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known during the last century, under the name of Perspective, was crude and imperfect; indeed, there was no treatise, in which its elements had been intelligibly discussed. On beginning to fill up the details of the extensive geodetic operations in France, it was discovered that the old and arbii rary modes of delineation were not only uncertain but erroneous, and it became necessary to return to first principles; to create a new science, by which all the configurations of solids could be accurately projected; and by which, in its application to Topography, a map became a picture; presenting, at a single glance, either to the military or civil engineer, the plains, the elevations, the streams among which he was to operate ; as well as the other accidents which had at first been more peculiarly the province of Topography, namely, the roads, towns, forts, woods, and farms. So perfect has this science of Topography now become that, on a scale of toooo, the character of the crops of the cultivated part of a region are intelligibly designated.
It has been in this light, and for such purposes, that the governments of Europe, have encouraged, munificently, similar works. France has not only been covered with a net-work of triangles, but her parallel of Brest, has been carried eastward and connected with the Russian surveys, now in charge of Professor Tralles. The kingdom of Hanover had been triangulated about twenty years since by Gauss, it being during the progress of this survey, that this distinguished mathematician invented the Heliotrope. The triangulation of Switzerland had been commenced, and part of it (we believe the Canton of Berne) finished by Professor Hassler previous to his leaving that country, in consequence of the revolutionary troubles. It has, we believe, been continued by Professor Tralles. Professor Struve has now charge of the geodetic survey of Russia. The Eastern coast of Spain has been triangulated by Biot and Arago. — The trigonometrical survey of England, under the supervision of the board of ordnance, has been completed, and that of Ireland commenced. — By a joint commission of both the English and French academies, the meridians of Greenland and Paris have been connected. The English East India Company, with a laudable spirit, have, for the last twenty years, been carrying on similar operations over a large portion of their territories. The French have, during the last year, given to the public a geodetic survey of the Morea; and nearly the whole surface of Europe and Asia is already covered with geodetic determinations, accurately and uniformly made. The distinguished atronomer Bessel has been some time employed in combining all these results, and deducing from them an accurate determination of the elements of the terrestrial spheroid : and has, in the course of the present year, communicated 10 his correspondent in this country the proximate results of the investigation.
Such being the state of Geodesy in the old world, and such being its uses and effects upon science and the arts, it cannot be supposed that any consideration of salse economy will again influence an administration in this country to look upon it otherwise than with favor. It is not by its immediate use, that we can most justly appreciate it, but by those more remote, though not less certain advantages, which have by similar means been produced elsewhere. It is to serve the country, by practising the young officers of the army and navy in operations requiring an intimate knowledge of the higher branches of the exact sciences; by contributing to the formation of a school of native artists, who may presently be able to furnish the requisite instruments of our own manufacture; and by bringing together into competition and acquaintance, the artists and scientific men of the country, thus forming a school of the highest and most useful talent in it. By such considerations it should be estimated both by the people and the government ; for by such results it will be doubtless attended, should the patronage of the government be continued to it on a scale commensurate with the importance and dignity of the object.
Art. IV. – Moore's Lectures on the Greek Language and
Literature. Lectures on the Greek Language and Literature. By N. F. MOORE, LL. D. Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages in Columbia College. 12mo. New York. 1835. PROFESSOR MOORE has long been known as an able and zealous teacher of the classics. From the academical lectureroom the reputation of his learning has noiselessly gone abroad, and he is now justly placed among the most distinguished American scholars. In 1834, he published an unpretending volume on the mineralogy of the Ancients, which is a model
of thorough research, clear arrangement, and elegant style. The student of antiquity will find in it all that has been said on the subject of which it treats.
Mr. Moore's next effort in the line of authorship was the volume of lectures, the title of which is placed at the head of this article. The subjects handled in these lectures may naturally be expected to excite a livelier curiosity in most readers, than the learned investigations in the work above alluded to. The principles which lie at the foundation of European literature, and the works in which those principles were first embodied, must be attractive topics of study and discussion, so long as the present civilization of Europe exists. The attempts of radical reformers in education to overthrow the system of classical learning, will have no important influence on the general estimation in which the classics are held. Do what they will, the first venerable teachers of wisdom and masters of
stand at the cradle of the intellectual culture of Europe. Do what they will, the ever busy mind of man will be curious to trace the course of human thought up to its fountain head; and if be finds there pure and sparkling waters, fresh from the living springs of Nature, he will slake the thirst of his spirit, in spite of the utilitarian enticements of the radical reformer, charm he never so wisely.
Mr. Moore's book contains six lectures, a part, as he tells us in his preface, of a short course delivered in Columbia college. In all of them he shews an intimate knowledge of his subject. His method is clear, bis style simple and polished, rising sometimes into beauty and elegance. Occasionally it is rather stiff, and betrays a want of the easy flow of a practised writer. But it has the inerit of being free from all the barbarisms and exaggerations, the new-fangled phraseology and hot-bed intensity, by which the writings of this age are disagreeably distinguished from those of every other. The book indicates a love of ancient learning, not springing from mere sentiment, not spoiled by affectation, a thing not wholly unknown in these times, but grown up from, and flourished by profound meditation, and interwoven with all the intellectual habits of the author. It is a love of genuine classical learning of the old sort, won by hard study, in the spirit of the precept so well expressed by the Roman poet,
“ Vos exemplaria Græca
But these lectures are too rapid and comprehensive to allow the introduction of much new matter, or any very deep criticisin. Their merit consists in clearly grouping together the most striking facts, in the bistory of Greek literature, in the history and powers of the Greek language, and the character of that language in its present condition. We could have wished the Professor bad gone more deeply into the spirit and tendency of ancient Greek Literature and art, and the influence they have exercised on the whole course of European thought. These are themes, which have indeed been often dealt with more or less profoundly, but are as yet very far from being exhausted. They open a field of inquiry of great and varied beauty, many parts of which are yet to be explored.
The first lecture contains a statement of the argument in defence of classical, particularly of Grecian learning. After some very just remarks on the mutual dependence of science and letters, the author proceeds to shew that classical studies are important, because the language of science is borrowed from Greece and Rome, and because a knowledge of the classical languages opens a way to rich sources of information in regard to the arts understood by the ancients. In the next place the Greeks were acute observers when they devoted themselves to Natural Science, and excelled in the collection and arrangement of facts. In these respects, Aristotle still ranks with the ablest philosophers in the world. A language, therefore, which contains such invaluable treasures as the writings of that great man on Natural History, can bardly receive too much atten tion even from men of science.
As literature deals more particularly with the taste and sensibilities of man, the effects of literary pursuits, being more strictly confined to the mind, are less obvious, and their claims less likely to be appreciated. But in proportion as the intellectual nature and moral sensibilities of man are more important than mere scientific attainments, in the same proportion those studies, connected with this nature and these sensibilities, ought to be held in higher estimation. Mr. Moore answers the objection to the study of the ancient languages, drawn from the great amount of time necessary to be spent in their acquisition, by shewing, that the study of language is particularly suited to the unfolding of the mental powers. From this part of the discussion we extract the following remarks.
“ When the education of a youth is, according to the common
estimate, complete, how little, how very little does he know, in comparison with what may yet be learned! The whole amount of his knowledge is as nothing, in comparison with the extent to which he still continues ignorant. The chief value of his education, therefore, must consist in the cultivation it bestows upon his mind. The worth of youthful studies must be rated, less by the importance of the subjects on which they are employed, than by their adaptation to their great end; which is, to strengthen the intellectual powers ; and train up the mind to activity and vigor, by sound discipline, and well ordered exercise. Hence the propriety of conducting through the same preparatory course of study those intended for different pursuits in life. And hence, too, may be derived a sufficient answer to an objection often urged; that the studies in question have no relation to the intended callings of many who pursue them. For, however paradoxical the assertion may appear, yet experience will approve it to be true, that a youth, who has pursued with diligence the study of the ancient languages, though he shall, upon going forth into the world, and engaging in the active duties of life, throw aside his books, never to open them again, is so far from having wasted the hours spent upon them, that he could not have employed the same portion of time with equal advantage in any other way.
But if the mere study of a language be in this point of view important, the actual possession of it will appear no less so, when we consider, how much an acquaintance with one, facilitates the acquisition of a second, and a third ; what essential aid a knowledge of the ancient affords to the student of modern tongues, as respects the utility of which there is no dispute; and that it is difficult, if indeed it be possible to know well even our own language, otherwise than through the medium of the Latin and Greek. But, not to dwell on these, and other like arguments ; is it not enough, that Greek lays open to us, and renders accessible, the richest treasures of human wisdom; the fairest creations of the mind of man? Can we need a more persuasive motive to the study of a language than that it contains the most perfect models of poetry, of history, of eloquence ? That it is the language in which Homer sang; in which Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon record events they were actors in, or describe scenes they saw ? In which Demosthenes roused or allayed at will the passions of his hearers ? Can we be indifferent, lastly, to that language, in which are contained the sacred scriptures of the New Testament, and the most ancient and venerable version of the Old ?” 17 — 19.
The following passage contains some observations, which strike us as«particularly seasonable and just. VOL. XLII. - NO. 90.