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ODDFELLOWSHIP IN MONTGOMERYSHIRE. ANNUAL MEETING- AT NEWTOWN. SPEECHES BY THE COUNTY AND BOROUGH MEMBERS. The Annual Meeting of the Montgomery District of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) took place at Newtown on Thursday. In tho morning a meeting was held for the transaction of Lodge business when there were the following in attendance :■— District officers, R Swancott, Prov. G.M.; John Oliver, Prov. D.G:M.; and C Shaker, Prov. C.S. Deputies from the Lodges: Montgomery, Bros. Stephen Davies and E Pennie; Bishop's Castle, Bros. Arthur Jones and H Phillips; Plynlyaion, Bro. Evan Evans; Welshpool, Bros. T C Pryce and S J Pryce; Churchstoke, Bros. Thomas Richards and G Mountford; Newtown, Bros. F W Cooke and J Howard Jones; Builth, Bro. Thomas Samuel; Berriew, Bro. M D DavieH; Trefpglwvp, Bro. W Savage; Carno, Bro. Morris Jones; Kerry, Bro. H A Dolman; Middletown, Bro. Richard Pl-eece. The minutes of the last half-yearly meeting, and of the special meeting held in November for the purpose of sanctioning the opening of a new Lodge at Middletown, were read and confirmed.—The report of the District Auditor?, which stated that the accounts were accurately kept, was also adopted. With reference to any members of Lodges in the district, who are already or may be engaged in the present war in South Africa, it was proposed and carried unanimously That the contributions of any members of Lodges in this district who are called out for active service or garrison duty from amongst the Reservists, Yeomanry, Volunteers or Militia, be paid from the District Management Fund so long as they, are employed in such duties during the present South African War."—It was decided to hold the next district meeting at Kerry. —Bros. F W Cooke' and G, J Wroughton were appointed auditors of district accounts, and Bros. J E Tomley and W Savage were appointed to represent the district at the Portsmouth A.M.C. THE DINNER. In the evening the members and others sat down to an excellent dinner in the Public Hall. The chair was occupied by Bro. G H Ellison, P.P.G.M., and the invited guests were: Mr Tom Hughes, J.P., of Llaneliy, Grand Master of the Manchester Unity, Mr A C Humphreys-Owen, M.P.,and Colonel E Pryce-Jones, M.P. There were also present Captain Luxmore, Imperial Yeomanry, the Rev George Roberts, Dr Raywood, Messrs Evan Evane, P.P.GiM. (Llanidloes), T A Foster, C Shuker, Prov. C.S., W Savage, P.P.G.M. (Trefeglwys), F W Cooke, J E Tomley (district auditor), C W Norton, M D Jones (Berriew), and R Tomley (district treasurer). The local lodges were represented by the following .delegates Bros. Morgan Jones (Welshpool), T C Pryce, P.P.G.M, (Welshpool), R Preece (Middle- town), J Richards, D.G.M., and G Mumford (Church- stoke), R Jarmr,n and C Owen (Llanidloes), Arthur Jones ( Bishop's Castle), G Pryce (Kerry), R Swan- cott and F Morris (Carno), S Davies and E Pennie (Montgomery). On the conclusion of the repast, the Chairman read a telegram from Mr N W Fairies-Humphreys, Montgomery, apologising for inability to attend.— Mr Ellison afterwards submitted the customary patriotic toasts, which were enthusiastically re- ceived. OUR GALLANT DEFENDERS. Mr William Lewis, in a neat speech, proposed "Prosperity to the Army, Navy, and Auxiliary Forces." In responding, Col Prvce-Jones said he regarded this toast as the most important one of the whole evening (hear, hear), and he craved the indulgence of his hearers while he replied at some length. In this present war we had had surprises, unpleasant sur- prises, we had had disappointments, and we had had revelations. The war was opened in great con- fidence by the country which anticipated that the department which had charge of the important duty of defending us would prove equal to the occasion. But as the war developed that confidence and those expectations had been sadly disappointed. The authorities were certainly entitled to a share of the credit for the expeditious manner in which large bodies of troops had been conveyed to SOUTH AFRICA, bnt, in his opinion, the nation at large was deserving of still more credit. What was it that had hap- pened P What dreamer in his wildest fancies would have ventured to predict six months ago that what had happened would have come to pass ? Who would have thought that our Yeomanry and our Volunteers-auxiliary forces only meant to defend our own land-would have been asked to assist in work which one would have thought our army would have accomplished unaided. But in a very brief period of time, all these things had come about, and when Parliament met everything must be probed to the very bone by an inquiry which would disregard personal aud party considerations (hear, hear). The safety of the country must never again be endangered by the Shibboleths and sophistries of party differences. With regard to our Generals and soldiers, no true Englishman would venture to attack them, even assuming that they had made mistakes, and he was not going to assume that. However, they all knew that, both officers and men would do the best they could. It was a question for the War Office who would have to be responsible to the HOUSE OF COMMONS and to the country. Let tiiem as far as possible consider what it was our army at the front was deficient in. First they were supplied with guns that were outranged and in many other respects inferior to those in the possession of the enemv. It was true that we had not been able to send some-of our best artillery out, but what he said was this—that we should never have undertaken the war unless we were in a position to carry it through in as merciful a manner as possible. For his own part he did not believe in war unless as a last resort, and his object in being a volunteer and encouraging volunteers was to make every man efficient in Lhe use of arms, so that when we were obliged to fight we should be able to DEFEAT OUR ENEMIES as quickly as possible. There could bo no doubt that our War Department had shown a want of intelligence by underratiag the strength of our opponents. Where had been their ears to listen to, wliere ii,.d been their eyes to see, what had been going on through so many years ? When he saw our soldiers fighting under such great disadvantages it seemed to him to resemble a conflict between an armed aud an unarmed man. Amongst other things it was also admitted that we were deficient in light infautry, iltid, to go into smaller matters, field glasses and proper maps of the country. All these were very sorious matters, and he looked upon it in this liglit-tviat it had been a SHOCK TO THE WHOLE WORLD to find we had been so unsuccessful in the initial stages of the conflict. He knew we would win in the end—that we must do—and when we were victorious wo must be firm in onr determination to make impossible in the future an undertaking of the magnitude of the present one, by thoroughly overhauling the War Office, the most important department in the country. The present war had served, at least, one good purpose in demonstrating to the whole world the loyalty of our colonists, who had given us an earnest of their readiness to draw upon their practically inexhaustible resources in the way of men, if the Empire should require them. He was convinced that if the colonies had not come to the rescue in this hour of trial to the strongest Government of modern times, if not of the century, there would have been a repetition of what took place IN 1881. There could be no question tnat the reverses we had suffered were attributable to incapacity and want of foresight on the part of our military advisers, and he should be disappointed if the result of the Parliamentary inquiry was not a determination to re-organise our military system, and by so doing prevent any repetition of what had taken place in the present campaign (hear, hear and cheers). This inquiry must be held, it might be after the war, regardless of persons or personages, parties or even Parliament. No victory, however complete, must be allowed to overshadow this duty and prevent au inquiry the results of which should make impossible a recurrence of what had happened during this campaign. It was all vory well for us to send our generals and soldiers out to fight our battles and ask them to do impossible things when the men who were paid by the country to tind out the strength of the enemy had neglected their duty. This in civil matters was murder or manslaughter, and in military matters it amounted to much the same. He said again, it was most serious, and he would support to the very utmost the forthcoming inquiry, because he War Office and the War Department had been hammered at for many years, by many Govern- ments. It was a case of ETKRYONE AGAINST THE WAR OFFICE, which would have to be re-constructed and' a new system organised to ensure that never again would the splendid gallantry of our soldiers and the ability of our generals be expended to so little purpose as in the present conflict. Notwithstand- ing the blood and treasure which had been so freely poured forth, we should perhaps come to look upon the war with net unmixed regret if it served in the end to place the Empire on a firmer and more lasting basis than it stood upon before it had to face this tremendous check, this earthquake, before countries, three parts of which were not on the most friendly terms with us (loud applause). OUR SPIRITUAL ADVISERS. The "Bishop, Clergy and Ministers ofjall denomi- nations" was submitted by Mr T C lYvee, of Welshpool, who alluded to the fact that the Rev George Roberts had volunteered for the front.— Mr Roberts, in reply, said that in this district he was looked upon as rather a "black sheep" because he wa,3 very fond of a dance and a game of foot- ball (hear, hear). He also belonged to the Volun- teers. He participated in all these things because he held that the best exponent of Christianity was not the man who only went to church or chapel, but rather he who could carry into the dance or the playing fields the spirit of true manliness (great applause). Referring to the calamity which had come upon our country, from a clergyman's point of view, he said that WAR WAS A TKRRIBLE THING, but it had an influence for good as well as for evil. We cried for peace and we prayed for peace, but it was well for us as a nation to remember that we did not want peace at any price (hear, hear, and applause). THE COUNTY AND BOROUGH MEMBERS. Mr J E Tomley, in submitting the above toast, said that at gatherings of the nature of the present one they could all meet on the common ground of Qddfellowship where politics ceased from troubling and the weary legislators were at rest (laughter). They in the Manchester Unity were proud of the fact thaJ; the majority of the House of Commons were Oddfellows. In Montgomeryshire they were fortunate enough to include amongst their numbers both the County and Borough Members (applause). After alluding in eulogistic terms to the capable manner in which Mr Humphreys-Owen and Col. Pryce-Jones discharged their numerous duties, Mr Tomley went on to speak of the growing prosperity of Newtown, which he, and many others, looked upon as the LEEDS OF WALKS. Turning to the war, he said it was a fiot of which all Volunteers could be proud that the 5th V.B. had responded so nobly to the call to arms, five times the number of men that were required having offered their services.—The toast was drunk with a bumper and amid the singing of For they are jolly good fellows." Mr Humphreys-Owen responded. He said it was always a pleasure to him to do anything he could for the furtherance of the principles of Odd- fellowship, and also to work in the interests of Montgomeryshire with his colleague, C ;i Prvce- Jones (hear, hear). 001 Pryce,J(),;e,; had had the advantage of having addressed the gathering first and had made a very interesting speech, in the course of which he threw out a chaPenge. Perhaps the Colonel would excuse him if be did not readily aocept the challenge. He would rather reserve I what he had to "my on the subject of the war to some future occasion, and he wodel only add that lie must congratulate his colleague on the inde- pendent spirit he had shown (hear, hear). It seemed to him—perhaps he was too critical an auditor—that there was some, little variation between the line taken by Col Pryce-Jones and his leader MR ARTHUR BALFOUR. That, however, was a matter of private concern and it would be indelicate for him to press it any further. When he first came into this county one of the things which struck him was the far too great prevalence of their clubs founded on an insecure basis. With the aid of the late Lord Powis and the late Lord Sudeley and other gentlemen, he started a society which in its time did a certain amount of good in procuring for some of the smaller clubs in the country the great advantage of a pro- per audit by an experienced actuary. He was glad to think that there were clubs now existing and flourishing which owed their re-establishment to the efforts of that Society, but he regretted to think that other clubs, confident in their own strength had disregaraed the advice given them and had now come to the inevitable close which awaited all benefit societies not established on SOUND ACTUARIAL PRINCIFLBS. Over 3C years ago a Commission was iustituted to inquire into Friendly Societies, and the roport which it presented wa3 of the most interesting character. One of the great results of the division of clubs was that RO one in these days woald be guilty of supposing that a lodge which took con- tributions for 2G- years and then broke up would have done anything but unmixeil harm. He wished to propose a toasc-the toast of the Order itself. It seemed perhaps somewhat anomalous that they should drink to their own noble selves, but he thought the Order had reason to be proud of itself when it considered the immense educational value it had been to its members, and how instrumental it had been in saving many hundreds of thousands of Englishmen and, as he hoped, in the future, of Englishwomen (applause). Their PRpGRESS HAD BESN MOST MARKED not only in regard to members, but what was of far greater importance in regard to solvency. He remembered a benefit ssciety being started in the county of Salop because of an almost universal belief that the Oddfellows were in an utterly rotten condition. That pessimistic belief had since been shown to have been not well grounded. lie believed however that it had a certain amout of truth, for in those days he doubted whether the average solvency of the lodges was anything more than about 10s or 12s ion the pound. Now he understood the average actuarial solvency of the lodges was from 17s to IBs, and he hoped they would all live to see the time when it would be 22s to 23s all round (ap- plause). The Order was now passing through a crisis in various ways. It was beginning the forma- tion of female lodges, and he was confident that as women were now taking such an active part in social, educational, and even political movements they would also show their interest in benefit societies by joining in large numbers. Another j very important feature was the growth of the JUVENILE BRANCHES. Nothing was more valuable to a parent lodge than to have a good iodge of junveniles to act as feeders to it. The larger the club the more suitable were the averages upon which they must depend for their benefits (applause). Lastly, there was the great question, still under discussion, as to the extent to which the State, if at all, should aid in the work of Friendly Societies. It was quite clear that the only State aid which could possiblv be giveu to Frijndly Societies was that of relieving them of the very heavy burden of old age sickness, so apt, as they all knew, to become practically a pension. He believed that their present Grand Master was a strong supporter of State aid, but he (the speaker) had never yet seen a scheme which disposed of the practical difficulties existing. He could sum these difficulties up by saying that it was hard to see HOW THE STATE COULD HKLP Friendly Societies without attempting to insure their solvency, and so interfere with that inde- pendence which had been the life and soul of Friendly Societies hitherto. It would tax adminis- trative ingenuity to find such a scheme. To 'come down to home affairs he congratulated the Order on having a Welshman for a Graud Master—(hear hear)—and he begged to couple with the toast he had referred to the name of Mr Tom Hughes (loud applause). The Grand Master said he was exceedingly obliged to the County Member for the very interest- ing speech in which he had introduced the toast of the Manchester Unity- It was not his intention in coming to visit Newtown to give an exposition of the principles guiding the work of friendly societies. Fortunately he was that night in a district where those principles were well understood and faithfully carried out. It was tiue that it frequently happened that in the districts where the lodges were in a state of solvency the people lived longer. As they all knew the oecupations and trades carried on iu one part of the country were often more hazardous than those carried on in another part. He thought they must at all times give credit to the officers, who had the intelligence to profit by the experiences of the past and insist upon reforms being carried out and a firm adherence to the regulations )aid down (hear, hear). In re- ference to THE MANCHESTER UNITY he thought they might be pardoned if they said that they were proud of it. It was an organisation expanding in all directions, and keeping pace with the growth of the Empire. The accumulated funds of the Order were at present about 10 millions (hear, hear). During the last 25 years no less a sum than 22 millions had been received in con. tributions, and about 16 millions paid out in sickness, benefits and funerals. These were formid- able Sgnres. They were proud to think that they had had in their Order, in years gone by, intelli- gent men, who, recognising how necessary it was to avoid disaster by the preparation of returns, rigidly adhered to a system regulating their finances. He did not wish to speak a disparaging w°rd of any other Order, but 13-nfortuDatelv we had in this country societies which were promising things they could not fulfil, and the men who were at the head of those societies incurred A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. What would the members of those societies say when they found that after paying contributions for years and years there was nothing left for them. There was no doubt that the best thing they could do was to further strengthen their Order bv induc- ing as many young men to join as possible. In connection with the Manchester Unity they had one of the best actuaries in the whole of the United Kingdom, and they had a system whereby anv error in the management of any particular lodge was detected and rectified. Sometimes it was impossible for clubs which fell upon evil days to recover themselves and then they appreciated the advantage of belonging to a wealthy Order ever ready to help clubs which found themselves IN FINANCIAL STRAITS. In cases like those the only condition which was imposed was that the poverty-stricken club should carry out the recommendations of the Board of Directors and so insure against a. repetition of a similar state of affaira. There were a great many other features in connection with their Order which he should have liked to refer to if time had allowed. Reference had already been made by the County Member, who was evidently thoroughly well versed in all that was good for the government of Friendly Societies, to the fact that they had gone forward in the matter of female lodges and juvenile branches. lonth was the proper time to join a Friendly Society and he did not know of any greater good that could be dcna than by instilling into the minds of the young the necessity for making provision against times of sickness, THE INEVITABLE LOT of a large percentage of mankind. It had been fou-dd that nearly 90 percent, of the juveniles, when they got old enough, transferred to the adult lodges, thereny bringing up the ranks of the Order to the full complement. Hitherto the feminine element had been excluded from participating in the advantages accruing from Friendly Societies, but now female lodges had taken very deep root in the country, especially in the industrial centres. Theirs was rot a caste institution, but one which had noble and high aima, and one of those aims was the procuring of a more equitable distribution of property, by which means they hoped to make better citizens, worthier of the great Empire which their Orcier was doing, and would continue to do, so macii to perpetuate. The Borongh Member had touched upon the excellent spirit shown bv the colonies in this war. He (the Grand Master; believed that the loyalty of OUR COLONIAL BRETHREN had been fostered by the teachings of Friendly Societies, which were established wherever the Anglo-Saxon race bad a footing. There was one question which, above all others, was likely to be. brought before the country in the future, and tnat was tbs question of the necessity of making proper provision for the aged and feeble. The question was one bristling with difficulties, but there was now a desire on both sides of the Hon si that something should be done, and that in co- operation with the Friendly Societies of the country. lie did not think it would be equitable that those who made no provision for themselves should participate in anything the Government proposed to do ia regard to Old Age Pensions (ap- plause). It was a disputed point how far the State should aid Friendly Societies, but he was fully convinced that it was practically impossible for a large percentage of their members to pay such an increased contribution "s would entitle them, after a certain ago to a pension from the funds of their organisation. Unfortunately it was the lot of a considerable proportion of the members of our INDUSTRIAL POPULATION that,, when they attained the age of 65, they had nothing better than to rely upon Friendly Societies- or upon those who had been more successful in life. He thought it was a reflection upon this great Empire that a man, who had during his life born the heat and burden of the day, should be forced to solicit relief from the parish (hear, hoa.r). They were asked, Where is the money t,o coma from to provide for Old Age Pensions ?" The Government had the knack of finding funds when they set tneir mind to it, and he for oue, seeing the enoimous amount of money in the cofintry—vory unequally distributed some of it—considered it would be comparatively easy to realise the re: uisite amount by a graduated income tax. He thanked them very cordially for the hearty reception- they had given him (applause). OTHER TOASTS. "The Visitors" having been submitted was responded to by Captain Luxmore. Colonel Pryce-Jones, M.P., in reponding to the toast of his health, proposed at an earlier stage of the proceedings by Mr J E Tomley, said that he had now represented the Montgomery Boroughs in Parliament for five years. They had passed more quickly than any other part of his life, and that showed^ the very great pleasure it gave him to fulfil his various Parliamentary duties, notwith- standing many disappointments and a certain amount of discouragement from time to time. He thanked Mr Tomley for his kind remarks in reference to himself and the volunteers. His friend Mr Humphreys-Owen was scarcely able TO FOLLOW THR LEIZK which he (the Colonel) gave in reference to that inquiry which should be conrluct.fdapart from per- sonal or side issues, ,vhich ir. duty to do all in their power to bring about, Patriotism came before palty, and with regard to the military deficiency for which a prima jic.i-e case had in his opinion beeu made out, this was not t), question of party, nor was it a question of leaders. They must remember that the very destiny- of our country was at stake. The leader of the opposition, Sir Henrv Campbell Bantierman, had been as great a cham- pion of the War Office in th s juncture as any other man. In thirf matter the bench men, minis- ters and ex-ministers, weae not entitled to that subservience and loyalty ia this non-party question under the grave circumstances that he bad enumer. ated The country had been placed in serious peril by that underating of the Boer forces and the in- adequate precautions taken to meet them. What he always maintained "j<as this Why should the VOLUNTEERS AXD YEOMANRY and certain ochers of our fellow-couctrym >n be treated better than Or ordinary soldiers ?" Many of the regulars had not the benefit of those relief subscriptions, Balaclava helmets, and such things. He held that the Government should provide for all. It was the duty of the country when our soldiers went out to risk their lives for us to do the best we could for them. The gallant Colonel then proposed the health of the" Montgomeryshire District I.O.O.F." and in doing so said he agreed with the Graud Master in his views on Old Age Pensions (cheers). He Oungratulated the district for having added so mauy members during the year (cheers). After Bro. J Oliver had responded, Bro. C W Norton proposed the health of the Chairman, Bro. Ellison." He said that as there were some strangers there he should like to tell them that the chairman was a man they did not meet every day. He was a past Grand Master of the Oddfellows fwd Druids and also Past Master of the Freemasons Lodge in Newtown (cheers). Mr Ellison held those offices and had done credit t > himself and given satisfaction to the societies. They, especially the Oddfellows, knew what he had done for Oddfellowship. Whatever he took in hand he did it thoroughly. As a townsman he had occupied the highest position that a. townsman could as regards municipal matters. He had- not been exactly their mayor, because they did not have one, but he kad been chairman of the Local Board, and if each citizen had worked as un- selfishly as he had for his town Newtown Vio'lld be a more up-to-date town than it was at present THE SMOKING CONCEIT. Afterwards a grand smoking concert was held when the following programme was gone through Chorus, The soldiers' chorus," Cambrian Male Voice Party song, "Odd-fellows," Mr G;\1 Evans, (encored); song, Death of Nelson," Mr D Davies (encored); harp solo, marches descriptive (band at a distance) Mr Albert Roberts (encored); duet "Love and War," Mr D Davies and Mr G M Evans- recitation, My Uncle," Mr F P Keay; duet, The two patrols," Messrs Cleeton and Jones; song, "The Old Brigade," Mr Stewart Humphreys (encored); song and chorns, "Jaek Tar," Mr Cleeton a.nd Cambrian Male Voice Party chorus, Comrades in arms," Cambrian Male Voice Party; comic song, His little wife was with him all the time," Mr C M Benbow (encored); song, Mona," Mr E Cleeton (encored) song, Land of the harp," Mr D Davies (encored) cornet solo, I La Belle France," Mr J E Morris comic song, Dandy coloured coon," Mr F P Keay (encored); song," Comrades still," Mr Cyrus Owen; "God save the Qaeeu." The Grand Master gave a song at the interval which was much appreciated. Mr J Johnson was the accompanist. During the dinner, and subsequently, Mr Arthur Roberta rendered selections of Welsh airs.


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