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into which Cadınırs and his Phenicians had introduced the Syriac alphabet : and consequently, we cannot be suprised to find that the characters which they brought into Italy, were the same with those first used by the Greeks. The letter E had originally the powers both of Å and G. On the column of Duilius, there was inscribed leciones and macistratos, for legiones and magistratus. G was added to the alphabet in the 6th century of the republic. Dionysius Halicarnessensis had seen at Rome, in the temple of Diana, a column, on which Servius Tul. lius had caused the laws to be engraved; and he has recorded, that it exhibited the most ancient characters of Greece. The empite of Rome disseminated its letters to the utmost extremity of the West, where, perpetuated by the art of printing, literature now seems to bid defiance to those events which have swept from the earth the ancient monuments of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian knowledge, and threatened to involve even thoŝe of Greece and Rome in one general run.- We must now pursue our inqniries into the East.

The Hebraic character seems to have been brought by the Jews from Babylon; and, atier the captivity, gradually supplanted the Samaritan, in which the sacred books had previously been written. M. l'Abbé Barthelemy, in a dissertation on two medals of Antigonas, king of Judea, (one of the last of the Asmonean princes), both of which are in Samaritan characters, observes, that, to the proofs drawn from medals, of the Samaritan character being employed to a much later period than is usually supposed, may be added two passages, one drawn from the Misna, a work composed near the end of the 2d century, and another from the Talmud of Jerusalem, between 60 and 70 years later. These two passages,' says M. Barthelemy, 'declare in substance, that the texts of the Bible destined to be publicly read, should be without Chaldaic paraphrases, and in Assyrian letters. But that it is permitted for private use to employ a copy, in which the paraphrase is incorporated with the test, and written in Samaritan characters.' This passage, in which the Hebraic character is termed Assyrian letters, may suffice to show the opinion entertained by the Jews, at a period long subsequeri. The Hebraic character may certainly have been that in use in the celebrated cities founded by Ninus and Semiramis, whose structures attested the progress which the arts had made at the time ther flourished. But the matter must be considered as still doubtful; and the affirmative does not appear to be confirmed, by an inspection of the bricks recently brought to Europe from Babylon.

The conquests of the early Caliphs extinguished the ancient


letters and literature of Asia, from the Mediterranean to the Indus. In their room was introduced the recently invented Arabic character. After a few centuries, when the memory and the names of ancient philosophers, poets, and historians, were finally obliterated, Asia might again boast of poets endowed with warm imaginations, and with powers of vivid description, and might number her annalists, whose accuracy as to dates and political events, in times subsequent to the Mohamedan era, might have obtained for them the title of historians, were the chief object of history to ascertain dates, to register the births and deaths of kings, or to record, without describing, the wars which confirmed or overturned a reigning dynasty.

The origin of the Arabic character is thus stated by the learned Baron de Sacy.

· The best Arabian kisterians agree, that the written character now used by that nation, was invented only in the beginning of the fourth century of the Hegyra, about the year 940 of our era, by the visir Ebn Mocla ; and that it was less an invention, than a reform, rendered necessary by the disorder which the caprice and negligence of copyists had introduced into the character previously made use of. This anterior character was brought for the first time (about the year 558 of our era) to the countries of Mecca and Medina, where the art of writing was previously unknown. The first inhabitant of Mecca who learned it, was Harb, a cousin german of Mohamed's father, who was born, as is well known, in A. D. 571.. This Harb acquired it from an inhabitant of Hira, who had himself learned it at Anbar, from two Arabs of the tribe of Taï, who had come to settle there.' Hira and Anbar are two eities on the Euphrates.

• In the most antient Arabian monuments, this character was of a square form, similar to the Assyrian character called estranguelo. Now, as the tribe of Taï, established in the Syrian desert, always carried on a commercial intercourse with the coast, we are entitled to conclude, that it was in fact the Syrian alphabet, then used, which the two Arabs brought to the cities of Anbar and Hira. This con.clusion is corroborated by the circumstance, that the present number of 28 Arabic characters, and their order in the alphabet, are not of so antient a date, and that before Mohamed the letters were classed according to the relative order of the 22 Syrian letters.'

Stretching eastward from the Indus, to the doubtful limits of the Chinese empire, where alphabetical writing gradually disappears, the inhabitants have retained and employ their antient characters. The number of different alphabets actually used within the space described is uncertain, probably not less than twenty. But all those known to Europeans discover a common origin. 1. There is a general agreement in the position of the Letters in the alphabet. 2. Each letter is a syllable, consisting presentent des sons que je connais, je n'ai pas besoin d'elles ; je puis me servir de mon alfabet accoutumé; si au contraire ces lettres representent des sons inconnus à mon oreille, l'étude va me les faire apprecier, et même sans pouvoir les prononcer, je pense leur donner des signes, leur attribuer des lettres de convention déduites de celles que je connais. On me presente vingt alfabets divers, par consé. .quent vingt diverses figures d'une même voyelle, que j'apele A, d'un même consonne que j'apele B: pourquoi chargerais je ma memoire de ces vingt repetitions, une seule figure me suffit ; avec une seule alfabet, je veux peindre toutes les prononciations de ces langues; comme avec un seul système d'écriture musicale, je puis peindre tous les fons, tous les chants des divers peuples de la terre.'

In the first book, our author treats of spoken sounds, and of the letters which represent them; and his observations on this subject seem to us always clear, and sometimes new. In the second, he passes in review all the pronunciations which occur in the languages of Europe; and he finds that they consist of 19 or 20 vowels, and 32 consonants. The Roman alphabet is incapable of representing that number ; but known already, both in Europe and America, he takes it for the basis of his alphabet, which he renders universal, hy assigning different powers to the redundant letters, and adding to others certain signs to represent those sounds in which the common alphabet is deficient. * In the third part, he applies his system to the Arabie alphabet, as one of the most complicated of Asia. From this operation springs a new alphabet, which may be called European, equally applicable to the Arabick, the Turkish, the Persian, Syriac and Hebrew. It is now, says our author, only requisite to extend its application to the languages of India, and of the rest of Asia.

• Mais par qui' (addressing himself to the Asiatic Society) • s'executeront tant de travaux preparatoires, à la fois scientifiques et dispendieux ? J'ose le garantir; par vous, Messieurs! oui, par vous dont l'association libre, eclairée, genereuse, placée en avant garde sur les bords du Gange, y a élevé les premiers signaux de la civilisation. Fidele au caractère national, vous ne repousserez point une industrie nouvelle, sans avoir bien examiné ce qu'elle à d'utile ou de defectueux.

We are most ready to acknowledge the benefits that would result from the adoption of an universal alphabet, in facilitating intercourse, promoting civilization, and diffusing knowledge. We readily adinit also, that an alphabet, formed on the principles of M. Volney, would be much more perfect than any which erists at preserit. But this beneyolent project, in its application to the natives of India, would encounter difficulties of which the Count is little aware, and which will probably either prevent the attempt, or paralyze its execution. Of these we do not think it ence des prononciations; mes idées nouvelles sur cette matière étoient connues ; Je fus invité à en faire l'application.'


The reflections which our author was thus led into on this subject, have impressed him with a high idea of the importance of an universal alphabet for promoting the civilization and improvement of Asia, by facilitating the acquisition of Lastern languages to Europeans, and, what he estimates much more highly, the acquisition of European knowledge to the Asiatic.

• Un antique prejugé vante vainement la litterature Orientale ; le bon goût et la raison attestent qu'aucun fonds d'instruction solide ni de science positive n'existe en ses productions: l'histoire n'y recite que des fables, la poësie que des hyperboles ; la philosophie n'y professe que des sophismes, la médecine que des recettes, la metaphysique que des absurdités ; l'histoire naturelle, la physique, la chymie, les hautes mathematiques y ont à peine des noms; l'esprit d'un Européen ne peut que se retrecir et se gâter à cette école ; c'est aux orientaux de venir à celle de l'occident; le jour où les hommes d'Europe traduiront facilement leurs idées dans les langues d'Asie, ils s'acquerreront partout en cette contrée, une superiorité decidée sur les indigenes en tout genre d'affaires.

The reasoning by which our author supports the utility of the alphabet he has invented, is as follows.

• Il faut l'avouer, le premier aspect des alfabets orientaux frappe le disciple Européen d'une sensation penible et décourageante ; la figure des lettres est étrange pour lui ; son amour propre se sent blessé de ne n'y rien comprendre; déja loin de l'enfance il va redevenir écolier ; il s'alarme avec raison du travail d'introduire en sa memoire tant de signes bizarres, et de plier sa main à une habitude que l'age adulte supporte bien plus impatiemment que l'enfance: ce ne sont là que des preliminaires : l'explication commence; il a coutume d'écrire de gauche à droite, on lui ordonne d'écrire de droite à gauche ; son écriture Européenne trace tout ce qui se prononce; l'écriture Asiatique en général n'en trace qu'une partie. La faible enfance se plie à ce joug, mais le disciple adulte y resiste. Il faut rendre comte de ses 'idées; après un premier étonnement passant à la reflection, il argumente et se dit.

"Si l'organisation humaine est la même en Asie, qu'en Europe, le langage dans ce pays là, doit être composé d'élémens semblables aux nôtres, par consequent de voyelles, de consonnes, et d'aspirations; dès lors les alfabets Asiatiques ne doivent être comme les nôtres, que la liste des signes qui representent ces élémens ; mais ses signes peuvent avoir deux manières d'ètre : ils peuvent être simples, comme les élémens A, E, D,P,&c. ou composés, formant sous un seul trait, des syllabes, et même des mots entiers ; dans l'un et l'autre cas c'est une pure operation d'algebre, par laquelle des signes divers sont appliqués à des types identiques. Pourquoi cette diversité de tableaux ?' Il faut opter entre deux partis ; si ces lettres que je ne connais pas, re.

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Woute miret posely to acknowleder the benesits that would re#ilt from the stations of in universal alphabki, in facilitating inIepromtat', proprioting civilization, and distusing knowledce. We tuulily sulint al), that an a'phabca, formed on the principles of M. Volwy, would be much more perfect than any which exinte sit forect. But this buiolent project, in its application

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