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66 send me abroad; IF THAT it is foul weather, it will keep

me at home.”

The resolution then being, « It is fair weather, GIVE THAT; it will send me abroad; “ It is foul weather, GIVE THAT; it will keep me at home.”

And this you will find to hold universally, not only with IP; but with many other supposed Conjunctions, such as, But that, Unless that, Though that, Left that, &c. (which are really Verbs) put in this manner before the Article that.


One word more to clear up a difficulty which occurs to me concerning your account of IF, and I have done.

We have in English another word which (though now rather obsolete) used frequently to supply the place of ip. As—6 AN you had any eye behind you, you might see more c detraction at your heels, than fortunes before you *.”

In this and in all similar instances, what is An? For I can by no means agree with the account which Dr. S. Johnson

* Twelfth Night, Act II. Scene 8.



gives of it in his Dictionary: and I do not know that any other person has ever attempted to explain it.


How does he account for it?


He says, An is sometimes in old authors a contraction of And if.Of which he gives a very unlucky instance from Shakespeare *; where both An and if are used in the same line.

“ He cannot flatter, He!
An honeft mind and plain : he must speak Truth:
“ An they will take it,--So. If not; He's plain.”

Where, if an was a contraction of AND IF; An and if should rather change places.


I can no more agree with Dr. S. Johnson than you do. A part of one word only, employed to thew that another word is compounded with it, would indeed be a curious method of con-traction. Though even this account of it would serve my purpose. But the truth will serve it better :

* Lear, Act II. Scene 6.


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and therefore I thank you for your difficulty. It is a fresh proof, and a very strong one in my favour. An is also a Verb, and may very well supply the place of IF; it being nothing else but the Imperative of the Anglo-saxon verb Anan, which likewise means to Give, or to Grant.


It seems indeed to be so. But, if so, how can it ever be made to signify AS IF ? For which also, as well as for And if, Johnson says An is a con-traction *.


It never signifies As if : nor is ever a contraction of them.


Johnson however advances Addison's authority for it.

“ My next pretty correspondent, like Shakespeare's 66 Lion in Pyramus and Thisbe, roars as it were any “ nightingale."


If Addison had so written, I should answer roundly, that he had written false English." But he never did so write.

* This arbitrary method of contration is very useful to an idle or ignorant expositor. It will suit any thing. S. Johnson also says

“ An’t, a contraction for And it; or rather And if it; as–An't please you-that is, And if it please you.” It is merely-An it please you. P 2


He only quoted it in mirth and ridicule, as the author wrote it. And Johnson, an Editor of Shakespeare, ought to have known and observed it. And then, instead of Addison's or even Shakespeare's authority, from whom the expression is borrowed; he should have quoted Bottom's, the Weaver: whose Language corresponds with the character Shakespeare has given him,

'The Shallow's thickfcull of that barren fort, viz.
« A crew of Patches, rude Mechanicals,
That work for Bread upon Abenian Stalls *.

I will aggravate my voice so (fays Bottom) that I will roar you as gently as any sucking Dove: I will roar you AN 'twere any nightingale t."

If Johnson is satisfied with such authority as this, for the different fignification and propriety of English words, he will find enough of it amongst the clowns in all our comedies ; and Master Bottom in particular in this very fentence will furnish him with many new meanings. But, I believe, Johnson will not find an used for As ifz either seriously or clownishly, in any other part of Addison or Shakespeare; except in this speech of Bottom, and in

* Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III. Scene 2. † Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I. Scene 2.


another of Hostess Quickly—“ He made a finer end, and “ went away as it had been any Christom child *."

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In English then, it seems, these two words which have been called conditional Conjunctions (and whose force and manner of fignification, as well as of all the others, we are directed by Mr. Locke to search after in “ the several “ views, postures, stands, turns, limitations, and excep66 tions, and several other thoughts of the mind, for which “ we have either none or very deficient names") are, according to you, merely the original Imperatives of the verbs to Give or to Grant.

Now let me understand you. I do not mean to divert you into an etymological explanation of each particular word of other languages, or even of the English, and so to change our conversation from a philofophical inquiry concerning the nature of Language in general, into the particular business of a polyglot Lexicon. But, as you have said that your principles will apply universally, I desire to know whether you mean that the conditional conjunctions of all other languages are likewise to be found, like if and

Henry V. Act II. Scene 3.


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