Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

3 articles on this Page



THE UTILISATION OF THE WELSH LANGUAGE. PUBLIC MEETING AT BARRY DOCK. ON Tuesday evening a public meeting connected with the Young Wales Society was held at the Welsh Methodist Chapel, Barry Doek. The subject for the consideration of the meeting was The Utilisation of the Welsh Language." It will be remembered that for several weeks past we have directed public attention to this subject in connec- tion with the rapidly approaching School Board election, and considerable interest has been attracted, as was shown by the representative character of the audience. Mr. W. LI. Williams, B.A., president of the Young Wales Society, pre- sided, and there were also present, Mrs. Williams, Miss Morant (late of Newnham College, Cam- bridge). the Misses Da vies (Cadoxton). Miss Davies (Holton-road), Major-General Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander (Dinas Powis), Mr. John Lowdon (chairman of the School Board), the Rev. Christmas Lewis, the' Rev. and Mrs. Morris Isaac, Mrs. Davies, Rev. J. Price, Rev. W. Tibbott, Rev. G. LI. Williams, Dr. Lloyd- Edwards. and Messrs. J. D. Davies, C. Howe, M. Meikle, Richards, T. Williams. J. Jones, J. E. Rees, J. H. Owen, E. 0. Evans, M. D. Davies, W. Jones, Thomas Thomas, J. Thomas, J. Phillips, J. .1 Meek, Rees Phillips, J. Lewis, Morgan Davies, &c &c. The Chairman announced a telegram from the Rev. Mr. Matthews from Aberdare, stating that he was unable to come. Captain Davies who was at Aberdare had written, stating that if possible he would be present. In opening the consideration of the subject, the Chairman said their usual custom was to have a debate, but as the question they were going to discuss that night was one of the articles of faith of the society, they thought it would be rather absurd to hold a debate on a matter to which they all subscribed by becoming members of the society. They had determined, therefore, to ask the Rev. Christmas Lewis to move a resolu- tion in favour of teaching Welsh in schools. What they wanted was to put their case before the public and the School Board. If they could not make their case good, and if they thought that they (the Young Wales Society) were over-stating their case, they were at liberty to speak, and they would meet their objections to the best of their ability. (Cheers.) The Rev.Christmas Lewis begged to move, That in. the opinion of this meeting, the teaching of Welsh in elementary Board Schools is desirable." There were two reasons why, in proposing the motion, he should be brief—one was because the question had already been well discussed in the local Press, and he had really but very little to add and also, because he understood it was the intention of the society that this discussion should have a local reference. His reasons for supporting the motion were briefly these :-In the first place a know- ledge of Welsh qualified its possessor to more lucrative posts in Wales. This subject had been dealt with by Judge Gwilym Williams, and as he was one of the authorities which had not been quoted by the Star, he would briefly quote one or two of his remarks :-There is nothing more patent according to the signs of the times than that a new epoch is dawning for Wales, -,in kpoch that will give an opportunity to many of her sons and daughters to ascend to posts of responsibility, profit, and honour, such as they never before ex- perienced in the history of their land. It behoved Welshmen, therefore, to awake to activity and energy so that they may take advantage of a tide by which their children might achieve success. A question that has been brought to especial notice of late is Wales for the Welsh," —that is, that the various posts under the Government in Wales should be filled by Welshmen. This has received notice and consideration in the highest circles and in the Privy Council, and it was admitted there that can- didates for posts in Wales who could speak Welsh, if their other qualifications were equal, had the right of priority. The authorities that admitted it not only hinted, but also stated boldly, that they didn't have an opportunity of making such a choice—that is, that the Welshmen who applied for posts under the Government didn't come up to the standard. Here they had two important points brought before them. It was allowed that a knowledge of Welsh was a qualification to fulfil an official position in Wales. It was stated also that the persons who had applied for these positions either didn't know Welsh, or was unfit for the position. This was an important state- ment. Still they should be above suspicion in this matter. He felt sure there were a number of per- sons who knew Welsh, and. at the same time, were qualified to fill the highest positions in the country —auch as magistrates, inspectors of schools and mines, and chief-constables but if they shut out Welsh from their day- schools he did not see how they were consistent in advocating a knowledge of Welsh in the higher oircles, and excluding it from the lower. Besides, these positions must to a great extent be filled up from the lower classes, and it was highly import- ant, therefore, that these children should have every opportunity of becoming qualified for the positions they would occupy. (Hear, hear.) His second reason was because Welsh was the native tongue of Welshmen that in itself was, he thought, a sufficient reason. It brought to them hereditary association, and a charm and force which could not, be found in other languages. Why was it that Welshmen were quite carried .away by the force of the simple hymns in the Welsh language,simply because these hymns touched upon hereditary ideas which had been stored up for years. Herbert Spencer, in treating of memory, said that ideas sunk:into a man's constitution. Pre- cisely was that so in regard to Welsh. If they 'forgot their own language they would miss charm- ing ideas, which had become a part of them. He "thought they could very well ask that Welsh should be taught in their elementary schools, because it was as good as any other language. It seemed to him that Welsh would give them quite as good a training as any other language. This fact was recognised by the Education Department, and a man could now take his degree in the Celtic i languages in the London University. At the pre- > sent time there were more Welsh-speaking people than at any time in the history of the language, and there was a more abundant literature. (Ap- plause.) There were 17 weeklies circulated in Wales, with an average circulation of 130,000 -copies, and there were 20 bi-weeklies, with a cir- culation of 37,760, and one of them of 150,000. A Welsh publisher recently spent £ 18,000 in bringing out a Welsh book, and he was glad to find the publisher was not a loser by it, and he was now preparing a second edition. (Applause.) The Welsh readers spent £ 200,000 a year for their Welsh literature. Take away a few of the first- class English writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson, &c., and he had no doubt their Welsh poetry and literature would bear comparison with English Classical works. There was a considerable resemblance between the works of William Wil- liams Pantycelyn and Dante. In both writers was a similar wildness of idea and liveliness of imagery. Take away two or three of their first-class English writers and he had no hesitation in saying that none of the remainder were too good to be com- pared with the Welsh literati. T He supported this motion for the utilisation of Welsh in day-schools, because in very many cases it might be used as a medium to teach English, and this was a very important consideration. Only about 33 per cent. of the children in the Barry Schools spoke Welsh, but in the Rhondda Valley 72 per cent. spoke it. Taking the two counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan, and ex- cluding the towns of Cardiff, Swansea, and New- port, according to Mr. Edwards, H.M.I., the Welsh- speaking children were 55 per cent. If they taught Welsh boys the Welsh tongue they would do no injury to the English children, and he hoped it would be done in the immediate future in this loeality. (Hear, hear. and applause.) He had much pleasure in moving the resolution. The President, who vacated the chair in favour of Dr. Lloyd-Edwards, seconded the motion. In supporting that motion he wished to deal more particularly with the practical side of the question. If they wished to have Welsh taught in their schools they must show that it was possible to teach Welsh in schools without encumbering the Welsh boys and girls with a useless knowledge, and at the same time without hindering the English boys. There were three classes of jechcols in the Principality. In the first place there were the monoglot schools, and men who knew-anything about education would agree with him in saying that the only way of teaching these boys the English language was by means of the Welsh. (Hear, hear.) Then there were the bilingual schools, to which class he considered Barry belonged, and then the totally Anglicised portion of Wales. What they had to deal with that night was the bilingual portions of Wales. As far as they could judge the proportion of Welsh children was one to three or one to four- about 25 or 30 per cent. He should like to show what education really meant. It was not the possession of a knowledge of facts and figures. The only thing to do in giving a boy a real educa- tion was to train his faculties. Educationalists in every country and every age were unanimous in saying that the best training was the know- ledge of two languages. The bilingual movement was growing in Europe, and in Ireland, Scotland, and England. In 1882 a society was started in Ireland for the preservation of the Irish language, and in consequence the teaching of Irish as a specific subject had been allowed, and last year over 500 had passed in the subject. The success they had attained had so encouraged them that they were now demanding that the teaching of Irish should be made compulsory in every school in Ireland as a class subject. In Ireland there were, at the out- side. only 100,000 Irish-speaking people, while in Wales they had over a million of Welsh-speaking people and, therefore, they considered it was only right that the teaching of Welsh as a specific sub- ject should be granted. In Scotland, Gaelic was taught in many of the schools. The speaker next quoted from a speech of Mr. Mundella at Bradford as showing the good results of learning two languages, which enabled children more readily to acquire a third. Whilstin Switzerland,where Ger- man and French are taught side-by-side, at Lucerne, he was told to go to a shop where he would see a girl who could speak in French, German, English, Dutch, and Spanish, very correctly. He did so, and found it was as he had been told, and the girl stated that she had never been outside Lucerne, and the only expense to herself for her education was a small sum for pens, ink. and paper. He considered that if the ideal had been reached in Switzerland it was possible in England at some future tIme, and he (the speaker), for one, believed it was in their power to make it possible at that time in Wales. They ought also to remember that if a linguistic training was the best training, the majority of their children could only attain it in the Board Schools, as the vast majority of their children were children of the working classes. If it were possible to give them this train- ing he thought it their duty as citizens to make the coming generation intelligent citizens by giving them this training. (Hear, hear.) Then came the question of why they should teach Welsh in preference to any other language ? Welsh was only spoken by about two million people, whilst the French language, which was a commercial one, was spoken by 40 millions. He admitted that was a fair question, and unless they could answer it to their satisfaction, he thought no patriotic Welshmen should insist on having his language taught. In the first place, before they could get a language taught properly they must get it taught in two ways—by means of a grammar, or collo- quially. Teaching a language by graminir was useless, unless years of application were devoted to the study by trained scholars. When an English boy was sent to school at the age of nine or ten years, he was kept there until he arrived at the age of 18, when he went to an University, where a stiy of four years was generally made. All those years they devoted to learning, amongst other things, languages, and at the end of that time some of them were far from understanding the languages. It was possible to iearn. a language by means of a good system of easy conversation and easy trans- lation. To teach a living language they must get a native teacher, or one who knew the language properly. He had been taught French for a number of years, and he knew as little about it as the average Englishmen knew about Welsh. (Laughter.) Before they could teach French in the elementary schools, they must get French teachers, and they hadn't got them. They must also get French boys in the school. If they had 20 French boys in a school then he would say it was possible to teach French well. But they hadn't got any French boys, and they could only teach the language grammatically. In the next place they could not begin to teach the French as a specific subject in the lower standards, and it was 1 useless to commence just as the boys were leaving school. The teachers told them there was no time at present to take up a specific subject. The itime was taken up with the three R's, and there would be no time to take up French with- out doing an injustice or injury to the other sub- jects. These remarks applied to any other language, but not to Welsh, because, in the first place, they had Welsh teachers in their midst. In the two schools of Barry Dock and Barry there were plenty of Welsh teachers who could teach Welch, but none at Cadoxton. They didn't wish to dispossess any Englishmen of their livelihood, but as vacancies occurred, and they occurred continually .the School Board should then get quali- fied Welsh teachers—(hear, hear) — but if they could not get properly qualified teachers who added a knowledge of Welsh to their other qualifications they didn't ask them to do it. In the second place they had a proportion of Welsh children there, and if they took the census they had had there of the number of worshippers, and compared it with the number of Welsh names on the registers the proportion would be 30 per cent. It was not a high proportion, but quite sufficient to leaven the whole school. It gave the English children in the school a chance to learn to speak Welsh and acquire an additional language to their own. The headmasters and teachers in a school also did not know the exact number of boys and girls in the schools who could speak Welsh, for unfor- tunately one of the worst things was that because of the amount of ridicule put on a Welsh-speaking boy by his schoolmates, a Welsh child would prefer to speak bad English rather than speak in his own tongue. In the third place, Welsh could be taught colloquially, because both the teachers and scholars would be Welsh, and they could teach them quite as much by talking to them as by grammar. In the fourth place Welsh could be taught from the lowest standards, which was nOt the case with any other language which would have to be taught, by grammar. That morning he had had a letter from H.M. Inspector Edwards, who re- marked in it that Welsh could be taught from the lowest standards by means of bilingual reading- books. In that case but little extra time would be required for the teaching of Welsh, as they would begin to give the children a knowledge of the language from the time when theii minds began to develope. A thorough knowledge of Welsh would be a better training than a smatter- ing of French. Mr. Williams instanced two cases where Welsh had been taught in this manner, in the school of Mr. J.g E. Rees, at Llanarth, and at Gelligar, where the best Welsh scholar in the whole class was an English girl. Mr. Rees had told him that the children of the school, in a purely Welsh part of the country, where no English was spoken, and where he taught the children English through the medium of Welsh,learnt English in a very superior way, and spoke better English. The English paid hundreds of pounds to give to their children what the poorest Welshman had at his door. These were the practical and educational reasons why they wished to have Welsh taught, in their schools. He did not say there were no other reasons which induced them as Welshmen to look on the matter with very different eyes than to that of mere utility. But if the slightest in- justice would be caused no sentimental considera- tionsl would out-weigh in their minds practical disadvantages. It was from a combined love of the language and utility that they advocated the teaching of Welsh in their schools. He did not believe in entirely ignoring sentiment. Sentiment had overthrown empires and thrones, and it should not be altogether ignored. Then there were appointments in Wales which should not be given to anyone not possessing a knowledge of Welsh. The only thing they wanted was that whenever public posts became vacant, they should be given eectr-ri* paribus to competent men who knew Welsh. No amount of genius or talent would com- pensate for ignorance of Welsh to an official whose post lay in Welsh Wales. (Hear, hear.) Welsh- men did not want to restrict these posts to Welsh- men, but they insisted that only competent men should be appointed to them. If Englishmen wanted to have their sons appointed inspectors of mines, ifactories, or schools, or to judicial and ad- ministrative posts in Wales, they should teach them Welsh. (Hear, hear.) Welshmen could not be expected to stand idly by while the most ancient of the modern languages of Europe—in which the Mabinogion and Brut, from whence Tennyson had derived his noblest inspiration, had been written before the birth of the Father of English poetry, which had a living and stable literature before the Bard of Florence ever sang, whose Dafydd ap Gwilym, whom an E-iglishman had called the greatest poet of the Middle Ages, wrote before Chaucer was born,—Welshmen refused to stand idly by to see that language become a mere patois of chance or trick, a street slang unworthy of the respect of other languages. (Cheers.) Welshmen protested against the policy that would allow the language of a million of their countrymen, the language of their newspapers and their pulpits, the language in which most of them thought and many of them corresponded, should be voluntarily taught in their Sunday Schools, while the language which WilS unused in scores of rural parishes should be blindly and unintelli- gently taught by State-paid teachers. (Loud cheers.) They would like to see their Sunday Schools devoting the whole of their time to reli- gious instruction, and not spend half their time in teaching scholars to read and write the language of their homes and their religion. (Hear, hear.) They resented the exclusion of their language from all recognition in their legal, judicial, and educational systems, so that it had acquired a low- caste character, and many of their children had become ashamed to speak the language in which they were born. (Hear, hear.) They did not wish to be suddenly cut off from the creative influences of the past, but they held that the future should be the natural development of the past. The change from Welsh to English should be made gradually and intelligentlyand time should be given to transfer from the almost unexplored continent of Welsh literature all its wealth to that universal inheritor, the English language. (Loud cheers.) They had been accused of trying to perpetuate the Welsh language by artificial means. Nothing could be untrue. He had a sorrowful convic- tion that the course he was advocating that night would the surest means to bring- about the extinc- loniof the Welsh language. English statesmen had tried to crush out oL existence the language of Wales, but the affection of the people had triumphed over the schemes of statesmen. Before a language could be crushed, it would have to be ex- cluded not only from the schools, but also from the pulpit, from the press, and from the hearth. (Ap- plause. )The exclusion of Welsh from the schools only perpetuated the existence of the monoglot Welsh- man—the Conservative, the preservative force for the retention of Welsh. As long as the monglot Welshman existed. Welsh would always maintain its ground. By introducing Welsh teaching into the schools, the monoglot Welshman would dis- appear in one generation, and then the most power- ful language in the world would gradually take its place. But if Welsh was to die—as he was afraid it would some centuries hence-she would die an honoured, and not an ignoble, death. She would die a language among languages, and not a dishonoured and unhonoured slang of the streets. (Loud cheers.) She would die after having per- formed her mission. She would have provided such a training to the poorest of her sons as only the wealthy Englishman could procure at a great cost. She would have preserved the continuity of the nation's history. She would have once more become, what she was when English was yet un- born, the pride of the learned and the teacher of the young. And lastly, she would have brought the children of Wales into a close and more kindly contact with the children of England. (Loud and prolonged applause.) Dr. Lloyd-Edwards followed, with an admirable address, and alluded to the love of study charac- teristic of Welshmen. It had been remarked that it was very extraordinary that Welshmen came to- gether to discuss the prospects of a Welsh University. (Hear, hear.) The statistical per- centage of educational passes for Wales was fully one per cent. over that of England and Wales combined. That spoke well for Wales. They, as Welshmen, attached most value and interest to the utilisation of the Welsh language. (Ap- 9 11 plause.) They had two phases of the question, the going from the known to the unknown as applied to the teaching of English and Welsh. The Education Department had given facilities for teaching the language, as it was one of the extra subjects allowed, and it was to these bilingual districts that it more particularly applied as a specific subject. It also more particularly applied to them because it would be of practical and peculiar advantage in this way. At the present time there was no specific additional subject taught at their schools, and if they could take an extra subject, for every child presented for examination they would earn a grant amounting to 13" per head, which would amount to a considerable sum. They had also a good sprinkling of scholars acquainted with the colloquial speech, and that was the qualification necessary. (Applause.) In the matter of training, it put him in mind of a horse going up a hill with a heavy load, and and another walking by h:s side and not assisting. If they harnessed the Welsh horse to help the English horse to pull the educational burden up the hill it would be better for both. (Applause.) He had been speaking to some educational experts, and they thought that a second language was of -great importance in training the mind. Education did not consist of cramming a lot of dry facts into a child's brains, but to exercise that brain and give it a capacity to receive knowledge in years to come. (Applause.) Referring to the use of the Welsh language, Dr. Edwards said it was absurd that people in their own country should have to be bothered because of a lack of a knowledge of Welsh by those who occupied official positions. He had had an experience of that him- self. At an infirmary of which he had been the physician, it was no uncommon thiug for patients to be brought in monoglot Welshmen, and when they asked for things in their own tongue in the night some of the nurses who did not understand Welsh had been obliged to call up nurses who did merely to know what the patients wanted. He was glad that their local nurses were Welsh. (Laughter and cheers.) By taking Welsh at the schools they would be able to get more Welsh nurses. Dealing with the senti- mental aspect, even if there was no practical ad- vantage attached to teaching Welsh, he should most strongly advocate that they teach the people their own language in their own country. (Hear, hear, and applause.) It was not a mere dialect, but a language which on account of its antiquity should be venerated, and from its religious associasion he was sure they ought not to ignore it. (Applause.) Mr. J: E. Rees, Barry, in answer to a call from the Chairman, made a short speech, and in the course of his ^remarks said he did not care much for the grammar taught in the present day. If the rules of every language were copied word by word they could very soon learn a lan- guage. That was a great mistake, for Welsh- men had their idioms which, translated into English made very horrid English. There wa.s a great deal of advantage in teaching Welsh, and he did not think it would interfere much with the other studies provided they had a sufficient staff. He instanced a case where the use of Welsh would come in very nicely. The inspectors gave some English poetry, which was repeated several times, and he had known cases where sharp boys had caught hold of the verses word for word. It would be far better if they could get Welsh poetry and translate it into English, and they would teach Welsh and English far better. The Welsh idioms fiom their similiarity with the idioms of several other languages enable a Welsh boy to acquire those languages sooner, which assisted him in gaining an amount of mental culture. He was not an ardent Welshman in many respects, but he could support all the arguments brought forward by the previous speakers. (Ap- o plause.) Miss Morant said there was one point which had occurred to her which had not yet been mentioned, but which ought to be the connection of the Welsh language with Welsh music. She thought that no music could ever be the same as native music, and native music could never be set to foreign words with the same effect. Welsh music was renowned everywhere, and she hoped that the extinction of the Welsh national music and tongue would never occur. (Applause.) Mr. D. Alexander expressed his sympathy with the objects of the meeting. It had been a source of regret to him that be had never learnt his native tongue when a boy. When he was a boy Welsh was only taught at the Sunday schools- often incorrectly, and it was thought a discredit to acknowledge the fact of being a Welsh boy. It was necessary that this subject should be taken up as it had been. He had had great ex- perience of whot took place in the law courts, how absurd it was that a Welsh- man should have to give his evidence in Welsh, which had to be translated by a translator into English, and in many cases there were miscar- riages of justice oecause of these translations. They were giving Englishmen an opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the language for holding positions in Wales, and he thought that they as Welshmen had a very strong claim upon them for sympathy and encouragement in this matter of education—(loud applause- -and as a Welshman, he said they had his heartiest sym- pathy and co-operation. The Rev. J. Price put several questions to the Chairman and Mr. Rees which were answered. General Lee also put a question. Mr. John Lowdon said he was in thorough sym- pathy with the Chairman. He considered that in rural parts of Wales they should commence by teaching children in their mother tongue, and in rural Wales there was no doubt that the Welsh was the mother tongue. They did not apply that to Barry, where they had a large proportion of Eng- lish children and a good many Welsh children who spoke the English language alone, and only 25 per cent. were Welsh-speaking children. It would not be for them to commence to teach Welsh from the lowest standard. There was another point, as a School Board they could only teach within a limited time. But he certainly saw no difficulty in getting Welsh taught as a specific subject in their elementary schools at Barry, and provided a sufficient number of children came forward to be taught Welsh, he would be in favour of including it. (Loud cheers.) General Lee congratulated the Society on its president. He had never heard a more statesman- like speech, and the sentiment in it really saddened him. There was a funeral note right through it. (Laughter.) Alluding to the increasing use of the English language, he said that, go where they would, they would hear people speaking English, and they had an admission from an able man like their president that English would be the univer- sal language. They had to put their sentiment aside for the greater good of the greater number. The more languages a man knew the better. If they were satisfied in bi-lingual districts in having it as a specific subject, no one could stand in their way; but if they were going to make it a class subject he thought there were a great many difficulties in the way. Alluding to the acquirement of better English by Welsh children, the General said that was the case throughout the world. In India the little natives talked better English than the English soldiers, it was because it was taught in a proper manner. In thoroughly Welsh counties Welsh ought to be a^ class subject, but not down there, nearer the great fringe of the English-speaking race, and he thought they must be satisfied with it as a specific subject here. (Applause.) Mr. Lewis (clerk to the School Board) also spoke, and after referring, from personal experi- ence gathered abroad, of the university of the English tongue, said the only way in which they could get Welsh taught there was as a specific subject. The Rev. J. Price said he very heartily agreei with what had been said by the chairman, and vice-chairman of the School Board, and that the Welsh language should be taught as a specifie subject as soon as possible. (Cheers.) He had read the articles which had appeared in the SOllth Wales Star with a great deal of interest. The President said all they could ask of the School Board had been promised them that night. If they were going to have Welsh as a class sub- ject they must fight for it in another place. Welsh- men should try to make Welsh as a specific sub- ject a success, by keeping their children at school, and by interesting their neighbours to do the same. (Loud applause.) He wished to pro- pose a vote of thanks to the gentlemen who had come there and spoke.—This was carried unani- mously, and the meeting terminated by a vote of thanks to the Chairman proposed by Mr. Lewis and seconded by Mr. D. T. Alexander. INTERVIEW WITH COUNCILLOR H. S. DAVIES, PONTYPRIDD (CLERK TO THE LLANWONNO SCIIOOL BOARD). On Wednesday evening a Star correspondent called upon Councillor Hopkin Smith Davies, with a view to obtaining his opinion on the above ques- tion. Councillor Davies most willingly complied, and in reply to the first question said "I certainly think that Welsh ought to be taught in all elementary schools in Welsh-speaking dis- tricts." But that does not apply to large towns, where the majority of the children speak English 7" sug- gested our correspondent. il Oh, yes," replied the councillor. that is one reason why we ought to teach Welsh to these whose parents are for the most part Welsh. You will find a great deal of Welsh spoken in large Welsh towns, but the children seem to drift to the English language, and for that reason ought to be taught Welsh., But is it not a fact," queried the interviewer, that you find a dearth of teachers capable of teaching Welsh, especially in this district That is so. but to meet this difficulty Welsh shoxld be taught in schools where there are capable Welsh teachers, without delay, and, I must add, that in making new appointments all Welsh School Boards ought to take great care to appoint Welsh teachers when occasions occur. If all Welsh School Boards were suddenly to compel the teaching of Welsh, there might, possibly, be a dearth of teachers but if it is brought about gradually, and taught at first in those schools that have capable Welsh teachers, much might be done to avoid friction, ond ultimately it might be- come a general thing." At present," the Star man pointed out, "it is only allowed by the Code as a specific subject. Would you be in favour of petitioning the Educa- tion Department to let it be taught as a class sub j ect ?" "No doubt." was the answer, "it would be better to have it as a class subject, for then it would be taught throughout the school, whereas at present, being taught as a class subject only the higher scholars can learn it, and for that reason I would adveeate making it a class subject. In the meantime no opportunity should be lost to teach it as a specific." You have had a long experience of scholastic matters, Mr. Davies, and during that experience have you noticed Welsh children who are ignorant of their mother tongue have been suffering from any disadvantage ?" It must be a disadvantage to them if they live in Wales, because now it has become a practice when public appointments are made in Wales it is expected that the man selected to almost every public office should have a knowledge of Welsh, and it would be a great disadvantage, especially to Welsh children resident in the Principality, in after life, owing to their lack of knowledge of the language of the country, for then they could not obtain these positions. It is also a disadvantage in business, and you find that most shopkeepers, when advertising for an assistant, almost inva- riably state that preference will be given to those who are able to speak Welsh, and, in fact, I hardly know of any position now to be obtained in the Principality where a knowledge of Welsh would be not only advantageous but necessary. Last winter a deputation of Englishmen and Scotchmen resident, and enjoying large businesses in Pontypridd waited upon me, and asked me to start a Welsh class in the town, because they found it almost an impossibility for them to carry on their businesses satisfactorily while ignorant of the native tongue. That class was started, and remained in existence during the winter months. [Notei: Our correspondent adds that Councillor Davies was too modest to state how successful this class became, but he assures us that several trades men in Pontypridd are now extremely grateful for the assistance given them by Councillor Davies. and speak in the highest term of him as a teacher]. THE EXPERIENCE OF MERTHYR VALE. I have received the following very clear and encouraging letter from Mr. E. Thomas, the head- master of tiie Morthyr Vale Board Schools, Merthyr Tydfil Dear Sir,—I have taught Welsh as a specific eub- ject at the above schools for three years, and suc- ceeded in obtaining- 9:3 per cent. of passes the first year, 100 per cent. the second year, and 100 per cent. the third year. I then left it off for a year or two, and took another specific subject in its place but I found that the children did not take it up with the same enthusiasm as they did Welsh. I have, conse- quently. abandoned it, and have again resorted to Welsh this year. and am at present teaching Welsh to about 35 children, who will be examined in this subject in February next. I consider the requirements of the first stage too much-more than can be thoroughly mastered in one year by a child of average ability. I believe Welsh would be more generally taken up as a specific subject in our Elementary Schools, if the requirements were a little easier. Replying to your questions, I beg to state (1) that the teaching of Welsh to Welsh children {a) makes them more conversant with their native language (/;) improves them in English grammar (r) enables them to express their thoughts with greater facility and readiness. I may also add, that children who have been taught Welsh at school take a lively interest in Welsh literature after leaving school. (2) My experience is that English children acquire a knowledge of Welsh nearly as rapidly as Welsh children. The translations from one language to the other is a capital exercise in mental training. I find that English parents are very anxious that their children should be t-aught Welsh. Several English parents have requested me to allow their children to join the Welsh class. (3) The proportion of Welsh to English boys is about 2 to 1. For my own part, I prefer teaching a class com- posed of Welsh and English children, because a healthy rivalry is established between them, thereby aiding very materially in ensuring success. —I am, dear sir, yours very sincerely, E. THOMAS. W. Uewellyn Williams. Esq., B.A., Editor of th, South Wales Star.