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Llythyr Gwleidydol.

-0 BWLCHGWYN A'R CYLCH.

Mr.Ellis J.Griffith, A.S.…

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Mr.Ellis J.Griffith, A.S. a Datgysylltiad. To the Editor of Y Brython." SIB,—The triumphant victory of Liberal- ism in Wales at the last General Election raised high hopes amongst the Welsh people. It was confidently believed that the fidelity to Liberal principles for two generations was at length to be rewarded. The silence of Cabinet Ministers with regard to religious equality in Wales was somewhat ominous, but it was not until the deferment beyond the 3rd Session that anxiety gave way to disappointment. For the last eighteen months I have urged the necessity of obtaining a clear pledge from the Government. During the last few weeks the Welsh Disestablish- ment controversy has become more and more prominent, and the need of a clear under- standing more and more pronounced. The do-nothing policy has hardly an advocate, and there is no one who seriously thinks that the Welsh cause can be advanced except by action. It is true that I have been advised to induce the Welsh Members to educate the country rather than press the Government for a definite pledge. For my own part, I think it is easier and more profit- able for the country to educate Welsh Mem- bers than for Welsh Members to educate the country. Wales has done its electoral duty with absolute unanimity. There is not a single Tory Member to represent a Welsh constituency. Wales has learnt its political lesson thoroughly. Wales does not need political education all that Wales needs is to learn determination and unity and to transmit these qualities to its representatives. A half-hearted effort has been made to assert that Wales is absolutely contented with the present political situation and displays no impatience. < This is in patent contradiction of the actual facts. The Independents and Calvinistic Methodists, at meetings representing the two denomin- ations throughout the whole of Wales, have already spoken emphatically. The Free Churches of Wales are united in their demands. The Liberal Press of North and South Wales is brimful of evidence that the Welsh people are restive and unsatisfied. The deputation of Welsh Members who waited on the Prime Minister received scant praotical encouragement, though the press summary of the interview was un- accountably hopeful. Yesterday we had the sanction of the Prime Minister to the contents of a letter addressed to the Rev. ElvetjjsLewis. It is significant that this letter was written with a view to being read at a meeting of the Congregationalists in South Wales, where a drastic Disestab- lishment Resolution was to be proposed, and was in fact passed. It is doubly signi- ficant that while the Welsh Members failed to obtain any promise conditional or uncon- ditional from the Government, the Rev. Elvet Lewis was able to obtain a further declaration of the intention of the Govern- ment. If one Nonconformist minister can obtain this result, what will the united efforts of the Nonconformist Ministers of Wales secure ? The first available opportunity and the earliest possible moment have now been supplemented by a declaration that, subject to the conditions of time, it is the intention of the Government to pass a Welsh Disestablishment Bill through the House of Commons during this Parliament. How does this further assurance add to the former promises ? The practical substance of these various declarations is that if there be time and opportunity then the Bill will be passed through the Commons. But who is to provide time and opportunity ? Who is to decide the length of the present Parliament ? Obviously the Government. Their majority is such that at any rate as far as the duration of Parliament is concerned they are omnipotent. The Prime Minister has declared that the House of Lords Bill will be introduced at such time as he de- termines. It appears that the third session is already allocated, but no one has ever informed us whether in such allocation the claims of Welsh Disestablishment were con- sidered and rejected or merely ignored. What, then, of the Fourth Session ? When is the allocation of the Fourth Session to be made ? Will Welsh Disestablishment be remembered or again forgotten ? In the future of the political situation, one fact stands out plain and clear. The dissolution will not, in the absence of a political catastrophe, arrive a day earlier than the Government desires. The normal length of a Parliament, judging by recent experience, is not less than five and a half years. This allows an ample opportunity for the introduction of the Welsh Disestab- lishment Bill after conceding one Session to the House of Lords Bill. It may be remembered that in the letter to the Rev. Elvet Lewis it is stated that Welsh Disestablishment is to be in the fore- front amongst the matters which the next Parliament will be called upon to deal with. Does this carry us any further ? In January, 1906, the Prime Minister said that Welsh Disestablishment remained an integral por- tion of the Liberal programme, and would be dealt with at the first available opportu- nity." Therefore the value of the new assurance depends upon what is meant by the position of being in the forefront of the measures to be dealt with by the new Parliament." It cannot mean earlier than the first possible moment which is our pledge for this Parliament. Is Welsh Disestablish- ment to be a first, second, or third measure ? Unless it be amongst the first two or three measures, it cannot be said that it will be in the forefront. The fact that we should be driven to discuss the measures of a Parliament that will not be elected for some years is a sure sign that the Welsh question is being rele- gated to a distant and ever receding future. There are three points to be kept in view. The first is, that after the introduction and passage through the Commons of the House of Lords Bill, there will be a dissolution. Secondly, that if Welsh Disestablishment is to be passed through the Commons this Parliament, it must pass before the House of Lords Bill is introduced. Thirdly, that the Government is the sole Arbitrator of when the House of Lords Bill is to be introduced, and therefore of whether the Welsh Dis- establishment Bill will be introduced in the Commons this Parliament or not. It is therefore abundantly clear that the Government have the power to proceed with Welsh Disestablishment if they wish. If they do not proceed with it in this Parlia- ment, it will not be the power, but the wish, that will be at fault. It is said, in answer to our demands, that the House of Lords blocks the way. But does it ? The Government are to introduce Temperance and Education Bills next Session does the House of Lords block the way of these measures ? If not, why should Welsh Disestablishment be the only measure in regard to which the House of Lords paralyses all. Parliamentary efforts ? Irish measures, Scotch measures, Labour measures, are introduced in this Parlia- ment why should the Welsh question be the only one to be arrested by anticipatory fears of the Upper House ? The apologists for delay seem to regard the present and the next Parliament as almost equally favourable opportunities for dealing with Wales. I, however, prefer the overwhelming Liberal majority of the present House of Commons to the chances of a less efficient majority in the next House of Commons. The practical question remains Are the Welsh people to make any further efforts to secure Welsh Disestablishment being pressed through the Commons this Parlia- ment ? Are they to remain satisfied and wait to see what will turn up ? They have waited forty years-a considerable time even in the life of a nation. The Joint Committee. of two great Nonconformist denominations which has just been appointed will no doubt consider the point. I am fully persuaded that Welsh Nonconformists, and especially Welsh Nonconformist Ministers, can even now induce the Government to pass the Welsh Disestablishment Bill through the Commons in this Parliament. To do this, the Government only needs time. Fortu- nately, Governments can make time-if they earnestly desire it. I am, yours faithfully, ELLIS J. GRIFFITH. House of Commons, 2nd July, 1907. --o

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