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have carried these combinations into the pressly says, that the Phenicians were oral language of the vulgar. They might famed as the inventors of letters. indeed have invented an oral language It must be remarked, that these facts corresponding to their characters; but are adduced to prove that no records of the genius of the Chinese seems rather the invention remain ; indirectly, there. to direct them to study than to conversa fore, they favour the hypothesis of the tion. In order to render probable a divine origin of letters. if, however, the transition from hieroglyphics to letters, transition were simple and gradual, perwe must suppose the spoken and the haps the era of invention could not have written language to have been connect been fixed even by the nation in which it ed with each other, and to have had si occurred. We have no more reason to milar combinations. Now we may ob- expect records of the invention of letters serve,
than of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, or of Secondly, That the spoken language
the Chinese characters. of China did not at all favour the plan of
f The arguments à priori for the divine making their characters representative
origin of letters remain to be consider. of sound, for, being all monosyllables, and
ed. These are, the difficulty of the in. not very numerous, there would not be
vention in any stage of human progress,
and its antiquity, which very much inthe same call for attention to the elementary sounds; and what would still more
creases the improbability of its human prevent this direction of the attention, origin. they did not vary the articulation, but the
1. As to the difficulty of the invention, tone, in order to express a variation of
it is urged that we are to suppose that meaning. Add to this,
the inventors of letters decomposed the
sounds of words not only into syllables, Thirdly, The great extent of the em.
but into letters; that observing the compire of China, and its dependencies,
ponent parts of syllables, and denoting would cause a great variety in the dia
them by appropriate marks, they used lect. This would contribute to increase
these marks for those elementary sounds the attention of their literati to their
in the visible representation of other written language, since this (as we have
words into which those sounds entered. seen it actually is) might be understood
This dissection of the articulate sounds independently of their words.
of man, tracing them through all their Fourthly, If we admit the very proba. various combinations, and denoting them ble hypothesis of De Guignes, that the by a few simple marks, whose combina. Chinese characters were brought from tions might express every possible com. Egypt, and that they had originally no bination of sound, supposes a habit of connection with the spoken language of patient experimenting, of discriminating the country into which they were im- examination, and of exact classification, ported, -that, in fact, they were applied which ill accord with the uncultivated to denote names different from those state of human intellect in the early pewith which they had been before con- riod of society. But, nected ;-we shall perceive at once the 2. When we consider the antiquity of reason why the combinations of the cha- the use of letters, and find them in a state racters were originally unaccompanied of perfection so early as the time of Mo. with corresponding combinations of ses, this difficulty appears insuperable. sounds. After this there is no difficulty We must admit that men, in the earliest in admitting that the written must con- ages, stepped at once from a tedious and tinue independent of the spoken lan- awkward, and frequently unintelligible, guage, especially among people so little mode of communication, to one which addicted to innovation as the Chinese. answers every purpose in the shortest
3. It is urged, that the invention of let. wav, and that, unlike all other inven. ters is ascribed to the gods by several of tions, it was brought at once to such a the ancients; that Pliny asserts the use state of perfection, that no succeeding of letters to have been eternal; and that alphabet has any real superiority over the the Jewish doctors maintain that God ancient Hebrew. created alphabetical writing.
With respect to the difficulty of the inWe say, in reply, that the Jews had no vention, the objection loses all its force, other records than our own. The an- when a simple and easy procedure, pro. cients were accustomed to ascribe to a bable in the given circumstances, can be divine origin every thing for which they pointed out. To obviate the difficulty could not account. As for Pliny, he ex. arising from the apparent perfection of VOL. XII.
the most ancient alphabets, we may ob- labic or pollysyllabic words; and then for serve,
the unchangeable part of those syllables, First, That in a perfect alphabet every that is, for consonants. In the most an. letter should represent only one definite cient state of the oriental languages, sound, and every known sound in the gi. vowel sounds had no distinct marks. In ven language should have a correspond the latter, marks were joined to the coning letter. Now we have no instance of sonants to express the different sounds a perfect alphabet among modern lan- with which the radical consonant was in. guages, and have therefore no reason to vested. Among the western nations, a suppose that the first alphabet was per. different procedure was adopted. In fect. But even admitting that some of some cases they used the mark which the ancient alphabets which have been they had received from the oriental na. transmitted to us were perfect, yet it tions for an aspirate and vowel, for the must be observed,
vowel itself; and having once commencSecondly, That no known alphabet, ed the use of distinct marks for vowels, however ancient, is in the state of its ori. the procedure was continued, and new ginal invention. Cadmus, who was born marks adopted, to express noticed varia. in the east, carried with him into Greece tions of vocal sounds. sixteen letters only; the least copious al. In support of this statement may be phabet we are acquainted with has twen. adduced the following observations: ty-two. It is not probable that Cadmus 1. We have seen that hieroglyphics introduced fewer than he possessed; it did become significant of sounds; and is more probable that he invented new (see LaxGUAGE) that words, originally ones, to express sounds which he found significant of one class of ideas, being apamong the aborigines.
plied to a second, lost their connection It has generally been supposed of late, with the former, and became directly sigthat alphabetical writing was formed from nificant of the latter. hieroglyphics; but we have met with no 2. We have reason to believe that one, except De Guignes, who has stated words were originally monosyllabic in the steps of the transition in a satisfactory those nations where alphabetical writing inanner. “ Perhaps," says this writer, was invented, and that the combination “ we have done too much honour to the of old sounds, or the use of them, uncom. inventor of letters, whoever he were, in pounded to express new ideas, was the supposing that he dissected the voice into mode employed to extend the capabilities two parts, and invented marks of two of their language. Hence the same word kinds, some to represent consonants, and would frequently occur in combination, others vowels"
and though its different significations The following is, with some variations, must originally have been represented by the hypothesis of this writer. Hierogly different hieroglyphics, yet, as these lost phics, with their exactness of delineation, their significancy, they would easily be. lost their original significancy. This must come as extensive in their meaning as first be the case with words of most fre- the sounds themselves. And it is obvious, quent recurrence, and which entered that the most simple of those hieroglymost into combinations with other words; phics which were used for the same sound become simple denotements of sound, would be employed to represent the they were employed to express their sound. respective sounds in combinations of 3 It has been shown to be highly proother monosyllabic words, which, in like bable, that originally every consonant had manner, had lost their original significan- its vowel sound. Hence all syllables might cy. Hence, by degrees, they became re. be represented by two, or at most three, presentative of the component parts of European letters. This circumstance all words into which their respective would materially diminish the varieties sounds entered. They were always of syllabic sounds. words, but very simple, consisting only 4. The probability of the theary ad. of a consonant and a vowel. Variation vanced depends greatly upon the hypoin the pronunciation of the vowel would thesis, that originally letters were syllabic. occur in different dialects, and hence The following facts appear to prove this: these marks would be regarded as con- The ancient oriental alphabets had no desonants capable of being differently mo. notements for vowels; and even if this be dified by simple vocal sounds. I etters, disputed, it must be admitted that they at first monosyllabic words, then became had many words into which none of the marks for the component parts of dissyl. supposed vowel marks entered. The Ethiopian alphabet is entirely syllabic. Chinese hieroglyphic for water. Lastly, The simple letters denote a consonant the x aleph (originally perhaps signifying and a short a, and marks were added to ox) signifies unity, the action of conducting, them to denote other vowels where used. pre-eminence. The Phenician form of this What is doubly singular, they have in
exactly represents the Chinese character many cases added marks to these syllabic
for one, and every action by which we are at characters, to denote they have no vowel the head of others. But these letters are belonging to them. In the Coptic and
not only significant by themselves, but Arabic there are syllabic characters. The secondly in combinations. Thus was alphabets of the eastern Asiatics are prin expressed by the monosyllable ya, ye, or cipally syllabic, some with o, others with you ; to this another monosyllable, which ă, joined to a consonant. These circum had equally a signification relative to the stances render probable the account here figure, being added, formed a word of two given of the transition from hieroglyphics Syllables. For instance. instead of the to letters. The following observations
presentydenomination of 7 daleth, we may more completely ascertain its high pro. reasonably suppose its original sound to bability.
bave been da. The word 7 yada, hiero5. The letters of some of the ancient glyphically represented by a gate and a alphabets have so great a resemblance to hand, is found in the Hebrew with a signi.. the hieroglyphical characters, indeed are fication derived from that of the letters such exact transcripts of them, that a sim- composing it; to cast out (as we might say, ple inspection is sufficient to convince us hand him to the door,) to extend. Add to that hieroglyphics were the origin of let. this the word y ain (originally probably ters. This, however, proves little as to sounded ho.) which signifies the eye, and the invention of alphabetical writing, ex. we have yudaho, which should signify to cept that it was subsequent to the use of
open the eyes, to extend the view, &c. and hieroglyphics. But,
metaphorically, to know, to understand ; 6. These characters, in many instances, and in fact this is the signification of uge retained their original significancy, which in Hebrew. But this is not all; for exactly proves them to have been, as De Guignes
the same procedure has been adopted by supposes, denotements for words. We
the Chinese, Ki, which signifies to ex. must not expect to find this significancy amine, is composed of three radical chain all words of which they form compo. racters, of which the first signifies the nent parts; but in such only, in whose vi.
hand, the second a gate, the third the eye. sible representation the or ginal biero.
So also kia is composed of three charac. glyphic formed a component part. Now
ters, one signifying the teeth, the other we must observe, first, that the names of
two, gate, or opening, which signifies to several of the oriental letters are still by break through, to make a great opening. themselves significant, and that some of
In Hebrew 770 is similarly composed. these letters are similar to the Chinese
It signifies to plunder, to lay waste. Tchi clefs, which have the same signification.
is a large collection of water. It was Thus the • yod signifies the hand. Its
composed of the characters for hand and form, in some alphabets, resembles the
water. The same compound was formed Chinese character for hand. The 7 daleth
among the Hebrews, and diyam, signifies of the Hebrews, Phenicians, and Ethiopians, signifies a gate, and the action of
a great collection of water, or the sea in
Arabic the letters thet or earth, and mim or opening. The hieroglyphic, which among
water, form the word tham, and signify a the ancient Chinese represented a gate,
flood The Hebrew thin is composed of is exactly similar to this letter. The
the thet or earth, and the nun, which signiphi of the Hebrews, and af of the Ethio.
fies man, i. e. man of the earth, and further, pians, signify the mouth The Chinese
to form, to create. In both these instances, characters for the mouth all resemble it. the Chinese correspond in their combi. The vain signifies the eye. The Pheni. nations with the alphabetical writing. cians and the Chinese employed the out. Many other instances might be brought. line of the eye as a denotement of the We will adduce one, to which there is no object. The v shin in Hebrew signifies corresponding combination in the Chithe teeth, and its figure is still found among nese language, Ab, or Haba, 2x, signifies the Chinese, with the same signification. father The component parts of it signify The y mim signifies wuter. The corres. principal of the house. ponding Samaritan and Ethiopian charac. The papers of De Guignes, to which ters have a strong resemblance to the we are very greatly indebted on this subject are to be found in Memoires de WULFENIA, in botany, so named l'Academie des Inscriptions et des Belles from the Rev. Francis Xavier Wulfen, a Lettres, vol. 34, &c.
genus of the Diandria Monogynia class WRONG stamp. By 37 George III. c. and order. Essential character: corolla 136, any instrument (except bills of ex- tubular, ringent, with the upper lip sbort, change, promissory notes, or other notes, entire, the lower three-parted, with the drafts, or orders) liable to stamp-duty, aperture bearded; calyx five-parted; whereon shall be impressed any stamp of capsule two-celled, four-valved. There a different denomination, but of an equal is only one species, viz. W. carinthjaca, or greater value than the stamp required, a native of Carinthia, on the highest may be stamped with the proper stamp Alps. after the execution, on payment of duty
WURMBEA, in botany, so named in and five pounds penalty, but without any
honour of Frederick Baron Van Wurmb, allowance for the wrong stamp.
a genus of the Hexandria T'rigynia class Likewise any such instrument (except
and order. Natural order of Coronariz. as aforesaid) being engrossed without
Junci, Jussieu. Essential character: calyx having been first stamped, or having a stamp thereon of less value than required,
none; corolla six-parted, with a hexan. the same may be stamped after the exe.
gular tube; filaments inserted into the
throat. There are three species. cution, on payment of the duty and ten pounds penalty only, for each skin there. WYTE, or WITE, in our ancient cusof: but in case it shall be satisfactorily toms, a pecuniary penalty or mulct. The proved to the commissioners of stamps, Saxons had two kinds of punishments, that the same hath been so engrossed, ei. were and wyle; the first for the more grie. ther by accident or inadvertency, or from vous offences. The wyte was for the urgent necessity, or unavoidable circum. less heinous ones. It was not fixed to stances, and without any intention of any certain sum, but left at liberty to be fraud, the Commissioners are authorized varied according to the nature of the case. to stamp the same within sixty days after Hence also wyte, or wittree, one of the the execution, to remit the penalty in terms of privilege granted to our sportspart, or in all, and to indemnily persons men, signifying a freedom or immunity so engrossing the same.
from fines or amercements.
or x, is the twenty-second letter of made of two V's placed one over the A , our alpbabet, and a double conso- other. When a dash is added over it, thus nant. It was not useci by the Hebrews X, it signifies ten thousand. or ancient Greeks; for, as it is a compound XANTHE, in botany, a genus of the letter, the ancients, who used great sim- Dioecia Syngenesia class and order. Esplicity in their writings, made use of, and
sential character: flowers dioecious; ca. expressed this letter by its component
lyx five, six-parted, permanent; corolla letters ce. Neither bave the Italians this
five, six-petalled; males with one filaletter, but express it by 88. X begins no
ment, bearing five antbers, collected into word in our language but such as are of
a shield-shaped bead: females with five Greek original, and is in few others but barren anthers; capsule globose, crowned what are of Latin derivation, as perplex, with the stigma, five-striated, five-valved; reflexion, defluxion, &c. We often express
seeds very many, involved in the pulp. this sound by single letters, as cks in
There are two species, viz. X. quapoya, backs, necks, by ks in books, breaks; by
and X. panari. cc in access, accident; by ct in action, unc XANTHIUM, in botany, a genus of the tion, &c. In numerals it expresses 10, Monoecia Pentandria class and order. Nawhence in old Roman manuscripts it is
tural order of Compositze Nucamentacex. used for denarius , and as such seems to be Corymbiferæ, Jussieu. Essential character: male, calyx common, imbricate; co. X. platypterus, or the broad-finned rolla one-petalled, five cleft, funnel-form; sword-fish, is found in the Northern, Atreceptacle chaffy; female, calyx involucre, lantic, and Indian Seas, and is considered two-leaved, two Aowered : corolla none; as one of the most fatal enemies of the drupe dry, muricated, two-cleft; nucleus whale tribe. Its strength is so great, that two-celled. There are five species. it is said to have pervaded with its snout,
XANTHORIZA, in botany, a genus or sword, the plank of an East Indiaman ; of the Pentandria Polygynia class and or. and a plank and snout, in attestation of this der. Natural order of Ranunculaceæ, circumstance, the latter closely driven Jussieu. Essential character: calyx none; into the former, are to be seen in the petals five ; nectary five, pedicelled ; cap. British Museum, having been communi. sule five, one-seeded. There is only one; cated to Sir Joseph Banks by an East species, viz. X. apitiolia, a native of North India captain, of honour and veracity. America.
When young this fish is used for food, XANTHOXYLUM, in botany, a genus but not after it exceeds four or five feet of the Dioecia Pentandria class and order. in length. Natural order of Hederaceæ. Terebinta. XIPIIDIUM, in botany, a genus of the ceæ, Jussieu. Essential character: calyx Triandria Monogynia class and order. five-parted; corolla none; female, pistil Natural order of Ensatæ, Irides, Jussieu. five; capsule five, one-seeded. There is Essential character: corolla six-petalled, but one species, viz. X clava herculis, equal; capsule superior, three-celled, tooth-ache tree; it grows naturally in many-seeded. There are two species, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
viz. X. album and X. cæruleum. XERANTHEMUM, in botany, a gemus XYLOCARPUS, in botany, a genus of of the Syngenesia Polygamia Superflua the Octandria Monogynia class and order. class and order. Natural order of Com Essential character: calyx four-toothed; positæ Discoideæ. Corymbiferæ, Jussieu. corolla four-petalled; nectary eight-cleft; Essential character: calyx imbricate, ray. filaments inserted into the nectary; drupe ed, with the ray coloured: down bristle- juiceless, large, four or five-grooved; nuts shaped : receptacle chaffy. There are eight or ten, difform. There is but one twenty-seven species.
species, viz. X. granatum, a native of the XIMENIA, in botany, so named in ho. East Indies. nour of the Rev. Father Francis Ximenes, XYLOMELUM, in botany, a genus of a Spaniard, a genus of the Octandria Mo. the Tetrandria Monogynia class and nogynia class and order. Natural order of order. Natural order of Proteæ, Jussieu. Aurantia, Jussieu. Essential character: Essential character:ament with a simple calyx four-cleft; petals four, hairy, rolled scale ; petals four, staminiferous; stigma back; drupe one-seeded. There are club-shaped ; obtuse. This is one of three species.
twenty new genera from the South Seas; XIPHIAS, the sword-fish, in natural the characters of which are given by Dr. history, a genus of fishes of the order Smith. Apodes. Generic character: head with XYLON. See GossyPIUM. the upper jaw ending in a sword-shaped XYLOPHYLLA, in botany, sea-side lausnout ; mouth without teeth; gill-mem- rel, a genus of the Pentandria Trigynia brane eight-rayed; body roundish, with. class and order. Natural Order of Tricoc. out scales. There are three species : X. cæ. Euphorbia, Jussieu. Essential cha. gladeus, or the common sword-fish, is of racter: calyx five-parted, coloured; cothe length of twenty feet, and is particu. rolla none; stigmas jagged; capsule larly distinguished by its upper jaw being three-celled; seeds two. There are se. stretched to a considerable distance be. ven species. yond the lower, flat above and beneath, XYLOPIA, in botany, bitter-wood, a gebut edges at the sides, and of a bony sub. nus of the Polyandria Polygynia class and stance, covered by a strong epidermis. order. Natural order of Coadunatæ. It is a fish extremely rapacious, and finds Anonæ, Jussieu. Essential character: in the above instrument a weapon of at. calyx three-leaved ; petals six; capsule tack and destruction, able to procure it one or two.seeded, four-cornered, twothe most ample supplies. It first trans- valved; seeds arilled. There are three fixes its prey with this snout, and then species. devours it. It is found in the Mediterra- XYLOSMA, in botany, a genus of the nean, chiefly about Sicily, and is used as Dioecia Polyandria class and order. Es. food by the Sicilians, who preserve it for sential character: calyx four or five-part. a long time by salting it in small pieces, ed; corolla 'none, but a small annular See Pisces, Plate VI. fig. 5.
crenulate nectary surrounding the sta