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But the writer who has labored most to bring contempt and odium on the Celtic race is Mr. Pinkerton. In his Dissertation on the Scythians and Goths, he pretends to prove that these two nations were identical; and that they drove and confined the conquered and half-exterminated Celts to the western extremity of Gaul. There, he tells us, and in the mountains of Wales and Scotland, and in certain remote districts of Ireland, the small, miserable remains of their posterity are still to be found. He is not quite sure as to the period when this conquest and expulsion took place, but he thinks it was about the time of Pythagoras, 500 A. C. In order to support his theory, he makes alterations and interpolations in ancient authors, and, in not a few instances, forges whole passages, although he tells us, in his preface, that “ No literary crime is equal to false quotation ; for public faith attends an author, and public infamy ought always to attend the abuse of it” (Pref., p. 14). We could point out examples of this at almost every page of the “ Dissertation," but one or two will suffice. For instance, he quotes Herodotus to prove that the Scythians and Sarmatæ were altogether different races, whereas the words of the Greek historian are: “The Sarmatæ are the offspring of the Scythians."'*
In a similar spirit he has added the word “farthest" to Strabo's account of the most ancient division of the globe, thus: “ The earth is divided into four parts; to the farthest east, the Indians; to the farthest south, the Ethiops ; to the farthest west, the Celts; and, to the farthest north, the Scythians.”+ By similar logic he endeavors to prove that the Getæ and Gothi were
names applied to the same people. Thus, he quotes the fifth book of Valerius Flaccus for that purpose; but not one word in the whole book gives the least sanction to his pretensions. When Mr. Pinkerton has proved to his own satisfaction, by means like these, that the dominant races of Europe were the Scythians and Goths, before whom the Celts had to fly, he proceeds to collect evidence to show that the latter were never a respectable or sensible, much less a powerful, people.
of which the people appear ever to have been remarkably tenacious. It would, perhaps, not be going too far to say, that no language in Europe has undergone so little change, in an equal space of time, as the Welsh sustained during the centuries which intervened between Aneurin and Lhywarch, and the period when the Sacred Scriptures were translated into it. To whatever circumstances the fact is to be attributed, it seems to be certain, as I hope to make it sufficiently apparent, that the Celtic idioms preserve, in a more perfect state than any other languages of Europe or Asia, the original pronouns, of which abbreviated forms enter as suffixes into the inflections of verbs through the numbers and persons.' -Prichard's Celtic Nations, p. 265. • Herod., Melpomene, p. 294.
† Dissertation, p. 128.
Statements like these may seem harmless at first sight; but, because those of a man undoubtedly learned, they have been the means of doing immense mischief. It is they that have caused most of those disputes between Anglo-Saxon and Celt, which have often led to riots and bloodshed, both in Europe and America, and which, as already observed, threatened, a few years since, to produce a civil war of the most horrible and destructive kind. That the lower order of a dominant race, who read little and think less, should have readily embraced a theory like that of Mr. Pinkerton's, seeming, as it did, to flatter themselves, was, perhaps, no more than might have been expected. But how many of the public journals of England and America have exaggerated the worst charges of Pinkerton and others of his school. At least nine out of every ten have done so. This large proportion of the organs, as they call themselves, of public opinion, instead of seeking to reconcile all fellow-citizens to each other, have devoted their influence to exciting animosity and strife between Anglo-Saxons and Celts. This, however, was not intentional. In other words, our public journalists supported such theories--not to cause bloodshed—not that they hated the Celt more than the Saxon—but partly because the anti-Celtic theory flattered themselves, and partly because it was popular, and, consequently, in a certain sense, profitable. Now, however, it is to be hoped that the mania is over, and that it will never be resuscitated.
It matters little what respectable author, who has paid due attention to the subject, we turn to, he is sure to exhibit a state of facts the very reverse of that represented by Mr. Pinkerton. Nor is it necessary to quote any Celtic writer for that purpose. For example, Niebuhr tells us, in his Researches into the History of the Scythians, Getæ and Sarmatians, that “ The conquerors to whom they (the Scythians) yielded their ancient settlements were the Gauls. From a comparison of the Roman and Grecian chronology, it was the twelfth year after the sacking of Rome, when the Triballi appeared before Abdera ; and in the reign of Philip Scylax mentions Celts in the farthest recess of the Adriatic Gulf, who had been left behind by the invaders in their march, i. e., in their march along the Danube, where afterwards the Scordisci dwelt, in Lower Hungary, and in the territory of the Servians, the descendants of the victorious Gauls. They and their kindred race in Noricum were the Celts who sent ambassadors to Alexander after his victory over the Triballi and Geta.”*
Throughout the works of Plutarch, especially in his Life of Camillus, we find evidence of the vast extent of territory occupied by the Celts. “Some say,” he observes, “the country of the Celtæ is of such immense extent, that it stretches from the Western Ocean and the most northern climes to the Lake Mæotis eastward, and to that part of Scythia which borders upon Pontus ; that there the two nations mingle, and issue, not all at once, nor at all seasons, but in the spring of the year, that, by means of these annual supplies, they had gradually opened themselves a way over the chief part of the European continent; and that, though they are distinguished by different names, according to their tribes, yet their whole body is comprehended under the general appellation of Celto-Scythæ.” The value of Plutarch's testimony is recognized by all. Indeed, none, capable of appreciating it, could venture to deny its general truthfulness, because there is scarcely a single statement to be found in any of his “ Lives " which has not been made on the best authorities extant in his time. Coming down to our own time, the same remark will apply to Gibbon, who, except when referring to Christianity alone, is one of the most liberal and most reliable historians of modern times. Whenever he touches on the subject of the Celtic race, his views fully sustain those of Prichard. According to Mr. Pinkerton, ancient Gaul comprehended little more than one of the provinces of modern France. But who will compare him, as an authority, to the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, whose noble work will live as long as the language in which it is written? “ Ancient Gaul," says Gibbon, “as it contained the whole country between the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Rhine, and the Ocean, was of greater extent than modern France. To the dominions of that powerful monarchy, with its recent acquisitions of Alsace and Lorraine, we must add the duchy of Savoy, the cantons of Switzerland, the four electorates of the Rhine, and the territories of Liege, Luxemburgh, Hainault, Flanders, and Brabant. When Augustus gave laws to the conquests of his father, he introduced a division of Gaul, equally adapted to the progress of
the legions, to the course of the rivers, and to the principal national distinctions, which had comprehended above a hundred independent States. The sea coast of the Mediterranean, Languedoc, Provence, and Dauphiné, received their provincial appellation from the colony of Narbonne. The government of Aquitaine was extended from the Pyrenees to the Loire.”* Pages could be added to this from several authors, any of whom is much better authority than Mr. Pinkerton.
But it would have been quite enough to show from the beginning what the Celts have done, not only in all parts of Europe, but also in Asia, as recorded by the historians of different nations. The information we have from Plutarch alone, on this point, would go far to settle the question. In his Life of Camillus, he explains how it was that the Gauls were induced to first enter Italy. They were invited, he says, by an outraged husband, whose wife had been taken from him forcibly by a wealthy man, who openly lived with her. “In their first expedition, they soon possessed themselves of that country which stretches out from the Alps from both seas. That this of old belonged to the Tuscans, the names themselves are a proof; for the sea that lies to the north is called the Adriatic, from a Tuscan city called Adria, and that on the other side, to the south, is called the Tuscan sea. The Gauls expelled the Tuscans, and made themselves masters of these cities. The Gauls were now besieging Clusium, a city of Tuscany. The Clusians applied to the Romans, entreating them to send ambassadors and letters to the barbarians. Accordingly, they sent three illustrious persons, of the Fabian family, who had borne the highest employments in the State. The Gauls received them courteously, on ace of the name of Rome, and, putting a stop to their operations against the town, came to a conference. But when they were asked what injury they had received from the Clusians, that they came against their city, Brennus, king of the Gauls, smiled and said: • The injury the Clusians do us is, their keeping to themselves a large tract of ground, when they can only cultivate a small one, and refusing to give up a part of it to us, who are strangers, numerous and poor. In the same manner, you Romans were injured formerly by the Albans, the Fidenates, and the Ardenates, and lately by the people of Veii and Capenæ, and the greatest part of the Falisci and
* Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. i., pp. 22, 23.
the Volsci. Upon these you make war; if they refuse to share with you their goods, you enslave their persons, lay waste their country, and demolish their cities. Nor are your proceedings dishonorable or unjust; for you follow the most ancient of laws, which directs the weak to obey the strong, from the Creator even to the irrational creation, that are taught by nature to make use of the advantage their strength affords them against the feeble. Cease, then, to express your compassion for the Clusians, lest you teach the Gauls, in their turn, to commiserate those that have been oppressed by the Romans."*
It will be admitted that he was a pretty logical barbarian who made this speech. The Romans, themselves, could hardly pretend to understand the law of nations better. Of all the historians of Rome, Livy is the proudest and most patriotic, the most unwilling to admit the possibility of defeating his countrymen ; but he is everywhere obliged to acknowledge the fierce and terrible prowess of the Gauls. Not only does he give this speech nearly word for word, but he also details the results of the improper interference of the ambassadors.
It was the opinion of Livy that none of the Etruscans had any business to engage in a general war with such a people as the Gauls on their northern frontier; nor have we any evidence that they entertained a different opinion themselves. But they could not avoid war in this case. According to Diodorus Siculus, the army under Brennus consisted of thirty thousand warriors.f This formidable host made a civil application to the Clusians for a portion of their lands, as intimated by Plutarch, if, indeed, any application of the kind could be regarded in that light. At all events, the only reply of the citizens was, the immediate closing of their gates. It is admitted by Livy that the haughty and violent character of the Roman ambassadors rendered them ill-qualified for so delicate a mission. Nothing could be more candid than the explanation given by Brennus of his object and intentions. They came, he said, to secure land; and would not return, or make peace, until they did so.g
« The Romans," are but little known to us; but we believe them • Plutarch's Life of Camillus, p. 102. † IIepi tpzou vpiovs. Lib. 1, xiv. # Liv., lib. v., c. 36.
§ Novos accolas Gallos esse cum quibus nec pax satis fida, nec bellum pro certo sit. Liv., lib. v., c. 17.