Chips from a German Workshop - Volume IV - Essays chiefly on the Science of Language
by Max Muller
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

I conclude by once more applying the Apostle's words to the Means and the End of Christian missions. We would to God that whether by little or by much, whether by sudden stroke or by elaborate reasoning, whether in a brief moment or by long process of years, whether by the fervor of active clergy, or by the learning of impartial laymen, whether by illiterate simplicity or by wide philosophy—not only those who hear me, but all on whom the services of this day, far and near, have any influence, may become, at least in some degree, such as was Paul the Apostle, such as have been the wisest and best of Christian missionaries, except only those bonds which belong to time and place, not to the Eternal Spirit and the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot wish a better wish, or pray a better prayer to God on this day than that amongst the missionaries who teach, amongst the heathens who hear, there should be raised up men who should exhibit that type of Christian truth and of Christian life which was seen by Festus and Agrippa in Paul of Tarsus. May the Giver of all good gifts give to us some portion of his cheerful and manly faith, of his fearless energy, of his horror of narrowness and superstition, of his love for God and for mankind, of his absolute faith in the triumph of his Redeemer's cause. May God our Father waken in us the sense that we are all his children; may the whole earth become more and more one fold under one Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ his Son; may the Holy Spirit of Heaven

"Our souls inspire, And lighten with celestial fire."


The delivery of a lecture on Missions in Westminster Abbey by a layman, and that layman a German, caused great excitement at the time. While some persons of great experience and authority in Church and State expressed their full approval of the bold step which the Dean of Westminister had taken, and while some of the most devoted missionaries conveyed to me their hearty thanks for what I had said in my lecture, others could not find terms sufficiently violent to vent their displeasure against the Dean, and to proclaim their horror at the heretical opinions embodied in my address. Iwas publicly threatened with legal proceedings, and an eminent lawyer informed me in the "Times" of the exact length of imprisonment I should have to undergo.

I did not reply. I had lived long enough in England to know that no good cause can ever be served by a breach of the law, and neither the Dean nor I myself would have acted as we did unless it had been ascertained beforehand from the highest authorities that, with the sanction of the Dean, there was nothing illegal in a layman delivering such a lecture within the precincts of his Abbey. As to the opinions which I expressed on that occasion, Ihad expressed them before in my published "Lectures on the Science of Religion." Whether they are orthodox or heretical, others are more competent to determine than I am. Isimply hold them to be true, and at my time of life, mere contradictions, abuse, or even threats are not likely to keep me from expressing opinions which, whether rightly or wrongly, seem to me founded in truth.

But while I refrained from replying to mere outbursts of anger, Igladly availed myself of the opportunity offered by an article published in the "Fortnightly Review" (July, 1874), by Mr. Lyall, ahighly distinguished Indian civilian, in order to explain more fully some of the views expressed in my lecture which seemed liable to misapprehension. Unfortunately the writer of the article "On Missionary Religions" had not the whole of my lecture before him when writing his criticisms, but had to form his opinion of it from a condensed report which appeared in the "Times" of December 5th, 1873. The limits of a lecture are in themselves very narrow, and when so large a subject as that of which I had to treat in Westminster Abbey had to be condensed within sixty minutes, not only those who wish to misunderstand, but those also who try to judge fairly, may discover in what has been said, or what has not been said, avery different meaning from that which the lecturer wished to convey. And if a closely-packed lecture is compressed once more into one column of the "Times," it is hardly possible to avoid what has happened in this case. Mr. Lyall has blamed me for not quoting facts or statements which, as he will have seen by this time, Ihad quoted in my lecture. Iam reminded by him, for instance, of the remarks made by Sir George Campbell in his report upon the government of Bengal in 1871-72, when he wrote, "It is a great mistake to suppose that the Hindu religion is not proselytizing; the system of castes gives room for the introduction of any number of outsiders; so long as people do not interfere with existing castes, they may form a new caste and call themselves Hindus; and the Brahmans are always ready to receive all who will submit to them and pay them. The process of manufacturing Rajputs from ambitious aborigines goes on before our eyes." "This," Mr. Lyall observes, "is one recently recorded observation out of many that might be quoted."

It is this very passage which I had quoted in my third note, only that in quoting it from the "Report on the Progress and Condition of India," laid before Parliament in 1873, Ihad added the caution of the reporter, that "this assertion must be taken with reserve."

With such small exceptions, however, I have really nothing to complain of in the line of argument adopted by Mr. Lyall. Ibelieve that, after having read my paper, he would have modified some portions of what he has written, but I feel equally certain that it is well that what he has written should have been written, and should be carefully pondered both by those who have the interests of the natives, and by those who have the interests of Christian missions at heart. The few remarks which I take the liberty of making are made by way of explanation only; on all truly essential points I believe there is not much difference of opinion between Mr. Lyall and myself.

As my lecture in Westminister Abbey was delivered shortly after the publication of my "Introduction to the Science of Religion," Iventured to take certain points which I had fully treated there as generally known. One of them is the exact value to be ascribed to canonical books in a scientific treatment of religion. When Mr. Lyall observes in limine, that inferences as to the nature and tendency of various existing religions which are drawn from study and exegetic comparison of their scriptures, must be qualified by actual observation of these religions and their popular form and working effects, he expresses an opinion which I hold as strongly as he holds it himself. After enumerating the books which are recognized as sacred or authoritative by large religious communities in India, books of such bulk and such difficulty that it seems almost impossible for any single scholar to master them in their entirety, Iadded (p.111), "And even then our eyes would not have reached many of the sacred recesses in which the Hindu mind has taken refuge, either to meditate on the great problems of life, or to free itself from the temptations and fetters of worldly existence by penances and mortifications of the most exquisite cruelty. India has always been teeming with religious sects, and its religious life has been broken up into countless local centres which it required all the ingenuity and perseverance of a priestly caste to hold together with a semblance of dogmatic uniformity."

We must take care, however, in all scientific studies, not to render a task impossible by attaching to it conditions which, humanly speaking, cannot be fulfilled. It is desirable, no doubt, to study some of the local varieties of faith and worship in every religion, but it is impossible to do this with anything like completeness. Were we to wait till we had examined every Christian sect before trusting ourselves to form a general judgment of Christianity, not one of us could honestly say that he knew his own religion. It seems to me that in studying religions we must expect to meet with the same difficulties which we have to encounter in the comparative study of languages. It may, no doubt, be argued with great force that no one knows English who is ignorant of the spoken dialects, of the jargon of sailors and miners, or of the slang of public-houses and prisons. It is perfectly true that what we call the literary and classical language is never the really living language of a people, and that a foreigner may know Shakespeare, Milton, and Byron, and yet fail to understand, if not the debates in Parliament, at all events the wrangling of sellers and buyers in the markets of the city. Nevertheless, when we learn English, or German, or French, or any of the dead languages, such as Latin and Greek, we must depend on grammars, which grammars are founded on a few classical writers; and when we speak of these languages in general, when we subject them to a scientific treatment, analyze them, and attempt to classify them, we avail ourselves for all such purposes almost exclusively of classical works, of literary productions of recognized authority. It is the same, and it can hardly be otherwise, when we approach the study of religions, whether for practical or for scientific purposes. Suppose a Hindu wished to know what the Christian religion really was, should we tell him to go first to Rome, then to Paris, then to St. Petersburg, then to Athens, then to Oxford, then to Berlin, that he might hear the sermons of Roman Catholics, Greeks, and Protestants, or read their so-called religious papers, in order to form out of these scattered impressions an idea of the real nature of the working effects of Christianity? Or should we not rather tell him to take the Bible, and the hymns of Christian Churches, and from them to form his ideal of true Christianity? Areligion is much more likely to become "amysterious thing," when it is sought for in the heart of each individual believer, where alone, no doubt, it truly lives, or in the endless shibboleths of parties, or in the often contradictory tenets of sects, than when it is studied in those sacred books which are recognized as authoritative by all believers, however much they may vary in their interpretations of certain passages, and still more in the practical application of the doctrines contained in their sacred codes to the ordering of their daily life. Let the dialects of languages or religions be studied by all means, let even the peculiarities in the utterances of each town, village, or family, be carefully noted; but let it be recognized at the same time that, for practical purposes, the immense variety of individual expression has to be merged in one general type, and that this alone supplies the chance of a truly scientific treatment.

So much in justification of the principle which I have followed throughout in my treatment of the so-called Book-religions, holding that they must be judged, first of all, out of their own mouths, i.e., out of their sacred writings. Although each individual believer is responsible for his religion, no religion can be made responsible for each individual believer. Even if we adopt the theory of development in religion, and grant to every thinking man his right of private interpretation, there remains, and their must always remain, to the historian of religion, an appeal to the statutes of the original code with which each religion stands and falls, and by which alone it can justly be judged.

It may be, as Mr. Lyall says, an inveterate modern habit to assume all great historic names to represent something definite, symmetrical, and organized. It may be that Asiatic institutions, as he asserts, are incapable of being circumscribed by rules and formal definitions. But Mr. Lyall, if he directed his attention to European institutions, would meet with much the same difficulties there. Christianity, in the largest sense of the word, is as difficult to define as Brahmanism, the English constitution is as unsymmetrical as the system of caste. Yet, if we mean to speak and argue about them, we must attempt to define them, and with regard to any religion, whether Asiatic or European, no definition, it seems to me, can be fairer than that which we gain from its canonical books.

I now come to a more important point. I had divided the six great religions of the world into Missionary and non-Missionary, including Judaism, Brahmanism, and Zoroastrianism, under the latter; Buddhism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism, under the former category. If I had followed the good old rule of always giving a definition of technical terms, the objections raised by Mr. Lyall and others would probably never have been urged. Ithought, however, that from the whole tenor of my lecture it would have been clear that by missionary religions I meant those in which the spreading of the truth and the conversion of unbelievers are raised to the rank of a sacred duty by the founder or his immediate successors. In explaining the meaning of the word proselyte, or proslutos, Ihad shown that literally it means those who come to us, not those to whom we go, so that even a religion so exclusive as Judaism might admit proselytes, might possibly, if we insisted only on the etymological meaning of the word, be called proselytizing, without having any right to the name of a missionary religion. But I imagined that I had said enough to make such a misunderstanding impossible. We may say that the English nobility grows, but we should never say that it proselytizes, and it would be a mere playing with words if, because Brahmanism admits new-comers, we were to claim for it the title of a proselytizing religion. The Brahmanic Scriptures have not a word of welcome for converts, quite the contrary; and as long as these Scriptures are recognized as the highest authority by the Hindus themselves, we have no right to ascribe to Brahmanism what is in direct contradiction with their teaching. The burning of widows was not enjoined in the Vedas, and hence, in order to gain a sanction for it, apassage in the Veda was falsified. No such necessity was ever felt with regard to gaining converts for the Brahmanic faith, and this shows that, though admission to certain Brahmanic privileges may be easier at present than it was in the days of Vi{s}vmitra, conversion by persuasion has never become an integral portion of the Brahmanic law.

However, as Mr. Lyall does not stand alone in his opinions, and as others have claimed for Judaism and Zoroastrianism the same missionary character which he claims in the name of Brahmanism, afew explanations may not be out of place.

Till very lately, an orthodox Jew was rather proud of the fact that he and his people had never condescended to spread their religion among Christians by such means as Christians use for the conversion of Jews. The Parsi community, too, seemed to share with the Quakers a prudent reluctance in admitting outsiders to the advantages conferred by membership of so respectable and influential a community, while the Brahmans certainly were the very last to compass heaven and earth for the conversion of Mlecchas or outcasts. Suddenly, however, all this is changed. The Chief Rabbi in London, stung to the quick by the reproach of the absence of the missionary spirit in Judaism, has delivered a sermon to show that I had maligned his people, and that, though they never had missionaries, they had been the most proselytizing people in the world. Some strong arguments in support of the same view have been brought forward by the Rev. Charles Voysey, whose conception of Judaism, however, is founded rather on what the great prophets wished it should have been than on what history teaches us it was. As the facts and arguments advanced by the Jewish advocates did not modify my judgment of the historical character of Judaism, Idid not think it necessary to reply, particularly as another eminent Rabbi, the editor of the "Jewish World," fully endorsed my views of Judaism, and expressed his surprise at the unorthodox theories advanced by so high an authority as Dr. Adler. Iam informed, however, that the discussion thus originated will not remain without practical results, and that something like a Jewish Missionary Society is actually forming in London, to prove that, if missionary zeal is a test of life, the Jewish religion will not shrink from such a test. "We have done something," the Rev. Charles Voysey remarks, "to stir them up; but let us not forget that our reminder was answered, not by a repulse or expression of surprise, but by an assurance that many earnest Jews had already been thinking of this very work, and planning among themselves how they could revive some kind of missionary enterprise. Before long, Ifeel sure they will give practical evidence that the missionary spirit is still alive and striving in their religion." And again: "The Jews will soon show whether their religion is alive or dead, will soon meet the rival religions of the world on more than equal terms, and will once more take the lead in these days of enlightened belief, and in search after conceptions worthy of a God, just as of old Judaism stood on a lofty height, far above all the religions of mankind."

What has happened in London seems to have happened in Bombay also. The Zoroastrians, too, did not like to be told that their religion was dying, and that their gradual decay was due to the absence of the missionary spirit among them. We read in the "Oriental" of April, 1874, "There is a discussion as to whether it is contrary to the creed of Zoroaster to seek converts to the faith. While conceding that Zoroaster was himself opposed to proselytizing heathens, most of the Parsis hold that the great decrease in the number of his followers renders it absolutely necessary to attempt to augment the sect."

Lastly, Mr. Lyall stands up for Brahmanism, and maintains that in India Brahmanism had spread out during the last hundred years, while Islam and Christianity have contracted. "More persons in India," he says, "become every year Brahmanists, than all the converts to all the other religions in India, put together." "The number of converts," he maintains, "added to Brahmanism in the last few generations, especially in this country, must be immense; and if the word proselyte may be used in the sense of one that has come, not necessarily being one that has been invited or persuaded to come, then Brahmanism may lay claim to be by far the most successful proselytizing religion of modern times in India."

The words which I have ventured to put in italics, will show at once how little difference of opinion there is between Mr. Lyall and myself, as long as we use the same words in the same sense. If proselytizing could be used in the etymological sense, here assigned to it by Mr. Lyall, then, no doubt, Brahmanism would be a proselytizing or missionary religion. But this is mere playing with words. In English, proselytizing is never used in that sense. If I meant by missionary religions nothing more than religions which are capable of increase by admitting those that wish to be admitted, religions which say to the world at large, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you," but no more, then, no doubt, Brahmanism, or at least some phases of it, might be called by that name. But what, according to my explanation, constitutes a missionary religion is something totally different. It is the spirit of truth in the hearts of believers which cannot rest unless it manifests itself in thought, word, and deed, which is not satisfied till it has carried its message to every human soul, till what it believes to be the truth is accepted as the truth by all members of the human family.

That spirit imparts to certain religions a character of their own, acharacter which, if I am not mistaken, constitutes the vital principle of our own religion, and of the other two which, in that respect, stand nearest to Christianity—Buddhism and Mohammedanism. This is not a mere outward difference, depending on the willingness of others to join or not to join; it is an inward difference which stamped Christianity as a missionary religion, when as yet it counted no more than twelve apostles, and which lays on every one that calls himself a Christian the duty of avowing his convictions, whatever they may be, and gaining others to embrace the truth. In that sense every true Christian is a missionary. Mr. Lyall is evidently aware of all this, if we may judge by the expressions which he uses when speaking of the increase of Brahmanism. He speaks of the clans and races which inhabit the hill-tracts, the out-lying uplands, and the uncleared jungle districts of India, as melting into Hinduism. He represents the ethnical frontier, described by Mr. Hunter in the "Annals of Rural Bengal," as an ever-breaking shore of primitive beliefs, which tumble constantly into the ocean of Brahmanism. And even when he dwells on the fact that non-Aryans are invited by the Brahmans to enter in, he adds that this is done for the sake of profit and repute, not from a wish to eradicate error, to save souls, or to spread the truth. Such instances occurred even in the ancient history of India; and I had myself, in my "History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature," pointed out the case of the Rathakaras or carpenters who were admitted to the Vedic sacrifices, and who, probably from a mere similarity of name—their leader being called Bribu,—had the old Vedic Ribhus assigned to them as their peculiar deities. But these were exceptions, they were concessions aux ngres, deviations from traditional rules, entirely owing to the pressure of circumstances; not manifestations springing from religious impulses. If Mr. Lyall remarks himself, that a religion which thus, half involuntarily, enlarges its borders, is not, in the strict sense of the word, amissionary religion, he shows that he is fully aware of the profound difference between a religion that grows by mere agglomeration and a religion that grows by its own strength, by its irrepressible missionary zeal. In answer to his concluding remark, that this ground was not taken in my lecture, Ican only say that it was, nay, that it formed the very foundation on which the whole argument of my lecture was meant to rest.

There is more force in the objections which Mr. Lyall raises against my calling Brahmanism already dead. The word was too strong; at all events, it was liable to be misunderstood. What I meant to say was that the popular worship of {S}iva and Vish{n}u belongs to the same intellectual stratum as the worship of Jupiter and Apollo, that it is an anachronism in the nineteenth century, and that, for our purposes, for prognosticating the issues of the religious struggles of the future, it may simply be set aside. For settling any of the questions that may be said to be pending between Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Buddhism, Brahmanism is dead. For converting any number of Christians, Mohammedans, and Buddhists back to idolworship, Brahmanism is dead. It may absorb Sonthals, and Gonds, and Bhils, and other half savage races, with their rough-hewn jungle deities, it may even raise them to a higher stage of civilization, and imbue them with the first principles of a truer faith and a purer worship, but for carrying any of the strong positions of Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity, Brahmanism is powerless and dead. In India itself, where it clings to the soil with a thousand roots, it was beaten by Buddhism, and, if it afterwards recovered its position, that was due to physical force, not to persuasion and conversion. The struggle between Mohammedanism and Brahmanism in India was on both sides a political rather than a religious struggle: still when a change of religion arose from conviction, we see Brahmanism yielding to the purer light of Islam, not Islam to Brahmanism.

I did not undervalue the actual power of Brahmanism, particularly its power of resistance; nor did I prophesy its speedy extinction. Isaid on the contrary that "areligion may linger on for a long time, and be accepted by the large masses of the people, because it is there, and there is nothing better." "It is true," Iadded, "there are millions of children, women, and men in India who fall down before the stone image of Vish{n}u, with his four arms, riding on a creature, half-bird, half-man, or sleeping on the serpent; who worship {S}iva, amonster with three eyes, riding naked on a bull, with a necklace of skulls for his ornament. There are human beings who still believe in a god of war, Krtikeya, with six faces, riding on a peacock, and holding bow and arrow in his hands; and who invoke a god of success, Ga{n}e{s}a, with four hands and an elephant's head, sitting on a rat. Nay, it is true that, in the broad daylight of the nineteenth century, the figure of the goddess Kali is carried through the streets of her own city, Calcutta, her wild disheveled hair reaching to her feet, with a necklace of human heads, her tongue protruded from her mouth, her girdle stained with blood. All this is true; but ask any Hindu who can read and write and think, whether these are the gods he believes in, and he will smile at your credulity. How long this living death of national religion in India may last, no one can tell: for our purposes, however, for gaining an idea of the issue of the great religious struggle of the future, that religion is dead and gone."

I ask Mr. Lyall, is this true or is it not? He says himself, "that Brahmanism may possibly melt away of a heap and break up, Iwould not absolutely deny." Would Mr. Lyall say the same of Buddhism, Mohammedanism, or Christianity? He points himself to the description which Gibbon gives of the ancient Roman religion in the second century of the Christian era, and shows how closely applicable it is to the present state of Brahmanism in India. "The tolerant superstition of the people, 'not confined by the claims of any speculative system,' the 'devout polytheist, whom fear, gratitude, and curiosity, adream, or an omen, asingular disorder, or a distant journey, perpetually disposed to multiply the articles of his belief, and to enlarge the list of his protectors;' the 'ingenious youth alike instructed in every school to reject and despise the religion of the multitude;' the philosophic class who 'look with indulgence on the errors of the vulgar, diligently practice the ceremonies of their fathers, and devoutly frequent the temples of their gods;' the 'magistrates who know and value the advantages of religion as it is connected with civil government;'—all these scenes and feelings are represented in India at this moment, though by no means in all parts of India." If, then, in the second century a student of religious pathology had expressed his conviction that in spite of the number of its professors, in spite of its antiquity, in spite of its indigenous character, in spite of its political, civil, and social influences, in spite of its temples and priests, in spite of its schools and philosophers, the ancient religion of Jupiter had lost its vitality, was sick unto death, nay, for all real purposes was dead, would he have been far wrong? It may be replied, no doubt, that similar corruptions have crept into other religions also, that gaudy dolls are carried about in Christian cathedrals, that people are invited to see tears rolling down from the eyes of images, or to worship wine changed into blood, to say nothing of even more terrible hallucinations on the Eucharist propounded from so-called Protestant pulpits, and that, in spite of all this, we should not call the Christian religion dying or dead. This is true, and I thought that by my remarks on the different revivals of Hinduism from the twelfth to the nineteenth century, Ihad sufficiently indicated that new life may spring even from such apparently hopeless corruption. If it is Brahmanism that lives in the sects of Rmnuja and Rmnanda, in the poetry of Kabir and the wisdom of Nnak, in the honest purposes of Ram Mohun Roy and in the high aspirations of Keshub Chunder Sen, then I quite agree with Mr. Lyall that Brahmanism is not dead, but lives more intensely than ever.

But here, for some reason or other, Mr. Lyall seems to demur to my hopeful estimate of Brahmoism. He had expressed his own conviction that Brahmanism, though it might suddenly collapse and vanish, was more likely gradually to spiritualize and centralize its Pantheon, reduce its theology to a compact system, soften down its morals by symbolisms and interportations, discard "dogmatic extremes," and generally to bring itself into accordance with improved standards of science and intelligence. He had also quoted with implied approval the remark of qualified observers, "that we might at any time witness a great Brahmanic reforming revival in India, if some really gifted and singularly powerful prophet were to arise among the Hindus." But when I hinted that this prophet had actually arisen, and that in Brahmoism, as preached by Ram Mohun Roy, Debendranath Tagore, and Keshub Chunder Sen, we ought to recognize a transition from Brahmanism to a purer faith; when I pointed out that, though Christian missionaries might not wish to recognize Brahmoism as their work, it was the work of those missionary Christians who have lived in India as examples of a true Christian life, who have approached the natives in a truly missionary spirit, in the spirit of truth and in the spirit of love, Mr. Lyall replies that "Brahmoism, as propagated by Keshub Chunder Sen, seems to be Unitarianism of an European type, and, so far as one can understand its argument, appears to have no logical stability or locus standi between revelation and pure rationalism; that it propounds either too much or too little to its hearers." "Afaith," he continues, "which contains mere fervent sentiments, and high conceptions of morality, does not partake of the complexion or nature of those religions which have encompassed the heart of great nations, nor is it generally supposed in India that Brahmoism is perceptibly on the increase."

Mutatis mutandis, this is very much what an orthodox Rabbi might have said of Christianity. Let us wait. Iam not given to prophecy, but though I am no longer young, Istill hold to a belief that a cause upheld with such honesty of purpose, purity, and unselfishness as Brahmoism has been, must and will meet with ultimate success. Does Mr. Lyall think that Unitarian Christianity is no Christianity? Does he find logical stability in Trinitarianism? Does he consider pure rationalism incompatible with revelation? Does he know of any teacher who might not be accused of saying either too little or too much? In A.D. 890 the Double Procession was as much a burning question as the Homoousia in 324,—are, therefore, both Channing and Dr. Dllinger to be anathematized now? Brahmoism may not be like the religions of old, but must the religions of the future be like the religions of the past? However, Ido not wish to draw Mr. Lyall into a theological argument. His estimate of the real value and vitality of Brahmoism may be right, mine may be wrong. His presence in India, and his personal intercourse with the Brahmos, may have given him opportunities of judging which I have not. Only let us not forget that for watching the movements of a great struggle, and for judging of its successful issue, acertain distance from the field of battle has its advantages, and that judges in India have not always proved the best judges of India.

One point, however, I am quite willing to concede. If Brahmoism and similar movements may be considered as reforms and resuscitations of Brahmanism, then I withdraw my expression that Brahmanism is dead. Only let us remember that we are thus using Brahmanism in two very different senses, that we are again playing with words. In the one sense it is stark idolatry, in the other the loftiest spiritual worship. The former asserts the existence of many personal gods, the latter shrinks even from the attribute of personality as too human a conception of the Highest Spirit. The former makes the priest a kind of god on earth, the latter proclaims the priesthood of all men; the former is guided by scriptures which man calls sacred, the latter knows of no sacred oracles but the still small voice in the heart of every man. The two are like two opposite poles. What is negative on one side is positive on the other; what is regarded by the one as the most sacred truth is anathematized by the other as deadly error.

Mr. Lyall tells us of Ghsi Ds, an inspired prophet, who sojourned in the wilderness for six months, and then issued forth preaching to the poor and ignorant the creed of the True Name (Satnm). He gathered about half a million people together before he died in 1850. He borrowed his doctrines from the well-known Hindu sect of the Satnmis, and though he denounced Brahmanic abuses, he instituted caste rules of his own, and his successor was murdered, not for heresy, but because he aped Brahmanic insignia and privileges. Mr. Lyall thinks that this community, if left alone, will relapse into a modified Brahmanism. This may be so, but it can hardly be said, that a reform, the followers of which are murdered for aping Brahmanic insignia and privileges, represents Brahmanism which Mr. Lyall defines as "the broad denomination of what is recognized by all Hindus as the supreme theological faculty and the comprehensive scheme of authoritative tradition to which all minor beliefs are referred for sanction."

When I spoke of Brahmanism as dead, I meant the popular orthodox Brahmanism, which is openly patronized by the Brahmans, though scorned by them in secret; Idid not, and could not, mean the worship of Bramah as the Supreme Spirit, which has existed in India from the time of the Upanishads to the present day, and has lately assumed the name of Brahmoism,—a worship so pure, so exalted, so deeply human, so truly divine, that every man can join in it without apostasy, whether he be born a Jew, aGentile, or a Christian.

That many antagonistic forms of religious faith, some the most degraded, others the most exalted, should live on the same soil, among the same people, is indeed a disheartening truth, enough almost to shake one's belief in the common origin and the common destinies of the human race. And yet we must not shut our eyes to the fact that amongst ourselves, too, men who call themselves Christians are almost as widely separated from each other in their conceptions of the Divine and the Human, in their grounds of belief and in their sense of duty, as, in India, the worshippers of Ga{n}e{s}a, the god of success, with four hands and an elephant's head, sitting on a rat, on one side, and the believers in the true Brahma on the other. There is a Christianity that is dead, though it may be professed by millions of people, but there is also, let us trust, aChristianity that is alive, though it may count but twelve apostles. As in India, so in Europe, many would call death what we call life, many would call life what we call death. Here, as elsewhere, it is high time that men should define the exact meaning of their words, trusting that definiteness, frankness, and honesty may offer a better chance of mutual understanding, and serve as a stronger bond of union between man and man, than vague formulas, faint-hearted reticence, and what is at the root of it all, want of true love of Man, and of true faith in God.

If Mr. Lyall imagined that the object of my Lecture was to discourage missionary efforts, he must have found out his mistake, when he came to read it, as I delivered it in Westminster Abbey. Iknow of no nobler life than that of a true missionary. Itried to defend the labors of the paternal missionary against disparaging criticisms. Itried to account for the small success of controversial missions, by showing how little is gained by mere argument and casuistry at home. And I pointed to the indirect missionary influence, exercised by every man who leads a Christian life in India or elsewhere, as the most encouraging sign of the final triumph of a pure and living Christianity. It is very possible, as Mr. Lyall says somewhat sarcastically, that "missionaries will even yet hardly agree that the essentials of their religion are not in the creeds, but in love; because they are sent forth to propound scriptures which say clearly that what we believe or disbelieve is literally a burning question." But those who, with Mr. Lyall, consider love of man founded on love of God, nothing but "flat morality," must have forgotten that a Higher One than they declared, that on these two hang all the law and the commandments. By placing abstruse tenets, the handiwork of Popes and Councils, in the place of Christ's teaching, and by making a belief in these positive articles a burning question, weak mortals have driven weak mortals to ask, "Are we Christians still?" Let them for once "by observation and experience" try the oldest and simplest and most positive article of Christianity, real love of man founded on real love of God, and I believe they will soon ask themselves, "When shall we be Christians at last?"

[Footnote 1: "NOTICE.

"Westminster Abbey. Day of Intercession for Missions, Wednesday, December 3d, 1873. Lecture in the Nave, at eight o'clock, p.m.

Hymn 25 (Bp. Heber) Wittenberg (p.50).

"From Greenland's icy mountains, From India's coral strands, Where Afric's sunny fountains, Roll down their golden sands; From many an ancient river, From many a palmy plain, They call us to deliver Their land from error's chain.

"What though the spicy breezes Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle; Though every prospect pleases, And only man is vile! In vain with lavish kindness The gifts of God are strown; The heathen in his blindness Bows down to wood and stone.

"Can we whose souls are lighted With wisdom from on high, Can we to men benighted The lamp of life deny? Salvation, O Salvation! The joyful sound proclaim, Till earth's remotest nation Has learnt Messiah's name.

"Waft, waft, ye winds, his story; And you, ye waters, roll; Till, like a sea of glory, It spreads from pole to pole; Till o'er our ransomed nature, The Lamb for sinners slain, Redeemer, King, Creator, In bliss returns to reign. Amen.

"There will be a Lecture delivered in the Nave, on Missions, by Professor Max Mller, M.A.

Ps. 100 (New Version) Old Hundredth (p.21).

"With one consent let all the earth To God their cheerful voices raise; Glad homage pay with awful mirth, And sing before Him songs of praise.

"Convinced that He is God alone, From Whom both we and all proceed; We whom He chooses for His own, The flock that He vouchsafes to feed.

"O enter then His temple gate, Thence to His courts devoutly press; And still your grateful hymns repeat, And still His Name with praises bless.

"For He's the Lord supremely good, His mercy is forever sure; His truth, which all times firmly stood, To endless ages shall endure. Amen."]

[Footnote 2: Different systems of classification applied to the religions of the world are discussed in my Introduction to the Science of Religion, pp. 122-143.]

[Footnote 3: "Proselyto ne fidas usque ad vigesimam quartam generationem," Jalkut Ruth, f. 163. d; Danz, in Meuschen, Nov. Test, ex Talm. illustr., p.651.]

[Footnote 4: India, Progress and Condition, Blue Book presented to Parliament, 1873, p.99. "It is asserted (but the assertion must be taken with reserve) that it is a mistake to suppose that the Hindu religion is not proselytizing. Any number of outsiders, so long as they do not interfere with established castes, can form a new caste, and call themselves Hindus, and the Brahmans are always ready to receive all who submit to and pay them." Can this be called proselytizing?]

[Footnote 5: Cf. Mahavanso, cap. 5.]

[Footnote 6: Cf. Mahavanso, cap. 12.]

[Footnote 7: In some of the places mentioned by the Chronicle as among the earliest stations of Buddhist missions, relics have been discovered containing the names of the very missionaries mentioned by the Chronicle. See Koeppen, Die Religion des Buddha, p.188.]

[Footnote 8: Note A, p. 266.]

[Footnote 9: "Islm is the verbal noun, and Moslim the participle of the same root, which also yields Salm, peace, and salim and salym, whole, honest. Islm means, therefore, to satisfy or pacify by forbearance; it also means simply subjection." Sprenger, Mohammad, i. p.69; iii. 486.]

[Footnote 10: Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, vol. iv. p.635. Cf. Indian Antiquary, 1873, p.370. Academy, 1874, p.61.]

[Footnote 11: Chips from a German Workshop, vol. i.; Essays on the Science of Religion, pp. 161, 216.]

[Footnote 12: Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, vol. iv. p.606; Wilson, Asiatic Researches, xvi. p.21.]

[Footnote 13: See Brahmic Questions of the Day, 1869, p.16.]

[Footnote 14: History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, by M.M. (2ded.) p.569.]

[Footnote 15: The Adi Brahma-Samaj, Its views and Principles, Calcutta, 1870, p.10.]

[Footnote 16: A Brief History of the Calcutta Brahma-Samj, 1868, p.15.]

[Footnote 17: See Note B, p. 269.]

[Footnote 18: See Note C, p. 272.]

[Footnote 19: The Indian Mirror (Sept. 10, 1869) constantly treats of missionary efforts of various kinds in a spirit which is not only friendly, but even desirous of reciprocal sympathy; and hopeful that whatever differences may exist between them (the missionaries) and the Brahmos, the two parties will heartily combine as brethren to exterminate idolatry, and promote true morality in India.

Many of our ministers and leading men, says the Indian Mirror, are recruited from missionary schools, which, by affording religious education, prove more favorable to the growth and spread of Brahmoism than government schools with Comte and Secularism (Indian Theism, by S.D. Collet, 1870, p.22).]

[Footnote 20: Life of John Coleridge Patteson, by C. M. Yonge, ii. p.167.]

[Footnote 21: "The large body of European and American missionaries settled in India bring their various moral influences to bear upon the country with the greater force, because they act together with a compactness which is but little understood. Though belonging to various denominations of Christians, yet from the nature of their work, their isolated position, and their long experience, they have been led to think rather of the numerous questions on which they agree, than of those on which they differ, and they coperate heartily together. Localities are divided among them by friendly arrangements, and, with a few exceptions, it is a fixed rule among them that they will not interfere with each other's converts and each other's spheres of duty. School books, translations of the Scriptures and religious works, prepared by various missions, are used in common; and help and improvements secured by one mission are freely placed at the command of all. The large body of missionaries resident in each of the presidency towns form missionary conferences, hold periodic meetings, and act together on public matters. They have frequently addressed the Indian government on important social questions involving the welfare of the native community, and have suggested valuable improvements in existing laws. During the past twenty years, on five occasions, general conferences have been held for mutual consultation respecting their missionary work; and in January last, at the latest of these gatherings, at Allahabad, 121 missionaries met together, belonging to twenty different societies, and including several men of long experience who have been twenty years in India." India, Progress and Condition, 1873, p.134.]

[Footnote 22: Brahma-Samj, the Church of Brahma, is the general title. When the schism took place, the original Samj was called Adi Brahma-Samj, i.e., the First Church of Brahma, while the progressive party, under Keshub Chunder Sen was distinguished by the name of the Brahma-Samj of India. The vowels u and o are often the same in Bengali, and are sometimes used for a.]

[Footnote 23: This sermon, which was preached by the Dean of Westminster in the forenoon of Wednesday, December 3d, 1873, and in which his reasons are stated for inviting a layman to speak on the subject of missions in the evening of the same day, and within the same sacred precincts, is here reprinted with his kind permission.]

[Footnote 24: Prospects of Christian Missions, a sermon preached in Westminster Abbey on December 20, 1872. Strahan & Co., London.]

[Footnote 25: Phil. i. 13-16.]

[Footnote 26: Acts xiv. 16, 17; xvii. 23, 28; xix. 37; xxi. 26; xxii. 28; xxv. 11. Rom. ii. 6-15; xiii. 1-7; xiv. 9; 1Cor. ix. 20-22; xx. 33. Phil. iv. 8.]

[Footnote 27: 1 Cor. ix. 20-22.]

[Footnote 28: In the well-known passage where, speaking of the moderation and humanity of these heretical Arians in the capture of Rome, he concludes: "Hoc Christi nomini, hoc Christiano tempori tribuendum quisquis non videt, cecus; quisquis non laudat, ingratus; quisquis laudanti reluctatur, ingratus est." De Civitate Dei, i. c.7. Compare Ibid. c.1, and Sermon cv., De. Ev. S. Luc.]

[Footnote 29: "Sir Thomas More, after he was called to the Bar in Lincoln's Inn, did, for a considerable time, read a public lecture out of S.Augustine, De Civitate Dei, in the Church of S.Lawrence in the Old Jewry to which the learneder sort of the City of London did resort." Wood's Athen Oxonienses, fol. ed. 1721, pp. 182, 183.]




No one likes to be asked, what business he has to exist, and yet, whatever we do, whether singly or in concert with others, the first question which the world never fails to address to us, is Dic cur hic? Why are you here? or to put it into French, What is your raison d'tre? We have had to submit to this examination even before we existed, and many a time have I been asked the question, both by friend and foe, What is the good of an International Congress of Orientalists?

I shall endeavor, as shortly as possible, to answer that question, and show that our Congress is not a mere fortuitous congeries of barren atoms or molecules, but that we are at least Leibnizian monads, each with his own self, and force and will, and each determined, within the limits of some prestablished harmony, to help in working out some common purpose, and to achieve some real and lasting good.

It is generally thought that the chief object of a scientific Congress is social, and I am not one of those who are incapable of appreciating the delights and benefits of social intercourse with hard-working and honest-thinking men. Much as I detest what is commonly called society, Iwillingly give up glaciers and waterfalls, cathedrals and picture galleries, for one half hour of real society, of free, frank, fresh, and friendly intercourse, face to face, and mind to mind, with a great, and noble, and loving soul, such as was Bunsen; with a man intrepid in his thoughts, his words, and his deeds, such as was John Stuart Mill; or with a scholar who, whether he had been quarrying heavy blocks, or chiseling the most brittle filigree work, poured out all his treasures before you with the pride and pleasure of a child, such as was Eugne Burnouf. ACongress therefore, and particularly an International Congress, would certainly seem to answer some worthy purpose, were it only by bringing together fellow workers of all countries and ages, by changing what were to us merely great names into pleasant companions, and by satisfying that very right and rational curiosity which we all feel, after having read a really good book, of seeing what the man looks like who could achieve such triumphs.

All this is perfectly true; yet, however pleasant to ourselves this social intercourse may appear, in the eyes of the world at large it will hardly be considered a sufficient excuse for our existence. In order therefore to satisfy that outer world that we are really doing something, we point of course to the papers which are read at our public meetings, and to the discussions which they elicit. Much as I value that feature also in a scientific congress, Iconfess I doubt, and I know that many share that doubt, whether the same result might not be obtained with much less trouble. Apaper that contains something really new and valuable, the result, it may be, of years of toil and thought, requires to be read with care in a quiet corner of our own study, before the expression of our assent or dissent can be of any weight or value. There is too much hollow praise, and occasionally too much wrangling and ill-natured abuse at our scientific tournaments, and the world at large, which is never without a tinge of malice and a vein of quiet humor, has frequently expressed its concern at the waste of "oil and vinegar" which is occasioned by the frequent meetings of our British and Foreign Associations.

What then is the real use of a Congress, such as that which has brought us together this week from all parts of the world? What is the real excuse for our existence? Why are we here, and not in our workshops?

It seems to me that the real and permanent use of these scientific gatherings is twofold.

(1) They enable us to take stock, to compare notes, to see where we are, and to find out where we ought to be going.

(2) They give us an opportunity, from time to time, to tell the world where we are, what we have been doing for the world, and what, in return, we expect the world to do for us.

The danger of all scientific work at present, not only among Oriental scholars, but, as far as I can see, everywhere, is the tendency to extreme specialization. Our age shows in that respect a decided reaction against the spirit of a former age, which those with gray heads among us can still remember, an age represented in Germany by such names as Humboldt, Ritter, Bckh, Johannes, Mller, Bopp, Bunsen, and others; men who look to us like giants, carrying a weight of knowledge far too heavy for the shoulders of such mortals as now be; aye, men who were giants, but whose chief strength consisted in this, that they were never entirely absorbed or bewildered by special researches, but kept their eye steadily on the highest objects of all human knowledge; who could trace the vast outlines of the kosmos of nature or the kosmos of the mind with an unwavering hand, and to whose maps and guide books we must still recur, whenever we are in danger of losing our way in the mazes of minute research. At the present moment such works as Humboldt's "Kosmos," or Bopp's "Comparative Grammar," or Bunsen's "Christianity and Mankind," would be impossible. No one would dare to write them, for fear of not knowing the exact depth at which the Protogenes Haeckelii has lately been discovered or the lengthening of a vowel in the Sa{m}hitap{t}ha of the Rig-Veda. It is quite right that this should be so, at least, for a time; but all rivers, all brooks, all rills, are meant to flow into the ocean, and all special knowledge, to keep it from stagnation, must have an outlet into the general knowledge of the world. Knowledge for its own sake, as it is sometimes called, is the most dangerous idol that a student can worship. We despise the miser who amasses money for the sake of money, but still more contemptible is the intellectual miser who hoards up knowledge instead of spending it, though, with regard to most of our knowledge, we may be well assured and satisfied that, as we brought nothing into the world so we may carry nothing out.

Against this danger of mistaking the means for the end, of making bricks without making mortar, of working for ourselves instead of working for others, meetings such as our own, bringing together so large a number of the first Oriental scholars of Europe, seem to me a most excellent safeguard. They draw us out of our shell, away from our common routine, away from that small orbit of thought in which each of us moves day after day, and make us realize more fully, that there are other stars moving all around us in our little universe, that we all belong to one celestial system, or to one terrestrial commonwealth, and that, if we want to see real progress in that work with which we are more especially entrusted, the re-conquest of the Eastern world, we must work with one another, for one another, like members of one body, like soldiers of one army, guided by common principles, striving after common purposes, and sustained by common sympathies. Oriental literature is of such enormous dimensions that our small army of scholars can occupy certain prominent positions only; but those points, like the stations of a trigonometrical survey, ought to be carefully chosen, so as to be able to work in harmony together. Ihope that in that respect our Congress may prove of special benefit. We shall hear, each of us, from others, what they wish us to do. "Why don't you finish this?" "Why don't you publish that?" are questions which we have already heard asked by many of our friends. We shall be able to avoid what happens so often, that two men collect materials for exactly the same work, and we may possibly hear of some combined effort to carry out great works, which can only be carried out viribus unitis, and of which I may at least mention one, atranslation of the "Sacred Books of Mankind." Important progress has already been made for setting on foot this great undertaking, an undertaking which I think the world has a right to demand from Oriental scholars, but which can only be carried out by joint action. This Congress has helped us to lay the foundation-stone, and I trust that at our next Congress we shall be able to produce some tangible results.

I now come to the second point. A Congress enables us to tell the world what we have been doing. This, it seems to me, is particularly needful with regard to Oriental studies which, with the exception of Hebrew, still stand outside the pale of our schools and universities, and are cultivated by the very smallest number of students. And yet, Imake bold to say, that during the last hundred, and still more during the last fifty years, Oriental studies have contributed more than any other branch of scientific research to change, to purify, to clear, and intensify the intellectual atmosphere of Europe, and to widen our horizon in all that pertains to the Science of Man, in history, philology, theology, and philosophy. We have not only conquered and annexed new worlds to the ancient empire of learning, but we have leavened the old world with ideas that are already fermenting even in the daily bread of our schools and universities. Most of those here present know that I am not exaggerating; but as the world is skeptical while listening to orations pro domo, I shall attempt to make good my assertions.

At first, the study of Oriental literature was a matter of curiosity only, and it is so still to a great extent, particularly in England. Sir William Jones, whose name is the only one among Oriental scholars that has ever obtained a real popularity in England, represents most worthily that phase of Oriental studies. Read only the two volumes of his life, and they will certainly leave on your mind the distinct impression that Sir William Jones was not only a man of extensive learning and refined taste, but undoubtedly a very great man—one in a million. He was a good classical scholar of the old school, awell-read historian, athoughtful lawyer, aclear-headed politician, and a true gentleman, in the old sense of the word. He moved in the best, Imean the most cultivated society, the great writers and thinkers of the day listened to him with respect, and say what you like, we still live by his grace, we still draw on that stock of general interest which he excited in the English mind for Eastern subjects.

Yet the interest which Sir William Jones took in Oriental literature was purely sthetic. He chose what was beautiful in Persian and translated it, as he would translate an ode of Horace. He was charmed with Klidsa's play of "Sakuntala"—and who is not?—and he left us his classical reproduction of one of the finest of Eastern gems. Being a judge in India, he thought it his duty to acquaint himself with the native law-books in their original language, and he gave us his masterly translation of the "Laws of Manu." Sir William Jones was fully aware of the startling similarity between Sanskrit, Latin, and Greek. More than a hundred years ago, in a letter written to Prince Adam Czartoryski, in the year 1770, he says: "Many learned investigators of antiquity are fully persuaded, that a very old and almost primeval language was in use among the northern nations, from which not only the Celtic dialect, but even Greek and Latin are derived; in fact, we find patr and mtr in Persian, nor is thugatr so far removed from dockter, or even onoma and nomen from Persian nm, as to make it ridiculous to suppose that they sprang from the same root. We must confess," he adds, "that these researches are very obscure and uncertain, and you will allow, not so agreeable as an ode of Hafez, or an elegy of Amr'alkeis." In a letter, dated 1787, he says: "You will be surprised at the resemblance between Sanskrit and both Greek and Latin."

Colebrooke also, the great successor of Sir William Jones, was fully aware of the relationship between Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German, and even Slavonic. Ipossess some curious MS. notes of his, of the year 1801 or 1802, containing long lists of words, expressive of the most essential ideas of primitive life, and which he proved to be identical in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German, and Slavonic.[1]

Yet neither Colebrooke nor Sir William Jones perceived the full import of these facts. Sir William Jones died young; Colebrooke's energies, marvelous as they were, were partly absorbed by official work, so that it was left to German and French scholars to bring to light the full wealth of the mine which those great English scholars had been the first to open. We know now that in language, and in all that is implied by language, India and Europe are one; but to prove this, against the incredulity of all the greatest scholars of the day, was no easy matter. It could be done effectually in one way only, viz., by giving to Oriental studies a strictly scientific character, by requiring from Oriental students not only the devotion of an amateur, but the same thoroughness, minuteness, and critical accuracy which were long considered the exclusive property of Greek and Latin scholars. Icould not think of giving here a history of the work done during the last fifty years. It has been admirably described in Benfey's "History of the Science of Language."[2] Even if I attempted to give merely the names of those who have been most distinguished by really original discoveries—the names of Bopp, Pott, Grimm, Burnouf, Rawlinson, Miklosich, Benfey, Kuhn, Zeuss, Whitley, Stokes—I am afraid my list would be considered very incomplete.

But let us look at what has been achieved by these men, and many others who followed their banners! The East, formerly a land of dreams, of fables, and fairies, has become to us a land of unmistakable reality; the curtain between the West and the East has been lifted, and our old forgotten home stands before us again in bright colors and definite outlines. Two worlds, separated for thousands of years, have been reunited as by a magic spell, and we feel rich in a past that may well be the pride of our noble Aryan family. We say no longer vaguely and poetically Ex Oriente Lux, but we know that all the most vital elements of our knowledge and civilization,—our languages, our alphabets, our figures, our weights and measures, our art, our religion, our traditions, our very nursery stories, come to us from the East; and we must confess that but for the rays of Eastern light, whether Aryan or Semitic or Hamitic, that called forth the hidden germs of the dark and dreary West, Europe, now the very light of the world, might have remained forever a barren and forgotten promontory of the primeval Asiatic continent. We live indeed in a new world; the barrier between the West and the East, that seemed insurmountable, has vanished. The East is ours, we are its heirs, and claim by right our share in its inheritance.

We know what it was for the Northern nations, the old barbarians of Europe, to be brought into spiritual contact with Rome and Greece, and to learn that beyond the small, poor world in which they had moved, there was an older, richer, brighter world, the ancient world of Rome and Athens, with its arts and laws, its poetry and philosophy, all of which they might call their own and make their own by claiming the heritage of the past. We know how, from that time, the Classical and Teutonic spirits mingled together and formed that stream of modern thought on whose shores we ourselves live and move. Anew stream is now being brought into the same bed, the stream of Oriental thought, and already the colors of the old stream show very clearly the influence of that new tributary. Look at any of the important works published during the last twenty years, not only on language, but on literature, mythology, law, religion, and philosophy, and you will see on every page the working of a new spirit. Ido not say that the East can ever teach us new things, but it can place before us old things, and leave us to draw from them lessons more strange and startling than anything dreamt of in our philosophy.

Before all, a study of the East has taught us the same lesson which the Northern nations once learnt in Rome and Athens, that there are other worlds beside our own, that there are other religions, other mythologies, other laws, and that the history of philosophy from Thales to Hegel is not the whole history of human thought. In all these subjects the East has supplied us with parallels, and with all that is implied in parallels, viz., the possibility of comparing, measuring, and understanding. The comparative spirit is the truly scientific spirit of our age, nay of all ages. An empirical acquaintance with single facts does not constitute knowledge in the true sense of the word. All human knowledge begins with the Two or the Dyad, the comprehension of two single things as one. If in these days we may still quote Aristotle, we may boldly say that "there is no science of that which is unique." Asingle event may be purely accidental, it comes and goes, it is inexplicable, it does not call for an explanation. But as soon as the same fact is repeated, the work of comparison begins, and the first step is made in that wonderful process which we call generalization, and which is at the root of all intellectual knowledge and of all intellectual language. This primitive process of comparison is repeated again and again, and when we now give the title of Comparative to the highest kind of knowledge in every branch of science, we have only replaced the old word intelligent (i.e., interligent) or inter-twining, by a new and more expressive term, comparative. I shall say nothing about the complete revolution of the study of languages by means of the comparative method, for here I can appeal to such names as Mommsen and Curtius, to show that the best among classical scholars are themselves the most ready to acknowledge the importance of the results obtained by the intertwining of Eastern and Western philology.

But take mythology. As long as we had only the mythology of the classical nations to deal with, we looked upon it simply as strange, anomalous, and irrational. When, however, the same strange stories, the same hallucinations, turned up in the most ancient mythology of India, when not only the character and achievements, but the very names of some of the gods and heroes were found to be the same, then every thoughtful observer saw that there must be a system in that ancient madness, that there must be some order in that strange mob of gods and heroes, and that it must be the task of comparative mythology to find out, what reason there is in all that mass of unreason.

The same comparative method has been applied to the study of religion also. All religions are Oriental, and with the exception of the Christian, their sacred books are all written in Oriental languages. The materials, therefore, for a comparative study of the religious systems of the world had all to be supplied by Oriental scholars. But far more important than those materials, is the spirit in which they have been treated. The sacred books of the principal religions of mankind had to be placed side by side with perfect impartiality, in order to discern the points which they share in common as well as those that are peculiar to each. The results already obtained by this simple juxtaposition are full of important lessons, and the fact that the truths on which all religions agree far exceed those on which they differ, has hardly been sufficiently appreciated. Ifeel convinced, however, that the time will come when those who at present profess to be most disquieted by our studies, will be the most grateful for our support,—for having shown by evidence which cannot be controverted, that all religions spring from the same sacred soil, the human heart; that all are quickened by the same divine spirit, the still small voice; and that, though the outward forms of religion may change, may wither and decay, yet, as long as man is what he is and what he has been, he will postulate again and again the Infinite as the very condition of the Finite, he will yearn for something which the world cannot give, he will feel his weakness and dependence, and in that weakness and dependence discover the deepest sources of his hope, and trust, and strength.

A patient study of the sacred scriptures of the world is what is wanted at present more than anything else, in order to clear our own ideas of the origin, the nature, the purposes of religion. There can be no science of one religion, but there can be a science of many. We have learnt already one lesson, that behind the helpless expressions which language has devised, whether in the East or in the West, for uttering the unutterable, be it Dyaushpit or Ahuramazda, be it Jehovah or Allah, be it the All or the Nothing, be it the First Cause or Our Father in heaven, there is the same intention, the same striving, the same stammering, the same faith. Other lessons will follow, till in the end we shall be able to restore that ancient bond which unites not only the East with the West, but all the members of the human family, and may learn to understand what a Persian poet meant when he wrote many centuries ago (Iquote from Mr. Conway's "Sacred Anthology"), "Diversity of worship has divided the human race into seventy-two nations. From among all their dogmas I have selected one—the Love of God."

Nor is this comparative spirit restricted to the treatment of language, mythology, and religion. While hitherto we knew the origin and spreading of most of the ancient arts and sciences in one channel only, and had to be satisfied with tracing their sources to Greece and Rome, and thence down the main stream of European civilization, we have now for many of them one or two parallel histories in India and in China. The history of geometry, for instance,—the first formation of geometrical conceptions or technical terms—was hitherto known to us from Greece only: now we can compare the gradual elaboration of geometrical principles both in Greece and India, and thus arrive at some idea of what is natural or inevitable, and what is accidental or purely personal in each. It was known, for instance, that in Greece the calculation of solid figures began with the building of altars, and you will hear to-day from Dr. Thibaut, that in India also the first impulse to geometric science was given, not by the measuring of fields, as the name implies, but by the minute observances in building altars.

Similar coincidences and divergences have been brought to light by a comparative study of the history of astronomy, of music, of grammar, but, most of all, by a comparative study of philosophic thought. There are indeed few problems in philosophy which have not occupied the Indian mind, and nothing can exceed the interest of watching the Hindu and the Greek, working on the same problems, each in his own way, yet both in the end arriving at much the same results. Such are the coincidences between the two, that but lately an eminent German professor,[3] published a treatise to show that the Greeks had borrowed their philosophy from India, while others lean to the opinion that in philosophy the Hindus are the pupils of the Greeks. This is the same feeling which impelled Dugald Stewart, when he saw the striking similarity between Greek and Sanskrit, to maintain that Sanskrit must have been put together after the model of Greek and Latin by those arch-forgers and liars, the Brahmans, and that the whole of Sanskrit literature was an imposition. The comparative method has put an end to such violent theories. It teaches us that what is possible in one country is possible also in another; it shows us that, as there are antecedents for Plato and Aristotle in Greece, there are antecedents for the Vednta and Snkhya philosophies in India, and that each had its own independent growth. It is true, that when we first meet in Indian philosophy with our old friends, the four or five elements, the atoms, our metaphysics, our logic, our syllogism, we are startled; but we soon discover that, given the human mind and human language, and the world by which we are surrounded, the different systems of philosophy of Thales and Hegel, of Vysa and Kapila, are inevitable solutions. They all come and go, they are maintained and refuted, till at last all philosophy ends where it ought to begin, with an inquiry into the necessary conditions and the inevitable forms of knowledge, represented by a criticism of Pure Reason and, what is more important still, by a criticism of Language.

Much has been done of late for Indian philosophy, particularly by Ballantyne and Hall, by Cowell and Gough, by the editors of the "Bibliotheca Indica," and the "Pandit." Yet it is much to be desired, that some young scholars, well versed in the history of European philosophy, should devote themselves more ardently to this promising branch of Indian literature. No doubt they would find it a great help, if they were able to spend some years in India, in order to learn from the last and fast disappearing representatives of some of the old schools of Indian philosophy what they alone can teach. What can be done by such a combination of Eastern and Western knowledge, has lately been shown by the excellent work done by Dr. Kielhorn, the Professor of Sanskrit at the Deccan College in Punah. But there is now so much of published materials, and Sanskrit MSS. also are so easily obtained from India, that much might be done in England, or in France, or in Germany—much that would be of interest not only to Oriental scholars, but to all philosophers whose powers of independent appreciation are not entirely blunted by their study of Plato and Aristotle, of Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

I have so far dwelt chiefly on the powerful influence which the East, and more particularly India, has exercised on the intellectual life and work of the West. But the progress of Oriental scholarship in Europe, and the discovery of that spiritual relationship which binds India and England together, have likewise produced practical effects of the greatest moment in the East. The Hindus, in their first intercourse with English scholars, placed before them the treasures of their native literature with all the natural pride of a nation that considered itself the oldest, the wisest, the most enlightened nation in the world. For a time, but for a short time only, the claims of their literature to a fabulous antiquity were admitted, and dazzled by the unexpected discovery of a new classical literature, people raved about the beauty of Sanskrit poetry in truly Oriental strains. Then followed a sudden reaction, and the natives themselves, on becoming more and more acquainted with European history and literature, began to feel the childishness of their claims, and to be almost ashamed of their own classics. This was a national misfortune. Apeople that can feel no pride in the past, in its history and literature, loses the mainstay of its national character. When Germany was in the very depth of its political degradation, it turned to its ancient literature, and drew hope for the future from the study of the past. Something of the same kind is now passing in India. Anew taste, not without some political ingredients, has sprung up for the ancient literature of the country; amore intelligent appreciation of their real merits has taken the place of the extravagant admiration for the masterworks of their old poets; there is a revival in the study of Sanskrit, asurprising activity in the republication of Sanskrit texts, and there are traces among the Hindus of a growing feeling, not very different from that which Tacitus described, when he said of the Germans: "Who would go to Germany, acountry without natural beauty, with a wretched climate, miserable to cultivate or to look at—unless it be his fatherland?"

Even the discovery that Sanskrit, English, Greek, and Latin are cognate languages, has not been without its influence on the scholars and thinkers, or the leaders of public opinion, in India. They, more than others, had felt for a time most keenly the intellectual superiority of the West, and they rose again in their own estimation by learning that, physically, or at all events, intellectually, they had been and might be again, the peers of Greeks and Romans and Saxons. These silent influences often escape the eye of the politician and the historian, but at critical moments they decide the fate of whole nations and empires.[4]

The intellectual life of India at the present moment is full of interesting problems. It is too much the fashion to look only at its darker sides, and to forget that such intellectual regenerations as we are witnessing in India, are impossible without convulsions and failures. Anew race of men is growing up in India, who have stepped, as it were, over a thousand years, and have entered at once on the intellectual inheritance of Europe. They carry off prizes at English schools, take their degrees in English universities, and are in every respect our equals. They have temptations which we have not, and now and then they succumb; but we, too, have temptations of our own, and we do not always resist. One can hardly trust one's eyes in reading their writings, whether in English or Bengali, many of which would reflect credit on our own Quarterlies. With regard to what is of the greatest interest to us, their scholarship, it is true that the old school of Sanskrit scholars is dying out, and much will die with it which we shall never recover; but a new and most promising school of Sanskrit students, educated by European professors, is springing up, and they will, nay, to judge from recent controversies, they have already become most formidable rivals to our own scholars. The essays of Dr. Bhao Daji, whom, Iregret to say, we have lately lost by death, on disputed points in Indian archology and literature, are most valuable. The indefatigable Rajendra Lal Mitra is rendering most excellent service in the publications of the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, and he discusses the theories of European Orientalists with all the ease and grace of an English reviewer. The Rjah of Besmah, Giriprasda-sinha, has just finished his magnificent edition of the "White Yajurveda." The Sanskrit books published at Calcutta by Trntha, and others, form a complete library, and Trntha's new "Dictionary of the Sanskrit Language" will prove most useful and valuable. The editions of Sanskrit texts published at Bombay by Professor Bh{n}{d}rkar, Shankar Pandurang Pandit, and others, need not fear comparison with the best work of European scholars. There is a school of native students at Benares whose publications, under the auspices of Mr. Griffith, have made their journal, the "Pandit," indispensable to every Sanskrit scholar. Rjrmasstr's and Bla{s}str's edition of the "Mahbhshya" has received the highest praise from European students. In the "Antiquary," apaper very ably conducted by Mr. Burgess, we meet with contributions from several learned natives, among them from his Highness the Prince of Travancore, from Ram Dass Sen, the Zemindar of Berhampore, from Kshinth Trimbak Telang, from Sashagiri{s}str, and others, which are read with the greatest interest and advantage by European scholars. The collected essays of Ram Dass Sen well deserve a translation into English, and Rajanknta's "Life of the Poet Jajadeva," just published, bears witness to the same revival of literary tastes and patriotic feelings.

Besides this purely literary movement, there is a religious movement going on in India, the Brahmo-Samj, which, both in its origin and its later development, is mainly the result of European influences. It began with an attempt to bring the modern corrupt forms of worship back to the purity and simplicity of the Vedas; and by ascribing to the Veda the authority of a Divine Revelation, it was hoped to secure that infallible authority without which no religion was supposed to be possible. How was that movement stopped, and turned into a new channel? Simply by the publication of the Veda, and by the works of European scholars, such as Stevenson, Mill, Rosen, Wilson, and others, who showed to the natives what the Veda really was, and made them see the folly of their way.[5] Thus the religion, the literature, the whole character of the people of India are becoming more and more Indo-European. They work for us, as we work for them. Many a letter have I received from native scholars in which they express their admiration for the wonderful achievements of European ingenuity, for railways, and telegraphs, and all the rest; and yet what, according to their own confession, has startled them and delighted them most, is the interest we have taken in their literature, and the new life which we have imparted to their ancient history. Iknow these matters seem small, when we are near to them, when we are in the very midst of them. Like the tangled threads hanging on a loom, they look worthless, purposeless. But history weaves her woof out of all of them, and after a time, when we see the full and finished design, we perceive that no color, however quiet, could have been dropped, no shade, however slight, could have been missed, without spoiling the whole.

And now, after having given this account of our stewardship, let me say in conclusion a few words on the claims which Oriental studies have on public sympathy and support.

Let me begin with the Universities—I mean, of course the English Universities—and more particularly that University which has been to me for many years an Alma Mater, Oxford. While we have there, or are founding there, professorships for every branch of Theology, Jurisprudence, and Physical Science, we have hardly any provision for the study of Oriental languages. We have a chair of Hebrew, rendered illustrious by the greatest living theologian of England, and we have a chair of Sanskrit, which has left its mark in the history of Sanskrit literature; but for the modern languages of India, whether Aryan or Dravidian, for the language and literature of Persia, both ancient and modern, for the language and antiquities of Egypt and Babylon, for Chinese, for Turkish, nay even for Arabic, there is nothing deserving the name of a chair. When in a Report on University Reform, Iventured to point out these gaps, and to remark that in the smallest of German Universities most of these subjects were represented by professors, Iwas asked whether I was in earnest in maintaining that Oxford, the first University in what has rightly been called the greatest Oriental Empire, ought really to support the study of Oriental languages.

The second claim we prefer is on the Missionary Societies. I have lately incurred very severe obloquy for my supposed hostility to missionary enterprise. All I can say is, Iwish that there were ten missionaries for every one we have now. Ihave always counted missionaries among my best friends; Ihave again and again acknowledged how much Oriental studies and linguistic studies in general, owe to them, and I am proud to say that, even now, while missionaries at home have abused me in unmeasured language, missionaries abroad, devoted, hard-working missionaries, have thanked me for what I said of them and their work in my lay-sermon in Westminster Abbey last December.

Now it seems to me that, first of all, our Universities, and I think again chiefly of Oxford, might do much more for missions than they do at present. If we had a sufficient staff of professors for Eastern languages, we could prepare young missionaries for their work, and should be able to send out from time to time such men as Patteson, the Bishop of Melanesia, who was every inch an Oxford man. And in these missionaries we might have not only apostles of religion and civilization, but at the same time, the most valuable pioneers of scientific research. Iknow there are some authorities at home who declare that such a combination is impossible, or at least undesirable; that a man cannot serve two masters, and that a missionary must do his own work and nothing else. Nothing, Ibelieve, can be more mistaken. First of all, some of our most efficient missionaries have been those who have done also the most excellent work as scholars, and whenever I have conversed on this subject with missionaries who have seen active service, they all agree that they cannot be converting all day long, and that nothing is more refreshing and invigorating to them than some literary or scientific work. Now what I should like to see is this: Ishould like to see ten or twenty of our non-resident fellowships, which at present are doing more harm than good, assigned to missionary work, to be given to young men who have taken their degree, and who, whether laymen or clergymen, are willing to work as assistant missionaries on distant stations, with the distinct understanding that they should devote some of their time to scientific work, whether the study of languages, or flowers, or stars, and that they should send home every year some account of their labors. These men would be like scientific consuls, to whom students at home might apply for information and help. They would have opportunities of distinguishing themselves by really useful work, far more than in London, and after ten years, they might either return to Europe with a well-established reputation, or if they find that they have a real call for missionary work, devote all their life to it. Though to my own mind there is no nobler work than that of a missionary, yet I believe that some such connection with the Universities and men of science would raise their position, and would call out more general interest, and secure to the missionary cause the good-will of those whose will is apt to become law.

Thirdly, I think that Oriental studies have a claim on the colonies and the colonial governments. The English colonies are scattered all over the globe, and many of them in localities where an immense deal of useful scientific work might be done, and would be done with the slightest encouragement from the local authorities, and something like a systematic supervision on the part of the Colonial Office at home. Some years ago I ventured to address the Colonial Secretary of State on this subject, and a letter was sent out in consequence to all the English colonies, inviting information on the languages, monuments, customs, and traditions of the native races. Some most valuable reports have been sent home during the last five or six years, but when it was suggested that these reports should be published in a permanent form, the expense that would have been required for printing every year a volume of Colonial Reports, and which would not have amounted to more than a few hundred pounds for all the colonies of the British Empire, part of it to be recovered by the sale of the book, was considered too large.

Now we should bear in mind that at the present moment some of the tribes living in or near the English colonies in Australia, Polynesia, Africa, and America, are actually dying out, their languages are disappearing, their customs, traditions, and religions will soon be completely swept away. To the student of language, the dialect of a savage tribe is as valuable as Sanskrit or Hebrew, nay, for the solution of certain problems, more so; every one of these languages is the growth of thousands and thousands of years, the workmanship of millions and millions of human beings. If they were now preserved, they might hereafter fill the most critical gaps in the history of the human race. At Rome at the time of the Scipios, hundreds of people might have written down a grammar and dictionary of the Etruscan language, of Oscan, or Umbrian; but there were men then, as there are now, who shrugged their shoulders and said, What can be the use of preserving these barbarous, uncouth idioms?—What would we not give now for some such records?

And this is not all. The study of savage tribes has assumed a new interest of late, when the question of the exact relation of man to the rest of the animal kingdom has again roused the passions not only of scientific inquirers, but also of the public at large. Now what is wanted for the solution of this question, are more facts and fewer theories, and these facts can only be gained by a patient study of the lowest races of mankind. When religion was held to be the specific character of man, it was asserted by many travellers that they had seen races without any religious ideas; when language was seen to be the real frontier line between man and beast, it was maintained that there were human beings without language. Now all we want to know are facts, let the conclusions be whatever they may. It is by no means easy to decide whether savage tribes have a religion or not; at all events it requires the same discernment, and the same honesty of purpose as to find out whether men of the highest intellect among us have a religion or not. Icall the Introduction to Spencer's "First Principles" deeply religious, but I can well understand that a missionary, reporting on a tribe of Spencerian savages, might declare that they had no idea whatsoever of religion. Looking at a report sent home lately by the indefatigable Governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson, Ifind the following description of the religious ideas of the Kamilarois, one of the most degraded tribes in the Northwestern district of the colony:—

"Bhaiami is regarded by them as the maker of all things. The name signifies 'maker,' or 'cutter-out,' from the verb bhai, baialli, baia. He is regarded as the rewarder and punisher of men according to their conduct. He sees all, and knows all, if not directly, through the subordinate deity Turramlan, who presides at the Bora. Bhaiami is said to have been once on the earth. Turramlan is mediator in all the operations of Bhaiami upon man, and in all man's transactions with Bhaiami. Turramlan means 'leg on one side only,' 'one-legged.'"

This description is given by the Rev. C. Greenway, and if there is any theological bias in it, let us make allowance for it. But there remains the fact that Bhaiami, their name for deity, comes from a root bhai, to "make," to "cut out," and if we remember that hardly any of the names for deity, either among the Aryan or Semitic nations, comes from a root with so abstract a meaning, we shall admit, Ithink, that such reports as these should not be allowed to lie forgotten in the pigeon-holes of the Colonial Office, or in the pages of a monthly journal.

What applies to religion, applies to language. We have been told again and again that the Veddahs in Ceylon have no language. Sir Emerson Tennant wrote "that they mutually make themselves understood by signs, grimaces, and guttural sounds, which have little resemblance to definite words or language in general." When these statements were repeated, Itried to induce the Government of Ceylon to send a competent man to settle the question. Idid not receive all I wanted, and therefore postponed the publication of what was sent me. But I may say so much, that more than half of the words used by the Veddahs, are, like Singhalese itself, mere corruption of Sanskrit; their very name is the Sanskrit word for hunter, veddh, or, as Mr. Childers supposes, vydha. There is a remnant of words in their language of which I can make nothing as yet. But so much is certain; either the Veddahs started with the common inheritance of Aryan words and ideas; or, at all events, they lived for a long time in contact with Aryan people, and adopted from them such words as were wanting in their language. If they now stand low in the scale of humanity, they once stood higher, nay they may possibly prove, in language, if not in blood, the distant cousins of Plato, and Newton, and Goethe.

It is most essential to keep la carrire ouverte for facts, even more than for theories, and for the supply of such facts the Colonial Government might render most useful service.

It is but right to state that whenever I have applied to the Governors of any of the Colonies, Ihave invariably met with the greatest kindness and readiness to help. Some of them take the warmest interest in these researches. Sir George Grey's services to the science of language have hardly been sufficiently appreciated as yet, and the Linguistic Library which he founded at the Cape, places him of right by the side of Sir Thomas Bodley. Sir Hercules Robinson, Mr. Musgrave in South Australia, Sir Henry Barkley at the Cape, and several others, are quite aware of the importance of linguistic and ethnological researches. What is wanted is encouragement from home, and some systematic guidance. Dr. Bleek, the excellent librarian of Sir George Grey's Library at the Cape, who has devoted the whole of his life to the study of savage dialects, and whose Comparative Grammar of the South African languages will hold its place by the side of Bopp's, Diez's, and Caldwell's Comparative Grammars, is most anxious that there should be a permanent linguistic and ethnological station established at the Cape; in fact, that there should be a linguist attached to every zological station. At the Cape there are not only the Zulu dialects to be studied, but two most important languages, that of the Hottentots and that of the Bushmen. Dr. Bleek has lately been enabled to write down several volumes of traditional literature from the mouths of some Bushman prisoners, but he says, "my powers and my life are drawing to an end, and unless I have some young men to assist me, and carry on my work, much of what I have done will be lost." There is no time to be lost, and I trust therefore that my appeal will not be considered importunate by the present Colonial Minister.

Last of all, we turn to India, the very cradle of Oriental scholarship, and here, instead of being importunate and urging new claims for assistance, Ithink I am expressing the feelings of all Oriental scholars in publicly acknowledging the readiness with which the Indian Government, whether at home or in India, whether during the days of the old East India Company, or now under the auspices of the Secretary of State, has always assisted every enterprise tending to throw light on the literature, the religion, the laws and customs, the arts and manufactures of that ancient Oriental Empire.

Only last night I received the first volume of a work which will mark a new era in the history of Oriental typography. Three valuable MSS. of the Mahbhshya have been photolithographed at the expense of the Indian Government, and under the supervision of one whom many of us will miss here to-day, the late Professor Goldstcker. It is a magnificent publication, and as there are only fifty copies printed, it will soon become more valuable than a real MS.

There are two surveys carried on at the present moment in India, aliterary and an archological survey. Many years ago, when Lord Elgin went to India as Governor-general, Isuggested to him the necessity of taking measures in order to rescue from destruction whatever could still be rescued of the ancient literature of the country. Lord Elgin died before any active measures could be taken, but the plan found a more powerful advocate in Mr. Whitley Stokes, who urged the Government to appoint some Sanskrit scholars to visit all places containing collections of Sanskrit MSS., and to publish lists of their titles, so that we might know, at all events, how much of a literature, that had been preserved for thousands of years, was still in existence at the present moment. This work was confided to Dr. Bhler, Dr. Kielhorn, Mr. Burnell, Rajendralal Mitra, and others. Several of their catalogues have been published, and there is but one feeling among all Sanskrit scholars as to the value of their work. But they also feel that the time has come for doing more. The mere titles of the MSS. whet our appetite, but do not satisfy it. There are, of course, hundreds of books where the title, the name of the author, the locus et annus are all we care to know. But of books which are scarce, and hitherto not known out of India, we want to know more. We want some information of the subject and its treatment, and if possible, of the date, of the author, and of the writers quoted by him. We want extracts, intelligently chosen, in fact, we want something like the excellent catalogue which Dr. Aufrecht has made for the Bodleian Library. In Mr. Burnell, Dr. Bhler, Dr. Kielhorn, the Government possesses scholars who could do that work admirably; what they want is more leisure, more funds, more assistance.

Contemporaneously with the Literary Survey, there is the Archological Survey, carried on by that gallant and indefatigable scholar, General Cunningham. His published reports show the systematic progress of his work, and his occasional communications in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal tell us of his newest discoveries. The very last number of that journal brought us the news of the discovery of the wonderful ruins of the Buddhist temple of Bharahut,[6] which, with their representations of scenes from the early Buddhist literature, with their inscriptions and architectural style, may enable us to find a terminus a quo for the literary and religious history of India. We should not forget the services which Mr. Fergusson has rendered to the history of Indian architecture, both by awakening an interest in the subject, and by the magnificent publication of the drawings of the sculptures of Sanchi and Amravati, carried on under the authority of the Secretary of State for India. Let us hope that these new discoveries may supply him with materials for another volume, worthy of its companion.

It was supposed for a time that there was a third survey carried on in India, ethnological and linguistic, and the volume, published by Colonel Dalton, "Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal," with portraits from photographs, was a most excellent beginning. But the other India Governments have not hitherto followed the example of the Bengal Government, and nothing has of late come to my knowledge in this important line of research. Would not Dr. Hunter, who has done so much for a scientific study of the non-Aryan languages and races of India, take up this important branch of research, and give us, not only photographs and graphic description, but also, what is most wanted, scholarlike grammars of the principal races of India? Lists of words, if carefully chosen, like those in Colonel Dalton's work and in Sir George Campbell's "Specimens," are, no doubt, most valuable for preliminary researches, but without grammars, none of the great questions which are still pending in Indian Ethnology will ever be satisfactorily and definitely settled. No real advance has been made in the classification of Indian dialects since the time when I endeavored, some twenty years ago, to sum up what was then known on that subject, in my letter to Bunsen "On the Turanian Languages." What I then for the first time ventured to maintain against the highest authorities in Indian linguistic ethnology, viz., that the dialects of the Mundas or the Koles constituted a third and totally independent class of languages in India, related neither to the Aryan nor to the Dravidian families, has since been fully confirmed by later researches, and is now, Ibelieve, generally accepted. The fact also, on which I then strongly insisted, that the Uraon Koles, and Rajmahal Koles, might be Koles in blood, but certainly not in language, their language being, like that of the Gonds, Dravidian, is now no longer disputed. But beyond this, all is still as hypothetical as it was twenty years ago, simply because we can get no grammars of the Munda dialects. Why do not the German missionaries at Ranchi, who have done such excellent work among the Koles, publish a grammatical analysis of that interesting cluster of dialects? Only a week ago, one of them, Mr. Jellinghaus, gave me a grammatical sketch of the Mundri language, and even this, short as it is, was quite sufficient to show that the supposed relationship between the Munda dialects and the Khasia language, of which we have a grammar, is untenable. The similarities pointed out by Mason between the Munda dialects and the Talaing of Pegu, are certainly startling, but equally startling are the divergences; and here again no real result will be obtained without a comparison of the grammatical structure of the two languages. The other classes of Indian languages, the Taic, the Gangetic, subdivided into Trans-Himalayan and Sub-Himalayan, the Lohitic, and Tamulic, are still retained, though some of their names have been changed. Without wishing to defend the names which I had chosen for these classes, Imust say that I look upon the constant introduction of new technical terms as an unmixed evil. Every classificatory term is imperfect. Aryan, Semitic, Hamitic, Turanian, all are imperfect, but, if they are but rightly defined, they can do no harm, whereas a new term, however superior at first sight, always makes confusion worse confounded. The chemists do not hesitate to call sugar an acid rather than part with an old established term; why should not we in the science of language follow their good example?

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse