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"tain subterraneous places, which, as it is reported, thofe "who were skilled in the rites of the ancients, foreseeing "the coming of the deluge, and searing that all memory of "ceremonies might be lost, constructed. them, with great "labour, in several places, and carved upon the walls the "figures of many kinds of birds and beasts, and other species "of animals, which they called hieroglyphics j" and this author expresses the fame opinion, in his seventeenth book; where he fays, he faw, at Thebes, certain obelisks, on which were drawn the figures of the Egyptian deities, which the ancient kings, upon their conquests of nations, or other prosperous events, dedicated to the gods, in their religion; who these gods were, is mentioned before; nor was this manner peculiar to the Egyptian priests alone, but those of the Thracians and Phœnicians had the fame kind of hieroglyphical writing, on the fame account on\y, though it will appear, that both these had the use of letters besides: for, in Diodoruss very first book, where he is speaking of the most ancient laws of the Egyptians, he fays, that public business was carried on by writing, as it is now in tranfacting commercial affairs in every nation, and between man and man. He fays, that whoever was guilty of adulterating, or falsifying, the current money; or whatever fcribe, or notary, was detected in forging deeds or contrails, or in making rasures in any writings, was sentenced to have both his hands cut off". This is a sufficient proof, that the common people of Egypt, and, indeed, of all its neighbouring nations, had the use of writing, upon every proper occasion. Again, where BoccBoris is faid to have made laws for commercial affairs, it
is is faid, that is a man borrowed money without giving note or bond, is he denied the debt upon path, he was discharged. And, again, in case of money borrowed upon interest by bond, when the interest paid amounted to double the sum of the principal, the debt was discharged
The general notion of the first existence of letters is,. that all alphabets are derived from the Hebrew characters;. and to this opinion Henselius, in his Sinopfts Universe?, Philologiœ, firmly adheres; who fays, page 78, after having laboured the subject to produce this conclusion: "Ex "hifee ergo literis primis Hebrœorum, a Deo, Most reve"latis, et hinc omnino my stenosis, prognati funt tot ac. "tarn varii feribendi characteres Uterarumque alphabetæ, "quot cernuntur in orbe ten-arum." i. e. "Therefore, *< from these first letters of the Hebrews-, revealed by God. "to Moses, and consequently altogether mysterious, all. st the various characters, and alphabets of letters, that are "known in the world, have sprung."
Now, notwithstanding this assertion, when the aboveauthor comes to speak of the Occidental letters, page 79, in first considering the Scythic alphabet, he thinks it likely, that the Phœnicians, indeed, very soon formed letters, from whom the lonians first received them; yet, from the various opinions concerning the origin of the Greeks, and there are not wanting, fays he, testimonies of there having been letters in Greece before Cadmus, he confesses, that if he may have leave to conjecture about it, it is possible something of this kind had been brought from Scythia into Greece, since the Scythians had letters before Cadmus s time; but Henselius was inclined to think these letters.
were were only hieroglyphical: however, he fays, there are testimonies of the Greeks having letters, which were called Pelafgian letters; about the time of Deucalion s flood; and that Eustathius, upon the second Iliad of Homery verse 841, giving a reason why he calls the Pelasgians divine, lays they were called so, because they only, being the original Greeks, preserved their letters at the time of that deluge. It may also, fays Henselius, be gathered from Diodorus, lib. 5, that there were certain letters in Greece before Cadmus: but that, after the deluge, there was such a destruction of men and things, that with them their letters were also lost; and therefore it was thought, that after several ages, Cadmus, the son of Agenor, brought letters into Greece from Phœnicia. Now, it can hardly be supposed, that the manner of writing which was certainly among the descendants of Japhet, the Gomerians and Ma-' gogians, who were the Pelasgians and Scythians, could have been obliterated by that inundation, which was a partial one, overflowing only one part of Greece; and therefore neither of these people stood in need of any letters that Cadmus is faid to bring with him in afterages; and if he brought any, which are faid to be sixteen in number, they must be suppofed to be either taken from the Hebrew alphabet, or else they must be from that which was carrried from Scythia by Fmius, the Scythian king, who sounded schools in Shinar, and taught languages and seiences, with his two coadjutors, as I have shewn it in a former chapter; and from whom the Phœnicians had their name: for both Gomerians and Mavo
gians had arts and learning among them, even from the
general general deluge; and it will be proved, by and by, that they had knowledge in metallurgy always among them, which was well known to some of the most ancient authors.
Now, there is something very well worth considering, in this matter; it is faid, that Cadmus brought sixteen letters only from Phœnicia, and that others were added by Palamedes, &c. to sill the alphabet, as the Greek language has it now; it is, therefore, extremely remarkable, that the Magogian, or Irish alphabet consists only of seventeen letters, to this day; which so fully answers every purpofe of expression in that language, that they have not yet sound any necessity to add new ones; which, at once, points out its originality and simplicity, in a manner hardly to be disputed; as it consists of fewer letters than any other alphabet in the world; nor is it materially altered from its first state, so as to make any sensible difference; which will appear by the table, where the alphabets of various ages will be exhibited, according to their seniority in that language; and farther explained in the sequel.
There are authors who think, that Palamedes invented the Greek letters; others give the invention to Linus, the preceptor of Hercules; and others, to Qecrops; and, as Cecrops was faid to be an Egyptian by birth, that he might have had the knowledge of letters from Moses, who was about that time in Egypt; but it is easy to fee, that there is very little affinity between the Hebrew and Greek alphabets; and it would even be absurd to suppofe, that there were no letters in Greece before the times of these persons; who came late into the world, compared to the ancients, 2 or
or Aborigines, who were the Pelafgians all over that country: but it will be seen that the Greek alphabet had another source, and has a greater similarity with that of the Magogians and Gomerians, than with the Hebrew; but the latter have evidently preserved the simplicity of theirs, as we have shewed before; so they have the purity of their language, in their present recesses in Ireland and Scotland, in our own times, for the reasons often alledged before: and although the letters used by the most ancient Greeks, the "Javonians, EHjhans, and other grandsons of Gomer, who were Pelasgians; and by the offspring of Magogs who were the Scythians and Pelasgians, and who often mingled with the Gomerians, were truely the ancient Pelafgian and Scythic letters; yet, upon the mixture of Phœnicians and Egyptians with their offspring, in after-ages, their language began to be altered; and as that changed into the form it acquired, in which the first Greek authors wrote, they found themselves under a necessity of adding other letters, to answer the purpofes of expression in the new mode, into which that mixed language was changed by their grammarians; for, in the ancient Javonian, or Ionian, they had no need of an additional character.
This opinion is pretty clearly evinced by Diodorus, in his third book, speaking of the Pelasgian and Phœnician letters, where he fays: u therefore the letters were called "Phœnician, because they were transported from the Phœu nicians; but as to the Pela/gians, who frjl used cha"rasters (which were afterwards changed), these first were << called Pelasgian letters." This testimony, indeed, sufficiently shews, at one view, the priority of the Pelasgian