Iolo Morganwg at Margaret Williams, 19 Chwefror 1794

NLW 21285E, Llythyr 850)

Address: Margaret Williams, Flimston, near Cowbridge, Glamorgan
Postmark: FE [?]; 19; 95
Source: NLW 21285E, no. 850

London, Feb. 19th 1794

Dear Peggy,

I have at present given up the idea of bringing you and the children up to London, and not to put my history of the druids to the press now. I have taken the opinion of a great many of the most eminent writers of the present time, with whom I am fortunately acquainted, with the opinion also of the most judicious booksellers. They all agree in thinking that the times are not favourable for publishing any thing now. The war and its dangers with other great national perplexities, have involved the public mind in a deep melancholly, nothing pleases, amuses, or engages the attention: but a sense, at least a fear, of danger, gives a gloomy cast to every mind. For these reasons, I am by all advised not to put my work to the press till we see peace return. I take this advice and, if I live to see peace, I will print my book at Paris. Stare and wonder as much as you please, but I have it in serious contemplation to take you and the children with me to Paris. These things however must be left to providence. I shall not at present put my answer to Paines, Age of Reason to the press, though it has been approved of by the most respectable literary gentlemen in London, but I defend Christianity by arguments that will enrage government ten thousand times more than any thing that Paine has wrote against it. I have, amongst other things, asserted and endeavoured to prove that all Church establishments or, in other words, all systems of Church and Kingism, are, as if with might and main, preaching Christianity out of the world and, I have said nothing but what I believe on the strongest conviction. Every writer on this subject that I have yet met with (and I have not less than fifty on the subject), has an eye to the tenets of his own church or sect rather than to the true principles of Christianity. I defend it on principles that are inimical to every system of Churchism that I know. The vindicator of genuine Christianity is, notwithstanding our pretended tolleration, as much in danger of persecution, of fire and faggot, as ever, and yet I will, in due time, publish my pamphlet and abide by the consequences. Its price will not exceed half a crown. I have printed off some sheets of the history of my life, but I can not complete it at present. I have you know some late anecdotes to collect in Wales. I have lately found that some gentlemen (if it be no sin to term them so) wrote several letters up to London to Mrs Montagu and others, with an attempt to prevent the publication of my poems. I have a complete triumph over them and it would rankle very sore in their black hearts to know the approbation that I have met with from the public and I have given, in my history, an account of these pitiful malevolences that I have experienced from neighbours and gentlemen of my own country who pretended to be my friends.

I was at the Old Baily, an eye and an ear witness to Pitt's perjury on the trial of Horne Tooke and of the evidence that was given by Mr Sheridan at the same time, and by the Duke of Richmond on Hardy's trial, in direct contradiction of what Pitt said. This is probably an information that you have not yet found in the rascally ministerial papers that are taken in Glamorganshire, papers that are detested here even by their own parties, The True Briton, The Sun, The Times and others. I have written several pieces in verse of late and am encouraged to print them, which I will do if some respectable bookseller will, on terms that will please me, take upon him the management of printing and publication. I have given, in various publications, a good deal for nothing, but this I will do no more. If I live to see peace and more favourable times, I will sell the copy-right of my poems. I shall have a good price then for it and, I believe, no very bad price at present, but I will not now dispose of it and will not dispose of the copy-right of my new pieces that I am, as I told you above, encouraged to publish, but for three years, and even that not without something valuable. I will soon send you a parcel of the poems and with them five different reviews that have noticed them with great approbation. They have also been already mentioned and quoted by several respectable and successful writers. These things enhance the value of the copy-right. For this reason, I think it best for a while not to sell it. Let me know how you are all. I hope my little Nancy is better, that Peggy does not complain as much as usual, that Tally is well, that you are well. Let me hear how my father is. Do not let him want any thing in your power. Let me know how all friends are, particularly Mr Walters and family, Mr Williams of St Athan and other friends there. Compliments to all.

My cough continues very bad. I am less feverish however, and growing better slowly. As soon as the weather is a little milder and the roads drier, I will come home. I must ramble much on foot in my way, a zig-zag journey to Henly, Reading, Oxford Cheltenham, Glocester, Marlborough, Devizes, Bath, Bristol &c. I am not able at present to undertake this journey and to come home, and afterwards return on this rout will be far more expensive than to wait here a fortnight longer, and I may about that time reasonably hope for a week of tollerably mild and dry weather, with a little length of day and improved health into the bargain, but if the complaint of Nancy, Peggy or of any one of you, or of my father, indicates danger let me know instantly and I will immediately come home at all events. Let me know whether there is a boat at Bristol and how long it will stay there that I may know whether I can direct my parcel of books to Aberthaw. What news have you?

Edward Williams