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The question, if we mistake not the fenfe of our Correfpondent's letter, is
In order to clear up the Antiquity of the Low Dutch Language, how far can it be fhewn that the Foundation of that Tongue is to be found in the remains of the Mafogothic and Anglo-Saxon Languages?'
This Society was inflitated for the purposes of illuftrating and perfecting the Low-Dutch antiquities and history, as well as language and poetry. They have already published two volumes of Memoirs on various fubjects relative to these four branches of literature; and we are informed that the third will very foon appear.
Thofe who intend to be candidates for this premium must fend in their differtations, written in Low-Dutch or Latin, with a motto an nexed, and an additional fealed-up paper containing the fame motto, together with the name, &c. of the Author; addreffing the packet to Dr. Adrianus Van Affendelft, Secretary of the Society, or to Pieter Vreede Junior, Keeper of the Correfpondence, before the ift of October, 1775.
We would willingly oblige our Correfpondent, Medicus, who addreffes us from Portsmouth, on the fubject of a Common-placebook, had we any thing new to communicate to him on that article.
++ We have turned to the different accounts given, in the years 1762 and 1765, of " The Bee," and of" Effays, by Dr. Gold-. finith;" which the Hinter of Truth fays, are only different titles to fame book. We have neither of thofe editions at hand; but we take it for granted that what is afferted by an " Hinter of Truth," must be true.
This discovery evinces two things. First, that notwithstanding our numerous detections of old books vamped with new title-pages, and other impofitions of a fimilar kind, one inftance, at least, occurs, in which our recollection, and juftice, have been eluded. Secondly, that it is poffible for one Critic to think more or less favourably of a performance than a brother Critic, who had perufed the fame work five or fix years before.-Perhaps the Critics in queftion were both Doors; in which cafe they may plead a right to differ by preJcription.
As to what this Correfpondent furmifes, of a prejudice against our old friend, and affociate, Dr. G. he may reft affured that there is no foundation for it. But it is ever our cuftom to be fparing of our compliments to each other. Sometimes, however, we confefs, we have been reciprocally taken in for a penful of praise, by a brother in mafquerade; but when he has the honefly to thew his face, there is no danger of his being put to the blush by the flattery of his friends.
I. H.'s anecdotes of Sir Ifaac Newton are received, but no ufe could be made of them this month.
See Review for lait month, p. 163, Art. 27.
ART. I. Philofophical and Critical Obfervations on the Nature, Characters, and various Species of Compofition. By John Ogilvie, D. D. 8vo. 2 Vols. 12 s. bound. Robinson. 1774.
HE philofophy of language, as it leads to the knowledge of one of the principal characteristics of our nature, is an object of the higheft and nobleft attention;-a study the moft comprehenfive in its kind, adapted to embellish, to give exertion to the faculties, and pregnant with innumerable fpecies of information and delight.
To investigate thofe powers of expreffion and that conftruction of fpeech, which have placed the human heart in the hands of the orator, and given him an almoft magical dominion over the paffions; that have prolonged the date of liberty, difarmed the hand of power, and decided the fate of civil inftitutionsTo purfue fuch inquiries, and trace fuch powers to their fource, muft be attended with the most inexpreffible intereft and pleafure.
For though, where Nature and Genius are the first sources of excellence, inquiries upon mechanical principles, feem but idly directed; yet to mark thofe happier inftances of harmony and phrafeology, which the favourites of Nature have afforded us, and from thence to lay down rules and principles of compofition, has always been one of the chief ends and objects of criticism.
Dr. Ogilvie has, in the variety of his fubject, an ample field for inquiries of this kind. His work is planned in the following form. The first volume contains,
1. Introductory Obfervations on the Nature of Compofition. 2. Of the Province of the Understanding in Compofition. 3. Of the Influence of Imagination on Compofition.
4. Of Penetration or Difcernment, as it regards Compofition. 5. Of the Ufe of Memory in Compofition.
6. Of the various Combinations of intellectual Powers in
the different Species of Compofition. VOL. LI.
7. Of that Combination of the intellectual Faculties, which gives rife to the Arts of Poetry and Criticism.
8. Whether that Balance of the intellectual Powers, from which the Perfection of Compofition refults, can be obtained, and by what methods we can make the nearest approach to it.
This laft fection is lefs theoretic, lefs fpeculative and ab ftracted than the reft; and it is, confequently, in proportion, more useful and engaging. While the Author is recommending the means that appear neceffary or expedient for obtaining a balance of the intellectual powers, or, in other words, for rendering the judgment and the imagination proportionate to each other, he throws out fome valuable hints for the education of youth. What he advances on the fubject of Natural History we shall lay before our Readers; perfuaded, that the major part of them would never open our leaves for a difquifition or a detail of his fpeculative inquiries.
Having recommended the ftudy of the more eafy and capti. vating branches of moral philofophy, to minds just approaching toward maturity, together with the works of our moft liberal and elegant critics*, Dr. Ogilvie proceeds:
Should any other courfe of reading be thought neceffary to complete the fyftem of education that is proper at this period for the improvement of the understanding, we would venture for this purpofe the study of natural hiftory. A judicious performance on this copious and interefting fubject, hath indeed an obvious tendency to call out all the powers of the mind into fucceffive exertion, and is calculated beyond all others to excite and to gratify that curiofity which is ftirred up in a reflecting mind by objects conveyed to it by the canal of fenfation. As no theme of whatever kind, contains a more diverfified series of objects than that of natural hiftory, so there is not perhaps any in the profecution of which more various degrees of merit have been rendered confpicuous. That part of it which relates to the generation, the fpecies, and the organization of infects, like many other fabjects excellent in themselves, and tending to produce emolument to the reader, yet hath been followed out by authors whofe hearts perhaps were better than their understandings, with fo much minutenefs as hath exposed both themselves and their fubject to ridicule. The theme however in itself is undoubtedly noble, as it tends to enlarge our ideas of the power and wisdom of that Being who has not only peopled the world with fuch inexhauftible variety, but has with wonderful attention adapted the organs of the fmallett infect to its peculiar neceflities, and has directed the ob jects around to afford it a facceffion of fuitable fupplies.
But the circumstances after all which a man of great imagina tion will principally take pleafure to contemplate, are thole parts of this fcience which lay open the grandeur, the magnificence, and the utility of the works of nature. Accordingly, we find that the birth and generation of things, the formation of the earth from
Addison, Johnson, Hurd, &c.
chaos, the original and the employments of its firft inhabitants, the productions of feas, rivers, mountains, &c. were the themes bo:h of the earliest poets and philofophers *, inspired as it were by the ful voice of nature, and led to furvey divine wisdom in the workmanship of the Deity.,
When from contemplating in this manner the earth in generaland the bodies revolving around it, we come to confider its various ftrata, the minerals hid in its bowels, and that inexhaustible store of materials which it contains for all the purposes of man; the underftanding engages in an enquiry at the fame time curious, entertaining, and inftructive. It ought however to be obferved, that a general sketch of thefe fubjects calculated rather to ftimulate than to: gratify curiofity, will be fufficient in very early life to convey as much knowledge as a judicious inftructor will judge it expedient to communicate. Nothing is productive of worfe confequences, particularly upon young perfons of genius, than an attempt to lay before them at once the whole extent of an art, and to hurry the mind as it were, before it is arrived at a state of fuficient maturity, into intricate fpeculations, whofe evidence after all may be principally con
This truth will be acknowledged by all who have any knowledge of antiquity. The bards of thefe early days united in their own profeffion the character of prets and philofophers, but thefe laft attempted not to occupy the sphere of the first. Yet their fubjects were the fame Προτερον μεν εν ΠΟΙΗΜΑΣΙ εξέφεραν οι ΦΙΛΟΣΟΦΟΙ τα δόγματα και τις λίγες ωσπερ Ορξευ, και Ησιοδίς, fays Plutarch on this fubject. Linus, Orpheus, Melampus, Thamyras, Palaphatus, Pronapides, fimæus Loctif, and Hefiod, authors (the two laft excepted) fome of whofe writings are wholly loft, and the others preferved in broken fragments, all of them began their fongs at that period Cum nondum divinæ religionis, non humani officii ratio colebatur: nemo legitimas nuptias viderat : non certos quifquam infpexerat liberos, &c. laven. But apa wait' smequnei all things were jumbled together :" and the for. mation of the univerfe from this chaos was the subject of their fongs.
Principio cælum ac terras campofque liquentes
To this investigation they gave the name of THEOGENY, which (as a learned modern writer obferves)" is a system of the univerfe digefted and wrought into an allegory:a compofition made up of infinite parts, each of which has been a difcovery of itself, and is delivered as a mytery to the initiated." Enq. into the Life of Homer, p. 93.-The philofophers treated this fubject more fyftematically, without the images and licence of poetry. The Egyptians afcribed the origin of things to matter or earth a; Thales the Milefian, to water b; Plato, to the four principles, fire, water, earth and air, put together and fupported by an invifible and infinite mind; Lucian humorously, but in a spirit truly philofophical, afcribes the mixture of these elements to Venus, or the principle of loved; and Phornutus has explained in a very diftinct manner the offices of every deity in the generation and confervation of things, difcovering by these means the important truths that are shrouded so effec.. tually beneath the veil of poetic allegory e. As it appears, therefore, that these fathers of science who hung out the firft lights to mankind dwelt fucceffively upon the fubjects here recommended, most of them at periods when the buman mird with re gard to knowledge was in its infancy, and fufceptible of any impressions whatever; no fubjects more appofite and inftructive can be propofed to the young and inexpe rienced, than those which were originally judged so important, and which are pro ductive of fuch obvious emoluments.'
•1 ΔΙΘΓΕΝ. ΛΑΕΡΤ. προμ. p. 7. b Id. aλ. p. 18.' • Id. Πλατ. 229. • d ́ATKIA. EguTM”. Oper. vol, iv, edit, Bafil. p. 195.' ‘+ ΦΟΡΝΟΥΤ, περι των θεαη φύση pafto
jectural and prefumptive. That this is the cafe with thofe who have wrote on Natural History, is evident from the various hypotheses that have been formed of the origin of rivers, fountains, and volcanos; of the caufes that gave rife in particular inftances to eruptions, inundations, and hurricanes, and other extraordinary phænomena of the fame kind. The perufal of different theories on these subjects anfwers only the purpofe of opening an inlet to fceptical principles; and by involving the mind in a labyrinth of doubt and error, renders it unable to range its ideas with precifion, and to express these with perfpicuity. The method of proceeding from the fimpleft views of a fubject to more enlarged and compounded exhibitions, is exactly analogous to the manner in which we find it necessary to proceed when young perfons are inftructed in the knowledge of thofe languages which it is judged proper to teach them (with what expediency we fhall fee afterwards) almost as foon as they are capable of diftinguishing objects. That tutor, who, as foon as his pupil had learned the first elements of Greek and Latin, fhould put into his hands Thucydides, Pindar, Tacitus, or Perfius, would furely be cenfured as having acted in a very abfurd and irrational manner. We fuppofe that the man, at whatever age, who is acquiring thefe languages can, for a time, take in but a fmall compafs of ideas. We extend thefe gradually, by leading him from the plaineft and moft intelligible writings, to fuch as by a more complicated conftruction of words require application and exercife to be thoroughly comprehended. By this procefs the explication of difficult paffages becomes at last eafy we grow familiar with particular idioms, and are able to transfufe thefe into a copy: we enter without perplexity into the whole phrafeclogy, and are qualified to impart our knowledge to others by that method which experience hath fhown to be fucceffful with ourselves.
By beginning therefore with difclofing those works of divine wifdom that are confpicuous in the formation and exercises of the various claffes of infects; by defcribing the manner in which these are fitted fo admirably for the purposes of their creation; their little arts, policy, government, fettlement, and excursions, a mind endowed with any portion of genius will engage in a molt agreeable and inftructive research. While imagination will dwell upon the-wonderful and aftonishing in this enquiry, judgment will find its inveftigation confiderably enlarged by tudying the manners of these and the defires by which they appear to be animated; as well as by ob. ferving particularly the marks that ferve to difcriminate either individuals of the fame tribe, or the different fpecies from each other †. its
communes natos, confortia tecta
Urbis haben, magnifque agitant fub legibus ævum;
Virg. Georg. iv. 1. 153-"
The divine poet, whom we have quoted above, makes a noble ufe of the employments of thefe tribes, by making thefe inculcate fome fublime max me of phi lofophy.
His quidam fignis, atque hæc exempla fecuti,