names of the individuals and the amount of their property are given in full. Property to the amount of £73,375 belonged to persons who never visited Ireland. Pensions to the amount of £371,900 were paid to persons who lived out of Ireland. Property to the amount of £117,800 was possessed by persons who visited Ireland occasionally, but lived abroad. Incomes to the amount of £72,200 were possessed by officials and bishops, who generally lived out of Ireland. The state of trade is also treated in the same work, in which the injustice the country has suffered is fully and clearly explained.