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contents; for in this small octodecimo there are several glaring errors, as well as numberless silly fictions and conceits, altogether unworthy of preservation, and better calculated to adorn the pages of a jest book, than those of a grave historical compilation. At page 126, we have the following sage information.
“They (the Welsh) have Metheglin, first invented by Matthew Glin, their own countreyman! It is compounded of milk and honey, and very wholesome. Pollio Romulus, being an hundred years of age, told Julius Cæsar,' that he had preserved the vigour of his mind and body by taking metheglin inwardly, and using oyl outwardly. It is like mead, but stronger, and Queen Elizabeth, who by the Tuders was of Welsh descent, much loved this her native liquor."
For this, however, we must not blame our “ collector." He lived in a conceited age, and manufactured his wares-not for the benefit of posterity, but for the advantage of his own pocket, and for the edifying oblectation of his contemporaries. As his History of the Principality of Wales is scarce, we shall give a specimen or two of its contents before we proceed to the more immediate object of our article.
The first and second divisions of the work merely consist of an epitome of the history of Britain, down to the conquest of Wales; and contain nothing either new or curious; but in the “ Remarkable Observations” there are a few “ rarities" well worthy of transcription. The reason of the discontinuance of the old Welsh fashion of prefixing half-a-dozen aps to one's name is not, perhaps, generally known: our author thus explains it.
“ Thomas ap William ap Thomas ap Richard ap Howel ap Vaughan, Esquire, was born of an antient family at Moston in this county (Flintshire). This gentleman being called at a pánnel of a jury by all these names, was advised by the judge, in the reign of K. Henry VII., to contract them, whereupon he nominated himself Moston: a leading case to the gentry in Wales, who, leaving their pedigrees at home, carry one sirname only abroad with them."* p.164.
Our author is wrong here. It was not Thomas ap William
Howel ap Vaughan, but Thomas ap Richard ap Howel ap Jevan Vaughan, “lord of Mostyn,” who submitted to have his name thus unmercifully abridged. The “judge” was Rowland Lee, bishop of Litchfield, and president of the marches of Wales, who sat in one of the courts in the reign of Henry the eighth,) on a Welsh cause, and, wearied with the quantity of aps in the jury, directed that the pannel should assume their last name, or that of their residence ; and that Thomas ap Richard, &c. should, for the future, be reduced to the poor dissyllable, Mostyn; no doubt (observes Mr. Pennant) to the great mortification of many an antient line.
We have the following anecdotes of a brave soldier of the time of Elizabeth.
“ Sir Roger Williams, born of an antient family, at Penross in Monmouthshire, was first a souldier of fortune in the Netherlands, under the Duke of Alva, and afterwards served Queen Elizabeth. He was a man extreamly forward to fight. When a Spanish captain challenged Sir John Norris to fight a single combate, which he could not accept, as being below him who was a general, this Sir Roger ondertook the Don. And after they had fought for some time, in the view of both armies, without any hurt, they pledged each other a deep draught of wine, and so friendly departed. Another time, at midnight, he assaulted the camp of the Prince of Parma, nigb Venice, slew some of the enemie's souldiers, and pierced to the very tent of the general. Byron, Marshall of France, once saying, That he did not like the march of the English drum, because it was so slow; Sir Roger, hearing him, sharply replied, As slow as it is, yet it hath gone through all France. He bravely defended the town and fort of Sluce in Flanders whilst there was any hope of relief; but at length being forced to surrender it, he returned to the court.”
Thus much for Nathaniel Crouch,--and now to the more interesting portion of our subject.
The conquest of Wales by Edward the First was one of the most illustrious exploits achieved by that enterprizing monarch. By his prowess and policy, he considerably weakened the pertinacious resistance of the Welsh in defence of their liberties; and although he could not entirely quell their
patriotic ardour, he eventually secured to England the possession of the principality. Edward was a rigorous and ruthless conqueror. Trained to arms from his cradle, and living in an age of rude and warlike enterprize, all his abilities were directed to the augmentation of his dominions, and to the secure and permanent establishment of his conquests. No act of cruelty and oppression was consequently withheld by which these intentions might be fulfilled; and he accomplished his object as much by the strength of his arm, as by that consummate policy for which he was so renowned. Thus, in his attempts to subjugate the Welsh, he brought to his aid all the coercive severity within his power; and he did not extend to them any of that conciliating lenity, which his superior sagacity might have dictated, till long after he had slain their monarch, and trampled under his feet the royal power of the principality.
Several circumstances, however, entirely independent of the valour and policy of Edward, conspired to overthrow the kingdom of the ancient Britons. Their expulsion from England by the Saxons, while it gave birth to an enmity as vindictive as
it was implacable, was an encroachment upon their power, from which they never effectually recovered; for, although they found amongst the mountain-fastnesses of Wales a secure refuge from the more open and destructive assaults of their enemies, the frontier districts were exposed to the continual ravages of the invaders; and for several centuries antecedent to their downfall, the Cambro-British were engaged in almost constant warfare with their neighbours. At length, this hostility assumed a more determined character; and the annals of the century which preceded the conquest of Wales, display a terrible tissue of conspiracies, proscriptions, and blood-shed. That unquenchable enmity between the two nations, which originated in the Saxon invasion, had gained additional strength from the devastating incursions of the English; and after many years of sanguinary warfare, the Welsh found themselves in a state of the most severe and absolute bondage.
A cause which contributed very materially to the fostering of this bitter and hereditary animosity, was the despotic tyranny of the Lords Marchers, an order of men whose power was unlimited in their respective domains, and who were indebted for their origin to the policy of William the Norman. This prince had no sooner seated himself securely on the throne of Harold, than he turned his attention to the augmentation of his newly acquired dominions, by adding to them as large a portion of Wales, as he could obtain without much trouble or personal exertion. To this end, he gave to several Norman lords as much land on the borders as they could “win from the Welshmen;" thereby providing for his followers a considerable portion of territory, and, by a master-stroke of policy, erecting, by the same means, a powerful barrier against the incursions of the British. The lands thus granted were denominated Lordships, or Baronies Marches; and were holden in capite of the king, by serving him in his wars with a certain number of vassals. For the more effectual government of the people within the marches, a kind of palatine court was established in each lordship, with full power to administer justice and to execute its decrees in the territories dependent upon it. In consequence of this policy, a large extent of the Welsh frontier became annexed to England, and the Lords Marchers were invested with the most arbitrary authority in their respective domains,—the power of life and death was placed in their hands, and they were neither sparing nor merciful in the exercise of their powerful prerogative.* It was, indeed, absolutely requisite,
From a MS. Treatise in the possession of Thomas Lloyd, of Overton, Esq. quoted in the Appendix to Pennant's Tours in Wales.
that they should act towards the Welsh in a manner at once despotic and decisive, in order to establish themselves in their baronies; and the violent oppression, which they were consequently compelled to use towards the inhabitants of their lordships, was by no means calculated to assuage the hatred of a people naturally vindictive and irritable. Thus was this ferocious enmity constantly kept alive, till it eventually led to the downfall of a nation, which, through various changes of fortune, had opposed the arms of imperial Rome, and for more than eight hundred years had resisted the utmost efforts of the Saxon and Norman princes.*
But it was not to this implacable enmity alone, that we are to attribute the subjugation of the Cambro-British. There was nother, and a far more reprehensible cause of the subversion of their liberties. When the Welsh princes were not exclusively engaged in hostilities with the English, they were sedulously occupied in warfare with each other; for the ancient division of the principality into three distinct sovereigntiest afforded ample scope for the exercise of those warlike habits which they inherited from their ancestors. This inveterate spirit of disunion necessarily precluded any general system of policy; and while it involved the several states in continual contests, it infused a deeper ferocity into the manners of the people, and greatly weakened their power of opposing a sagacious and enterprizing enemy. Thus the public safety was left to depend upon the rude valour of the inhabitants, or upon other circumstances, merely adventitious and temporary; while a firm and unanimous union might have effectually resisted the
* The historian of Rome has elegantly pourtrayed the situation of the Britons, previous to their expulsion by the Saxons.-Gibbon, vol. vi. p. 386.
+ Wales, or Cymru, was originally divided into six principalities, and governed by as many chieftains, or reguli: but at a subsequent period, these provinces were contracted into the three sovereignties of North Wales, South Wales, and West Wales, or Powisland. This latter division was effected in the ninth century by Rodri Mawr, or Roderick the Great, in favour of his sons, Anarawd, Cadell, and Mervyn. Each of these sovereigns possessed a distinct and absolute authority within his own dominions; but according to the spirit and custom of gavel-kind,—" that fatal source from which the Welsh tasted so copiously of the waters of bitterness," -a pre-eminency over the other princes was established in the kings of North Wales, who were invested with the nominal title of Brenhin Cymru Oll, or king of all Wales.- Warrington, vol. i. and Humffrey Llwyds Breviary of Britaine.
encroachments of the English, and secured to the Welsh the possession of their ancient rights and liberties.
The wars in which England and Wales were constantly engaged, were carried on, for some time, with uncertain success to both nations. At length, the English so far gained the advantage, that they compelled the Welsh prince, Llewelyn ab Jorwerth, to conclude a treaty of peace, the tenor of which, however strictly it might be formed on the principles of justice, was expressive of the most abject vassalage. By this treaty, Llewelyn engaged to maintain perpetual fidelity to King John, in the fulness of feudal ideas ; to pay homage to him as his liege lord, whenever his obedience was required ; and to receive at the hands of the Earl of Essex,-the justiciary of the realm,--livery of seisin of his territories, which he was to hold in security till the return of the king, who was, at that time, absent in his continental dominions. But the oppression exercised by the English nobility, especially by the Earl of Chester, provoked Llewelyn to violate this treaty; and during the remainder of his reign, he was warmly engaged in contests with the English. This ferocious hostility continued throughout the reign of his son and successor, Davydd, and with more extensive injury to the Welsh than they had hitherto experienced in their warfare with England. Davydd, indeed, had been compelled by Henry the Third to sign a treaty, which affected the liberties of the Welsh far more seriously than the compact between John and Llewelyn. Among other concessions on the part of the Welsh prince, were the following severe ones. That he should deliver up his brother Gruffydd, and his nephew Owain, as hostages to the king ; that he should render satisfaction for all injuries done by him to the king, or to his subjects ; that he should pay him all the homage and courtesy which his predecessor John had, or ought to have, received by virtue of his treaty with Llewelyn; and, lastly, under the penalty of forfeiting his sovereignty, he entered into the most solemn engagement, that he would never desert Henry's service, that he would obey all his commands, and stand to the law in his courts.*
This treaty, which was very speedily violated by Davydd, afforded the king a just claim to the homage and services of the Welsh; and in enforcing his rights, which were always strenuously disputed, he exercised neither mildness nor mercy. Thus were the Welsh reduced to the very lowest ebb of their
This treaty was signed, on the part of Davydd, by the bishops of St. Asaph and Bangor, at Alnet on the river Elwy, in Flintshire. -Rymer's Fædera, tom. i. p.