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Councillor Morgan Jones I…

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Councillor Morgan Jones I and his Critics. I A STRAIGHT REPLY TO BARGOEO CRITICS. (To the Editor of the PIONBBR.) Sir,—It has been both a pleasure and a. privilege to me to have been associated in the SOUrse of recent months with the movement against Conscription. During that time I have met and argued with many types of men- some opposing my views on one ground, and ethers on different grounds, and I candidly ad- mit that the courteous treatment I have re- ceived from some of them has by no means tended to lessen my respect for them. A de- cently fair-minded opponent I can respect, provided he makes me feel he is striving to wildetstand my point of view just as he de- sires that I should appreciate his. But there is another kind of critic-the snapping, snarling, sneaking, skulking type of person who WTIJ, not face the issue squarely with you, but will out of s heer cowardice, I believe, pour out the most spiteful and venomous stuff against you—when your back is turned, or when he thinks there is no chance of VOUrkllQwing who it is that isattaoking you. He sends you anonymous letters and cuttings from the press which HE loves to read wherein the words shirker and coward"' appear a thousand and one times. These he carefully underlines as if thern depend the complete discomfiture of the Germans. Then he sends an anonymous sornmunicatiori to the Press and signs himself "PriTate So and So from Somewhere in France," and if there is a. particularly dirty in- sinuation he can safely make (for he is not one for taking risks) he promptly makes it, and puts the blame on Tommy Atkins! He's "doing his bit" in that way. Well I'm not anxious to pose as a martyr. I'm in no hurry for martyr- Join. Bat all the same, Barkis is willin." It would appear from evidence that multiplies aa the weeks roll by that some of us are in for a hot time." My own appears to have com- menced. Already I am almost overcome by tihe feme these critics will insist upon forcing upon me. For instance, a person—I had almost said a gentleman—calling himself a patriotic parent writes an epistle to our local paper an d desires tc know if I am desiring to bluff the Bargoed pub lic respecting my denial of a statement attri- buted to me as having been made at the Cory H%H-Cardiff. I have only this to say in reply to that charge. There are very few people, indeed, who are likely to say that it is my habit to blutt people. If I blui,recl more it would pay ate better so far as making myself acceptable m certain quarters is concerned. When I say cert,,ainly"-m like !Ili,. Bona-r Law—I am not wader the necessity of saying next da.y that I -Nafxattt certainly not." I have made my state- ment respecting that report. This anonymous eritic may take it or leave it--just as ha pleases. I don't in the least, mind. But this "Patriotic Parent" goofa further and refers to the fact that I am a public man and a public servant kept by the ratepayers, aad that, therefore, pressure ought to be Wought to bear upon me regarding my conduct. Hi.* gjraat grievance is that the authorities have tot imitated Germany and interned me, but nather "allowed me" to teach in the public pollools at the expense of the ratepayers. Now, kera I put a straightforward question to this fiantleman who skulks in his coward's castle of anonymity—What is his charge ? Is it that I abuse my position as a teacher and infuse "Pro- German" ideas into the children? If that is so let him formulate his charge with due speed. Let him forward it to the proper quarters, with kis name and address appended, and I shall promptly meet him. Any inquiry that may •»aue cam do me nothing but infinite credit. I 80urt such an inquiry. On the other hand, if there be no charge to formulate, what is the fround of his appeal to patriotic Bargoed? This, apparently That I dare to disagree with kis opinions! Because I choose to think for Myself. I must be turned adrift to starve. How delightfully British! Why. he says that the Shermans would at least intern me! I should presumably get food. But this creature would •sign punish me by slow starvation! And we fight for liborty t He talks of my not getting his votes in future. Without hesitation, I tell him to keep his vote, for if he cannot give it with better sense of proportion than that with which he met-es out his punishments, it is no oompliliient to any one to receive it. Not for all the votes in Bargoed will I barter away my oonTictions. Then there is Mr. Bates, who opens a particu- larly pompous missive with this paraphase of tha letters I.L.P. as Iconoclastic Licentious Plati- tudinarians Now, I was particularly pained to see the second word used, for I feel sure that it must have been used without knowledge of its Meaning. My dictionary gives the meaning of licentious as induging freedom, or rather lust, to excess; not restrained by law or morality; dissolute, wanton." Now, I put it to Mr. Bates or to any fair minded person-Is this re- spectable criticism? I don't ask if it is fair. Gan he. moreover, find in the whole town of Bargoed any body of young men, be they in ohurcli or chapel, or anywhere else, a more steady-going, earnest, right living set of young men than those in the I.L.P.? Let him put tside prejudice for the moment against their opinions. Those may be right or wrong. Surely, surely, one may expect a man of Mr. Bates' age. experience, and standing in social and in church life to have more regard for the mean- ing of the words he uses. I confess I have never known so filthy an acusation laid at the door of one's opponents in the columns of the public Press. The rest of the arguments, of course, have lost the right to consideration' until the fionI abuse implied in that word is withdrawn. Then there is a Mr. Barker, who honours me with an equally untrue accusation. Apparently his case is that the opposition at Mr. Williams' meeting was justified. It was confined to about five, I understand, on the ground that Mr. AmeTY, M.P.. was interrupted when he was at Bargoed before the war broke out. Mr. Barker eays Mr. Dan Jones and I were the ringleaders. That is a wickecll- I That is a wickedly untrue statement. I was present at the meeting; hence the responsibility for the row, I suppose. For a time I stood near those who interrupted, but it occurred to me that possibly responsibility for the oppo- sition wouid be fixed upon me, and so I moved away and stood behind the lorry from which Mr. Amery spoke. Not one interruption came from me, but I asked two questions at the proper time. No person ascended the plat- form at all. The crowd was captured by me when the meeting was over, and I spoke for an hour in reply to the speech. That was what I did. Interruption at a public meet- ing I always try to avoid, for I love free speech too well to seek to destroy it. But let me remind Mr. Barber—for he seems to havo overlooked it—that Mr. Amery devoted himself most of his time to defending C.U,Son,s con.%cientious scruples" agaiast Home Rule. Let him also remember that that same Carson even threatened rebellion in Ire- land to maintain those scruples, and that thou- sands 'of men were actually drilled for that purpose. Further, that officers of the army threatened resignation rather than obey War Office Orders which might be issued, command- ing them to put down the rebellion. And, ag- ain. that a conference between Oarson and Redmond was actually held in Buckingham Pa- lace fpr the purpose, so it was said, of com- ing to an arran Igement. And lastly, let him not forget that it has been held by many leading papers that the Kaiser and his clique may have counted upon this revolutionary move- ment of Carson's in Ireland helping his plans. Surely, therefore, if Carson's conscience had the right to sympathetic considedatioii when he, in prosecution of it, might have destroyed life, our conscientious objection too. deserves sym- pathy—particularly when we seek to save Life. I have no more time nor space to devote to these people. Let them not flatter themselves that we consider their opposition at all serious. We who are opposed to Conscription are in earnest on this matter. Critics may not agree with us. They mav differ fundamentally from us. Let them state their case. I am sure the Editor of the 11 Pioneer" will give them an ample opportunity tp do so But mean cow- ardly abuse such as I have cited can do their case no good; can do them personally no cre- dit, and certainly will do our cause no harm. None of us will lose anything by being tolerant towards each other personally, while retaining full freedom to controvert our arguments. MORGAN JONES.

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