TREVETHIN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION.|1877-06-16|Pontypool Free Press and Herald of the Hills - Welsh Newspapers Online
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PANTEG1 LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD.

TREVETHIN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION.

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TREVETHIN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION. This election, which has greatly exercised the public mind in the parish of Trevethin during the past fortnight, was brought to an issue on Monday last. From the moment it became ap- parent that a contest was inevitable, the matter assumed the aspect of a politico-religious battle. Numerous handbills were issued by the Non- conformist party and by the Church party. Among the latter was one which called forth on Monday the following rejoinder :— CAUTION. A handbill, signed A Ratepayer," giving informa- tion as to the transfer of the British School to the School Board, contains a base electioneering falsehood. No wonder the author was ashamed to attach his name. No wonder it was sent out too late on Saturday to circulate a reply. The British School, with fittings, costing about £1200, was .handed over to the ratepayers for X300, being the amount of mortgage on the building. During the five months the Board has had possession of the school, the Government grant earned and the children's pence, have more than paid the total cost of maintaining the school, so that it has not cost the Ratepayer" a penny. The contemplated alterations for accommodating 100 more children, with the debt on the building, will cost less than X4 per head on children accommodated-nearly all schools now built costing at least 17 por head—so that the ratepayers will save nearly £1000 by the bar- gain. The Schoolroom was built by voluntary contribution, and not as Denominational Schools, partly by Govern- ment grant. For nearly thirty years the school was carried on without a penny cost to the ratepayers, but the denomi- national schools in the parish have cost during this time upwards of THIRTY THOUSAND POUNDS, by Govern- ment Grants, which have been paid by the ratepayers. Ratepayers! this last electioneering dodge shows that our opponents are in difficulties. It is the expiring con- vulsion of a dying cause. Resent the base attempt to impose on your credulity, and by voting early for the Unsectarian Candidates, CONWAY, DANIEL, ED- MONDS, JAMES, and LEWIS, assist at a funeral of Intolerance, and send Priestcraft into mourning. W. CONWAY, Treasurer of British School. The polling districts for the election were as follows :-1. From Hafodyrynis, Albion-road, Trosnant, Bridge-street, Nicholas-street, and Crunilin-strect, at the Town Hall, Pontypool 2, from Pantygasseg, Sowhill,Tranchvaod High- street, to the Monmouthshire Railway Station, including Park-terraee, at the Town Hall 3, from Crane street, Market-street, Commercial- street, Hanbury-road, West-place, Old Japan, all the Freehold side of the parish to the road leading from Little Mountain to Pontnewynydd, which include Penygarn, at the Town Hall 4, from Wainfelin, Pontnewynydd, to the Cross, Pontypool, including Lower West-street, Canal Bank, Malthonse-lane, Town Forge, and Lower Crano-street, at the Town Hall 5, from Wain- felin, to the Police Station, Abersychan, in- cluding Cwmffrwdore, Cwmnantddu, Blaeny- cwm Cefnycrib, also including Freehold from the road leading from Trevethin Church to the road leading from the Monmouthshire Railway to the boundary of the parish of Trevetbin (in- cludingRiver-row) at Snatcbwood School-room 6. all Abersychan, Peutwyn, TwynySrwd, to the FFrwd Brook, at Abersychao Schools 7, ail th« Ebbw Vale Company's houses, Talywain and Golynos, at Aberayohan Sohools 8, alt Garn- diffnith, from the River to the Varteg, Coombs Cross, Balance Pit, and Cwmffrwd, at Garndif- faith Schools 9, Varteg houses, Vipond and Company's houses, Varteg and Penllan, and Ash Tree, and all Cwmafon, at Varteg Day School 10, all Blaenafou side of the Ash Tree, at the Tyre Mill Office, Blaenafon. The polling commenced at 10 a.m., and went on briskly till 5 p.m., when some hundreds were turned away, not being able to record their votes. Many lost time to come and record their votet, and were not a little chagrined to find that their landlords had made no return of their names in the register. On the whole, consider- ing that it was the first election by ballot in the district,the arrangements wore well planned and creditably carried out. On Tuesday, E. B. Edwards, Esq., the return- ing officer, deelared the poll as follows:— 1, Martin Edwards, 2194 (Roman Catholic) 2, W. P. James, 2162 (Independent) 3, J. Daniel, 2094 (Independent) 4, Henry Lewis, 1987 (Baptist) 5, W. Conway, 1,946 (Baptist) 6, J. T. Edmonds, 1,832 (Wesleyan) 7, Josiah Riqhards, 829 (Churchman) 8, E. Jones, 659 (Churchman) 9, Rev J. C. Llewellin, 519 (vicar) 10, A. A. Williams, 345 (Churchman). The first nine of the above are therefore elected, and we shall not have the excitement of a School Board election for another three years, when we trust that the system of canvassing electors will be abolished. A good deal of interest was excited by the announcement in the FREE PRESS of last week of a sermon bearing upon the election, at the Crane-street Chapel, by the Rev R. C. Page. We give a portion of it below, and hope to give the conclusion next week THE MORAL ATMOSPHERE OF A CONTESTED ELECTION." I have no doubt, fellow townsmen, that the sermon to which you are about to lend your attention will provoke a good deal of hostile criticism in the minds of some, and a feeling of general disappointment, perhaps, in those of others. Indeed. I have been already told by those whoso church-going proclivities are possibly more starchy than my own that the pulpit is not the place for the discussion of qufacuions affecting our political interests. My only reply to this is, Few men suspect, still fewer compre- hend, the extent of the support given by religion to the affairs of our ordinary life and to the questions that deal with the things of our citizenship and how supremely upon religious men—especially upon those who endeav- our to guide religious thought, does the burden rest of being the pioneers of the people in all that belongs to their national or local welfare. Therefore, 1 would rather magnify my office by employing it on every needful oc- casion in such a task than pander to the ecclesiastical sentimentalism of profaning the pulpit, or desecrating the house of God. I am not myself, neither do I wish you to be, unmindful of the great responsibility resting jaet now upon the ratepayers of this parish, and of the gravity and solemnity of the duty which they will be called upon to-morrow to discharge. The ijiture of Eng- land depends upon the education of its people. This for all,of us is the question of questions. Much remains to be done, not merely in the extension of schools, but in the broadening of the basis and the raising of the standards of popular instruction. There ought to be more schools and better schools: the teaching should be more effect- ive the results should be much greater and higher. Our country's greatest battle wages around this centre —not so much the education of the children of the rich and of the middle class, as that of those who in the pro- vidence of God are called upon to occupy a humbler po- sition in life. These require help that hereafter they may be able to do without help. We feel that what is wanted is that every possible facility should be afforded to the rising generation, according to the capacities of each child, for acquiring knowledge of a useful and practical character, for u the increase of its earning power, and for enaonug It to take advantage oi the Many openings which in this age are presented to enter- prise and genius. For myself, I hope to live to see the day when, throughout the length and breadth of the country, there shall be in most efficient operation a number of graded schools, from the lowest elementary to the highest—up to the very entrance of our most learned universities. Let the steps be liko those of a safe broad lldder, the lowest round of which is visible and easily accessible from the humblest cottage, and the topmost of vhich would afford an adequate scholarship and support for the poorest children of genius at the best of our Col- leges, Thanks to the indomitable pluck and persever- ance of the working classes it is to them-to the poor children of the poor-we already owe the inventions that 6.re for the most part the backbone of the staple indus- tries of our country: but there are benefits, honours, emoluments from which the children of the poor are from their birth debarred, and the rank of a child is taade to predetermine his future destiny—no matter With what brains God may have endowed him, in intel- lect he may stand head and shoulders over the pampered boy of the nobleman, but because he is of the pedigree of the toil-stained and labouring, the yearnings of his higher-bis mental-nature are stunted. He may befitted to guide the destinies of empires, to frame or administer the laws of his country, to occupy positions of the highest honour and trust among his fellows, but the chances are he must follow the plough or toil in the mire all the days of his life. Ard, therefore, I say, and remembering this no man or woman who is entitled to a vote to-morrow should for one moment hesitate to record it on behalf of those gentlemen who, in the interests of the ratepayers of this parish, come forward and say, I am willing to devote my time, my efforts, my talents, that these dis- abilities from which your child suffers may ultimately be removed: if you return me to the board I will do all in my power that your child may have the basis of a good sound liberal education-that he may have it within his reach to raise himself to the highest position-to the most trustworthy of posts—among his fellow-townsmen." I ask you, in God's name, to consider who are most likely to fulfil such promises as these. Let every man judge for himself. Did my office give me the power of coercion—I would coerce no man: could 1 hurl the thunderbolts of heaven against any who by their vote might weaken my power to have taught amongst the children of this parish (did I so desire it, and I most certainly do not) my own religious tenets, I would not hurl those thunderbolts: I would leave it to those gentlemen who minister in sacred things in that Temple which we are told stands as a veritable Goshen amid the surrounding Egyptian darkness, high above the smoke and clamour throned like a queen, with the cross upon its roof and the sanctuary lamp glimmering from its windows." I would persuade no man: I say let every man be fully persuaded in his mind." At the same time, i would appeal to every man's judgment ana capability of observation as to who do and who do not fairly represent the interests of the ratepaying popula- tion of this town: I would ask him to consider, not who wish to give, but who in the history of his country's past have given liberty of conscience to all, and there- fore have the prior claim for the promise of the future: I would have him ask his children, at homo, if he be ig- norant of the fact, whether nonconformists do not love the Bible and reverence the name of God as much as the State-suppcrted churchmen themselves: whether it is not we, and our fathers, who all our life long have battled hard against the proud supremacy of sect and the domination of dogmatic teaching in our schools. And then I would ask him, too, to consider-for that also is part of the question-by whose instrumentality it has been in the past that large charities intended for the poor generally, have been from time to time laid hold of and perverted to the aid of studies in which few of the poor could by any possibility be interested: by whose instrumentality it has been that large endow- ments intended for the many have been unfairly used for a privileged few. But just one word more by way of introductory remark. The times are pressing hard upon us all: in this neighbourhood labour is scarce, and the price of labour poor and scanty enough for the toil and time expended. Now, it just possible—though I can hardly think it-some may feel it their duty to re- main at their work instead of presenting themselves at the poll." If so, all I have to say is this Were I an employer of labour, or a wealthy man, 1 would not, if I might, reimburse a single workman the loss of half a day: I think the privileges of citizenship, the solemn duties and responsibilities of paternity, are more than adequate compensation. Now I feel in making these remarks so far, I have not exceeded my ministerial duty indeed, if you were to ask me what the minister feels is the greatest hindrance to the Gospel of Christ, I think I should say, Want of education." The religious needs and the educational needs of the people are so closely allied as to be almost identical. But, whatever hostile criticism may have thus far been evoked, I feel the subject of what remains to be said will meet with general sympathy. The moral atmosphere of a contested election, i.e., I want to speak to you about the spirit, the temper, the conduct that should belong to us to-morrow as men and as townspeople opposed to all that is meant by that one phrase made use of in the address of the unsectarian candidates Bitterness involved by a contest." What I have to say is, I know, more applicable to a contested parliam,entary election: but even in a local affair like that of to-morrow there are evils almost sure to arise, such as will be lamented by both sides, and the stain of which is not easily wipfed out. Now, the Apostle Paul, who was a great and wise citizen, who was not only proud of his citizenship but though a religious teacher awake to the interests of his follow-citizens, in writing to the Church at Galatia made use, in one of his letters, of these words, The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these strife, seditions, heresies." Now I find these three words might be more correctly translated party-spirit, discords, divisions." And against those guilty of such things the Apostle shut the door of the kingdom. Now, to-morrow will witness what will really be the; test-election of the School Board in this parish, and as excitement will run high on both sides, 1 have thought it worth my while to offer a word in season that we may, if possible, avoid everything like unfair and unbecoming conduct, tnat we may carefully abstain from all low personalities, from all infamous de- famation of public character, from intemperance in every form. The evils contingent upon a contested election cannot unfortunately be over-stated and it is difficult to see how, even with the improved methods of the ballot and the stringent enactments of the law, in what way their death may be made sure and certain. But is not party- spirit at the root of these evils ? The force of two oppo- site parties-diametrically opposed in their religious and political training-is suddenly brought into active com- petition large representations on either side strive for the mastery in the opinion of the public and in the ex- citement of securing ascendancy in the accumula- tion of votes, each side becomes maddened and frenzied by party spirit. The ardent supporters of popular candidates work themselves up, and work one another up, to misinterpret the views, the principles, the whole conduct of those who stand op- posed to them in the field. It is curious to notice at such times how those who as a rule never advance be- yond the political area of their favourite newspaper suddenly arouse themselves and become transformed into blustering, hot-headed partisans: Jfrsnrcn quint, peace- able, honest under all ordinary fcircumstances of life, through false zeal in the espousal of their cause lend themselves to the intimidation of their employees, and in some cases become the patrons of those foul means— that are tho of our oountry -whereby the reasun of the humble elector is, for the time being, dethroned. I have seen in connexion with a large constituency gentlemen of undoubteà ly-respE:'ctable families, heads of large establishments, prominent in their official life and in their professional career, standing charged before Her Majesty's Commissioners-not with being corrupt or untrustworthy in their ordinary life, but because in the frenzy of an electioneering contest they have rushed into actions which in moments of calm reflection they would have shrunk from with instinctive horror. Let us see why party-spirit works thus and what are its results.

BLAENAFON

THE TYNEWYDD DISASTER. DISTRIBUTION…

'' POLICE COURT.I SATCBDAT.

PONTYPOOL COLLEGE.

To the Editor of the Free…

PORTYPOOL COLLEGE.I

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