The last thing that came to my notice from concerning the Rebecca Riots that was in the English-language press in Wales was this article concerning a plaque presented to William Chambers, one of the Welsh magistrates who tried to suppress the Rebaccaite movement:
Testimonial to William Chambers, Jun., Esq.
The subscribers to this testimonial, in order to evince the sense they entertain of the valuable services rendered by Mr. Chambers during the period of the Rebecca riots, have lately presented to him a massive and superb Silver Epergne and Candelabrum, weighing 210 ounces, prepared under the direction and management of William Webb, Esq., the Chairman of the Committee. We subjoin copies of the inscription on the Plate, and of the correspondence which has taken place on the subject:–
By Public Subscription, To
William Chambers, Junior, Esquire,
Testimonial of the admiration inspired by his upright and intrepid conduct throughout the whole of the Rebecca Riots; during which fearful crisis he never relaxed, on the one hand, as a friend of the people, his efforts for the constitutional redress of grievances, nor, on the other, forgot, as a magistrate, what was due to the dignity of Justice and the authority of Law, resisting to the last, with unshrinking firmness, all criminal combinations against
Social Order and Private Property
My dear Sir,– I have the honour of being deputed by the gentlemen who subscribed to the Chambers’ Testimonial, to present to you an Epergne, as a token of their approbation of the zeal and intrepidity displayed by you during the tumultuous proceedings which, unhappily, prevailed in this county in the course of the last year. They fully appreciate your meritorious exertions, in quelling disturbances, in maintaining the authority of the law, and in affording protection and security to life and property. Unawed by threats of personal violence, and the destruction of your property, you fearlessly performed your public duty; and while you aided in bringing the misguided violators of the law to punishment, you evinced a readiness to assist in redressing grievances, thereby affording encouragement to the peaceable, and inspiring with confidence the wavering and the timid. Although your efforts to restore tranquility and order were accompanied by personal and pecuniary sacrifices, yet, you have the consolation of knowing, that they have been gratefully and universally acknowledged.
I beg to assure you, that it is to me a source of sincere gratification to have been selected to make this communication to you.
I remain, my dear Sir,
Yours very sincerely
To Wm. Chambers, jun., Esq., Llanelly House.
Llanelly House, .
My dear Sir,– I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, accompanying the very handsome testimonial from the gentlemen who have been pleased to notice my conduct in so flattering a manner. I shall ever be proud of this mark of approbation, coming from my neighbours and friends; nor am I the less grateful to those with whom I have not the honour of so intimate an acquaintance.
This token more than compensates for all the personal inconvenience which I was put to, and the pecuniary losses which I sustained, from the performance of what I merely consider my duty; in the first instance, to my adopted fellow-countrymen, and latterly as a Magistrate, to assist in upholding the supremacy of the law. With painful feelings I look back to the occurrences of last year, which have given rise to this kind expression of sentiment towards me. Although no exucse can properly be advanced for those infractions of law and order, which almost nightly disgraced this county, one cannot overlook the circumstance, that no disturbances would have taken place, had no grievances existed, or had these admitted grievances been remedied as soon as they were complained of. The people themselves now feel that the cure they attempted was of too violent a character, and feel, also, that they lost the sympathy and support of the right thinking, who were disposed to assist them so long as they employed constitutional means of redressing their grievances, but rightly opposed them when they violated the law, and sanctioned the connection of real grievance with personal animosity. God grant we may never live to see such another year; I think we never shall, as the country has learnt a lesson it will not easily forget.
Accept my warmest thanks for the great honour you and the other gentlemen have bestowed upon me; the recollection will ever inspire me with feelings of gratitude, to devote, whenever deemed worthy of being called upon, my best exertions for the protection of the rights of the people, never overlooking, at the same time, my obedience to, and support of, the laws. Permit me to subscribe myself, with feelings of respect and gratitude, to yourself, and the gentlemen who have deputed you to write to me,
Yours and theirs, very sincerly,
Wm. Chambers Jun.
To D. Morris, Esq., M.P.,