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light," he has done more to explain the whole theory of language than any, or than all his predecessors. He seems at length, indeed, to have terminated the dispute, and to have dispelled the darkness which, for so many ages, had rested on the subject,
The leading doctrine of Mr. Tooke is, that there are only two necessary parts of speech, viz. the Noun and the Verb, and that all other words, whether adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, &c. are to be considered as corruptions or abbreviations of these two; and, of course, that the latter classes of words, instead of being in themselves, as both Mr. HARRIS and Lord MONBODDO had taught, mere unmeaning sounds, might be traced to a distinct and sensible signification. In dividing all words into two grand classes, Mr, Tooke agrees with the plan which Lord MONBODDO adopted from PLATO and ARISTOTLE; but with respect to the remaining details of his system he is original, and presents a much more consistent and philosophical view of the subject than any preceding writer. In a few small particulars also, the doctrines of the Diversions of Purley had been anticipated by the learned Dutch etymologists before mentioned; but the points of coincidence between them are so few and unimportant as to take away nothing material from Mr. Tooke of the honour of originality.
| The author of ETEC ITTegosyla lately published the first volume, of a new and enlarged edition of his work, intended to consist of three vols. 4to. It is to be regretted, however, that instead of bringing new supe port to his theory, or pursuing the investigation further than he had before carried it, he has filled up the additional space which the enlargement of his plan afforded him, with nothing more than caustic strictures on the writings of his opponents, and unseasonable exhibitions of his political opinions. Mr. TOOKE and Dr. BedDoés, in their respective styles of writing, bear a strong resemblance to each other. It is not improbable that the latter has made the great philologist his model. They have both great merit in their way; but it is to be hoped that several attributes of their composition they will have few imitators.
3. The general doctrine of Mr. Tooke, especially so far as it applies to the English language, has been pronounced, by the best judges, to be fully established; and the probability is strong that it applies with equal exactness and felicity to all other languages. So far as they have been investigated the result is decidedly in favour of such an opinion. The inquiries of the great etymologists of Leyden, before mentioned, though they differ from Mr. Tooke in many respects, furnish, at the same time, strong confirmation of his doctrine. But it is plain that the absolute proof of the universal truth of this doctrine would require an extent of acquaintance with languages, which can never be acquired by any individual, and which, to be collected by numbers, will require a long course of patient labour. It is to be regretted that so few philologists have pursued the path marked out by Mr. Tooke, and that none have been found to extend the inquiries which he commenced, into regions which he was unable to explore. Even some of the latest writers on the continent of Europe, who have undertaken to philosophize on the subject of language, proceed chiefly upon old and exploded principles; and appear either not to be acquainted with, or not to embrace the discoveries of the sagacious Briton, whose work forms so important an era in the history of philosophical grammar.
Besides the great theorists above mentioned, the philosophy of language has been treated, with great learning and ingenuity, during the period under consideration, by Drs. CAMPBELL" and BEATTIE," before mentioned; and by President Di Brosses, M. BEAUZEE, the Abbé GÍRARD,
m Philosophy of Rhetoric, 2 vols. 8vo. n Theory of Language, published in his Dissertations, 2 vols. 8vo. 1783a. • Formation Mechanique des Langues.
Grammaire Generale, 2 tom. 8vo. 1767.
the Abbé CONDILLAC, and M. Court De GEBELIN,' of France. The opinions taught by the celebrated Scottish professors are too generally known to render a detailed view of them here either requisite or proper; while, with respect to the doctrines of the learned French philologists, the author has too little information to attempt even a general sketch.
These inquiries into the philosophy of grammar have had, it is believed, an useful effect on many modern writings, and, with respect to their probable influence hereafter, may be regarded as of great value. Every investigation which has for its objects the structure, the analysis, and the real improvement of language, doubtless tends, in proportion to its success, to advance the interests of education, to promote every department of science, especially the science of the human mind, and, in general, to increase the happiness of man.
THE historic Muse, during the eighteenth century, had many votaries. From the time of TACITUS to the commencement of this period, she had been supplicated by multitudes, but with little success. After the revival of letters, the first historical productions of respectable character were composed in Italy; but with these the author is
See the first vol. of his Cours d'Etude, in 16 vols. Paris 1775.
too little acquainted to compare them with subses quent works of the same class. It may be asserted, however, that previous to the age under review, no historians had arisen, for many centuries, who might be compared with the illustrious models of Greece and Rome, without incurring a sort of literary profanity. But early in the century which is the period of this work, the prospect brightened. Specimens of history began to appear so much superior to the uncouth and meagre compilations of preceding ages, as to inspire a just hope that a more auspicious era was at hand.
There are several circumstances belonging to the historical productions of the eighteenth century which are peculiar to this period, and which distinguish it from all preceding times. An attempt will be made to take notice of some of the more obvious and important of these circumstances in the following pages.
The number of historical works produced in the course of the
is the first circumstance of a peculiar kind which attracts our notice. No former period, certainly, can be compared to this with respect to the multiplication of historical records. Scarcely any portion of time, or the affairs of any nation, or the lives of any conspicuous monarchs, have escaped the notice of some writer who aspired to the rank of an historian. Indeed, this, like every other department of modern composition, has become, within a few years past, so crowded with adventurers, as to render the enumeration of them next to an impossible task. ..The historians of the first class in the eighteenth century presented their readers with a greater por: tion of truth, and instructive matter, than any preceding writers of the same class. The works of the best Greek historians are notoriously corrupted by a large mixture of fable. The same remark
may be applied, though not to an equal extent, to the finest Roman models. The best historical works of modern Europe are certainly entitled to more credit, with respect to authencity.
It is not meant to be asserted that they are free from misrepresentation and fable, with which they all, in different degrees, abound; but merely that they contain much less of these than their predecessors. The reasons of this superiority are obvious. The ancient historians could only consult manuscripts and traditional records. The former were comparatively rare, difficult of access, liable to mutilation, and other injuries, and not easily corrected, when erroneous, by collations with many others which detailed the same facts. The latter is a source of information so obviously imperfect and fabulous, that no prudent writer, in ordinary cases, would receive materials from it with confidence. The stores of information open to modern historians, are more numerous, rich; and authentic. The art of printing has multiplied records beyond all former example. The increased intercourse between distant countries, and the facility with which documents may be collected from every civilized quarter of the globe, also present a new and most important advantage to the modern compiler of history. Accordingly, this class of writers, in the course of the century under review, admitted less fiction into their narratives; stated truths in a more luminous, connected and satisfactory manner; and went, in general, more deeply, and successfully into the relations of political causes and effects, than any of their predecessors."
s This remark is meant to be a general one; but it admits of some exceptions. The histories of CLARENDON and Burnet, in the preceding century, may be considered as vying, in point of authenticity, with the best subsequent works of the same kind. They are both said to be partial; but what book, or what mind was ever completely free from partiality?