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derfully multiplied a letter which was before too frequent in the English tongue, and added to that hissing in our language, which is taken so much notice of by foreigners; but at the same time humours our taciturnity, and eases us of many superfluous syllables.
As in the instances I have given we have epitomized many of our particular words to the detriment of our tongue, so occasions we have drawn two words into one which has likewise
much untuned our language, and clogged it with consonants, as mayn't can't, shan't, won't, and the like, for may not, can not, shall not, will not, etc. We may
here likewise observe that our proper names, when familiarised in English, generally dwindle to monosyllables, whereas in other modern languages they receive a softer turn on this occasion , by the addition of a new syllable. Nick in Italian is Nicolino ; Jack in French Jeannot; and so of the rest.
There is another particular in our language which is a great instance of our frugality of words, and that is the suppressing of several particles which must be pro
duced in other tongues to make a sentence in telligible : this often perplexes the best writers, when they find the relatives whom, which or they, at their mercy whether they may have admission or not; and will never be decided till we have something like an academy, that by the best authorities and rules, drawn from the analogy of languages, shall settle all controversies between grammar and idiom.
I have only considered our language as it shews the genius and natural temper of the English, which is modest, thoughtful and sincere , and which perhaps may recommend the people, though it has spoiled the tongue. We might perhaps carry the same thought into other languages, and deduce a great part of what is peculiar to them from the genius of the people who speak them. It is certain the light talkative humour of the French has not a little infected their tongue, which might be shewn by many instances; as the genius of the Italians , which is so much addicted to music and ceremony , has moulded all their words and phrases to those particular ruses. The staleliness and gravity of the Spaniards shews itself to perfection in the solemnity of their language ; and the blunt honest humour of the Germans sounds better in the roughness of the High-Dutch than it would in a politer tongue.
Very few people are good ceconomists of their fortune , and still fewer of their time : and yet, of the two, the latter is the most precious. I heartily wish you to be a good ceconomist of both; and you are now of an age to begin to think seriously of these two important articles. Young people are apt to think they have so much time before them, that they may squander what they please of it, and yet have enough lest; as very great fortunes have frequently seduced people to a ruinous profusion. Fatal mistakes, always repented of, but always too late! Old Mr. Lowndes, the famous secretary of the treasury, in the reigns of king William , queen Ann, and king George the first , used to say, « Take care of the pence, » and the pounds will take care of them, « selves. »
This holds equally true as to time; and I most earnestly recommend to you the care of those minutes and quarters of hours, in the course of the day, which people think too short to deserve their attention : and yet, if summed up at the end of the year , would amount to a very considerable portion of time. For example : you are to be at such a place at twelve, by appointment; you go out at eleven , to make two or three visits first; those persons are not at home : instead of sauntering away that intermediate time at a coffee-house, and possibly alone , return home , write a letter, before-hand, for the ensuing post , or take up a good book, I do not mean Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, or Newton, by way of dipping; but some book of rational amusement and detached pieces, as Horace , Boileau , Waller, La Bruyere , etc. This will be so much time saved , and by no means ill employed. Many people lose a great deal of time by reading : for they read frivolous and idle books ; such as the absurd romances of the two last centuries where characters, that never existed, are insipidly displayed; and sentiments, that were never felt , pompously described; the oriental ravings and extravagancies of the
Arabian Nights, and Mogul Tales ; and such sort of idle frivolous stuff, that nourishes and improves the mind just as much as whipped cream would the body. Stick to the best established books, in every language; the celebrated poets , historians orators philosophers. By these means ( to use a city metaphor ) you will make fifty per cent,
of that time, of which others do not make above three or four, or probably nothing at all.
Many people lose a great deal of their time by laziness; they loll and yawn in a great chair , tell themselves that they have not time to begin any thing then, and that it will do as well another time. This is a most unfortunate disposition, and the greatest obstruction to both knowledge and business. At your age , you have no right nor claim to laziness. You are but just listed in the world and must be active, diligent, indefatigable. If ever you propose commanding with dignity , you must serve up to it with diligence. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to day,
Dispatch is the soul of business; and nothing contributes more to dispatch , than method. Lay down a method for every