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HWFA MON'S £95 i2s. 6d.


HWFA MON'S £95 i2s. 6d. The heading of this article is a title of honour; it is the proved value of Hwfa Mon's estate at his decease. Such a fact is a rebuke, and a lesson, to an age when so much devoted worship is paid at the shrine of the false god, Mammon. Here was a man of the highest dignity in Wales, a position, it is true, not in the official hierarchy, but, nevertheless, commanding so much affection and homage from the Welsh people-largely owing to Hwfa's fine personality-that the Archdruid stood second to none in the esteem of his fellow countrymen, and his office exceeded any other as typical, symbolical, and representa- tive of Wales and the Welsh nation. Yet, when Hwfa comes to die, his fortune is declared in the figures above. It is an honour to all Wales. The man of such wide fame and high position dies quite poor. He might so easily have traded on his fame or lent himself to others; but he kept his perfect integrity, resting on his character and services to Wales alone, and Mammon slinks abashed from his presence. This is an example of inestimable value in such an age as ours, when the gods most generally and sincerely worshipped are those of the Kaffir Circus. Hwfa Mon, with his fine presence and brilliant gifts, might easily have amassed a great fortune, if he had applied himself to the pursuit of wealth. He might have sunk into a Welsh Rockefeller; and, is there not too much reason to suppose that in Wales itself there may be young men to-day, who make Rockefeller their model rather than Hwfa, whose dream it is to amass millions, though these may cast as their shadow distrust and contempt, and who have no eye or heart for high ideals, simple honest life, and scorn of wealth. Hwfa teaches in death what he did in life. It must, of course, be admitted that com- merce must be carried on and fortunes made thereby. Nevertheless, even those who adopt the business life as a career, need not abjure or forget the nobler ideals of men like Hwfa Mon. They can remember them both in making and in spending their fortune; they can determine to succeed without shame, with honesty towards the public and consideration towards all in their employ. More than that, while serving their own business, they can always give a certain measure of thought and time and assistance to the numerous causes that make for the moral betterment of mankind. They can take care to make their money, in such a way as to keep it free from a taint which will cause those to whom it may afterwards be offered as a benefaction to refuse it with loathing. It must be free from the contamination of Chinese labour and its equivalents, which exist in England and Wales under different names. So much for those who are led to follow a commercial career. But, probably, in no advanced country in the world does so large a proportion of promising young men dedicate themselves to high and disinterested callings as in Wales. The highest Welsh talent goes into the poorly paid pulpit; it is devoted to mental and moral culture and to religious service. This has been the distinction of Wales in the past, and one hopes that such a fine instinct of service will never fail to attract Welsh parents and children. The £95 12s. 6d. of Hwfa's probate is a new banner by day and beacon light by night, calling upon the young men of Wales to follow high ideals, regardless of poverty. Such men as Hwfa are the salt of modern society, corrupted as it is by the sordid seduction of commercial speculation. We have seen even in this General Election -—hopeful though it is-notorious financiers returned by large majorities, and protest can- didates left ignominiously at the bottom of the poll. Mr. Harry Marks, the honourable member for the Thanet division, whose high-minded constituency has twice returned him in triumph, is reported to have said during the contest, Let us put aside impossible ideals." Yes and grovel in the Kaffir Circus. Hwfa Mon, living and dead, illustrated and illustrates a far different gospel. He lived and worked, in simplicity of life, for "impossible ideals," im- possible of attainment, because as we advance they always change to forms of fresh allurement, but, nevertheless, calling us ever forward, and securing a continual advance in justice, truth, and goodness, day by day. Wales has been idealist in the past, and will ever so remain. But idealism is only good for the sake of its practical product, if it be mere dream it is valueless only in so far as it elevates life does it justify itself. Wales has great need of the visionary who has the knack of making realities of his dreams. It has been cynically said that Wales is "religified but not civilised." This is only partly true. The portion of Wales which has got religion has got civilisation and something more, but every honest patriot must confess that a minority in Wales has neither religion nor civilisation. The crimes of dynamite and other explosives perpetrated and attempted during the General Election prove that, and (in quite a different sphere of manners) no one can travel in South Wales and see without disgust how smokers invade all the compartments of a train, and puff their noisome tobacco without asking leave. The railway companies are greatly to be blamed for affording their passengers no protection in this matter. They seem to ignore that it is an infraction of byelaws, as well as an offence against decency; and the railway officials would seem to tell passengers that they are travelling in a barbarous country, and must put up with the ways of the inhabitants. We must not blind ourselves to the faults of Wales, or we shall never remedy them. There is the shocking drunkenness of the towns, which seems to paralyse police, magistrates, and ministers. Some of the magistrates make a name for the cruel way in which they fall upon the wretched drunkard, but they never inquire after the publican who made a profit out of the man's debauchery. There should never be a conviction for drunkenness without a black mark, if not a prosecution, against the supplying publican. Much, therefore, remains to be done for the elevation of the Welsh people, and it is only by looking the facts squarely in the face that grave evils can be redressed. Hwfa Mon, by his life of nobility and his death in penury, did honour to Wales, and invokes her sons to arise and follow his example, in poetry and politics, in prose and in business, and thus leave their country better, for the fact that they have lived and laboured for Wales. PHILIP THOMAS.