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with great policy and addrefs, introduces M. Gebelin, M. de St. Palaye, and M. Salzer, to contend for him. The works of thefe authors are fufficiently known, and few will want fpecimens of the ingenuity and refinement of either. They have, indeed, ftretched the cord till it has broken under the weight; and, by contending that etymology may be fubfervient to philofophy, to the hiftory of the human mind, and the progrefs of manners, they have almoft led us to doubt whether it is, of any ufe. A juryman once remarked, with great shrewdness, after the ingenious counfellor had concluded a very fubtle defence, 'He has made what I know to be falfe fo very probable, that I much doubt whether that which he has endeavoured to prove certain has any great foundation." In fhort, if etymology is conducted with caution and propriety, it may be ftill highly serviceable; and, as it is so subject to abufe, the attention must be unremittingly exerted to guard against an intemperate purfuit. In the following paffage, though it be juft on the whole, we think the author totters on his hobby horse.
Puto igitur vocem Celta affinitatem habere cum voce Geta, quo nomine nuncupati fuere Afiatici illi coloni, qui inter Danubium et montem Hemum fedem delegere; quique poftea per totam Europam ufque ad promontorium Celticum Hiberniamque fefe, ut mox dixi, diffudere. Nec obftat hujufmodi derivationi littera quae faepe interjici folet, ut in Hifp. voce florefta, Ang. foreft, quae a primitiva voce bar, far, &c. derivatur, et in aliis fane multis, ex quibus nonnullas invenies fub voce cera Ital.
Roboratur autem hujufmodi conjectura ex eo quod Plinius Hift. Nat. Liv. liv. C. xi. ait, extitiffe, nempe, inter Danubium pariter et montem Hemum gentes, quae Gauda appellabantur. Quis autem in hujufmodi appellatione affinitatem non agnofcat vocis Gothi cum voce Gaude? Mirum igitur effe non debet, fi vox Celta cum voce Geta affinitatem quoque habeat; Celtæque tandem et nomen et originem ex Getis acceperint.'
If he totters in this explanation, which is, however, well founded, he certainly falls in that which follows.
Bread, brot Theuton. ab Orient. brout, cibus, alimenmentum. V. Caft. p. 431, ubi extat v. brê comedit. manducavit, paftu se refecit. Igitur bread [panis] cibus per excellentiam fuit appellatus. Quodfi vocis brout, mediam lit. nafalaveris; dentales cum dentalibus; labialefque tandem cum labialibus commutaveris, orietur (quid profecto ) Lat. PRAND-ERE, innuens actionem fefe lautius reficiendi; quae eft etiam fignificatio Ar. v. brath, sc, epulatus eft amplo et lauto convivio. V. Caft, P: 451'
Of the etymologies, I fear we may say with Martial, in the verse so often employed, Sunt bona, funt quædam mediocria funt mala plura,' yet our author has certainly added to the ftock; and, from his acquaintance with the Spanish language, which contains many Arabic words; from his knowledge of fome other modern languages, as well as the Latin and Greek, he has illuftrated many words, whofe roots were either unknown, or imperfectly afcertained by conjecture. We ought not to conclude our article without remarking, that we have not often feen modern Latin more clear and elegant, more precife and comprehenfive.
Letters concerning the Northern Coast of the County of Antrim, By the rea. William Hamilton, A. M. Fellow of TrinityCollege, Dublin. 8vo. 45. fewed. Robinfon.
INCE natural enquiries defervedly engage the attention of
every traveller, we are pleafed to fee that the objects of our own neighbourhood are found to have charms fufficient to attract the philofopher and the antiquary. It is remarkable, that the ftupendous columns, which form the chief fubject of thefe pleating and interefting Letters, had been) curforily examined, and carelefly defcribed, till the difcovery of the bafaltic colonnade in Vivarais had directed the eyes of the philofopher to this fubject. The ingenious and. philofophic author of this work has, in a great degree, fupplied the defects of the English naturalifts: we shall examine the fubftance of his Letters, in their order.
Mr. Hamilton firft defcribes the northern coaft of the county of Antrim, and the little island of Raghery, more commonly called, in our maps, Raghlin. He thinks they have been once united; indeed, we have frequently mentioned our opinion, which every fucceeding discovery strengthens, that this coaft was formerly connected not only with Raghery, but with the other Hebrides, with the ifles of Feroe, and, probably, with Iceland. In this part of the world, the admirers of Plato would find very fufficient foundation for the deftruction of the Atlantica. The coast of Ireland, and of Raghery, are compofed of limestone, which fupports the bafaltic columns, and is fometimes depreffed by them: in many parts of it the columnar appearance is trifling and imperfect; and, in others, is entirely abfent. Commonly the columns are on the western coafts, and pretty generally on the promontories. The defcription of the manners of the inlanders is extremely pleafing: their innocence, their integrity and fimplicity, form a picture of the fabulous ages;
and we fee, with delight, the human race mutually affifting each other, mutually receiving and conferring happiness. They love their country from, affection, rather than reafon; fince they know little of other fituations; the neighbouring main (for fo Ireland may be comparatively called) they deteft; but they feem to deteft its invaders only, for in this part of it, the conquests and the cruelties of the Scots and English were most confpicuous.
The tedious proceffes of civil law are little known in Raghery; and indeed the affection which they bear to their landlord, whom they always fpeak of by the endearing name of mafter, together with their own fimplicity of manners, renders the interference of the civil magiftrate very unneceffary. The feizure of a cow or a horfe for a few days, to bring the defaulter to a fenfe of duty; or a copious draught of falt water from the furrounding ocean, in criminal cafes, forms a greater part of the fanctions and punishments of the island. If the of fender be wicked beyond hope, banishment to Ireland is the dernier refort, and foon frees the community from this peftilential member.
In a fequeftered ifland like this, one would expect to find bigotted fuperftition flourish fuccefsfully under the auspices of the Romish church; but the fimplicity of the islanders does not fofter any uncharitable tenets, and, contrary to one's expectation, they are neither grofsly fuperftitious, nor rank bigots, but have been known to hold the unchristian doctrines of their late Spanish priest in great contempt-nay in cafes of neceffity they do not fcruple to apply for afiiftance to the proteftant minister. Of their good-will to the established church they give an annual proof which one rarely finds in any other part of Ireland. The minifter's tythe amounts to about 100l. per annum, and when the iflanders have got in their own harveft, they give the parfon a day of their horfes and cars, and bring the entire tythe home to his farm yard.'
Between Ballycaftle bay and Fairhead, lie the collieries. It has been discovered, by accident, that they were worked in very remote ages, probably before the ufe of pit-coal was known in England, fince a complete mine, with a regular gallery, branching off into different chambers, has been found, though even tradition is filent on the subject. This difcovery, and the remains of the Brehun laws, contribute to demonftrate, that there was a time when wood, and perhaps, peat, were scarce in that kingdom. The prefent bogs had, probably, then no exiftence: we know, as our author alleges, that the increase of these is rapid, and fometimes irresistible; and it may be added, that inftruments of hufbandry, and marks of cultivation, have been found below
them. In fhort, we know alfo from hiftory, that Ireland was a civilized and polifhed kingdom, when, in many parts of Europe, mankind were still in a favage ftate, or degenerating into the oppofite extreme of a depraved effeminacy. It was the feat of learning, the refuge of the philofopher; and the few fparks of fcience which remained, after the irruption of the Goths, were there kept alive and cherished in this office they shared with Jona, and fome others of the West. ern iflands. Our author, with all the genuine, with all the amiable warmth of patriotifm, expatiates on this fubject, and illuftrates it from refpectable authorities.
Mr. Hamilton next defcribes the falmon fishery on this coaft; as well as fome of the old caftles, which introduce fragments of the local history: he relates too with feeling, an interesting little modern tale, with which he was accidentally acquainted. He next proceeds to the bafaltic columns, and gives the hiftory of the obfervations and opinions of philofophers on this fubject.
Bafaltes is now fo well known, that we need not particu larly defcribe its appearance, or its joints. Mr. Hamilton feems to mention the concave and convex endings too generally in many inftances, they are terminated by a plain furface, and the contiguity of the pillars is not owing to the fum of the contiguous angles being equal to two right angles; but the latter, in every view of theory, must follow neceffarily from the former. We fhall felect his defcription of the promontory of Pleaskin: it is ftriking, animated, and picturesque.
The fummit of Pleafkin is covered with a thin graffy fod, under which lies the natural rock, having generally an uniform hard furface, fomewhat cracked and fhivered. At the depth of ten or twelve feet from the fummit, this rock begins to affume a columnar tendency, and forms a range of maffy pillars of bafaltes, which ftand perpendicular to the horizon, prefenting, in the fharp face of the promontory, the appearance of a magnificent gallery or colonade, upward of fixty feet in height.
• This colonade is fupported on a folid base of coarfe, black, irregular rock, near fixty feet thick, abounding in blebs and air-holes but though comparatively irregular, it may be evidently obferved to affect a peculiar figure, tending in many places to run into regular forms, refembling the fhooting of falts and many other fubftances during a hafty crystallization. Under this great bed of stone stands a fecond range of pillars, between, forty and fifty feet in height, lefs grofs, and more Tharply defined than thofe of the upper ftory, many of them, on a close view, emulating even the neatnefs of the columns
in the Giant's Causeway. This lower range is borne on a layer of red ochre ftone, which serves as a relief to fhew it to great advantage.
These two admirable natural galleries, together with the interjacent mafs of irregular rock, form a perpendicular height of one hundred and feventy feet; from the bafe of which, the promontory, covered over with rock and grafs, flopes down to the fea for the fpace of two hundred feet more, making in all a mafs of near four hundred feet in height, which in beauty and variety of its colouring, in elegance and novelty of arrangement, and in the extraordinary magnitude of its objects, cannot readily be rivalled by any thing of the kind at prefent known.'
This description is well contrafted with the following.
At the distance of eight miles from hence (as I mentioned before) the promontory of Fairhead raifes its lofty fummit more than four hundred feet above the fea, forming the eastern termination of Ballycattle bay. It prefents to view a vast compact mafs of rude columnar fones, the forms of which are extremely grofs, many of them being near one hundred and fifty feet in length, and the texture fo coarfe, as to refemble black fchorle ftone, rather than the clofe fine grain of the Giant's Causeway bafaltes. At the base of these gigantic columns lies a wild walte of natural ruins, of an enormous fize, which in the course of fucceffive ages have been tumbled down from their foundation by ftorms, or fome more powerful operations of naThefe maffive bodies have fometimes with flood the fhock of their fall, and often lie in groups and clumps of pillars, refembling many of the varieties of artificial ruins, and forming a very novel and ftriking landfcape.
Á favage wildnefs characterifes this great promontory, at the foot of which the ocean rages with uncommon fury. Scarce a fingle mark of vegetation has yet crept over the hard rock, to diverfify its colouring, but one uniform greynefs clothes the fcéne all around. Upon the whole, it makes a fine contraft with the beautiful capes of Bengore, where the varied brown fhades of the pillars, enlivened by the red and green tints of ochre and grafs, cafts a degree of life and chearfulness over the different objects.'
The magnificence of thefe columns, and profufion with which they seem to be scattered in different parts of the globe, fill the mind with the most awful astonishment, imprefs it with the most lively fear of a power so tremendous, and an affectionate veneration of him who can control it. That it was the causeway of giants †, and the remains of a bridge,
+ In Saxony, a bafaltic mountain is alfo called 'Giant's Hill,' and fimilar mames are given to basaltes in other parts of Germany.