Symud i'r prif gynnwys

'NOT ELDORADO': W. J. PARRY AND THE WELSH PATAGONIAN GOLD FIELDS SYNDICATE* by Jean Lindsay William John Parry (1842-1927) undertook two voyages to Patagonia, from October 1893 to February 1894 and from March to September 1894, on behalf of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate (1892), of which he was a shareholder. He kept a diary, mostly in English, of his travels. The diary records Parry's earnest but ineffectual endeavours to rescue the property of the doomed company. Its interest, however, is not so much the picture it presents of the Syndicate, or of Victorian business trips, or even of the Welsh colony in Chubut, but the insight it gives into the character of Parry himself. What is revealed is not the trade union leader, the money-lender, the business man or the political fire-brand, but a devout family man, wracked with anxiety about his children. It confirms Kenneth Morgan's view of Parry as 'a supremely non- revolutionary bourgeois'.2 It also shows him as a courageous man with a deep- rooted moral sense. W.J. Parry, the son of a successful quarryman, was at the time of the voy- ages to Patagonia married to his second wife Mary. His children were from his first marriage to Jane Roberts. He had four sons, one of whom died young, and one daughter John, his eldest son, was born in 1864, William Henry died in 1867, William Henry II was born in 1869, Samuel Roberts was born in 1873, and Elizabeth was born in 1871. Parry's chief income until 1886 had been from his position as chief supplier of explosives to Penrhyn Quarry, but in that year he was not given any orders by E.A. Young, the newly-appointed man- ager, ostensibly because his prices were too high. In reality this was on account of his involvement with the North Wales Quarryman's Union and with strikes at the quarry in 1865 and 1874. Lord Penrhyn's son George Sholto Gordon Douglas Pennant, who took over the quarry in 1885, was not prepared to tolerate Parry's undermining of his authority any longer. I should like to thank Dr J. Ll. Williams for his comments on an earlier draft of this article. I am grateful also to Bryn R. Parry, Emrys Williams, Curator of the David Lloyd George Museum, Llanystumdwy, Tomos Roberts, Archivist, University College of North Wales, and the Staff of Gwynedd Archives for their help. 1 Caernarfon, Gwynedd Archives Service, M/1311/18. This is the main source for the article, but W.J. Parry also wrote his reminiscences of the journey in S. America, 1893-4, in Welsh ('Atgofion am y daith i Dde America yn 1893-4'), Bangor, University College of North Wales (henceforth UCNW), Coetmor MS 89. The MS is incomplete (20 pages), but a full version was published in six instalments in Y Diwygiwr LXX, (Llanelli, 1905). There is no mention of the Welsh Patagonian Gold Fields Syndicate in any of the instalments, which contain a straight-