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tems of grammar might be advanced, and plausibly supported.-In short, the phrase, “ I intend to have written," appears to involve the following absurdity ; “I intend to produce hereafter an action or event, which has been already completed.”
As the verbs to desire and to wish, are nearly related, the young student may naturally suppose, from the rule just laid down, that the latter verb, like the former, must invariably be followed by the present of the infinitive. But if he reflect, that the act of desiring always refers to the future ; and that the act of wishing refers sometimes to the past, as well as sometimes to the future; he will perceive the distinction between them, and that, consequently, the following modes of expression are strictly justifiable : "I wished that I had written sooner,
"“I wished to have written sooner:" and he will be perfectly satisfied, that the following phrases must be improper: I desire that I had written sooner;" “I desire to have written sooner."*
Having considered and explained the special rule, respecting the government of verbs expressive of hope, desire, intention or command, we proceed to state and elucidate the general rule, on the subject of verbs in the infinitive mood, It is founded on the authority of Harris, Lowth, Campbell, Pickbourn, &c.; and we think too, on the authority of reason and common sense. " When the action or event signified, by a verb in the infinitive mood, is contemporary or future, with respect to the verb to which it is chiefly related, the present of the infinitive is required: when it is not contemporary nor future, the perfect of the infinitive is necessary: To comprehend and apply this rule, the student has only to consider, whether the infinitive verb refers to a time antecedent, contemporary or future, with regard to the governing or related verb. When this simple point is ascertained, there will be no doubt in his mind, respecting the form which the infinitive verb should have. A few examples may illustrate these positions. If I wish to signify, that I rejoiced at a particular time, in recollecting the sight of a friend, some time having intervened between the seeing and the rejoicing, I should express myself thus: “I rejoiced to have seen my friend." The
* In the expression, “I hope that I have done my duty,” there appears to be a considerable ellipsis. The sentence at large may very naturally be thus explained: “I hope it will appear, or, I hope to show, or, I hope it is evident, or, I hope you will believe, that I have done my duty." But whether the ellipsis be adınitted or rejected, it is indubitable that the infinitive mood cannot be applied on this occasion: to say, “1 hope to have done my duty,” is harsh and incorrect. “I hoped that I had done my duty,” that is, “ I hoped he would believe, or, I hoped it was evident, that I had done my duty," is a correct and regular mode of expression. But it would not be proper, under any circumstances whatever, to say, “I hoped to have done my duty :" it should be, I hoped to do my duty."
seeing, in this case, was evidently antecedent to the rejoicing ; and therefore the verb which expresses the former, must be in the perfect of the infinitive mood. The same meaning may be expressed in a different form : "I rejoiced that I had seen my friend ;" or, in having seen my friend ;” and the student may, in general, try the propriety of a doubtful point of this nature, by converting the phrase into these two correspondent forms of expression. When it is convertible into both these equivalent phrases, its legitimacy must be admitted.-If, on the contrary, I wish to signify, that I rejoiced at the sight of my friend, that my joy and his presence were contemporary, I should say, “ I rejoiced to see my friend;" or, in other words, “I rejoiced in seeing my friend." The correctness of this form of the infinitive may also, in most cases, be tried, by converting the phrase into other phrases of a similar import.
The subject may be still further illustrated, by additional examples. In the sentence which follows, the verb is with propriety put in the perfect tense of the infinitive mood : “ It would have afforded me great pleasure, as often as I reflected upon it, to have been the messenger of such intelligence." As the message, in this instance, was antecedent to the pleasure, and not contemporary with it, the verb expressive of the message must denote that antecedent, by being in the perfect of the infinitive. If, on the contrary, the message and the pleasure were referred to as contemporary, the subsequent verb would, with equal propriety, have been put in the present of the infinitive: as, “It would have afforded me great pleasure, to be the messenger of such intelligence.” In the former instance, the phrase in question is equivalent to these words; “If I had been the messenger;" in the latter instance, to this expression; “Being the messenger.”
For the greater satisfaction of the reader, we shall present him with a variety of false constructions, under the general rule.
“ This is a book which proves itself to be written by the person whose name it bears ;” it ought to be," which proves
" itself to have been written."
“ To see him would have afforded me pleasure all my life;" it should be, “ To have seen him, would have afforded,”' &c. or, “ To see him would afford me pleasure,” &c.
“ The arguments were sufficient to have satisfied all who heard them;" “ Providence did not permit the reign of Julian to have been long and prosperous :" they should be, “were sufficient to satisfy,” &c. and, " to be long and prosperous.”
“It was impossible for those men, by any diligence whatever, to have prevented this accident; every thing that men could have done, was done :” corrected thus; “ to prevent
this accident;" "every thing that men could do,” &c.
"The respect shown to the candidate would have been greater, if it had been practicable to have afforded repeated opportunities to the freeholders, to have annexed their names to the address;" they should be, “if it had been practicable to afford,” and “lo annex, their names."
«From his biblical knowledge, he appears to study the Holy Scriptures with great attention:" it ought to be; "he appears to have studied," &c.
“I cannot excuse the remissness of those, whose business it should have been, as it certainly was their interest, to have interposed their good offices:" " There were two circumstances, which made it necessary for them to have lost no time :"> “ History painters would have found it difficult, to have invented such a species of beings.” In these three examples, the phrases should have been, “to interpose, to lose, to invent."
It is proper to inform the learner, that, in order to express the past time with the defective verb ought, the perfect of the infinitive must always be used: as, “ He ought to have done it." When we use this verb, this is the only possible way to distinguish the past from the present.
In support of the positions advanced under this rule, we can produce the sentiments of the most eminent grammarians. There are, however, some writers on grammar, who strenuously maintain, that the governed verb in the infinitive ought to be in the past tense, when the verb which governs it, is in the past time. Though this cannot be admitted in the instances which are controverted under this rule, or in any instances of a similar nature, yet there can be no doubt that, in many cases, in which the thing referred to preceded the governing verb, it would be proper and allowable. We may say; " From a conversation I once had with him, he appeared to have studied Homer with great care and judgment." It would be proper also to say, " from his conversation, he appears to have
“ studied Homer, with great care and judgment;" “ That unhappy man is supposed to have died by violence. These ex
” amples are not only consistent with our rule, but they confirm and illustrate it. It is the tense of the governing verb only, that marks what is called the absolute time; the tense of the verb governed, marks solely its relative time with respect to the other.
To assert, as some writers do, that verbs in the infinitive mood have no tenses, no relative distinctions of present, past, and future, is inconsistent with just grammatical views of the subject. That these verbs associate with verbs in all the tenses, is no proof of their having no peculiar time of their own. Whatever period the governing verb assumes, whether present, past, or future, the governed verb in the infinitive always respects that period, and its time is calculated from it. Thus, the time of the infinitive may be before, after, or the same as, the time of the governing verb, according as the thing signified by the infinitive is supposed to be before, after, or present with, the thing denoted by the governing verb. It is, therefore, with great propriety, that tenses are assigned to verbs of the infinitive mood. The point of time from which they are computed, is of no consequence; since present, past, and future, are completely applicable to them.
It may not be improper to observe, that though it is often correct to use the perfect of the infinitive after the governing verb, yet there are particular cases, in which it would be better to give the expression a different form. Thus, instead of saying, “ I wish to have written to him
sooner," “ I then wished to have written to him sooner," "He will one day wish to have written sooner;" it would be more perspicuous and for. cible, as well as more agreeable to the practice of good writers, to say; “I wish that I had written to him sooner," “I then wished that I had written to himn sooner," “ He will one day wish that he had written sooner.?!
Should the justness of these strictures be admitted, the past infinitive would not be superseded, though some grammarians have supposed it would: there would still be numerous occasions for the use of it; as wè may perceive by a few examples. “ It would ever afterwards have been a source of pleasure, to have found him wise and virtuous.” “ To have deferred his repentance longer, would have disqualified him for repenting at all.” “ They will then see, that to have faithfully performed their duty, would have been their greatest consolation."
In relating things that were formerly expressed by another person, we often meet with modes of expression similar to the following:
“The travellers who lately came from the south of England, said that the harvest there was very abundant:" " I met Charles yesterday, who told me that he is very happy :" “The professor asserted, that a resolute adherence to truth is an indispensable duty :" “ The preacher said very audibly, that whatever was useful, was good.”
In referring to declarations of this nature, the present tense must be used, if the position is immutably the same at all times, or supposed to be so : as, “ The bishop declared, that virtue is always advantageous:" not, “ was always advantageous.” But if the assertion referred to something that is
. not always the same, or supposed to be so, the past tense must be applied : as, “George said that he was very happy:" not," is very happy."
The following sentences will fully exemplify, to the young grammarian, both the parts of this rule." He declared to us, that he was afraid of no man; because conscious innocence gives firmness of mind." “He protested, that he believed what was said, because it appeared to him probable.” “ Charles asserted, that it was his opinion, that men always succeed, when they use precaution and pains.” “ The doctor declared to his audience, that if virtue suffers some pains, she is amply recompensed by the pleasures which attend her."
If this rule should not be completely applicable to every case which an ingenious critic may state, the author presumes that it will be found very generally useful.
The examples which have been adduced, to illustrate and strengthen the positions contained under the several parts of this Thirteenth rule of Syntax, will not, we hope, be deemed too numerous: they have been given so copiously, that the student may be the better informed and impressed, by surveying the subject at large, and in different points of view. The author has not advanced any instances, or corrections, which he does not think are pertinent and strictly defensible. But if some of them should be less obvious than others, and if a few of them should be gratuitously conceded to criticism, the candid reader will perceive, that there would still remain unimpeached, a number amply sufficient to confirm the different rules and positions. This observation may be properly extended to several other parts of the present work. A rule is not to be invalidated, because all the examples given under it, are not equally obvious, or even equally tenable.
PARTICIPLES have the same government as the verbs from which they are derived : as, “ I am weary with hearing him ;" * She is instructing us ;" “ The tutor is admonishing Charles."*
See vol. ii. part. 3. Exercises, Chap. 1. Rule 14. 1. PARTICIPLES are sometimes governed by the article ; for the present participle, with the definite article the before it, becomes a substantive, and must have the preposition of after it: as, “ These are the rules of grammar, by the observing of which, you may avoid mistakes.” It would not be
* Though the participle is not a part of speech distinct from the verb, yet as it forms a particular and striking part of the verb, and has some rules and observations which are peculiar to itself, we think it is entitled to a separate distinctive consideration,