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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSHI LEADERS…

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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSH LEADERS OF OPINION. No. X.. ABEL. THOMAS, MIP. My Dear AbeL-A wonderful change has come over you since the days when,, an unkempt country youth, you .first made your appearance on the South Wales circuit as a distant v spirant to the coveted woolsack. Though,.inithose days,.you looked a simple, unassuming young. man. your weather eye was concentrated«n. the main chance, and you have since been, very suwiessful. You are, indeed, in many respeots, the most suc- cessful advocate at the Southi Wales Bar yet no one looking at you in your early days would have ventured to predict the career that lias openclont to you but the race is not to the swift. You have not won by brilliant abilities,, but by persis- tent plodding and that overweening confidence which is at once your best friend and. greatest enemy. B. F. Williams tells me that you are a much over-rated man" and: he reckons himself your superior, both as an. advocate andl a lawyer. Though I am more or less convincediof the truth- fulness of his assertion,. I can. see that jealousy originates his rancour, .and for that reason L pay little heed to his observations. To do myself j us- tice, and relieve your apprehensions. I hasten to tell you that my opinions- concerning- you have been formed, not from.the splenetic: utterances of rival lawyers, but from, my own individual obser- vation. 1 do not regard you as a great lawyer, even in a narrow sphere, and though, you; aspire, with all the eagerness of your ambitaims nature, to a seat onL the judicial bencht B do not think you will, ever adorn, that position. The time may come when, iu, tha ordinary course of events- a County Court judgeship or even a more coveted and lucrative gosition may fall to your sharo; but you are not the stuff out of which eminent judges are manufactured. You are simply a wide-awake* self-seeking, self- asserting person*, and your future professional career will probably be quite as successful as the past has beeni. Though I do not feel towards- you as Jonathan did towards David" Il shall view your success with the same degree of pleasure. I know when you: gjuve Gwilym his quietus in East Car- marthen. Ii was the first to throw say best bowler in the air and cheer till the folks thought I had a screw 10080- somewhere. But friendship: of the most intense order-which I dpoTt profess towards you—must not be allowed to, blind us to each other's, failings and defects. Just r(i),view your past hfeiory ever since an un- polished rustic from an ujxeo^bh part of Pembroke you. entered the bar, and think how, step by step, you; have squeezed yourselif'to the front until now, when, you have, probably,, the most remunerative praetiee on the South Wales Circuit. That is suc- cess for you are still hale and uncramped, by age, and may naturally expect to win greater forensic triumphs and earn larger fees in the future than you have in the past. I won't envy you your suc- cess, which probably is inevitable, for nothing succeeds like success And yet 1 think no true friend of yours ought to wish you an unbroken success. Some men grow cursed with continued prosperity like cats with age,, and I believe you are one of those. It requirers a greater man to bear success than misfortune. You are the son of a Baptist minister, and, perhaps, you still retain some of the recollections of your childhood. You will probably remember, therefore, how a great king of Israel was spoiled by success. Who can think of the heroic youth, full of dreams of ambition and zeal for the glory of God and the good of his people, being slowly converted by suc- cess into a luxury laving, lustful, slothful, potentate, without a feeling of poignant regret and despair for the future of the best of men 1 If the greatest king of Israel was thus spoilt by success, is it any wonder that your best friends regret your early and continuous success ? You were a better man, when you left your father's Baptist manse for the forum than you are to-day. Success anywhere would be dangerous to you, but success at the soul-killing, selfish chicanery of the law could not but prove fatal to you. I have a presentiment that you would, like Manasseh and Robert Bruce. improve under failure and disap- pointment. I have groat belief in your natural goodness, but many we "s have grown in a good soil through neglect. I could almost wish that some disappointment should befall you, were I sure you, would be made wiser and nobler thereby. Oh for a man to arise In me, That the man I am may cease to be," sang the poet, and it is only required that you should be less satisfied with what you are. to make you a great and a good man. Don't think that because your income exceeds that of some Cabinet Ministers that therefore you have justi- fied your existence. Man was born for higher duties and better objects than to gather gold-dust. Would that you could take a higher view of man's duty on earth I do not say that the li awri sacra fames has fallen on you in a worse degree than on some of your legal friends, but I do know that it has destroyed in you more possibilities for good than in almost any man I have ever known. I know many men who have done less good to the world than you, but I have known none who have done so little when they could do so much. The pity of it, oh the pity of it! You might have been one of the best and greatest benefactors of your country, and you have deliberately chosen the worse lot. But that was your own choice, and however one may regret it, the world has no right to inter- fere with the liberty of each one to map out the course of his own life. You have chosen the lot your best friends would not have wished, but it is altogether a question for yourself to decide upon, and we regretfully acquiesce in the inevitable. But we might, and with reason do, expect that you should fulfil the solemn pro- mises you have yourself made. I think the time has come when the true story of the East Carmar- then election of 1890 should be told. Hitherto there has been a conspiracy of silence about the whole affair the Liberals were silent because it was to their interest, the Tory press were quiet because Gwilym was by no means a jx-rxtmu a rata among Tory journalists. You know, or should know. that it was to Gwilym himself your success was due. You were not returned because the electors loved you. It was simply a question as to which of the two they disliked least. It wasn't a question of loving Caesar much but Rome more but of hating GAvilym much and Abel less. iGwilym possessed some advantages—great advantages, too —which you lacked. He was a Welshman, born in the locality you were half an Englishman from little England beyond Wales." ° Gwilym could address the electors in the tongue of their fathers you had to content yourself with address- ing them in the iaith fain." You remember what a mull you made of it when, the night of your elec- tion, you tried to address your new constituents in Welsh at Llandilo. Gwilym was known to be an ardent Nonconformist; while, though you said you were a Baptist, your keenest supporters were afraid to inquire into your denominational ante- cedents. Do you remember that meeting when one of Gwilym's supporters made the pertinent inquiry, What chapel do you attend in Swansea, Mr. Thomas?" and how glad you were to take shelter behind a friendly chairman's ruling that the question was not in orderBut, then, you had two great pulls over Gwilym. Gwilym's political regord WttB not "Unsullied it was known that in 1880 ] he had voted for Jones, Blaenos—one of the T'ry j candidates for the gounty, Worse still, Gwilym owned up to it like a man, anC! said thit J"c!ics h'ul | done him some favour—got a cousin of his ap- | pointed postman or inspector of nuisances or j something—and out of gratitude had voted for J the old squire whom he looked up to with a sort of femi'il reveronoo. If a mm could thus give his vote out of gratitude for a benefit which his friend enjoyed, it was feared that he would give his vote in the House of Commons for a mess of potage, while, fairplay to you, it was known that you would not be likely to do anything out of gratitude, and you yourself had said that you had a soul above the charms of a county court judge- ship. Nothing was known of your political past, and hence it was concluded to be unsullied. It was known, too, that Gwilym was interested in a brewery. That wouldn't have been much if Gwilym had owned up to it like a man but he funked on this point, and he tried to play up to the temperance party, with the result that he alienated both winebibbers and water drinkers, both bung and bluster. Your immaculate soul, on the other hand, had not been contaminated by contact with the drink traffic, and it was thought that it only required a little pressure to convert you into as eloquent a temperanca advocate as Bowen Rowlands himself. I must give you credit, too. for showing much dialectical skill in your speeches when you and Gwilym were run from one part of the constituency to the other by the party wirepullers, like a couple of wild beasts. You were put through your paces like two young cobs at John Browns fair, and I must say that you showed to better advantage than Gwilym. But what got you in more than anything, was the suspicion that Gwilym had been trying- to act un- fairly towards the electors. He had been made president of a strange, nondescript body of hole- and-corner politicians, who called themselves the Liberal Association' of East Carmarthenshire. Gwilym quietly filled this association with his own men. and one of the secretaries was known to be an ardent Gwilymite. When all the arrange- ments were complete -and when the electorsjof the constituency, through indifference, h:ul allowed Gwilym's men to ba reappointed in May, 1890, Gwilym thought that ite could make himself quite secure by turning the so-called "elected representa- tives of the people into a permanent olig- archy. Hitherto one of the rules of the Association had been that delegates should be elected annually in May. Gwilym thought him- self secure: he was- afraid of a change in the constitution, for it was-uncertain when a vacancy would occur the rule providing the election should be annually held in May was rescinded, and Gwilym thought that his own nominees would therefore constitute the Association for all time. Alas for the vanity of hmman efforts! "Quero Deus vult perdere prius- dementat," and so it was with Gwilym. The seat became vacant in July, and Gwilym thought he-would have a walk over. But some cute fellow—he is supposed to be a statibnmaster or a shepherd, or something at Llan. gadock—found that the- abrogation of the rule worked both ways. Since the rule was rescinded, there-was nothing, he argrued. to prevent delegates from being elected every month, or every week, if the electors so wished. Everyone—except the Gwilymites—hailed the suggestion with a rapture that betokened thy depth otf their previous despair. Hurried consultations were held, telegrams and letters flew, with the result that three meetings were held at Brynaman, Llandilo, and Llangadock simultaneously, the night before the meeting of the so-called Liberal Association. A clean sweep was-mada- of: the Gwilymites, and you were the selected of the Association by a majority of 52. Do you remember the promises you made during that eventful contest I The electors, at the time, wanted a man who could speak, and they thought you could electrify St. Stephen's with the thunder of your eloquence. Bat your harp has been mute in the noble liall It was known that the tithe qu-Gstiion- was coming- to aerisis, and it was thought that a lawyer of yoiatr eminence would have been of the greatest service to the party in a question which only required a knowledge of County Court procedure and a little shrewdness. But yon allowed Sam to. gain the laurels which you bad been seat to Parliament to win. Of course I know you were down in South Wales at the time of the tithe debate, advocating the cause of the tithe martyrs of Cardigan and Pembroke But even that did you harm, for every man in the constituency believes, rightly or wrongly, that you charged twenty-five guineas a day for your services.. You promised, too, that you would often visit your constituents. Brynamman. Llandilo, and Lkingadock have very great claims on you for it was through them that you were returned. And yet you have never addressed them They see you.* name in the papers as being at Cardiff and Swansea, and Pontypridd and Carmarthen, earning golden guineas, but they never see your name in your place in Parliament, tew of them haft seen you except when serving on a jury, and none have ever heard you addressing a political meeting. The time has long gone by when a Welsh constituency will tolerate a representative, who never visits them, and never does any work in Parliament. You have alienated your warmest supporters, and you have destroyed the security of one of the safest Radical seats in the kingdom. You can expect no reward from the next Liberal: Government—if you will then be in St. Stephen' —for you have done nothing for them. You have raised hopes in Gwilym's heart which may be fruitful of disaster. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. As member of the House, you have not served your party or your constituency, or, as far as I can see, yourself.. What will happen at the next election it is im- possible to foretell, but the most casual observer can see that a storm is brewing. When it will burst forth in fury. and what havoc and disaster it will cause, I would not like to predict. Others have had to fight with greater difficulties Sana, had, for imtince, to mollify the men of Garw, and Mabon the miners of Mid-Rhondda. They have both succeeded, and nowhere will they find warmer support now than in those parts. You; had better opportunities, and fewer prejudices to overcome. Your opportunities you have missed- and missed for ever. The prejudices have in- creased, and day after day adds to them. It is not only your opponents of last year thai are no*c angry with you nor is it simply the -waverers- You have alienated those who would have gone through fire and water for you a your ago. and when you visit those parts of the constituency which were most friendly to you, yea; will be met, with a studied coldness, if not with positive aversion. These are hard truths, bust they are the mature opinions, my dear Abel, af your candid friend, THEOttORE DODD. Next week Theodore Dodd will address all ope11 letter to Mr. SIT Aln REXDKLU M.P.

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