Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN , DAVID THOMAS ( c. 1695 - 1746 ), Jacobite ,

was the son of Thomas and Dorothy Morgan . His father was the second son of William Morgan of Coed-y-gorres , and his mother was the daughter of David Mathew of Llandaff and grand-daughter of Sir Edmund Stradling of S. Donat's . Through his mother he was, therefore, related to the leading gentry of Glamorgan , and through his father he may have been related to the Morgans of Tredegar . He is described as of Pen-y-graig (near Quakers’ Yard ) in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil , a property which he probably inherited from his mother. The place and date of his birth are not known. (At his trial in 1746 he was said to be ‘about-fifty-one’). He apparently lived in London , was m., and had a daughter, Mary . He owned property in Shoreditch , which, possibly, he had acquired on marriage. He wrote a quantity of verse , some of which survives. He was a barrister , and a satirical poem of his, ridiculing justices Carter and Proctor of the Brecknock Great Sessions , may indicate that he practised on that circuit. Yet he says of himself: ‘ as one bred to the law, I confess that I never pretended to much knowledge that way .’

He was a high churchman and an active member of ‘ The Independent Electors of Westminster ,’ a club of Jacobite sympathies. In Nov. 1745 he went from Pen-y-graig to Spetchley , near Worcester , where he met William Vaughan of Courtfield . Together they proceeded through Staffordshire to Leigh in Lancashire , and on to Preston where they joined the Young Pretender . Morgan was given a position of trust in the rebel force, and was known as the ‘ Prince's Counsellor .’ On reaching Manchester he aided in raising the Manchester Regiment , and was offered its command, but he declined on the ground that he was not a military man. (Nevertheless, at his trial he said that he had ‘ served the crown of England in two campaigns with some reputation ’). During the advance into England he was active in superintending the search for arms .

When the prince retreated from Derby Morgan accompanied him for one day as far as Ashbourne , but then left the army and was soon arrested at Stone . On his capture he stated that it had been intended to march through Warwick to Oxford , where the students would have joined the prince , thereby attaching their families to him, and this may well have been Morgan 's advice in the heated discussions before the prince determined to retreat. Morgan remained in Newgate gaol till his trial and condemnation on 22 July 1746 . Eight days later he was put to death on Kennington Common with all the barbarity of executions for treason. His political faith is embodied in a paper handed by him to the sheriff of Surrey before execution and printed by Llewellin (see below).

Sources:

  • T. B. Howells , A Complete Collection of State Trials… , 1816–98 , xviii, 1816 ;
  • William Llewellin , ‘David Morgan the Welsh Jacobite,’ Cambrian Journal , six volumes, 1854–64 , 1861 (reprinted separately, Tenby, 1862 );
  • J. Arthur Price , ‘Suffering for the White Rose,’ Wales, a National Magazine for the English speaking parts of Wales , 1895 ;
  • id., ‘Sidelights on Welsh Jacobitism,’ Y Cymmrodor , 1901 ;
  • H. M. Vaughan , ‘Welsh Jacobitism,’ The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1920-1 ;
  • L. Eardley Simpson , Derby and the '45 , 1933 , 1933.

Author:

Emeritus Professor David Williams, D.Litt., (1900-78), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959