Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/344

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334 Reviews.

learned and unlearned. We can only say that the vocabularies show the language as an American speech, but that it is impos- sible to identify it with any known tongue. To this nega- tive result the meagreness of the vocabularies themselves, the want of co-ordination between them (having been taken down in different circumstances by persons of various degrees of educa- tion), and especially the absence of any grammatical details, powerfully contribute.

It only remains to deplore that so interesting and mysterious a people should have been absolutely annihilated, leaving behind even less information on their origin, customs and beliefs than the equally unfortunate and ill-used Tasmanians. In the case of the latter, the entire blame must rest upon the colonists. The destruction of the Beothuck was probably almost as much due to the Micmacs, an Algonkin tribe from the mainland, whose relations with them were as bitterly hostile as those of the white furriers and fishermen. Mr. Howley, like Cormack and other enquirers, has felt the pathos of their story and the mystery surrounding them. He has put together in this splendid quarto volume, illustrated by sumptuous plates, all that is known of them. He has been even too conscientious ; for we could have spared the repetitions which he has deemed necessary for the purpose of giving every fragment of evidence relating to the destruction of the people and the efforts made to discover and save any remnant. We could have spared, too, sundry hypo- theses and suggestions as to their origin and that of the American race at large, which are not abreast of anthropological science. But when all is said the book is a noble monument of Mr. Howley's unselfish labours, and must remain the authoritative account of a tribe, only to be thought of by descendants of the white race with feelings of shame, compassion and regret.

E. Sidney Hartland.