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TEMPERANCE DEPUTATION TO SIR…

WELSH NATIONALITY AND LOCAL…

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WELSH NATIONALITY AND LOCAL JEALOUSY. Sir John Williams is a Welshman of such eminence that no other Welshman would care to differ from him, except with deference, or criticise him, otherwise than with regret. Yet there are features in his Carmarthen speech on the question of the locality of the National Library which are so mischievous as to compel animadversion. In his dislike of Cardiff as the seat of the Library Sir John inflicts Two Serious Injuries on Wales. In the first place, he seeks to prove that Cardiff is not a Welsh town at all, and would deprive the Principality of all the credit of having within its limits a place of such large population, com- mercial success, and municipal enterprise. This is grossly unjust. Cardiff is indeed cosmopolitan; but this is a characteristic which really enhances its claim to Metropolitan honours. Is not London cosmopolitan ? Indeed, all capitals are cosmopolitan. But, in spite of this, Welsh- men have been a dominant factor both in the trade prosperity and the municipal distinction which have been achieved by Cardiff, and it is wrong to deprive our fellow-countrymen of this honour. Beyond this, however, the worthy baronet has committed a more serious offence. In his Jealousy of Cardiff he prefers to see London the capital of Wales. This borders on treason to our native country. The maxim of the English rulers of Wales has ever been-" Divide and conquer." It is their motto to-day, and a declaration like that of Sir John Williams at Carmarthen plays into the hands of thosq, who would fain suppress the Welsh nation- ility. Sir John places himself in the position of the false mother in the famous judgment of Solomon. He says in effect- Let the child be slain and the corpse divided How different is this from the spirit of Mr. Lloyd-George That young statesman knows neither North nor South, and still less of the fatuous and novel distinction between Welshmen of "the Plains" and Welshmen of the mountains. It is the great honour of Mr. Lloyd-George that, con- tinuing the work of our beloved and lamented Tom Ellis, he has laboured to weld the Welsh nation into a compact whole, and thanks to the men I have named, and to those who fight loyally in the same spirit, Wales has perhaps never in her history been so firmly united, and her sense of nationality never so powerful. No let us at any rate carry on our internal struggles without treason to Wales. Let us not effect mutual destruction; and then tell the English Government that Wales can have No Capital but London. For my part, rather than go out of Wales, I would prefer to see the Library, Museum, and Metropolitan honours all of them conferred even on Aberystwyth. The LONDON WELSHMAN recently rebuked very properly the calling of vile names which some of the partisans of the various competing to wns are making a discreditable feature of the contest. Do they think it advances their cause? On the contrary, the referees, as honourable and sensible men, would rule out of the question the town on whose behalf ill-natured epithets were hurled, on the assumption that no good town could have such bad advocates. One ventures to hope that in the future of this con- troversy, the supporters of each town will state the arguments for their own and against the others without calling opprobrious names. While I have pen in hand, I should like to say that my own favourite for the institutions and for the Metropolitan status is a town on whose behalf little has been said and perhaps, as in many other contests, the "dark horse" may yet win. The place I think best fitted for the distinction is Carmarthen- the very scene of Sir John's regrettable speech. It is a town thoroughly Welsh and of historical fame; it is the capital of the classic county of Wales-and be it understood I do not speak as a native of the county, but as an impartial student of its share in the political history of Wales, and in Welsh life and literature. More- over, Carmarthen seems, as it were, to stretch one hand towards the North and the other towards the South, as if to reconcile both and its position on the railway system makes it accessible to all parts of the Principality. How- ever that may be, let us stand firm for Welsh nationality and for Welsh control of Welsh interests and in the zeal of advocacy, beware of sacrificing the fame and fortunes of our nation. Only the other day I was reading a French history of the ancient Celts of Gaul, with whom the Welsh people are, of course, closely allied. Here is one suggestive passage which I translate Every town wished to get the better of its neighbour, and local jealousies prevented the consummation of political unity. There were Gallic federations and Gallic tribes, but no Gallic nation." This is a lesson for us. Yet we may be. encouraged by remembering that since that early epoch, through the leader- ship of sagacious men, the Gauls of France have at last been moulded into the most solid of nationalities. If Welshmen are true to one another, especially in this present time of crisis, we also shall Accomplish National Unity, and a right to direct and cultivate Welsh genius in such a manner that it shall at length perform its due part in the progress of the civilised world. We are sometimes bidden to look for Welsh greatness in the past; but for me it lies wholly in the future. I know of no period in the history of Wales when the people tVere at the same time united, free, and enlightened. Only now at last are we on the threshold of such a splendid realisation; and as its first-fruits we have already seen Welshmen rising z' to the highest rank and influence in the counsels of that United Kingdom of which we are proud to form a portion. Welshmen have also their part to play in art and science. Let us abolish, therefore, the shibboleths of North and South, and speak of Wales only one and indivisible. I would not use the geo- graphical distinction even in common speech or on a postal address. One Wales, One People, and their Metropolis in Wales, the seat of her own local government and legislation, this is the ambition we should ever keep before our eyes as Welshmen, and labour loyally, each according to the best of his powers, to attain. PHILIP THOMAS.

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