Letter From Elginfield.

ELGINFEILD, March 28, 1881.

To the Editor of the Irish Canadian.

SIR - I notice in the last number of your esteemed weekly some appropriate remarks in reference to the publication of sensational items in the London papers, from Biddulph and Lucan. I am in a position to know that there was no "desperate pugilistic encounter" between two men named Bawden and Feehely; neither were "their faces a mass of bruised and bloody flesh." I know also that there was no effort made by "Bob Donnelly to pick up a quarrel with James Carroll in a store in Lucan;" Neither was there any information lodged or arrest made. It is true that Donnelly did jostle against Carroll on the side-walk; and it is the opinion of spectators at the time that Donnelly's intention was that it should be resented; but to the credit of Carroll, he took no notice of it whatever.

For hundreds of years it has been customary for the Sons of St. Patrick to celebrate the day, wherever dispersed around the globe; and in some instances the celebration terminates not very credibility. But such cases are the exception, not the rule. It was upon the evening of the 17th that the altercation took place between Bawden and Feeheley, so graphically described in the London dailies; and I venture to say that many such scrimmages of a far more serious nature could be chronicled everyday throughout the Province amongst parties who can lay no claim to be votaries of Ireland's Patron Saint, or residents of Biddulph either.

But the London papers are always on the qui vive to pick up any sensational item which may have a tendency to injure Lucan and its vicinity. This has always been the case. Since the opening of the Grand Trunk Railway Lucan has been a thorn in the side of that city; and its Press loses no opportunity of blazoning forth the least item calculated to throw discredit upon our community. True, we have had a most fearful tragedy enacted in our midst; but is this any ground for argument that our community at large is not a peaceful and law-abiding one?

I challenge any person to name a crime that has been committed or any one molested outside the parties immediately implicated in this unfortunate quarrel; which has terminated so fearfully. Witness in days gone by the terrorism occasioned by the depredations of the celebrated Markham gang; by the notorious Townsend alias McHenry; and later on by the Young desperadoes in the Grand River country. The locality of these outlaws was the scene of burglary, incendiarism and murder. Mr. Nelles was shot down, and so was Deputy Sheriff Ritchie, in cold blood; and many other depredations I might mention, but this is enough for my purpose. Those days are gone by; but at the time of which I write the vicinity in which they were perpetrated became a by-word in the Province. Is that any reason I would ask, why the inhabitants of this self-same locality are not a respectable and law-abiding community, and life and property as well protected there as elsewhere at the present time?

So it is with Biddulph, and Lucan, its first born; but it is to the interest of certain parties to throw all the stigma in their power upon our Settlement, and mislead parties as to the state of affairs in our midst in order to deter them if possible from locating here. Life, limb and property are as secure today in Biddulph and Lucan as in any other corporation in the Dominion - in fact a good deal more so than in the environs of large cities. But I speak by the book when I say that at any time, no matter how intense the feeling of enmity was between the contending parties, strangers not meddling with or taking part with either faction were just as safe from personal harm or human molestation as ever Robinson Crusoe was on his lonely island.

I say, then, that it ill becomes a respectable press, from personal or pecuniary motives to cater morbid and sensational items to the gaping public, who gulp them down as gospel truth, and which leaves an ill-advised impression afloat that we are a people who it is only safe to take a peep at through the iron bars of a prison, or some other safe place of confinement.

Yours truly,


Source: Zulu, "Letter from Elginfield," Irish Canadian, March 28, 1881.

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