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This person is supposed to have discovered America, and brought a colony of his countrymen hither, before the discovery made by Columbus. The story of his emigration from Wales is thus related by Hakluyt, whose book was first published in 1589, and a second edition of it in 1600.*
“The voyage of Madoc, the son of Owen Guyneth, prince of North Wales, to the West Indies in the year 1170, taken out of the History of Wales lately published by M. David Powel, Doctor of Divinitie.”
66 After the death of Owen Guyneth, his sons fell at debate who should inherit after him. For the eldesť son born in matrimony, Edward or Iorwerth Drwydion, was counted unmeet to govern, because of the maime upon his face; and Howel, that took upon him all the rule, was a base son begotten of an Irish woman. Therefore David gathered all the power he could and came against Howel, and, fighting with him, slew him, and afterward en
* [Vol. iii., p. 1, ed. 1600.-H.]
joyed quietly the whole land of North Wales, until his brother Iorwerth's son came to age.
“ MADoc, another of Owen Guyneth his sons, left the land in contention between his brethren, and prepared certain ships with men and munition, and sought adventures by sea, sailing west, and leaving the coast of Ireland so far north that he came to a land unknown, where he saw many strange things.
- This land must needs be some part of that country of which the Spaniards affirm themselves to be the first finders since Hanno's time. [*For by reason and order of cosmographie, this land to the which Madoc came must needs be some part of Nova Hispania or Florida.) Whereupon it is manifest that that country was by Britains discovered long before [either] Columbus (or Americus Vesputius] led any Spaniards thither.
« Of the voyage and return of that Ma. doc there be many fables feigned, as the common people do use, in distance of place and length of time, rather to augment than diminish, but sure it is there he was. And after he had returned home and declared the pleasant and fruitful countries that he had
* The words included in crotchets [ ] are omitted in the second edition of Hakluyt's Voyages.
seen without inhabitants; and upon the contrary part, for what barren and wild ground his brethren and nephews did murther one another, he prepared a number of ships, and got with him such men and women as were desi. rous to live in quietness; and, taking leave of his friends, took his journey thitherward again.
“ Therefore it is to be supposed that he and his people inhabited part of those countries; for it appeareth by Francis Lopez de Gomara, that in Acuzamil and other places the people honoured the cross, whereby it may be gathered that Christians had been there before the coming of the Spaniards. But because this people were not many, they followed the manners of the land they came unto, and used the language they found there.
" This Asadoc arriving in that western country, unto the which he came in the year 1170, left most of his people there, and, returning back for more of his own nation, acquaintance, and friends to inhabit that fair and large country, went thither again with ten sails, as I find noted by Gutyn Owen. I am of opinion that the land whereto he came was some part of [Mexico ;* the causes which make me think so be these :
* In the second edition the word Mecico is changed for the West Indies, and the two following paragraphs are omitted.
61. The common report of the inhabitants of that country, which affirm that their rulers descended from a strange nation that came thither from a far country; which thing is confessed by Mutezuma, king of that country, in an oration made for quieting of his people, at his submission to the King of Castile, Hernando Cortez being then present, which is laid down in the Spanish chronicles of the conquest of the West Indies.
52. The British words and names of places used in that country even to this day do argue the same; as, when they talk together, they use the word gwrando, which is hearken or listen. Also they have a certain bird with a white head, which they call penguin, that is, white head. But the island of Corroeso, the river of Guyndor, and the white rock of Penguyn, which be all British or Welsh words, do manifestly show that it was that country which Madoc and his people inhabited.]
“ Carmina Meredith filii Rhesi mentionem facientia de Madoco filio Owein Guynedd et de sua navagatione in terras incognitas. Vixit hic Meredith circiter annum Domini 1477.*
* [i. e., Songs of Meredith, the son of Rhesus (ap. Rees), making mention of Madoc, the son of Owen Guyned, and of his “Madoc wyf, mwyedic wedd
Tawn genau, Owyn Guyned
Na da mawr, ond y moroedd. 6. These verses I received of my learned friend, Mr. William Camden.
The same in English.
My mind was whole to search the Ocean seas." In this extract from Hakluyt is contained all the original information which I have been able to find respecting the supposed discovery of America by the Welsh. The account itself is confused and contradictory. The coun. try discovered by Madoc is said to be "without inhabitants ;” and yet the people whom he carried thither “ followed the manners of the land, and used the language they found there." Though the Welsh emigrants lost their language, yet the author attempts to prove the truth of his story by the preservation of several Welsh words in the American tongues.* Among these he is unfortunate in sailing to unknown lands. This Meredith lived about the year of our Lord 1477.-H.1
* The argument does not seem liable to much objection in its nature. For in the blending of nations and of languages, each