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THE ACT OF UNION. The Act of Union between England and Wales was the title of an interesting and learned paper read before the Cymmrodorion Society, at Chancery Lane, on Friday, May 8th, by Mr. W. Llewelyn Williams, M P. Mr. Herbert Lewis presided, and, in introducing the lecturer, remarked, We are always delighted to see Mr. Williams in the House of Commons, yet, I am almost tempted to say that I am more delighted to see and hear him at the Cymmrodorion Society. Is it not a fact that we Welshmen are longing for a man who can portray to other nations the charm and characteristics of the old country—the Wales of long ago —of legend and of song ? We know but little of it, but the charming glimpses we have had, from time to time, by Mr. Williams at these gatherings make us yearn for more." He trusted that he would be able to do for Wales what Scott had done for Scotland and that, when he retired on his old age pension, he would be able to devote his later years to the enrichment of our literature and historical research. Mr. Williams said it was hardly correct to describe the Act of Henry VIIL, which was passed in 1535, as an Act of Union. It was rather an incorporation of Wales in England. The change effected by the Act was the most silent of all revolutions. Glyndwr's rebellion showed the Lancastrians the in advisability of entrusting the Welshmen of that time with the power of a representative govern- ment but there was a record that, in the year 1322, twenty-four representatives from North Wales, and six from South Wales, had been summoned to Parliament. Great though the defects of the statute were, it conferred great benefits upon the Welsh people. It extended the English laws to Wales, and stated that justice should be administered in the law courts. English was made com- pulsory in the Welsh law courts under George III. It might be true that the Welsh did not fully understand the English land system of the day, and the creation of a landless peasantry caused a difficulty. But, for the first time, the Welsh were treated upon an equality with the English. Before that time Wales was the most lawless part of the United Kingdom. It should be remem- bered, however, that before that time there was no local administration of justice in Wales, except by the lords marchers; and the Bishop of Lichfield was constantly complain- ing that the Welsh squires kept open houses for thieves. Entrusting the people with the power of trial by jury was justified, as it effected a miraculous change in the country, and 40 years later Dr. Powell spoke with wonder about that change. While the country was but small, it produced a large number of great men, who, however, were limited in their opportunities. The Act led to a recrudescence of the Cymric spirit, which was the most abiding feature of Welsh civil life to-day. Dr. Henry Owen said that, speaking on behalf of Henry VIII., who was said to have invented modern Wales (laughter) that Monarch did the best he could. All that many people knew of him was that he was married a great deal—(laughter)—but he was no dummy as a Monarch, and they should remember that his father was born in Pem- broke, which was so much to his credit (laughter). Reference was made to the rough characters that the lords marchers harboured, but he thought that in those days the duty of one lord marcher was considered to be to have a quarrel with the next lord marcher (laughter). Therefore, those ruffians were sometimes very useful (laughter). The lecture was further commented upon by Mr. Ernest Rhys, Rev. H. Elvet Lewis, Sir John Williams, Mr. Herbert Roberts, M.P., Rev. D. Lewis, Mr. Jenkin Thomas, Mr. T. H. W. Idris, M.P., Mr. J. T. Lewis, and Mr. T. H. Davies. The Chairman, replying to a vote of thanks, referred to the education movement in Wales. He hoped to heaven that before much longer, in the interests of Wales, they would have an elementary system of education in which all could work together hand in hand and heart to heart.


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