« ZurückWeiter »
on every point relative to the Slave Trade, we refer the reader to this interesting and comprehensive summary. The topics which it embraces are so numerous, that our limits will not permit us to follow the author as we could wish into the several divisions of the subject : and as the volume is of easy, purchase, and the question which occasioned it is (we trust) laid at rest for ever, we relinquish the task with less regret. We would distinguish, with more particular approbation, those parts of the work which condemn the blasphemous principle of expediency, and which direct the attention to the providence of that righteous Being who taketh vengeance. This reference to divine agency, cannot be urged unseasonably at this time of national danger, and of national indifference.
If any man ever deserved the appellation, Benefactor of the human race, it is due to Mr. Wilberforce. When we regard the sacred principles by which he has been animated, the expense of labour and time and anxiety which he has employed, the contumely which he has endured, the opposition whichi he has surmounted, the unspeakable value, and the immense magnitude, of the deliverance which under Providence he has been the principal instrument of atchieving, we feel that he has merited the heart-elating consciousness of successful be. nevolence, the gratitude of man, and the blessing of Heaven, A smaller reward would be too small; and there cannot be a greater.
We rejoice to learn that under the auspices of an illustrious personage of royal birth, of our excellent author, and of an assemblage of names the most noble, perhaps, that ever constituted a committee, it is in contemplation to requite the plundered continent of Africa, in kindness, in civilization, in commerce, and in moral instruction, for the cruelties and the desolation it has suffered from mercantile rapacity. With the most cordial congratulations we hail the institution of the AFRICAN INSTITUTION ; the prospect brightens; prosperity dawns upon the dark and sanguinary dwellings of the negroes; and sickened as we have been with contemplating the guilt and misery to which Britain has so largely contributed, we may yet live to see the prediction of a great statesman, and the prayer of numberless unobtrusive philanthropists, accomplished :— the natives of Africa engaged in the occupations of industry, in the pursuits of a just and legitimate commerce; we may behold the beams of science and philosophy breaking in upon that land, which at some happy period in still later tines may blaze with full lustre, and joining their influence to that of pure religion, may illuminate and invigorate the most distant extremities of that immense conti.
If Mr. Wilberforce should have the opportunity, by a second edition of this valuable work, we would recommend the addition of an Index, or at least a table of the Sections.
Art. XIII. Oriental Customs ; or an Illustration of the Sacred Scrip,
tures, by ap explanatory Application of the. Customs and Manners of the Eastern Nations, and especially the Jews, therein alluded to.
Col. lected from the most celebrated Travellers, and the most eminent Critics. By Samuel Burder. Vol. II. 8vo. Pp. 430. Price 9s. bds. Williams, Hatchard, 1807. THE lovers of Sacred Literature are doubtless under many
obligations to those industrious inquirers, who have drawn from the stores of ancient and modern authors, illustrations and corroborations of the contents of the inspired voJume. Not unfrequently has the scepticism of the sciolist been put to silence, by the simple statement of a well authenticated fact, after it had withstood the force of the best constructed reasonings.
It is evident, however, that few pursuits require, in a greater degree, the exercise of a chaste and sober judgement. The charms of fancied analogies are too strong for a writer of uncontrouled imagination, and the facility which the employ ment affords of filling up the page, is too iempting to the professed book-naker. While, therefore, there are not many works which we open with greater relish, there are hardly any that we peruse with more jealousy.
The qualifications of Mr. B. for the judicious performance of the task he has undertaken, have already been favourably estimated by the public; and we are of opinion that the present yolume will augment rather than diminish the reputation which he has previously acquired. It cannot be expected that in such a number of illustrations, all should possess equal excellence. While there are many that are both interesting and useful, there are some which leave the passage just where they found it, and others which, with little meaning in themselves, are appended to texts which can admit of no extraneous elucidation. We feel still less lenity toward the very considerable number of Greek and Roman customs; these cannot contribute to illustrate an oriental text, because the identity of the oriental custom alluded to, with the western one described, must be gratuitously assumed. This department of the work iş wholly unnoticed in the title page ; with which the very
first illustration is strongly at variance, for it relates only to the Athenian, Gothic, and Celtic'modes of computing time. There is need of much caution in comparing the divinely ordaioed rites and customs of the Jewish people, with the superstitions of Heathen nations; except where the latter can be clearly traced to the former, as their origin.
We quote the following, for the sake of a remark which it seems to require.
• No. 998.-Ps. lv. 17. Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray.) The frequency and the particular seasons of prayer are circumstances chief. ly connected with the situation and disposition of such as habituate themselves to this exercise. But from a singular conformity of practice in persons remote both as to age and place it appears probable that some idea must have obtained generally, that it was expedient and acceptable to pray three times every day. Such was the practice of David, and also of Daniel (see eh. vi. 10.) and as a parallel, though, as far as connected with an idolatrous system,, a different case, we are informed that “it is an invariable rule with the Brahmins to perform their devotions three times every day: at sun-rise, at noon, and at sun-set.” Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol. v..
We object to the stress Mr. B. seems to lay on “ the situation and disposition of those who habituate themselves to the exercise." If we are to follow the best examples; and if we are commanded to pray and not to faint; we should be extremely watchful, lest our situation, or disposition, lead us to neglect those seasons of devotion that are obviously within our power to command. The proportion of original anecdotes collected for the
purpose of biblical elucidation, is not large; the following is one of them, but the passage referred to certainly does not mean calling of servants.
• No. 911.-2 Kings xi. 12. And they clapped their hands.] This practice was not only an expression of joy, as in the present instance, but was also the ordinary method in the East of calling the attendants in waiting. Thựs in the history of the Caleph Vathek (p. 127.) we are told, that Nourouishar clapped her hands, and immediately came together Gul. cheurouz and her women. See also Psalm xlvii. 1 -xcviii. 8.' p. 163.
• No. 93).- Ezra vi. 11. And let his house be made a dung hill for this. Thus the Romans pulled down the houses of very wicked men, for their greater disgrace: of this we have instances in Sp. Cass us and Ovidius Pollio. See also Dan. ii. 5. and iii. 29. p. 174.
The following illustration of a scriptural anecdote is qeual. ly just and curious.
• No. 768.-Judg. iv. 19. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink.] Jael certainly shewed her regard to Israel by destroying Sisera, but it is as certain that she did not do it in the most honourable manner there. was treachery in it: perhaps in the estimation of those people, the greatest treachery. Among the later Arabs, giving a person drink has been thought to be the strongest assurance of their receiving him under their protection. When Guy de Lusignan, king of Jerusalem was taken prisoner, and was conducted before Saladin, he demanded drink, and they gave him fresh water, which he drank in Saladin's presence : but when one of his lords would have done the same, Saladin would not suffer it, because he did not
intend to spare his life :on the contrary, advancing to him, after some expose tulations, he cut off his head. D'Herbelot, p. 371. -HARMER, vol.ii. p. 469
The use of these volumes will be chiefly that of affordiog desirable information to students and pious persons in general, who cannot find access to large and expensive works. The most valuable anecdotes are taken from Harmer, Fleury, and the Scripture Illustrated. How far it was proper to borrow from works of moderate price, is not a question for us to determine.
The articles are numbered consecutively with the first voJume; two valuable indexes, one of the illustrations, another of the texts, are very properly appended to this work. Art. XIV. An English and Welch Vocabulary; or, an Easy Guide to the
Ancient British Language. By Thomas Evans. To which is prefixed a Grammar of the Welch Language, by Thomas Richards. 12mo. pp.
190. Pricę 3ş. Ostell. IT has been remarked, that many persons who travel to dis
tant countries to acquire knowledge, remain ignorant of objects at home which would have been more useful to them. The number of Englishmen who have some knowledge of Latin, Greek, or French, in proportion to those who know any thing of the Welch language, is probably at least as five hun. dred to one. Yet we do not hesitate to assert, that a knowledge of the latter, is of greater importance to the illustration of our national history, and even of the English tongue, at the present period, than an acquaintance with any foreign language, whether living or dead.
Till lately, indeed, inducements to the acquisition of the ancient British dialects, were not sufficiently obvious or powerful, to engage the serious attention of philologists. The numerous MSS. wbich comprise the most curious antiquities of our country, were, in England, hardly known to exist. These, having been published, (in the Archæology of Wales) since the commencement of the present century, are now open to all who will take the pains of studying the venerable language in which they were written. For the sake of persons
who have not leisure for the undertaking, we should be very glad to see them literally translated: but the Antiquarian, or the Historian, ought to be capable of investigating the original documents, in order to form his own judgement of their contents. The linguist would derive no slight gratification from a comparison of the Welch, both with ancient and modern languages, of European, and even of Oriental countries: and persons who are ignorant of these, need not despair of acquiring the Welch; as it is radically independent of all, though several modern languages are evidently intermixed with it.
A deficiency of attention to this object, has produced various
obstacles to the acquisition. There has appeared so little reason to hope for an extensive demand of books relating to the language, or composed in it, that few copies of such works have usually been printed. Hence their first prices were unavoidably high, and they have become peculiarly scarce. It has not been easy, even to procure a Welch bible in London, The small work before us is printed in a size and form, that must, we apprehend, preclude difficulties of this kind. The coarseness of its appearance does not indeed do much credit to the press (at Merthyr) which produced it: but we hope that its circulation will afford opportunity, as there is obvious occasion, for its improvement in this respect. This is the more desirable, as the grammar and vocabulary, here very properly connected, not only supply the deficiency of a familiar introduction to the language, but are executed with remarkable accuracy and judgement.
An English student of the Welch tongue has not to overcome the difficulty of a strange character, as in the Greek, and in all the Oriental languages: yet he is liable to be perplexed by a preposterous application of letters with which he is familiar, to the expression of sounds very different from those which are assigned to them in English. This we can. not but regret, as unfortunate and injudicious. The custom of substituting y for our short u, and u for our y; c for our k, dd for our sound of th in thy; f for our t, and # for our single one, is, indeed, now so much established, that the anthors of the present work might have been more exposed to censure for deviating from it, than for adhering to it. Yet it is well known, that these improprieties are comparatively of modern date; and there are not wanting authors who have attempted to break the shackles that have, within a few ages past, been put on.
We cannot expect, nor would we recommend, that the example of Llwyd, in introducing foreign characters; or that of Mr. Owen in substituting : for dd, should be generally followed. Neither would it be proper, in the last instance, to adopt our th, which has two sounds that ought to be distinguished: dh would be preferable. But a mutual transfer of the sounds of
the substitution of k for c; and of f and o, for ff, and f (which Mr. Owen has made in his dic
tionary) would surely be practicable, and would certainly fircilitate to an Englishman, and to most foreigners, the acquisition of this valuable and curious language.
The merits of this little volume are too numerous to be here detailed, and too striking to escape the attention of any philological reader. It may gratify the adept, while it instructs the beginner. We heartily wish those gentlemen, who have conidently asserted that the English and the Welch languages have nothing common to both, to glance over this small' work. Its