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Q. Is the harp much played in Wales?
It is, particularly in North Wales, where every little town has its harper; and, when a traveller arrives at an inn, the village minstrel, generally a blind man, awakens the cheerful chords of his harp with the melody of other days.
A. Is any public encouragement given to the preservation of Welsh literature and music?
A. Yes: there are periodical meetings, called Eisteddfods, patronised by the first men of talent and patriotism, for the revival as well as preservation of Welsh literature, and for the encouragement of native talent in the composition of prose and poetry, and exhibition of skill upon the Welsh harp. Handsome prizes are awarded to the successful candidates.
The next quotation, we think, will interest all persons. Though the subject has been repeatedly discussed, it has never been satisfactorily settled; and it is extraordinary, that some of the most eminent men in Wales have completely differed in their opinion respecting the existence of Welsh Indians. The two most eminent Welsh scholars of the present day are examples. Dr. William Owen Pughe believes that there was a colony of the descendants of Maddoc and his followers, until comparatively a few years in America; while the Rev. Walter Davies maintains a contrary opinion. We have always coincided with the latter gentleman. Although the name of Pughe is a host within itself, still we have never met with what could be deemed sound proof, or any thing like it; however, the fair author has collected some very curious particulars. Let the reader judge for himself.
Q. Who succeeded Owen Gwynedd ?
A. His son David; who, by slaying his brother and competitor, Howel, became master of all Wales, and remained undisturbed, until Iorweth's son came of age.
Q. Did David and his other brothers live peaceably with each other?
A. No: they were continually quarrelling; and one of them, named Madoc, whose disposition was amiable, was so disgusted, that he, with a few followers, took ship, and sailed westward, in search of some remote country where he could live in peace,
Q And where did he land?
A. He is said to have landed on some part of that vast continent now called America; and, having built some kind of habitations and fortifications for his attendants, he returned, to inforın his countrymen of the pleasant and fertile country he had discovered.
Q. Did any more adventurers go back with him to America ?
A. Yes: many were induced to leave their disturbed homes for scenes more tranquil than their native country.
Q. In what year is this discovery said to have happened?
of our Lord 1170. Q. In what part of America is Madoc supposed to have landed? A. In that part now called Mexico. Q. What incident may corroborate this story?
A. When the Spaniards first took possession of Mexico, they learned from the natives that they were descended from the people of a far country; some relics of Christianity were found among them, and a few words of British origin.
Q. Is this event of Madoc's discovery mentioned by old writers?
A. Many bards and genealogists confirm the story of Madoc's voyage. See the poems of Cwnric ab Grono, Guten Owen, (who lived in Edward the Fourth's time,) and Sir Meredith ab Rhys (who wrote in 1477.) There is a scarce volume of travels by Sir Thomas Herbert, Bart., 1665, in which, while enumerating the discoverers of America, he says, “ the first we meet with is Madoc, the son of Prince Owen Gwynedd;" and again, nevertheless that Madoc and his Cambrian crew be dead, and their memory moth-eaten, yet their footsteps are plainly traced, which the language they left, the religion they taught, and the relics there found, do clearly evince.'
Q. Is there not a curious epitaph in the ancient British language, said to have been found in Mexico?
A. It is in Hacket's Collection of Epitaphs, edited 1757. Thus:
FOUND AT MEXICO.
Madoc wyf mwydic ei wedd
Madoc I am—mild in countenance,
For no great riches, but for the seas. It is probable that this epitaph has been borrowed from the poems of Meredydd ab Rhys, as these lines, with but little variation, may be found in them.
Q. Have modern travellers discovered any remains of the Welsh language in America ?
A. Yes: from the attestation of many respectable travellers, we may reasonably conclude that a tribe exists among the wild Indians of America, who still speak the ancient British language.
Q. Relate some of those accounts.
a. Captain Davies, who was stationed with his company (during the revolution) at a trading post among the Illinois Indians,
had several Welshmen among his mén. He observed them conversing with the strange Indians; and, upon enquiry, he found that they readily understood each other in the Welsh language.
Q. What other narrative can you give me on this subject?
A. Lieutenant Roberts, of Hawarden, in Flintshire, relates, that being at an hotel in Washington, in the year 1801, he spoke rather sharply to a Welshman, who was a waiter in the house, in his native language. An Indian chief, who happened to be in the room, came forward eagerly, and said to Mr. Roberts, in the ancient British tongue, 'Is that thy language?' He replied that it was; and the chief told him that it was also the language of his nation, and that the children of his tribe were not allowed to speak any other until they were twelve years old. Mr. Roberts explained to him from what part of the world he came, and asked the Indian if there was any tradition among his tribe of having come originally from a distant country.
Q. What was the chief's reply?
A. He said they had a tradition of their forefathers having come from a distant country, very far in the east, and from over the great waters.
Q. Pray give one more anecdote on this curious subject.
A. Edward Williams, the bard of Glamorgan, was permitted by Lady Juliana Penn to search the ms. journals of her ancestor, William Penn, and he found the following entry in them: “17..
with bibles to teach the Welsh In dans.” Q. What part of America do those Indians inhabit?
A. The general deduction is, that such a people as the Welsh Indians, (or at least) the main body of them, reside under the longitude and latitude where the Padoucas are placed in our maps; and also that a smaller body of the same people is to be found nearer the Mississippi, in the latitude of Virginia. They are called by several names: Madocantes, Padoucas, White Indians, and Mud Indians.
Note by Dr. Wm. Owen Pughe. N. B. “I have seen five several persons who have related to me their intercourse with a people called White Indians, Civilized Indians, Welsh Indians, and White Padoucas. Among these were general Bowles, and the captain Davies mentioned in the preceding chapter. We had about one hundred different accounts, all of which were confirmatory of each other, and many of them as to the language spoken by those Indians being Welsh. Bowles and Chisholm declared of their seeing an old manuscript on vellum, very dingy, and from its size, &c. it most likely was a Romish missal. It was in the possession of an old man and his two sons, taken prisoners by the Cherokees, and adopted nto their tribe; and this family was of the Welsh Indians.
“ Bowles and Chisholm had never seen each other; but their accounts of this Welsh Indian family, with which both were intimate, exactly agreed. Both described the ms. Chisholm tried to get the ms. to take to Philadelphia, for the purpose of finding some one that could read it; but the old man would not let it go out of his hands, for be preserved it as a precious relic.
In the last discovery made by the American government, there is an observation made by the travellers, that at that time there seemed to be an end of The Great Padouca Nation."
We recommend this little work to the attention of all conductors of seminaries and private teachers. We have no hesitation in saying that it is indispensable to them. Wales was intrinsically part of ancient Lloegria or England, thuugh inhabited by a separate tribe; all persons desiring to be informed of the early history of this island must therefore read the history of Wales, and here they will find an abbreviation, in its most attractive form.
Stories from the History of Wales, interspersed with various
Information and Amusement, for young Persons. By a Lady of the Principality. 1 vol. duodecimo. Eddowes,
Shrewsbury. We have been favored with an early perusal of an amusing little work, for young persons, by the author of the little history reviewed in our present number, entitled “Stories from the History of Wales.”
This seems to be a book in which grown children, as well as little ones, may find both amusement and instructive information; and one of the laudable aims of the author is evidently to give her readers a desire to learn something of the history of Wales beyond the portions here offered, by selecting from it some interesting features, and introducing them to children in the fascinating form of“ Stories,” varying the subject by lively illustrations of natural history, carried on chiefly by easy conversation, between a father and mother, and their little boy, a clever child of four or five years of age. Subjects beyond his years are also introduced, for older children, or such as may be termed "young persons. The following extracts are well calculated to give the “reading public” a just idea of the work. The little boy puts the
following questions to his father : " When shall I read the History of Wales, papa ?"
“The History of Wales, my boy, ought certainly to be read as an accompaniment to the History of England, since they
were formerly one nation, and, from the time the Britons lost the sovereignty of the island, were driven from their possessions by the invader, and became a distinct kingdom, it is interesting to be acquainted with the parallel history of these rival states.
“ The early part of Welsh history is filled with dissensions between its own princes; for, besides the king of North Wales, there were a great many inferior princes who ruled under him. The prince of South Wales was independent of him, and in South Wales also there were many petty princes.
“Rodri the Great was king of all Wales excepting Gwent; and in his reign he made a more distinct division of the three great parts into which Wales had hitherto been divided, and settled the boundaries of each. He also built a royal palace in each division: Aberffraw, in North Wales, or Gwynedd ; Dinevor, in South Wales, or Deheubarth; and Mathraval, in Powis.
“ The ivyed ruins of the old castle of Dinevor are still standing on the verge of a precipice, which forms one of the ramparts of the picturesque vale of Towy, in Cærmarthenshire. It is one of those interesting ruins of past ages which kindle in the mind all the recollections of their early history; the festivities that had once made the halls resound with mirth and gaiety, the anxious and life-stirring muster of preparation for battle, the shouts and triumph of revelry after victory; perhaps the shrieks of the wounded, the groans of the dying, or the sighs of the captive, who had long pined in its dungeons.
“ There was once a prince of the name of Rhys confined in this castle by his cruel son. The name of this son was Maelgwn, who, being jealous of his brother Howel, contrived to get him into his power; and, influenced by a spirit of depravity, at which our more enlightened countrymen of these happy Christian times would shudder with horror, he deprived him of his eyesight. When this barbarous operation had been inflicted on poor Howel, Maelgwn began to dread that his father, prince Rhys, would punish him severely for such an outrage; so, as one crime generally leads on to another, and as he had no means of escaping the vengeance of his father but by depriving him also of his liberty, he hired some of his miscreants to lay hold of Rhys, who, being quite unsuspicious of such an unnatural conspiracy, easily fell into the snare, and was thrust into a dungeon of his own castle, of which his wicked son made himself lord and master.
“ Howel was not so strictly guarded as Rhys, because his blindness rendered him more helpless; and, when he heard of his poor father's condition, he determined, if possible, to set him at liberty. He well knew every cell, every bolt and bar in his native castle, and pursued in secret bis generous scheme, until he came to the very cell in which the unhappy captive lay loaded with chains.