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Explanation of the table of ancient alphabets.
N° i. The ancient Iri/b and Welfo letters, from the Pelasgians, consisting of only seventeen characters j with which the records, genealogies, poetry and history of both were anciently written: placed in their original order, which order was never altered till their conversion to Christianity by St. Patricks in Ireland. This order is explained in the sequel.-.. . $uX
N° 2. An alphabet taken from a manuscript of the Latin Gofpels, wrote in Ireland, supposed to be about 800 years old (I think much older), not at all different from the former. I faw another, of the Gospels, not so ancient, both in the British Museum^ hot in the least deviating from the former j and, indeed, the characters in the Irish Bible, printed by order of Bishop Bedely of Kilmore'm Ireland, in 1685; and thofe of Beglys English-Irijh Dictionary y printed at Paris, anno 1732, have no essential difference from the original. This shews, how neat and pure these letters were kept in their true form, whilst the old Greeks and Latins wrote them in a more clumsy manner. I have seen many Irish manuscripts of very different ages, all neat and exact, and all alike j with no more than seventeen letters, through all their works, in history, poetry^ astronomy^ &c. the reasons of this number of letters will appear in the sequel.
N°3. A Saxon alphabet (Dr. Mortons twenty-third) of which I have only copied the seventeen primary . letters; for, as they are manifestly taken from the
Iri/h, Irish, which will be proved by and by, I have neglected the secondary characters, which they in later times adopted from the Romans, as these did the Greek additional to the seventeen primary letters, when parts of other languages crept into the original tongue of the old inhabitants in Italy. N°4. Is the fourth of Chifiuh alphabets, at the bottom of Dr. Morton s table, entitled, e Græco-Latinœ ad Dextram. The four last of these five lines of characters are alike, and from the fame source, beyond all doubt; the two former of these are faid to be, e Phasniciis totidem Cadmeœ Græc. modo utroque fcriptœ\ that is, from left to right, and from right to left: and the last is faid to be Etrufca ad lævam verse. N° 5. Is the eighth alphabet of Dr. Morton s table, intitled, Alphabetum Grcecum Cadmi, five lonicum, ante CriJlum a?m. 1500. e Nummis Siculis (ÆginensbusJ, Bœotis, Atticis, alii/que. Now, if we compare these with that of Simonides, (I mean the primary seventeen characters), being Dr. Mortons ninth, called Grœcum Simonidis five Atticum, ante Chris}. 500, we shall find it to be the very fame; but thofe of more modern times, to wit, of Alexander the Great, Conjlantine the Great, 'Juflinian, Heraclius, Leo Isaur. Charles the Great, and of Bajil, are mixed, and changing gradually into what the modern Greek alphabet now consists of, with the secondary letters; yet their affinity with the ancient characters is very apparent. And, what is very remarkable, all the Latin seventeen primary letters, in the seventeenth
column, 714years before Christ, in the eighteenth of ann. Chr. 1, in the nineteenth of ann. Dom. 306, in the twentieth of ann. Dom. 400, in the twentyfirst of ann. Dom. 500, and the Alphabetum Francicum of that year, are the very fame with the primary seventeen of the ancient Greek characters, or, at least, with very little difference; and so are thofe of the Gothic, with very trifling alterations, which is the following:
N° 6. The twenty-fourth alphabet of Dr. Mortons. table, intitled, Alphabetum Gothicum e Græco et Latino, ann. Dom. 388, Ulfilla Authore. The letters of this line are manifestly from the fame spring, that is, the primary, and they are faid to be e Grceco et Latino. Now, it is something odd to suppofe thefe. s the invention of Uljillas, which several authors have thought; because they are like all the ancient ones, mentioned. Inventions ought to be very different from every thing before them; if not, they may be justly suspected; but it will be seen, in the sequel, whether this be so or not.
To these are subjoined the Weljh alphabet now in use (which is intirely Roman)', the modern Greek, and the Hebrew alphabets, with the number of their letters, as they now stand, to shew how the former are increased by their secondary letters; and that these alphabets of Europe have no manner of affinity to thofe of the Hebrews, ancient or modern. This increase of the letters is now in the alphabets of every nation in Europe, except in that of Ireland.