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LESSON XX.

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

Primitive revolution imported
revolutions intercourse directly
government
dialect

inhabitants obliterated possession continued intermixture invaded affinity

gradually conqueror literature The language, which is at present spoken throughout Great Britain, is neither the ancient primitive speech of the island, nor derived from it; but is altogether of foreign origin. The language of the first inhabitants of our island, beyond doubt, was the Celtic, or Gaelic, common to them with Gaul: from which country, it appears, by many circumstances, that Great Britain was peopled. This Celtic tongue, which is said to be very expressive and copious, and is, probably, one of the most ancient languages in the world, prevailed once in most of the western regions of Europe. It was the language of Gaul, of Great Britain, of Ireland, and, very probably, of Spain also; till, in the course of those revolutions, which, by means of the conquests, first, of the Romans, and afterwards of the northern nations, changed the government, speech, and, in a manner, the whole face of Europe, this language was gradually obliterated, and now subsists only in the mountains of Wales,

in the Highlands of Scotland, and in Ireland; for the Welch, the Erse, and the Irish, are no other than different dialects of the same tongue, the ancient Celtic.

This, then, was the language of the primitive Britons, the first inhabitants, that we know of, in our island ; and continued so till the arrival of the Saxons in England, in the year of our Lord 450: they, having conquered the Britons, did not intermix with them, but expelled them from their habitations, and drove them, together with their language, into the mountains of Wales. The Saxons were one of those northern nations that over-ran Europe; and their tongue, a dialect of the Gothic, or Teutonic, altogether distinct from the Celtic, laid the foundation of the present English tongue. With some intermixture of Danish, (a language, probably, from the same root with the Saxon,) it continued to be spoken throughout the southern part of the island, till the time of William the Conqueror. He introduced his Norman, or French, as the language of the court, which made a considerable change in the speech of the nation; and the English, which was spoken afterwards, and continues to be spoken now, is a mixture of the ancient Saxon, and this Norman French, together with such new and foreign words as commerce and learning have, in progress of time, gradually introduced.

The history of the English language can, in this manner, be clearly traced. The language spoken in the low countries of Scotland, is now, and has been for many centuries, no other than a dialect of the English. How, indeed, or by what steps, the ancient Celtic tongue came to be banished from the low country in Scotland, and to make its retreat into the highlands and islands, cannot be so well pointed out, as how the like revolution was brought about in England. Whether the southern part of Scotland was once subject to the Saxons, and formed a part of the kingdom of Northumberland; or, whether the great number of English exiles that retreated into Scotland, upon the Norman conquest, and upon other occasions, introduced into that country their own language, which afterwards, by the mutual intercourse of the two nations, prevailed over the Celtic, are uncertain and contested points.

From what has been said, it appears that the Teutonic dialect is the basis of our present speech. It has been imported among us in three different forms, the Saxon, the Danish, and the Norman; all which have mingled together in our language. A very great number of our words, too, are plainly derived from the Latin. These we had not directly from the Latin, but most of them, it is probable, entered into our tongue through the channel of that Norman French, which William the Conqueror introduced. For, as the Romans had long been in possession of Gaul, the language spoken in that country, when it was invaded by the Franks and Normans, was a sort of corrupted Latin, mingled with Celtic, to which was given the name of Romance; and as the Franks and Normans did not, like the Saxons in England, expel the inhabitants, but, after their victories, mingled with them; the language became a compound of the Teutonic dialect imported by these conquerors, and of the former corrupted Latin. Hence, the French language has always continued to have a very considerable affinity with the Latin ; and hence, a great number of words of Latin origin, which were in use among the Normans in France, were introduced into our tongue at the conquest; to which, indeed, many have since been added directly from the Latin, in consequence of the great diffusion of Roman literature throughout all Europe.

BLAIR.

warmanna

LESSON XXI.

THE EVERLASTING CHURCH.

Examination Pepin Augustin
Pantheon

dynasty Attila cameleopards twilight Missouri Flavian

republic Antioch Pontiffs

Venice New Zealand Napoleon Papacy St. Paul's THERE is not, and there never was, on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church, The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the time when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when cameleopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back, in an unbroken series, from the Pope, who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope, who crowned Pepin in the eighth ; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the new world have more than compensated her for what she has lost in the old. Her spiritual ascendancy extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of Missouri and Cape Hom; countries, which, a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than one hundred and fifty millions, and it will not be difficult

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