THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Dervock tenant-rights meeting agrees petition to Parliament

From the News Letter, March 26, 1850

Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:53 am
The famed Dervock preacher, sheepbreeder and storyteller the Reverend Robert John McIlmoyle with one of his 'flocks'. His other 'flock' was his congregation at Knockavallen. He was for a long time minister at the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Knockavallen

On this day in 1850 the News Letter reported that a large and influential meeting of tenant farmers of Dervock and the surrounding neighbourhood had been held at Cairncullagh Meeting-house.

The chair of the meeting was taken by Mr Robert Wilson, Esq, RN. They met, according to the paper’s correspondent, for the purpose of “adopting a petition to Parliament praying for the legalisation of tenant-right”.

The first resolution presented to the meeting was made by Mr James Moore and seconded by the Rev John Simpson. It, according to the News Letter report, “was condemnatory of the system of legislation pursued towards this country”.

Meanwhile, the Rev Joseph Bellis moved a further resolution before the meeting and it was seconded by the Rev J B Rentoul, and adopted.

The resolution read as follows: “That, from the general blight of the potato, and the partial failure of other crops, the low prices of agricultural produce, which the operation Free-trade must render permanent, and the pressure of county rates, poor rates, and rates in aid, this meeting sees no means by which the farmer can be saved from unavoidable poverty and ruin, in which his landlord must, also, be involved, but an immediate reduction of rent corresponding to the current market prices.”

The News Letter’s report concluded: “A petition to Parliament, founded on the foregoing resolutions, was adopted, and thanks having been given to the chairman, the meeting separated.”