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SIR MARCHANT WILLIAMS AND…

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SIR MARCHANT WILLIAMS AND PRINCIPAL GRIFFITHS. Correspondence of an unusual nature has passed recently between Sir T. Marchant Williams (Warden of the Guild of Graduates of the Welsh University) and Principal E. H. Griffiths, of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. Sir Marchant com- menced the battle of words by inquiring :— "Do you think it honourable on your part to issue to the public a list of the members of your provisional committee of the Isambard Owen Presenta'ion Fund without giving me, one of the officers of the University, an oppor- tunity of adding my name to the list ? You must know that in issuing the list in its present form you will lead people to believe that I have declined to join the committee, and even to subscribe to the fund. I have not the least objection to your advertising to the world our differences by secret circulars and in any and every other way, but I must protest against any action on your part that would, directly or indirectly, lead people to believe that I have lost my respect and regard for the Senior Deputy Chancellor." Sir Marchant goes on to explain that he had been approached on the subject of the fund by Mr. Austen Jenkins and had promised to subscribe. Writing from the College the Principal replied as follows First of all I may say that I refuse to recognise your right to question me on any action I may take in my private capacity. The movement to which you refer is in no sense a University one, as you will find if you inspect the list of those who have consented to serve on the provisional committee. "As you refer to 'secret circulars,' I enclose for your perusal a copy of the only document that has been issued, with the exception of those that you say you have, received. The manner in which the provisional com- mittee was formed was as follows :-At the close of the last standing executive committee I mentioned the idea (which had only then occurred to me) of such a presentation to the members of the committee then present. I asked if they would join in such a movement, and also asked them to suggest the names of those who should be asked to serve. I took down the names thus suggested, and I then wrote letters to the Principals of the other colleges, asking them if they would nominate some fifteen to twenty persons to whom a request should be sent. On the receipt of their lists I added a few names, and sent a copy of the enclosed to every name, without exception, which had appeared on any of these lists. "As the other remarks in your letter are personal, I do not think they call for a reply." In his reply to the above letter Sir Marchant points out that, although the Principal alleges that the presentation scheme is a private enter- prise, he (the Principal) states that the pro- visional committee consists of names suggested by some of the members of the standing executive committee, and by Principal Reichel and Princi- pal Roberts, together with a few names added by himself. Sir Marchant also wants to know why all the officers of the Guild of Graduates were overlooked. The manner in which the scheme had been carried out led to the supposi- tion that the Principal was acting as the Vice- Chancellor of the University, and that the movement was essentially a university one. Sir Marchant asks what special claims the Principal has in his private capacity to assume the lead and responsibility in a matter of such academic significance and importance. The Principal had said that the idea of the presenta- tion only occurred to him at the close of the meeting of the standing executive committee, whilst in the secret circular he made the con- flicting statement that he had undertaken the task at the wish of several friends. Sir Marchant adds "At a very interesting public function last night, you declared (quoting the words of a well-known county-court judge) that you would be satisfied with the following inscription on your tombstone—' He was an infernal fool, but he did his best.' Now speaking for myself, I have but little patience with fools, especially when they do their best. I can tolerate them only when they do not do their best, for then I feel grateful to them for sparing me the painful consequences of their possible activities. I am not disposed to dispute your right to choose your own epitaph but, if you expect me and others to suffer you gladly, you must not often treat us to your best performances." Sir Marchant concludes his letter by stating that the Guild of Graduates will take steps to raise a fund on their own account for the purchase of a wedding gift for Sir Isambard Owen.

LLYFRGELL PENIARTH.

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