Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Paul Tily, 1865-27/12/1892.


A very sad boating accident, which resulted in the death of a young man named Paul Tily, who lives with his parents at Caversham Rise, took place in the harbour shortly after 9 o'clock yesterday morning. Deceased — together with three other young men, named William Thorn, Ernest Grimmett (both of whom reside at Caversham), and Charles Battson (who lives at South Dunedin) — had intended to go picnicing along with some others. They walked around to the spot on the other side of the bay, where the Peninsula Navals' boat was moored. It was arranged that they should meet Lieutenant Rendall, of the Navals, there, and sail the boat to the Rattray street wharf, where they would pick up the rest of the party. Battson states: "We waited some time for Lieutenant Rendall and some others, but they did not appear, so we decided to sail over to the Rattray street wharf in a small sailing boat that was moored alongside the Navals' boat. A stiff sou-wester was blowing at the time, and soon after we got away from the shore we saw Lieutenant Rendall waving to us. Wo were then about 400 or 500 yards from the shore, on the Peninsula side of the bay, and nearly opposite the Jetty street wharf. As we were debating as to whether we should turn back for Lieutenant Rendall, Thorn's hat blew off. Thorn was steering at the time and had charge of the sheet, which was not tied. We decided to turn round, and as we did so a gust of wind caught the boat and she heeled over. We all got on tho weather side to try and get her on an even keel again, but she went right over, and we were thrown into tho water. I swam a little distance away from the boat so as not to get caught in the sail, and the others clung on to the boat. The latter kept turning round and round. The last I saw of Tily was when he got under the sheet. Some gentlemen from the powder hulk rowed out to us. and Lieutenant Rendall and Mr John L. Gillies, with some others, also came out. My watch stopped at 13 minutes past nine." The other young men who were in the boat at the time the accident occurred say that the last they saw of Tily was when he was underneath the sheet. He then appeared to be quite rigid and pale. They state that Tily could swim a little. Before they set out they endeavoured to dissuade him from going with them, because they thought that the boat could carry only three safely. Sergeant Mulville, Constable Hustie, and a number of civilians were dragging the bay for the body yesterday, but were unsuccessful in their efforts to recover it. The search will be continued to day. Deceased, it is understood, was employed up to recently in the Continental Boot Shop as salesman. He was a French polisher by trade, and 22 years of age.  -Otago Witness, 22/12/1892.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

29719 Private James John Bain, 6/10/1895-2/12/1919.



Friends of the late Private James John Bain (and family) are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave his parents' residence, 74- Russell street, TO-MORROW (Thursday), the 4th 1 inst. at 2.30 p.m., for the Southern Cemetery. 

HOPE AND KINASTON, Undertakers, 36 St. Andrew street.  -Evening Star, 3/12/1919.


BAIN. — On December 2, at his parents' residence, 74 Russell street, Private James John Bain (No. 29719, 18th Reinforcements), beloved second son of James and Isabella Bain; aged 27 years. Deeply mourned. Military funeral.  -Otago Witness, 9/12/1919.

James Bain was not a good soldier.  He appeared in court in Dunedin in 1912 on a charge of failing to appear for parades as patr of the territorial army.  He also failed to appear at court and was fined in absentia.

Joining the 18th Reinforcements in 1916, his Conduct Sheet shows that he was not a conscientious soldier in wartime.  Overstaying leave and having little care for his uniform feature in the small number of charges against him.


Mrs Bain, of Russell street, has received word that her son, James John Bain, was wounded and gassed in the recent fighting in Flanders. Private Bain left with the 19th Reinforcements. His eldest brother, Second Lieutenant William A. Bain, died of wounds received in the Somme battle 13 months ago, and his younger brother "Bob" is now somewhere in France.   -Evening Star, 3/11/1917.

James Bain was gassed on October 16, 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele.  He spent time in  Walton Hspital in England until being discharged as medically unfit almost exactly a year after his wounding.

He lived for barely a year more before succumbing to tuberculosis at his family home in Russell street, Dunedin.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Wiliam Bennett, 1847-21/2/1908.



Per Press Association. Dunedin, Last Night. A fatal accident occurred on the tramline leading to St. Clair about 5.30 this evening, the victim being Mr. William Bennett, headmaster of the Macandrew road school. Deceased, who was cycling, was riding behind the tram, and as the car slowed down he turned on to an outer track to pass it. Unfortunately another car was coming in the opposite direction, and before Mr. Bennett could get out of the way he was knocked down with great force, receiving injuries which caused death almost instantly. He was badly cut about the face and head, and both legs were broken. Deceased, who was 62 years of age, leaves a widow and family of eight. Deceased had been headmaster at Macandrew road for twenty-five years.  -Taranaki Daily News, 22/2/1908.



Mr William Bennett, the head master of the Macandrew Road School, was killed yesterday evening through his bicycle colliding with a tram in Forbury road. The evidence given at the inquest this morning showed unmistakeably that deceased was following the practice only too common among cyclists of hugging the rear of a car. Mr Bennett was close behind a car coming from St. Clair. Just at the bend on the St. Clair side of Shiel’s quarry he seems to have conceived the idea of passing the car. Unfortunately, he did not take into account the possibility of a car approaching on the other track. A car was so approaching, and Mr Bennett had just turned to execute his manoeuvre when this car caught him and flung him lifeless to one side. In its way it was a merciful death. The first shock must have meant abolition of consciousness, even did death delay a second or two. Both legs were broken, and the head badly smashed. 

Mr Bennett leaves a widow and a grown-up family of eight. He was sixty years of age, being born in Norfolk, England, in 1847. He came to New Zealand in 1879, and in 1883 was appointed head master of the Macandrew Road School, a position which he held with honor to himself and with the best results to his pupils till death overtook him yesterday. The funeral takes place at 2.30 to-morrow afternoon. 

A special meeting of the Macandrew Road School Committee, called last evening to deal with their annual celebrations, resolved itself into a meeting of condolence, the sad death of the head master having happened just immediately previous. The chairman (Mr A. T. Smith) moved — “That the sincere sympathy of the Committee be conveyed to the sorrowing widow and family.” The business for which the meeting had originally been called was adjourned sine die.


The inquest was held before Coroner Graham, Mr M. Coimick being foreman of the jury. Mr W. C. MacGregor represented the Corporation. Motorman Samuel Brettell (who was visibly affected) deposed: I was proceeding with my car to St. Clair. On the St. Clair side of Shiel’s quarry I approached another car going to Dunedin. When about threequarters past the car a cycle suddenly appeared from behind that car. I had not seen this bicycle previously, and I had just about one foot to work on. I immediately applied my magnetic brakes, but had no chance of stopping in time to prevent a collision. I drew my car up, and went back to the body. He was lying about 15ft behind the car, and the conductor and I picked him up and placed him on the rear platform. He was then evidently quite dead. We noticed an express coming from town, and we got the body on to this, the driver making for the hospital. The accident occurred about 5.22 p.m. 

To Mr MacGregor: He had no power on at the time, and had rung his gong as usual. 

Conductor Lamborn stated: I remember meeting the car from St. Clair, and I heard our gong rung. I had not seen any cycle behind the St. Clair tram. The first I knew of an accident was when I was thrown against the partition of the ear by the application of the brakes. Hearing a peculiar noise in the front of the car I looked out, and saw a man lying on the road. The car came to a dead stop, and I went to the man. 

To Mr MacGregor: Brettell is a very careful driver, and could not possibly have pulled up quicker. 

John Wright, valuer, said: I reside at St. Clair. Yesterday evening I went home by the car of which Brettell was driver. I was in the corner seat in front. As we approached Shiel's corner I saw the other car approach, and heard the gong sound on each car. Just before we cleared the other car I saw a man’s hat (I could not see his cycle) come in front of the car. At the same time something struck our car. I stood up, but could see nothing. Then I looked out, and saw the body on the road. The car was brought up in a few paces after I saw the man’s hat. It could not have been done quicker. I know the deceased well, but would not have rocognised him. 

To Mr MacGregor: The other track was apparently quite clear except for the approaching car when we rounded the corner, and Mr Bennett must have been very close behind that car. The accident, in my opinion, was quite unavoidable. 

Charles Francis Alexander, general manager of the Corporation Tramways, said that Brettell, the driver, had been known to him since June, 1906, and he was a first-class driver and most careful. Witness had never had to give him the slightest caution. From his experience, he understood just how the accident must have occurred, and it would have been quite impossible to avoid the collision. 

Thomas E. Bennett, draper, stated that his father had been a skilled cyclist. 

The Coroner said that it was quite evident that no blame was attachable to anyone. It was frequently commented on in the papers that this practice of riding close behind a car was very dangerous, because if the car came to a standstill suddenly and the rider swerved to avoid it he was quite likely to run into a car coming down the other track. This sad affair should prove a warning. 

The jury returned a verdict that deceased was accidentally killed by collision with a car, and that no blame could be attached to anyone.  -Evening Star, 22/2/1908.

Late Advertisements


OUT OF RESPECT for the Memory of our late Head Master, Mr William Bennett, whose untimely death is deeply regretted, this School will be CLOSED on MONDAY Next, the 24th instant. 

GEO. C. BAKER, Secretary.   -Evening Star, 22/2/1908.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Peter Mitchell, 1845-26/2/1914




Peter Mitchell, a laborer, who was admitted to the Hospital on Tuesday afternoon suffering from injuries to his head sustained through falling off a truck in the railway yard, died in the institution at 1 o'clock this afternoon. An inquest will be held at the Hospital to-morrow afternoon before Mr H. Y. Widdowson. S.M. Mr Mitchell was about 70 years of age, and leaves a widow and grown-up family.  -Evening star, 26/2/1914.


Mr Peter Mitchell, who died yesterday as the result of an accident, arrived in Dunedin 42 years ago, and had lived here ever since. He came of an old Highland family, and his father and grandfather, who were soldiers, saw much active service with famous Highland regiments. The late Mr Mitchell in his early manhood was a champion ploughman in the North of Scotland. On his arrival here he entered the service of Messrs Guthrie and Larnach. Later on he was employed on the railways as a casual hand, and served the department in that capacity for nearly 30 years. Though he had reached the allotted span, his physical and mental faculties were unimpaired. Mr Mitchell was a man of the strictest honor and integrity. He is survived by Mrs Mitchell and nine sons and daughters.   -Evening Star, 27/2/1914.


An inquest was held at the Hospital this afternoon on the body of Peter Mitchell, 70 years of age, who died in the institution yesterday as a result of injuries received by falling from a railway truck on Tuesday. Dr Baigent stated that deceased developed paralysis as a result of his injuries on Wednesday morning, and that death resulted from pressure on the spinal cord. Mr Widdowson returned a verdict of "Accidental death."   -Evening Star, 27/2/1914.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Kathleen O'Leary, 1891-20/11/1918.



O'LEARY. On November 20th, 1918, at the Wairad Hospital, of pneumonia: Kathleen O'Leary, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs C. O'Leary, Nicholson Terrace, Blenheim; aged 27 years.  -Marlborough Express, 22/11/1918.


The many friends and relatives of Miss Kathleen O'Leary will regret to hear of her early death. Miss O'Leary had been teaching at the Waterfalls school for the past nine years, and resided with Mr and Mrs Fleming, of "Craigneuk," Seddon. Unfortunately, like many others, on their return from Christchurch, Mr and Mrs Fleming were laid up with influenza, and in a few days the whole family had contracted the disease. In her efforts to relieve the other sufferers Miss O'Leary took no heed to the fact that she also had contracted it in a much worse form than they, and when on Thursday evening she was at last forced to lie up pneumonia had set in. Her removal to the Wairau Hospital was ordered, and Mr Lissaman and the District Nurse brought her in on Sunday afternoon. She gradually sank, until she passed away on Wednesday afternoon. Private interment took place yesterday morning after a Requiem Mass. Mr and Mrs O'Leary and family have the sincere sympathy of a large circle of friends in their great bereavement.  -Marlborough Express, 22/11/1918.



[to the editor.]

Having noticed a letter of Nurse McIver in the columns of your last week's paper, I, as well as many others, consider that letter entirely uncalled for, as there was nothing in the locals of your paper about my daughter, the late Miss Kathleen O'Leary, that anyone could take exception to. What Miss O'Leary did was entirely voluntary, and no blame was atitributed to Miss Fleming or anyone. Like many others, she volunteered to do a good work, and in so doing, unfortunately fell a victim to the disease, which in her case proved fatal, and so gave her life for others. My daughter is now in peace, and would wish to be left so. 

MARGARET M. O'LEARY, 5 Nicholson Terrace, Blenheim.   Marlborough Express, 11/12/1918.


MR & MRS O'LEARY wish to sincerely thank Dr. Russell Adams, the Matron and Nurses, and all who in any ways rendered kindness and attention to their late daughter, Kathleen, also these who sent floral offerings and messages of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement.

Mr and Mrs O'Leary and family wish to sincerely thank the ladies of the Technical School, the Boy Scouts, and all kind friende for valuable assistance rendered in their recent illness.  -Marlborough Express, 13/12/1918.

Blenheim Cemetery.

James Patrick Barry, 1902-4/11/1918


The friends of Mr and Mrs John Barry are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of their late son, James Patrick, which, will leave the Marlborough Hotel at, 8.40 a.m. TOMORROW (Wednesday) for St. Mary's Church. Requiem Mass: 9 a.m.; thence proceeding to the Omaka Cemetery. 

BYTHELL & CO., LTD., Undertakers.   -Marlborough Express, 5/11/1918.


The death of James Patrick Barry, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J. Barry, of the Marlborough Hotel, Blenheim, occurred on November 4th after a comparatively short illness. The deceased had been in delicate health for some few years, but it was expected that he would ultimately recover. He was of a lovable disposition, kind and thoughtful for others, and during his long term of suffering he bore his affliction with unfailing sweetness arid patience. A Requiem Mass were celebrated in St. Mary's Church at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6th, for the repose of the soul of the deceased, during which the school children sang appropriate hymns. At the conclusion of the Mass the "Dead March" was played. Immediately after mass the funeral left the church for the Omaka, cemetery, where the burial service was conducted by the Rev. Fathers Herring and O'Reilly. The deceased, who was a member of the Sodality of the Children of Mary, was followed to his last resting place by the school children and his sorrowing sodalists, dressed in regalia, six of whom acted as pall-bearers. Much sympathy is felt for the parents in their bereavement.  -Marlborough Express, 16/11/1918.

Blenheim Cemetery.

Owen McHale, 1882-14/5/1908.



BLENHEIM, May 14. A young married man, named Owen McHale, a crack footballer and a Marlborough corporation employee, was accidentally killed at Riverlands while out shooting last evening. He had loaded his gun, but failed to get a shot, and was strapping the weapon to his bicycle, when the charge exploded, lodging in deceased's groin. He never recovered consciousness, and died this morning.  -Press, 15/5/1908.



An inquest was held at the Courthouse yesterday afternoon, before the Coroner (Mr T. Scott Smith, S.M.) and a jury, to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of Owen McHale. The following jury were empanelled: — Messrs Geo. Patchett (foreman), J. Bartlett, A. McAllister, E. Thomas, J. Broadley, and J. Watkins.

The first witness called was Dr Bennett, who deposed that he was a qualified medical practitioner in Blenheim. On the 18th inst, at about 10 p.m., he received a call to Riverlands. He saw deceased lying on his back on the roadside between Blenheim and Riverlands. A young lad was with him. Deceased was suffering from a gun-shot wound in the lower part of the right abdomen, which had perforated the bowel in several places and had fractured the pelvis. Witness had him conveyed in his motor-car until they met the ambulance, when he was removed to the hospital. He communicated with Drs. Walker and Nairn, and they examined the sufferer under chloroform. Witness stitched up the perforations in the bowels, and removed many pieces of broken bone. At the bottom of the wound was also found the two wads of a cartridge. The wound, after further treatment, was stitched up and drained. There was no hope of his recovery after the first examination. Deceased died from the shock of the wound at ten o'clock the next morning. He never at any time lost consciousness, except when under chloroform. He was able clearly to explain how the accident happened. He said to witness: "I was getting on my bicycle, and held the gun by the muzzle, and it went off some way, and the contents lodged in my body. I did not know that the gun was loaded." Deceased further said that he had endeavoured to get a shot at a swan, but did not do so, and by mistake the cartridge had been left in the gun. He did not attribute blame to anyone.

In answer to the Coroner, Dr. Bennett said that the deceased must have received the discharge point-blank.

Frank McHale deposed that the deceased was his elder brother. Deceased was 24  years of age and a married man. On Wednesday afternoon the two of them were out shooting. They both carried guns and rode bicycles. They went down to Riverlands, and returning about half-past ten in the evening they met together at the bridge. They stood talking for about ten minutes. Witness was extracting a cartridge from his own, gun when it accidentally went off and shot his brother in the side. He shouted for help, his brother immediately falling. The lads Thorns and Earp came up, and witness rode his bicycle down to Mr Bell's place to telephone for a doctor. Dr. Bennett arrived soon afterwards. It was purely an-accident. 

By the Coroner: Deceased was not being handed the gun when it went off. Deceased's statement made to the doctor was not quite correct. Witness was taking the cartridge from his own gun, when it went off. He could not say how the cartridge exploded. He was in the act of opening the breach at the time, but had not actually opened it. 

Kenneth George Thorns deposed that he was employed at Riverlands. On the 13th inst. he was down by the second bridge at about a quarter-past ten in the evening. The boy Earp was with him. He saw deceased, who was riding his bicycle. Deceased said that he was going to meet his brother at the bridge. Shortly after they heard the report of a gun, followed by cries for help. They then saw some swans fly past at the same time. They ran to the spot and saw Frank McHale, who said, "Owen is shot." Deceased was lying on his back by the side of the load. Frank McHale immediately rode away on his bicycle to Mr Bell's. Earp put his coat over deceased. Deceased was able to speak, and asked whether the doctor was coming, but did not explain how the accident occurred. They stayed by him until the doctor came. 

By the Foreman. All he heard deceased say to the doctor was to ask him if the wound was serious. This was all the evidence led, and the jury retired to consider their verdict.

On returning into Court the jury submitted the following verdict: — "That the deceased was accidentally shot, no blame being attachable to anyone."  -Marlborough Express, 16/5/1908.


The remains of the late Mr Owen McHale were interred in the Omaka Cemetery on Saturday afternoon, when the cortege was followed by a very large number of relatives and friends of the deceased. The Hibernian Society, of which the deceased was a prominent member, were pallbearers, and representatives of the local football clubs attended to pay the last token of respect to their late comrade. Among the football representatives was Mr W. D. Draper, president of the Opawa Football Club, of which the late Mr McHale was a member. The Rev. Father O'Sullivan conducted the service at the church.  -Marlborough Express, 18/5/1908.

SENIOR CUP  (excerpt)

CENTRAL (8) v. OPAWA (0).  The start of this match was delayed until half-past three, on account of the funeral of Mr Owen McHale, and the Opawa players wore a strip of white ribbon on their left arms in memory of their former half-back. Central, winning the toss, played with the wind behind them.   -Marlborough Express, 18/5/1908.

Blenheim Cemetery.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

James White, 30/7/1859-15/6/1882.


A melancholy occurrence is reported from Mr P. R. McRae’s Blairich station. On Thursday last two men, James White and Harris were sent out to muster some sheep, and while out a thick fog came on, causing them to lose all idea of their whereabouts. After wandering about for some time in vain effort to retrace their steps, poor White, who was an elderly man, told Harris to leave him and go on to the station, as he himself was exhausted and could go no further without food. Harris yielded to his request and succeeded in making his way to a shed on the Shearing Reserve where he was found in a pitiable state from exhaustion and want of food by Mr Mowat. Two men named Clifiord and Jarvis, were at once sent out in search of White, and yesterday he was found dead in the snow about 300 yards from where Harris had left him. Mounted Constable Collett was despatched from Blenheim this morning to take the necessary steps in regard to holding an inquest.   -Marlborough Daily Times, 20/6/1882.


To the Editor of the Express. Sir,— As a friend and towney of the late James White, who lost his life on Mount Horrible, I have to thank Mr P.R. McRae for his kind attention in issuing orders for the body to be brought out of an almost inaccessible place, and, after its being brought to Blairich for having —although just after an illness of several weeks — sat up till late at night and acted as coroner. I have further to thank him for having on the day of the burial provided all the hands on the station with horses to go into Blenheim, and for his own and Mrs McRae's attendance at the funeral. To Mrs and Miss McRae I have to return thanks for the regard paid by them to the body; also to Mrs Mowat and sons for their kindness, Mrs Mowat for the kindness shown by her to Mr Harris (deceased's mate), and the Messrs Mowat for searching for the corpse; as also to Messrs Edward Guest, John Harris (although laid up himself), James Clifford, and Joseph Davidson.

— Wishing them happiness in this life, I remain, their most obedient servant, John P. Douglas. Blairich, June 24, 1882.  -Marlborough Express, 29/6/1882.

Died from Exposure to the Weather. — Such was the verdict of the jury with regard to the unfortunate man James White, whose death was referred to in our telegrams some week or two ago. The deceased, who was only fifty-three years of age, was a shepherd and musterer on the Blarich station, Mount Horrible, in the Marlborough district, and the following is the report made to the police authorities on the melancholy occurrence: — The deceased, in company with John Harris, a cadet, went mustering at Blairich run, on Wednesday, 14th June, when the fog came down the mountains, and then, instead of returning to the whare, as instructed, they staid out on the ranges. It then commenced raining heavily, and the benighted men completely lost themselvee. With great difficulty they lit a fire, and killed and cooked a sheep, and they then camped where they were, out in the ranges. The following morning they were no better off, being still unable to find out where they were, and at two o'clock p.m. the deceased said to his companion that he could not go on. Harris then left him to try and go for assistance, but was unable to get out of his position that night. He passed that night between two logs, and with no other shelter, but the following morning (Friday) he succeeded in reaching a whare. Having told the inmates of the condition of White, they at once took steps to find him, but owing to the bad weather were unsuccessful till the following Monday, 19th June. When they discovered him the poor fellow was lying dead, not many yards from the place Harris described as having left him at. The deceased is believed to have a brother at Crescent Farm, Stirling, Otago.   -Colonist, 19/7/1882.

Blenheim Cemetery.

Friday, 23 April 2021

John William Gill, 1869-23/9/1894.


A young man named William Gill, employed on the Hillersden station, Marlborough, received injuries whilst burning scrub on Friday last which resulted in his death. He was hemmed in between two fires in a gully and could not escape. He sought refuge in a small excavation in the ground made by pigs rooting, and lay amidst suffocating smoke while the flames passed over one-half of his body. After the danger was over Gill made his way to the camp, and was conveyed to Blenheim Hospital. One side of his body was much injured, the arm being burned almost to the bone, and his face was badly disfigured. He died on Sunday morning.   -Otago Witness, 27/9/1894.

Blenheim Cemetery.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Joseph Herbert Orr, 1881-20/12/1895



 [EX PRESS ASSOCIATION.] Dunedin, December 19.— There was excitement near the Post Office shortly after 8 to-night. For some time past complaints have been made that letters with money have gone astray after being posted. After inquiry the detectives decided to watch the letter boxes in the Post Office. As Detective O'Connor was so engaged to-night, a boy of 14 years or so, named Herbert Orr, was noticed opening one of the boxes and taking a letter. The detective slipped off his boots, but when he had opened the door the boy had put some distance between them. Just as the boy rounded into Princess-street he looked back, and, seeing the detective, bolted. He went along Bond-street, and down Water-street, the detective following, and crying out "Stop thief!" Just as the detective was winded, a man on horseback followed the boy, who went into a yard. On the detective making a search, he found the boy in a water closet. He had his hands in his breast, and begged the detective to let him off. When the detective said he could not, the boy said he would shoot himself, and at once fired a revolver he was clasping in his hands. The bullet entered the left breast above the region of the heart. The boy was at once removed to the hospital, but he not expected to live through the night. The boy is small for his age. He is the son of a commission agent in town.  -Taranaki Herald, 20/12/1895.

Accidents and Fatalities

Dunedin, December 20. The boy Herbert Orr, who shot himself last night on being captured by a detective, died at 1.30 to-day.  -Oamaru Mail, 20/12/1895.


Orr. — on the 20th December 1895, Joseph Herbert Orr, the second and much-beloved son of Samuel Orr and Jane Laing Anderson; aged 14 yeara and 4 months. 

What though the accuser roar, Of ills that I have done; 

I know them well, and thousands more, Jehovah findeth none. 

I meet them face to face, Through Jesus conquest blest; 

March in the triumph of His grace, Right onward to my rest.   -Otago Daily Times, 21/12/1895.



An inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Joseph Herbert Orr was held at the hospital, on Saturday, before, Mr Coroner Carew and six jurymen, of whom Brack H. Laing was chosen foreman.

Samuel Orr deposed that the body shown to the jury was that of his son Joseph Herbert Orr. The deceased was born at Invercargill, and was 14 years and four months old. Witness had never before seen the revolver produced. He had no explanation to offer in regard to the affair. He had seen the single key produced. It used to be about the office, but did not open anything. One of the keys on the ring opened the gate of the yard known as Gibson's yard, another was the key of his son's cash and stamp till, and a third was the post office box key. Deceased had not been in the office for two or three weeks before Thursday. Witness recognised that in his absence one or other of his sons (deceased or another) would examine the letter box and forward letters on to him.

To Inspector Pardy: When witness saw his son at the hospital on Thursday night he asked him "Why did you do it ?" Deceased said either then or at some time afterwards, "I never intended to do it." Witness added: "When I put the question to him I thought perhaps some cross word had been spoken to him at home. Nothing had occurred, to my knowledge, to lead me to suppose that any such thing had taken place."

Edmund Cook, chief-postmaster, said that several complaints were made, commencing five or six weeks ago, of letters being lost from the letter boxes. The last complaint was from the Phoenix Company. On Thursday, witness placed a test letter in the box about 3 30 p.m. Before leaving the office at 4.30, witness examined the box and the letter was gone. He reported the matter to Detective O'Connor, and arranged with him to watch in the lobby.

Henry Ferens, post office clerk, deposed that he was in the post office at 7 o'clock on Thursday night, and saw the detective there. A letter without an envelope was brought to Witness. It was found loose in the receiving box at the entrance. Witness enclosed it in an envelope, directed it, stamped it, cancelled the stamp, and at the suggestion of the detective put the letter in the Phoenix box. At 10 p.m. witness looked into the box and this letter was gone.

Chief Detective O'Connor related the incidents, already published, which led up to his capture of the deceased, and also deposed as to the lad shooting himself with a small seven-chambered revolver which witness took from him. On the way to the hospital the lad asked the constable to shoot him, saying he wanted to die. Witness thought he said he did not want to disgrace his father. The keys produced were foundin the lad's pockets. The key described by Mr Orr as the key of his letter box opened the Phoenix box as well as Mr Orr's box. Witness had tried them. The two boxes stood 5ft or 6ft apart, and were not in the same tier. 

The Foreman: Seeing that.the boy was in an excited state, is there any chance that the pistol went off accidentally? 

Witness: I don't know. He said that he would shoot bimself. He might easily have shot me. If I had known he had a revolver I would have rushed and closed with him as soon as I saw him. 

In reply to further questions witness said he believed the lad had the revolver with him. He saw something in his hand, but did not dream it was a revolver. One of the cabmen had since told witness that he saw a pistol in the lad's hand as he was running. 

Mr Carew : And he didn't call out to you as you went by? 

Witness: No.

Alexander Phelan, a boy 15 years of age, deposed that on Thursday evening he was going from the Arcade to the railway station. He went down Water street and found the letter produced (the test letter) at the corner of that street and Bond street.

Dr Boss, house surgeon at the hospital, deposed that the deceased was brought to the hospital, at 9.40 p.m. on Thursday. Witness rang up Dr Davies, who came at once, and he carried out the treatment directed by Dr Davies. The cause of death was a wound through the lung. The wound might have been self-inflicted.

The jury, after deliberating for about 10 minutes, returned the following verdict: "That deceased met his death by a pistol shot self-inflicted when in a state of mental excitement."  -Otago Daily Times, 23/12/1895.

Joseph Herbert Orr's grave, unmarked, in the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin.  DCC photo.

Monday, 19 April 2021

A Short History of Horsewhipping in Dunedin

The concept of giving someone a horsewhipping seems these days to be a thing of Victorian melodrama.  But it was, when needed, a useful mechanism of justice for those who felt deserted by the legal system when seeking to right wrongs perpetrated by those who felt themslves above the law.  These latter were usually journalists.

The essential quality of a traditional horsewhipping was not necessarily pain, humiliation was the goal.  Therefore the act needed to be a public one - if not in a public thoroughfare, at least in a place of business with witnesses.  The whip itself - what these days we would call a riding crop rather than a stockwhip - was as symbolic as practical.  It placed the receiver of a horsewhipping in a position below human - that of livestock to be punished.

Often the court appearance consequential on the act was the result sought by the whipper, who was able to explain, on the record, the actions of the whippee which had led to the scene.

The first Dunedin horsewhipping was visited upon an accountant, who felt himself free to comment upon the morals of his betters, as reported with glee by newspapers within and beyond Dunedin.

No. 1: "sound and wholesome"

Horsewhipping Case in Dunedin. — The Mail says; — A recent base and scurrilous article in the publication known as the Saturday Review, was the cause of some little excitement in town yesterday. The article referred to contained scandalous insinuations against several ladies. Their friends naturally felt indignant at the outrage, and Mr. Turton waited on the editor of the paper — the notorious Mr. J. G. S. Grant — and obtained from him the name of the writer of the article — Mr. A G. McCombe. Mr. Turton on meeting Mr. McCombe yesterday in the street, charged him with the authorship, and administered a sound and wholesome horse-whipping. This caused some stir but did not appease the indignation of others whose friends had been so basely slandered. Nor was the indignation lessened by the lenewed publication of the slanders, and the sale in the street of a re-issue of the journal which contained them, as well as the receipt by several of the ladies and gentleman pointed at, of copies maliciously underlined in those parts which were intended to allude to them. Last night Mr. McCombe made his appearance in the dress circle of the opera. In another and prominent part of the dress-circle, there was the unusual apparition of Mr. Grant, who attended the performance in an apparent spirit of bravado for the first time, as he had not been on any occasion before seen at a theatre. The presence of these two notorieties excited the occupants of the dress circle, and a striking outburst of public indignation was the result. Mr. McCombe was first taken in hand, and pitched "neck and crop" into the street, whence he took refuge in the Athenaeum close by, and exhausted, either with the struggle or the fright, fainted in the refuge he had attained. A medical man was soon in attendance, when it was discovered the worthy individual had not sustained any bodily injury. Mr. Grant during this contretemps retained his seat in a state of evident uneasiness. When the curtain dropped at the end of the first act, he was waited on by one of the parties he had attacked, and an attempt made to remove him to the outside of the building. The bold imitator of "Old Noll," — the "modern Cromwell" as he delights to call himself — fell however into such a state of abject funk that he could only shriek for help and whine out that he had told them who wrote the article, and was ready to do any thing else they liked. A policeman here interposed, and placed the wretched libeller in an adjoining box, where he remained for about ten minutes half dead with fright, and a melancholy spectacle} to all who were present at the opera as he wiped with a dirty white pocket handkerchief the perspiration from his "noble brow." At the end of ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, he recovered sufficiently to be able to walk home, attended by half-a-dozen of those "costly ornaments" as he has been wont to call the Otago Police. It was a pitiful sight to see this man who has so freely reviled others, clinging to the arms of his protectors and begging them not to leave him to be killed.  -Taranaki Herald, 15/10/1864.



[from a correspondent.]

Dunedin, October 6, 1864. For the past few days the gossip-mongers of Dunedin have had a rich dish of scandal to digest, in the shape of a newspaper article of the most astonishing character, the subsequent horse-whipping of the writer, and (to add another to the long list of "calamities of authorship") his arrest on Friday last on a charge of libel. Everybody in Dunedin, and a good many people out of it, must have heard by this time of Mr. J. G. S. Grant — "the notorious Grant" — as unfriendly paragraphers in hostile journals delight to style him. Well, Mr. Grant, as all the world ought to know by this time, is the Editor of the Dunedin Saturday Review, and the Dunedin Saturday Review has had the honor of being the subject of a satirical sermon, entitled "Full-flavored Journalism," in the London Saturday Review, and the Melbourne Argus refuses to be comforted thereat; and the Otago Mail calls Mr. Grant's little paper an "infamous periodical," and the Daily Times alludes to it with a flout and a sneer as "a publication to which we are not in the habit of referring in these columns," and to say all in a word Mr. Grant must be a perfect salamander to be able to stand the frightful roasting "'twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires" which he has lately experienced at the hands of his indignant brethren of the Fourth Estate. But then everybody who knows Mr. Grant knows that this is precisely what he is. He is utterly impervious to the hottest of enemy's fires himself, and contrives to keep the town in a perfect ferment every Saturday, with the journalistic dramas which he serves on that day to all comers, hissing hot and so many degrees over proof. This, then, was the position of affairs up to Saturday the 24th ult., when Mr. Grant published his thirty-second number. That gay and festive class, as Artemus Ward hath it, the "upper ten," had never encouraged Mr. Grant's literary labors and never subscribed to his "hissing hot" hebdomadal. "Respectability" had never allowed the strong-minded out-and-out red-hot reforming organ on its table, though it is believed that "respectability" often bought it on the street and always read it. But the support of that important section of the community, the demos, had always been freely accorded to the Dunedin Saturday Review and to deal fairly between man and man, between seller and buyer, between writer and reader, the latter had generally his "sensation" for his sixpence, and seldom failed to experience that delicious "cruddle" of the blood produced by strong-minded articles of the "rampaging" order. And it was stated authoritatively, and very generally believed, that there were a thousand copies of Grant's paper sold every week. This I say was the state of matters on Saturday, the 24th ult. On the morning of that day there appeared in the Saturday Review an article which set the ears of Dunedin society tingling. It was a dirty piece of work, from which any clean-minded man must have shrunk. It was entitled "The School for Scandal." Of course it "fluttered" the town and proved a most successful "draw," selling the whole issue out in an hour or two; but at what a sacrifice! Private character was assailed; ladies of position were charged with being the naughty Mrs. M. or N., as the case may be, and male delinquents were publicly branded as "gay Lotharios." Of a married lady it was asserted: — "She prefers the society of a young fellow of her own age, and may be seen with him in the boxes of a theatre. She prefers Saturday night for visiting the opera as it prepares her mind for her devotions next day." Another was counselled, with a Mrs. Candour generosity, to "discourage the overtures and repel the importunities of a certain swinish roue." A married couple — the husband holding a responsible public office — was advised to "retract from their evil ways lest we should be tempted to publish their history and the particulars of the very peculiar circumstances under which they were married." And so on usque ad nauseam. Enough of a most offensive topic to say, that surely nothing more ghastly, nothing fouler in the shape of a libel upon poor weak humanity, was ever penned since the time when the Satirist alternately sighed away and "scragged" reputations by wholesale. No manly Englishman, no man endowed with a spark of honest feeling, but must have thrown down the paper in disgust, blushing with shame the while at this glaring violation of public decency, this flagrant outrage on truth and manhood. Of course the paper was in great enquiry and sold like smoke. Never perhaps was there a more urgent demand for a newspaper than there appeared to exist in this city for No. 32, of the Saturday Review on Saturday week last. Next morning Mr. Grant might truly be said to have woke up and found himself — well, famous. His publication, his antecedents, and his possible fate, were now more canvassed by the quidnuncs than I ever remember the most exciting news by the mail to have been. The most startling anecdotes, all belonging decidedly to the Chronique Scandaleuse were in circulation. The latest eccentricity — an eccentricity however, which bordered upon impropriety — imputed to one of our Dunedin belles, was giving rise to a great many comments. An unfortunate eclaircissement had been made in the household of a benedict "of position" who had been found out by his wife enacting the part of a gallant gay Lothario. This sort of thing lasted till the Tuesday morning. Prurient minds were busy conceiving what prurient tongues would afterwards utter. On the 27th ult., however, a change came over the spirit of the scene. A Mr. Turton, a solicitor here, about noon of that day came in contact with Mr. A. G. McCombe, an accountant, and on his acknowledging the authorship of the article entitled "The School for Scandal," produced a horsewhip and soundly castigated him. The same evening at the theatre Mr. McCombe was roughly expelled from the building. I was ill and was not able to be there at the time, and am therefore quite unable to give any account of the knockdowns, &c, but I am informed that this last proceeding was conducted in an un-English and undesirable manner, several young men being together concerned in assaulting the object of popular indignation. Mr. Grant was also roughly handled on the same occasion. The events that followed are to be related in a few words.

On Friday afternoon Mr. McCombe, who had taken his passage per s.s. Queen for the North, was arrested at Port Chalmers on a criminal information for libel. The criminal information was sworn by Edward George Edwards, clerk in orders, and charged McCombe that, on the 24th September at Dunedin, he did unlawfully and maliciously cause to be published a certain false, scandalous, and defamatory libel, of and concerning the said Edward George Edwards, contrary to the statute. Mr. Edwards is the Church of England clergyman here. The result is that McCombe has been committed for trial before the Supreme Court, and has been liberated on bail of £200 on his own recognizances, and of another surety for a like sum.  -Colonist, 14/10/1864.


The Late Horsewhipping Case in Dunedin Theatre. — Prolific in action at law have been the forcible ejection from a Dunedin theatre, and subsequent hustling and horsewhipping of Alexander George McCombe, accountant, who as the author of a shameful and libellous attack on the character of some ladies and gentlemen in Dunedin, published in a scurrilous print since dead, made himself obnoxious to the public of the city, some of whom took the strong arm of the law into their own hands and showed their opinion of the writer by turning him out of the theatre, after he was well hissed and hooted. McCombe has just obtained a verdict in his favour on an action claiming damages of £1,000 from Mr. Charles D. Teschemaker, who inflicted punishment on McCombe, struck him on the head with the "flap" of a riding whip and knocked him down. £l5 was paid in Court as being full compensation. The defence was that plaintiff had insulted and libelled friends of the defendant; but the Judge held that an assault committed on a man's friend on a former occasion did not warrant another assault, otherwise there would be no end of breaches of the peace and personal violence. The remedy lay in the law, and not in the hands of individuals. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, damages £235, in addition to the £15 paid into Court. This of course is besides costs, which will no doubt be at least £100 more.— Nelson Colonist.   -Daily Southern Cross, 15/5/1865.

No. 2: "I haven't eyes in the back of my head..."


The following report of a case of the above description, heard at the Magistrates Court, Dunedin, on Tuesday, we take from the Daily Times: — 

John Gibson Smith was charged with having assaulted Charles de Vere Teschemaker. 

Mr James Smith said that the defendant did not deny striking the complainant; but great provocation could be pleaded for what had been done. 

Mr Strode thought it would be necessary for the Magistrates to hear the facts. 

Charles de Vere Teschemaker: Between one and two o'clock yesterday — or twelve and one, but I really don't know which — I was crossing Princes-street, when some one came up behind and struck me. I turned round, and as the person who struck me went by me, I saw that it was that man there. So I knocked him down; and in order to keep him until a policeman came up I sat upon him. I didn't want to have to knock him down again. He struck me with a whip, I believe. No policeman came, and as the crowd interfered in his behalf, I wasn't able to keep him and give him in charge. I was struck from behind, and I did not see the man until after he struck me. No; the blow wasn't a very severe one. Yes; I sat upon him till the people interfered. I know it would be rather troublesome to knock the man down again; and therefore I wish the Court to settle the matter now. 

By Mr Smith: Yes, I saw that I was assaulted from behind. Swear it? Well I certainly didn't see him in front of me, and I was under the impression that he must have been behind me. No; I don't swear it positively. I haven't eyes in the back of my head; so I can't you know. 

Mr Smith: You are on your oath, now, sir; and you will be good enough to behave yourself properly. 

The Witness: Am I misbehaving myself, sir? 

Mr Strode: You certainly need not have given us the unnecessary information that you had no eyes at the back of your head. 

Cross-examination continued: I will not deliberately swear that the defendant struck me from behind; but I am under the impression that he did so. He certainly did not accost me before he struck me; I heard his words as he gave me the blow. He did not then refer to my having assaulted him at the Clutha Ferry; but he did so afterwards. I will not swear that he was not beside me when he struck me; I only know that he did not come in front of me. I can't tell with what part of the whip he struck me, for I did not see it. Oh! yes, I felt it. Did I give him any provocation? When? "Within a reasonable period?" I don't know; I would rather you would name the time. No, not in April; I think it was on the 30th of March, or it might have been the 28th or the 29th. What provocation did I give him? I whipped him. 

Mr Strode: You mean, that you struck the defendant with a whip? 

The witness: Yes, sir. 

Cross-examination continued: No, it was not a similar whip to the one he whipped me with, quite different. If I am to explain the circumstances under which I whipped him, where would you like me to begin? At the place where I did it? I had better begin before that, perhaps, because he gave me provocation. 

Mr Smith: Did you not, on stepping out of the coach at the Clutha Ferry, rush upon Dr Smith, who was a bystander, and assault him with a whip? 

The witness: No, you are wrong. He was standing about two hundred yards from the coach, and standing in the centre of the road with another man. I walked up with a man who had been my overseer, who was waiting there with a whip for me. When I was within about twenty yards from that man, I borrowed the overseer's whip, and gave him my stick. Then I took hold of the man by the collar, and I whipped him. Yes, after that, he assaulted me yesterday. I am not aware that I did anything but sit on him after I had knocked him down yesterday. I did not kick him, that I will swear. Perhaps he fell upon some stones, and so thought that he felt me kicking him. 

Mr Strode said that it was high time that a stop should be put to these unseemly exhibitions in the public streets. Persons moving in the positions of life of the complainant and defendant really ought to know better than behave in such a manner. If they would quarrel, they should not insult the public by fighting in the principal street of the city. An assault had been admitted, and a pretty exhibition the affair seemed to have been altogether. The Bench would mark their sense of such conduct, by fining the defendant £5, including costs. There was evidently a strong feeling still between the parties, and he had no doubt that this would not be the last of the affair, unless the parties were restrained. So the Magistrates would take upon themselves to require each party to give security — himself in £100, and two sureties in £50 each — for keeping the peace for six months. The parties would have to find the sureties before leaving the Court. 

This was done in a few minutes; and the Court was adjourned.  -Timaru Herald, 14/7/1866.


The Dunedin police reports contain a somewhat singular case. Mr John Gibson Smith, who is a surgeon, was charged with assaulting Mr Charles de Vere Teschemaker, who is a squatter. From the evidence it appears that while the squatter was going along Princes-street, Dunedin, the Surgeon, who cherished some old grudge, hit him with a stick. The squatter, however, gave as good as he got, to judge from his account of the affair, which is so cool in its way that we extract it: “Charles de Vere Teschemaker said — Between one and two o’clock yesterday — or twelve and one, but I really don’t know which - I was crossing Princes-street, when some one came up behind and struck me. I turned round, and as the person who struck me went by me, I saw that it was that man there. So I knocked him down - and in order to keep him until a policeman came up I sat upon him. I didn’t want to have to knock him down again. He struck me with a whip, I believe. No policeman came, and as the crowd interfered in his behalf, and I wasn’t able to keep him and give him in charge. I was struck from behind, and I did not see the man until he had struck me. No; the blow wasn’t a very severe one. Yes; I sat upon him till the people interfered. I know it would be troublesome to knock the man down again; and, therefore, I wish the Court to settle the matter now.”

Charles de Vere Teschemaker reminds us of Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison, who being a very powerful man, would not fight a duel, but thrashed all his enemies with a thick cane. It is only people possessed of enormous biceps who can knock a man down in such offhand style, and the ability to sit upon an opponent to keep him quiet, implies that the sitter must be tolerably heavy. Has no enterprising photographer immortalised Mr Teschemaker as he serenely sat upon Mr Smith’s prostrate form in the chief street of Dunedin? “Be always ready with the pistol” was the dying advice of a distinguished Irishman, which in a modified way, Mr Teschemaker follows, by being always ready with fist and whip. But he is equally ready with the tongue, because, on his being asked under cross-examination “ whether he was quite sure that he had been assaulted from behind?” he replied: — “Well I certainly didn’t see him in front of me, and I was under the impression that he must have been behind me. No; I don’t swear it positively. I haven’t eyes in the back of my head; so I can’t, you know.” It seems that in March last, and from his evidence we learn that the operation was conducted in the following manner: — “Dr. Smith was about 200 yards, from the coach at the Clutha ferry, and standing on the centre of the road with another man. I walked up with a man who had been my overseer, who was waiting there with a whip for me. When I was within 20 yards of that man, I borrowed the overseer’s whip, and gave him my stick. Then I took hold of the man by the collar, and I whipped him. Yes, after that, he assaulted me yesterday. I am not aware that I did anything but sit on him after I had knocked him down, yesterday. I did not kick him — that I will swear. Perhaps he fell upon stones, and thought that he felt me kicking him.” We think the unlucky Doctor might have been let off with a very moderate fine. He had been whipped in March, then knocked down and sat upon in July, while it seems the assault he committed on Mr Teschemaker was of the most trifling character. However the Magistrates fined the Doctor £5, and fearing that he and the squatter might have it out again, bound them both over to keep the peace.  -Marlborough Press, 1/8/1866.

No. 3: "...both gentlemen being in town..."

A case of horsewhipping took place in Princes street on Thursday afternoon. It appears that some scandal had been put in circulation regarding a Mr McKenzie, of Deep Dell station, near Waihemo, who traced it to Mr W. A. Low, of Galloway station. Both gentlemen being in town, McKenzie met Low in company with some other gentlemen, in Princes street, stepped up and asked him to step aside; some words took place, which resulted in McKenzie giving Low a regular thrashing with his whip, which lasted until one of the bystanders, thinking he had had enough, interfered. The case was to come before the Magistrate, but was compromised.   -Grey River Argus, 9/6/1870.

No. 4: news from the north - "serve him right"

A Napier telegram in the 'Evening News' says: — "There is great excitement amongst the publicans, caused through the Rev. J. Parkin stating at a Good Templar soiree that in travelling through Napier he saw brazen-faced and painted-up women presiding at bars, handing to men that drink which would keep souls in degradation, which caused unhappy homes, and at length hurried their poor victims into an untimely grave. The publicans raised subscriptions to defray Court expenses should any one be fined for horsewhipping this clergyman for his statement. As there are no barmaids in the Napier public-houses, Parkin has retracted the statement in the 'Telegraph' to-night, and says he did not intend to apply his remarks to Napier. One publican's wife went to Parkin's house, and gave him a great tongue-thrashing." Serve him right.   -Bruce Herald, 22/2/1876.

No. 5:  "Alas! poor poodle!"

Passing Notes

Some time ago there shone in print a skit on a distinguished military gentleman, which the latter considered libellous, and began an action for libel. The paper published an apology, which, however, the gallant captain considered insufficient. Accordingly, on his return to Dunedin a few days ago he announced his intention of horsewhipping the offending writer. He lounged about town, armed with a gigantic whip, with which to execute his dread intent. Not meeting his adversary in the streets, he went to the office and was ushered into the sanctum. "I come to demand an instant apology." The gentleman to whom the speech was addressed begged the captain to explain as he didn't know what he meant. The gallant officer (he served in the Franco-Prussian war — or says he did) then started a set speech about his having come to administer a well-deserved castigation, - producing at the word 'castigation' a whip from under his coat. Before he knew what he was about he received one between the eyes which felled him to the ground. He got upon his feet, and received another precisely similar, and he fell with such a crash that the companionship of the office, the number of fourteen, rushed into the room to see what was the matter. The military officer had to apologise abjectly in the presence of all assembled, and then left with his whip, feeling no doubt much like that shearer who went to shear but came home shorn. Moral: "Don't try to horse whip a man unless you're quite certain you can lick him if he shows fight." Alas! poor poodle!   -Otago Witness, 30/6/1877.

No. 6: "...certain private improprieties..."


One of those cases which tend to expose private concerns and do no good to the litigants, came on for hearing at the City Police Court on Saturday last, before I. N. Watt, Esq.,R.M. The defendant in the action was Henry Solomon; the complainant, Isaac Abrahams. The charge was one of assault. Mr McGregor appeared for Solomon, who pleaded guilty under mitigating circumstances. Briefly stated, the evidence of the complainant, Abrahams, was to this effect: On Thursday evening last while going down High street in company with Joseph Solomon and Albert Cohen he was attacked by defendant, who dealt him several blows on the head with the butt end of a whip. In order to get out of the reach of the aggressor, he sought safety in flight and the Empire Hotel. This was all the evidence in the examination in chief. The cross-examination showed that the complainant had accused Solomon of certain private improprieties, and also with having informed against him (Abrahams) for illicit distilling. Messrs Joseph Solomon and Albert Cohen corroborated the evidence given relative to the committal of the assault, and this closed the case for the prosecution. The defendant's counsel then addressed the Court on behalf of his client. He urged that Solomon had committed the assault under provocation. He had recently come to Dunedin, and heard that the complainant had been making certain statements regarding him, and took legal advice as to his remedy against complainant. Finding that he had no legal remedy, and subsequently hearing of further statements of a provoking character made by Abrahams, the defendant got a whip, and went in search of his supposed maligner. On discovering him, defendant did inflict upon him one or two strokes, but not with the intention of doing him any injury. He wished merely to get his case inquired into, seeing he had no other remedy, and of making the facts public. The defendant, on being sworn, gave the following evidence: — "On my arrival in Dunedin on Saturday last, I was informed that complainant (Abrahams) had made certain statements affecting my character, both in branding me as a common informer, and with also hinting at my having committed one of the basest crimes the criminal calendar can show. This statement was made by Abrahams in the house of my parents, so that I could not then offer him any violence. He went away to Palmerston, and I understood remained there until Thursday evening. On his return, I heard of his using more statements against me but what aggravated me most was that I heard that he had, while a guest in my parents' house, been speaking on most immoral subjects to children almost — at any rate, to girls 15 or 16 years of age. On hearing this I took out a whip, and on finding him near Watson's Hotel, I got hold of him by the shoulder, and saying, 'You mean hound,' or 'You scoundrel, I will teach you to go on as you have,' gave him three or four lashes. It was with a view of having an opportunity of denying these statements on oath that I whipped him. I now swear them to be a pure fabrication; more than that, I consulted Mr Stout with a view of bringing an action for slander against Abrahams, but he told me I had no legal remedy unless I could show that these reports had actually caused me injury to my business or reputation." The complainant cross examined the defendant, who stated that this was not the first time he had been in a criminal Court. He had three years ago been charged with forgery, and acquitted, the Judge acquiescing in the verdict. He denied that he had been accused by his sister-in law Rosa of immorality towards her. Nathan Hart was called for the defence, but his evidence amounted to "nil." His Worship, in delivering judgment, said there appeared to be considerable animosity between the parties, but as the complainant asserted he was in bodily fear, it was his (the Magistrate's) duty, in the interests of public peace, to call upon him to find sureties for a limited period until the quarrel had subsided. He was, however, of opinion that the complainant had made himself very busy in a matter which concerned him in no way, even though it was all true. The defendant had received considerable provocation, but had no right to take the law into his own hands. His Worship then imposed a fine of 20s and costs, and ordered defendant to enter into sureties to keep the peace for three months — himself in L10, and two sureties of L5 each.  -Otago Witness, 20/4/1878.

Dunedin Gossip

Rather an amusing case of horsewhipping came under the notice of the Police Court the other day. A Mr Solomon — this time by no means the wisest of men — had chastised in the open street, though not very severely, one Isaac Abrahams. These are names we all more or less have been taught to revere, but the present owners of them seem inclined to lend proof to the prophecy that "descendants of the true seed shall be a bye-word and a reproach among men." Abrahams had lived in the house of Solomon's parents for a time, and they had been on terms of great intimacy. The circumstances which led to the quarrel are briefly somewhat as follows, and it is noticeable that the two appear to have moved in quite a criminal atmosphere: — Abrahams was owner or part owner of an illicit still in Oamaru, and in consequence of some allegations he threw out about Solomon's wife having taken money from Solomon's till, the wife in question — who figures afterwards and was known to the Court as Rosa — and Solomon proceeded to inform the authorities about the still business. Abrahams, however, was in possession of a secret that gave him a grand opening for revenge. He declared that he had been told by Rosa that Solomon had drugged and seduced her. He thereupon began to make this known both to parties interested and uninterested. Solomon heard it, and was of course indignant, but not indignant enough yet to use the horsewhip. His blood boiled within him on hearing that Abrahams had been making use of immoral and indecent talk to girls in his parents' house. He then sought out Abrahams and lashed him sufficiently, as he says, to cause the information to be laid, so that he might have a chance of denying the foul aspersions upon his character in open Court. The complete manner in which he cleared himself may be judged of from the fact that it came out that he had been accused, by a letter from his brother, of the crime against Rosa (that brother's wife) with which he was charged, so that, whether true or not, Rosa has apparently complained to her husband about it. Besides that, he admitted having been under trial for forgery about three years ago, although he was careful to inform the open Court that he was found not guilty by the jury, and that the judge concurred in the verdict. Altogether, the case was by no means a sweet one; for, while one of the parties interested had owned an illicit still and was accused of immoral conversation to girls, and the other had been upon trial for forgery and was accused of indecent conduct towards his brother's wife, it came out accidentally that the brother's wife had been accused of till robbery. Solomon, for the assault, was fined £l, and Abrahams had the consolation of hearing from the magistrate that if he could have proved the charge against Solomon he should have informed the police, while, if he could not prove it, he was guilty of absurdly foolish conduct, and of interfering in a business that did not concern him, when he went about talking scandal over it.  -Cromwell Argus, 23/4/1878.

No 7: "worthless men and abandoned women"


The City Police Court, presided over by I. N. Watt, Esq., R. M., was occupied during the greater part of yesterday with the hearing of a charge of assault and battery, preferred by J. G. S. Grant against Alexander H. Logan. 

Mr Haggitt appeared for the defendant, and pleaded Not guilty. 

Complainant: I appear as counsel for the prosecution. 

His Worship : You cannot do that. 

Complainant: I appear as my own lawyer. 

His Worship: You can appear in person. 

Complainant: Then I appear in propria personae. On the 22nd of the month — Easter Monday — I left the Athenaeum...

 His Worship: Appearing in person, you are not entitled to make an address, but you can give evidence, and will have to be sworn. 

Complainant: Of course, your Worship, I bow to your jurisdiction as knowing the forms of the Court, but I came here under the apprehension that I appeared in a dual capacity. His Worship: You cannot appear in a dual capacity. Complainant: Then I bow to your decision. I suppose I must go into the witnessbox. 

James Gordon Stuart Grant, sworn, deposed: I left the Athenaeum on Monday night, the 22nd current, at about twenty minutes to eight, and proceeded up Stuart stuart, and turned round at the corner of Stuart street into Smith street. After turning the corner I saw a suspicious-looking man skulking by a gate. The night was dark, and I looked at him and passed on. After turning into York Place the defendant — or I should call him the prisoner at the bar, for I have laid a criminal information — came up to me and saluted me "Good evening, sir." I returned the usual salutation and passed on. Then I felt myself violently caught by the throat. The accused laid on me with what I believed to be a stick. While striking me he said. "I will make you suffer for what you said about Mr Stout." I felt excruciating pain, and of course I roared out. A Mr Christie, who lived close at hand, came out, and accused said to him, "Mr Grant knows why he got it." I managed to crawl home. My left hand was all swollen and blackened, as it is now; my side was all the colours of the rainbow; and there was a gash on the knee of my right leg. 

Cross-examined by Mr Haggitt: The affair began on the public street. The thing was so instantaneous that I can hardly say whether the defendant passed me or not. I was seized by the throat, but front or back I could not tell. The night was dark, and I had felt gloomy all the evening, as if something were going to happen. I generally have a prognostication of these things. 

Mr Haggitt: You have had experience of these things before? — I have had experience of many things.

Mr Haggitt: Not of a horse-whipping before? — It was not a horse-whipping at all; it was a beating with a stick. It was a stout instrument no doubt, the motive was "Stout" in the extreme. 

Mr Haggitt: I presume you have often been subjected to similar attack? — I have been assaulted before, and have even been threatened over this very matter by another person. But it was done bravely under the broad sun of noonday. That apostle of morality, Mr Bright's secretary, was present. 

The Magistrate: I cannot allow this. Mr Grant, I cannot allow this Court to be the medium of insulting persons not connected with this case. 

Examination continued: I was assaulted by Inspector Morton once; by Mr Turtun, never; nor by Mr R. B. Martin in the presence of the Judges. I was assaulted once by Henningham, when I called him the Otago stork, and he is now dead. 

Mr Haggitt: On all these occasions the attack upon you has been the result of a too free use of your pen?— They have been the outcome of my satire. I admit my pen is satirical. I am asked to comment on public matters, and when my writings stir up bile I am not supported. 

Mr Haggitt: You are not supported, but horsewhipped? — I don't like the term "horsewhipped." 

Mr Haggitt: Well, say assaulted and beaten. 

Witness: Public men are public property. I am prepared to prove my statements in the article are fair. I am justified in using my pen to put down scowling blasphemy.

Mr Haggitt: Did you write this article on the back of a pamphlet, "The Wages of Blasphemy"?

Witness: Yes, and proceded to sell copies of the pamphlet up to the day of assault. But Stout sent a bullying letter to my printer, which caused him to burn the rest of them, which he had no right to do. But Stout has nothing else to do for his £1500 a year. 

The Magistrate again interfered, cautioning Mr Grant that, if not careful, he would have him committed. 

Examination continued: I would continue to sell the pamphlets if I had more of them. I only wish every man in the Colony had one of them. The articles referred to Bright's lectures. I do not know that defendant attended them. I have been there myself. I know defendant's father has attended them, and his mother. I did not know his sister or wife had been at them. 

Mr Haggitt: Do you know that all the persons in the habit of attending them are more or less friendly? - I do not know anything about that. I suppose all attending them under the plea of religion or infatuation are friends — at any rate not enemies. I know ladies attend them, or what are conventionally called both ladies and gentlemen — not what would be called ladies and gentlemen in the Old Country. 

Mr Haggitt: Is this your writing — "Every Sunday evening worthless men and abandoned women congregate in a theatre to listen to a foul tirade against the religion of Christ"?

Witness: Yes, clearly. By "worthless and abandoned women" I mean that they are spiritually abandoned and worthless, not sensually so. 

Mr Haggitt: Then I ask you what this means, and if it is your writing also — "When a man makes shipwreck of his faith he soon becomes a worthless person indeed; but when a woman loses her religion she will very soon lose her virtue also"? 

Witness: I wrote that. The logical sequence of that is this: All true virtue is founded on religion, and if religion is thrown off, then all the bonds of morality and virtue are broken. 

Mr Haggitt: In what sense do you mean that they lose morality and virtue? — In the widest sense, if you like. I said it was the result of denying religion, and we are at present seeing examples of it: free thought following free sticks. Of course, what I received I understood was the result to the article. He took care to let me know that.

Mr Haggitt: Do you think a man generally submits to having his mother and wife called abandoned women? — A logical abstraction does not imply a special reference. If I say Dunedin is morally worthless, I am not to be understood as saying Mr Haggitt is morally worthless, unless Mr Haggitt chooses to fit the cap on himself. If Mr Logan had came to me and explained that he considered himself insulted, I would at once have exonerated his relatives from a share in my condemnations. I have known Mr Logan's mother for many years, and know her to be a most estimable lady. I was grieved indeed to see her carried away by so degrading a superstition. I did refer by name in my article to Logan, sen., and Stout. 

Mr Haggitt: Could anyone, reading your article, know that you had made a mental reservation about Mr Logan's and Mr Stout's relatives? — I cannot supply brains to people reading my articles. 

Mr Haggitt: And we cannot supply brains to the person writing them. But to go back to the alleged assault: Did not Mr Logan strike you with a whip? - He struck me with a stout instrument. I do not know where he hit me first; it is possible my hand got hurt in trying to shield other parts of my body, for I did the best I could to protect myself.

Mr Haggitt: Was it the most painful of the beatings you have received? — Well, I have had excruciating pain ever since. I was struck by Inspector Morton on the temple and was stunned; but the after effects were not so painful as those I have experienced on this occasion. 

Mr Haggitt: Will it have an influence on your writings in future about Mr Logan and his relatives? — I write, sir, as a logician and a philosopher. It will have no effect whatever on me. 

Mr Haggitt: Had not the beatings you formerly received from persons you attacked the effect of causing you to cease attacking them? - No; they had no such effect. They are all dead now except this one (glancing to Mr Logan). I attacked those people again undeterred by personal violence. The article following Inspector Morton's attack on me was very severe. Your memory is bad when you say R. B. Martin assaulted me; he protected me from assault in the theatre in the presence of Judge Richmond and Judge Chapman, and Mr Branigan, and six constables escorted me to my door on that occasion. 

Mr Haggitt: Yes; I was coming to Mr Gillies.

Witness: Of what use is it. Not that I care; you may cross-examine me till crack of doom if you like. I have a good memory. 

Mr Haggitt: Did not Mr Gillies assault you on board the Melbourne steamer? — No; I know that cock-and-bull story was spread. I suppose it must refer to the time when I came over at the request of your Otago Government to initiate your educational machinery; and nicely I was treated. But the story about the assault is an unmitigated falsehood; it is as false as hell. 

Mr Haggitt: And is that false!? — Yes. 

Mr Haggitt: Then where are they to go who... — They'll go where the disciples of Freethought will go, probably. 

Mr Haggitt: You have taken proceedings for assaults upon you before? — Yes; Morton's assault stupified me. The case was proved, and the Bench inflicted merely a nominal fine — just what I expect in the present case.

Mr Haggitt: Then the verdict of the Bench and public was, "Served him right"? — I am not in the secrets of the public. 

Mr Grant called Wm. Ball, his landlord, who deposed to having seen the bruises upon the complainant and to having gone for Drs Murphy and De la Zouche. Dr Murphy was the next witness, and previous to being sworn asked who was to pay his expenses. 

Mr Grant: I apprehend if this case goes against me, you will have to look to me. 

The Magistrate: In the first place, you must look to the person subpeonaing you. The witness deposed to having been called to attend Mr Grant, and described his injuries. He thought it hardly possible that the whip produced could have caused the injuries. 

Dr De la Zouche was also called, and made the same inquiry with regard to expenses as the previous witness. He thought the whip produced would have caused the injuries. 

Alexander Christie had heard the noise of scuffling in front of his house, and had heard Logan use words to the effect, "I'll teach you to make such statements about me or my family." In reply to prosecutor, he said some person afterwards came across the street and joined defendant, but he knew the prisoner only by sight, not by name. The person was a slender man. He could not describe him physically. 

Mr Grant: I suppose Minerva covered him with her golden canopy. 

The Magistrate called Mr Grant's attention to the fact that this was a reflection upon his own witness. 

Mr Haggitt: Only a reflection upon Minerva, your Worship. 

Mr Grant called Mr Robert Stout as his next witness. 

Mr Haggitt stated that he had received a letter from Mr Stout, who explained that he could not attend as he was engaged in a case in the Supreme Court, but would be willing to come, if the Court thought fit, during the interval. But Mr Stout urged as a reason why he should not be required to give evidence that he had not been properly served with subpoena aooording to the Justices of the Peace Act, and also that he knew nothing whatever about the case. 

Mr Grant: I wish to ask your Worship a question. Could you not summon the Prince of Wales before you? 

The Magistrate: Yes, I think I could. 

Mr Grant: Then I consider my case as important as any in the Supreme Court. I make it a necessary and indispensable condition that Mr Robert Stout shall appear in this case.

The Magistrate referred to the Justices of the Peace Act.

Mr Grant: Let Mr Haggitt send for Mr Stout. He is only engaged in a paltry civil case, and must not be allowed to take refuge under his office as a Minister of the Crown. There was no creature in the Colony too insignificant to fill that office. 

Mr Haggitt: He is not taking refuge under that office.

The Magistrate read the clause of the Justices of the Peace Act, and said it appeared that it must be proved that a witness must be likely to give material evidence before a warrant could be issued, and it must also be decided that he had offered no reasonable excuse. The prosecutor must swear to proper service of summons, and also that reasonable expenses had been tendered to the witness. He handed the Act to Mr Grant for his perusal. After perusing it, Mr Grant said he had read it carefully and critically; and in the first place he had to remark that as regarded proper service of the subpoena, that must rest with the Magistrate himself. 

The Magistrate: No; with the Clerk. 

Mr Grant: Well, did you issue this summons in the usual way, Mr Clerk?

Clerk: Yes.

Mr Grant: Then there is no fault there. Mr Stout refuses to come because he is at the Supreme Court. That is no just excuse when the life and liberty of a British subject are at stake. 

The Magistrate: I must, in this inferior Court, take it as a reasonable excuse for nonattendance that a witness is engaged as an officer of the Supreme Court. You have not replied about compliance with the section. Mr Haggitt has given me sufficient grounds on which to adjourn the case for the convenience of the witness.

Mr Grant: Can your Worship issue a warrant? 

The Magistrate: If you make out compliance with the section of the Act. You must prove the service of the summons. 

Mr Grant: I paid for the summons. The Court should know whether it was properly served. 

The Magistrate: No; not the Court; the police. 

Mr Grant: Then am I to go out and search the highways and byways till I find a policeman? 

The Inspector of Police was then asked to supply the information, but the Clerk directed the Magistrate's notice to an affidavit on the back of the summons that it had been properly served. 

Mr Watt said this was sufficient proof of service. 

Mr Haggitt said Mr Grant could only wish to cause annoyance to Mr Stout. He should be asked to say in what way Mr Stout's evidence was material. 

Mr Grant: How can you tell whether his evidence is material till I have him in the box? It is a fair presumption that his evidence is material that I have summoned him. How can I state what he is to prove when he is not here either to affirm or deny? It would be only beating the air. 

The Magistrate: You might in the same way ask me to come down and give evidence. The thing would be unreasonable. 

Mr Grant: Oh no. I would never think of bringing a Judge from the Bench into the witness-box. But Mr Stout is not a Judge, although I have no doubt he will yet even don the wig. 

The Magistrate: Are you prepared to prove that a reasonable sum was tendered for expenses? 

Mr Grant: What is a reasonable sum for Mr Stout? He is paid at £1500 a year, and I might not be able to afford what would be a reasonable sum to him. Well, there is no use in factious opposition. I have no golden key to bring Mr Stout here, but I can tell Mr Haggitt why I want him in the box. I have a moral conviction amounting to certainty that — 

The Magistrate: Well, we cannot hear anything about that. 

Mr Grant: Will your Worship permit me to say why I want Mr Stout in the box? The reason in plain terms is: I wish to ask Mr Stout on oath if he did not send his brother-in-law to assault me that night. 

The Magistrate: I could not allow that question. You ought to know well enough that it is one of the first principles of British law that a man cannot be asked to criminate himself.

Mr Grant: Well, Mr Stout may go to his own place. If I had put the question the demeanour of the man would have been its answer.

This concluded the case for the plaintiff. 

Mr Haggitt, for the defence, had to submit that the summons should be dismissed on the ground that the charge was one of unlawfully assaulting and beating, while the assault in this case was not an unlawful one, but one perfectly lawful and justifiable under the circumstances.

Mr Grant called counsel to order. No assault could be lawful under any circumstances whatever. 

Mr Haggitt laid down the monstrous proposition that a man could be assaulted in the dark under cover of the law.

The Magistrate: Under certain circumstances. 

Mr Grant contended that it could be lawful under no circumstances.

The Magistrate: What if one man were to shoot another in the dark in self defence? 

Mr Grant: Oh! In self defence. Well, that is a different thing. 

Mr Haggitt continued that Mr Grant admitted and appeared to glory in the fact that he was the author of the article "Wages of Blasphemy," which contained the foulest and most malignant libel on Mr Logan's relatives. It was of such a nature that Mr Logan had absolutely no remedy at law, and he was therefore justified in taking the remedy into his own hands. He did not know if His Worship had read the article. 

Mr Grant: Oh; read it. 

Mr Haggitt: No, I don't want to bo the means of publishing your libels, even in a court of justice, where I cannot be punished for doing it. 

The Magistrate: I have read it. 

Mr Haggitt then went on to quote portions of the article, and having read these words — 

Mr Grant said: That, sir, is Scriptural phraseology, if you know your Bible. 

The Magistrate: It may be libellous, notwithstanding. 

Mr Haggit went on to show that as the libel was not on Mr Logan himself, he was debarred from a remedy at law; but it was upon the female members of his family, and the only names mentioned in it were those of his relatives. It injured him in his tenderest feelings. It classed those near and dear to him as "abandoned women," and as having "lost religion and virtue." His only remedy was a resort to personal violence. He (Mr Haggitt) was not going to deny that personal punishment was inflicted, but the punishment was justified and not unlawful, just as much so as if it had been given in his client's own defence. He also put this view of the matter before the Court. Could a man come and say, "I have published a libel, which is calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, and having provoked that breach, I now come to ask for the protection of the law"?

Mr Grant interrupted. Such a proposition was monstrous. He could not sit still and hear such things. 

The Magistrate: Mr Haggitt is not going in any way beyond bounds. You are not compelled to sit and hear what he says. You may leave the Court if you please. 

Mr Haggitt would promise not to hurt Mr Grant's feelings again. 

Mr Grant: Oh, you are not hurting my feelings; you are only exposing yourself. 

Mr Haggitt, then, would not expose himself. But, he reiterated, could a man who commits an offence, afterwards ask the protection of the law from the consequences which the offence was calculated to produce? Another aspect of the matter was that even if the law protected him, only the smallest possible penalty should be inflicted. He should call evidence to show that Mr Logan's mother and sister were in the habit of attending those lectures, and he would direct attention to the fact that the article made no exception of persons. 

Mr Grant quarrelled with this interpretation, but said he should not interrupt Mr Haggitt again. He had no idea of morality or religion. 

Mr Haggitt said the article was quite general in its accusations. It made no exceptions, nor was there any apparent intention to make exceptions. Mr Logan had a right to consider the libel was aimed at his relatives. And feeling thus insulted, without a remedy at law, he took a whip to Mr Grant, not with the wish to inflict upon him permanent injury, but only to cause him such annoyance and discomfort as would occasion him to think twice before he repeated the offence. He (Mr Haggitt) believed the beating would have the desired result. Experience had shown that the only way to keep that satirical pen quiet was to frighten its wielder by personal violence.

Mr Grant protested against this line of pleading.

The Magistrate: You must keep order, Mr Grant. 

Mr Grant: He makes lies.

The Magistrate: Mr Haggitt has not in any way exceeded the license of counsel. 

Mr Grant: He has exceeded the truth.

Mr Haggitt repeated that it had been found in practice that the only way of stopping Mr Grant's pen and tongue was to break Mr Grant's skin. He would not say that if Mr Grant repeated the offence, Mr Logan would not repeat the punishment. He called:

John Dick, of the firm of Mills, Dick, and Co. He had seen the article referred to, and knew many who attended Mr Bright's lectures. Defendant's mother, sister, wife, and sister-in law attended them. 

To Mr Grant: I have refused to print for you. 

Mr Grant: Will Mr Haggitt take notice of this question? He has insinuated that I have been deterred from commenting on persons through personal violence. Do you remember, Mr Dick, having to pay £5 and make an apology about an article of mine you printed regarding Dr Stuart and Knox Church? — I do. 

Mr Grant: And when I asked you to print another article, did you not refuse? — I did refuse, but it was because you did not pay up. 

Mr Grant: No, no: that was not the reason at all. Of what religious persuasion are you? Were you not baptized into the Baptist Church? Are you not a disciple of Charles Bright? — I do not see that I am called on to answer. 

Mr Grant: Have you not renounced the Christian religion? — I have nothing more to say.

Thomas Bracken gave evidence to the effect that he had seen Mr Logan's relations at Mr Bright's lectures. He could see nothing in the article excepting any persons from the imputations. 

Mr Grant: As a public journalist, and liable to be treated as I have been, I wish you to say whether you can take a special reference from a general proposition? — No; but I told you the article was a scurrilous effusion, and that you ought to be ashamed Mr Grant.

If I say that those attending a lecture are worthless men and abandoned women, does it follow that you as an attendant are so? — Well, I am included, I suppose. 

Mr Grant: Do you consider the article a scurrilous effusion? — Yes; most certainly.

Mr Grant: I wish it was printed in golden characters and put on marble on every porch of every Christian church in the universe.

Mr Haggitt said that was the whole of his case.

The Magistrate, after consideration, delivered judgment as follows: — I have no hesitation in coming to one of two conclusions. If I did what I consider would be abstract justice, I should dismiss the case with costs against the complainant; but as I have to administer the law as I find it, I must decide to the best of my ability according to the law. No doubt the complainant has broken the law in libelling the attendants at the lectures, and, in doing so, he has wounded the accused in his tenderest feelings; and for this he (the accused) has no practical remedy save by the method he has taken. This, however, in my opinion, does not by any means legalise the assault; nor does one wrong justify another in the sight of the law. The accussed is fined 1s, and ordered to pay the costs of the Court, 34s. 

Mr Grant: I would call your attention to the fact that Mr Haggitt has stated the defendant has an intention of assaulting me again.

The Magistrate: I think you are rather overstating it. 

Mr Grant: Well, I ask that he be bound over to keep the peace towards me for twelve months. By that time some of us may perhaps be removed out of the way. 

The Magistrate: You will have to lay a proper information, and ask the Court to bind him over for such time as it may think fit.

Mr Grant: Well, it is too insignificant a thing for me to take any more notice of it.  -Otago Daily Times, 26/4/1878.

No. 8: "well known in shipping circles"

Horsewhipping seems to be the fashionable way now-a-days of seeking redress for being publicly maligned. As our telegrams have informed us, the Timaru correspondent and the proprietors of a society paper published in Christchurch have recently been subjected to this kind of treatment; and last night a person in Dunedin, who, it is alleged, acts as correspondent of the paper, received slight chastisement. A gentleman well known in shipping circles, accompanied by a gentleman equally well known in mercantile circles, interviewed a vendor of fruits, who is also an agent for the journal in question, shortly after dusk, with the result that the news-agent, who claims to have "a sweet-sounding name," admitted writing for the paper; and added, jocularly it may be presumed, that he was one of the proprietors. Thereupon the younger of the two interviewers proceeded to inflict bodily punishment with a whip on the shopkeeper, remarking that he had been looking out for his libeller for a fortnight. It is stated that after one or two blows had been struck the shopkeeper told his aisailant that he was unable to defend himself on account of physical infirmity, made sorry sort of apology, and gave his interviewers to understand that the paragraph that had excited their indignation was contributed by someone else. If the affair goes before the City Bench, as is threatened, some interesting disclosures may be anticipated.  -Evening Star, 11/8/1881.


At the Police Court this morning Edwin Marlow, a shipping clerk, was charged on the infortmation of Walter Edward Rose, a correspondent of ihe 'Liberty,' with assaulting him by striking him on the back with a riding-whip. 

Mr Macdonald appeared for the complainant, and Mr MacDermott for the defendant.

Mr Macdonald said that complainant was an assistant for Mr Larmer, fruiterer, George street, and while he was serving in the shop on the 10th ult. defendant came in, armed with a horsewhip, and struck him three or four blows across the back. Before doing this the defendant accused him of writing some scurrilous articles in a newspaper called the 'Liberty.' Complainant said that he never wrote the article complained of and knew nothing whatever about it; still in the face of that statement defendant inflicted on him bodily punishment. Complainant would swear that he knew nothing of this article and had never written any scurrilous article to the newspaper. That being so or not, the Court were asked to say whether it was right for a man to go about armed with a horsewhip and inflict punishment whenever he chose to take the law into his own hands. 

Walter Edward Rose, a fruiterer in business in Princes street, said that be was acting as shopman for Mr Larner, of George street, on the 10th inst., and that whilst in the shop on that day the defendant came in and asked he were the correspondent for the 'Liberty.' He said that he had corresponded for the paper. The defendant then asked if he had written an article referring to himself and Mr G. W. Eliott, and he (witness) told him that he had not. He had not written any of the items under the heading "Tittle Tattle"; in fact, he had never written any scurrilous matter. His contributions wore generally in rhyme. The defendant then said that at any rate he was connected with the paper, and that he would give him the soundest horsewhipping he had ever had in his life, and left the shop. In about an hour he returned, armed with a horsewhip, and though the complainant told him that he was crippled by rheumatism and unable to defend himself, he commenced to beat him about the back. Witness told him it was a dastardly and cowardly act of his to strike a man who was unable to defend himself. The defendant said he did not wish to hurt a hair of his head, and witness replied that that was evident, as he was striking him on the back. He was not a paid correspondent of the 'Liberty' but sold the papers. Messrs Macedo, Horsburgh, and Braithwaite were also agents for the 'Liberty.' He had contributed on several occasions to the column "Tittle Tattle." He had contributed a paragraph referring to a fellow employe of his in the Post Office. He had not got a horsewhipping for that, and did not expect one either, as he thought he had had enough. 

Mr MacDermott: Are there any other paragraphs in that column written by you? 

Witness: Am I to answer that question?

Mr MacDermott: Our case is that the complainant deserved a horsewhipping for contributing to this infamous paper, and that he got one.

His Worship: But you cannot expect us to assume that he is answerable for all the abuse or libel in it.

Mr MacDermott: The paper has contained the grossest and most infamous reflections on persons of high position and character. (To the witness:) To cut it short, are there any other regular Dunedin correspondents besides yourself? — There are a dozen, I believe.

You make part of your living by giving circulation to this infamous paper? — Part of my living by selling it as an agent, and shall continue to do so.

Did you say you had the honor of being a part proprietor and a principal contributor to this paper? —Most assuredly not. I am not a contributor now, but I intend to be again. 

Mr MacDermott: I should recommend you to look out then.

This was the complainant's case. 

Mr MacDermott said there was no doubt that his client had taken the law into his own hands, but he had done so to protect his own and the private lives of others. The law did not justify assaults, but there were a series of acts that it excused. The present case was one of them. According to the evidence, the complainant was the correspondent of a paper of the vilest and most scurrilous character, and one whose main object it was to attack the private lives of persons of high position and character. It was a very easy matter to peer into the private matters of ladies and others, and numbers in Dunedin had been abused in this way through these columns. The law had provided a penalty of one farthing to be awarded in certain cases, and he did not know of any in which it could be more properly applied than in this one. 

Mr Macdonald: The learned counsel's contention is that because a man contributes an article of a harmless nature he is to be held responsible for the whole conduct of the paper. 

His Worship: That any man connected with the paper, no matter how remotely, is to be held responsible for it. Counsel for the defence is speaking generally, as if he were addressing a jury; and you are not trusting much to the common sense of the Bench if you are afraid to allow him to speak. 

Mr MacDermott went on to say that the paper was "a stink-pot of literature," and a disgrace to the community. The law was not strong enough to put it down, and there was no way of suppressing it except by properly chastising those who took an active part in its production. Defendant had been insultingly referred to, and he was unmistakeably called upon by the public voice to take action as a man. There were also some paragraphs referring to his lady friends. 

His Worship: The Bench would have been more with you if he had acted in defence of a lady. They think he should have shown a silent contempt so far as he was himself concerned. 

Mr MacDermott contended that by inflicting a nominal penalty the Bench would show those connected with so infamous a paper that they could not carry it on with impunity. It was admitted that the complainant had received no bodily injury; he had simply answered for the insult passed on the defendant. 

Peter Cairns stated that he saw the complainant after he had been horsewhipped. Complainant told him that he was not physically injured, but that he had been grossly insulted. 

Edwin Marlow, the defendant, stated that his name had been introduced into the 'Liberty' in an insulting manner. On the 10th ult. he went into the shop where complainant was. The latter said that his name was Rose, and that he had the honor of being part proprietor of and a contributor to the paper. Witness then told him that he had been insulted, and would go and get a horsewhip to use across his shoulders. 

Mr Eliott also told complainant that he deserved a good whipping. On his return he struck complainant with the whip, and regretted that the fact of his being a cripple prevented him getting more. Complainant then expressed his regret at having been connected with the paper, and told witness that if he went and saw Herman or Daniels they might be able to tell him who contributed the offensive paragraph. Herman subsequently called on witness and asked him not to expose him before the people in the warehouse. He also stated that he was sorry for having contributed to the paper. 

G. W. Eliott was called, but did not appear. 

The Bench retired for a few minutes, and on returning Mr Simpson said that that the assault was proved and had been acknowledged. The point urged by the defence was that there was an excuse for the assault, and that the excuse was such that the Bench should do no more than nominally carry out the law. The Bench, in dealing with a case of this kind, must bear in mind that there were two dangers. The first danger was this: it seemed that the character of the newspaper was admitted, even by the complainant, to be scurrilous. Society were apparently determined not to tolerate such scurrilous papers; and the people connected with their publication if they irritated society might find society taking the law into their own hands. That seemed to be what the public here were doing. The Bench must also bear in mind that any person connected with the circulation of a society paper might run the risk of being punished innocently — even though he had nothing to do with the offensive paragraph complained of; and if that was to be allowed as an excuse for publicly taking the law into one's hands, he (His Worship) was afraid that serious results might follow, perhaps shedding of blood. He admitted that papers of this class were a disgrace to the community, and as the public seemed determined to put them down he was astonished that the Legislature were not moved to make a law to prevent their publication. It was quite true, as Mr Macdonald had pointed out, that persons who wrote innocent tittletattle, or comparatively harmless paragraphs — such as complainant claimed to have done, were not to be held responsible in law for what others had done. Put at the same time, as had been previously remarked, if any person took on himself to contribute to a paper of this sort he ran the risk of the public mixing him up with it and saying "Having been mixed with it you deserve to be punished.'' The Bench must take the legal view, that there was no excuse for a man taking the law into his own hands. They must, however, bear in mind that when a man like the complainant acknowledged that he had been connected with the paper to the extent that he had been a contributor and intended to be one — as to whether he said he was a part proprietor it was not necessary to consider — he ran a considerable risk. The Bench, looking at these two points, would not treat the case as suggested by counsel for the defence, even though they might sympathise with the defendant to an extent, and quite admitted that, being a nuisance to sooiety, the paper should be put down by the arm of the law. But in view of the great danger that might result were they to tolerate any interference by lynch law, a fine of 20s and costs would be inflicted, which would meet the circumstances if the case.  -Evening Star, 1/9/1881.

No. 9: "by the application of a horsewhip" 


It is not often that cases of horse-whipping occur in Dunedin, and when professional gentlemen constitute the dramatis persona: the circumstance becomes the more remarkable. Some excitement was occasioned in Manse street between ten and eleven o'clock this morning by the conduct of two well known members of the local Bar, and as the matter has been freely commented on during the day we place before our readers the facts that led to the occurrence. It seems that a deed of arrangement was prepared by Mr F. Fitchett by instructions of Jesse Millington, of South Dunedin, contractor, a debtor. The deed was objected to by one of the trustees representing the New Zealand Woodware and Timber Factories Company (Limited) until it should be perused by Mr Sievwright, the solicitor for the Company, and accordingly it was forwarded to that gentleman. Mr Sievwright was dissatisfied with the terms of the deed, and ordered a fresh one to be prepared by his draughtsman. This having been done the new deed was shown to Millington, but it proving unsatisfactory to him he yesterday morning took it round to his solicitor for advice. Thereupon Mr Fitchett called upon Mr Sievwright for an explanation, remarking that it was unprofessional and extraordinary for him to prepare a new deed without consulting the solicitor acting for the debtor. Mr Sievwright replied that he declined to discuss the matter, and ordered Mr Fitchett off his premises. Before leaving Mr Fitchett said that he required satisfaction, and would have it on the morrow by the application of a horsewhip. Soon after returning to his office Mr Fitchett received a letter from Mr Sievwright, who demanded an apology from Mr Fitchett for his gross misconduct, adding that if this were not forthcoming the next step would be taken by ten o'clock the next morning. Mr Fitchett replied that the apology would be in the shape of a horsewhipping, the marks of which would be legible on Mr S.'s back, and that would constitute the next step. Nothing further transpired until this morning, when, as Mr Sievwright was passing Mr Fitchett's place of business, the latter rushed out, and with a whip struok Mr Sievwright across the legs once, when he was seized and knocked down by Mr McNee, a valuator in the employ of Messrs Sievwright and Stout, who had apparently been near at hand. The whip was taken away, and Mr Fitchett was held to the ground. A few blows were struck, and the parties were then separated. Mr Fitchett has been summoned for common assault at the City Court to-morrow.  -Evening Star, 30/8/1882.

Saturday Gossip

Horsewhipping had almost gone out of date till Mr Fitchett revived it so pleasantly on the person of Mr Basil Sievwright, a brother lawyer, the other day, in Dunedin. I fancy Mr Fitchett’s code would make him rather a dangerons adviser to an injured individual. Why didn’t Mr Fitchett take a lesson, or two from the renowned Jem Mace? Then be might have had the double satisfaction of revenging himself, and advertising the merits of a deserving pugilist. Mr Fitchett ought to have lived in the iron or stone age — the age of brass is now going on. I once witnessed a horsewhipping case, a good many years ago, in which the horsewhipper came off second best, and he was about 18 inches taller than his victim, too! The Fitchetts are not to be trifled with — either the parson or the lawyer.  -South Canterbury Times, 2/9/1882.

We have received a letter, signed "Umpire," on the late horsewhipping case, justifying the expedient, and otherwise couched in terms so personal that we must decline to insert it. We have also received valong letter, on the same text, from Mr J. G. S. Grant, full of his personal wrongs and of attacks on other persons. Until Mr Grant can learn to write in a different style we must refuse to print his letters, which we are sure none of our readers wish to read.  -Otago Daily Times, 2/9/1882.

Mr Fitchett writes to the Star: — "When one solicitor publicly horsewhips another, it may be reasonably inferred that some grave reason exists, and in justice to myself I hope that you will give me space to say why I horsewhipped Mr Sievwright to-day. The facts are these: Last week Mr Jesse Millington instructed me to prepare a deed of arrangement for the benefit of his creditors. I did so, leaving the names of the trustees blank. A private meeting of creditors was called, and a resolution passed requesting Mr Millington to assign to Messrs Henderson, Gibbs, and Clarke. When the meeting was over, it appears that Mr Millington told the trustees-elect that  the deed had been prepared by me, whereupon most of them, to wit, Mr Anderson (manager for the Guthrie and Larnach Company) objected, and roundly asserted that the only man capable of drawing up a deed was Mr Sievwright. Mr Henderson probably spoke according to his lights. Be this as it may, it was ultimately determined that my deed should be taken to Mr Sievwright for perusal, and, at Mr Millington's request, I gave him the document (engrossed, but not examined) for that purpose. Mr Sievwright, it appears, was of opinion that this clause was scarcely full enough, in fine,that the simplest and cheapest plan would be for Messrs Sivewright, Stout, and Co. to prepare a new deed altogether. I knew nothing of this at the time; in fact, the first intimation I had was when Mr Millington came to my office yesterday with a fresh deed in his hand, prepared by Sievwright, Stout, and Co., and almost a verbatim copy of my own. I straightway interviewed Mr Sievwright, stated the facts so far as I knew them, and asked for an explanation. Mr Sievwright lost both dignity and temper, blankly declined to discuss the matter, and ordered me out of his office, whereupon I remarked that if I could not get an explanation I would assuredly have satisfaction by horsewhipping him. Later in the afternoon I received the following letter: 'Dunedin, 29th August, 1882. P. Fitchett, Esq., Solicitor, Dunedin. Sir, — Your gross misconduct to-day towards me in my office compels me to demand that you forthwith deliver to me a written apology. In the event of your failing to comply with this demand by 10 o'clock to-morrow morning I shall proceed to the next stop. I am, &c., Basil Sievwright.' To which I replied: 'Mr B. Sievwright, Dunedin. Sir, — I have your letter demanding a written apology, and will (D.V.) write it very legibly on your shoulders to-morrow through the medium of a horsewhip. This will constitute the next step. I am, &c., Fred Fitchett.' I know the outside public may very possibly see nothing conspicuously atrocious in Mr Sievwright's conduct in drawing the fresh deed without instructions from Mr Millington, and without a word of reference to me, but to the legal profession the fact needs merely to be stated in order to be properly appreciated."

(per united press association.) Dunedin, August 31. At the Police Court this morning, Mr Fitchett was fined 50s and costs for the assault on Mr Sievwright. The court was crowded during the hearing of the case.  -Wanganui Chronicle, 2/9/1882.

Another newspaper saw fit to publish Mr Fitchett's letter more completely - 

I would fain be charitable, and it may be that a good deal it to be pleaded in extenuation of his strangely unprofessional behavionr. It has been my painful duty, both professionally and in the interests of the public, to probe somewhat deeply into the affairs of the company of which he is a director and solicitcr. Mr Sievwright's position in the matter is not a happy one, and annoyance on this account, acting on a certain natural acidity of disposition for which he perhaps cannot be held responsible has possibly led him to forget for the moment the first principles of professional etiquette. If so, I trust his painful experience of to-day will serve to permanently impress on him both what is due to another solicitor, and what is due to a gentleman; if so, it will not have been in vain. I am, etc., 'FRED. FITCHETT.'  -Colonist, 6/9/1882.

No. 10: "a pretty barmaid plied the whip"

Horsewhipping a Ladykiller.

Per Press Association. Dunedin, September 3. A barmaid at one of the leading hotels, feeling insulted by some remark made to her yesterday by an individual notororious for his attention to the fair sex, told him he would hear more of it. She waited upon the alleged insulter this afternoon at his office, and producing a horsewhip from beneath her dress used it pretty freely across his face, neck, and shoulders, to such an extent that he did not consider flight ignominious. The affair has naturally caused a good deal of excitement.  -Manawatu Times, 4/9/1883.

Random Notes

I am not usually an advocate of taking the law into one's own hands, and obtaining satisfaction for personal wrong by the employment of physical force, but I confess that I chuckled consumedly the other day after reading a telegram from Dunedin announcing that a barmaid there had waited on a so-called "gentleman" at his office, and avenged herself for a foul insult by administering a sound horsewhipping. One of the most infamous of our social customs is that which places women behind hotel bars to dispense drink. America, a thoroughly wide-awake country, scouts this colonial idea as unbusinesslike and unworthy of a "live" people, and I take it that if Auckland hotelkeepers had the courage to brave the hostility of the nincompoops for whose patronage alone the barmaid is accountable, they would find themselves none the poorer at the end of twelve months. The fact of being behind a bar, however, is no sufficient excuse for the sickening insults which some men heap upon the defenceless minister to their cravings for liquid refreshment, and if a few more such fellows were pursued to their business places and thrashed, I apprehend that two excellent results would follow — first of all, the practice of employing barmaids would become a little less popular with hotelkeepers; and where they were employed the precincts of a bar would be somewhat less degrading to those who frequent such places than they are at present. The loafer after barmaids can be nothing less than a nuisance to the hotelkeeper and his regular customers.  -Auckland Star, 8/9/1883.

DUNEDIN. September 18. A reporter of the Evening Star was assaulted to-night. It is understood to be in connection with a paragraph recently inserted about a horsewhipping case. Law proceedings will probably eventuate.  -Oamaru Mail, 19/9/1883.

City Police Court

Assault on a Reporter. Thomas Ireland was charged with having, on the 18th inst., unlawfully assaulted and beaten Albert Cohen. Mr Stout appeared for complainant; Mr Fitchett for accused. — Mr Stout, in opening the case, said the evidence would show that a most unprovoked assault had been committed by accused on complainant, the assault being of such a description that, if clearly proved, it should not be met with a fine but with imprisonment. The complainant, Mr Albert Cohen, was well known as a reporter for several years on the Evening Star, and the accused held a position which was not exactly known — he was, however, described as a clerk. Both parties had resided in Dunedin for some years. The circumstances under which the assault was committed were as follows: Complainant was at tea at the Central Hotel on the evening of the 18th inst., and sitting at the table with him were a couple of acquaintances. Accused and a friend of his named Yates came in and sat down at the same table, and after some little time had elapsed the former asked the complainant if he could see him privately for a few minutes, as he wished to have some conversation with him on an important matter. Complainant said he was engaged that evening, but would see accused next night. Accused then said the matter was of extreme urgency, and he would prefer to settle it that evening. Complainant consented, and accused then took him out of the dining-room and into a private room close by. Once there, accused said he wanted to get some particulars about a paragraph which recently appeared in the Evening Star concerning a horsewhipping case. — Mr Fitchett suggested that no more names should be mentioned than were absolutely necessary. — Mr Stout said that he would not mention any names, nor would he even mention the paragraph, but would simply state what took place. Complainant, in answer to accused, said he knew nothing more about the paragraph than accused did — he knew nothing of it till he read it in the Star. Accused said, with a peculiarly strong expletive, that complainant was a liar; upon which complainant remarked that he had never spoken to accused before, and that if that was the latter's usual style of conversation they had better not speak to each other again. He then turned to go out of the room, but when his back was turned accused struck him in the face with his clenched fist two or three times, making his nose bleed. Subsequently complainant said that accused must be a cur to take him into a dark room and strike him unguardedly; to which accused said he knew more than to assault him in a public room. Now, this case, counsel submitted, was not one of ordinary assault. In a case where a person had reason to feel himself aggrieved at anything appearing in a newspaper there might be some excuse for feeling himself annoyed, though no Court would sanction his committing an assault in consequence thereof; but in this case accused had no reason for feeling aggrieved, and he must, therefore, in committing the assault have acted as a paid bully or out of sheer wilfulness. If the Bench believed that the assault was committed without the smallest provocation, he (counsel) submitted that, instead of being punished by fine, accused should have a term of imprisonment inflicted on him. Such a course had been followed in a case which he had conducted in Wellington some time ago, and which he thought should be observed here. A fine would be no punishment to the present accused, who would either pay it and glory in what he had done or get his friends to pay it for him. — Albert Cohen, complainant, stated: I am a reporter engaged on the Evening Star. On Tuesday evening I was having tea at the Central Hotel. Mr G. T. Clarke and Mr Robert McKenzie were sitting at the same table with me, and Mr Thomas Barnett came in shortly afterwards and sat down at the opposite side of the table. A little while afterwards accused and a friend of his came in and also sat down at the opposite side of the table. Accused remarked to me "Good evening, Mr Cohen." These were the first words that ever passed between us, though I had repeatedly seen him at tea there. I replied "Good evening." As I was about to leave the table accused said that he would like to speak to me for a few moments. I said I was engaged that evening, and preferred seing him the next night unless it was a matter of urgency. He said he wished to show me some correspondence which he was sure would interest me, and that he would not detain me more than ten minutes if I could conveniently spare the time. Having requested Mr Barnett to wait for me I retired with accused to the smoking-room adjoining. There was no light in the room, but when the door was open the gas-light from the passage shone into it, and it was also lighted a little from a window off the dining-room. I sat on the end of the table, and accused pushed the door to. He then said: "Now I want you to tell me all about that horsewhipping case at the Exchange Hotel." I replied: "I don't know any more about it than you do. I did not know anything about it till I read it in the Star." He said: "That won't do. I'm determined to find out all about it. You were there at the time." I said that I was not. He then said: "Simpson, of Marshall and Copeland, was there," and I replied "Well, if he was, you had better go and ask him about it." To this he said "I am determined to find out all about it; I am as much interested in it as Eliott is." — Mr Eliott: I thought it was understood that it was not necessary to mention any names. There is no occasion to go into all the particulars of a case of this sort. — Witness continued: I repeated that I knew nothing of the affair, to which accused replied "It's a lie." I remarked that if that was his style of conversation I would say "Good evening." I then turned to leave the room, and had my hand on the handle of the door when he came behind me and struck me in the face with his fist. I turned round, and he then seized me by the neck and struck me once or twice more, making my nose bleed. The door was just then opened, and Mr Barnett came in. I said "Tommy, go for a policeman." I freed myself from accused and went dowstairs, where I spoke to Mr Landorf. Accused came down and I said to him "A nice cur you must be to hit a man in a dark room." He said "I was not such a fool as to hit you in a public room." To Mr Fitchett: I never spoke to accused before in my life. I did not interfere in a conversation which he was holding with his friend, nor did I even know what they were talking about, I did not call him a liar, and if he said I did he is telling an untruth. He said he had some correspondent of some interest to show me. He closed the door of the room when we entered it. He never asked me for an apology for an insult offered to him at the table. We were in the room for a couple of minutes or so. My back was turned to him when he struck the first blow, and he struck me two or three times in all. I had no opportunity to hit him, as he had hold of me by the back of the neck. No one was in the room except ourselves until Mr Barnett came in, but as I went out I believe Mr Yates came in. — Thomas Barnett said he was present at the tea-table, and accused asked him his name. Subsequently accused said to complainant that he would like to see him in a private room, as he had an important letter to show him. They retired together, and after witness had finished his tea he went out of the dining-room. When in the passage he heard a scuffle in a side-room and opening the door saw accused holding complainant and striking him in the face. Complainant said "Tommy, fetch a policeman." Witness made a rush at accused, and held him while complainant got free. Mr Yates came in affter witness. To Mr Fitchett: Witness heard the scuffling and complainant's voice. Complainant did not interfere in accused's conversation at the table, nor did he interject any remarks. G. T. Clarke, auctioneer, said he was present at the table, and heard accused ask complainant for a private interview. The two retired together, and a few minutes afterwards witness heard a scuffle. He went out into the passage and saw complainant run out of the room, calling out "Run for the police." — Edward Landorf, fruiterer, said that he was near the door of the Central Hotel on the evening in question. He saw accused and complainant there, and the latter said "It was cowardly of you to hit me in a dark room. You would not do it outside." Accused replied that he was not foolish enough to hit him in public.—This was complainant's case.—For the defence, Mr Fitchett said that he was sorry to have to say that he would adduce evidence which would entirely contradict complainant's statement. He believed that complainant was telling the truth according to his lights, but that there was a misapprehension about the affair, and he thought that complainant was extremely ill-advised to bring these proceedings. In a case of a misapprehension and a dispute between two parties, the one who had come off worst with his fists would not be doing the best for himself in coming into Court. If any wrong had been done under a misapprehension as to what had occurred, and when the party committing tho wrong was willing to offer an ample apology, the other side should take any such amends. Counsel was willing to admit that hostilities began at the instance of accused, but under a misapprehension. Accused's version of the affair was that he and a friend were conversing at the tea-table on philology and other matters, in the course of which the Jews were mentioned in a not very complimentary manner, and that accused or someone else at the table twice interjected the remark "You are a liar." Accused applied this term to himself, and with a view of obtaining satisfaction asked complainant to have some conversation with him in another room. When in the private room nothing whatever was said as to the horse-whipping paragraph mentioned by complainant; accused simply asked an apology for the insult offered him. Accused was a gentleman by birth, training, and education, and it was natural that he should require an apology. The suggestion of the learned counsel on the other side that accused was a paid bully would, he was sure, not be taken any notice of by the Bench. —Thomas Ireland stated: I was conversing with Mr Yates, talking about theological subjects, Professor Max Midler, and languages. A gentleman named Cohen was there, and he contradicted me. A second time he contradicced me and called me a liar. I am very, very sorry to have to use such words to the Bench. I could not stand that to a man and a gentleman, and I asked him into another room. When we were there complainant tried to assault me. I know that I took the law into my own hands by striking him back. I first demanded an apology, and his only reply was to strike at me. As a man and a gentleman I had, of course, to put up my hands in self-defence. I may add that during the scuffle another man got on to my back. — Mr Stout: This evidence is of so extraordinary and contemptible a character that I shall not cross-examine the accused. — The Bench, after retiring for about ten minutes, said: We are of opinion that an assault has been committed, and that it was unprovoked, but that it was not a serious one. Accused will be fined 40s and costs (L3 6s), or seven days' imprisonment with hard labor.  -Evening Star, 22/9/1883.


Dunedin, Sept. 22. At the City Police Court to-day, Thomas Ireland, for assaulting Albert Cohen, a reporter of the Dunedin Star, was fined 40; and costs £3 6s, or seven days' imprisonment. The affair arose out of a paragraph recent1y inserted re a horsewhipping case, but all evidence as to this was excluded by the Bench.   -Timaru Herald, 24/9/1883.


Opinions are freely expressed in the colony as to Mr Eliott Eliott's peculiar indiscretion in sitting on the Bench in the Dunedin Police Court very recently, and using his influence in that position to screen his son (Mr G. W. Eliott, the local agent of the New Zealand Insurance Company) in an assault case arising out of the horsewhipping case in which a pretty barmaid plied the whip. The barmaid, feeling insulted by some remarks made to her by a married man, called on him at his office and whipped him soundly; but though the incident was reported in the Dunedin Star without any names being mentioned, everyone knew that it was G. W. E. who had been punished. Later, a reporter of the Star was assaulted by a person in no way concerned in the horsewhipping, but who chose to take the matter up. It was this assault case which Mr Eliott had the bad taste to sit and hear, and to repeatedly interrupt, in order to stop any reference to his son's name. Naturally, people ask what were the urgent points of the case which induced the old man thus publicly to sacrifice his dignity and reputation for justice, if not his self-respect?  -Observer, 6/10/1883.

The identity of the "lady-killer" was easily known - but what of the lady herself?  A later story, under the headline "Horsewhipping among Women" provides these details:

The witness was cross-examined at length by Mr. Cooper, and said Clarisse Perdrix Monnichon was her proper name. She had been in Dunedin previously to coming to Auckland. Had also been to Suva. She had been employed as barmaid at the Exchange Hotel, Dunedin. Her husband was employed as cook there. She had horsewhipped a man there in consequence of an insult he had offered to her. She was not in the habit of carrying whips. She had been a chorus singer in the Emily Melville Opera Company.   -NZ Herald, 12/2/1885.

 No. 11 "ludicrous scene"


(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) (BY telegraph). Dunedin, March 10. A considerable sensation was created in Rattray-street just now by a commission agent, who is the son of one of our prominent clergymen, horsewhipping a wellknown musician, who is also conductor of the Choral Society. Seeing that the former is over six feet and the assailed is barely five feet, some idea of the ludicrous scene may be imagined. The musician was severely punished and took his retreat by flight as soon as he could emerge from the hands of his assailant. It is understood that some reflections passed on the commission agent's family led to the fracas.  -Oamaru Mail, 10/3/1885.

There seems not to have been a court appearance by the assailant in this case - I wonder whether the "wellknown insurance canvasser" as he is referred to in other papers was Mr G W Eliott. 

No. 12: "a disgrace to journalism"


Gaiety Girls at Dunedin





Dunedin, this day. In consequence of the "Workman's" publication of some severe strictures on the characters of members of the Gaiety Company, several members of both sexes proceeded to the office this morning and demanded an explanation. Nothing satisfactory being forthcoming, five female- chorus singers thrashed the editor and the printers present with horsewhips. They were ejected on the street, the doors being closed in their faces. They then broke the windows, smashed in the door and regaining admission, completely wrecked the interior of the building. A free fight ensued on the street line in the presence of a large crowd, in the course of which Mr Lonnen received a severe blow on the right eye, and one male member of the Company had his face cut open. A constable then arrived, just as the members of this surprise patty were dispersing, and, at the request of Mr Lister, proprietor of the "Workman," four stage hands were arrested. They will be brought before the Police Court to-morrow. It is understood that summonses will also be issued against the Company charging them with a breach of the peace. One of the printers was laid on the floor, and had his face blackened with manganese.  -Lyttelton Times, 5/6/1893.


Jane 5. Nothing has been talked of in town this morning but the blackguardly attack of the Workman on the Gaiety Company, and the double episode arising out of it concerning the attack on the newspaper office. An eye-witness sends this account to the Star: — "The advance guard comprised some of the male principals and the business representatives of Messrs Williamson and Musgrove. On entering the Workman office, it was inquired of the publisher whether he had seen the paragraph to which exception was taken, and Mr Lister presumably not knowing who the "surprise party" comprised, replied that he had, and that he supposed it must be true, or it would not have found a place in the paper. The spokesman of the party then asked for a more satisfactory explanation, and being told that none was forthcoming said that the paper would have to answer to those who had been grossly maligned. The signal was then given in orthodox dramatic fashion, and five ladies of the ballet trooped into the office, but not in so graceful a manner as in stage performances, for they at once began to ply their horsewhips most vigorously about the head and shoulders of their presumed libeller. The typos and apprentices engaged in the establishment rushed to their chiefs rescue, and a melee ensued, but the intruders were compelled to retreat to the road line, and the office door was slammed in their faces. The door, however, was quickly broken open, the windows were all smashed, and a scene of disorder followed such as is depicted as taking place at Donnybrook Fair. The hero of "Enniscorby" was there inveighing against the impropriety of vilifying the characters of unprotected girls, but his observations were cut short by a blow on the eye from one of the printers. There, too, was the faithful hunchback, the trusted Quasimodo, prepared to shed the last drop of bis blood in defence of Claude Frollo's assailant. The fun at this time had become fast and furious, and a burly hotelkeeper living in the vicinity, fearing the destruction of the newspaper plant, took his stand in the doorway and, entreating the wreckers to go no farther, demanded an explanation of their conduct. With a tearful eye one of the chorus girls said that she had been spoken of in most disparaging terms by the editor of the paper, and asked whether her questioner would not seek to avenge a similar slight if it had been put on one of his female relations. The force of the query was admitted, and the hotelkeeper then desisted from further interference. The females now took possession of the editor's sanctum, and threw the material in it about broadcast, the men played havoc with the composing room, and the free fight between the members of the theatrical profession and those employed in the newspaper office continued. One of the office employes, thinking discretion the better part of valour, sought to retire quietly by the back door, but in the yard he was met by a couple of the stage hands, and had his face smeared with a composition very like blacklead. When he showed himself in among the crowd he might have been taken for a Christy Minstrel corner man or Othello. After seemingly avenging themselves for the insult passed on them, the visitors proceeded to take their departure, at which moment Constable Higgins, from South Dunedin, arrived on the scene, and, at Mr Lister's request, arrested tour or five men for damaging his property and for assault. In the afternoon there was a great gathering of masherdom in Bond street, when it became known that several of the principals of the company and leading members of the ballet were to be had up. The Court was crowded to excess long belore the justices made their appearance. At the barrister's table sat Mr Lonnen, not with a pair of lovely black eyes, but certainly with one of them and a pretty lavish display of plaster on his fresh wounds, laughing and chatting with Mr Fraser, who had been brought in haste from another place, robes, wig and all, to appear for Mr Lister. When Haslam, Musgrove and about fifteen others had answered to their names, it was immediately explained that a settlement had been arrived at bywhich their Worships' time would be spared. Three informations for assault and damaging property had been laid, and in each of the latter the damage had been assessed at £10. Now as, if the case had been proved, the Justices would have been obliged to commit for trial, which meant the providing heavy sureties for the defendants' appearance, it goes without saying that the management could not afford to risk that contingency; therefore it is an open secret that the management squared up by paying the amount or the damage done to office fixings and Mr Lister withdrew the information. There is general sympathy for the Gaiety Company, not only ou the matter but on the manner of the attack, about which something might have been heard had other proceedings been possible. There is a consensus of opinion that power should be given to the authorities to put a stop to publications that are a disgrace to journalism.  -Press, 6/6/1893.


Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet, To run amuck and tilt at all I meet. Pope.


The daylight performance given at Dunedin on Monday last by the Gaiety girls, and, incidentally, by the Gaiety boys, must have been a vastly amusing performance. Had it been advertised what a draw it would have been. It would have paid the ingenious Pete Hughes to have put up a timber enclosure round the office of the offending paper and have charged a shilling a head for admission to see the fun. Of course it must have been far from pleasant for the editor of the Workman to be horsewhipped, for his type to be made into ‘pie,’ his office furniture smashed, and his staff treated to wholesale personal violence, but I confess he has not the slightest sympathy from me. The paragraph which caused the indignation of the girls was as foul a thing as was ever printed in New Zealand; indeed, I should be sorry, for the credit of New Zealand journalism, if so foul a paragraph had ever appeared before in a New Zealand paper, and the editor of the Workman, a scurrilous little weekly sheet, full of libel in its every issue, only received his just due in being horsewhipped. The Chief contributor to this precious production signs himself ‘’Airry Sneaker,’ a nom de plume most naively appropriate to the general tone of the garbage which is weekly turned out. The whole production is a disgrace to New Zealand journalism, and it is to be hoped that the lesson which the indignant Ballet girls have taught Mr ’Airy Sneaker’ will cause that individual to amend his ways. The mystery to most people who have ever seen the Workman is how such a disgusting, low-lived rag can possibly exist and who support it. I am informed on good authority that the working classes of Dunedin indignantly repudiate supporting it and that its connection with the workers of the Southern city lies in name alone.  -NZ Mail, 9/6/1893.

Pars about People

Sam Lister, 'editor - proprietor' of Dunedin Workman, won't forget the visit of the Gaiety Company to the Antipodean Edinburgh in a herry. Sam has a knack of letting his pen run away with him at times. He appears to have let it run away with him. in the case of the Gaiety girls. Such a 'slating' as he gave the show! The girls went out to South Dunedin, where the 'Workman' office (a weatherboard lean-to, with a corrugated iron composing-room at the back) is situated. Five sweet young things, with cherry lips and golden curls, waltzed into the editorial sanctum and horsewhipped poor Sam and his comps., (compositors) while the unfeeling crowd laughed. Lonnen's arrival on the scene only added fuel to the flames. A free fight ensued, and 'Teddy's' right eye is now in mourning. All the Gaieties concerned were pulled up at the Police Court next day, but the informations were withdrawn. How was that? Did Sam consent to kiss and be friends? And, if so, will his valuable columns show that a peace offering has been made in the shape of a half-column ad?  -Observer, 10/6/1893.

‘Truth,' writing of the article in the Dunedin Workman which led to the onslaught of the Gaiety girls on the proprietor and staff of that paper, says inter alia: — After making discount for coarseness, we think the 'Workman' is not so very far wrong in many of his facts and inferences. People who would have shuddered at the idea of entering a London high-class music hall, rushed to a species of entertainment far more coarse and vulgar, and infinitely more suggestive of the 'nice-nasty,’ than any decent music hall would dare to put on its boards. If the 'Workman’ is right as to the rate of pay, &c., which those so-called 'Gaiety’ girls receive, it is also right in characterising the terms of their engagement as 'sweating.’ We know nothing about the characters of these people, but when we find them indulging in a free fight we hardly imagine they can be distinguished for 'culchaw.’ The 'ovation’ given to the leg show, after the free fight, by the Dunedinites is quite worthy of the traditions of Rome, when Rome became effeminate; but says little for the morale of what are supposed to be the dourest and most sanctimonious folk in New Zealand.  -Dunstan Times, 16/6/1893.

Samuel Lister, publisher of the "Otago Workman" is someone well worth investigating - more of him at a later date.  Also, at time of writing, I am aware that copies of the "Workman" exist  and are available - in time, I will find the piece to which the Gaiety girls and boys reacted.

No. 13: "taken away a young girl"

Horsewhipping. — The following is from the Otago Daily Times: The American "salesman” experienced a mauvais quart d’heure at the railway station yesterday (Thursday). He arrived by the Oamaru train shortly after one o’clock, and had hardly stepped off the carriage when a young man set to work to vigorously horsewhip him. Escaping with difficulty, the itinerant vendor sought shelter in the parcels office, locking his assailant out, and then telephoned for the police. Sergeant Shirley promptly arrived, and the salesman then stated that he had been assaulted by some person who was a stranger to him. The officer of the law, however, being credulous, cross-questioned the man, who subsequently admitted that he had taken away a young girl some eighteen years of age against the wish of her family, and the person who assaulted him was her brother. He talked freely of taking legal proceedings against the latter, but judging by his after-remarks, his indignation had abated, and nothing more is likely to be heard of the affair.  -Lyttelton Times, 24/6/1893.

News in Brief

On the arrival of the Oamaru train in Dunedin the other evening, a man known as the American salesman received a horsewhipping on the railway platform. The assailants, it appears, were the father and mother of a girl who, it is alleged, the "salesman" took with him to Oamaru to assist in his business, and as they felt aggrieved at his action they resolved upon summary vengeance, which was executed in the manner described.  -New Zealand Herald, 3/7/1893.


ASHBURTON, July 10. Joseph Edwards, who has recently been figuring in the south as the "Great American Salesman," and the victim of a certain horsewhipping adventure in Dunedin, was to-day fined L10, or two months' imprisonment in default, for using abusive language to a stationmaster. He said he would appeal.   -Southland Times, 11/8/1893.