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dred years before Tully, was as unintelligible in LECT. bis time, as the French and English of the fame period are now; and these two have changed as much fince William the Conqueror (which is but little less than seven hundred years), as the Latin appears to have done in the like term.

THE Dean plainly appears to be writing negligently here. This fentence is one of that involved and intricate kind, of which fome inftances have occurred before; but none worse than this. It requires a very diftinct head to comprehend the whole meaning of the period at first reading. In one part of it we find extreme careleffnefs of expreffion. He fays, it is manifeft that the Latin three bundred years before Tully, was as unintelligible in his time, as the English and French of the fame period are now. By the English and French of the fame period, muft naturally be understood, the English and French that were spoken three hundred years before Tully. This is the only grammatical meaning his words will bear; and yet affuredly what he means, and what it would have been eafy for him to have expreffed with more precifion, is, the English and French that were Spoken three hundred years ago; or at a period equally diftant from our age, as the old Latin, which he had mentioned, was from the age of Tully. But when an Author writes

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LE CT. haftily, and does not review with proper care what he has written, many fuch inaccuracies will be apt to creep into his style.

Whether our Language or the French will decline as fast as the Roman did, is a question that would perhaps admit more debate than it is worth. There were many reasons for the corruptions of the laft; as the change of their government to a tyranny, which ruined the study of eloquence, there being no further ufe or encouragement for popular orators; their giving not only the freedom of the city, but capacity for employments, to feveral towns in Gaul, Spain, and Germany, and other diftant parts, as far as Afia, which brought a great number of foreign pretenders to Rome; the flavish difpofition of the Senate and people, by which the wit and eloquence of the age were wholly turned into panegyric, the most barren of all fubjects; the great corruption of manners, and introduction of foreign luxury, with foreign terms to exprefs it, with feveral others that might be affigned; not to mention the invafion from the Goths and Vandals, which are too obvious to infift on.

IN the enumeration here made of the causes contributing towards the corruption of the Roman Language, there are many inaccuracies- The change of their government to a tyranny of whofe government? He had indeed

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deed been speaking of the Roman language, LECT. and therefore we guefs at his meaning; but the Style is ungrammatical; for he had not mentioned the Romans themselves; and therefore, when he says their government, there is no antecedent in the fentence to which the pronoun, their, can refer with any propriety.Giving the capacity for employments to feveral towns in Gaul, is a queftionable expreffion. For though towns are fometimes put for the people who inhabit them, yet to give a town. the capacity for employments, founds harsh and uncouth.-The wit and eloquence of the age bolly turned into panegyric, is a phrafe which does not well exprefs the meaning. Neither wit nor eloquence can be turned into panegyric; but they may be turned towards panegyric, or, employed in panegyric, which was the fenfe the Author had in view.

THE Conclufion of the enumeration is vifibly incorrect-The great corruption of manners, and introduction of foreign luxury, with foreign terms to express it, with feveral others that might be affigned-He means, with feveral other reasons. The word reafons, had indeed been mentioned before; but as it ftands at the diftance of thirteen lines backward, the repetition of it here became indifpenfable, in order to avoid ambiguity. Not to mention, he adds,

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LECT. adds, the invafions from the Goths and Vandals, which are too obvious to infift on. One would imagine him to mean, that the invafions from the Goths and Vandals, are historical facts too well known and obvious to be infifted on. But he means quite a different thing, though he has not taken the proper method of expreffing it, through his hafte, probably, to finish the paragraph; namely, that these invafions from the Goths and Vandals were causes of the corruption of the Roman Language too obvious to be infifted on.

I SHALL not pursue this criticifm any farther. I have been obliged to point out many inaccuracies in the paffage which we have confidered. But, in order that my obfervations may not be conftrued as meant to depreciate the Style or the Writings of Dean Swift below their juft value, there are two remarks, which I judge it neceffary to make before concluding this Lecture. One is, That it were unfair to estimate an Author's Style on the whole, by fome paffage in his writings, which chances to be compofed in a careless manner. This is the cafe with respect to this treatise, which has much the appearance of a hafty production; though, as I before obferved, it was by no means on that account that I pitched upon it for the subject

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of this exercise. But after having examined LECT. it, I am fenfible that, in many other of his writings, the Dean is more accurate.

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My other obfervation, which is equally applicable to Dean Swift and Mr. Addison, is, that there may be writers much freer from fuch inaccuracies, as I have had occafion to point out in these two, whofe Style, however, upon the whole, may not have half their meRefinement in Language has, of late years, begun to be much attended to. In feveral modern productions of very small value, I fhould find it difficult to point out many errors in Language. The words might, probably, be all proper words, correctly and clearly arranged; and the turn of the fentence fonorous and mufical; whilft yet the Style, upon the whole, might deferve no praife. The fault often lies in what may be called the general caft or complexion of the Style; which a perfon of a good tafte difcerns to be vicious; to be feeble, for instance, and diffuse; flimfy or affected; petulant or oftentatious; though the faults cannot be fo eafily pointed out and particularifed, as when they lie in fome erroneous, or negligent conftruction of a fentence. Whereas, fuch writers as Addison and Swift, carry always those general characters of good Style, which, in the midst of their occafional negligences, every perfon of good taste must difcern

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