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Welsh History Review


Vol. 18, nos. 1-4 1996-97

The Nelson companion. Book review.

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Particularly was this true in the 1790s, when emigration from Wales picked
up dramatically in numbers after many decades of relative inactivity. It
became a major theme of Samuel Jones's correspondence, and his network
eased the way for many Welsh emigrants. Two of the most remarkable of
them to arrive during these years were Morgan John Rhys and John Evans
(ofWaunfawr), both of them powerfully influenced Evans might be said to
have been obsessed by myths of Madoc and the Welsh Indians. Morgan
John Rhys exerted himself most energetically to convert negro slaves and
Indians. Convinced that slavery was the consequence of British imperialism,
he was profoundly disillusioned to find the Americans still clinging
obstinately to the practice in the 1790s. Rhys's outspoken advocacy of radical
views on the need for the conversion of what many regarded as 'inferior
beings' led to an irreconcilable rift between him and Samuel Jones, who was
a distinctly more conservative upholder of American ways with which he had
long been familiar. Sadly enough, Jones's death coincided with a growing
reaction among Baptists in Wales, spearheaded by Christmas Evans, which
weakened immeasurably that once so fruitful partnership between them and
their North American brethren. Throughout the volume, Dr Davies's
treatment of the theological and doctrinal nuances involved is masterly, as is
his handling of the economic and political issues. He has produced a book
which should appeal not only to Welsh historians but also to all those who
have any interest in transatlantic relationships.
THE NELSON COMPANION. Edited by Colin White. Alan Sutton Publishing,
1995. Pp. xiii, 228; 102 black & white illustrations; 13 colour plates.
£ 18.99.
We are in the opening years of 'the Nelson Decade', a decade which will
see the bicentenaries of Nelson's finest military achievements, culminating
in October 2005 with the two-hundredth anniversary of his greatest but
final victory at Trafalgar. The Nelson Companion is a contribution to this
extended period of commemoration, published in association with the
Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth and edited by the chief curator of that
museum. It is a handsomely produced and well-illustrated collection of
papers on different aspects of Nelson, all of them by experts in the field
and all reflecting their authors' informed enthusiasm for their subject.
A little too enthusiastically, perhaps, the dust-jacket proclaims this to be
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