Obrazy na stronie

ments of my conduct, and of that of your correspondent Jonathan Drapier; and am, Sir, with many thanks for your liberal conduct towards me, Your obliged, humble servant,

EDWARD Evanson. Colford, March 22, 1305,




HAVE read the petition of the Papists in Ireland

(calling themselves, by a contradiction in terms, Ror man Catholic, Roman Catholic, as has long been observed, being as much as to say purticular universal) with some attention, and with considerable astonishment; and I beg leave to trouble you with a few words upon it.

First; I would call upon you to observe, that not one clergyman's name of their religion is subscribed to it. What does this announce to us? Why, in plain English, Which I claim to speak, thus much--that the language of the petition is not such as the popish clergy can join in.Depend upon it, Gentlemen, the Popish Clergy can never, consistently with their principles, adopt either the Teligious or the political sentiments of this petition, They dare not concede what it concedes. Perhaps they are willing to let it go, that by its fate they may determine wbat, or how much they may ask for, or expect in future. This laical cock-boat goes before, to take sounds angs; the falsely-named ship of St. Peter is to follow after, according as depth of water shall be proved, or as the tide of opinion, or current of popularity máy set.

Secondly, let us look to CONSEQUENCES. A worthy, nay 4 Right Reverend friend of mine, (whose good sense I esteem highly, and whose integrity I revere, though he lays out but forty shillings a year in my shop) looked in upon me the other day.« Jonathan, (says he), let as look to CONSEQUENCES. (I beg of you to print that word in large letters.) The papists in Ireland ask


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for Emancipation. Withont entering into a discussion of the propriety of this word, in this case; let us look to the portentous train of CONSEQUENCES which must needs follow. I would give free liberty to all then to worship God, according to their consciences; but between a free toleration of religious worship, and the placing of power in the hands of the adversaries of the Established Church, there is a wide difference. Chrise tian charity impels me to grant the former; the vital principle of self-defence urges me to withold the letter. I therefore (says he) can only allow toleration, and that limited by the obvious dictates of prudence. If, however, I should be disposed to grant all they ask to the Irish papists, I must grant equal privileges to those of this country; for Ireland and England now forin ONE UNITED KINGDOM; and one statute, in the instance before us, must, in all equity, extend to both. If the par pists are to be put on this footing, how can we deny equal indulgencies to the Protestant Dissenter's ? Of course, THE CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS MUST BE REPEALED, and then, it may easily be imagined what must follow.”

Here, his lordship ceased. His words carry conviction with them. I put them in print for the use of all your readers; and I warn our whole legislature to regard CONSEQUENCES before they presume to tamper with the constitution as by law established.

I descend not to ask pardon for the liberty I have taken in committing to paper the reasoning of the distinguished Prelate l allude to. No force of torture shall compel me to disclose his name. If he spoke his true sentiments, as unquestionably he did, I think it is right they should be known; they carried conviction with them to my mind, and I am persuaded they will to that of all your readers. That prelate I love and venerate; and though he is but a poor customer of mine, Jonathan Drąpier is not a man whose opinion is swayed by inte. rest; and therefore that prelate, propter merita erga totuin Genus Humanum, et précipue erga Ecclesiam Anglicanum W. D. loves and uninterestedly venerates.

I am,

Your's faithfully,


April 10, 1805,



On the antiquity of the Tlebrew Vowel Points, by the late Reverend and learned Mr. PARKHURST, in answer to the question,

Optibel, « Art the Hebreze Vowel Points of the same antiquity with the Letters, or ure they of modern invention?I

REPLY, of modern invention, so modern as the

ninth'or tenth century after Christ. Most certainly they were not invented. in the days of Origen, who lived in the third century, nor of Jerome who lived in the fourth and fifth; for had they been then in use, is it credible, that the unwearied editor of the Hexapla, and the curious and inquisitive Jerome, who himself travelled into Falestine, and was well acquainted with the Jewish literati, should never in their voluminous writings upon the Scriptures once give the least hint about them? But besides this negative argument (which however must in "the present case be allowed to be very strong) there are several passages in the writings of Jerome, which shew positively, that he was entirely unacquainted with the Vowel Points, and by consequence that in his time they were not yet in being : As for instance, when, on Jer. ix. 22, he saith, “The IIebrew word which is written with the three letters 01 (for it has no vowels, vocales, in it) when, according to the context, and the judgment of the reader, it is read daber, signifies a word, when deber, death, when dabber, speak. So on Hab. iii. 5. Again, in his epistle to Evagrius concerning Melchisedec, " "The Hebrere's very rarely use rouel letters (vocalibus literis) in the middle of their words; and according to the pleasure of the readers, and the variety of countries, the same words are uttered with different sounds and accents.” The Jike observations may be applied to the Jewish Thalmuds; the latter of which, namely the Babylonish, was not finished till the beginning of the eighth century. In inis huge collection of Jewish comments on the Scripture, contained in thirteen volumes in folio, there is not one word about points, but several passages which clearly and positively prove that the authors of the Thaļmụdic tracts horw nothing of them. Thus, in the end of the book


Barachoth, when tlie writer would inform us that 777, Isa. Jiv. 13. means thy builders, not thy sons, he neither points the word, nor dotlı be, in the stile of the more inodern Rabbis, say, Read not 723 with a camatz, but with a hotem: No, but he contents himself with repeating the textual letters, and saying simply that it 'must be read 73, not 72, without taking any notice of the points at all. In the five first reviews and corrections of the written Sacred Text which were made by the Jews, (the fifth and last of which cannot be placed higher thair ihe year 800) not a word still about* vowel points, but a most profound silence in relation to thein. Was this possible' had they been then invented ?' Credat judaus apella. Especially since, in the sixth review made by R. R. Aser' and Nephtali about 940 (at soonest, or ac, cording to others in the succeeding century) we meet with nothing else but remarks upon the points and accents. I conclude then, upon the authority of these facts, which I believe will not be easily disproved, that the Hebrew vowel points sprung up some time between the year 800 900 ori11000; that is, in the ninth or tenth century, and not sooner. !!!.0.1

I add, that the first person who writ a rabbinical Hebrew Grammar was an Arab, called' R. Juda Ching'; that the original punctuation of the Hebrew and Arabic nearly resembled each other, and that hence it is highly probable that the Jews borrowed the points from the Mahometan Arabians, in whose chaotic language they were indeed so necessary to fix its meaning, that Othman, the third Caliph, to prevent dissentions among the Moslems, was forced to decree, that the Koran, should be read accord: ing to the points then lately invented by the Ali Ebn Abis Taleb. The copies thus corrected were dispersed, by Othman's command, in the several provinces of his ema pire, in the thirteenth year of the flera and of Christ 652. The Arabic punctuation therefore was some time prior to this.'

81.9.11 Again, it'is asked," Are the towel points absolutely necessary to a right knowledge of the language.?"

No surely : If they were, no one could have under: stood the Hebrew (at least after it ceased to be a living

* In the fifth review, the point mappik is indeed mentioned, but that is not a vowel points

language) lariguage) till the ninth century; nor could the Old Testament have been rightly understood till an authentic edition of Mahomet's Koran was published : So that the Bible must, on this supposition, be explained by the Koran, and we must apply to the Mahometan doctors to explain Christianity.

May the Hebrew language, be read, construed, and imderstood, without the points ?"

Most certainly: What has been, may be: Hebrew was thus read and understood for 4800 years. But to give the ingenious querist all the satisfaction I can in such parrow limits :

The learned Dr. Robertson, in his true and antient method of reading Hebrew, hath shewn, by comparing the Hebrew with the Greek Cadmean alphabet, that the letters of the one correspond to those of the other in name, order, and power, (and we way add antiently in * form also ;) that Aleph in the one answers to Alpha in the other, He to E, Vau to the Æolic F, pronounced like'u, or w, and now called bau episemon, &c, and by consequence that N, 7, 1, , 1, were as truly vowels in He, brew, as A, E, F, I, O, were in antient Greek. To this add the testimony of Josephus, who, speaking of the sacred letters, or mm engrayed upon the plate of the High Priest's crown, says expressly, Teuta de eso ONNHENTĄ FEDFaf, These are four VOWELS., De Bell. Jud. lib. 5. cap.5. 97. edit. Hudson. So Jerom, in Gen,

13, says,

that the Hebrew Vau answers to 0, and epist. 146, calls Jod a vowel, and frequently speaks of a Hebrew word having Bo vowel in it (in medio ejus) which would be absurd if the Hebrew language itselt had no vowels. Shall we then, determined by this clear and rational evidence, consider and pronounce these Hebrew letters , 11, ', 1, 4, as vowels; or, contrary to the analogy of all other antient languages, assert on mere rabbinical authority, that four of them are consonants, and affirm that N, the first letter of the Greek and most other alphabets, and which in truth atands for the most natural and easy of all sounds, for the first sound that children utter after they are born,--that poor å has no sound at all?

* Vid. Montfaucon's Palæographia, and Bayley's Introduction to languages, 'pact ül. p. 46.

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