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DINNER OF THE EMPLOYES OF…

THE "REBECCA" RIOTS.

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THE "REBECCA" RIOTS. THE verdicts of Welsh juries have long enjoyed an unenviable notoriety. The decisions of Welsh justices, if we may judge from a recent example, are sometimes equally perplexing. For some time past a determined opposition to the salmon fishery laws has been offered by a large number of persons in the counties of Brecon and Radnor, who claim the right to catch salmon at any season of the year, and have of late destroyed large quantities of fish in the river Wye and its tributaries. In order more effec- tually to carry out their designs, the poachers have formed themselves into a sort of association, under the title of "Rebecca and her Daughters," a name which first became notorious when, some years ago. a number of men banded themselves under it for the purpose of destroying the turnpike gates and toll- houses in the two counties just mentioned. For some time past the poachers have been mustering in force on the Upper Wye and the Khon, one of its tributa- ries, and lighting the stream by means of torches, have speared the salmon in large numbers. Great exertions have been made by the board of conserva- tors of the Wye fishery district to prevent this wholesale destruction of the fish but the number of watchers and water-bailiffs at their disposal was so small compared with that of the poachers that it was not deemed prudent to attempt to capture the latter, who at length became so daring as to an- nounce their expeditions by the firing of guns. In the month of December, however, the gangs of these marauders had become so formidable that the num- ber of water-bailiffs on the Khon was increased. At about eleven o'clock on the night of the 23rd of that month the bailiffs, led by a gentleman of the neigh- bourhood and his gamekeepers, came upon a gang of about twenty poachers, disguised in various ways, and armed with spears, pikes, bludgeons, and other weapons; some of them carrying Hambeaux of straw with which to light the streams and attract the fish. For a time the b water-bailiffs and their assistants concealed themselves in a wood on the banks of the Khon, but when the poachers had commenced their work of spearing the fish, they made their appear- ance and followed them into the stream. At first the poachers fled, but soon rallied, and, forming themselves into line, presented their spears at their pursuers. Upon being asked what they meant to do, and whether they would deliver up their weapons, they replied, "Fight!" Upon this the watchers' closed with them, and a desperate encounter follow- ed, in which a gamekeeper named Lloyd was nearly scalped by a blow from a spear, and several mpn, both poachers and watchers, were severely injured. The watchers, however, after a fight which lasted for a quarter of an hour, proved victorious, capturing four men and driving the others off the field. During the struggle one of the poachers, the son of a large and wealthy farmer, is said to have knocked down the superintendent bailiff, and keep- ing him on his back, made an attempt to "gouge'' him, which was prevented only by the timely assis- tance of one of the watchers. On the 27th and 28th of December the four men who had been cap- tured— two of whom, it appears, are the sons of one of the wealthiest farmers in the neighbourhood— were brought before the two magistrates at the petty sessions at Penyhont, when the water-bailiffs and the injured gamekeeper Lloyd gave evidence as to the infringement of the law and the fight which followed. The proof adduced for the prosecution was certainly precise and positive, but the magistrates discharged the prisoners. We are not aware of the grounds upon which this decision rests; it was certainly contrary to the evidence of the bailiffs, and it would be interesting to know whether the magistrates disbelieved their statements, or had other reasons for the course they took. Whether or not the accused persons were really guilty of poaching— though, as the Times says, that is too mild a name for such an outrage against both law and nature as killing sahnon in December—it is notorious that wholesale and systematic poaching is carried on by the Radnorshire farmers, and it is time that strong measures should be taken to suppress so flagrant a scandal. No body of men can be allowed to defy the law with impunity, and we are glud to hear that the matter is to be brought under the notice of the Home Office.— The Pall Mall Gazette.

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