Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

himself should have published, printed, and written, his medi, tatéd strictures upon it. With similar 'modesty the same request was made to THE MONTHLY REVIEWERS, and treated by them too as it deserved. But, the doctor was authorised to make these requests, and for the reasons that follow:-* For who could possibly deny that it is the duty of all reviewers rather to forbear reviewing a work for ever, than to do it without any archetypal criterion to go by?' But did Dr. Montucci, till now, ever hint, that he meant to supply us with such a criterion, or that his promised work would contain it? Our brothers of the Monthly, as well as ourselves, would, no doubt, have been grateful for so precious a favour. An ARCHETYPAL criterion!-The idea of it alone induces us to ask, if ever so much vanity and ignorance were united ?-vanity in presuming to set up an archetypal standard for the guidance of the public judgement; and ignorance in using words without knowing their meaning!

Such a criterion, however, the doctor hath actually furnished, if he may vouch for himself, in this very Answer; or, if not, he ( will do it in his work in the press.' What he may will to do is one thing; what he has done is another': and experience forbids us to expect that a frog can ever equal an ox.

But what does he deem an archetypal criterion?—Pretending to be but a Chinese Transcriber, and founding his merits on this sole pretence, has he brought forward a single archetypal character of the 80,000, or more, that the language contains ? or, of all that his invaluable treasures' comprise, will he venture to assert a single character of them to be such? Were our knowledge of the Chinese as little as the doctor pleases, or even as his own, the ignorance, blunders, and presumption of this Answer would afford endless topics for remark, without committing our credit. But to the test—This renowned doctor, as an excuse for his censure on our having borrowed the Chinese types of Dr. Hager's book to give specimens from it, now says, he never meant to consider it as inproper; but only blamed us for having introduced the incorrect ones, and accompanied this show with incorrect observations. If the doctor said borrowed, it was to imply that our skill as Chinese Reviewers was inferior even to Dr. Hager as'a Chinese author; that we would not have been able to execute any Chinese characters at all if we had not borrowed them.' Dr. Hager, forsooth, a Chinese author ! and we Chinese reviewers !--Be our skill in transcribing Chinese characters, or the want of it, what it may, before the doctor undertook to pronounce so boldly on the subject, he ought to have had some knowledge; but as he certainly has none, we leave to him all the credit that an unfounded assertion can merit; adding that, till his archetypal criterion be divulgad, assertions of this kind serve only to disgrace their au

has so geärectly from bea what can beance and writing one, not a

thor. We, it seems, introduced ten incorrect ones out of the thirty Dr. Hager had used! But where is the proof?-not the slightest is offered, nor can any such proof be produced. This assertion Dr. Hager hath answered, in one instance, to Dr.Mongucci's utter confusion; and when Dr. Montucci shall specify more, the like answers will be ready.

Dr. Montucci (p. 4)observes:-'When we once conceive an adequate idea of the admirable structure, mechanism, and energy of the Chinese hieroglyphics, the sublimity of the invention has so great a power on our mind, that we regard it as descended directly from heaven; and nothing is seen, in the extensive field of philology, that can bear the faintest comparison in point of merit to the Chinese language and writings.'-What heroics! We should hardly have imagined that any one, not a stranger to his Christ-cross row, could have uttered such bombastic nonsense ; nor could we have believed. any one so uning formed as not to know that the Chinese themselves admit their own mode of writing to be infinitely inferior to the alphabetic, Upon this conviction it is that the Japanese (who call the written language of the Chinese the language of confusion), as well as the inhabitants of Tunking, Corea, Lienkieu, and other nations bordering on China, have adopted alphabetic characters. Yet, after all this, Dr. Montucci thus closes his blast: · The Chinese is the only branch of learning, the authors of which [branch of learning !] are either accurate and enthusiasts, [admirably coupled !] or, inaccurate and inanimate. Most ex, quisite decision! A very Daniel come to judgement!:-To which of these classes our doctor belongs, what immediately follows will determine.-- Dr. Montucci is so far initiated in that language, that he would READILY FORFEIT bis owu EXISTENCE to see the study of it promoted in Europe !'-Proceed great days! A martyr!'and in such a cause too, to court annihilation !

In the same page (4) Dr. Montucci observes, there are three points that prove the incompetency of the Critical Reviewers to Chinese criticism, and these he will set in the strongest light before his readers.' The first of them is, that the Reviewers 'have even stripped him of a title, which cost him as much study and money as Dr. Hager's did; and all this certainly is ingenious, and might have turned to their advantage. What ingenuity. there may be in taking from another his title, or how the omit, ting to give it amounted to privation, or the taking it from the doctor would turn to our advantage, is left for himself to, explain. Had the title in question been a Chinese degree, there might be something like sense in the charge ; but as to the addition of Doctor of Laws, the pretence is ridiculous in the ex., treme. Since, however, the signior affects a bell to his capa in Folly's name let him wear it. Nevertheless, as to the stripping him of this honour, we conceived it to be an exploit like that in Prince Arthur, where the vest a naked Pict had on was actually taken away from him. What money Dr. Hager's doctorate of divinity might have cost him, we know not, nor what study to obtain it; but till Antonio Montucci, LL.D. shall produce testimonies, of disputations as well maintained, and exercises as well written as those by Joseph Hager are known to have been, he will indulge us in withholding our assent, as we know his knack at assertions. Soi-disant doctors are far from rare. Quacks swarm in every profession ; and the qualities of their nostrums generally show the validity of the titles under which they are vended. This at least is our criterion. Perhaps literary quacks were never more common; and we cannot persuade ourselves there is one the less for admitting the signior to be what he claims. The doctorate of law in Italy is conferred on young students as almost an affair of course, and we never have known a real scholar from that country who, for that very reason, has not dropped it in this. In respect to the title of Chinese Transcriber, which our be-doctored mandarin had stuck on his other dear-bought ho. nour, this he admits we have very liberally bestowed upon him ;' but, from an over-eagerness to malign us, he incautiously confesses that his claim to it is spurious ; for, speaking of us, he directly says, Had they known what writing Chinese is, they would have been very far from allowing him the merit of this title.' But, be our guilt what it will, as to the honours in question, how doth it establish the doctor's first point, or prove the incompetency of the Critical Reviewers to Chinese criticism? Nevertheless, what he hath advanced on this head he pronounces to be a setting before his readers, in the strongest light, the proof of his assertion:': That we, however, were not wholly incompetent, some perhaps have inferred from the PLAGIARISMS we already had fixed on this doctor. We say fixed; yet this is what he urges as the second point in' proof of our incompetency, and an example in which we seein not only deficient as Chinese Reviewers, but as Reviewers in ge. neral; for (adds he) they certainly could not consider it as a PLAGIARISM, while they did not give the author time to quote his authorities.'-Not time, Dr. Montucci! Did we purloin your papers, and print them? Were not your title and proposals both printed, and, by yourself, suspended at every booksellers' in London? You had time to transcribe, get engraved and printed, the characters; though not to say whence you took them! But as to your Latin motto, the case was different : time there was allowed to add the citation; and thus, by your application of his words, was Fourinont made the author of a libel which merited the critique of lord Kenyon. What an

printed, and you had time to ot to say whence interent:

[ocr errors]

execrable, subterfuge to skulk under, and what an-insult on alt that is decent !

The third proof of our incompetency to Chinese criticism' is thus expressed :-Lastly, the Reviewers insinuate that all the Chinese characters introduced by Dr. Montucci's Title-page cannot be of any manner of use to his intended work, and in this they prove that they have not perceived the different styles above alluded to. This the doctor confidently asserts from an infew rence of his own : “ for'. (adds he) • if they had, they would have immediately seen the utility that may possibly be derived from them. In the first place, we reply that this charge of the doctor is the opposite to truth; and therefore all that is built on it must fall of itself. Secondly, were it true, the conclusion drawn from it is an imaginary inference, and without premisses to warrant it. Thirdly, the reason he assigns for having drawn the conclusion is so pregnant with absurditys that nothing of the kind can exceed it., The Critical Reviewers are proved incompetent to Chinese criticism, because they have not immediately seen the utility that may possibly be derived from the different characters in the doctor's, title-page!?-And who told the doctor what we saw, or did not see? Whatever utility these characters might suggest, or, to whatever use he meanted to apply them, it is certain that hiinself had pointed out none; since he here, and for the first time, says, Dr. Montucci is well aware that to disclose now the use he INTENDS to make of them is rather impolitic;' assigning for the reason, that it will give Dr. Hager an opportunity of taking several hints to improve his work with an Appendix.'. Such are the proofs of this mighty logician! and thus hath he set in the strongest light before his readers,' our incompetency to Chinese criticism,' and as Reviewers in general.' ..... . . . . .

Next follows the anticipated Elmidation, to prove the intended utility of the Chinese specimens in Dr. Montucci's Title-page." The doctor's first explanation concerns, the characters at the bottom, a sort Dr. Hager passed over with simply noticing them, as being, in themselves, foreign to his subject; which was, "An Explanation of the Elementary Characters of the Chinese, with an Analysis of their ancient Symbols and Hieroglyphics.' The characters adduced by Dr. Montucci being of the voLGAR KIND, and of no authority, he selected the specimen, as he tells us, to give an idea of their form, and spare his readers the trouble of consulting The Philosophical Transactions, which, however, he adds, he INTENDED to quote. Why he did not; he hath told you before; viz. that we did not give bim TIME. These characters, he informs us, 'were called VERY PROPERLY by Dr. Hager's French pronunciation (as if Dr.Hager were a Frenchman!): tao-tsu; and the same pronunciation is accordingly adopted by

theme Dr. Hages with an apper hath he

[ocr errors]

Dr. Montucci (see p. 6), though Amiot repeatedly styled them tsoo tsée.

• The row of characters at the top of Dr. Montucci's Titlepage (and these, too, no time was allowed him to quote) is' (he tells us) - another specimen highly interesting for the history of Chinese literature, as invented at an epoch very fatal to Chinese learning and philology. Now, in the name of common sense, we ask, since the doctor authorises the assertion that neither the characters at the bottom nor top of his page had any concern with the subject-- his studies being merely confined to that most modern and universal style of characters called Him-xu, which is generally adopted in dictionaries and MODERN PRINTED books of China'--for what possible end could he have displayed them on his title, but the ridiculous purpose of pedantic parade? or with what consistency censure Dr. Hager for introducing in his work what was not essential to his subject?.is

Of the perpendicular columns on either side the title, and which before this publication we explained, Dr. Montucci now informs us, that that on the left is from the writing of Paul-Ko, one of lord Macartney's interpreters; and that the other is a repetition of it by the doctor himself in such characters as are found in the printed forin in most books, and chiefly in the Chinese printed dictionaries. It is obvious here to ask, how it happened that, instead of exhibiting this counterpart according to the forms of his archetypal criterion, the doctor had recourse to chaFacters picked out at random from the printed forms in books that fell in his way? What would be thought of a person with uš, who, to show his skill in calligraphy, should produce a sentence, the characters of which were copied from letters of different founderies, without reference to any fixed principles of symmetry between them? Dr. Montucci wishes we had dechared which of these two columns we deemed a miserable copy of the other! To any one not blind with self-conceit this never could, we think, be a question. The strokes of Paul-Ko, even in wood, are easy and flowing, whilst those of the doctor are stunted and deformed. We give him full credit for their being all of his own execution, without the assistance of transparent paper or lead pencil,' and are convinced, on that account, they are so much the worse. The very means he thus triumphantly scouts are those only by which faithful fac-similes are made, and therefore those to which artists the most expert have always recourse. But, were the contrary the truth, what has transeribing the characters of a language to do with skill in it? or by what argument will it appear that a knack at the one implies a mastery of the other? These are questions, which this transcriber may be puzzled to solve.

The doctor goes on to speak of the motto. · With his having adopted it we did not find fault, but with the giving it as if

« AnteriorContinua »