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counter some little blame on this account from the rigid lovers of antiquity, we are persuaded that we have rendered a service to the general reader. The orthography of the fathers of our literature was invariably most whimsical and uncertain. Sir John Fenn has mentioned an instance in the Paston Letters, where the same word is spelt three different ways within the short space of two lines; and many other examples of similar caprice might be produced, were it necessary.
“Every writer,” says Dr. Henry, "contented himself with putting to
combination of letters that occurred to him at the time, which he imagined would suggest the word he intended to his readers, without ever reflecting what letters others used, on former occasions, for that purpose.”
It is perhaps superfluous to add more, but we cannot resist making a short quotation from Dr. Johnson's Preface to his Dictionary, where he says, “If the language of theology were extracted from Hooker and the translation of the Bible; the terms of natural knowledge from Bacon; the phrases of policy, war, and navigation from Raleigh; the dialect of poetry and
fiction from Spencer and SIDNEY; and the dic. tion of common life from Shakespeare, few ideas would be lost to mankind, for want of English words in which they might be expressed.”