« VorigeDoorgaan »
The second volume, which contains the tour from Charleston to New-Orleans, and thence up the Mississippi and the Ohio, back to New-York, is, we think, more interesting than the first. It is characterized by the same amusing simplicity of style, and the same benevolent and amiable temper. We must except, however, out of this remark, his opinions concerning Georgia, which appear to us as extraordinary as they are unjust. We suspect he had imbibed these notions in more northern latitudes, where, for certain reasons, the name of our southern sister was then becoming particularly odious to those who exercised a control over public opinion. Governor Troup, who is alluded to in no very respectful terms by his Highness, has no reason to regret the part which he acted in that memorable controversy. We believe, if ever a questio vexata of some difficulty and most disagreeable character was settled by the concurrence of all candid minds, in favour of the injured party, that controversy was such a one; and just in proportion to the calumny and dishonour which were heaped upon the meritorious individual referred to, during the contest, ought to be the glory of his triumph, and the gratitude of those whom he served so faithfully and firmly."
Nothing, in truth, can be a stronger exemplification of the difficulties under which a stranger labours, in his efforts to acquire a knowledge of a country new to him, than the perpetual mistakes which our distinguished traveller commits in his brief notices of Georgia. With the best intentions, he appears to labour under constant error, often the result of previous misinformation or misapprehension. Hence, Savannah, one of the most beautifully laid out, and one of the best built cities for its size in the United States, one increasing, and destined to increase in commerce, wealth, and all their concomitant advantages, was considered not worthy of his notice. Even the complexion of the people of Georgia displeased him, and coming from a Court where French was not only the fashionable but the common language of social intercourse, he considers the education of women neglected, because they are not taught that language in situations where they might never have occasion to use it.
We shall not pursue his narative any further, we have given extracts and remarks sufficient to indicate the general merits of the work.
Upon the whole, with all its twaddle and occasional marserie, this book will convey some knowledge to Europeans, and should
The Duke would, probably, apply to Governor Troup a maxim, which he elsewhere quotes, Fortuna audacibus juvat-" Latin, we apprehend, that would scarcely pass muster at Gottingen or Weimar. v. ii. p. 47.
give some pleasure to Americans. For the author himself, it is impossible to entertain any other sentinients but those of the highest esteem.
Upon the general merits of the translation, we have no opinion to give. But we suggest to the publisher that it would be just as well in a future edition to use" drunk" instead of " drank," for the participle of "drink"-to distinguish between "sit" and "set" and "lie" and "lay"-to omit "on" before "next day," and not to speak of persons “assembled to a ball.” p. 209, &c.
ART. VII.-The Celtic Druids. By GODFREY HIGGINS, Esq. of Skellow Grange, near Doncaster, Yorkshire. 4to. London. 316 pages, and an Introduction of 96 pages; with 52 Lithographic Prints, and 7 Vignettes, engraved on wood.
BEFORE we enter on a review of this elaborate and splendid publication, we desire to offer to the reader a short preliminary dissertation, founded on our own former researches, concerning a question of great and encreasing literary interest, and as yet involved in no common obscurity. Having very laboriously travelled over the ground ourselves, we shall trace the course we have pursued, and the books we have been compelled to peruse or diligently consult, while engaged in the present investigation. So that they who feel interested in this very curious subject may be saved some trouble if they desire to pursue it for their own satisfaction.
We wish it to be understood, that we pretend to nothing like demonstration in the case. Probability is all that can be expected; but in how many other cases does this happen? How seldom is it, except in the exact sciences, that absolute demonstration can reasonably be required or supplied! the actual conduct through life of the wisest among us, must submit to be directed by the balance of argument, by probabilities of various values. In a question of mere literary curiosity, it suffices if we can proceed thus far, though we should be unable to promise or perform more. Est quoddam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra. M. Bailly, the astronomer, who was murdered by an infuriated mob at Paris, in 1793, was the first who advanced the
opinion, that much of ancient and of modern knowledge has been transmitted to their descendants by a race of men, whose existence, whose origin, whose duration, on the face of the earth, whose place of abode, whose history, whose memory, have all been but lost to their successors; a race of men, who lived and flourished in times of the most remote antiquity.
The controversy to which this paradoxical notion gave rise, is likely to be renewed. The objections of Messrs. Davis and Bentley, at Calcutta, and of M. Delambre, at Paris, seemed for a time, to prostrate the theory of M. Bailly: but it has risen like Antæus, with renewed strength, and has again taken the field. We shall present a brief view of the argument as it now stands.
We apprehend that among learned men there will be no dispute at the present day, but that the high land of Asia, from the northern Caspian Caucasus, eastward toward Inaus or the Himalaya mountains, comprise the region of country that may be considered as the cradle of the human race. Probably, few who have examined the question, will be inclined to place its southern boundary more south than lat. 45°. Were we to locate our first ancestors, we should hardly assign them a country south of 60°. Notwithstanding the grossly ignorant, not to say wilful misrepresentations which Sir Wm. Jones is pleased to make of M. Bailly's theory, in his fifth Discourse before the Asiatic Society, on the Tartars. The suggestions of Buffon and Bailly as to the former temperature of the earth-the tropical animals and vegetables so abundant formerly in Siberia, as appears from their abundant remains-the well known facts of the increase of ice at the poles-the gradual cooling of the earth's surface-the increased temperature observed in upwards of three hundred experiments of descent into deep mines-the views taken by Humboldt, Cordier and Scrope, dependant on the present state of geological knowledge-will furnish a sufficient reply to the unfair sarcasms of Sir Wm. Jones, and fully justify the opinion here advanced. But Sir. Wm. Jones had an hypothesis of his own to advance, and Bailly was suspected of greater latitude in his religious opinions than was consistent with the established doctrines of the English church. But in fact, we see nothing in Bailly's theory that does not confirm, or may not be well reconciled to the facts and doctrines of the Bible. This fear, however, will account for the general tone of the papers of Sir Wm. Jones, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Bentley in the Asiatic researches: nor do we hesitate to suggest the same motive of obsequious conformity to the ruling powers, as influencing the tone of criticism adopted by that laborious but dull writer, Delambre. Bailly, though murdered by the mob, was
an early friend to the French revolution. Nor is that likely to be forgotten under a Bourbon dynasty.
M. Bailly, following up the scattered accounts to be found in the historians and philosophers of Greece and Rome, places the earliest known, and the earliest civilized people, the Atlantides, and the island Atlantis or Ogygia, somewhere about lat. 70°. From whence, as he supposes, these ancient people extended themselves southward and eastward during a long succession of ages, till they finally became the ancestors of the Hindoos, Chinese, Persians, Scythians, Goths, Huns, as well as the Pelasgi, Egyptians, Phenicians, Greeks and Romans; that they were the original inventors of much scientific knowledge, of which only the remnants and the practice, not the reasons and demonstrations, were known to the Hindoos and Orientals generally, and from them derived to the Greeks. The general nature of his argument we shall presently offer to the reader.
Professor Miners of Gottingen, in his Syllabus of Lectures on History, derives mankind from two distinct races or stems; the Mongul to the north of Caspian Caucasus and that continued chain, and the Caucasian to the south of that chain. The former characterised by small eyes, high cheek bones, low foreheads, flat faces, and inferior intellect-the latter, exhibiting the finest specimens of the human family. Sir Wm. Jones supposes that mankind were very early divided into three distinct families, branching out from the original stem: a division that he adopts, from a consideration of a radical difference in the languages at first spoken by each of these families. The first being the Persian or Indian race; giving origin to the Ethiopians, Egyptians, Goths, Greeks and Romans. The second, the Arabian or second Persian race, including the Syrians, Assyrians, Abyssinians, Arabians, and Jews. The third, being the Tartarian, who might have been the ancestors of the Chinese, Japanese and Hindoos, but of which there is no certainty. The first known location or point of departure of these families, and of the original stem that produced them, he designates as the northern part of Iran, or ancient Persia.
Mr. Pinkerton, without citing Sir Wm. Jones, agrees with him in this location, for his favourites the Scythians or Goths. Whether the Celts were, as Pinkerton supposes, a different and inferior race to the Goths, who chased them away, may admit of some doubt. Pezron, Huddlestone, and the author under review, do not countenance this opinion of Pinkerton's, who is a very positive and prejudiced writer.
We now proceed to Bailly's arguments;
VOL. III-NO. 5.
Among the ancient nations, from the very earliest records of traditional history, there were customs, arbitrary in their character, common to all known nations, whose origin none of those nations appear to have known, nor have they been able to assign any plausible reason for the observance of them; customs and circumstances, observed by nations, who do not appear to have had any such intercourse with each other, as to suggest the probability, that they borrowed the practices in question from one another.
There are to this day languages entire, and fragments or remnants of languages, as perfectly constructed, as any modern tongue-exhibiting, in their formation, as much thought, as much skill, as much grammatical knowledge in theory and in practice, and implying, at least, an equal length of civilization, as any known modern language. These ancient languages and remnants, appear to be connected together, and to have had no small share in the formation of every known ancient and every known modern language. But of the people who spake them, who they were, where they lived, when they came into or went out of existence, not a trace or vestige remains. All has passed away: we must assign their time and place from the plausible conclusions of circumstantial evidence and hints and gleanings of ancient history.
The letters of the alphabet have nothing in them as phonetic representatives that should necessarily restrict the list to any particular number (nay, some nations use sounds which others do not, as the French reject the dth) more especially if that number should require every where additional letters. The great majority of ancient nations, however, have adopted an alphabet of sixteen letters. In most of them, their rank or order of succession is the same, their powers of notation are the same: so as to set at utter defiance all supposition of accidental coincidence, and to put the doctrine of chances hors de combat.— But from whence the oldest of these alphabets came, or from what people they were derived, is beyond the date even of traditional history.
There are some points problematical and contested, and others incontrovertible in the history of astronomic knowledge, which appear to have given rise to practises and calculations in use for more than two thousand years, by people who know them only by rote; who know not the reasons or the ground-work of the knowledge they put in practice; who are utterly ignorant from what place and from what more profound and superior people they derive this traditionary practical knowledge. The Brahmins know and employ the rules prescribed in the Surya