Bantry, August 17th, 1847
SIR– At 5 o’clock this morning, I perceived a formidable number of prisoners coming to town. On approaching the crowd, I distinguished a tottering old man, whose head was enveloped in a handkerchief, saturated with blood, handcuffed to two miserable men, just as miserable looking as himself. Three women were suffered to proceed without handcuffs. I enquired who these people were that looked so much like famine skeletons.
The reply was, they were tenants to minor Hutcheson, of Bantry, who is a Magistrate of this county. He went to distrain on the lands of Letterlicke, yesterday, when the prisoners objected to the removal of the cattle, alleging they were replevined, and were to be delivered up when the affair would be legally investigated. The landlord insisted on his claim to the property of these squalid tenants, and persevered in his determination to carry all things off the lands, when an unpleasant Landlord and Tenant meeting took place, all the then available war instruments were employed by the hostile parties, until the landlord considered it much more prudent to retire. He then proceeded to a Magistrate, and had the parties indicted and dragged from their homes in the manner I have described.
At present I shall not trouble you with any remarks, as the case is to come on next Thursday before the Bantry Bench of Magistrates. I would earnestly advise these miserable men and women whom I have seen this day on their way to prison, in a condition I could but inadequately describe, to employ a professional advocate. But their appearance this day almost convinces me they have not the means of doing so. The decision of the Bench in this case is anxiously looked for in this locality.