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Welsh outlook


Vol. 13, No. 11 Nov. 1926

Sir Watkin Lewes, Knight, Lord Mayor of London, a well known Welshman of the eighteenth century

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apartments at the London Coffee House, one side
of which was alas-within the rules of the Fleet
Prison. His wife, the rich Dame Rebecca
Elenora Lewes, had died in 1799, but it is to be
hoped that his friends rallied round him and did
what they could to ensure his comfort.
We get one last glimpse of him from an old-
fashioned writer, who, discoursing of this same
Coffee House and its well-born lodgers, remarks
that Sir Watkin Lewes took his brandy and water
there, and he adds He drank three glasses
8 Probably the brilliant Col. Forrester of the Guards, author of The Polite Philosopher.'
Self- Respect.
By J. Alun Pugh.
FEW of us care to contemplate an unpleasant
fact that concerns us as individuals. Per-
haps most of us are already hard at work
explaining away the unpleasantness before
we have fully grasped the fact. Few likewise
care to contemplate an unpleasant fact that con-
cerns us as members of a nation and instinctively
we avoid discussing it-all of us, that is, except
a few queer fish, who appear to be only happy in
a mud-bath of unpleasantness about their own
people. We, as Welshmen, do not appear to be
facing one unpleasant fact about ourselves,
namely :­-Whereas abroad we are as a people
practically unknown, in these islands, where we
are known, we are almost universally disliked.
Exceptions of course there are, but almost invari-
ably those exceptions consist of people who have
been intimately connected with us by close friend-
ship, marriage or long residence in Welsh dis-
tricts. Perhaps the writer has been the victim
of the saddest series of coincidences that could
beset a man, but, apart from those exceptions, the
verdict of every English, Scotch and Irish being,
male and female, that he has heard, has been
simple, direct and unhesitating, the only variation
being in the strength of the verb used. It has
been either, I don't like the Welsh or I
can't stand the Welsh or I detest the Welsh.
Perhaps some outraged reader will declare in his
wrath how entirely contradictory his own experi-
ence has been, how he has found that, with a few
exceptions, Scotch, Irish and English have, on
being asked their opinion, invariably responded
either respect the Welsh or I admire the
Welsh or I love the Welsh," or even I've
never bothered my head about it one way or the
other." Anyone who has had such a delightful
experience need read no further for him there
will be no point in this article. He can be stimu-
lated, however, by the thought that, if we are not
disliked, then by all the canons of history we
oueht to be.
W)e are a conquered people. To which, of
course, the obvious answer is, What if we are?
with Forrester6 and his friend the other night.
He complains of ill-usage from the City of London
and says his Worcester Election cost him
£ 30,000."
Notwithstanding his troubles, this hardy Welsh
gentleman attained to the age of eighty-four years-
He died on the 13th of July, 1821, and it would be
interesting to know-what the writer of this article
has failed to ascertain-whether any sepulchral
slab in the City of London records his name and
the list of his numerous public activities.
It's centuries ago since we were conquered and
nobody bothers about it now. Besides, the
English were conquered in 1066." That answer
would be superficially true and fundamentally
false. It is true that nobody bothers about it;
it is true that we are free to play our part in the
drama of the great British Empire it is true
that Welshmen hold positions of trust from Pen-
maenmawr to Penang. It is equally true that
the English were conquered years and years ago
and that everybody, except the Channel Islanders,
has ceased to bother about that, too. There is
a distinction between the two cases all the same.
He would be a bold man who would trace in the
character of the modern Englishman the effects
of the Norman Conquest, but the modern Welsh-
man still exhibits in the most startling fashion
the characteristics of a conquered people. Now
one of the most curious things about the character-
istics of a conquered people is that they always
provoke feelings of dislike and contempt in the
conquerors. Not that the Englishman walks
with a jauntier step in Wales as he recalls its final
annexation by that obese megalomaniac, Henry
VIII. he is mercifully oblivious of the fact that
his country sentenced ours to a prolonged experi-
ence of moral, intellectual and spiritual Dark
Ages, from which it is still only slowly emerging.
The average Englishman's historical knowledge
of Wales consists of a belief that Edward I. rather
scored off a lot of wild and woolly savages with a
joke about a baby and that there was some sort
of a religious revival there a few years ago. The
statement that the conquering Englishman des-
pises the conquered Welshman merely means that
the English, being by history and -nature a con-
quering race (just as the Irish are similarly an
unconquerable one), instinctively feels that a race,
that is neither the one nor the other, must some-
how be inferior. It is probably therefore true
that, until those characteistics are eliminated, the
Welsh will remain, as far as these islands are
concerned, disliked, distrusted and despised.
These are the days of Y Blaid Genedlaethol and
other interesting political manifestations, but with
questions of politics this article is not concerned.
It is solely concerned with our own hearts and
hearths and the text is merely the creation of self-
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