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THE SECTARIAN SPIRIT IN LLANELLY.…

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THE SECTARIAN SPIRIT IN LLANELLY. I REFLECTIONS AND COMMENTS. [BY SIRIUS.] I cannot congratulate the Rev. T. Johns, on the letter which appeared from his pen last week in your two contemporaries in relation to the sectarian spirit in Llanelly. At the outset, I wish to make it clear that I have no sympathy with a harmful sectarianism indeed, if public interest in municipal affairs in Llanelly is to mean also the expansion and intensifica- tion -of sectarian competition in our annually-recurring elections, 1 for one will hail with satisfaction the reduction of public interest to an irreducible minimum. Infinitely better that there should be no inter- est at all than that the gauge and test of candi- dates for municipal honours should be provided in purely denominational watchwords. If the old conditions in vogue in our municipal elec- tions are to be obliterated, and a new specific and unalterable test is to be imposed, let us have an undisguised contest between Liberal and Con- servative. To pit Baptist against Independent, and Calvinistic Methodist against Wesleyan is a desecration of the sacredness of denomina- tional divisions. It is dragging some of our most cherished convictions through the mud. Having cleared the way so far, I will now return to the epistle which has appeared from the pen of the Rev. T. Johns. His letter was published in each of your contemporaries, but I notice that it did not appear in the Llanelly Mercury. Even in this respect,he was certainly ill-advised, although when placed alongside other un- pleasant reflections to which his letter disposes us, this is a mere detail of very small signifi- cance. A week earlier, one of your contempor- aries contained a paragraph, embodied in the week's municipal notes, to the effect that Mr. Johns was charged with having made,two years ago, a communication to a Welsh weekly congratulating the Congregationalists upon the success attending them in the municipal election which had just concluded at Llanelly. I wouldn't have a word of complaint to make against the reverend gentleman if he had con- tented himself with denying the charge. Unfor- tunately, Mr. Johns was not so content. His letter, as a matter of fact, is a long and irritat- ing one. There is not an emollient reference in it from beginning to end. This is much to be regretted. That the paragraph in question did appear in a Welsh newspaper is an absolute certainty. Here, at any rate, we are not dealing with questions of opinion, but those of fact. The paragraph was not merely in the worst of bad tastes, but was in many particulars abso- lutely untrue. In that election, there was not a suggestion made in favour of imposing a seotanan test, nor was a denominational gauge in the least degree the vogue. Curiously enough, a considerable number of Congrega- tionalists were elected, but they did not succeed as Congregationalists. I confidently affirm that the great mass of the ratepayers never gave a thought to the denominational proclivities of the candidates seeking their suffrages. The para- graph in the Tyst, therefore, claiming the elect- ion as a great Congregationalist victory was false- Whoever wrote it committed a gross indiscre- tion, to say the least. It was only human that the Baptists should feel aggrieved at the publication of a statement so entirely at variance with the facts of the situation. There is not a Baptist in the community who desires to charge the Congregationalist body with being privy to the communication. The contribution was doubtless the silly effusion of a rash and an unreasoning denominationalist. The error of the Congregationalists, as a body, was one of omission, not of commission. Much irritation would have been allayed, a great many com- plications avoided, if a Congregationalist of authority, entitled to speak for the entire body, had written to the Tyst repudiating the dan- gerous absurdities promulgated by the correspondent a week earlier. I have not seen ar.y repudiation of the communication to this day. Mr. Johns, in his letter of last week, might have done a great deal to relieve the tension, but I am sorry to a degree to find that he has only made matters worse. Instead of allaying the irritation,he hasincreased it. Instead of content- ing himself with denying the authorship of the letter and repudiating its contents on behalf of the Congregationalists, he calls for the produc- tion of the article, and the naming of the weekly wherein it appeared. The article is a matter of common notoriety, and personally, I have no desire to see it reproduced anywhere. Mr. Johns, however, goes much further than this, and it is in the going further," that the indis- cretion of his communication is most pro- nounced. The comparison instituted between the magnanimous Independent lion and the "BaDtist demon" was in anything but good taste, and is calculated to give rise to much differeace and bitterness where none need exist. When Mr. Johns proceeds to deal with the representation of the various denominations on the School Board, not only is his taste at fault but his facts as well. He charges the Bap- tists with having broken the original compact by running four candidates instead of two. It is quite true that there are four Baptists on the Board at present, but one of the number stood as an independent candidate. Has Mr. Johns forgotten that at the last School Board -election, the Congregationalists also ran three candidates ? If I were disposed to harshly criticise Mr. Johns, there would be room here, but I have great respect for him, and much regret that he should have penned such an extraordinary epistle. In conclusion, Mr. Johns makes the astonishing statement that with one or two exceptions all the principal appointments under the Board are given to Baptist schoolmasters." Perhaps Mr. Johns will give us a chapter and verse.

ECHOES OF THE WEEK.

MR. FO WLER AND THE HARBOUR…

THE LATE MR. -JENNINGS.I

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LLANELLY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.…

INTERESTING PRESENTATION |…

I TO OUR CORRESPONDENTS. I

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