Welsh Journals

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WALES. c> *i • 'Hi Vol. I] MAY, 1894. INTRODUCTION [No. 1. ERHAPS, in introducing this new magazine to Welshmen, I should say a word or two about my aims in connection with it, and about the meth¬ od I mean to take in order to attain those aims. Some two or three years ago I offered to the Welsh -speaking public a magazine that was neither sectarian nor politic¬ al. It dealt exclusively with the history and literature of Wales, its aim was to enlighten patriotism and to strengthen that keen desire for knowledge which is characteristic,—with gladness be it said,—of the poorest Welshman of this day. My good cautious friends gave me much advice at that time, which did much to dis¬ courage me. " You cannot edit a maga¬ zine," said one, " to please more than one sect at a time; for there are three things unfathomable in that country,—sectarian bigotry, political animosity, and Bala Lake." " Not the waste-paper baskets of all the world," another friend said, " will con¬ tain the rubbish those bards will send you." "Who in his senses," asked one who had spent years at a Welsh grammar school, " would believe that a Welsh peasant cares anything about the love songs of Dafydd ab Gwilym or about the ideals of Owen Glen- dower ?" " You are a happy man now," was the parting advice of the wisest of them, " but once you throw yourself into an attempt to get those Welsh to take an interest in anything save politics and the¬ ology, you will be happy no more." The magazine appeared, however, and it was with difficulty that the publisher could meet the demand for it, a demand that is increasing up to this day. The quarrymen of North Wales welcomed it with enthusiasm, the tin-plate workers of South Wales gave it an equally cordial reception, and no thoughtful publication ever appealed for support in vain to the upland farmers of Merioneth and Cardigan. A short time ago the printer furnished me with a list of the classes of people who read the maga¬ zine. First came the quarrymen of North Wales, especially of Festiniog and Beth- esda; then came the farmers and agricul¬ tural labourers of Anglesey, Carnarvon, Merioneth, and Cardigan; then the tin- plate men of Glamorgan and Carmarthen¬ shire ; these were closely followed by the Welsh inhabitants of Liverpool and London, closely followed in their turn by the col¬ liers of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorgan, and Monmouthshire. It should be remember¬ ed that sixpence a month was a serious item of expenditure to these readers, especially when it is remembered that the magazine had nothing to do with their daily bread, their place of worship, or their representa¬ tion in Parliament. I had always believed that the Welsh peasant was fond of literature and history, —I knew peasant farmers and agricultural labourers who had read through the ten volumes of the Encyclopedia Cambrensis. But I did not know that this love of know¬ ledge was so deep or so universal until, by means of my Welsh magazine, I was the humble means, to some extent, of guiding their studios. Among those who write the most thoughtful articles for me are quarry-