near the great water courses; that reason was, that they had no metal implements. In those days the weald of Kent, and the weald of Sussex must have been real forests as their name implies—the forest of Arden must have covered the spot where I am now standing; indeed almost the whole of Western Europe must have been covered with a dense forest growth almost impassable to men whose only axes were of flint; whereas the waters formed a ready-made road on which their canoes or coracles could take them where they pleased. Our experience in America and Australia enables us to see how certain it was that such wandering tribes would disappear on the incoming of a far more numerous, better equipped and more civilized race.

It seems clear however that except such wandering tribes, the Keltic and Pelasgic Aryans were the first settlers in Europe, and found the land unoccupied. Very different was the case with the next wave of Aryan emigration into Europe, that of the Gothic race. After the Kelts and Pelasgians had left their early Aryan home and set off for the West, we have no means of knowing how long it was before the other Aryan tribes in their turn broke up and set out on their travels. All we can tell is that some considerable time after the Kelts and Pelasgians had established themselves in Europe, these other branches of the same Aryan stock also found their way there, viz. the Gothic race and the Sarmatian race. The Gothic race includes in its southern or Teutonic division, the Germans of Germany, the Dutch and Flemings, and the main stock of the English, while its northern or Scandinavian division includes the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians. The Sarmatian race includes, first the Lithuanians; these are a small people of no note in history, only a few hundred thousand peasants in Courland and Livonia, but they are exceedingly interesting to the philologist because their language of all European dialects is the one which most resembles the oriental Sanskrit; and then there are the Slavonians that is the Bohemians, Poles, Russians and all the tribes related to them down to Bulgaria, and the Ægæan Sea. According to their present distribution therefore the Gothic tribes lie cast of the Keltic, and the Sarmatian east of the Gothic. But I am not sure that it would be safe to infer that they came into Europe exactly in that order. For instance, the usual account given of the Gothic race is that their northern division, the Scandinavians, came into Sweden and Norway through Finland and Lapland, and across the gulf of Bothnia, but that their southern, or Teutonic, division came into Germany through Courland and Prussia, and along the south coast of the Baltic. But I doubt whether this can be maintained, for two reasons : in the first place, if the Teutons and Scandinavians had separated so early and had come into Western Europe by separate routes, their languages would have diverged more; instead of sister tongues they would have been only cousins; in fact there would probably have been as much difference between German and Danish, as there is between German and Bohemian ; and secondly, we should have to suppose that the Slavonians who in historical times have always been defeated by the Germans were at this early period able to defeat them and drive them westward. And this I do not believe, and therefore I have a private and particular theory of my own on the subject, which is this: I believe that the whole Gothic race, then comparatively small in numbers, on its entry into Europe found its way into Norway and Sweden, that there was then no difference between Teuton and Scandinavian, that as their numbers increased they passed southward by way of Denmark, into Germany, and then after this southward emigration, when the Baltic separated the race into a northern and southern division, a corresponding difference of language gradually grew up. I believe in effect that all Germans came into Germany from the north, that is from Norway and Sweden. They came comparatively late. So recently as B.C. 100, the limits of the German race were probably the Rhine on the west, the Elbe on the east, and on the south a line drawn from Mainz through Frankfort on the Maine to the Erzgebirge, the mountains which form the northern frontier of Bohemia. How they extended themselves from that narrow district is one of the most important facts which we have to note. Of course there would be one great difference between their position and that of their predecessors, the Kelts. When the Kelts came into Europe they found nobody there, beyond a few wandering tribes of savages Their chief difficulty must have been to hew down the forests, their contests were with trees rather than with men. The Germans on the other hand found the ground occupied. They could only extend their border not by simple settlement but by conquest, at the expense either of the Kelts to the south and west of them, or of the Slavonians to the east. Of the Southern extension we know few particulars; they overran and occupied the territories of Bavaria, Würtemberg, and Baden, which had been originally occupied by Kelts, and from these new possessions they pressed southward into Switzerland and the Tyrol ; although even as late as B.C. 15, when Tiberius and Drusus the stepsons of Augustus carried on war in the Tyrol, the tribes which opposed them were decidedly of Keltic and not of German race. Westward across the Rhine the fertile land of Gaul invited the German invaders. But here their incursions were stopped, and the history of the world was altered by the genius of one man. That man was Julius Cæsar When Cæsar came as a Roman general into Gaul in the year B.C. 58, the flood of German invasion was on the point of breaking over Gaul.

The Suevi or Suabian Germans under their chief, Ariovistus, whose Latinized name perhaps represents the German Heerefürst, "the prince of the army," had crossed the Rhine and were already encamped on Gallic soil; they were a vast host who came to settle and had brought their wives and families with them, and Cæsar marched to attack them. We read that the Roman legions were so daunted by what they had heard of the lofty stature and warlike prowess of the Germans that they expected nothing but defeat, and the camp was full of men making their wills. But Cæsar harangued them, exhorted them to renewed courage, and threatened, if they hung back, to charge the enemy with his favourite Tenth Legion alone. In the battle which ensued the Germans, after a sharp struggle, were completely defeated, and as happened in ancient wars, destroyed; thousands were cut down without mercy on the field, men, women, and children, and the remainder sold as slaves except those fugitives who succeeded in making their way back across the Rhine. Humanly speaking it was owing, and solely owing, to Cæsar's campaigns that the population of France was not Germanized (as that of England was to be), but continues in the main Keltic to the present day. For when at a later date the Franks who where Germans conquered France, and gave it their name, they came there rather to rule over the original inhabitants than to supplant them, much as the Normans did in England, and like the Normans were gradually absorbed by the people whom they had conquered. Of course though Cæsar's campaigns saved the Keltic race, they did not save the Keltic language, but the difference was that instead of any dialect of German being spoken, the Gauls adopted a debased form of the provincial Latin spoken by their Roman conquerors, and the original Keltic tongue maintained its ground only in the extreme corner of the continent, as the Breton of Brittany. Of course it will be understood that when we speak of the Keltic race remaining in France, we mean France as it is now, that is without Alsace, for Alsace has long been German; it was only annexed to France in the reign of Louis XIV. and the actual boundary line between the Keltic and German races, is not at the Rhine, but at the Vosges mountains.

North of the French political boundary, however, there remains another fragment of the Keltic race, I mean the Walloons. You will not find them on an ordinary map, but they inhabit the Walloon provinces of Eastern Belgium. The condition of the kingdom of Belgium is peculiar. The official language is French, but French is not the language of the people anywhere. The western provinces which are flat and fertile are inhabited by the Flemings who speak Flemish, and who resemble their neighbours the Dutch in race, appearance, manners, and language; in every thing in fact except in religion, and political feeling. And if the Dutch are ultra Protestant, while the Flemings are amongst the most zealous Roman Catholics in Europe, this difference is to be attributed historically to the military prowess of the Duke of Alva who kept them apart in the sixteenth century; just as the fact that while the Dutch are prosperous, Ghent and Bruges and Ypres are decayed towns is in great part to be attributed to the Duke of Alva's blunders as a statesman and economist. But the eastern provinces of Belgium contain a very different race. In that hilly tract of barren country, a miniature Wales, of which Liège is the centre, a Keltic race, the Walloons, have managed to maintain themselves. They speak, however, not a Keltic tongue, but a Latinized dialect, like the French, it is in fact an oldfashioned or obsolete French, and in some respects more vigorous than the French of Paris. For instance, the Walloon says septante, octante, nonante for seventy, eighty, ninety, while the Frenchman resorts to the clumsy periphrases soirante-dix, quatre-vingt, quatre-vingt-dir. In the history of the Thirty Years War we frequently read of Walloon Regiments which are spoken of by the Germans with a peculiar horror. It was these


Keltic mountaineers who served for pay and plunder in the German armies, something in the same way as the Connaught rangers serve in the English army. I do not suppose that the Walloons were more fond of plunder than the other troops of that period who had irregular pay and hardly any commissariat; but what gave the Germans such a horror of them was that they were strangers of a foreign race who spoke what was to the Germans an unintelligible gibberish.

We must turn, however, to another instance in which the Germans enlarged their border at the expense of the Kelts, I mean this island of Britain. According to tradition the three German tribes which invaded Britain were Jutes from Jutland, Angles from Holstein, and Saxons from the mouth of the Weser. Although the Jutes came from Jutland I do not think there can have been any Scandinavians among them ; rather it is probable that the pressure of Danish Scandinavians from the north was one of the reasons which induced them to emigrate. But if we may judge by the test of language there must have been Dutchmen from Holland, and Frisians from Friesland among the invaders. Indeed the Frisian is at this day the continental dialect which most resembles English, so that the Frieslanders themselves have a proverb that “Butter, Brei en Kis is gut Engls en gut Fris." In fact one would suppose that the invaders must have started from all points along the coast of the North sea from the mouth of the Scheldt, to the mouth of the Elbe. But one most interesting ques

« ForrigeFortsett »