Charles Vallancy (1721-1812)


Life
[General Vallancey;] b. Windsor of Huguenot stock, military engineer in Ireland, 1762; Secretary of Society of Irish Antiquaries, 1773 [var. fnd. Hibernian Antiquarian Society, 1779]; co-fnd. Royal Irish Academy [RIA], 1782; with the object of examining ‘the ancient state of arts and literature’ in Ireland; FRS 1784; published glossary of the Forth and Bargy Hiberno-English dialect (Wexford) in 28 pages, 1788; initiated the scholarship of Ogam in an essay on his findings at the Mount Callan stone, in 1785 (now deemed a hoax); launched and ed. Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis (1770-1804), containing 50 papers of Irish antiquarianism including ‘Origin and language the Irish and the learning of the druids’, ‘Anecdotes of chess in Ireland’, and ‘Astronomy and the ancient Irish’, et al.; the Collectanea later evolved into the RIA Transactions, and Proceedings of today;
 
inaugurated the Phoenician Scytho-Celtic school of Irish philology, based on supposed kinship of Irish with Punic [i.e., Carthaginian] and Kabmuck (the language of the Algonquin Indians); traced ressemblances by collating Irish words with the text of Plautus’s Poenulus, though unaware of similar collations by Tadhg Ó Neachtain; held Tara to be temple of Mithras [viz., cult of Mithrades]; friend of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare, whom he co-opted with Dr. Carpenter, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, onto the Select Committee of the Dublin Society for Antiquities of Ireland, 1763, and later proposed his grandson Charles O’Conor as a full member of the RIA;
 
Vallancey never learned Irish although he owned a grammatical dictionary compiled by a school-teacher named Crab; four times married, he had some twenty-seven children by three of his wives; a son and namesake saw service as a lieutenant in the British Army during the American War of Independence and later reported on the defences of the southern Irish coasts to George III; a portrait of Vallancey is included in the engraving of House of Commons in 1790 [as figure No. 172 in key], now preserved in Bank of Ireland (College Green); the character and namesake based on Vallancey (d.1812) figures in James Anthony Froude’s The Two Chiefs of Dunboy. ODNB RAF [FDA] OCIL

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Works
  • A Treatise on Inland Navigation (Dublin 1763).
  • A Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic, or Irish Language (Dublin: R. Marchbank for G. Faulkner, T. Ewing and R. Moncrieffe 1773), li,192pp., ill. [viii of plates], 24cm. [4°; copy presented to Marsh’s Library by the author, 6 May 1773; another in Nat. Lib. of Wales], and Do. [2nd edn.] A Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic or Irish Language to which is prefixed an essay on Celtic Language; shewing the importance of the Irish dialect, to students of history and the classics (Dublin; R. Marchbank 1782), 8o. [TCD Lib.];
  • ed., Collectanea de rebus hibernicus, [2nd. edn.], 6 vols. (Dublin: L. White 1786-1790), ill. [pls., maps, plans, tables], 22 cm. [see details];
Sundry
  • ‘An Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language, being a Collation of the Irish with the Punic Languages’ (1772), published in part of Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis (1770-1804) [details], and reprinted together with O’Conor’s Remarks on An Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language [3rd. edn.] (London: [n.pub.] 1818);
  • A Vindication of the Ancient History of Ireland (Dublin: Luke White 1786) [i.e., in Collectanea];
See also the attached listing of RIA holdings, infra.

National Library of Ireland holds ...
A REPORT on the / GRAND CANAL, / or, SOUTHERN LINE. / By Charles Vallancey / Director of Engineers. / Published by Order, and at the Expence of the Board of Inland Navigation. Dublin: Timothy Dyton, Booksellers, in DAME-STREET / M,DCC,LXXI. [fold out map, A Sketch of the Country Between Dublin and the River Shannon Showing the course of the Grand Canal from Dublin to the Shannon and its Junction with the Rivers Barrow & Boyne. [Note: Prominently featured are the Hill of Allen and the Bog of Donore; extent of this navigation 317 3/4 miles.]
—exhibited in NLI's Discover page online using Silverlight software [accessed 18.01.2011]

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Bibliographical details
Collectanea de rebus hibernicus / [ed.] by Charles Vallancey. [2nd. edn.], 6 vols. (Dublin: L. White 1786-1790), ill. [pls., maps, plans, tables], 22 cm. [Vols. 1-4 published in 14 numbers, each having special t.p.; Vol. 5 has a different imprint, viz., Dublin: R. Marchbank 1790). CONTENTS. Vol. 1, No. 1: Sir H. Piers, A chorographical description of the county of West-Meath. No. II: 1. Sir J. Davis, A letter ... to the Earl of Salisbury. 2. [James] Ussher, Original and first institution of corbes, erenachs, and termonlands. 3. An account of two ancient instruments lately discovered. No. III-IV: [C. Vallancey,] A critico-historical dissertation concerning the antient Irish laws, or national customs, called gavel-kind and thanistry. Appended: The Brehon laws of Ireland. Vol. 2, No. V: [C. Vallancey,] Of the literature of the Irish nation in heathenish times. Translation of a fragment of the Brehon laws. The gavel law of the ancient Irish explained. Of the literature of the Irish after the establishment of Christianity. An enquiry into the first inhabitants of Ireland. Vol. 2, No. VI: Edward Ledwich, 1. An essay on the study of Irish antiquities. 2. A dissertation on the round towers in Ireland. 3. Memoirs of Dunamase and Shean castle. Vol. VII: W. Beauford, Druidism revived. 2. Of the origin and language of the Irish; and of the learning of the druids. Vol. VIII: C. Vallancey, 1. An essay on the antiquity of the Irish language. 2. Remarks [signed Celticus] on the Essay on the antiquity of the Irish language. No. IX. E. Ledwich, The history and antiquities of Irishtown and Kikenny. Vol. 3 [Pt. 1] No. X: C. Vallancey, 1. A continuation of the Brehon laws. 2. The Chinese language collated with the Irish. 3. The Japanese language collated with the Irish. 4. On the round towers of Ireland. 5. [T.] Pownall, An account of the ship-temple near Dundalk ... 6. Charles O’Connor, Reflections on the history of Ireland ... . A letter from Curio. No. XI: Beauford, W. Antient topography of Ireland. Ledwich, E. Some observations on Irish antiquities. Vol. 3, Pt. 2., No. XII: C. Vallancey, Preface [to his Vindication of the ancient history Ireland] (clxxv pp.) 1. Of All hallows eve. 2. Of the gule of August, or Lammas day. 3. Description of the banqueting hall of Tamar or Tara. 4. Of the kiss of salutation. 5. Conclusion; miscellaneous. 6. Second letter from Charles O’Connor [for O’Conor], esq.; on the heathen state and ancient topography of Ireland. Vol. 4 [pt. 1] No. XIII: C. Vallancey [On the ancient implements, &c., of the Irish]; Mr. O’Connor’s third letter on the heathen state of Ireland. Vol. 4 [pt. 2] No. XIV: C. Vallancey, A vindication of the ancient history of Ireland. Vol. 5: C Vallancey, The Uraikeft, or book of Oghams. An essay on the origin of alphabet writing. Terms of the Brehon-Amhan laws explained. Origin of the feudal system of government. Vol. 6, Pt. 1: C. Vallancey, A further vindication of the ancient history of Ireland. An essay on the language of the gypsies. A second essay on the round towers of Ireland. An account of several Ogham inscriptions. An essay on the money of the ancient Irish. Vol. 6, Pt. 2: C. Vallancey, Several Ogham inscriptions. Account of a double patera of gold. Account of an extraordinary carn. Ancient dress and ornaments of the Irish ladies. Essay on the astronomy of the ancient Irish, compared with that of the Chaldaeans. [For another descriptions, see attached.]

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Criticism
Seamus Ó Casaidhe, A Book of Irish and Scottish Gaelic Verse, Bibliographical Society of Ireland pamphlet, Vol. III no. 6 (1928); J. H. Andrews, ‘Charles Vallencey and the Map of Ireland’, in The Geographical Journal, Vol. 132, Part 1 (March 1966), pp.48-61; William O’Reilly, ‘Charles Vallancey and the Military Itinerary of Ireland’ (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy [Section C] , 106C, 1 (Jan. 2006), pp.125-217; Mícheál O Bréartúin, Charles Vallancey, 1725-1812 - ginearál, innealtóir, agus “scoláire Gaeilge” (BAC: Cosceim 2009), 120pp.

See Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co. 1986), pp.81, 334, 337, 339, 403, 418, 419-22, 423, 424, 427, 435, 437, & 487 [a major reassessment].

See John O’Donovan’s review of Zeuss’s Grammatica Celtica (1851) in Ulster Journal of Archaeology (1859) see under Zeuss, infra, or attached.

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Commentary
James Hardiman, ed., Irish Minstrelsy, or Bardic Remains (London: Robins 1831), Introduction (footnote): ‘Several of the bards named in the foregoing note, were men of extensive learning. Of this fact, if space permitted, many instances could be adduced; one, however, out of justice [xxv] to the individual cannot be omitted. - It is well known, that the late General Vallancey obtained much literary celebrity, both at home and abroad, and, in fact, first acquired the reputation of an Irish scholar, by the collation of Hanno, the Carthaginian’s speech in Plautus, published Vol. ii. Collectanea, p.310; but it is not so well known that that speech had been collated many years before, by Teige O’Neachtain, an excellent Irish poet, and author of the extempore epigram, Vol. ii. p. 120, of this collection. Vallancey had this collation in O’Neachtan’s hand-writing, in his possession; and I am obliged (with regret) to add, that he never acknowledged the fact, but assumed the entire credit of the discovery to himself. A copy of this curious collation, from which Vallancey has materially deviated, is now before me, but is too long for insertion here. The autograph copy of O’Neachtan, dated 12 August, 1741, is preserved in the library of William Monck Mason, Esq., Dublin. [xxvii.]

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R. E. Ward & C. Ward, Letters of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare (1988), recount that O’Conor strongly supported Vallancey’s Phoenician theory of Irish linguistic origins; note that volume dates for Collectanea are given as 1770, 1782, 1783, [&c.], with the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth separate numbers falling in the years 1783-86 (Letters, pp.427, n.2, &c.) Further, quotes remarks on the Callan Stone, ‘To show that we have heathen inscriptions still preserved in Ireland would render other arguments in a great degree unnecessary. [...] The authenticity of the inscription would not only increase our stock of knowledge relative to ancient times, but enhance the value by being reputable to our ancestors [...] Let me observe here cursorily that an inscription which through the course of more than 1,400 yrs has withstood the depredations of time must be very deeply cut in very strong lines [...]’. Note the Wards’ editoral allusion to O’Conor’s suspicions of Theo. O’Flanagan’s discovery in Letter 387 (p.4412).

Bibl., Siobhán de hÓir, ‘The Mount Callan Ogham Stone and Its Context’, in North Munster Antiquarian Journal: Irisleabhar Seandáluíochta Tuahd-Mhumhan, XXV (1983), pp.43-57. See also several further references and communications to Vallancey on O’Conorís part, including a series of encomia on including this: ‘The extent of his [Vallancey’s] oriental learning and skill in modern languages is vast. In my last to him I ventured to predict that his last performance [Monasticon] will draw on him the a attention of all the academics in Europe ... it is from the conflict and collision of authorities and opinions that the truth will come out at last on every question [echoing Augustine, cited in Latin in a previous letter] (Letter to Walker, 15 Aug. 1786; Letters, p.471).

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Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co. 1986): ‘A Dublin Society select committee to examine the antient state of arts and literature and other antiquities of Ireland was brain-childed by Charles Vallancey in 1772 (see Minutes for 17 May 1772). The successor of the Select Committee was the Hibernian Antiquarian Society, 1779-83, which in turn set in motion the creation of RIA in 1782, with Vallancey as one of its founding members. Vallancey was the son of a Huguenot émigré, Army officer; derided by many as a charlatan or at best a naive nitwit, Vallancey contributed few ideas of any value to the study of Gaelic antiquity, but much badly-needed enthusiasm, energy and social/religious respectability. He had founded his periodical Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis as a forum for antiquarianism.’ Further, ‘it was the additional merit of Vallancey to open this world [of Ascendancy] enthusiasm for Irish antiquity] to his friend and mentor Charles O’Conor, in whose wake younger Gaelic, Catholic scholars like O’Halloran and Theophilus Flanagan could begin to function in close collaboration with Ascendancy Protestants.’ [403].

Further: ‘Other men, like William Beauford, Charles Ledwich, and Thomas Campbell, who like [Bishop] Percy took a more Nordic and consequently less enthusiastic view of Gaelic antiquity began to deride Vallancey’s “wild reveries” openly in his Collectanea, which consequently became less a forum for Irish antiquarianism than a bear-baiting ground [403-05]. Leerssen offers a further defence of Vallancey against charges of folly and eccentricity, at [420], arguing that his Phoenician theories were in line with the French-nurtured pre-scientific philology exemplified in English by Rowland Jones, James Parsons, and William Shaw - the latter Dr. Johnson’s friend who called Gaelic ‘the language of Japhet, spoken before the Deluge, and probably the Speech of Paradise.’ Vallancey jauntily compared the few Irish words he knew with Phoenician, Iranian, Arabic, Chinese, &c. [...] but his work inspired J. C. Walker, and also Charlotte Brooke, to lay the foundations of Irish literary history. His eminent position is testified by the stature of his opponents, e.g., Percy, and the well-known bequest by Henry Flood‘ [vide infra] (p.420).

Bibl., a seminal essay for Leerssen’s study is clearly Walter D. Love, ‘The Hibernian Antiquarian Society, a forgotten predecessor to the Royal Irish Academy’, Studies 51 (1962), pp.419-431. Leersdsen continues: ‘Henry Flood made a large bequest - the income of an estate - to found a chair of philology at TCD, stipulating that “if he shall still be then living, Colonel Charles Vallancey to be the first professor thereof [...] seeing that by his eminent and successful labours in the study and recovery of that language [Gaelic] he well deserves to be so first appointed.” (Quoted in Parsons, op cit.; see under Flood, supra.] [Cont.]

Joseph Th. Leerssen (Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael, 1986) - cont: ‘Vallancey’s Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic or Irish language (1773) was the first grammar by a member of the ascendancy not be be inspired by motives of prosletyzation [but to] aim to vindicate Gaelic culture by vindicating the language in which it expressed itself.’ Leerssen quotes the dedication to Sir Lucius O’Brien: “Sir, the repeated indignities of late years cast on the history and antiquities of this once famed and learned island [... &c., as given under Quotations, infra.]. Notes J. C. Walker’s comments on the impact of the 1798 Rebellion on Vallancey: ‘Vallancey must, as you suppose, be hurt at the conduct of those whose champion he has been, &c.’ (Walker to Pinkerton, in Pinkerton, Literary correspondence, 1830, vol. 2 37; see Walker, infra; Leerssen, p.435.) See ftn.: ‘The Ulster king of arms, Sir William Betham supported Vallancey’s theories of Phoenician origin of the Celts; his position in the RIA made untenable by Petrie’s historical enquiries’ (p.437.) Leerssen further notes that Charles Henry Wilson, Select Irish poems translated into English (c.1782), contains verses in homage to Vallancy, ‘born to cultivate the arts’.

Further (Leerssen): Sir Lawrence Parsons [Ealr of Rosse], Observations on the bequest of Henry Flood, Esp. to Trinity College, Dublin. With a Defence of the Ancient History of Ireland (Dublin 1795) [pamphlet] points out that the study of Gaelic would make manuscripts accessible ‘which would throw a considerable light upon a very early era of history of the human race, as well as relieve this country from the most unjust charges of ignorance and barbarism, at a time when it was by far more enlightened and civilised than any of the adjacent nations’ (p.25-26). Parsons highlights Vallancey’s Phoenicio-Gaelic interpretation of the Carthaginian speech in Plautus’s Poenulus (p.38-39). Bibl., Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicus No 10, Vol. I, 2, 4 [containing pts. xiii-xiv], & 5 (Dublin 1782-90); No. 10 includes ‘Brehon laws’; ‘Chinese and Japanese languages compared’; ‘Round Towers,’ etc.; Vol. 2 includes ‘Literature of the Irish Nation in Heathenish Times,’ ‘Essay on the Study of Irish Antiquities,’ ‘Druidism Revived,’ ‘History of Kilkenny’; vol. 4 includes ‘Vindication of Ancient Irish History’; Vol. 5 includes ‘Uraikeft, or the Book of Oghams,’ ‘Chess in Ireland,’ ‘Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language, with the Hindoostanee, Arabic and Caldean languages’ (Dublin 1802); also Vindication (Dublin 1786).

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Joep Leerssen, ‘Ireland and the Orient’, in Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East, ed. C. C. Barfoot, Theo d'. Haen (Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi B.V. 1988), pp.161-74: ‘[...] the point is that in Ireland, as opposed to England, a self-orientalizing tendency could dreaw on a culturally prestigious subtext. Even though academic scholarship had abandoned the antiquarian speculations of Vallancey and his ilk, leaving the field to eccentrics like [Henry] O’Brien, and preferring to remain on firmer ground as far as the scholarly elucidation of the past was concerned; even so, the self-orientalizing source tradition from native, biblical pseudohistory to antiquarian speculation had become part of the Irish imaginagteion. Iin historical and linguistic works we continue to find courteous references to Vallancey throughout the nineteenth century, and his heritage reverberates also in the field of literature.’ (p.167; incls. ftn.: ‘for the impact of speculative antiquarianism on nineteenth-century Irish literature, see Leerssen, Remembrance and Imagination’, pp.49-64.)

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George A Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (1957), Vallancey is recorded by Haliday as declaring that the city’s name ought be ‘Bally Lean [sic] Cliath as being ... built near ... a harbour’. Malton [did the same, probably echoing him] in the letter-press accompanying his famous series of Pictures of Dublin. Dixon-Hardy [&c] [repeated this] without hesitation, qualification or, alas, authority. ... It would be an incredible coincidence if each of these writers invented the name - each on his own initiative. The unlikelihood is increased when it is remembered that neither Malton nor Dixon-Hardy (?) [sic] understood Irish, while Vallancey, to judge by his performance, had a knowledge of the language which was peculiar and of far less extent than he pretended. Of course, Vallancey may have concocted the name. Such procedure would have been characteristic. But I think had this been son - such was Vallancey’s fame at the time - that the other two authors would have been only too glad to give the name the imprimatur of his authority. [83]. [See also reference under John O’Donovan.]

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), Charles Vallancey produced a literary curiosity when he included an Irish translation of the Punic speech from Plautus’ Poenulus in his Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language (1772).

Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature, 1989), notes that in 1788 Vallancey published ‘an Old Song’ from Wexford. In it we see a reduced form of Ich am (‘cham’) ... &c. “We’ll gosp, c’hull be zeid; mot thee fartoo, and fade; / He deight ouse var gabble; tell ee zin go t’glade. / Cham a stouk, an a donel; wou’ll leigh out ee dey, / Th’valler w’speen here, th’ lass ee chourch-hey”. (Alspach, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798, 1959, p.43; Todd, op. cit., p.96.)

Roy Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch (London: Allen Lane/Penguin 1993), ‘a certain amount of hokum was inseparable from the [antiquarian] fashion, the philology of Charles Vallancey, obsessed with the Punic root of the Gaelic language and culture, is one example ...’ (p.3).

Hubert Butler, ‘Lament for Archaeology’, in Roy Foster, ed., Butler, The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue (London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press; Dublin: Lilliput 1990), where Butler remarks on the treatment of Vallancey and his contemporaries at the hands of George Petrie and his followers: ‘Petrie scourged them [Vallancy, Beaufort, et al. ‘who pioneered Irish archaeology at the end of the eighteenth century’] in his book on round towers (rather uncharitably, considering how fanciful and dogmatic he could often be himself.) In Irish scholarship few disputed the supremacy of O’Donovan and to a lesser extent O’Curry, both of them Petrie’s colleagues in the Ordnance Survey. In Kilkenny Archaeological Society, which after 1848 became one of the leading provincial archaeological societies in the British Isles, I can find only one reference to Vallancey which is not disparaging, a comment at a General Meeting: “Despite Vallancey’s questionable theories, he had done much good in arousing attention to Irish archaeology at a time when it excited little interest.’ (p.171.)

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Spurgeon Thompson, ‘Antiquarianism’ (2004): ‘The persistence of Vallancey’s credibility is a testament not to his academic assiduity but rather to the necessities of certain forms of cultural nationalism, such as the kind that [James] Joyce would articulate in Trieste. Vallancey’s unprovable, “speculative and mystifying” ideas (in Leerssen's words) about Irish origins would have consequences beyond enabling apologistic strands of nationalism, however. The reaction to his work, as enshrined in Edward Ledwich's Antiquities of Ireland (2d edition, 1804) formed the basis of nineteenth-century Irish antiquarianism and set the standard for the early-twentieth-century division of the subjects encompassed by antiquarianism into formal categories such as history, archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology. The Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy became a forum in which to continue this reaction and the debates surrounding Vallancey’s assertions. At the same time, as Seamus Deane has observed, the special section in the Proceedings on antiquities became a place where “amateur scholars like Charles O’Conor and Edmund Ledwidge [and] politicians like Sir Lawrence Parsons all brought some offering to the new shrine of cultural nationalism, where the new gods of Language and of War presided, converting the old accusations of crudeness in speech and turbulence into symptoms of natural spontaneity and of valour”’ (Deane, Short History of Irish Literature, Hutchinson, 1986, p.62).’ (Thompson - Novelguide online; accessed 26.02.2011.)

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Quotations
Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic or Irish Language (1773), Dedication to Sir Lucius O’Brien: ‘Sir, the repeated indignities of late years cast on the history and antiquities of this once famed and learned island, by many writers of Great Britain, have involuntarily drawn forth the following work. The puerile excuse hitherto offered by the invidious critics, of the want of means to learn the language of the country whose history they presume to censure, must from henceforth be rejected [...] Where the language of any ancient nation is attainable, a criterion is discovered for distinguishing accurately, the more remarkable features in the national character. Should the dialect be found destitute in the general rules of grammatical construction, and concordance; barren of scientific terms; and grating in its cadence, we may without hesitation pronounce, that the speakers were a rude and barbarous nation. The case will be altered much, where we find a language masculine and nervous; harmonious in its articulation; copious in its phraseology; and replete with those abstract and technical terms, which no civilised people can want. We not only grant that the speakers were once a thinking and cultivated people; but we must confess that the language itself, is a species of historical inscription, more ancient, and more authentic also, as far as it goes, than any precarious hearsay of old foreign writers, strangers in general, to the natural, as well as the civil history of the remote countries they describe.’ ([p.1]; quoted in Leerssen, op. cit., 1986, p.427.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography, call his son of French protestant; officer of Engineers; engineer in ordinary in Ireland, 1762; general, 1803; FRS, 1784; ignorant of Irish, published worthless tracts [sic] on Irish philology and history, 1772-1802 [sic].

[ For holdings of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), see separate listing, infra. ]

E. R. McClintock Dix, ‘The Beaufoy Sale’ (Vol. I; August, 1909), writes: ‘A fine copy of Vallency’s Collectanea (1770-1804), six vols. in five, went for £7.’

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, a biographical note on Vallancey’s is inserted as a footnote to an Anonymous essay on ‘Our Periodical Literature’ [FDA1 1265-68], warning against contributors ruining the Magazine of Mr. Duffy if they ‘serve up hashed Vallancey or pilfered Petrie’ (FDA1 1267); Vallancey is here characterised by the FDA editor as a military engineer, surveyor, and eccentric antiquarian who claimed an affinity between the Irish and the ancient Carthaginians in An essay on the antiquity of the Irish language (1772) published in Collectanea de Rebus Hibernices [?sic] (1770-90); 978n. [Vallancey as source of J. C. Walker’s assertion that there were ‘Druith Righeadh, or Royal Mimics or Comedians’ at Tara (Col. de. Rebus Hib., vol. iii, p.531) [Cf. Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre, 1946), comments on earliest Irish drama]; 1054 [Thomas Moore explored the Irish past in eccentric fashion with the help of O’Halloran, Warner, and Vallancey].

COPAC lists Collectanea de rebus hibernicus / [ed.] by Charles Vallancey. [2nd. edn.], 6 vols. (Dublin: L. White 1786-1790), ill. [pls., maps, plans, tables], 22 cm. [Vols. 1-4 published in 14 numbers, each having special t.p.; Vol. 5 has a different imprint, viz., Dublin : R. Marchbank 1790). CONTENTS. Vol. 1, No. 1: Sir H. Piers, A chorographical description of the county of West-Meath. No. II: 1. Sir J. Davis, A letter ... to the Earl of Salisbury. 2. [James] Ussher, Original and first institution of corbes, erenachs, and termonlands. 3. An account of two ancient instruments lately discovered. No. III-IV: [C. Vallancey,] A critico-historical dissertation concerning the antient Irish laws, or national customs, called gavel-kind and thanistry. Appended: The Brehon laws of Ireland. Vol. 2, No. V: [C. Vallancey,] Of the literature of the Irish nation in heathenish times. Translation of a fragment of the Brehon laws. The gavel law of the ancient Irish explained. Of the literature of the Irish after the establishment of Christianity. An enquiry into the first inhabitants of Ireland. Vol. 2, No. VI: Edward Ledwich, 1. An essay on the study of Irish antiquities. 2. A dissertation on the round towers in Ireland. 3. Memoirs of Dunamase and Shean castle. Vol. VII: W. Beauford, Druidism revived. 2. Of the origin and language of the Irish; and of the learning of the druids. Vol. VIII: C. Vallancey, 1. An essay on the antiquity of the Irish language. 2. Remarks [signed Celticus] on the Essay on the antiquity of the Irish language. No. IX. E. Ledwich, The history and antiquities of Irishtown and Kikenny. Vol. 3 [Pt. 1] No. X: C. Vallancey, 1. A continuation of the Brehon laws. 2. The Chinese language collated with the Irish. 3. The Japanese language collated with the Irish. 4. On the round towers of Ireland. 5. [T.] Pownall, An account of the ship-temple near Dundalk ... 6. Charles O’Connor, Reflections on the history of Ireland ... . A letter from Curio. No. XI: Beauford, W. Antient topography of Ireland. Ledwich, E. Some observations on Irish antiquities. Vol. 3, Pt. 2., No. XII: C. Vallancey, Preface [to his Vindication of the ancient history Ireland] (clxxv pp.) 1. Of All hallows eve. 2. Of the gule of August, or Lammas day. 3. Description of the banqueting hall of Tamar or Tara. 4. Of the kiss of salutation. 5. Conclusion; miscellaneous. 6. Second letter from Charles O’Connor [for O’Conor], esq.; on the heathen state and ancient topography of Ireland. Vol. 4 [pt. 1] No. XIII: C. Vallancey [On the ancient implements, &c., of the Irish]; Mr. O’Connor’s third letter on the heathen state of Ireland. Vol. 4 [pt. 2] No. XIV: C. Vallancey, A vindication of the ancient history of Ireland. Vol. 5: C Vallancey, The Uraikeft, or book of Oghams. An essay on the origin of alphabet writing. Terms of the Brehon-Amhan laws explained. Origin of the feudal system of government. Vol. 6, Pt. 1: C. Vallancey, A further vindication of the ancient history of Ireland. An essay on the language of the gypsies. A second essay on the round towers of Ireland. An account of several Ogham inscriptions. An essay on the money of the ancient Irish. Vol. 6, Pt. 2: C. Vallancey, Several Ogham inscriptions. Account of a double patera of gold. Account of an extraordinary carn. Ancient dress and ornaments of the Irish ladies. Essay on the astronomy of the ancient Irish, compared with that of the Chaldaeans.

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Library of Herbert Bell (Belfast) holds Collectanea De Rebus Hibernicis Vol. 1 (1786) [?err.]; Vol. 6 (1790); Vol. 7 (1807), all printed in Dublin.

The Linen Hall Library (Belfast) holds Vallancey’s Collectanea, No. XIV (1786); also C. Vallancey, ed., E. Ledwich, Essay on the Study of the Irish Language [apparently an erroneous conflation of ‘Essay on the Study of Irish Antiquities’ by Ledwich, and ‘Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language’ by Vallancey]; also, ‘Japonese [sic] Language collated with Irish’ (in his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicus, No 10, 1782); Prospectus for a Dictionary of the Aire Coti (1802); Dissertation concerning the Ancient Irish laws (1786).

University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds A Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic or Irish Language to which is prefixed an essay on Celtic Language (Dublin 1782).

Library of Sir William Gregory held Charles Vallancey, Prospectus of a Dictionary of the Language of the Aire Coti, or ancient Irish, compared with the language of the Cuti, or ancient Persians (Dublin 1802), 4o. (See Printed Books formerly in the Library at Coole [Sotheby & Co., 21 March 1972, p.61.)

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Notes
Vallancey’s Green Book, MS in RIA, includes ref. to proposals in 1750 to print a dictionary by a schoolmaster Crab, died. c.1762, compiled about 1740; sold by his widow to William Burton Conyngham and presented to Vallancey; Thomas Jones auctioned Vallancey’s library in Feb. 1813, Lot 1281 [in extant catalogue] being Dictionarium trilingue [sic] sive Dictionarium Anglo Latino Hibernicum, sive Lingua hibernica rediviva, 1747, or An English, Latin and Irish Dictionary, author’s title; bought for a Dr Adam Clarke and removed to England, it was found in Evans’s bookshop by Hardiman in 1829, having been sent for sale from France; now preserved in RIA in three large vols. as 24q 19-21.

Plearaca Na Ruarach’ [O’Rourke’s Feast’], appears in Vallancey’s Irish Grammar [2nd edn.] (1781; reiss. 1782) in the Irish version (97ll., omitting l.60) along with Jonathan Swift’s trans. of same. The text was not included in the 1773 1st edn.).

Sir Samuel Ferguson made several investigations into the ‘alleged literary forgery respecting sun-worship on Mount Callan’ (Paper in Proceedings of RIA, 1875, et al.)

Phoenicians all? Note that James Hardiman (in Irish Minstrelsy, 1831), makes repeated reference to ‘the Phoenician dialect of the Irish’, using it as a synonym for Bearla Feine. Máire Mac an tSaoi explains in her introduction to the Irish Univ. Press facs. rep. edition that Hardiman had not the benefit of modern philology, and - although she does not add it - presumably accepted the theory advanced by Vallancey.

James Joyce speaks of ‘the critic Vallancey’, without much knowledge of the subject, in quoting Vallancey’s version of linguistic origins of Irish in ‘Ireland, Isle of Saints and Sages’ (Ellsworth Mason & Richard Ellmann, ed., The Critical Writings of James Joyce, Viking 1967, p.156), as follows: ‘This language is oriental in origin, and has been identified by many philologists with the ancient language of the Phoenicians, the originators of trade and navigation, according to historians. This adventurous people, who had a monopoly of the sea, established in Ireland a civilisation that had decayed and almost disappeared before the first Greek historian took his pen in hand. ... the language that the Latin writer of comedy, Plautus, put in to the mouths of the Phoenicians in his comedy Poenulus is almost the same language that the Irish peasants speak today, according to the critic Vallancey. The religion and civilisation of this ancient people, later known by the name of Druidism, were Egyptian.’ Note: the passage is quoted in Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, ‘British Romans and Irish Carthaginians: Anticolonial Metaphor in Heaney, Friel and McGuinness’, in PMLA, March 1996, pp.222-36, p.227; also in Norman Vance, Irish Literature: A Social History, 1990, p.227; Maria Tymoczko, The Irish Ulysses, 1994, p.36-43.)

Col. Coote: Col. Coote’s RDS Survey of Co. Derry is dedicated to Vallancey [copy held by W. E. Andrews in Borough Offices of Coleraine Town Hall.].

Kin & Kin: Lt. Charles Vallencey, a son of Colonel Charles Vallencey, saw active service in Francis Rawdon’s regt., the Volunteers of Ireland in America; see J. H. Andrews, ‘Charles Vallencey and the Map of Ireland’ in The Geographical Journal,Vol. 132, Pt. 1 (March 1966), pp. 48-61 [Supplied by Brian McGinn.]

Americana: The Atlas of the American Revolution contains a map of the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, South Carolina, based on a drawing by Charles Vallency, identified as an officer in a Tory regiment, presumably Lord Rawdon’s Volunteers of Ireland who were involved in that battle. [Supplied by Brian McGinn, April 1997.]

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