THE BREHON LAWS AND THEIR RELATION TO THE ANCIENT WELSH INSTITUTES.1 By Sir D. BRYNMOR-JONES, K.C., M.P. INTRODUCTORY. WHEN I was asked by your Committee to read a paper on some subject connected with our ancient Welsh polity, it occurred to me that the completion of the publication of the Brehon Laws was a fitting time for asking the ques- tion, Does this collection of old rules and customs throw any light upon the earlier conditions of Wales or on the vexed questions as to the early relations of the Irish and Cymric peoples? Accordingly, I am going to ask you to-night to listen to some observations on the character of these ancient laws and institutes of Ireland, to consider their juridical character, and to compare them in some aspects with the Welsh compilations which are called The Laws of Howel Dda. In the year 1852 a Royal Commission was appointed by the Government of Ireland for the purpose of tran- scribing, translating, and publishing the ancient laws of that part of the United Kingdom. That there was a body of ancient jurisprudence reflecting the customs, the methods of government, and the judicial procedure of the Irish people had never been forgotten by scholars interested in 1 Read before the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion at 20, Hanover Square, on Thursday, 26 January 1905. Chairman, the Right Hon. Lord Justice Vaughan Williams.