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We cannot help observing that there are two circumstances which must particularly recommend this Grammar : first, that the rules laid down are illustrated and supported by examples, quoted from the above-mentioned manuscripts ; secondly, that it exhibits both dialects, to one of which we have been hitherto entire strangers. The late Mr. Swinton of Oxford intended to have added to this work a dissertation, De Numis Copto-Phoeniciis, part of which is actually printed off; but the remainder cannot be found among his papers. Mr. Woide, likewise, in. forms us, that, beside some curious books, in the dialect of Upper Egypt, there is a very ancient and valuable translation of the New Testament, of which he intends soon to give an account, and to publish the various readings, and we hope it will not be long before he fulfils his promise, made at the end of the preface to the Grammar, to gratify the curiosity of the learned with his dissertation on the Egyptian language and its characters. We do not doubt but there will appear several things, in this branch of literature, which are altogether new; and we join in opinion with a right reverend prelate, who, in his preface to his applauded Commentary on Isaiah ", thinks that the Public will be benefited by it. Researches of this kind must, undoubtedly, throw greater light on the critical study of the New Testament, and on Christian antiquities, than the Arabic, which of late, (particularly abroad) has been the hobby-horse of many professors, and young masters of arts, who use their knowledge of the Arabic, which, heaven knows, is much confined, like a juggler's box, to make the ignorant stare, and to raise a smile on the countenances of those who have discernment enough to see how far they are from being critical conjurors.
* Of which an account is preparing for our Review. Art. III. A general History of Ireland, from the earliest Accounts to the
close of the Twelfth Century, collected from the most Authentic Records.
In which new and interesting Lights are thrown on the remote Histories of other Nations, as well as boch BRITAINS. By Mr. O'Halloran, Author of an Introduction to the History and Antiquities of Ireland. In two Volumes, 410. 11. 11 s. 6 d. boards. Robinson, &c. 1778. TONTENTIONS concerning antiquity, birth, and rank,
either as to nations, or private persons, may often, perhaps, be best settled by recurring to the epitaph of honest Matt. Prior. As descendants of Adam and of Eve, all may put in an equal claim, and higher none can rise. We do not mean, however, by this reflection, to condemn all enquiry into the origin of nations, which may in some instances be attended not only with pleasure but with improvement. Mr. O‘Halloran has already appeared as a warm and zealous advocate for
the honour and antiquity of his country. The same nationality and ardour, which were manifested in a volume published some years ago, are observable in the present performance." The duty,' says this gentleman, 'I owed to my much neglected and much injured country, superseded every other consideration; and determined me to publish * An Introduction to Irish History. This work met with a more favourable reception than I durst have flattered myself, not only in Britain and Ireland, but on the continent; and the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres at Paris, have expressed their approbation of it, in terms highly honourable to the author. Here I had resolved that
hifto. rical researches thould end, but I found myself mistaken. Since that period, other writings on the same subject appeared, in which ancient history and modern hypothesis, are strangely affimilated. It appeared to me, that if some generous attempt at a general history of Ireland was not speedily undertaken, the annals of our country, so important to letters, would be loft for. ever ; as at this day, few are found hardy enough to explore a fubject so little countenanced, and so long neglected. But who bold enough to engage in so arduous a talk? That I have attempted; but could I have foreseen the tenth part of the labours and difficulties I had to encounter, in all probability, it would never have appeared !'
The first book of this work contains the very early history of this country, from the supposed landing of Partholan (faid to be a descendant of Magog, son of Japhet), about 2078 years after the food, to the famous Milesian expeditions, about the year of the world 2736. The accounts given of settlements in Íreland, during this period, have been generally considered as precarious, and founded on British emigrations thither. The Fir Bolgs have been regarded as Belgians or southern Britons; and a colony known by the name of Tuatha de Danaans, to be the Damnonian Britons : Mr. O'Halloran allows nothing of this ; he is persuaded that these different colonies arose from the same stock, and emigrated from Greece to Ireland, though the lait distinguished by the name of Tuatha de Danaans, went first to Denmark, where they resided a considerable time, after which they passed, he says, seven years in North Britain, and came from thence to his country where they fixed their abode. He produces some proofs and authorities for his affertions; but after all that is said on the subject, it must surely be allowed, that what accounts remain of those early times are so much inveloped in obscurity, uncertainty, and fable, that, in general, little dependance is generally to be rested on them. Our Author thinks, there is every reasonable evidence, that the old Britith
• Vid. Review, vol. xlix. p. 193.
and old Trish, proceeded from one common stock; but which, says he, is the parent country? To this he finds it not difficult to answer, that the first invaders of Britain were the followers of Briotan, grandson of Neimheidh, chief of the fecond colony which failed from Greece to Ireland. From this prince (Briotan) the country assumed the name of Britain, as did the people that of Britons; and he adds, • since they must originate from fome colony, where can they trace a more honourable source ?'
In the second book, the Milefian history commences, and the Irish race are traced back to Phænius, the great grandson of Japhet. In the Irish annals, he is said to be surnamed Fairfadh, or the Sage, celebrated for his wisdom, and as the inventor of letters, and for the labour he employed to establish arts and sciences in his dominions. His residence is supposed to have been on the Syrian coast, bordering the Mediterranean, the ancient Phænicia, so renowned in history. The account of this prince, and his descendants, with their emigrations, and settlements in Crete, Egypt, Spain, &c. is pursued in this book, to the year of the world 2706, when Heber and Heremon leave Spain for Ireland. The narration of these distant events, is intermingled with chapters, in which the Author, in a very elaborate manner, affigns his arguments in support of the fact, and particularly of his great and favourite topic, that he and his countrymen are descended from Phænius. The customs of the Phænicians and ancient Irish, he observes, greatly corresponded. They both adored Bel, or the sun, the moon, and the stars. The house of Rimmon which the Phænicians worshipped in, like our temples of Fleachta, in Meath, was Sacred to the moon. The word Rimmon, has by no means been understood by the different commentators; and yet by recurring to the Irish it becomes very intelligible ; for Re is Irila for the moon, and Muadh, fignifies an image, and the compound word Reamhan, signifies prognosticating by the appearances of the moon.-The Phænicians, under the name of BelSamen, adored the Supreme; and it is pretty remarkable, that to this very day, to with a friend every happiness this life can afford, we say in Irish, “ the blessings of Samen and Bel be with you !” that is of all the seasons, Bel fignifying the fun, and Samhain, the moon.
• Neptune was alike adored by the Phænicians and Irish ; and it is worthy notice, that the Iriíh language ONLY explains the attributes of this deity, though common to other countries; from Naomh, or Naoph, facred; and Ton, a wave! But this reminds us of a derivation in another part of the work, in which our Author does not seem quite so happy; when speaking of a festival appointed by Luigha for the month of August,
he obseryes, that from the name of this king Luigha, Auguft is called in Irish, Lugh-nas, ' from whence, he adds, the English word Lammas for Auguft.' This by the way. Our Historian proceeds:
' But to prove to conviction the origin of the Irish nation, it is to be noticed, that the Carthaginians, who were confessedly a Phænician colony, were, like the Irish, called also Pæni, That they spoke the Phænician language will not be doubted, and if it will appear, that the Bearla-Pheni, or Irish, is the same with the Carthaginian, demonstration can go no farther. This the learned Colonel Vallancy, has proved beyond a doubt in a late publication*, and in the course of the present history, it will appear, that a close connection and correlepondence was constantly kept up between the two states. Both were renowned for their fleets and their commerce, and were alike attentive to the encouragement of arts, sciences, manufactures, and agriculture.'
Our writer endeavours to prove, that Ireland is meant by the famous Atalantic isle of the Egyptians, mentioned by Plutarch, in his life of Solon, the Ogygia of Homer, and the Hyperborean Island, which Diodorus Siculus describes from Hecateus, an ancient author, who is said to have written its biftory; to all which, he adds proofs and reasons, that these ancestors of the Irish were the first reformers of Greece. In descanting on these subjects, he displays his erudition and attention, together with a kind of enthusiastic ardour for his country's honour. He insists on the care which the Milesians used, not only to collect and preserve their own annals from the time of Phoenius, but also, to inform themselves of the history of those inhabitants whom they found in Ireland at their arrival, to preserve and to transmit it to pofterity. With regard to ancient history in general,
the farther we push our enquiries, says he, the more we find it absorbed in fable.--Beyond a certain period, every thing appears a perfect chaos ! kings descended from gods and demigods; reigns, revolutions, and interesting events, recorded without order, time, or place ! Not so in the preceding relation. We behold a regular fucceffion of rulers, without any thing of the fabulous, or even the marvellous. It carries too great an air of truth and fimplícity, to suppose it the work of invention, had we even wanted collateral evidences to support it.' To this, he adds, in another place, The foregoing narrative, faithfully extracted from the moft respectable of our records, is the earliest account of colonization extant, and I think it the best supported. It has not only been carefully handed down from age to age by our antiquarians, but honoured by the pens
* Collection of the Irish and Punic languages, &c.
of our greatest princes, such as Ethorial, Ollamh-fodlah, Cormóc, &c. Ireland, as well in her Christian, as in her Ethnic state, deemed it the most precious monument of her glory and of her antiquity. In the leverest scrutinies our annals underwent- these truths were never doubted.' Farther, to se. cure our assent to all which, he endeavours to procure, as we have observed, the aid of foreign evidence.
But amidst this glory which redounds to Ireland from its early, military, and learned ancestors, it may be demanded, and our Historian alks, “ If the ancient Irish were these extraordinary luminaries so celebrated by antiquity, but particulary by the early Greeks, how is this to be reconciled to the picture given of them by their successors ? Strabo tells us, that the Irish were the most abominable and detestable of people; that they devoured human flesh, even that of their parents; committed incest, &c. Among the Latins, Mela and Solinus, are equally fevere, in the Ahort accounts they have left of this people. But, says our Author, the account they give of the country itself is the best defence of its inhabitants; for they tell us, it is cold, bleak, and un hospitable, scarce affording trees or vegetation, much less milk or honey! He farther observes, that however celebrated the Greeks were at a remote period for commerce and navigation, after their conquest by the Romans they were no longer considered in that light; and farther, he remarks, it does not appear, that the Romans, after the destruction of Carthage, gave much attention to commerce; nay, so little did they know even of Britain, notwithstanding Cæsar's conquest of it, and the different generals who afterwards governed there, that it was not till the reign of Domitian that they observed it to be an island ! So little informed, he adus, of a country in their possession for more than a century, we must not be surprized if subsequent writers grossly misreprefented a nation, the avowed enemies of Rome. Instructed, that every thing should submit to Roman power, they represented whatever opposed this darling opinion in the most unfavourable light. If the ancient Irich were the favage nation those writers described them to be, we should be able to trace some remains of it. But even at this day, though DOUBLED by the hard hands of opprefion and tyranny, the very common people display more innate virtue, bravery, and hospitality, than those of any other nation of Europe !
But we will be less surprized at this account from these writers, when we reflect on the treatment we have received from British writers, even in this enlightened age. We see our historians have affirmed, that the Welch are the descendants of our Breotan, as the people of Devonshire and Cornwall are of our Tuatha De Danaans, and the Brigantes from Breogan, B 4