Movements for reform 1870-1914 chapter 1 landlords and tenants




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The IRB


1871 Gladstone released the rest of the Fenians (exiled for rest of sentence)

New constitution. Charles Kickham was first president of the Supreme Council. He was opposed to cooperation with HR. Another Fenian, Joseph Biggar was for HR as was most ordinary Fenians.



The Irish Abroad


Blamed British for Famine and supported exiled Fenian, John Devoy and Clan na Gael. Money.
The Home Rule League 1873.

1872 Secret Ballot Act and rejection by hierarchy of Gladstone’s education reforms provided the opportunity to turn the Home Gov Ass into a political party.

Aims:


  • Home Rule

  • Land Reform

  • Aid for Catholic schools

1874 general election 59 elected. Very good but many were unhappy former Liberal MPs and they were not committed to HR

4.2 Butt’s Leadership of the Home Rule Party

The HR party adopted a policy of independent opposition (balance of power)

However 1874-1880 Disraeli in power with overall majority and he was concerned with empire.

Butt’s weaknesses


  • Careless with money so often working when should be in parliament

  • Charming and well spoken but his own MPs often voted against him

  • Did not have a united movement.

  • No ruthless political skill. Too gentlemanly



Obstruction.

Had been used before but Joseph Biggar used it for all bills.

Butt and most Irish MPs feared it would damage goodwill.

1875 29 year old MP for Meath joined obstructionists.

About 20 MPs ‘parnellites’ supported obstruction and the rest were for Butt’s approach.
Parnell and the Fenians.

Why did Parnell court the Fenians?

Obstruction made him popular in Ireland and with the Fenians.

Spoke in parliament about the ‘Manchester Martyrs’

Worked to free Davitt (15 years)

Never got too close for fear of offending the Catholic Church.


1879 Butt died and William Shaw (not a parnellite) took over


4.3 Parnell, The Land League, and the Leadership of Home Rule

The New Departure.


Davitt ( a fenian) went to USA, met Devoy and worked out ‘a new departure’ for the Fenians (to work with Parnell). Kickham and the Supreme council were against it but that didn’t stop them.
The Land Movement begins.

‘The long depression,’ worldwide, mid 1870s to late 90s.low prices.

1879 Davitt went home to Mayo. Wettest year of century. Even prosperous farmers facing eviction. Poor faced starvation also.

At Irishtown, Mayo Fenians used a demonstration to get a landlord (priest) to reduce rents.

Rally in Westport. Parnell came knowing support from farmers would boost his chances against Shaw. After the meeting Davitt founded the Land League of Mayo.

Later in the year the Irish National Land League was set up with Parnell as President but controlled by Davitt and the Fenians.

Aims:

Methods: Agitation in Ireland and pressure in parliament and money from America



1880 General Election


Gladstone back in office. Parnellites got leadership of the HR party.

4.4 Parnell’s Land League Campaign

Fear of eviction helped spread Land League.

1880 Parnell persuaded Gladstone to help farmers. Gladstone set up the Bessborough Commission to assess his 1870 Act.

Parnell wanted pressure exerted at home but secret societies were frightening off support so he gave tenants other ways:



  • Parnell, Davitt and other league leaders addressed mass meetings

  • Boycott (Orangemen) brought publicity to Ireland’s problems in Britain and liberal pressure on Gladstone.


4.5 Parnell and Gladstone

Gladstone alarmed at power of Land League. Adopted ‘carrot and stick’ approach.



Carrot: Bessborough Commission suggested 3f s made law.

1881 Land Act:



  • A Land Court to set fair rent, set for 15 years.

  • Once paid no eviction

  • Land purchase scheme

Problems:

  • Leaseholders and tenants in arrears excluded (big percentage)

  • 15 years too long when prices fell

  • Only a few could avail of land purchase


Stick: Coercion. The Protection of Person and Property Bill

  • Internment for organising a Boycott

Caused Parnell and Co. to obstruct to such an extent that the rules of the house were change to prevent obstruction.

Coercion backfired. There was no control when League leaders were arrested and violence increased. Davit, out on ‘ticket of leave’ jailed.


Parnell’s dilemma over 1881 Land Bill

For:

Big farmers (land purchase)

Church and businessmen who wanted peace.

Most Home Rule MPs



Against:

Poor farmers

Fenians

Leaders of Land League

Some MPs
Parnell did not show his hand but urged his HR MPs to abstain from the vote, but to point out the weaknesses.

When the Bill was passed he made speeches attacking Gladstone who ordered his arrest.

In Kilmainham, with other Land League leaders, he signed the ‘No Rent Manifesto’ urging tenants to pay no rent until they were release. Gladstone banned the Land League. Now he could blame the collapse of the Land League, not on the split, but on the Government. He was the martyr.

The Ladies Land League


Founded by Anna and Fanny Parnell (sisters) in 1881.

Encouraged by Davitt but frowned on by Parnell (women not taken seriously at the time)

With the Land League banned, the ladies kept up resistance to evictions and collected money for the families of prisoners and evicted tenants. Some were jailed.

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