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THE OCTOBER, 1819. NULLI QUIDEM MIHI SATIS ERUDITI VIDENTUR, QUIBUS NOSTRA IGNOTA SUNT. Cicero de Legibus. WELSH LANGUAGE. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS. X HE Origin of Language is a subject naturally of so much obscurity, that no rational hope can be indulged of arriving at any certain conclusion respecting it. Nor, has the variety of learning, so ostentatiously lavished upon this question, served to supply, in any satisfactory manner, ,the unavoidable deficiency of historical evidence. On the contrary, the multitude of bold conjectures and fanciful hypotheses, in which the subject has been involved, have served rather to encumber it with new doubt than to remove that, which originally belonged to it. So, it must still be considered, as it will necessarily ever remain, one of the most abstruse of human enquiries. Of one thing, however, we can not reasonably entertain any doubt, and that is the existence of one language only among the first inhabitants of the earth. And, that this language was not of divine origin,—as has been often asserted, more, it may be presumed, from a pardonable excess of pious zeal than from any philosophical deductions,—we may safely set down also as an inference not to be overthrown *. Nor is it one at variance with the authority of Scripture, the voice of reason, or the testimony of experience. So far from it, that the sacred volume preserves an entire silence on the point, reason suggests no argument in favour of such divine inspiration, and our experience of the rudest stages of savage society is in direct opposition to the * This expression has reference only to the instantaneous acquisition of a perfect language, and, by no means, to that capacity for forming one, as occasions might gradually demand, with which it is but reasonable to sup¬ pose the first family to have been supernaturally endowed. vol. i. a