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THE RIGHT HON. G. 0. MORGAN,…

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THE RIGHT HON. G. 0. MORGAN, M.P., ON EDUCATION IN WALES. The Right Hon. George Osborne Morgan, M.P., speaking at the public luncheon of the English Congregational Union at Wrexham, last week, said it gave him great pleasure to address them and to give the Congregational Union a hearty welcome to Wrexham. They, as Welshmen, were proud of boasting of the labours of those who had gone before them men like John Elias, Christmas Evans, Charles of Bala, and Williams of Wern-(hear, hear)âmen who had literally converted the wilder- ness into a garden, and who went forth to fight against the powers of evil and of darkness with no endowments but that faith which removed moun- tains. (Applause.) He believed, and he thought there was ground for believing, that it was owing to the efforts of those great and good men that their country, instead of being what it was, a heathen land, had almost become one of the most God-fearing and law-abiding countries in the Queen's dominions. (Applause.) But the labours of those men were confined to Wales and the Welsh language, and he was afraid that they were now threatened with a Saxon invasion, scarcely less important than that of Hengist and Horsa. (Laughter.) Wherever they looked they found that English enterprise and capital were piercing their fields with railways, and honeycombing their rocks with coalpits, and bringing among them an English- speaking population. A friend of his, who stayed with him the other day at Brymbo Hall, had said, "This country is the most extraordinary I have come to in my life. I go two miles in one direction, and I can't find aught but English spoken, and I go two miles in another direction and I can't find aught but Welsh spoken." (Laughter.) That was literally the state of things, and he (the speaker) was bound to say it was a great disadvantage for moral, spiritual, and even social purposes, as it involved separate agencies, separate machinery, and separate organisations. However, he would repeat that they, as Welshmen, did most heartily welcome the mem- bers of the English Congregational Union as fellow- labourers. As a body, they had been celebrating their jubilee he could say that he had celebrated his some years ago, and in looking back they could hardly conceive how differently Nonconformity was looked upon in those days from what was the case at present. (Hear, hear.) If any of them doubted what he was saying, let them read the essay of Sydney Smith, written in the year 1820, on the subject of Methodism. Sydney Smith was essentially a liberal-minded, kind-hearted, genial man, whose mind was far removed from the bigotry which disgraced the theologians of the Eldon, Liverpool, and Addington schools. Yet with what a virulence in those days did he attack that religion, which was destined in a very few years to change the religious phase of England. (Hear, hear.) But they should not be too hard, there might have been faults on both sides, and perhaps their ancestors had not then learnt how to accommodate themselves to the spirit of the age. Coming to the question of education, the speaker said that to those who claimed for the Church of England that it was to the efforts of the clergy education, 50 years ago, was to be attributed, the best answer was the establish- ment of the British Schools by the Nonconformists. (Cheers.) He was quite sure at the present moment there was no part in her Majesty's dominions in which education was so highly appreciated-with the exception perhaps of Scotland-as it was in Wales. With regard to the question of higher and intermediate education in Wales, -he said he approached the subject with something like trepi- dation in the presence of one of the most distin- guished, he might say the most distinguished, member of the Education Commission, Mr. Henry Richard. (Continued cheering.) He (the speaker) felt that he spoke in the presence of a man who knew more of the subject than he did-one of the compilers of that exhaustive report upon the lines of which all educational legislation for Wales must be based. (Cheers.) Most heartily did he re-echo the hope expressed by the Prime Ministerâ(loud cheers)-two or three days ago in his reply to a resolution passed at Pontypridd, when he hoped 1 that Parliament would be able to deal with this subject in the present session. (Hear, hear.) But he (the speaker) felt that it would not do to be too sanguine even on the subject of educational legislation for Wales. He would be the last man to bring politics into the placid atmosphere of that meeting, but as long as that object was aided or permitted by a system of rules which seemed expressly devised to extract the least possible amount of work from the greatest possible amount of labour, the passing of any measure, however essential or necessary, could not be predicted with safety. (Applause.) The House of Commons had been reduced to the condition of a galley slave chained hand and foot by its own rules, and it was not reasonable to expect large results from such a condition of affairs. And the worst of it was. that there was such a great number of honourable members who, like the prisoner in Byron's poem seemed to have fallen in love with their chains and did not wish to get out of them. (Laughter.) But the constituencies must help the Government to break those chains. (Loud cheers.) As he pro- posed legislation for Wales, he would say, speaking generally, that any scheme of higher and inter- mediate education in Wales involved three essentials. Firstly, it must be unsectarian secondly, it must be local; and thirdly, it must be thorough and progressive. As to the first point, he did not think it was necessary to say much. They knew very well that the great majority of the Welsh people were Nonconformists, and they also knew that the grammar schools of Wales, which till very lately were the only schools of intermediate education in Wales, were essentially Church of England schools That must be altered. (Cheers.) Then in the second place, as to the locality of the endowed schools there was more to be said. for there were some people who thought that the best plan was to transplant Welsh youths into English schools. They must not be too hard upon those people, for they were persons who, perhaps had themselves had the advantage of being educated in English schools. He had had the advantage of education at Oxford' and he would be very ungrateful if he did not acknow- ledge the advantage to be derived from the English universities but he had two objections to that pro- posal First of all, it would denationalise education; and if they did they would sacrifice their strong patriotic instincts, the religio lociâthe religion of a place. (Hear, hear.) In England this had been found to be one of the strongest incentives in the minds of the young to exertion, and the mainspring of their English public schools. (Hear, hear.) He wanted to make Welsh boys proud of their schools -he would say Welsh boys and girls. (Cheers.) If they were proud of their schools, the schools would soon become deserving of their pride. (Hear, hear.) Again, English education to most Welsh parents meant an expenditure of money and time-and there were many to whom time was money-which amounted to a practical prohibition. But if they could not take the mountain to Mahomet, let them take Mahomet to the mountain. (Hear hear.) In a general way, all they wanted was to give to every son of a farmer or tradesman in Wales the same educational advantages as far as possible as the sons of farmers and tradesmen in Scotland, (Hear, hear.) That brought him to the third essential-if they wanted properly to educate their children, they must begin low enough down. They must nurse the sappling as well as the tree they must have the schools as well as the colleges. (Hear, hear.) This was a matter, he was sorry to say, of which they had painful experience at Aber- ystwyth. The Education Commission had grappled with these points with the utmost credit and care. and he could only hope that Parliament would approachithe subject in a generous and ungrudging spirit. (Loud cheers.)

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