Procurator Fiscal v John Mackenzie (gunsmith), 1882

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A transcript of a letter sent to John Ross, 'threatening to blow up his house with dynamite while he was asleep'.

In our archives, we have a copy of a Criminal Libel from 1882. John Mackenzie, Gunsmith in Tain, stood accused of sending the following remarkable letter to John Ross, Tain's Inspector of the Poor, 'threatening to blow up his house with dynamite while he was asleep'.

"Tain 2nd March
Sir, I am requested by a number of electors to intimate to you that there is a proposal among the Electors that as you are giving a final notice this is their first notice and if you will summons one or any of us. We are prepared with not the simple Bombs which was exploded lately on Tain Streets but we have them ready with 3 pounds of Dynamite which will be thrown in through your window when you are sound asleep and will blow you to atoms before you are aware of it for doing a thing which you have no right to do. As long as there is money in the Bank belonging to the Town you have no right to tax any Person. Now you damned Edderton Bugher you make yourself the head of the Board yourself But your Best days is over We will elect a board over you ourselves in spite of the whole of you, you put out final notices but this is our first notice and not the last mind the Dynamite. Please show this to your employers so that if your house is blown up they will know what did it."

A search in the newspapers reveals that after hearing the evidence the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not proven.