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IRELAND'S EXAMPLE.

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IRELAND'S EXAMPLE. There has recently been published in Dublin a little book which, if it were not entirely in the Irish language, would thoroughly repay careful study by every Welshman. It is the Year- book of the Gaelic League, and contains, in addition to the information usually embodied in a modern almanack, a complete account of the present position and operations of the League. The account is one which ought to bring a blush of shame to the cheeks of every member of the Welsh Language Society, so paltry do the best efforts of that organisation appear when com- pared with the work of the corresponding associa- tion across St. George's Channel. Ireland's example in the field of politics may be a subject upon which Welshmen will always continue to hold differing views, but there can be no doubt that in regard to the language movement Ire- land is setting the pace for Wales and all the other Celtic people. She is giving her own language a supremacy over English, in its own country, as complete as that which the national tongues had gained over German in Bohemia and Hungary. This is being accomplished by an organisation, beside which, the Welsh Language Society, Undeb y Ddraig Goch, and all the Cymmro- dorion Societies put together, look weak and insignificant. The Gaelic League carries on its language propaganda through nearly 1,700 branches in Ireland, with hundreds more in every country where Irishmen have settled. A hundred and eleven paid teachers give up their whole time to the Irish circuits in which they travel, teaching Irish in the public schools which have not enough teachers competent to do so, in evening classes, and in the meetings of the League branches. Their very journeys, by train and car and road, are made occasions for ad- vancing the language movement in season and out. And their work is supervised and backed up by twelve superintendents and two chief- superintendents. Is there any wonder that the Dublin morning papers find it worth their while to come out with a column of Irish every morn- ing, that the streets of the city bear name- plates on which Irish and English names appear side by side, and that when the police insisted on prosecuting Dublin tradespeople for putting their names on their carts in Irish instead of English, the Dublin Corporation settled the matter by sending out one morning every vehicle it possessed, from dust-cart to electric tram, bearing its name in Irish ? If Cardiff shewed one iota of the same spirit, there would be no two opinions as to the capital of Wales. What, it may be asked, has brought about this remarkable renaissance of a language which, but a few years ago, seemed doomed to a speedy and certain death ? It is due to the fact that Ire- land has realised that a language revival is the first step, and an essential step, to a revival of national self-respect, of national religion, art, literature, music, and industry-in short, of national welfare. She has learnt the lesson taught by the Rev. S. Baring Gould, scholar and novelist, at the close of his book on Cornwall. It may seem paradoxical," says that observant Englishman, but I contend that for intellec- tual culture it is a great loss to the Cornish to have abandoned their native tongue. To be bilingual is educative to the intellect in a very marked degree. In their determination not to abandon their tongue, the Welsh show great prudei ce. I have no hesitation in saying that a Welfch peasant is much ahead intellectually of the English peasant of the same social position, and I attribute this mainly to the fact of the greater agility given to his brain in having to speak in two languages. When he gives up one of these tongues, he abandons mental gymnastics as well as the exercise of the vocal organs in two different modes of speech. By God's mercy the Welsh child is so situated that, from infancy he has to acquire simultaneously two tongues, and that in the lowest class of life and this, I contend, is an advantage of a very high order, which is not enjoyed by children of even a class above it in England." Ireland has realized that, now that a long and costly straggle is necessary to regain the ground lost by two generations of neglect. Cannot Wales learn the lesson while yet her birth-right of nationality is within her grasp, and before the treasure shall have so slipped through her fingers that long and strenuous effort is needed to recover it ?

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF NORTH…

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