High Peak News


7th April 1888


The sudden death of a woman at whaley bridge


To the Editor


Sir, -- I am very much surprised to find that Dr Allan has not endeavoured to refute the charges which I made against him in your issue of the 24th March, but seems to consider that his position will be better defended if left to the subtilty of friends and relations. If his allies are willing to call a public meeting in accordance with the suggestion of your correspondent “Observer,” with a view to clearing him from the charges which have been made against him, I am willing to attend the same meeting to substantiate the accusations which I have made, for

                 I dare do all that may become a man,

                 Who dares do more is none.

and I feel quite confident that I should be able to vindicate my position in the opinion of the meeting against the combined efforts of my three opponents, as

                  Thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just.


It is rather astonishing also that his specious defender, who sprang into the controversy with the evident desire to make everybody think he was a descendant of the “Anarchy,” on whose brow Shelly saw inscribed the following words:--

                  I am God, and King, and Law,

has not had the manliness to either adhere to his position or to withdraw the insinuations which he has made, but trusts rather to surreptitious means to relieve his indignation.


“A.H. Colles” informs us that he can speak from long experience of Dr Allan’s kindness, and states as a positive fact that only once in fourteen years has he received his fee before his work was done. In the same letter he proffered to give a day with me to make enquiries into the matter, but he has been so long in making his appointment that I went over to Whaley Bridge to make enquiries for myself, the result of which I intend to give below.


Before dealing with the case itself, I feel compelled to mention an incident which took place on the evening of the 24th ultimo at the “Tableaux Vivante,” arranged by a lady, who resides in the district, in aid of the Restoration Fund of a church. I regret to say that Mr. Colles, who in his capacity as chairman of the meeting, had some selections from Shakespeare to read, used the opportunity as a means of casting a reflection on his opponents by quoting from a play of “Othello” the words of Iago:

                           Who steals my purse, steals trash ; ‘tis something, nothing,

                           ‘Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands ;

                           But he that filches from me my good name,

                           Robs me of that which not enriches him,

                           And makes me poor indeed.


Though, as the old adage says, “Birds of a feather flock together,” I am happy to think that his remarks met with the approval of only some half-dozen of those who were present, and I have no doubt he will have received encouragement from that quarter, and, in the words of the joyful hymn, “There will be no parting there,” but I know from experience that it is an easy matter for would-be aristocrats to procure a few suckling sycophants to chant their praises, whatever may be the depth to which their actions have descended. His action would be entirely justifiable, seeing that he himself has not taken the trouble to ascertain the facts of the case he has been writing about. I am always careful in controversies of any description of the language I use, but when a man implies in a meeting where he cannot be answered that I and others wish to damage his character, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain, nor shall any protection shelter him from the treatment which he deserves. I shall on such an occasion without scruple trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity entrench themselves, nor shall anything but age restrain my resentment; age which always brings with it one privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment. I will not sit unconcerned while my liberty is invaded, nor look in silence on public calumny. I will exert my endeavours at whatever hazard to repel the aggressor, and wring from him a full and complete apology.


It is past my comprehension where “A.H. Colles” went in search of information when after his search and his long residence in Whaley Bridge he was only able to find this one case of negligence on the part of Dr Allan. I am afraid he is like one of those of whom we are told they are deaf because they will not hear, or blind because they will not see, and that he was determined to be both deaf and blind when he went on his round seeking for the truth. It seems rather strange that I, a comparative stranger to the place, should be able in one afternoon to collect more information than “A.H. Colles” had been able to collect in fourteen years. Should it be necessary I shall be prepared at a future date to have the evidence of my informants placed in a court of law and attested to on oath. Having then shown the sincerity of my espousal of the case by my desire to obtain the truth, and having by enquiry disproved the assertions of “A.H. Colles”, I now call upon Dr Allan to give some explanation of his conduct, and upon “A.H. Colles” to withdraw the language which he has used and to apologise for it.


Should he still disdain to move in the manner I have indicated it will be necessary for me, however regrettable, to take other means to attain the desired result; and should he not reply to this letter in your next issue, as a preliminary step to those means above mentioned, I shall publish the private correspondence between “A.H. Colles” and myself.


Yours &c,

Archibald Vicar.

Prestwich, 3rd April 1888.