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Letters to Grande in prison

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  • Letters to Grande in prison

    From the Danish Consulate, 5 Muscovy Street, London:

    28 December 95.
    Sir,
    Per receipt of your letter of 24th inst, I hardly see what I can do for you, as you appear to have been sentenced in the normal way, and four years having lapsed since your conviction a new trial would now scarcely be granted. In the other hand a pardon cannot be expected until a much longer part of the twenty years has passed.
    If, however, you will give me all the particulars of your case, where and when the trial took place, the name of the solicitor who acted for you, and the nature of the accusations against you I shall see if I can do anything in the matter.
    It cannot be correct that you were sentenced to 20 years hard lab [labour] for writing a threatening letter, there must have been something far more serious than that, and if I shall take any steps in your favor I must know the whole truth.
    You say you are a Danish subject, but your name is not a Danish one. Please therefore to let me know whether it is the real or an assumed one, and in the former case what is your real name, where are you born and have you any relatives left in Denmark.
    If commissioner Anderson is the administrator of your property you might ask him whether part of the £60. you say you have got in his hands, can be used for your defence.
    The Consulate requires no fees, but legal expenses must of course be paid.

    E. A. Delcomyn

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    March 6th 96

    Sir!
    I duly received your letter of 22nd ulto and have perused its contents.
    It is a very complicated statement, parts of it appear rather improbable, and I am afraid that nothing can be done in the matter at present. The Home secretary cannot upset a judgement given by a proper tribunal. In rare cases where new facts have come to light after the judgement, a fresh trial … [? word illegible] ordered, but this is rarely done, and in your case, as far as I can see, no new acts have come to light.
    Your statement is based upon accusations against a great number of people, not only private persons, but your own clerk, several solicitors and the police. I need hardly say that [most p]eople will consider such a string of conspiracies, without adequate motive, as very improbable, and the case having been tried by one of our most eminent judges, I fear that an application to the Home Secretary for a new trial will be utterly useless.
    That the sentence is an extremely severe one I fully admit and an application to the Home Secretary later on for a reduction of your term may be desired but you have not been long enough in prison to make such an application at present of the slightest use.
    I will confer with the Danish Minister, Kammerherre de Bille, about you but he will probably be of the same opinion as I am, that it is too soon to take any steps [in] your favor.
    I can of course lay the whole case before a respectable solicitor or even before a [Relevant coroner ?….some words missing] and if any steps are to be taken to your sentence, or to ascertain the truth, it will be expensive.
    If the money in the hands of the police can be applied for this purpose, and you wish to have it done, I am willing to undertake it, but I would deceive you if I said that there can be much hope of a good result.

    E. A. Delcomyn.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------




    March 12th 96
    Sir!
    Referring to my letter of 5th inst I have done as promised, conferred with the Danish [? word illegible] Minister, Kammerherre de Bille, about you and have asked him to read your statement. This he has done and has also seen the report of the case in the papers, after which he has conferred with the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor both of whom appeared well acquainted with the case. As I expected there is nothing to be done at the present moment, nobody believes that you have been unjustly condemned, and it is too soon to expect a [? word illegible]. It is the custom, when 5 and 10 years have passed, that the case of […words missing] prisoners is put before the Home Secretary and with good conduct in the prison there may then be a chance of release, but before these times no modifications are made.
    To see a solicitor about it will, I fear, be only waste of money as there are no new facts brought to light which can justify a fresh trial.
    E.A. Delcomyn



    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    24 June 97
    To
    DR 751 C. Grande
    Parkhurst Prison
    Isle of Wight

    I am directed by the Consul General Delcomyn to acknowledge the receipt of your letters dated April 21 and june 21 and in reply to refer you to his letter dated March 12. 1896 in which you are informed that the Danish Minister M de Bille had put your case before the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor, who did however not believe that you were unjustly sentenced and who declared that there was not sufficient reason to justify a fresh trial.This Consulat-General is therefore, I regret to say, unable to do anything more in the matter.


    [Illegible signature]

    Vice Consul

  • #2
    I'm very pressed for time right now, just wanted to post these (finally!). Sorry to have you kept you waiting, but I wanted to find Grande's letters.

    Unfortunately, they weren't where I expected, and therefore probably cannot be located at this time.

    A few quick comments: the first three letters are addressed to Portland Prison.

    E. A. Delcomyn was a Danish businessman, who founded a company in Hull with his brother. He was well-known and respected in the community, and served as Consul from 1890 until around 1901, I believe - correct years to be checked.

    Photos available when I have a bit more time. Some words are indecipherable, maybe some of you can have a looksee.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Kattrup

      He was approved in April 1883 (London Gazette) and a newspaper reports a retirement banquet in his honour in May 1903, so it was a 20 year stint.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
        Hi Kattrup

        He was approved in April 1883 (London Gazette) and a newspaper reports a retirement banquet in his honour in May 1903, so it was a 20 year stint.
        Thank you Robert.


        Finding Grande's letters has proven much harder than expected. I've looked through the consulate's boxes of "Letters received" for the appropriate years, and they're not there.
        There's no apparent reason why, but it is of course easy to suppose that they were bundled together in an separate folder, now lost.

        It's interesting that the Danish minister (ambassador) met with the Home Secretary (Matthew White Ridley)and Lord Chancellor (Hardinge Giffard) to discuss Grande's case. Somewhere in the British NA, there will be some records pertaining to that lofty meeting, which obviously must have taken place between 6th and 12th March, 1896.


        Of general interest, of course, is the fact that Grande corresponded with Danish authorities in English, even when claiming to be Danish.


        "Kammerherre" is an honorary title, denoting service to the monarch - translation would be "Chamberlain" or "Master of the (royal) chambers".

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Kattrup !
          To Join JTR Forums :
          Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks K.
            I think if Grande's letters are missing they will be in a correspondence related file altogether like you say.
            Interesting that he did write in English to the Danish consul but perhaps this might be encouraged if writing from a UK prison-so that the letter could be checked before sending on? We know he was always described as having a 'superior' education in prison records and he wrote English very well as in the one newspaper that published a copy of his threatening letter including spelling mistakes, it shows he made very few, but he did make some.

            I've partially looked through some HO 'out letter' and correspondence books for 1896 dealing with prisoner petitions and other subjects but didn't find anything relating to Grande so far in those. Florence Maybrick, yes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good point about prison rules requiring writing in English, I'd not thought about that possibility.

              I still hope to find Grande's "complicated statement". It is described as being forwarded to the Danish minister, so next I'll look at that archive, see if it yields something.
              I mentioned the minister meeting with British cabinet members, but I suppose "conferred" does not necessarily mean that they met. Either way, some trace of such high-level communication would normally be retained.

              I'll check Danish FO archival material for it.

              The contents of the statement are, of course, generally clear from the reply - Grande blames everyone for a string of conspiracies causing his ruin - but maybe he included some explanation of his origins.

              In the first letter, the consul asks him to substantiate his claim of Danish citizenship. In the next, it's not mentioned - so maybe Grande wrote some answer in the statement.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                Good point about prison rules requiring writing in English, I'd not thought about that possibility.

                I still hope to find Grande's "complicated statement". It is described as being forwarded to the Danish minister, so next I'll look at that archive, see if it yields something.
                I mentioned the minister meeting with British cabinet members, but I suppose "conferred" does not necessarily mean that they met. Either way, some trace of such high-level communication would normally be retained.

                I'll check Danish FO archival material for it.

                The contents of the statement are, of course, generally clear from the reply - Grande blames everyone for a string of conspiracies causing his ruin - but maybe he included some explanation of his origins.

                In the first letter, the consul asks him to substantiate his claim of Danish citizenship. In the next, it's not mentioned - so maybe Grande wrote some answer in the statement.
                Fingers crossed something turns up.
                Yes, a definite description of his origins is something that would be very interesting and does seem to have happened as he doesn't mention it again as you point out. He could have just used the name Christian Neilson, a name on his habitual criminal file, and that is recognisably Danish, whereas the name Grande obviously wasn't. He had to keep the name of Neilson out of it as as that mis-identification formed part of his long list of grievances against the English authorities, so it would be fascinating to know what else he could pull out of the bag to convince them he was Danish.

                Interesting also that he had quite a grudge against his 'clerk' and claimed he was part of the conspiracy; I'm assuming that was James Hall. I know they fell out and that Sgt James had a hand in Hall giving evidence about Grande. It makes me wonder if Hall was the prisoner (also named Hall) who battered Sgt James over the head in Portland Prison, causing him serious injury.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I presumed the clerk was his solicitor's clerk.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                    I presumed the clerk was his solicitor's clerk.
                    Ah, yes, could be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                      I presumed the clerk was his solicitor's clerk.
                      I think it's his own clerk, who took the stand against him:

                      Your statement is based upon accusations against a great number of people, not only private persons, but your own clerk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                        I think it's his own clerk, who took the stand against him:
                        Yes. Reading it again after I answered Edward, I believe it is James Hall as I suggested in my other post.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Im not sure Hall was literally his clerk. But i may be wrong.
                          But his solicitors legal clerk might still be referred to as uour clerk?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                            Im not sure Hall was literally his clerk. But i may be wrong.
                            But his solicitors legal clerk might still be referred to as uour clerk?
                            He seemed to think he was:

                            "James Hall was sworn, and deposed that from September, 1888, till June, 1889, he was a clerk in the employ of Charles Grande, who was then conducting a private inquiry agency."
                            Daily News , September 29, 1891

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Did James Hall have any legal experience? In 1891 he was a tailor's clerk.

                              Comment

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