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well as the art itself? To what will serve as a general evidence in purpose the trouble of inventing this case, and may lead us to conanother system of characters ?” clude, that fimilar deviations may
« Various answers may be re- have taken place amongst other turned to this objection.
clafles of men, as well as in that “1. We know, from the inftacce of instance, which he particularly fpeour own language, what diversities cifies from his own knowledge. may be introduced in this respect “ Herodotus in one part of his merely by length of time, and an history, has the following relation. intercourse with neighbouring na- « Those Phænicians, who came tions. And such an effect would be with Cadmus, introduced many im. much more likely to take place be. provements among the Greeks, and fore the art of printing had contri- alphabetical writing too, not known buted to establish an uniformity of in my opinion to the Greeks before character. For, when every work that period. At first they used the was transcribed by the hand, we Phænician character : but in process Inay casily imagine how many va- of time, as the pronunciation alriations would arise from the fancy tered, the standard of the letters was of the scribe, and the mode of writ- also changed. The Ionian Greeks ing fo confiantly different in indivi- inhabited at that time the parts adduals. What two persons write jacent to Phænicia : who, having without the plainett symptoms of received the art of alphabetical writpeculiarity?
ing from the Phænicians, used it, " 2. Vanity might sometimes with an alteration of some few cha. give occafion to this diversity. racters : and confeffed ingenuously, When an individual of another that it was called Phænician, from community had become acquainted the introducers of it. And I have with this wonderful artifice, he seen inyfelf the characters of Cad. might endeavour to recommend mus in the temple of Isinenian A. himself to his own people, as the pollo at Thebes in Baotia, engraven deviser of it : and, to evade detec- upon tripods, and very much re. tion, might have recourse to the fembling the Ionian characters." substitution of new fymbols. But 5. The old Samaritan is pre. let no more credit be given to this cisely the same as the Hebrew lanconjecture than it deserves.
guage : and the Samaritan Penta3. The characters of the al. teuch does not vary by a single letphabet might, sometimes, be ac- ter in twenty words from the Hecommodated, as much as potsible, brew. But the characters are wide. to the symbolical marks already in. ly different: for the Jews adopted use amongst a particular people. the Chaldaic letters, during their There having acquired a high de- captivity at Babylon, instead of the gree of sanctity, by the use of many characters of their forefathers. This generations, would not be easily fu- difficulty then seems to have been perseded, without the aid of lome sufficiently considered. such contrivance, by an adventi- “ III. What we know of those tious practice.
nations, who have continued for 4• But I have more than ccn- many centuries unconnected with je&ture to offer in fupport of this the rest of the world, itrongly mie argument; even the testimony of litates againit the hypothesis of the an ancient historian; whole account human invention of alphabetical
premising, that, where a continuity fimilarity of their formation, and of transmission appears to have taken the numberless words, common to place, arising from the intercourse them all, demonftrably evince: and of nations with each other; and the Persic has a close affinity to the where the words are the same, the Arabic. Alterations would natugrammatical conttruction, and other rally be introduced, proportionate minute peculiarities of composition to the civilization of the several much alike, in two languages, thesc poffeffors, and their separation from languages are of the lame texture : the other nations: and this will acand that alphabetical compofition, count for the superior copiousness attended by these circumstances of of some above the rest. So then, resemblance, must flow from one not to deterniine which was the fource : especially, if the difference more ancient language, the Hein the alphabetical marks of these brew, Syriac, or Arabic, a question two languages should be no objec- of no importance on this occafion; tion, but may be accounted for up- all the languages in use amongit on reasonable principles.
men, that have been conveyed in “ It will be readily allowed then, alphabetical characters, have been I presume, that no modern Euro- the languages of people, connected pean nation, exclusive of the Turk- ultimately or immediately, with ish empire, indebted to the Greeks those who have handed down the and Arabians, feparately invented earliest specimens of writing to poalphabetical writing: we all de- fterity. And when the languages rived, without any doubt, this art of the eastern nations are so similar from the Romans. The Romans –when so curious an art would be, never laid claim to the discovery: in all probability, the first improvethey ascribed all their literary ad- ment communicated by one people vantages to the Greeks. This ac- to another-is it not morally cercomplished people acknowledge, tain, that alphabetical writing oriwith one voice, to have received ginally centered in one people? For che art from the Phænicians; who, length of time has deprived us of as well as their colonists the Car- express historical testimony in this thaginians, are known by the learn- case. ed to have spoken the Hebrew lan- “ Indeed, this propofition seems guage, or a dialect scarcely vary. to be sufficiently ascertained by aning from the original. The Cop- other argument; that is from the tic, or Ægyptian, wears the ex- fameness of the artificial denominaacteft resemblance in the majority tions of the letters in the Oriental, of its characters to the Greek: Greek, and Latin languages; acthey, therefore, must be referred in companied too by a similar arrangeall reason to the same origin. The ment : Alpha, Beta, and so on. Chaldee, Syriac, and later Samari- " But in opposition to this esitan, are dialects of the Hebrew, dence, some will argue again all without any considerable deviation, possible admission of our conclufion, or many additional words. The by alledging the entire diffimilarity Æthiopic differs more from the He- of chancters employed by the anbrew, but still less than the Arabic. cients to discriminate their letters. These languages, however, not- " Why should not one nation, withstanding such deviations, have will be urged, adopt from the other iffued from the same stock; as the the mode of expressing the art, as
grcat defideratum would still be un- mind. This method was also prac. atchieved. This is only a deferip- tised by the Ægyptians, but has retion, more compendious'indeed, but ceived its highest perfection from till a description, of outward ob- the Chinese. Their vocabulary is jects alone, by drawing their resemo consequently interininable, and alhlance. To this head, if I mittake most infinite : so that the longest not, the picture-writing of the Mex- life is said to be incompetent to a icans is to be referred.
complete acquaintance with it and 3. The next advance would who does not see, that it may be be, to the use of symbols: the in- extended to any alignable point corporation, as it were, of abstract whatever? Now, if we compare and complex ideas in figures more this amazingly tedious, and cumor less generalized, in proportion to bersome, and prolix contrivance, the improvement of it. Thus, in with the astonithing brevity and the earlier tages of this device, a perfpicuity of alphabetical writing, circle nright ferve to express the sun, we must be persuaded, that no two a femicircle the moon: which is things can readily be conceived orly a contraction of the foregoing more diffimilar ; and that the tranmethod. This fymbol writing in fition, from a scheme constantly enits advanced state would becoine larging itself, and growing daily more refined, but ænigmatical and more intricate, to an expression of mysterious in proportion to its re- every possible idea by the modified finement. Hence it would become arrangement of four and twenty leis fit for common use, and, there. marks, is not so very easy and per fore, more particularly appropri. ceptible as some have imagined. ated to the mysteries of philosophy Indeed, this seems to be still rather and religion. Thus two feet, ftand- an expression of things by correlaing upon water, ferved to express tive characters, like the fecond itage an impossibility : a ferpent denoted of symbol writing, than the notitithe oblique trajectories of the hea- cation of ideas by arbitrary figns. venly bodies : and the beetle, on But, perhaps, we are not so intiaccount of some supposed properties mately acquainted with the Chinese of that infect, ferved to represent method, as will justify any concluthe sun. Of this nature were the fions from it respecting the subject. hieroglyphics of the Ægyptians. We know, however, that it is wide
4. But this method, being too ly different from the art of alphasubtle and complicated for common betical writing, and infinitely infeuse, the only plan to be pursued, rior to it. was a reduction of the first itage of Till these objections, to the the preceding method. Thus a dot, human invention of alphabetical instead of a circle, might stand for characters, are refuted, there will the flin: and a limilar abbreviation be no reason, I apprehend, to treat might be extended to all the sym- a different supposition from that geboly. Upon this scheme, every ob- nerally admitted, as chimerical, and ject and every idea would have its deftitute of philofophical propriety. -ppropriated mark: thete marks, " I will finish this imperfect distherefore, would have a multipli- sertation by two or three remarks rity commenfurate to the works of relating to the subject. nucure, and the operations of the “ 1. Pliny afforts the use of let. ters to have been eternal. This cury; and according to others, from Thews the antiquity of the practice the god Teuth. to extend beyond the æra of au- 4:
Is there any reason to supthentic history,
pose, from the history of the hu66 2. The caballistical doctors of man mind, that oral language, the Jews maintain, that alphabeti- which has been long perfect, becal writing was one of the ten things yond any memorials of our species which God created on the evening in heathen writers, and is coæval of the fabbath.
with man, according to the testimo3. Most of the profane authors ny of scripture : is there any reaof antiquity afcribe the first use of son, I say, to suppose, that even alphabetical characters to the Æ- language itself is the effect of hugyptians; who, according to fome, man ingenuity and experience ?" received the expedient from Mcr
REMARKS on the KNOWLEDGE of the ANCIENTS respecting
GLASS. By Dr. FALCONER.
( From the fame Publication. ]
HE most ancient of the ander Aphrodifæus, another ancient
Greck writers, that takes Greek writer, speaks particularly notice of glass, I believe, is thought of glass, and of its transparency. to be Aristophanes, who, in his co- « Galen makes mention of glass medy of the Clouds, introduces So- in several places. He appears to crates, as instructed by Strepfiades, have been well acquainted with it, how to pay his debts, by placing a and the method of making it. He transparent fubitance between the tells us, that it was made frem sand fun and the writings, that ferved as melted in furnaces, which was rea fecurity for the fums borrowed, quired to be pure, fince, if any meand thus consuming them. But it tallic substance was mixed thereis not absolutely certain, that arti- with, the glass was spoiled. Those ficial glass was h re meant, as the concerned in the manufacture knew, word Yzios fignifies cry ital, and, as by looking at it, if it would serve some say, transparent amber like their purpose. In other places, he wife. It glass, however, be here advises medicines of a corrosive nameant, it Thews that it must have ture to be kept in glass vessels, as been broughị to considerable per- such are not liable to be affected, fection, both in point of clearne!s, or to impart any bad qualities. and the art of grinding it into a • Glass was also used for cup. conrex form, so to transmit and ping vessels, in the time of Galen, collect the fun's rays as to produce much in the same way as at prethis effect. Aristotle has two pro. sent. blems relative to glais : the first en- 6. Dion Caffius relates, that a deavouring to explain its transpa- man, in the time of the emperor rency, and the other, its want of Tiberius, brought a glass cup into malleability. But the learned think the presence of the latter, which he then both to be fpurious. Alex- threw with great force upon the
ground without breaking it, and than air, was not unkoown to him. immediately repaired the bruise it Fruits, says he, viewed through had received, by hammering it out glats, appear much larger, and the before all the spectators with his intervals berween pilars longer. own hands. He adds, however, The stars, also, appear magnified in that he lost his life for his difco- a humid atmoiphere. If a ring be very.
put into a bowl of water, and viewed « Plutarch also appears to have there, it seems to approach to the been acquainted with glass, fince eye, or in other words is magnitied, he informs us, that the wood of the which, the same author observes, is tamarilk was the best to use for fuel the case with every body viewed in the melting of it.
through a fluid. Seneca fay's here " The Latin writers are more expreily, that water, as a medium, particular.
Lucretius was, un- has the same effect with glass. doubtedly, acquainted with glass, " There is a remarkable passage and its qualities. In his fourth in Seneca, relative to the effect of book, he remarks the difference be- glass cut angularwise, or into a pril(ween founds and the images of ob- matic form, in separating the rays jects: the former paling through of light, when held tranfverfely in any openings, however curved or the sun's rays. From the expreswinding, but the latter, being bro- fion he uses concerning it, we may ken and confused, if the pallages think such instruments were not unthrough which they come are not common. Pliny, however, seems Itraight or direct. As an instance, to have had the most complete inhe adduces glars, the pores of which forination concerning glass. He he fuppotes to be direct or rectili- mentions its being of Phænician near. This, though only true with origin, like many other great discosome limitations, thews him to have veries. It was first made of land, had no inconfiderable knowledge of found in the river Belus, or Belcus, the subjects in question.
a finall river of Galilee, running “ Horace likewise speaks of the froin the foot of Mount Carmel, as elearness and brightness of glass, in is tettitied by a variety of authors. terms that thew the art to have been The invention of it is said to have arrived at a high degree of perfec- been owing to fome merchants, tion. Martial mentions glass in who, coming thither with a fhip such a manner, as thews it to have laden with nitre, or fofsil alkali, been not uncommon in his time for used some pieces of it to support the drinking vessels, and also of so clear kettles in which they were dressing and transparent a texture, as to ad- their meat upon the sands. By this mit an accurate examination of the mcans a vitrification of the sand beliquor contained in them.
neath the fire was produced, and Seneca well understood the thus afiorded a bint for this manumagnifying powers of glass, when facture. formed into a convex jhape. A “ Clear pebbles, thells, and other glass globe, he says, filled with wa- kinds of follil fand, were also emter, mahes letters viewed through ployed, In India, rock crystal was it appear larger and brighter. The used, and, on that account, the Inmagnitying power of glais, conti- dian glass was preferred to any cdered as a more dente, and, of ther. It was first melted with the courfe, a more refrangibie medium foffil alkuli, in proportion of three