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surface between east and west, was supposed to be in the direction length-wise or longitudinal : and any diftance between south and north, was of course broad-wise or latitudinal. Hence they formed the words longitude and latitude, to denote these particulars. From the Latins, all, or most of the languages in Europe have borrowed these two words : and although the original meaning of the elements of these words are well known when adverted to, and although it be as well known now that the earth is a compact spherical globe, and not a flat table of unequal dimensions, yet no inconvenience is felt from the use of these words, because, whenever they occur, they immediately suggest to the mind of the person who hears them. the idea of distance on the earth's surface, in the opposite directions already specified, and nothing else. We therefore find it convenient to use those words, and it would be evidently inconvenient and improper to alter the language by inventing other words, whose elements expressed our ideas, at present; concerning this subject, as perfectly as the original elements expressed the ideas of the Romans, because a time may cone when a superior degree of knowledge might shew that this new formed word was equally improper as the old one that had been rejected; and thus the language would be rendered so fluctuating and variable, as never to be completely understood by any one who should have occasion to study it.
Innumerable words occurin every language, that have been thus formed, and have varied their meaning by - time, so as, when analized, to express very incongruous ideas ; but when considered merely as simple figns, expressive of certain notions, are perfectly good and unexceptionable. Thus, candlestick is well known to denote any substance employed as a stand for supporting a candle ; originally this was no doubt a small piece of wood, usually called a stick, employed for the purpose of supporting the candle ; but now it is made of various kinds of metal, all of which, however, are called sticks;
: nor would the most faftidious critic find fault with the pnrases brass candlestice or silver candlestick, though
évidently abfurd, if the meaning of the original ele“merits of these compound words be adverted to,
though the words themselves, as commonly used, do in
fact convey as distinct ideas as any others in the lan" guage. If so, then, would it not be highly absurd and improper to change them for others?
It often happens that compound words of this kind - come to express the most contradictory ideas, if the mean
ing of the original words were considered, which however, when viewed as a whole, without regard to these elements, are expressive and intelligible ;-White-head is a - common name; which has been evidently derived from the colour of the hair of the person to whom it was first appropriated, yet having passed now as a common surname, no one ever thinks of adverting to the co. lour of the hair, when the name is mentioned,--nor would the smallest impropriety be perceptible in any
one saying that William Whitehead had very fine black - bair. Bairns-father is another surname not uncommon
in one part of the country, which originally denoted
that the person to whom it had been applied was the fa.ther of children. It is now, however, applied indif
criminately to females and to males-to those who are fathers and mothers of children, and to those who ne. ver had children at all, without exciting any other idea than that it is the name of the particular persons to whom it is appropriated, and nothing else.
Midwife, and man midwife are words of the same kind. And many others might be added, which are in common and universal use; but there will so readily occur to every reader, that it is unnecessary to specify them.
In science, as well as arts, words of this kind are I also common: and in those branches of science which
are progreffive, it must happen that a word which is invented to denote new ideas as they arise, can be con
sidered as proper, but for a very short period of time. But when a word has been once employed to denote a certain object, and has been generally admitted by the jus et norma loquendi tó denote that object, the fame object ought.certainly to continue in all future time to be denoted by the same word, without any change ; although it should appear at a future period that the ideas which prevailed when that word was formed, and which are denoted by the elements of the word when analized, are extremely erroneous '; for these words, like those above enumerated, will come in time to be considered merely as names of the particular objects they are intended to denote, and nothing else. Indeed, unless we can say our knowledge of the object is complete, so as that our ideas of them can never afterwards change, what do we gain by such innovations ? Nothing but perplexity and confusion. The words, which according to the knowledge of the day, expressed the properties of the object in the most complete and perfect manner, will perhaps be found in a few months, in consequence of some new discoveries, to be altogether erroneous. This new word muft then of course be abandoned, and another new one formed in its stead, which in its turn, must give place to another, and another still, till at length philosophers shall become like the builders of the tower of Babel, so much confused among this infinity of words, as to be altogether incapable of understanding each other, and be reduced to the necessity of abandoning the study of nature, merely from the impossibility of thus giving or receiving aid to or from cach other.
Considered in this point of view, no literary enterprize of modern times seems so absurd, or is so trongly characteristic of the mental weakness and vanity of mankind, as the attempt which has been of late seriously made in France, by a set of men otherwise of great talents, and conspicuous eminence for fcientifical knowledge, to.eltablish an entire new system of chemical no.
menclature. Philosophical chemistry has been for some
EXCESSIVE and too frequent marks of respect and esteem, only tire those to whom they are addressed, and on that account are the contrary of true politeness, whose only end is to please. It is a great art, to know how to vary these according to persons and circumstances. That which is only due respect to a superior, would be to an equal accounted over-strained complaisance or affectation.
Account of Mr. Ledyard, continued from page 19.. The remarks upon man and things, of one who had? seen so inuch of the world, must always be deemed precious. They are not the unmeaning daubing of a casual obferver. Every word is expressive, and has a : strong meaning, and suggests new ideas to every atten- ; tive reader. The following extracts therefore from his letters no doubt will prove interesting to the public.
August 26th. This day I was introduced by Ros sette (the Venetian consul, at that time chargé d'afe: faires for the English consul at Cairo, ) to the Aga Ma." hommed, the confidential, minister of Ihmael, the most powerful of the four ruling beys : He gave me his hand to kiss, and with it the promise of letters, protection, and support, through Turkish Nubia, and also to some chiefs far inland. In a subfequent conversation, ; he told me I should see in my travels a people who had power to transmute themselves into the forms of differ, ent animals. He asked me what I thought of the af. fair? I did not like to render the ignorance, implicity;.. and credulity of the Turk apparent. I told him that r it formed a part of the character of all fàvages to be great Necromancers; but that I had never before heard. of any fo great as those he had dane me the honour to describe ; that it had rendered me the more anxious to : be on my voyage, and if I passed among them, I would in the letter I promised to write to him, give him a more particular account of them than he had hitherto , had. He asked me how I could travel without the language of the people where I should pass? I told him with vocabularies : I might as well have read to him a ** page of Newton's Principia. He returned to his fables again. Is it not curious, that the Egyptians (for I speak of the natives of the country as well as of him, when I make the observation) are still such dupes to