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my favourite study. The way of treating the subject to good purpose, is according to Mr's plan. Montucla has made a charming book of the progrefs of the human mind, in all ages, and in all nations, in that way.-Farewell.
Mr has some literary friends here, who are to give him soon good information upon the subject, which I will let you know in due time. I have heard it observed, that the Portuguese had few authors: But in 1731 three volumes folio were printed at Lisbon, called Bibliotheca Lusitana, with only the names, and an account of the lives and works of Portuguese authors. I have the bookI now and then look into it; but I find it, with the vice of most of their works, full of epithets and bombast.-Farewell.
THERE can be no doubt but if your friend Mr would come to Lifbon, he would pick up a great deal of useful information :-It would make a good paragraph in his preface, that he went to Portugal on purpose. I fhould be very glad to see him here, and would willingly give him every afsistance in my power. You must have seen in my library, twenty volumes folio, of the Casa Real, in which are six volumes of provas of authentic old papers, quite in the way Mr
tells me he is informed Abade C
is about a work something similar to that which Mr has thought of. He has the proection of the Duc de Lafoens, with liber
ty to search the public archives. This Abade is a great friend of H. -s, I make no doubt but you must have seen him at Lisbon. I cannot say how equal he may be to the undertaking, but from your account of Mr I think he would make more of the matter, with the liberty of a British pen.
PROCEEDINGS OF TH SWEDISH ACADEMY, Instituted for the purpose of perfecting the Swedish language, It has been often remarked, that an attention to language is the surest proof of the progrefs that any state has made in civilization; yet, if we were to adopt this rule as a criterion, and to judge from the public national institutions only, Britain would seem to be among the most uncivilized nations in Europe: For, while the sovereigns of other states have instituted academies to purify and reform their respective languages, that of Great Britain has been left without any sort of protection to the caprice of individuals. This is perhaps a consequence of that spirit of freedom we possefs, and may possibly be accounted a striking feature of that national character we display in such an eminent degree in several other respects. Yet, it is to be regretted, that so few attempts fhould have been made, to perfect a language which possefses a force and energy, that, with a little attention and polish, might perhaps be made, for all the purYOL. vii.
poses of life, to equal any that ever existed. Every attempt to improve it ought, therefore, to be received with indulgence.
In this point of view, the public has been indebted to Dr Johnson for what he has done in his dictionary; and although that work frequently misleads, instead of informing the reader, yet this instead of bringing obloquy on the person who did his best to serve the public, ought only to stimulate others to correct those errors, and supply those defects which escaped him. If every individual, instead of acquiescing implicitly in these errors, would candidly do this, we might hope in time to derive great advantages from the joint attention of the republic of letters; but so long as men of abilities fhall voluntarily fhut their eyes, and discourage their inferiors from exercising the powers of their understanding on this subject, errors must continue to multiply. Much is to be expected from the labours of Mr Croft, whose promised dictionary of the English language the public has reason to expect with impatience. Yet even this dictionary, being the work of an individual only, must be deficient in many respects; and after it appears, it can only be corrected by having the general attention of men of letters turned to this subject. To forward this object, we fhall be well pleased to insert from time to time, a few speculations on language in this miscellany.
It is many years since a standard dictionary for the Italian language was published by the academia Del la Crusca. A splendid dictionary of the Spanish language has been published by the royal academy
of Madrid. The academy of Belles letters at Paris, has been long busied in polishing and perfecting the French language. A magnificent dictionary of the languages of Rufsia is now going forward, under the patronage of the emprefs. The prince of Denmark has bestowed unwearied attention, for some years past, to perfect the Norwegian language; and the following sketches, will give some idea of what is now going on in Sweden, in regard to this important subject. The German, and the English, seem to be the only two that are neglected, though it is probable that half the books published in Europe are written in these two languages.
Proceedings of the Swedish academy, &c. The Swedish academy, instituted April 5th 1786, for the cultivation of poetry and eloquence, consisting of eighteen members exclusive of the sovereign, who is its patron, and generally attends its meetings, when he happens to be in the city or its environs, was opened with the following speech, delivered by his majesty. We have, however, to premise, that all the discourses of this prince have such a force, and at the same time, such an inimitable delicacy, that he alone could give any translation that would exprefs the strength and beauty of the original. It is said that all his first sketches are written in French, and may perhaps hereafter be published in that language.
Speech of the king of Sweden.
"The welfare of my kingdom is always the chief object of my care. The glory of the Swedish
name is my highest wish. The renown of my country, spread abroad by victorious arms, while it encreased its lustre, hath often been only the cause of fresh distrefs to my countrymen. Glory of another kind remains for us to acquire,—that of learning, and the polite arts; a glory that can brave the power of time, and the hazards of war. This glory belongs to these happy moments of peace and tranquility, which give the mind leisure to yield to that ardour which animates, to that fire which remains at rest, during tempestuous times; though these have often excited it. But if the tranquility of a long peace can contribute to the happiness of a state, it is often the source of indolence which tends to barb arity. It enervates men of genius, who at other times would have enlight-ened their fellow citizens, and done honour to their country. Men are so formed, that they are animated only by being put in motion. Powerful motives are necefsary to excite them to cultivate the gifts of nature: But sometimes the sweetest calm broods stormy revolutions, unless an attentive prudence give employment to genius, and the hope of honours and celebrity, prevent them from giving way to a lethargy, equally hurtful to themselves and the state. To excite emulation in the sciences and polite literature, is the means of preserving, during peace, this fire of genius, which, by forming citizens capable of succouring it in time of trouble, may benefit the state.
"But unless the language have attained a certain degree of celebrity, the glory of those that