The 1887 letters  9-3-07

The 1887 letters from both Captain Hugh McTiernan of Mount Allen, Mountallen townland, Kilronan parish, Barony of Boyle, Co Roscommon, [PO is Drumshambo, Co Leitrim] [ Photo of Mount Allen ] and Heapstown, Co Sligo and his baliff, James [Mc]Tiernan of Heapstown, Co Sligo.   Remember also that the Editor / Owner of the Sligo Champion was PA McHugh a rival of Captain McTiernan in the political arena. Also, at the time Bernard McTiernan, the Champion of Sligo was the sub editor.


To The Editor Of The Sligo Champion


Enniskillen, 10th February, 1886.

Dear Sir

I understand James Tiernan has stated in the columns of your paper that he resigned my bailiffship. I think it is only right to say that I removed him from that position long before he took it into his head to announce his resignation.

He also signed himself as "James M'Tiernan". I care little what he called himself, but the man should not be ashamed of his own name, which is Tiernan. It is thirty years ago since I saw "Thomas Tiernan" on the show board of his uncle, who was a publican and blacksmith at Geevagh, and the work of my bailiff was not of a very disagreeable kind, as up to the present I have never evicted a tenant.

I am, dear sir,

Yours faithfully,

H. MacTernan.

Cutting # 2 -


To The Editor Of The Sligo Champion


Heapstown, 16th February, 1886.


I see in your issue of Saturday last a letter from Captain MacTernan, in which he states that he removed me from the position of bailiff long before I took it into my own head to resign and complains of my audacity in signing myself James M'Tiernan, and further, that the duties that I had been called upon to perform were in no way disagreeable, inasmuch as that he never up to the present evicted a tenant. With your kind permission, I will deal with the foregoing statements as briefly as possible, and at the same time to endeavour put before your readers my version of the facts in a somewhat more reliable and truthworthy fashion than it is usual for the Captain to do.

I commenced to act as steward and bailiff for the Captains' father (James MacTernan) in 1852, and continued to act in such capacity up to the 17th of December last, when I signified to the tenantry on the Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon properties my intention of resigning rather than become the detestable instrument, which I had good reason to understand the Captain was about to make of me. On the 12th of December last the tenants on the Sweetwood, Killabuggy, Boleymaguire and Glackane properties waited on the Captain at Drumkeeran with the view of arriving at a settlement in respect of rent; I was there also that same day.

The tenants were willing to pay rent on that occasion, had they been offered any reasonable abatement in their rents, but, with part of the tenants as is usual with the Captain, he fumed and swore and stigmatised the idea of soliciting an abatement as disgraceful and malicious. He cannot deny that I urged on him the idea of appeasing the tenants by tendering an abatement, and that his reply to me was that he should apply to the Government for such a force of military and police to protect me in evicting them, and terrorise them into paying their rents, adding that now was the time for landlords to crush any combination which attempted to curtail their rental.

I even ventured to persuade the Captain to leave the matter to the priests to settle, but his reminder was that no landlord leaves anything now-a-days to the clergy to settle but a fool. Believing then that the Captain was fully determined on carrying out his wretched intentions, and that I was to be utilized as his mischievous tool, I resigned, and I am now convinced that it has been through my resignation some of his tenants have since received some slight concession in the form of abatements.

In order to show that my resignation was genuine, on the 3rd of January last I applied to the committee of the Ballyrush Branch of the National League to be admitted a member, and was accordingly enrolled. On the 13th of January, or ten days after joining the League, I received a letter from Captain MacTernan asking whether it was a fact that I had resigned and had joined the I.N.League, and if so to inform him by return of post, as he could not communicate with me on business matters, pending my admission or denial of such, to which I replied that it was a fact.

I had resigned bailiffship and joined the League. In a few days after I was favoured with another communication from the Captain asking what did I mean or whether I was an outrageous man or a fool?

As to my duty being not of a disagreeable character, I deny to believe so myself; and cares not much now what the captains' belief may be. It was indeed, I must confess, disagreeable to me to be obliged, as I often did heretofore, attend sessions; and no farther backward than October last I was obliged to attend Manorhamilton and Ballinmore sessions as the representative of Captain MacTernan to prove debts due out of the holdings of poor tenants amounting to one years' rent, for all of which decrees were obtained.

That was disagreeable, but more disagreeable still I was prohibited by the captain from making any settlement with them, but to let the law take its course.

With regard to the statement that he never evicted any tenants perhaps his memory is somewhat defective on that point; though his memory seems fresh about my uncle's show-board at Geevagh 30 years ago.

I wonder can he mind at whose instance the following tenants were evicted a few years ago - M Deignan, and William Cavanagh on the Lyonstown (sp? - smudged copy) property; Thomas Kelly, James Harkan, William Fallon, Thos Fallon, Patrick M'Hugh and James M'Hugh threatened evictions - but this last the people of Kilenumary defeated the sheriff, police and I - on the Killabuggy property; John M'Partland on the Sweetwood property.

In conclusion I wish it to be understood that the extent of my offending is that I refused any longer to be of service to Captain MacTernan as bailiff, and thus I am to be visited with all the vengeance he can wreak on me; but I will have the public to judge between us .

I remain sir,

your obediant servant,

James M'Tiernan


Michael McTiernan

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