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tribes of Terra Australis, and the wild hunters of America, every river and range of mountains divides nations whose languages scarcely bear any traces of resemblance. The same remark may be made of the people of northern Asia and of Africa; in short, of all races of men in a corresponding stage of society. But the history nearly of all nations goes back to a similar period of barbarism; consequently this diversity of idioms was once almost infinite and universal. The Indian colonies in Europe may seem to be exceptions to these observations; but the era of their migration was comparatively recent, and their languages were preserved from fluctuation by particular causes. The Celtæ, at their departure from the East, had an order of men whose profession was learning and philosophy. The institution of the Bards, which was probably coëval with Druidism and the similar order of the northern Scalds, and the public festivals, where the poets of Greece sung verses in honour of their heroes, contributed to preserve the vestiges which we have traced of one ancient idiom prevalent among all these tribes, while, among all other nations, languages are found to be infinitely various.
But it has commonly been supposed that the Hebrew was the language of the antediluvian world, and that which alone sure vived the Flood ; accordingly, philologists have generally considered it their duty to trace all languages to this original; and this is the rock on which they have so often split. We know not why this notion has been so frequently taken for granted; perhaps it has been thought that the Hebrew must have been the original language, because it was the idiom which was chosen to be the medium of revelation ; but the same plea might be urged with equal force in favour of the Greek. This is a weak and conjectural argument. If it be said, that the history of the Hebrews, as given in Genesis, which mentions a regular súccession of patriarchs from Noah, proves the original speech to have been handed down from one generation to another, we need only appeal to that history in order to discover that no such inference is authorized, or in the slightest degree countenanced by its testimony:
The first important event related after the flood is a great migration towards the West. This was probably one of the earliest colonies from the East; and the sacred historian, having no concern with the remainder of mankind, confines himself in the sequel to what befell this settlement in Shinar. We shall not discuss the nature of that event called the Confusion of Languages: whether it was; as Dr. Shuckford and Mr. Townsend are anxious to represent, a consequence of natural circumstances or not, the historian had doubtless a purpose in recording it; and we can at least gather this from his account, that the portion of mankind to whom it relates, including the ancestry of the Hebrews, werë scattered over the earth as insulated hordes, and spoke a variety of different languages. If the Hebrews had enjoyed any particular exemption, and had alone preserved the original language of mankind, this would doubtless have been mentioned as an instance of the particular care of Providence for their nation, which the sacred writer takes every opportunity of setting forth.
The Hebrew language, indeed, has none of the characters of any ancient idioms. We have seen, in an extensive comparison of languages, that the most ancient are generally complex in their structure; that when they are mixed with foreign dialects, they gradually lose their inflections and become more simple, and afterwards supply by a number of adjuncts and circumlocutions the want of modifications of the roots. This is exactly the character of the Hebrew.
Philologists are not as yet sufficiently agreed how far the Hebrew and the old Egyptian language were connected: we know, however, that the Ethiopic and Hebrew were cognate dialects; and the Egyptians are declared by every historical testimony to have been originally a tribe of Ethiopians. Hence we should conclude that the idiom of the former, in very early times, could not be remote from that of the Hebrews. Sir W. Drummond is of opinion that the affinity between them was very close. If such were the case, we are at liberty to suppose that the twelve families of Israel, which grew into tribes during their 400 years abode in Goshen, adopted the idiom of that country, and that the Hebrew in which Moses wrote the Pentateuch was in reality a dialect of the old Egyptian. It will then be possible that Abraham, when he care from the East, spoke the ancient language of Elam, or Persia, viz. the Zend or Sanscrit, the only idiom in the world whose structure, when closely analysed, bears no trace of a rude original, and whose history reaches beyond that period when the carth was peopled with barbarous and independent hordes.
On the whole we are of opinion, that the fact which Mr. Townsend has proposed to himself to establish, viz. that one language was once common to the whole human, race, must : rather be gathered as an inference than proved by a direct comparison. That the earth was ever extensively inhabited by nations speaking one idiom we do not believe; but we have no doubt that all mankind originated from one family, and, while they constituted a single family, had one language. In proof of the unity of our origin there is, -as Mr. Townsend has observed, no want of historical evidence. To many persons by no means predisposed to admit this conclusion, because it is favoured by our Scriptures, the evidence for it has appeared satisfactory, among whom we may
number the names of Bailly and Voltaire. This inference is be- atving sides in conformity with the general analogy of nature.
The only arguments which afford a specious pretence for those who maintain that there are more races of men than one, are the great physical diversity and the insulated situation of the American and Negro nations. Many naturalists have contended, that these races form distinct species from the European; and this is the point on which the question as to the unity or plurality of races chiefly hinges. We shall not enter into this inquiry, which is strictly physiological, our present concern being only with languages and historical facts. But besides the physical diversities which may perhaps be attributed to climate, or other causes, the native people of America are so cut off from the rest of mankind, they were, when discovered by Europeans, so destitute of those primary means and resources by which life is sustained and preserved, such as the use of the cereal gramina, of milk, and of domestic animals, that many authors have been disposed, from these circumstances, to look upon them as an indigenous race.
The contrary position, however, is every day receiving illustration. The arts and sciences of the Mexicans and Peruvians have been clearly proved to be of Asiatic origin, and in this instance, as in several particular examples, the comparison of languages has afforded useful aid. Professor Vater was, we believe, the first to announce the discovery, that the Tschuktschi in Asia speak the same language with the Esquimaux and Greenlanders. With the assistance of the materials collected by Mr. Humboldt, he has also very much extended the number of coincidences between the dialects of the hunting tribes of America and the Tungusians and other Asiatics, and seems to have ascertained the fact which Dr. Barton has the merit of having first suggested
Art. XXII. STATE OF THE MADHOUSES IN
Report, together with the Minutes of Evidence, and an Appendix
of Papers, from the Committee appointed to consider of Provision being made for the better Regulation of Madhouses in England. [Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 11th July, 1815.] Each subject of Evidence arranged under its distinct Head. By J. B. Sharpe, Member of the Royal College of
Surgeons. 8vo. pp. 411. London. Baldwin and Co. Description of the Retreat, an Institution near York, for Insane Persons of the Society of Friends : containing an Account of its
VOL. VI. NO, XII.
Origin and Progress, the Modes of Treatment, and a Statement
of Cures. By Samuel Tuke. York. 1813. A History of the York Lunatic Asylum : with an Appendix, con
taining Minutes of the Evidence on the cases of Abuse lately inquired into by a Commiltee, &c. Addressed to W. Wilberforce,
Esq., one of the Contributors to Lapton's Fund. York. 1815. Practical Hints on the Construction and Economy of Pauper
Lunatic Asylums ; including Instructions to the Architects who offered Plans for the Wakefield Asylum, and a Sketch of the
most approved Design. By Samuel Tuke. York. 1815. It is a celebrated observation of one of the most admired of the European philosophers, that in all the countries through which the traveller proceeds, he will find a measure of the civilization to which they have attained, in the condition of the roads. The circumstance, it will be owned, is characteristic; and the remark sagacious. But there is another test, far more constant and infallible, of the civilization, or barbarity, of different countries; and that is, the degree of legislative care bestowed upon the more helpless portions of our species. · In rude and barbarous ages the attention which the miserable attract is little indeed. The efforts which, in such periods, legislation displays, are almost wholly directed towards the depression of the more helpless classes, and to the means of retaining them in a state of perfect subservience to the interests and will of the powerful. By this, in carlier ages, the powers of legislation are engrossed, and by this they are exhausted. In tracing the history of human happiness and misery, it is interesting to observe, as knowledge increases, how one thing after another is done for this more numerous portion of the species; at first reluctantly and slowly; by degrees more cheerfully and with a quicker succession; at first in the way of bounty alone; afterwards by the communication of a small number of rights, which are slowly augmented, till, at length, the ultimate triumph of legislation is displayed, in a code of laws not less favourable to the poor in reaping the fruits of their labour, than to the rich in expending the produce of their stock and lands.
Among the helpless portions of the species, there are two sorts, of whom the helplessness is to be regarded as the most complete and deplorable; these are prisoners, and the insane, It appears, from the experience both of existing and of antecedent facts, that it requires a very high degree of civilization to produce a legislative provision capable of preventing the miseries which neglect must entail upon those who are incapacitated for taking care of themselves. It is not to be expected, that the happiness or misery of persons in such circumstances, should occupy for an hour the thoughts of those who first mould the institutions of civil society. But it is remarkable, that notwithstanding the refinement to which in our own country civilization has in most respects attained, the care of the imprisoned and the insane is a new feature of our legislation. The years are not many since Howard, the pride and boast of our land, a character more difficult to form than that of any of the heroes whom, from the beginning of the world, the folly of man has inshrined, first pointed out the physical and moral condition of British prisoners to the attention of their countrymen. Since his time some legislative efforts have been made, and these, with the awakened attention of the public, have rectified many abuses: it is known, however, to all, with how much difficulty, and how sparingly, the legislature has moved, and how small a portion is yet achieved of the great and beneficent work we are contemplating. At the same time it is consoling to reflect, that as each successive step has been stronger and quicker than that which preceded, we may with some confidence look to a vigorous and steady progress in the time to come.
The march of the legislature has been more than ordinarily slow in providing against the miseries liable to be endured by the insane. The formation of the Committee, from whom we have derived the present reports, is nearly the first arrangement that has been made to procure information upon the subject. The act which, a number of years ago, was passed for the purpose of establishing some regulations with regard to private madhouses, was framed for the protection, not so niuch of those who were, as those who were not insane; that no person might be subject to wrongful confinement: and it was framed under so much ignorance of the circumstances which it undertook to regulate, that it is declared by the existing Committee of the Honourable House, to be altogether inadequate to the exigences of the case; which present an urgent and irresistible demand for a new and better provision.
The Report, presented to the House of Commons toward the close of the last Session of Parliament, commences with the following emphatical words: “ Your Committee, deeply sensible of the importance of the matter referred to their consideration, have applied themselves with great earnestness to the performance of the duty imposed on them by the House. Your Committee cannot hesitate to suggest, with the utmost confidence, from the evidence they now offer to the House, that some new provision of law is indispensably necessary for ensuring better care being taken of insane persons, both in England and Ireland, than they have hitherto experienced; the number of whom appear to be