before the Commissioner so impressed the latter that he inserted it verbatim in his report. John Owen was probably a Chairman of the Newtown branch of the Working Men's Association and a leading Chartist. "The intellectual improvement of the operative classes has been greatly neglected by our legislators especially in the manufacturing districts. This town presents a lamentable spectacle on that subject. There is not a day school in the town where the poor can receive gratuitous instruction. By the introduction of the Factory Act 1833 numbers of the children were deprived of employment, their parents being poor and unable to give them education, consequently they are left to roam the streets1 where they are exposed to all the avenues of temptation and vice, form connections with dissolute companions and contract habits that are injurious to themselves and society in general. Thus the children of the poor are nurtured in ig- norance and would have remained had it not been for that God-like in- stitution, the Sunday school, where hundreds are taught to read and where a spirit of inquiry has been infused into the minds of our young men and women that members of them are thirsty for knowledge. We have 6 Sunday schools containing above 2,000 scholars, three of them have circulating libraries connected with them to which scholars have free access. Excellent as the Sunday school institution is in itself, there are many branches of useful knowledge essential to the happiness of man and the well being of society that are not taught there. In the Sunday school the instruction im- parted, i.e. chiefly of a religious nature, they are taught the system of reading and receive explanatory lessons on what they read in catechical form, but the useful art of writing (excepting one school), arithmetic and other branches of knowledge are not taught being considered of a secular nature. Thus our rising poor are deprived of a liberal education that would fit them for useful stations in society, consequently they remain under the roof of their parents, are brought up in the manufacturing business, overstock the trade with hands, the supply is greater than the demand, trade becomes dull and all its evils follow in the train; thus the want of a school in this town where the rising poor may receive a liberal education is decidedly against the interest of the handloom weaver". May years were to pass before the reasoned plea of this intelligent and self taught artisan was realised. 1 Some of the remedies put forward by the working classes in the form of petitions to the govern- ment were simple and naive in their hopes-"the wealthy should be forced to wear calico to boost trade and children should be allowed to work in factories, legislation preventing this simply drove them on to the streets because their parents could not afford to send them to school". Local Historian, Vol. 9, Number 2, 1970, p. 78.