Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page









LAND OF MY FATHERS. BRILLIANT SPEECH AT SWANSEA. AMERICAN CONSUL-GENERAL AND WELSH IDEAS. Proposing the toaet of the Swansea Chamlier of Commerce" a.t the annual ban- quet of this body, hold at the Hotel Metro- pole, on Saturday night, Mr. John L. Urif- fiths, Consul-Genera! in London for the United States, gave a striking speech which, &t the close, elicited prolonged cheers. Among my earliest recollections," said, is that of falling asleep to the soft crooning of a Welsh lullaby. Wales me a Land of poetry and song, of mystit and romance, passionate patriotism and tense religious fervour, of splendid heroisms and glorious martyrdoms, a land of smiling valleys, rugged mountains and wild moors, which, if they could speak in audible lan-, would tell the story of how b-Ta-ve men and heroic women through the cen- turies have preserved their love of country and their love of God. (Applause.) It is perhaps needless that I should add that Wales -9 the land of my ancestors, and when I return to it I feel that I am coming back to my own people. (Hear, hear.) Wher- ever you find a Welsh community in America -a,nd this must be true the world over- you find an intelligent, industrious, resource- ful population—a people consecrated to high purposes and who never forget in their sense of devotion to the country of their ad- option the debt they owe to the country of their birth. Fortunately, we do not judge a country by its size or population, but by its achievements, by its struggles and tri- umphs, and even by its failures, when-ever they resulted from the crushing force of overwhelming odds. (Hear, hear.) And so judged the history of Wales must be an in- spiration to her sons and daughters wher- ever they may be as they recall the great. deeds that, have been performed to keep tflf: name of Wales on the map of the world and her language on the lips of her children. The Welsh mav I)P- aiiii T know thev are. ACCUSED OF BEING NARROW AND BIGOTTED, or being emotional and fanatical, of abounding in weird fancies and strange pre- judices, of being perhaps too little inclined to respond to the gre-at rush and sweep of world-currents as they swirl by. But no one has ever accused them of being disloyal or treacherous, or being craven or cowardly. (Hear, hear.) They have won distinction on the bench, at the Bar. in the pulpit, in jour- nalism, and in statesmanship, in literature, in science and arts, in trade and commerep —you find them everywhere except in the gaols, workhouses and pllltnti.a,ries(-much laughter and applatiaol-or if you find them there they mifst have been corrupted by con- tact. (More laughter.) I want to speak to you to-night, very briefly I trust, on the mfying and civilising influence of commerce. The time ie p?st when nations can live unto themselves alone. They rejoice and sorrow together. The failure of crops in Russia or the Argentine industrial disturbances in England, France or Germany; financial dis- j quietude in London or Paris. or New York or Berlin, or Rio de Janeiro. Buenos Ayres i or St. PeJtersblLr are so far-reaching and world-embracing in their oonsequences tliat. we have realised at laet, thank God. that we CANNOT THRIVE ON THE DISASTERS ot our neoghbours. The expansion of com- merce is more responsible than any other influence for international good understand- ings. (Applause.) With ocean cables, switt transportation, and the frequent and gene- ral interchange of commoditiep. w"fh Eng- land turning to the rest of the world for her foodstuffs and the'Vest of the world turn- ing to England for Cotton and woollen manu- factures, Bor cutlery and old masters (laugh- ter)—and other things, the probability of war. it seems to me. is far more remote than in the far off time when nations were walled in and left in grim isolation, securing their commerce, as they did their territory, by conquest a.nd holding both by the sword. (Hear, hear.) That time, I am pleased to say, is so far distant that we can hardly re- call it." (Applause.) In this connection Mr. Griffiths said tSie I celebration of the centenary of peace be- tween England and America would not been possi ble but for the accomplishments of commerce, and he rejoiced that in America they rejoiced with Browning that the best is yet to be." <:nd the faith they held was not only to maintain but to exalt the ideals of democracy in the Western world. (Ap- plause.) In every department human know- ledge bad been greatly extended. The con- ditions of life compared with fifty years ago had been vastly improved, and notwith- stanclintr the LAMENTATIONS OF THE PESSIMISTS I they knew that men and women were never as pure and strong, never as unselfish and usef u l, as they were to-day, and,knowing this, they kii-ow that the would was moving for- ward more rapidly and more surely than ever in its history towards the connimma- tion of some divine purpose, the significance of which they could only comprehend. (Ap- p fa use.) He declared that England need not be depreseed at her progress, and spoke of the part the Swansea Chamber of Com- merce was taking in the deveiopmenft of the trade of the country, resuming his seat amidst loud and prolonged cheering.