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or the Pygmies were to the old geographers. As there was nothing too marvellous to be predicated of those nations, so there is no difficulty or absurdity, no inconsistency whatever, which has not been evaded under the convenient shelter of a mysterious antiquity.

Another error consists in supposing that the mere shapelessness and rudeness of megalithic works entitle them to the designation of ancient. The inference of antiquity,' says our

• author, ‘from rudeness and simplicity of style, is but vague

and declamatory. Fine works adorned Nineveh and the oldest 'empires on record, and rude ones satisfy many nations at this ' day, and will hereafter. Though rudeness or polish may ' sometimes distinguish the infancy or maturity of a given state,

they may also distinguish its maturity from its last decline; 'but they can never indicate mere time. Phidias was not a

modern, though he lived at a late epoch of the city of Cecrops.' (P. 80.) And he adds : ‘But this topic fails entirely when the

works, rude and fierce in their taste, imply much resource of 'art and wealth; for taste or fanaticism may affect stern forms,

either inventing them, reviving them, or importing them from ' abroad. Therefore the argument (from style) destroys itself, 'or assumes this arbitrary shape: that the primitive ages, and 'they alone, combined skill with an austere style. Surely this ' (sc. that of Stonehenge) is one of the cases in which (as Lord Aberdeen says of the Attic coinage) the affectation of an archaic style of work is easily distinguished from the rudeness of remote antiquity.'

But the arch-error, in our author's view, with regard particularly to the works under our consideration, is the attributing them, directly or indirectly, to the Druids; or, to express ourselves more correctly, the placing their origin in a period anterior to the Roman advent. We were, we confess, so great was the force of habit, somewhat startled by our author's formal scepti. cism on this head. For though the hypothesis which he rejects has been often questioned and apparently matched with opposite hypotheses, yet its acceptance always seemed to us, on the whole, to be a case somewhat like that which a great modern statesman has called 'le triomphe du pis aller. Indeed, its 'tenure by sufferance' was so far established, that Sir Richard Hoare, with some qualification, admits its claim; for, after reviewing the results of his several predecessors' inquiries, he expresses his conclusion that though the Druids may have been the ministers, yet they were not the masons of these temples, which were probably the rude work of the primitive Celts or Belgic tribes, who first colonised our island. Now, we confess, with all submission, that this distinction, though apparently adverse to, is in

a

fact not inconsistent with, the prevalent notion. For, it is scarcely probable that a proud priesthood like the Druids, who were at once the rulers and teachers of the nation, would identify themselves with any system of worship,---Celtic, Belgic, or Teutonic,-to the establishment of which they were not parties; but if they did identify themselves with any such system, the temples designed and completed in their times, and for the purpose of such worship, might, in general parlance, be said to have been built by them, though they exercised no more superintendence over the mere masonry, than did Cheops over the Pyramid, or William of Wykeham over his chapels and cloisters at Winchester and Oxford.

The 'Quarterly Review,' No. XII., in its notice of Sir Richard Hoare's work, gives countenance to the Druidical hypothesis ; and we believe it has till now remained substantially unassailed. But Mr. Herbert, disputing its claim simply on its merits, suggests two propositions for our consideration : one, that these temples are not Druidic, nor ante-Roman; the other, that they really and in fact bear the impress of a much more modern date. On the former of these it will be enough, we think, to read his objections, to feel that they are entitled to great consideration.

As to his first proposition, he argues à priori, that assuming all we have heard about the Druids to be true, we are guilty of inconsistency in assigning to their times and agency the construction of such temples as Abury and Stonehenge, because we thereby attribute to the same people, at the same period, and under the same circumstances, a two-fold system of worship. If, as we have been taught, their favourite and most efficacious sacrifice was the burning of a wicker giant, with its enclosed hecatomb of human beings,-their most sacred shrine, the mystic oaken grove in the depth of the forest, how can we account for the simultaneous use of so different a ritual as these temples would imply, celebrated in rude circles of stones on the open champaign, and of which the chief feature was the altar offering? Reasonable doubts have been entertained by most antiquaries whether altars, in the sense in which we understand the word, are described in the accounts of the religious ceremonies of the Druids, (sce Mr. Herbert's 2d Section and note 3,) whereas all agree in discovering the ara amongst the remains of these temples which we are considering, with its 'ring-stone,' to which the victim was tied previous to the sacrifice.

| Dr. Henry has indeed endeavoured to combine the two systems. He speaks of groves, in the centre of which were rows of large stones set perpendicular in the earth. But Stonehenge stood in the midst of a barren plain ; while the nature of the works at Abury would seem to preclude trees as part of the original design.

1

Mr. Herbert's second objection on this head is still more striking. He contends, apparently with no less force than justice, that supposing the colossal system of works, which we generally call Druidic, to have existed in Britain in the times of those classical authors from whom we derive all our knowledge of our country and its inhabitants in those ages, it is hardly credible that they should not have noticed them."

Yet all are silent. The fact is unimpeachable. Of one thing we may be certain, that whatever was the cause of their silence, it is not to be attributed to their underrating such striking objects. We should as soon expect that Herodotus could have walked through Egypt, and omitted all notice of the Pyramids. It would be, indeed, past belief that men like Cæsar, Tacitus, and Pliny, the Napier, the Macaulay, and the Heeren of the age, to say nothing of a host of others, poets as well as prose writers, by whom Britain was rendered famous-should, even if they themselves had not felt very deeply impressed by such monuments, have thought an Abury or a Stonehenge unworthy of notice in their pages, whether their object was merely to gratify a taste for eloquent description, or a love of the marvellous, or to answer the more solid purpose of theorising upon the character and religion of a new and wild people.

Many of these authors have minutely portrayed the Druidic system in Gaul’ as well as in Britain; they have dwelt with graphic horror upon the fierce rites and incantations, the forest temples, the savage gods. It is inconceivable, therefore, that they should intentionally, and as if by concert, have been silent upon these the most stupendous features of a foreign superstition. We can hardly evade this difficulty by supposing that such works escaped the notice of observant men, especially Cæsar, who, as leader of the earliest invading force, was in continual collision with that fierce and potent hierarchical government which presented the main obstacle to the Roman progress. He it was who spared no effort to eradicate an order that exercised such dangerous influence. He invariably acted upon the method enjoined upon the iconoclasts of the Scripture history,

1 It is impossible to wrest any favourable meaning out of the language of Tacitus in the passage supposed to allude to megalithic works. Ann. xii. 35.

2 We may add here a remark for which we cannot find a more convenient place, but for which we must not forget to give Mr. Herbert full credit, that though Druidism is described as having been more or less prevalent in every part of Gaul, - Marseilles and Toulouse in the south, and Rheims in the north-east, being its chief strongholds,-the megalithic works which modern learning bas pronounced Druidic are to be found only in one north-western province, inhabited by wbat Sidonius Apollinaris (quoted by Mr. Herbert, p. 27) calls the Britons beyond the Loire,' and the seat, after the revolution of 408, of the independent Armorican republic.

' to destroy the high places and cut down the groves.' Tacitus expressly tells us that the groves sacred to cruel superstitions were cut down :' but says not a word about the destruction, still less of the existence of temples, or other monuments, in any way answering to what, in these days, we call exclusively Druidical. Even the materials of which they were composed might offer a temptation (supposing there had been no other) tvo strong to be resisted by an active nation of improvers, who could feel no interest in such remains. Here were abundant quarries for the construction of roads, fortifications, or other works, to which their attention was turned. Yet when Aubrey visited Abury in the reign of Charles II., it was almost perfect, and Sir R. Hoare gives a catalogue of those 'Goths' who had carried on the work of destruction there between his own time and that of Dr. Stukeley. Of Stonehenge our own eyes can testify the completeness, if we except only the marks of age and the footprints of the elements.

Such objections, Mr. Herbert thinks, and with much show of reason, to be at once fatal to the Druidic character and the ante-Roman existence of these monuments. Others, who seem to have felt the weight of such evidence, have not put forward their doubts in so distinct a shape. Dr. Lingard, in his remarks upon the Druid religion, says, 'I have not noticed the circles of 'unhewn stones, the remains of which still exist at Stonehenge, * Abury, &c., because I do not find such stones mentioned by 'ancient writers as appendages to places of worship among the • Celts.' (Chap. i. n. 32.) For he, like all the rest, shrank from conclusions to which their doubts would have led them. Mr. Turner inclines, though coldly, to the Phænician theory. The difficulty that strikes every thoughtful writer, without question, is to fix a satisfactory date for these monuments. One is too remote, another too modern. Besides those we have mentioned, the Celts, Belgæ, Saxons, and Danes, have in turn enjoyed the honour of being the founders. Mr. Wilson, in his 'Prehistoric Remains in Scotland,' decides for a still more ancient origin, finding in them and works cognate to them the traces of an Allophylian' people, as prior in time to, as different in nature from, the earliest Celts. Even an antediluvian origin has met with its partisans. All, or most, of these would have made them to the Druids and Romans, what they are to us, obsolete and inexplicable.

But do not such various and contrary opinions indicate, Mr. Herbert says,

an attempt to break away from convictions that press upon us.'

An attempt, he adds, which is in great measure prompted and enforced by the 'prepossession in men's minds that the effects of Christianity would have been

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adverse to the erection of such edifices for religious purposes, if we assign them to a period during which the Church exercised any influence in these islands. This prepossession' he declares to be unfounded, contending, from the evidence we possess, that the Church had but little authority, or indeed inclination, to use its influence adverse to the bias of the times. (P. 36.) Besides, we may hazard the conjecture (which is not new) that they were not intended as exclusively religious edifices; which, if true, would have prevented Christianity from having more than a nominal influence in the matter.

Having thus disposed of his predecessors' labours, let us see what Mr. Herbert sets up in their place. He has, by the title of his book, as also by his remarks on the mistaken connexion between a rude style and antiquity, which we have above quoted, prepared us in some measure to learn that his Cyclops' was a modern, and even partially a Christian. Be this as it may, we shall content ourselves with examining, at present, his theory of the reduced antiquity' of these works, which is ingenious, and, we hope we shall be able to show, intelligible. He claims for them a distinct and prominent position in the history of our country, representing them as forming a part of a grand national purpose. The date which he assigns to them is the fifth century of the Christian era, and for the illustration of his doctrine he draws our attention to many extraordinary and special features of this age. But we must not expect to find that he has opened a new mine of information. With all his authorities others have been familiar, but have rejected them. No one before him thought of giving any weight to the narrative of Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Latin translator of Tysilio's Chronicle of Kings.' In their contempt for monkish tradition, historians have no doubt neglected many sources of valuable instruction.

Mr. Herbert, however, does not repudiate a fact because it is mixed with falsehood, or turn from his inquiry because explicit statements are not made ready to his hands. He is convinced that history has not been altogether silent upon this subject, if we rightly interpret her pages,-in short, that all, or most, of what we have hitherto been taught to believe, has been invented, not in defect of tradition, but in contradiction of all substantial historic fact.' To the guidance of such a pilot, therefore, for a time we cheerfully commit our vessel. We shall not, however, blindly follow in his track, without satisfying ourselves of the depths over which he carries us. But our soundings will not be from mistrust of his experience or skill, so much as from a desire to verify the correctness of the chart which he has given over this dark and untried passage.

Taking, then, the fifth century after Christ as the probable

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