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MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

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MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. WELSHPOOL. The Mayor of Welshpool (Mr T. J. Evans) declared, on the stroke of nine o'clock last Tuesday night, the result of a historical municipal election, which has no parallel since the ancient and extensive borough was divided into wards twenty years ago. CASTLE WAKD. Edwin Stockton (Anti-Henfaesite). 153 David Rowlands (Progressive) ]00-53 LLANERCHYDOL WARD. F. E. Marston (Anti-Heafaestte). 152 E. Morgan Jones (Progressive) 122-30 GUILSTIELD WARD. W. A. Rogers (Anti-Henfaesite) 179 A. J. Giles (Progressive) 138-41 The borough re-elected three retiring councillors, And the majority of the electors in these three wards have just those representatives that they deserve to have. Territorial influence and wealth was exercised on behalf of the Anti-Henfaesite candidate: by eager supporters. The Progressives were handi- capped by lack of conveyances, whereas their opponents whisked in voters by means of no fewer than six mtor-cars-includi-ag that of Mr Forrester Addie, Lord Powis' estate agent- together with a plentiful supply of horse convey- ances. A low four-wheeler from the Powis Castle stables was much in evidence, and Council- lor Richard Jenkins, master of the stables, took the reins in his own hands to bring voters to and from the Town Hall. One of the pathetic figures thus brought out into biting November weather was Mr Thomas Williams, a veteran waiter from Mount-street, now a confirmed invalid. With Councillor Jenkins as coachmaa and Mr Herbert Richards seated as a footman on the dickey," the old gentleman received as much attention as though he owned the four wheeler, Mr John Pugh, the retired schoolmaster of Pool Quay, was allowed to enter the Council unop- posed for the Buttiogton ward with an open mind. But in the other three wards a clear issue was placed before the electors-to buy or not to buy 25 acres of land in the Henfaes for immediate refuse disposal and to have land (at a reasonable price) ready in case the Local Government Board compels the Corporation to cease polluting the Severn with sewage. Incidentally the industrial development cf Welshpool was bound up with this scheme. On the other hand the anti- Henfaesites stood for a policy of paying rent to a tenant of the Earl of Powis for permission to tip the town refuse in such a manner as to improve Lord Powis' property. 0 0 A Welshpool workingman was taking a very active part on the election day about the Town Hall advocating the claims of the Progressive candidates. One of the Retrograde Party ap- proached him with the friendly warning," You're doing yourself a lot of harm Can't I work for whom I like ? was his reply. A short time afterwards another of the Retrograde Party approached him and told him he was working against the interest of Powis Castle. "I didn't know I was," replied the free and independent workingman. Oh yes, you are!" came the assurance. "Oh!" came the comment, Now I'm beginning to see through some things < < < Another elector was told by another of the Retro- grade Party-" By going on with the Henfaes scheme you are trying to prevent the develop- ment of Powis Castle estate." Polling for the Castle and Llanerchydol wards took place in the Judge's Retiring Room and the Council Chamber respectively, whilst the Guile- field voters went into the Corn Exchange. Not since 1903 has there been another municipal election in Welshpool with three contests at the same time. One has to go back another ten years to 1893 before getting another euch record, and only in one other ye-ir has there been such extensive electioneering. That was in 1891, the first con tee ts after the borough was divided into four wards. But a comparison of the following election figures will show that last Tuesday's struggle inspired a much greater amount of energy than any of the previous triple contests. Except in the minds of a tew discontented Liberals, politics were banned. And the magnitude of the poll was largely due to the fact that active Tories worked harder against their politic il brethren than they had done at the last General Election against the Liberal candidate for the Montgomery Boroughs. 1891. Castle. Guilsfield. E, Langfcrd Jones. 109 J. H. Anderson 152 Lt.-Col. Huddleston 69 Pryce Barrett 112 Buttington. C. Galloway ]54 C. T. Pugh 90 1893 Castle. Llanerchydol. R. P. Jones (Park) 102 Robert Jones 137 E. Davies 80 T. S. Pryce 114 Buttington. Aaron Watkin 136 J. Cowan 60 1903. Castle (two seats). Llanerchydol. G-. Macqueen 196 E. Wyke 135 G. Vigeon 169 W. B. Watson 110 E. C. Bishop. 39 Guilsfield. D. Jones 190 G. H. Holt x 50 m A comparison of these figures shows that a record total poll was made last Tuesday, though the population of the borough has decreased con- siderably within the last twenty years. From the historical point of view, perhaps, the most noteworthy fact was the discovery of a hundred voters in the Castle Ward, who, despite all territorial influence, stood free and independent," anxious for municipal progress. The following statistical comparison indicates the activity with which the voters in this ward were driven or motored to the poll: 1904. 1910. E. Stockton 102 E. Stockton 153 Hugh Williams 85 D. Rowlands 100 Mr Giles surprised even many of his own sup- porters by the vigorous attack he made upon the stronghold of Mr W. A. Rogers, an old resident, tradesman, and property owner in the Guilsfield Ward. It is interesting to note that he polled 20 more than Mr J. Pryce Jones, who contested this ward unsuccessfully in 1895. During this last election, it is no exaggeration to say, that the most interesting figure in the Llanerchydol Ward contest was Councillor J. Pryce Jones. While bo was Mayor five or six years ago, he advocated the Henfaes scheme with might and main, and, when it was resurrected during the Mayoralty of Dr Thomas, he again remained on the Progressive side. But during this election Something Happened. Mr Pryce Jones attended a preliminary meeting of the Henfaes Campaign Committee, and even tendered advice for carrying on the Progressive fight. But lo and behold his name appeared as assentor to the nomination of the anti-Henfats candidate in the Castle Ward. And he convassed vigorously for Dr Marston against Mr Morgan Jones, the Progressive candidate for the Llanerchydol Ward. As a proprietor of cottages and collector of rents Mr Pryce Jones was in close touch with this ward. And he may claim credit (or discredit) for having influenced a dozen or twenty votes, which would i-ave made a difference in the representation of the ward. The chief joke of the election-day centred around Mr Pryce Jones' right-about-turn. Early in the morning a townsman, passing the Coffee House establishment in Broad-street, was arrested by a startling sight. To the railings in front of the house was tied a board containing election advice printed in blue and red colours—"Wake up. Welsh pool Vote for the Progressive candi- dates—Giles, Morgan Jones, Rowlands Has Pryce Jones turned again ? exclaimed the bystander. A few minutes later Dr Marston went down from the Town Hall as far as the establishment of his influential supporter tù see if these things were so. But it was a practical joke. Some wag bad attached the Progressive placard to the railings without permission. Shortly afterwards Mr Pryce Jones appeared at the door, got & knife, and out the string. And the boards and placards disappeared: r Polling went on slowly during the day. At 5 p m. only 125 out of 311 electors in the Castle Ward had voted; 111 out of 359 in Llanershydol Ward; and 146 out of 425 in the Guilsfield Ward. After six o'clock business became brisker. By seven o'clock some people's temperatures were rising at the foot of the Town Hall staircase, as they implored voters t") Remember the Doctor! Vote for Stockton But, when a working man retaliated with a war-cry of "Remember the Hnfaes there was soma scowling. And one man at least even lost his temper. The workmen of the Standard Quarry marched down in a crowd from their work to the Llanerchydol polling station, accompanied by Mr William Baker, one of the Quarry directors, and Mr John Davies, foreman. A ♦ W W At a public house in the town one of the whole- sale orders given was for 14 pints and three whiskeys." Workmen on the Powis Castle estate were allowed a half-holiday oc the strength of the election. Like a judicious official. the Town Clerk of Welsb pool (Mr C. Pryce Yearsley) never takes sides during a municipal election. But the same compliment cannot be paid to everyone of the public officials in Powysland. Heard near the Town Hall, where a humble countrywoman was descending from a splendidly- equipped motor-car. Welsh pool Conservative-Churchman Yes. That's very nice. But—will the motor-car fetch her to-morrow ? An outer district man was going up street, car- rying a gigantic bottle: What's thee got there? inquired a waggish acquaintance. Vinegar for the Missus," came the ready reply to the doubting inquirer. After the declaration of the poll there was srme cheering aud shouting for a few seconds outside the Town Hall. But no town enthusiasm. One of the anti-Progressives dashed through the crowd, exclaiming, Where's your Henfaes now? Where's your Henfaes now?" He got his reply from a working man—" You bought it to-day When Mr W. A. Rogers made his appearance from the Town Hall som-i admirers with more enthusiasm than discretion, wanted to chair the old man shou'der high. But a guard of honour escorted the veteran down as far as Mr Galloway's vaults, the headquarters of the anti-Henfaesite leaders. The other ouncillors fouud their way down to the Royal Oak Hotel, where an expect- ant crowd a vttited on the Square for speeches. The poll had been declared at ore minute to nine. But it was half-past nine before a triumphant little party appeared at the first floor window, where the most conspicuous figure was not any of the successful candidates but Councillor Richard Jenkins. Dr Marston, however, spoke first, and said Ladies and Gentlemen, (hear, hear), it is very good of you indeed to return me as the repre- sentative of Llanerchydol ward (hear, hear and cheers). I don't think, I hardly deserved it (A Voice: Yes, you did !—Cries of No, no! ") But as an old inhabitant of the town I have lived amongst you for over 20 years, and I shall continue to tike an interest in you A Woman in the crowd: Marston for ever! Dr Marston And the only reason I am against the Henfaes scheme is not the buying of the property, but the going in for this enormous sewage scheme, which you don't want. I am sorry my co-representative of the Guilsfield waid is tired out and gone home (laughter). But Mr Stockton here, whom you have kindly put in for the Castle ward, will thank you. I can assure you in the name of Mr Rogers and Mr Stockton and myself that we will still continue to try to do good work for Welshpool as we have endeavoured in the past (hear, hear, cheers and dissent.—A Voice: In the pub!) Mr Edwin Stockton then leaned out of the window, and with some difficulty said: Thank you for the kindness you have shown me. And we are going to do our best for the town and ratepayers. And —I think you have done a good thing in returning us, and save the rates ot the towt, (uproar). Mr William Baker (in the crowd): Go)d old Ed win! Then Councillor Rd. Jenkins leaned forward, bare-headed, and waved his hat to try and quell the tumult of cheering, and whistling, and laugh- ing. At last he managed to say I thank you one and all for the great victory (cheer?). You, the working men and working women A Voice: Put your hat on Mr Jenkins: Of Welshpool have to-day shown the Press that you will not be dictated to by Mr William Baker Hear, hear Mr Jenkins: By the Press, however able Mr Baker: Hear, hear, old Boy Mr Jenkins: However able their writers are. You are men and women of common-sense. Com- mon-sense has prevailed. I thank you on behalf of Mr Rogers, the Grand Old Financer of Welsh- pool, who has stood by you, and fought your battles in the Council Chamber against the Ex- pensive Party, the Extravagant Party, the Party who wants to lead Mr William Baker Good old Boy Mr Jenkins: Tu lend you into a rate of 4=! or 5s in the £ I thank you on behalt of Mr W. A. Rogers, who is absent and I wish one and all Good Night," and "Good Health To-morrow to all of you (cheers and laughter). Mr William Baker: That's done very nicelv V Mr William Riddell (also ia the crowd) Very good! Five minutes later Councillor William Rogers was to be seen going down Broad-street, and ac- companied by his nephew (Mr 3. C. Rogers) wended his way along Salop-road homewards. A few minutes later a jovial Anti-Henfaesite party quitted the Royal Oak Hotel and wended its way towards Mr GallowMy's vaults. Thus ended the Welshpool Municipal Election of 1910. < < What Councillor Richard Jenkins described as "a great victory" resolves itself into this: 360 votes for the Henfaes, 484 against. In a land flowing with free beer and whiskey, the un- scrupulous lies of canvassers in the country dis- trict kept the reactionary party in a majority of 4 to 3. The Progressives have no cause to feel disheartened by this defeat. If hell is worse than this I should not like to go there." It was a Welshpool minister who said this on the election night. The attention had been attracted by the orgies of drinking that went on in one licensed house to celebrate the great victory." And the saddest sight was the fact that women, as well as men, drank there. Little wonder that even the landlord's wife was moved to protest. Townsman I hear they've got funeral cards out over killing the Henfaes." Townswoman Well, I am surprised. I should have thought they spent all the money in drow:i- ing it. ° Heard at the railway station the morning after the poll: Welehpool Working-man (with bitter irony) Yes; I'm going dowu to South Wales! When Welshpool "wakes up." let me know, and I'll come back The workingman isn't worth bother- ing about after the way he sold himself yesterday. They don't want work and higher wages in Welsh- pool! Progressive Never mind. The most important thing after all to you and to me is not whether the townspeople buy the Henfaes or go on a few more years paying rent for Powysland. But did we. and did all the anti-Henfaesiteg, fight the election without any selfish motive, without any axe to grind ? Our own consciences, and their own consciences, alone can tell.

THE BAPTIST OLD ASSOCIATION

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