Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

many favages. But both the Irish and Welsh were ever well versed in the arts of music, poetry, government and war, and disdained any security from fortifications, thinking it more glorious to decide their quarrels in the open field, than under any kind of cover. The Irijh initiated their children in it very early; and Solinus, as quoted by Dean Swifts m one of his poems, iays, that the wives in Ireland, when delivered of a son, gave the child its first food off the point of the husband's sword: "Puerpera, si "quando marem edidit, primos cibos gladio imponit ma"riti, inque os parvuli fummo mucrone aufpicium ali"mentorum leviter insert, et gentilitiis votis optat, non "aliter quam in bello, et inter arma, mortem oppetat." Again, " præcipua viris gloria est in armorum tutela."

In music, no nation was equal to Ireland; which is warranted from good authority: Poly dare Virgil fays, they were distinguished for their skill in music: "Hiberni "sunt musicæ peritiffimi;" and the fame Giraldus, who called them favage, in one part of his work, fays, however, in another, "in musicis solum præ omni natione quam vi"dimus, incomparabiliter est instructa gens hæc." Now, it is impossible to suppofe a people barbarous or favage, who were thus versed m the arts of government, music and war; or that such a people should be illiterate till the time of St. Patrick. This, however, will be cleared up, in the course of this history.

Ignorance of these languages, and their antiquity, would be some apology for misrepresentations of this fort,

b if is prejudice and passion were out of the casebut these illiberal attacks are too easily discovered by an impartial eye; and will be properly expofed, in the following sheets, by a clear view of facts and anecdotes, well authenticated, which throw them to the ground; and, if the assertions. of both Cambrenfis and Cox, which were influenced by fo~ Utical dependencies, were laid open,. together with their reasons for endeavouring to slander a- nation,. it would appear, that thofe times were not exempt from corruption. But this is not my present business;. and, indeed, such names, and the manner of their making a facrifice of truth to their own views, would only. make so many blots upon honest paper: we shall, therefore, quit what such angry writers have advanced through ignorance, or malice, and refer the reader to their confutation in the progress of this work. But with great regret I must take further notice, that it is too much the disposition of some among us, to asperse, and set at nought, the natives of Ireland, Scotland'.and Wales; I mean those who speak. the dialects of the jfaphetan language to this day, which are the Gomerian and Magogian, or Scoti/h languages; and yet these are the only unmixed remains of the children of jfaphet, upon the globe; and the King of Great Britain, the only monarch upon earth who rules the remains of that original people, and who is himself descended from a most ancient race of Scythian kings, the offspring of that patriarch*.

Another Another indiscreet author, Mr. Innes^ has taken great pains to prove there was neither learning nor letters, in Ireland, before Patrick; but this, too, will, I flatter myself, appear a very futile assertion, before the following work is finished.

I Hold it an indispenfable duty, in pursuing this subject, to vindicate the honour of these remains of antiquity to the best of my power, since I am happy in having sufficient materials before me, wherewith to do them ample justice; and, at the fame time, to open several obscure passages concerning them, which throw light upon many historical facts, as I go on, and which were probably mistaken, or totally neglected.

Of all the parts of science, none can be so interesting as the knowledge of languages, whether we consider them as necessary to the commercial, or political correspondence of nations, or as essential to the attainment of sciences in general, or as introductory to an acquaintance with the history, manners and customs of the inhabitants of every country. And, indeed, according to the present state of the languages of Europe, learning Would be very superficial in any country, is the student depended only upon his vernacular tongue j because that of every nation in this part of the globe has been subject to many changes, and because they are all dependent upon some original, however different from one another.

The importance, therefore, of being versed in the learned languages first, is known to every one who has applied to

b 2 the the study of any of the liberal professions; for, without

that foundation, no scientific superstructure could.ever be

raised.

But the knowledge of the languages of other nations is of no less consequence; and a due inspection of their affinity would invite the curious to inquire into the reasons of such agreement between thofe and our own; and such an investigation would naturally lead us farther; it would certainly prompt us to look .for the parents of these tongues, and climb to the original.

This was my pursuit, in the present work. I have enr deavoured to trace the languages of Europe to their source .; and think I have discovered that which was previous to the Greek tongue, all over AJia Minor, Scy'thick.and Greece. And this was the Japhetan, called afterwards the Pelasgian, and then the Gomerian and. Magogian, or Scythian laaguage; which is now to be. found.only.in.Ireland, the Highlands of Scotland, and Wales. And hence I count the Iri/h and Welsh to be sister-dialects of the Pelasgiau language; which, I flatter myself, I have proved by such authorities,. as will be allowed by the learned .reader to have due weight..

In the course of this research, several obscure passages in ancient history are cleared up, and others corrected.: and many transactions rescued from oblivion, which will reflect the highest honour upon the ancient inhabitants of these islands, not only on account of the antiquity of their language, but. also of the glorious deeds of their ancestors,

and i and the learning of their antiquaries, poets and philofophers, who were the first instructors of mankind in the Wejlern world, after the general deluge j and from whom the knowledge of the sciences has been transmitted to all Europe.

I Have been much assisted, in this business, by that excellent work, the Universal History: the authors have prevented a great deal of trouble, in making me acquainted with books I never perhaps might have seen; I give them the utmost credit for their quotations from such as I could not any way come at; because, in as many as I faw, I found their quotations very faithful; yet, as I have not wrote implicitly after any authors, I have ventured to differ from some of theirs, as welLas the opinions of seve* ral others; but not without the proper regard to their superior learning and merit. Thus have. I differed from many more, also, because the connexions I have discovered between the ancient Iri/h records and Holy Writ^ together with the Greek historians, have warranted my distent from several, in some things: and although Mr. Liloydj in his Archeologia^ has afforded me a great deal of matter towards my attempt upon this subject; yet I could not; avoid differing from him also, as to the original inhabitants of Ireland; because, it will be seen the Britons did not give that island its first colonies. Messrs. Lloyds Harris, 0 Flaherty, and others, have led several modernwriters to that opinion, which I am prevented assenting ta from the course I. have taken in tracing them out...

1st.

« AnteriorContinuar »