HC Deb 02 May 1879 vol 245 cc1592-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whe- ther the action of the proprietors of New Hetherington and Philadelphia Collieries, in the county of Durham, in making staves which are admittedly somewhat larger than those ordinarily used by the police force is legal; and, if so, whether, seeing the mischief that might arise from employers and workmen arming themselves with weapons of the kind, he has power to put a stop to proceedings which may tend to provoke disturbance in the district?


, in reply, said, if a person's house or place of business were attacked, he knew of no law which would prevent that person from using a reasonable amount of force to prevent the attack made upon him. He said that with this reservation, however—that if the person employed such means as were likely to provoke a contest, or means likely to tempt others to resort to force sooner than otherwise would be the case, or if means were used in excess to resist the attack, then the person so acting would, undoubtedly, be answerable for the consequences. He did not know that he could say more than that; but knowing that the question referred to collieries mentioned by the hon. Member the other day, he might be pardoned for repeating, as strongly as possible, that he could conceive of nothing more unfortunate than that in a dispute of this kind, which ought to be settled amicably, either masters or men should resort to such means, which would bring discredit on the one and the other.