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an dialects. Adelung, Schlözer, Johannes Müller, Büsching, the two Sprengels, Reinhold Forster, David Michaelis, Herder, Jenisch, Hasse, &c. are among those lately deceased, the most remarkable examples in this respect, especially as all these writers were by no means merely linguists, but only availed themselves of those acquisitions to attain a higher degree of perfection.
Among the great living linguists of Germany, we may mention the following: Professor Eichhorn, of Göttingen; Professors Vater, Curt Sprengel, and Ersch, of Halle ; Professors Beck and Wenk, of Leipzig; Böttiger, of Dresden ; Voss, of Heidelberg; and Schneider, of Frankfurt on the Oder ; 10 whom might be added a considerable number of others. Of these latter also, it may be asserted that they have all employed their knowledge of languages to the attainment of higher objects, and distinguished themselves as divines, physicians, antiquaries, poets, historians, &c.
When this polyhistory is combined with real genius, it produces superior men, and works that a nation may justly be proud of, as the excellent performances of the abovementioned writers evince. This, indeed, is but rarely the case. (A multitude of imitators, not gifted with the intellectual digeslive faculties of these eminent literati, overload themselves, and become superficial. This defect is unfortunately much more common at present in Germany than formerly; and the only difference between it and the superficialness of the French, is, that it is less ostentatious, and chooses rather to envelope itself in the mantle of pedantry ; but, on this account, it is not less detrimental to genuine literature, and generates the cacoëthes scribendi, a disease which may be regarded as indigenous in Germany, and which, apparently, it is not easy to cure. Too harsh a picture of it can scarcely be drawn. It will be sufficient for our present purpose, to refer to the fair catalogues for about twenty years down to 1806, and to Meusel's Gelehrtes Deutschland. The host of German writers is truly formidable. It is but natural that a person who writes a great deal, can very seldom or never write well ; and, consequently the readers of these hasty productions are supplied with a very inferior kind of food for the mind.
One of the most pernicious consequences of this is, as the most eminent literati universally complain, that people grow indifferent to old works of real excellence, eagerly hunt after novelties, and admire many piratical productions because they are not acquainted with the sources whence they were derived. In short, the whole republick of letters in Germany is labouring under so violent an attack of literary curiosity as cannot be paralleled in any other country. There are Englishmen who regularly read six or eight newspapers every day, and would rather dispense with many other pleasures than be deprived of this. A learned German shakes his head at it, and wonders how any body can waste the precious moments in reading such trash ; forgetting that he himself is as strongly attached to the countless literary journals, which spring up in Germany like musliroom.s, and whose numbers have been but little diminished by the four last calamitous years.
There can never be any want of these literary dainties, since such an inconceivably industrious nation must naturally, not only bring to market a prodigious, though motly stock of its own productions, but with the utmost assiduity collects the honey from foreign flowers. Many confine themselves entirely to this kind of reading, and the avidity for journals cannot therefore fail to be prejudicial to graver studies, because people easily addict themselves to the bad habit of dwelling but a short time upon any subject, and being satisfied with a superficial acquaintance with many. All polished nations it is true have journals, but, we believe, they appear no oftener than monthly ; while the German literati, on the contrary, are so incapable of restraining their curiosity, that their literary gazettes, intelligencers, &c. must appear daily or every other day. To gratify this inordinate love of novelty, the proprietors of these literary journals, in time of peace, keep agents in different countries, to ensure the earliest communication of literary intelligence, in the same manner as the principal London newspapers have political correspondents abroad; and in the German literary institutions, museums, book-clubs, &c. you will see the visitants nine times out of ten engaged with journals, whereas the books at those places are seldom taken down from the shelves. There are likewise few political newspapers in Germany but what introduce literary intelligence, without which a German newspaper seems destitute of seasoning. If the reviews of a critical journal never rise above mediocrity, it has no occasion to fear a falling off in its sale, if due industry be bestowed on its intelligence, the article
which is most read. Students at the universities, and very often even at school, read these periodical publications with an avidity which proves highly detrimental to their studies, as it interrupts that tranquillity, and checks that torrent of exertion, which are necossary in juvenile years, if maturer age shall produce any thing of importance.
What is pernicious to the weaker tends to invigorate the more robust. Solidity, which is an ancient characteristick of German literature, and enables us to boast of celebrated names in every branch of human knowledge, and at every period, could not be attained unless the German literati were anxious to possess themselves of every thing that has been printed in their particular department. It is this very anxiety to make themselves acquainted with the productions of all their predecessors that renders them interesting and instructive. It was formerly common to ridicule this spirit of minute investigation, which was denominated pedantry and want of taste ; neither is it to be denied that many of our writers are chargeable with those defects. But since the Germans directed their attention also to the style, and have combined elegance with solidity, it is in this very virtue that we must look for the. cause why their works are now sought after by nations who were polished at an earlier period. If, as we have already admitted, there are many superficial writers in Germany, it is, · on the other hand, universally acknowledged, that a very considerable number of men of genius are striving to check this evil, and maintain the ancient reputation of solidity, which is so commendable a trait in the national character.
Another good effect of the extraordinary literary activity of the Germans, is, that they possess the best auxiliary works. This advantage cannot be denied by any person who is acquainted with our literature ; and it is of such importance, that this alone ought to be an inducement to foreign literati 10 learn our language. It will be sufficient to mention a few German works of general utility. Such are Meusels and Eichhorn's Histories of Literature ; Brucker's and Buhle's Histories of Philosophy ; Sulzer's and Blankenburg's General Theory of the Fine Arts; Büsching's Geography ; Ebeling's Geography of North America: Michaelis' Introduction to the New Testament; Eichhorn's Introduction to the Old Testament; a series of extremely useful polyglot works by Nemnich; Röding's polyglot Marine Dictionary; the great and
yet unfinished History of the Sciences of the Göttingen Literati, commenced by Eichhorn ; Sprengel's History of Medicine ; Meusel's Bibliotheca Historica, begun by Struve ; Jöcher's and Adelung's Dictionary of Literati ; Wolf's, Köcher's, and Eichhorn's Hebrew Collection ; Fabricius's Bibliotheca Græca, with additions by Harles; the same author's Bibliotheca Latina ; Eckhel's Doctrina Rei Nummariæ; Scheussher's Dictionary of the New Testament; Diendorf's Dictionary of the Old Testament; Schneider's Greek, Scheller's Latin, Schwan's French, and Wagner's Spanish Dictionary ; Fischer's Dictionary of Natural Philosophy; Funke's Dictionary of Ancient Literature; Busch's History of Inventions ; Ersch's Repertory of Literature; Meusel's Literati of Germany ; Ersch's Literati of France ; and Forster and Reuss's Literati of England. All these works are of extraordinary utility to persons engaged in literary pursuits ; they spare the pains that may be bestowed on something more important, and supply, at least in some measure, the want of extensive libraries. How far the literature of Germany surpasses that of other countries in this respect, will best appear by a comparison of the above-mentioned works with similar ones of the other polished nations. To this end, it is sufficient to place the mere titles against one another; and a complete catalogue of these may be found in Meusel's Clue to Literature ( Leitfaden der Litteratur), a work which ranks with the most useful, and to which no other nation can produce an equal, or even one of a similar kind.
But the rage for collecting from every country in which literature is cultivated, is attended also with this consequence, that the Germans esteem'the literary merits of foreigners more highly than other nations are accustomed to do. In this point many of them go too far. Translations from all the polished languages in the world are incessantly going forward. “ Thuiskon's people," says a German poet, (Cramer), "treat no foreigner with contempt ; rich, without pride, they bestow due honour on every nation, even though envy is silent on the subject of their merits.”
(To be continued.
THERMOMETRICAL OBSERVATIONS, &C. NOVEMBER, 1810.
41 45 47 44 41
63 171 43 18 48 191 50 20
42 22 45 23 38 24
36 25 47 26 43 27 54 28 47 29 46 30 46
52 44 31 30
,30 Inches, 4,55
45 30 34 32 24 23 35 40 34 30 38
The diurnal mean heat is deduced from a number of observations made from 7 o'clock A. M. to 10 o'clock P. M.
Slight rains, and those of no visible depth.