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by those who were ignorant of the distinction ; and it is common for inen to prefer a short way of pronouncing names.
Tradition says, that our ancestors at tist came to England with Oliver Cromwell, three brothers, one a general officer, the other two captains, and that they came from the neighbourhood of Cork. It is well known in history that Oliver, on the close of the civil war, went to Ireland, “To,” as he said, “sacrifice the papists to the ghosts of the protestants that they had massacred." It is also well known that the government of the commonwealth lasted but a short time, till Charles the second was placed on his father's throne. Then nothing less could be expected, than that the friends of the Revolution should be slighted. What vicissitudes befell our family in a strange land, on the change of Government, to us is now unknown ; no written record relative thereto having come to my hand. It has been handed down through tradition, that one of our forefather's (him from whom we in Cornwall sprung) came down into Cornwall with lord Mohun of Boconnock, near Liskeard. On this change of national atfairs, our ancestors might have suffered their name to be anglicised, or identified with the English sound, uncontradicted. And schoolmasters knowing no better, writing the children's name in the English way, would be likely to get the children to write so too.
When at Boconnock many years ago, at
the house of Thomas Bryant, one of my
way, until I got near to manhood.
Some people are quite uninterested concerning their genealogy, or family descent, as if it was not worth attention. But it was not so with the writer of this. He recollects that when a child, he felt deeply interested
in this subject. Having some indistinct idea that he came from somewhere, and came into the world since some grown people, he made inquires of his mother concerning it. And being informed, he carefully treasured up in his memory, the date of the year,-day of the month,-day of the week,—and the hour of the day, in which he was born ; and by often thinking on it, his memory was as ripe of this interesting event, as it was of his little horn book, that he carried to schooi, to learn his letters in. Having ascertained when, the next question was, where he came from, and how he came into existence ? All the answer that he could get from his mother or the maid was, that he came from under his mother's arm. This was true in a certain sense, and most probably the best answer they could think on to repeated interrogations.
As he grew up he often heard the older people talking of the family progenitors, coming from Ireland, and with this that the name was formerly O'Bryan : but being accustomed when at school to write Bryant, le continned for a while still to write it so. His father could not write, consequently the writer of this had no copy from him. My paternal grandfather's name was written Bryan, as may be seen to this day, by a deed now before me made in the reign of George the second, dated the 19th December, 1735, conveying property, where his name is written
John Bryan. Many years ago the writer of this being at the house of the Clergyman
of the parish where he then lived, (Luxillian) the parish Register Book lying on the table, on taking it up, he saw one of the ancient registers of the family where the name was written Bryan. After some years, considering the subject, the evidence appeared to exclude all doubt, that the name by some of the family and himself also had been written wrong, and the steps seems to be easily followed, first by a short pronounciation ‘Bryan, then Bryant. This was found to be the case on further examining the parish register, anciently it was written Bryan, and latterly Bryant; and by the same rule it may be accounted for how the 0 was lost in common use, though tradition has kept it still in the family.
Probably many of the writer's primogenitors, possessed equal filial, and reverential regard for ancestry with himself: but were not privileged with equal means of knowing and making it known. Who does not know that formerly the priests counted it their interest to keep the people without learning ; and in the churches, at one time, on the forenoon of the Lord's day the parson read what was called “ The book of sports,” to excite and encourage the people to practise sports in the afternoon. At other times, yearly games were instituted in the different parishes, in addition to the Sunday sports; and which
are not altogether abolished to this day. Added to these were the chase, cards, &c. in which the clergy were partakers and encouragers. These things amused the people, pleased the carnal mind, and stood in the way of learning, and sober reflection. In those days of mental darkness and ignorance, the priests could bear rule, and live as they list without controul; and through this deficiency of learning most likely much family record has been lost:
But there are some people who feel no regard for their progenitors, who niay be said to be, Without natural affection, and feeling no interest whatever in keeping them in re. membrance; not so with the writer of this, he was aware that the Irish are often despised by the English, and made the subject of merriment: but this did not prevent him from owning his pedigree. As he received information, and grew up to knowledge capable of understanding the subject, he felt a peculiar regard for that country, and respect, and reverence for his ancestors ; and having so much combined evidence as to the name, he therefore gave the preference to what he believed to be the ancient, and consequently the true way of speaking and writing it.
Since that, it has received additional confirming evidence, by different persons belonging to our fainily. The following has lately come to hand.
“Dear Cousin,—As you desire me to set