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The Walton Collection

Land League Poster 1881- "To the People of Ireland - Pay No Rent" Signed by Patrick Egan

Land League Poster 1881- "To the People of Ireland - Pay No Rent" Signed by Patrick Egan

To The People of Ireland: Pay No Rent

A very rare Land League poster, from October 1881, issued over the name of Patrick Egan (Treasurer), urging tenant-farmers to 'Pay No Rent. Avoid the Land Court. Hold the Harvest'. The 'No Rent' campaign was launched under the direction of the Ladies' Land League, after the arrest of Parnell and other leaders; Patrick Egan's name was used as he was safely in exile in Paris. Alarmed by the campaign, Parnell negotiated the 'Kilmainham Agreement' with the British Government, and on his release took steps to stand down the militant ladies, including his sister Anna Parnell.

Partick Egan's life was quite remarkable. He was born in Ballymahon, County Longford. His family later moved to Dublin, and at the age of fourteen, he entered the office of an extensive grain and milling firm, the North City Milling Company. Before he was twenty, he had been promoted to the post of chief bookkeeper. Later, he was elected managing director of the firm, as a stock company, it being the most extensive one in Ireland. He was, at the same time, senior partner in the most extensive bakery establishment in the county. He had been an industrious learner before going into business, and took evening classes from various instructors, particularly a brilliant young Episcopal minister named Porte.

Egan became involved with the Irish Republican Brotherhood soon after its establishment. In 1873, he was treasurer of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and with the IRB's support, participated in the establishment of the Home Rule League with fellow IRB Supreme Council members John O'Connor Power, Joseph Biggar and John Barry. In 1877, he and others, including Power, Biggar and Barry, resigned from the Brotherhood over the condemnation by its leaders of the use of politics within a revolutionary organisation.

At its foundation in 1879, Egan was elected treasurer of the Irish Land League. He was a close associate of Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell. At the end of 1880, he, with twelve others, including Parnell, Dillon, Bigger, Sexton, Sullivan, Sheridan, and Matt Harris, were singled out by the government for prosecution for alleged conspiracy. After a costly trial of sixteen days, the jury convicted two and acquitted ten. The government did not dare arraign them again, but brought in a bill to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and to permit the arrest of any one "obnoxious" to the government, intending to proscribe all members of the League.


Following the arrest of Parnell, Egan signed the No Rent Manifesto of 18 October 1881, in his function as treasurer of the Land League. That led to the proscription of the League by the British government. Egan had fled to Paris with the organisation's funds in order to prevent their confiscation by the authorities. He remained in Paris from February 1881 to the end of 1882.Learning that the government was conspiring to arrest him and colleagues, and make him the victim of a show trial, he quietly fled to the Netherlands, and later to the United States, settling in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he continued to work strenuously for the Irish Land League and Irish home rule. In 1881, he was elected president of the National Executive Committee of the Irish National League of America, at its convention in Boston.

Egan was instrumental in exposing the Piggott letter forgeries from which The Times falsely implicated Parnell as supporting the of supporting the brutal murders in May 1882 of the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, in Dublin's Phoenix Park . Egan gave an interview to The New York Times in October 1888, predicting that the case against Parnell being prosecuted in The Times of London would be demolished (which it was):
"Nothing new has developed yet to talk about. What has been said so far is simply a rehash of charges, without proof, that has been made for the last five years. But wait until the evidence for Parnell is produced. The whole Times' case will be exploded and indisputable evidence produced which will show Parnell guiltless and the true character of the allegations against him. You may expect some sensational testimony ... I have no doubt of the complete vindication of Parnell and all his associates and this will greatly injure the government".

Parnell successfully sued and won against the Times who ultimately settled with damages for the enormous sum of £5000 (in excess of €500,000 in today's money). Egan subsequently became involved in American politics and was a minor power in the Republican Party, until he became a supporter of William Jennings Bryan and the Democratic Party in 1896. Egan supported John Redmond and the Irish Volunteers in his final years. In an interview with the New York Times, following the executions of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, he declared:
"Ninety-eight per cent of all Irishmen were not in sympathy with the revolt, and England had nothing to gain by shooting people after it is over ... If anyone were shot it should have been John Devoy who hatched the whole nefarious scheme here in New York and was personally responsible for it."

Beautifully reproduced on 260 gsm art aper and true to the original poster, the poster is set behind glass on pine green mottled suede mountboard in an antique style Gold leaf wooden frame. It is a wonderful item for anyone interested in the Irish History and the story behind it.

Regular price €395,00 EUR
Regular price €395,00 EUR Sale price €395,00 EUR
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All prints and frames are Made in Ireland. Price includes VAT.

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