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BILL BAITING.

. LOCAL AND DISTRICT. ------.------

[No title]

LLANGOLLEN RURAL DISTRICT…

. LLANGOLLEN COUNTY SCHOOL.

HALF HOUR WITH SIR THEODORE.

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HALF HOUR WITH SIR THEODORE. THE OLD ORDER AND IRE NEW. I WAS fortunate enough to find Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B., "at home" on Monday when I called at the romantically-situated residence of Bryntisilio, about a mile from Llangollen (writes our representative). It would be difficult any- where in these fair realms of Britain to discover a fairer panorama of mountain and river scenery than that which spreads out below the terrace of the House Beautiful," as the late Poet Browning described the summer abode of the royal biographer and the late Lady Martin (Miss Helen Faucit) upon one of his memorable visits to the beautiful Welsh hill-country. Sir Theodore is a striking type of that grand old school of courtly English gentlemen, the cultured courtier and polished man of letters, whose intellectuality, shining from a dozen differ- ent facets, illuminates all that it is reflected upon. Far more conspicuously the scholar and the philosopher than the man of affairs at all times, he finds to-day that the burden of over four score years that sit so lightly on his shoulders favour compliance with the desire for retirement and contemplation rather than active participation in the swiftly revolving whirlpool of twentieth, century activities. It is, however, because Sir Theodore has so accurately gauged the merits of the old order that changes, giving place to the new, that I judged any expression of opinion he might give upon questions of out-standing public interest would be received with attention to-day, and more particularly was I concerned to hear his views on the trend of education legislation. Sir Theodore frankly admitted that he was not familiar with the details of Mr. Balfour's pro- posals but, he said, his personal friendship with the Prim6 Minister, his familiarity with his views and aspirations, taught him that the source of inspiration was pure and undefiled. Mr. Balfour was not the man to give up to party what was meant for mankind, and his conscience and his country's good were ever with him the foremost considerations—far before any thought of mere party gain. He admitted that Sir John Gorsts' disappear- ances was perplexing, for Sir John was a strong man where matters educational were concerned, but he supposed, even in these days, back-stair influences might be at work. In answer to questions, he stated that the result of Mr. Forster's Education Bill was something worse than a failure. The fruits on the tree then planted are ripening, and to Sir Theo- dore they are not pleasant fruits to contemplate. The rising generation in our large towns and cities, that the School Board system is training, is a deplorable product-deplorable, deplorable The sweetness of manners, the innocence of thought and action, the reverence for age and all that is pure and good-these are fast disappearing. And what is taking their place ? A spurious sharpness, the extension of so-called cleverness, the multiplication of character in which the moral fibre is either warped or decaying. You cannot go through the streets of the great centres of population without being struck by this fact; and the comparisons that 1 draw between the present generation and the children of half- a-century ago fill me with misgivings as to the future. And why is this change taking place-why have we to deplore this deterioration ? Unhesi- tatingly I say that it is because you are neglecting more and more to traiu that side of the character of the child upon the development of which its whole future conduct must depend. Yon are not educating the rising generation, for there can be no true education that is not based upon the adequate conception of moral obligations that comes with religious training." I guardedly pointed out that, to a cartain extent, the over-zealousness of contending schools of religious thought might be. held responsible for the elimination of religious teaching altogether from certain of our schools, to which Sir Theodore replied: "Well has Lucretius phrased it, Ah, religion, what works are wrought in thy name l' The sects and the cliques—for some of the many varying schools of opinion hereabouts are only cliques—are not battling for the spread of truth and the diffusion of knowledge, but for the exaltation of their own particular circle of sup- porters. There is nothing of the true spirit of religion in this, of the spirit that teaches sub- missiveness and it is a national calamity that education should be made a bone of contention, regarding which this heated struggle takes place. The whole tendency of the times is in the wrong direction, and education is feeling the results of the suicidal policy that opened the floodgates to a democracy that threatens to sweep away all the grand old landmarks of our national life. It is difficult to see where it will end!" exclaimed Sir Theodore. I suppose you have seen the recent series of articles in the Times, indicating the extent to which Socialism, is creep- ing into our municipalities. These are facts—sad and depressing facts, but facts nevertheless—and they indicate that the time is approaching when the services of the best, the truest and the ablest may not be at the disposal of the public- because the public service will be degraded and debased." The flood-gates having been opened, Sir Theodore admitted it was difficult, it might be impossible, to stem the torrents, that gathering force speedily become the roaring rapids of Socialism, carrying all before them. Mr. Balfour's bill, he trusted, might prove an effective one, as he was confident it was a sincere attempt to stem that flood, by arresting the progress of non- religious education and securing that all teaching in the future shall be based upon the eternal verities that are the basic principles of national greatness. Then Sir Theodore touched upon the evil results of the system in another direction. It has. he says, thrown our social economy out of gear. The British workman, the glory of his race, is no longer the model of the rising genera- tion. "They decline, to-day," he says. "to perfect themselves in useful handicrafts,to follow the occupations in which their fathers excelled. No they must be clerks or what not; and day by day I receive ill-spelled and badly-written letters, praying me to find clerical situations for lads whose right place is at the bench or in the workshop. "This is what the education of the present is doing—multiplying the unfit, turning out boys and girls untrained to support the high moral burdens handed down to them from the past; and the more you persist with a purely secular educa- tion, the more you will increase the terrible menace to the future of our beloved country." Then Sir Theodore bowed me out to read the marvellous object lessons of beauty which the Divine Teacher has written in hill and vale and swelling upland, combining in a picture of in- effable beauty beneath the splendid crimson of the dying sky, from the terrace of his beautiful Welsh home.