will be remembered that the operations of “the plan of campaign,” in which the League of agrarian agitators seeks to get possession of money wherewith tenants could pay their rents, so that they may withhold payment until the landlords grant fresh reductions, began at Woodford, in comity Galway. The tenants of Lord Clanricarde's estate there have been at war with his Lordship's agents and with the officers of the law since last August. under the direction of Mr. John Roche, president of the Woodford branch of the “National League.” They assembled tumultuoysly, upon several occasions in that month, to offer forcible resistance to the county sheriff, the bailiffs, and the police, coming legally to take possession of the tenements of defaulting tenants. At Drumcen, on Aug. 27, the house of Thomas Sounders was found to be strongly barricaded: the bailiffs ascended by scaling-ladders, and were assaulted by twenty or thirty men on the roof with showers of boiling water, lime, and stones, by which many were seriously hurt. The chapel bell of the village was rung, horns were blown, and the priest. Father Egan, was looking on at the fray. At the Connaught Winter Amuses, at Sligo, on Dec. 29, Chief Baron Palles, eleven of the rioters who defended Sounders Fort ss were tried; five were convicted of actual violence, and four of aiding by their presence. Twenty-five others were found guilty of similar offences committed at Hallynakilty and other places on Lord Clanricarde’s estate. The Judge gave sentence on Wednesday week, condemning five of the prisoners to eighteen months' imprisonment, twenty-six of them to twelve months' imprisonment, and ordering five to lie hound over to keep the peace for three years, or to go to jail for six months.

Left: Serving Summons at the Clanricarde Estate, Woodford Country, Galway. Middle: Mr. Whelan, Lord Clanricarde’s Bailiff, under Police Escort. Right: Police Leaving the Right Hon. Rowland Winn’s Castle, at Glenbeigh. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Chief Baron Palles further observed that on four different days the sheriff proceeded to Woodford to execute writs from the High Court of Justice, accompanied by 250 police and a large number of district inspectors, acting under the command of two county inspectors, two resident magistrates, and with 200 military. The sheriff and his bailiffs were assaulted in the discharge of their duty upon each occasion. During that time the Royal Irish Constabulary, standing there under the orders of the county inspectors, moved not. No order was given for one whole hour: the officers of the Queen were attempting to execute her Majesty's writ; there were breaches of the peace, in gross and open violation of the law. and in contempt of the authority of the Queen and her mandate to the sheriff, in the presence of the constabulary forces, who did nothing. At the conclusion of that period, orders were given them by the resident magistrate, and then they performed their duties with promptitude and courage, but with remarkable patience and forbearance; for of the many thousands who formed the riotous mobs, there was no injury suffered by any. In the observations he now made, he excluded all reference to the military, for their officers were bound to wait for the command of the civil authority. He refrained from referring to the subordinate officers, the district inspectors, the sergeants and the men of the constabulary, for they were bound to wait for the orders of the county inspector. His observations pointed to the two county inspectors, and the two resident magistrates, provided they were acting upon their own responsibility. He took leave to sav that in point of law no illegal order or an unconstitutional order given by an officer (he cared not bow high be lie). Inspector-Goneral, or, to go higher. Under-Socretary or Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, could justify any man in the violation of the law. He was bound to say that if an indictment were at trial before him now against these two county inspectors and these two resident magistrates—however he might have been satisfied that they were actuated by the best motives—he could not have withdrawn the evidence from the jury. They had been guilry of an indictable offence, in his opinion, upon the admitted facts, and he hoped that this matter would have the consideration it deserved from persons in high authority; the execution of decrees of the judiciary did not depend, in any civilised country, upon the will of the executive who for the moment might happen to be in office. In the execution of their writs they could allow to enter no question of party politics. If the law be wrong, let that law be altered by the Legislature, and the Judges were bound to bow at once and carry out the altered law, but the Judge could not look beyond the law.

Left: House of an Evicted Tenant, Fortified by the Police. Right: Police Leaving the Right Hon. Rowland Winn’s Castle, at Glenbeigh.

Scene at an Irish Eviction in County Kerry..

Our Special Artist in Galway furnishes sketches of different scenes in the neighbourhood of Woodford; the serving of summonses; the police escort taking care of Mr. Whelan, the only remaining bailiff on the estate of the Marquis of Clanricarde; a view of “Saunders' Fort," with the “Emergency men." sent to Galway by the Property Defence Association, issuing forth, under guard of the Police to cut trees for fuel; and the house of an evicted tenant. Pat Conroy, fortified and occupied as a station of the Royal Irish Constabulary. From the same Artist, lately in County Kerry, we received the sketch of a scene, already mentioned, at an eviction there: the incident of the old man leaving his home with his little grandchild.

Left: Emergency Men, with Police Guard, Starting in Seach of Fuel: Saunder’s Fort in the Background. Right: Felling Trees for Fuel.

General Sir Redvers Ruller, who held command of all the police in Kerry and Clare, with the authority of divisional magistrate, during three months preceding December, wan called as a witness in the Dublin Police Court, along with Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, on Friday (yesterday) week by the defendants under Government proseeution. Messrs. John Dillon, M.P., W. O’Brien, M.P., Matthew Harris, M.P., Redmond. M.P., and Sheehy. The object in calling them was to prove that the Government officials had thought fit to put some pressure on certain landlords to make abatements of rent, which might serve as an argument that the "plan of campaign" could not be an unlawful conspiracy. Neither the Chief Secretary, however, nor General Duller, could be got to make any important admissions. The defendants are committed for trial.


Illustrated London News 35 (15 January 1887): 64. Hathi Trust online version of a copy of the Illustrated London News in the University of Chicago Library. Web. 25 June 2021.

Last modified 26 June 2021