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cant odium, persecutionem, crucem, exilium, egestatemque statim cum nato Christo incipiere, virgis cædi solent in aurora hujus Diei adhuc in lectulis jacentes à parentibus suis." This was formerly a day of unlucky omen, and an apprehension is still entertained by the superstitious, that no undertaking can prosper which is begun on that day of the week on which Childermass last fell.
Lastly-New Year's Eve-or as it is termed by the vulgar in Scotland, and in the north of England, Hogmanay, or Hogmenay. This term is also transferred to the entertainment given to a visiter on this day, or to a gift conferred on those who apply for it, according to ancient custom.
“ The cotter weanies, glad an' gay
Wi pocks out oure their shouther,
Sing at the doors for Hogmanay." Dr. Jamieson has given us an interesting extract regarding this ceremony, from a fugitive piece in the Caledonian Mercury for 1792.
“The cry of Hogmanay Trololay, is of usage immemorial in this country. It is well known that the ancient Druids went into the woods with great solemnity on the last night of the year, where they cut the misletoe of the oak with a golden bill, and brought it into the towns, and country houses of the great, next morning, when it was distributed among the people, who wore it as an amulet to preserve them from all harms, and particularly from the danger of battle. When Christianity was introduced among the barbarous Celtæ and Gauls, it is probable that the clergy, when they could not completely abolish the Pagan rites, would endeavour to give them a Christian turn. We have abundant instances of this in the ceremonies of the Romish Church. Accordingly this seems to have been done in the present instance, for about the middle of the 16th century, many complaints were made to the Gallic Synods, of great excesses which were committed on the last night of the year, and on the first of January, during the Fête de Fous, by companies of both sexes, dressed in fantastic habits, who ran about with their Christmas Boxes, called Tire Lire, begging for the Lady in the Straw, both money and wassels.
These beggars were called Bachelettes, Guisards; and their chief Rollet Follet. They came into the churches, during the services of the vigils, and disturbed the devotions by their cries of Au gui menez, Rollet Follet, Au gui menez, tiri liri, mainte du blanc et point du bis. Thiers, Hist. des Fêtes et des Jeux. At last, in 1598, at the representation of the Bishop of Augres, a stop was put to their coming into the churches: but they became more licentious, running about the country, and frightening the people in their houses, so that the legislature was obliged to put a final stop to the Fête de Fous in 1668. The resemblance of the above cry, to our Hogmenay, Trololay, Give us your white bread and none of your grey; and the name Guisurds, given to our Bacchanals, are remarkable cir. cumstances; and our former connexions with France, render it not improbable that these festivities were taken from thence, and this seems to be confirmed by our name of Daft Days, which is nearly a translation of Fétes de Fous. It deserves also to be noticed, that the Bishop of Augres says, that the cry, Au gui menez, Rollet Follet, was derived from the ancient Druids, who went out to cut the Gui or mistletoe, shooting and hollaing all the way, and on bringing it from
* In Northumberland, the month of December is called Hogmana, which Lambe derives from the Greek agos perry the holy moon, but this is doubtful. Others maintain it to be merely a corruption from the French “homme est né"man is born-in allusion to the Nativity!
the woods, the cry of old was, Au Gui l'an neuf, le Roi vient. Now although we must not suppose that the Druids spoke French, we may easily allow that cry to have been changed with the language, whilst the custom was continued. If the word Gui should be Celtic or Scandinavian, it would add force to the above conjecture. * Perhaps, too, the word Rollet is a corruption of the ancient Norman invocation of their hero Rollo.”—Etymological Dictionary, Art. Hogmanay.
In confirmation of this, it may be remarked, that, in many parts of France, it is customary for young people, on the last day of December, to go about the towns and villages, singing and begging money, as a kind of New Year's gift, and crying out “Au Guy! L'an neuf! To the misletoe! the New-Year is at hand! and, lastly, in England, it is still a common custom amongst the vulgar, to hang up a branch of misletoe on Christmas day, under which the young men salute their sweethearts.
This is evidently a relic of Druidism, as well as the custom already referred to, of adorning the churches with it; and both may be viewed as a traditionary vestige of its consecration, in the worship of the ancient Britons.
The above catalogue has extended to so unexpected a length, as to leave us but little space for comment. One circumstance must have struck every one, in its perusal--the intimate connexion between the customs of nations remote from each other, and indicative of their common origin. In tracing nations to their particular sources, the chief reliance has generally been placed upon etymology; but a close investigation of customs is of no less importance: in every such historical investigation, indeed, they ought to go hand in hand. We have seen that most of our rites and superstitions are of Gothic origin : whilst others are as clearly Druidical, or Celtic; and both resemble those of the East, and especially of Persia. This is readily accounted for. Both Celts and Goths were originally Oriental. The Celts, having emigrated at a much earlier period than the Goths, had probably fewer ceremonies ; hence the paucity amongst us, of Celtic superstitions.
The Religion of the Nomadic Goths, was also, at first, we have but little doubt, comparatively simple: the great change in that of the Scandinavians, being wrought by the arrival of Odin, who introduced amongst them the splendid mythology of the East, and subsequently received his own apotheosis. Other observances have reached us, through a Grecian or Roman chan
• The word Gui seems to us to be of Celtic origin. The Misletoe was a sacred plant with the Druids, and hence, we have no doubt, was considered the plant par excellence. In all the dialects of the Celtic, the word Gui, in some form or other, signifies Trees. In the Celtic, Guez signifies trees--Guezecg and Guezennecq-a place abounding in trees. In the Armoric, or Bas Breton-Guezen is a treegues--trees--Guczennic-shrubs-whilst in the Welsh-Guid is a tree, and Guidhele bushes, brambles, &c. from wbich the misletoe was termed Gui, as Parson was derived from Persona--the Person.
nel, but these again bear striking evidence of an Oriental origin. The mythology of Greece, is unquestionably Oriental; and the Romans derived theirs from the Greeks. Hence many of our superstitions, nursery tales, &c. may have descended to us by various streams-originally, along with our Celtic or Gothic ancestry, and subsequently by the route of more modern conquestmost, however, unequivocally exhibiting the like Oriental parentage.
Lastly, the wide extent of superstition amongst us--superstition too, in many cases, of the most idolatrous character, affords a humiliating subject of reflection; and it is a striking proof of the tyrannical influence of custom on the mind, that many, who have no faith in these observances, could not feel comfortable, were they to neglect them. We recollect a Naval officer, high in rank, smiling at the superstitions of the profession, and especially at the almost universal belief, that whistling on deck is capable of raising the wind, yet declaring, in the same breath, that he should not feel at ease, were any one on deck to whistle in tempestuous weather-a better instance we could not give of the power of superstition :
" "Tis a history
Art. VII.— The Life of Elbridge Gerry, with contemporary
Letters, to the Close of the American Revolution. By JAMES T. Austin. Boston: 1828.
In reviewing the “ Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence,” in our second number, we intended to specify the principal merits of each of those fortunate patriots; but, from some casualty, the name of Elbridge Gerry was alone omitted, in the execution of our purpose. As every American who has examined the revolutionary annals of his country, must entertain a deep respect and gratitude for the part which Gerry took in promoting the cause of independence, we were anxious, after the omission was reinarked, to repair it at the first opportunity; and we therefore awaited with particular interest, the Life which has at length been issued by one of his near relatives. In opening the volume, however, we suffered a disappointment that will be common to all who expected a complete biographical sketch. It is labelled The Life of Gerry, and carries the same promise in the title-page ; but the inquirer at once discovers, from the table of contents and the preface, that his career is traced only down to the end of the Revolution.
Mr. Austin states the considerations, by which he was induced to stop short, or pause, at the middle of his enterprise. They do not strike us, we must confess, as sufficient. The present generation of Americans are more familiar with the annals of the Revolution, than with the public history of the interval between that era, and the death of Mr. Gerry ;-and it is the authentic development of his conduct and character, in connexion with the party-disputes, which would be almost universally deemed most important and curious, and have specially recommended the whole subject of his life to the attention or study of the present age. Just in proportion as he was held a party-leader, and defamed and misunderstood in that respect, was it material,-if his proceedings and dispositions could be vindicated, or set in a favourable light--to exhibit his entire course at once, leaving no scope for the suspicion, that some fear or mysterious reluctance was felt about showing more than the revolutionary man. As the biography now rests, an inveterate federalist of the old school, might suggest the image of Horace's mermaid, and hint that it was well not to uncover the lower extremities. For ourselves, we shall candidly say, that, in the number of leaders or promi. nent personages in the momentous party contests of the interval mentioned above, Mr. Gerry is almost the only one, of whose merits or demerits we have not been able to form a positive opinion: and we lament still more the continuance of this difficulty, since we have read this narrative of the anterior portion of his existence; for it certainly has inspired us with a high idea of his revolutionary spirit and services, and does prove, as his biographer suggests, “the validity of his title to those large honours which his country bestowed upon him.” However, a hope is left, that the residue of the life will be given from the same sources, as, in the Preface, it is said to be in progress, though no positive promise of its publication be made.
ELBRIDGE GERRY was born at Marblehead, in the state of Massachusetts, on the 17th of July 1744. His father was a reputable merchant, who gave the son a liberal education in the common schools and at Harvard College; and at first destined him to the profession of medicine, but finally engaged him in his own pursuits of trade. Elbridge was in every respect successful as a merchant; while his superior education, his active talents, and his unexceptionable conduct, rendered him important and popular with the honest, acute, and intrepid fishermen of Marblehead. In the controversy between Great Britain and the colonies, they took an early, patriotic interest; and elected him, in 1772, their representative in the general court, or legislature,
of Massachusetts. From this period, he continued to be a public and a leading man, almost without intermission. His spirit resembled and sustained that of his townsmen; and it was nourished by close communion with the Adamses, the Hancocks, and the Warrens. When together, at Boston, these master-patriots concerted with him, in their private meetings, resistance to the tyrannical projects of the mother country, and pursued it jointly in the exercise of their public duty; and, when separated, even at a short distance, they constantly wrote to each other, with the same temper and object. A part of this correspondence, of the year 1772, is quoted by Mr. Austin. Gerry appears to much advantage in it, as a resolute, long-sighted, indefatigable adviser. In 1773, he was re-elected a member of the General Court, where, though one of the youngest of the assembly, he was placed on the most important committees of correspondence, and distinguished himself in the principal debates. Several of his letters of the year 1774, are introduced into the Life, which denote equal determination and sagacity. He said in one, what, we trust, will be fully verified The special resentment of an arbitrary ministry, will prove for the metropolis a diadem of honour, and render the name of Boston respected and revered to the latest posterity.” He could not fail to be a member of the famous Convention at Concord, a provincial congress of Massachusetts, which at once virtually destroyed the royal authority in that province, and set, to all the others, an unequivocal example of revolt. Mr. Austin argues, that the earlier organization of the first Continental Congress, which met on the fourth of the preceding month, cannot be considered as having anticipated the designs or credit of the Concord convention. Gerry was a substantive member of the Committees of Appeal and Safety: when the British commander threatened Marblehead, he entered into the militia; and, on the night immediately preceding the Battle of Lexington, he narrowly escaped capture, as one of a “rebel” committee of the Provincial Congress. After the sword was drawn, he was placed at the head of a committee charged with the endeavour to obtain necessary supplies for waging the contest. His biographer states, that, “besides his own personal exertions, which were unremitting and indefatigable, he did not hesitate, in many cases, to advance his own funds, where immediate payment was required, and to incur responsibilities on his own credit, which the province was then unable to redeem, and which, in fact, occasioned him, in the end, heavy pecuniary loss.
The letters which passed between Gerry and the Massachusetts members of the Continental Congress, in the year 1775, form, chiefly, the seventh chapter of this book, and possess peculiar interest. In one of June 4th, he observed to them- " I should VOL. III.--NO. 6.