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After the near advances made toward Printing both by the Greeks and Romans, when they stamped Inscriptions on their Coins, branded Letters on Malefactors, and impressed marks on their Cattle, it seems surprising that whole revolutions of ages should have passed away before any similar method was thought of to multiply copies of a Manuscript. The transition from these practices was easy to the compendious process by which Books are printed, and, now at least, it appears to be very obvious.


divine communication, should not have adverted to the single signs which we have taken from the Arabian Sçavans for the purposes of calculation.

These numerical ciphers, as simple in their power as boundless in their operation, approach to a universal character. The Chinese with the Swan Pan are the only exception to their use among civilized Nations.-How did the Commissariate of a Roman Army keep their accounts with Letters for numerals?

I once mentioned to the late Mr. Gilbert Wakefield, whom I had the honour to call my friend, and who had published an ingenious Essay in support of the opinion, that we owe verbal Writing to a direct Revelation from the Deity, whether these numerical figures did not militate against his persuasion? He put my objection by in the way we all do an argument, which we are unprepared to confute, when started against a favourite hypothesis.

last, in an auspicious hour, this want was supplied by the aid of moveable Types, and the mechanism of a Press; a contrivance which has encreased the opportunities of Knowlege many thousand fold.-In Christendom we shall neither erect Temples, nor raise Altars to the inventor of Typography. But his merit will not be over-rated, if we place him among the foremost in the file of benefactors to the human race.

Not long after the revival of Letters, Francis I. having one day called on the Printer, Robert Stephens, as a mean of proclaiming his fostering care of Literature, would not permit his presence to delay the correction of a Proof Sheet from the Press. The memory of this royal Patron of Scholars deserves to be held in as much estimation to the full for this courteous attention to the interests of Learning, as his Rival Charles V. for the homage he did to the fine Arts in stooping for the Pencil which Titian had let fall.

The contrariety of emotion which would have agitated the projectors of the Alembic and of the Printing Press, at the instant their sagacity was rewarded with success, would

present not an incurious contemplation, had it been possible for them to have foreseen the wide-spread and opposite effects of their respective discoveries. This was eagerly perverted into a perennial spring of liquid fire, which year by year shortens with lingering anguish the existence of thousands and of tens of thousands, ill-atoning for this unceasing destruction of human Life by the medicinal properties it may possess. That has proved itself to be the primary organ in promoting our nearest interests and most elevated pursuits. It undeniably makes one exception, I trust there are many more, to the reflection which sprang from the morbid melancholy of our great Moralist, that human advantages are more susceptible of evil than of good, through the wayward propensities of our nature to misuse them.

Of the innumerable illustrations which croud into the recollection, none would mark the kindly influences of the Press more strongly than the uniformity of manners and of customs continued down from the highest antiquity in the eastern quarter of the globe. Strangers to this inestimable acquisition, or where it is known in part an alphabetic cha

racter not being in use, the Asiatics have remained nearly stationary from the time our Forefathers ran naked in the woods with painted skins, fed on acorns, and offered human sacrifices to idols. Neither is it, that the Printing Press has so largely contributed to the preeminence of the Nations of the West which alone renders Coster, or Faust, or Guttemberg, or whoever originally suggested the idea, or facilitated the design, an object of lasting gratitude. The Printing House ought supremely to be regarded with reverence as the Officina Libertatis, the laboratory of human Liberty; the operative means by which Mankind are at length, and now, let us hope, rapidly gaining a just sense of their own Rights, and of the Duties of their Rulers.

To enlarge on the indissoluble connexion between Knowlege widely diffused, and political Freedom, and on their reciprocal dependence, would be mis-spending time. Volumes written out by the hand, would of necessity continue so rare and so costly that the wealthy alone could procure them. The Style and the Pen therefore too often failed to preserve the multitudinous applications of

the intellectual principle, and never could generally disseminate them. But this superlative art brought Books within the reach of almost all the classes in Society, and excited a spirit of ardent enquiry among them. The extended circulation of Knowlege communicated a new and vigorous impulse to the public mind. It now felt powers which had hitherto lain dormant; in exercising them, it gradually shook off the load of rubbish which had overwhelmed it during the co-existing domination of Monkery and Feudality. From this epocha, the tide of improvement in human affairs set in with a steady and accelerated course. So steady as to have now nearly worn away the most formidable obstructions; and latterly so accelerated as to induce some who perceive distinctly the capacity for many and great improvements in social Man to aspire after his Perfectability: the hope of a visionary but praiseworthy enthusiasm. But while shut out by the labour and expence of transcription from the means of Instruction, a vast proportion of every community must have lived their days in the darkest ignorance. In this benighted state, without the services of Typography

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