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but all who understand the construction of language must imply the conclusion that we draw from these premises. A general position is in the first member of the sentence laid down, “ that the greatest economy is necessary in the consumption of all species of grain.” A particular exemplification of the principle is made in the next clause, “especially in the consumption of potatoes."
The inference is as plain as can be made.
is an advertisement of lands to be let to an improving tenant :“ A few miles from Cork, in a most sporting country, bounded by an uncommon fine turf bog, on the verge of which there are a number of fine lime kilns, where that manure may be had on very moderate terms, the distance for carriage not being many hundred yards. The whole lands being now in great heart, and completely laid down, entirely surrounded and divided by impenetrable furze ditches, made of quarried stone laid edgeways."
It will be a matter of difficulty to the untravelled English reader to comprehend how furze ditches can be made of quarried stones laid edgeways, or any way; and we fear that we should only puzzle his intellects still more if we should attempt to explain to him the mysteries of Irish ditching in the technical terms of the country. With the face of a ditch he may be acquainted, but to the back and gripe, and bottom of the gripe, and top of the back of a ditch, we fear he is still to be introduced.
never sufficiently admire these furze
ditches made of quarried stones; they can, indeed, be found only in Ireland: but we have heard in England of things almost as extraordinary. Dr. Grey, in his erudite and entertaining notes on Hudibras, records the deposition of a lawyer, who, in an action of battery, told the judge “ that the defendant beat his client with a certain wooden instrument called an iron pestle.” Nay, to go further still, a wise annotator on the Pentateuch, named Peter Harrison, observed of Moses's two tables of slone, that they were made of shittim-wood. The stone furze ditches are scarcely bolder instances of the catachresis than the stone tables of shittim-wood. This bold figure of rhetoric in an Irish advertisement of an estate may lead us to expect that Hibernian advertisers may, in time, emulate the fame of Christie, the prince of auctioneers, whose fine descriptive powers can make more of an estate on paper than ever was made of it in
other shape, except in the form of an ejectment. The fictions of law, indeed, surpass even the auctioneer's imagina
and a man may be said never to know the extent of his own possessions until he is served with a process of ejectment. He then finds himself required to give up the possession of a multitude of barns, orchards, fish-ponds, horse-ponds, dwelling-houses, pigeonhouses, dove-cotes, out-houses, and appurtenances, which he never saw or heard of, and which are nowhere to be found upon the surface of the habitable globe ; so that we cannot really express this English legal transaction without being guilty of an
Irish bull, and saying that the person ejected is ousted from places which he never entered.
To proceed with our newspapers. The next advertisement is from a schoolmaster: but we shall not descant upon its grammatical errors, because they are not blunders peculiar to Irish schoolmasters. We have frequently observed that the advertisements of schoolmasters, even in England, are seldom free from solecisms : too much care in writing, it seems, is almost as bad as too little. In the preface of the dictionary of the French Academy, there are, as it is computed by an able French critic, no less than sixteen faults; and in Harris, the celebrated 'grammarian's dedication of his Hermes, there is one bull, and almost as many faults as lines. It appears as if the most precise and learned writers sometimes, like the ladies in one of Congreve's plays,
run into the danger to avoid the apprehension.”
After a careful scrutiny of the Hibernian advertisements, we are compelled to confess that we have not met with
any blunders that more nearly resemble our notion of an Irish bull than one which, some years ago, appeared in our English papers. It was the title to an advertisement of a washing machine, in these words : “ Every Man his own Washerwoman !” We have this day, Nov. 19, 1807, seen the following: “ This day were published, Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a new edition of her Poems, some of which have never before appeared.” And an eye-witness assures us, that lately he saw an advertisement in the following
terms, stuck up on the walls of an English coffeehouse : “ This coffee-house removed up stairs!”
A Roman emperor used to draw his stairs up after him every night into his bedchamber, and we have heard of throwing a house out of the windows ; but drawing a whole house up into itself is new.
How can we account for such a blunder, in an advertisement on the wall of an English coffee-house, except by supposing that it was penned by an Irish waiter? If that were the case, it would be an admirable example of an Irish bull! and therefore we had best take it for granted.
Let not any conscientious person be startled at the mode of reasoning by which we have convicted an imaginary Irish waiter of a real bull: it is at least as good, if not better logic, than that which was successfully employed in the time of the popish plot, to convict an Irish physician of forgery. The matter is thus recorded by L'Estrange. The Irish physician “ was charged with writing a treasonable libel, but denied the thing, and appealed to the unlikeness of the characters. It was agreed that there was no resemblance at all in the hands; but asserted that the doctor had two hands; his physic hand and his plot hand, and the one not a jot like the other. Now this was the doctor's plot hand, and it was insisted that, because it was not like one of his hands, it must be like the other.”
By this convenient mode of reasoning, an Irishman may, at any time, be convicted of any crime, or of any absurdity.
But what have we next in our newspaper? “ Murder, Robbery, and Reward.” This seems a strange connexion of things, according to our vulgar notions of distributive justice ; but we are told that the wicked shall have their reward even in this world; and we suppose it is upon this principle, that over the stocks in a town in Ireland there appears this inscription : “A reward for vagabonds."
Upon proceeding further in our advertisement, which begins with “Murder, Robbery, and Reward," we find, however, that contrary to the just expectations raised by the title, the reward is promised, not to the robbers and murderers, but to those who shall discover and prosecute them to conviction. Here we were led into error by that hasty mode of elision which sometimes obtains in the titles even of our English law processes ; as sci-fa, fi-fa, qui-tam, &c.; names which, to preserve the glorious uncertainty of the law, never refer to the sense, but to the first words of the writs.
In our newspaper, a formidable list of unanimous resolutions of various committees and corps succeeds to the advertisement of murder, robbery, and reward; and we have, at the close of each day's business, thanksgivings, in various formulas, for the very proper, upright, or spirited behaviour of our worthy, gallant, or respected chairman. Now that a man may behave properly, or sit uprightly in a chair, we can readily comprehend ; but what are we to understand by a spirited behaviour in a chair?