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those who have directed their attention to philological pursuits, would unite themselves into a society similar to the French academy, the labours and opinions of many might be combined, to give solidity, consistency, and authority to the whole. In this case I should recommend that one, or two at most, should be the principal labourers, that the rest should be contributors, revisers, or correctors; that certain proportions when prepared, should, at stated periods, be reyised by the society once, twice, or oftener, as might be found necessary, and that nothing should be admitted for publication, unsanctioned by a majority of the members.

As this is, however, but a general proposition, I have only to add, that as soon as I have published the third part of the Preceptor and his Pupils, which will be a preparatory work on the force and signification of the English words, for the use of schools, I intend to offer a specimen of what I conceive to be a proper analysis of words for the purpose of a dictionary, and should my views meet the public approbation, I shall then willingly submit the result of my labours to the decision of such a literary tribunal.

Yours, &c.

GEORGE CRABB, Walworth, Sept. 9, 1808.

FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

AMERICAN ETYMOLOGIES,

The proper names of places, rivers, mountains, lakes, &c. in the United States are derived from various languages, some of European, some of American origin. To trace them to their respective sources may be interesting hereafter in an historical point of view, particularly as many of them liave already suffered corruptions and altera. tions, by means whereof it is probable that the original names and their several derivations will in process of time be forgotten, or at least rendered dubious. The attention, therefore, of the learned, should be drawn early to this interesting subject, and they should be invited to fix and ascertain as many of our local etymologies as possible for the instruction of our posterity. With this view, I shall state my own ideas concerning a few of them, in hopes that the subject will be taken

up hereafter by some person of greater ability and more leisure. Hell Gate or Hurl Gate, a channel or passage at the entrance of the port of New-York. This passage was called by the Dutch, who first settled the province of New-York, then called the New Nether

lands, Hel Gut, which in the low Dutch language means ihe clear channel. It is easy to perceive how the English, who came after them, corrupted it into Hell Gate, and afterwards (to avoid a fancied prophaneness) into Hurl Gate.

The Ilallabout, a place near Brooklyn on Long Island. This was called in the Dutch language De Wal-bogt, which means a bend, or quinding of the shore. It has been corrupted into Wallabout, which has no kind of meaning.

Christiana, or (as it is vulgarly called) Christcen, in the State of Delaware, was originally called and ought still to be denominated Christina, after the celebrated Queen of that name.

Schuylkill, a river of Pennsylvania; is derived from the low Dutch Schuylen, to hide or skulk, or to take refuge or shelter; and Kill, a creek, and means the hiding, skulking, or sheltering creek. It would be curious to discover how it came to receive so singular a name.

Santee River, in South Carolina, was so named by the French who settled there at an early period. They called it La Rivière de Santé, or Healthy River.

The rivers Ashley and Cooper, in the same State, were both so called in lionour of the celebrated Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury.

The proper names which are of Indian derivation, offer a wide field of investigation, which is not less curious and interesting. The etymologist will be led to inquire why names that are similar or nearly similar in sound, are to be found on this continent in places far distant from each other. Quebec in Canada, and Kennebeck in Maine, may perhaps easily be traced to the same nation and the same language, but not so with the Iroquois of the north, and the Cherokees of the south. The l'ashas)* (whom the French and we after them call by corruption Osages) on the Missouri, and the Wabash on the Illinois River; Pluckemin, in New Jersey and Plaquemine in the Orleans Territory, and a variety of other homonymies, which may be discovered in this country at astonishing distances, in names which can all be traced to aboriginal sources.

We shall not pursue this subject any further, but content ourselves with these few hints, in hopes that Professor Barton, whose learned researches into the Indian languages have already done so much honour to himself and his country, will be led to investigate it.

PHILOLOGUS,

• The writer asked an Indian of the Osage tribe to pronounce the name of his nation in his own language; and he answered Washash,

FROM ACKERMANN'S REPOSITORY OF ARTS.

Description of the apparatus used at Portici for unrolling the

Herculanean Papyri.

The discovery of a considerable number of ancient manuscripts among the ruins of Herculaneum, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, was hailed at the time by every lover of antiquity throughout Europe, as an event which promised to add to our classic literature many an author whose works might hitherto have been unknown, or if known, lamented as lost; or at least to afford the means of supplying the chasms with which a barbarous age had handed to us some of the most invaluable remains of the learning of Rome and Greece. Unfortunately, these fond hopes have to this day remained disappointed. The progress made in unrolling them, although perhaps commensurate with the difficulty of the task, has hitherto been insignificant; and the emigration of the court of Naples to Sicily, with, as I am credibly informed, the most perfect part of the papyri, is not calculated to encourage any very sanguine expectations.

As, however, a few of the best preserved rolls are at this moment in England, and in the possession of an august personage, whose love for literature will not suffer such a treasure long to lay dormant, I conceive it may be acceptable to the classic scholar to know the method which has been adopted at Portici for unfolding their contents. That process, certainly, is of the most tedious nature, but as yet no other has been successfully attempted ; and when it is considered, that any new mode can only be tried on an original and perhaps inestimable manuscript, and that such a trial may possibly cause the irrecoverable destruction of the very treasure we are in search of, we shall naturally be induced to use the utmost deliberation before we venture on an innovation attended with such manifest danger. A precipitate experiment with steam upon one of the rolls now in England has at once annihilated its substance, by destroying in the space of two minutes the little cohesion of texture which it had possessed before.

Previously to my entering upon the detail of the machinery used for unrolling the manuscripts, it may be necessary to premise, that from the effects of volcanic heat, they are reduced to a perfect coal, liable to be crumbled into a black dust, by a very feeble pressure of the fingers, such as might be the state of a tight roll of paper after being exposed to the action of a heated oven, without being absolutely ignited ; with this favourable difference, however, that, instead of paper, they had been written on papyrus, a substance much stronger

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VOL. IT

and glutinous than our present writing-paper. They had, like all books of that age, been rolled up with the writing inwards, divided into rectangular spaces, much in the manner of the pages of modern books.

As the different lamipa of which the roll is composed, would break off with the slightest touch, a fresh back is successively formed by the application of gold-beaters' skin affixed with gum-water. But such is the damaged state of the material, that without using very minute patches of gold-beaters' skin (generally not exceeding the size of a common pea), an upper stratum would often be glued to one or more under ones, through the little holes or breaks which sometimes penetrate several of the lamina. But in order to render myself as intelligible as possible, I beg leave to refer the reader to the annexed drawing, with its accompanying scale.

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APPARATUS USED AT PORTICI FOR UNROLLING THE HERCULA

NEAN PAPYRI.

A B C D is a wooden frame which may be placed on a common

table. ff Two brass rods, supporting e e Two brass rests in the shape of half-moons. On these rests MM the manuscript is placed, with gs, some raw cotton, to guard it from being injured by the contact of

the metal. hhh is so much of the manuscript roll as has already been furnished

with a fresh back of patches of gold-beaters' skin.

As soon as a sufficient extent of back is thus secured, til, silk strings, are fastened to the ends by means of dissolved gum

Arabic. These strings are suspen led from ik ik ik, a row of pegs (like those of a violin) going through o o, an opening in the top of the frame.

1

In proportion as the laborious operation of forming a new back proceeds, the work is gently and progressively wound up by turning the pegs, until one entire page is thus unfolded, which is forthwith sepan rated from the roll and spread on a flat board or frame. A draughtsman, unacquainted with the language of the manuscript, makes a faithful fac-simile of it, with all its chasms, blemishes, or irregularities. The taking of this copy is no less a work of extreme patience and nicety, as it is only by a particular reflection of light, that the characters, whose black colour differs very little from that of the carbonized papyrus, can be distinguished. The fac-simile is next handed to an antiquarian, who separates the words and sentences, supplies any hiatus, and otherwise endeavours to restore the sense of the original. By a like process the succeeding pages are unrolled and decyphered, if I may be allowed to use the expression, until the work is completed. The whole is afterwards published, both in letter-press and correct engravings of each page, at the expense of the govern

ment.

In this tedious and costly manner, one work (a treatise of Philodemus on the power of music) has been recovered and published. Unfor. tunately, it was both the first and last with which the lovers of ancient literature have been gratified; and the contents of even this were far from compensating for either the trouble or expense bestowed upon it. Some years ago, the hopes of the learned were revived by the mission of a literary gentleman from England to Naples, for the express purpose of superintending the establishment of Portici, which, by permission of the court of Naples, he actually conducted for a considerable time previous to the invasion of the French. But hitherto none of the fruits of his labour lavc mct the public eye, although the expectations

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