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^HE^RECTOR^OF MEETHYE ON "…

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^HE^RECTOR^OF MEETHYE ON WELSH DISSENTERS. THE RECTOR of MERTHYR seems to be bent 011 gaining distinction in the Republic of Letters. At least the columns of the Western Mail are considerably indebted to his restless pen. The loss of Mr. "VVATKIN WILLIAMS'S motion has thrown him into ecstacies. In fact, he has soared to such a height that if he be only spared for some fourteen years longer, lie will be able to say, with one of the apostles, I knew a man above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, 1 cannot tell); such an one caught up into the third lieaven." We only hope he will come down to earth once more with limbs un- broken, and that, if not exactly like an apostle, yet like a cat, he will alight upon his feet. His last letter contains a tremendous number of "its;" in short, "it" is a sort of "jack of all trades" forced into his service on every pos- sible occasion. Whenever a hitch occurs it" is jammed into the holo to stop it up. He in- forms us that "we breathe again." That is certainly gratifying, though we did not know, until we saw this exclamation, that our poor Rector had been so hard up for wind. He must have been wrongly accused by those who have hitherto characterised him as long-winded. It seems that he has actually been out of breath. His shortness of breath may. however, be ex- plained by a certain admission which he makes. which is, that "we must be warm." By all means let us be warm. The cold from which the Eector has been suffering may account, for his recent asthma, uow happily removed. We are pleased to observe that he exhorts one great religious duty in the words, "God be praised." He has evidently found out another object of laudation than himself at last. Former letters have told us what I, the poor, persecuted rector of Merthyr have done but now it is no longer, "Let all men praise me, the Rev. JOHN GRIFFITH, M.A. but God be praised." That is a step in advance of former things. Among his various proposals one is for the division of the diocese of St. David's into three dioceses, each with a bishop at its head. Capital! Does not an apostle say, "If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work;" and why should not the RECTOR of MERTHYR create a diocese for himself, if he cannot find one in the ordinary way of promotion ? But what does he mean to do in this new diocese ? Why, there are dirty churches, lie tells us, which ought to be cleaned. What on earth this has to do with the creation of new bishopries we cannot for the life of us understand, but th(-r,- seems to be some connection between the two in our worthy Rector's mind. Does he expect the bishop to parade his diocese with a pailful of lime and a long-handled brush over his shoulders ? That would be a change. People would almost be- lieve in the real humanity of bishops if they could set eyes on such a spectacle. If this re- formation is to he brought about, the sooner the Rev. Jonx GRIFFITH, M.A., is made bishop of Pontsticill, or whatever district he may be ap- pointed to, the better for all! Wales and the world generally. But whatever may become of his new bishoprics, his great ambition, after all, is to convert Wales to the fail of an Established Churchman, to persuade it to throw away its own interpretation of the Scriptures, and join that Church which teaches that we are not saved by faith but by means of a. few drops of water poured or sprinkled upon u.s by a priest wearing a white cloak. Nor does he tliink that Welsh Dissenters would for a moment hesitate to accept such a doctrine in lieu of the teaching of the Protestant Reformers, lie says that "they are not Dissenters from principle, but from birth." That is to say. they are Dissenters, not because they can defend what they profess to believe, but simply because their grandmothers were Dissenters. Unfortunately, the RECTOR, whose reasoning faculties may have been famished by his brisk appetite for lawn, has for- gotten to balance the account. Allowing that nine-tenths of the Dissenters are Dissenters for no other reason than that their mothers or fathers were, what about the people who cling to the alien church? How manv of them have drunk in their baptismal regeneration and epis- copacy with their mother's milk? If we are to begin to appeal to reason. the HECTOR may he alarmed at the result, for even he himself would probably have been a Dissenter but for the acci- dent of birth. We will not deny that many persons are Dissenters, chiefly because their parents were Dissenters: but the insinua- tion that Churchmen are seldom or never so, is little short of impertinence. How- ever, we are glad to find that the RECTOR of MERTIIYR is improving in his attitude towards Dissenters. When lie had to give evidence be- fore a Commission of Inquiry appointed bv Par- liament, upwards of twenty years ago, lie said, "they are very excitable—have notlung like what is considered elsewhere a disciplined reli- gious mind [i.e., we presume, similar to his own]. They go to meeting (!) at six, come out at eight, and spend the remainder of the evening in beer-shops. Properly speaking, there is no religion whatever in my parish [of Aberdare]; at least, I have not yet found it." That was hard enough. Where the people who attended the parish church went to after eight o'clock, he did not say; but he made no scruple in sending all the poor folks who went to meeting (that is a cant name for chapel), to the beer-houses. We congratulate him on having so far improved in his opinion of Dis- senters as to say no harder thing against them now than that they are not Dissenters from principle. We think it well, however, to remind him that he must not judge Welsh Dissenters by the few who hang upon his coat-tails, and are amazingly elated if he touch them with the tips of his fingers. These men are nothing at all from principle, and are very poor specimens of what the real, live, Welsh Dissenter is. But even supposing Welsh Dissenters not to be Dissenters from principle, what will the RECTOR gain? He himself is not loquacious from principle, but could all the laws of heaven and earth combined teach him to be silent ? Men may be born in very stiff moulds, and just as we are men, not from principle, but from birth, and are men notwithstanding, so we may stick to our Dissent, however acquired. The RECTOR glories in Mr. VVATKIN WILLIAMS'S defeat. Nobody ever ex- pected him to have a majority, but we may re- mind the RECTOR that when Mr. JOSEPH HUME moved a similar resolution in 1825, in reference to the Irish Church, his motion was negatived without a division. Even Mr. MIALL had only 95 "ayes" in 1856. But where is the Irish Church now? ♦ THE CHAIRMAN AND COLLECTOR OF THE BOARD OF HEALTH. THE special meeting of the Board of Health, held last week, was disgraced by a scene which, we hope, will be the last of its kind in Merthyr. That Board has not been too vigilant in times past, and therefore we would not be at all dis- posed to censure it for looking well after its officials; but the bullying of public servants is a game which the ratepayers are not likely to relish under any circumstances. When an official deserves to be taken to task, let him be taken to task, but personal attacks, for which no apology can be pleaded must be frowned out of our Boards the moment they are attempted. We have no accusation to lodge against the Board as a whole. The Chairman is, in this instance, the sole offender. What could have induced him to fix his fangs so keenly in the sides of the Collector, we are at some loss to divine; but we think the public will look to him for an explanation. He first of all com- plained that Mr. GOODFELLOW had been dilatory in collecting the rates. Of course, if this could have been proved, the offence was serious enough to demand attention. But, as a closer examination of the accounts most clearly demon- strates, the charge had no foundation whatever to rest upon. The Chairman maintained that about a month previous to the meeting t500 of the March water rate were uncollected, and that, just a few days before, only £ 100 of that amount had been received. Well, the simple question is, Is this true ? An inquiry into the facts has satisfied us that it is not. Even if it had been true, we could not, in all fairness, have attached blame to the Collector, for he was not put in possession of the bills until the time for paying the rates had nearly expired. Thus, for example, the bills for the water-rate, which should all have been paid in by December 25th, 1869, were not placed in the Collector's hands until the 13th day of that month, and even then he did not receive them all, but had them doled out to him in various instalments up to the 16th day of February, 1870. Then, again, the first instalment of bills for the water- rate, which should, according to the Chairman, have been collected by the 2.5th day of March, was not placed in the Collector's hands till the 21st day of March, about four days before the work of collecting should have been completed. We repeat, then, that even had the Chairman's accusation been well founded, it would, under the circumstances just mentioned, have been wholly unjustifiable. A Collector cannot work miracles, even when a Chairman holds the mystic wand. If he is to complete his task on a certain date, he must have the necessary materials placed at his disposal in due time. It was a tyrant who, first of all. refused the straw, and then imperiously commanded his slaves to manufacture bricks but, happily for us. tyrants enjoy very little favour now in any civilised community, and we are, therefore, much mistaken if a Chairman will be publicly applauded, who petulantly orders an official to collect rates without bills.. ,But the case of the Chairman of our Local Hoard is made ten- fold more desperate by the fact that his charge is entirely without foundation. We find that bills for water-rates for the two quarters ending March 25th, and amounting to t2681 5s. l-ld. 4 had been received by the Collector, and that £ 23-32 7s. 11 i d of thatjjamount had actually been collected. The vacancies for these two quarters amounted to £108' 8s. 6d., which, when added to the sum collected, make a sum total of zC2440 16s. 5J-d. How much, then, remained uncollected? £ 500? Or even 400 ? For the Chairman admitted that about £ 1 00 of the zC500 had been collected within a few days previous to his remarks. Unfortunately for the Chairman, the sum is neither X500 nor £400, but only £ 240 16s. 5Ad., and it is only fair to state that much even of this balance would, in all probability, have been gathered in, had it not been for the untoward circumstance that bills of particulars, which the Collector had not in his possession, were demanded by certain parties before they would consent to pay. The collector who preceded Mr. GOODFELLOW used to be complimented by the present Chairman for having done his work well, and yet Mr. GOODFELLOW can show an improvement of JE600 per annum on his water-rate collection alone, as compared with the result obtained by his predecessor. Nor is it only in regard to the water- rate that the Collector has been pains-taking, for we find that of the £ 6904 7s. lOfd. due on the general district rate for the half-year ending October, 1869, theCollectorpaidin £6567 Is. 6d., which, allowing tl49 16s. 7d. for vacancies, left a balance of only .£ 187 9s. 9id. to be 4 carried over to the new rate. The present rate was made on the 6th of April, and we under- stand that at the very time Mr. W. JOXES was venting his displeasure upon the Collector, 12060 13s. 8id. of that sum had been collected. The Board, however, did not support the Chair- man in his most unjustifiable onslaught on the Collector, and, therefore, he may himself have discovered by this time how little sympathy a similar attack is likely to meet with on a future occasion. Mr. GOODFELLOW is, perhaps, not the man he would have liked to favour with the appointment; but as long as Mr. GOODFELLOW does his work well, the public of Merthyr have too strong a sense of fair plav to stand quietly by and see him bullied. We hope that a rumour current in the town, and bearing upon this very subject, is not correct. We say we hope it is not, but it is reported that since the appointment of Mr. HAVARD as book-keeper, the Chairman informed him that if he would keep the books according to his directions and act in every respect under his advice, he would, ere long, have the collection also under his control. We can hardly think that the Chairman supposes himself to be omnipotent, but the rumour is winged by a high authority. In these days, when men are allowed to dictate to a public Board as to the salary they mean to have before accepting an appointment," anything is possible. $0 MR. WATKIN WILLIAMS'S MOTION. THE true character of Her Majesty's present Ministers is daily becoming more and more trans- parent. When Irish grievances are discussed before the House, their lips drop liberalism, justice, and equality, in a constant stream. Nothing is more scandalous, in their estimation, than an alien church in Ireland —a church deserted by the people, forsaken by the poor, and countenanced only by the rich. The very same monstrosity exists in Wales, but they cannot see anything monstrous in it at all. They have even resolved, at whatever risk, to insult the whole body of Nonconformists throughout England and Wales by giving school. boards power to build church schools at the ex- pense of everyone, and then to compel even the children of Dissenters to attend them. They are very anxious, also, to enact good land laws in Ire- land for the benefit of ill-used tenants, but Welsh and English tenants may remain under tyrannical oppression without hope of redress. Owing to certain geographical difficulties, not to be easily overcome, Welsh schools are not built on Irish soil, Llandaff Cathedral is not in Dublin, and the land of Wales is not a part of the Isle of Erin. For this reason, neither Mr. GLADSTONE, nor any of his coadjutors, can see any evil whatever in the Principality, but everything goes on as 0 merrily as a marriage bell. It is not without re- luctance that we write thus of the great leader of our own party, and of those who are his right-hand men in the British legislature but we never had confidence in any Liberal M inistiy so far as the settlement of religious or ecclesiastical discussions is concerned. Save in the solitary war against University Tests, we have never had any reason to expect even-handed justice on religious questions from the present or from any former administration. Even the University Tests Bill was only very recently taken up by Government. The Irish Church Bill, which Mr. GLADSTONE and his ministry seem to regard as a sufficient witness for all time to come of their jealous regard for the rights of their fellow country- men, was positively wasteful in its prodigal pro- visions for the old Establishment. As an eccle- siastical administration, we would place quite as much confidence in the party so well headed by Mr. DISRAELI as in those who at present assume the name of Liberals, and in some respects deserve the name, but are among the rankest of Conservatives in all matters of Church and State. For Mr. WATKIN WILLIAMS'S motion for the disestablish- ment and disendowment of the Church in Wales j we never anticipated success. We always felt that he had not properly and carefully prepared the ground. We give him all credit for good motives, for true patriotism, and for sterling courage. But the mere tabling of a resolution is not always the most effectual remedy for a public grievance. The case of the Welsh Church should have been brought prominently before the Welsh constituen- cies, and made the one theme of debate and tea- table talk from Holyhead to Cardiff; petitions should have been forwarded from every parish and district in the Principality, and the gentlemen who either represent, or pretend to represent, the feelings and opinions of the people in Wales should have been waited upon by some of their leading supporters, and politely requested to listen to a few words of plain speaking. We feel satisfied that such a sound would have gone forth from Wales as would have made it a simple impossibility for Mr. Gladstone so entirely and absolutely to distinguish between the case of Wales and that of Ireland—as he evidently thought himself entitled to do. In point of fact, the only material distinc- tion is the absence from Wales of that lawless and reckless violence which have made life and pro- perty insecure in Ireland. Translate Fenianism to Wales, and the Welsh and Irish Churches will stand exactly on a level. These preliminary steps, however, had not been taken. The Welsh people were comparatively silent, holding no meetings, signing no petitions, and consequently Mr. WATKIN WILLIAMS'S motion seemed to be entirely unsup- ported. He succeeded in carrying only 44 adhe- rents into the lobby with him, while 209 voted against his proposition. It is rumoured that he would not have pressed his motion to a division, had not one influential member insisted on it, but that he would have been content at present with having aired the question before the House. This would, perhaps, have been the wisest course, if no object was to be gained but eliciting an expression of opinion from the Premier, but we are far from sorry at the course adopted. It is not always enough to know what Mr. GLADSTONE has to say. We require to ascertain, also, what the represen- tatives of the people are prepared to do. As for Mr. GLADSTONE, he hardly spoke on this occasion like himself. There was a vein of bitterness in his remarks; and an evident ignorance of the facts of the case revealed itself more than once. As a specimen of this ignorance, we may refer to his allusion to marriage returns. Taking as his guide the number of persons married in the Established Church as compared with those not so married, he concludes that "the religion of the Established Church is the religion of a considerable majority of the people of England." It is unfor- tunate that Mr. GLADSTONE does not know that thousands of people are married in churches and chapels who do not belong to any religious body that thousands of Dissenters are married at church from mere caprice or vanity, or because they have no registered chapel at hand to go to, and that many parish clergymen have so little shame, and so little conscience, as to tell their parishioners that persons not married by an Anglican priest are not married at all, and that men and women who live together after marriage in a Dissenting chapel are no better than fornicators and adulterers. Many persons have thus been terrified into priestly marriage by these wicked remonstrances. A man who would quote the registrar's returns of mar- riages as an argument in favour of the power of the Church Establishment only proves his want of acquaintance with simple facts. But, notwith- standing this unfortunate illustration, we can well afford £ E hear Mr. GLADSTONE denounce at- tempts at church disestablishment on this side of the Channel, if we only know that our representa tives will not follow him. For this reason, the division has served a most important end. It has so far determined who are, and who are not, fit to represent Wales in the British House of Commons. Men who are not prepared to render a simple act of justice to the great majority of the people have certainly no claim upon the people's votes, and the division on Mr. WATKIN WILLIAMS'S motion will therefore enable constituencies to determine what their conduct should be at the next election. Merthyr is very fortunate in this respect. At the last general election, some five thousand electors recorded their votes in such a way as to make the voice of this great Nonconformist constituency quite neutral on the question of questions in Wales — Unsectarian Schools, and Religious Equality. It is true that these were not promi- nent subjects at the hustings, or the five thousand would have fallen to a much lower figure. StilJ, the effect would have been all the same. Had these five thousand had their way, we should have wit- nessed the galling spectacle-RICHARD for, and BRUCE against, Unsectarian Education; and, at last, RICHARD for, and BRUCE against, Religious Equality. Now, however, the result is quite dif- ferent. Merthyr has recorded two votes in favour of the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales, and we have every reason to believe that Mr. FOTHERGILL, who has hitherto co-operated warmly with Mr. RICHARD, will be found fighting by his side when the Education Bill goes into Committee. We congratulate the borough on this result, for every friend of political and religious freedom must now be convinced that we should have been the mere laughing stock of the country if we had practically disenfranchised ourselves by sending one man to Parliament to shout Ayey and another to shout No. The motion of Mr. WATKIN WILLIAMS has been lost, but the result will not be lost. The question has been ventilated, the true character of Welsh representa- tives has been unveiled, the future is so far pro- vided for, and when the subject is brought up again, as it will be session after session, the minority will be larger still, and will go on in- creasing until the Church in Wales ceases to be the pampered pet of Parliament and the State. We are only sorry that in marching towards this ul- timate issue, the Nonconformist Liberals of Eng- land, Wales, and Scotland, should find fresh cause to distrust a leader who has, in many battles, de- served well of them.

[No title]

LOCAL INTELLIGENCE.

MERTHYR LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH.