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BRECON ELECTION. ] On Wednesday evening, the 24th January last, a public meeting was convened by Dr. Price, of Aheniare, at the Town Hall, (kindly lent by the Mayor for the oecasion) for the purpose of address- ing the electors and non-electors of this town" on the public topics of the day, in furtherance of his 01 political views," he having previously issued an address to them, seeking their suffrages on purely liberal principles. The large room of the Town Hall was not anything like large enough to contain all who were anxious to hear Mr. Price some hun- Jreds failed to gain admittance. It was stated that the Doctor would have a warm reception, in conse- quence of the report circulated throughout the town and neighbourhood, that he was a tool in the hands of Mr. Howel Gwyn's party, which proved to be quite unfounded. The Doctor, by his masterly eloquence, commanded the audience to hear one of the best addresses that could be delivered, taking the audience by surprise with the manner in which he handled his subject. The chair was occupied by Mr. John Jones, chemist, supported by several gentlemen on the platform. Mr. Jones gave a brief outline of Dr. Price's life and character, and then called upon that gentleman to address the meeting, who said as follows:— Gentlemen,—Allow me before I proceed to ad- dress you upon mere public matters, to refer to a question personal to myself. It has been asked during the last few weeks, who is Dr. Price ? and what possible claim can he have to entertain the idea of representing the borough of Brecon in Par- liament? (A voice: Never mind.) Any gentle- man has a perfect right to ask these questions, and I feel sure that you will concede to me the right to reply. Indeed, I feel it due to you that I should reply to them. Well, briefly then, I am the son of a working man—(cheers)—who was born in the vicinity of Battle, and who was a descendant of Cradoc Fraich Eras, though all he received from the old warrior was the right to wear his crest and coat of arms the property is enjoyed by other branches of the family, the Prices of Castlemadook -(laughter)—and I wish them all prosperity in the enjoyment of the same. My father spent, boy and man, 56 years of his life in the services of the Williamses of Manest Court, and in old age died in their service, respected as an honest workman, In my native parish there was no school of any kind during my early years, so that I was of neces- sity deprived of even the most meagre educational advantages. When very young, I entered as a page into the Clifton family in Llanfrynach, where I remained till the establishment was broken up, on the family going to the Continent. I then invested all my little savings in apprenticing myself to the late Mr. Thomas Watkins, of the Struct—(cheers) —to learn the trade of a painter and glazier. At the end of my time with Mr. Watkins, he very generously and kindly gave me X5, with which I was enabled to pay off my few debts and recruit my small wardrobe having done which, I left the town and walked from Brecon to London—it was a long walk, but there was no help for it as the coach fare would have taken mvali and much more. In London I met your townsman, Mr. Burgeaux, who greatly helped me in getting my first employ- ment, and my introduction to the Mechanics' In- stitute and to the Law Courts, for which I have ever felt grateful. While in the metropolis I worked with diligence during the day, and in the evenings attended the classes of the London Me- chanics Institute. From London I was received a student into Pontypool College, and having com- pleted my term there, I was invited to preside over a small congregation in Aberdare, where I have spent the last 20 years of my life, doing what good I could in religion, and also in politics—(cheers)— and now, through the kind providence of God, I am in a position to devote as much time and as much money as you can fairly expect from the re- presentative of your borough (cheers.) That is briefly my answer to the contemptuous questions asked about me, and I do not know that I have done anything to be ashamed of during that period (cheers, a voice: It is an honor to you.) As to my right to come and seek your suffrages, I thought r 1, that I had as much right as any other person— (cheers)—if I was prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to serve your interests. I am a Welsh- man bred and born, a Welshman in heart and feel- ings. I am a Nonconformist from conviction. I was born in the vicinity of Brecon, nurtured amongst you, and commenced nilv religious life in your midst, and since I left your town I have done nothing to disgrace it. I thought, after an absence of 27 years, I might come back honoumblyand ask you to return me as your representative in Parlia- ment (cheers.) I and many others have long felt that it is a disgrace to Wales that out of the 32 members sent to the House of Commons we have never sent one Welsh Nonconformist (shame.) We have not now in the House of Commons one mem- ber who fairly represents the religious feelings of eight-ninths of the people of Wales (cries of "shame," "right you are.") At the last general election England and Scotland sent to the House 40 Dissenting members, whilst Ireland sent 40 Roman Catholics to represent the feeling of the Irish people in Parliament; but Wales to its eter- nal disgrace, has not sent evenone Nonconformist to the new Parliament. Is it not time that we should bestir ourselves and remove the stigma that rests upon Wales as the land of'Dissent ? (cheers.) Well, I came to give the electors of Brecon a chance of doing so failing to induce you to invite another and a better man, I offered myself as the best substitute I could have (cheers and laughter.) When I-leariied of the death of your late respected member I watched your movements with great anxiety, hoping that a gentlemen of local influence and advanced liberal opinions, like your Mayor, t would come forward but I was disappointed in this. Two gentlemen issued their addresses, neither of which did I think reflect the opinions of a large portion of the independent electors of this borough. Let us for a moment look at the addresses issued by them. Let us take the Earl of Brecknock's address. The first paragraph is worthy of his lord- ship's^ kindly feeling towards the late member, the second and third paragraphs are simply- old stereo- typed expressions that have been used in a hun- dred addresses before, (cheers) and are as meaning- less as they are common to everybody in the habit of reading the papers. (" What was your first ?") The pith of the address is, that he would give a firm and independent support to Lord Palmerston's government and policy. The foreign policy of Lord Palmerston's government was good, and for that we were indebted to Earl Russell; for its financial policy we were indebted to Mr. Gladstone; with these two exceptions Palmerston's policy was vague, vacillating, and unsatisfactory ("Hear, hear," No, no.") He was a Liberal in name, but in reality doing the behests of the Tories. And yet, this was all that was really promised by the noble candidate in his first address. The address of Mr. Gwyn is all that you could have expected from a professed and a consistent Conservative. We have the oft- repeated description of the Conservative and the pruning knife, as if the Conservatives had ever been in love with the pruning knife (cheers.) When every one that has read history must know that a Conservative is the dead weight to all progress, reform, and improvement (applause.) Then comes the "conscientious Dissenter," as if Mr. Gwyn had ever met with a Dissenter without a conscience. Why, even William Hopkins, the shoemaker, of Ystradgynlais, maintained that he had a conscience, o ti g,1 n though the magistrates wondered at the idea, and took the man's leather and sold it to a policeman for half its market value to pay the church rate (loud cheers.) I have no quarrel with these gentle- men—they have a right to hold these views—but I put it to you, would the principles set forth in either of those addresses reflect the opinions of the majority of the electors of Brecon ? I believed not, and hence my reason for coming forward to enable you, or some of you, to enter your protest at the hustings, and on the poll book, against both -manifestos (cheers.) I came forwasd to make an experiment, to put to the test the loud professions made in some places, and in some gatherings, as to the necessity of electing a Welshman, a. Welsh Nonconformist, to represent at least one of the 32 Welsh constituencies, and I wanted to see what chance a practical man might have of entering Parliament without being compelled to engage half the lawyers in the borough, and without being obliged to secure half the publicans—(loud applause) —and whether a man could be returned at a less cost than pounds sterlieg, reckoned by thousands. The answer I have learned is, that I am just a trifle before the time. But, gentlemen, the time will come when this will be done; and one would have thought that Brecon would have been a fair held for making such an experiment (hear, hear) there being here, in this small borough, no less than eight congregations of Nonconformists, and also an im- portant college where our future ministers are being taught the doctrines for which our Puritan fathers bled and died (cheers.) The question of Parlia- L mentary Reform will certainly have the attention of the Legilature in the next session; and you should be prepared to look the question fairly in the face. I believe that there are three points that will have to be dealb with before this question can be considered as settled. The franchise, the pro- tection of the voter, and a redistribution of parlia- mentary seats. Let us look at the franchise as now possessed by the electoral body in this country. The present House of Commons. is constituted of 656 members, 466 of them being returned to repre- sent counties and boroughs in England 105 for Ireland, 53 for Scotland, and 32 for Wales. These are elected according to the provision of the Reform Bill of 1832, by a certain number of persons having a given qualification to exercise that right. In counties under certain regulation the freeholder, the copyholder, the leaseholder, and tenant at will, if his rental is £50 per annum, may vote for a re- presentation in Parliament; whilst in boroughs, the holder of house and land, to the annual value of -Xio, has a right to be on the list of voters. This was settled in the year 1832—34 years ago—and no change has since taken place as far as England, Scotland, and Wales are concerned, but in Ireland the franchise has been considerably lowered. By the Act of 1850 it was reduced to a X12 rental in counties, and £ 8 in all boroughs. In the year 1864 the gross number of voters on all the lists in the United Kingdom was 1,333,690. This gross num- ber would give an average number of votes to each one of the 656 members, supposing they were equally distributed, of 2,033 each. But when we strike off the list all duplicate returns, take into consideration all deaths, removals, and other dis- qualifications, we shall considerably reduce the list of actual voters, and find that they will number at the utmost about 1,100,000 out of a gross popula- tion of between 29 and 30 millions, so that in this country we have but one person out of every 29, souls who has a right to vote for a member of the House of Commons. Let us try and make this quite clear to each of you. Suppose that it were possible for us to collect together the whole of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, they would together cover an area of 1,587 acres of land now 1,500 acres would correctly represent that portion of the people of this country who have no right to vote, while the remaining 67 acres would show the portion who now have a voice in the election of members to Parliament to make our laws (cheers.) Is it to be thought for a moment that this is a fair representation of the people-is it not inconsistent, unjust, and cruel ? Surely, to name the fact is sufficient to convince the thoughtful (applause.) Is it fair and just to confine the elective franchise to less than 4 per cent. of the population of this king- dom ? Again, if we suppose that each of the 1,100,000 persons who are on the register to be heads of families --which is not the case in fact- but we will for the moment suppose so—then we may put it down that they would represent them- selves, their wives, their children, and their domestic servants when exercising the right of voting but even in this case we shall have left over 5,000,000 of families that are not represented at all, or say that these 1,000,000 electors would fairly represent 5,500,000 souls in a given election then we have the important fact that 25,500,000 are entirely ex- cluded from the privileges of the franchise. I be- lieve, gentlemen, that fair play, common honesty, and bare justice call for an extension of the suffrage (cheers.) Without now arguing in favour of or against the London platform for a full manhood ,i suffrage, or for the Manchester manifesto for a clear voting suffrage, or for the plans proposed by any friends'in Bnningham, or Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it is clear that a considerable extension must take place. I consider that nothing short of a -910 rental in counties, and £ 6 in boroughs, will meet the demand of the case (cheers.) But for my own self I would go further than that, and say that everv man who is entered on the rate books, who has lived twelve months in one electoral district, and is free and untainted by crime, ought to have a vote (cheers.) This would be just to the honest workman who pays his share towards maintaining the honour and dignity of the country. But the question comes, ought not property and intelligence to be the basis of representation ? Even on that score the wording man should not be excluded from the privilege of having a vote. As to the property of the country, let us take the house. -[Mr. Bowden here put a question to the orator, but was silenced in the uproar that ensued.]—Dr. Price proceeded Let us take the House of Lords, per- haps the most wealthy body of men in the world. A very competent authority, after careful investi- gation, has put down the annual income of the property represented by the House of Lords at 11,000,000; but to be quite safe, let us double that sum and give the House of Lords a gross annual income of X22,000,000, and then take the other side of the question. The same authority has put down the annual income of the working-classes of this country at S250,000,000 but to be perfectly safe here again, let us reduce the sum by one-haif and call it X125,000,000, and this reduced income of the working classes is more than ten times the income of the House of Lords (loud cheers) Thus, then if property is to be a basis, the working men of this country, who hold the largest amount, ought to be enfranchised. Look at the taxes paid by dif- ferent classes in this country, and you will find that the working man is the heaviest taxed of any man in this country. He pays out of every £ 1 sterling, that he earns by the sweat of his brow, 5s. in taxes. Thus he is taxed to the extent of 25 per cent, upon all his earnings hence it is but common honesty and justice to give him a voice in the making of those laws that weigh so heavily upon him (cheers.) If we take education and in- telligence as the basis for legislating upon this question—we say the working man has a right to put in his claim. Great progress has been made by the working classes of this country since the by the working classes of this country since the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832, and if the then state of education justified the legislature to extend the franchise—in the borough of Brecon for in- stance, from 15 to 242—for previous to the Reform Bill of the number of voters was 15 only, but by the passing of that Bill the number was increased to 242. Surely, the present state of affairs justifies an extension now. Now, let us for one moment glance at a few things that have been done since then as a proof of the growing intelligence, pru- dence, and stability of the working-classes of the United Kingdom. In the year 1831—the year before the passing of the Reform Blll- therw re j 1,276,747 children in the various schools in the land, giving an average of one scholar for every 11 of the whole population. In 1861, when the last returns were made, we had 2,750,000 children un- der instruction, or an average of one in 7 of the whole population. This is a .vast stride .in :30 years, and the ratio is still on the increase. In 1831 we had in the whole country 55 Mechanics' Institutes- containing in all 7,000 members but in 1861 we had no less than 800 of these institutions having an aggregate of 140,000 members. In 1831 there were in this country 429,503 persons who used the Savings' Bank, and who had then in deposits the sum of 000,000 sterling; and in 1861 we find no less than 1,500,000 using the Savings' Bank, and they had, to their joint credit, the large sum of £ 40,000,000 in these institutions (hear-, hear.) Look again at the Friendly Societies of thi^coun- try, whose members are numbered by hundreds of thousands, and whose accumulated capital is be- tween twelve and fifteen millions sterling. We have now about one out of every four of the adult population enrolled in these institutions of the working men of this country—while you will only find on the continent of Europe about one in every seventy who belong to any friendly society at all. We have in our building societies over 100,000 members, whose annual subscription amounts to £ 1,790,000, and whose subscribed capital is con- siderably over £ 6.000,000 sterling (cheers.) Take one other fact. In 1831 there were in this country 205 newspapers; but now we have 1,270, and the number still increasing. The increase has been equally rapid and wonderful in our quarterlies, monthlies, and weeklies. I mention these things to show that the working men of this country have a fair claim to the franchise (hear, and cheers.) Then, a re-distribution of parliamentary seats must form an important portion of any Reform Bill to be satisfactory to the country, great changes having taken place since 1832. In taking the electoral register for 1864, and dividing the number of voters equally between the 656 members of the House of Commons, we find that it would give an average of 2,033 voters for each of the 656 mem- bers. The 466 members for England would average 2,073 voters; the 105 for Ireland would average 1,958 the 53 members for Scotland would average 1,919; and the 32 members for Wales would ave- rage 1,860 voters. But the disparity between one constituency and another is almost beyond belief. We will illustrate this by 11 large boroughs which return between them 24 members to the House, and 12 small boroughs which also return 24 mem- bers to Parliament. In the first place we shall take Bristol, Finsbury, Lambeth, Liverpool, Man- chester, City of London, Marylebone, Tower Ham- lets, Westminster, Glasgow, and Dublin these united have a population of 3,751,668 souls the number of voters on the register is 212,329 the annual value of their property is £ 29,184,664; they pay under the income tax the sum of £ 3,433,635, and they return 24 members to Parliament. In taking the following twelve boroughs, Andover, Buckingham, Chipenham, Thetford, Cockermouth, Harwich, Devizes, Honiton, Lymington, Great Marlow, Marlborough, and 'Richmond, we shall find that they have a population of 68,106; electors, 3,858 the annual value of this property is £ 314,202; they pay under the income tax the sum of £,679, and yet they also return 24 representatives to Par liament. This will of itself show the great inequa- lity and greater inconsistency of our present mode of representation. If we take the little borough of Portarlington, with its 106 electors, we shall find that one elector in, Portarlington is equal to 48 in Salford, and equal to 151 electors in the conty of Cork, and equal to 290 electors in the Tower Hamlets. The absurdity of this must be at once appareut to all. Look at Thetford and Bristol -the former, with 223 electors, sends two members to Parliament; and Bristol, with 13,829 electors, sends precisely the same number; and hence, as matters now stand, the 223 men of Thetford are equal politically to the 13,829 men of Bristol. If we were to amalgamate into one electoral district, the boroughs of Thetford, Marlborough, Andover, Honiton, Knaresborough, Calne, Arundel, Tewkes- bury, and Leominster, their united number of voters would be just 2,001, and that would give them the right of returning one member between them; and on the principle of numbers, wealth, and intelligence, Bristol should have the right to return eight members to the House (hear. lierr, a-,id cheers.) A careful examination of the register wilt show that one-half of the present members are returned by less than 14 per cent of the electors of the United Kingdom, while the other half is re- turned by more than 86 per cent, of the whole body of electors. Hence, in the House of Commons, upon any division, 14 per cent. of the electoral in- terest of the country has as much weight as the other 86 per cent. We therefore think that a com- plete re-modelling should, take place (hear, hear.) I should like to see the towns of Crickhowell, Hay, Glasbury, Builth, as well as Trecastle, added to Brecon—(loud cheers)-and form one united bo- rough (continued cheers.) And believe me, gentle- men, it will be a prudent and wise course on your part to get this effected with the least possible de- lay, or you may find, some fine morning, that Brecon will be swept out of the register altogether (hear, hear.) The next point in any comprehensive Reform Bill should be the due protection of the voter in the exercise of his right. To give a vote to the working man' without the proper protection in thè 'ise of that right would be to him a delusion" and snare (hear, hear.) I believe the ballot to be the best approximation of the safety required—(bravo, and cheers)—and would therefore be glad to see the ballot a part of the law of the land (renewed cheers.) I should like, very much, if time would permit me—(" Go on for a week if you like")—to direct your attention to ecclesiastical matters at this moment. In my address of thlth of last month to you, as electors, I stated openly c and honestly my views as to the connection, or rather non-connection, that ought to exist between religion and the State (hear, hear)_ The paragraph runs thus: In' Ecclesiastical matters I am a Nonconformist, and, believe that ^the, religion of Christ was not intended by its Divine Founder to be allied with, or to become an engine of, the State, and that true relicyiori, would be .greatly benefited by being freed from all state patronage and control.. I would, therefore, while firmly maintaining vested rights, and duly respecting the interests of all living ====:==='Jm' persons, and whilst cherishing the most cordial feeling of regard and respect towards the Episcopal Church, as one of the Christian communities of our land, gladly support a measure for the total eman- cipation of the Church from the State, firmly be- lieving that it would prove an act of lasting blessing to the Episcopal church itself, and a simple measure of justice to the other religious bodies of this king- dom." (Cheers.) I am not alone in this view of the case. There are some of the best men within the pale of the Established Church who.are much of the same opinion. In proof of this I will now only refer to the able sermon lately preached before the University of Cambridge, by the Rev. John Ingle, of Trinity Ooiiege, where he states:—" The period is not far distant when the Church will be deprived of any predominance, social or political, which she still possesses and the various sects by which she is surrounded will be placed, with respect to all public rights and privileges, on a footing of perfect equalityfwith herself." (Cheers.) You will remember these are not my words, but were ad- dressed to the University of Cambridge a few days ago (cheers.) I might also refer you to the Colenso case and its immediate effect upon the proceedings of the five bishops of New Zealand, who have re- spectfully returned their patents as Bishops to the Crown, and desiring henceforth to live upon an equality with other religious bodies in the colony (hear, hear.) I would also refer you to another paragraph in my published address, referring to the patronage of the church,. which runs thugj:—" I would do all in my power to promote a 'committee of enquiry into the working of the Established Church and Endowed Schools in Wales, with a view of ascertaining the-amount of provision it has made, or is now making, for the spiritual wants of the people and the education of the children of the poor; the effect of appointing to high offices those who do not understand the language of the people the evil of allienating the revenues of the Establish- ment from the poor churches in Wales for the pur- pose of aggrandisement of richer Churches else- where; and whether the Establishment in 'Wales has answered the purpose of its being, and if it has brought forth fruit commensurate with the large sums drawn by it from the taxes of the coun- try." I believe there is no country, where there is an Established Church, where the abuse of its patronage is greater than it has been in Wales for the last' three hundred years (hear, hear.) I will confine myself to a few facts—facts well authenti- cated. In Johnes' Essay on the "Causes of Dis- sent in Wales," we find the following statement When Henry VIII. assumed the supremacy of the establishment, the monasteries and other reli- gious houses fell in Wales, as in England. But this was not the only act of spoliation. The county of Merioneth was stripped of tithes equal in amount to nearly one-half of the whole income of all her resident clergy, for the erection of the new Bishop- ric of Lichfield. Carnarvonshire was similarly taxed for the sake of Chester whilst other new sees were enriched at the expense of South Wales. In the North, the tithes of many of the richest parishes were made the perquisites of English col- leges in the South, the tithes of the majority were conferred upon laymen. In the county of Glamor- gan alone, no fewer than ten parishes are in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester." We must also bear in mind the fact that the bishops appointed to Welsh dioceses are Englishmen, (shame) and these English bishops have never for- gotten their own family connexions in making the appointments to the best livings in the Principality; hence it follows that the great bulk Qf the patronage has for the three centuries been conferred upon Englishmen, thus depriving the natives of Wales of their fair and just share b of the revenues of the church in their own country.—(A voice: "I wonder they don't stop at home."—The rev. doctor: While they can have cream in Wales they are not likely to drink skim milk at home. Roars of laughter and loud cheering.)—The speaker then detailed how this patronage was divided between the Bishops of St. Asaph, Bangor, St. David's, Llandaff, the Deans of the latter Dioceses, Archbishops of Bre- con and Llandaff, Provost and Fellows of Eton College, Jesus College, Oxford, Christ's College, Cambridge, St. John's College, Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, Dean and Chapter of Bristol, Bishops of Lincoln, Chester, Lichfield, and Bishop of Glou- cester and Bristol. He said—Will any Philadel- phia lawyer in the room tell me how many Welsh- men are among that lot? (Mr. Bowden: "You aint into none of 'em." Cries of sit down.") And our endowed schools are in no better position (I now refer tosome two or three years ago.) Sir Thomas Phillips, some time ago, declared that Christ College at Brecon, from its establishment down to our times, has been a scandal alike to Church and State." And the same might well be said of the Bangor school, and that of Llanrwst the first having an annual income of £ 500k and the last of £ 600 per annum, and originally established "for poor men's children;" but the poor men's children have been robbed of their rights, and the revenues have gone to enrich ecclesiastical corpo- rations that have no sympathy with Wales, or its poor men. Hence, I believe that a Parliamentary enquiry ought to be appointed to fully examine these clauses—and a thorough and searching inves- tigation would prove a great blessing to the church, and should be an act of justice to the working clergy in Wales. But again, referring to the Reform Bill, I believe that the two main objects of the next bill will be a widening of the basis of representa- tion and a re-adjustment of parliamentary seats— these will, I believe, be the main features of the bill— and I am glad to learn that the Government is prepared to stand or fall by the bill. Allow me again, in conclusion, to warn you to take early steps to watch every movement of the promoters of the new bill. Scrutinize the first draft of the bill, or you may find the borough of Brecon deprived of its present privileges of sending a member to Par- liament. One of three things, in my opinion, must come to pass—-to unite the towns of Crickhowell, Hay, Glasbury, Builth, and Trecastle, with the town of Brecon, and form one electoral district, or merge the borough into the county, and send one member instead of two, as at present or possibly, to leave Brecon out of the list, to make room for some of those large and growing towns, (such as Staleybridge,) in various parts of the kingdom. In any case, be on your guard and watch the interests of the town, scrutinize the draft of the Reform Bill, petition for the union of the towns I have named into one borough, and always take care to send the best man to represent you, who will reflect your opinions in the House of Commons. (The doctor resumed his seat amidst thunders of applause.) The Chairman asked if there was any gentleman present who wished to ask Dr. Price any question. Doctor Williams, after eulogising the conduct of Dr. Price, said he wished, in justice to all parties, to ask a question, which was, Upon your honour as a gentlemen, were you instigated to come forward for Brecon by Mr. Gwyn or any of his party." Dr. Price, in reply, said most distinctly, honestly, and as firmly as a man can do on his honour, that neither Mr. Gwyn, nor anybody .else on his behalf, had anything to do with his coming forward for the b'oroftgh of Brecon. MrfDavies, jeweller, after very highly compli- menting the large audience on the superior maimer of their conduct, asked Dr. Price what he thought of the last address issued by Earl Brecknock, -m:n: Dr. Price, in reply, read a long address, stating that he had obtained his object, and therefore begged to retire from the field. Mr. Cansick moved, and Mr. Davics seconded a vote of thanks to Dr..Price, which was received with great cheering, and the meeting terminated.