« السابقةمتابعة »
of us heartily dislike an officious" person--originally signified “full of kind attentions," as in Milton:
“Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries
Officious, but to thee, earth's habitant." Crafty," again, formerly meant “pertaining to art or skill,” as we find it in Piers' Plouhman and Wickliffe's Translation of Revelation, 18th ch.: "Each crafty man and each craft.” Lastly, the word “resent," from the Latin re and sentio, not so very long since was used in a good and grateful sense, as we find in Barrow: “How much more should we resent such a testimony of God's favor” (than that of an earthly prince). Here, of course, it was used in the sense of being grateful for,” or “requiting," whereas now its meaning is confined to that deep displeasure which men cherish against those from whom they have suffered a real or imaginary wrong. As the above are some few instances of the deterioration of words, so it is not difficult to find many of the opposite process, by which terms, originally of a low or bad meaning, have been purified and raised to a good or noble one; and it has been justly noticed, that the spirit of Christianity has been the main agent in carrying on this process. For instance, “ angels," in Greek, äyyeloi, were originally simply “ messengers, and “martyrs," uáprupes, witnesses, but not " witnesses unto the death in attestation of the Gospel of Christ;" and the word “sacrament”' (Latin, sacramentum), until adopted and raised to such a place of honor by Christianity, meant, primarily, the sum which the two parties to a lawsuit at first, deposited, and afterwards became bound for, being so called because the deposit of the losing party was devoted to sacred purposes, and, secondly, the military oath put by the military tribunes to the soldiers, of the mode of whose administration we have an account in Polybius and Livy. Of the words whose etymology contains great moral truths,
integrity” is a good example, meaning, as it does, "entireness.” Integritas corporis, the “integrity” of the body, meant, as Cicero informs us, the full possession and the perfect soundness of all the members of the body, and, of course, “ integrity," in its present sense, is this same entireness, or completeness, transferred to the moral life. As another example, we may select the word “libertine," which, passing by the original Latin meaning, so familiar to all, when it was first used in French, and then in English, signified a speculative free-thinker in morals, religion, and, perhaps,
in politics. And, as it has often been observed, that the acts of the man are sure to correspond with the promptings of his mind or heart, and, therefore, free-thinking inevitably led to free-acting, so this word naturally came, in the course of a few generations, to signify a profligate, licentious man.
An analysis of the word “kind” will afford a pleasing, as well as useful, moral lesson. A “kind” man is nothing more nor less than a kinned-man, one of kin: the term, then, applied as a general characteristic to any one, would mean, if fully understood, a man who feels the obligations of his · kinship to other men, and faithfully endeavors to perform them, acknowledging that he owes to them, as his kith and kin, the debt of brotherly love. And so in the word “mankind,” or mankinned, which declares the relationship of all men to each other; and “since (as Dean Trench very justly observes) such a relationship can only exist, in a race now scattered so widely and divided so far asunder, through a common head, we do in fact, every time we use the word kind, express our faith in the one common descent of the whole race of man. And, beautiful before, how much more beautiful now do the words • kind' and kindness' appear, when we apprehend the root out of which they grow; that they are the acknowledgment, in loving deeds, of our kinship with our brethren; and how profitable to keep in mind that a lively recognition of the bonds of blood, whether of those closer ones, which unite us to that which, by best right, we term our family, or those wider ones, which knit us to the whole human family, that this is the true source out of which all genuine love and affection must spring; for so much is affirmed in our daily, hourly use of the word.” There are many other apt illustrations of this part of our subject which we should like to give, did not our limits forbid. The reader will find the subject, however, admirably discussed in Dean Trench's work. We must pass on to the connection of words with History-a point which will readily be seen to be one of the most important among the practical purposes or applications of philology. Every student, we were about to say, of ancient, but we will say, of all history, is painfully aware of the doubts and difficulties by which the path of that study is continually blocked up, but he may not be so ready to suppose that the removal of many of these is often to be more easily effected by philology than by any other means; and yet such is the case, as
the labors of Niebuhr and Mommsen have amply sufficed to prove. Language, so far from being the frail and fleeting thing that the unreflecting might suppose, is, in fact, one of the most firm and faithful preservers of the Truth. The links between the Present and the Past, which, as consisting of special records, may have been entirely lost, she often can and does supply, making perfect once more the bond of historic union. Even when we have those records, we too often find them to be untrustworthy, but language is ever a truthful witness, if we have only learned how to question her aright.
And, before touching on any minor topics, let us here observe, in connection with a subject to whose investigation a large share of our attention has, for many years past, been devoted, that upon this very evidence must depend chiefly, if not entirely, the solution of a question, which has been agitated not a little in America and elsewhere, and respecting which, recently, controversy has become more than usually keen. We allude, of course, to the question of the unity of the human race. Amongst the various recent advocates of the opposite theory, a distinguished naturalist of the North, we believe, and Dr. Cartwright, of New Orleans, we know, have been reckoned the ablest and most influential. This is not the place to enter upon such a discussion, or, rather, our limits would prevent our doing it any justice; but its vast importance, as the highest and most solemn application of philology, claims to be distinctly pointed out, and all the more, as we believe the time is now drawing very near, when the means of arriving at a decision will have been at length completed. The controversy, in a few words, stands thus : The advocates of the unity of descent, of whom we do not hesitate to avow ourselves one, believe that, according to the account given in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, mankind, descended from one common parentage, originally spoke one common language; but that, in consequence of their uniting in an attempt opposed to the will of Providence, God confounded their speech, and, by the variety of tongues thus introduced among them, brought about their dispersion, and the consequent colonization of other parts of the world. Instead of “variety of tongues," it might be better, perhaps, to have said variations of the one original tongue. The adversaries of revelation, and indeed some who accept the Bible in a certain sense, reject the whole of this narrative as a myth or fable. At present we only draw attention to the point, as being one that the student of philology ought ever to keep steadily in view, as the very highest aim and purpose of his pursuit. For ourselves, we can only say, and we do so most truthfully, that, so far as our investigations of not a few of the ancient and modern languages, carried on, for many years, under favorable circumstances, with opportunities of frequently consulting some of the most eminent of living philologers, are concerned, every year's study has strengthened and confirmed our belief in the unity in the belief, that is, that all the present languages and dialects to be found amongst men are derived from one common parentlanguage. The grounds for this belief will, ere long, appear elsewhere ; meantime, we pass on to glance, for illustration's sake, at some other evidences of the dependence of history upon philology. We have already alluded to the great Roman historian's labors in this direction, and, as the written records of the early history of Italy have been lost, the case is one greatly in point. Dr. Donaldson, we may add, has in a most valuable and scholarly way supplemented Niebuhr's labors. All who have read the history will recall the important conclusions which Niebuhr derives - and with thorough satisfaction, in general, to the scholar's mind—as to the races by which the Italian soil was occupied, and the relations in which they stood to each other—from an analysis of the words in the Latin language, which are severally derived from a Greek or other source. He remarks on the subject that "it cannot be mere chance that the words for house, field, plough, ploughing, wine, oil, milk, kine, swine, and others, relating to tillage and the gentler ways of life, agree in Latin and in Greek, while all objects appertaining to war or the chase are designated by words utterly un-Grecian.” And hence, he draws the conclusion that Italy was inhabited by two races, the warlike conquerors and the peaceful conquered. Anexamination ofourown language, even setting aside the historic records that we possess, would exhibit a similar result. All the endearing terms of the home life and its relations, such as father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, home itself, the hearth, the roof; and again, much as we have seen it in regard to Italy, the instruments used in agriculture, and the other terms of farming, such as the flail, the plough, sickle, spade, and wheat, rye, oats, bere, and the domestic animals, as ox, cow, sheep, &c.
all these are found to be Saxon ; while the terms of pride and power, and, we may add, of luxury, belong to the language of the dominant Normans. For example : sovereign, sceptre, realm, throne, royalty, duke, count, prince, &c.—all these, and similar titles, are Norman, except one, and that the chief of all, “ King"-which, as has been noticed, would lead us to suspect, even had we no record of the facts, that the chief of the ruling race came in, not upon a new title, nor as overthrowing a former dynasty, but as claiming to be in the rightful line of succession. We find our limits to be already exceeded, and must therefore omit several other illustrations. In the present paper, whose leading object has been to arouse the public mind to the importance and interest of this study, we have purposely abstained from entering into critical discussions, or going beyond the limits of our own language. In a future article, however, we propose to give a sketch of the progress, during the last century, of the science of philology in general.
Art. VIII.-1. Communication from the Governor, transmitting the
Report of the Engineer-in-Chief of the State of New York. 2. Maritime Interests of the South and West. By Lieut. Maury.
At present, there does not seem to be much danger that we shall be troubled with invasion. Whatever may have been the disposition of England, while the Trent difficulty was pending, it is not likely now that she will interfere, in any way, in our present difficulties. Assuming it to be true that, notwithstanding the surrender of Mason and Slidell, in compliance with her demand, her attitude towards us continued hostile, there is no reason to doubt that her intentions, if not her feelings, have undergone a considerable change within the last month. Apart from the altered tone of the English press, this is sufficiently evident from her Majesty's recent Speech to her Parliament. Without pausing to inquire whether we owe the change to an improvement in the temper, or sense of justice, of the British government, or to that wholesome respect which an