WELSH NATIONAL LIBRARY. Sir John Williams ridicules the Claims of Cardiff. At a meeting held in Carmarthen the other day, Sir John Williams, Bart., poured ridicule on the claims of Cardiff to the National Library. Among other things, he said that in deciding the question of locale, the weights to be placed in the scales were the wishes and convenience of the Welsh people inhabiting every part of the Principality. The Welsh Library should occupy a central position, accessible to residents in every part of Wales. Now, if they examined the last census returns they would find, if they drew a line from Swansea to Wrexham and continue it to Rhyl, that they had an almost purely Welsh-speaking district between that line and the Irish Channel, with the exception of a small portion of Pembrokeshire. In the Cardiff dis- trict eight in every hundred only of the popula- tion were Welsh-speaking—a smaller proportion than in Liverpool-whilst in the adjacent districts the number varied from ten to thirty-five per hundred. It seemed, therefore, that if the con- venience and interests of the Welsh people were to have due weight, an Anglicised town at the mouth of the Severn should not be the seat of the national institution. Cardiff's Dreams. On the other hand, Aberystwyth was situated on the border between North and South Wales, in the centre of the great Welsh district, he had mapped out. It was agreed many years ago, before Cardiff had aroused itself from the sleep of centuries and dreamed dreams, it was agreed by the leaders of the Welsh people-leaders who were thoroughly acquainted with every part of the Principality, and conversant with the feelings and wishes of the Welsh people—that Aber- ystwyth was the most central and most suitable site for the University College of Wales-the only university college in Wales for ten years- and in Aberystwyth they placed also the Welsh National Library when they laid its foundation more than 30 years ago without external help. But Cardiff laid claim to the National Library-and why ? Was it because the Welsh people desired that it should be placed in Cardiff? The Welsh People had declared that they wished the Library to be at Aberystwyth, for they had already placed it there. Was it because Cardiff was the most central and suitable site in Wales ? They had only to look at the map to settle that question. Was it because Cardiff had worked marvels for the education and elevation of the Welsh people ? Who would dream of answering those questions in the amrmative ? But he would let Cardiff speak for itself. Cardiff, like Janus, had two mouths, and they both spoke occasionally, and their utterances were some- times interesting and enlightening. Some weeks ago Cardiff spoke and said, "We will give 1,000 per annum for the maintenance of the Library, and Z2,000 for the maintenance of the Museum from the municipal rates." This made it quite clear that the Cardiffian idea of the National Library was that it should be a munici- pal library in Cardiff, for Cardiff, maintained by Cardiff rates, and managed and governed by Cardiff ratepayers. That distorted conception °f a national institution was the product of thirst for Metropolitan honors. His worship, the Mayor of Cardiff, pleaded :0r contributions towards the library and museum In order that Cardiff might be recognised by the authorities as the Metropolis of Wales and °btain the prestige accruing from such a posi- tion. It Was for the interests of Cardiff only that his worship deigned to plead. He ignored, as Cardiff had habitually ignored, the Welsh People and their interests, as well as their suc- cessful efforts to found national institutions. efore Cardiff had been vouchsafed Metropolitan yis\°ns in the Cardiffian conception of the Welsh Ration there was no place for the Welsh people. A he Town Clerk's speech was, however, of still greater significance, as it explained the forces which impelled Cardiff to action and the methods by which Cardiff worked. He said that when the fight for the college took place it was estimated that it would be worth ^10,000 a year to Cardiff. What a splendid investment! It was something called the love of education. What had Cardiff done with and for the college ? He could tell them what it had done with the college. It had placed it in an old building, a disused infirmary, and had left it there until this day. He could not tell them what it had done for the college, but meanwhile Cardiff had reaped ^20,000 a year by the college. What a fine investment was that old infirmary building! Cardiff appeared to think that national institu- tions could be bought with gold. The gifts of the gods, however, were not bought and sold. They could only be secured by payment in kind. A Historical Comparison. Cardiff and its methods reminded him of a character not unknown in history, who was wealthy and avaricious, and who said to a friend, I would give the whole of my fortune for a good name." The friend, somewhat surprised, asked, Why ? Because, was the reply, I could' double it." Money, however, could not buy a good name, nor could it buy national institutions such as the Welsh National Library. The capital of a country had the respect, confi- dence, and affection of a nation, the reward of long service and wise guidance, its proud boast was not one worthy of a successful speculation in a mining boom. Its proudest boast and chief glory was that it possessed the love and loyalty of a nation. The capital of a country had its foundations in the hearts of the people. Its stones had been laid in the building by loving hands, and its corner-stone was the loyalty of a whole nation. The foundations of Cardiff were laid in the Bute Docks. Upon them it was built, and in them it had its being. Sir John concluded a racy speech by saying that London had been the capital of Wales from time imme- morial. It was the capital of the country before the Romans came, and Wales had no other capital. London Welshmen had done much for Wales—they had carried Wales in their heads they had originated movements for its advan- tage they had helped every movement for its benefit; and to-day they were as active as ever in their efforts to further its interests. And in so far as he could now see, no other place than London could be the capital of Wales, and he believed that Welshmen desired no other capital.
AN UNRECOGNISED WELSH COLLECTION. MR. ERNEST RHYS called attention in the Welsh edition of the Manchester Guardian recently to a question relating to Wales that is in danger of being lost sight of "whilst one library is pitting its treasures against another," viz., the importance of securing for the nation those smaller private collections still unappropriated which contain most valuable MSS. Among these he refers particularly to y that of the late Mr. Alcwyn Evans, of Carmar- then, now in possession of his two daughters and executors. According to Mr. Rhys, the peculiar value of his collection is partly due to its representing a late survival of a disappearing art, for its most striking items are the beauti- fully clear, lovingly wrought transcripts of old documents and manuscripts, historical and literary, which were the pride of this extra- ordinary scribe and artist. By good fortune he sent the writer of the article an invitation to go and see his books and papers two or three years before his death, and very interest- ing the occasion proved. I' At this time, and for many years previously, Mr. Alcwyn Evans inhabited the most remark- able of domiciles. It lay up a narrow alley off Lammas-street, Carmarthen, and had been, as a tablet over its entrance declared, a Friends' meeting-house in former time. There Mr. Evans had for many years kept school, for that was his original profession, which accounted no doubt, in a degree, for his fine art of the pen, and there he taught certain apt pupils who became artists too in their turn. I remember," he says, watching one of them, whose profession was not at all artistic, pause in the midst of a busy day to make many aerial twirls and flourishes of the pen before he settled down to the writing of an ordinary letter, so well had his master endued him with his method." But finally the school followed the Quaker chapel, and then its occupant turned it to his perfect purpose. He slept up in the gallery, using the ground floor and general interior as his library, workshop, studio, or what not besides. The effect of this apparent hermit--who had, however, nothing of an eremitic austerito in his robust presence-living there in a conditioned solitude close to one of the main thoroughfares of a town like Carmarthen was as if one should find a Welsh beaver-hat on one's modern hat- pegs. Mr. Evans exhibited with all the fond con- sciousness of fine things finely done some of his folios and exquisitely engrossed MSS., and another day, when a fellow-bookhunter was of the party, produced some of the gold medals won at the lists of the National Eisteddfod. He was something, too, of a raconteur, humorous and at need satirical; as when he told of the simple Welsh curate who, being asked to sleep one night at the bishop's palace, went straight to bed upon arriving there at dusk on a winter's afternoon, and was with difficulty rescued in time for dinner. The best of it is," added Mr. Hermit with a rather boisterous laugh, he is now a bishop himself." From such follies and doubtful modern incidents he would turn to mediaeval ones, and to his favourite topic, the history of Carmarthen town, for whose prepara- tion he had been collecting materials for many a long year. Indeed he had advanced consider- ably with the actual writing of the work itself although it is impossible now to say how far the written portions which he left are in a state to be gotten together and made fit for the press. It is rather to be feared that this will prove to be in the end another of the lost works of Wales, with Silvan Evans's derelict dictionary and one or two other half-forgotten publications. The only published book by Mr. Alcwyn Evans, that serves to point out the work he might have done, over and above his manu- script collating and transcribing, was that devoted to the Charter Rolls and Ancient Deeds relating to the Town and County of Car- marthen and the Abbeys of Talley and Tygwyn- ar-Daf," published at Carmarthen by Spurrell in 1878. These papers were, however, of Daniel Tyssen's collecting, and were only edited and annotated by Mr. Evans. The notes were often the vital part of the page they subscribed, as happens when the annotator is full of his sub- ject. They certainly made good Alcwyn Evans's idea of the desperate and mortal incidence of the Norman lords who lived in South Wales, and rarely died in bed, as where he speaks of that Aymer de Valence (who was tall and pale in countenance"), third Earl of Pembroke, who went with Queen Isabella to France and was there murdered; and of his kin killed one by a falling castle-wall at Dryslwyn, another at Bayonne, another at Llan- deilo or of Payne de Cadurcis (alias Chaworth), son of Patrick, who was slain near Cilgerran in 1258. Payne and his two brothers, Hervey and Patrick, went with Prince Edward to the Holy Land in 1270. In 1277 he led Edward's army in South Wales, and was made Governor of Dynevor, Careg Cennen, and Llandovery. The Hervey named above was slain in a skirmish near Kidwelly in 1275 and so the red record goes on. These are but a few of the scraps and odd- ments of history out of which this historical .scribe and weaver wove his careful cloth. His collections of still less known pages and materials of literature and history will prove indispensable some day to the students and continuers of his own work, and there is every reason for their being made common property at last of the future frequenters of the Welsh National Library.