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tions of prison discipline, the mechanics of legislation, the relations between landlord and tenant, the questions as to the employment and social functions of women, the great problems of education, the laws of health and sanitation; all these, and many others, are matters which have been ventilated year after year at the annual meetings of the Association, by men and women who, like the late Miss Carpenter, have devoted their lives to the service of their fellow creatures, and through them to the service of God. Surely, we too in Wales, with our strange contrasts of busy and crowded industries, and sparse agricultural populations; of dense and smoky manufacturing towns and lonely mountain sides; must have questions relating to the happiness of the people, some common to all the dwellers in these islands, others peculiar to ourselves as Welshmen, which it would be well to discuss from time to time. Does anyone seriously think that the question of Welsh Sunday closing, for instance, on which such a striking unanimity of opinion has been evinced, or the Burial Bill, or any other measure which has come very near to the hearts of Welshmen, would not have attracted attention long ago, if, year by year, as the National Eisteddfod came round, they had been discussed and debated on a common and unsectarian platform, by local men acquainted with the special needs of their own particular neighbourhoods. And no one who knows how peculiar, and I may add, how defective is the educational condition of Wales, how poor and how ill-distributed are her endowments, and how noble have been the efforts of the people to provide themselves with the means of obtaining, wholly without the State assistance, which is freely bestowed upon Scotland and Ireland, the blessings of the higher education, can doubt that this matter of education alone would afford good and congenial work for good men and women, who could never, in our present divided religious condition, meet

together elsewhere. I say nothing of the pressing need for sanitary discussions connected with the growth of our great manufacturing towns, and the many questions touched by the Employers' Liability Bill, as suggested by the dreadful calamities of the Rhondda Valley, of Abercarne, and of Risca, though they are probably at once full of social interest, and of features peculiar to our own country. I am afraid that a Repression of Crime Section, or a Prisons' Section, if one were started among us, would hardly be a success, for the simple reason that Welsh criminals are almost like the snakes in Iceland-there are none of them; and that we are busily engaged in disestablishing and disendowing our Welsh prisons. But I am sure that we might deal with advantage with those faults of morals, which are undoubtedly ours; which all the zeal of all our ministers has failed to touch in any appreciable degree; and which, among a people the most devout, and the most Godfearing in these islands, confront us with the spectacle, not unhappily a paradox, of an amount of illegitimacy hardly exceeded in any part of Great Britain.

Nor, of course, would it be necessary, or in any way desirable, that we should confine ourselves exclusively to matters specially bearing upon the condition of Wales. I certainly think that such questions have distinctly the first claim upon our attention. But, after all, our country is a small one; we are not only Welshmen, but citizens, interested in every great question which affects any part of, or any class of people in, the great England, and the still greater Empire, of which we form part. I do not, for my own part, knowing, as I do, how great are the differences which separate us from our neighbours, think that the stream of Welsh reforms is, after centuries of neglect and stagnation, likely to run dry very soon. should welcome any distinguished

But I am sure we stranger who would

honour us by reading a paper on any matter of which he might have special knowledge, whether economical, social, scientific, or I suppose I must add archæological, as this is the Cymmrodorion section.

I do trust, however, that in future years, we shall not devote an undue measure of our time to looking back towards the irrevocable Past. With all, except the very young, and often with them, the temptation to look backwards, instead of forwards, is overwhelming, and we in Wales are, as it seems to me, especially liable to it. Every year that passes takes with it something of hope from our lives; raises a new tomb-stone over buried longings and aspirations that breathe no longer the air of earth; adds something to the sum of losses which make the familiar streets, or the wellremembered fields, show like a place of graves. I cannot help admiring the tendency which makes Welshmen look back with affectionate exaggeration to heroes and to bards who have been dead for centuries. I myself owe too much to the affection with which the name which I bear is still regarded, not to feel it difficult to say what I believe I am bound to say, in duty. But to me, no time is so full of fascination as the present, unless it be indeed the hidden. future. But it is in the present, and with a view to prepare the future, which we believe shall, in the good pleasure of the Creator, be greater than the present, that we who are here to-day must live and work, and we have not indeed a moment to lose. "Time is short, and opportunity fleeting," as was said of old, and dreams of the past certainly, and of the future probably, are nothing else but a waste of invaluable time. I believe that the extraordinary and most calamitous self-effacement, by which, up to a very recent period, Welshmen were content to stand aloof from practical politics, sending to Parliament, for centuries, for reasons of feudal attachment, or through entire carelessness, men

wholly unfit for their duties, was largely due to this habit of mind, which has long diverted the national energies into channels in which they have practically run to waste. I cheerfully recognise the great improvement which of late has taken place in this respect, wholly irrespective of political considerations. I have long ago expressed my belief, that the first thing which Wales had to do was to find her tongue, as she has since done, indeed, to some extent, and might yet do more thoroughly with advantage. The nation is evidently awaking to a sense of its responsibilities, which gives promise of even better things in future. For my own part, while the voice of Wales is still insufficiently heard, I resent, on behalf of my country, the local intrigues by which it still too often happens that an unfit Welshman, or an Englishman with no interest in us, is allowed to supplant a Welshman who could speak for Wales. And depend upon it, if good men of every religious denomination would consent to meet upon the free and unsectarian platform, which the Eisteddfod alone furnishes, there would be very little danger of its missing its true end, or of its ever allowing the people of Wales to relapse into the stagnation and indifference of old.

And I think, indeed, that some such meeting-place, where party politics might be laid aside, where those religious and dogmatic differences which enter so largely (not, as I think, without advantage) into our national life, might for a time be left behind, if not forgotten, would be in itself, quite apart from other good results, a distinct and permanent gain. Think how seldom it can happen that patriotic Welshmen belonging to the Church of England, or to the Methodist, Baptist, or Congregational denominations (and we should not have far to go from this place to find such persons), can meet together with a view to the advancement of the good of their common country. Think how few are the

opportunities which North Welshmen and South Welshmen have of comparing notes and experiences. They go into England by different routes, they gravitate towards different provincial centres-the North to Liverpool, the South to Bristol-and it takes about twice as long to go from the good town of Carmarthen to the good town of Carnarvon as it does to go from either to London. We want to obliterate, as far as may be, all these purely local and mischievous divisions, and it would be a very worthy office for the Eisteddfod if it enabled those of us who are not musicians, who are not bards, nay, who are hardly Welsh-speaking men, but have not the less Welsh hearts, to meet together under the shadow of so venerable and mysterious an institution, and take counsel together for the good of Wales.

There are certain matters on which I could have wished to say something, especially those with which I am most conversant questions of law, of politics, and of education. But those questions of law, which are burning questions, run insensibly into politics, and politics, so far as they are interesting, are apt to assume a character of party which would be quite foreign to the traditions of an institution whose motto is "Peace". In politics there neither can nor should be peace, but an earnest though a generous strife. On the subject of education, I should have had a good deal to say, and was prepared to say it, but for an honour which has come to me within the last few days-that of being nominated to serve on the Commission which will immediately be issued to inquire into the condition of Higher and Intermediate Education in Wales. I anticipate the greatest good results from that Commission, and I am very proud to belong to it; but I think it clear that for the present my mouth must be closed on all Welsh educational questions, because it would be improper to express opinions on views which the evidence which will come before the VOL. IV.


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