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she snatched the child from the arms of the mother and
it to the priest, while the excitement threw the mother into a dangerous fever and temporary insanity. In the other case the priest dragged the child away by main force, and it suffered so much by the violence and exposure that it died in a few days. The fathers of both children sued the priests, but after a sort of Chancery trial they were all acquitted. These outrages have greatly exasperated the people, and made the Greek priests still more unpopular. Just at this moment both parties stand in the sharpest antagonism to each other.
We can scarcely conclude this paper without devoting a few moments to the educational phase of this controversy, with the view of calling attention to the vast contrast between the Russian institutions properly so called, and those that exist in the Baltic Provinces under the German influence. As we have before observed, the Government finds it alınost impossible to fill the ehairs of the Universities in the interior. The University of Charkove has fourteen professorships now vacant, and this in the face of extrgordinary efforts on the part of the Ministry of Instruction to supply them with teaching force, such as increase of salary, and foundation of scholarships for the training of instructors in foreign schools; and a recent issue of the “ Odessa Journal” announces that the new University of that city needs a dozen professors, and in some cases for its most important chairs. Contrast this with the famous school of Dorpat in the Baltic Provinces, and Young Russia suffers severely. And the flourishing character of this school is maintained in the presence of difficulties arising from all sorts of petty interference on the part of the Government, and these have been long continued. Nicholas made every effort to reduce this University to a mere preparatory school for the education of civil officers, while its aspirations are to be the seat of the highest learning and culture of the realm. Alexander has treated it a little more kindly, but is determined to Russianize it as far as it can possibly bear it. No student may enter its halls without an extensive knowledge of the Russian language. This is an absolute impediment to many a young man who has no means or no inclination to acquire the Russian, and no use for it after all the labor devoted to it. The result is that not a few are turned away from a learned career by the stumbling-blocks that are laid in their way.
About a year ago the Chief Inspector of the University and all the high schools of the provinces was ordered to correspond with the Ministry at St. Petersburg in the Russian tongue. It was known that the incumbent could not do this, and the intention was to get rid of him in this way, as it was supposed that he would resign; but he retained his post in the interest of his cause, and protested against the action. The result was the appointment of an ingrained Russian as sub-inspector, to do the correspondence, act as informer to the Government, and be ready to step into the place the moment it is vacant. One of the finest of the corps was recently displaced on account of the pnb. lication of a pamphlet reflecting on the ungenerous pressure of the authorities on the development of the institution. His place is still vacant and likely to be, since the Government has now determined that he who fills it must be able to deliver the lectures on Russian and Baltic history in Russian, and the national journals are now insisting that the lectures on Russian law must also be delivered in that tongue. The Emperor Nicholas had his own peculiar way of getting rid of uncongenial teachers; a mere suspicion or a simple dislike was enough to settle his purpose, and when a man was unfortunate in this way his fate was sealed. A noted teacher, now doing good service in Switzerland, found himself suddenly seized one day, placed in a carriage, and, under escort of a band of Cossacks, set down beyond the frontier, with an emphatic hint not to cross it again.
For the last three years efforts have been made to introduce the Russian into the high schools as a medium of instruction, History and mathematics were to be taught to mere boys in Russian ; why just these branches is not so clear, as no one is aware that the language is especially rich or efficient in either of them. Thus far the effort has failed from sheer inability to carry it out. The children themselves are so set against it that they give it the nickname of “ Arabic," and will neither study nor speak it unless forced to do so. If these branches are
. to be studied in Russian the youth of the provinces will know very little about them.. But one great trouble that the enterprise meets in the beginning is to find native teachers of
the language. In all the Russian realm there is not a single normal school for the training of teachers; while in the provinces there are no less than four. The result is so great a dearth of Russian teachers that it is said that even in Moscow a good teacher of Russian is not easily found. Under these circumstances the Germans of the provinces recommend that when one by chance comes to light, it were wiser to employ him in their own cities than to send him to the high schools of the Baltic. The German population of all this region is remarkably well-educated; it is seldom that one is found who cannot read and write : the very peasants in the fields carry their hymn and prayer books with them to escape the eyes of the national priests, and the authorities declare that the proportion of their people that can read and write is even greater than in Prussia.
A systematic effort to force the Russian language on the country was made by ukase in 1869. The Emperor declared that all the crown authorities in the provinces should correspond with each other and with the superior authorities at the seat of Government in Russian. These national officers are few as yet, for nearly all are local ; but these few could not do it, and the measure is still imperfectly carried out. Shortly after its publication, the Emperor, on a general tour, visited Riga, and for the first time addressed the delegations in Russian, which few of them can understand, and which he himself can scarcely speak so effectively as he can the German, on account of the great superiority of the latter language over his own. The whole affair caused great exasperation, and set the entire press of the country by the ears in its discussion. The organs of St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev make it a standing subject of debate, and preach from it the most proscriptive propositions, and thus the war goes on.
This gives the Russian party a capital chance to declaim about national unity and the incongruity of a foreign element in their midst, and this they do with little regard to the fact that these provinces are united to Russia by a series of solemn compacts extending over one hundred and fifty years, in nearly all of which distinct constitutional concessions are made to local language and religion. If the hotspurs of Russia could find time for a little investigation into general history they would there find that about the hardest task a nation can undertake is to stamp out the language of another. They themselves have been trying the experiment on the Poles for a goodly period, and have not succeeded, though here the task should be more easy from the affinity of idiom and the total subjugation of the nation. In the case of the German provinces the undertaking is still more wild and unreasonable, from the fact that these may be made a source of strength and culture for the whole vast realm in its present career of progress and ambition.
ART. III.—OUR SPOKEN ENGLISH.
It was a wise conjecture of Mr. Marsh, that the new and altogether unparalleled strain put upon the English language in this country by the use of the literary dialect for all purposes, by all sorts of people, would result in new forms of phonetic corruption. It is the first experiment of democracy in specch. Hitherto the literary classes have had their choice, ripe, and flowing idioms mostly to themselves, and the circle has been 80 narrow that it has been easy to maintain a nearly uniform practice in orthoëpy, as well as in orthography. To this day, in all lands but ours, the masses speak dialects which they often share with the cultivated, who have, besides the common vernacular, a book-tongue for solemn or grave occasions. An Italian professor talks to his servants, wife, and children in dialect, but lectures to his students in the stately tongue used in books. In other countries, especially England, the dialects are less universally spoken ; but every-where outside of America the rude, vulgar idiom is separated by a pretty broad line from its polite brother, and so takes off the brunt and waste of the worst sorts of usage.
Have we American-English dialects? Some facts favor an affirmative answer. There are certainly well-defined dialec
d tical peculiarities. Two considerations, however, lead us to deny to these Americanisms the dignity or degradation of a dialect.
On the one hand, they only partially vary the spoken language; are rather hints of coming corruption, than systematic and universal corruption. Even a Hoosier speaks prevailingly in the book-language. On the other hand, none of these dialectical tendencies are the outgrowths of old, popular dialects. Making an exception here and there for a transplanted provincialism, most of our popular peculiarities are corruptions of book-words by people who did not inherit a low-born vernacular. The collision of languages in our country has developed some popular words which are not properly called dialectic, being nearly legitimate formations, and passing readily into the written tongue. Hunker might be cited as an example. It might be added that the incessant intermixture of our population by intermigration prevents the stagnation of any group of peculiarities into a vernacular for a province. It is difficult to see how a dialect can form under such conditions as ours,* and it is easy to believe that the old dialects of Europe must yield to the railroad and the school-master. The breaking up of a popnlar idiom in dense communities, where most are little learned in books, where all know their fellows from their youth up, and strange faces are rarely seen, is just such a task as the breaking up of a national speech. The Russian Emperor, who has attempted the last in Poland, would probably discourage our hope that Italy and Germany will succeed in the former.
It is quite another matter for a dialect to form in a population whose elements are changing every year. Only a national speech, however badly it be treated, can serve as a means of communication among the inhabitants of a village peopled from all parts of a vast nation. In spite of the varieties of accent, the mixture in some sections of different languages, and the broadly marked peculiarities of other sections, we conclude that we neither have, nor can ever have, true dialects. In a few years you may listen vainly for Hoosier on the Wabash or the Ohio,
* Professor Whitney is very hopeful of American-English, but he seems to think the danger of dialects to be worth some attention. “This (variety of usage] needs only a change in degree to make it accord with the distinction between any literary language which history offers to our knowledge, and any less cultivated dialects which have grown up in popular usage by its side, and by which it has been finally overthrown and supplanted.” But when before, in human history, did a literary language have a national field all, or nearly all, to itself ?-See Lan. guage and the Study of Language, p. 174.