ページの画像
PDF
ePub

From the abuses of law and public institutions and l'esprit de corps, we run a very great risk; more indeed than under an arbitrary government or even a republic. These last are the dangers that most seriously threaten a nation living under a mixed government.

As to the produce of the soil becoming unequal to the maintenance of a people addicted to luxurious habits, we have much also to fear from that: the operation is begun, and its effects will soon be most serious ; they are already felt, and very visible.

From taxation, unproductive and idle people, we have more to fear than most nations : and from an alteration in the manners of thinking, and persons and property leaving the nation, we have as much as any other nation, according to the degree of wealth that we possess ; so that, upon the whole, the interior causes af decline are such as it is extremely necessary to guard against in the most attentive manner.

In respect to the exterior causes, we are exempt entirely from some, from others we are not; and, in one case, we have exterior causes for hope that no nation ever yet had.

The advancement of other nations, their enmity and envy, are full as likely to operate against this nation as against any other that ever existed ; but as we owe none of our superiority to geographical situation like the Greek islands, the Delta of Egypt, and borders of the Mediterranean Sea, we run no risk of any discovery in geography, or in navigation, operating much to our disadvantage. pp. 191-193.

Two chapters are occupied in considering the subject of the national debt and sinking-fund; and the taxes for the maintenance of the poor; a part of our internal oeconomy which loudly calls for revision and improvement. Mr. P. offers on these topics, some considerations worthy of the notice of those to whom the investigation properly belongs.

As lovers of our country, we are happy to find that, while we are exposed to the combined operation of the canses of decline, already enumerated, there are, in the opinion of Mr. P., counteracting causes peculiar to England itself. Our insular situation; the activity of the British character; the complete identity of our interests; the form of our government; the security of property; and we agree with him in adding,

The religious worship of the country, which, without any dispute or question, is greatly in its favour.

To speak nothing of the religious opinions or modes of worship in ancient times, there are three at presents that merit attention and admit of comparison. • The Christian religion is distinguished for raising men in character, and the Mahomedan for sinking them lower. Wherever the Mahomedan faith has extended, the people are degraded in their manners, and the governments despotic. The disposition of a Mahomedan king or emperor is more different in its nature, from that of a Christian sovereign, than He form of a hat is from that of a turban.' pp. 263, 264. . .

Amongst those who profess Christianity it has been remarked, by

all who have travelled, and who have had an opportunity of observing it, that agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, flourish most in Protestant countries. Even where there are different sects of the Christian religion in the same country, arts, manufactures, and commerce, appear to have flourished most amongst the Protestants.' p. 264.

The Roman Catholic faith was clogged. in the early days of the church, with a great number, both of dogmatical and practical errors, that tend not only to terrify the mind, but actuallyembarrass the business of human life. pp. 65, 66..

These, undoubtedly, are circumstances of a favourable aspect; but we hope that our countrymen will not rely, for exemption from impending dangers, upon any external advantages or upon any false presumption of superior holiness; but derive their confidence from those more legitimate sources, which true religion opens to their view.

The charts, by which Mr. P. endeavours to represent, the general fluctuations in the commercial prosperity of ancient and modern nations; the extent, population, and revenue of existing European kingdoms; the progress of British commerce during the last century; and the comparative state of the finances of England and France, for two centuries past, are ingeniously constructed. Those who are acquainted with Dr. Priestley's charts and Mr.

P.'s Atlas, will not be at a loss to comprehend the principle upon · which they are founded. That of universal commercial history, as far as relates to ancient commerce, must be founded upon hypothetical grounds, as no data exist to enable the author to estimate its actual amount. We are inclined to think that he has, generally, over-rated the trade of the nations of antiquity, There is an error in the engraving of a date, in the title of the 3d. chart which has escaped Mr. P's notice. -

. . Upon the whole, the Inquiry of Mr. P. is a very interesting, and valuable performance. It offers to the Politician and the Philosopher, important subjects of reflection. To the former, it presents the vast field of experience, from which he inay gather maxims applicable to the present state of his country; and this seems to be the object, which the author has kept chiefly in view. The latter, if he prosecutes his investigations upon principles accordant with divine revelation, will feel that Mr. P. has not brought into the discussion those just views of the moral condition of inan, which the Scriptures afford, and which stand so intimately connected with his subject. Hence, he will infer that he has not discovered the radical cause of the evils which he points out; and, consequently, that the most efficacious, remedy which they admit of, has equally been overlooked.

Legislative acts are proper, as they tend to counteract visible - irregularities; but they cannot reach their latent spring,

• It may appear paradoxical to some of our readers, when we mention religion as the cure of political disorderz. But we are not afraid of avowing our conviction, that, as all the evils inci. dent to humanity bave one common origin, they require one common remedy. The " Gospel of the grace of God" is that 'antidote which divine wisdom hath prepared, and is the instruinent destined to effect a more important and benign change upon the human race, than any that the world hath yet seen. By its influence that order of men is produced, of whom he, who never uttered a sentence without a weighty meaning, said, “ Ye are the salt of the earth.That man is, therefore, the best patriot, and most efficaciously resists the “ permanent causes of the decline and fall” of his country, who most zealously diffuses around him the knowledge of that Gospel, the fruits of which are righteousness and peace.

Art. V. A Restoration of the Ancient Modes of lestowing Names on

the Rivers, Hills, Vallies, Plains, and Settlements of Britáin; recorded in no Author. By G. Dyer, 8vo. pp. 314. price 7s. boards. Johnson,

Longman, &c. 1805. THE island which we inhabit, has been successively occupied

by so many different nations, that our antiquaries have been not a little perplexed amidst the variety of sources that were presented to their choice, for derivations of names assigned to the natural features of the country, the districts, or the towns, which they have had to describe. So far as the origin of these might assist in dispersing the obscurity which envelopes the ancient history of Great Britain, to ascertain it would evidently be desirable. We give credit, therefore, to Mr. Dyer, for the design of his volume; and proceed impartially to consider the plan that he has adopted, and the manner in which he has applied it to the purpose that he had in view.

" It is evident," says he, “ that the names of rivers and settlements on streams must be very ancient. In a country first discovered there was presented to its primitive explorer, land, water, or rivers : perhaps the waters, or the streams, conveyed the same idea. He had heard no particular names for these, nor had he observed the qualities belonging to them: they were therefore, called simply waters, rivers, streams, &c.; and the term by which he denoted his own stream, became the perpetuated name of his dwelling.

“ For waters or streams of other settlements, distinguishing names or synonymes must have been adopted; but at every colony the terms water, river, lake, brook, &c. were anciently, as at this day, sufficient.

« In time new adventurers arrive, the territory is enlarged, the former being insufficient, additional synonymes must be received from the common stock of the known languages.

“ It was necessary also when men had formed a regular state, and when every part was to be subjected to general regulations, that they should take different names for their dwellings. They had been accustomed to a few general terms for water, stream, hill, &c. but when these were required to be multiplied or varied, every new village was distinctly denominiated, and often by an addition to, or an alteration of the initial, belonging to the original name. Thus different denominations, though synonymes, were given to each township on the same river ; and altho' one stream had sometimes two or more names, from running through different territories, or by several towns, in general the chief village, or residence, gave perhaps distinction to the whole river.

“ Society being originally formed of clans or families, and each living within its own bounds, or on its own stream, the same names sometimes occurred in each township ; and hence the reason that so many rivers and villages received nearly the same appellations." pp. 10, 11.

This hypothesis is reasonable, and agreeable to known facts: but before we accompany the author farther on his road, it is necessary to turn back', in order first to examine the point from which he took his departure, and the authority on which the direction of his course was decided.

* To explore the etymologies of a few rivers and towns in the vicinity of Exeter, the author of this treatise had recourse to books of customary reference ; and after repeated disappointments he discovered, that to the Gaelic alone were we indebted for the names of all our rivers, hills, and old settlements.” p. 4.

Here we meet with some causes of hesitation. It appears, at the first view, very improbable, that the names of all our rivers, hills, and old settlements, should have been conferred by the same nation. It is utterly uncertain, moreover, that the Irish ever possessed the whole of Britain; and, indeed, it is incompatible with the most ancient traditions, both of the Irish and the Welsh nations. But, supposing these difficulties obviated, it is well known, that many of our old settlements, (or towns) are of later date than any that can be assigned to the general use of the Gaelic (or Irish) language in Britain : and were it otherwise, the nature of that language, at least as it is represented by our author, is extremely ill-adapted to etymological certainty, in such an inquiry.

Of this last remark, a better illustration, or a stronger confirmation, can hardly be desired, than that which presents itself at the commencement of Mr. D.'s investigation.

“ The following words in the Gaelic language denote water or stream, (to wit.) 'An, AD, Amh, or Av, Easc, or Esc, &c. Qiche, written Oc and Ock; and these, with their synonymes as in the following tables, I consider as the ROUTS OF WORDS, signifying water or stream.

They They are varied as underneath : I. An Water, On in the Oney, Un in the Unes, In in the Inny, En in

the Enian. 8. Ad, At, or As, Water, Ed, Et, or Es, in the Eden in Eton, Id, It, or

Is, in the Idel, Ituna, &c. Od, Ot, Os, in the Odel, the Otter, &c.

Ud, Ut, Us, in the Usway, &c. III. Amh, or Av, synonymes Ab, Af, Ap. Ev, at Ev-erton, lv, in the

Ivel, Ov, in the Ov-er, &c. &c. IV. Au Water, synonymes Ar, Al, Alf, Af, &c. Eu in the Eu-el, or

Ewel, Or in the Ore, Il in the lien, Ar in the Arrow. V. East, or Esc, or Ex, Water, Asc, or Ax, at Axmouth, Osc, or Or, at

Oxon, Usc, on the Usk, was Isc, in Isca Damnoniorum, now Esc,

or Ex. VI. Oiche, otherwise Oc, Och, or Og, Water, Ock, in Ock-ington, Ec,

in the Ecclesbourne, &c. Ean, which is the same as An, Water, may be varied as follows; and it will be found in names of places that many of these variations have been adopted : Ean, Een, Ein, Eon, Eun, Ian, len, lin, Ion, Iun, Oan, Oen, Oin, Oon,

Oan, Uan, Uen, Uin, Uon, Uûn, Aan, Aen, Ain, Aon, Aun. Ead seems also to have been written for Ad, and may be varied as the lastAid, Ait, or Ais, as d, t, and s were commutable letters, would be also synonymes, from whence Bais, Cais, &c. Water or Stream are derived, as will be shewn in the following pages." pp. 16. 20.

With such a mutability, both of vowels and consonants, it would evidently be easy to find some Gaelic term for water, not only in the name of every river or town in Britain, but equally in any other part of the world. Neither is it of importance what consonants may be connected with these syllables; for our author shews, that mutes, liquiils, aspirates, and sibilants, may indiscriminately be prefixed to them. From postfires, also, as little difficulty is to be apprehended : for, of these (either augmentative, or diminutive) our author enumcrates the following: mor, er, ar, or, ur, ou, oll, ou, un, an, all, od, ol, os, &c.; i, in, min, fin, fion, en, tl, is, it, et, , eog, ig, ic, 8c. (p. 20.) These, with the help of two et ceterus, must doubtless supply an ample variety for every possible occasion.

As towns are, for obvious reasons, usually situated near water, and as hills generally furnish the sources of streams, few instances can be supposed, to which the preceding rules would not apply: but even such cases are, with equal ease, provided for; as Mr. D. assures us, that most of the syllables enumerated above, are as applicable to hills, vallies, and plains, as they are to brooks, rivers, lakes, and seas. Granting, therefore, his premises, there can be no danger of his failure, on any name that he chooses to analyse. There is, however, no small risk, in so extensive an application of his principles, of accounting for names in a manner

I totally

« 前へ次へ »