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The Suicide of Pigott

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
    Hi David,

    Documentary evidence is most decidedly my cup of Earl Grey. I have acres of the stuff nestling on a cloud server.
    Strange then that you don't use very much of it in your book, preferring to rely on a string of inaccurate newspaper reports and an overactive imagination.

    Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
    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.
    I don't know where you learned that Simon but it seems to confirm what I said about you: documentary evidence is not your cup of tea. You prefer to ignore it when it doesn't fit in with your view of the world.

    But if you were to use a little bit of common sense you would appreciate that there is no possibility that the internal correspondence in the confidential Foreign Office files relating to Pigott is untrue or an "attempt to construct a credible official narrative". The fact that you are unable to state why you think it is untrue or what really happened speaks volumes.

    Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
    The interesting Parnell and WM stuff remains unavailable, but luckily not everything has been redacted.

    Are you back to talking in riddles? Previously you said "Three" as if that had meaning, now you say "52983", what do you mean?


    • #17
      4 March 1889

      El Imparcial
      The origin of the letters
      (From our private correspondent in London)
      London 3 (11.10 night)
      It is said that a celebrated Fenian who now resides in Paris is apt to indicate the source from which Pigott obtained the first bundle of fake letters sold to The Times. -C.

      La Iberia
      Le Matin published some details about Pigott's stay in the capital of the neighboring republic.
      Pigott left London on Monday evening on the express train, which departed from Charing-Cross at 8:05 and arrived at the station of Saint-Lazare, Paris, on Tuesday at six o'clock in the morning.
      At a quarter to seven, a traveler, who later became known as Pigott, disembarked at the Ambus Mundos [Deux Mondes] hotel, located on Avenida de la Opera, no. 22, and asked for a room for a few hours, the time needed to wash, dress and write some letters.
      Since the man had stated that he would not be spending the night, M. Voos, the hotel manager, did not feel it necessary to register the newcomer in the guest check-in.
      Pigott lodged in room no. 21, located on the first floor.
      The traveler was a man of about fifty-five to sixty years old, regular stature, broad shoulders, quite corpulent, and with a full white beard.
      On top of his black suit he wore a sort of dark ulster, and covered his head with a dark brown beaver hat. He wore glasses.
      His only luggage consisted of a leather suitcase with gold metal lock.
      At nine o'clock, Pigott came down from his room to the manager's office, carrying several sheets of paper.
      He asked M. Voos for another sheet of the hotel's letterhead and an envelope.
      Standing and leaning on the balustrade of the office, he quickly wrote some lines on the provided letterhead, and placed it on the other written pages.
      The set of paper was too bulky to fit into the rectangular envelope; so, Pigott begged the hotel manager to give him another envelope.
      The traveler immediately requested M. Voos to weigh the letter and tell him how much the postage would cost.
      The letter weighed 55 grams.
      After putting it in the inner pocket of his pardesus, Pigott asked to be shown the dining room, and had lunch there.
      He paid his bill and left quietly, carrying his suitcase.
      It was then eleven o'clock.
      Since then he has not been seen again, says Le Matin, and it is not known whether he is hiding in Paris or if he has immediately taken another train to go to a distant and unknown place, wishing to put as much distance as possible between himself and the English detectives, who at this hour must be on his trail.
      there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


      • #18
        4 March 1889

        EL Pais

        Pigott's confession
        Pigott did not want to die unconfessed.
        Fleeing from London, he wrote an extensive letter to the President of the Commission responsible for collecting the facts relating to Parnell; a letter which was read on the 27th in a letter by Mr. [Cuaynghame] to the numerous public in attendance.
        Here is the content of this important document:
        "I, Richard Pigott, wish to make a statement to H. Labouchere and G A. Sala, in the former's house, of my own free will, without being induced by any offer of money.
        "My object is to rectify what the Times has said, and also to give details of the circumstances surrounding the facsimile of letters from Mr Parnell, Mr, Egan, Mr Davitt and Mr O'Kelly, which appeared In the columns of the newspaper.
        "The circumstances relating to the acquisition of the letters are not as I have stated, and as has been said above. I did not put myself in intelligence with anyone. I said to Houston (this Houston is the one who provided the letters to the Times), that I acquired them in Paris; but I must confess that I made them myself, using authentic letters from Mr. Parnell and Egan, tracing some words and phrases, and copying the letter character.
        "I copied words and sentences using a candle, placing the authentic letters on top of a windowpane, and placing the paper on which I wrote [on top of the authentic letter]. These authentic letters of Mr. Parnell and Mr. Egan were four or five [in number], copies of which were read in court. After using these letters, I destroyed them.
        “Some of the signatures I obtained using through this procedure; others I drew myself.
        I then wrote to Houston, telling him to come to Paris to collect the documents. I told him that they were stored in a black leather satchel, along with some pieces of paper, account sheets and old newspapers.
        "On his arrival I showed him the letters, account sheets and the scraps of paper. After a brief examination, he handed me a check from Cook's house for the agreed-upon price of 500 pounds; at the same time, he gave me 105 pounds in bank notes as a commission.
        "The account sheets were nothing more than loose sheets of a book of mine, where the details of the investment of money of the Fenians were confided to me from time to time. Most of these accounts were written by David Murphy, my cashier.
        “I do not remember what was written on the pieces to paper,
        "The second bundle was written by me as well. Mr Parnell's signature was imitated from the facsimile published in The Times.
        "I do not remember where the Egan letter, from which I copied the signature, was obtained. I had no copies of Mr Campbell's letters.
        "I told Houston that this second set of letters was to be put up for sale in Paris, and had been received from America. He told me that he wanted to see them. I sent them; and after having held them for four or five days, I sent a check from the Cook house for 550 pounds, which exceeded the stipulated price.
        "The third bundle was a letter imitated by me, from a penciled letter written by Mr. Davitt to me from prison; Another, also imitated by me, from a letter recently written by James O'Kelly, when he was collaborating on my newspaper; and the third, by Egan, I forged imitating his writing from a bill of exchange that had been issued by him. For these three letters, Mr Houston gave me these three 200 pound in bank notes.
        "I said that I received 105 pounds for the first bundle; For the second, I received 50 and for the third, nothing.
        "Houston and I agreed to hide our names.
        "In October I learned that Mr. Houston mentioned my name to Mr. Macdonald (the Times director). This breaking of his word motivated a very sour correspondence.
        "As far as my interviews with Mr. Parnell, Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Labouchere are concerned, I stand by what I said in my declarations given under oath.
        "I believe that Mr Labouchere's offer of 1000 pounds was for the delivery of any documents of Mr. Egan or Mr. Parnell which I had in my possession,
        "I told Mr. Labouchere that I had destroyed all the letters of Houston. This is not true, I still have some.
        "I say that this statement is dictated by me to Mr. Labouchere in the presence of Mr. Sala. Signed; Richard Pigot; Witness, George A. Salas. February 23, 1889.”
        This letter was heard with the greatest astonishment.
        The next day the Times declared that [Pigott] had been opposed [mocked] in good faith.

        {Public image courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery online}
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Robert St Devil; 08-13-2017, 08:26 PM.
        there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


        • #19
          4 March 1889

          El Globo
          Little we will say of the dead. Pigott has punished himself, and now the justice of men can take nothing more from him.
          We publish his portrait, not in attention of a sinister notoriety, but because the English adventurer epitomizes the full-fledged combat of two races, as well as one of the greatest moral plagues of the nineteenth century
          Pigott, who committed suicide in Madrid, was determined for the redemption of the noble land of Ireland, against which he had worked so much in the last years of his life, and has undoubtedly promoted in England a beneficial reaction to her sister island .
          He has shown at the same time that after a disastrous existence, in which there had been no kind of scruples, there was something left to him, which, if not to be described as virtue, was at least a quality peculiar to men of heart and shame.
          Even if he had committed suicide to avoid shame, even if he committed suicide for fear of losing his freedom and forced labor into old age, some consideration is deserved, since he has washed away some of his guilt.
          A person of understanding and a happy disposition, but infused by this horror of poverty and decent work, which is now a real epidemic, he undertook all kinds of illicit enterprises, performed the least confessable trades, sold to his own and the others, charging one and the other; he was not afraid to cast a tremendous smear of infamy upon good people and oppressed peoples. A curious phenomenon that he ended his rugged life with the scapular of St. Ignatius on his chest; no doubt, the same scapular he wore when he committed such a long series of abominable deeds.
          He was Irish, it seems, and he was indubitably Catholic.
          His life is known only by what he said in the last interrogation of February 22.
          He answered to be 54 years old, and to be of professional journalist, owner of El Irelandes, an entity of the Fenians after the disappearance in 1865 of the El Pueblo Irlandes, directed by 0 'Donnovan Rossa. He was indicted for an article, and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. He had O'Connor, editor-in-chief, and O'Brien, who is now a deputy, under his command at the newspaper.
          He met Carey, the spy of Phenix Park, with whom he was in good relations, and was part of the association for the amnesty of the Fenians, of the moonlighters, and of everything Irish, licit and illicit.
          In 1882 he committed the first treason, publishing news and secrets in an anonymous pamphlet, Memoirs of an Irish nationalist, which was immediately seized upon by the police and began his time of persecution.
          In 1885 he established relations with Houston, a representative of The Times, who bought 300 hard copies of a pamphlet, Parnellism unmasked, and paid for one edition of 5,000 copies. Pigott received travel expenses and stays in Switzerland where he made the famous forgery.
          We gave extensive news [coverage] yesterday regarding the confession of the unfortunate adventurer.
          We will not end without offering a favorable account, since there are so many rather adverse ones in his black history. He loved his children very much, and, in the final moments of his miserable life, when he was undoubtedly prepared to die, they were his final care.
          Peace to the dead!
          Attached Files
          there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


          • #20
            Hi Robert St Devil,

            Thank you.

            The La Iberia article about Pigott in Paris was very interesting.


            Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


            • #21
              The Times of 28 February 1889 reported on Pigott's activities in Paris:

              A Reuter telegram from Paris last night says: - “Inquiries made at the Hotel des Deux Mondes have elicited the following facts: - An Englishman with a white beard and a fresh complexion, wearing spectacles, arrived at the hotel at 6 o’clock yesterday morning and left again between 8 and 9 o’clock without giving any name. He had some breakfast, and afterwards asked for some letter-paper with the name of the hotel printed at the head. He wrote a few words, and then enclosed the paper in a long envelope of English form, together with some other papers. The letter was addressed to London and was weighed before being despatched. The weight was 25 grammes, or rather less than 1oz".

              The letter sent by Pigott was addressed to William Shannon and received by him on the morning of 27 February and passed on to Scotland Yard. It was opened in public during that morning's hearing of the Special Commission and read as follows:

              Richard Pigott Esq.
              Hotel des Deux Mondes, 22, Avenue de l’Opera
              Paris (M. Legeun, Propre)
              [26 Feb 1889]

              Dear Sir – Just before I left enclosed was handed to me. It had been left while I was out. Will write again soon.

              Yours truly,
              R. PIGOTT

              The enclosure being referred to was a letter from Lewis and Lewis to Pigott dated 25 February 1889.


              • #22
                Hi All,

                Richard Pigott fled London on Monday 25th February 1889.

                He caught the 8.05 pm train from Charing Cross, which arrived in Paris at 6.20 am on Tuesday 26th February 1889.

                The authorities leapt into action.

                Henry Matthews, House of Commons, Tuesday 26th February 1889—

                "I have received information that the Bench warrant issued this morning by the Commission Court was not brought to Scotland Yard till a quarter past 6 by a person in the employment of Messrs. Lewis and Lewis. It was not, therefore, until that hour that the police could possibly take any steps for the arrest of Mr. Pigott. Immediately the warrant was received, every step that was possible was taken by telegraphing to the ports and by employing persons to watch at all railway stations."

                By the time Scotland Yard received and could action the arrest warrant, Pigott had been in Paris for 12 hours, where he was awaiting the 8.20 pm train for Madrid, which would arrive at 6.40 am on Thursday 28th February 1889.

                There's a faint whiff of rat about the Pigott story.

                Train times courtesy of George Bradshaw.


                Last edited by Simon Wood; 08-14-2017, 11:00 AM. Reason: spolling mistook
                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


                • #23
                  You're very confused about this entire situation aren't you Simon?

                  Pigott was perfectly entitled to take a train from Charing Cross at 8.05pm on 25 February 1889. There were no legal restrictions as to his movements. As you say, he was in Paris many hours before a Bench warrant was issued for his arrest by the Special Commission during the morning of 26 February.

                  That Bench warrant was, therefore, utterly useless because it could not be enforced in France.

                  Pigott's legal team consequently trooped off with the warrant to Bow Street Police Court to get a second warrant issued against Pigott for perjury. This warrant could be used to extradite Pigott from France (or Spain).

                  Both warrants were handed to Scotland Yard late on the 26th.

                  As the Home Secretary has stated, Scotland Yard DID leap into action because police at the ports and railway stations were immediately alerted but, of course, Pigott was not in the country at this time.

                  The very next day steps were taken to have Pigott arrested in France but by then he had slipped off to Madrid. He was traced and tracked to Madrid with an officer arriving to arrest him in his hotel at the request of the British authorities only THREE days after the warrant had been received in London.

                  Quite impressive work by Scotland Yard and the British authorities really.


                  • #24
                    5 March 1889

                    La Monarquia
                    The Pigott Suicide
                    Yesterday a letter addressed to the name given by Pigott [Ponsonby] was received at the Hotel de Embajadores.
                    Mr. García Alba, owner of the hotel, handed the letter over to the United Kingdom ambassador, who arranged for the letter to be handed over to the trial court judge. The content of the letter is, more or less, the following:
                    “London 28 ... Received telegram ... the person is in Ireland ... on his return I will carry out the commission.”
                    Today the English police will arrive in Madrid to identify the corpse. This will take place in the judicial deposit, and will be attended by the investigating Judge S. Losada, the first secretary of the English embassy, the consul, the English police, a delegate of the governor and the owner of the establishment, Mr. García de Alba, to the effect of manifesting if, in fact, it is the corpse of the person who was the hotel guest.

                    El Dia

                    This morning the two British police officers requested by the embassy to identify the corpse arrived in Madrid. They are Mr. Queen[Quinn] and Mr. Lowe, two young men who have eighteen years of experience respectively. The appearance of the English police officer contrasts sharply with the Spaniard policeman. All Madrid can identify our officers by his suit, his old-fashioned hat, his thick metal or bone cane, his dull coat and sinister appearance.
                    Instead, Mr [Quinn] and Mr Lowe were met in an aristocratic salon, and the men conduct themselves as diplomats. Their elegant appearance and fine treatment clearly reveals that the English police are made up of individuals of the highest class.
                    Some journalists visited the embassy of England in order to obtain the details of Pigott's identification. They asked countless questions of the policemen through the consul Mr. Macpherson, who speaks Spanish as well as an old Castilian. All answered with great kindness, however, they did dodge some questions that they did not consider totally pertinent.
                    For example, Mr [Quinn] and Mr Lowe did not disclose the salary that they charge in their country for the functions they perform nor the bonus they have been allocated during this trip.
                    there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                    • #25
                      6 March 1889

                      El Pais
                      IDENTIFICATION OF PIGOTT
                      Yesterday the police officer of the United Kingdom Vigilance Center, Mr Quinn, and Agent Lowe arrived in Madrid to identify the corpse of the man who committed suicide.
                      They stayed at the Hotel Navarra. Upon greeting the Court and the English embassy, the latter authorized the consul Mr. Macpherson to attend the recognition of the corpse along with Judge Saavedra, and the owner of the Hotel de Embajadores, Mr. Garcia Alba.
                      The corpse was in the central courtyard of the depot; his head was uncovered; his beard was full of blood; and he rested on a piece of wood so that the opening produced in his cranium by the projectile could be viewed. His eyes were still open, and his body did not yet show great signs of decomposition.
                      The Judge asked the inspector if he recognized Mister Pigott, and he answered affirmatively by means of Mr. Macpherson, who acted as interpreter. The judge asked the same question to Mr. Garcia Alba, who also stated that the corpse in front of him was the same person who had taken room no. 3 on February 28th under the name Roland Ponsonby.

                      La Republica

                      Until late afternoon [yesterday] the autopsy of Pigott's corpse had not been performed. It will probably be done today by the medical examiner Mr. Alonso Martinez. Afterwards a funeral will be given with greatest modesty, and the expenses will be borne by the English embassy.
                      They do not know in which cemetery he will be buried; even though Pigott was a Catholic, there is some difficulty in giving him a sacred burial because he committed suicide.
                      Pigott's body has been photographed on behalf of the British embassy.
                      Pigott died extremely poor, leaving his children in the greatest helplessness

                      La Iberia
                      PIGOTT RECOGNITION
                      A British police officer commissioned to identify the corpse of the man who committed suicide at the Hotel of Embajadores and another agent acting as interpreter arrived in Madrid yesterday on the express [train] from France.
                      These officials, accompanied by the judge of the Southern District, the court clerk, the consul of England, and the owner of the hotel, were taken to the Judicial Deposit for the purpose of recognition shortly after noon. At the first [sight of the dead man], the British police officer stated that the corpse before him was Pigott.
                      The Interrogatories
                      The owner of the Hotel de Embajadores was questioned first.
                      He stated that he was in the presence of the guest, who committed suicide in room number 3 of his hotel, while a delegate of the governor of the province was requesting the guest to accompany him regarding a matter that might interest the man.
                      Then followed the interrogation of Mr. Quinn, which is the name of the English police officer. The questions and answers that were exchanged between the judge and the English commissioner are reproduced below:

                      Judge.-Do you know the corpse in front of you?
                      Mr. Quinn. Yes, sir. It's Mr. Pigott's.
                      "No doubt?
                      "No doubt about it.
                      "So this gentleman was never Roland Ponsonby?
                      "No, sir, it's always been Pigott.
                      "And where did you know him from?
                      "I have seen him in England and Ireland.
                      "How long have you seen him for the last time?
                      "Ten days ago I saw him declaring before the Special Commission of the Supreme Court of Justice, which understands in the proceedings for crimes committed against members of Parliament and other persons constituted in high official hierarchy.
                      "And you know what Pigott was saying?
                      "He declared, as a favorable witness to the periodical The Times, in the case, which had been prompted by a series of slanderous letters published by that newspaper, in which he accused Parnell, Mr. O'Kelly, and other members of Parliament as instigating the Humble Society "The Invincibles", which was intended to undermine the lives of other people.
                      "Where was Pigott?
                      "I can not swear, I think he was from Dublin.
                      "How old would he be?
                      "Fifty-four years
                      "Do you know if he had a family?
                      "I think he had some children.
                      "What did Pigott do?
                      "He was the director and owner of The Ireman newspaper; Later he sold this newspaper, and lately it is not known what he did, although it was assumed that he wrote in several newspapers.

                      At the end of this interrogation, the minutes of the diligence were extended and signed by the judge and Messrs. Macpherson, Quinn and Garcia Alba.

                      The Inspector Mr. P. Quinn
                      Inspector Mr. P. Quinn is thirty-four years old, and has served for sixteen years in the Police Corps, where he was admitted for having performed, as an unofficial character, important services in London and other towns in England .
                      Since Pigott had begun to appear in the Times-Parnell process, Mr. Quinn received an order to watch over him.
                      He gave an exact account of the time that Pigott had left London and the actions Pigott had taken before departing the city.
                      The Autopsy and Pigott Burial.
                      At the disposition of the Court the autopsy was carried out on the body of Pigott by Dr. Adriano Alonsio Martinez, and then the mortal remains of the man were buried in the civil cemetery.
                      The costs of burial have been borne by the English embassy.

                      Back to London.
                      Yesterday Mr. Quinn and the agent who accompanied him as interpreter returned to London, taking with him the revolver that Pigott used to commit suicide, the checkbook, two letters, a handbag, 19 pesetas in cash, the scapular of which we have written, and recently discovered keys, in order to bring all of these objects to the summary in London.
                      there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                      • #26
                        7 March 1889

                        La Epoca
                        Le Matin of Paris reports that the English police were informed of the arrival of Richard Pigott in Madrid by a telegram received on Thursday in London by Mr. Shannon, which read:
                        "A favor requested of S… send me what you have promised me; write to Roland Ponsonby, Hotel de Embajadores, Madrid."
                        Mr. Shannon wrote denying that he had made Pigott any promises of money, while the police telegraphed the S.M.B. Ambassador[Spain] where the famous Irishman could be found.
                        there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                        • #27
                          Hi Robert St Devil,

                          Thanks for the newspaper articles.

                          Very useful.


                          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


                          • #28
                            Hi David,

                            Nowhere did I suggest that Richard Pigott was not entitled to board the 8.05 pm train bound for Paris on Monday 25th February 1889.

                            But as Sir Charles Russell was expecting Pigott to reappear at the Special Commission on Tuesday 26th February 1889, one might have thought that the two Irish police officers, Head Constable Gallagher and Sergeant Faussett, would have done a better job of keeping a watch on him.

                            Henry Matthews, HOC 27th February 1889—

                            "Every possible step has been taken by the Metropolitan Police in the matter since the issue of the Bench warrant (and earlier on the perjury warrant) for his apprehension, which reached Scotland Yard at a quarter-past 6 o'clock yesterday afternoon in a sealed envelope from Messrs. Lewis and Lewis. Immediately all the ports and foreign stations were telegraphed to with instructions to detain Pigott. If he passed through a foreign station, of course it would only be necessary to send information as to his arrival. Special inquiries were also made at all the London hotels, and last night Pigott's name and description were circulated in what is called "Information" to all stations of the Metropolitan Police, the consequence of which was that every constable on any beat had instructions to detain Pigott."

                            Really impressive police work.


                            Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


                            • #29
                              Once again, Simon, you show your ignorance of the facts.

                              Gallagher and Faussett were not were not employed to "keep a watch" on Pigott. They were employed by the Times to stop people interfering with him (at his hotel). They had no instructions to follow him around London, let alone the country. They were not keeping him under 24 hour surveillance as you seem to think (and have said in your book). They did not report to Scotland Yard or Henry Matthews in any case. Even if they saw Pigott leaving for Paris they could have done absolutely nothing to stop him and it wasn't their job to report on his movements.

                              The quote you have posted of Henry Matthews does, indeed, sound like impressive police work.

                              Unfortunately, unknown to them, Pigott had already left the country before the Bench warrant had been issued so there was absolutely nothing that they could physically have done to stop him. But they did track him down to his hotel room in Spain and arrange for his arrest within only a few days so, yes, it was quite impressive work by the British authorities to have done this.


                              • #30
                                Hi David,

                                "They were not keeping him under 24 hour surveillance as you seem to think (and have said in your book)."

                                I wrote no such thing in my book.

                                Henry Matthews's quote was closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.


                                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.