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hood. Now, it appears very plain that all these parties cannot entertain that fenfe of the contract which is entertained by perfons who unite from motives of affection, and with a mutual desire to make each other happy. Hence my first objection, and indeed my principal one, is aimed at the contract itself as not being fuited to the different parties who are to fign it. At the time the form of matrimonial fervice was compofed, we may fuppofe that there prevailed a greater degree of equality in the difpofitions of perfons about to marry than we find now, and one form might very well ferve for all. But the introduction of genteel manners into all ranks of life, and those manners grafted upon vulgarity and ignorance, have occafioned fo great a variety of taftes and difpofitions, that it would be really unreasonable not to think that the present form of fervice has become nearly obfolete, or only fit for the few who have been fo economical as to hand down the virtues as well as the eftates of their ancestors to pofterity.
Can we, for example, expect that a man who has married a woman for no other object than her money, will regard his promife" to love her, and comfort her, honour and keep her in sickness and health," when we know that the greateft favour she can do him, next to giving her money into his hands, is to give him an opportunity of burying her? When we fee a young woman forced into the arms of an old dotard, for no other purpose than to obtain a title or a handfome jointure (by the bye this word should be written disjointure, as it is one of the preliminaries to a final feparation) are we to expect that fhe will love, cherish, and obey fuch a hufband? I might ftate many other cafes for which our fervice is obviously ill adapted. But the other day we read in the papers of a couple married, the man was eighty, and the woman feventy-fix years of age. I believe them as fully inclined to fulfil their vows as one half of our fashionable pairs, yet you
will allow that there is fcarcely an article in the fervice that does not convey a fatire on fuch matches.
You will perhaps fay, that these things are true, and that they afford fufficient ground for making fome alteration in the fervice. I once thought fo myself, and I tried the alteration; but it would not do. I omitted, and I added, and tried it in all various ways, but at laft was obliged to be of opinion, that in the prefent ftate of the fashionable world, we want a form of fervice for the various ranks of fociety.
The prefent is far too good; it proceeds upon motives of religion, but that you know, is rather out of fashion and I am perfuaded no perfon of diftinction would thank you for fuppofing him influenced by it in his conduct towards his wife. The phrases used in it are alfo too loofe and general. Love, honour, and obey! There are not three words in the language, which admit-of greater latitude.
First, as to love;
most men of fashion think they love their wives dearly, if they neither beat them, nor turn them of doors; and that love is perfectly consistent with frequent abfence from home, occafional gallantries with other ladies, and the diftant refpect of occafional acquaintances. As to honour, their notions of that are very latitudinarian; 1 fhal! not enter particularly into them, but they are very frequently exemplified in the civil and criminal courts. With regard to obedience, which is principally expected from the fair fex, I am forry to fay, that it is a word of very lax and general interpretation, and is clogged with fo many conditions and ads of mental refervation, as to be rarely recognized in the fenfe in which it ap pears to have been used by the compilers of our liturgy. One lady of fashion profeffes to obey her husband in every thing confiftent with her own inclination: That is her fenfe of obedience. Another thinks herself abfolved from all obedience, because her husband is a fool. A third conditions with him,
that if he will obey in fome points, fhe will in others.
Then the great mifchief is, that when a difagreement takes place, and the contending parties chufe to interpret the treaty in different ways, there is no third party to which the difpute can be referred. No interference is admitted; or whenever attempted, it is not to the advantage of the difputants, but always to the lofs and injury of the mediator, who of two friends, is fure to make at least one enemy. The parties, in fact, act precifely like two high-fpirited nations. They go to war, and expend all their force and ammunition, before they will liften to terms of accommodation, which, after all, amount only to a truce, the parties ever after retaining a watchful jealoufy, and a dignified contempt
for each other.
I have read fomewhere lately, of a *nation where the matrimonial contract lafts only for three years. They are, I remember, reckoned a nation of favages; but my fashionable readers will I hope agree with me, that in this respect they have acquired a very confiderable portion of civilization, and are very well qualified to "preferve the accuftomed relations" of the matrimonial ftate. The term of three years may, indeed, be fuppofed rather too long, but it is fill fhorter than the lives of moft men, and comes nearer, than any dation has yet attempted, to the period, when, according to the manners of people of fashion, the matrimonial treaty virtually expires. In compiling, therefore, forms of fervice for the beau monde, the first and great object would be to limit the time to the probable duration of the affections of the parties. In the cafe of an old Lord marrying a young woman for a nurse, there would be no harm in extending it till death do us part," but in most other cafes, as that of a fortune-hunter marrying a dowager, or a child, it would be fufficient if time were given for the regular transfer of the land and the three per cents. This, 1 think, could not, in all confcience, be
As for the
thought unreasonable. couples who came together they know not why, a clause might be introduced confining them only durante bene placito, that is, as long as they please, which I humbly apprehend would give fatisfaction to a great many perfons who are apt to fall in love at first fight, to be ftruck with a pretty face, or who marry for a temporary convenience.
I have not prefumed to draw up any fketch of these new services, but confine myself, as I merely engaged, to some hints upon the fubject, which others may improve upon. I should, there-fore, farther fuggeft, that all such marriages be removed from the church, and performed in the drawing-room, the tavern, or any other fuitable place. I propofe this; because I have fometimes obferved, that perfons who never go to church but when they are married, are fo ftruck with the novel appearance of the place, the folemn appearance of the parfon, and the facetious grin of the clerk, as to be quite confounded, and incapable of knowing what they are about. I propofe it likewife in respect to tender confciences, for really when a man is difpofed to take an oath which he has no inclination to keep, I had much rather he did it any where than at the altar. The glib enunciation of the custom-houfe, or the justice room, where the only words you hear are, "So help you God! twelve pence: would much better fuit the fashionable votaries of Hymen. Great respect ought to be paid to tender confciences, and that the duties of the married flate fhould be enforced by what may be termed an act of uniformity, has no doubt given great uneafinefs to many fcrupu lous people of rank, who may naturally expect that fome diftinction fhould be made between them and the vulgar. They might even, I think, (but I propofe every thing with fubmiflion) be allowed to marry upon their honour, which would be equally binding with the form to which they are now obliged to fubmit. If there be any objection to this,
it may probably arife from the miftaken to perform. Their ignorance in this fenfe of honour, or rather the many refpect may, however, be excufed. The Valeat wifeft of men cannot know more than fenfes in which it is ufed. quantum valere poffit. This is aú ob- the age in which they live. They judg jection which it is not in my power to ed of English manners influenced by reremove, and I throw it out to thofe who ligion, not foreseeing that foreign travel would foon introduce foreign manners, and that a man who has made a tour of Europe, fhould think it his duty to import the moft genteel of its vices, as a recompence for his long absence, and a benefaction to the profperity of his country.
The farther neceffity for a fervice, Specially adapted to modern manners, appears from another confideration. In all contracts, the breach of it by one party either incurs a penalty, or amounts to a diffolution. Unfortunately, the There are many other hints I might compilers of the contract in queftion, not foreseeing that a time would come, offer on this fubject. I might fuggeft when it fhould be reckoned genteel for the propriety of permitting more wives one party to break the contract, and yet than one, in order to prevent domestic very proper for the other to be bound diforder; and other improvements on by it, have made no provifions for fuch the fyftem of marriage; but I have aloccurrences as are now frequent enough, ready made my letter too long. I hope, and notorious enough. Thefe good however, that what I have thrown out men had no idea of pin-money, jointures, will have the due effect I proposed, as and separate establishments. They could well as incline those who have more not conceive that married perfons, liv- leifure and greater abilities, to give the ing in the fame kingdom, poffeffed of fubject an attentive confideration. Let carriages and horses, and enjoying the it not be understood, that I wish to advantages of the finest turnpike-roads, abolish entirely the prefent fervice. Far It is admirably calculated, for fhould never meet, unless by accident, from it. and, when met, part without exchanging all who are ferious, to execute the most a word, or even a look of mutual esteem. important of duties from the most conIf they had, would they have put in fcientious of motives; who wish to add fuch words as" to have and to hold, to the happinefs of their country by enof domestic regupoorcreafing the aggregate for better for worse, for richer for er, in sickness and in health, to love larity; who wish to be regarded rather and to cherish, till death do us part!" as good than great; and who, by an hoCertainly not; if they had foreseen the nourable conduct, add real dignity to an changes and improvements introduced obfcure station-but these are not the into the married state by modern man- perfons 'of whom I spoke in the precedners, they would not have expected im- ing part of my letter. I am, &c. poffibilities, nor thought of binding a man down to what he never intended
BY DR BEDDOES.
MORE active occupations have, I be- furprifed to find how little difficulty lieve, finally diverted me from a defign, there is in reducing our abftract words which I long cherished, and to which, to a fenfible or objective fignification: after Mr Tooke's labours, 1 fancied my- I do not fay, to their primary fignificafelf equal-the defign was fuch an ana- tion: for precedence may give rise to lyfis of our language as feems to me to frivolous difputes here, as in other conftitute the effence of grammar. Thofe nice cafes. who have not made the trial, will be VOL. LVIII.
You will perhaps indulge me with
room to exemplify my manner of proceeding. We have a remarkable clafs of noun fubftantives, as they are called by grammarians; though, according to the mataphyfician, they are mere attributes or qualities; that is, they cannot ftand by themselves, but are fupported by fubftances. The words I mean are goodnefs, greatness, and their fellows. We have fimilar words, ending in head. Onhead, in old English, is unity (one head). It will not, I prefume, be denied that head (caput) is here ufed in compofition. Now, in the other cafe, I fuf. pect, that it is part of the head which is ufed; the nofe, nefs, nez, French. Both words have been indifferently employed to mark the points of land, that are or have been confpicuous. Will not this geographical analogy be admitted as a ftrong confirmation of my opinion? If nefs be any part of the body, what part elfe can we imagine it to be, whether we regard found or fituation? There exifts an etymological, as truly as a moral sense; and those who have acquired the former, will feel by how very natural a tranfition two fuch eminent members of the body natural, as the head and nofe, came to denote abstract qualities. I conjecture, that thing or ding will prove to mean fome ftriking object in one of its fixed corporeal fenfes.
To confolidate HEED (care, caution) with HEAD, may appear too bold an adventure, even in etymology. The difference, however, in fpelling is of no account, the prefent orthography being modern. I think, both words are fpelled alike, by fome old writers, bede. In ufe, there obtains fufici. ent fimilarity, at the prefent moment. I do not HEED (head) that. I do not MIND that. We fay, he puts a thing to HEART; and, had it been ftamped by ufage, heart would have paffed juft as currently as head for one of our verbs. I DO NOT HEART that. Certain languages have it fo, or very nearly as every fcholar knows.
3. The fubftantive verb, am (obf. com) be (obf. bee) is, probably, fome mode of motion or appearance; and, if traced higher, may turn on fome animal, whofe mode of motion is ftriking. To walk (incedo), to emerge (evado), to ecfift (tand out), are, in Latin, perpetually fynonimous with to be. In Greek, to be is the felf-same word as to go, though split by grammarians and lexicographers.
4. To alter is a good example of a word retaining an objective fignification in one dialect of a language, and not in another. To alter, means in German, to grow old.
The bookfellers, I think might render an effential fervice to education and letters, by engaging fome intelli
2. This analyfis, carried to its utmoft extent, would conftitute a reformed dictionary. Every perfon apprehends the mataphorical ufe of a term gent perfon to introduce, more and the better for knowing its original meaning; and how invariably have dictionary-makers diffevered the foul of a word from its body! Thus, fpite and pit (the culinary implement) are clearly the fame word. To pite a perfon is to run a fpit into his mind. The very metaphor, I think, occurs not unfrequently in the poetry afcribed to king David; and Shakspeare makes Hamlet refolve to" fpeak daggers."
more, genealogies of fignification into the common English dictionaries, as new editions are printed. To complete the investigation of our words would take time; but, with a proper advertifement, an imperfect, would, on one account, be preferable to a perfect dictionary: it would induce fome to observe and think for themselves.
ORIGINAL LETTERS BETWEEN PRINCIPAL ROBERTSON AND DR BIRCH,
RELATIVE TO THE HISTORIES OF SCOTLAND AND OF CHARLES V.
THOUGH I have not the good fortune to be known to you perfonally, I am fo happy as to be no ftranger to your writings, to which I have been indebted for much useful inftruction. And as I have heard from my friends, Sir David Dalrymple and Mr Davidson, that our difpofition to oblige was equal to your knowledge, I now prefume to write to you, and to afk your affiftance without any apology.
Forbes's Collections had been loft upon his death, but I am glad to find by your Memoirs that they are in the poffeffion of Mr Yorke. I fee likewise that the Depeches de Beaumont are in the hands of the fame Gentleman. But I have no opportunity of confulting your Memoirs at prefent, and I cannot remem-. ber whether the Depeches de Fenelon be ftill preserved or not. I fee that Carte has made a great use of them, in a very bufy period, from 1563 to 1576. I know the ftrength of Carte's prejudices fo well, that I dare fay many things may be found there that he could not fee, or would not publifh. May I beg the favour of you to let me know whether Fenelon's papers be yet extant and acceffible; and to give me some general idea of what Dr Forbes's Collec tions contain with regard to Scotland; and whether the papers they confift of are different from thofe published by Haynes, Anderfon, &c. I am far from defiring that you should enter into any detail that would be troublesome to you, but fome fhort hint of the nature of thefe Collections would be extremely fatisfying to my curiofity, and I fhall efteem it a great obligation laid upon me.
I have been engaged, for fome time, in writing the hiftory of Scotland from the death of James V. to the acceffion of James V1. to the throne of England. My chief object is to adorn (as far as I am capable of adorning) the hiftory of a period, which, on account of the greatness of the events, and their close connection with the tranfactions in England, deferves to be better known. But as elegance of compofition, even where a writer can attain that, is but a trivial merit without historical truth and accuracy, and as the prejudices and rage of factions, both religious and political, have rendered almost every fact, in the period which I have chofen, a matter of doubt or of controversy, I have therefore taken all the pains in my to examine the evidence on both power fides with exactnefs. You know how copious the Materia Hiftorica in this period is. Befides all the common Hiftorians and printed collections of papers, I have confulted feveral manufcripts which are to be found in this country. I am perfuaded that there are fill many manuscripts worth my feeing to be met with in England, and for that reafon I propofe to pafs fome time in London this Winter. I am impatient however to know what discoveries of this kind I may expect, and what are the treasures before me, and with regard commonly are, I would long before to this I beg leave to confult this have made my acknowledgments. I was afraid for fome time that Dr to you for the civilities which you was
I have brought my Work almost to a conclufion. If you would be so good as to fuggeft any thing that you thought useful for me to know, or to examine into, I fhall receive your directions with great refpect and gratitude.
I am with fincere esteem
19 Sept. 1757.
TO DR BIRCH.
Ir I had not confidered a letter of mere compliment as an impertinent interruption to one who is fo bufy as you
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