Imagini ale paginilor

is from the same root. Lo! is the imperative of


"I have avoided AYE and No, because they are two of the most mercenary and mischievous words in the language, the degraded instruments of the meanest and dirtiest traffic in the land." Our AYE, or YEA, is the imperative of a verb of northern extraction; and means, have it, possess it, enjoy it. And YES, is ay-es, have, possess, enjoy that. No, is a surly sort of word, the abbreviate of NOT; in the Danish, nödig; in the Swedish, nödig; and in the Dutch, noode, node, and no, mean averse, unwilling.

"And I hope I may now be permitted to have done with etymology; for though, like a microscope, it is sometimes useful to discover the minutest parts of language, which would otherwise escape our sight; yet it is not necessary to have it always in our hands, nor proper to apply it to every object." This volume. concludes as follows:-"I know for what building I am laying the foundation: and am myself well satisfied of its importance. For those who shall think otherwise, my defence is ready made:

"Se quista materia non è degna

Per esser pui leggieri

D'un hecom che voglia parer saggio grave,



Scusatelo con questo; che s'ingegna
Con questi van pensieri

Fare il suo tristo tempo piu suave:
Perche altrove non have

Don voltare il viso,

Che gli é stato interciso

Mostrar con altre imprese altra virtue."

Although greatly attached to etymology, it is evident that it never was Mr. Tooke's intention to assign the origin of all words without exception, but according to the project of a learned foreigner *, who himself had composed a treatise, many years before, on the mechanism of language," to furnish philosophy with materials and observations for the purpose of elevating the grand edifice of the general theory of language." How far he has succeeded, may be seen by a reference to the principal parts of his argument; and although loose hints might have been found in, and were undoubtedly adopted from both the ancients and moderns, yet the palm of genius and originality is not to be conferred on the labourers who collect the rude materials of a building, but on the architect, who forms them into a beautiful and useful edifice.

His knowledge of the Greek, Latin, German, and Anglo-Saxon tongues, were highly ser

*The President De Brosse.

viceable on the present occasion; his logical acumen, here found an ample field for display; while his legal studies proved eminently congenial to the purposes he had in view. The first edition, which was published in one volume octavo, soon attracted general attention; it was afterwards enlarged, as well as improved, and contributed not a little to place his name in a high and exalted station in the literary world.


FROM 1787 TO 1794.

Letter to the Prince of Wales. - Two Pair of Portraits. - Mr. Tooke retires to Wimbledon -Becomes a Candidate for Westminster-Petitions Parliament. - Trial with Mr. FoxIs arrested, and committed to the Tower.

IN 1787, Mr. Tooke resumed his pen, with a view to illustrate a very delicate and critical subject which then occupied the whole attention of the public. This This gave birth to the discussion of a question, not only intimately connected with the subject of private morals, but also with the succession to the throne itself. His opinions, which, as usual, were equally singular and ingenious, are contained in "A Letter to a Friend, on the reported Marriage of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales *."


An octavo pamphlet, published by J. Johnson, St. Paul's Churchyard, in 1787.

On this occasion, the grammarian of Wimbledon, alluding to a late publication of his own, humorously remarks, "that, after amusing himself with a number of critical discussions during the last summer, on the subject of nouns, pronouns, adverbs, and prepositions, in order to give a variety to his studies during the present, he has taken a political, but very uncourtly view of the nature, the extent, and the true signification of the conjunction copulative."

The policy, justice, and even the legality of the royal marriage* act, is here called in question by him. He ridicules the idea, "that a beautiful Englishwoman is unworthy to be the companion of an English prince, and positively denies the above statute to be binding; "for," adds he, "there are acts of parliament which are not laws. To enforce and elucidate this doctrine, he refers to the instance of Bonham, as stated by lord Coke, who asserts, "that, in many cases, the common law doth controal acts of parliament, and sometimes shall adjudge these to be void; for when an act of parliament," adds the lord chief justice, "is against common right or reason, or repugnant or impossible to be performed, the common law shall controul it, and adjudge such act to be void."

* 12th Geo. III.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »