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The Suicide of Pigott

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  • The Suicide of Pigott

    La Ilustracion Espanola y Americana, 05/03/1889

    London – Hearing In the Court of Justice, February 22nd
    The forger Richard Pigott on the witness bench
    Attached Files
    there,s nothing new, only the unexplored

  • #2
    La Ilustracion Artistica
    Richard Pigott on the defendants bench before the London court
    Pigott examining the letters
    Pigott's attitude during the reading of his correspondence with the late Forster
    Pigott appealing to his judges
    Pigott, during the examination of his case, twirls the “accusing weapon” with a nervous hand
    Attached Files
    there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


    • #3
      1 March 1889

      La Dinastia

      In the House of Commons, Sir Mattheus has stated that the Metropolitan Police have not done everything possible to obtain the extradition of Pigott from the Foreign Minister of France.
      there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


      • #4
        2 March 1889

        El Pais
        An English Traveler
        Half an hour after the arrival of the express train from Paris on February 28, an elegant gentleman in demand of lodging presented himself at the Hotel de Embajadores.
        His age was between fifty-five to sixty years old; of a high stature; a long gray beard which formed a thick mane around his neck, gave the character in question a grave and majestic aspect, very much in harmony with the serious and reserved character of the people of Great Britain.
        The clerks lodged him in room no. 3 on the first floor. After inscribing the name Moyerman in the hotel register, he washed, taking care that his toilette was as chic as possible.
        An hour later, he delivered a telegram to the clerks for London, in these terms: "I arrived in Madrid without incident. I am at the Hotel de Embajadores”.
        During the remainder of the day until five o'clock in the afternoon, the guest remained almost continuously locked up in his room, only leaving for meals, or returning shortly whenever he left the inn.
        The Police
        With great mystery (no doubt to avoid suspicion) the police arrived at five o'clock in the afternoon at the Hotel de Embajadores, asking for the room of an English gentleman who had arrived the day before, and whose name was Mr. Roland Ponsonby. Their description exactly matched those of the gentleman of whom we have spoken; But the name appeared different. In spite of the difference of names, the clerks understood both agents; and without hesitating for a single moment, they went to room no. 3 and knocked on the door three times.
        There was a little hesitation, and an uncertain voice asked who it was.
        "Open yourself to the authorities" was the only answer.
        A minute went by without the door opening or any sound being heard in the room.
        Tired of waiting, the agents were about to strike again, when the door was opened, and Mr. Roland, livid and trembling with a deep terror, protested such an unpleasant visit.
        "You must accompany us in order to settle an outstanding matter," they replied.
        More serene, as if enlightened by a sudden idea, he begged the authority to allow him to change into street clothes.
        The Solution
        He entered his room again, without any of those present harboring the slightest suspicion of his intended act; But soon, the detonation of a firearm, which made the whole house tremble, made it clear to them that the persecuted Englishman could no longer be judged by the courts.
        In effect, lying on the floor, in a puddle of blood, his skull horribly shattered and his face disfigured to the point that it appeared sinister, was the corpse of Mr. Roland Ponsonby.
        The Mystery
        Naturally, the facts were relayed by the inspector and logged in the event record by the [Court’s Guard], who dictated the transfer of the corpse to the South judicial deposit. He then seized a small suitcase, inside which were two sheets of white linen, a letter written in English addressed to a woman, two blank booklets, another book and a license to use a weapon. In the pocket of the vest were found four coins of five pesetas, two pesetas and some gold [cufflinks]. This operation was attended by all the employees of the hotel and the hotel-owner Mr. Garcia Alba, who came after hearing the shot,
        The arrest of this individual was arranged by the authorities of Madrid as a result of a telegram received yesterday from England.
        Regarding the gentleman, very little is known by those who ordered his arrest.
        There are, however, some indications which suggest that the unfortunate man who arrived in the capital under an assumed name was the famous Irishman, Mr. Pigott, who has been widely spoken all over the world because of the falsified letters of the well-known Mr. Parnell.
        Tomorrow the English ambassador, Sir Clare Ford and a large representation of the English colony will examine the corpse in order to facilitate the identification.
        Last night, there were some gawkers who wanted to see the famous woman ripper of London.

        La Iberia
        Is it Pigott?
        The Civil Governor received an attentive letter yesterday from Sir Clare Ford, the Ambassador of England, urging the immediate arrest of an English subject who had been staying at the Hotel de Embajadores, Room No. 3 since the previous day under the name of Mr. Roland.
        Mr. Aguilera immediately commissioned this service to Deputy Inspector of Vigilance Mr. Visier.
        Mr. Visier went to the mentioned hotel and asked for Mr. Roland. An individual of distinguished stature with a long white beard appeared in the corridor.
        Through the interpreter, the deputy inspector told the Englishman:
        "I beg of you to accompany me to the presence of the governor, my boss, who has to inform you of some news which will be of great interest to you."
        "With pleasure," he replied, "but first let me take my hat and some cards."
        Mr. Roland entered his room, and Mr. Visier remained in the corridor guarding the exit.

        El Dia
        Pigott arrived in Madrid on the 28th [of February], bringing with him a small suitcase; and settled into room no. 3 of the Hotel de Embajadores for 15 pesetas a day. He asked the owner, Don Modesto García de Alba, to provide him with an interpreter.
        With the interpreter, the unknown traveler was eager to tour the city, visiting the Royal Palace, the viaduct, the church of San Francisco the Great, the Archaeological Museum, the Paintings, the walks and some cafes.

        El Liberal
        Only a moment later [Pigott] departed from [the interpreter], at which time it was supposed that [Pigott] went to the Central de TeIégrafos to send a dispatch to London.
        During the two days, the interpreter observed nothing about [Pigott] worth mentioning.
        there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


        • #5
          Hi Robert St Devil,

          What might have alerted the authorities to the fact that the man who booked into the Hotel Des Ambajadores under the name Moyerman was in fact known as Roland Ponsonby, but whose true identity was Richard Pigott?


          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


          • #6
            Nice work Robert.



            • #7
              Hi Simon. I'll be posting March 3rd tonight, and so on until I get thru the press coverage for 1889. I do not remember if it was ever explained who alerted Sir Clare Ford, only that a telegram was received from England by the ambassador. Since they knew the hotel and room number, is it possible that one of Pigott's telegrams was intercepted?
              there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


              • #8
                I'm curious about whom Pigott/Posonby sent that telegram to announcing his arrival in the hotel.

                Also what were his intended plans? Did he hope to catch a ship for say Argentina from Spain? Argentina had no extradition treaty with Britain, as would be the problem a few years later regarding Jabez Balfour. But Pigott's behavior seemed to signal some problem with Spanish authorities about his right to be in Madrid.



                • #9
                  Hi Jeff. I did catch another article about another similar apprehension some time later, the reference being Pigott, and the editorial being how Spain via France was becoming this port of escape. In that case, the destination was Havana.
                  Thanks Steve
                  there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                    What might have alerted the authorities to the fact that the man who booked into the Hotel Des Ambajadores under the name Moyerman was in fact known as Roland Ponsonby, but whose true identity was Richard Pigott?
                    Do you seriously not know the answer to this Simon? It's all set out in my articles (a.k.a. my diatribes).

                    The Spanish authorities were alerted by the British Foreign Office via the British Ambassador that Pigott was believed to be staying at the Hotel Des Ambajadores under the name Roland Ponsonby. The British Foreign Office obtained this information from Scotland Yard, via the Home Office, Chief Inspector Littlechild having been shown a telegram sent to William Shannon (a solicitor employed by the Times) on 28 Feb by a "Roland Ponsonby" from the Hotel Des Ambajadores asking for assistance.

                    When the British Ambassador requested that "Roland Ponsonby" be detained, a detailed description of Richard Pigott was, at the same time, provided to the Spanish authorities.

                    The notion that Pigott booked into the hotel under the name Moyerman may or may not be a journalistic error but the hotel interpreter obviously would have known that his guest had sent a telegram to London in the name of Ponsonby.

                    So when the Spanish police officer arrived at the hotel he knew he was looking for an Englishman (as a Spanish person would have understood Pigott to be) who looked exactly like Pigott looked (and he was quite distinctive looking). Now how many Englishmen of that description do you think were staying in the hotel, Simon? To add to this, it was known at the hotel that the man was using the name Roland Ponsonby.

                    How difficult do you think it was, therefore, for the Spanish inspector to locate Richard Pigott within the hotel?


                    • #11
                      Hi David,

                      And you believe this story?

                      Oh well, chacun à son goût.


                      Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                        Hi David,

                        And you believe this story?
                        Yes I certainly do Simon. Why do I believe it? Because it is fully documented within confidential Foreign Office files, where one finds extensive contemporary official internal correspondence, not for public consumption at the time, between the various people involved.

                        Now I fully appreciate that documentary evidence is not your cup of tea but I tend to find that this is the best way to understand what was happening in 1889.


                        • #13
                          Hi David,

                          Documentary evidence is most decidedly my cup of Earl Grey. I have acres of the stuff nestling on a cloud server.

                          But one thing I have learned is that in any given situation government ministers, civil servants and policemen more or less tell each other what they expect to hear in order to construct a credible official narrative.

                          The interesting Parnell and WM stuff remains unavailable, but luckily not everything has been redacted.



                          Last edited by Simon Wood; 08-11-2017, 05:39 PM. Reason: spolling mistook
                          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


                          • #14
                            Doesn't he look JUST like Charles Darwin in old age?


                            • #15
                              3 March 1889

                              La Correspondencia de Espana

                              It seems that the description of the man who committed suicide agree exactly with those of Pigott.
                              The corpse was removed to the judicial deposit at one o'clock in the morning without the hotel guests noticing.
                              The consul, the ambassador, the secretary of the embassy, and many residents of the English colony came at night to the hotel to find out what had happened, and also, with a desire to see the corpse, which could not be permitted. The proprietor of the hotel, Don Modesto Garcia de Alba, was authorized to do otherwise by the examining magistrate.
                              However, when the corpse was removed, the ambassador was able to see him, and it seems to me that he said: "After all, he was a man of honor! But it is better that he should have killed himself! "
                              The hotel owner and the interpreter who accompanied the guest were summoned again at twelve o'clock.
                              Everything else that the newspapers have published is pure fantasy.

                              La Monarquia
                              The Suicide of Pigott
                              According to all indications, the Englishman who committed suicide at the Hotel de Embajadores yesterday was Pigott, the counterfeiter of the letters published in The Times as being originally written by the head deputy of the Irish party, Mr. Parnell.
                              This statement has come after examination of the documents found in the bag owned by the man who committed suicide, and because the initials of the name that was presented at the hotel - Roland Ponsonby - are the same as those of the famous forger Richard Pigott.
                              One of the letters found in the portfolio has been translated and contains the following words:
                              Anderson Hotel ... Received 11 letters ... Parnell (mentioned several times) Richard Pigott .., M. Labouchere.
                              Pigott was a subject of the worst antecedents. He was a journalist in Ireland and sold his newspaper to the Irish League, becoming a secret agent of the Government and collecting money from the latter and the League itself. As he was in correspondence with Parnell, it was easy for him to create the falsified documents with all possible perfection, although committing misspellings. This circumstance has allowed for the clarification of the truth, already proclaimed by the confession of the forger.
                              It seems that Pigott had also been engaged in the sale of pornographic books and photographs.

                              El Imparcial
                              THE PIGOTT SUICIDE

                              The Identification
                              Two documents have been found on the corpse of the man who committed suicide at the Hotel de Embajadores by the magistrate judge proving that the dead man was Pigott.
                              One of these documents is a letter addressed to the English radical deputy Mr. Labouchere, an intimate friend of Parnell, and has the date: Monday. It says this more or less:
                              "The first bundle of letters I sold to the Times was all made up of authentic documents. But in the second bundle I included some fake letters. Among the latter were two from Mr. Parnell, one from Davitt, one from O'Kelly and one from Patrick Egan. I lament in the most preferred way to the evil that I have done, and with all my soul I desire to repair it. For this I am prepared to employ whatever means are within my reach, and submit myself to the instructions you give me. Most of what I have testified before the court was false. But what was affirmed under oath and in writing is exact. "
                              This letter is signed by Richard Pigott. The people alluded to in the letter - Davitt, O'Kelly and Patrick Egan - are Irish deputies of the autonomist party.
                              The other document found on the corpse, which also proves the identity of the dead, is a license to carry a revolver in the name of Richard Pigott, and issued in Dublin two years ago.
                              In view of these documents, there is no doubt that the man is Pigott,
                              Despite this, the body will not be buried until next Tuesday, awaiting the arrival of the English police in charge of fulfilling the final legal requirements of the recognition of the body. In the meantime, photographs of the man will be taken.
                              The English embassy has arranged for Pigott to be made a decorous burial. In the end, he was an English subject and his death has rescued his faults.

                              The exposition of the corpse
                              The body of Pigott has been transferred to the judicial deposit of the South.
                              He lies inside of an ordinary casket lined with black cotton cloth. The coffin is placed on a table. The man’s suit is made up of brown coat, jacket and black tricot vest, dark striped trousers and heavy boots. His clothes appeared worn and used. The vest is almost completely unbuttoned, and a small, greasy scapular appears between the opening of the chest, in which the letters I H S, the monogram of Jesus, are dominated by a cross.
                              The mouth and part of the mustache are filled with dried blood. On the hands and face, there are also blood stains. The eyes, clear blue and vivid, are open. The bullet must have been near the neck towards the right side.
                              In the same room are other corpses covered with canvas. All of them are people found injured or dead in the street and, before going to the warehouse, have passed through the dissection rooms.
                              The sight of that room is miserable, disgusting, and unseemly. What a difference between our morgue and the Morgue of Paris!

                              La Iberia
                              It is not officially proven that the Englishman who committed suicide last night at the Hotel de Embajadores is Pigott, but all indications suggest that he is.
                              Among the documents that the judge collected is a letter to deputy Labouchere written by Pigott with his real signature; a license to use firearms, also in his name, issued in Dublin in 1887; a checkbook for the Bank of England, and several hotel accounts with the guest's name cut off. In addition, the description which the ambassador of England has received from his Government all agree with those of the Englishman.
                              He also has an exact resemblance to a portrait of Pigott published by the Il Secalo of Milan. Yesterday many Englishmen visited the Judicial Depot of the South, where the corpse is exposed.
                              Some who claimed to know the famous character testified that it was none other than the dead man.
                              Sir Clare Ford sent a telegram to London giving an account of the incident.
                              The English Government has replied that they sent a special delegate with photographs of Pigott for identification.
                              Yesterday Madrid received countless telegrams requesting news of the fact.
                              A good number of English illustrations of the room where Pigott killed himself were made.
                              The body will not be buried until the photographs arrive and the man is identified.
                              Judge Ocampo has formed an inventory of the effects, and will hand them over to the English ambassador and the testimonials of the event.

                              El Liberal
                              RICHARD PIGOTT

                              More Antecedents
                              Pigott was subject to such surveillance by the London police that, last Saturday, he complained to the inspector that they were following him everywhere. Pigott assured the inspector that he was in no danger and that protection was ridiculous; however, the police did not lose sight of the hotel where he was staying on Fleet Street.
                              On the same day, he complained that he was short of money, and he made many attempts to obtain it.
                              He could, however, procure what was necessary for the flight as follows: Some time ago he had left some books to be sold at Sotheby's bookstore on Wellington Street.
                              On Monday, at two o'clock in the afternoon, he showed up at the bookstore to ask for the money from the sale. One of the partners said that he could not pay him at this time. Pigott returned at four that same afternoon, and obtained a check for 25 pounds and 15 shillings on the Bank of Messrs. Prescott. Shortly thereafter he was last seen on Fleet Street.
                              there,s nothing new, only the unexplored