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CARMARTHEN f UiVDKR THE i SEARCHLIGHT. | e.IDe come, and sit on down you shall not bulgs not go, till I setvoii up a pdas?, yoa may tee the inmost part of you." SHAKEAP*AR*. At the Board of Guardians on Saturday —The Chairman You are a member of the Town Council, aren't you?" Mr Thomas j Thomas .1 No, I'm not, thank goodness." Mr Thomas was very good humoured to take such a serious accusation in that manner. m The woes of the heavy ratepayer are indeed, excruciating. For instance, you have ten houses rented at 3s a week. The rates on each house go up 6s 6d a year. You stick 6d a week oa the rent—that is a profit of 19s 6d a lious,3-total profit £ 9 15s a year. That is a pretty fair specimen of the dodge. Still you never hear a word about the poor wretches who have to pay the rates tour times over but you hear plenty of the woes of the oppressed individual who gets a 'commission of 300 per cent for collecting it. Who wouldn't be a heavy ratepayer ? 0" It is a striking fact that the attendance at plaees of worship declines rapidly with the advent of really bad weather. Some- times really fine weather is bad for church attendance, because it is then so fine that people want to go out elsewhere and enjoy themselves, as they call it. The kind of weather which produces big con- gregations in ordinary circumstances is the sort which is ne:ther very good nor very bad -not quite good enough to make people prefer to go iuto the country, and not so Tery bad that they want to stay in the house and toast their toes. A day like Sunday last, when to walk ten yards is to risk being wet to the skin, is not at all conducive to the filling of churches and chapels. W This, of course, proves the number of fine weather members which every denomination counts. There is nothing, by the way, which nowadays suffer more from bad weather than attendance at public wor- ship. It will be a very bad morning which will keep a man in thy house from his work if he knows that by missing his work he loses half-a-day's pay. And if a market- woman has a hundred eggs to sell, she will put up with a lot of bad weather to find a good market for them. People will put up with a tremendous amount of rain and cold, if there is half-a-crown at stake. But the very same people will think the weather too rough on a Sunday if the church is 200 yards off. The fact can be explained away, of course; but all the same it proves that the idea that attendance at public worship is a matter of importance is losing its hold on the public mind. The same fact explains the half-empty or three-quarter empty chapels and churches which are to be seen in the town. People who are yet in the prime of life will tell you that they remember these places beiog crowded. And they would all be pretty well hlled now if everybody in the town went somewhere on a Sunday. But people evi- dently don't. TLey have no particular animosity against the churches; in fact, most people, if questioned, will be able to mention some particular place to which they belong." They simply don't worry their beads about the matter they are not Free- thinkers they simply don't think at all. It is not that there is any proselytising at work, for every body iu the town has the same story to tell, more or less. so* If some reaction does not set in, this kind of thing is likely to grow worse. A good deal might be done by the church-goers themselves in the ordinary affairs of life. Let it become known that a professed Christian is a man who is better than his fellow-men. Let them show that their word can be relied on, whereas that of the heathen is not to be trusted. Lot it be shown that they are more hooest and straightforward in business, and that when you are dealing with a Christian you won't be cheated- Let it be shown also that in ail the relations of life the professed Christian leads a better, cleaner, and more upright life than his un- converted fellows. If that can be shown clearly, then there nted be no difficulty. If Christians are the salt of the earth, the advantages of Christianity will be so apparent that everybody will recognise them. And if they are not, no theoretical statement of the advantages of Christianity will carry much weight. We are now in the hunting season. When the dirty murky day is drawing to a close, and the lamps are being lighted, the streets of the Ancient Borough resound to the tones of the huntsman's bugle, which keeps the wearied hounds together. With the departure of the organ-grinders, this is about the only kind of street music, which we now have. 8M It seems difficult to have the Borough expenditure audited by a Government official. The only legal opinion which has been taken is to the effect that such a ..change is out of the question. However, even with the present system of auditing there is a good deal which can be done. A few weeks ago the report of the Swansea Borough Auditors was published in the Daily Post. The auditors criticised various items at length the whole report, which was a review of the Borough finances, would fill about a column of a newspaper, as far as I remember. The auditors spoke very strongly regarding some expenditure, which they thought ought to be disallowed. Has such a thing ever taken place in Carmarthen ? I don't believe the famous oldest inhabitant himself can recollect anything of the kind. Auditors are appointed, and that is all the general public know about it. They check the aceouuts, no doubt; but they never issue a report, or if they do, it is never published. This is not auditing. An auditor is not a man that checks figures, that is the work of an accountant; a junior clerk could do that work as well as the most experienced Local Government Board auditor. The mere checking of the accounts is a protection against mere crude embezzlement; but that is not the point. Nobody denies that Ahe money is spent the question is whether it ought to be spent. That is where the auditing comes in. It is not a case of getting a voucher for every sum that is spent; that can always be done. An auditor often says, "Yes; this money has been spent; but it ought not to have been spent it is illegal expenditure it is uncalled for expenditure I disallow it." When it is disallowed, the people who signed the cheque have to return the amount out of then own pockets. When something is proposed at the County Council, or at the Guardians, the discussion is frequently brcught to an abrupt termination with the remark that the auditor would never pass the cheque." That settles it. You never hear such a remark in the Car- marthen Town Council. ta Of course you don't. But there is no reason why you should not-if the ratepayers appointed auditors with a direct mandate to ¡ find fault wherever possible. To take a single instance. A bill is put before the auditors for £ 5 for something or other. They know that this stuff could have been bought cheaper. Perhaps at the contract meeting, the highest tender was accepted, cr perhaps the tender was let in a mysterious meoting called the Public Works Committee held with closed doors; or perhaps 1\ it was bought without a tender, or even without a quotation being asked for. At any rate, the auditors as businessmen might know that the £5 need not be more than £ 3 10s. In such a case the £ 1 10s ought to be disallowed. If such a thing happened once or twice it would cure slipshod finance. People would not say, Pooh it does not matter now," and sign the cheque if they knew that the finance of the job might bo dissected, and a portion of the amount disallowed. Yet some such drastic remedies is wanted to bring home to individual members of the Council their responsibility on such matters. The very people who at homo would not pay 21d a pound for sugar, if they could get it at two pounds for 4 £ d, and who would be afraid to trust the charwoman with the key of the pantry for fear she would have an extra slice uf bread, rise above such trivial details, and cultivate a spirit of large-hearted generosity when they are dealing with the money of ratepayers. There is no swindling going on. The whole trouble is due to a lordly contempt for petty finance, and to an unwillingness to make a fuss." But people who are too dainty to make a fuss will never do in public life. You'll never grow cabbages, if you're too nice to sprtnd manure or squash a caterpillar. The Llanelly Guardian is a credit to local journalism, but it would not not be a faith- ful interpreter of the views of its readers, it it did not at least once a quarter grind out one anti-Carmarthen joke. This week in a note about something it speaks about Carmarthen as the "Asylum and Gaol town." Now it is not fair of the Guardian to give the show away like that; that is the whole secret of the antipathy against Car- marthen. The community which goes in for docks without entrances, and streets without exits, naturally feels a personal animosity against lunatic asylums; an asylum in the county is a serious menace to them. 8ft And as for the gaol-well it is a delicate subject. Whenever you see anybody coming down Castle Hill, and wiping away a tear, you may depend he is a Llanelly man thinking of his friend on the other side of the wall. It is no joke for the Llanelly folks; to them Carmarthen is a place where friends have to part for more or less lengthened periods. We in Carmarthen are grateful to our friends up the line. When there was talk of closing Carmarthen prison, they came to the rescue, and decided to send us their prisoners, instead of letting them go to Swansea. The result has been satisfactory for Carmarthen how Swansea likes it, I don't know. 9" At the Assizes on Tuesday, one witness described himself as a "steam trawler cook." A 44 sea cook is a nautical term of contempt, so perhaps the more imposing phrase is used as a euphemism to cover the homelier term. At any rate, it cannot mean the man who cooks steam trawlers. From personal observation, I am inclined to think that when a man uses a knife, a Carmarthenshire jury always finds him guilty. We had such a case at the Quarter Sessions a couple of weeks ago, and now we had a similar case on Tuesday, when the jury not only found the person" Guilty," but found him guilty of the major charge. There is a good sound British prejudice against the knife, which it is to be hoped will be maintained. Now I have never seen a conviction in a perjury case in Carmarthen- shire. Sometimes the case is shaky sometimes it is a case in which you might honestly take either view; and onco it was so plain that the Judge censured the jury for their verdict. No matter; the result is always the same. Sometimes when certain cases are being tried, the Jndge throws out a suggestion t li, ladies should leave the court. They leave. But it is a painful spectacle to go in or out of the court room during such an investigation, and notice "ladies" in the corridors craning their necks eagerly to catch something of -what is going on during the few seconds that the door is open. It is not once or twice you notice this it is a regular feature uf the corridors at Assize time. It is, of course, useless to comment on the subject, for those who can behave in such fashion are fat- beyond feeling anything which can be written on the matter. Mr Walter Spurrell, on being elected mayor on Monday, said plainly that he was not going to subscribe to the various clubs, etc., during his year of office, as his predecessors had done. No doubt, he will come in for a lot of abuse on that account. As a matter of fact, Mr Spurrell deserves to be thanked for being straightforward about it. I don't agree that it has been the custom for the mayor to contribute more or less freely to various local objects. Some mayors have done so some haven't. The disclaimer was quite unnecessary. He might have taken the office, and have said nothing, and have acted as he pleased. That has been done by mayors before now. The only difference is that the present mayor has been honest enough to tell people at the start that he is not going to be bled. That is much better than courting popularity, and keeping people in expectation, and telling the Cricket Club that you are very sorry that you have subscribed to the Ping- Pong Club, and telling the Football Club that you have subscribed to the Cat Fanciers' Society. The number of mayors who have been generous in this respect is very small. In fact the generous mayor is the exception-and not the mayor who refuses to be bled. Mr Spurrell has too high an opinion of his predecessors as a whole. m Still there is no denying that the expecta- tion of backsheesh from the mayor exists —although it is an expectation which is frequently. doomed to disappointment. There is something very hypocritical in pressing a man to accept the mayoralty, and at the same time everybody knowing that you are simply inviting him to stand up and be plucked like a Christmas goose. The fact is that the office of mayor has become associated with the idea of a kind of Santa Claus who will provide everybody with everything. You would think that people of any independence if they wanted to play croquet or quoits would put their heads together, and club up, and buy the necessary apparatus and hire a field for themselves. If they can't do that they had much better go without croquet or quoits, and play marbles, and retain their manly indepen- dence. Instead of that, they often set about and cadge for the means to enable them to indulge in their favourite recreation. They either ask right out for cash, or else they cadge in the more genteel way by asking people to become presidents. You are quite qualified to become a vice-president of a I football club even if you don't know the difference between a centre forward and the second aorist. It is ali a question of cash. If this is to be the standard by which mayors are to be judged, the most honest way would be to put. the office up for auction. If generosity is an essential feature in a mayor, then the most generous man will be the best. So let an auctioneer be appointed and let the office be knocked down to a gentleman inside the Council or out who offers to spend most, money during bis year. When people have bid until they see the Official Receiver staring them in the face, then it will be "going, going, gOlF' and the chair will pass for one year to the highest bidder. This method would have the advantage of honesty. p The proposal to give the mayor a salary which is suggested as being within reasonable distance is quite uncalled for. Salaries are voted to the mayors of large cities, and they usually spend four times the amount. Bu". then there are big social duties to be carried out. A mayor of a big seaport may have to invite the officers of the Channel Fleet to dinner, or he may even have to entertain Royalty on occasions, to speak nothing of Foreign Ambassadors and such like smaller fry. This is worth voting public money for. Why should the mayor of Carmarthen have a salary 1 To enable him to patronize Christ- mas trees, and sales of work, and to sub- scribe to Goose Clubs, billiard tournaments, and the like. That is just a bit too rich. Of course, if the mayor had a salary he would have to produce a balance sheet at the end of the year. Ie would never do to vote a man £ 100 a year as salary, and then allow him to make money out of it. We must certainly have a balance sheet in that case. And if there is to be a salary, then the job must be let by tender—the lowest or any tender not necessarily accepted. It would be no good giving £100 a year if somebody 11 el I tendered at EGO--satisfactiori guaranteed or money returned. And the tender must not be considered in the Public Works Com- mittee but at a full meeting, in presence of the press, so that justice may be done to the ratepayers. There are no expenses of a character, which could be fairly chargeable to the rates, connected with the mayoralty of Carmarthen. The trips up to the Lord Mayor's Ball and various banquets don't count. If the mayor stays away the town won't suffer. Men go up to London occasionally even if they are not mayor of Carmarthen and there is no reason why they should be paid for dancing at the Mansion House or dining with the Lord Knows Who. It is quite enough to have these pleasures without being paid for taking them. Mayors are sometimes salaried for giving dinners, but never for eating them. The only unavoid- able expense is the robe. Well it is doubt- ful if that is necessary it is only Ritualism at the best. Indeed the scarlet cloak is too suggestive of the Scarlet Woman. In any event, a man could buy a red shawl from his predecessor, and sell it to his successor, so that the expense need not be great on that score. Or the Corporation might keep a few robes in stock (as surplices are kept in a vestry), and let those who want them shift with them in case of emergency. Indeed with the reforms I have suggested, I trust that the office of mayor may be so cheapened that (like bicycles, and top-hats and green- houses) it may be brought within the r.:ach of all classes. 9mm A very sincere compliment was paid to Judge Bucknill on Tuesday by a Welshman from a rural district some distance from Car- marthen. He watched the Judge in admir- ation, drawing out the witnesses, and keeping the barristers to the point, and explaining things to the jury. IVell," said the country- rann at last, "he is a very clever gentleman. It is a great pity we can't get him as chairman for our District Council." De minimis non curat lex certainly but all the same it was a heartfelt compliment. ft. I said a good deal when the Corporation decided to sack the steam roller driver who had plenty of work, in order to find a job for a man who had lost his occupation since we have stopped pumping. But the events of Monday were a striking commentary on the change. The man who used to drive had to | give up before the notice expired, on account of illness. The new man took the steam- roller in hand. The resul can be seen. The steam-roller cut some capers in Spilman- street, and wound up by coming against a post at the corner of Parade-road the nett result was a broken post, and the front roller knocked off the machine—which during the week stands a hopeless wreck as incapable of movement as a stranded whale. Some say the roller can be mended for £5. Let us get rid of it before a worse thing happens. *-1* The proposal to hold Council meetings in the evening was nearly carried on Monday. It is almost a dead certainty that it will be carried next November. I hope to say something on the subject next week. ALETHEIA. ■

The South Wales Training College,

Election of Mayor at Carmarthen.

Municipal Election at Carmarthen

The New High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire.

Hockey Notes.

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