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Not having the opportunity of realizing experimentally the flourishing prospects of the author, we can give no higher sanction to his ingenious endeavours than that of our presumptive approbation, and can only address to his brother-schoolmasters the precept of Saint Paul, “Try all things ; hold fast that which is good.” - At least, grown persons, who are not fortunate in the use of the pen, and who have still to acquire the grace of legibility in their hand-writing, will do well to purchase this book, and to exercise themselves after the manner suggested.
The old associations between vicious contours of letter, and habitual movements of the fingers, will be mucha disturbed and broken by practising repeatedly on Mr. Carstairs's seventeen elementary flourishes.
MINERALOGY. Art. 23. A Manual of Mineralogy, by Arthur Aikin, Secretary
to the Geological Society. Small 8vo. Pp. 224. 7s. Boards. Longman and Co. 1814.
This compendious view of a course of lectures on Mineralogy, delivered before the members of the Geological Society, is intended as a text-book or guide to the student, in his attempts to identify any mineral substance that may occur to his notice. Such an under. taking, it will be readily admitted, is at once important and difficult: but Mr. Aikin may at least lay claim to considerable ingenuity in the arrangement, and to neatness and perspicuity in the exposition of his subject.
In the course of his introduction, he illustrates what is meant by the characters of solidity and hardness, frangibility, structure, fracture, external form, lustre, colour, specific gravity, odour and taste, magnetism, electricity, phosphorescence, double refraction, and the action of water, acids, and the blow-pipe. He then proceeds shortly to estimate the comparative merits of the modes of classing minerale adopted by Haüy and Werner, slightly adverting to the insufficiency of either for facilitating the inquiries of the uninstructed. His own method, which is gradually unfolded in the progress of the Manual, may be easily apprehended from his general synopsis, and from the synoptical table of each class.
The titles of the four classes' are, i. Non-metallic Combustible Minerals; 2. Native Metals and Metalliferous Minerals; 3. Earthy Minerals; and 4. Saline Minerals. The first consists of two sections, namely, 1. such species as are combustible with flame, and 2. such as are combustible without fame. To the first belong Mineral Oil, Mineral Pitch, Brown Coal, Jet, Black Coal, Candle Coal, Amber, and Sulphur ; and, to the second, Mineral Charcoal, Blind Coal, Plumbago, and Mellite. The second class is composed of two orders, of which the first comprehends those species that are wholly, or partially, volatilizable by the blow-pipe ; and the second, those which are fixed, or not volatilizable, except at a white heat. The third class contains three orders ; 1. those substances which are soluble in cold, and moderately diluted, muriatic acid ; 2. those which are fusible before the blow-pipe; and 3. those which are infusible before that instrument. The fourth class is divided into two orders;
the first including those saline minerals which, when dissolved in water, afford a precipitate with carbonated alkali; and the second, those which do not afford a precipitate with that substance.
To enter into the specific details would be to transcribe the volume. The writer's judgment and taste are alike conspicuous in the desiga and execution of the work; which exhibits an accurate enumeration of the known species of minerals, with appropriate definitions, disincumbered of much of the pedantic phraseology with which they are too frequently loaded. The chemical analysis of the respective substances is also noted, in those cases in which it has been carefully instituted. A reference to the authors who have most successfully treated of each species, and to its most remarkable localities, would have rendered this pocket-companion still farther acceptable to the cultivators of mineralogy.
MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 24. Reason the true Arbiter of Languages Custom a Tyrant ;
or Intellect set free from arbitrary Authority : in which are shown the Absurdities of Grammar and Rhetoric, their Tendency to enslave the Mind ; the close Connection between Mental and Political Bondage ; the Injustice and Impolicy of despotic Authority. 8vo. pp. 144. 55. Boards. Johnson and Co. 1814.
The author of this book, or oration, has composed it with great eloquence. It displays a busy imagination perpetually on the alert, disdainful of limits, and fond of hovering with intuitive glance over some object hitherto mistaken. The style is perhaps too uniformly picturesque and ornamented; it is inlaid with allusions, crayoned with the hieroglyphies of metaphor, and paved with the mosaics of allegory, 80 variously and attractively as to place us in danger of forgetting that floors are made for us to walk on them, not to gaze on them. The grammarian's desk is the professed center of attention, but it is slowly, and reluctantly, and circuitously approached; and, after ten pages of declamation, comes the following notable discovery, which we will give in the author's own words :
• I assert (and I mean to prove my assertion) that there is not one of the twenty-two rules of English grammar, given by Lindley Murray, but is more honoured in the breach than in the observance. I take Murray's Grammar merely because it is the most popular that we have. The author I know nothing of, and therefore make no reference to him, and mean no disrespect to him whatever. It is the book, and not the man, I have to do with; and I would have treated it in the very same manner had any other man, had
my particular friend, nay had myself written it; and it is at least possible that I might have written such a book some years ago ; and had I done so, I am sure it would have given me much more pleasure to pull the system to pieces in a book of my own writing than in one written by another. Let this apology serve once for all. I would not be rude, but I will not waste my own time and that of the reader upon compliments.
« RULE FIRST. « « A verb must agree with its nominative case in number and person, as I learn, Thou art improved, The birds sing."
• A verb
. A verb must agree, &c.; but why must it ; for every must must have a wherefore, else it is only a bold impostor. : Thou learn, he learn,' are wrong; Thou learnest, he learneth,' are right. But why are those wrong and these right ? tell me that. Both
my mouth and my ears like learn better than learnest, learns, or learneth. Besides, it is sooner written, spelt, or spoken, and renders the verb far more simple to all, and more easily learned by the young. As I would not however please my palate at the expense of my stomach, so neither would I please my eyes nor my ears nor my tongue, nor my love of ease nor my love of simplicity, at the expence
under. standing. Prove then that est and eth serve to convey thought, and the canse is ended. If you say est and eth serve respectively to distinguish the second and third person singular of the verb from all the other
persons; I deny the fact, for that service is performed without them by the pronouns thou, he, she, or it. So that est or eth is a useless tail tacked to the verb, as much as a dish-cloth pinned to a schoolboy. And the evident uselessness of it ought to have led grammar-makers to inquire how this tail came there ; for it is evident it did not grow there. There is nothing natural, easy, graceful, or useful, about it. All is both much more artificial and clumsy too than a false pigtail.'
After a long and amusing excursion, the author returns at p: 36. to his proposal, and decides in favour of baving the singular number of our verbal tenses as indeclinable as the plural
. He would conjugate simply: I learn, Thou learn, He learn, We learn, Te learn, They learn. The English grammar would certainly be the easier for this mode; and the Lancasterian schools might accomplish the business of universal tuition with a week of labour and a printed tablet the less.
The next attack is directed against the rule that pronouns should agree with their antecedents. It begins at p.39. and continues bush-fight of desultory skirmishes until p. 60., where a battery is opened on cases. After having maintained that the cases of pronouns are superfluous, an attempt is made to shew at p. 72. that their numbers are also superfluous; and we are desired to write to who, for whom and this books, that houses. One hundred and forty-four pages are employed in thus advising the abolition of the greater number of the few inflections which exist in our tongue. It seems to be the purpose or project of the author to render all parts of speech index clinable, except substantives and verbs. while substantives are to be inflected only from singular to plural; and verbs are to be inflected only according to tense, not according to number and person. Our words would thus acquire a Chinese inflexibility, and our grammar a childish facility, which, in the author's judgment, would adapt our language for the applause of philosophy and the use of human kind.
We are disposed to listen to the bold discussion of grammatical questions, and to encourage a concert of authors for bringing into praetical use any obviously necessary innovation, which the progress of real science may require : but we are by no means convinced that equal clearness of expression could be accomplished in English without cases to our pronouns, or persons to our verbs. The present author should have composed a few pages in his own amended dialects
we could n better have judged whether it be, as Klopstock says of liberty, “ music to the ear, and light to the understanding."
SINGLE SERMON. Art, 25. The Prosperity and Beauty of Christian Churches derived
from God:- preached at Salter's Hall, Cannon-street, on Sabbath Afternoon, Jan. 2. 1814, on taking the pastoral Charge of the Church assembling in that place. By William Bengo Collyer, D.D. 8vo. 18. Longman and Co.
In proportion to our sovereign contempt for those ministers of religion who indulge in the shameful practice of duplicity, concealment, and mental reservation, is our esteem of Dr. Collyer for the manly, open, and ingenuous avowal of his sentiments, on his acceptance of the pastoral office to which he had been elected by the members of the congregation at Salter's Hall. He will pardon us, however, if we add that we cannot approve his declaration made in imitation of Lord Thurlow's often-quoted speech in the House of Lords, that, if he should consent to renounce his present sentiments, he might expect God to forget him.' This strange assertion brought to our recollection the following anecdote. John Wilkes, in the height of his popularity, was thus accosted by a citizen on the hustings at Guildhall : “ Mr. Wilkes, I have done with you,
for you have changed your sentiments, but I never change mine. To this address the wit very gravely replied, “ Very likely, Sir : wise men often find reason for altering their opinions : fools never." Now, as we must not place Dr. C. among the fools, and as he has not relinquished examination and inquiry, it is possible that his creed may undergo some alteration
; and we cannot suppose that it is any crime in the eye of God for an honest inquirer after truth to follow its sacred guidance. If Dr. Collyer should in future alter his present system of faith, and avow the change in the same dignified manner with which he makes his present confession, he will rather rise than sink in the approbation of the wise and good.
CORRESPONDENCE. We have received the communication from an old and respected mineralogical friend at Windsor : but we regret that we cannot possibly make room for it in our pages ; and indeed the insertion of it would be altogether foreign to our duty, since it is written in controversy with the French author in question, not with us. If M. de L. pleases, the paper shall be returned to his order,
The letter from a friend of Miss Wilson, whose poems were men. tioned in our last Number, p. 212., intimates that she is grieved at our remark on the tendency of some of her verses to render sacred Aubjects ludicrous. We wish the remark itself to be operative in the prevention of similar attempts : but we beg the fair author to understand that we did not mean to insinuate that she had any intention to produce the deprecated effect.
We mean to attend in our next Number to the productions spe. cified by 0. S.
For A P R I L, 1815.
ART. I. The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke. A new Edition.
In 6 Vols. 4to. gl. gs., and 12 Vols. 8vo. sl. 128. Boards. Rivingtons. DURE URING a very long portion of our critical existence, the name
of Edmund Burke attracted great notice in the political and obtained much celebrity in the literary world. Yet to many readers now starting into active life, his labours are almost becoming the “ tale of other times”; and the great Revolution, which towards the close of his life so painfully occupied his thoughts and so vehemently employed his pen, has almost buried its commencement in its duration, and superseded its first horrors by its ever-varying phænomena. It was due, however, to the fame of Burke to revive his memory by the publication of his collective works; and perhaps we could at no time more aptly than at the present moment take up these volumes, in order to furnish our readers with some account of them and of the compositions which they contain that are new to the world.
Those productions of Mr. Burke, then, which now first see the light, or are now first given as his compositions, are comprized, chiefly, in the last four volumes of the present cøla lection, and consist of a fourth Letter on a Regicide Peace; a Letter to the Empress of Russia, together with others to va rious distinguished characters ; an Address to the King on the subject of the American War, and another to the Colonies on the same subject; Reflections on the Executions which were occasioned by the Riots in 1780; a Negro Code, addressed to the late Lord Melville, then Mr. Dundas; Tracts and Letters relative to the Popery-Laws in Ireland; Fragments and Notes of Speeches in Parliament; Hints for an Essay on the Drama; and an Essay on the History of England. These are the contents of the ninth and tenth volumes of the set before us. The remaining, namely, the eleventh and twelfth, consist entirely of papers respecting the East-India-Company, and the impeachment of Mr. Hastings. In the first of them, are contained the ninth and eleventh Reports of the Select Committee of VOL. LXXVI. z