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"marked, that this battle took place in Fingal's

"youth, before he was married to the mother

"of Ossian; and that Ossian wrote his poems

"in his old age, after all his numerous relatives,

"and friends of his youth, had gone to the

"'Halls of their fathers.' The name, Cara

"calla, must therefore have been common over

"the whole Roman empire, long before the

"poem where it is mentioned was written; it

"had even been employed by historians who

•" who look upon the use of a nick-name as in

"consistent with the dignity of their writings,

"till after it has been long sanctioned by com

"mon usage. The name Caracalla could, be

"sides, be easily assimilated to the usual Gaelic

"appellations; and by the easy conversion

"which Ossian adopts, into Caracul, it was, ac

"cording to the common usage of the Gaels,

"made to denote a personal quality, carachiul,

"terrible eye. The name Antonius was altoge

"ther different from any thing in the Gaelic

"tongue, nor could any meaning be attached

*' to it; and had not the familiar sound of Ca

"racalla occurred, Ossian would only have dis

"tinguished this prince by his well-known title,

"Son of the King of the World. Had Ossian

"been made to employ the term Antonius, it

"would have been indeed a detection."


We are sorry to find our author, while defending poems, the antiquity of which is denied, treating the traditions of the Irish with unbecoming contempt. The early history of that country we allow to be intricate, and involved in great obscurity. The ancient state of their literature, however, has a near connexion with our own. Like the Welsh and Highlanders, they, from remote antiquity, had bards, and cultivated music. The depredations of Giraldus, therefore, could not be so general, but many old manuscripts must have escaped his researches: ;The internal commotions and civil wars which convulsed those unhappy people for centuries back, must1 have proved more ruinous, in this respectj than the malevolence of that prelate* However, as a spirit of inquiry is itow on foot, we may reasonably expect something that will assist us in exploring the dark labyrinths of former ages. Among those to whom public gratitude is due, must be considered the ingenious curate of Olveston, who, notwithstanding the illiberal taunts of the Edinburgh Critical Journal, nal, has, in his Celtic researches, made many new and curious observations on the primitive formation of languages, and the first invention of letters. We should, likewise, acknowledge our obligation to O'Halloran, for his history of the early power and civilization of the Irish. Facts which the Monthly Review controverts, because Caesar says, "the inhabitants of that island "differed little from the Britons.'' Besides that, there are many grounds to think the latter were once more polished, than when the Roman general came among them; he never visited Ireland, and those that gave the information stated, might possibly have deceived him. Still less reliance can be put in what Tacitus relates of the refugee, who told Agricola, that one legion, with some additional force, would be sufficient to conquer and retain the whole kingdom. What faith should be given to the assertions of such persons has lately been verified in the French emigrants, who, all along, have misrepresented the state of affairs in that country. But what argues strongly in favour of O'Halloran's pretenr

sions sions is, that the Romans, in the plentitude of their power, never attempted to subdue Ireland.

"The succeeding detections from the Ro

"man history, (he should have rather said the

"old Irish and Scottish fables)* are still more

"unfair. Macpherson gives certain gratuitous

"interpretations to support the allusions in Os

"sian: Mr. Laing undertakes to prove these in

"terpretations to be absurd; and because the

"criticisms of Macpherson are absurd, the

"poems of Ossian must be a forgery! Fingal

"is said, in the poem of Carricthura, to be re

"turned from battle. Macpherson, in a note,

"supposes it was from the Roman province:

"Mr. Laing is positive he must mean Valentia;

"and that the poem must be an ignorant for

"gerv °f Macpherson's, because the province

"of Valentia did not then exist! In the same

"manner, Ossian mentions Garbs as securing

"himself ' behind his gathered heap;' Mac

"pherson supposes Caros to denote the usurper

"Carusius, and the 'gathered heap,' the wall

"of Agricola, which, he alleges, Carusius re

"paired. Mr. Laing asserts that Agricola did not


» We are at a loss to know what fables are here alluded to.

* erect a wall, but merely a chain of forts, ,and "that Carusius, consequently, did not repair "this wall; Macpherson is, therefore, convicted "of a blunder, and the poem, in consequence, "is a forgery! It would not have required "much candor to perceive, that Ossian's ' ga"'thered heap' might allude to the entrench"ments of a camp, or indeed to any fortifica"tion, quite as well to the wall of Agricola.

"It would be abusing the patience of,our "readers to repeat over and over again, the "same observations with regard to the other de"tections from Roman history, and the middle "ages. They are all of the same stamp. Were "Macpherson's accuracy as a critic of any con"sequence in the present question, we should "endeavour to shew, that he is not always so "absurd as Mr. Laing represents; but before "we consider this as part of our,discussion, our "author must first shew us how Macpherson's "blunders in criticism, come to be proofs that "Ossian's poems are a forgery. The candor "and modesty of Mr. Laing keep pace with "each other on this occasion. When it suits "his purpose, the authority of Solinus, who af"firms that no bees exist in Ireland, and who "makes the Orkneys three in number, is pre"ferred to that of Tacitus, who must have had


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