A Glamorgan Family History
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SIR, - I hope you will accord me the favour of a small space in the column of my now very old friend, The Cambrian, to address a few words generally to the ratepayers of Pontardawe Union, and particularly to those of the Hamlet of Rhyndwyclydach.  The annual elections of the guardians are at hand, and rumours are abroad that efforts are to be made to displace certain of our guardians.  Now, Sir, if at any time such a step should be at least postponed, it is at the present time, when not only the ordinary union business of our parishes is not only to be attended to at Neath and Swansea, but for the first time at Pontardawe, when also transactions of an extensive and of a weighty kind will, during the sourse of the next parochial year, have to be carried on; such as the consideration of the site, size, character, convenience, and general accomodation of a new house, together with the appointment, salaries and other details connected with the necessary officials.  If ever then, surely it is now, that we require the greatest possible amount of experience on the part of our guardians to be at our disposal.

New men, new blood, will be acceptable and no doubt required hereafter, but for the present I do hope and earnestly recommend that our friends, more especially those at Clydach, will be patient andthat those gentlemen who have bourne the brunt of the last two tears - and have won "home rule" for us, to retain their places without compelling them to have recourse to the unpleasant, and as I think, and as many of our fellow rate-payers think, very unnecessary appeal to a contested election.  I say unnecessary, because it is so in more senses than one.  Thus, suppose that the new union will be started by the guardians who now represent our parishes at Neath and Swansea; it will then, no doubt, soon follow that additional guardians will be granted for several districts, and most certainly for Rhyndwyclydach and Llanguicke.  In that event such appointments for the then current year would be made by the Board of Guardians themselves (subject to the approval of the Local Government Board) without having recourse to an election.  Therefore, those ratepayers who may now be disposed to see fresh members at the board could, and no doubt would, be able to gratify their wishes without any expense to their several townships.  With respect to Rhyndwyclydach, the gentleman whose name is put forward by his friends at Clydach is no doubt suited in every way to discharge the duties of a guardian efficiently.  But while I feel quite sure that he would neither put himself forward nor allow himself to be led by other people to disturb the present official management of the hamlet - certainly not at the crisis with which we are now occupied - nevertheless, he might very naturally not give pointblank refusal to requisitionists, seeking his aid, where he may think that aid would be servicable and really required.  But when it is considered that the question at present is not whether the gentleman in question should become a candidate at all, but whether for the general convenience it would not be well that the candidature be postponed for a few months or weeks, when his unanimous election would no doubt take place; whether he would rather restrain the impetuosity of his friends than urged on in an endeavour to occupy a seat already filled by those who have discharged their duties appertaining to it for so many years both at the board-room as well as in their several districts amongst the out-door poor.  I think, Sir, I need say no more, except to express my hope that these views which your kindness have enabled me to set before my fellow ratepayers will prevail generally in the new union, and that our old, well-tried, and valued friends - our present guardians - will not have to feel the pangs of ingratitude.
                                   I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                                                               JOHN HOWELL
Brynwith, Pontardawe,
March 18, 1874

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