This industriousness (common to all three brothers) was no doubt innate — he tells us once that he was too busy to eat. But it was also a matter of compulsion, from his inability to husband his money. Unlike his brother Lewis , he was unselfish and open-handed to excess. The disaster of 1734 was characteristic; and Lewis sourly complains that every London Welshman lived on Richard 's back, and that he neglected his wife and children to help others. He was utterly careless of his own comfort and of his family's. It is difficult, indeed impossible, to chart his odysseys from lodging to lodging and from house to house; he slept (says Lewis ) ‘in a filthy hole which he called his office,’ while his wife and children lived ‘in a loft elsewhere.’ In Aug. 1757 , Lewis put his foot down and insisted on Richard 's taking a proper house in Stepney ; but by 1763 Richard had insisted on moving to a house within the precincts of the Tower (to be near the navy office), and there he d. Lewis further complains of the bad influence of Cymmrodorion potations, and of their unreasonably long meetings, upon his brother's health.
Sociability and love of his kind, indeed, had been Richard 's main motives when ( Sept. 1751 ) he founded the Cymmrodorion Society — and more especially his care for the ‘ Antient Britons '’ Welsh Charity-school , which was at that time rather in low water. But he was also in full accord with his brother's more ambitious projects; his literary interests, too, were the same, though he had not Lewis 's scholarship. Even as a lad, he had made a collection of countryside poetry , mostly in the free metres (this, Llawysgrif Richard Morris o Gerddi , was published by T. H. Parry-Williams in 1931 , together with verse written by Richard in his early London years). He had also been engaged in cataloguing the Welsh MSS. in the possession of William Jones ( 1675? - 1749 ) ; not to speak of his work as editor of the S.P.C.K. Bible and Prayer-book — much later ( 1770 ) he edited a large-paper illustrated Prayer-book . It was, therefore, natural that he should support Lewis Morris 's plans to make a sort of ‘academy’ of the Cymmrodorion and to publish Welsh poetry under its auspices. But hardly any of its members (until, late in Richard Morris 's life, Owain Myfyr , , became assistant-secretary ) was of any help to him in these matters; Richard , indeed, as the saying went, was the Cymmrodorion in this sense — and he was far too busy a man, especially after the Seven Years’ War broke out. Yet, he corrected the text of Diddanwch Teuluaidd ( 1763 ), and read the proofs of Evan Evans 's Specimens of Antient Welsh Poetry ( 1764 ). He collected a large number of Welsh MSS. , and on his brother Lewis 's death he hastened down to Penbryn to retrieve Lewis 's MSS., despite the opposition of his niece — so, thanks to him, they were not dispersed. He ruled the Cymmrodorion (of which he was president from the beginning till his death) as a monarch; he could lose his temper and speak harshly, but he showed forgiveness towards Goronwy Owen , most remarkable patience towards Evan Evans ( Ieuan Fardd ) , and much kindness to other men of letters.
Richard Morris m. four times, but we do not know even the names of his first two wives. The first, whom he m. in 1729 , d. c. 1740 ; of their children, much is said in his letters of a daughter Marian , who m. badly and is lost to sight in 1763 , but was still living when her father made his will. The second marriage was in 1741 , and the wife d. in 1750 ; of this marriage there were again several children, but all d. before their father re-married. The third marriage ( before 1754 ) was with an Elizabeth , of Worcester — Richard 's two brothers speak of her with warm praises. Ten children were born of the marriage, according to Richard 's will; seven of these are named in the letters, and three survived their mother (she d. in Oct. 1772 ) — two daughters, Angharad and Margaret (frequently mentioned in their father's correspondence, but lost to our sight after his death), and RICHARD MORRIS , b. 31 Jan. 1762 . The lad was sent down to his aunt at Penbryn ‘to be made a Welshman ,’ and indeed afterwards evinced much interest in the pursuits of his father and of his uncle, became a member of the Cymmrodorion (and also of the Gwyneddigion , which for some reason his father had never joined, although their founder, Owain Myfyr , was a favourite of his), and planned to publish Lewis Morris 's Celtic Remains . This project came to naught, for Richard became a merchant in India , and is last heard of there in 1790 (see under Jones , William , 1675? - 1749 , ad fin. ) .
At some time before 7 Nov. 1773 (when he made his will), Richard Morris had taken a fourth wife, a widow named Mary Major , of Stepney . There are indications that things were not going too well, financially: in 1772-3 he wants to retire to Wales , but cannot afford to resign his post; and Thomas Pennant speaks of remitting to Richard 's widow a sum of £63 which her husband owed Pennant in respect of the sales of British Zoology , because of her ‘narrow circumstances.’ His health, too, was not good; in 1776 he was readily granted permission to live in a room at the Welsh School ( Gray's Inn Road ), ‘ for the benefit of the air .’ But it was ‘within the Tower ’ that he d. in Dec. 1779 ; he was buried with his third wife and their children in S.George's-in-the-East ; the will was proved on 1 Jan. 1780 . All his books and MSS. were left to the Welsh School , ‘in hopes that they will be accompanied with the manuscripts of… my honoured friend Sir Watkin Williams Wynn ’ (the ‘Chief President’ of the Cymmrodorion — see the article on the Wynn family ); Richard Morris thus dreamed of a national library for Wales . The MSS. (including those of Lewis Morris ) remained at the School till 1844 , when they were very prudently transferred to the British Museum .
Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor
Published date: 1959