« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Marine Museum, at Salem, is a most interesting evidence of what can be accomplished in this way. Much more can be done by our intelligent sea-captains, if their attention is prominently directed to this object.
Third, some Americans who have been employed as consuls, and in other efficient capacities, have conferred honor on the country by their Oriental studies. It is sufficient to mention here, the names of William Shaler and William B. Hodg. son. The latter is preparing for publication a learned and original work on the Foulah people of North Africa. Mr. Shaler's labors have been eulogized by the philologists of Germany. In this connection we may mention, that one of the literary gentlemen who were employed in the Exploring Expedition, has recently sailed for the East, in order to prosecute ethnographical observations.
Again, it is well known that biblical studies, including the Hebrew and the cognate languages, have received far more attention in the United States than they have in Great Britain.* A work like the Biblical Researches could not be produced there. New and Old Testament lexicons and grammars are of American production, and in England are mere reprints. No commentaries, like those of Mr. Bush on the Pentateuch, or of Mr. Barnes on the New Testament, uniting a familiar acquaintance with the original, to a happy talent for practical exposition, can be found, so far as we know, in the recent theological literature of England.
These reasons will justify, if any justification were needed, the establishment of an Oriental association among us. Some capital is already accumulated. Some reputation has been acquired, Europeans themselves being judges. Facilities for obtaining information, by our scholars, in regard to West Africa, Western and Central Asia, and Polynesia, are hardly excelled in England herself.
These and other considerations induced a few gentlemen in Boston and its neighborhood, interested in Oriental literature, to form an association. This was in August, 1842. An act of incorporation was obtained from the Massachusetts Legislature in 1843. The President of the society is John Pickering of Boston ; the Vice-Presidents are, William Jenks of Boston, Moses Stuart of Andover, and Edward Robinson of New York. The number of members is about forty, in
In Scotland, as we are informed, the practice of studying Hebrew with the vowel-points, is just coming into vogue! The sale of the Biblical Cabinet, a valuable publication at Edinburgh, does not exceed 500 copies. SECOND SERIES, VOL. XI. NO. I.
cluding our principal Oriental scholars, the most eminent foreign missionaries, and a few merchants engaged in eastern commerce. Four foreign honorary corresponding members have been chosen. A beginning has been made for a library by a collection of more than one hundred volumes, all pertaining to the Chinese language and its dialects. The objects contemplated by the society are: first, the cultivation of learning in the Asiatic, African, and Polynesian languages; second, the publication of memoirs, translations, vocabularies, and other works relating to those languages; third, the collection of a library.
At the first annual meeting of the society, an address was delivered by Mr. Pickering, which, with accompanying notes, etc., forms the first number of the journal of the society. Of this address, we will now give a short account. After noticing the disadvantages under which American scholars necessarily labor, and the energy and perseverance which they have, notwithstanding, exhibited, Mr. P. proceeds to present a comprehensive sketch of the field of inquiry. Particular prominence is given to Egypt and India, the former communicating its influence to Greece and Rome, and thence to Modern Europe; the latter, to Eastern Asia, including, perhaps, parts of China. A rapid survey is then presented of the discovery of the key to the hieroglyphic writing of Egypt, and of the labors of Young, Champollion, Wilkinson, Lepsius, and others. Some observations are then made on the principal dialects which have been used, or are now used, on the northern coast of Africa, the investigations of Gesenius on the Punic being specially noticed. The labors of Dr. Robinson and of Mr. Smith, in the Holy Land, are alluded to with much commendation, and the belief is expressed that rich discoveries remain yet to be made. Remarks then follow upon some of the more interesting objects in Asia Minor and the countries lying on the Black Sea. The literature of Armenia, it is remarked, is important, not merely for the original works of its native writers, but for the translations made by them from foreign languages, particularly the Greek. Of the antiquities called Babylonian, the most interesting are the specimens of the very ancient written language, called the cuneiform, or arrow-headed characters, which appear to have been used by the Medes, Persians and Assyrians. Dr. Grotefend of Frankfort has applied himself to the task of deciphering them with much promise of success. Some of the results of his investigations are, that the inscriptions are all written in an horizontal direction from eft to right; that all cuneiform writing is composed of letters, and not merely of syllabic signs; that those of Persepolis, which are at present known, all have reference to Darius Hystaspes and his son Xerxes; and that the language of the first species of Persepolitan writing is the Zend.
The language of Persia is peculiarly interesting to us, for the remarkable affinities which are found in it to our own and other languages of the great Teutonic family. In the study of the Persian language, our own countrymen have not been wholly inactive. "I have now lying before me,” says Mr. P., “a MS. translation of a part of a copious Persian work, entitled the Hyat-ut-Kuloob, containing an original biography of Mohammed, and a history of his religion, written by a native of that country.” The translation was made by the Rev. J. L. Merrick, an American missionary in Persia, who has executed his task with great fidelity and skill, and added valuable notes of his own.
The work has been exam. ined and strongly commended by Sir Gore Ouseley, president of the Asiatic Society of London.
If there were no other motive for the pursuit of the literature, science and history of India, there would be a sufficient one in the fact, that the great parent language of India, the Sanscrit, is now found to be so extensively incorporated into the Greek and Latin, and other languages of Europe, and above all, in those which we consider as belonging to the German family. “When I read the Gothic of Ulphilas's version of the Scriptures,” says Prof. Bopp of Berlin," I scarcely know whether I am reading Sanscrit or German.” After leaving India, Mr. Pickering passes, in rapid review, Tartary, China, Japan, and the neighboring islands, Cochin China, the Indian Archipelago, and the principal groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Our limits do not allow of any further notice.
Some excellent concluding remarks are made, in answer to the inquiry, What is the utility of ethnographical studies ? With the great Leibnitz we might answer,
“As the remote origin of nations goes back beyond the records of history, we have nothing but their languages to supply the place of historical information." These researches have, already, estab. lished affinities which were never suspected between remote nations. To the question, of what utility is knowledge of this kind ? it may be answered, as in many other cases, because a natural desire for such knowledge has been implanted in man, by his Creator, for wise purposes; and when philosophy attempts to reason down this desire, nature rebels; and no man is willing to throw aside as useless these and a thousand other particulars of the past generations of his race, although he cannot demonstrate their direct applicability to any common purpose, that would in popular language be denominated practically useful.
A valuable appendix contains, first, an account of the literary operations of American missionaries in the East ; second, a list of American voyages and travels in the East, and round the world ; third, note on the cuneiform inscriptions; and fourth, note on British philology.
Professor Stuart has been appointed to deliver the next annual address before the society, at Boston, in the last week in May, 1844.
2.—Manual of Classical' Literature, from the German of J. J.
Eschenberg, Professor in the Carolinum, at Brunswick, with additions, embracing treatises on the following subjects : first, classical geography and topography; second, classical chronology; third, Greek and Roman mythology; fourth, Greek antiquities ; fifth, Roman antiquities ; sixth, archaeology of Greek literature; seventh, archaeology of Roman literature; ninth, history of Greek literature; tenth, history of Roman literature. By N. W. FISKE, Professor in Amherst College. fourth edition ; six thousand. Philadelphia : E. C. Biddle,
We welcome the appearance of a fourth, and that a stereotype, edition of this excellent work, the first and second editions of which have been already noticed in the Repository. It does honor not only to the editor, who has prepared it with so much learning and taste, and to the publisher, who has brought it out in so substantial and elegant a form, but to the literary public, who have so justly appreciated its worth, and encouraged so much additional expenditure of labor and money. Selected as the basis of public and private instruction in the major part of the gymnasia and universities of Germany, extensively used in the classical schools and higher seminaries in France, and now adopted as a text-book, or recommended as a book of reference, in a large proportion of the American colleges, the Manual of Classical Literature may be regarded as having received the seal of public approbation. The translator has added much to its contents, and more to its value. The treatises on classical geography and chronology, are furnished entirely by him; and the additions and improvements in the other parts are so great, that a less scrupulous and less modest editor would not hesitate to publish it as an original work. Like Virgil's mistletoe, adorning the sacred oak with golden foliage, not her own-with "happier branches which she never sowed.” Such are the labors which the American editor has bestowed on the German “Handbuch.”
The fourth edition, besides valuable emendations and addi. tions to the references, is enlarged and improved by the insertion of numerous tables which are truly multum in parvo, and by a great number of wood-cuts and copperplate engravings, which illustrate to the eye all those objects and usages of antiquity of which it is so difficult to give an intelligible de. scription. The style of these engravings, and indeed of the whole book, is no less gratifying to the eye of taste, than the treasures of classical learning it contains are to the mind of the scholar. It does one good to look on such a book in these days of cheap literature. And it argues well for the cause of sound learning and good taste, when such scholars as Sears, Edwards, Felton and Fisk can afford to bring out the ripe fruits of laborious years under so attractive a form as the Classical Studies and the Manual of Classical Literature.
We should omit what it most becomes us to mention as editor of a Biblical journal, and what we presume will be most grateful to the feelings of the editor, should we fail to notice a feature of the work which he seems to have cherished with special care, and which will commend it to the esteem and love of the Christian scholar, viz., its habitual deference to the authority of the Bible—its view of every thing from the standpoint, and in the light of Christianity-its dedication, we had almost said, to the cause of sacred learning, with the prayer that "it may hold some humble place among the means of advancing classical learning, and of promoting thereby the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom to know is eternal life.”
3.-Egypt and the Books of Moses ; or the Books of Moses illus
trated by the Monuments of Egypt: with an Appendix. By Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg. From the German, by R. D. C. Robbins, Abbot Resident, Theol. Sem., Andover. Andover: Allen, Morrill & Wardwell. New York: M. H. Newman. 1843. pp. 300.
A new interest in Egyptian Antiquities has been awakened, since the investigations of Champollion the younger. His discoveries and those of Dr. Young, in respect to the hiero