The subject considered in this extended light, is, however, attended with many difficulties. The early
history of all nations is necessarily involved in obscurity and fable; political institutions as well as national habits and peculiarities have had their origin for the most part from circumstances which are now unknown: to form theoretical conjectures, therfore all to which any claim can be laid; which conjectures, however happy, will always be attended with some degree of that doubt and obscurity which they are intended to remove. Besides, even within the period of authentic history, some of the circumstances which have a powerful influence on the character and destiny of nations are far from being universally obvious. In this respect the history of a people is not unlike that of an individual : a circum-stance so trivial as to escape his own attention,may produce a series of events, all of which contribute to form his character and fix the part appointed him to perform in human life. In many cases, however, it must be allowed, that in tracing the origin of national peculiarity and improvement the same difficulties do not exist.


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Observations on the Character, Customs and Superstitions of The Irish