Obrázky na stránke

ány new characters; without render. Europe demonstrate that the general ing any book useless, and without uc- diffusion of the French language bas casioning any diiticulty to elderly peo- been the pioneer to their arms. Yet ple. The schemes of Sir Thomas with all these lessons of experience, Smith, Dr. Gill, Dr. Franklin and the English, whose very existence is others which have been offered, cre- menaced by the power of France, are ate difficulties which are needless, so little sensible of the policy by and which must forever prevent their which her influence and dominions success. If any general etiort were have been extended, that they cannot to be made to effect the object, I establish a college even in India, withcould present a scheme, for the pur- out attaching to it French professors. pose, of far greater simplicity. The people of the United States fall

4th. The friends of English litera. into the same current of fashionable ture have a deep interest in reforming error ; and our sons and daughters the orthography of the language, for are taught to believe, that a knowits irregularities are among the ledge of the French language, like greatest obstacles to the diffusion of French cotillions, is essential as a poit in foreign countries. This circum- lite accomplishment. Little as men stance has had a material influence are accustomed to reflect upon the in retarding the study of English remote or primary causes of great among foreigners, and giving a revolutions, we may be assured that preference to the French, The the French language has been a prinFrench is far inferior to the English, cipal instrument by which the govin copiousness and strength ; indeed ernment has divided the citizens, and the French is inferior to most lan. vanquished the armies, of the neighguages in Europe. Yet the French bouring states; while it has propanaticu lave had the address to spread gated the most licentious manners, the knowledge of their language, so ud the most detestable system of pothat it is, in a manner, a common litical principles. medium of intercourse in Europe, and To pave the way for this extension in some parts of Asia.

of their language, the French had the Few men seem to have observed policy to refine and improve it, by the connexion of this extension of the purifying its orthography, and reducFrench language with the political ing it to a good degree of regularity. views of the French government, and In short, they first removed the chief its influence upon the manners and obstacles to the easy acquisition of morals of other nations. The their language by foreigners; and French language is unquestionably withicut this previous measure, their one of the principal instruments of efforts would have been wavailextending the influence of the ing. nation from the Ganges to the The English pursue a different wilds of America. The natives of line of conduct; and with a far more France are spread over the habitable excellent language : with more exglobe. Not a country, city, or town, tensive colonial establishments ; with and scarcely a village can be named, an unlimited commerce, and all the in which we may not find Frenchmen, motives to extend their influence, who, either in the charaeters of min- which any nation can hare, they isters, consuls, merchants, travellers, take incredible pains to retain in refugees, teachers of their language, their language, the anomalies which painters, dancing masters, fencing offer almost insurmountable obstamasters, music masters, or barbers, cles to its progress among forare spreading a knowledge of their eigners. Every suggestion of a relanguage, introducing frivolous a- formation is repelled by the dogmas musements and levity of manners, or of Dr. Johnson, or other writers, that securing political attachments with a “ change is inconvenient, even from view to some national advantage. In worse to better, and that there is in no country can the French govern- constancy and stability a general and ment want influence, where a party of lasting advantage, which overbatances friends is not previously secured to the slow improvements of gradual their hands; and the late events in correction." These positions, withant great modification, are not true, might be removed with less effort of and would be as applicable to the a few distinguished characters, than Laplanders and Catfres, as to the

is necessary to carry into effect the English. The principles are just on- object of a single missionary society. ly when they apply to things in them- A language, in which a large part selves ir different, in which custom is of its words are so written, that the the only ground of right or propriety. characters are no certain guides to They are true as they regard the for- the pronunciation, a language which mation of language, and the words may be called a compound of alphaused as symbols of ideas. But when betical writing with hieroglyphics, oral languages are formed, and char- can never make its way extensively acters have acquired a particular among foreigners. sound or use, it is no longer a matter I will only remark further, that the of indifference which characters are opposition to a correction of our orilsed for particular sounds. In this thography is confined, in this councase also the convenience is on the try, to the learned. The great body side of charge. The amount of all of the people are so much perplexed · the trouble attending a reformation with the difficulties of learning to would not equal the inconveniences, spell, that they desire a reformation, which are encountered every month and would readily enılırace it. They in teaching an anomalous language. know not from what cause such ir. In short, the principles, as laid down regularities originate:!, and cannot and perpetually repeated by men of conceive why they are permitted to letters, if they had been adhered to in exist. I have been repeatedly solicitpractice, would have interrupted all ed to undertake the task of reformaimprovement, and chained men to the tion ; but men of letters, who encourcondition of savages. The true prin- age every other improvement, resist ciple to be settled in every question all attempts to improve the orthog. of change, is, whether the advanta- raphy of the language - Quædam imo ges overbalance the inconvenience; virtutes o'lio sunt. Tacitus. and on this question, in this case, The Reviewers recommend to me, there can be no doubts. In regard to before I execute the etymological the propagation of principles of free- part of my undertaking, to study the dom, the arts, sciences, and manufac. various dialects of the ancient British tures ; in regard to everything which language, and name Lhuyd's Archeexalts mankind and tends to diffuse ologia Britannica, as the best ele. the blessings of civilized society; the mentary work on the subject. I sinimprorement of our language deserves cerely thank the gentlemen for their the united efforts of the learned, and advice, and for any assistance which the encouragement of government. they or other English gentlemen will Further, the friends of the Christian

afford me.

But the gentlemen are inreligion have an interest of vast mo- formed that I have already studied ment in the improvement of our lan- Lhuyd, with diligence, and probably guage, as an instrument of propagat- with success, as I have found many of ing the gospel.

the radical words, not only of EngThe colonial establishments of the jish and French, but of the Latin, English, and the missions for preach- which had cscaped the observation of ing the gospel, in the remotest parts others. I have also made discoverof the earth present to the friends of ies calculated to illustrate some points religion, science and civilization, a of ancient history. It is my ca rnest most animating prospect. In Asia, desire to prosecute my designs to a Africa, and the South Seas, the Eng- niscful conclusion ; but my means tish ate laying the foundation of are scanty, the labour Herculean, and empires, which shall consist of their the discouragements numerous and descendants; but the diffusion of formidable. their language among foreigners will

N. WEBSTER, be greatly retarded by the difficulty of learning it ; an obstacle which New-Hirven, June 10, 1807.

Review of new publications.

The New Cyclopædia : or Uni- A Cyclopædia professes to

versal Dictionary of Arts and give a brief, though, in a great Sciences : Formed upon a more

measure, a satisfactory account, enlarged plan of arrangement

not only of the Arts and Scienthan the Dictionary of Mr. ces, properly so called, but also Chambers. Comprehending the of those branches of knowledge, various articles of that work, which derive most of their imwith additions and improve. portance from daily use. Inments : Together with the new deed the advantage most expectsubjects of Biography, Geograç ed and desired, by subscribers in phy, and History; and adapted general, is that which results to the present state of literaiure from having within their reach a and science. By Abraham Rees, manual, by which they may satisD. D. F. R. S. Editor of the last fy their curiosity, correci their edition of Mr. Chambers' Dice mistakes, and, upon a hasty tionary. With the assistance of reference, gain that information, eminent, professional gentlemen, which may be immediately useIllustrated with new plates, in- ful. The adept in science, and cluding maps, engraved for the the accomplished scholar, while work by some of the most distin- prosecuting their studies, have guished artists. First Ameri. recourse rather to the original can edition, revised, corrected, treatises, in which most of the enlarged, and adapted to this advances in science, and incountry, by several literary and ventions in arts, are made known scientific characters. Philadels to the world. The UNIVERSAL ta. Samuel F. Bradford. DICTIONARY may more properly Vol. I. Part I.

be compared to a vast magazine,

filled by the industry of man, and In entering upon the review containing supplies for ordinary of a publication so extensive and wants, and materials for future important,

Universal labour, than to a magnificent Dictionary of the Arts and Scien- palace, or a solemn temple. To ces, we deem it not improper to such a work as this of Dr. Rees, mention some of the characteris- the artisan, the navigator, the tics, which ought to distinguish a merchant, the traveller, and the work of this kind, that it may agriculturist, as well as those who effect, as far as possible, the

are engaged in the learned probeneficial purposes, which alone fessions, recur for the acquisigive it a claim to patronage. No tion of that general knowledge, objections, we presume, can be which few, if any private librajustly made to the propriety of ries contain, and which every such a delineation, as it will man of extensive views must, at obviously assist both ourselves some period, find necessary. and our readers, in the different Hence the first publication of stages of our progress.

an Encyclopædia was hailed by Vol. III. No. 3.




Let us


the scientific part of mankind, ally tend to undermine the great as an improvement of high and foundations of morality and redistinguished importance to the ligion. A sincere Christian, cause of learning.

writing on almost any subject, That one compilation cannot will show to his readers, OR contain all that has been writo which side he ranks himself, in ten, nor even all that has been

the great contest, which has alwell written on every subject, ways existed in the world, beis sufficiently obvious. It is tween the friends of God and his necessary, that the scientific enemies. Such has been the heads should be treated with practice of many of the most repeculiar caution and ability. A splendent lumiparies of English small mistake in a chain of argu- literature ; and such will continments, in a demonstration, or in ue to be the practice of those, an experimental process, may

who feel a solemn responsibility terminate in absurdity. Clear- for all their actions, and particuness in every thing, intended for larly for those actions, by which instruction, is an indispensable the rising generation may be requisite ; and this indeed is an materially influenced. excellence, in which the copier not be misunderstood to approve and abridger may be supposed of that species of cant, by which to surpass the author and in vent. religion is irreverently dragged

The author himself, having into every paragraph, however a clear conception of his own incoherently, and unnecessarily, ideas, naturally imagines that lie and the same hackneyed observacommunicates them clearly to tions are repeated on a thousand others, which is not always the different occasions, where they fact, but the copyist, who in this neither elucidate, nor enforce ; respect stands in the place of where they give neither strength the reader, and perceives his to argument, nor animation to obscurities of style, or ambigui. piety. Let Christians profit by ties of expression, may casily the plans, and the diligence of correct them.

infidels. It is well known, that The articles of biography are the enemies of revelation during of primary importance. This the last half century have employspecies of writing is the most ed all their ingenuity

ingenuity and useful branch of history. The strength in every species of biographer ought therefore to publication, to infuse and spread possess the qualities, which their malignant theories through constitute a good historian, but the world, and that in Dictionaespecially a fixed and inflexible ries and Encyclopædias, they have regard to truth; and uniformly found an ample field for their to reject everything, which purpose. No walk of literature savours of sectarian bigotry, or has been secure from their open the animosity of party.

assaults, or insidious ambuscades. But above all, the Editors of a It is therefore of peculiar imporCyclopædia ought to be careful, tance, that the friends of truth as friends to their fellow men, cast not away the weapons, and servants of their Maker, to which Providence may put into admit nothing, which will nature their hands, and that they be

constantly mindful of the cause, first plan, and to pledge himself which they are bound to support; in the remainder of the work, to and of the means, which may be retain the whole of the English used with inost success.

copy, and to enclose all additionThese are some of the most al matter in crotchets. The important characteristics, which principles, which are to govern we would wish to find in a Uni- the gentlemen employed by the versal Dictionary. We shall Editor, to examine and remark now briefly mention some of the on the articles, which relate to improvements, which the public morals and theology, are an. has a right to expect in this A. nounced in the following words : merican edition.

“ Since, indeed, it has been deter. The American Editor, in his mined that nothing which appears in advertisement states, that he

" Rees' New Cyclopædia”shall hence

forth be omitted in the American edi. " has engaged, in the various de

tion of the work, we thought it inpartments of science and litera

cumbent to avow, and we have accord. ture, the assistance of gentlemen, ingly here avowed, the principles whose talents and celebrity do which will govern us in examining honour to their country, and will and remarking on the moral and the.

ological opinions which it exhibits. essentially enrich this great and

We are sensible that this is an ardu. important work. Several im- ous, an important, and a delicate duty. portant additions and corrections We have approached it not without have been made to the present

undissembled diffidence in our ability

to discharge it worthily. In its exepart ; [Part I. Vol. I.]

cution we believe that we can prom. times in the body of an article,

ise diligence and vigilance; and we without any distinguishing mark, shall endeavour not io transgress the but most generally at the end, prescriptions of decorum, the laws of and enclosed in crotchets.” Anx

candour, nor the demands of Christian

meekness. With all this, however, ious for the honour of American

we believe it to be perfectly consistliterature, we received this infor

ent to say, that it will be matter of mation with mingled pleasure little concern to us in what class of and solicitude. On examination

living literary merit the name may be of the first half volame, in refer

enrolled, or in wliat niche of the tem

ple of fame the statue may be found, ence to the additions and omis

of bim who has touched irreverently sions made by the American the hallowed depository of God's reEditor, in conformity to his orig

vealed will. In the best manner we inal plan, we are free to make

can, we will withstand his audacity, this general remark, that, with

expose his impiety, and invest bim

with his proper character: for we few exceptions, both have been

believe with Young, that“ with the judicious, and real improve- talents of an angel, a man may be a ments of the work. But loud,

fool.” Those who sympathise with and we think unreasonable, com

heretics and infidels will in vain en

deavour to turn us from our purpose. plaints were raised against the

Our work is sacred and we dare not Editor, on account of his omis, slight it. Our responsibility is not sions in some particular articles, only to man, but to God.” and against the plan of omitting We are, on the whole, pleased any part of the English edition with this change in the plan of These complaints induced the the Editor, as it removes all American Editor to change his ground of complaint against him


« PredošláPokračovať »