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The Bodyke Evictions: Orators and Agitators

Below is a transcription of a letter containing an exchange of views between the landlord and his agents concerning Peter Flanagan’s rent. Flanagan was a publican in Scariff, where he lived, and held 50 statute acres in Ballydonahane.
In spite of being a former Secretary of the Scariff branch of the Land League he took no part in the Combination, preferring to settle with O’Callaghan.
In this letter the landlord’s agent conveys Flanagan’s offer of £5 a year for grazing of the mountain at
Ballydonahane but the offer is refused.
 


Colonel O’Callaghan’s son, George, objects
to unfair reporting of the evictions.

[page 1]

Sensational Reports
To the Editor of the “St. James’s Gazette

Sir
This evening you very properly call
the Irish Eviction Exhibition a calamity.
I think the same expression might
well be applied to the distorted descrip-
tions by which several London papers
endeavour to make political capital
out of these wretched scenes. For
instance the “Daily Telegraph” today
states that Col. O’Callaghans’ tenants
(31) were evicted for the “non-payment of
£1250 or, at most, £1300…..of which
amount £900 had been offered by the
tenants in settlement….”, whereas
by the statement of their own



[page 2]

priest this £900 was to clear 57 tenants
of £2100.
He next states that the people believe
that if they prosecuted the constabulary
“the civilian would be convicted and
the police would get off scot-free.”
I believe have no doubt the result would be so,
but I av cannot help taking exception
to the veiled offensive hint at Irish majisterial
justice.
Again “But for the counsels of the priests and of Mr. Davitt
an armed resistance would have been offered
to the evictors.” What a chance of
dollar-snatching thrown away, and
after Mr. Davitt’s parting kick to moderation
too. If the tenants be prosecuted for
taking illegal possession “trouble will
almost certainly follow for the unfortunate


[page 3]

people have nowhere to go. They have paid
their rents up to September last, less the
reduction promised by the landlord, into
the Plan of Campaign, and some of them
have not a penny left.” This is as touching
as the widows’ mite, but really of what
use are tenants to a landlord who hold
farms from him and pay the rent to
someone else. The land “will gradually revert
to the bog and waste from which the
toil of the peasants had redeemed it.”
The greater part of this land was excellent
grazing, for which, when it was first
offered in lots to tenants over 50 years
ago, £2-7-6 per acre was willingly
bid. Then the “Pall Mall Gazette”
talks of tenants turned out home-
less, and receiving £15 a week out
door relief, though well aware
that they have one and all re-


 


[page 4]

taken possession forcibly, and
concludes a paragraph with the
pious hope that some day there
will be a bloody reckoning. Truly
we live in the golden age of journalism.
It is nearly up to the form of the “Freemans
Journal” which thus describes the valley of
Bodyke (called alternately a bog and
a green valley by the “Pall Mall Gazette”)
“Where every prospect pleases and only
man is vile.” And the tenants live there,
the landlord does not.
I am sir
Your obedient servant
An Clare Ma Irishman
June 16th


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Bodyke Evictions: Orators & Agitators