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naturalized burghers of the Transvaal, and many more were United States citizens, Irish-Americans from the Rand gold mines. There were two small Irish brigades under the Boer flag, those of McBride and Lynch (the latter now a member of the British House of Commons), and an engineer corps commanded by Colonel Blake, an American. At the first battle before Ladysmith it was one of the Irish brigades that kept the Boer guns in action, bringing up ammunition under a rain of shellfire. During the Boer retreat and Roberts's advance on Pretoria, Blake's engineers were always with the Boer rearguard and successfully destroyed every mile of the railway as they went back. Blake had served in the United States cavalry, had learned mining while on duty in Nevada, and had then gone to seek his fortune at Johannesburg. The great leader of the Boer armies, now the Prime Minister of the new South Africa which has happily arisen out of the storm of war, has Irish connections. Louis Botha lived before the war in the southeast Transvaal, not far from Laings Nek, and near neighbors of his were a family of Irish settlers bearing the honored name of Emmet. The Emmets and the Bothas were united by ties of friendship and intermarriage, and one of the Emmets served with Louis Botha during the war.
The Irish colonists of South Africa keep their love for faith and fatherland, but, as in the United States, they have thoroughly and loyally thrown in their lot with the new country of which they have become citizens. Few in number though they are, they are an important factor in the new Dominion, for their national tradition inspires them with civic patriotism, and their religion gives them a high standard of conduct and puts before them, as guides in the work of life and the solution of the problems of the day, the Christian principles of justice and charity.
REFERENCES : Government Census Returns, South Africa; Catholic Directory for British South Africa (Cape Town, since 1904); The Catholic Magazine, Cape Town; Wilmot and Chase: History of Cape Colony (London, 1896); Theal: History of South Africa (5 vols., London, 1888-1893); for the war period, the Times History of the South African War, and the British Oficial History,
IRISH LANGUAGE AND LETTERS
BY DOUGLAS HYDE, LL.D., M. R. I. A.
HE Celtic languages consist of two divisions, (a) the
division. Between them they comprise (a) Irish, ScotchGaelic, and Manx, and (b) Welsh, Armorican, and Cornish. All these languages are still alive except Cornish, which died out about a hundred years ago.
Of all these languages Irish is the best preserved, and it is possible to follow its written literature back into the past for some thirteen hundred years; while much of the most interesting matter has come down to us from pagan times. It has left behind it the longest, the most luminous, and the most consecutive literary track of any of the vernacular languages of Europe, except Greek alone.
For centuries the Irish and their language were regarded by the English as something strange and foreign to Europe. It was not recognized that they had any relationship with the Greeks or Romans, the French, the Germans, or the English. The once well-known statesman, Lord Lyndhurst, in the British parliament denounced the Irish as aliens in religion, in blood, and in language. Bopp, in his great Comparative Grammar, refused them recognition as Indo-Europeans, and Pott in 1856 also denied their European connection. It was left for the great Bavarian scholar, John Caspar Zeuss, to prove to the world in his epoch-making “Grammatica Celtica" (published in Latin in 1853) that the Celts were really Indo-Europeans, and that their language was of the highest possible value and interest. From that day to the present it is safe to say that the value set upon the Irish language and literature has been steadily growing amongst the scholars of the world, and that in the domain of philology Old Irish now ranks close to Sanscrit for its truly marvellous and complicated scheme of word-forms and inflections, and its whole verbal system.
The exact place which the Celtic languages (of which Irish is philologically far the most important) hold in the IndoEuropean group has often been discussed. It is now generally
agreed upon that, although both the Celtic and Teutonic languages may claim a certain kinship with each other as being both of them Indo-European, still the Celtic is much more nearly related to the Greek and the Latin groups, especially to the Latin
All the Indo-European languages are more or less related to one another. We Irish must acknowledge a relationship, or rather a very distant connecting tie, with English. But, to trace this home, Irish must be followed back to the very oldest form of its words, and English must be followed back to Anglo-Saxon and when possible to Gothic. The hard mutes (p, t, c) of Celtic (and, for that matter, of Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Lithuanian) will be represented in Gothic by the corresponding soft mutes (b, d, g), and the soft mutes in Celtic by the corresponding hard mutes in Gothic. Thus we find the Irish dia (god) in the AngloSaxon tiw, the god of war, whose name is perpetuated for all time in Tiwes-däg, now "Tuesday", and we find the Irish déad in the Anglo-Saxon "toth", now "tooth”, and so on. But of all the Indo-European languages Old Irish possesses by far the nearest affinity to Latin, and this is shown in a great many ways, not in the vocabulary merely, but in the grammar, which for philologists is of far more importance,-as, for example, the b-future, the passive in-r, the genitive singular and nominative plural of "o stems", etc. Thus the Old Irish for "man", nom. fer, gen. fir, dat. fiur, acc. fer n plur. nom. fir, gen. fer n, is derived from the older forms viros, viri, viro, viron, nom. plur. viri, gen. plur. viron, which everyone who knows Latin can see at a glance correspond very closely to the Latin inflections, vir, viri, viro, virum, nom. plur. viri, etc.
So much for the language. When did this language begin to be used in literature? This question depends upon anotherWhen did the Irish begin to have a knowledge of letters; when did they begin to commit their literature to writing; and whence did they borrow their knowledge of this art?
The oldest alphabet used in Ireland of which remains exist appears to have been the Ogam, which is found in numbers of stone inscriptions dating from about the third century of our
cra on. About 300 such inscriptions have already been found, most of them in the southwest of Ireland, but some also in Scotland and Wales, and even in Devon and Cornwall. Wherever the Irish Gael planted a colony, he seems to have brought his Ogam writing with him.
The Irishman who first invented the Ogam character was probably a pagan who obtained a knowledge of Roman letters. He brought back to Ireland his invention, or, as is most likely, invented it on Irish soil. Indeed, the fact that no certain trace of Ogam writing has been found upon the European continent indicates that the alphabet was invented in Ireland itself. An inscription at Killeen Cormac, Co. Kildare, survives which seems to show that the Roman alphabet was known in Ireland in pagan times. Ogam is an alphabet suitable enough for chiselling upon stones, but too cumbrous for the purposes of literature. For this the Roman alphabet must have been used. The Ogam script consists of a number of short lines straight or slanting, and drawn either below, above, or through one long stem-line. This stem-line is generally the sharp angle between two faces or sides of a long upright rectangular stone. Thus four cuts to the right of the long line stand for S; to the left of it they mean C; passing through it, half on one side and half on the other, they mean Z. The device was rude, but it was applied with considerable skill, and it was undoubtedly framed with much ingenuity. The vowels occurring most often are also the easiest to cut, being scarcely more than notches on the edge of the stone. The inscription generally contains the name of the dead warrior over whom the memorial was raised; it usually begins on the left corner of the stone facing the reader and is to be read upwards, and it is often continued down on the right hand angular line as well.
The language of the Ogam inscriptions is very ancient and nearly the same forms occur as in what we know of Old Gaulish. The language, in fact, seems to have been an antique survival even when it was first engraved, in the third or fourth century. The word-forms are probably far older than those used in the spoken language of the time. This is a very impor. tant conclusion, and it must have a far-reaching bearing upon
the history of the earliest epic literature. Because if forms of language much more ancient than any that were then current were employed on pillar-stones in the third or fourth century, it follows that this obsolescent language must have survived either in a written or a regularly recited form. This immediately raises the probability that the substance of Irish epic literature (which was written down on parchment in the sixth or seventh century) really dates from a period much more remote, and that all that is purely pagan in it was preserved for us in the same antique language as the Ogam inscriptions before it was translated into what we now call “Old Irish."
The following is the Ogam alphabet as preserved on some 300 ancient pillars and stones, in the probably ninth-century treatise in the Book of Ballymote, and elsewhere:
There are a great many allusions to this Ogam writing in the ancient epics, especially in those that are purely pagan in form and conception, and there can be no doubt that the knowledge of letters must have reached Ireland before the island became Christianized. With the introduction of Christianity and of Roman letters, the old Ogam inscriptions, which were no doubt looked upon as flavoring of paganism, quickly fell into disuse and disappeared, but some inscriptions at least are as late as the year 600 or even 800. In the thoroughly pagan poem, The Voyage of Bran, which such authorities as Zimmer and Kuno Meyer both consider to have been com