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viction of these annals and records being original and genuine, and not the fictions and dreams of monks of the ninth century. We have his special sanction for saying, that “though Dr. O'Conor feels anxious to remove the imputation of imposing on the world an imaginary race of Irish kings, he has leen equally careful not to fritter away the authority of one ancient written record of antiquity. Therefore such there
are. Q. E. D. Other au- Some few years back, when Dr. O'Conor was the likes to fully as anxious as he has latterly been for his coun
trymen's participation in the full effects of his grandfather's labors, talents, knowledge and zeal for their credit and welfare, he collected the following instructive inference from the historical researches of his truly patriotic ancestor *. “ Mr. Pinkerton and Dr. Priestley observe very justly, that there is scarce any method by which historic lists of kings or princes are better preserved, than by the traditionary songs by which the senachies of the ancient noble families
the like citest.
* Lord Lyttleton gives this honourable testimony of Mr. Charles O'Conor (Life of Hen. Il. vol. iv. p. 300. Dub. ed. 1769.) “ As for wha: had passed in Ireland during the times that I write of, before the English adventurers in Dermod's service went thither, the best authorities for it are the annals of Ireland compiled by cotemporary writers, with extracts of which, translated from the original Irish, I have been favoured by a gentleman weli-skilled in that language, Charles O'Conor, esq. who, with the noble blood which flows in his veins, has naturally inherited a passionate love for the honor of his country, and therefore willingly assists in any undertaking, that may render the history of it more known and more complete."
of Ireland preserved their genealogical computations.” The names of the whole Danish, Swedish, and Nore wegian kings preceding the 11th century have been preserved in this manner *, and nature alone could form differences of person, age, character, family, place of residence, party, &c. so nice, and yet so evident, as those which appear in the ancient genealogical accounts of the Irish nation, handed down so invariably from age to age, in such a wide and almost infinite range of being, as to beggar the most creative invention; and hence the ingenious Dr. Barnard accurately remarks, “ that the Irish genealogies still extant carry intrinsic proofs of their being genuine and authentic, by their chronological accuracy and consistency with each other, through all the lines collateral as well as direct; a consistency not to be accounted for on the supposition of their being fabricated in a subsequent age of ignorance, but easily explained, if we admit them to have been drawn from the source of real family records and truth t." - To describe men," says the celebrated Mr. Wood, “ to point out their persons, to relate their adventures, and make a long recital of their families, seems to be beyond the power of fiction; the feigning faculty, be it ever so rich and inventive, after an effort or two, recoils upon itself 1.”
* See Mallet's Northern Antiquities; 2 vols. Svo. and the first volume of the History of Norway, by the erudite Torseus.
+ Inquiry into the Origin of the Scots, published in the first volume of the Trans. of the R. I. A.
I Wood's Life of Homer.
Many other Besides the documents of ancient Irish history, of documents which some account has been submitted to the lresides the O'Conor reader, there are many other both valuable and intecollection.
resting relicks of the senachies and phillids, that have been traced into the hands of the modern researchers into Irish antiquity, such as General Vallancey, Dr. Parsons, Mr. O'Halloran, and others, as well as such as are deposited in public libraries and collections; upon which, having already exceeded the intended limits of this Dissertation, we shall say nothing.
• We conclude by observing, that the Irish annalists Phænician are uniform in relating the extreme caution and concustom of preserving stitutional severity and precision with which their hiscords. torical records were constructed, entered, and pre
served both in ethnic and christian Ireland ; an insti. tution unknown to any other nation of Europe, which descended not from the same stock, and which Ireland has ever deemed the most precious monument of her glory and antiquity *. To give full effect to this observation, it remains to show from external authority, that this institution was exclusively in use in that nation, from which the Irish draw their origin, government, and laws. Joseph, the Jew, in his book against Apian, the Greek grammarian of Alexandria, after having exposed to contenipt the Greek's pretensions to any ancient, chronological, or historical knowledge, says, or for though it be acknowledged, that they received their first letters from the Phænician Cadmius, yet, from want of public registers, they are unable to pro
* O'Hal. p. 62.
duce any testimonies of this, or indeed of any other point of high antiquity, which might be depended upon. But not so with the Phænicians, the Chaldeans, and with us (the Jews), who have from remote antiquity, by means of registers, and the care of persons particularly appointed to this office, preserved our histories beyond all other nations.".