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BOARD OF GUARDIANS. The following gentlemen were present at the Neath Board of Guardians meeting on Tuesday last Howel Gwyn, Esq., M.P. (chairman), G. Lewellyn, Esq., (vice-chairman), the Rev. T. Walters, the Rev. M. R. Morgan, Messrs. W. J. Piayfr, 0. Price, P. Davies, R. C. Fisher, R. Parsons, P. Williams, T. Jenkins, J. Morgan, W. Griffiths, P. W. Flower, D. Maddock, D. Bevan, L. Griffiths, T. Rees, F. T. Gibbins, B. Evans, C. Thresher, W. B. Sloane, the Rev. D. Thomas, W. Jones, Dr. Russell, and Mr. A. B. Campion, surveyor. THE RELIEF LISTS. The despatch of business was hastened by the formation of a second Board, of which G. Lewellyn, Esq., was the chairman. PUBLIC BUSINESS. The public business commenced by the clerk read- ing a letter from the Poor-Law Board, in which formal assent was given to the increase of salary of Mr. M. Matthews, from Y,25 to £ 40. No remarks followed the reading of the letter, the particulars having previously been before the meeting. THE VAGRANT QUESTION. The Clerk read the following letter from Mr. Jas. Johns, in reference to a claim for remuneration for attending to the vagrants of the parish of Aber- avon :— Police-station, Aberavon. Gentlemen,-For the past three years I have acted as assistant relieving officer for the Aberavon district. The duties consist of a careful search and examination of vagrants who are passing through Aberavon, the particulars of which I enter in a book called the "Vagrant Relief List." After such examination I give a ticket wherever necessary, which entitles the holder to a night's lodging; and on the other side I beg to submit a return of the vagrants I have examined for the years 1866-7-8, with a view that you will kindly make me some remuneration for my past services as such assistant relieving officer, and that you will also apportion me whatever you may deem necessary, which I may hereafter look upon as a salary. Apologizing for thus troubling you, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant, JAMES JOHNS. To the Board of Guardians of the Neath Union, Neath. Number of vagrants sent to 'common lodging-houses with tickets from the Aberavon district for the years 1866-7-8. Date. Men. Women. Children. Total. 1866 636 73 41 750 1867 1293 146 94 1533 1868 2036 224 194 2454 The Mayor What is the course generally pur- sued ? The Clerk A payment is made Superintendent Phillips has j65 per annum. The Rev. T. Walters How many does our officer search ? The Clerk You can see the list; they are increas- ing also. There were 85 adults, 8 boys, and 3 girls last week. The Rev. Mr. R. Morgan But can you tell how many altogether ? Mr. J. Francis (relieving-officer) There is a paper pinned in the front leaf of the book which will show the numbers. During the past fortnight the expense has been £3, and there have been 243 vagrants. The Mayor That is about 120 weekly. Mr. G. Lewellyn: Do any good results follow the searching ? What effect has it on them ? Mr. Jones (relieving-officer) Stolen property is sometimes found on them, and sometimes they are not relieved, as money is also found upon them. If the police did not assist me I could not manage the numbers who apply; they are so many. Mr. G. Lewellyn I think it desirable to make some allowance. Mr. R. C. Fisher Does he make any memo- randa ? The Officer Oh, yes the memoranda are made in the book- (The book was produced and read.) Mr. Sloane: Was the work undertaken by order of the Board ? The Board Yes, undoubtedly. Mr. Price I move that a sum of money bepaid him equal to that given to the superintendent here. The Board From what date? Mr. Price From 1866. Mr. P. Davies You can't do it. You can't go back. It was then moved by Mr. Charles S. Price, seconded by Mr. R. Parsons, "That Mr. Johns be allowed Y,5 for his services, and also a gratuity of £ 10 for past services, subject to the approval of the Poor-Law Board." AN APPLICATION FROM MR. MILLER. The Clerk read the following letter from ex-police Sergeant Miller Water-street, Neath, Nov. 3rd, 1868. Gentlemen,-On the 6th inst., I addressed a letter to your honourable Board on the subject of my being employed in the removal of paupers, and I am anxious to know if you will kindly employ me in that capacity. I then took the oppor- tunity of speaking to many of the gentlemen, who seemed quite in favour of my being so employed. May I the)? earnestly solicit the favour of your support and commands.— Gentlemen, your obedient servant, EDWARD MILLER. To the Board of Guardians of the Neath Union, Neath. The Chairman Do we want an officer for the pur- pose mentioned? Mr. P. Davies I think not. In this case we have two active assistant overseers, Mr. E. Jenkins, of Coedfranc, and Mr. W. Jenkins, of The Abbey. They are all to give us such information as we may want, at any time, respecting the paupers to be removed, and it, in some slight degree, increases their salary. I don't know why this case should be so pressed upon us. I am inclined to the other parties because they are so well known, and I think a change is undesirable, unless some fault exists with them. Mr. G. Lewellyn Is it not the particular duty of the overseers ? Mr. P. Davies Yes I do not think we can make the appointment. Should he do any work for us he can send in his bill and have it paid. THE MEDICAL OFFICER'S COMPLAINT. The Clerk read the following letter from Dr. Rus- sell, the medical officer to the Union Neath, 2nd November, 1868. To the Chairman and Members of the Neath Board of Guardians. Gentlemen,-Permit me to call your attention to an award made on your last Board day, for surgical attendance on a case of compound fracture which happened in the hamlet of Neath Lower, by which a most unjust remuneration was granted, and a gross injustice suffered by myself. The par- ticulars of the case are as follows:-A messenger was despatched for myself, with instructions (I believe) that if I should not be at hand to bring the first surgeon he could find. Encountering Messrs. Thomas and Ryding, he asked if either was Mr. Russell, and stated his errand. They, accompanied by the messenger, drove to my house, and, finding me at home, communicated the circumstances to me, and we had a most distinct understanding that I should attend to the case, and upon that understanding they left my house. I set about my duties immediately, but before I could set off I received a note from Dr. Ryding stating that he had gone to the case. This is a plain statement of the facts, but I beg to add, that if such over-reaching conduct on the part of neigh- bouring medical men is to meet with reward at your hands, none of your appointed medical officers will be secure from being deprived of their just dues, at any time, by an intrud- ing neighbour. I conclude that all casualties like the above- mentioned are, by right, the just dues of the regularly appointed medical officer of the district.-1 am, gentlemen, yours faithfully, (Signed.) JOHN RUSSELL,' Medical Officer. The Chairman Have you any statement to make, Dr. Russell, in reference to this letter ? Dr. Russell Nothing but what is contained in the letter. Mr. P. Davies I must explain the case of the bill being signed. It came before the second Board, of which I was chairman. It was brought in by the Rev. D. Griffiths, and I objected at the time to its payment, because it was not introduced through the relieving officer's book in a regular manner. The Mayor By whose authority did Dr. Ryding attend the case ? Mr. Davies (relieving officer) I gave no order till after he had attended. The Mayor If no order was given wnat becomes of it ? Mr. L. Griffiths May I be allowed to explain the case of this poor woman. She was working for me in the hay season, the horse took fright, and the 1 cart ran over her, breaking one of her legs, and seriously injuring the other. I sent at once to Neath, as she was lodging on the side of the road, with a request that Dr. Russell should be fetched, but, as it was a very urgent case, I gave orders that if he could not be found the messenger was to bring the first medical man he could find. The Mayor Why did he continue to attend the case? Mr. Thresher I believe Dr. Ryding attended at the request of the Rev. D. Griffiths, who, with Mr. Lewis Griffiths, are the guardians of the parish. Mr. Price: Before deciding the case against Dr. Ryding, would it not be more just to hear what he has to say? (Hear.) The Chairman then moved that the subject stand over for consideration until the next meeting, and that Dr. Ryding be requested to attend. NOTICE OF MOTION. The Clerk read the following circular issued to the Guardians Neath Union, 21st October, 1868. Sir,—Underneath I beg to send you, by the directions of the Guardians of this Union, copy of order and notice of motion, given at their Board meeting yesterday, and which will be taken into consideration at the next meeting of the Board.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant, HOWEL CUTHBERTSON. [NOTICES OF MOTION.] To take into consideration an application which has been received from Mr. George Jones, relieving officer of the eastern district, for an increase in his salary." The Rev. David Griffiths gives notice that at the next meeting he will move, when Mr. Jones's application is brought forward for discussion, that the question of the re-distribution of the releiving officers districts:be taken into consideration, and such orders made thereon as may be determined upon." Mr. Lewis Griffiths: Mr. Chairman and gentle- men,—I beg to say on behalf of my son that he is unavoidably prevented from being here to-day, and if you would kindly adjourn the discussion until the next meeting we shall feel extremely obliged. The Chairman (to the Board) Is it your pleasure that the discussion be adjourned to the next meeting? The Board unanimously consented. PRIVILEGE. The Clerk I have just had a letter put into my hands from Messrs. Jones and Curtis. The Chairman Respecting what matter ? The Clerk I will read it, as it refers to a report of the last meeting of this Board. Neath, 3rd November, 1868. Dear Sir,-Mr. James Long has consulted us upon the very serious imputations upon his integrity as overseer of the hamlet of Neath Lower, which were made at the last meeting of the Board of Guardians of the Neath Union, and which resulted in your writing him a letter requesting that he would call upon you with his rate book and cash book. This he immediately did, and your careful examination of them resulted in its being found that a sum of £5 6s. 6d. only remained to be accounted for by him, while Mr. Thresher is full y aware that Mr. Long is himself a ratepayer to the extent of one-fifth of the rates of the entire hamlet, the two poor rates for the present year amounting to £99 8s., of which Mr. Long's quota is £19 14s. Under the circumstances we trust you will to-day report to the Board"'the result of your investigation of Mr. Long's accounts, and the readiness with which he submitted the same to you for examination; while, if the Board should so desire, Mr. Long will be happy, on receiving an intimation to that effect, to attend them at any time with his books and vouchers. With regard to Mr. Thresher's statement as to the holding of vestry meetings at midnight, and then always breaking up in a drunken brawl, we shall have to make that charge the subject of public enquiry upon the trial of an action, which we are instructed to bring against him for his slanders of Mr. Long but of course that is a matter which the Board of Guardians can have no power or inclination to go into. In conclusion, we may well call the attention of the Board to the conduct and proceedings of Mr. Thresher with refe- rence to the vestry minute book of the hamlet, containing the record of its meetings for many years, which was taken pos- session of by him, but when it was got back from Mr. Thresher in March last, through Mr. Long's predecessor (Mr. W. Rees), all such records were found to be cut out of the book, and the same was a perfect blank throughout.-We remain, dear sir, yours truly, JONES & CUBTIS. Howel Cuthbertson, Esq., Clerk to the Board of Guardians Neath Union. Mr. Thresher By your kind permission I will endeavour to explain to you that my statement is quite correct. You will first observe that in my remarks I did not mention any names. I did not say "Mr. Long," but as there were such gross irregularities taking place I thought it my duty to bring the matter before you. I shall show you that- Mr. Price: Pardon me. Could we not be informed of the meeting, or the minutes of it, which caused the so-called slanderous remarks to be made. Mr. Thresher There is no slander there is no charge made against any person by name. The charge is against an overseer, and no name is men- tioned. But perhaps you will hear the figures read first, and I shall be glad if you will check them, sir. I went over the list with Mr. Jones, as it seemed rather a heavy charge to make against anyone; and he at once pointed out that the overseer was a defaulter but, as there was a fortnight longer to run, we thought perhaps he would pay in the amount, and I said I would do all I could to get him to do so. Seeing this, Mr. Jones reduced the call 121 per cent. 2 I wrote to Mr. Long on the 3rd of October, and sent the note by my little boy. I received a reply, which I will read to you. [Letter read]. I must now explain to you that a ninepenny rate is more than sufficient for the call made on the parish, and when I see a former rate still unpaid to the treasurer, and a new one demanded, I feel that I must come before you to seek that redress which such a state of things ought certainly to demand. I therefore made remarks which I felt justified in doing, and I received in return the following letter. [Mr. Thresher read the letter and continued] I must now refer to the minute book. In former times there was nothing of the sort; there was in fact no such thing in the parish till three years ago. And as to the midnight meetings, it is a fact that at one of them there was nothing less than a drunken brawl, ending in a challenge to fight; and yet, on the following morning, there was brought to me a torn sheet, signed by five or six names, all in the same handwriting, and I was requested to enter the same as a minute of the vestry meeting. I refused to do it. Why, sir, for two-and-a-half years that book was in my house, and never used And now another thing, sir. No overseer has a right to depute others to collect his rates or obtain his money. Then, sir, look at that (handing in a receipt). There you have a receipt which is not legal: it is written in pencil, and the money was fetched by a man named Lee, who, after taking my rate, told me that was what he was ordered to give me and then, sir, being on horseback, he flew off like a sparrow. This is but one instance of his sending foreigners" to collect his rates, and let me ask you, sir, if-- The Chairman I think it will be best to appoint a committee to investigate the affair, and that com- mittee to make a report to the Board. Mr. Turberyille: I have seen the books, and they appear to be correct. All I find fault with is, and it certainly is irregular, that part of the last call should be paid out of the current rate. Mr. Thresher Is that legal ? Is it right ? Mr. Turberville I can't say that it is right. The Mayor Had he 928 in hand by the books ? Mr. Turberville He had not; there was a balance, I think, of about £ 8. The Mayor If I understand rightly, two rates were made for X99 before the whole of the first rate was collected. Mr. Thresher Did he name any one who had not paid ? Mr. Turberville He did not name any one. Mr. Thresher He could not! Mr. Price Mr. Thresher appears to accuse the overseer of making an excessive rate without having a proper order for doing so. There may be ground for complaint, but it seems rather ungenerous to take proceedings against the officer, without giving him notice in a plain way. Any one may make a mistake, but if an observation on that error is to form a reason for litigation no man is safe. I think, however, Mr. Thresher should say what he has to complain of, and then we should know what steps to take. The Rev. Thomas Walters Don't you think it is a question for the auditor ? Mr. Jones Mr. Chairman, I wish to make a state- ment in reference to this matter. I know Mr. Long very well, and he seems to be a very gentlemanly man. There is no fault to find with his appearance, and he is not, I should think, the man who would misapply the parish money- The Chairman There is no accusation of that kind made. Mr. W. Jones It amounts to that. Mr. Thresher Nothing of the kind. (Loud cries of "No, no.") Mr. W. Jones He is a large ratepayer, paying one fifth of the rates of the whole parish, and he is allowed to make a rate in excess of his expenditure (the money going to his successor should it be required) to meet small disbursements. Mr. Price Are we to consider that an overseer may make a rate in excess, if it is not wanted ? Mr. Turberville He is obliged to, to meet petty disbursements. Mr. Price My conscience what next ? Mr. Thresher What I complain of is, that the money collected is not paid in. The Chairman: That being the case, we will appoint a committee, viz: G. Llewellyn, W. J. Player, F. J. Gibbins, William Jones, C. S. Price, and Philip Davies, Esq.s., to meet and investigate the books of the officer, and report to the Board at their next meeting. THE DEFECTIVE LIST OF VOTERS. The Mayor At the last meeting of this Board I requested that if Mr. Morris was an assistant over- seer, he might be called on to attend and give us some information about the large number of voters whose names were left out of the burgess list. In municipal cases I know it is his duty to make a proper and correct return, but here we have nearly four pages of foolscap full of names omitted in the list for this year. I think the error has occurred partly because the idea is entertained that the Mayor and the assessors have power to insert the names of those who claim a vote at any time. This, how- ever, is a mistake. No name can be inserted unless p proper notice be given. [The Mayor read an extract from a work on the Municipal Act to prove the same.] Some steps must therefore be taken to get a more perfect list. There have been continual complaints as to the omissions, especially in the par- liamentary lists. Last year it was pretty fairly correct, but this year it is very incorrect. What I wish the Board to do, therefore, is this: if Mr. Morris cannot do the work himself, let us employ some one else the Act gives power to pay the cost of such a step. [Extract read.] Mr. P. Davies We have always done so. The Mayor I hope in future there will be no more irregularities, and that 114 names will not again be omitted. Mr. R. Parsons Will you allow me to express my opinion in reference to this charge ? The Board Certainly certainly Mr. R. Parsons I think, then, that the steps we are taking are quite beyond our province. Muni- cipal affairs are clearly not connected with this Board, and I do not believe that it is our duty to attempt to put matters right for the authorities of the borough. I am one of those who ought to feel aggrieved, and whose name has been omitted from the voters' list. I have, however, had ample time to remedy that if I thought proper to do so. I did not remedy it, and therefore, like many others, I have no right to complain. I thank my friend here for the term "foreigner." I am one of those indi- viduals, and the overseer The Mayor We employ an assistant overseer who, I understand, is not amenable to this Board. Mr. R. Parsons We have no authority to compel the assistant overseer to attend a meeting like this at our pleasure. We have no right to— The Mayor The assistant overseer must. Mr. R. Parsons It is puerile and paltry to attempt a power not our own. Mr. Turberville I read the clause at the last meeting, and that was quite conclusive on the point. I can read it again. The Board No, no the minutes of the last meeting. [The Clerk read the minutes.] The Mayor I ought to mention that they supposed the Mayor and assessors could insert the names. Mr. P. Davies Nonsense That was merely to stop you from making a complaint. It will go for nothing. Mr. Turberville He is paid by this Board, and is amenable to the Board. Mr. G. Lewellyn I must say that this is rather an unpleasant business to bring before the Board. Here are a large number of voters excluded from exercising their privilege through one person's neglect. All persons entitled ought to be on the list. Morris is an assistant overseer to this Board, and it seems incredible that 113 names should acci- dentally be omitted. Suppose an election took place, the votes would be lost. It therefore becomes us to enquire, as he occupies the position he does, whether he is properly qualified for his office. This is a sad omission of duty. He is present I see, and it is for him to give, if he can, a satisfactory account of the neglect. Mr. Morris then handed in a paper, of which the following is a copy, and the Chairman read the same to the Guardians:- THE BURGESS LIST FOR 1869. The 113 omissions complained of by Mr. Player would arise from the following causes In the first place the last year's burgess roll was not taken as a guide in making out the lists for the present year, therefore there would appear, in com- paring the roll for 1866 with the lists for 1869, to be about 113 omissions, but which omissions were, with the exception of a few accidentally left out, all legally made, viz., persons who had not paid up their rates, paupers entered on last year's roll, persons who have left the borough, persons who have died. Mr. P. Davies That latter part will not do. The first is right, the other incorrect. The Mayor In answer to that, Mr. Morris has stated to me that every name he has omitted ought to have been on the present list. Mr. Morris It was my son's fault. The Mayor You were present when it was stated, were you not? Mr. Morris Yes, I was with him. Mr. P. Davies He received a letter from this Board, and treated it with great disrespect. The Mayor If he is reprimanded by this Board I do not think it will occur again, but you will see by the Municipal Act that the overseers are also liable to a penalty of £50 for the omission. A private consultation then' took place in reference to the case before the Board, after which The Chairman said It is very evident that great negligence has taken place, but Mr. Player has consented not to press the chirge, so as to bring a motion before the Board on the subject. You have been in office for many years, Mr. Morris, and we think if you send in your resignation it would per- haps be better. We would take into our best con- sideration your application for a pension. The work has much increased, double or treble perhaps, and that is one reason why we think your resignation would be best. The Mayor All I want is an assurance that the omission shall not occur again. Mr. Morrh I will take care that it shall not. I will employ a proper person to draw out the list. The Mayor You ought to, as the Town Council pay him. Mr. P. Davies I should still advise him to resign, and retire on a pension of something like X50 a year. THE ALTERATIONS OF THE HOUSE. The Surveyor laid on the tables the plans and specifications for the proposed alterations. The discussion on the same was postponed till the receipt of tenders for the work. RELIEF LISTS. Mr. T. Howells, assistant overseer of Lansamlet Lower, and who resides at Foxhole, attended the Board to explain why he considered many persons who were receiving parish relief, in some instances to the extent of 12s. weekly, were not 2ntitled to the same. \r p -d In the course of the investigation, R. Parsons enquired whether Mr. Howells was the public pro- secutor, a question which evoked a slight "scene." The Chairman, on behalf of the viuardians, thanked Mr. Howells for bringing the cases under the notice of the Board.. The remaining relief lists were then disposed of by both Boards. The master's journal showed an increase in the number of paupers over the corres- ponding week of last year.