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Yet was thy liberality discreet,
Review of the Eclectic Review.
To the Editors of the Panoplist. has become prevalent in the West
and tbe East Indies, and has spread In the ECLECTIC REVIEW for January, from Hudson's Bay to Van Diemen's 1807, you will see some remarks on
land. It is possible, that, in the lapse my COMPENDIOUS DICTIONAYY, which I desire you to insert in the
of ages, every colony formed by Brit.
ons may, like those of North Ameri. Panoplist, with my reply. I make
ca, assume independence of the mothis request because I am willing my fellow-citizens should understand the hope that it will be readily acceded to
ther country: and if they do so, we opinions of English Gentlemen, con
them. But ENGLISH, however re. cerning that performance ; and be luctantly, they must remain. The cause I wish my reply to reach the
bonds of customs and language canReviewers, in expectation that they
pot be broken like those of political will manifest their candour and love
authority. It gives us pleasure to obof justice by republishing my re
serve, that, notwithstanding the viomarks. The Review contains some
lent prejudices against us, which are mistakes, which are the effect of mis
absurdly cherished by our fellow-counopprenension ; some differences of opinion, which may be the effect of wise enough to aim at preserving the
trymen beyond the Atlantic, they are education and habit; and some er.
use of our language with correctness tors, which proceed probably from a
and propriety. Whether they are want of minute attention to etymol- likely to succeed in amending and im. ogy, that difficult, and to most men, proving it, the present article affords uninteresting branch of philology.
us occasion to examine. But, with the exception of two
Mr. Webster, more than twenty three observations, the criticisms manifest liberality of sentiment, and years ago,, published “ Institutes of contain a greater portion of praise, work, the present is proposed to
the English language.” With that than English Reviewers have generally bestowed on American pub
“complete a system of elementary lications. Of the Compendious Dic. principles, for the instruction of youth tinnary the Eclectic Reviewers say;
in the English language." After this
intimation, our readers will perhaps “The heterogeneous materials of be surprised to find that the etymolo, which the English language is com gies of words are not included in Mr. posed hard scarcely acquired consist. W.'s plan. Theş, indeed, were hardence and regularity of form, when the ly to be expected in a compend; but maritime spirit and growing com then, we should as little have expect. merce of our nation began to diffuse ed that the system could be completed its speech to the most distant parts of by a compend. The author, never. the world. Within two centuries, it theless, founds his orthographical
corrections on the etymology of in poetry.” To prove the last remark terms : and in a preface of twenty- to be an error, we need not resort to three pages, too minutely printed, he the Saxon, for every book we read, enables us to judge of his qualifica. and every conversation we hear, de tions for the undertaking.
monstrates the fact. “ The princes of Since the publication of his former Israel, being twelve men, each one was work Mr. W. has laudably applied for the house of his fathers.” Numb. himself to the study of the Anglo. i. 44. This is the true original imSaxon, which he terms “the mother port of the word; it has no appropritongue of the English.” That our ate reference to two, more than to ten language derives its principal gram. thousand. “Thyder man ne mibte. matical inflections, and a great pro. geseglian on anum monthe, gyf man portion of its terms, from the Saxon on nyht wicode and clce dæge hæfde dialect of the Teutonic language, is' amberne wind.” “Thither a man certain : but it is equally certain, that could not sail in a month, if he should it retains numerous terms of the an watch at night, and each day should cient British and the Latin tongues, have a fair wind.” Alfred's Orosius, which were spoken by our ancestors Ch. I. See also page 61, 63, 79, 219. long before the Saxons, Jutes, or An. Lond. 1773. and Sax. Ch. I. By Gibgles, ever landed in Britian; and that, son, page 185, 186. The second defa since the conquest by these invad. inition of Johnson is therefore the oners, it has undergone great variations ly true one ; but not well expressed. in consequence of that by the Nor “ Either," says Lowth, * is often man French. The English language, used improperly for each; each signitherefore, may be compared to a am- fies both taken separately, either propily, rather than to an individual. erly signifies only the one or the other, The Lloegrian (or Cornish) dialect of taken disjunctively.” In pursuance the ancient British tongue, may be of this false rule, he condemns such considered as its mother; and the passages as this; “ they crucified two Latin, Saxon, and French, as the fa. others with him, on either side one, thers respectively, of her various off- and Jesus in the midst.” But the spring. It seem to be from a want sense in which the word is here used of reflection on the composite nature in [is] the true primitive one, and of our language, and a want of atten. still used by the best writers.
** Mytion to those sources which historical cell wæl thär on ægthere hand gefeoll." truth assigns to it, that the principal “There was great slaughter on either mistakes of our etymologists have hand.” Sax. Ch. 134. '« Thet ægther arisen. While every new author un hiora on other hawede.”
" That dertakes to correct his predecessors, he either of them might see the other." falls in consequence of this deficiency, P. 133. “Swithe mycel here ægther into fresh mistakes. Another fer. ge land-here ge scip-here of Swathe. tile occasion of errors, is a supposi ode." "A very great army, either tion that the Saxon is not merely the land army, and ship-army from Swe"mother tongue of the English,'but den." That is both. p. 153. So far is that it is the English tongue itself. Lowth's rule from the truth, that Hence modern amenilers and improvers either, in our primitive writers, was labour to annihilate that precision, rarely or never used in a disjunctive which our language has acquired
In reading considerable vol. from the genius and labour of elegantumes of the best Saxon writings, I writers during the last two centuries, have not found a single instance. Its and to reduce it to that confusion disjunctive use is modern; but its which prevailed among our barbarous original sense is still in use, and per. conquerors a thousand years ago. fectly proper.
In proof that these remaks are ap. “ There full in view, to either bost plicable to Mr. Webster, as well as displaved.” Hoole's Tasso, 22, 602. to other recent dabblers in etymology, The passages in Scripture, the lan. we adduce the following paragraphs guage of which Lowth condeinns, are from the first page of his preface. strictly correct.
“Each," says Johnson, “denotes, In defence of these two great Ist, Either of two. 2. Every one of scholars, whose remains it is now the any number. This sense is rare except fashion to insult, we need only to apa
peal to common sense and unvitiated ly Latin, which evidently come to us taste. What if Saxon writers, and through the French, (as honour, fathe venerable translators of our Bible, vour, &c.) militates against a rule to confounded the proper meanings of which we usually adhere in question. each and every one ? Did they bind all able cases : that of preferring the or their posterity to do the same? Is thography of the language from any thing more obvious, than that co which a word directly comes to ours, ery one can only be applied to more whatever its origin may have been. than two? while each must be used of This rule sets aside the argument two, and is therefore best restricted which he has founded on the omis. to that number? And what if the dis- sion of u in derivatives from suche junctive sense of either be modern words ; because the French like. To restrict it entirely to that sense, wise omit the u in those cases. Infeinstead of using it indiscriminately rior and superior, are terms which with each, as our ancestors did, and have been introduced by classical as is still tolerated in poetry, is an ev English writers, directly from the ident and essential improvement; as Latin. We are far from expecting ir augments the precison, and there. that Mr. W.'s omission of the final e fore the prima virtus perspicuitas, of in such words as determine, doctrine, our language.
&c. will receive the stamp of public Several observations in this division approbation. We think, on the conof Mr. W.'s preface are liable to trary, that these deviations from uni. similar objections : but we gladly versal custom must greatly lessen the pass them by, to take notice of some utility of his dictionary. A lexicog. variations from Johnson's definitions rapher's business is to adopt the pre. of words, which are real corrections vailing orthography of the age in or improvements. In the former of which lie writes; and not to at. these, Mr. W.'s professional knowl. tempt changes, the success of which edge guarded him against danger of must be dubious, if it be not utterly mistake.
improbable. Misnomer. “An indictment or any In pronunciation this is still more ar.
other act vacated by a wrong duous than in orthography; and in name."
Johnson. “The mistake Mr. W.'s situation, it was evidently of a name in law proceedings." more hazardous. He finds fault with Webster.
Walker for pronouncing bench, branch, Obligee. “One bound by a legal and &c. with the final sh, instead of tsh, written contract. Fohnson.
as Sheridan and Jones direct ; but he to whom a bond is executed.”
passes no censure on the accenchua. Webster.
tion, and grachulation, &c. of the forMurder. “ The act of killing a man mer; or on the furnichur, and multi
unlawfully." Yohnson. “A killing chood of Sheridan. In these instances,
unlawfully with malice.” Webster. Jones is certainly right. Mr. Web. To boll. “To rise in a stalk.” John. ster properly blames Sheridan for
“ To seed, or form into a seed sounding the a in futler and in far vessel." Webster.
alike: but in justifying that writer's To acquire. “ To gain by one's own representation of the ti before a vowel
labour.” Johnson. “ To gain some. as always equivalent to sh, he goes too thing permanent.” Webster.
far. On or ous, after ti, ci, or si form On the subject of Orthography, we but one syllable in pronunciation; but acquiesce in" Mr. Webster's prefer- ingratiate, official, &c. are inadequateence of hainous to heinous ; drouth and ly expressed by ingrashate, offishal, c. higkth, to drought and height ; and We join with Mr. W in preferring public, &c. to publick: but we appre. acceptable, and commendable, to áce, hendi that the last is the only one of ceptable, and commendable ; but we these corrections that can be general cannot follow him in irrifrágable, hórly adopted. His objections against izon, and asylum. He informs us, retaining the French termination in that the Anglo-Americans give the Sceptre, theatre, Gr. while it is angli. same sound to a in angel, and ancient, cised in number, chamber, c. are as in angelic, and antiquity: and he certainly reasonable ; but his wish cautions them against “ adopting an to dismiss the u from words originalEnglish corruption,” of the prouun. ,
ciation. Yet we think that he might of the language than any work of this have discovered a reason for the va. kind ;” and only “offers this comriation that we give to the initial vow. pend to the public, in the mean time, el in these words. The accent being as a convenient manual," we have strongly laid on the first syllable of thought a considerable degree of at. angel, and ancient, probably, has ren tention due to the principles which dered the a long and narrow; which Mr. W. has laid down ; and we hearwas not necessary in angelic and tily wish that it may contribute to antiquity, because the accent is on render his larger work less exceptionthe second syllable. In angle and an able to Englishmen on both sides of fush, though the first syllable is accent the Atlantic, than the present has ed, it is short: whereas we presume been made by the peculiarities of his that Americans, (like many country orthography. We would earnestly people in England) give to the a in an advise him, before he proceeds with pel, and ancient, the same sound that it the etymological part of his underhas in command. This, at the com. taking, to investigate closely these mencement of 2 word, is repugnant to terms which we have in common with the analogy of English pronunciation. the French language, and which are
In like manner, we are told that derived neither from the Latin nor the word pincers, is “in conversation"
the Teutonic. In order to trace these Correctiy called pinchers : but these to their genuine sources, he will find errors surprise us less than Mr. W.'s it necessary to study the various dia. assertion (p. vii.) that “ though is a lects of the ancient British language ; vitious orthography; tho being much and we can assure him that the pains nearer to the original word.” Our which he may take for this purpose author doubtless refers to the Saxon will not be thrown away. Llvd's theah, and as we suppose him to be Archæologia Britannica is the best el. aware that gh is commonly substitut. ementary work on the subject. ed in English for the Saxon h, when We should gladly enlarge this arti. following a vowel, we cannot account cle by extracting tie author's sensi. for his preference, on this ground, of ble obvservations on the necessity of its otdission. If the Saxon he had not various dialects being produced by been pronounced as an aspirated gut. the local circumstances of the widely teral, though probably much weaker dispersed millions who speak our lani. than the Scotch sound of gh, those guage. On other topics, highly inter. letters would surely never liave been esting to Grammarians, he has also ma. substituted for it by writers subse. ny valuable remarks. While, there. quent to the Norman conquest. This fore, we do not think that it would be sound, in some instances, we have advisable to reprint the whole of his converted into that of f, as in laugh, present performance, it would gratify and cough : and accordingly, in some us to see his preface, in a more legible counties of England, thc.rgh is now form, from a British press. The prese pronounced thof. Mr. W's remark ent paper and type are such as must is therefore totally ungrounded. be very injurious to the sight of most
The last division of his preface is en. rcaders.” titled etymology; but it contains so
REPLY. little of importance on that subject, and so much that belongs to it is in In the commencement of their obcluided under the preceding heads, servations, the Reviewers intimate that we think it unnecessary to pursue some surprise that a work 'proposed bis arguments farther. The extent to “ to complete a system of cementary which we have already proceeded, principles, for the insu. uction of would indeed be disproportionate to youth in the English language,". a vork which the author acknowledg. should not include the etymologies of es (p. xix.) to be only “an enlarge words; yet without mr.ch corsisten. ment and improvement of Entick's cy, they remark, tho. “ these can Spelling Dictionary:" but as he pro. hardly be espected in a compend.” fesses (p. xxiii.) to “have entered The gentlemen mist ake the theaning upon the plan of compiling, for his of this part of riy preface. This fellow citizens, a dictionary, which compend is not iv tended to complete shall exhibit a far more correct state the system ; it is erely a "convenient Vol. III. No. 2.
manaal” for those who do not wish to Britain into the interior parts of the isl. examine etymologies. And the pre- and, and introduced the Teutonic lan. face is intended rather as an outline guage, before the Romans conquered or sketch of a plan to be hereafter the country. This Teutonic popula. executed, than as a treatise on the tion was never externrinated, either principles of the language. The few by the Romans, Saxons or Danes ; detached etymologies, with some and from those early Belgic settlers, corrections of definitions, are intend. we have received the body of the ed chiefly to show the propriety and English language. The Saxons and even necessity of a thorough revision Angles, who conquered Britain in the of the language. From the limited sixth and seventh centuries, spoke a nature of my design, the Compendi. dialect of the same language with the ous Dictionary must be a concise Belgic inhabitants—they were comwork, and contain only the parts of paratively few in number—they introsuch a work, which are of most gen. duced few females—and incorporating eral use.
with the former inhabitants, they I little expected that any man could not have introduced a new lan. would question the propriety of call. guage; though not improbably the ing the Saxon or Anglo Saxon, the language might have suffered some
of the English. “ The variations from the Saxons, as well as whole fabric and scheme of the En- from the later invaders, the Danes. glish language,” says Dr. Johnson, The Saxons and Angles impressed "is Gothic or Teutonic ;” and of their names, the one upon the lan. that, the Anglo Saxon was a princi- guage, the other upon the country ;* pal dialect. Not only the idioms and but the affinity between the Saxon peculiar structure of the language part of English, and the modern Dutch, are Teutonic, but a larger part of its prove satisfactorily that the English words, than are derived from any oth: is the direct offspring of the Belgic er source. The Reviewers consider dialect planted in England before the the Lloegrian or Cornish dialect of Roman conquest of the island. This the ancient British tongue, as the is what I call the Anglo-Saxon lanmother ; and the Latin, Saxon and guage, and the parent of modern French as the fathers of modern En- English ; and if this is what the Reglish. This remark makes it neces- viewers denominate the “ Cornish disary for me to explain what I mean alect of the ancient British,” we are by the Saxon language of England. agreed. But the Cornish dialect, as
It is a common opinion (and doubt. it is given in Lhuyd, is a compound less a gross error) that the Jutes, of Celtic or Gaulish, Latin and Teu. Angles and Saxons, who invaded and tonic, with a predominant portion of conquered Britain after the departure Celtic; and I apprehend is not entiof the Romans, in the 5th century, de. tled to be called the mother of the Eng. stroved or drove into the west of lish language. England, the British inhabitants, and The remarks of the Reviewers on 'introduced their own language, with a the ignorance and want of reflection in new race of people. History and et- etymologists, and the efforts of amendymology disprove this opinion. Long e's and improvers to annihilate the prebefore the invasion of Julius Cæsar, cision of our language and introduce the southern maritime borders of confusion, indicate a want of that canBritain were peopled by Teutonic dour'and moderation, which ought to tribes, who migrated from Gaul and characterize criticism, and insult the - Belgica. Cæsar calls these people literature of the age. It is more ea. Belgą, and informs us that they pos- sy, than civil, for one writer to call sessed Gaul, as far south as the another a dabbler in a particular sub. Siene. Tacitus confirms this account, when he tells us the people in : both countries spoke nearly the same Angles signifies dwellers on a plain, language. Sermo haud multum di- from ing; a plain, level country. They
See Cæsar De Bel. Gal. lib. were the Ingevones of Tacitus. De v. 10. Tacit. Life of Agricola. These Mor. Germ. 2. They inhabited the Belgic inhabitants, therefore, had Aat country of Friesland, Denmark, driven the original Celtic possessors of &c. La Ouver. Germ. Ant. lib.3.