Page images

66 could be used." Now though certainty is so uncertain, we must suppose the word Libel to be very definite : and yet if I were called upon for an equivalent term, I believe I could not find in our language any word more popularly apposite than Calumny; which is defined by Cicero, in his Offices, to be—" callida & malitiosa Juris interpretatio."

If there was any Misake (which however I am very far from believing) in this decision, fanctioned by the Judges and the House of Lords; I shall be justified in applying (with the substitution of the single word Grammatici for Isorici) what Giannone, who was himself an excellent lawyer, says of his countrymen of the same profession: « Tanta ignoranza avea loro bendati gli occhi, che si pre“ giavano d'essere solamente Legisti, e non Grammatici; « non accorgendosi, che perché non erano Grammatici, eran perciò cATTIVI LEGISTI."

Ist. civil, di Napoli. Intro.






UT besides the Articles “ properly and strictly so called," "

I think Mr. Harris and other Grammarians say that there are some words which, according to the different manner of using them, are sometimes Articles and sometimes Pronouns: and that it is difficult to determine to which class they ought to be referred *.

H. They H. They do so.

* “ It must be confeffed indeed that all these words do not always appear as Pronouns. When they stand by themselves and represent some Noun, (as

when we say-This is virtue, or devxloxws, Give me That) then are " they Pronouns. But when they are associated to some Noun, (as when we “ say-This habit is virtue, or devxToxws, That man defrauded me) then as " they supply not the place of a Noun, but only serve to ascertain one,

they fall rather into the species of Definitives or Articles. That there is * indeed a near relation between Pronouns and Articles, the old gramma, “ rians have all acknowledged ; and some words it has been doubtful to « which class to refer. The best rule to distinguish them is this.—The M


And by so doing, sufficiently instruct us (if we will but use our common sense) what value we ought to put upon such claffes and such definitions.


Can you give us any general rule by which to distinguish when they are of the one fort, and when of the other ?


Let them give the rule who thus confound together the Manner of fignification of words, and the Abbreviations in their Construction : than which no two things in Language are more distinct, or ought to be more carefully distinguished. I do not allow that Any words change their nature in this manner, so as to belong sometimes to one Part of Speech, and sometimes to another, from the different

ways of using them. I never could perceive any such fluctuation in any word whatever : though I know it is a general charge brought erroneously against words of almost every denomination *. But it appears to me to be all, Error: arising from the false measure which has been taken of almost every sort of words.

genuine Pronoun always stands by itself, assuming the power of a noun, " and supplying its place. The genuine Article never stands by itself, but

appears at all times associated to something else, requiring a noun for its support, as much as Attributives or Adjectives.”

HERMES, Book I. Chap. V.


Whilst the words themselves appear to me to continue faithfully and steadily attached, each to the standard under which it was originally inlisted. But I desire to wave this matter for the present; because I think it will be cleared up by what is to follow concerning the other sorts of words : at least, if that should not convince you, I shall be able more easily to satisfy you on this head hereafter.


proper for it.

I would not willingly put you out of your own way, and am contented to wait for the explanation of many things till

you shall arrive at the place which you may think

But really what you have now advanced seems to me so very extraordinary and contrary to fact, as well as to the uniform declaration of all Grammarians; that you must excuse me, if, before we proceed any farther, I mention to you one instance.

* “ Certains mots font Adverbes, Prepositions, & Conjonɛtions en même “ temps : & repondent ainsi au même temps à diverses parties d'oraison “ selon que la grammaire les emploie diversement.”

BUFFIER, Art. 150. And so say all other Grammarians. M 2


Mr. Harris and other Grammarians say that the word THAT, is sometimes an Article and sometimes a Pronoun. However I do not desire an explanation of that (point] : because I see how you will easily reconcile that [difference), by a subauditur or an abbreviation of Construction : and I agree with you there. But what will you do with the Conjunction THAT?

Is not this a very considerable and manifest fluctuation and difference of signification in the same word? Has the Conjunction that, any the smallest correspondence or similarity of signification with THAT, the Article, or Pronoun?


In my opinion the word THAT (call it as you please, either Article, or Pronoun, or Conjunktion) retains always one and the fame signification. Unnoticed abbreviation in construction and difference of position have caused this. appearance of fluctuation ; and misled the Grammarians of all languages both antient and modern: for in all they make the same mistake. Pray, answer me a question. Is it not strange and improper that we should, without any reason or necessity, employ in English the same word for two different meanings and purposes?

« PreviousContinue »