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THURSDAY, MAUCH 12TH, 1896.

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LLANWOXNO SCHOOL BOARD.

ISPARKS .FROM THE AXVli.

GHAND THEATRE, CARDIFF.

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IABERDARE NOTES.

ABERDARE POLICE COURT.

" DELIGHTFUL " TREATMENT FOR…

BY THE WAY.

THE DISCHARGE NOTE QUESTION.

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THE BATTLE OF THE SCHOOLS.

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THE BATTLE OF THE SCHOOLS. Conference and Public Meeting At Merthyr. On Monday last, a conference and public meeting were held in Merthyr for the purpose of discussing the questron National v. Denominational Educa- tion." Imitations to attend were extended to ministers of all the Nonconfoimist Churches in the Merthyr parish and borough, and there was a large attendance at the conference, which commenced at three o'clock in Hope Hall, under the presidency of Mr. W. L. Daniel, chairman of the Merthyr School Board. The secretary, Mr. Arthur Daniel, of Troedyrhiw, read letters of apology for non-attendance from Rev. W. James, Rev. Aarou Davies, Pont- lottyn and Mr. John Davies, Monk-street, Aber- dare. The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, re- ferred to the passing of Mr. Forster's Hit!, and the support given it by the Tories. With regard to the formation of school hoards, he said they in Merthyr district experienced considerable difficulty in that matter, there being a certrin circle of rate- payer?. and others who took a decided stand in oppo- sition to the formation of the School Board. And some of those present had not forgotten the meetings that were held in this and other parishes before they succeeded in obtaining the passing of a resolution to form a school hoard. Since it was established in 1871 a large amount of good, honest, real work had been done in the matter of education (hear, hear). It did not matter by what system of railway they left Merthyr, they would find that the whole of the country at the present moment was studded with some of the most suitable and creditable buildings in which the work of education was being carried on. He did not think anyone would venture to challenge the statement that a great educational work had been done since the establishment of the School Board (hear, hear). He unhesitatingly said that ever since the election last summer the friends of denomina- tional schools had felt that their hopes had risen with the result of that election, and he believed they had been bent upon biinging about what they had in view at the present moment, namely the securing of better terms for publicans and for the friends of denomina- tional education. There was almost a holy alliance of beer and Bible. He quoted various resolutions which had been adopted elsewhere in regard to the subject of popular control of State-aided schools, and touched upon some of the leading points in general controversy which has lately taken place in reference thereto. He maintained that it was their duty to insist thateducation, instead of being reduced to a minimum, should be advanced to the maximum, and they should try, as far as they possibly could to help worthy and deseiving children through their elementary schools, then to the advanced schools, then to the intermediate schools, and from them to the University College at Cardiff (applause). And then from the University at Cardiff to compete side by side with the sons of dukes and lords and the aristocracy in this comtry in the old universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and so let the world know what Merthyr boys could do if their education was properly attended to (applause). The Rev. J. G. James then readapaperentitled" The Significance of the Present Crisisin Elementaiy Educa- tion." Would it, he asked, be seriously contended that a teacher cannot reprimand a boy for telling an untrut h, acting dishonourably, discourteously, without giving religious instruction ? It was easy enough to show that a moral tone, which is insisted upon by H.M. Inspectors, mieht be entirely satisfactory without any religious teaching being given at all. Mi. James severely criticised the proposals of the denominationa- lists who wished to "capture the schools," and re-estab- lish theChurch of England in all the elementary schools. They were not, he said, accustomed to see any of the f ti nds raised voluntarily, or compulsory, being supplied, to any purpose, without popular representation upon the administrative Board. But wheu they were asked to submit to still larger sums being voted professedly towards national education, aud instead of that support being administered by properly-constituted, responsible authorities to be used as the appanage of a wealthy religious denomination to the detriment of others, would they not resent any such attempt as being grossly unfair, antiquated and ridiculously behind the timex ? The injustice was still further aggravated when the Boatd schools system had been called a System of the devil," a Public denying of Christ." a naughty cuckoo that had come into the nest of harmony and loved to turn out its sweet occupants, and take their nourishment instead. If this movement had been inapired by the genuine desire to improve the educational advantages of the children as a whole, if < all the teachens were to be better paid, and ail the schools more efficiently worked, they would be hound to lend it their hearty eupport in some measure or other. It was not their wish to cripple denomina- tional schools. That really was not a Nonconformist movement at all. It was not a genuine love for the Bible or religion that could inspire a movement that aimed at decreasing efficiency in secular subjects. It was an attempt to capture the schools, and make our < national education subserve the purposes of the cleri- cal party in the Church of England. The Rev. Charles Angwin, i»astor of the English Wesley Chapel, moved the following resolution:— "That this meeting of friends of national education Strenuously protests against the demands now being made on behalf of denominational schools under private management for increased grants from public ( funds, without the subjection of such schools to local representative management. That compliance with J such demands would not only he unfavourable to the < extension of a national system of education, but would < aggravate the injustice now inflicted in localities in < which all parents are compelled by law to send their children to schools belonging to one denomination. This meeting is stronply of opinion that if the educa- tional policy adopted by the Act of 1870 is to be departed from, there should IK* effected such changes as would redress this and other grievances, and also extend the principle of popular local control in con- nection with public elementary education." He represented a shurch that for a large number of years had been a great educational body in this country, and they would all understand that this question was one of gr-afc importance to We»leyans. Although the schools were called" Wesleyan schools," they received but very little pupport financially from the Wesleyan people (he.r, hear). They received in support of their schools, £223,000 of public money, and in voluntary subscriptions, including payments of the children's books &c., £26,000. They must not suppose that the schools were at all clerical. In his last circuit they had two day schools, which were managed by committees formed of laymen, of which he had the honour of being chairman, and he could assure them that if he had made an attempt to exer- cise any clerical influence, they would hate sent to him to know the reason why (hear, hear). Their position in relation to the present educational ques- tion was in direct harmony with the resolution he had proposed (hear, hear). The speaker dealt at some length with the question, and said the day was gone when children were brought out on the green, and learned tosay ",God bless thesquire and all his rich rela- tions," and when they as poor people" were taught to keep their "proper station" m life (laughter and applause). Rev. Hathren Davies, Cefn, seconded the resolu- tion, and Mr. David Evans supported, speaking, he said, from a Churchman's point of view. The Rev. J. Hirst Hollowell, Rochdale, supported the resolution in an able speech. The motion was carried unanimously, and the usual votes of thanks brought the meeting to a close. PUBLIC MEETING. In the evening a well-attended public meeting was held at Zoar Chapet. At the outset of the proceedings Mr. Arthur Daniel read the following letter from Mr. D. A. Thomas, M.P. :— Dawern, 8th March, 1896. "DEAR MR. BKRRT,—Will you kindly tell the secretary of the Education meeting convened at Merthyr for to-morrow night that I am suffering from a sore throat and cold, and very much fear that I shall not be able to preside at the meeting as promised. If I should find myself letter to-morrow, I will send you a wire in the morning. In any case please convey my hearty good wishes for the success of the gathering, and my strong hope that Merthyr will uphold its great Liberal traditions and express its uncompromising opposition towards any attempt on the part of the Government to prejudice unde- nominational education.—Yours very faithfully. D. A. THOMAS." Unfortunately, continued Mr. Daniel, our respected Senior Member was not able to leave home for Merthvr that day, and the following telegram had been sent by him to Mr. Berry :—" Exceedingly regret not well enough to attend meeting to-night. Heartiest wishes for its success.—D. A. Thomas." They would all be sorry that Mr. Thomas was uot able to take the chair that evening. In his absence, he begged to propose that Mr. Thomas Williams, J.P., preside. — This was seconded by Mr. W. Morgan. J.P., Pant, and carried. Mr. Williamsthen took the chair. In his opening address Mr. Williams said he was sorry the present meeting had to be called. The question in dispute had been forced to the front, not by them, hut by their opponents. The clerical party sought to disturb the compromise of 1870. We were content to go onJ- tut they were not. There was nothing for it now but a fight (hear, hear). And we are determined to fight to the bitter end (hear, hear). He hoped Merthyr would be firm. Thev were uphold- ing a great and salutary principle. They believed that control ought to go with maintenance. If they read the blue liooks they would be surprised and astounded to find how little the churchpeople contributed towards the maintenance of their schools. Yet the control of those schools was entirely in their hands. Such an arrangement was not fair or just, and they must fight and tight until they had put an end to it (hear, hear). The Rev. J. Mathews, of Swansea, was glad to find Merthyr waking up to the gravity of this question. What did the clerical demand amount to ? It was at bottom nothing less than an attack on our Noncon- formity and our Protestantism (applause). He wanted them all to realise that fact. Their religious freedom was menaced. The question they were met to discuss that evening was a very important one. He would ?;ive them a few figures. There were 43 training col- eges in this country, and of these 30 were absolutely in the hands of the Church. The Government had paid £100,000 for building these 30 colleges, the remainder being contributed by the general public. The Government also paid JB85,000 towards the main- tenance of these colleges. Yet not a single Noncon- formist could enter them ("Shame"). There were 20,000 voluntary schools in this country. 12,000 of them being in the hands of the Church. A million and a half pounds were given towards the buildings of the latter by the Government, and nearly three million pounds are contributed annually towards their sup- port. Not a single Nonconformist was allowed to become a teacher in these schools ("Shame"). One thousand Church schools were supported entirely by State aid. In Swansea they had a Church school without a single penny of contributions from outside, and he was not quite sure that the whole of the money received from the Government was spent on the school. 1 n another Church school the only voluntary contribution was the sum of £1,gi\"er1 every year by a retired clergyman (laughter). The clericals were alio asking for the abolition of the Cowper-Teniple clause in the 1870 Act. This clause prohibited denomina- tional teaching in Board schools, and the cleiicals, by r eliminating that clause, thought they would be able to capture the Board schools in many places, and turn them into Church schools. Against that demand every Nonconformist and every Liberal must fight to the death (applnuse). The Rev. J. Hirst Hollowell, of Rochdale, delivered a most eloquent and convincing speech. He looked on Merthyr, he said, as a centre of Liberal thought and action. His visit to the town had made him a sturdier Liberal and a stauncher Nonconformist (hear, hear). The atmosphere had been permeated by the grand teaching of Henry Richard—(applause) — and it was no wonder they spoke fo clearly on the present question before the country. Why did the clericals want to disturb the arrangement of 1870? They reminded him of an epitaph in the West of England I was well I would be better I took physic and here I am (loud laughter). They had enjoyed a monopoly of education for many years. 1 he privileges given them were enormous. Why could they not let well alone ? But they could not be satisfied with what they had. They wanted more, and thought they would get more from the present Government. In 1876, when the 17s. 6d. limit was conceded, the demand was opposed by the Duke of Devonshire and Mr. Chamberlain. What would those men say now, when that limit was about to be swept away ? He often thought Mr. Chamberlain had a golden opportunity in the present crisis. He had kept the commercial filibusters out of the Transvaal (applause). Would he keep the clerical filibusters out of the public pockets ? (laughter and applause). Will Mr. Chamberlain take the flood of fortune at the tide ? Will he abide by the principles he advocated so eloquently in the seventies? Mr. Balfour had recently said th It the schools of Scotland were denominational. That only showed that Mr. Balfour did not know what he was talking about (laughter). The Scotch schools were strictly undenominational. The catechism taught there was as undenominational as the Bible itself. The churches of Scotland were going to unite with the Noncon- formists south ot the Tweed to resist to the utmost thedemands of the clericals (applause). The Bishop of Hereford was sound on this question. Hereford was enough to convert even a bishop on the education problem. The children of that city had no school to go to other than Anglican or Catholic schools. The idea prevailed in some quarters, and was fostered with all their power by the clergy, that the Estab- lished Church in the past hud succoured education when the State neglected its duty. That was a fallacy. The State had made several efforts to pro- vide unsectarian education for the children, but the Church had stepped forward and defeated it. In 1807 the House of Commons passed a Bill establishing elementary schools the Hose of Lords, at the dictation of the then Archbishop of Canterburv, threw the Bill out ("Shame"). In 1847 the State) proposed to build unsectarian training colleges the. clergy rose as one man against the scheme, and it had to be abandoned. In 1864, the Government approached the Church, and asked that the school* should be thrown open to Nonconformists. The stig- gestion was rejected with scorn. What was the result? Six years later the Ferster Act was passed (applause). The State endowment of sectarian schools was wrong in principle that was the prin- cipie on which Lilmrals took their stand (loud applause). The clericals said, and Mr. Balfour had repeated their cry, that the strain on the sectarian schools had become intolerable. What were the facts ? The contribution of the State to those schools had increased 5s. per child, while the voltintarv contributions had decreased 2s. 2d. per child. And yet the clergy had the effrontery to tell them that the strain had t>ecome intolerable (laughter). But, the clerics said, the total contributions of Churchmen towards their schools had very considerably increased. Well, in 1887 the amount was jS620,000, and last year it was jB622,000 (laughter). And a goodly share of that money, mark j you, was given by railway companies and property owners to avoid paying a School Board rate. Clerical education had always been a failure (hear, hear). In Italy and Spain the schools were in the hands of the priests, and those were the only two Continental countries fiom which we had nothing to fear in commercial competition. In Ireland the education was clerical, and one elector out of every five was illiterate. France had seen the error of her ways in this matter. In pre-revolution days, the priests controlled the schools of that country, but the people had revolted against that system, and told the priests to mind their own business (laughter and applause). Wherever the clerics had interfered with education they made a pretty mess of it (laughter). Now they wanted more money. The clerics had a keen eye for money (laughter). But let every Liberal and every Nonconformist clearly understand this: the money was asked for to instil superstitions caricatures of Christianity into the minds of the children (applause). He (the speaker) was a Congregational minister, and he was bound to admit that there were a few Con- gregationnl duv schools in some parts of the country, He wished, from the bottom of his heart, there wasn't a single one (loud applau-e). Nonconformists had been driven to establish schools in self-defence, and they were enly too ready to give them up the very day unsectarian schools, under popular control, were opened (applause). There was going to be a big fight over the education question in the near future, and he hoped the Liberals and Nonconformists of Wales would be true to their principles in the day of trial (applause). Mr. \V. L. Daniel .-said he was there, not as a politician, but as a Nouconforoiist citizen, and a payer of rates and taxes. As a Nonconformist he objected to the State endowment of sectarian institutions. As a ratepayer, he objected to the State support of schools whioh were not understate or popular control (applause). Mr. Hollowell was doing great service in visiting different parts of the country, and rousing the peoptt to realise the gravity of the present situation, and instilling healthy and sturdy principles into the public con- science. He (Mr. Daniel) could not help referring to the attitude of the Irish members. The Liberals of this country had sacrificed a great dtialln order to f support the cause of Ireland, but now the Irish mem- bers were turning their l»ack on them and going over bodily to the clerics (" Shame"). They could not but bodily to the clerics (" Shame"). They could not but come to the conclusion that the Irish memliers obeyed the command of Rome rather than the dic- tates of their own conscience ("Shame"). Their action was ungrateful and incon-usteut in the extreme. To retaliate, however, would l>e wrong, and they must go their way in the path they considered the right and ju..t one (applause). In conclusion, he had great pleasure in moving the resolution placed in his hands. The resolution was the same as that passed at the afternoon conference, with the addition that copies of it be sent to Lord Salisbury, Mr. Balfour, the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Chamlterlain, Lord Rosebery, Sir W. Harcourt, Mr. Joint Dillon, and the local M.P.'s. Mr. Daniel, referting to Mr. Dillon, said he had gone down fully 75 per cent, in the estimation of W elsh Liberals since his visit to Merthyr. Mr. John Morgan, coal merchant, seconded the resolution in an enthusiastic Welsh speech. He was not opposed to the giving of more money to the schools. Money spent on education was money well spent. But he had always fought for popular control, and meant to go on fighting to the end (laughter and applause). The conscience-clause in the Forster Act was a dead letter, especially in rural districts. The pi inciples they were now fighting for were veiydear to them as Literals and Nonconformists, aud they mmt be trun to them (applause). Mr. W. Morgan, J.P., Pant supported the resolu- tion. Speaking in Welsh he said he felt strongly on this question, and he was glad to t'link that this part of the country was sound in the faith. In the near future the feeling of t'le country would bended to a high pitch of enthusiasm, and the clerics would live to rue the day they put forward their present iniqui- tous demands. The country did not mean to go back m its education policy (applause). The resolution having been carried item ran., Mr. Arthur Daniel moved a vote of thanks to the chair- man, the speakers, and the Zoar friends for so kiudly putting the chapel at the disposal of the committee. This was seconded by the Rev. Dr. Rees, Cefn, and carried unanimously. Mr. Daniel hoped that meet- ings on the education question would tie held in every district in the Merthyr Valley, He also announced that he had a. supply of pamphlets on the subject which he would be pleased to forward to anyone who would like to have them. r

ABERDARE COUNTY COUnT.

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IMISS MAGGIE DAVIES.

TROEDYRHIW.

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