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distant relative of the Scipios, to please the popular prejudice that the Scipios were invincible in Africa. Suetonius observes that all those of the family of Cæsar who bore the surname of Caius perished by the sword. The Emperor Severus consoled himself for the licentious life of his Empress Julia, from the fatality attending those of her name. This strange prejudice of lucky and unlucky names prevailed in modern Europe; the successor of Adrian VI. (as Guicciardini tells us) wished to preserve his own name on the papal throne; but he gave up the wish when the conclave of cardinals used the powerful argument that all the popes who had preserved their own names had died in the first year of their pontificates. Cardinal Marcel Cervin, who preserved his name when elected pope, died on the twentieth day of his pontificate, and this confirmed this superstitious opinion. La Motte le Vayer gravely asserts that all the Queens of Naples of the name of Joan, and the Kings of Scotland of the name of James, have been unfortunate, and we have formal treatises of the fatality of christian names.
It is a vulgar notion that every female of the name of Agnes is fated to become mad. Every nation has some names labouring with this popular prejudice. Herrera, the Spanish historian, records an anecdote in which the choice of a queen entirely arose from her name. When two French ambassadors negotiated a marriage between one of the Spanish princesses and Louis VIII. the names of the royal females were Urraca and Blanche. The former was the elder and the more beautiful, and intended by the Spanish court for the French monarch; but they resolutely preferred Blanche, observing that the name of Urraca would never do! and for the sake of a more mellifluous sound, they carried off, exulting in their own discerning ears, the happier named, but less beautiful princess.
There are names indeed which are painful to the feelings, from the associations of our passions. I have seen the christian name of a gentleman, the victim to the caprice of his godfather, who is called Blast us Godly,—which, were he designed for a bishop, must irritate religious feelings. I am not surprised that one of the Spanish monarchs refused to employ a sound Catholic for his secretary, because his name (Martin Lutero) had an affinity to the name of the reformer. Mr. Rose has recently informed us that an architect called Malacarne, who, I believe, had nothing against him but his name, was lately deprived of his place as principal architect by the Austrian government. Let us hope not for his unlucky
name! though that government, according to Mr. Rose, acts on capricious principles! The fondness which some have felt to perpetuate their names, when their race has fallen extinct, is well known; and a fortune has then been bestowed for a change of name; but the affection for names has gone even further. A similitude of names, Camden observes, “ dothe kindle sparkes of love and liking among meere strangers." I have observed the great pleasure of persons with uncommon names, meeting with another of the same name; an instant relationship appears to take place, and frequently fortunes have been bequeathed for namesakes. An ornamental manufacturer who bears a name which he supposes to be very uncommon, having executed an order of a gentleman of the same name, refused to send his bill, never having met with the like, preferring the honour of serving him for namesake.
Among the Greeks and the Romans, beautiful and significant names were studied. The sublime Plato himself has noticed the present topic,
-his visionary ear was sensible to the delicacy of a name, and his exalted fancy was delighted with beautiful names, as well as every other species of beauty. In his Cratyllus he is solicitous that persons should have happy, harmonious, and attractive names. According to Aulus Gellius,
the Athenians enacted by a public decree, that no slave should ever bear the consecrated names of their two youthful patriots, Harmodius and Aristogiton; names which had been devoted to the liberties of their country, they considered would be contaminated by servitude. The ancient Romans decreed that the surnames of infamous patricians should not be borne by any other patrician of that family, that their very names might be degraded and expire with them. Eutropius gives a pleasing proof of national friendships being cemented by a name ; by a treaty of peace between the Romans and the Sabines, they agreed to melt the two nations into one mass, that they should bear their names conjointly; the Roman should add his to the Sabine, and the Sabine take a Roman name.
The ancients named both persons and things from some event, or other circumstance, connected with the object they were to name. Chance, fancy, superstition, fondness, and piety have invented
It was a common and whimsical custom among the ancients (observes Larcher) to give as nicknames, the letters of the alphabet. Thus a lame girl was called Lambda, on account of the resemblance which her lameness made her bear to the letter 1, or lambda! Æsop was called Theta by his master, from his superior acuteness.
Another was called Beta, from his love of beet. It was thus Scarron, with infinite good temper, alluded to his zig-zag body, by comparing himself to the letters s or z.
The learned Calmet also notices among the Hebrew, nick-names, and names of raillery taken from defects of body, or mind, &c. One is called Nabal or fool; another Hamor the Ass; Hagab the Grasshopper, &c. Women had frequently the names of animals; as Deborah the Bee; Rachel the Sheep. Others from their nature or other qualifications; as Tamar the Palm-tree; Hadassa the Myrtle ; Sarah the Princess ; Hannah the Gracious. The Indians of North America employ sublime and picturesque names, such are the great Eagle--the Partridge—Dawn of the Day!
THE JEWS OF YORK.
Among the most interesting passages of history are those in which we contemplate an oppressed, yet sublime spirit, agitated by the conflict of two terrific passions: implacable hatred attempting a resolute vengeance, while that vengeance, though impotent, with dignified and silent horror, sinks into the last expression of despair. In a de