Tenant League

Tenant League, popular name for the Tenant Union of Prince Edward Island, a militant agrarian movement fd 19 May 1864 in Charlottetown, PEI.

Tenant League

Tenant League, popular name for the Tenant Union of Prince Edward Island, a militant agrarian movement fd 19 May 1864 in Charlottetown, PEI. The organization opposed payment of rent by tenant farmers and advocated sale of lands by estate owners to the farmers in actual occupation (see LAND QUESTION, PEI). Members who were tenants were pledged to pay no further rent, and all members were expected to support tenants who refused payment, even in open defiance of law officers. Crowds of members and supporters numbering as many as 200, alerted by the blowing of tin trumpets, would surround and harass a sheriff and his assistants, with the result that by mid-1865 the authorities found it impossible to enforce the law between landlord and tenant by ordinary means, particularly in Queens County. The Conservative government of James Colledge POPE summoned troops from Halifax in August, and in the autumn used them to assist the sheriff in 2 lengthy forays into the countryside. The tenant organization seemed to collapse in the face of this pressure, and by mid-1866 it was apparently defunct. Nonetheless, pro-Tenant Union sentiment remained alive, and several Liberals openly sympathetic to the movement were elected to the legislature in 1866 and 1867. The disorders of 1865 marked a crucial turning point in undermining the leasehold system of land tenure in PEI, and the use of troops against the tenantry was a major factor in the defeat of the Conservative government on 26 Feb 1867.