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The Lark) language, long the vehicle usetf indistributmg knowledge' among the different nationsof Europe* Js daily more and more neglected; ami one of the modem tongues,' viz. French, seems, in point of universuliiyy 'to have supplied its place. It is spoken in all the courts "tif Europe; and most of tht literati, even those who do tj»bt speak it, have acquired knowledge of it, to enable 'them easily to read the books that are written in it. 'This gives a considerable advantage to that nation. It enables its authors to inculcate and spread through 'other nations, such sentiments and opinions, on important points, as are most conducive to its interests, or 'which may contribute to its reputation, by promoting the common interests of mankind. It is, perhaps, owing to its being written in French, that Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration has had so sudden and so great ah effect on the bigotry of Europe, as almost entirely to disarm it. The general use of the French language "hi\s likewise a very advantageous, effect on the profits ©f the bookselling branch of commerce, it being well "known, that the more copies can be «'old that are struck off from one composition of types, the profits increase^ "in a much greater proportion than they do in making a greater number of pieces in any other kind of manufacture. And at present there is no capital town in. Europe without a French book-sellet's shop corresjponding with Paris. Our English bids fair to obtain the second place. The great body of excellent printed Sermons in our language, and the freedom of our wri-. tings on political subjects, have induced a great number of divines of different sects and nations, as well as gentlemen concerned in public affairs, to study it, so far at least as to read it. And if we were to endeavor the facilitating its progress, the study of our tongue, might become much more general, Thosei who have employed some part of their time in learning a new language, must have ftequently observed, that while their acquaintance with it was imperfect, difficulties, smaU in themselve,s> operated as great Ones in obstructing
their progress. A book, for example, ill printed, or a" pronunciation in speaking not well articulated, would render a sentence unintelligible, which from a. clear print, or a distinct speaker, would have been immediately comprehended. If, thereforer we waukl__ have the benefit of seeing our language more ggnerail}*. known among mankind, we should endeavor to remoy* all the difficulties, however small, that discourage the learning of it. But 1 am sorry to observe,.that of late years, those difficulties, instead of being diminished, have been augmented.
In examining the English books that were printed between the restoration and the accession of George the Second, we may observe, that all substantives were begun with a capital, in which we imitated our motli9ir tongue, the German. This was more particular!/ useful to those who were not well acquainted with the English, there being such a prodigious number of our words that are both verbs arid. stibsrantivea,. and spelt in the same manner, though often accented differently in pronunciation. This method has, by the fancy of printers, of late years, been entirely laid aside i from an idea, that suppressing the capitals.shews the character to greater advantage; those letters,. prominent a> bove the line, disturbing its even, regular appearance. The effect of. this change is so considerable, that & learned man in France, who used to read our books, though not perfectly acquainted* with our language, in, conversation. with me on.the subject of our authois^.at-' tributed the greater obscurity he found in our modern books, compared with those written in the period. abov* mentioned, to change of style for the worse in ou,r writers; of which mistake I convinced him, by rrwn"kinjr for him each substantive with a capital, in a. paragraph,. which he then easily understood, though before he. could not comprehend it. This shews the inconvenience of that pretended improvement.
From the same fondness for an uniform and even •ppearanc* of characters in the line, the printers.have JR 3
.. of late banished also the Italic types, in which words of' imnortance to be attended to in the sense of the sentence* and words on which an emphasis should be put in reading, used to be printed. And lately another fancy has induced other printers to use the round « instead of the long one, which formerly served well to. distinguish a word readily by its varied appearance. .Certainly the omitting this prominent letter makes.a line appear more even, but renders it less immediately .legible; as the parins? of all men's noses might smooth and level their faces, but would render their physiognomies less distinguishable. Add to all these improvements backwards, another modern fancy, that grey •printing is more beautiful than black. Hence the t.ng".|ish new books are printed in so dim a character, as to 4>e read with difficulty by old eyes, unless in a very. strong light and with good glasses.. Whoever compares a volume of the Gentleman's Magazine, printed, between the years 1731 and 1740, with one of those printed in the last ten years, will be convinced of the much greater degree of perspicuity given by the black than by the grey. Lord Chesterfield pleasantly remarked this difference to Faulkener, the printer of the Dublin Journal, who was vainly making encomiums on. Jiis own paper, as the most complete of any in the nvcrld. "But Mr. Faulkener," says my lord, "don't , you think it might be still farther improved, by using paper and ink not quite so near of a colour.'—For all these reasons, I cannot but wish that our America*) pointers would, in their editions, avoid these fancied improvements, and thereby render their works more agreeable to foreigners in Europe, to the great advaaJftge of our bookselling commerce.
Farther, to be more sensible of the advantage ofcleai jand distinct printing, let us consider the assistance it #floi ds in reading well .aloud to an auditory. In so doing the eye generally slides forward three or four words. before the voice. If the sight clearly distinguishes VUkU the coming wgi.us are, it gives time to order the modulation of the voice, to express them properly. But if they are obscurely printed, or disguised by omitting the capitals and long fs, or otherwise, the reader is apt to modulate wrong, and finding he has done so, he is obliged to go back and begin the sentence again; which lessens the pleasure of the hearers. Tlits leads me to mention an old error in our mode of printing. We are sensible that when a question is met with in the reading, there is a proper variation to. be used in the management of the voice. We have. therefore, a point,called an interrogation, affixed to the, question, in order to distinguish it. But this is absurdly placed at its end, so. that the reader does not discover it till he finds that he has wrongly modulated his voice, and is therefore obliged to begin again the sentence. To prtvent this, the Spanish printers, more sensibly, place an interrogation at the beginning as well as at the end of the question. We have another error of the same kind in printing plays, where something ofted occurs that js marked as spoken aside. But the 'word aside is placed at the end of the speech, when it ©ught to precede it, as a direction to the reader, that he may govern his voice accordingly. The practice of. our ladies"in meeting five or six together to form little busy parties, where each is employed in some "useful 'work, while one reads to them, is so commendable in itself, that it deserves the attention of authors and priuters'to make it as pleasing as possible, both to the readers and hearers.
My best wishes attend you, being, with sincere.ev. tceui, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,.
An account of the highest court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz.
THE COUHT OF THE PBESS..
Power of this Court.
It way receive and promulgate accusations of all" kinds, against all persons and characters among the citizens of the state, and eYcn againstall inferior courts; and may judge, sentence, and condemn to infamy, not— only private individuals, but public bodies, &c. with or without enquiry or hearing, at the court's discretion.
Whose favor, or fir whose emolument this Court is established.
In favor of about one citizen in five hundred, who, by education, or practice in scribbling, has acquired a tolerable style as to grammar and construction, so as to bear printing; or who is possessed of a press and a few types. This five hundredth part of the citizens have the privilege of ad.using and abusing the other four hundred and ninety-nine parts at their pleasure ; or they may hire out thtir pens and press to others, for that purpose.
Practice of Cthisourt.
It is not governed by any of the rules of the common courts of law. The accused is allowed no grand jury to judge of the truth of the accusation before it is publicly made ; nor is the name of the accuser made known to him ; nor has he an opportunity of confronting the witnesses against him, for they are kept in the dark, as in the Spanish court of inquisition. .Nor is there any petty jury of his peers sworn to try the truth of the charges. The proceedings are also sometimes so rapid, that an honest good citizen may find himself suddenly and unexpectedly accused, and in the same morning judged and condemned, and sentence pronounced against him that he is a rogue and a.villajftt**