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search, till all, or the greatest part of these curious remains of British antiquity, shall make their appearance in English.
We are told, that when the Romans drove the Druids out of Britain, they took refuge in Ireland. Be that as it will, they brought no accession of knowledge into that country, since no people now on the face of the globe can boast a more remote origin, or trace instances of earlier government and civilization than the Irish. It has been a pitiful prejudice in too many English writers, to throw discredit upon the early history of that island. This illjudged policy began as far back as the days of Henry II. who sent over Giraldus Cambrencis for the avowed purpose of collecting and publishing whatever he could find that was disadvantageous to the character of the natives. Numerous and wonderful are the lying inventions of this writer. A very learned person* to whom Mr. Flaherly prefaces his Ogygia, wrote a detection
* Mr. Josiah Lynch, titular archbishop of Tuani.
tection of this man's misrepresentations and slanders, which he called Cambrencis eversus. Sir James Ware, who published his antiquities of Ireland, under queen Anne, " admires that some men of his age, "otherwise grave and learned, should "obtrude those fictions of Giraldus upon "the world for truths." Indeed, no writer of any judgment has ever attempted to justify the groundless and incredible fables of Cambrencis. Even Mr. Pinkerton, though otherwise inimical to the Irish,* asserts that he shews the greatest ignorance
in his account of the Irish history.
* He not only abuses the Irish, but all that boast a Celtic origin. "The Welsh and Irish genealogies, (Vol. i. p. 75.J "are only documents for Bedlamites, being the quintessence of "frenzy and folly." (p. 9&.J "These Celtic gentry are al"ways ready to tell lies; there is no danger from them, for as "folly is the cause of their villany, so it is also its detection." (p. 242J "The grand characteristic of the Celts is to put "falsehood for truth, and truth as falsehood." Valuing himself greatly upon being descended from the Goths, he says, (p. 227-^ "What a lion is to an ass, such is a Goth to a Celt." Of the latter language, he remarks, fp. 226 ) " Is not what we idly "term the Celtic, a mere repository of old Gothic words, which "the Celts adopted like cast off clothes, and retain, because they "make no progress in ideas or society." Thus does this selfsufficient antiquarian indiscriminately throw dirt about him.
The early periods of these people, like that of all other nations, must be involved in fable and obscurity. Though it has been generally supposed that the first inhabitants of Ireland were Celts, it seems now pretty clear, that the ancestors of the present race were Phoenicians or Carthagenians. Language is the best proof of the origin of a people. The natives of Ireland are at this day in possession of a vernacular tongue, which was in use above three thousand years ago. Plautus, in one of his plays, (written during the second Punic war) in the character of Hanno, a Carthagenian, puts into his mouth several sentences, that have puzzled all modern commentators, till the ingenious and learned Lieutenant-Colonel Vallency, whose unexampled proficiency in the Irish language, renders his researches into the antiquities of that country useful to the public, has given an accurate collation of these Punic speeches, with the Irish, as now spoken. As might be expected in a language which was not understood, the ignorance of editors and printers have occasionally misplaced placed syllables, and run one word into another. The colonel has corrected this dislocation, and rendered the whole intelligible, with little or no alteration. The curious reader may wish to see a specimen of this wonderful similarity, or rather identity of the old Phrenician with the present Irish.
The Carthagenian, as in the editions of Plautus.
Bythlym inothym noctothij nelechthanti cliafmachon.
Properly arranged by Colonel Vallency.
Byth km! mo thym nodo thii nel ech ami dias machon.
Beith lioin ! mo thyme no&aithe neil ach anti daile macoinne.
Be with me! my fears being disclosed, I have no other intention but recovering my daughter.
Carthagenian and Irish, without the change of a word or letter.
Handone lilli hanum bene, filli in mustine.
Whenever she, (Venus) grants a favour, she grants it linked with misfortune.
Carthagenian, as in the editions of Plautus.
Meipsi & en cite dum & a lam na ceftin urn.
Meisi & an ciftc dam Re alaim na ceftin urn.
Hear me, and judge, and do not too hastily question me.
The Punic and the Irish, in these sentences, will be found to differ little more than provincial dialects of our own language, in some counties; and infinitely less, after a lapse of three thousand years, than modern English from what was spoken four centuries ago.
What strengthens the supposition that a colony of Phoenicians settled in Ireland is, that warlike instruments found in this country under ground, exactly resemble the weapons discovered about Cannae, some of which are in the British museum. The