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Reflections on Dr. Swift's Letter to Harley (1712) and The British Academy (1712)
I Should be guilty of the greatest Folly in the World, if I should go about to give a Character of Persons of whom I have no manner of Knowledge. To speak well or ill of em woud be equally Ridiculous and Dangerous: For it must be all Invention, and I might then abuse a Man both in my Praise and Dispraise. It is thus with me with Respect to the Author of the Letter lately publishd about our Language, and to his Patron. Iknow neither of them, and if I say a Word more than themselves, or the World have said of them, Imust have recourse to Fiction, which I cannot think of without abhorrence, where Reputation is concernd. That good old Church Martyr the Earl of Strafford was of Opinion, Common Fame was enough to hang a Man, as in the Case of the Duke of Buckingham, when he was impeachd by the Commons for Male Practices in his Ministry; and there were no 2 better Grounds for accusing him, than that every Body said so. Iam quite of another Mind, and let the World say what they will of any one, Iam for condemning no body but whom the Law Condemns, and therefore in these Reflections I shall not consider so much how to please the Spleen of one Party, as how to expose the Arrogance of another, who would lord it over us in every Thing, and not only force their Principles upon us, but their Language, wherein they endeavour to ape their good Friends the French, who for these three or fourscore Years have been attempting to make their Tongue as Imperious as their Power. This most Ingenious Writer has so great a Value for his own Judgment in Matters of Stile, that he has put his Name to his Letter, and a Name greater than his own, as if he meant to Bully us into his Methods for pinning down our Language and making it as Criminal to admit Foreign Words as Foreign Trades, tho our Tongue may be enrichd by the one, as much as our Traffick by the other. Page 28. He would have it corrected, enlargd and ascertaind and who must do it? He tells you with great Modesty and Discernment in the 27th Page, The Choice of Hands should be left to him, and he would then assign it over to the Women, because they are softer mouthd, and are more for Liquids than the Men, as he tryd himself in a very notable Experiment. Iwonder a grave, serious Divine, who is so well versd in College Learning, should 3 B2 in Compliment to a certain Lady, whose Breeding and Conversation must have given her wonderful Opportunities to refine our Tongue, imagine, that the Two Universities would give up so Essential a Branch of their Privileges to the Ladies, and take from them the Standard of English. This puts me in mind of Fontenelles way of Learning a Language, which he recommends to be by having an Intrigue with some Fair Foreigner; and beginning with the Verb I Love, You Love, &c. It is well enough from Him, aPapist, or Layman, but for a Protestant Divine to erect an Academy of Women to improve our Stile, is very extraordinary and gallant, and little agrees with the cruel Quotation of the Author of the Tale of a Tub, p.163. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 25091
Author: Maynwaring, Arthur
Release Date: Apr 19, 2008
Contributor (Author): Oldmixon, Mr. (John), 1673-1742
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