The Landlord's Friend by Mary Leadbeater
The Landlord's Friend is a pamphlet published in 1813 by Irish Quaker Mary Leadbeater for the instruction and education of the brutal Anglo-Irish landlords. It is a fascinating glimpse into the Ireland of the years between the 1798 Rising and the Great Hunger. More
Mary Leadbeater was the postmistress of Ballitore in Kildare, a prolific pamphleteer and journal-keeper, a birthright Quaker, and a woman who lived in one of the first intentional communities of modern times - the 1,000 Quakers of Ballitore - and in cordial relations with both the Anglo-Irish landlord class and their ground-down tenantry.
She was also a woman with a killing ear for dialogue, and her pamphlet is by turn hilarious, heartrending and fascinating, as she shows landlords discussing schemes for improvement (getting their tenants to buy bedsteads, books and spinning-wheels on the never-never), and tenants dreamily describing the joy of sitting spinning in their garden arbour while the bees work among the flowers they have planted.
Reading The Landlord's Friend is like taking a time machine to the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, a fascinating visit to another world.