Continutinuation of the 1895 letters to the Kingston Daily Gleaner about the origins of White Witch of Rose Hall.
The Kingston Daily Gleaner published a letter in 1895 that sparked a controversy over the story and identity of the White Witch of Rose Hall. This public debate went on for several months through the publication of several letters to the Gleaner, catching the attention and interest of the general public and ultimately shaping it into the story we now know.
Mrs. Palmer of Rose Hall.
The Editor of the Gleaner.
Sir,-- It has afforded me some amusement to read the short article on Mrs. Palmer of Rose Hall which appeared in Gall's News Letter, of the 27th inst The article displays most lamentable ignorance of the discussion which has been conducted in these columns since the 2nd May, and generally of the Rose Hall mystery. To prove this I select one instance from many. Speaking of Mrs. Witter the writer speculates in these words: "Did Mrs. Whitter (sic) after the deaths of three husbands become Mrs. Palmer in 1767?" How a man can take up pen to write on a subject without an acquaintance of details I am at a loss to understand. Why, the very first extract from the ecclesiastical records contained in Mr. McLaughlin's letter published in these columns on the 17th ult, (which extracts I said in my letter of the 23rd inst., were genuine) gives the date of Hon. John Palmer's marriage with Ross Witter, namely, 5th July, 1767. Speculating after this manner the News Letter dismisses the subject by saying, "there is no proof that she did Alas! is it any wonder that Rose Hall is credited with a mystery? Is this not mystifying mystery? I have troubled myself to notice the article merely by way of bringing its inaccuracy to the attention of those in our community who have not made a special study of the historical side of the subject those gentlemen who have taken part in the discussion, like myself, know how much value to place upon it.
While writing I remember too that the News Letter of the 20th inst, published another rambling account of Mrs. Rosa Palmer which, like the one under notice, must be taken with not grains, but quarts of salt! Allusion is made therein to "a number of old papers published about 1850 51." In these days of literary competition and imposture the public demands title of work, chapter, and page; "old papers" may mean anything.
I cannot close without calling the attention of the News Letter to the want of courtesy displayed in the opening paragraph of the article under notice. Since I signed my name, giving address, to a letter in another journal the words "the article in the GLEANER, of July 23rd," are certainly vague and discourteous "Oh, Hamlet, what a falling off was there." -- I am, &c.,
Malvern P.O., 29th July, 1895.