John Ball (b. Dublin 1818, d. 1889), F.R.S., educated at Oscott, passed the examination for a high degree at Cambridge, but, being a Catholic, was excluded from the degree itself and any other honors which a Protestant might have attained to. He travelled widely and published many works on the natural history of Europe and South America from Panama to Tierra del Fuego. He was the first to suggest the utilization of the electric telegraph for meteorological purposes connected with storm warnings.
Space ought to be found for a cursory mention of that strange person, Dionysius Lardner (1793-1859), who by his Lardner’s Cyclopaedia in 132 vols., his Cabinet Library, and his Museum of Science and Art, did much to popularize science in an unscientific day.
The principal sources of information are the National Dictionary of Biography; the Obituary Notices of the Royal Society (passages in inverted commas are from these); “Who’s Who” (for living persons); Healy: Ireland’s Ancient Schools and Scholars; Hyde: Literary History of Ireland; Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland; Moore: Medicine in the British Isles.
By LAURENCE GINNELL, B.L., M.P.
A DISTINCTION. Ireland having been a self-ruled country for a stretch of some two thousand years, then violently brought under subjection to foreign rule, regaining legislative independence for a brief period toward the close of the eighteenth century, then by violence and corruption deprived of that independence and again brought under the same foreign rule, to which it is still subject, the expression “Law in Ireland” comprises the native and the foreign, the laws devised by the Irish Nation for its own governance and the laws imposed upon it from without: two sets, codes, or systems proper to two entirely distinct social structures having no relation and but little resemblance to each other. Whatever may be thought of either as law, the former is Irish in every sense, and vastly the more interesting historically, archaeologically, philologically, and in many other ways; the latter being English law in Ireland, and not truly Irish in any sense.
ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF IRISH LAW. Seanchus agus Feineachus na hEireann == Hiberniae Antiquitates et Sanctiones Legales—The Ancient Laws and Decisions of the Feini, of Ireland. Sen or sean (pronounced shan) == “old,” differs from most Gaelic adjectives in preceding the noun it qualifies. It also tends to coalesce and become a prefix. Seanchus (shanech-us) == “ancient law.” Feineachus (fainech-us) == the law of the Feini, who were the Milesian farmers, free members of the clans, the most important class in the ancient Irish community. Their laws were composed in their contemporary language, the