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TEMPERANCE DEPUTATION TO SIR…

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TEMPERANCE DEPUTATION TO SIR ALFRED THOMAS. Barrister M.P.'s Asked not to Appear for Licensees. At his residence, Bronwydd, Penylan, Cardiff, on Saturday, Sir Alfred Thomas, M.P., received a representative deputation from the South Wales and Monmouthshire Temperance Associ- ation, consisting of Mr. W. L. Daniel, Merthyr, President of the Association and the Revs. Principal Edwards, Cardiff; Morris Morgan, Swansea; John Williams, Hafod; and Ben Evans, Barry, to discuss the question of barristers appearing for licensed victuallers and applying for licences at brewster sessions. The hon. member was approached as leader of the Welsh Parliamentary Party, and received the deputation most kindly. Mr. W. L. Daniel (Merthyr Tydfil), in intro- ducing the deputation, stated they had no desire to be in any way dictatorial. On the contrary, they were particularly anxious to approach these gentlemen with the respect which so learned a profession justly deserved at their hands. Mr. Daniel added that their appeal was not to hon. members as barristers, but as elected repre- sentatives of Liberal constituencies. All that was asked of a Liberal candidate who was a barrister was that he would not, in the event of his return, accept briefs from licensed victuallers while holding that representative .and official position, to move (I) for new licences, (2) renewal of expiring licences, (3) defend licensees on charges for infringement of the licensing laws, and (4) not to appear at quarter sessions to attempt to quash the decisions of local justices in these matters, which had been such a scandal in the past. He ventured to point out that it would be for Sir Alfred Thomas to consider how the barristers should be approached. It was, of course, a delicate matter, but the speaker felt sure that Sir Alfred, with his usual tact and kindness, would be able to do it without giving offence to any of his colleagues. Other members of the deputation having spoken, Sir Alfred Thomas, M.P., in reply, first expressed the gratification he felt in having the opportunity of meeting men like Mr. Daniel and others, with whom he had worked for many years past in the temperance cause. Also he was very glad indeed that Mr. Daniel had in such generous terms made reference to his colleagues, even though he and the other gentle- men had to comment upon the lines upon which they conducted their professional careers. He felt pleased that they did not suggest to form an inquisition to discuss the practices complained of. They wisely suggested that what might be done could be accomplished by peaceful per- suasion. He felt gratified, too, that the South Wales Temperance Association had interested themselves in the question so far bar k as thirteen years ago, and that the present action was not the result of any new-born zeal on their part. Then, this much he had to tell them-that the agitation on the question had already borne fruit, for these practices were certainly fewer in number, and, speaking for himself, he would be glad to see them discontinued altogether. He felt they were on very firm ground when they said that all the reasons they might have had for urging this course in the past were much more intensified in the present, from the fact that temperance was such an important factor in the wonderful religious revival which was just now sweeping over the country. While he held no mandate from his colleagues collectively to speak for them, he might venture to say that as so many of them were, like himself, total .abstainers-and, indeed, others who might not come up to that standard—they were all equally anxious with the members of the deputation to advance the cause of temperance. Therefore, they might rest assured they would do all they could, consistently, to uphold the views that had been expressed. Sir Alfred, in conclusion, said he would be wanting in his duty if he failed to mform the deputation that he had a very high '°pmion of those Welsh members who were barristers, and he had every reason to believe that when the matter was quietly discussed with them and the true state of public opinion fully realised, they would not fail to give the whole matter their favourable consideration. I The hon. member was cordially thanked for his courteous reception and encouraging reply, and then the deputation withdrew. Mr. W. L. Daniel, in a subsequent conversa- tion with a representative expressed himself highly pleased with the interview, and his impression was that it would lead to very satis- factory results. Sir Alfred was particularly desirous the interview should be purely informal, and that they should consider themselves quite at home. Sir Alfred was evidently much im- pressed with the desire shown that the Welsh barristers should know through him that there was no feeling whatever on the part of the deputation to dictate to them.

WELSH NATIONALITY AND LOCAL…

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