ARE THE IRISH EVICTED TENANTS KNAVES?

From Irish Ideas by William O'Brien, 1893

Page 85

ARE THE IRISH EVICTED TENANTS KNAVES?

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population of the estate—and has left ten thousand acres of land, in Mr. T. W. Russell's phrase, 'waving with docks and thistles.' And the tenantry upon whom he has executed this appalling vengeance are the tenantry of whom Mr. Smith-Barry's own agent, Mr. Horace Townsend, wrote:—

'From what I have seen of the Ponsonby estate I am sorry to say that I believe the Land Commission, if it ever goes before it, will reduce the rents on it very heavily.

It is quite good enough ground for fighting, the tenants having required an equal all-round reduction, and then gone to the Plan of Campaign; but I consider that the late agent should have given larger allowances than 20 per cent. on a good deal of the lands, and have had all re-valued at the commencement of the row, before the Plan of Campaign was adopted. The existing rates on light tillage lands, which might have been fair fifteen or twenty years ago, are far above the present value. A good deal of land I saw, I was told, was rented at 20s., but it will go under the Land Court at 12s., or 13s., and that is Barter's (the agent of the Landlords' Corporation) opinion also. I advise Mr. Smith-Barry and the other members of the syndicate to make public as soon as possible that they are only fighting the way in which the tenants want to get the rents down.'

Here we have the inner mind of the landlords revealed as in a council of war. 'It is quite good enough ground for fighting,' says this friend of law and order, fighting being the syndicate's business in life; but he proceeds to warn the belligerent landlords that they have no case on the merits, and that the public must be bamboozled into the belief that it is not a question of the justice of the reduction demanded, but of the tenants' unmannerly … continue reading »

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