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peculiarly normal remnants and witnesses of bygone linguistic periods. In short, down to the minutest details, linguistic research stumbles on accordance and analogies with the doctrine of the derivation of organisms. And, forsooth, we are to halt before the origin of language as before a something incomprehensible and inscrutable!
This is not done, however, by the majority of comparative linguists in the present day. Though Max Müller calls the roots "phonetical fundamental types produced by a power inherent in human nature," though, according to him, man in a more perfect state possessed the power of giving to the reasonable conceptions of his mind a better and more subtle expression, the talented Lazarus Geiger 87 terms the hypothesis of a now extinct power of forming languages, and the other hypothesis connected with it, of a primordial state of higher perfection, a recourse to the incomprehensible and a return to a standpoint of mysticism. For that which is not understood is not necessarily incomprehensible. It is not our business to side with Geiger, who attributes an essential share in the ejaculation of words to the visual perceptions, or with Bleek, G. Curtius, Schleicher, Steinthal, and many others, who assign to the imitation of sounds the first place in the evocation of language. This much is, however, certain, that although those who are not critical, find Max Müller's standpoint highly convenient, in science, it is unique. In this province, interwoven as it is with the investigation of nature, the greater number of authorities, on linguistic grounds, comparative and philosophical, have been forced to the conclusion that, from an irrational primordial state, man-like beings
gradually became human, while with language, the work of many years, reason made its appearance.
As early as 1851, when the doctrine of Descent was still unheard of, Steinthal says: "As language arises, mind originates." Ten years after Darwin, Geiger writes: "Language created reason; before language, man was irrational." To him, and to all who have abandoned the standpoint of mysticism, "man is a genus springing from an animal condition by means of the origin and unfolding of his idiosyncrasy. And this conclusion is not, as orthodoxy and reaction are anxious to impress upon the multitude, borrowed from Darwinism, but deduced from linguistic inquiry in its own way, only by a scientific method. It need only be indicated that, as Geiger has historically proved in so many instances, "slow development, the emergence of contrast from imperceptible deviations, is the cause that the same word acquires various meanings;" that the creation of language therefore rests upon this process, and nowhere makes its appearance suddenly and abruptly; that the so-called laws of sound are habits of sound; that the special meaning which a sound has acquired in lapse of time is always the result of mere chance, or, in other words, of development.
This deduction of linguistic inquiry most fully confirms the result of natural inquiry. And any one who takes the trouble to follow the course of linguistic science will be convinced that its champions, except, perhaps, Bleek, Schleicher, and Friedrich Müller, are labouring rather to discredit, than to acknowledge, the influence of the doctrine of Descent. All the higher is our estimate of it, and therewith the most powerful objection to the inclusion of man in the great law of derivation is set aside.
The rest is incidental and a matter of detail. The question so often ventilated, and now thoroughly worn out, whether mankind is descended from one or more pairs, is solved by the inference that the stock in which language first arose, separated itself gradually from its animal progenitors, and that the selection which led to language and reason necessarily took place among large communities of individuals. The scriptural conception of the unity of the human race would be more nearly approached if all linguistic families pointed to a single source. But if it could be shown that certain linguistic families lead to utterly discordant roots, the investigation of nature might furnish the inevitable corollary that language originated in various parts of the world,in other words, that a separation into species took place before selection had reached the point of forming language. The latter case is by far the most probable, and is, in fact, received as the only one possible by most of the linguists occupied with this question, and is most especially defended by Friedrich Müller." "At the time," he says, "when there were races and no nations, man was a speechless animal, as yet, entirely destitute of the mental development which rests upon the agency of language. Independently of the premisses unfolded by natural history, this hypothesis is forced upon us by the contemplation of the languages themselves. The various families of languages, which linguistic science is able to discriminate, not only presuppose, by their diversity of form and material, several independent origins, but, within one and the same race, they point to several mutually independent points of origin."
In order to afford the reader some notion of the con
the species being regarded as It makes mention of species and races of mankind,
no longer existing,
HAECKEL AND MULLER'S PEDIGREE OF THE RACES OF MANKIND.
Australians. Arctic. American
Beginning of the formation of language and origin of nations.
Mediterra. nean race
Haeckel's sketch. pedigree, in which Friedrich Müller closely adheres to nection of the families of nations, we give the subjoined
while the present forms of man are distinguished only as races. On this subject, we shall not lavish many words, since, examined in the light, it is an affair of words only. In the order of Primates, man constitutes a single family, and represents it by a single genus. Whether Negroes, Caucasians, Papuans, American-Indians, &c., be called species or races, matters little. The facility of intercrossing the different nations would favour their characterization as races; but as the crossing of species does not differ in principle from the crossing of races, and as to the bodily varieties displayed in colour, hair, skull, limbs, and other characters are added the profound differences of language, the division of the genus homo into species, diverging into many races, seems after all more natural. But ultimately, as in the question of species in general, the individual feeling of each person proves decisive. Whether it was a lucky hit to found the division of mankind on the position of the hairs, in tufts or equally distributed upon the scalp, and furthermore on the section of the hair, whether it be more flat and oval or circular in form, and finally on the inclination to curl or to lie stiff and smooth, the future must decide.
The twelve races cited in the table given above, may be characterized by the aid of natural history; and as within the limits of the best known races, languages and families of languages may be found, which preclude any common origin, it follows that the formation of language began only after the still speechless primordial man had diverged into races. In geological periods and primordial history, all chronology is extremely deceptive: we may, nevertheless, acquiesce in an estimate