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ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION.
Spectacle de la Nature, might also be begun in this Once a-year let there be public exercises in the class, and continued through the subsequent classes hall—the trustees and citizens present. Then let fine by other books of the same kind; for, next to the know- gilt books be given as prizes to such boys as distinguish ledge of duty, this kind of knowledge is certainly the themselves, and excel the others in any branch of most useful, as well as the most entertaining. The learning, making three degrees of comparison-giving merchant may thereby be enabled better to understand the best prize to him that performs best, a less valumany commodities in trade the handicraftsman to im- able one to him that comes up next to the best, and prove his business by new instruments, mixtures, and another to the third-commendations, encouragement, materials—and frequently hints are given for new me- and advice to the rest, keeping up their hopes, that thods of improving land, that may be set on foot greatly by industry they may excel another time. The names to the advantage of a country.
of those that obtain the prize to be yearly printed in THE FOURTH Class—To be taught composition. a list. Writing one's own language well, is the next necessary The hours of each day are to be divided and disaccomplishment after good speaking. It is the writing posed in such a manner, as that some classes may be master's business to take care that the boys make fair with the writing master improving their hands, others characters, and place them straight and even in the with the mathematical master learning arithmetic, lines; but to form their style, and even to take care accounts, geography, use of the globes, drawing, mothat the stops and capitals are properly disposed, is the chanics, &c.; while the rest are in the English school, part of the English master. The boys should be put under the English master's care. Thus instructed, on writing letters to each other on any common occur- youth will come out of this school fitted for learning rences, and on various subjects, imaginary business, any business, calling, or profession, except in such &c., containing little stories, accounts of their late read- wherein languages are required; and though unacing, what parts of authors please them, and why; letters quainted with any ancient or foreign tongue, they will of congratulation, of compliment, of request, of thanks, be masters of their own, which is of more immediate of recommendation, of admonition, of consolation, of and general use, and withal, will have attained many expostulation, excuse, &c. In these they should be other valuable accomplishments ;—the time usually taught to express themselves clearly, concisely, and spent in acquiring those languages, often without sucnaturally, without affected words or high-flown phrases. cess, being here employed in laying such a foundation All their letters to pass through the master's hand, of knowledge and ability, as, properly improved, may who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, qualify them to pass through and execute the several and commend what he finds right. Some of the best offices of civil life with advantage and reputation to letters published in their own language, as Sir William themselves and country. Temple's, those of Pope and his friends, and some others, might be set before the youth as models, their beauties pointed out and explained by the inaster-the letters themselves transcribed by the scholar.
ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. Dr Johnson's Ethices Elementa, or First Principles
[Dr Franklin, through life, was an enemy of every species of of Morality, may now be read by the scholars, and ex
persecution on account of religious differences; on all proper ocplained by the master, to lay a solid foundation of vir- casions, he maintained the perfect liberty of private opinion on tue and piety in their minds. And as this class con- overy matter of either church or state, and at different times wrote tinues the reading of history, let them now, at proper in favour of a general toleration of creeds. In the same spirit of hours, receive some farther instruction in chronology, justice and liberality, he strongly reprehended any attack, by and in that part of geography (from the mathematical means of the press, or otherwise, on the doctrines of Christianity. master) which is necessary to understand the maps and His sentiments on the subject of persecution are to be found in globes.
two papersone a letter addressed to the printer of the London They should also be acquainted with the modern Packet, June 3, 1772, from which the following extract is made names of the places they find mentioned in ancient and the other a parable, which immediately succeeds.) writers; the exercises of good reading, and proper SIR,—I understand from the public papers, that in the speaking, still continued at suitable times.
debates on the bill for relieving the dissenters in the THE FIFTH CLASS.—To improve the youth in compo- point of subscription to the church articles, sundry sition, they may now, besides continuing to write letters, reflections were thrown out against that people, imbegin to write little essays in prose, and sometimes in porting—“ That they themselves are of a persecuting, verse; not to make them poets, but for this reason, intolerant spirit; for that when they had the supethat nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with a variety riority, they persecuted the church, and still persecute of expression, as the necessity of finding such words it, in America, where they compel its members to pay and phrases as will suit the measure, sound, and rhyme taxes for maintaining the Presbyterian or Independent of verse, and at the same time well express the senti- worship, and, at the same time, refuse them a tolerament. These essays should all pass under the master's tion in the full exercise of their religion by the admieye, who will point out their faults, and put the writer nistration of a bishop." on correcting them. Where the judgment is not ripe If we look back into history for the character of the enough for forming new essays, let the sentiments of a present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have Spectator be given, and required to be clothed in the not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of scholar's own words; or the circumstances of some persecution. The primitive Christians thought persegood story: the scholar to find expression. Let them cution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised be put sometimes on abridging a paragraph of a diffuse it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church author; sometimes on dilating or amplifying what is of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, wrote more closely. And now let Dr Johnson's No- but practised it against the Puritans: these found it etica, or First Principles of Human Knowledge, con- wrong in the bishops, but fell into the same practice taining a logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the themselves, both here and in New England. To account youth, and the difficulties that may occur to them be for this, we should remember that the doctrine of toleexplained by the master; the reading of history, and ration was not then known, or had not prevailed in the the exercises of good reading and just speaking, still world. Persecution was therefore not so much the continued.
fault of the sect as of the times. It was not in those SIXTH CLASS. In this class, besides continuing the days deemed wrong in itself. The general opinion was studies of the preceding in history, rhetoric, logic, only, that those who are in error ought not to persecute moral and natural philosophy, the best English authors the truth; but the possessors of truth were in the right may be read and explained-as Tillotson, Milton, Locke, to persecute error, in order to destroy it. Thus, every Addison, Pope, Swift, the higher papers in the Specta- sect believing itself possessed of all truth, and that tor and Guardian, the best translations of Homer, every tenet differing from theirs was error, conceived Virgil, Horace, Telemachus, Travels of Cyrus, &c. that, when the power was in their hands, persecution 60 ON MODERN INNOVATIONS IN LANGUAGE AND PRINTING. was a duty required of them by that God whom they | ON MODERN INNOVATIONS IN THE ENGLISH supposed to be offended with heresy. By degrees,
LANGUAGE AND IN PRINTING. more moderate and more modest sentiments have taken
TO NOAH WEBSTER, JUN. ESQ. AT HARTFORD. place in the Christian world; and among Protestants particularly, all disclaim persecution, none vindicate it,
Philadelphia, Dec. 26, 1789. and but few practise it. We should then cease to re- DEAR SIR– I received some time since your Dissertaproach each other with what was done by our ancestors, tion on the English Language. It is an excellent work, but judge of the present character of sects, or churches, and will be greatly useful in turning the thoughts of by their present conduct only.
our countrymen to correct writing. Please to accept [Here follows an explanation of the peculiar position my thanks for it, as well as for the great honour you of the New England Presbyterians, who, having been have done me in its dedication. I ought to have made the original settlers and entire possessors of this this acknowledgment sooner, but much indisposition country, believed themselves entitled to enact laws for prevented me. the whole community.]
I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our language, both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting the popular errors seve
ral of our states are continually falling into with respect PARABLE ON TOLERATION.
to both. Give me leave to mention some of them, [The following parable, in which the style of the scriptural though possibly they may have already occurred to writings is imitated, appeared originally in “Sketches of the you. I wish, however, that in some future publicaHistory of Man," by Henry Home of Kames, who mentions " that tion of yours you would set a discountenancing mark the parable was communicated to him by Dr Franklin, and that upon them. The first I remember is the word imthe moral must strike every one not sunk in stupidity and super- proved. stition.” It appears from investigation, that Franklin wasnot When I left New England in the year 1723, this the real author of the parable, and that he only claimed the merit word had never been used among us, as far as I know, of investing it in the scriptural style. Lord Teignmouth presented but in the sense of ameliorated or made better, except Bishop Heber with a translation of the parable from the Persian once in a very old book of Dr Mather's, entitled Reinto English, which is inserted among the notes to Heber's Life markable Providences. As that man wrote a very of Jeremy Taylor. Thus its eastern origin is ascertained.]
obscure hand, I remember that when I read that word 1. And it came to pass after these things, that Abra- in his book, used instead of the word employed, I conham sat in the door of his tent, about the going down jectured that it was an error of the printer, who had of the sun.
mistook a short l in the writing for an r, and a y with 2. And behold a man, bowed with age, came from too short a tail for a v, whereby employed was converted the way of the wilderness, leaning on a staff.
into improved: but when I returned to Boston in 1733, 3. And Abraham arose and met him, and said unto I found this change had obtained favour, and was then him, “ Turn in, I pray thee, and wash thy feet, and become common; for I met with it often in perusing tarry all night, and thou shalt arise early on the mor- the newspapers, where it frequently made an appearrow, and go on thy way."
ance rather ridiculous. Such, for instance, as the ad4. But the man said, “ Nay, for I will abide under vertisement of a country house, which had been many this tree."
years improved as a tavern; and in the character of a 5. And Abraham pressed him greatly; so he turned, deceased country gentleman, that he had been for more and they went into the tent, and Abraham baked un- than thirty years improved as a justice of peace. This leavened bread, and they did eat.
use of the word improve is peculiar to New England, 6. And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not and not to be met with among many other speakers of God, he said unto him, “ Wherefore dost thou not English, either on this or the other side of the water. worship the most high God, creator of heaven and During my late absence in France, I find that seveearth ?
ral other new words have been introduced into our 7. And the man answered and said, “ I do not wor- parliamentary language. For example, I find a verb ship the God thou speakest of, neither do I call upon formed from the substantive notice : I should not have his name; for I have made to myself a god, which noticed this, were it not that the gentleman, $c. Also abideth alway in mine house, and provideth me with all another verb from the substantive advocate: The gentlethings.”
man who advocates, or who has advocated that motion, 8. And Abraham's zeal was kindled against the man; 8c. Another from the substantive progress,
the most and he arose and fell upon him, and drove him forth awkward and abominable of the three : The committee with blows into the wilderness.
having progressed, resolved to adjourn. The word op9. And at midnight God called unto Abraham, say- posed, though not a new word, I find used in a new ing, “ Abraham, where is the stranger ?”
manner, as, The gentlemen who are opposed to this 10. And Abraham answered and said, “ Lord, he measure, to which I have also myself always been opwould not worship thee, neither would he call upon posed. If you should happen to be of my opinion thy name; therefore have I driven him out from be- with respect to those innovations, you will use your fore my face into the wilderness."
authority in reprobating them. 11. And God said, “ Have I borne with him these The Latin language, long the vehicle used in distributhundred ninety and eight years, and nourished him, ing knowledge among the different nations of Europe, and clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against is daily more and more neglected; and one of the mome; and could’st not thou, that art thyself a sinner, dern tongues, viz. French, seems, in point of univerbear with him one night ?"
sality, to have supplied its place. It is spoken in all 12. And Abraham said, “ Let not the anger of the the courts of Europe ; and most of the literati, those Lord wax hot against his servant; lo! I have sinned; even who do not speak it, have acquired a knowledge of lo! I have sinned; forgive me, I pray thee.”
it to enable them easily to read the books that are 13. And Abraham arose, and went forth into the written in it. This gives a considerable advantage to wilderness, and sought diligently for the man, and that nation. It enables its authors to inculcate and found him, and returned with him to the tent; and spread through other nations such sentiments and opiwhen he had entreated him kindly, he sent him away nions, on important points, as are most conducive to on the morrow with gifts.
its interests, or which may contribute to its reputation, 14. And God spake again unto Abraham, saying, by promoting the common interests of mankind. It is " For this thy sin shall thy seed be afflicted four hun- perhaps owing to its being written in French, that dred years in a strange land.
Voltaire's Treatise of Toleration has had so sudden and 15. But for thy repentance will I deliver them; and so great an effect on the bigotry of Europe, as almost they shall come forth with power, and with gladness of entirely to disarm it. The general use of the
French heart, and with much substance."
language has likewise a very advantageous effect on
AN ACCOUNT OF THE COURT OF THE PRESS.
61 : the profits of the bookselling branch of commerce; it this difference to Faulkner, the printer of the Dublin
being well known, that the more copies can be sold that Journal, who was vainly making encomiums on his own are struck off from one composition of types, the pro- paper as the most complete of any in the world. “But, fits increase in a much greater proportion than they Mr Faulkner," says my Lord,“ don't you think it do in making a greater number of pieces in any other might be still farther improved, by using paper and kind of manufacture. And at present there is no capi- ink not quite so near of a colour?" For all these tal town in Europe without a French bookseller's shop reasons, I cannot but wish our American printers corresponding with Paris. Our English bids fair to would, in their editions, avoid these fancied improve
obtain the second place. The great body of excellent ments, and thereby render their works more agreeable - printed sermons in our language, and the freedom of to foreigners in Europe, to the great advantage of our
our writings on political subjects, have induced a great bookselling commerce. number of divines, of different sects and nations, as Further, to be more sensible of the advantage of well as gentlemen concerned in public affairs, to study clear and distinct printing, let us consider the assistit so far at least as to read it. And if we were to en- ance it affords in reading well aloud to an auditory. deavour the facilitating its progress, the study of our In so doing, the eye generally slides forward three or tongue might become much more general. Those who four words before the voice. If the sight clearly dishave employed some part of their time in learning a tinguishes what the coming words are, it gives time new language, must have frequently observed, that to order the modulation of the voice to express them while their acquaintance with it was imperfect, diffi- properly. But if they are obscurely printed, or disculties, small in themselves, have operated as great guised by omitting the capitals or long s’s, or otherones in obstructing their progress. A book, for ex- wise, the reader is apt to modulate wrong; and, find. ample, ill printed, or a pronunciation in speaking not ing he has done so, he is obliged to go back and well articulated, would render a sentence unintelligible, begin the sentence again; which lessens the pleasure which from a clear print, or a distinct speaker, would of the hearers. This leads me to mention an old error have been immediately comprehended. If, therefore, in our mode of printing. We are sensible, that when we would have the benefit of seeing our language more a question is met with in the reading, there is a proper generally known among mankind, we should endeavour variation to be used in the management of the voice : to remove all the difficulties, however small, that dis- we have therefore a point called an interrogation afcourage the learning of it. But I am sorry to observe, fixed to the question to distinguish it. But this is ab
that of late years those difficulties, instead of being surdly placed at its end, so that the reader does not ad diminished, have been augmented.
discover it till he finds that he was wrongly modulating In examining the English books that were printed his voice, and is therefore obliged to begin again tho between the restoration and the accession of George II., sentence. To prevent this, the Spanish printers more we may observe, that all substantives were begun with sensibly place an interrogation at the beginning as well a capital, in which we imitated our mother tongue, the as at the end of the question. We have another error German. This was moro particularly useful to those of the same kind in printing plays, where something
who were not well acquainted with the English, there often occurs that is marked as spoken aside. But the 1
being such a prodigious number of our words that are word aside is placed at the end the speech, when it both verbs and substantives, and spelt in the same ought to precede it, as a direction to the reader, that manner, though often accented different in pronuncia- he may govern his voice accordingly. The practice of tion. This method has, by the fancy of printers, of late our ladies, in meeting five or six together, to form little years been entirely laid aside, from an idea that sup- busy parties, where ench is employed in some useful pressing the capitals shows the character to greater work, while one reads to them, is so commendable in advantage those letters, prominent above the line, itself, that it deserves the attention of authors and prindisturbing its even regular appearance. The effect of ters to make it as pleasing as possible, both to the this change is so considerable, that a learned man of reader and hearers. France who used to read our books, though not per- My best wishes attend you, being, with sincere esteem, fectly acquainted with our language, in conversation Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant, with me on the subject of our authors, attributed the
B. FRANKLIN, greater obscurity he found in our modern books, compared with those of the period above mentioned, to a change of style for the worse in our writers; of which mistake I convinced him, by marking for him each sub- AN ACCOUNT OF THE HIGHEST COURT OF stantive with a capital in a paragraph, which he then JUDICATURE IN PENNSYLVANIA, easily understood, though before he could not comprehend it. This shows the
inconvenience of that pretended improvement.
Power of this court.-It may receive and promulgate From the fondness for a uniform and even appearance accusations of all kinds, against all persons and characof characters in a line, the printers have of late banish- ters among the citizens of the state, and against all ined also the Italic types, in which words of importance ferior courts; and may judge, sentence, and condemn to be attended to in the sense of the sentence, and words to infamy, not only private individuals, but public on which an emphasis should be put in reading, used to bodies, &c., with or without inquiry or hearing, at the be printed. And lately another fancy has induced court's discretion. other printers to use the round s instead of the long Whose favour, or for whose emolument this court is one, which formerly served well to distinguish a word established.-In favour of about one citizen in five hunreadily by its varied appearance. Certainly the omitting dred, who, by education, or practice in scribbling, has the prominent letter makes a line appear more even, acquired a tolerable style as to grammar and construcbut renders it less immediately legible, as the paring of tion, so as to bear printing; or who is possessed of a all men's noses might smooth their features, but would press and a few types. This five hundredth part of the render their physiognomies less distinguishable. Add citizens have the liberty of accusing and abusing the to all those improvements backwards, another modern other four hundred and ninety-nine parts at their pleafancy that grey printing is more beautiful than black. sure; or they may hire out their pens and press to Hence the English new books are printed in so dim a others for that purpose. character as to be read with difficulty by old eyes, unless Practice of this court. It is not governed by any of in a very strong light, and with good glasses. Whoever the rules of the common courts of law. The accused compares a volume of the Gentleman's Magazine printed is allowed no grand jury to judge of the truth of the between the years 1731 and 1740, with one of those accusation before it is publicly made; nor is the name printed in the last ten years, will be convinced of the of the accuser made known to him, nor has he an oppormuch greater degree of perspicuity given by black than tunity of confronting the witnesses against him, for by the grey. Lord Chesterfield pleasantly remarked | they are kept in the dark, as in the Spanish court of in
THE COURT OF THE PRESS.
DISSERTATION ON SCOTTISH MUSIC.
of his peers.
quisition. Nor is there any petty jury of his peers sworn sacred liberty of the press. At length, however, I to try the truth of the charges. The proceedings are also think I have found one, that instead of diminishing sometimes so rapid, that an honest good citizen may general liberty, shall augment it; which is, by restorfind himself suddenly and unexpectedly accused, and ing to the people a species of liberty, of which they in the same moment judged and condemned, and sen- have been deprived by our laws—I mean the liberty tence pronounced against him that he is a rogue and a of the cudgel! In the rude state of society prior to villain. Yet if an officer of this court receives the the existence of laws, if one man gave another ill lanslightest check for misconduct in this his office, he guage, the affronted person might return it by a box claims immediately the rights of a free citizen by the on the ear-and, if repeated, by a good drubbing-and constitution, and demands to know his accuser, to con- this without offending against any law; but now the front the witnesses, and have a fair trial by the jury right of making such returns is denied, and they are
punished as breaches of the peace, while the right of The foundation of its authority. It is said to be abusing seems to remain in full force—the laws made founded on an article in the state constitution, which against it being rendered ineffectual by the liberty of establishes the liberty of the press-a liberty which the press. every Pennsylvanian would fight and die for, though My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the press few of us, I believe, have distinct ideas of its nature untouched, to be exercised in its full extent, force, and and extent. It seems, indeed, somewhat like the liberty vigour, but to permit the liberty of the cudgel to go of the press that felons have, by the common law of with it, pari passu. Thus, my fellow.citizens, if an imEngland, before conviction—that is, to be either pressed pudent writer attacks your reputation—dearer perhaps to death, or hanged. If, by the liberty of the press, to you than your life-and puts his name to the charge, we understood merely the liberty of discussing the pro- you may go to him as openly, and break his head. If priety of public measures, and political opinions, let us he conceals himself behind the printer, and you can have as much of it as you please; but if it means the nevertheless discover who he is, you may, in like manliberty of affronting, calumniating, and defaming one ner, waylay him in the night, attack him behind, and another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with give him a good drubbing. If your adversary hires my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please to better writers than himself to abuse you more effecalter the law—and shall cheerfully consent to exchange tually, you may hire as many porters, stronger than my liberty of abusing others, for the privilege of not yourself, to assist you in giving him a more effectual being abused myself.
drubbing. Thus far goes my project as to private reBy whom this court is commissioned or constituted.-- sentment and retribution. But if the public should It is not by any commission from the supreme execu- ever happen to be affronted, as it ought to be, with the tive council, who might previously judge of the abilities, conduct of such writers, I would not advise proceeding integrity, knowledge, &c., of the persons to be appointed immediately to these extremities, but that we should to this great trust of deciding upon the characters and in moderation content ourselves with tarring and feagood fame of the citizens; for this court is above that thering, and tossing in a blanket. council, and may accuse, judge, and condemn it at If, however, it should be thought that this proposal pleasure. Nor is it hereditary, as is the court of der- of mine may disturb the public peace, I would then nier resort in the peerage of England. But any man humbly recommend to our legislators to take up the who can procure pen, ink, and paper, with a press, a consideration of both liberties that of the press, and few types, and a huge pair of blacking-balls, may com- that of the cudgel—and, by an explicit law, mark their missionate himself, and his court is immediately esta extent and limits; and, at the same time that they seblished in the plenary possession and exercise of its cure the person of a citizen from assaults, they would rights; for, if you make the least complaint of the likewise provide for the security of his reputation. judge's conduct, he daubs his blacking-balls in your face wherever he meets you; and, besides tearing your private character to splinters, marks you out for the DISSERTATION ON SCOTTISH MUSIC. odium of the public, as an enemy to the liberty of the [The following is the dissertation on Scottish Music, written press.
by Franklin in a letter to Lord Kames, June 1765, and alluded of the natural support of this court.-Its support is to at page 31 of the present work. The notes are from the pen of founded in the depravity of such minds as have not Alexander Fraser Tytler, Esq., better known by the title of Lord been mended by religion, nor improved by good edu- Woodhouselee, the accomplished author of the Memoirs of Kames, cation.
in which the letter first appeared.] There is a lust in man no charm can tamo,
In my passage to America, I read your excellent work, Of loudly publishing his neighbour's shamo.
the Elements of Criticism, in which I found great enHence,
tertainment: much to admire, and nothing to reprove. On eagle's wings immortal scandals fly,
I only wished you had examined more fully the subject While virtuous actions are but born and die.
of music, and demonstrated, that the pleasure which
artists feel in hearing much of that composed in the Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of modern taste, is not the natural pleasure arising from his neighbour, will feel a pleasure in the reverse_and melody or harmony of sounds, but of the same kind of those who, despairing to rise in distinction by their with the pleasure we feel on seeing the surprising feats virtues, are happy if others can be depressed to a level of tumblers and rope-dancers, who execute difficult with themselves, there are a number sufficient in every things. For my part, I take this to be really the case, great town to maintain one of these courts by sub- and suppose it the reason why those, who being unscription. A shrewd observer once said, that in walk- practised in music, and therefore unacquainted with ing the streets of a slippery morning, one might see those difficulties, have little or no pleasure in hearing where the good-natured people lived, by the ashes this music. Many pieces of it are mere compositions thrown on the ice before the doors: probably he would of tricks. I have sometimes at a concert, attended have formed a different conjecture of the temper of by a common audience, placed myself so as to see all those whom he might find engaged in such subscriptions. their faces, and observed no signs of pleasure during
Of the checks proper to be established against the the performance of much that was admired by the perabuses of power in those courts.-Hitherto there are formers themselves; while a plain old Scottish tune,
But since so much has been written and pub- which they disdained, and could scarcely be prevailed lished on the federal constitution, and the necessity of on to play, gave manifest and general delight. Give me checks in all parts of good government has been so leave on this occasion to extend a little the sense of clearly and learnedly explained, I find myself so far your position, that “ melody and harmony are sepaenlightened as to suspect some check may be proper in rately agreeable, and in union delightful;" and to give this part also; but I have been at a loss to imagine it as my opinion, that the reason why the Scotch tunes any that may not be construed an infringement of the I have lived so long, and will probably live for ever (if
they escape being stifled in modern affected ornament), | in F, there the B-which if used, should be a B flat-is
merely this, that they are really compositions of me- always omitted by passing over it with a third. The lody and harmony united, or rather that their melody is connoisseurs in modern music will say I have no taste harmony. I mean the simple tunes sung by a single —but I cannot help adding, that I believe our ancestors, voice. As this will appear paradoxical, I must explain in hearing a good song distinctly articulated, sung to my meaning. In common acceptation indeed, only an one of those tunes, and accompanied by the harp, felt agreeable succession of sounds is called melody, and more real pleasure than is communicated by the geneonly the co-existence of agreeing sounds harmony. But rality of modern operas, exclusive of that arising from since the memory is capable of retaining for some mo- the scenery and dancing. Most tunes of late composiments a perfect idea of the pitch of a past sound, so as tion not having the natural harmony united with their to compare with it the pitch of a succeeding sound, and melody, have recourse to the artificial harmony of a bass, judge truly of their agreement or disagreement, there and other accompanying parts. This support, in my may, and does arise from thence a sense of harmony opinion, the old tunes do not need, and are rather conbetween present and past sounds, equally pleasing with fused than aided by it. Whoever has heard James that between two present sounds. Now, the construc-Oswald play them on his violoncello, will be less intion of the old Scotch tunes is this, that almost every clined to dispute this with me. I have more than once succeeding emphatical note is a third, a fifth, an octave, seen tears of pleasure in the eyes of his auditors; and or, in short, some note that is in concord with the pre- yet I think even his playing those tunes would please ceding note. Thirds are chiefly used, which are very more, if he gave them less modern ornament.* pleasing concords.* I use the word emphatical to distinguish those notes which have a stress laid on them in singing the tune, from the lighter connecting notes, that serve merely, like grammar articles, to tack the
PAPER: others together. That we have a most perfect idea of a sound just past, I might appeal to all acquainted with music, who know how easy it is to repeat a sound in SOME wit of old--such wits of old there werethe same pitch with one just heard. In tuning an in- Whose hints show'd meaning, whose allusions care, strument, a good ear can as easily determine that two By one brave stroke to mark all human kind, strings are in unison, by sounding them separately, as Call’d clear blank paper every infant mind; by sounding them together; their disagreement is also When still, as opening sense her dictates wrote,
as easily, I believe I may say more easily and better dis- Fair virtue put å seal, or vice a blot. de tinguished, when sounded separately; for when sounded The thought was happy, pertinent, and true;
together, though you know by the beating that one Metlinks a genius might the plan pursue.
is higher than the other, you cannot tell which it is. 1-(can you pardon my presumption)-1, 11
Farther, when we consider by whom these ancient tunes No wit, no genius, yet for once will try.
Pray note the fop-half powder and half laceharp was strung with wire, and had no contrivance, Nice as a bandbox were his dwelling-place : like that in the modern harpsichord, by which the sound He's the gilt paper, which apart you store, of a preceding note could be stopt the moment a suc- And lock froin vulgar hands in the 'scritoire. ceeding note began. To avoid actual discord, it was Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth, therefore necessary that the succeeding emphatic note Are copy paper, of inferior worth ; should be a chord with the preceding, as their sounds Less prized, more useful, for your desk decreed, must exist at the same time. Hence arose that beauty Free to all pens, and prompt at every need. in those tunes that has so long pleased, and will please The wretch whom avarice bids to pinch and spare, for ever, though men scarce know why. That they were Starve, cheat, and pilfer, to enrich an heir, originally composed for the harp, and of the most simple Is coarse brown paper—such as pedlars choose kind—I 'mean a harp without any half-notes but those To wrap up wares, which better men will use. in the natural scale, and with no more than two octaves
* That these observations are dictated by good taste, we may of strings from C to C-1 conjecture from another cir
presume from their agreement with the opinions of one who was cumstance, which is, that not one of those tunes really an exquisite judge of the subject.—"The Scottish songs, when ancient, has a single artificial half-note in it; and that sung in the genuine, natural manner, must affect the heart of in tunes where it was most convenient for the voice every person of feeling, whose taste is not vitiated by fashion and to use the middle note of the harp, and place the key novelty. As they are the effusions of genius, and devoid of art,
they bid defiance to artificial graces and affected cadences. To * This notion of Dr Franklin's respecting what may be called a sweet, liquid, flowing voice, capable of swelling a note from the ideal harmony of the Scottish melodies, is extremely acute, the softest to the fullest tone, and what the Italians call a voce di and is marked by that ingenious simplicity in the thought, which petto, must be joined sensibility and feeling, and a perfect underis the characteristic of a truly philosophic mind. In supplement standing of the subject and words of the song, so as to know the to his observation, that the past sound being retained by the me- significant word on which to swell or soften the tone, and lay the mory, forms a concord with the present sound, it may perhaps force of the note. From a want of knowledge of the language, it he added, that the tympanum of the ear continuing to vibrate generally happens, that to most of the foreign masters our melofor some little time after it is struck by any musical note, the dies at first seem wild and uncouth; for which reason, in their succeeding note will be either agreeable or disagreeable as it ac- performance they generally fall short of our expectation. It is a cords, or is in discordance, with the existing vibration. Now, a common defect in some who pretend to sing, to affect to smother succession of notes by thirds and fifths will always find the tympa- the words, by not articulating them, so as we scarce can find out num in concord, and the last vibration harmonising with the either the subject or language of the song. This is always a sign mucoceding. This notion accounts completely for the effect of the of want of feeling, and the mark of a bad singer, particularly of Scottish melodies, in giving pleasure alike to an intelligent judge Scottish songs, where there is generally so intimate a corresponof music, and to a person of uncultivated taste, provided he have dence between the air and the subject. Indeed, there can be no a good musical ear: for the pleasure arising from a succession of good vocal music without it. The proper accompaniment of a sounds, in the regular intervals of thirds and fifths, and likewise Scottish song, is a plain, thin dropping bass, on the harpsichord, that arising from their concord, is founded in nature, and in the or guitar. The fine breathings, those heartfelt touches which mechanical structure of the organs of hearing, and is altogether genius alone can express, in our songs are lost in a noisy accomindependent of custom or acquired taste. A Scottish air will paniment of instruments. The full chords of a thorough bass therefore be grateful alike to the ear of a Greenlander, a Japa- should be used sparingly, and with judgment, not to overpower, nese, and a native of Italy: if possessed of the musical sense, but to support and raise the voice at proper pausos." — Dissertation they will all equally understand and relish it; for it speaks an on the Scottish Music, hy William Tyller, Esq., in the Transactions universal language.
of the Society of Antiquarics of Scotland.