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with the particular occasions that gave rise to them; yet the sound, without any annexel notion, continues to operate as before.
GEVERAL WORDS BEFORE IDEAS.
MR. LOCKE has somewhere observed with his usual sagacity, that most general words, those belonging to virtue and vice, good and evil, especially, are taught before the particular modes of action to which they belong are presented to the mind, and with them the love of the one, and the abhorrence of the other; for the minds of children are so ductile, that a nurse, or any person about a child, by seeming pleased or displeased with any thing, or even any word, may give the dispositions of the child a similar turn. When, afterward, the several occurrences in life come to be applied to these words, and that which is pleasant often appears under the name of the evil, and what is disagreeable to nature is called good and virtuous, a strange confusion of ideas and affections arises in the minds of many, and an appearance of no small contradiction between their notions and their actions.
There are many who love virtue, and who detest vice, — and this not from hypocrisy or affectation, — who, notwithstandling, very frequently act ill and wickedly in particulars without the least remorse, because these particular occasions never come into view when the passions on the side of virtue were so warmly affected by certain words heated originally by the breath of others: and for this reason it is hard to repeat certain sets of words, though owned by themselves unoperative, without being in some degree affected, especially if a warm and affecting tone of voice accompanies them; as, suppose,
These words, by having no application, ought to be inoperative; but, when words commonly sacreil to great occasions are used, we are affected by them even without the occasions. When words which have been generally so applied are put together without any rational view, or in such a manner that they do not rightly agree with each other, the style is called bombast: and it requires, in several cases, much good sense and experience to be guarıled against the force of such language; for, when propriety is neglected, a greater number of these affecting words may be taken into the service, a:rd a greater variety may be indulged in combining the!.
TILE EFFECTS OF WORDS.
If words bave all their possible extent of power, three effects arise in the mind of the hearer. The first is the sound; the second, the picture, or representation, of the thing signified by the sound; the third is the affection of the soul produced by one or by both of the foregoing. Compounded abstract words, of which we have been speaking (honor, justice, liberty, and the like), produce the first and the last of these effects, but not the second. Simple abstracts are used to signify some one simple idea, without much adverting to others which may chance to attend it; as blue, green, hot, cold, and the like: these are capable of affecting all three of the purposes of words; as the aggregate words, man, castle, horse, &c., are in a yet higher degrée. But I am of opinion that the most general effect, even of these words, does not arise from their forming pictures of the several things they would represent in the imagination, because, on a very diligent examination of my own mind, and getting others to consider theirs, I do not find that once in twenty times any such picture is formed; and, when it is, there is most com mmonly a particular effort of the imagination for
But the aggregate words operate, as I said of the compound abstracts, not by presenting any image to the mind, but by having, from use, the same effect on being mentioned that their original has when it is seen. Suppose we were to read a. passage to this effect: “ The River Danube rises in a moist and mountainous soil in the heart of Germany, where, winding to and fro, it waters several principalities, until, turning into Austria, and leaving the walls of Vienna, it passes into Hungary: there, with a vast flood, augmented by the Saave and the Drave, it quits Christendom; and, rolling through the barbarous countries which border on Tartary, it enters by many months into the Black Sea.” In this description, many things are mentioned; as mountains, rivers, cities, the sea, &c. But let anybody examine himself, and see whether he has had impressed on his imagination any pictures of a river, mountain, watery soil, Germany, &c. Indeed, it is impossible, in the rapidity and quick succession of words in conversation, to have ideas both of the sound of the word and of the thing represented: besides, some words expressing real essences are so mixed with others of a general and nominal import, that it is impracticable to jump from sense to thought, from particulars to generals, from things to words, in such a manner as to answer the purposes of life; nor is it necessary that we should.
Author of a series of Letters, commencing Jan. 21, 1769. No compositions better illustrate the flexibility and power of the English language. For fierce invective and terrible sarcasın in elegant dress and appropriate ornament, “ The Letters of Junius" are unsurpassed. They have been attributed, among others, to Burke and Sir Philip Francis; but the weight of evidence is in favor of the latter.
FROY TIIE DEDICATION TO TILE ENGLISII NATION.
I DEDICATE to you a collection of Letters written by one of yourselves for the common benefit of us all. They would never have grown to this size without your continued encouragement and applause. To me they originally owe nothing but a healthy, sanguine constitution. Under your care, they have thriven: to you they are indebted for whatever strength or beauty they pos
When kings and ministers are forgotten, when the force. and direction of personal satire is no longer understood, and when measures are only felt in their remotest consequences, this book will, I believe, be found to contain principles worthy to be transmitted to posterity. When you leave the unimpaired, hereditary freehold to your children, you do but half your duty. Both liberty and property are precarious unless the possessors have sense and spirit enough to defend them. This is not the language of vanity. If I am a vain man, my gratification lies within a narrow circle. I am the sole depositary of my own secret; and it shall perish with
I can not doubt that you will unanimously assert the freedom of election, and vindicate your exclusive right to choose your representatives; but other questions have been started on which your determination should be equally clear and unanimous.
Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political, and religious rights of an Englishman; and that the right of juries to return a general verdict in all cases whatsoever is an essential part of our constitution, not to be controlled or limited by the judges, nor in any shape questionable by the legislature. The power of King, Lords, and Commons, is not an arbitrary power. They are the trustees, not the owners, of the estate. The feesimple is in us. They can not alienate; they can not waste. When we say that the legislature is supreme, we mean that it is the highest power known to the constitution; that it is the bighest in comparison with the other subordinate powers established by the laws. In this sense, the word “supreme” is relative, not abso
lute. The power of the legislature is limited, not only by the general rules of natural justice and the welfare of the community, but by the forms and principles of our particular constitution. If this doctrine be not true, we must admit that King, Lords, and Commons have no rule to direct their resolutions but merely their own will and pleasure. They might unite the legislative and executive power in the same hands, and dissolve the constitution by an act of Parliament. But I am persuaded you will not leave it to the choice of seven hundred persons, notoriously corrupted by the crown, whether seven millions of their equals shall be freemen or slaves.
These are truths unquestionable. If they make no impression, it is because they are too vulgar and notorious. But the inattention or indifference of the nation has continued too long. You are roused at last to a sense of your danger. The remedy will soon be in your power. If Junius lives, you shall often be reminded of it. If, when the opportunity presents itself, you neglect to do your duty to yourselves and to posterity, to God and to your country, I shall have one consolation left in common with the meanest and basest of mankind, — civil liberty may still last the life of
TO IIIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BEDFORD.
My Lord, You are so little accustomed to receive any marks of respect or esteem from the public, that if, in the following lines, a compliment, or expression of applause, should escape me, I fear you would consider it as a mockery of your established character, and perhaps an insult to your understanding. You have nice feelings, my lord, if we may judge from your resentments. Cautious, therefore, of giving offense where you liave so little deserved it, I shall leave the illustration of your virtues to other hands. Your friends have a privilege to play upon the easiness of your temper; or, possibly, they are better acquainted with your good qualities than I am. You have done good by stealth. The rest is upon record. You have still left ample room for speculation when panegyric is exhausted.
You are, indeed, a very considerable man. The highest rank, a splendiil fortune, and a name glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have supported you with meaner abilities than I think you possess. From the first, you derivedl a constitutional claim to respect; from the second, a natural extensive authority: the last created a partial expectation of hereditary virtues. The use you have made of these uncommon advantages might have been more honorable to yourself, but could not be more instructive to man
kind. We may trace it in the veneration of your country, the choice of your friends, and in the accomplishment of every sanguine hope which the public might have conceived from the illustrious name of Russell.
The eminence of your station gave you a commanding prospect of your duty. The road which led to honor was open to your view. You could not lose it by mistake; and
had no temptation to depart from it by design. Compare the natural dignity and importance of the richest peer of England, the noble independence which he might have maintained in Parliament, and the real interest and respect which he might have acquired, not only glorious distinctions with the ambition of holding a share in government, the emoluments of a place, the sale of a borough, or the purchase of a corporation; and, though you may not regret the virtues which create respect, you may see with anguish how much real importance and authority you have lost. Consider the character of an independent, virtuous Duke of Bedford; imagine what he might be in this country; then reflect one moment upon what you are.
If it be possible for me to withdraw my attention from the fact, I will tell you in theory what such a man might be.
Conscious of his own weight and importance, his conduct in Parliament would be directed by nothing but the constitutional duty of a peer.
He would consider himself as a guardian of tho laws. Willing to support the just measures of government, but determined to observe the conduct of the minister with suspicion, he would oppose the violence of faction with as much firmness as the encroachments of prerogative. He would be as little capable of bargaining with the minister for places for himself or his dependants as of descending to mix himself in the intrigues of opposition. Whenever an important question called for his opinion in Parliament, he would be heard by the most profligate minister with deference and respect. His authority would either sanctify or disgrace the measures of government. The people would look up to him as to their protector; and a virtuous prince would have one honest man in his dominions in whose integrity and judgment he might safely confide. If it should be the will of Providence to afflict him with a domestic misfortune, he would submit to the stroke with feeling, but not without dignity. He would consider the people as his children, and receive a generous, heartfelt consolation in the sympathizing tears and blessings of his country.
Your Grace may, probably, discover something more intelligible in the negative part of this illustrious character. The man I have described would never prostitute his dignity in Parliament by an indecent violence, either in opposing or defending a minister. He