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Wales and the French Revolution Series
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A patriotic appeal

by Ghost of Llewellyn

THE GHOST OF LLEWELLYN. SUMMIT OF PEN Y CARNEDD, HALF PAST 12 O’CLOCK, MONDAY NIGHT.

Location: Marion Löffler, Welsh Responses to the French Revolution: Press and Public Discourse (2012), doc 5.15

FRIENDS AND FELLOW COUNTRYMEN,

The tranquil slumber I have now enjoyed for a period exceeding 500 years having been of late disturbed by dreams of the most confused and disorderly kind, I rise from the tomb, actuated by superior necessity, to lay before you a few plain truths, and to warn you of the dangers with which you are encompassed. As I have taken my station on the Summit of this well-known rock which bears my name, I shall thence have an opportunity of seeing clearly whatever is passing below, and of affording you such occasional assistance as you may wish to receive, and my separate state of being will enable me to bestow.

Since I was cut off in the prime of life, fighting for the liberties of my country, a wiser and happier system of intercourse with England has succeeded the national jealousies and antipathies of that barbarous period in which I existed: with what sincere satisfaction do I now see you governed by the same wholesome laws, participating the same blessings, and enjoying in common with her all the comforts and conveniences of civilized life. Amidst the various vicissitudes of human life, amidst the rise and fall of empires, after a succession of events, which, at different periods, have agitated and disturbed the world, Great Britain, I observe, though sometimes partially overwhelmed, has always risen superior to the shock, and seemed to gather strength from each convulsion. I see her now just in the zenith of her prosperity, assailed by an unheard-of monster, calling itself a nation, which, after having torn limb from limb nearly every nation in the world is now preparing to finish its sanguinary repast, and gorge its savage gluttony on the entrails of my beloved countrymen. But mark!

“Be lion mettled, proud; and take no care
Who chases, who frets, and who conspirers are,
England shall never conquered be.”

It gave me sincere pleasure to hear of the loyal and unanimous meeting which took place on Saturday last at Carnarvon, and my spirit rose at hearing the manly and decisive resolutions which passed on that occasion. I doubt not but that your next meeting will be marked with the same patriotism and the same spirit. It is my duty, however, to inform you, that the situation in which you are relatively placed, is more dangerous than you seem to imagine. You do not want courage, but you want energy; you want to see your danger, in order to take the necessary steps to guard against it. The truth must not be concealed. Consider for a moment, that if the French succeeded in reducing the sister kingdom, you will have to contend with the united force of France and Ireland on your own defenceless and unprotected coasts. The idea is dreadful. But let your vigour increase with the increasing danger, and

“Llangciau’r Eryri ai gwyn gyll, ai ynnill hi.”
(The young men of Snowdonia with their white hazelnut rods, will win it.)

I call upon you rich ones to open your purses, and furnish the means with which Providence has entrusted you (to avert this calamity) with an unsparing hand. I call upon the Clergy as a numerous and respectable body, who by their influence with the lower classes, may furnish the most important aid, to come forward with their personal services. – No exemptions should be allowed, but to such as are actually engaged in the discharge of parochial duty, and even those might enrol themselves to serve within certain limits. Should any person chuse to claim an exemption, let him purchase it with a sum of money to be laid out in arming and accoutreing the rest. With all the respect I owe to the gravity of that profession, and for the expediency of subordination to the higher powers in every station of life, I cannot see the necessity of applying to your Bishop for permission to arm yourselves at this present most eventful period. Will you ask permission to arm yourselves when Hannibal has crossed the Alps? – What! Will you ask permission to defend your lives, your fortunes, and your families, from the lawless gripe of Gallic aggression? No!

Here I must say a word or two on the score of employing substitutes. Should any person by reason of age, sickness, or infirmity, wish to claim an exemption from personal service, let him, as I just now observed, purchase that exemption with money. Let him remember, that neither age, sickness, nor infirmity, will screen him from French insolence, and French barbarism. By employing substitutes, the country may be deprived of their services as volunteers; you will convert into a mercenary traffic what ought to be considered as an honourable distinction, and by teaching others to expect the same, you will damp the rising spirit of the country.

I call upon you who are landlords over a numerous tenantry, to use your utmost influence to convince your dependants of the dangers which threaten them. Tell them, that in the black catalogue of human misery, the last victim of French aggrandizement and unprincipled ambition, was a nation assimilated in manners, customs, and simplicity of life, nearly to their own, who, leading a quiet and pastoral life, amidst their hitherto impenetrable mountains and fastnesses, unvexed with all the cares and vexations inseparable from a state of opulence, yet gifted abundantly, like yourselves, with the two principal sources of human felicity, “Sufficiency and content;” tell them they are no more. Deluded by the fair promises of their hypocritical friends, and lulled into a state of fatal security, they were convinced of their error when it was too late to repair it; and presented themselves an easy conquest to the swords of the enemies of mankind.

“Accipe nunc Danaum insidias, et crimine ab uno disce omnes.”
(Learn now the wiles of the Greeks, and from one crime learn what they are all like.)

Whilst I am now speaking, I see, in that devoted country, groups of miserable victims, in all the attitudes of horror and despair; I see anarchy, murder, atheism, and rapine, stalking triumphant over those fields so lately the abode of innocence and peace; I see the altars of religion overthrown; I see helpless infirmity sinking beneath the blow of the cruel assassin; I see the guilty son lifting up his parricidal hand against the bosom of his aged parents; I see modesty and virtue dragged from its sanctuary, and brutally violated; I see the crying infant lifting up its little hands, to implore mercy for its ravished mother, whilst a monster in a human form tears it from her breast, and dashes it on the pavement with grinning ferocity.

– – – – – – – – – – – “Oh! But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood; list, list, oh! List,
If thou didst every thy dear country love.”

Let this suffice for the present; I shall visit you soon again, and remember, if I perceive any backwardness, my spirit will chase, and I will not spare you: on your passage to the hall of your next meeting, cast up your eyes at that venerable and majestic structure opposite to you! That proud monument of the unconquerable spirit of your ancestors, and be not degenerate! Let the motto, inscribed on your standard, be “Liberty or Death.” I will hover over you in the day of battle, nor will I ever desert you, till you prove yourselves unworthy of my protection. And now

“The glow-worm shews the matin to be near,
And ’gins to pale his uneffectual fire;
Adieu! Adieu! Adieu! Remember me.”

Chester Chronicle, 11 May 1798.


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