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we should ascertain our expressions, were we to appropriate who to persons, and which to things. I am surprised that any modern writer
should quote Chaucer and Wickliffe as vouchers for the purity of an expression. Woe be to the English language, if we are, at this day, to be guided by the writers of the 14th century.
Ten thousand citations, however, can never justify an absurdity; the correctest writers may be guilty of a solecism, and grainmatical inaccuracies propagated from one generation to another.
The truth is, the English language has never been thoroughly refined; no standard has been fixed; the phraseology is extremely vague and unsettled; and among all the English writers, I know but few who have brought their language to any tolerable degree of perfection.
Mr. Dryden was certainly of this opinion, for in his dedication of Troilus and Cressida to the Earl of Sunderland, he makes this observation;
“ How barbarously we yet write and speak, your lordship knows, and I am sufficiently sensible in my own English; for I am often put to a stand in considering whether what Í write is the idiom of the tongue, or false grammar and nonsense couched under the specious name of anglicism."
Yours, &c. Rayleigh, Nov. 13.
R-N. P. S. Mr. P. tells us, “ The which is unquestionably good English;" for my part I question his authority, and should be obliged to him if he would point out the elegance of that phrase.
MR. URBAN, I PERCEIVE the observations I made in defence of the address in the Lord's Prayer of the current version, have been so unfortunate as to meet with some adversaries. The first of them is pleased to alter the state of the question, and to refer to the original. The question is not," says he, “whether the present translation be grammatical or not or whether which may supply the place of who; but whether either of them be necessary.” But the point I debated was, whether which might not stand there, without any impropriety or solccism, for who; and for this I appeal to my paper. With submission therefore to this gentleman, I am not at all concerned with the original Greek, in this
dispute, nor with the justness or falshood of our translation of it, any further than to maintain, that which may do as well as who. However, I shall bestow one word upon this author; he would have it rendered, that art in heaven; now I can find no difference in the sense between who and that, nor between which and that, if you' will allow that which can be used of persons; for it is all one to say, Our father, who art in heaven, and Our father, which art in heaven, or, Our father that art in heaven, God being effectually and sufficiently distinguished by all of them from our fathers after the flesh, which is all this author proposes. And what will he say to this passage of Shakespeare in Henry VIII. Act ii. Scene 6?
It is not to be question'd
Who deem'd our marriage lawful. here, that and who, are used promiscuously of the same persons, and in the same breath.
This, Sir, is all I have occasion to reply to this gentleman, whose objection concerning the citing our old English authors in this dispute, shall be removed below.
Another gentleman admits, as I take it, that which may be applied to persons as well as things, in some cases, but requires an example where it is so used, when it is part of an invocation. This, Sir, is being very strict with me, and yet I do not despair of giving this gentleman satisfaction.
The question then between this gentleman and me, is, whether which can be applied to a second person, as who or that can? I answer it may; and I vouch Acts i. 24. they prayed, and said thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, &c." Here, which is the 2d person, and the words at full would be. Thou Lord which Lord knowest, &c. Lord in the latter case being in the second person. These words now, I must insist, Sir, are exactly parallel with the words of the prayer, Our father, which art in heaven, which are to be interpreted, Our father, which father art in heaven, and where father is, in like manner, in the second person. This passage in the Acts, is not only read in our liturgy, (See the Epistle for St. Matthias) but stands verbatim the same, in the two older versions.
To go on; there is another example, Acts xv. 23. « The apostles send greeting unto the brethren, which are of the Gentiles. For as much as we have heard, that certain numbers which went out from us, have troubled you with words,
&c." Now are here, is the second person plural, as is plain from the words that follow, have troubled you, and the passage is to be understood, as if it had been expressed thus, “ The Apostles send greeting unto you, the brethren which are of the Gentiles, &c.” A third text may be cited from Rom. ii. 23. “ Thou therefore, which teachest another, teachest though not thyself? thou thui preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?” These words are likewise read in the same manner, in the older versions; and what is remarkable in this case, that preachest occurs in the same verse, which shews me, that the scholars concerned in the present translation, and in one of the elder ones at least, knew no manner of difference between /which teachest, and that preachest, but looked upon them as tantamount, and equally pure. And yet, I dare say, those divines understood their mother tongues, as well as either this gentleman or myself. I hope your correspondent will pardon me for this presumption.
I have no reason, Sir, to distrust this gentleman's candor, and therefore, three examples will serve as well as three hundred; and therefore I shall rest the matter here, without troubling you any farther. But I observe he is afraid lest the indiscriminate use of who and which should tend to break through all idiomatical precision. For my part, I see no ground for his fears, since the antecedent, as the grammarians speak, will always sufficiently determine the sense of the relative. After all, I do not suppose, that either this gentleman or myself, would choose to write in this manner now, for I see no particular elegance in it; no, Sir, all Icontend for is, that it is true English; that there is no occasion for an alteration, and that they, who understood the idiom of the English language, as well as either of us, would sometimes express themselves so, this is all I desire. But he is surprised Chaucer and Wickliffe, should be produced as vouchers in this cause; but, Sir, I did not produce them solely, for several other authors were alledged besides them; and if occasion were, I could cite twenty examples niore, from the Bible, (one there is above, from Acts i. 24.) and as many from Shakespeare. I deduced the form of speaking from our oldest writers, down, as I may say, to the present time, for it occurs frequently, as has been shewn, both in our liturgy, and in our scriptures, at this day. And I conceive that the best way of evincing the propriety of an expression, in any language, must be to trace it through all the several ages of that language, an observation, which I desire the former of these adversaries would likewise attend to. For were I to shew the use of any disputed Latin word, I should think I could not do better, than make it appear, it was so applied in the fragments of Ennius and Lucilius, and in the works of Horace and Juvenal, which if I could be able to do, it would be clear it was no peculiarity of one author, no casual abuse of the word, no affected singularity of the time, no solecism, no grammatical inaccuracy, propagated from one generation to another, but in general, a justifiable idion of the Latin tongue.
Mr. Urban, I should dismiss this nice critic here, but that I find he calls upon me to shew, that the which is good English, and to point out the elegance of that phrase. The last I will not pretend to do, for I do not know there is any elegance in it, neither did I ever say there was; but then, elegance is not required to make a phrase good English, any more than it is necessary to make any Greek or Roman phrase, true and sound, and good Greek, or Latin. If your correspondent, therefore, will be content will my alledging certain approved, and good authors, which is all I proposed, when I made the assertion, I can refer him to a competent variety of them, such as Leland's Itin. i. p. 4. 6. 30. and elsewhere. Psalm lxviii. 16. John v. 28. Acts xi. 6. Shakespear's Othello, Act I. Scene 10. Hamlet, Act I. Scene 1. Spenser's Fairy Queen I. 1. 26. Lambarde's Perambulation of Kent, p. 287. and Dr. Fuller's History of Waltham, p. 17, &c. &c. So many passages from different writers, amount, methinks, to a full proof that I did not want authority for what I advanced; however, your friend must excuse me from transcribing the several places at length, which I am neither disposed to do, nor would it be cona sistent with your design, who have so many matters of much greater importance, no doubt, upon your hands. I am, Sir, yours, &c.
PAUL GEMSEGE. 1754, July, Aug. Oct. Nov. and Dec.
XV. The Author of the Whole Duty of Man.
Clapham, Jan. 8. I SEE by a note in your last Magazine, that you join int opinion with many others, that Lady Packington was the author of the book called the Whole Duty of Man. There are several reasons mentioned by Mr. Ballard, in his Me. moirs of Learned Ladies, published in 1752, to induce us to be of the same mind, which are by no means convincing to me. The only positive evidence in her favour (for the rest is but hear-say) is that mentioned by you, namely, that the sheets of that book are still preserved in the family to this day, in her own hand-writing. This, I allow, does shew that she was acquainted with the author, but not certainly that she herself was the author. I am very apt to think that the real author, whoever he was, and who took so much care to be concealed whilst alive, left no remains in his hand-writing, by which he might be discovered after his death.
My reasons for believing, that this lady was not the au. thor, may be found in Dr. Hammond's Advertisement to the first edition, printed in 1657. Here, the Dr. mentions to Mr. Garthwait the bookseller, “You needed not any intercession to recommend this task to me, which brought its invitation and reward with it.”. Now, if Lady P. was the author, and the Dr. lived under her roof,* can it be supposed that she would have sent the book to London, afterwards to be returned to Dr. Hammond, at her house? And if the sheets in her own hand-writing are now to be supposed an evidence of the author, could not the Dr. long acquainted with her, have at once discovered her as such? It is remarkable, that there was a great deal of religious intimacy between this lady and the Dr. In some private prayers I have seen of her’s, she thanks God for giving her so wise and prudent an adviser, whose name was famous all over the nation, or to that purpose. Why then should she be so shy to shew this book at once to so intimate a friend, when afterwards the author, whoever he was, was very well known to Bishop Fell? For in the Preface to the Edition in folio, of 1684, of the Works of the author of the Whole Duty of Man, the bishop speaks of him as one who was “ wise, and humble, temperate, chaste, patient, charitable, and devout; lived a whole age of great austerities, and maintained undisturbed serenity in the midst of them,” and who was not alive at the time of this publication. But a reason which weighis with me above every
other against the supposed author, and appears decisive in the point, is, that the bishop speaks of this author in the masó culine gender, when he might easily have avoided making
* h appears by Bishop Fell's life of Dr. Hammond, that be lived several. years before his death, which happened in 1664, with Lady P.