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“The circumstances," says Sir James Fellowes, “under which she was induced to write them, were purely accidental. During the last fifty years of her life, she had made a collection of pocketbooks, in which it was her constant practice to write down her conversations and anecdotes, as well as her remarks upon the recent publications. They were tied together and carefully preserved; and on one occasion Mrs. Piozzi, pointing to them, observed to me: “These you will one day have to look over with Salusbury (my co-executor), together with the “Thraliana ; ' I have never had courage to open them, but to your honor and joint care I shall leave them.” These memoranda would no doubt form a literary curiosity. At the time the conversation took place at Bath on this interesting topic, I urged Mrs. Piozzi to write down some reminiscences of her own times, and some of those amusing anecdotes I had heard her relate, and which have never been published, adding to my request the value they would be to posterity and the obligation conferred upon myself. It was her nature to be grateful for any trifling act of kindness, and as I had the good fortune to possess her friendship and favorable opinion, she indulged my curiosity to learn her history by presenting me with this sketch of her life (0, she wrote expressly for me), as the strongest proof (she observed) of her confidence and esteem. These are the facts connected with the “ Autobiographical Memoirs.””
The author of “ Piozziana ” says: “I called on her one day, and at an early hour by her desire; when she showed me a heap of what are termed pocket-books, and said she was sorely
embarrassed upon a point, upon which she condescended to say she would take my advice. "You see in that collection, she continued, “ a diary of mine of more than fifty years of my life I have scarcely omitted anything which occurred to me during the time I have mentioned. My books contain the conversation of every person of almost every class with whom I have had intercourse ; my remarks on what was said ; downright facts and scandalous on dits ; personal portraits and anecdotes of the characters concerned ; criticisms on the publications and authors of the day, &c. Now I am approaching the grave, and am agitated by doubts as to what I should do, — whether to burn my manuscripts or to leave them to futurity. Thus far my decision is to destroy my papers. Shall I or shall I not?' I took the freedom of saying, “ By no means do an act which done cannot be amended; keep your papers safe from prying eyes, and at least trust them to the discretion of survivors.'”
The heap of pocket-books must have been a very large heap, for a diary so kept would require at least one a week. “Thraliana," now in the possession of the Rev. G. A. Salusbury (the eldest son of Sir John Salusbury), is contained in six books, of about 300 pages each, and extends over thirty-two years and a half. The first entry is in these words: “It is many years since Doctor Samuel Johnson advised me to get a little book and write in it all the little anecdotes which might come to my knowledge, all the observations I might make or hear, all the verses never likely to be published, and, in fine, everything that struck me at the time. Mr. Thrale has now treated me with a repository, and provided it with the pompous title of “Thraliana.' I must endeavor to fill it with nonsense new and old. — 15th September, 1776.” The last : “30th March, 1809. — Everything most dreaded has ensued. ..... All is over, and my second husband's death is the last thing recorded in my first husband's present. Cruel Death !”
HER STORY OF HER LIFE.
I HEARD it asserted once in a mixt company that few men of ever so good a family could recollect, immediately on being challenged, the maiden names of their four great-grandmothers : they were not Welshmen. My father's two grandames were Bridget Percival, daughter to a then Lord Egmont, and Mary Pennant of Downing, great aunt to the great naturalist. My mother claimed Hester Salusbury, heiress of Lleweney Hall, as one of her grandmothers by marriage with Sir Robert Cotton ; Vere Herbert, only daughter of Lord Torington, was the other.
The Salusbury pedigree is, indeed, perpetually referred to by Pennant in the course of his numerous volumes. It begins, I remember, with Adam de Saltzsburg, son to Alexander, Duke and Prince of Bavaria, who came to England with the Conqueror, and in 1070 had obtained for his valor a faire house in Lancashire, still known by name of Saltsbury Court. I showed an abstract of it to the Heralds in office at Saltzbourg, when there; and they acknowledged me a true descendant of their house, offering me all possible honors, to the triumphant delight of dear Piozzi, for whose amusement alone I pulled out the schedule. You will find a modest allusion to the circumstance in page 283 of the Travel Book, 2d volume.*
Among my immediate ancestors, third, fourth, or fifth, I forget which, from this Father Adam, was Henry Salusbury surnamed the Black ; who having taken three noble Saracens with his own hand in the first Crusade, Cour de Lion knighted him on the field, and to the old Bavarian Lion (see “ Retrospection,” p. 116) which adorned his shield, added three crescents for coat armor. On his return the king permitted him to settle, where he married — in Wales. He built Llewenney Hall, naming it Llew,— the Lion, and an ny,- for us; and set a brazen one upon its highest tower.
*" There is a Benedictine convent seated on the top of a hill above the town (Salzbourg), under which lie its founders and protectors, the old dukes of Bavaria, which they are happy to shew travellers, with the registered account of their young prince Adam, who came over to our island with William, and gained a settlement. They were pleased when I observed to them that his blood was not yet wholly extinct amongst us.” – Observations and Reflections, fc. This quotation is added by the Editor, and all notes and references, not expressly mentioned as by others, are by him.
Among our popular Cambrian ballads, is one to the honor of this hero ; still known to the harpers by name of Black Sir Harry. The civil wars of York and Lancaster called into public notice an immediate descendant of this warrior. His name, which also was Henry, stood recorded on a little obelisk, or rather cippus, by the road-side at Barnet, where the great battle was fought; so long, that I remember my father taking me out of the carriage to read it when I was quite a child. He had shewn mercy to an enemy on that occasion, who looking on his device or imprese, flung himself at his feet with these words:
Sat est prostrasse Leoni.
Our family have used that Leggenda as motto to the coat armor ever since.*
I guess not why this man was a Yorkist. The other party was natural to the inhabitants of North Wales, where the proud Duke of Somerset had married a daughter of his to the son of Owen Tudor by the Princess Katherine of France; another of whose sons, Fychan Tudor de Beraine, married his son to Jasper the Earl of Pembroke's daughter.f These were immediate parents to the father of Katherine de Berayne by Constance d'Aubigné, Dame d'Honneur to Anne de Bretagne. She brought him this one only child, an heiress who was ward to Queen Elizabeth, and in her fifteenth year married, with her Majesty's consent, to Sir John Salusbury,t of Llewenney Hall, eldest of fourteen children. After his demise fair Katherine gave her hand to Sir Richard Clough, the splendid merchant, mentioned in a note to “ Retrospection,” I whose daughter inherited Bachygraig, and married Roger Salusbury, youngest brother of Sir John, first husband to her mother. He quarrelling with the House of Lleweney, tore down the Lion and set it on his wife's seat called Bachygraig, where it stood, newly gilt by Mr. Piozzi, two years ago (1813).
* See “ British Synonymy,” Vol. II. p. 218. – Mrs. P. † See “ Retrospection," Vol. I. p. 446. – Mrs. P. # Vol. II. p. 155.
My father was lineally descended from this pair, and died possessed of dear old Bachygraig, while Sir John Salusbury's family soon finished in a daughter Hester, who, marrying Sir Robert Cotton of Combermere, gave him, and all her progeny by him, the name of Salusbury Cotton. She was immediate grandame to my dear mother; and thus in your little friend the two families remain united.
Will it amuse you to be told that Katherine de Berayne, after Sir Richard Clough’s death, married Maurice Wynne, of Gwydir, whose family and fortune merged in that of the Berties? He was not, however, her last husband. She wedded Thelwall, of Plasyward, after she was quite an old woman. But the Berayne estate she left to my mother's great-grandfather, as heir to her first husband, Sir John Salusbury of Lleweney. My uncle sold it to Lord Kirkwall's father.*
But it will bring matters nearer home to tell you that my mother, who had £10,000, an excellent fortune in those days, besides an annuity for her mamma's life of £125 per annum, who was living gayly with her brother, Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton, and his wife, Lady Betty Tollemache, refused all suitors attracted by her merits and beauty for love of her rakish cousin, John Salusbury of Bachygraig. He, unchecked by care of a father, who died during the infancy of his sons, ran out the estate completely to nothing. So completely that the £10,000 would scarcely pay debts and furnish them out a cottage in Caernarvonshire, where — after two or three dead things — I was born alive, and where they were forced by circumstances to remain, till my grandmother Lucy Salusbury — an exemplary creature - should die, and leave thein free at least to mortgage or to sell,
* Lord Kirkwall sold the property to the Rev. Edward Hughes, whose son, William Lewis Hughes, the present possessor, was created Baron Dinorben, in 1831, of Kinmel Park, Denbighshire. The house was burnt down in 1840. — Sir J. F. Lord Dinorben was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Hugh Robert Hughes, Esq.