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- ,-_. - . . To WELSH LXNOTAL…


To WELSH LXNOTAL OUTSUS- CHAJROSS AGAINST THE CLRRGT AND THE REGISTRAR GENERAL. MR LLOYD GEORGE ON THE WARPATH. In the Honse of Common* on Monday on the vote to complete the sum for the salaries and expenses of the office of the Registrar-General, Mr Carvell Williams asked that the register* of births, deaths and marriages connected with Nonconformist bodies, some of which were of considerable historical and biographioal interest, might be deposited in some safe place where access might be had to them without the statutory fees. What he wanted was only the restoration of a privilege which was enjoyed for many years. Mr Shaw-Lefevre said that the question was only one of the space niable at Somerset House and elsewhere. Be would, however, con- aider whefSer suitable arrangements could be made. Mr Lloyd George called attention to the Registrar- General a return of the languages spoken in Wales, and moved a reduction of the vote for the purpose of taking the sense of the committee on certain grave ineinnatio? upon the Welsh people contained in it. The Registrar-General he Raid, aeemed to have held a very strong view with regard to the langaage question. lie seemed to have had some pre-con- ceived notion on the question, and to be very indignant that that idea was upset by the aotual returns of the census. The result of the returns showed that out of a population of one and a half millions 508,000 spoke Welsh exclusively, and had no practical knowledge of the English language, and that 4-02,000 might be described an bi-Iingual. "The inatruction for the filling up of the langaage column, the Retfistrar-Oeneral said, seemed clear enough; nevertheless abundant evidence was received by ns that it was either misunderstood or set at nought by a large number of those Welshmen who epoke both languages." There was no indication in the report of the nature of this abundant evidence, and he complained that a State servant should have made such a state. ment without producing or indicating the nature of the evidenoe on which it was based. But that was not the most serious feature of the report. The Registrar-General went on to say that the figures obtained were absolutely unreliable that there was a certain amount of suspicion attaching to them and that in fact no weight whatever could be given to the returns made by the people themselves with regard to the language they spoke. Statements of that kind meant one of two things either that the instrnctions given were not under- stood, or that 900.000 people, in making theae return. had made false statements and that they actually lied with regard to the language which they habitually spoke. That was a grave insinuation to cast upon a population in a Government return, and before it was made there ought to have been clearer and more empathetio evidence produced than appeared in the report. The only justification which appeared in the report for that aspersion was the fact that certain parents had returned children under two years as Welsh speaking, and from that the Registrar-General argued that the whole of the return was unreliable, though he would like to point out that the Registrar-General himself had stated that child- ren under two years were excluded from the statistics in regard to languages. Welsh mem- bers in that House had frequently raised the question of the appointment of Welsh speaking officials, such as County Court judges and mine and quarry inspectors but the return for the purpose of showing the number of Welsh speaking people in the locality was absolutely worthless by reason of the qualification a of the Registrar-General He contended that they should have a thorough, fair, and honest report on these census returns so far as they affected the Principality, and that the "abundant evidence" upon which the Registrar-General had based his assertions should he produoed. In his opinion the "abundant evidence" was simply evidence got up cooked by a number of clergymen for political purposes. MrShaw-Lefevre said he did not think the hon. gentleman was justified in saying that theRe gis- trar-General bad accused the Welsh people of having deliberately lied, or of having deliber- ately made false returns. What he gathered from the report was that the v iew of the Regis- trar-General was that a certain number of Welsh people,being enthusiastic Welshmen, had rather misunderstood the language of the return, and had been rather inclined to magn ify the number of ersons who spoke Welsh. Mr Lloyd 6oorge What does that mean ex. cept making a de'iberate false returns P think it ;r Shaw- L e f evre said he did not think it amounted to that. He thought the hon. member had made the charge against the Registrar. General on too high ground, and wasof opinion that the report did not justify the assertion that the Registrar-General had accused the Welsh pe >ple of having a deliberate intention to make false returns. Sir Francis Powell said he thought no one could read the census report without feeling that some of the Welsh parents were somewhat prophetical in their view as to the language to be spoken by their children when they reached maturity (hear, hear). He rose to condemn in the strongest terms the language useaby Mr Lloyd George repecting certain clergymen in Wales. He understood the hon. member to ac- cuse those clergymen of having endeavoured to mislead the officials, and further to accuse the Registrar-General of having been misled by the, correspondence which had taken place between him and the bishops and clergy in Wales. That was a most grave insinuation to bring against j the ministers of any denomination to accuse the clergy of Wales. and particularly such a clergy- man as the Bishop of St. Asaphâ(Welsh laughter)âof having wilfully made certain false returns. Mr Lloyd George: I did not make that accu- utbn. Sir F. Powell: If the accusation is withdrawn I have no more to say on the point. Mr Lloyd George: The accusation is not with. drawn, because it was never made. Sir F. Powell said he did not see how any gentleman living in Wales, and knowing the facts, conld make statements misleading the de- partments without being guilty of conduct that deserved reprobation. Mr Lloyd George: But tM1 don't know the factx.w-ft-* i i" Sir F. Powell said they must have known the facts, because they were living on the spot, and he repudiated with scorn the allegation that these clergymen would endeavour to mislead apnblie official There was not a more thorough Welshman in Wales than the Bishop of St. Asaphâ(Welsh langhter)âand though differ. ences of opinion existed between the hon. members fppot'te and the bishop, he belu Ted that his lordship WHS as much a Welshman as any of them (hear, bparl. Mr Rees Daviee: I rise to order. I wish to I\8k you whether the hon. baronet is in order in speaking with respect to the nationality and ch aracter of the Bishop of St. Asaph on this vote. The Chairman: I cannot say the hon. baronet II ont oi order (hear. hear). Sir P. Powell said his object was to defend the i)iabop and clergy of Wales from the as- persiona of a grave character which had been cast upon them by the hon. member, and which were utterly and entirely unfounded (cheers). Mr F. Edwards said he could not agree with r Shaw.Lefevre's assumption that the Regis- trar.General had not imputed motives. The b o!e, report, it appeared to him, read as if the,(, ;vore a del'berate intention on the part of "? itrar-Genei-al to minimise the Dumber "Welsh-speaking people in Wales. Mr Herbert Lewis said be did not want to j. topnte motives, but it seemed to him 88 if the ?MttM.OettenJ had foamd in the import an ?Pport inity of revenging himself on the Welsh ple (hear, hear). The Welsh people con. aP' ,,el'ed they had been insqlted by the Regis' rar- who, h was afraid, belonged to a class officials who bettt?d the only polioy was the ??ieiMg policy (bear) hear). 14r Humphreys OWeD said a IiFful fe6Un £ '? Wen -'and tbrou&at thePnnoip&!ity by -00.0. the issuing of this report, and he associated himself with all that had been said as to the obvious animus of the statements made in it. Mr Lloyd George regretted that the right hon. gentleman could not make a more satisfac- tory reply than he had done, and appealed to him as to whether he didn't think it was a case for some further investigation. He desired to say that he didn't accuse the clergy of Wales of wilfully misleading the public or the Regis- trar-Generttra department on this question. He understood the Bishops of the Principality had issued circulars to their clergy,instructing mem to make inquiries with regard to this census re- turn,and the results of those inquiries were for. warded by theBishops tofheRegietrar-General. And the abundant evidence referred to by the Registrar-General in his report was really indentical with the returns made by the Bishops in their various dioeoses. He did not say they intended wilfully to mislead the public, or any official, but he did say that, having taken a very strong view of this question, knowing how much it affected the matter of the Establish- ment in Wales, they naturally did not take a veryjndicial view in regard to the subject. Their view would be ooloured on the question, and those views would colour the returns of the clergy to the bishops, which were unfortunately adopted by the Registrar-General. He hoped the right hon. gentleman would see his way to grant" departmental committee to inquire into the matters that had been brought before the House in regard to this report. Mr Shaw-Lefevre said he did not think it was a case in which he could grant the inquiry asked for. He would- undertake to make inquiries upon the subject himsfff, and communicate the result to the House at a later stage of their pro- ceedings. Mr H. Lewis could not accept this promise as at all adequate or satisfactory,because his sources of information would be precisely the same as those which had been used to produce this ex- traordinary report. Mr Shaw-Lefevre said he hoped he should be able at some future time to disclaim any such intention on the part of the Registrar-General as had been imputed to him. That was why he had suggested making inquiries into the matter complained of himself. Mr Lloyd George said that what they wanted was a report on this question upon which Parliament could rely, and which could be quoted in future proceedings in the Hocse. He wanted to know whether the right hon. gentle- man would take steps to furnish the House with a proper report on this question before the House met next session. Mr Shaw-Lefevre could not give any such un. dertaking, but he would communicate with the Registrar-General, and make a further state- ment on the whole subject on the report stage. The motion for reduction was withdrawn,and the vote agreed to. THE RELIABILITY OF THE WELSH I LANGUAGE RETURN. Mr Lloyd George again in the House of Commons on Tuesday asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he was prepared to cause an inquiry to be made into the grounds on which the Registrar-General cast suspicion on the reliability of the Welsh language return in the census report of 1891, and to make a report on the subject. Mr Shaw-Lefevre The Registrar-General is at the head of an important Government depart- ment,and in the matter of the Censu1- Act under a great statutory authority. Under these circumstances I cannot, I think, properly direct an officer of my department to make inquiries i1.to the nature of the facts which 1 were brought in the interests of the House and the public in his report; but I will myself, personally, make inquiry into the matter and will communicate the result of these inquiries to the hon. member in the course of the recess in such a manner as that he can make further use of them. THE DISCONTENTED WELSH RADICALS IN I A MINORITY. In the House of Commons on Wednesday on the vote relating to the salaries and expenses of the offioe of the Registrar-General, Mr Lloyd George repeated his complaints about the Regietrar-General's report as to the census in Wales. Mr Shaw-Lefevre said the House would recollect that on Monday last Mr Lloyd George raised a debate with regard to the Registrar-General's report of the censusof 1891 inWales.and stated that that official had impated that many of the Welsh people had wilfully made mis-statements with the view of increasing the number of those who were returned as speaking the Welsh language only. Mr Lloyd George said the Registrar-General went farther than that, and suggested that the returns were not reliable. Mr Shaw-Lefevre said the hon. member imputed that the Registrar-General, in his report, bad in- sinuated that the Welah people had wilfully and purposely, and almost fraudulently, filled up the re- turns in a manner which was not consistent with truth. At the time he (Mr Shaw-Lefevre) said he felt certain that that could not have been the inten- tion of the Registrar-General, and that he did not think on the face of the report that that was the meaning of the paragraphs complained of. He also promised that he would oommanioata with the Registrar-General, and ascertain from biui what was his real view on the matter. He had done la, and he bad received from the Registrar-General a most emphatic statement that he had no intention whatever of imputing that the Welsh people had wil- fully and improperly filled up those returns. All that be intended to convey in his report was that there had been some misunderstanding as to the re- quirements of the schedule on the part of the Welsh people in some districts, the result of which was tbat some of the returns were not altogether reliable. The hon. member must not think that this explanation of the Registrar-General wis made specialty in oonsequenoe of the debati of Monday, for be would point out that Mr Fowler, at the beginning ot the year, auswering a question on tbo same subject, put to him by the bon. member for Oswestry, said he had no power to direct that a fresh inquiry should be made as to the number of people speaking Welsh, and that the Registrar- General had no evidenoe that any persou wilfully and knowingly made false returns in Wales." There was an emphatio statement on the part of the) Registrar-General at that time that the passage to whioh Mr Lloyd George referred on Monday did not admit, of the meaning which that hou. member plaoed upon it. He had to state oa the part nf the Registrar-General that he had no iutention whatever of reflecting on the Walsh people in tbe sense in which the hon. member oom. plained of. At the same time he must admit that he thought the language used by the Regintrar- Goneral might have been more explicit-fbeer, ber)-and having regard to the faot tbat it bad given rise to a feeling of irritation in Wales, be regretted that the language did not partake more of this cbaraoter. He thought it would be well if the Rtg'strar-Guneral would embody, in a letter to him, an emphatio denial that lie intended the passages of bis report complained of to bear tbe meaning imputed to him, and that he withdrew any expression whioh would appear to lead itl tbat direction. The letter might be laid before the Hoole in the lorin ot ft I'ariiauifiuary paper. Lt would remain on record, and would by taken in connection with tue report of the ceraiti in any reference in future dtbattn. He al»o desired on tbe part of the Regittrar-Gentral to deny tbe allegation of tbe hon. member that be had been influenced ir. the ooinpiUtiou of hi. report by communications trom tlie bishops "D t clergy iu Wales. The Registrar Genril informed him there was no fonnUatiou for the ostortion that be hid reoeived any communication* whatever from tbe bishops and clergy bearing upon the census. The Brat communication he itueived from any of the olergy or bishops of Wales was the day before yesterday, wheu he received a telegram from the Biabop of St. Avaph on the subject. Mc Lloyd George expressed his dissatisfaction with tbe statement of the right hon. gentlemaa and his determination to take the opinion of the House up n the s-ubj-Kit. If the Government had no con- trol over the Registrar-General the Honit) tiad, and he would therefore move a reduotion in tbe vote on the ground that there was nO evidence to justify that cthoial in aspersing the whole of HIe WeUh returns. The slur that permanent official had ctut upon the Welsh people rendered these returns valueless for all future purposes political and acoial. They must show suoh men t t-at tbey cruid not make f:ilte statements with regatd to the Welsh people, falsify returns, and oolour repcris witb a poliliOltJ object in view, wicbout Laving the cenanre ol the Ltzuve of Commons Tuitsd upon them. fie theseloss inckvtd tbe redaction uf tho vote by £100, Mr F. EBWASDS supported the reduotion. He did not understand the English language It the Regis- trar-General did not in his tepori deliberately im- pute inaocuraoies in the Weloh returus. They ought to have this report set asioe and another re- port merely giving figures, and no opinions of the Registrar-General. Mr H. Lawis joined in the protest in thSidemaod for the withdrawal of the report. The animus which ran through the report an insult to the Welsh people, which their representatives could not submit to. Major JoNst also spoke in favour of the da emand. by the Welsh tnoMbef. Tbft reduotion was negatived without. « divi.ion, the Welsh members apparently not understanding the question uotil it was too late to challenge It. Mr H. LEWIS rose to a point of order, but The Bratsu firmly said there WM no question about It.



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