A DESIGN OF A British Dictionary, HISTORICAL and GEOGRAPHICAL; With an ESSAY, Entituled, ARCHAEOLOGIA BRITANNICA: AND A Natural History of WALES.

BEING invited by some Persons of Quality and Learning, to attempt something further in the Antiquities, and Natural Hi­story of Wales, than hath been yet performed; and also find­ing my self more Inclin'd, and (as I presume) better Qualified for an Employ­ment of that kind, than for any other: I have here made bold to offer some Proposals towards such a Design, to the end that if the Works above mention'd may seem conducible to the Advance­ment of Learning, and worthy of the Favour and Encouragement of those amongst the Nobility and Gentry, whom it more immediately con­cerns, I may forthwith resolve on the Underta­king; or desist, in case they shall appear other­wise.

In the Historical and Geographical Dictionary, a brief Account is design'd:

I. Of all Persons memorable in the British Hi­story, whether mention'd by the Romans, or Wri­ters of our own Nation: And of all such Au­thors as have written in British; whether Welch, Cornish, or Armorican.

II. Of all Places in Britain mention'd by the Greeks and Romans; and of all Hundreds, Co­mots, Towns, Castles, Villages, and Seats of the Nobility and Gentry of chiefest Note now in Wales: As also of the most Notable Mountains, Rivers, Lakes; Barrows, Forts, Camps; and all such places as either retain any Monuments of Antiquity at present, or seem from their Names to have had such heretofore. Throughout this whole Work, an Interpretation of all such pro­per Names, as are now intelligible, is intended; with Conjectures concerning some of those which are more obscure. And in this Part, 'tis pre­sum'd, we may proceed with greater Security here, than might be expected in most other Coun­tries. For, whereas in other Parts, the Names of Places have been so corrupted by Foreign Lan­guages introduc'd by Conquest, that few of them are now intelligible to the best Critics; Wales has not been subject to such Changes, the Modern British being probably one surviving Dialect of the Language spoken by the first Inhabitants of this Island. The End I propose herein, is, the rectifying several Errors already committed in the Interpreting the Names of Places in this King­dom; and the preventing of many more in Wales and Scotland; as also in some Places of England, where the British Names, either entire or corrupt, are still preserv'd. But we need not make any Apology for Etymological Observations, since Bochartus, Mr. Camden, Boxhornius, Ioannes Ger. Vossius, AEgidius Menagius, and many other Learned and Judicious Authors, have given the World such ample Testimonies of their Useful­ness; provided they be cautiously handled, with due regard to the Corruption of Languages, and free from the Extravagancy of Fancy.

The Essay entituled, Archaeologia Britannica, is design'd to be divided into Four Parts.

The First to contain, A Comparison of the Mo­dern Welsh with other European Languages; more especially with the Greek, Latin, Irish, Cornish, and Armorican.

[Page 2] The Second, A Comparison of the Customs and Traditions of the Britans, with those of other Nations.

The Third, An Account of all such Monu­ments now remaining in Wales, as are presum'd to be British; and either older, or not much la­ter than the Roman Conquest: viz. their Camps and Burial-places; the Monuments called Crom­lecheu, and Meineu gwyr; their Coyns, Arms, Amulets, &c.

The Fourth, An Account of the Roman An­tiquities there, and some others of later Date, during the Government of the British Princes; to­gether with Copies of all the Inscriptions of any considerable Antiquity, as yet remaining in that Country.

The Natural History may be divided into Five Sections.

The First whereof may contain, A General Description of the Country, in respect of its Si­tuation, and Quality of the Soyl: An Account of Meteors; with Comparative Tables of the Weather in several places: Also of the Sea, Ri­vers, Lakes, Springs, and Mineral Waters.

§ 2. An Enumeration and Description of the various sorts of Earths, Stones, and all Mineral Bodies.

§ 3. Of Form'd Stones; or such as have a con­stant and regular Figure, whereby they are di­stinguishable from each others, no less than Plants or Animals.

§ 4. Of Plants: wherein we shall only take No­tice of such as grow spontaneously in Wales, and have been rarely, or not at all, observ'd else­where in this Island: adding a Catalogue of such as are found in England, or Scotland, and have not been observ'd in Wales.

§ 5. Of Animals, in the same Method.

Thus I have given a Scheme of what seems to me at present, most likely to find Acceptance amongst the Learned and Ingenious: But this I offer with Submission to those of greater Judg­ment and Experience; and shall be very ready, in case I undertake the Performance, to admit of any Alteration or Amendment (agreeable with my Capacity) which they shall think fit to recom­mend.

Now in order to the Performance of what is here propos'd, 'twill be necessary to travel Wales, at least four or five Summers; and likewise to make one Journey into Cornwal, and another in­to Ireland, or the Highlands of Scotland, for pa­rallel Observations, as to their Language, their Names of Towns, Rivers, Mountains, &c. it being certain, that the want of such actual Sur­veying, hath been in all Ages the occasion of much Error and Ignorance in Writings of this nature. During these Travels, I propose to my self the collecting Materials for each Work; but shall endeavour to prepare the Dictionary for the Press within the space of five Years; and the Archaeolo­gia within two Years after at farthest. As to the Natural History, I can set no time for its Publica­tion, as not being able to guess how tedious it may prove, and having some thoughts of writing it in Latin, and publishing it in several Sections apart.

But before we engage in a Work so very te­dious and expensive, it seems necessary to un­derstand, what Encouragement we are to de­pend upon; since nothing of this kind hath been undertaken (nor indeed could well succeed) in any Country, without such an assurance. It's well known, no kind of Writing requires more Ex­pences and Fatigue, than that of Natural History and Antiquities: it being impossible to perform any thing accurately in those Studies, without much Travelling, and diligent Searching, as well the most desert Rocks and Mountains, as the more frequented Valleys and Plains. The Caves, Mines, and Quarries must be pry'd into, as well as the outward Surface of the Earth; nor must we have less regard to the Creatures of the Sea, Lakes, and Rivers, than those of the Air and Dry Land. But 'tis not the Expences of Tra­velling we are only to regard; the Charges of the Figures or Draughts of such new Discove­ries as will occur, must needs be much more con­siderable: not to mention, that a Correspondence as extensive as we can settle it, must be main­tain'd with the Curious in these Studies; and such new Books purchas'd, as are pertinent to our Design; and that Labourers (especially in Mines and Quarries) are to be rewarded for pre­serving such things, as they shall be directed to take Notice of.

Upon these Considerations, I hope it will not be thought profuse Liberality, (provided those who are competent Judges approve of the De­sign) if an Annual Pension be allow'd towards it, by such Gentlemen as are of their own free Choice inclin'd to promote it, for the space of five Years: The Money to be deliver'd on the First of March, or any time that Month, into the Hands of some Friends in each County, who are pleas'd to take upon them the trouble of Returning it. And if this Proposal finds Acceptance, my Request is, That those Gentlemen who are pleas'd to fur­ther the Undertaking, would subscribe their Names to this Paper, adding how much they are dispos'd to contribute Yearly. And if what is subscrib'd, shall answer these Considerations, my design is (with God's permission) to begin Travelling next March. I am very sensible, that such an Encouragement is above my Merits; neither can I promise my Patrons a Performance (if it please God I may live to go thorough with it) any thing answerable to their Generosity: But whatever shall be the Success, I intend not to spare either Labour or Charges; and being en­gag'd in no Profession, nor (by the favour of the University) oblig'd to Personal Attendance in my present Station, nor at all confin'd with the Care of any Family, I shall have little else to mind, but to endeavour the Performance of this Task to my own Credit, and the Satisfaction of those Gentle­men who shall think fit to encourage me.

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