Lewis Evan Jones Sr. (1795 – 1860) – Evidence of his radical affiliations and practices

Lewis Evan Jones Sr. (1795 – 1860) – Evidence of his radical affiliations and practices.

1] From the London Express: Saturday, July 26, 1817 – Page 4

“NORTH WALES CIRCUIT—Beaumaris, July 23.

Before Mr. Justice Maule. Libel. — The Queen on the Prosecution of John Lloyd against Joseph Davies and Robert Williams. — This was an indictment for libel. The prosecutor (plaintiff) is the surgeon at Llangefin, the defendant Davies a medical practitioner in the same neighbourhood, and the other defendant a schoolmaster at Newborough. The declaration charged the defendants with having caused to be written, printed, and published a false, scandalous, and malicious libel, reflecting on the character and skill of the plaintiff as a medical practitioner. — Mr. Welsby and Mr. Temple appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Townsend for the defence. The libel was read at length, and never perhaps was so extraordinary a production produced in a court of justice, under cover of a dialogue between an Anglesey man and a Carmarthenshire man, replete with monstrosities and hyperbolical figures of speech of the most ludicrous description tending to the ridicule, and it might be to the injury, of the prosecutor. — On the part of the prosecution, the printer (Lewis Evan Jones Sr.), his son*, and wife were put into the box to trace the MS. (manuscript) and act of printing the same to the traversers. Other witnesses deposed to their having given publicity to the document so printed, and Mr. Lloyd, the prosecutor, swore that the libel in question had reference to himself. — Mr. Townsend addressed the jury with much force on the part of the traversers, and although he had no instruction to assail or call in question the character or skill of Mr. Lloyd, he much doubted bis good sense in not treating with indifference and contempt a pointless and unmeaning squib. The learned counsel next impeached the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution, whose testimony he would overturn on the evidence of highly respectable witnesses. At the close of his address to the jury, Mr. Townsend called three witnesses, each of whom distinctly swore that Lewis Evan Jones, the printer, and first witness examined for the prosecution, admitted in their presence that Isaac Harris was the real author of the libel, and that Dr. Davies was an injured man — Mr. Temple replied, and the court summed up. The jury retired, and in a short time returned with a verdict of Guilty against both traversers. After some conversation between thee court and counsel, the verdict was taken. Guilty on the first five counts. Not guilty on the sixth. Mr. Temple prayed for judgment. — The sentence of the court was, that Davies be imprisoned for the space of four calendar months, and pay a fine of 60s; and that William be imprisoned two months. The term of Davies’s imprisonment was, at his own request, commuted to two calendar months, the fine being increased to 100s.”

* It is impossible that Lewis Evan Jones’s son was called as a witness at this trial, which occurred on July 23rd, 1817, as his eldest son, Lewis Evan Jones Jr. was not born until 1825. It is possible that the witness indicated here was an apprentice, possibly William Ellis Jones II (aka “Cawrdaf”) who was then about 22 years of age. It’s possible also that the witness in question was Cawrdaf’s younger brother, David Ellis Jones (born 1804), or his middle brother, Thomas Norcliffe Jones (born 1803), both of whom apprenticed at Lewis’ Carnarvon printing firm, and either one of whom could have been mistaken for Lewis Evan Jones Sr.’s sons.


2] From Ifano Jones – History of Printers and Printing in Wales and Monmouthshire, page 67.

“…That Robert Jones had left Conway to to settle at Pwllheli by 1828 is proved by the appearance of his name in Pigot & Co.’s directory for 1828 as ‘Jones Robert, stationer, printer, and sheriff’s officer, Penlan st.’, while his imprint appears on a book1 as early as March, 1829.

That he removed from Pwllheli to Bangor in 1834 is certain, for whereas his Pwllheli imprint appears in 1833 on ‘Natur Dyn… gan Griffith Jones’, his Bangor imprint appears in 1834 on ‘Galarnad… William Barnett… a fu farw… Gorphenaf yr 22, 1834 … Gan William Morgan, Caergybi.’ By 1835 he was printing at Bangor a satirical English newspaper entitled ‘Figaro in Wales’ a demy-folio sheet of four pages, treble columns, price 2d. No. 7 dated ‘Tuesday, September 1835’, bears the imprint, ‘Printed and Published for the Proprietors, by Robert Jones, at the Albion Office, Friars’ Place, Bangor,…where the Printing Business is carried on in all its departments.’ The scurrilous personal attacks of Figaro in Wales’, with its caricatures engraved by John Roberts, the Holyhead printer (son and successor of Robert Roberts, the Holyhead almanacer and printer, and grandson of Shon Rhobert Lewis), soon resulted in the publication of a similar paper, entitled ‘Anti-Figaro’, issuing from the printing-office of Lewis Evan Jones, Carnarvon2. Subsequently Robert Jones issued his paper ‘Philo-Figaro’3. The editors became so abusive of each other in their respective journals, that the officers of the Law put an end to the existence of both2, Robert Jones being proceeded against for libel ; and the Merionethshire Assizes held at Bala in March, 18364, he was mulcted in damaged to the tune of £2505.”


3] From the A Merioneth Family of Printers in Wales and the U.S.A. by Dr. Lewis Lloyd – The Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Records Society, Vol. XII (iv), 1997, we have the following insightful detail that captures the point of view expressed by Lewis Evan Jones Jr., son of Lewis Evan Jones (the elder), and is summarized by the author:

“…The reform agitation regarding parliamentary representation and local government at Caernarfon in the 1830’s, in which his father was actively engaged with the surgeon O.O. Roberts and other radicals, clearly made a lasting impression upon the growing boy…”[9]

A good deal later in Lewis Evan Jones Jr.’s reminiscences, writing from his new home in the Nebraska Territory after having traveled the world and having seen much of the United States, he recounts that he bought “…a steam sawmill and had a small printing office … the two most important things to civilize a new country…” [10]


4] Controversial Books Published that have survived the censors:

1] Authors: Lloyd, Evan, 1734-1776.
Title: The curate
Description: 27 p.
Imprint: Printed at the Arvonian Press by L.E. Jones for Owen Owen Roberts, 1832
Annotation: Originally published about the year 1766.

1] Authors: Uncredited
Title: Address to electors accusing William Buckeley Hughes of bribery
Description: 1 sheet 17 x 21 cm. Broadside
Imprint: Lewis Evan Jones, Printer, 1841
Annotation: Dated 1 July 1841. Probably published against the Conservative candidate, W. Bulkeley Hughes, by supporters of the Whig, Lord George Paget, in the Caernarvon Boroughs constituency at the 1841 election.



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