Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

fore the Christian era to one third of the country now called France, lying between the Garronne and the Seine, the Cimmerian Germannic Belgæ having encroached on the Celtæ between the Rhine and Seine, and in other smaller districts, towards Italy; and the Iberian Scythians having wrested from them the lands of Aquitania, and of the Waldenses ; the Scythian Phocians having obtruded themselves into Massilia ; and the Scythian Romans having subjected the whole race of the original Celtæ within our limits, the great body of whom were confined to the middle third of Gaul, called Celtica, and Airmorica, this day Britany, in France.

And that they were the aboriginal people of the countries now under consideration, and distinct from the Cimmerii, though both were Europeans, whose forefathers did not emigrate from any other quarter of this earth, shall receive farther and conclusive proof when I come to deliver the evidence of language.

SECTION IV. Of the Aborigines of the Peninsula of Europe. On this part of our subject a very few words will suffice. All the aborigines of this quarter of Europe were called by the general name of Celtæ ; and we find, from the 33rd chapter of the Euterpe of Herodotus, that a people to whom he bath given the name of Cynesyans, bordered on the Celtæ, near the Pillars of Hercules; these aborigines, let them have been called as they will, we find gathered themselves together in the highlands, not far from the centre of present Spain, on whom bordered the Iberians of Biscay and Galicia, who, from that circumstance, obtained the appellation of Celt-Iberi, as the Scythian tribes on the Indus had the name of Indo-Scythæ, and those on the confines of Europe and Asia had the name of Celto-Scythæ, of which I shall have occasion to remark farther, for the purpose of removing an error very prevalent as to these Celt-Iberian tribes.

SECTION V. As to the aborigines of the Isle of Britain, they were called by the general name of Celtæ.

Of the Manners, Customs, Original Institutions,

and Religion, of the Scythian race.

PART XI. I PURPOSE now to treat of the manners, customs, and original institutions of the Scythians, thereby to shew the relation or their various tribes, and their diversity from all other people.

Every one must be aware, generally speaking, this is not an unerring criterion of origin, a resemblance being found to prevail, in many particulars, amongst nations no way allied, in the same stages of society, and living under the like climate; but all the Scythians had so strong a resemblance to each other, and were so different from all other people, in this similitude and dissimilitude they are easily recognized, accurately identified, and clearly distinguished in the remotest times, and down to the latest periods of the preservation of their primitive establishments, striking features of their race.

Those who have not duly considered, may think it waste of time to look deeply into this subject; yet on recollecting the very high antiquity of these people, the celebrated countries they have colonized and ruled, above all, that on their institutions were founded the laws of Greece and Rome in the days of their renown, the times of their glory, I should hope you will be of opinion, an omission to throw any light that may serve to illustrate this interesting inquiry, would be an unpardonable instance of neglect and idleness.

Though I shall not give occasion to be considered wild and visionary, by entering into calculations of quantities and qualities, solidities and superficies, and draw conclusions therefrom of modes whereby, times when, this globe was produced, as many vain theorists have done ; yet will I declare my opinion, that this planet always existing became a member of this solar systen, in consequence of its emerging from a denser matter in which it had been enveloped; and thus visible, its surface breathed on by the air, illuminated and vivified by the rays of light and heat, became capable of yielding its manifold productions, from which cause, according to my judgment, or my imagination, should you think the term more apt, have arisen the various distinct genera of the human race, and of all other animals and things; the consideration of which hath directed my mind to the conclusion, that the operations of nature are various, suited to the soils and climates; by reason whereof it is observable, at no time, however remote, hath any country been invaded by strangers, that inhabitants have not been found thereon, who had no tradition of the removal of their forefathers from any other place, Aborigines, a race pro. duced by the elements of that their climate of the earth. Nor can I conceive how this idea derogates from the power and majesty of a first cause, save in the estimation of such as can discern a more surprising effort of wondrous acquirements in an artist, who, after the manner of man, forms day by day, å piece of curious mechanism ; than in the incomprehensible attributes of an Almighty power, at whose word myriads of worlds start into existence, parts of a system that baffles the penetration of the limited senses of vain presumptuous man. (a)

. This is idle speculation, there being 'no' voucher for my words, nor yet for the contrary opinions of other men, no arbiter to be resorted to, no demonstration attainable ; having no anxiety for the respect in which my ideas on this subject may be held, I shall content myself with the observation, that let this globe have been produced how it may, it hath not appertained to its present system very many ages antecedently to received notions, my judgment being founded on the paucity of the human race in the most populous regions, and the meagre state of arts and science, at a time not very remote, historically ascertained.

What though some parts of the subject, merely theoretic, are impertinent to our present purpose, or indeed to any purpose, the contemplation of other branches thereof leads to a result on which reason can repose with satisfaction, by instructing the mind to account for the variety of the productions of nature, found in the different climates of the earth; varieties radical, intrinsic, from which have sprung the diversity of manners, customs, and institutions, a diversity so great, and strongly marked from the first moment of traditionary tale, to the warrant of historic record, as to denote diversity of the origin in the people amongst whom they were in use ; for the illustration whereof, I shall first have recourse to the writings of the Hebrews, which, though in the gross seemingly opposed to the testimony of all other ancient people, will be found in detail either in agreement with them, or to confute themselves; as Prideaux says, “ although the Jewish writers are very wretched historians, and often give us gross fables instead of true narratives; yet whenever they do so, there is either some thing internal in the matter related, or else external to it from other evidences, that convict them of the falsity.” And he adds, “but when there is nothing of this, the testimony of the historian is to stand good in that which he relates of the affairs of his own country and people ;" with which latter sentiment I cannot accord without the qualification, that the truth interfered not with these pious frauds, in the propagation and establishment of which, they were in the continual practice, or that the written record was not too far removed from the ora tradition. Fortunately, on the present occasion, we may confide in their relation of the affairs of their own country and people, as far as concerns our immediate object. (6)

The grand features of the Scythian race as to manners, customs, and institutions, were

Community of lands.
Tribal divisions.
Government by elected chiefs.
Arms.
Congregating in public assemblies.
Dwelling in tents.

The adoration of the sun personified by the name of Baal, Cemas, and divers other appellations.

And the worship of fire, the present emblem of the divinity by various names, as Moloc, Dagon, &c.

Of the many regions of the earth altogether unknown to writers of ancient days, Tatars, Chinese, Hindoos, the nations of Africa save Egypt, and the western hemisphere, it would be bootless to speak, I shall therefore confine myself to the Assyrians on the one hand, and the Egytians on the other, the people in the immediate neighbourhood of the Scythians, and to aborigines of Europe with whom I shall contrast them, and point out instances. of difference, so marked and determined as leave no room for doubt of difference of origin, so fixed and strong as not to have grown out of separation from a parent stock, in an accumulation of ages, ten-fold greater than the time wherein the change must have been wrought.

If you turn to Genesis, and read the nine first chapters, and the first nine verses of the tenth chapter, such as the medley is, you will not find mention of an house, or durable habitation, or the slightest allusion to any thing of the kind, the city of Cain's building excepted, called Enoch, of which though the bible translators have made a city, means nothing more than a congregation; nor is even Noah at a much later period described but living in a tent: But when the stranger eastern people, called Assyrians, made their first appearance on the land of the Scythians, we are for the first time told of real cities and walls for fortifications, and a citadel constructed of permanent materials, with surprising art in the science of architecture, Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar, the ancient seat of the Scythians, whereon theretofore had stood the tents of Noah, the supreme chief of the Scythian nations; then you hear of the Assyrians going up from Shinar and building Nin-eveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah. From the moment of the appearance of the Assyrians in Messipotamia, we first hear of manners, and customs, and institutions, the very reverse of those of the Scythians. the building of cities being proof of personal appropriation of the soil, the administration of government being in the hands of hereditary chiefs, whilst in religion, a total difference existed between the two people,

« EdellinenJatka »