Welsh Journals

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on another evening when 'he related his experiences and then on the following Monday night was smoking in the back parlour of a public house'. Clearly Meredyth14 tried to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds on the strong drink issue here as in Swansea" and this certainly backfired in 1892. In the event he polled 1700 votes or 19.5% against his opponent's 7019 (80.5%). Warmington received the largest majority in any single member seat outside Ireland. 'The Young Man' But what of the young man himself? The Chairman of Swansea Conservatives described him as 'a gentleman of great promises. a good speaker and an accomplished writer' Of course, one would expect praise from this quarter though these words do provide some pointers. It is his Liberal opponents who provide more light for us, particularly in the editorials of the South Wales Gazette of 1892. Here we are told that 'Mr Meredyth continues to prosecute his Tory campaign in West Monmouth with energy and vigour' (this before he confined his activities to public house smoking concerts); 'He also has the rarer gift for a politician of unfailing courtesy and compliment not criticism in dealing with his opponents.17 Significant also, however, was that paper's editorial after the result became known.18 Here it said that 'Mr Meredyth is still young, ardent and enthusiastic. before proceeding to invite him to consider his position. After suggesting he now find a seat with a fair chance of winning the editor invites him to change sides: And now we are done with Mr Meredyth. We part with him with some regret because he has many personal qualities, which command respect and a leaning towards Liberalism, which he would do well to develop. If he would only recognise that reform in the people's interest can only be served by the historic People's Party, suppress his inane preference for profitless 'commissions' over profitable legislation and cut himself adrift from the Tory gang with which he is associated, we believe that his future political career would be not only honourable to himself but useful to his country and the cause of progress. And then? Clearly William Herbert Meredyth was a very good young politician, with an attractive personality and estimable, of whom one might expect great things. So what happened to him? He wrote to the Marquis of Salisbury, 2 August 1887, presumably in his role as secretary of the Welsh Union of Conservative Associations.19 As far as the author can see he has disappeared without trace. He did not fight another election and he has no place in the archives of the Conservative Party. Did he remain as secretary of the Welsh Union of Conservative Associations or find promotion in the party's structures? Did he marry and pursue another career? Did he emigrate or die young? Did his failures at the polls and the blatant way in which he was used by powerful people to pursue their own ends cause him to be disillusioned by either the Conservative cause he had espoused with such enthusiasm or by politics in general? Who knows? Whatever happened to young William?