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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSH LEADEllS…

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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSH LEADEllS OF OPINION. No. XIII. W. BOWEX- ROWLANDS. Q.C., M.P. MY DEAR BOWES.—I: is a real pleasure to write to you. That is more, by a long way, than can be said of the majority of your colleagues in St. Stephens. I don', know why it is. but our representatives in Parliament are, with a few notable exceptions, a very ordinary class of men. If they represent the best intellect of the nation, the intelligence of the nation has reached a low ebb. Indeed, when we tarn our thoughts to the House of Common-, and think of the frantic efforts ambitious men make to secure a seat there, we are puzzled to account for the mediocre talent which, after all. finds its way into Parliament. In various walks of life we discern men of superior ability, men of first-rate ability, in abundance yet how few of these find their way into the House of Commons. Parliament does not attract the highest order of talent, It attracts scheming men. men of ambition, men who are without principle and with little of the finesse that pervades the best minds but the very class of men who would do honour to the legislation of the nation it does not attract. Or if Parliament does attract the best and most suitable class of men. they are for the most part shelved for men of louder preten- sions. and men with long purses who aire will- ing to pay for the honour of the coveted position. I fear that before we can espect the political milleniurn to dawn we must find some means or other of choosing cur legislators from among those possessed of the greatest wisdom. How we s^e to accomplish that in a problem yet to be solved. Perhaps Major Jones, when he takes his seat in St. Stephen's, will turn his astute attention to the elucidation of the matter. If he can unravel the knotty point he will prove himself a benefactor to his nge and country. I am -sure if he makes an effort in that direction he will have your eloquent co-operation. When I began this series of letters it was my fixed purpose to tell the gentlemen whom I addressed of their excellent qualities and abundant talents. I had somehow come to the conclusion that the Welsh members were, without exception, men of sterling worth and rare capacity. It was stupid of me to cherish such generous thoughts, but such was my weakness, now at length completely dispelled after a careful obser- vation and closer acquaintance with the gentlemen who think they are qualified to make our laws and regulate things generally. You are an excellent fellow yourself, with some of the best instincts of a gentleman. But your colleagues are not, I am sorry to say. all of the same desirable and admi- rable quality. But though my long and fondly- cherished idol has been shattered, I' have still to admit that your colleagues are wonderful, con- sidering all things. See how with few recommen- dations and such poverty of talent they have schemed and manoeuvred themselvea into the House of Commons. That in itself is a feat of no mean order, in a competition where there are so many candidates. It is a pleasing reflection that among the many Parliamentary failures, you have acquitted your- self fairly well. You have not done great things, but you have upheld the reputation which, during 20 years, as an earnest, advanced politician, you gained and maintained on the public platform.. You are a fluent and eloquent speaker, and your triumphs at the bar had led many of your country- men to expect great things of you in'St. Stephen's. Well, a number of these have, I Sad, been greatly disappointed with your Parliamentary perfor- mances. Ion have not been a burning and shining light in the House of Commons but you have done excellent work for all that, and your Liberalism has the true, genuine ring about it. There is no doubt about your political faith. In the conflict between Libcnlism and Toryism you will ever steer for the great central stream, and while others, who to-day are brandishing their broai-swords from the housetops, go forth in doubtful habili- ments, you will be loyal to the last. And though your power has not been recognised in the House, you havebeen a well-defined influence in the Welsh party, lou have done some excellent work all round, while your splendid services to the cause of temperance are everywhere acknowledged. If here and there in your own constituency and through- out the Principality generally you hear of grumblers who find fault with you because you have not done this. that, and the other thing, just recall the consoling story of the man with the donkey, and remember that grumblers, like the poor, are always with us. I sometimes fear that here in Wales, where we have so many good things, grumblers are more abundant, as if they had been given unto us as a kind of thorn in the flesh, the messengers of Satan, to buffet us, lest we. by reason or our gifts and graces, should become exalted above measure. You are a genial, hearty soul. Bowen, yet you are not greatly beloved by your Welsh colleagues. I think your talents are of too high an order to win praise from them. Tney are jealous of you, from Rathoone down to Osborne 3Iorgan. But you need not trouble your head about their ill- will. It is born of the old Adam, and infests men of disappointed hopes. Look at the men who grunt most at you, and judge for yourself. You werj trained to expound the beautitudes of the episcopal sect, and in the pulpit you made things hum for a while. But in process of time you sought and found a more congenial field for your undoubted talents. You have been a suc- cessful advocate, and have obtained from a jury the heaviest damages of any man ar the bar. Mrs. Weldon remembers you with gratitude. Except- ing by those who cherish some personal grudge against you, you are invariably well-sooken of. For you are one ot those kmdiy, genial, generous- heartel souls whom we all love. unless there be a twist in our constitution, and then there is no ac- counting for our prejudices. In the discharge of your public duties you never spare yourself, nor allow self-interest to determine your actions or warp your judgment. You have tried, during the years you have been in Parliament, to do your •^uty to your constituents, whom you so seldom visit, whose language you cannot speak, and ele- vate the land of your birth. A class of people who belong to all nations, and are known and hated the wide world over, has arisen, in these parts, to disparage yon because you are not Adam Smith or Jeremy Bentham. But Cicero himself, if he could gather his dust from his Roman se- pulchre and appear amongst us, would not please those who have been trying to stir up discontent againt you. They are a strange class of indivi- duals, whose good-will it is hardly desirable to obtain. Their minds arc constructed on a straitened scale, and run in a narraw grove, and because they are not continually greased they lay in wait to devour you. It is a had thing to please those who fatten on public credulity and if you have not quite succeeded in pleasing such, you are only in the same position as many another honest and honourable public men. • We arc not likely soon to forget how vou 1 stormed the seat you now hold, and won it to "the Liberal party. You showed how splendidly you could fight when occasion required. Since then. when you have been needed in the country and in the House of Commons, you have never spared yourself. It is well that you should throw your- self heart and soul into your political work for your voice is the most eloquent of all the Welsh members, and your influence is more distinct in many respects than the influence of any of the lathers. You have your faults. I know, and your blemishes also. which you would be much better without, but taking you all in all you are a credit to your country, and when the wheel of fortune takes another turn you will be elevated to the judicialibench as a reward for the services you have freely and diligently rendered. Those good qualities which would have fitted you for a rural dean or a dignitary of greater authority in the episcopal community, and which have distin- guished you in the spheres you have otherwise adorned will make you one of the most popular and trusted judges on the English Bench. That is my prediction, and I can prophesy like an old- world oracle when I am in the humour for that kind of display. Aaron Davies, of Pontlottyn. is always dinning it into my ears that he ought to have been in Parliament oefoce you. That may be so. for anything I know, but we must take facts as we Had them. and Aaron must wait even though he be well stricken in years. You will see. dear Billy Fairplav—as our London namesake once said you were called at the Bar. though I have never heard it said elsewhere-that I have taken a, liking to you. Bur because I love you. therefore I must correct you. He who spares the rod spoils Billy, said the wise man. First of all. you have not quite got rid of the effects of your ecclesiastical training. There's a good deal of the supple curate about you still. You know your own mind, of course, and are determined to gang your ain gate"; why, therefore, endeavour to agree with every pretentious nobody who speaks to you ? You don't know Welsh either, but for that I forgive you, as you were rather late in life in getting free from the clutches of an alien church. But the most serious fault I see in you is €hat you don't visit your constituents often enough. Observe the ways of our friend Abel Thomas and learn wisdom. You remember that I had-out of the superabundance of my good nature—to slate Abet for the same thing some time ago. It was a sharp medicine, as Raleigh said of the executioner's axe:, but it did good. Abel, like a brave man, looked the facts squarely in the face, and amended his ways. He went up to Llangadock and other places, and he was rewarded by smiling encourage- ment from his old friends, and the beauteous eyes and eloquent tongues of the fair maids of Ystrad Towy" rained influence," as Milton would say, and now Abel is safe. You do the same. Youhave not been so lucky in your critic as Abel. The-wolf in the shape of Brummagem Joe has been among vour flock. Some of the timid sheep may be frightened, and the bravest may be getting timo- rous when the shepherd is away. They want political-i bulum they naturally look for it from the shepherd, but, alas "the hungry sheep look up and are not fed." Mayhap they'll have, in their despair, to accept the chaff of Chamberlain. Wherefore, William Bowen. feed thy sheep.—I am, my dear Bowen, your faithful friend. THEODORE DODD. Next week Theodore Dodd will address an Open Letter to LEWIS MOERIS. Esq., J.P.

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