Joined: 09 Feb 2007
|Posted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:02 pm Post subject: 1847 : The Treason of the Blue Books
|( I am just going to bung down some links and return to this later I think - although I might start by pointing out what a nice little pub there is in Groes Wen on the slopes of Mynydd Meio above Caerphilly, where you can sit on the bench by the front door and admire the obelisk decorated with inkwells crossed with quills which is the monument to Ieuan Mynydd, the poet and preacher who defended his nation from the allegations made on the basis of " British Values " which I am writing about at the moment on this thread - http://repwblic.informe.com/viewtopic.php?p=2486#2486 )
The Treachery of the Blue Books or Treason of the Blue Books (Welsh: Brad y Llyfrau Gleision) was the name given in Wales to the Reports of the commissioners of enquiry into the state of education in Wales published in 1847. The term Brad y Llyfrau Gleision was coined by the author Robert Jones Derfel in response to the Reports' publication.
[ There is quite a lot written there about the subject - but this is important from the point of view of the present situation created by this Coalition Government of the United Kingdom in September 2014 ]
The report was not entirely antagonistic to Welsh culture: much of the comment was compassionate and constructive. The commissioners often simply reported verbatim the prejudiced opinions of landowners and local Anglican clergy. The more bilious editorial attacks on Welsh culture mostly emanated from Commissioner Lingen. The Books remain an invaluable, although slanted, source of information on mid-19th century Welsh society.
Saunders Lewis, in Tynged yr iaith, maintained that the Blue Books were for Welsh history "the most important nineteenth-century historical documents we possess". Such a judgement also reflects the fact that the publication of the reports, and the controversy that followed, was the catalyst for a much greater level of nonconformist involvement in the politics of Wales than hitherto. Critics such as the Rev Evan Jones (Ieuan Gwynedd), Rev William Rees (Gwilym Hiraethog), Henry Richard and the Rev Thomas Price gained wide publicity for their trenchant criticisms of the reports. Over time these criticisms evolved into an organised political action, which culminated at the General Election of 1868.
Digital scans of the Blue Books are available at the National Library of Wales - http://www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=thebluebooks
" ... in March 1846, William Williams, the Member of Parliament for Coventry (but originally from Llanpumsaint in Carmarthenshire), tabled a measure before the House of Commons, calling for an inquiry into the state of education in Wales. The Government agreed the following July and R. R. W. Lingen, Jellynger C. Symons and H. R. Vaughan Johnson were appointed to undertake the inquiry. The three commissioners visited every part of Wales collecting evidence and statistics. The work was completed by 3 April 1847, and Lingen presented his report to the Government on 1 July of that year in three large volumes. ... the report caused a furore and a great deal of agitation in Wales because of the arrogant remarks of the three non-Welsh speaking Anglican commissioners regarding the Welsh language, Nonconformity and the morals of the Welsh people in general. As a result, the Report came to be known as 'Brad y Llyfrau Gleision', or 'Treachery of the Blue Books'. Professor Kenneth O. Morgan referred to the significance of the report and its consequence as 'the Glencoe and the Amritsar of Welsh history'. ...
[ ... Professor Kenneth O Morgan lacked a sense of due proportion ... ]
... One of the inevitable results of the report was its effect on the nation's mind and psyche. It was at this time that ordinary Welsh people began to believe that they could only improve themselves socially through education and the ability to speak and communicate in English. It was Samuel Smiles' philosophy that held sway education and the knowledge of English would allow the lowliest among the Welsh to improve their lot and make something of their lives. As a result of the 'Treachery of the Blue Books' the Welsh people began to harbour a complex about their image in the face of the world, and the influence of the Report has not completely waned even to this day."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/4555702.stm 'Treacherous' Blue Books online
A quote from the 1847 report " The Welsh language is particularily evasive, which originates from its having been the language of slavery "
" ... Most of the 1,252 pages discussed the state of school buildings and the standard of teaching in Wales. ... But a section focussed on the language and even sexual morality ... The report was written following a time of great social upheaval and change in Wales. ... The country had witnessed almost a decade of disturbances from the Rebecca Riots to the Chartist Riots in Llanidloes in April 1839. ... [ Uh ? And all the rest was quiet before and after ? ] ... Social reformers considered education was a means of dealing with social ills. ... Leading historian Dr John Davies described it as a "fascinating" and "landmark" document, but said it became known for its condemnation of the language and other "juicy bits".... "
" ... Although pages were filled with statistics and evidence about the awful state of education, the commissioners were also highly critical of what they saw as the poor moral and religious attitude of Welsh people, especially the women. ... Here's an extract from the books:
"They learn anything but delicacy of thought and feeling and when they grow to womanhood and marry, they know next to nothing of the management of a house. ... As wives they are most slovenly and improvinent, and as mothers, ignorant, and injudicious."
... As a result, the non-conformist minister Evan Jones founded the women's magazine, Y Gymraes. He aimed to show how wrong the accusations of the Blue books were and he produced statistics to show the number of illegitimate children in Wales was no higher than in England. ... Evan Jones tried to promote a more respectable way of life for Welsh women. Y Gymraes was full of articles on religion, marriage, and morality, as well as housekeeping and cooking advice. ... The monthly magazine came to an end after just two years because of a lack of support. ... "
" ... The public inquiry was carried out as a result of pressure from William Williams, Radical MP for Coventry, who was himself an anti-Welsh Welshman and was concerned about the state of education in Wales which he blamed on the Welsh people. He felt that the Welsh, should, "instead of appearing as a distinct people, in no respect differ from the English". His solution to the state of Wales at the time was to Anglicise Wales in terms of its language and mindset. The Welsh were at a disadvantage because of "the existence of an ancient language"!
Said the Times of London about the Welsh language:
"Its prevalence and the ignorance of English have excluded and even now exclude the Welsh people from the civilisation of their English neighbours. An Eisteddfod... is simply a foolish interference with the natural progress of civilisation and prosperity."
... Their report, published in three blue-covered volumes - the traditional colour of Britain's official Government publications ( hence the name ), concluded that the Welsh were ignorant, lazy and immoral, and that among the causes of this were the use of the Welsh language and nonconformity. In its introduction, the report says:
"The Welsh language is a vast drawback to Wales and a manifold barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of the people" !
This resulted in a furious reaction in Wales: a measure of the anger aroused by the report in Wales is the subtext of the name 'Brâd y Llyfrau Gleision'. It is a reference to the legendary "Treason of the Long Knives" with which the Saxons began their revolt against the Britons. ..."
[ Of course my compatriots are all still ignorant, unemployed and amoral - but that is the result of the incompetence and indifference of the Democrats who support the United Kingdom.]