Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/40

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34
COLYMBIA.

men and women emigrating to some other part of the world. But our most learned pundits cite many circumstances that militate against this idea, and refer our origin to a much more remote time and quite a different race of men. And this latter idea is borne out by the fact that, scattered throughout the islands, are many monuments which could never have been constructed by an English race, and these monuments are covered with hieroglyphical inscriptions which have been read by the learned and refer to quite other manners and customs than ever obtained among men of European or, at least, Anglo-Saxon blood.

"That English was not always the language of the inhabitants is evident, not only from these monuments, but from numerous ancient documents preserved in our museums, and also from the presence in our spoken language of many words and forms of speech which were never derived from the English tongue.

"It is believed that the general habit of speaking and writing English dates from only a few centuries back, and is chiefly owing to the great number of English-speaking men and women who have from time to time been added to our community by means of shipwrecks; and as, until a very recent period, men of English race formed the vast majority of the seamen and travellers of the world, this predominance of the English language among us is hardly to be wondered at. An additional reason for the adoption of this language is that it is a much more convenient vehicle for thought than the ancient language of the island could ever have been, and that our literature is chiefly derived from the libraries that came into our