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W. by Kermanshah and Kurdistan. Its length, N.W.-S.E., was about 600 m. from the Kaflán Kuh on the Kizil Uzain, the frontier of Azerbaijan, to the frontier of Kerman beyond Yezd, and its width, N.E.-S.W., about 300 m.

IRAN, the great plateau between the plain of the Tigris in the west and the valley of the Indus in the east, the Caspian Sea and the Turanian desert in the north, and the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean in the south, surrounded on all sides by high mountain ranges with a great salt desert in the centre. The modern name Iran, in middle-Persian Eran (a form preferred by many German authors) is derived from the ancient Aryāna, “the country of the Aryans,” i.e. that part of the Aryans which we call Iranians. Eratosthenes limited the name of Ariana to the south-eastern part of Iran, and excluded Persia, Media and Bactria, and therein he is followed by Strabo (ii. 78, 130, xv. 720 ff.; Pomp. Mela i. 3; Pliny, Nat. Hist. vi. 113, 116, xii. 33); Pliny (Nat. Hist. vi. 93) confounds it with Arīa, Areia, Pers. Haraiva, i.e. the district of Herat; but Strabo himself says (xv. 724) that some extended the name to the Persians, Medes, Bactrians and Sogdians, as they all spoke the same language with small dialectic variations (cf. 727 and i. 66, xi. 523).

For the ethnography and history of Iran see Persia.

 (Ed. M.) 

IRBIT, a town of Russia, in the government of Perm, 110 m. N.E. of Ekaterinburg, and on the Irbit river. Pop. (1860) 3408, (1897) 20,064. It is famous for a great fair, held since 1643, which lasts from the 1st of February to the 1st of March (O.S.), and at which are sold (to an average annual value of over £4,000,000) cottons, woollens, flax and hemp, silks, leather, metals, metallic and other manufactured goods, furs, hides, felt, raw wool and tea.

IRELAND, JOHN (1761-1842), English divine and dean of Westminster, was born at Ashburton, Devonshire, on the 8th of September 1761, his father being a butcher in that town. For a short time he worked in a shoemaker’s shop. Subsequently he proceeded to Oxford, and in due course took holy orders. Through the interest of the earl of Liverpool he was in 1802 appointed a prebendary of Westminster Abbey, in 1815 he was promoted to the deanery of Westminster, and from 1816 to 1835 he was also rector of Islip, Oxfordshire. In 1825 he gave £4000 for the foundation at Oxford of four “Ireland” scholarships of the value of £30 a year each, “for the promotion of classical learning and taste.” He also gave £500 to Westminster school for the establishment of prizes for Latin hexameters. He died at Westminster on the 2nd of September 1842, and was buried in the abbey.

IRELAND, JOHN (1838-), American Roman Catholic prelate, was born at Burnchurch, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on the 11th of September 1838. In 1849 he was taken to the United States by his parents, who settled at St Paul, Minnesota Territory. After being educated in France for the priesthood, he returned to the United States in 1861; he was ordained at St Paul and in the following year he accompanied the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry south as chaplain. Subsequently he became rector of the cathedral at St Paul, and in 1870-1871 represented Bishop Thomas Langdon Grace (1814-1897) at the Vatican council at Rome. In 1875 he was appointed bishop of Nebraska, but at the urgent request of Bishop Grace the appointment was changed so that he might remain at St Paul as bishop-coadjutor with the right of succession; at the same time he was made titular bishop of Maronea. In 1884 he succeeded to the bishopric, and in 1888 he became the first archbishop of the see. His liberal views gave him a wide influence and reputation both within and without the church, and he came to be looked upon as a leader of the “American” as distinguished from the “Roman” party in the clergy. His views were, however, opposed by several leading Catholics; and several of his administrative acts, notably his plan for the partial taking over of control of the parochial schools by the local authorities (known from the town in which it was first attempted, “the Faribault plan”), were strenuously attacked. He was prominently identified with the planting of Catholic communities or colonies in the North-West, with the establishment of the Catholic University at Washington, and with the Catholic total abstinence movement. The degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by Yale University in 1901. He published The Church and Modern Society (1896).

IRELAND, WILLIAM HENRY (1777-1835), forger of Shakespearian manuscripts, was born at London in 1777. His father, Samuel Ireland, was an engraver and author, and dealer in rare books and curios. In 1794 young Ireland, with his father, visited Stratford, where he met John Jordan, a local poet who had published a deal of gossipy matter about Shakespeare and had even forged the will of the poet's father. Seeing his own father's credulous interest, Ireland conceived the idea of doing a little forgery on his own account. He copied, in ink which had all the signs of age, Shakespeare's style and handwriting, and produced leases, contracts with actors, notes, receipts, a profession of faith, and even a love letter to Anne Hathaway with an enclosed lock of hair, to the delight of his unsuspecting father, and the deception of many scholars who attested their belief in the genuineness of his finds, These he accounted for by inventing an ancestor "William Henry Irelaunde," to whom they had been bequeathed by Shakespeare in gratitude for rescue from drowning. At last the discovery of a whole new play named Vortigern was announced. Sheridan purchased it for Drury Lane Theatre, and an overflowing house assembled on the 2nd of April 1796 to sit in judgment upon it. But away from the glamour of crabbed handwriting and yellow paper, the feeble dialogue and crude conceptions of the tragedy could not stand the test, and its one representation was greeted with shouts of laughter. Its fate prevented the composition of a series of historical plays, of which Henry II. had already been produced by this audacious forger. Samuel Ireland the elder had published in 1795 the Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments under the Hand and Seal of William Shakespeare; including the Tragedy of King Lear and a small fragment of Hamlet (dated 1796). He had the fullest belief in their authenticity, but the hostile criticism of Malone and others, and the unsatisfactory account of the source of the papers, made him demand a full disclosure from his son. Harassed by the success of his own deeit, which had carried him far beyond his first intention, Ireland at last confessed his fraud, and published (1796) an Authentic Account of the Shakespearian MSS., and in 1805, a more elaborate Confession, entirely exculpating his father and making a full admission. The elder Ireland felt the disgrace very bitterly, and it probably hastened his death, which occurred in July 1800. After the exposure Ireland was forced to abandon both his home and his profession. He wrote several novels of no value, gradually sank into penury, and died on the 17th of April 1835.

The more interesting publications on the Ireland forgeries are: Inquiry into the authenticity of certain Papers, &c., attributed to Shakespeare, by Edward Malone (1796); the elder Ireland's Vindication of his Conduct (1796); An Apology to Believers in the Shakespeare Papers (1797), and a Supplemental Apology (1799), both by George Chalmers; and pamphlets by Boaden, Waldron, Wyatt, Webb and Oulton. Vortigern was republished in 1832. The elder Ireland's correspondence with regard to the forgeries is preserved in the British Museum, with numerous specimens of his son's talent. Ireland's career supplied the subject-matter of James Payn's novel The Talk of the Town (1885).

IRELAND, an island lying west of Great Britain, and forming with it the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It extends from 51° 26′ to 55° 21′ N., and from 5° 25′ to 10° 30′ W. It is encircled by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the east is separated from Great Britain by narrow shallow seas, towards the north by the North Channel, the width of which at the narrowest part between the Mull of Cantire (Scotland) and Torr Head is only 13½ m.; in the centre by the Irish Sea, 130 m. in width, and in the south by St George’s Channel, which has a width of 69 m. between Dublin and Holyhead (Wales) and of 47 m. at its southern extremity. The island has the form of an irregular rhomboid, the largest diagonal of which, from Torr Head in the north-east to Mizen Head in the south-west, measures 302 m. The greatest breadth due east and west is 174 m., from Dundrum Bay to Annagh Head, county Mayo; and the average breadth is about 110 m. The total area is 32,531 sq. m.