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THE SPIRIT OF CRITICISM.

4 WELSHPOOL HORTICULTURAL…

— NOTES BY THE WAY.

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— NOTES BY THE WAY. At the last meeting of the Aberystwyth Efard of Guardians, Mr James Jones declared that a man ought to live on 3s lOd per week. Few men, if any, can contest the statemeiat, for if any man has attempted it. he has probably bidden farewell to this world, and the public must bow to Mr 5a.mes Jones as an authority upon how to live cheap and grow fat. At the same meeting Mr E J EVEES, another country guardian, sought to raise a dis- cussion upon certain remarks m&de by the Rev T A Penry at a previous meeting respecting the interference of some person or other with the Workhouse officials. Mr Evans tried to show that j Mr Penry referred to a member of the Board, which statement the rev gentleman stoutly denied. 1 Then, turning to Mr James Jones, Mr Evans de- manded to know if he did not inform him that Mr Penry referred to a member of the Board. Mr .Jones appeared genuinely surprised and denied that he ever said anything of the kind, upon which the members joined in a roar of laughter and the dis- cussion collapsed. The defence of Aberystwyth from attack by sea is a matter which has not been overlooked by the War Office, who on a previous occasion have refused to permit guns of large calibre and more modern construction being placed on the Castle. A further application has now been made, and as stated by Lieut Stephens, in a letter to the Town Council, the War Office are anxious to put new 9-inch guus on the Castle, which is the only avail- able site. Of course, no one cares to think of Aberystwyth being attacked, though it is just as well to be prepared for it. The Welsh coast has always been open to attack by a foreign force, and it should not be forgotten that, as compared with the early years of the century, the wealth of the town has enormously increased. On the other hand, the townspeople might feel anxious to keep the Castle grounds free of any further encroach- ment by artillery equipment, but when they are informed that the Castle ground is the only site, all objections will disappear. Capt Doughton does not appear to be in favour of the scheme, and he is just the sort of man who, after having his house knocked down about his ears by an opposing force, would turn round and blame the Government for not being prepared. 'Ii' Aberystwyth young men are as ready and wil- ling to fight as any similar body of men in the country and it must not be imagined that because there is no war fund, and that no appeal for help for Tommy Atkins and his family has been made by the Mayor that the townspeople are not sub- scribing towards the fund. A«ian can be a man of peace and at the same time be patriotic, and if the Mayor of Aberystwyth holds views not strictly in accordance with the majority of the people on the war, that is not sufficient reason for his neglecting to open a fund in the town. There is scarcely a hamlet or town in the whole of Wales which has not got its fund, but Aberystwyth, a town which prides itself on its progress, stands aloof from the good work of the rest of the Prin- cipality. Welsh regiments are going to the front. What has Aberystwyth done to make the men's journey lighter and more comfortable ? Nothing! In this issue we give the first instalment of a new serial story entitled The Crowning of Esther." In an open competition Mr Morice Gerard, who has written several well known stories, carried off a £100 prize with The Crown- ing of Esther." The plot is most carefully laid and the incidents are worked out in a manner which must interest our large circle of fiction readers. The "Crowning of Esther" will be found to be anything but conventional or common- place as regards the general plan or mode of treatment. Once again has the attention of the Public Works Committee been called to the state of the Aberyst- wyth Castle Grounds, and on Tuesday the Mayor himself referred to the disgraceful condition of affairs. We do not know why an appeal should be made to the Public Works Committee. It is well known that Alderman Jones is not a martyr to progress and only moves when he is probed. Let the ratepayers of Aberystwyth take a walk round the Castle Grounds and see for themselves how the best and most favoured resort of the summer visi- tors is being looked after. They have year after year to pay in rates thousands of pounds; they do so willingly, feeling that the more money is judiciously spent the better will be the return. But it is questionable if they get the best value out of the Castle Grounds. The ratepayers are at the mercy of the town officials and the chairman of the Public Works Committee is worse than inactive in the matter. All of this is leading up to a day cf reckoning when the ratepayers are sure to take their payment in full. Ttie order or the new fire engine for Welshpool has been placed with Messrs Rose, of Manchester, the makers of the Oswestry engine. Other firms tendered, but looking at all the facts and consider- ing also the. equitable manner in which Messrs Rose have treated the Corporation, we are of opinion that "the Corporation could not have done better. At Thursday's meeting of the Town Council Mr J ? Jones questioned the validity of the proceedings, but whether the proceedings were valid or otherwise, we fail to see how the order could have been placed with any other firm. One firm despatched a special representative to Welsh- pool, and his cetivassing of the members of the Council ought of itself to have been sufficient to disqualify that particular firm, while his methods of canvassing could only gain even less favour for his object than the canvassing itself. The members of the Corporation have under the circumstances done the best th'g possible for the town. According to a statement at the conclusion of the business at Thursday's Council meeting, the Rifle Range proposal lies in abeyance pending the receipt of further information from the War Office. The military authorities, ifl addition to ground for ■camping, inquired if there was sufficient land available for mano&cvres, but before the Committee can definitely reply or give the terms they wish to know how much laad is required for this purpose. The authorities are1 too busy with South African business to hasten on the Heldre scheme, but their last inquiries convey the impression that, in the event of the Heldre range being accepted, they are prepared to make a very extensive use of it. Whan the Army system comes to be re-considered or overhauled, as it certainly will, at the close of the-war, it is more than likely that ranges, such as the Heldre, will form a subject of most careful consideration by the authorities. The Directors of the Cambrian Railways Com. pauy, who recently re-introduced second class fares for through bookings with other railways, have decided to extend this arrangement to their local traffic. The alteration will, we understand, come into operation shortly. There was a hearty discussion at the meeting of the Ellesmere Literary and Debating Society on Wednesday evening on "Ho,w. to keep the labourer on the land." The consensus of opinion was that the lot of the agricultural labourer must be made more comfortable, and it was suggested that to this end the labourer should be provided with better cottages, that he should .have at least three acres of land for his own use, and that his hours of labour should be made shorter. times like the present, when there is a big boom in the staple trades, when employment is found for almost every man who applies, there is .a rush from the rural districts to the towns, and the labourers who thus change tiieir place of abode seJdom return to the rural districts. Farms thus become mere graz- ing grounds. But granting the present system offers little inducement for the labourer to remain in the country, who is to remedy it Who is to build comfortable cottages and to provide the acres of land ? While the majority reply that they would expect this from the landlord, they mustinot overlook thefaofcthat allalldkrd manageshisestateacn business lines and that he will hesitate to make the class of investments which bring no return. While it would be an excellent thing, too, to have the cpczitry laid out in .small farms, landowners frequently find that it is more to their advantage to let their land in large tracts, rather than multiply tenants and farm buildings, with the additional advantage that I the large farmer is usually a man of subetance, while the small farmer is too frequently just abrade higher than the farm labourer. *• £ 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 oat than ever before, and visiters have found the room very useful in ¡ gummer 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 fGx 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. It is a pleasure to note that a Volunteer Com- pany has been formed at Aberdovey, &tld 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. 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 now 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 zE. 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 maintairs the un. fortunate poor 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 I 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 tnrn them out, demolish the old dwel- lings in which thev resided, and leave them to wander along the highways exposed to the winds, the rains, and the tempests. Vagrancy wouid Iw a far greater evil that, ever in the past, crime would increase, and the sickening spectacles of olden days of women giving birth in roadside ditches or seeking & 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 •an the Mount. Modern boards of guardians are already bad enough, but we would not commit a human being to the mercies of a siJlall parish board whose only object would be to .save the rates.

♦ YEOMANRY AND VOLUNTEER NOTES.

ABERYSTWYTH.

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