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"4 WALES IN PARLIAMENT. No time was allowed to elapse by our Welsh members, before calling attention to the fact that the Quean's speech did not contain a promise of any special legislation for Wales. The subject was taken up, in one of his best speeches, by Mr. Herbert Lewis, the popular member for the Flint boroughs. Mr. Lewis, at the outset of his speech, alluded to Mr Balfour's argument in opposing a similar amendment when it was proposed last year. Mr. Balfour then said that the amendment was based on the fallacy that Wales received no benefit from legislation passed for Great Britain. Mr. Lewis, pointed out that this was a complete mis-conception of their argument and posi- tion. They in Wales did not say that Wales did not participate in the legislation passed for the whole of Great Britain. But they did say that much of that legislation, which might be acceptable to England, was neither asked for, nor needed in Wales, and that Wales was ripe for legislation which England would not accept. Wales asked to be exempted from legislation which it de- tested, and demanded a share of the legis- lation she had so repeatedly asked for. Mr. Lewis could not possibly put the mat- ter in a clearer manner. There are many Acts of Parliament which may be of some benefit to our Saxon neighbours, but which cannot in any way be of any service to Wales. On the other hand, we in Wales are ready for many things-some of them agreed upon by both political parties- which England cannot be induced to accept. A stronger plea for separate treatment could not possibly be made. Mr. Lewis went on to show that Wales had been treated separately both by Liberal and Conservative Governments in the past, because Wales had proved that she was ready for legislation. He mentioned the Welsh Sunday Closing Act passed by a Liberal Government, and the Intermediate Education Act, passed by a Conservative Government. And as Mr. Lewis pertinently pointed out, Sunday Closing was only a small part of the temperance question, and 'the Intermediate Education Act, only touched the fringe of a great question. Whether he meant it or not, Mr. Lewis made an excellent point in favour of end- ing or mending the House of Lords. He stated that the present Government's answer to all such demands as those he then made was, if you cannot get what you want, wait until another Government comes into power. It is not our business to promote temperance reform, land reform, or religious eqality.' This (Mr. Lewis said) was not a sufficient reply. If Conservative Govern- ments had not the will to carry out these reforms, Liberal Governments under the present constitution had not the power. It might be true, as Lord James of Hereford had said, that the House of Lords would not dare to stand in the way of a reform upon which the democracy of England had set their hearts. But the House of Lords did not care a rap about the democracy of Wales. Therefore, what hope was there for Wales even from a Liberal Government, if the House of Lords vetoed their Bills ? Mr. Lewis then went on to enumerate the questions upon which Wales demanded separate treatment. First of all he placed disestablishment. Then followed the ques- tion of elementary education, which was closely" aliied to the first. Temperance re- form was also in a riper state in Wales than in most other parts of the kingdom. •In Wales,' Mr. Lewis said, 'they had a country which knew her own mind on the subject, a country that offered herself as an experimenting ground for temperance re- form. If England was afraid to try it, let Wales have a chance.' He regretted that the Government, in the face of the report of the Royal Commission, had not thought fit to include a bill to amend the Sunday Closing Act, on the lines of the recommen- dations of that Commission, because this certainly was not a party question. The grievance of the Principality in the matter of private bill legislation was not forgotten. The Government have intima- ted that a bill relating to Scottish private bill legislation shall be introduced, but nothing was said about Wales. Yet in 1897, there were 23 private bills from Wales, and only 9 from Scotland. Surely the Welsh claim is stronger than the Scottish one, and why precedence should be given to the Scottish claim is inexplicable. Why not deal with both ? Naturally, Mr. Lewis did not forget the matter of the museum grants for Wales, but in addition to this, he instanced other pressing matters such as the pier and har- bour accommodation of the Principality, the question of re-afforestation, and the right of Wales to be represented on the Royal Standard, and on the coinage. Mr. Alfred Thomos who seconded, was perfectly right in saying that Wales suffered because of its good character. Because Welshmen were so tranquil, it had been taken for granted that they had no real grievances. Sir Mathew White Ridley was put up to reply on the part of the Govern- ment. On the whole he was friendly, but he was friendly because he was weak. He admitted that there were urgent matters of reform which Wales had a right to demand. He paid a tribute to the system of Welsh education, which he said, was ahead of even Scotland, and certainly of England. But Sir Matthew pointedly added, if they desired the Church question and the land question in 'Wales to be dealt, with, they must get another party to do it.' Of course, we must. The present Government will not legislate for anyone except their friends. Their friends are the landowners, the parsons, and the brewers, and all legisla- tion from this Government will be for the benefit of either one or the other of those classes. Amongst the others who spoke in this in- teresting debate were, Mr. Herbert Roberts, Mr. Tudor Howell-who as asual, was as unpatriotic as he could well venture to be —Mr. M'Kenna, Mr. Lloyd-George, Mr. Jasper Moore, and Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, the newly elected leader of the Opposition. We must compliment Sir Henry on the very able speech he delivered, and on the true ring of Liberalism (that pervaded it. He seems to be waking up to his new duties, and discharging them with an ability which no one ever doubted, and with an energy which certainly many did not expect. The division was a surprise to both sides. The Government's majority was only fifty! One hundred and forty-four votes were re- corded in favour of Mr. Herbert Lewis' amendment, and only one hundred and ninety-four against. Surely Wales is gain- ing ground even in this most Conservative of Parliaments. We can with heart and soul congratulate our Welsh Liberal mem- bers on the undoubted influence they posses in the House of Commons, and we look with no hesitating eye, on the near fulfilment of the wishes of the country in some of the matters referred to at any rate.


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