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When very young, he discovered a sur. on that occasion : to whom the Doctor prising genius for the mathematics, in recommended principally the Torricellian which science he made great advances experiment, and the weather needle, as before he was sixteen years of age. In being not mere amusements, but useful, 1657 he was made professor of astronomy and also neat in their operation. in Gresham College, London; and his In 1685 he travelled into France, to exlectures, which were much frequented, amine the most beautiful edifices and tended greatly to the promotion of real curious mechanical works there, when knowledge. He proposed several me. he made many useful observations. Upon thoils, by which to account for the sha. his return home he was appointed archi. dows returning backward ten degrees on tect, and one of the commissioners for the dial of King Ahaz, by the laws of na- repairing St. Paul's cathedral. Within a ture. One subject of his lectures was few days after the fire of London, 1666, upon telescopes, to the improvement of he drew a plan for a new city, and prewhich he had greatly contributed : an- sented it to the King ; but it was not ap. other was on certain properties of the proved by the Parliament. In this model air and the barometer. 'In the year 1658 the chief streets were to cross each other he read a description of the body and at right angles, with lesser streets between different phases of the planet Saturn; them; the churches, public buildings, &c. which subject he proposed to investigate, so disposed, as not to interfere with the while his colleague, Mr. Rook, then pro- streets, and four piazzas, placed at proper fessor of geometry, was carrying on his distances. Upon the death of Sir John observations upon the satellites of Jupi- Denham, in 1668, he succeeded him in ter. The same year he communicated the office of surveyor-general of the King's some demonstrations concerning cycloids works, and from this time he had the dito Dr. Wallis, which were afterwards rection of a great many public edifices, published by the Doctor at the end of his by which he acquired the highest reputreatise upon that subject. About that tation. He built the magnificent theatre time also he resolved the problem pro. at Oxford, St. Paul's cathedral, the monuposed by Pascal, under the feigned name ment, the modern part of Hampton Court, of John de Montford, to all the English Chelsea College, one of the wings of mathematicians; and returned another to Greenwich Hospital, the churches of St. the mathematicians in France, formerly Stephen Walbrook, and St. Mary-le-Bow, proposed by Kepler, and then resolved with upwards of sixty other churches and likewise by himself, to which they never public works, which that dreadful fire gave any solution In 1660, he invented made necessary, in the management of a method for the construction of solar which business he was assisted in the eclipses ; and in the latter part of the measurements, and laying out of private same year, he, with ten other gentlemen, property, by the ingenious Dr. Robert formed themselves into a society, to meet Hook. The variety of business in which weekly, for the improvement of natural he was by this means engaged requiring and experimental philosophy ; being the his constant attendance and concern, he foundation of the Royal Society. In the resigned his Savilian professorship at Os. beginning of 1661, he was chosen Savilian ford in 1673, and the year following he professor of astronomy at Oxford, in the received from the King the honour of room of Dr. Seth Ward; where he was knighthood. He was one of the commisthe same year created Doctor of Laws. sioners, who, on the motion of Sir Jonas
Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Moore, surveyor-generai of the ordnance, Wren had gained so considerable a skill had been appointed to find out a proper in architecture, that he was sent for the place for erecting an observatory, and he same year from Oxford, by order of King proposed Greenwich, which was approved Charles the Second, to assist Sir John of; the foundation-stone of which was Denham, surveyor-general of the works. laid the tenth of August, 1675, and the In 1663 he was chosen fellow of the Royal building was presently finished, under the Society, being one of those who were direction of Sir Jonas, with the advice first appointed by the council after the and assistance of Sir Christopher. grant of their charter. Not long after, it In 1680 he was chosen president of the being expected that the King would make Royal Society; afterwards appointed arthe Society a visit, the Lord Brounker, chitect and commissioner of Chelsea Colthen president, by a letter, requested the lege ; and in 1684, principal officer or advice of Dr. Wren, concerning the ex- comptroller of the works in Windsor periments which might be most proper castle. Sir Christopher sat twice in Parliament, as a representative for two dif. Court of Chancery, for the summoning a ferent borougbs. While he continued defendant to appear, and are granted be. surveyor-general, bis residence was in fore the suit is begun, to begin the same: Scotland.yard; but after his removal from and judicial writs issue out of the court that office, in 1718, he lived in St. James's where the original is returned, after the street, Westminster. He died the twen. suit is begun. The originals bear date in ty-fifth of February, 1723, at ninety-one the name of the King, but the judicial years of age ; and he was interred with writs bear teste in the name of the chief great solemnity in St. Paul's Cathedral, in justice. the vault under the south wing of the Writ of inquiry of damages, a judicial choir, near the east end.
writ that issues out to the sheriff, upon a WRIGHT, (EDWARD,) in biography, a judgment by default, in action of the case, noted English mathematician, who flou- covenant, trespass, trover, &c. commandrished in the latter part of the sixteenth ing him to summon a jury to inquire what century, and beginning of the seventeenth. damages the plaintiff has sustained occuHe was contemporary with Mr. Briggs, sione præmissorum : and when this is reand much concerned with him in the bu- turned with the inquisition, the rule for siness of the logarithms, the short time judgment is given upon it, and if nothing they were published before his death. He be said to the contrary, judgment is therealso contributed greatly to the improve. upon entered. ment of navigation and astronomy. He A writ of inquiry of damages is a mere was the
first undertaker of that difficult inquest of office, to inform the conscience but useful work, by which a little river is of the court; who, if they please, may brought from the town of Ware in a new themselves assess the damages. And it canal, to supply the city of London with is accordingly the practice in actions upon water; but by the maneuvres of others promissory notes and bills of exchange, he was hindered from completing the instead of executing a writ of inquiry, to work he had begun. For the improve. apply to the court for a rule to show cause ment of the art of navigation he was ap- why it should not be referred to the maspointed mathematical lecturer by the East ter, to see what is due for principal and India Company, and read lectures in the interest, and why final judgment should house of that worthy knight, Sir Thomas not be signed for that sum, without exeSmith, for which he had a yearly salary cuting a writ of inquiry: wbich rule is of fifty pounds. This office he discharg- made absolute on an affidavit of service, ed with great reputation, and much to unless good cause be shown to the conthe satisfaction of his hearers. He pub- trary. lished in English a book on the Doctrine WRITER of the tallies, an officer of the of the Sphere, which is very scarce and Exchequer, being clerk to the auditor of dear, and another concerning the con. the receipt, who writes upon the tallies struction of sun-dials. He also prefixed the whole letters of the teller's bill. See an ingenious preface to the learned Gil- the articles TALLY, EXCHEQUER, &c. bert's book on the load-stone. He pub- WRITING, origin of alphabetical. The lished other works, and died in the year history of the origin and progress of writ1615.
ten languages is, in most of its stages, WRIT, is the King's precept, whereby less enveloped in obscurity than that of any thing is commanded touching a suit oral language. Difficulties attend it in or action; as the defendant or tenant to common with every inquiry into antiquity; be summoned, a distress to be taken, a but the data are more numerous and prodisseisin to be redressed, &c. And these gressive than the fleeting nature of auwrits are diversely divided; some, in re- dible signs would admit. The rudiments spect of their order or manner of grant- of the art of writing are very simple ; its ing, are termed original, and some judi- advances towards the present state of im. cial. Original writs are those that are provement slow and gradual. Visible sent out for the summoning of the defen. language first used marks as the signs of dant in a personal, or the tenant in a real things; and we can trace it through all action, before the suit begins, or rather to its stages, from the simple picture, to begin the suit.
the arbitrary mark for the elements of The judicial writs are those which are sound. sent out, by order of the court wbere the The rudest species of visible commu. cause depends, upon occasion, after the nication was, the variously coloured knotsuit begins.
ted cords of the Peruvians, called the Original writs are issued out of the quipos. They have been represented by some authors as regular annals of the em. ters, was the evident progress of the mind. pire ; but they might have some signifi. The Mexicans had actually, in some incancy by agreement; it is probable that, stances, passed through all the intermediwithout oral interpretation, they would ate stages; though the short duration of denote nothing more than that something their empire prevented them from exwas to be remembered, like the twelve tending these rudiments to a regular sysstones in Joshua, iv 21, 22. Robertson, tem. In the simple hieroglyphic, the with more probability, supposes that principal part or circumstance of a subthey were a device for rendering calcula. ject is placed for the whole. In the his. tion more expeditious and accurate: that torical painting before mentioned, towns by the various colours, different objects are uniformly denoted by the rude delinewere denoted; and by each knot a dis- ation of a house, to which was added tinct number. This is rendered still some distinguishing emblem; these em. more probable by the circumstances, that blems were denotements of their names, picture-writing was used by the Peruvians; which were generally significant comand, as the names of numbers must be pounds. Kings and generals were in denoted by arbitrary signs to render cal. like manner denoted by heads of men, culation at all extensive, this species of with similar emblematic marks conjoined. arbitrary sign might be more convenient They also used the symbolical hierogly, for their rude arithmetic than any other. phic to denote a conqueror : they placed
Picture-writing, such as was adopted by a target with darts between the characthe Mexicans, is the first step of the pro. ters, for the king, and the cities which he gress towards letter-writing. The sim- had subdued. Their marks for months and plest species was a mere delineation of other portions of time, for the air, the the object to be denoted. Thus the earth, &c. were symbolical ; and their ciNorth American Indians, when they went phers are arbitrary characters; they paintto war, painted some trees with the fi. ed as many small circles as there were gures of warriors often of the exact units to 20, which had its proper mark; number of the party; and if they by the successive addition of these marks, went by water, they delineated a canoe. they denoted numbers to 20 times 20, Thus, too, the Mexicans, at the arrival of or 400, which again had its proper mark; the Spaniards, sent large paintings on then, by the successive addition of these, cloth, as dispatches to Montezuma. The they denoted as far as 20 times 400, Mexicans had made some progress be. 8000, which had a new character Whatyond simple delineations; but of these ever their advances, however, annals so their paintings are principally composed, conveyed must have been very imperfect; and by a proper disposition of their fi- and accordingly they took great pains to gures they could exhibit a more complex instruct the young to supply the deficienseries of events in historical order. Some cies, and to remove the ambiguities, by very curious specimens of this picture. means of traditionary explanations. See writing are preserved: the most valuable Robertson's “ America,” vol. iii. p. 173– one has been published, and may be found 180; from whom, and Clavigero, this acin Purchas's “ Pilgrim," or in Thevenot's count is derived. “ Collection of Voyages. It is divided Picture writing, and its contraction, into three parts: the first is a history of which is denominated the simple hierothe Mexican Empire; the second is a glyphic, must be very inadequate for the tribute roll; and the third a code of their purposes of communication. The figurainstitutions.
tive hieroglyphic would soon be adopted; The defects of this mode of communi- for oral language must have made some cation must have been early felt. Where progress, before the use of permanent applicable, it was tedious, and was con- visible communication would be found nefined to objects of sense. The human in- cessary, and, consequently, must have tellect, stimulated by the necessity of given metaphorical meanings to the improvement, would
have proceeded names of sensible objects. We here through the same course in the New speak of liieroglyphics as intended for the World as in the Old: but a stop was put purpose of communicating, not of corceal. to this progress by the destruction of the ing, knowledge. It was long thought that most cultivated empires Picture-writing, the er was the first and only purpose. then the simple bieroglyphic, then the Warburton has proved that this was not symbolicai hieroglyphic, then the arbitra- their first use, but that which was made ry character for words, and, lastly, for let. of them in a later period, particularly
when the invention of letters had ren. titude, and rising superior to them, bedered the former purpose unnecessary.
cause the skin of that animal was supposThe simple hieroglyphic was, where the ed to render the wearer dauntless and delineation of part of the object or action invulnerable ; on those founded on oral represented the whole. Thus the an- language, which would be intelligible, cient Egyptians painted a man's two feet when the analogies which gave rise to in water, to denote a fuller; smoke as. them were forgotten. By degrees they cending, to denote fire ; two hands, one were employed for the more refined pur. holding a buckler, the other a bow, to de. poses of philosophy; and the analogies note a battle. The figurative bierogly- on which they were founded would re. phic was of two kinds: one, where the quire an acquaintance with the sciences instrument, real or supposed, was used from which they were deduced. Still to denote the performer, or the thing per- nothing was done for concealment: at formed: the other, where one object last superstition appropriated their use; was used to represent another, which had and after the invention of letters, they some real or suppose resemblance to it. were employed to keep the mysteries of Egyptian examples of the first kind are, the priesthood from the eyes of the pro. an eye, and a sceptre, to signify a king; fane vulgar. Their symbols were now a sword, a bloody tyrant; the mouth, tu formed of far-fetched resemblances; a cat denote speech or voice; the sun and was used to denote the moon, from the moon, as a symbol for succession of time; Sipposed contraction or dilatation of the an eye placed in an eminent position, for pupil of her eye, at different parts of the the omniscience of God. Examples of lunation. In common hieroglyphics, the second are, a dog's head (as among Egypt was denoted by a crocodile; in the the Chinese a dog's voice,) to denote sacred, by a heart on a burning censor. sorrow; dew falling from heaven, to de. One animal, or other sensible object, was note science. To these may be added, used to denote a variety of qualities; and as a mixed example, the inscription on the same idea was denoted by various the temple of Minerva at Sais; where hieroglyphics. This has attached to the are found, engraved on the vestibule, the whole hieroglyphical system the characfigures of an infant, an old man, a hawk, ter of mystery : when we trace the pro
fish, and a river horse; the hawk gress of the Chinese nguage, we shall and fish were the symbol for hatred, and have additional proofs of the injustice of the river horse for impudence: so that this opinion. the literal translation would be, “ young The exact manner of delineation would and old hate iinpudence,” or, still more be tedious and voluminous. The more literally, “old man, infant, hatred, im- use was made of visible communication, pudence.” The Scythian king sent to the more we may expect to find the chaDarius, a mouse, a frog, a bird, a dart, and racter, originally insignificant, become a a plough: if he had sent their delinea- mere arbitrary mark. In the early stages tions, it would have formed a similar spe. of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, considera. cimen of the hieroglyphic.
ble attention was paid to the outline and Hieroglyphics would frequently be filling up of their figures. Afterwards a founded on the figures to which use had rude outline was sufficient; and this was given currency in oral language. The changed, for the convenience of the procedure of the mind is the same in writer, till it lost every resemblance to both; and they would mutually influence the object it originally represented. each other. With respect to the simple Many changes in our own written charachieroglyphic, as that was a mere con- ter might be adduced, illustrative of this traction of the full delineation in picture. change from the delineation to the cur. writing, the only similarity we must ex- sive hieroglyphic. The mark for and, pect to find in language is the contrac. for instance, was once the correct piction of words. Boti) were intended for ture of et; some forms show its origin, the purpose of facilitating communica- as &; at present, in writing at least, it tion, by increasing its rapidity.
bears no features of resemblance to its The first use of hieroglyphics was, to original. The use of the cursive hiero. preserve the memory of events and insti. glyphic would take off the attention from tutions ; such symbols, therefore, would the symbol, and fix it upon the thing sigfirst be adopted as were of obvious inter- nified: a progress which we equally ob. pretation ; viz those which were found- serve in oral language, where words, ori. ed on prevailing opinions; as, the hyena, ginally denotements of sensible objects, for a man bearing his distresses with for. became the names for mental qualities bearing some resemblance to what they ments of science. Whatever be the just before signified, and in many instances ness of this idea, it is certain that these have been appropriated to the mental trigrams and hexagrams are not the ori. quality, without any reference to the ori- gin of the present Chinese character. In ginal meaning
numerous instances, the progress can be Visible characters having become arbi- traced from pictures or symbols to the trary marks for ideas or words, two pro- present form ; in some the connecting cesses were pursued by different dis- steps are lost, but the general inference tricts of Asia and Africa: the one was, to is still a just one. The present form selconsider these characters as signs for dom presents any traces of its original. sounds, and, by their intervention, of Tien (fig. 16.) heaven, has no longer a ideas; the other, as signs for ideas, with natural or symbolical resemblance to the out any reference to sounds. The latter object; but it was first represented by was the procedure of the Chinese; the three curved lines, (as in fig. '17.) and, former, of all nations who used alphabeti- through the various changes in fig. 18, it, cal characters.
has arrived at its present form. Several
other examples are given in the Philos. On the Chinese Language.
Trans, vol. lix.
Before we advance further respecting We come now to the consideration of
the written language of the Chinese, it a language singular in all its parts, and will be proper to attend a little to their possessed of such peculiar features, that oral language. This, as was observed in it well deserves our attention. The writ. LANGUAGE, is entirely monosyllabic ; and ten language of the Chinese bas passed all the words may be expressed by an through all the gradations which we have European consonant and a vowel, with described: and from their pictures, cha. the exception of about one-third, which racters have become mere arbitrary marks; end with n, either simple or nasal. A mothese are employed, not as signs for nosyllabic language cannot be copious; sounds, but for ideas; and their combi. and we expect
to find it less so when the nations and changes have no correspond. number of simple sounds are small. The ing contbinations and changes in the spo- Chinese have not the b, d, and n
of the ken language of China. Before the time Europeans; and the number of their of their first emperor, Fohi, the Chinese words is only 330. The capabilities of are supposed to have employed knotted their oral language are, however, much cords, like the Peruvians. Fohi intro. extended by the variation their words duced in their place horizontal lines; undergo, by means of tone and other in(see Plate Miscel. fig. 14.), some whole, flexions of the voice. These changes reothers divided ; and by their combination quire a very discriminating ear to perin threes, formed the text of the most an. ceive, and very flexible organs to excient Chinese work, called “ Ye King.” press them ; but we know the power of On these trigrams numerous commenta- habit, and can readily admit that thus ries have been written, some as early as the meaning of their words may be ex. 1100 years before Christ : they are sup- tended, without confusion, even to things posed to contain, in a few lines, the most very opposite in their nature.
When, sublime truths, and are employed in die however, we find (as Hagar informs us,) vination, but they are still unintelligi. that the same word often answers to six ble. By Xin-nung, the successor of Fohi, hundred different significations, accordsixty-four hexagrams (like those in fig. ing to the tone with which it is pro15.) were invented, which are supposed nounced, the place which it occupies, or to contain the whole circle of human the character by which it is expressed, knowledge. It is thought that these we must suppose it it impossible to avoid characters were taken from the knotted frequent ambiguity. cords, and it seems to us probable that Notwithstanding, however, all their they expressed no more. The time of changes in tone, &c. they have not more their invention, (which is carried back to than 1,500 distinct sounds. Most nations the age of Noah,) and their apparent in- have improved their oral languages; the adequacy to represent more than num- Chinese have directed all their attenbers, renders it highly improbable that tion to the improvement of their written they were intended to denote the mys. language, and they have formed combiteries of philosophy. The present nu. nations in their characters without any merals of the Chinese have an equal right corresponding combinations in their to be esteemed the mysterious denotesounds. Their changes are totally inde