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THE Royal Alfred Aged Merchant…

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THE Royal Alfred Aged Merchant Seamen's Institution. MEETING AT ABERYSTWYTH. Few causes more worthy of aid have drawn to- gether so representative and influential a gathering as that which assembled in Aberystwyth Town Hall last Thursday, under the presidency of His Worship the Mayor (Mr E. P. Wynne), to support the local claims of this beneficial Charity, which is the only charity in the United Kingdom that per- manently relieves aged merchant seamen of good 'Character, irrespective of rank, part of rvice, place of abode, or religious denominations, By admission to its Home at Belvedere-on-Thames, or by the out-pension of £12 per annum at their own homes, scattered throughout the United Kingdom, z, this national and unique Institution has per- manently relieved 1.600 aged seamen, who must otherwise have ended their days in the workhouse. Supporting the Mayor were:—Revs Archdeacon Protheroe, M.A., Prebendary Williams, M.A., T. Levi, J. A. Morris, T. A. Penry, T. E. Roberts, M.A., A. Wynne Thomas, J. H. Ingram, Geo. Eyre Evans, T. Williams, B.A., J. Williams (Salem), Alderman Peter Jones, J.P., Messrs G. Fossett Roberts, J. Watkins, J.P., Evan Evans, Captains D. Lloyd, Morris, and Thomas, Mr Lloyd Lewis (treasurer), Capt D. James and Mr A. J. Hughes (hon. sees.), and Mr A. Lewis Monckton, travelling secretary, who represented the Central Board. The Mayor, in opening the meeting, said that he would have to apologise for his position there as he was rather a novice in maritime matters. There was no class of men that deserved so much atten- tion as the sailors. When they started on their long voyages they never knew whether they would return or not. When asked to preside over the meeting he had replied that he could not, owing to another engagement, but he had come there just to open the meeting (Hear, hear). Mr Monckton, stating the object of the institu- tion, said that it was many years ago since a gentleman in London first thought of some means to relieve destitute sailors. Afterwards a com- mittee of four or five gentlemen was formed. They called upon the Lord Mayor of London, and a public meeting was held at the Mansion House, which was a very successful one. A contribution was received from the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society. A home was erected, after the comple- tion of which there was but a small balance left, but they stuck to it, and at the present time are able to give a goodly sum in pensions to old sea- men. In Wales they had had very many applica- tions, but he was very sorry to say they could not cope with them as the institution's funds are limited, and but a few of the applicants were assisted. At the present time they had fifty-eight Welsh marin- ers on the pension list and they had drawn, up to -the present about £ 2850, and between E600 and £ 700 between them. In the case of old seamen they were kept at the home at the cost of about £30 per annum. They bad to be nursed, fed, and generally cared for as they could not like younger people do much for themselves. It must be very evident to them that the work could not be carried out without some assistance from those who were indirectly connected with the sea. He did not wish to say anything about the assistance given in Wales, as only a few appeals had been made. At this stage a letter was read from Mr D. C. Roberts, J. P. regretting his inability to attend being from home, and wishing every success to the movement. The Mayor then moved the following resolution,— That this meeting of the Aberystwyth Local Committee of the Royal Alfred Aged Merchant Sea- men's Institution cordially acknowledges the great assistance afforded by the Society to the Aged and Destitute Mariners of this coast during the past thirty five years, and hereby invite the inhabitants of Aberystwyth and neighbourhood to financially support this noble and national undertaking." Alderman Peter Jones in seconding the propos- ition observed that they must all feel their duty towards the seafaring section. The greatness of the Empire rested in a large degree upon the sea- faring sources. Up to the year 1851 it bad been compulsory for seafaring men to contribute towards old age pensions, but since then it had been voluntary. He thought that it was a question well worthy o consideration. Assistance was immediate- ly needed and the question which arose was How to meet it?" Wales had derived great financial benefit froir the institution, and he saw that the mariners in the neighbourhood of Borth and New Quay had had considerable assistance, more so than Aberystwyth, but that was the fault of the Aberystwyth seamen in not applying, and especially in not contributing towards the funds of the institution (hear, hear). Mr Monckton said that the institution had had an agent at Aberystwyth, named Thomas Jones. Papers were sent down annually to him which were not returned, and it was eventually found out that he had been dead long ago. (Laughter.) Mr Evan Evans, solicitor, in the absence of Mr Lewis Mat bias, supported the proposition, and said that the matter required especial attention. He endorsed what bad been said by Mr Peter Jones. They often heard of the bravery of their seamen in the collisions that happened too often and the cdorage they showed on such occasions. He hoped that the appeal would be met with a ready response. Mr John Watkins, J.P., said that he came from a seafaring family of many generations. He thought it very hard to see many old seafaring men appeal to the workhouse for assistance in their old age. Their life was a very monotonous one and, perhaps, when they came ashore they spent their money rather too freely. Their soldiers in South Africa had shown them what they could do at the call of duty and if called upon their sailors would be ready tfl erve their country in the same manner. (Hear, hear.) The motion having been put to the meeting, it was carried unanimously. The Mayor was then compelled to leave the meeting, and Alderman. Peter Jones was appointed Chairman in his stead. Archdeacon Protheroe moved that ministers of all churches, chapels and all places of worship in and about Aberystwyth be asked to arrange an annual collection on behalf of the Royal Alfred Institution." Reference had already been made to the importance of their mercantile marine. Refer- ence had been made to the excellence of the British seaman, he thought that there was a superiority in the British seaman over all others in the execution of his duty and of bravery. He had lived in Cardiff for many years and knew the terrible dangers the sailors met with after they returned from a long voyage. Their temptations were very great. There were so many of tfiose sharks about the docks, who led the sailor who had just landed into evil. They would have to be very sympathetic with them in these temptations when they landed. Something ought to be done to improve some of the ships. He had been the chaplain of a prison at Cardiff, and often had a sailor under his charge. Many a sailor preferred to serve ten or twelve weeks imprisonment for refusing to go on a ship than go to the ship which bad such a bad reputa- tion. With regard to their duty towards the institution. he was one of those who were continu- ally called upon to contribute towards different I causes, so that it was impossible to respond to them all, not that they were unworthy, But this appeal was a very deserving one, and he would lay it before his church. The Rev T. Levi seconded the proposition. They as a town, especially Aberystwyth, ought to do everything-in its power to support the movement hear, hear). The Rev Prebendary Williams, in supporting the resolution, said that it was the duty of every practical Englishman and Welshman to do every- thing in his rower to support this institution, for the sake of UO; brave men who risked their lives for the benefit of their country in the navv and the mercantile marine. Through the mercantile marine e they had all the luxuries brought into the country. He "wished to support the proposition. Rev T. A Penry said that they as ministers were only able to speak for themselves. It had his hearty sympathy and he would do all in his power on its behalf to secure an annual collection at his church. The life of a seaman appealed forcibly to them, bv the valnableservices he rendered to them as a nation, and especially to Aberystwyth, which was a seaside town, and in which there were a large nnmbf:r who served the pnblfc in this capacity. The County of Cardigan, by what he gathered from the list of pensioners, was specially favoured; out of the fi'ty-eight on the list thirty-one were from that county. The support of an institution of this kind was an inducement to the sailor to end a better life. Rev. J. A. Morris bad no doubt that when the matter was put before the churches collections would be made. Rev. T F Roberts said he was in sympathy with the resolution. He promised to lay the matter before !,i ■ -hnreh. Rev. T Williams said he was glad to see that a local committee would be formed, so that the county would have? the opportunity to support this excelLvit institution. Rev. J. H. Ingram said there could be no two opinions as to the benefits of this society. He could n it pledge a collection but should bo very pleased to ivp. a small donation of 10s 6d towards the cause (near, hear). Mr J Vv'iliuims (Salem). said that as an old sailor who had been many years at sea he had great please, in supporting the resolution. Mr Wynne Thomas also supported the resolu'ioi. The *J 'irman said that something should be .done t. the matter before the public. Ü The resolution was then put to the meeting and passed unanimously. Captain James on behalf of the seamen present thanked them for the kind feeling expressed towards them. Archdeacon Protheroe proposed that Captain James and Mr A. J. Hughes continue as Hon. Sees., and the proposition was agreed to. A vote of thanks having been passed to the Mayor and Mr Peter Jones for presiding the meet- ing terminated.

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