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done,-by supineness nothing. Apathy in governors may be tolerated during the lethargy of their subjects; yet hot fits are apt to succeed cold ones; and the spirit of the many, oppressed by the few, has an account to settle with the few, misgoverning the many.
We have often wondered that the American system of electing certain colleges, or sets of electors, whose office it shall be to elect members of parliament, has not attracted more attention than it seems to have done from our intelligent countrymen. We do not say that we are favorable to schemes of this sort, except in so far as they might lay asleep those needless fears, which some persons have, with respect to almost all further extension of the franchise. We are amongst those who have confidence in popular government: whilst, at the same time, we would so adjust ourselves to the approaching crisis, as that the amount of organic modification shall be as limited as possible. Resistance will, we think, beget resistance; the struggle itself terminating, under such circumstances, in subversion and overthrow. Timely concession may so develop the noblest elements of the national mind, as to keep the movement within a safe line; and thus avoid violent revolution. How can honest statesmen close their eyes to the fact, that talk about finality as we may, the stream and tide of years, like the Mississippi descending to the sea, must produce, and have already effected, incalculable alterations ? Property has found, or formed for itself a multiplicity of new channels; and by the side of property will flow both knowledge and power. Manufactures, which were only in their germ a generation or two ago, are now spreading over Europe. M. de Tocqueville justly observes, that
the manufacturing class has been augmented and enriched by “the remnants of all other ranks; it has grown and is still perpetually growing in number, in importance, and in wealth. Almost all those who do not belong to it, are connected with it at least upon some one point. After having been an exception in society, it threatens to become the chief, if not the only class; “nevertheless the notions and political precedents engendered by it of old, still cling about it.' That is to say, Feudalism still dares to despise it, or rather despises it as far as it dares. At the commencement, we believe, of the last continental war, our agricultural population were two to one, as regarded our operative artizans; yet now the tables are exactly turned, and our manufacturing operatives are double our rural labourers. Here, then, has been a change brought about, tantamount at least to a couple of mighty proportions having just changed places; yet we have an agricultural interest boldly and blindly resisting every proposed alteration of legislative influence. Again we say with Mr. Ewart, that we must unfeudalize our institutions. Let our landlords preserve that portion of weight to which altered circumstances entitle them but no more.
An electoral reform, involving both
Household Suffrage and the Ballot, should be forthwith sought for, and arranged between all parties, in our humble judgment. Then would follow, in proper succession, fiscal and administrative improvements. Public intelligence could not help gradually expanding. Wisdom would descend like a shower, instead of coming in like a deluge. Nor, where an individual might happen to possess a thousand pounds per annum in freehold estate, with one son and nine daughters, would it be thought so monstrous a matter, that each child on the death of the parents should receive 1001. a-year, as that the single son alone should engross the whole fortune, and his sisters sink into paupers, which is our present most absurd system ! Common sense would thus silently de:hrone artificiality; and a beneficent revolution (if that be the proper term for it) so simple and obvious a modification would be! Or again, with regard to national education, and the alliance between church and state, it may possibly fall out, that peasants would be wiser than many peers seem to be now. We should quickly cease to hear, we think, of one religious denomination claiming sole right to be the dispenser of spiritual instruction; that very claim, be it remembered, amounting to neither more nor less than covert opposition to the plan of educating the people at all. Other novelties, no doubt, would lift up their heads. Perhaps such hideous and abominable heresies might be broached, as that incomes of from 10,0001, to 17,0001. per annum were rather too large for successors to the blessed apostles, some of whom were fishermen and tentmakers ! Public opinion might, moreover, unbar the prison doors to those incarcerated for non-payment of church-rates; and, possibly, so obnoxious an impost might soon be thrown aside altogether! Our consolation is, that eternal truth will be certain to prevail at last; and that the announcement of peace on earth, and good-will to men, came down from the Father of lights in heaven, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning!
Art. II. The Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations ; proved by a
Comparison of their Dialects with the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and Teutonic Languages; forming a Supplement to Rescarches into the Physical History of Mankind. By J. C. PRICHARD, M.D., F.R.S., &c., &c. London : Sherwood. 1831.
THE present and the coming ages seem destined to display
more and more the intrinsic value of common things. This is not a lesson only of the chemist, who finds wonders in the dregs of old vessels, and in other matters which all beside throw away ; nor of the geologist, who reads history and science out of
the dust we tread upon. It has been learned that there is high poetry in common life, and, before long, dignity will be discovered in labor. At present we design to call our readers' attention to that once despised and neglected topic, the rude dialects of nations whom our forefathers more or less completely conquered. In the minds of barbarian chieftains, be they Turk or Norman, few things move scorn more vividly than the sounds of the tongue of a nation trampled under foot. They are unintelligible to the lordly despot; and, therefore, they are not worth being understood : they are as badges of servitude, which he treats with consummate contempt.
Such has, indeed, been the behaviour of conquering England towards her Celtic population. Awhile the proud Norman played the same part in this island towards the Saxon; but the peculiar, perhaps unparalleled, circumstances of our monarchs at length healed that feud. Becoming masters of extensive continental provinces, the sovereign aimed at being despotic over his own nobles, and forced them to make common cause with the Saxons : a fusion of the two languages, and of the two races, took place, and our modern English was born from the union. No similar intermixture has ever come about between the English and Celtic population : nor has the imperial race concerned itself to learn the language of its vassals. Until a most recent period, it was about as easy to find an Ottoman who could talk Greek, as an English gentleman studying Welsh, Irish, or Highland Scotch. The benefices of the Welsh and Irish Church Establishment have been habitually filled by pastors neither knowing nor caring to know the language of the fock: it is still but a partial practice to read divine service in the Welsh tongue. The courts of justice have carried on all causes in English : in short, public affairs, even of a local kind, have proceeded as though the government did not know the Celtic languages to have existence. We wish that only our parliament, our bishops,- our aristocracy, were here to blame; but we fear that contempt of foreigners is most deeply rooted in the great mass of our nation. The lower classes of our towns are apt to greet with rude insolence the tongue or even countenance of a German or Frenchman, when his exterior pretensions do not shield him from it: our peasants gaze at him with a scorn half concealed by stupid amazement: our sailors* visit distant countries without learning better feelings or better manners.
This is, however, somewhat beyond our present business. The Celtic languages have become an object of interest at least to scholars, if not to statesmen and divines ; and although the study
* It is stated that Lord Nelson's first lesson to young midshipmen was, * To hate the French, as they hated the devil.'
of them is taken up so late in the day, they have been preserved in such a measure of purity as to afford clues to the knowledge of remote antiquity. It appears to be allowed that there are two grand types of the Celtic tongue, broadly opposed to each other, to one of which every other dialect of the same stock may
be referred. These are the Welsh and the Irish (or Erse); languages whose relation to each other may be rudely compared to that of Greek to Latin. A Welshman and an Irishman cannot understand each other's speech : and there is reason to believe that they were quite as far from it when Julius Cæsar landed on the British coast
. The conjugations of the verbs differ more decidedly than those of Latin from Greek; the principles of declining nouns are related rather by analogy than by resemblance ; the exchange of initial consonants in words belonging to both languages (as p for k) obscures, to all but scholars, the real connexion of many of the commonest names of things: and a large part of the vocabulary of each is wanting in the other. Yet with all this diversity, they are beyond a doubt closely akin; though we must ascend to a very remote age for the era when they sprang from a single fountain. In that same mist of extreme and bewildering antiquity, we see issuing from another distant source a group of languages remarkably related to each other, of late named the Indo-Germanic, or Indo-European; whose best known types are the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and Teutonic. And now, as if to strain our eyesight yet more painfully, we are called upon to look back to a time, yet vastly more distant, we presume, when the Celtic and the Indo-Germanic families were both in so rudimental a state, as to be but modifications of one and the same earlier mother tongue ! The more close acquaintance we get with the inner philosophy of the languages themselves, the harder task to the imagination does it seem, to realize the opinion which the judgment here enforces.
The consequence of the neglect of Welsh and Irish by English scholars was, that the Welsh and Irish literati had the field of discussion to themselves; and as their acquaintance with foreign languages seldom exceeded a superficial knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, while the principles of lexilogical inquiry were everywhere ill understood, it is not wonderful that they drew preposterous inferences from the singular phenomena which they were far from overlooking. It seems to have been a favorite opinion with many, that Welsh was perhaps the primitive tongue of mankind, and certainly very closely connected with the Hebrew. Theological considerations might lead them to yield precedence to Hebrew; but on no account to the classical languages: these had borrowed from the Welsh, but had imparted nothing. Such speculations, which a very slight examination proved to be extravagant, appear to have left on the minds of
classical literati a deep positive impression to the very contrary,; insomuch that, not long since, a person might have damaged his reputation, and incurred the imputation of credulity, who ventured an opinion that Welsh and Greek had any thing at all to do with each other.
It is worth observing, that a like exaggeration of the resemblance between Greek and Hebrew, led to a similar result. The infatuation of Parkhurst, and of earlier learned knight-errants in the Hebrew language, provoked a general disgust against all etymological study: chiefly against that of Hebrew roots,' which thrive best on barren ground.' In consequence, there are still superior classical scholars who nourish great, we think overstrained, incredulity, as to the connexion of words which belong to these two stocks of language. Yet we suppose we are justified in saying, that the learned Germans no longer doubt the fact, when we read the following in Ewald's Hebrew Grammar : • Hence arises the great connexion which these [the Hebrew] roots have with Indo-Germanic roots; a connexion the less astonishing, as the territories of both these families afterwards also bordered on one another in Asia.'
It does not, however, appear that any men of eminence now claim for Hebrew and Arabic a close, and as it were vital, connexion with the Indo-Germanic. Their common parts may be compared to boughs of two different trees, which have grown into one at some distance above the ground. The languages may have first existed in separation, afterwards have carried on a traffic in words with each other: and the foreign article may have been so new dressed and shaped, as not merely to assume a native appearance, but to give rise to an entire new growth of words, as though it had been home-sprung. To arrive, however, at a sound conclusion concerning such phenomena, requires both a well-trained and experienced etymologist, and very numerous facts of the languages compared. It can hardly be doubted, that for some time to come, every twenty years will increase knowledge on this subject.
But a much larger claim is made on behalf of the Celtic languages in the book whose title heads this article. It is alleged that they had positively a common origin with the Indo-Germanic; being like two huge stocks of trees, springing from the same root, and each giving rise to several large trunks. Todecide the question, (it will be seen) we need to know, whether that which the languages have in common is, or is not, a vital and primitive part. Two new inquiries then rise upon us ; first, what are the most ' necessary and primitive elements' of language ? secondly, what
* To give particular proof of this is the province of the Lexicon. The fact has been by no means first discovered in modern times ; but all depends on the right application of it.'