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Art. 2. A Differtation on the Causes of the Difficulties which oc

cur in learning the English Tongue. With a Scheme for publishing an English Grammar and Dictionary, upon a Plan in-, tirely new. Addrefled to a certain noble Lord. By Thomas Sheridan, A. M. 400. 15. 6d. Dodney.

It is with pleasure we observe,' that the cultivation of our Language is now become an object of general attention, and we think the public indebted to the ingenious Author of this Differtation for the share he has had in exciting this attention. He has ftudied the English Language, for many years, with great diligence; and there is, perhaps, no person better qualified for carrying into 'execation the truly useful design in which he is engaged, and in the profecution of which, we moft fincerely with him

all imaginable success. We are far from thinking, however, that the execution of his plan, even in its utmost extent, will be attended with all those advantages which he so carefully enumerates; that it will, for instance, banish the Giant Corruption, with his hundred hands, from this realm of firedom, or make profesfing Christians real onės. If Oratory is capable of producing such effects, it is capable of doing more than our Saviour and his Apostles were able to do, tho' endowed with the power of working miracles; nay more, we will venture to say, than OnnipoTENCE itself is capable of effecting, while men are continued in their present fituation and circumstances. The extravagant and enthufiaftic manner, indeed, in which Mr. Sheridan expreffes himself on this head, must draw a smile from every sensible and unprejudiced Reader, who well knows, that the citadel of Corruption is not to be stormed by the brutom fulmen of Eloquence, nor the conduct of the libertine or hypocrite to be reformed by the noblest strains of facred Oratory. Some indulgence, however, we acknowlege, ought to be thewn to the fond expressions of a parent, in regard to a favourite child.

Mr. Sheridan obferves, that when a foreigner arrives in London, and enquires for a maker to teach him the language of the country, there is no such perfon to be found, nor any method open to him, by which he may be afGfted, in attaining a juft manner of {peaking English ; that the great difficulty of the English tongue lies in the pronunciation, an exactness in which, after all the pains they can take, is found to be unattainable, not only by foreigners, but by provincials.

The task in which he is employed, is to restore the first and noblest part of grammar, (viz Orthoëpy, or the juft manner of pronouncing) to its just rank and power; and to redace Orthography to its due state of subordination; to make the spoken language, as it ought to be, the archetype ; of which, the written language Should be considered only as the type. • In order to this, he first traces the difficulties which lie in the way of such an undertaking, to their source; and then, by thewing how all obstacles may be removed, points out a way to the accomplish-ment of the design. The fcheme he proposes, is to publica a dics cionary, in which the true pronunciation of all the words in our

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tongue,

tongue, Thall be pointed out by visible and accurate marks. To ef, fect this, one column shall exhibit the words in alphabetical order as they are written or spelt; and in another column, opposite to each word shall be marked its just pronunciation The principle upon which this is performe!, we are told, is the simplest that can be conceived. Any one of moderate capacity, may, in an hour's time, make himself master of the marks, and then he can no more mistake the pronuncia.ion, than they who are acquainted with the notes, can mistake in reading music, or with the points, in reading Hebrew, 'To this Dictionary shall be prefixed, a rhetorical Grammar, for the plan of which we muft refer our Readers to the Differtation itself, which the Author concludes in the following manner.

“ Upon the whole, says he, if such a Grammar and Didionary were publified, they must soon be adopted into use by all schools pro felling to teach English. The consequence of teaching children by one method, and one uniform system of rules, would be an uniformity of pronunciation in all lp instructed. Thus might the rising. generation, born and bred in different countries, and counties, no Tonger, have a variety of dialects, but as subjects of one king, like ions of pne father, have one. common tongue. All natives of these realms, would be restored to their birthright in conmon language, which has been too long fenced in, and made the property

of a few. And Foreigners would no longer be inhospitably shut out, from a communication with us in an article, so effentially necessary to the keeping up a social intercourse with us.”

Whether such an uniformity of pronunciation can 'poffibly be established, we much question be this 'however as it may, such a Grammar and Dictionary as Mr. Sheridan proposes to publish, will be attended with very conuderable public advantages. Art. 3. A new chronclagical Abridgment of the History of France,

containing the public Transactions of that Kingdom from Clovis to Louis XIV. their : Wurs, Battles, Sieges, &c. their Lawi, **Mnnners, Customs, &c. Written in French by M. Henault; President of the Court of Inquests and Requests in the Parliament of Paris; and tranflated into English, with additional Notes,' relative chiefly to the History of England, by Mr. Nugent. -2 Vol. 8vo.

128. Nourse.

It 'ís observed, by a very celebrated writer, that the increafing maltiplicity of facts, relative to the history of great kingdoms, will soon 'reduce us to the neceflity of reading only abstracts and dictionaries. Fortunate will it be, both for the history and the reader, if, in that case, the nice and difficu't tak of abridgment should fall into the hands of writers of equal abilities with those of the author of the work before us.' This performance is, indeed, fo extremely well known, in the original, and has been so well received by the Jiterary world, that it would be fuperfluous to take any farther notice of its merits than just to give the English Reader an idea of its plan and execution.

The

The generality of chronological abridgments contain little more than the dates of births, marriages, battles, and deaths, as if intended only to exercise the memory of children. Our author engaged in a far more extensive plan; his work being neither a complete history, nor a mere chronological table of events, but a judicious mixgure of both. So that, while it is calculated to gratify the curiosity of those who enquire for the dates, and succession of facis, it points out, at the same time, the foundation and progress of the French monarchy, the various revolutions in their form of government, the fundamental maxims of the itate, the source of their public law, the origin of their customs, the rise and progress of the crown offices, the institution of the different courts of justice, the succesion of the chief magistrates, with the names of the minilters, generals, and learned men, who flourished in that country.

Such is the president Henault's plan ; in the execution of which, the attentive Reader will perceive that the inquiries of the historian have been directed by the magistrate and the statesman. He will also be agreeably instructed and entertained, by the many ingenious remarks, curious ecclaircissements, and well-drawn characters, that are interspersed throughout this work. As to its form, and the Author's manner of writing, we have only to say that they have both been generally admired, and have obtained the sanction of the best critics : The King of Prussia, in particular, speaks highly of this work, in his Preface to the Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg. “ It may be considered, says he, as the substance of every thing remarkable and worthy of notice in the French history; fo that, whoever is once master of this performance, may be said to be perfectly acquainted with the history of France." The faine royal critic takes notice also, of the judicious author's happy talent at embellihing the dry Audy of chronology; notwithstanding he is, to his great honour as a writer, universally allowed to convey as much inttruction, in the space of a few lines, as others in extensive dissertations.

55. bound.

Art. 4. The Country-Seat ; or Summer-Evening Entertainments.

Translated from the French, 2 Vols. 12mo. Lownds. . This publication confits of a collection of amusing and romantic tales ; to which is added, a sort pièce, en'itled The Employment of Souls after sepa ation from the Body, a Dream; by M. Rabener, of Dresden. The following passages may serve to thew something of the humour of this little performance. The Author dreams he is dead, and that bis soul, looking on his body with as much indifference as a masquerade dress, hich it had jeft thrown'alide, as busy in contemplating, with a truly paternal fondness, the manufcripts, those offsprings of his genins, left behind him, “ This co:.templationi, says he, was interrupted by the exultations of my impacient heirs, who threw themselves as eagerly on my bed. as ravens on their prey. And is he really dead ? cried 'they! Ay, God be praitiedoston Here, you, Harry, run quickly to the undertaker, called out one of my nieces, who made herself sure of inheriting from me, those graces and talents which nature had denied her, and of finding in my fortune, beauty, merit, and suitors. This tender niece of mine dif, solved in tears; and, with uplifted hands, cried, Ah! my poos, dear uncle ! how kind! how affectionate was he to us all ! Certainly he is gone to heaven, if ever man did.- But it does not become us to enyy his happiness. This was the signal for plundering : the first assault was made on my strong box; then violent hands were laid on my cloaths and furniture. With perfect indifference I beheld the clutter, till I saw my papers were going to be examined which put me into a terrible consternation. Evory little scrap was carefully looked into; all those on which was written, I acknowledge myself indebted to M. Rabener the sum of, & c. or Three months after dale, I promise to pay to M. Rabener, the sum of, &c. all thefe, I say, were laid bye with a reverential sedulity; but terrible long faces were made ai fome memorandums of a contrary tenour. Next 'came forth my manuscripts, for the fate of which I was extremely anxious; but fortunately my nephew, though he had taken his degree of Malier of Arts, could make nothing of them; so that they were chrown by, as no better than waste paper." Our Author's dream has pot, in this particular, turned out true; for poor Mr. Rabener's manuscripts are all gone before him, We gave some account in our Review for May, of the untimely fate of those pieces, in an extract from one of his letters to M. Gellert.

Art. 5. Anti-Canidia : or, Superftition detected and exposed; in

a Confutation of the vulgar Opinion of Witches, Spirits, Det mons, &c. &c. 8vo. is. Dodsley.

We owe this serious performance to the ridiculous story of the Late Ghost in Cock-lane, The Author earnestly endeavours to explode the common notions of the reality of Spectres, and the power of Sorcery; and in order to this, he undertakes to shew that the Scripture no where countenances fuch notions ; notwithstanding the Mofaical profcription of the Black Art, the story of the Witch of Endor, &c. His observations are judicious, and might be serviceable to the coinmon people, were his treatise to fall in their way; which is not to be expected, for they seldom purchase twelvepenny pamphlets. He has also attacked the whole army of Magick, Divination, Omens, Prognoftics, Dreams, Charms, Astrology, &c. &c. and put them entirely to the rout.

12mo.

IS,

Art. 6. A Digest of ihe new Militia Law, which received the Royal Assent, Apr. 8, 1762, By Richard Burn, L. L. P.

Millar. It is sufficient to say, that this useful Digest is the work of the universally approved Author of the treatise entitled, The Juice of Track and Parish Officers

Art.

Art. 7. A Letter front an Author to a Member of Parliament,

concerning literary Property. 8vo. 6d. Knapton. This little treatise, which was printed in the Year 1747, is written in favour of the right of property in authors to their works; and is penned with such peculiar Atrength and spirit as evidently displays the hand of a malter. We judged it proper to take notice of it at this time, not only on account of its real merit, but because the right here defended is under litigation in a court of law, and from thence has become the object of general attention among the lawyers and literari.

perty. 8vo.

Art. 8. An Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of literary Pro

8vo. I$. Flexney. The intent of this ingenious and well-penned pamphlet is of a tendency quite opposite from that of the letter mentioned in the last ar. ticle. This Writer endeavours to prove, that a literary copy is not fusceptible of property, that if it was, it is not capable of a perpetual exclusive poffeffion ; and that such a right would be prejudicial to the advancement of letters, and of ill consequence to authors themselves. In treating of thefe heads, he enters very deeply into matter of law, and discovers great acuteness and controversial skill throughout the whole of the argument. As to the principles of law, we leave them to be controverted by the learned in the profession, but as far as reason is concerned, we cannot help differing in opinion from the writer ; and though we admirę his very Ihrewd and logical method of reasoning, yet we can by no means adopt his conclusions, which seem se, pugnant to natural reason and common justice. Art.

9.

The Tablet, or Picture of real Life. Yuftly representing, as in a Looking-glass, the Virtues and Vices, Fopperies and Fooleries, Masks and Mummeries of the Age. With the true Characters of the Wife and Good. In a select Set of Essays, ferious and jocose, upon the most interesting Subjects. Addressed to thofe who dare to think for themselves, and attempt in earnej? to improve Mankind. 8vo. 55. Longman.

A new ride to a work published in the year 1750, and recommended in the ad vol. of our Review, p. 451. It was then entitled The Reflector, representing human affairs as they are, and may be improved.

Art. 1o. Sophia. By Mrs. Charlotte Lennox. 12mo. 2 Vols.

6s. bound, Fletcher. It is a common error, with such adventurers as meet with any de. gree of success, either in brandishing the goose-quill or the truncheon, to push their good luck too far, and risk a reverse of fortune by keeping the field too long. Next to the difficulty of making an honour.

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