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He condemns my use of the preposition “of” in the phrase,
not a fault of grammar, but of composition”,
and would substitute in for of. But “a fault of
composition" is one thing; and “a fault in "composition" may be quite another thing. Of relates to source, whereas in relates to place. A fault of composition must, of course, be a fault in composition; but a fault in composition is not, necessarily, a fault of composition. It may be a fault of grammar. Mr. S. seems to know of only one meaning to the word “of”, namely, that of possession ; for he asks ;—“Whose“ “of composition was it? Was it the compo"sition's error ?" This is worse that childish. Does Mr. S. really believe that "the fear of the
Lord” means that there is a feeling of fear in the mind of the Almighty ? Is this what is taught at Trinity College ? O fie!
With similar short-sightedness Mr. S. stumbles over the very obvious meaning of the same preposition, as it is used in the expression,
“the signature of a great name.”
Of has at least a dozen significations; and, in the foregoing expression, I have used it in the sense of consisting of.
Mr. S. would substitute “scholar” for “name". I do not see any necessity for the change. My expression is sanctioned by the example of the author of The Grammar of English Grammars', who says, on page 36;—“It was not supposed " that any reader would demand for every thing ' “ of this kind the authority of some great name.”
Mr. S. objects likewise to the expression,
“too true a scholar”,
and says; “Hobbs and Whately declare that “only assertions can be true or false." In the first place, Mr. S. has mistaken the meaning of the word "true", as used here. I do not speak of Mr. Marsh's veracity; but, of his faithfulness. Has Mr. S. never met with that meaning of the word ? Has he never read in the history of Joseph ;-“We are all one man's sons; we are
true men ; thy servants are no spies”? Has Mr. S. never heard of the “true God”? I commend to Mr. S., for his attentive perusal, an oldfashioned book called “The Bible".
Mr. S. has, evidently, no keenness of perception of the niceties of meaning conveyed in terms which appear to be nearly synonymous. I had spoken of my wish " to offer a word of caution to young students against
" allowing themselves to be tempted to adopt certain “inaccuracies”,
and Mr. S. very innocently says ;—“Does he “mean anything more than to offer a word of “caution to young students against adopting cer“tain inaccuracies?” Certainly I do. I mean very much more. Does Mr. S. not know the meaning of even the word “temptation "?
' Or would he wish me to take the opposite view of the matter, and infer that, in his experience, to be tempted, and to yield to the temptation, are one and the same thing ?
I am aware that
are derived from the same Latin word; but, like many other words which come from one common root, they differ in signification, and differ far more than do the kindred words, "proposal" and “proposition". Of these Mr. S. says;—"A pro“position, when acceded to, is followed by an act “on the part of those to whom it is submitted. A A “proposal, when accepted, is followed by an act
“ on the part of the proposer”. I do not know whether Mr. S. rejoices in a state of single blessedness or not; but if he does, and if he should one day be “tempted”, by a pair of bright eyes, to make a proposal of marriage ; I hope that he will experience that his proposal is followed by a very loving act on the part of the fair one ; and that he will live to find that, not only an assertion, but also a woman, can be true.
THE HON. GEORGE P. MARSH.
THERE are many persons to whom the study of language is distasteful; and who, consequently, have refused to acquaint themselves with the properties of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc. ;. but who, nevertheless, from a constant perusal of our best authors, write and speak with comparative purity. Occasionally, however, they are asked to decide respecting some disputed point in grammar, and to give a reason for their decision; and they then, having no substantial foundation of linguistic knowledge on which to base an opinion, are obliged to confess their ignorance of the laws of the language ; and so, from the proud position of umpires, to which their imagined mastery of those laws had raised them in the estimation of their fellow-men, they fall at once to the humiliating position of those who are wilfully ignorant. There are other
persons who have, for years, made language their