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remarked that all the larger species of earth-stars, or starry puff-balls, are uncommon. The present constitutes the fourth species of Geaster found in the neighbourhood of Liverpool. It is very rare in England, though common on the Continent.
Mr. MOORE exhibited from the Derby Museum numerous specimens of living North American fresh-water fish, and preserved specimens of the Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war, and other marine specimens from the North Atlantic, imported and presented by Captain Mortimer, ship “ America,” Associate of the Society. The living fish belong to the following species : — Rock sun-fish, Pomotis vulgaris ; pale sucker, Catostomus pallidus; shining dace, Leuciscus nitidus ; and brown cat-fish, Pimelodus pullus. Of the Physalia, Captain Mortimer had succeeded in the difficult task of effectually drying several specimens, one being of large size, measuring 61 inches in the long diameter of the float, which in this and the other specimens remained fully inflated. Dried specimens of Porpita and Velella were also preserved by Captain Mortimer, and several specimens preserved in spirit, including an extremely large frog-fish, which had been kept some time alive on board ship; also small Physalia, and great numbers of Pteropods.
The Rev. H. H. HIGGINS warmly complimented Captain Mortimer on his continued success in collecting, especially those minute inhabitants of the ocean which are so generally neglected, and indeed Captain Mortimer was the first man sailing from the port of Liverpool who thought them worthy of attention.
Mr. MOORE stated the living fish had been safely brought through one of the stormiest passages ever experienced by Captain Mortimer, by that gentleman's original and exceedingly simple method of carrying them in fish globes suspended in the cabin like ordinary ships' lamps--a plan which has been recommended to other captains with successful results. The specimens exhibited are valuable and interesting additions to the Museum aquaria. Other preserved specimens, and some interesting notes by Captain Mortimer, are reserved for a future meeting.
. Dr. COLLINGWOOD remarked on the success which had attended the Society's efforts to induce officers of the mercantile marine to use the advantages of their position in promoting the interests of science.
The Rev. Dr. GINSBURG, Vice-President, having taken the Chair, the following paper was read :
THE SOUTH LANCASHIRE DIALECT.
By J. A. PICTON, F.S.A., PRESIDENT.
THE South Lancashire dialect, of which I propose to treat in the following pages, has often been brought under public notice, from the time of Collier, a little more than a century ago, to the present day. Although I cannot undertake to throw much additional light on the subject, I may yet be able to bring together into one focus information derived from a variety of sources, scattered over a wide field, and requiring no inconsiderable amount of investigation to collect and assimilate. Every study has various aspects, and it is quite possible that the humblest student may be able either to contribute additional facts, or in some other way to add to the interest of the inquiry.
By many educated persons dialects are considered as mere vulgar corruptions of the current language of the country, equivalent to the cant or slang phrases which obtain currency from time to time in particular classes of society in our great towns. This is an error which it is very desirable to eradicate. Max Müller, the great authority in the modern science of language, remarks on this subject :-" It is a mistake to imagine that dialects are everywhere corruptions of the literary language. Even in England, the local patois have many forms which are more primitive than the language of Shakspere ; and the richness of their vocabulary surpasses on many points that of the classical writers of any period. Dialects have always been the feeders, rather than the channels, of a literary language; they are parallel streams, which existed long before one of them was raised to that
temporary eminence which is the result of literary cultivation."
As the English dialects pass gradually one into another according to locality, it is not easy rightly to estimate their precise number, but there are certain broad lines of demarcation which are sufficiently obvious. A rough but pretty strong line of division may be drawn along the Humber and the Mersey. The dialects to the north of this line are rougher and coarser than those of the south ; but, in compensation, they possess a force and strength which the southern can hardly reach. These differences are not corruptions which have crept in with the course of time; they have always existed, from the settlement of our forefathers in the country.
During the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, and even down to the eleventh, England was gradually becoming peopled by tribes of Teutonic origin from the opposite side of the German Sea, who elbowed out by degrees the Celtic inhabitants so thoroughly, that, with the exception of the mountains and rivers, scarcely any of our localities retain their Cymric names; though, as we shall see hereafter, a larger amount of the Cambrian tongue has passed into our language than is generally supposed. These settlers were of various races, the principal of which are handed down to us as Angles, Saxons, and Geats or Jutes. It is probable in the nature of things, and is confirmed on examination, that these races occupied in England the same relative position as they had done in their own country previously, that is, that those living furthest to the south settled in the south of England, and that those from the north of Germany, especially from Holstein and Angel-land, settled in the north. The Jutes—which is only another name for the Goths— contributed the smallest number of immigrants, and settled in the Isle of Wight and on the south coast. The Saxons were the next in number, and peopled more especially the districts south of the Trent. The country north of the Humber was settled by the Angles, and the middle band between the Trent and Humber constituted a border land, occupied in part by both races.
* Lectures on the Science of Language, p. 49.
That these three great dialectical divisions have always existed there is ample evidence, but in the literary remains of the Saxon and early English periods they are not very strongly marked, from the fact that a certain literary standard was soon arrived at, from the paucity in those early days of men of letters, and from the intercommunication between them. Ralph Higden, writing about 1350, recognises the three divisions as existing in his time. Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle and Layamon's Brut are both West Saxon in their peculiarities. Piers Ploughman is decidedly Anglian in his dialect. His poems, written about the middle of the fourteenth century, are constructed on the alliterative principle of the Anglo-Saxon verse, e.g.
6 In a somer seson,
Whan softe was the sonne,
In habite as a heremite.”—Vision.
“ But trusteth wel, I am a sotherne man;
I cannot gesterom, ram, ruff' by my letter,
And, God wote, rime I hold but litel better.” In the Reve's Tale the two "poure scoleres,” who are said to have been born
".Fer in the North, I cannot tellen where,"
are made to speak in the Yorkshire dialect.