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Compromise and Concessiop.I


Compromise and Concessiop. DANGER OF THE POLICY. LETTER FROM REV A. FULLER MILLS. The following letter appeared in the "South Wales Daily News" on Monday:— Sir,—I ibeg to acknowledge the fair, strong, honest, and intelligent manner in which you ha-ve from the start conducted the education con troveryin your paper. We are, as Free Churchmen, greatly indebted to you for en- lightenment and warning. But I think we have reached a point, if not a serious crisis, in the history of Mr Birrell's Bill at which you are called senousilv to speak more strong- ly and unhesitatingly somewhat on the lines laid down by my friend the Rev O. D. Camp- bell in Friday's issue. I am glad he has spoken. The Bill, to my minds, as to his, is a com- parative failure; will be found as unwork- able as that of 1902; and gives away evepy chance we had of victory for freedom from sectarian shackles, and the long and perni- cious reign of priestcraft in Great Britain. Concession after concession ha;5 been made, and compromise aifter compromise has been provided for, since the introduction of the Bill until it seems to me the members of the Government have caved in and become silent; and we, overwhelmed with astonishment and disappointment, are at imminent peril of lay- ing down to rest under the makebelieve sopo- rific that we have received all that was pro- mised, or at least that there are some small advantages for which we should be cravenly thankful; and now patiently wait for another generation when we may hope for a few more. It is marvellous to me Avhat small mercies even Dr Clifford is now ready to accept, ,0. 'at Nottingham a week ago stated that no doubt the spiritual peers would strike out Clause 6 altogether, and would so amend others as to make it optional for teachers to give religious instruction. Both these amend- ments must be listed-though resistance must not be allowed to wreck a Bill which did so much for education." Is this the Dr Clifford quoted by 'Mr Owen Campbell, who said. "Such tests would return, if it were possible for the denominations to employ school teachers for sectarian work, etc." Is Dr Clifford's view the view of the Noncon- formists of Wales-albov-e all the Baptists and Congregationalists ? I trow not. Aiie Dr Clifford we know and recognise is he who said—"What I most profoundly wish to see is the answer to the prayer addressed to Nonconformists by Dr Knox, 'I pray you do not bring the State in as a teacher of reli- gion. The State has no commission, no authority for the purpose.' This Avas the voice and mandate or the last election, and our friends have not obeyed the voice nor carried out the mandate. It is not the time to apportion the respon- sibility, but it cannot fail to have been noticed that in the debates in Committee on important matters members of the Govern- ment and many important members of the House have not given Mr Birrell any strong suigport -n my l0(pinaon, adds Dr Clifford, "have decided to accept the pre- sent Bill." Of course, thev have, because under almost every clause of the Bill they have gained a decided advantage; the spoils of battle are theiiis; the supremacy of the State Establish- ment has oeen maintained parents in rural England ia-re at the mercy of the parson, squire, and their minions and tools, and we dball, as Nonconformists, have to stand aside, ',grin and bear it,' or engage in bitter wangle and strife, and religious equality is made a far more distant quantity even in the Principality.. You have helped us, sir. Will you not ex- tend your vision and ours towards the true ideal embodied in the Avords of Mr Campbell lat the close of his letter, "that the State is an intruder when it enters into the province of religion," aye, even in the tiniest degree? Has not the time come for agitation, for a great crusade on this pure and simple line? I ask especially Baptists and Congregational- ists in my native county, Monmouthshire, as well as Glamorganshire, Ca r mart hensh ire, find Pembrokeshire.—I lam, etc., A. FULLER MILLS. Carmarthen, July 14th, 1906.

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