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changed in form and meaning; become
exalted or depressed as their birth was
forgotten- the lowest becoming noble and the
noblest low, according to the times and
circumstances in which they flourished.

Such changes being incidental to all
languages within short spaces of time, and
among people at no great distance from each
other, it is not wonderful that the dialects
spoken along the Danube, the Black Sea, the
Caspian, and the Russian and Turkish
empires at large, all congregated on the seat of
war, should have been polyglot: they reached
the number of about fifty. The Caucasus
alone is styled by the Persians the mountain
of languages; and the diversity in every
valley has been the principal obstacle to a
united resistance on the part of the tribes
who inhabit them, against Russia. On the
other hand, the policy of Russia to introduce
her alphabet- the Cyrillic, invented by a Greek
monk near the close of the ninth century,
and curtailed of nine letters by Peter the
Great- into all the countries she proposes to
absorb, is one of the greatest barriers
between that empire and the intellectual world
of Europe. And it is well carefully to note
the difference between Russia and England
in regard to the cultivation of language for
state purposes. There is not a country
possessing a grammar, in any diplomatic
relation with Petersburg, which has not the
acquisition of its native tongue provided
for in or near the Russian capital. At
the imperial gymnasium, Novo-Tcherskask,
in the country of the Don Cossacks,
military interpreters and translators for the
Caucasian invasions are taught Arabic,
Tartaric, Avarian, and Tscherkessian; at
Storopol, Tartaric and Tscherkessian form part
of the educational system; and throughout
the land young and able students are
diligently trained to carry on free intercourse
with foreign nations.

English statesmen might do idler things
than take this shrewd example into their
consideration, and establish competent schools
for instruction in the languages that bear
upon our immense Asiatic and Indian
interests. From the Sanscrit through the Affghan,
Bokharan, Kurdian, Armenian, Albanian, to
the Persian, Turkish, and Chinese, it ought
to be our first care to see that native Englishmen
could be found to conduct the important
affairs of the British empire in these
languages; and even their Bengali, Mahratti,
Guzerati, Assamese, Kashmerian, Khasiyan,
and other varieties.

It is imperative to encourage the study of
the oriental languages in England, that we
may have scholars capable of conversing with
natives, and thus procuring supplies, gathering
information, translating documents, writing
circulars or proclamations, carrying on
parleys, assisting at conferences, and wording
treaties. That we should usually need the
intervention of strangers in such business is

no sign of our wisdom. In all other countries
which have any political, commercial, or
religious connections with the East, provision
has been made to effect this; and ever since
the days of the Empress Catherine, Russia
has won many a success through the
qualifications of her diplomatic linguists. At St.
Petersburg, there is a chair for every branch
of oriental literature; and at Kasan, and
elsewhere, the chief languages of the east
are regularly taught. The French Academy
has always counted among its members the
leading representatives of every department
of eastern philology, besides the government
school for the living tongues, which are taught
by the most eminent professors. At Vienna,
the oriental seminary of the imperial press
disseminates the choicest oriental works;
while even Denmark and Prussia raise
oriental scholars, and employ them on missions,
and as consuls and interpreters.

In England, despite all the mighty interests
at stake, there is the least done towards
producing that condition of learning which
one might think so essential to the well-being
of our dependencies in all parts of the world.
No new foundations are required to remedy
this negligence. All that is necessary, as
Professor M├╝ller states, is to remove the
disabilities under which oriental scholars in this
country hitherto have laboured, particularly
at the two universities, Oxford and
Cambridge. Suffer them to attain honours, like
the other students, and let exhibitions,
fellowships, and preferment be open to the
youth who has specially devoted himself to
Hebrew, Sanscrit, Arabic, or other cognate
tongue. A school of languages (excluding
Greek and Latin) would afford a sufficient
stimulus to this branch of studies. The
number of oriental professorships ought to
be increased. King's College, London,
University College, the Durham and the Scottish
colleges, might and would help, if they saw
any use in helping.

As it is, England is, in oriental philology,
almost a pauper. One fact speaks for itself.
In London, the head-quarters of our literature,
so wretched is the supply of oriental
types, that all its printers could not print
Professor M├╝ller's Essay; and the learned
writer was obliged to have the work done for
him at Leipsic.


We so often apply this term to men,
when we don't mean to be complimentary,
that I must preface the observations I am
going to make by saying, it is not my present
intention to libel any of my particular friends
or acquaintance, however strong the
temptation to do so. My design, on the contrary,
is to be as ichthyological as I possibly can,
and I hope nobody I know will see any
resemblance to himself in the odd fish I hope to