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I have in justice to him to mention country, and that Mr Murray execufarther, that above twelve years ago, ted this service in a very satisfactory he gave me in manuscript for perusal, manner, A new Hebrew grammar, or Treatise It will give me great pleasure if on the Nature and Elements of the He- this communication can be of any utibrew Language, which he bad com- lity to Mr Murrray, in sbewing him posed. It was, in my judgment, a to be deserving of the patronage of comprehensive, judicious, and able your Lordship and the Council in performance, displaying a very inti. Edinburgh for his election to the Promate knowledge of the peculiar struc- fessorship of Oriental Languages in ture, idiom, and general character of your University. I have the honour the Hebrew.
to be, my Lord Provost, your Lord. I shall only state in addition to ship's most obedient humble Servant, this, that it consists with my personal
CASTLEREAGH. knowledge, that not only his acquain To the Lord Proost of Edinburgh. tance with the Hebrew and other Oriental Languages is profoand, but that he has had very considerable ex
No. XVIII. perience in teaching them; and that be Extract from Kerr's Memoirs of Smelgave undeniable practical proof of be. lie, Vol. I. p. 284. Edinburgh 1811. ing able to teach them with successo “ It is difficult to speak with prowith great satisfaction and improve priety of a living person, lest praise ment to his pupils.
may appear as tending towards adula. I have the honour to be, &c. tion, or the delicacy of the individual
Geo. H. BAIRD. might be unintentionally offended : To the Right Hon. William Creech, but we hope, without imputation of Lord Provost, &c.
the one or danger of the other consequence, it may be permitted to say,
that Mr Murray is a rare instance of No. XVII.
almost incredible, and certainly unu
sual attainments in literature and phi. Letter, the Right Hon. Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of State for the lology, though originally placed in
peculiarly discouraging circumstances, Foreign Department, &c. &c. to the Right Hon. Wm. Creech, Lord of situation, every way adverse for Provost, in favour of the Rev. A.
eliciting or promoting his uncommon Murray.
talents. Altogether unknown, and
destitute of patronage, and barely poser Foreign Office, June 23. 1812. sessing the means of subsistence, that My Lord Provost, - It is at the gentleman became, in very early particular request of the Rev. Alex- youth, entirely by his own exertions, ander Murray of Urr, in the county and in a wonderfully short time, comof Dumfries, communicated to me by plete master of the Latin, Greek, and Henry Salt, Esq. that I have the Hebrew languages. While living in honour to acquaint your Lordship, that an obscure situation in the country, this gentleman was, in the year 1810, almost without any assistance whatrequested by the Marquis Wellesley, ever, for he is said to have been only my predecessor in this office, to tran- three months at school, and hardly slate for the use of the Prince Regent able to procure even the most ordinaa letter in the Geesh language from ry elementary books, he is reported the Ras of Abyssinia to His Majesty, to have made himself master of seven which Mr Salt had brought to Eng. languages, before he was twenty years land, when he last returned from that of age.
" While engaged in theological able to translate from it with accurastudies at Edinburgh, he acquired a cy. Mr Murray bas by no means thorough knowledge of Hebrew, and devoted this extraordinary talent for of the allied dialects or languages, the acquisition of languages to the Chaidee, Samaritan, Syriac, and Ara. barren delight of storing up words bic; and extended his researches into and phrases for his own private amusePersic, German, Dutch, Spanish, and ment; but has announced a philosoeven Gaelic. Having been employed phical work on this curious subject to for some time as editor of the Scots the public, in which he proposes to Magazine, by Messrs Constable and trace the affinities and origin of the Co. eminent and spirited booksellers Greek and Latin languages in Edinburgh, he undertook in their much more simple, regular and ancient; service the superintendance of a new which he considers as the basis or root edition of the celebrated Travels of of almost all the languages of Europe, Bruce into Abyssinia, with consider- ancient as well as modern, and even able additions from the papers of that of the Sanskrit. The title of this inadventurous traveller. To qualify tended work, which is said to have hiinself effectually for this purpose, he been nearly ready for the press two made himself in a great degree a pro- years ago, is “ Researches into the ficient in the Ethiopic or Abyssinian Origin and Affinity of the Greek and language, which is a dialect of the Teutonic Languages;" and which we Arabic; or rather consists of two prin- have some reason to believe may be cipal dialects, the Geez, or language put to press before the present work of Tigre, and the Amharic, or court comes before the public. The Author language of Abyssinia, since the seat of these Memoirs makes no pretensions of government has been established at to philological learning ; yet presumes Gondar in Amhara. Mr Murray to alledge, that it is impossible to inappears to have entered considerably vestigate the filiation of any language into the study of the barbarons lan- or leading dialect, without a compeguages, or dialects of the subjects and tent knowledge of all those which are neighbours of the Abyssinian mo- geographically and historically connarchy, named the Falashan, Gafat, nected by neighbourhood or colonizaAgow, and Tcherets- Agow; and even tion. Philologists have generally conto have acquired some knowledge of fined their researches to one or two that spoken by the savage Gala. tavourite languages, from which they
“ In the prosecutian of his philo- endeavour to deduce the roots of that logical studies, Mr Murray has care, which is the object of their investigafully examined and made himself tion. Mr Murray appears to have master of all the principal dialects or chosen a wider field, by securing a languages of Europe, ancient as well previous knowledge of all the sources as modern, including, besides those of derivation, and their intermediate which are derived from the Latin, steps; and much curious information those of Teutonic, Sclavonic, and may be expected from his labours.” Celtic origin; and such is the facility with which he acquires languages, a task so difficult and irksome to most
No. XIX. men, that we are credibly informed he is capable to surmount the obstacles Letter from Professor Christison, f in the way of acquiring any language the Right Hon. the Lord Provosi, whatever in one month, so as to un- intimating determination to wilkderstand its grammatical construction draw Mr Murray's claim as Pro and idiomatic phraseology, and to be fessor of Hebrew
Argyll Square, Wednesday Morning, studies belonging to that place, and
by unremitting attention to the duties My Lord,,Principal Baird, who connected with it. is gone to Forneth, has determined
If I have the honour of receiving that Mr Murray be no longer consi. this appointment from your Lordship’s. dered as a candidate for the Professor- hands, I trust that I shall be able, not ship of Eastern Languages; and I only to make the study of those Eastthink that he has determined right. ern Languages, hitherto taught in In a letter sent the other day lo the Scotland, more general and popular, Principal, which I have at present, but also to introduce a knowledge of Mr Murray expresses his anxiety about the Sanscrit, in which I have made the sufficiency of the income to sup. very considerable proficiency, and perport a family; he also mentions that haps of the Chinese itself, and some he is asthmatic, and that in such a other languages at present little read state, he is afraid of the labour of in any University in Britain. teaching, but leaves the whole matter io My friends will report to your Dr Baird's determination. I am appre. Lordship and other Members of Coun. hensive that the hopes entertained of cil, their sentiments as to my qualifithe future results of his industry, learn- cations for the Chair: and many meming, and genius, will be disappointed. bers of the University will, I have I beg you will pardon the trouble I reason to believe, unite with my have given you. I have the honour warmest friend and patron, Dr Baird, to be, your most obedient servant, in expressing a favourable opinion of ALEXANDER CHRISTISON. these on this occasion. My Lord, I
have the honour to be, with the
greatest respect and esteem, your No. XX.
Lordship’s most obedient and humble Letter from the Rev. A. Murray to Servant, the Right Hon. the Lord Provost.
ALEX. MURRAY. Manse of Urr, June 18th, 1812. The Right Hon. the Lord Provost of My Lord, -As a report has reach.
Edinburgh. ed me, that my much honoured and worthy friend Dr Baird has, on account of some expressions in one of
No. XXI. my letters to him, been led to consi. der that I decline to present myself Letter, Professor Christison to Prinas a candidate for the Professorship of
cipal Baird. the Oriental Languages, and as, du- Dear Sir-I hope no one will think ring his absence in the country, some that I have determined to withdraw degree of credit might perhaps be at- the note which I wrote last in testimotached to this rumour, I take this me- ny of my belief of Mr Murray's fitness thod of most respectfully signifying to for the chair of Hebrew, and other your Lordship and the Council, that Oriental Languages, after I saw his I never had any intention of declining letter expressive of his eager wish for 'to solicit your Lordship’s and their that office, and of no fears with regard patronage on this occasion ; that I re- to the health requisite to discharge its gularly offer myself a candidate for important duties. the vacant Chair; and that I hope to The note which I wrote may not merit the kind approbation of the have much effect, but I wish success Patrons of the University, by a long to that uncommon linguist. I ain and extensive acquaintance with the happy to learn that he is warmly re
commended by gentlemen far better informed him of the state of Dr qualified than I am to appretiate justly Baird's feelings and views. his extensive knowledge of Eastern Mr Christison, who had been preLanguages. I am, &c.
viously zealous and active in recomAlex. CHRISTJSON. mending Mr Murray's pretensions to Argyll Square, 30th June 1812.
some of the Patrons, and who, conse
quently, had a similar sense of responNo. XXII.
sibility with Dr Baird, thought, after
the information he had received, that Note by Principal Baird, as to Mr it was incumbent on him to write the
Murray having been withdrawn as letter he sent to the Lord Provost. a Candidate for the Professorship of He thought, that withdrawing. Mr Oriental Languages, by Mr Chris. Murray, in the circumstances of the tison's letter. (No. XIX.)
case, was due to himself and Dr Mr Murray's first letter to Dr Baird, and that intimating bis being Baird (of date June 12th) expressed withdrawn was due from respect to his desire to be proposed as a candi. the Patrons. date for the Professorship. But he On Dr Baird's return from the stated, in very strong terms, some country, however, he found a second apprehensions that weighed on his letter addressed to him by Mr Murmind, as to the possible effect of the ray. In that letter he appears to laborious duties of the Chair on his have given up decidedly all apprehenhealth, and as to the limited and un- sion of the difficulties he had formerly certain emoluments he might expect suggested. He declared explicitly to draw.
and earnestly, his wish to obtain the Dr Baird was much impressed by office in question, and in language this statement of the apprehensions completely unqualified, authorised De alluded to. He had at first mentioned Baird to
his pretensions. Mr Murray as a Candidate, without The anxieties formerly felt by Mr his knowledge. He felt deeply the Christison and Dr Baird were now serious and delicate responsibility he removed; and Mr Murray was forwould incur, if Mr Murray proved mally proposed as a candidate for the successful, and afterwards actually chair, in Dr Baird's letter to the Lord experienced the difficulties he seemed Provost. to anticipate. Dr Baird, therefore, From the preceding detail which did, for a moment, form the resolution Dr Baird has taken the liberty of of declining to undertake the respon- submitting to the Honourable Patsibility, and of consequently with-rons, they will see that Mr Murray drawing Mr Murray's name, though, had not the slightest concern in his had he persevered in the resolution, name being withdrawn. He is a third he would not have withdrawn it party in the cause, and will not be without having had a previous com- held as implicated in an occurrence munication with Mr Murray himself, for which he had not given any auand having procured his consent to thority, and of which he had not even the measure.
any knowledge. Dr Baird was at this time obliged Dr Baird has given the Honourable to go suddenly to the country for Patrons the trouble of this Note, as some days, and had no opportunity he thought the statement it contains, of any conversation with Mr Christi- due to Mr Murray, to Mr Christison, son on the subject. But a Friend, and to himself. to whom they had been mentioned,
GEO. H. BAIRD.
sitions as a linguist, and of his moral
and intellectual character in general. Letler, Professor Christison 10 Princi
I have the honour to be, pal Baird, 30 July, in reference to
Reverend Sir, the preceding note.
Your very faithful and obedient Dear Sir, I think that your state
humble Servant, inent is all
F. JEFFREY. Your's faithfully, 92, George Street, June 25, 1812.
Dean of Guild, to William Ritchie,
D. D. Professor of Divinity in the No. XXIV.
L'niversity of Edinburgh. Letter, Francis Jeffrey, Esq. Adva
Edinburgh, 4th July 1812. cate, to the Very Rev. Principal
Dear Sir,-In perusing the various Baird, recommending Mr Murray.
documents relative to the ProfessorReverend Sir - It may seem strange ship of the Oriental Languages, I obthat I should not be able to give a serve a letter of yours, addressed to precise answer to the simple inquiry the Provost, in answer to various quesyou did me the honour of addressing tions put to you by members of the to me, with regard to the articles Town Council, as to the fitness, in contributed by Mr Murray to the point of qualification in talent, of Me Edinburgh Review. But the truth Brunton, to suceeed Dr Moodie in is, that I have not a complete set of the Oriental Chair ; and this circumthis publication, and a very indistinct stance induces me to trouble you alrecollection of the shares of its res so for your opinion of the talents and pective authors. I can inform you, qualifications for that Chair of another however, that, to the best of my candidate, namely, the Rev. Mr A. recollection, Mr Murray reviewed Murray, Minister of Urr, in DumClark's Progress of Naval Discovery, fries-shire. This request, I am sure; in the 6th Number, for January 1804, you will most readily grant ; and I and an Antiquarian Dissertation of think, independently of friendship General Vallencey, in some other and public duty, you will the more Number, which I have now forgotten, readily do so, when I tell you, that and cannot readily find. It occurs Mr Murray is to me a perfect stranto me, that I printed another of his ger, and that my sole and only object reviews, but I cannot recollect what is, that ample justice should be done it was, and may be mistaken as to its to the merits of all the candidates, existence. I also received from him and that the qualifications of each a very learned article on Horne should be distinctly and fully known Tooke's Epea Ptereonta, which was to the Patrons of the University, for not printed, and is still, I believe, in the regulation of their conduct and my possession.
proceedings in filling up the vacant I hope I may add, without any im- chair. proper presumption, that, from the I am very certain that you will occasional intercourse I had with Mr give me credit for the principle I Murray while he resided in this place, have laid down, when I tell you what I am led to form the very highest that is :-that, laying aside all feelopinion both of his talents and acqui: ings of a personal and friendly nature,