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Swindling, etc. Made Easy
Printed and Published by Archibald Thomson, Altamont, Bangor.
(interesting reading, I have no idea if this was just a mock-up or if its genuine,
either way don't shoot the messenger :P)

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To The
Municipal Electors of Bangor, Co. Down,
Members of Parliament, etc.


£20 Offered to the
on either of the following conditions:
(1) That the frauds referred to herein be disproved; or,
(2) That the statement of the
certified as correct by the
be similarly certified by any honest auditor or ability.



     Referring to these on pages 2 and 3. Cheque is one which escaped the flames when forged vouchers, forged receipts, forged books, and other compromising documents were destroyed.  It will be observed that the handwriting in the body of cheque, Chairman's signature, and "Rob. Bowman" endorsed on cheque all bear a striking resemblance.  Cheque was issued, say, twelve months after public attention had been drawn to irregularities, long after the Commissioner's solicitor had written that charges of dishonesty, corruption, and fraud had been made against the Commissioners in their capacity as trustees for the ratepayers, long after the most damaging facts had been laid before the Local Government Board, long after "insinuations involving serious charges" had been made before Col. Studdert and after I had published my first pamphlet.  To Bangorians and probably to experts the other signatures on cheque may be significant.  Mr. Harvey has long since been promoted to a sinecure office under the Board.
     The fac-simile receipt is for 1882 rates, alleged to have been collected simultaneously with 1883 rates, but the 1883 collections were withheld in order not to confuse Col. Studdert when auditing the books; and, according to the Chief Secretary's answer in the House of Commons on 3rd March, 1884, audit had not taken place up to that date: this is an illustration of how one lie requires to be bolstered by another.  Why were the 1882 collections "withheld"?  Why was this item of £2 8s. 3d. and the seventy-five items that preceded it, as well as all the collections up to the 27th June, not lodged with Capt. Ward's cheque £22 0s. 4d.?  The receipt has not even the usual penny stamp affixed or embossed, and hence the Revenue was defrauded as well as the ratepayers; but I suppose Chief Justice Morris would have said they were "acting in utter ignorance of the Act of Parliament", and it might also have been added, in utter ignorance of the Ten Commandments.  Just fancy experienced Commissioners, who had long been actively engaged in municipal and political matters, and who had also been prominently connected with a parliamentary election petition, yet afterwards conducting a municipal election in such a manner that the Court was forced to void the election and to admit that "nothing could have been more irregular than the whole proceedings", and nevertheless those responsible were whitewashed; had the judge in his mind's eye the Bangor frauds, forgeries, burning of books, etc., and Col. Studdert's report that "all sums received were duly accounted for", although all the fines had been embezzled, all the car licences had been embezzled, nine-tenths of the rates collected had been embezzled, and did the judge wish to befriend an old Connemara neighbour who had aspired to be a Removable?  Was it not shabby if Jim Lowther shaked off a double-barrelled Massy Studdert with an Auditorship when any novice might have seen that Colonel Richard Massy Studdert, R.M., would have adorned any bench?  Of the 395 names on voters' list, only 183 were qualified, while the names of 52 legally qualified voters were left off.  "Acting in utter ignorance of the Act of Parliament";  "insinuations involving serious charges" - a veritable Galway blazer could scarcely out-do these.  "Perhaps we will find out what the judges think of the matter", wrote Mr. Dinnen before they ventured into court; and Chief Justice Morris in delivering judgment stated at the very outset that "The Court was clearly of opinion the election was invalid.  In fact at an early stage the respondents had abandoned the right to uphold the election."  Why, then, did they venture to face the Court?  In my opinion, simply because (Chief Justice) Lord Morris is a brother of Mr. George Morris, one of the three permanent members of the Local Government Board.


          Ladies and Gentlemen,
                           For Several years past, owing to the constitution of the Board of Town Commissioners, I have felt impelled to come forward as a candidate at the annual elections, and recent events incline me to become a candidate in October next.  In my opinion any man who presumes to undertake such an office is open to fair criticism; but so far from such an office entitling the holder to break the law with impunity, I consider that he should be more rigorously dealt with, and in case a constituency winks at crimes I would say, "Like master, like man".  On 15th May last I wrote the Northern Whig and the other four Belfast newspapers substantially as follows: " I have just read in your issue of to-day a report of fully half a column of a so-called Bangor meeting re above (Bangor and the Diamond Jubilee).  Your Bangor correspondent, I understand, is the editor of the North Down Herald, who was present taking notes.  I consider your report so grossly unfair and untrue concerning myself that I have to request that you publish either an ordinary fair report or an apology."  The reports, I understand, were concocted in the Commissioners' boardroom, and were intended principally to ridicule me and extol Mr. John McMeekan, chairman of the commissioners.  This is an old game early indulged in by Mr. McMeekan himself, who was in the habit of referring to one's "code of honour"; but I know of no one whose word and whose oath have been proved to be less reliable than the word and the oath of Mr. McMeekan, whose affidavits read, "I, John McMeekan, Theological Student of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, make oath and say", I have often been told I need not try to reform the world.  Carey, the pioneer of missionaries, received worse rebuffs in a better cause from a more unlikely quarter.  There is no other man could write what I have written.  None of us liveth to himself, and as sin is a reproach to any people, I consider it incumbent on me to give the Bangor people an opportunity of trying to show that they have clean hands;  others may try and reform time-serving state-craft, and bring to book any officer of State who allows himself to be made the mouthpiece of scandalous falsehoods.  It could not be denied in the House of Commons that false affidavits had been received and challenged in the High Courts of Justice, and that the swearer had been openly denounced as a perjurer; but further than this there was no indication that perjury might not be repeated with impunity.  The Duchess of Sutherland's husband, when president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, denounced the Jabez Balfours and the Barabbases; but the embodiment of respectability in Ireland would seem to be any sort of a swell-mob hanger-on who may manage to get pitchforked into a position even by moribund rulers.  The Times newspaper cut a sorry figure with Pigott, and far more worthless tools do duty in the Black North.  As recent events have shown, it was not without reason a director of a leading newspaper and a high Government official stated to me, in order to exculpate himself, that Boards of Directors have neither souls to be saved nor bodies to be kicked.  The judge when recently sentencing a solicitor to penal servitude for life for perjury stated that he lived in an atmosphere of perjury;  but if a miserable wretch reduced to the direst straits falls, is no consideration to be shown him, while suborners of perjury in order to gratify sheer vindictive maliciousness seem to be at liberty to use persons who might almost be styled professional perjurers?  I ask the authorities to take the three following (A, B, and C in italics);  ;et them be honestly investigated and the crimes followed up, and, if justice be meted out, officialdom will be relieved of more pets than would have saved Sodom from destruction.

     A. (Verbatim copy of letter from Mr. John Dinnen to Archibald Thomson, 27th March, 1883) :-

          I have received a copy of the resolution of the Bangor Town Commissioners passed on 19th inst, and instructing me to take such proceedings as I may be advised against you for serious libellous charges, contained in a notice of motion handed by you to the Town Clerk imputing, amongst other charges, dishonesty, corruption and fraud to your colleagues in their capacity as Trustees for the Ratepayers.  I need not say to you in your calmer moments that such serious charges could not be overlooked by men holding their position in their own town, and especially as the charges made are false and untrue.  I therefore, before incurring any expense, think it my duty to ask you whether you still maintain the position you have taken and the charges made, or are you prepared to make a withdrawal of the charges, with an expression of regret for the injury you have done, and pay a sum to charitable purposes.  If I do not hear from you during to-morrow, I will be obliged to act on the instructions I have received and proceed criminally or civilly as I may be advised.  Requesting your immediate attention.

     (I was first elected in October, 1882, and hence foregoing letter indicates the position of affairs, say, five months after I had taken my seat.)

     B. (Copies of two questions and answers in the House of Commons, 3rd March, 1884) :-

          Question No. 1. - I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whether, on the 14th July last, the Local Government Board auditor attended at Bangor, County Down, to audit the town accounts for 1882;  had the auditor postponed the visit at the request of the town clerk;  and in the meantime did the clerk replace a portion of the rates for 1882 by his collections on account of 1883;  did the auditor discover that upwards of £200 of the rates for 1883 has been embezzled;  also upwards of £14 of arrears for 1881, which latter should have been credited in 1882 account;  did the auditor again visit Bangor on 31st August, in consequence of reports forwarded to the Local Government Board by Mr. Archibald Thomson, and had the auditor any communications, verbal or written, with the Town Commissioners or their clerk with reference to their defalcations; was it at the auditor's suggestion that certain books were destroyed, and that the clerk asked to be relieved of the duties of collector;  what report did the auditor forward to his department, seeing that the deficiency in 1883 rates was only made good the day before his second visit, and that the arrears had not been returned, and did the auditor ascertain if any part of the loans obtained for sanitary or other purposes had been used to defray current expenditure, seeing that it was not till 30th August that any part of the ordinary town rate for 1883 was lodged?

          Answer No. 1. - The auditor attended at Bangor on the 14th July, to audit the township accounts, but had to postpone his audit owing to an outbreak of scarlatina in the clerk's family.  He will attend for the same purpose on the 12th of this month.  His visit on the 31st August was for a different purpose.  He had no conversation with either the Town Commissioners or the clerk with regard to defalcations, and he suggested the appointment of a rate collector because he thought the position of clerk and rate collector incompatible.  As he has not yet commenced his audit, the statement that he discovered irregularities and defalcations is without foundation.

          Question No. 2. - I beg to ask the Chief Secretary, did Mr. Archibald Thomson in his communications to the Local Government Board, Mr. Trevelyan (the President), or His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, inform them with other things that at the annual election for town commissioners at Bangor in October last, unqualified persons, being in arrear of rates, stood as candidates, and also that a large number of similar persons were entered on voter's list and voted; and further, that in spite of written protests, the unqualified candidates were put forward and declared duly elected, and acted as town commissioners; and can the October election be held as valid if the facts are as stated by Mr. Thomson?

          Answer No. 2. - Sir, a letter was received from Mr. Thomson in October last, relating to the election of town commissioners at Bangor, calling attention to several irregularities, including disability owing to non-payment of rates.  Mr. Thomson was informed that the Local Government Board had no control in this matter, and it is not part of my duty to express an opinion on the validity of elections.  Any person desiring to impeach an election should do it in the manner and within the time prescribed by law.

          C. (Extract from Col. Studdert's letter of 31st March, 1884, to the Local Government Board, and published with his audited Abstract of Accounts for 1883) :-

          Mr. Thomson gave no evidence to me in support of several of his allegations; he not only appeared to think it sufficient to make insinuations involving serious charges against others, but stated that it was not for him to give proof of his charges, but for others to disprove them.

          Col. Studdert was hard to satisfy with charges.  The matters that I personally brought under his notice were such that he had repeatedly to postpone both 1882 and 1883 audits;  my letters to the Local Government Board were sent to him; for upwards of a year and a-half Bangor affairs had been the principal subject of interest in certain newspapers, and the attentions of the Northern Whig then, as now, mainly compelled me in self-defence to issue my pamphlets, the first of which appeared in October, 1883, and following are shirt extracts from the Whig's editorials :- 8th March, 1883:  "The proceedings at the last meeting of the Bangor Town Commissioners would go still further to show that there is invariably an exceptional character - a rara avis, so to speak - in connection with all public Boards . . . . . The Bangor Town Commissioners include a gentleman of this eccentric genus in the person of Mr. Archibald Thomson.  Mr. Thomson appeared to have a grievance, and in order to bring it properly under the notice of the Board, he submitted a string of resolutions implying what amounted to actual dishonesty on the part of some members of the Board."  9th May, 1883 :  "The proceedings at the monthly meeting of the Bangor Town Commissioners, which were published in our columns yesterday, indicate that no better feeling has arisen between the majority of the commissioners and the confrére, Mr. Archibald Thomson.  At a previous meeting of the Board, Mr. Thomson moved a number of resolutions calculated to create suspicion as to the legitimacy of the purposes to which the ratepayers' money was being devoted . . . . He objected to the garbled reports in the newspapers, which he appears to be convinced are at the mercy of evildoers".  Insinuations!  In July, 1883, Col. Studdert certified that he had "audited the accounts of the Town Commissioners of Bangor for the year ended 31st December, 1882", and that "all sums received were duly accounted for", which I consider far more culpable than the embezzlements.  Assume that there had been no frauds in 1882, and it follows that, as only Lord Bangor and Mr. Ward had paid their rates (£22 0s. 4d.), they were the only qualified voters; and as they were neither nominated as Commissioners nor voted, the 1882 election was utterly illegal.  The 1883 election was grossly illegal too; it was brought by question under the notice of Parliament, and the reply given that "any person desiring to impeach an election should do it in the manner and within the time prescribed by law".  The 1884 election was carried out in the usual illegal manner;  I impeached the election "in the manner and within the time prescribed by law", and the following is from the published decision :- "Chief Justice Morris, in delivering judgment, said the Court was clearly of opinion the election was invalid.  In fact, at an early stage the respondents had abandoned the right to uphold the election.  Nothing could have been more irregular than the whole proceedings at this election, and it was not very difficult to conceive why it should be so, for all parties seemed to be acting in utter ignorance of the Act of Parliament.  He did not know whether the petitioner was in the same state of blissful ignorance in the matter.  It was the first time he had seen the petitioner, and he never wanted to see him again.  He appeared to have written a pamphlet containing some fifty-eight pages of closely-printed matter, that would require a man with good eyes and good sunlight to read, provided he had the time.  He (the judge) neither had the time nor the inclination to read it; he did not want to know the contents . . . .  The whole proceeding was irregular from its inception.  They declared the election void, a new election to be held, the Town Clerk to prepare a new and proper list of voters, and all parties should abide their own costs."  I don't know whether judges ever run amuck, but this I do know, that Chief Justice Morris took the speech completely from my counsel, at which I was not all surprised, if they ever wanted to see his face again.  Prescience and the fifty-eight pages seemed to have prepared him for the black cap; but had he exercised his faculties and powers aright, perjury and other crimes would have been arrested.  His power of discrimination seemed to be on a par with that of Col. Studdert, who held forges receipts, and when they were challenged he replied, "How am I to know they are forgeries?"  But the forged receipts were somewhat similar to the false answer (No. 1, p.7) through the Chief Secretary, who was simply the utterer of the falsehoods.
          I need not enter upon township matters farther than to refer you to the accompanying three recent letters, also one taken from one of my former pamphlets.  It has often been suggested that a Ratepayers' Association should be informed, and I feel thoroughly convinced that such an association with an honest, efficient secretary would be of immense value to the township, and soon relieve it of the incubus under which it had so long laboured.  By to-day's Northern Whig it appears that the Bristol Corporation prosecuted a civil engineer for stealing £2,500;  another man was indicted on a minor charge, and although full restitution had been made, the one sentenced to seven years' penal servitude, and the other to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour.
                                                     Yours truly, Archibald Thomson.
           Altamont, Bangor
                9th July, 1897.

          Copy of the letter to the Local Government Board, 19th May, 1897 :-
               You held an inquiry in Bangor recently re further sewerage loans, and I understand that two other inquiries are in contemplation re an extension of the township boundary and loans for baths.  The accounts for 1896 have not yet been audited, and hence if you are now so disposed, the 1882 frauds can easily be investigated.  I may state at the outset that I believe your object before was to exonerate the delinquents and your auditor, Colonel Studdert;  and I regard it as a grave scandal that a Board like yours should be supported, with the practical result that the country is thereby the more easily defrauded.  I goaded you into holding an inquiry concerning a cheque charged to a small contractor which was more than double the amount actually paid him, and it was clearly proved that the man went to the board room to get paid his account;  it was represented to him that the cash was all paid away, and a cheque was drawn in his favour to pay his and other accounts, he was sent to the bank to get the cheque cashed, when he returned he receipted his account and was paid less than half the amount of the cheque.  Subsequently a Commissioner manufactured a voucher for the full amount of the cheque which was charged through the books as having been paid to the contractor;  as a result of the inquiry you surcharged the difference on three of the Commissioners, two of whom, Messrs. McMeekan and Bowman, are in office at this very day.  Now, while Colonel Studdert could not be expected to detect anything wrong in this, there was nothing to hinder him to discover that with the exception of one cheque for £22 0s. 4d. from Captain Ward on June 27th, and a sum of £20 lodged on December 30th, the entire rates for 1882, as well as the arrears for 1881, had been embezzled, and I feel confident the reason why audit was postponed from time to time was in order that the missing moneys, to which I had drawn your attention, might be restored, as you passed on my letters to Colonel Studdert, and through him to the Town Commissioners.
          Now, as I understand there is no statute of limitations for frauds, I shall briefly recapitulate some of the matters to which I drew your attention before, and I ask not only that you have the matters investigated, but that any penalties and/or disabilities incurred be enforced.
     (1) The arrears for 1881 were embezzled.
     (2) The rates collected for 1882 with the exception of the £42 0s. 4d. above referred to were embezzled.
     (3) The car licenses for 1882 were embezzled.
     (4) The fines for 1882 were embezzled.
     (5) Your Board admitted that the sum of £25 was handed by the Town Solicitor, Mr. John Dinnen, to Messrs. McMeekan, Bowman, and another Commissioner, out of a township bill of costs.  Counsel advised that said sum of £25 belonged to the township and should be accounted for.
     (6) Owing to the embankment of first reservoir not being puddled as originally specified, unnecessary expenditure was incurred to drain off the leakages which were injuring adjoining lands and for which damages had to be paid.  I consider such expenditure should be surcharged on those who altered specification.  The leakage from reservoir when full, is probably more than the entire consumption, and could easily be gauged.
     (7) That the sum of about £1,400, the estimated cost of puddle to be used in the construction of reservoir, be claimed from those who altered specification.
     (8) The second reservoir in course of construction would probably not have been required only for the circumstances referred to in the two preceding paragraphs, Nos. 7 and 8.
     (9) That you ascertain if the election petition costs of the respondents, Messrs. McMeekan, Bowman, Harvey (now an officer of the Board), and another were directly or indirectly saddled on the town, or borne by the respondents as decided by the Court.
   (10) That you ascertain if money provided by Capt. Johnston on or about 30th August, 1883, and which was lodged to make good defalcations, was ever repaid; and if so, was it directly or indirectly charges to the town.  Mr. McMeekan went to Liverpool to try and get Capt. Johnston to provide some money.  Capt. Johnston came to Bangor, and in the residence of his brother-in-law (who was a Commissioner), and in presence of other Commissioners, handed over some hundreds of pounds.  Capt. Johnston is now a Town Commissioner, and brother-in-law of the Town Clerk.  Last year Mr. Crosbie was co-opted a Commissioner.  There is likely to be an opportunity shortly for co-opting another member.  Another Commissioner was appointed rate collector when the Town Clerk was superseded.  Three of the 1882 Commissioners are still in office, and what, I would ask, might naturally be expected from such a Board, dominated as in 1882?
   (11) I understand that at about the middle of last February collections had been held over for fully six months, while, according to the bye-laws and Act of Parliament, lodgments should be made weekly.  Col. Studdert may report truthfully regarding this, as it may have been deliberately planned to assist him to explain away the defalcations of 1882.
          In 1885 I upset an election;  in 1886 I had the Board of Commissioners entirely wiped out;  I had also a solicitor struck off the rolls;  and I think these three alone constitute a unique record, more especially in face of the parties with whom I had to contend.  The Chief Secretary for Ireland, who is ex-officio President of your Board, in the House of Commons, on or about the 3rd March, 1884, replied to a question as follows:-  "The auditor attended at Bangor on the 14th July to audit the township accounts, but had to postpone his audit, owing to an outbreak of scarlatina in the Clerk's family.  He will attend for the same purpose on the 12th of this month.  His visit on the 31st August was for a different purpose.  He had no conversation with either the Town Commissioners or the Clerk in regard to defalcations, and he suggested the appointment of a Rate Collector because he thought the position of Clerk and Rate Collector incompatible.  As he has not yet commenced his audit, the statement that he discovered irregularities and defalcations is without foundation" - which, as an answer to the question, contains about a dozen absolute falsehoods.  Again, in an affidavit which emanated from Mr. Dinnen's office, were about a score of false statements, statements not only absolutely and deliberately false, but doubly false by being attributed to another.  Surely, if inquiries can be held at intervals of a few months to saddle the town with loans, it is not too much to ask that an inquiry be held to investigate such matters as the foregoing.  The rates alone amount to between £2,000 and £3,000 annually.  I drew attention to frauds, not only of the clumsiest, but also of the most ingenious description.  There are other frauds to which I never referred, and there were doubtless many that I never discovered.  In my opinion it was guilty knowledge on the part of your Board, and guilty knowledge on the part of the Town Commissioners, that prevented the frauds being investigated long ere this.

          Copy of letter to the Local Government Board, 21st June, 1897 :-
               I duly received your formal acknowledgment of my letter of 19th ult., and as I observed by our local newspaper that you purpose holding an inquiry here on 6th prox., I now beg to supplement my former letter re the Bangor frauds, etc., and I may state at the outset that, even assuming that the person on whom the defalcations were fathered was alone guilty as was sworn before Mr. Justice O'Brien, I consider him less culpable than the Commissioners then in office - less culpable than your auditor, Colonel Studdert - less culpable than your Board; and, in fact, the least culpable of all those who could and should have prevented the frauds.  Seeing that of the whole rates for the year 1882 only one cheque for £22 0s. 4d. was lodged up till 30th December, it must have been self-evident that part of the £6.500 loans received during 1882 must have been used to meet ordinary expenses, and as I presume such was illegal, I ask that Colonel Studdert and the three 1882 Commissioners now in office be removed.  It should not be necessary to remind you that in addition to three of the 1882 Commissioners and your auditor, we have still in office the same Town Clerk, the same solicitor, and the same engineer; and seeing that the annual rate alone - apart from the large income from the gas works, bathing houses, etc. - is fully one hundred times the £22 0s. 4d. lodged to defray 1882 outlay, I see no reason why swindling on a large scale may not be carried on still; seeing that neither by you nor from any quarter did it appear to be discountenanced.  You admitted that the solicitor for the township handed three of the Commissioners £25 out of one account, and I hold that other individuals were as justified in helping themselves directly out of the rates, and such seemed to be the opinion of counsel when consulted.  Originally you asked me to send you particulars in writing of anything I considered wrong, and although I warned you of the risk I should thereby incur, you played the Judas throughout, and if you and/or Colonel Studdert did not supply the false answer before referred to given to a question in the House of Commons in March, 1884, you must know it was a tissue of absolute falsehoods.
          Now, here is a specimen of the practical working of the system of which you form a part.  An Irish Chief Secretary, ex-officio President of your Board, laid down as an axiom in the House of Commons that it is the duty of any citizen who has evidence of a crime to bring the matter before authorities that the criminal may be punished.  I discovered a wholesale system of swindling in the Bangor township which I verbally detailed to your Secretary, who requested me to send you particulars in writing; my letters were forwarded by you from time to time to Colonel Studdert who audited the books and presumably did not report the defalcations to you.  Colonel Studdert was in communication with the Town Commissioners and others, and when I drew his attention to forged block receipts in his possession, he replied, "How am I to know they are forgeries?"  Such documents and the township books were afterwards deliberately burnt, but while the forgeries may thus not now be traceable, the defalcations and your auditor's false reports can easily be shown from the books of the Belfast Banking Co., the Bangor treasurers.  During the foregoing I was being vilified from all quarters and in every department of life.  Colonel Studdert had even the temerity to send the Commissioners, with his 1883 report, a letter containing the most deliberate falsehoods, which they published to discredit me.  I verbally rehearsed the facts of the whole case in the Chief Secretary's office, and was advised to bring public opinion to bear.  From time to time I published pamphlets - ten in all - giving in fullest detail particulars of frauds, forgeries, perjuries, etc., which I had laid before the authorities.  I filed a petition to upset the 1884 election;  before it was decided to fight the petition, Mr. Dinnen, the Town Solicitor, wrote the Commissioners: "Perhaps we will find out what the judges think of the matter." Mr. George Morris, I understand, is the guiding spirit of your Board, his brother, Chief Justice (now Lord) Morris, was practically the Court, and although he could not find a redeeming element in connection with the election which he was forced to void, yet he mulcted me in the costs of the petition, adding, "Oi nivver saw the petitioner before and nivver want to see his face again."  Before taking office Town Commissioners must make a declaration which I consider tantamount to an oath; a judge takes the following oath: "I _____ do swear that I will faithfully, honestly, and impartially execute the several powers and trusts reposed in me as a judge, and that without favour or affection, So help me God"; and when I published, concerning another judge, that I was unable to reconcile some of his decisions with his oath of office, one of the foremost members of the Bar stated in open court, in presence of said judge, that I had thereby charged the judge with perjury.  In the pamphlet to which Chief Justice Morris referred when giving his decision, I had compared the ratepayers of Bangor to the relatives of a thief, and your Board to the detective who enabled the booty to be secured and assisted the delinquents to escape.  The township solicitor had threatened me with proceedings for what he styled charges of dishonestly, corruption and fraud against my colleagues in their capacity as Trustees for the ratepayers; and assuming that he used correct legal terms, he was at least privy to such dishonesty, corruption and fraud, if not more deeply involved.  I had charged the chairman of the Commissioners, who was one of the respondents in the election petition, with having committed perjury in his evidence, and he raised an action against me for libel.  When giving evidence at the libel trial, he swore that the Commissioners were aware of the defalcations before I discovered them, and fathered all on an official;  but Justice O'Brien received from him an affirmative reply to the question "Is this man still retained in office?!  The judge refused to certify for the special jury.  Earlier in the trial, when a clergyman was fencing and prevaricating regarding the defalcations, Justice O'Brien impatiently asked him, "Would it be any harm to take a turn out of the money?"  When plaintiff's bill of costs came to be taxed, he sent in an affidavit that he had paid all the witnesses' expenses as per their receipts; and before bill of costs was furnished, I produced an affidavit from a clergyman to whom £4 4s. was charged that he had not received any money, and another affidavit from a newsboy that he had only received 4s., and not 7s. 6d., as was sworn had been paid.  Master Coffey openly charged the plaintiff with having committed wilful and deliberate perjury.  Plaintiff, who was described as a theological student, explained that he had acted under the advice of his solicitor (who was and is also solicitor for the Bangor township), and Master Coffey replied "Did Mr. Dinnen tell you to commit perjury?"  Master Coffey further stated that it was the worst case ever had come before him, adjourned taxation, and stated that he would forward the affidavits with his report to the Attorney-General, that plaintiff might be prosecuted.  Later on, when I applied for affidavits, they could (or would?) not be produced.  This theological student was Chairman when the 1882 defalcations took place, and had recently been elected Chairman for the fourth time in succession.  The 1882 Engineer, who still holds the office, brought an action against the township for payment of a professional account.  I had succeeded in having Mr. Dinnen removed from being town solicitor, and he acted as solicitor for the engineer in his action.  It was elicited from the engineer, in his evidence, that he had made up his account by means of Mr. Dinnen's costs book, and My. Justice O'Brien, before whom the case was tried, facetiously remarked, "Mr. Chappel charges fifty guineas for attendances on Mr. Dinnen, and I suppose Mr. Dinnen charged fifty guineas for attendances on Mr. Chappel".  Engineer's admissions were so damaging that he actually fainted in the witness-box.  Are solicitors at liberty to prepare false affidavits?  Besides the false affidavits sworn to by the Chairman, I will only refer to one other, sworn to by Mr. Dinnen's clerk, which contained about a score, not only of the most absolute and deliberate falsehoods, but the statements were attributed to a bank manager, who made a counter-affidavit, and not only denied ever having made the statements, but also swore that they were false in fact.  These two affidavits were filed in the Four Courts, and should still be available.
          I demonstrated that when I joined the Bangor Board in 1882 the position of affairs was as follows: (1) The town solicitor had returned certain Commissioners £25 out of a township account, and which counsel advised should be restored to the town; (2) a Commissioner had manufactured a voucher for more than double an amount which had been paid, and the amount appearing on said voucher was charged through the books as having been paid to the person whose signature was forged to said voucher; (3) the entire rates had been embezzled, with the exception of one cheque for £22 0s. 4d. paid by Capt. Ward, and which cheque probably could not be got cashed; the entire fines and car licenses had been embezzled too.  subsequently the town solicitor threatened me with proceedings, as before referred to, for charges of dishonesty, corruption and fraud against my colleagues in their capacity as trustees, and your auditor - Col. Studdert - certified that everything was in order for 1881.  Now, I consider Col. Studdert and Mr. Dinnen the most culpable of all connected with this disgraceful business. You allowed the township to be defrauded; I exposed the frauds and the system, and in consequence experienced the full force of what the late Rev. Hugh Hanna, D.D., stated in his evidence before the Belfast Riots (Day) Commission, viz.:  "The whole system of officialism combines against the man who attacks its incompetency or exposes its inefficiency".  Follow up Col. Studdert's false reports, the dishonesty, corruption and fraud referred to by Mr. Dinnen, the false affidavits, the false statements made by the Chief Secretary in the House of Commons, as well as the other rascalities to which I drew attention, and the embezzlements fathered on your miserable official will appear trifles compared with the crimes which will be brought to light.
          You have had my last letter now for a month, and I shall thank you to inform me if you will allow the matters to be gone into at your first inquiry, or will you hold a special inquiry?

          Extracts from letter to the Very rev. Ed. Maguire, D.D., Dean of Down, Bangor, 25th June, 1897 :-
               For several reasons I deferred writing you till after the Jubilee, and two of my reasons for now writing you are (1) some of the pillars in your church seemed to be associated with you in the recent Jubilee meetings, and (2), of all the clergymen at present in Bangor you have been here the longest and should be best acquainted with Bangor affairs.  Now, I consider I was grossly libelled by the newspaper reports of the first meeting, and I have not yet definitely decided what steps I may take in consequence.  A considerable time after the hour fixed for the meeting there were present only four Town Commissioners and nine others, including your Curate - Mr. Walker - Mr. Mahaffy, Solicitor, and Mr. MacDonough, your principal Municipal School teacher, and both office-bearers in your church.  I consider the small gathering did not deserve the name of a Jubilee meeting, and when Mr. John McMeekan, Chairman, Town Commissioners, began to make a few commonplace remarks concerning the loyalty of Bangor, etc., I inquired if he was explaining the object of the meeting as I considered the first business was to appoint a chairman; some one then remarked that Mr. McMeekan was ex-officio chairman, and I replied that my only knowledge concerning the meeting was gathered from a passing glance at a poster, that I did not understand from it that Mr. McMeekan would be chairman, and, certainly, if he was proposed for the chair, I would move to amendment,  Mr. Crosbie, Town Commissioner (an office-bearer in your church), then proposed that Mr. McMeekan take the chair, and Mr. Bowman, Town Commissioner, seconded the motion.  (Mr. McMeekan might well have surmised what was likely to follow, and it was open to him to decline to take the chair.)  I then stated: We are now in order - there is a motion before the house and, as before stated I rise to move an amendment; but before doing so, I suppose it devolves upon me to advance some reasons:  Mr. McMeekan may be in his proper place presiding over a meeting of the Bangor Town Commissioners; but in my opinion no self-respecting assemblage, acquainted with the antecedents of Mr. McMeekan, would allow him to preside over them.  (Disapproval was expressed at this.) I continued to say that recently I had been present in the same hall at one of the largest and most respectable gatherings I had ever witnessed in Bangor, to do honour to Lord Dufferin - a man than whom one more worthy was not known to me - and that I considered the performance one of the most humiliating spectacles I ever witnessed, inasmuch as next to Lord Dufferin the person most highly honoured was Mr. McMeekan . . . .  At the second meeting (which was as large as the first was small) you expressed the opinion that Mr. McMeekan was the proper person to preside and while I am free to admit that ex-officio he was entitled to preside I hold that such is most discreditable to the Commissioners who placed him in the position and discreditable to the ratepayers who tolerate such representatives.  In thus supporting Mr. McMeekan you doubtless overlooked that you were rather inconsistent; for as Mr. McMeekan was entitled ex-officio to preside at the jubilee meeting so the town clerk was entitled ex-officio to read the formal address to Lord Dufferin, and the names of the full Board of nine Commissioners were entitled ex-officio to appear to said address and not eight only, the Commissioner omitted being the only one who is a gentleman by Act of Parliament; any arguments likely to be advanced as to the unfitness of the town clerk, or of the ninth Commissioner, would only place ex-officio sticklers in a dilemma.  Concerning the Jubilee meeting, I would remind you that he considered Presbyterians had been slighted by the arrangements, while his brother minister attended lest his absence might be misconstrued, and expressed similar opinions viva voce.  Loyalty in my opinion, implies respect for the laws of God and man, but in some respects Bangor loyalty is more spurious than that of those who are made to say,

"True patriots we, for be it understood
We left our country for our country's good."

          Last week Messrs. Crosbie and Brice (office-bearers in your church) proposed and seconded the re-election of Mr. McMeekan as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, and if these two Town Commissioners with your curate - Mr. Walker - and Messrs. Mahaffy and MacDonough, before referred to, can disprove a single statement that ever I made regarding the falsehoods, frauds, and perjuries I will contribute £20, say to the Jubilee Nurse Fund, on condition that if they fail to disprove one such statement they raise, by any means, £20 for the same fund.  It must be evident that here the odds are entirely against me, as all who deny the swindling, etc., are interested to have such disproved.  Should this challenge not be accepted, I think it would be difficult to convince any unbiased mind that, however much the swindling may be denied, it is thoroughly believed, and cannot be disproved.  You were not always satisfied with discountenancing evil theoretically; it was generally believed that it was you who drove one of your curates from Bangor; you also fell foul of a Town Commissioner, whose evil deeds are a crying shame and excite loathing.  Had you anything like such convincing proof of their guilt as I supplied of the Bangor rascalities, which seem to be credentials for honour and preferment?  You must share the responsibility for Lord Dufferin being placed in such a position that it was the correct thing for his lordship to write "My dear Mr. McMeekan," and it was so generally rumoured that he was to be appointed to the Commission of the Peace that it was not unusual to see his name appearing in the newspapers as "John McMeekan, Esq., J.P."  Possibly the juxtaposition may have been a Machiavellian ruse intended to indicate that Lord Dufferin and diplomacy are considered as synonymous.
          You should be aware of some of the abuse to which I was subjected, and you experienced yourself Bangor ridicule in a mild form.  As early as January, 1883, Mr. McMeekan published a letter, in which he stated:  "In the interests of truth and justice I am obliged to recall my declaration of a fortnight ago that I would not engage in a newspaper controversy.  Some of Mr. Thomson's statements are so contrary to fact, and others are so misleading, that I have no choice but to place the true state of matters before the ratepayers.  Mr. Thomson sneers at my statement that the Commissioners have nothing to conceal, but I repeat it."  Shortly afterwards a prominent office-bearer in your church wrote: "The cause of Mr. McMeekan's perplexity and trial at the Commissioners' Board is well known. "Mr. Thomson, Mr. Thomson, good Lord deliver us from Mr. Thomson;' such must be Mr. McMeekan's earnest prayer, and we hope it may not be uttered in vain."  This man had only to say, I want _____ appointed a J.P., and it was done; but he is now a fugitive and a vagabond.  "The curse causeless shall not come," and it does not require profound doctors of divinity or of medicine to diagnose certain diseases, mental or physical.  Of eight men connected with what I styled "a diabolical phase in a conspiracy" only one of them is now alive.  De mortuis nil nisi bonum.  A short time since a minister of your sister church in England, who had been a co-respondent, was convicted of perjury and sentenced to a term of imprisonment.  He was defended by the M.P. for a division of Co. Down, who, besides being a lawyer, was also a clergyman.  More recently a solicitor in Liverpool was sentenced to penal servitude for life for perjury, and within the past few days a Belfast merchant was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for perjury.  It was said in haste "all men are liars", but I am afraid the liars of olden times have developed into perjurers.  I think it cannot be too strongly inculcated that

"The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation
That away, man is but gilded loam or painted clay."

          and that,

"An honest man's the noblest work of God."

          Copy of letter to the Lord Lieutenant, 14th October, 1885 :-
               I beg to draw the attention of your Excellency to the enclosed communication I have just received from the Local Government Board, and my remarks thereon.  I complained all along that the Local Government Board, through their officials, endeavoured to explain away or conceal the defalcations and forgeries, and I have reason to fear that similar agencies are again being employed to shield those who recently committed perjury.
          It is necessary that I should explain to your Excellency that the last October election in Bangor was upset on my petition, and in a pamphlet, etc., I charged Mr. John McMeekan - an ex-chairman of the Commissioners - with having committed perjury; for this he instituted a libel action against me and claimed £1,000 as damages; case was tried at last Belfast Assizes; jury awarded £75, but Judge O'Brien refused to allow for the special jury, thus indicating, I think, the judge's opinion of the case.  when plaintiff's bill of costs came before Master Coffey for taxation on 28th August, I applied for an affidavit that the witnesses' expenses, as charged, had been actually paid.  Master Coffey then handed me the receipts, which he said seemed to be in order, and expressed the opinion that an affidavit was unnecessary; but as I stated that from past experiences an affidavit would be more satisfactory, he adjourned taxation till Monday (then Friday), on which day an affidavit was produced from Mr. McMeekan that he had paid all the amounts as per the receipts, and also before bill of costs was furnished.  I then explained that in the interim I had waited upon the Rev. William Wright, who stated that he had not received any money, although four guineas were charged as having been paid him, and I undertook to obtain an affidavit from him to this effect.  Master Coffey then deliberately stated that if I did so he would have one or the other prosecuted for perjury, and again adjourned taxation till Wednesday, on which day I produced the required affidavit from Mr. Wright, and also another from Richard Mason that he had only received 4s., while a sum of 7s. 6d. was charged.  Mr. McMeekan was in court on the third occasion, and after hearing his explanation and receiving two letters written by Mr. Wright with reference to an I.O.U. having been received by him, Master Coffey stated to McMeekan that he had committed "wilful and deliberate perjury," a statement which he repeated after McMeekan had replied that it was "not deliberate", and when McMeekan further explained that he had been acting under the direction of Mr. Dinnen (his solicitor), Master Coffey asked him if Mr. Dinnen told him to commit perjury, and Master Coffey finally concluded by saying that he would forward the affidavits with his report to the Attorney-General.
          Such is a brief outline of the facts, and it now remains to be seen if the wire-pullers can also influence the law officers in order again to defeat the ends of justice.

                                                  FURTHER LETTERS.

          Copy of letter to the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P., First Lord of the Treasury, etc., 20th July, 1897 :-
               For some time past I have been in correspondence with the Local Government Board and with the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant concerning extensive frauds perpetuated on the township of Bangor, co. Down, but I cannot elicit that any redress is likely to be obtained.  Only for the loans sanctioned by the Local Government Board, and the conduct of their Auditor, such extensive embezzlements could not possibly have taken place.  Your brother is now President of the Local Government Board; you were formerly President; and in view of a further Financial Relations Commission and foreshadowed Irish Local Government legislation, I ask that those responsible for the Bangor frauds be dealt with.
          I unearthed the frauds, and in consequence I have since been hounded by the Belfast Northern Whig, etc.; and the strong argument of those who inspire such newspapers was that the Local Government Board Auditor certified that everything was in order.  I beg to draw your attention to enclosed answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning the frauds, etc., and which answer is a tissue of falsehoods (see enclosed analysis of question and answer, pages XVII and XVIII).  I would also draw your attention to pages I to IX for a brief history of the frauds and other crimes.
          In my presence at Downpatrick, on 12th inst., Chief Baron Pallas sentenced to six months' imprisonment a venerable looking man of upwards of 60 years of age, who had misappropriated £40.  He had become surety for £60, and was pounced upon to pay the amount.  As soon as it was discovered that the £40 had been taken, he paid the amount, with interest.  The judge said it was one of the saddest cases ever had come before him.  Yet he was bound to carry out the law, but he would inflict the minimum sentence of six months' imprisonment.  Chief Baron Pallas did not exonerate the unfortunate man by saying he had only "taken a turn out of the money," or that he had been "acting in utter ignorance of the Act of Parliament."

          Copy of letter to Mr. Gerald Balfour, M.P., Chief Secretary, President of the Local Government Board, etc., 2nd August, 1897 :-
               Referring to my letters of 1st and 15th ult., following is copy of letter from the Local Government Board dated 23rd ult.: "In reply to your letter of the 16th inst., I am directed by the Local Government Board for Ireland to state that your letter of the 21st ultimo has been received in this department."  The Local Government Board Inspector, Mr. Agnew, at his inquiry on 6th ult., stated that it was not his duty, but that of the Auditor, to investigate the frauds; I asked Mr. Agnew would it be perjury if any of the witnesses gave false evidence, and he replied, "Decidedly."  Mr. Dinnen, Solicitor, admitted in presence of Mr. Agnew that he returned certain Commissioners £25.  The unsatisfactory nature of previous inquiries by Mr. Cotton was referred to, and it has since transpired that the Local Government Board have sanctioned a loan which Mr. Cotton represented was not within the scope of his inquiry.  Recently two questions were asked in the House of Commons concerning the delay in auditing the Bangor accounts for 1896, audit was afterwards advertised to take place early this month by Col. Studdert; but it has been postponed.  To use the words of a Law Lord, Mr. Cotton and Col. Studdert "seem to be acting in utter ignorance of the Acts of Parliament."  I have no confidence in Col. Studdert or in his audits, and unless I receive intimation that the frauds will be investigated, I shall endeavour to arouse public opinion.

          Copy of letter to the Local Government Board, 13th August, 1897 :-
               I have received from the President of your Board a letter in which he states he cannot undertake to reopen the matter of the Bangor frauds.  The postponed Bangor audit for 1896 is now advertised for 16th inst. (nearly eight months after year has ended), and I scarcely think you can expect to accomplish any good object by sending Col. Studdert to perform the audit.  The state of affairs for last year is scandalous, and I would remind you that Col. Studdert certified as correct the 1882 statement, which showed £202 4s. 1d. as lodged for rates, although £160 3s. 9d. of this amount had been embezzled;  £4 5s. 0d. as lodged for car licences, all of which had been embezzled, and £8 9s. 6d. lodged as fines, which had been embezzled too; such fines I think are inflicted at the local petty sessions, and reach the Town Commissioners at stated intervals through a public department, so that you can surmise from this alone how Col. Studdert was compromised by such glaring frauds.  Towards the close of 1883 £2 1s. 8d. and £14 1s. 1d. were credited for 1881 arrears; the £2 1s. 8d. was from a Company the Secretary and two directors of which were Town Commissioners; £3 10s. 0d. of the £14 1s. 1d. was from the Chairman of the Town Commissioners; £1 17s. 2d. from another Commissioner, and 14s. 3d. from a brother and brother-in-law of latter Commissioner.  The £6,500 loans received in 1882 made the foregoing possible, and the 1882 statement of accounts, certified as correct by Col. Studdert, was misleading, cooked, false and untrue; from 1882 till the present you have sanctioned some seventeen loans amounting to upwards of £40,000, and in face of such systems of swindling as I brought to light it is no wonder that the taxes on Bangor amount to nearly six shillings in the pound, while the water and sewerage systems are defective and inadequate.  It is galling to be plundered in a sort of legal stand-and-deliver fashion, but it is more aggravating still to have to pay men to see such done;  so far as the ratepayers are concerned it is practically the same whether their money disappears by vulgar theft or is spirited away by a sort of professional legerdemain such as obtaining a taxing-master's certificate and drawing a cheque for the amount, which is afterwards distributed as may be arranged, or a less roundabout was is simply to draw a cheque in favour of any contractor who may be employed and whose endorsement can easily be forged if necessary.  You should know what a friendly taxation means. Col. Studdert and Mr. Dinnen were my most formidable opponents; during the thickest of the fight I had Mr. Dinnen's bill of costs in the libel suit reduced from £132 to £88 - that is, he had added one-half to the amount to which he was entitled; another of Mr. Dinnen's accounts was reduced from £26 to £12. Had these accounts been against the township would the charges likely have been less, and would £25 not have been well spent, say, in the shape of Christmas-boxes?  I have plied you in a variety of ways, but it is difficult to draw the badger.  However I hope yet to see your Board wiped out; the Bangor Commissioners and electors are not now the family party they were some years ago when the ballot papers could be examined after elections and any recalcitrant member chastised who had not voted to conserve the family interests.  I hope to teach Col. Studdert and your Board the difference between truth and falsehood, between honesty and dishonesty, and further to induce Ministers of the Crown to see that when absolute and deliberate falsehoods are prepared for them (such as were uttered in the House of Commons on 3rd March, 1884, concerning the Bangor audit and frauds) that the department responsible will be held accountable irrespective of the families who may be involved.  Surely between the promised Financial Relations Commission and the extension of Local Government to Ireland such Boards will be dissolved as being worse than useless.