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3T523 OCT 24 1905

Preface

The Welsh emigration to Pennsylvania commenced in 1681-2, the first arrivals coming principally from North Wales, and constituted one of the most progressive as well as one of the most prosperous elements in that Province. A number of these settlers, especially the earlier arrivals, principally members of the Society of Friends, were careful to record the circumstances connected with their removal, and also their ancestry for several generations, and few there were among them who left no account or tradition of their Cymric forefathers or of the locality from whence they came.

An emigration to Pennsylvania of Welsh Baptists began about the close of the Seventeenth Century and continued for over a generation, amounting, probably, to a score of families per annum. Of these, the Congregation known in Pennsylvania as the "Seventh Day Baptists," was an offshoot of the Tredyffrin or Great Valley Baptist Church in the County of Chester, and the members of these congregations were almost entirely from the Counties of Carmarthen, Pembroke, Radnor and Cardigan, but largely from the latter. The Records of the Great Valley Church contain a number of original “Letters of Removal” given by the Rhydwyllim Chapel, which was situate near the conjunction of the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke, to Nonconformists of that denomination intending to settle in Pennsylvania. It is not to be supposed, however, that all of the persons to whom such letters were given lived at or near to Rhydwyllim; but this Chapel seems to have been the headquarters of Baptists in this part of South Wales, and the place from whence all such certificates, on recommendation of the local ministers, were at that time issued to those about to emigrate. It is interesting to know that Lampeter township in Lancaster County which, according to a learned historian of that County was so called to commemorate an early settler yclept “Lame Peter," was as a matter of fact, named by these Welsh Colonists after Lampeter in Cardiganshire, from whence some of them emigrated, and that a large number, likewise, settled in what is now the State of Delaware, and Pencader Hundred there was so called after the Parish of Pencader which adjoins Lampeter.

It has been stated that in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire from whence so many of the Welsh Baptist settlers of Pennsylvania came, the best type of the Cymry is to be found in the descendants of the ancient Silurians, and the inhabitants of these Counties also claim that their language, which differs somewhat from the North Welsh tongue, is purer and therefore more primitive than the latter; but, although in a sense this may be true, insomuch as North Wales was frequently invaded by the Picts, Scots and Strath Clyde Britains and even by Armoricans, many of whom settled there, whilst the tribes in the south for the most part drove back these invaders; yet it is unquestionable that the influence of Roman arms, Roman blood and the Roman language is more evident here to-day than in any other part of England or Wales, and it is not surprising, indeed, that this should be so. The impress of Roman civilization and blood in England was almost entirely effaced by the Saxon conquest, and, to a very considerable extent, in North Wales also, but in South Wales, especially in the Counties of Cardigan and Carmarthen, the people, subsequent to the Roman evacuation, although repeatedly attacked by Saxon and Dane and finally by the Nurmans, defended their territory more stubbornly, more successfully, and longer than their Northern kinsmen.

Again, it is only natural that the Roman should have left a deep impress upon this spot in Britain.

Here, indeed, were many of the richest mines, which formed the real incentive for the conquest and absolute tyranical government of the country, and it was from these mines that the Roman Emperors and Senators, generation after generation, drew their revenues; the enforced work of the enslaved Briton, in the nature of tribute from the conquered provinces, filling the coffers of the Imperial City. That mining was carried on to a great extent here, we know, and that the profits from this industry in South Wales alone, must have been enormous is evident from the lavish expenditure of the Roman Government in maintaining

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several legions in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire for over two centuries, and erecting here permanent and magnificent military roads and extensive defensive works, Sarn Helen and Sarn Julia being splendid examples of the former.

It was the custom of the Romans to keep the same legions at one station continually, supplying deficiencies in the ranks by recruits as needed. Thus, the famous XXth Legion was stationed for generations at Chester, others at the two Northern Walls. Upon the expiration of his term of service, the Roman veteran was accorded the privilege of transportation to the point of his enlistment, or was permitted to marry and settle outside the Camp and a large percentage availed themselves of the latter privilege and it would seem that these old soldiers formed, as it were, a kind of reserve of the Legion, their children being probably destined to fill the ranks in their turn. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the wife was a native woman.

Carmarthen, is on the site of the Roman Maridunum, and near the junction of Sarn Helen and Sarn Julia. Here are a number of Roman remains, including a fine pavement, the site of the Amphitheatre, some entrenchments, a house or so of Roman origin, and the foundation of the bridge. Sarn Helen runs northward from this place via Lampeter, connecting with Llanddewi Bref, Nantcwnlle and the coast.

From the final withdrawal of the Roman Legions from Britain after their last campaign against the Picts and Scots to the tenth century, say for a period of nearly six hundred years, but little is known of the history of this part of Wales. The Romans had found the Britons of these bleak hills living in the rudest possible manner—the dwellings of the peasants being merely depressions in the ground, sometimes walled up a couple of feet above the surface and covered with slabs of stone and sod. These hovels accommodated, usually, but two or three persons, and were for sleeping only, not room enough being allowed to stand or sit up. Sometimes, also, they lived in pits or caves. The houses of the chiefs and upper classes, however, were of timber lined with skins of fur-bearing animals, and fortified.

It seems that the Romans, by example and intermarriage, soon introduced a more comfortable and more sanitary mode of living and to this day substantial stone buildings have been observed in various parts of Wales, which are, at least partly, of undoubted Roman construction, but how far from civilization even those of Roman blood drifted amid the confusion and desperate fighting which followed the withdrawal of the Legions cannot ever be known.

Certain it is, however, that the Britons commenced to quarrel among themselves immediately they were abandoned and mobs, which probably included many Roman adventurers, ex-soldiers, and half-blood natives, attacked and pillaged the villas of the wealthier classes, burning them to the ground, and also destroyed the mines; the temporary and feeble government having more than they could accomplish in attempting to defend the country against the barbarians from the North, who, failing to meet the accustomed garrison on the Roman Walls, poured in hordes southward, buining, looting and murdering as they advanced.

There must have been fierce fighting in Cardiganshire during all these years, and later, for, speaking of the Church of Llanbadarn Fawr in the County of Cardigan, in his Antiquities of Cardiganshire, Evans says that it was burnt down by the Saxons, in 720, by the Danes, in 988, by Llewelyn ap Sitsyllt, in 1038, by the Danes in 1071, and by Ethel and Madoc, in 1911, and it is a strange fact that Christianity continued to flourish here under such adverse circumstances. Certainly, under the beneficient influence of the Church a considerable improvement was made in the social condition of the Welsh by the roth Century.

Of all Britain, Wales alone had maintained her independence in defiance of the Picts and Scots, invading Saxons, and Danish Vikings. Of the land eastward, town after town and principality after principality had been crushed by the Saxon, first invited to the island by a mistaken policy of hiring these mercenaries to take the place of the Roman troops, who had so long and successfully kept the Picts and Scots within the confines of their misty hills.

But Britain had not been cheaply conquered. Step by step, fighting desperately for each hamlet and each field, sweeping clean the land before them, in one great red devastation, the Saxon advanced, but slowly, westward. It cost him generations of continuous war to win the plains and forests of Cheshire alone, and it was not until the 8th Century, that the main part of the Island could be considered as Saxon England. Even then the Welsh, probably re-enforced by retreating tribes of Britons, still bravely held out, and finally arranged a treaty, whereby the Welsh Princes sat in the Saxon Parliaments, especially in the reign of Athelstan, and governed their land under their own code of laws.

The social condition of the Welsh, had, by this time, much improved, their dwellings being comparatively comfortable (principally built of wood) and they had given much attention to the cultivation of the arts and sciences, and to music and poetry, in which they had always delighted, and which at the present day distinguishes them as a peculiar people.

Under Howel Dda (the Good), a wise Prince, the laws of Wales were revised, and many excellent ones added. Unfortunately, however, the division of the Principality between several Princes, or Chiefs, sometimes brothers, sometimes cousins, was the cause of much jealousy and cruel civil wars, and, in the end prevented a united stand against the Norman invaders, who, more by the treachery of some of the Welsh themselves, than by force of arms, acquired footholds in various places within the Marches. These Normans, we are told, when the opportunity presented itself, treated the conquered with great cruelty.

From his earldom by Chester, Hugh the Wolf harried Flintshire into a desert. Robert de Belesme slew the inhabitants like sheep, "enslaved them, and flayed them with nails of iron."

In South Wales, in his County of Cardigan, that goodly Prince and iron soldier, Rys ap Tewdor, and his son Griffith, his son Rys, called the "Lord Rys," and the Great Llewelyn, made so gallant a stand against the invaders that at last a truce was called, and lasted, with a few minor outbreaks for a long time, Lord Rys being commissioned Chief Justice of South Wales by Henry I.

In the reign of Edward I. the Welsh again considered their ancient privileges trampled upon, and broke out in rebellion under the Second Llewelyn, who, after signal success, fell at Builth, and his, with his brother David's head, rotted for many a year on the spikes of Temple Bar; but still the Welsh remained practically unconquered. Edward, with the policy that marked his reign did not strive to entirely deprive them of their rights, but his successors were less prudent, and at the close of the 14th Century, the Principality was again in arms under Owen Glendower, a descendant of the first Llewelyn, who held the English

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