Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

5 articles on this Page



I -THE WAR. - -



UNWORTHY TACTICS. The latest development of trades-unionism as illustrated in the case of Linaker v. the Rail- way Review does not redound to the credit of that organisation, and its disastrous result will probably tend for the future to temper the zeal of that body with a much-needed dis- cretion. The action, which commenced on Thursday week and did not conclude until last Tuesday afternoon, was brought in the King's Bench Division by Mr. Henry Linaker, the District Superintendent of the London and North-Western Railway at Manchester, against three trustees of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and the editor of the Rail- way Review," of which journal the trustees were the proprietors. Damages were claimed in respect of two alleged libels published in the paper in question in the form of an open letter" to Lord Stalbridge, the Chairman of the Railway Company employing the plaintiff. It was alleged in this open letter that on a certain date Mr. Linaker was in the refresh- ment room all forenoon while a body of railway servants were waiting to be dealt with by him, and that on the 22nd of February plaintiff was in London-road Station far from sober at two o'clock in the afternoon, and that at seven o'clock the same evening he travelled from Manchester to Stockport" in a deplorable condition of drunkenness," and had to be charitably assisted into a cab and sent home. This, it was alleged, was not by any means the only time he had been hilarious," and another instance of intemperance on the plaintiff's part was alleged on the occasion of the opening of the new Buxton and Ashbourne line. In the course of the same articles, which were headed "The Impeachment of Judas," plaintiff was accused of acts of tyranny and oppression, while the whole district within his jurisdiction was represented as a seething mass of discontent," his management constituting a reign of terror." When called to task, the defendants endeavoured to water down the first accusation as to the refreshment-room incident, and abandoned an accusation that the plaintiff had been trying to buy over the cabman who took him home from Stockport, in respect of which items they paid forty shillings into court, but as to the rest of the I. leI they maintained that it was true in substance and in fact. A graver charge against a man in plaintiff's responsible position could scarcely have been brought. The plaintiff himself gave a fiat denial to all the allegations in the witness-box, and he brought a great body of evidence shew- ing that he had been engaged in business and perfectly sober at the times specified. For the defence a large number of witnesses, some of whom betrayed a palpable bias against the Railway Company, were called in support of the charges, but piece by piece the case for the defendants broke down, and a sample of the flimsy nature of the testimony is furnished by the fact that one witness based his belief in the plaintiff's intoxication upon the simple fact that he saw him enter a hansom with his face towards the driver. If every passenger who happened to clumsily perform the not too simple operation of getting into a hansom and shutting himself in were to be accused of inebriety, life would, it is to be feared, become intolerable. The jury manifested some im- patience at the side issues which the defence sought to import by raking up some ancient scandal from Northampton. Eventually a verdict for plaintiff with 91,000 damages was returned. The further question of whether the trust funds of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants can be rendered liable to pay the damages yet remains to be settled, but that in no way alters the moral effect of the verdict. The plaintiff is to be congratulated upon fight- ing a peculiarly malignant slander, and the conductors of the Railway Review" will perhaps exercise greater circumspection in the future before venturing to take away a man's character. If the men had grievances to be redressed, they had a remedy in an appeal to the directors. The proposition that, in order to attract attention to their grievances, a body of employes is justified in libelling the personal eharacter of a superior officer is both unconstitutional and un-English, and we hope and believe that the better sense of trades- unionists throughout the country will deprecate the introduction of this highly undesirable novelty.