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REMARKABLE CHARGE OF BLACKMAIL. ACTION BY A WELSH WESLEYAN MINISTER. AN EX-MISSIONARY COMMITTED FOR TRIAL. EXTRAORDINARY LETTERS. A remarkable story of alleged blackmail was investigated by the Llanfaircaereinion (Mont- gomeryshire) magistrates at a special sessions on Saturday, the prosecutor being the local Welsh Weslevan minister, the Rev. W. R. Ro- berts, and the defendant, Joseph Martindale Peart, an ex-Wesleyan missionary, native of Dariington, who was a prominent figure in the siege of Mafeking. The court was crowded. Mr Martin Woosnam, the prosecuting solicitor, said that the position of the parties- was a pain- ful one. They had been fellow-students at Didsbury Wesleyan College, Manchester, until 1897. when the defendant went out to Mafeking as a missionary, and acted in that oapacity dur- ing the siege. In September, 1900, the old college chun» met in this country, and the next thing that Mr Roberts knew of him was a threatening letter in his handwriting, ad- dressed from British Columbia, in Noveiniber, 1901, demanding JEM. The letter was 00 pre- posterous that Mr Roberts did not reply, and after a lapse of five yearis he received another threatening letter, from rlinton, demanding 1;4 or £ 5. Mr Roberts again did not reply, and received further lettera and post-cards, which were followed by a lotter to the chairman of the North Wales Wesleyan Conference, the Rev. Edward Humphreys, Birkenhead. On the 24th inst. the prisoner culminated the correspond- ence by threatening from Cardiff to go to Llan- fair, and to smash the prosecutor's windows and his head. Thereupon Mr Roberts oomimuni- cated with tho police, who arrested the prisoner at Welshpooi on Tuesday, while in the act of booking to Llanfair, ostensibly to carry out his threat- The Prosecutor stated that the first time they met after leaving college was. at the prisoner's old home at Spennymoor, near Darlington, where the witness was preaching, being stationed in the Stockton-on-Tees circuit. They were the beat of friends, and had supper to- gether after the service. The following week they went to Manchester, where the witness's wjife lived—he was then a bachelor. They stayed one night at an hotel near London-road Station. The witness did not 006 him again until he was arrested last week. AN "EXPEDITION" TO MANCHESTER. The first letter of the remarkable aeries of cor- respondence was put in. In it the prisoner wrote from British Columbia :— "Honoured air,—You will easily recognise the handwriting. Therefore, without unnecessary palaver, I tell you why I write. Now, Roberts, I want your assistance to get baok to Engiand. In the days of my plenitude I be- lieve I was never ungenerous to you. A little more than twelve months ago I paid all ex- penses for that expedition of ours to Man- chester. What an expedition it was! How we got tipsy, gambled, went to the races, talked to prostitutes, and were go ashamed of ourselves that we registered under fake names at the hotel. Do ou r ber lo&in, ;C4 in the 6ustt?,, th"' omri 0 re,,?,-card-triok men, and my giving you the money to repay it? What would your congregation o' good Welsh people say if they knew? What viould the Conference say if they knew? What would your wife-because I bet you are married now—say if she knew? If it was my intention I oould make a hopeless wreck of your career, but that I shall never do. We always were chums, and we must be ohums and helpers, one with another. To be definite, I require a sum of £30 to pay my passage back Eii,-Itrd. That is five t' '6 you cay, what I Im' I spent over you. True, old Roberts! But I never took the trouble to count the money I spent over you. You eay that you haven't so much money in the world. You good apostle! But from past experience I know parsons can borrow almost anywhere. Remember, you must get it if you steai it from the church. This, I know, will be unpalatable reading, but I promise you-you never knew me fail in my promises that six months after landing jn Eng- land I will return tho money, not in full, but £1 for every 108 lent." CHARGES TOTALLY DENIED. The witness declared that there was not one word of truth in the letter ko far as it reflected upon his moral character. Before going to Manchester he had gaid he could not afford it, as he had only just come into the Stockton-on- Tees circuit. Thereupon the prisoner produced a roil of notes and gold, and volunteered to pay all expenses. As the witness's intended wife lived at Manchester, he was naturally only too glad to get there (laughter). There was no truth in the fiUggesteion that he had JE4 or JM 0; the church funds and gambled them away. In the next communication the prisoner stated that they were seen in Manchester by several people, and that the prosecutor regis- tered at the hotel as "Kylm," his college nick- na.mc. He threatened if he did not send the money to send a telegram, which would let the local pcc.t-office people know, and would write to t.he Wesleyan president "giving full parti- culars of our exploits on a race cource. Can you stand the trouble? Well, if you can, I can. Be wise." Receiving no reply, several pcwt-cards fol- lowed- On one the prisoner wrote:—"You aro labouring under tne opinion that I am only trying a game of bluff. Keep that opinion, and you will regret it.. You know you have done things which, if known, would drive you from tli,e niirtl,!tr-v to-itioi-row. Coward and hypo- c r I'ce fi?tve no I)c)t-ition to loi?e, t?it,t ),ou! ?-ou! Nlou! yoiir bUll1ri) of 'on I ? 't 1 16 well developed. Try to picture your position in any court. It will be proved that W( went on the spree, tha.t together we went, to the Man- chester races the day that the American jockey j won his first race in England. You can- not remain in your cowardly castle of silence. The postal authorities will compel you to take action. If you refuse, they will prosecute me for (vending libellous matter through the post. That is -all I want, and it will come out. I will get a long term of imprisonment^ I am pre- pared. and would repeat the offence when I come out, until I get (satisfaction. THREATS OF EXPOSURE. On April 15th prisoner wrote on another post- card that he w.||'d be going to Welshpool be- fore tho end of the month, and would make J things unpleasant. "I have found out where you are preaching. You will look pretty white about the gills when you see me march into the service, and still funnier when I rise in the congregation and demand the money from you. You will call the police. Just what I want. I'll bet my last shilling you are not in the ministry at the next Conference, that is, unless you pay." 11 After the next letter there came a marked copy of a. London Sunday paper, announcing tha-t a "spicy story" was likely to be told in the law courts regarding an ex-Methodist missionary and a Wesleyan minister's spree in Manchester, which would "tickle the multitude." The prisoner wrote that "the world shall know what stuff Welsh Methodist preachers are made of. Simple-minded Methodiste will then understand how the Wesleyan Methodist Church has reported a decrease of over 10,000 in the laat year." There was also produced the letter which prisoner had written to the chairman of the North Wales Wesleyans, alleging that the Rev. W. R. Roberts refused to pay his "debt," and remarking "you must confess that 'Owe no man anything' is still Scriptural, if not minis- terial. Tho prisoner's concluding letter to the prose- cutor was addressed from Cardiff last Monday, I I LNA and ran: an 'en-t friend, my preeent enemy. I callu .the It--v. E. L' 'ghtivood Smith-field, Cardiff, this morning, and he gave me your address. I was afraid you had left. To-morrow I shall bo in Welshpool about two or three o'clock. My intention is fixed to get my money or go to gaol- Now, you d—~— scoundrel, don't trifle with a desperate man. Meet the train from Cardiff, or I will make you send for the polioe, even if I have to break every window in your house, as well as your head." Cross-examined by the prisoner, the Rev. W. R. Roberts stated that he had never registered at the Queen's Hotel, Manchester. The Prisoner: I should like to make an appli- cation to the police that the books of the hotel, which can bo easily pointed out, be produced for September, 1900. and then I will prove that we stayed more than one night, and that the prosecutor masqueraded as Mr Kylcs. THE PRISONER'S ARREST. The police gave evidence of arreting the prisoner at Welshpooi in the act of booking on the Llanfair Railway. On his person was an iron spanner and 3s Id in money. At Shrews- bury Station, he had left a bag, containing bags of dried herbs, with an oil flare lamp, such as those used at fair stalls. The Prisoner pleaded not guilty to the chargo of blaokmail. The Bench committed him to Ruthin Assizes, remarking that the matter rr quired no hesitation. When asked whether he made any apph for bail the Prisoner replied, "No, sir. I have no friends."