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ECHOES OF THE WEEK. I -+- [BY "SIRIUS."] 1 GRANTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT. I I have been amused in no small degree by the absurdities promulgated in your Unionist con- temporary in relation to the government grunts which have been received by some of the local authorities in consideration of the Agricultural Bating Act passed by the administration now in office. Your contemporary has gone into ectasies over whitt is tegarded as tbemagnificent position of Llanelly under this particular Act. This ecstatic attitude, however, is about as mis- placed as it can Avellbe. There is no vestige of reason for this boundless and indiscriminate glorification of the government, leastwise, not on the grounds given for its existence in the columns of your contemporary. Now what are the facts of the case? A little examination will be instructive, and will serve, I imagine, to disclose the absurdity of the position assumed by your contemporary. Some time ago, my readers will remember that the Liberal Opposi- tion were engaged in attacking with inspiring persistence the monstrous proposals for relieving the agricultural landowners of the country of about one-half of their due and just burden of the rates and placing upon the shoulders or residents in towns an additional fifty per cent. responsibility in this respect, to make good the relief of the country magnates. The bill was known among the government supporters as the Agricultural Rating Bill, but the Opposition ere long gave the measure its real name, one that offered a real index to the purposes it was intended to serve. By the opposition, there- fore, it was called the Landlords' Relief Bill, as the measure was indisputably designed to relieve the owners of agricultural land of their just share of taxation. It will be remembered that this monstrously unjust bill was pitilessly assailed by some of the Welsh members, par- ticularly Mr. Lloyd George, who proved to the absolute conviction of all impartial minds that the measure was one of the grossest pieces of legislative jobbery ever brought before the notice of Parliament. And this is the measure TQspsctirig which your contemporary asks the people of Llanelly to go wild with ecstasy, How on earth the Act is going to bo an ad van- tage to the local authorities 1 am utterly at a Joss to understand, In its last week's issue' your contemporary enlarged upon the fact that the Llanelly Board of Guardia: s had already received a cheque for a few hun- dred pounds from the imperial exchequers, and dilated upon the circumstance in such terms as to encourage the impression that this was a magnificent thing for the local authority in question. I fail to see it. Indeed, I am dis- posed to think that the only people who will appreciate the grant in the light described will be the friends who direct tne destinies of your contemporary. To talk about the Government crant in question in the light of doing service towards a reduction of thegoneral rate is sheer nonsense. Your contemporary appears to imagine that the grant from Government is a sort of general gift to the local exchequer without any sort of restriction, and enabling the Board of Guardians to relieve all its constituents by a re- duction of the rates leviedfrom time to time—re- duced in proportion to the measure of the Govern- ment bounty. This, as a matter of fact, is absolute nonsense. The Act in question will do nothing of the sort. It will not enable the Board of Guardians to reduce the rates; it merely readjusts the conditions of their imposition. Instead of levying the rate justly upon town and country land as formerly, the local authori- ties will, in future, in respect of agricultural land, levy half the rate only upon the owners, and the other half upon the Imperial exchequer. This however, offers no guarantee of a redaction in the total rate leviable. No bene- fit is conferred upon the local authorities. It is the landlords who will derive the benefit. And at whose expense ? The expense of the people who live in the towns. THE HOSPITAL SCHEME. Now that the town is pledged to the hospital scheme in commemoration of the Queen's diamond jubilee, it is to be earnestly hoped that the ratepayers generally will rally round the cause and guarantee the collection of the fund for which the circumstances of the case can. There is a special reason for this hope arising out of the dismally unsatisfactory meeting held under the auspices of the scheme on Monday evening last. Over a hundred persons were summoned to attend a meeting at the Town Hall to make the necessary arrangements for raising the money. Under a score put in an appearance in response to the circular, and the meeting was therefore not proceeded with. Those present were exceedingly generous in their excuses for the absent friends and I entirely appreciate their charitableness. At the same time, however, I am not disposed to accept the reasons given as a full and satisfac- tory explanation of the paucity of the attend- ance. I fervently trust that the interest in the scheme will immediately deepen. The object j i3 a deserving one and it would be a disgrace to the town ific failed to thoroughly "catch on." The meeting, as will be seen from a notice in another column, was adjourned to this (Thurs- day) evening, when I ardently hope there will be a large attendance of friends of the hospital, thoroughly determined ao make the scheme go. FINANCES OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB. The references made by Mr. Gavin Henry the honorary treasurer of the Llanelly Football Club, to the finances of that body, at the adjourned annual meeting held on Friday last will, I feel confident, be read with appreciation by all who are interested in football in Llanelly. Mr. Henry availed himself of the opportunity presented of alluding at some length to certain rumours which had been in circulation respect- ing the finances of the club. I don't know I what the rumours were the writer of this column not having been made a depositary for their receipt by those who joined in the circulation of the statements. It seems to me, however, that the rumours could not have cast any reflection on Mr. Henry himself, leastwise not with any reason, for Mr. Henry is respected wherever he is known. He is as honest as the day. It seems to i me, albeit, if I may be permitted to make the observation, that football in Llan- elly is conducted on a scale much too elabor- ately expensive. This is not in the least a charge against Mr. Henry. It is. however, a charge against the committee, and I make it in no captions spirit, but in the hope that steps will be taken to modify the scale on which the sport is now carried on. For instance, I learn -on good authority that notwithstand- ing the splendid season through which the club I has passed, and the magnificent" gates which have been obtained, there is even now a fairly heavy debt to be faced. It appears to me that if I we cannot escape from debt after such a season I as that just closed, we shall never be free. 1 There must during the season have been an enormous expenditure, one in relation to which I should be glad to receive a comprehen- sive statement by the committee. i THE FREE. LIBRARY QUESTION. ) I The debate on the bree -binary question at ] Fdday evening's meeting of the Governing body J of the I- Meeliaiiies' Institution was excellent in every respect. I have from time to time been present at meetings of the body j najned when questions affecting the a(Iniinistra. tion of the Institution have been discussed in a most enlightened spirit, and with an absence of irritation not characteristic of all quasi- public bodies. I have, however, to state that I have never been present at a meeting of the com- mittee when the question under notice has been more ably, broadly, thoroughly, and instruc- tively di sc u ss e d than that on thecarpet on Friday evening. There can be no doubt that the pro- moters of the change-a change wholly desir- able in my opinion—have gone into the question with a patience, a thoroughness and the true spitit of inquiry leaving nothing to be desired, with the result that an invincible case has been made out in favour of the conversion of the Institution into a Free Library The groups of facts and figures embodied in the speeches on the occasion under notice were most instructive, and insofar as my judgment is concerned the arguments in fivour of the change are simply unanswerable. I would refer especially to the valuable speeches of Mr. W. David and Mr. It. Stuart who dealt with the question of finance with a completeness and satisfactoriness offering every guarantee that when the motion comes before a special general meeting of members it will be carried by all overwhelming majority.  A PASSION FOR AD.TPUENMENT, J j A P ASSIOS FOR AD,T91;RNl\IENT. I The plea of Mr.J. L. Thomas at the last meet- ing of the Llanelly Board of Guardians for a still further adjournment of a decision respect- ing the recommendation of the committee in relation to the proposed appointment of a vaccination officer was as unreasonable as it was misplaced. There was every presumption justifying the conclusion that the question was one requiring immediate settlement in the in- terests of an efficient administratioll of poor law affairs,and the persistent efforts of illr.Tiion-iasto secure an adjournment of the discussion were singularly out of place. I would not refer to the question here but for the constancy with which the plea was urged, for not content wit h the loss of one amendment, Mr. Thomas moved another with as little force of argnment. in its favour as the first. It seems to me that the line ought to be drawn somewhere. A policy of obstruction is as objectionable on a Board of Guardians as in the House of Commous, and it ought to be wiped out" as much in one place r tlS the other.