« VorigeDoorgaan »
for the exchange of prisoners. Had no belligerent rights been granted them by the leading powers of Europe, this fact alone would have been sufficient to entitle Lee, or any of the other rebel generals who have surrendered, to be considered at worst only as prisoners of war. If even a rebel is entitled to consideration on account of his bravery and skill as a commander, and the long and formidable resistance he has made, the claims of Lee in these respects are beyond question ; we think that those who are most dissatisfied with the course which he has pursued, or who feel most resentment against him for the large amount of blood he has shed, would readily admit that he has proved himself the greatest captain of the age, with, perhaps, the sole exception of his conqueror, Gen eral Grant.
It will also be found on reflection, even by those who are most incensed against the rebels, that the less of their
property that is confiscated the better. Next to capital punishment for political crimes, nothing is more odious than confiscation ; nothing excites a stronger sympathy in favor of the sufferers. For this reason, even despots are rather shy of it. Be it remembered that it is the Machiavellian policy in one of its most revolting forms. “When you have conquered those whom you wish to retain in your power,” says Machiavelli, "ruin them.” Elsewhere he says,
Elsewhere he says, “Crush them to the earth ; destroy them.” Russia and Austria have, indeed, taken his advice but too literally, as the unhappy Poles and Venetians can tell ; but even these despots have learned that, after all, it is best not to do all the mischief they can ; that it is not well to exasperate even serfs beyond the bounds of endurance.
Still more injudicious would it be, if possible, to deprive the rebel states of their former rights by degrading them to the condition of territories. Although there are many who urge this at the present moment, we do not think there is any danger that it will be acted upon. A little reflection will show that it would flatly contradict what has been the avowed object of the war from the beginning on the part of the Federal government; namely, to force back the revolted states to their former position as members of the Union. Now that they have been forced back, would it be logical to deny that they belong to the Union? To do so would be a virtual recognition of dissolution. We do not indeed mean that the leaders of the rebellion should be permitted to exercise the rights of citizenship; we do not think that they
ought; but we think that all should who are included in the President's proclamation as receiving an amnesty, and we
mistaken if they are not. As for slavery, that must be regarded as forever abolished. This will be punishment enough for the rebels, and yet they will be better off ten years hence, with the exercise of ordinary prudence and good management, after paying for their labor, than if they had still held the poor negro in bondage. It is pleasant to observe that many, if not the majority, of themselves begin to regard the subject in this light. And what a wonderful revolution in thought, as well as in fact, in so brief a period! This alone would have shown that the war has not been in vain, had it not been productive of no other fruits. Yet it is premature to exult much in the abolition of slavery until we see what disposition the millions thus set free will make of themselves. It is to be hoped that they will prove themselves worthy of their freedom by honestly working for their bread. As soon as all the questions at which we have thus hurriedly glanced are settled, as we trust they will be before long, the Republic will commence a more brilliant, great, and prosperous career, and excite tenfold more jealousy, than ever among the most powerful nations; a jealousy which, we trust will ere long be as great a source of pride to the Southerner as to the Northerner.
ART. IX.-NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.
EDUOATION AND SCIENCE.
Lectures on tho Science of Language, delivered at the Royal Institution of
Great Britain, in February, March, April, and May, 1863. By MAX MÜLLER, M. A., Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford; Correspondant de l'Institut de France. Second series. 12mo. pp. 622. London, 1865.
It is a great pleasure to take up another volume by Max Müller, for. we are always sure of finding him thoroughly at home in his subject, and we feel a confidence that what he says is well supported by facts. Besides being a profound scholar, he has the power of expressing himself in choice English, in an interesting style, in a way that we do not expect from & German. He exerts through his writings a species of magnetism, very rare in such scholars, which excites his readers to think and study on what he says. By this quality he is well fitted to become one of the leaders of English scholars, and the band of his disciples will continually increase.
The first series of lectures was devoted to showing the existence of the science of language, and the progress it had made, and to a statement of the relation of the various languages of the world to each other, and their possible common origin. In the present volume the author confines himself to the exposition of certain principles and facts as seen chiefly in English and its immediate congeners, both Romance and Teutonic. Two things are especially considered: the clothing of language, or sounds and words, and the inside of language, or the primary and earlier ideas that were expressed by it.
The analysis of sourds given by Max Müller is the most complete and exhaustive that we have ever met with. Both vowel and consonant sounds are classified according to their method of production, and copious wood-cuts are given, showing the exact position of the vocal organs in the utterance of each sound. These figures are drawn chiefly from actual inspection, and though in some cases a little exaggerated, show precisely the mode of producing each sound and their relations. We can easily see from these figures, and better yet by practising and observing our own mouths, the ways that letters change among different people. The smallest alteration in the position of the tongue varies the sound; the slightest approximation of the lower lip to the upper teeth will change a th into an f, as we see frequently in the word nothing pronounced by negroes as if noffing. Some persons and tribes find it impossible to distinguish between certain letters, either when they speak themselves or when they hear them. To the Hawaiians k and t are alike, and the ancestral tribes of the Greeks and Romans had the same difficulty about q ork and p. But phonetic decay is owing alınost entirely to muscular relaxation; to disinclination to make the requisite effort to utter the sound-for the change is always towards the easier sound. Sometimes letters are inserted for euphony, as our grammars say, but rather for ease of utterance.
We were somewhat startled to find Mr. Müller an advocate of the system of phonetic spelling, and were inclined to think him rather hasty in his judgment. But further reflection, and a careful perusal of the authorities to which Müller refers, have led us to a revision of our own conservative ideas. We know that a word, is only a sound, and that the printed or written word is only the symbol of that sound. At first it expressed that sound exactly, but from the various causes which have led us to speak fast and slur over half our words, they no longer do express the sound. In reality we have two languages, one of sound, and another for the eye, which are only partly coincident, and which are diverging further continually. The question with us is, Shall we retain an inconvenient and unphilosophical system for the sake of habit and some slight advantages? The chief of these is supposed to be the guide that we have to etymology, and Max Müller is charged with having refuted himself when he says that sound etymology has nothing to do with sound.". What he
means by this is plainly that similarity of sound is no test of an etymology, for we know that sounds have changed by fixed laws, and that in most cases a different sound is to be expected; but it is a sound after all. As far as regards the vowels, etymology would certainly be aided by their fixity. There is no doubt that at some time a reform will become an absolute necessity. We cannot consider such a thing impossible, for the Spaniards have adopted an orthographical reform, and a change is beginning in the spelling of German words, though not an authoritative one. Many nations have already changed their alphabet. These things show that reforms in printing and writing can be made.
On the subject of phonetics much that is valuable can be learned from savage tribes, whose language is now in the state that the language of the Aryan tribes once was. The dialects of the various Polynesian islands display the same peculiarities, in their mutual relations, that marked Sanscrit, Latin, Greek, and Teutonic. Variations in sound, phonetic laws, and most of the causes that can affect language are there seen in full play. In the case of language we must judge the past partly by the present. We must explain what has been done by what is taking place around us. The missionaries at remote stations are doing much for learning by reducing these various languages to writing, and Mr. Müller makes good use of their labors in illustrating his reasoning. Some of them, how. ever, are of that school of philologists, who unfortunately have their headquarters at the Philological Society, who think that a few slight resemblances of any of these half-formed languages to those in modern use a sufficient proof of paternity. Disregarding all considerations of dissimilarity of structure and of claim of languages, one man claims the Hawaiian to be the primitive tongue, just as another had claimed the Finnish to be the ancestor of the English. A few of these men seem as if actuated by a desire to overturn all the constructions of science, and bring back, as soon as possible, the reign of chaos. One, while confessing his ignorance of Sanscrit, writes a labored essay to prove that Sanscrit is of no use to the student of language. Another, Mr. Wedgwood, we hope has received his coup de grace, at least in one point. We refer especially to page 103, where his detivation of foul, filth, and fiend, from the interjection faugh, pfui, or pooh, is discussed.
Mr. Muller, again, urges the importance of a study of the roots of language, and elucidates the statements he had made in his foriner vol
The expression which he had used of phonetic types had occasioned some misconception, and in one lecture he shows the reality of such roots, and the probability that they were primarily used as words ; that they were concrete before they becarne abstract. The necessity that the words of any language be reduced to roots is obvious before any speculations are indulged in with regard to their origin. At present it is better to drop all theories about the origin of language, and spend
all our energies in developing the facts from which we must reason. We really have no sound basis from which to argue, and until we have made one it is wiser to pass by such useless theorizing. After we have reduced every language that we know to its simple and primary elements, be hind which we cannot go, we may begin to ask the cause and source of the elements themselves. The very process of developing the elements may furnislı us a method for resolving the problem.
But it is to the latter part of this book that we wish to call special attention. In that the author discourses the first ideas in all languages, and those are the ideas of the superior powers of the deities. Men feeling their dependence on something higher than themselves, for their daily light at least, are early led to ideas and names for those higher personages who bestow on them these good things. To this subject of comparative mythology Mr. Müller brings much thonght and much learning. It may, at first, be asked, what has mythology to do with language, and what has a book that professes to treat of words, letters, and sounds, to do with different ideas of the deity? But when we consider that mythology arises from language, when we reflect that similar myths and legends may be resolved into one by a proved identity in the names of the fabled persons; when we remember how often words are deified and made idols, how nations are ruled by an empty sound, how multitudes in America are swayed in their political actions by the mere name Democracy, we see at once the connection between philology and mythology. Mr. Müller, however, is not the first to connect the two. Dr. Kuhn, long ago, admitted mythology into his Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, as part and parcel of that science.
The occasional correspondence of the stories of Greek and Roman mythology with the statements of the Bible was long ago noticed; such as of the flood of Deucalion and that of Noah, of the garden of the Hesperides and that of Eden, and such similarities were readily enough explained as distorted remembrances of early revelations and historic facts. Still later, similar traditions were attempted to be traced among many savage tribes, and the same explanation was given. After an impulse was given to the study of the old northern literature, the remarkable resemblance of the Scandinavian mythology to that of the Greeks and other Eastern nations was commented on. But the identity of origin of all these mythologies has only been argued and proved since the thorough study of Sanskrit and of comparative philology. Max Müller, in his Essay on Comparative Mythology, published in the Oxford Essays for 1856, and his follower, Mr. G. W. Cox, in his excellent paraphrases of the Grecian legends and tales, have before presented this subject to English readers, but this is the first essay of the kind which has been brought before the American public. As such it merits some attention.
There may be said to be three prevailing or well-pronounced theories