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Discoveries not casual...Godwin's Esay on English Style: [Jan, recommends, and which since the Greeks To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. none have executed better than the Spa- ' SIR, niards; this I conceive to be what ap. IT is a common observation, that almoft peared unpleasant to Cicero, whose ears all great discoveries bave been stumbled were accustomed to verses little more upon by chance : a multitude of instances harmonious than those of Ennius.
might easily be cited, to confirm its truth. The epistle from which an extract was Now I have, with concern, heard this printed in your Magazine, is given by fact employed, as an argument, to disthe present editor to Francisco de Rioje. courage eager scientific research : “Why I know not whether the reasons he not trust to that chance which has ftruck assigns are sufficient to ascertain the out the most valuable inventions of past author, but they certainly prove that it ages? Why withdraw from the ordinary could not have been written by Bartolome duties and pleasures of life, to busy one's Leonardo':
self in vain investigations, which are, most I have selected three forinets as cha- probably, to end in ridiculous disappoint. racteristic of these authors, the two first ment ?" are by Lupercio :
To me it occurs, that this reasoning,
which, to lazy ignorance, appe irs but too Thou art determined to be beautiful,
specious, might be silenced for ever, if it Lyris! and, Lyris, either thou art mad,
could be ascertained, that use frl inventions Or haft nu looking-glass ; dost thou not know
and discoveries have become continually more Thy paint-beplater'd forehead, broad and bare,
numerous, precisely in proportion as the geneWith not a grey lock left, thy mouth so black, ral mass of human knowledge bas been angAnd that invincible breath ? 'We rightly deem mented and diffused, and as the tbirit of That with a random hand blind Fortune deals literary and scientific curiosiy bas become The lots of life, to thee she gave a boon more impatient, and has been excited fill in That crowds so anxiously and vainly wish, a greater number of minds. But I know Old age, and left in thee no trace of youth no very promising means of a certainivg Save all its folly and its ignorance.
this, other than to intreat you to put the
question, through the channel of your Content with what I am; the founding names
Magazine, “ Whether our vseful invenOf glory tempt not me; nor is there ought
tions and discoveries have not been multiIn glittering grandeur that provokes one wish plied, in proportion as our knowledge has Beyond my peaceful' ftate. What tho’I boast been enlarged " No trapping that the multitude adores
Pray oblige me by putting this quesIn common with the great; enough for me tion. I have little doubt but your host of That naked, like the mighty of the earth, enlightened correspondents may easily I came into the world, and that like them
furnish fuch answers as fhall for ever fix I muft.descend into the grave, the house
the general truth upon this not unimportant For all appointed; for the space between, What more of happiness have I to seek
point. Than that dear woman's love, whose truth I
sir, your constant reader, know, And whose fond heart is satisfied with me?
Universiiy of Glasgow, Dec. 17, 1797.
To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. Fabius, to think that God hath in the lines
PROFESS myself a very warm admirer As in a map, the way of human lile,
of the writings of Mr. WILLIAM This is to follow with the multitude
Godwin. He has seized' fome of the Error or ignorance, their common guides; most important truths in morality, with a Yet surely I allow that God has placed lynx-eyed intuition, powerful to pierce Our fate in our own hands, or evil or good through every obfcurity, and to fingle out Even as we make it : tell me, Fabius, its object at once, however numberlčís the Ar't not a king thyself ?-when envying not myriads of others among which it may The lot of kings, no idle with difturbs
be entangled. The reader of his book's Thy quiet life; when, a self-govern’d man, No laws exist to thee; and when no change
feels,' on many occasions, as if he were With which the will of Heaven may visit thee, vigorous intuition ; and can discern the
suddenly gifted with the author's own Can break the even calmness of thy soul ?
truth of his most valuable principles, T. Y. without the toil and perplexity of reason
A FRIEND TO
On English Weights. ing. In eloquence, this writer diftin To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine, guishes himself by an irresistible energy, SIR, which he seems to derive from an enthu. THE following remarks upon our fiaftic conviction of the truth and high English weights, are submit ed to importance of the doctrines which he the consideration of your correspondent, teaches. If sparing in imagery, if rarely J. R. not under the idea of their conveysuccessful in lengthened ratiocination, he ing to him that learned and correct inis eminently excellent in sentiments, and formation which he solicits, but on the he seems to know all the genuine emotions contingency of their supplying him with and language of all the higher passions. some facts that may have escaped his own
But Mr. Godwin's erudition, and researches, and with the additional view even his power of reasoning, in cases of of contributing to the gratification of fuch very complex and tedious deduction, are of your readers as are less acquainted with very unequal to the ardent, impaffioned the subject; the great difficulty of which force of his genius. A remarkable proof will, I trust, apologize for the errors that of this appears in his Essay on English I may commit. Style. He there supposes it to be a pre It appears to have been a favourite valent opinion, maintained, in particular, object with the legislators of the middle by Johnson, and other philologists of high ages, to accomplih equality, or unity, in authority, that the English style written in weights and measures. Thus, in the the last century, and even at a time fo remote laws of the Lombards, we find, “De as in the age of Queen Elizabeth, was, in mensuris, ut secundum juffionem noftram all respects, more perfe&t than that of our equales fiant." In the capitulary of Charcontemporaries. This opinion he strives to lemagne, Unusquisque habeat @quam combat and destroy by a long induction of menfuram & æquales modios ;” and again, passages from the eminent writers of fix “ Ut æquales menfuras & rectas & pondera different periods, from the reign of Eli- jufta sequalia omnes habeant.” zabeth to the end of that of George II. Magna Charta, “ Una mensura vitis fit
Now the opinion against which he fo per totum regnum noftrum & una menlaboriously fights, never was maintained by sura cerevitiæ & una menfura bladi ; Ale any critic. JOHNSON and Lowth have ponderibus vero fit ficut de mensuris.” taught only, “that the writings of the This clause, or the substance of it, is reauthors of the last century, and of the age peated in many of our subsequent statutes ; of Elizabeth, contain an immense treasure but the numerous regulations upon this of words and phrases, sufficient to express, fubject, unequivocally prove the impoffiin speech or writien composition, even all, bility of effecting so just and laudable a or almost, all our present knowledge ; and purpose, and yet leave us quite in the that we should do more wisely, to seek our dark with respect to what had occurred to terms and phrases out of that treasure, prevent it. The obstruction may partly than continually. to debase our style by have arisen from the difficulty of obtaining words and idioms affectedly introduced a common medium; and therefore, in all from other languages, not richer than our countries, there must have been a perpe
Mr. GODWIN has certainly not tual variation, both in weights and mearefuted this opinion; and I suppose it is sures. In France, there were scarcely what will not quickly be done by any two cities to be found in which they person.
agreed. As little do his quotations and his afte The next thing to be examined, is the risks appear to me to evince the badness of origin and progrellion of the various those styles which he condemns; even his alterations that have been made in our own admirable style, and those of his most weights. eminent cotemporaries, are not much more It has been asserted, but I believe with. fecure against such minute criticism, than out any proof, that William I, upon his the styles of SHAKSPEARE, or our trans- arrival in England, changed the weights lation of the Bible; besides, the colouring of his newly-acquired dominions, and of words and phrases partakes of the introduced those of Normandy, and para changing, fugitive nature of that of Rey- ticularly the troy weight.--Although it is NOLDS's portraits. I should undertake, not impoflible that the troy weight too, to produce, from every one of the might have been known to the Normans, writers cited by Gouwin, instances of from their ancient connection with Chamcorrect and elegant writing, to confront pagne, yet this weight does not appear in his examples of incorrectness.
our statutes, as will be hereafter town, Jan. 3, 1798. H. R. until a much later period; besides, it ap
(Jan. pears, from William's own laws, that he troy nor averdupoi's are used upon this established the weights and measures of occasion. his predecessors in this kingdom, “ Et The above may serve as a flight sketch quod habeant per universum regnum of the alterations in our weights, after the mensuras fideliffimas & fignatas, & pon- conquest; let us next endeavour to throw dera fidelissima & signata ficut bonis præ- some small light upon those obscure terms, deceffores ftatuerant.”—Leg. 57. de men. troy and averdupois. furis & ponderibus. I am aware that I should scarcely have troubled the his Latin laws are not without impura- reader with the following opinion, relating tion of forgery, and that, consequently, to the origin of troy weight, were it not little or no stress can be laid upon this for the purpose of confuting it. The quotation. His pennies are also found laws of Edivard the Confeffor mention, to have been of the same standard as those that the court of Hulings, in the city of of his Saxon predecessors, another argu- London, had been built after the manner, ment that he did not change, at least, the ard in memory of, the city of Troy, money weight of the kingdom; and it is thereby adopting the fabulous account of very probable, as we shall perceive in the the foundation of London by the Trocourse of even this flight investigation, jans. To support this comparison, that there was no other at this time. Strype, in his edition of Stowe's Survey
In the assize of measures of Richard I, of * London, affumes, that the troy weight the pound and other weights are directed was called, in the time of the Saxons, the to be of the fame quantity, or specific Hustings weight. He shows authority, gravity, throughout the kingdom, accord- indeed, for ihe existence of Huftings ing to the divertity of merchandise. Here weight; but, to have proved his point, we perceive, and I believe for the first he should have shown that Huftings time, a variety in the standard weights weight was also called troy weight. of the land.
The more common opinion is, that the In the “ Compositio de Ponderibus," troy weight was imported with the Northe date of which does not appear, though mans; but this is improbable, for the folit is probably before Edward III, the lowing reasons: 1. That William, as has pound, for spices and drugs, was to con been already shown, did not change the tain twenty thillings, and for all other weights of the kingdom; 2. That, in the commodities twenty-five Thillings. The flat. Panis, 5 Hen. III, the weights are pound also for drugs was to contain not described in troy, but money weights, twelve ounces; and the ounce was, at all and the same in the stat. si Edw. I; times, to contain twenty pence: thus we That the pound troy is not mentioned see there were, at this time, two pounds; in the statute-bonk, nor elsewhere, that I the one of twelve ounces, the other of can find, until the 2d Hen. V, c. 4, in the fifteen: the latter is called the merchants' statute of Westminster, relating to goldpound, in Fleta, written about this time smiths. in which the compositio de ponderibus was As a fandard weight, it occurs, I believe made. The author also speaks of the pound for the first time, in 12 Hen. VII, c. 5. ef twelve ounces, as making twenty Thil. The non-existence, as far as I have been lings, and of the ounce of twenty pence. able to trace, of a troy pound, seems 10
I shall here take occasion to observe, prove that this weight could never have that our oldest pound would naturally be been used for heavy articles of any kind, of twelve ounces, like the Roman libra; nor was it used as a money weight, until and this is proved from the word inch, the reign of Henry VIII. which is the same as ounce, i. e. the As to the origin of the term, there are twelfth part of any thing. Agricola, in a different opinions. The more common treatise “ de Ponderibus & Mensuris," is one is, that it came frorn Troyes, in Chamfaid to describe two different pounds, the pagne. Du Cange says, that troy weight one of twelve, the other of fixteen was used, not only in France, but in Ger-. ounces; the first of these he calls libra
many, England, Spain, Flanders, and other medica, the other libra civilis ; but, as I parts of Europe, and that this arose from have not seen his work, it reniains to be the celebrity of the fair at Troyest. ascertained, of what antiquity are these Bishop Hooper, however, objects, with weights, and where made use of ?
In the star. Westm. 31 Edw. III, C. 2, * Survey of London, Vol. II, p. 466, mention is made of “ weights of Exche. Edit. 1755. quer standard;” but neither the terms † Gloflar, v. Marça.
15 great reason, to this opinion, from having c. 3, where it is called lawful weight, but noticed that, in a document given by Du was certainly known long before, for Cange, a fpecific difference is made be- Strype, in his edition of stowe's tiveen the mark of England and that of Survey, Vol. II, p. 344, gives an extract Troyes; and, finding a coincidence be- from the records of the city of London, tween the English ounce, and that used 6 Ed. II, in which it is mentioned. I think by the moneyers and apothecaries in it is more probable that the weight was de. Égypt, conje&tures that troy weight nominated from the merchandise, than the might have been so denominated, from the latter from the weight, notwithstanding Arabian word, Taraw, which signifies Cowel infers the contrary. spices*. Had he recollected there was a By stat. 27 Edw. III, ftat. 2, c. 10, it city of Troy, in Egypt, he might have is directed, that all averdupois commodigove farther; but in neither cafe does the ties be fold by one method of weighing, opinion seem deserving of much attention. that is, by even balance, without inclinaThe bishop adds, that Sir Henry SPEL- tion of the scales to either fide, as appears MAN appears to have thought that our to have been sometimes fraudulently practroy weight was not borrowed froin the tised. A fimilar ordinance had been city of Troyes, from his styling it libra already made, in the reign of Edw. I, Trojana (and Troja pond's) and not notwithstanding a remonftrance on the Trecenfis; but SPELMAN, aware, perhaps, part of the mayor and theriffs of London, of the difficulty, dues not enter into the that a contrary practice had immemorially subject, though he describes 'many other prevailed, with respect to averdupois forts of pounds.
goods, as appears from the plea books of With respect to averdupois' weight, it Edward I & II, cited by Cowel v. Pondus, will be necessary to examine, in the first Regis. I would here remark that, in my instance, its etymology. It is, as to this humble judgment, Cowel, or his editor, kingdom, undoubtedly a Norinan-French has misconceived the meaning of the exword, and implies cither babere pondus, tract from the plea books, and that the or babere debitum fondus, avoir du poids: term pondus regis meant nothing more should the latter appcar too fanciful, let it than the royal, or authorised weight, as to be remembered, that the idiom of the averdupois goods, and not a different, ner French language would now require, in troy weight. the former ioftance, avoir le poids, though In the reign of Elizabeth, our weights it is impoílible to criticise, with any de- were, at length, regulated by the presentgree of certainty, upon the old French. ment of a jury, which, for troy weight, The older word is fimply averium, or adopted a liandard ar Goldsmiths' Hall, averia, which, from innumerable instances, « of ancient use," and for averdupois appears to have denoted all kinds of " an ancient standard of 361b. remaining moveable property. Du Canga derives it in the Exchequer since the time of king from the French avoir, but I thould rather Edward III, and then in use.” This suppose it a barbarous term from babere, presentment was afterwards allowed by the common parent.
In the « Liber the queen and her council, and a proConsuerudinum Imperii Romaniæ,” which clamation issued for the making of weights was composed in the thirteenth century, agreeable thereto, and for distributing and exhibits a most curious fpecimen of them throughout the kingdom, in the the Italian language of that period, I find places mentioned in stat. Hen. VII*. the word avoieria used for land; and the Patterns of the above weights were term, variously disguised, was probably deposited in the Exchequer, where the indicative of property of all kinds : it was averdupois weight of fourteen pounds is also used in the old Spanish language. marked with a crowned E, and inscribed SPELMAN's derivation from ouvre scarcely XIII POVNDE AVERDEPOIZ ELIZAdeserves notice.
REGINA, 15824. The troy Averdupois occurs in our statutes, in the weights, marked also with a crowned E, sense of heavy merchandise in general, are ounces from 256 oz. to the fixteenth and I believe, for the first time, in the part of an ounce. There being no pounds stat. York, 9 Edw. III, and frequently troy, seems a proof that that weight was afterwards. As a weight, it does not never designed for heavy articles. Other appear in the statutes, until 24 Hen. VIII, weights in the Exchequer are dated 1601.
* Hooper's Enquiry into the Statw of the * Strype's Stowe, II, 345. Ancient Measures, pages 435, 437.
f Philof, Transact. No. 470.
[Jan. A complete set of troy and averdupois ing proof of the general circulation and weights, dated 1588, were delivered to utility of your most valuable Magazinc, the churchwardens of the parish of St. and, at the same time, of the importante Margaret, Westminster, pursuant to the of what has already appeared in it reproclamation of that year, and were seen, specting Book Societies. December 1749, in fine preservation, in Every candid liberal person among the veftry-room of that church, where your readers must join in wishing this they probably still remain. These are gentleman and his public-spirited friends imagined to be the most perfect models of all possible success. Their good sense those ftandards that are extant*.
will of course suggest the propriety of In the year 1696, an experiment was obtaining copies of the rules of as many made at the Exchequer, to ascertain the other Reading Societies as they can meet proportion between the troy and aver- with, in order to select the best from dupois standards, when 15lbs. of the lat. each, and to form a perfect whole. Perter were found equal to 18lbs. 2 ozs. mit me in this view refpeerfully to lug15 dwts. troy, which fixes the pound gest to them, the careful perusal of your averdupois, at 7000 grs. troy, and the correspondent Mercator's letter, vol. iv.p. troy pound at 5760; and upon three 264.–The evil he complains of is indeed feveral trials made by the gentlemen of real, increasing, and therefore should be the council of the Royal Society, at the carefully guarded against. Perhaps the fame place, upon a medium, the pound following easy plan would be effectual for averdupois, was found equal to 7000.25 this purpose :-Let the committee be grains troy. Bishop Hooper says, the changed every three months; and let the pound averdupois, is to the troy as 175 to
new one be composed of such members 144, and is equal to 7000 grains troy; but as shall be drawn by the librarian out of its ounce, which is the fixteenth part of it, an urn, containing the names of all the is equal to 437.5 such grains, whereof the society except the last committee. By ounce troy is 480+.
this means all underhand combinations, Wine measure has generally been con- clerical bigotry, or party spirit, will be fidered as equal to troy weight; and the prevented as much as pollible ; each ale gallon is said to bear the same propor- member will have the opportunity of tion to the wine gallon, as the averdupois gratifying his own tafte, subject to proper pound does to the troy.
regulations, in the choice of books, and There is another pound weight which free discussion, so effential to the spread of may deserve some notice before we quit the literary knowledge, be greatly promoted. subject, and that is, the lower, or money
Perhaps too, it would be useful if at ers' pound. Mr. FOLKES thinks that certain fixed periods, suppose every fix this was the pound in common use before years, the books in the library were to the Conquest'; to which I teg leave to add, be inspected by the whole society at their that it may be the Huftings weight al- annual meetings, and such of them as ready mentioned. The tower weights were rejected by the vote or ballot of continued to be used there until Henry three-fourths of the members wbo bave VIII, by an order of council only; and, previously perufed such books, were sold, and without the sanction of parliament, esta- the money arising from the sale of them blitied the troy weight in its stead, and applied to the purchase of new books. ordained that the other should be no
In the hafty, unpremeditated manner in more used.
It was found, upon this which great numbers of books are inoccasion, that the gravity of twelve troduced into such libraries as these in ounces, or the tower pound, was in pro- question, there must, of course, be many portion to twelve ounces troy, as 5400 to
which are of but little value in the esti. to 5760, 'or as 150 to 169.
mation of the majority of the fubscribers, I am, fir, &c.
and which disappoint the expectation D. even of the proposer himself. Now, in
such cases, there seems to be a great imTo ibe Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
propriety, as well as loss, in permitting
books of this, defcription to remain as SIK,
of the stock of the subscribers, seeing THE subject of
your respondent's letter, p, 344, is a pleaf- they are in reality no better than mere
useless lumber. The only case which is * Maitland's History of London, and private against the effects of bigotry and party
rcquifite on such occasions, is to guard MS. memorand. of Hooper's Enquiry, p. 10.
spirit; for which purpose à very little 4
Dec. 21, 1797.