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Full text of "A Welsh family from the beginning of the 18th century"

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A WELSH FAMILY 



A WELSH FAMILY 

FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE 
18th CENTURY 



Those that he loved so long and sees no more 
Loved and still loves — not dead but gone before 
He gathers round him." 

Rogers. 



LONDON 

WOMEN'S PRINTING SOCIETY LIMITED 

66 WHITCOMB STREET W.C. 

1893 




\ U'-^^ri^-- » 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. 

I HAVE endeavoured to let the Welsh Family speak for 
themselves. Their history is told in the letters of three 
generations. The earlier of them record only the most 
important events, whether of joy or sorrow ; but they 
are full of revelations of character. Free use has been 
made of the series of letters written by Mr. George 
Cadogan Morgan to his wife, during his travels on the 
Continent in 1789, and some extracts have been made 
from his lectures on electricity, published in 1794. 
These are now forgotten, but they contain forecasts of 
the future of that science which are worth preserving. 
In consequence of the connection between the family of 
Mr. Samuel Rogers and the Morgans, the latter possess 
a MS. which was found among the poet's papers, and 
which refers to Dr. Price. It must have been written 
soon after the doctor's death, and contains notes for a 
biography of him. The tribute paid by the young man 
to his old friend, so full of appreciation for his character, 
does honour to both, and the chief part of it has been 
quoted in these pages. 

CAROLINE E. WILLIAMS. 



4, VICARAGE GATE, 

KENSINGTON. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



I HAVE been able to make some additions and correc- 
tions to the history of the Welsh Family. For the 
account of the district of Llangynwyd, from which they 
sprang, I am indebted to a very interesting work 
written by Mr. Evans of Llangynwyd, to whom my 
warm thanks are due. His history of Llangynwyd is 
rich in carefully collected facts which throw great light 
on the material and moral development of the people of 
that part of South Wales. I am indebted to Mr. 
Evans also for the introduction to Mr. Thomas of 
Cardiff, the accomplished artist, who has made the 
sketch of the old house at Tynton for me. It is a 
faithful representation of it in its present somewhat 
depressed condition, shorn of its wing, and deprived of 
some of its windows. The beauty of the situation in 
which it stands is clearly indicated. My cousin, George 
Ashburner (a great-grandson of George Cadogan 
Morgan) has converted some rough sketches made by 
me very long ago, into the drawings of LlandafF Cathe- 
dral and the old house at Bridgend, which are repro- 
duced in this book. 



A WELSH FAMILY 

CHAPTER L 

LLANGYNWYD. 

*'yr hen wlad ein tadau." 
the old land of our fathers. 

T T P WARDS of two hundred years ago, 
^^ Tynton was the residence of the Prices, 
a Welsh family long settled in the parish of 
Llangynwyd, a wild, mountainous part of 
Glamorganshire of considerable extent — eight 
miles long by three miles wide. Its valleys, 
through which several streams flowed to the 
sea, were hidden behind barren hills, the 
mineral wealth of which was then unsus- 
pected. No part of the United Kingdom has 
made such rapid progress or has undergone 
such a wonderful transformation as Glamor- 
ganshire within the last hundred years, up to 
which time Llangynwyd preserved all the 
characteristics of a primitive Welsh commu- 
nity. Within its bounds it presented an epitome 



10 A WELSH FAMILY. 

of Welsh history, full of memorials of the 
conquering races who had succeeded each 
other in the country, and of the fierce struggles 
by which their incursions had been resisted. 
Welsh names in that neighbourhood preserve 
the record of combats, battle cries, and 
encampments — the huge mysterious mound, 
the " Twmpath," behind Margam, and the 
lettered stone close by, are relics of this early 
period. The Romans left their traces in the 
remains of the great road that led across the 
hills to Brecon. The name of the district, 
Llangynwyd, tells of Saint Gynwyd, one of 
the earliest British converts to Christianity, — 
the names of numerous feudal castles date 
from the time of the Normans, when Llan- 
gynw^^d was part of the extensive possessions 
of a Norman Lord, and was called Tir Jarll(the 
land of the Earl). Later on, fine estates like 
that of Margam were carved out of monasteries 
and religious houses when Henry VI IL and 
his successors established the supremacy of 
the English Church, and appropriated to the 
parochial great tithes, funds formerly belonging 
to the Abbey of the Blessed Virgin at Margam. 
Midst all these changes the inhabitants 
of Llangynwyd retained the marked features 



LLANGYNWYD. ii 

of the national character : a love of liberty, 
which their long struggles had only confirmed, 
an impatience of any attempt to fetter their 
freedom of conscience, and a pride of pedigree 
which, while it encouraged a belief in their own 
pre-eminence as Welshmen, fostered a feeling 
of kinship among themselves. All the inhabi- 
tants of Llangynwyd may be said to have 
been connected by some tie of relationship. 
No man so humble but some strain of distinc- 
tion may have ennobled him. If not descended 
from a prince, the blood of a bard might flow 
in his veins, for Llangynwyd had been a great 
bardic seat, and still boasted the possession of 
the bardic spirit among the natives. The 
diffusion of a wide-spread taste for poetical 
efforts and for the display of ready wit and 
happy impromptu (Barod Awen), had a refin- 
ing influence in the days when popular educa- 
tion was not thought of, and when even people 
of condition were deficient in the very elements 
of knowledge. Women shared this inspiration, 
as is shown by the story of the poetesses of 
Tytalwyn, one of whom imposed upon her 
lover as a condition of her favour, the task of 
composing a poem giving the names of all the 
rivers of Glamorganshire and of their fountain 



12 A WELSH FAMILY. 

heads, a stanza of which is still preserved. 
Admiration for poetic gifts had much to do with 
the romantic story of the Maid of Cefn Ydfa. 
Her mother (a daughter of the Prices of Tynton 
and a sister of Rice Price) had married Mr. 
Thomas of Cefn Ydfa, and had soon been left 
a widow with an only child, a daughter, who 
grew up a beauty and an heiress. Mrs. Thomas 
destined her to be the wife of Anthony Mad- 
dock, the son of a wealthy neighbour. The 
beautiful girl was brought up in great seclusion, 
and it never occurred to the mother that her 
heart might be pre-engaged. She had, however, 
lost it to a young neighbour, the son of a 
tenant farmer in the neighbourhood, in a posi- 
tion inferior to their own, but endowed with 
good looks and talent. It is said he was de- 
scended from a famous Welsh bard, Hopkin 
Ap Einon Prent, of Llangrfelach ; and it is 
certain that Will Hopkins possessed consider- 
able poetic talent, and was famous for his 
ready wit and for his success in the impromptu 
efforts which were the delight of his contem- 
poraries. Some of the charming poems with 
which he won the affection of Anne Thomas 
are still in existence. It is said they were 
often left for her in a hollow tree in the woods 



LLANGYNWYD. 13 

of Cefn Ydfa, where the lovers met. When the 
affair was discovered Mrs. Thomas took strong 
measures to put an end to it, and after a pain- 
ful struggle she carried out her plan for her 
daughter's marriage to Mr. Maddock. It 
ended in misery. The poor young woman 
pined till her health and mind gave way, and 
within two years of her marriage (after giving 
birth to a daughter, who soon died) her own 
death occurred. In her delirium she is said 
to have called so piteously for Will Hopkins 
that he was sent for, and tradition adds that 
he arrived just in time for her to recognise 
him and die in his arms. The Cefn Ydfa 
property ultimately went to the Mackworths, 
the descendants of Anthony Maddock by his 
second wife, and years afterwards Cefn Ydfa 
was the residence of Sir Digby Mackworth. 

WELSH SONG COMPOSED BY WILL HOPKINS 

TRANSLATED BY MRS. PENDRIL LLEWELYN. 

" A simple youthful swain am I, 

Who loves at fancy's pleasure, 
I fondly watch the blooming wheat, 

Another reaps the treasure. 
Oh wherefore still despise my suit. 

Why pining keep thy lover ? 
For some new charm, thou matchless fair, 

I day by day discover. 



14 A WELSH FAMILY. 

*• Each day reveals some new-born grace, 

Or does fond faith deceive me ? 
In love to Him Who formed thy face, 

With pity now receive me. 
O raise thine eyes, one look bestow, 

Yield, yield thine hand, my fairest, 
For in thy bosom, witching maid, 

My heart's sole key thou bearest." 



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15 



CHAPTER II. 
RICE PRICE. 

NID GWIR GWIR HEB EI GANLYN. 
TRUTH IS NOT TRUTH UNLESS WE FOLLOW IT. 

In the latter half of the seventeenth century 
Rice Price was born at Tynton. Not long 
before his birth an edict of Charles II. had 
thrown Llangynwyd into great excitement. 
The attempt to interfere with liberty of con- 
science by the " Act of Uniformity " largely 
contributed to the spread of dissent in Wales, 
and roused great indignation at Llangynwyd, 
the vicar of the parish, the Rev. Samuel Jones, 
being one of the ejected ministers. " There 
are no two Welshmen of one way of thinking," 
says the Welsh proverb. '* Does dim dau 
Cymro o i un meddeol." Many of the principal 
parishioners, such as the Thomases of Cefn 
Ydfa and the Prices of Tynton, followed their 
beloved pastor literally into the wilderness, for 
he was compelled to conduct his religious 
services in barns and cowsheds. He removed 
from the Vicarage to Brynllywrach, a large farm- 



i6 A WELSH FAMILY. 

house on the banks of the Llyfnwy, which 
remains much the same as when he Hved there, 
with its massive woodwork of Welsh oak, and 
its green lawn, from which a charming view is 
obtained. Here, to eke out his subsistence, he 
started a school, at which he undertook the 
training of the youth of the neighbourhood. 
His pupils were sons of some of the principal* 
families — a Mansel from Margam, and the two 
Prices of Tynton among the number. When 
a few years later, in 1672, the severity of this 
Act of Charles H. was relaxed, two chapels 
were built for the ejected minister, one at 
Bridgend, the other at Bettws, and for their 
endowment a farm was set aside by the Prices, 
and money was subscribed by other supporters, 
among whom was Sir Humphry Edwin, the 
Nonconformist Lord Mayor of London, whose 
representative in Glamorganshire is the Earl 
of Dunraven. 

The teaching and example of the Rev. 
Samuel Jones sank so deeply into the hearts 
of the two young Prices, that they both 
became ministers of religion. Rice, the elder, 
gave his services to the congregations at Brid- 
gend and at Bettws, which his family had 
helped to found and support. Samuel went to 



RICE PRICE. 17 

London and became the co-pastor of Dr. 
Watts. Rice Price, as eldest son, eventually 
inherited the small family estate, and combined 
the management of it with the discharge of his 
ministerial duties. He was evidently a keen 
man of business, for he contrived to amass a 
fortune, very considerable for those days, 
which he increased by his first marriage with 
Miss Gibbon, who was said to have been 
not only rich, but saving to the verge of 
eccentricity. 

No mercenary considerations influenced him 
in his choice of a second wife. His son and 
daughter were grown up when he was left a 
widower. Catherine Richards, whom he then 
married, was the youngest of the three hand- 
some daughters of Dr. Richards, a much 
respected doctor at Bridgend. She had no 
fortune, but is said to have been a very 
beautiful and delightful woman. Her step- 
children soon afterwards married. John Price, 
the son, married an heiress, Catherine Williams, 
who by her relationship with the Powells, was 
connected with Llangynwyd ; through her he 
came into possession of Park, a property in the 
eastern part of the county where he afterwards 
resided. Mary, Mr. Price's eldest daughter, 



i8 A WELSH FAMILY. 

became the wife of Walter Coffin, a Somerset- 
shire gentleman, who had a good property at 
Selworthy, near the town of Porlock, on that 
part of the English coast opposite to the sea 
shore near Bridgend. 

The county of Glamogan stretches for forty 
miles along the Bristol Channel, and at the 
middle of it the Ogmore River (upon which 
Bridgend is built) runs into the sea. In those 
days, when no high road passed through the 
town, the sea was the best means of commu- 
nication with the outer world. A fair was 
held once a year at the mouth of the Ogmore 
on the plain beneath the picturesque Ogmore 
Castle (the ruins of which still remain), and 
some intercourse was kept up between the 
English and Welsh counties on either side 
of the Channel. Mr. Coffin probably made 
the acquaintance of Mary Price on one of 
his expeditions to the Glamorganshire coast. 
The marriage took place at Bristol, 1729, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Coffin went home to 
Selworthy. 

Ten years after this Mr. Price died very 
suddenly at Tynton, leaving a son and two 
daughters by his second marriage. His son 
Richard was only sixteen, and at the time of 



RICE PRICE. 19 

his father's death was with a tutor at Talgarth, 
in Breconshire. His father had intended him 
to be a merchant, but he had very early shown 
a studious disposition, which had been encour- 
aged by the education he had received. The 
theological enquiries into which he had also 
entered had led him in a direction unsatisfac- 
tory to his father, and the last time they were 
together Rice Price, finding his son reading a 
volume of sermons by Dr. Samuel Clark, the 
famous heretical Court chaplain to Queen 
Caroline, the wife of George II., was so dis- 
pleased that he took the book out of the boy's 
hand and flung it into the fire. Mr. Price had ' 
always expressed his intention of leaving the 
property he had acquired by his marriage with 
Miss Gibbon to her children ; but it was found 
that he had also left the bulk of his own fortune 
to his eldest son, and that his widow and 
younger children had a very slender provision. 
Mrs. Price was obliged to quit Tynton and 
take up her abode in an old house at Bridgend 
on the banks of the river. Four hundred 
pounds was left to his son Richard, but this he 
insisted on dividing between his two sisters. 
It was very difficult for him to continue his 
studies for one year more at Talgarth, cheap 



\ 



20 A WELSH FAMILY. 

as was the education he received there. There 
is a tradition that he was boarded and edu- 
cated for ^5 a year. More than once he walked 
over the mountains that separate Breconshire 
from Glamorganshire to see his mother, once 
making the journey when it was very perilous, 
over roads covered with deep snow in the 
severe winter of 1740. His mother was then 
very ill. She only survived her husband one 
year, during which she bore the hardships 
imposed upon her with a patience and sweet- 
ness that made a deep impression on her son. 
His grief at her loss confirmed him in his 
serious turn of mind and inclined him to enter 
the ministry. After his mother's death he 
resolved to go for advice and assistance to his 
uncle, Mr. Samuel Price, who was settled in 
London as co-pastor to the celebrated Dr. 
Watts. The journey to London from South 
Wales was then a very formidable undertaking, 
and under the most favourable circumstances 
took a long time to accomplish. It was on this 
occasion that for the first and last time his 
eldest brother, Mr. John Price, came to his 
aid by the loan of a horse to ride as far as 
Cardiff" in the year 1741. " Dick," said this 
gentleman, "your situation gives you some 



RICE PRICE. 21 

claim to my assistance ; my horse is at your 
service for the first twenty miles of your 
journey." From Cardiff Richard proceeded 
as best he could on foot, sometimes getting a 
lift in a passing waggon, and once being taken 
a stage on his way in the carriage of a lady 
who observed the weary youth toiling along the 
road. 

When he reached London his uncle got 
him admitted as a student to the Hoxton 
Academy, where he attended the lectures 
delivered by Mr. Coward in Moorfields, and 
he also enabled him to take a humble lodging 
in Pudding Lane, near the Monument, where 
he lived over a barber's shop. The thick air 
of the city was very trying to the country 
youth, and before a year was over he was forced 
to go back to Bridgend to stay with his sister 
till he recovered. He had worked well at his 
studies, but though his theological education 
was conducted by very orthodox teachers, he 
continued to arrive at conclusions which were 
not more pleasing to his uncle than they had 
been to his father. He already showed a taste 
for scientific pursuits, and made such progress 
that a present often pounds for the purchase of 
a pair of globes was made to him by a gentleman 



22 A WELSH FAMILY. 

who was interested in him. It was the first 
time in his Hfe that he had been the master of 
that sum, but he sent it immediately to his 
sisters — who still managed to live in the 
house at Bridgend in which their mother had 
died. 




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23 



CHAPTER III. 

WILLIAM MORGAN OF TYL YR 
COCH. 

CAR CYWIR YN YR ING AI GWELIR. 
THE TRUE FRIEND IS SEEN IN ADVERSITY. 

Sally Price, the elder of Richard Price's two 
sisters, was not nineteen when her mother 
died. The house in which her sister and her- 
self lived was damp, and a low fever attacked 
them both, caused probably as much by the 
privations to which they were exposed as by 
the unhealthiness of the situation. It was 
during this illness that Mr. William Morgan 
of Tyl yr Coch proved himself such a good 
friend to them. This gentleman had succeeded 
Dr. Richards, their grandfather, as a doctor at 
Bridgend. He possessed land in the neigh- 
bourhood and had inherited Tyl y Coch by 
female descent from the Cadogans, who had 
once ruled over the whole valley of the Rhon- 
dda, at the head of which that property lies. It 
was one of his ancestors who had defended 
the bridge over the Ystrad river against the 
foe that menaced the valley : single-handed he 



24 A WELSH FAMILY. 

encountered them, and after three hundred of 
the invaders had been laid low, he called out 
to his followers, "Sharpen my Axe," the 
motto of the family, and the war cry of the 
Rhondda. 

Surnames were for a long time not fixed in 
Wales. William and his brother John retained 
their father's surname. Their forefathers had 
been merely known as the sons of Gwyllim or 
Cadogan, or Morgan. Their father, Mr. 
Morgan of Parquilt, had given his two sons 
an excellent education. John died early, but 
his brother William used to say he was as good 
a classical scholar as himself, and he was a 
very good one. It required a better education 
than was usual in those days to become a mem- 
ber of either of the learned professions. Mr. 
Morgan was a widower without children and 
lived in a good house in the higher part of 
Bridgend. It was said to occupy the site of 
one of the castles from which two parts of the 
town are named — Newcastle and Oldcastle. 
Very slight traces of either ruin remained even 
then, but the walls of Mr. Morgan's house at 
Newcastle were said to have once formed part 
of the ancient castle. Sally Price and her 
sister owed their recovery from the low fever 



WILLIAM MORGAN. 25 

to Mr. Morgan's treatment — the secret of 
which, it is said, consisted in the prescription 
of a generous diet, which he contrived to 
supply from his own table. It ended in his 
falling in love with his elder patient, who was 
as handsome as she was clever. He won her 
heart in return, for though he was a good deal 
older than she was, he had all the qualities 
that inspire affection, and though not rich, he 
was one of the best known and most univer- 
sally respected men in the county, and was 
connected with many of the principal families. 
He was not only the chief doctor in the town, 
but from one side of Glamorganshire to the 
other his professional services were in request. 
His company, too, was hailed with delight at 
the country houses of his patients, for he was 
not merely superior in learning to the country 
squires of those days, but possessed a sprightly 
wit and much shrewd commonsense. He 
made regular progresses from one country seat 
to another, riding everywhere with his phar- 
macopoeia in his saddle-bags, and dispensing 
his medicines to gentle and simple from the 
still room of his hosts. 

Dulness reigned in the country houses. 
The men spent their lives in field sports, 



26 A WELSH FAMILY. 

and were often given up to coarse indul- 
gence when indoors. In the towns, if there 
was a little more life, it was caused by 
the circulation of the most trifling and un- 
charitable gossip. The very fact of belonging 
to a profession which had for its object the 
alleviation of human suffering tended to raise 
the character above this low level. Mr. 
Morgan seems to have been singularly free 
from the littleness and meanness of his time 
and neighbourhood. He had much of the 
spirit that had distinguished an ancestress of 
his, Gladys Gwyllim, whose epitaph remains in 
Coity Church, near Bridgend . — 

" Courteous reader, stop and see 
The resting-place of charity, 
And learn from her who lies below 
Thy riches wisely to bestow. 
She fed the hungry, clothed the poor, 
Nor turned the stranger from her door ; 
She served her God and neighbour too, 
These things she did, so shouldst thou do," 

It was on the 7th December, 1744, that 
Sally Price rode from Bridgend to Llandaff to 
be married to William Morgan in the old 
Cathedral, where a register of the event is to 
be found. They rode back the same day 
to their house on Newcastle Hill at Bridgend, 
the bride on a pillion behind her husband. 



WILLIAM MORGAN. 27 

For many years the Morgans led a very busy 
and happy life. Seven children were born to 
them, three sons and four daughters. Mrs. 
Morgan's younger sister Elizabeth married 
about the same time, and after living for a few 
years in a neighbouring town, was left a widow 
with her little girls, and returned with them 
to Bridgend, where she married a second time, 
and is better known as Mrs. Flew. The 
eldest brother, Mr. John Price, meanwhile 
was justifying his father's choice of him as an 
heir by accumulating wealth and attaining a 
dignified position in the county. He lived at 
Park, and some intercourse was kept up be- 
tween the Morgans and himself. Mr. Morgan 
occasionally stayed with his brother-in-law on 
his way to Cardiff and the eastern part of the 
county. Mr. Price and Mr. Morgan had, 
however, very little in common. The latter 
was remarkable for his indifference to money 
and for his scorn for meanness, while the 
former could not help giving proofs of a very 
different disposition. There were transactions 
between them about a small property called 
Parquilt, which made Mr. Morgan once say : 
" I am ashamed to reflect that brother John 
has so long professed the Christian religion 



28 A WELSH FAMILY. 

attended with so little Christian charity." 
Mr. Morgan was not a wealthy man. His 
estate in the hills, which afterwards proved rich 
in minerals, then brought him in a very small 
income, and he was not the man to make 
money out of his patients. Long afterwards 
his eldest son used to say, "What a fortune 
my father would have made if he had charged 
for his physic what doctors do now." Mr. 
Morgan had in truth an uncommonly indepen- 
dent spirit. His son always remembered one 
instance of his disinterested behaviour. " If 
my father had not been an honest man," he 
would say, "the prettiest place near Bridgend 
might have been mine." 

The Squire, who was then owner of Merthyr 
Mawr, was very fond of Mr. Morgan, and dis- 
liked his next heir. "I shall leave my estate 
to your son," he said. " You shall do no such 
thing," the Doctor replied, "for you have a 
nephew of your own," and he would not hear 
of the arrangement. We owe any knowledge 
we have of this family party in Glamorganshire 
to the close tie that united Mrs. Morgan and 
her husband to her brother, Richard Price, 
and the letters that passed between them bring 
all the members of it before us. 



29 



CHAPTER IV. 
RICHARD PRICE. 

GOREU DEFAWD DAIONI. 
THE BEST HABIT IS GOODNESS. 

Not long after Mrs. Morgan's marriage her 
brother, Richard Price, entered the ministry 
and preached at Edmonton. He also acted 
as chaplain to Mr. Streatfield, a rich member 
of his congregation, at whose house at Stoke 
Newington he lived. He was the most con- 
scientious and candid of men, and was so 
impressed with the idea that it was his duty 
to devote himself exclusively to his profession, 
that for some years he denied himself the plea- 
sure of pursuing the scientific studies which 
afterwards made him so well known. The 
discouragement he felt in tlie discharge of 
these ministerial duties (in which he thought 
himself a failure), led him at length to try to 
employ his abilities in some other direction for 
the benefit of mankind. Discourses (which 
afterwards, when he had become famous, were 



30 A WELSH FAMILY. 

listened to and read with delight by distin- 
guished contemporaries) now fell flat on the 
sleepy ears of his small afternoon congregation. 
With his usual diffidence he attributed to his 
own want of eloquence the apathy and indiff'er- 
ence of his after-dinner hearers. In 1756 Mr. 
Streatfield died, leaving him a handsome 
legacy. The house in which he had lived 
with Mr. Streatfield became the property of 
Lady Abney, the lady of the manor, who also 
was his life-long friend. About the same time 
his uncle, Mr. Samuel Price, died, and he also 
left his nephew some property. He was thus 
secured from all pecuniary anxiety for the rest 
of his life, and was enabled to show what won- 
ders could be done with moderate means by a 
truly generous man. He was now in a position 
to marry Sarah Blundell, the lady to whom he 
was attached. She was the only child of a 
man who had lost a large fortune in the South 
Sea Bubble. Only a modest remnant of his 
wealth was left for her — a few thousand pounds 
and the house in which she lived with two or 
three lady friends. It was situated quite in 
the centre of London, at the corner of King 
Street, Cheapside. By education and asso- 
ciation she was very different from the man 



RICHARD PRICE. 31 

she married; but he had fallen in love with her 
at first sight, and his affection for her never 
failed. She was a Churchwoman, and always 
continued to go to Church. A few years after 
her marriage she had a severe illness, and her 
health after that was always very delicate. 
Nothing could exceed the devotion of her hus- 
band to her. The friends who had lived with 
her before her marriage were always welcome 
at his house, and one or two of these ladies 
were generally to be found there. One of them 
was Mrs. Barker, some of whose descendants 
— the Collet's — have been and are remarkable 
for talent. 

Mr. Price had no children. He was deeply 
attached to his sister, Mrs. Morgan, and her 
husband, and was ever ready with advice and 
assistance to them and their children. He 
loved his native country, and returned every 
autumn to Wales, delighting to revisit the 
neighbourhood of Bridgend. He was espe- 
cially fond of the sea coast near it. In his 
youth he had climbed the cliffs at Southern- 
down and had sat for hours on the rocks, and 
he generally spent a short time every year on 
the seashore at a lodging which stands there 
still. 



32 A WELSH FAMILY. 

It was a very long journey from London to 
Bridgend, and he usually made it on horse- 
back. Once indeed he came down into the 
country with his friend, Lady Abney, in her 
coach and four. She wished to visit the scenes 
described to her by him. No carriage was then 
\ \ kept at Bridgend, and when her chariot came 
into the town there was no coach-house to re- 
ceive it. Young William Morgan remembered 
that it had been left in the street for the night. 
It was after his marriage that Richard Price 
first turned to those mathematical and philoso- 
phical studies which introduced him to a wide 
circle of acquaintances. In 1761 he was called 
upon to examine the papers of a friend who 
had left him his executor, and among these 
some remarks on a Friendly Society led him 
to make calculations on the subject of Life 
Assurance. Up to this time a great prejudice 
had extended in the public mind against this 
form of providence, and the few attempts that 
had been made to establish institutions with 
this object had not been based on scientific 
principles. 

Mr. Price was a good mathematician, and 
he turned his attention to the doctrine of 
chances and collected statistical information 



RICHARD PRICE. 33 

with the desire of placing such societies on a 
sound foundation. The Northampton Tables, 
for which he was responsible, were the result 
of an enquiry into the value of life in England 
at that time. He made valuable contributions 
to the Royal Society on the subject, and his 
paper on the " Doctrines of Chances " procured 
him the honour of being made a fellow of that 
body. It is said that his hair turned grey in 
many parts during one night, in his anxiety to 
test a mathematical problem in which he was 
reluctant to believe the celebrated mathe- 
matician, De Moivre (a great authority on 
" Probability ") wrong and himself right, as was 
actually the case. 

Such a character as his was naturally greatly 
beloved by his own family. On his visits to 
Wales (whither Mrs. Price often accompanied 
him) he took great pleasure in the society of 
the younger generation. His brother's only 
daughter Margaret was an especial favourite 
with him. She married Mr. Lewis, of New- 
house, a very pretty place near Cardiff, not 
very far from Park, her father's home. Her 
brother, Samuel Price — Mr. John Price's eldest 
son — had no children, so it was to Mrs. Lewis's 
descendants that the accumulated fortune of 



34 A WELSH FAMILY. 

her grandfather, Rice Price, went. Some of 
his wealth was destined to add brilHancy for 
many years to a great career. Lord Beacons- 
field's wife brought him the jointure she enjoyed 
as widow of Wyndham Lewis, Margaret Price's 
son. Another of Mr. Price's nieces, Mrs. 
Bowen, the daughter of his youngest sister, 
lived with her husband at Merthyr Mawr, the 
pretty place near Bridgend once offered to 
Mr. Morgan. Mr. Morgan's eldest son, 
William, stayed with Dr. Price at Newington 
Green while pursuing his studies for the 
medical profession. The visit was delightful 
to the young man ; and his uncle, in a letter 
to his sister, June 17th, 1770, says : — " I have 
much satisfaction in my nephew Billy," and 
(alluding to the young man's good qualities, 
and to his inclination to think very seriously) 
he adds, **you know the religion I am for is 
not a sour or enthusiastical religion, but a 
religion free from bigotry, superstition, and un- 
charitableness, and that shows itself in all good 
works and amiable qualities as well as in the 
discharge of the duties of devotion." It was 
apparently the tendency of that time for 
serious young people to write in rather a 
stilted, not to say "enthusiastical" strain. 



RICHARD PRICE. 35 

Billy constantly dwells in his letters to his 
mother on the vanity and shortness of life, and 
on its insignificance in comparison with that 
which is to follow. He took a very melancholy 
view of leaving his uncle. " It is a sad and 
gloomy prospect," he said, " to leave my 
heavenly-minded friends at Newington Green, 
among whom such unbounded love reigns. 
The thought of separating from Dr. Price 
damps every pleasure and checks the joy 
I should otherwise feel in returning home." 
He was alarmed by the thought of the petty 
squabbles and " jealousies and the adversaries 
likely to rise up against a young beginner in 
so small a place " — though to his mother he 
adds, " If I come to you I am assured of 
a constant friend." It was his father's wish 
that he should return to Bridgend that he 
might succeed him as a doctor, and be a 
comfort to his mother. 



36 

CHAPTER V. 
THE MORGANS. 

NID DOETH OND DETHOL Y GORAU. 
THERE IS NO WISDOM LIKE CHOOSING THE BEST. 

In 1769 William Morgan writes to his brother- 
in-law, Dr. Price: — "I shall probabty in a 
few years be obliged to quit the stage or be 
rendered incapable, or perhaps lose my old 
friends without any assistance." His partner, 
Mr. Sidney, had retired. "William has a 
greater inclination for academical learning 
than for the study of pharmacy, but I am 
anxious to have a representative in my eldest 
son in case of my death, to assist his mother 
in bringing up George to be the head with her 
of the rest. George," he adds, " has nothing 
but what I can give him. Jack (the youngest 
son, who afterv/ards died) will have a little 
land after my life and his mother's " (referring 
to what is called the Borough Custom, by 
which copyhold land is inherited by the young- 
est son). " Billy is willing to comply with my 
wishes, notwithstanding," says his father, and 
soon afterwards the young man, who was not 



THE MORGANS. 37 

yet nineteen, had gone up to study medicine 
in London. 

The expense of placing him as a pupil with 
a physician was greater than his father could 
manage, " for that would involve two years of 
academic learning." Dr. Price's home and 
purse were ever open to his nephew, but the 
youth chafed under difficulties, and fancying 
he might be thought wanting in energy and 
independence of spirit, he hastily engaged 
himself to an apothecary at Limehouse Docks. 
The life of an apothecary's assistant, combined 
with attendance at the hospital, was a very 
hard one at the best. Mr. Smith proved a very 
disagreeable master. After a long day's work 
among the poor dock labourers, the young 
man had to sleep under the counter, and to 
submit to the brutal conduct of a very vulgar 
employer. " He treated me no better than a 
dog," William Morgan used afterwards to say, 
and there is a memorandum of his which tells 
his story : — " Went to Mr. Smith at Lime- 
house, July nth, 1769. Left him October nth 
in a pet at my quarter's end." The provoca- 
tion was great, for he said, " My Welsh 
temper could stand it no longer, I turned upon 
him and laid him in the kennel." 



38 A WELSH FAMILY. 

A much more amiable master was next 
found for him by his uncle. He remained with 
him very happily till nearly the end of his 
medical career. Another entry in his diary refers 
to this engagement, "Came to Mr. Bradney 
in Cannon Street, Oct. 12th, 1769, agreed with 
him for ^16 a year." During the winter months 
he found it necessary to take a lodging in 
London, and he writes to his mother, "It is 
really as much as I can do to attend to the 
shop and hospital." He made distinguished 
progress, however. His notes of the lectures 
he attended still remain written out in his 
exquisite handwriting, as a proof of his industry 
and ability, and it is said that the great sur- 
geon under whom he studied declared him to 
be his best pupil, though Clive, afterwards 
so eminent, was his fellow student. From 
his lodging at Mrs. Kent's, Haberdasher, 
St, Margaret's Hill, Southwark, he carried on 
a correspondence with his family at home, and 
some verses written to his brother George in 
imitation of VI. Ode of Horace, Book 4, 
show that he does not forget his native place. 

Dear George who joyfully would roam 
Far from thy Cambria's happier home, 

Thy brother to attend. 
Him should the cruel fates ordain 



THE MORGANS. 39 

In gayer France or graver Spain 

His dismal life to spend, 
Know all my wish is to retreat 
When age has quenched my youthful heat, 

And all my toils resigned. 
Coity shall banish every strife, 
And bless my later part of life 

With general peace of mind. 
But should the pleasing hope be vain, 
May I that pleasing seat attain 

Where Ogmore's waters roll, 
Where rapid Ogmore swiftly glides, 
And flocks adorn its flowery sides. 

To raise my drooping soul. 

Mr. Morgan's two eldest children were girls. 
He was very anxious to make them indepen- 
dent, for he was in advance of his time on the 
subject. Having no fortune to give them, he 
could not endure the thought of leaving girls 
unprovided with the means of self-help, who 
had been accustomed to a pleasant home 
where they had associated with the best 
society. A superior education did not at that 
time open out a career for women, but he had 
a high opinion of their capacity for business, 
and he resolved that while they lived at home 
they should have some profitable occupation. 
Kitty, his second daughter, used long after- 
wards to describe her feelings when her father 
first acquainted her elder sister and herself 
with his plan. " I cried bitterly," she said, 
" though the next two years were the happiest 



40 A WELSH FAMILY. 

in my life." She passed them in a busy and 
prosperous attention to their business and in 
the society of her sister Betsey, whom she des- 
cribed as the best and cleverest creature in the 
world. Betsey's health was delicate. There 
is a letter of hers with descriptions of her visits 
for change of air to her relations at Park, 
where "they were exceedingly civil," and to 
New House, where she spent a day with her 
cousin, Mrs. Lewis, and had a drive into Car- 
diff with her Aunt Price. She had also a 
kind friend in Mrs. Bassett, to whom she paid 
visits, who lived at Llanblethian, a delightful 
village near Cowbridge. A great rivalry existed 
between the neighbouring towns of Cowbridge 
and Bridgend, to which Betsey refers in des- 
cribing the gaiety of the former place during 
her young sister Nancy's recent visit there. 
" She has attended races and three balls — for 
at Cowbridge there is a vast deal of company 
and assemblies every fortnight. What are we 
w at Bridgend to compare with this ? We only 
have a concert every month, at which the 
neighbouring gentry of Tregroes and Merthyr 
Mawr are performers." It is in this letter 
that Betsey alludes to her father's plans for her 
brother George. He was then at Cowbridge 



THE MORGANS. 



41 



Grammar School, and she says, " he is much 
better pleased to be brought up a clergyman 
and to go to Oxford, than to be brought up an 
apothecary. I wish it may be better for him, he 
is averysensible boy." Betsey's illness, and her 
death which followed, was the first great trouble 
in the Morgan household. Her letters are full 
of forebodings mingled with her accounts of 
her riding about in search of health. ** Life is 
short and of uncertain continuance," she wrote. 
" It highly concerns us to look about and take 
good heed how we employ our time, for we know 
not how soon we shall be taken out of it." On 
July 8th, 1771, Betsey died at the age of 26. 

" The death of my dear daughter Betsey," 
wrote her father to his eldest son, "leaves us 
all, myself and her mother especially, in 
sorrow and tears, and every one of her brothers 
and sisters also ; for how can it be otherwise 
when we reflect on her quiet, easy behaviour, 
adorned with so many Christian graces that 
she taught us how to live and how to die." 
In a letter to a friend and patient. Colonel 
Knight of Tythegstone, he also refers to his 
loss. " Your remark with respect to chalking 
out our future happiness is very just. I, by 
woeful experience, have found the whole chain 



42 A WELSH FAMILY. 

by the failure of one link, broken to pieces. You 
can't conceive how my spirits have been de- 
pressed by the sickness of one of my girls. 
To the eye of reason the loss of one in seven, 
provided with so small a fortune, appears to be 
of small consideration, but our Maker has 
interwoven in human nature an uncontrollable 
affection for our children, be they never so 
many." It was not very long after Betsey's 
death that the youngest son. Jack, a very 
promising boy of fourteen, was seized with 
fever, and died after a very short illness. It is 
surprising to meet with such constant refer- 
ences to epidemics of fever and putrid sore 
throats in those days. The situation of Bridg- 
end is highly favourable to health. It is 
chiefly built on fine mountain limestone soil, 
in an undulating country watered by the 
Ogmore, a rapid mountain stream. The air, 
fresh from the high downs on one side, is 
sweetened by the breezes from the seashore, 
which is within four miles from the town. The 
utter neglect of all sanitary precautions, how- 
ever, often caused serious illness. No care 
was taken to preserve the purity of air or water. 
The fever and sore throats were due to ignor- 
ance of the common laws of health, and the 



THE MORGANS. 43 

medical treatment of those days was not more 
intelligent. Mr. Morgan won his reputation 
as a doctor, not by being wiser than his con- 
temporaries about medicine, but by the strong 
common sense which often made his practice 
more rational than his theories, as when he 
saved Sally Price's life by prescribing remedies 
from his kitchen rather than from his phar- 
macopaeia. 

The death of his two children affected him 
deeply. His own strength was giving way. He 
mounted the hill that led to his house at New- 
castle with more and more difficulty. He 
leant on his son's arm, and would often stop 
at a certain point to rest. It was about this 
time that a young competitor for the medical 
practice appeared in the town. Jenkin Williams, 
the son of a neighbour, was a handsome young 
man. Mr. Morgan did not much approve of 
the gay dress of his young rival, and feared 
that the good-looking young doctor with his 
tall person (he was six feet) might turn the 
heads of his daughters. "Girls," he would 
say, " don't lose your hearts to this young 
coxcomb with his fine gold-laced hat." 

Not very long after this, in the summer of 
1772, not six months after the death of his son 



44 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Jack, Mr. Morgan's own death occurred. He 
had an attack ot gout and died after a very 
short illness. He had dined the day before at 
Dunraven Castle, where he had so long been 
welcomed as a doctor and a friend. Dr. Price 
was about to pay a visit to Lord Shelborne 
at Calne (his seat in Wiltshire) when he heard 
of his brother-in-law's death. Feeling that 
the greatest comfort he could give his widowed 
sister would be to see her, he resolved to come 
on from Calne, which would be half-way to 
Glamorganshire, to spend a few days with her 
at Bridgend. Mrs. Morgan had good reason 
to rely on her brother for all possible support 
and consolation, and her children found in him 
a father. 



45 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE WILLIAMSES OF STORMY. 

nid rhaidi ddedwydd nam ei eni. 
"the lucky need only be born." 

Mr. Morgan's son, William, made a brave 
attempt to carry out his father's wish that he 
should succeed him in his practice at Bridgend, 
and assist his mother. He relinquished to her 
entirely the proceeds of the estate at Tyl yr 
Coch, which came to him as eldest son on his 
father's death, and never took a farthing from 
it during her life. He was scarcely twenty- 
one, and not all his ability could make up for 
his youth in the opinion of his father's old 
friends. He had, moreover, a physical defect 
— a club-foot — which was an objection in the 
eyes of some of his patients. 

Jenkin Williams, his formidable competitor 
for their favour, was meanwhile justifying his 
father's apprehensions by paying his addresses 
to William's sister Kitty. His suit was for 
some time discouraged, not only by the family. 



46 A WELSH FAMILY. 

but by Kitty herself. He penned many elo- 
quent letters to her, for he always prided him- 
self on his scholarship, while Kitty, who really 
possessed bright parts, found great difficulty in 
replying to them, as her education had been 
neglected in the matter of spelling. " My 
sister Kate," William Morgan afterwards said, 
" writes the best letter in the family, but it is 
very ill spelt," and she had to coax her young 
brother George to help her in spelling her love 
letters. Once, it is said, she locked him up 
to secure his services, when he took his re- 
venge by spelling the letter all wrong. She 
married Jenkin Williams at last in 1773. 
There is a tradition that there was a relation- 
ship between the Morgan Williams who was 
Oliver Cromwell's father, and the Morgan 
Williams who had come from Monmouthshire, 
from the same district from which Oliver 
Cromwell sprang, to settle in Glamorganshire. 
Jenkin Williams' father was the descendant of 
this Morgan Williams, and was settled at 
Stormy, a farm of good size, forming part of 
the beautiful estate which stretches along the 
valley to the west of Bridgend, and which be- 
longed to the old family of Mansel. Margam 
Abbey, the seat of its present representative, 



THE WILLIAMSES OF STORMY. 



47 



Miss Talbot, is built close to the fine ruins of 
the old abbey. It must have cost Mr. Wil- 
liams of Stormy no little self-denial to bring 
up three sons to learned professions, sending 
the youngest to Oxford to make a clergyman 
of him, while both his eldest son, Jenkin, and 
his son David, were brought up to surgery. 
The latter settled in Norfolk, and having 
married Miss Elwin, the daughter of a man 
of good position who had filled the office of 
High Sheriff in that county, he became a very 
popular doctor, attending the principal fami- 
lies in the neighbourhood, among whom was 
General Bulwer — Bulwer Lytton, the novelist's 
father. Horace Walpole held a commission 
in the Norfolk Militia, to which Mr. David 
Williams was surgeon, and the story goes that 
a wrestling match once took place between 
them. David Williams was celebrated for his 
skill as a wrestler, and nothing would do for 
Horace Walpole but to challenge the Welsh- 
man. General Bulwer being present, and 
friendly to Mr. Williams, said to him, '' Now, 
doctor, don't beat Walpole if you wish to get 
into his good graces. Let the match be as 
stiff as you like, but when you have made him 
feel your power give him the victory, for he is 



48 A WELSH FAMILY. 

SO eaten up with vanity that he hates those 
who excel him in anything." Mr. Wilhams took 
the advice, wrestled long and powerfully, mak- 
ing Walpole apprehensive of defeat, but at last 
allowed victory to remain with him, thereby 
securing a good friend. On his sister's mar- 
riage to Mr. Williams, William Morgan gave 
up the struggle for practice to his brother-in- 
law, and went up to London to seek the advice 
and assistance of his uncle. Dr. Price. Dr. 
Price was at that time a great authority 
on financial questions. Finance was the sub- 
ject of his most important scientific papers. 
His opinion was sought for by leading states- 
men. Pitt requested several interviews with 
him, and expressed the greatest respect for the 
scheme for a sinking fund which had originated 
with Dr. Price, from whom he received the 
fullest and clearest information on the subject. 
Three plans for the extinction of the debt were 
furnished by the doctor, with a strong recom- 
mendation of the first scheme. Pitt, however, 
chose the third, though it had been especially 
described as the least advantageous by Dr. 
Price, whose plan was very imperfectly carried 
out. As Pitt never acknowledged his obliga- 
tion for the advice which he had solicited 



THE WILLIAMSES OF STORMY. 49 

and rejected, no little injustice has been done 
to Dr. Price. Finance formed the subject of 
the correspondence which took place between 
him and the eminent Frenchmen, Turgot, 
Necker and Condorcet. In a letter from Con- 
dorcet, the following passage occurs, "Political 
arithmetic is still far from making all the pro- 
gress of which it is capable. I consider it the 
most useful of all sciences, and from which 
the greatest good will result to the human race 
in general." So high was the value set upon 
Dr. Price's services as an adviser on financial 
matters by the leaders of the American Revo- 
lution, that a resolution was passed by Con- 
gress, Oct. 6th, 1778, attested by Benjamin 
Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams, 
directing these three gentlemen " to inform 
Dr. Price that it is the desire of Congress to 
consider him a citizen of the United States, 
and to receive his assistance in regulating their 
finances. That if he shall think it expedient 
to remove with his family to America, and to 
afford such assistance, a generous provision 
shall be made for requiting his services." He 
declined it on account of his age, adding that 
" America was now the hope, and would soon 
be the refuge of mankind." This answer was 

D 



50. • A WELSH FAMILY 

sent by way of France in a packet, on board 
of which Mr. Lawrence was taken prisoner, 
and the packet, including the letter, was thrown 
overboard, but an English sailor dived down 
and recovered it. When young William Mor- 
gan came up to seek his uncle's advice. Dr. 
Price had been much consulted by the founder 
of the Equitable Assurance Society, as he 
was then a great authority on the subject of 

^ Life Assurance. It was quite in its infancy. 
Its operations, now conducted on such a grand 
scale, with such a gigantic capital, were then 
very small, and the business was carried on 
in modest premises near Blackfriars Bridge. 

\/' Dr. Price rode over there almost daily from 
Newington Green ; his figure was well known 
in the streets through which he passed, so 
much smaller was London in those days. He 
rode on the white horse to which he was so 
much attached, dressed in a blue greatcoat 
and black spatterdashers, and he was often 
diverted by hearing the carmen and orange- 
women say, " There goes Dr. Price, make way 
for Dr. Price !" The sight of a black coat, it 
was said, caused a complete revolution in his 
nephew William Morgan's fortunes. Dr. 
Price had been from home, and on his return 



THE WILLIAMSES OF STORMY. 51 

he heard that the Actuary of the Equitable 
Assurance Company was at death's door, and 
riding to Blackfriars he perceived signs of 
mourning. The Actuary was dead. It was 
not easy then to find people qualified for the 
ofhce. Pondering on the difficulties as he 
rode home, he suddenly thought of his nephew, 
who was then staying at Newington Green. 
"Billy," he said, "do you know anything of ma- 
thematics ?" " No, Uncle," was the reply, "but 
I can learn." In an incredibly short time he 
made himself a proficient, and became the 
next Actuary. A house at Chatham Place 
and a salary of £120 a year appeared brilliant 
prosperity to the young man. He pursued 
his studies in mathematics with the same 
ardour and with even more distinguished suc- 
cess than that with which he had studied 
medicine. His fortune was made. He sent for 
his sister Nancy to be his housekeeper, and the 
young people for the next six or seven years led 
a very happy life together. George Morgan had 
also come up to London, and was staying at 
Newington Green, preparing himself for the 
ministry. 

A great change had taken place in the 
young man's views since his sister Betsey had 



52 A WELSH FAMILY. 

described him as looking forward to going to 
Oxford to prepare for the Church. His father's 
death not only altered his circumstances, but 
threw him into the society of his uncle, Dr. Price, 
just at the age when an ardent youth is most 
susceptible of impressions. His letters are 
full of serious reflections on the vanity, of 
human affairs. While he was spending his 
vacation of 1773 at " the Green" the sudden 
death of Mr. John Barker, the son of one of 
his aunt, Mrs. Price's, greatest friends, in- 
creased his melancholy. He lost in him " a 
companion whose virtue, steadiness, and integ- 
rity of character" had deeply impressed him, 
and he describes his mind as " confused with 
sorrow and distress." Far from regretting the 
University career he had formerly desired, he 
regarded Oxford and Cambridge as full of 
debaucheries and luxuries, and feared that 
Westminster School might prove scarcely less 
dangerous for the young sons of his old friend, 
Mr. Knight of Tythegston. It was happy for 
George at this time that he was able to turn 
his mind to scientific subjects, in which 
through life he took so deep an interest. Dr. 
Price was then preparing the tables of life 
insurance which he was about to present to 



THE WILLIAMSES OF STORMY. 53 

Parliament, and his nephew was able to 
render him assistance. A Welsh paper lately 
claimed for Welshmen the credit of important 
contributions to the science of finance. 
" William Pitt," it said, " it is well known 
owed his scheme of finance to Dr. Price of 
Bridgend ; and Sir Robert Peel, Sir George 
Cornwall Lewis, Lord Beaconsfield, and Mr. 
Gladstone, all in their turn sought the advice 
of the late Lord Overstone — Jones Loyd — a 
Welshman who began life as a Unitarian 
minister, and whose highest ambition at one 
time had been to occupy the pulpit at Bridg- 
end." 



.f^ 



\ V 



54 

CHAPTER VII. 
DR. PRICE. 

I AWN FOB I AWN LLE BO I AWN. 
" IT IS JUST TO CLAIM JUSTICE. 

During the ten years that now followed, the 
world was agitated by the American War. 
George Morgan was with his uncle when the 
struggle began, and saw at his house many of 
the most distinguished political characters of 
the Liberal party as well as the chief leaders 
of the American colonies. Dr. Franklin was 
a frequent visitor and possessed all Dr. Price's 
sympathy and confidence. It is said that 
when in 1774 the duty was placed on the tea 
imported into America, it was Dr. Price's pen 
that advised the city of Boston " to throw the 
taxed tea into the sea, rather than submit to 
taxation without representation." His essay 
on "Civil and Religious Liberty" created a 
great sensation at the time. It is a bold and 
eloquent statement of principles which are now 
V universally accepted in theory, though still not 
fully carried out in practice. It was read with 



DR. PRICE, 55 

enthusiasm by his contemporaries and thou- 
sands of copies were sold. The citizens of 
London conferred the freedom of the city 
upon him in a gold box, as a mark of gratitude 
for his services to liberty. He became the 
object of much attention. In the course of 
a conversation he had at this time with the 
Duke of Cumberland, when they were standing 
together at the bar of the House of Lords, the 
Duke told him that he had been reading his 
essay on Civil Liberty till he was blind. Lord 
Ashburton hearing this said, "It is rather re- 
markable that your Royal Highness should 
have been blinded by that book which has 
opened the eyes of all mankind." 

Stoke Newington, where he lived so long, 
has retained till quite lately some of its rural 
characteristics, but now railroads are coming 
within measurable distance even of Newington 
Green. The old houses there are doomed, 
and the garden of Mr. Rogers (the father of 
the poet of Memory, who lived next door but 
one to Dr. Price) is already partly destroyed, 
while the old houses with their dark carvings 
and ancient fireplaces are undergoing change. 
Dr. Price's house still remains, with the little 
turret chamber in which he studied, and the 



56 A WELSH FAMILY. 

arched entrance through which he rode on his 
favourite white horse. The scene of the dehght- 
ful meetings of the " Supping Club," which were 
held on Friday evenings at the houses of Dr. 
Price and his neighbours, will soon disappear. 
Round his table gathered many of the most 
remarkable characters of those times. Howard, 
the philanthropist, was his intimate friend and 
correspondent, his letters to Dr. Price still 
exist, the last one was written on his fatal jour- 
ney to Cherson, the plague-ridden ^town in 
Turkey where he died. Living near him, at 
his father's house on Newington Green, was a 
young observer, afterwards the celebrated 
Samuel Rogers, who made some interesting 
notes for a biography he intended writing of 
the kind neighbour with whom he lived in such 
close intimacy — the MSS. still remains. "The 
happiest hoursof his youth," he says, werespent 
with Dr. Price, "who delighted in the society 
of the young, and loved to contribute to their 
amusement." In the doctor's study young 
Rogers made acquaintance with the telescope, 
microscope, and electrical machine, which had 
been presented to Dr. Price by the Equitable 
Assurance Society, in return for his assistance. 
Through this telescope George Morgan en- 



DR. PRICE. 57 

joyed looking, and had begged his brother 
William to notice how brightly the planets 
Venus and Jupiter appeared about seven 
o'clock, the one to the east, the other to the 
west. It was into their neighbour, Mr. Roger's 
house, that Mrs. Price delivered so many large 
packets when Dr. Price's house was expected 
to be searched and his papers seized. 

" The open and manly avowal of his senti- 
ments during the American war," says Rogers, 
" cre^ed many enemies." The press teemed 
with invectives, and several anonymous letters 
(which were carefully concealed from Mrs. 
Price) threatened his life. He had written 
very warmly at the commencement of the war 
on the injustice of the Government, under the 
signature of " Aurelius " in the Gazette. He 
held frequent correspondence with America, 
corresponding with Franklin and Adams, and 
at that time handbills were circulated that he 
was in league with the enemy. Many letters 
to him from Jefferson still remain. The fol- 
lowing passage occurs in one of them, written 
from Paris, Feb., 1785, when the war was over. 
"The happiness of Governments like ours 
(wherein the people are truly the mainspring) 
is that they are never to be despaired of. When 



58 A WELSH FAMILY. 

an evil becomes so glaring as to strike them 
generally, they arouse themselves and it is re- 
dressed. He only is the popular man who 
shows the best disposition to reform the evil. 
This truth was obvious during the late war, 
and this character in our Government saved 
us. Calamity was our best physician." Rogers 
says, "that the undaunted spirit of Dr. Price's 
writings often induced people to form false 
ideas of his presence and manners," and he tells 
a story of the great surprise felt by the Duchess 
of Bedford, when she first met him at her own 
request at Shelburne House, to find his 
manners so mild and unassuming. " I had 
expected to meet a Colossus," she said, " with 
an eye like Mars to threaten and command." 
-, "All admired and loved him," wrote Rogers, 
! " for the sweetness of his disposition and for 
the unaffected sincerity of his manners." "It 
was the perfect simplicity and sincerity of his 
character which gave dignity to his appear- 
ance," continues Rogers; "in person he was 
thin and below the middle size, with strong 
features, and a very intelligent eye. His 
countenance was the mirror of his mind, and 
when lighted up in conversation, its expression 
was peculiarly pleasing." It was, however, in 



DR. PRICK. 59 

the family circle that his delightful qualities 
were most warmly appreciated. His nephew 
and niece from their home at Chatham Place, 
near Blackfriars, were always affectionately 
welcomed at Newington Green. " There it 
was," says Mr. Rogers, "that his character 
shone with the fullest lustre. Mrs. Price had 
become a confirmed invalid, and almost the 
only enjoyment she knew was an evening rub- 
ber of whist, and the Doctor, who had never 
played in his life, and whose aversion to cards 
was only equal to the inconvenience he expe- 
rienced from the loss of time they occasioned, 
would sit down to the card-table every evening 
and follow suit with a sweetness and cheerful- 
ness that charmed and melted everybody." 
He was the most humane of men. " To see 
distress was in him to feel an impulse to re- 
lieve it," says Rogers. " He was greatly 
attached to the old white horse which carried 
him for fourteen years. It had once been a 
hunter, but having lost an eye by the lash of a 
whip, was consigned to a better service, and 
presented by a friend to the Doctor. After its 
death he always mentioned his faithful servant 
with affection, and could never bring himself 
to have a successor, though Lord Lansdowne 



6o A WELSH FAMILY. 

repeatedly pressed him to choose one from his 
stables. In the fields near his house he once 
saw some fieldfares fluttering on the grass 
under the bird-catcher's net. He cut the net 
and set them at liberty ; but he had not pro- 
ceeded far when the question suggested itself 
whether he had not done an act of injustice. 
He went back, and left money on the spot. 
He had been known to turn back while walking 
on in a musing fit to relieve a beetle which he 
remembered to have observed on its back and 
struggling vainly to recover itself. He was 
very absent, and as he was a fearless rider, 
walker and swimmer, he had many adventures. 
He twice attempted to save men from drown- 
ing, once with success." " He was riding by 
Paradise Row on the first occasion," said 
Rogers, " when he saw a man floating on his 
back and carried along by the current on the 
surface of the New River. He called to an 
angler at some distance to hold his horse, and 
leaving his hat and wig on the bank, stept in 
and drew him ashore. The man was a foreigner, 
and some pecuniary distress urged him to this 
conduct. The Doctor gave him what money 
he had. Another day he was riding by Hornsey 
Wood, he saw a body in the same situation 



DR. PRICE. 6i 

and drew it to land. This man too was a 
German, but he was dead." He was more 
than once exposed to perils in his walks and 
rides. It was during a long confinement caused 
by a fall from his horse (an accident not un- 
frequent to him) that he was so kindly attended 
by Mr. Walker, the doctor who prevailed upon 
him to sit for his portrait to Mr. West. The 
painter, as well as Lord Lansdowne and many 
other friends, had often wished him to have his 
likeness taken. What his modesty induced him 
to refuse, his gratitude to Mr. Walker granted, 
and for him West painted the picture of him 
holding in his hand Butler's " Analogy." It 
was his delight when at Brighton to bathe in 
the sea and buffet with the waves, or to ride 
on the downs and breathe the sea breezes. 
" Once," says Rogers, '' when a man was dis- 
covered in the offing and a boat pushed off 
to save him it proved to be Dr. Price." In his 
long walks he was apt to fall into deep reveries, 
and Rogers says, "that with his eyes fixed on 
the ground, one hand in his pocket, the other 
swinging by his side, he was apt to forget all 
his surroundings. On one occasion a footpad 
rushed from behind a tree in broad day, with 
oaths and menaces, and proceeded to relieve 



62 A WELSH FAMILY. 

him of his shoe-buckles, when Dr. Price very 
mildly thus expostulated with the thief : ' My 
friend, this is a very bad business you are fol- 
lowing.' ' Never you mind that,' was the 
thief's only reply." He was so remarkable for 
his candid and generous tone towards those who 
differed from him, that he reckoned among his 
friends eminent persons of all parties and of 
all opinions. The Bishop of Carlisle, Dr. 
Law, as well as the Bishops of Llandaff and 
St. Asaph, were often visitors at his house. 
He corresponded with Dr. Adams, the Prin- 
cipal of Queen's, and once visited him at 
Oxford. He also paid a visit to the Bishop 
of St. Asaph (with whom he had been inti- 
mate), at Twyford, and went with him to his 
church, when the Bishop gave him a miost ex- 
cellent sermon on Civil and Religious Liberty 
from the text, " Brethren ye are called unto 
liberty." Both Gibbon and Hume expressed 
great surprise at his gentleness when they 
made his acquaintance, having been accustomed 
to scant courtesy from their opponents. 

There were several eminent women in Dr. 
Price's circle of friends. It was at Mrs. Monta- 
gue's house that he made the acquaintance of 
Lord Shelbourne, with whom he formed a great 



DR. PRICE. 63 

friendship, which was a source of pleasure to him 
to the end of his Ufe. Mrs. Chaponewas a great 
friend of his. In one of those letters to her 
niece which were once so much admired 
but which are now almost forgotten, she 
has left the following description of him under 
the name of " Simplicius." " While the vain 
man," she says, " is painfully striving to out- 
shine all the company and to attract their 
admiration by false wit, forced compliments, 
and studied graces, he must surely be mortified 
to observe how constantly Simplicius engages 
their attention, respect and complacency, with- 
out having once thought of himself as a person 
of any consequence among them. He imparts 
his superior knowledge when called upon, as 
easily and naturally as he would tell you what 
it is o'clock, and with the same readiness and 
goodwill informs the most ignorant or confers 
with the most learned. He is as willing to re- 
ceive information as he is to give it, and to join 
the company as far as he is able in the most trifling 
conversation into which they happen to fall as 
in the most serious and sublime. If he dis- 
putes, it is with as much candour on the most 
important and interesting as on the most in- 
significant subjects, and he is not less patient 



64 A WELSH FAMILY. 

in hearing than in answering antagonists. If 
you talk to him of himself or his works, he 
accepts praise or acknowledges defects with 
equal meekness, and it is impossible to sus- 
pect him of affectation in either. We are 
more obliged by the plain, unexaggerated ex- 
pressions of his regard than by the compli- 
ments and attentions of the most accomplished 
pattern of good breeding, because his benevo- 
lence and sincerity are so strongly marked in 
every look, word, and action, that we are con- 
vinced his civilities are offered for our own 
sakes, not for his own, and are the natural 
effect of real kindness, not the studied orna- 
ments of behaviour. Everyone is desirous of 
showing him kindness in return, which we know 
will be accepted as it is meant. All are ready 
to pay him the deference which he does not 
desire, and to give him credit for more than 
he assumes, or even for more than he possesses. 
With a person ungraceful and with manners 
unpolished by the world, his behaviour is 
always proper, easy and respectable, as free 
from constraint and servility in the highest 
company as from haughtiness and insolence in 
the lowest. His dignity rises from his human- 
ity, and the sweetness and gentleness and 



DR. PRICE. 65 

frankness of his manner from the real good- 
ness of his heart, which Ues open to inspection 
in all the frankness of truth without any need 
of disguise or ornament." 



66 

CHAPTER VIII. 
TWO MARRIAGES. 

NID ANEDWYDD A WNELO ARALL YN DDEDWYDD. 
HE IS NOT UNHAPPY WHO MAKES OTHERS HAPPY. 

It was in the year 1781 that Dr. Price 
gave his sister, Mrs. Morgan, the first news of 
the engagement of her son Wilham to Miss 
Susan Woodhouse. She was the daughter of 
an old friend and connection of Mrs. Price's, 
the widow of a man of good family from the 
midland counties. Dr. Price spoke kindly of 
the young lady, and described his nephew's 
prospects as highly satisfactory: "His salary 
as Actuary is about to be raised, and he already 
adds to his income by answering annuity ques- 
tions." Susan Woodhouse inherited the small 
estate of Portway in Staffordshire, the only 
part of the considerable landed property once 
owned by her father's family, and she was pru- 
dent and capable. The only sufferer by the 
match was Nancy Morgan, who found herself 
deposed from the position which she had filled 



TWO MARRIAGES. 67 

so well for seven years. Both Dr. Price and 
his wife would have gladly given her a home 
with them, but she decided to go back to her 
mother and sister at Bridgend, sorry as she 
was to quit London where she had been so 
happy. Nancy was at that time about eight 
and twenty. She was handsome, and had 
been much admired, while the force of her 
character and her conversational talents made 
her a great addition to society. She had 
entered with great zest into the pleasures of 
these years in London, and for the rest of her 
life she could entertain an audience by her 
vivid descriptions of the remarkable people 
and the strange events she had seen. She 
was at Chatham Place during the Lord George 
Gordon Riots, and at one moment it was quite 
expected that the Equitable Assurance Office 
would have been attacked. She had met 
many of the most distinguished characters of 
the time at Newington Green, where she had 
always been affectionately welcomed. She 
had not been long at Bridgend when she 
received an offer of marriage from her cousin 
Walter Coffin. It was a strange courtship; 
Mr. Coffin was nearly twenty years older than 
herself. He was too reserved and silent to 



68 A WELSH FAMILY. 

make the best of the advantages he possessed 
in a handsome person, or to do justice to the 
depth and sincerity of his affection for her and 
to his many good quaUties of head and heart. 
He was rich, but Nancy well knew that if she 
married him she would have to conform to the 
rigid simplicity of a mode of life adopted by 
his mother and himself when the practice of 
such self-denial was a virtue. The marriage 
of Dr. Price's eldest sister to Mr. Coffin, which 
had promised so well, had been rendered un- 
happy by her husband's love of speculation. 
After embarrassing his property in Somerset- 
shire by one rash scheme after another, he 
persuaded himself that there was mineral 
wealth in some land he possessed in Glamor- 
ganshire. Before the pioneers of the iron trade 
appeared there he made a fruitless attempt to 
establish ironworks near Bridgend, and he had 
gone so far as to build a furnace on his land 
not long before his death. It is said that his 
wife, in terror at the prospect of utter ruin, 
caused holes to be bored in it. She was left 
in embarrassed circumstances. The eldest of 
her three sons inherited what remained of the 
estate of Selworthy, and contrived before his 
death to run through most of his inheritance. 



TWO MARRIAGES. 69 

Mrs. Coffin made her home at Bridgend with 
her two youngest sons, one of whom gave her 
Httle comfort, as he was weak and extravagant, 
and, like his elder brother, died early and un- 
married. Adversity brought out all the strength 
of Mrs. Coffin's character, while at the same 
time it increased the penurious habits to which 
she had an hereditary tendency. All her hopes 
centred in her son Walter. It was her great 
aim, by rigid self-denial, to repair the injury 
which his father's speculations had done him. 
For years before William Morgan had settled 
in London' his Aunt Coffin and her son had 
lived at Bridgend, in great retirement and with 
the strictest economy. Walter Coffin had 
become a tanner, and had already, by his 
energy and shrewd business capacity, become 
a rich man. In his hands the trade he had 
adopted attained large proportions. His 
leather was famous throughout the county, 
and he had gradually become a considerable 
landed proprietor, not only in the Rhondda 
Valley, but in the district of Llangynwyd from 
which his mother's family sprang. He bought 
the farms of Maescadlwr, Gilvach Orvydd and 
Pant Gibbon, which last (as its name denotes) 
had evidently belonged to his mother's people. 



70 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Reserved and retiring as he was, he had estab- 
lished a character which was universally re- 
spected. Frugal as were his habits, he was 
known to be capable of generous expenditure 
in defence of what he thought a just cause. 
He was an uncompromising Liberal in politics 
and religion, and was perfectly free from the 
vanity and ostentation from which the charac- 
ter of his grandfather. Rice Price, was not free. 
He was so much older than his cousins the 
Morgans, that there was little companionship 
between them, and when Nancy Morgan went 
to London to keep her brother's house she 
gave no thought to the handsome silent cousin, 
who admired her so much. Nancy hesitated, 
and her hesitation was anxiously observed by 
her uncle, Dr. Price. In a letter to her from 
Brighton soon after she had gone down to 
Bridgend, he says : " We shall be anxious to 
know how your affair goes on. May Heaven 
direct you to what will make you most happy. 
You may be assured that you shall never want 
a support while your aunt or I are capable of 
helping you. No one could have been more 
agreeable to us than you have been, and we 
think with much regret of the pleasure we have 
lost by your removal into the country. But I 



TWO MARRIAGES. 71 

hope, should you yield to Mr. Coffin's wishes, 
that our loss will prove your gain by uniting 
you to a rational, good-tempered, worthy and 
generous man. No man deserves you who is 
not of this character." On January ist, 1782, 
Nancy Morgan married her cousin Walter 
Coffin. " Mr. Coffin has indeed, in my 
opinion, shown his judgment in his choice," 
wrote Dr. Price to his niece immediately 
after the event. " I doubt not you will 
shine as much in the relation of a wife as 
you have done in the relations of a daughter, 
a sister, and niece." Mrs. Coffin acquitted 
herself well in the part she had chosen. She 
conformed cheerfully to her husband's some- 
what ascetic mode of life. The children of 
the wealthy tanner were brought up with the 
most simple habits, but their mother took care 
that they enjoyed all the substantial advan- 
tages of riches, by securing them a superior 
education. She possessed great dignity and 
firmness of character, and was resolute in 
carrying out what she thought right. Her 
children were brought up very differently from 
those of her sister, Mrs. Williams, who (as 
her mother, Mrs. Morgan, often said in Welsh) 
" would fain place a pillow under everybody's 



72 A WELSH FAMILY. 

head." Perfectly unselfish and loveable as 
she was, she was not able, like her sister Mrs. 
Coffin, to say " no." Luxuries unknown to 
their wealthier cousins were enjoyed by her 
children. Mrs. Coffin's eldest son always re- 
membered the failure of his boyish attempt to 
shirk his return to the neighbouring Grammar 
School at Cowbridge, where he was a weekly 
boarder. " I threw myself off my pony into 
the mud, hoping that when my mother saw 
my sorry plight she would keep me at home, 
but she had me dressed in clean clothes, 
mounted me once more, and sent me off to 
school." Mr. Coffin was constantly annoyed 
by the threat of being nominated for the office 
of High Sheriff of the County. Nonconform- 
ists were then liable to be placed in a very 
unpleasant dilemma either in accepting or refu- 
sing any civil office. A fine of £s^o could be 
exacted from them if they refused to serve, 
while if they consented, conscientious scruples 
prevented their compliance with the Test and 
Corporation Acts. The High Sheriff and hold- 
ers of similar offices were obliged by these Acts 
to receive the Anglican Communion. Many 
Dissenters had complied with this requirement 
on entering office, but had afterwards habitu- 



TWO MARRIAGES. 73 

ally attended their own place of worship. To 
render this illegal the " Occasional Conform- 
ity " Bill had been passed in 1704. Sir John 
Abney, the husband of Dr. Price's friend, 
Lady Abney, had been the last Dissent- 
ing Lord Mayor of London before this 
unjust measure became law. His predecessor 
in that office, Sir Humphrey Edwin, also a 
Dissenter, had helped to bring the matter to a 
climax, by going in state with the regalia of 
the City to a Dissenting Meeting House. 
Lord Dunraven, the representative of this 
gentleman, possesses large estates in Glamor- 
ganshire. In Dr. Price's first letter to his 
niece, Mrs. Coffin, after her marriage, he sends 
for her husband a declaration of his conscien- 
tious scruples in case of the threatened nomina- 
tion. Dr. Price possessed a vote for Glamor- 
ganshire, and he was asked by Sir Edmund 
Thomas, of Wenvoe (who had recommended 
himself by some writings favourable to liberty) 
to give him his support when he was a candi- 
date on the Liberal side for the county. As 
an inducement he assured Dr. Price that he 
should have the entire disposal of the " Regium 
Domus," if it was agreeable to him. "The 
Doctor," says Mr. Rogers, "spurned at the idea, 



74 A WELSH FAMILY. 

and declared it a blot on the Dissenters, and 
that he should think himself contaminated if 
he had anything to do with it. If Lord 
Lansdowne had continued in office he hoped 
to procure its entire abolition." 

William Morgan (who had now been married 
some months) wrote to congratulate his sister on 
her marriage. " Many years' experience," he 
said, " have convinced me that you deserve a 
good husband, and if we can form any idea of a 
man by the character he holds and the con- 
duct he has maintained, I think you have had 
such a one." 

That autumn there was a family gathering 
at Bridgend, Mrs. Morgan entertained at her 
house her eldest son and his wife, and other 
visitors. Dr. and Mrs. Price could not join the 
party. They were at Brighton, but Mrs. 
Price in a letter to Mrs. Coffin, Sept. 17th, 
1782, says : " We have often wished we could 
have made a part of your society. What a 
hospitable house is your good mother's, to be 
able to receive so many of her friends at once. 
It puts me in mind ot the saying, that ' If there 
is room in the heart there is always room in 
the house.' " 







r- 






W 



{' 



75 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE RISE OF MERTHYR TYDVIL. 
RICHARD CRAWSHAY. 

GOREU I BAWB A DDICHON EI HUN. 

THE BEST FOR EVERYONE IS WHAT HE 
CAN DO HIMSELF. 

The spirit of speculation was abroad in Gla- 
morganshire, though Bridgend, being in the 
centre of a purely agricultural district, was but 
little affected by it. No good road ran through 
the town at that time. Travellers bound to 
the western part of the county had to mount 
the steep and rugged hill of Newcastle. Mrs. 
Morgan and her two daughters lived on 
the hill, Mrs. Williams's house occupying the 
site of the old castle, near the church. Her 
pleasant garden skirted the road, and the fine 
myrtle tree which grew in it was the admira- 
tion of passers-by when it was covered with 
bloom. The mineral wealth so unsuccessfully 
sought by Mr. Coffin's father on his land at 



76 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Bridgend had been discovered in other parts 
of the county. The development of the iron 
and coal trade, which was destined to produce 
such wonderful changes in Glamorganshire, 
and which afterwards gave such value to land 
in the Rhondda Valley, was chiefly due to a 
young adventurer from the North of England. 
About eighteen years after Richard Price 
had made his journey to London on foot, a 
young man left his native place in Yorkshire, 
and found his way to the metropolis. Richard 
Crawshay had had a quarrel with his father, 
and took nothing with him from his home (a 
farm near Normanton, in Yorkshire) but a 
pony, with which in twenty days he reached 
London. He then sold the pony for ^15 
and lived on the proceeds till he had 
only that half-crown left, which, according to 
tradition, he threw away by way of bracing 
himself for the struggle for existence. Certain it 
is, that he was reduced to such extremity that 
he was thankful to earn a livelihood by sweep- 
ing out an ironmaster's warehouse in York 
Street. His shrewdness in stopping the theft 
of the washerwomen who came to buy flat 
irons from his master, and who were said to 
steal two irons for every one they bought, first 



RICHARD CRAWSHAY. 77 

attracted attention to him, and before long 
the remarkable ability of the " Yorkshire boy" 
became so evident that he rose to a high posi- 
tion in the business, of which eventually he 
became the head, after marrying his master's 
daughter. From selling iron to making it 
was a natural step. Rumours of the iron beds 
at Merthyr Tydvil reached the ear of the 
London merchant. The mineral wealth which 
had just been discovered had attracted into Gla- 
morganshire enterprisingmen, into whose hands 
had fallen several old estates in that county. 
Wenvoe (of which Sir Edmund Thomas was the 
last representative) had shared this fate, and had 
been bought by Mr. Bacon, who also became 
the owner of property at Merthyr Tydvil, then 
a mere village ; and a Mr. Beavan, the Mem- 
ber for Aylesbury, had obtained a lease for 
ninety-nine years of a property near Merthyr, 
the area of which was eight miles by four, 
and for which he paid only ;f200 a year. 
On this he erected furnaces and forges for 
smelting the iron ore he found there. From 
the ruins that still remain, these furnaces seem 
to have been blown by hand-bellows or by 
water power. Mr. Bacon also erected a foun- 
dry on the land he bought at Cyfarthfa, and 



78 A WELSH FAMILY 

when the American war broke out he obtained 
a contract for supplying the Government with 
cannon. That war (so eloquently opposed by 
Dr. Price) gave a great impetus to the iron 
trade. The demand for iron did not cease 
with the war, but was succeeded by a steady 
trade in iron manufactures between the new 
Republic and the Mother-country. It was at 
this time that Mr. Crawshay bought a share 
of the property at Cyfarthfa, lately acquired by 
Mr. Bacon, and in 1783 he came down to 
Glamorganshire and laid the foundation of the 
great iron works there. Llangynwyd shared 
in this commercial activity. It had long been 
known that coal and iron existed there, as is 
shown by such names as " Cwm Nantglo," 
literally, "Coal-brook dale." The coal had 
long been worked by small shafts, 20ft. long by 
40ft. deep. Sacks filled with it were carried 
on donkeys' backs to the neighbourhood, and 
waefgons were sent for it from the banks of 
the Severn. 

An enterprising Mr. Jones from Aberga- 
venny rented the farm Llwys for ;^ioo a year, 
but his speculation ruined him, and it required 
full faith in the Welsh adage that " there are 
three chances for a Welshman," Mai tri chynyd 



RICHARD CRAWSHAY. 79 

i Gymrw, to encourage further mining adven- 
ture in that district. There exists a curious 
diary, kept by Mr. Parry, the Vicar of Llangyn- 
wyd, from 1790 to 181 2. He was a coal 
owner, but it appears that the expenses of 
raising the coal exceeded his receipts from the 
sale, though the labourers only received 8d. a 
day. In 1 801 the population of Llangynwyd was 
only 804, but from that time the progress was 
rapid. Blast furnaces were erected, Maesteg 
became a town of importance, the population 
in 1881 had increased to 9,782. In a speech 
made in that year by Mr. Talbot, the Member 
for the county and Lord Lieutenant, on the 
occasion of laying the first stone of the 
Maesteg Town Hall, he said : " Seventy years 
ago this was a gloomy valley, in which the 
only living inhabitants seemed to be an old 
oak tree and a venerable raven." Great as 
the changes at Llangynwyd have already been, 
the probability is that greater are still to be 
expected. Times have changed since the 
boundary between Margam and Llangynwyd 
was settled by following the wild flight of a 
poor idiot while the men of Llangynwyd and 
the men of Margam ranged themselves on 
either side in the endeavour to compel him to 



8o A WELSH FAMILY. 

give them the advantage. The Llynvi and 
Ogmore Railroad now opens up the district, 
and will no doubt eventually tempt the owners 
of property to develop the mineral wealth of 
farms like Maescadlwr and Gilvach Orvydd, 
from which once Mr. Coffin was content to 
supply his household at Bridgend with the coal 
so easily obtained from the surface. 



CHAPTER X. 
GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN. 

NID CADARN OND A FO DRECH NA' I HUNAN. 
HE IS NOT STRONG WHO IS NOT STRONGER THAN 
HIMSELF. 

George Cadogan Morgan, Mrs. Morgan's 
second son, had carried out his purpose of be- 
coming a Minister. He had lately settled at 
Norwich with the Unitarian Congregation at 
the Octagon Chapel in that city, and had 
made the acquaintance of the family of Mr. 
Hurry, a wealthy merchant of Yarmouth. In 
a letter to his mother, February, 1783, he tells 
her "in strict confidence the history of a 
period which has proved the most interesting 
of my life." George Morgan was a very 
fascinating young man. His handsome 
countenance expressed all the bright talent 
and generous enthusiasm for which he was 
remarkable. It was afterwards painted by 
Opie, though the portrait is unfortunately not 



82 A WELSH FAMILY. 

in the possession of his descendants. He was 
of a very ardent nature, fond of science and 
incHned to take very advanced views of 
rehgion and poHtics. It was not the first time 
his heart had been touched. A charming 
young heiress had once before attracted him 
greatly, and it was said had been well disposed 
to encourage his addresses, but his fastidious 
mind recoiled from asking her to share his 
poverty. The story goes that walking by her 
side one day he remarked to her on the 
abundance of T/y/;;^^ in her garden. "Yes," 
she replied, "I'd have you improve it." 
He could not bring himself to take the 
hint and now that he was in love with Nancy 
Hurry, whose people were, to use his words, 
"wealthy, hospitable and generous," he feels 
scruples as to taking advantage of her father's 
liberality. " Mr. Hurry," he tells his mother, 
"had received him most kindly and had said 
that no obstacle should operate on his side, 
and that the matter should rest solely on the 
determination of his daughter. Her youth, 
however, induced him to add that all thought 
of marriage shall be delayed for a year or a 
year and a half." " I know," he continued, 
" that her father will propose to me an annual 



GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN. 83 

salary, and I have so much confidence in his 
goodness that I should not hesitate to consent 
to this. I shall be well satisfied if he will 
make my salary ;^200 a year in all and help 
me to furnish a house. The wealth of the 
family is engaged in a most extensive trade 
and I should be sorry to take from the general 
mass any sum for my private use which may 
be so much better employed elsewhere." Mr. 
Hurry's "connections were such" to use Mr. 
Morgan's words, "as to gratify the fondest 
pride." He was not ambitious for his children, 
being only anxious, as he said, to do all he 
could for each of them. He had many 
daughters, several of them already married. 
The descendants of these daughters were 
many of them remarkable people. Dr. 
Alderson, who had married one sister, was the 
father of Amelia Opie ; Dr. Alderson's brother, 
Mr. Alderson, had preceded Mr. Morgan at 
the Octagon Chapel at Norwich, but having 
left the ministry for the law was afterwards 
Recorder of Norwich and was the father of 
Baron Alderson. One Miss Hurry was the 
wife of Mr. Maurice, also a Unitarian Minister, 
and their son was the late Frederick Denison 
Maurice. Two other daughters were the 



84 A WELSH FAMILY. 

wives of Dr. Goodeve and Captain Tolm6. 
George Morgan's marriage was not long 
delayed and he continued for the next few 
years at Norwich. Although that city was then 
the residence of families whose names, like 
the Martineaus, Taylors and Smiths, were well 
known among Liberals, George Morgan's very 
advanced opinions in religion and politics 
exposed him to no little annoyance from the 
clergy of the Cathedral town. His predecessor, 
Mr. Alderson, had soon exchanged Divinity for 
law. George Morgan found consolation for some 
time in pursuits of science and in the friend- 
ship of Mr. Samuel Bowly, a man of fortune 
and scientific tastes, who lived in Norfolk. 
Like his young friend, he had been roused by 
the account of Dr. Priestley's researches into 
the nature of Phlogiston or Oxygen gas, as it 
was afterwards called. Letters were frequently 
exchanged between George Morgan and this 
gentleman, whose country house was at some 
distance from Norwich, and in those days of 
slow communication this caused no little 
delay ; the correspondence was often conveyed 
by the passing countryman's waggon. In 
1786 Mr. Morgan left Norwich. Dr. Price 
was then in great trouble about his wife. Mrs. 



GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN. 85 

Price was in a very distressing state of weak- 
ness from repeated attacks of palsy, and her 
husband felt her illness to be, as he expressed 
it, "the greatest affliction he had ever met 
with." Her mind remained unimpaired, and 
he described her as often talking of her niece 
Nancy (Mrs. Coffin) , and of her little boy Walter, 
who was born June 7th, 1784. In 1786 Mrs. 
Price died, and though the event had been so 
long expected by Dr. Price the shock to his 
spirits was very great, and he described to his 
sister Mrs. Morgan *' his inexpressible anguish at 
this separation after thirty years of uninterrupted 
happiness." Immediately after her death he 
went for a few weeks to his nephew William 
Morgan, who was then living at Sydenham, 
but such was his deep distress of mind during 
his stay there that he could never be persuaded 
to revisit that place, nor could he ever with- 
out great agitation enter the place of his wife's 
interment. George Morgan came up to his 
uncle in his affliction, and Dr. Price said he 
found " the greatest comfort in his good sense, 
good nature and vivacity ; never could there 
be a time," he adds in his letter to his sister, 
" in which I could want his company and 
assistance more. I hope some event or other 



86 A WELSH FAMILY. 

will be the means of soon bringing him to 
reside in London." There seemed at this 
time some likelihood that George Morgan 
would be chosen to succeed his uncle as 
Minister of the Gravel Pit Chapel at Hackney. 
This would have been a great pleasure to Dr. 
Price, and William Morgan always considered it 
a grave reproach to that congregation that they 
did not thus gratify him. George Morgan's 
theological opinions were, however, no doubt 
too pronounced to be generally acceptable, and 
his connection with the ministry ceased. 
He removed to the neighbourhood of London 
to undertake the education of young men 
of liberal families, and for this work he was 
admirably fitted. The young men who were 
placed with him were many of them members 
of Norfolk families, and through his wife's 
connections and his own, he soon had quite as 
many pupils as he could receive in the house 
he took at Southgate. It was a great pleasure 
to Dr. Price to have his nephew George 
settled near him. For himself he now felt it 
necessary to settle on a new plan of life, and 
his thoughts turned at once to his sister, Mrs. 
Morgan. He wrote to her begging her to 
come up and keep his house and live with 



GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN. 87 

him. *' He reckoned," he added, "upon this 
not only contributing to his own comfort but 
as being Hkely to prove conducive to hers." 
He urged her therefore to fix an early time for 
coming to him with her only unmarried 
daughter, Sally. He decided also to quit 
Newington Green, where he had lived for so 
many years, for another house at Hackney. 
It was a great effort to him to do this, but he 
had several reasons for the change. He took 
a great interest in the establishment of a 
Hberal College at Hackney. This was 
rendered necessary then in order to replace 
Coward's Academy, which had been conducted 
on the most rigid and Calvinistic basis and 
which had lately been removed into the 
country. To aid the efforts of the liberal men 
who subscribed ^20,000 to found the new 
College, Dr. Price undertook to discharge 
gratuitously the duties of mathematical tutor. 
He also occasionally preached the afternoon 
sermon in the Unitarian Chapel at Hackney, 
continuing these services for two years after 
his wife's death. 

Mrs. Morgan's removal to London after 
so many years of country life seems to 
have been a success. There had always 



88 A WELSH FAMILY. 

been great sympathy between her brother and 
herself. " My mother seems to enjoy as much 
health as usual, and to be upon the whole hap- 
pier than I expected," wrote William Morgan 
to his sister Mrs. Coffin in 1787. He adds 
" both she and Sally have the best man in the 
world to live with and they appear to be as 
much mistresses of themselves as if they were 
at Newcastle. They are out almost every 
afternoon or engaged with company at home." 
Mrs. Morgan had both her sons near her. 
Her eldest son William was building one 
of the first houses on Stamford Hill, then quite 
a rural neighbourhood. He had taken a 99 
years' lease of a long strip of land afford- 
ing ample space for good kitchen and flower 
gardens, lawns and paddocks, and command- 
ing an uninterrupted view over the country 
which was bounded by the Highgate Hills. 
Here was erected a commodious house, at a 
cost which, as is usual in such cases, exceeded 
Mr. Morgan's expectation and almost drove 
him, it was said, into a fever. His fortune, 
however, was even then rapidly growing, and 
the house he had made was a source of 
pleasure for many years to himself and to 
many others. The original Rothschild was 



GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN. 8g 

his neighbour. A quickset hedge only sepa- 
rated the two financial geniuses. They were 
generally very good friends, but it is said that 
occasionally when they were not on such 
cordial terms caustic remarks might be heard 
through the slight barrier that divided them. 
A pleasant walk through the fields led to 
Southgate, the residence of George Morgan, 
and the young people of the two families 
enjoyed frequent intercourse. 



go 



CHAPTER XL 
SOUTHGATE. 

NI CHAIS Y DA ARHOED Y DRWG 

WHOSO WILL NOT SEEK GOOD LET HIM AWAIT 

EVIL. 

Those who have visited Southgate in recent 
times have been surprised to see the modest 
size of the house in which Mr. George Morgan 
spent years that left such dehghtful impressions 
on his pupils. There must have been a won- 
derful fascination in him, to judge from the 
ardent affection felt for him by these young men 
— Cayleys,Ashburners and Boddingtons — who 
were his friends while he lived and who some 
of them treasured his memory to the end of 
long lives. He succeeded in inspiring these 
young men with his own love of science and in 
interesting them in the work of his laboratory. 
No one who reads his lectures on Electricity 
can wonder at the enthusiasm he was able to 
arouse in youthful minds. He had the power 
of influencing many with scientific tastes which 



SOUTHGATE. 



91 



they never lost and which were transmitted to 
succeeding generations. Professor Cayley, 
the eminent mathematician, who was lately 
the President of the British Association, is a 
relative or descendant of Sir George Cayley, 
one of Mr. Morgan's pupils devoted to the 
memory of his master. When quite old Sir 
George expressed great delight at meeting 
Walter Coffin, a nephew of Mr. Morgan's (who 
was said to be wonderfully like his uncle) at 
Stamford Hill, at the house of Mr. Arthur 
Morgan, another of his nephews. The like- 
ness revived in Sir George Cayley's mind 
many pleasant recollections of the years spent 
at Southgate. The arrangements there he 
described as marked by a delightful simplicity. 
Such was the charm of Mr. Morgan's character 
and the generosity of his disposition that his 
pupils, though most of them members of wealthy 
families, always looked back oh their life with 
him with delight. Electricity was the branch 
of science which chiefly attracted him. It 
was then quite in its infancy. Dr. Franklin 
(whom George Morgan had met at his uncle 
Dr. Price's house), had only recently dis- 
covered the identity of electricity and light- 
ning. Mr. Morgan anticipated with prophetic 



92 A WELSH FAMILY. 

insight the direction in which great results 
were Hkely to be produced by the new science. 
" In Chemistry " — he says in his lectures — 
" much may be rationally expected from 
electricity, which separates the component 
parts of fluids, and of those substances on which 
the strongest fire of a reverbatory has no effect, 
and which is capable of being applied with 
accuracy and ease where no other cause of 
change is applicable — for the properties of 
fluids and solids are found to have been 
changed when previously exposed to the 
electric fluid." — Mr. Cavendish had decom- 
posed water by the aid of electricity in 
1781. " In Mechanics," he says, " it is surely 
reasonable to expect that a power may be 
highly advantageous which acts with un- 
paralleled velocity, and which overcomes the 
most obstinate resistance, for the object of 
Mechanics is the commencement, the increase, 
and the management of force." He had 
observed that Electricity had the power of 
arresting the motion of animal and vegetable 
juices in the minutest channels, he therefore 
" felt a strong presumption that it may hasten 
not only the growth of plants but add much 
to their size and produce several extra- 



SOUTHGATE. 93 

ordinary changes in their internal properties 
and in their external appearances." He 
foresees " the possibility of firing that danger- 
ous ingredient, gunpowder, by the aid of the 
electric fluid"; and the following passage on 
the transmission of force foreshadows the 
discovery of the electric telegraph (Lectures, 
vol. ii., page 306). " Our atmosphere is 
throughout its vast dimensions each moment 
agitated by millions of co-instantaneous 
changes, and for our purpose it is of no conse- 
quence where the required change takes place. 
Were it in New Holland or at the Antipodes 
a connection would be instantly formed be- 
tween the remote but opposite situations by 
the conducting power of the earth." He had 
himself the soul of the philosopher he describes : 
" who has the conviction that to follow Nature 
is to follow the sure road to boundless attain- 
ments, for its treasures fill the universe." 
For Dr. Franklin he had the greatest admira- 
tion, and he anticipated the time when it will 
be acknowledged "that no tyrannical hero 
had ever proved more beneficial to his species 
than the Republican, who, when he had dis- 
armed the clouds of their fury, armed his 
countrymen on the very same spot in the cause 



94 A WELSH FAMILY 

of Freedom and Humanity." Throughout his 
Hfe George Morgan was an ardent Liberal, 
his sympathies were all with the people, and 
he was deeply interested in the republican 
movements of his times. Scarcely had the 
American Revolution ended when there 
were symptoms of approaching trouble in 
France. Many of the distinguished French- 
men who had, by their writings, paved the 
\ , way for changes in that country, had long been 
', intimate with Dr. Price, at whose house 
' George Morgan had met several of them. 

The desperate condition of French finance 
had formed the subject of correspondence 
between Dr. Price and Turgot, Necker and 
Condorcet. The French Government were 
blind to the danger of their financial embarrass- 
ments. An empty exchequer had been 
bequeathed to Louis XVL It had been 
drained by the luxurious and wasteful expen- 
diture of Court and King and it had hitherto 
been replenished solely by the taxation of the 
toiling multitudes. No more could now be 
wrung from them. Turgot and Necker had 
both insisted on the necessity of taxing the 
nobility and clergy, but had both failed to 
enforce their counsels. The classes now 



SOUTHGATE. 95 

threatened were sufficiently powerful to offer a 
strong resistance and to impose conditions in 
return for compliance. They demanded a 
voice in the imposition of taxation, and at 
length the demand for representation became 
too imperious to be refused. A National 
Assembly was summoned and for the first 
time the representatives of all classes of 
the French people met at Versailles in 
1789. The hopes of the friends of free- 
dom ran high, in spite of the unworthy 
attempts of the Government to deprive the 
Assembly of all real significance by its refusal 
to let the difi"erent classes verify their powers 
in concert. It was at this momentous crisis 
that George Morgan set out with three English 
friends on a holiday tour through France, the 
record of which remains in a series of letters 
written by him to his wife. 



96 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE 
IN 1789. 

LLINYN RHY DYNN HAWDD Y TYRR. 
A STRING TOO TIGHT IS EASILY BROKEN. 

The party which accompanied Mr. George 
Morgan to France in the summer of 1789 
consisted of Dr. Rigby, a physician from 
Norwich, of Mr. Boddington and of Mr. 
Olyett Woodhouse, two young men of for- 
tune — ''our English Beaux" as Mr. Morgan 
calls them. They landed at Calais on the 
4th July, 1789, and travelled through Lisle 
and French Flanders to Paris, where they 
arrived on the 9th July. There was nothing 
to warn them of the impending outbreak of 
revolution in what they saw of the fertile 
country and its peaceful industrious inhabi- 
tants. Yet the elements of disorder can now 
be traced in the pictures Mr. Morgan drew in 
his letters of hard-working peasants cultivating 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 97 

with incessant toil every inch of ground even 
to the ditches, of women laden with heavy 
burdens, of swarms of soldiers and priests, of 
citadels, cathedrals and monasteries — so many 
* ' varieties, ' ' he says, * * of slavery, mummery and \/^ 
folly" — 'of hundreds of boys and girls barred and 
bolted up between the dark walls of convents, 
" who were receiving an education which could 
give neither a spirit of independence nor of free- 
dom." He observed "vast tracts of land 
devoted to the enjoyment of the nobles by a 
wasteful tyranny, while there was no trace of 
that ease and indolence which distinguished the 
farmers and their ladies in England, and an 
absence of all sight of the opulence of a middle 
class. Indifference or superstition reigned in 
the ceremonies of the churches, and the only 
symptom of religion was seen in the harmless 
gaiety of the peasants on Sunday afternoons 
when, after attending mass, they paraded the 
streets in large bodies." " If to enjoy is to be 
grateful, they were devout," and, says Mr. 
Morgan, " I would rather break the sabbath 
with them in their innocent mirth, than keep 
it with those Methodists who return from an 
interview with the best of beings with gloom 
on their brows and the rancour of bigotry in 

G 



98 A WELSH FAMILY. 

their hearts." On the gth of July the party 
arrived in Paris and took up their abode in an 
hotel close to the Palais Royal. "We had 
just returned on the 12th from a visit to 
Versailles," wrote Mr. Morgan, " from the 
sight of the National Assembly, where all had 
appeared to us to be quiet, when rumours of the 
flight of Necker alarmed the company at the 
table d'hote. This, however, was contradicted 
a little later. We went to the theatre and 
there on the raising of the curtain the 
manager came forward to say we were to 
have no play, and being asked why, he replied 
that the people at the door commanded it. 
All the streets leading to the Palais Royal 
were blocked, the cxy aux armes resounded from 
thousands of throats. The Dragoons, it was 
said, were firing on the citizens, and the people 
rushed off to the scene of action, leaving the 
Palais Royal deserted for a time. Alarmed 
by the approach of shrieking bands we 
returned to the citadel of our hotel. There 
during the whole night we surveyed the 
mob as they passed and repassed. The 
sky was red with fires, the air full of the 
reports of guns and of the cries of women. 
At one time the doors of a gunsmith living 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 99 

just beneath our rooms were violently assailed, 
but the arms had already been seized by 
another party. The scene of action was then 
removed to a distant part of the town." 

For several days the English party were 
detained at Paris, for when they first attempted 
to leave, the mob interfered, taking them for 
spies, and drove them with insults and abuse 
back to their lodgings. The King's entrance 
without his guards into Paris, and the demoli- 
tion of the Bastille, produced a lull which 
enabled them to proceed on their journey. 
They left Paris rejoicing in the belief that 
peace and liberty were restored, and neither 
then nor on their further travels through 
France did they seem to have apprehended 
the tremendous nature of the revolution of 
which they had just witnessed the commence- 
ment. As they proceeded on their tour they 
were often stopped by crowds enquiring for 
news from Paris. It was received with loud 
applause, and everywhere the cry of Vive la 
Nation ! Toujours le Tiers Etat ! was heard. 
Through the forest of Fontainebleau ('' the 
desolated regions of the King's splendid 
pleasure"), through the land of -vineyards 
on the banks of rivers like the Seine ("as 



loo A WELSH FAMILY. 

large as the Thames at Richmond"), the 
EngHsh party travelled on in their English 
coach with postillions in jack boots, to Dijon 
and to Lyons. They were charmed with the 
country, the climate, and the people. The 
manners of the citizens struck them as more 
polite and obliging than those of Englishmen, 
and Mr. Morgan was so much impressed with 
the advantages to be enjoyed in this land 
with a moderate income (for he hears that 
two hundred a year would be affluence in 
some parts of the country) that he almost 
wishes he could settle there now that a 
revolution in favour of peace and liberty 
has been accomplished. Everywhere they 
found the people rejoicing over the news 
from Paris, taking up arms for freedom, 
as at Dijon, Nismes, and Aix, the Capital 
of Provence, where they found "4,000 Mar- 
seillians just departing, who had marched 
thither, commanded by a priest, to require 
the liberation of sixty prisoners whom the 
noblesse had confined. The prison doors 
were thrown open, and these sons of liberty 
marched with the captives in triumph to 
Marseilles." At Lyons they found the citizens 
had taken up arms some time before the 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. loi 

revolution at Paris. The ruins of a barrier 
which the populace had burnt was a proof 
that the Lyonese had "shown that indepen- 
dent republican spirit " for which Mr. Morgan 
says "they have always been remarkable." 
Lyons had then a population of 18,000. The 
streets were full of high houses of seven stories, 
and its suburbs were adorned with the country 
seats of the citizens, who lived out of the town 
during nine months of the year. The English 
party had an opportunity of staying at the 
country house of a merchant of Lyons, who 
was extremely civil to them and entertained 
them most hospitably. He pointed out to 
them the house in which he lived when in 
town, six hundred people were accommodated 
in it and it brought in a rent of 2,000 guineas. 
From Lyons to Avignon they proceeded down 
the Rhone in a boat which they hired for nine 
sous. The rapidity of a stream nearly half a 
mile wide in many places, struck them as very 
remarkable. They were charmed with the 
first view of Marseilles. They found its 
streets full of an armed multitude. Fourteen 
thousand citizens had enrolled themselves, 
and there was great rejoicing over the captives 
just released from the prison at Aix. Occasion- 



I02 A WELSH FAMILY 

ally the "spirit of liberty" had been displayed 
in rather a troublesome manner to the 
travellers. At one place the traces of their 
carriage were cut, but a polite commander soon 
rode up and apologized for " the little excesses 
of a people who had just shaken off their 
fetters." At Antibes the Governor objected 
to their passports, solely, as they afterwards 
discovered, that he might learn the news of 
Paris, and when they reached Italy the 
curiosity of the English Consul to hear news 
from France brought him to their lodgings. 
It was at Geneva, however, that the travellers 
were most deeply impressed with the beneficial 
effects of the Revolution. " The joyful effects 
of liberty and equality were visible in the 
absence of lazy priests, and of lounging officers. 
There was no detention at its gates. A 
wooden bench in one of the streets was pointed 
out to them, where judges sat to try criminals 
* that all their fellow citizens might testify to 
the justice of their sentences.' " They were 
fortunate in their friend Mr. Pasteur, who did 
the honours of Geneva to them, and pressed 
them heartily to prolong their stay. 

The meteor of the hour then was Prince 
Edward, the fourth son of George IV., after- 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 103 

wards Duke of Kent, the Queen's father, who 
was placed there with a tutor. The young 
Prince was not a model of republican sim- 
plicity. He was entertaining the inhabitants 
with splendid concerts, at which he favoured 
them with his own musical performances, and 
he was spending with royal extravagance. 
The appearance of the women of Geneva, the 
wives and daughters of the citizens, greatly 
pleased Mr. Morgan. He commends their 
di^ess. " They wear no stays, they daub 
themselves with no paint, the dancing master 
has not distorted their limbs, and every part 
of their dress appears to the best advantage, 
for it obviously appears to answer some useful 
purpose." The formal dress and behaviour of 
the children in France on the other hand had 
greatly amused the travellers, and are described 
by Mr. Morgan for the " entertainment of dear 
Sarah and George at home." " If they lived in 
France," they are told, " they would be dressed 
like the finest ladies and gentlemen they ever 
saw. Miss Sarah would strut along with a 
large roll on her head, with her locks frizzled 
and powdered, with a stay that would make 
her sides as stiff and erect as a brick wall, with 
a fan in her hand as big as herself, and with a 



I04 A WELSH FAMILY. 

petticoat that would sweep up all the dust 
from her own to her cousin's house. She 
would also have high heels. I have seen 
ladies little older than herself thus dressed in 
France. Mr. George would have his hair 
powdered, a long queue would hang down his 
back. He would have a coat with flaps, and 
sleeves big enough to set his wind-mill going. 
His waistcoat would likewise be laced, his 
breeches would change his little thighs into 
the shape of a rolling pin and every time he 
met papa and mamma he would be obliged 
to bow till his nose touched the ground. One 
of the most ludicrous sights I have seen in 
France, was a procession of these little men 
in miniature, led by a schoolmaster, who was 
an overgrown schoolboy, dressed in the same 
ludicrous manner." Throughout this journey 
Mr. Morgan suffered terribly from the want of 
cleanliness at the inns. The beds were so 
infested with vermin that he says, " I have 
generally lain upon the floor, or on a couch 
wrapped up in a blanket, to avoid these legions 
of fury and blood." Great were the hardships 
they encountered on their journey from Geneva 
to Chamouny. It was even then much 
frequented by tourists, while the accommoda- 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 105 

tion was very inadequate. All the horses on 
the way there had been secured by an English 
company, and no choice was left them but to 
proceed on foot for the last eighteen miles of 
their journey. For a while they forgot their 
fatigue in chatting with one of their guides, a 
shoemaker who had read Voltaire, and who 
disbelieved in a devil, but when they had gone 
a little further the whole company presented 
a most forlorn spectacle. Mr. Boddington's 
lameness became apparent, Olyett Wood- 
house for once walked directly forward, and 
poor Rigby groaned and cursed the fashion of 
1786, when it was not right that a coat 
should button — a linen waistcoat which the 
rain had thoroughly wetted proved a very 
unsatisfactory covering ; Mr. Morgan himself 
was quite out of breath. Every lodging at 
Chamouny was full, and the travellers were 
glad to throw themselves on the benches round 
the kitchen fire, until a neighbouring farmer 
took pity on them and gave them a room, 
and some straw to lie on, where the fleas 
allowed them but little rest. They were 
roused before seven next morning by the 
guides, with the news that the day was clear. 
The very summit of Mont Blanc was visible, 



io6 A WELSH FAMILY. 

and after a rough ascent of three hours, they 
were rewarded by a splendid view of the mer 
de glace. So glorious was the sight, that they 
scarcely felt the fatigue of having walked 
twenty-one miles, after all they had gone 
through on the preceding day. They were 
further consoled by the sight of sunrise over 
Mont Blanc, and by the journey through the 
Vale of Chamouny. The valley had then 
about 3,000 inhabitants. Every peasant was 
a freeholder of his own farm. They paid 
nothing to the priests, owing their exemption 
to their having purchased the valley from a 
neighbouring monastery. Their prosperity, 
however, was even then due, according to the 
guide, to the English, whose money had 
absolutely given a new aspect to the Vale. 
With the journey of the party through 
Lausanne and Basle Mr. Morgan's narrative 
ends. His last letter closes by saying that 
" it " (the tour) '* has cost me a deal of trouble, 
but it has rewarded me with a world of ideas." 



I07 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE 

(continued). 

A LYGRWYS DUW A LYGRWYS DYN. 
HE DISHONOURS GOD WHO INJURES MAN 

Dr. Rigby, one of Mr. Morgan's three com 
panions in 1789, also recorded his impressions 
of the journey in a series of letters to his family 
which were published by his daughter, Lady 
Eastlake, in 1880. A complete sympathy 
united the travellers. They felt the same 
admiration for France, and its inhabitants. 
" I have been much pleased with the country," 
says Dr. Rigby, " and I have been delighted 
with the people — industry, cheerfulness and 
good sense are conspicuous marks in their 
character. The late political event, so impor- 
tant to their future welfare, has been brought 
about by the courage and perseverance of 
the middle ranks, who appear to me more 
enlightened here than with us." 



io8 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Mr. Morgan's last letter was from Basle, 
whence Dr. Rigby traced their journey through 
Germany and Holland. They quitted France 
at Strasburg, to proceed down the Rhine 
through several petty German States. " How 
every country and every people we have seen 
since we left France sink by comparison with 
that animated country," says Dr. Rigby. 
" Nature has been equally kind to Germany 
as to France, for it has a fertile soil, but as 
yet the inhabitants live under an oppressive 
Government. Tyranny and superstition seem 
to have taken up their abode here, the land is 
never cultivated in the dominions of a tyrant." 
In all these small States they found palaces 
built with great magnificence for the princes 
who owned the greater part of the surrounding 
territory, but very little land cultivated for the 
support of the people, and no trade. The 
bad arrangements for travellers, the terrible 
state of the roads, and the rascality of the 
postmasters both in Germany and Holland — 
where there was " nothing but fraud and im- 
position," — spoiled the enjoyment of the last 
part of the journey, though it led through the 
beautiful scenery on the banks of the Rhine. 
Both Dr. Rigby and Mr. Morgan were men 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 109 

of science and enthusiastic admirers of the 
beauties of Nature. 

Of their first evening at Dover, Dr. Rigby 
gave a charming account, describing their 
ramble by moonhght on the pebbly beach, on 
which " the yellow-horned poppy grows abun- 
dantly." " My companions," he says, "were 
well disposed to enjoy the scene, and our 
gratification was much increased by Morgan's 
admirable remarks on the formation of the 
earth, the changes which this globe has under- 
gone, the constant fluctuations of the sea, and 
such subjects." Throughout the journey the 
beauty of the scenery and the botanical wealth 
of the country are described by Dr. Rigby. 
"You must smile," he remarks in one of his 
letters, "when you find me constantly saying 
that the last scenes surpass in beauty all the 
former ones." The travellers brought intro- 
ductions to many eminent scientific men, and 
Dr. Rigby visited the hospitals under the 
guidance of distinguished physicans. He was 
especially pleased with that at Dijon. "Charity 
and good sense," he says, "seem to have 
built it. It is large and lofty, outside the 
walls of the city, receiving the pure air from the 
neighbouring mountains and hills. There are 



no A WELSH FAMILY. 

300 beds, all of iron, as neat and clean as any 
Quaker at Norwich. The wards are very wide, 
at least thirty feet high. I could detect 
nowhere the slightest impure or offensive 
smell." Very inferior was the hospital at Lyons, 
full of sanitary defects, to which Dr. Rigby 
was keenly alive. The account given by Dr. 
Rigby of the days spent in Paris before and 
after the taking of the Bastille was not written 
till the party had left the city, as he thought it 
more prudent to delay doing so till then, and 
it is therefore much fuller than that given by 
Mr. Morgan. He describes the visit to the 
ruins of the Bastille and speaks of the two 
poor rescued prisoners, dazed with their long 
confinement in the prison, and of the passage 
of the King through Paris. There is a graphic 
account of the many difficulties which pre- 
vented the departure of the party from the 
city for several days. Their first attempt to 
do so was unsuccessful. They had been 
advised by the Magistrates sitting at the 
Hotel de Ville, who gave them passports, to 
defer their departure for a few days, but they 
resolved to make the attempt, and after 
repeated stoppages at various points through 
Paris they were obliged to return to their 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. iii 

hotel on this occasion. At one place their 
carriage was searched, their baggage was 
taken down, and fresh passports had to be 
procured. At the last barrier the mob became 
very impatient and while three of the travellers 
were waiting for the return of one of the 
party with a fresh passport, the situation grew 
very unpleasant. A curious incident relieved 
them from it. A woman in the crowd who 
had been very clamorous against them sud- 
denly sprang forward to their servant, who was 
on horseback behind the carriage, and 
embraced him, crying out " My dear brother, 
is it you ? " He was really her brother and 
they had not seen each other for many years. 
This sudden and unexpected meeting changed 
the whole aspect of affairs. The woman 
instantly became their advocate and the crowd 
was soothed and interested. Dr. Rigby des- 
cribes the last days of the tour. It ended 
on September 6th, when they reached 
Helvoetliuys and took ship in Captain Flynn's 
packet for Harwich. On the way there, Dr. 
Rigby and Mr. Morgan, seeing a fishing boat 
bound for Yarmouth, got on board her, and 
having landed at the jetty at that place they 
were quickly conveyed to Norwich in a chaise. 



112 A WELSH FAMILY. 

It happened that the descendants or rela- 
tions of Mr, Morgan and Dr. Rigby were 
destined to encounter each other, at long 
intervals of time, in a manner as unexpected 
as the meeting of the French brother and 
sister at Paris. The following passage 
extracted from a letter written by Mr. 
Morgan's nephew, John Morgan Williams 
(the eldest son of his sister Mrs. Williams), 
refers to an incident which occurred forty 
years after the taking of the Bastille. In 
1861 Mr. Williams, writing to his eldest 
daughter, narrated his adventures on his only 
visit to Paris in the year 1830. " My recol- 
lections of Paris," he says, " are of a faded 
description, but some will cleave to my 
memory. I will endeavour to remember what 
most interested me. First, the Jardin des 
Plantes, the Bibliotheque Royale, the site of 
the old Bastille, Pere la Chaise, the Louvre 
(where I met and was introduced to Sir David 
Wilkie), the Champs Elysees, the Palais 
Royal (where I formed an acquaintance with 
a priest, and made Latin the happy medium 
of exchanging thought). I remember the 
Boulevards, and the splendid appearance of 
French troops marching over them, I travelled 



THE TOUR THROUGH FRANCE. 113 

with a very kind gentleman, who gave me very 
useful information, and a strange circum- 
stance occurred which I will now tell you of. 
When I left London, my intention was to visit 
Boulogne and return, but between Calais and 
that place he persuaded me to go on to Paris, 
with a very scanty supply of cash in my pocket. 
All I had for my travels was ;^io, but off I set 
via Amiens, and arrived by diligence at head- 
quarters. I told my friend that an uncle of 
mine was in Paris at the destruction of the 
Bastille, and that he was the first to commu- 
nicate the event to England. He rejoined, 

* I do not know how that could have occurred, 
for my brother-in-law was there likewise, 
and he was supposed to have done so.' I 
said that my uncle had travelled with Dr. 
Rigby and one or two more. He then said, 

* He was my brother-in-law, and I am 
Dawson Turner, a Yarmouth banker." 

Many years later the eldest son of the writer 
of this letter — a grand-nephew of George 
Cadogan Morgan — found himself connected 
with a descendant of Dr. Rigby's, two of whose 
daughters had married Russian barons. 
Morgan Williams was an engineer, and was 
engaged for some years in the construction of 

H 



114 A WELSH FAMILY. 

railroads in the Baltic provinces. The line 
ran through the estate of a lady who became 
his wife, and he found that her brother General 
Manderstierna had married a granddaughter 
of Dr. Rigby's, the child of his daughter, 
Baroness Rosen. The " Letters from the 
Baltic " which had lately given such a charm- 
ing account of that little-known country, were 
written by the Miss Rigby afterwards Lady 
Eastlake. 



115 



CHAPTER XIV. 

DR. PRICE AND THE FRENCH 
REVOLUTION. 

GWELL UN GAIR YN MLAEN NA DAU YN OL. 
BETTER ONE WORD BEFORE THAN TWO AFTER. 

The sanguine hopes for France with which 
Mr. Morgan returned home were shared by 
his uncle Dr. Price and by all his friends. 
During the autumn of 1789 such was the 
eagerness with which Dr. Price watched the 
progress of the revolution, that he could 
scarcely be persuaded to take his usual journey 
to the seacoast of Glamorganshire. Though 
in weak health he exerted himself to preach a 
sermon at the Old Jewry on the subject, which 
excited such enthusiasm that an overflowing 
congregation could hardly be restrained from 
bursting into open shouts of applause. On 
the 14th July, 1790, he was present at a dinner 
given at the " Crown and Anchor" tavern in 
the Strand, to celebrate the first anniversary 
of the revolution. Lord Stanhope presided. 



\l 



ii6 A WELSH FAMILY. 

\ The toast, " An alliance between Great Britain 
I and France for perpetuating peace, and 
I making the whole world free and happy," was 
j proposed by Dr. Price in a speech which was 
so warmly approved that it was resolved to 
transmit it to the Due de la Rochefoucauld, 
" the good Duke " as Dr. Price always called 
him. It was read twice in the National 
Assembly, all the members standing uncovered. 
During these years many interesting commu- 
nications from eminent Frenchmen were 
received by Dr. Price. An address from the 
district of Quimper in Brittany, thanking him 
for his speech, reached him in 1790, and 
many letters from the Due de la Rochefoucauld 
prove the cordial friendship that existed 
between them. " I am grateful to Heaven," 
said Dr. Price, "for having extended my life 
so that, after sharing the benefits of one revo- 
lution, I have been spared to be a witness of 
two other revolutions, both glorious." The 
three principles for which he had always 
contended were recognized in France. " First, 
the right of liberty of conscience in religious 
matters ; secondly, the right to resist power 
when abused ; and thirdly, the right of choos- 
ing their own governors, of cashiering them 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 117 

for misconduct, and of framing their own 
government." He did not live to see the 
miseries through which France was fated to 
pass before these principles were firmly estab- 
lished. The violation of them by the rest 
of Europe retarded progress, while the long 
course of oppression and misgovernment 
which had prevailed in France was responsible 
for the ignorance and brutality displayed by 
the nation. Dr. Price felt keenly for the 
people. In his mind the terrible evils under 
which they had so long lain prostrate were so 
demoralizing that the only wonder was that 
they had been roused at last to resistance. 
The virulent attacks made upon him by 
Burke for his " sympathy with revolution " 
did not disturb his tranquillity. His speech at 
the banquet on the 14th July, 1790, was his 
last public effort. Soon afterwards he went 
with his sister Mrs. Morgan into Wales, en- 
joying his stay at the seaside at Newton, near 
Bridgend, and the society of his nieces and 
their children for the last time. Some of the 
younger generation were well able to remember 
the last visit of Dr. Price and to recall the 
charm of his presence. " His company," says 
Mr. Rogers, "always afforded pleasure to 



ii8 A .WELSH FAMILY. 

young and old," and as an illustration of this, 
he tells how he himself, with five or six young 
men who loved Dr. Price's society, once 
attended him on his journey back to town 
from Brighton as far as the Devil's Dyke, 
and that when this party were passing through 
Horsham, a gentleman ran after them to solicit 
Dr. Price to return and sleep at his house that 
night. "It would," he said, "confer the 
greatest favour on himself and the ladies who 
were with him, as to them all the highest 
possible gratification would be 'an evening 
spent with Dr. Price,' " who however was 
unable to grant the request. During the 
last two years of his life he had to mourn the 
death of several of his friends. Dr. Shipley, the 
Bishop of St. Asaph, and Dr. Adams, the 
Master of Pembroke College, died in 1789. 
They were both old and valued friends. Only 
a few days before the latter died he wrote a 
touching letter to Dr. Price, expressing a hope 
that "their friendship, which had so long been 
cultivated to their mutual happiness in this 
world, might be continued forever in a better." 
In September, 1789, he received from Moscow 
a letter from the philanthropist Howard, 
written not long before his death from the 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. 119 

plague at Cherson, and early the next year, 
April 24th, 1790, a letter from Philadelphia 
informed him of the death of Dr. Frank- 
lin. " Dr. Price's warm and affectionate 
spirit," said Mr. Rogers, '^ could never endure 
any severe and frigid system of Philosophy. 
' I cannot but consider the friendships con- 
tracted between pious persons here,' he would 
say, ' as only the commencement of a com- 
munion which is to be renewed in a better 
world, and go on for ever.' " This last illness 
was due to a chill contracted while attending the 
funeral of a friend at Bunhill Fields. "That 
wa}^ of attending funerals is the sure way of 
sending the living after the dead," had been 
his remark on his return from such a ceremony 
a few weeks before. His illness was a very 
painful one, but in his utmost agonies he 
uttered neither sigh nor murmur. " His 
patience and resignation never failed," says 
Mr. Rogers, and "when in great pain, he 
checked himself from groaning, saying he would 
not contract that habit." During the last 
hours he gently reclined upon his bed, observ- 
ing " all was now over ;" and when asked how 
he was, replied "not worse but going to 
another world." The news of his death was 



I20 A WELSH FAMILY. 

received with great sorrow both in America 
and in France. The National Assembly, the 
Jacobins, and indeed all France, went into 
mourning for six days. His loss was deeply 
felt by his sister Mrs. Morgan and her children. 
His nephew George had occasion that same 
year to write to his pupil. Sir George Cayley, 
on the death of his father. '* Death," he said, 
" is only a link in that endless series of good 
designed for man by the omnipotent benevo- 
lence of Heaven. Whether I study the 
moral, the material, or political history of man, 
my mind is impelled with perpetual recurrence 
to one conclusion, that every peculiarity of 
form, of power, of propensity, of instinct and 
of knowledge, is designed for my happiness. 
If I differ from another creature, the difference 
is called forth by some diversity of circum- 
stances, the good of which can be obtained only 
by a certain change in the means employed. 
In short all differences, from the least to the 
greatest, bear this character." 




'•! 1^ 



121 



CHAPTER XV. 

GEORGE MORGAN AND IRELAND 

IN 1798. 

GWRAWL NI FYDD DISGIFRITH. 
THE BRAVE WILL NOT BE CRUEL. 

Mrs. Morgan and her children were 
thoroughly imbued with Dr. Price's liberal 
views. During the trying times that followed 
neither she nor her sons ever wavered in their 
allegiance to the cause of freedom. The 
excesses of the French Revolution produced a 
great reaction even in the minds of its early 
friends. It became dangerous to adhere to 
the popular side and to entertain what were 
considered revolutionary opinions. It was not 
safe to associate with the more conspicuous 
actors, but both at Stamford Hill and at 
Southgate a kind welcome was still extended 
to them. The press was not free : George 
Morgan was warned against printing the life 
of Dr. Price as he had intended, since it in- 




122 A WELSH FAMILY. 

volved a history of his connection with the 
struggles for civil and religious liberty. " I 
hoped to have published my uncle's life," he 
wrote, "but I am sadly frightened by poor 
Johnstone's conviction. Most probably he 
will be kept in gaol long enough to ruin both 
his health and his property." The last years 
of the eighteenth century were remarkable 
for a violent reaction which seemed to put a 
stop to the world's progress. " The aspect of 
public affairs becomes everyday more gloomy," 
wrote George Morgan to his mother. " Not 
a hope of peace is ever indulged, and the ex- 
pense of the civil war raging in Ireland makes 
the prospect of further burdens intolerable. 
The state of things in that country can admit 
of no change for the worse. The grounds 
neglected, the roads covered with putrid 
bodies. In all directions burning and burnt 
houses. The villages changed into barracks, 
and in many places daily executions. Some 
flogged, some half hanged, and the horrid 
spear spikes elevated with the bleeding heads 
of the rebels fixed on them. I have it on good 
authority that 30,000 Irish have already fallen, 
and those who write on the aristocratic side 
from thence declare that much greater destruc- 



GEORGE MORGAN. 123 

tion must precede tranquillity. The Irish have 
adopted a mode of warfare which must prolong 
the contest for years. They are more numer- 
ous than ever, but they never come to battle 
excepting when they can't help it. Mr. Pitt 
is perfectly recovered, and is apparently in 
high spirits. Nothing now divides the Cabinet 
but their doubts whether an}^ lenity is to be 
shown to the Irish or whether the whole body 
of Catholics are to be exterminated as the 
only cure for the prevailing evils." Things in 
Ireland went from bad to worse, and a few 
months later Mr. Morgan thus alludes to the 
state of affairs to his mother. "There is no 
describing to you the public anxiety about the 
late defeat in Ireland. Every person is with 
wide-staring eyes looking for the next mail, as 
when the last dispatches came away the two 
armies were close to each other. Nothing 
could be more unexpected than Lalli's disas- 
ter, and we have not a doubt of Cornwallis 
repairing the injury with great ease. Indeed, 
it is humiliating to think that 700 men should 
beat 4,000, but as Cornwallis can bring 20,000 
into the field, it is scarcely possible that the 
French should make any progress unless rein- 
forced from their own country, or by a general 



124 A WELSH FAMILY. 

rising of the Irish." Europe was convulsed at 
this time by the panic caused by Buonaparte, 
and the most alarming rumours of his move- 
ments were abroad. It was said he had gone 
to India, and that his campaign would begin 
with Bombay. Mr. Morgan's friends, the 
Ashburners, had property there, and the two 
brothers, William and Luke, who had been 
his pupils, had gone to India when they left 
him. In 1798 Luke made a most perilous 
journey home, which Mr. Morgan thus des- 
cribes : " He travelled across part of the desert, 
along the Euphrates, then up the Tigris, then 
through Asia Minor to Constantinople, whence 
he travelled through Turkey, Hungary and 
Germany. He had well-nigh lost his life in 
the snow. For weeks and weeks he had no 
lodging but that in which he and his horse 
littered together. As he came through Austria 
he witnessed immense warlike preparations. 
There was at the time a hope that the French 
and Austrians would soon again come to blows, 
but he was told that the Austrian Councils 
were under the direction of the Empress, and 
that she was guided by a man in the pay of 
the French, while the Emperor himself was 
employed from morning to night in making 



GEORGE MORGAN. 125 

cakes for his deer, of which he was exceedingly 
fond. He seldom attended the Council, and 
when he did the Empress was always at his 
elbow." These were depressing times for 
Liberals like the Morgans, who had been so 
sanguine that the days of arbitrary power were ' 
numbered. 

The financial affairs of the country were 
suffering. William Morgan, the actuary, was 
very despondent about them. When his brother 
George asked his advice as to the disposal of 
a sum of ;^5oo which he had upon his hands : 
" Bury it," he replied. " But how," said 
George, " am I to do this and live till the time 
of its resurrection ?" No man could be more 
indifferent to wealth than George Morgan. 
" The strong language of Christianity concern- 
ing the virtuous difficulties of the rich man," 
he had written, '' appears to me to be founded 
on the firmest basis of reason. The more I 
see of the world the more I am convinced that 
the higher your station, the further you remove 
from the region of good character. Make a \ 
man rich, and you make him lazy, luxurious, 
the slave of his own passions, and altogether 
the reverse of that busy, self-denying agent 
which both Christianity and Philosophy point 



126 A WELSH FAMILY. 

out as the only individual who can rise to 
moral excellence. Make a man rich and he is 
the slave of the times, the interested friend of 
every established abuse, and the most obsti- 
nate supporter of all religious and civil tyranny. 
Make a man rich, and you expose him to all 
the arts, the intrigues, the flatteries, the 
delusions, and all the poisonous frauds by 
which the worst characters in society rise 
on the idleness and passions of the most 
foolish." Up to these principles George 
Morgan had endeavoured to live, and by 
doing so he recommended them to his friends. 
Among those who lived in great intimacy with 
him was Mr. Boddington, a man of great 
wealth, whose style of living in Park Lane 
was in marked contrast to his own, such, 
however, was his value for Mr. Morgan's 
society that it was his greatest wish to live 
close to him. The house at Southgate was 
becoming too small for the family, and Mr. 
Boddington took great trouble to find another 
for his friend in some situation to which he 
himself could remove to be near him. Many 
houses were looked at, and an excellent one 
at Coni (sic) Hatch, with garden and sixteen 
acres of ground, was offered for ^60 a year. 



GEORGE MORGAN. 127 

Others were seen that did not meet his re- 
quirements. " I am determined," he wrote to 
his mother, "to Hve near town, and in some 
place to which the protection of a watch 
extends. Wishing, as I do, to be frequently 
visiting you and my brother, the other side of 
the water would be inconvenient." 

Mrs. Morgan's house in Hill Street, Upper 
Clapton, was within easy reach of Stamford 
Hill and Southgate. Clapton was then 
regarded as quite rural. Londoners were 
glad to come there for country air, and when 
she went into Wales in the summer her house 
was sometimes taken by London friends. One 
year it was let to her countryman, Mr. Lewis 
Loyd, who with his wife and only child, Jones 
Loyd, afterwards Lord Overstone, came to en- 
joy the purer air. " I lately visited your lodgers, 
the Loyds," writes her son George to her, 
" and they received me very civilly." Much 
hospitality was shown by Mrs. Morgan to her 
Welsh relatives. She took the warmest in- 
terest in the young people of the family, and 
her shrewd sense and unselfish benevolence 
made her invaluable to her friends. While 
she was staying in Glamorganshire among her 
daughters one year, she had written to her son 



128 A WELSH FAMILY 

George expressing her anxiety that her grand- 
son Walter (Mrs. Coffin's eldest son, who was 
born to a fortune) should enjoy the advantage of 
being educated by his uncle. There is a very 
characteristic reply from Mr. Morgan. "What 
shall I say to you about Walter Coffin ? I 
wish to be serviceable to the youth, and know 
not how to say ' Don't come.' Yet I feel 
strong objections to his being in my house, 
particularly on account of his own and 
Sarah's age. It would be using neither kindly 
to place them together in such circumstances 
previous to an age in which their own judg- 
ment is to operate. Should you feel my objec- 
tion to be trifling I will take him, but don't on 
my account press the business. I would not 
on any account consent unless they are not 
only ready but urgent." At the close of this 
summer George Morgan paid a visit to the coast 
near Bridgend. It was on one of these visits, 
when both his elder brother, William Mor- 
gan, and himself were staying in Glamorgan- 
shire, that the two fathers took their two 
daughters — the two Sarahs — to see Mrs. Price, 
the widow of Rice Price's eldest son, at Park. 
The old lady, who was a rather formidable 
personage, was charmed with the two young 




J 
J 



O 

H 

CO 



GEORGE MORGAN. 129 

girls, and each went away with a silver goblet 
as a mark of her regard. The two daughters 
of those two Sarahs are still living, delightful 
representatives of their mothers, at the age of 
eighty-four, and the silver goblets are in their 
possession. 

John Williams, the eldest son of George 
Morgan's eldest sister, was of an age to enjoy 
his uncle's society and to cherish the memory 
of his conversation. They had swimming 
matches together, for Mr. Morgan was remark- 
ably active and athletic and was then in robust 
health. Before the end of the year, however, 
he was dead. The new house was never taken, 
the young nephew never became his pupil. A 
fever contracted, it was supposed, while mak- 
ing a chemical experiment in which he inhaled 
some poison, carried him off after a short ill- 
ness, through which his brother William 
nursed him night and day. In the same year, 
1798, three first cousins, descendants of Rice 
Price, died — Mrs. Lewis of Newhouse, the 
daughter of Dr. Price's eldest brother, and the 
heiress of her grandfather's wealth ; Mrs. 
Richardson of Merthyr Mawr, the daughter of 
Rice Price's youngest daughter, Mrs. Flew ; as 
well as Mr. George Morgan. 

I 



130 

CHAPTER XVI. 
MRS. MORGAN. 

GOREU TRYSOR DAIONI. 
THE BEST TREASURE IS GOODNESS. 

George Morgan's life had not only been in- 
valuable to his own family, but influential for 
good in a much wider circle. His own children 
were most of them too young to know their 
loss — his eldest child (his only daughter, Sarah 
Price) was not fifteen, and an eighth son was 
born to his widow after his death. There were 
not wanting kind relations and friends for her 
in her sorrow. Her own people were wealthy 
and liberal, and she had some fortune. She 
removed to a small house within easy distance 
of her brother-in-law, Mr. William Morgan, of 
Stamford Hill, where the young people con- 
tinued their studies together. The two Sarahs 
and Susan, Mr. William Morgan's younger 
daughter, received an education unusual for 
girls in those days. They learned Greek as 
well as Latin, for it was Mr. George Morgan's 



MRS. MORGAN. 131 

idsa to teach the former language first, and 
both his brother and himself had very liberal 
notions as to female education. 

Sarah Price had considerable artistic talent, 
and with a view to her making Art her profes- 
sion, she studied regularly in the galleries to 
which admission for her was obtained. Mrs. 
George Morgan was one of the most amiable 
and unselfish of women. She had shared all 
her husband's views with enthusiasm, and her 
great wish was to bring up her children in 
their father's footsteps. She succeeded in in- 
spiring them with devoted affection to herself, 
and she shrank from no sacrifices in carrying 
out what she thought right, but she was too 
unpractical to be a good economist with the 
slender means at her command. The remem- 
brance of her husband's hopes of America led 
her to entertain the idea of settling her sons 
in the new country. George, the eldest son, 
was sent as a pioneer to the West under cir- 
cumstances that exposed him and the brothers 
who followed him there to extraordinary hard- 
ships. The fortunes of all the younger gener- 
ation were followed with the deepest interest 
by their grandmother, Mrs. Morgan. She re- 
mained in London for some years after her 



132 A WELSH FAMILY. 

son George's death. She felt she could be of 
use there by giving a home to her two eldest 
grandsons, John and Richard Williams, while 
they attended Guy's Hospital. In 1795 John 
received the certificate of his proficiency from 
the eminent doctors under whom he had 
studied, and came away qualified by the skill 
he had acquired and by the great nerve he 
possessed for the successful practice of his pro- 
fession. He was only twenty when he returned 
to assist his father as a doctor at Bridgend. 
The years he had spent in London, in the 
society of his uncles, exercised a powerful in- 
fluence on his future life. The taste he had 
acquired for knowledge and for scientific pur- 
suits remained with him for life, and up to the 
last (he was in his ninety-first year when he died) 
he was able to interest himself in his classical 
studies, and to occupy himself in translating 
Newton's Principia. The liberal political 
opinions which he shared with the rest of his 
family were confirmed, and proved sufficiently 
strong to resist the effect of a life chiefly spent 
in a small provincial town. He liked to re- 
member that during his stay in London he had 
seen Charles James Fox — who struck him as a 
homely-looking Englishman, — that Wilkes had 



MRS. MORGAN. 133 

been pointed out to him by his uncle, and that 
he had seen Wesley. His uncle, Mr. Morgan, 
was intimate with Home Tooke, and long 
afterwards the young doctor was amused to 
find that his patients at Dunraven Castle had 
ordered the Diversions of Pur ley ^ under the im- 
pression that in that able work by Home Tooke 
on philosophy they should find a novel. 
Richard Williams succeeded his eldest brother 
at his grandmother's house, and always said 
that his after-life was deeply influenced by the 
time he spent with her. She was the centre to 
which all the family turned, whether in London 
or at Bridgend. When she finally made her 
home in the country near her daughters, her son 
William brought his children, and often some 
of his brother George's sons, to spend their 
summer holidays near her. One of her grand- 
daughters was married. 

In George Morgan's last letter to his mother, 
in 1798, he referred to the engagement of Mrs. 
Williams' eldest daughter to Mr. Edwards, a 
young surgeon, who was serving in the Militia 
in 1798. Mr. Morgan asked his mother 
whether the Glamorganshire Militia had 
offered to serve in Ireland, "as their loyalty 
might," he added, "be the loss of a lover to 



134 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Betsey Williams." In 1799, however, the 
young pair were married, Mr. Edwards having 
quitted his profession to take to farming. It 
was a pleasant family circle in which Mrs. 
Morgan spent her last years. The homes of 
her two eldest daughters, Mrs. Williams and 
Mrs. Coffin, were not far apart, and were full 
of young people. It was at Mrs. Williams' 
house at Newcastle Hill that the elders were 
in the habit of assembling in the evenings to 
discuss the affairs of the nation, which were 
then and for many years afterwards full of 
startling events. In compliance with Mr. 
Coffin's severely simple tastes, early hours 
were kept at his house, but when evening 
prayers had been read by him and he had 
retired to rest, Mrs. Coffin would walk up the 
hill in the summer to join her sister's party — 
herself the ruling spirit of it — for her conversa- 
tion was said to be full of interest, and her 
stories were highly appreciated by her audi- 
ence. They were never tired of listening to 
her account of her experiences in London, and 
of the scenes she had witnessed during the 
\ Lord George Gordon riots in June, 1780, when 
the house in which her brother and herself had 
^ lived, at Chatham Place, had for a time been 
threatened by the mob. 



MRS. MORGAN. 135 

The warm interest which Mrs. Morgan had 
taken in poHtics throughout her Hfe had cer- 
tainly produced no injurious effects on her 
character. There had been no diminution in 
the feminine virtues, she faithfully discharged 
the duties of wife, mother, and friend, while 
her intercourse with her sons had been pro- 
ductive of the greatest mutual pleasure and 
profit in consequence of her wider sympathies 
and larger views. Her son' William's letters 
to her always touched on such subjects. 
" You wish to know my sentiments on public 
affairs," he wrote in 1802, " I can only say 
they are entirely those of Mr. Fox, whose 
speeches are replete with good sense and 
sound policy. I fear, however, the warlike 
disposition of the opposite faction. If our 
peace establishment is to exceed forty millions, 
it will be of very little consequence to the 
country whom we have as our Ministers, 
Buonaparte cannot wage a more successful 
warfare than against our finances. I once 
thought Mr. Addington a modest man, but his 
last budget shows him to be a true disciple of 
Pitt. I pity Mr. Hobhouse, who puts faith in 
him, and will be deceived as others have been." 
In the same letter he tells his mother : " I 



136 A WELSH FAMILY. 

have lately spent an agreeable day at Mr. 
Cline's" (the great surgeon's), " and met some 
good company there, but Erskine is so full of 
himself that he always engrosses all the con- 
versation without any right, either from 
superior knowledge or understanding." Mr. 
Morgan's position as Actuary of the Equitable 
Assurance Office brought him into contact 
with many of -the foremost characters of the 
day. His very liberal opinions procured him 
the friendship of some very advanced poli- 
ticians, such as Home Tooke and Sir Francis 
Burdett. He was acquainted with many dig- 
nitaries of the Church, being consulted much 
on questions relating to ecclesiastical property. 
He was on particularly friendly terms with 
Watson, the Bishop of Llandaff, who probably 
had no inclination to quarrel with him for his 
liberal views. His conversational talents 
were great. He had a cultivated mind, a keen 
memory, and a caustic wit. The best society 
of his time was open to him, but he was so 
contented in his own family circle after his 
busy day's work, that he too much neglected 
to cultivate the outer world. He was proud 
of being a Welshman, and though he left 
Wales so early he always retained a knowledge 



MRS. MORGAN. 137 

of the language. When already old he once 
showed his skill by turning a Welsh song into 
elegant^ English verse on the spur of the 
moment, and it was his delight when his Welsh 
nieces were with him to talk of his native 
place, and to entertain them with graphic pic- 
tures of his early days. He received a letter 
from his mother early in 1803, written by her- 
self, but in a weak and trembling hand. " I 
beg you will let John Williams " (her grand- 
son) "be your scribe till you have gained more 
strength," he replied. " I would not for the 
world enjoy the pleasure of receiving a letter 
written by your own hand at the expense of 
any pain or difficulty to you, though I hope I 
may still look forward to renewing a correspond- 
ence that has formed one of the most delight- 
ful occupations of my life. I am looking for- 
ward to the period of my annual visit to Wales, 
which will once more give me the pleasure of 
your company and conversation." Mrs. Mor- 
gan knew she was dying, and she did not live 
to the end of this year. " Few persons have ^) P n^ 
more cause to look forward with satisfaction 
and joy than yourself," her son had written, 
"for a character so uniformly virtuous has 
everything to hope for." She died, full of years 
and honours, aged eighty, in 1803. 



138 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LLANDAFF COURT.— MRS. 
ASHBURNER. 

NID CADARN OND CYFRODEDD. 
NO STRENGTH LIKE UNION. 

During the early years of the present century 
many changes occurred in the famiHes of Mrs. 
Morgan's children. Her eldest son's daughter 
Sarah married Benjamin Travers, the distin- 
guished surgeon ; Mr. Morgan's eldest son 
William (who was with him at the Equitable 
Assurance Office as Assistant Actuary) married 
Maria Towgood, the beautiful niece of Samuel 
Rogers. Neither the son nor daughter, how- 
ever, lived long after their marriages. William 
Morgan, who had much ability and was univer- 
sally beloved, left his young widow with an 
only daughter, for whom henceforward she 
lived with a devotion that excluded all incli- 
nation to entertain any offer of marriage, how- 
ever brilliant it was. Mrs. Travers died after 



LLANDAFF COURT. 139 

the birth of a third child, leaving her only 
daughter — little Sarah — to the care of her 
sister Susan, who throughout her life was all 
that the most tender mother could have been. 
Mr. Travers married again, and had a large 
family. His daughter remained at her grand- 
father's house at Stamford Hill — a delightful 
house, of which she was the pride and delight. 
That house became the central point in the 
family. During those years of anxiety in the 
Liberal party many ardent reformers were in 
the habit of meeting there. Mr. Morgan had 
expressed his disapproval of Pitt's pcrlicy in no 
measured terms in his political writings. The 
prosecution of the members of the Constitu- 
tional Club (whose demands for representation 
would now appear perfectly reasonable and 
moderate) generally incensed and alarmed all 
Liberals. Mr. Morgan's name was down on 
the list of those threatened with similar prose- 
cution. The acquittal of Home Tooke saved 
his friends. Mr. Morgan is said to have re- 
ceived an intimation from Pitt to the effect 
that if he would employ his pen on the side of 
the Government he would " find his account." 
Pitt himself, in the earlier part of his career, 
had been a member of this very Constitutional 



i4,<5 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Club, and the badge which he wore when Sec- 
retary to the Club is in the possession of Mr. 
Morgan's grand-daughter, Miss Travers. She 
remembers the precautions taken at her grand- 
father's house against the intrusion of an enemy 
on the lively gatherings which were held at 
Stamford Hill on Sunday evenings. The 
shutters were carefully closed, and Amelia 
Alderson (afterwards Mrs. Opie), who was 
often present, would then sing, with great spirit, 
in her charming voice, the following song, the 
music and words of which were composed by 
Mr. John Taylor of Norwich, the father of 
Mrs. Austen : — 

" The trumpet of Liberty sounds through the world, 
And the Universe starts at the sound, 
Her standard Philosophy's hand hath unfurled, 
And the nations are thronging around. 

Chorus. Fall, Tyrants, fall, fall, fall ! 
These are the days of liberty ! 
Fall, Tyrants, fall ! " 

Sarah Price, George Morgan's only 
daughter, married Luke Ashburner, formerly 
one of her father's pupils. His family had 
property in India ; he had settled there after 
an early marriage, but having lost his wife, he 
paid a visit to England a few years after Mr. 



LLANDAFF COURT. 141 

George Morgan's death. Sarah Price was not 
twenty when Mr. Ashburner returned. He 
fell in love with her and married her, and she 
went back with him to Bombay. She was a 
great addition to society, for her conversational 
talents and her artistic tastes were remarkable, 
and were much appreciated by the brilliant 
circle then settled there. Sir James Mackin- 
tosh and Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Wedder- 
burn and other eminent men were members of 
it. A graphic picture of her life in India exists 
in a series of letters, written by her to her 
cousin, Susan Morgan of Stamford Hill. In 
Basil Hall's travels his account of an excursion 
to the Caves of Elephanta is illustrated by a 
little sketch made by Mrs. Ashburner (who 
was one of the party) , to whom he pays a warm 
tribute while acknowledging her assistance. 
The climate of India soon seriously affected her 
health, and it became necessary for her to re- 
turn to England, with her five young children, 
about the year 181 6. At the same time Mr. 
Ashburner, in an access of deep depression, 
resolved to proceed to America to join his 
young brothers-in-law there. For this purpose 
he left the management of his estate of Ban- 
doopt (which was pretty much given up 



142 A WELSH FAMILY. 

to the cultivation of the sugar-cane) in the 
hands of his brother-in-law, Mr. William Ash- 
burner Morgan, and of a Parsee named 
Cowagee. I'here being, as he said, " no gold 
to be had," he collected what money he could 
in bills on China and crossed the Atlantic. It 
was the favourite dream of extreme Liberals to 
emigrate to the New Republic, and Mr. Ash- 
burner wrote in high spirits to his wife of the 
brilliant hopes he entertained from the settle- 
ment in the new country. Mrs. Ashburner was 
too ill to share her husband's sanguine views, 
and the accounts that reached her of the 
hardships which her elder brothers were still 
enduring in America did not tend to cheer 
her. She joined her mother in London with 
her children, and while her husband was still 
away, paid visits to her relations in the country 
in the vain hope of regaining her health. On 
her way down into Wales she stayed at 
Frenchay, with her aunt Mrs. Maurice, the 
mother of Frederick Denison Maurice. It was 
in the year 1817 and was a time of general 
mourning in England ; the Princess Charlotte 
had just died, and Mrs. Maurice and her 
daughters were busy preparing their black 
dresses. Both during this visit and next spring. 



LLANDAFF COURT. 143 

when Mrs. Ashburnerhad a house at Clifton for 
three months, she experienced much kindness 
from her aunt Mrs. Maurice, of whom she was 
fond, and from her family, for whom she had a 
great regard. 

The visit however to her Welsh relations, 
the Coffins, at Llandaff Court, where she and 
her children made a long stay, was that which 
gave her the greatest pleasure, and on which 
her eldest daughter still looks back as on a first 
delightful vision of English country life, with 
its picture of happiness in the hayfield, at the 
dairy, and in the old garden with the tower at 
the further end of the boundary wall. Many 
changes had occurred in Mrs. Ashburner's 
family during her absence in India. Both her 
uncles, Mr. Coffin and Mr. Williams, were 
dead. On the death of his father, Walter 
Coffin had bought Llandaff Court, and had 
removed there with his mother and his two 
sisters. It had just been left vacant by the 
death of his cousin, Mr. Samuel Price — the 
only son of Mr. John Price, Rice Price's eldest 
son and heir. Llandaff was then a lovely 
village, and Cardiff only a small country town ; 
in the year 1800 it contained 1800 inhabitants. 
TheTaff (at the mouth of which it stood) flowed 



144 A WELSH FAMILY. 

clear and bright down the beautiful Taff 
Valley, and was still well stocked with the 
salmon, once so plentiful that servants had 
made it a condition with their masters that 
they should not be fed daily on fish. The 
town with its gravelly soil and pure water was 
famed for its healthiness, The fine remains of 
Cardiff Castle adorned the entrance to the 
town, and the ruins of Castell Coch and of 
Llandaff Cathedral added to the picturesque 
scenery of the Valley. Llandaff Court had 
been built, near the site of the ancient monas- 
tery, only a few years before, by Admiral 
Mathews, and the house was said to have been 
planned to resemble a sea-chest by his desire. 
Whatever might be thought of its architectural 
merits, it was admirable for the comfort and 
cheerfulness of its internal arrangements. A 
fine entrance hall led to spacious rooms, well 
lit by a profusion of windows, which commanded 
a charming view towards Cardiff and the sea 
beyond. The gateway to the old monastery 
was the entrance to the kitchen garden, which 
occupied part of the ancient site. 

Though Llandaff was a bishopric, no bishop 
then resided there. In those days the see was 
so slenderly endowed that it was always held 



LLANDAFF COURT. 145 

in connection with other preferment. Watson, 
who was then Bishop, Hved in Cumberland, 
and his visits to his diocese were few and far 
between. The Church had few adherents in 
Wales, the people were almost all Nonconfor- 
mists. The type of religion which was most 
prevalent, not only among them but among 
the more earnest members of the establish- 
ment, was stern Calvinism, with which Bishop 
Watson had little S3.mpathy ; indeed it was 
said that on the occasion of one of his pro- 
gresses through the county, he preached 
strongly against these opinions. " These," he 
said, " are the doctrines that send victims to 
the gallows, and fill the lunatic asylums." 
The conduct of the country gentry, however, 
does not seem to have been guided by any 
very strong religious feeling. Several gentle- 
men's houses were situated in and around the 
village of Llandaff, and much friendly inter- 
course was kept up between the families. Card 
parties were frequent, seasoned by a great deal 
of gossip and not a little scandal, in the absence 
of all rational interests, public or private. 
The new inhabitants of Llandaff Court brought 
with them very different tastes. The family, 
taking its tone from the pure piety and lofty 



146 A WELSH FAMILY 

\f , ( patriotism of Dr. Price, was the centre of 
liberal opinions in politics and religion. From 
these opinions they never wavered under all 
/ circumstances of worldly temptation. Views 
that are now almost universal among intelli- 
gent people, were then considered dangerous 
and odious. Though their good sense and 
good feeling made them anxious to avoid any 
^ y needless contention with the Tory squires and 
Church dignitaries with whom they now came 
in contact, they never hesitated to profess 
without reserve what they considered, and 
what have since proved to be, just views on all 
subjects of importance. There was, however, 
a certain dignity of character in the members 
of this family, which made them respected and 
deferred to even by those who differed from 
them. It had been Mr. Coffin's great wish to 
go the Bar, but though he had wealth and 
talents peculiarly fitting him for such a career, 
such were the disadvantages under which 
X Nonconformists then laboured, that he was 
excluded from the Universities of Oxford and 
Cambridge by the necessity of signing the 
Thirty-nine Articles. For some years he 
superintended his father's large and lucrative 
tanning business, but the employment 



LLANDAFF COURT. 147 

was very uncongenial. The landed property 
which his father possessed in the Ogmore 
and Rhondda Valleys promised to give 
him wider interests. There was great scope 
for an enterprising spirit in Glamorgan- 
shire at that time. The success of the iron 
works at Merthyr Tydvil gave an impetus to 
mining speculation, and soon after his father's 
death Mr. Coffin's active and intelligent mind 
was drawn to the subject of the Welsh coal- 
fields, and he determined that the business of 
his life should be to develope the mineral 
resources of the land he had inherited. The 
task Mr. Coffin had set himself was a very 
hard one, demanding great sacrifices not only 
from himself but from his family. Even 
before his mother's death in 1822, she had 
deplored his absorption in his colliery. 
" Walter has married a black wife," she would 
say. It would have grieved her still more 
could she have foreseen that none of her 
children, remarkable as they were for beauty 
and talent, would ever marry. Her second 
son, William, was devoted to study, and 
carried on his mathematical and astronomical 
pursuits with such success that he was asked 
to accompany Sir John Herschell to the Cape 



148 A WELSH FAMILY. 

to make observations there, though he did not 
do so. Mrs. Coffin, quite an old lady when 
they removed to Llandaff Court, took great 
delight in her flower garden, while the cares 
of the establishment devolved upon her 
daughter Mary, who was a charming mistress 
of the household. Nowhere could Mrs. Ash- 
burner in her shattered state of health have 
found a better haven of rest or more congenial 
companionship than with her aunt and cousins. 
The young people were handsome, gifted, and 
amiable. Mary Coffin was very beautiful, and 
her face was an index of her noble nature. Her 
clear judgment and great penetration into 
character gave her an influence in her own 
family which was all the deeper that she 
exercised it with such perfect sweetness and 
good sense. It seemed her mission through 
life to ward ofl" trouble from others, and 
without a thought of self, to minister to the 
comfort and happiness of all around her. She 
was most tender and sympathetic to her 
invalid cousin, Mrs. Ashburner, and when Mr. 
Ashburner arrived in England, he took a 
cottage for his wife and children at Llandafl", 
to be near these kind friends. It had become 
evident that Mrs. Ashburner would not recover, 



LLANDAFF COURT. 149 

and that she would never be called upon to 
try the scheme of emigration to which she had 
so great a disinclination. She died at Llandaff, 
and was buried in the graveyard of the 
Cathedral. She left five children, the eldest 
of whom, George, was scarcely twelve years old. 
His mother had made him so much her com- 
panion — as indeed it was her habit to do with 
all her children, instructing them by her con- 
versation, — that the boy's grief at her loss was 
excessive. Soon after her death he went with 
his father to America, while the younger 
children were left behind for a time. The 
friendship which the Llandaff cousins had felt 
for Mrs. Ashburner was continued to her 
family. 



15° 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
SOUTHERNDOWN. 

BOB TRUGAROG DUW O I RANN. 
EVERY MERCIFUL PERSON HAS GOD ON HIS SIDE. 

The removal of the Coffins to LlandafF had 
been greatly lamented by their relations at 
Bridgend. The elders especially missed Mrs. 
Coffin's pleasant evening visits. Mr. Williams 
felt aggrieved to the last day of his life by the 
loss of his sister-in-law's company. He died 
in 1 815. The young people of the two fami- 
lies had grown up together in the closest 
intimacy. Mary Coffin possessed a wonderful 
charm for them all — not only by her beauty, 
but by the generosity and nobleness of her 
character. Her great wish always was to 
share with her cousins any advantage she 
enjoyed. They were stimulated to take up the 
same studies and to cultivate the same tastes, 
while her influence, so unconsciously ex- 
ercised, had the effect of raising the whole 
tone of their intercourse. Bridgend and the 
neighbouring sea-coast still continued to possess 



SOUTHERNDOWN. 151 

a great attraction for the family, and remained 
a meeting place for its scattered members. A 
house was taken for Mrs. Ashburner's children 
at Bridgend, and a governess engaged to take 
charge of them. The wife of her brother, Wm. 
Ashburner Morgan, had lately come over for 
the benefit of her health from Bombay, where 
her husband had for some years filled the im- 
portant post of Solicitor to the East India 
Company. She settled for a time at Bridgend 
with her two little girls. A house or a lodging 
at Southerndown was generally taken during 
the summer for Mr. Morgan of Stamford Hill, 
his sons, and the sons of his brother George, 
who were studying for professions in London, 
and seized every opportunity of taking a holiday 
there, — often at ' Green Gate,' a small house 
which is still standing. There are some 
amusing letters in existence, which were 
written by John Morgan, a son of Mr. 
Morgan of Stamford Hill (who afterwards 
became a distinguished surgeon) to his young 
niece, Sarah Travers, whom he calls " the pro- 
mising child, and flower of the family." He 
tells her of the pleasant life he is leading, of 
his rides to Llandaff and Bridgend (for he has 
taken a horse down to the country with him). 



152 A WELSH FAMILY. 

of his feats as a fisherman, "taking twelve 
trout, some of them weighing more than a 
quarter of a pound, in two hours." He asks 
his brother Arthur to send him a weekly paper, 
the Observer, regularly, that he " may keep up 
with his relations, who are such determined 
newsmongers." He describes a curious " cere- 
mony " he has seen at Bridgend, or rather at 
the neighbouring village of Coity, called the 
'* Skimmington " — an experiment at Local 
Self-Government among the natives, dis- 
tinctly foreshadowing their aptitude for Parish 
Councils. John Morgan witnessed the conclud- 
ing scene of this mock Court of Justice, which 
had been set up by the villagers some weeks 
before, to enquire into and try a case of flagrant 
matrimonial squabbling among their neigh- 
bours. A judge, twelve councillors on either 
side, and twelve jurymen, had been chosen. 
The case had been argued with " great 
decorum " at several meetings in a barn, and 
both man and wife having been adjudged 
guilty, they were sentenced to be punished by 
being held up to the ridicule of their neigh- 
bours. With this object a procession was 
formed to march through the adjoining 
villages, two men dressed up to personate the 



SOUTHERNDOWN. 153 

quarrelsome pair being carried on a cart in the 
midst. 

The visits of Mr. George Morgan's son 
Edmund to Bridgend, ended in his be- 
coming engaged to his cousin Anne, Mrs. 
Williams's youngest daughter. He was study- 
ing law in London, in order to join his elder 
brother William at Bombay, and the engage- 
ment had necessarily to be a long one. He 
had won a prize in his cousin Anne. To her 
the whole family by common consent seemed 
to turn in every difficulty. It was her 
admirable good sense and sweet unselfish 
temper, rather than any extraordinary talent 
or beauty, which distinguished her. She had 
the power of making the best of everything. 
In nothing was this more shown than in her 
conscientious use of her own gifts, however 
slender. Her well cultivated mind was due 
to the most painstaking perseverance in the 
pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. A 
great addition to the small circle at Bridgend 
had lately been made in the person of a young 
Yorkshirewoman, who came to teach Mrs. 
Ashburner Morgan's two little girls. Caroline 
Whitesmith had left her widowed mother 
mourning the death of her last two sons, both 



154 A WELSH FAMILY. 

of them promising men. The younger, 
Horatio, had been brought up by his uncle, Mr. 
Dyson, to his own profession) that of a Harbour 
Engineer), the elder son, Leonard, had distin- 
guished himself in India. His talents had 
recommended him to Sir Stamford Raffles, 
under whom he was serving in Java, when his 
career was cut short by yellow fever. Caro- 
line was his youngest sister, and had been 
quite a child when he left home. He had 
charged himself with her education, — and had 
been a most generous son and brother. That 
she must have been very like him in appearance 
was proved soon after her arrival at Bridgend. 
Captain Davy (a grandson of Rice Price's 
youngest daughter, Mrs. Flew) had just re- 
turned from a long residence in India, where 
he had served with great distinction, and had 
amassed a fortune that justified his making 
a home for himself near his native place. 
Meeting Miss Whitesmith soon after her 
arrival at Bridgend, his attention was instantly 
fixed upon her, and when he heard her name, 
he ventured to enquire whether a brother of 
hers had been in India, as he had had a great 
friend of the same name whom she strikingly 
resembled. This of course proved to have 



SOUTHERNDOWN. 155 

been her brother Leonard, of whom Captain 
Davy had much that was interesting to tell 
her, and much sorrow to express at the sad 
termination of his brilliant career. As the new 
arrival was not only remarkably pretty, but 
very bright and agreeable, she added much to 
the pleasures of this time at Bridgend. Anne 
Williams and herself became great friends. 
They practised music together, for Anne was 
anxiously trying to learn to play on the guitar 
to please her cousin Edmund, who was ex- 
tremely fond of music. Meanwhile, her eldest 
brother, John (who was near fifty, and had 
lived at home while pursuing his profession of 
doctor — being regarded as a confirmed, luxu- 
rious bachelor) fell in love with his sister's 
young friend, and their marriage took place in 
October, 1822. About the same time Edmund 
Morgan was married to his cousin Anne, and 
she went with him to Bombay. These changes 
greatly affected Mrs. Williams. Her sister, 
Mrs. Coffin, died at the end of the year 1822, 
and she did not long survive her. " You 
wonder I do not lament her more," she said to 
her children, " but I shall follow her soon." 
She lived to see her son John's first child, a 
little girl, the child of a son whom she had 



156 A WELSH FAMILY. 

loved with an excess of affection which had 
sometimes exposed her to the accusation of 
partiaHty : this she always anxiously repudiated. 
Her nature indeed was very full of indulgent 
love for all her children. " How could I be 
ungrateful to my good son Richard ? " she 
would say, alluding to her second son, so 
long absent in India, but so constant in his 
attention to her. The will in which she dis- 
posed of her small possessions among her 
children affords a touchingproof of her amiable 
character. To her son John she bequeathed 
as " small tokens of my love and regard for him, 
one of my silver waiters, together with the silver 
cup out of which he usually drinks." To her 
son Richard she gives " my other silver waiter, 
and my silver teapot, and the picture of my 
uncle Dr. Price, which I beg he will accept as 
tokens of my love for him, and of my pleasing 
recollection of all he has done for his mother, 
and of his unceasing willingness to do for her 
more than she would wish or require." The 
103rd Psalm, which was read to her at her 
request not long before her death, very fitly 
expressed the temper of her life and her feelings 
at its close. 



157 

CHAPTER XIX. 
MRS. EDMUND MORGAN 

NID DIOFAL OND DEDWYDD. 
FEARLESS THROUGH FAITH. 

Two members of the Williams' family now 
alone remained in the house on Newcastle 
Hill, Mary the eldest unmarried daughter and 
Cadogan the youngest son. Kitty, the other 
daughter, joined her sister Mrs. Edmund 
Morgan at Bombay, while John Williams took 
his wife and child to London with a view to 
practising his profession there. He settled on 
the north side of the city where so many of his 
family had chosen to reside, and where his 
uncle Mr. Morgan and his family still lived. 
He took a house at Stoke Newington, one of 
the pleasant row of old dwellings with good 
gardens attached to them, in which many in- 
teresting people had lived. Defoe's house 
surrounded by fields still stood in the neigh- 
bourhood, and was inhabited by Mr. Frend, a 
man of liberal opinions, who had resigned in 
fellowship at Cambridge from conscientious 



158 A WELSH FAMILY. 

scruples, and having great mathematical 
talent had become the Actuary of the Sun 
Office. He was a friend of Mr. Morgan, and 
became a friend and patient of Mr. Williams. 
Mrs. Barbauld and her brother Dr. Aikin, well 
known inhabitants of Stoke Newington, had only 
just died. Mr. and Mrs. Williams at once found 
themselves received into a congenial circle, 
among whom they found many good friends. 
This northern suburb of London then offered 
many advantages. It was still quite open to 
the country, and was the high road to the 
north of England. The heights of Highgate 
were seen from Mr. Morgan's house, a short 
drive led to Epping Forest, and a fine air blew 
freshly from the pleasant Northern counties. 
Here (and later at Clapton Terrace) Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams spent the next few years, and 
many of their children were born. A faithful 
correspondence was maintained by Mrs. 
Edmund Morgan with those she had left be- 
hind. She kept a journal full of interesting 
details for her brother and sister at Bridgend, 
and she was the medium of communication 
between her brother, Richard Price (who was 
in another part of India) and the family at 
home. For the first few years of her residence 



MRS. EDMUND MORGAN. 159 

at Bombay, her brother-in-law, Wm. Ash- 
burner Morgan, lived with them. Old servants, 
who had long been in the service of the 
Ashburner family remained with her, and found 
in her a most considerate mistress. Though 
her health had been left delicate by a rheuma- 
tic fever contracted when she was eighteen, 
from sleeping in a damp bed when on a visit, 
she had always appeared to have time and 
strength to be at everybody's service in her 
own home, and when she came to India, she 
entered upon the management of a large 
establishment with an energy unusual in that 
climate. She thought of everybody but her- 
self. It is distressing to observe in her letters 
to her sister Mary, the struggle she is waging 
with ever increasing illness. But for the bad 
effect of the climate on her health, the seven 
years spent in India, would have been full of en- 
joyment to her sister Kitty and herself. The 
society at Bombay was then very interesting. 
Bishop Heber was often Mrs. Morgan's com- 
panion in her early rides on the sands. Mr. Wed- 
derburn was a great friend, and had been the 
friend of the Ashburners in former days. Writing 
of him to her niece, Anne Ashburner (to whom 
he had sent a kind message), she says, "To 



i6o A WELSH FAMILY. 

be remembered kindly by such a man as he is 
cannot be otherwise than gratifying to any 
one's feeUngs." Mr. Elphinstone was then on 
the eve of departure for England, and she 
deplored the prospect of losing in him "our 
kind and liberal-minded Governor." It was 
unfortunately necessary to destroy the journal 
she had so faithfully kept in order to comply 
with her expressed wish, but both it and the 
few letters which remain afforded ample proof 
of her superior intelligence and power of 
observation, as well as of her kind solicitude for 
others. Her first remark when her husband 
succeeded his brother as Solicitor to the East 
India Company, was " that the fine appoint- 
ment will be the means of benefiting many 
besides ourselves." They had built a per- 
manent residence at Bombay at a place called 
the " Breach," very near the famous Pagoda 
of Luxmee. " Old Peter," she says of one of 
the servants, ** we still keep with us, and look 
upon him more in the light of a pensioner than 
anything else. The servants cry out against 
him as doing more harm than good, but the 
old fellow does not lose his confidence with 
age, but according to his own account, under- 
stands everything. Coomassie goes on much 



MRS. EDMUND MORGAN. i6i 

as usual, and connects his consequence, I 
believe, a good deal with ours, always most 
anxious that we should ask the Governor, Chief 
Justice, etc." "With the thermometer up to 
loo on the Esplanade," she writes, " we avoid 
visiting as much as possible, but we are up- 
on most amicable terms with all parties, 
although since our stay here there have been 
repeated quarrels amongst the higher powers, 
particularly in the Supreme Court, and the 
Chief Justice has seemed to have a great 
prejudice against the Company's servants. 
However," she concludes, " he would, I 
believe, find it difficult to quarrel with 
Edmund, whose temper is as mild as I be- 
lieve he is steady and regular in what he has 
to do. Last year he had a most heavy and 
laborious trial to conduct with regard to the 
Deccan prize money. It was during the rains 
and it appeared to me a very dismal time, as 
we had then such awful instances of the effect 
of the cholera, that whatever money might be 
gained by a residence in this climate it hardly 
seemed sufficient to repay one for the risk of 
remaining." In the hope of benefiting her 
health they had taken " a nice little Bungalow, 
ready furnished, at the top of the Ghauts," to 



i62 A WELSH FAMILY. 

which they went for six weeks every year " for 
pleasure and for the benefit of change of air." 
It was still an arduous journey to the Deccan 
though for the greater part of the way from 
Panwell to Poona they were able to travel in a 
carriage, "but there is reason to hope," she says, 
" that the road will be still further improved." 
In one of her letters, written in 1826, she gave 
nev/s of her brother in India. ' ' Richard is busily 
engaged," she wrote, " at the Siege of Bhurt- 
poor, and has been appointed Field Surgeon 
to the Grand Army under Lord Combermere. 
The town was taken by storm, and the ex- 
plosion of ten thousand pounds of powder con- 
tiguous to the point of attack was the signal 
for the assault. Twenty-eight officers are said 
to have fallen and five hundred men of ours 
killed, which are thought few considering the 
nature of the service. I fortunately got a few 
lines from Richard to tell me he was well and 
safe a few minutes before the Royal Salute was 
fired, or the suspense after hearing this news 
would have been very painful." In about two 
years from this time Richard Williams was able 
to leave India with Colonel's rank and on full 
pay. It had then become evident that Mrs. 
Morgan could no longer safely remain in India, 



MRS. EDMUND MORGAN. 163 

and that her only chance lay in an immediate 
return to England. It was a heart-rending 
alternative, for Mr. Morgan could not leave 
Bombay, but it was resolved tha't her sister 
Kitty and herself should go back under their 
brother Richard's care. It was a six months' 
voyage in those days. The invalid bore it with 
the greatest sweetness and patience, but her 
strength did not increase, and she arrived in 
England the shadow of a shade. They had 
the best advice in London, but the doctors 
only confirmed the worst suspicions as to the 
serious nature of the heart disease from which 
she was suffering. It was a melancholy return. 
During her short stay in London she was able 
to pay one visit to her uncle and aunt Morgan, 
at Stamford Hill, and to see her cousin Susan 
and the young niece Sarah Travers, of whom 
Mrs. Morgan "had been so fond." She was'also 
able to pay a visit to her eldest brother and his 
wife, then living at Clapton Terrace, and to 
make the acquaintance of his young children, 
about whom she had so anxiously enquired in 
her letters. The name of the second girl was 
altered to please her. " She is so like my 
mother," she said, " let her be called 
Catherine," which was the little girl's second 



i64 A WELSH FAMILY. 

name. The eldest girl can still recall that 
visit of her aunt's, and can see the kind face of 
the pale worn figure lying on the sofa, listening 
to her mother's singing. The song, " Oh 
Nannie, wilt thou gang with me ? " came 
to a sudden end. It brought back the past too 
vividly, and the performance ceased. After a 
short stay at Cheltenham by the doctor's 
advice, Mrs. Morgan desired her brother and 
sister to take her back to Bridgend, and 
there, in the old house on the hill, she very 
soon afterwards died. 



i65 



CHAPTER XX. 
BRIDGEND. 

DYN A URDD Y LLE AC NID Y LLE Y DYN. 

THE MAN HONOURS THE STATION, NOT THE 

STATION THE MAN. 

The old house which had so long been the 
home of the Williams' family at Bridgend, was 
now finally abandoned. Richard Williams 
decided to settle at Clifton, and to make a 
home there for his two sisters and his brother 
Cadogan. With the exception of one visit to 
England, he had spent thirty years in India, 
and he had returned with a good fortune and 
a handsome pension. He had many sterling 
qualities and a character which commanded 
respect. Without brilliant talents, he pos- 
sessed excellent common-sense and a very high 
standard of conduct. He had faithfully ad- 
hered to the liberal opinions of his family, and 
his great pleasure was reading on questions of 
religion and politics. He was of a very re- 
tiring nature, and had very little love of 



i66 A WELSH FAMILY. 

society, though he had made many warm 
friends in India. Among these were the 
Lawrences, and their presence at Chfton was 
one of the chief attractions to the place. He 
took a keen interest in their sons, who were 
already beginning their distinguished career. 
It was a time of great political excitement, 
and not long after Mr. Williams settled at 
Clifton, the Bristol riots occurred, during 
which he was called upon to act as special 
constable. Armed with the sword he had 
worn during his service in India, he went 
out for the night when the disturbances 
were at their height, to the great alarm 
of his sisters. During the year 1832, the 
appearance of the cholera in England caused 
quite a panic. Medical science was unable to 
throw much light either upon its cause or 
its cure. So little was known of the laws of 
health that people failed toi"ecognize the close 
connection that existed between insanitary- 
conditions and the mysterious plague. Richard 
Williams had seen much of the disease in 
India, and had observed that it haunted the 
banks of rivers. Though this was also noted 
in England, it took a long time to establish 
the fact that the chief source of danger lay in 



BRIDGEND. 167 

a contaminated water supply. The disease 
(the Cholera Morbus, as it was called,) made 
frightful ravages in London during the last 
year of Mr. John Williams' stay there. He 
was living in a street near one of the great 
hospitals, in which a terrible outbreak occurred, 
most of the deaths taking place on one side of 
the street. At the same time, his eldest girl 
(then about eight years old) was paying visits 
among her mother's friends and relations in 
Yorkshire, and her letters constantly refer to 
" that terrible thing " the cholera. "It is very 
bad at Bradford," she writes, " but it is no 
wonder, for there is a canal there, and they 
throw everything into it." In one of her 
letters there is a message to her great-uncle, 
Mr. Morgan of Stamford Hill, ,who died in 
1833. He had challenged her when she last 
saw him, to repeat the dates of all the English 
kings from the Saxon times downwards. The 
postscript of the same letter tells a tale of the 
obstacles to letter- writing at that time. "Ask 
Papa to get a frank for your next letter, for I 
have only got sixpence," which was evidently 
not enough to pay the postage of a letter 
from London to Yorkshire. The next 
year the cholera appeared at Bridgend, to 



i68 A WELSH FAMILY. 

which Mr. Williams had then returned, in 
order to resume the practice of his profession 
there. His services were in great request, 
since he was known to have had experience of 
the complaint in London. The greater number 
of the victims were poor people, and here too 
it was remarked that most of them lived close 
to the river Ogmore, almost all the inhabi- 
tants of a small village on its banks, called 
Angeltown, being carried away by the pesti- 
lence. Bridgend was usually remarkably 
healthy, and had that attraction for the natives 
of the place, which, according to the Welsh 
proverb : " The bird that is born in hell, in hell 
will he stay," is always so strong. During the 
next fewyears the Williams' family were gather- 
ed together at Bridgend. Richard Williams 
and his brother and sisters found a commodious 
house in a pleasant situation, with a charming 
view, not far from the old residence on New- 
castle Hill. It was delightful to them all to 
be back in Wales. They were greatly in- 
terested in the children of their eldest brother. 
Richard Williams took ever increasing pleasure 
in the young people, and there seemed a 
prospect of much happiness before him. He 
showed the value he set upon superior educa- 



BRIDGEND. 169 

tional advantages for women, by sending his 
brother's eldest daughter to a school at Bristol 
kept by Mrs. Carpenter and her daughter 
Mary, afterwards so well known as a philan- 
thropist. The school was a pioneer of Girton 
and Newnham, and the advanced schools of the 
present day. Before the niece had spent half- 
a-year away, her kind uncle's death occurred 
after a very short illness, the result of his long 
residence in India. It was a serious misfortune 
to his family to lose this kind and conscientious 
man. He had made a generous use of his fine 
income, and was greatly beloved. He left the 
chief part of his fortune to his two sisters, and 
though his handsome pension died with him 
they were thereby rendered rich for those 
days. They continued to occupy the pleasant 
house at Bridgend, where they were cheered 
by the society of their brother and his wife 
and family. Their brother Cadogan, who com- 
pleted the trio, was regarded by his family 
as an amiable visionary, full of schemes 
for the benefit of mankind, which only 
served to empty his own pocket. Had he 
been able to defend his ideas by scientific 
methods, it would have been recognized that 
he was inspired by a spark of genius, kindled 



I70 A WELSH FAMILY. 

into activity by his benevolent enthusiasm. 
He was in advance of his time, and every one 
of his projects has since been carried out. 
Vessels are divided into water-tight compart- 
ments (as he was one of the first to suggest) ; 
vegetables have been kept fresh for winter use 
by a drying process, which he was fond of 
trying in his sisters' sunny garden ; the very 
change in the construction of pumps, which he 
advocated, and which met with such ridicule, 
has been adopted ; Government Life Assu- 
rance (his favourite panacea for the miseries 
of poverty) has proved to be thoroughly sound. 
The paper he printed on the subject is pre- 
faced by the remark " that he had not been 
allowed to read it at the statistical section of 
the British Association, for which it had been 
prepared," yet the scheme has long since been 
carried out, and the argum.ents he used in its 
support would now be acknowledged as states- 
manlike in their breadth and foresight. " The 
plan," he said, " would be highly educational, 
for it would be a standing lesson of forethought 
and prudential obligation. It would be no 
feeble link in the social chain to keep this 
country and Ireland united. The person who 
had purchased such an object of remote ad- 



BRIDGEND. 171 

vantage as a provision for old age, would have 
given testimony of forethought, and as the 
payment of each annuity must depend on 
social order, the expectant of such must be 
pledged to its support." His enthusiasm for 
mankind in general was quite compatible with 
the very particular interest he took in the 
fortunes of his young nephews and nieces ; 
this indeed, was the absorbing question that 
occupied his good sisters and himself. Their 
eldest brother, John Morgan Williams, had 
a large family and a small income, for 
soon after his marriage, he lost much of 
the money he had saved, by the failure of a 
bank, in 1825 — that year of financial dis- 
aster. He had therefore been obliged to 
pursue his profession with fresh ardour, and 
when he returned to his native place, though 
no longer young, he took up with unflagging 
industry the hard work of a country doctor. 
Seldom has a struggle been more bravely 
maintained. Both his wife and himself were 
blessed with a sanguine disposition ; he had 
by his side for twenty years a woman whose 
talents were only less remarkable than her 
perfect unselfishness. Her charming face and 
social gifts fitted her for a more brilliant lot 



172 A WELSH FAMILY. 

than that which she accepted with so much 
cheerfulness, employing all her bright powers 
in making her children's lives happy, and in 
encouraging in them every refined taste. Her 
lively imagination could extract pleasure from 
the most prosaic circumstances. In the midst 
of her ceaseless household cares, she would 
enliven the weekly little soiree (as it was called) 
by some tale or verse she had composed ; she 
had a pretty talent of that kind, though she 
had no time to do justice to it. The tale she 
published {Margam Abbey) was less worthy 
of her than the little impromptu tales and 
verses, of which unluckily so few have been 
preserved. Her enthusiasm of humanity made 
her keenly alive to all the passing events of 
the day, while she was disposed, like charity, 
to " hope all things and to believe all things" 
of her fellow creatures. As time went on, the 
theological opinions in which she had been 
brought up, underwent some change. Her 
tone of mind was naturally devout, and was 
only rendered more so by the broader views 
she adopted, in which she so much re- 
joiced. Her death occurred in 1845, when 
several of her children were still young. It 
was hastened by the fatigue and anxiety she 



BRIDGEND. 173 

endured during the serious illness of her son 
Leonard. For nine days and nights she never 
rested. Her son recovered from the typhoid 
fever, and lived to display many of the fine 
qualities in which he so strongly resembled 
his mother. Mr. Williams, who was nearly 
twenty years older than his wife, survived 
her for twenty years. His sons none of 
them took to their father's profession. The 
eldest sons became engineers. Their mother's 
two uncles, and her grandfather before them, 
were among the pioneers who turned from 
the construction of canals and harbours to the 
work of railroad making. Her uncle, Mr. 
Thomas Dyson, was then engaged as engineer 
on the Midland Railway, or rather on the 
North Midland, as that part which ran 
through Yorkshire was called. Railroads had 
made an early entrance into Glamorgan- 
shire. The Taff Vale Railway, which was 
completed in 1841, owed its origin chiefly 
to the exertions of their relation Mr. Coffin, 
and secured the prosperity of his Colliery at 
Dinas. He and his excellent brother and 
sisters had already taken a kind interest in 
their cousin's children, and they had formed 
a high estimate of Mrs. Williams' character. 



174 A WELSH FAMILY 

Mary Coffin encouraged her brother to lend a 
helping hand to his young relations, and when 
her death occurred a few years before Mrs. 
Williams died, Mr. Williams' eldest daughter 
was invited to Llandaff, and the visit of this 
young relation, who was then seventeen, 
ended in her remaining altogether. It was a 
time of deep sorrow there. Miss Coffin had 
been all in all to her family. During her 
painful illness (which she knew to be mortal), 
she preserved the thoughtful consideration for 
others which had distinguished her through 
life. Her great anxiety was to make every 
arrangement which could lessen her loss to her 
brothers and Sarah, who had been more like 
her child than her sister. When Mrs. Williams 
died the connection with the Coffins became 
still closer, and exercised an important in- 
fluence on the fortunes of the whole family. 
Mr. Williams' sanguine temper, which had en- 
abled him to encounter so many difficulties in 
his own life, made him indulge the most cheer- 
ful hopes for his children. He lived to see his 
eldest son, Morgan, very successful as an 
engineer, following with the keenest interest 
the progress of the various works in which his 
son was engaged, in Italy, and afterwards in 



BRIDGEND. 175 

Russia. His second daughter married soon 
after her mother's death, and went to live in 
Yorkshire, her mother's county. His sons 
were scattered far and wide, but he led a 
cheerful life in his cottage on the hill, reading 
his favourite classics and translating the 
Principia in his little library, and paying a 
visit almost daily to his sisters in their pleasant 
house close by. Llandaff was not far off, and 
his son Leonard, who was settled in the 
Glamorganshire Bank at Neath, never failed 
in his kind attentions to his father. There is a 
description in one of Leonard's letters to his 
eldest sister of his dinner at his aunts' at 
Newcastle Hill, with '' the four octogenarians 
all looking remarkably well and hearty, while 
a tone of cheerfulness (taking occasionally the 
tone of badinage) prevailed, which you often 
miss in the society of younger people." Every 
summer many of the scattered members of the 
family were gathered together at Southern- 
down. The eldest daughter came with the 
Coffins to Craig-yr-ros, a house built by Mr. 
William Morgan, of Stamford Hill, on a little 
property he had inherited on the Southerndown 
coast. Mrs. Buckton, the second daughter, who 
had been married from Llandaff, was ever ready, 



176 A WELSH FAMILY. 

thanks to her good husband, to revisit the 
people she had left, and never failed them 
either at times of joy or sorrow. She was at 
Llandaff, with her little boy, during Mr. Coffin's 
election as Member for Cardiff, and hastened 
to her sister when Sarah Coffin's death, after a 
short illness, plunged them into sorrow. The 
family gathering on the sea-shore was the 
occasion of great rejoicing to the elders at 
Bridgend. The quaint carriage, with the old 
Coachman John, and Jerry the old horse, were 
much in requisition for the lively exchange of 
visits. When Mr. Coffin retired from Parliament 
in 1856, he took a charming house near Leeds 
to be near the Bucktons. Arthur Williams, 
his cousin's youngest son, came to live with his 
sister and himself, and afterwards went to 
London with them to study for the Bar. 
The old people at Bridgend died very near 
together. Mr. Williams survived the other 
three, dying in his ninety-first year, after 
a short illness, during which his son Arthur 
was with ;^him, to admire the fortitude and 
cheerfulness with which he met death. 



177 



CHAPTER XXI. 
WALTER COFFIN. 

GOREU TRYSOR DAIONI. 
THE BEST TREASURE IS GOODNESS. 

Mr. Coffin lived several years after his cousin, 
Mr. Williams, whose death closed the con- 
nection of the family with Bridgend for some 
time to come. The last years of Mr. Coffin's 
life were spent in London, at Prince's Gate. 
He had settled there for the sake of his brother 
William, whose death, however, which oc- 
curred almost immediately afterwards, left 
him the last of his family. In the society of 
the younger people to whom he had been so 
kind, he enjoyed life, and took an interest in all 
that went on, to the very end. His house was 
a meeting place for the various members of 
the family, old and young. He was in his 
eighty-third year, when, after only a few days' 
illness, he died. Arthur Williams, the youngest 
of Mr. Williams' sons, who had lived with 

M 



178 A WELSH FAMILY. 

him, wrote the following sketch of his life, and 
of the history of Dinas, which was left by Mr. 
Coffin to Arthur Williams' eldest sister. 
" The traveller who now passes along the 
branch of the Taff Vale Railway which runs 
up to the Rhondda Valley, sees colliery chim- 
neys studding it on every side, and there is 
not a farm for miles round which is not under 
a mining lease. When Mr. Coffin began sink- 
ing his first shaft, the measures of coal he 
was about to search for had never been 
proved, having only been worked for local 
purposes by levels where they cropped out. 
The only roads that existed were in a miser- 
able state ; skilled labour was of course not 
to be obtained ; the few mechanical applian- 
ces in the shape of machinery then known, 
were strange to the district. With all the 
energy and determination which were so 
conspicuous in his character throughout his 
long and busy life, Mr. Coffin set to work in 
the face of all these difficulties to carry out 
his purpose. Of a sanguine temperament, 
blended with a fine physical constitution, and 
backed by the substance of his father, he met 
and overcame, one by one, all the obstacles, 
physical and financial, which stood in his way. 



WALTER COFFIN. 179 

After many delays and disappointments, and 
at a great expense, he reached the No. 2 and ^ 
No. 3 veins of coal, which subsequently became 
so well known as " Coffin's Coal." When he 
had got his colliery into working order, he 
made, mainly at his own expense, a tram- 
way for carrying the produce to the Glamorgan 
Canal, which had been originated for the pur- 
pose of transporting iron from Merthyr to Car- 
diff", by Richard Crawshay, the founder of the 
Crawshay family, and had been completed in 
1795. The next difficulty which presented 
itself, was to create a market for his coal. 
With indefatigable perseverance, he devoted 
himself to the business of introducing Welsh 
coal, hitherto almost unknown, to the notice 
of the consumer. The expeditions he made 
to all parts of the kingdom, the experiments 
he tried to prove its value as fuel, the efforts 
he made to open outlets for its sale, formed a 
most interesting part of the story of his life, 
which he liked to tell, and told so well, for he 
inherited from his mother the rare art of 
telling a story with admirable skill and 
humour. At last, though only gradually, and 
with the lapse of many anxious and laborious 
years, the South Wales Coal, especially 



i8o A WELSH FAMILY. 

' Coffin's Coal,' began to be sought after, and 
grew into demand. As the coal trade deve- 
loped, and the iron manufacture at Merthyr 
increased, the latter began almost to engross 
the accommodation afforded by the Glamorgan 
Canal. In this case, as in the case of the 
Liverpool and Manchester Canal, ' expostula- 
tion,' to use the words of Mr. Smiles in his 
' Lives of the Engineers,' ' was of very little 
use. They were too well supplied with 
business, and when pressed, were disposed to 
be very dictatorial.' Mr. Coffin was the last 
person to submit to this. With his usual 
sagacity, he had recognized the value of rail- 
ways as a means of transport for heavy traffic, 
at a time when they were generally thought to 
be a delusion. In 1830, the Liverpool and 
Manchester Railway, the first locomotive line, 
was opened, and very soon afterwards he put 
forward a proposal for a railway from Merthyr 
to Cardiff. On every hand he was mict by 
active or passive resistance. The Canal pro- 
prietary of course pooh-poohed the scheme, 
and his fellow colliery workers were most of 
them sceptical or faint-hearted. But with 
untiring perseverance he went on, until having 
gained the support of some influential m^en 



WALTER COFFIN. i8i 

who had confidence in him, he was able to 
bring in a Bill. After a long period of anxiety 
(for the Bill was opposed with the greatest 
determination in Committee,) it was passed 
in June, 1836, and the Taff Vale Railway 
Company was formed, with the late Sir John 
Guest as its Chairman, and Mr. Coffin as 
one of its Directors. With the greatest 
difficulty, its capital was subscribed, mainly 
through the personal influence and per- 
suasion of these two gentlemen, and the works 
were at last completed. But for several 
years after the line was opened in 1 841, it paid 
no dividend, and there was dismay and discon- 
tent among the shareholders. One unlucky 
plasterer who, acting on Mr. Coffin's advice, 
had invested part of his savings in its shares, 
seriously threatened to shoot him. He lived, 
however, to be the recipient of nine per cent, 
dividend, and to express the greatest contrition 
for his want of faith. The confidence of Mr. 
Coffin in the undertaking never wavered. He 
knew, and he told the shareholders, that there 
lay on either side of their line inexhaustible 
sources of- traffic, which with a little patience 
and management would, before long, make it 
the most prosperous in the kingdom, and 



i82 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Cardiff, which he had remembered almost a 
village, a large and flourishing town. In a 
comparatively few years these predictions were 
verified. He succeeded to the Chairmanship, 
gradually the dividend rose from nothing to 
four and from four to seven per cent., under his 
prudent and conscientious supervision. Fresh 
collieries were sunk, new iron works started, 
the whole district was opened up, branches 
were extended into the smaller valleys. With 
a capital of more than a million and a half the 
Taff Vale Railway now (1867) pays a dividend of 
more than ten per cent., and Cardiff has a popu- 
lation of 40,000 inhabitants. But it was not 
till 1841 that the tide of prosperity set in upon 
the undertaking, and Mr. Coffin reaped some, 
though a very inadequate reward, for his enter- 
prise and public spirit. ' I dragged a dead 
horse by the tail for forty years ' was his 
pithy description of his business career. In 
the year 1852 he retired from business alto- 
gether, under an arrangement with his partner 
Mr. Williamx Ogle Hunt, who continued as the 
lessee. In the same year he received a requisi- 
tion from a large number of the Liberal electors 
of Cardiff, asking him to become a candidate 
for the borough. Up to this time it had been 



WALTER COFFIN. 183 

a pocket borough of the Bute family, and the 
Marquis of Bute, succeeding to it as an inherit- 
ance, always nominated the Member. When, 
however, the Marquis devoted a large part of 
his fortune to the construction of the magnifi- 
cent Docks, which bear his name, he was 
helping to bring about a result he never 
contemplated. Cardiff from an insignificant 
place grew to be an important seaport and 
town, with a large number of electors who 
held independent political views. Though 
grateful for all that enlightened self-interest 
had induced the Marquis to do for Cardiff, 
they felt that their gratitude did not justify the 
neglect of their own duties as electors. Hold- 
ing Liberal views in politics, they were repre- 
sented by the late Right Hon. John Nicholl, 
of different political opinions, and a nominee 
of the Bute Trustees. They were deter- 
mined to vindicate their franchise, and Mr. 
Coffin conferred a last service upon Cardiff 
by coming forward to open the Borough. No 
one else could have done it. He had justly 
earned the confidence of his fellow citizens by 
his consistent conduct as a politician. At a 
time when Liberal opinions were most un- 
popular in the country, he had fearlessly 



1 84 A WELSH FAMILY. 

claimed the sight of free worship, an extended 
franchise and free trade. With the humbler 
classes his popularity was unbounded, and he 
certainly deserved it. Beneath an apparent 
coldness of manner, which he put on from his 
dislike for all mere profession of feeling, 
there lay a wealth of genuine kindness and 
humanity. During more than forty years his 
sympathies had been strongly pronounced in 
favour of those who suffer. In the Justice 
Room, at the Board of Guardians, at Quarter 
Sessions, at his Works, the poor had always 
found him their true friend, merciful in judg- 
ment, their protector against oppression, 
their counsellor in trouble, the peacemaker in 
their disputes. After a severe and close 
contest, Mr. Coffin was elected. It would 
answer no useful end to recall the bitter 
animosities which the contest caused. The 
arena of the House of Commons requires a 
training which no natural talent can supply, 
and Mr. Coffin, who entered it at 68, declined, 
with his usual good sense, to risk his reputa- 
tion as a speaker. He had indeed all the 
natural endowments of an orator, — a fine person 
and presence, a retentive memory, a ready wit, 
and a voice of singular power and sweetness. 



WALTER COFFIN. 185 

Never diffuse, and never at a loss for clear and 
forcible language, he went straight to the point, 
and though his speeches were never long they 
were always lucid and convincing. He 
possessed, too, brilliant powers of sarcasm, 
which, however, he rarely used, except when 
his contempt or indignation were roused by 
what was mean or unjust. Then he used them 
unsparingly, and they gave a wholesome 
sharpness both to his public speaking and his 
conversation. During the great Corn Law 
agitation he came forward against the land- 
lords and farmers, and almost single-handed 
fought the battles of free trade with a genial 
but searching raillery which did good service 
to the cause. * Always leave off when they 
ask you to go on ' was his often repeated 
maxim on this subject. He was of course too 
much engaged in affairs to make his public 
speaking a matter of much study, yet Glamor- 
ganshire during his time had no more effective 
speaker. His influence in public affairs was 
rendered all the more weighty by his rare 
business capacity, his shrewd good sense and his 
imperturbable temper. He soon found the late 
sittings in the House of Commons very trying, 
and feeling that in opening the Borough he 



i86 A WELSH FAMILY. 

had fulfilled his mission, he resigned his seat 
in 1857. The last years of his life he passed 
in England, that he might have the society and 
attention of some members of his family who 
were attached to him by feelings of gratitude 
and affection ; but to the last he retained the 
liveliest interest in his native country and all 
that went on there. Every autumn he spent 
two or three months on the Glamorganshire 
Coast, mostly at or near Southerndown, the 
scene of some of his earliest recollections. He 
died in 1867, at his residence at Prince's Gate, 
Hyde Park, from the mere physical decay of 
old age. That decay fell only upon the poor 
human tenement. To the last his clear 
intellect remained unclouded, and his kind 
heart was thoughtful for those around him." 



i87 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE DESCENDANTS OF THE 
WELSH FAMILY. 

TYWYNED GRATENYR EI RANN. 

THE GRAIN OF SAND HAS ITS PORTION OF THE 
BEACH. 

Mr. Coffin was the last survivor in his own 
generation of the descendants of Rice Price 
of Tynton. A quarter of a century has elap- 
sed since his death, during which many of 
the succeeding generation have passed away. 
The influence which Rice Price exercised over 
those who sprang from him may, in some 
cases, still be traced. The dispositions of his 
will affected the life and character of his eldest 
son by his first wife, and of those who descend 
from him. They retain the position he helped 
them to gain as country squires in Glamorgan- 
shire, and they hold the opinions generally 
prevalent in that class of society. The poverty 
and hardships which fell to the lot of his son 






i88 A WELSH FAMILY. 

Richard, called forth his fine qualities, and 
were the preparation for his noble and unsel- 
fish career. Through his sister, Mrs. Morgan, 
and her husband (who were in perfect sym- 
pathy with him), his influence on their 
children was unbounded. Their sons William 
and George, and their daughters Mrs. Williams 
and Mrs. Coffin, grew up under the spell of a 
character as loveable as it was noble. The 
times in which they lived lent emphasis to his 
teaching. The young people themselves 
suffered under the civil and religious disa- 
bilities against which their uncle's whole life 
was a protest. The universities were closed 
against his nephews, their liberty as citizens 
was curtailed by tests a,nd restrictions. 
Neither free speech, nor a free press existed. 
At their uncle's house they met the eminent 
men who, at the risk of their lives, were fight- 
ing the battles of freedom in America and in 
France, and from them they learned to 
sympathize with the oppressed, whether at 
home or abroad. How keenly George Morgan 
felt for the people is seen in his letters from 
France, and in his description of the barbari- 
ties practised in Ireland during the rebellion of 
1798. The heroic struggles by which the cause 



THE DESCENDANTS. 189 

of Civil and Religious Liberty has been won, 
are apt to be forgotten, but the spirit which 
animated Dr. Price was caught by the young 
people who surrounded him, and was trans- 
mitted to many of their descendants. William 
and George Morgan were both of them men of 
remarkable ability. Their children inherited 
talents which were displayed in this country 
as well as in America and in India. William 
Morgan's sons were all able men. Two of 
them were accomplished mathematicians, 
Arthur, the youngest, succeeding his father 
as Actuary of the Equitable Assurance 
Society. John, the second son, was a dis- , 

tinguished surgeon ; a grandson of his, Mr. P^S-^^y^^'* 
Arthur Waugh, took the Newdigate prize at \ ^p k..'. 
Oxford, and is pursuing a successful literary W^l ^ 
career. George Morgan's family went to 
America after their father's too early death. 
Among them were two able lawyers, who served 
the East India Company with distinction at 
Bombay. Another son, Richard Price Morgan 
(who had much of his father's genius), died at 
an advanced age in the United States, where 
he has left his mark in the shape of railroads 
and other important engineering works. He 
seems indeed to have possessed every talent 



igo A WELSH FAMILY 

but that of money making. He left a fine 
family, some of whom have become prosperous 
citizens in the Western States of America. 
There are still living, at an advanced age, 
delightful representatives of the cousins, the 
two Sarahs. In America the two Miss 
Ashburners, and Sara Travers in England. 
It is only to be regretted that neither 
Sara Travers nor Anne Ashburner have been 
induced to record the interesting experi- 
ences for which they possessed such admirable 
qualifications. Mrs. Ashburner's two sons, 
George and Samuel, and her daughter Mrs. 
Sedgwick, have left many representatives. 
George Ashburner went to India, and estab- 
lished a great Commercial House at Calcutta, 
showing distinguished ability in his career 
there. He left a large fortune to his only 
daughter and her children. A great-grandson 
of Mr. George Morgan, Walter Ashburner, 
has won distinction at Oxford and is a 
fellow of Merton College. A great-grand- 
daughter, the child of Mrs. Sedgwick, came 
back to England to marry the eldest son of 
Charles Darwin, the greatest man of science of 
this century. The Coffin family, which repre- 
sented two of Rice Price's daughters — Mrs. 



THE DESCENDANTS. 191 

Coffin, his daughter by the first wife, and Mrs. 
Morgan, his daughter by his second wife — have 
died out. Richly endowed in mind and 
person as the members of that family were, 
none of them married, to the great disappoint- 
ment of their mother, Mrs. Coffin. The 
advantages which there were no descendants 
of her own to enjoy, fell to the lot of her sister 
Mrs. Williams's grandchildren. It was the 
privilege of these young people, the sons and 
daughters of her eldest son, John Morgan 
Williams, to be thrown much into the society of 
their cousins at Llandaff. To be with them 
was a liberal education. The great questions 
of the nineteenth century were studied by them 
in an enlightened spirit worthy of the best 
traditions of the family. Fierce and long 
struggles preceded the adoption of Free 
Trade, the removal of religious disabilities, 
the extension of the franchise, and (as its con- 
sequence) the passing of the Elementary 
Education Act. The young people who wit- 
nessed the fight so valiantly fought for these 
measures and their ultimate triumph, took the 
lesson to heart. They have all steadfastly 
adhered to the Liberal Cause. Two of the 
sons have been able to support it in their 



192 A WELSH FAMILY. 

native county. The elder brothers were en- 
gineers. Morgan Bransby WiUiams, the eldest, 
after much professional experience in England 
and Italy, was engaged for several years in the 
construction of 800 miles of railroad in the 
Baltic Province of Russia. He married a 
Russian lady, the Baroness von Wulf. The 
Emancipation of the Serfs (of whom there 
were 1,500 on her estate) took place after his 
marriage. Alexander IL, the author of that 
measure, came to Riga for the opening of the 
Riga and Dunaburg Railway, which had been 
completed with rare accuracy within the limits 
of time and expense promised by the engineer. 
The compliments the Emperor paid him on 
the occasion, and the diamond ring with which 
he was presented, were well deserved. On 
the death of his wife he decided to leave Russia 
on the completion of his work. He then 
retired from his profession and settled in 
Glamorganshire, where as a magistrate and in 
other capacities, he has taken an active part 
in the affairs of his native county. As he is a 
strong Liberal he was asked to be a candidate for 
West Glamorgan, but declined as he was then 
out of health, but he now stands first on the 
list as High Sheriff for that county this year. 



RICHARD PRICE WILLIAMS. 193 

Richard Price Williams, the second 
brother, is still practising his profession. His 
original calculations, and graphic statistics, 
have done much to throw light on various 
difficult problems. His paper on the " Main- 
tenance and Renewal of Permanent Way," for 
which the Institution of Civil Engineers 
awarded him the Telford Medal and thirty 
pounds' worth of books, did m.uch to recommend 
the Bessemer process and to push forward 
the use of his friend Sir Henry Bessemer's 
steel rails, to which the public was not yet 
converted. " What ! put down a brittle mate- 
rial like steel on the running road of our main 
line ? " was Sir John Hawkshaw's reply to 
Price Williams' application to him for 
permission to do so. "I should be tried for 
manslaughter." Sir John Hawkshaw was one 
of the first to congratulate the author on his 
paper, saying, " Now you may put down as 
many Bessemer rails as you like." In 1866 
he was asked by Government to serve on the 
Coal Commission : his calculations — founded 
on the basis of diminishing ratios — affected 
not only the question of the duration of the 
coal supply, but the future feeding of the nation, 
and to this last subject his paper on 



194 A WELSH FAMILY. 

"Population" referred. He was engaged in 
1867 on a most important enterprise; the 
examination and valuation of the railways and 
canals of Ireland, to which he was appointed 
by Government when a proposal to purchase 
them was before Parliament. In 1889 his 
report on the condition of the Rolling Stock 
on the railways of New South Wales has led 
to the expenditure of ^^Z^" 1,3 00, 000 on repairs, 
which were urgently needed. His connection 
with Australia has indeed, of late years, led to 
many engagements at the Antipodes, and has 
caused him to make the circuit of the globe 
several times. 

Leonard Dyson Williams, the third brother, 
who was a banker at Swansea, died in 1876. 
His death called forth tributes to his high 
character from all parties. The warmth of the 
eulogy, and the general recognition of the 
extent of the public loss, was remarkable in the 
case of a citizen of such extreme modesty and 
of such unpretending demeanour. He was 
valued not only for his service as a County 
Magistrate, for his staunch support of the 
Liberal Cause, and for his great ability as a man 
of business, which had been conspicuous in 
the establishment of the Swansea Bank, now 



LEONARD DYSON WILLIAMS. 195 

such an important undertaking, but for his 
devotion to every movement, whether social, 
moral, or political, having a tendency to the 
humanizing of the race. 

Arthur John Williams, the youngest of the 
brothers, who as a youth took such a warm 
interest in the battle for Liberal opinions won 
by his benefactor, Mr. Coffin, and whose 
memoir of him has been given, represents the 
Southern division of Glamorganshire in Par- 
liament, having thrice successfully contested 
it in the Liberal Cause. Mrs. Buckton, one of 
the daughters, has shown her interest in 
Popular Education by giving her services for 
nine years to the Leeds School Board, of 
which she was three times elected a member. 
In anticipation of the changes since made in 
the Education Code, she promoted instruction 
in the laws of health and in the domestic arts 
by her successful lectures to the children, which 
were printed and became very popular, as 
" Health in the House," etc. 

In looking back at the lives of those to 
whom these memorials relate, their chief 
characteristics would seem to have been a 
readiness to recognise the justice and necessity 
of progressive reforms, 



196 A WELSH FAMILY. 

To each succeeding generation fresh 
problems have been set, and have been 
solved in this same spirit, which is of the 
very essence of Liberalism. 



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