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CYMRU FYDD. History of the first Welsh National Movement." by William George. Gwasg y Brython, 3/- The short but complex annals of the Cymru Fydd movement in the 90's have yet to be told. The history can still arouse lively controversy, the more interesting since it involves nearly all the Welsh political leaders of that generation. Here is a movement which appeared to capture Wales and to promise her a splendid future. Yet the rapidity of its rise was surpassed only by the swiftness of its fall. Mr. William George's essay is the more valuable since it is the work of one who not only lived through the period, but was both active in the movement and in close contact with its leading figures. Even he is unable to clear the obscurity in which the movement was born, although we are told that the first branch was formed in London in 1888, and that there was already in existence a magazine bearing the name Cymru Fydd." This name is said to have been the suggestion of Ellis Edwards of Bala, who perhaps had it from the verse of R. J. Derfel. In 1894 the movement seems to have been transformed. Something happened not only to invigorate it, but radically to change its method. The cause of that something was the personality of Lloyd George. At the end of 1894, Mr. William George tells us, the movement was put on its feet in a national Conference which united the North and South Wales Liberal Federations. Henceforth a united Cymru Fydd movement was to speak for Wales. In June, 1895, the first Conference of the new united movement was held. Within seven months another Conference of the South Wales Liberal Federation at Newport dealt it the blow from which it never recovered. An attempt at revival in 1898 was only ostensibly successful. In the meantime it had established hundreds of local societies throughout Wales and had appointed a salaried executive; in 1895 over 10,000 subscriptions were received in South Wales alone. This unity and enthusiasm was based on a Five-point political programme for Wales; disestablishment, land law. reform, tithe nationalisation, intermediate education and self-government. But it was emphasised that the movement was quite as much concerned with fostering Welsh cultural life as with furthering its politics. The astonishing response which was awakened showed Wales to be ripe for a movement which, placing nation above Party, stood for a United Wales." Cymru Fydd was the high-water mark of the tide of Welsh nationalism which had risen steadily since the Betrayal of the Blue Books. Wales was Liberal in politics, but its Liberalism was really, to invert Llewelyn Williams' epigram, Welsh nationalism in English dress. Its young leaders, Lloyd George and Tom Ellis, with a more brilliant galaxy about them in Parliament than Wales had ever before or has ever since been seen there, were nationalists. Yet the movement failed. Llewelyn Williams had already, a year before the the fatal Newport meeting, sounded a warning note in Young Wales." The very rapidity and completeness with which the success was won (the "uniting of the N. and S. Federations) makes me instinctively distrust its reality and permanence." Had the leaders hastened more slowly the outcome might have been happier. What caused the collapse ? Mr. William George attributes the responsibility to the South Wales Liberal Federation in general and to D. A. Thomas (afterwards Lord Rhondda) in particular. There can be no doubt about the clash of personalities, but was there a cleavage on an issue of principle ? If the attitude of the S.W.L.F. was the obstacle, we must ask what lay behind the obstruction. There were leaders of Cymru Fydd who contended that its purpose was to supple- ment rather than supplant the Federations. That may have been the intention of D. A. Thomas when he supported the movement, but it was not the view of Hugh Edwards, editor of Young Wales, who says of Lloyd George, that Having failed to unite the North and South Liberal Federations, he resolved on the creation of a new organisation which would be based on the national unity of Wales-Cymru Fydd." The Secretary of Cymru Fydd, Beriah Gwynfe Evans, goes even further: