The Cold-Blooded Views of a Neighbor of the Donnellys.


Will there be Evidence Sufficient to Convict?

(By Our Own Reporter)

Lucan, Feb. 19. - "As a man lives he dies," said a gentleman to your reporter this evening, in reference to the sad end of the Donnellys. He had suffered, he added, at their hands to the extent of $2, 300, his barns and other outbuildings having been consumed by fire; and evidently he has not yet recovered from his loss. "A workman earns his wages, and they got their just dues. They burned and cut, and were cut and burned." These are terrible words to fall from the lips of a human being concerning so dreadful an event as the butchery of five persons, but nevertheless they were uttered, and by a man who understood and meant what he said.

"Don't put my name in the paper," he said "because if you do I'll get another torch before two months."

"They don't appear to have much sympathy," said the reporter.

The answer came in a bitter tone, "No, if you had lived here for the past five years as I have done you would know which side to sympathise with. The only friends the Donnellys have are a few persons who were in the ring with them, and who were always ready to swear them out of anything. I tell you candidly that


to this township, and I can find many more who will say the same thing."


They brought it on themselves and deserved their end, and I'm not afraid to say so. Though a Protestant, and the prisoners all Catholics, I can say that they are among the most decent and respectable men in the township. If the sun ever shone on a decent man, that man is Martin McLaughlin. I never saw Kennedy drunk, or heard him swear an oath, and never knew anything against him. The only man among them reported to be bad is Purtell, and I hear that he can bring Mr. McGrath and his two sons - as respectable and honest people as ever lived - to prove that he was not out of the house on the night of the murder."

Your reporter here interrupted the speaker with the question, "What do you think will become of the prisoners?"

"Every one of them will get off as sure as you're standing there," was the reply.


"Well, in the first place the boy Connor's evidence is no good. He has been stuffed, and will contradict himself on cross-examination. In the next place Bill Donnelly will swear too much. He is shrewd and cunning, and I'll wager that he has the whole story already arranged in his mind."

"Why, do you mean to say he'll perjure himself?"

"Yes, I do," replied the gentleman, "he'll swear to anything."

"Do you mean to say he has no principle or honour?"

"If you asked me if a dog had a soul I would take you for a lunatic," was the peculiar and suggestive answer.

Continuing his story, the speaker said: "It will be hard to get any one to swear against the prisoners, except the Donnellys. I never met an Irishman yet who would act as informer. If even an enemy of the men saw them committing the murder they'll not tell. Plenty of evidence of good chararcter can be produced in their favour." [...]

Source: Unknown, "The Biddulph Tragedy - The Cold-Blooded Views of a Neighbour of the Donnellys," Globe, February 20, 1880.

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