Symud i'r prif gynnwys

FOREWORD. WALES is a land of mountains fringing the sea and divided from the plains of middle England by the Dee and the Severn. These geographical conditions explain our past history-our isolation and distinctness. We may measure nationality by racial, economic, or political standards and find Wales come short in one test or another. But no one will deny to the Welsh people a certain community of traditions and ideas and aims which are of the very essence of nationhood. Our native language and religion have been the most powerful upholders of this common life, but just as the mountains which defended us from England divided us from ourselves, so the religion which binds us invisibly as brothers has separated us outwardly into rival sects. The result is that in many minds the sense of denominational loyalty is deeper than that of national unity. Our heroes have been preachers rather than princes or statesmen. Again, though the range of the Welsh language may not be contracting, that of English is certainly widening and our individuality is being invaded by ideas which rivers and mountains are powerless to withstand. Mightier than all in our time are the industrial energies which are transforming the face of the earth and the structure of society. Welsh nationality is being attacked in a double sense by the economic forces which are everywhere at work breaking down barriers of time and space and race and colour and by the overshadowing presence at our elbow of a social and political power, superior to us in size, in numbers, in wealth. The world is one financially. One golden river flows through all the countries of the five continents bearing in its waters a merchandise of good and evil, of new ideas and ancient institutions. Eight Great Powers sway the political destinies of the globe. A few European tongues have overspread all the conti- nents, except Asia. And in a century from now, Mr. Bryce foretells, nine tenths of the human race will be speaking less than twenty languages. Already, despite a myriad minor sects, there are practically only four great religions. And though the United States of Europe may seem far off and the Federation of the World still farther it is remarkable that every autonomous country does homage to democracy by adopting some form of representative government. The same world-waves are rolling over the small subject-races obliterating all trace of their languages, their customs and their beliefs. To an extent unknown before in the history of mankind the individual-single, separate, and solitary though he be in the centre of his personality-is to-day saturated with the interests of the whole round globe. The ark of a Cymmrodorion Society alone cannot save us from the flood. Fifty years ago the ruling ideas of alien civilisations reached our -people mainly, if not entirely, through the minds of our national leaders and thinkers. To-day the contact is direct. The English Press penetrates every morning into the re- motest corners of the land, and unfolds before the peasant the moving panorama of the world's work. In the presence of these all-pervasive influences can a small nation of two millions main- tain any semblance of its ancient self ? Can it absorb into itself the immigrants of the mining valleys and share with them its spiritual heritage ? Or must it be transformed out of recognition by its predominant neighbour ? In any case is it desirable that its identity should be preserved? These are far-reaching questions which it will be the business of this journal to discuss. For the moment let us anticipate the answer we ourselves shall give. We hold that the assertion and maintenance of our nationality is justified