« AnteriorContinuar »
lic Majesty's mails, one would do better to abstain from writing them, as the chances would be fifty to one against their ever reaching their destination. One might almost as well throw them into the fire as into the marble lion's mouth that yawns at the casa de correos,-as if to warn people of the dangers their correspondence runs. Were I to consign this epistle to leo's jaws, I should not expect it ever to go farther than to the Graham-department of the Madrid post-office.
Although you will have gathered from the newspapers the principal events, and some of the minor particulars of the insurrection of 1854-as far as it has as yet gone-this sketch of it, however imperfect, from an eyewitness, will, I trust, interest you. Spanish revolutions and insurrections
rarely resemble each other; every successive outbreak has a character of its own, distinct from that of its predecessors. And that of the 28th of last month has peculiar features, which I have endeavoured to portray. If my letter has no other merit, it will, I think, bring its readers, concisely, without much detail, but with perfect truth, up to the present point of Spanish politics. Should aught worth relating occur whilst I am within the boundaries of Queen Isabel's dominions, rely upon my keeping you duly informed. Meanwhile, may Providence preserve you, in your happy Land of Cakes, alike from military revolts, and from popular pronunciamientos. So prays, from his exile in partibus, your faithful
THE ETHNOLOGY OF EUROPE.
“THERE were brave men before Agamemnon," heroes before there was a Homer to sing them, says that prince of sensible poets, Horace. It is not less true that there were nations before history-communities, races, of which the eye of civilisation never caught a glimpse. In some cases, before the light of history broke in upon their seclusion, these old types of mankind, losing their individuality, had become merged in a succeeding and mightier wave of population; in others they had wholly disappeared, -they had lived and fought and died in perfect isolation from every focus of civilisation, and left not even a floating legend behind them in the world. Man's mortality-the destiny of the individual to pass away from earth like a vapour, making room for others, heirs of his wisdom and unimbued with his prejudices-is the most familiar of truths; but the mortality of nations, the death of races, is a conception which at first staggers us. That a family should grow into a nation, that from the loins of one man should descend a seed like unto the sands on the sea-shore for multitude, appears to our everyday senses as a natural consequence; but that nations should dwindle down to fa
milies, and families into solitary individuals, until death gets all, and earth has swallowed up a whole phase of humanity, is a thought the grandeur of which is felt to be solemn, if not appalling. The conception, however, need not be a strange one. Facts, which reconcile us to everything, are testifying to its truth even at the present day. It is not long since the Guanches in the Canary Islands, that last specimen of what may once have been a race, and the Guarras in Brazil, dwindled out of existence in their last asylum,-expiring at the feet of the more lordly race which the fulness of time brought to their dwellings.
Not to mention the Miaou-tse in China, and other relics of Asiatic races, the same phenomenon is more impressively presented to us among the Red Men of America, where the old race is seen dying out beneath our very eyes. Year by year they are melting away. Of the millions which once peopled the vast regions on this side of the Mississippi River, all have vanished, but a few scattered families; and it is as clear as the sun at noonday, that in a few generations more, the last of the Red Men will be numbered with the dead. Why, is it asked, are they thus doomed? In
the suburbs of Mobile, or wandering "boat-shaped." The exhumations of Retzius show that precisely similar races once inhabited Scandinavia. The caves and ossuaries of Franconia and Upper Saxony prove that in Central Europe, also, there were races before the advent of the Celts; and the researches of Boucher de Perthes, amid the alluvial stratifications of the river Somme, indicate a not less ancient epoch for the cinerary urns, bones, and instruments of a primordial people in France.
through its streets, you will see the remnant of the Choctaw tribe, covered with nothing but blankets, and living in bark tents, scarcely a degree advanced above the beasts of the field. No philanthropy can civilise them,— no ingenuity can induce them to do an honest day's work. The life of the woods is struck from them,-the white man has taken their hunting-grounds; and they live on helpless as in a dream, quietly abiding their time. They are stationary, they will not advance; and, like everything stationary, the world is sweeping away. They sufficed for the first phase of humanity in the New World. As long as there was only need for man to be lord of the woods and of the animal creation, the Red Man did well; but no sooner did the call come for him to perfect himself, and change the primeval forest into gardens, than the Red Man knew, by mysterious instinct, that his mission was over,and either allowed himself, in sheer apathy, to sink out of existence among the pitiless feet of the new-comers, or died fighting fiercely with the apostle of a civilisation which he hated but could not comprehend.
Far back in the history of Europe and of our own country-or rather, we should say, in periods entirely pre
historic-it is now known that a similar disappearance of a human race has taken place. Celt and Teuton,_we fancy, were the first occupiers of Europe, but the case is not so. A wave or waves of population had preceded even them; and as we dig down into the soil beneath us, ever and anon we come upon strange and startling traces of those primeval occupants of the land. In those natural museums of the past, the caves and peat-bogs of Europe, the keen-witted archeologists of present times are finding abundant relics of a race dissimilar from all the human varieties of which written history takes cognisance. The researches of Wilson among the peat-bogs of the British Isles have brought to light traces of no less than two distinct preCeltic races inhabiting the land,-one of which had the skull of a singularly broad and short, square and compact form, while the head of the other race was long and very narrow, or
"Here," says M. de Perthes, we naturally inquire, who were these mysterious primitive inhabitants of Gaul? We are told that this part of Europe is of modern origin, or at least of recent population. Its annals scarcely reach to twenty centuries, and even its traditions do not exceed two thousand five hundred years. The various people who are known to history as having occupied it -the Galls, the Celts, the Veneti, Ligurians, Iberians, Cymbrians, and Scythians have left no vestiges to which we can [originally] nomadic tribes who ravaged assign that date. The traces of those Gaul scarcely precede the Christian era by a few centuries. Was Gaul, then, a desert, a solitude, before this period? Was its sun less genial, or its soil less fertile? Were not its hills as pleasant, and its plains and valleys as ready for the harvest? Or, if men had not yet learned to plough and sow, were not its rivers filled with fish, and its forests with game? And, if the land abounded with everything calculated to attract and support a population, why should it not have been inhabited The absence of great ruins, indeed, indicates that Gaul at this period, and even much later, had not attained a great degree of civilisation, nor been the seat of powerful kingdoms; but why should it not have had its towns and villages?-or rather, why should it not, like the steppes of Russia, the prairies and virgin forests of America, and the fertile plains of Africa, have been overrun from time immemorial by tribes of men-savages, perhaps, but nevertheless united in families if not in nations?"
We shall not dwell at present upon the relics of these races who have thus preceded all history, and vanished into their graves before a civilised age could behold them. We shall not accompany M. de Perthes in his various excavations, nor, after passing through the first stratum of soil, and coming to the relics of the middle ages, see
him meet subsequently, in regular order, with traces of the Roman and Celtic periods, until at last he comes upon weapons, utensils, figures, signs and symbols, which must have been the work of a surpassingly ancient people. We need not describe his discovery of successive beds of bones and ashes, separated from each other by strata of turf and tufa, with no less than five different stages of cinerary urns, belonging to distinct generations, of which the oldest were deposited below the woody or diluvian turf,nor the coarse structure of these vases (made by hand and dried in the sun), nor the rude utensils of bone, or roughly-carved stone, by which they were surrounded.* Neither need we do more than allude to the remains of a fossil whale recently exhumed in Blair Drummond moss, (twenty miles from the nearest point of the river Forth where, by any possibility, a whale could nowadays be stranded), having beside it a rude barpoon of deer's horn-speaking plainly of the coexistence, in these remote pre-Celtic times, of human inhabitants. Even above ground there are striking relics scattered over Europe which it would be hazardous to assign to any race known to history. Those circles of upright stones, of which Stonehenge is the most familiar example, date back to an unknown antiquity. They are found throughout Europe, from Norway to the Mediterranean; and manifestly they must have been erected by a numerous people, and faithful exponents of a general sentiment, since we find them in so many countries. They are commonly called Celtic or Druidic; not because they were raised originally by Druids, but because they had been used in the Druidical worship, though erected, it may be, for other uses, or dedicated to other divinities,-even as the temples of Paganism afterwards
served for the solemnities of Christianity. All that we know is, that, having neither date nor inscription, they must be older than written language, for a people who can write never leave their own names or exploits unchronicled. The ancients were as ignorant on this matter as ourselves; even tradition is silent; and, at the period of the Roman invasion, the origin of those monuments was already shrouded in obscurity. A revolution, therefore, must have intervened between the time of their erection and the advent of the Legions; and what revolution could it be in those days save a revolution of race? "The Celta," says Dr Wilson, are by no means to be regarded as the primal heirs of the land, but are, on the contrary, comparatively recent intruders. Ages before their migration into Europe, an unknown Allophylian race had wandered to this remote island of the sea, and in its turn gave place to later Allophylian nomades, also destined to occupy it only for a time. Of these ante-historical nations, archæology alone reveals any traces."
Passing from this strange and solemn spectacle of the death and utter extinction of human races, once living and enjoying themselves amidst those very scenes where we ourselves now pant and revel in the drama of existence,-let us look upon the face of Europe as it appears when first the light of history broke upon it. Since then, there have been remarkable declines, but no extinction of races. As if war and rivalry were a permanent attribute of the species, when the curtain first rises upon Europe, it is a struggle of races that is discerniblethrough the gloom. A dark-skinned race, long settled in the land, are fighting doggedly with a fair-skinned race of invaders from the East.. The dark-skins were worsted, but still survive-definitely in detached
As a single sample of these excavations, we may mention one made at Portelette, on the Somme. At a depth of nine feet, a large quantity of bones was met with; and one foot lower, a piece of deer's horn, bearing marks of human workmanship. At twenty feet from the surface, and fire feet below the level of the present bed of the river, three axes, highly finished, and in perfect preservation, were turned up in a bed of turf. Some axe-cases of stag's horn were also discovered in the same bed. Near these was a coarse vase of black pottery, very much broken, and surrounded with a black mass of decomposed pottery; and also large quantities of wrought bones, both human and animal.
VOL. LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXVI.
groups, and indefinitely as a leaven to entire populations. That darkskinned race have been called Iberians, the fair-skinned new-comers were the Indo-Germans, headed by the Gaels or Celts. When the two races first met in Europe-the blond from the south-east, meeting the dark in the west-they encountered each other as natural enemies, and a severe struggle ensued. The Celts finally forced their way into Spain, and established themselves there,-became more or less amalgamated with the darker occupants, and were called Celt-Iberians. Ever since, these two opposite types have been commingling throughout Western Europe; but a complete fusion has not even yet taken place, and the types of each are still traceable in certain localities.
There was thus an Iberian world before there was a Celtic world. One of the pre-Celtic populations of the British Isles was probably Iberian; and their type, besides leavening indefinitely a portion of the present population, is still distinctly traceable in many of the dark-haired, darkeyed, and dark-skinned Irish, as well as occasionally in Great Britain itself. The Basques, protected by their Pyrenean fastnesses, are a still existent group of nearly pure Iberians; and of their tongue, termed Euskaldune by its speakers, Duponceau long ago said: "This language, preserved in a corner of Europe, by a few thousand mountaineers, is the sole remaining fragment of perhaps a hundred dialects, constructed on the same plan, which probably existed and were universally spoken, at a remote period, in that quarter of the world. Like the bones of the mammoth, and the relics of unknown races which have perished, it remains a monument of the destruction brought by a succession of ages. It stands single and alone of its kind, surrounded by idioms whose modern construction bears no analogy to it."
The Bretons form another isolated but less distinct group of still existent Iberians. To this day they present a striking contrast to the population around them, who are of tall stature, with blue eyes, white skins, and blond hair communicative, impetuous, versing rapidly from courage
to timidity, and from audacity to despair;-in other words, presenting the distinctive character of the Celtic race, now, as in the ancient Gauls. The Bretons are entirely different. They are taciturn-hold strongly to their ideas and usages-are persevering and of melancholic temperament;-in a word, both in morale and physique, they present the type of a southern race. And this brings us to the questionwhence came these Iberians? M. Bodichon, a surgeon distinguished for fifteen years in the French army of Algeria, observes that persons who have lived in Brittany, and then go to Algeria, are struck with the resemblance which they discover between the ancient Armoricans (the Bretons) and the Cabyles of northern Africa. "In fact, the moral and physical character of the two races is identical. The Breton of pure blood has a bony head, light-yellow complexion of bistre tinge, eyes black or brown, stature short, and the black hair of the Cabyle. Like him, he instinctively hates strangers. In both, the same perverseness and obstinacy, the same endurance of fatigue, same love of independence, same inflexion of voice, same expression of feelings. Listen to a Cabyle speaking his native tongue, and you will think you hear a Breton talking Celtic." Impressed with this resemblance, M. Bodichon was induced to reflect on the subject, and at last came to the conclusion that the Berbers who primally peopled Northern Africa, and the dark-skinned Iberians of Western Europe, belonged to the same race. He thinks that, as Europe and Africa were once united at their western extremities, previous to the convulsion which produced the Straits of Gibraltar, this Iberian population passed into Spain by this primeval isthmus, and thence diffused themselves over Western Europe and its isles. Whether this were actually the case, it is hard to say; but it is important to note that Sallust, quoting the Punic books which were ascribed to King Hiempsal," exactly reverses the course of migration, and states that the progenitors of the African Moors were Medians and Persians who had marched through Europe into Spain, and thence into Mauritania-though whether overland by
the isthmus, or by boats across the strait, is still left to conjecture. Prichard thinks the Libyans and Iberians were distinct races, but owns that they were found intermingling in the islands and along the western shores of the Mediterranean. Of course it may be taken for granted that among these Iberians thus spread over Africa, Spain, France, and the British Isles, local differences would exist-just as there is a perceptible difference between the Anglo-Saxons of the Old World and those of the New; but there is little doubt that the Scoti of Ireland, the Iberians of Spain, and the Berbers of Africa, belonged to a fundamentally identical
How any race first came into a country, is a matter of little moment, especially when the epoch of their arrival so far transcends the dawn of history as does that of the Iberians. Even the first wave of the Celtic migration had reached the West before any scrutiny of their progress was possible; for when tradition first dimly opens upon Gaul, about 1500 в. c., its territory was occupied by these two primitive and distinctly-marked Caucasian races-the Celts and Iberians the one fair-skinned and lighthaired, the other a dark race; and each speaking a language bearing no affinity to that of the other-precisely as the Euskaldune of the present Basques is unintelligible to Gaelic tribes of Lower Brittany. Some of the subsequent waves of Celtic or Scythic migration come within the ken of history; and it is remarkable that the line of march which these followed, after passing the shores of the Black Sea, seems to have been along the " Riphæan Valley," which lay to the north of the Carpathian mountains, and stretched to the Baltic. Now, if we look at the contour map of Europe in Johnston's Physical Atlas, we see a narrow strip of the lowest elevation extending from the Black Sea to the Baltic nowhere rising to the second line of elevation, i. e. more than 150 and less
than 300 feet above the level of the sea,-and turning to the geological map, we find that this same tract is overlaid with recent diluvial deposits. We know that the Scandinavian region is rising, and it is probable that all the plain of Sarmatia has partaken of the elevation,—and before the barriers of the Thracian Bosphorus burst, it is quite certain that the waters of the Caspian, the Euxine, and the Baltic were united by that "ocean-river" of which Homer, Hesiod, and all the old bards sing, and by sailing along which, both the Argonauts and Ulysses are reported to have passed northwards into the western ocean. The existence of this vast belt of water, stretching from the southmost point of the Baltic to the Caucasus, is probably one reason why the Slavonians were late of appearing in southern Europe, and why no sprinkling of them or of the Mongols is to be found among the early settlers of South-western Europe. All the early migrations into Europe proceeded from Caucasian or subCaucasian regions—a circumstance which, considering the known simultaneous existence of roving hordes and a great population on the Mongolian plains, can hardly be accounted for on the supposition that the face of Eastern Europe has since then undergone no change. But on the supposition we make, the chain of the Ural Mountains and this large mediterranean basin would for long act as restraints upon any tendency of the Mongolian population to move westward, or of the Slavonians to move southwards.*
The next wave of population which flowed westwards was the Cimbri or Cimmerians,-a people cognate to the Celts or Gaels, yet by no means closely related. About the seventh century B.C., as may be inferred from Herodotus, a clan of this race abandoned the Tauric Chersonese, and marched westwards,― this Cimbrian migration, however, like most others, not being conducted in one mass, but by succes
Some very curious speculations and researches on this subject will be found in a pamphlet entitled A Vindication of the Bardic Accounts of the Early Invasions of Ireland; with a Verification of the River-Ocean of the Greeks. M'Glashan, Dublin,