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The report of the work accomplished during the year by the Aberdovey Literary Institute, as pre- sented to the annual meeting on Friday evening, shows that the library and newsroom are appre- ciated in the town. In every branch there is an improvement. New books have been added, the adverse balance at the bank has been lessened, more books have been taken out than ever before, and visitors have found the room very useful in summer as proved by the number of books issued In August. This is very gratifying in view of the fact that the Institute is maintained by voluntary subscriptions. Unstinted praise for the success of the institution is due to the secretaries (Messrs G Williams and W J Eves), and the librarian (Capt Edwards), as well as the members of the committee. Mr John Corbett has been re-elected president for year. We understand that out of every shilling ex- pended by the Dolgelley Board of Guardians during the year ended March 25th, 1899, 6|d has been paid 4 for relief, seven-eighths of a penny for salaries (which sum has been repaid by the Local Govern- ment Board) one-eighth for management, three- eighths of a penny for general purposes, three. pence and one-eighth for County and Police rates, and three-eighths of a penny for separate parochial charges. # It is a pleasure to note that a Volunteer Com- pany has been formed at Aberdovey, and that between 40 and 50 young men have already enrolled themselves. At a critical time like the present such an event can only be looked upon as indicating the existence of a healthy public spirit and we hope, for the sake of Aberdovey, that the existence of this patriotic spirit will be further emphasised by other eligible young men throwing in their lot with the Company. The absence of definite information in regard to the movements of General Buller, General Hildyard, and Sir Charles Warren is the subject of much speculation in this country, but it is known that our army has lost points owing to the publicity given to the movements of our troops, such infor- mation having found its way to the Boer com- manders. There is little doubt that severe fighting has taken, or is taking, place in the vicinity of Ladysmith, but the world at large will probably receive no information of an important character until it can be given without risk of being detri- mental to the plans of our generals. Our special contributor this week continues his arguments in favour of a re-division of the Mach- ynlleth Union. His one point is that the pcor rate at Towyn more than provides for the needs of the poor of Towyn, while the sum obtained from the rating of Llanbrynmair falls £150 short of meeting the demand in that parish. From this he draws the conclusion that the system is very unfair to Towyn, and that Towyn ought not to contribute more than sufficient to maintain the poor and destitute of that place. The basis of the conten- tion rests upon a fallacy, for the writer disposes of the problem of the poor as though it were merely a local, whereas it is a much larger question. If his argument were founded on a substantial basis the whole poor law system in the United Kingdom would have to be abolished and a new system set up. We should have, accept- ing our correspondent's contention as sound, each parish supporting its own poor, each parish a separate union of itself, each parish with a Board of Guardians doing the work of the parish, and possibly each parish with a Workhouse of its own. How could any saving be effected with such a-mul- tiplication of offices, of clerical work and of official- ism generally ? The amount the county pays, for officialism and red tape generally, is enough in all conscience and any scheme to be satisfactory must provide for the elimination of this evil rather than its aggravation. Last week we asked why, seeing that Llanbryn- mair ratepayers derive no benefit from the presence of the poor in their midst, they should be mulcted in an advanced rate ? Our contributor retorts that Towyn is already so mulcted. Towyn is nothing of the kind. The rate of contribution is the same at Towyn as in any other parish of the Machynlleth Union—it is so much in the X. The fact that the rate at Towyn produces more than at Llanbrynmair is a mere indication that there is more wealth at Towyn than at Llanbrynmair; the proportion of contribution is the same all over the Union. The proportion in Towyn more than maintains the un- fortunate pocr of Towyn; at Llanbrynmair it falls short. This implies that there are more poor at Llanbrynmair than at Towyn, and also that it is not so much for the rich to help the poor as for the less rich to relieve the richer ot the burden. This is in direct opposition to the spirit of the age. The tendency of national finance, as evidenced by Sir Wm Harcourt's graduated death duties, is to make the wealthy contribute according to their means. # Our contributor's scheme carried to its logical issue would be an unmitigated evil. If each parish had a special local poor rate, a wealthy man, owning the whole of the property in a parish, would be a fool to his own interests if, on such a re-arrange- ment becoming law, he did not at once serve ejectment notices on all the poor in the parish. He would turn them out, demolish the old dwel- lings in which they resided, and leave them to wander along the highways exposed to the winds, the rains, and the tempests. Vagrancy would be a far greater evil than ever in the past, crime would increase, and the sickening spectacles of olden days of women giving birth in roadside ditches or seeking a haven of rest from some bridge of sighs, horrors not excelled even in the slave market, would serve as illustrations, evolved from the heart and head of modern civilisation, of the Sermon on the Mount. Modern boards of guardians are already bad enough, but we would not commit a human being to the mercies of a small parish board whose only object would be to save the rates. In another column we give an effusion from Punch on over-crowding in London. This has reached a state of which people in the country can not even dream. In the case above noticed eight people lived in a room 10 feet square, ate, slept and worked, and for this room a rent of 4s. 6d. a week was paid. The houses of the working class in London are rented by Jews and farmed out in single rooms, or sets of rooms, at an enormous profit, to working people. Even these are hard to get at any price, so hard indeed that a working man earning X2 a week has been unable to get any kind of rooms and has been obliged to take his wife and children to the workhouse, where of course he paid for their keep. It is quite evident that the County Council will have to deal with the whole question of the housing of the working classes, and not in the half-hearted manner in which they at present treat it. Something ex- tensive on the lines of Lord Rowton's scheme will have to be carried out. The Queen has signed a Proclamation further proroguing Parliament to January 30th and on that date the Houses will meet for the despatch of business. It will then be found that not only ara the members of the Cabinet in unison but the majority of the Commons also.