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Romans, in these respects. Even Cæsar admits that they gavu instructions in the most sublime of the sciences. Writers of eminence, who have no pretensions to Celtic descent, are of opinion that they must have been acquainted with the telescope, if not with the mariner's compass. Thus, for example, Diodorus Siculus tells us that, in an island west of the Celtæ, the Druids brought the sun and moon near them.* In giving his opinion in favor of this assumption, Dr. Smith very justly remarks that, “ Everything within the circle of Drui, acha, or magic, or, to speak more properly, within the compass of natural experimental philosophy, was the study of the Druids ;. and the honor of every wonder that lay within that verge was always allowed them.”+
The inhabitants of the Isle of Man give the credit of their ancient laws, which are confessedly among the best that any people can boast of, to the Druids. The Brehon laws of Ireland ar- of a similar character, and are also ascribed to the Druids. " They had a curious mode of trial,” says Mr. Higgins, “ by the 'oaths of a certain number of men, who were taught together
a to swear that they believed the man charged with an offence to be innocent; but it appears that before they took their oaths, all the witnesses whom the prisoner could bring were examined by him, and the judge was bound by their decision. I call this trial, not by adjuration, as it has been inadvertently called, but trial by jury; and good trial too. Thus we trace to them both the practice of trial by jury and an unwritten law.”I We are informed that among the ancient Irish this law was called Tara, which is believed to be identical with the Tora of the Hebrews. In commenting on this, Col. Vallance-than whom no one has investigated the subject more fully or was better qualified by learuing and natural ability to do so-makes the following remarks: “It will appear,by the following laws, that in cases of disputed property the ancient Irish did also try by twelve men, whose sentence must be unanimous. Coisde is an original word implying a trial by law; in many parts of Ireland it is still used in that sense, as Cuirfidhe m thu
* Several writers attribute to the Druids the use of gunpowder or some analogous substance. Among the arcana of nature which our Druids were acquainted with,” says Temple, “there are many presumptive, if not positive proofs for placing the art of making gunpowder, or artificial thunder and lightning : though like other mysteries they kept the invention of it a secret.”—Temple’s Miscell., on Ancient and Modern History, lib. vi.
+ Smith's History of the Druids, p. 75 et seq. $ The Celtic Druids, p.286.
ar coisde, I will bring you to trial ; Sclavonice, Kuchja, the Hall of Justice; Persic cucheri, a code of laws."*
We might easily extend the multifarious evidence we have adduced from the most reliable sources in vindication of the Druids ; but we think we have given sufficient to convince any intelligent mind that they deserve a very different treatment at the hands of posterity from that which it is the habit to give them at the present day, both in this country and in England. Those who have taken the trouble to accompany us in our researches, have found, if they were not previously aware of the fact, that it is the most learned and most distinguished authors who give most credit to the Druids, and least countenance to the charges made against them. Indeed, the only testimony against them worthy of the slightest consideration, is that of Cæsar; all the others who condemn them admit themselves that they do so mainly, if not exclusively, on his statements. We cheerfully admit that in general he is excellent authority; there is no ancient work in which we have more faith in the main than we have in his Commentaries. Its tone throughout is candid and fair; more so than that of any similar work ever written. A general giving an account of his own conquests has a thousand inducements to misrepresent important facts; in no circumstances can a writer be placed in which stronger temptations are presented to his vanity. But if Cæsar has not been proof against all, certain it is that he has resisted the large majority. He everywhere gives the Gauls credit, not only for great bravery, but, in general, for the noblest qualities which can characterize a race. He frequently speaks of their generosity, their fidelity, their hospitality, and their strong attachment to all bound to them by natural ties ; he is far
; more willing to do them justice in these respects than Livy or Tacitus, although the latter too, especially Livy, yields them the palm of superiority as soldiers.
But Cæsar, above all others, had a powerful motive to render the Druids odious to posterity. By no other means could he expect to justify the cruel treatment they received at his hands, as well as at those of every other Roman general who attempted to subdue the Gauls. It was so universally known that po sect were more learned, or taught a more sublime philosophy, that even those most disposed to misrepresent them did not venture to deny the fact; even
• Collecteana de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. iii., p. 25.
Lucan gave them credit for soaring higher than any of their contemporaries.*
Those who have carefully read Cæsar have not failed to observe that in ascribing good qualities to the Gauls he always gives satisfactory reasons for doing so; he presents us the facts, and enables us to draw our conclusions from them as he has himself. But it is otherwise in the revolting picture which he gives us of the alleged Druidical habit of sacrificing human victims. His only prefatory remark to this is that the Gauls are much given to religion.f
It is generally admitted that the Romans were not a religious people, at least that they were not superstitious ; but this did not prevent them from immolating human victims, as we see from the statements of their most patriotic historians. If Livy speaks of an important event, he tells us where it occurred, and states the circumstances that led to it; he does so when he speaks of human sacrifices, as in the instance in which two Gauls and two Greeks were immolated.
Tacitus is equally satisfactory in similar circumstances ; nor is any one more so than Cæsar in every other instance. Thus, for example, when he speaks of the intelligence of the Gauls, he mentions, among other facts, that he found tablets in the camp of the Helvetii, written in Greek letters (literis Græcis confecte), which contained a particular census of that tribe. But neither he nor any other writer ventures to mention any occasion on which the Druids immolated human beings; much less do they pretend to give names of any person whom they sacrificed. Nothing is more easy than to make charges, especially if they are made by a great con
• In his principal work he speaks of them as follows, while he is bitterly opposed to all priesthoods :
“ To these, and these of all mankind alone,
The gods are sure revealed, or sure unknown.
And other bodies in new worlds they find.”—Rove's Lucan. † Natio omnis gallorum admodum dedita religionibus.—De B. G., lib. vi., c. xvi.
| Lib. xxii, 57.
queror against those whom he has conquered at a time when no one dare to contradict him; nor is anything more natural than that he should make such charges against those who made longest and most formidable resistance to his power, But who would accept his statements as conclusive, even though he were a Cæsar? There ought at least to be two credible witnesses to convict a large body of men, admitted on all hands to be learned and philosophical, of a capital offence, and these two, however great their names, should be required to prove how they obtained their knowledge. No court of justice worthy of the name would convict on mere. hearsay. But it seems it is quite sufficient to convict the Druids. This is all wrong. If there be any of our readers who, however, still think otherwise, we earnestly advise them to investigate the subject, for we feel satisfied that if they do they will alter their minds. But we really do not believe there are. We have not taken these pains to convince them, but in order to induce them to convince others. Every intelligent person exercises an influence on those around him, and need we say that it should always be exercised in favor of truth and justice? The most uncompromising of their enemies admit that the Druids did good in their time that as instructors of youth, who occupied nearly a quarter of a century in qualifying themselves for that high office, they contributed largely to the development of the human mind. Those who knew them best appreciated their efforts and regarded them as benefactors; if they were so to them, they are to us; for certain it is that all they added to the world's stock of knowledge has not been lost, whether we believe that they discovered any particular science or not. Then if we are not grateful, let us be just ; if we are disposed to say nothing good of those who taught thousands of years ago that knowledge is power, that the soul is immortal, that the best of us have faults, and that we ought, therefore, be indulgent to the faults of our neighbors, we should at least cease to war on their ashes.
Art. II.--1. History of the Thirty Years' War. Translated from
the German of FREDERICK SCHILLER. By the Rev. A. J. W.
MORRISON, M. A. London, 1846. 2. The Life of Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland. By Lieut. Col.
J. MITCHELL, H. P. London, 1840.
3. The Piccolomini : A Drama in two parts. Translated from
the German of FREDERICK SCHILLER. By S. T. COLERIDGE. (Coleridge's Dramatic Works.)
OCCASIONALLY a dead shrub in a verdant hedge will at intervals surprise the eye : so, in traversing the winding course of history in rare darkling corners, sometimes we encounter a brief period, an event, a man, entitled to a notoriety as yet unattained. A striking specimen of this is the subject of this article—Wallenstein. He played a conspicuous part in an important and exceedingly active age, and the stage was in the very heart of Europe. He was the well-matched opponent of the mighty Gustavus Adolphus; he was the master of his master, and that master was the emperor of all the Austrias, the descendant of the Cæsars; he was the sword-arm of the Catholics through fifteen years of their long struggle with the Reformers, when, in the still uncertain conflict, each party was contending equally for the privilege of its own existence, and for the extirpation of its foemen. Moreover, his greatness was due to the qualities of his own mind and his own character, and not at all to the accident of birth or other fortuitous events, thrusting him involuntarily into a prominent position. He made his own place, almost, even his own surroundings. His career is not surpassed in the brilliancy and romance of its events by the life of any man in history. The simplest narrative of his various and moving fortunes must be melodramatic. Yet he is generally but a dim name of greatness and of wonder; a magnificent shadow, as indistinct as he is grand ; an historical ghost, an unreal reality like the wonderful spirit of the Brocken. Coleridge's beautiful translation—for beautiful it is, and grand, despite the carping, linguistic criticisms of the Westminster Review-of Schiller's noble dramas alone makes the name of Wallenstein at all familiar to us; and it is strange how many cultivated men have never read even these. Yet they are monuments of a superb genius, and, next to the plays of Shakespeare, there are no historical tragedies in our liter