He might just as reasonably assert that the human hand cannot act without a tool. With such a doctrine to start from, he cannot stop short of Max Muller's worst paradoxes, that an infant (in fans, not speaking) is not a human being, and that deaf-mutes do not become possessed of reason until they learn to twist their fingers into imitation of spoken words." Max Muller gives in italics ('Lectures on Mr. Darwin's Philosophy of Language,' 1873, third lecture) this aphorism: "There is no thought without words, as little as there are words without thought." What a strange definition must here be given to the word thought!) With respect to animals, I have already endeavoured to shew that they have this power, at least in a rude and incipient degree. As far as concerns infants of from ten to eleven months old, and deaf-mutes, it seems to me incredible, that they should be able to connect certain sounds with certain general ideas as quickly as they do, unless such ideas were already formed in their minds. The same remark may be extended to the more intelligent animals; as Mr. Leslie Stephen observes (64. 'Essays on Free Thinking,' etc., 1873, p. 82.), "A dog frames a general concept of cats or sheep, and knows the corresponding words as well as a philosopher. And the capacity to understand is as good a proof of vocal intelligence, though in an inferior degree, as the capacity to speak."
Why the organs now used for speech should have been originally perfected for this purpose, rather than any other organs, it is not difficult to see. Ants have considerable powers of intercommunication by means of their antennae, as shewn by Huber, who devotes a whole chapter to their language. We might have used our fingers as efficient instruments, for a person with practice can report to a deaf man every word of a speech rapidly delivered at a public meeting; but the loss of our hands, whilst thus employed, would have been a serious inconvenience. As all the higher mammals possess vocal organs, constructed on the same general plan as ours, and used as a means of communication, it was obviously probable that these same organs would be still further developed if the power of communication had to be improved; and this has been effected by the aid of adjoining and well adapted parts, namely the tongue and lips. (65. See some good remarks to this effect by Dr. Maudsley, 'The Physiology and Pathology of Mind,' 1868, p. 199.) The fact of the higher apes not using their vocal organs for speech, no doubt depends on their intelligence not having been sufficiently advanced. The possession by them of organs, which with long-continued practice might have been used for speech, although not thus used, is paralleled by the case of many birds which possess organs fitted for singing, though they never sing. Thus, the nightingale and crow have vocal organs similarly constructed, these being used by the former for diversified song, and by the latter only for croaking. (66. Macgillivray, 'Hist. of British Birds,' vol. ii. 1839, p. 29. An excellent observer, Mr. Blackwall, remarks that the magpie learns to pronounce single words, and even short sentences, more readily than almost any other British bird; yet, as he adds, after long and closely investigating its habits, he has never known it, in a state of nature, display any unusual capacity for imitation. 'Researches in Zoology,' 1834, p. 158.) If it be asked why apes have not had their intellects developed to the same degree as that of man, general causes only can be assigned in answer, and it is unreasonable to expect any thing more definite, considering our ignorance with respect to the successive stages of development through which each creature has passed.
The formation of different languages and of distinct species, and the proofs that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel. (67. See the very interesting parallelism between the development of species and languages, given by Sir C. Lyell in 'The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man,' 1863, chap.