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of barbarism and civilization. Their dances are accompanied by songs in recitative, to which the motions of the dancers correspond, precisely like the choral and orchestric exhibitions of the Greeks. Song and dance are inseparable, and festivals are signalized by the production of a meke, or dance, of which both the movements and the words are composed for the occasion. There are persons who devote themselves, like the doidol, to this species of composition, and who sometimes acquire reputation and wealth by this exercise of their genius, "twenty tambua [the native currency of whale's teeth) being sometimes given for a single song and dance. As a person with forty or fifty of these teeth is considered wealthy, and for eight or ten a ship may be supplied with provisions for a cruise, it is evident that the Feejeeans affix no slight value to the works of their composers.”
Besides the restraints of tune and dance to which the Vitian poet must submit, he is fettered by a complicated and peculiar system of rhythm and rhyme. The most common measure in Vitian songs consists of three dactyles and a trochee, which may be technically called logaædic dactyles ; but, by another remarkable coincidence with the metrical principles of the Greeks and Romans, a spondee may take the place of either of the dactyles, as in the line
an tỉko | mãi nā | tāmbŭ tă | ngāně. One variation, however, unknown to the Greeks and Romans, is permitted in the case of reduplicated words, which are considered as containing only as many syllables as the simple words. We commend this rhythmical anomaly to Professors Beck and Felton, as a new example of what they would denominate arrhythmy.
But the difficulties which the Vitian poet has to encounter do not end here.
“There is, in addition to this, a peculiar manner of rhyming, which must require in the composer a great command of words, as well as skill in disposing them. The rule is as follows: those vowels which are contained in the last two syllables of the first line of a stanza, must be found in the same order in the last two syllables of every succeeding line; and the greater the number of lines which are thus made to conform, the better is the poetry esteemed."
This is rather consonance than rhyme, and could only prevail, to any great extent, in languages distinguished for the predominance of the vowel sounds. Vitian poetry, it will be seen, thus combines the peculiarities of the ancient classical versification, and of the minstrelsy of the romance languages, in the days of the Courts of Love.
The remainder of the volume is occupied with grammars and vocabularies of the less important dialects of Oceanica, including, of course, Australia. Then we have a very curious account of the languages of Northwestern America, in regard to which the singular fact is stated, that the languages north of the Columbia river are remarkable
for their extraordinary harshness, which in some is so great as almost to surpass belief. The Chinooks, Chikailish, and Killamuks, appear actually to labor in speaking, - an illusion which proceeds, no doubt, from the effect produced on the ear of the listener by the harsh elements with which their languages abound, as well as by the generally rough and dissonant style of pronunciation. The x is, in these tongues, a somewhat deeper guttural than the Spanish jota. The ğ is an extraordinary sound, resembling the hawking noise produced by an effort to expel phlegm from the throat. A similar element (as we are assured on good authority) in the Quicchuan or Peruvian language is called by the Spanish grammarians the cc castañuelas, and is compared to the sound made in cracking nuts with the teeth, — from which, of course, we can only infer its extreme harshness. Txl is a combination uttered by forcing out the breath at the side of the mouth, between the tongue and the palate. The vocabularies, and the remarks upon them, will exhibit some other peculiarities of these languages. They are all indistinct, as well as harsh. The same element in the Tshinuk and other tongues is heard at one time as a v, at another as a b, and again as an m, the latter being probably the most accurate representation. So the n and d are in several undistinguishable, and we were constantly in doubt whether certain short vowels should be written or omitted.
“The southern languages are, on the other hand, no less distinguished for softness and harmony. The gutturals are found in two or three, into which they seem to have been introduced by communication with the northern tribes. The rest want this class of letters, and have, in their place, the labial f, the liquid r, and the nasal ", all of which are unknown in the former. Difficult combinations of consonants rarely occur, and the many vowels make the pronunciation clear and sonorous.
There is, however, a good deal of variety in this respect, some of the lan
236 Scientific Results of the Exploring Expedition. [July,
guages, as the Lutuami, Saste, and Palaihnik, being smooth and agreeable to the ear, while the Shoshoni and Kalapuya, though soft, are nasal and indistinct."
pp. 533, 534. We venture humbly to suggest to Mr. Buchanan whether this philological line would not be a good basis on which to settle the Oregon boundary. One of the most curious chapters is that which contains an outline of the Jargon, or Trade language, of Oregon. Here we detect nature in the very act of creating a new language, by fusing together the various materials existing in distinct dialects, and remoulding them upon new principles, and for the purpose of supplying new wants. The elements of this dialect are the Nootka, English, Tshinuk, and French ; together with a supply of words formed by the onomatopæia, or principle of representing sense by sound. As the language is spoken by Tshinuks, Englishmen, and Frenchmen, it rejects all sounds which cannot readily be pronounced by all three ; and this constitutes the point of peculiar interest in the phonology of the language. If we had room, it would be amusing to copy a few specimens of this Jargon. If left to itself
, it would in time, doubtless, unfold into a copious and regular language, with its distinctive principles of syntax and rhythm ; but it will doubtless disappear, as a civilized population advances and occupies the country with permanent settlements. The volume ends with a brief account of the languages of Patagonia and of Southern Africa.
We have given only a cursory review of the interesting and important contents of Mr. Hale's work; but we think our readers, and others whose attention may be called to it, will agree with us in pronouncing it a most valuable contribution to ethnography and philology, and, as such, highly honorable to the scholarship of our country.
Art. IX. - Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony
of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, from 1623 to 1635. Now first collected from Original Records and Contemporaneous Manuscripts, and illustrated with Notes. By ALEXANDER YOUNG. Boston: Little & Brown. 1846. 8vo. pp. 560.
The publication, at successive periods, of contemporaneous documents relating to any historical event puts a reader more and more into the position of an original eyewitness and party. Documents not intended for publication are generally the richest materials of history ; and it is a well established principle among its writers, that public annals and records will never serve by themselves for a sufficient, or even for an accurate, memorial of the past. The historian, almost as much as the biographer, needs the aid of what are called private papers, family registers, letters, note-books, journals, and the Ay-leaves of pamphlets, to illustrate and explain the great folio records in print or in manuscript. The second publication or reëditing of a historical document may also give a double value to it. The time which has elapsed since it was first printed has written a commentary upon it, has verified or contradicted its statements, has witnessed the publication of other documents relating to the same scenes and actors, and while it has shown some of the consequences of former events, it has allowed shadows to gather around them which only the concentration of many rays of light can pierce.
It has often been observed of the annals of the North American Colonies in general, and of those of New England in particular, that they are wholly free from fable, and begin at the very beginning with most authentic materials. This truth is well understood, but it is regarded more as a negative than as a positive fact. The fables are thankfully missed; but gratitude and admiration have not made a sufficient acknowledgment for the mass of original papers which authenticate New England history. It is wonderful that so many records relating to its first settlers and their plantations should have been made ; it is more wonderful still, that so large a portion of them should have escaped the hazards of time, till they could be permanently secured. Indeed, we are persuaded
that a good argument, were such needed, to establish many honorable distinctions and claims for our fathers, and to assure their faith in the proud results of their mean beginnings, might be raised from the fact that they recorded so much about their own childhood, with its exposures, its fears, and its imperfections. They seem to have known that what they were doing and suffering was worthy of being written down ; and while no one of their papers which has as yet come to light betrays any ambition for notoriety then, or for applause afterwards, it may still be said of all of them, that candor and truthfulness, the most specific statement of their views and principles, and a readiness to meet the judgment of the whole world for all time, are the most striking characteristics of every page.
may likewise be stated, to the credit of our fathers and in large extenuation of their errors, that they practised no concealment. It is from their own writings that their calumniators or accusers obtain all their facts and charges. They did nothing in a corner. Those who suffered by their acts of alleged oppression and bigotry had not to do with sneaking, cowardly persecutors, who were afraid to confess their deeds or to offer their reasons. Scarcely could a sufferer by their intolerance make his way in banishment or flight to the court or the press at London, to tell his tale to their discredit, before the full story was told by the colonists themselves, without loss or addition, at the same bar of royalty or of popular judgment. Their usurpation of certain civil privileges and ecclesiastical functions, which it was not intended they should enjoy, was neither hidden nor denied. They allowed it all, and readily undertook the office of justifying it either by bold inferences from their patent, or by the necessities of their condition. They never even denied that they had made audacious trespass upon the exclusive rights of royalty, by establishing a mint in Boston and coining money there ; though their agent at court, taking the sin upon his own soul, ventured to tell Charles the Second, that the pine-tree on the Massachusetts shilling, which the king looked at with amazed distrust, was an effigies of the famous tree thus happily commemorated in the New England Primer, adorned with cuts":
“ The royal Oak, it was the Tree
That saved his Royal Majesty."