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Destructive Fire in Bute-street.

DYFFRYN LLYNVI AND PORTH-CAWL…

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DYFFRYN LLYNVI AND PORTH-CAWL RAILWAY COMPANY. A special general meeting of the shareholders of this company, was held at Pyle Inn, on Friday last, the 15th of December instant. Sir Digby Mackworth, Bart,, in the chair. There were present Sir Robert Price, Bart., the Right Honourable John Nicholl, M.P the Rev. Robert Knight. Rev. Charles Rumsey Knight, Rev. J. Montgomery Traherne, John Bowring, Esq., Rawlinson, Esq., j William Jones, Esq., J. H. Allen, Esq., Moses Moses, Esq., &c., &c. A meeting of the committee was held early in the fore- noon and at twelve o'clock the business of the public meeting commenced. THE ELECTION OF A TREASURER. This was the first question for the consideration of the meeting, and occupied the attention of the meeting for some time. It was ultimately referred to the superintending com- mittee who were recommended to sclcct Mr. Towgood, of Cardiff, banker. THE PROPOSED APPLICATION TO PARLIAMENT. At the request of the chairman, the clerk read the adver- tisement, which stated the application to parliament to be for power to alter and amend the toll levying clauses under the existing ac ts, and for further facilitating and ex- tending communcations on the said railway." Sir Robert Price, in introducing this question, said, that he hardly new what course to take. At a committee meeting lately held it was determined that a special general meeting should be convened for the purpose of appointing a treasurer and it was thought expedient to take that op- portunity for discussing the question, whether it was or was not advisable to go to parliment for power to alter and amend the toll levying clauses. It might be in the recollection of those gentlemen present at the meeting of the committee that he (Sir Robert) was not over anxious for this discussion to take place. He had given rather a different opinion. But finding the unanimous voice of the committee against him, he had, of course, given way, and it was determined without opposition to bring the question forward for discus- sion at the special general meeting which should be convened for the appointment of treasurer, These being the senti- ments of the committee, of course it was not in his power as chairman of that committee to dissent. Again, if those opinions should prevail at the general meeting, namely that it Would be an advisable policy to adopt, for the benefit of the company, to go to the expense of obtaining an act of parliament, it would be well to proceed immediately, as pro- bably they might be enabled to have the act passed this year. It was true that they could not have the act this year, unless it was by special favour but yet he believed if the meeting were unanimous, or nearly so, and if they went to parlia- ment merely for the purpose of enabling them to lower the tolls, the act might be passed this year. He had signed his name to the requisition principally with the view of giving an opportunity to shareholders to meet and discuss the question, as it was one of very considerable moment—not hastily to be decided; and if it met with any considerable disapprobation from the different proprietors 'of shares, not to be proceeded with. It was not a question they ought to try to carry out with a small majority; they ought to be unanimous before they proceeded with it. It was only on the grounds that it would be for the benefit of the railway that this policy could be proposed, or probably adopted. He (Sir Robert) had certainly a strong feeling, that that clause in their act of parliament which enacted that no lowering of tolls could take place before eight per cent. had been paid to the proprietors was a most unfortunate clause, and had acted most prejudicially against the interest of the company, as it would not allow the tolls to be lowered when their affairs most required it —when they were strug- gling with difficulties, and endeavouring to compete with neighbouring ports. It would be of no service to lower the tolls when they had surmounted those difficulties, and were going on prosperously but, now, when they experienced so much opposition in the coal trade, a reduction in the rate of tolls would be productive of the most important advantages. With the present rate they could not continue the coal trade for any lengthened period, as those engaged in it had lost money by carrying it on under the present disavantageous circumstances but if the company, by lowering the tolls, would encourage those coal proprietors whose works were situated at a great distance from the port to begin the trade again, he thought the interests of the company, and of the individuals engaged in the trade, would be benefitted. Cer- tainly, the interests of the company would be advanced as a reduction of the tolls on coal would lead to a very consider- able increase in the quantity brought down the line—the present high rate of tonnage having the effect of a complete prohibition. Iron stood on a dillerent footing. The question of tolls as it effected the sale of iron was compara- tively unimportant, at least as compared with that of coal. The coal trade depended entirely upon the decision the meeting might arrive at. It was a question of pence—a few pence making the difference of profit at loss. If it were not the case-if this explanation were not given—it might appear they were asking for and thinking of trifles but competition in the coal trade was so great that it was scarcely possible to carry it on. They had to contend against Cardiff, Newport, and Llanelly, ports which possessed a great many advantages, so that it was hardly possible for exporters of coal at Porth Cawl to compete with them. Cardiff and Newport were doing their very utmost to mon- opolise the whole trade, and to beat down all attempts made by other ports to compete against them, so that it was strict- ly necessary that the tolls should be reduced, in order to enable the exporters of coal at Porth Cawl to carry on the trade. But beneficial as he conceived a reduction of tolls would be, both to the railway as well as to the proprietors of collieries high upon the line, he was far from wishing to urge it upon the meeting. He conceived it ought not to be done unless it received the sanction of nearly the whole of the proprietors, or at least of a large majority. He only wished to place themselves in such a position, that if the proprietors should arrive at the conclusion that it would be for their advantage to consent to a reduction of the tolls, they might be enabled to act in that way which was best calculated to promote the interests of the proprietors generally. With that view he would move that it was expe- dient some stepts should be taken for obtaining powers to lower the present rate of tonnage. Mr. Bowring seconded the proposition. Sir Robert Price wished to add, that he was most unex- pectedly called upon to address the meeting, as he was not the originator of the requisition. He was) ather in hopes that Dr. Bowling's brother would have attended, and would have given them much greater information on the subject than he was able to give. Dr. Nicholl said they had no right to enter upon a question of expediency it was purely and simply a question of justice. They had not yet paid one per cent. to the shareholders. He was not prepared to say whether it was expedient to make application to parliament or othewise, but would suggest the propriety of letting the question re- main open, without further discussion, till their next annual and general meeting. Sir Robert Price had not the slightest wish in the world to press his motion at this meeting. The Key. Robert Knight thought the question should be left open for discussion at the next annual and general meeting. Dr. Nicholl asked Sir Robert Price to withdraw his motion-to leave the question open for discussion at the annual meeting, and thereby dispose of it at this meeting with good feeling. Sir Robert Price was most anxious to pieserve to the good temper of the meeting, and had no objection to adjourn the discussion. Qn A desultory conversation then ensued upon the ""ujci-i. oi aujournmenr. air itooert .rrice s motion was ultimately withdrawn, and the meeting separated. The question stands for discussion at the next annual and general meeting of the shareholders, to be holden at Pyle Inn, in June next. BRIDGEND.—We have great pleasure in informing our sporting friends, that Mr. Entwisle has kindly promised that his hounds shall meet on Ogmore Down, on Monday the 1st day of January next, between ten and eleven o'clock, for the benefit of Mr. William Evans, the landlord of the Dunraven Arms Inn, Southerndown's, house-warming dinner, which is to take place on the above-mentioned day. BRIDGEND TURNPIKE TRUST. At a meeting of the above trust, held at Bridgend, on the 11 4th ult., several petitions were presented, some of which had been agreed to at public meetings, complaining of the number of gates, chains, and bars within the trust, and con- taining charges of extortion, alleged to have made by sacral of the lessees' collectors. The right honourable gentleman who occupied the chair at that meeting, together with the other trustees, being of opinion that the various subjects brought under their notice could not be satisfacto- rily disposed of at one of the ordinary meetings of the trust, referred the petitions to a committee, consisting of the Right Hon. John Nicholl, the Rev. R. Knight, M. P. Traherne, Richard Franklen, William Lewis, Robert Lindsay, M. P. Smith, and illiam Llewellyn, Esqrs., who wi-re to meet as often as necessary, and make all inquiries and investigations into, and report upon, the various allegations contained in the several petitions, and upon the funds, expenditure, and management of the trust. For that purpose the committee were empowered to examine witnesses, documents, &c., and collect all necessary information. The result of that investigation has terminated in a report, from which the following is extracted:— Your committee now proceed to report the course and the results of their inquiry. They have as(-ei-Ltiiie(i--Ist. The length of each turnpike-road in the district. 2d. The toll-gates, bars, and chains, and the tolls payable upon each road. 3rd. The debts due on the credit of the tolls. 4th The revenue of the trust since 1833 inclusive. 5th. The expenditure of the trust since 1840 inclusive, beyond which they were of opinion it would not answer any useful purpose to cany back their inquiries on this head. Gth. They con- sidered the management of the trust generally. 7th. They investigated the allegations and complaints contained in the several documents referred to them. Lastly. They endea- voured to ascertain what would probably be the state of the fund, and the prospects of the trust, at the end of the year 1843. And in the course and at the close of their report, they have submitted recommendations and observations on various points, more particularly as to the conduct of the business of the trust, the accounts, the maintenance or re- moval of gates, bars, chains, and posts, and the granting or withholding exemptions from, or reduction of, toll." Under the first of the above divisions, the committee have taken considerable pains in getting up a series of tables, exhibiting the number of roads in the trust, the length of each road, the parishes through which it passes, the number of gates, the dates of their erection, and the other gates in the district cleared by them. The following is important, as affording most decided proof that the lessees of tolls have, in some cases, exacted tolls without the authority or permission of the trustees, thereby giving just cause for complaint:- On this line there are several pairs of posts, at which it appears that tolls have been occasionally collected. Your committee have been unable to asccrtaiu the times when, or the authority under which these posts generally were put up. There are no toll-boards or chains, at any house or hut for collecting toll at any of them. The following is a list of them, with their history, as far as the committee could discover." Then follows the enumeration of five pairs of posts, at the first of which tolls had been collected for a month; which when the fact coming to the knowledge of the trustees, they insisted that no further tolls should be col- lected." At the second and third, tolls still are occasionally collected. At the next, tolls have never been collected and at the last named posts, tolls are collected and the com- mittee add—" we know not by what authority they were put up." In addition to these there are two pair of posts named as having formerly existed, one of which has been removed, "having been put up without authority and for the other there has been substituted a gate, which the com- mittee recommend should be forthwith removed. The following note is added "Your committee do not find that the posts have been included in any of the leases granted from time to time since 1833, in many of which the actual gates dismissed are enumerated." Under the third head the committee give a statement of the debts due, how and when contracted, as far as they have been enabled to collect information:— The monies borrowed from time to time on the credit of the tolls are £ 9,713 10s. The whole is still due, and re- payment thereof with interest, at the rate of five pounds per cent. per annum, is secured to the creditors bv mortgages of the tolls. Your committee have been unable to ascertain with precision at what times, or for what particular purposes, the several sums were borrowed." Under the fourth and fifth heads the committee enter into full details relating to the revenues of the trust, which almost exclusively arise from tolls, and which are the highest leviable under the local act. ° The committee, under the sixth head of Management of the trusts," state the expense, &c., incurred upon each road, with observations upon the state of all the roads in the district. With regard to the mail-road, the report says— On the different parts of this line the cost of repairs varies considerably, principally owing to the different dis- tances from which the materials are hauled. The road from Brocastle to Bridgcnd, though much improved within the last three years, is still unsound, and considerable expense is incurred in the repairs, the stone (mountain limestone) being hauled from lands near Longland Farm, between Corntown and Brocastle, The road in the town of Bridgend had been invariably repaired with lias limestone, which was to be had close to the lime, and at a very trifling expense; but as that material is very soft and clayey, it has been found better, and, in the eud, more economical, to procure mountain limestone from Ewciny Down and the neighbourhood, not- withstanding that the expense of haulage is heavy, and the quantity of material required is very large, in consequence of the great traffic." The report then treats of the serious charges of exaction made against several of the lessee's collectors. The committee next come to the consideration of the peti- tion from Coychurch, Lanilid, and the adjoining parishes, and in support of which Messrs. Evan Bevan and Thomas Jenkins attended before the committee. It appears that some of the statements made in this petition were exag- gerated, and admitted by Messrs. Bevan and Jenkins to be so yet, it cannot be denied, but that there existed some causes for complaint, especially respecting the posts" at which tolls had been collected without any authority, and which the committee recommended should be immediately removed. The committee declined acceding to the prayer of the petition in recommending the removal of the CON church gate, for reasons fully given in the report, but which we have no space to quote. The last subject taken into consideration under this head of the report is, a letter addressed to the trustees, by C. R. M. Talbot, Esq., M.P., in which it is asserted That the state of the road in the Bridgend district is very much worse than it is in any other district." And that, The heavy debt incurred by the trustees, in turning the main line through the town of Bridgend, without thereby having shortened the line for the public, but with a view to the improvement of the town, has, no doubt, mainly contri- buted to the difficulties and necessities of the trust. The committee recommend the abolition of all gates bars, chains, and posts, except the following Aberavon gate, Taibach gate, Pyle side-bar in Pyle vil- lage, Pyle bar above the railway, Red-hill gate and chain, Newcastle bar, Bridgend gate (double), Oldcastle gate, Coy- church gate (double), Penprisk gate (double), Skibbor-y- Groes gate, Newcastle Bridge gate, Aberkenfig gate, Newcastle Old gate (double), and Cefn Cribbwr gate." The last subject referred to in this document is the prayer of the memorialists, that lime used for manure, and lime- coal, should be exempted from the payment of toll. The committee decline acceding to the request of the petitioners by recommending these exemptions and urge as reasons— their illegality—their injustice. 11 Whi, arc we, agricultural trustees," says the report, to continue the tax on other interests, and relieve our own, when the legislature has not said that there is a reason for such inequality." And, thirdly, their inexpediency, owing to the state of the finances.

NEWPORT.

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