§ MR. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the disorderly scenes which have recently been taking place in connection with the collection of tithe rent-charge in Cardiganshire and in other parts of South Wales; whether Mr. Robert Lewis, the County Court bailiff, was seriously assaulted on the 14th of March at Ffynonfadog, in the parish of Pembryn, when attempting to collect tithe, and whether any arrests have been made in connection with this outrage; will be explain why the police force protecting Lewis was suddenly withdrawn on the 18th of March, although the Chief Constable had undertaken to pro- 1246 vide a force until the 23rd, and also the number of orders of the Newcastle-Emlyn County Court for tithe rent-charge which are now unexecuted; whether he is aware that a series of night attacks have been made on the vicarage of Llanfyhangel Rhosycorn, in the course of which a valuable horse belonging to the vicar has been cruelly mutilated; whether any arrests have been made in connection with this outrage; and what steps he proposes to take to restore law and order to this part of the country?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I have received Reports from time to time on the disorderly proceedings in connection with the collection of tithe rent-charge in Cardiganshire and other parts of South Wales. Mr. Robert Lewis, County Court bailiff, was twice assaulted, but, as I am informed, not seriously, on March 14 at Ffynonfadog while attempting to collect tithe. The assailants were well known to the police, who thought it more advisable not to arrest them, but to proceed by summons. It is true that a verbal arrangement had been made with the bailiff for the continuance of police protection until March 22, but it was found necessary to withdraw the protection temporarily after the 17th, after duo notice had been given, as applications had been received for protection from the bailiffs of another County Court, and the presence of an unusual number of police was required in another part of the county. The Chief Constable will shortly be again in a position to give assistance if required. There are, I am informed, 118 unexecuted orders for distress, and 87 orders under Sub-section 3 of Section 2 of the Tithe Act, 1891. I am informed that on four separate occasions damage was done by parties of men in the stables of the vicarage named, including the cutting of the hair from the tail of a horse; and although no arrests have yet been made, the offenders are believed to be known, and it is hoped will shortly be brought to justice. I understand that the village named is in Carmarthenshire, not in Cardiganshire; and I am further informed that these outrages have nothing to do with the collection of tithe rent-charge; and the vicarage is now protected. I have given a good deal of time and attention to the state of things in this county, and have endeavoured by 1247 personal interviews with the different authorities concerned to bring about a more harmonious and effective co-operation between them. I gather from the latest Reports that there has been substantial improvement in the facility with which the law is executed. The main difficulty lies, as I have often pointed out in the defective character of the remedy which the Act of Parliament provides.