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THE HAFOD DROWNING CASE. -

COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION.

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COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION. JkLWYNPIA AND TREALAW DIVISION. THE CANDIDATURE OF MESSRS. R. LEWIS AND W. WILLIAMS. SPEECH BY MR D. A. THOMAS, M.P. A public meeting, in support of the candidature of Mr R. Lewis and Mr W. Williams, Tonypandy, for the No. 3 (or Llwynpia and Trealaw) ward, was held at Soar Chapel, Clydach Vale, on Thursday evening, the 27th ult., when the chair was occupied by the Rev. T. Williams, who, in opening the meeting, said that Messrs Lewis and Williams were the two Liberal candidates, who were nomi- nated by the Liberal Asscciation, and selected by a properly convened public meeting afterwards held. These gentlemen had undertaken to fight the battle of Liberalism, and were supported by the great strength of the Liberal party. This meeting had been called in order that the electors might be enlightened upon the duties devolving upon 1Ilem. as well as upon the candidates, between this and the election day. Once the people had had explained to them the facts bearing upon the elec- tion they would not be afraid to trust the people, ar.d act conscientiously and rightly. (Applause.) Mr John Benjamin proposed a resolution ex- pressing approval of the Liberal candidates (Messrs Lewis and Williams), and pledging the- meeting to use every legitimate means to secure their triumphant return. Mr Thomas Lacey seconded, and remarked that they as workmen fully concurred with the Tory cry of selecting the best men. The only matter for remark was that it was very strange that the Tories could not find the best men any- where except in their own ranks. (Laugh ter.) They ,(the workmen) on the other hand, and the Liberals of the district, were firmly of opinion that Messrs. Lewis and Williams were the best men. (Cheers.) The Chairman said he had very great pleasure to call upon the principal speaker of the evening, a gentleman to whose presence they had been looking forward with considerable interest, to ad- dress the meeting. (Applause, t Mr D. A. Thomas, M.P., (whose rising was a signal for further cheering), said he was not there at all in his capacity as member of parliament, but simply as an elector in this ward, to address his fellow-electors. (Applause.) He observed in the Queen's speech, which was delivered on the pre- -vious Monday, that they as members of parlia- ment were advised to go down, as far as he could understand it, and take an interest in the matter of these elections. It was the last paragraph in the speech, and the ol, ly one reallv relating to home matters. Now he believed that he was abo ut as loyal a subject as they made themâ(laughter)â but having regard to the fact that the speech was not her Majesty's own speech, but one prepared for her by her Majesty's present advisers, the Tory government, he had no intention to carry out this by taking part in the County Council Elec- tions. (Renewed laughter.) He had not inter- fered in his own division (the division which he represented in parliament), and he did not intend to interfere in these local matters. He thought he had a very good warning before him in the po- sition which a leading statesman in Glamorgan- shire had taken lately, very much the position of a man who had interfered in a quarrel between husband and wife, and who, therefore, had quar- relled with both. (Laughter.) He noticed that the Interference by the statesman in question had drawn forth a leading article, not only in the South Wales Daily News, but in the Western Mail as well. He, however, was present that evening in his cwn right to take part in this contest, and to take part in it on strictly political grounds. He knew Mr Hood, the other candidate, very well, and were it not for political considerations, he would have been the man he should have voted for, because he had known Mr Hood longer than the Liberal candidates. He did most strongly believe that these contests should be fought °on party lines. (Applause.) He thought every true Liberal should sink nearly all personal qualifica- tions, and vote for the Liberal candidate not only tions, and vote for the Liberal candidate not only here, but everywhere else. He thought it right to say that he was not present at that meet- ing in antagonism to Mr Hood, but simply because he understood he was a Tory, and he did not trust Tories. It was their own fault, not his. (Ap- plause and laughter.) He would like to pay his tribute to the magistrates who had carried on the business of the county in the past. He was not one of those who had ran' down the magistrates. He had seen that one of the localmagistrates there thought that the P(ntypridd bench. were blockheads. (Applause and laughter.) He did not know them there, but he believed that the magistrates of Glamorganshire had adminis- tered the business of the county well and economi- cally, and he did not think it could be adminis- tered more economically by the County Council, yet he believed that it would be far more in keep- ing with the spirit of the times that the County Government should be administered by properly elected representatives of the people. (Applause.) Nor did he think that they had in Glamorganshire but very little complaint to make with regard to the appointment of magistrates. Thev had in the lord lieutenant (Mr Talbot) a Liberal "in politics, net perhaps so advanced as he (the speaker) con- sidered himself to be, but he considered that Mr Taibct had always been earnestly endeavouring to appo'nt the best men as magistrates. They had not nad their share of magistrates from the north- ern or most populous part of the county, perhaps, but he thought that was the fault of the system. Seme complaint had been made in other places that the lord lieutenant had almost exclusively Felected men from one party. He believed there was cne county in Wales where there was not one liberal or Nonconformist member on the bench. He did not know whether that was strictly so or not, but he believed there were very few Liberals on the bench in some counties. He believed also that the division of Glamorganshire for electoral purposes connected with the county council had Qn the whole been very fair, although the Ebondda Valley had not had its due share; but in Monmouthshire there had been gross abuses in the divisicn, for instance, the division in which he lived had only 2,000 inhabitants, and yet had a councillor, while some divisior s had 8,000 popula- tion, with only one councillor to represent them. There had been a far more equitable division in Glamorganshire, although as he had said they had seme cause to ccmplain in the Rhondda Valley. They were entitled to two more members, and more in Merthyr and Aberdare. A great deal had been said and written as to whether these contests should be conducted on political lines at all, and the ostensible objection of those who opposed party lines was that it was necessary that magistrates should have seats on the county council, in order that there should be some sort of continuity be- tween the county business of the past and the fu- ture. He himself should like to see such men as Mr Dillwyn Llewelyn and Mr Rhys on the coun- cil, but he would say let them be there not as councillors but as aldft-men. (Applause.) There "fcere <53 councillors to be elected, and 21 aldermen. Sie4f9uld 3jQg'g £ st that a majority of Liberals si" ould "be elected, trusting to them to select those' magis- trates who had attended to their duties in the past, and he certainlýZvould be fat more ready to trust a Liberal majority than a Tory majority to act fairly towards Liberal magisi rates. He did not think that Tories would (if in a majority) se- lect more than half-a-dozen at the outside of Liberals, but that was the way, however, he would suggest securing continuity of the business. This county formed really about one-third of the whole of Wales, and the business of the county involved vast issues, but they found that the number of magistrates who attended to the business of the county in the past were few. Out of considerably over 100 magistrates, he did not suppose more than 20 had attended to business in the past, and in thinking of the election of magistrates on the coancil they ought to enquire into these things, "but Mr Hood was not one of those who attended to business, simply because he was not a county magistrate at all. Against the opinion of Lord Aberdare in this matter he would give the opinion of one who had greater weight in this matter even than Lord Aberdare, namely, Mr J. Morley. (Applause.) Having dwelt upon the duties of the new council, and entered at some length into general politics, Mr Thomas paid that some time ago he ventured to prophesy that before next Autumn the miners of South Wales would receive advance of 15 per cent, in wages. He was se-; verely condemned in some quarters for it, and told that such words tended to make the men dis- satisfied, but, on the contrary, he had said it be- cause he knew there was dissatisfaction, and he wanted the men to be patient, because he felt sure they would benefit by the rising prices. (Ap- plause.) They had had a 5 per cent. advance, and he believed they would get more, and probably before the autumn they might' reach even the 15 per cent. He hoped the coalowners would see the advisability of revising the sliding-scale, so as to make it respond more quickly to the fluctuations in the price of coal at Cardiff. )Applause.) Mr R. Lewis, in addressing the meeting, com- mencing in Welsh, said he had been amongst them eighteen years, but he has not taken a very active part in public matters of this sort, although he had given his vote on all occasions in favour of Liberalism. (Cheers.) As they had heard he was one of those selected by the Liberal Association for one of the two seats for this ward, and having been selected he decided to do his best to fight the battle. As they had heard, the county council had been formed under the new act to do what the magistrates had been doing in the past. The magistrates had been spending thousands of pounds of the people's money, and the people themselves knew very little of what they were doing. The magistrates had done their work too privately. He was of opinion that it would be far better for mftLers of that kind that theyjshould be dealt with publicly in the presence of reporters, so that the ratepayers and electors might know what they were doing with their money. Dealing with the work of the magistrates he found there were 250 magistrates in this county, about 100 of whom had been attending to the work cn an average, and he was sorry to say there was a debt of upwards of £ 100,000 upon the quarter sessions at present. As the average was so small he thought it was a proof at once that there were over 150 magistrates in the county not deserving of the confidence of the lord lieutenant, but could they (the people) evict them ? (No.) They were justices of the peace, and they would be justices of the peace so long as they lived. He thought those magistrates had not been acting in accordance with the oath they had taken.. There were altogether, he found, 66 councillors to be appointed, and 22 aldermen, and the council bad power to elect aldermen from outside its own body, but he, for one, would strongly contend that aldermen should be elected from amongst the councillors, and if retained they might depend upon it that he would not vote for an outsider. The county lunatic asylum was a very important institution, which would come under the jurisdic- tion of the new council, and inasmuch as the patients in that asylum were paupers, there was every reason that the ratepayers should, through their representatives, see that the institution was properly looked after. (Applause.) The income arising out of the county licenses also would now come into the hands of the county council, to- gether with 40 per cent. of the probate duties. Having dealt with some of the aspects and the duties and jurisdictions of the council, Mr Lewis, in English, said they were aware that the Conser- vatives claimed that this was one of their mea- sures, but according to a speech by Sir Charles Dilke, in Halifax in 1885, the lines upon which this bill was drawn was then laid down. The measure, although a considerable advance over what had been expected from Conservatives, was yet not all that could be desired, for it only gave the council half the control of the police, and there were other matters which would no dcubt come within the jurisdiction of the council whenever a Liberal Government came into power, and it was important that the council, as Mr Thomas had said, should consist of a majority of Liberals, in' order that they themselves might be prepared for carrying on the work in. a manner which would benefit the people. Let them look at the licensing question, for instance. The compensation clauses introduced by the Tories were a disgrace to the Government. He did not speak from a total absti- nence point of view, but as one who felt himself, and knew what the people felt in this matter. He did not wish to make any rash promises, but if returned he would do his best, and if he did not come up to the standard of their expectations, then when the three years came round, let them do with him, as the Conservatives did with poor Irish tenants, evict him. (Cheers.) Mr W. Williams then addressed the meeting in Welsh, and at the outset explained that an ap- parent contradiction appeared as to the figures quoted by Mr D. A. Thomas and Mr Lewis, with regard to the number of councillors, accounting for it by referring to the boroughs in the county outside the new counties. He remarked that the people had now been admitted into the sanctuarv: and dealing with the past conduct of county and other matters, he said that although the vast ma- jority of his fellow-countrymen, were Nonconfor- mists and Welsh people, those who had been ap- pointed in this county had in a great majority of cases been Churchmen, Tories, and, in many instances, unacquainted with the language of the people. He referred to the county lunatic asylum as illustrating his reference, and the appointment of officers unable to speak Welsh, and he said that if they appointed a county council of the right sort such a thing would not in future be tolerated. (Applause.) The evening was far advanced, and, therefore, he did not intend to enter at any great length into the duties devolving upon the county council, for he hoped to have an opportunity of addressing the people of Clydach Vale later on. He would now content himself with echoing the words of his fellow-candidate (Mr Lewis), and re- marking that if they returned him, he would be sure to vote on the right side. (Applause.) In conclusion he proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Thomas for coming amongst his workmen and other neighbours at Clydach Vale, and giving them so forcible an illustration of the beneficial effects of having intimate and amicable arrangements between capital and labour. Mr Lewis rose to second the vote of thanks, and said that Mr D. A. Thomas was an exception amongst employers. (Applause.) The resolution was then carried with acclama- tion. Mr D. A. Thomas, M.P., returned thanks, and proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman for pre- siding. Rev. W. Edwards seconded, and it was carried. Mr D. Deere referred in enthusiastic terms to the recent appointment of Mr D. A. Thomas as one of the whips of the Welsh party. Mr T. E. Ellis had, he said, declined the post himself, and mentioned Mr Thomas as an excellent substitute, and he (the speaker) had no doubt Mr Ellis was perfectly right, knowing as he did that the best man to handle the Welsh whip was a. thoroughly patriotic Welshman. (Laughter and applause.) The proceedings then terminated.

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