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investigation respecting the sense attributed to the words which the author has examined. This conformity must be allowed to be more satisfactory than if I had followed, with perfect confidence, the path which Akerblad has traced: I must however, confess that it relates only to a few of the first steps of the investigation; and that the greatest and the most difficult part of the translation still remains unsupported by the authority of any external evidence of this kind." (Leitch, p. 18.) Nearly three weeks after writing the above, Young sent another letter to M. de Sacy, together with a Coptic and demotic alphabet derived partly from Akerblad, and partly from his own researches, and a list of eighty-six demotic words with the words corresponding to them in the Greek version. Of these words, he says: "Three were observed by de Sacy, sixteen by Akerblad, and the remainder by himself." In January, 1815, Akerblad addressed a long letter to Young, together with which he sent a translation of some lines of the Rosetta Stone inscription, and some notes upon it. Regarding his own work he says: "During the ten years which have Akerblad's elapsed since my departure from Paris, I have devoted but a about'S few moments, and those at long intervals, to the monument
his own of Rosetta For, in fact, I have always felt that the
results of my researches on this monument are deficient in that sort of evidence which carries with it full conviction, and you, Sir, as well as M. de Sacy, appear to be of my opinion in this respect I must however give you notice before
hand, that in most cases you will only receive a statement of my doubts and uncertainties, together with a few more plausible conjectures; and I shall be fully satisfied if these last
shall appear to deserve your attention and approbation
If again the inscriptions were engraved in a clear and distinct character like the Greek and Latin inscriptions of a certain antiquity, it would be easy, by the assistance of the proper names of several Greek words which occur in it, some of which I have discovered since the publication of my letter to M. de Sacy, and of many Egyptian words, the sense of which is determined; it would be easy, I say, to form a perfectly correct alphabet of these letters ; but here another difficulty occurs ; the alphabetical characters which, without doubt, are of very high antiquity in Egypt, must have been in common use for many centuries before the date of the decree; in the course of this time, these letters, as has happened in all other countries, have acquired a very irregular and fanciful form, so as to constitute a kind of running hand." (Leitch, p. 33.) In August, 1815, Young replied to Akerblad's letter, and discussed the passages where his own translation differed from that of Akerblad.
In July, 1815, de Sacy sent a letter to Young, which DeSacy contains the following remarkable passages: "Monsieur, yovmg
outre la traduction Latine de l'inscription Egyptienne que vous against f 1 1 ■ • 1 Cham
m avez communiquée, j ai reçu postérieurement une autre ira- poiiion.
duct ion A nglaise, imprimée, que je n'ai pas en ce moment sous
les yeux, l'ayant prêtée à M. Champollion sur la demande que
son frère m'en a faite d'après une lettre qu'il m'a dit avoir reçue
de vous Je pense, Monsieur, que vous êtes plus avancé
aujourd'hui et que vous lisez une grande partie, du moins, du
texte Egyptien. Si/ai un conseil à vous donner, c'est de ne pas
trop communiquer vos découvertes à M. Champollion. Il se
pourrait faire qu'il prétendit ensuite à la priorité. Il cherche
en plusieurs endroits de son ouvrage à faire croire qu'il a
découvert beaucoup des mots de l'inscription Egyptienne de
Rosette. J'ai bien peur que ce ne soit là que du charlatanisme;
j'ajoute même que j'ai de fortes raisons de le penser Au
surplus, je ne saurais me persuader que si M. Akerblad,
Et. Quatremère, ou Champollion avait fait des progrès réels dans
la lecture du texte Egyptien, ils ne se fussent pas plus empressés
de faire part au public de leur découverte. Ce serait une
modestie bien rare, et dont aucun d'eux ne me parait capable."
(Leitch, p. 51.)
In a letter to de Sacy, dated 3rd August, 1815, Young says: "You may, perhaps, think me too sanguine in my expectations of obtaining a knowledge of the hieroglyphical language in general from the inscription of Rosetta only; and I will confess to you that the difficulties are greater than a superficial view of the subject would induce us to suppose. The Young number of the radical characters is indeed limited, like °,n 1V<:ro"
that of the keys of the Chinese; but it appears that these characters are by no means universally independent of each other, a combination of two or three of them being often employed to form a single word, and perhaps even to represent a simple idea; and, indeed, this must necessarily happen where we have only about a thousand characters for the expression of a whole language. For the same reason it is impossible that all the characters can be pictures of the things which they represent: some, however, of the symbols on the stone of Rosetta have a manifest relation to the objects denoted by them. For instance, a Priest, a Shrine, a Statue, an Asp, a Mouth, and the Numerals, and a King is denoted by a sort of plant with an insect, which is said to have been a bee; while a much greater number of the characters have no perceptible connexion with the ideas attached to them; although it is probable that a resemblance, either real or metaphorical, may have existed or have been imagined when they were first employed; thus a Libation was originally denoted by a hand holding a jar, with two streams of a liquid issuing from it, but in this inscription the representation has degenerated into a bird's foot. With respect to the epistolographic or enchorial character, it does not seem quite certain that it could be explained even if the hieroglyphics were perfectly understood, for many of the characters neither resemble the corresponding hieroglyphics, nor are capable of being satisfactorily resolved into an alphabet of any kind : in short, the two characters might be supposed to belong to different languages ; for they do not seem to agree even in their manner of forming compound from simple terms." (Leitch, pp. 5 S, 56.) Writing to de Sacy in the following year (5th May, 1816) touching the question of the alphabetic nature of the inscription on the Rosetta Stone, he says: "Si vous lisez la Iettre de M. Akerblad, vous conviendrez, je crois, qu'au moins il n'a pas 6t6 plus heureux que moi dans ses lecons Coptes del'inscription. Mais le vrai est que la chose est impossible dans l'etendue que vous paraissez encore vouloir lui donner, car assur^ment l'inscription enchoriale n'est alphabdtique que dans un sens tres
born£ Je me suis borne dernierement a 1'^tude des
hie>oglyphes, ou plut6t a la collection d'inscriptions hiero
glyphiques Les caracteres que j'ai decouverts jettent
deja quelques lumieres sur les antiques de l'Egypte. J'ai reconnu, par exemple, le nom de Ptolémée dans diverses Young deinscriptions à Philse, à Esné et à Ombos, ce qui fixe à peu nTmeofhe près la date des édifices où ce nom se trouve, et c'est même Ptolemy, quelque chose que de pouvoir distinguer dans une inscription quelconque les caractères qui expriment les noms des personnages auxquels elle a rapport." (Leitch, p. 60.)
On 10th November, 1814, Champollion sent to the President of the Royal Society a copy of his L'Egypte sous les Pharaons, and in the letter which accompanied it said, "La base de mon travail est la lecture de l'inscription en caractères Egyptiens, qui est l'un des plus beaux ornemens du riche Musée Britannique; je veux parler du monument trouvé à Rosette. Les efforts que j'ai faits pour y réussir n'ont point été, s'il m'est permis de le dire, sans quelques succès; et les résultats que je crois avoir obtenus après une Youngand étude constante et suivie, m'en font espérer de plus grands Kon onr*-1 encore." (Leitch, p. 63.) He asked also that a collation of respond, the Rosetta Stone with the copy of it which he possessed might be made, and suggested that a cast of it should be presented to each of the principal libraries, and to the most celebrated Academies of Europe. As Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, Young replied saying that the needful collation should be made, and adding, "Je ne sais si par hasard M. de Sacy, avec qui vous êtes sans doute en correspondance, vous aura parlé d'un exemplaire que je lui ai adressé de ma traduction conjecturale avec l'explication des dernières lignes des caractères hiéroglyphiques. Je lui avais déjà envoyé la traduction de l'inscription Egyptienne au commencement du mois d'Octobre passé; l'interprétation des hiéroglyphiques ne m'est réussie qu'à la fin du même mois." (Leitch, p. 64.) In reply to this Champollion wrote, "M. Silvestre de Sacy, mon ancien professeur, ne m'a point donné connaissance de votre mémoire sur la partie Egyptienne et le texte hiéroglyphique de l'inscription de Rosette: c'est vous dire, Monsieur, avec quel empressement je recevrai Chaml'exemplaire que vous avez la bonté de m'offrir." We have ^quainted seen above from the extract from a letter of de Sacy that a wi* copy of Young's work was lent to Champollion between workfo May 9 and July 20, 1815. ,8lS
On August 2, 1816, Young addressed a letter1 to the Archduke John of Austria, in which he reported further progress in his hieroglyphic studies, thus: "I have already ascertained, as I have mentioned in one of my letters to M. de Sacy, that the enchorial inscription of Rosetta contained a number of individual characters resembling the corresponding hieroglyphics, and I was not disposed to place any great reliance on the alphabetical interpretation of any considerable part of the inscription. I have now fully demonstrated the hieroglyphical origin of the running hand,' in which the manuscripts on papyrus, found with the
mummies "(Leitch, p. 74.) The principal contents
of Young's letters, however, incorporated with other matter, were made into a more extensive article, which was contributed to the Supplement of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Young's Supplement, Vol. IV. He made drawings of the plates, published, which were engraved by Mr. Turrell, and having procured separate copies, he sent them to some of his friends in the summer of 1818, with a cover on which was printed the title, " Hieroglyphical Vocabulary." These plates, however, were precisely the same that were afterwards contained in the fourth volume of the Supplement, as belonging to the article EGYPT. The characters explained in this vocabulary amounted to about two hundred; the number which had been immediately obtained from the stone of Rosetta having been somewhat more than doubled by means of a
careful examination of other monuments The higher
numerals were readily obtained by a comparison of some inscriptions in which they stood combined with units and with tens." Young's article in the Encyclopmdia Britannica obtained great celebrity in Europe; and was reprinted by
1 This letter was printed in lSi6, and circulated in London, Paris, and elsewhere; it did not appear in the Museum Criticum until 1821.
* "Que ce second systeme (l'Hi^ratique) n'est qu'une simple modification du systeme Hidroglyphique, et n'en difftre uniquement que par la forme des signes." Champollion, De ?Ecriture Hiiratique des Ancient Egyptiens: Grenoble, 1821. We should have expected some reference by Champollion to Young's discovery quoted above.
* Young. An Account of some recent discoveries in Hieroglyphical Literature, p. 17.