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agrarian laws, or the territorial franchise, and its attendant privileges and honours. Had these laws been once totally laid aside, and lands appropriated on the principle they now are, we know not how it could have been possible to revive them, and bring them into general use. For in general use they appear to have been in the time of Howel, and their principles admitted into his code. They must in all probability have continued uninterruptedly down through the Roman period to the age of Howel, as they did for some ages afterwards; for had there, at any time of the period under consideration, been any, or at least many, great landed proprietors, we cannot conceive that they would easily have been prevailed upon to give their estates up pro bono publico to the use of such as they might, on their own favourite principles of injustice, have termed a swinish multitude.
I have given it as my opinion that our language has not been greatly altered from what it was in the time of Dyfnwal, more than 2000 years ago, especially in its radicals and structure; but, admitting that it had, we may still suppose that, notwithstanding such an alteration in language, the laws might well have continued unaltered in their fundamentals; for, being of a general and perspective use, they would insensibly adopt the idiom of the time, and successively of every time, through which they passed along; and, as their object insensibly varied with time, which introduced new objects of mental and corporeal sense and interest, -of course new ideas, --so comments would become dilated into a paraphrase of more or less amplitude, as the object of its principle would have become more or less varied by time, and the vicissitudes of nature, from what it appeared in its original state when first it became the occasion of a law. Such a paraphrase would naturally fall into the idiom of the time wherein it became necessary, and a law continuing the same in its principle with reference to its object, notwithstanding any alteration of words and idiom which expressed or declared it, would still, with the greatest propriety, be ascribed to him with whom it originated.
Hence we may fairly infer that all the alterations in the Welsh Laws of Dyfnwal, as well as in their language, were less the effects of legislation than of the natural effects of time, and new orders of things insensibly growing up in the world—in the political and scientifical, superinducing the same in the moral world, in a considerable degree. No abrogation of those ancient laws seems to have taken place, but as their objects also became, as we may say, abrogated, by the vicissitudes of time and of nature.
There are several instances of the triad, in its original simple text, without any commentary, where no alteration of time, or of any other circumstance, could possibly have obscured the principle or its object, or have rendered an explanation requisite. Such are Nos. 152, 178, 188, 196, 220, &c., &c.
Howel's Laws have certainly for their basis those of Dyfnwal Moelmud, of which they seem to be less an alteration than an explanation; and it is remarkable that the most prominent feature of alteration in Howel is the substitution of the Christian for the druidical religion. With respect to property, there seems to have been no real or fundamental alteration : it was more properly regulated or accommodated to varied circumstances and orders of things; but, fundamentally, with reference to landed and moveable property, the alteration was but little in the laws of the Cymry. For they had for their solid foundations the adamantine rocks of justice and equity, whereon, with respect to themselves, they might have stood for ever, had they not been attacked from without by predatory powers that surrounded thempowers that had never been trained up under the tutelage of justice—that never to this hour submitted to, or listened for a moment, to its dictates.
All that are hitherto known of our ancient memorials are in triads. The Fourth Book of Howel's Laws is in triads; the Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud were most probably in triads; and, in our most ancient specimens of literature, triads are more to be confided in than any
thing whatever in any other form of prose.
The internal evidence of authenticity will, I believe, be found considerable in these triads.
In Edward Lloyd's Catalogue of Welsh MSS. in Hengwrt Library, we find, amongst other laws, the Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud. The copy is most probably there still, but no access to that library can now be obtained.
There is in the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, a large collection of Mr. Edward Lloyd's papers and correspondence, made up into four or five large volumes. In the index to one volume I find the Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud; but, turning to the page, I found it torn out.
Let us not misunderstand or misrepresent what we contend for. It is not for a written code of laws, of almost five hundred years before Christ, by Dyfnwal Moelmud, it is only for laws ascribed to him, that appear to have been actually extant in writing about the beginning of the ninth century. When they were first committed to writing we dare not attempt to ascertain ; how long they remained in only the voice of tradition we know not, but we may have our conjectures; and we caution the searcher out of historical facts to remember that we offer the little that we have to say only as conjectures. Conjectures are fair, and have not unfrequently been successful in their researches: after exploring a great many recesses, they have, in many instances, ultimately discovered important truths. In our researches after truth we cannot always-we cannot often--discover the pre-supposed object of our inquiries; but, failing in this, we may discover to a certainty that no such object ever existed but in our own misconceptions-our own preconceptions-possibly our own ignorance. But to discover clearly that we have been mistaken, is to discover a very important truth, that may, at least should, operate as a powerful caution to us for the future. Thus we may become properly guarded against those "strong delusions” that induce us to “ believe lies." unpleasant circumstance for a man to discover, when too late, that he has rashly, if not foolishly, committed
SECOND SERIES, VOL. I.
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himself; and against such a misfortune (for a misfortune it is) a wise man will studiously be on his guard. It is fair in every man to give his conjectures; but let them be professedly conjectures, and not boldly asserted facts, for which he cannot produce legitimate evidences. Conjectures may remain for ever open to conviction; bold assertions are never so. CURSORY OBSERVATIONS ON THE TRIADS OF DYPNWAL
By the Same. It is unanimously said by all our ancient writers, bards and traditions, that Dyfowal Moelmud was the first regular lawgiver of the Cymry in Britain. It is, however, not as unanimously agreed who he was, i. e., whose son he was; for some genealogists make him to be the son of Prydain ap Aedd Mawr, the first federal head or sovereign of this island, and call him sometimes Dyfnwal ap Aedd Mawr, at other times Dyfnfarth ap Aedd Mawr; but others say that he was otherwise descended, and that it was in right of his wife, an only child of the preceding sovereign, that he succeeded to the monarchy.
He is supposed to have lived about four hundred years before the Christian era. His laws were, for much more than a thousand years, held in the highest repute, and are in the Laws of Howel expressly said to have continued until his time; but then, owing to the changes that must have taken place in so long a succession of ages, and the different circumstances of political society, many of them were become obsolete in the time of Howel, many of them dark and but ill understood; and it was found absolutely necessary to new model the Laws, and to adapt them to the then existing circumstances of the nation, abrogating many of the old laws, amending and explaining others, and to make others that were new. For this purpose a national legislative assembly was convened by Howel—the old laws were taken into consideration; and for this purpose we may fairly presume that written copies of them were properly prepared, most of them,
doubtless, from ancient writings, others possibly from the practices and the traditions of the law courts, and perhaps of the nation at large.
These laws had now passed through more than twelve centuries, and must have undergone very considerable alterations by insensible degrees; they must have been greatly affected by the Roman and Christian civilization and learning, and had doubtlessly been long before this period committed to writing. They were, however, still considered as the Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud, and under such a title were taken into consideration; and to prepare the proper documents for the senatorial assembly, Howel engaged Blegywryd, (Blegalredus,) Archdeacon of Llandaff, the greatest scholar of his age. All or most of the ancient memorials of the Cymry were either in verse or in triads. It is highly probable that the Laws of Moelmutius were in triads, at least many of them, as the Fourth Book of Howel's Laws is; and in their outlines, or fundamental principles, might still with sufficient propriety have been termed the Laws of Dyfnwal Moelmud, notwithstanding the alterations, and most probably improvements, that must have taken place in them during the lapse of so many ages. I assume, for argument's sake, that Blegywryd compiled those triads, and made out the best copies of them in his power; but a great number of them must have been at this time antiquated, obsolete, and obscure: hence it was necessary for the compiler to explain or comment upon them as he went on in forming his compilation. The triads under consideration at present have all the appearances and colours of such a document. The perpetually occurring comments of sef hynny, sef yw hynny, sef yw penbaladr, sef yw teisbantyle, gwrthrifiad, cyfallwy, ceiniog baladr, and numerous other instances, sufficiently anthorize my ideas
-sufficiently warrant such a conjecture. Now admitting this to be fact, it might yet be objected-what evidences or reasons have we to suppose that the present set of triads may be considered as a copy of one of the supposed documents ? and that any of them should have been