Galway -  Henry Persse Tells His Troubles to London Society

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File contributed by:  C.J.L.

Claims for Himself the Distinction of Being "the Most
Persecuted Man in Ireland" - Says He Risks His Life by
Speaking Out, but is Tired of Living. Clash with the Land

London, Feb. 29 - Henry PERSSE, a farmer and justice of the
peace of Woodville, County Galway, Ireland, in emulation of
Lord Ashtown's record as a victim of nationalist outrages,
has been thrilling fashionable audiences in tory drawing
rooms with a tale of his alleged sufferings. He calls
himself the "most persecuted man in Ireland," and describes
in detail a system of boycott and persecution by the Irish
Land League, with which he has been in conflict.

Government Attacks Story

The result of an investigation made by the police was
reported in the House of Commons this week by the attorney
general for Ireland, who stated that the sole ground for
this conspicuous example of terrorist methods and story of
midnight attacks was a stone thrown through a fanlight in
Woodville House and a great deal of subsequent shooting on
the part of Persse and his servants.

Though the truth of Persse's story is thus attacked and his
posing as a martyr has caused laughter in many quarters, the
fact remains that the case has aroused much interest. Mr.
PERSSE is a son of Dudley PERSSE, J.P., D.L., of Roxborough,
near Loughrea, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin,
after which he served in the Indian police. Coming into a
legacy, he returned to Ireland, and his troubles began.
After a recent talk in the drawing room of the Duchess of
St. Alban's, he made public a summary of his story. Among
other things he says:

Life Always in Peril.

"I am the most persecuted man in Ireland. I am speaking
publicly now at the risk of my life, but I am so tired of my
life that I may as well be shot as continue to live as I
have done recently.

"Three years ago I took on a long lease a farm in County
Galway, a farming and residential property, and put into it
most of my little fortune. To-day the league prevents me
from farming it. I cannot live there in safety. I have to
pay a large rent and heavy taxes. I am being ruined.

"Before I took possession I was well known and popular in
the district, in which I have spent most of my life. My
family has lived there since the year 1609. Not a word of
warning was given to me, but as soon as I signed the
agreement trouble began.

Guarded By Police.

"My labourers told me they had been called before the local
branch of the league and forbidden to work for me; tradesmen
were forbidden to sell to me, and nobody dared buy the
produce of my farm. My life was threatened. My place is
guarded by the police, and while there I am watched by three
other policemen, especially detailed to protect me
personally. They follow me everywhere the moment I step
outside of my own door. In a word, I am boycotted by
neighbors to whom I have given no offense, at the order of
the league, which has no cause of complaint whatever against
me. There has never been an eviction on my farm, and I took
it on the death of the former occupier.

Won't Sell Him Food.

"I receive all my supplies by parcels post or by train. The
man I send to fetch them has to be accompanied by an escort
of police. The men I send to work in my fields must also be
escorted by armed policemen.

"A man bought timber from me last year, but a day or two
afterward wrote declining to accept delivery. He had been
intimidated. From another man I bought fuel. His house was
fired into because he had sold to me. When I was about to
begin mowing, my fields were planted with iron spikes,
hundreds of them, which prevented the use of a mowing
machine. A grave was dug, provided with a headstone, and
decorated with flowers.

"I was awakened in the middle of one night by the noise of a
great crowd below. They were driving off my cattle. As I
opened the door they surged past, sweeping the cattle with
them. Though they had three encounters with police, they
succeeded in carrying off eleven out of fifty head. That
crowd was under almost military direction. I heard the
regular words of command given.

Waiting for a Bullet

"In the first year I sublet some small lots of my land. The
holders were thereupon summoned before the local branch of
the league and formerly tried, as though by a properly
constituted court of law. They were ordered to give up their
holdings and apologize. They did so. The proceedings were
reported and the letters of apology printed in full in the
local papers.

"Three policemen have stringent orders not to let me out of
their sight. Policemen are stationed at the lodge and patrol
around the house all night. We sit alone at night these
winter evenings, my wife and I, in a large, still room of
that country house, silent and anxious, not knowing at what
moment a bullet may come crashing through the windows. So
far they have done nothing more than fling a stone. I keep
in my bed room two loaded revolvers and a loaded rifle.

"The motive of those who instigate these outrages is simply
that they want the land themselves. Till they get it, it
shall be boycotted. It shall be made so useless that nobody
will take it, and after a certain time the holder will
consent to sell to the land commissioners.

"What chills us to the marrow of our bones is the practical
repeal of the peace preservation act. Revolvers and arms are
being sold all over the country. But Mr. BIRRELL says the
country is peaceable. At the next rising it will be found
that the people all have weapons. I have come to England to
bring these facts before the public and to arouse sympathy
with those who are suffering like myself. If I cannot
succeed, I may as well die."