Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

any notable signs of Latin intermixture. Neither is there trace, or shadow of trace, of any form of speech of Latin origin throughout the whole of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers or Morocco.

In Pannonia and Illyricum, the same absence of any language of Latin origin is manifest. Pannonia and Illyricum have had more than an average amount of subsequent conquerors and occupants-Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Sclavonians, Hungarians, Germans. That the Slovak, however, in the north, and Dalmatian forms of the Servian in the south, represent the native languages is generally admitted—now, if not long ago. These, then, have survived. Why not, then, the Latin if it ever took root ?

In respect to Thrace, it is just possible that it may have been, in its towns at least, sufficiently Greek to have been in the same category with Greece proper. I say that this is just possible. In reality, however, it was more likely to be contrasted with Greece than to be classed with it. One thing, however, is certain, viz.:—that the country district round Constantinople was never a district in which Latin was of vernacular. Had it been so, the fact could hardly have been unnoticed, or without influence on the unequivocally Greek Metropolis of the Eastern Empire.

If the doctrine that Thrace may have been sufficiently Greek to forbid the introduction of the Latin be doubtful, the notion that the Mæsias were so is untenable Yet the Latin never seems to have been vernacular in either of them. Had it been so, it would probably have held its ground, especially in the impracticable mountains and forests of Upper Mæsia or the modern Servia. Yet where is there a trace of it? Of all the Roman Provinces, Servia or Upper Moesia seems to be the one wherein the evidence of a displacement of the native, and a development of a Latin form of speech, is at its minimum, and the instance of Servia is the one upon which the analogous case of Britain best rests.

The insufficiency of the current reasons in favour of the modern Servian being of recent introduction, have heen considered by me elsewhere.

Now comes the notice of a text which always commands the attention of the Ethnological philologue, when he is engaged upon the Angle period of our island's history. It refers to the middle of the eighth century, the era of the Venerable Bede, from whose writings it is taken. I give it in extenso. It runs “Hæc in presenti, juxta numerum librorum quibus lex divina scripta est, quinque gentium linguis, unam eandemque summa veritatis et veræ sublimitatis scientiam scrutatur et confitetur; Anglorum, videlicet, Brittonum, Scottorum, Pictorum et Latinorum quoæ meditatione scripturarum, cæteris omnibus est facta communis.*

That the Latin here is the Latin of Ecclesiastical, rather than Imperial Rome, the Latin of the Scriptures rather than classical writers, the Latin of a written book rather than a Lingua Rustica, is implied by the context.

Should this, however, be doubted, the following passage, which makes the languages of Britain only four, is conclusive—“Omnes nationes et provincias Britanniæ, quæ in quatuor linguas, id est Brittonum, Pictorum, Scottorum et Anglorum divisa sunt, in ditione accepit.”+

It is the first of these two statements of Beda's that the following extract from Wintoun is founded on.

[ocr errors]

But the Latin of the scriptures may have been the Latin of common life as well. Scarcely. The change from the written to the spoken language was too great for this. What the latter would have been we can infer. It would have been something like the following “ Pro Deo armur et pro Xristian poblo et nostro commun salvament d'ist di en avant, in quant Deus savir et poder me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo, et in ajudha et in cadhuna cosa, si com om per dreit son fradra salvar dist, in o quid il me altresi fazet: et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai uni, meon vol, cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit.”

This is the oath of the Emperors Karl and Ludwig, sons of Charlemagne, as it was sworn by the former in A.D. 842. It is later in date than the time of Beda by about a century ; being in the Lingua Rustica of France. Nevertheless, it is a fair specimen of the difference between the spoken languages of the countries that had once been Roman Provinces, and the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

written Latin. Indeed, it was not Latin, but Romance; and, in like manner, any vernacular form of speech, used in Britain but of Roman origin, would have been Romance also.

The conclusion which the present notice suggests is -
That the testimony of authors tells neither way.

That the presumptions in favour of the Latin which are raised by the cases of Gaul, Spain, Rhotia, and Dacia, are anything but conclusive.

That the inferences from the earliest as well as the latest data as to the condition of English Britain, the inferences from the Angle conquest, and the inferences from the present language of Wales, are decidedly against the Latin.

I may, perhaps, be allowed to conclude by a reference to a paper already alluded to, as having been laid before the present Society, by Mr. Wright. This is to the effect, that the Latin reigned paramount not only in England, but in Wales also, under the Roman dominion; the present Welsh being of recent introduction from Armorica.

That the population was heterogeneous is certain, the Roman Legionaries being, to a certain extent, other than Roman. It is also certain that there was, within the island, at an early period, no inconsiderable amount of Teutonic blood. It is certain, too, that the name Briton had different applications at different times.

If so, the difference between Mr. Wright and myself, in respect to the homogeneousness or heterogeneousness of the Britannic population, is only a matter of degree.

In respect to the particular fact, as to whether the British or Latin language was the vernacular form of speech, we differ more decidedly. That the British was unwritten and uncultivated is true ; so that the exclusive use of the Latin for inscriptions is only what we expect. The negative fact that no British name has been found inscribed, I by no means undervalue.

The preponderance however, of a Non-British population, and the use of the Latin as the vernacular language, are doctrines, which the few undoubted facts of our early history impugn rather than verify.

The main difficulty which Mr. Wright's hypothesis meets—and it does meet it-lies in the fact of the similarity between the Welsh and Armorican being too great for anything but a comparatively recent separation to

account for. Nevertheless, even this portion of what may be called the Armorican hypothesis, is by no means incompatible with the doctrine of the present paper. The Celtic of Armorica may as easily have displaced the older Celtic of Britain (from which, by hypothesis, it notably differed) as it is supposed to have displaced the Latin.

I do not imagine this to have been the case ; indeed I can see reasons against it, arising out of the application of Mr. Wright's own line of criticism.

I think it by no means unlikely that the argument which gives us the annihilation of the British of the British Isles, may also give us that of the Gallic of Gaul. Why should Armorica have been more Celtic than Wales? Yet, if it were not so, whence came the Armorican of Wales ? I throw out these objections for the sake of stimulating criticism, rather than with the view of settling a by no means easy question.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TESTING CHRONOMETERS BEFORE

THEY ARE USED AT SEA, WITH EXAMPLES TO SHOW HOW THEIR MOST COMMON FAULTS MAY BE DETECTED.

By John Hartnup, F.R.A.S.

(Read 15TH JANUARY, 1857.)

It is well known by those who have had much experience with chronometers, that some of the most serious defects to which they are liable cannot possibly be detected by an inspection of the works, however carefully they may be examined by the most skilful chronometer maker. It is also well known that the mariner, unaided, has no means whatever of efficiently testing the quality of a chronometer. From the first introduction of marine timekeepers, as an aid to navigation, it has been the practice to test all those employed in the British Navy at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, previous to their being placed in the hands of the officers appointed to use them at sea. But the merchant captain has never been able to avail himself of this privilege ; and until the Corporation of Liverpool made the necessary provision in this port, a few years ago, he had no authority to appeal to for information as to the quality of a chronometer, notwithstanding that this instrument is used, almost exclusively, for so important an object as that of finding the longitude of a ship at sea.

The subject is so novel, that some explanation appears necessary, to show the merchant captain how the chronometer can be tested for him, and what degree of confidence he may place in the tests which are applied, in an establishment provided with the necessary instruments and apparatus for making the experiments, and in which there is a proper guarantee for the records being faithfully kept for his inspection. In giving this explanation, examples will be introduced to which we shall frequently refer, in order to explain the nature of the most common faults which are found to exist in the chronometers now in use in the merchant service. These examples have been taken from the records of the Liverpool Observatory. In the following (Nos. 1 to 4), the daily rate is given in each, for twenty days in succession ; and we trust that this period, short as it is, will be seen to be

« AnteriorContinuar »