EARLY WELSH SCHOOLS. An interesting address was delivered by the Bishop of St. Asaph, on Saturday last, at Colwyn Bay, before the members of the Denbighshire Teachers' Association. His remarks were founded mainly on recent discoveries among the historical documents under his control at the diocesan head- quarters at St. Asaph. Speaking of the first schools founded in Wales, he said Let me give my authorities. There are among the diocesan records visita- tion returns from every parish, rural deans' returns from every deanery, and a large mass of other original documents never yet pub- lished, but throwing a flood of light upon the whole of the 18th century in this part of Wales. An official document in the hand- writing of Bishop Griffiths in 1666—just like the petition from Monmouthshire and the six South Wales counties-shows that the same wave of ruin and spoliation had swept over North and South Wales. In 1674 the Archbishop of Canterbury, several other bishops, and Mr. Gouge formed a voluntary society for circulating Welsh books in Wales and for establishing and maintaining schools in Wales to teach Welsh children to read, write, and cast accounts. The funeral sermon preached upon the death of Gouge in 1681 shows that a large number of schools were established and a vast amount of literature distributed by this organisation. SIR JOHN PHILLIPS. Then arose Sir John Phillips, the foremost figure among the promoters of Welsh educa- tion in the 18th century. In 1700 he directed the attention of the Christian Knowledge Society to Wales, and for a record of his transcendent services, carried on after his death by his brother-in-law, Griffiths Jones, of Llanddowror, I refer you to the invaluable monograph lately published by the Rev. Thomas Shankland, librarian of Bangor College. Truly it is a refreshing experience to find in Mr. Shankland a writer who has the courage and ability to tell the whole truth about the 18th century without keeping his eye on present controversies and shaping his history accordingly. The move- ment in which Sir John Phillips took part was enthusiastically Welsh. Circulating and charity schools, lending and circulating libraries were among its chief results. Parochial libraries were largely established in this diocese, and an Act was passed in the seventh year of Queen Anne for the better preservation of such libraries." I still have the list of these libraries in 1712 in the very parish where we are assembled, and the adjoining parish of Llanrhos and Llysfaen. The lists represent a large outlay, entirely by private benefaction, and indicate that there must have been in these parishes a reading public. In the first half of the 18th century there were 69 out of 121 parishes in this diocese where schools had been es- tablished. A full record of these schools survives. CIRCULATING CHARITY SCHOOLS. At Llangernyw "there was one of the Welsh circulating charity schools, which remained in the same parish for six or nine months the teacher was paid Y.2 a quarter, and the country folk eagerly desired to re- tain these schools." The returns reveal pathos and humour. John Jones, the clergyman of Capel Garmon, says that their school was so excellent that parents sent their children from other parishes to attend it, and he adds Our schoolmaster, my lord, is the second Busby in this country an interesting testimony to the fame of the great Westminster head master. In this same record of 1753 Mr. John Jones patheti- cally explains to the bishop that he was himself unable to visit the school as often as he wished, because he was afflicted with a cold and dry rumbling commotion internally which some call the hyp." Hence came, I suppose, our word hipped." You re- member Addison's words, I have always looked on the institution of charity schools, which of late years have so universally pre- vailed through the whole nation, as the glory of the age we live in." These schools were established long before the year 1730, a year selected by some for the birth of move- ments already long in existence. In per- using these early documents I am inclined not to deride but to admire tho efforts, blundering as we may regard them, thus made in the cause of education, and to wonder whether we in like conditions would have done equally well. Fortes ante Aga- memnona. The close of the century saw the first impulse to popular education given by the Swiss teacher Pestalozzi in his" Lein- hardt und Gertrud." Seven years later Lancaster at Southwark, and two years later Bell began their systems. In these charity schools religious instruction formed a large part of the teaching. Here we must re- member one salient fact. Throughout the eighteenth century there was hardly a parish in this diocese where the system of catechi- sing on Sunday was not regularly main- tained during stated periods of the year. Parents, servants, children attended these catechising classes.
DISESTABLISHMENT CAMPAIGN. The following manifesto was issued this week by the National Convention of Wales Sir,—The extreme gravity of the political situation which would be created not only in Wales but also in England if Welsh hopes of seeing an effective and satisfactory measure of Disestablishment and Disen- dowment passed through the Commons during the present Parliament were again disappointed will, we trust, be regarded as sufficient justification for our relying upon your courtesy to enable us to earnestly invite the serious attention of all Free Churchmen and free Church organisations in Wales to the great Nonconformist Convention now summoned to meet at Cardiff on October 10th, 1907. It was the deep sense of responsibility felt by the Nonconformist leaders in Wales, in view of the possible danger of another appeal being made to the country without Disestablishment being in the fore- front of the issues upon which the constituencies would be asked to decide, that imperilled the Union of Welsh Independents at Neath, the General Assembly of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists at Llanelly, the Welsh Baptist Union at Llanelly, and the central authorities of the other Nonconformist bodies in Wales to unite in summoning a great re- presentative convention of all the Nonconformist organisations of the Principality to consider the situation, its possible dangers, and the duty of those who have so long relied upon the promises of Liberal leaders for the fulfilment of our national hope. This is, we believe, the first occasion upon which all the Nonconformist bodies of Wales have formally and unofficially united in taking so grave a step. The circumstances, however, more than justified this action. For forty years the Disestablishment and Disen- dowment of the Church of England in Wales has been an essentially national demand on the part of the Welsh people. At every succeeding election in- creased majorities have been cast in its favour. Twelve years ago, with only a small majority at its back, a Liberal Government passed such a Bill through its second reading in the Commons. Now when every member from Wales owes his seat to Nonconformist votes, and is supposed to be pledged to this great measure of justice, no emphatic action has been taken by them to force the matter on the attention of Parliament. With the strongest ma- jority of modern times behind it, a Liberal Govern- ment which includes several Nonconformists and three Welsh members has allowed two Sessions to pass without taking any legislative cognisance of the united national demand of Nonconformist Wales. The third Session, which we had been led to believe would see the consummation of our hopes, is already mortgaged. For some time past it has been abun- dantly manifest that unless a definite stand were taken by Welsh Nonconformists themselves, inde- pendently of their Parliamentary representatives, the present Parliament would be allowed to pass without a.ny serious attempt at legislation upon this matter, so near the heart and the conscience of the Welsh people. A Cabinet Minister, addressing a Welsh audience earlier in the year, warned them of such a. possibility, and went so far as to urge them to forego their national demand in order to concentrate effort on the struggle with the Lords. Wales will, when the time comes, render yeomen service in the great Constitutional struggle between people and Peers, but cannot meanwhile consent to the abandonment. even temporarily, of her own demand to secure the recognition of which she has given the Liberal party for forty years ungrudging and loyal support. In a recent speech at Pontypridd Mr. Lloyd-George reminded us that of the 34 Liberal members for Wales only four had in their last election addresses placed Welsh Disestablishment foremost on their programme. Unless Wales is prepared not only to see the present Parliament pass without her claims being recognised, but also to permit her Parliamentary re- presentatives at the next General Election to do what Mr. Lloyd-George says they did at the last, she must now take action. That action must be emphatic and decisive, and its meaning unmistakable. That is why we now address this earnest appeal to all friends of religious liberty in Wales. We have made the basis of representation at the convention sufficiently broad and democratic to enable a United Wales to give effective expression to her wishes. Every Free Church of every denomination, whether an individual church, or a county or other association of churches, Welsh or English, and every Free Church Council in the 13 Welsh counties, and every individual Welsh Free Church in England possesses the right to appoint delegates. We earnestly appeal to each such organisation to exercise that right without delay. The initiative rests in the first instance with the officers of each individual church or association or council, but should anything occur to prevent their taking action we trust some zealous private member or members will see that the matter is brought in good time to the notice of the church or other organisation to which they belong. If Wales now speaks with a united and clear voice her claims can no longer be ignored, and the danger which threatens her will be averted. It is in the confident hope that every Free Church- man in Wales will realise the responsibility which now rests upon his shoulders, and that Nonconformist Wales will seize this opportunity of effectively voicing the national demand that we address to them this appeal.—We are, &c., J. MORGAN JONES, Cardiff (Chairman of the Convention), for the Calvinistic Methodist Assembly W. EDWARDS, B.A., D.D., Cardiff (Chairman of the Executive), for the Baptist Union THOMAS MANUEL, Porth, for the Welsh Wesleyans H. EYNON LEWIS, Bryncethin (Secretary of the Convention), for the Welsh Congregational Union.
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