Sketchy Informant Fingers Alleged Rebeccaites

From the Cambrian comes this account of the examination of Rebeccaite prisoners. This part of the examination mostly concerns attempts to bail out the prisoners, but also touches on the national publicity and local concern about the proceedings.


, the hall was as densely crowded as on the preceding day. The following Magistrates were present:– Sir John Morris, Bart., in the chair; J.D. Berrington, Esq., Colonel Cameron, Rev. S. Davies, Rev. John Collins, L.Ll. Dillwyn, Esq., John Grove, Esq., W.I. Jones, Esq., H. Lucas, Esq., J.N. Lucas, Esq., J.D. Llewelyn, Esq., C.H. Smith, Esq., and J.H. Vivian, Esq., M.P..

The prisoners were placed at the bar, and the charge read over to them.

Margaret Morgan, the daughter, was charged with having feloniously and maliciously assaulted and wounded Captain Charles Frederick Napier, with the intention of preventing Henry Morgan from being lawfully apprehended. [The coverage of this hearing in the Monmouthshire Merlin says that this charge was against Esther Morgan.]

Morgan Morgan and Esther Morgan (the father and mother), and Rees Morgan, were charged with aiding and abetting Margaret Morgan, in the commission of the felony.

The nature of the charge was explained to the prisoners in Welsh, and the usual questions put, whether they intended making any statements — at the same time they were cautioned by being told that whatever they said would be used in evidence against them if necessary.

The prisoners, by the advice of Mr. Walters, declined making any statements. They were then committed to take their trial at the next Assizes.

Morgan Morgan, and Esther, his wife, then bound themselves in the sum of 200l. each, and the two surities, Messrs. Isaac Jones and Robert Williams, in the sum of 100l. each, to produce the two former at the next Assizes.

Rees Morgan and Margaret Morgan, also bound themselfes in the sum of 200l. and the two surities, the Rev. Daniel Davies, of Swansea, and Mr. Wm. Thomas, of Llangafelach, in 100l. each, to produce the prisoners at the next Assizes. — The parties were then liberated.

[The Merlin adds: “The whole family were then discharged out of custody, and left the hall accompanied by large numbers, who pressed to shake hands and congratulate them.”]

Captain Napier was then bound over to prosecute, and Inspector Rees and Sergeant Jenkins to give evidence against the prisoners.

The Chairman then announced, that the Magistrates had come to a decision to liberate the parties who were in custody on a charge of destroying Rhydypandy and Bolgoed toll-bars, on their binding themselves respectively in the sum of 100l., and two responsible surities in 50l. each, to appear on

Mr. Walters applied to the Bench, for the liberation of John Morgan, the young man who had been wounded, and who was then in the Infirmary of the House of Correction, on his finding surities to the same amount as the others.

Mr. Attwood observed, that he was charged with a more serious offence than those who were in custody at the station-house, and who were charged with misdemeanor only.

The Chairman observed that as far as his own opinion went, unless there was a technical objection, the young man might be discharged on entering into the same recognizances as the rest of the family who were charged with a similar offence.

Mr. Attwood suggested that the only objection to the adoption of that course would be, because the rest of the family had been committed, whereas the case of John Morgan had not been heard.

Mr. Walters then stated that the medical men were of opinion that the young man was in a fit state to be brought forward, and that the investigation of the case should be proceeded with. He (Mr. W.) would certainly prefer the adoption of that course, if bail could not be taken for his appearance whenever required.

The Chairman expressed his readiness to accede to Mr. Walters’s proposition of proceeding with the examination. He would have admitted him to bail before examination were not that course informal. The Government and the whole kingdom watched their proceedings, and it was necessary they should avoid any technical informality in their proceedings. The Chairman then expressed his readiness to proceed to the Infirmary, and take the examination on .

After a lengthened conversation, the Chairman’s suggestion was agreed to.

The Chairman, and several of the other Magistrates, then proceeded to the Station-house, for the purpose of receiving bail for the appearance, on , of the parties charged with the destruction of the toll-bars. Should the investigation be then proceeded with, we shall give a full account of the proceedings in our next publication. — Each of the principals then entered into recognition in the sum of 100l. each, and the following surities in the sum of 50l. each:–

For Henry Morgan, Messrs. Thomas Glasbrook and Joseph Rees; the same persons were surities for Matthew Morgan. For Mr. William Morgan, of Bolgoed, Messrs. Morgan Jones (Courtycarne), and Griffith Griffiths. For Mr. David Jones, Messrs. Isaac Thomas and Jacob Lewis, draper, Swansea. For Mr. Griffith Vaughan, Messrs. John Cadwallader and Wm. Sayer, of the Bush Inn; and for Mr. David [Daniel? –♇] Lewis, Messrs. John Alexander and Edward Williams.

The Chairman, and several of the Magistrates, then proceeded to the House of Correction, to take the examination of John Morgan, the young man who had been wounded. After remaining for some time in the Committee-room, it was suggested that the Magistrates had better proceed to the bedroom, to avoid disturbing the invalid; to that suggestion the Chairman readily assented. On our entering the room, the young man, who is fast returning to a state of convalescence, and did not appear very ill, though he was much paler than when in health, was preparing to meet the Magistrates, who desired him to return to his bed, when the depositions made on were read over to him, and explained in Welsh, by his attorney, Mr. Walters. When asked if he wished to put any questions to Captain Napier, he stated in Welsh, that he did not attack Capt. Napier, but merely ran towards him, after having been wounded, to prevent his shooting him the second time. That being a mere statement, Mr. Walters did not give it in English, but advised his client to say nothing at that time — His father, Mr. Morgan Morgan, then entered into recognizances in the sum of 200l., and Messrs. Jacob Lewis and David Bevan, in 100l. each, for his appearance at the Assizes. — The Magistrates then left.

And here’s another example of tollgate destruction, in Cardiff, Wales, that doesn’t fit into the Rebecca Riot timeline: from the Weekly Mail:

Another Gate Demolished.

The hostile action of the inhabitants of Lower Grangetown on had not the effect upon the managers of the Taff Vale Railway Company which many persons anticipated. It was evidently the opinion of the indignant workmen who demolished the gate on that the company would refrain from putting further obstacles in the way of those persons who daily used the bridge connecting the Docks with the district of Lower Grange, and that an amicable settlement would be arrived at. So far from this being the case, the action taken by the company on would imply that they are determined to stand on their legal rights. The gate that was so ruthlessly destroyed on was re-placed by the workmen of the Taff Vale Company during , and a sentry-box was also erected for the convenience of the toll-gatherer. This structure met the eyes of the workmen who proceeded to their employment at an early hour, and though the begrudged penny was paid by the majority, a tacit understanding to repeat the performance of was quickly come to. No incident of special interest transpired during , but an attempt to convey passengers over by a speculative milkman in an ordinary milk cart proved a failure, as the vehicle was unlicensed to carry passengers. The occupants had, therefore, to descend and pay the toll. Shortly after small groups of workmen congregated round the gate and hut of the toll-collector, till over a hundred had assembled. The men were in the utmost good humour, and jokes and witticisms were launched at the expense of the collector before hostilities were commenced. The gate was kept closed, but, a break with passengers desiring to pass, the gate-keeper was obliged to open it. The plan of procedure had been well-arranged by the men, for immediately a body of ship carpenters placed themselves behind the gate, their companions putting their backs to it, and thus preventing the gate from being closed. The Boycotted gate-keeper, imagining that lively proceedings were about to commence, at once proceeded to pack up, and quickly took his departure. The ship carpenters in the meanwhile had produced their tools, and in the space of a few minutes the gate was taken off its hinges, and, by the combined efforts of many willing volunteers, was, like its predecessor, thrown over the bridge into the river, its disappearance under the water being the signal for a hearty cheer. The number of persons present at this time was about a thousand. Whilst the demolition of the gate was being proceeded with another party had commenced operations on the wooden structure that had been erected for the convenience of the toll-keeper. This house gave much trouble to the destroyers. It had evidently been built to stand rough usage, and it was a long time before it fell before the heavy onslaught made upon it. Four huge gateposts still remained before the structure was completely destroyed, and the attention of the volunteers was quickly turned to them. The first post was with difficulty taken down, but the others quickly followed, for the first was utilised as a battering-ram, and in a short time the four posts were in the river floating with the tide. It may be asked. Where were the police during the course of these lively proceedings? But it might be stated that an arrangement had been come to between the Taff Vale Company and the Head-Constable that the police should not be any party to the collection of tolls. The police were only to be present for the purpose of preventing a breach of the peace. Inspector Lewis and a small body of constables remained on duty until late in the afternoon. At about , however, a large crowd congregating, assistance was sent for to the central station, and Superintendent Price, with Inspectors Harris and Tamblyn and a number of constables, proceeded to the bridge. By the time they arrived on the scene the damage had been committed, and, as the crowd was orderly and good-tempered, they shortly afterwards withdrew. It is expected that the Taff Vale Company will erect another gate , and that the toll will be again demanded . A meeting was held by the malcontents after the work of demolition had been completed, when it was arranged that they should meet in force at .

Other articles on the same page of the same issue go into the background of the toll and of the construction of the bridge, and why the toll seemed to sneak up on people and surprise and exasperate them, and why the Cardiff town authorities seemed to be so hapless in dealing with the problem.