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vine, and Mr. John Laurie, Kilmarnock. The Tarbolton Glee Band, and Messrs. Reid, Ramsay, and Paterson, tended greatly to enliven the entertainment, by the performance of several favourite Scottish airs. Services were handed round during the intervals of the addresses. The chairman addressed the meeting at considerable length, and was followed by Col. Shaw, and Messrs. Fleming and Lawrie, with excellent speeches. The proceeds were handed over to the Patriotic Fund. Crieff Debating Club.-The seventh annual soirée of this club was held in the Masons' Lodge, on Tuesday evening, January 16th, 1855, when about 500 persons sat down to tea, consisting of all classes of the community. Mr. Robert G. Dakers occupied the chair, and opened the meeting with an interesting review of the state of Europe during the past year. Addresses were delivered by Mr. John C. Fisher, on " Union;" Mr. David


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Scrimager (of the Scottish Temperance League), on "Change." To show the nature of the society, an animated debate then took place on the following subject, "The Platform, or the Press, which has the greater influence on society?" in which Messrs. David Philips, John Gow, and Peter Gow, John Crerar, William M'Innes, and William Anderson took part. Mr. John Graham then gave an address on "Veracity," and Mr. David Philips on" Secular Education." In the course of the entertainment, a service of fruit was distributed, and the meeting was enlivened by an excellent instrumental band playing several select and appropriate airs. The proceeds of the soirée are to be applied, as usual, to the purchase of books for the society's library, which already contains nearly 700 volumes, and is open to the public at a cheap rate.-CRIEFF.

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Several names of note have to be added to our obituary. The Ven. Julius C. Hare, Archdeacon of Lewes, died on January 23rd. Julius Hare, Rector of Hurstmonceux, was one of the most conspicuous men in what has been called the Broad Church Party in the Anglican Church, and second to none of that school in literary distinction. His latest work was the biography of John Stirling. He was associated with Bishop Thirlwall in the translation of Niebuhr's "History of Rome."-Dr. Phillimore, D.C.L., Professor of Civil Law at Oxford, and Chancellor of the Diocese of Oxford, was one of the highest authorities in civil and in ecclesiastical law.-Professor R. Jones, of Haileybury College, was author of various works on political economy, among which the best known is his treatise on Rent, in which is contained much information of historical and social as well as legal interest. He worthily

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filled the chair which was once held by Professor Malthus.

The death of M. A. J. Sjoegreen, a Russian savant, and an eminent member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, is an nounced. He made numerous and important researches into the ancient history of Russia, and with respect to the different languages spoken in the empire.

A sad event has happened in the literary world of Paris-Gerard de Nerval, one of the ablest and most charming light littérateurs of the day, committed suicide a few days back. It is supposed that he destroyed himself partly from distress, and partly from mental excitement. He was subject, it appears, to hallucinations, or rather to the "fine frenzies" of the poet. He was a singular character: simple as a child in money matters, he scarcely ever had a sixpence, though his earnings were not inconsiderable; he had no fixed residence, and haunted cafes, and he often started off on journeys to the East or to Germany, without money enough for a week, trusting to the chapter of accidents to arrive at his destination and return. His literary reputation was very great in his own country, but was greater amongst literary men than amongst the public. In Ger many he was very highly esteemed: indeed the style of his writings was more German than French. His works are numerous, the principal being a translation of Faust, a "Voyage in the East," and a collection of charming stories, called "Les Nuits du Rhamazan."

Aids to Self-Culture.


Or all the faculties with which we are endowed, there is not one more wonderful in its nature than that by which we communicate to each other our thoughts and feelings; and of all the arts which we possess, there is not one more valuable in its results than that by which we preserve those thoughts and feelings, irrespective of time, and transmit them irrespective of space. We need scarcely say that the faculty to which we refer is that of speech; the art is that of writing; and to the latter the reader's attention is invited, as we present a summary of its history, accompanied with a few practical hints for selfimprovement and facility in its use.

The art of writing has been so long known, and so much used, that comparatively few ever think on its probable origin and wonderful history; still there are some thoughtful minds who do inquire with the poet,―

"Whence did the wondrous mystic art arise,

Of painting speech, and speaking to the eyes?
That we, by tracing magic lines, are taught
How both to colour and embody thought?"

To furnish a satisfactory reply to this question has long been the desire of learned men; and although their opinions have been divided upon the subject, their researches have presented to the world a large amount of interesting information, as well as many a clearly thought-out train of philosophical reasoning.

Writing is undoubtedly of great antiquity, and probably was known at a very early period in the history of man. The natural desire of man for perpetuity, and his laudable ambition for distinction, may have prompted him to the invention. He saw his fellows taken away by death, and their remembrance soon ceasing from the minds of the living, and he sought for some means by which he might record his name and embalm his deeds. To accomplish this, delineation was at first employed, and hence originated picture writing, or "hieroglyphics." The term "hieroglyphics" literally denotes sacred carving, and it was employed by the Greeks in reference to the inscriptions which they found on the temples, sepulchres, and other public buildings of Egypt; but iconography, or picturewriting, appears to have been common to the whole of the human race in the first stages of civilization. It therefore appears pretty evident, that some rude notion of the art of drawing or painting was the precursor of writing. "The idea of imitating the form of an object was no doubt first suggested to man by means of its sun-shadow; and in one of the Greek traditions of the origin of painting, it is stated that the first picture was the outline of a horse's shadow, traced in the sand by the point of his spear." "The Egyptians had a legend that painting was invented by the gods, and revealed to man for the express purpose of writing the history of deities and kings."* This was at first confined merely

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* Humphreys's "Origin and Progress of the Art of Writing." London: Ingram, Cooke and Co


to the representation of natural objects: thus the picture of a man would denote a man, and that of a house a house. As the desire increased to represent more complicated objects and scenes, a part was substituted for the whole; according to this method a sword was put for an armed man, and a flag for an invading host.

A great improvement was made in this kind of writing by the introduction of the metaphorical or ideographic principle. There is a radical difference between this principle and that of mere imitation. The latter has its origin in the imitative faculty, the former in necessity or convenience, and becomes significant by agreement. "Every medium through which we exhibit anything to another's contemplation is either derived from natural attributes, and then it is an imitation; or else from accidents quite arbitrary, and then it is a symbol."* It was doubtless gradually that this symbolic principle was introduced into hieroglyphic writing. Perhaps its first application was by merely putting the cause for the effect, the instrument for the thing produced; and thus the picture of the sun represented day, and a crescent, with the horns downwards, denoted a month. In accordance with the universal prevalence of metaphor in all languages, objects in which a particular quality predominates were employed to denote the quality itself; thus vision was denoted by the eye of a hawk, craftiness by a fox, and strength by a lion. Another kind of metaphor is used when we adopt a term originally applied to some physical object, to denote some metaphysical or abstract idea; on this principle the heart was understood to represent affection; a rock, security; darkness, error; light, truth; and the representations of the former were employed to denote the latter. Another species of symbol arose from the employment in speech of the same sound to represent several ideas: thus the picture of a thigh of some animal, dressed and prepared for table or sacrifice, which in the Egyptian language was called "sha," is frequently applied to express "to be born of-to be descended from," because the word "sha" also means "to be born" in the spoken language. The hatchet, named "ter," was one of their commonest symbols for "God, or Divine Being," because that idea was denoted by the same sound, "ter." This singular mode of suggesting words by pictures was employed by the ancient Egyptians, and is still extensively used in the written system of the Chinese and others. We have read of an old English spelling-book, in which a complete sentence was represented hieroglyphically, and several words on the principle of which we have just spoken. The sentence was, "I saw a boy swallow a gooseberry," and it was represented by drawing the figures of an eye, a saw, a boy, a swallow, a goose, and a berry!

We have thus glanced at the pure hieroglyphic systems of the ancients-systems which, though the result of much thought and experience, were, from their very nature, characterized by great length and tediousness, and absolutely inadequate to record the occurrences of life, or express the operations of the human mind. That this was felt to be the case may be inferred from the expedients employed by our ancestors to perpetuate the remembrance of events. "Gleemen" were employed to compose and sing poems on remarkable events, "registers" to repeat them on public occasions, and "days of observance" were set apart in commemoration of them. All these expedients seem to have been employed to do that for which writing was inadequate.

*Harris's "Hermes."

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We now come to consider another and by far the most important improvement in written language, an improvement, not merely of detail, but one of principle,-namely, that of employing signs to represent elementary sounds, instead of denoting things, and thus dividing speech into letters, instead of stopping at words. As ten simple marks or characters are found sufficient for all the purposes of numerical calculation; as the whole of music is comprised in seven notes, and these by their different arrangement produce all varieties of harmony; so language is found to be made up of a few elementary sounds and articulations, and in the invention of alphabetic writing the idea of representing these sounds and articulations occurred to some mighty mind, or was suggested by Deity himself. We can do little more than refer to the interesting and learned discussions which have taken place on the subject of the origin of writing. Plato, Tully, and other ancient philosophers ascribe the invention of writing to the gods, while "many learned men suppose that the alphabet was of divine origin. Several writers have asserted that letters were first communicated to Moses by God himself, and others have contended that the Decalogue was the first alphabetic writing." Those of our readers who wish to see this opinion maintained at length, are referred to an article by that able writer, Henry Rogers, which is contained in his "Essays; reprinted from the 'Edinburgh Review.'"+ On the other hand, the human origin of writing has been ably argued by M. Fourmont, Bishop Warburton, M. Gebelin, Dr. Priestly, and a host of others, and we confess that we incline to their opinion, from the evidences there are of the gradual growth of alphabetic writing out of hieroglyphics, and the imperfect character of all alphabets, the Hebrew by no means excepted. It is very difficult to decide to what nation the honour of the invention of alphabetic writing belongs, for, as Sir Isaac Newton observes, "there is the utmost uncertainty in the chronology of ancient kingdoms, arising from the vanity of each in claiming the greatest antiquity, while those pretensions were favoured by their having no exact account of time." The Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Indoos, and Arabians have each had the honour of the invention assigned to them. Most of the ancients gave the merit to the Phoenicians, and say that Cadmus brought letters from thence to Greece.

"Phoenicians first, if ancient fame be true,
The sacred mystery of letters knew;

They first, by sounds, in various lines designed,
Expressed the meaning of the thinking mind;
The power of words by figures rude expressed,
And useful science everlasting made."-Lucan.

Whatever may be the opinion we form on this subject, it is certain that the alphabets now current in Europe and Western Asia may, with very few exceptions, be traced to the ancient Phoenicians as to a common source.

The manner in which the first alphabets were formed was simple and curious. An object depicted was made the representative of the sound with which its name commenced. In order to represent the name of a man, for instance, a certain number of objects would be employed, the initial sounds of which, when pronounced together, would give the name required. Thus the English name of Mark would be represented by drawing the figures

Astle's "Origin and Progress of Writing."

+ London: Longmans.

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