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have extended much farther, than to promote and extend literary intercourse among different nations.”-STEWART On the Mind, vol. 1. chap. 4, sec. 4.
Mr. Davies asserts that a philosophical language, or a language of thought, cannot be constructed, until simple ideas are first discovered. “But the question is," he observes,” what aid can we have to discover those simple ideas." Then he proceeds to show that the ancient languages, now existing, and he instances the Welsh,) though they have suffered much from time, yet are capable of being restored, and they would be proper media for discovering and communicating simple ideas, and so of laying the foundation of perfect knowledge.
The following character of the language of China, leads one to conclude that the Chinese are in possession of that very philosophical language which the subject of this sketch asserted might be obtained by restoring the ancient British. “It appears that the theory of a universal medium for the communication of ideas, as conceived by Bishop Wilkins, has been realized by the Chinese. While the letters of our (the English) alphabet are mere syinbols of sounds, the Chinese characters or written words are symbols of ideas, and alike intelligible to the people of Cochin-China, Japan, Loo-choo, and Corea, with those of China itself. As the best practical illustration of a written character, common to several nations who cannot understand each other's speech, Mr. Davis ” (not the Editor of the “Chronicle and Observer,) adduces the Arabic numerals common to all Europe. An Englishman, who could not understand what an Italian meant if he said venti-due, would comprehend him immediately if he wrote down 22. This advantage, which belongs to our numerals only, pertains to the whole language of the Chinese. Its roots or original characters are only 214 in number, and might indeed be reduced to a much smaller amount by a little dissection and analysis. These are combined with each other to form other words, or express other ideas, very much in the same way that the individual Arabic numerals are combined to express the infinite varieties of numbers. By a species of analogy they may be called the alphabet of the language; with the difference that exists between an alphabet of ideas, and an alphabet of sounds.”—Penny Cyclo. Art. China.
The Chronicle and Observer' continued to circulate only for nine months. Sufficient encouragement not being given, it was discontinued, and Mr. Davies suffered by it a loss of more than a hundred pounds. With the failure of his periodical the whole of Mr. Davies's plans, for improving Welsh literature, were dropped. The disappointment was most bitter to his generous mind, and affected, in no small degree, the state of his health. Soon after the failure of the ‘ Chronicle,' a beloved child of his died, which increased the virulence of his complaint so much, that consumption ensued, and he died in the year 1831. Having entered into the arcana of Nature, and made himself acquainted with her mysteries, which he intended to have brought to public view, she closed the door upon him, and consigned him prematurely to one of her dark chambers. His physiognomy bore a striking resemblance to that of Dr. Thomas Brown of Edinburgh, if the portrait of the latter, prefixed to his philosophical lectures, be a faithful representation.
In each of the learned professions, Wales has persons of respectable standing, though not many very eminent. Of the department of divinity I have already given a description, but something more is required, on the general character of public speaking, as it is in so much requisition in this country. Wales may emphatically be designated, The land of poets and preachers ! In no country upon earth, of the same extent and number of inhabitants, are so many to be found. The Welsh language, most undoubtedly, is favourable to the cultivation of poetry and the practice of extempore speaking. But not being professedly cultivated, it is frequently used in a manner which
transgresses the rules of propriety. The qualifications of most of the preachers, who are encouraged to exercise their abilities among the Dissenters, are, that they distinguish themselves, among their brethren, for their common sense, acquaintance with the Scriptures, and their aptness to teach. And though a large portion of them follow some secular employment, yet as they are not statedly fixed with a congregation, but change their scene of labour, they are well able to prepare the sermons that are required. And this habit of moving, and using the same discourse, very remarkably improves their style of preaching, and promotes expansion of thought and fluency of speech. It is to be regretted, however, that there is so much, of an objectionable character, delivered from their pulpits. Some of the preachers are boisterous, and many are very low, both in their language and illustrations. Wit and humour are very agreeable to the general taste, and it not unfrequently happens that by their use, whole congregations are thrown into convulsions of laughter. The apology for this is, that the Meeting-house must be made attractive, in order to draw the subjects of Satan from his service; so that, by the amusements afforded by religious teachers, the Prince of darkness is to be spared the trouble of providing entertainment for the people. But I cannot discover that there is
any connexion between amusement and conversion to God. If we make religion a subject of amusement, &c, the process of spiritual improvement will, at least, be suspended, if actual deterioration do not take place.
On the other hand, it is surprising what a quantity of useful matter, well expressed, and most effectually delivered, is frequently to be heard, from men who have had no advantages of education. Many of them are mighty in the Scriptures. The Bible, and a few books that illustrate its contents, constitute their library; and with what they learn in these, they feed the unlearned peasantry of Wales with as much knowledge as their minds can retain.
The Clergy, who are almost the only liberally educated men in Wales, generally defer the cultivation of the Welsh language until they are about to engage in the ministry; and when they commence, having a dread of inaccuracy or impropriety, they, for the most part, deliver written discourses. In the northern division of the principality this has been particularly the case, for extempore speaking has, till of late, been regarded here as a disqualification ; but in the South there has been, for a long period, a succession of Clergymen who have excelled as preachers of the Gospel. The late excellent Bishop Burgess gave a strong impulse to such a practice, by encouraging men of popular talents, and preferring them to important stations. The consequence is that a large number of the Churches there, even in country parishes, have at the present time, from two to five hundred communicants !
I shall close this article by giving a brief sketch of two Clergymen, of the first order of talents as preachers, whose ministry produced the most extraordinary effect on their parishioners, as well as on the population of a wide extent of country around. The first that shall be noticed is the Reverend William Grey Hughes, late Vicar of Mathry in the county of Pembroke. This extraordinary man was born at Sychpant, in the parish of Nantcwnlle in the county of Cardigan, and educated at the old and justly celebrated Grammar School of Lampeter, in the same county, under that distinguished master the late Eliezer Williams. It was remarked that Mr. Hughes, whilst at School, displayed very little taste for languages, and no great aptness for learning. His class-fellows considered him rather dull than otherwise; but he was always consistent, affable, and inoffensive. He was generally inclined to be grave,
decided proofs of sound piety, but he held out no promise of future eminence except that he carried with him his Bible, or some book on theology, as a constant companion. He was ordained, I
believe, in the year 1815 to the parish Church of Newport, a small town on the western coast of Pembrokeshire. The congregation at that Church, previous to his appointment as Curate, averaged about a score, but he had not been three months in the place before he gave a powerful impulse to the religious feelings of the inhabitants, and drew crowded audiences to his Church. He commenced his ministry on a plan from which he never subsequently departed. He bestowed all the time he could afford on the preparation of his sermons, and carried with him to the pulpit, short notes, containing only the heads and divisions of his subject, with all the scriptural references marked, to relieve his memory. Excepting the previous preparation, his mode of preaching was in every respect extempore. The ability which he displayed in the critical examination of the phraseology of his text, in the laying open of its hidden treasures, in the luminous arrangement of his matter, and in the comprehensive view which he took of every subject, combined with free utterance and very energetic delivery, rendered him a preacher of no ordinary character. He rose to the highest pitch of popularity before the time had arrived for him to apply for Priest orders.—To the rich and to the poor, to the learned and to the unlearned, he was equally acceptable. He never, for the sake of captivating the poor, descended to any vulgarities of manner or speech, so as to offend the taste of the educated and the feelings of the refined; nor did he, for the purpose of securing the admiration of the latter, soar in scholastic argument or language, above the comprehension of the former. He steered a middle course, and trod the old beaten path of sound doctrine, avoiding eccentricity on the one hand, and startling innovation on the other. He was earnest at all times but seldom vehement. His sermons were calculated to inspire his audience with awe rather than joy-his appearance, as well as the tone of his ministry, was altogether in favour of the former impression. On many occasions, especially when