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Culture, Politics, and National Identity in Wales 1832-1886$

Matthew Cragoe

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207542

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207542.001.0001

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The Lineaments of Politics

The Lineaments of Politics

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 The Lineaments of Politics
Source:
Culture, Politics, and National Identity in Wales 1832-1886
Author(s):

Matthew Cragoe (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207542.003.0002

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with a discussion of the electoral system, which changed dramatically as the century progressed, transforming Britain from an oligarchy into something like a democracy in little over fifty years. It then describes the core ideals of the three political groupings: the Conservatives, the Whigs, and the ‘nationalist’ Radicals.

Keywords:   electoral system, democracy, Conservatives, Whigs, Radicals, political groups

IN FEBRUARY 1841 the sitting Whig MP for Monmouthshire retired, leaving one of the county’s two seats vacant. The other sitting member was the Conservative, Lord Granville Somerset, brother of the Duke of Beaufort, one of the two most powerful landowners in the county. At the uncontested by-election he was joined by another Conservative in the person of the 23–year-old Octavius Morgan, son of Lord Tredegar, the second of the county’s major landowners.

At first sight this transaction might appear to be exemplify the realities of political life in early nineteenth-century Wales suggested by modern scholarship: the great landed families controlled politics with little reference to the preferences of those around them. Yet a closer examination of the election reveals two features which qualify the initial impression. First, although the election was eventually uncontested, an opposition to Morgan was originally planned. It only collapsed after a canvass of the county suggested that a clear majority of the voters would back the Conservative candidate. Second, for the participants there was clearly more at stake than local honour. The election took place at a crucial juncture in the affairs of the nation. By February 1841 the Whig government and the resurgent Conservative opposition under Sir Robert Peel were running neck and neck in parliament, and every defeat for the former seemed to bring closer the day when the one would be supplanted by the other. The ability of Octavius Morgan to hold off his challenger at the by-election and claim the seat for the Conservatives was, therefore, an event of national significance, as he recognized in his victory speech:

Gentlemen, this day is to me and my family one of glory and of triumph, but I do not attribute this honour to myself; I attribute this triumph to another cause; it is for the honour of our great cause that the Conservatives of this (p.18) County have risen as one man to support those principles which are necessary to save this country (immense cheering).1

For Octavius Morgan, and the crowd that celebrated his return, the election had not been a matter of only local concern. Although the occupant of the seat was the scion of one of the greatest houses in the county, the principles he had been selected to represent had a much wider ownership.

Not all elections in nineteenth-century Wales were freighted with as much national significance as Morgan’s triumph of 1841; nevertheless, it is a central premise of this book that ideas meant something in politics generally, and at election-time in particular, throughout the years between 1832 and 1885. Even though national parties were organizationally diffuse at the start of the period, only assuming their highly centralized, modern form in the later years of the century,2 the ideological territory they inhabited was as clearly defined in Wales as anywhere else in the United Kingdom, as indeed the comments of Octavius Morgan suggest. Conservative, Liberal, and radical ideologies all jostled noisily for the attention of the electors, offering them distinctly different interpretations of the day’s issues; and when, from the mid-century on, a new set of distinctively ‘Welsh’ political attitudes began to emerge on the radical wing of the Liberal party, its partisans had to fight to justify themselves in an already crowded ideological marketplace.

Later sections of this chapter offer an introduction to the core ideals of these three political groupings—the Conservatives, the Whigs, and the ‘nationalist’ Radicals. The chapter begins, however, with the electoral system itself. This changed dramatically as the century progressed, transforming Britain from an oligarchy into something like a democracy in little over fifty years. Successive Reform Acts tinkered with constituency boundaries and (in the case of Welsh borough seats) their composition; their most important effect, however, was to expand the electorate, giving a majority of votes to social groups whose outlook differed radically from that of the traditional elite.

(p.19) It is, therefore, with the impact of the three Reform Acts on Welsh political life that the chapter begins. With this in place, attention turns to the ideological position of the main political parties and the rise of a new force in Welsh politics from the mid-century on, a belief in the ‘national’ status of Wales.

The Electoral System

Unlike Ireland and Scotland, electoral arrangements in Wales were an extension of those prevailing in England.3 It was thus the three major reforms of 1832, 1867, and 1884–5 which governed the shape of the electoral system in the principality. In this section, a general outline of each Act precedes a more detailed consideration of their collective impact on Wales.

The ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832 marked the first attempt by parliament to get to grips with the social implications of changes wrought by steady urban and industrial growth in the previous 150 years. It was notable for three features. First, it undertook a major redistribution of seats away from older ‘rotten’ boroughs, characterized by tiny corrupt electorates, to populous counties and new industrial towns like Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham. Second, it rationalized the franchises upon which people might vote in parliamentary elections, instituting a uniform £10 householder franchise in the boroughs, and adding the controversial £50 tenants-at-will to the 40s. freeholders in county seats. Third, it introduced a new system of voter-registration. Henceforth, a register of all those entitled to vote in a particular constituency would be compiled on an annual basis: at any election in the ensuing twelve months, only those whose names appeared on the register would be entitled to vote.

The First Reform Act thus effected a major upheaval in established arrangements: new geographical areas and interest-groups now obtained direct access to the House of Commons; the number of those entitled to take a part in selecting the Members of that House almost doubled; and the registration requirements placed a new onus on party organization in the constituencies. Nevertheless, because it had not placed any limit on the amount a candidate could spend in (p.20) pursuit of a parliamentary seat, and because it had made no move towards offering voters the security of a secret ballot, the fundamentals of electoral politics remained much as they had prior to 1832.

The system established in 1832 survived almost intact for a generation: it was not until 1867 that parliament was again reformed. On this occasion, the significance of a light redistribution of seats was completely overshadowed by the enfranchisement clauses which gave the vote to all male householders in borough seats.4 This effectively enfranchised the urban working classes, and the number of those eligible to vote doubled. The immediate impact of the Second Reform Act on electoral politics has been disputed, as noted in the Introduction, but it seems clear that all sides regarded the 1867 settlement as a transitory arrangement whose benefits would eventually have to be extended to the county seats.5 In retrospect, 1867 was the first salvo in a very rapid modernization of the electoral system, with a succession of measures enacted in the 1870s and 1880s, each arguably more radical than the last. In 1872 secret voting was introduced, and this was complemented a decade later, in 1883, by the passage of a Corrupt Practices Act which placed stringent curbs on the amount any candidate could spend during an election. In 1884 and 1885 the two halves of the Third Reform Act were passed. As well as equalizing the franchise between county and borough seats, the Act completely redrew the electoral map, substituting a series of single-member constituencies of roughly equal size for the old mixture of two-member county and borough seats. If the various residence qualifications meant that there were still many men who could not vote, and the absence of women from the electoral registers represents a glaring deficiency to modern eyes, still by 1885 Britain had taken decisive steps towards the creation of a modern system of parliamentary democracy. With this broad schema of the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867, and 1884–5 in place, a more detailed consideration of the impact of each on Welsh political life can be undertaken.

The new voting arrangements introduced in 1832 doubled the Welsh electorate, but the most important impact of the Great Reform Act on the principality was its redrawing of the electoral map. Five new seats were added to the principality’s representation at Westminster. (p.21) The towns of Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea were enfranchised, whilst the counties of Carmarthen, Glamorgan, and Denbigh were each given a second member.6 The changes did not stop there, however. The Act not only retained but extended the distinctively Welsh system of ‘contributory boroughs’, in which the inhabitants of several towns were conjoined in returning a member to parliament. Thus the MP for ‘Carnarvonshire Boroughs’ was returned not by the voters of Carnarvon alone, but by those of Conway, Criccieth, Nevin, and Pwllheli as well. In 1832 the inhabitants of no fewer than nineteen additional towns were incorporated within the borough electorate by these means. In some cases this led to relatively minor transformations. In the Carnarvon seat already mentioned, the only change in 1832 was that Bangor was added to the five existing contributory boroughs. In stark contrast, the previously lone borough of Montgomery was obliged, after 1832, to share its right of representation with five other towns (Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Welshpool, New-town, and Machynlleth). Unsurprisingly, it was in Glamorganshire, where industrialization and urbanization had grown most rapidly, that the impact of the 1832 Act was most heavily felt. The county was awarded a second seat, whilst in the boroughs there was little short of a revolution. Cardiff possessed six contributory boroughs prior to 1832 but retained only two (Cowbridge and Llantrisant); the other four (Aberavon, Kenfig, Neath, and Loughor) were attached to the newly created borough seat of Swansea. In addition, the new borough seat of Merthyr Tydfil was created and the town of Aberdare made contributory to it.7 The alteration to the electoral map effected by the 1832 legislation was, therefore, quite profound.

Despite this, Welsh historians have been very pessimistic about the significance of reform for political life in the principality. Thomas Evans, writing in the 1920s, described the Act as ‘nothing but a political mirage’,8 whilst David Williams, thirty years later, considered (p.22) its impact in Wales to have been ‘meagre’.9 More recent historians, such as John Davies and Philip Jenkins, have also played down its importance, if only by failing to discuss its consequences.10 With respect to the content of politics after 1832, historians have been equally unimpressed: politics is not considered to have received any vitalizing injection from the crisis surrounding the passage of the Act. K. O. Morgan remarked that political life in Wales ‘pursued its tranquil and undistinguished course for thirty years to come’ after 1832,11 whilst D. G. Evans argued that voting in this period remained a matter not of principles or mandates, but of personal connections.12 This view is echoed by D. J. V. Jones, who contended that the terms Whig and Tory, as used in Wales during the 1830s and 1840s, meant little, on the grounds that ‘within a generation … as radical change became unavoidable, almost all the landowning dynasties … had declared their allegiance to conservative principles’.13 Even the excellent Wales at Westminster, a compendium of statistics relating to Welsh politics between 1800 and 1979, tacitly supports this interpretation of political life in early Victorian Wales: whereas each election campaign after the Second Reform Act is considered individually, the period between 1832 and 1867 is dealt with on a county-by-county basis, an approach which naturally reinforces an explanatory system privileging the rivalries between local landed families at the expense of the political and ideological issues which formed the larger context within which elections were fought.14 Almost the only scholar prepared to ascribe any significance to the Great Reform Act has been Gwyn A. Williams, who made the interesting remark that the £50 tenants ‘were fairly substantial people’, and that the leaseholders enfranchised by the Act were ‘on the whole … the professionals, the commercials and the craftsmen of the small towns—a vital factor in the politicisation of non-industrial Wales’.15

(p.23)

TABLE 1.1. Election contests and results in Wales, 1832–1867

Year

Contests

No of MPs returned

Con.

Lib.

1832

8

14

18

1835

8

17

15

1837

13

19

13

1841

8

22

10

1847

2

19

13

1852

3

20

12

1857

4

17

15

1859

6

17

15

1865

5

14

18

Source: Arnold J. Thomas and John E. Thomas, Wales at Westminster: A History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales, 1800–1979 (Llandyssul, 1981), 196–7.

The insistence that the 1832 Act failed to exercise any profound influence on the political life of the principality naturally complements the notion, discussed in the Introduction, that ‘Wales had no real politics until the 1860s’.16 An examination of the statistics relating to contested elections between 1832 and 1867, however, begins to call this judgement into question. Whilst the rate of contested elections was undoubtedly lower in Wales than in England, there clearly was political life in the principality.

As can be seen from Table 1.1, electoral contests were not rare in Wales between the First and Second Reform Acts. In the 1830s in particular, between one-third and one-half of seats in the principality were routinely contested. Thereafter, in line with the pattern elsewhere in Britain, the number of contests fell sharply, only beginning to pick up in the late 1850s and 1860s. Almost no seat was left uncontested throughout the period: in fact, only the industrial town of Swansea remained undisturbed. By contrast, many seats were subject to regular contests, notably Carnarvon Boroughs, Monmouth Boroughs, Carmarthenshire, and Denbighshire. For the people of Wales, active engagement in the political process was not an unknown experience.

The tempo of political life undoubtedly picked up after the passage (p.24) of the Second Reform Act in 1867, reaching near-modern speed with the enactment of the Third Reform Act in 1884–5. In 1867 it was the enfranchisement provisions that made the biggest difference; indeed, the only change in the formal constituency map of Wales was the grant to Merthyr Tydfil of a second seat in parliament. With the enfranchisement of all householders in borough seats, however, a minor revolution took place in Wales. The number of voters in industrial towns like Merthyr Tydfil boomed. At the time of the 1865 election there were 1,387 registered electors in Merthyr; when the borough went to the polls three years later, it had 14,577! This tenfold increase was unique in Wales, but the electorate of the Flintshire boroughs increased by a factor of five and many other towns saw the number of those eligible to vote treble, including Beaumaris, Carmarthen, Carnarvon, Denbigh, and Swansea. County electorates were also affected by the new measures. Of particular significance was the enfranchisement of small, geographically isolated pockets of industrial workers, such as quarrymen. A number of historians, including Ieuan Gwynedd Jones and Ioan Matthews, have pinpointed the enfranchisement of these men, antipathetic as they were to the values of the landowners whose interests had long dominated politics in the countryside, as the most significant aspect of the 1867 legislation as far as Wales was concerned.17

This Act was quickly followed by a further reform of electoral arrangements. The Third Reform Act fell into two sections. In 1884 an Act was passed extending to the countryside the household voting qualifications which had operated in the towns since 1867. Total county representation in Wales leapt from some 77,000 in 1880 to over 200,000 in 1885 as a consequence. The number of voters in Glamorganshire increased by some three-and-a-half times, in Anglesey by a factor of three. The most significant feature of the reform, however, was the redistribution of seats effected the following year. The 1885 Act completely redrew the electoral map of Britain, replacing all two-member seats with one-member constituencies. Several Welsh boroughs were disenfranchised, including Beaumaris, Brecon, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, and Radnor, which dealt a blow (p.25) to the distinctive Welsh system of contributory boroughs.18 The populous city of Swansea was split into two new seats, Swansea Town and Swansea District. The county map was also changed significantly: the principle of one MP for each constituency required the formal division of counties like Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire which had formerly returned two representatives.19 After 1885, therefore, Wales’s thirty-four members were split between twenty-two county representatives and just twelve borough members. As one contemporary remarked on the eve of the 1885 election, there had been ‘an entire revolution in the constituencies and in the mode of election’.20 It is a view echoed by Kenneth Morgan, who argues that the Acts of 1884 and 1885 ‘created a political revolution … more profound even than that of 1868’.21

TABLE 1.2. Elections in Wales, 1868–1895

Year

Contests

Con.

Lib.

Lib. Unionist

Lib./Lab.

1868

21

10

23

1874

23

14

19

1880

25

4

29

1885

31

4

29

1886

23

6

26

1

1

1892

31

3

30

1

1895

32

8

24

1

1

Source: Arnold J. Thomas and John E. Thomas, Wales at Westminster: A History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales, 1800–1979 (Llandyssul, 1981), 197–8.

The impact of the changes introduced by the Second and Third Reform Acts on Welsh electoral activity can be seen in Table 1.2. The table reveals vividly the impact of the electoral changes upon the political life of the principality. The number of seats contested at election time grew dramatically, in line with a similar growth experienced in other parts of Britain: two-thirds of Welsh seats were regularly contested from 1868 onwards; after 1885 the norm was over (p.26) 90 per cent.22 The table also highlights another new feature of late nineteenth-century electioneering: the willingness of the parties to contest seats they knew they had no prospect of winning. Despite the enormous majorities obtained by Liberal candidates in many Welsh seats, the Conservatives persisted in contesting the representation in a manner quite unthinkable in the period before 1867.

Electoral activity in Wales was thus marked by a series of peaks and troughs across the period between 1832 and 1885. Immediately after the First Reform Act elections were regularly contested, but conflict abated noticeably in the 1850s and 1860s. The passage of the Second Reform Act in 1867, and the Third in 1885, however, brought electoral combat up to near-modern levels of intensity. It was within the confines of the system described above that the politicians appealed to the electors. The ideological foundations of their appeal are the subject of the next section.

Conservatives, Liberals, and Radicals

For all the truth in H. J. Hanham’s judgement that the ‘chief characteristic of party organization in the nineteenth century was its impotence’,23 historians note a decided change of atmosphere in politics either side of the Second Reform Act. It is from the post-1867 period that the great political party organizations date, and from this point that the relative autonomy of local politics began to be invaded by the imperatives of central party control. The Conservative party was the better organized of the two, establishing a National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations in 1867, and the rather more businesslike Central Office in 1872, as co-ordinating centres in an increasingly national plan of campaign.24 The Liberal party’s central organization was less schematic, remaining focused on the person of the Chief Whip, with other duties undertaken by the Liberal Registration Association. The party, as Jonathon Parry has (p.27) written, ‘saw itself as a virtuous free-acting body of disinterested trustees of the people’s conscience, exemplars of public service’:25 as a consequence, there was little scope for the kinds of centrally directed co-ordination that characterized Conservative organization, and nothing like the Central Office strategy of issuing a weekly publication called the ‘Editor’s Handysheet’, available to all newspaper editors and giving the party’s line on the issues of the day.

However, it is important not to confuse the absence of central party machinery in the period between the First and Second Reform Acts with the absence of clear ideological positions. As Chapter 2 will make clear, the parties appealed to voters at election-time on the basis of well-defined ideological positions which gave rise to distinctive interpretations of the current political situation. In this section, the ‘core ideologies’ of the three parties who participated in Welsh elections, the Conservatives, the Whigs/Liberals, and the radicals, will be considered.

The Conservative party was what might be described as the ‘natural party of government’ in Wales for most of the period between the First and Second Reform Acts. On only two occasions, the first and the last elections in the period, did they find themselves in a minority in the principality. In the period after 1867, however, their fortunes waned dramatically, and even though the party still commanded the support of some 40 per cent of voters, it had to make do with only about 10 per cent of the Welsh seats in parliament.

For the Conservatives, or Tories as they were still known, three issues may be said to have been of defining importance in the period under investigation here: the Church of England, land, and the British Empire. Of the three, pride of place was assumed by the Church. Welsh Conservatives shared the view of Tories all over Britain that the Church of England was the basis for the special bond that existed between the British nation and the Almighty. They argued that the Church’s strongly anti-Catholic stance had attracted the approval of the Deity, and that Britain’s material wealth and martial success were signs of divine blessing.26 The Church, as one Conservative supporter (p.28) put it in 1852, was ‘the source of all national prosperity’.27 It was, in part, because any threat to the Church might weaken her ability to resist Catholicism that Tories opposed Church reform so bitterly. However, when the Catholic threat receded in the late nineteenth century28 Conservative enthusiasm for the Church did not fade: the Church remained the symbolic guarantor of the established order. Attempts to disestablish and disendow the Church in the 1880s, for example, were interpreted as the precursors to more general attacks on private property,29 or that group of state institutions known as ‘the Constitution’. Archdeacon de Winton expressed Conservative fears well when he addressed a meeting in Radnor in 1885: disestablishment of the Church, he said, would not only be ‘an unqualified evil for the Church, but it would be an unqualified evil for the State. (Applause.) The Church had been dragged down before, but the Crown fell with it, and if it were dragged down again, did they think that the Crown and the House of Lords would long survive?’30 Such staunch defences of the Church, however, sounded increasingly hollow in Wales, a country where four-fifths of the population were dissenters. Anglican arguments that the tolerant outlook of the Established Church was in itself a guarantee of the dissenters’ liberty did little to lessen the inevitability of conflict between Conservatives and Liberals over religious issues.31

As well as being the party of the Church, the Conservatives were the party of the landed interest. Wales’s Tory MPs, for the most part,32 defended the Corn Laws stoutly in 1846, and thereafter pressed steadily for the reduction of the tax burden on farmers.33

(p.29) In the face of the late-century downturn in agricultural prices, they resurrected schemes for agricultural protection.34 Yet whenever legislation was proposed which interfered with the landlord’s ability to administer his property as he saw fit, Conservatives closed ranks. All proposals for Tenant Right were stoutly resisted, as were plans to introduce schemes allowing the compulsory purchase of land for redistribution to the labouring classes as allotments.35 By the end of the period, however, Conservative fears extended beyond the land to embrace all species of property. In 1886 Conservatives in Monmouthshire, for example, were galvanized by the fear that the Liberals intended to make colliery-owners foot half the local rating bill.36 Nevertheless, land played an especially symbolic role in Wales, and Tories were always ready to link its fate with that of the other great Conservative institution under siege in the principality, the Church of England. As the Revd Evan Rowland of Llwynybrain in Pembrokeshire put it in 1883: ‘If Chamberlain & Co. are once on the ascendant in politics—all our most cherished institutions will be at stake’; unless Anglicans stood to their stations, he continued, ‘they will lose their Church and after that their property’.37

The Church and the rights of property thus remained at the heart of the Conservatives’ understanding of the world throughout the period; towards its end a new factor came to rival them in importance: the Empire. At the heart of their Imperial credo lay a belief in the need to preserve the strength of British arms. The phrase used by Howel Gwyn, Conservative candidate at Brecon in a by-election in 1875, caught the flavour well: he emphasized the need to ‘keep up the efficiency of our Naval and Military forces, and to vindicate the honour and reputation of England, and to make her feared abroad and respected at home’.38 Policies like international arbitration, favoured in some quarters of the Liberal party, were (p.30) discountenanced. One Conservative candidate in Glamorganshire expressed his opposition to the policy thus:

He believed in being perfectly firm and keeping his fists closed. If a man walked through the slums of some of our large towns he would button up his coat, close his fists, and probably would not have to strike (Applause.) Perhaps the worst thing he could do was to walk along with his hands behind him and say ‘I am prepared to arbitrate’ (Laughter and applause).39

Gladstone’s policy of Home Rule for Ireland was opposed at the election of 1886 on similar grounds: to give Ireland Home Rule would indicate to the rest of the world that Britain had lost the will to keep what she had. The formula, as Edmund Swetenham told constituents at Carnarvon, was very simple: ‘Unity is strength. Dismemberment is weakness.’40 And, as always in Conservative minds, the problem had a distinctly Anglican dimension. Disestablishment for Wales without a similar measure for England was always opposed as a measure of ‘national disintegration’.41

The policy of Imperial expansion was indelibly associated with the person of Benjamin Disraeli. In the post-1867 world, the growing significance of the centrally-organized parliamentary parties had the effect of boosting the talismanic role played by the party leaders. For all that there had been considerable enthusiasm for individuals like Peel and, particularly, Wellington earlier in the century, the cult of personality that surrounding Disraeli was distinctive for being so carefully orchestrated by the party itself. At the heart of the party’s late-century love-affair with Disraeli lay the Primrose League, the successful social organization named after Disraeli’s favourite flower and devised by Randolph Churchill.42 The League flourished in the principality in a way that the party failed to do, as Chapter 3 will show. Disraeli’s memory was naturally honoured by the local Conservative Party Associations which sprang up in the post-1885 period. Many adorned their membership cards with a quotation (p.31) from their erstwhile leader,43 and at election time such messages became especially potent. As late as 1892, Radnorshire Conservatives were circulated with a card which urged them to remember the closing words of Disraeli’s final speech: ‘What our duty is at this critical moment is to maintain the Empire of Britain.’44 The Imperial theme was clearly seen by the party’s organizers as one of its most potent appeals to the electorate, though it ultimately failed to revive the party’s fortunes in Wales.

Facing the Conservatives was a coalition of more or less reform-minded politicians. The precise boundaries between the various groupings are confused and confusing, not least because of the fluid construction placed upon the nomenclature by contemporaries: ‘whig’, ‘liberal’, and even ‘radical’ could all refer to the same person, depending on who was describing him. What all had in common, however, was a commitment to government in the interest of the people—although not necessarily by the people—and a strong belief in religious equality. As a consequence, the large dissenting vote in Wales tended to gravitate to their side of the political question.

The term ‘whig’ was most commonly encountered in the early part of the period, and included those who had supported Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and parliamentary reform three years later. At the start of the period covered by this book, Whiggery in Wales could boast the allegiance of many great seigneurial houses, including the Johnes of Dolaucothi in Carmarthenshire, the Vaughans of Crosswood and Powells of Nanteos in Cardiganshire, the Marquis of Anglesey in Anglesey, and the Mostyns in Denbighshire. A classic statement of their progressive politics was given in 1852 by Sir Richard Williams Bulkeley, MP for Anglesey. ‘From the days of Charles the first to 1815’, he told his constituents,

the cause of political progress had been kept back, partly by foreign wars and partly by domestic trouble … but since the year 1815, a long term of peace and accompanying prosperity had led to the advancement of education, and people began to see the propriety of so reforming the institutions of the country, as to ensure at once their safety and their adaptation to existing circumstances.

He then instanced a long series of reforms, starting with the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts (1828), Catholic Emancipation (p.32) (1829), and the Reform Act (1832), the introduction of sanitary measures to improve the condition of the people, factory legislation to protect women and children, and the great contemporary task, fiscal reform.45 Progress was central to the Whig vision.

By the 1850s the Whigs formed only a part of the progressive alliance facing Conservatism.46 More important by this stage were the more decidedly middle-class urban Liberals, champions of the small state and ‘“cheap government” as a social good’.47 While sharing the Whig desire for ‘civil and religious equality’, there was among Liberals less paternalism and a more profound embrace of laissezfaire principles, particularly in relation to economic matters.48 They were whole-hearted in their support of Free Trade, strongly backing the repeal of the Corn Laws while resolutely rejecting government interference in industry. A good example is provided by Henry Austin Bruce, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Under-Secretary at the Home Office for much of the 1860s. In 1861 he declared that it was ‘wholly impracticable’ to introduce legislation that would limit to eight the number of hours a day children under the age of 10 might work in the mines: such a course would damage the workpeople themselves by rendering the mining industry inefficient, meaning that fewer could be employed. The only course was to leave such things to ‘the humanity of the masters and the feelings of the workmen themselves’.49 Bruce was far from being an unkind or illiberal man: however, the laws of free-market economics were his guide in cases such as this.50

The Liberal belief in the doctrine of laissez faire extended beyond the realm of economics to embrace foreign policy and religion. The anticipated outcome of international Free Trade was international harmony, which would obviate the need for expensive wars;51 avoidance of expensive foreign entanglements thus appealed to Liberals on financial as well as moral grounds. In religious matters, Liberals were actuated by principles of social justice: church rate abolition was supported to relieve dissenters from the burden of paying a tax (p.33) to a church which they neither believed in nor used; the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Ireland in 1869 was promoted on the grounds that its status as the ‘official’ church represented an injustice to the Catholics who made up 90 per cent of the population. However, the same argument ensured that no such concession would be granted to dissent in England: for the most part, the mainstream of Liberalism was loyal to the Anglican Church.

The vast majority of Liberal MPs returned from Wales in this period would have subscribed to the Liberal principles outlined above. However, there was a more extreme wing to the coalition facing the Conservatives, occupied by the radicals. Radicals, too, believed in religious and financial liberty, but went further: government by the people and for the people, together with an unremitting hostility to the aristocracy and the Church of England, characterized their outlook. They tended to recognize society as falling into two simple categories, ‘the people’ and the aristocracy. The ‘people’ was, however, an amorphous category, and was often extended to include all those who were engaged productively in society.52 It was this that the editor of Wales’s leading Welsh-language newspaper, Baner Ac Amserau Cymru, had in mind when he declared that every man should be a ‘worker’:

We use the word ‘to work’ in its purest sense; and call a man a worker who uses his time, talent [or] wealth to enrich the country or its inhabitants … It is of no difference what kind of house he lives in, or what sort of clothes he wears: if he uses those things given him by the Creator to elevate his fellow man, he is worthy on all counts of the honourable name—worker.53

Opposing the productive classes were the aristocracy, who, complained the same writer, considered it their right to ‘eat, “kill time” and drink pleasure to their hearts’ content’. Selfish, effete, and reliant on the efforts of others, they were the natural enemies of the people.54

The state of society after 1832, where privilege still appeared to be well entrenched, offended radicals. Their solution was further, thoroughgoing reform of parliament to bring the state under the control of its people.55 In 1837, for example, a banner in the victory (p.34) procession of the Carmarthenshire Boroughs MP David Morris demanded household suffrage, vote by ballot, the removal of property qualifications for MPs, the payment of MPs, and shorter parliaments.56 It was a list of demands which had formed the staple of the radical agenda since the 1780s, and would soon be adopted by the Chartists.57

Electorally, the impact of Chartism in Wales was minimal. Although several of the Welsh Chartist leaders enjoyed important careers in local politics,58 no Welsh Chartist succeeded in securing a vote at a parliamentary election. Yet the essence of the radical agenda survived Chartism’s demise, and the idea that reforms of the constitution would lead to the return of a parliament directly answerable to the people, and thus willing to carry out the reforms that were deemed necessary, remained strong. E. G. Salisbury proposed just such a package to the voters of Flintshire in 1852: manhood suffrage, he claimed was the essential prerequisite, and then the people could look forward to government that would further liberate trade, abstain from intervention in the affairs of other countries, introduce a secular education system under local control, extend tolerance for Roman Catholics, and sever the connection between Church and State—a radical wish-list indeed!59

The last was a policy with a special appeal in Wales. where religious dissent claimed the loyalties of some 80 per cent of the churchgoing public in 1851. Maintaining that a state church had no basis in Scripture, dissenters disputed the right of the Anglican Church to levy taxes such as the church rate and inveighed against the privileged position it occupied within the Constitution,60 typified by the right of its bishops to sit in the House of Lords. Unsurprisingly, dissent formed the mainspring of radical politics in the principality, and disestablishment became the primary ‘Welsh’ policy in the second half of the nineteenth century.

To summarise, radicals believed in freedom. The Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald expressed it well in 1852: ‘Freedom to worship God (p.35) at the sole dictation of conscience, and freedom to barter, buy or sell, the products of industry at the sole bidding of self-interest, as the best indicator of social benefit and the common weal.’ Alongside this, opposition to the ‘doctrine of the olden day—that the welfare of the county consists in the aggrandisement of its aristocracy, the augmentation of its rental, and the conservation of every mode, modification, and remainder of its ancient feudalism’.61 This was as comprehensive a statement of the radical position in mid-Victorian England as one could hope to encounter: strongly for freedom of trade and religion, and hostile to an aristocracy whose ideas were seen as being not only invidious and harmful to the common-weal, but also out of date.

For all that they spoke in the name of the people, it is unclear that the radicals in fact enjoyed a natural majority among the electors, particularly in the first half of the period discussed in this book. This was true even of the MP who worked most tirelessly for the amelioration of dissenting grievances in the years before 1867, Lewis Llywelyn Dillwyn (Swansea). Dillwyn was an Anglican, but aggressively evangelical, telling parliament on one occasion that ‘the doctrines of the Church of England, as taught by the High Church party, were not consistent with the spirit of Protestantism’, and that, in particular, their notion ‘of a priesthood forming a privileged class, claiming to possess of some superior spiritual power apart from the rest of the community’, countered the true Protestant’s recognition of ‘the same spiritual rights in all men’.62 Dillwyn campaigned hard on a range of issues relating to dissent, including Endowed Schools, together with other matters ranging from wife beating to the opening of parks and museums on Sundays. Yet as one shrewd observer remarked, Dillwyn was ‘far in advance of his constituents in his radicalism’, and had to tone down his true opinions to remain acceptable to the voters of his large commercial constituency.63

The broad coalition opposing Conservatism thus embraced a variety of positions. However, a crucial factor in binding these groups together was the politics of personality. In a much more marked sense than was true among their Conservative opponents, Liberals had heroes—domestic and foreign. Among the former, Richard Cobden and John Bright were key figures in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s.64

(p.36) As early as 1843 Cobden could remark: ‘It is quite evident the Welch consider me to be their representative;’65 by the middle of the century he was endlessly held up as the model of public spirit to which all Welshmen should aspire: successful, acquainted with business but resolutely of the people, turning down the honours that the state put in his way.66 Among the foreign heroes, no one stood higher than Garibaldi, whose reputation was honoured with fervour by English and Welsh radicals alike throughout the 1860s.67 In the later nineteenth century Wales produced several stars of her own. Henry Richard was naturally a key figure,68 but perhaps the most inspirational was the Denbighshire newspaper proprietor Thomas Gee. His effect on a large hall was described by Lady Watkin Williams: ‘To attend meetings in the towns where the most stirring or absorbing speech would be drowned in enthusiastic outburst at his late entrance, or in the wayside Chapels of the Mountain Districts, where the mention of his name would evoke cheers to threaten the roof was to realise what power he wielded.’69

However enthusiastic the reception accorded to these men, none conquered the public imagination as completely as did William Gladstone after 1867. In Wales, as elsewhere, Gladstone came to dominate the visible horizon of late Victorian Liberalism to the exclusion of all others. He provided a centrifugal moral force that held together the disparate elements of his party.70 The enthusiasm of the Welsh liberals for Gladstone was extraordinary and far outstripped anything the Conservatives could rally in favour of Disraeli. As early as 1865, Sir Thomas Lloyd assured Gladstone that the people of Wales reposed entire confidence in him;71 at election meetings in many parts of the principality three years later it was recorded that (p.37) ‘cheers for Mr Gladstone were frequently given when the name of that statesman happened to be mentioned’.72 On some occasions, the language of adulation was more high flown. In Carnarvon Boroughs, W. B. Hughes, after dwelling on the merits of Sir Robert Peel, told a meeting at Bangor that ‘the Almighty has handed to us a man as his successor, a most worthy man … I allude to the man who supports and leads the Liberal party, Mr Gladstone (cheers)’—and such evocations of the Almighty’s influence in persuading Gladstone to participate in politics were not uncommon.73

The Gladstone personality cult bound together Liberals of widely different social backgrounds and political outlook for the next quarter of a century.74 Sir Robert Cunliffe, MP for Flintshire Boroughs, for example, found common ground with the influential Revd Roger Edwards of Mold when he wrote: ‘Nothing is clearer to me than his [Gladstone’s] incontestable superiority over every other man in the House’,75 whilst the great Welsh-language journalist John Griffith, ‘Y Gohebydd’, recommended to a friend who was wondering whether to travel from Aberystwyth to Birmingham to hear Gladstone: ‘By all means don’t miss this opportunity to hear once in your life the greatest orator of the nineteenth century and no mistake. Really [he] is a most wonderful man!’76 Among the rank and file, too, Gladstone’s appeal was all-consuming. Watkin Williams gave a vivid impression of how important Gladstone was to the Liberal cause in Wales when, during his canvass in 1880, he reported to his leader: ‘thanks to the magical influence of your beloved name, [we are] having something very like a Royal Progress through Carnarvonshire.’ Even in traditionally Conservative areas, the whole population had apparently turned out. ‘A procession nearly two miles in length accompanied us into Llanberis village, and the name of Gladstone resounded & echoed over the hill sides with cannon firing (p.38) & banners waving, and two bands playing.’ ‘[T]he enthusiasm for you here knows no bounds,’ Williams concluded, ‘and the spirit is to be seen throughout the County’.77 Nor had these sentiments perished before the end of the period covered in this book. As the Conservative candidate for Pembrokeshire reflected bitterly after his defeat in 1892, the Welsh were so besotted with the Grand Old Man that ‘if a broomstick put up in the Gladstone interest I believe they would vote for it’!78

Such, in broad outline, were the ideological positions motivating the major parties between the First and Third Reform Acts. There was, however, one further idea in Welsh political life that must be discussed: ‘Wales’ itself. It is to this that the final section of the chapter is devoted.

Wales in British Politics

The word ‘Wales’, as noted in the Introduction, had a dual existence in the nineteenth century. For the first half of the century, and in Conservative circles for much longer, it simply referred to the geographical region of Britain lying to the west of the Severn river. In the second half, however, it came to mean something very different, particularly in the mouths of Welsh radicals. From the 1850s on, they represented Wales as a ‘nation’, defined by its adherence to nonconformity, characterized by its peculiar culture, and ambitious for equal representation with the other nations of Britain in the Imperial parliament. The development and elaboration of the new language of the ‘nation’ was the key development in the history of politics in nineteenth-century Wales, and it added a distinctive leaven to political debate in the principality from the 1850s onwards. The origins and subsequent use of the rhetoric of the nation is the subject of this section.

In 1832 no one considered Wales to be a nation. Poor and geographically isolated, the principality was distinguished only by an ancient tongue used chiefly by the poorer classes in some, but not all, areas.79 For administrative purposes, meanwhile, Wales was merely an extension of its more powerful neighbour, particularly once the (p.39) Court of Great Sessions had been abolished in 1830.80 Interest in Wales and ‘Welshness’ was correspondingly limited. It seems to have been largely the preserve of small groups of educated or aristocratic patrons, who acknowledged their own ‘Welsh’ lineage and associated themselves with a romanticized, antiquarian notion of Welshness.81 Its primary characteristics can be gained from the contents of the historical accounts of Wales they patronized, such as that produced by John Jones in 1824, which focused on bards, druids, and Ancient Britons.82

Certainly, nothing more profound than a sense of ancient attachment to locality was intended by the references to ‘Wales’ and ‘Welsh’ identity encountered at elections before 1850. Interestingly, in view of later developments, these were chiefly to be found on the Conservative side. A particularly good example was provided by William Bulkeley Hughes’s successful campaign for the Carnarvonshire Boroughs in 1837. His victory banquet in the Market Hall at Carnarvon presented a scene of carefully stage-managed feudalism. Mr Richard Roberts, who was both a harpist and the Royal Minstrel, played for the diners, and there were also two Welsh bards, who, reported the local newspaper, ‘ever and anon, when toasts were announced, advanced to the front of the gallery, and in extemporaneous Welsh verses eulogised individuals whose healths had been given’.83 In sharp contrast, Whig and Liberal candidates, believing in rational progress, were frankly dismissive of Welshness.84 When J. Lloyd Davies sought to propose the Conservative candidate at Carmarthen in 1837 in Welsh, on the grounds that there were many there who might not understand English, the friends of the Whiggish independent candidate, Sir James Williams, prevented his doing so.85 And at Carnarvon in the same year, when the Conservatives loudly trumpeted the ability of their candidate, W. B. Hughes, to speak Welsh, one of his opponent’s foremost supporters, the radical public-health (p.40) reformer Dr O. O. Roberts, countered by saying that ‘he did not see what … a knowledge of the Welsh language had to do with the qualification of a member of Parliament’.86

Within thirty years, men of Roberts’s political persuasion were promoting a very different message. The sea-change in their outlook was the result of the storm created by the Report of a Royal Commission established to examine the state of education in Wales. The Commissioners had been instructed to comment not only on the educational resources of the principality, but also on the morals of a people who had risen against the established order so spectacularly on two occasions in the preceding ten years, at Newport in 1839 and in West Wales in 1842–3. It was this aspect of the Report that became so controversial when their findings were published in 1847. The Report maintained that Welsh civilization was disfigured by the ‘barbarous and immoral’ habits of the people, whom it considered ‘thoroughly and universally depraved and brutalised’.87 It accused the women of unchastity, the men of lying and cheating, and the community as a whole of lamentable backwardness.88 Even in economic matters, Welsh communities lagged behind: in the industrial regions, the Commissioners noted, the natives were always hands and never masters at the works which dominated their existence.89 Their Report identified as causes for this sorry state the prevalence of the Welsh language and the adherence of the mass of the people to nonconformity; together, these cultural factors deprived the people of wholesome intercourse with their (anglicized) social superiors, and instead, excited their lowest passions and kept them ignorant of anything but the religious controversies which filled the Welsh-language press.

The sweeping condemnation of Welsh popular culture contained in the Report provoked an impassioned response. Over the next twenty years a stream of pamphlets, articles, and cartoons denounced the Commissioners and those who had given evidence to them.90

(p.41) They denied the charges levelled against the Welsh people, and threw them back at their accusers, showing that, when measured in terms of bastardy rates or the incidence of serious crime, the Welsh were paragons of virtue when compared to similarly placed populations in England. Moreover, the guarantors of this virtue were precisely those cultural institutions despised by the Commissioners—the Welsh language and the chapels. The Welsh people derived their morality from reading their Bibles, and carried this over into all other walks of life. Thus, whereas English working men dissipated their leisure hours in drinking, their Welsh equivalents set themselves to self-improvement, attending chapel, reading the vast didactic literature printed in their own tongue, or composing poems and songs for performance at local eisteddfodau. The revelation at the Religious Census of 1851 that dissenters outnumbered Anglicans in the principality by a margin of four to one simply confirmed a growing conviction: Wales was a ‘nation of nonconformists’ and, as such, morally superior to England.

It was in the course of these debates that a new and defiant national identity was born in the principality. It defined ‘Wales’ and ‘Welshness’ in terms very different from those celebrated by the aristocratic Conservatives noted above. At its heart stood the leaders of those groups despised by the Commissioners—the middle class of Welsh-speaking chapelgoers. Within two decades their Wales would become the vehicle for the championship of a range of fundamentally radical policies, demanded in the name of the ‘nation’, policies which aimed to address the civil disabilities of dissenters and the grievances of tenant farmers.

The dissemination of this new consciousness of nationhood was facilitated by the press, notably the emergence in 1858 of a new Welsh language title, Baner ac Amserau Cymru, published in Denbigh by Thomas Gee. Gee’s most inspired appointment to the staff of the paper was John Griffith, better known by his pen-name, ‘Y Gohebydd’. For nearly twenty years Gohebydd, in his role as ‘London Correspondent’, penned a weekly column for the paper in which Wales’s new identity was kept before the public. A radical in politics himself, he kept the activity of MPs from the principality (p.42) under constant review, notably when Bills of interest to dissenters were before the House. At his death in 1878, one obituarist remarked that Gohebydd had, as a consequence, been ‘a weekly teacher in politics in thousands of Welsh homes’: his columns had been read by all classes of the new Welsh ‘nation’, he said, ‘the senator, the politician, the eisteddfodwr, the preacher, the merchant, the schoolmaster’. The effect had been profound, as the obituary made clear:

Since he began to write—shall we say agitate—through the press, Wales has changed her position, has become a political power. Now she is felt in Parliament, for her representatives have won the ear of the house. We are not misrepresented as of yore by dumb proprietors. We hope there are none among us but will own that ‘Gohebydd’ has done more than any one single person to incite us to this influential position.91

Gohebydd’s role extended beyond the reporting of formal politics, however. He also contributed to the formation of the new Welsh consciousness in a cultural sense. In the early 1860s he ran a series of well-publicized campaigns through the columns of Baner which identified a number of suitable heroes for the new Welsh nation, and urged that each be commemorated by the erection of a suitable monument, paid for by the people themselves. The identity of the men selected offers an interesting insight to the mind of the developing ‘nation’. Gohebydd’s ‘Welsh’ heroes were men like the thirteenth-century Prince Llywelyn Ap Grufydd—who was presented, rather improbably, as having died to defend the ‘institutions, rights, language, and belief’ of Wales from the English—and the eighteenth-century Methodist, Daniel Rowland of Llangeitho.92 If the former had resisted England’s political overlordship, the latter deserved commemoration for standing out against the Anglican Church. The opposition to things English suggested by these commemoration campaigns was given a contemporary twist by the series of eviction scandals discussed in Chapter 5: read in the context of Gohebydd’s wider teaching, the Anglican, anglicized aristocracy could be interpreted as the latest incarnation of that historic force which had long oppressed the Welsh people.

Another illustrious and effective propagandist for the new nation (p.43) was Henry Richard, Secretary of the Peace Society and friend of Richard Cobden. Richard was among the first wave of those who protested at the calumnies of the Commissioners’ Report; in 1866, after two decades of agitation in the press, he produced a remarkably full statement of the new Welsh nation’s character and requirements in a series of letters penned for the Cobdenite Morning Star.93 His letters inverted the conclusions of the 1847 Commission: Wales’s problems, he insisted, stemmed not from the people’s nonconformity or their adherence to the Welsh language, but from actions of their social betters, the aristocracy.94 The aristocracy, proudly English-speaking and Anglican as they were, were an alien force in the principality, according to Richard. They, and the Church they supported, ruled without popular support; they subjected the rural population to the ‘harrow’ of a cruel landlordism, inflicting swingeing rent-rises to confiscate the value of unexhausted improvements, and having frequent recourse to eviction as a means of neutralizing those who showed any disposition to oppose them.95 In their role as the principality’s Members in parliament, meanwhile, they made a mockery of representative government.96 Anglicans to a man, they voted down every measure intended for the relief of nonconformists, measures which their constituents would naturally have supported.97 Wales, the ‘nation of nonconformists’, must return men who would press for legislation to satisfy the demands of her particular religious make-up, and take on the land question that plagued the countryside.

There was a sense in which Richard’s letters offered no more than the classic radical analysis of society’s ills: its juxtaposition of virtuous ‘people’ and tyrannical ‘aristocracy’, for example, came straight from the stock-in-trade of British radicalism. However, the letters were infused by a special bitterness derived from the need to defend Wales against the charges of the 1847 Commissioners. The marriage of traditional radicalism and the specifically Welsh grievances arising from 1847 created a blueprint for a new nation. As Ieuan Gwynedd Jones has remarked, Richard gave the Welsh a political language.98

(p.44) The rhetoric of Welsh nationhood employed by men like Richard and Gohebydd, in which nonconformist, Welsh-speaking, and Liberal-voting ‘Wales’ stood opposed to an alienated English-speaking, Anglican, Tory-voting aristocracy, enjoyed two periods of prominence in the period covered by this book. The first was during the 1860s, the second during the 1880s. In general, historians of Welsh politics have played down the ‘nationalistic’ implications of the earlier period, dubbing the rhetoric encountered then as ‘radicalism’, ‘patriotism’, or ‘quasi-nationalism’.99 Nationalism, by contrast, they locate in the 1880s and 1890s when Welsh radicals pursued Home Rule and sought the institutional trappings of self-government.

Whether the distinction is a useful one is debatable. For although there was undoubtedly a wider, cultural sense of nationhood abroad in the later period, the political core of the national project remained fundamentally consistent in terms of its ideas and its tactics. A brief survey of these themes will suggest that acknowledging the often overtly nationalist activities of mid-century Welsh radical politics on their own terms, without requiring them to fit the teleology of a ‘nationalism’ tied to the development of a demand for distinctive institutions, makes much better sense of the political debate in the principality between the First and Third Reform Acts.100

First, the issues which preoccupied the radical promoters of the Welsh nation remained very similar throughout the century. In essence there were two principal elements to their agenda, religious equality and land reform. The former encompassed a wide variety of issues, ranging from those directly concerned with religion, such as the abolition of church rates, legislation to allow the compulsory purchase of land on which to build chapels and schools, settlement of the burials question, and disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales, to social issues in which religion played a key part, such as education and temperance. Although many of these issues received their legislative settlement in the last twenty years of the century—the Burials Act (1880), Sunday Closing Act (1881), and Intermediate Education Act (1889)—as the second period of nationalist (p.45) interest got under way, they had their roots in the politics of the mid-century.

The second string in the nationalists’ bow was land reform. The Welsh ‘land question’ is always dated to the later 1880s and associated with the ‘tithe war’ which raged in North Wales.101 However, as will be seen in Chapter 5, the conviction that Wales possessed a land question similar to that in Ireland was a product of the 1860s, and the protracted clamour raised by men like Gohebydd and Henry Richard concerning the alleged eviction of tenants from their holdings after the general election of 1868 brought the issue right on to the floor of the Commons. If it was only in the 1890s that Welsh radicals succeeded in securing the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the whole nature of landholding in the principality, it should not be forgotten that the land question had formed a staple grievance of those who conceived of Wales as a distinct nation for a generation.

If the policies pursued demonstrate a level of continuity, so too does the identity of those who promoted the Welsh nation as a political force. The rhetoric of the Welsh ‘nation’ was conceived by, and subsequently remained in the possession of, the radical wing of the Liberal party.102 Relationships between the radicals and the more Whiggish elements of the party were strained from the start. Henry Richard, for example, was extremely scornful of the ‘so-called Liberal Churchmen’ who supported the party in Wales.103 The 1868 election saw several contests in which sitting Whig MPs were opposed by more advanced candidates prepared to use the rhetoric of the nation. In Denbighshire, for example, George Osborne Morgan pipped the Adullamite Col. Biddulph to the second seat,104 while in Beaumaris, the Hon. W. O. Stanley faced an opposition from a young barrister, Morgan Lloyd. Lloyd believed that only men who themselves belonged to the ‘nation’, ‘who understood the minds of (p.46) the Welsh, who could think like they did, and feel like they did, and therefore knew by instinct when a question came before parliament, how the Welsh people think of it’, could be entrusted with the responsibility of representing a Welsh seat in parliament.105 If he was unsuccessful in his campaign, he was not alone in seeing men like W. O. Stanley as aristocrats first and friends of ‘Welsh’ liberalism second.106 For reasons that will be discussed in Chapter 8, the radical party in Wales was obliged to put up with aristocratic candidates for another twenty years after 1868; however, when nationalism entered its second peak in the 1880s, the kind of demands voiced by Lloyd again became central to the political debate in the principality. In 1886, for example, the Revd John Davies of Liverpool wrote to Thomas Gee, urging that in all future contests in the principality, ‘a strenuous effort’ be made to select ‘Welsh candidates … thoroughly in sympathy & accord with the feeling of the country’. ‘No Englishman’, he continued, ‘can ever properly understand Welshmen or Welsh ideas.’107 Correspondents of Gee’s Baner Ac Amserau Cymru drew unflattering parallels between the Members for Wales and those of Scotland and Ireland. MPs from these areas, as one writer from Merioneth put it, won legislation for their countries because they were not ‘sais-Addolwyr’ (English-worshippers) and stood up for their nations.108 Until Wales returned men of her own nation, there would be no ‘Justice for Wales’. Wales’s MPs should be representatives of Wales first and everything else second.109 Harsh though these words sounded, however, both the sentiment and the logic behind them had been around for a generation by the time they were uttered.

The concern for the return of men of the nation to parliament to look after Wales’s interests properly was one thing; however, historians have been wont to cite two further elements in support of the argument that the period of nationalism proper should be located in the 1880s and 1890s, and not the 1860s. First, historians like R. Merfyn Jones have claimed that it was in the later period that the (p.47) middle-classes developed those ideological ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups which defined who should be comprehended within the nation and who should not;110 second, it was in the 1880s that radicals began to demand the institutions of self-government, through a system of Home Rule.

Yet it is arguable that, once again, the case for continuity is the stronger. As the foregoing discussion of Henry Richard’s letters will have made clear, the process of defining who was to be considered properly ‘Welsh’ had been sorted out by 1867: the ‘Welsh’ were the nonconformist, Welsh-speaking, and Liberal-voting middle classes. By no accident at all, the cultural attributes of the ‘Welsh’ had been defined in terms precisely opposite to those of the existing elite, the aristocracy, who were English-speaking Anglicans who sided with the Conservative party. These definitions were designed to redefine political legitimacy in the principality, so that cultural factors rather than social position and wealth formed the yardstick against which an individual’s fitness to claim leadership of the community could be judged. This was in place by the time of the Second Reform Act.

There was also continuity in the radicals’ constitutional strategy. In both the 1860s and 1880s/90s, promoters of the Welsh nation sought to achieve their ends by a constitutional reform which would bring the government (and the governors) more directly under the control of the people. Significantly, both upsurges of ‘nationalist’ sentiment in the principality took place against the background of wider, British movements in favour of constitutional reform. The first period of national agitation in Wales began in the late 1850s, at a time when parliamentary reform had reappeared on the national agenda. The movement’s definitive text, Henry Richard’s Letters on Wales, was penned during the debates on the Second Reform Bill, and laid out explicitly the path Welshmen must travel if the nation’s legitimate grievances were ever to receive parliamentary redress. Only by using the votes won by the new Reform Act could Welsh people return candidates of their own, he argued, and only when that happened would ‘Wales’ receive her legislative just deserts. Once returned to parliament, Richard and his supporters embarked on an active agitation of their particular grievances regarding land and the status of nonconformity. Its rhetorical high-point came in 1871 when Richard himself put it to a crowded meeting of delegates (p.48) drawn from all parts of the principality: ‘why should they not have a Welsh party in the House of Commons as well as the Scotch or Irish … in order to vindicate the rights and redress the wrongs of Wales?’ ‘Wales’, he went on, should have ‘fair play’ and a ‘fair share of the advantages with all the other parts of the kingdom’.111 If this sense of national unity dissipated in the internal dissensions that racked the Liberal party from 1872 onwards, and was rendered somewhat irrelevant by the Conservatives’ electoral victory in 1874, the context within which the actions of Richard and his followers took place in the years immediately surrounding the election of 1868 should not be lost sight of.

When interest in Welsh nationalism re-emerged in the columns of newspapers like Baner in 1883, it was, significantly, against the background of renewed enthusiasm across Britain for parliamentary reform. The spur seems to have been the news that the Cabinet was considering a new Reform Bill,112 a development which encouraged Welsh radicals to hope that disestablishment and a good land act might at last become practical politics.113 Once again, concrete legislation on these key elements in the Welsh ‘national’ agenda failed to emerge. However, in 1886 Gladstone brought a new form of constitutional reform on to the British political agenda with his plans for Home Rule in Ireland. Almost at once a movement grew up within Welsh radicalism calling for the extension of this policy to the principality. Yet the legislative results which it was hoped such a reform would achieve were precisely those which men like Richard had anticipated would follow from the reform of parliament in 1867. As David Lloyd George, one of the movement’s principal champions, reasoned to Thomas Gee in 1895:

It is quite idle to expect Liberal legislation from the Imperial Parlt.—for Wales at any rate—as long as England dominates our law making. Parlt has neither the time nor inclination to attend to our wants. For that reason I maintain strongly that all our demands for reform whether in Church, Land, Education, Temperance or otherwise ought to be concentrated in the great agitation for National Self Government.114

For Welsh politicians, therefore, Home Rule was a new means to an old end: a way to secure legislation in the interests of the nation.

(p.49) The climax of the Welsh Home Rule campaign, and the different forms it was imagined this might take, lie outside the scope of this book.115 Recognizing the fundamental continuities in radical thinking that underpin their approaches to parliamentary reform in the 1860s and Home Rule in the 1890s, however, is the key to appreciating the significance of the emergence of the ‘nation’ as an idea in mid-century Welsh politics.

Conclusion

Political life in nineteenth-century Wales was shaped by two forces: the electoral system and ideology. The system evolved in precisely the same way as did that in England, becoming increasingly democratic. Within the structure thus laid out, politicians offered the electorate a clear choice of philosophies: the Conservatives remained the party of the status quo, supporting the Church of England, the sanctity of property, and the reputation of Britain abroad. The Whigs and Liberals buckled on their electoral armour for a different purpose, the creation of religious equality and the reform of institutions to make them more efficient—something that was promoted at times by rendering them more directly accountable to the public—and Free Trade. Beyond these progressive groups stood the radicals, who despised and distrusted privilege, and sought to bring the political system under the direct control of the ‘people’. In the principality, this belief in the ‘people’ developed a distinctive, nationalist inflection from the 1850s, adding a unique element to the rhetoric of Welsh politics. How these various systemic and ideological forces interacted at elections in Wales between 1832 and 1886 is the subject of the next chapter.

Notes:

(1) MM, 13 Feb. 1841, ‘Monmouthshire Election’; see the similar sentiments of Sir Charles Paget in 1837: he said his 385 votes ‘are the votes of reformers, given for reform more than for charles paget’. NWC, 4 Aug. 1837, address of Sir Charles Paget.

(2) P. Mandler, Aristocratic Government in the Age of Reform: Whigs and Liberals, 1830–1852 (Oxford, 1990), 124, n.2.

(3) K. T. Hoppen, Elections, Politics and Society in Ireland, 1832–85 (Oxford, 1984); I. C. G. Hutchison, A Political History of Scotland, 1832–1914 (Edinburgh, 1986).

(4) J. Davis and D. Tanner, ‘The Borough Franchise after 1867’, Historical Research, 69 (Oct. 1996), 306–27.

(5) Gladstone, for example, committed himself to this view as early as 1873: H. C. G. Matthew, Gladstone, 1875–1898 (Oxford, 1995), 173.

(6) For Merthyr’s enfranchisement: Glam. R. O., Dowlais, D-D, G-A, 1832 (1), f. 94, Marquis of Bute to J. J. Guest, 19 Jan. 1832; f. 95, Bute to Guest 6 Feb. 1832; 1832 (2), ff. 388–9, W. Meyrick to J. J. Guest, 10 Feb. 1832. D. Wager, ‘Welsh Politics and Parliamentary Reform, 1780–1832’, WHR 7 (1974–7).

(7) For a full list, Arnold J. James & John E. Thomas, Wales at Westminster: A History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales 1800–1979 (Llandyssul, 1981), 26–7. The increase in the contributory boroughs scheme was a classic example of the Whigs sealing potentially dissident urban voters up into borough networks, keeping the county seats rural, and thus, potentially, subject to landlord control.

(8) T. Evans, The Background of Modern Welsh Politics, 1789–1846 (Cardiff, 1936), 95.

(9) D. Williams, A History of Modern Wales (London, 1950), 176.

(10) J. Davies, Hanes Cymru (London, 1990), 351–3; P. Jenkins, A History of Modern Wales, 1536–1990 (London, 1992), 263–6.

(11) K. O. Morgan, Wales in British Politics,1868–1922, 3rd edn. (Cardiff, 1980), 14. See also, R. Wallace, Organise! Organise! Organise! A Study of Reform Agitations in Wales, 1840–1886 (Cardiff, 1991), 3, 10; I. G. Jones, ‘The Welsh Language in Politics’, in G. Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language in its Social Domains, 1801–1911 (Cardiff, 2000), 510–11.

(12) D. G. Evans, A History of Wales, 1815–1906 (Cardiff, 1989), 279.

(13) D. J. V. Jones, Rebecca’s Children: A Study of Rural Society, Crime, and Protest (Oxford, 1989), 88.

(14) James and Thomas, Wales at Westminster, 40–6, 66–70.

(15) G. A. Williams, When Was Wales? (London, 1985), 198. For some thoughts on the origins of this difference: M. Cragoe, ‘Wales’, in C. Williams (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain (Oxford, forthcoming).

(16) R. Coupland, Welsh and Scottish Nationalism: A Study (London, 1954), 214.

(17) I. G. Jones, ‘Merioneth Politics in Mid Nineteenth Century’, in I. G. Jones, Explorations and Explanations: Essays in the Social History of Victorian Wales (Llandyssul, 1981), 83–163; J. Morgan, ‘Denbighshire’s Annus Mirabilis: The Borough and County Elections of 1868’, WHR 7 (1974–5), 65–71; I. Matthews, ‘“Disturbing the Peace of the County”: The Carmarthenshire General Election of 1868’, WHR 19 (1999), 453–86.

(18) Contributory boroughs remained in some areas until 1948: James and Thomas, Wales at Westminster, 27.

(19) Carmarthenshire and Denbighshire were divided into Eastern and Western sections, Monmouthshire into South, North, and West, and Glamorganshire into Mid-, South, East, Gower, and Rhondda. Carnarvonshire was given a second member and split into Northern and Southern sections.

(20) WM, 28 Jan. 1885, p. 3, ‘Conservatism at Cardiff’.

(21) Morgan, Wales in British Politics, p. 64.

(22) C. O’Leary, The Elimination of Corrupt Practices in British Elections, 1868–1911 (Oxford, 1962), 182–5. The dip in the number of contested elections in 1886 mirrored national trends.

(23) H. J. Hanham, Elections and Party Management: Politics in the Time of Disraeli and Gladstone (London, 1959), 347.

(24) R. Shannon, The Age of Disraeli: The Rise of Tory Democracy (London, 1992), 21–3, 120–1; Hanham, Elections and Party Management, 358–61, for an account of Central Office’s work.

(25) J. Parry, The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain (New Haven and London, 1992), 232.

(26) Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, 1992); James Vernon, Politics and the People: A Study in English Political Culture, 1815–1847 (Cambridge, 1993), 298–302; Chester Courant, 21 Apr. 1852, letter of ‘An Old Britain’; Gilbert A. Cahill, ‘Irish Catholicism and English Toryism, 1832–48: A Study in Ideology’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Iowa University (1954).

(27) W, 16 July 1852, Thomas Davies Lloyd, Bronwydd, proposing Lord Emlyn at Pembrokeshire.

(28) D. Hempton, Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 1996), 144–50.

(29) NLW, Picton Castle, 3896, Revd E. Rowland to C. Philipps, 19 Dec. 1883.

(30) WM, 22 May 1885, p. 2, ‘Conservative Meeting at Penybont’.

(31) NWC, 11 July 1837.

(32) Although several Welsh Conservative MPs supported Peel (Hanmer, W. B. Hughes, Lord Granville Somerset, and Thomas Wood), others felt unable to follow their leader in defiance of their constituents’ fury at repeal: BL, Add. Ms., 40583 [Peel,], f. 231, Sir J. Walsh to Sir R. Peel, 28 Jan. 1846; Powys RO, Wood Ms., A/29/1/3/51, printed election address of George Rice Trevor for Camarthenshire, 1835; Powys RO, Wood Ms., A/29/1/4, T. Wood to Mr Powell, 15 June 1837. Wood felt he could not support the complete repeal of the Malt Tax.

(33) CJ, 30 Jan. 1874, address of Lord Emlyn; NLW, M1982, Brecon Election Papers (R. G. Davies)/17, ‘To the Feeholders and Electors of the County of Brecon’, 23 Apr. 1875.

(34) W, 25 Oct. 1885; W, 11 Dec. 1885, letter of ‘Scream’.

(35) See the speeches by Sir John B. Walsh (Radnorshire) on various measures concerning tenant-funded improvements in Ireland: Hansard, 3rd ser., 1854–5, 28 June, c. 2234; 9 July 1856, c. 532–3; 15 May 1860, c. 1330–3; W, 16 Oct.1885, speech by Lord Emlyn. Interestingly, by 1886 some urban Tories were favourable to allotments: WM, 18 Feb. 1886, p. 3, speech of J. T. D. Llywelyn.

(36) WM, 16 Apr. 1886, p. 4, ‘Conservatism in Monmouthshire’.

(37) NLW, Picton Castle, 3896, Revd E. Rowland to C. Philipps, 19 Dec. 1883.

(38) NLW, Brecon Election Papers (R. G. Davies)/17, ‘To the Freeholders and Electors of the County of Brecon’, 23 Apr. 1875; see also NLW, Brecon Election Papers (R. G. Davies)/61, election address of Arthur Morgan, 12 Mar. 1880.

(39) WM, 20 May 1885, p. 2, ‘J. T. D. Llywelyn at Cowbridge’.

(40) NWC, 19 June 1886, p. 4, election address of E. Swetenham. E. H. H. Green, The Crisis of Conservatism: The Politics, Economics and Ideology of the British Conservative Party, 1880–1914 (London, 1995), 55–76, for the ‘imperial implications of Home Rule’.

(41) WM, 2 Jan. 1885, p.3, ‘Meeting of Conservatives at Morriston’, speech of Dr Paddon.

(42) M. Pugh, The Tories and the People: 1880–1935 (Oxford, 1985); R. F. Foster, Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (Oxford, 1981), 132–5.

(43) WM, 10 Mar. 1885, p. 3, ‘The New Llandaff Parliamentary Division’.

(44) Gwent RO, Bythway Ms., D554/81, printed card, 1892.

(45) CDH, 17 July 1852, Anglesey County election.

(46) I. Newbould, Whiggery and Reform, 1830–1841 (Stanford, 1990), 320, suggests Whig domination of the party ceased in 1837/8.

(47) P. Harling, The Modern British State: An Historical Introduction (Oxford, 2001), 101.

(48) K. T. Hoppen, The Mid-Victorian Generation (Oxford, 1998), 91–104.

(49) Hansard, 3rd ser., 14 June 1861, c. 415.

(50) D. J. V. Jones, Crime and Society in Nineteenth Century Wales (Cardiff, 1992), 199.

(51) H. C. G. Matthew, Gladstone, 1809–1874 (Oxford, 1986), 133, 180.

(52) R. McWilliam, Popular Politics in Nineteenth-Century England (London, 1998), 55–8, for a discussion of the parameters of ‘the people’ in radical discourses.

(53) BAC, 11 Ion. 1865, p. 20, ‘Gweithwyr Cymru’.

(54) E. Biagini, Liberty Retrenchment and Reform (Cambridge, 1992), 50–60.

(55) E. Biagini and A. Reid (eds.), Currents of Radicalism: Popular Radicalism, Organised Labour and Party Politics in Britain 1850–1914 (Cambridge, 1991), 6.

(56) CJ, 28 July 1837.

(57) H. T. Dickinson, Liberty and Property: Political Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London, 1977), 195–231.

(58) Hugh Williams of St Clears had, for example, been a Poor Law guardian, while John Frost was mayor of Newport in 1836. P. Jenkins, A History of Modern Wales, 267; Wallace, Organise!, 44–5; Gwent RO, W&T Monmouth Borough, D/101/94, T. Evans to H. M. Sutton, 6 Aug. 1842; James and Thomas, Wales at Westminster, 53.

(59) CDH, 10 Apr. 1852, election address of E. G. Salisbury.

(60) Cambrian, 4 Jan., 1 and 8 Feb. 1834; Y Seren Ogleddol, 1 (1835), passim.

(61) CDH, 24 Apr. 1852, editorial.

(62) Hansard, 3rd ser., 21 Mar. 1860, c. 968.

(63) Y Diwygiwr, 284 (May 1859), 160–1, ‘Dillwyn, Talbot, a Vivian’.

(64) BAC, 7 Chwef. 1872, p. 11, ‘Barddoniaeth’; 24 Gorph. 1872, p. 8, ‘At Ein Gohebwyr’; 17 Gorph. 1872, pp. 3–4, Mr Bright Etto ar y Maes’.

(65) W. Sussex RO, Add. Ms. 6015, f. L31, R. Cobden to Catherine Cobden, 1 May 1843. I am grateful to Simon Morgan for this source.

(66) BAC, 29 Mai 1861, p. 344, editorial; 25 Awst 1866, p. 4, editorial.

(67) BAC, 20 Ebrill 1864, pp. 243–4, ‘Garibaldi yn Llundain’; 27 Ebrill 1864, pp. 59–61, ‘Garibald yn Llundain’.

(68) NLW Facs. 584, ff. 31–3, Lord Aberdare to H. Richard, 22 Mar. 1880; ff. 35–8, reply, 27 Mar. 1880; BAC, 3 Medi 1884, p. 9, editorial.

(69) NLW Ms. 8319E [Gee], docketed ‘Some Personal Letters’, 19 Apr. 1913. For a less flattering view of Gee: N. Masterman, The Forerunner: The Dilemmas of Tom Ellis, 1859–1899 (Swansea and Llandybie, 1972), 68–9.

(70) K. O. Morgan, ‘Gladstone and Wales’, WHR 1(1960), 65–82; Matthew, Gladstone, 1875–1898, 304; P. Joyce, Visions of the People: Industrial England and the Question of Class, 1848–1914 (Cambridge, 1991), 48–52; McWilliam, Popular Politics, 49.

(71) BL Add. Ms., 44408, ff. 236–9, Sir T. Lloyd to W. Gladstone, 23 Dec. 1865.

(72) CDH, 3 Oct. 1868, meeting for Parry at Bethesda.

(73) CDH, 26 Sept. 1868; for other references, see NG, 5 Sept. 1868, Chepstow, speech of Col. Clifford.

(74) Throughout the period, he was the subject of admiring newspaper articles, poems and personal comments: BAC, 10 Ebr. 1878, p. 3, ‘Cymru, a Mr. Gladstone’; 16 Hyd. 1878, Rhyl; 3 Ion. 1883, p. 5, ‘I’r Anrhydeddus William Ewart Gladstone, A. S.’, by ‘Clwydfardd’; 26 Mawrth 1890, p. 12, ‘Barddoniaeth’; 24 Rhag. 1890, p. 11, ‘Mr Gladstone’, by R. M. Lewis.; 29 Ebr. 1891, p. 11, ‘Gladstone’, by E. Benbow [Ardalog]. Mrs Gladstone was not forgotten: BAC, 11 Hyd. 1882, p. 5, ‘Dau Englyn i Mrs Gladstone’, by ‘Ap Deri’.

(75) UCNW, Yale Add., 42/3 Sir R. A. Cunliffe to Revd R. Edwards, 6 Apr. 1873.

(76) NLW, NLW Ms., 14026B [Ivor], Gohebydd to J. Jones, n.d. [1877]. NLW Ms. 9684C/i, Gohebydd to Mr and Mrs Samuel, 22 May 1877.

(77) BL, Add. Ms., 44462, f. 265–7, W. Williams to W. Gladstone, 24 Mar. 1880.

(78) NLW, Picton Castle, 3927, R. Goddard to Sir Charles Phillips [July 1892].

(79) Colley, Britons, 13–14.

(80) Jones, Crime and Society in Nineteenth Century Wales, 14–15.

(81) P. Morgan, ‘The Hunt for Wales in the Golden Age’, in T. Ranger and E. Hobsbawm (eds.), The Invention of Traditon (Cambridge, 1983).

(82) J. Jones, The History of Wales (London, 1824).

(83) NWC, 29 Aug. 1837, ‘Conservative Celebrations in Carnarvonshire’. C, 25 Jan. 1833, CDH, 17 July 1852, for other examples. NWC, 8 Aug. 1837, ‘Election of a Member for Merioneth’, speech of Mr Vaughan; CJ, 14 Apr. 1837, ‘Grand Conservative Banquet’. And see CJ, 18 Aug. 1837, for the banners at his election four months later; CDH, 24 July 1852, ‘Denbighshire County Election’, speech of Sir W. W. Wynn.

(84) CDH, 24 July 1852, for an exception.

(85) CJ, 4 Aug. 1837.

(86) NWC, 4 Augt. 1837.

(87) P. Morgan, ‘Wild Wales: Civilizing the Welsh from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries’ in P. Burke et al. (eds.), Civil Histories (Oxford, 2000), 282.

(88) PP 1847, XXVII, Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales; Jones, Crime and Society in Nineteenth Century Wales, 173–4, for female criminality.

(89) Anne Kelly Knowles, Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio’s Industrial Frontier (Chicago, 1997), 233–42.

(90) These debates are discussed in P. Morgan, ‘Early Victorian Wales and its Crisis of Identity’, in L. Brockliss and D. Eastwood (eds.), A Union of Multiple Identities (Manchester, 1997), 93–109; P. Morgan (ed.), Brad y Llyfrau Gleision (Llandyssul, 1991); P. Lord, Hugh Hughes, Arlunydd Gwlad (Llandyssul, 1995), 263–73; I. G. Jones, ‘1848 and 1868; “Brad y Llyfrau Gleision”’, in Mid-Victorian Wales: The Observers and the Observed (Cardiff, 1992), 103–165.

(91) CDH, 15 Dec. 1877, ‘Gohebydd Dead!’.

(92) BAC, 24 July 1861, p. 467, 24 Gorph. 1861, ‘Llewlyn ein Llyw Olaf’. For more detail: M. Cragoe, ‘Welsh Electioneering and the Purpose of Parliament: “From Radicalism to Nationalism” Reconsidered’, Parliamentary History, 17 (1998), 118–19.

(93) This paragraph is based on the Introduction to H. Richard, Letters on the Social and Political Condition of the Principality of Wales (1866), ed. M. Cragoe (British Heritage e-book, 2003).

(94) Ibid. 35–40, 53, 61, 70–80.

(95) Ibid. p.90.

(96) Ibid. p.84.

(97) Ibid. 84–6.

(98) Jones, ‘1848 and 1868’, 164.

(99) Morgan, Wales in British Politics, 28; P. O’Leary, ‘The Languages of Patriotism in Wales’, in G. Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language in its Social Domains, 1801–1911 (Cardiff, 2000), 559–60; I. G. Salmon, ‘Welsh Liberalism, 1868–1896: A Study in Political Structures and Ideology’, unpublished. D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University (1983), 2; Cragoe, ‘Welsh Electioneering and the Purpose of Parliament’, 114–30.

(100) Biagini and Reid, Currents of Radicalism, 4–5.

(101) J. P. D. Dunbabin, Rural Discontent in Nineteenth-Century Britain (New York, 1974), 211–32; D. W. Howell, Land and People in Nineteenth-Century Wales (London, 1977), 65, 84–5, 155; M. Cragoe, An Anglican Aristocracy: The Moral Economy of the Landed Estate in Carmarthenshire, 1832–1895 (Oxford, 1996), 236–40.

(102) Conservatives occasionally used the language of patriotism in Wales, but, with rare exceptions, it was always qualitatively different from that used by the radicals. Cf. O’Leary, ‘The Languages of Patriotism’.

(103) NLW, 8308D, f. 296, H. Richard to T. Gee, 25 Aug. 1868; MM, 25 July 1868, letter of ‘A Welsh Elector’.

(104) Morgan, ‘Denbighshire’s Annus Mirabilis’, 63–87.

(105) CDH, 14 and 21 Nov. 1868. This campaign is considered in more detail in Cragoe, ‘Welsh Electioneering and the Purpose of Parliament’, 125–8.

(106) NLW, NLW Ms. 3810D [Gee], f. 431, R. Davies to T. Gee, 1 July 1868.

(107) NLW, Gee Ms. 3305D, f. 42, J. Davies to T. Gee, 5 June 1886.

(108) BAC, 1 Hyd. 1884, p. 13, letter of ‘Meirionwr’; H. T. Edwards, ‘Emrys Ap Iwan a Sais Addoliaeth: Maes y Gad yng Nghymru’r 70au’, in H. T. Edwards, Codi’r Hen Wlad yn ei Hôl, 1850–1914 (Llandysul, 1989), 141–71.

(109) BAC, 14 Mawrth 1883, p. 9, editorial.

(110) R. Merfyn Jones, ‘Beyond Identity? The Reconstruction of the Welsh’, JBS 31 (1992), 330–57.

(111) CDH, 9 Dec. 1871.

(112) Matthew, Gladstone, 1875–1898, 174.

(113) BAC, 30 Ion. 1884, p. 13, letter of ‘Gohebydd’.

(114) NLW, NLW MS. [Gee Ms.] 8310D, f. 501, D. Lloyd George to T. Gee, 9 Oct. 1895.

(115) K. O. Morgan, ‘Tom Ellis versus David Lloyd George: The Fractured Consciousness of Fin-de-Siècle Wales’, in G. Jenkins and J. Beverley Smith (eds.), Politics & Society in Wales, 1840–1922: Essays in Honour of Ieuan Gwynedd Jones (Cardiff, 1988), 93–112.