Malfew Seklew Seeing the Country in American Fashion

1845-1945, Malfew Seklew, Trevor Blake / Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018
One hundred and seventeen years ago to the day, in the Shields Daily Gazette of Tyne and Wear Volume LII Number 14,091 (August 31 1901) page 3. – Trevor Blake


Malfew Seklew, who describes himself as “an alien, seeing the country in the American fashion,” was summoned before the Newcastle Bench, yesterday, on charges of obstruction, the first in Forth Street, on the 16th inst., and the second West Clayton Street, on the 21st inst.

The officer, in the first case, informed the Bench about 7:50 p.m. defendant was standing on a chair in Forth Street, lecturing to a crowd, which extended from one side the street to the other. He refused to desist or give his name, and used foul language. The constable therefore took him the Westgate Station, defendant resisting all the way.

Sir Charles Hammond, the presiding magistrate, asked whether defendant was using foul language when on the chair, or whether reserved for the police. The officer replied: For the police.

Defendant: Did I call you a loafer — Yes. — Is that foul language? — The Clerk (Mr. Roberts): He was in his policeman’s uniform. — Proceeding, defendant said he was on “common property,” — the land was in Chancery and did not belong to the police. – Sir Charles: The police have as much control over property in Chancery as you have over your hat when it is on your bead. — This intimation seemed rather to surprise the defendant.

Another officer deposed to having cautioned defendant shortly before the previous witness spoke to him. At that time he was selling a patent tie maker. — Defendant: I protest. That is not relevant. — The Clerk: It very relevant, think, as showing your object and intention.

Addressing the Bench, defendant first made allegations of brutality against the police, and went on to say that he was “an alien seeing the country in the American fashion.” He was earning his living selling a little patent of his own, and at the same time he was lecturing on egoism, individualism, and various other philosophies. — Sir Charles: “Where do you lecture?” – “In the street.”

“On this occasion,” defendant added seriously, “I was lecturing in a place which I understand has been used for 20 years, without police interference. I was preaching my philosophy to the English people — a brand new philosophy. (Laughter.) In fact was doing what Jesus is supposed to have done, I was talking the masses.”

The Chief Constable proved a conviction against the defendant for using obscene language at Nottingham in October last year. That, Seklew explained, was “a put up job, the same as this.”

A fine of 40s and costs was imposed, with the alternative of one month.

The second case was gone into, the officer who proved it, stating that when he spoke to defendant, he appealed to the crowd, mostly composed of youths under 20 years, “to resist, as free born citizens of Newcastle, the aggression of the police.” (Laughter.) — Another fine of 40s and costs with a similar alternative, was imposed.

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