LETTIC RACE, a branch of the Slavic family, subdivided into the Lithuanian, the Prussian, and the Lettic proper. The Lithuanian has preserved certain characteristics of the Indo-European languages, some of which are identical with those of the Sanskrit. It appears to be the connecting-link between the Slavic and the other Indo-European languages, and is particulary necessary for the understanding of Slavic. This tongue is spoxen among the peasantry, to the number of 200,000, in some parts of East Prussia, about the towns of Memel, Tilsit, etc.; while nearly 1,300,000 of the same people are found iu Russia. The Prussian language was formerly spoken along the shores of the Baltic, between the Niemen and the Vistula, by about 2,000,000 people, but has gradu ally been superseded by the German. The Lettic race proper still exists in Courland, In Livonia, and on the peninsula that separates the Cnrische sea from the Baltic. Here the Lettic language is spoken, which bears about the same relation to the Lithuanian that the Italian does to the Latin, being a modernized dialect of the older tongue. The L rtes of Livonia. now occupying the s.w. part of the province, are naturally intelligent, and are very apt in any constructive process requiring handiwork. They make their own furniture, rude agricultural implement, and other necessaries, but have no apti tude for trade, and are not energetic. They number in Livonia between 300,000 and 400,000, and though serfs until emancipated in 1818, are now in about the same con dition as the German peasantry. Both women and men ride on horseback or in sledges; their dwelling-houses have different apartments, an oven, and chimneys; differing from those of the Estlionians, which have hut one room and no chimney, though these also form a part of the population of Livonia. The early history of Livonia is unknown, as
it was not until 1158 that any trade was opened between that country and the rest of Europe, or any information spread abroad concerning it. Germans settled there a few 3-ears later, and converted the natives to Christianity. In the earliest times Livonia belonged to Russia, paying tribute, but having its own government. During the troubles in Russia the Li vonians made themselves independent, but were again brought under sub jection in the time of Peter the great. The first mention of Lithuania occurs in a chronicle of A. D. 1009, and it was not until the 13th c. that the half-savage barbarians inhabiting the country were conquered by the warrio•-monks sent hither by Albert, bishop of Riga. The Lithuanians remained id Jlaters until the end of the 14th c., their deities presidin kr over time seasons, elements, and particular occupations. It is to be remembered that the Lithua nians are Lettes, although their language is more ancient than the existing Lettonian, which may be said to be one of its dialects. The only existing monuments of the old Lithuanian language are a catheeism in Prussian, compiled about 1545; and an Euchiri dion or church-service (Konigsberg, 1561). The Lettonian differs from the other Lithuanian dialects in having an admixture of Finnish words. It has been employed in the translation of the Bible, and it is honored with a professorship in the university of Dorpat.