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LONDON LETTER. ......-.-..







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ELECTION PROSPECTS IN SOUTH WALES. s- CA RM ARTHENSHIRE. [BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.] If there be nothing else in Carmarthenshire, there will at any rate be plenty of fighting. Some of it will, no doubt, be pretty much like a sham fight, but in the Western Division, where Mr Powell and Lord Emlyn meet, there will be some- thing of a struggle. The increase in the register is the point on which the one side depend, and the strong agricultural force is that of the other. Lord Emlyn's supporters seem to think that the majority of 318 which he secured over Mr John Jones in 1880 will be continued now that the county has been split, and believe that although Mr Powell beat him by nearly 800 votes, yet the agricultural portion will give that majority a turn in the other direction. It is true that the Eastern Division will absorb most of the indus- trial portions of the constituency-sufficient, indeed, to render Sir Marteine Lloyd's attempt to beat Mr D. Pugh's abortive, but there are elements in the Western Division with which Lord Emlyn's supporters do not seem to have reckoned. The increase in the register since 1880 has been very heavy. In 1880 the number of voters was, for the two constituencies, 8,593. For the Western Division alone it is now nearly 10,000, and for the Eastern, some 8,700—in aU, between 18,000 and 19,000, an increase of over two to one. The two divisions differ mainly in the propor- tions of the industrial voters, and these in the Eastern, in the parishes of Llanelly (outside the borough), Pembrey, Llangennech, Cwmamman, Brynamman, and Ammanford, compose a con- sidesable proportion of the electorate. These are known to be Radical. Thus Llanelly has risen from 615 to 1,500, Pembrey from 377 to 1,000, Hendy from 190 to 620, Brynamman from 175 to 450, and Cwmamman from 164 to 550. These are so many Radical centres in which the full length of the kadical platform is openly de- sired, and where the voters are men of sturdy will and hard determination, and resolute in the fuU Radical convictions. They are strong enough to carry their candidate, and in Mr D. Pugh—a former member for the county-they have a man for whom they are willing to work hard. His selection was unanimous by a decidedly represen- tative association, and his political views- thoroughly Radical as they are—are emphatically in unison with those of the electois. His connec- tion with the county as a landowner is good, while his operations in breeding cattle make him many friends in Llandilo, the place of election, and in the districts where his operations extend. I have found the same characteristics hero as in other mixed constituencies, that the industrial portions are far ahead of the agricultural in the matter of political education, but both parties are equally agreed upon the one desirable point—of rejecting Sir Marteine Lloyd. The Tory candi- date has, indeed, the fewest possible'recommenda- tions, After a more or lesa lukewarm connection with the Liberal party hejhas turned his attentions to Conservatism, and while giving as a reason for his ratting that he cannot support any proposal to disestablish the Church, he suddenly finda that be, a Liberal till within comparatively a few days, QW support the whole of Lord Salisbury's pro- gramme, He has not declared quite this on any platform, bat 1 am able to state that this is his view. His chief qualifications for the candida- ture are total inexperience in political affairs, comparative ignorance of his own opinion, and absolute inability to; declare from the platform what be really does think. As to his chances of election, I may say that even his chief supporters are without confi- dence, and try to hide their belief in his failure under discreet silence. fUr Marteine deserves a word of praise for the manner in which he at Llanelly on Thursday declared against the use pf personalities during the contest I but as one of the old electors of the constituency said to me at the time, the intention was somewhat qualified by the peculiar range at the candidate's oratorical powerst In West Carmarthenshire the contest will be of a different character, The Conservative can- didate is the strongest who could have been brought out, Lord Emlyn has unquestionably great powers all a speaker, and, as he proved on Thursday at Llanelly, he is able to hold even a partly hostile audience under com- mand in a marked way, and to clothe political fallacies and fictions in such liuguistic garb is to almost deceive those who do not know what errors he ia enunciating. He has, moreover, through Lord Cawdor, very great in- fluence, which will be as largely used as pce« I gible, Without entering into the whole issue between Sir John Jones Jenkins and Lord Caw- dor, I may point to the fact that the condition of the county magistracy in regard to the want of Nonconformist representatives on the bench is I frequently commented upon, and is a eign of the spirit of opposition hkely to bo offered to tin Nonconformist candidate, I am much mistake a, however, if Lord Emlyn will not suffer more than he will gain by it. The main fact, of course, on i which the election turns is this—the antagonism r to the Established Church. This is the one question which all the voters can un. derstand. Woefully* aye shamefully igno- rant-I speak of, the shame to those who are responsible for it-aa thousands of the people in the rural districts are, they know full well the in- sulting superiority which the Church claims for herself and her members. They have felt individually the galling extortions arising from them, and the absolute inability to worship according to their conscience, without being placed at onpe at At social and pecuniary dis- advantage, The evil is there every day in their midst, and face to face with it as they stand, they know that to vote for Lord Emlyn means the perpetuity of the ban, and to vote for Mr Powell relief from the scourge, Many of them— I have heard of many cases^-are go far be* yond the pale of ordinary political intel. ligence that they know nothing of Mr Ohamberlainj while even Mr Gladstone reaches them as some far-off echo from another world, But their chapels ara in their midst, and the desire to see the inequalities of religions swept away at once and for ever is with them a constant burning and enduring motive. In the few indus- trial pgrtionuch as Kidwelly with its tin. works, and Newcastle Emlyn with its woollen works, there is more enlightenment, but not more enthusiasm. The working-men understand more of the benefits pf Radicalism, but the agricultural labourers have felt more of the evils of Toryism, As I have stated, the register has more than doubled. The number was and now soma have been added, The largest increases have been in the parishes of Cenarth, Kidwelly, and penboyr, and the township of kaugharne. The list of voters now includes the householders of the small town of Newcaetla-Emlyn, one of the abolished boroughs of the adjoining county of Cardigan, Considering the character of the con- stituency, the party has in Mr Powell a very strong candidate, his influence in Uanboidy, bis own district, being, of course, especially t.fret. Mr FQweU would have been certain of hi seat had he preferred to sit fQt. the gastem Pivisioa. He was politically chivalrous enough to step into the thick of the tight, and go out to meet Lord Emlyn in bis lordship's chosen ground. He possesses the good will of all classes, He is a popular master pf the hounds, an excellent landlord, a courteous gentleman and a staunch politician, and by these means he binds to himself the good wishes of all sections of the eonstitueney, It is true that among the farmers the agricultural depression will have apme influence, They are not wont to reason from eause to effect, and as one of them said to ffiC3, II Well, I ggn" know but what the d. pression uiaynt be be due to the liberals being too long in power. We have a change in raising crops, and very likely a change of Government may have some kind of effect like that. Anyways, things be worse, and I fancy I shall give a turn to the other i(h!" But the view is only a small one, and, on the other hand, I have spoken with many who look to the one re,, Welsh "cry^ To show bow little the Tories were disposed to trust the new electorate, I may point nut that they did aot take any at all to have any of them placed on the register, On the other hand, the liberals made the most strenuous efforts to secure for the new voters the power to use their vote, and I am in a position to say that had it not heen for those efforts hundreds of the new voters would have now remained un franehised, I could wish, indeed, that a little more had been done to educate them when they had seoqred the votes This Con* servativen seem in this respect to have obtained the lead, and although every effort is now being made to counteract the efforts of the other side, yet. I fear some timnq perhaps valuable time—has been lqst, Such a large PQ" gtitueney is neegssardy difficult to organise thoroughly and work efficiently; but from what I have been able to gather, i should say that although the machinery is good, it has not been put to anything like, i full producing powers There have been indeed plenty ef meetings, and In the last fortnight Mr Powell has attended over 89 of them and judged a§ a whole they ean be > said to have been as fully enthusiastic as theses which preceded his triumph in 1880, Taking into consideration all the various metiers j balancing the (iqrefWMi iuiuiaee of she (wo wudidatee, bearing in mind the increase in the register and the opinions which it is confidently believed possess them, weighing such probabilities as I Lave beeu able personally to investigate, and giving the fullest allowance to the case of the Tories, I can come to no other conclusion than that there is the strongest reason to believe that Mr Powell will be again victorious. All to the Carmarthen District Boroughs, there is little enough doubt that they will continue to be represented by Sir John Jones Jeukins. His personal popularity is increased, his poiitioai consistency is as great as ever, and he is thoroughly in accord with the feelings of the constituents. In 1880 the register had 5j369 electors, and it is now estimated that the number will -not much exceed 6,000. The fullest and firmest adhesion is given to the Radical programme. Free education is wanted keenly, local government is a strong question because of the Church magistracy, and while there is no particular cry for land reform, the matter has been made one of the Radical demands. I am glad to learn that all the effects of the split which in 1880 led to the fight between Mr (afterwards judge) B. T. Williams, Q.C.,a6d Sir John Jones Jenkins have entirely disappeared, and that as a well-known Radical phrased it, There is not a Williamsite who would not support Sir John." There is a talk of opposition. In fact the Tory dark horse" haa been a joke for some time past. It is generally supposed that the mysterious quadruped mnet be either Mr Tregoning, the chairman at Thursday's Tory meeting at Llanelly, Mr C. W. Mansel Lewis, of Stradey Castle, or Dr Buckley, son of a firm and leading Liberal. It was ad- mitted to me that negotiations were going on with a view to bringing one of those out, and, perhaps before this is laid before your readers, some de- finite step may be taken. There would be little enough chance for either of them. Dr Buckley would hardly influence the party, Mr Mansel Lewis is a bigotted Tory, and by no means too sure of a welcome even from his own people. Mr Tregoning would be the strongest candidate. He is an employer of labour at the Morfa Tin Works, and lives at Iscoed, Ferryside. He is a Tory not of the too stubborn class, and, although a Churchman, he nevertheless smiles giaciously upon the Nonconformists. He has filled several public positions locally, and is unquestionably popular. But that would not be sufficient to win for him the seat. Although he could not, it is most certain that no one else could, and the only result of a contest would be to embitter the feel- ing in the town. There are many indications of this, and I may add a significant remark made to me in reply to a question as to the state of feel- ing. No, there is not much bitterness at present, and even here at Llanelly we are not disposed to be angry with the Tories for bringing out a candidate against Mr D. Pugh. They are both new men. But in the boroughs it is different. If they start an opposition here to Sir John, it will only be out of malice and mischief. We are very keen on football here, and we're a etrongish lot, taken altogether; and if we have a Tory candidate, there will be some warm times. I reckon rotten eggs will be saleable." I expressed a strong dissent from the statement, and hope it will never be verified. Looking, then, at the whole of the county, I should certainly say that the prospects may be said to be bope;ul. There will be need for work —strong, vigorous, united, hearty work—in the Western Division, but given that, the result should bo that the threo sturdy Radical candi- dates will be converted into three sturdy Radical members.









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