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their history and progressive improvement, and offer some brief comparative criticisms on those in our own language which have been recently completed or are now in a course of publication.
The inquiry has been often proposed, whether the form of a Dictionary, or that of a Treatise, is most favourable to the study and advancement of a science, Both have their advantages and their inconveniences, which, impartially stated, will enable a reader to decide for himself. A Treatise ought to be arranged according to a plan which connects mutually all the elements which compose it: In a Dictionary, the articles are insulated and independent one of another. A Treatise, and especially an elementary treatise, is almost exclusively a book of principles; but it is requisite that they should be strictly demonstrated, and enchained as it were one to another by the powers of logical method: a Dictionary embraces the whole of a science; it requires developements, and details; and even the history of errors now exploded will not be foreign to its plan. An elementary Treatise is, therefore, proper to direct the progress of a novice who wishes to obtain the principles of a science: a Dictionary offers to men engaged in the active concerns of life, and even to philosophers, an easy mode of finding what they may require, and often of attaining new ideas, by tracing, in the detailed accounts of single articles, particulars which strictness of method excludes from a regular treatise. It would seem, then, that the greatest disadvantage, attached to the form of a Dictionary, results from the circumstance, that the articles of which it is composed are not connected by the reciprocal dependence which any individual art or science would demand; so that those who would study any particular department of knowledge, know not where to commence, how to carry on, nor when to terminate, their labour. This inconvenience has, of late, been met, though not, in our estimation, removed, by intermingling Treatises or Systems with the articles of the Dictionary. In general, the inconvenience might be made to disappear, by giving, in an introduction, a sketch of the order in which the articles might be most advantageously read by those who did not merely resort to the work in the way of occasional reference. For example, that part of a General Dictionary, which relates to Physics, might be read in some such order as this. Commence with the articles that give preliminary notions; such as Body, Nature, Science, Elements, Constituent Moleculæ, Integrant Moleculæ, Property, Phænomena, Physics, Hypothesis, System, Theory, Cartesianism, Vortices, Theory of Newton, &c. Then study the general properties of bodies, in this order; Extension, Divisibility,
Figurability, Impenetrability, Mobility, Inertia, Gravity. Next study the phænomena appertaining to each of these general properties: suppose that of mobility, the order would be,Mass, Density, Space, Time, Velocity, Force, Motion-uniform-accelerated-retarded, Descent of Bodies. Then might follow those depending upon inertia, as Collision, Communication of motion, Equilibrium, Machine, Mechanical Powers, &c. In some such manner, might the outlines of the whole picture of Science be traced; every individual figure being correctly pourtrayed, so as to exhibit each limb and member in its proper situation. But the hint must suffice; we shall be happy to see it adopted and filled up by some of our encyclopedists. It is time, however, to enter on the cursory view we proposed to take of the progress of General Dictionaries.
A Dictionary, in its original sense, is a collection of words arranged alphabetically, to assist the researches of those who are studying a new language, or to explain the mythology, customs, geography, and biography, of those to whom that language is common. This is all that was aimed at by Hesychius and by Suidas, in their respective Lexicons; the former of which was composed about the end probably of the fourth century, and first printed at Venice in 1514; the latter, it is commonly supposed, was written in the twelfth century, and was printed at Milan, as early as 1499. In 1573 a dictionary of Science appeared under this title, Aixo, seu Dictionarium mathematicorum, in quo definitiones et divisiones continentur scientiarum mathematicarum, arithmeticæ, &c. M. Conrado Dasypodio, authore: a very remarkable book, for the time in which it was published, and of which a new edition appeared at Strasburg in 1579. The two Stephani compiled Dictionaries of words only; a class of publications, which naturally abounded, soon after the revival of letters, and especially in the xvith century. The Medical Dictionary of H. Stephanus is confined to the explanation of the language of Hippocrates and Galen. Cooper's Latin Thesaurus was published in 1587. The first work we have seen under the title of Encyclopædia, is J. H. Alstedii Encyclopædia,' which was published in 1632, in 2 vols. folio: an elaborate performance; which was followed in 1657, by 'Erhardi Weigelii Idea Encyclopædiæ Mathematico-philosophicæ,' a work not superlatively interesting, even for that period. Hoffman, whose 'Lexicon Universale Historicum Sacrum et Profanum,' was published in four folio volumes, at Basle, in 1677, chiefly expanded the geography, mythology, and ancient history of the Jews, Greeks and Romans, from the Dictionary of Lloyd, published in 1659. We need not dwell on the Lexicon of Pitiscus,
of Du Cange and Charpentier, of d'Herbelot, nor upon the Dictionnaire Mathematique' of Ozanam, nor the Thesaurus of Hickes. The next important step was made by Dr. Harris, in his Lexicum Technicum,' published, the first volume in 1704, the second in 1710. This is the earliest English work, which assumes to good purpose the systematic form of a General Dictionary, and attempts to allot to each article its comparative portion in the scale of human knowledge. It is, altogether, a very valuable performance; and may even now be advantageously consulted, on various topics which have been neglected by later lexicographers. The author possessed very considerable general knowledge; but his attainments as a mathematician and philosopher, were most conspicuous. His judicious labours much facilitated the progress of all who followed in the same department, for the next half century; though, with a mean reserve of which most of them are guilty, they seldom venture to acknowledge their obligations to him. It is indeed truly extraordinary, that Dr. Harris's name does not occur, either in Bayle, in the General Dictionary, in the Biographia Britannica, nor even in the Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary of Hutton; though he was much too far removed from the authors of the two last publications, to leave any room for the operation of jealousy. To the fifth edition of Harris's Lexicon, in 1736, a supplement was added: the aim of its compilers was rather to supply the omissions in other branches of science than in mathematics and philosophy, which had made, however, an immense progress from 1704 to that time.
Various Dictionaries were published between Harris's Lexicon, and the Cyclopædia of Chambers: such, for example, as the Great Dictionary of the French Academy, the Dictionary of the Jesuits of Trevoux, the Chemical Dictionary of Johnson, the Medical ones of Blanchard, and Castellus, the Mathematical Dictionaries of Stone, and. Wolfius, the Sea Dictionary of Mainwaring, the Dictionary of the Bible by Calmet, the Lexicon Philosophicum of Chauvin, the Lexicon of J. Burkard Menkens, published at Leipsic in 1715, Jablonski's Lexicon, in 1721, and Collier's Great Historical Dictionary, begun in 1694 and finished in 1727. Chauvin's Lexicon is, indeed, a work of importance. It contains some very correct diagrams, and a good illustration of philosophy, so far as the ancients were acquainted with it. The view of the mathematical science of the ancients, which it exhibits, is very interesting. It is sadly contaminated with the jargon of the schools; and those parts of it, which are in this respect objectionable, have been transcribed by later writers with a most disgraceful servility.
The first edition of Chambers's Cyclopædia made its appearance in folio, in 1727. Such was the excellence of its plan, and the general correctness of its execution, that the public demand occasioned a second edition to be published in 1738, a third in 1739, a fourth in 1741, and a fifth in 1746. This unprecedented success induced the proprietors to engage Mr. G. L. Scott and Dr. Hill to prepare a Supplement to the sixth edition, which was accordingly published in two additional volumes. The seventh edition, completed in 1786 in four thick folio volumes, removed the disadvantage of the double alphabets, by incorporating them into one. The editor of this edition was Dr. Abraham Rees, a gentleman every way qualified for the task he had undertaken; and who, with the assistance of Dr. Price, and other eminent men, rendered this work by far the most useful of the kind which had been published, the pride of booksellers, and an honour to the literature and science of this country. We must not omit to mention, that Mr. Chambers himself was much more than a mere compiler: he was a man of very considerable erudition, of correct taste, and of vigorous intellect. We consider the preface to his Dictionary, as one of the finest specimens of sound reasoning and comprehensive thinking, which have ever appeared in any language.
From this period, Dictionaries devoted to separate Arts and Sciences, as well as general' Dictionaries, comprizing the whole circle of Arts and Sciences, have increased very rapidly both in number and importance. Though we shall not attempt to embody the shadows of a shade, or to swell this account into a catalogue, yet we cannot forbear mentioning, the Medical Dictionaries of Motherby, Quincy, James, Turton, and the Edinburgh Dictionary; the Chemical Dictionaries of Macquer, Nicholson*, and the Aikins; the Dictionaries of Gusseme and Rasches, on Numismatology; those of Miller, Martyn, and Dickson, 'on Gardening; those of Burn, Cunningham, and Jacob, since edited by Tomlins, on Law; the Marine Dictionaries of Chapman and Falconer; the Builder's Magazine, and Felibien's Dictionary of Architecture; Jombert's Dictionnaire de l'Engenieur et de l'Artilleur, and James's Military Dictionary; Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters; Mortimer's and Postlethwaite's Dictionaries of Trade and Commerce; Rousseau's Hoyle's, and Busby's Dictionaries of Music; the Mathema, tical and Philosophical Dictionary of Dr. Hutton, and the Dictionnaire de Physique of M. Libes. The diligence exerted by the authors of these and a few other Dictionaries appro
*We shall take an early opportunity to give a more particular account of these works, which have been too long neglected.
priated to separate branches of science, and by the editors of Encyclopædias, has operated reciprocally to improve both and hence it has happened, that many both of particular and General Dictionaries, published during the last fifty years, have greatly contributed to the improvement and diffusion of human knowledge.
The labours of the continental Encyclopedists, during this period, have been too important to be omitted in this survey. Among the works of the Germans, we may specify the Universal Lexicon' of Ludwig, published in 1732-1750, in 64 volumes; the Ekonomische Encyclopädie' by Krünitz, in 1773; the Encyclopädie der Historischen, Philosophiscen, und Mathematischen Wissenschaften,' by Büsch, in 1775, and 1795; Klügel's 'Encyclopädie', in 1782 and 1784; and the Encyclopädie aller Mathematischen Wissenschaften, ihrer Geschichte und Litteratur,' by Rosenthal, in 1790. To these may be added, the Swedish Encyclopædia, published at Stockholm, by Giorwell, in 1785; and the Enciclopedia Italiana ovvero Bibliotheca universale della umane cognizioni,' published at Naples in 1788.
Our neighbours the French, also, have the Dictionnaire universel de Mathematiques et de Physique,' by M. Savérien, in 1753; the Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts, et des Metiers,' by Diderot, D'Alembert, &c. in 1751-1757; the Dictionnaire Portatif,' in 1760; the 'Dictionnaire de Physique Portatif,' in 1763; the new edition of the Encyclopedie,' by Diderot, &c. in 39 volumes, in 1778-1779; and the Encyclopedie Methodique,' by D'Alem bert, Bossut, Condorcet, Lalande, &c. which commenced in 1785, and consists of separate alphabets or dictionaries for the respective Arts and Sciences. Of the two last and most celebrated of these works, it is almost unnecessary for us to say, that their authors made them the vehicles of artful, insidious attacks upon revealed Religion, and established governments. But, alas! these generous and enlightened philanthrophists, who laboured so diligently for the perfection of the human species' by trying to persuade them that they were not superior, either in essential nature, or ultimate destiny, to dogs or sheep, were persecuted for so we are told by one of the fraternity. Diderot, it seems, hoped-" à travers une multitude inevitable d'articles insignificaus, faire passer quelques traits utiles aux progrés de la raison, qui seraient facilemente démêlés par les esprits préparés pour les saisir, et qui échapperaient aux regards de la sottise. Son espérance ne fut pas réalisée: la sottise a, pour la défense de son empire, les yeux beaucoup plus pergans qu'on ne croit, et sut prévoir le coup que la philosophie allait lui porter. La persécution commença des-lors contre les philosophes, qui reçurent le nom d'Encyclopé