Cattle driven in lieu of rent at Frenchpark

16th December 1846

During the winter months of the Great Irish Famine, Lord De Freyne sanctioned "driving for rent" for the many tenants on his estate who had fallen into arrears. This harsh practice involved a bailiff driving a debtor's livestock off the land and selling it in lieu of rent. He had, the year previous, ordered his tenants not to dispose of their oats until they could see the exact extent of their losses and that he would not call upon them for rent until the calamity had been averted. This change of tack may somewhat explain why Frenchpark tenants burned an effigy of Lord de Freyne, outside his gate during the famine.




—lt will, we think, be generally admitted that landlords ought to manifest remarkable forbearance during this year of unparalleled distress. Now is the time the tenants require kindness and consideration; yet the landlords In many instances are more rigid and unbending, more determined to exact the last farthing than ever they were. The half barony of Coolavin is owned by a  landed proprietary who will not make reductions, but  who insist upon prompt and immediate payment of the rent. Mr. Andrew Baker of Redhill has processed some of his tenants for the November Gale. This is sharp practice; but Mr. Baker, although rich, is but amiddle man—a class who have never conferred any benefit upon the peasantry of Ireland. We are sorry to have to state that his example has been followed by no less personage than Lord De Freyne. — On Tuesday evening the pound of Tallaghan was filled with the cattle of the Frenchpark estate; all requests for time were met with the answer that the landlord should have his rent. What makes the case of the Frenchpark tenants peculiarly hard is, that they lately paid a quarter's rent with an understanding that the remainder would not demanded until the times would improve. Of course their disappointment is now correspondently great. It should be borne in mind that tenants, if forced by law to pay, have no way of doing but by bringing their grain into market—or, in other words, parting with the only provision they have for themselves and familes during the winter and summer. Is not this a  dreadful alternative? And, if possible, ought not the landlords to curtail their own luxuries, aye. and even comforts, sooner than force those under them to part with the provision they have against famine ? For our part, we will certainly publish whatever cases may come to our knowledge, similar to the ones we have just alluded to. in the hope that public opinion will be brought to bear opon those landlords who treat their tenants severely during the present period of famine, and that they will be induced by it  to act more humanely —Sligo Champion.

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