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lar journal. He belonged to the class wbich was graduated
highly distinguished ; he exhibited uncommon powers in the acquisition both of literature and science, and bis industry was remarkable. His aptitude for learning languages made him known, even at that early period of his life, to the most distinguished philologists of our country. The late learned president of the American Academy was among his warmest friends. When the Exploring Expedition was fitting out, Mr. Hale, though still an undergraduate, was selected for the place of philologist ; and the result shows that probably a better selection could not have been made. He engaged in the duties to which he was thus honorably appointed, with a zeal and ability which have produced the most valuable results. He has availed himself of all the sources of information previously existing, and has drawn from them whatever came with in the range of subjects to which his inquiries were directed. The journals of voyagers, the writings of the missionaries, the researches of philologists into the nature and character of the languages spoken throughout the extensive groups of the Oceanic islands, manuscript vocabularies and grammars, have all been examined, sifted, and combined with the results of personal study and observation. Mr. Hale has thus succeeded in giving a certain classical completeness to his work, which makes it a model for future laborers in the same or in similar fields of research. The style of this volume is marked by rare excellences, and those of the highest order. It is elegant, terse, compact, and business-like, to a remarkable degree. It makes no pretensions to show, assumes no glittering ornaments, runs into no passages of exaggerated eloquence ; at the same time, its literary finish satisfies the demands of a fastidious taste, and possesses the beauty of an exquisite adaptedness to the subjects handled. It is a transparent medium of expression for a richly informed, clearthinking, straight-forward mind; it presents the meaning of the writer strongly and directly to the mind of the reader, instructing while it gratifies.
We dwell upon this excellence of Mr. Hale's book with some emphasis, because we are of opinion that the value even of scientific works is materially increased, if the scientific substance is adorned by an appropriate beauty of form ; and we think that in this point of view Mr. Hale deserves especial commendation.
The principal portion of the volume is devoted to the ethnography and philology of Oceanica, or that portion of the globe which lies between the coasts of Asia and America, embracing the continent of Australia or New Holland, the insular masses of the East Indian archipelago, and the innumerable smaller clusters of islands scattered over the Pacific Ocean. This region, called by the French Océanie, has been subdivided into five departments, distinguished from each other by their natural features, and by the characters of their inhabitants, and bearing respectively the names of Malaisia, Melanesia, Australia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, all of which were visited and examined, to a greater or less extent, by the scientific corps of the Exploring Expedition. The Northwest Coast of America occupied a portion of Mr. Hale's attention; and finding at Rio Janeiro some negroes from the South of Africa, he seized the opportunity of investigating the dialects, so far as that could be done, spoken in their part of the country.
The volume thus constructed by Mr. Hale is a beautiful quarto, and the typographical execution of it is worthy of its varied, interesting, and valuable contents. It is divided into two principal departments, ethnography and philology ; the ethnographical portion embraces the first two hundred and twenty-five pages, and the philological, the remaining four hundred and forty-one. In the term ethnography are included the general description of the country, physical characteristics of the inhabitants, religion, mythology, cosmogonies, worship, civil polity, customs and manners, manufactures, migrations, and a variety of other minor but connected topics.* Philology includes whatever relates to mental culture, so far at least as this is connected with language. The several topics are grammar and comparative grammar, including prosody, dictionaries, and vocabularies, poetical composition, music, and the like. This arrangement is sound and rational. Ethnography forms an excellent introduction to philology ; it is a sort of basis for the intellectual superstructure.
This part of the work, however, does not contain so much
new and original matter as the philological. It is, nevertheless, of great interest, and wrought out with great ability. Many of the materials bearing upon this part of the subject already existed, scattered over the works of previous writers. The great merit of Mr. Hale here is the admirable judgment with which he has combined these materials into a consistent whole, adding such particulars as his own observation enabled him to supply, and thus presenting a gallery of ethnographical pictures, of the highest importance, and distinguished by a classical finish and beauty of execution. They show a remarkable acuteness and tact in discerning the characteristic peculiarities of the numerous tribes included in his survey, and facility in their delineation. The many curious analogies between barbarian institutions and those of the most refined nations are readily seized and clearly pointed out. The systems of government existing among the Oceanic nations are skilfully developed ; their traditions, superstitions, religious rites, and cosmogonies, not merely well described, but analyzed and philosophically explained. The legal antiquary will find the principles of the feudal tenure amply illustrated by the rules which regulated the land tenures in the Sandwich Islands before the adoption of their present written constitution. On the other hand, the sturdy enemies of law and order, the champions of absolute equality, will discover that they have been anticipated and even excelled by the Australians; that they are at the best but awkward imitators, servum pecus, when compared with the philosophers of that continent, who in politics have no government, and in their language have no terms to express the ideas of command and obedience.
The Shakers will be pleased to know that one of their leading principles is practically enforced by the Australian moralists upon the young men, who, while unmarried, are forbidden to approach, or to speak to, a female. The dietetic sages, especially the disciples of Mr. Graham, will be gratified to be informed, that the same modest and shy young gentlemen are not allowed to eat fish or eggs, or the emu, or any of the finer kinds of opossum and kangaroo ; though, to be sure, these restrictions are gradually removed as the subjects of them get on in life, and when they have passed the period of middle age, they are entirely unrestrained in the choice of food. Mr. Hale throws in a qualifying reflection here, which we quote for the benefit of the old heads among
our peptic philosophers. “Whether one purpose of this law be to accustom the young men to a bardy and simple style of living may be doubted; but its prime object and its result certainly are to prevent the young men from possessing themselves, by their superior strength and agility, of all the more desirable articles of food, and leaving only the refuse to the elders.” The chivalrous practice of the duello is in full force among this people ; and all their arrangements are so consonant to the high sense of natural justice which exists in countries where this mode of settling private quarrels prevails, that we must cite a portion of them for the benefit of . our Southern friends.
“ The parties meet in presence of their kindred and friends, who form a circle round them as witnesses and umpires. They stand up opposite one another, armed each with a club about two feet long. The injured person has the right of striking the first blow, to receive which the other is obliged to extend his head forward, with the side turned partially upwards. The blow is in. flicted with a force commensurate with the vindictive feeling of the avenger. A white man, with an ordinary cranium, would be killed outright; but owing to the great thickness of their skulls, this seldom happens with the natives. The challenged party now takes his turn to strike, and the other is obliged to place bimself in the same posture of convenience. In this way the combat is continued, with alternate buffets, until one of them is stunned, or the expiation is deemed satisfactory.”
Now, here is the very beau ideal of single combat, or, to speak learnedly, monomachy ; and it is perfectly adapted to the requirements of “white men " whose conduct is moulded by the principles of the 6 code of honor”; for they, like " the natives,” are distinguished by “ the great thickness of their skulls."
But we have not space to dwell at length on the various topics suggested by the ethnography of this interesting region. A few words on the migrations of the Oceanic tribes must close what we have to say on this branch of the subject. Mr. Hale remarks, -"As the examination of the customs and idioms of the Polynesian tribes leaves no room to doubt that they form, in fact, but a single nation, and as the similarity of their dialects warrants the supposition that no great length of time has elapsed since their dispersion, we are naturally led to inquire whether it may not be possible, by the compar
VOL. LXIII. — No. 132.
ison of their idioms and traditions, and by other indications, to determine, with at least some degree of probability, the original point from which their separation took place, and the manner in which it was effected.” By this point our author means, in the present inquiry, the island or group in the Pacific which was first inhabited, and which bore to the rest the relation of the mother country to the colonies.
Mr. Hale pursues the investigation with great care and ingenuity. He examines the grammar and vocabulary of the
various dialects, and finds many forms in those of the western · groups which are entirely wanting in the eastern tongues ;
others, which are complete in the former, are found derective in the latter, and perverted from what seems evidently their original meaning. A similar examination of the religious characteristics shows that in the west a simple mythology and spiritual worship exist, which are perverted, as we advance towards the east, into a debasing and cruel idolatry. The fashion of tattooing also, which, in Samoa and Tonga, is intended to answer the purposes of decency, has degenerated elsewhere into a mode of ornament.
At one of the Hervey Islands there is a tradition among the inhabitants that their ancestor ascended from a region beneath, called Avaiki ; a similar tradition prevails among the Marquesans, who give to the region the name of Havaiki. This name is evidently connected with the Hawai'i of the Sandwich Islands; and all these terms are the precise forms which the name of the largest of the Navigator Islands (Savai’i) would assume in the different dialects. Mr. Hale thinks, that, by following this clue, the different tribes of Polynesia may all be referred back to their original seat. In fact, the dialectical changes which this name would undergo, according to the rules laid down in the comparative grammar, are : “1. Original form,
Savaiki. 2. Samoan dialect,
Savai'i. 3. Tahitian,
Hawaiki.” This name, therefore, our author considers, with strong reason, to be the key-word of the Polynesian migrations.