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He commences by giving a general view of the institutions which Hywel Dda, or Hywel the Good, is stated to have raised about the year 940, on the ancient basis laid down by Dy firwal Moel-mûd, whose name has been latinized into Dunwallus Molmutius, and who is said in the Welsh Chronicles to have reigned over Britain upwards of 430 years prior to the commencemept of the Christian era. These laws of Hywel Dda have been often quoted; and many of them are as remarkable for their wisdom, as others are for their whimsical singularity. We shall give some extracts, as we believe the entire code has never yet been translated into English.
“ The distinguishing and general characteristic of this system was the making satisfaction, in money, catile, or other effects, forall offences and crimes, murder not excepted; for injuries, to the person; for privation of property, to the party complaining of the grievance; for murder, to the relations of the deceased; and in this latter case, much pains were taken and labour employed, under various circumstances and in different degrees of affinity, to ascertain who were entitled to receive this compensation, which was more or less in proportion to the rank the deceased held in the community; but even on this serious subject there were now and then distinctions, to us apparently ludicrous, and certainly not at this moment to be accounted for. - The learned in the laws,' says one of these ordinances, have determined, that for committing • adultery with the king's consort, killing his ambassadors, or vio
lating his protection, the offender shall forfeit to bis majesty a • golden cup, having a cover to it as broad as his face, as thick as The thumb of a plowman who has been nine years in that employ;
silver rod of the same height of the king, and as thick as his thumb; a hundred cows for every cantreff which the offender possessed; and a white bull * with red ears for every hundred scows; but if the cows are of a dark colour, then a black bull with * every hundred. For the murder of the King of North Wales, this < fine shall be tripled.' P. 233.
“ Much pains are taken in these laws to describe what articles of household furniture and other effects shall go with the husband, and what with the wife, in case of separation, and a laborious and 'impracticable attempt is made to fix a specific value upon every species of property, in case it should be lost, stolen, or injured: for instance, the king's blanket (the effeminate luxury of sheets
"* There was a breed of this kind and colour upon the banks. of the Towi, in Carmarthenshire, which were particularly vaJuable. Wotton, Richard's Welsh Dict. sub verb. Ysgafrllynnig. Bingley in his Anim. Biog, says, that all wild cattle are of this colour;' and this fine being laid upon the whole of Wales; seems to: prove
the truth of his assertion. V. ante in note; p. 121.".
was then unknown) was worth one hundred and twenty pence; the queen's flesh.fork, twenty-four pence; the king's chess-board, one hundred and twenty pence; a bucket, one penny; a housedog, even though he was (were) the king's, only four pence; while a shepherd's dog was equal in value to an ox, if it could be proved by his owner, and neighbours, upon oath, that he was accustomed to precede the cattle to the field in the morning, and bring them home ut night. The purloining, destroying, or injuring of any of these effects or animals was punished in general by mulct, in the same manner, though in a lighter degree, with the death of the king. The legislators have proceeded to recapitulate with a tedious minuteness, and apparently with a peculiar whimsicality, the remedies in case some of these animals did any mischief to the property of those to whom they did not belong; and it should sometimes seem as if they meant to punish the fowl or beast himself, and endeavoured to make him sensible of his crime; as when they enacted that if geese were found trespassing in corn, it was lawful to kill them with a stick as long as from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger; if in a barn or rick-yard, to squeeze them to death with a forked stick placed on their necks; if a cock trespassed, one of his spurs might be cut off; if a calf, in corn, he might be kept a whole day without sucking, and then liberated; and if a hen was caught filching, she might be detained till she laid an egg." P. 234, 235.
The tenure by which the lands were universally held in Wales, in ancient times, was that of gavel-kind; which indeed from the custom of various manors in
nany parts of England, as well as from its general prevalence in Kent, would seem, at some distant period, to have obtained throughout the whole island. Mr. Jones supposes the word gavel-kind to be a corruption from gafael-gynt, signifying of ancient tenure ; for example, "yn ol gafael yr amseroedd gynt, i.e. according to the tenure of ancient times.” The English practice of “ arraigning a recovery,” which to the disgrace of British 'jurisprudence is still suffered to disgrace the code with its fictions, and unintelligible gibberish, compounded from three languages, appears to have been borrowed from the Welsh.
The account of the government of the bordering counties under the Lords Marchers, includes many particulars of much interest to all who would obtain a thorough acquaintance with the history of this country. The severe laws enacted by Henry the Fourth against the Welsh, evince how greatly that sovereign was exasperated at the rebellion of Owen Glyndw'r; and how very imperfectly the mutual interest of the two nations was then understood. In this part, Mr. Jones, in some of those flippanit No. 129. Vol. 32. Mar. 1809.
remarks which occasionally disgrace his composition, talks of “Carnaby Market, and Billinsgate-street !"-Where the latter is situated, we have yet to learn.
Henry the Eighth, to whom tyrannical and sensual as he was, we shall ever stand indebted for our emancipation from ecclesiastical thraldom, was the first to relieve Wales from the oppressive jumble of incoherent and jarring statutes under which its natives had long groaned. After various preliminary enactments, all of which tended only to show the inadequacy of half measures, the act of Union, or rather that of assimilating the laws and customs of Wales to those of England, was passed in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of this sovereign; who is thought by our author, to be far more deserving the appellation of the Welsh Justinian, than Edward the First was of that of the English Justinian, which was conferred upon him by the Lord Chief Justice Coke. By the same act, the different counties and shire towns of Wales were empowered to return representatives to Parliament. It was afterwards declared, 35th Hen. VIII. c. 2., that they were “entitled to the same fees and wages as the representatives of the English counties and boroughs; and provided that the writ de solutione feodi Militis Parliamenti, should issue to the sheriffs in Wales to levy them whenever required.”
The tenth chapter comprises remarks on a somewhat heterogeneous'assemblage of subjects, as language, manners, popular opinions and prejudices, customs, commerce, projects, turnpike roads, &c. The Welsh are described as possessing an “almost enthusiastic veneration for their ancient language;" to which, and to the natale-solum, is ascribed all that nationality of character which, surviving the ravages of time, still continues undiminished in the Cambro-British breast.”
In this part of his work, Mr. Jones comments on the errors of those writers who, eitber from prejudice or defective information, have drawn a false character of the natives of Wales; among others, that tenth wonder of antiquarianism, that benighted luminary of the Goths, the “fretful Pinkerton,' comes for in distinguished and deserved reprehention.. On this theme our author grows warm; and who can wonder that his indig. nation should be excited at language so vituperative against the Celts, as that which Pinkerton has poured forth with all the growling volubility of a triple-headed Cerberus. Those of our readers who have not seen the "Inquiry into the History of Scotland, will be surprised to learn with how
much virulent abuse a whole nation have been stigmatized by this gentleman, who in that fell spirit of wild eccentricity and invective which characterise so many of his opinions, but with a strange forgetfulness of common sense, affirms; that “the Celtic is of all savage languages the most confused, as the Celts are of all savages the most deficient irt understanding,” though in the same work he acknowledges himself to be “ignorant of the Celtic tongue!” Among the further examples. of his scurrility quoted by Mr. Jones, are the following:
The Celts from all ancient aecounts, and from present knowledge, were and are a savage race, incapable of labour or even the rude arts; being indeed mere savages, and worse than the savages of America, remarkable, even to our own times, for a total neglect of agriculture themselves, and for plundering their neighbours. The Irish Celts, the Scotch Celts, and the Welsh Celts, have all alike a claim to the charucter; and when it begins to pass away, it is a sign that, by intermarrying, the Gothic blood begins to exceed the Celtic, and that the Celts are no longer Celts, though so accounted *.” Again, " the Celts are savages, have been savages since the world, began, and will be for ever savages; mere radical savages, not yet advanced even to a state of barbarism; and if any foreigner doubts this, he has only to step into the Celtic parts of Wales, Ireland, or Scotland, and look at them; for they are, just as they were, incapable of industry or civilisation, even after half their blood. is Gothic t." He assumes also that “ their language is derived from the English; and to say that the writer is a Celt, is to say that he is a stranger to truth, modesty, and morality;" and to complete the whole, and crown this climax of abuse, he says, o what a lion is to an ass, a Goth is to a Celt I.” P. 276, 277.
Such are the reveries of Mr. Pinkerton! He is not the only one, however, that is charged by Mr. Jones with "asserting fucts without foundation :" the ephemeral tribe of tourists, who, buzzing through the principality like summer knats, blister the fair fame” of its natives with their ill-cona cocted crudities, fall equally beneath his reprehension.
" One of these gentry” (says our author), " a man of eminence and knowledge in his profession, but who will not be persuaded that he does not excel in the sublime, though he has no taste for that style further than dealing in the marvellous, tells us he was disturbed at Crickhowel 'by a number of people who were amusing themselves, as his hostess informed him, with hearing the trial of a woman accused of sorcery. The gentry and clergy,' says he, "of the county are all met together, determined to have a complete borit of it in the assembly room below (which by the bye is above stairs), a trial in the morning, a feast in the afternoon, and a ball in the eve
* * Dissert.
• ning!!* --Mine hostess (good woman!) knows no more about the meaning of the word sorcery than she does of the crime. To
say " that there could be no such trial here, is almost superfluous, but the • fact is, that there was no such accusation. There happened to be a • monthly meeting of the magistrates of the bundred in the house
when this traveller and his nephew came there, before whom a * woman was brought, not for witchcraft, but for imposing upon : the peasantry of the country, and obtaining money under pretence
of fortune telling; and in the evening of the same day the gen: • tlemen and ladies of the vicinity had appointed an assembly, • where, for ought [aught] I know, some of those very justices may • have joined in the dance after the business of the day was over.' P. 279.
So much, then, for the “trial for sorcery: We could ourselves quote many other instances of the marvellous, in the flights of this traveller of antiquarian celebrity, who was wont," as Mr. Jones truly states, “to pursue his researches in company with his nephew !" or at least, of a female who passed under that appellation; and whose sex we believe was once accidentally discovered at Salisbury.
The account of the popular superstitions and customs of the modern Welshmen is entertaining, as our readers will readily estimate from the following extracts.
“ We have been frequently told that the Welsh are remarkably superstitious, and that most," if not all of them, believe in the reality of apparitions; this is idle assertion and mere conjecture: they have
more superstition nor credulity than falls to the lot of the humble inhabitants of an equal tract of land in any other part of the kingdom: they have, it is certain, their siock stories, their provincial demons and goblins, and their characteristic phænomena, with whom many are acquainted, most wish to hear of, and some few believe. Among the visionary beings of whom tradition tells, and whom imagination creates, we fre quently hear of the fairies t, whom they call bendith eu mammau
65 * Gent. Mag. 1805.
“ + Fairies, or destinies, are of different origin; some proceed from the gods, some from the genii, and others from the dwarfs. The hornies or fairies sprung from a good origin, are good them. selves, and dispense good destinies; but those men to whom misfortunes happen, ought to ascribe them to evil hornies or fairies. The dwarts, from whom the evil fairies are supposed to have sprung, are described in the Edda - as a species of beings bred in the dust of * the earth, just as worms are in a dead carcase. • from the body of the giant Ymir they issued: at first they were only worms; but by order of the gods they partook of both human shape and reason; nevertheless they dwell in subterraneous caveus and among the rocks. Edda, Fable the 7th, Mallet's North Antiq. Yol. II. p. 42."
It was indeed