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have been erected over the river, in the walk of two miles. Buildings are constantly erecting on the banks a great distance from this place.
The large kaleidoscope, lately made here, deserves potice. It is one yard in diameter, and is filled with the most precious and valuable stones that are to be found. The cavity, for the reception of the stones, being half filled with water, which is sometimes coloured, the whole makes a most brilliant and delightful spectacle. It is said by some, that the kaleidoscope was invented as early as 1817 or 1818.
MEXICO, NOVEMBER 1, 2318.- The perpetual mo. tion, which has so long been an object of philosophic enquiry, has at length been discovered. It has been found that the new metal, Hardoniensiana, in addition to its other extraordinary qualities, possesses the property of never wearing out. This has induced some mechanists of the present day to search for the perpetual motion, and they have succeeded; the consi deration of the wear of all articles having induced many philosophers, of past times, to desist from the pursuit of what appeared to them only a phantom; but, such is the boast of our enlightened age, that we have been able to enlarge and improve every object of science. The perpetual motion has been already used for watches and clocks; and will, no doubt, in a short time, be made serviceable for other purposes.
VIRGINIA, NOVEMBER 1, 2318.—The attempts of our celebrated linguist towards reforming our alpha. bet, and bringing into use one universal language, have exceeded his most sanguine expectations. It is a language, composed of the purities and originalities of all languages, and cannot fail to excite the attention of the learned.
The new-invented instrument, to imitate the human voice, has had machinery applied to it, in the manner of a barrel-organ. It is called the vocal instrument, and is used in our churches to read prayers.
We understand that the improvement of the Pacific and Atlantic goes on rapidly; we mean the immense canal which is cutting across the isthmus of * ***. We have heard that it is the intention of the proprietors of this canal, to cut deep enough to admit ships of
all burden. This will be the most useful and excellent passage to the Indies ever thought of; and promises to be the finest scenery of shipping merchandise in the world, and also the first mart for all kinds of commodities.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE POCKET MAGAZINE.* SIR, AS I was reading your valuable, though small Magazine, I was struck with J. H. V-y's illiberal philippic against the French and their language: I shall be much obliged to you to insert my answer, which I flatter myself will be found both moderate and just. i.
J. H. V-y's challenge to the Savans, at first made me afraid of answering him, as, though a Frenchman, I have not the vanity of thinking myself one of the learned tribe: perhaps he will allow, that "there are no rules without exceptions :" however, upon reading his remarks through, I found it required little or no learning to answer them: first, it is necessary to acknowledge that every language has both its beauties and defects; secondly, that every man, from the Laplander to the Hottentot, has a natural, rational prepossession in favour of whatsoever belongs to his own nation, without deserving censure, much less abuse. Notwithstanding the sameness of the terminations, the constant hissing of the letter s, and the frequent repetition of the harsh word it, &c. &c. in English, I will not accuse the natives either of vanity or want of sense, because they admire their own language: on the contrary, I join with them; and I hope they will join with me and all Europe, in acknowledging the French tongue deserving of praise and encouragement, notwithstanding its idioms, phrasea, and irregularities : 'if J. H. V-y can prove that there is a living language freer of these than our's, let that bear the palm. I am sorry to find there are men anxious to · keep up and to increase prejudices between nations, the consequences of which are so likely to be fatal to the peace of mankind : for, is it not more than the patience of Englishmen could bear, to hear their nation taxed
* Impartiality induces us to insert these answers to J. H. V.-y, and now, both parties having been heard, the cox. troversy should be allowed to end..-ED. -
with vanity and want of common-sense, because their language contains a few irregular and ungrammatical phrases, as it certainly does?
Now for the remarks: it is well known, that rules are founded either on custom or derivation; sound should undoubtedly be consulted, not at the expense of common-sense; that is, more properly, meaning; yet sufficiently so to answer the purpose of pleasing the ear, and persuading the mind; two of the most essential purposes of languages. * To avoid an hiatus, considered as a fault in grammar, custom has made it a rule in French, never to put ma, ta, sa, before either a vowel or h mute; also when the third person of any tense ends with a vowel beforeil, ils, elle, or elles, to put a t between, for the aforesaid purposé. As to the gender of inanimate objects, it should be considered, that there are only two genders in nature, masculine and feminine: the English add a third, neuter gender ; but this, far from being a gender, is the very absence of gender, as black is no colour, but the absence of colour : besides, the words masculine and
minine, figuratively mean bold, strong or stronger, &c.; soft or softer, weaker, effeminate, &c.; the French use them in that sense: hence arises a beautiful variety of sounds in articles, adjectives, gender, and number. As to the negative 'ne, it is so essential to negative phrases, that for want of it, the sense would become either different or dubious: the adverbs pas, goutte, mot, point, guère, &c. by their sounds or spelling would be taken for nouns; jamais, never, for ever; personne, for any one; instead of no one, &c. &c. should these negative adverbs be left out, there would be no sense at all; as it would be impossible to guess which of them was meant.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE POCKET MAGAZINE. MR. EDITOR, BEING a teacher of the French language, my attention was directed to a piece, in your Magazine of the present month, entitled “ Absurdi. ties of the French Language." I expected to see some vulnerable part of the structure of the language as. sailed by some able philologist. Judge of my surprise to find that the person, who thus pretends to aristarchize, is so ignorant of the language, that, in the short sentence of French he instances, for, “I do'nt love you,” in English, he misplaces the words, saying, Je vous n'aime pas, for Je ne vous aime pas. These absurdities too, he finds are characteristic of the nation, and prove that the French are in want of common sense.
Proof the first is, that the French use the possessive pronoun masculine mon, before a noun feminine beginning with a vowel, for the sake of a better sound: as, mon absence for ma absence. This ingenious critic is not, seemingly, aware, that a sacrifice of reason and grammar has also been made in his own language, in the possessive case too, for the advantage of expression, viz.--an (s), with an apostrophe (a contraction of his), as; the boy's book, for the boy his book; the girl's book, for the girl his book, to avoid saying, the book of the boy, the book of the girl. This deviation in English has, however, sweetness of sound to plead in excuse; as for example: “the princesses' laundresses with their highnesses' sempstresses ; that is to say, the princesses his laundresses, with their highnesses his sempstresses.
A senseless Frenchman, that is the dupe of his ears, must envy us these beauties; and, doubtless, those exquisite esseses were one cause of the following Italian observation :
Diceva Carlo Quinto che parlerebbe
Francese ad un amico,
Inglese agli uccelli.
Second, Two genders with rules are not peculiar to
the French language; they contribute to perspicuity, and afford other advantages, which, it is plain, J. H. V y knows nothing about
Third. Ne, without its complement, is but part of a negative.
Fourth. A (t) is introduced in ya-t-il? for the same reason that, in English, an (n) is put after (a), to say an ignoramus.
Thus, without pretending to be a savan, I hope I have answered all J. H. V- y's inquiries to entire satisfaction; and here the discussion ends, with a moral: “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Hull, Oct. 5, 1818.
C. J. L.
ANECDOTE AND WIT.
No. 12.--DAVID HUME. “ NATURE, I believe,” says Mr. Hardy,“ never formed any man more unlike his real character than David Hume, The powers of physiognomy were baffled by his countenance; neither could the most skilful in that science pretend to discover the smallest trace of the faculties of his mind, in the unmeaning features of his visage. His face was broad and flat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility. His eyes, vacant and spiritless; and the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitting to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman, than of a refined philosopher. His speech, in English, was reudered ridiculous by the broadest Scotch accent: and his French was, if possible, still more laughable; so that wisdom, most certainly, never disguised herself before in so uncouth a garb. Though now near fifty years old, he was healthy and strong ; but his health and strength, far from being advantageous to his figure, instead of manly coineliness, had only the appearance of rusticity. His wearing an uniform added greatly to his natural awkwardness, for he wore it like a grocer of the trained-bands. Sinclair was a lieutenant-general, and was sent to the courts of Vienna and Turin, as a military envoy, to see that their quota of troops was fur