Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

in an exceeding degree, and, by reason of their commercial intercourse with foreign traders, completely civilised in their manners"—(Lib v., cap. 60.)—Ye hosts of indiscriminate detractors, could ye not have given a 'favete linquis' to your diatribes with respect to proofs of this description, and respected the Rights of history! Oh, no! Nothing of the sort could have been admitted! You wanted to show by implication that you, as known buccaneers and traitorous barbarians, may be deemed to have civilised your predecessors on the soil, already civilised, in longo cursu annorum, and to have wiped away the stain of treason, blood, and anarchy! Culprits may, 'tis true, in time, and on historical data, become, by humane associations, honest, honorable men. But of this hereafter. Hear what Sidonius Apollinaris says of the Saxon of A. D. 455—

"Quin et Aremoricus piratam Sa-xona tractus
"Sperebat—cui pelle salum sulcare Britannum
*' Ludus et assuto glaucum mare findere Lembo."

Moreover, in reference to a voyage undertaken by the Carthaginian or Punic Himalco, three or four centuries before the warlike enterprise of the Csesars and their legions into the Insula? Britannicse—the (Estrymnides of the Phoenicians, the Cassitenides of the Hellenes, or the Sylina of the Romans, the Scilly Isles of the Saxons, of which each and all are identically proven, by the researches of the learned, to be identical with each other, notwithstanding the imbecile croakings of geographical misgivings.

We have, also, an unknown ocean of facts as carefully drawn and reported by Festus Avienus, 'from the inmost annals of the Punic people.' Let the world analyse and compare the principium, the medium, the finem, of the description given, as to oceanic position, to richness of ores, as well as to ' shipping intelligence.' Do the 'navigia' of the one tally with those of others? Do not these hide vessels indicate a distinct people 1

Lest any caviller of the Macaulay stamp should, in the callous indifference of his soul, still persist to mislead the unsuspecting, credulous faith of another generation, let the problematical position of the " Tartesiis in terminos CEstrymnidum" be re-studied and identified by their own inherent qualities.

As Herodotus—I quote his own words—" did not know that the Cassitenides, from which Cassitenos regularly came, were islands," he cannot fix the identity, as " from careful inquiries made by him, he could not hear from an eye-witness that that 'further side of Europe' was at all a sea." Strabo, too, is not much better. Therefore, we must have recourse to some other testimony, however imperfect, though but partially acquainted with Hyperborean latitudes as to this ceaseless supply of ores.

Avienus will supply, to a certain extent, the desideratum,— though he, his predecessors and successors, for generations of ages past and yet to come, were lamentably confused in reference to the geography of the Ancient world, and not much less so " with respect to the relative positions of the Insulse in Oceano—the Celtica et Iberica regna Europse, which, as then denned, would now create a smile of bewilderment in a Shrewsbury-boy. I refer the scholar to the text with all the confidence of future adhesion.

"In it (the Atlantic gulf ) lies Gaddir, called Tartessus in former days. Here are the pillars of the persevering Hercules, Abila, and Calpe ******** Here, also, is raised the summit of the promontory. Ancient times named it (Estrymnis, and the lofty ridge slopes principally to the south. Below this promontory the (Estrymnic gulf or ocean gapes widely for the inhabitants; and in this gulf the islands CEstrymnides lie scattered. These are rich in mines of tin and lead: here dwells a numerous and powerful nation—multa bis gentis—of haughty spirit and energetic skill; all are continually engaged in merchandising, [very much as the Cimbro-Saxon of modern times,] and in their well-known boats [peculiar to the Cimmerian race of that day] plough both their own turbulent straits and the whale-producing ocean. These know not how to fashion keels from the pine, nor do they build barks from fir-trees, according to common practice; but, in a wonderful manner, they always fit out their vessels with skins joined together; and often in hide vessels sail over the deep. From these islands a ship will in two days reach the island called sacred by the Ancients [i. e., Ierne or Thule, sacred to Apollo, that is, to Beal, and " situated over against the Keltae " of Diodorus Siculus]. This shows among the waves a spacious land, and it is widely cultivated by the nation of the Hiberni. Again, the island of the Albiones expands itself in the vicinity."

"The Carthaginians, as Archdeacon Williams observes, made no settlement in Great Britain, or on the coast of Gaul; they merely occupied the place formerly filled by the Tartessians." This is distinctly asserted by Avienus, who says—

"The Tartessians were accustomed to carry their merchandise to the borders of (Estrymnides, also the colonies of Carthage, and the communities dwelling within the pillars of Hercules, used to frequent these seas."

And, finally, in regard to the Cassitenides, Strabo, relying on the version of some Maunderian solitary voyager, one Publius Crassus, who was the first of the Romans to report upon them, arid who, in defiance of the character given of the Britanni, as "sincere in their commercial dealings, uninterrupted in their prosperity as a populous nation, and given to hospitality in an exceeding degree, and completely civilised in their manners," and who, forgetful or wilfully blind of what had been said by Avienus in their favor as "a numerous and powerful nation—men of haughty spirit and energetic skill," selects one little island out of the groupe (reserved, probably, for a druidical school by reason of its sequestration), and then applies his indiscriminate remarks to the whole Cimbric nation. Would it, now-a-days, be just, honorable, manly, historically correct, or, rather, nationally true, were some flimsy traveller or yachter to compare, for the behests of China and Japan, and ex cathedra to decide the civilisation of the Greeks, Austrians, Swedes, Scotch, and Italians, of the mainland, with that of the inhabitants of certain fishing or pastoral islets in the Archipelago, the Adriatic, the Baltic, and the North Sea? Weigh the code of facts in its own scale, and then the axiom of Euclid, of " things equal the same are equal to each other," will not be thrown away to the ever-varying winds and blasts of historical inaccuracies.

"Look on this side and on that."

Lumine sub vero, circumspice docte viator
Facta virum—culpas, laudes, ab oiigine mundi.

No judge or empanelled jury would sanction such a process.

"The Cassitenides," he observes, "are ten in number; they, being sea-girt, lie near each other, northwards from the harbour of the Artabri. One of them is uninhabited; in the others dwell a people [the priests] wearing black gowns reaching to the feet [like the present monks of Europe, I ween], clad also in tunics, with girdles round their waists. [Can this refer to the lay sisters?—So, after all, the people were not quite naked or painted, or clad in skins]. They also go about with wands in their hands, something like the Furies in tragedies. [Which, Greek or Roman ?] They live, principally, a nomad life [What! is there not a resemblance to the trappists here?], subsisting on their flocks and herds. And as they have mines of tin and lead [They had tools and artistic skill, had they?], they exchange these metals for earthenware, salt, and bronze, imported by merchants." I will leave the painted-skin school to deduce other facts relative to modern life on the aggregate, from the untrammelled recollections or on dits of a Strabo and his other contradictory imitations and suppressions of truth.

On the other hand, I feel it incumbent on me to inquire into and analyse certain allegations brought forward by certain groundless etymologists respecting a novel Cassiterian aspect of this question. To this theoretical school I will say, that ingenious surmises fall short, when unaccompanied by some potent proofs, or, when driven to their wit's end, to trifle with historical facts based on and compared with other facts. We Cimmerians insist, as others do from us, on something tangible to the senses—some corroboration of their ideas from uniformly accredited sources of antiquity—otherwise their fanciful modern chateaux en Espagne filled with tin and bronze, are but spectral-winged imitations of a diseased imagination brought to an untimely end through the sheer want of oriental shadowings.

In the first place, I have no objection to the term 'cassiteros' being derived, according to fantasy, from the Sanscrit verb kasdir, to shine, or castir, something shining, nor at its being, at a running jump, applied to a shining metallic substance; but I do logically object to this substance, call it brass, tin, copper, or lead, if you please, serving as a theoretical basis to be referible to some alleged unsupported discovery of tin in remote antiquity by a quasi posthumous disinterring of the same icithin, yea far within, the scope and remembrance of the Christian era.

Let us probe this view—this Indian-Ocean-aspect—this ideal manifestation, or rather obscuration, of Occidentalism, as mooted by the shining Kasdir or Castir element. The problematical adoption or rejection of its signification has nothing whatever to do with the enquiry. What then !—look at your maps. Is it presumable that the Phoenicians periodically crossed the mighty Indian Ocean without a compass, to Banca or Malacca, in quest of tin or gold? The idea is preposterous; though, I admit, daring sailors might have possibly doubled the Cape of Good Hope without a compass, by keeping the land ever or occasionally in view, as stated by Herodotus. Will this idea of a Banca satisfy general belief? Credat Judaeus! But a Jew has already, through Ezekiel, smashed the theory before it was or could be concocted. But, granting the hypothesis, en passant, where is the result of the mental operation? Nowhere, as far as its application to or in history is concerned—nowhere, as far as practical facts can or ever were deduced: nowhere, as regards the probability—the recorded results of a Cassiteitian substantiality, except in the lucid brains of the modern concocters.

But, on the other hand, it can be confidently asserted that an early British Commerce did really take place with the traffickers of East and West, in this very article.

Here a very natural question propounds itself to our view. What did the Cserulei Britanni get in return for their hardware? In all histories of commerce these questions are correlative. Whatever the exchange may have been, with the Phoenicians, Armoricans, or Veneti, the Massilians, the Phoceans, Ionians, Carthaginians, and Romans (who, after the conquest of their Punic rival, were the first to seize and plunder the gold-and-loreinvested island, and subject it to foreign rule) the intercourse, both socially and commercially, as regards the former Powers, must have been, as already shown, in primeval ages, advantageous to their growth and development as " a numerous, a civilised, and a powerful nation," (magna vis gentis) and " a people of energetic skill," and " hospitable in the extreme," in their own mother-land and their own Britannia Antiquissima. M

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

"Beautiful art thou, land of my home, e'en to a stranger's glance,
"Thy mountains are magnificent, thy castles breathe romance,
"There is a chaim in the 'time-worn towers,' a sadly pleasing spell
"In the roofless chambers where alone the owl and the ivy dwell.
"Land of the bard, the harp, the song, land of my love and birth,
"Oh, be the ' Awen' still thine own, and thine the kindly hearth."

Amid scenes of uninterrupted aggression, of insatiable vengeance, and of threatened depopulation, is it to be wondered at, that, during a period, not, be it remembered, of a thirty years' war— direful even then to agricultural pursuits, to arts and sciences, in fact, to modern civilization—but during a compass of a thousand years and upwards of such a, ' status quo,' devastation, that any fragments whatever of our triadic and bardic literature—that any relics of our prehistoric forts and castles, much less of our, as of Roman, or of your own, very humble homesteads—should have been left us, other tens of hundreds of years afterwards, to glean a tale of distant woes and wrongs not yet filled up, as to doled out honors in the Cambrian Church or State, by ministers of the Crown—mementoes of the sweeping past; or that any Cimmerianspeaking Cymro should have remained alive on earth to prove, from the heniaith gysefin, our identity with the great Cimmerian nation of Asiatic and European antiquity, beyond the extant grasp, the powerless control, of literary annals?

'Well, indeed !' is the generous, the manly sneer !' Well!' the happy retort! Where, oh, where? is your boasted literature? where is there a trace of your footsteps on the soil? where the tokens of your golden tores, your silver, and your bronze? your castles and your princely homes?

Stop, thou worse than adroit concealer of the truth. The 'wheres ' and 'whereabouts,' Deo gratiae, from north to south of Prydain Fawr, are extant still, though grave-like robed in majesty of death, as veiled with ivy-sprigs and yews or other Taliesinian emblems of the forest, to confound the slanderous unsubstantially of the charge, and point a moral to us both. Dost thou

« ПредишнаНапред »