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223 mankind have come to that luminous state of knowledge, which at present is so happily beginning to pervade Europe, it ought to be no longer tolerated any where.

Resolved 7thly, That as hereditary property in land is another aristocratic device, calculated solely to secure to one class of men the means of enjoyment of which another is deprived, and can only tend to perpetuate the power of committing injustice in certain families, it ought to be entirely abolished; and to talk of restoring it again ought to be déclared treason against the majesty of the people. Punishment, instant death. To be inflicted by any person who hall hear such a sentiment expressed.

Resolved 8thly, That that detestable system which has been so long cherished among mankind under the name of religion, is a contrivance to carry aristocratic notions even beyond the grave, and to establish a perpetual inequality among mankind, that is beyond the po wer of man to overrule; that it is therefore the most daring inva sion of the rights of man that ever was attempted; and ought to be guarded against with the utmost care. All orders of priesthood therefore fhould not only be instantly abolished; but it ought also to be declared that an attempt to restore it is a superlative kind of treason against the natural rights of man; and it should be accounted an action highly meritorious for any person to put another to death who ever had but hinted a word in its favour; and the public ought to reward with a civic crown, him who had done so meritorious an action, which he fhould be desired to wear on all public occasions, as an honourable mark of his untainted civism.

Resolved 9thly, That in order to enable every man to execute the laws with promptitude and effect on all occasions, it ought to be decreed that every person should provide himself with a poignard, to be worn by him on

all occasions as a conspicuous part of his drefs; which, like the arms of our forefathers in feudal times, should be accounted the peculiar distinguishing badge of a free man *.

*The humour of this paper is not so striking as that of the first part, [Bee, vol. xiii. p. 49.] And there is reason to believe it is not written by the same hand. It is, indeed, so close a copy of the resolves of the Jacobin club, and even of the National Convention in Paris, that it more resembles a serious than a humourous performance. But whether it be considered as serious or humourous, the conclusions here drawn as necefsarily fellow from the premises, as those of any proposition in Euclid. For if the inviolability of the NATURAL rights of man be once admitted, it is impofsible to deny, that, by the fairest reasoning, every thing above stated must follow. Many worthy persons who heartily approve of the first proposition, will no doubt be shocked at the conclusions here deduced from it. Just so it has happened, that many men who sincerely approved of the first revolution in France, are now as seriously fhocked at the transactions which have resulted from it; though they were, in like manner, the natural consequence of the insubordination to legal authorities which led to it. The phrase, liberty and equality, was at first admitted by the well meaning part of the community, as a very innocent one; yet they soon perceived ideas were annexed to that phrase by the common people, which are altogether incompatible with the preservation of property, or the existence of civil society. The newspapers were then filled with abstract metaphysical explanations of the meaning which ought to be annexed to that pharse, and disclaiming the intention of ever conveying the idea by it that had been annexed to it; But as it is obvious, that the meaning of a word all the world over, is that which it conveys to the mind of those who hear it spoken; and as it was plain from their own explanations of it, both here and in France, that the bulk of the people understood it meant an equal division of property, every metaphysical argument, adduced to show that it meant no such thing, was nonsense, and could have no other tendency than to perplex. If then, such destructive notions may be excited by the use of a single word, originally made choice of with a design to mislead, how cautious ought we to be against admitting as unerring principles of conduct, speculative propositions, however plausible they appear at first sight, to those who have not been accustomed to trace the remote ends which artful men may at last inend to obtain by theme

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115.

THE BEE,

OR

LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,

FOR

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13. 1793.

OBSERVATIONS ON GRAMMAR.
To the Editor of the Bee.

SIR, SOME of your readers thought themselves much obliged to you for your plan of a dictionary, and some grammatical disquisitions lately inserted in the Bee. The former article gave great satisfaction; the only cause of regret with regard to it was, that we could not promise ourselves the pleasure to see the same hand that drew the plan finish the work: we would gladly hope, however, that you will, from time to time, resume it as your convenience will permit.

The grammatical disquisitions, though not equally agreeable, appeared well founded. The proper clafsification of the words of any language is, perhaps, far from being complete. He who compiles a dictionary has occasion indeed to observe each individual word, as it passes before him in that grand review, to use a military phrase; but, on a field day, they are not at their usual employment; they are obliged to appear in their ranks, (except they have had the good fortune VOL. Xiii.

FF

to absent themselves unperceived) without regard to their kindred, their affections, or antipathies, and the several duties of social life. Many of their qualities, whether good or bad, escape the eye of the commander in chief, as well as that of all the inferior and subaltern officers. We say nothing of the foreigners, who speak a different language, and who, for want of the uniform, disfigure the ranks; only we cannot help observing, that though they no doubt swell the muster roll, they frequently prevent natives, equally fit for the service, from appearing in their proper places.

But to drop the metaphor; language is intended, and ought to be considered, as the means of communicating or exciting ideas. These purposes may be effected by sounds or by signs. Both these are originally arbitrary. They become fixed and permanent by the tacit mutual consent of those who use them. In different communities, beside those ideas common to the species, there are some peculiar to each: there are also relations necefsary to be attended to, and announced. To convey an intimation of either kind, different methods have been invented, and prastised, with different degrees of ingenuity, in different languages. With regard to the classification of the sounds, or signs of sounds, representing those, to resume the metaphor, officers, accustomed to Grecian tactics, think of nothing but a decimal arrangement, while those fond of the Roman discipline, wish to rank every military force in manipuli, or turmæ, cohorts, and legions; and, if the British might claim the next place, we should hear of companies,

regiments, brigades, and batallions. only. But, as the means employed in different languages vary, it would

constituent parts of one, that another had been

be absurd to force all the into the particular form found naturally to afsume. The words of one language might be properly arranged under four clafses; those of another under eight; those of a third under ten or more. Every one, acquainted with different languages, knows that there are certain essential constituent particulars in which they all agree; but that, at the same time, there are certain peculiarities respectively belonging to each, even in those things in which they agree.

Instead then of cutting and carving, twisting and bending, the parts of one language to fit them to the size, form, and structure of another, it were better surely to study, philosophically, the genius of each; and to arrange and unfold its parts in that form and order which they most naturally afsume. One talks of names, attributives, and connectives; another of nouns, pronouns, verbs,, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections; a third will have these last with article at their head; and participle following the verb. Some with the clafses few, to make the matter simple and easy; others with to have such a number, that each word may readily find a place. Each party have their followers; these again squabble about their definitions.

*

Suppose, then, that one were to study the genius of a language, the English for instance, and to collect a system of rules, plain, simple, and easy to

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