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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

[review of the second day]

Hugh M'Kenzie, employed on the staff [unclear: of] the Catholic Times, deposed that he was [unclear: preaet] at an interview between Mr. Evison and a [unclear: deps]tation from the Typographical Association, [unclear: and] took shorthand notes, of which a true [unclear: transcript] was then in Court.

Report read and put in.

Archbishop Redwood examined.

You are Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington?—Yes.

And proprietor of the Catholic Times?—Yes.

The Catholic Times was first printed at the office of Messrs. you and Blair?—Yes.

In what year?—I think 1888.

And afterwards printed in the Catholic Time Office, Boulcott-street?—Yes.

After the paper was printed in Boulcott-[unclear: street]. Mr. Bunny was conductor or manager of [unclear: this] paper?—He was, sir.

And Mr. Cooper was the foreman printer?—Yes.

At that time were the wages of printers [unclear: and] compositors paid directly by the office?—Yes they were.

We have been told that an arrangement [unclear: was] made with Mr. Cooper by Mr Bunny. Were [unclear: you] cognisant of that?—Not when it was made; I [unclear: may] afterwards.

How long after?—I do not remember; it [unclear: was] told to me.

The arrangement was made in March, 1889, [unclear: and] you knew some weeks afterwards?—Yes.

On your return to Wellington was the [unclear: arrangement] made known to you?—Yes, it was.

Did you approve of it?—I did.

What has been the practice since that time [unclear: with] regard to paying wages?—The practice has [unclear: been] as you heard yesterday. A cheque is given [unclear: by] me or my representative every week for all [unclear: the] salaries or wages. As regards the editor we [unclear: all] it salary, and wages for the compositors; that [unclear: is] the lump sum paid to Cooper.

£14 8s?—Yes.

To whom is the cheque given?—To Mr. Evison

His Honour—One cheque?—Yes.

Mr. Gray—I understand a cheque is given [unclear: to] Mr. Evison for the whole sum every week, and [unclear: he] has to distribute the money?—Yes.

Has any complaint been made to you, or [unclear: have] you heard any complaints on the part of [unclear: the] as to wages?—I have never heard any [unclear: complain] of any sort with regard to wages.

Evison has told us that he joined the [unclear: paper] about March, 1889?—He did. I was in [unclear: Euro] the time it was done by my representative, [unclear: and] of course I approved of it.

At the time you were told of the [unclear: engagement] and gave your approval did you know of [unclear: Evison's] former connection with a Freethought [unclear: journal]:—I was told so, and that he had been a [unclear: Freethought] lecturer.

And did you know anything about his [unclear: proclivities] at that time?—I was led to [unclear: understand] that it was a considerable time since he had [unclear: advo]cated Freethought tenets; and that his mind [unclear: was] considerably changed on many points.

Of course you have often had [unclear: conversation] with Evison. Has he ever pretended to be [unclear: a] convert to the Roman Catholic or any [unclear: other] religion?—No, sir, he never has.

Were you satisfied with his views generally [unclear: as] politics and the policy of the paper, apart [unclear: from] religion?—Yes, I was.

Apart from religion, what were the main [unclear: points] of the [unclear: paper]—The main points of the [unclear: paper], apart from religion were Home Rule for [unclear: Ireland] and State aid to Catholic schools.

page 13

Was he in any sense required by you in any way to advocate the tenets of Roman Catholicism?—Certainly not. There were others on the staff who provided for that purpose.

Mr. Jellicoe—Mr. Loughman?—For a time. There are others on the staff who attend to that work themselves.

Mr. Gray—Do I understand that Mr. Evison's work was purely editorial?—Purely editorial, except as to the advocacy of these two points.

As manager what are his duties?—They are the same as he detailed yesterday. He has to provide materials, &c., and superintend the whole work ing of the office.

Practically he has the entire management?—Yes.

Did you yourself frequently attend at the office?—Very frequently. Almost daily when I was at home.

Who is the medium of communication between yourself and the office?—Mr. Evison.

Did you hear of the request of the Typo graphical Association in July, 1890, that Mr. Evi son should meet them?—Yes, I did.

Was that reported to you by Evison?—It was.

Did Evison report to you the result of the interview?—He did, sir.

With regard to the correspondence read yester day. You have received some of the letters which have been read?—I did.

Were the replies sent by Evison forwarded by your instruction and with your approval?—They were. Did you approve of his action in the matter?—I did.

You received a letter in the month of May asking you to receive a deputation?—I did.

And you sent the reply read yesterday, written by yourself?—I did, sir.

What did you do after sending that reply?—I communicated the substance of it to Mr. Evison, and we discussed the whole matter.

Was the matter turned over to him?—It was, and the letter read yesterday was sent.

Was that letter sent with your approval?—I cannot say that I saw the letter before, but I saw it afterwards and I approved of it.

Do you remember receiving these two letters of 28th Sept.?—Yes.

You read them of course?—I read them of course. Do you wish me to look at them now?

If you please. You will see in the first letter the words "Failing receipt of a favourable reply by the 5th proximo, it is the intention of the Board of Management to publish the same in the principal newspapers in the Colony." In what sense did you understand that?—In the sense of a threat—a sort of coercion to me to force me to lire that interview, which was the first step in working the office on union principles, which we did not see our way to do at the time.

Look at the next paragraph, "I have also to inform your Grace that the members of the Board decline, under any circumstances, to communi cate with or recognise in any way the present manager of the Catholic Times, but would with pleasure enter into negotiations with any other person it would please your Grace to appoint." What did you understand by that statement?—I had to take that statement in connection with the letter, to interpret it with the letter. Of course I took that in the sense that Evison was made out to be a person so disreputable that he was not fit to deal with, and that, by implication, he was not a fit person for me to deal with, a fortiori; and that the best thing I could do was to discharge him from my office.

His Honour—He was not fit for them to deal with and a fortiori.He was not fit for you to deal with?—Yes, your Honour.

Mr. Gray—And that you would discharge him or conform to their views?—Yes.

Will you look at the next letter—they were received together, I think?—Yes.

New Zealand Typographical Association, Wellington Branch, 25th September, 1891.

To Archbishop Redwood.

Your Grace,—We have the honour, on behalf of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Typ ographical Association, to make a final request that you will receive a deptuation from this body in regard to the Catholic Times office, which, we are given to understand, is conducted on the sweating system, inasmuch as a certain sum of money is paid weekly to the manager or overseer, who is permitted to appropriate to his own use and benefit such amount as represents the differ ence between the sum received and that paid in wages to his subordinates.

What do you understand by that?—That has to be read also in connection with what follows, where it is said that Evison was wilfully conceal ing that state of things from me.

Mr. Jellicoe—Where do you find those words, was "wilfully concealing that state of things from me."

Mr. Gray—He was wilfully kept in ignorance. (To witness)—Will you kindly say what you understand by the statement about the sweating system?—That was a direct charge that the office was conducted under the sweating system, and that Evison was responsible for continning that system, and was wilfully concealing from me a state of sweating—that is the substance of it.

You have seen the paragraph, "This condi tion of things is so utterly opposed to the pre cepts laid down in the recent Encyclical of His Holiness the Pope, as also to the utterances of Car dinal Moran on the Labour Question, that we are tempted to attribute your previous refusals to receive a deputation to the fact that you have been wilfully kept in ignorance of the above." What do you understand by that?—First of all it made me smile because it seemed to me a strange com bination of impertinence and absurdity.

Of course your Grace has read the Encyclical referred to, and you are acquainted with the utterances of Cardinal Moran?—Certainly.

So far have you discovered anything in the con ditions existing in the Catholic Times office which is condemned by His Holiness the Pope or by Cardinal Moran?—Certainly not; quite the contrary.

Did you take any other view than that it was a combination of impertinence and absurdity? Did you think anything more about it?—Taken in connection with the former paragraph, I thought it was a charge of sweating against Mr. Evison, and, indirectly, against myself.

Did you understand that the charge of sweat ing was preferred for the benefit of any person?—Certainly; it was for the benefit of Mr. Evison or the overseer.

You read it in that sense?—I read it in that sense.

As a matter of fact, had your repeated refusals to meet the deputation arisen from a suppression or concealment of anything in the Catholic Times office?—Certainly not.

As a matter of fact, are you familiar with the conduct of business in the office?—I think I may say I am very familiar with it. I take great interest in it, and generally superintend every thing myself.

The last paragraph says:—

"We trust your Grace will favourably consider our request, and honour us with a personal reply, as hitherto our communications have been re ferred to the manager of the Catholic Times(an individual who at different times has conducted page 14 a Freethought journal, lectured upon a Freethought platform, and ultimately accepted the management of a religious paper) a degradation which, we humbly submit, we have done nothing to deserve."

What do you understand by that?—I under stood that it conveyed this sense. That Evison was a person who was of such a—I hardly like to use the word—worthless fellow that he was unfit for them to deal with, and unfit for me. I looked upon it as a gross libel at the time.

You have told us what construction you put upon these gentlemen's statements: assuming what you conceive they allege was true, could you have retained Evison in your service?—I could not. I should not.

The last paragraph refers to Evison's antece dents. You knew before what his connection had been with that paper and with Freethought. Did you consider that it was necessary that you should be informed by those people of his connection with Freethought?—I did not.

You were aware of it?—I was aware of it—that was sufficient.

As far as your Grace can see, had that matter anything to do with the subject in hand or with Trade Unionism?—It seems to me entirely irrevelant.

It was a matter between Evison and his employer?—Yes.

You have already told us that you understood the letter to contain a charge of sweating?—Yes.

What do you understand by sweating?—It is not easy to define. I understand sweating to mean a condition of things where a middleman or snb-contractor pays his men inadequate wages and derives unlawful profits, and that such men are under the necessity of taking what is offered to avoid starvation. That the sweater makes capital out of the miseries of his employes. That I understand to be sweating. The sweated per son is obliged to take what is offered to him, in fact he sweats under the oppression.

You say the sweated person is obliged to take what is offered or starve?—Well, perhaps not so far as that. It is making an unlawful profit by paying wages winch men have to accept because they cannot get other employment.