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EISTEDDFOD MEIRION. I THE BANQUET. The annual banquet in connection with the Meirion Eisteddfod was held at the Lion Hotel, on New Year's Eve, under the presidency of Mr C E J Owen, Hengwrtucha, the vice-chairman being Dr John Jones, and there were also present, Messrs Joseph Bennett, London, W L Barrett, Edward Williams (Llew Meirion), 0 0 Roberts, Capt G W Kinman, Professor Bryner Jones, R Jones Griffith, J M Jones (County surveyor), Dr Robert Jones, R Guthrie Jones, W N Griffiths, D G Williams, E A Williams, Oswald Davies, J E Mills, M.R.C.Y.S., J Trevor Owen, M.A., R Ll Evans, T H Roberts, Edward GrifSth, Brynadda, Edmund M Roberts, Talsarnau, Evan Francis, J H Bellaser, G Rowe, D G Owen, V V Akergyd, E D Lallande, Sergeant- Instructor Cox, W H Pyeuiont, R C Owen, Meirion Davies, J S Fitchard, B Morgan, L Jones, J McLean, Dan Williams, C Black, J Richards, N and S Wales Bank, and D R Mills. THE TOAST LIST. After the tables were cleared the first toast of the evening, viz,, "The King," was proposed by the Chairman, who said that the year 1902 would be a memorable one, for those of them who would see it come to a close, because of the Coronation of their King Edward VII, and although they would not all be able to go to London, he felt that wherever they might be, that more sincere wishes would be not expressed anywhere than by the natives of the county of Merionethshire (cheers). The toast was musically honoured. In proposing the next toast, that of The Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales, and remainder of the Royal Family," the Chairman remarked that much sympathy was expressed all over the world wher- ever the British nation was represented, with the Queen in her present illness (hear, hear). As to the Prince of Wales, the Welsh nation greatly appreci- ».th J1., tb.aX.t-K117. ha.fl ^sLded that the were possible to proclaim him at Carna^ ct— vastie, the birthplace of the first Prince, they as Welshmen, would deem it a very great compliment and honour (hear, hear). A song was then rendered by Mr Meirion Davies in splendid style, after which, The Vice-president, Dr John Jones, was called to propose The Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces." He said that they were all proud and thankful for the splendid services which had been rendered to the King and country in that serious and prolonged war in South Africa, and it was a matter for the highest congratulation that Wales had not been behind in sending her quota of gallant representa- tives-(cheers)-and if he were allowed to mention one name it would be that of Professor Alfred Hughes, Corris, who had laid down his valuable life for his country (hear, hear). The history of the war showed that the Army had made serious blunders and met with severe reverses, but when they took the nature of the country and other things into consideration, he thought posterity would decide that they had done very well indeed (hear, hear). However, t; 1 y all v, :ihed that the war would shortly be brought to a finish and the best way to do so was to carry on the necessary operations with the greatest possible energy, and no peace, which in the least degree was indicative of weak- ness on our part should be concluded (cheers). Remarking on the Dolgelley Cyclist Corps, the tpetker said that they had had the great honour of being presented to that famous soldier-General Baden Powell, a short time ago, who expressed the opinion that they were evidently a useful body of men, and he (Dr Jones), hoped they would encour- age them in every way. He had no doubt that if they were called upon they would sacrifice every- thing for their King and country (loud cheers). Captain Kinman responded and said if the Volunteers had done nothing else, they had enabled our rulers to gain the respect of the continent nations (hear, hear). It was characteristic of lL.0 country that she never pressed her foes too harshly, and he thought that this had a tendency to prolong any war, and he was of opinion that this had been the wrong policy in this war and it had assumed such a serious aspect that the country was at one time practically denuded of troops. They as Volunteers did not profess to be soldiers, but the fact that there were 250,000 men in the country who knew how to handle weapons and could use them to some purpose in the case of an invasion had no doubt beeu fully taken into consideration by their continental enemies (cheers). As regarded the Cyclist Company, it was regrettable that it was scattered over a wide district and they would see how difficult it was for him as an officer to secure efficient training. At Dolgelley the number was decidedly small, and although he added that it waa difficult for many young men to provide a bicycle for the wear and tear which was necessary, still there were a large number in the neighbour. hood of Dolgelley who could do so, and he hoped they would, so that people would not be able to sneer at them as a small corps of half-a-dozen men (hear, hear). A song having been tastefully rendered by Mr J S Fitchard, Professor Bryner Jones proposed buccess to Eisteddfod Meirion and the Choral Society," and said that they were both inseparable from one another and from one name, namely that of Mr 0 0 Roberts (cheers). This eisteddfod had, he thought, carried out the best traditions of their national institution in the encouragement of art literature and music, and had even introduced innovations which had been adopted by the National meeting (cheers). Mr Roberts had done splendid work for music in the town and district of Dol. gelley-(hear. hear)-and had helped enormously to cultivate the public taste in music. He hoped that he would put away any thought of resigning for many years to come foi they could not do without him-(hear, hear)-and he was certain the people of Dolgelley would not allow him to resign (cheers). He would also like to couple with the s toast the name of Mr Dan Williams (hear, hear). Another song Phoebe Dearest" was sung in capital style by Mr E Arthur Williams, after which Mr O 0 Roberts rose to reply. He said that in a very few more minutes the choir would be in its 50th year (cheers) which was he thought a very long life for an eisteddfod which had a very roman. tie history, and bad started in a very humble m:1 ner indeed. He intended this to be his last how- JI ever (no, no). Ho bad commenced with the Messiah and would finish with it (no, no). Although { it was very successful they had some difficulties to contend with, and one was the train service (hear, hear). Last year three choirs failed to put in an appearance because of this. The other was the accommodation, which was the germ that was killing the institution. He had been preaching about it for the last 15 years. Another point was the uncertainty of subscriptions, although he was very pleased to say that there were a few, who supported with praiseworthy regularity and enthusiasm.He was afraid that unless they would do something in the town, that the attendance would dwindle. Recently, however, as his friend Mr Dan Williams, could tell them, £1,000 had been quickly raised, and he hoped that they could prevail on someone to start a fund (hear, hear). He had no doubt, however, that they would have a fine eisteddfod the next day (cheers). Mr Dan Williams, in respoding, said he had come in with a short speech in his miud, but his friend Mr Roberts had taken the words out of his mouth (laughter). Still he heartily endorsed every word that he said. With reference to the success of the Idris Choral Society this was mostly due to the very able musicians, who so kindly favoured them with their presence every year (cheers). It showed that they had faith in the meeting, and on the other hand the meeting benefited by the association of their names with it (cheers). An oboe solo, was then beautifully rendered by Mr Lallarde, Old Colwyn. The Chairman then proposed the toast ot the evening, namely that of Mr Bennett (hear, hear). That was the chief reason why they bad assembled there that evening (cheers). For some years now he (the Chairman) had arrived at a period of life, when he did not like to count the number of years, that had passed over his head very accurately (laughter), but Mr Bennett had always responded without fail to the call which they made upon him, and this he had no doubt at very great inconveni- ence. There was no question but that the great factof in the success of the meeting, was that com- j^surcre at^Qever they wer0) woui<j receive absolute Ar Bennett's hands (cheers). It was not only tte way he judged but the way he gave his decisions, which endeared him to the audience, and even unsuccessful competitors went home satisfied, which was a thing that did not occur very often in eisteddfodau as they knew (cheers). He was very pleased to see a young Mr Bennett there that evening, and he hoped that he would come there with him regularly (cheers). With all sin- cerity he drank his health, and trusted that he would be long spared to adorn his honourable pro. fession (cheers). A comic recitation by Mr R Llewelyn v ns, entitled Richard III," created intense amusement after which Mr Joseph Bennett, who was received with loud cheering, rose to respond. He said that every man no doubt, liked to be told that he was a jolly good fellow, whether he was or not (laughter). He believed, however, that he had discovered some reason for their gratitude, for sixteen years had passed since be first atttended the Meirion Eistedd- fod (cheers). He bad missed but very few of the meetings, and by this time be bad no doubt but that shrewd and penetrating people, as Welsh people generally were, they had found him out, and that his defects and little ways were not their ways. His friend Mr Rn!- s had found for instance, that if there was one t i ag he hated more than another it was replv; to a letter- (laughter) -and Llew Meirion knew very well that he did not appreciate being set out in the eistedd- fod programme as a blackamoor (laughter). But although they knew him perfectly well by this time they did not hesitate to ask him to come down, which was to him a matter of great gratification (cheers). On his part he had also found them out (laughter). He would spare their modesty by a recital, for actions spoke loader than words. He would only say, that during those sixteen years, be ways came down with the greatest pleasure etieers). He hoped to be able to come as long as die eisteddfod lasted, which according to the strangely significant words of Mr Roberts would not be very long. However, they would hope, that it would be very long before hope departed from them in this case (hear, :hear). Mr Bennett then went on with some reminiscences of the condition of eisteddfodau, some 30 years ago, which created much interest and amusement. During that time, said Mr Bennett, a great change had come over the institution, ugly corners had been rounded off, crudeness had disappeared, and it was now con- ducted in a business-like manner, and all that was bad or iudiffereut had been carefully eliminated (hear, hear). He hoped that this general advance would be maintained, and they in Dolgelley, would not rest satisfied until they had a more satisfactory building to hold the meeting (cheers). He would be very pleased to give his little share, and if £10 was any good to them, they were welcome to it (applause). As to the resignation of Mr Roberts, he hoped it would pass away from him like a bad nightmare (hear, hear). He again thanked them, and his services would always be ready for them (great cheering). Dr John Jones then proposed the health of Mr W L Barrett, who he said was always ready, li! e Mr Bennett to assist them (hear, hear). Mr Barrett suitable replied, after which the proceed- ings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem.