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Review.-Gilchrist's Philosophic Etymology.
was to him as Saul's armour to David must lie on the very surface of obviousness cambersome because it had not been 4. That all the dialects must be essentially proved. He had wandered ten years (for but one language. 5. That tbe whole he became a student somewbat late in wilderness of words must have arisen life) in the wilderness of words ; often from a few expressive signs originally conlooking wistfully up the hill of knowledge, nected with sensible objects. 6. That but as often despairing of climbing to the therefore the whole multitude of parts and summit. Frequently indeed he returned varieties in language, or that all words to his fruitless efforts with a kind of de must be resolvable into a few simple sperate courage ; but as frequently did he elements, indicating by resemblance visible retire from the hopeless contest, under a objects. 7. That there could be nothing mortifying sense of disappointment and arbitrary about language. 8. That no useless effort.
words could be primarily or properly in“ The truth is, he at last sunk into significant."-Introd. pp. i.-iii. despair of ever knowing even the English “ As the author continued to study his language to his own satisfaction; or so as subject, it became progressively more to be able to experiment with it accurately simple to his perceptions than he thought as an instrument of science; and it had it could possibly be in its own nature; for 'actually become one of his fixed opinions, we are so educated and disciplined into the that man is fated to be the dupe of his belief of abstruseness and ingenious mysown inventions; that language of which ticalness, connected with learned and phihe so much boasts is the greatest of all losophic questions, as to be constantly impostors; and that no remedy could be overlooking obvious truth, or deeming it found for verbal, that is metaphysical not worth finding and raising into the deception and mischief. Thus for a con- dignity of science. Every man of any siderable time he heartily despised not pretension to philosophic thinking, would only the systems of learning that owe their blush to refuse for his motto: Simplicity origin to language, but language itself, as is the seal of truth. But who does not a mere Babel-jargon intended or calculated seem to consider it the badge of intellecto be a curse rather than a blessing—the tual poverty ? Frequently bas the author parent of error, metaphysical nonsense, felt over his discoveries as Bruce did at false-reasoning, endless controversy, con the source of the Nile. Frequently has he tention and animosity.
been ready to exclaim with the good “ With this opinion and contempt of Parisians, who had anticipated a grand language, it is probable that the author spectacle at the entrée of the allies : Is this would hare been content to pity and all ! deride the learning that prevails, without “ As may be supposed, the more that endeavouring to rectify it, had not an he studied words in different dialects, the incident which it is unnecessary to name,
more did he ascertain their true nature roused him into a resolution of attempt- and origin. It was not, however, till he ing to rid the world of intellectual bondage analized the alphabet and resolved its and metaphysical imposture. He had diversities into their primary form, that always (he means from the time he became he could experiment with certainty on a student) a kind of intuitive perception etymology. It was now discovered and and conviction that all the systems of proved at every step, that as men bave grammar, rhetoric, logic, &c. which pre few ideas, few senses, and are familiar vail, are wrong ; but believing the origin with few objects, so there are few primiof all learned absurdities to be language tive words."-Introd. pp. v. ri. itself, he perceived not how the evil
That our readers may see at once could be remedied; and supposed that the object of the present work, we shall learned men must go on as they had done, lay before them the author's analysis boasting of their technical nonsense. He of his philological principles, which, at last, however, perceived, he thought, he says, he has given in his introducand the Babel-systems confounded into tion, that they may be seen and silence. As the radical evil was perceived examined in their most naked form." to be in language, it was evident that “1. There is nothing arbitrary about there the remedy must be applied. He language. 2. All the dialects as Hebrew, resolved therefore to create another kind Celtic, Greek, Latin, &c. are essentially . of grammar and lexicography than had but one language. They have such hitherto prevailed; in attemptiog which, diversities as may be termed idioms; but the principles he laid down were as fol- with all their circumstantial varieties, low:
they have substantial uniformity: they 1. That language was a haman inven- proceed on the same principles and have tion. 2. That it was a simple invention. the saine origin. The philosophic gram3. That the true nature of true philology mar and lexicograpby of one, is in reality
Review.-Gilchrist's Philosophic Etymology:
541 that of all. 3. There are no words and not more guilty of fanaticism primarily and properly insignificant. than our author is of modesty, that 4. There are many words that have ceased language had a divine origin. Since to be significant, as they are commonly, it is plain that man must soon have employed. Many of the particles, inclu- perished had he been thrown at his ding attixes and prefixes, conjunctions, creation naked upon the earth, abanprepositions, articles, &c. are of this de- doned to the unassisted efforts of his ,scription, and may be termed the mummies of language. 5. Every word that to require no great stretch of faith to
own untutored powers, it might seem cannot be identified with the name of a believe that the Being who fostered sensible object, is either partly or wholly mummified. 6. The use of insignificant him, gave him also language. But an words, or using words insignificantly, is opinion so unphilosophical and childthe chief, if not the only cause of verbal, ish our author has refuted in his arrothat is metapbysical imposture ; and alí gant and easy way, simply by decla. unintelligible or false reasoning is merely ring that “ as for those who still conmetaphysical imposture. Metaphysics as tinue to consider langnage as arbitrary, a science could have never existed but for or as invented and taught by the Deity, the mummies of language, and the relics. they must not be offended if I tell and ghosts of meaning. 7. All words are then that they are unworthy of notice.” primarily and properly metaphorical ; or . We
e may venture to assure the to vary the expression,-language whether writer that they will not be offended. spoken or written, originated in simile; Their vanity must exceed, if possible, and metaphor is commonly explained to
the measure of his own, could they be be" a simile comprised in a word.” The author does not wish to dispute about offended, that they are not thought such unmeaning or half-meaning terms as worthy of notice by a man of such metaphor, &c. ; but he wishes it to be lofty genius that to his mind “Virgil distinctly understood, that the vulgaris a dull versifier, and Tully a petly errors—he means the errors of the literary rhetorician;" and whose taste is so vulgar, respecting metaphorical and literal exquisite, that he is able to say, terms, are the cause of much metaphysical
: “Twenty times have I attempted to imposture, much critical, logical, gram- read the writings of Addison, but I could matical and rhetorical nonsense. What
• never succeed in getting through a single are called literal terms, such as time, volume. I did get twice through Virgil space, mind, spirit, &c., are like worn by the gracious aid of an etymological mooutcoin, or effaced inscriptions, the tive; but I believe' twenty etymological meaning or value of which, being never motires would not drag me through the ascertained, occasions everlasting conjec- volumes of Addison ; and I declare, upon ture and controversy. 8. Almost every my honour and conscience, as an author, sentence is elliptical. 9. Almost every that I would rather fairly eat them up and word is put elliptically. 10. Almost every digest them down, (all, saving and exceptword is a compound of two or more words. ing the boards,) than give them my pre11. All words are resolvable into a few
cious days and nights.”—P. 215. primitives ; or thus, all the seeming multitude of words are merely various spell In reviewing a work written in the ings and pronunciations of the names of a intolerant and supercilious manner of few striking and familiar objects; as the our author, it is difficult to refrain. bead, foot, hand, eye, ear, mouth, &c. from making at every step such re12. As all words are resolvable into the marks upon the spirit and style of the letters of the alphabet, so all the letters production as may create prejudice of the alphabet are resolvable into one against the substance and argument of primary form.
13. That primary form the book. Since, however, it is to was employed as a sign or representation the interest of knowledge, that, if any of visible objects. 14. This method of significancy by similitude, is the origin of advance has been made in illusirating all written language. 15. There are rery the principles and history of language, few words, which were primarily uns rit- the discovery should be known, and ten, or which originated in an imitation circulated as soon as possible, we of natural sounds.
shall present our readers with a few “ If these principles can be overturned, extracis that will shew what has been , the philology of the author will prove of done or attempted in the present course a baseless fabric.”—Introd. pp. treatise on grammar; having first XX.—xxii.
taken leave of the writer by recomIt has been and is still the opinion mending to his notice what his faith of many men of sound understanding, and calling must have taught him to reYOL. XI.
Review.-Gilchrist's Philosophic Etymology. spect, the apostolicexhortation to Christ In the second part the following ians and Christian teachers, " Think propositions are laid down. That not more highly of yourselves than ye ' meaning, rather than pronunciation and ought to think, but think soberly.". spelling, is to be considered as the
The work is divided into five parts : great guide of etymologic investigain the first, the nature and origin of tion;"—that “ every word is to be Alphabetic Signs is considered; in the considered significant;" that “ every second the canon of Etymology is syllable of every word is to be conestablished; in the third, the princi- sidered significant;" that “ every letter ples laid down in the two first parts of every syllable is to be considered are applied to unfold the component significant;" that “all words are priparts of speech; in the fourth, the marily and properly the signs of visible common system of English grammar objects;" that every word is primais considered ; and in the fifth, a rily an adjective, that is expressire of standard of Orthography is established. some quality, circumstance, or manner The reader, whose object is know- of being;" that “almost every word ledge, will read the three first parts is a compound;" that “the constant with that awakened attention which tendency of words in passing from is natural, when we expect continually mouth to mouth is to contract, not to some great light to break in upon the dilate-to lose, not to assume letters;" mind. The fourth part will afford that “all the vowels, labials, dentals, entertainment to those who read prin- in brief, all the letters of the alphabet cipally to be amused; they will are resolvable into gutturals, and all acknowledge that, whether right or the gutturals into one character." wrong, the author is not dull. In the “ When I say one character,” the first part, which respects the origin author adds, “I mean one form of of the alphabet, the following propo- character or kind of sign, namely, the sitions are maintained ;-that " letters circular form; but there might be of smoother and easier utterance are to originally many sizes, bearing some be considered as growing out of those proportion real or supposed to the of harsher and more difficult utterance, magnitude of visible objects, with but not vice versa. Thus gutturals other contrivances to distinguish one (or letters formed in the throat) particular visible object from another, become dentals (letters formed by as a whole circle to represent the sun, putting the teeth together); dentals and a half circle to represent the become labials (letters formed by clo- moon; and the sign might be repeated sing the lips); consonants become or compounded into two, three, or vowels; but vowels do not become any number." The result is, which consonants, nor labials gutturals.” we give in Mr. G.'s own words, to That “those forms of letters most shew that he has honesty as well as speedily and most easily written, or rudeness : rather graved, (for graving on leaves of “ The whole of written language, or trees, on stone, wood, lead, brass, that system of alphabetic signs, originally &c., was the first mode of writing and addressed to the eye, is resolvable into printing,) are to be considered as CR, CL; or LC, RC, &c. signifying derivatives, varieties, or corruptions of round or roundlike. This is the foundathose forms graved most slowly and tion of what shall hereafter be called the difficulty, but not vice versa." That New Philology. If this can be overturned, "significancy by signs was prior to any my system of language must fall, and significancy bý sounds” --and that therefore I show its opponents (if it shall “the first attempt at articulate sounds or be opposed) where to strike; only, if they speech was by expressing with the would not retire from the attack with dismouth the form of curiologic signs, grace, they must proceed with judgment, that is of circular marks or variations and must not rashly infer that because of the circle." For the proof of these they cannot resolve all the parts of written propositions we must refer to the above proposition is false. But that no
language into such a simple origin, the treatise itself, in which the curious
one may, through misconception, enter will find enough to entertain, if not to
upon useless controrersy and verbosities, convince them ; for though Mr. Gil- let it be observed that tbere are many christ deals much in assertion, he names given to objects, whose form (the does not merely assert.
form of the objects, is not round or round
Review.-Gilchrist's Philosophic Etymology.
ish, and whose form was not contemplated all verbal terminations in all the dialects. in the imposition of their names; yet It has been the fashiou of late, indeed, their names are after all resolvable into with some Greek and Latin grammarians, CR, &c., signifying round or roundish." to consider them as primarily pronouns : Pp. 75, 76.
in this they are wearer the truth than We cannot forbear to insert the themselves are aware of, (for eth however author's note at this place, for it is a
diversified, is originally the same as what literary curiosity.
are called pronouns,) yet it is not as they
mean it. Horne Tooke seems to have con“I hesitated for some time, whether I sidered th, do and to, as the same word, should not leave the eighteenth (I ought but what he considered do he did not to apologize for giving so many) proposi- communicate. In Hebrew, ath, the gramtion wholly unsheltered by explanation marians say truly, “ seldom admits of and proof, to invite attack, and draw on translation into English after an active controversy; for I do not expect it to be verb, (nor does the verbal termination eth generally admitted without resistance: in English, admit of translation into any but on further reflection, it appeared un other language) : when prefixed to a person wise to induce war, which comes soon
it commonly signifies with.' Wilson's Heenough through all precautions for peace.” brew Grammar.—This is always its signifi-Note, P. 76.
cation when it has any signification, wheAs the contents of the third part, ther it be called a preposition, as ad, at; or which consists of an application of the a conjunction, as and, et; a termination as ahove principles to the analysis of the in amnat, amat-us, amans, amant-is, &c.
The reader must be now convinced that component parts of speech, could not be presented in a form very much verbal, participial and simple adjective terabridged with fairness, we shall con
minations, (those which do not denote tent ourselves with an extract which negation, diminution or augmentation, our readers may consider as
are all alike merely connective, and in fact,
the same copula, somewhat varied in its sample of the whole dissertation.
form by the accidents of pronunciation and “ The verbal terminations are merely spelling.”—Pp. 100-102. connective. There is strictly but one verbal termination, though it be diversified solved the great problem of language,
Whether our author has or has not by various spelling and pronunciation : ath, (the very same as the Hebrew ath,) whether he has untied the knot or aith, eth, or ith, &c. was the older form, merely cut it, we shall leave to the which became ed, et, es, est, an, en, &c.; sagacity of his readers to determine. en (which is now in Dutch the conjunction He has, as he is fully persuaded, folanswering to our and) is still connected lowed up the most remote parts of with many words; as seen, known, &c. speech, through every winding, and in what is called the past participle: it is sometimes up passages sufficiently rugalso firmly grafted into many words, as ged and abrupt, to brighten, lighten, drown, &c.; nay, it is channel; he has also pursued that to both prefixed and postfixed to some words, its fountain, the supposed source of all as enlighten, enliven. The reader will written language, and he declares it perceire in these instances how liable words to be neither more nor less than the are to be used superfluously and insignifi. cypher which is raised from insignificantly: in enliven the conneetive is put twice ; in enlivepeth is is put thrice; in
cance into significancy almost infinite, enlivenedst it is put four times.”-P. 99.
or the circle, under all its variations “It is always a certain sign of idolatry, into greater or less, single or double, or of a Babel-system, when the tongues of more or less regular, &c. We do not those employed about it are divided. certainly intend prediction ; butas There has been wonderful gibbering about the author in a moment of extraordithe wonders of THE VERB ; and among nary diffidence has imagined what the rest Dr. Crombie is seriously alarmed may happen, we shall annex the paslest this important part of speech be de- sage, both as it shews that he is pregraded from its true dignity into a mere pared for the worst, and as it presents participle.
him to the reader in a gentle and even “ It would be superiuous to explain eth tender and elegiac mood.
“ He," to the intelligent reader ; he must perceive (meaning the author of Etymologicon that like en, ed, es, it is merely a connec- Magnum, to whom in very gratitude tive, whether affixed to what is called a
our author owed an elegy)verb, an adjective, a noun, or any word whatever ; and it would be easy to con “ He was almost within sight of the vince him that this is the primary use of proper starting post of etymological ig
Review.-Estlin's Discourse in Defence of Unitarianism.
vestigation, yet deviated far from the ciples of Unitarians, and to vindicate right way
himself and his brethren from the * And found no end in wandering mazes charges of their opponents, and partilost.'
cularly Bishop Burgess. The disThis notice which I have been led unin
course is marked by so much sound tentionally to take of the labours of Mr. sense, so much becoming solemnity, Whiter, diffuses a tender melancholy over
and such correct Scriptural knowmy mind; for in turning from them I have ledge, and contains so many passages often said to myself with an involuntary of great beauty, that we cannot but sigh, what a poor fallible thing is the wish it were in the hands of all those human understanding! Perhaps after all readers that have been taught by the this anxious thinking and toilsome inquiry Bishop of St. David's and a few likeI shall only make a book to lie on the same minded writers, that Unitarians are shelf, or to be thrown to the same heap, not entitled to the privileges of Christwith Etymologicon Magnum.”—P.78.
ians, the courtesy of scholars or the
rights of men. Art. III.-A Unitarian Christian's Statement and Defence of his Princi
“ In the name of justice, of humanity ples with reference particularly to the and of Christianity, what is that great Charges of the Rt. Rev. the Ld. Bp. superiority of intellectual and moral of St. David's. A Discourse, de worth, which he who has received the livered at Langyndeirn, near Cai
Trinitarian system, or who professes to inarthen, on Thursday the 6th of whose understanding can only admit the
have received it, enjoys over the person July, 1815, at the Annual Meeting Unitarian system ; that wealth and hoof the Society of Unitarian Christ
nours, and all the advantages of this life, ians in South Wales, and published should be open to the one, and that the at their request, with Notes. By other should not only be subject to the John Prior Estlin, LL. D. 8vo. pp. most degrading privations, but “be every 88. Hunier. 1815.
where spoken against;" and to crown all, ISHOP BURGESS is entitled to that one should be admitted into the
the thanks of the Unitarians for regions of everlasting happiness, and the keeping alive the Trinitarian contro
other be exposed to the curse of God for
“O Lord! how long !”—P. 41.
upon them, but he
“ This last circumstance we know is of for they lead honest, candid and intel. ligent minds to suspect very properly consider it as the circumstance which
a temporary nature; and although we that the prelate is conscious of the operates most powerfully against us, yet weakness of his cause, and is afraid
we feel a full confidence froin the general to let it rest upon its own merits, circulation of the Bible and the increasing
The good Bishop may see the inn- light and liberality which that occasions, potence of episcopal fulminations by that its operation will soon cease. Nothing looking around his diocese. There is more changeable than fashion. If erer Unitarian churches have been recently the ideas of superiority of intellect should formed and they hold their
associations be associated with the religious tenets of a under his lordship's eye. This sermon Newton and a Locke --of coarseness, inpreached before one of these may shew consistency and even nonsense with soine Dr. Burgess that elevated as he is in modern systems which have attracted the his own church, he is esteemed by notice of the gaping crowd-of sublimity his Unitarian neighbours like any propriety of feeling with unadulterated
of conception, correctness of taste and not give weight to idle declamation Christianity; if ever this period should or hide the meanness and malignity
arrive--surely it cannot be very remote !
the thousands who now only think with of slander.
us, will speak and act with us; and those Not confining himself to the ordi- whose minds are composed of matter too nary plan of a sermon, Dr. Estlin
soft a lasting mark to bear," will thea rakes occasion from Acts xxiv. 14, to exhibit the visible impression of Unitarianstate, defend and enforce the prin- ism. lm the mean time, all that we want