Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon





"Ut WELSH UNIVERSITY AS A NATIONAL FORCE. Lord Rendel, whose portrait we give, and who *'ayed so prominent a part as a politician in securing ^or the University, contributes an article a Young Wales," in which he treats of what may inappropriately be termed the political but 1 *erthele88 non-party side of the question. His ^J^ship regards the installation of the Prince of jr .ea as the first Chancellor of the Welsh ^iversity as the crowning of the great fabric of 'ah national education. He reminds us—and -u.e n8 stood possibly in need of being reminded jj hat though the visible fabric may be new, jj, bably in no country of Western or Northern e ?r°Pe were the footings and first courses of an of'J<fltional system earlier laid. The life educational system founded, erected, com- IlidI-BRO like that of Wales may well be regarded as th ??°^ably and imperishably one with the life of .Welsh race itself. It is such a life, such an in- tanee, such an institution which is now formally fllfbled and inaugurated." After paying a grace- He C?rn lament to the late Lord Aberdare, Lord in points out how Wales, having been starved indeed despoiled of, her national educational her V1 t' P^t, is only now beginning to assert tj1j8c'ai111 and to benefit materially thereby. In Cor,nection he utters some home truths which Perhaps take English readers by surprise, and Certainly deprive many a reviler of Welsh Th'nalism a favourite weapon. He says :— tv. ^reat endowments of Wales had of old attrac- f0l,, he English politician and ecclesiastic—but not e benefit of Wales as Wales. The mineral tprftU.rees °f Wales had attracted the industrial en- the vj.8e England, but hardly for the benefit of The intellectual resources of Wales— l(w. 1Ilahenably Welsh—had been not only neg- Jljj by England, but had been deprived for i»iaeh' ^enefit of much of their ancient means and beCo 1Tlery. The edncational poverty of Wales had Ve^1116 a reproach and a byword. Yet I will lIre to assert that the true, though unrecovered, wealth of Wales lay not in coal or iron, nor in field or forest or river," but in the readier and more easily and quickly ripened intelligence of the people. In early cultivableness of the mind the Welsh far outstrip the English. Candid English- men will admit that they could not conceive of English rustics becoming bilingual. In fact, a truly bilingual Englishman is rare in any rank and in any circumstances of life. But of the whole humbler Welsh population a considerable proportion is bilingual—an irrestible evidence, possibly a con- tributory cause, of quicker early intelligence. It must be admitted that Lord Rendel does not, to say the least, lack moral courage in thus claiming as one of the highest honours for the Welsh people that which their detractors are wont to regard as a mark of inferiority, if not degradation, and as the bane and curse of the country. He follows this up with another argument based upon actual facts, the argument and the facts being, probably, alike dis- tasteful to those who have been wont to consider Welshmen as essentially inferior to the Saxon. He points out how in England, although almost every career is open to talent and the prizes brilliant and multifarious, comparatively few of the humbler English attain the top. In Wales, on the other hand," savs Lord Rendel, "cribbed, cabined, and confined as it has been for ages, no sooner has any new facility been gained or any old barrier removed than an instant uprising and response has followed in the striking academic success of Welsh lads sprung from the ranks." Having thus vindicated the Welsh nation, he proceeds to remark that almost all the Welsh people are alike susceptible of certain intellectual polish. "In this belief," he says, I have felt that almost the first duty of a Welsh public man is to recover for Wales that of which it had been too much deprived—the means of turning its best resources, its most honourable source of wealth, to full account, as well for the profit of the kingdom as for that of the Principality." He winds up by an earnest, one might almost say passionate denunciation of the past pohcy of England towards Wales. What is needed," says Lord Hendel, "is a reversal of the old and stupid policy of England in Wales; and instead of it the encouragement and development of everything Welsh in Wales, the drawing out, not the driving in, of the national life, the spreading abroad of the peculiar genius of Wales. Give to Welsh brains their free play and fair chance; restore their ancient educational endowments; repair the neglect and suppression of the past; encourage and ripen the national aims towards high thinking and plain living; and you will so spread Welshmen through every prominent calling among English-speaking peoples that they will become the more and not the less English by very reason of their Welsh nationality." Dr. Isambard Owen supplies in the same magazine a no less notable vindication of Welsh1 character. He points out that the Teutonic con- ception of the Celts is that they are a volatile unstable race, governed by sentiment rather than reflection, easily led by phrases, incapable of or- ganisation or self-government, wavering between wild license and military despotism." The task Dr. Owen has set himself is to prove that this Teutonic conception of the Welsh character is essentially incorrect, and in the history of the spread of the University movement he finds ready to his hand the necessary evidence wherewith to establish his case. Indeed, not content with vin- dicating his fellow-countrymen, the Deputy Chancellor neatly turns the tables upon their de- tractors by pointing out that, in the light of the higher education movements in England and in Wales, it is the English people, and not the Welsh, who have betrayed the weaknesses to which the Celts have been credited. It has been my fortune," says Dr. Owen, to witness, and to some extenttotakepartin,two movements proceeding at the same time, one in London and one in Wales. The contrast between the two is sufficiently re- markable for ns to dwell upon them with interest. The movement to establish a real teaching university in London began some twelve years ago, with nearly every circumstance in its favour. But the movement has hitherto resulted in a scries of failures, produced by want of cohesion, mutual distrust, and absence of free public dis- cussion. After twelve years' agitation and inquiry, assisted by the work of two strongly manned Royal Commissions, the whole future of London education is at present hanging in the fscale." He contrasts with this the case of Wales with many difficult and, some thought, insuperable obstacles in the way, the work requiring to be carried out in spite of geographical difficulties which rendered discussion and conference a matter of time and labour. Though the movement did not virtually begin till 1887, the University nevertheless, is now established, fully organised, and nearly three years old. But our methods of procedure in Wales, we may legitimately boast, showed a very different grasp of the principles of public life, and of the way public questions should be dealt with, than has been discernible in the academic world of London. Whatever may be the future of our University, we can at least look upon the history of its foundation as one in which familiarity with the methods of public work and capacity for handling them have been displayed in Wales in a manner which, for the benefit of metropolitan education, I wish my fellow-citizens in London were content to copy."