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THE COMING OF AGE OF BANGOR…

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THE COMING OF AGE OF BANGOR UNIVERSITY COLLEGE. On Saturday Bangor University College cele- brated its 2 xst anniversary, the occasion being taken advantage of by the Corporation to formally open a fine new Champs Elysees road running through the old Bishop's Park at the foot of the wooded declivity on which the new College buildings are to stand. Rain descended in torrents during the opening portions of the road and the fountain opening ceremony, which Were thereby severely curtailed, as indeed was the open-air presentation on the new College site by the Mayor to Lord Kenyon of the deed of gift conveying the land from the town to the College. Lord Kenyon, presiding, said they had just returned from taking the first step towards the realisation of the new College buildings, towards which ^30,000 had already been raised. The lack of money prevented them retaining men whose services they would like to retain, as they could not afford to pay decent salaries. Principal Reichel said Cardiff prided itself on a gift valued at ^40,000. Had Cardiff sub- scribed at the rate that Bangor had done, its contribution would have been ^300,000— enough to pay for site, build a college, and establish a substantial endowment. Sir Isambard Owen, speaking of the success of the Welsh University, he said he had always noticed when any institution was phenomenally successful there were always people desirous of reforming it. Take the Eisteddfod for example, which had been deluged with proposals of reform, yet the Eisteddfod went on unreformed, Untroubled, and brilliantly successful; and he hoped the University would do the same, though the Court would always consider serious critics Doctor Henry Jones, of Glasgpw, and an old Bangor professor, who was enthusiastically cheered, said that if he were asked to account for the growth of that College during the 21 years of its existence he could find nothing that Would account for it except moral forces. What had established that institution to begin with ? Not the wealth of the community, but iis generosity. What had sustained it ? Not Merely the ability of those in charge of it, but their devotedness. It was a point gained in the history of the College that they had evaded the danger of becoming a mere preparatory College for Oxford or Cambridge, and he believed their friend, Principal Rhys, of Jesus College, Oxford, had never quite forgiven them for that. But they held that their Welsh colleges should be themselves of University standing, and not Merely preparatory for any other institution ^hatsoever. There was a greater difficulty in peaking away from the University of London, °ecause they were bound to prepare their students for taking degrees there. Still even ^at had been done. A good deal had been said as to the lack of sympathy with Welsh aSPirations on the part of that College. As a fatter of fact that College had been the most •Jjyal of all the three Welsh colleges to Welsh eals and aspirations. If he read the signs of the times aright, he C"Ijld distinguish signs in a certain quarter of tendency to grasp at what was regarded as an lIhIhediate good, but which, in his opinion, Quid ultimately end in a great loss and peril. j Would have been natural enough had Sir sambard Owen magnified his office in con- ^ction with the University, as Senior Deputy ^ancellor. But Sir Isambard had done what fer Would almost call the opposite in his re- euces to the University of Wales, and pointed litf-i the University was of comparatively en,e significance, apart from the colleges. He _°rsed that view with all his heart. The diversity was merely a machinery for stamping material prepared in the colleges. 1 he Coll teaching and research was done in the ,e§es at Bangor, Aberystwyth, and Cardiff, 0tj the University, as such, there was not take teacher, and never would be. But let them gr e Care that the University machinery did not Cru\ S° §reat and strong as to overpower and sh and dominate from without the spon- taneous growth of Bangor, Aberystwyth, and Cardiff. Where lay the real importance of the University of Waies ? It lay in the fact that it had displaced the University of London. But they would never have a great university unless they got great teachers, and gave them full freedom of teaching and research. What made Jena so great but that? And what university was ever great without that freedom of inquiry and research ? He warned them that the strengthening of the centre had a tendency to crush initiative. They did not want a "principal of the university" as such they did not want to see the local colleges under the authority of any central despot, however wise. They wanted them to grow great according to their own ideals. Napoleon, who had great capacity in organisation, tried to handle the universities of France as he handled the army, and converted them into mere faculties of a central university in Paris. But in 1888 fifteen of these faculties were created into independent universities again. He hoped to see the Bangor College made into a separate university, as had been done in the case of Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool. That was the trend of all modern universities, and in every instance to the great benefit and strengthening of the districts in which the colleges were placed, and therefore of the com- munity as a whole. It was very easy to legislate for temporary difficulties. His advice to them was dont." Let them set an adequate ideal before them. He himself had removed from Bangor partly because of the greater freedom from despotism he was allowed at St. Andrews. How much did they think Scotland, with its great experience in this kind of work, would take for tying its various colleges into one university? Not any price. He pleaded for freedom, for spontaneous growth in each of the parts of the Welsh University, that all should hold high the banner of independent free research after truth. Nothing ever made a great university except great teachers and investi- gators, and the condition for that kind of growth was undoubtedly that which implied that each place was autonomous. Mr. Lloyd-George, who was warmly received, said the first public position he ever held was in connection wi h the University College of Bangor. It was the position of local secretary at Criccieth for the committee formed there to collect funds towards the establishment of the College. He had never since done anything in which he took a keener interest. It was a very pleasant thing to meet as Welshmen upon a non-controversial occasion. It was a good thing that they should have such occasions, for they were a very controversial race—though he thought they were none the worse for that-for all those controversies added a good deal to the amenities of life and improved the mettle and spirit and intelligence of the race. Still, he was glad of these non-controversial occasions, for no nation throve unless it had in its life a pretty broad belt of neutral territory, out of which controversialists were kept from raving and devastating. The Eisteddfod was one of them. At least, it used to be, till Professor Morris Jones fomented a quarrel with the Gorsedd. He did not know which of the two survived. Until that day he was under the impression that the colleges of Wales were a non-controversial subject, and that in them they had annexed a new domain to the neutral zone he had men- tioned. But, after the speeches, he had come to the conclusion that politics were not in it with the colleges as a controversial arena, and he was going to drop politics and go in for the subject of colleges. Proftssor Henry Jones had let the cat amongst the pigeons with a vengeance, and some of the pigeons had been flying about very wildly these last few days. Professor Jones had said, for example, that the Bangor College was the most Welsh of all the Welsh colleges. Well, Cardiff was sure to have something to say about that, and there was the germ of a nice little controversy to be^in with. Again, Professor Jones had given expression to views about the University which he (Mr. George) did not think were altogether approved by gentlemen actually on that platform at that moment. And then he said something about normal colleges which he (Mr. George) did not think was altogether respectful. Well, for his own part, he would think it out and decide which side he would take. The intermediate schools were in the non-controversial area, and he did not despair of seeing ere long even the elementary schools- added to the list of non-controversial subjects. It would be a fine thing for the nation if they could fence out the whole sphere of education in such a way that the shot and shell should be kept from the schools and colleges. He felt he must congratulate them upon the public spirit of the Bangor Corporation. What they had done was a deed of real courage and intelligencer. and he must also congratulate Wales upon' having such an intelligent and sympathetic democracy as that of which Bangor was such a fine example. In a small terrace of eight houses, in the humblest part of the town, j £ 6> was collected the other day for the new college buildings. He did not think they could find any part of the British Empire where more appreciation of the value of education was shown. The Chairman had suggested that they ought to stir up their Member to endeavour to get some more money from the Imperial Treasury for the Welsh colleges, but he thought Lord Kenyon himself was far more likely to have influence in that direction. The Welsh county councils might do more in this matter, and he hoped they would do so. He did not know exactly what the powers of the county councils were in this respect, but he hoped those powers might be enlarged so that they might be enabled to give more money to the colleges. He was not sorry that the nation had gone through the stage of voluntary contribu- tions. What a magnificent story Principal Reichel had told them of voluntary contributions from various parts of the country towards the cause of education, amounting in some places to an equivalent of a rate of 8d. in the £1. He thought they had now gone beyond that stage, and that they should be enabled to get more from the local education authorities. In conclusion, he congratulated them upon the prospects of their college and upon its great success.

" CENINEN " GORPHENAF.