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low any trader to carry with him more than five gallons of New England rum, and even that must be presumed to be for his own use.
An old Indian chief, who was in the .fatal expedition with the British army, under General Braddock, when he besieged Ticonderoga, and formed part of the detachment which General Washington saved, dined with the American Faiius, at Mount Vernon, in Virginia: after the repast', the savage hero indicated signs of disappointment, if not disgust. When the venerable general enquired, by the interpreter the cause of his chagrin, the savage stood erect, and told his illustrious host, that some years ago, when he was in the Indian castle, he, the savage,had offered him the embraces ofhis squaw: and that he was wonderfully surprised that the general had not returned this instance of civility, by a similar offer of Mrs. Washington. The general excused himself, by averring that it was not the custom of his country. As Mrs. Washington, who was present, understood the tenor of the demand, she became much agitated with terror, which the Indian perceiving, he told her with manly dignity, that she had nothing to fear; as if the general had complied, he should only have walked up to her to signify his right to this sort of hospitable courtesey, and then bowing, have resigned her to her white chief.
The Indians kill their prey in the woods, at the distance of many miles from their villages, and, when they have shot a buck or buffalo, they return, and give an account of the affairs of the chace to their squaws, who harness a large dog to a rude sort of sleigh, or sledge, formed of the bark, or body of a tree, and find the prey, by the tracks on the grass: this they put into another sledge, which is fastened to their heads by a long rope, made of deer-skin and grass, and thus they draw it home.
A general officer, of the United States informed me, that some Mohawk chiefs being at Albany, a pedantic doctor, who dined with them at the same table, asked many impertinent questions, which at last irritated them so much that ihey requested him, by their interpreter, to desist, and give the rest of the company some occasion to talk too. This gentleman informed me that they twist a bough around the neck, and, with the head enveloped in the leaves, crawl on their bellies to reconnoitre an enemy's camp. It appears that their fidelity is not to be relied on,
implicity, at least during war, as their notions of free agency are nearly unlimited. During the revolutionary contest, it was a common event to have a number of the Indians, appertaining to General Burgoyne's army, in the camp of General Gates, and vice versa,
Mr. Hallam, who is the father of the American stage, informed me, that several years since he was playing a tragedy, in the town of Alexandria, when several Indians of both sexes were in the boxes, and, in their simple way, thought the fiction of the scene was a genuine effusion of passion. It occurred in the course of the representation that two persons were theatrically murdered; and Mr. Henry, the actor, was going to stub a third victim, when a female Indian suddenly stood up, and made signs to stop the performance: her explanation for this interruption was, that they had already slain enough to satisfy her desire, and that she did not wish them to proceed any further: wildly imagining, that the whole affair was sanguinary, and that the heroes of the buskin were thus immolated to gratify the prejudices of her tribe, as a public compliment to their warlike character.'
Having a great desire to see an Indian squaw, I took an opportunity, while at Philadelphia, to indulge my curiosity. I was introduced by a medical gentleman and the interpreter. The lady was the wife of a chief of high character, belonging to one of the Six Nations: we found her sitting, and in the act of spinning, which she performed by means of a thin stick pierced with pins, at the lower extremity of which was a potatoe, which worked as a necessary weight in the operation. She was making garters for her husband, and I could not but admire her dexterity, and the effectual manner in which she conducted her rude machinery; she was rather tall than otherwise, and habited with the most rigorous delicacy; she had a short, white jacket,and a blue petticoat. Her hair, which was of a raven hue, appeared nearly as thick in texture as a horse's mane; it was combed ngatly, and separated with such precision on her forehead, that it seemed as if an equal proportion of hair decorated,' each side: her complexion was of a copper cast, but somewhat lighter. I asked her as many questions as decent manners would allow, to all of which she gave prompt and keen replies. I observed that it was not in the force of flattery to make her forget the dignity of modesty. She had the mien of a Juno, aud I am persuaded. persuaded, when indignant, that she could make tier displeasure awfully impressive. Her natural majesty of action was nearIj equal to that of the best-bred women 1 «ver saw; she had confidence, without boldness; and reserve without meuttihe-konte. During our conversation tlie chief entered the room, and, when I hail complimented him on his good taste in tiie choice of his lady, he bulbed heartily. He was an athletic man, and approahed nearer in his muscular proportion to the Torso and Fornese Hercules, than any man that I recollect to tare beheld. It is true, that my knowledge of the Indian character is very limited; yet so far^s I may be admitted tuform a judgment, 1 think them, naturally considered, as the most acute, agile, and graceful people that I have ever kcown. W.
For Ike Monthly Magazine.
0I3E&VATIONS On ARRESTS On MESNE
Process, for small Debts, Ice.
THE prisons, notwithstanding the recent Act of Insolvency, are already crowded with debtors on mesne frocets, tot sums under 30t. About fourffthi of the debtors sent to prison are far debts under 20l. and in this class there are now many in Newgate.
With respect to a further restriction of jhc law of arrests, on mesnp process, ■■ e are not, upon a question so important, left without a guide; our ancestors, seventy-five years ago, restrained the law of arrests, on process from the superior courts at Westminster, by preventing them, fur sums under ten pounds.*
Bv this law, many thousand debtors have been saved from imprisonment; and if revised, it might be the means of avoiding the necessity of again enlarging the prisons, or of passing more frequent acts of insolvency; as money decreased hi value, the benefits inteirJed by this law gradually diminished, and we may remember, that about twenty or thirty years ago, Newgate, the King's-Bench, the Fleet, and other prisons, were considerably enlarged; but their future dimensions must depend upon the length sf time, in which it shall please the wisdom of parliament to keep this law stationary, and the increase of poverty and population, or, upon a more speedy recurrence to acts of insolvency, to aaake room for a fresh assortment of prisoners.
• 12 Gea. I, c. 29.
The pressure of the times may constrain many to run in debt, without any reasonable prospect of payment; but whatever may occasion insolvency, the means of payment are not increased by the practice of arrests for small debts; it will, therefore, excite no surprize that the poor debtor CRiinot escape imprisonment.
It has been stated by respectable authority, that arrests, even for small debts, were useful, as a stimulus to a settlement of the action, and, by preventing much expensive litigation; thus the evils, though great, are supposed productive of more than an equal counterbalance of good; but the evils are certain, while the proposed advantages are doubtful, and the speculation against all experience: the number of actions settled, is less, and the executions more, in bailable actions, than in actions not bailable; a clear proof, that an arrest (particularly for small debts) cannot be the prevailing motive to a compromise of the action, much less to payment, in the event of insolvency; and in that case, the process is severe, the speculation must fail, no stimulus being able to work an impossibility; in the case of disability, arising from poverty, the man arrested, destitute of money and friends, cannot find bail; the fruit of the arrest, is therefore fruitless imprisonment.
If ten pounds, seventy years ago, was equal to thirty pounds, compared with the value of money, at this day, the letter of Hie statute may remain, while the benevolent intentions, founded in the wisdom of the legislature, may be defeated; to shew the policy of a further restriction proportioned to a decrease in, the value of money since that period, suppose the laws in restraint of arrests under ten pounds repealed, the number of prisoners would be increased, by embracing a still larger class of poor debtors, and prisons would soon overflow.
By a statute passed in the present reign in restraint of such arrests in the inferior courts*, perhaps more than 200,000 arrests have been prevented within the last twenty years; but it never has been contended that by such law, the credit and commerce of the country has been in the least impaired; on the contrary, durin6 this period, it lias risen to the highest pitch or prosperity.
Every creditor shares in the speculation of an arrest (though the chance of success is thereby evidently diminished,
To tk Editor of the Monthly Magazine. sis,
BEFORE I saw Mr. Singlctou's query, (Vol. Si. No. 16o. p. 528,) in regard to superior and inferior, I had »beeu collecting the comparative or relative words not usually followed in Enjfeli by than, but by to. They are a little more numerous than he imagines tiiem to be. To the above-mentioned ward* I have added prior, posterior, anterior, and ulterior. Nor ho junior and jtaivr admit the construction with than. It may also be observed that the English comparatives former and latter are, like other comparatives, followed by of, denoting partition, but not by than, desoting comparison. We say, too, " the tldtr of the two," and "the one is older than the otlier;" also, "the elder of the two," but, I believe, not commonly, "die one is elder thuu the other."
The truth, certainly, is, that the words ending in or are, originally, Latin comparatives; but, although they may still retain, iu English, something of their comparative meaning, vet they do not ail possess tl.e full nature and import of the words deemed, in the English language, comparatives. So much is this the case, that we find some of them used in a way in which no real English comparative is correctly employed. Thus, we cannot, in English, add very, as the sin of the comparison of eminence, to higher, and say, " He is very higher,;" iut we meet every day, in the pages of the correctc-st writers, " this is very superior," " this is very inferior to the other;" a plain proof that such words, at least, are not esteemed to be in the comparative degree. ludeed, if wc examine some of these in the language whence we have taken them, we shall perhaps find, that, when used with a construction equivalent to the English to, they may be said to have lo:«t their comparative nature; thus Pudus nulli omnium claritate inferior—Plin. Vir nulla arte cuiquam inferior—Sail. Frag. Hist, in both which tne adjective inferior seems to be used absolutely, as equivalent*to second or yielding, to tecundtu or conitdens.
In many English words may the analogy of Latin comparison be traced; but, alibouiji a resemblance' may he supposed to exist between their respective natures, jet such words are not regarded, in both languages, as of precisely the same full Meaning and import. I will mention an example or two; external, exterior; ex
treme; internal, interior, intimate; supcrior, supreme; prior, prime. I do not mean to deny that these may imply some kind of comparison, or relative state; but they have not been admitted into the English language as the usual, acknowledged forms of comparison, like good, belter, best; great, greater, greatest; at least, I do nut know any English grammarian that has characterised, nor any reputable writer that lias adopted, such formations as instances of legitimate English comparison. When we say, "the interior form," and "the exterior form," we mean, in English, nothing more than the inward and the outward form, as contradistinguished from each other, and not" the one which is more inward, nor that which is more outtourd, as compared with another which is also inuard or outward. That is, exterior and interior are considered as, in English, little deferent from external and internal; so that " exterior than," for a comparative expression, would hejust as unmeaning as " external than." Why such words are not considered, as in Latin, comparatives, it is not for me to determine. The circumstance depend* upon usage, the arbitress of living languages. Again, when we write " prior to this," we express nothing essentially different from " previous to this." In« deed, it appears to me, that no word construed with to can then be said to import comparison. Such constructions may certainly refer to a relative state; yet although grammatical comparison presupposes such a state, the converse is not true, that all forms implying this state do necessarily import what is technically denominated, in grammar, comparison.
Once more; intimate does, if etvmologically cousideicd, denote the inner' most; still we use it as a positive, mid say, " he is more infuriate with me thau with my brother;" " he is my most intimate friend." Nay, extreme, which denotes the outmost, utmost, or uttermost, is often found, in English, I will not say how correctly, iu a state of comparison. One thing, however, is certain, that it is commonly used in a way repugnant to the nature of a superlative; thus we write, "in an extreme degree," in which were extreme regarded as n superlative, an could not have been used, since, then, for an obvious reason, the definite article must have been prefixed, for we say, "tlte greatest man," and cannot write f- a greatest man." Thus also, we write,
according according to the sense, either " a supreme delight," or " the supreme delight," in which not comparison, hut, perhaps, mere intension, is implied. These words are, therefore, not used as superlatives of comparison, which must be preceded by the, but as the positive state of an adjective. That, from their nature, they may imply Tery, and thus he equivalent to what is named the superlative of eminence, I will not deny; but, in reality, such superlatives denote comparison, or the nature of a relative state, in no other way than the simple adjective does. The classical scholar is well aware that the Romans themselves treated even their own acknowledged superlatives sometimes as positives, forming a comparison upon them; hence we find extremus, extremior, extremissimus; postremus, postreniior, postreniiasimus. Rut I am wandering from the question. I shall, therefore, only add, that, from the little which has been said, it does appear that the reason why the words referred to by your querist are not followed in English by than, the word denoting comparison, is, that, although they may not, perhaps, be quite divested of their primitive comparative nature, they are not generally considered to have, in English, the full sense and precise signification of the words usually and grammatically deem
ed, in this language, comparatives.— Were I disposed to hazard a conjecture why they cannot be construed as English comparatives, it would depend upon a supposed meaning of the termination used in English comparison, and upon the nature of the English than. What the Latin termination or, used in comparison, may be, or whether it has any affinity to the English er, it is beside the present purpose to investigate; hut the English er seems to he the Saxon er or ere, denoting priority. Than or then is an adverb oi time, equivalent to turn tunc, being probably a certain form of the Saxon or Gothic article, set apart chiefly for the designation of time. According to this view of the matter, if it be correct, the real nature and rationale of English comparison are obvious. "You are wiser than I," means " You are wise ere (first or before) then I." But, as I have already mentioned, this is given as a conjecture; in my own opinion, a very natural and plausible one, concerning which T may, perhaps, make some remarks hereafter. Should you deem these few hasty observations in any degree answerable to Mr. Singleton's query, they will be, so far at least, not unworthy of insertion. Your's, tkc.
Crouch End, J. Grant.
Jan. 5, 1808.