« PreviousContinue »
6. – An American Dictionary of the English Language ; con
taining the whole Vocabulary of the First Edition in Two Volumes Quarto; the Entire Corrections and Improvements of the Second Edition in Two Volumes Royal Octavo ; to which is prefixed an Introductory Dissertation on the Origin, History, and Connection of the Languages of Western Asia and Europe, with an Explanation of The Principles on which Languages are formed. By Noah WEBSTER, LL. D., Member of the American Philosophical Society, &c., &c. Revised and enlarged, by CHAUNCEY A. GOODRICH, Professor in Yale College. With Pronouncing Vocabularies of Scripture, Classical, and Geographical Names. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam. 1848. 4to. pp. 1367.
We have copied not more than half of the truly formidable title-page of this huge volume, though our readers may be of opinion that a large portion even of the matter which we have transcribed would find a more appropriate place, if anywhere, in the preface than in the frontispiece to the book. And since we have begun with a criticism on the first leaf, it may be as well to say, that the patriotic sentiment which led Dr. Webster to call his great work an “ American Dictionary of the English Language" has exposed him to the reproach, for which there is but little foundation, of wishing to set up a different standard for the use of words in this country from that which obtains in the mother land. His variations from good English usage, which after all are not numerous, though they have excited much comment, are attributable not so much to national feeling, as to the pride of original research and to independence of personal opinion. He was not apt to submit lightly to authority of any kind, when it conflicted with his own notions of what was required by analogy, or etymology, or a reasonable desire for the gradual purification of our language from its numerous anomalies in spelling and pronunciation. We like him all the better for his manful defence of many imputed Americanisms, and for his disposition to consider good American authors as at least equally entitled with their English brethren of the same class, period, and reputation, to decide what good usage is, and how strictly its laws are to be enforced. We also respect his manliness, though we may distrust his judgment, for boldly writing some words as he deemed they ought to be written, though the true orthography had not the sanction of a single author of any note on either side of the Atlantic. Thus he discards compiroller in favor of controller, though usage is almost universal against the latter form, when it has the legal or technical meaning. He rejects disannul and unloose, on account of the superfluous syllable in each, though the latter has the authority of Shakspeare and our common version of the Scriptures. But, says Dr. Webster, in his decisive way, “no lexicographer, knowing the proper origin of these words, can be justified in giving support to such outrageous devi. ations from etymology. They are a reproach to the literature of the nation.” Yet this use of an additional syllable with simply an intensive force, instead of its usual negative or privative meaning, is not without precedent in other languages, especially in Greek. In his haste to Anglicize the spelling of some words which have long been adopted into our language, he writes maneuver and reconnoiter, though he had no authority to quote for the alteration, and his argument in favor of it has not had effect enough to change the usage. In most, if not all, of these cases, the present editor has quietly replaced the old form by the side of Dr. Webster's innovation, leaving the reader to make his own choice between them. Sometimes this is done at the expense of considerable repetition, the whole of the illustrative and explanatory matter being given under both forms of the word.
But our purpose is not now to review a work so well known as Dr. Webster's Dictionary, but simply to commend the present edition of it, with its copious additions to the text, as a highly valuable publication. Great labor has been bestowed upon it, and all the alterations and articles that have been added, so far as we have noticed them, are great improvements. The chief value of the work consists in its full and accurate definitions, and the complete exhibition of the etymology of the language, though scholars will not always assent to Dr. Webster's opinions in this particular; his erudition was immense, but not always accurate. In respect to pronunciation, it is not so complete, nor do we consider it so accurate, as Mr. Worcester's admirable Dictionary. The mechanical execution of the book deserves all praise, the type being very distinct, the paper of good quality, and the bind. ing serviceable. The quarto form is not so convenient for use as the octavo, but an equal quantity of matter could not be given in
any other shape, except in two or more volumes, and such a division is intolerable for a dictionary which is to be in constant
We hope that it will obtain a wide and profitable circulation.
NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.
The Works of Thomas Reid, D. D., now fully collected, with Selections from his Unpublished Letters, Preface, Notes, and Supplementary Dissertations, by Sir William Hamilton, Bart., of the Institute of France, &c., Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of Edinburgh. Text collated and revised, Useful Distinctions inserted, Leading
Words and Propositions marked out, Allusions indicated, Quotations filled up. Prefixed, Stewart's Account of the Life and Writings of Reid, with Notes by the Editor. Copious Indices subjoined. London and Edinburgh: Longmans. 1846. 8vo. pp. 914.
A Letter to Augustus De Morgan, Esq., of Trinity College, Cambridge, on his Claim to an Independent Re-discovery of a New Principle in the Theory of Syllogism; from Sir William Hamilton, Bart. Subjoined, the Whole_Previous Correspondence, and a Postscript in Answer to Professor De Morgan's Statement. London : Longmans. 1847. 8vo. pp. 44.
The Work claiming to be the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, including the Canons; Whiston's Version, revised from the Greek : with a Prize Essay at the University of Bonn, upon their Origin and Contents. Translated from the German, by Irah Chase, D. D. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1848. 8vo. pp. 496.
A Treatise on the Law of Copyright in Books, Dramatic and Musical Compositions, Letters and other Manuscripts, Engravings and Sculpture, as enacted and administered in England and America ; with some Notices of the History of Literary Property. By George Ticknor Curtis, Counsellor at Law. Boston: Little & Brown. 1847. 8vo.
A History of Georgia, from its first Discovery by Europeans to the Adoption of the Present Constitution in 1798. "By Rev. William Bacon Stevens, M. D., Professor of Belles Lettres, History, &c., in the University of Georgia, Athens. Vol. I. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1847. 8vo. pp. 503.
Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of Gen. William Hull, prepared from his Manuscripts, by his Daughter, Mrs. Maria Campbell : together with the History of the Campaign of 1812, and the Surrender of the Post of Detroit; by his Grandson, James Freeman Clarke. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1848. 8vo. pp. 482.
The Practical French Teacher, or a New Method of learning to read, write, and speak the French Language. By Norman Pinney, A. M. Fourth Edition, corrected, revised, and enlarged. Hartford : Gurdon Robins. 1848. 12mo. pp. 396.
The American Almanac, and Repository of Useful Knowledge, for the Year 1848. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 370.
Religion and Poetry, being Selections Spiritual and Moral from the Poetical Works of the Rev. R. Montgomery, M. A., Oxon. With an Introductory Essay, by Archer Gurney. Second Edition. London: James Nisbet & Co. 1847. 16mo. pp. 345.
Biographia Literaria, or Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life and Opinions. By Samuel Taylor Coleridge. From the Second London Edition, prepared for Publication, in Part, by the late Henry Nelson Coleridge, completed and published by his Widow. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1847. 2 vols. 12mo.
A Plea for Amusements. By Frederic W. Sawyer. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1847. 16mo. pp. 320.
Catawba River, and other Poems. By John Steinfort Kidney. New York : Baker & Scribner. 1847. 12mo. pp. 119.
Oregon Missions, and Travels over the Rocky Mountains, 1845 – 46. By Father P. J. De Smet, of the Society of Jesus. New York : Edward Dunigan. 1847. 16mo. pp. 408.
The Genealogy and History of the Family of Williams in America, more particularly of the Descendants of Robert Williams of Roxbury. By Stephen W. Williams, M. D., A. M. Greenfield: Meriam & Mirick. 1847. 12mo. pp. 423.
ΞΕΝΟΦΩΝΤΟΣ ΑΠΟΜΝΗΜΟΝΕΥΜΑΤΑ. Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates, with Notes. By R. D. C. Robbins, Librarian, Andover Theological Seminary. Andover: William H. Wardwell. 1848. 12mo. pp. 417.
Practical Physiology; for the Use of Schools and Families. By Edward Jarvis, M. D. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 368.
A Summer in the Wilderness, embracing a Canoe Voyage up the Mississippi and around Lake Superior. By Charles Lanman, Author of Essays for Summer Hours, etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 208.
Fame and Glory: an Address before the Literary Societies of Amherst College, at their Anniversary, August 11, 1847. By Charles Sumner. Boston: W. D. Ticknor & Co. 1847. 8vo. pp. 51.
The Death of Little Children: a Sermon preached at Brighton, September 19, 1847. By Frederic A. Whitney, Minister of the First Church. Boston : Crosby & Nichols. 1847. 8vo. pp. 15.
Observations on the Aboriginal Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, the Character of the Ancient Earth-works, and the Structure, Contents, and Purposes of the Mounds; with Notices of the Minor Remains of Ancient Art; with Illustrations. By E. G. Squier. New York: Bartlett & Welford. 1847. 8vo. pp. 79.
Collegiate Education : an Address pronounced before the House of Convocation of Trinity College, August 4, 1847. By J. M. Wainwright, D. D. Hartford. 1847. 8vo. pp. 38.
Discourses on Medical Education and on the Medical Profession. By John Ware, M. D., Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1847. 8vo. pp. 113.
Ăn Address delivered before the Literary Societies of Randolph
Macon College, June, 1847. By Charles F. Deems, Professor in the University of North Carolina. Philadelphia : Sorin & Ball. 1847. 8vo. pp. 27.
A Poem delivered before the House of Convocation of Trinity College, August 4, 1847. By George Burgess, D. D. Hartford. 8vo.
The Anniversary and Farewell Sermons, preached in the Hollis Street Meeting-House, March 3 and September 19, 1847. By David Fosdick, Jr. With an Appendix. Boston: B. H. Greene. 1847. 8vo. pp. 40.
Popery and the United States, embracing an Account of Papal Operations in our Country, with a View of the Dangers which threaten our Institutions. By Rufus W. Clark, M. A. Boston : J. V. Bean & Co. 1847. 8vo.
Liberty : a Poem delivered before the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont, August 3, 1847. By John H. Hopkins, Jr., M. A. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1847. 8vo. pp. 18.
Remarks on the Character and Writings of Hahnemann. From the New York Journal of Medicine. By the Editor. New York : J. & H. G. Langley. 1847. 8vo. pp. 14.
The Gospel of To-day: a Discourse delivered at the Ordination of T. W. Higginson as Minister of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, September 15, 1847. By W. H. Channing. Boston : Crosby & Nichols. 1847. 8vo. pp. 63.
Investigation of Glycocoll and some of its Products of Decomposition. By Eben N. Horsford, A. M., Rumford Professor. New Haven. 1847. 8vo. pp. 44.
The Eclogues of Virgil, translated into English Ve se, Line for Line. By the Rev. George Mackie, D. D. Quebec. 1847. 16mo. pp. 48.
The Complete Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation. By Isaac Walton. And Instructions how to angle for a Trout or Grayling in a Clear Stream, by Charles Cotton. With Copious Notes, for the most Part Original, a Bibliographical Preface, and a Notice of Cotton and his Writings, by the American Editor. New York: Wiley & Put
1847. 2 vols. 12mo. Poems by James Russell Lowell. Second Series. Cambridge: George Nichols. 1848. 16mo. pp. 184.
Lays of Love and Faith, with other Fugitive Poems. By George W. Bethune. Philadelphia : Lindsay & Blakiston. 1848. 184.