Imágenes de páginas

disparage the merit of a fellow-laborer, and the spirit of the whole controversy was utterly uncongenial with his feelings. It became necessary for him, however, to expose a gross literary fraud, when the work just referred to was issued by an unscrupulous London publisher with a garbled Preface, and the utterly false title, “ A Universal, Critical, and Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language, .... compiled from the Materials of Noah Webster, LL. D., by Joseph E. Worcester.” A pamphlet setting forth the facts in the case was published by him in 1853, and enlarged with a third Appendix in 1854.

In 1847 – 49 Dr. Worcester experienced one of the severest trials that can befall a scholar, in the threatened loss of sight, and the actual inability to use his eyes for reading, or hardly any other purpose, for about two years. During this period he had three operations performed on his right eye for cataract, and two on his left, the last of which, bappily, was entirely successful. This great affliction was borne throughout without a murmur, in the spirit of true Christian resignation and trust.

In 1847 Dr. Worcester published an enlarged and improved edition of his Comprehensive Dictionary, which contained, among other additions, a “ Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names,” with their pronunciation. This volume was still further improved and enlarged in 1849; and in 1855 it appeared with the title, “A Pronouncing, Explanatory, and Synonymous Dictionary of the English Language " ; the discrimination of synonymes being an important and distinguishing feature of the work. It also contained a list of the Christian Names of Men and Women, with their etymological signification, introduced for the first time in an English dictionary.

The crowning literary labor, however, of Dr. Worcester's life was his “ Dictionary of the English Language,” published in 1860, in a large and beautifully printed quarto volume of one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four pages. In the preparation of this work, the author was aided by a number of able and industrious collaborators, and in the explanation of terms of a technical character he enjoyed the assistance of men eminent in various departments of literature and science, including some of the most honored members of the American Academy. The various appendixes of Classical, Scripture, and Geographical Names, and of Names of Distinguished Persons of Modern Times, were all elaborated anew, and made, it is believed, far more complete and accurate than in any preceding work. It will not be deemed invidious to

say, that, at the time of its publication, notwithstanding the great merits of its chief competitor, the general verdict of scholars at home and abroad placed it at the head of English lexicographical literature ; and if it has since been equalled or surpassed, we may indulge a pardonable pride in the fact, that the only dictionary of the English language which even now can pretend to rival it in fulness and accuracy is also the product of American enterprise, industry, and scholarship.

All the works of Dr. Worcester give evidence of sound judgment and good taste, combined with indefatigable industry and a conscientious solicitude for accuracy in the statement of facts. The tendency of his mind was practical rather than speculative. As a lexicographer, he did not undertake to reform long-established anomalies in the English language : his aim was rather to preserve it from corruption ; and his works have certainly contributed much to that end. In respect both to orthography and pronunciation, he took great pains to ascertain the best usage ; and perhaps there is no lexicographer whose judgment respecting these matters in doubtful cases deserves higher consideration. In the mazy paths of etymology, if he cannot claim the merit of an original explorer, his good sense preserved him from the wild aberrations and extravagances into which many have been misled. His definitions, for neatness and precision, will not suffer, perhaps, in comparison with those of any of his predecessors; but it must be confessed that all our English dictionaries too often mistake a special application of a word for an essential change of meaning, and hide its precise signification in a cloud of undiscriminated synonymes.

In 1827 Mr. Worcester was elected a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and he was an Honorary Corresponding Member of the Royal Geographical Society of London. He was also one of the earliest members of the American Oriental Society. In 1847 he received the degree of Doctor of Laws from Brown University, and afterwards from Dartmouth College.

Though somewhat cautious and reserved in the expression of his feelings, Dr. Worcester was a man of strong affections, and great benevolence of character. He delighted especially to render aid to those who, like himself in early life, were struggling with difficulties in the pursuit of knowledge ; and his sympathy for the poor and unfortunate was warm and active. During the late contest for the maintenance of the Union, and of the principles which lie at the foundation of our Republic, he was thoroughly patriotic. He had no children to consecrate to the cause, but nine of his nephews served in the United States Army, whom he encouraged by constant correspondence; and the various charities of the war met from him a ready and liberal response to their calls. Closing his earthly career at the advanced age of eightyone years, he has left behind him the memory of a useful and spotless life; and by his literary labors he has not only won a title to the gratitude and respect of his countrymen, but of all who speak and write the English language.

The Right Rev. John BERNARD FITZPATRICK was the son of Irish parents, of humble circumstances but earnest piety, who came over to America in 1805. Born in Boston on the 1st of November, 1812, he owed his early education to the common schools of his native city. He » was a pupil successively of the Adams and Boylston Schools, and afterwards for three years of the Boston Latin School. He seems to have been a most exemplary and diligent scholar, having twice received the Franklin medal, besides obtaining several other prizes for excellence in special departments of study. From his earliest youth he was the subject of deep religious impressions, and found his highest satisfaction in the teachings and services of the Church to which his parents belonged. To that church and its ministry he soon resolved to devote his life, and with this view he broke off from his secular studies, and left his home at seventeen years of age to enter the Roman Catholic College at Montreal. After four years of faithful study in that institution, he greatly distinguished himself by the part which he took in a public disputation in four languages, - Latin, Greek, French, and English, and was immediately thereafter appointed Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres. In this capacity he spent four years more at Montreal, and thence repaired for the completion of his theological preparation to the great Seminary of St. Sulpice in France. He was connected with this seminary for nearly three years, and was not less devoted or less distinguished as a scholar at Paris than he had been at Boston or Montreal. The time had now arrived for him to enter on the practical duties of the ministry. In May, 1839, he received the order of sub-deacon. In December of the same year he was ordained a deacon, and in the following year was promoted to the priesthood. Recrossing the Atlantic in November, 1840, he returned at once to bis native city, where for a year or two he was occupied with pastoral duties at the Cathedral or at St. Mary's Church. During another year or two, he held the pastorate of East Cambridge. But higher duties soon awaited him,

and in 1844, at thirty-two years of age, he received the appointment of Coadjutor to the Bishop of Boston, — the health of Bishop Fenwick requiring him to relinquish in part the care of the Diocese. He was consecrated Coadjutor in March, 1844, and on the death of Bishop Fenwick, a little more than two years afterwards, he succeeded to the full duties and dignities of Roman Catholic Bishop of Boston.

It was no light responsibility for any one to succeed to an office which had been held before only by the excellent Fenwick and the sainted Cheverus. Of the latter, at least, it may safely be said, that no ecclesiastic of any sect or denomination who ever lived in Boston has left behind him a more enviable memory. The charm of his conversation, the humility of his manners, the simplicity of his life, the untiring benevolence and beneficence which he exhibited towards the suffering poor, endeared him to the whole community; and his departure for France in 1823, to become the Bishop of Montauban, and afterwards Archbishop of Bordeaux and a Cardinal, while all acknowledged the justice of the promotion, was the subject of deep and wide-spread regret. It is enough to say of Bishop Fitzpatrick, that he proved a worthy successor to the eminent prelates who preceded him. He was a man of an excellent spirit, of a genial temper, of peculiar tact and sterling common-sense, of rare accomplishments, of a noble presence ; without anything of presumption or ostentation, yet of striking dignity; shrinking from all display, except such as was inseparable from the ceremonies of the Church over which he presided, and devoting his whole time and thoughts and strength to the care of his diocese. He had, indeed, too little self-appreciation for his own worldly fame, and has left no record of his learning and acquirements except in the memory of those who knew him. He seldom delivered formal discourses. He engaged in no doctrinal controversies. He wrote no theological essays. He committed absolutely nothing to the press. Not a single pamphlet, hardly a single printed page, is left to preserve his name in our libraries. But his memory will be cherished in the hearts of the whole religious denomination to which he belonged, and in those of a large circle of personal friends of all denominations.

His devoted labors in the Episcopacy for twenty years proved too much for his strength and health. He sought relief and restoration in foreign travel, but returned after an absence of two or three years without permanent benefit, and died in Boston on the 13th of February 1866, universally respected and lamented.

JONATHAN PATTEN HALL was born in Medford, Massachusetts, July 22, 1799, and died in Boston on March 6, 1866. He was fitted by Daniel Staniford for Harvard College, where he was graduated in 1816. His own inclination was for a student's life, particularly for the profession of medicine ; but he yielded to the wishes of his father, and was engaged with him in business as a druggist for twentythree years. Mr. Hall was interested in Chemistry and also in Botany. In 1821 he began to keep a regular journal of the atmospheric temperature, recording his observations three times a day. He continued this journal to within a few days of his death. The last observation recorded by himself was on November 13, 1865, but the work was done under his direction until March 1, 1866. On May 28, 1850, Mr. Hall was elected a Fellow of the Academy, and on the 14th of August of the same year he was appointed Meteorological Observer of the Academy. In 1858 he published his meteorological observations in the Memoirs of the Academy (Vol. VI. p. 229), under the following title : “Register of the Thermometer for Thirty-six Years, from 1821 to 1856, to which is added the Quantity of Rain falling in Boston, Mass., for Thirty-four Years, from 1823 to 1856.” Mr. Hall was singularly shy and retiring in his nature, but in his unassuming way he served faithfully the interests of science. Harvard College and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences were equally remembered by him in his modest bequests ; the former receiving one hundred dollars for its Library, and the latter an equal sum for its Publication Fund.

From our list of Associate Fellows we have to lament the loss of the Rev. Dr. Wayland, Bishop Alonzo Potter, and Colonel James D. Graham, — the two former distinguished for their learning and eloquence as divines, and for their zealous and fruitful labors in behalf of education, - the latter well known for his various services as an officer of the Corps of our National Engineers.

Francis WAYLAND, the son of Rev. Francis and Mary Wayland (the father a Baptist clergyman of worth and reputation), was born in the city of New York on the 11th of March, 1796. He was graduated at Union College in 1813. He then made choice of the medical profession, in which he had completed a three years' course of study, when, deeming himself called to a more sacred field of service, he, in 1816, became a member of the Andover Theological Seminary. Here he remained but a year, and then accepted a tutorship in Union College, which he held for four years. In 1821 he became pastor of the First Baptist

« AnteriorContinuar »