A SKETCH OF
vaded the whole Indian Archipelago, and to have spread (perhaps with the population) towards Madagascar on one side, and the islands of the South Sea on the other.
The origin of this one great language is veiled in an impenetrable obscurity; nor are there any satisfactory data on which to build conclusions respecting the era when, or the circumstances under which, it obtained so wide a dissemination. An attempt to ascertain which of the Polynesian dialects should be considered as the parent stock, from whence the others branched out, must prove as fruitless as would be that of determining which of the Teutonic dialects gave birth to the others. Some have been inclined to fix upon Java as the seat of this Polynesian language, but its original seat, may, for aught that is known to the contrary, have been buried, by some great convulsion beneath the sea. If we reflect how few feet’s subsidence of the British Isles would entirely obliterate the center of the English power and language, leaving no trace save in the colonies that have sprung from that center, we can see how easy it might have been for a similar event to have occurred with the central source from which the people of Madagascar may have derived their native tongue.
We give a comparison between a few Madagascar and Malay words, so that the reader can judge himself of their resemblance and affinity:
There are many dialects spoken in the island, but that of the province of Ankova, the country of the Hovas, may be regarded as the standard one. The inhabitants of this province are industrious, ingenious, and comparatively wealthy. It is the