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the air, which will foon become point to fair. For this reason, the transparent. When vapour is made itones of halls, and smooth fub. to expand more than it would o- stances, are often bedewed with wet, therwise do, a certain quantity of in dry warm weather (that is, the absolute heat is neceflary to keep it air is in a state to part with its moiin the form of vapour; therefore, fture), and, vide verla, they will when the receiver of an air-pump dry in the time of rain. is exhausting, it appears muddy, 6 Left this paper should exceed and a number of drops are found the common limits of time in read. within it; thc moisture contained ing, I shall pass over those observain the air, in the form of vapour, tions, which might be made on fogs being made to occupy a greater or mists ; a few excepted, which I space than what is natural to it, and thall here subjoin. receiving no addition of heat, a “ Foys are produced by two part of it is condensed.

causes as different as their effects are If, therefore, the air is sud- opposite. A fog may be produced denly rarified, a few drops of rain by a precipitation of rain, in very will descend, as may often be ob- small particles, like a cloud floating served in the summer season. on the surface of the earth. In

“ I have repeatedly observed, es- this case the air is moist and damp, pecially during the summer, when and never fails to wet a traveller's the wind is at north-east, that the cloaths; the stones of the street, weather is, in general, cold and painted doors, and hard, cool, dry, with a clear atmosphere. Îmooth bodies, are generally cover Should the wind suddenly change ed with moisture, which often runs to south-west, in a few hours, black in large drops : this, I dare say, clouds begin to gather, vegetables has been observed by every person. look fickly, and droop their

leaves ; Secondly, a fog may be produced and, soon after, comes on a violent by the absorption of moisture, when storm of thunder, with heavy rain. the air is too dry, and differs from

“ This change, I imagine, is not the other just described; for it will so much owing to the south-west not impart any of its moisture even wind bringing rain, as to the atmo- to dry bodies; no damp is to be met sphere's being changed from an with on Itones, polished marble, electric state, capable of fufpending &c. This fact is well known to the vapour, to a state of parting with inhabitants on the sea-coast of Fifeits moisture. As soon as the storm fhire, who, during their summer is going off, vegetables revive from months, have frequent opportunitheir languid state, and the air re- ties of observing a fog in the aftercovers its usual aspect. From this noon, driving up the Firth of Forth, we may conclude, that no instru- with a drying east wind, which of ment can be made to ascertain the ten blasts the trees and young veget. quantity of moisture in the air : all ables, and, therefore, in a small that is, or ought to be expected degree, resembles the Harmattan in from a hygrometer, is to fhew, whe- drying up the ground, and robbing ther the air be in a state to retain or vegetables of their moisture. part with its moisture. In appa- « I shall now conclude with a rent dry weather it may pomt to short summary of the whole. rain; and when it rains, it may "" }, That heat is the great cause,

by by which' water is converted into 3. That when the electric vapour, which is condensed by power, by which vapour is fufpendcold.

ed in the atinosphere, is dettroyed, “ 2. That electricity renders va- a heavy miit, imall rain, or thun. pour specifically lighter, and adds der-thowers, will be the conie. to its absolute heat, repelling its quence. Had the advocates for the particles; which particles would be doctrine of folution made heat and condensed by cold : and that elece electricity the solvents, their thetricity is the great agent by which ory would have been leis excepticovapour ascends to the upper regions. able.”

ANTI

ANTIQUITI E S.

ON THE ORIGIN OF ALPHABETICAL CHARACTERS.

By Gilbert WAKEFIELD, B. A. [ From the Meinoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society at

Manchester.)

A

ac

T this period of time, when dence in favour of this maxim, bears

the human mind ha no proportion to the confidence quired so much honour by the in- with which it is embraced. As is troduction of such astonishing im- inan, I rejoice in whatever is hoprovements into the various depart. nourable to our nature : but vide ments of philosophy and science, rious fcruples have ever forbidden beyond the example of former my affent to this popular article of ages; those speculations, which belief. I will state my objections to tend to aggrandize the dignity of it in a plain and popular manner reason, are received with avidity, with all possible perfpicuity and conand admitted with a readier acqui- ciseness; and then suimit the deescence. We are apt to conclude, termination of this question to the that the same ingenuity and strength judgement and candour of this auof faculties, which have been able dience. to investigate the fublime laws of “ 1. The five first books of the the planetary system, to adjust the Old Testament, are, I believe, actides, to disentangle the rays of knowledged by all to be, not only light, to detect the electric fluid, the most ancient compositions, buc and to extend their researches into also the most early specimens of althe remoteft regions of mathematic phabetical writing at present exiftscience, must be adequate to any at- ing in the world. Now, if alphatainments and discoveries whatso- betical writing be indeed the result ever. Nor has any disputable to- of human ingenuity, one great pe: pic of enquiry been accepted more culiarity distinguishes it from all implicitly of late, even by mien ac, other human inventions whatsocustomed to hesitate and to examine, ever : the very first effort brought than the gradual discovery of al- ii to perfection. All the fagacity phabetical characters by the fuc. and experience of succeeding geneceffive exertions and accumulated rations, illustrated as they have experience of mankind. To call in been by a vast influx of additional question a maxim so generally be knowledge, beyond the most aclieved, may appear, in the judge complished of their predeceffors, ment of philosophers, to favour of have been unable to fuperinduce any superstition and credulity: but, per- real improvement upon the Hebrew haps, it will be found, that the evi- alphabet. This seems to me a fin

gularity

well as the art itself? To what will serve as a general evidence in purpose the trouble of inventing this case, and may lead us to conanother system of characters?", clude, that fimilar deviations may

“ Various answers may be re- have taken place amongst other turned to this objection.

classes of men, as well as in that “1. We know, from the instacce of instance, which he particularly speour own language, what diverhties cifies from his own knowledge. may be introduced in this respect “ Herodotusy in one part of his merely by length of time, and an history, has the following relation. intercourse with neighbouring na- " Those Phænicians, who came tions. And such an effect would be with Cadmus, introduced many im. much more likely to take place be provements among the Greeks, and fore the art of printing had contri- alphabetical writing too, not known buted to establish an uniformity of in my opinion to the Greeks before character. For, when every work that period. At first they used the was transcribed by the hand, we Phænician character : but in process inay casily imagine how many va- of time, as the pronunciation alriations would arise from the fancy tered, the standard of the letters was of the scribe, and the mode of writ- also changed. The Ionian Greeks ing so confiantly different in indivi- inhabited at that time the parts adduals. What two persons write jacent to Phænicia : who, having without the plainett" symptoms of received the art of alphabetical writpeculiarity?

ing from the Phænicians, used it, " 2. Vanity might sometimes with an alteration of some few chagive occafion to this diversity. racters : and confessed ingenuously, When an individual of another that it was called Phænician, from community had become acquainted the introducers of it. And I have with this wonderful artifice, he seen myself the characters of Cad. might endeavour to recommend mus in the temple of Isincnian A. himself to his own people, as the pollo at Thebes in Bæoria, engraven deviser of it: and, to evade detec- upon tripods, and very much re. tion, might have recourse to the fembling the Ionian characters." substitution of new symbols. But 5. The old Samaritan is pre. let no more credit be given to this cisely the same as the Hebrew lan. conjecture than it deserves.

guage : and the Samaritan Penta3. The characters of the al- teuch does not vary by a single let. phabet might, fometimes, be ac- ter in twenty words from the Hecommodated, as much as pollible, brew. But the characters are wide. to the symbolical marks already in, ly different : for the Jews adopted use amongst a particular people. the Chaldaic letters, during their These having acquired a high de- captivity at Babylon, instead of the gree of sanciity, by the use of many characters of their forefathers. This generations, would not be easily su- difficulty then seems to have been perseded, without the aid of Tome sufficiently considered. fuch contrivance, by an adventi- “ III. What we know of those tious practice.

nations, who have continued for 4. But I have more than con- many centuries unconnected with je&ture to offer in fupport of this the rest of the world, strongly mie argument; even the testimony of litates against the hypothesis of the an ancient historian; whose account human invention of alphabetical

writing

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premising, that, where a continuity fimilarity of their formation, and of trantiniffion appears to have taken the numberless words, common to place, arising from the intercourse them all, demonftrably evince : and of nations with each other; and the Persic has a close affinity to the where the words are the same, the Arabic. Alterations would natugrammatical construction, and other rally be introduced, proportionate minute peculiarities of composition to the civilization of the several much alike, in two languages, these poffeffors, and their separation from languages are of the fame texture: the other nations: and this will acand that alphabetical composition, count for the superior copiousness attended by these circumstances of of some above the rest. So then, relemblance, must flow from one not to determine which was the fource : especially, if the difference more ancient language, the Hein the alphabetical marks of these brew, Syriac, or Arabic, a questina two languages Phould be no objec. of no importance on this occasion; tion, but may be accounted for up- all the languages in use amongit on reasonable principles.

men, that have been conveyed in s. It will be readily allowed then, alphabetical characters, have been I presume, that noinodern Euro- the languages of people, connected pean nation, exclufive of the Turk- ultimately or immediately, with ith empire, indebted to the Greeks those who have handed down the and Arabians, separately invented earliest specimens of writing to poalphabetical writing; we all de- sterity. And when the languages rived, without any doubt, this art of the eastern nations are so fimilar from the Romans. The Romans - when so curious an art would be, never laid claim to the discovery: in all probability, the first improvethey ascribed all their literary ad- ment communicated by one people vantages to the Greeks. This ac

to another-is it not morally cercomptithed people acknowledge, tain, that alphabetical writing oriwith one voice, to have received ginally centered in one people For she art from the Phænicians; who, length of time has deprived us of as well as their colonists the Car- express historical testimony in this thaginians, are known by the learn- cafe. ed to have spoken the Hebrew lan

“ Indeed, this proposition seems guage, or a dialect scarcely vary- to be sufficiently ascertained by aning from the original. The Cop- other argument; that is from the tic, or Ægyptian, wears the ex. fameness of the artificial denomina. actest resemblance in the majority tions of the letters in the Oriental, of its characters to the Greek : Greek, and Latin languages; acthey, therefore, must be referred in companied too by a similar arr ngeall reason to the fame origin. The ment: Alpha, Beta, and so on. Chaldee, Syriac, and later Samari- “ But in opposition to this esi. tan, are dialects of the Hebrew, dence, some will argue againf all without any confiderable deviation, possible admitsion of our conclufion, or many additional words. The by alledging the entire diffimilarity Æthiopic differs more from the He- of characters employed by the anbrew, but still less than the Arabic. cients to discriminate their letters. These languages, however, not. " Why should not one nation, it withstanding such deviations, have will be urged, adopt from the other iffwed from the same stock; as the the mode of expreiling the art, as

well

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