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REPRESENTATION OF MERIONETHSHIRE.…

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REPRESENTATION OF MERIONETHSHIRE. 3IEETING OF THE LIBERAL ASSOCIATION. A special meeting of the Merionethshire Libetal Association, called for the purpose of considering Jfr. 0. M. Edwards' letter, requesting to retire front the Parliamentary representation of the county, -was held on Thursday last at the Public Rooms, Dolgelley. The vice-presidents and officials present were Mr. E- Parry Jones, Festiniog; Mr. H. Hadyn Jones, Towyn Dr. Roger Hughes, Mr. John Parry, and Mr. Evan Jones, Bala; Mr. John Evans, Barmouth Mr. Morris Thomas, Corris; Mr. Edward Griffiths, Dolgelley Mr. Thomas Jones, Brynmelyn; and Mr. R. Guthrie Jones (secretary). Th. following delegates were also present:— Abercorris-Rev. H. W. Parry and Mr. Walter Davies: Arthog, Rev. William Wynne and Mr. Ellis Williams; Bala, Messrs. R. Lloyd Jones, J. W. Roberts, and R. Evans; Barmouth andBontddu, Messrs. Lewis Lewis, John Adams, J. Henry Richards, Owen Williams, and Rev. J. Gwynoro Davies; Dolgelly, Revs. J. Williams, W. Pari Huwg, and R. G. Roberts, Messrs. J. Meyrick Jones, R. Wynne Williams, William Hughes, Hugh Owen, E. W. Evans, Simon Jones, David Evans, R. C. Evans, and Joseph Roberts; Dyffryn, Messrs. J. R. Jones and R. J. Williams; Festiniog and Maen- twrog, Rev. D. Pugh and Mr. John Hughes; Tourcrosses, Messrs. Richard Williams and William Jones; Glanypwll, Messrs. D. G. Jones and D. G. Williams; Llandderfel, Messrs. R. Thomas, W. T. Rowlands, and T. Edwards Llandrillo, Rev. Ivan T. Davies and Mr. Edward Jarret; Llanuwchllyn, Mr. Thos. Jones Llanfrothen, Rev. W. R. Jones; Pennal, Mr. Ed. Rowlands; Penrhyndeudraeth and Talsarnau, Messrs. T. Davies and R. P. Morgan; Tanygrisiau, Rev. S. O. Owen, Messrs. Samuel Jones and William Edwards. Mr. E. Parry Jones was unanimously voted to the chair. Mr Thomas Jones, 'Brynmelyn, at the request of the Chairman, then rose to propose a vote of con- dolence with the family of the late Dr Edward Jones, who had for a great many years been chair- man of the Association, and had occupied the posi- tion up to the time of his death. The proposer said they all remembered Dr Jones -as a thorough liberal, and was one who had large hand in the formation of this Association 35 years ago. Who- ever might have held the offices of president during that period, he was the real mover in all matters, and the high and honourable position which the Association had attained amongst the Liberal Associations of England and Wales was due to the great care and attention he had given it. Who- ever might have attended the meetings regularly, and whoever had been working for the cause, and whoever had done more than another for the party, it might truly be said that Dr Edward Jones ex- celled them all (hear, hear.) He (the speaker) had been a co-worker with him for 35 years, and he knew of his ability and his great determination, and also his zeal for Liberalism. He never swerved fsoin the path of uprightness, and he knew they all felt with him that they had sustained a great loss. They all looked up to him as their leader no one thought of anyone leading except he and he was truly a leader. They had had a great loss, but they had one thing to think of, and that was his example, and he hoped that that would in- spire them to united action in the future and fill them with a determination to carry on the great work in which he had interested himself so deeply. But whatever their loss might be, the family felt much greater than they did. He was a loving husband and a careful father. Another thing to be said- of their departed friend was that he was a worker, and he had been taken away in the middle -of his work, with, as they might say, the traces about him. He moved that a vote of condolence be passed with the widow and family of Dr. Jones, in the serious loss they had sustained. Mr. R. E. Jones, Festiniog, seconded the resolu- tion, and said he had attended the meetings of the Association for nearly 20 years, and had come to know Dr. Jones as one of the foremost. He was a true man and always ready to work, and he had never seen anyone with a similar ability to discuss questions of any nature which might crop up. Mr. Morris Thomas, Morris, supported the pro- position, and said Dr. Jones had been as a general to the Party in Merionethshire for the last thirty years, and he hoped they would show their respect to his memory by being united, and by keeping Liberalism unblemished. The resolution was then put to the meeting, and carried with unanimity. Mr Edward Griffith then mentioned the steps which had been taken at Dolgelley to perpetuate the memory of Dr. Jones, and said appeals would shortly be made for subscriptions to establish some form of memorial. The principal business of the meeting, viz., the resignation of Mr O. M. Edwards, was then pro- ceeded with. The Secretary announced he had received the following letter from Mr Edwards :— House of Commons, February 23rd. Dear Mr Guthrie Jones, I am compelled to feel that I have too much work to hold at it long. Will you be so kind as to ask the Merionethshire Liberal Com- mittee to free me at the time of the next general election. It is after a great deal of thought that I make this request. It is easier to get others to do my Parliamentary work than to do the other part of my work. I had written to Dr. Edward Jones to the same effect some time ago, leaving it to him to arrange the time to put my request before you. Yours, etc., 0. M. Edwards." The Secretary also read rule 12 of the constitution, which was to the effect that whatever the Association would propose would have to be sent to the different districts for their opinion thereon. Mr Wm. Jones, Four Crosses, then proposed that the Association send to the different districts recommending that Mr 0 M. Edwards stand again as their candidate at the next general election under the present circumstances in which their county and country were placed. In reply to one of the delegates, the Chairman pointed out that Mr Edwards would retain the seat until the general election. Mr R. O. Jones, Festiniog, said if they passed a resolution to ask Mr Edwards to stand after the next general election and he declined, they would have to meet again in a very short time to decide the question. Mr Rice Owen, Corris, proposed that they accept, the resignation of Mr 0. M. Edwards. He regretted having to do so, but in face of the letter which had been read, he thought they had no other course. Mr. Richard Williams seconded. Mr. William Jones said he would not have moved his resolution had he not some ground for beliiving that if the Association called upon Mr. Edwards again he would not refuse. Mr. Evan Jones, Bala, said he felt they would be doing a wrong with Mr. Edwards if they passed the resolution. No one would wish to see him throw himself into the politics of the county more than himself, but every one who knew Mr. Edwards would know that his work at Oxford, and his work in connection with national movements would certainly suffer if he were forced to divide his time. Mr. Edwards for years had established his reputa- tion a& one of the leaders of thought of his nation. He had never come out as a leader of the people. Mr. Tom Ellis, on the other hand, was a born politican, but fr, Edwards never took a deep in- terest in politics. His was a literary spirit, and had been from the first time he knew him until now, and he was afraid that if they divided his abilities they would weaken his efforts on behalf of his country. He thought the wisest course to adopt toward their present member, as well as for the future of their nation, was to allow him to have his time, and his whole time, to that to which he was more especially adapted and fitted. Mr. D. G. Jones asked whether, inasmuch as Mr. Edwards had promised to remain until the General Election, it would be any inconvenience to them if they did not decide anything that day. If they opened the door they would have to go into the business at once, and very likely have to take some- one they did not like. So if they had two years before this Parliament finished, he thought the wisest plan would be to take time, and not accept the resignation until then. Mr. J. Adams, Barmouth, favoured immediate consideration of the question. They feared last week that there would be a General Election upon them soon, but the Budget had removed that. It was clear that there were some of those carpet baggers about, although only one had been with him, and it was very probable that if they did not decide at once they would give birth to a still larger number of those men. They wanted a man who would feel that it was an honour to represent the county, and that they had a right to expect his best. He thought the best thing would be to pass the amendment, and then look out for the best and most suitable man. Mr. John Hughes, Festiniog, said he thought it would be a disadvantage to press Mr. Edwards to remain. Not only did they want a man in Parlia- ment, but they wanted a man who could give the time to go speaking through the county. In his part of tie county Liberalism was dying; there was no life in it, and they could not get money to pay their way. If they asked Mr. Edwards to reconsider the matter, arid be the representative of the county again, and take the same course, there would be no Liberalism in the county soon. He did not see that they could keep up the unity of the Party unless they accepted he resignation. Mr. Thomas Jones said he thought it was their duty towards Mr. Edwards and towards the Liberalism of the county to accept the resignation. They had great cause to be thankful to ,Mr. Edwards for coming into the gap a year ago. It was an honour to the county and an honour to him. But it was evident to all who knew his work and the work of a member of Parliament that it was impossible for Mr. Edwards or any other man to do the work he had to do. Therefore, he thought it their duty to release him at the general election. The Chairman asserted that Liberalism was quite healthy in the county. It was in safe bands, and if they accepted the resignation they would at once be handing the representation to someone else. The thing they had to do was to be careful whom they appointed. If they did anything precipitately they would be handing themselves over to those who were their opponents. They should take the first step with the second step clearly before them. He would ask Dr. Hughes to read a letter he had received from Mr. O. M. Edwards. Dr. Hughes said he had written to their member asking him if he could give them any light or any direction in the present situation. Mr. John Hughes appealed to the Chairman, as to whether they should consider the letter, inas- much as it was not official. Dr. Hughes: You shall decide that after hearing the letter (laughter). The Chairman: The letter is perfectly in order. Dr Hughes then read the letter, which was as follows :—" House of Commons, March* 6th, lQOO Dmr Dr RtiLhes-The eight-is at hand, I- is it not 1 I am hoping a clear vision will come in the meeting. If it does everything will be alright at once. If not, there is again plenty of time to think and to look round, because I am almost cer- tain that there is not a general election near at hand. It seems to me that the present Government will have to complete its full term of office, as their hands will be full of the war, and the peace which will follow, for a year at least I considered it my duty not to think of anyone to propose in my stead I believe that it is the representatives who should make the selection-not myself, not intrudors, or the newspapers. I have had letters from persons ready for the work, but I had only to reply that I would support anyone chosen by the Liberal representatives. I don't think there is any room for anxiety in circumstance. There is no doubt a clear vision will come in time, and there is plenty of time. Hoping that everything will come right, and with best wishes. 0. M. EDWARDS. Dr Hughes said that after receiving the letter from Mr Edwards, he felt the same as the Chairman, that they should take precaution. There was no clear vision at the present time, and although there were a number of intending candidates, there was not one head and shoulders above the other. What he felt was that the matter should be left until the annual meeting in September, as he thought some- one would come by then. If a general election came :before then, it would be quite easy to call a meeting of the Council. It seemed at the pre- sent time that there would be no election for an- other year "and in the meantime he thought they should well consider the matter. He was of opinion that they should not press Mr Edwards to remain, but if they failed to get a suitable man, he had no doubt that Mr Edwards would make a sacrifice to meet their wishes. Messrs Meyrick Jones, J. Adams, and Edward Oriffiths also supported the suggestion that the matter be deferred until the annual meeting in September. The Rev Gwynoro Davies said he agreed that if they had a clear light of the second step it would be easy to take the first. There was a danger of putting Mr. Edwards and the electors in an un- pleasant position by pressing upon him to remain on beyond the general election. But there was difficulty, and to him that difficulty was as great if not greater. If they left the matter open and did not consider it until the general election might oome upon them suddenly and there would only be a few weeks between the dissolution and the election. That would place them in an awkward position, and he did think it was fair to call upon local councils on the electors to give their opinion en seven or eight candidates neither of whom they bad perhaps ever seen or heard. Nor were they aware what views they held. The only knowledge they would have was that Mr. so-and-so supported Mr. so-and-so, and from letters published in the newpapers under non de plumes. There were two evils or difficulties, and of the two they should choose the lesser. On the one hand he would loath to press upon Mr. Edwards. On the other hand they bad had a leadership, and when it looked very dark they had had light to lead them out of the darkness But could they rely on an instinct like that 7 Under the circumstances, he thought they should delay deciding the question, and consider it at the annual meeting in September. At this stage the proposer and seconder of the original resolution signified that they wished to withdraw their proposition. Mr John Parry, Bala, said he desired to move another amendment. He was thoroughly of the same opinion as the Chairman that they should take plenty of time, and he believed they would come to a satisfactory decision. He thought the power of the Association was that they had always been in touch with the electors, and had not taken any step upon their own responsibility without consulting with those who had sent them there. In truth, this was the first official intimation they had received from Mr Edwards of his intention to resign. He had been surprised that gentlemen from out- side had gone before them. It seemed to him that they had treated the Association and Mr Edwards rather discourteously by offering themselves through the newspapers, and in other ways to the county. The amendment that he would suggest was that they go back, and consult with those who sent them there, and tell them the contents of Mr Edwards' letter. They could then get their opinions and wishes, and could bring in their reports to the annual meeting in September, unless a general election should be declared before that. They would then have a candidate behind them, and could say that the electors were anxious to meet Mr Edwards' wishes, or that the feeling of the county was to press upon him to remain. The only objection he could see to this would be that caused by those gentlemen anxious to give their services, and he thought they as members and as an association, should not commit themselves in any way. If they could pass a resolution disap- proving of such a thing it would perhaps be a hint to them to keep at home until they were ready. Mr. Rice Owen said the meeting seemed as if they expected someone to drop down from Heaven. At present, there was in view, and perhaps no one in view, and perhaps no one would come in a year, and they would have to get someone. Mr. Morris Thomas said he thought they should give some direction to the electors of the county, or they would be in greater darkness than they were that day. He would propose that they accept the resignation, and that the matter be then referred to all the divisions. Mr. John Parry's resolution that the discussion of the acceptance of Mr. O. M. Edwards'resignation be deferred until the annual meeting in September wasthen seconded by Mr. Hughes. On being put to the meeting the amendment, that the resignation be accepted, was defeated by a large majority, and Mr. Parry's proposition was consequently declared carried. The meeting then terminated.

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