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from Ideas; yet he continues to treat fingly, as before, concerning the Force of words; and has not advanced one fyllable concerning their Manner of fignification.
The only Divifion Mr. Locke has made of words, is, into- ·Names of Ideas and Particles. This divifion is not made regularly and formally; but is reserved to his seventh Chapter. And even there it is done in a very cautious, doubting, loose, uncertain manner, very different from that incomparable author's usual method of proceeding. For, though the general title of the Seventh Chapter is,-Of Particles;-yet he seems to chufe to leave it uncertain whether he does or does not include Verbs in that title, and particularly what he calls "the Marks of the Mind's "affirming or denying." And indeed he himself acknowledges, in a letter to Mr. Molyneux, that-" Some parts "of that Third Book concerning Words, though the "thoughts were eafy and clear enough, yet coft him more "pains to express than all the rest of his Essay. And that "therefore he should not much wonder if there were in "fome parts of it obfcurity and doubtfulness." Now whenever any man finds this difficulty to express himself,
* The Force of a word depends upon the number of Ideas of which that word is the fign. 6
in a language with which he is well acquainted, let him be perfuaded that his thoughts are not clear enough: for, as Swift (I think) has fomewhere obferved, "When the "water is clear you will easily fee to the bottom."
The whole of this vague Chapter-Of Particles— (which should have contained an account of every thing but Nouns) is comprized in two pages and a half: and all the rest of the Third Book concerns only, as before, the Force of the names of Ideas.
How is this to be accounted for? Do you suppose he was unacquainted with the opinions of Grammarians, or that he despised the subject?
No. I am very fure of the contrary. For it is plain he did not despise the subject; fince he repeatedly and strongly recommends it to others: and at every step throughout his Effay, I find the most evident marks of the journey he had himself taken through all their works. But it appears that he was by no means fatisfied with what he found there concerning Particles: For he complains that "this part of Grammar has been as much neglected, G
"as fome others over-diligently cultivated."
In short, this seventh Chapter is, to me, a full confession and proof that he had not settled his own opinion concerning the manner of signification of Words : that it still remained (though he did not chuse to have it so understood) a Desideratum with him, as it did with our great Bacon before him : and therefore that he would not decide any thing about it; but confined himself to the prosecution of his original inquiry concerning the first sort of Abbreviations, which is by far the most important to knowledge, and which he supposed to belong to Ideas.
But though he declined the subject, he evidently leaned towards the opinion of Aristotle, Scaliger, and Meff. de Port Royal : and therefore, without having sufficiently examined their position, he too hastily adopted their notion concerning the pretended Copula—" Is, and is not.” He supposed with them, that affirming and denying were operations of the Mind; and referred all the other sorts of Words to the same source. Though, if the different sorts of Words had been (as he was willing to believe) to be accounted for by the different operations of the Mind, it was almost impossible they should have escaped the penetrating eyes of Mr. Locke.
YOU said some time ago, very truly, that the number of
Parts of Speech was variously reckoned : and that it has not to this moment been settled, what sort of difference in words should entitle them to hold a separate rank by themselves.
By what you have since advanced, this matter seems to be ten times more unsettled than it was before : for you have discarded the differences of Things, and the differences of Ideas, and the different operations of the Mind, as guides to a division of Language. Now I cannot for my life imagine any other principle that you have left to conduct us to the Parts of Speech.