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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

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THE ALLEGED ABER- STWYTH SCANDAL. THE ALLEGATIONS PROVED FALSE. MR. GIBSON CENSURED. The closing scene, unless new developments occur, in what one paper had the bad taste to call the Angel making scandal at Aberystwyth," took place in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on Saturday night, when the special committee meeting of the Council was held to hear Mr. Gibson's reply to the resolution passed at the last meeting. The Mayor (Councillor D. C. Roberts) presided, and those also present were: Councillor J. Jenkins (ex-mayor), Aldermen Peter Jones and T. Doughton, Councillors C. M. Williams, R. Peake, R. J. Jones, E. H. James, J. P. Thomas, E. P. Wynne, and R. Doughton, with the town clerk (Mr. Arthur J. Hughes), the deputy clerk (Mr. C. Massey), the borough surveyor (Mr. Rees Jones), the Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Thomas), the coroner (Mr, J. .Evans) and the sanitary inspector (Mr. Evans). MR. GIBSON'S REPLY. The Town Clerk reported that he wrote to Mr. Gibson on Thursday the following letter, and also enclosed a copy of the formal resolution passed at the last meeting of the Council Town Clerk's Office, Aberystwyth, 8th June, 1899, Dear Sir,—At a meeting of the Town Council held on Tuesday last, Alderman Thomas Doughton called attention to the report which appeared in the "Welsh Gazette" of the 25th ultimo of a speech made by you at a public meeting held in Aberystwyth on the 24th ultimo. An extract from the report is enclosed together. with a copy of a resolution passed by the Council with reference to the same. I have been directed to convene a meeting of the Committee of the whole Council without delay, and if your speech referred to is correctly reported, I shall feel much obliged if you will, for the information of the Committee, furnish me with the authority and information in your possession upon which you made the serious allegations referred to. If you are incorrectly re- ported, I shall be glad if you will furnish me with the necessary corrections,—Yours truly, A. J. HUGHES. He had received the following reply :— -1 Dear Sir,—I am in receipt of your letter. I see from the report of the proceedings at the last Town Council, which form the subject matter of your letter, that Mr. C. M. Williams and Captain Doughton have virtually accused me of cowardice, of lying, and of garbling a report of my own speech in my own newspaper. I am not so dull, nor are the public so dull, as not to see the object aimed at. I am fully aware of the gravity of the con- ditions which exist, and I hope the public bodies interested will get them altered. They have greater means in their hands than I have, and it is necessary that constant care should be taken to keep down certain well-known evils. The official who gave me my information and asked me for my help was not an official of the Corporation, and I do not see, therefore, what the Corporation have to do with the matter beyond seeing that the con- ditions which render the evil I have publicly re- ferred to are as nearly impossible as may be. If Captain Doughton or Mr. C. M. Williams had wished for information they might have asked me for it weeks ago, and I would have given them it as freely as I have given it in confidence to other members of the Corporation. I do not think the Town Council for many reasons is the sort of body that I am disposed to entrust myself to, especially seeing that the members who spoke on Tuesday have already decided that I am guilty of offences which would, if true, render anything I might say unworthy of credence. I have nothing to say to the Committee. I am, dear sir, With all respect that is due to the Council, Yours truly, J. GIBSON. There was a short pause after the letter had been read, and then Councillor R. Doughton said he took it that that amounted to a refusal of the Town Clerk's request. The Town Clerk had asked Mr. Gibson to specify if he had been correctly reported, and Mr. Gibson did not say. The Town Clerk: I take it it is a tacit admission of the correctness of the report. The Mayor: There is a refusal to give the in- formation, also the statement that it does not refer in any way to the Town Council. Alderman T. Doughton Would the members of the Corporation mentioned here fully explain to us these particulars ? Mr. Gibson states that there are some of the Corporation members in the know. I should like for some member present to explain before we proceed any further. The Mayor: I may state quite frankly that since the meeting on Tuesday Mr. Gibson in confidence- absolutely in confidence-did tell me certain things upon which he based his remarks. I am not in a position to say what they were, I simply tell you that he said them to me. Alderman T. Doughton: Do you not think it is right for you to explain seeing that such an accusation was made. I presume that Mr. Gibson gave it to you just the same as he gave it in his speech at the Town Hall. The Mayor No; when he gave me the informa- tion he told me it was in confidence and I could not use it. Alderman T. Doughton But independent of that didn't your conscience tickle you at the same time (laughter) seeing that there was a debate upon that identical speech and you being in the know. The Mayor No, no, I stated that he told me since Tuesday I did not know anything on Tues- day. Alderman T. Doughton: It appears from this reply that members of the Corporation were aware of it before Tuesday. The Mayor: I hope you understand that I knew absolutely nothing on Tuesday about it. Alderman T. Doughton: I perfectly understand you, sir. A COMPREHENSIVE INDICTMENT. After another pause, Alderman Peter Jones rose and said that as he understood the matter, a meet- ing was held in that hall, and it was reported that certain statements were made by Mr. Gibson, those being in a very distinct and explicit manner. He found by the report in the Welsh Gazette," that these words were used There was in this town at the present time a building where little children were done to death regularly all the year round. He knew that to be a fact." What he (Aid. Jones) felt with regard to this matter was that it was a very serious imputation, and that the Council were the responsible body for the sanitary condition of the town, and also, he hoped, to take an interest in all matters of a moral kind (Councillor Thomas Hear, hear), and certainly endeavour to put down, as far as they could what appeared to him to have been a criminal offence (Councillor Thomas: Quite -right). These statements having been made at a public meeting, he (the speaker) did not know what other course the Council could have pursued than the one they adopted at the last meeting, in trying to elicit information whether this state of things existed in the borough. Mr. Hughes, as they had just heard, was instructed to write to Mr. Gibson; the reply did not touch, to his (the speaker's) mind, upon the questions asked. (Alderman T. Doughton Not at all). The ques- tion was this, was there existing in Aberystwyth at the present time, or had there existed for a con- siderable period, a den of this description; if so he thought it would be only reasonable to expect that Mr. Gibson, like every other man who took a keen interest in the well being of the town, should offer -every possible assistance in trying to remedy the evil (hear, hear). The statement which he had read appeared to have been repeated in another form, because they would find a little lower down in the report of the proceedings that Mr. Gibson stated: There were plenty of people in official positions in the town who knew this fact as well as he knew it. He told the meeting plainly that these people who knew this fact were just simply hypocrites until they rid themselves of the responsibility that was before them." (Councillor Thomas Hear, hear). Mr. Gibson having stated that certain officials in the town were cognisant of this state of things, he (the speaker) believed that certain members of the Town Council inter- viewed the officials. lie found that the three who, he presumed would have every knowledge, if any- one connected with the Council had that know- ledge, were present that evening, and he anticipated that they would give a denial to such a statement that they were aware of such a state of things existing in the town. It seemed to him that it would be well to know who these hypocrites were. If these gentlemen were aware of this state of things—Mr. Gibson appeared to be aware of the fact that they were aware of it—then it would be only his duty to assist the sanitary authority of the district by giving the names—(hear, hear)- so that the Council might certainly dispense with the services of any man guilty of such unworthy conduct (hear, hear.) The question to his mind, leaving all side issues,was one of plain fact. Did such a state of things exist 1 If it did exist in Aberystwyth, and any person in the town way aware of it, he (the speaker) said he did not dis- charge his duties as a citizen if he did not offer that assistance to the responsible body in getting information to ensure proceedings being instituted against the guilty parties. He felt when this statement was made that he was hopeful that inquiry would be instituted—(hear hear)—and he was gratified to find that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children deputed one of its most responsible officials to visit Aberystwyth, to enquire into the allegations that were made. Having seen on Thursday night the letter which Mr. Gibson had addressed to the Town Clerk he (the speaker) felt it incumbent on him to interview the gentleman who came here to represent that society. He might say that he had a conversation of some duration with him in the presence of another gentleman connected with the police foice, and conjointly with that person, he had reduced to writing the statement that was made by Inspector New, the representative of that society. With their consent he would like to read that statement (hear, hear.) As far as they had been able to jot it down, it was as follows:—" I had an interview with Mr. John Gibson, sen., on the 8th June, 1899. and informed him who I was, and that Mr. Waugh, the secretary of our society, had sent me to Aber- stwyth with a view of seeing him so as to obtain some particulars relative to the article that appeared in the South Wales Daily News" concerning some children being done to death at Aberystwyth, etc. Mr. Gibson said: There are two rival newspapers in this town, and consequently my opponents have tried to make out a lot of my speech. I went to the meeting in order to assist them to appoint nurses, and in my speech I could not but refer to the insanitary state of the town. I did not mean any particular building here, (interposed Alderman Jones, referring to the report of the speech, Mr. Gibson said, there is a building" ). The state- ment continued "I did not mean any particular building, but an official informed me that children were being done to death by being fed with whisky and sour milk; that they were the children of tramps, and that the officials knew it, but they would not do their duty. My object was to arouse the authorities to their obligations, which has now been done, and will doubtless have good effect (laughter). Alderman T. Doughton: A kind of apology, then. Alderman Jones: As I said before, if I am not encroaching on your time too much (No, no), I should like to read to you the speech, so that you can see the difference between that and Mr. Gibson's reply. This is the speech There was in this town at the present time a building where little children were done to death regularly all the year round. He knew that to be a fact." Here it is: An official informed me that children were being done to death by being fed with whisky and sour milk. They were the children of tramps, and the officials would not do their duty," Now, the difference there seems to me a very distinct one between the allegations made and the explanation given. And before proceeding to read further I think really, as I said before, that the least thing we could expect Mr, Gibson to do, even if in the heat of the moment carried away with his eloquence he made a statement that overstepped the mark, he should have had the manliness to come forward and say, There has been some ambiguity in my utterances in the speech; possibly it has been a misunderstanding, and it was not my intention to describe that there was such a condition of things in Aberystwyth for doing away with children." The report then proceeds: I (the Inspector) then said, Will you please localise the place where the children were so treated, and also the official's name, so as to assist me to pursue my inquiries ? Mr. Gibson replied, 41 shall not divulge the name of the official, as he has now been dead for about twelve months. I did not refer to any particular building, and will not tell you anything further. You cannot now do anything as the children are dead, and you can tell Mr. Waugh that everything will now be all right (loud laughter). You see the officials don't carry out their duties; look at that cask there obstructing; if that was in front of my place I would be at once summoned (renewed laughter.) Alderman Jones proceeded to say that, harking back to cer- tain statements made, the Council had asked Mr. Gibson for information; Mr. Gibson did not con- descend to furnish it. But here was a representa- tive of the Society that had been formed to assist suffering children, and to put a stop to cruelties which were perpetrated upon them; a person perfectly independent, and who occupied a very high position in his department. He might say that Inspector New had served ten or twelve years in the detective force in London, and for some ten or twelve years further he had served in this Society. He was therefore a man of considerable experience, and further he stated to Mr. Gibson that if he feared any conse- quences through being the medinm of the information that the society would relieve him of it. He (the inspector) would pursue his enquiries, satisfy himself that there was a priinil facie case, and if so, the society would take the responsibility of instituting proceedings, and take the conse- quences of the course they pursued. The inspector further said; Mr. Gibson appeared to be very much against the authorities and officials, and anxious to find fault with everyone, but when pressed to point out their shortcomings he would not give any. (Alderman Doughton 14 Hear, hear.") About 6 p.m. on the 8th of June, I accompanied P. S. Phillips round the common lodging houses and back streets of the town, and found everything clean and in good order, and as far as I could see the sanitary conditions of the town were excellent. The cleanliness of the lodging houses can be compared favourably with any place I have ever seen (hear, hear.) Alderman Jones continued that with regard to the inquiries if there was any place in Aberystwyth where little children were done to death, the inspector prosecuted his enquiries as to the number of deaths taking place in common lodging houses, and arrived at the following facts: I found that deaths rarely occurred at these houses I visited, three children only having died during the last five years; of these one was very ill after its arrival in town, and another was the child of the occupier Each child was medically attended and certified to have died from inflammation. Alderman Jones added that he gave that more in detail, and said that one of the children was brought to Aberystwyth by the parents, the father being a militiaman, and was ailing at the time it was brought. It was attended for several weeks by a medical gentleman in the town, and finally succumbed to bronchitis and in. flammation. The other case was that of the occupier. That also bad been medically attended for sometime. The other case was of a stillborn child and there were two medical men in that case. Councillor Thomas: Were they in separate houses or in one house ? Alderman Jones Two were in one house and one in another. After further careful inquiry on the Inspector's part the result he has arrived at is to the following effect. 44 Owing to the report that appeared in the newspapers, I was sent here spec- ially to investigate the matter, and I am glad to say that the allegations are absolutely without any foundation (hear, hear). That is the testimony of Inspector New, who I belive is considered one of the best officials appertaining to this very import- ant society. It seems to me that it requires no comment; here are the facts. A certain state- ment is made by Mr. Gibson. He is desired to furnish information to the Council and this is his reply. An independent authority come here to make inquiry and that is the resultoftheir judgment, so that I think it quite superfluous to put any opinion of my own further than these allegations and their answers (hear, hear, and applause). There was another pause after Alderman Jones had finished speaking, and then Alderman T. Doughton proposed that the Council should give its heartiest vote of thanks to the Society for the Pre- vention of Cruelty to Children for their very prompt action in sending one of their inspector's down to investigate the statements of Mr. Gibson. Councillor Peake I certainlv second it. sir. This was carried unanimously. Councillor R. Doughton thought it would be as well for the officials to be asked whether they knew anything about it. Councillor Peake: From what I understand the officials have been interviewed by this Inspector New. The Mayor: Yes; but the matter is in your hands entirely. Councillor Thomas said that in the face of what they had heard and what they knew he thought they ought to take some direct steps in the matter, and not to leave it to drop just here. He thought Mr. Gibson ought to be called upon in some way or other to give them an apology or a full statement admitting his errors, or in some way meeting the Council and doing away with or mitigating the harm that was already done. He understood the scandal had reached the large towns, and they were saying: You are cracking up Aberystwyth to be the best watering-place in Wales, and yet children are being done to death. How can you expect us to come there." If they could not do anything as a Corporate body, they ought to get someone else, go to the Local Government Board and get them to take the matter up and deal with Mr. Gibson in a proper and right spirit. He thought perhaps they could do a deal of good, and it would bring Mr. Gibson tos his sense, because it had actually been proved that whatever he said was not true. If he failed, as he had done, to give the Council an answer, and would not come there to an inquiry, he ought to be subpoenaed to a higher court to do so, because he (the speaker) thought it was of great importances that Aberys- wvth should be cleared of such a scandal as this. He begged to propose that something in this direction be done. The Clerk: I don't wish to intrude any view of my own, but I certainly would think it" necessary to advise the Council that inasmuch as there is no charge whatever made against any of the corpora- tion officials, and the matter does not affect the corporation in any way that I see, I don't see that taking the proceedings suggested would lead to any result that would be anticipated. Councillor Thomas: I am very sorry to hear that. The Town Clerk: Of course I give'it as my own opinion. Councillor Thomas I think it is verv cowardly on Mr. Gibson's part that he doesn't come forward like a man. The Town Clerk: Of course I don't say anything as .to that. I can only deal with the legal question^ Councillor Peake suggested that the Mayor and the Town Clerk should repor to several local news- Councillor Peake suggested that the Mayor and the Town Clerk should repor to several local news- papers stating that the inquiry had been held with repard to Mr. Gibson's statement and to the best I of the Council's ability and knowledge they had failed to get any more information from Mr. Gibson, and the whole thing was unfounded. He thought that was the only step open for them to take. Certainly he did not see, as Mr. Hughes had said that they had any claim upon Mr. Gibson. The Mayor: All this is conducted in public, and ij no doubt a full report of everything will appear. 1 Councillor Peake: Don't you think it will come 4 better from the body itself ? The Mayor: Any resolutions that you pass will be fully reported in the papers. Councillor Thomas: We have no guarantee that such statements will not be made yearly in future. The Mayor: I don't see how we can deal with that, Mr. Thomas, in any way. We have the Tosn Clerk's letter to Mr. Gibson and his reply. Thoae I are in the hands of the Council, and there will be J a report of this meeting. Councillor R. Doughton: I shall propose that the Mayor should ask the officials here now to give their denial to it. He supposed they could not but deny it, and while they were there he though they might corroborate the statements made by the Inspector. Councillor Peake: I think you are begging the question there, sir. Councillor Thomas: Yes, it has been settled once. The Town Clerk: If I may intrude for one moment, the statement made by Alderman Jones contained the fact that the officials bad been asked. The officials are all here, and if the statements made by Alderman Jones are ineorrect, I am sure they would have corrected it. Alderman Jones added that the police officers were all asked, and they all stated emphatically that there was no such thing existing in Aberyst- wyth, from the knowledge they possessed. Councillor R. Doughton: Very well, then. Dr. Thomas said he would have been willing to have given every information to Mr. Gibson for him to elicit any information on the matter, and he believed the death returns they had would have enabled Mr. Gibson to prove his statement, if that were possible. It was his (the speaker's) duty, as medical officer of health, to analyse all the deaths that occurred at Aber- ystwyth during the year. He put the deaths under the different ages, and the causes of deaths' He found the infantile mortality per thousand in Aberystwyth last year was 114, while that of the whole of England was 166. A death or two, as alleged by Mr. Gibson, would alter the statistics immensely. There was not the slightest ground for the statement which had been made, and he emphatically denied it on behalf of the officials (hear, hear). As regarded the common lodging- houses he took the inspector of the Local Govern- ment Board round them two or three years ago, and that gentleman said he never saw such common lodging-houses outside Aberystwyth. The speaker's report, quarterly and annually, referred to the excellent condition of the common lodging-houses (hear, hear). One case which Alderman Jones had referred to was attended by him (the speaker), and he could speak well of the condition and cleanliness of that house. Besides speaking as an official he should like to speak also on behalf of the medical practitioners of Aberystwyth. With all their existing rivalry and the difference of opinion amongst them, he did not think that one of them would for a moment cloak mischief such as this (hear. hear). He would be only too glad to bring it in some way or another to official notice. There was not the least possible chance of there being any truth in the allegation made by Mr. Gibson. Alderman T. Doughton said he had made it his business to ascertain the number of deaths at the Workhouse. He found that only seven deaths of children under four years of age bad occurred there in the last eleven years, and two of those were still-born. Councillor C. M. Williams said he would like the Mayor to ask the members of the Council present if they had had any information from Mr. Gibson. The Mayor had said that since last Tues- day Mr. Gibson had given him certain information in confidence. From Mr. Gibson's letter they might infe-r that be Lud given other information to more tb,! -ore member. The Mayor: Would any member say as I did; I don't wish to ask you individually. Alderman T. Doughton: I asked the same question before. Councillor Williams: I think it is as well to have a definite answer from all; then we shall know exactly. The Mayor then proceeded to ask all the Coun- cillors present in turn. They all denied having had any communication from Mr. Gibson on the sub- ject; and Alderman Doughton said he did not know when he had had any conversation with Mr. Gibson; certainly not for a few years. Councillor Williams said there were one or two members who were absent, which was rather unfortunate as they could not answer the question; but he thought they were bound to come to a conclusion at once if there had been any member of the Corporation who had been made acquainted with this terrible statement it would be his duty in some way or other to take some action with a view of revealing the facts to the public (hear, hear). They had a large number of the Council present, and no one bad heard anything except the Mayor, and the Mayor only heard it since Tuesday. That meeting was called to consider one of the gravest charges ever made, he believed, against any town in the whole country. Alderman Jones had read to them a portion of the speech, which if it were correct was one of the most terrible statements and the most terrible state of things, he should say, that ever existed in any civilised country. Mr. Jones stated that possibly Mr. Gibson might, just at the moment in the fire of his eloquence (laughter) have really gone a little beyond what he anticipated. But they found on June 2, in a column in which Mr. Gibson took great pride-indeed, he supposed if Mr. Gibson were ever in a good mood it would be in this column-he repeated practically every word, the extract being as follows More than once here and elsewhere I have called attention that there are places quite near at hand where children are surely done to death. The facts are well known, for they were given to me by an official, and he did not confine his information to me. I myself have made statements in the pre- sence of responsible persons." Councillor Williams proceeding said it appeared to him that Mr. Gibson was anxious to repeat the statement. Could it be possible that they had amongst them a single individual who could remain silent if he knew that these terrible and most horrible things were being carried on. Little helpless children being put to death in a building in this town! How and where were they put to death? It was their duty as a Corporation to take the earliest opportunity of asking Mr. Gibson to verify those statements. They gave him that opportunity, and they had no right to make any comments upon the matter until he had had it. Possibly they would pardon him (the speaker) dealing with a portion of Mr. Gibson's letter. He was not dealing with any of his statements, but a letter had been sent to the Town Clerk in which Mr. Gibson started, he was sorry to say, with three distinct falsehoods. The Mayor was about to speak, when Councillor Williams said he was bound to defend himself against these charges. The Mayor: All right, all right, go on. Councillor Williams said that at the last meeting he was particularly careful in seconding the proposition that the Council should be formed into a committee to investigate the whole charges, not to comment on the matter. Now he saw that in the letter to the Town Clerk Mr. Gibson had charged him with having charged him (Mr. Gibson) with three things. He said this was absolutely false. The public could read what he (the speaker) said, and they would see that he was correct. He I must confess that it was difficult for a man to | quietly discuss a matter when a person deliberately stated three distinct lies about him. The only pleasant feature he (the speaker) had in his own mihd was that the public conld not be gulled. If the pub- lic would read what he said they would see that he was as innocent of these charges as the Mayor. Mr. Mr. Gibson stated further on in his letter that I do not think the Town Council for many reasons is the sort of body that I am disposed to entrust myself to, especially seeing that the members who spoke on Tuesday have already decided that I am guilty of offences which would if true render any- thing I might say unworthy of credence." He (Councillor Williams) did not arrive at any con- clusion. He was only too glad to give Mr. Gibson an opportunity of revealing what appeared to be one of that most terrible things that could exist in any town. He was very sorry that in his letter to the Town Clerk, Mr Gibson had ignored the whole question except charging him with having stated three things he never did. Heappealed to the Mayor whether he said a single word that could be construed into this. He challenged any- one to say that he said it. Well, he had said sufficient with regard to that. He came to the meeting that evening perfectly unbiassed in the matter. He of course had read the letter which J appeared in Mr. Gibson's paper, and he was rather J surprised to find that it had been published without I being first submitted to the Counpl. He believed that Aberystwyth could court inquiry of the keenest kind they bad nothing to be ashamed of. He did not believe it possible that any building such as Mr. Gibson had described could exist. In Alderman Jones' report it stated that the children were tramps' children. If that were the case they must have put up at the common lodging-houses. They bad the statement that to the knowledge of the officials, only three deaths had occurred in these houses for the last five years. Hq took the trouble himself that morning to go down to the registrar's office, and ask to see the register of deaths. He only found two deaths in the five years possibly the third was a little beyond that period. If these children were put to death in the way described they must be buried somewhere, otherwise they would have some terrible revelations some dav. Mr. Gibson himself admitted the gravity of the situation, but how could it be put right when Mr. Gibson refused to give them any information ? They were precisely in the same position as a Cor- poration as they were before. It was their duty, as representatives of the citizens of the town, to put down anything that might be wrong, and especially anything of this kind. He believed, indeed, he was sure, that the Corporation were always ready to remedy abuses. He had been to other watering- places, and he always took care to go to the worst places, and the worst places in Aberystwyth were almost Paradise, compared with what they were in other towns. Here they bad these statements. Look at the effect they would have on the town. Almost they might say, What is the use of making an attempt to develop Aberystwyth when such statements as these are going broadcast." He believed it had been in a large number of papers, and this must have a great effect upon the prosperity of Aberystwyth (hear, hear). He thought they had done right in at once showing that they were prepared for a full inquiry. They had heard Mr. Gibson's letter; he evaded the whole question, but there were insinuations and innuendoes in it. He believed Mr. Gibson had stated that he was anxiouse to make Aberystwyth a great place. This was a very queer manner of doing so (bear, hear, and laughter). Some people would no doubt believe these statements, and he had not the slightest doubt that other watering- places would make the most of it, and that the reputation of the town would suffer heavily. But what could they do more ? At the earliest oppor- tunity the attention of the council was called to the matter, without any bias whatever—without any feeling except a feeling of endeavour to get to know the actual state of things. He could not do more than repeat that this was impossible. He thought that personally he could claim that he knew nearly every householder in Aberystwyth, and he had been in nearly every house in the town time after time, and there was not a house that could answer to this description. If they were to believe Mr. Gibson, this had been going on for years, while Mr. Gibson had been enjoying himself. The moment he made it public the council took action, and all they got in request for information was an evasive letter. He only wished the council could go further in the matter—(hear, hear)—and put a stop to this once for all. They knew the history of these things. For in- stance, about the beginning of this year, a leading article appeared in Mr. Gibson's paper, with the title of 41 Municipal Murders." The Town Council were the only municipal author- ities in the town, and the article contained the following,We know the words are offensive but we insist upon calling these deaths municipal murders. We believe that the negligent local authorities are liable for heavy damages for these deaths and sooner or later action will be taken by the relatives of sufferers. In conclusion Coun- cillor Williams said it was their duty to let the c l world know so far as they were concerned that there was not a shadow of ground for mak- ing these assertions, and that they were absolutely incorrect. He was afraid that they could not undo a great deal of the harm that had been done- the effect. They would not know directly who would cease coming to Aberystwyth this year, but there was no doulJl that a number of strangers having seen this w- uld not care to come to a place with such a reputation. It had been said that certain statements bad been made and not contra- dicted locally they knew the circumstances but it might be difficult to estimate the harm they would do outside. He did not know how the mayor felt in this matter, he was almost sure if the case was so terrible as painted, that, in confidence or not, the mayor could not rest his head on the pillow without doing something to put a stop to it. But he did not think the mayor looked alarmed at all. The Mayor: Mr. Williams must not draw infer- ences. I have told you frankly all I can tell you, and you must be fair to me. Councillor Williams: Do you say I have been unfair ? The Mayor: I don't say you have. Councillor Williams I am sure it is my desire not to be unfair to anyone. The Mayor: I can only say that I have had certain statements from Mr. Gibson, given in confidence. Alderman T. Doughton: As Mayor, or as friend? The Mayor hesitated, but was understood to say I can't say." Alderman Doughton: If as Mayor it should be given to the Council. The Mayor: I have given my statement. He said he thought it should be stated in common fairness to Mr. Gibson that he bad no knowledge of the fact that the speech was not appearing in his paper. He thought Mr. Hall could bear him out in that if they asked him. Of course, it was obvious that having made the statement in the presence of reporters that he could have no desire to keep it out of his newspaper. He thought they should make that distinctly clear. Councillor R. J. Jones: I suppose you do not intend to convey, Mr. Mayor, to-night, that any- thing given you in confidence by Mr. Gibson is anyway opposed to that made by the inspector. The Mayor: I can state nothing to you, Mr. Jones. Councillor R. J. Jones: I think in your capacity as Mayor it is rather serious for you to say so. We have a statement from an impartial inspector, who has investigated the case, and who also inter- viewed Mr. Gibson. As far as Mr Gibson has stated it seems there is no ground whatever for the allegations, and I feel as a member of the Council very sorry, indeed, that anything should be confided to you as Mayor of the Town- The Mayor: It was not confided to me as Mayor of the town. I Alderman T. Doughton: I am very glad to hear that, sir. The Mayor: It is simply a detail that I am Mayor. I shall be out of that quickly. Councillor R. J. Jones Certainly we must admit that it is a serious matter to the town. The Mayor: I put myself in your hands I shall be very pleased to retire out of this position. Several members No, no. Councillor R. J. Jones: Ihopejyoudon't misunder- stand me. The Mayor That is my position, I am trying to act straight, and I hope you will take it in that way. I simply told you my position quite clearly. After another pause, Councillor Williams said he thought some resolution on the part of the Council should be drawn up. Inquires had been made by the officials, by private members, and also by an independent society, and these had been satis- factory. He thought the resolution of the Council should be passed to the effect that the matter had been investigated by the officials and members of the Council, and they found there was no ground whatever for mak- ing this assertion. Of course they regretted that Mr. Gibson had not complied with the request of the Council, and had not frankly given them the information to enable them to find out the terrible circumstances he had put before them. Councillor R. J. Jones: He admits to the In- spector that he cannot give it. Alderman Peter Jones: That is practically so. Councillor Williams: It is always safe to make grave charges, and then when asked, say you can't say anything. The Mayor: I don't wish to defend Mr. Gibson in any way, but as I have said before, he has given me certain information that cannot be used. Councillor Williams: I am sure you wish to be fair. He proceeded to say that he was charged with such an offence by Mr. Gibson, which if true would render him unfit to sit there. He again refuted Mr. Gibson's statements. Alderman T. Doughton Did you ascertain from the Inspector whether the society intend taking the matter further ? 11 Alderman Peter Jones: The Inspector says "there is not a tittle of evidence to justify us in prose- cuting the matter further." He added that he thought they might pass a resolution of this kind: That certain statements had been made by Mr. Gibson, alleging {here giving the statements] and the Town Council having requested Mr. Gibson to furnish the particulars on which the above state- ment was made, this Mr. Gibson refused to do. They might also add something to the following effect: And we further beg to record our strong disapproval of Mr. Gibson's conduct in making these allegations and refusing to afford evidence bearing on the same. He thought they would agree with that. He quite understood the Mayor's posi- tion he met Mr. Gibson in his private capacity, and not in his official position. That was a quite distinct thing. So far as they were able to understand matters, certain statements were made. Mr. Gibson was asked to prove these, and to assist the Town Council in getting evidence that would bear on the subject. This Mr. Gibson had refused to do. He thought the reasonable result of that would be that the Town Council recorded their disapproval of Mr. Gibson's conduct in making these serious allegations, and refusing to support them when desired. He therefore proposed a reso- lution to that effect. Councillor Williams thought they were fully justified in going a little farther, and adding that inquiries bad been made by officials and members of the Town Council. Alderman Jones I wondered whether you could not divide it into two, the first portion as to Mr. Gibson's conduct in this matter in the other you might say that inquiries had been prosecuted by the officials and by the inspector of the society, and as a result of that there is absolutely no foundation for the allegations. Councillor R. Doughton Yes, that's it. The Mayor: I should like to point out a diffi- culty. That is your expression of opinion, but of course it does not follow that Mr. Gibson may not have had some foundation. Alderman Jones: All I can say is that Mr. Gibson has been accorded the opportunity. He refused to give the information, and, therefore, if he has some information that he wishes to keep we are not cognisant of that. All we are cogni- sant of is that a certain speech was made in this hall. We, as a representative body, immediately we became aware of the statements made, desired Mr. Gibson, as a citizen, feeling sure that any man who took an interest of the town would do so, to give us the information he had, without taking any responsibility himself, this authority taking the re- sponsibility. Mr. Gibson has refused to do this and under these circumstances we express strong disapproval of Mr. Gibson's conduct in the matter, and according to the testimony of the Inspector the statements are perfectly groundless. The Mayor Then yon propose that. Alderman Jones Or I will second Mr. Williams. Councillor Williams: I will second Alderman Jones, sir. The resolution was unanimously carried and the Council rose.


Town Council Committees.

Rural District Council.