HC Deb 12 July 1872 vol 212 cc1038-9

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that Sir Arthur Guinness has been threatened with death unless he sends an apology to the Freeman's Journal, for venturing to correct the editor of that newspaper on a matter where he had been in error relative to the Dublin Exhibition, with a further demand for a handsome subscription to Captain Nolan's Fund, or the consequences? The Question was based upon the following letter which had appeared in The Times: Guinness,—We are ordered to inform you that an Orange whelp like you insulted our clergy's and peoples newspaper last week, as if any one cared about you or the infernal Exhibition, and unless you send a appology to Freeman's Journal, and likewise give a hanson subscription to Capton Nolan's fund before a week, your life is not worthe a month's purchase, for we will send you a bullet, as well as that scoundrel Keogh, as we have a person hired to shoot you and him and no mistake, so take warnin in time. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to look at a photograph publicly sold in the streets of Castlebar, and representing the effigy of Mr. Justice Keogh.


Sir, I have complied with the request of my hon. Friend to look at the photograph. We have no official report of the threatening letter addressed to Sir Arthur Guinness; but if the letter is made known to the Irish Government it will become the subject of inquiry in due course, as is the case in Ireland with reference to threatening letters generally, which are unfortunately rather characteristic of the mode of carrying on Public Business in that country. Meanwhile, I may express my sense—and it is rather a strong sense—of the imprudence of making these threatening letters the subject of distinct notice here. I know that my hon. Friend's object is an excellent one. It is that public indignation may be drawn towards the authors of these letters, and that the ministers of the law and the Executive Government may be stimulated, if they require it, to diligence in discovering them. But it appears to me that any good done in this way is more than counterbalanced by the evil caused by the notoriety given to these unworthy productions, which is more than anything calculated to flatter those who write them and encourage those persons to write more. I am sorry they should be honoured with the notice given to them on this occasion.