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MOLD LITERARY INSTITUTE. I

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MOLD LITERARY INSTITUTE. On Tuesday, the first meeting was held of the members of the Essay and Discussion recently formed in connection with the Institute. There was a large attendance, including Messrs E. Thompson, J.P. (President of the Institute), Oliver .tones. Dr. Evans, T. Williams (Wood- lands), W. Owen, D. T. Evans, F. L. Lambert. J. Jones, J. Roberts, Gillett, Thos. Adams, W. Mould, W. T. Thomas, E. Owen, J. Thomas, W. H. Burstall, F. T. Smith, E. H. Powell, .1. H. Jones, Thos. Lewis, T. W. Evans, J. Davies, J. Rose, A. Landon, H. Williams, J. Foulkes, J. t. Griffiths, W. Eaton, â Lee, Henry Wi!Mns, T. W. Evans, and F, G, Fitton Hev, 1?. B. Hooke and Mr J. E. Phillips, secret?-i?'.s &c., &c. After the rules of the Class had been adopted and ordered to he printed, the Rev. W. (I. j Thomns (President of the Class), delivered the following inaugural address on "READING, STrJrrrSG, ASD SrIUKISU." I OEN'TLEMEN.âI have two or three things to say before I enter into the subject which I have chosen for my inaugural addressânot by way of apology, hut rather as introduction. I could apologise for the crudeness of the remarks I am going to makeâthe shortness of the time, &c., but I had better not apologise, for as someone has well said I know people never believe in these modest apologies. The first thing I was going to say that when the committee met to draw out the rules of this Dehatin Class, it was suggested that I should give an address, rather than commence or plunge at once into the heat of debate. The other thing I will mention was the great difficulty of finding a fit subject for this first address. It is easier to compose a sermon than to select a text. It is the same difficulty that met a man once who told his friend that he was going to publish a book. Dear me," said his friend, and what is the subject of your book ?" Indeed that I cannot tell," said he, but the price will be sixpence." However, I have fixed upon a subject. Don't be frightened j when you hear it. There is nothing new- in it. I thought more of usefulness than originality, [ thought more of the bearing of the subject on the formation and the carrying on of this society than of :t high-sounding title and an elaborate essay. The subject is "Reading, Studying, and Speak- ing," and we shall try to deal with the connection of one with the other, so that what may appear to be three subjects may be seen in reality one. The subject is a trinity of words but a unity of thought and sentiment. These three words are suggested by this Institute and its aims. Call it an Institute, Library, or Reading Room, there it is as one existing fact, but it suggests the other thins-it is a place to read, and, of course, to study, and now, by the formation of this Class, it holds forth an opportunity for speaking. So the Institute is one and also three. It is Sufficient for our purpose to-night that the Institute itself I illustrates the unity of Reading, Studying, and Speaking. This age is emphatically an age of reading. It is devouring in this respect. Wo have only to look at the variety of newspapers in every bookseller's shop and libraries, and piles of books built on the stalls of railway stations novels of e verykind; ] >aper« of every description and character; and the fact that they are there shows that people buy, and buy in order to read. Such is the reading appetite of the country that the press cannot issue news fast enough, but the electric wire must come to its aid, and what comes on the swift wings of electricity is devoured before the printer has hardly time to think of setting his type. But I hope you will bear with me when I say that I am afraid that people read too much. It is a sign of nnhealthiness. I saw a man the other day very illâextremely illâbut devouring his food, eating rapaciously, and the doctor, when asked what was the matter, could only say: "He is very ill, and he eats too much." So I am afraid that the eagerness with which we devour the contents of papers and books is only a sign that our mental digestion is out of repair. It would be an interesting work to describe the different classes of readers and find out from what different motives we read. Some read from curiosity, some read for fashion's sake, some read to kill time, some read because they have nothing else to do, some read from necessity, some from habit, some in order to show that they are readers ami .some indeed in order to sleep. A lady told me that she had found the means to make her husband sleep. "Give him a book" says she, "and our John doses away immediately." But there are others who read that they may know, understand, and he benefitted. So there is a difference between reading and reading, and the aim of an Institute like this not only is to bring people to read, but to read for some good purpose. There is one thing in connection with the voracious reading of our time which is very injuriousâthat is what may be termed glance-readingâonly a glance at a paper or only a peep at a hoo and of this I am guilty myself, often for want of time, some- times from want of application. I often read the news without seeing the paper at a11- I read the bill outside and am satisfied, or I go a step further and read the headings of the columns and I find that the consequence is very serious. By that sort of reading I deceive myself; I only know half the thing or less than that, I know nothing accurately. This is the danger of being satisfied with little knowledge, without looking well into the thing, and without mastering either facts or details, and by being satisfied with little knowledge depend upon it the next step will be to be satisfied with less, and like the Welsh Fasting Girl who played at eating little, became from little to less, and from less to nothing but in- activity and death. This is exactly the danger resulting in what we have termed glance-reading. There is again the hurried-reading, galloping over column and columns, leading articles, chapters, and sections, as if that were a charm against something. I remember going to a class once where they read 17 chapters during one sitting, and not hearing the teacher ask a single ques- tion, I ventured to ask one of the lads who Abraham was ? He said he did not know exactly yet he thought he was working at one of the blast furnaces down below 1 Readi_ ng | does not consist in going over many j columns or many papers or books. Sterne i says that the mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections and draw conclusions as it goes along, the habitude of which, made Pliny the younger affirm that he never read a book so bad but he drew some profit by it, and the advice of the wise Bacon is worthy of our notice, Read | not to contradict, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider." Then it is of the greatest importance to read with a proper and judicious system. Two things are necessary to this, first, not to read too much, and to pay great attention to what we do read and to go over the book with a laudable anxiety for being made wiser. Another thing very importantâis to adjust our proposed amount of real ling-to our time and inclination, what we read with inclination said, Johnson, makes a stronger impression. To-you, my young friends, especially, I would say read and cultivate taste for reading". Sir John Herschell said "There is a gentle but irresistible coercion in the habit of well. directed reading over the whole tenor of man's character and conduct, and besides, reading in the true sense of the word places man in contact with the best society in every period of history. He is made a denizen of all nations, a contemporary of all ages. But we must remember that reading cannot bring us all these advantages if we read like men play at cards, with no other intention than to pass our time without being under the intolerable burden of total inactivity. In order to bring this to bear on the next thing, which we have called study, it is perhaps necessary to make clear what we mean by study. We do not mean to use it in its widest sense, that would compel us to go after the principles which are considered the prime elements in the study of logic. I shall only use it in its literal senseâthe setting of the mind or thoughts upon a subject, or the application of the mind to books. The voluntary exertion of thought in the acquisition of know- ledge, and for the development of the intellect. I cannot say much to-night about the study of philosophy or metaphysics, and other branches that you will find down in our rules as subjects which should be discussed. This much I can say, if anyone here can afford time to study them they will find them advantageous as the dis- cipline of the intellect. And, should anyone start with metaphysics, I hope he will be able to give us, at some future debate, a clearer defini- tion than a Scotchman gave when he was asked what were metaphysics ? That's metaphysics," said he, when twa men talk thigether and the tane does 11a ken what tither means, and the tither does 11a ken what he means himself." However, let me tell you, if we wane to make this society more than an empty name, we must study, we must think. The debating class will render it necessary that we should have a definite purpose in readingâthat we should go to our hooks not as to toys, but with the consciousness that they are one of the principal sources of knowledge, and whenever we open a hook let us say, Now I open this book to excite thought, to dissipate prejudice; I read to strengthen opinions, to develope my understanding, to gain knowledge, to stir to duty." If you will do that, you will study, and if you will study you will bring your reading to a definite purpose. I think that a man studies when he takes up a paper or a book and reads carefully and notes exactly the facts there stated, and also notices the particulars aboutâthe facts antecedent, concomitant, or sub- sequent with which it seems to be related. He will also be careful to record or retain in his memory an exact and faithful notion of the fact as a whole and in its several parts. I was very pleased once in this Institute by seeing a member entering, paper in hand, to study the war news. He was not contented to read the war summary and to pass a glance over the unpronounceable Russian and Turkish names, but lie studied the p iper in the light of the map on the wall, found out each place and the position of each army. So he mastered the subjectâhad, instead of a vague knowledge of the subject, an accurate knowledge of it in all its details, so that he could even prophesy what was coming, and things came according to what he stated. That man studied. Unless we pay that strict attention to the details of what we are reading, it is not likely to be impressed on our memory. And I think that the bad memory which people so much com- plain of, is the natural result of their indolent or inattentive way of reading, of not applying themselves to think in the proper manner. I read of a gentleman who had rather a bad and circumscribed memory. A friend of his, knowing this, lent him the same book to read seven times over, and being asked after- wards how he liked it replied, I think it is an j admirable production, but the author sometimes [ repeats the same things." To pass on from this âlet me ask you to read attentively, closely, systematically, you will find yourselves studying amI doing all with t (lefiiiite purpose and a defi- nite result. Now to bring all this to bear on the last head. Speaking is an easy work and re- quires no skill nor any great length of time. I am not one of those who believe that we ought to read and study for the mere purpose of speaking or spoutingânothing of the kindâin fact I pity the man who as soon as he picks up a little news is so anxious to spout it that lie can no more hold it than a sieve can hold water. But I do believe that we ought to read in such a way as to be able to speak if necessary. And there is no one here who will not find it necessary to speak some time or other. If it were only for conversation sake, and to stand to speak before an audience is only puhlic conversation, and it is very often less difii- cult to carry on a. public conversation than a private one in a select party so that w hether we think of a private or a public conversation, it becomes requisite to read and digest what we read by the process of our thinking, so as to be able to say the right thing in the right place, and to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. So the debating class ought to make us read, study, and speak with a definite purpose âteach us to read in order to stw Iy-,stud,v in order to speak well. And when our discussions come on, I hope they will be as Shakespeare says of another matterâpleasant without scur- rility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. And we ought to remember too that the debating class should make us good s; leakers and not voluble talkers. One good think in a debating class is that the speaker is limited to the space of ten minutes, so no one will be allowed to run wild all over the shop. It will teach us to condense, and we all know that words like sunbeams, will burn the hotter the more they are condensed. In our debates let us guard against buffoonery on one hand and false delicacy oil the other. And let not every thing cast into a logical form satisfy your mind with- out regard to the substance or subject matter. Fanciful analogies are very tempting, and by I wiine are apt to be received as invincible argu- ments. But we shall learn all about this as we go on. However, I am anxious that this library and this class should not exist in name onlv, but in fact. Let the world know that we are not meeting in order to talk, but to acquire know- ledge, to improve ourselves and each otherâto "weep away the mist of ignerauce and prejudice, and by self-help and mutual help ascend a little higher, and by ascending, wrestle with the vicious habits which will lose their hold upon us as we climb into a higher atmosphere. If then this in- stitute is to prosper, if you would make it some- thing productive of life and good permanent effect, patronize it, give your presence here as often as you can, canvass new members, and let us show by our care and constancy that we have i not started a thing which is un worthy of the at- tention of the people of Mold. (Applause). At the close, on the motion of Mr E. Thomp- son, J.P., seconded by Dr. Evans, and supported by the Rev. D. B. Hooke, hearty thanks were voted to Mr Thomas for his address, and subse- quently, at the suggestion of Mr W. T. Thomas, he was requested to allow of its publication. Mr F. L. Lambert, Inland Revenue, promised to give the address next week. Several visitors en- rolled their names as subscribing members of the Institute. COEDPOETH AND M1NERA. LITERARY MEETING.âOn Tuesday evening a literary meeting was held at the Baptist Chapel, unJer the presidency of Mr R. Jones. A great number competed, and the following were the prizetakers:âMessrs. A. Evans, ( Jones, J. Smith, R. Rowlands, W. Wynne, and S. Jones, Messrs. J. Williams, iNTant, J. Evans, W. Wynne, and J. Morris adjudicated the pro- ceedings.

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