« PredošláPokračovať »
JOHNSON'S ENGLISH DICTIONARY:
OF WHICH THE PALPABLE ERRORS ARE ATTEMPTED TO BE RECTIFIED,
BY GEORGE MASON,
AUTHOR OF THE GLOSSARY TO HOCCLEVE, AND OF AN ESSAY
ON DESIGN IN GARDENING.
PRINTED BY C. ROWORTH,
FOR JOHN WHITE, FLEET STREET; LEIGH AND SOTHEBYS, YORK STREET,
THE MOST EFFECTUAL
PRESERVER OF OUR COUNTRY
THIS HUMBLE ATTEMPT
TOWARDS RECTIFYING THE STANDARD
OF ITS LANGUAGE.
FOR COMPLETER INFORMATION OF THE PUBLIC,
HOW SUPERFLUOUS MUST IT APPEAR,
MORE DIRECTLY TO NAME
GEORGE JOHN EARL SPENCER!
YET THE WRITER'S SELF-ATTACHMENT
IMPELS HIM TO DISPLAY SUCH A PRIVILEGE
OF GRATIFYING HIS OWN AMBITION.
F all publications perhaps not one can be mentioned, where fcrupulous exactnefs fhould be more peculiarly obferved, than in a Dictionary. Yet JOHNSON's abounds with inaccuracies, as much as any English book whatsoever-written by a scholar. Demonftrating this in the prefent place may be confidered as wholly unneceffary, fince fo great a portion of thofe articles, which form the enfuing vocabulary, contain in themselves inconteftible proof of the affertion. Nor need these manifest defects at all be wondered at, in one who took every opportunity of testifying a diflike to his task, and complaining of it as a drudgery; whereas to thofe that are intent upon their employment, and attached to literary inveftigation-labor ipfe voluptas.
To this diffatisfaction at his undertaking, poffibly we are to attribute JOHNSON's various inconfiftencies with himself, and with any due regularity in the execution of his work; but it is also equally evident, that he has fallen into many an error for want of rightly comprehending paffages in authors, produced by him for examples. This muddinefs of intellect fadly befmears and defaces almost every page of the compofition yet is the plan of our author's Dictionary really commendable, and (as far as that plan has been duly completed) the work itself in high eftimation. Were not the writer of the following fheets fully convinced of this, he must of confequence regard his own labour as abfolutely useless. And it may be reckoned an unpardonable mark of prefumption in him, to fuppofe himself capable of rendering in any degree perfect fo confiderable a book, by inconfiderable and inadequate additions and corrections. He does however strongly believe, that he has made the double compilation by far more useful to the public than was the fingle one, and that he has exceedingly leffened the labour of any future experiment in a fimilar way. -But in what refpects JOHNSON's method has here been followed, and with what variations, he now conceives it his bufinefs to explain.
JOHNSON fays in his preface-" In affigning the Roman original.... confidering myself as em"ployed only in the illustration of my own language, I have not been very careful to observe, whether "the Latin word be pure or barbarous." This the prefent compiler regards as a very reprehensible, piece of negligence in any teacher of language, and confequently has adhered to a ftricter method in additional articles of his own. He thinks himself however so far bound by JOHNSON's excufe, as not to animadvert upon any thing of this kind as an error of the Dictionary: fuch faults indeed hardly come within the province of the Supplement, the matter being (as JOHNSON alledges) foreign to the point of illustrating English.
JOHNSON fays" As my defign was a Dictionary common or appellative, I have omitted all "words which have relation to proper names; fuch as Arian, Socinian, Calvinist, Benedictine, "Mahometan; but have retained thofe of a more general nature, as Heathen, Pagan." If these emitted words had no other fignification than what belongs to a mere adjective poffeffive of the perfon whose proper name they are derived from, there might be fome reafon in this diftinction. But take only the word Benedictine: how feldom is it, that any thing written or faid of these friars has the least connection with their founder, Benedict? In conformity too to JOHNSON'S Own ftatement of his rule of felection, it might be afked, what proper names have Anabaptift and Quaker relation to, that they should also be left out of his common Dictionary? This very circumstance may ferve to fhew the impropriety of establishing such a rule, which has accordingly been here rejected; and the number of omiffions it occafioned has been one confiderable fource for augmenting this Supplement.