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accident or occasion, but the result of long reflexion; and I have been confirmed in my sentiments

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your lordship as first minister, that our language is extremely imperfect; that its daily improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily corruptions; that the pretenders to polish and refine it have chiefly multiplied abuses and absurdities; and, that in many instances it offends against every part of grammar. But left your lordship should think my censure too severe, I shall take leave to be more particular. I believe your lordship will agree with me, in the reason why our language is less refined than those of Italy, Spain, or France. It is plain, that the Latin tongue in its purity was never in this island, towards the conquest of which few or no attempts. were made till the time of Claudius ; neither was that language ever so vulgar in Britain, as it is known to have been in Gaul and Spain. Further, we find that the Roman legions here were at length. all recalled to help their country against the Goths, and other barbarous invaders. Mean time, the Britons left to shift for themselves, and daily harTafled by cruel inroads from the Pićts, were forced. to call in the Saxons for their defence; who consequently reduced the greatest part of the island to their own power, drove the Britons into the most remote and mountainous parts, and the rest of the country in customs, religion, and language, became wholly Saxon. This I take to be the reason, why, there are more Latin words remaining in the Bri. tish tongue than in the old Saxon, which, excepting some few variations in the orthography, is the same in most original words with our present English, as well as with the German and other Northern diale&ts. Pdward the confessor, having lived long in France, appears to be the first who introduced any mixture of the French tongue with the Saxon; the court aff:éting what the prince was fond of, and others taking it up for a fashion, as it is now with D d 2 uS

us. William the conqueror proceeded much far. ther; bringing over with him vast numbers of tha nation, scattering them in every monastery, giving them great quantities of land, direéting all pleadings to be in that language, and endeavouring to make it universal in the kingdom. This at least is the opinion generally received : but your lordship hath fully convinced me, that the French tongue made yet a greater progress here under Harry the second, who had large territories on that continent, both from his father and his wife, made frequent journeys and expeditions thither, and was always attended with a number of his countrymen, retaincrs at his court. For some centuries after, there was a constant intercouise between France and England, by the dominions we possessed there, and the conquests we made ; so that our language between two and three hundred years ago, seems to have had a greater mixture with French than ato present; many words having been afterwards rejećted, and some since the time of Spencer; although we have still retained not a few, which have been long antiquated in France. I could produce several instances of both kinds, if it were of any use or entertainment. To examine into the several circumstances by which the language of a country may be altéred, would force me to enter into a wide field. I shall only observe, that the Latin, the French, and the English, seem to have undergone the same fortune. The first, from the days of Romulus to those of Julius Caesar, suffered perpetual changes : and by what we meet in those authors who occasionally speak on that subječt, as well as from certain fragments of old laws, it is manifest that the Latin, three hundred years before Tully, was as unintelligible in his time, as the English and French of the same period are now ; and these two have changed as much fince William the conqueror

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