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CARDIGANSHIRE ELECTION AND ITS LESSORS. The result of the elects must have heen -as great a surprise to Mr TBOWEN" ROWLANDS as to Mr DAVIE,s. Up te the moment that the decision was known it was confidently anticipated. by M« DAAI^KS' friends that lie tvould be successful, and his opponents were prepared for that ivstilr. It was simply a question of the exteif^ of the majority. It is very probable that in Aberystwyth Mr .DAVIES received the vi-fces of seven hundred out of the eleven lixindred who polled, and other places are known to have favoured him. How then came it that Mr BoWFIX ROWIA.VD? was successful ? A month ago Mr Row- 1,Ã1DS had not been selected as the Glad- stonian candidate, and probably no one thought when be was selected that he had any chance of winning. Indeed it was freely stated by his supporters that the intention was to give "Mr DAVIES some little trouble rather than to onst him from the representa- tion. When Mr DAVIES announced his in- tention of again contesting the county almost every thing was in his favour. The Conserva- tives, with a really efficient organisation in the northern part of the county,and possibly <uone at all in the lower half, had indirectly promised to snpport him, and it was confi- dently believed by his opponents that the great bulk of the Calvinisric Methodists, a t,'ood number of Wesleyan Methodists, and a sprinkling of Independents and Baptists, and possibly some of the Unitarians, who are strong in the south-eastern quarter of the county, woald vote for him, and that really bis election was certain. It was counted .that all the landlord influence would be exerted in his favour, and his prospects cer- tainly seemed exceedingly bright. On the contrary, by whom was Mr BOWF.AXDS sup- ported ? Not one landlord in the county gave countenance to his candidature. Col. PRYSE, Mr JOXES, Llwynygroes, and Mr URI'ISTOC'KK, Parkygors, who are leaders of the Liberal party in the county, were unable to agree with bis views on the Jrish question, and gave him no support. What then were the influences at work in his favour ? It is said that the election was won by the Nonconformist ministers. Pos- sibly in combination with an intense enthu- siasm and good organisation on the part of liis supporters. But how comes it that the Nonconformist ministers wield sneh an in- -flaence over the bulk of the voters ? As a class they aie not- members of aristocratic families; they are not wranglers or first-class-men, nor University men of any sort; they are not noted as educationists, -and their education, generally speaking, is only such as can be picked up in grammar schools, with a finishing off at theological -colleges. Yet these are the men whom the bulk of the electors follow. The clergy cf the Established Church abstained from addressing public meetings, but it is probable that as a rule they exercised in other ways all the influence which they possess in favour of Mr D,\YfE3. Here then is an instance in which the Nonconformist ministers, as leaders of men, have defeated the landlords, great and small, and the clergy of the Established Church, supported by Mr DAVIES' great personal influence and the feeling which has been aroused by Mr GLADSTONE'S Irish scheme. We have no special love for Nonconformist ministers as such, but their existence and their influence must be acknowledged, and it will be well to consider for what reasons the people accept -teiem in preference to the clergy and the landlords as their leaders. It caanot be for their wealth, for they are poor. It is not for high social positions, for they are socially Immble. It is not because of their education And culture, for their advantages in these respects are slight, and not to be compared with these of the clergy. Possibly, and probably, it is because they are trained extempore speakei-s, and associate more with their congregations than the clergy do. These two influences go a long way. It is essential to the existence of the minister that he should be acquainted and on good terms with his people. It is not so with the clergy- manânot essential to his existence we mean. The minister is dependent upon those whom :tw serves, and the moment he fails to serve them satisfactorily he has to make room for someone else. A clergyman, on the contrary, id not dependent upon his congregation. The moment he is placed in a living he can, if he is so disposed, snap his fingers-meta- phorically speaking, of courseâa £ his congre- gation; and he may, if he likes, wade through the service and a written sermon in the most uninteresting and unintelligible manner, and no one has a right to ask him to improve. Of course the clergy do not as a rule do these things on the contrary they are on the whole superior men. On future occasions we may say something about some of the âcauses which retard the clergy in their work, but for the present we must confine ourselves to the various influences in politics. In Wales a, very large proportion of the clergy and of the Nonconformist ministers emanate1 from the humbler classes. Their early edu- cation is similar. But when they enter their respective ministries their lives run on differ- ent and ever-widening lines. The minister, being dependent it'^on his congregation, com- posed chiefly of the industrial classes, has a direct interest in brdng at one with them. The clergyman is net dependent upon his congregation for his stipend. Having been fairly well educated, and-having imbibed with tis college education tie idea that he must fce intimate only with the upper classes in his parish, he drifts into a limited circle, and knows the humbler folk osly professionally. This is to n great extent the reason why the clergyman-exercises less influence upon the laae* 0 the people than clCeg the minister. The limited influence of the landlord is to be â accounted for much in the same wny. He associates only with his own ,class, and dees net mLor closely into the inner life of the people irLo surround Lim. It is true that his wife and daughters ,aid the poor when sickness overtakes them, and give them useful presents at Christmas time -tout he seldom takes part in their public j gatherings, and there is geaor.illy a sort of social gulf between him ami them. Person- ally the Welsh landlord is a very good fellow, allows his tenants to fonn badly if they like, and. whilst neglecting too often to give as much help as he might to his vicar, wishes the Dissenting minister would cease to teach politics. He is <»>3.sy-going, and accepts the bad and the gC)F,d as inevitable- Placed in circumstances of comparative ease he, like the clergyman, has nothing to gain by changes, and therefore relapses into a state of uncon- scious inactivity. The N oncowf ormist minister is differently placed. Being dependent for his living Vipon his congregation, it is to his interest not only to preach the gospel, but also to take part in all movements which interest liis people. And there are several questions in which just now they take a deep interest. They are under an impression that in some way or other they would gain H the Church were Disestablished. The tena-st farmers also think that the law deals unjustly with them in several respects, and: the politicallyrdisposed preacher finds it to his advantage to advocate changes in both these matters. He makes the most extravagant promises to his followers if they will but obey his voice and, in the hope of gaining some- thing, they follow his lead. All Nonconform.- ist ministers, fortunately, do not make politics the first object of their lives. A few words as to some other causes which tended to bring about Mr DAVIES' defeat. The absence of organisation at the offset undoub- tedly affected the result. The organisation of the Liberal Association was utilised in behalf of Mr ROWLANDS, and the Conservative organisation was not called into requisition at all, although it was understood that the Con- servatives would support Mr DAVIES. The consequence was that Mr ROWLANDS' suppor- ters polled wonderfully well, whilst numbers of Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, who would have voted for Mr DAVIES, abstained from going to the poll. It must be borne in mind that many persons are naturally reluctant to vote or take part in anything out of the usual routine of their lives. This class requires special attention on election days. One of the lessons of the county election is that Conservatives must not look for leaders either to the landlords or the clergy another lesson is that the rank and file of the party must take the initiative, form clubs, and select leaders from among those who are best quali- fied for the posts, irrespective of social or other distinctions, merit alone being required. It is by this means, and the press, that the Welsh people can be politically educated in the right creed.








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Observer Office, Friday, 7.0…





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