Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small]

6 A


academical ideas of the appearance of been celebrated in any work generally
the ancient seat of learning and refine- read. Here, therefore, Sir John must
ment in the east. But this “ week in be original. Let us hear hiin.
Edinburgh” has, in Sir John's hands, light-house (he says) is about to be
afforded topics sufficient to occupy the erected, under the direction of the in-
pages of nearly half a quarto volume; genious Mr Simpson, upon that dan-
so that his time was not altogether gerous island.” (p. 110.) I
misspent. How much is copied, and no stranger could divine that Sir John
how much is original, no one will be is here writing about a sunk rock, situ-
at any loss to ascertain who has ever ated twelve miles in the German
read Mr Creech's Comparative view of Ocean,--the top of which is visible on-
the state of Edinburgh in 1763, and ly at ebb-tide, and the site of which at
in 1783, and especially Mr Stark's other times is discerned only by brea-
Picture of Edinburgh. Sir John Carr kers, or tumultuous irregular waves.
has not scrupled occasionally to trans- The “ ingenious Mr Simpson” too, is
cribe the very language of this last ; an ideal personage ; at least no such
and he could not have done better : architect has any direction of the Bell
but we think he might have contrived Rock operations. These are directed
to make soms atonement, by introdu- by Mr Robert Stevenson, sole engineer
cing a compliment to this excellent to the Commissioners for Northern
pocket guide to the Scottish capital. Lights, in whom genius and great
He maintains, however, a profound si- professional acquirements are united
lence on the subject.

with that zeal and perseverance pecuThis habit of implicitly borrowing, liarly requisite in the arduous underoccasionally leads Sir John into errors, taking of erecting this Scottish Ed.

to talk of things that once were, as dystone light-house. though they still existed, -owing to From his account of Loch Ness it the changes produced by the lapse of has already appeared that Sir John a few years. In: 66 Torwood, near Carr is no great chemist. The extent Stirling, (he tells us, p. 237,) the of his mineralogical knowledge may be stump of an old oak is shewn,called estimated from a single sentence. Wallace's Tree. This stump has fi- “ Arthur's Seat and the adjacent rocks gured in almost every Tour in Scot- (he says) are composed of whinstone, land for the last twenty years. Our which is used for paving the streets of author does not expressly say that Edinburgh; and the summits are supke saw this stump; but the reader ported by hexagonal pillars somewhat would be very apt to infer so. The basaltic." (p. 72.) This may possibly truth, however, is, that it is several do for the meridian of London; it years since the last fibres of the root may, for any thing we know, pass at of Wallace's oak were eradicated, and Oxford or Cambridge ; but it seems now no trace remains.

highly ridiculous at Edinburgh, where “ To borrow or not to borrow," every student is now a geognost, and seems often with Sir John Carr to be where mineralogy is certainly better the question. The former is compa- taught than in any other part of the ratively both the more safe and easy empire. It strikes me, that Sir John's plan; and it had been well that he account of Arthur's seat is only to be had determined in the affirmative ; for equalled by that of Pentland Hills given where he finds no previous published in the Beauties of Scotland : " The guide, he blunders in an extraordinary Pentlands, and other large mountains, manner. The bold and almost incre. consist of different sorts of basaltic dible undertaking of erecting a light- stone or whinstone, granite, and other house on the Bell Rock has not yet strata, which are usually termed pri


[ocr errors]

mitive rocks; whereas the other fossils Linnæus, while the common oat is the oceupy the valley.” How desperate. Avena sativa. ly adventurous is it in Sir John Carr “ Kelp (he informs us) is the caland Mr Forsyth to write on subjects cined ashes of a marine plant of that about which they are so completely name, and is used in the manufacture uninformed! It is scarcely necessary of glass and soap : it grows on the to add, that no sect of mineralogists rocks and shores of the Hebrides and has ever considered basaltic stone as Highlands.” (p. 490.) The plainest belonging to the class of Primitive Hebridean distinguishes between kelp rocks, and that at any rate there is made from yellow ware, and that from none about the Pentlands ; far less red ware or tang, and would be astodoes any granite appear in those moun. nished to be told that keip grew upon tains. I may add, that if strata of his rocks! Sir John seeins anxious to basalt and of granite were to be found place himself on a par with Dr Johnalternating in the Pentlands, as seeins son ; and here, I confess, he has a fair to be implied in Mr Forsyth's descrip- opportunity; for the Doctor's account tion, a complete puzzle would be pro- of kelp is precisely on a level with the duced both to the Plutonists and Nep- knight's for confusion and inaccuracy; tunists; both to the Huttonians and indeed Sir John seems to have borWernerians.

rowed from the Doctor. “ The rocks When Sir John Carr gets fairly a- of the Western islands (says Dr Johnmong the remote Western Islands, he son) abound with kelp, a sea-plant of seems to give full reins to his careless- which the ashes are melted into glass." ness, and to blunder upon every topic (8vo. .edit. p. 184.) Sir John Carr that he touches.

adds, that kelp is worth 31. 10s. a-ton : He informs us, that “ the islands This might possibly be the price in abound with game, including the Dr Johnson's day, but had Sir John cock of the wood, or kaperkelly.”- been at the pains to make any inquiry, “ This bird (he adds,) from some un. he would have found that for twenty known cause, has been more scarce of years past, the price has varied from late years than it was in former times, 81. to 141. a-ton. (p. 500.) Who would not here sup- But if our author is palpably defipose that Sir John Carr had seen seve- cient in physics, we might expect that ral capercailzies; only he had found his talent lay in some other line ; for them more scarce than he expected, instance, in historical information.--and had them less frequently dressed He favours us with some interesting for supper than he could have wished? historical anecdotes, relative to Prince Who could imagine that the Knight Charles's“ hair-breadth 'scapes" when is speaking of a bird which he did not lurking in the West Highlands. He see at all, but which has been long ex- concludes the whole, however, with an tinct in those islands ?

assertion, that a privateer from St “ The islanders (he informs us) are Maloes came to Loch Rannach, and restricted to the most degenerated spe- took Charles on board.” (p. 344.) cies of oats, with the hairy-bearded This privateer, it will be observed, husk.” They are most certainly not must have skipped over many a hill restricted to this sort : the truth is, and many a moor to get to Loch Ranthey find by experience that it best nach. Had Sir John Carr consulted withstands the autumnal blasts to Home's History of the Rebellion (but which their fields are subject. Nei- it does not appear that he ever heard ther is it a degenerated kind; but a dis- of such a book) he would have discotinct species, the Avena strigosa of vered that it was in Loch Moidart


that the Prince embarked on board of " presbytery”' churches than of the privateer.

“ diocese" churches. I shall here refer only to one other Before Sir John Carr had got farhistorical statement ; which regards ther into Scotland than Jedburgh, he the celebrated marble chair of Scone, discovered that “the Scoich have a in which the Scottish kings were natural urbanity.” Indeed he might crowned. Sir John Carr affirms that have discovered this without leaving this marble chair is now in Westmin- London ; merely by turning over the ster Abbey. But I suspeci that in this pages of the Edinburgh, or even the assertion he blindly follows all his Anti-Edinburgh Review. Lest I predecessors in tour writing ; at least, should forfeit for my countrymen this I could not procure a sight of this excellent character, I shall here take national antiquity; but my inquiries my leave of the Knight and his Sketon the subject were met 'by a grin ches ; and closing my eyes on many from the ecclesiastical ofiicers in at faults, some of which perhaps “ intendance at the abbey, who wondered curia fudit,”-shall acknowledge that how I could give credit to such a fa- the book is not without some excellenble! If Sir John Carr reside in Lon- cies; that it conveys some acceptable don, he himself may easily make in- information, and some useful hints for quiry on this subject. If he find it to improvement; that it displays some exist, a description of it, accompanied traits of candour and benevolence with a drawing, might form a most in- honourable to the author's principles teresting supplement to the 8vo edi. and feelings. tion of the Sketches.

14th April 1809. On the east coast of Scotland nothing very remarkable occurred, unless that, near Aberdeen, Sir John“ got for dinner a branded fowl ;” by which he On the Necessity of a New ALPHABET, means brandered, and which he had Hail! ancient book, most venerable code, the sagacity to discover was nothing Learning's first cradle, and its last abode. else than 6 a fowl broiled on the grid

HORN Book. iron;" a discovery that might have

To the Editor. been both amusing and instructive to

SIR, his readers, had not the hackneyed story of the Scotch magistrate in Lon THE fluctuating and unstabile, nabrandered dow” (broiled pigeon) a proposition so self evident, that it been familiar to his readers.

would be totally superfluous to attempt Sufficient specimens of Sir John a proof of it. To enumerate a hunCarr's style have perhaps already ap- dredth part of the innovations which peared. He sometimes attempts to are daily taking place, would be imsoar into the loftiest Jobnsonian ; of possible, and in the present case is unwhich one example shall suffice.- necessary.. All that I mean is, to draw Economy (he observes) has led the the attention of you and your readers Scotch to convert parts of their cathe- to the permanent state of our Alphadrals in presbytery churches, and to bet, and the ever-fluctuating state of perform their simple worship amid the our language, an inconsistency which mouldering ruins of monastic magnifi- I do not recollect to have seen any

Such sonorous alliteration where accounted for. eclipses Johnson himself; but that cor- Language is probably coeval with rect writer would no more have talked the human race. Though we cannot



[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

ascertain the exact date of Alphabets, Tissaphernes and Tissafurnace, --Achilwe may at least presume, that they are les and Akilles,–Right and Roit, of high antiquity, and anterior to all All and Oil, Gloucester and Gloster, history. They were unquestionably &c. &c.? framed as Characteristics to represent After the labour of a succession of the articulate sounds of the human centuries, the Orthography of our lanvoice at a remote period, and in a guage is tolerably settled; but being rude state of society, when the wants settled on the basis of an Alphabet of men were few, and their language totally inadequate to characterize the scanty. Thus, Alphabets, thowell Orthoepy, we have but attained half calculated for the rude periods at our purpose, and have only widened which they were framed, are totally the breach betwixt the two

relative inadequate to the modern and more essentials of our language, by chaining refined condition of mankind. In or- down the ne, and leaving the other der to make alphabets and languages to roam at large. If we had wished move in unison, it is necessary, either to them to maintain their reciprocal afficonfine a language always to the rude nity, it would have been prudent to state in which it was when the al- have chained down both, or neither. phabet was invented, or gradually to It is not a little singular, that improve the alphabet in proportion to none of ours sage inquirers into the the improvement of the language. In philosophy of language have disthis case, a language and its alpha- covered this important fact, that bet would be co-adequate, and its Or- every letter, originally, had one only thöepy, as well as its Orthography, sound, and that the Orthography and might be permanently settled. Orthoepy of language were synoni

in the English language, nothing mous. In proportion however as the appears more absurd than the quiescent human race became civilized, the disletters, and nothing can be more cer- crepancy became greater, and is daily tain, than that every letter, originally; increasing. One of the great causes had its specific and appropriate sound. of this discrepancy is an absurd affecOur remote ancestors had difficulty e- tation of an undefined something calnough to form an Alphabet, and as- led English ascent. On this particular sign a distinct sound to each letter. point I am, fortunately, able to speak Crowding half a dozen quiescent let- not only from theory, but practice. ters into one word, or giving half a Some 20 or 30 years ago, in quality dozen different sounds to one letter, of Governor, I accompanied a noblecould form no part of their system. man's family,who had finishedtheir clasIf the language has improved to such sical education, to England, where they

degree as to render a part of the were placed at the University of OxAlphabet redundant, or inadequate, 'ford, with the view of attaining the why not lop off its redundancies, and English accent. During a residence of supply its defects? It is indeed self- six years, they made so little progress, evident, that the strictest affinity ought tho they were, in every other respect, to exist betwixt the Orthöpy and Or- profound linguists, that I was totally thography of our language, and that at a loss to account either for their we ought either to pronounce according non-proficiency, or my own ; especially to the Orthography, or write accord as Sally the kitchen-maid, and Joe the ing to the Orthöepy. Who could trace postilion, who could neither read nor the least affinity betwixt Colonel and write, were completely Englified in Curnel,- Cholmondeley and Chumley, less than three months, and possessed -sigh and sy- Anstruther and Ains. more of the os rolündum than either ter, -Housewife and Houseff, and Demosthenes, Cicero, or Adam Gillies. April 1809.

It was long before I discovered that I have thus stated an important fact, an intimate acquaintance with Ortho- well intitled to public attention. In graphy is the greatest of all impedi- whatever way it may be proposed to ments to the attainment of accent and remedy the grievance, whether by orthöepy. A scholar endeavours to making the Orthography or Orthöeny reconcile them together, and always the standard, or, which is most eligirecurs to the Orthography as the ble of all, by framing a new Alphabet standard, whereas Sally and Joe had suited to the present refined state of no such difficulty to contend with.- our language, I shall in due time conWith them all was accent and pro- tribute my mite ; and am, nunciation together, without incum

SIR, brance or impediment; and, in truth, their mellifluous modulations were such

Yours, &c. as to set all alphabets, antient and mo- Dickmountlaw, ?

SCOTUS. dern, at defiance.

20th Feb. 1809.




Synopsis of the GAELIC and Latin Languages.

(Continued from last vol. p. 589.)



Lo, behold.


An cpistle.

To sit beside.

Lo, behold.

An error.

A fable.


Power, gain, wealth.
Faid, vaid,

A prophet, poet.
Faigin, vaigin, Vagina,

A sheath,

Deceit, covering,


A fane, temple.

A falcon.

A man.

A word.

A verse.

A feast.



Fem, femen, Foemina,

A woman.

A fever.
Fig, fioghis, Ficus,

A fig tree.

A figure.
Vinum ægrum,

Vini hortus,

A vineyard.
Fiormameint, Firmamentum,

The firmament.


« ZurückWeiter »