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, THE IRISH HOME ROLE QUESTION.

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THE IRISH HOME ROLE QUESTION. I OPEN AIR MEETING AT TAFF'S I WELL. ■f- SPEECH BY MR ALFRED THOMAS, M.P. On Saturday evening an open air meeting of the anpportera of Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P., vat held a field adjoining the Castle Hotel, Taff's Well, 'or the purpose of considering the Home Rnle qUestion. Mr J. Morgan, Glau-y-llyn, occupied the chair, and there were about 200 present. The Chairman in commencing the proceedings Said that he was pleased to see so many Liberals "'ho were followers of Mr Gladstone present. He, for one, would be sorry to belong to the other side. Mr Gladstone was the greatest statesman that he had ever seen, and be believed him to be the only man capable of solving the great question of Irish Home Rule. (Hear, bear.) The member (Mr Alfred Thomas) who had represented them -during the past eight months had voted according to the wishes of his constituents and he was pleased to see so many there that evening to wel- 'Come him. (Applause.) Mr John Hopkins, Taff's Well, then moved the following resolution: That this meeting declares its unabated confidence in the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P., and think him the only man capable of solving this great Iiish question." Mr Bush, Caerphilly, seconded the proposition. He said be was thoroughly in harmony with the cause for which they had met together, it being a meeting convened for the purpose of speaking on "the Home Rule Bill for Ireland. They had seen by the results of the elections during the past few days that the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists ^ere in the majority, but, nevertheless, fcbey (the Liberals) were not defeated yet. One accusation which was brought against the Grand Old Man was that he was too old. But they had it on the authority of history that some great men had maintained the full exercise of their faculties up to eighty years of age, and therefore Mr Gladstone at 77 years of age was not too old to grapple with this great question. In faot, it would be a matter of impossibility for a younger statesman to grapple with it-it was necessary that a man should have had a life experience to grapple with the question. He was happy to say that in Glamorganshire they had ten members who were willing to go in for that measure, and the woriby member for the Eastern division of Glamorganshire had given them every -satisfaction in regard to the manner in which he had recorded his votes. (Applause.) Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P., who was received with loud cheers, in supporting the motion, contrasted the difference in the attendance at the meeting last year and now. Last year when be addressed them he was opposed by Mr Bowen Rowlands, but this year he had the honour and pleasure of supporting Mr Bowen Rowlands' candidature himself. (Hear, hear ) It was very hard for him to speak against Mr D. Davies because they had been great friends tor many years. He bad, however, persuaded Mr Bowen Rowlands to contest Cardiganshire. It was -very pleasant for him to come amongst them and address them that evening. They had asked Mabon to come and give them an address but he had replied There's no sport now the fight is over, and there is nothing much to iav." Doring the last election there were the subjects of Dises- tablishment an-i Reform of the House cf Lords be- fore them but to-day there was only one question viz., Home Rale for Ireland. As they were aware Mr Gladstone had inuodnce.j a measure but when it came to the second rending it was thrown out. He (the speaker), however, didn't feel conquered at this, because he thought it would only be delayed. He would just meet a few of the obiec- tions which had been mnde against the late Hill. Some of those who objected to the Bill bad been great friends of Liberalism, and he thought that they would be so again. But Mr Laboachere had said with regard to Mr Chamberlain,—and he thotght many of those present would agree with him-that he did not see why they should kill the fatted calf for him. He thought a little cold vpal would b, -:ood enough for him..Laughter). Sup- posing Home Rule were granted to Ireland why Should one-third of the inhabitants cf the globe be afraid of that little nation. Was it when that nation was contented and happy, or when the people were sullen and unhappy, that they would be most likely to be dangerous ? With regard to the statement that the Roman Catholics would per- secute the Protestants, that had been said 20 years ago. But what had bien the result ? Could they show him any one case where religions perse- cution had occurred through giving the Irish people religious equality ? But before they could have religious equality they must have a separation between Church and State. If they would refer to the Bible they would find that Shabrach, Meahech, and Abednego were cast into the fiery furnace, and Daniel was thrown into the den of lions simply be- cause they would not obey the State religion. Re- ligious persecution was the offspring of that unholy 11 y alliance of Churoh and State. Until this Irish question was settled we could have no other ques- tion settled. The Conservatives would now have to try and deal with ii. or s;and aside and let the Liberal party take it up again. He would like to say a word or two about the statements that had heen made in regard to the Protestants of Ireland being richer than the Boman Catholics. How was it that this was so ? He had learnt a great many things from the speeches f the members during the debate. Among ihe speeches was one made by the Attorney General in which be stated that from history they gathered th it Ireland during the En*0'- Cromwell was overrun by the With'8*1 am* a*' k*10 heist farms were given to them, great to manllfactor'e?> ^6 Irish had so succeasfnimHnafaofcorieSj and thc'y C3rDPetf\d sountry that w'th the manufacturers of this tax the Irishthe ?ot l^e Government to that the trad^?!fIVUJ,a*d the consequence was North cf Ireland ZTaWay" ^The"' m there ? They estabished *U° i" vmeDt I bounties to the Engli^* V'™V b^'mG& gard to the great qnestiou Chtn h^' i ~bv L went with Mr Gladstone fhAad been a* why ,>v Tf .7 voice: Because he is a great man ) they WauteJ fco c fchig great question I-liey should leave it to Mr Glad- stone, for in hnJnn hnno man, and not only a great man, but an honest !Uan. (Annlanse* Now, in reference to this great question it was trim that at present the followers of Mr wore losing a large number of seats. This time it was probable that he (the speaker) would have to go back to the same position as when he first went to Parliament, viz., the Opp^sit'o^- Mr Gladstone, he believed, was the only m ia who was able to grapple witti this great question. Ireland had State Church disestablishment, a Land -c', and other reforms which they would like tohavein VV^les. It was true we had the Agricultural *i0^c'inSs Act but it was n-t fit to be named with the Iiish Land Act. Then with regard to the labourers. ^^ny labourer in Ireland could go fco a Board of 'oruar- dians and compel them to build him a house, and they could only make hi[n pay a shilling a week for it. they in "Wales would like to have t at. Notwithstanding all that, the Irish were not satis- fied. He had been asked why ? It was simply be- cause they had not the power of making lnws 10 their own c,uutry.- If Mr Gladstone's Bill w?re passed ID would give the people the power to make laws for themselves and by themselves. That was what we bad been preaching but we did not prac- tise it. l'he power was now nmong the founda- tion of the people. Whsn the people appreciated the power be did not think they would be able to do any better than SHpport the great Liberal party which had done so much for them in tne past and which he hoped they would continue to do in the future. (Applause) The resc; ition was then put to the meeting and carried mr nimoosly. The Re\ Joshua, Thom8, Tonygwynlais, then proposed" -,hat this meeting desires to express great pleasure at the unopposed return of our member, Mr Alfred Thomas, and hopes that he may continue to enjoy the confidence of his con- stituents." He thought that was the hope of them all. They were proud of him before, but they were prouder still of him to-day (Hear hear), as they found he had done his duty, and was the faithful representative of the constituents whe sent him to Parlaiment. It was most gratifying to think that he had been returned unpposed. There must be something in the man that the opposition did not care to oppose him (Hear, hear.) Still he thought that a little opposition would have done them good. It would stir and move those Liberal principles that they had in them if they had a little more opposition. Referring to Mabon, the speaker asked them to consider what the labour candidate had done. (Hear, hear.) Was there ever a better candidate sent to the House cf Commons ? He had no doubt that there were plenty of similar men to be found amongst them. He considered it an insult to Welshmen that candidates should be brought from London to contest the seats. In the course of some Welsh remark? which followed, he said that Ireland had been calling through dynamite and through Fenianism, and they were now calling peacefully, but still none the less determinedly. The Irish would at this election be sure to send a majority to Parliament, and as they as Welshmen were of opinion that they could manage Welsh affairs better than the English, he trusted they would be willing to give to Irishmen the power of managing Irish affairs (applause.) The Rev Mr Roderick, Tongwynlais, seconded the motion in Welsh. He said that some people went to Parliament and turned round after they got there, but he was very glad to find that in the course of these elections it happened that the people who turned when they got to London were turned by others when they came back. He hoped that Welsh people would continue to do that sort of thing by people who misrepresented them, and although he did not think Mr Thomas needed any warning on that score, still he would advise him not to turn round after he got to Parliament, or he might be turned round after he came back. (Applause ) Ha was very glad to find there were Welshmen in Pailiament, but be would like to see or hear that Welsh wa.s spoken there (laughter.) He had no objection to Lee other languages flour- ishing, but he would like to see his own language live and flourish. It was said that those Irishmen were wicked men. He would point out, on the other hand, that it was said that the repre enta- tives were wicked also. All that he could say was that it was quite natural that wicked men should represent wicked men. Mr Joseph Millward, Nantgarw, who also ad- dressed the meeting in Welsh, supported the reso- lution. He pointed out that until recently work- ing men had not had the franchise extended te them, and, therefore, they had no voice at all in political matters. All that had been changed. They were now on a footing of perfect equality with those who were socially and financially occu- pying better positions than they occupied. He remarked that working men were being elevated in the social scale, and that they bad proved themselves worthy of the trust reposed in th(m since they had exercised the francnise. He said that it was seldom they would find a Conservative working-man, because their class had benefitted little, if any, by the action of the Conservatives in the past. He also pointed out that the Conserva- tives had opposed the extension of the franchise and other measures calculated to give power and privilege to the working man (Hear, hear.) In regard to the Irish question, he remarked that per- suasion was better than brute force, and kindness better than cruelty, and that they should treat those people as human beings aid not as beasts. Some people refused to accept the Irish Home Rule measure sitnply because they entertained strong prejudices against Mr Gladstone. They, as working-men, however, were prepared to accept the measure on its meats, and they believed Mr Gladstone was better able to deal with it than any other man. The motion was put to the meeting and carried unanimously. Mr Alfred Thomas, in responding, said that he was pleased to find that the little be bad done in the past had given satisfaction. He hoped that should he be spared he would be able to do more for them in the future than he had done in the past. He did not believe in what they called dele- gates, but when a man came before them with re- gard to a great question sucb as Home Rule, and knowing that his constituents could not give him their vote be o-igbt to resign. So long as he held the position wt.ich he did at present be should endeavour to carry out the wishes of his constitu- ents, and when he found that he could not pro- perly represent them he should not attempt to do so. He then proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was seconded, and unani- mously agreed to. The meeting then terminated.

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