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Scientific Results of the Exploring Expedition. [July,
guages, as the Lutuami, Saste, and Palaihnik, being smooth and agreeable to the ear, while the Shoshoni and Kalapuya, though soft, are nasal and indistinct.” — pp. 533, 534.
We venture humbly to suggest to Mr. Buchanan whether this philological line would not be a good basis on which to settle the Oregon boundary. One of the most curious chapters is that which contains an outline of the Jargon, or Trade language, of Oregon. Here we detect nature in the very act of creating a new language, by fusing together the various materials existing in distinct dialects, and remoulding them upon new principles, and for the purpose of supplying new wants. The elements of this dialect are the Nootka, English, Tshinuk, and French ; together with a supply of words formed by the onomatopoia, or principle of representing sense by sound. As the language is spoken by Tshinuks, Englishmen, and Frenchmen, it rejects all sounds which cannot readily be pronounced by all three ; and this constitutes the point of peculiar interest in the phonology of the language. If we had room, it would be amusing to copy a few specimens of this Jargon. If left to itself, it would in time, doubtless, unfold into a copious and regular language, with its distinctive principles of syntax and rhythm ; but it will doubtless disappear, as a civilized population advances and occupies the country with permanent settlements. The volume ends with a brief account of the languages of Patagonia and of Southern Africa.
We have given only a cursory review of the interesting and important contents of Mr. Hale's work; but we think our readers, and others whose attention may be called to it, will agree with us in pronouncing it a most valuable contribution to ethnography and philology, and, as such, highly honorable to the scholarship of our country.
ART. IX. - Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony
of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, from 1623 to 1635. Nou first collected from Original Records and Contemporaneous Manuscripts, and illustrated with Notes. By ALEXANDER Young. Boston: Little & Brown. 1846. Svo. pp. 560.
The publication, at successive periods, of contemporaneous documents relating to any historical event puts a reader more and more into the position of an original eyewitness and party. Documents not intended for publication are generally the richest materials of history; and it is a well established principle among its writers, that public annals and records will never serve by themselves for a sufficient, or even for an accurate, memorial of the past. The historian, almost as much as the biographer, needs the aid of what are called private papers, family registers, letters, note-books, journals, and the Ay-leaves of pamphlets, to illustrate and explain the great folio records in print or in manuscript. The second publication or reëditing of a historical document may also give a double value to it. The time which has elapsed since it was first printed has written a commentary upon it, has verified or contradicted its statements, has witnessed the publication of other documents relating to the same scenes and actors, and while it has shown some of the consequences of former events, it has allowed shadows to gather around them which only the concentration of many rays of light can pierce.
It has often been observed of the annals of the North American Colonies in general, and of those of New England in particular, that they are wholly free from fable, and begin at the very beginning with most authentic materials. This truth is well understood, but it is regarded more as a negative than as a positive fact. The fables are thankfully missed; but gratitude and admiration have not made a sufficient acknowledgment for the mass of original papers which authenticate New England history. It is wonderful that so many records relating to its first settlers and their plantations should have been made; it is more wonderful still, that so large a portion of them should have escaped the hazards of time, till they could be permanently secured. Indeed, we are persuaded that a good argument, were such needed, to establish many honorable distinctions and claims for our fathers, and to assure their faith in the proud results of their mean beginnings, might be raised from the fact that they recorded so much about their own childhood, with its exposures, its fears, and its imperfections. They seem to have known that what they were doing and suffering was worthy of being written down; and while no one of their papers which has as yet come to light betrays any ambition for notoriety then, or for applause afterwards, it may still be said of all of them, that candor and truthfulness, the most specific statement of their views and principles, and a readiness to meet the judgment of the whole world for all time, are the most striking characteristics of every page.
It may likewise be stated, to the credit of our fathers and in large extenuation of their errors, that they practised no concealment. It is from their own writings that their calumniators or accusers obtain all their facts and charges. They did nothing in a corner. Those who suffered by their acts of alleged oppression and bigotry had not to do with sneaking, cowardly persecutors, who were afraid to confess their deeds or to offer their reasons. Scarcely could a sufferer by their intolerance make his way in banishment or Alight to the court or the press at London, to tell his tale to their discredit, before the full story was told by the colonists themselves, without loss or addition, at the same bar of royalty or of popular judgment. Their usurpation of certain civil privileges and ecclesiastical functions, which it was not intended they should enjoy, was neither hidden nor denied. They allowed it all, and readily undertook the office of justifying it either by bold inferences from their patent, or by the necessities of their condition. They never even denied that they had made audacious trespass upon the exclusive rights of royalty, by establishing a mint in Boston and coining money there ; though their agent at court, taking the sin upon his own soul, ventured to tell Charles the Second, that the pine-tree on the Massachusetts shilling, which the king looked at with amazed distrust, was an effigies of the fainous tree thus happily commemorated in the New England Primer, adorned with cuts":
“ The royal Oak, it was the Tree
That saved his Royal Majesty."
Neither the Brownes of Salem, nor Roger Williams, nor Mrs. Hutchinson, nor the Baptists, nor the Quakers, have related so much tending to the discredit of the Massachusetts rulers in church and state, as may be collected from these magistrates' own writings. Their infirmities and inconsistencies are detailed by themselves. Their records are brief, but they are numerous. For nearly every important question which we can ask about the fathers of Massachusetts, we can find an answer ; there is scarcely an event or circumstance relating to them the date of which is unknown or doubtful.
Their own records of various kinds were in general kept with much more fidelity than were those of their descendants of the third or fourth generation. But an immense amount of literary and antiquarian labor has been necessarily spent upon their original documents. The records of courts, of towns and churches, family registers and grave-stones, letters and diaries, interleaved almanacs and last wills, merely afford materials which by diligent toil may be wrought up into annals and biographies. Considering that no reward of money, and scarcely any of fame, offers incitement to this labor, we may wonder at its amount and its accumulations. Mr. James Savage has been unrivalled among the antiquarians of Massachusetts, and richly deserves his place as president of its Historical Society. What he has not done for all who follow in his track, he has taught them how to do. Prince is the only one who should be mentioned before him, and this rather because he preceded Mr. Savage in time ; for the results of Prince's labors stop just where we begin to need them most. Mr. Savage's edition of Governor Winthrop's Journal is a miracle of industry, of acuteness, and of pains-taking research. His Gleanings for New England History, gathered during a recent visit to Old England, fill out many blanks left in the memorials of persons, places, and events, besides affording a sum of particulars which are of a general value in illustrating our annals. They are literally “ Gleanings,” — requiring for their collection a survey of the whole field, and abundantly rewarding it.
The two volumes which Mr. Young has given to the public, taken in connection with Mr. Savage's edition of Winthrop, embrace every original and authentic document relating to the early history of Massachusetts. Mr. Young has devoted a volume to each of the ancient and separate Colonies of
olymouthecords, an Notes," i can nevall publicand the bfectly
Plymouth and the Bay, which now are united in this State. 66 The Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, from 1602 to 1625, now first collected from Original Records and Contemporaneous printed Documents, and illustrated with Notes,” was published in 1841, and soon reached a second edition. It can never be superseded, but will henceforward have its place in all public and private libraries as a complete history of the fathers and the beginnings of the Old Colony. The plan of the work is perfectly suited to fulfil its purpose. We are carried by it into the company of those venerable and strong-hearted men and women. We listen to their deliberations and prayers when the project was first entertained among them of seeking a refuge beyond the ocean. We participate in their frequent crosses and their few comforts. We admire their pious magnanimity, and read over and over again each sentence which expresses their sufferings and their constancy. With the help of the notes which the editor, with great industry and most extensive research, has appended to their own records, the early days of these colonists come again before us. The bleak wilderness wears its ancient aspect, while the grave looks of the exiles are turned upon it, and their serious lips open to give names to headlands, rivers, and swamps, and to cheer one another around the smoking ruins of their first common dwelling, or the frosty burial-spot which has given graves to one half of their company.
The volume now before us is a labor of love of the same character in behalf of the old Bay Colony. No other State in the Union, no other colony, no other country, in the world, can produce such records of its origin as Massachusetts possesses in this volume. Here we have not only the public documents of courts and companies, containing the public history of the origin and plantation of the Colony, but the Journals, Diaries, Memoirs, and Letters of the prime movers in the enterprise. These private papers admit us behind the scenes, and into the homes where our fathers conferred with each other and with their wives and children. We have the means of deciding whether they were led hither by an obstinate and overscrupulous zeal, and a mercenary, trafficking spirit, as some of their enemies then averred, (and they have since reiterated the charge, or whether the purest motives which can be felt in a human breast moved them to their painful self-exile, and