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A NATIONAL MAGAZINE FOR THE ENGLISH SPEAKING
PARTS OF WALES.
WHILE preparing the first number of WALES during the early part of the year, I had not fully realized what a great and what an important work can be done by means of a non-political magazine. There is, undoubtedly, something like a literary awakening among
English-speaking Welshmen; there is a strong desire for a literature that will be English in language but Welsh in spirit. If this desire can be fostered and rightly led, Wales will gain much, and will be a benefactor to the English-speaking world ; a broad and a
generous sympathy will enable Welshmen of all creeds and parties to see each other's point of view; and Welshmen will become a thoughtful people, tempering their religious creeds and political opinions by a love for literature and a sound knowledge of history. The desire for knowledge is gaining strength every day; the question for us is this,-must this desire rest content with the nonsense of would-be antiquarians, with selected bits about the daily habits of a pugilist, with the enervating and unhealthy “short story," with the spirit-rapping inanities that have none of the charm of our weird old superstitions In English Wales, there is an aroused spirit crying for education. It can brutalize and weaken, it can refine and strengthen. It is asking us to-day which of the two kinds of work we wish it to do.
The absorbing question in Wales at the present time is education. The Welsh people may be divided into two classes,—those who are striving to give their countrymen the best education, and those who are striving to get it. As far as the first class is concerned, there is no great difference between English and Welsh Wales. To it belong the enlightened aristocracy and squirearchy, clergymen and ministers of religion, doctors, bankers, the leaders of the various industries, tradesmen who travel. All these know English, most of them know Welsh, all take an interest in Welsh literature. As far as my Welsh magazines are concerned, I owe much to the generous co-operation of this class ; as far as WALES is concerned, I owe everything.
The other class is composed of Welshmen who are confined by their occupations to one place, and who see little of the world,-farmers, farm labourers, quarrymen, tin-platemen, small tradesmen and artisans, colliers. As far as this class is concerned there is the greatest difference between the English and the Welsh parts of Wales. As far as culture and thoughtfulness are concerned, even in these days of rapid progress it is not too much to say that English Wales is at least half a century behind Welsh Wales. By means of CYMRU I have been in close touch with the Welsh reading public during the last three years and a half, and I find that, among Welsh working men, there is a demand for longer and more thoughtful articles than the historical and literature articles of that magazine. So, in addition to the numerous Welsh magazines already in existence, I have to edit a new quarterly, containing exhaustive articles on the latest philosophical theories, on the most recent discoveries in Egypt and Palestine, on the latest developments of political science and economics. In English Wales this thoughtful lower class is almost entirely wanting. The peasant poet, the agricultural labourer with a well-stocked ' library, the farmer who writes local history as if he had been trained in a Modern History school, the stone-breaker who knows how much Islwyn owes to Wordsworth, and Glasynys to Byron,—these are all in Welsh Wales.
One aim of WALES is to foster the literary awakening which is evidently spreading to English Wales. It is to be hoped that, some day, the Radnorshire farmer will be as fond of reading as the Lleyn farmer, the working man of the Montgomery borders will be as intelligent as the working man of Cardigan or Merioneth, that the peasant of eastern Monmouth will be as intelligent as the peasant of Arvon or the Vale of Towy. Why should the land of Henry Vaughan and George Herbert be less fond of literature than the land of Islwyn and Ceiriog ?