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CARDIFF. COUNTY COURT.—FRIDAY. (Before T. FALCONER, Esq., Judge.) IMPORTANT CASE AGAINST THE SOUTH WALES RAILWAY COMPANY. LIMIT OF LIABILITY AS CARRIERS. Mr. Simons, of Merthyr, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Tripp for the defendants. Mr. Simons, in opening the case, said that the action had been brought by the plaintiff, Mr. Robert Jones, draper, of Merthyr, to recover the sum of £9 14s., being the value of a piece of cloth abstracted from a bale of goods, while in the care of the defendants. the learned gentleman briefly explained the nature of the evidence to be adduced by him, in support of the plaintiff's case, and concluded by expressing his regret that the defendants, as a public company, should have thrown every impediment in the way of inquiry with regard to the loss of the piece of cloth in question, which there could be no doubt had been felo- niously abstracted while in the company's charge, instead of affording to the plaintiff all the means in their power to unravel the mystery, and to fix the proper person with the liability. Mr. Robert Jones, the plaintiff, was then called, and stated that the value of the piece of cloth abstracted was, in Merthyr, £9 14s. He purchased the bale of goods in London, in September last. Witness was from home at the time the goods came from Paddington by the Great Western and South Wales railways to Cardiff, and on to Merthyr by the Taff Vale railway. On examining the bale he found that a piece of cloth was missing, when he wrote to the defendants, and had a great deal of correspondence with their agents upon the subject; but they would give no in- formation all they said was, We are not liable." Cross-examined The charge note produced shows the charges of the Taff Vale Company, and the sums paid on to the South Wales Company. I have often received similar charge-notes of the South Wales Company. There was a tear or rent in the cloth which covered the goods. I tried with a piece of goods similar to that missing, and found the hole just large enough to allow the piece to go through. Re-examined: The missing piece could not have got out by accident. John Baxter, in the service of Messrs. Brett, of London, said he packed the goods for the plaintiff, on the 24th of September last. There were 32 pieces in the hale, which was addressed, "Mr. Robt. Jones, Merthyr—South Wales Railway to Cardiff." It was impossible that such a piece of goods as that missing could have got out by accident. [The witness here explained that the goods were packed with the assistance of an hydraulic press, which rendered the package so tight, that no portion could be abstracted without considerable trouble.] Witness delivered the bale to the railway company's agent. Thomas Arden, carman, proved receiving the package from the last witness, and delivering it to the company's office, at the Bull and Mouth, London, and received a re- ceipt for it. George Thomas, in the employ of the Taff Vale Railway Company, proved that he received the truss in question, and observed the rent in the cover. It was entered in the company's receiving-book as a bale of goods, with the wrapper torn. Cross-examined It is customary to weigh goods, when there is any suspicion that any have been lost. The cover, or wrapper, was quite tight, and from its outward appear- ance, witness believed that nothing was missing from the inside, and therefore did not weigh it. The weight signed for in the Taff Vale Company's book is the same weight mentioned in the South Wales Company's book. Roger Edmunds, assistant to plaintiff, proved receiving the package at Merthyr; and seeing the rent in the cover, he put his hand in" and found that something had been taken out. [This witness explained that, after the piece of goods had been taken out, the elasticity of the package would cause the bale to appear to an ordinary observer as if nothing had been displaced. Mr. Tripp then addressed the Court for the defendants, and said that, with regard to the observations of Mr. Simons, as to the company's conduct in this matter, he (Mr. Tripp) utterly denied that any discourtesy had been shown, or that any desire had been felt by the defendants to withhold from the plaintiff such information as he was entitled to. In proof of the company's general anxiety to do their duty towards the public on all occasions, he might mention the fact that, in every instance in which the com- pany had contested a claim in that court, they had suc- ceeded in showing to his Honour, not upon any technical ground, but upon the bare merits of the case, that they were justified in resisting the claim sought to be enforced, and had obtained verdicts in their favour. It was, there- fore, unfair for any professional gentleman to make the assertions that his friend had with regard to the defendants. The learned gentleman then proceeded to contend that ths plaintiff in this case had mistaken the party liable. He would show that the package was delivered to the Taff Vale Railway Company in the same condition as received by the defendants, and that the loss, which doubtless had taken place, must have happened while the package was in the charge of that company. John Henry Cullen, in the employ of the Great Western Railway Company, at Paddington, received the truss of goods in question. It was his duty to examine all goods received and he examined this package, and noticed there was a rent in the wrapper, about four inches long. It was a triangular rent. There was nothing abstracted from the bale then. He did not weigh it. Cross-examined [the cover was here shown to witness] The rent is greater now than it was at that time. Robert Lewis, clerk to the South Wales Railway Com- pany at Cardiff, said he saw the package on its delivery to the Taff Vale Company, when the rent, he thought, was not so large as now. The haulier to Mr. Bland, who received the package from the South Wales Company, and delivered it to the Taff Vale Company, proved that he delivered it in the same state as he received it. This was the case. Mr. Simons then addressed the Court in reply, and re- iterated his assertion that the defendants had thrown every obstacle in the way of plaintiff's eliciting the facts of the case, to enable him to fix the right party. He would, how- ever, submit that the facts deposed to by the plaintiff's witnesses abundantly proved that the piece of goods had been feloniously abstracted, and whether that took place while in the South Wales Railway Company's charge, or in that of the Taff Vale Company, he should contend, made no difference. At common law, the defendants being the first receivers of the goods, would be liable, as carriers, for any loss occasioned in the course of their transit, al- though that might happen after the defendants had parted with them to another carrier, to he forwarded on. But the defendants endeavoured to guard against their common- law liability, by issuing a printed notice on the back of their charge-note, which stated that they would not hold themselves responsible for any loss, damage, or detention, which might happen to any goods beyond the limits of their railway; but the term "loss" could not be held to compre- hend a larceny of goods, and therefore their common-law liability was not affected in this case, in which, beyond doubt, a larceny had been committed. His Honour, in giving judgment, went over the leading points in the evidence, and observed that the evidence of George Thomas left it clear that the Taff Vale Railway Company were the parties liable, and not the present de- fendants. That witness, who was the servant of the Taff Vale Company, swore that, to all appearance, the package, when he received it from the defendants, was perfect, with the exception of the torn cover; that so satisfied was he of this, that he did not think it necessary to weigh the goods, to see that they corresponded with the weight set down in the defendants' charge-note. This same weight was en- tered in the Taff Vale Railway Company's charge-note; and, from the evidence, he must come to the conclusion that the package was, with the exception of the torn cover, perfect when delivered out of the custody of the defendants into the care of the Taff Vale Company. The only ques- tion therefore, was, whether the defendants had restricted their common-law liability by the notice indorsed on their, charge-note; and of this there could be no doubt. The case of "Fowles v. the Great Western Railway Company," raised "the very same -point. In that case, the goods da- maged were sent from Bristol to Paddington, addressed to some one at Brompton. On the arrival of the goods safely at Paddington, they were delivered to a person appointed and paid by the Railway Company to collect and deliver goods beyond the limits of their railway; and while in that person's care, the goods were damaged. An action was brought against the railway company for the damage but the company set up, by way of defence, their notice of restricted liability, and which notice was, singularly, in the very same words as the notice of the South Wales Rail- way Company. In that case, the Court of Exchequer held that the contract with the defendants ceased upon the ar- rival of the goods at Paddington, and the defendants were not liable for the subsequent damage so in the case, then, under consideration, he must hold that the contract with the plaintiff ceased upon the arrival of the bale of goods at Cardiff, and that the remedy for any subsequent loss, was against the Taff Vale Railway Company, and not the pre- sent defendants. The notice restricted their common-law liability as carriers, to the limits of their railway, and be- yond those limits they were not liable for any kind of loss. —Judgment for defendants. Mr. Tripp said, after the opinion of his Honour, the Taff Vale Railway Company would pay the amount of damage. -———— TAFF VALE RAILWAY.. The half-yearly meeting of the shareholders in this pros- perous undertaking, was held on Friday last, at the White Lion Hotel, Broad-street, Bristol; Walter Coffin, Esq., M.P., Chairman of the Board of Directors, in the chair. There was a large attendance. The Secretary having read the notice convening the meeting, and the seal of the company having been affixed to the list of registered shareholders, he proceeded to read the following report: — Pursuant to the Act of Incorporation, the directors of the Taff Vale Railway Company have the pleasure of meet- ing the shareholders. The balance of accounts allows your directors to declare a dividend at the rate of seven and a half per cent. per annum on the stock of the company, for the half-year, payable on the 7th day of March next, with a dividend in the same proportion on the preference stock No. 1, and on the amount called up on the £10 shares. The accounts for the half-year exhibit a higher rate than usual for the working charges—a difference which is attributed not only to an increase of wages, but also to the very greatly augmented price of all articles of consumption. The junction between the South Wales and Taff Vale Railways has nearly approached completion, and will soon be ready for the approval of the Government Inspector. The contracts for the extension of the Rhondda branches I are at the present time unfortunately suspended, by the failure of the contractors. Arrangements will be made with other parties, as soon as practicable, for their completion, and it is hoped that the Rhondda Fawr branch will be finished in the ensuing summer. With reference to the communications made in former reports, as to the promotion <>f a Waggon Company, your directors have to report that such a company has been formed and registered, and that they have entered into an agreement for a lease with the directors of the Waggon Company, for waggon stock, and have also made other ne- cessary arrangements with them. By these means, your directors will be enabled to afford the freighters an extended accommodation for their traffic upon the railway. The Chairman then observed, that in asking the share- holders to adopt the report just read, it was with great pleasure he had to inform them that the prospects of the company remained in a flourishing condition, and that the revenue remained undiminished; and when they remem- bered the high price of everything connected with the money market and all other matters, they must consider that they were fortunate in being able to declare such a di- vidend, especially when the working expenses had increased £ 5000 during the half-year. He considered that the Taff Vale Railway Company were in a better position than any •other railway in the kingdom. In declaring the dividend of 72 per cent., the directors had not forgotten to provide for any contingencies that might arise, for they always felt that the safest course to adopt was always to have a strong balance to meet any contingencies; and after all, the di- rectors thought they had acted with wisdom in increasing, • • rather than decreasing the dividend. They had nothing whatever to do with other companies the business of the directors was with the Taff Vale Railway Company alone, and in endeavouring to place that company in a prosperous condition, so that they may be in a better position to meet any charges which may occur; and he considered they were now better able to do that than any other company. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Hutcliins would wish to make one or two observa- tions with respect to Ike affairs of the company and he, for one, objected to the increase of dividends, and thought it infinitely better not to increase the dividend to per cent., but let it remain at 7¡ as before, for he could not help thinking, that if they kept up their dividends in the way they were doing, they were doing all they could to court opposition. He would rather that, instead of increas- ing the dividend, the benefit should be given to the freighters, by reducing the charges. He was not himself a freighter on the line. Another thing, Mr. Talbot, the chairman of the South Wales Railway, had said that in less than two years they would have a broad guage line up the valley of the Taff; and they must remember Mr. Talbot was not a man to make empty threats, for he had spent £250,000, by means of which the-South Wales Railway had been carried on to Haverfordwest. Looking at all these matters, he could not help thinking the best way to act was to reduce the tolls, and not go on keeping up their dividends. An- other matter of which he complained was, that they were not entitled to do by their Act of Parliament, for they had engines employed in dragging about coal from one dock to another, for the benefit of the freighters, and this was work which ought to be done by the freighters themselves, therefore, he thought, they ought not to divide more than 71 per cent. under all the circumstances. The Chairman replied that with regard to the allusion of Mr. Hutchins of doing work for other people, that was a question which now occupied the attention of the directors. With respect to the increase of the dividend, he knew that there was a general opinion among the shareholders that with the great increase of trade, there should also be an increase of dividend, and the freighters must uniierstand that the shareholders were not to give up all for which they had so long and so strenuously contended in the House of Commons (hear, hear). It was very easy for Mr. Talbot to make calculations, but they must remember that the rate of charges on long and short lines would bear no comparison whatever. And as to the threat of a broad guage, what chance, he should like to know, would a broad guage have with the Taff Vale Company, with their capital all raised. The proprietors would not quail before any threat of the kind (hear, hear.) Mr. Carlisle and Mr. Powell supported the proposed dividend. and ultimately Mr. Hutchins expressed himself satisfied at the arguments of the latter, though a slight tiff took place between him and the former, in consequence of an allusIOll to his proprietorship in the Aberdare Company. Some observation was also made by Mr. Hutchins as to Messrs. Hunt and Co., but ultimately the declaration of the dividend of 71 per cent. was carried, and on the motion of Mr. Car- lisle, a vote of thanks was tendered to the Chairman and Directors, and the meeting broke up. INFANT SCHOOL.—The annual meeting of the friend and subscribers of the above school, was held on Tuesday last, when a large company (among which were a great many ladies) assembled at the school-room, to witness the examination of the children in the various branches of in- struction practised at the establishment. The Dean of Llandaff presided. The Rev. Mr. Wrenford, secretary, read the report of the past year, which was satisfactory. The usual resolutions having been disposed of, the children commenced singing some of their school melodies, and sub- sequently answered with much correctness several questions on Scripture history, arithmetic, &c., put to them by the master of the school, Mr. Osborne. It was truly pleasing to see the juveniles marching and counter-marching at the word of command given by their indefatigable instructor, who, with Mrs. Osborne, richly deserves the praise be- stowed on them by the committee, for the success which has attended their efforts in maintaining the present efficiency of the management of the Cardiff Infant Schools. BUTE DocK. The large space of ground in front of Roth- say-terrace has been closed in, with a handsome iron rail- ing and the inclosure has been planted with a variety of evergreens, and flowers; and ornamental walks, are tastefully laid out, under the superintendence of Mr. Jackson, head- gardener to the Marchioness of Bute, at whose sole expense these improvements have been made. It is intended to place a magnificent fountain in the centre of the inclosure, which, when completed, will have a very pleasing effect. NEW COMMERCIAL NEWS ROOM. A meeting of gentle- men was held at the new Town Hall, on Tuesday evening last, for the purpose of establishing a Commercial News Room at Cardiff. The Mayor (John Batchelor, Esq.,) pre- sided, and we understand that a set of rules will shortly be drawn up by a provisional committee, and submitted to the Town Council, who will be memorialised to allow a spare room in the new Hall for the above purpose. It is pro- posed to conduct the new room similarly to that at New- port. QUARTER SESSIONS.—There were upwards of 69 pri- soners for trial at these sessions, held at the new Town Hall, on Tuesday and Wednesday last. THE REV. D. NOEL AND THE WELSH LANGUAGE. On Wednesday last, the Rev. D. Noel delivered an ad- mirable lecture on "Wales and the Welsh," in the new Town Hall, Cardiff, to an immense audience, among whom were many of the principal inhabitants of the town. The lecturer was warmly cheered throughout, and when near the close, Mr. Noel spoke as follows:— I have now detained you more than an hour, which I think is quite long enough, although I have not said much respecting the present inhabitants of Wales, and their lan- guage. Of the people, you may in a measure judge for yourselves, for they live among you but of the language, few of you, perhaps, can do so. It is often said that the Welsh people are an oppressed people but I will not say this as long as we live in a free country, and as long as the Welsh enjoy the same privileges as tne English do. But it will be said that they are obliged to hear ministers who do not understand, and who, therefore, cannot preach their language. But this, I think, is, in a measure, their own fault, owing to their obstinate endeavour to perpetuate the Welsh language, which, no doubt, is one of the finest lan- guages in the world. Now, do not misunderstand me I am a Welshman myself, and am proud to be one; and have been born and bred among them. I have been born and bred among them—I labour among them—I preach to them — and I pray for them. But the question is—Who is the patriotic Welshman; whether he who crams the minds of the Welsh rustic with a promiscuous store of Welsh period- ical reading, or he who gives hîl\1 a helping hand to learn the English language, and introduces to his secluded vil- lage the simplest rudiments of English manners, and Eng- lish literature ? I say decidedly the latter; for we live in a most regenerating age, when everything is either new or restored. t> Yea, everything except Welsh literature, which has dwindled away from the sublime effusions of our an- cient bards, to the godless rhapsodies of sectarism. The other day, some one was endeavouring to show the superiority of the Welsh people, by telling us that Welsh servants are in great request in London. If this proves anything, it proves the inferiority of the Welsh people. Haley did not value the religion of Uncle Tom, because he well knew that an educated mind would struggle for free- dom. The less educated, the better the slave; and thus, as long as the Welsh people cling to the Welsh language, and remain uneducated, they will continue to be the pliable serfs, not only of Londoners, but of the world. Let every young man, therefore, who may be here this evening, and who may not have had the advantage of an English educa- tion—let him, I say, take courage, and, like the Yankee, go a-head.' But, ere he can do so, he must learn the Eng- lish language, and study English literature."






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