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Thine; Your, Your's; Her, Her's; Their, Their's ; are soon mastered; but the etiquette of placing I and Me; Thou and Thee; He and Him; She and Her; They and Them; Who and Whom; is a matter of constant recurrence; and in which the most expert grammarians are apt to blunder. If, however, one form were adhered to, (let it be either I or Me; He or Him; They or Them; She or Her; which is wholly indifferent,) such blundering could not happen: and that one of these forms might be dispensed with is evident; for when ungrammatic persons say, I saw he; he saw I; you saw they; or, me saw him; him saw me, &c.; though the mode of expres sion may seem ludicrous to grammatic people, there is nothing wrong as to meaning-that is conveyed as distinctly by the peasant's bad grammar as by the good grammar of Lindley Murray and when any other standard of correctness than significancy is erected under the name of grammar, it is to be regarded as a mere ceremonial or fantastic etiquette imposed on the grammatic multitude; who are not to enjoy the blessing of liberty in expressing their thoughts; but are always to be in the bondage of a most arbitrary censorship. Though English grammar be very simple, what littérateur is there, however accomplished, who is not frequently guilty of some grammatic offence? Hence the gentlemen of the press usually mix up their controversies with grammatic recriminations: and it is very amusing to see William Cobbett turn round on his literary pur
suers, and, by the force of his native prowess, aided by grammatic discipline, put to flight Leigh Hunt, Dr. Stoddart, and all his grammatic foes; then sit in judgment on the Collective Wisdom of the Nation, and convict all the learning and talents thereof, as well as Mr. Canning and all his Majesty's ministers, of bad grammar.
If we were in a grave mood we should perhaps deplore that, in addition to all the other causes of personal and factious hostility which exist in this imperfect world, there should be a senseless, mischief-making kind of grammar to set men together by the ears; which, moreover, causes much embarrassment in writing and speaking our thoughts (and the business is sufficiently difficult of itself without any unnecessary impediment or incumbrance); whilst it creates and perpetuates a vain, petty, contemptuous, carping, kind of criticism. But almost any thing is better than stagnation; and in consequence of the amusement just received from the subject, we are in some danger of feeling a wicked pleasure in reflecting that there is not much chance of grammatic reform: for though the measure be quite practicable, who, that have sufficient influence, will come forward and contribute their example? This is all that is wanted and however strange some parts of analogy might seem, when first presented, after a long absence, and after we had been all our lifetime used to anomalies; in the course of a few weeks, our mouths, our eyes, our ears and imaginations would
be as much enamoured of them as of a French phrase, or fashion just imported, and which is in vogue at the West-end of the Town: soon would the old discarded anomalies seem as ugly and vulgar as the degraded fashions and phrases which have taken refuge among the mobility.
Let the influential personages of the literary world, particularly the corps diplomatique of reviewers (as powerful in the modern republic of letters as lawyers in the state), and the writers in all the periodicals, and all the gentlemen of the press, discard accusative cases of pronouns. In making an experiment upon established usage, they have an opportunity of trying their strength and of proving their power. If they will not hazard a little innovation for the sake of simplicity and utility, let us give arbitrary grammar the usual valediction-esto perpetua. The author will at least possess the satisfaction of having abated its pretensions.
We object to all unnecessary intricacies in language; but we have no objection to any useful contrivance: hence what is called the genitive case has been exhibited in connexion with the connouns; because it is somewhat useful and strictly agreeable to analogy; for nouns in general admit of such a change of termination to denote possession, connexion, or relation, and to avoid a longer mode of expression: as, "Mr. Tooke's work," for, the work of Mr. Tooke "Locke's Essay," for the Essay of Locke. So, if either of these authors has been spoken of, and is
therefore supposed to be in view, we might say, he's work; he's Essay. His, Its, Whose, should evidently, for the sake of analogy, be He's, It's, Who's: and for the same reason, You's is preferable to Your; They's to Their, &c.
What, then, is this termination called possessive or genitive? It is a contraction of is, also anciently es; for what is now put man's, was formerly manis, or manes; and every one is familiar with the use of what is called the apostrophic sign, i. e. the comma put to indicate the omission of some letter or letters. If, then, 's be a contraction of is or es, what is is? It is the sign of the genitive singular, third declension of Latin nouns; which was adopted by the Saxon writers to answer the same purpose in the native language which they were forming: and there can be no doubt that said is was originally a separate word answering in meaning or use to of with us: which of, as well as the termination is, is a contraction or fragment of some compound word. Man's is the same in English as Hominis in Latin: Man's eondition is the same in significancy as, the condition of man; or the human condition. In the last instance, human is an adjective formed upon Hoмo, Номо, anciently HUмo, by adding an; which an serves the same purpose as the termination is, or our of; i. e. it denotes connexion or relation. Our word Man, as noticed in another place, is a contraction of Human, and elliptical for human being: hence the reason why the following expressions are all equivalent: Conditio
hominis, humana conditio; Man's condition, the condition of man, the human condition.
There is little or nothing gained by contracting Manis or Manes; Birdis or Birdes, into Man's, Bird's, &c. The reason of its adoption was, evidently, to distinguish what is called the genitive or possessive from the plural termination; for they were both es or is. When, therefore, Birdis, for example, was contracted into Birds plural, the possessive was put Bird's; and this distinction has sufficient utility (at least to the eye, for it is useless in reference to the ear) to warrant its retention.
It has been observed that the plural was formerly the same as the possessive or genitive termination. The same is the case in the Latin: the terminations æ, i, is, are signs of the genitive singular and nominative plural: as MusÆ, means both of a song and songs; DOMINI, of a lord and lords; SERMONIS, of a speech and speeches; only the plural, in the third declension, is generally es: as, SERMONES, &c.; but, originally, there was no difference between it and the genitive singular. This fact might have enlightened the grammarians concerning the termination in question. See Noun and Affixes.
We shall dismiss the Connouns, commonly called Pronouns, with a brief explication of their diversified forms as they now exist. I, as has been shown, is a corruption of EGO; ME is the Latin accusative; Thou is a corruption of Tu; Thee of TE; We is a