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explosion, another collier named Davis came
to meet him at the parting belonging to his
stall, and bade him stop. It was then about
seven o'clock; and he said, "No fireman has
been at my stall to-day. My ticket is in the
same place as I put it last night." "I told
him," continued Morgan, "not to go to the
face of the stall. He is since dead. My
step-son, who has since been killed, said there
was no airthe candle did not move in the
air-way. I took the candle in my hand, and
tried the stall. The air was very bad, and
there was a cap on the candle of an inch or
an inch and a half. The flame did not move,
there not being the slightest air there. I
went back with my candle, buttoned my
jacket over my head to carry some air with
me, and put the boys to stand back. I then
went very cautiously to the face of the work;
to see whether there was a danger mark
there. I lessened the flame of my candle
down to one thread of the wick, but the cap
did not alter; the colour of it was red.
Having reached the face, I held the candle
up to the top to try the air, but it would not
catch. There was no mark of the fireman
having been there. I did not complain about
the gas, because I did not like to be turned
off, as I believed I should be if I complained.
After the great strike the men did not much
like to complain."

The great strike of these men took place in
the first sixteen weeks of the year eighteen
hundred and fifty-four. A collier describes
it who was injured, but not killed, in the
explosion. He is himself a very fair type of
his ignorant and somewhat reckless class.
He went, as no discipline on the part of the
overman, but only a printed rule which
nobody attended to, forbade, opening doors
which it was essential to the ventilation to
keep shut, in order, like his comrades, to fetch
plates required for his work wherever he
could meet with them in the old workings.
He was never stopped for want of airwas
satisfied if it was "middling good"—and was
not afraid, though more than once his candle
had exploded it. When tickets were given
as marks to be used by firemen, this man lost
his on the first day. But, he and his fellows
were not heedless on the one point they could
understand. They knew that their lives
depended on the right discharge of duty by
their firemen. "The reason why we struck,"
this man says, "was because they wanted to
change the firemen; the old firemen, who had
been there for some years, being discharged.
Some smaller differences had been settled
between the masters and the men. On the
first of January, eighteen hundred and fifty-
four, the men were prepared to go to work,
but found, when they got there, that new
firemen had been appointed, in consequence
of which we all refused to go down to work.
We had great faith in the old firemen, and
the reason I did not go to work was, because
I was afraid the new firemen were
inexperienced. The life of every collier in the pit
depends upon the experience of the firemen.
I was present when the men waited on (the
general manager) to tell him that we were
afraid to go down to the pit because the firemen
were not proper. We spoke in Welsh,
and complained that the new firemen were
not able. The manager said that he would
have a man to go with them to try them.
The colliers asked him, 'Why did you
discharge the old ones?' He said 'That is
nothing to you; I discharged them because I
chose to do so.' Upon that the colliers said
they were afraid to go down with them.
That was the truth. I was afraid because I
knew nothing about them. The men would
not go to work, and they stood out for sixteen

That the men were right we are less
convinced by their own showing than by that of
the general manager himself, who when
examined before the coroner on the subject of
the strike occasioned by his dismissal of two
firemen, confesses, "They were good firemen.
I have no doubt that the men generally had
confidence in them, but I had PRIVATE REASONS
for discharging them. I would not tell my
reasons then, and will not now. Before that
time, the colliers had a voice in the appointment
of the firemen."

Of the general manager's two firemen,
whom we will call Roland and Richard,
Roland was especially distrusted by the men.
They had no objection to work with him as a
collier, they said, but would not have him as a
fireman. The appointment was persisted
in. Eight or nine months before the great
explosion, Richard had informed the general
manager that there was fire or foul air in one
part of the workings. Roland denied the
fact; said, "That is his lies." Richard said,
if the manager did not believe him, he would
never go down the pit again; and, adds the
manager, he might have said that "some of
these days we should see whether there was
fire there or not." Richard accused Roland
of deliberate concealment, and the two men
fought upon the subject in the office of the
general manager, who thereupon, as he
himself says, "laid hold of Richard, and turned
him out of the office. . . . The only fireman
who complained to me of gas in the mine was
Richard. The overman never complained
about it, nor did Roland." Richard left the pit.
Roland, promoted to the office of overman as
well as fireman, was eventually, of necessity,
discharged. Richard came back, and, as the
manager now testifies, "was one of the first
men down after the explosion, and assisted
in getting the men out, until he fell down
insensible himself." He did not feel that he
must stay above-ground because he had no
knowledge of gas.

There had been rules of the pit, which the
manager was bound to bring distinctly to the
knowledge of the men; but he had never
either himself read to them the rules or caused

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