kimkat0136e Wales And Her Language Considered From A Historical, Educational And Social Standpoint
John E. Southall. 149 Dock Street, Newport, Mon. 1892.

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Wales And Her Language Considered From A Historical, Educational And Social Standpoint  With Remarks On Modern Welsh Literature And A Linguistic Map Of The Country.
John E. Southall. 149 Dock Street, Newport, Mon. 1892.

CHAPTER IV. 106-160.


Y Llyfr Ymwelwyr / El Llibre de Visitants / The Guestbook:


Beth sy’n newydd?



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Mae’r testun mewn llythrennau coch heb eu cywiro hyd yn hyn / The text in red has not been corrected yet.

Sef yw y tudalennau hyn / i.e. the following pages:




106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, xxx, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, xxx, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160,








rpHE preceding Chapters having been principally devoted to -^ an elucidation of the state of Elementary Education in Wales from forty to fifty years ago, it will be necessary in the present one, to revert to the same period, briefly noticing some facts affecting intermediate and higher education, before following out at length the controversy started a few years ago by a Welsh Society in London, and afterwards more or less in the cou]itry at large, as to the desirability of a radical alteration in the existing methods of dealing with Welsh schools principally with regard to elementary ones, but also to some extent, including the whole educational system.

In Wales the ingenious educationalists of two or three generations past, contrived a remarkable expedient for the employment, if not amusement of the boys in middle class schools, which consisted in hounding their language down by means of the Welsh note, which was a stick of wood passed on from one boy to the next, who was heard speaking Welsh. At the end of a certain period, the last possessor of the "note" or "stick" was punished.




The custom was not confined to middle class schools, as appears by the following in H. V. Johnson's report of Llandymog, Denbighshire: —

My attention was attracted to a piece o£ wood, suspended by a string round a boy's neck, and on the stick were the words, "Welsh stick." This, I was told, was a stigma for speaking Welsh. But, in fact, his only alternative was to speak Welsh or to say nothing. He did not understand English, and there is no systematic exercise in interpretation, (p. 452.)

We ask what kind of metal were the masters of those times made of, when we learn that "among other injurious effects, this custom has been found to lead children to visit stealthily the houses of their schoolfellows for the purpose of detecting those who speak Welsh to their parents, and transferring to them the punishment due to themselves? See also

Appendix D.

I have had occasion to allude to the attitude, and think I am justified in calling it the prevailing attitude at that time, of representatives of the Established Church towards the Welsh language. I shall not, however, be understood to imply that this was universal. The year 1847, saw the foundation of a scheme which, though under the care of the Established Church had for one of its express purposes the colloquial and literary cultivation of the Welsh language, and is at the present day (apart from questions of religion) one of the best, if not the best higher class school in Wales.

The following extract from a summary of the provisions of the Deed of the founder, viz., Thos. Phillips, a London Welshman, who bestowed nearly £5,000 for the purpose, gives some idea of his views: —

The scholars will be instructed in Welsh reading, grammar, and composition; in English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, arithmetic,




_^ «a

algebra, and mathematics; in sacred, English and general history, and geography; and in such other branches of education as the trustees, with the sanction of the visitor, shall appoint. The Welsh language shall be taught exclusively during one hour every school day, and be then the sole medium of communication in the school; and shall be used at all other convenient periods as the language of the school, so as to familiarize the scholars with its use as a colloquial language. The master shall give lectures in that language upon subjects of a philological, scientific, and general character, so as to supply the scholars with examples of its use as a literary language, and the medium of instruction on grave and important subjects. The primary intent and object of the founder (which is instruction and education in the Welsh language) shaU be faithfully observed.

So far we say so good, but the crucial test of a middle class school in England or Wales now^-a-days, is generally looked for in its ability to prepare for the preliminary examinations of English Universities, few schools, if any, unless carried on under exceptional circumstances, think they can afford to work to entirely independent standards of their own. This has directly or indirectly affected the course of instruction at Llandovery, so that the intentions of the founder have not probably been carried out to the fullest extent, although they have been so far as to materially increase the usefulness of the institution.

I have mentioned that Llandovery school was (and is still) under the care of the Established Church, so is that called " Christ's College," Brecon, with a good organization and an annual endowment of £1,200; other Welsh endowments were mostly either denominational or inadequate, and for a number of years it was felt that the needs of the country demanded considerable improvement in the facilities for Litermediate Education, especially in such as Nonconformists would be likely to freely avail themselves of.

In 1880, in compliance with representations made to it, the




Government appointed a Committee, to enquire into the condition of Intermediate and Higher Education in Wales, consisting of the following persons, —

Lord Aberdare

Viscount Emlyn

H. G. Robinson (Prebendary of the Established Church).

Henry Richard, M.P.

Professor Rhys

Lewis Morris.

The main scope of the enquiry of this representative Committee was confined to the question of the utilization of endowments for middle class schools in Wales, and the best method of supporting such in the future.

As might be expected from its constitution, the Welsh Language received considerably more respect from the Commission than from that of 1847. Its power and vitality were acknowledged, but the Repprt offered no suggestions as to any improved method of coping with the difficulties, created by the existence of a household language, side by side with a system of education which ignored its existence.

The immediate result of their labours was the establishment of University Colleges for North and South Wales, and the giving of an annual subsidy to the one at Aberystwyth, which, after considerable demur, the Government wisely consented to retain.

A very important recommendation was made by them, viz.: — the creation of what amounted to a Welsh University, with the representatives of the leading colleges on its Governing Board, which was not, however, carried into effect; but, perhaps we may, in some measure, trace the passing of the Intermediate Educational Act for Wajes, with the powers it conferred on County Coimcils for the establishment of middle class schools, to the labours of this Committee. Nor




was the work of the Commission iu any way directly related to that movement, the rise, and progress of which I am about to trace; but inasmuch as the establishment of these University Colleges has given some educated Welshmen a vantage ground to co-operate vdth it, and as no single part of Welsh education can be looked at without reference to the whole, it may not have been out of place to give a few brief hints at its work.

At present this movement is confined within comparatively small limits, and although it has gained some victories, there is still a possibility of its retiring from the field without permanently occupying the ground gained. It has, however, within itself the germ of an educational revolution for Wales, which may yet wonderfully modify the future history of that country. Be that as it may, there has been so much of interest bearing on the relation of the language to the social and intellectual life of the people, evolved by enquiries and discussions set up in connection with its operations, that a wise historian cannot refuse to notice them, and in a work of this kind, it is deemed necessary to give details somewhat more at length than may perhaps please some persons to whom the power exercised by the language in the past and in the present, is an unsolved and unsolvable enigma.

In 1884 the Cymmrodorion Society, having its head quarters in London, appointed a committee to enquire into certain points relating to Elementary Education in Wales, which were in brief the alleged defects of teaching English, and the proposal that it should be taught through the medium of Welsh. Questions bearing on these points were sent round to about thirty leading educationalists in Wales, including Wm. Williams (the senior Inspector of Elementary Schools). It was found on receipt of replies that only one correspondent positively expressed depreciation of Welsh as a subject of




education, while the Principal of the Normal College, Bangor, was one who strongly advocated its introduction.

The next step of the Committee was to address an enquiry to the head-masters and mistresses of primary schools in Wales, as follows: —

Do you consider that advantage would result from the introduction of the Welsh language as a specific subject into the course of Elementary Education in Wales?

In the Spring of 1885, 628 answers were received, of which 339 were affirmative, 257 negative, 32 neutrals. For a tabulated statement of these replies, arranged according to counties. See Appendix E. By this it will be seen that Flint and Pembroke were the only counties that shewed negative majorities. Somewhat singularly, the county of Monmouth, where Welsh is not much spoken as a family language, shewed a majority in the affirmative, while the busy, industrial county of Glamorgan, shewed no less than a majority of 57 per cent, of affirmative over negative replies.

The replies of these teachers form in the mind of the writer, one of the most interesting contributions to the literature of Wales, that have appeared during the present century. To reproduce the whole would take up too much space, I therefore propose to give selected extracts from them, or summaries ranged under their respective Coimties.

The original printed report of the Cymmrodorion and the appendix, giving the replies in full, are perhaps not easily accessible to most of my readers, and as the negatives touch on nearly everything that can be said now against any similar proposal, it is well they should be heard, although for the most part their arguments were decidedly the weakest, except where any of them felt that Welsh as a class-subject would meet the case better than as a specific.

It must be borne in mind that these replies were written




before the subject had been canvassed by public discussion, and that early prejudices doubtless biased some of the writers, from whose school and collegiate courses Welsh had been excluded.

They are however valuable as the independent witness of a number of intelligent men with trained minds in different parts of the country, and surrounded by very different conditions,

I have not quoted the reference numbers given in the original, except occasionally for the sake of clearness, but the reader will bear in mind that each separate paragraph is written by a different teacher, and that it does not in every case comprise the whole of the answer, ANGLESEY.

Negative. — I don't think that Welsh parents would welcome the introduction of "Welsh" as a subject into our schools. They want us to prepare their children to fight the "battle of life." But I am of opinion that the G-overnment ought to raake some allowance for the difficulties we hare to encounter in teaching English to our pupils.

The greatest opposition would be offered in this district to Welsh being introduced, as all parents with whom I am acquainted are most anxious that it should be altogether excluded from school work. My opinion is that "well" is best let alone. So my answer is "No."

No. For: (1) Parents would not stand it. (2) Welsh is amply cared for by our Sunday schools and literary meetings. (3) I cannot see the utihty of the proposal. (4) Our schools are Welshy enough as it is. (5) After eight years' experience I find the best plan is to use the Welsh language as sparingly as possible. Of course we all love the old tongue, but school life is not a matter of sentiment, but a serious preparation for the battle of life. (6) I am certain if you succeed few teachers would care to teach it, as it would seriously interfere with other more important work.




No. Reasons: (1) Sufficient latitude is already given by the Educational Code for the employment of Welsh as a medium of teaching English. (2) Teachers having no knowledge of Welsh, and those who entirely discard it in teaching Welsh pupils, are highly successful as such in Wales. (3) If Welsh were included as a specific subject in the Educational Code, I, in anticipation, assert that no more than one out of ten teachers would adopt it. (4) My knowledge of people of both mining and agricultural districts enables me to say positively that the teaching of Welsh in our schools would be much objected to. (5) The introduction of Welsh into the curriculum of the schools would greatly hinder the teacher in endeavouring to encourage English conversation among his scholars.

Afeiematite — ^The introduction of Welsh as a "specific subject" wUl be of great benefit to schools where the children are entirely Welsh. Many children now leave school when they can neither write English or Welsh correctly.

Most of the young men, after passing the fourth standard in a day school, as well as attending Sunday schools, are unable to compose either Welsh or English. Whereas if they were all grounded in their "mothers' tongue" in elementary schools it would be an inducement for them to compete at Uterary meetings, Eisteddfodau, &c., and at the same time it would assist them to understand the English language.

(1) It would afford a highly interesting (because thoroughly understood) mental training, and English would be more efficiently taught than at present, on the natural principle of proceeding from the known to the unknown. (2) A child would comprehend the grammatical structure of his native tongue, and compose in it with ease; thereby acquiring a power and model to deal with English and other languages. The majority of children leave school with very imperfect notions of English composition, and none of Welsh, as far as school teaching helps them; and parents justly complain that their children cannot write correctly " either an English or a Welsh letter." (4) Such being the universal complaint, it follows




that the present mode of teaching English has lamentably failed (except to a few talented youths in each school), and some course akin to the suggested syllabus must be adopted before any better results can be obtained from the great majority.

It would be a great boon to the children in order to aid them to understand the English language. It would create in their minds when leaving school a thorough love for higher education in science aftd literature.

The study of such a beautiful, poeticai,, and bxpebssite LANGUAGE as the Welsh would carry its own intrinsic value in the possession of the full command of such a language to. clothe his thoughts.

Though an Enghshman, I have been very much struck with the slight knowledge of "Welsh grammar as evinced by the working class with whom I have been brought in contact.

By placing the Welsh language among the specific subjects, I do not think that any English teacher would find that he was handicapped in the matter. I thoroughly endorse the opinion of Mr. Edward Eoberts, B.A., H. M.'s Inspector of Schools. OAENAEVONSHIEE.

Negative — No; because (a) Welsh children's knowledge of Welsh being for the most part only of colloquial Welsh, they would have to unlearn a great deal before any progress could be made, (b) The parents of English children in Welsh schools would very probably object to their children learning Welsh.

Our literary associations and Sunday schools are ample means of supplying the required knowledge of the Welsh language.

No, a thousand times no. A discreet use of Welsh in the lower standards is commendable, and may be for some time yet indispensable. * * Every Welsh teacher I have yet spoken with emphatically condemns the idea. Indeed, most of us have not even acquired a knowledge of the rudiments of Welsh grammar, so utterly purposeless is its acquisition to successful teaching.

No. Perhaps it would be an advantage to teach it to the pupil-teachers, as this would in time largely increase the number of Welsh




writers. The Go7ernment might be asked to set papers in the "Welsh language at the scholarship and certificate examinations. I think I am not wrong in stating that at present there are but very few of the Welsh teachers who can write Welsh.

Afeiematite — Yes, provided it should be taught as a class subject, and not as a specific subject.

Welsh-English translation being under existing conditions copiously practised, I do not see that any material extra labour would result from the adoption of Welsh as a " specific," nor that it would necessitate the dropping of the ordinary class subjects. Though there is a cry for English, yet parents are quite as anxious for their children to be able to write respectable Welsh letters. I say yes, on financial and educational grounds.

I maintain that nothing but a parrot-Hke knowledge of English can possibly be imparted to scholars in Welsh-spoken districts, as far as Standard III. inclusive, without freely using the Welsh language. This being done in the majority of elementary schools in Wales, the teaching of Welsh as a specific subject would require so Utile extra wjrk that there would be no need to drop any of the ordinary, in order to introduce it. Having been engaged in schools in Welsh-spoken district over fourteen years, I hope you will excuse me for giving expression to the above statements.

It would be a good foundation for the learning of English. I have been repeatedly asked by parents to teach Welsh composition (letter-writing) to their children; of course, without neglecting English in any way.

Tes, I believe that the introduction of the Welsh language into the curriculum of elementary syhools, wiU greatly facilitate the teaching of English in purely Welsh schools.

I do really consider that the introduction of the Welsh language as a "specific subject" would enhance even the speedy acquisition of English, and a better grounding of the Welsh language than we have hitherto possessed, providing that a Welsh grammatical primer suitable to the capacity of the children would be supplied, containing sentences that would render a mutual aid to acquire a




sound elementary knowledge of both languages. Whatever is said of Sunday school teaching, my experience assures me that many a Sunday school scholar does not know the difference between i'w and yw, and mae and mai, and in this respect it is a complete failure, and the only remedy would be acquired by the introduction of Welsh as a specific subject.

Being a most ancient and original langu9,ge, its knowledge could not fail to be an inteoduotion to a classical education. In Welsh-speaking districts I consider the vernacular the best medium of teaching EngUsh and of improving the general intelligence.

Yes. It would be far more serviceable than Euclid, &c., to the lads of the Welsh-speaking districts of Carnarvonshire, &c.

Few English families reside here, but I find that the English children in a very short time are able to talk Welsh, and will insist upon speaking it every chance they obtain.

Yes. It is an act of justice to an ancient people and their language. It will give the rising generation an inteUiggnt and grammatical, as well as a practical knowledge of their native tongue, and enable them to correspond with facility in Welsh, whereas at present many Welsh people correspond with each other in English.

Before the schools of Wales will be on an equal footing with those of England, your plan should be adopted.

Netjteal — It would be of great advantage to these, if they were able to write and compose in their native language. But they have had no practice and no opportunities to learn these useful acquirements.


Negative — No, I do not. I confess that EngHsh could be better and more thoroughly taught through that medium, but it would very much retard the progress of the scholar. The greatest objection I see to it, is the fact that few schoolmasters, although Welsh, can write or understand Welsh correctly. Also, it would take as much trouble to get the children to understand the proper Welsh language as it would to do the EngUsh. I say proper.




because children do not speak it properly — and differently in different districts.

Decidedly no. Because there is too much division in the British empire now, and the giving legal sanction to another language will only increase the division. Because there are too many subjects taught already.

No. But I think it would be good to give a small piece in English language as home lesson, to be translated into "Welsh, such as a letter from a friend. I have been doing so, and found it to do good.

I would most decidedly say "Yes" if it was introduced as a class subject.

Afeiematite — ^Tes. I believe the knowledge of even two languages (Welsh and English) to be stimulative to the mind, by exciting comparison and enquiry. Welsh, being a root language, gives a good insight into the construction of languages.

In my humble opinion, which is based upon a residence of more than twenty-five years in North Wales, all tJie schools would do well to teach the Welsh language as a " specific subject," as I fully beheve that quite four-fifths of the children understand and speak the native tongue. I would except the eastern portion of Montgomeryshire, and perhaps two or three schools at Ehyl and Llandudno. A boy who is conversant with both languages has, in more than one way, an advantage over a boy who simply knows English. * * * I deem it a great advantage to know a bbatttiful, PHONETIC, HXPEBSSiTE language, such as the Welsh is.

FLINT8HIEE. Nhgatitb — Eather than introduce the Welsh language as a specific subject, it would be more fair to the teachers in the Principality for the Committee of Council on Education to acknowledge the disadvantage under which they work, especially in rural districts, and draw up a simpler and special Code for the Welsh Schools, in order to put them on a more common-sense level with the EngUsh schools, where the children know nothing but their




mother tongue, English, from their birth. What would the English teachers do if they had to teach every subject in the French language to children who had been taught English from their birth, and who heard nothing but EngHsh at their homes and while at play; and those children again to be examined in the same subjects as French children of the same age? The use of both languages must be made by the Welsh teachers before English can be taught in the schools of the Principality.

No. At least nine out of every ten of the teachers would require special training.

AFFIRMATIVE — I do. I have had an opportunity of (more than once) lecturing on Welsh grammar before "Young Men's Literary Associations," and in each case a decided craving for such a move as you recommend was manifested.

As an old pupil of the Rev. Jenkin Davies, Rector of Bottwnog, Caernarvonshire, I consider his method of teaching English one of the best for beginners in a Welsh country school — e.g.: The Verb "to be" Indic. Pres. Singular. — I am = yr wyf fi; Thou art = yr wyt ti; He is = Y mae ef. Plural. — We are = yr ydym ni; You are = yr ydych chwi; They are = y maent hwy. The introduction of the Welsh language as a specific subject into the course of elementary education in Wales would, I firmly believe, be of great advantage to both teacher and scholar. The most successful teachers use it freely.


NEGATIVE — And what a disadvantage a Welsh teacher and the children under his charge would be labouring under in comparison with an English-speaking teacher, even in Wales, and much more so in comparison with an English-speaking teacher in a district exclusively English, who one and all are expected to produce the same or similar results, independent of circumstances over which they often have no control, or be involved helplessly in professional ruin. See reply to No. 7 B., the said H. M. Senior Inspector. "Edrych yn y drych hwn dro, gyr galon graig i wylo."

No. The introduction of any Welsh into this school would be




very unfayourably met by the parents; even now they will blame the teacher for explaining difficult passages in English by means of the "Welsh language.

Reducing the number of readers in Welsh schools, so as to give teachers more time to cultivate intelligence by means of translation, as prescribed by the Code, would secure the same result.

Affirmatite — I consider that great advantage would accrue. I may state that the Welsh is now universally made use of in the lowest standards; and ideas, when expounded in Welsh, seem to adhere longer to pupils' minds, especially in purely Welsh speaking schools. By the adoption of the proposed scheme, both the Welsh and English languages would be more thoroughly known in the Principality.

There is no doubt but that a very great advantage would result from it, because the Welsh language is not properly taught at our Sunday schools, &c., as asserted by some; but really it puzzles me to know how it can be introduced into the course of elementary education in Wales with the present requirements of the Code. The best teachers already groan under the drudgery.

Although my Welsh is very imperfect, I vote strongly for its introduction into Welsh schools, not as a medium for teaching English, but as a sbpabatb subject paid for by the Education Department as a class subject in the same ratio as our other class subjects; and I would furthermore suggest that in Welsh schools all teachers may have the option of teaching grammar (English) and Welsh, instead of grammar and geography.

Wbttteal — After advocating beginning Welsh in the early Standards, " There wUl, I know, be too much timidity to ask for such a radical change in the Code, until Welshmen who would be listened to by the Department discover the dreariness and the unnaturahiess of the present methods of teaching in our infants' and junior classes. The handful of Gaelic-speaking population in Scotland seem to have more official cognisance in this respect than our Welsh-speaking population of one million, with a living literature to boot."





Negative — [Answers 11, 12 and 13 allude to the preyalence of English in their districts.]

I think no advantage would result from its introduction as a "specific subject." (1) It would tend to isolate Wales from becoming assimilated with England in every sense of the word. (2) No adequate return would be obtained in after-life. (3) It would unnecessarily burden the already hard-pressed teacher in rural districts. (4) It would tend to exclude English teachers from taking charge of schools in Wales.

Affiemativb — Tes, especially where the Welsh language is likely to be forgotten.

I have only been a master in Wales for a few weeks * * as far as I can teU I think it would be greatly advisable.

As long as the object of the Education Act is to teach English, the least of Welsh used in schools the better, untU the children have learnt to thinh in English. When that point is reached, as in upper standards (sometimes), Welsh may then be taken without being a hindrance to their learning English — the original object.

I do: (1) The study of the Welsh language is as much a means of MENTAL DISCIPLINE and development as the study of the Latin, the French, or any other subject at present mentioned in Schedule IV. of the new Code. (2) If a child speaks the Welsh language, and is likely to use it during its lifetime, a grammatical and systematic knowledge of it would render it of much greater value to him or her than would be the mere power to speak it.

As a teacher of public elementary schools for upwards of thirty-four years, I would most strongly advocate that teaching Welsh should be made compulsory in all schools located in Welsh-speaking districts. There is not a better mental culture, or one so well calculated to enliven and bring out the mental energies of Welsh children, than to combine the vernacular with English. CAEDIGAN.

Negative— [Along with other references to parents' objections.]

The chief request of all the parents that call upon me is to



chap; IV.] HER LANGUAGE. 121

make their children learn plenty of English. * * I have had experience in two schools in different parts of Cardiganshire, and the chief and great desire of the people is for the spread of English in those parts.

The introduction of Welsh in any form would seriously retard progress in EngUsh.

Apmbmatite — ^Yes. Beason: In so much as I love Wales, and in particular the Welsh language, I have always felt grateful towards St. David's College, Lampeter, where the Welsh language is studied, and am glad of this present opportunity of voting for the future existence of my mother's tongue.

Yes, as a "specific subject" if examined by Welsh inspectors. This would bring Welsh children to have some regard and admiration for their own language.

Yes, for it seems ridiculous that the present generation of children should be able to express themselves better, on paper, in the English than in their mother tongue. Welsh, as a 'written language, is falling fast into disuse in Wales.

I am at a loss to see any objection, on the part of teachers, to its being introduced as such. The correct rendering of Welsh in viriting is most imperfectly known in these parts. The Sunday schools do nothing more than teach the mechanical part of reading Welsh, leaving grammar, &c., entirely out of the question.

Yes. (1) I think the children would learn Enghsh better by such means than by the present slipshod way of teaching, or rather not teaching it. (2) It would be an invaluable exercise for the mind — i.e., the comparing the two languages would be. (3) It would tend to keep alive the Welsh national spirit, and although an Englishman myself 1 think this an hoxoubable and good motive. (4) I think there is no doubt that Welsh literature would gain immensely by such an introduction.

I do not hesitate for a moment to say "yes." But I am afraid

that the want of a proper staff in the majority of Welsh schools

to conduct the teaching of it as a specific subject will be a severe

check to the advantages thus to be derived. I should be incHned





to place it among the class subjects, or at least to include it in the present class subject English.


Negatitb — [Eeason assigned by two writers — Welsh unnecessary.]

AnrFiEMATiTE — "Welsh parents hare been, and still are, more or less anxious that their children should learn the English language, but the feeling in my opinion is not so strong now as it appeared to have been ten years ago, when the almost convincing and loud cry was raised that their old and dear language would in a couple of years die out never to revive again. The inhabitants of the PrincipaUty at the present time, however, and after ten or fifteen years' experience of such hue and cry, are not the least terrified about the extinction of their language; in fact, the Welsh as a nation begin to feel jealous of their language; they think it worthy of attention, and indeed heed is paid to it now more than ever, and in a much higher sphere than hitherto. * * To learn, even a little, of the Welsh grammar, and to write Welsh correctly, would be of advantage to Welsh boys and girls in after years. I was asked last Christmas twelve-month to adjudicate some poetry at a competitive meeting written in English and Welsh. The Welsh idea was superior to the English, but the spelling was wretched.

BEECKNOCZ. Afeiemativh — I believe the more intelligent farmers here would like very much that their children should be taught to write Welsh correctly, in addition to being able to read it, which they are now taught to do in our Sunday schools.


Nesative — [No Welsh spoken — Parents' objections — Majority of teachers English.]

Again, the parents of children would soon repudiate such a step; the unanimous feeling is to see their children progress in Enghsh, for "they can get as much Welsh as they want at home," and any shortcomings of the same would soon be noised abroad.




AiTiEJSiATiTB — ^Virtually I should say there would be an advantage to the children themselves, but many "Welsh localities would discountenance such teaching, owing to the notion that sufficient knowledge of Welsh is being got at home, and that the school course should consist in the teaching of the language of practical business, &c.

I am of opinion that children would be greatly deUghted and interested in learning a subject so familiar to them, and it would be a great step towards bringing out their intelligence.

I feel compelled to answer " Decidedly yes," as I am unable to teach my Standard II. children nouns and verbs in the English language, and am obliged to resort to corresponding "Welsh nouns and verbs. This is more difficult as I am English. CAEMAETHENSHIEE.

Negative — Parents are very anxious that their children should learn English well, and those who have learned English grammatically have Uttle difficulty in writing a letter in "Welsh fairly. They learn to read in the Sunday schools in "Welsh, and nearly every family takes a weekly "Welsh paper in this locaUty. "Welsh is spoken by 99 per cent.

Children and teachers overpressed. ''' * The popitlab DELirsioN [that of parents thinking the Sabbath school (so called) sufficient for picking up Welsh] must first be removed before any general teaching of Welsh be obtained.

Children, however, on leaving school take up Welsh or English papers, no matter which. But although the rising generation is well able to speak English in their business affairs (which I cannot say their parents can do), the language at home is essentially as "Welsh" as ever.

This district is entirely Welsh, but, strange to say, no one writes or carries on correspondence in Welsh; all is done in English.

No. I speak from an experience of eighteen years as a master of schools in strictly Welsh-speaking districts. The teaching of Welsh as a specific subject will not be advantageous because it



124 WALES Al^D . [chap. IV.

will iacrease and not lighten the existing pressure. * * As a practical teacher, and as a warm advocate of the retention of the Welsh language, I should suggest as practicable and advantageous the substitution of Welsh translations for the present burdensome and often useless learning by a rote of a number of lines of poetry with meanings and allusions.

Apeiemativb — Tes; but I believe that parents would be very much opposed to it.

In my opinion considerable advantage would result, but the parents would object.

It might prove advantageous, especially when such encouragemant as that offered by Dr. .Tohn Williams, of 11, Queen Anne Street, London, is given in the form of an Exhibition of the annual value of £27, tenable for four years, at The College, Llandovery, or Christ College, Brecon, to lads under fourteen years of age from elementary schools in five surrounding parishes, one of the subjects for examination being: " Welsh — Beading and translation from Welsh to English,"

It would also be the mjans o£ cultivating the intelligence of the pupils. It is a great pity, if not shame, that we (Welshmen) do not study our language properly, so as to be able to enjoy the writings o£ our excellent authors, in poetry and prose.

[Particularly thoughtful answer]. In my opinion it would be a decided advantage, particularly so in country districts, where few attractions are found for young people to employ their leisure time. It would be the means of fostering a love of study, inasmuch as children leave school before their thinking powers are greatly developed, and they require some subject as a connecting link between the subjects adapted to the capibilities of boys and men; and I believe that starting with a fair knowledge of Welsh would open the field for more extensive reading.

Tes; for I believe it would improve the Welsh children in English and in Welsh.

Yes. After reading the "Elementary Eeport" you sent me carefully and studiously, I was surprised to find these gentlemen




differ so much upon a subject which ought to receive more attention from every true Welshman.

I sometimes, and now often, write on the board colloquial Welsh expressions for translation, and I iind the children soon pick up the idiom in English. But there is no time for a teacher to take this method too freely, as his labour is not acknowledged; for a Welsh teacher would not willingly pass over false orthography in Welsh. But apart from benefiting the children in Welsh, I am of opinion I could teach them English more thoroughly by such a method.

Would bs welcomed by many teachers as a boon, both to themselves and the scholars, as the teaching of Welsh would be less laborious in Welsh schools than other subjects now taught; and it would thus, to a certain extent, relieve the over-pressure which now exists in Welsh district.

By taking Welsh as a "specific subject," the time (and labour) spent in conveying English instruction through the medium of the vernacular tongue (as is the case in the great majority of Welsh country schools) might be turned into direct pecuniary advantage. The mental training it would produce would be of considerable '^educational" advantage.

It would be a moral advantage. By the omission of the teaching of it in school some children are led to regard their mother-tongue as being something to be ashamed of, and (Dic-Shon-Dafydd-hke) to be forgotten and cast aside as soon as possible. 1 beg to state that I heartily approve of some such scheme as your "Honourable Society " has suggested, provided it undergoes some modifications. Text-books should be provided for all the standards — conversational dictionaries, somewhat like the book of the Rev. Kilsby Jones, Llanwrtyd, with enough of work for one year. Unless you limit (a work for each standard, to form a foundation to the next standard), the superstructure will collapse, and Her Majesty's Inspectors will annihilate the "plan" and the teachers. I have adopted that method of teaching EngUsh through the medium of the Welsh for about fifteen years. If I had text-




books we could succeed better. We simply use the black-board for half an hour daily. We take special care with the irregular verbs, pronouns, moods, and tenses. We make lists also of idiomatic phrases; those stumbling-blocks are unsurmountable to the Welsh children but for the above method of elucidating them. I do not approve of preparing a "specific subject" to be examined in Welsh; I think there is ample work to learn English in general by some such means as above. But some method should be adopted too to measure our extra labour, and to pay for it according to the results. I do not know in what standard in the "Elementary School" you intend your Schedule IV., Welsh, to be applied. Erom my experience of the labour required, yours is too hard after considering the time we have at our disposal. There is a vast difference between translating Welsh to English and English to Welsh. Brilliant children wiU not do the former, while they can do the latter with ease. So I would confine the latter to the 3rd Stage; but with better advantages, such as home-lesson books, and the subject becoming honourable, perhaps indeed yours could be adopted. * * The Education Department cannot form an idea of the WBAB.Y WOBK of teaching the children to comprehend the most commonplace words in a consecutive order. Should this scheme ever come into a practical form, I would be glad to see in each series Bnghsh diphthongs grouped together, according to their sounds in Welsh. I teach the infants to read English in that way, using the phonetic system through the medium of Welsh. I need not explain, you understand the system better than I. I beg to thank your Honourable Society for labouring on behalf of us teachers and our beloved language. " Oes y byd i'r iaiih Gymraeg."'*

It would be becoming, and also polite [to the Welsh] to allow them the use of their much-loved language, and make it a " specific subject" for schools.

I am afraid that but few men clearly perceive what immense advantage would accrue from the introduction of the Welsh

* This long answer is inserted nearly entire through an error of the compositor. Having heen set up in type I leave it stand.




language into the Code as the thin end of the wedge. The subject should have been well discussed in the Welsh newspapers and periodicals before soliciting an expression of "opinion" from all teachers, &c., indiscriminately.

The introduction of the Welsh language, in Welsh-speaking districts, as a special school subject, woiild greatly sharpen the intellects of the children for the reception of moral impressions when in attendance at religious services (inasmuch as the colloquial Welsh in all districts is very imperfect), making them virtuous in hf e; and certainly accelerate the acquisition of English. GLAMORGAN.

Negative — [Eight replies from districts, considered unsuitable for the experiment.]

No. Generally speaking the answers to this question wUl, to a very great extent, reflect the ability of the teacher to teach the Welsh language.

No. Neither H.M. Inspector nor parents would approve of it, and it would be of no benefit to the children as a class.

The Welsh children of my district (Waunarlwydd, near Swansea) understand Shakespeare better than they understand Islwyn. The teaching of Welsh, therefore, would require much time. Because the knowledge of Welsh possessed by some children is far more extensive than that possessed by others. Because Welsh people in fairly good circumstances ignore the Welsh language and discourage it in their children; such is the fact.

Children in the Ehondda speak Bnghsh habitually in the playground; this results from the immigration of EngUsh people. Summary of Objections — (1) Many refining influential English teachers incapable of taking up the subject. (2) Many Welsh-speaking teachers quite unable to teach Welsh. (3) Districts like the Ehondda too mixed; English increasing. (4) To teach it as a "specific" would only add another burden to the already over-taxed powers of the children. (5) Welsh too elaborately inflectional. Suggestions— {1) That it be taken up in night schools. (2) That a suitable set of Welsh readers for Welsh Sunday schools, with




illustrations, be compiled to make the Welsh reading therein interesting and attractive, thus utilizing Welsh teaching already in existence with great effect.

No. Because the Inspectors do not allow children the privilege of answering a question in "Welsh at present, although the Code stipulates that such a liberty should be allowed. The great majority of Inspectors are bank Englishmen, whose hobby is to stamp out the Welsh language altogether. There would be great difficulty in concUiating the parents to such a course.

In this district (the Tstradyfodwg) we have scarcely any mistresses able to teach Welsh; the masters, as a whole, would be able to do so. * * Bnghshmen, as a rule, do not possess "very strong love" towards anything Welsh, and rather than assist it would prefer crushing it under foot. As a thorough warm-hearted Celt, I would gladly hail this new attempt at perpetuating the old language, but cannot see any hope.

Afeibmativb — Tes; and not only at elementary schools, but I think that at higher schools and universities it should have a place amongst the other languages taken, and candidates for degrees, &c., should be allowed to take it as an alternative language, just as they now can take French or Latin, G-reek, &c.

Tes, to Welsh country schools. (1) Country teachers have often told me that they have recourse to the Welsh language to make the lessons intelligible; therefore, by its introduction into the Code, they would get some credit and pecuniary benefit for labour which is now often unrecognised and unpaid for. (2) It would materially aid towards securing Welsh Inspectors for Wales, who can properly sympathise with Welsh-speaking children, and understand the difficulties they have to contend with in grasping the subjects.

Tes. The children attending my school are not conversant with the language, although their parents are as a rule Welsh. This seems a pity. If Welsh were taught as a specific, it would, in my opinion, be an inducement to Welsh parents to bring up their children in the mother-tongue. Again, it would be the means of aiding those who are already Welsh-spoken to obtain an accurate




knowledge of their language. It is to be regretted that but few in comparison can speak and write Welsh properly.

Having been the head master of, probably, the largest schools in the Principality for a period of over forty-one years, and having observed the comparatively little change in the use of the Welsh language among the resident population of this district during that time, I venture to express my decided opinion that " advantage would result" from the introduction of Welsh as an optional "specific subject.''

Yes. I beUeve it could be taught with great advantage. I find it easier to teach French to a chUd who knows Welsh. The meanings and allusions in the reading lessons are better understood in many cases where the explanation is given in Welsh. Enghsh boys and girls strive to learn it if they hear the teacher explain the reading matter thus, and the petty jealousy between the races diminishes.

Yes. Welsh children naturally speak Enghsh veiled in Welsh idioms. This is a great obstacle in the way of teaching English effectually. The introduction of the study of the Welsh language into our elementary schools would give teachers an opportunity to teach children how to translate properly. As a consequence the children would learn to express themselves in purer English.

I feel certain that much advantage in every way would result therefrom; chiefly, the intelligence of the children would be greatly improved thereby, and school would be more of a pleasure to them. I know that these things would follow from their having done so in my school by my taking my upper standards through a Welsh grammar side by side with an English one, and I have no doubt but that it would be the case to a much greater extent were Welsh taught as thoroughly as it would be, were it a paid subject.

Yes. The knowledge, intelUgence, and the thinking powers oi the children would be increased immensely; instead of their being as they are at present, learning everything by rote.

I am not a Welshman, but I sincerely appreciate your intention.

I have always felt a desire to introduce Welsh as a "specific





subject" into my school. My experience as a teacher enables me to confirm Professor Powell's remark, "that the "Welsh language is a powerful agent of education." * * It is a mistake to think that our boys and girls will become better Englishmen and Englishwomen by ignoring what one recently called " our beautiful "Welsh."

Although I do not understand "Welsh, I am of opinion that a grammatical knowledge of their own language would be a much greater advantage to the Welsh working classes than most of the ordinary specific subjects.

I find it easier to teach French to a child who knows "Welsh.

Our pupils s^ieak fairly good English but very bad Welsh. (My experience extends as far as "West and North Pembrokeshire and the Glamorgan "Valleys.) (1) It would be a good mental discipline.

(2) It would tend to accuracy in expressing ideas. (3) It would enlarge both vocabularies (English and "Welsh). (4) It would give an excellent opportunity for learning the idioms of th English language. Welsh teachers have quite enough to do in preparing for the G-overnment examination, and as Welsh counts for nothing at the certificate examination, it is of course neglected. To remedy this some good Welshmen should establish classes in connection with the Welsh colleges, and the Welsh professors should hold periodical examinations and grant diplomas to those who have attained a certain standard of excellence. As Welsh is learnt noiv it is simply a hindrance to progress in English, and consequently in aU other subjects of a common school education. Schedule I"V. More stress should be put on a thorough knowledge of the accidence and syntax, and also on the idioms in translation.

Advantages: (1) The usual mefital discipline in the systematic learning of any language. (2) The language would in the future be spoken in a much purer and more correct form than at present.

(3) It would stimulate patriotism, so necessary to the well-being of the community. (4) The realisation of the "prophetic dreams" of our old bards. (5) Being placed amongst the specifics there is no possibility of its interference in the acquisition of English, which is of such vital importance.




Much is said about " cultivating a taste for reading." I cannot conceive of a better aid. Children in this district read Enghsh in the Sunday schools untU they are about thirteen or fourteen years of age, then they prefer the "Welsh classes. Objections: Masters are not capable of teaching the subject. The Code demands too much already. Many inspectors I am afraid would be unfavourable to it, hence disheartening those who would take it up. There are diilerent opinions with regard to the merit of our literature, but I iind that those who read "Welsh as well as Enghsh (although they are lovers of Milton, Shakespeare, "Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Morris) feel they cannot aiiord to neglect Hiraethog and Islwyn.

Netiteal — The English language ought to be taught in "Welsh districts (such as Anglesey) the same as any foreign tongue would be taught — viz., by means of the vernacular. I beheve that if the children were systematically taught the English language instead of picking up what little they do by accident, that in twenty or thirty years a revolution would have taken place in the mental condition of the people. Eor this purpose we would have to go in for a Welsh Code (optional, as some schools in Anglesey, and most in other parts, such as Grlamorganshire, would prefer working under the Enghsh Code). * * As a "Welshman, I am afraid that such a course would accelerate the death of our dear "Welsh language, and gwell fuasai genyf hyny na gwrthod allwedd fawr pob gwybodaeth i blant ein gwlad.


Nhgatitb — No. I consider that its introduction would result in greater "over-pressure" in schools in "Wales. Managers would insist upon its being taken up in all schools to increase the Government grant.

Ai'MEMATiTB — Yes, as it would be a great assistance in teaching Enghsh to the "Welsh children. From my twelve years' experience as teacher in "Welsh districts, I have found it necessary to impart my instruction by means of the "Welsh language, and I know that the knowledge of the Enghsh language, which is gained by the




Welsh as a channel is far more sound and perfect than that which is acquired by leaving the Welsh entirely out of the course of instruction. In spite of the prejudice which some of H. M. Inspectors hare against Welsh, I have never failed to give the children as much instruction as time would allow me in their mother's language.

Most decidedly. It ought to be an extra subject in every school.

My children, although they were instructed first in English, but now being able to converse in Welsh, would be benefitted by a further knowledge of the Welsh language, and to the Welsh it would be a greater advantage.

The educational advantages would be very great, and surely the adoption of such teaching would add a delightful work to many a Welsh teacher and scholar and help to keep "yr hen iaith" alive.

To the scholars themselves it would give a sense of reaUty to grammar which the subject does not now possess. And by its giving a power of comparison it would greatly facilitate the teaching of historical English. The great drawback is the ignorance of Welshmen of the grammar of their own language. I may state that the vUlage in which I Uve has four EngUsh places of worship and six Welsh ditto, the size of the latter being to the former as two is to one.

Tes. Those of my scholars who read with true expression have a knowledge of the Welsh langnage. They are certainly ahead of those possessing no such knowledge.

It is the case in this school, which numbers over 200 children, all Welsh except eight. I frequently use Welsh to explain difilcult terms, and the last school report contains this remark: "The very intelligent work of the three highest standards is deserving of special mention. * * Many look at it now with contempt and as a thing to be forgotten; if introduced into school it would be looked at in quite a different Ught.

It does seem very unscientific to attempt (more correctly to continue) to make Welsh children learn English by UteraUy gulling them with it. We hear much of "bi-lingual difficulty."




This I don't admit; the "difficulty'' is altogether in the means used to teach EngUsh.

I heard the advocates of an alteration in the present system of Welsh education spoken of lately by a person who had been a Carmarthenshire teacher, as a "few agitators." The answers that are given above will sufficiently disprove such a crude assertion, at least for the recent date of 1885. Persons who make similar statements, and adopt a hostile attitude, are frequently either Welshmen who have, through an imperfect education, had to suffer disappointment in some way or other, and blame their language instead of the system, or else persons who are really in good degree, ignorant of the language, at least from a literary point of view.

Bearing in mind that we are not deaUng with the views of impractical enthusiasts, but with the opinions of practical men, although in fact they had no experience of systematic teaching of the language, except in a few isolated cases, also bearing in mind the magnitude of the changes which might be expected to take place in the event of the bilingual system being universally adopted, I subjoin further summaries of leading points in the answers, which may enable the reader to obtain a still clearer view of the arguments for and against, than would be obtained by a cursory perusal of the foregoing pages.


WouIdassistinacquiringEnglish. Would hinder EngUsh conversation.

In Welsh-speaking districts in- Children would have to unlearn

telligent farmers wish their colloquial Welsh.

children to write Welsh letters.

Parents' desire for children to Parents would object.

write Welsh letters.

English hoys try to learn it when Would isolate Wales from com-

teachers explain in Welsh, plete assimilation with England.

and race jealousy diminishes.






"Would be a pecuniary, an educational, and a moral advantage.

Young people noiv unable to compose Welsh letters.

(Successful teachers use Welsh freely.

Would aid in securing inspectors who could properly understand the difficulties of Welsh children.

Children could then be taught to translate properly.

Stimulative to the mind.

English children insist on speaking Welsh every chance they get.

Means of mental disciphne — systematic knowledge of great value.

Should be compuisoby on all


English taught more thoroughly thus.

Would require little extra work.

Children would be greatly delighted.

Would foster a love of study.

Open the field for more extensive reading.

Would induce parents to bring up their children in their mother-tongue.

Easier to teach French when Welsh is learnt.

Would enlarge both vocabularies.

Especially [wanted] where Welsh is likely to be forgotten.


Want of utility.

"Sunday" schools and literary meetings provide for it.

Some successful teachers do not understand it.

Inspectors rank Englishmen.*

Present Code gives sufficient

latitude. Language too inflectional. English predominant in certain


Most teachers ignorant of Welsh, and would require special training.

Because a special Code for Wales is wanted worst.

* It would not be fair to speak of the Inspectors of 1891 as rank Englishmen. There are now notable exceptions to the old rule, but the Department is not yet sufficiently alive to the advantage of having Welsh-speaking Inspectors and assistants, even in bilingual districts.







Would create a thorough love for higher education and science.

The study of it would giye full command of a beautiful and expressive language.

Would be an introduction to a classical education.

Would keep alive the Welsh national spirit.

Welsh literature would gain immensely.

Would relieve over pressure.

Would sharpen the intellects of the children for the reception of moral impressions during preaching.

[Under a Welsh Code] in twenty or thirty years a revolution would have taken place in the mental condition of the people.

It will be admitted that if we except, on the negative side, the parents' objections, induced by what Carmarthen (61) styles "a popular delusion," and the much more reasonable fear of overpressure, or inability to keep pace with the then requirements of the Code in other respects, that the affirmatives had an immensely preponderating weight of evidence on their side, tending to strengthen the opinion that there were solid grounds for introducing Welsh, experimentally at least, as a specific subject, and in some places as a class subject. It is to be feared that the Education Department, with their inspectors, have done but little to remove the popular delusion referred to. Yet, one of the primary objects of education is to improve the judgment, weaken superstition, and healthily expand the

* This was written under the old Code, but doubtless is still true to a large extent in Wales.


Present mode has lamentably failed except to a few.

Parrot-hke knowledge of English in most elementary schools.

Many "Sunday" school scholars does not distinguish between i'w and yw.

Best teachers groan under drudgery of the Code.*

Present methods dreary and unnatural.

Welsh as a written language going into disuse.

"Present slipshod way of teaching, or rather not teaching English.

Children ashamed of their

mother-tongue. Weary work.




mental-powers, in attaining which latter object competent judges allege, as will be seen in this chapter, that the present system of ignoring Welsh is sadly defective.

As a matter of fact, School Boards, composed in many cases of persons of narrow or inferior education, continue, apparently, satisfied with results which, although fairly good in contrast with the rest of the country, are by no means the best attainable under a more intelligent system.

Considerable excuse however, must be made for many of these, because it is not long since, as we have seen, the "Welsh note," was in use in certain schools, so that the meaning of the term education in the minds of many teachers, as well as parents, who observe how necessary a knowledge of EngHsh is for purposes of material advancement, rather excludes the idea that Welsh may at the same time, if properly handled, be made a powerful instrument of education in the correct sense of the term, conducive to habits of correct speaking and thinking, and supplying, in conjunction with English, a means of mental disciphne even to boys in elementary schools, far superior to that evinced by the present "sUpshod," hap-hazard, rule of thumb-way, in which there is ground for believing many Welsh children think and speak.

Even in semi-Anghcized districts where the mother-tongue of most of the boys is English, but they are more or less familiar with Welsh, either by hearing it spoken, or by connection with the religious denomination their parents belong to, a course of Welsh can be introduced in the higher standards, without much, if any strain on the teacher, as has been practically proved where the experiment has been tried. Any other bilinguistic training involves far too large an expenditure of time and talent to be at all practicable in elementary schools. The attempt would, intellectually speaking, be



[chap. IV. HER LANGUAGE. 137

expensive. It is held that a bilingual method as advocated here would, in the same sense, be remarkably cheap.

It should be borne in mind, too, that the objectors were speaking for the most part of what they had not tested by actual experience, and veiy few of them have done so, even up to the present time. This is true of the affirmative, but the onus of proof, to shew that such a proposition should not be tentatively adopted, lay with the negatives, which proof they failed, on the whole, to establish.

Although I am somewhat anticipating my subject, I may mention the singular fact that while theoretically the most thoroughly Welsh schools in Wales would seem the most to need instruction in the language, in the practical working out of the idea, it is in bilingual districts where English prevails more or less largely, that the teachers or school Boards have shewn most willingness to make the necessary changes, for instance, Ruabon in North Wales; Merthyr, Gelligaer, Mynyddislwyn, in South Wales; while the teachers in the country around Merthyr, which is more Welsh than the town, have opposed the scheme. There are, however, one or two exceptions such as Llanarth, in Cardiganshire, but this was previously an exceptionally well taught school, and though in a thoroughly Welsh district, is ahead of most in Wales or England. Probably this peculiarity is due to the fact that hitherto we are only dealing with Welsh as a specific language taught to the higher standards only, and it corresponds to the idea of one teacher— "especially where Welsh is likely to be forgotten."

To resume now the thread of our history, very soon after the Cymmrodorion Society had drawn up their reply, giving teachers' replies in extenso, the National Eisteddfod in Aberdare, of 1885, was held, and presided over by Dr. Isambard Owen: it was decided to form a Society for promoting the utilization




of the Welsh language in education, and agreed to leave the organization to Dan Isaac Davies. D. I. Davies, B.Sc, was a Sub-Inspector of Elementary Schools, who had served the Education Department some years in England, and then returned to Wales under the impression, as he expressed it, in 1887, that he should find the Welsh language fast receding, almost disappearing, but "at every step since my return on the 1st October, 1882, rather more than four years ago, I have found the Welsh language has turned the corner, and it has passed out of the time of, we may say an English teaching reaction, I am glad to say not into a time of Welsh teaching reaction, but into a time of bilingual teaching reaction."

In his earlier life it appears that D. I. Davies was inclined to depreciate Welsh. He called himself an "Anglophile," but now at once threw himself heartily into this movement so contrary to what had been for years, the general current of education feeling in Wales, and so contrary to the traditional policy of the Department in London.

As an illustration of the character of the opposition that was evoked, I vdll quote the Western Mail, 8mo " Aug." 28th, 1885, which, in the course of a long leader, remarking on the increased facility which it was said systematic instruction in Welsh in day schools would give to the children in understanding sermons etc., said —

"We were rather surprised to find in a report drawn up in the interest of a people so determinedly opposed as the Welsh hare been represented to be, to all religious instruction in their day schools the statement that, "by accustoming the children to correct Welsh, it would greatly improve their understanding of the religious instruction given in that language." This, if it mean anything, means that an adoption of the Committee's recommendation, that Welsh be taken as a specific subject in the




day schools, must eventuate in a tremendous accession of strength to the Sunday schools.

Tlunk of that, you Nonconformists. Here is a champion of the Established Chm-ch fearing that if systematic instruction is given in your language, a "tremendous accession of strength" will accrue to your schools.

At the meeting in Aberdare above mentioned, a somewhat singular scene took place; D. 1. Davies said that Tudor Evans (a CardiflF architect) —

Had impugned the action of the Committee of the Cymmrodorion Society in appealing for information to the teachers of Wales, and had said that other persons ought to have their say. There was a strong feeling that he, as one of those other persons, should come forward, and have his say now.

Mr. Evans, who occupied a front seat in the body of the hall, and who resolutely declined to comply with repeated appeals made that he should ascend the platform, said he was not prepared that morning to be immolated on the altar of bigotry (Cries of "Shame")!

D. I. Davies did not remain satisfied with the initial steps to organize this Society, he wrote a series of six letters to the Western Mail on the "Utilization of the home language in Wales," in the last of which he said —

"We owe an apology and an explanation to our readers. We have seldom written to the Press, and lay no claim to literary ability and yet we have ventured to take up their time. Our life has been devoted to the spread of Enghsh in Wales, and yet we have felt compelled to say a word for Welsh in the interests of our people. Our University degree proves that our own tastes flow in the direction of exact mathematics and science and not towards literature and languages, and yet conviction urges us to plead, however imperfectly, for a side of education which better qualified men should have placed in its true light. We are personally disposed to




think that Welsh should be used as a frequent means of illustration in teaching the infant classes and lower standards, and taught as a specific subject in the upper standards, the secondary schools, the Colleges, and the University, and not as a means of teaching English, and yet see that we ought to give a patient hearing to those teachers who claim that English can only be taught efEectively in "Welsh-Wales through the medium of Welsh. We feel that we must rest our case on purely practical educational arguments, and fear not the result of any fair experimental trial of the plan we recommend, yet our Cymric heart cannot help glowing at the thought that the fair trial asked for will show that the practical utility of to-day and the ancient glory of our race or nation (whichever "Gwyliedydd" may prefer) will be found to be inseparably bound up together. Some of our poetical countrymen are fond of making touching references to the death of the Welsh language. * * * Infinitely to be preferred to the sentimental, cruel tenderness of those who love to contemplate the agonies of what they think to be an expiring language is the healthy, inspiriting advice of Dean Vaughan, which we take from the valuable volume referred to in Letter III.: —

' I take things as I find them, and I presume to say that the one hope for Wales of to-day, her one hope of learning, or of influence, or of usefulness, is that at least she be bilingual. No nation ought to part willingly with her distinctive speech. She ought to cUng to it with all fondness. The only limit to this tenacity should be that which common sense and self-interest conspire to impose upon it. If the language isolates her from all nations, if it risks her cosmopolitan character, as the disciple of the wise and the instructress of the ignorant, then, and then only, should she accept the omen, and make the very best of the inevitable. But what then? Is she to fling away the speech which was her differentia among the nations? Only treachery and cowardice would counsel it. She has a patriotic and a religious duty stiU towards the tongue in which she was born. She has, first, to see that it be articulately and grammatically formed and shaped in all its particulars, so that




it shall be no patois of chance and trick, but a language worthy of the respect of other languages, worthy to become the study of the learned and the training speech of the young. Next, that it shall have a literature all its own, a literature without a knowledge of which the education of a scholar shall be confessedly incomplete — a literature unapproachable sare through its language, and, therefore, securing to that language the undying interest and unstinting eSort of all who would think or know.'

Bear in mind, readers, that a literature is "unapproachable save through its language." You ask for translations of Welsh literary eflfbrts. Learn the language and translate them yourselves — that is in effect, the advice of a leading representative of the Established Church, not a representative of what has been tiU lately its leading policy, but a representative of the views of a minority represented, we may suppose, by such names as Gwallter Mechain and Silvan Evans.

D. I. D., himself formerly a teacher, makes an eloquent appeal to those with that calling and responsibilities —

Day school teachers of Wales! Tour opportunity has arrived. Tou complain from time to time that you work hard for the nation, where no one sees your self-denying exertions which, it seems to you, are in danger of being too little appreciated. How has the Cymmrodorion Society treated you during the last year? Has it not supplied you all vidth a report of its preliminary inquiry? Has it not asked you, one by one, what you thought of their suggestions? Has it not printed a thousand copies of your replies and placed them in the hands of every Cymmrodor? Does it not suggest the formation of a society, with headquarters in the Principality, of which every one of you may become a member, and the action of which you will be able to guide and largely control by your superior knowledge of the practical bearings of the question it is to deal with? Will you hesitate to join in a national movement which, whatever may be its ultimate outcome, must elevate the position of the educators of Wales? Will you allow others to




take the place marked out for you? "Will you follow when you might lead; and blindly obey when you might help to frame the word of command? I believe better things of you. Tou wiU prove you are the hope of Young Wales, that longs to elevate Welshmen by means of a thoroughly effective, because truly national, system of education, and will not flinch from patriotic work because it is going to give you some trouble at first. A nation that now possesses for the first time the political power to obtain an alternative Code for Welsh districts will not forget you, nor fail to lessen your burden, if you will only with patient clearness show it, why some of the present educational arrangements are too hard to be borne. We appeal with equal confidence to non-Welsh-speaking teachers as we do to the Welsh-speaking teachers. They know well the aspiration of Young Wales is not for "Wales for the Welsh." The policy of the rising Welsh party is not to ask candidates for any ofilce — Parliamentary or local — " Do you speak Welsh?" but, "will you support a school system that will give your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren opportunities for learning Welsh!" We do ^jot wish to exclude Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irishmen from Wales, but, when they are settled in our midst, to include them and their good qualities in our own national life.

How many teachers of Wales have read and considered these words, "Will you follow when you might lead, and blindly obey when you might help to form the word of command.'' Did not this man know what he was writing about? Was he not perfectly well aware of much that constitutes the life and work of a teacher in Wales? A large number of you have confessed the need of an alteration, but how much have you done "towards obtaining a thoroughly effective, because truly national, system of Education f Make that your watchword at all your district Association meetings for the next five years. Don't quietly say, "Yes, very good, very good," fold your hands complacently, and then discuss superannuation questions.




or anything but "patriotic work, because it is going to give you some trouble first."

If there are a few renegades or Saxons in your midst, who either will not or cannot understand that sense and reason demand a new and "thoroughly effective" system which gives proper consideration both to the existence of Welsh and to its educational value in elementary education, be satisfied that the time will come, if you persevere, when you will be able to demonstrate to them that their mountains are molehills, and that an enlightened public opinion supports you, and that practical results have amply justified your pains.

In addition to this series of letters there appeared another (consisting of eight in all) in the " Barter ac Amserau Cymru," by the same author, which was reprinted in pamphlet form, under the title of " Tair Miliwn o Gymry Dwyieithog yn 1985." These letters have never appeared before the public in an English dress, and some of my readers may be interested with a summary of the leading points in each of them.

In Letter I., he apologizes for appearing before the Welsh public inasmuch as he could not recollect ever having written a Welsh article before, except one which he had just written for " Y Geninen," and he had written but Uttle for the English Press, his bent of mind having been principally towards mathematics and science.

The reader wUl, I hope, excuse me in endeavouring to offer translation of D.LD.'s own words. To some, this and much that follows in the chapter may be uninteresting, I scarcely think, however, that it will be so to many who are engaged in Welsh Education and understand the important bearing of the subject. He says —

It is not a bard or a litSrateur or an eisteddfodwr of the old school who addresses thee, but one who is quite content (wrth fodd ei galon,) when seeking to impress on the minds of Welsh




children and the friends of education in our country the need of teaching English, science and art. My life has been devoted to the spread of these indispensable acquirements. This year I have turned out of my usual path on account of a strong conviction of the importance of this period, in our history as a nation, to speak a word as an educationalist, because no one who has enjoyed the same opportunities (of observation) is ready to address the Welsh on the subject which incites me to this employment, viz.: Would not the knowledge of two languages — English and Welsh — be very advantageous to the Welshman. I had better confess the following facts before going a step further: —

I. Though I have not been in any sense one of the family of “Dic Sion Dafydd" I formerly shared for a long time the feeling which is to be found commonly diffused that the extinction of the Welsh language would be, on the whole an advantage to the Welshman.

II. I do not believe very strongly in "Oes y hyd i'r iaith Gymraeg," because as I shall try to shew further on, the attitude of many Welsh people to it, shews that they are entirely indifferent, if not antagonistic to its preservation.

III. Notwithstanding, I have not entirely lost hope, since Welsh appears to be increasing in strength and influence in these days, in spite of the neglect and opposition of those who ought to defend and uphold it. There is a need to spread information about the blessings which have come to us as a people through the old language, and about the possibility of receiving many other good things through its medium in the future.

He next notices the action of the Cymmrodorion Society, and gives an extract from the Gaelic Journal, published in Dublin, which says in reference to the almost national system of teaching children to read Welsh in those called Sunday schools.

Had the system of teaching Welsh children through the medium of English been persevered in during the last 150 years, as in the



100 years preceding the time of Griffith Jones of Llanddowror, the people of the Principality would now have been as low at least in respect of education as the people of Donegal and Connemara." Letter II. refers at large to the testimony of the eminent Charles o'r Bala, written perhaps about 1811, and from which I extract the following: —

More than 150 years ago, in "Wales, the whole country was in a most deplorable state with regard to the acquisition of religious knowledge. For a long time previous, fashionable people had been trying to stamp out the language of the country, and to have the children taught altogether in English. Against these people, and against this state of universal ignorance, the Eev. Griffith Jones, of Llanddowror, was raised up. He asked: — "Should all our Welsh books, and our excellent version of the Bible, our "Welsh preaching, and the stated worship of God in our language, be taken away, to bring us to a disuse of our tongue?" So they are in a manner in some places — the more our misery; and yet the people are not better scholars, any more than they are better Christians for it. Welsh is stiU the vulgar tongue — and not English. * * Sure I am, the Welsh charity schools do no way hinder to learn English, but do very much contribute towards it J and perhaps you will allow. Sir, that learning our language first is the most expeditious way to come to the knowledge of another; else why are not your youths in England, designed for scholars, set to Latin and Greek before they are taught English? .... Experience now proves beyond dispute, that if it ever be attempted to bring all the Welsh people to understand English, we cannot better pave the way for it than by teaching them to read their own language first. This method will conduce, more than any other I can think of, to assist whatever attempts may be made to spread the general knowledge of the English tongue in this country.

This is a contribution so the history of the status of Welsh in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which brings us




face to face with an attempt to "stamp out the language," that is stUl bearing fruit to-day.

In the early days of the Society of Friends in Wales many of them were Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire people, who emigrated to America from 1680 to 1700, and who have left various letters and records behind them which are mostly in English, even when written before their departure, though in their new home the ministry at public worship was for some time generally Welsh.

I have by me some early minute books ot Monmouthshire Friends beginning 1703, which are wholly English, except a kind of introduction or compendium of rules placed at the beginning in Welsh; but Thomas Story, when he visited Pontypool Friends, about 1717, mentions hearing ministry in Welsh from a friend of that town. What I have seen of Merioneth and Montgomery minute books circ. 1730 is of a similar character.

I think that we must place these cases parallel with that of a Carnarvonshire or Cardiganshire youth, who writes home to his parents in English, because the famiHarity he has acquired at school in writing that language seems to make it the easiest thing to do, but thinks and speaks almost entirely in Welsh.

The conclusion then we arrive at is, that as early as the seventeenth century English was the dominant language of written communications even in Merionethshire, perhaps more so than now, though far less universally understood.

The following appears to be an extract from an Irish writer: —

The parents in Wales were as much opposed to the teaching of the "Welsh language as the Irish parents haye been to the teaching of Irish; but they gave up the conceit at the persuasion of the Eer. Thomas Charles, as he himself teUs us in continuation: —

At first the strong prejudice, which universally prevailed against teaching them to read Welsh first, and the idea assumed that they could not learn English so well if previously instructed in the




language, proved a great stumbling-block in the way of parents to send their children to the "Welsh schools; together with another conceit they had, that, if they could read English, they would soon learn of themselves to read Welsh. But now, these idle and groundless conceits are universally scouted. This change has been produced, not so much by disputing, as by the evident salutary effects of the schools, the great delight with which children attend them, and the great progress they make in acquisition of knowledge.

I take the liberty to republish these extracts, because it is rather comforting to a Welsh education reformer, to find that Thomas Charles had exactly the same diflBculty to contend with in his day, as we have in our days, from the prejudices of ignorant parents, though the system he espoused was one which contributed greatly to the material advancement of Wales, and has lived through all opposition to become as before hinted to a large extent a national one. And though we still have the aforesaid prejudice to contend with, both from parents and from some who ought to know better, it is believed the time is at hand to extend and perfect such a national, we might almost say utilitarian system, and relieve schools that are professedly devoted to religious purposes from the work that ought more properly to be performed in elementary day schools, viz., teaching boys and girls to read their mother-tongue, as well as write it, and that in a more thorough and efficient way than can be attained by comparatively untrained, amateur teachers.

Letter III. alludes to a recent speech of A. J. Mundella's, at Sheffield, in which he said, after alluding to a conversation he (A. J.D.) had in Switzerland with a young shop-woman who spoke idiomatic English —

The story I was going to teU you was this: — I was in Switzerland, in the Engadine. At the door of the hotel was a shop, where all




kinds of souvenirs, for people to carry away with them, were sold — whether they were Swiss carving, or some French, German, or EngHsh articles. There was a bright clever young woman selling all kinds of souvenirs for people to carry away with them when they went home. A gentleman, very well known to English people, was staying at the same hotel with me, and he said: — "That's a very bright girl that keeps that shop. I recommend you to go and buy something." So I made a pretext to buy some trifle, and she addressed me in perfect idiomatic English. I asked her where she learned Eaghsh; and she replied, "At Lucerne." "You speak excellently," I said, "and of course you speak French and German, for they are your native languages?" " Of course I do," she answered. "Anything else?" I asked. "Oh, yes: Italian and Dutch:'' and she afterwards confessed she also knew a little Spanish, and was studying it. I found, on making further enquiry, that the girl was taught at Lucerne, and that it cost a franc a year — that is, only tenpence — which was spent on paper and pencUs. . . . . The Director of Schools in that canton told me — "All our schools are free — all our children attend school — every child, however poor, masters two languages, French and German; and those who go to the Secondary School must learn at least one other.' I said, "Who pays for these things?" "The commune city." "But don't they grumble?" "No: they know it is the safety of the rich, and the best inheritance of the poor."

Ah! say some of my readers, there is more sense and reason in teaching children for a second language — one spoken by some great nation, such as the French or the German, which may some day come in useful in the counting house, rather than Welsh, which is nowhere so far as business is concerned.

In reply to such an objection, which is not unfrequently heard, I would say that the possibility of effectively teaching such a foreign language in elementary schools, either in Wales or England, is a mere figment of the imagination which has been "weighed in the balance and found wanting," with very




slight exceptions. I speak of the nineteenth century: what may be possible in the latter half of the twentieth, I do not venture to assert.

The advantages of some education in a second language, where it can be arranged, are frequently considerable. In England there is however no opportunity for introducing one. In the largest portion of Wales there is such an opening, even in districts partly Anglicized, where the children speak Enghsh among themselves, because they are so frequently brought in contact with this second language in one shape or another, that it is not a wholly foreign one to them, and the results of experiments appear to shew that it can be efFectivply and profitably introduced.

In the beginning of Lettek IV., D. I. D. remarked that when the history of Wales should be written with the necessary exactitude, he beheved it would be shewn that English had sometimes lost ground after gaining it, and that Welsh had gained ground after losing it; instancing the testimony of WiUiam Rees (Gwilym Hiraethog), that Welsh had recovered part of Flint; he refers to his article ("Cymru Ddivyieithog" ) in the Geninen, saying, that it would there appear that the English, Irish, and Scotch were learning Welsh by thousands. The article itself is of an interesting character, and I will endeavour to summarize some of the facts it contains.

As an Inspector of Schools, he says, he was daily surprised to find Welsh [speaking] children bearing English or Scotch names. He gives a list of lOO such names, as Grant, Whittaker, MacDonald, Puleston, Hamer, Frazer, Donovan, Randell, Frost, Dyke, etc. D. Roberts, of Wrexham, tells him that Scotchmen in that Anglicized town are to be heard teaching the children of Welsh parents on the first day ("Sunday") to pronounce the old language properly. "The superficial spread of Enghsh gives an English face to the




country to the face of an Englishman, and the travellers who quickly travel through it. But the centre and heart of the land is Welsh." The followiag statistics are worthy of being preserved for their historical import, even if they are considered of no immediate interest.

Statistics of coal mine in Cwmsaerbren Parm, Treherbert, Grlamorganshire: —

Number in the Pit . . 500

Welsh WorJimen 353

Of other nations ..... 147

Of the 147 able to speak Welsh well . . 80

Do. moderately well ..... 40

Able to understand it when spoken by others . . . . 20

Unable to understand or speak Welsh . . . . 7

In Abermorlais School, Merthyr Tydfil, out of 510 children in the Second Standard and above, the statistics were as under:^

Of the 510 able to speak Welsh 215

Understanding it but not speaking it . . . . 96 Unable to understand or speak, although of Welsh

parents . . . . . , . . . . 100

EngUsh Children 99

I might extract more, but the following must suffice: —

If my words could reach the ears of the indifferent Welsh people of Grlamorganshire towns, I would say to them— one thing is clear, the children of the West and North, the sons of Cardigan and Merioneth are going to take appointments in your county from your children on account of your neglecting Welsh.

Since those words were penned Merthyr has taken some steps in the direction of reversing the old barbaric policy, and as time goes on will be called on to take further ones.

To return to Letter IV., — he expressed his great surprise at finding the daughter of a country squire near Cheltenham able to speak Welsh, learning which had been a self-imposed




task, he adds — "Is there not here an example worthy to be followed by the great men of Wales. Why is their influence so small in comparison with what it might be?"

One reason of that is their neglect to the language of the people. As an illustration of the class of men alluded to by D. I. Davies, we will take the Lord Penrhyn, who died a few years ago, and who regretted on his death bed he had not been master of the language, so as to communicate more fuUy with those around him. But what has his successor in the title profited by such an experience?

Not one whit, so far as can be seen. He is now just as far from knowing Welsh, or intending to know it, defended and backed up in his cogitations and purposes by an immense pile of £ s. d., drawn from the bowels of the earth by the labours of Welsh quarrymen, than whom he would not easily find in England, a more intelligent or intellectual body of men in a similar condition in Ufe.

D. I. D. goes on to say —

No system of education for Wales will be complete, if it does not give opportunities to learn it, to the children of those who have neglected Welsh.

In this way again it is possible to reunite our upper classes (jpenaethiaid) to the people of the country, and prevent the middle classes of the population from losing their influence on the mass which is one of the great dangers of democratic days.

Bear this in mind, you members of School Boards, teachers, sub-inspectors; these are the words of a practical Governnient Educationalist, they are the words, moreover, of a man about whom, after his lamented death, the Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales remarked in his 1889 report to the Imperial Government: —

I think it only right to say that by the death of Mr. Davies the Department has lost an able, a zealous, and a valuable officer, and his




native country an enlightened educationalist, who strongly felt the loss arising from not utilising, to a far greater extent than has been done, the home language of "Welsh-speaking children in cultivating their intelligence and in teaching them English in the elementary schools.

Note. He did not merely recommend utilizing the home language of Welsh-speaking children, but also the actual teccching of it afresh to those whose parents had neglected it, or neglected them.

In the same letter he proposes the insertion of six questions relative to language in the Census of 1891.

Judging by the way in which an actual attempt to take an account of language was carried out in that census by the officials, it is perhaps best that D. I. D.'s more minute proposals were let alone.

Letter V. gives an anecdote told the author by Andrew Doyle, who for many years was an Inspector of Workhouses, and had in North Wales became acquainted with a German, a tutor in a private family. One day he started on a journey into a mountain parish, accompanied by his German friend, but found to his dismay that no one in the room where he conducted his business understood English, hence he was fain to send for an interpreter, when the young German offered himself for that office, and fulfilled its duties satisfactorily.

Coming in the course of a journey to Builth, a town almost, if not entirely Anglicised, D. I. D. quotes the almost astounding testimony of the manager of the National Provincial Bank there, viz., that there were 1,500 customers of the Bank who had rather do their business in Welsh than EngUsh.

In Letter VI. we again find incidents of his journeyings, and consequent reflections. Carmarthenshire is now his central point, and he instances the testimony of Shadrach Pryce, M.A.,



[chap. IV. HER LANGUAGE. 153

Inspector of Schools,* that the knowledge of Welsh is not decreasing in that county — travels with the wife of a Welsh coal trimmer, who has learnt French, and relates the vicissitudes of the language in semi-Anglicised districts as follows: —

Ask the children of Gwent and Morganwgt in Standard V., what language they can speak best — "Welsh or English. The answer you may expect is — English. They have been so accustomed to it in the day schools for years, that both children and teachers think Welsh is dead; but let two years go by, you meet with those boys again when they are fifteen. Ask them " what language do you like the best now?" "Welsh" is the answer. When they are eighteen other reasons may incline them to English; but when they are thirty, and settled in the world, they are members of Welsh causes, etc. Sometimes their inclination is Welsh sometimes EngUsh! In the long run the man will generally to 'be Welsh. How is it often now in Wales? Here are 300 people together, and none except 10, 20, or 50 of them, according to the nature of the meeting or the linguistic condition of the neighbourhood are ignorant of the Welsh: — The 290 must give way to the ten, and the business go forward in English. "Should not the ten learn Welsh for shame?" Tou say, is it not a serious consideration to think how many persons fall down on a footstool to the small minority?

It is very serious, if you choose to look at it from that comic standpoint. But the seriousness changes into disgust when we consider how much weakness to the nation is in this cringing spirit that rejoices in educational arrangements which do not give fair opportunities to the ten, and their children, to learn Welsh, so that there may be a way open to make use of one of the two languages, according to the taste of the teacher, without there being any cause to fear that any would misunderstand the addresses.

* The usual alsbreviatibii H.M.I, is not used in this book, as it involves acquiescenee in the term Sis or Her Majesty, applied to a frail, mortal creature.

t Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire— this paragraph would not be applicable to a large extent to Monmouthshire, ir




* * but let a position be given to the old language in the day and evening schools, there it will be out of the quarrels of political or religious parties. If it (the language) sets its feet down there, it wiU remain in the Sabbath schools, as well as increase in influence, there vidll be fewer English classes to be seen in "Welsh schools, and more "Welsh classes in English schools. In a bilingual country that is how things ought to be.

Once more the lesson he would teach is, let English-speaking children in Wales have opportunities to learn Welsh — such a course is more than is generally supposed, possible, practicable, profitable.

Letter VII. alludes to the fact that some Welsh people speak at times as though giving up Welsh would be equivalent to giving up poverty, and as though adopting Enghsh in its place would be the same thing as entering into the possession of fullness and plenty. * * "Thousands are to be found in Wales in these days who have gained nothing in either sense, either temporally, morally, or spiritually, by changing Welsh for English."

Turning to the East End of London, he mentions the Jews' Free Schools, for over 3,200 children, in Spitalfields, where the working hours are those of the School Board, except that they work from nine to one, instead of nine to twelve, in order to find time for an additional subject, namely — Hebrew. Ninety percent, of the children are foreigners, but the 7th Standard children are exactly thirteen times more numerous in proportion, than those of the general schools in the country.

This appears to be an exception to the rule that it is visionary to attempt generally to teach a second language in English schools; I account for this in two ways —

First, by heredity.




Secondly, by constant contact with the second language in the synagogue and at school.

In semi-Anglicized Wales, both the principles of heredity and " constant contact" come into play, but cannot of course be applied generally to the study of French and German in England.

The following incident is worthy of note: —

I have heard of an Englishman, an extensive landowner, going to a Welshman, who is known to his nation in every corner of the world, and who stands high in the estimation of every patriotic Welshman, and addressing him in the following manner, only the conversation was in English [D. I. D.'s version is, of course, in Welsh]: — "I should be very glad to be able to speakWelsh as well as you can: if you will give me instruction in your language I will pay you five hundred pounds when I can speak Welsh as well as you." "I cannot,'' was the reply, "other engagements ( goruchwylion) take up all my time, and they would take up more if I were master of it." "I am very sorry for that," said the other, "my parents (he spoke with a regretful feeling) made a great mistake in my early education. They paid hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to finish me in the Greek and Latin languages, which I have never had occasion to use, but they entirely neglected the language of the people, among whom they knew I should have to spend my lifetime." '■' * The Welshman who refused the £500 is my authority for this anecdote.

I am glad to be able to add that his friend, who is of English lineage, but with Welsh sympathies, can speak our old language fairly well to-day notwithstanding the mistake made by his parents in his early education.

In reading the foregoing narrative, we cannot help remembering the father, not of an Englishman, but of a Welshman, mentioned elsewhere in this book, who so neglected his education that his son, it is believed, even at the present day is unable to read the Welsh books or manuscripts which pass through his




hands ia the transactions of a well known publishing business, with an extensive sphere of operations in Wales, although it is probable that it was thought he received an "advanced education" before entering the family concern.*

D. I. D., after alluding to the desire to learn Welsh, which is common among English people in Wales, queries whether the present parents of Wales will learn a lesson from their mistakes? He quotes A. J. Mundella, M.P., as to the importance of learning languages, and the dislike of English boys and girls to speak a different one, alluding to Glamorgan as a favourable field for bringing up children as bilinguists.

Letter VIII. alludes to the fact little recognized by the public, that everything taught in Elementary Schools is at the choice of the local managers, and is not compulsory, except reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling, and sewing. From this he draws the lesson, on the one hand, that it is not possible to introduce Welsh into a district against its will, and on the other hand, that though Erse and Gaelic are paid for in Ireland and Scotland, not a brass penny is paid for Welsh in Wales. This was in 1885.

He asks why Welsh papers should not be set at pupil teachers' examinations for Queen's scholarships? — Should there not soon be a change in that direction? — It would be easier to some Welsh youths and girls, who gain certificates after successful service as assistants to obtain an eflicient education in Welsh than in Latin, French, or German.

"Do you want to teach Welsh in the English parts of Wales," says one of the doubting brethren? Since you pointed at our English Wales, we wiU try to show that a certain amount of Welsh could easily be taught there to the advantage of every one without distinction.

* "The ignorance of the is a source of loss to themselves, and

the nation." Extract from a letter from a well-known Welshman to the author received since the paragraph was written.




Queries why the Board Schools should read the English Bible instead of the Welsh. There is no (legal) necessity for this. He says it is the choice of the Board School itself to give an ineffectual education in English to the children, instead of giving an effectual religious education in Welsh. Alludes to the desirability of Welsh Kailway Companies having bilingual officials, etc.

Letter IX. "If the proposed scheme is accepted at Aberdare, it will take years in point of time, and a multitude of opportunities to study the details of the changes which we wish to see. The judgment of one man is not important in a matter of this kind, but we must arrange to have what the doctors of our country call a Collective Investigation Committee. The first place in the investigation belongs to Welsh schoolmasters of every description, if they are patriotic enough to take the trouble to explain the matter to the nation. We firmly believe that they are lovers of their country and their language, and that they will not allow others to stir themselves in this matter without their cordial co-operation."

"On the other hand, since the reins (awenau) of authority in country governing bodies have fallen at last into the hands of Welshmen themselves, in the greater part of the thirteen counties, which make up the Welsh [educational] division, we believe they will not allow the school teachers of Wales to suffer much longer from the heavy disadvantages of the Educational Code, prepared by Englishmen for England, and which is not on that account suitable in every respect for the Welsh of Wales." * *

"The first hint of the importance of forming a National Society to carry forward the movement, came from one of the Cardigan J.P.'s, Mr. Henry T. Evans, of Neuadd Llanarth, who wrote at once aftet the appearance of the abstract of my paper in the South Wales Daily News, to thank me for what I




had done, and to say that the time for making a movement of the kind was at hand."

The above three paragraphs are translations or condensations of the original. Note the farsightedness of the man — years required to study details of changes — the necessity for the expression of judgment by a great many persons.

It is hoped that the present volume wiU in some degree supply the deficiency of the " Collective Investigation Committee," by presenting, after the lapse of a few years, evidence from various sources that has accumulated in the meantime.

D. I. D. also thanks his fellow workers under the Education Department, viz., W. Edwards, M.A., John Rees, and Corner Jones, B.A., for the assistance they had rendered him. He quotes the words of the Marquis of Bute, "For a man to speak Welsh and willingly not to be able to read and write it is to confess himself a boor;" and goes on to say that on reading the above apothegm he felt as if a fire had fallen on his skin, and that he was aware that hundreds of thousands were speaking Welsh without ever trying to write it. On thinking of the matter, he says, he clearly saw that the fault lay with our system of education, and not with individuals in many instances, mentioning one of the most enterprising and successful Welshmen in the South Wales coal field, with whom he had recently conversed, who, with his wife and some of his children could speak Welsh, but never trusted "himself to write it for fear of making mistakes, but how easy it would be to remove this difficulty out of the w^ay."

Very shortly after Letter IX., which was the last of the series, had been written, a paragraph appeared in the Globe, of 8th mo., 1883, commenting on a speech made by the Lord Aberdare, in which he said that he felt sure that although undoubtedly EngUsh wasmaking progress, Welsh was advancing,



[chap. IV. HER LANGUAGE. 159

and that there were more people speaking Welsh than at any previous period.

Lord Aberdare, who ought to know, believes that there are now more Welsh-speaking people in Wales than there have ever been before. If he is right, as in all probability he is, it is mere affectation on the part of the Saxon to turn the Welshman's attachment to his ancient language into ridicule. It is far easier to inake fun of Taffy's love for what ignorant people imagine to be consonants, than it is to seriously find fault with any man's preference for the tongue to which he has been born and nurtured. Of course, the practical importance of the matter lies in its connection with education; and Lord Aberdare struck an exceedingly suggestive point in pronouncing that a thorough and grammatical instruction in Welsh is better than the loose education that most of us have received in English. English has this fatal defect, from an educational point of view — that it is a congeries of vague idioms and superfine distinctions, while a Celtic language can be learned with almost as good a mental result as Greek or Latin. Moreover, a bUingual person, as a genuine Welshman is bound to be, has a distinct intellectual advantage at starting, over one who is nursed into the belief that there is only one language in the world, and that all other modes of speech are foreign jargons. Then, to the advantage of Welsh over Erse or Gaehc, it has a real and living literature — and a Uterary language is hard to kiU. We consider that it is not a mere matter of sentiment that Welshmen should be ambitious of learning English without prejudice to Welsh — indeed, to be disloyal to one's mother tongue is well-nigh equivalent to be false to one's father-land. The narrower the spirit, the more intense; and we cannot afford in these days to lose much more of that local enthusiasm in which vapid cosmopohtanism find its best and most natural corrective."

How extremely hard it is to dislodge from the minds of Englishmen (this writer in the Olobe was an exception), and I am sure it is from the minds of a large number of influential persons in



160 and her language. [chap. IV.

Wales, the idea that the bilingual education movement is a sentimental one. They see Welsh sentiment on the right hand and on the left in Eisteddfod speeches, and the like, and they imagine that bilingualism is propped up, or intended to be, on the same foundation. It would be quite idle to deny that sentiment affects the matter, but if we eliminate its influence entirely, and decide on what course to pursue from a solid, cold matter of fact basis, I am justified in saying that right thinking people will severely criticize and repudiate traditions of three centuries of Welsh education, that they will not in a milk and water way simply confine themselves to utilizing Welsh in learning English, but that they will not be ashamed to make provision for positively teaching it within safe limits, which may be later indicated, to future artizans, labourers, domestic servants, and tradespeople.

Va;pid Cosmopolitanism expresses a state of mind to be met with at Cardiff, Swansea, and elsewhere. Cosmopolitanism is essential to a man with an enlarged mental horizon and a liberal mind, but the true sort goes hand-in-hand with the development of those natural qualities and gifts with which each nation, race, and individual is endowed, and it ultimately tends to the well-being of the whole.






Sumbolau:  ā ǣ ē ī ō ū / ˡ ɑ æ ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ ə ɑˑ eˑ iˑ oˑ uˑ ɑː æː eː iː oː uː /

ɥ  / ð ɬ ŋ ʃ ʧ θ ʒ ʤ / aɪ ɔɪ əɪ ɪʊ aʊ ɛʊ əʊ /

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