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Welsh History Review


Vol. 15, nos. 1-4 1990-91

Artisans and sans-culottes. Book review.

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than a sneaking suspicion, however, that he would have dismissed that truly
fascinating coterie of auto-didacts and Baptist ministers who led the radical charge in
Wales itself as just another bunch of Celtic chiliasts, like those damned Bretons who
caused him so much trouble in the Vendee.
For those who ponder upon such matters and who seek a primer on the Welsh
response to the Revolution-Painite and Burkeian-one could start with Ymateb I
Chwyldro. It consists of a brief introduction, in Welsh and English, followed by potted
biographies of some of the leading Welshmen of the revolutionary day, pride of place,
predictably, going to Richard Price and David Williams. One could treat it as a tasty
little hors d'oeuvre, before sampling the meatier works by Whitney Jones, David
Williams: the Anvil and the Hammer, and Gwyn Williams, In Search of Madoc. It
will, at least, provoke you into wanting to know about the extraordinary Morgan Rhys
who emigrated to America (following a year in France distributing, amongst other
things, bibles and Sunday schools), barnstorming his way through the southern states
denouncing papists and slave-owners with Ian Paisley-like fervour and rhetoric. Rhys
was also partly responsible for the foundation of that physical, but very short-lived,
haven for radical Welshmen and women who endured the ghastly Atlantic crossings
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