or sacred dialect of which it is the offspring. Such has been the origin and such the fate of all the learned dialects which, in various parts of the world, have been preserved as "dead languages," for the purposes of learned communication, after losing their character as the vernacular speech of a community: for instance, the ancient Egyptian, long kept up for sacred uses, and written in the hieroglyphic signs, after both language and letters had in popular use taken on another form; the Zend, in the keeping of the ministers of Zoroaster's doctrine; the Sanskrit, even yet taught in the Brahmanic schools of India, amid the Babel of modern dialects, its descendants; the Latin, the common language of the educated through all Europe, for centuries during which the later forms of Romanic speech, now the vehicles of a culture superior to that of Greece and Rome, were mere barbarous patois. Every dialect which is made the subject of literary culture is liable to the fate of the Latin; aristocracy and exclusiveness tend to final overthrow, in language as in politics; the needs and interests of the many are more important than those of the few, and must in the end prevail. True linguistic conservatism consists in establishing an educated and virtuous democracy, in enlisting the whole community, by means of a thorough and pervading education, in the proper and healthy preservation of the accepted usages of correct speech—and then in letting whatever change must and will come take its course. There is a purism which, while it seeks to maintain the integrity of language, in effect stifles its growth: to be too fearful of new words and phrases, new meanings, familiar and colloquial expressions, is little less fatal to the well-being of a spoken tongue than to rush into the opposite extreme.
It is hardly needful to point out that these desirable conditions are much more nearly realized in the case of our modern cultivated and literary languages than in those of olden time, and that the former have, in all human probability, a destiny before them very different from that of the latter. In the present constitution of society, among the enlightened nations of Europe and America, the forces conservative of the general purity of language have attained a