« PreviousContinue »
es, &c. that would pafs the streets after funfet; except those of physicians, surgeons and midwives.
Fourth. Every morning as soon as the fun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, and wake the fluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true intereft.
All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present iiregularity : for, ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is more than probable be shall go willingly to bed at eight in the evening; and, having bad eight hours sleep, he will rise more willingly at four the morning following. But this sum of ninety-fix millions and seventy-five thousand livres is not the whole of what may be saved by my ceconomical project. You may observe, that I have calculated upon only one half of the year, and much may be saved in the other, tho’the days are thorter. Besides, the im. mense flock of wax and tallow left unconfumed during the funner, will probably niake candles. much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue cheaper as long as the proposed reformation shall be fupported.
For the great benefit of this discovery, ihus free. ly communicated and beitowed by me on the public, I demand neiiher place, pension, exclusive pria vilege, nor any other reward whatever. I expect only to have the honour of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say that my invention was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring pas(fages out of the old books in pripoof of it. I will
not dispute with these people that the ancients knew not the fun would rise at certain hours; they possibly had, as we have, almanacks that predicted it: but it does not follow from thence that they knew be gave light as light as soon as be refe.
This is what I claim as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, it must long since have been forgotten, for it certainly was unknown to the modernis, at least to the Parisians; which to prixe I need use but one plain simple argument. They are as well instructed, judicious, and prudent a people as exist anywhere in the world, all profefling, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and, from the many heavy
, taxes required from them by the neceslities of the state, have surely reason to be ceconomical. I say it is impoffible that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing. I am, &c.
ON MODERN INNOVATIONS
AND IN PRINTING,
Ta Noah WEBSTER, jun. Esq. at HARTFORD.
Philadelphia, Dec. 26, 1789.
tions on the English Language. It is an excel. lent work, and will be greatly useful in turning the thoughts of our countrymen to correct writing, Please to accept my thanks for it, as well as fr the great honour you have done me in its dedica. tion. I ought to have made this acknowledgment fooner, but much indisposition prevented me.
I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our language both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting the popular errors several of our states are continually falling into with respect to both. Give me leave to mention some of them, though possibly they may alrea. dy have occurred to you. I willi, however, that in fome future publication of yours you would let a discountenancing mark upon them. The first I remember, is the word improved. Whön I lert Now-England in the year 1723, this word had never been
used among us, as far as I know, but in the sense of ameliorated, or made better, except once in a very old book of Dr. Mather's, entisicu, Remarkable Providences. As that nian wrote il very obscure hand, I remember that when I rel that word in his book, used instead of the word
employed, I conjectured that it was an error of the printer, who had mistaken a short lin the writing for an r, and a go with too froit a tail for a v, whereby employed was converted into improved : but when I returned to Bostonin 1733, I found this change bad obtained favour, and was then become common; for I met with it often in perusing the newspapers, where it frequently made an appearance rather ridiculous.' Such, for indtance, as the advertisement of a country house to be sold, which had been many years improved as a tavein; and in the character of a deceased country gentleman, that he had been, for more than thirty years, inproved as justice of the peace. This use of the word improve is peculiar to New England, and not to be met with among any other speakers of English, either on this or the other side of the water.
During my late abfence in France, I find that several other new words have been introduced into our parliamentary language. For example, I ind a verb formed from the fubftantive notice. I bould not have noticed this, were it not that the gentleman, &c. Also another verb from the sube Kantive'advocate ; The gentleman who advocates, ür who bas advocated but motion, &c. Another from the substantive progress, the most awkward and abominable of the thrce: The committee baving progreffed, risolved to adjourn. The word oppofid, though not a new word, I find used in a - new manner, as, The gen'le men who are opposed to this measure, to which I have also myself always been opposed. If you should happen to'be of my opinion with respect to these innovations, you will use your authority in reprobating them.
T!rc Latin language, long the vehicle used in
distributing knowledgeamong the different nations of Europe, is daily more and more neglected; and one of the modern tongues, viz. French, seems in point of universality, to have supplied its place. It is spoken in all the courts of Europe ; and mot of the literati, those even who do not speak it, have acquired knowledge of it, to enable them ea; fily to read the books that are written in it. This gives a considerable advantage to that nation. It cnables its author's to inculcate and spread through other nations, such sentiments and opinions, on important points, as are most conducive to its in terefts, or which may contribute to its reputation by promoting the common interests of mankind It is, perhaps, owing to its being written in French that Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration has had to fudden and so great an effect on the bigotry Europe, as almolt entirely to disarm it. neral use of the French language has likewise very advantageous effect on the profits of the books felling branch of commerce, it being well known that the more copies can be fold that are struck off from one composition of types, the profits in, crease in a much greater proportion than they, do in making a greater number of pieces in any other kind of manufacture. And at present there is no capital town in Europe without a French book seller's shop corresponding with Paris. Our Eoglish bids fair to obtain the second place. The great body of excellent printed sermons in our language, and the freedom of our writings on political fubjects, have induced a great number of divines of different sects and nations, as well as gentlemen concerned in public affairs to study it, so far ar least as to read it. And if we were to endeavour