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Thread: The Anglo-Saxon Language: Its Origin, Character And Destiny

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    Post The Anglo-Saxon Language: Its Origin, Character And Destiny

    Alexander Campbell
    Popular Lectures and Addresses (1886)






    CINCINNATI, O., 1849.


    BEFORE we can appreciate our own vernacular, we must have soma knowledge of language in general, and of other dialects of speech besides our own. It is, on all hands, agreed, that reason, language and religion, are God's greatest and best gifts to man; and that the cultivation and knowledge of these are essential to the development of our nature, and the enjoyment of ourselves and one another. With the immortal Newton, therefore, we say: "God gave to man reason and religion, by giving to him speech." This being admitted, language is a subject worthy of the highest consideration and regard. Hence, in the judgment of the wisest and best of men, much of our early life is devoted to the acquisition and cultivation of this ennobling faculty of speech; this divine art of acquiring and communicating knowledge, sentiment and feeling; this mysterious and sublime instrument of enjoying religion, society and truth.

    To this most interesting theme, then, we ask your indulgent attention, while we endeavor to place it before you in a few of its more important attitudes and relations to ourselves, our country and the world.

    Language, then, is either oral or written. Oral language, or language proper, consists of articulate sounds addressed to the ear; written language consists of stipulated symbols addressed to the eye. With the [17] absent and with the deaf, we intercommunicate by symbols addressed to the eye; with those present, by sounds addressed to the ear.

    These, however, are but definitions of the terms as we use them. What is the thing itself?

    As applied to man, language is pictured or embodied thought, feeling and emotion. It is an embodiment of ideas, volitions and feelings, in audible sounds, or in visible forms, addressed to others. It is, indeed, the ærial and sensible impersonation of human spirits in communion with one another. It is not the mere giving of a name, or a local habitation, to an idea, emotion or volition; but it is the imparting to that idea, emotion or volition, the power of reproducing itself in the mind of another. It is that ethereal instrument, that spiritual symbol, by which one spirit operates upon another, in simultaneously producing views, feelings and emotions, corresponding with its own.

    It is, indeed, an endowment of unbounded influence for weal or for woe, bestowed on man, for which he is more accountable than for any other social influence conferred upon him. No uninspired man has given such a picture of the power of human language, for good or for evil, as that drawn, in a few words, by the eloquent Apostle James. To that great instrument of speech he ascribes a transcendent potency. Of an unruly tongue, he says: "The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell. Every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind; but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil thing, full of deadly poison. By it," indeed, "we bless God;" but by it, also, we curse man, created in the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth a blessing and a curse. Brethren, these thing, ought not so to be."

    From this high source we learn that there are two kinds of eloquence--the eloquence infernal, and the eloquence supernal. We occasionally hear of the fire of eloquence, but are not always informed whence it comes. It may, indeed, emanate from the fire beneath as well as from the fire above, and is, therefore, all potent in blessing or in cursing man.

    But, if the tongue is sometimes set on fire by hell, it is sometimes set on fire by heaven; and hence men are both blessed and cursed by the faculty of speech. How much good feeling and tender affection spring up within us, and gush from our lips, on hearing the kind, and courteous, and sympathizing compellations of some kindred spirit--of some estimable and affectionate friend! If, from wicked words, [18] some hearts burn with rage, from kind and benevolent words other hearts overflow with love. But our own words react upon ourselves, according to their import; and hence we are sometimes wrought up to a pathos, a fervor, an ecstasy, indeed, by the mysterious sound of our own voice upon ourselves, as well as by that of others, to which we never could have ascended without it. Hence the superior eloquence of extemporaneous speaking over that of those who read or recite what they have coolly or deliberately thought at some other time and in some other place. Indeed, our most sincere and pious emotions are stirred up--a more soul-subduing piety is developed--and a height of bliss enjoyed in the fervor of expressed admiration and praise, addressed to the throne of God, under the influence of our own voice, in private and in social worship, than could be produced in silent meditation, prayer or praise. Even the raptures of heavenly bliss are but the sublime consummation of expressed adoration, and the sweetest bliss of heaven is but the effect of a heavenly concert in some lofty ecstasy, uttered by seraphic tongues to the unwasting Fount of universal good.

    Language is, indeed, a most sublime machinery, by which a man can raise himself, and those whom he addresses; to the loftiest conception of nature and of nature's God, and to the highest personal and social pleasure of which his nature is capable. Volumes have been written in commendation of it, and of the great masters of this divine art; but who, in his most happy moments, and in his loftiest strains of admiration, has ever equalled the transcendent theme? It has been the subject of many a volume, and the theme of many a speech. Sages, philosophers, fabulists and poets, have exhausted their stores of learning and eloquence in commendation and in admiration of the gifts and achievements of human speech. Of Grecian eloquence, an English poet has said:--

    "Resistless eloquence that fulmined o'er Greece,
    And shook the way to Xerxes' and Artaxerxes' throne."

    And what is eloquence, but language properly applied?

    But we need not the fictions of the fabulist, nor the high-wrought eulogies of the poet; we need but the great fact, that language has ever been the great minister of civilization and of redemption. It was by the gift of tongues that nations were subdued to the obedience of faith. It was the spirit of wisdom and of eloquence that gave to HIM that spoke as mortal man never did, a power, intellectual, moral and spiritual, transcendent over the destinies of the world. [19]

    Its power is not only felt on the thrones of kings and on the tribunals of justice, but on the throne of God itself. It electrifies the heavenly hosts, and opens the fountains of sympathetic feeling and of profound devotion, in the loftiest spirits that environ the celestial throne. It has awakened emotions in the human heart, and kindled raptures in the soul, that, rising to heaven, have caused the earth to tremble under the knees of adoring saints, and have brought angels down on missions of mercy to mankind. The piety of the saint, and the zeal of the martyr, have, under its hallowed influence, achieved the most splendid victories inscribed on the rolls of time, and have effected revolutions and deliverances on earth that have caused enraptured silence amongst the adoring legions of the skies.

    But it is not to pronounce an eulogy on its ineffable powers; it is not to argue its human or divine origin, or discuss the comparative excellence of any one of the dialects of earth in contrast with the claims of any or of every other, that we now appear before you. It is rather to assert the claims of our own vernacular to our especial regard and attention, as destined to pervade the world, and to carry civilization and salvation to the human race.

    True, indeed, in attempting this, we must occasionally glance at other tongues; and it may be due to the occasion to avow, at least, our own conviction, that language, as much as religion, is the special gift of God to man. But to propound the question, Was language human or divine in its origin? as a subject of grave discussion in this enlightened land, in the midst of the nineteenth century, and especially in this city of schools and colleges, would seem to me as inapposite as uncomplimentary to my auditors. Suffice it, then, on the present occasion, to assume it to be a special gift of God to man.

    That the first man could not have taught himself to speak; that language, like faith, comes by hearing; that it could not have been conventional; that, without it, assemblies could not have been convened or the subject debated; that mankind were not, as Lucretius and Horace sung, sanctioned by the first of Roman orators, a mutum et turpe pecus--a dumb and brutal race--is self-evident. It would, indeed, require an unusual amount of patience to reason with men who begin by assuming that--

    "Men out of the earth of old,
    Dumb and beastly vermin, crawled;"

    that from this state of brutal barbarism they degenerated into civilization; that they apostatized from their primitive state into [20] learned and eloquent men; that from error and vice they fell away into learning and virtue, and give, for proof, that water is purer in the stream than in the fountain! From such philosophers, or rather philosophists, we must dissent, and confidently assume that language was originally a divine gift to man.

    The only question, then, is:--WAS IT GIVEN TO MAN BY INSPIRATION? or, DID GOD TEACH MAN, viva voce, TO SPEAK?

    Reason and faith concur in affirming that all things begin in miracle. The course of things is nature; their beginning supernatural, or miraculous. Of two miracles supposable in the case, we choose the less. That God conversed with man, and taught him, VIVA VOCE, is not only rational, but scriptural, and less marvellous than that he taught himself to speak, or that God simply inspired him with wisdom and learning to invent it. God made the human ear for a guide to the human tongue. Hence, the deaf are always dumb. No one ever spoke that did not first bear another speak. Inventing speech is, therefore, in its nature, impossible. Speech is imitation, not invention nor discovery. Hence, we individually and nationally have a mother tongue--a vernacular. But there was one man that never was an infant, that never had a VERNA, a nurse, or a mother. He had no mother tongue. But he had a father. He must, then, have had a father tongue. That man was Adam, and his father God. The most natural or rational conclusion is, that God taught him to speak, to give names to things and his conceptions of them. God, then, not only gave to man ears and a tongue, but he also taught him to use them; not by inspiration, but by example.

    According to Moses,--and he is not only the most ancient, but the most learned authority in the world,--God spoke before he made his son Adam. He created the Universe by the power of speech. And is not this the most lofty conception that we can form of the grandeur and divinity of speech--that God, of all means in his power, chose language as the envelop of omnipotence, and ushered the universe into being by the divine eloquence of words? He said, "Let there be light, and there was light." At the sound of his voice darkness became the parent of light, and Nothing the mother of all things. He said, and it was done; he commanded, and the universe began to be; he spoke, and truth was born. The first speech continued, at intervals, for six days. When it ceased, creation was perfect and complete, and ever since but echoes back the voice and the praise of the Lord.

    From this miniature view of the gift of speech, and its divine origin, [21] we advance another step toward our vernacular. The human family were all of "one language and of one speech" for almost eighteen hundred years. Since that time the history of language has not been fully written. Still, amidst the confusion of tongues and the traditions of antiquity, and especially from the structure of different dialects of nations, we may arrive at a good degree of certainty as to the lineage and descent of the Saxon and Anglo-Saxon tongues. But to discuss all questions that might be propounded on such an exuberantly fruitful theme; could we respond to them, would be rather the burthen of a volume than the mere item of a popular address.

    There is no question that the ancient Chaldee or Hebrew was the only language spoken by mankind from Adam to the erection of the Temple of Babel, in the year of the world 1775. This unfortunate and infamous pyramidal temple, rather than the surrounding city, was, we presume, the procuring cause of this sad calamity. The anathema then inflicted upon mankind is immortalized in the name of this ill-fated pile, intended, by its apostate founders, for a centre of attraction; but, in pursuance of a divine malediction, it became a centre of repulsion and dispersion. The causes of this eternal mark of divine disapprobation are not so evident to all as to preclude a doubt whether a refusal to spread themselves over the earth, and locate in different regions, according to a divine intimation, or a desire to erect a temple in honor of some embodiment of divinity, as a form of God, which they or some of their immediate ancestors had vainly imagined, became the cause of this confusion of language and dispersion of mankind. The fact of a flagrant apostasy from the divine will is indisputably evident, explain it as we may. They either refused to obey the patriarch Noah, allotting, by inspiration, to each family of his great-grandsons, then amounting to seventy-two incipient tribes, such a portion of the earth as God, in his all-superintending wisdom and providence, had allotted to them; or forgetting, in the vanity of their minds, that God was a Spirit, they sought to embody their conceptions of him in some sensible form, for which they devised a temple, and for themselves a city. To discuss such subjects as these would be foreign to our purpose. It sufficeth our purpose to note the melancholy fact that the language which God and Adam spoke in his primeval innocence; which Abel, Enoch, Methuselah and Noah spoke; the vernacular of Shem, Ham and Japheth, gave way to a confusion of language, to new sounds and signs, unheard and unknown in the years before the flood.

    Into what, and how many, forms, human language was now cast, is [22] a subject in which the most learned antiquarians do not altogether harmonize. Some assume three, others sixteen, and others seventy-two new dialects of speech. Those who assume three, allot one to each of the three sons of Noah; those contending for sixteen, give one to each of his grandsons; while those who oppose both, assign one to each of his seventy-two great-grandsons. But all these assume that, in journeying from the east to this new location, the posterity of Shem accompanied Ham and Japheth; that, indeed, all the families of the earth, leaving their former residences in the east, set out in quest of a new location. This is not probable, nor does it so well accord with the subsequent details of sacred history. The stronger probability is that the posterity of Shem had no part in the erection of this tower to Belus, or to whatever divinity it was designed to honor; and, consequently, were not implicated in this grievous apostasy, but, retaining their language and their religion, continued their abode around the location of their venerable father, Noah.

    Sir William Jones--no mean authority--argues that mankind are divided into three races, corresponding with the three races of Noah, and that each of these had its own distinctive and independent tongue. These he presumes to have been Hindoos, Arabs and Tartars; and their three unconnected and original tongues were, the Sanscrit, Arabic and Slavonian.

    The Indian, or Hindoo race, comprehends the ancient Persians, Ethiopians, (whether Asiatic or African,) the Phenicians, Tuscans, Greeks, Chinese, Goths, Celts, Japanese, Burmans, Egyptians, Syrians, Peruvians and Romans. This race anciently spoke the Sanscrit, the great parent of the Gothic, and Celtic, afterwards blended with the old Ethiopic, Persian and Armenian. It is alleged that the traditions of Homer are found in Sanscrit poetry, and that, unquestionably, the Greek and Roman tongues are derived from it.

    The Arabic race located themselves between the Red Sea and the Persian G kind from them the Jews, Arabs and Assyrians derived their respective dialects of speech; rather a modernized form of the ancient and once universal Chaldee, which, with slight variations, is called Aramean, Arabic, Hebrew, Samaritan, Syriac, Coptic.

    The Tartar race located in the vast regions of Tartary, spreading themselves over Russia, Poland and Hungary. Their language was the Slavonic, whence sprang various dialects of Northern Asia and Northeastern Europe. Coinciding with these views, we are gratified to have the latest and most eminent writers on the subject; amongst whom we place Bryant, Sir William Jones, and the distinguished Faber. [23]

    Notwithstanding the confusion of speech, it would not be difficult to prove one ancient original tongue. We have only to take a few prominent terms, and trace them through all the more ancient tongues down to the modern. Take, for example, the first imperative uttered by the Creator:--God said, "Let there be light, and there was light." In the old Chaldee, the word rendered light is UR, translated light, or fire. In the Sanscrit, OUR signifies day, in contrast with night. In all the Eastern languages it signifies light and fire. In the Coptic or Egyptian, OR indicates the sun, or light. The Greek AEER is sometimes rendered air, sometimes light. In Latin, AURA, in Irish, AEER, are formed from the same root. From the same source the Greek has PUR, for which we have substituted FIRE. Many such examples could be given; but enough, you will say, of the endless genealogy, transference and transformation of words.

    We shall, then, leave Asia, and travel to Europe; but before we leave this cradle of the world, this nursery of the human race, we must remind you that all that is great and good and venerable in human history commenced in Asia. God made the first man of Asiatic clay. There he located Paradise; there he planted the Tree of Life; and when, for the sin of man, he deluged the Old World, he commenced the New in Asia: Noah's ark was anchored there. In Armenia, the smoke of the first postdiluvian sacrifice ascended to heaven. There lived the renowned Patriarchs of the world. The Bible was written first in Asia. In Asia repose the ashes of Bible heroes, saints, martyrs, prophets, apostles and evangelists. There the Saviour of the world was born, lived, died, and rose again. There the first Christian Church was founded. There the Kingdom of the Messiah was first established. From Asia, indeed, religion, language and civilization spread over the world.

    But there is one section of Asia on which our eye lingers with peculiar interest. Between the Euxine Sea and the Caspian lie the Caucasian Mountains, whence migrated our remote ancestors. Of the five distinct races of men that now people the globe, it is agreed, at least by ourselves, that in all the great attributes that elevate and adorn human nature, the Caucasian race is chief. The people of the seven Caucasian Mountains have filled a thousand volumes with their fame. Some trace to them seventy, others three hundred nations, and almost as many dialects of speech. Without debating these claims and assumptions, we are pleased to be assured that they are our progenitors. For great men and beautiful women, their praise resounds through all lands. And in proof that we have not degenerated, we [24] are pleased to learn that seven nations, yet possessing these extensive ranges, still preserve the ancient type of their superiority, and thus confirm our pretensions. Providentially, they have always been the most prolific, enterprising and wide-spreading people in the world. They anciently swarmed over the best portions of Asia and Europe. The Circassians and Georgians, yet residing in those regions, are, at this day, the finest physical models of our species. And we think we do not exaggerate when we say that, for stateliness of person, vigor of intellect, loftiness of imagination, moral capacity and energy of character, they stand pre-eminent amongst all forms and races of human kind.

    From them sprang the venerable Pelasgic Chiefs, first residents of Greece; and from them, too, the Romans are proud to count descent. Persians, Germans and Gaulatians, are scions from that stock. But there it a higher cause than the cloud-capt eminences of Caucasus and its fertile slopes, for this illustrious race of men. God gave these lofty regions to the sons of Japheth, the first-born of Noah, the great progenitor of seven-sixteenths of the human race. His patrimony was the northern highland regions of Asia, and all Europe.

    His sons encompassed the Euxine Sea and the Caucasian Mountains. Comer, his first-born, the vigorous germ of a mighty progeny, is most evidently the father of the ancient Gomerians or Germans, sometimes called the Cimmeri or Cimbri. Faber learnedly contends that those first called Cimmeri are called the Cimbri, and the Umbri of Gaul and Italy, and the Cimri, Cambri and Cumbri of Wales and Cumberland, at the present day. Moreover, sundry ancient authors identify with them the Galatæ, of Asia Minor, and assign to them the Gaels, Gauls and Celtæ of ancient Europe. Josephus, also, alleges that the Galatæ were called Gomeriani, from their great ancestor Gomer.

    After very considerable research into the antiquities of both European and Asiatic history, I acknowledge that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to trace, in a continuous and unbroken line, the ancestry and regular descent of any nation in the world down to our day, one only excepted. The Jews, because of one descended from them, of universal interest to the human race, are the only people whose nationality, language and religion, can be traced, in one unbroken chain, from Abraham to the present time.

    The Anglo-Saxon people of all the Japhetic, Caucasian or Gomerian race, are, through Teutones, Goths, Celts, Gauls, Angles, Saxons and Normans, as traceable as any modern nation known to us; and with all that certainty of evidence necessary to our present purpose, though. [25] perhaps, not sufficient according to our modern codes and courts of law, to establish their claims to England, or the United States, if these countries had been exclusively willed to them by their very great-grandfather, Gomer.

    I am aware that Tacitus, a historian of the highest Roman fame, endeavors to supply the place of history by a peculiar grammatic etymology of the term German, as simply indicating a war-man. War-men they certainly were, but that fact will not supply the place of history. Some other critic might, from the appellative German affixed to cousin, as logically affirm that the Germans were a nation of cousins. But had he known Jewish history as well as he knew Roman, Tacitus would not have taken a current local meaning of a word to indicate its original import. He would, moreover, have found in Jewish history that places, as well as nations, had given quite another etymology. Some of the school of Tacitus have sought in a similar manner for the meaning of the term Euxine, applied to the sea, around which Japheth's sons erected their first settlements. One Greek etymologist derives it from axenos, inhospitable, because he did not like the climate. With him the Euxine was an inhospitable sea. Another Greek, as learned as he, but more enamored with the sea, discovered that while a prefixed to xenos was negative, eu prefixed was affirmative of hospitality; and, consequently, he concluded that euxenos, or Euxine, meant the hospitable sea. But to a student of the Bible and of ancient history, neither the one nor the other is true, or necessary in the case; for Askenos, a son of Gomer, had located first on the coast, and from him, according to very ancient custom, it received its name. But still more confirmatory of this, other sons of Japheth have given their names to settlements--such as Magog, Madai, Riphath, Tubal, Mesheeh. Thus we have the Riphaen mountains, from Riphath--Ezekiel collocates Magog, Tubal and Meshech, sons of Japheth--Greece is called Javan, by Daniel, and all Christendom assign the Medes to Madai. I hold it, then, to be established, beyond a doubt, that the Caucasians derive their superiority, not so much from the mountains from which they receive their name, as from their ancestry.

    There is a promise of enlargement in the very name Japheth. Hence half the world has been allotted to Japheth, and with much probability, Its may yet be shown, half the human race. No physiological writer has yet fully discussed the laws of human increase. But one fact is more or less evident to all, that certain predominating qualities long continue in families, tribes and nations. To this it was providentially owing that Japheth had seven sons--while Shem had but five, and Ham [26] four. Presuming on this principle, I heard a living Bible interpreter once say, that could we obtain a correct census of the world, he did not doubt, that as Noah had only sixteen grandsons, it might be found that seven-sixteenths were from Japheth, five-sixteenths from Shem, and four-sixteenths from Ham.

    A year after, an estimate of the present population of the globe, collected from the best statistics, appeared in some of our annuals. The author of it had no allusion to this view of the subject; yet, strange to say, no other denominator or common measure but sixteen, would measure or proportionably divide them. The result gave exactly, or with a very inappreciable remainder, the aforesaid ratios of seven-sixteenths to Japheth, five to Shem, and four to Ham!

    It is not, however, in fruitfulness only, but in other distinguishing characteristics, both physical and mental, that posterity, for many generations, resemble not merely their immediate, but also their very remote ancestry. The Jews, the Arabs, the Germans, the French, the Spaniards, and last, though not least, the Anglo-Saxons, have, for ages, preserved, and to this day more or less distinctly exhibit, those attributes and peculiarities on account of which their progenitors were distinguished.

    Some nations, known to history, had their peculiar characters as fully and as clearly drawn a thousand years ago, as they have to-day. Paul once said, and he felt himself authorized to say it, not merely on the authority of the poet Epimenides, but from tradition and observation, that "the Cretans were always liars, evil beasts, lazy bodies."

    "As the twig is bent the tree's inclined," is as true of nations, in their infancy, minority and manhood, as it is of the individuals that compose them. Were it otherwise, all history would be fable, and all prognostications of the future delusive and vain. We, therefore, feel ourselves fully warranted to anticipate the career and to estimate the future character and destiny of a people from their past and present history. At present, however, we merely allude to the history of Japheth, for the sake of one of his sons.

    The seven sons of Japheth, after their dispersion, spreading over Northern Asia, over Scythia and Tartary, as well as through the South and West of Europe, forming new centres of association, as circumstances indicated, did constitute and establish new settlements, and, consequently, in the natural course of things, acquired new names and designations. Hence, in process of time, some of them were called Goths, some Teutones, some Celts, some Gauls, some Cimbri, some Angles, some Saxons, some Normans. Often, too, the same [27] tribes and nations were called by different names. No living man, therefore, can now trace their progress or fully write their history. We are too dependent upon the Romans for the history of this portion of the earth, and its manners and affairs. Unfortunately, they never were famous for impartial truth. Roman glory had such brilliancy, in their eyes, that those who most devoutly sought, or cultivated, or gazed upon it, could see no living glory anywhere else. They are not, then, to be regarded as wholly impartial historians. But, so far as our present object requires, we can find materials enough in their own concessions, or independent of them. Indeed, we have almost enough already.

    Julius Cæsar, from Gaul, sometimes called Gallia Celtics, invaded Britain in the 5th year before the Christian era. On his arrival there, he found much of the same population he had subdued in Gaul. He found those called Celts, not from their blood, but from their having long been inured to living in dense forests; others called Belgæ, from their border wars and love of fight; Cimbri, from a corrupted or abbreviated ancestral name; Gauls, from the country in which they had long resided; Germans, or Gomerans, from their original founder.

    But in Britain he also found various tribes of them; and, had he than visited Ireland, he could have found other shades of Celts, and other varieties of Asiatic growth, for which we cannot now find an appropriate name. In process of time, however, and after many a hard-fought field, he Romanized them, as the Germans before had Germanized the old Celtic Britons--a more ancient tenantry of the island.

    After a struggle of almost five centuries, the Britons called for foreign aid, and obtained it. The Jutes, the Angles and the Saxons, promptly obeyed the summons. The Jutes and the Angles then dwelt in the Cimbric Chersonesus, a peninsula of Jutland, (now within the confines of Denmark,) and a portion of Schleswig and Holstein, the province and territory of the Angles. In Holstein there is a district still called Anglen, the true and veritable Old England; a small kingdom, indeed, but the prototype of a larger and more illustrious dominion. The Saxons, of Scythian blood and spirit, formerly called Sacæ, true sons of Japheth, possessed a large territory south of the Jutes and Angles, reaching from the Weser to the Delta of the Rhine, and occupying countries now called Westphalia, Friesland, Holstein, and a portion of Belgium. They had, Japheth-like, "ENLARGED," or spread themselves from she Baltic to the British Channel, and had not [28] to perform a protracted voyage to aid their friends in Britain. They were known to the Celtic Britons to be as brave as themselves,--alike bold and daring on sea and on land,--a portion of a larger stock issuing from the Gothic and Teutonic hive, and, like all that race, great lovers of the sea,--delighting in storms and tempests,--honored with the very graphic and imposing title of "SEA-KINGS." To this parentage England owes as much her passion for the ocean, and her success upon it, as she does her Anglo-Saxon tongue. The result of the alliance was the conquest and expulsion of the Romans, the Saxonizing of South Britain, and the changing of its name into Angland, or England.

    Upon the whole premises which history lays before us, as to the true character of our Pagan Anglo-Saxon forefathers, we must, in all candor, say that they were what we would now-a-days call "sea-pirates" and "land-pirates." But, as they had now got as far as they could go westwardly, and finding much in Britain to suit their taste, especially around its coasts, and much congeniality in its population, who, like themselves, had wandered from the East in quest of new adventures, they very readily, after a time, coalesced, and formed, indeed, the most land-loving and the most expert sea-faring nation in the world, greatly softened and subdued by their embracing, after a time, the Christian faith.

    Although the Roman army was ultimately driven from England by the Britons and their new allies, there still remained a remnant of that people in Wales, and along its borders, retaining their mother tongue, of which many words and phrases were blended with the language of the victors. Nor is it to be supposed that a people possessing so much of the island for five hundred years would not leave at least some fragments of their vernacular amongst them. To this mixture, again, were added, both before and after the Norman conquest, many words and phrases of Danish, Norwegian, and Norman extraction. So that, in truth, even their own language was rather of an eclectic than of an original character, although essentially of Anglo-Saxon origin.

    Having, so far, ascertained the origin of the Anglo-Saxon tongue, and quite enough for our purpose, we are prepared to consider its peculiar and distinctive CHARACTER.

    This we may easily accomplish, by making ourselves somewhat familiar with its structure. It is, in one sentence, a language of languages, whose terminology is mainly selected from almost all the ancient and most finished tongues of the civilized world. A rich, a broad and lofty tongue; a splendid composite; a greatly diversified, curiously inwrought, and highly polished Mosaic composition, which can embody [29] and present every form, color and gradation of thought, sentiment and emotion. In religion, ethics, politics, sciences and arts, it has drawn upon Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German--upon all parent languages of every nation known to the Anglo-Saxon people, or their ancestors, far back as any living monument, or any written document now extant, attests.

    But the great end and use of language must be clearly perceived, and, indeed, comprehended by every one who presumes to assert the comparative merit of any tongue, living or dead. That language which can most directly, clearly, fully and impressively utter all the soul, and render transparent to an attentive mind every emotion, thought or desire, is decidedly the best.

    The Anglo-Saxon possesses all these qualities in as high a degree, and to as full an extent, as any tongue, living or dead. But why should it not possess all conceivable perfection? The language of any people is but the exponent of the mind and character of that people. And what is the comparative standing of the Anglo-Saxon people in Europe and America at the present day? This, with me, if not the most logical, is the most popular and appreciable way of deciding the question.

    It is conceded that the language of every people is but the embodied and pictured mind of that people. The Hebrew, Greek, Roman, French, German or English mind, is all extant, and fully developed, in their respective tongues.

    If we thought that any one denied or doubted the assumption, that the language of a people is the exponent or measure of the mind of that people, we would make an effort to prove it. But at present, not presuming this, I do not volunteer, in advance of the public demand, to perform such a work of supererogation.

    If any one, however, has a lingering doubt of this fact, I will propound to him but one question, on answering which he may settle it to his own satisfaction. That question is, Why is there not found in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or any other dead language, a single word or phrase to represent a printing-press, an electric machine,, a steam-engine, a mariner's compass, &c. &c.? Because, he must respond, the Hebrew, Greek or Latin mind had not such an idea in it. He may propound the same question to himself in reference to every Pagan nation now extant, not having the Christian religion. Why, in a hundred dialects of Asia, Africa and America, is the name of Jesus Christ not found? The answer is as prompt: Because he is not in the mind of these nations. We have, we presume, carried our main point, viz.: [30] that the mind and language of a people are commensurate; that the character of the one is essentially the character of the other. The Anglo-Saxon language is, therefore, the most comprehensive language ever spoken on earth: because the people whose language it is, have the most enlightened, comprehensive, and, consequently, the most energetic mind of any people now speaking any living tongue in the Old World or in the New. Think not, however, my respected auditors, that, in affirming this conviction, I have either forgotten or contemned other nations of high respectability, such as Germany, France, Prussia, Russia, &c. We give them all due credit for every demonstration of intellect and moral greatness which they have given to the world. In saying this, we only affirm their own convictions or concessions. They do homage to the Anglo-Saxon mind; not merely as we do homage to certain master-spirits amongst them, by transferring their works into our language, but in laying aside their own sciences, arts and inventions, and in adopting ours. Of many proofs of this fact, a few instances must suffice.

    Let me, then, ask, why did Peter the Great disguise himself, and spend four years in England, learning the art and mystery of ship-building? Why did he send his emissaries abroad, in quest of Anglo-Saxon arts and sciences? Why does the present Autocrat of all the Russias clandestinely send his emissaries to peep into our work-shops, our manufactories, our schools and colleges? Why does he, indirectly, carry home our ploughs, carts, wagons, implements of husbandry, and the useful arts of Old England or New England? Why employ, at the present tune, an American engineer to project and consummate the highways, the railways of his great empire? Not because he has not some rude form and conception of some of them, but because he has not any one of them, in all its improvements and adaptations, in his own mind. He has neither the ideas nor the appropriate terms in his own language, and, therefore, our vernacular is, at least in these points, himself being judge, before his own. What Anglo-Saxon visits the continent of Europe in quest of new discoveries in useful arts and sciences? We go there to contemplate the ruins of empires, and to learn the causes of their decline and fall, not to acquire new ideas in the sciences and arts of our own age.

    But again: the Anglo-Saxon mind, wherever found, is greater--that is to say, it is more acute, comprehensive and vigorous--than the French, the German or the Russian, because it has a more acute, comprehensive and vigorous language; a more polished machinery of thought; better instruments to work with; for, while mind generates [31] language, language generates and polishes mind. In arguing thus we do not, indeed, reason in a circle, any more than when Cæsar said, "money will raise soldiers, and soldiers will raise money." In the same sense, ideas create language, and language creates ideas. This is farther proved by the great discoveries and improvements made by the American and English mind. Whence came the complete, yet simplified, steam-engine, and its accompanying machinery? Whence came the spinning-jenny, the power-loom, the electric telegraph, and all they have given birth to? It is not the spirit of the age, for these have created a new age. They are our contemporaries. We think, we speak, we act, before the age, else anew age would never come.

    Once more: the Saxon language is the language of PROTESTANTISM. I might have said, and I beg leave to correct myself, the ANGLO-Saxon language is the language of Protestantism. Luther, it is true, was a Saxon, but John Wickliffe was an ANGLO-Saxon. Calvin was a French-man, but William Tyndale was an Anglo-Saxon. The Germans and the French became reformers; but the Anglo-Saxons were the first translators and commenders of the Bible, and of universal Bible-reading. These were the morning star, the rising dawn of the Protestant Reformation. These were the harbingers that pioneered the way and furnished the arms and munitions of that great political and ecclesiastic, as well as spiritual, war.

    The very word PROTESTANT implies thought, examination, dissent and self-reliance. Who protests without reflection, comparison, deduction, and some degree of mental independence, as well as of self-reliance? These, too, are verily the elements of all human greatness, of all comparative excellence. The Protestant Reformation, notwithstanding all that can be said against it, was the regeneration of literature, science, art, politics, trade, commerce, agriculture. Hence, the more Protestant a people, the more elevated in all the elements of modern civilization. Self-thinking--pardon the anomalous expression, for there are millions who possess not the art or mystery of self-thinking; when they think, their minds are only listening to some other one thinking, speaking or moving within them--I say SELF-THINKING and SELF-RELIANCE are the two main elements of personal, social, national greatness and goodness. These are the pillars of true religion, true learning, true science, true prosperity, true greatness. By self-thinking and self-reliance, I do not mean confidence in the flesh, pride, self-conceit: I mean the confident application of our minds to the means of intellectual, moral, political and religious improvement, in the hope of improving ourselves and our condition. [32]

    Every country, and nation, and people, rise above their contemporaries and competitors, every thing else being equal, in the direct ratio of their Protestantism. Who needs to be informed when he passes out of a Protestant into a Romish community? Every thing he looks at attests the fact. This strikes every man of observation, when he passes out of the Papal into the Protestant cantons of Switzerland; out of Papal Ireland into Protestant Ireland; out of Papal America into Protestant America. Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, mental independence, self-thinking, self-relying, give to Protestant communities a spirit, a character, an elevation, that deeply imprint, themselves on all the products of their mind, on all the labors of their hands.

    They imprison no one for affirming that stars do not fall; that the earth moves. They exile no one for thinking that there may yet be a new continent, that the number of worlds is incalculable, or that the Pope may err. They put no one to torture or to death for thinking for himself on religion, science or the arts; therefore, they continually progress, and leave far in the distance behind, those who allow or license one man to think for millions, and sternly command acquiescence in his dogmas.

    But we have not yet asserted all the claims of our vernacular, nor do we mean to assert them all on this occasion. We limit ourselves to one object. Nor do we wish to institute invidious comparisons between Protestants and Romanists, ourselves and the French, the Germans or the ancient Saxons. They are, in blood and affinity, our nearest relations. We do not plead this cause from vanity or pride, or personal or national interest or honor, but for suffering humanity. The sequel will demonstrate.

    We will only add, on this topic, that the stature and structure of our language are gigantic. Its capacity is immense. For strength of frame it has the bone and muscle of the Romans, the Goths and the Saxons. It has the patience and endurance of the German and the Dutch, both High and Low. It partakes of the vivacity of the French, of the genius of the Italian, the wit and sprightliness of the Greek and the Celt. For comprehension, if for nothing else, our language is chief amongst all the dialects of earth. There is nothing written--poetry, philosophy, history, or in the form of literature, ancient or modern--that cannot be translated, body, soul and spirit, into our language. Who of the ancients or moderns, in any one department of science or art, has given to the world an idea that cannot be perspicuously and fully set forth in Anglo-Saxon? But could all our [33] learning now be expressed in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or any language heretofore spoken by man? Nay, could it all be transferred to any purely Asiatic, African or American tongue now extant? We have been obliged to fabricate a myriad of new words from dead languages, and to form thousands of new combinations of the words of dead and living tongues, to express all our Anglo-Saxon sciences, arts and literature. But we can translate all their learning into our tongue, and do it so perfectly that the translation is fully equal to the original. As some one said of Pope's Homer: "If all records were obliterated, and the chronology of nations lost, a time might come when the wonder would be, whether Pope translated Homer, or Homer Pope;" so might it be said of all the most polished works of the most polished nations of antiquity, when set forth in a good suit of Anglo-Saxon words. As Dryden said of Homer, Virgil and Milton--

    "Three poets, in three distant ages born,
    Greece, Italy and England did adorn;
    The first in loftiness of thought surpass'd;
    The next in majesty, in both the last;
    The force of nature could no further go--
    To make a third, she join'd the former two."

    So we may say, with more than equal truth, the "force of nature" has not yet brought forth any tongue equal to our vernacular; and whether she can, is yet a problem to be demonstrated.

    There are, indeed, many large and beautiful streams and rivers between the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains, wending their courses towards the Valley of the Mississippi, on which are borne the products of millions of acres; but what are these, severally, to the "king of waters;" on whose deep current fleets and navies may float, and on whose broad bosom the annual products of whole States and Territories are carried to the ocean? As the Amazon of South America, the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence of North America, to all other streams on this continent, so is the Anglo-Saxon to the dialects and tongues which have ministered to its origin, its structure and vast comprehension.

    It is a strange fact in the history of Pagandom, corroborative of what we have said, that while all the conquerors of its constituent nations always gave their religion to the conquered, except in the solitary case of the Jews, the Romans at last received the religion of the nations professing Christianity, whom they had subdued. In that case only, the victors received the religion of the vanquished. So of the languages of the world. In the case of those Pagan nations [34] that vanquished the preceding occupants of both England and Ireland, instead of doing as all other conquerors of nations had done--impose their language on the conquered--they, for once, received the language of the conquered. Now, is it not as strong a proof of the superiority of the language of our ancient Saxon progenitors, as it is of the superiority of Christianity to any form of Paganism, that those ancient invaders of England and Ireland, after giving them laws, condescended to receive from them both language and religion? But it may be alleged, that they received the language of the conquered because that language had in it a religion more evidently true and rational than their own. Grant it, and what follows? THAT OUR RELIGION WILL BE A PASSPORT YET TO OUR LANGUAGE INTO ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH. The probability of this conclusion is just the point I wish to carry in the present address. Thus we gain, rather than lose, by the admission.

    Now, as I was led, as I supposed naturally and logically, from the very meagre sketch I have given of the origin of our vernacular, to make a few remarks upon its character, I am now under the same necessity, to be consistent with myself, and to carry the point all-transcendent and important to my mind, to offer you a few thoughts on the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon.

    The destiny of our language is to be inferred from the following facts and considerations:

    I. From the energy of character of those who speak it.

    II. From the number of those who at present speak it, and are likely to speak it, in our own country and in Great Britain.

    III. The extent of country now possessed and occupied by the Anglo-Saxon people.

    IV. The naval and maritime, all-spreading commercial power of those who speak it.

    V. The many great discoveries and improvements made by the Anglo-Saxon people in the sciences and arts of the world, treasured up in that language.

    VI. The religion of those who now speak it.

    VII. The Anglo-Saxon missionary spirit now pervading all the nations of Christendom.

    Here is matter for a volume; but we must despatch these items with comparatively a very few remarks.

    First: a few words on the energy of the Anglo-Saxon people. We have only, my highly respected audience, to remind you that the meaning of the name of our father Japheth is ENLARGEMENT and [35] PERSUASION. Our father's children have never, since the flood, been at rest. They have, in the age of whip and spur, first galloped over the earth, to see how large it was; then they went to sea, to ascertain the countries it contained; then they went to fighting for them; and I have sometimes opined, that, if God had not set them to speaking a language called GIBBERISH, our great-grandfather Japheth, and his seven sons, would long ago have driven Shem and Ham, and all their children, into the sea, and, in the reign of Paganism, have drowned them all. But their energies having been thus restrained, they have busied themselves to make a fortune and a name. A genuine, unsophisticated Yankee, from the centre of New England, if we could ever find him at home, is the best representative and embodiment of a genuine, uncorrupted Anglo-Saxon descendent of Japheth. But it would be easier to find him in Oregon, California, or in Commodore Franklin's Northern Expedition, than to find him where he was born.

    And such are his notions, his enterprise, and his success, as to have warranted the late Lord Jeffrey, the founder of the Edinburgh Review, or some of his coadjutors, to say, that he believed if a liberal reward were offered for the best translation of the Septuagint, some Yankee, who did not yet know a Greek letter, would go to work in the Grecian mines of literature, and gain the prize.

    Let us, then, contemplate the Island of Great Britain for one or two centuries, as affording a demonstration of Anglo-Saxon energy. She had a small territory--a crowded population. She set them to mining, levelling mountains, digging canals, building highways, erecting cities, walling out the sea, constructing quays, harbors and wharves, building ships, furnishing navies, raising armies, stretching out her arms to Asia, Africa, America; founding new colonies, or attempting to do it, from Nova Zembla to the Cape of Good Hope, from the Ganges to the Oregon, from Newfoundland to New Zealand, from Labrador to the Falkland Isles.

    But she lost too much time in travelling on business, and set about devising a more expeditious system. Immediately she moves, with eagle speed, along an iron railway, and traverses the island of Great Britain in a few hours. Next, the ocean is too broad, and voyages too long protracted. She must narrow its width or contract time. Anon the same principle is applied, with equal success, to her packets, and the Atlantic is crossed in a week or ten days. But her thirst for early news increases. Her sons of genius at home and abroad, in England and America, are tributary to her will, and she wings intelligence, not with the wings of a tempest, but with the lightnings [36] of heaven. But the provinces abroad have created work for her people at home, and she needs more operatives to supply them. She needs a generation that will neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, nor tire; and an Arkwright, in his creative genius, furnishes her with millions of wooden, iron and brazen men, and animates them with steam.

    The work is done; old things have passed away; a new age is born. Empires change masters, and invention is tortured to preserve them. Wars must cease, or rage with more fury. The people must be employed. The same passions burn eternally in the human breast, and who can quench them? An agrarian spirit has gone abroad, and who can restrain it? There is a superabundance of energy, but a great deficit of benevolence. Other new settlements must be formed, new outlets for industry must be created, and more security of reward must be guaranteed. Intelligence and virtue must be cultivated and more extensively diffused, that invention and energy may be still further glorified in warding off evil and diffusing new and greater blessings amongst men.

    They are at work devising new schemes of diffusing knowledge, competence and contentment, amongst those that plough and those that "guide the shuttle and direct the loom." The gospel, and its philanthropy, alone can dispel the clouds that sometimes lower over the too thickly peopled regions of the old world, in consequence of the too great energy of the Anglo-Saxon race.

    But the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon tongue is neither to be estimated nor anticipated merely by the energy of those who speak it. True, indeed, that directly tends to multiply those who must learn it, and to extend the territories over which it must bear rule. But the number of those who now speak it must be taken into the account. This, then, is a second point of inquiry.

    There are in North America, it is presumed from the last census, at least twenty-five millions who speak the Anglo-Saxon. I include the British Provinces and the United States, and feel confident that I will be sustained by the census of 1850. There are in England, Ireland and Scotland, twenty-seven millions; and should we add three millions more in all her provinces and new settlements, including those on the ocean, in her ships, navies and armies abroad, we should have thirty millions in her empire--making the aggregate, now speaking the Anglo-Saxon, fifty-five millions. And this, so far as Christian civilization, in any of its forms, is contemplated, is the greatest number of persons speaking one language in the world. In Russia there are [37] fifty-five or sixty millions, subjects of the Autocrat, but they speak forty dialects. In Austria there are thirty-five millions of subjects, but only six millions who speak the German. Other Slavonian dialects are spoken in Austria, Hungary, Poland and Russia.

    Our third topic is the extent of territory or country over which the Anglo-Saxon people bear rule. In America we have three millions of square miles, and in British America two millions three hundred thousand square miles--an aggregate of five millions three hundred thousand square miles. The British possessions in India are immerse. There is the maritime Bengal, with its Ganges, Burrampooter and Dummoda, containing one hundred thousand square miles, the interior Bahar, intersected by the Ganges, the Coosey and the Soane; the more interior province of Allahabad, containing twenty thousand square miles, bordered by the Neibudda; the provinces of Orissa, the Northern Circars, five provinces on the Bay of Bengal. To this we must add the seacoast Carnatic country, stretching over eight degrees of latitude, intersected with numerous rivers. Besides these, there are the allies of Great Britain; Rajahs of Mysore, Madeira, Tanjore and Travancore, giving more than one hundred millions of our species to the control of the little island of Great Britain, containing only eighty-eight thousand square miles.

    In Africa, too, the Anglo-Saxon is spoken. There is the Cape of Good Hope, with its one hundred and twelve thousand square miles of territory, and the colonies of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Then there is another territory, almost equal to all Europe, belonging to Great Britain--Australia and its circumjacent islands, containing two millions three hundred thousand square miles. Thus giving to Britain, in all, more than six millions square miles, with one hundred and fifty millions of inhabitants. Hence the Anglo-Saxon people, in the old world and the new, bear rule over some one-fourth of all the habitable territory of the globe.

    But to this we must add their dominion and power on the rivers, the lakes, the seas and the oceans of the world. Here, by common consent, the Anglo-Saxon race is all-predominant. Their canvas whitens every sea, and is swelled by every breeze. It is no longer Britannia, but Britannia and America, that rule the seas.

    The commerce, too, of the Anglo-Saxons, greatly transcends that of any other people on the face of the globe; and of all the elements of national greatness and power, this is chief. Without this great auxiliary, both agriculture and manufactures are comparatively unavailing, in giving power to a people. [38]

    Nothing, indeed, contributes more than commerce to extend the language, as well as to increase the wealth and greatness of a people. The commerce of these two countries, internal and external, if I am not mistaken, is some seven times as great as it was at the commencement of the present century; and, from their rapidly increasing creative power, we have much reason to think that it will long continue to increase in similar ratios.

    But we must not look merely at the European, American, Asiatic and African territory possessed by the Anglo-Saxons. We must also consider the present unoccupied room on these territories for population, compared with that of any other portions of the habitable globe, and also the well-authenticated ratios of the increase of that population.

    On a careful consideration of the most authentic reports on this subject, we confess that we are rather startled at the conclusions which they seem to warrant. The population of England alone, in the first forty years of the present century, doubled, or nearly doubled, itself. In the same time, that of the United States has more than trebled itself. We are aware of all the difficulties attending the different theories of the increase of population; of the errors of Franklin, Malthus, and some other rather visionary speculators on this subject, upon which, of course, we cannot now enter. The means of subsistence, and the labor by which they are acquired, are, indeed, on all hands, agreed to be the most important conditions of its increase. In our own country, therefore, its ratios of increase must inevitably transcend those of any other country on the globe. But still, we dare not think that they will or can continue one century and a half at the present ratio of trebling every forty years; for, in that case, we should have on our Anglo-Saxon portion of America alone, more than double the present population of the globe. For example, say that we are, or will be, in 1850, only twenty-five millions; then, in 1890, we should be seventy-five millions strong. This is, indeed, very reasonably to be expected, from broad views of our condition and that of the civilized world. In forty years more--that is, in A. D. 1930--we should be, on the same ratio, two hundred and twenty-five millions. This is startling, but yet by no means impossible. But in the next forty, or A. D. 1970, we should be six hundred and seventy-five millions. This is too much for either our faith or our hope. And in forty years more--that is, in A. D. 2015--we should be 2025,000,000! But on what could they subsist, unless one-half of them lived on the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air? Our past and present ratios arithmetically give these results. But should we deduct one-half, and give away the [39] British Isles into the bargain, the Anglo-Saxon race and language would still be--A. D. 6000--a thousand millions strong. Reasoning from the past and present energies, genius and general talents--physical, intellectual and moral--of the Anglo-Saxon people at the end of the current millennium, in the year of the world 6000--now distant only one hundred and fifty years--they must direct and control the energies and the destiny of the world. Come short we may of this aggregate, in the insoluble problem of the increase of population; but if we do, other nations in the old world must, in their relative force, come much further short of their present proportional ratios.

    On these premises the tongue of skepticism must falter, and its face turn pale. All must concede to Noah the spirit of inspiration, as well as to the Apocalyptic John. By what other spirit could Noah have said, "God will enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant"? By what other spirit could the Apostle John have foretold the rise, the progress and the fall of empires, and a Christian triumph over all her foes? Neither history nor our own experience, neither reason nor philosophy, can subtract aught from faith in Noah and in John. "If weak thy faith, why choose the harder side?"

    But, beyond all the advantages yet named, there is a power in our vernacular to extend itself by other means than natural generation. It is animated by a mighty proselyting spirit and power, arising from the innumerable stores of learning, science, art and new discoveries treasured up in it--the rich behests of Anglo-Saxon genius.

    If the Greek and Latin tongues, though dead for ages, have, merely for the sake of their elegant diction and polished style, been studied to the present, in all the schools of Christendom, without any internal spirit or rich veins of science contained within them, to reward the labor of five or seven years' study, how much more our vernacular, full of the soundest learning, the truest science, the richest treasures of salutary intelligence to man! What rich legacy have the Platos, the Socrateses, the Aristotles, of Greek philosophy, bequeathed to the human race, compared with those of a Bacon, a Locke, a Newton? What moral and useful instruction in the poetry of Homer or Hesiod, compared with that of Milton, or Young, or Shakspeare? What has Demosthenean or Ciceronian eloquence achieved for man, more than that of Sheridan, and Burke, and Curran, and Wilberforce, and Webster, and Clay? But where are the Franklins, the Watts, the Fultons, the Arkwrights, or men of that class, to be found amongst Grecian and Roman benefactors? They had a Cincinnatus, it is true, but [40] we have had a Washington. They had a cloud-compelling Jupiter; but we have had a host of air and earth and sea compelling heroes--compelling air, and earth, and water, and fire, and their innumerable elements, to minister to the health, and wealth and happiness of man.

    These great revealers and masters of nature have been found in hosts among the Anglo-Saxon race, and almost exclusively among them. These are the great benefactors of man--the great reformers of the world. They have transformed the rugged hills and mountains into Sharon and Carmel; they have made "the wilderness and the solitary place glad," and have compelled "the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose."

    But again: we argue the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon language from the Anglo-Saxon religion. The Anglo-Saxons that conquered and possessed England, were Pagans. But they afterward yielded to the religion of the conquered. They received from Rome the Roman gospel; but the Roman church then gloried, as she yet glories, in being the LATIN church. She still prays and worships in the Latin tongue. But, as before noted, early in the 13th century the Anglo-Saxon Wickliffe was born. He taught that men might read the Bible and pray in Anglo-Saxon. Hence, a controversy arose. It was, in fact, in those days a grave question whether in public worship men might read and pray in Anglo-Saxon, and instead of repeating Pater noster qui es in cœlis, they might say, "Our Father who art in heaven."

    Wickliffe, like all other innovators, was scoffed at, dishonored and proscribed. Fortunately, however, after his death, the Roman church dug up his bones and burned them; a very striking symbol that he would yet enlighten the world in that identical tongue.1 Tyndal was of the same faith, and, to prevent a second similar illumination, crossed the seas, and printed his Anglo-Saxon version on the Continent. Soon after the Anglo-Saxon spirit revived. Then Luther, of Saxony, was born, who, with a pen more puissant than the club of Hercules, entangled the Roman Bull, caught him by the horns, and exorcised him. [41]

    We never can place in more striking contrast the spirit of Luther and the spirit of Papal Rome, than by contemplating, in their symbolic import, his throwing his inkstand at the devil, presuming to terrify him, as he thought; and their digging up and burning the bones of Wickliffe. They intended to extinguish the light and the spirit of Wickliffe; but Luther resolved to write down the evil spirit, by illuminating the world with pen and ink, or by the labors of the press. Hence, after a grand model conception of bringing light out of darkness, he cast his inkstand at the devil and drove him from his cell.

    From that day to this the Anglo-Saxon spirit, genius and learning have been, with gigantic strides, advancing and rising in the wonder and admiration of the world. Now, this presuming to read the Bible and to pray in Anglo-Saxon, like our Declaration of Independence, though apparently at first a small matter, like an avalanche, is ever progressing with increasing magnitude and accumulating force, till it has shaken the foundation of the Roman States, and now causes Italy to tremble even to the strongholds of Gaeta.

    It is worthy of special notice, that as England began to rise soon after she presumed to dissent from the Latin church, and substituted the Anglo-Saxon church, she has continued to rise in all the elements of greatness, so far as she has advocated an Anglo-Saxon Bible, psalter and prayer book. Although she has not at home yet carried out her principles and professions, still, under it she has gained a transcendent influence over the world, that throws into the shade Austria, France and all other nations and powers that prefer the ecclesiastic Latin to Queen Victoria's English. The Bible translated into all dialects, circulated freely amongst all the people, and read by every one, in whatever version he prefers, is the brightest gem, that adorns the coronal of the British queen, and the strength and glory of her august government--the wisest and the most puissant in the old world.

    But, finally, we argue the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon tongue from the Anglo-Saxon missionary spirit. This is truly a catholic spirit. It embraces the human race, and knows neither language nor caste according to the flesh. "The frozen Icelander and the sun-burned Moor" are equally embraced and cherished in the generous bosom of its large philanthropy. Britain sends the Bible and the missionary to every island and territory she calls her own. Feigned or unfeigned, political or philanthropic the spirit, the work is done. In accomplishing this, she is strengthening and enlarging her empire, and alluring the world by the moral grandeur of her professed humanity. [42] But one improvement in her missionary operations is suggested, approbated, and, indeed, tested by the wisest and best of her ambassadors of peace. Instead of depending so much on the labors of missionaries addressing the natives in their own tongues, they are, qualifying and sending out school-masters, to instruct the heathen children in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, that they may learn to understand the Anglo-Saxon Bible. This is as sound philosophy as it is genuine philanthropy. It gives to the young an incalculable advantage over the old, and interposes a great barrier between them and their parents, to prevent opposition to what they preach.

    We cannot but anticipate its general adoption; and, in that event who cannot anticipate the spread of the Anglo-Saxon tongue all over the world?

    Thus, without indulging in a romantic spirit, we may hope that, as there was at first but one language, there will be at last but one language amongst the sons of Adam. To this, indeed, the pages of prophecy seem to look, when they reveal the glorious fact, that in the day of the triumph of Christianity, there will be acknowledged all over the earth but one Lord. "For," as with the prophet, "the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one." "For then," with another prophet, "I will turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."

    Now, it may be presumed that if "the Lord shall be King over all the earth, and if his name shall be one," and only one; and if all nations are "to serve him with one consent," they will address him in one and the same tongue, and under one and the same name celebrate his lofty praise.

    And is not this the tendency of things under the reign of Christ? Already many languages have died. Others are dying. Of the hundreds of ancient American and Asiatic tongues, how many have been absorbed or perished from the earth? And if neither the once boasted universality of the Greek and Roman sceptres and the Greek and Roman tongues, nor the classic beauty and polish of these model languages, could give them perpetuity and extension, what other language can reasonably hope to survive its own nationality, merely from the number or respectability of them who speak it?

    Heaven has already frowned on the four great empires claiming universality, because, as we presume, of their unnatural lusts and debasing idolatries. But there are in the Anglo-Saxon tongue elements and treasures of infinite value to mankind; the noblest [43] specimens of Christian genius, learning, science, true religion and pure morality, ever communicated in human speech or treasured up in any dialect spoken by man. Hence we strongly affirm the conviction, that for the sake of these, and in honor of those who, by Bible-translation, Bible-distribution, in all lands and languages, missionary enterprise, missionary zeal, and missionary success in the cause of human advancement and human redemption, the Anglo-Saxon tongue will ultimately triumph. The Lord Almighty, who has now girdled the earth from east to west with the Anglo-Saxon people, the Anglo-Saxon tongue, sciences, learning and civilization, by giving a colossal power and grandeur to Great Britain and the United States over the continents and oceans of earth, will continue to extend that power and magnificence until they spread from north to south, as they have already from east to west, until, in one vernacular, in one language and with one consent, they shall, in loud acclaim and in hallowed concert, raise their joyful and grateful anthem, pealing over all lands and from shore to shore, from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth. Then will "they hang their trumpet in the hall, and study war no more." Peace and universal amity will reign triumphant. For over all the earth there will be but one Lord, one faith, one hope and one language.

    But in order to do this, what duties and obligations has the Lord of the universe imposed on us? or what part are we American Anglo-Saxons to act in this great moral revolution?

    We must answer this question by taking an inventory of our means of doing good, and of the wants and condition of society at home and abroad; for, while charity begins at home, it does not continue at home, but goes abroad on missions of love and mercy to all mankind. But education, intellectual and moral, at home, in the Sunday-school, in the common school, in the academy, in the college, in the church, are amongst the most obvious, the most important, the most essential, the most puissant means to our advancement--to the filling up of our duties, our usefulness, our glory and our happiness.

    God having given to the Anglo-Saxon people the largest portion of the earth vouchsafed to any one people speaking one language and professing one religion; and not only the largest portion of the earth, but the only really new, fruitful and salubrious portions of the earth--indeed, the only portion of it that can, for one hundred and fifty years to come, afford space for a population increasing in the current ratios of Britain and America,, to such a point as would either equal the present population of the whole earth, or, at least, certainly place [44] the population of the whole earth under the control of the Anglo-Saxon race, language, politics and religion. For the same purpose he has given to us the great oceans of the globe and the means of managing the seas, as if to furnish us for this great work abroad as well as at home. No event in the future, next to the anticipated millennial triumph, appears more natural, more probable, more practicable or more morally certain and desirable, than this Anglo-Saxon triumph in the great work of human civilization and redemption.

    But, in this view of the subject, in what a sublimely grand and fearfully responsible attitude we are placed! To us are the moral destinies of the human race committed. Our horizon is fearfully, gloriously, transcendently extended beyond the conception of any living man. Numerous races and generations of men yet unborn, swarming not only over this grand continent, but over the newly acquired Asiatic possessions of our Anglo-Saxon relations on the old homestead, in Western Europe, are to be moulded, controlled and destined by us.

    Becomes it not, then, a most imperious duty to preserve and transmit, uncorrupted and unimpaired, the institutions, civil, literary, moral and religious, which high Heaven has allotted to us? Never before lived a people possessing such birthrights--such an unbounded horizon of greatness and glory--as that which spreads itself before the enraptured vision of every enlightened American citizen. Should the great Anglo-Saxon family of families fall out by the way; should this great nation of nations, this hallowed and august union of so many sovereign and independent States of one political faith, of one rich and noble eclectic language, and of one divinely true and supremely grand religion, be sacrificed at the demon shrine of any sectional idol, then, indeed, would the measure of our disgrace be complete; our folly, our fall, would be an eternal shame--an everlasting reproach--the greatest political and moral catastrophe that time could record, involving, in its details, all the vital and grand interests, temporal, spiritual and eternal, not of our country only, but of the whole human race. IT CANNOT BE! Grant it, then, it cannot be. But should we not stand so far aloof from even the appearance of it, as not to encourage a single hope in any tyrant's breast that we, too--a living refutation of all the pretensions and claims of absolutism, as now displayed in the mouldering and tottering thrones of the old world--will yet subscribe its creed, recant our errors, and reconstruct the despotisms of the old world? Let us regard ourselves, and teach our children to regard themselves, as God's own depository of all the great blessings of civilization and salvation for [45] the new world, and as his co-operants with all the master-spirits on the eastern continent, with every nation and people who will accept our aid in the great work of disenthralling, evangelizing, redeeming and ennobling mankind. Let us teach them that we regard it our greatest honor to have deposited with us blessings so numerous, so various and so grand, and that we esteem it to be our greatest glory to be faithful in the high and holy trust. [46]


    1 "The bones of Wickliffe were dug out of his grave seventy-five years after his death, and burned for heresy. His ashes were thrown into a river in Warwickshire, on which some prophet of that day said:
    The Avon to the Severn runs,
    The Severn to the sea;
    And Wickliffe's dust shall spread abroad
    Wide as the oceans be."[41]

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    This article's intent was noble, but wanders far too much into gibberish speculations of religion. I'd rather focus on the ethnic nature of language, not some mumbo-jumbo. If one wanted some kind of spiritual morale boost, Heathenry is just as influential to the essence of England's character and destiny through language. In fact, it's more specific to English purposes than some generic universal message applicable to all.

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