Letter from Biddulph.

BIDDULPH, April 13th, 1881.

To the Editor of the Irish Canadian.

SIR - My attention has been called to a letter in your issue of 31st ult., dated March 28th, signed "Zulu." The writer of that letter, while apparently seeking to vindicate this community, makes some statements which are extremely damaging to the people. I think I can detect in such statements the cloven foot of an enemy of the much-maligned people of this place. The writer of the letter need not imagine that he can palm himself on the Catholic people of Biddulph as a friend because he makes some seemingly exculpatory statements regarding the unfair action of the press of London towards the people of Biddulph; while he makes other statements damaging to their character, which statements he knows to be false.

Referring to the tragedy he says: - "I challenge anyone to name a crime that has been committed, or any person molested, outside the parties immediately implicated in this unfortunate quarrel, which has terminated so fear fully. * * * 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 was Robinson Crusoe on his lonely island." Here the reader is maliciously informed that there are two contending factions in Biddulph, or at least that such factions existed there prior to the tragedy; that the most intense enmity existed between such factions, who have been continually quarreling with each other, and that their quarrels have culminated in the fearful Donnelly tragedy; and above all that the ex-prisoners are among those immediately implicated in the unfortunate quarrel which he says terminated so fearfully in the terrible slaughter of a number of the Donnelly family on the memorable fourth of February, 1880.

Now, sir, all this is a malicious lie; and I challenge truthful contradiction of what I say. And here is what I have to say in the subject:

There never were two factions or contending parties in Biddulph in the odious sense that such factions are known to exist anywhere. Therefore there is not or never was any standing quarrels between any two classes of the community; and by consequence, the Donnelly tragedy was not (as your correspondent says) the result of any quarrel whatsoever. It should be terrible and hateful feud indeed that would end so fearfully as your correspondent says our imaginary feuds have ended. Our friend might learn from the London Free Press the reason why the Donnelly tragedy had been enacted in Biddulph if he does not know it himself. But he knows how to play the role of a calumniator under the guise of friendship; but we are not so obtuse as not to be able to detect such double dealing.

The reporters of the Advertiser and the Free Press newspapers have repeatedly stated in the most unblushing manner that contending factions always existed in Biddulph, having their quarrels and bickerings, which, they allege were imported from Ireland. Your present correspondent has sent numerous communications to these journals confuting the falsehoods of their respective reporters; but in no instance would they publish any refutation of the falsehoods of their veracious reporters. They sent them out to Biddulph with a commission to draw as extensively as they might see fit upon the resources of the father of lies for slanders against a certain portion of the people of Biddulph; and they are it seems determined that the lies of their worthy reporters - shall, as far as their power extends, pass for truths.

And now, in order that the slander might be completely perpetrated, some one wearing the mask of a friend comes forward, and borrowing the nom de plume of a true friend of the people of Biddulph, presents himself at your office door, requesting that the stale calumny referred to be placed before the numerous readers of your truly honest and independent journal. And as a matter of course, you have granted his request, not knowing the stab he has given a section of the people whose sole advocate and defender as a journalist you are in this Dominion; and now that you have been so cunningly imposed upon it is only for you to make amends by publishing the present letter, in order to let our enemies know that there is at least one honest journalist in the Dominion who will not willfully bear false witness against his neighbor, and who will not permit lies to pass for truths when he may detect them.

It is plain that it is not for the Catholics of Biddulph that your correspondent is concerned. He must be a man who is doing poor business in Lucan; or else a man who wants to sell his farm, and doubtless don't want to hear the place cried down. But he takes a strange course to preserve the good name of the place, or rather to bolster it up - for that is what is most needed, and will be most needed, so long as the authorities in Lucan won't seek to put down rowdism or punish the ruffians who play their devilish pranks on the streets there.

[...] But of all the vile miscreants above referred to, the newspaper reporters are the vilest of the vile horde, so far as the people of Biddulph are concerned with them. In this connection I must in justice exonerate the London Herald , Orange though it be, or is reputed to be; and I must say that in my judgment, Mr. Lloyd, the Herald reporter, is an honorable gentleman. The reporters referred to have no particular animosity against the community of Biddulph more than any other in the country. It is only their inveterate hatred of Catholics that prompts them to malign the people of this place by magnifying every disreputable occurrence which takes place here, and seeking to cast the odium thereof upon the Catholic portion of the community.

As a true history of crime in Biddulph will be published next November or December I will forbear saying much more of the subject in this letter; but in view of what lying reporters have already said regarding matters and things in this place, and in anticipation of what they may further say relative to such matters, I beg to state that is my intention to write you another letter, in which I shall state some facts which are highly important for the reader of your journal to know. Meanwhile I beg to state that on the first day of February, 1880, the Biddulph gang of thieves, incendiaries, murderers, &c., were twenty-five in number, besides their aiders, abettors and friends. They had their headquarters of course on the celebrated Roman Line. This much I must grant to the reporters, but they must grant to me that there was another depot at Lucan, and another at Clandeboye, both of which were as bad as the one on the Roman Line. In my next letter I will show what proportion of the members of that infernal gang called themselves Catholics, and what number of them called themselves Protestants. The people of this locality are not desirous to keep playing a tragedy note for all time; but as the reporters of the London Press, and also of the Globe and Mail of your city, are determined to keep up their slandering crusade against the Catholic portion of this community, we must try and set matters right before such of our own people as patronize your journal - that is as far as is expedient to do so through the columns of a newspaper and in view of the forthcoming history.

Yours respectfully,


Source: Veritas, "Letter from Biddulph," Irish Canadian, April 21, 1881.

Return to parent page