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“nation, and therefore the English nation does “not stand alone in this respect.”
This is another instance of S.'s limited knowledge of the meaning of words. Evidently, he thinks that the word “nation” is synonymous with "people"; but it is not; and that the writer in the 'Athenæum’ is correct in his use of the word, will be seen on reading the following extract from Worcester's American Dictionary:“Nation denotes a race of men, or connection by “birth or descent; people, persons or men of common subordination, or those who form a
community. The people of Saxony and Bavaria are a portion of the German nation." When, in discoursing on language we speak of “the
English ", or "the English nation”, we include all those people who are connected with us by birth or by descent and who speak that language. The Americans are not a part of the English people ; but they are, in the true sense of the term, a part of the English nation; (L. natio, from nascor, to be born) i.e. a race of men connected with the English by birth.
Mr. S. next objects to the expression
“We English" ;
and says, of the word "English";—“When
“ “it denotes the nation or people, it must be
preceded by the definite article or by a de“monstrative pronoun." Surely, what is true of the word “ English”, used in that sense, is true also of the word “ Americans"? Why, then, does Mr. S. object to my saying,—“We English”; and yet allow himself to say,—"We Americans” ? His theory is justly condemned by his own practice in the very page containing his dogmatical assertion respecting it. The expressions, “We 'English”, “We Americans”, “Oye Corinthians": (2 Cor., vi, 11) are strictly correct. "English" by itself, means the language ; but "English", with a personal pronoun before it, means Englishmen. Of course, in elliptical expressions, “ English” may have various meanings.
The next objection raised by my collegiate critic is to the expression " alone of all nations".
* Of all nations' is properly used only in denoting a
comparison after a superlative, e.g., the greatest
“is conveyed in the word 'neither,'] and therefore “ he misuses it. Would it not be better to say:
alone among all nations ?” Mr. S. is still blundering over the use of the preposition “of”; not knowing that" one of them"
'one among them ". He says that the phrase “of all nations" is properly used only in denoting a comparison after a superlative, and that I have not used it in that way. Indeed! I have always thought that " alone" is a superlative. I suppose that they say at Trinity College ;-—"alone”, “aloner", " alonest"! Mr. S. adds; "or it is
used after a numeral. Mr. Moon uses it in “neither of these two ways”. Mr. S. does not seem to know the derivation of even the simple word “alone"; let me, then, tell him that " alone" is a contraction of “ all one"; and if“ one" is not a numeral, will Mr. S. tell me what it is ? Very oddly, it happens that on the first page of the number of 'The Nation' containing these remarks of Mr. S.'s, there is the expression, 'Kansas, alone of all the states".
The phrase "ancient or modern" next comes under Mr. Si's condemnation. He says ;“The conjunction 'or' treacherously leads Mr. Moon “ into a singular error,
He divides the nations.
“into two classes, ancient nations and modern “nations, and asserts that, in either of these classes,
the English is the only nation which “has a bonâ fide article. The English is the only
one of the ancient nations !”
There is a specious fallacy here which must be exposed. The writer in 'The Atheneum' does not say that the English is one of the ancient nations. He says that the English is one “ all nations". He then divides the “ all nations" into two sections; the one, "ancient”; the other, “modern"; but that division does not make the writer place the English among the ancient nations to the exclusion of the modern, nor among the modern nations to the exclusion of the ancient. The English is still one" of all nations". It is one thing to say ;—“We English alone of all ancient “nations or of all modern nations", and it is an other thing to say ;-"We English alone of "all nations ancient or modern”. The former expression divides the nations into two classes, and places the English nation, first in one class, and afterward in the other; whereas the latter expression places the English among “all nations ", and then divides those nations into two classes; the one, "ancient"; the other,
As for Mr. S.'s emendation ; that of substituting “and” for “or”, I should much like to know how “all nations" can be said to be ancient and modern". Some are ancient, and some are modern; therefore, they may “all” be classed under the designation 'ancient or modern"; and this the writer in • The Atheneum'has done. But they are not all
ancient and modern". So that instead of the conjunction “or” having treacherously led Mr. Moon into a singular error, it is the conjunction "and" which has treacherously led Mr. S. into a singular error.
There are several other inaccuracies and misstatements in Mr. S.'s letter, but my patience fails me; so, after one more exposure of my opponent's errors, I will finish this criticism. He censures me for saying
"the using it”, and supports his opinion by the following quotation from Lindley Murray:--"The present
“ participle, with the definite article the' before “ it, becomes a substantive, and must have the preposition of' after it.” Let us examine this.
• Supposing I were speaking of my having had the good fortune to meet two of my old school-fellows,