Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

He followed, apparently, in each case such an order as seemed good to him. A consequence of this defect is, that frequently the reader, not knowing from a fixed principle previously explained where to look for a particular signification, is obliged to look through an entire article in order to find a single signification. But while justice requires us to acknowledge this defect, it also obliges us to declare that the manner in which each word and each meaning of a word is supported by one authority or several is such, that Forcellini has far excelled his predecessors, and has left but little to his successors to add. He quotes no passage as an authority which he has not himself examined in its connection, and quotes so much of it that the reader can judge for mself. When it became necessary to quote fragments, he mentioned where he obtained them, and what grammarian had preserved them. He prefers to omit an authority, however plausible, rather than give as certain what really is not certain. His mode of citation is very accurate, and, in order to prevent all misunderstanding, he goes so far as to give a list of the editions used by him. In arranging his authorities he observes this order; he quotes first the writers of the golden age, adding such older ones as may be extant; then the writers of succeeding ages, and, for the sake of completeness, even writers of the latest age, lutei scriptores. He does not seem to have been aware of a better and more philosophical reason in favor of this course, namely, that, by tracing the history of a word through all its stages of development, we see its decline and end as well as its period of youth, bloom, and vigor. However extensive was his knowledge of history and antiquities in all their branches, he did not, in his explanations of matters of fact or science, disdain to avail himself of the learning of others; for instance, of Julius Pontadera concerning Frontinus, Vegetius, and Vitruvius, and of Giambattista Morgagni in matters of surgery:

From this short account of Forcellini's work it will appear that he possessed almost every qualification of a lexicographer, — profound and extensive learning, keen penetration, sound judgment, indefatigable industry. If he has any defect, it is one belonging to the time rather than himself; we mean the want of a more philosophical spirit in viewing and treating language and its phenomena. This deficiency has

а

[ocr errors]

been supplied. Modern philology is eminently distinguished for the philosophical spirit with which its labors are carried on; and it is only necessary to read Freund's preface to perceive the effect of this philosophical spirit upon lexicography.

We cannot close this sketch of Latin lexicography without adverting for a few moments to a man whose work was for many years more extensively used than any other of the kind. Imm. J. Gerh. Scheller was born on the 22d of March, 1735, in Ihlow, a village in Lower Lusatia, received his school education in Apolda, Eisenberg, and Leipsic (Thomas school,) and studied philology and theology in Leipsic from 1757 to 1760. He was appointed, in 1761, rector of the school in Lübbe, and in 1771, of that of Brieg, where he remained to his death, July 5th, 1803. After publishing a smaller lexicon, he formed the plan of a larger one, which should enable students to dispense with all commentaries. This bold declaration, together with his attacks upon philologists, commentators, and other lexicographers, was a painful but striking illustration of the superciliousness, selfsufficiency, and conceit so rife among the scholars of Germany at that time. His animadversions on Gesner, in particular, show much more temper than judgment, and are far from being fair. Notwithstanding this evil spirit, he was a

, man of great learning, and furnished a useful work. The preface, to the first edition, published in 1783, though long, does not give as much information on the principles which he observed in the construction of his work as we could desire. From a passage of his preface to the second edition, which appeared in 1788, we are led to think that Scheller, taught probably by the experience gained in preparing the first edition, had come to the conclusion that the making of a perfect dictionary, satisfying all demands which can be made on such a work, exceeds the power of ane man, and requires the coöperation of several. An examination of the work itself, especially in the shape which it has in the third edition, published in 1803, frequently suggests the suspicion that Scheller is indebted for much that is contained in his dictionary to Forcellini; and yet Forcellini is not once mentioned. If the suspicion be well founded, the conduct of Scheller is certainly a remarkable instance of gross disingenuousness and plagia

[ocr errors]

rism ; if it be unfounded, the coincidence between the two works is equally remarkable. No slight testimony to the

. excellency of Scheller's work is to be found in the fact that, after the appearance of the second edition, the great scholar Ruhnken in Holland caused a translation of it into Dutch to be made.

This dictionary of Scheller's appeared in seven volumes, five containing the Latin-Gerinan part, and two the GermanLatin. For the benefit of younger students, he published a smaller dictionary, an abstract of the larger one, which was repeatedly reprinted, and had a very large circulation. Several of the later editions of this smaller lexicon were prepared by G. H. Lünemann, rector of the gymnasium at Goettingen, where he died in 1830, a pupil of G. F. Grotefend. Its improvements from edition to edition were so steady that in the seventh, 1831, the last prepared by Lünemann, it had become one of the most perfect works of the kind. It deserves the more notice among us as it is, for the most part, the original of Leverett's translation. Neither the character of this Journal nor the

space

allotted to this subject allow us to enter upon a detailed examination of Dr. Andrews's translation, even if the shortness of the time which has elapsed since its publication had permitted us to make as thorough and careful an examination as such a. work deserves. The merit of introducing to our scholars so useful a work, and the general excellency of the execution, are so great, that a few defects arising from misapprehension or oversight call scarcely for any notice. They are, as far as our observation extends, such as can be easily remedied in succeeding editions, which will undoubtedly be soon called for.

7. Bowen.

ART. IV. - Public Economy for the United States. By

CALVIN COLTON. New York: A. S. Barnes. 1848. 8vo. pp. 536.

Mr. Colton should remember, that if a book be intended to advocate a particular measure or course of policy, the effect produced by it is usually in inverse proportion to its size. His ponderous volume, of more than five hundred closely printed octavo pages, is not likely to make many converts to his reasoning in favor of a protective tariff. Even those who are most interested in domestic manufactures will be reluctant to read so large a work; and it would be unreasonable to expect that the friends of free trade should study an elaborate confutation of their own doctrines. Yet there is good material in the book; the writer has shown commendable industry in collecting facts, and some skill in their disposition and use.

But he has buried them under an avalanche of words, which needs to be shovelled away before the careful reader can derive any instruction from them. The author is not so happy in founding his doctrines upon abstract principles, as in fortifying and illustrating them with statistical details. His figures prove that the conclusions are sound; but they are often deduced by a summary process in logic from very doubtful premises. The reasoning in behalf of free trade, as a general maxim in economical science, is plausible, to say the least; it is a less hazardous attempt to show that the rule has its limitations, or is not applicable in all cases, than to take the bull by the horns in a bold assertion that the principle is a false one, and the reasoning in its favor is sophistical. The authority of Adam Smith and Ricardo cannot be easily put aside or lightly appreciated.

Having endeavored, in a former article, to show that the general doctrine of free trade is perfectly reconcilable with the policy of granting a reasonable amount of protection to the manufacturing interest here in America, which cannot flourish or even subsist without it, we now resume the subject in order to consider more particularly the effects of this policy upon our commercial intercourse with other nations. This brings us at once to an explanation of the theory of international values and exchanges, a recent and valuable addition to the science of political economy, and one which has lately compelled the old fashioned advocates of free trade to make numerous and very significant concessions to their opponents. It has struck away the great prop of the universality of their system, and has compelled them to acknowledge that the importation of foreign manufactures may be excessive, even for a long period of years; and that the

that a

inevitable consequence of such excess is to depress the prices of our exports in all foreign markets, and thus to neutralize all our natural advantages for producing these articles of export, by compelling us to exchange them for foreign goods upon the most disadvantageous terms.

Hitherto, the evil of excessive importation has been held to be, that it caused a drain of specie from the country, or what was technically called “an unfavorable balance of trade.' To this unwise argument the reasonable answer was, drain of specie to any injurious extent is impossible ; for an unnatural efflux of money must raise the value of what is left, and thereby lower the money price of all goods which are exchanged for it. The fall of prices thus occasioned would inevitably tempt foreigners hither to make their purchases, and the goods thus bought must be paid for by remittances of coin or bullion, so that the current of specie would be turned the other way. Money is a self-distributing commodity, which always apportions itself among commercial nations in exact proportion to the wants of each.

In theory, this reasoning is perfectly sound; and though many attempts have been made to refute it, we know of none which have had even the appearance of success.

Practically, however, as all intelligent merchants will admit, very large importations are found to be attended with very great evils. Experience has proved that they tend to depress the prices of domestic products, to paralyze domestic industry, and even to bring on commercial crises, which are equally disastrous to our agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing interests. To account for these facts, hitherto inexplicable on theory, we must go back to first principles, and after gaining clear ideas of the nature of commercial exchanges in general, must see in what manner the aggregate of our exchanges with other nations is effected. The applicability of our analysis of this subject to the particular question between protection and free trade will appear in the sequel.

To effect the domestic exchanges in every civilized country a great amount of money is needed; but as the money which is thus used is merely a convenient ticket of transfer, as it discharges its whole office by being simply transferred from hand to hand, without any of its physical properties being needed or called into exercise, — many practices and

« ZurückWeiter »