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The Framework of Home Rule

Erskine Childers

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t of that vast exodus which in the last half of the nineteenth century drained Ireland of nearly four million souls. The famine passed, and with it all recollection of the report of the Devon Commission. Hitherto most of the land legislation had been designed to facilitate evictions. Now came the Encumbered Estates Act of 1849, whose purpose was to facilitate the buying out of bankrupt Irish landlords, and whose effect was to perpetuate the old agrarian system under a new set of more mercenary landlords, pursuing the old policy of rack-rents and evictions. In the three years 1849-1852, 58,423 families were evicted, or 306,120 souls. Aroused from the stupor of the famine, the peasants had to retaliate with the same old defensive policy of outrage. Peaceful agitation was of no use. The Tenant League of North and South, formed in 1852, claimed in vain the simplest of the rights granted under pressure of violence in 1870 and 1881.

Violence, indeed, was the only effi. . . Read More