No 300

On Octr 31st 1844 during the time usually occupied in playing at Football the Ball having bounded repeatedly over the railings of the Green, was at last detained by the assembled ‘scis without; nor was until some sharp blows had been given & received that the Ball was again forcibly restored. After the game was finished a fight arose in Bowling Street between a Fourth Town Boy of the name of Green & a ‘Sci about his own size, a crowd soon collected near the spot, & there being but few Westminsters there, & but one Sixth Fellow (a Town Boy) it was deemed necessary to send off for a detachment of certain T.B.s and QSs assembled at Shottons who immediately were on the spot the dispute or rather fight ending in nothing at all, the disturbance temporarily died away and would have done so entirely had not a “surly quarrelsome Irish superintendant”* of Police collared a Town Boy (Andrewes) & proceeded to menace him with “divers thumps in sundry places”. This he at any rate did not prove his right to carry into execution, but during the time he was arguing with Andrewes, some Beer was obtained & drank by several of us. This he took hold of & in lieu of something better, informed Dr. Williamson of the fact. *Eight of us next day were called in & accused of disorderly conduct & language, by the Doctor, & acquitted with the exception of the one who had meddled with the Porter who got *100 lines. The Question being then put to Dr. Williamson, as to what was the proper manner of proceeding in such circumstances, the undermentioned answer was given. For in the present instance, if we did not act, we were liable to be insulted; & if we did resent injury, to be taken up “That if an aggression were made by a ‘sci upon a Westminster, & the matter terminated in fighting, in case it were brought before him, he should take no steps to punish. That in case he was violating the laws of the land, & breaking the peace; his authority would not be recognised as sufficient to protect him. That now Dean’s Yard, the cloisters & even the Abbey itself were put under the hands of the Police; if he himself were quieting a row, which was going on before his own doors, & the Police were to interfere, he could not prevent their taking up even a Q.S. – That if a ‘sci attacked a Westminster & a fight ensued, he could not expect other Westminsters to stand quietly by, & that if he (the ‘sci) got a licking, he richly deserved it; yet that as gentlemen the Westminster ought to withdraw from & avoid rather than excite & encourage such disturbances. That fighting amongst each other was not allowed by the rules of the School, although where it was not of serious character it was not interfered with, & that if the authorities complained to him he must stop it. At the same time that he professed his willingness to lay the case before, the Superintendants’ (Lowies) superiors if we thought we had been unfairly dealt with. That there always was some little difficulty attending these matters, but that we must accommodate ourselves to matters as far as we could. That if a Westminster of inferior size were defended by one of a superior size against one ‘sci or more, & that one or more of his opponents were threshed at the time or even one or two days afterwards, he thought the law could not take hold of it, but if after a greater interval of time he thought it could. That in the present case he would be content with receiving from each an assurance that he individually did not behave himself with impropriety, & would proceed to punish any one no further” Which assurance we each did give him. I felt satisfied that Dr Williamson had done us justice & to use his own expression had fairly and equitably considered and decided upon the case in point.

I have taken so much space up for this insertion knowing that such things as this frequently occur & I thought it might be useful to refer to hereafter.

*Alluding to the character he bore among the force, as another Policeman informed us.

*The names were
J. Preston T.B Sixth
G. Gillett T.B. Sixth H.B.
C.G. Andrewes T.B. Sixth
W. Green T.B. Upper Shell H.B.
F. Cooper Q.S. Senior
A. Merewether Q.S. Senior
C.R. Bedford Q.S. 3d Election
D. Markham Q.S. 3d Election

*of which 50 were let off