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claim them as such. “ The author," he says, " has chosen the Gallic people as the most important and the most curious of all those whom the Greeks and Romans designated by the name of barbarians, and because that its history, little known not to say unknown, left an immense void in the first annals of the West. Yet another sentiment—a sentiment of justice and almost of piety–has determined and sustained him in that long task; a Frenchman, he wished to know, and cause to be known, a race from which have descended nineteen twentieths of us, Frenchmen (les dix-neuf vingtièmes d'entre nous, Français). It is with a religious care that he has collected these old, scattered relics among the annals of twenty different peoples—the titles of a family which is our own."*
Did the researches of M. Thierry not satisfy him that the Celts were
great race, he need not have commenced in his first page to prove the identity of the French of the present day, as a race, with the Gauls of thousands of years ago. But further on, in the same Introduction, he gives good reason for doing so. “No race," he observes, “ of our Occident has accomplished a more agitated and brilliant career. Their course embraced Europe, Asia and Africa; their name is inscribed with terror in the annals of almost every nation. They burned Rome ; they wrested Macedonia from the veteran legions of Alexander; they forced Thermopylæ and pillaged Delphi ; they then proceeded to pitch their tents on the plains of the Troad, in the public places of Miletus, on the borders of the Sangarius and those of the Nile; they besieged Carthage, menaced Memphis, and numbered among their tributaries the most powerful monarchs of the East. They founded in upper Italy a powerful empire, and in the bosom of Phrygia they reared another empire, that of Galata, which, for a long time, exercised its sway over the whole of Lower Asia. During the second period, that of their sedentary state, we see the gradual development of social, religious and political institutions, conformable to their peculiarcharacter as a people; institutions original in their nature; a civilization full of movement and of life, of which Transalpine Gaul offers the purest and most complete model. One might say, in following the animated scenes of this picture, that the theocracy of India, the feudal system of the middle ages, and the Athenian democracy had met on the same soil, for the
Introduction, pp. 1, 2.
purpose of contending with each other and reigning by turns. Soon this civilization undergoes a change ; foreign elements are introduced, brought in by commerce, by the relations of neighborhood, by reaction from subjugated nations. Hence arose multiplied, and often whimsical, combinations. In Italy, it is the Roman influence that exerts itself on the manners and institutions of the Gauls; in the south of Gaul it is that of the Massileots; while in Phrygia we have'a most singular compound of Gallic, Grecian and Phrygian civilization."*
The most learned cannot pretend to indicate the period at which the Celts came originally into Europe, though almost all
agree that they were among the first to arrive from the East. This general admission has encouraged certain enthusiasts to attempt tracing their emigration back to the Deluge; nay, some have gone even beyond this, undertaking to prove that they were a great nation in antediluvian times, and that they assisted at the building of the Tower of Babel! Not content with this, Mr. Maclean insists that the Celtic dialect must have been the language of our first parents. In his opinion, it was in no other language Adam spoke when he gave names to the various kinds of animals, as they were brought to him, one by one, by the Creator. As
* Aucune des races de notre occident n'a accompli une carrière plus agitée et plus brillante. Les courses de celles embrassent l'Europe, l'Asie et l'Afrique ; son nom est inscrit avec terreur dans les annales de presque tous les peuples. Elle brûle Rome ; elle enlève la Macédoine aux vieilles phalanges d'Alexandre, force les Thermopyles et pille Delphes ; puis elle va planter ses tentes sur les ruines de l'ancienne Troie, dans les places publiques de Milet, aux bords du Sangarius et à ceux du Nil ; elle assiége Carthage, menace Memphis, compte parmi ses tributaires les plus puissans monarques de l'Orient; à deux reprises elle fonde dans la haute Italie un grand empire, et elle élève au sein de la Phrygie cet autre empire des Galates qui domina long-temps toute l'Asie mineure.
Dans la seconde periode, celle de l'état sédentaire, on voit se développer, partout où cette race s'est fixée à demeure, des institutions sociales, religieuses et politiques, conformes à son caractère particulier; institutions originales, civilisation pleine de mouvement et de vie, dont la Gaule transalpine offre le modèle le plus pur et le plus complete. On dirait, à suivre les scènes animées de ce tableau, que la théocratie de l'Inde, la féodalité de notre moyen-âge et la démocratie athénienne se sont donné rendez-vous sur le même sol pour s'y combattre et y régner tour à tour. Bientôt cette civilisation se mélange et s'altère ; des élémens étrangers s'y introduisent, importés par le commerce, par les relations de voisinage, par la réaction des populations subjuguées. De là des combinaisons multiples et souvent bizarres ; en Italie, c'est l'influence romaine qui se fait sentir dans les mours des Cisalpins; dans le midi de la Transalpine, c'est d'abord l'influence des Grecs de Messalie (l'ancienne Marseille), puis celle des colonies italiennes, et il se forme en Galatie le composé le plus singulier de civilization gauloise, phrygienne et grecque.-Hist. des Gaulois, tome i., pp. vi., vii.
for the Hebrew, that he is sure is quite modern in comparison with the Celtic, “receiving,” he says, “its very name from Heber, the great grandson of Shem, who flourished somewhere about two thousand years after the creation of Adam, and consequently about two thousand years after language had been ripened and flourishing. Those who plead for it as the primitive language, under that name, give the lie, innocently perhaps, to their own belief of the account of the confusion of the primitive tongue at Babel.” He is positive that it is quite absurd to call the primitive language Hebrew. “The original,” he says, “is oinbr or ainbr. Now, oin or ain means, in Celtic, a river ; and bar or bhar, beyond. The name, therefore, is equivalent to our river ; hence Inverich, Iberich, or Iberians, and Ebirich or Ebrideans, all expressive of isolation, or beyond water.” He denies that the primitive tongue was “ confused.” That, he is certain, was saved in its purity by Noah, who, attending “to his vineyard, which he planted far east of Shinar, did not head his faithless crew.' The latter, it seems, mutinied against his authority. “Therefore," remarks Mr. Maclean, "take either view of it, the first speech still remains unconfounded—the stream of language may be still traced, without a break, up to the fountain of Paradise.”* And this language is no other than the Gaelic, as it is now spoken in the Highlands of Scotland! The Irish, or Erse, he admits to be substantially the same, the only difference being, that the latter has become somewhat corrupted in the bogs of Ireland. These minor points being settled, Mr. Maclean proceeds to describe the manner in which the different animals must have been named. • Of the order,” he says, “ in which the Great Shepherd brought the animals to Adam, we are not informed; nor is it essential. Let us suppose the first to have been the domestic cow; the name of this animal in Celtắc is bua, buo-or bo; an echo or imitation of its common note.”+ But this is not all : the cow has a variety of other notes, expressive of different feelings, and all are to be found in their purity in the Celtic language, and nowhere else. The notes of various other animals are described in a manner equally graphic, and their equivalents pointed out in the Gaelic. It seems, for example, that the original note of the lion was that expressed by lho, but that it was entirely changed by the eating of the forbidden fruit,
* Hist. of the Celtic Language, p. 75.
† Ibid., p. 78.
which, from being a mild, harmless animal, converted him into the frightful beast of prey we now find him. He did not roar then, but now he does, as everybody knows.
66 The term roar,” says Mr. Maclean, “ is by no means a true echo to it; no term can express it but the Celtic-béuc. • Bhéuc an lcomhan,' says Amos, the note of ocean when scourged to madness, is not a bad imitation,'" &c.*
Mr. Maclean gives us a good deal more of the same sort, in proof of the high antiquity of the Celtic race and their language; but the Rev. Mr. Davies enters still more minutely into particulars in his Celtic Researches. In the first part of his work, we are presented with graphic “ sketches of the state and attainments of primitive society.” But this, we are informed, is a very different "state" from what it is commonly supposed to have been. It is highly probable, in the opinion of Mr. Davies, that Adam was a philosopher. If he was not, certain it is that many of his immediate antediluvian descendants must have been deeply versed in the arts and sciences—perhaps as well versed as Descartes, Liebnitz, or even Bacon or Newton. At any rate, the inductive philosophy was well understood before the Flood (p. 89). As for Noah, it is quite clear to Mr. Davies that he was an eminent geographer as well as navigator. “The very idea,” he says, s of Noah's dividing the land among his descendants, neces.sarily presupposes his knowledge of the land that was to be so divided. He must have described the several states, their extent and boundaries, by certain names by which the same regions, rivers, and mountains had been already known to him, and, consequently, which they had borne before the flood. Thus may we account for the identity of the names of several streams and mountains in ancient geography, from India to Britain, and from the Northern Ocean to the middle of Africa” (p. 33). This, however, is not so remarkable a discovery as that “the consecration of tithes did not originate in the Levitical law” (p. 17), but had an antiquity as high as the time of Cain, who, in all probability, was guilty of defrauding the parson of his rightful tithes. Be this as it may, Mr. Davies is nearly as minute and matter-of-fact, in describing the formation of language, as Mr. Maclean; though he borrows nothing from that gentleman, or, indeed, as far as we can judge, from any other author, ancient or modern.
• Hist. of the Celtic Language, p. 81.
His views are altogether peculiar. “Let us put the case,” he says, “ that Adamt the first man, would inform his newcreated bride of the elephant. The character which he had already described in this animal, in the act of naming him, was, probably, his enormous bulk. This description he is now to repeat. Being an inexpert orator, he would not trust entirely and exclusively to the powers of his voice; his arms would be elevated and spread abroad, in order to intimate the comprehension of gigantic space. This natural description of a huge bulk would produce the sound B-M; and that sound, rendered articulate by the intervention of a vowel, would describe bulkiness, and might be appropriated most happily to the elephant, or great beast.” (pp. 382–3.)
These passages sufficiently explain why it is that, in the minds of many, the very term Celtic has become almost synonymous with fabulous and ludicrous, so that the Celts may well exclaim, in many instances, "Save us from our friends." It is the Irish who have generally the name of these exaggerations; but the charge is as unfounded as many others which are daily made against the same people. Neither Mr. Maclean nor Mr. Davies is Irish; the former is a Scotchman, the latter a Welshman. We do not mean but Irishmen have said absurd things on the same subject; but certainly not oftener, or to a greater extent, than others. What we mean by this is, simply to show to those who need proof, that the fanciful, extravagant, or utopian, is not confined to any people. In order, however, that our Scotch and Welsh friends
may no reason to charge us with unfairness or partiality, we will note some statements of General Valancey, in his Prospectus of an Irish Dictionary, which are not unlike those of Maclean and Davies.* Before doing so, however, we cheer- i fully admit that in each of these three works there is a great deal that is curious and interesting. None but a scholar could have been the author of any of them. The difficulty is, that although learning is essential for an ethnologist to begin with—a qualification without which he cannot hope to make any progress—there are other qualifications which are almost equally necessary. Most prominent amongst
• Mr. Davies gives it as his opinion, at page 143 of his Celtic Researches, not only that Virgil was a Celt, but that in his youth he wrote in the Celtic language ; and it must be admitted that he has some ground for his assertion, since the poet himself says, in his first Eclogue,