The Project Gutenberg EBook of Wit and Wisdom of Lord Tredegar, by Godfrey Charles Morgan This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Wit and Wisdom of Lord Tredegar Author: Godfrey Charles Morgan Release Date: May 26, 2012 [EBook #39808] Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WIT AND WISDOM OF LORD TREDEGAR *** Produced by sp1nd, Matthew Wheaton and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
WESTERN MAIL, LIMITED.
CARDIFF, NEWPORT, SWANSEA.
MERTHYR, BRECON AND
176, FLEET STREET, LONDON
WIT AND WISDOM OF LORD TREDEGAR.
MEMORIES OF BALACLAVA.
QUIPS AT THE SERVANTS' BALL.
ON ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS.
THE TRIALS OF THE CLERGY.
SERMONS AND SINNERS.
THE OLD PARISH CHURCH.
THE CRICKETER CURATE.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN.
THE USES OF THE PARISH ROOM.
REVERENCE FOR RELIGION.
THE TEACHING OF REFINEMENT.
IN PRAISE OF HOSPITALS.
WHEN IS A HOSPITAL A SUCCESS.
RECLAIM THE STREET URCHIN.
THE INFLUENCE OF WOMEN.
A FRIEND FOR THE FRIENDLESS.
THE BRAVERY OF THE WORKERS.
A TRIBUTE TO THE ENGINE DRIVER.
TEMPERANCE "IN ALL THINGS."
AN ANGELIC VISION.
CHATS TO AND ABOUT CABBIES.
TALKS TO LICENSED VICTUALLERS.
CAKES AND ALE.
THE GREAT LAND TYRANT.
TWO LORD TREDEGARS.
THE TRIALS OF BENEFACTORS.
WHAT IS A PHILANTHROPIST?
NATURALLY A CONSERVATIVE.
POLITICS ON THE BRAIN.
THE UNRULY HOUND.
THE WHOO WHOOPS.
M.P.'S AS BADGERS.
THE HONOUR OF BEING M.P.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF THE PEERAGE.
SWEEPS AS PEERS.
YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYBODY.
KEEP US STILL OUR SHORTHORNS.
INTEREST IN DAIRYING.
WHERE ALL CLASSES MEET.
WHERE THE AGRICULTURIST SHOULD STUDY.
A BLUE BOTTLE AND A BIRD.
A LIMIT EVEN TO SCIENCE.
AN EYE FOR A GOOD PAIR OF HORSES.
AS CATTLE DEALER.
THE BEST FARMER.
FOX-HUNTING AND DIPLOMACY.
AT AN ATHLETIC CLUB DINNER.
TWO UNPROFITABLE HONOURS.
THE HAPPY FARMER.
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS.
TALKS ON EDUCATION.
THE ARCHÆOLOGY OF MONMOUTHSHIRE.
MONMOUTHSHIRE STILL WELSH.
FREEDOM OF MORGAN BROTHERHOOD.
A HYBRID COUNTY.
INTEREST IN EXPLORATION.
OLIVER CROMWELL AND NEWPORT.
WELSH PEOPLE EVEN IN CARDIFF.
THE SIEGE OF CAERPHILLY CASTLE.
IN PRAISE OF EISTEDDFODAU.
A LITTLE FAMILY HISTORY.
THE LATE COLONEL MORGAN.
THE MONMOUTHSHIRE TRIBUTE.
THE JUBILEE OF QUEEN VICTORIA.
THE LATE QUEEN VICTORIA.
THE LATE KING EDWARD.
THE PENNY WHISTLE OF REPUBLICANISM.
ON PRETORIA DAY.
ADMIRATION FOR AMERICAN SAILORS.
IMPROVEMENTS IN THE ARMY.
THE BOY SCOUT MOVEMENT.
NOT KNOWN HERE.
LIFE'S TRAGEDY AND COMEDY.
NEWPORT A SECOND LIVERPOOL
OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE.
DOCTORS-OLD STYLE AND NEW.
ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS.
A CONTRAST IN CORRESPONDENCE.
DREAMS AND TEARS.
THE PRECIPICE OF MATRIMONY.
HOW TO LIVE FOR EVER.
PUNCTUALITY "THE THIEF OF TIME."
NO KNOWLEDGE OF KISSES.
A SMART RETORT.
THE BUSHRANGER'S METHOD.
MAKING THE WAIST PLACES GLAD.
AS OTHERS SEE US.
THE MIGHTY LORD MAYOR.
A DAY OF GREAT JOY.
THE GOOD OLD ENGLISH OATH.
PRAISE IN BUCKETSFUL.
AN EASY SOLUTION.
A READY ANSWER.
THE SEVEN AGES.
A DELICATE POINT.
THE HISTORIC HOUSE OF LORDS.
There are a few observations which may be deemed appropriate in presenting to the public this collection of extracts from the speeches of Godfrey Charles Morgan, first Viscount Tredegar; but it is inconceivable that any should be necessary by way of apology. During the course of an active and a well-spent life, happily extended beyond the allotted span, Lord Tredegar has made hundreds of public utterances. Innumerable are the functions he has attended during half-a-century and over; and at most of them he has been the central figure. But while his high station would always have secured attention and respect for his words, this volume may serve to prove to future generations what this generation well knows, that Lord Tredegar has held his listeners by his humour or by his earnestness, according to the occasion, and that, in the homely phrase, he has always had "something to say." It is my hope, however, that this little book may have a still worthier mission. For6 I think it will be found to reveal a noble mind. The simple words of Lord Tredegar have time and again struck deep to the hearts of his audience. Collected here, they reveal the gentleness of his disposition and the purity of his motives. They show the consistency of his life. But they do much more. They appear to constitute a great moral force. Not that his lordship ever posed as preacher, or constituted himself a Court of Judgment on any class of his fellows. There is no trace of a superior tone in his speeches. His words show sympathetic insight into the trials and difficulties that beset the path of every one of us, and his desire was never to censure, but ever to encourage and assist with kindly suggestion and cheering thought.
No aspect of these extracts is so interesting as that which enables us to observe how faithfully and well Lord Tredegar has discharged his promises. Long before he could describe himself as a landowner, he said that if ever he came into that position he would give any assistance he could to his tenants in the way of improving his land. He hoped he would never become "such a ruffian as some people would make landlords out to be." Reading later speeches we find Lord Tredegar7 undertaking in his turn conscientiously the public duties previously discharged by his father. We find him making the acquaintance of the farmers and studying their difficulties. We find him raising the Tredegar Show to its present pre-eminence in the world of agriculture. It is a noble record of honesty of purpose. And agriculture, as well we know in Wales and Monmouthshire, is but one of Lord Tredegar's many interests. He has spoken wise words on education; he has urged the claims of charity. He has led the way in historical research, and inspired among many whose interest might not otherwise have been aroused a love of our ancient castles and our dear old parish churches. He has spoken eloquently of our Welsh heroes and bards. Upon the value of Eisteddfodau he loves to expound. But it is not these higher interests of his that have made him so beloved. His appeals for the ragged urchin of the streets, his appreciation of the bravery of the worker, his jokes at bazaars, his quips at the cabmen's annual dinners, his love of old customs, his pleasantries at the servants' balls, by these and by his transparent sincerity he has won the affections of all classes of the people,8 who have found in him a leader who can share sorrows as well as joys. His brave words have been the consolation of the widow of the humble soldier slain in battle, as they have been the encouragement of the boy or girl scholar shyly taking from his hand a prize. He has told the boys they will be all the better for total abstinence, and he has dined and joked with licensed publicans. "Here, at least, is inconsistency," may exclaim the stranger into whose hand this book may fall. But Lord Tredegar justifies himself by the fact that having licensed houses on his estate it is his duty to take an interest in those who conduct them.
Lord Tredegar has never sought to adorn his speeches with rhetoric. He has always spoken so that he who heard could understand. And yet he is reputed justly to be among the best of after-dinner speakers. If it be necessary to delve into the possible secret of his success, one might hazard a guess that it is because in his speeches it is the unexpected that always happens. The transition from grave to gay or from gay to grave is so swift that the mind of the listener is held as it were by a spell, and all is over e'er yet one thought it had begun.
Much of this, however, is in passing. Quite a multitude, at one time or another, has listened to the words of Godfrey Charles Morgan. Quite a multitude has been influenced by them. That multitude, I am sure, will be glad to have those words in permanent form. There may be but a sentence chosen from a speech that has been heard, but that sentence will be remembered or recollected. And to that greater multitude who by the natural force of circumstances cannot have listened to the words of Viscount Tredegar, this little collection may serve to show forth a figure that, though simple, is great in simplicity, and it were strange indeed if some sentences were not found which may help to make a crooked way straight.
I would rather trust and be deceived, than be found to have suspected falsely.
Reduction of Armaments Meeting, Newport,
March 17th, 1899.
Some people will not go across a street to hear an oratorio, though they would go many miles to listen to that very entertaining melody, "Whoa, Emma!"—and I'm not sure that I shouldn't be one of them.—
November 26th, 1879.
The other day I was doing a little bit of horse-cropping—I'm fond of that sort of thing—and went into an Irish dealer's yard, where I saw a horse which grunted very much. Looking at the dealer, I said, "The horse is a roarer," and the Irishman replied: "Ah, no, me lord, not a bit of it. I've 'ad 'im from two years12 ould, an' e' 'ad wunce a most desprit froight, an' 'e's 'ad the hiccups ever since!"
November 26th, 1879.
I do not think there is a man in England who has more at heart than myself the religious education of children. In 1839 the Chartist Riots took place at Newport. In the following year National Schools were opened, and I believe that had the men who took part in these riots received the education imparted at the National Schools they would never have decided upon such a misguided course of action.
Jubilee of Newport National Schools,
May 16th, 1890.
I was rather alarmed when I received the notice, "Peach Blossom Fancy Dress Fair," and I telegraphed at once to a lady who I thought knew what was going on and asked, "Am I obliged to come in fancy dress?" The answer I got was, "You need not wear anything."
Llangibby Church Fete,
I generally pay great attention to what a clergyman says, but you cannot always take the advice of a clergyman. A certain man had a dog, and his minister told him that he had better sell the dog and get a pig, to which the man replied, "A pretty fool I should look going rat-catching with a pig."
St. Paul's Garden Fete, Newport,
June 23rd, 1910.
Without some sort of religion no man can be happy.
St. Paul's Garden Fete, Newport,
June 23rd, 1910.
I am not accustomed to begging, being more accustomed to being begged of. That is one of the hereditary privileges of members of the House of Lords.
Meeting in connection with the new Infirmary for Newport,
March 17th, 1897.
It appears to me that my good qualities increase in proportion as the hair comes off the top of my head, and it is well that in proportion as we grow less ornamental we should grow more useful.
November 29th, 1876.
I really think I must be out of place here. You know I am one of the hereditary nonentities. I cannot help the hereditary part of the business, and I have tried all my life to avoid the other.
South Monmouthshire Conservative Association,
December 22nd, 1909.
You ought, of course, to learn something about ancient art, or you will be like a certain Lord Mayor of whom I have heard. One day he received a telegram from some people who were carrying on excavations in Greece, and who had discovered a statue by Phidias. They thought, in common with most foreigners, that the Lord Mayor was the most powerful15 person in the kingdom—abroad he is supposed to rule the country. Anyway, they sent him a telegram saying "Phidias is recovered." The Lord Mayor wired back that he was pleased to hear it, but that he did not know that Phidias had been unwell.
Art School Prize Distribution, Newport,
December 12th, 1899.
A noted musician, when asked whether he thought it was right to carry out capital punishment, replied: "No; because you can do a man to death with a piano."
June 26th, 1900.
I believe I have laid more foundation stones than any other man in England. I have mallets and trowels16 sufficient to supply, I believe, every Parish Church in the country. They are very handsome and ornamental, and I hope I shall have more of them.
Foundation Stone Laying, St. John's Church, Cardiff,
March 12th, 1889.
We (agriculturists) are looked upon as a long-suffering and patient race, and some of the manufacturing class think we are fit subjects for bleeding. In fact, it has been said that agriculturists are like their own sheep, inasmuch as they can bear a close shaving without17 a bleat; whereas the manufacturers are like pigs; only touch their bristles and they will "holler like the devil."
December 17th, 1867.
Lord Rosebery is alternately a menace and a sigh.
Conservative Dinner, Newport,
November 15th, 1895.
We have had an old-fashioned winter, and I do not care if I never see another. The only people, I fancy, who have enjoyed the winter are the doctors and the Press.
January 16th, 1891.
I consider myself one of the most fortunate men in England to have been one of those spared out of the 600 about whom so much has been said and sung. Although my military career has been brief, I have seen a great deal. I have seen war in all its horrors. It is said to be "an ill wind that blows nobody good"; so it has been with me. I have learned to doubly appreciate home and all its comforts. Before going18 out to the Crimea I was accustomed to see, on these occasions, farmers looking happy and contented, and I was in the habit of thinking what a great nation England was, and how she flourished in all things; but since the war commenced I have seen the other side of the picture. I have seen an army march into an hostile country, and in the midst of farms flowing with milk and honey, and teeming with corn and every luxury—and there, in a few hours, all was desolation, one stone not being left on another, and the people made slaves to the invaders. How thankful we ought to be that we are not suffering at the hand of an invading army. Now that my military career is at an end I am sure that a great many of you will sympathise with my father, whose anxiety has been very great. We were out during the most dreadful period of the war, and it need not be wondered at that I yielded to the most earnest entreaties of my father to relinquish my connection with the army lest I should bring his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. My father thought that one such action as I have been in was sufficient to prove the mettle of his son. I will not further enlarge on the horrors and miseries of19 war. May you never see them as I have done, and may we all meet at this festive board next year.
Newport Agricultural Show,
December 18th, 1855.
I do not intend to say much about Balaclava to-day because you have heard the old story over and over again, and I am too old now to invent stories of Balaclava. On my way down here I stopped to receive a telegram worded in these terms:—"Fifteen survivors of the Balaclava Charge send your lordship hearty congratulations and affectionate remembrances on this day, the 54th anniversary." Well, recollections of a sad event are at any time, of course, unpleasant, but it is particularly sad to think that there are now only 15 survivors remaining out of the Light Brigade of 600. That attenuated number does not include myself, and there are three other officers still alive. You may be pretty confident that of these few survivors there were at least two or three with whom I conversed within a few hours of the Balaclava Charge. You can imagine those conversations. They were not very lively ones. They referred probably to some comrade who had been killed or to the difficulty of filling the place of some20 officer who had fallen; because when we drew up after the Balaclava Charge I was the officer in command of the decimated regiment. All my superior officers had been either killed or wounded, and I was placed in the difficult position to find men suddenly to fill the vacancies. So you can imagine the recollections of those survivors. Since that time there have been a number of gallant deeds on the part of the British army, and I hope that those gallant deeds will be remembered, just as the Balaclava Charge is remembered here. I hope the British nation will never forget such events as Trafalgar and Waterloo, but will always hoist a flag or do something else to commemorate them.
Balaclava Dinner, Bassaleg,
October 25th, 1908.
My own courage in the memorable charge was small, but the deed of daring conferred everlasting credit on the Senior Officers who took part in it. I trust that you will keep your offspring fully acquainted with the heroic deeds of the British Army, and induce them to display similar courage in the hour of their country's danger.
Balaclava Dinner, Castleton,
October 25th, 1890.
When a person gets beyond the allotted age of man there must, I think, be in his mind a melancholy thought regarding the possibility of his being present on a similar occasion twelve months hence. I am afraid that some men of my age would have to limp into a room, probably assisted by a crutch. Fortunately, however, I was able to walk into the room without a crutch and without assistance, and I am thankful for that to the Power above. The term "hero" is a term with which many soldiers do not agree. The mention of the word recalls to my mind the well-known lines of Rudyard Kipling:
I am sure the soldiers who fought with the Light Cavalry at Balaclava did not think themselves greater heroes than others in the Crimea who did their duty. Quite recently I read an article in a military magazine, it dealt with the question of the advance of cavalry and the arms which should be given them—the lance,22 the sword, and the rifle. The article commenced with the statement that it was the business of every soldier to go into action with the determination to try and kill someone. I suppose that is right in its way, but it was hardly the sentiment we went into action with. We went into action to try to defeat the enemy, but the fewer we killed the better. I have to confess that I tried to kill someone, but to this day I congratulate myself on the fact that I do not know whether I succeeded or no. In these days of long range guns our consciences are saved a great deal, and so far as killing anyone goes I always give myself the benefit of the doubt, so that the charge of murder cannot be brought against me.
Balaclava Dinner, Bassaleg,
October 29th, 1910.
I have arrived at the age when to clasp the waist of one of the opposite sex for three hours is not considered the height of human happiness. I remember, however, with pleasure, a time in my younger days when I thought it was so, and perhaps some of those who can23 indulge in a valse without feeling giddy, or a polka without being "blown," think so now.
January 14th, 1889.
I am happy to be able truly and honestly to say that I have not a word of difference with any servant of my establishment. Each year as it rolls onward finds me stiffer in the joints, shorter in the breath, and less able than formerly to perform the double shuffle, but there are others coming on—the younger members of the family—who will be able to kick up their heels as lightly as once I was able to do. As each year rolls round, too, there are always saddening24 memories, but on an occasion of this sort I will make no allusions to them, ... I hope you will stick to old fashions and old ways. You may be told of new-fangled ways, and be advised to get rid of the old, but I think it will be well if you do not pay too much attention to those advisers. England is like old Tredegar House, and you will find that the customs now prevailing have been in vogue for over 500 years. You will probably be told that the best way to make people happy is to make the poor rich and the rich poor; but, in truth, the richer people are, the better able they are to help the poor.
January 7th, 1910.
Many of you waited last night for the old year to go out and the new year to come in. I did for one. I listened at the window and I heard bells ringing, and noises which I can only describe as hideous. There is an invention in this part of the world, which I believe comes from America (where they have a great many disagreeable things) called a "hooter." When I listened last night it seemed to me that it was deliberately hooting out the old year which to so many of25 us had painful recollections; and it occurred to me that it was a most appropriate thing to do. It was the wettest spring, the coldest summer, the windiest autumn that I have ever known.
January 1st, 1892.
I can imagine the Bassaleg Parish Council rejoicing in a license for dancing in the hall, and the teetotallers passing a resolution in favour of total abstinence, in which case we should have to obtain our refreshments from the village pump.
January 9th, 1894.
Railways are springing up all round, and, reading the signs of the times as I do, I think there will be increased prosperity. If all the railways now proposed are constructed, we shall be able to paraphrase the poet's lines:—
I shall be able to convert Tredegar House into the "Railway Hotel," join the Licensed Victuallers' Association, and do a good trade—if I can get a license. We have progressed a good deal lately, even in dancing. I can remember the minuet being the fashion. It was danced with a great deal of bowing and scraping. Then the waltz, quadrille, and lancers came. We next had a kitchen lancers, and this year we have a barn dance. Next year, perhaps, we shall have a pigstye polka, which will no doubt be very amusing.
January 8th, 1896.
There have been many changes in the manners and customs of the country during late years. I am very27 fond of old customs, and I hope this old-fashioned Servants' Ball will be kept up by those who come after me. I am sure there is no gentleman in England who is blessed with a better lot of servants than I have. If sometimes by my manner I do not appear pleased, I hope you will make allowance for the business anxieties constantly hanging over my head, and which do not always conduce to a pleasant expression. I will relate an incident. An individual who apparently takes a great deal of interest in me wrote to me not so long ago and asked, "Why did you look so proud and haughty when you met me the other day?" I have no recollection of having been proud and haughty, but I have a very distinct recollection of a very tight boot and a very bad corn.
January 8th, 1896.
I always sympathise with you in your sorrows and try to join you in your pleasures. In this life, unfortunately, for a good many, there are more sorrows than pleasures, but I think it is the duty of all who have it in their power to try to make those around them have, if possible, more pleasures in their lives than sorrows. I congratulate myself that I have still a kick left in28 me. You know that Milton, the poet, has said in two lines:
but when your toe begins to take a fantastic shape it is pretty nearly time to give up dancing. As my toes are beginning to take that shape, I am afraid I shall not have a kick left much longer. I have always spoken a few words to you on these occasions—sometimes of sentiment, sometimes of politics, and sometimes of fun. I usually prefer fun, because there is generally enough of the other phases around us. I will therefore content myself with giving the establishment a little bit of advice, or rather a hint. I have found that what I say on these occasions has somehow or other found its way into the papers. I29 do not know exactly how that is. However, I think it will be more impressive in print, because if you forget what I say before the end of the evening, you will be able to read it in the Press next day. My hint is about fires. There are large fireplaces in Tredegar House, which is an old one, full of old oak which is liable to catch fire. During the last few weeks some fine old country houses have been destroyed by fire. I do not think this has occurred through carelessness. I know my servants are not careless. What I want you to understand is the difference between a fire and a furnace. Old Welsh families—and my family is really an old Welsh family—all believe that they have very long pedigrees. There are in the strong room at Tredegar House a great many old records—some of which I have read out of curiosity. Many of them, no doubt, are mythical, and some are accurate, but in all my study of them I have not been able to discover that I bear any relationship to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I therefore fail to see why the household staff should pile up furnaces, especially now that I assure them I am not quite impervious to fire. I always like to entertain you a little on these30 occasions. I will therefore just sing to you a few lines, and ask Young Charley (the huntsman) to come in at the end. I notice that Old Charley (the former huntsman) is also present, and he, perhaps, will join in as well. His Lordship then sang the following verses to the tune of "Ben Bolt":—
January 11th, 1898.
Times have changed, and fashions change very quickly—so much so that I was half afraid you would have petitioned me to allow you to have a ping-pong tournament. I am glad to see that you still prefer to stick to the old custom of a ball. Of all entertainments a ball is, in my opinion, the most harmless. It will always follow that there will be some who perhaps31 on the morrow will think that their affections had not been quite under control, and that they had spoken words of endearment that perhaps they regretted, and the lady might not. And perhaps there will always be those whose control over their thirst at a ball is not quite so strong as that of others.
January 3rd, 1902.
I have no doubt that much of what Mr. Perrott has just told you about the revels that have taken place in the hall during the last 200 or 300 years is perfectly true. There may perhaps have been more fun in the32 old days—that is a matter of history. I very much doubt it myself, and I have a sort of idea, and I hope and trust that at the Servants' Ball which still takes place here annually—unless there is some misfortune to prevent it—there is as much fun and revelry as has ever before taken place in this hall. The old lamp hung over your heads belonged to a former Lord Mayor of London—Sir Edward Clark—from whom I inherited some property and plate. That lamp probably hung in the Mansion House in London some two or three hundred years ago, and I have no doubt it has seen some peculiar scenes.
January 8th, 1903.
I also have my little anxieties. I have been hoping and praying that the enemy will not come up the Bristol Channel and land somewhere near here before I have got my Territorial Army into position. At the present moment the Territorial Army in Monmouthshire consists exactly of 17 men, all of whom are officers. So that unless the enemy give us due notice that they are coming here, I am afraid that we shall have to depend principally upon the Tredegar House establishment. I am quite certain that you will all answer my33 call, the ladies more particularly. I don't care so much about the enemy, whenever he comes, so long as I have the ladies with me.
Jan. 8th, 1908.
I take this opportunity of thanking you, and all those in my service who have spent this year together with me, for the happy way in which we have been enabled to pass the whole year together in our mutual admiration for each other. I was going to say affection for each other, and I should like to think so. We are—I propose using a silly phrase to express our relations at Tredegar House—a brotherhood of men. We are here as a brotherhood of men, and a sisterhood of women, and I should like you to look upon me as one of yourselves. It may be, before this time next year,34 if things go on as they are, that I shall be calling you Comrade Perrot, and you will be calling me Comrade Morgan. Things are going very fast just now, but I think there is a right feeling throughout the country that we are going too fast. It may be that next year, instead of being summoned to the ball here you will be asked to
and we shall be invited to dance the Referendum Lancers.
January 17th, 1911.
It is customary among certain classes to look upon Bishops as men living in beautiful palaces, faring sumptuously, and rolling about in carriages; but there is no ploughman who does a harder day's work than does our Bishop. As to the clergy, many of them labour amongst us for a stipend which many an artizan would despise.
Bassaleg Farmers' Dinner,
October 13th, 1881.
There is a certain class of advanced politicians who never lose an opportunity of serving their own ends by impressing upon their hearers their particular notions of what a Bishop of the Church of England is like. That dignitary is generally pictured as a gentleman who receives a large salary, is clothed in purple and fine linen, fares sumptuously every day, and lives in luxurious idleness.
The Opening of the Seamen's Mission Church, Newport,
January 18th, 1887.
We should remember the duties and responsibilities which rest on an Archbishop. He has a vast correspondence, in which there is not a single letter that he can write without weighing every word. He is not like ordinary people, who are able to scribble off their36 correspondence; for if a word in a letter from an Archbishop is in the wrong place, it may upset a college or cause a revolution. If you study the history of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, beginning with St. Augustine, then going on to Lanfranc, to Anselm, to Theodore, and down to Benson and Temple, you will, I believe, come to the conclusion that I have reached—that whilst many of the men who have gone before him have filled great parts in making the history of the nation, there is not one whose character, whose powers of speech, and whose earnestness in carrying out his duties, exceeded those of the present Archbishop (Dr. Temple).
Seventy-fifth Anniversary of St. David's College, Lampeter
October 9th, 1902.
Bishops and Clergy have to deal with all sorts of communications from parishioners. I remember one case where a clergyman received a letter telling him37 he would never do for St. Phillip's because he was altogether too quiet in his preaching, and not half sensational enough, but that if he would preach in a red coat in the morning, and with no coat at all at night, he would be just the man for the job. As to the Bishops, they have so much to do that one of them—Bishop Magee, of Peterborough, I believe—summed up the situation by saying that people seemed to have an idea that a Bishop had nothing to do but sit in his library with the windows open, so that every jackass might put in his head and bray.
Church Luncheon, Newport,
May 16th, 1900.
If the clergy only preached as well as they might, there ought not to be a single sinner in their parishes.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner, Newport,
February 7th, 1889.
I believe that all classes, including the Nonconformists, have a real love for the old Parish Church and its grey tower, beneath the shade of which so many38 of their ancestors are laid. Here at Michaelston-y-Vedw we have a fine historic building, erected about 1130. I may tell you that one of its old parish registers contains an interesting entry. It is that "Godfrey Charles Morgan was baptised here on May 4th, 1828."
September 15th, 1897.
I always take more interest in these historical little rural parish churches than I do in a brand new Church erected in some populous district. Of course, the Church is really more necessary there than among the small Communities; still, there is the sentiment, the old association of the old Parish Church and the39 churchyard in which "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." Those lines of the poet Gray:
"The cock's shrill clarion, nor the echoing horn,
No more shall raise him from his lonely bed,"
often strike me, because the little Church is so closely connected with the Llangibby family. The Llangibby and Morgan families have been associated very often before in the long vista of history, but you have amongst you now a relation of mine, come to live amongst you, and who will look after this little Church.
It is possible that I am very tolerant in my religious opinions. But seeing that we are now living under perfect tolerance, and that the religious wants of the people must be supplied, I think it is the duty of those who own property to see that there is accommodation for the religious needs of all who live thereon. As science advances there must be considerable differences of opinion on religion in a large and important town like Cardiff. A great man once said that tolerance40 was simply indifference; I do not agree with him. I think it is possible to be tolerant without being indifferent to one's own opinions. There is a great leaning nowadays towards scientific religion. Education is advancing very rapidly, and philosophical men are trying to make reasons for every line in Scripture and every line in the Prayer Book. That may be useful in a way, but I cannot help thinking that many books written lately by men who are very learned, and with very good intent, will, if circulated among the young of the country, do a great deal of harm. I look forward to an increase of religious feeling throughout the country, and I shall be always ready to assist, as far as I can, in erecting chapels and other places for religious instruction and religious worship.
September 14th, 1894.
I have never posed as one made of that stuff of which martyrs are made—and perhaps my remarks may offend some, or scandalize others. But I would rather see any place of worship in the town than none at all, I will go so far as to say I would rather see a Mohammedan mosque in the town than no place of worship41 at all. I have the greatest possible admiration for faith of any sort. Early in my life I had occasion to look with admiration upon the faith even of a Mohammedan. I have listened to the minister of the mosque calling the faithful to prayers two, three or more times a day, and I have seen the Mohammedans in the street go down on their knees and say their prayers in front of everybody. I have seen a regiment of Mohammedans on the march, and at the hour of sunset every man in the regiment would kneel on his carpet and say his prayers. Those were soldiers who were not afraid of their faith, though it might have been the wrong one. I have watched a poor Italian peasant kneel on the roadside and offer his small tribute to the shrine. 42 He was not afraid of praying before anybody; but I am afraid that some of us would rather be seen with our hands in somebody else's pocket than kneel down and say our prayers in the Club-room.
Foundation-stone Laying at Baptist Church, Cardiff,
June 14th, 1894.
Cricket is the nicest, best and most gentlemanly exercise in Great Britain. How general is the love of cricket is shown by the story of some parishioners who, when asked by their Vicar what sort of a Curate they would like, said:—"We don't care much about the preaching, but what we want in the Curate is a good break to the off."
I think you are quite right in commencing with a religious service a ceremony such as I am about to perform. These institutions are established for the welfare of the inhabitants, and we begin with a religious service in order to impress on those who are going to use the Hall hereafter that, whatever is done inside the Hall should be done in a way which is really a Christian way. It will not affect in any way the feelings of those who attend for amusement or instruction, except to prompt a religious feeling which we all wish to have some time or other in our lives. I was very pleased to be able to come to-day and perform the opening ceremony. A little pressure was put on me because at my time of life you don't recover from any extra exertion.
I do like this term of Brotherhood. Those who have arrived at my time of life know what it is to have and to value a really sympathising brother. I am referring to my own dear brother, who has recently left us. Throughout our lives we did not have a single word of difference or a thought of difference, and the word44 "Brother" will draw me out at any time. It is the idea of universal feeling that everybody is trying his or her best in this world in whatever he or she may be trying to do—it is the feeling of Brotherhood which helps us to get that feeling.
Speech at the Victoria Brotherhood, Newport,
March 4th, 1910.
In olden days the ordinary village school was the only place available for meetings or for general gatherings of the parishioners, and a long time ago that did very well. But the advance of education is tending to interfere a good deal with our old ideas and places, and it is now almost necessary that every Church, or every parish, should have a clubroom—a room where all classes can mix together and improve the knowledge they have gained at the various county schools—intermediate or otherwise. We want the Parish Room to be open to everyone. The ploughman returning from his weary work may just scrape his boots outside, and he will be perfectly welcome any time he likes to come in. I am sure there is a great deal of learning45 to be acquired, a great deal of good to be done, a great deal of instruction to be gathered, in a Church Room of this description, when it is managed in the way it ought to be. As you know, there are certain superior people who like essays and that sort of thing, and who, are inclined to sneer at the village concerts and penny readings and little dances which are likely to take place here. But we do not all possess the wisdom of Socrates, the dignity of Pliny, or the wit of Horace. Perhaps I shall put it more plainly if I say we do not possess the wisdom of Shakespeare, the dignity of Wordsworth, or the wit of Byron. But there is quite likely to be as much good sense in a humble gathering of an evening46 here as amongst those superior people who always try to teach us by telling us what we ought to do, what to think about, and what we ought to remember. Those are the people who advertise the simple life. I fancy most of you are living fairly simple lives, whilst those gentlemen who advocate it so much do not know what the simple life means. Not very far from us is where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep," and in Gray's beautiful Elegy we are told:
"Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of Empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre."
Might not some of those who are laid in the Churchyard close by, if they had enjoyed the advantages we have, have "wakened to ecstasy the living lyre," or been great members of either parish councils or county councils, or even Members of Parliament! I think that before this room has been in existence many years we shall find that some of those attending the gatherings which I hope will take place here, have done their best to make themselves prominent in life, especially in47 trying to keep before the world the truths of that religion which we have thought so much of and heard so much of to-day.
Opening of Church-room at Llanvaches,
There is one great thing that will carry you comfortably through life, and that is a nice, gentle manner. I see you all have nice, gentle manners, and what I ask you to do is to carry them outside the school, and retain them when you are on the roads or in the fields, or in your own homes. I ask the boys to cultivate the same language outside as inside the school, and the girls the same manners.
School Prize Distribution, Rhiwderin,
April 24th, 1891.
Bad language is unnecessary. Bad words are used by some people in every other sentence, without any necessity at all, and they mean nothing. If you can only learn to drop those disagreeable words you will be much more pleasant members of society. I like to see boys lively, spirited, and anxious to amuse themselves whenever they can. But they should be kind and48 gentle to their mothers and sisters. It is the nature of boys to be tyrannical to the other sex, but they will lose nothing by being as kind and gentle as they can be.
Boys' Brigade Inspection, Newport,
April 19th, 1894.
It has been well said that good manners are something to everybody, and everything to somebody. Some people will not take anyone into employment unless they have good manners. As an old soldier, I know the value of esprit de corps. A hundred soldiers with the spirit of their corps are worth two hundred who do not care a straw about the regiment.
December 15th, 1909.
Mr. Labouchere has said he would rather have a gentleman of bad morals who voted right, than a gentleman whose morals were right but who voted wrong. Well, I would rather have a gentleman whose manners are good, even though he votes wrong, than one who votes right and whose manners are bad.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
July 13th, 1891.
As I grow older I find that the younger people are the less they like advice, and the less likely they are to take it. But I hope you will henceforth be good citizens of this great country. In your Brigade you are taught to have reverence for religion and respect for authority, which are great principles to get on with.
Boys' Brigade Inspection,
April 4th, 1895.
There has been a great deal of talk lately about education. We have had board schools and national schools, and we are now going to have technical schools. But there is one point we have not yet arrived at—the50 teaching of refinement. I look upon the Eisteddfod as encouraging literature and music and art, as one of the great institutions for the encouragement of refinement in general life. We may become very well educated and very scientific, but unless there is refinement among us in general life, we will naturally tend towards roughness of manners.
August 18th, 1889.
We are met to endeavour to raise sufficient money to erect a hospital or infirmary worthy of the town of Newport. There are two statements nobody can dispute: Newport is a large and yearly increasing seaport, and a town of this magnitude ought not to be without a large and splendid hospital. I am afraid that with many people the idea of a hospital or infirmary does not go further than a small subscription and a few admission tickets to give away. But I wish to explain to the public generally the enormous advantages and the necessity of a good and well-organized hospital in the town. Whatever subscription you give you may be pretty nearly certain that the money will51 be spent in the right way. All other charities are more or less liable to some sort of imposture, but that is almost impossible with a hospital. I remember, as a soldier in the old days, that there was a certain sort of complaint we used to call malingering. If a man wanted to shirk any duty he pretended to be ill, but was very soon found out by the regimental doctor. So in the same way hospital doctors will soon find out the malingerer. A hospital is a high school of medicine for young doctors, who not only mix with scientific people at the institution, but gain a high moral feeling, so that there is no room for small petty jealousies amongst the medical practitioners. Then look at the injured people carried to the hospital. They have the best of care, and in most cases are turned out cured, sound and strong. If it were not for the hospital, they would probably be cripples or invalids for life. In that way hospitals save the rates. I am sure that hundreds are yearly turned out of the infirmary sound in mind and body, able to support their families and keep them off the rates.
Then, again, a hospital makes an excellent school for nurses. That is one of the greatest benefits possible,52 because the authorities of the hospital are always strictly careful that nurses, before they are sent out, are thoroughly proficient. I am sure no building ground or house, or any other little present I may have given in the course of my life, will be more useful than the land I have given for this site. I hope, in addition to the land, to be able to give a good sum of money if I see it is required.
Meeting in connection with a new Infirmary for Newport,
March 11th, 1896.
This toast has always appeared to me very difficult to word. I do not know whether success to the Infirmary means a full Infirmary with all the wards engaged. It reminds me of a celebrated American who, when asked what sort of a town he had just left, remarked that it was very flourishing, for every hospital was crammed, every workhouse was too full, and they were about to build another wing to the gaol.
January 25th, 1911.
The Arabians have a proverb to the effect that "The stone that is fit for the wall should not be allowed to lay in the way." Amongst the children who wander about the streets there are many who are, so to speak, quite "fit for the wall"—that is to say, they may, through being brought under drill and other conditions found in the Brigade, be turned into respectable members of Society.
Bazaar at Cardiff,
April 13th, 1898.
Women exercise a great deal of influence upon the affairs of the country, even without taking part in business, politics, or anything of that sort. For all I know, there may be some girls here who will affect political and many other movements in connection with the welfare of the nation. Girls ought to be made to think that they will have54 great power in the future, and to realise that they may be able to influence some one for good, not by their great learning so much as by the power that a good girl or a good woman exercises over men. I heard the other day of a young lady who was engaged to be married, but who broke off the engagement because the young man said he had never heard of Browning. I am glad to be able to tell you that she thought better of it afterwards.... It was said of the great Queen Cleopatra that when the Roman Emperor fell in love with her she was the means of altering the history of the world. Some say that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the face of the world would have been different. The fate of some young men may55 depend upon the noses, as well as upon the learning, of some of the girls present.
Re-opening of Howell's School, Llandaff,
June 26th, 1900.
There cannot possibly be an object in the wide world more worthy of sympathy than a girl without a friend. All over the world this Society has its habitations, and it has already befriended 4,000 girls. It renders assistance when they are penniless, provides friends when they are friendless, and religious consolation when they require it.
Girls' Friendly Society Bazaar, Newport,
April 24th, 1895.
I think it is my duty to allude to the dreadful accident which took place in July at the dock extension works. The facts stated in the report should be printed and go, not only to the Shareholders, but to the country generally, as a record of the heroism and endurance that our workers, from the highest engineer to the lowliest navvy, were capable of under distressing and56 dreadful circumstances. We hear so much of the decadence of the English race nowadays, that I think the report of the disaster at the docks is well worthy of being printed.
Half-yearly Meeting Alexandra (Newport and South Wales)
Docks and Railway Coy., London,
August 5th, 1909.
I have always admired the working collier, and if British records could be printed thousands of colliers would be found as much entitled to the Victoria Cross as those soldiers who have performed doughty deeds on the battlefield.
Workmen's Outing at Tredegar Park,
August 8th, 1885.
In the old Town Hall of Newport many great celebrities have received testimonials, compliments and honours—warriors, church dignitaries, financiers and great politicians; but I do not think any circumstance like the present one has arisen before, and there could not be a more interesting ceremony than that which we are about to perform. It is necessary to make a slight excuse for the time which has expired since the great disaster on July 2nd, 1909. Those who remember the incidents know perfectly well that the whole of the57 dock premises and the town were in a state of excitement for some considerable period, and a large number of unfortunate men were overwhelmed by the disaster, while others fortunately escaped. I think the officials have done their very best to try and select those who really performed heroic efforts. Those who have not received recognition, but think they deserve it, will, I feel sure, make all due allowance, and give those responsible the credit for having done their best. It is satisfactory to the directors to know that they have a body of men around them who are ready to do their duty. It is a trait of the educated British workman of to-day that, when given something useful to do, he will perform his task heroically—heroism is characteristic of him.
Presentation of Certificates for Bravery on the occasion
of the Dock disaster, Newport Town Hall,
March 14th, 1911.
I have the greatest admiration for engine drivers, particularly those on the Great Western Railway, on which line I travel most. I have often wondered at the admirable manner in which they stop and start58 their trains. Mr. Gladstone once said that he could understand the mind of a great historian like Gibbon, or of a great poet, like Milton, Byron, or Wordsworth, but that he could not understand the formation of the mind of a man who wrote poems and plays like Shakespeare. Personally, I cannot understand the mind of an engine driver on an express train. I have been myself, in some very disagreeable positions, and have had some very nasty half minutes. Not very long ago I found myself underneath my horse in a muddy ditch and the half minutes I spent in waiting for a friendly hand to drag me out, and in wondering whether assistance would come before I was suffocated, were very unpleasant ones. Only a fortnight ago, too, a gentleman was driving me in a light vehicle down a narrow roadway when we saw a runaway horse attached to a lorry galloping towards us. It seemed as if there was nothing for it but for us to be knocked into the proverbial cocked-hat. However, our vehicle was drawn very close to the side and the runaway just cleared us. I can understand, too, the feeling of a man driving four horses when they run away with him, because that has happened to myself; or the feeling59 of a Newport cabman when his horse runs away. But I cannot understand the feeling of sustained courage on the part of a driver of an express engine with his train going at 60 miles an hour through the darkness of the night, perhaps in a storm of snow or sleet. To use a pretty strong expression, it must be like "hell60 with the lid off." Those who travel on railways ought to think more of the responsibilities which rest on railway employees.
April 21st, 1908.
When I talk of temperance I mean temperance not only in drink, but in all things. There is temperance in eating, and temperance in life. In the present case there are three sections—the temperance people, the Sunday closing people, and the total abstinence people. I cannot see how the question of religion can enter into party politics. I have known many61 Tories who were habitual drunkards, and there are many Radicals who take a great deal more than they can carry. There is always a difficulty in drawing the line between the enthusiast and the fanatic. Enthusiastic gentlemen generally get what they require. Fanatics, on the other hand, by the way they advocate their principles, turn people away.
Opening of the new Temperance Hall, Newport,
May 2nd, 1889.
I believe that if the medical men of the country published their opinions concerning the cases which come under their notice, it would be a revelation to the general public how great a proportion of illness is due in one way or another to alcoholic drink. I cannot, however, help noticing that a great improvement and advance has taken place in the cause of temperance. A good many years ago, when there was going to be a great family festival—a wedding or something of that sort—one of the family retainers was asked if he was going to be there. "Of course," was his reply, "and won't I just get drunk." That seemed to be the prevailing idea of enjoyment—to get drunk. But that attitude has been changed.
Band of Hope Festival, Newport,
May 3rd, 1900.
I have no doubt there are several in the hall who, like myself, are not total abstainers, but we are all one in our endeavour to promote temperance generally. To those who cannot be temperate, we advise total abstinence. There is nothing, I am sure, so fruitful of good as the advocacy of temperance amongst children. When children are taught to advocate a particular cause they do it more effectively than older people. But we are sometimes apt to become too much imbued with one particular idea, and it is never well to be too much of a bore to those around us. A little child was asked not long ago what she knew about King John63 and Runnymede. She had evidently been a worker in the temperance cause, and replied, "Oh, yes; he's the man they got down to Runnymede and made him swear to take the pledge." She had forgotten about Magna Charta, and thought of only one kind of pledge. There is nothing that disturbs the general happiness and comfort so much as the action of those who persist in going into a public house when they need not do so, and coming out and making themselves disagreeable to their neighbours. I only hope that some of the younger portion of you will live to enjoy a Bank Holiday without seeing a single drunken person.
Band of Hope Union, Newport,
May 29th, 1901.
There is a rule in the Boys' Brigade according to which you are supposed to be abstainers from drink. I need not say what a good thing that is. You will all be very much better for being abstainers. You will save a great deal of money, and probably keep your health up better. I wish I had been a total abstainer in my youth. I should have saved a great deal of money.
Boys' Brigade Inspection, Newport,
April 19th, 1894.
There is a phrase about "the happiness of the greatest number." It is an expressive phrase, but different people have different opinions of happiness. I was hunting in the Midland Counties and I asked, "Where is Tom?" The answer was, "He's retired, he's living the life of a hangel; he's a-heating, and a-drinking and a-cussing, and a-swearing all day long." That may not be your idea of the life of an angel, if it was my friend's idea.
The Tredegar Show,
December 18th, 1872.
I have had many rides in the cabs of Newport, and have always found the cabbies very good drivers,65 prepared to go the pace according to the fare they expected at the end of the journey.
Cabmen's Dinner, Newport,
November 8th, 1889.
I wish you had chosen some other Patron Saint than Guy Fawkes, for Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Lords, and on each anniversary you try to blow me up on my way66 to Tredegar House. Some persons may think that one Conservative Peer more or less does not matter, but I prefer that the experiment of blowing up should be tried upon the body of a Radical Peer.
Cabmen's Dinner, Newport,
Nov 5th, 1896.
There are very odd traditions about cabmen, and I am certain that sometimes they are not deserved. I have been told it is something of a tradition that it67 is the pride of a cabman to be able to whistle louder, to hit his horse harder, and to tell a bigger lie than anybody else. I believe that to be absolutely untrue, though some of you may know better than I do. One of you is supposed to have nearly upset a wedding. That was a dreadful thing to do. The bride and bridegroom were both at the Altar and just about to have the knot tied nicely. The clergyman began to deliver his address, but the bridegroom appeared to be in a great hurry, and said to the clergyman, "Look here, cut it short, guv'nor! I've got the cab by the hour." That was rather natural on the part of the bridegroom but the clergyman became very angry, and very nearly threw up the case....
Cabmen are limited in the language they may use. Judge Huddleston, when a barrister, was defending a client against a cabman, who had been using very bad language. The advocacy of Huddleston won the case. The next day the cabman called upon him and said: "Look here, Mr. Huddleston, you told me yesterday that I must not call people so and so. What are your charges for telling me what I can call anyone without getting into trouble?" Mr. Huddleston68 named his fee, cabby paid the money, and inquired what names he might call a man with impunity. Mr. Huddleston referred to his law books, and replied: "This is what you may call a man without being had up for libel or defamation of character. You may call him a villain, a scoundrel, a blackguard, and a thief, always supposing you don't accuse him of having stolen anything." The cabby took up his hat and said: "Look here, Mr. Huddleston, I call you a thief, a blackguard, a scoundrel and a villain; not that I mean to say you ever stole anything. Good morning." So69 you know now exactly what you can call a man if you do not like the fare he gives you. At the same time, I do not believe you would say such things.
Then, again, a cabman is always supposed to be a driving encyclopedia. When Newport cabmen are driving along Caerleon Road or Chepstow Road, credulous individuals ask them the name of every house and place they pass, what it means and what70 it is. Strangers want to know, and you must tell them something. There is an extraordinary tradition about a cabman driving along a road, when a lady fare asked him what "that mountain was with the tump on the top." "But what is the tump for?" persisted the lady. "Oh, that's where Lord Tredegar buried his charger; he made that mound himself," was the reply. Such stories are very interesting and amusing, but they spoil history, and that is why I think we are indebted to cabmen for the extraordinary traditions that go about the country.
Cabmen's Dinner, Newport,
November 5th, 1898.
Cabmen have traditionally bad characters, and are supposed to possess a vocabulary which is not taught in the Intermediate Schools. They are also supposed to have a special method of calculating distances and coin. All those ideas are exploded like nursery rhymes, such as "Whittington and his Cat." Cabmen are well looked after. There is the Excise Officer and the Cruelty to Animals Society, and, if these are not enough, there is the Watch Committee.
Cabmen's Dinner, Newport,
November 6th, 1899.
But the top of a 'bus
Is the place for us
To see the coves go by."
You have to compete with tramcars, motor cars, and all kinds of horrible conveyances. Having been interested in nursery rhymes since I was very young, I have been looking through some children's books during the last few days to see what is provided for the children of these days, and I came across the following lines in a book for children:—
I advise you not to give that little book to your children, as it will induce them to ride on the top of a 'bus instead of taking a cab.
Cabmen's Dinner, Newport,
November 8th, 1902.
I have never been able to find out exactly why the cabmen's dinner is fixed for Guy Fawkes' Day. I have looked up Guy Fawkes' pedigree, and I cannot find that he ever drove a growler or even a hansom cab. Then I thought it might have something to do with Inkerman Day, which is all upset nowadays, as you know. Inkerman was always called a soldiers' battle, because it was so foggy that the generals could not see what they were doing. I have an idea that it must have been a cabmen's battle, and that it was cabmen who fought at Inkerman or commanded at Inkerman. Speaking of cabmen, I think that they are like Lord Rosebery's Dukes—poor, but honest. This is not an epoch-making dinner; it is not even a record dinner. "Epoch-making" and "record-making" are terms which are frequently used now-a-days, and I wish people would give them a rest for a time. I remember a young gentleman who came into a fortune and very soon got through it because his company was very indifferent,73 he being very fond of racecourses and other iniquities of that sort. He went through the Bankruptcy Court, and when asked how he accounted for getting rid of his fortune so quickly, he replied, "Fast women and slow horses." Now I think cabmen would probably make a profit out of fast women and slow horses. One of you will take a very fine lady to Caerleon Racecourse next week, and, having a slow horse, will take two hours to do the journey, and charge a two hours' price. But I always like this society for one particular reason, namely, it has no small societies belonging to it. There is no Cabmen's Football Club74 to write and ask you for a subscription. So far as I know, there is no cabmen's band, or other small institutions of which we have so many in every other circle of society. There is no cabmen's congress, and no cabmen's conferences and that is a great merit in the society, because I know that when I have done one thing, I have done all that I shall be required to do.
November 5th, 1909.
Although the devil is not as black as he is painted, I hope neither I nor any other gentleman present bears any resemblance to his Satanic Majesty. The Scythians, it is reported, first debated things when drunk, and then whilst sober, and perhaps at the end of this gathering I may be able to form a better opinion of the members of the Newport Corporation.
Mayor's Banquet, Newport
March 18th, 1886.
A few months ago, in the silly season, "The Times" had about a couple of columns of letters from people discussing the uses and abuses of drink. I read the letters carefully, and came to the conclusion that there was a lot to be said on both sides. An octogenarian75 of 83 wrote to say that his eyesight, hearing, and teeth were all sound, and that he had not tasted spirituous liquors in his life. Shortly after, another octogenarian of 84, in addition to claiming the healthy condition of the previous writer, spoke of intending matrimony. He, however, said his memory was not so good as it was, but, so far as he could recollect, he had never been to bed sober in his life. After reading the first letter, I thought it was a "clincher," and went to bed without my usual brandy and soda, saying there would be no more licensed victuallers' dinners for me. When, however, I read the second letter, I changed my mind about the dinner. It has been said that life is not all beer and skittles, but it is a good thing to have something to drive away the depression which occasionally visits every one who has arrived at manhood.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner, Cardiff,
March 15th, 1892.
In the old days barons drank strong ale. The barons would have their liquor strong, and local veto at that time would have meant loss of licensed victuallers' heads. Some people may wonder why I so persistently attend the Licensed Victuallers' Association meetings76—for I do attend regularly. I will tell you why, in a few words, if you will not tell anybody else. There is a clause in the family settlements that compels me to do it. I endeavour to act up to those settlements.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner, Newport,
March 9th, 1892.
I am not surprised that Members of Parliament are rather shy of going to licensed victuallers' dinners. They have to be very careful of what they say. Words, it has been said, are given to conceal thoughts. After dinner, sometimes, thoughts get the mastery of words, and Members of Parliament have to think a good deal of the future. They have to ponder over the teetotal vote, and they have to be very careful that they do not offend the licensed victuallers. The difference as regards the members of the House of Lords is this—they do not worry themselves about the teetotal vote, and they do not care a darn for the licensed victuallers.
A certain number of people think they can arrange everything satisfactorily upon an arithmetical principle. The latest fad is "one man one vote." If you do not take care it will be one man one glass. I would like to know how that could be arranged on arithmetical principles77 satisfactorily. There are a few other burning questions which I have never yet seen satisfactorily answered. One is 'What is Home Rule?' and the other is 'Have you used Pear's Soap?' Until we can find satisfactory answers to these, I think that legislation in regard to licensed victuallers will be quiet for a bit. I have never considered it necessary to apologise for dining with licensed victuallers. If there are any who think that in dining with that company I am stepping down from a pedestal on which I ought to remain, all I can do is to answer them in the beautiful motto of the Order of the Garter, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner, Cardiff,
February 28th, 1891.
For my own part, I cannot see how the country could get on without Licensed Victuallers. Some years ago when a Frenchman wanted to describe an English country gentleman, he said he was one of those who, whenever he had nothing to do, suggested to those about him that they should go out and kill something.
There is a type of politician who, whenever he has nothing to do, says "Let us go and abolish something." If this type had its way it would abolish the Lord Mayor's Show and Barnum's White Elephant. I do79 not think the country would be one whit happier if a time arrived when there were no more cakes and ale.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
January 29th, 1884.
I am now like the old man of the sea—someone you ought to get rid of. I am a great land tyrant. If you want a bit of land you can't get it. If you want a piece for a recreation ground you can't get it. If you want a piece for a Church you can't get it. If you want a piece for a school you can't get it. If you want a place for any other amusement or for athletic grounds you can't get it. Why? Because it belongs to Lord Tredegar. So if you treat me like Jonah, and throw me overboard, perhaps it would be much better for you.
Conservative Association Meeting, Newport.
August 24th, 1910.
It appears to me sometimes that there are two Lord Tredegars.... Most of you have been children at some time or other, and so most of you, I am happy to think, are acquainted with nursery rhymes. There80 is one which, probably, a great many of you have heard of. It is about an old lady with a basket who was going to market. She laid down on a bank and went to sleep, and a pedlar passing by, for some reason or other, cut her petticoats considerably above her knees. When she awoke the first thing she said was, "Surely, this is not I." And sometimes, when he awoke in the morning, and saw what was said about Lord Tredegar, he was inclined to make the same remark, "Surely, this is not I." When I read of a Lord Tredegar who is trying to reap what he has not sown, who binds his tenants down to covenants which do not exist, and who exacts the uttermost farthing from his miserable tenants, I think sometimes there must be two Lord Tredegars.
November 24th, 1888.
The other day a friend of mine was in much the same position as I am to-night. He owned a large estate in the neighbourhood, and he was asked to preside at a meeting of the candidate who was going to come forward. I asked him afterwards if the meeting was successful. "Oh, yes," he replied, "it was fairly successful, but they began to find out my failures and shortcomings." I said, "What have they found out about you?" The reply was, "I have lately started a store in the village, so that the agricultural labourers might have their beef and82 groceries at cost price. I thought that was rather a good thing to do, but it was far from a good thing in the opinion of my opponents. All the butchers and grocers declared they would make it very hot for me." I am in a somewhat similar position, and I told my friend so. "What have you done?" asked my friend, and I replied, "I have given a public park to the Newport people." "What has that to do with it?" "Well," said I, "they make out that it has increased the rates."
Conservative Meeting, Newport,
February 2nd, 1894.
There are moments in a man's life when there is a contest between the lip and the eye, whether we should smile or cry. I am sure you would not like to see me cry just now, but there is a certain amount of sentiment in an affair of this sort. For a person in my position it is rather trying. I feel very much like the little boy you all knew in your nursery stories. The boy had a pie, and "he put in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said 'What a good boy am I.'" That is what I feel now. I suppose I should feel like83 a philanthropist. You probably all know what a philanthropist is. A philanthropist is an old gentleman, probably with a bald head, and he tries to make his conscience think he is doing good all the while he is having his pocket picked.
St. Mellons' Show,
September 29th, 1909.
You will not wonder that I am in a graver mood than is usual on these occasions. For more than 30 years my lamented father occupied this chair, and I believe he was present on every occasion of this kind. In that time, the show has been raised from a very small one to be one of the most important in the country. My father has left me, amongst other possessions, an hereditary trust in the shape of this Agricultural Show. If I have given any hope that I shall fill the position as my father filled it, I shall feel very much flattered. It is not my intention to make great changes. There is no way of showing disrespect more than in making great changes, turning everything topsy-turvey, as if we knew everything better than those who went before us. I am naturally Conservative, and come of a Conservative family. I intend to keep to what was good85 of my late father. I have inherited a great trust in this show, and I hope that in future it will be seen that the show has not lost its prestige, its popularity or its utility.
December 15th, 1875.
Everybody now has got politics on the brain. We dream of politics and we almost drink politics—at least, we have been drinking politics to-night. So far as I am concerned, I should like, Rip Van Winkle-like, to go to sleep for the next two months and wake up to find the general election over; only then I should like to wake up to find it had gone the right way.
Farmers' Dinner, Bassaleg,
October 13th, 1885.
It is wrong to introduce politics at this dinner, and, in fact, I have no great liking for politics on any occasion, though I do at times have a little to do with them. And I have a little way of my own. I have a most unruly hound in my pack, which I call "Radical," and I lick him whenever I have the opportunity. It86 does the hound good, and at the same time eases my own mind. Though I have no great love of politics, I think this is a time, if ever, a member of Parliament should feel inclined to speak. There is one subject which must be in everybody's mind, and for the consideration of which everyone must brace himself in the next session—that is "tenant's right." That is87 a question in which every agriculturist must take a deep interest; and for myself I think meetings of this sort much more likely to promote a goodly feeling between landlord and tenant than the provisions of any Act of Parliament.
December 14th, 1889.
I thank you for the way the toast of my health has been received; but I do not quite see the propriety of "whoo whoops" at the end. That is an expression that sportsmen use only when they are about to kill something; I do not see its applicability in the present case. I hope that you do not mean all you have expressed.
December 13th, 1871.
During the intervals of pigeon pie and boiled beef, I have had the pleasure of a few minutes' conversation with Mr. Cordes, and from that conversation I have come to the conclusion that a Member of Parliament holds the same position to the human race that a badger does to the animal race. Some people think that the88 only earthly purpose for which a badger can have been created was that of being baited, and I have an idea that some persons seem to imagine that a member of Parliament was created for nothing but that we might bait him. But on this occasion we have been brought together not to bait Mr. Cordes, but to fête him.
Conservative Banquet, Newport,
January 20th, 1876.
It is a great honour still, I am sure, to be a member of the British House of Commons. Lord Rosebery, when he was chairman of the London County Council, in a speech that he made—and I dare say many of you have been interested in some of Lord Rosebery's speeches because he has a fund of humour, and very often one is not quite certain whether he is in earnest or in jest—once said that the position of a town councillor is much more important than that of a member of Parliament. It is quite possible that an individual member of a County Council or a Town Council may be more important as an individual than a member of the House of Commons, but his vote can only mainly89 affect the locality, whilst the action of a member of the House of Commons may not only affect the whole of Great Britain, but the whole of the British Empire. So I venture to think the position of a Member of Parliament is a little more important than that of a member of a Town Council or a County Council.
Monmouthshire County Council,
February 2nd, 1910.
There still exists in the bosoms of our public men the feeling which animated Lord Nelson before the battle of the Nile, when he said, "To-morrow I shall have either a peerage or Westminster Abbey."
Press Dinner, Cardiff,
May 9th, 1891.
There are advantages and disadvantages in belonging to the House of Lords. The peers are deprived of the right which other citizens have of standing on the hustings and receiving eggs that are not fit for breakfast90 and cats that have not received honourable interment. But they have the privilege of British citizens of being roundly abused by those whose talents lay in that direction.
Associated Chambers of Commerce,
Newport, Sept. 21st, 1892.
A certain gentleman who certainly thinks that the constitution of the country could be reorganised and set straight at once by a magazine article, says that if the House of Lords rejects the Home Rule Bill there is a very simple way to remedy the affair. Mr. Gladstone will then, he states, collect 70 sweeps and make them peers so as to gain a majority. Whether the gentleman intended to insult the sweeps or to insult91 the House of Lords I do not know. I am acquainted with some sweeps. I have always looked upon sweeps in the same way as I look upon licensed victuallers. They are a body of men who are carrying on a very difficult profession with credit to themselves and advantage to the country. Moreover, the sweeps with whom I am acquainted are most of them Tories, and I shall not be surprised if as soon as those 70 sweeps are collected and made peers, and have washed92 their faces and put on their coronets and robes, they do immediately range themselves on the Opposition side of the House, and do, as most new Gladstonian peers do, vote Conservative directly they are created.
Newport Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
February 23rd, 1893.
I have no doubt that if the House of Lords were to pass by a large majority the disestablishment of the Welsh Church in the next Session, the Welsh party would say the hereditary principle was the only one to be depended upon. On the other hand, if the Lords were to pass by a large majority a Local Veto Bill, I have no doubt the Licensed Victuallers would at once go in for the abolition of the House of Lords.
Cardiff Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
March 28th, 1894.
I am not a landlord myself, but I have strong opinions about the right of property, which I hope, in future legislation, will always be considered. If ever I become a landlord, I hope the interest which I have always felt in the welfare of my respected father's tenants will93 lead them to suppose that I shall never become such a ruffian as some people would make landlords out to be.
Monmouthshire Chamber of Agriculture,
February 25th, 1874.
I confess I was much comforted in reading one of those amiable, kind and Christian-like speeches for the total suppression of landlords. I looked into the dictionary for the meaning of the word "landlord," and I found it was "a keeper of a public-house." When I read that, my soul was comforted.
Newport Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
January 30th, 1880.
I have always taken great interest in those who live on my property, it does not matter whether on agricultural land or in the bowels of the earth. A great landowner does not rest on a bed of roses. The loss to a landowner who only owns a small agricultural property, in days of agricultural depression when tenants cannot pay their rent, generally means a few hundred pounds and the reducing of all his expenses. But when it comes to great commercial interests, to owning the land on which our great ironworks, great tinworks, and collieries are situated, and when those94 interests are depressed, it means not a loss of a few hundreds, but the wiping off of several thousands. And it means occupying themselves night and day in ascertaining how they can help to still carry on those great interests which have employed so many hands, and which are so necessary for the welfare of the population of the district.... A great ironmaster, Mr. Carnegie, who found it to his best interest to carry on his great works in America, has enunciated a sentiment which appeals to me, to the effect that it is the business of every rich man to die poor. Sometimes I feel that will probably be my fate if I go on as I am doing. However, I shall be poor in good company.
Presentation to Lord Tredegar of Miners' Lamp
and Silver Medal at Risca Eisteddfod,
October 5th, 1896.
Considerable difficulties attach to the position of a man who happens to own land round a large and increasing town. So many demands are placed before him. There are demands for building sites and for open spaces and public parks. It is difficult, when the land is limited in area, to satisfy all requirements. I hope, in a short time, however, to be enabled to make95 a present to the town of Newport of a public park, one which will not cost much in laying out for use.
Mayoral Dinner, Newport,
December 22nd, 1891.
It may possibly happen that if the order to which I belong is swept away, I may become a candidate for municipal honours, and perhaps aspire to the civic chair. At present, however, I have my own responsibilities, for I am deeply troubled with what I may term the four R's—Rates, Roads, Royalties, and Rents.
March 18th, 1886.
A gentleman who was very fond of writing poetry wrote a couple of lines which might be quoted against him although he has long since joined the majority. He wrote:—
Let laws and learning, art and commerce die,
But keep us still our old nobility.
The last line can be altered as you like, and you can put anything you like for laws and learning, I would96 say buffaloes or anything else, but keep our shorthorns. In breeding shorthorns a pedigree of a long line of ancestors is indispensable. Mr. Stratton and myself have tried to work on those lines by breeding the nobility of shorthorns.
Stock Sale at the Duffryn, Newport,
October 7th, 1909.
My thoughts are at the moment running on ground rents, royalties and wayleaves, so if I wander from the subject I hope you will forgive me. I cannot regard97 the subject of dairying without thinking how we would have stood now supposing we had taken up the question as we ought to have done twenty years ago. We would not now be taking a back seat with the foreigners. But I always now find great difficulty in obtaining entrance to the dairy competitions, if I go there casually. Whether it is the attractions of the pretty dairymaids inside, or the coolness of the atmosphere, there is certainly very great interest taken in the competitions and that is satisfactory.
Monmouthshire Dairy School Prize Distribution,
November 5th, 1895.
Of all meetings which take place in the course of a year, there are none attended with such universal good as an agricultural meeting, because here all classes can meet, whereas in nearly all other meetings the attendances are of a sectional character. For instance, race meetings—many people think them wrong and never attend them. Then there are Church Extension and Missionary Meetings—a great many do not like to attend them. But as to agricultural meetings,98 everybody seems to like to attend them, from the clergy to the racing man, the mechanic, the agricultural labourer, and the meetings must, therefore, promote a deal of harmony among classes. An agricultural meeting is much more effective than the proceedings of Messrs. Bright and Cobden, who are going about preaching a war of classes.
December 15th, 1863.
Some excursionists were going around the house of either Wordsworth or Tennyson—I forget which—and asked a servant where was her master's study. She replied, "Here is my master's study, but he studies in the fields." That is the lesson to be learnt in respect to agriculture.
Agricultural Exhibition, Newport,
December 2nd, 1910.
I hope you won't do what I did last time. It was a day very different from this. It was very hot. I99 saw an animal in the ring that I did not care the least about, and just then a great blue-bottle settled on my nose. The consequence was that I bought the worst animal at a very high price.
Stock Sale at the Duffryn, Newport,
October 7th, 1909.
In regard to scientific agriculture, I am not sure whether we are not rather overdoing things; but there is no doubt that, notwithstanding all the science we have, we have never succeeded in making a cow have more than one calf in a year, or a sheep more than two lambs. That goes to prove that there is a limit even to science in agriculture, and it reminds me of the100 saying, "You may pitchfork Nature out of existence, but she is sure to come back to you."
October 11th, 1910.
Some men have an eye for one thing and some for another, but I think if I have a weakness it is to fancy that I have an eye for a good pair of horses, and for a straight line. When I see a line I can judge if it has been ploughed straight, and then I can judge whether the ploughman has had too much. Of course, that sort of thing never happens at a ploughing match, but still it is as well to be on the look-out.
Farmers' Association, Bassaleg,
October 17th, 1876.
Just before I came to the meeting I had put into my hand a small—a very small—paper in which I am described as a cattle-dealer. But I am not at all ashamed of that.
Newport Conservative Meeting,
April 5th, 1888.
It was the late Lord Beaconsfield, I believe, who said that the best educated farmer known spent all his life in the open air, and never read a book. There is a great deal of truth in that, and although science may aid farmers, observation and experience in the proper treatment of land and crops will do much more.
December 26th, 1890.
Many people imagine that to be a Master of Foxhounds you have only to get a horse—but besides the matter of pounds, shillings and pence, you have to create an interest amongst the farmers over whose land you hunt, and whose sheep, pigs and lambs you frighten. One, therefore, has to use a certain amount of diplomacy.
April 12th, 1910.
Nothing tends to brush away the cobwebs so much as a bracing run with the hounds. Fox hunting is an admirable sport, and my neighbours shall enjoy it as long as there is a fox to be found on my estate.
At Tredegar House,
October 30th, 1884.
When I came into the room I expected to find one half of the company on crutches and the other half in splints. I am not at all certain that I am the proper man to be President of this club, because I think that the President of an athletic club should measure at least 48 inches round the chest, and ought to have biceps of 18 inches, and scale at least 14 stone 7 lbs. I am afraid all the dumb bells in the world would not get me up to that. I am what might be called an old fossil, though I cannot boast of the garrulity of old age, and therefore I will not tell you that when I played football I was always kicking the ball out of the ground into the river; or that when I played cricket I always drove the ball into the river. Those are facts well known in Newport.
First Annual Dinner of the Newport Athletic Club,
April 19th, 1890.
I am always delighted to see any member of the Corporation at the meet of my hounds. If they came out horrid Radicals they would go back half Tories.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin," and there is nothing like a meet in the open country for setting things right between friends and neighbours.
Mayor's Banquet, Newport,
January 15th, 1884.
A clever satirist has said that nature made the horse and hounds and threw in the fox as a connecting link. In my opinion, fox-hounds and hunting are the connecting links between the landlord and the tenant farmer.
I have made many pleasant acquaintances lately in my hunting expeditions, and I hope we shall always remain on the most amicable terms. But some have astonished me with their argument. Said one, "Beg105 pardon, Major, I have lost such a sight of poultry." "Dear me," I said. "Yes, we lost forty ducks the other night." "Oh, the devil!" I exclaimed. "No, not the devil," said the farmer, "but the fox." I asked the farmer how he managed to count so many. "Well," was the reply, "I had four ducks sitting on ten eggs each; and that made forty." Well, the Chamber of Agriculture has not yet settled the knotty point of "compensation for unexhausted improvements." However, the argument ended in our parting very good friends, as, said the farmer, "I and my landlord have been friends hitherto, and as I hope we shall continue to be."
I have the honour to hold two offices which, if I did not enjoy the friendship of the farmers, would be very thorny ones. One of them is that of being a member of Parliament for an agricultural county. You will agree with me that, in such a position, if I were not on good terms with the farmer, I would often be on a bed of thorns.
The other office I hold is that of master of a pack of hounds. I think also if I were not on good terms with the farmer that would not be a very pleasant position. I do not know that there is any similarity between the two offices, except that neither of them has any salary. I hope and trust that it will be a very long time before the country will be unable to find men willing to do the duties in either capacity without being paid for them.
December 19th, 1865.
A great many people fancy that the farmer lives in a beautiful cottage, with vines climbing over it, that the cows give milk without any milking, that the earth yields forth her fruits spontaneously, and that the farmer has nothing to do but sit still and get rich.
December 16th, 1875.
Our great orators, whenever they want to be more expressive than usual, make use of phrases savouring of horses and carriages. When the Grand Old Man107 came into power, it was said he would have an awkward team to manage. Again, when a great division was expected some time ago, and there were doubts as to which way two gentlemen would go, it was said that Mr. Fowler had kicked over the traces and that Mr. Saunders would jib. Equine expressions are quite in the fashion.
May Horse Show Dinner,
May 4th, 1893.
My experience of life is that a man who loves horses is a good member of society. A man who is kind to his horses is kind to everyone else. I belong to a Four-in-hand Club, two of the leading members, Lord Onslow and Lord Carrington, being close personal friends of mine. A relative of Lord Onslow once wrote:
Yet Lord Onslow and Lord Carrington are something more than splendid whips; they are highly successful governors of British Dependencies.
May Day Horse Show Dinner,
March 2nd, 1889.
I have been delighted to hand so many prizes to lady pupil teachers, and I recall the philosopher who once said, "All that is necessary is that a girl should have the morals of an angel, the manners of a kitten, and the mind of a flea." But after this distribution one cannot go away with the impression that the female mind is only the mind of a flea.
Pupil Teachers' Prize Distribution,
January 16th, 1903.
We have been informed, to-night of different foreign educational systems, the German, the French, and the American, which we are generally told in this country we ought to copy. In the French system there is too much centralization. Every teacher, whether at a university or at a small elementary school, is simply a Government Official. The German system is a splendid one, but it is all subsidized by Government. The English Government is not generous enough to do that for English Schools, so we can hardly hope to copy the German system. Then there is the American system. That is also certainly splendid, but unfortunately we have no great millionaires in England who will help us109 to copy the American system. It has been said that when an Englishman becomes a millionaire, and he feels that he is nearing his end, he thinks—to use a sporting expression—that it is time to "hedge for a future state." Then he builds a Church. The American millionaire founds a university, or leaves large sums of money for a training college, and I think he is right.
Technical School Prize Distribution, Newport,
December 3rd, 1902.
Sir William Preece has said that there were five new elements discovered within the last century. There were others undiscovered, and it only remained for some student to discover one of them to make himself famous, and, like Xenophon, return to find his name writ large on the walls of his native town. A celebrated poet once declared—
Some people may be able to live without books and only with cooks. But without science and books we110 should not have had our Empire. Books and science help us to keep up the Empire. It is for these reasons that I do what I can to encourage technical and scientific education.
School of Science and Art Prize Distribution,
December 4th, 1901.
You can be quite certain that no hooligan ever attended an art school. The intelligence and refinement of manners brought about by the study of sculpture, painting, and architecture have more to do with the stopping of drunkenness than any other teaching you could think of.... The charm of these art schools for me lies in the fact that we are always expecting something great, just as a fisherman at a little brook, where he has never caught anything much larger than his little finger, is always expecting to hook some big monster. In these art schools I am always expecting some great artist or sculptor turned out—somebody from Newport Schools—not only a credit to himself but to any town, somebody who will become a second Millais or a great sculptor.
Newport has improved a good deal of late years, and I am sure the study of painting and architecture has had much to do with it. In looking over some old111 papers in the Tredegar archives the other day, I came across a description by two people who passed from Cardiff through Newport about 100 years ago. They said: "We went over a nasty, muddy river, on an old rotten wooden bridge, shocking to look at and dangerous to pass over. On the whole this is a nasty old town."
School of Science and Art Prize Distribution,
December 5th, 1900.
Sir John Gorst has made reference to the indisposition of the territorial aristocracy to encourage high intellectual attainment. I think "territorial aristocracy" is rather an undefinable term, and perhaps school children will be asked what it is. I do not think that those who own land are as a class opposed to high intellectual attainment. The County Councils to some extent are representative of territorial aristocracy, and 41 of the 49 County Councils of England and Wales have agreed to spend the whole of the Government grant in education. That is a sign that the territorial aristocracy are not averse to intellectual attainment.
Perhaps Colonel Wallis will ask some of the children in the school what the meaning of "territorial aristocracy" is. I read that when a child was asked112 what the meaning of the word Yankee was, the reply was that it was an animal bred in Yorkshire.
Opening of the School Board Offices, Newport,
March 11th, 1898.
Victor Hugo once said that the opening of a school means the closing of a prison. That is very true, regarded as an aphorism, and I wish it were true in reality, because there would not be any prisons left in England.
Opening of Intermediate Schools,
October 29th, 1896.
I am pleased that technical schools are taking such a firm hold in the town. I feel more and more that the teaching of art is doing a great deal of good. There is a great improvement in the tastes of the people, shown by the architectural beauty of their residences and in decorations generally.
I was very much surprised a short time ago at reading a strong article by "Ouida"—whose novels I have read with a great deal of interest—on the ugliness of our modern life. She certainly took a very pessimistic view of the matter and seemed to look only at the workaday part of the world—at the making of railways, the knocking down of old houses, and the riding of113 bicycles. I do not see that those things come under the title of art. One of the objects of instruction at the art schools is to induce students to create ideas of their own. At the same time I do not think you could do much better than study the old masters, than whose works I do not see anything better amongst modern productions. The great silver racing cups given away now, worth from £300 to £500, do not compare with the handiwork of Italian and Venetian silver workers. I have some pieces of plate in the great cellar under Tredegar House which I do not think it possible to improve upon.
School of Science and Art Prize Distribution, Newport,
January 24th, 1896.
One or two little incidents in my own experience lately shew the value of studying some particular trade or science or some form of art. Only the other day I met a young lady at a country house. Before I had seen her a few minutes she remarked: "I suppose you don't remember me, Lord Tredegar?" If I had been young and gallant, it would have been natural for me to have replied: "Such a face as yours I am not in the least likely to forget." But I thought I was114 too old for that, and merely said that I did not remember at the moment having met her previously. The young lady then informed me that she had received a prize at my hands at a great school, and that in handing her the prize I had remarked, "You have well earned the prize, and it is a branch of art that, if continued, will prove very useful in after life." That branch of art had enabled her to take the position she then occupied.
The other incident was that of a young man who had been left by his parents very poor. He had the greatest difficulty in getting anything at all to do, because he had never made himself proficient in any particular trade or science. I agree with the man who said one should know something about everything and everything about something.
School of Science and Art Prize Distribution, Newport,
December 17th, 1894.
It has been well said, I forget by whom, but I think it was Dr. Johnson, that you can do anything with a Scotsman, if you catch him young. I think you can say just the same of the Welshman or the Monmouthshire man.
Newport Intermediate Boys' School,
November 4th, 1910.
One day I accompanied a young lady to her carriage on leaving a public function at which I had officiated. The band struck up a martial air, and I stepped actively to the time of the music. Remarking to the young lady that the martial air appealed to an old soldier, she said, "Why, Lord Tredegar, were you ever in the Army?" That is the reason why I think we should have memorials and why I shall be very glad to have this picture in my house.
On the occasion of the presentation of a Portrait of his
Lordship's Statue in Cathays Park, Cardiff,
September 19th, 1909.
The commander of the French Army said of the Balaclava Charge that it was magnificent, but that it was not war. I do not know what the French general called war, but my recollection of the charge is that it was something very nearly like it. I have to thank the Power above for being here now, fifty-five years after the charge took place. Whether this statue will commemorate me for a long time or not is of little moment, but I know it will commemorate for ever the sculptor, Mr. Goscombe John.
Unveiling of equestrian statue of Viscount Tredegar in Cathays Park,
Cardiff, on 55th Anniversary of the Balaclava Charge,
October 25th, 1909
Anyone who lives in Monmouthshire, a county rich in its old castles, churches, camps, and cromlechs, cannot fail to be some sort of an archæologist, and it is this mild type I represent. I have always had a great fancy for history, and anyone who studies the archæology of Monmouthshire must be well grounded in the history of England. The county has held a prominent place in history from the earliest period down to the present day, commencing with the Silures, and passing on to the Romans, Saxons, and Normans. Some locality or other in the county was connected with each of those periods.
One little failing about archæology which has always been a sore point with me is that it is apt to destroy some of those little illusions which we like to keep up. I hope when we go to Caerwent, during the next day or two, my illusion concerning King Arthur will not be dispelled, for I love to think of King Arthur and his Round Table having been at that place. Alexander wept because there were no new worlds to conquer, but I hope archæologists will not weep because there are117 no new ruins to be discovered. An old stone has been picked up on the moors at Caldicot, and scientific men know that the stone proves the Marches to have been reclaimed from the sea by the Romans. The question of the origin of Roman encampments is one about which there is a great deal of doubt, and I hope to hear some new story when we inspect the ancient part in Tredegar Park.
Fourth Annual Meeting, Cambrian Archæological Association,
August 24th, 1885.
In the reign of Henry VIII, Monmouthshire was annexed to England, and therefore we are not now exactly in Wales. But 300 years have not eradicated the Welsh language and the Welsh traditions.
Farmers' Association Dinner, Bassaleg,
October 23rd, 1877.
I take my opinion of freedom from Dr. Samuel Johnson, and that is good enough for me. Dr. Johnson said that freedom was "to go to bed when you wish, to get up when you like, to eat and drink whatever you choose, to say whatever occurs to you at the118 moment, and to earn your living as best you may."
The Lord Mayor has hoped that he will prove to be a member of the Tredegar family. The name of Morgan is a splendid name. You can, with that name, get your pedigree from wherever you like. Whenever I talk of bishops, I remember to speak of Bishop Morgan. If I speak to a football player, I talk of Buccaneer Morgan, and so it goes on in any subject you wish. I do not care—even if there is a great murder—a Morgan is sure to be in it! I do not wish to detract from the Lord Mayor's desire to be in the pedigree, but, at all events, we can all belong to a Morgan Brotherhood.
Reply to toast of "Our Guest," at City Hall, Cardiff,
October 25th, 1909.
When the agitation for the new Technical Institute was going on, I daresay most of you heard all sorts of objections to it on the ground of expense and of there being no necessity for an institute of this description. Some of the agitators went back to Solomon. They said, "Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and he has told us that 'He who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.' So why," said they, "do you want to have more knowledge?" Another objector said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," and then somebody else said, "Of the making of books there is no end," and "Much study is a weariness of the flesh."
All those old sayings were trotted out, but there was the other side to bring before you. There was the dear old lady who was so proud of her son—he was a kind of artist—that she thought he would become a second Gainsborough. He got on very well, as she thought, and one day, meeting his professor, she said, "Oh, Professor, do you think my son will ever learn to draw?" and he replied, "Yes, madam, if you harness him to a wagon." Happily, Newport went the right way, and built what I fancy120 is quite one of the most up-to-date technical institutions in the country.
Technical Institute Prize Distribution, Newport,
December 21st, 1910.
It is very difficult to address a mixed school of boys and girls. You require totally different things for boys and girls. A learned gentleman was once asked his ideal of a girl, and he replied, "Most like a boy." Asked his ideal of a boy, he replied, "Only a human boy who dislikes learning anything." I was a human boy myself once, about 70 years ago, and I hated learning anything except running about and making myself disagreeable to everyone. My experience of girls is that girls want to learn when a boy doesn't. A girl is nearly always anxious to learn, whilst a boy only wants to amuse himself.
A great M.P. gave an address about education a week or so ago, and said our system was all wrong, that facts were no use, and that thinking was what they wanted. I totally disagree with him. Facts are wanted, for it is from facts you get on to thinking. One examiner was much amused by the notion of a boy who said that what struck him most was the toughness of wood, the wetness of water, and the magnificent121 soapiness of soap. That boy was going to get on; he was thinking more about facts than anything else.
Another great school question is with regard to punishment, whether it is good to order a boy or girl to write out a certain number of lines or learn so many lines of poetry. A well known gentleman of the world, politically and otherwise, when at school was what they called "a devil of a chap to jaw." That was the expression of a fellow pupil. He was constantly in the playground jawing, and they sentenced him to run around the ground five times when he spoke for more than three minutes. That was supposed to cure him, but it did not.122 He speaks now more than anyone in the House of Commons.
Pontywaun School Prize Distribution,
March 17th, 1911.
We in Monmouthshire are in a sort of hybrid county. A great many people think we are in Wales and a great many people think we are not. Cardiff is very jealous of us—jealous because we can get drunk on Sundays and they can't. I hope we shall continue to be a county of ourselves, and when this great Home Rule question, which is so much talked about, is settled we shall, no doubt, have a Parliament at Newport-on-Usk, or else at Monmouth-upon-Wye.
Newport Athletic Club Dinner,
April 27th, 1891.
I wish to renew interest among the people of the neighbourhood in the exploration work at Caerwent. The reason, perhaps, why some of the interest has fallen off, is the illness and death of the late Vicar of Caerwent, who always took the greatest possible delight in explaining to visitors the history of the ancient city and the nature of the work of excavation.
There is a great deal of fresh ground to be explored. I am glad to find that there is an increasing interest in Great Britain in this kind of work, and I hope it will continue to increase. If we expect to find any interest at all in matters of this kind, it would be in Rome, and yet we find that in that city it has been decided recently to pull down some of the most valuable remains in the city, the great Roman wall, which for so long a period kept out the Goths and the Vandals who besieged the city. If that is possible in Rome, any indifference to this kind of work in Great Britain is not surprising. There is a fascination about the work of exploring, as we are always expecting to find something which has not been found before, and which may be very useful for historical purposes.
All this part of the world is very interesting, not only Caerwent, but Llanvaches, where we find early Christian evidences, and Newport, where we have a castle of the Middle Ages. I cannot help thinking, when I look at the collection of Roman coins in the Caerwent Museum, that it is not absolutely impossible that one of them may be the very coin which Our Saviour took and asked whose image it bore. For all124 we know, that very coin may have been in the possession of a Roman soldier stationed in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion, and brought by him to Caerwent.
Newport Town Hall, on the occasion of a Lecture on
"The Excavations at Caerwent,"
March 24th, 1908.
There are few Newportonians in this hall who do not remember perfectly well the curious little house, with a low 16th century portico, situated at the bottom of Stow Hill. It was regarded with great veneration by antiquarians, but was no doubt looked upon as a great nuisance by the great body of the people. However, that old portico is now treasured at Tredegar House. The house was called "Oliver Cromwell's House."
I think you will agree with me when I say that few people slept in so many bedrooms as King Charles I. or Oliver Cromwell is said to have done. There is a room at Tredegar House called King Charles the First's room, but it was not built until ten years after that Monarch was beheaded.
With regard to the little house called Oliver Cromwell's House, there is some reason to believe that Oliver125 Cromwell might have occupied it. It was, sometime, occupied by the Parliamentary troops, because I have at this moment an old fire back, which was found in the cellar with the Royal Arms of England and the Crown dated 16— something knocked off. No doubt this was found in the house by Parliamentarians, who immediately proceeded to knock off the crown. We know that Oliver Cromwell passed that way, because he went to the siege of Pembroke and found great difficulty in taking that town.
I have a copy of a letter Cromwell wrote to Colonel Saunders, one of his leaders, in which, after congratulating him upon his zeal and close attention, he referred to "the malignants—Trevor Williams of Llangibby Castle, and one Sir William Morgan, of Tredegar," and directed him to seize them at once. That shows that Oliver Cromwell knew all about Caerleon, Newport and Tredegar.
Opening of Tredegar Hall, Newport,
March 14th, 1895.
I am glad to find that the Welsh Church movement has been such a success. I was asked on one occasion if there were many Welsh people in Cardiff, and I126 confessed there were. When further asked if there was a Welsh Church there I had to admit with shame that there was not. From that moment I resolved to back up as much as I could the movement for providing a Church for the Welsh-speaking inhabitants of Cardiff. No one could walk the streets of Cardiff without being impressed with the number of Welsh people one met and heard talking in their own language. Probably a great number of those simply came into the town for the day, but a considerable number must be residents of the town.
I see a great many ladies present, and I would urge them to do what they can, for, in the words of a Church magnate, who was, if not an archbishop or a bishop, certainly an archdeacon—"mendicity is good, but women-dicity is better."
Laying of the Foundation Stone of a Welsh Church at Cardiff,
July 2nd, 1890.
I am impressed by the energy displayed by the agriculturists of the district in sending such satisfactory exhibits. At the same time, you must not fancy yourselves quite too grand at the present day, because,127 if you read history you will find that during the siege of Caerphilly Castle, some 400 or 500 years ago—when the castle was taken—there were 2,000 oxen, 12,000 cows, 20,000 sheep, 600 horses, 2,000 pigs and 200 tuns of wine inside the Castle walls. Two hundred tuns of wine! That is better than a Temperance Hotel.... If you walk round this show you will not see one single sign of depression. It grows larger every year. Cattle grow better, the horses better, the women grow prettier, and the men grow fatter.
East Glamorgan Agricultural Show, Caerphilly,
September 7th, 1899.
The foundations of Gwern-y-Cleppa, the palace of Ivor Hael, have been traced around a tree in Cleppa Park. Although it has been termed a palace, I think it more likely to have been something of a manor house, for Ivor was the younger son of a younger son, and therefore not likely to have had very large possessions. Ivor's generous nature has been well depicted by his celebrated bard, Dafydd ap Gwilym.
I have read in a book an account of an incident which tradition alleges took place near the spot on which we are standing. This was a contest between Dafydd and his rival bard, Rhys Meigan. Dafydd's shafts of satire overwhelmed his opponent, who fell dead—the victim of ridicule.
Cardiff Naturalists' Visit to Gwern-y-Cleppa,
May 10th, 1893.
As long ago as the 15th century an ancestor whom I have been reading about lately—Ivor Hael—appears to have been celebrated particularly for his support of the Eisteddfodau of that period and of music in general. Later on, my grandfather and father always did their129 best to promote the idea of the Eisteddfod, and on several occasions presided at those gatherings. I, personally, consider the Eisteddfod a great institution.
One of the reasons why many of our English friends do not support Eisteddfodau, and are inclined to speak slightingly of them, is because of the religious side which commences with the Gorsedd; but I think if our friends paid a little more attention to it, and attended oftener, they would not be inclined to ridicule the institution.
An Eisteddfod, anywhere, is a very interesting event, but one at Pontypridd seems to be of all others the most interesting. Pontypridd itself is full of reminiscences of old and modern Wales. On that very stone—the Rocking Stone—on the hill where some of us have been to-day, some very earnest bards, no doubt, at different times had their seats, and it does not require a very vivid imagination to picture on that stone one of those unfortunate bards that were left after the Massacre of the Bards of Edward.
Then we have not far away the remains of the old monastery of Pen Rhys, where tradition says rested Ap Tudor, or at all events to whom the monastery was130 erected. At that very place, that great terror of England and of the Normans—Owen Glendower—who was at that time residing at Llantrisant, was stated to have presided at an Eisteddfod soon after his incursion into Wales. Great bardic addresses were delivered there, and one, written to Sir John Morgan of Tredegar, is now in the archives of Tredegar.
Coming to later times, we have Cadwgan of the Battleaxe, who was supposed to have been sharpening his battleaxe at the time he was going down the Rhondda, so that it must have been pretty sharp by the time he arrived at his destination.
There is at the present moment a wave of music-hall melodies passing over the country, and I think it is one131 of the duties of the Eisteddfodau to try to counteract the music-hall fancy, now so prevalent. Not many days ago, I was reminded of an incident in which a lady asked a friend whether he was fond of music, and he replied "Yes, if it is not too good." Unfortunately, that is the opinion of about one-half of the civilized world.
The aim of the Eisteddfod is to patronise good music which, combined with high art, has a tendency, as the Latin poet puts it, to soften manners and assuage the natural ruggedness of human nature.
July 31st, 1893.
Miniature Eisteddfodau, one of which we are celebrating, are most interesting, as being a sort of prelude to the great National Eisteddfod which takes place annually. There is something peculiarly interesting in these essentially Welsh gatherings, because however much we who live on this side of the Rumney may, from legislative causes, be considered English, we never hear of an Eisteddfod taking place on the other side of Offa's Dyke, which in my opinion is the boundary of Wales.
Offa's Dyke was formerly a great mound and ditch erected by King Offa somewhere in the year 900 or thereabouts, as a boundary between Wales and England, and it ran from the mouth of the Wye to Chepstow. We seldom hear of an Eisteddfod taking place on the other side of the dyke. It is true there are the great Choral Festivals, but those are festivals held in the grand Cathedrals, at which very grand company assemble, and where some of the most celebrated singers sing; they are not competitive in any sense. Here we have competitions, not so much for the prizes as for the honour of the thing, for the honour of the Welsh nation, and for the advancement of music and art in Wales.
October 5th, 1896.
Tredegar House is generally believed to have been designed by Inigo Jones, but it was not built until after that architect's death. It was built by William Morgan, and finished about 1672. A residence formerly stood on the spot, which Leland mentioned as "a fair place of stone." Owen Glendower, when he ravaged Wentloog, and destroyed houses, churches and Newport133 Castle, probably destroyed Tredegar House. On an inquisition being taken after this period of the value of the lordship, the return was nil.
Cambrian Association Meeting,
August 28th, 1885.
As far as I have been able to read the family history, I have made the discovery that the Morgans were never remarkable for very great talent; but for many134 generations we have lived in much the same spot, and it has been our motto to make life happy to those around us, and to assist those with whom we come in contact. I believe my family have lived for this object. There are many days in the history of the family that are much treasured by us, but there will be no one day more honoured than the memory of this one. When I hand these addresses to Lady Tredegar, and express to her the kind sentiments everyone has made use of as to the memory of the late Lord Tredegar, we shall one and all be thankful, and the memory of this day will live long in the heart of every member of the Tredegar family.
Tredegar Memorial Corn Exchange, Newport,
September 4th, 1878.
The Mayor has spoken of the commercial spirit which, he stated, has recently been evinced by the Tredegar family. His Worship in that respect erred a little, for several hundred years ago there was a gentleman who called himself Merchant Morgan. He sailed on the Spanish Main, and brought back with him a great deal of money which he had made in trade—or otherwise. From that day to this, the Morgans have been very well off. Later, there were ironworks in135 Tredegar Park, carried on by Sir William Morgan. Those works paid also, and when he had money enough Sir William Morgan removed them away, restored the green fields, and left other people to attend to the works.
Mayoral Banquet, Newport,
December 15th, 1881.
Sir Henry Morgan played an important part in the stirring drama of Empire-building. His name has become a household word, and his daring exploits on the Spanish Main in the 17th century rival in song and story the heroic adventures of Drake, Frobisher, and Hawkins. It is mainly to him that we own the island of Jamaica, the most wealthy of our West Indian possessions. He was not a plaster saint, it is true; but it is incorrect to call him a pirate, for there is no gainsaying the fact that all his actions were justified by instructions he received from time to time from his Monarch, Charles II, who countenanced every movement of his, and even empowered him to commission whatever persons he thought fit, to be partakers with him and his Majesty in his various expeditions and enterprises. He was cruel in the ordinary sense of cruelty exercised in warfare, no136 doubt, but only when in arms against the blood-thirsty Spaniards. As a leader of men he was never surpassed by any captain of the seas, and in his glorious conquest of Panama—which the great Sir Francis Drake in 1569 had failed to take with 4,000 men when the city was but poorly fortified—Sir Henry ransacked it in 1670 when it had become doubly fortified, having with him only 1,200 men, and without the aid of any pikemen or horsemen.
The charges of cruelty and rapacity levelled against him are beneath contempt and criticism. The Spaniards tortured and murdered wholesale, and who can wonder that the heroic Welshman made just reprisals, and carried out the Biblical adjuration "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," when punishing the apostles of the Inquisition and assassination.
It is due to one John Esquemeling, the author of the first account of buccaneers, "The History of the Buccaneers of America," first published in 1684, that Sir Henry was designated a "pirate." Esquemeling had served under Morgan, and, being dissatisfied with the share of prize money allotted to him after the expedition at Panama, nursed his revenge until his137 return to Holland some years after. Sir Henry took action against him, and claimed to obtain substantial damages from Esquemeling for his malicious and misleading statement.
The death of my brother, Colonel Morgan, has plunged us into grief, and all the neighbourhood felt the death of one whom they all loved, almost as much as I did myself. I feel that life can never be the same to me again.
January 11th, 1910.
Some 50 years ago two Statesmen were discussing the merits of Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox. The first statesman138 said the oratory of Mr. Pitt was remarkable because he was never at a loss for a word. The other statesman replied, "Yes, but Mr. Fox was never at a loss for the right word." I, this afternoon, cannot find the right word. I can hardly find any word at all to express adequately to you what I feel on this occasion. I have put this question to myself many times in the last month or so—"What does it all mean? What have I ever done to deserve this great tribute?" I thought that my duty was to go back over my past life, and I began very139 early, a very long time ago. I went back to the Chartist Riots. I don't suppose there are any of you here who know much about them except by hearsay. I was a very little boy at the time, spending my holidays at Ruperra Castle, and I was just going with my little terrier to hunt a rabbit that had got into the cabbage garden, when the post-boy, who had been sent to Newport to bring out the letters, rode in, pale and quivering, and flung himself from his pony and said that the Chartists were in Newport—"they are lying dead all over the street, and the streets were running with blood. He passed through a lot of people with swords and pikes, but whether they were coming on to Ruperra he did not know." What he effectively did was to pose as a great hero among the maid-servants, and I remember afterwards going up to the post-boy, saying, "Bother your Chartists; come out and help me to catch this rabbit."
That was my first beginning in sport—my first excitement. Then I thought a little bit more. I have a distant recollection that very soon after, I was gazetted as a Viscount. I saw in a newspaper which does not hold the same opinions as I do, the question,140 "What on earth is Lord Tredegar made a Viscount for?" and the answer was, "I suppose because he has been Master of the Tredegar Hounds for 30 years." I thought, therefore, that I had better leave sport alone for this occasion. For some time I have had running in my mind a stanza written by one who may be called the Australian bush poet, Mr. L. Gordon, a gallant man, who spent most of his time roughing it in the bush. The lines are as follows:—
I've had my share of pastime, I've had my share of toil,
It is useless now to trouble. This I know;
I'd live the same life over if I had the chance again
And the chances are I'd go where most men go.
Mr. Gordon thought he knew where most men go; I don't. I don't pretend to know, but I had thought, until lately, that I would not wish to live the same life over again. But now, when I am here this afternoon, and have received from the hands of so many of my greatest friends these magnificent testimonials of their opinion of me, I can hardly go wrong if I say I would live the same life over if I had to live again.
Well, when I went on with my early history, I found that very, very soon I got among tombstones and family vaults, and I thought that the less I called to mind those among whom I spent my early life the happier it would be for me, certainly on this occasion. But still I wonder what it is that I have done, that has caused so many of my friends and neighbours to gather together to present me with this great tribute of their affection and respect.
It is true that I have had more than my share of this world's goods. There is one thing that has always comforted me when this has been thrown in my teeth, and that is that it was a young man who went away sorrowfully because he had great possessions. I believe I have tried, more or less successfully, to help those in difficulties, and to give to many comfort and happiness who otherwise would have been in much distress and suffering; but I am quite sure that there is no person in this hall who would not have done exactly the same under the same circumstances. I have no doubt that I shall be able to find a place in Tredegar House for this picture. It will, I hope, be a monument in Tredegar House to help those who come after me to try and do142 some good in their generation with the wealth which may be at their disposal. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for this great tribute you have paid me.
This Speech was made in December, 1907, in acknowledgment of
Monmouthshire's tribute to Lord Tredegar, which took the
form of an oil painting of himself, a gold cup, an album,
and £2,000, which his Lordship handed over to various
We are about to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, not so much because Her Majesty has merely reigned fifty years, but because she has reigned 50 years in the hearts of her people.
County Meeting with reference to Queen Victoria's Jubilee, Newport,
February 9th, 1887.
The expression of the country's appreciation of the character of her late Majesty has been done grandly and well. Statesmen on both political sides have told of their experience of her, not merely their opinion, but the result of the interviews they have had with her. All classes have borne testimony to her goodness and greatness. We, as humble subjects of Her Majesty, knew her sympathetic qualities. Everybody present143 has benefitted in some way directly or indirectly through her. I think of the line which says—"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." It was the touch of nature in her character, and her sympathizing feelings, which have made the whole of the civilized world, and much of the uncivilized world, mourn on this occasion.
Monmouthshire County Council,
February 6th, 1901.
It has been well said by a poet that "Fierce is the light that beats upon the throne." Since those words were written the light beating upon the throne has become ten times more powerful, but in the case of King Edward that fact has only tended to emphasise His Majesty's charm of life and of personality, and the power of his will, which have benefitted not only this country but the whole civilised world.
Usk Quarter Sessions, June 22nd, 1910—in moving a
Vote of Condolence on the death of King Edward.
There never was a time when the country was more loyal. The penny whistle of republicanism which144 tried to blow its notes some time ago has, I believe, burst itself, for it found no sympathetic echo in the heart of the nation. I believe there is no harder worked man in the United Kingdom than the Prince of Wales. From morning to night he is at the beck and call of somebody or other, and we always find him ready to respond to the calls made upon him.
December 16th, 1875.
We have done our best to publicly recognise the success that has been achieved in the occupation of Pretoria, and to do honour to Lord Roberts and his gallant army. You can tell the kind of man Lord Roberts is by his despatches. You can depend on it that whenever you read a despatch from Lord Roberts you are reading what is true, complete and accurate. I hope we shall soon see Lord Roberts, who is an old and good friend of mine, in Newport again.
June 7th, 1900.
I have a great admiration for American sailors and the American people generally. When the Crimean War broke out, in the summer of 1854, the first soldiers sent out of England were the cavalry regiments, and I went with them. At that time England had been at peace for 40 years, and when war commenced the authorities knew little about the transport of cavalry. We did not go out as a whole regiment in a large liner, and arrive at our destination without the loss of a horse, as would be the case now. We were sent out in troops of 40 or 50 at a time, in small sailing vessels of 500 tons. In the ship in which I sailed the horses were packed in the hold, and when they got to the Bay of Biscay a violent gale sprang up. In a few hours half a dozen horses broke loose and struggled about in the hold. There was only one American sailor among the crew, and he went down and "calculated" and uttered dreadful oaths. But he had not been down in the hold half an hour before he had all the horses tied up again. Ever since then I have had the greatest respect for American sailors.
August 4th, 1902.
I always feel some diffidence in returning thanks for the Army, since I am no longer in it; but I may add that I am proud to have belonged to it. No gentleman who has been in Her Majesty's Service can look back with other than happy feelings to that time. When I first joined the Army, it was not in its present state. Many things connected with that Service have improved. Among others, the social condition of the soldier has been improved. I feel that no individual in this country, however high his position may be, need be ashamed of his connection with the Army.
At one time, the people of Newport knew more about soldiers than now. Some time ago I asked the Duke of Cambridge to send a regiment, or part of a regiment, to Newport, and his Grace said, in answer to me, that the people would be obliged to stir up a riot in the county if they wished to secure the presence of soldiers! I hope such a contingency will not arise, living as I do in the county. However, his Grace promised to do his best in the matter, and I hope we shall soon again have the advantage of a regiment in Newport.
Dinner to Lord Tredegar and Alexandra Dock Directors,
July 27th, 1865.
The Boy Scout movement instructs the boy just at the time when he is between school and a trade, when it would perhaps be better if he stayed a bit longer at school, for the time hangs heavy on his hands; and that is the time when you catch hold of these boys and give them an interest in their country, and an interest in the necessity of having somebody to protect the country. The Scouts that I have had any experience of are all boys who seem to have improved in their manners, their ways, and their education very soon after they have joined the Boy Scouts.
Meeting in Newport in connection with the Boy Scout Movement,
March 14th, 1911.
When the ironworks were started here they received the name of Tredegar, and the town itself was also called Tredegar. It is rather disagreeable to me at times. I have letters addressed, "Lord Tredegar, Tredegar, Monmouthshire." They are sent to Tredegar, where they are marked by the postal officials: "Not known here; try Tredegar Park."
Life is said to be a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel, and as we all feel and think we must meet with a good deal of comedy and a good deal of tragedy. I hope you all have more comedy than tragedy.
Presentation to Lord Tredegar of Miner's Lamp and
Silver Medal at Risca Eisteddfod,
October 5th, 1896.
I hope the day is not far distant when Newport will be a second Liverpool, and Maindee a second Birkenhead.
December 13th, 1864.
I have read somewhere that an Oxford man walks about looking as if Oxford and the rest of the world belong to him. A Cambridge man, on the other hand, walks as if he does not care a—well, does not care two straws who the place belongs to.
Seventy-fifth Anniversary of St. David's College, Lampeter,
October 9th, 1902.
The owning of a hospital is not a very lively proceeding, but I cannot help giving a few of my reminiscences in connection with doctors. I can go back to the real old-style of doctor; not the present-day smart young gentleman with the radium light in his pocket, but the old-fashioned gentleman who first of all pulled out a watch as big as a warming-pan, and who felt the pulse and asked the patient to150 put out his tongue, and ended up by saying "Haw!" That meant a tremendous lot, for he did not tell any more.
I well remember a medical friend of mine saying once that he lived in a land flowing with rhubarb, magnesia, and black draughts. That was the way we were treated as children, and which possibly enabled us to live a long life.
Opening of a Hospital at Abertysswg,
October 3rd, 1910.
I am one of those who like mixing with all sorts and conditions of men. I can dine with lords and ladies whenever I like, but I cannot always dine with an assembly of working men.
May Horse Show Dinner,
May 4th, 1893.
I have a great deal of correspondence of one sort and another. I keep no secretary, and my correspondence is with all sorts and conditions of men. Only this morning, in the hurried moment before I left, I wrote two letters, one to a descendant of Warwick the Kingmaker, and the other to a little boy living in the back slums of Newport about a football match. That is the sort of correspondence I like, for I like to mix with all sorts and conditions of men and do what I can for them.
Foundation-Stone Laying, Presbyterian Church, Newport,
August 27th, 1895.
I never remember to have had a dream that was merry. I never remember to have awakened from a dream with a smile or a laugh; but many times have I done so with tears on my cheeks.
Bazaar at Ystrad Mynach,
September 9th, 1909.
You have heard things said about Matrimony. It is an annual occurrence at this dinner, until I have become like a man who can walk along the verge of152 a precipice and look down without falling over. I have looked so long without a desire to plunge, that I am able now to look over without any danger of falling.
The Tredegar Show,
December 17th, 1867.
People who regularly study the newspapers come across advertisements of many things calculated to make them doubt whether there is any need for a cottage hospital at all. In fact, as far as I can see, judging by these advertisements, there is no reason why anybody should die.
Pontypridd Cottage Hospital,
May 5th, 1910.
As an old military man, I fully appreciate the value of punctuality. Undoubtedly punctuality is the first great duty in this world if we wish to carry on business satisfactorily. There are those who say punctuality is a great mistake, because a deal of time has to be spent in waiting for other people. That is a very pleasant way of looking at an unpunctual individual.
Intermediate School Prize Distribution,
October 19th, 1898.
There is no prize worth much that does not take some trouble to gain. I have heard that kisses, when taken without much trouble, are not worth having. Of course I do not know anything about that sort of thing. My brother and I had a fine looking animal. We used to smoke our cigars as we gazed at it, and think there was nothing like it in the world. We154 thought we would send it to Birmingham; and then, if any good, to Smithfield. It was of no use, however. It reminded me of a celebrated trainer who used to come into this county, who said: "Oh, you've nothing at home to try him with. You think your horse goes very fast past trees." I expect it was very much the same thing with our ox. It looked very good alongside the cattle trough.
When I had the pleasure of presenting Bedwellty Park to this town (Tredegar) one of my critics asked: "Are you quite sure, Lord Tredegar, that you have not given the Tredegar people a white elephant?" That simile did not trouble me, for I told them I was quite sure in a few months the park would be as black as the rest of Tredegar.
Bazaar at Tredegar,
May 23rd, 1902.
Just as I came into the hall, I encountered an individual dressed in a rather extraordinary garb. I looked him up and down, and saw that he was well155 armed. It reminded me of the case of a minister in the backwoods calling on a bushranger to go round with the hat. The latter did so, and the first young man he came to dropped in two or three cents. The bushranger looked at him in a peculiar way, cocked his pistol in a significant manner, and said, "Young man, this is a two dollar show." The young man at once dropped in two dollars. I think that perhaps my friend might come round with me156 presently, we might frighten some of the gentlemen who have come here with full purses.
Congregational Church Bazaar, Newport,
October 22nd, 1896.
I have a little advice to give to you in conclusion. A school-boy was being examined in Scripture knowledge, and was asked the meaning of the words, "Make the waste places glad." He answered, "Put your arm around a lady's waist and make her glad." That, I think, is a very good hint for the young men present, and I advise them to make the evening as pleasant as they can for the ladies. To the ladies I would say this—"Don't put too much faith in the promise of love that may be whispered in your ears before the close of the ball."
January 4th, 1899.
A celebrated philosopher has said there are three different personalities about a man. First, there is what God thinks about him; secondly, what his friends think about him; and, thirdly, what he thinks157 of himself.... There is another personality to be thought of, and that is the opinion of newspapers. It is very difficult to arrange those different personalities, because one's own opinion is entirely different from other people's. I like a gentleman who proposes my health to lay it on thick, as some of it is sure to stick, whether I deserve it or not.
Opening of the New Hospital, Abergavenny,
October 6th, 1902.
Many people have the impression that the Lord Mayor of London is the greatest man in this kingdom. There is a line or two in an old song relating to a lover who did not like to pop the question to his girl. He said:—
That represents a great deal of the feeling in this country about the magnificence of the position of the Lord Mayor of London.
Newport Conservative Meeting,
July 25th, 1901.
It is a high honour, because it is the greatest that the Lord Mayor and Corporation have the power of conferring upon anybody. My only drawback is the fear that I cannot be worthy of the others whose names are on the roll of Cardiff's freemen. You know that comparisons are odious, and when you read the names on that list and compare mine with them, I hope you will look with leniency upon me. The Lord Mayor promised me just now that he would not be very long in his address and in his references to me on this occasion. At one moment I felt very much inclined to remind him of his promise, as the great King Henry IV did with a Lord Mayor who went on his knees to deliver the keys of the city. Without delivering them he rose from his knees and said, "I have twelve reasons for not yielding up the keys of the city. The first is that there are no keys." The King said, "That is quite enough; we don't want any more reasons." I felt inclined to stop the Lord Mayor and say, "You have said quite enough about me; I will take the remainder for granted."
I see no reason why I should not be civil to the members of the Corporation unless they are uncivil to me. I should probably then do what other people160 would do. The Lord Mayor has said that Glamorgan could not claim me as a Glamorgan man. Well, I was born in Glamorgan, at Ruperra Castle, on this side of the Rumney. I know that if a man is born in a stable it doesn't make him a horse, but I always understood that the place of your birth had a certain claim upon you.
It is not very long ago that I was discussing with somebody what I was going to do in the future, and I quoted the line from Shakespeare: "My grief lies onward, but my joy is behind." I think now that I spoke a little too soon, this day being one of great joy to me, as you can easily understand.
Presentation of the Freedom of Cardiff to Viscount Tredegar,
October 25th, 1909.
I never was good at personal abuse. I have got a good old-fashioned oath when I am angry—a good old English oath, good enough for most people—but that is only when I am very angry. And though we have been told that this is the greatest crisis we have ever seen, unfortunately I cannot get angry enough about161 it to abuse other people. But in the circumstances, if I am put to it, I think I would quote Falstaff, who said, "If any part of a lie will do me grace, I will gild it with the heaviest terms I have."
South Monmouthshire Conservative Association,
December 22nd, 1909.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, the celebrated American writer, said that when he was young he liked his praises in teaspoonfuls. When he got a little older he liked them in tablespoonfuls, and later on in ladles. I think I have had a good ladleful this afternoon. If I live a little longer, I should like it in buckets.
September 14th, 1897.
I have a notion by which we could be relieved of two wearisome questions. I should like the suffragettes to marry the passive resisters and go away for a long honeymoon.
Four or five years ago I received a letter from the War Office asking how many horses I would put at the service of Her Majesty in case of emergency. I wrote back and said, "All of them." By return of163 post I received a letter saying that I had given a very patriotic answer, but that it did not help them in the least; what they wanted to know was how many horses I could put upon the register. I sent back and registered eighteen horses. That was the whole of the Tredegar Hunt. Well, a couple of days ago I received a notice that all of those horses would be wanted. So if the Tredegar Hunt collapses suddenly, you will know the cause of it.
St. Mellons Ploughing Dinner,
October 12th, 1899.
What a beautiful word is the English word "Welcome!" What a world of sympathy it expresses! It does not matter whether the welcome comes from a father, mother, brother, or sister, or from the girl of your own heart. It is always the same. I have arrived at the time of life when I can not expect an eye to look brighter when I come, but many eyes are brighter when they fall on these volunteers who left their homes, not when they thought the war was over, but in the time of England's darkest hour. That was the time when our gallant Yeomanry and Service164 Companies went to assist their country in its distress. They went to redeem again the honour of England, which at one moment looked as if it were rather smirched. They must have seen suffering by disease and bullet wounds, and in other ways, and must have been brought face to face with all kinds of distress, and witnessed the agony of death from disease and bullets. All that tends to make a man more sympathetic to those whom at other times he might be inclined to blame.
Presentation to returned Volunteers (Boer War), Rogerstone,
July 26th, 1901.
I liken myself to Shakespeare's "Seven ages." I have been the baby, the schoolboy, the lover, and the warrior, and I am now the Justice, but unlike the poet's justice, I can not boast of "a fair round belly with good capon lined." Having disappointed the poet in one thing, I hope to disappoint him in another, and not to degenerate into a "lean and slippered pantaloon."
January 10th, 1893.
The bazaar may be described as an "European fair," because the stalls represent most of the nations of Europe. The reason for that is that if we went to Africa or other dark countries, some difficulty might be experienced in getting the ladies to wear the costumes of those districts.
Opening of "World's Fair" Bazaar, Newport,
April 29th, 1891.
It is in itself no great thing to be a lord; in fact, there used to be a saying, "As drunk as a lord." But it is a great thing to sit in the House of Lords. That166 House is an institution which I believe every country wishing for constitutional government has, for the last hundred years, striven to imitate, but without success, and in my opinion they are never likely to succeed, because the House of Lords is an institution which, being the growth of centuries, can not be imitated in a day. It is recruited from various classes of society, and it is simply impossible to create a body similar to it all in a moment.
In the old days, some three hundred years ago, King James, being in need of money, thought it would be a very good thing to create an extra rank, namely, that of baronet, and he sold baronetcies at £1,000 a piece, which brought him in a goodly sum of money. Anyone applying for a baronetcy was required to show a certain amount of pedigree, proving that he had had a grandfather or something of that sort. Now, if his Sovereign calls him, there is nothing to prevent any one, having talent and worth, from entering the House of Lords, even if he never had a grandfather. Great divines, great soldiers, great statesmen, great lawyers, and great engineers, representatives of all the rank and wealth of the country, are to be found in that august167 body; and I think it is a long time since any expression on the part of the House of Lords has been adverse to the general opinion of the country.
Licensed Victuallers' Dinner,
January 16th, 1876.
WESTERN MAIL, LIMITED, PRINTERS, CARDIFF
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