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THE TURANIAN SECTION.
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ADDRESS

BY

SIR WALTER ELLIOT, K.C.S.I., PRESIDENT.

[This Address was prepared in the expectation that the Section would meet daily during the week, after the manner of the British Association. But as the arrangements adopted only allowed of a single seance, it was judged advisable to forego its delivery altogether; and, after a few prefatory observations, to request the authors of the several original papers to state the substance of them shortly, viva voce, and to limit each person taking part in the discussions to a space of ten minutes.)

Ix opening the Turanian Section, it may be well to define the limits of a term that has been recently introduced, and the propriety of which has been questioned. I have been asked repeatedly what it signifies? To which I have replied, that originally it meant merely the countries bordering on ancient Persia. To the Aryan dweller in that country whatever was not Irán was Turán, and all foreigners were to him Turiyán or Turánis. But, virtually, the terms were restricted to the people on the northern and eastern borders of Persia, the Scythians or Sacæ of the Greeks, then, as now, remarkable for their nomade and equestrian habits. In the Aryan dialects tura signifies swift, turaga a horse. Hence, from the plundering incursions of these horsemen, in which they swept off everything portable, slaves, cattle, valuables, they came to be designated Turushkáh, a name still recognized in their Turkmán descendants, whose noble breed of horses, equal to the Arab in blood, but superior in size, enables them to execute those wonderful chapus for which they are still famous. Properly speaking, therefore, the term Turanian should be confined to modern Tartary; but the Chevalier Bunsen, in a Report on the “Results of Egyptian Researches, with reference to Asiatic and African Ethnology," presented to the British Association at Oxford in 1847, proposed to include under this designation all the languages of Europe and Asia which are neither Semitic nor Aryan. In that sense it has been accepted by subsequent writers, and so it is now adopted in like manner by the organizers of the Congress.

Thus extended, the Section is found to include a great variety of peoples and tongues, exhibiting considerable diversity both of feature and speech. The former have been classed by ethnologists under two of the great divisions of the human family. The latter do not admit of so simple a limitation. The great number and variety of dialects form, it is true, several well-defined groups; but these, again, do not, at first sight, appear reducible to a common standard. Nevertheless, philologists think they have found an attribute, running through all, which links them together as members of one great family, whilst it separates them unmistakeably from the Aryan and Semitic tongues.

This characteristic has received the name of agglutination, and consists in the addition of particles as prefixes or suffixes, to mark inflections of person, number, tense, case, -of conjugation or declension, etc.,—which increments are never, as in other languages, absorbed or lost in the altered form of the word to which they are conjoined; but are simply affixed, or glued on as it were, to the root, and at once separable from it.

To account for such a peculiarity, it has been suggested that the conditions of a nomade life, to which so many of the Turanian peoples are addicted, render it necessary for distant tribes to communicate when they meet; and it is further argued that their restless habits are inimical to the growth of a more refined and artificial grammatical system. But it is to be observed, on the other hand, that the same habits have prevailed from the earliest times in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Arabia, without exciting any such influence on the Semitic dialects; and wherever a Turanian people have found a permanent resting place, as in India, China, Hungary, etc., they have cultivated their language, and produced a copious literature, without losing this feature of the family likeness.

In assigning the Turanian nations to two principal varieties of the human race, I follow the arrangement proposed by Professor Huxley in 1872, not as being the latest, but as being the one that best commends itself to my judgment.

Looking from the standpoint of a biologist, at physical characters only, without reference to language or history, he finds one of the best-marked types of mankind in the indigenous population of Australia. Out of that region, the same characters are presented in a well-defined form by the Hill tribes of Central India, and in a somewhat modified shape by the ancient inhabitants of Egypt, and their Coptic descendants. The Professor cites, in support of his view, the examples presented among the crew of a recently returned Indiaman, who, however, have little connexion with the mountaineers of the Dekhan; but any one familiar with the Hindu population of Southern India must see how remarkably it partakes of the same type, modified on the coast and in the open country by commixture with other races, and traceable more or less as far as the Himalayas. Among Dravidian Brahmins even, in spite of their exclusive twice-born pretensions, we occasionally meet with examples referable to the Australoid type of feature,' showing them to be descended from proselytes admitted by the earliest Aryan missionaries, after their disseverance for ages from their countrymen in the north. The order in which Professor Huxley enumerates these examples of what, for want of a better title, he calls the Australoid type, might lead (although he nowhere says so) to the inference that it had spread northwards from Australia. But I consider the reverse to be more probably the fact, and would rather trace its course southwards, from a Trans-Himalayan source, at a period coincident with the earliest dispersion of mankind. Indeed, I will even go farther, and state my belief that the first occupants of Europe, as well as of Asia, were derived from this stock.

In India, horde after horde poured in from the north and west, each driving their predecessors onward, till the earliest occupants were arrested by the sea, where now their names only survive in traditions of demons and monsters (pisáchas and rákshasas],who,

a

1 A definition of Dravidian physiognomy is given by Logan, in an essay on the Ethnology of the Indo-Pacific Islands, chap. v. sec. i. Journal Eastern Archipelago, vol. vii. p. 302. See also Hodgson's Physical Type of Tamilian Form, Journal Asiatic Society Bengal, vol. xviii. p. 710.

• Similar contumelious terms are often applied by the strong to the weak whom they have expelled : witness the Scandinavian Ogres; the Teutonic Jotuns and Thursen ; the Greek Titans and Cyclops, etc.

despite their evil reputation, are allowed to have attained to some proficiency in literature and the arts.

The progress of extermination was more searching and complete in the west. The other Turanian family-Huxley's Mongoloid type -pressed upon the earlier (or Eu-Turanian) settlers towards the south-west, and pushed them onward. But it was by alien races that the work of extirpation (or it might be amalgamation with the new-comers) was completed. Celts, Teutons, Slaves, swept over the land; so that, save lingering remnants in the Basque provinces, and " the ethnological islands” of Iberians in Ireland, in Wales, in southeast France, and also in Sicily,' no living representatives of the race remain.

Ample traces, however, of former wide-spread dominion, exist in the survival of Turanian customs connected with marriage, inheritance, religious belief; and their primitive sepulchres (four slabs of stone covered by a fifth) stud the steppes of Asia, from the seats of the Tschudi to the plains of Hindustan, where the pandu-kulis find representatives in the kistvaens and dolmens of Cornwall, Brittany, and in Kits Coty-house in Kent; whilst the number of dolichocephalic skulls exhumed from rifled barrows, perhaps, too, the submerged lake-dwellings, bear testimony to the extent of their range.

The other great division of the Turanian stock, the Mongoloid type, is the most widely diffused of all the races of mankind, occupying an area lying east of a line roughly drawn from Lapland to Siam, and including the whole of the New World.

The people roaming over this vast area have many points in common with the preceding type, in the genius of their language, their wandering habits, and some of their customs and superstitions. It is by physical characters and physiognomy that the typical Mongol is mainly distinguished. In the east of Asia the form of the cranium gradually changes from the round to the elongated form, and so passes into America, where it is perpetuated among the Red Indians. The same change is observable among the Chinese, who, however, retain the oblique eye and other Mongoloid features; and similar variations are found in the Asiatic islands. From their original seat in the centre of Asia they appear to have spread mostly to the north

| Professor Boyd Dawkins's Report, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1873, p. 142.

and east. Again and again their swarms,-Huns, Saracens, Tatars,—

bursting their bounds, threatened to overwhelm the whole of Europe; but, after partial success, were rolled back by western chivalry, to cause fresh displacements in other directions in the seats from whence they came. Inured to the severity of the seasons, they were probably the first to occupy the northern parts of Europe; and the frequent intermixture of the two characteristic forms of skull in the same barrows in our own island points to relations either as neighbours or successors.

It is impossible for one so little versed in the subject to give a comprehensive view of the vast number of dialects coming under the extended field assigned to the Section. It will suffice to notice shortly the principal groups under which they may be classed, so as to assist in the arrangement of the papers presented to us, and to regulate the order of discussion.

As far as I can learn, the most important of these communications are connected with the Tartar languages, by which I mean those of northern Asia.

It is only since the beginning of the present century that these have been submitted to scientific criticism. Rask 1821-6, Castren 1830–45, Schott 1836–49, have paid much attention to their affinities; but the conclusions at which they have arrived do not always tally. There seems to be no question, however, that the dialects spoken in the region of the ral Mountains form one well-defined group. They have been called the Ugrian family, among which may be specified the Finnish, the Wogul, the Ostiak, the Magyar. In connexion with these, we are promised a paper by the distinguished Hungarian Professor, M. Hunfalvy, of Pesth.

The Turki or Tartar tongues form another extensive group, the centre of which, resting on the Altai chain, is the seat of the typical Mongoloid race. The conquests of Gengiz Khan and Timúr gave a certain coherency to the hordes between the frontiers of China and the Caspian ; but their dialects continue distinct, and vary in fullness from the poor and simple forms of the Tunguse and Mongol, to the more cultivated literature of the Osmanli.

The most interesting subject of investigation connected with the Tartar family of languages is that of the archaic dialects, brought to light by the cuneiform inscriptions, relating to primæval Turanian

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