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than was required for the mere mechanical accuracy of their publication; and even the few whose scholarship was of a higher and more ambitious character, fall far short of that lofty standard by which those are to be measured whose names can be considered worthy of any comparison with that of Mezzofanti.
Among the many who have attained to eminence as linguists, the vast majority will be found to have contented themselves with such familiarity as enabled them to understand and critically interpret the written languages; and, even in this respect, it is exceedingly difficult, in by far the greater number of cases, to ascertain the true extent of the accomplishment. The earlier linguists after the revival of letters, for the most part devoted themselves to the cultivation of the dead languages. The Greek scholars who were driven to the west by the Moslem occupation of Constantinople, brought their language in its best and most attractive form to the universities of Italy. The Jews and Moors who were exiled from Spain by the harsh and impolitic measures of Ferdinand and Isabella, deposited through all the schools of Europe the seeds of a solid and critical knowledge of the Hebrew, Arabic, and their cognate languages; and the fruits may be discerned at a comparatively early period in the biblical studies of the time. The Complutensian Polyglot (1517) though the first, is a most creditable example of the zeal with which the study of Oriental literature was even then pursued.
It is not our purpose, however, to dwell upon the mere scholars or philologers who form the larger proportion of our catalogue of linguists. We shall content ourselves with enumerating the most eminent among them ;-our principal concern being with those in whom the faculty of speaking a multiplicity of languages was remarkably developed.
It is curious that almost all the British linguists (except the Admirable Crichton) belong to the former class — that of mere scholars. Neither Brian Walton, the compiler of the Walton Polyglot; nor his friend and fellow-labourer, Edward Castell, author of the Polyglot Lexicon; nor the learned and witty, but eccentric, Bishop Wilkins; nor John Chamberlayne, editor of the well-known collection of Pater Nosters: nor
even the accomplished and elegant scholar, Sir William Jones, though he is known to have acquired, more or less completely, no less than twenty-eight languages ; would appear to have possessed a facility of speaking languages at all commensurate with their attainments as scholars in that department.
Perhaps, indeed, the same may be said of all those who have written much in this department of languages. The amount of time necessarily devoted to mere authorship, may be supposed to have made it difficult for them to cultivate the accomplishment of speaking; we have little doubt, moreover, that the two pursuits are entirely distinct in their character, and that very different faculties of mind are required in order to command eminent success in one and in the other. The great biblical scholars Theodore Buchmann*, Adrian Van der Jonghe, and Bonaventure Smet; the well-known naturalists Gesner and Claude Duret f; even the eminent travellers (although travel would seem specially calculated to develope the faculty of speaking) Thevenot, the originator of the Academie des Sciences; Thevet; Megiser, author of the Thesaurus Polyglottus; Gramaye; and the elder Niebuhr; all owe their reputation as linguists, exclusively, or almost exclusively, to book knowledge.
The same is true, although perhaps in a minor degree, of many of the great modern masters of philology. Vater's fame rests chiefly on his Oriental studies. Rask gave himself entirely to the analogies of the Sanscrit with its European descendants, and especially to the great Scandinavian family. Nor are we aware that even Adelung himself, notwithstanding the universal and allembracing scope of his immortal work, has established any great claim to what constitutes the peculiar fame of Mithridates, beyond the mere assumption of his name as the title of his publieation.
There are some of the modern scholars, however, whom it would be most unjust to include in this general description. First among them will occur to every reader the name of the celebrated Peter Simon Pallas, to whom we are indebted for the great comparative vocabulary already described. He was born at Berlin in 1741, and his early studies were mainly directed to natural philosophy, which he appears to have cultivated in all its branches. His reputation as a naturalist procured for him in 1767 an invitation from Catherine II. of Russia, to exchange the distinguished position which he occupied at the Hague for a professorship in the Academy of St. Petersburg. His arrival in that capital occurred just at the time of the departure of the celebrated
* Buchmann may possibly fail of being recognised under this name (Ang. Bookman). Like most of the scholars of his day, he classicized it into the Greek equivalent, Bibliander. The same may be said of an author mentioned in a former page (29), Van der Jonghe (Young), who translated this Dutch name into Junius ; and of the Belgian Smet (Smith), who appears in the Latin of his time as Vulcanius.
† This eminent but eccentric man is said to have known seventeen languages, and even to have persuaded himself that he had discovered a key to the languages of birds and beasts, and even that of the angelic choir. He died in 1611. vOL. CI. NO. Ccy.
scientific expedition to Siberia for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus ; and, as their mission also embraced the geography and natural history of Siberia, Pallas gladly accepted an invitation to accompany them. They set out in June, 1768, and after exploring the vast plains of European Russia, the borders of Calmuck Tartary, and the shores of the Caspian, they crossed the Ural Mountains, examined the celebrated mines of Catherinenburg, proceeded to Tobolsk, the capital of Siberia, and penetrated across the mountains to the Chinese frontier, whence Pallas returned by the route of Astrakan and the Caucasus to St. Petersburg. He reached that city in July, 1774, with broken health and hair prematurely whitened by sickness and fatigue. He resumed his place in the academy; and was rewarded by the Empress with many distinctions and lucrative employments, one of which was the charge of instructing the young grand-dukes, Alexander and Constantine. It was during these years that he devoted himself to the compilation of the Vocabularia Comparativa; but, in 1795, he returned to the Crimea, (where he had obtained an extensive gift of territory from the Empress) for the purpose of recruiting his health and pursuing his researches. After a residence there of fifteen years, he returned to Berlin in 1810, where he died in the following year. It will be seen, therefore, that the study of languages was but a subordinate pursuit of this extraordinary man. His fame is mainly due to his researches in science. It is to him that we owe the reduction of the astronomical observations of the expedition of 1768; and Cuvier gives him the credit of completely renewing the science of geology, and of almost entirely re-constructing that of natural history. It is difficult, nevertheless, to arrive at an exact conclusion as to his powers as a speaker of foreign languages, although it is clear that his habits of life as a traveller and scientific explorer, not only facilitated, but even directly necessitated for him the exercise of that faculty to a far greater degree than in the case of most of the older philologers.
The career of Pallas bears a very remarkable resemblance to that of a more modern scholar, also a native of Berlin, Julius Henry Klaproth. He was the son of the celebrated chemist of that name, and was born in 1783. In his youth he devoted himself to his father's science and its kindred studies; but, after a time, he gave his attention exclusively to the cultivation of Oriental languages; and, in 1802, established at Dresden the Asiatic Magazine, which has since rendered so many important services to Eastern literature. Like Pallas, he was invited to St. Petersburg, and, like him, he attached himself to an expedition partly scientific, partly political, despatched to Pekin in 1805. Like
him, too, he separated from the main body of the expedition for the purpose of more unrestrainedly pursuing his scientific researches; and he returned to Russia in 1807, with a vast and various collection of notes on the Chinese, Mantchou, Mogul, and Japanese languages. With a similar object he was shortly after sent by the academy to collect information on the languages of the tribes of the Caucasus, from which mission he returned in 1810. He soon after quitted St. Petersburg for his native city, where, however, he did not settle; but, after spending some time in Italy, he took up his residence in Paris, established the Société Asiatique, and became the chief editor of its well-known journal. It was there also, that he published his great works — the Asia Polyglotta and the · New Mithridates.' He died in 1835. Klaproth's attainments as a linguist, however, appear to have lain chiefly in the single family of languages which he made the study of his life; nor can he be enumerated among those who have distinguished themselves as speakers of foreign languages.
There is another distinguished scholar of modern Germany whom we cannot pass over in this enumeration, especially as his name is almost unknown to our English philologers, Christian William Buttner. He was born at Wolfenbüttel in 1716, and was destined by his father (an apothecary) for the medical profession; but although, like both those of whom we have been speaking, he gave his attention in the first instance to the sciences preparatory to that profession, the passion of his life became philology, and especially in its relation to the great science of ethnography. It was a saying of Cuvier's that Linnæus and Buttner realised by their united studies the title of Grotius's celebrated work De Jure Nature et Gentium;' Linnæus by his pursuit of Natural History assuming the first, and Buttner, by his ethnoloyical studies, appropriating the second, as the respective spheres of their operations. In every country which Buttner visited, he acquired not only the general language, but the most minute peculiarities of its provincial dialects. Few literary lives are recorded in history which present such a picture of self-denial and of privation voluntarily endured in the cause of learning, as that of Buttner. His library and museum, accumulated from the hoardings of his paltry income, were ceedingly extensive and most valuable. In order to scrape together the means for their gradual purchase, he contented himself during the greater part of his later life with a single meal per day, the cost of which never exceeded a silber-groschen, or somewhat less than three half-pence! It may be inferred, however, from what has been said, that Buttner's attainments were mainly those of a book-man. In the scanty notices of him which
we have gleaned, we do not find that his power of speaking foreign languages was at all what might have been expected from
the extent and variety of his book knowledge. But his services as a scientific philologer were infinitely more important as well as more permanent than any such ephemeral faculty. He was the first to observe and to cultivate the true relations of the monosyllabic languages of southern Asia, and to place them at the head of his scheme of the Asiatic and European languages. He was the first to conceive, or at least to carry out, the theory of the geographical distribution of languages; and he may be looked on as the true founder of the science of glossography. He was the first to sytematise and to trace the origin and affiliations of the various alphabetical characters; and his researches in the history of the palæography of the Semitic family may be said to have exhausted the subject. Nevertheless, he has himself written very little; but he communicated freely to others the fruits of his researches; and there are few of the philologers of his time who have not confessed their obligations to him. Michaelis, Schlötzer, Gatterer, and almost every other German scholar of note, have freely acknowledged both the value of his communications and the generous and liberal spirit in which they were imparted.
The catalogue of linguists eminent for the faculty of 'speaking a number of languages, though much more curious, is, nevertheless, also far inferior in number. The earliest example of this accomplishment after the revival of letters, is that of the celebrated Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, son of the Duke John Francis of that name. He was born in 1463, and from his childhood was regarded as one of the wonders of his age. Before he had completed his tenth year, he delivered lectures in civil and canon law, and was reputed a prodigy of eloquence. At the age of eighteen he had the reputation of knowing no less than twenty-two languages, a considerable number of which he spoke with fluency. And while he thus successfully cultivated the department of languages, he was, at the same time, an extraordinary proficient in all the other knowledge of his age. Making
. every allowance for the pedantry of his celebrated thesis at Rome in 1486, the nine hundred propositions of which it consisted comprised every department of knowledge cultivated at that period; nor can there be much doubt that, if his career had been prolonged to the usual term of human life, his reputation might have equalled that of almost any of the scholars, whether of the ancient or the modern world. He was cut off, however, at the early age of thirty-one. It is not unnatural to suppose that the rank of Pico, as well as the singular precocity of his talents, may