Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

once

secures

endowed with uncommon qualifications for the arduous task of conducting a colony to the utmost region of the then known world. Fortitude and wisdom must form the basis of the character which at obedience, commands esteem, and attaches affection to itself. It must be adorned with some of the graces of the exterior, a prompt eloquence, and above all, that fascinating power, which, arising from a liberal heart and comprehensive mind, sways the passions to its will, and gives to compliance the sensations of spontaneous approbation. It does not appear with any certainty what was the fate of this great man after his arrival in Britain. It is very probable that it was he who afterwards was worshipped by the Cimbric nations, under the names of Heus and Hesus; and this opinion seems to be supported by an ancient piece of sculpture, on which Hesus is represented as cutting trees, a position which denotes either clearing the ground or pruning, either of which is suitable to the character. In Britain, he appears to have done little more than to have settled the original colony, and it is presumed he did not long survive this transaction, as he must have been far advanced in years at that time. Nor does it appear where he died. His memorial is in the records of the nation he established here."

The country having been thus colonized, the second chieftain, Prydain, recorded in the Triads, who flourished about one hundred and fifty years after Hu the Mighty, reduced the whole island into the form of a regular government, several principles of which remain even to the present time. To this chieftain the island owes its appellation of Britain.a

a That Britain, at some remote period, and for no short season, enjoyed a degree of light and knowledge beyond what its neighbours

A popular author, with reference to Caucasus, whence it is supposed the first colony to Britain migrated, observes, “ If mankind were born, as it were, a second time, in any imaginable situation, and from thence had migrated to distant parts, we may naturally suppose, that where their colonies were settled, they would not entirely forget their birth-place, but would establish by consent, at least, some memorial of their original. This principle is implanted by Providence in the human mind.”

“ Had mankind been born on a mountain, they would not have consecrated a plain, as an emblem of their native spot ; had they been born on a plain, they would not have consecrated a mountain.” Hence those various medals or eoins that have been made as representations of Caucasus. He further observes, “As we must suppose migratory colonies to have been influenced by natural causes anciently, as they are at this day, so we cannot but observe, that the courses of rivers must have been then, as they are now, the guides of settlers and inhabitants in a state of progress.

The reader, by casting his eye on the map of Asia, will perceive, that most of the considerable streams issue from Caucasus ; and that from this mountain largely taken, the course of these streams may be considered as marking the course of mankind to remote parts of this continent. I would, therefore, for instance, suppose the sons of Japhet to

[ocr errors]

could boast of, seems not a little corroborated by certain Sanscrit MSS. disovered by Major Wilford, which describes the British isles, at periods of very remote antiquity, under the names of the White Islands, Isles of the Mighty, and Sacred Isles of the West, fc. where the gods had their abode, and where, of course, knowledge and wisdom abounded more than any where else in the world, and whence even Brahminical institutions derived their origin.---See Asiatic Researches, vol. xi. p. 11, &c. Monthly Magazine for Feb. 1813, and Cambrian Register, vol. iii. p. 6.

[ocr errors]

have taken a north-westerly course towards Europe, passing the Caspian and the Black Sea, north, and many of them crossing the Wolga, and continuing their route, in process of time, along Poland and Germany, up the Danube, and other rivers of magnitude.” a

If we admit the doctrine of the Triads, “ That the first settlers of Britain came hither after a long and devious voyage by sea ;” in that case we may assert, that there did not exist any particular nautical obstacle to prevent a colony coming from Asia to Britain. A modern author asserts, that they were the precursors of the Phænician mariners. About the period of their migration from Asia, the art of navigation had attained a degree of perfection which is astonishing. Sesostris, king of Egypt, had built, not only a formidable navy of 400 ships for his expedition against Colchis, but also a very large vessel of cedar 280 cubits long; being nearly twice as large as any of the first-rates of Great Britain. The Phænicians, as we have noticed, traded in tin from this country, which article was used by the Midianites and Arabians, as stated by the authority of the ancients. The learned Fuller asserts, that the Phænicians were well acquainted with the use of the magnet, without the aid of which the voyage could not easily be performed; but the knowledge and use of which they endeavoured by all possible means to conceal from others. Dr. Hide, in his Religion of the ancient Persians, shows, that the Chaldean Jews mention the loadstone in their oldest private writings, and that the Arabians understood its uses; who, at the present day, by the help of it, still traverse extensive deserts, nor can any of them tell when this practice commenced. What Homer says is in point :

4 Well's Geography, published by Taylor.

“ No pilots' aid Phænician vessels need,
Themselves instinct with sense securely speed ;
Endued with wondrous skill, untaught they share
The purpose and the will of those they bear ;
To fertile realms and distant climates go,
And, where each realm and city lies, they know :
Swiftly they fly, and through the pathless sea,
Though wrapt in clouds and darkness, find their way.”

Odyss. lib. viii.

The Ionians of Asia Proper, the sons of Javan, were expert mariners, and the first among the Greeks that undertook long voyages, which they performed in galleys of fifty oars. In the time of Cyrus the Great, they were in the bay of Cadiz; a and soon after they defeated the combined fleets of the Tyrrhenians and Carthaginians, consisting of an hundred and twenty sail. They were early acquainted with the coasts and islands of Europe. The voyagers from Asia to Britain could call and rest at several places, such as Tan-is in lower Egypt, Algiers in Africa, Gades in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, &c. so that the difficulty of the voyage, with a compass on board, appears not to have been very considerable.

The exact period when this colony came and established itself in Britain is not agreed among writers on this subject. Davies, the author of the Celtic Researches, intimates, that “Spain, and even Britain, were probably colonized by those who were born within a century of the flood.” Hughes, in his Horæ Britannicæ, conjectures, that “the world in general, and its continents and islands, may be supposed to be well inhabited before the time of Moses, and our island to have received its first inhabitants within five centuries of the flood.” He asserts, that the Cymry were in possession of the island,

[blocks in formation]

66 We

or rather some part of it, long before the time Homer flourished in Greece, and Samuel was prophet in Israel, and Sylvius Æneas was living in Italy. He considers himself supported in this opinion by Dr. Borlase, in the Introduction to his Antiquities of Cornwall, where he says,

may
well

suppose that our island remained uninhabited, until four or five centuries after the flood.” Mr. Samnes states as his opinion, that it was seven or eight hundred years after the flood, before any part of this island was inhabited. Whitaker, who believes that Britain was originally inhabited by the Gauls, in his Genuine History of the Britons, fixes the first migration across the channel about a thousand years before the advent of our Saviour; or, about that period of sacred history which embraces the reigns of David and Solomon among the Jews. He also supposes, that the neighbouring continent continued to send supplies, as its population increased, during the space of four or five centuries. The conclusions to which these authors have come, being so wide of each other, we can only say with certainty, that the first colony to Britain came at a very early period.

RELIGION.-St. Cyril of Alexandria is fully of opinion, “ that all men, from Adam to the days of Noah, worshipped that God who by nature is one;" and the reason he assigns is, “because no man is by Moses accused as a worshipper of other gods, and impure demons.” The learned in general consider idolatry to have originated with Ham, the son of Noah. Nimrod, the son of Chus, the son of Ham, is represented, says the learned Bryant, as a powerful monarch of great renown, the founder of the city Babylon, and the first that instituted among the Chaldeans the worship of fire. The confusion of language, and the dispersion at Babel, were remarkable

« ElőzőTovább »