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But he adds_“Quid te exempta juvat spinis de plurimis unato change all would be too much, and to change one is nothing.” In order to make such a change too, as would remedy the inconveniences complained of, we must first settle the powers of all our alphabetic characters; otherwise, we shall only multiply embarrassments. If, for instance, we should attempt to reform that "incorrigible” word colonel, what should be its orthography? Shall we write it, in the first place, with c or k; and then what vowel shall we use in the first and second syllables? Shall we say curnul, curnel, curnil, curnol, or curnul? But if we spell it with a k, then we shall have fifteen more varieties ; for the final syllables may be written as in the examples just given, and the first syllable may be either ker, kir, or kur; thus making twenty different modes of spelling it.

The truth is, that our orthography and pronunciation mutually act upon and corrupt each other; sometimes the former is correct, and sometimes the latter; and we are not agreed which of the two shall govern. In words, whose etymology is not known or not obvious, we acquiesce in the corruption, from whichever of the two causes it proceeds. Hence, in proper names, (for this and perhaps other reasons) nobody thinks of making a change, however much the orthography and pronunciation may be at variance. So it is with terms in the mechanic arts, in navigation, commerce, and all the other arts of life. Nobody, for example, would think it worth while, at this day, to change the orthography of another “incorrigible” word, the term isinglass, (fishglue) though it is as corrupt as any in the language, if we are to regard the written etymology. Johnson, indeed, fancifully but absurdly derives it “from ice or ise and gluss; but it has nothing to do with either. The true word is of Northern origin, hausenblase, pronounced nearly howzen blaz, literally, sturgeon's bladder, that is, the internal membrane or sound of the fish, from which isinglass was originally made, and which resembles a sturgeon. Our daily beverage, tea, has widely departed from its original Chinese name chah or tshah, which is preserved in only one language, we believe, of all the European families, the Portuguese. Even that unlucky outcast, sparrow-grass, (as it appears in some of the old English writers) will not appear to be so shocking a corruption as our lexicographers have considered it, if we should, as in thousands of other words, regard its proximate Northern or modern etymology, instead of its remote Latin or Greek one. In all the Northern dialects, we believe, it begins with an s; as in German, spargel, Upper-Saxon, spargen, sparges, LowerSaxon, sparges, or sparjes, (pronounced sparyes, which somewhat resembles the vulgar pronunciation in English, and from which we may originally have taken our word) Dutch, sparjes, Bohemian, sspargl, &c. According to the general analogy of our language, therefore, the word ought to begin with s, whatever may be the orthography or pronunciation of the rest of it. An intelligent English lexicographer says_“I rather think sparrow-grass to be the proper English name of the plant, than a corruption of the Latin asparagus; and in this I am supported by Miller in his Gardener's Dictionary."*

But we forbear any further details of this kind, and conclude our remarks upon this head, with the following opinion of that eminent philologist of our country, Mr. Duponceau, whom we have before mentioned. “It is,” says he, “of very little consequence, whether the words spoken, are, or are not accurately represented as to sound by the characters of the graphic language ; ihe combinations of which, however incongruous or discrepant from the original application, never fail to impress on the mind, the ideas with which habit has associated them. I am not, therefore, one of those who wish to see any innovation introduced into the alphabet or orthography of the English language.—Let our written language still retain its venerable garb, nos anciens habils de sauvages, as M. de Voltaire would call them, but still more decent than the masquerade dresses, under which men of more fancy than reflection, would disguise the immortal thoughts of Milton and Shakspeare, so that the eye would no longer at once recognise them, and the straight and well-trodden path, by which they now, without difficulty, reach the mind, would be made crooked, hard of access, and overspread with brambles and thorns.”+

We ought to add, in respect to the particular advantages, which the present publication possesses over all former editions, besides its superior correctness—that it contains an Appendix of all the additional words which Mr. Todd has inserted in his very recent edition (1827) of Johnson; and also, numerous Americanisms. So that, on the whole, this volume, in its vocabulary, is the most extensive of any extant. In order to make it still more useful as a manual, Walker's Key to the Pronunciation of Proper Names is added ; upon which last we ought further to observe, that the Editor has bestowed much attention in correcting the errors of former editions, and has also given a list of those names, in the pronunciation of which, Walker, Perry, and Fulton and Knight differ. The volume is closed with a “List of most of the Authors cited as authorities,” showing the period when they wrote; this is an indispensable appendage for those persons who are not sufficiently familiar with the history and usage of our language to decide for themselves.

Vocabulary of Words of dubious or unsettled Accentuation-Lond. 1797.

Duponceau's Essay on English Phonology; in the Transact. Philos. Soc. of Philad. vol. i. p. 236. New Series.

Art. VIII.- Narrative of a Second Expedition to the shores of

the Polar Sea; in the yeurs 1825, 1826, and 1827. By CapTAIN FRANKLIN, R. N., F. R. S., &c. Commander; and DR. RICHARDSON, F. R. S., &c.; Surgeon and Naturalist to the Expedition. Published by authority of the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs. London: John Murray: 1823.

In our last number, we presented our readers with a sketch of the various attempts which had been made, down to the present time, to discover a North-west Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ; and to ascertain accurately, the geography of the northern coast and portion of the American continent. We return again to the subject, for two reasons; in the first place, because we look upon it as a most important and laudable undertaking, which does credit to the spirit and intelligence of the age; and in the next place, because, either the zeal for pursuing it has abated, or the opinion of its importance has diminished, or the failure of entire success has disheartened its promoters, at the very moment, when, in our opinion, the problem was on the eve of solution. To endeavour to penetrate through straits and passages, closed by ice during nine and ten months of the year, and acquire geographical knowledge of countries scarcely to be approached by human beings, may appear to many persons a wild and useless attempt ; but those who have reflected on the manner in which science has made its advances, the gradual progress, the apparently accidental steps, the very trifling circumstances that have attended them, will hesitate before they decide on what discoveries are unaccompanied with practical benefits. Let us look back one hundred years, and remember our ignorance of all that related to the Southern Ocean, how little of useful result the casual observer could see in long voyages made into unknown seas, round the wild, tempestuous, and dangerous promontory of Cape Horn, and among little islands surrounded by coral reefs, and inhabited by an uncivilized people ; let us then compare with it

, the extensive and valuable commerce, which now spreads over those seas the canvass of many nations, and brings those islands, and the shores of the neighbouring continents, into advantageous and frequent intercourse with the older world ; after so doing, we shall be less inclined to assert the uselessness of efforts to point out new passages, and survey new regions in the north.

When the vast territories which belong to the United States, on the western shore of America, shall be brought, as they must be, at no distant time, into communication with those on the east, and their interests in a commercial point of view, come to be consulted as part of the same vast empire, it is not to be

believed that a coast not much farther from Columbia river than that of the White Sea is from Bristol in England, and requiring to reach it, a voyage through no higher northern latitudes, will be suffered to remain, not merely unexplored, but without that profitable intercourse which adventurous commerce never fails to discover in a traffic with regions, apparently the most inhospitable and desolate. It is not to be believed that the British, who through their fur companies have carried on, chiefly by tedious and expensive journeys over land, and in a spirit of commercial concealment, jealousy and monopoly, a lucrative trade over extensive countries approaching within a few hundred miles of the shores of the Polar Ocean, would not derive immense benefit froin the certain knowledge of a communication by sea, laid down from actual and accurate surveys, with those regions, even though the chance of using or passing through it should be frequently uncertain, and confined to a very short season. It is not to be believed that the Russians, who are so keenly disposed to retain every portion of their vast empire, and seem to guard with as much care, and extend with as much pa. tient perseverance, its limits towards the pole, as along the shores of the Caspian and Black Seas, can be insensible to the advantages which would be opened by a communication between their capital and the eastern extremity of their dominions, considerably less distant in fact, than the present one, and one half of which is through an open and well known sea, traversed in latitudes ten or fifteen degrees lower than that which bounds the empire on the north ever can be.

We are indeed well convinced that the survey of the shores of the Polar Sea, is very important in a commercial and national point of view, especially to the three nations we have mentioned; but we confess, that were such not the case, we should look upon these voyages as not in the slightest degree less honourable and useful in other respects. Every thing which enlarges the boundaries of science, confers in the end some benefit. Grand and valuable theories are the result of practical examinations; and the collection of a variety of facts, acquired under a variety of circumstances, is necessary to their correct formation. Many branches of knowledge are yet in their infancy; of magnetism, the greatest discovery perhaps of modern times, we yet know but little ; we are indeed acquainted with a few of its obvious incidents, but those which appeared to be the most certain, as they were the most striking, have been found by subsequent observations to be subject to great, and as yet unaccountable variations; meteorology is a science of daily and hourly interest, yet its principles are confessedly still unsettled ; how much have we yet to learn of chemistry, of geology, of natural history, even of the character and habits of those of our own race, who have been placed beyond the limits of ordinary observation ? The utility and necessity of information on these points will not be denied, and it is to be acquired only by expeditions such as those to which we have referred. The results obtained from the voyages made by direction of the British government, during the last ten years, are gratifying to every friend of science; and the liberality exhibited in their organization, and the skill with which they have been carried into effect, are as honourable to those who planned, as to the gallant, enterprising and intelligent men intrusted with their execution.

Nor should the zeal thus displayed in them be suffered to abate, until the great end is accomplished. To suppose that ex. peditions directed by human foresight, and without the benefit of experience, can always attain their object at once, is to judge without reflection or knowledge. The accidents that have hitherto attended those to which we are alluding, have been fewer and less disastrous than might have been anticipated ; the information gained, perhaps greater. Of this any one will be convinced, who, looking at a map ten years old, sees the blank space between Baffin's bay and Behring's straits, and compares it with one containing the discoveries that have been since made ; and who also examines the important facts with regard to the mariner's compass, the currents of the ocean, botany, geology, natural history, and other branches of science which are collected and detailed in the several volumes hitherto published. Of a space occupying eighty or ninety degrees of longitude, entirely unexplored, if we except the slight observations of Mackenzie and Hearne, there now remain but twenty-four degrees which have not been examined, and as to the greater portion accurately surveyed, and this in a few years, by a few voyages, and with almost no sacrifice of health or human life. Under these circumstances we cannot but regret, that the spirit which has hitherto promoted these expeditions seems to have abated. We would willingly believe, that this has arisen rather from the turbulent state of the British government during the last two years, than from a less degree of liberality and zeal in the councils which succeeded Lord Liverpool's administration-one which its opponents and perhaps the world generally, with what truth we need not remark, were in the habit of considering as little attentive to the great and liberal interests of their country.

As to our own government, we are ashamed to say with what slender hope we look forward to any measure, having for its end the extension and benefit of science. It is notorious that we have had but one president who possessed sufficient influence to induce congress to foster such objects ; and we believe that among the many virtues and illustrious qualities which will make Mr. Jefferson more dear to his countrymen, as his actions VOL. IV. ---NO. 7.


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