The Struggle for Freedom [Oct, 1888]
The battering-ram has been idle on the Vandeleur estates because the police and military have been on duty for the Marquis Clanricarde at Woodford during September. The Woodford men and women have shown good fight and in more than one instance the defense fully equaled in determination and gallantry that made by the Somers household at Coolroe. At Tully's house emergency-men, battering-ram, police with naked swords and gleaming bayonets, were hours before effecting an entrance. The garrison, fifteen in number, two of them women, were all more or less seriously wounded. Tully himself had to be carried out, having received severe internal injuries from the butt ends of muskets. He states that but for the intervention of the inspector, the police would have finished him as he lay on the ground. His sister had her teeth smashed in by a gallant "peeler" because she objected to his maltreating a calf.
Another of the Woodford homes was defended by a Mrs. Page, her three daughters and a boy of fourteen. It was declared by an officer present, experienced in such matters, to be the pluckiest defense he had ever witnessed. Here, also, the police distinguished themselves. One (we recommend him to Balfour for promotion) who received a dash of cold water when forcing his way in after a breach had been made, knocked down Mrs. Page, half strangled her and bit her arm severely.
To Balfour's death-list has been added the name of John Fahy, a young man in delicate health. whose parents had vainly prayed the Clanricarde agent for a delay in their eviction on account of his precarious condition. The shock of being carried from his sick-bed to be propped up against an outside wall while the work of devastation was carried out proved the finishing-stroke. A coroner's inquiry was refused by the authorities, but the verdict "Dead by the visitation of the landlord" is recorded all the same.
Lansdowne has cleared another hundred acres of land; Leader of Curras has turned out five families, while Sir Richard Wallace has only had courage to evict an old man of 70 and his daughter.
The island of Achill is preyed upon by a land-thief named "Pike" and a Protestant body calling itself the "Achill Mission." Between the two the islanders are reduced to actual starvation and have been for the past two months existing on scanty subscriptions raised by their priest.
Col. O'Callaghan, who learned a lesson at Bodyke, has come to terms with his other tenants on the Miltown and Fortane estate. One year's rent and £7,632 have been wiped out thanks to the Plan of Campaign, that "unmitigated curse" to the peasants of Ireland.
The first anniversary of the Mitchelstown massacre did not pass unobserved, Sept. 19. The police at an early hour took possession of the fatal square and tore away the black flags which had been placed over the spots where Shinnick, Casey and Lonergan fell, but the people assembled in crowds around the groves of Casey and John Mandeville, who lie buried not far from Mitchelstown, to listen to stirring speeches and renew their vows of allegiance to the cause of liberty. The disappointed police attacked them in the prescribed brutal fashion as they retired quietly to their homes.
More revelations as to the heavy bribes given to the black-coated gentry who rule the roost in Ireland appeared in the "little bill" sent in to the Cork Corporation by Inspector Hayes. The items included increased pay to various policemen who had given evidence in the prosecution of Alderman Hooper. The Mayor declined to pay and begged to inform Mr. Balfour that he considered the demand insolent, and the imprisonment of Alderman Hooper a gross infringement of public liberty.
Balfour's police-nets made a haul of 67 during September. But of these 6 have been discharged. the Removables finding "No Rule," i.e., Balfour had forgotten to provide for their offenses in his Crimes Bill; 36 have been remanded, and 2 fined. The remaining 23 have gone to jail: for intimidation, 4; taking repossession, 2; knocking down an emergency-man, 1 (3 months); boycotting police, 1; for declaring he "would shout as long as God gave him lungs," 1; defending Somers' home at Coolroe, 11 (1 to 10 months' bard labor; 7 to 6 months'; 2, 4 months'; 1, 3 months); for crying out "Bravo boys!" to the aforesaid, W. K. Redmond, M.P., 3 months (refused to appeal); conspiring against a landlord, J. Redmond, M.P. (admitted to bail); publishing reports of suppressed League, Edward Walsh. of Wexford People, 3 months (granted time to undergo serious operation to his eyes); attending meeting of suppressed League. Father Kennedy (2 months; rearrested after failure of his appeal in Exchequer Court).
John Dillon. Alex. Blane and Mr. Halpin have been released before completion of their sentences, The reports of their health have been very unsatisfactory and Balfour no doubt thought it best to avoid more cases of "Mandevilling " for the present.
The three Miltown-Malbay shopmen having done four of their six months in Limerick Jail, have been offered immediate release if they would sign a pledge to abstain from future boycotting of land-thieves, but have declined the tempting bait.
Constable Cooper in the Cork police court produced a prisoner just turned fire, one of "a disorderly crowd " who had called his constableship "Balfour's bloodhound." Case refused a hearing.
IRISH PLUCK-A Wexford boy who has just done his six months in jail, and is very likely going to do another term, on being interviewed by Canon Doyle as to how he got on in jail replied, "Begor, your riverence, it's right fun to be smiling across at a fellow you know when you were going round the ring." "And what did you when you were locked up in solitary confinement? Begor, Canon, I was laughing to myself and passing resolutions."