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TO THE REV. D. REES, OF LLANELLY, CARMARTHENSHIRE. Brecon College, July 3, 1848. MY DEAR SIR,—Accept my best thanks for your letter in last week's PRINCIPALITY. So high is the respect I bear your character, that it affords me much pleasure to give every explanation in my power. Let us hope it may tend to the furtherance of peace for of discord there is already more than enough. If I understand the matter aright, the Welsh Normal School was started merely as an experiment for three years, and as such to be conducted entirely on the voluntary prin- ciple. I am not prepared to quote any law expressly on the point, but of the fact itself there can hardly be a doubt. It soon appeared, however, that many of our friends wished to apply for legislative help, so as to be able to sup- port the pupils, during a course of study extending over several years. You will remember that at the general meet- ing in June, 1846, I pleaded for opening correspondence with Government, as to the terms on which they would assist us, after the expiration of our Llandovery engage- ments. For reasons I need not repeat, it was thought de- sirable to adjourn the discussion for twelve months. Last September the question came before us again, when it was proposed to commit us irrevocably to an anti-Govern- ment pledge. What may have been the state of public opi- nion at the time, it is impossible to say; but I feel per- suaded more than two-thirds of the subscribers were de- cidedly averse to such a course. Indeed, not a few spoke strongly on-the subject. Their opposition, however, was apparently in vain. The resolution was carried, and is henceforth binding on its promoters, leaving all others to act as they please. Personally, I had nothing to do with it beyond that of advocating its contrary, and therefore never dreamt of being held responsible for its involvements. Another meeting was held at Llandovery, about the be- ginning of this year, at which it was determined to remove the institution to Swansea, there to be supported and con- ducted in accordance with the resolution passed at Brecon, namely, that it should be exclusively voluntary." With this I had no manner of concern. Inasmuch as I had never been able to consent to the said resolution, I did not consi- der myself as at all implicated in the movement, exceptino- for the covenanted three years. It is true I was nominated for one of the new agency committee but it is equally true, I distinctly and positively declined the honour. In proof, I need only refer you to my short speech on the occasion, or to the list of the executive, at the close of our second annual report. Thus much, if you please, by way of preface. I now come directly to the questions with which you have favoured me. To prevent mistake, it will be best to give them in your own words, and then as well as I can subjoin the answers. First, Was there an understanding between you and the friends of Government education at Brecon, that the meet- ing held at your house in January last was for the purpose of considering the propriety of having another normal school, and was there a resolution to that effect adopted by the meeting ? If so, how do you reconcile that with the up- rightness which characterises honest and straightforward men ?" As you have italicised the word purpose, I take for granted the principal stress is to be laid on the motive. The facts of the case, then, are simply these. Soon after our return from Llandovery, a number of gentlemen met at my house, to consult as to the best means of providing for the children of the town, on the anticipated breaking up of our model school in December. That was the avowed, and as I solemnly believe the real and bona fide object of the meet- ing. At any rate, I can answer for myself, without a sha- dow of misgiving. What may have been the intentions of individual members, of course I know not; but of this I am perfectly sure, no other purpose than the one just stated was ever whispered in my hearing, nor had I tIle slightest sus- picion that any other purpose was cherished at the time the meeting was called.* A great variety of plans suggested themselves incidentally during the inquiry. That which most attracted our notice, and in which I fully concurred at heart, was to try for a thoroughly liberal normal school, in connexion with Government. There is plenty of room for more than one such institution in Wales. I could not ap- prove of the minutes as a whole, nor did I feel at liberty to take any prominent part in seeking to have them modified. Party-spirit ran so high, that I was anxious pur college should not be identified with one side or the other. Owing- to this, I determined to abstain as far as possible from all interference, and let things take their natural course. Again and again I disclaimed all pretensions to leadership, and positively declared that I could not, at least for the present accept any office in connexion with the movement. As a private individual, however, I was happy to promise every non-official assistance in my power; and to that promise I still keep, convinced as I am that if we set about it rightly, help may yet be obtained on terms perfectly compatible with the strictest principles of religious liberty. As to the moral right of this, I do not see how there can be a doubt. While the question of Government aid was left in abeyance, Mr. Charles of Carmarthen consented to act as our chairman; but it does not therefore follow, that he should be bound to the institution for life. As a matter of course, the adoption of new principles cancels all can- tracts formed in their absence. This is virtually admitted in your speech in September.—" This resolution would not preclude some men to go and ask for Government aid but if they do so, they must leave the building referred to in the resolution." We ask no more than what is here fairly con- ceded. Men must think and speak for themselves; and I feel sure you would bo among the last to wish to restrain them. t No one accepted more thankfully than I did the three years' experiment, or worked more zealously for its success. Bat beyond that I cannot go, without a complete re-organisation. Every day's reflection and experience only deepen my conviction of the need of a higher and more ex- tended system of agency. On no account, however, would I set myself in direct antagonism to the Swansea committee. Quite the reverse. I am well aware not a few of our comv trymen are compelled by conscience to refuse the proffered aid of the State; and for their sakes I heartily wish success to the movement. To a voluntary institution at Swansea, or anywhere else, I shall be most happy to subscribe to the full extent of my power. Nevertheless I should be exceed- ingly sorry to limit ourselves unconditionally to what I con- ceive so very inadequate a scheme. If the two parties can- not work together, by all means let them have separate es- tablishments. We do not ask the voluntaries to give up their principle. On the contrary, we rejoice in what they are doing, as providing- for a class we cannot reach. Why 0 Z3 may not the same measure be meted unto us? We do not object to Government assistance for secular education. It cannot therefore be expected that we should pledge ourselves never to receive it. I believe that, unless a fund is secured for the gratuitous support of pupils, for at least three or four years, we shall not be able to get teachers fit for the work. This, however, would entail a fearful expense on our churches, while perhaps the sums required to meet it might be more profitably spent on objects purely religious. Above all, I dread the danger of making our schools too strictly ecclesi- astical, so as to frustrate their very purpose, and thereby give the enemy to triumph. Your second question is as follows Are you the champion backed by a number of respectable ministers,' whom Dr. Campbell threatened us with in the Banner some time ago ?" To this I distinctly answer, NO! That feat was not for my pen. I now come to the last.—" Are you engaged now in ma- turing a plan to obtain a normal school in connexion with the Government ? And in thwarting the measures pursued by the executive committee at Swansea ?" This too, I be- lieve, might.safely be answered in the negative. But lest I should be misunderstood, a few words are necessary in ex- planation. So intensely interested do I feel in the cause of Welsh education, that not a day passes without many anx- Since writing the above, I have been reminded by one of the gentlemen concerned, that the meeting was not called by me-nor even at my suggestion. I merely acquiesced, in company with others and it was held at my house simply because of our central situation. I do not know that this makes much difference, as nothing transpired of which any of us have reason to be ashamed, or which we would wish to conccal. ious thoughts and plannings on the subject; and if I happen to meet anybody who wishes to know my opinion, I never attempt to conceal it. With Government, however, I have no correspondence on the point. I am aware several parties are in treaty with them about local schools; but to the best of my knowledge, no application has yet been made to them, or is even in course of preparation, for a normal establish- ment. For the present, I imagine, that question is left alto- gether in abeyance. So also with regard to the measures pursued by the executive committee at Swansea." I am by no means engaged in endeavouring to thwart them. At the same time, let it be distinctly understood that in my private conversations, or in writing to my friends, I never hesitate to express myself freely as to the policy of their conduct. So far as the institution is intended to meet the wants of those who cannot conscientiously accept of Govern- ment assistance, I am one of its warmest and heartiest sup- porters. On the other hand, so far as it is attempted to preclude every other kind of agency, I confess it never had and never can have my sympathy. I know not whether I have been able to make myself intelligible. To my own mind the thing seems perfectly clear. I am exceedingly Z, .71 anxious for a good normal school in Wales, on the voluntary principle. Believing, however, that the work is too much for one, I should hail with delig-lit the establishment of an- other in connexion with Government, if it ean be done with- out violence to our religious convictions. Forgive, my dear sir, the freedom with which I have spoken, as I assure you nothing can be farther from my wishes than to give offence. My views may be thoroughly wrong, but at the worst they are the fruits of conscientious inquiry. I have thought so much, and read so many scores of volumes on the subject, that I really cannot forego the expression of my opinion to any who ask for it. Willingly I would not differ from you, on a matter of such moment, but in this case there is no alternative. Indeed, I am afraid I differ from many of my brethren, as to the very theory of popular education. To be in our right place is, under the Divine government, the first condition of blessing. It is therefore of utmost importance that we should clearly under- stand the nature of our work, for the moment we attempt to go beyond it we fall into danger. Let it not be forgotten, others have their mission as well as ourselves; and with their duties we should not intermeddle. Relationships cannot be delegated, nor can the obligations they involve be encroached upon with impunity. The HEAILTH and the ALTAIl are too sacred for experiments: their foundations are laid too deep in the heart, to be exchanged for conven- tional formuke. Far be it from us to seek to displace either the parent or the pastor; or in any way to neutralise their legitimate influence. We believe them to be instituted of God; and woe to him who presumes to disturb them. It is not as their rival or their substitute, but rather as their economical complement, that we acknowledge the school- master. His work is purely reversionary, that is, it begins precisely where the others end. The children are his, only so far as they are left him by their natural and religious guardians. These limits he cannot transgress, whatever his motives, without positive wrong, especially in a country where the masses are so richly blest with scriptural informa- tion. As a matter of course, the daily teacher like everybody else should prosecute his labours in a devotional spirit, and with a direct view to the glory of Christ. But we protest against, the assumption of his being- an ecclesiastical officer, or a whit more so than the parish surgeon, or the town police. As an educational committee, the dispensation under which we are placed is strictly residuary. Stated in general terms, our object should be, so to develop the faculties and feelings of the rising race, as, to have in their future history the greatest possible amount of that which constitutes the common purpose of their existence. We have, little to do immediately with the question, how to raise brilliant scholars, clever tradesmen, orthodox religion- ists, or patriotic citizens. All such specific formations of character we must leave to co-ordinate or supplemental arrangements of society. Our problem is simply this: how, without entrenching on thespecial relationships of individuals, or interfering with any existing organisations, we can best promote the cultivation of virtue—manhood in its widest sense—so as to fit our children for the multiplex require- ments of life? The despots of the continent hoped to subdue education by connecting it officially with themselves; and we see the resulf May a kind Providence forbid that a parallel should hereafter be given, in a natural reac- tion of our schools against the churches on which they depend If once you assign to the schoolmaster an ecclesi- astical character, that moment you virtually throw him into competition with the pastor, and thereby open the door to endless confusion. So high is my estimation of our minis- ters, that I should deeply deplore the recognition of a prin- y 11 ciple so thoroughly unscriptural, a:d so fraught with peril, alike to their comfort and their usefulness. 0 With regard to local committees, I am happy find they are left entirely to judge for themselves. Where it can be done effectively by voluntary subscriptions, I trust our friends will never think of applying to Government but where, on the contrary, they arc in difficulty, let them not rest until they have personally learnt from the council on what terms help may be obtained. As bearing directly on the general movement, allow me to quote the following extract from our First Annual Report:"—" In our present state of excitement, there is nothing to be more carefully guarded against than that of setting up a low standard for teachers; your committee will do their utmost to keep it high, while they earnestly entreat of all well-wishers to cooperate in the attempt. The dead weight of natural indo- lence needs not to be abetted by a false n theory. To cover the land with half-educated masters, however versed in the mere mechanical arrangements, would do no manner of good. On the contrary, it would be productive of incalculable mischief, by deceiving the parents and preventing the intro- duction of more efficient agencies. To accept at random the first person who offers his services cheaply, may seem an easy method of getting out of immediate difficulties. Nevertheless, It is sure to avenge itself, and with fearful interest. Hash engagements with incompetent parties, though meant in kindness, may blight a neighbourhood for a whole generation. Of mock schools we have already more than enough. Let not our friends be guilty of adding to the number. What we want is, honest and hearty working schools, that shall quicken the intellects, the taste, and the consciences of the people, and thereby tell effectually upon their character. It gives us much pleasure to learn that an immense number of new schoolrooms are talked of, or about to be erected in different parts of the country. This is a fact full of promise and of hope. We trust that no ill- judged economy will be allowed to abridge them of proper fittings and appendages. Vain will it be to think of keeping up with the age in the absence of class books, libraries, maps or globes, and drawing materials. Without the necessary apparatus, the best masters on earth could never do justice to themselves or the children. Let not the idea go forth that this is to be done at little cost. Money must be given, and given largely; or the whole scheme will fall to the ground, and our end be incomparably worse than the begin- ning. Not many schools' nor even I cheap schools,' but above all, 'GOOD SCHOOLS' must be our motto." To this, I shall only add a few sentences from the address of the general secretaries to the Welsh churches in 1845:— Y mae llawer dyn ieuanc yn llosgi am fedrusrwydd i addysgu plant ei wkd, heb y gobaith lleiaf am dano, oni oni roddtreftddo Jill rhacl. Beth a wnawn i'r dospartli lluosog hwn, dosparth a fydd yn lluosogi bob dydd, fel y bo gwerthfawrogrwydd dysgeidiaeth gyffrcdinol yn dyfod yn fwy amlwg, ac yn cael ei deimlo yn fwy dwys. Y mae y pwyllgor yn ei thcimlo yn ddyledswydd arbenig i alw sylw y Cymry at yr amg-ylchiad hwn, ac i geisio cu cvmhorth fel V g-ellir darparu ar eu cyfer i ryw radd yn uniongyrchol. Un peth sydd yn ddiamlieuol genym, net cheir yn ein hoes ni ddigon o athraicon, os dysgicyliwn yn unig icr'th y rhai a fedrant ymr/ymhwyso i'r stvydd ar eu traul eu hunain? I have much more to say, but I fear I have already exhausted your patience. With every sentiment of respect and esteem, and with best wishes for the prosperity of all institutions, having for their object the welfare of our beloved country-a country of which every son of Gomer may justly be proud—I beg to subscribe myself, My dear sir, Yours truly and faithfully, H. GRIFFITHS.