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Charles Boycott
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Farmer
    (March 12, 1832-June 19, 1897)
    Born in Burgh St. Peter, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
    Former soldier
    Farmer and land agent for Lord Erne in County Mayo, Ireland
    Collected rents from tenant farmers
    Refused to allow a 25% rent reduction during a poor harvest (September, 1880)
    Attempted to have 11 tenant farmers evicted
    Became target of an ostracism campaign proposed by Charles Stewart Parnell against land agents who refused to accept rents fixed by the tenants
    Returned to England (December 1, 1880)
    He was discharged from the Royal Military Academy after flunking an exam.
    His family then bought him a commission in the 39th Foot Regiment for £450.
    Even before the boycott, the tenant farmers complained about his petty restrictions (such as not letting their hens wander onto his property) and his fines for violating them.
    His farm laborers had gone on strike in a wage dispute a month earlier, so they probably did not need much persuading to walk out during the boycott.
    A group of 50 Protestant volunteers, guarded by 1,000 men of the Royal Irish Constabulary, were eventually brought in to harvest his crops.
    It was estimated that the British government spent £10,000 to harvest £500 worth of crops.
    In addition to his servants and the estate laborers walking out, the village blacksmith, laundress and postman stopped serving him.
    When his nephew volunteered to pick up his mail, he was threatened if he continued to act as a messenger.
    Local shopkeepers stopped selling to him and he had to have provisions brought in from another town by boat.
    He noted, 'My farm is public property; the people wander over it with impunity. My crops are trampled upon, carried away in quantities, and destroyed wholesale. The locks on my gates are smashed, the gates thrown open, the walls thrown down, and the stock driven out on the roads.'
    He estimated that he lost £6,000 that he had invested in the estate.
    Despite the incident, he held no grudge, and frequently returned to Ireland for vacation.
    His name got immortalized in the dictionary.

Credit: C. Fishel


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