APPENDIX IV: General Observations on the Vade Mecum, and other congenial topics [[652-669]]
[] When the compilation by Williamson was first examined in order to correct his vulgar mode of spelling Hindoostanee words, a good while since, the number seemed so formidable that innovation, even from a wrong system to a right mode, was then indefinitely suspended; but in the present period of most rapid proficiency, it would be unjust to postpone emendation any farther; a correct list of alterations has therefore been annexed, that the original text may no longer mislead its readers, by the vicious method formerly so fashionable in the British Indian army, of writing oriental vocables in the Roman character, without the least attention to consistency.
The new orthoepigraphy is superseding the cacography of the old school so completely, that the Author of the Vade Mecum cannot now be followed with safety; for whatever his qualifications may have been in other departments, every line almost declares his incompetency here, as he was at best a half-instructed jargonist, like the whole of his contemporaries, hardly half a dozen of whom could or can speak Hindoostanee in the manner of gentlemen, though many of their junior officers are able at last to do so at each of the Presidencies.
Similar errors must of course pervade "The Wild Sports of the East," most of which will be readily detected [] by the amended list annexed to the above, and a few more preliminary remarks in the following portions of the book; particularly if a reference be made at the same time to the English and Hindoostanee Dictionary, or its reversed abridgement by myself.
In pages 97 and 112, a distinction has been attempted in the meaning of nuokur and chakur, where in my humble opinion no difference in reality exists, and nothing in their etymology appears to justify the dogmatic style of the paragraphs to which this stricture alludes.
Coortah of page 115, is one of a thousand instances where the final aspirate h is most absurdly affixed by Europeans to oriental words, which should terminate in a or u only; to call therefore raja, rana, peshwa, wala, &c. rajah, ranah, peshwah, walah, is much on a footing with the fellowr, idear, iotar, &c. of cockney vulgarity, often heard instead of fellow, idea, and so on. In the true spirit of perversity, a different abuse of the h occurs when ankoos, hook, crook; hurgeela, a species of crane; sahib, lord, matter; are severally changed to haunkus, which Williamson terms a driver, from hankna, to drive; argeelah, his vulture; and seb, saib, an apple; to say nothing of sipahee thus becoming a seapoy, seaboy, or sea-beast; and siyahee, ink, appearing as shy, instead of siyah-ee, blackness, not only in the abstract, but tangible in the state of ink, like our black-ing for shoes and boots.
Williamson first corrupts ankoos, a goad, by a vicious aspirate; and, through this very blunder, aspires to the rank of an etymologist, with a plausibility that would deceive most people; for few are aware that the discriminative form unksee, signifies a tenter, hook, &c.
Since much of this volume was committed to paper, though not published till June, 1825, numerous improvements in the general encouragement of oriental literature [[654-655, interleaved]] have been adopted at the different establishments in Hindoostan, which have latterly been vying with one another to stimulate all their civil and military functionaries, by giving offices of responsibility and emoluments to those only who shall be found, on trial as linguists, best qualified to discharge their important duties with the greatest public benefit and private credit. To interpreters, adjutants, commissaries, agents, paymasters, provincial or subsidiary officers, or subalterns in command of companies, colloquial proficiency at least must be a sine qua non; and if the welfare of government, in such situations, be invariably preferred to individual advantage, the result in a short time must be self-evident in every branch of the service.
A number of the hints furnished in page 6, &c., also in my successive reports, have been progressively put in practice by the local governments, with a discrimination, magnanimity, and candour, which cannot fail to do them all infinite honour in the eyes of those who are most deeply interested in the permanent weal of one hundred millions of subsidiary proteges, su bjects, and dependants upon the genius, arts, arms, and laws of the British empire, as the paramount state connected with the Asiatic Peninsula and its adjacent territories.
From the whole of the semiennial reports that have been published within the last six years, considerable local information may be obtained, which will be found nowhere else; but most of them having run out of print, the twelfth alone may still be consulted advantageously, by immediate application at No. 480, Strand, where lectures on Hindoostanee and Persian have been regularly delivered during six months past, and will probably continue to the close of 1825, there or elsewhere, as the course of events may direct.
[[a list of incorrect Roman-script spelling of individual words and names in common use, followed by their correct forms according to Gilchrist's own orthography; the list ends on pp. 660-661, interleaved.]]
To enable every reader of this volume to furnish himself with a consistent scheme for spelling any language he may encounter on the surface of the globe, as a sojourner or resident in foreign climes, it has been thought advisable to annex a letter and Diorama [[in the form of an extremely large and complex fold-out chart, not reproduced in the online version]] intended expressly for the purpose, and I feel quite convinced the public will no longer be bewildered with a puzzling polygraphy, which exists in most books of travels through newly-discovered regions and nations by a variety of persons, from the total want of one catholic system like mine; provided this be cultivated and encouraged according to those desserts, that a serious perusal or two will of course clearly develop therein, to minds and certain organs naturally commensurate with such an arduous task.
Daily practice in writing the universal character, after it has been duly comprehended, during the space of one month only, will make it perfectly familiar as a kind of shorthand, whence the whole tribe of superfluous symbols have uniformly disappeared, being in truth needless incumbrances among all the languages of the earth, and expelled by myself as drones in the republican hive of letters, which have hitherto done infinitely more harm than good to mankind.
A little reflection will convince anybody conversant with themes of this nature, that were we to reckon by the letters actually enumerated on the diorama, their amount must be formidable indeed; but when the spirit which pervades the plan is maturely considered, the number virtually keeps pace rather with the sixteen literal subdivisions, than exceeds twenty, or at most, two dozen of congenial characters; for a set of cognates, like the labials, comprising several individuals, when taken universally, constitutes, in some measure, a single symbol, only differently modified in the mouths of various tribes and races of rational creatures.
From this very hint a stemographic grammaclature may yet be contrived from the catholic one I have projected, if the advantages thus procurable be not counter-balanced by the impracticability of suddenly introducing too great a deviation from the beaten path of any language, until previous swteps be cautiously taken to render the transition not only plausible, but effectual, as I have literally done. The letter mentioned above is as follows:--
[] "In one of the earliest volumes of your miscellany, my first essay on a universal language and character, with an explanatory diagram, made its appearance, under many disadvantages, from the want of an appropriate set of types, and that experience in the pursuit of an object, which more than ten years' persevering cultivation has since afforded, I presume, with commensurate effects. At the period here mentioned, I promised to prosecute the scheme to practical perfection; I therefore do feel bound in honour to convince the subscribers of your Journal that I am still a man who never wished to conceal under a bushel whatever light he could throw upon any useful subject; far less, to shrink from the defence of hia own doctrines, however eccentric and worthless they may appear in the eyes of superficial observers, or of those profound scholars who deem learning alone the summum bonum of social life, in lieu of real knowledge.
"With the professed view of courting liberal criticism from the British Indian community in particular, and the public at large, you are most welcome to insert the whole Diorama in your number for June; and I flatter myself it will find favour not only in your sight, but prove acceptable also to the majority of your Oriental readers at home and abroad, who will be both able and willing to appreciate my pending lucubrations according to their deserts, when the whole have been fairly submitted for that tribunal's sentence; whence, as there is no appeal, respectful submission in me becomes a matter of course to its irrevocable judgment.
"In the meantime, it is possible some seasonable hints may be generously communicated through the medium of your popular Journal, and I shall not fail to use them thankfully during the progress of the Polyglossal British Atlas, now in the press; that the work may be thus brought, if practicable, at once to perfection -- the [] grand aim of all my philological labours, since their origin nearly half a century ago. After the luminous observations published a few years before his Lordship left India, by so accomplished a writer as the Marquis Hastings, in praise of the English language, contrasted with every other, my feeble voice on such a theme here would be quite superfluous, if not impertinent; especially as it is generally taken for granted, from recent leading articles in his literary creed, that the acute and classical Mr. Canning even, is equally partial to his native tongue; which, were its glaring cacography now reformed on rational principles, would soon become, in preference to French, the most current speech over the whole civilized world, because it could then be communicated efficiently to all foreigners, within the space of a few months, instead of as many years, hitherto required for that porpose, and might thus be deemed a sine qua non accomplishment to the literati of both hemispheres.
"The Diorama, in its present state, must speak for itself; and if assailed in those parts that may yet be considered vulnerable, I mean either to defend myself boldly, or honestly to acknowledge every detected mistake; my object being, in fact, rather to inculcate the utility of cultivating common sense, and of establishing permanent truths among mankind, than to obtain the fleeting triumph which any polemic victory or defeat could ever produce.
"A variety of attempts have been heretofore abortively made to establish a general standard for occidento-oriental orthoepigraphy; but none of their projectors, myself excepted, ever contemplated the possibility of therewith combining a universal language and a catholic character, on principles of such evident utility and simplicity, that he who runs may almost read their practicability in each department of my new view of literal economy; and adapted, [] as it is, to every dialect under the sun, ultimate failure in this project will prove rather a misfortune attributable to public apathy than to any fault of mine.
To many of my earliest pupils, who probably constitute a large proportion of your subscribers, I must explain a deviation or two from my first system of Hindee Roman orthoepigraphy, to reconcile them at least to all subsequent improvements, and upon similar grounds, viz. those longings after perfection, which Providence has wisely implanted in every ingenuous breast, as the soul's surest guide and noblest claim to immortality, after its body has been mingled with the parent dust.
The ridiculous alphabetical name and occasional sound of our letter u, was originally denoted in my Dictionary by eu, but shortly afterwards, for obvious reasons, yoo was invariably substituted for eu. In the like manner, kea, keea, were converted to kya, kiya, restricting the power of y, uniformly, to its consonantal sound, heard alone in the English words printed thus: y-awn y-olk, &c., never pronounced eye-awn, eye-on, or eye-olk. This judicious step having been seasonably taken, consistency of principles obliged me to obliterate: entirely the vocal sound which y has in my, cry, by superseding this forever with ue, ui, perceptible in buy, guide, guile, guise; and in the Scottish pronunciation of, not tyoosday, but as it is more plainly exhibited in Tuesday; besides, the fact of this ue being in perfect unison with the Oriental mode of forming this very common diphthong vowel, audible, if not visible in the organ, letter, and pronoun, indiscriminately called eye, i; a bivocal, very different indeed from the y noticed above in y-awn, for the iota, with us, indicates ai, ae, ue, ui, eye, not the yaw, as in yaw-n, which the Hindoos term yu-kar, never wy.
Previous to the emendation [] in question, the words tyyar, yyam, and many more of a similar kind, exhibited the preposterous, use and abuse of y, vocally and consonantly together; an evident absurdity, but ultimately rectified thus, tueyar, &c. To avoid the possibility of ou being ever deemed the French combination in pour, which might consequently be confounded with the English poor, and a parity of reasoning on both uo and ue from Eastern Orthography, induced me to transpose the vowels ou, in house, sound, our, to form out of them, both more synthetically and analytically, the canine or bow-wou diphthong, uo, so-uor, guo, suo, buo, wuo, &c. at which unequivocal uo, and its twin-brother ue, my thoughtless quondam-scholars have been barking ever since, without either rhyme or reason on their side, but merely from sheer inability, indolence, or mulish disinclination, to follow me in the right path, after I had left the old beaten one, which greater experience clearly evinced was palpably wrong.
That the Diorama will excite some such hue and cry, after its innovations, also, is probable enough, till those who complain of my progressive improvements shall deliberately recollect how repeatedly Watt, and every other grand inventor of useful machines, were employed all their lives in rendering them still more perfect by the various alterations and additions, which long practice and self-conviction of existing defects suggested from time to time; always in the hope of reaching thereby the ne plus ultra of aspiring genius that was to transmit such men's names to posterity; as the honest, indefatigable benefactors of their own age and country. Had the true sound been retained of the interjection hae (hue) introduced above, to chime in with the cry raised after a thief, it alone most have levelled my adopted ue (eye) with the meanest capacity; but our notorious cacography [] has converted hae, through hue, to hyoo -- something totally distinct in oral complexion from the hae crae! hue kruer formerly intended; and which is yet daily heard by every London coach-driver, as ho! hae! hue! hy! -- familiar exclamations, and moreover, completely Hindoos-tanee!
With the Diorama, a neat lithographic prospectus of the Catholic Litraecleture and Lord's Prayer, in script symbols, will of course reach you, that the printed and written doxology may be compared easily together, along with the New Series of Letters, as the most convenient harbingers to a long projected scheme of mine for communicating pure Hindoostanee rapidly to Englishmen, and good English equally so to the natives of British India. Both objects of this comprehensive design may be accomplished simultaneously by means of the proposed universal character, in which the subsequent editions of my works will successively appear, but all greatly curtailed in prolixity, intricacy and price, from an earnest desire on my part in future, to supply the whole of those who shall still confide in me, with a maximum of practical Oriental knowledge, through a minimum expenditure of time, toil, or cash, during the prosecution of such literary pursuits, at home or abroad.
Learners from the age of six to sixty years, and of both sexes, will, on personal application, or by post paid letters, receive every aid in my power, including references to those instructors and private institutions where the improved system of Oriental tuition has been or shall be successfully adopted and applied to the youngest scholars.
I cannot terminate even this long address without most earnestly recommending the immediate extension of infant tuition to practical Orientalism in the British Isles; but on such conciliatory principles, and short self-evident propositions, that every child may comprehend them almost [] at one glance; a purpose for which I am at present preparing a pleasant wholesale mode of instruction that will soon supersede the disgusting retail method, hitherto so much in vogue, of cramming juvenile heads with useless rules in endless and tormenting detail, thereby converting a pleasurable pastime to that scholastic drudgery which has now become quite insufferable.
The capacities of mere children have never yet had fair play by the early cultivation of their intellectual faculties, in a familiar, endearing way, through the precocious curiosity peculiar to their tender years, whereon we might, under proper treatment, engraft the fairest classical fruits of adolescence, instead of devoting this maturer period of existence for the acquisition of arts and sciences, almost exclusively to the mere correction of idle bad habits assumed in the nursery, the kitchen, a vicious neighbourhood, or last not least, of some evil communications imbibed in the very parlours and drawing-rooms of the infant's own infatuated parents.
Much more may be taught under the age of seven than inexperienced people can readily credit, and from that period till twelve or fourteen, tuitionary wonders might in general be performed, even in the higher branches of education, in consequence of the great improvements daily making in the useful art of teaching. When these shall have been extensively adopted, the most ungovernable portion of human life, between twelve and twenty, may thus be so completely engrossed with scientific, professional, and other interesting occupations, that the vicious and criminal propensities of heedless youth will find neither time nor place for luxuriant growth, as rank weeds, in such prolific gardens for the most ennobling productions, from both their heads and hearts.
Should the recently projected university be founded in the British metropolis, I trust it [] will accord much better than its established predecessors with the progressive spirit of, the present century, and that: among other desiderata, the seasonable culture of English and other living dialects, with a quantum sufficit of ancient lore and elementary Orientalism, will be no longer over-looked or rejected from any silly preference of dead languages and classical erudition, as this preposterous predilection is too apt to create an exclusive monopoly, hostile to all future improvement."
I remain, &c.
Could juvenile passengers to India be seasonably persuaded to devote their spare time on board ship to intellectual improvements, they would seldom be haunted with ennui, the common bane of a tedious voyage, because there would then be some antidotes always before them, among which I would strongly recommend to oriental tyros, the chirography of the East, by way of relaxation even from their ordinary pastimes and more studious pursuits.
To facilitate short diurnal exercises of this description, a very comprehensive table of Naguree, Persi-Arabic, Hindee-Roman, and Catholic symbols, in regular succession and contrast with each other, has been inserted immediately after the Diorama, and script specimen of the doxology, in the universal character thus extended, and applied to the three foregoing Eastern literatures, with the best effects. Every youth in the least degree expert with his pen or pencil, will readily write, paint, or draw exact copies of each, more or less beautiful, as industry, [] genius, and inclination may continue to direct his exertions in this most useful line of Orientalism while at sea, say from four to six months; at the termination of which he might thus become a tolerable Oriental scribe and decipherer, by the practice of reading in and writing from those classical Hindoostanee or Persian books that himself or shipmates may happen to possess, either in manuscripts or print.
This branch of local qualifications is hourly becoming most essential, and may yet be constituted an indispensable accomplishment for all responsible lucrative offices in the Company's service; let me therefore earnestly entreat each promising emigrant to British India, before departure from London, to supply himself with the requisite publications, for not merely a portable Oriental library, but the materials to acquire the art of writing on proper paper, with congenial pens and ink, to secure the greatest chance of ultimate success for every self-taught penman; who by seasonable application at No. 7, Leadenhall-street, may obtain good copy lines or Ouseley's Complete Persian Manuscript Guide, at a very moderate price.
The reader is requested to read kootte kee for koottee kee, in page 603.