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LEVI, THOMAS ARTHUR (1874 - 1954), Athro cyfraith | Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig

LEVI, THOMAS ARTHUR (1874 - 1954), Athro cyfraith

Enw: Thomas Arthur Levi
Dyddiad geni: 1874
Dyddiad marw: 1954
Rhiant: Margaret Levi née Jones
Rhiant: Thomas Levi
Rhyw: Gwryw
Galwedigaeth: Athro cyfraith
Maes gweithgaredd: Addysg; Cyfraith
Awdur: Emrys Owain Roberts

g. yn Abertawe, 18 Rhag. 1874, yn fab i Thomas Levi a'i ail wraig, Margaret (g. Jones). Pan oedd y plentyn yn ddwyflwydd oed galwyd y tad i fod yn weinidog ar eglwys y Tabernacl (MC) Aberystwyth. Cafodd ei addysg yn ysgol ramadeg Ardwyn ac yn 1891 aeth i Goleg Prifysgol Cymru a chymryd arholiadau Prifysgol Llundain hyd at radd B.A., ac yn 1893 aeth i Goleg Lincoln yn Rhydychen. Enillodd wobr Carrington yn y Gyfraith yn 1897 a graddio gydag anrhydedd dosbarth cyntaf, a chymryd gradd B.C.L. gyda'r un anrhydedd yn 1900, a'r un flwyddyn ennill Tystysgrif Anrhydedd yn nosbarth cyntaf y Bar. Yr oedd yn aelod o'r Inner Temple.

Yn 1901, agorwyd Adran y Gyfraith yng Ngholeg Prifysgol Cymru yn Aberystwyth, ac ymgeisiodd Levi am swydd Athro, yn groes i gyngor ei gyn-athro yn Rhydychen, A. V. Dicey, a gredai y byddai'n gwastraffu ei ddoniau mewn swydd a lle more ddi-nod, ac yntau yn olyniaeth F. E. Smith (Arglwydd Birkenhead yn ddiweddarach) a oedd wedi graddio gyda'r un anrhydedd ddwy flynedd o'i flaen ond wedi aros yn ddarlithydd am gyfnod byr yn Rhydychen. Apwyntiwyd Levi yn Athro Cyfraith Loegr a W. Jethro Brown yn Athro Cyfraith Gyfansoddiadol a Chymharol. Yn 1906 ymadawodd Brown i ddychwelyd i Awstralia, ei wlad enedigol, a dod yn Brif Farnwr yno. Daliodd Levi ei swydd a bod yn ben ar Adran y Gyfraith nes ymddeol wedi cyfnod o 40 ml. yn 1940.

O dan ei ofal daeth yr adran yn adnabyddus mewn prifysgolion a chylchoedd cyfraith. Anelodd at dri pheth: (1) sefydlu'r adran fach a thlawd mewn cylchoedd cyhoeddus yng Nghymru, ac yn arbennig trwy ennill ewyllys da cyfreithwyr a chymdeithasau'r gyfraith. Teithiodd yn ddiflino, ond gyda llawer o fwynhad, i sôn amdani, ac i ddarlithio i glercod twrneiod a chasglu arian i'r adran, (2) argyhoeddi awdurdodau'r Brifysgol o bwysigrwydd y gyfraith fel disgyblaeth academaidd. Perswadiodd amryw o fargyfreithwyr, mewn prifysgolion enwog ac mewn bywyd cyhoeddus, i ddod i draddodi darlithiau cyhoeddus yn Aberystwyth, (3) dangos y dylai dysgu'r gyfraith mewn prifysgol fod yn rhywbeth mwy na magu cyfreithwyr bach yn cweryla ar achosion diwerth mewn ardaloedd Cymreig. Yn ei farn ef yr oedd gan yr Adran y ddyletswydd o ddysgu i efrydwyr egwyddorion gwasanaeth cyhoeddus, eu paratoi i gymryd rhan ym mywyd cymdeithas a'u hysbrydoli i fyw ar lefel uchel o ddinasyddiaeth. Bu iddo gyfaddawdu i raddau yn ei gyrsiau. Ni ddysgwyd dim am Gyfraith Rufain er ei phwysiced yn hanes cyfraith gwledydd y Gorllewin, na llawer iawn chwaith am hanes y Gyfraith yn Lloegr, ond dysgwyd cyfraith y cyfansoddiad a chyfraith ryngwladol, er efallai dreulio gormod o amser gyda materion y byddai'n well eu dysgu mewn athrofeydd proffesiynol, er mwyn gwneud argraff dda fel adran ymarferol, mae'n debyg.

Nid oedd gwaith ymchwil a chyhoeddi'n rhan o'i fywyd, er iddo gyhoeddi casgliad o ganeuon Cymru a gychwynnwyd gan ei dad, llyfryn ar y cyfle i Adran y Gyfraith, ac ysgrifau eraill, yn enwedig un werthfawr ar gyfreithiau Hywel Dda. Ei waith pwysig yn y coleg oedd dysgu, trwy ddarlithio, a hynny'n ysblennydd mewn dull dihafal. Fel darlithiwr yr oedd yn unigryw yn ei ddull o draethu, ei lais a'i arddull. Deuai efrydwyr o adrannau eraill i'w glywed a chael eu swyno gan y modd y medrai wneud y testunau mwyaf cymhleth yn syml. Gwgai ar neb a gymerai nodiadau yn ystod y traethu, rhoddai esiamplau bywiog i oleuo athrawiaethau cyfreithiol tywyll, ac ar y diwedd yr oedd pawb i gymryd nodiadau o'r pwyntiau sylfaenol. Nid oedd ganddo ef ei hun na llyfr na nodyn o'i flaen wrth ddarlithio. Tueddai i gondemnio arholiadau yn y gyfraith, er fod ganddo ddarlith ysgafn ddigrif ar sut i ennill marciau iddynt. Dywedai'r Arglwydd McNair yng Nghaergrawnt (llywydd y Llys Cyfraith Rhyngwaldol yn ddiweddarach) fod gan Levi ddawn anghredadwy i fwrw swyn dros gynulleidfa o athrawon cyfraith mwyaf dysgedig ac amheugar y prifysgolion.

Yr oedd Levi 'n ddarlithiwr cyhoeddus tra phoblogaidd, yn ddadleuwr peryglus mewn unrhyw gymdeithas ddadlau — y gallu i gael y gwrandawyr i chwerthin yn uchel am ben dadleuon ei wrthwynebwyr, ac yna'n syth yn gyrru'r siafft farwol i mewn. Cyfeillgar bob amser, hawdd mynd ato, ond yr oedd yn drwm iawn ei glyw a hynny'n rhwystro gofyn cwestiynau iddo yn ei ddarlithiau, ac yn ei gadw yn ôl rhag cymryd rhan ehangach ym mywyd cyffredinol y coleg. Ni welid ef yn y llyfrgell, ond yr oedd yn cadw yn gyfoes â'r gyfraith. Yn Rhyddfrydwr eiddgar, cymerai ran fywiog, gydag asbri, ymhob etholiad cyffredinol, a bu'n amlwg iawn yn etholiadau tanbaid Ceredigion yn y 1920au cynnar, o blaid y Rhyddfrydwyr annibynnol, ac yn erbyn carfan Lloyd George, ond nid oedd gair o wleidyddiaeth yn dod o'i enau yn ystod ei ddarlithiau, er iddo fod yn ddigon parod i siarad ar faterion gwleidyddol yn y coleg y tu allan i'w ystafell ddarlithio. Yr oedd yn barod iawn ynddynt i gondemnio dienyddiad a gwendidau'r gyfraith. Gwahoddwyd ef i fod yn ymgeisydd Rhyddfrydol dros Geredigion a nifer o etholaethau yn y De, ond eu gwrthod a wnaeth bob tro.

Ni phriododd erioed er fod llawer o sôn am ei hoffter o'r rhyw arall a llawer ohonynt yn hoff ohono ef, ond ni fu erioed awgrym o ensyniadau amheus. Bu'n flaenor parchus yn eglwys y Tabernacl (MC) o'r flwyddyn 1908. Ei gamp fawr oedd sefydlu Adran y Gyfraith yn Aberystwyth, a chodi golygon y miloedd o efrydwyr o bob rhan o Gymru a gwledydd eraill a ddaeth i Aberystwyth, nes bod yr Adran hon mor uchel ei pharch yn y byd academig ag unrhyw adran arall yn y Brifysgol. Ni chafodd unrhyw anrhydeddau i gydnabod ei gyfraniad ond erys y cof amdano gyda pharch a hoffter ymhlith y rhai a fu'n efrydwyr dan ei ofal dros y byd i gyd ymhob cylch o fywyd.

Bu f. yn Aberystwyth nos Sul 24 Ion. 1954 a chladdwyd ef ym mynwent y dref.

Ymhlith ei ychydig gyhoeddiadau y mae Casgliad o ganeuon Cymru (1896); The opportunity of a new Faculty of Law (darlith agoriadol) (1901); Apêl at ddirwestwyr (1916); Legal education in Wales (1916); ‘The Laws of Hywel Dda in the light of Roman and Early English Law’, Aberystwyth Studies (1928); ‘The Law Department, University College of Wales’ yn The College by the Sea (gol. Iwan Morgan) (1928); a The Story of Public Administration and Social Service. Suggestions for the formation of a school of public administration and social service in connection with the University of Wales.

Awdur

Dyddiad cyhoeddi: 1997

Hawlfraint Erthygl: