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I SWANSEA MER-  CHANTS. ? CHANTS. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE I AN N UAL." HIGH LEVEL MAINTAINED: EVENING'S GUEST. The annual banquet of the Swansea I Chamber of Commerce, which took -,Iaoe I at tlie Hotel Metropcxle on Saturday night, was honouired thi-s year by the attendance of Mr. John L. Griffiths, Consul-General in London for t.he United States, who was the chief guest of the evening. The outgoing president (Mr. W. T. Fan; filled the chiei seat at the oross-table, and he was sup- flortOO by Six Allied Mand, Baat., P. C., M.P., the Deputy ^Layor (Aid. Dd. Ltevies), Mr. T. P. Cook (vice-president), Mr. J. T. Duncan (president of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce), Mr. Hyam Goldberg. Mr. Saunders (H.M. Collector of Customs) M. Morawiecki (Flench G:u?ui), Mr. Wm. Law (harbour manager) R?v. W. W?bk.Lris- J(mea, Mr. W. H. Edwards, Mr. Samucl Stephens, Signor Ansaklo (Italian Consul), Mr. L. G. Jeffreys, Mr. Wm. Howell, Mr. Alec M/affat, Cd pvctm Jenkins, Mr. E. P. Jones (the esteemed secretary), and others. IfOl-d Glantawe and the Mayor (Aid. T T. Coriker), in conaequsince of indisposition, and Sir Griffith Thomas, by reason of his re- cent bereavement, were unable to be pre- sent. The loyal toasts were submitted from the chair and musically received. Mi-. T. P. Cook, in proposing "The Hooseis of Parliament," said at this particu- lar juncture in their affairs it was most ap- propriate they should drink to the health of both houses. They would all echo the wards of the Sovereign, and hope the grave issues which lay before the houses might i load to a lasting settlement thro'i/gh mutual co-operation, mutual goodwill, and oonoes- sions on the part of aJl sections of tha I House. (Applause). I THE BOROUGH MEMBER. Sir Alfred Mond. M.P., said in reply that he considered being elected president of the Chamber of Commerce a high honour, and he would do all he could to further its interests. Before they met together again, it was more than likely there would be ser;ous constitutional changes in the House of Lords. As a man of business he was in- clined to agree with the proposer of the toast in his references to the unbusiness- like procedure of the House. There was no dcubt the Parliamentary machine was badly over-worked, and the demand for devolu- tion of many matterR to local parliaments was an idea which was spreading irrespec- tive of party more and more. They were endeavouring to do the wrork in one Parlia- ment of three or four legislative assemblies. They did not sufficiently realise that in the Act of Union with Scotland and Ireland they had absorb*! the legislature of the two countries. They had to pass Bills for Scot- land, Ireland, and sometimes separate Bills for Wales. TheTe \as no legisl<1 t me in the world which was asked to undertake such a task, and no legislative machine could effi. cientlv carry it through. And when upon thaL. was super imposed the greatest Empire we had ever seen, the question of devolving powers to local authorities was a business proposition. Proceeding, Sir Alfred said he thought tha country was of opinion it wanted two Chambers and not one. With regard to the Session just opened, he did not think any sane or sensible man would not echo the ex- pression of Mr. Cook that difference ot State, and policy xrirrhi be solved by reason- able and statesmanlike management. (Ap- plause.) The debate at the opening of the Session filled him with confidence that the nation ulrl ëfect;vel:v deal with any prob- lem that nresented itself. (Applause.) He noted with a CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ANXIETY I the continual alienation of men of business I from the House of Commons and the coun- sels of the nation. They teemed to git a smaller number of business men in the House of Commons, and a greater number who, when they were there, were anxious to re- tire from the political sphere. It was not good that business men should cease to take an interest in a nation' ? affairs, but. at the same time he did not see business men got much encouragement. (Applause.) Mr. J. I;. Griffiths (whose speech is re- ported in another column) gave "The Swan- sea Chamber of Commerce." The Ohairman, in reply, spoke off the im- portant duties of the Chambea, and said they worked in perfect harmony with the otiier bodies—Corporation and Harbour Trust. Chambers of wore very l necessary from the point of view of carry- ing forward matters of general interest— more especially the meetings of associated chambers of commerce. There also existed chambers of commerce of the Empire, and Mr. Farr dwelt upon the importance of the congresses held. He locked forward in the early future for the Swansea. Chamber to invite the Associated Chambers to hold one of their autumnal meetings at Swansea whiern he felt sure they wonld return with a favourable impress-ion of Swansea and its manifold industries. He thanked the cham- ber members for the very aigreeable year of office he had passed through, and paid a well-deserved compliment to Mr. E. P. Jones (the secretary) Soar his assiduous work and interest. Mr. E. P. Jones, whose health was drunk honours, referred to the open- ing of the new Exchange Buildings, which would take place this veer. The Chairman's health was also drunk with miisicaJ honours. Mr. H. Goldberg, in" Thjp Visa tors, said Mr. Duncan (president of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce) was not ■unknown to Swansea, and his local connec- tions were large and important. CARDIFF PRESIDENT AND D.A." Mr. J. T. Duncan, in reply, said -with re- ga.rd to his remarks at tti-e d I Dne-r at Cardiff and Mr. D. A. Thomas's dis- ckimgr, he had not suggested that any 1- 1 1 actual agreement existeo "ft ween the Miners' Federation and the Coal Owners' Association, but these bodies appeared to go hand in hand in keening up the price of coal. If this was not so the coincidence was remarkable. The Federation re- stricted the output by means of stoppages on one preMxt or another—generally, from his observation, before the contracting time, or when the market was easing off and prices drooping. The result of the stoppage is prices rally, and wages are kept up to timr maximum. Coalowners profited again by enhanced prices. Those whose oollieries have been stopped are compensated for their Kiss by the Association The price of Car- diff coal was relatively too high, and it was no part of the functions of the Chamber of Commerce to help to artificially raise and maintain the price of (oal for the benefit of one section of its mambers. The remedy, in Mr. Duncan' r, judgment, was to pay the colliers a definite sum per ton for cutting coal, abandoning the celling price scale of wages, and then the Federation would have no temptation to restrict the output in the fear of the men's wages being reduced. As regards Swansea doc! delays, he hoped something would be done to remedy them. (Applause.) Mr. G. Morawiecxi, French Consul at Swansea, then proposed "The Town and Trade," and said although only having re- cently arrived in the town, everything tended f" show not only the town and port were very prosperous, but the prosperity was increasing almost dailv. In 1902 the total trade of the port was slightly over four mil- lion tons; in 1912 if exceeded six million tons, and in 1913 it was over seven million tons. He expressed legitimate pride that thp French colony in Swansea closelv united, and doing their share in the general work of the port. had shown themselves worthy of the courteous and hospitable manner in which they are treated by the people of the I town. (Applause.) Aid. D. Davies (Deputy Mayor), in ac- knowledging the tonst, Raid towns like Swan- sea could not exist except bv disfiscnriatr r>v pit and works the natural beauty of the country. Swansea's wealth came entirely from the soil, and he humorously remarked J that those who wished Eivi- tlie most success 1 were h04ling to iaakti ul a. void covered by a tLin crnsfc. (La.ught?r.) Pceecling, Mr. Davies 8pok', of the great obligations the t?wn was face4 with, and in this connection mentioned tha4 the Imperial Government was not doing itit duty by local bodies. The Government wa< IMPOSING FRESH OBLIGATIONS year by year, and insisted upon new dutiet being carried out, while, all the time it -at, not increasing but diminishing its contribu* tions to the local rates. One reform greatly wa.nted in Parliament was to compel he 1m. pcrial Exchequer to come to the rescue of local bodies and contribute a, fair share of tha expenditure being insisted upon. (Ap- piause.) The town was advanc- ing and improvements wer being effected on ail sides, and one of its great assete wall confidence on the part of public men, the Swansea Chamber of Commerce, public men generally, and the ratepayers. (Applause., Mr. San 10el Stephens also replied, and said commerce was by what they lived—an«i they would do so for a very oonsiderabla period and people did not love Wales less because they used her so much. Trada ail Swansea would have bean more but for stop- pages and congestion on the railways. Some- times he believed traders were very largely to be blamed, but he did think it was strange railway oompanies had never invited traders to some friendly conference with the inten-, tion of getting rid of the congestion. (Ap. piause.) The National Anthem waa then heartily sung, and the proceedings terminated.. Mr. Huliey's band played selections dur- ing the evening.