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out the necessity of collecting, first of all, as large a number of facts as possible. He appealed to missionaries, travellers, ambassadors, princes, and emperors, to help him in a work which he had so much at heart. The Jesuits in China had to work for him. Witsen, the traveller, sent him a most precious present, a translation of the Lord's Prayer into the jargon of the Hottentots. “My friend," writes Leibniz in thanking him, “ remember, I implore you, and remind your Muscovite friends, to make researches in order to procure specimens of the Scythian languages, the Samoyedes, Siberians, Bashkirs, Kalmuks, Tungusians, and others.” Having made the acquaintance of Peter the Great, Leibniz wrote to him the following letter, dated Vienna, October the 26th, 1713 :
“I have suggested that the numerous languages, hitherto almost entirely unknown and unstudied, which are current in the empire of your Majesty and on its frontiers, should be reduced to writing; also that dictionaries, or at least small vocabularies, should be collected, and translations be procured in such languages of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Apostolic Symbolum, and other parts of the Catechism,
1 Guhrauer, vol. ii. p. 127. In his “ Dissertation on the Origin of Nations," 1710, Leibniz says: -" The study of languages must not be conducted according to any other principles but those of the exact sciences. Why begin with the unknown instead of the known? It stands to reason that we ought to begin with studying the modern languages which are within our reach, in order to compare them with one another, to discover their differences and affinities, and then to proceed to those which have preceded them in former ages, in order to show their filiation and their origin, and then to ascend step by step to the most ancient tongues, the analysis of which must lead us to the only trustworthy conclusions."
2 Nicolaes Witsen, Burgomaster of Amsterdam, travelled in Russia, 1666-1677; published his travels in 1672, dedicated to Peter the Great. Second edition, 1705. It contains many collections of words.
ut omnis lingua laudet Dominum. This would increase the glory of your Majesty, who reigns over so many nations, and is so anxious to improve them ; and it would, likewise, by means of a comparison of languages, enable us to discover the origin of those nations who from Scythia, which is subject to your Majesty, advanced into other countries.
But principally it would help to plant Christianity among the nations speaking those dialects, and I have, therefore, addressed the Most Rev. Metropolitan on the same
Leibniz drew up a list of the most simple and necessary terms which should be selected for comparison in various languages. At home, while engaged in historical researches, he collected whatever could throw light on the origin of the German language, and he encouraged others, such as Eccard, to do the same. He pointed out the importance of dialects, and even of provincial and local terms, for elucidating the etymological structure of languages. Leibniz never undertook a systematic classification of the whole realm of language, nor was he successful in classing the dialects with which he had become acquainted. He distinguished between a Japhetic and Aramaic class, the former occupying the north, the latter the south, of the continent of Asia and Europe. He believed in a common origin of languages, and in a migration of the human race from east to west. But he failed to distinguish
i Catherinens der Grossen Verdienste um die Vergleichende Sprachkunde, von F. Adelung. Petersburg, 1815. Another letter of his to the Vice-Chancellor, Baron Schaffiroff, is dated Pirmont, June 22, 1716.
2 Collectanea Etymologica, ii. 255. “Malim sine discrimine Dialectorum corrogari Germanicas voces. Puto quasdam origines ex superioribus Dialectis melius apparituras; ut ex Ulfilæ Pontogothicis, Otfridi Franciscis."
the exact degrees of relationship in which languages stood to each other, and he mixed up some of the Turanian dialects, such as Finnish and Tataric, with the Japhetic family of speech. If Leibniz had found time to work out all the plans which his fertile and comprehensive genius conceived, or if he had been understood and supported by cotemporary scholars, the science of language, as one of the inductive sciences, might have been established a century earlier. But a man like Leibniz, who was equally distinguished as a scholar, a theologian, a lawyer, an historian, and a mathematician, could only throw out hints as to how language ought to be studied. Leibniz was not only the discoverer of the differential calculus.
He was one of the first to watch the geological stratification of the earth. He was engaged in constructing a calculating machine, the idea of which he first conceived as a boy. He drew up an elaborate plan of an expedition to Egypt, which he submitted to Louis XIV. in order to avert his attention from the frontiers of Germany. The same man was engaged in a long corre spondence with Bossuet to bring about a reconciliation between Protestants and Romanists, and he endeavored, in his Theodicée and other works, to defend the cause of truth and religion against the inroads of the materialistic philosophy of England and France. It has been said, indeed, that the discoveries of Leibniz produced but little effect, and that most of them had to be made again. This is not the case, however, with regard to the science of language. The new interest in languages, which Leibniz had called into life, did not die again. After it had once been recognized as a desideratum to bring together a complete Herbarium
of the languages of mankind, missionaries and travellers felt it their duty to collect lists of words, and draw up grammars wherever they came in contact with a new race. The two great works in which, at the beginning of our century, the results of these researches were summed up, I mean the Catalogue of Languages by Hervas, and the Mithridates of Adelung, can both be traced back directly to the influence of Leibniz. As to Hervas, he had read Leibniz carefully, and though he differs from him on some points, he fully acknowledges his merits in promoting a truly philosophical study of languages. Of Adelung's Mithridates and his obligations to Leibniz we shall have to speak presently.
Hervas lived from 1735 to 1809. He was a Spaniard by birth, and a Jesuit by profession. While working as a missionary among the Polyglottous tribes of America, his attention was drawn to a systematic study of languages. After his return, he lived chiefly at Rome in the midst of the numerous Jesuit missionaries who had been recalled from all parts of the world, and who, by their communications on the dialects of the tribes among whom they had been laboring, assisted him greatly in his researches.
Most of his works were written in Italian, and were afterwards translated into Spanish. We cannot enter into the general scope of his literary labors, which are of the most comprehensive character. They were intended to form a kind of Kosmos, for which he chose the title of Idea del Universo." What
What is of interest to us is that portion which treats of man and language as part of the universe; and here, again, chiefly his Catalogue of Languages, in six volumes, published in Spanish in the year 1800.
If we compare the work of Hervas with a similar work which excited much attention towards the end of the last century, and is even now more widely · known than Hervas, I mean Court de Gebelin's “ Monde Primitif,” we shall see at once how far superior the Spanish Jesuit is to the French philosopher. Gebelin treats Persian, Armenian, Malay, and Coptic as dialects of Hebrew; he speaks of Bask as a dialect of Celtic, and he tries to discover Hebrew, Greek, English, and French words in the idioms of America. Hervas, on the contrary, though embracing in his catalogue five times the number of languages that were known to Gebelin, is most careful not to allow himself to be carried away by theories not warranted by the evidence before him. It is easy now to point out mistakes and inaccuracies in Hervas, but I think that those who have blamed him most are those who ought most to have acknowledged their obligations to him. To have collected specimens and notices of more than 300 languages is no small matter. But Hervas did more. He himself composed grammars of more than forty languages. He was the first to point out that the true affinities of languages must be determined chiefly by grammatical evidence, not by mere similarity of words. He proved, by a compara
1 Monde primitif analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne: Paris, 1773. 2 Catalogo, i. 63.
3 “Mas se deben consultar gramaticas para conocer su caracter proprio por medio de su artificio gramatical.” — Catalogo, i. 65. The same principle was expressed by Lord Monboddo, about 1795, in his Ancient Metaphysics, vol. iv. p. 326. “My last observation is, that, as the art of a language is less arbitrary and more determined by rule than either the sound or sense of words, it is one of the principal things by which the connection of languages with one another is to be discorered. And, therefore, when we find that two languages practise these great arts of language,