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THE MONEY-LENDING INQUIRY.…
THE MONEY-LENDING INQUIRY. ♦ MR. FARROW INTERVIEWED. NEW FORMS OF USURY. Mr. Thomas Farrow, private secretary to Mr. Yerburgh, M.P. for Chester, editor of The Councillor, and author of 'The Money-lender Unmasked,' to whose writings on usury, and activity in exposing the abuses of the money- lending system, is entirely due the appointment of the Select Committee presided over by Mr. T. W. Russell, in an interview with the repre- sentative of a News Agency, on Thursday, communicated some interesting information as to certain phases of the money-lending evil still to be investigated by the House of Commons Committee. Dealing first with the resolutions submitted by the Association of Oldham Money-lenders to Mr. Ascroft, M.P. for Oldham-the member of the Committee whose rough handling of the witness Kirkwood, it will be remembered, led to exciting scenes during the recent inquiry-Mr. Farrow said The proposals are, first, that bills of sale shall be entirely abolished, or attested before the registrar of the local County Court; secondly, that all money-lenders trade in their own names thirdly, that all promissory notes bear on the face of them the amount of money advanced, the interest charged, and the mode of repayment; fourthly, that all loan offices be registered; and, fifthly, that the renewal of loans for short periods be discouraged. These are merely a re-draft of some of the recommendations which I myself placed before the House of Commons Com- mittee at the conclusion of my six days' evidence. In my opinion the reforms there suggested, though excellent in themselves, would be of little value, unless accompanied by the other stringent regulations I sketched out such as the licensing of money-lenders, the pay- ment by them of an annual tax, and something in the nature of a limitation of the rate of interest. The proposals of the Oldham Loan Offices only touch the fringe of the subject, and though I should be sorry to impute motives, it seems to me strange that these money-lenders should have left out of considera- tion reforms which would touch their own pockets. Asked as to the progress made by the money- lending inquiry, Mr. Farrow replied: It was plain to me that at the outset Mr. T. W. Russell and his colleagues could hardly credit the reality of my representations. They seemed to think that I was trying to entertain them with goblin stories, and they rigorously cross-examined me. But as the case developed, and my proofs were submitted, the demeanour of the Committee entirely changed. Without relaxing the rigour of their demand for proofs, many of them have assured me that I have satisfied them on all the points of my indictment. I was at first limited in illustrating my charges against the money- lenders to one individual case on each point. They gave me greater latitude subsequently, but I was still limited-and, perhaps, wisely so, for if I had been allowed perfect freedom I am certain that my evidence would have lasted all the session. I practically only put before the Committee a fiftieth part of my case; but the Committee are satisfied as to the evils, and the only difficulty now is as to how these evils are to be dealt with. The Committee reported progress, and asked to be reappointed. Why do they desire to continue the investigation ?—They consider it necessary to take note of other samples of the money-lender. If you remember, I was asked, I think by Mr. Loyd, to classify the money-lenders. Some of the usurers deal only with clergymen—or make a speciality of the clerical borrower, others deal almost exclusively with workingmen, others with farmers, and so on. I have a list of upwards of 500 usurers, against everyone of whom I have cases-sometimes scores of cases- and I shall, perhaps, best answer your question by taking out one of these at random. Here is a man who has had many victims (pointing out a name on the list). He deals exclusively with professional men, such as clergymen and doctors. We have not touched his case yet, but he will doubtless be called early next session, when even more startling evidence than that elicited in the cross-examination of John Kirkwood may be looked for. Again, the committee will require to investigate the abuses of the money-lending system as they affect the working-classes. There are a large number of money-lenders who lend simply to working-people in amounts ranging from Is. to 5s., and they sometimes bring cruel pressure to bear on their victims. When the borrower is in arrear, and enormous interest has accumu- lated, they apply for payment at the address of the borrower's employer, and county court sum- monses are served at that address. This is a species of blackmailing, and often, of course, results in the dismissal of the borrower from his employment. Then the gombeen system has to be investigated-or what the Irish call the shopkeeper turned usurer.' In this case the gombeen man' makes loans in kind instead of in actual money. He supplies poor farmers with stock and seed and manure, and agricul- tural implements and machinery, and farmers and others he supplies with bags of meal and all household commodities. These things he gives out on credit, bargaining for an enormous interest. The result of this is to fasten a mill- stone round the neck of the borrower, and to enable the gombeen man' very frequently to step into possession of the farm or other property. These people amass large fortunes, and amass them very quickly. Mr. T. W. Russell declared during the proceedings of the committee that this iniquitous system requires investigating. Those who are familiar with its operation and effects—such men, for instance as Father Finlay, president of the Universitv College, Dublin-denounce it as a social danger and a grave public scandal You will have seen it announced that Mr. Ascroft is already engaged in investi- gating the system in the West of Ireland, his present resting-place being the Imperial Hotel, Ballina, co. Mayo, while, in accordance with the desire expressed to me by the chairman of the committee during my examination, I shall myself spend a month or two in Ireland making inquiries later on- that is to say, before the committee again meets. Another usurious and singularly demoral- ising system which is necessary should be inquired into is that carried on by some employers of labour, particularly in the Black Country. From inquiries I have recently set on foot, it appears that the proprietors of a large number of iron and tin-plate works and their foremen carry on a system of money- lending which equals, if it does not excel, in iniquity the practices adopted by the pro- fessional usurers which I have exposed. It is worse, in so far as these employers of labour practically compel employes to borrow money under pain of dismissal, whereas ordinary money-lenders merely induce people to avail themselves of their financial aid. This system of money-lending and oppression to which I refer may be thus generally described: The workman who is usually employed upon piece- work, is asked by the foreman (often a relative of the head of the firm) whether he wants to borrow 5s. or 10s. for a week or so at the ordinary rate of interest, namely, 5s. in the £ per week-or 1300 per cent. per annum If the workman replies that he does not require the money, he is plainly told that he must leave the firm upon the completion of his job, the formula used being somewhat after this fashion You do not encourage me, therefore, I shall not encourage you." If the workman happens to possess exceptional knowledge of his trade he receives 14 days' notice, during which time it is hoped that he will submit to the inevitable and place himself under the yoke. It frequently happens under this process that men having no need of money borrow it and pay ruinous interest in order to retain their employment. Some sturdy men, however, refuse to yield to the request-or rather, command-made to them and become workless workers. But they find it useless to complain; the system is general in the Black Country, and they have no remedy. It frequently 'happens' that the employers, and their managers and relatives, carry on the trade of publicans, grocers, bakers, -bootmakers, &c., in the vicinity of their | works-in some cases the entrance to the works is through the public-house or shop. The workmen are expected to buy the whole of their provisions, beer, boots, &c., at these establishments. The names of any delinquents are noted down, and dismissal from employment speedily ensues. On pay days employes—men and women-are expected to spend some hours in the public- house recognised by their particular firm, and woe betide those who may be caught drinking at the bar of any other tavern. On this occasion I refrain from giving names, but I am prepared at any time, if necessary, to give the addresses of at least 14 firms, with the names of the foremen, and other details of a more or less interesting character. I know of cases in which the son of the head of the firm is foreman and I money lender,' and other relatives are beer seller, tea dealer, and grocer, the employes are paid at sweating prices, and the evil of underpaid labour is increased by an enforced reduction (through the money lender) of 5s. in the R. It is further intensified by the unwritten but inexorable law that the balance of wages shall be spent at the public- house, or at the grocery, tea, clothing, or other establishments conducted by relations or friends of the manufacturers. I am familiar with cases in which workmen are shifted from one class of work to another, according to the amount of encouragement' given to the firm in the taking up of loans, or in the amount spent in the public-house-cases in which a premium is put upon drunkenness and improvidence. But, will the terms of the reference to the Select Committee enable Mr. T. W. Russell and his colleagues to investigate this form of usury ? I do not think they will. The reference says, to inquire into the alleged evils attending money-lending transactions at high rates of interest or under oppressive conditions as to repayment, between the poorer classes and the professional money-lenders,' and as these words do not cover loans in kind they hardy seem to include either the gombeen or the Black Country system. On this point, however, I may say that when the Committee is reappointed at the commencement of next session its scope will, in all likelihood, be enlarged. An effort will be made to secure such extension, and I have some reason to believe that it will not be un- succesful. There are several other subjects with which the Committee have not dealt, such as the evasion of the Bills of Sale Act, the abuse of hire and purchase agreements, of authority gives by clerks to draw their salaries, of garnishee orders, or the attachment of salaries by process of the Court, and so forth. What in your view is likely to be the result of the inquiry ?—Well, the Committee will have other money-lenders before it, in addition to those already called, and further investiga- tion will shew that these men are types of a system which is sufficiently general and fraught with such evil to the community as to justify drastic legislation. The difficulty in arriving at the facts has been that part of the essence of the transaction between the money-lender and his victim has been secrecy. Borrowers have been content to endure any amount of extortion rather than complain publicly not one case in a thousand comes into Court, and no one imagined the extent of the evil until I managed to get to the bottom of it. I am happy to think that one effect of the inquiry so far has been a large falling off in the business of the money-lenders. Peoples' eyes have been opened to the evils of the system, and now would-be borrowers look with suspicion upon almost every money lender. In evidence of the wariness of the public I may tell you that I receive an enormous number of letters daily from people who wish to be recom- mended to an honest money-lender. Many money-lenders to my certain knowledge have recently retired from business. I have observed, too, as another result of the late disclosures, that county court judges now shew less hesitancy in using the discretion with which they are doubtless endowed, so as to make exorbitant rates of interest payable over lengthened periods. They now seem to realise that they will be supported by public opinion, and by the legislature, in such a course. So far as any probable legislative effect of the inquiry is concerned, it is within my knowledge that several members of the Government have already expressed their surprise at the strength of my case, while, in particular, one right hon. gentleman, who may be described as an advanced member of the ministry, has in effect declared that the evils exposed are of so glaring a nature that the hands of the Govern- ment are not free-they will be compelled at an early date to introduce remedial measures.' I have always thought that the importance of the subject would have warranted an inquiry by a Royal Commission, when Assistant Commissioners could have been appointed to take evidence away from London-in Ireland, for instance-in which case money could have been expended in obtaining information as in the case of the Agricultural and Labour Com- mittees. I know of no question which more closely affects the interests of the farming and industrial working-classes of the country, and it is this kind of subject which the Government of the day do well to take up. There are other subjects somewhat akin to this, such as the abuse of the hire-furnishing system, the lending of money by building societies, and the abuses connected with the, so-called, Provi- dent Associations, but, so far as I am concerned, although I have gathered a considerable amount of data on all these matters, I have no desire to be regarded as a social meddler or emissary of Scotland Yard, and, therefore, I am concentrating my attention upon the abuses of the money-lending system, which I regard as the greatest social evil of all. At any rate, I wish to see the matter finally adjusted-as I hope it will be in the ensuing session of Parliament-before I move in con- nection with any other subject. I should point out in connection with the proposed extension of the reference to the Select Committee that a subject well worthy of investigation is the action taken in foreign countries in regard to this class of usury. Signor Vollenborg, in Italy, first investigated and exposed the evils of the system-as we are now doing it in this country, and owing to his initia- tive there have been established in Italy many Co-operative Credit Societies for rural districts, and People's Banks in towns. The result has been that the usurers have had to pack up their traps and clear away from the scenes of their operations. Districts formerly infested with usurers are now entirely free from them. The same may be said of Germany, where Father' Raiffeisen first established the system of credit societies which are known by his name, and which our own English society has closely fol- lowed. Further, in other parts of the Continent the State or the municipality becomes the money-lender. We have seen how safely money can be advanced to the industrial classes, in the success which has attended the granting of loans to individuals in the West of Ireland, for the supply of boats and fishing gear. Well, there is some X96,000,000 deposited in the Post Office Savings Bank, for which the Govern- ment pay 2 per cent. Why should not they advance some of that to such honest folk as are in need of temporary financial assistance, say at 5 per cent., 10 per cent., or some other per- centage that will pay? I had intended to deal with these questions in my evidence, but, after mature consideration, I elected to confine myself strictly to the terms of reference to the Committee. You make many enemies, Mr. Farrow; surely you must lead a sort of charmed life to escape their vengeance ?-Well, yes; mine is a some- what difficult position. I own I have had many threatening letters, and, in the early days, like Mr. Toots, I cultivated the com- panionship of a man of muscle. I wrote my first book on money-lending in the country, whither I was accompanied by this gentleman. I have been shadowed' by many queer-looking people, and I am ever on my guard. Mr. Kirkwood's attitude towards me in the witness chair is a good indication of the thoroughness with which I am hated in certain quarters.
The Church's foreign missions are costly in human life. Bishop Ingham, late of Sierra Leone, says Since I went out early in 1883 I have seen not less than 20 C.M.S. men and women and one dear young chaplain die in the prime of their life. I can also recall not less than 18 men and women who have had to leave the West Coast of Africa during that period on account of the climate." For West Africa he favours the employment only of Europeans seasoned by residence in some other tropical or sub-tropical climate. CLARKE'S B 41 PILLS are warranted to cure, in either sex, all acquired or constitutional Dis- charges from the Urinary Organs, Gravel and Pains in the back. Free from Mercury. Estab- lished upwards of 30 years. In boxes 43. 6d. each, of all Chemists and Patent Medicine Vendors throughout the World, or sent for sixty stamps by the makers. The Lincoln and Midland Counties Drug Company, Lincoln. FLOOKERSBROOK RIGHT-OF-WAY. ♦ THE DISTRICT COUNCIL INVOKED. At a meeting of the Newton Parish Council, on Friday evening, Mr. G. A. Dickson pre- siding, the attention of the Council was called to an obstruction on the highway at Flookers- brook, with a request to have it removed. Mr. EWING said several ratepayers, who considered that the gate and posts were a public inconvenience, had asked him to move in the matter, and try to induce the Council to get them removed. He therefore proposed that they should notify the Chester District Council of the obstruction, requesting them to remove it, as it interfered with the traffic. The CHAIRMAN reminded the Council that the trustees of the Flookersbrook Improvement Act were responsible for the gate being put there. He was one of the trustees, and they were of the opinion that it should remain. He believed also they had a right to place it, and he failed to see how it interfered with the public con- venience. He said this simply as one of the Council, but he was against the present resolution. Mr. EWING said this was simply a matter of difference of opinion. He had no ill-feeling in the matter, but simply desired, at the in- stigation of several complainants, to have the matter thrashed out. The CHAIRMAN said he would take no further part in any action of the Council on this question. Mr. PICKERING seconded Mr. Ewing's motion, which was carried.
FORESTRY IN CHESTER. ol
FORESTRY IN CHESTER. ol COURT EARL OF CHESTER.' SPEECH BY THE PERMANENT SECRETARY. The jubilee of the Earl of Chester Court (2,197), Ancient Order of Foresters, was com- memorated on Thursday evening, when the members met for dinner at the Bear and Billet, Bridge-street. Mr. A. W. Vernon occupied the chair, and, after the preliminary part of the proceedings, gave the toasts of The Queen and Royal Family and The Navy, Army, and Reserve Forces.' Quartermaster Sergeant Hewitt (Cheshire Regiment) and Colour- Sergeant Davies (2nd V.B.C.R) responded. Bro. J. POTTS, P.D.C.R., proposed I The Ancient Order of Foresters and its Executive Council,' coupled with the names of Bros. B. Hulse, H.C.R., and J. Lister Stead, P.S., to whose abilities he paid a high tribute. Bro. HULSE, in responding, alluded to the Executive Council of 28 years ago, and to the conspicuous services to Forestry in particular of Bros. Vernon (then H.C.R.) and Beck. Speaking of Forestry, he said that there had been mistakes made by their fathers. The science of vital statistics was not understood in those days, and hence the mistakes arose. One mistake was made in charging equal contributions to all members, irrespective of age, and thus, although the Order had succeeded and made great strides, they had built upon a sandy foundation. They knew how they realised their mistake. They had to face great reforms, and he was pleased to say they made those reforms. Thus they had benefited by the mis- takes, and he was pleased to say that every court in the district was on the high road of progress, and he hoped every court would soon be in a perfectly solvent condition. He held that financial stability was better than numerical strength, and he hoped the time would come when the Order would be in a position to give every new member who joined the benefits they had promised. (Hear, hear.) Bro. J. LISTBR STEAD, Permanent Secretary, was pleased to have the opportunity of being able to live in Chester, a unique city, for twelve months. The responsibility which devolved upon the Executive Council increased year by year. The Chester Council was the ninth he had been associated with, and he could speak to the great increase of work whieh had fallen upon the Executive Council during that period. Some of the questions they would have to deal with were of the greatest importance, and he was pleased to find that their High Chief Ranger had struck the right chord in regard to the question of financial solvency. The great aim they ought to achieve was not so much numerical strength as financial soundness, and they should stop the practice of receiving con- tributions equivalent to 17s. or 18s. in the £ and paying out benefits equal to 20s. in the L. That was a suicidal policy, and it had taken the order some years to find it out, but he was pleased to say that two High Courts had stood firm against going back to the old policy. (Hear, hear.) He did not care very much if the A.O.F. did not make much numerical progress so long as they knew every member was paying a full contribution. Their tables of contribution were founded upon experience tabulated for five years ending 1875. It was a fact which could not be too fully realised that since that experience was tabulated their sickness, year by year, instead of going down, had gone up. The longer a man lived, the greater the risk to which the society was ex- posed, and their experience was bringing out the fact that the contributions they now charged and insisted upon new members paying, were not one penny too much. The friendly society which was to progress in the future was the one shewing the cleanest sheet from a financial point of view. In the consideration of these matters he was anxious that they should not lose sight of the other side of their work. They should not forget the fact that the A.O.F. was a great brotherhood, whose watchword was sympathy. Still, they must recognise the fact that great as their desires might be to carry out that watchword, to practice that benevo- lence, they must put the society upon a sound financial basis. He was gratified to find that in the history of that Court the members had not been afraid to put their hand to the plough and effect the reforms necessary to bring the court into a good financial position. Five years ago the court stood at 15s. 9d. in the £ at the last valuation it was 20s. Id. in the i. (Hear, hear.) Unfortunately they had courts falling below the standard of 20s. in the E, and he was sure the Chester Executive Council would do something towards putting those courts in a better financial position. There was some excuse for the older courts. They had been acting without light and guidance, but to-day they had that light and guidance, and there was now no excuse for courts to carry on their business on insolvent lines. The Norwich Council had to deal with over 700 courts falling below 17s. 6d. in the E, and had done splendid work. He hoped the Chester Council would take up the work in the same spirit, and would bring about an improvement in those courts which now, unfortunately, in too many cases, fell below a high rate of solvency. The growth of the A.O.F. was a splendid specimen of the genius of the English workingman for organisation, and a splendid specimen of the practice of the principle of voluntary associa- tion. He would not go into detail in regard to the pensions question, but he thought that if the workingmen of 40 or 50 years ago could provide sick and funeral benefits in the way they had done, he was not going to say they were incapable of providing for requirements for old age. The workingmen of the country were capable of dealing with the question, and they would deal with it were it not made the sport of politicians, who made it the means of obtaining votes at general elections. So long as these schemes of State help were dangled before the eyes of the people there was little headway gained, but if the friendly societies of the country were left alone to deal they would do so. Other toasts were 'Court Earl of Chester,' proposed by Bro. P. Wright, H.C.T, responded to by Bros. T. Hewitt, C.S., and R. Jones, C.T.; 'Kindred Societies,' submitted by Bro. J. Harris, H.C.S., acknowledged by Bro. T. Mills, C.S., M.U.; Honorary Members, Visitors,' 'The Press,' 'Chairman,' and 'Hostess.' An interesting item of the programme was the presentation of a handsome clock and a pair of bronze ornaments to Bro. R. Jones, C.T. Bro. J. Harris, in making the presentation, said Bro. Jones had been a member of the court for 50 years, was treasurer in 1866, head of the dis- trict in 1875, assisted in bringing the High Court to Chester nearly 30 years ago, and had altogether served the court well and faithfully. —Bro. Jones, in reply, recalled interesting and amusing reminiscences of his life as a Forester. The general proceedings were enlivened by songs from Messrs. Savage and Blackmore and Sergeant Matthews, the latter presiding at the piano.
ACTION AGAINST THE HIGH SHERIFF…
ACTION AGAINST THE HIGH SHERIFF OF CHESHIRE. 0 IMPORTANT JUDGMENT. His Honour Judge Wynne Ffoulkes gave an important judgment at Warrington County Court on Thursday with regard to the liability of High Sheriffs. The case was heard in July. It was a motion by the Official Receiver (Mr. C. J. Dibb) for an order upon Mr. Hugh Lyle Smyth, ex-High Sheriff of Cheshire, to pay him as trustee in the bankruptcy oi Henry Cooke, farmer, Thelwall, the sum of X214 7s. 3d., which it was alleged the High Sheriff had wrongfully detained.—Mr. Acton, barrister, of Manchester, appeared in support of the motion, which was opposed by Mr. Rose-Innes, barrister, London, instructed by Messrs. Birch, Cullimore, and Douglas, Chester. The dispute arose in the latter end of 1895, when the Sheriff sold up Cooke's goods under three executions, and out of the proceeds paid X185 15s. to his land- lords, representing arrears of rent due. A few days afterwards a receiving order was made against Cooke, it being alleged that on the 27th July he had executed a bill of sale in favour of his brother. Cooke was adjudi- cated a bankrupt, whereupon the Official Receiver called upon the Under-Sheriff (Mr. John Cullimore) to give up the proceeds of the sale, less the costs of execution, in pur- suance of sub-section 2 of section 11 of the Bankruptcy Act, 1890. The Sheriff handed over two sums of X149 12s. lOd. and R17 15s., but the Official Receiver, who was still trustee of the bankrupt, claimed the balance of 9214 7s. 3d. To this the Sheriff objected, on the ground that he was bound after the receipt of the landlord's notice to deduct from the pro- ceeds of the sale the amounts claimed by them for arrears of rent, and the balance, less proper Sheriff's poundage and costs of execu- tion, &c., was the amount paid over to the Official Receiver. His HONOUR, after quoting at some length several cases having an important bearing on the case, said nobody was injured by what the sheriff had done, and much time, vexation, and cost had been saved by it. He held that the money paid by the sheriff to the landlords in satisfaction of their claims was paid as rent, distinct from, and forming no part of the pro- ceeds of the sale under the execution. With regard to the wider question as to the conduct of the sheriff, the course which the sheriff had followed was similar to that followed by the sheriffs in Ireland, and was also the same which had been recognised as the practice of the sheriffs in England. It seemed to him to be a course which was less eircuitous than if the provisions of the statute had been technically observed, as it meant a saving of costs and delay, was less vexatious to the debtor, and was advantageous to the landlord. Uuder the cir- cumstances he could not do otherwise than approve of the course pursued by the sheriff in this case, and he therefore dismissed the motion with costs.
CHESTER EXTENSION PROPOSALS.…
CHESTER EXTENSION PROPOSALS. 0 THE DECISION OF SEALAND. A public meeting of the parish of Sealand was held in the vestry of Sealand Church on Tuesday evening to consider the question with regard to the proposed extension of the city boundary.— The Rev. L. C. A. Edgeworth (chaplain) pre- sided over an attendance numbering six.—The Chairman explained that the proposal of the Chester Town Council was to extend the present boundary as far as Ferry-lane. They had re- quested the local bodies interested to appoint delegates to attend a conference at Chester to discuss the matter. Under the Parish Councils Act it was necessary that in opposing the scheme they should empower the Parish Council to spend any money necessary in connection with it.—Mr. W. Bennion thought the small attend- ance was due to the meeting not being properly advertised. Notices had been posted up, but he thought they should have been sent to the chief ratepayers. He was afraid very few had heard anything about the meeting.—The Chairman Notices have been posted in the usual places. Continuing, the Chairman said he supposed the people of the parish were perfectly unanimous in opposing the scheme in question. He believed Sealand had been a sort of Naboth's vineyard to Chester for some years (laughter)—for this was not the first time the city had attempted annexation of the parish. Two attempts had been made, one forty years ago, and the other more recently.—Mr. Bennion formally proposed that the ratepayers of Sealand strongly objecced to the proposal to annex part of the parish to Chester.—Mr. W. Milligan seconded, and the motion was carried.—Another resolution was passed empowering the Parish Council, if requisite, to spend the necessary money in con- nection with their opposition to the scheme.— The delegates appointed to represent the parish at the conference at Chester were Messrs. R. Podmore, H. Viggars, H. Carryer, and the Rev. Mr. Edgeworth. NEWTON AND THE BOUNDARY EXTENSION. PROPOSED INCORPORATION WITH HOOLE. At a meeting of the Newton Parish Council on Friday evening, Mr. G. A. Dickson in the chair, the Council considered what proceedings should be taken pursuant to their resolution at a previous meeting opposing the intention of the Chester Town Council to include their parish within the city boundary. The CHAIRMAN said Mr. A. E. Caldecutt (clerk of the Hoole District Council) had written to them explaining that they should request the County Council for assistance in their opposition. It was decided, on the proposition of Mr. C. A. EWING, to send copies of their resolution with regard to the boundary question to the Local Government Board, Hoole District Council, the Chester District Council, and to request the County Council to support them in their opposition. The Council next considered the advisability of joining the parish with Hoole, or forming a separate urban district. Mr. EWING thought they should take prompt action in this matter. Personally, he preferred they should neither join Hoole nor Chester, but as they required urban powers, of the two it would be to their advan- tage to join Hoole. They would then have urban powers, but he might explain that they would come under different conditions to those applying to Hoole. They would have a special rate, and any money expended on Hoole matters would not affect them in the least. In fact, they would be practically as they were at present, except that they would have urban powers. Their other alternative, which was to form an urban district by themselves, would not be at all feasible, as it would entail great difficulty and expenditure. Newton must have urban powers, for the population was largely increasing. Mr. MARRS thought it would be better to await the result of their contest about the city boundary before proceeding with this question. Mr. EWING said he would like to have the matter ventilated. Mr. MARRS did not see what they could gain by fighting two battles at the same time. Mr. EWING said the object was to strengthen their case. They had been informed by the Local Government Board that they could not have urban powers, unless they converted themselves into an urban district, or joined another body. If they fought the matter single-handed, he greatly doubted the issue of it. Mr. MARRS thought the Council should have the advice of the ratepayers on this question before proceeding further. Mr. EWING then proceeded to propose the following resolution That a ratepayers' meeting be called to con- sider the desirability of joining the urban district of Hoole. The CHAIRMAN ruled that the motion could not be put that night, as no notice had been given. Mr. EWING: Well, I want some action. I don't think I should be doing my duty to the ratepayers, if I did not move now. I want the opinion of the ratepayers. The CHAIRMAN This is not in order, according to the agenda paper. Besides, I don't think it would be advisable now. Mr. EWING said he would not put the resolu- tion, and the matter dropped.
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A SOLDIER'S STRANGE DEATH.…
A SOLDIER'S STRANGE DEATH. « THE INQUEST. Edward Tudor, a sergeant in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment, who resided at 7, Militia Barracks, Chester, was admitted into the Chester Infirmary on Monday suffering from a cut head, and he died the same day. According to information supplied to the police, Sergeant Tudor had some refreshment in the sergeants' mess at the Castle on Sunday evening. He left the place at eleven o'clock in company with two civilians. In the Castle Yard, just outside the mess-room door, he is supposed to have fallen down. The two civilians informed Sergeant Bert of the occurrence, and on going to the place he found Tudor lying there unconscious. He removed him home, and afterwards the unfortunate man was taken to the Infirmary, where he died as stated. The inquest on the body of deceased was held at the Infirmary on Wednesday morning before Mr. Frank Turner, deputy coroner, who, at the commencement, warned the members of the jury that the case was a rather mysterious one. After the adjournment to view the body, Dr. Herbert Emerson, house surgeon, gave evidence'to the effect that deceased was brought to the Infirmary about three o'clock in the afternoon on the day in question in an un- conscious condition. He had a small scalp wound on the left side of the head. They could do nothing for him, and he died between eight and nine o'clock the same evening, having never regained consciousness. The cause of death was hemorrhage at the base of the neck. The wound was rather less than an inch long, though the periosteum was undivided. From the general appearance of the wound the injury was likely to have been caused by a fall on any hard substance. Mrs. Tudor, widow of deceased, stated that her husband had just retired from the army on his deferred pay. He was 39 years of age. He went out of the house on the Sunday evening about seven o'clock saying he was going for a walk down town. She did not see him again until a quarter past eleven the same night, when he was brought home by a soldier, who was sober, and a civilian, who was so drunk that he seemed scarcely able to hold himself up. They propped her husband up in a chair, and witness noticed that he was bleeding on the left side of the head. She bathed the wound, and then a man named William Roberts came into the house with deceased's hat. The latest arrival had evidently had some drink, but he was perfectly sensible. He addressed Mrs. Tudor to the following effect: "I met this gentleman (meaning Tudor) in the Sergeant's Mess, and he had two glasses of beer with me. There were three of us. Your husband had two glasses of beer only." He added that three of them left the mess together with deceased, who was talking perfectly sensibly with them, but it was so dark they could scarcely see where they were going. Roberts then pointed to the other man in the house, and said, "This man, in coming out of the mess, stumbled, fell against your husband, knocked him down, and fell over him." He further told her that someone took him into the mess and introduced him to Tudor. Witness asked him if her husband was sober, and he replied that they only had two glasses of beer together. From what Roberts told her she gathered that there was a third man present. Witness deposed that Roberts also informed her that he said to those present, I'm not going to leave him, mate, in the lurch, I will see him safe through it." She asked him about the other man, and he replied that he turned and went round a corner. The man who went in the house with her husband asked Roberts to look at Tudor. When Roberts said he was sleeping, this man answered, You are not sleeping, old man, you are unconscious; your heart is bad." He spilt some water on Tudor, and witness, seeing that he was very drunk, asked him to leave her husband to her. He thereupon went out, remarking You won't be long, old man, it's your heart." Mr. Roberts went out shortly afterwards, and advised Mrs. Tudor to get her husband to bed. She and her children tried to raise him, but he fell heavily forward on to witness, and she was under the impression that he was in a drunken sleep. He never moved during the night, and his breathing became heavier and heavier. About 8 o'clock the next morning she sent for the hospital sergeant (Mr. Schloss), who helped her to get her husband on a couch bed in the same room. He asked her why she bad not sent for him last night, and added, That man has been strongly drugged." In changing his shirt witness noticed a large green bruise on one of deceased's arms, and called Mr. Schloss' attention to it, whereupon he made an examination and told her he thought there was some foul play. He after- wards said I tell you for a fact, Mrs. Tudor, your husband has been badly treated." He thought he was paralysed on the left side, and that the spine was injured. The smell as of drugs which emanated from her husband nearly made her vomit. Dr. Hopkins came later, and could hold out no hope. He asked witness whether she thought any one would be so wicked as to give him poison, and she replied that to her knowledge he had no enemies who would injure him. The doctor said there was a large clot of blood resting on the brain. Surgeon Captain Burt saw deceased, and was of the same opinion as Dr. Hopkins as to the clot of blood. Tudor shortly afterwards took a strange turn, and Dr. Burt advised his removal to the Infirmary, as nothing could save him but an operation. Dr. Emerson, however, when he was admitted to the institution, said he was too far gone to be operated upon. He died the same evening, never having regained consciousness. Witness had never seen the men who were with her husband. Deceased and herself had only arrived in England' three months ago from India, where they had been for twelve years. She had been under the impression for some time that deceased was not quite right in his head, as during the last twelve months he bad been reckless. Very little drink affected him. By a Juror: He had no money with him to her knowledge when he went out on the Sunday night. He went out with the intention of going for a walk, and he was in the habit of giving her all his money, and getting some from her as he wanted it. Sergt. Bert was in ebarge-of the quarter guard on the evening in question, and when he had relieved the corporal on gate duty just after eleven o'clock two civilians reported to him that Tudor had fallen down and cut his head. They came from the direction of the sergeants' mess. It was dark, but the men were sober. On going to the spot he struck a light, and found Tudor bleeding-on the ground. Witness spoke to him, but he did not answer. There were spots of blood on the floor, on the wood- work of a table, and on the iron rim of the table. He ordered assistance, and the man was taken home. He did not see a third man there. By a JUROR He did not hear of any alterca- tion having taken place in the mess. Frederick Roberts, driver, in the employment of the Chester Mineral Water Company, and residing at 4, Charlotte-street, met deceased at five minutes past 10 on Sunday night, by Frod- sham-street, with a fellow-workman of his, named McGregor, and another man named J. Tatler. McGregor left them, and the others went to the barracks at the invitation of Tudor, who appeared to have had a little drink. They had two drinks in the mess, and then went out at 11 o'clock. They walked through the yard adjoining the mess, witness being four yards in front of Tudor, who was followed by Tatler. He heard a sound behind, and asked whether one of them had fallen, when Tatler replied Yes, Tudor, and I fell over his legs." They lifted Tudor, and when they struck a match witness noticed some spots of blood on the ground, and saw that Tudor's head was cut. He left Tatler holding the injured man's bead, and went to inform the sergeant of the occurrence. Witness, in answer to questions put to him, denied that he told Mrs. Tudor he met her husband in the Sergeants' Mess, but said that lie accompanied him there. Neither did he say to her that Tatler stumbled and knocked Tudor over. He also contradicted the state- ment made by Mrs. Tudor to the effect that he said he would not leave the deceased in the lurch. He was quite sure that there were only three of them who came out of the mess. The reference he made to Mrs. Tudor about the man who went round the corner, and would not go with them, referred to the man McGregor, who left them at the Cross, and not to anybody at the barracks. There was not an unpleasant word spoken between them. He did not notice any table near where deceased fell, but the noise sounded as if someone had first come in contact with something and had then fallen to the ground. He had not seen Tatler since. He left Tatler holding deceased's head up when he went to the sergeant. At this stage Sergeant Bert was re-called, and repeated his statement as to there being two civilians who came to inform him of the accident. One was following the other. By the DEPUTY CORONER: Witness left the man Tatler holding Tudor's head up when he went for the sergeant, but he did not know whether Tatler continued to do so, or whether he followed him when he went to the gate. Mr. TURNER, iri addressing the jury, pointed out that there were certain points of the enquiry which were somewhat peculiar. According to the evidence of the deceased's widow, it appeared that very little drink upset Tudor. She made rather a strong point as to the drugs, although the doctors did not confirm her in her conviction. Perhaps, if they thought it necessary to recall the Infirmary surgeon, he might be able to enlighten them as to that. The point to consider was how he fell. They had had evidence about the table, also of the spots of blood on the ground and on the table. There seemed to be no doubt that deceased met his death by a fall, but whether accidentally or otherwise was for them to con- sider. There was no motive for, and no evidence of, a quarrel. In his own mind he thought that no doubt deceased had had too much drink, and fell down in the dark. After a short deliberation the jury came to the conclusion that the cause of death was hemorrhage at the base of the neck, caused by an accidental fall. The inquiry was of a very exhaustive nature, and lasted over three hours. THE FUNERAL. The interment took place with military honours on Thursday. A detachment, con- sisting of about a hundred men of the Cheshire Regiment, formed up at the Infirmary, and headed by the band, playing the Dead March' in Saul, the procession wended its way slowly to the Cemetery, crowds of spectators lining the route. The Rev. H. Grantham conducted the burial service, at the conclusion of which the firing party, under Sergt. Barnett, delivered three volleys over the grave. Capt. and Quartermaster Howard was present, and the parade was under the command of Sergt.- Major Dutton. A large number of deceased's military friends attested their respect by their presence, while the assembly also included many civilians. The chief mourners were Mrs. Tudor (widow), William, Bertie, Edward, and Arthur (sons), Daisy, Lilly, Elsie, and Florence (daughters), Mr. and Mrs. James Tudor, Mr. and Mrs. William Tudor, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Tudor, Mrs. Morgan, Mr. Samuel Tudor, Mr. Ernest Tudor, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Woodcock, and Messrs. James, Daniel, and Joseph Wood- cock. Messrs. Edgar Dutton and Sons carried out the funeral arrangements.
COURT MARTIAL AT CHESTER.…
COURT MARTIAL AT CHESTER. + QUARTER-MASTER SERGEANT'S SAD FALL. As briefly announced in our columns last week, a court-martial was opened at Chester Castle on Monday last, under the presidency of Colonel Cary, to investigate certain charges of irregularities against Quarter-Master Sergeant Ford, of the Cheshire Regiment. The chief accusation against the prisoner was that he had embezzled £ 10, which a private named Hollins- head had paid to procure his discharge. The case for the prosecution occupied Monday and Tuesday. Evidence was given to the effect that Hollinshead had paid the X10 to prisoner and that the latter had failed to account for it' The court sat again on Wednesday morning when Ford began his defence. He pleaded not guilty. On the 24th June, he said, he was sitting at the river side with his wife, when he was told by a corporal that a man- Hollinshead-wanted to buy his discharge, and wanted to hand the money over to some one for safe keeping. Hollinshead's sister gave him (Ford) 110, and he went to the barracks with the intention of handing over the money to an officer. There was no officer in barracks, however. On the 28th he prepared an army form for Hollinshead's discharge, and on the 29th he gummed the receipt for the purchase money on one of the documents. In conclu- sion, he said it was not likely he would have done such things as he had been charged with, for he had been fourteen years in the service, was receiving good pay, and had been looking forward to a good pension.— Private J. Lydon in evidence stated that he remembered being ordered by Ford to take a letter containing coin to the pay- office and wait for a receipt. He was also given another letter to post. The one for the pay office was addressed to the chief paymaster, and witness took it to the headquarter offices, handing it to Sergeant Major George, who took it upstairs. Witness had often taken letters containing money from the orderly-room to the pay office.-Private Garratt, a former orderly-room orderly, had frequently taken money from the orderly-room, and brought back receipts. Quartermaster Sergt. Ford had often given him these envelopes. —Major Neville, recalled, was examined by prisoner. He did not remember giving Ford money for any purpose during a fortnight about June 29th. He was of the opinion that Ford had had enough assistance in the orderly room, although prisoner had often com- plained to the contrary. Ford had called his attention to the occasionally irregular delivery of letters which had been left lying about the place. One instance was when a letter addressed, he thought, to the command- ing officer was found on a bed in the barrack room.—Prisoner: Did I make a statement to you yesterday ?-Witness: Yes, he said the key of B Company store room fitted the orderly room "door. I tried it, and it does.- Witness (continuing) said he never remembered receiving the company default sheet of Private Hollinshead.—Private James Noble, assistant in the orderly-room, saw Hollinshead sign his discharge document on June 29th or 30th. Witness, on the direction of Ford, got out some documents ready for the discharge. He passed the gum to Ford, whose reason for asking for it he believed would be for him to attach the receipt for the purchase money to the attestations. He saw the documents on Ford's table when he left the orderly room. He locked the door, and left the key on the ledge over the door. Next morning he did not see the documents. The defence was continued on Thursday morning.—Sergt.-Major George said no letter was handed to him by an orderly of the Cheshire Regiment on that date, which contained other than ordinary correspondence.—Major Lodwick said no discharge money had been paid about the time stated.—Capt. D. B. Thomas gave evidence as to prisoner's character. While witness had been acting adjutant he had found Ford do his work satisfactorily. He had been regular, punctual, and steady.—Sergt.- Major Dutton, as senior member of the sergeants' moss, gave similar testimony.— Ford in his second statement said he adhered to his first defence. In regard to the first charge, the only evidence he could bring was that of himself and the orderly owing to the system of the depot. He must bitterly complain in regard to the second charge of the manner in which the prosecution bad endeavoured to throw the whole responsibility of the office work on his shoulders, seeing that the actual responsibility devolved on his seniors. With regard to charge three, had it not been for the negligence of Major Neville in signing a return without comparing it, and for which he was responsible, the case might have cropped up not later than July 1st, when, in his opinion, it could have been investigated with the conversations and circumstances fresher in the minds of the witnesses. He called attention to the dis- crepancy between the evidence of two witnesses, and in respect of charge four pointed out how utterly insane it would have been for him to make away with any document. So far as the removal of the documents was concerned, he referred to the fact of the discovery that the key of B Company store-room would fit the orderly room. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The court was closed for the consideration of the case. THE SENTENCE. The finding of the Court was promulgated in the Castle Yard on Saturday morning, in the presence of all the men stationed at the depot. Prisoner was found guilty, and was sentenced to be reduced to the ranks, to undergo 84 days' imprisonment, while he was also ordered to have his pay stopped until the 910 had been refunded. As is usual on these occasions, Ford was publicly deprived of his stripes, and those who witnessed his degradation declare it to have been a painful and impressive spectacle.
- DEATH OF THE REV. CANON…
DEATH OF THE REV. CANON ROBIN. ♦ We regret to announce the death of." the Rev. Canon Philip R. Robin, rector of Woodchurch, Birkenhead, which occurred at the Rectory, on Wednesday. He had been in failing health for many months, but bore up bravely until the exigencies of his ailment, and advancing years forced him to relinquish to the care of others his ministerial work. The late Canon was in hts eighty-third year. All his life he had been active and painstaking, and those who knew him felt that, notwith- standing his calm and gentle manner, he possessed an ardent and energetic spirit,. which was unflagging in the interests of the cause or object he took up. For many years he was a member of the Wirral Board of Guardians, and his services in connection with the administration of the poor-law in Wirral were highly appre- ciated. He had been rector of Woodchurch since 1861. He graduated at Brasenose College, Oxford, receiving the degree of B.A. in 1837, and of M.A. in 1840. He was ordained deacon in 1839, and priest in 1840 by the then Bishop of Chester. From 1843 to 1847 he held a curacy in Southampton, leaving there to become per- petual curate of Christ Church, Portswood, Hants, where he remained till 1852. He was. made an honorary canon of Chester Cathedral in 1885. THE FUNERAL took place at Woodchurch on Saturday. The officiating clergymen were the Rev. Canon Feilden (rector of Bebington) and the Rev. E. Elmer Harding (principal of St. Aidan's Col- lege, Birkenhead). The musical portion of the service was rendered by the choir of St. Saviour's, Oxton, Dr. Dalepresidingat the organ. Prior to the service a muffled peal was rung. The chief mourners were Mrs. Robin (widow),. the Rev. P. C. Robin (son), Miss E. F. Robin, Mrs. Houghton, and Miss S. Robin (daughters), Mrs. Cumming and Miss Robin- (sisters), Miss Grace Robin, Miss Monica Robin, and Master Bryan Robin (grandchildren), Col. and Mrs. Rennard, Col. Cummings, Mrs. H. Gray, Mr. M. A. Houghton, and Dr. and Mrs. Pollock. Among others present were Messrs. Edmund Taylor, Charles Bushell, Reginald Bushell, Thomas Brocklebank, Meadows Frost, J. E. Gray, Hill, W.Jackson (Noctorum), J. E. S. Ollive, A. M. Robinson, Thos. Davies (Upton), J. Lunard, F. Gregory, M. Quirk, G. W. Ziegler, T. Johnson, R. Johnson, Joseph Gerkey, T. H, Hickman, Edward Gittins, Frank Thomas, C. Hancock, H. Marsh, John B. Clarke, H. A. Heywood, H. Stewart, D. Whiteway, William. Palin, James Smith (Arrowe), Ralph Robinson,. W. Crowhurst, William Maddock (Irby), Lionel Peel, G. M. Medley, A. Leaf, E. Bebbington, Peter Caton, Joseph Royden, George Dawson, James Barton, H. Clarke, J. H. Welsford, E. C. Kendall, C. N. Irving Hamilton Gair, W. G. Wrigley, Alfred Thompson, Edward Rae, R. F. Burgess, S. Scholes, and T. Dixon. Among the clergy present were the Revs. Canon Upperton, T. H. May (Heswall), H. Segar (New Ferry), Walsham Postance (vicar of Willaston), F. Sanders (Hoylake), H. E. Glenn (Barnston), and J. Holt. A large number of floral tributes were sent by members of the family and friends.
HAWARDEN FESTIVAL. <♦>
HAWARDEN FESTIVAL. <♦> The annual fete, in connection with the Hawarden Institute, was held in the Castle- grounds on Saturday, and although the weather early in the day gave a somewhat unfavourable promise, it fortunately held fine, and conse- quently the attendance was a very large one. This festival is held annually to obtain funds to defray the working expenses of the Institute,, and in this the committee have been eminently successful. The three fetes, which were held on a larger scale than has been the rule, brought in the satisfactory total of about 92,400, and thus the management reverted to the old-time festival of forty-three years standing. Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone have always taken the liveliest interest in the institution, and it was chiefly in the hope of obtaining a.. glance at the venerable statesman, and probably of hearing him speak, that such a large attend- ance was present. Excursions were run from all parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, and North Wales, and soon after noon the village was full of visitors, wending their way to the attractions in the park. Here, however, a disappointment awaited them, inasmuch as the following letter from Miss Helen Gladstone had been received by the secretaries:—" Hawarden Castle, August 27th, 1897. Sirs,—I am desired by Mr. Glad- stone to say that he regrets that he does not think it desirable at his age to undertake the giving of the prizes on the 28th." Later in the afternoon, however, Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone took a drive round the park, and were loudly cheered by the crowds who lined the route. This was also the case when the G.O.M.- appeared at the library window, where a con- course of admirers had taken up their stand. Mrs. Gladstone was present at the distribution of the prizes, which were given away from the terrace wall by Mrs. F. L. Hancock, and frequently expressed her approval of the com- mittee's choice of the prizes. At the conlusion three hearty cheers were given for Mrs. Glad- stone and Mrs. Hancock. Among the visitors who were staying at the castle were Mr. Henry Gladstone, Miss Helen Gladstone, Mr. Armit- stead, Dean Wickham and family, Lincoln, &e., while Miss Dorothy Drew was, as usual, greatly in evidence. A good programme. of sports had been arranged, and the various items were capitally contested,. while there was also a cricket match between Hawarden and Leigh, in which contest the homesters asserted their superiority, and in the evening dancing was indulged in to the strains of the Buckley Town and the 1st Flintshire Engineers Prize Bands, which played alter- nately, as they had done during the afternoon. on the terrace wall. At dusk the village and wynt were prettily illuminated, whife the dancers were accommodated with a Well's light, by the aid of which they were enabled to trip the light fantastic until about nine o'clock when the park was closed. The hon. secretaries' Messrs. G. J. R. Butler and H. Dickinson, are to be congratulated on the excellent manner in which they executed their duties, as are also the officials connected with the sports, who were as follows:—Judges Messrs. J. Brough- ton, D. Jones, and E. Ellis; handicapper and starter, Mr. T. H. Haswell. The results of the- sports are appended :— 100 yards tortoise bicycle race: Winners of heats, Wm. Edwards, A. Grossman, E. S. G. Wickham, and R. Green. Final: 1, A. Grossman 2, W. Edwards. 100 yards handicap (open) Winners of heats T. Richardson, W. Harrison, A. E. Jones, W. Cash, and W. Rogers. Fina 1, Harrison; 2, Cash 3, Richardson. Two miles bicycle handicap—First heat: 1. A. Mitchell; 2, S. Davies. 2nd heat: 1. G. Fl Lightfoot; 2, J. Wolstenholme. Final: 1, Davies- 2, Mitchell; 3, Wolstenholme. 440 yards open handicap—First heat: 1 J. McLeary; 2, Jas. Booth. 2nd heat: i Wm Stanton; 2, J. Golding. 3rd heat: 1, W. Cash 2'm- C- P^n- Jinal: Dean 2> Cash 3, Booth'. Tug of War (for teams of seven): 1, Boswell's team, Sandycroft Foundry; 2, Chester team. The cricket match, which provided amuse- ment for a goodly number of votaries of the game, ended in a somewhat easy win for the home team, as a glance at the scores will I shew:— LEIGH WEBLICYANS. HAWARDEN. W Nelson b Peters 2 E Evans c Eaten bTurner 0 W Stewart c Gibson b T Gibson b Ashcroft 24 Peters 14 E Davies lbw b Turner" 4 J Turner b Evans 0 F Green b Delves 8 J Ashcroft b Peters 0 H Griffiths lbw b Turner 2 B Bennett c Green bEvans 0 J Peters b Delves. 6 J Eaton c Davies bPeters 5 G Pox b Delves. 2 B Battersby c Mason b I G Warner run out 1 Evans 1 H Mason b Ashcroft 0 F Kniveton c Green b B Green c Turner bDelves 1 Peters 0 B Cathrall not out 2 Bevingtonnotout 1 Aspinall b Peters 0 J Delves b Evans 0 Extras 5 Extras 5 Total 28 Total 55
COMMERCIAL FAILURES.—According to Kemp's Mercantile Gazette, the number of failures in England and Wales gazetted during the week ending Aug. 28th, was 58. The number in the corresponding week of last year was 73, shew- ing a decrease of 15, being a nett decrease in 1897, to date, of 156. COMMERCE, WITH ITS SPREADING WINGS, has traversed the globe many times, and binds nations together with the strong ties of mutual self-interest Through its influence London has become the metropolis of the world, and her merchants have amassed wealth sufficient to make them the envy of princes. Holloway's Pills and Ointment have now become essential articles of commerce with all parts of the world. They have effected cures which have seemed miraculous, and given relief in complaints when all hope had been lost. In all known diseases their success has at all times been wonderful. In cases of disorders of the stomach, bile, liver complaint, indigestion, fevers, ague, &c., they act like a charm, as the cure is speedy and certain.