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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 13:32 GMT
'Treacherous' Blue Books online
A section of the books - National Library of Wales
The national library is placing all 1,252 pages online
A 19th Century report that became controversial for condemning the Welsh language has been published online by the National Library of Wales.

The government report about Welsh education in 1847 was dubbed the Treachery of the Blue Books (Brad y Llyfrau Gleision).

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.

The Welsh language is particularily evasive, which originates from its having been the language of slavery
A quote from the 1847 report

Social reformers considered education as a means of dealing with social ills.

In 1847, the Government appointed R. R. W. Lingen, Jellynger C. Symons and H. R. Vaughan Johnson to undertake the inquiry and the three commissioners visited every part of Wales.

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".

He said: "There is an enormous amount of information and a lot of it is very useful and sets the scene for the period.

"It provides details of buildings and teachers, but if people are looking for juicy details they won't find many.

"Most of the details are about school buildings and teaching, but the tabloids of the day flicked through the report and focussed on the juicy bits - things haven't changed much."

'Furore and agitation'

A spokesman for the national library in Aberystwyth said it was "impossible to over emphasise" the importance of the report, because of the wealth of information contained in it.

He added: "It also contains direct comment on the religious and moral standing of the people of Wales.

"But the report is infamously remembered for the furore and agitation it caused in Wales because of the remarks of the three non-Welsh speaking Anglican commissioners regarding the Welsh language, nonconformity and the morals of the Welsh people in general".


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