Page images


Milton, &c. At the same time it is but just to observe that this selection of authorities has been made by an actual perusal of the authors, without the assistance of Johnson's Dictionary.

For the sentiments which are scattered through this work I offer no apology, as I think none necessary; although I am

aware that they will not fall in with the views of many who may be competent to decide on its literary merits. I write not to please or displease any description of persons; but I trust that what I have written accord. ing to the dictates of my mind will meet the approbation of those whose good opinion I am most solicitous to obtain. Should any object to the introduction of morality in a work of science, I beg them to consider, that a writer whose business it was to mark the nice shades of distinction between words closely allied, could not do justice to his subject without entering into all the relations of society, and showing, from the acknowledged sense of many moral and religious terms, what has been the general sense of mankind on many of the most important questions which have agitated the world. My first object certainly has been to assist the philological enquirer in ascertaining the force and comprehension of the English language; yet I should have thought my work but half completed had I made it a mere register of verbal distinctions. While others seize every opportunity unblushingly to avow and zealously to propagate opinions destructive of good order, and tending to sow disension among men, it would ill become any individual of contrary sentiments to shrink from stating his convictions, when called upon as he seems to be by an occasion like that which has now offered itself. As to the rest, I throw myself on the indulgence of the public, conscious that this work will call for it in no small degree. Although I have obtained their approbation on other occasions, yet it is not without some degree of diffidence that I appear before them on the present; notwithstanding the favorable sentence which private friends have passed upon my work, Conscious, however, that I have used every endeavour to deserve their approbation, and satisfied that in such case no one makes his appeal to their candor in vain, I leave my cause in their hands, fully assured that it will meet with all the attention that it deserves.

London, March 8, 1816.




compounded of the primitive for and

sake, seek, secan, signifying to seek no THE idea of leaving or separating more, to leave off seeking that which one's self from an object is common to has been an object of search. these terms, which differ in the cir- RELINQUISH, in Latin relinquo, cumstances or modes of leaving. The is compounded of re or retro behind, two former are more solemn acts than and linquo to leave, that is, to leave the two latter.

what we would fain take with us, to ABANDON,* from the French aban- leave with reluctance. donner, is a concretion of the words To abandon is totally to withdraw donner à ban, to give up to public ourselves from an object; to lay aside blame. This phrase was used in for- all care and concern for it; to leave mer times both in a civil and religi- it altogether to itself: to desert is to ous sense; as the ban of the empire withdraw ourselves at certain times for a civil interdict, and the ban of when our assistance or co-operation is the kirk for ecclesiastical excommu- required, or to separate ourselves from nication. The former of these prac- that to which we ought to be attachtices still continues under the name of ed; to forsake is to withdraw our reoutlawry. To abandon then is to ex- gard for and interest in an object, to pose to every misfortune and evil keep at a distance from it; to relinwhich results from a formal and pub- quish is to leave that which has once lic denunciation; to set out of the been an object of our pursuit. protection of law and government; to

Abandon and desert are employed deny the privileges of citizenship; to for persons or things; forsake for

perleave with solemnity, which ought to sons or places; relinquish for things be equivalent, as Johnson observes, to only. diris devovere.

With regard to persons these terms DESERT, in Latin desertus, partici- express moral culpability in a progresple of desero, that is, de privative and sive ratio downwards; abandon com-, sero to sow, signifying unsown, un- prehends the violation of the most planted, cultivated no longer. To de- sacred ties; desert, a breach of honour sert then is to leave off cultivating, and fidelity; forsake, a rupture of the and as there is something of idleness social bond. and improvidence in ceasing to render We abandon those who are entirely the soil productive, ideas of disap- dependent for protection and support; probation accompany the word in all they are left in a helpless state exposits metaphorical applications. He ed to every danger; a child is abanwho leaves off cultivating a farm doned by its parent; we desert those usually removes from it; hence the with whom we have entered into coaidea of removal and blameworthy re- lition; they are left to their own removal, which usually attaches to the sources; a soldier deserts his comterm.

rades; a partisan deserts his friends; • Vide Taylor: “ To forsake, neglect, desert, abandon."




we forsake those with whom we have been in habits of intimacy; they are deprived of the pleasures and comforts of society; a man forsakes his companions; a lover forsakes his mistress.

We are bound by every law human and divine not to abandon ; we are called upon by every good principle not to desert; we are impelled by every kind feeling not to forsake.

Few animals except man will abandon their young until they are enabled to provide for themselves. Interest, which is but too often the only principle that brings men together, will lead them to desert each other in the time of difficulty. We are enjoined in the gospel not to forsake the poor and needy.

When abandoned by our dearest relatives, deserted by our friends, and forsaken by the world, we have always a resource in our Maker.

their homes. Animals that are pursued by the sportsman will forsake their haunts, when they find themselves much molested. It is sometimes better to relinquish our claims than to contend for them at the expense of our peace.

Having abandoned all hopes of bettering their condition; they forsook the place which gave them birth, and relinquished the advantages which they might have obtained from their rank and family.

Men who abandon all pretensions to reputation will desert their post when interest of safety call them aside, and relinquish the honours which attend steadiness and fidelity.

He who abandons his offspring, or corrupts them by his example, perpetrates a greater evil than a murderer.

HAWKESWORTH. After the death of Stella, Swift's benevolence was contracted, and his severity exasperated : he drove his acquaintance from his table, and won. dered why he was deserted.

JOHNSON, Forsake me not thus, Adam! MILTON,

neglected Nature pines Abandoned.

COWPER. He who at the approach of evil betrays his trust, or deserts his post, is branded with cowardice.

HAWKESWORTE. When learning, abilities, and what is excellent in the world, forsake the churcb, we may easily foretell its ruin without the gift of pro. phecy.

SOUTH, Men are wearied with the toil which they bear, but cannot fiod in their hearts to relinquish


With regard to things in which sense the word relinquish is synonymous) the character of abandoning varies with the circumstances and motives of the action, according to which it is either good, bad, or indifferent; deserting is always taken in an unfavourable or bad sense; the act of forsaking is indifferent; that of relinquishing is prudent or imprudent.

A captain may abandon his vessel when he has no means of saving it, except at the risk of his life; but an upright statesman will never desert his post when his country is in danger, nor a true soldier desert his colours. Birds will mostly forsake their nests when they discover them to have been visited. Men often inadvertently relinquish the fairest prospects in order to follow some favourite scheme which terminates in their ruin.

Some persons abandon their projects as soon as they are formed. It is the common consequence of war that the peaceable and well disposed are compelled to desert their houses and


NOUNCE, ABDICATE. The idea of giving up is common to these terms, which signification, though analogous to the former, admits, however, of a distinction; as in the one case we separate ourselves from an object, in the other we send or cast it from us.

ABANDON, 0. To abandon, desert.

RESIGN, from re and signo, signifies to sign away or back from

one's self. RENOUNČE, in Latin renuncio, from nuncio to tell or declare, is to declare off from a thing.

· ABDICATE, from dico to speak, signifies likewise to call or cry off from a thing.

We abandon and resign by giving up to another; we renounce by sending away from ourselves; we abandon a thing by transferring our power over to another; in this manner a debtor abandons his goods to his creditors : we resign a thing by transferring our possession of it to another; in this manner we resign a place to a friend : we renounce a thing by simply ceasing



to hold it; in this manner we re nounce a claim or a profession. As to renounce signified originally to give up by word of mouth, and to resign to give up by signature; the former is consequently a less formal action than the latter; we may renounce by implication; we resign in direct terms ; we renounce the pleasures of the world when we do not seek to enjoy them; we resign a pleasure, a profit, or advantage, of which we expressly give up the enjoyment.

To abdicate is a species of informal resignation. A monarch abdicates his throne who simply declares his will to cease to reign; but a minister resigns his office by giving up the seals by which he held it.

A humane commander will not abandon a town to the rapine of the soldiers. The motives for resignations are various. Discontent, disgust, or the love of repose, are the ordinary inducements for men to resign honourable and lucrative employments. Men are not so ready to renounce the pleasures that are within their reach, as to seek after those which are out of their reach. The abs dication of a throne is not always an act of magnanimity, it may frequently result from caprice or necessity.

Charles the Fifth abdicated his crown, and his minister' resigned his office on the very same day, when both renounced the world with its allurements and its troubles. The passive gods bebeld the Greeks deble Their temples, and abandon to the spolk Their own abodes.

DRYDEN. It would be a good appendix to “ the art of Hving and dying," if any one would write “ the art of growing old," and teach men to resign . their pretensions to the pleasures of youth.

STEKLE For ministers to be silent in the cause of Christ - to renounce in, and to fly is to desert it.

SOUTH, Much gratitude is due to the Nine from their tavoured poets, and much hath been paid; for even to the present bour they are lovoked and worshipped by the sons of verve, whilst all the the deities of Olympus have either abdicated their thrones, or been dismissed from them with contempt.

CUMBERLAND We abandon nothing but that over which we have had an entire and lawfut control; we abdicate nothing but

that which we have held by a certain right; but we may resign or renounce that which may be in our possession only by an act of violence. A usurper cannot abandon his people, because he has no people over whom he can exert a lawful authority; still less can he abdicate a throne, because he has no throne to abdicate. The use of this word, therefore, in application to the late usurper of France is obviously incorrect and worthy of animadversion, lest the future historian of our times should fall into the error of applying to self-constituted rulers the language which exclusively belongs to legitimate sovereigns.

Of the usurper referred to it may be said, that he resigned the supreme power, because power may be unjustly held; or that he renounced his pretensions to the throne, because pretensions may be fallacious or extravagant.

Abandon and resign are likewise used in a reflective sense; the former to express an involuntary or culpable action, the latter that which is voluntary and proper. The soldiers of Hannibal abandoned themselves to effeminacy during their winter quarters at Cumæ.

It is the part of every good man's religion to resign bimself to God's will. CUMBERLAND

TO ABANDON, v. To give up, abandon.


DISGRACE, DEBASE. To ABASE expresses the strongest degree of self-humiliation, from the French abaisser, to bring down or make low, which is compounded of the intensive syllable a or ad and baisser from bas low, in Latin basis the base, which is the lowest part of a column. It is at present

used principally in the Scripture language, or in a metaphorical style, to imply the laying aside all the high pretensions which distinguish us from our fellow creatures, the descending to a state comparatively low and mean.

TO HUMBLE, in French humilier, from the Latin humilis bumble, and




The soul can comfort.


humus the ground, naturally marks a grace those who are debased by vice
prostration to the ground, and figura- and profligacy.
tively a lowering the thoughts and

"Tis immortality, 'tis that alone According to the principles of

Amidst life's pains, abasements, emptiness, Christianity whoever abaseth himself shall be exalted, and according to the

My soul is justly humbled in the dust. ROWE. same principles whoever reflects on It is very disiogendous to level the best of his own littleness and unworthiness

mankind with the worst, and for the faults of

particulars to degrade the whole species. will daily humble himself before his

HUGHES. Maker.

You'd think no fools disgraced the former reign, To DEGRADE,in French degrader, Did not some grave examples still remain. from the Latin gradus a step, signi

POPE. fies to bring a step lower; figuratively, The great masters of composition know very to lower in the estimation of others. well that many an elegant word becomes im

proper for a poet or an orator when it has been It supposes already a state of eleva

debased by common use.

ADDISON. tion either in outward circumstances or in public opinion.

TO ABASH, CONFOUND, CONDISGRACE is compounded of the

FUSE. privative dis and the noun grace or favour. To disgrace properly implies

ABASH is an intensive of abase, to put out of favour, which is always signifying to abase thoroughly in spirit. attended more or less with circum- CONFOUND and CONFUSĖ are stances of ignominy, and reflects con

derived from different parts of the same tempt on the object.

Latin verb confundo and its participle DEBASE is compounded of the in

confusus. Confundo is compounded tensive syllable de and the adjective of con and fundo to pour together. To base, signifying to make very base or confound and confuse then signify prolow.

perly to melt together or into one mass The modest man abases himself by what ought to be distinct; and figuranot insisting on the distinctions to tively, as it is here taken,

derange which he may be justly entitled; the the thoughts in such manner as that penitent man humbles himself by con- they seem melted together. fessing his errors; the man of rank Abash expresses more than condegrades himself by a too familiar found, and confound more than condeportment with his inferiors; he dis- fuse. graces himself by his meannesses and Shame contributes greatly to abashirregularities, and debases his character ment: what is sudden and unaccountby his vices.

able serves to confound, bashfulness We can never be abased by abasing and a variety of emotions give rise to ourselves, but we may be humbled by confusion. unseasonable humiliations, or impro- The haughty man is abashed when per concessions; we may be degraded he is humbled in the eyes of others; by descending from our rank, and the wicked man is confounded when disgraced by the exposure of our un- his villainy is suddenly detected; a worthy actions.

modest person may be confused in the The great and good man may be presence of his superiors. abased and humbled, but never de- Abash is always taken in a bad graded or disgraced. His glory fol- sense. Neither the scorn of fools, nor lows him in his abasement or humilia- the taunts of the oppressor, will abash tion; his greatness protects him from him who has a conscience void of of degradation, and his virtue shields fence towards God and man. To be him from disgrace.

confounded is not always the conseIt is necessary to abase those who

quence of guilt; superstition and igwill exalt themselves; to humble those norance are liable to be confounded by who have lofty opinions of themselves ; extraordinary phenomena : and Provito degrade those who act inconsistently dence sometimes thinks fit to confound with their rank and station; to dis- the wisdom of the wisest by signs and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »