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Negro. There is no proposition more determinately settled than the essential ethnological unity of the greatly diversified families of Southern, Western, and Central Africa.
In this stage of the research, the philological labours of our able countryman, the Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, are deserving of highly honourable mention, as resolving the problem in one portion of the generalization just stated.
The next step in setting this great African family of languages into connection with a common origin for the human race, brings us to the languages of Eastern Africa— Abyssinia, Nubia, and the Valley of the Nile, especially the Gheez, the Galla, the Coptic, and the Berber. It is now a settled point among ethnologists of every class, (unless we except the pure naturalists, who class and affiliate families on purely anthropological grounds,) that these families of languages are all descended from an Asiatic stock. Bunsen, in a masterly and extended report presented to the British Association at Oxford, in anticipation of the remaining volumes of his great work on Egypt, argues this question out, and settles it, we think, beyond farther dispute. The only question that can be raised is, whether this class of African languages can be affiliated certainly with those of Western, Southern, and Central Africa? To this point Latham has directed special attention. “Unequivocal,” says he, “ as may be the Semitic elements of the Berber, Coptic, and Galla, their affinities with the tongues of Western and Southern Africa are more so. I weigh my words when I say, not equally, but more. Changing the expression, for every foot of ground in advance which can be made towards the Semitic tongues in one direction, the African ethnologist can go a yard towards the Negro ones in the other."
The Gallas are, in fact, as nearly as possible, in every respect, midway between these two extremes; passing on the one side through the Abyssinian, the Nubian, the Berber, and the Copt, into the recognised Caucasian, in the mummies and paintings of ancient Egypt, and on the other running into the Negro type, as pure as it can be found in Senegal itself, in the Negroes of Sennaar, on the very borders of Abyssinia. These physical characteristics may be cited in confirmation of the linguistic affiliation of Latham and Bunsen.
The generalizations and classifications of Dr Latham, touching this point, are in perfect agreement with the prior and independent researches of Dr Prichard, which comprehend also the anthropological aspects of the subject, and have since been adopted and confirmed by an elaborate paper in the Philological Transactions by Dr Beke of Abyssinia, and by Tutscheck, Gablentz, and Krapf, of the Galla country, than whom there are no higher living authorities, in regard to questions pertaining to that family of languages. One of these Galla dialects runs four or five degrees south of the equator, and actually loses itself by merging into the Somali of Barawa.
The clear indications furnished by the great family of African languages and dialects, numbering in all more than a hundred, and so long regarded as wholly isolated from those which fall within the range of sacred and profane history, are now, therefore, universally received by ethnologists, as establishing a relation between this remote province of human civilizationin its general characteristics perhaps the most remote of all the great divisions of the human race—and the common centre of origin to which the Scriptures refer the beginnings of all human history.
It would doubtless be premature to affirm that comparative philology is yet prepared to render a definitive and final verdict upon the ultimate question of ethnology—the unity and common origin of the human race; but we hold ourselves fully authorised to say, that there are no dividing lines which any extant hypothesis of diversity of origins has laid down, which it has not already obliterated; and no arguments for such diversity yet produced, which it is not prepared to overthrow and scatter to the winds.
The great family of African languages has thus been traced, by the united researches chiefly of the Tutschecks, Gablentz, Krapf, Wilson, Beke, Bunsen, Prichard, and Latham, to a vital connection with the Asiatic stem, either through the Semitic relations with the old Abyssinian tongues, or, as Bunsen maintains is more probable, through a colony of Hamites by whom Egypt was originally colonised, and whose language preserved, and now yields up to philological research, indubitable proofs of a common primitive relation existing between the Semitic and Japhetic, or Indo-European branches of the human family.
The great American family, regarded by the naturalists as furnishing the next clearest case of perfect isolation, in its origin and history, under the combined labours of Gallatin, Du Ponceau, Pickering, Alexander Humboldt, and Hale, has been brought into such relationship as to authorise general ethnologists like Prichard, Bunsen, and Latham, to lay it down as settled, (1,) that all the countless and highly diversified languages of the western continent constitute but one great family, divided into a few subordinate groups, with some minor offshoots not yet placed-a fact which is wholly inexplicable on any other hypothesis than that of ethnological affiliation; and (2) that this family displays so many and striking marks of analogy, in point of grammatical structure, and even amidst the general and wide discrepancies of its vocabulary, so many cases of obvious analogy in its roots, and its lexicographical forms, that Bunsen does not hesitate to pronounce it a scion of the great Turanian stock of Central Asia ; and Latham, in his latest and maturest contribution to ethnology,* undertakes to trace the aboriginal American race, by the aid of philology, from Terra del Fuego to the North-eastern parts of Asia. We need scarcely add that the cranial conformation perfectly agrees with this philological result.
Still another and wholly independent line of investigation has led to a farther result in a different quarter, pointing to the same general conclusion. William Von Humboldt, in the elaborate and learned introduction to his great work on the Kawi tongues of the South-east of Asia, has established, to the unanimous acceptance of the ethnologists of Europe, a clear connection between the widely diffused languages of Polynesia and the Kawi .or Malay family, and thus brought them into relation with the Turanian or eastern branch of the great Asiatic stock. Thus again we have affiliated with the central province of Asia, a class of languages spoken by people who must constitute a separate division of the human race, if such a thing exists at all, inhabiting isolated and widely separated islands of the Pacific, reaching from Madagascar, on the very coast of Africa, to within 40° of the west coast of South America, girdling the globe to the extent of three-fifths, if not three-fourths of its entire equatorial circumference. If this result is accepted,—and we see not how any man who reads the argument can fail to see its conclusiveness (nor do we know any competent or respectable ethnologist who denies it),both the necessity and the fact of diverse origins for the scattered families of the human race, seem to be reduced to an assumption as gratuitous and unnecessary as it is destitute of sufficient proof.+ If three-fifths of the circumference of the globe, separated by trackless oceans, can be peopled from one centre, by tribes differing, as the inhabitants of Polynesia and New Holland do, in all the points of diversity which divide the most dissimilar families of the race, it is surely unphilosophical to assume, without proof, distinct original creations for the continental populations of the remaining two-fifths.
As the remotest and most isolated human races have been *“ Man and his Migrations; by R. G. Latham."
+ To preclude any possible charge of a suppressio veri, in the statement of this part of the argument, perhaps we ought to say that there are two languages prevailing in Polynesia, while the text refers only to the Malayo-Polynesian. The Papuan languages have not yet been studied sufficiently to fix their relations with entire certainty. The prevailing impression at the present moment is, that they are an independent stem from the same stock with the Polynesian proper, -older probably, less developed, and more degenerate. But there is certainly no likelihood that they the idea of a separate origin for the few Negroes who use them,
brought into relation with the primitive stock of mankind, by the evidence furnished by a thorough study of their languages, we need not dwell on the more probable, if not palpable, inference, that the inhabitants of Central Asia, to whom these wide and diversified human migrations have been traced back, were really one in their origin. The hypothesis of Professor Agassiz does not require us to make different centres for families so nearly allied. It has long been known that all the leading nations of Central and Western Asia, and the whole of Europe, belonged to one great family. Prichard, in his masterly analysis of the Keltic tongues, made the last important addition to this family, by substituting the wider Indo-European for the less comprehensive limits of the Indo-Germanic family. Professor Rask of Copenhagen, the great Scandinavian ethnologist and philologist, was, we believe, the first to suggest a hypothesis (now familiarly known to ethnologists as the Finnic Hypothesis), by which certain fragmentary and insignificant remnants of people scattered over Europe, and Asia also, (the most familiar of whom are the Basques of Biscay, and the Finns of the extreme north,) were brought into relation with the same teeming centre of population in the heart of Asia. These are alleged to be the remains of a migration anterior even to the Keltic, and underlying, so to speak, and cropping out at the edges of the present European civilization, which is due to a succession of inundations from the same prolific source, the ethnological analogues of whom are still to be found in similar isolated spots in India itself-as exemplified by the mountain tribes of the Dekhan, who are destitute of caste, and differ in language, religion, government, and social life, from the dominant races of Hindustan. Curiously enough, it is now alleged that late excavations, penetrating beneath the oldest Gothic burying-grounds, have brought to light skulls manifestly differing from those of the Keltic, or any of the later migrations, and yet bearing a clear and close resemblance to the scattered wandering tribes whom this hypothesis regards as the remnants of races which once covered this whole area, from Iceland to the mouth of the Ganges, and which, in their turn, as the organic affinities of the language clearly show, are only an older branch of the same great family– the Japhetic.*
* Among the works of high authority, on this department of the philological argument, we may mention Bopp, Burnout, Lassen, Pott, Benfey, W. Humboldt, Lepsius, and Höfer. The languages of Keltic origin have been investigated, independently, by Prichard, Bopp, Meyer, Rosen, the brother of Professor Rosen, of London University, and author of the Grammar of the important Ossetic languages of the Caucasus. And on the Meroïtic and Nubian, as collateral with the Egyptian, Lepsius is the great authority; while the Berber and connecting languages of the African family, in their Asiatic relationships, have been made accessible by Professor Newman.
The connection between the Indo-European or Iranian languages and nations, and the Turanian, or Eastern Asiatic, has been partially, but never quite fully investigated and determined. The great belt which runs across Asia, including Tartary, Mongolia, and Mantchouria, has been sufficiently explored to establish the fundamental identity of its languages.* The recent researches on the Ossetic family, spoken in the region of the Caucasus, have disclosed, unexpectedly, some most striking affinities with the most eastern side of the Turanian stock, which has led Dr Latham, from the careful comparison of their vocabularies, and Mr Norris, the accomplished President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, (strangely and unaccountably, we confess, to us), to concur in the classification on the ground of their grammatical affinities.
For our own part, we are entirely satisfied that the true connecting link of the monosyllabic and inorganic languages, of which the Chinese may be taken as the type, will be found in the polysyllabic tongues of Siam, Burmah,t and Thibet ; the Bhotyah of Thibet furnishing the closest analogue of all.
But these are minor considerations in the great philological conclusion, touching the unity of origin of the human race; and however they may be decided, or whether they are ever decided at all, it is clear enough already, that the whole weight of authority, and (what is still more decisive) the whole drift of research and discovery, are in favour of the plain teaching of the sacred record, and are so held at this hour by the greatest names in philologico-ethnological science, with a unanimity which should be held conclusive on the point. While the immense multitude of new facts disclosed every year, especially in philological ethnology, utterly refuse to conform to any classification of races, that is conceivable upon the new hypothesis of diversity of origins, they all fall in with, and tend to establish more and more clearly, the scriptural account of a single origin from a single pair. It may, we think, be fairly claimed, that this strong and steady tendency in one direction, this constant and ready absorption of new facts as fast as they are discovered, actually, in effect, fulfils that decisive sign of all true inductions in science, viz., the power to predict future phenomena. The very last paper ever contributed to the science by Dr Prichard, distinguished by his achievements in comparative philology, as well as by his unrivalled scholarship in the anatomy, physiology, and anthropology of the science, concludes with a remark made with * See, on this point, the great work of Abel Remusat—“Sur les Langues Tartares."
* Since writing the text, we see that Humboldt, in his " Kawi Sprache,” argues strongly for the radical agreement of the Burmese and the Chinese.