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of the Welsh, it obtained (as I heard, a cover around it, and was dried, and lovingly and eagerly cared for. Then, for a time, it passed from hand to hand through many places of the land of Wales, receiving everywhere much reverence and welcome : all who heard of it being desirous of gaining a knowledge of it; some desiring to read it; others, who knew not how to read, wishing to hear it read; a third part content to copy it, and write it, so as to get a number of copies to go about the country. When the news of this came to France, where I was residing, my heart was rejoiced and comforted to hear of the zest and eagerness of the Welsh to hear spiritual counsel. Then there grew up in my mind a great hope that many souls in Wales might be saved from falling into Hell, if there were a way to point out to them their spiritual perils. In reflecting on this, I could see no convenient and fruitful way, unless the book could be put into and published in print. Within the kingdom I could see no hope of obtaining either money or workmen, nor a fit and suitable place. By long reflection, and seeing the energy of the English faithful in printing English books on this side of the sea in foreign lands, I conceived it within reason that printers of France might be able to print Welsh as well as English, the two tongues being equally strange to them. And in view of the great number of English books that have been published since Faith and Religion were corrupted in the Island of Britain, through the toil and industry of the Catholic English: on pain of shame and loss to all Welshmen, I saw it expedient and honourable to set forth and publish one Welsh book, whereof there was so much need, and the Welsh so eager to get books, and God having provided printers on the sea-side, ready for hire to print Welsh as well as English. I have taken it upon me (not without the favour and leave of the Master) to put in print the first part of the three. For, as you may under
stand by the Master's letter, the whole work is but one book containing three parts. And if God shall send liberty, I shall put forth the other parts as soon as I can, viz., the second and third, each in its order and degree. We have got English letters for the work, and instead of the doubled D. and L., we have put dh. and lh., according to the manner of the old Welshifiers, which is a more proper thing than to double the letters. Since we could not get D. and L. with marks under them, according to the order of the 'Athravaeth Gristnogavl (Christian Instruction), that was printed at Milan, you will find D. and L. in several places marked above; and these all carry the sound of the rest, and save the H. And if we find, hereafter, enough of them marked above, we shall cease altogether to join the H. with D. and L. The cost, and expense, and trouble, are very great and burdensome. Therefore, every faithful Welshman is bound to give help and assistance to the Work by prayer and other ways, every one to his power and degree. And as unskilled and unlearned men, in a foreign country, who understand not the Welsh language, let slip a heap of errors through mistaking and mis-setting the letters, and other faults besides : since things could not be had in a better way, under the hands of unskilled foreigners, such petty faults must needs be forgiven. Last of all, I desire every faithful Welshman to think of me also in his prayer, and to remember, too, in his prayer, every sort of person that has been or shall be helping this work by expense, trouble, or other means whatsoever. FROM ROUEN, Your affectionate countryman,
1 The First Part, which alone is printed, or, as far as is now known, extant, is a short treatise on the Love of God.
Doubtless, by the initials of R. S., is represented Roger Smith, a person whose identity would seem to be enveloped in not a little mystery. In the Douay Records, “Rogerius Smithe" appears in a list of “Angli pauperes”, matriculated at that University between 1573 and 1612. And, in a State paper, mention is made by a spy of the Government in 1601, of a priest then in England, Dr. Roger Smith, aged about 35. This person has been confounded by Rowlands, the author of the Cambrian Bibliography, with George Williams, who, he says, adopted the name of Smith from his mother, was made LL.B. and LL.D. in Padua, in 1567; held several preferments in the diocese of St. Asaph, and afterwards was Chancellor of Llandaff, and died in 1608. But, as has been shown by the Rev. D. Silvan Evans in his annotation on page 91 of that work, it is impossible that he could have been the same person as the Catholic Roger Smith, who, as shown in the same Bibliography, published three works successively, in Welsh, in 1609, 1611, and 1615 (see pp. 84, 86, 88), in the titles of which he is described as of St. Asaph (Llanelwy), and as a Master and Doctor in Theology.
A short description of these works is to be found in the Cambrian Bibliography of Rowlands; but, as these are, in some respects, incomplete, and even inaccurate, I propose to give here an account of them, together with such additional particulars as I have been enabled to gather, not only as being interesting in themselves, but also in the hope that it may lead to the discovery of copies of those of the existence of which I have, hitherto, been unable to find a trace. Before doing so, it may, however, be useful to state more particularly, what is the precise nature of the information derived from the Preface to the Drych Gristionogawl, by Dr. Roger Smith, and what are the points which had been previously in controversy, which it satisfactorily clears up. In the first
place, as has been already observed, it had been asserted inany years ago, by Sir A. Panizzi, the well-known Librarian of the British Museum, that the Welsh Grammar of Dr. Griffith Roberts could not have been printed in Italy, chiefly because, in the opinion of Sir A. Panizzi, himself an Italian, the type, and general style of the letter-press, differed essentially from the type and style of printing in that country at the time of its issue. The title of the book runs as follows: -“Dosparth byrr ar y rhann gyntaf i ramadeg cymraeg lle cair llawer o bynciau anhepcor i un a chwennychai na doedyd y gymraeg yn ddilediaith, nai scrifennu 'n iawn. A orchfygo yma, a goronir fry. 1567 Primo Martij.” Now, Mediolanum—where, as Dr. John Dafydh Rhộs states, in the Preface to his Grammar, that this book was printed—is not only the ancient Latin name of the city whose appellative has been modernised into Milan, but was also that of a Roman city and fortress in Wales, the precise site of which has long been, and still is, a matter of interesting dispute among learned antiquaries. That this was a moot point Sir A. Panizzi, as a foreigner, would naturally have been ignorant at the time that he raised the hypothesis; which, had it been correct, would have sufficed to establish not only the locality whence Dr. Roberts' Grammar would have issued, but also that of the Roman station, since it would have shown that a place in Wales had been known, to scholars at least, by the Latin appellation of Mediolanum, as late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth ! The place, too, would have been of sufficient importance to have rejoiced in the possession of a printing-press. Unfortunately for Sir A. Panizzi, no printing-press is known to have existed in Wales for upwards of century after the publication of the Grammar: and secondly, no town in Wales is known to have been found in legal or historical documents under the name of Mediolanum in that country in modern times. Sir A. Panizzi, however, may be entitled to excuse for his mistake as to the locality in the fact of his being a foreigner, though scarcely so much so, perhaps, for his somewhat extraordinary persistency in maintaining it in the face of the opposition of those who were not merely well acquainted with, but actually natives of the Principality. It seems strange, also, that he should have been unacquainted with Dr. Gr. Roberts' other work, the Drych Gristnogawl, edited by Dr. R. Smith, which must have been, at that very time, in the museum of which he was librarian; or if he was, that he should have found no one to translate for him so much as the Preface, in which he would have found at once the key to the solution of the whole of his difficulties, in the plain, categorical statement that it was printed at Milan. And there he would not only have found full confirmation of the fact which he, to do him justice, rightly suspected, as to the foreign characteristics of the letterpress, but the variation also accounted for in a simple and natural manner. He would have found that, to meet the unexampled difficulties of the case, recourse was to be had to the invention of new expedients. The Italian type-foundries produced no such a letter as w, which was unknown to the language. The letter h would also probably have been scarce in type, being in Italian less frequently in use. Dr. Roberts hit upon a remedy by recourse to the method of Hebrew, and of Welsh orthography, which he had seen, probably, in sume MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In those it had been usual to distinguish certain changes of sounds
1 Mr. Richard Williams (in Montgomeryshire Collections, v, 393) has given it as his opinion that the earliest document printed in Wales was that entitled “ News from Pembroke and Montgomery; or, Oxford
Manchester'd by Michael Oldsworth and his Lord, who swore he was Chancellor of Oxford, and proved it in a Speech made to the new Visitors in their new Convocation. Printed at Mountgumery, 1648.” A writer in the “Byegones” column of the Oswestry Advertiser of January 1877, has suggested that the imprint may be fictitious.