Hungary, traversed by two large rivers, the Danube and the Theiss, is divided into four great districts, usually called this side the Danube and beyond the Danube, this side the Theiss and beyond the Theiss. The district this side the Theiss is the principal seat of the Slovaks. The counties Trencsin, Thurocz, Arva, Liptau, and Sohl, are entirely inhabited by them, amounting to about 550,000 in number. In the other counties of the same district they live more mingled with Russniaks and Magyars; and, together with the numerous Slovakish settlements which are scattered over all Hungary, are computed in all at about 1,800,000. About 1,300,000 of them are Roman Catholics, and the remaining 500,000 Protestants.
The Slovakish language, exposed through the geographical situation of the nation, to the influence of various other Slavic idioms—as the Polish, Bohemian, Malo-Russian, Servian, and Vindish—is more broken up into different dialects than perhaps any living tongue. In its original elements it is very nearly related to the Old Slavic language; a fact which is easy to be explained, when we consider that the development of this language must have been the result of the primitive cultivation of the Slavi; and that the region about the Carpathian mountains, the seat of the ancient as well as of the present Slovaks, was the cradle of all the Slavic nations which are now spread over the whole of eastern Europe. Of all living Slavic tongues, the Bohemian is the nearest related to the Slovakish, especially as it appears in the oldest Bohemian writers; a circumstance which induced Dobrovsky at first to consider both languages as essentially the same; or rather to maintain, that the Slovakish was nothing more than Old Bohemian. But after entering more deeply into the subject, he found reason to regard the Slovakish idiom as a separate dialect, which forms the link of connection between the Bohemian and Croatian-Vindish dialects, or between the two principal divisions, the Eastern and Western stems, of the great Slavic family.