William D. (William Draper) Swan.

A reply to Messrs.G. & C. Merriam's attack upon the character of Dr. Worcester and his dictionaries online

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Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Draper) SwanA reply to Messrs.G. & C. Merriam's attack upon the character of Dr. Worcester and his dictionaries → online text (page 5 of 7)
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sioner, OF Ohio, in a letter to the publishers, says :

Gentlemen : I regard Worcester's Elementary and Comprehensive Dic-
tionaries as the best School Dictionaries extant, for the following reasons,
namely : First, because they are the cheapest Dictionaries which contain
full vocabularies of Greek, Latin, Scripture, and Geographical Proper
Names, with their pronunciation. Second, because they exhibit the author-
ities respecting words of various, doubtful or disputed pronunciation, where
the words are defined. Third, because, for manuals of this sort, they con-
tain a very large number of words, esjiecially numerous technical terms in
the various arts and sciences, with definitions as comprehensive and exact as
could be expected in works of this kind. The opinion has been formed from
a ten years' experience in the use of said works, in an institution that
afforded excellent opportunities for testing their peculiar advantages.


Cleveland, January 10, 1852.
The undersigned concurs in the views expressed in the above note of Mr.
H. H. Barney in relation to Worcester's Dictionaries.

Acting Manager of Public Schools.

Sandusky, Ohio, February 15, 1854.
Messrs. Jenks, Hickling & Swan.

Long use has led me to respect the extent and accuracy of the definitions
in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, while my later experience induces me


to give the preference, unhesitatingly, to Mr. "Worcester, as a standard for
pronunciation and orthography. Both are used in our public schools for
constant reference, and I should regard the "withdrawal of either as a calam-
ity. As a series for our pupils, we use Worcester's Elementary Dictionary
in our Grammar Schools, and Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary in our
High School. Very respectfully,

Superintendent Public Schools, Sandusky, 0.

Athens, Ohio, May 6, 1852.
Messes. Jenks, Hickling & Swan.

Gentlemen : I desire to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of Worcester's
Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language ; and the brief
examination which I have since been able to give it fully confirms the favor-
able opinion which I had been led to form from its general reputation. I
take pleasure in authori^iing you to add my name to the list of those who
" do not hesitate to pronounce it, in our judgment, the most comprehensive,
accurate and useful Dictionary within our knowledge." It is undoubtedly
the best standard which we have as to orthography and pronunciation.
Very respectfully yours, &c.,

Professor of Languages in the Ohio University,

Massillon, January 3, 1852.
I have examined Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary, and Worcester's
Primary Dictionary, published by you, and am so well pleased with them
that I shall immediately recommend their introduction into the school now
under my charge. I think them the best practical Dictionaries now claim-
ing public attention, and sincerely hope you will succeed in introducing
them into the schools of our State.

Superintendent Massillon Union School.

tfrbana Seminary, March 11, 1853.
Worcester's Dictionary has been the standard authority in the institutions
which I have had the charge of for the past fifteen years ; and from this
experience I am satisfied that the author has met fully the demand in this
department of learning. MILO G.WILLIAMS.

The Messrs. Merriam publish a letter from Hon. Horace 3Iann, late
Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, commendatory of
Webster's Quarto Dictionary. Mr. Mann is now President of Antioch
College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Read what he says of Worcester's
Dictionaries as his standard authority for orthogi-aj^by and pro-

For many years, in all my writing, speaking and teaching, I have endeav-
ored to conform to the rules for orthography and pronunciation as con-
tained in Worcester's Dictionary. I suppose them, with but very few
exceptions, to represent the highest standard recognized by tlie l)e8t writers
and speakers, in England and in this country. ... I shall not foil to
recommend every person to purchase a copy of this Dictionary who is able
to do 80. HORACE MANN.


Dr. Azel p. Ladd, the able and accomplished Superintendent of
Public Instruction of the State of Wisconsin, in his last report to the
Legislature of that State, recommends Webster's Quarto Dictionary for
'* the school-room desk ; " but he also recommends " Worcester''s, as a
hand-book, for scholars.''''

From the Principal of the Union School, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

I am using Worcester's Dictionaries as my standard authority in the
orthography and pronunciation of the English language.



Prom Mr. Spencer Smith, late Superintendent of the Public Schools in St.
Louis, and Principal of an English and Classical High School for Girls.

St. Louis, November 29, 1852.

Dear Sir : Of the many School Dictionaries which I have used in my
school for several years past, I regard Worcester's as decidedly the best. I
have found it uniting more of the requisites for such a Dictionary — cor-
rectnei^ and comprehensiveness — than any similar vrork ; and while I am
in the constant habit of" directing the scholar's attention to Dr. Webster's
Quarto for the definition and use of words. Dr. Worcester's opinion on all
matters concerning disputed pronuncifCtion is considered a final decision.

And permit me to add, that in all his works for schools I have found Dr.
Worcester more uniformly correct and more reliable authority than any
author with which I am acquainted.

Yours, &c., SPENCER SMITH.

From Mr. A. Litton, Superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools.

St. Louis, November 2, 1852.
For several years 1 have been daily in the habit of consulting Worcester's
Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language. I have always
found it an invaluable aid, and know no work of the kind that in all
respects possesses equal merit as a work of reference. I can heartily recom-
mend it to all who wish to study, and to write and speak correctly, the Eng-
lish language.

Worcester's smaller Dictionary has been for the last ten years my travel-
ling companion, and I know no Dictionary that is better adapted to meet
the wants of young persons, or that can with so much advantage Ije placed
upon the desk of every scholar in all schools and academies.


From Mr. J. D. Low, Principal of St. Louis High School.

I have used Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary for a number of years,
and regard it as standard authority in orthography and pronunciation. It
is an invaluable auxiliary in obtaining a correct knowledge of the English
language, and should he placed in the hands of the pupils of all our schools.
I place it by the side of Webster's Dictionary upon my desk, and would not
be without it. J. D. LOW.

From Mr. J. Blanchard, President of Knox College, Illinois.

Worcester's large Dictionary can hardly compete with Webster's in the
definition of words, but it is a work of rare excellence ; and by its clearer


38 worcestek's dictionaeies.

and more obvious presentation to tlie eye of the pronunciation of the lan-
guage, and especially by the richness and abundance of its appended matter ,-
it is a more convenient work for daily use to scholars than any other.


We could publish a volume of similar testimony from the most emi-
nent teachers, not only " in the Evipire State of New York, and at the
West," but in every section of the country. Read the following


Hon. Thomas H. Burrowes, editor of the Pennsylvania School Jour-
nal, and formerly Superintendent of Public Instruction in the State
of Pennsylvania, says :

Some months ago, being applied to by several teachers to designate the
best large defining and etymological Dictionary for the use of teachers, we
unhesitatingly named, and still name, Webster^s Unabridged quarto ivork.
We have recently been asked, also, by teachers, to name a good Dictionary
for pupils to have on their desks for reference, and feel as little hesitation in
saying that Worcester's Comprehejisive Dictionary is as good a one as can
be purchased for this use and for the same money — perhaps the best — cer-
tainly the best we have examined. We are not in favor of 25 cent or 37i
cent Dictionaries for this purpose. If practicable, we sliould like to see
Webster's or Worcester's largest books in the ownership and use of each
advanced pupil ; but this is, yet, out of the question. The next best thing
that can be done is to get the next largest and cheapest book to be had ; and
there will be no mistake in telling every pupil, who wants or ought to have
a good Dictionary of the English language, to buy Worcester's Comprehen-
sive Dictionary.


Office of the Commissioners of Public Schools, April 16, 1853.
At a meeting of the Board of Public School Commissioners of the city of
Baltimore, held March 8th, 1853, Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary
was introduced into the schools.

Respectfully yours,

Sec. Oomm's Public Schools.

Office of the Commissioners of Public Schools, May 17, 1853.
At a meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Public Schools for the city
of Baltimore held this day, Worcester's Universal and Critical Dictionary
was introduced into all the schools for the use of the teachers.
Very respectfully and truly yours,

Sec. Comm's Public Schools.


Hon. C. H. Wiley, Superintendent of Public Instruction in the State
of North Carolina, in his recommendation of school books for that
State, thus alludes to the subject of Dictionaries :


Every scholar should be in possession of a Dictionary as soon as he learns
tio read ; and when teachers exercise their pupils in spelling, from memory,
they should give out the vfords from a work of this sort, and give also the

As best suited to the purposes of our primary schools, I recommend, with-
out hesitation, Worcester's Comprehensive Dictionary. And I earnestly
hope that all teachers, at least, will supply themselves with copies.



From Professor Francis Lieber, LL.D., of South Carolina College.

My acquaintance with Dr. Worcester's Universal and Critical Dictionary
is thorough, and I consider it the best of all American Dictionaries of the
English language. I am not acquainted with the school editions of this
Dictionary, but, knowing well the indefatigable industry and long-tried
judgment of the author, I make no doubt but that the value of these edi-
tions is proportionate to that of the larger work, and that they deserve the
recommendations which many scholars have given them.


testimony from ALABAMA.

From Professor Wilson G. Richardson, of the University of Alabama.

Whilst in charge of the department of criticism in the University of Ala-
bama, I inflexibly ruled out all Websterian innovations, by ordering, for
the use of the students, Dr, Worcester's excellent work, and acknowledging
no other standard in orthography and orthoepy. This learned and labori-
ous investigator has here j^resented us the language, — not such as certain
well-meaning theorists would have it, but such as it actually is ; and this I
conceive to be the only legitimate office of the lexicographer. His analysis
of sound is much more simple and comj)lete than even Walker's, the weight
of whose authority is ever brought to bear upon the decision of delicate

testimony from new ORLEANS.

The undersigned. Committee on Supplies for the Public Schools of the
Fourth District, New Orleans, highly approve of the series of Dictionaries
compiled by Dr. J. E. Worcester, and published by Jenks, Hickling &
Swan, of Boston. Pursuant to a resolution of the School Board, of which
we are a committee, we have through our Ijookseller and stationer — Mr.
William Fleming — ordered for our two thousand pupils each a copy of one
of the three smaller Dictionaries of the series, according to the degree of the
advancement of the pupil. We have also furnished each of our forty teach-
ers with a copy of the octavo Dictionary of Worcester, ivhich we have
adopted as the standard on all points on ivhich reference is made to a Diction-
ary. This latter work contains the most copious vocabulary ever published,
— full to repletion. It settles the pronunciation of a large class of words,
incorrectly designated in all preceding lexicons. It represents good tasto
and good usage in orthography, in opposition to the scheming innovations
and perversions of Noah Webster, with whom every dead, fossilized word
of antiquity was caught at as a pretext for changing the spelling of the
words of his mother tongue.

Worcester's system of notation, and his scheme of the vowel sounds, are
more accurate and precise than any that we have examined, and must
Infallibly lead to a correct and polite pronunciation.

The catalogue of words of unsettled orthography is extremely valuable for

40 "worcestek's dictionaries.

reference. "When we add to this the rules and vocabularies for the pronun-
ciation of the Greek and Latin proper names, the Scripture proper names,
and of Geographical names (excellences which belong to all four of the
Dictionaries of the series) , we have a book which should supersede all other
Octavo Dictionaries ever published.

The compiler has rendered a real service to the cause of education ; and
we hope that one so thoroughly competent to the task will ere long favor
the world with a massive Quarto, which will supersede the work of Web-


Fourth District of New Orleans, August 3, 1853.

The reader's attention is now called to the following additional tes-
timony, in favor of the Universal and Critical Dictionary, from some
of the most eminent scholars in the country :


The execution of this Dictionary fully answers to its title.

The Vocabulary is probably more comprehensive than that of all preced-
ing English Dictionaries united.

Constant reference is made to Authorities with respect to words newly
introduced, and care is taken to note such as are technical, foreign, obsolete,
provincial, or vulgar.

The Definitions are clear and exact, and those pertaining to technical
and scientific terms are specially valuable to the general reader.

The author has evidently bestowed great labor on Pronunciation. His
system of notation, which is easily understood, and founded on a more com-
plete analysis of the vowel sounds than we have elsewhere met with, together
with his plan of exhibiting all the best English authorities in relation to
words differently pronounced by different orthoepists, gives to this work
important advantages as a Pronouncing Dictionary.

In Orthography he has made no arbitrary changes, but, where usage is
various and fluctuating, he has aimed to be consistent, and to reduce to the
same rules words of similar formation.

The insertion of Grammatical Forms and Inflections of Words to a
much greater extent than they are given in other English Dictionaries, and
the short critical notes on the orthography, the jDrouunciation, the gram-
matical form and construction, and the peculiar technical, local, and Amer-
ican uses of words interspersed through the volume, gives to this work much
additional value.

The copious Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names, with their
pronunciation, and a greatly enlarged and improved edition of Walker's Key
to the Pronunciation of Classical and Scripture Proper Names, are import-
ant appendages to the Dictionary.

A year has passed since this Dictionary was published ; and its already
extensive use, both among cultivated English readers and men of wide learn-
ing, affords good testimony of its merits. We confidently recommend it as
containing an ample and careful view of the present state of our language.
McLean Professor of An. and Mod. History, Harvard University.

Justice U. S. Supreme Court, Ohio.

Professor of Sacred Literature, Theol. Seminary, Andover, Mass.


Abbott Prof, of Christ. Theology, Theol. Seminary, Andover, Mass.

President of Bowdoin College, Me.

President of Dartmouth College, N. H.

President of Amherst College, Mass.

President of Williams College, Mass.
Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, Harvard University,

Professor of Belles Lettres, Harvard University.

Bishop of Pennsylvania.

Late Professor of Hebrew, &c., Harvard University.
V President of Geneva College, N. Y.


Professor in Jefferson Med. College, Philadelphia.

Editor of the North American Review.

Librarian of the Boston Athenseum.

President of

President of University of North Carolina.

President of the University of Nashville, Tenn.
Professor of An. Lan. and Literature, Cumberland University, T^un.

I concur fully in the leading portions of the above recommendation — not
having had leisure to examine all the particulars referred to.

Justice U. S. Supreme Court, Mass.

From a general and frequent reference to this Dictionary, in constant use.
I fully concur in the general merits of the work, and regard it as a very
valuable aid to science.


Chancellor of the University of New York.

I have used " Worcester's Universal and Critical Dictionary of the Eng-
lish Language," in preference to any other, for constant reference.


President of University of Vermont.
From Hon. Edward Everett, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

I am inclined to regard your Dicti(toary, from the cursory examination I
have been able to make of it, and my knowledge of your lexicographical skill,
as the best Dictionary — I mean the most useful — of our language.

42 Worcester's dictionaries.

From the Rev. "William Jenks, D.D., Editor of the Comprehensive Com"

mentary, dfc.

The subscriber unites cordially with those gentlemen who have recom-
mended Worcester's Dictionary as affording the best and safest exhibition
of the English language, in its most accredited and established use. It is
free from harsh innovations, conservative in its general character, trust-
worthy in its derivations ; and he hopes it may be even more extensively
brought into early and continual use in seminaries of education and in pub-
lic offices, that it may tend to check the irregularities that are deforming the
beauty of expression which it has cost so much effort to establish. He
regards it as, on the whole, deserving to be esteemed a standard.

Boston, January 2Q,l^bZ. WILLIAM JENKS.

From Hon. Charles Sumner, United States Senate.

The Universal Dictionary I have used constantly, and almost daily, since
its publication. I have no hesitation in calling it the best practical Dic-
tionary of the English language.

January 24, 1851. CHARLES SUMNER.

From Rev. Edward Beecher, D.D., Boston.
Since I received it, I have regularly consulted it, and always with increas-
ing satisfaction. For convenience, accuracy, and copiousness, I have found
it decidedly superior to any work of the kind which I have used.

From Hon. John McLean, of Cincinnati.
Your small Dictionary, published in 1837, has been my daily companion
for more than nine years. I congratulate you on the completion of this
great work. Its production required high and exact learning, and much
patient labor ; but it will introduce your name to every library in our coun-
try, and place it by the side of the distinguished lexicographers who have
preceded you.

From Charles Northend, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Danvers,

In respect to orthography and pronunciation I consider your work prefer-
able to any other, and the definitions are all that could be desired.

From Edward Hitchcock, D.D., President Amherst College.
I am free to say that, in scientific terms (to which my attention was con-
fined), it is the most complete of any Dictionary I have ever met; and,
therefore, it will replace all others on my study table.

From C. B. Haddock, Professor of Rhetoric, Dartmouth College.
It supplies all the defects of preceding works in pronunciation which have
occurred to me.

From J. Bouvier, Author of Law Dictionary.
Since I have had it I have constantly referred to it ; and althougli my
library is very well supplied with Dictionaries, I have frequently been
indebted to yours for what I have in vain sought in others.

From Francis Wayland, D.D., President Brown University.

On looking over the various departments of your work, I am astonished
at the vast amount of information respecting our language which you have
compressed within so small a space. Your introductory articles seem to me
remarkably complete and compendious. The Dictionary is very full, and at
the same time you have, as far as I ain, able to judge, marked the Avords of
obsolete or doubtful use, with accurate discrimination. I congratulate you
on the completion of a work which will prove a most important aid to the

Worcester's dictionaries. 43

student of the English language, and I tender to you my best wishes for its
success. I take the liberty to add, that Professor Gamwell, of the Chair of
English Literature and Rhetoric, entertains the same views as myself of the
value of your work.

From John G. Palfrey, D.D., LL.D.
What litile examination I have yet been able to give to it confirms what I
hear from the best sources, that it is destined to supersede all other works
of the kind, and supply the want in its important department for an indefi-
nite time to come.

From Mr. A. W. Sprague, Principal High School, Eastport, Me.
As an orthographer and orthoepist, Worcester, in my opinion, stands
unrivalled, and in words of doubtful orthography and pronunciation I know
of no safer authority.

From the Hon. S. G. Goodrich, Author of Peter Parleifs Works.
The best popular standard of pronunciation is Worcester's new Universal
and Critical Dictionary.

From Professor M. B. Anderson, of Waterville College, Me.
The result of a thorough examination of Worcester's Dictionary has been
to produce in my mind the decided conviction, that for fulness of vocabulary,
accuracy in orthography, pronunciation, and definition, and for its criticisms
upon unauthorized words, it is superior to any Dictionary of the English
language with which I am acquainted., I have recommended the work to
our students as a standard for reference.

From Mr. William 'Rv'&'&^iAj, Elocutionist , formerly Editor of the American
Journal of Education, and Author of a Series of Reading Books.

You are aware that I have, in my comjsilations on elocution, and in my
instructions on that subject, uniformly referred to the previous Dictionaries
of Mr. Worcester as the most accurate and satisfactory sources of informa-
tion in their department. The new Dictionary I have examined closely, and
am daily using it as a standard for reference ; and it seems to me the most
valuable work of the kind ever produced in this country. In my communi-
cations with teachers, I have been accustomed, for many years, to hear an
earnest wish expressed for an American Dictionary, free from the peculiari-
ties of Webster and the obsolete extremes of Walker. Such a work Mr.
Worcester seems to have furnished, and it bids fair to be generally adopted
as a standard in instruction.

From Mr. W. H. Wells, Principal of Putnam Free School, Newburyport^
Mass., and Author of a popular Grammar of the English Language.

As a standard of orthography and pronunciation, the compilation of Mr.
Worcester is far in advance of all other works of its class. His exhibition
of the elementary sounds of the language surpasses even the masterly analy-
sis of vSmart. The definitions are copious and accurate, and every portion of
the work affords evidence of the most careful and exact discrimination, and
the profoundest research.

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Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Draper) SwanA reply to Messrs.G. & C. Merriam's attack upon the character of Dr. Worcester and his dictionaries → online text (page 5 of 7)