[Reynoldsʼs Newspaper, 9. Mai bis 13. Juni 1869]

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Reynoldsʼs Newspaper. Nr. 978, 9. Mai 1869. S. 5.
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THE VAGARIES OF THE “GREAT UNPAID.”

May 9 Anmerkung von Jenny Marx

“Justices’ justice” is certainly a riddle which cannot be solved—a puzzle that cannot be fathomed. In short the ways of the “great unpaid are incomprehensible—inexplicable”. Their vagaries are not only ridiculous, but mischievous; and every day brings forth fresh evidence of how they render the sacred name of justice a by-word for scorn and derision. In further proof of this being the case, we would draw our readers’ attention to two cases that recently came under the jurisdiction of magisterial benches at South Shields and at Leeds, as showing what scandalous severity is displayed in one instance, and what disgraceful leniency in the other.

A few days ago, one William Spencer Jones, lessee of the Jarrow Theatre, was summoned for having assaulted Mary Montague, an actress in his employment. The young lady having been asked to play a certain part, declined on the ground that it was not in the line for which she was engaged. The rest of the story is thus told in the report of the proceedings before the South Shields justices by the local paper:—

“On Miss Montague refusing to take the part, Mrs. Jones seized her by the hair, and dragged her across the stage to where the defendant was, and they then both endeavoured to throw her down some stairs. Mrs. Jones, failing in that, caught complainant in her arms, and tossed her to Jones, saying, ‘Give it to her!’ whereupon Jones swung his arms round her, and getting her head in his left arm, commenced to batter her face with his fist. He struck her several blows under the chin, and knocked seven of her teeth out. She thought Jones was going to kill her, and ‘she gave herself to God,” saying, ‘Lord take my soul!’ When defendant relaxed his hold of her, her jaws were locked, and it took her two hands before she could open her mouth, and when she did so several teeth fell out.”

Here was a most violent and barbarous assault perpetrated on a helpless young woman, by an infuriated virago and a most ruffianly fellow. They kicked her, they cuffed her, they beat her brutally and knocked seven teeth out of her mouth! We have seldom read of a more fiendish, of a more aggravated or dastardly assault. Three months’ imprisonment, with hard labour, as a sentence, would scarcely have met the requirements of justice. Even the magistrates themselves considered the case “a very bad one,” but the sentence they passed was certainly not in accord with the opinion given from the bench. They imposed a fine of five pounds on the cowardly assailant, and generously ordained that the complainant should have half the fine! The woman Tones appears to have got off free. Poor Miss Montague gets fifty shillings as compensation for the loss of seven teeth, and as a recompense for being pummelled within an inch of her life. Of course, the poor girl’s professional prospects are materially injured, if not quite ruined, by the consequences of Mr. and Mrs. Jones’s brutal violence. But the bench does not seem to have taken that part into consideration; and, therefore, any theatrical lessee who is desirous of thrashing a young actress and disfiguring her for life can do so for the paltry consideration of a five pound note! But the key to the leniency of these South Shields Shallows is, we suspect, to be found in the following little piece of information contained in the newspaper report. It says, “The defendant has property in the Tyne Dock.” Of course, Mr. Jones being a man of means, lessee of a theatre, and proprietor of stock in a local dock, found favour in the eyes of local magistrates; and, although the case was pronounced a very bad one, he got off for about the same amount as would be levied upon a costermonger convicted of ill-treating his donkey.

But if the South Shields justices have been guilty of most culpable leniency, surely the same indictment cannot be laid to the charge of the Leeds magistracy, as the following extract from the Leeds Mercury shows:—

“At the West Riding petty sessions, held at Leeds, yesterday, a lad named William Barlow, sixteen years of age, was sent for fourteen days to goal for playing at pitch and toss at Allerton Bywater on Friday last. The sitting magistrates were Sir A. Fairbairn, Mr. Darnton Lupton, and Mr. W. Hey.”

Poor Billy Barlow! He has assuredly fallen upon hard times, and seems to have gotten within the fangs of very hard men! We wonder if any of the “worthy magistrates” themselves ever indulge in a rubber of whist, or such like diversion? Be that, however, as it may, really seems to us that the punishment inflicted upon the boy is shamefully disproportionate with his offence; and we also think the pranks of the Leeds magistrates, as well as the vagaries of the South Shields justices, should be made subjects for investigation by the Home Secretary.

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Reynoldsʼs Newspaper. Nr. 979, 16. Mai 1869. S. 4/5.
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THE CASUAL POOR AND GENEROUS “GUARDIANS.”

May 16 Anmerkung von Jenny Marx

Do we live in a Christian country? Nominally and legally considered, we do; in reality, and according to the tone and teaching of the New Testament, we do not. It is true we are blessed—or cursed—with a State Church, presided over by her “sacred” Majesty, the Queen, and a pompous, pretentious, pelf-loving hierarchy of arch-prelates and prelates, who clearly—as an example unto others—“make the best of both words,” and, therefore, are “wise in their generation.” It is moreover true that those ecclesiastical, lawn-sleeved potentates enjoy princely salaries, inhabit princely palaces, and keep up courtly retinues of clerical and semi-clerical subordinates, ranking from the dignified office of a dean to the very undignified office of a verger. In addition, we have countless churches scattered over the country, and a whole army of clergy, of major and minor degree. These week after week remind us from the reading-desk, the altar, and the pulpit, that “we are all brethren”—that we should “love one another”—“do good unto all men; but especially to those who are of the household of faith”—in addition to a number of similar excellent admonitions. One would think, from the profusion of professions, made, that the apostolic spirit actuated every member of the Church, and that we had “all things in common.”

Alas! What a delusion! On Sunday professions ill accord with our every-day practice. What doleful, dreadful tales do we not daily read in the newspapers? How they harrow up the soul, and cause the blood to chill in one’s veins! We find by one journal how sordidly avaricious is that blind, crownless monarch, George of Hanover; and how he successfully sues in the Vice-Chancellor’s Court for the sum of over half a million—derived from the revenues of the electoral domain—which was invested, in 1783, in behalf of the reigning Elector of Hanover, King George III, and is now safely stored in the coffers of the Bank of England—a “godsend” which will materially help to alleviate “the sorrows of a poor old man.” In the same paper we alight upon a startling story, perfectly tragical in its nature. It records an inquest held upon a girl aged twelve years, at the Pitt’s Head Tavern, Bethnal-green. Her father, who was a shoemaker, died but three weeks ago. Hence his widow is left with a family of three children to support. Her utmost earnings amount to the munificent sum of two shillings and sixpence a-week, which she obtains by washing. Out of this paltry pittance she struggles—heaven only knows with what agony—to keep life in herself and her helpless orphans. In a week or ten days all the children are attacked by fever. Hence the miserable mother, crushed with sorrow upon sorrow, is compelled by sheer necessity to seek aid from the parish. She applies for relief, and this is the manner in which it is given. That magnificent official, the relieving officer, orders her two shillings in money and two shillings worth |31 of bread!—Thinking, no doubt, with the singular sagacity of his class, that a wedge of a dry, hard loaf was very suitable for, and would be eagerly devoured by, fever-stricken children. The mother likewise—what noble philanthropy!—obtains an order for the medical man, who, however, happens not to “turn up.” Many hours elapse before the sick child is seen by a substitute for the parish doctor; and then his visit is made so late as nine o’clock at night. The following morning the poor mother wends her way to the “house” to receive her dole of bread. Upon returning to her dismal room she finds one of her children stark and cold on the floor!—its spirit passed away to Him who gave it. An inquest was duly held. The doctor says that the child had died from the effects of fever; and the sapient coroner’s jury returns the verdict, “Death from natural causes.” And all this occurs in Bethnal-green, of which parish Miss Burdett Coutts is one of the guardians. We wonder if any sanctimonious scripture-reader or pious proselytizer called in the interim and left a tract.

Last week we published the “Experiences of a Working Man in Workhouse.” It is a pithy and graphic narrative, and reveals a condition of things which is not only disgraceful but criminal. Driven by pinching poverty, and bent on search of work, the writer had to seek temporary shelter in no less than twenty-seven unions; only in one of which—that is, Birmingham—does a “casual” appear to be treated like a human being, much less a Christian brother. Here is an entry:—“Burton-on-Trent: No supper, no breakfast, no bed. A board to sleep on, covered by an old hop bag. I was insulted, sneered at, and told I had no business to allow hair to grow on my face until I could support myself.” And this in the region of wealthy brewers—the Basses and the Allsopps, who owe their fortunes mainly to the working man’s credulity in the wholesome and nutritious character of their ale! As Tom Hood says—

“Alas for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun.”

But particularly in Burton-upon-Trent! But let us turn to Lichfield, which our correspondent terms, naively enough, “the home of a bishop.” Surely, episcopal influence will be found manifested in the workhouse of that famous cathedral city?

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Reynoldsʼs Newspaper. Nr. 983, 13. Juni 1869. S. 1.
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THE FATAL RIOTING AT MOLD.

The poor woman, Elizabeth Jones, who was shot in the riot, has since died, and the coroner held an inquest on the body. The jury returned a verdict of “Justifiable homicide.” While the inquest was going on the police made their appearance in the cottage of Mrs. Jones, where the dead body lay, and took the deceased’s husband, Isaac Jones, into custody on a charge of having been concerned in the disturbances.

On Monday, the following persons, who had been apprehended on a charge of taking an active part in the riot at Mold, last week, were brought before the justices at the County Hall: —William Griffiths, collier; Benjamin Tatham, gentleman’s servant; William Thomas Jones, collier; Isaac Jones, collier; John Roberts, driver; and Roland Jones, collier.

Mr. Taylor, solicitor, Flint, appeared for the prisoners Isaac Jones and William Thomas Jones. The other prisoners were undefended.

Mr. Browne, chief constable of Flintshire, deposed that on the previous Wednesday evening a mob of about one thousand five hundred colliers commenced hustling and throwing stones at the police and soldiers who had in charge the two prisoners committed to goal for committing an assault upon Mr. Young, manager of the Lees-wood Green Colliery. The first stone was thrown by a woman, and immediately afterwards the stone-throwing became general from all directions, the object of the rioters evidently being to rescue the two prisoners, and several of his men were struck with stones and knocked down. The volleys of stones hurled at the military and police darkened the air, and he saw several of his men bleeding from the face and head, the blood streaming down their uniforms. It was impossible for any of them to go out and face the mob. If a magistrate had gone out of the station to read the Riot Act he would certainly have been murdered. Life was decidedly in great and imminent danger at that moment in the station. The witness called upon Captain Blake, the officer in command of the military, to protect himself and his own men and the constables by firing into the mob. He refused to do so. The witness thought it was necessary to have a magistrate’s order to justify firing, and he said to a magistrate, Mr. Clough, “For God’s sake give the order to fire, or we shall be all murdered!” He then shouted out, as loudly as he could, “Fire!” The commanding officer even then was very reluctant to allow his men to fire, although at that moment his face was covered with blood, and blood was also streaming from a wound at the back of his head. Some of the soldiers, who were very severely cut, were writhing under the pain they were suffering. They wished to fire, but the captain held them back. One private who was wounded charged his rifle, and was about to step towards the station-gate with his rifle pointed towards the mob, when one of the officers caught hold of him round the waist and drew him back off his legs, at the same time crying out, “For God’s sake don’t fire!” The stone-throwing all this time was continued, the mob even coming round to the platform and across the line on the opposite side of the railway. The police and military were thus surrounded by the rioters, and he again called upon the officers to fire on their assailants. Immediately after witness heard the discharge of a rifle, followed by other shots. The officers were holding their men back, and using every effort to check them in firing, cautioning them not to take human life. They said, “For God’s sake, men, don’t fire where there’s no necessity for it!” To the best of his judgment, twelve or fifteen shots were fired, and then the mob dispersed, and the few soldiers that were firing were ordered back to the platform. The greatest number of shots was fired from the yard behind the station. One or two shots were fired from the station gate. There was no volley firing, only dropping shots, with long intervals between the firing. Witness recognized Isaac Jones as being in the crowd in the courtyard as the escort with the prisoners in charge was startling for the station, but did not see him throw stones. He could not speak to any of the other prisoners.

Sergeant Hughes and several other police officers gave corroborative evidence, and identified all the prisoners as having taken part in the riot.

Captain Blake, who was in command of the soldiers, was called. The officer had plasters upon his head and face where he had been hit with stones. On Wednesday he received an order from his commanding officer at Chester to take fifty men to Mold, and he did so. He brought them to the county hall, and escorted the police, who had two prisoners in their charge, to the railway station. As they were proceeding down the road to the station, stone-throwing began, and it increased tremendously as the escort approached the station. Several of the soldiers were struck down by the missiles that were hurled at them, and bled very much. The gateway leading to the station being fastened, it occupied some time to get the police and soldiers through a narrow |32 doorway which formed the only other access to the station. It was impossible for anyone to have gone out and talked to the crowd. He did not give the order to fire until Mr. Clough, a magistrate from Chester, told him to do so. He had not been able since, by examining the men’s ammunition, to ascertain the number of shots that had been fired, because some of the cartridges had been lost. Witness considered that life was in danger in the station, and that it was quite necessary for the soldiers to fire upon the mob. They did not use blank cartridge, and they were not allowed under such circumstances to fire above the heads of the rioters. There were twenty-three out of the fifty soldiers wounded on the occasion. They did not intentionally fire over the heads of the rioters.

Mr. Taylor applied for and obtained an adjournment, on the ground that he had only just received instructions to defend the prisoners, and wished for time to get up the defense. He also applied for bail on behalf of Isaac Jones, who wanted to see his wife buried; and, after some consultation, the bench granted it, requiring two sureties of 50l. each and the prisoner in 50l.

Inhalt:

  • Social cases. 1869