Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

16 articles on this Page







THE LATE DISESTABLISHMENT MEETING AT LLANCARFAN. MR LEWIS DAVIES' REPLY TO THE REV J. MATTHEWS. To the Editor of the BARRY DOCK NEWS." SIR,—In reading the last issue of your valuable paper I saw a letter by the Rev J. Matthews, which purported to be a reply to mine. Judge my astonishment when I read it, and found that it consisted only of a long tirade of personal abuse, and not a reply in any sense of the word. I need hardly state that it is largely a fabrication of falsehoods, for it bears that evidence upon its face. Mr Matthews makes reference to the fact that the chairman asked the policeman to prevent me from making "senseless interruptions." He was not asked to prevent me from making senseless interruptions," but to turn me out. And he forgot to tell you that the chairman did it at his own (i.e., Mr Matthews') instigation. When I saw this move I was not in the least disconcerted, for, judging from experience, this is a favourite method of procedure with Mr Matthews. I remem- ber the very same move" being made at Mountain Ash with reference to the present Vicar of Aberystwith and Archdeacon of Cardigan, when he was vicar of Mountain Ash. The officer acted properly, and gave the chairman the rebuke he so richly deserved. The interruptions, which I candidly confessed and explained in my last letter, were quite con- stitutional. If Mr Matthews is sorry there was not a. reporter present, I am doubly so and it was for this reason that I wrote my first letter. I write this letter simply for the sake of shewing your readers what, I have no doubt, they have errasped already, that abuse is not argument, and that Mr Matthews has not answered one of the arguments adduced by me in my last letter. He has attempted a reply to one question, but, as I shall show in its proper place, the quotation not only does not prove his case, but, on the other hand, shatters it. Your correspondent says in the commencement of his letter, that his reply must be brief, as he had only a few minutes before leaving town. No one regrets this more than myself, for I should very much have liked to have seen his answers to my questions. If his time was so short why did he not go straight to my questions and occupy the half-column of your valuable paper with replies instead of personal invective and abuse ? Or why did he not promise that he would send replies to your next issue ? The answer is plain to every unprejudiced reader. He next tries to score cheaply by saying that I was an importation from Mountain Ash. If I was an importation from Mountain Ash surely he was an importation from Swansea ? He then states Not a question was asked on the address delivered, but a long list of irrelevant questions, having no bearing on the great ques- tion at issue, as may be seen from the specimens given in the letter in your paper." I cannot ac- count for this wild statement, except by assuming that Mr Matthews does not remember what he said. That my questions were perfectly relevant, and had a very direct bearing on the great question at issue, I will, with your permission, Mr Editor, proceed to shew. Mr Matthews, in his address, spoke of the State- fettered Church, and wanted us to believe that Dissent is free from State control. In face of this assertion, and to show its utter absurdity, I asked four pertinent questions First-" Can any Dissenting body meet for Divine worship with closed doors, or can it refuse to admit any person without rendering itself liable to a fine of £20, a fine imposed by Act of Parliament ?" Second-" Can a Nonconformist minister marry a couple without a registrar being present—an arrangement demanded by Act of Parliament ?" Third—" Can Dissenting bodies alter their trust deeds without appealing to Parliament ?" Fourth-" Is is not a fact that the Wesleyans themselves confessed that they could not alter their poll-deed, by which ministers cannot stay more than three years in the same place, although they wished to do so, without appealing to Parlia- ment ?" If the statements underlying these*questions are true—and I challenge Mr Matthews to deny them -then Dissent is certainly State-bound. Mr Matthews refers to Free Churches-meaning, of course, Dissent. Does he know that in certain cases the State reserves to itself the right to interpret the trust deeds of chapes and pronounce what doctrine shall, and must, be taught in them ? Is this the freedom of the Free Churches ? Mr Matthews spoke in his address of the established Church. I asked him a relevant question, surely, when I required him to give the date when, and the Act by which, the Church of England was established ? In my last letter I said that the terms created and established were used as convertible terms by Liberationist lecturers, which he has not denied. In his reply Mr Matthews says that he would have been glad to have answered this question if the noisy opposition would have allowed him. But surely no noisy opposition prevented him giving these particulars in his letter. Why has he not given them so that we might know ? I answer emphatically and once again. because he cannot." If he can, let him do so. He then gives a quota- tion by the late Prof. Freeman-" The history of the Church of England is the history of the House of Commons, of trial by jury, or of any similar great institution it is the creation of law, not of any particular one, but law written and un- written." (Note that Prof. Freeman speaks of "law," not in its narrower sense of statutory enactments, but in its wider and broader sense). Mr Matthews then adds, "I agree with Prof. Freeman." So do I; very much so. The history of the Church of England is the history of any great institution, such as the House of Commons and trial by jury, in that it is the outcome of the work of centuries, and that it is created not by any particular law, but by law written and un- written. Yes, this is my contention, that the Church of England is not the creation of any par- ticular law. Prof. Freeman in this passage, which Mr Matthews quotes, unfortunately against himself, deals a death blow to the false and baseless assertions of Liberationist lecturers, that the Church of England is a "State-made Church," the creation of Henry VIII." And yet Mr Matthews agrees with this. I am very glad to hear it. This, no doubt, is the reason why he does not favour us with the date when, and the Act by which, the Church was established "-because he believes with Professor Freeman that the Church is not the creation of anv narticular law. Your correspondent states that the opposition consisted of a group of youngsters at the end of the room." If that was so-which I absolutely deny-why did the chairman refuse to take a vote of the meeting at my request ? Well, because he saw that the meeting would have voted against Disestablishment. The reference to the case of Ireland is irrelevant, for Mr Gladstone his himself stated openly in the House of Commons that the case of the two Churches is not parallel. I agree with Mr Gladstone. In conclusion, Mr Matthews apologises for troubling you, promising to take no further notice of office seekers." I treat the last paragraph with the silent contempt it deserves. But the previous part, in which he promises to take no further notice of this controversy, is highly ludicrous. The redoubtable champion has been beaten in one part of the field, and having come into another part to view his antagonist he promptly retreats. He hasn't taken up the gauntlet thrown down in the shape of a challenge to a public debate, and probably antioipating a rout, he scuttles out of a newspaper controversy in a most undignified and unbecoming manner. I April 30th, 1894. LEWIS DAVIES.