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cut 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 Caffres, 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 thiem- A language, in which a large part selves in 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 orused 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 change.
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 embrace it. They in teaching an anomalous language. know not from what cause such irIn short, the principles, as laid down regularities originated, 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 orthogof change, is, whether the advanta- raphy of the language-- Quædam imo ges overbalance the inconvenience; virtutes olio 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 doin, the arts, sciences, and manufac. various dialects of the ancient British tures ; in regard to every thing 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 sinimprovement ofour language deserves cerely thank the gentlemen for their the united efforts of the learned, and advice, and for any assistance which the encouragement of governinent. they or other English gentlemen will Further, the friends of the Christian
But the gendemen are inreligion have an interest of vast mo. formed that I have already studied ment in the improvement of our lan. Lhuvd, 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 lish French, but of the Latin, Erzlish, and the missions for preach- which had escaped 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 carnest most animating prospect. In Asia, desire to prosecute my designs to a Africa, and the South Seas, the Eng- useful conclusion ; but my means lish are laving 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 les
an obstacle which New Haven, June 10, 1807.
Review of Dew Publications.
The New Cyclopædia : or Uni.
A Cyclopedia 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, Geogra- ed and desired, by subscribers in phy, and History; and adapted general, is that which results to the present state of literature 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, correct 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 distinc 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. Philadel. to the world. The UNIVERSAL thia. Samuel F. Bradford. Dictionary may more properly Vol. 1. Part I.
be compared to a vast magazine,
filled by the industry of man, and Ix entering upon the review containing supplies for ordinary of a publication) so extensive and wants, and materials for future important, as an
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.
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, on contain all that has been writ- 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 luminaries 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 l ho feel a solemn responsibility terminate in absurdity. Clear for all their actions, and particuness m 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.
Let us 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 invent- religion is irreverently dragged or. The author himself, having into every paragraph, however a clear conception of his own incoherently, and unnecessarily, ideas, naturally imagines that he and the same hackneyed observacominunicates 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 easily 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 emplosspecies of writing is the most ed all their 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 inflexibleries 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 sectorian bigotry, or has been secure from their open the animosity of party.
assaults, or insidious ambuscades. But alove all, the Editors of a It is therefore of peculiar imporCyclopædia ought lo be careful, tance, that the friends of truth as friends to their fellow men, cast away the weapons, and servants of their Maker, to which providence may put into admit nothing, which will natur- 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 most 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 Fe 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 anhas 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 iripartments of science and litera
cumbent to avow, and we have accordture, the assistance of gentlemen, ingly here avowed, the principles whose talents and celebrity do
which will govern us in examining bonour to their country, and will and remarking on the moral and the essentially enrich this great and
ological opinions which it exhibits.
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 part ; [Part I. Vol. I.]
to discharge it worthily. In its exe. some
cution we believe that liç can promtimes in the body of an article,
ise diligence and vigilances and we without any distinguishing mark, shall endeavour not to 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, jous 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 volume, in refer- enrolled, or in what niche of the temence to the additions and omis- of him who has touched irreverently
ple of fame the statue may be found, sions made by the American the hallowed depository of God's reEditor, in conformity to his orig.
vealed wilt. 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, drly 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
or his assistants, of partiality in sive matter. Some of the sendeciding on the parts to be u- tences, left out, however, we mitted ; as it also affords oppor. think should have been retained, tunity for stating both sides of a and we unfeignedly regret their question, in “ matters of doubt- omission. Still we think this ful disputation ;" and especially distinguished character stands as we feel a confidence that suffi- uninjured, and sufficiently high, cient antidotes will be provided as delineated in the American against all the poisonous senti- edition ; unless any should think ments and insinuations, which it necessary to the perfection of are scattered through the Eng- a biographical sketch to anticilish edition. Some inconve- pate the judgment of the great niences, however, will evidently day, presumptuously to usurp result from this restriction. It the prerogative of Heaven, and will of necessity considerably in- pronounce the sentence of the crease the size of the work. final Judge. The article America, for exam- In the article of American Biple, has been enlarged to nearly ography, the publisber, in his twice its original size ; and prin- advertisement, announces his cipally for the purpose of con- determination to make such artradicting and disproving false rangements as shall lay claim to statements, copied from interest- some degree of originality. This ed, partial, or ignorant, romantic promise, if punctually fulfilled, travellers. Had these statements will doubtless enhance the value been either wholly omitted, or at of the work, in the opinion of once corrected, the article would every American, who looks with have been much contracted, and reverence and affection on the freed from that controversial long list of venerable names, form in which it now appears. which shed a lustre over his
Another inconvenience, at- country. When we consider tending the execution of this our means of information with new plan is, that it naturally leads respect to the characters of our to unnecessary controversy, and most celebrated men, it is naturwill, we apprehend, sometimes al to expect that material addilead to bitter controversy. The tions will be made to this most article Abernethy, would proba- interesting branch of knowledge. bly have led to this, had it not The geographical articles, been altered previously to the which relate to this country, it adoption of the present plan. In may also be justly expected, that article, as it appears in the will receive great improvements. English edition, some violent Not only our distance from Eupartisan has embraced the op- rope, but the rapidity, with which portunity to censure, in the most alterations take place in our popreproachful language, a whole ulation, wealth, and national order of respectable men. The greatness, renders it highly im American Editor, by a few omis- probable, that a correct and imsions and alterations, has judi- partial description of the United ciously expunged from the ar- States will ever be given by forticle this extraneous and offen- eigners. To this part of their