Page images


the worst of those which flew from the box of Paridora."_"Religious bigotry, indeed, and religious ty. ranny both belong to the same kennel, and God grant that, by driving them back to their native dungeon, Bible Societies may be made the means of acceles rating the progress of that charity which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”—These thoughts were addressed to a large Assembly in this town, and they were well received. Hence you may learn a little of the town, and also of me, and then of THE COLLEGE; and this little, I hope, will not discourage your design of becoming one of its generous benefactors.

Hoping that you may spend the residue of life in health and peace, and that, if I may not meet you on earth, I may meet you in Heaven-1 subscribe myself, though a stranger, yet,

Your brother,

Rev. Wm. Richards.

P. S. This letter, I hope, may be the beginning of a friendly correspondence.

Gratified with this Letter of the President of Rhode Island College, which breathes the spirit of unadulterated Christianity, MR. RICHARDS now resolved to become “one of its generous benefactors.” In the following paragraph of his Will he bequeathed his LIBRARY, consisting of near thirteen hundred volumes, of theology, history, and bio

graphy, to BROWN UNIVERSITY,_" Also I give

I and bequeath all my books, pamphlets, and manuscripts to the said John Evans, Charles Hursthouse, and Sarah Hursthouse, the mother of the said Charles Hursthouse, upon trust, nevertheless, for the Trustees and Fellows of the College of RHODE Island, in the United States of America, commonly called Brown University, and I request the said John Evans, Sarah Hursthouse, and Charles Hursthouse, to consult with the American Ambassador upon the best mode of conveying the same from this country-provided nevertheless, and it is my will and intention, that the said John Evans, Sarah Hursthouse, and Charles Hursthouse, shall and may each of them select and retain for his, her, or their use, any book or books he, she, or they may think proper, not exceeding in amount or value the sum of five pounds.” The American Ambassador has been waited upon, and when informed of the business, politely observed, that "the College would no doubt deem it a very acceptable present and make a good use of it.” A copy of the above paragraph of the Will was communicated to the Hon. Mr. Rush, which he engaged to send to the College, so that the Library now only awaits an order for its transfer to America.

Before I quit this subject of America, it may not be improper to mention, that MR. RICHARDS paid attention to the question agitated respecting the first discovery of it. He advocated the claim urged for the Welsh Prince Madoc, as the discoverer of America. A letter, dated 1789, has been found among his papers on this curious topic, addressed to the Editor of that respectable periodical publication the Gentleman's Magazine. It is a neat abstract of the arguments adopted on that side of the question. To the young reader at least, the Letter will prove acceptable.


Oct. 14, 1789. In a country newspaper called The Bury Post, of the 26th of last August, I found the following paragraph—“Many nations contend with Columbus the honour of having first discovered America. Amongst these, the Welsh seem to have the best pretensions. Madoc ap Owen Gwynedd, a Prince of North WALES, is said to have landed upon that continent with a number of his countrymen, long before it was discovered by Columbus. Such authentic intelligence hath of late been received of the descendants of those emigrators, who are reported to inhabit the banks of the Mississippi, that a Welsh gentleman now in London is actually engaged in an expedition to the New World, in order fully to ascertain the truth of this ancient tradition.” Though I do not know by whom the above paragraph was written, nor yet who the gentleman is who is now about to embark for America, yet as I am somewhat acquainted with the reasons that have induced The Welsh to claim the honour of being

the first discoverers of the New World, I shall now beg leave to submit them to your candid consideration.

It is believed, Sir, among the Cambro-Britons, that sometime after the death of Owen Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, which happened about the year 1168, MADOC, one of his sons, shocked at the unnatural and violent dissensions that had arisen among his brethren, and which grievously afflicted his country, resolved to change his residence, and seek out a more peaceful abode in foreign climes ; and being persuaded in his own mind, like Columbus, of the existence of a Western continent, he fitted out,, and manned a few ships, with which he sailed from Anglesey in quest of a new country. Having for a long while traversed the Western Ocean, he at length discovered the wished-for continent; and being pleased with the appearance of the country, he left there some of his companions (a hundred and twenty it has been said), and returning with the rest to his native land, reported to his countrymen the result of his adventure. The report he made being of a flattering nature, induced a considerable number of people, of a temper congenial with his own, to put themselves under his direction, and accompany him back to the new discovered region. His followers being now considerably more numerous than in his first expedition, he had occasion to provide himself with a greater number of ships, which, it is said, amounted to ten sail! With this little squadron he


once more quitted his native shore ; and though he never afterwards returned, he is supposed to have reached the country he had at first discovered, and to have joined the friends he had there left behind him.

Should it be objected here, that the Welsh were not then equal to the task of constructing ships that could perform so long a voyage, it may be answered, that King ALFRED's ships, which he employed in voyages of discovery, appear to have been very capable of sailing as far as America; and that there is reason to believe that those ships were built under the direction of Welshmen. Those people being eminent, it seems, at that time, and probably long after, for their skill in ship building. See Berkeley's Nav. Hist. p. 69.

The memory of those voyages of PRINCE MA DOC has been preserved in Wales, by the common tradition of the country, to this day. It has also been celebrated in the poetical compositions of several of the Welsh bards, of a date anterior to the discovery of America by Columbus. Upon these authorities the story has been credited, and reported by a number of eminent Englishmen, and by most of the Welsh historians; among others, see Sir Thomas Herbert's Travels, 394, 5, 6, (who also quotes Hacklut's Voyages, and those of Broughton and Davys, with Purchas's Pilgrimage, as having related the same event), also Entick’s Naval History, Howell's Familiar Letters, Wynne and Warrington's Histories of

« PreviousContinue »