§ MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, at the tithe distraint sales at Llanefydd on May 17, before any act of violence on the part of the people or of the emergency men and police took place, Mr. Stevens, collecting agent of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, rushed at, assaulted, and held by the throat Mr. William Jones, of Nant Farm; whether Mr. William Jones had, prior to such attack upon him by Mr. Stevens, done anything beyond booing and groaning; whether, 1379 immediately on Mr. Stevens laying hold of Mr. William Jones by the throat, and before the people had taken any part in the struggle, an emergency man struck Mr. William Jones across the mouth with a loaded riding whip, while two or three other emergency men belaboured him with their batons and threw him into the ditch; whether at that time the emergency men and police turned round upon a small number of unresisting men in the road, and indiscriminately batoned women, boys, and old men alike; whether the force with which the police struck the people was such that in one case the policeman's baton was split in two; whether the number of the wounded, many rendered insensible and all suffering from scalp wounds, amounted to over 20; and, whether the Riot Act was read before the attack upon the people was made?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I am informed by the Chief Constable of the County of Denbigh that Mr. Stevens did not rush at or hold Mr. Jones by the throat. Mr. Jones, who was a prominent leader of the disturbances, assaulted Mr. Stevens by striking him across the legs and pushing against him violently. The Chief Constable cannot say by whom Mr. Jones was struck. It happened in the general melée which followed an attack made by the crowd on the police. I understand that the persons described as a small number of unresisting men in the road were a noisy and angry crowd of some 300 or 400 men, the police numbering 25. One woman, who belaboured a policeman with a hedge stake, had the weapon taken from her. This was the only woman touched; no boys were struck, and one old man of about 60 was slightly struck, but he followed with the mob the next day. It was a fact that one policeman's baton was split. About 20 were injured; but they did not all suffer from scalp wounds, and no one was rendered insensible. The Riot Act was not read, the attack being made by the people and not by the police. From all the statements I have received on this subject I am of opinion that the police, far from exceeding their duty, have behaved with great moderation under very trying and difficult circumstances.
§ MR. BOWEN ROWLANDS (Cardiganshire)
asked, whether the right 1380 hon. Gentleman had received any statement from anybody but the Police Superintendent.
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, he had received his information from Mr. Stevens and several other persons whose names had escaped his memory.