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WE have received information that Professor Schneidewin, of Göttingen, contemplates editing a new philological journal, under the title of Philologus. It is to appear quarterly, and all the articles are to be written in Latin, in order to render it accessible to all scholars, to whatever country they may belong. If the Latin language is to be the only distinguishing feature of this new periodical, we cannot be sanguine as to its success, for surely there is no want of philological journals in Germany. The scholars of that country should endeavour to concentrate their labours and efforts for the promotion of classical studies, rather than divide them. From the late disputes between Professor Schneidewin and Theodor Bergk, we cannot help suspecting that the whole scheme is only an attempt to injure the excellent Zeitschrift für die Alterthumswissenschaft, edited by Professor Bergk and J. Caesar.
A MEMOIR OF THOMAS MITCHELL, ESQ., A.M.
THIS distinguished scholar was born in London, on the 30th May, 1783. He was the son of Mr. Alexander Mitchell, a riding-master, in Hamilton-place, Piccadilly, and afterwards in Grosvenor-place. At the age of seven years, Thomas Mitchell was admitted into Christ's Hospital, on the presentation of Martyn Fonnereau, Esq. Here he remained, under the tuition of the Rev. James Bowyer, and afterwards under that of the Rev. Dr. Trollope, till October, 1822, when he was preferred to Pembroke College, Cambridge, on one of the exhibitions. of the Hospital. In the year 1806, he took his degree of B.A., as a senior optime and the first classical medallist. In acknowledgment of this eminence, the governors of his school presented him with a silver cup, of the value of thirty guineas. He now naturally looked forward to the obtainment of a fellowship from the college, on which he had conferred so much honour; but in this hope he was disappointed by a novel resolution of the master and fellows, that not more than two students, educated at the same school, should be fellows of the college at the same time; and Mr. Thornton, a member of the corps diploma
tique, and the Rev. Mr. Wood, afterwards master, both Christ's Hospital men, were at that time ranked among the fellows of Pembroke. We are not inclined to dispute the general justice of such regulations. Otherwise, the men of one school might in time exclude all competitors from other schools; at least they might become a majority, and thus always elect a schoolfellow to the mastership. But two in seventeen is a very small proportion, and if this rule had been promulgated before Mr. Mitchell had commenced his studies at this college, he might have removed to some other, where the prospects of their being rewarded by a fellowship were more certain., The unexpectedness of this regulation, which seemed to be made to shut the door against the first classical medallist Pembroke ever produced, was a severe mortification to the first victim of it. As Mr. Mitchell had determined to devote himself to a scholastic life, this disappointment seemed to overset all his future schemes, till in the year 1808 or 1809, he was enabled, by his literary acquirements, to obtain a fellowship at Sidney Sussex College; an acquisition the more honourable, inasmuch as the fellowship was what is termed open, or subject to the rivalry of any competitors. Had he entered in due time into holy orders, this fellowship would have provided him with part of those resources which he afterwards lived to need, for Mr. Mitchell never married. But conscientious scruples prevented him from becoming a candidate for holy orders; although we can confidently state, that this reluctance of Mr. Mitchell arose from an overwhelming fear of the responsibilities attached to the pastoral office, and not to any objection to the doctrines of the Established Church. After a limited term of years, he was obliged, by the statutes of the college, to vacate his fellowship. Had he been a fellow of Pembroke, his little provision would have continued for life, as the statutes of that college do not require the entrance into holy orders.
Under these untoward circumstances, Mr. Mitchell devoted his learning to private tuition and to the public press. For the first ten years after taking his bachelor's degree, he was tutor successively in the families of Sir George Henry Rose, Mr. Robert Smith, and Mr. Thomas Hope (author of Anastasius). In the second of these families he used to claim the honour of having had for his pupil the Right Hon. Vernon Smith.
In the year 1810 the writer of this brief memoir had the pleasure of introducing him to Mr. William Gifford; and in 1813 he commenced the series of essays in the Quarterly Review, on Aristophanes and Athenian manners, which led to his own translations in verse of the Old Comedian, which appeared in two volumes, in the years 1820 and 1822. As it is now the fashion to affiliate the papers in the Quarterly Review, we have made out the following list of Mr. Mitchell's contri
butions to that Journal: No. XVII. Article 9; XLII. 1; XLIII. 9; XLV. 12; XLVIII. 8; LIV. 6; LVIII. 2; LXVI. 3; LXXXVIIL 3.
Some of these essays had impressed the patrons of a vacant Greek chair in one of the Scotch universities with so much respect for Mr. Mitchell's classical attainments, that they invited him, through a friend, to accept of the situation. It was a lucrative, as well as a most respectable one, and he was a poor man; but he must have signed the Confession of the Scotch Kirk, and to him this was an insurmountable objection.
For the last twenty years of his life Mr. Mitchell resided with his relations, in the county of Oxford, and therefore found it not inconvenient to undertake the occasional task of superintending the publication of the Greek works, which issued from time to time from the Clarendon press. During the years 1834-8, he edited, in separate volumes, for Mr. Murray, the publisher, five of the plays of Aristophanes, with English notes, for the use of schools and universities. This edition drew forth from the Rev. G. J. Kennedy, fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, some strictures, to which Mr. Mitchell published a reply in 1841. He also published useful indices to the Greek orators and Plato. In 1839 he entered into an engagement with Mr. H. Parker, of Oxford, to edit an edition of Sophocles; but after the publication of the first three plays, it was discovered that the masters of our public schools objected to English notes, as seducing their writers into too great excursiveness and irrelevancy. Mr. Parker, therefore, in 1842, suspended his Sophocles, and Mr. Mitchell was left without any other employment than what the Clarendon press might casually offer. Under these circumstances, not only did his health and spirits begin to fail, but he suffered serious pecuniary inconvenience from private losses, and the cessation of all literary income. His friends became alarmed for him, and, through the kind intervention of the late Mr. Morritt, of Rokeby, his condition was made known to Sir Robert Peel, who immediately placed at his disposal the sum of £150, from the Royal Bounty Fund, and (what to Mr. Mitchell's feelings was more gratifying than pecuniary aid) conveyed to him, in a private letter, the expressions of his respect and sympathy. In 1843 Mr. Parker resumed his publication of Sophocles, and Mr. Mitchell edited the remaining four plays of that tragedian, with shorter notes than before; and in the year 1844 he devoted himself to the preparation of a minor edition of a Pentalogia Aristophanica, with brief Latin notes, for the use of schools.
He had nearly completed this task, when death surprised him. He had been long in a weak state of health, but his end was sudden and unexpected. His health had improved with the present year, and he was indulging himself in well-founded hopes that his governmental grant
would be renewed in May, and be followed by a permanent pension. Alas! on the 6th day of that mouth, he had breakfasted as usual, at his house at Steeple Aston, near Woodstock, with his niece and housekeeper, and adjourned to his study in tolerable health. About four hours afterwards, the niece, on entering the room, found some impediment to opening the door. It was caused by his dead body, which had fallen against it. The medical man who was summoned was of opinion that life had been extinct at least two hours, from a fit of apoplexy. Mr. Mitchell had not quite completed his sixty-second
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
On the OrigIN AND RAMIFICATIONS OF THE English Language. Preceded by an Inquiry into the Primitive Seats and Final Settlements of the Principal European Nations. By H. Welsford, Esq. 8vo. (London: Longman and Co.)
THIS is a work that answers neither to its title nor to its pretensions. The English language forms the least part of it. The book is written de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis, being half æsthetics and half political-economy. The doctrines of Malthus are made to bear upon the question of the old German population; whilst, in the matter of style, Hafiz of Persia is compared with Pope of England. Good never comes from subjects thus treated. The close grapple of detailed criticism is ever required for the verification of paradoxes. Neither are the merits of the production on a level with its claims; since the laxity of argument, the discursiveness of arrangement, and the heterogeneousness of illustration, indicated above, are, by far, the smallest faults of the composition.
This is strong language, which we have used with caution and reluctance. Unfortunately it is absolutely necessary in ethnography, in order to rescue the study from the hands of castle-builders and amateurs. It were a rash conclusion and a fond hope to imagine that the old days of philological folly are gone by. Statements are still made, on the presumption that there is no sound doctrine for them to jostle with; it being forgotten that even if ethnography be the study of but few, by those few it is known well and critically.
These later observations we confine to the class of writings dealt with. To the particular work in hand, they extend but partially. It is the misfortune of the Ramifications, &c., to belong to a disreputable class. It is its merit to be a fair specimen of its order. The worst book on ethnographical philology has yet to be written. Its demerits are beyond conjecture, but it will probably be the worst book in the world. On the contrary, Mr. Welsford's work would earn for its author an Irish prize in a good year, a Welsh one in an average year, and a Volney prize in a bad one.
It is always inauspicious for a writer to open his subject with a false view of what he teaches or unteaches. The best of us hear with unwil