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some words, to distinguish them from others, we seem to have three great principles of accentuation; the radical, the terminaticmal, and the distinctive: the radical, as 16ve, lively, liveliness; the terminational, as harmony', harmonious; the distinctive, as a convert, to convert.
Dissyllables have necessarily one of them accented, and but one. The word Amen, is the only word which is pronounced with two accents, when alone. Dissyllables formed by affixing a termination, have generally the former syllable accented, as chfldish, fairer, kingdom. Dissyllables formed by prefixing a syllable to the radical word, have commonly the accent on the latter; as to return, to besee'm.
Dissyllables, which have two vowels that are separated in the pronunciation, have always the accent on the first syllable; as Uon, rtfiq, riot, except the word create.
As words increase in syllables the more easily is their accent known. Trisyllables formed by adding a termination, or prefixing a syllable, retain the accent of the radical word; as, liveliness, tenderness, contemner, commenting, commanding, assurance.
Trisyllables which have in the middle syllable a diphthong, as endeavour, or a vowel before two consonants, as domestic, accent the middle syllable.
Trisyllables which have the accent on the last syllable, are commonly French, as magazine, repartee, acquiesce; or they are words, formed by prefixing one or two syllables to a short syllable; as, immature, overcharge.
When the true accent of dissyllables is known, those polysyllables, whose terminations are perfectly English, have likewise their accent invariably settled.
These rules respecting accent, are a few of the most essential; others may be obtained from Lowth, Johnson, Murray, Walker, and other writers upon grammar.
Of accent, as well as of spelling, and of idiom, there is a standard in every polite nation; and in all these particulars, the example of approved-authors, and the practice of those, who by their rank, education, and way of life, have had the best opportunities to know men and manners, and domestic and foreign literature, ought undoubtedly to possess considerable influence. Hence that accent and that pronunciation is generally in every country accounted the best, which is used in the metropolis, by the most polite and learned persons. Yet every language has some peculiar, essential, general rules. For the Latin those rules were very few and simple; for the Greek more various. The accentuation of English speech also is not without its laws, of which Dr. Samuel Johnson, in his grammar prefixed to his dictionary. has given a collection, in which, however, there prevails a considerable degree of irregularity.
The fluctuation of our language, both with respect to the signification of words and the accentuation of them, is a subject of general and just lamentation. Frequent and strenuous exertions have been made to correct this evil, but they have hitherto proved ineffectual. It should, however, always be considered by classical scholars and literary men as an indispensable duty to oppose such innovations as violate the prosody, and consequently destroy the harmony of our best poets, 'who should always be considered as an authority sufficiently high to be appealed to as a standard.
The foregoing observations upon that important principle of correct pronunciation, Accent, have engaged so much of your time and attention this evening, that I must reserve those upon emphasis as the subject of my next lecture.
The capture of Major Andre was an event so important in the American revolution, and his fate was so generously deplored even by his enemies, that every account of the transaction which led to it, must be interesting. The following notice of a new work on this subject, which we extract from a late British Review, will, therefore, be read with interest, making proper allowances for the opinions, prejudices and situation of Mr. Smith.
^fn authentic Narrative of the causes which led to the death of major Andre, adjutant-general of his majesty's forces in North America. By Joshua Hett Smith, Msq. counsellor at law, late member of the convention of the state of New- York. To which is added, a Monody on the death of major Andre. By Miss Seward.
The author of this narrative was supposed by the Americans to have been an agent of general Arnold, and upon the apprehension of major Andre, and the escape of Arnold, was arrested and tried on a charge of treason. Circumstances, no doubt, were strongly against him; but, if we credit this relation, and we can see no reason for disputing the author's veracity, he was very innocently engaged in the commumcations between Andre and the American general. Of this trial, and his defence, Mr. Smith gives a full and particular account; as well as of his escape from America, which was attended with many very interesting circumstances. As soon as it was discovered he had broke prison, the most diligent search was made to discover him. "Parties," says the author, " were sent in different directions from the four roads that led from the jail; but on their return without success, it was concluded I must be secreted in the town, among the king's friends, who were by far the most numerous and respectable of the inhabitants. On the evening of the third day, before my good protectress had any hint of the measure, a young lady came hastily to her, and informed her, that a few hours ago her father's house had been searched, and she heard the party say, they should next take the road where my good friend lived; she instantly came to me with the intelligence, and advised my leaving the place where I was for another more secure, which was a hollow between two stacks of chimnies; this I did not approve of, as the place had a suspicious appearance, and seemed to me calculated for a hiding place. I therefore observed, that as it was near the evening, I would go out to the woods, and return when dark; I had scarcely mentioned my resolution, when the young lady called to her, and said the guards were very near the house; when instantly snatching up one of the blankets, I stept lightly down the stairs, she following with the other blanket: we heard the tramp of a number of steps in the piazza; I immediately made to the backdoor, and crept under a small hencoop; she hastily threw her blanket over it, and, turning round, met the party coming in at the front door. My protectress being a suspected person, from the reasons I have already mentioned, her house was searched with great care; and the young lady afterwards informed me, that in the very hole where she wished me to secrete myself, they thrust their bayonets and pikes; so that had I been there, I must, inevitably, have been put to death! The house being thoroughly searched, they proceeded to the barn, stables, and even the pigsty; and, passing the hencoop, under which I was concealed, they were about to take off the blanket, when my protectress exclaimed, "For God's sake do not hurt my poor chickens;" on which they went into the house, and I could hear them distinctly charge her with the knowing where I was: alarmed, lest her fears might overcome her fortitude, I immediately crept out, and made the best of my way to an adjoining •wood, under the cover of darkness, which had commenced.
"Having reached the wood, I was involved in doubt what course to take; to go back did not seem prudent, as on my return, some soldiers might be left as a guard: it now beganto rain, and fortunately a large hollow tree afforded me a shelter from its rage. A variety of conflicting passions agitated my mind; for that very night a person was to come and bring me clothing, and take me part of my way to NewYork, upwards of eighty miles. To omit profiting by this chance, I knew, would be imprudent; and the person I expected had promised to assist me, and possessed my most unlimited confidence. At length it occurred to me that the lady, from whose house I had just escaped, had a relation about five miles distant: I knew him to be a kind, friendly man, to whom I could commit myself with safety. Thither, therefore, I determined to proceed; and when in the main road, I thought I could easily reach his house. I travelled all night; it rained during the whole time; and my feet being tender, from the distressing and unusual state in which I was placed, I made but little progress, especially along a slaty and rocky country. When I had walked a considerable distance I halted, intending to wait for the dawn of day; thus advancing slowly, I seated myself on a rock, faint, fatigued, and lacerated with briars, and passed my time in lamenting the hard fate which my civility to a stranger had entailed upon me.
"On the approach of day I saw something hke a house, and the appearance of light; I advanced towards it:—the reader will here again form some faint idea of my sensations, when I found the spot was near the gibbet, and the house I had descerned the jail, whence I had escaped in the dark. I had lost my road, and in my bewildered state of mind, had the whole night been wandering back again, over the same ground!! Afflicted, dismayed, and almost exhausted, I had no other alternative than to return to the place whence I had last escaped; and now gave up all for lost! It was, however, fortunate that I had not far to go, the day-light rapidly advanced; and I omitted no time in regaining the good woman's house, having the main road before me; and being equally fortunate m not meeting a single traveller, or my forlorn appearance must have attracted notice, and perhaps have led to a discovery.
"I observed, on my approach, that there was light in the house, and once more assuming courage, fortified by hope, I ventured to tap gently at a window whence the light appeared, and, in a minute the door was opened for my reception. My female friend informed me, that the party, who had been there the precedmg day, were not satisfied with their first search, but insisted on making another by candlelight, which they did, and even commanded her to open every closet, chest, and trunk, declaring their authority to confine her, unless she declared where I was; and that one of them even went again to the chicken-coop, under which I had been concealed, and thrust his bayonet into various parts of it. She said it was well I overheard the conversation, and resolved to withdraw; and she consoled me by saying, I now had nothing to fear, as they had gone away perfectly satisfied. I mentioned my attempt to reach the residence of her relation for shelter, and I had the pleasure to learn that there I should have been safe; but it was providential that I missed my way, for a large party of continental troops were encamped not far from his house, and I must have passed them before I could arrive at it.
"Combining all these circumstances, which appeared so providential, I was led, independent of the fatigue I had just passed through, to take some rest in my former birth, with renewed ground to encourage hope.
"My friend had promised to be with me the following night, but when that came I was sorely disappointed. Through a chink m the place of my retreat, I could see the members of the court, judge, jury, and all, pass and repass; and, indeed, I was every moment in dread of being discovered, and brought back to my old quarters. In this situation I continued, however, five days, under the most painful apprehensions.
"However opinions may vary as to the justice of Washington, in executing major Andre as a spy, the public will peruse with strong interest, a Narrative of the causes which led to his Death, from the pen of the gentleman, who was commissioned to conduct the unfortunate major from the Vulture to the interview, which he had with general Arnold, at Mr. Smith's house. The two officers were alone the greater part of the day. Towards the evening Arnold came to my house, and proposed that I should convey Mr. Anderson back to the Vulture, which had nearly regained her former situation; he saw, however, from the state of sickness under which I then laboured, with a fit of the- ague. upon me, that I was unable to gratify him; on which he proposed my accompanying him part of his way on his return to New-York, by land, as soon as my health would permit, on the removal of the ague fit; to which I made no objection, as, when better, it would be in my way to visit and bring my family home from Fish Kill, being obliged to cross the river for that purpose. He soon after returned, and told me a difficulty had occurred, of which he was not before apprized; for that Anderson had come on shore in a military dress, which he had borrowed, from pride or vanity, from an officer of his acquaintance at New-York: that as it would be impossible for him to travel in that uniform, he requested the loan of one of my coats. Being nearly of my size, I lent him a coat: the other part of his dress, he said, did not require change. General Arnold then proposed returning to his command at West Point, leaving Mr. Anderson very disconsolate with me. I endeavoured to amuse him by showing him the prospect from the upper part of my house, whence there was an extensive view over the capacious bay of Haverstraw, to the opposite shore; he cast an anxious look towards the Vulture, and with a heavy sigh wished he was on board. I endeavoured to console him by the hope of his being at the White Plains, or New-York, before her. Findmg himself better, I promised to accompany him on his way. I could not help remarking to him, that I thought the general might have ordered a flag of truce from Stony Point, to have returned him to the Vulture, without the fatigue of his going to the White Plains, that appearing a circuitous route, unless he had business to transact at that place. From this time he seemed shy, and desirous to avoid much conversation; he continued to urge preparations for his departure, and carefully avoided being seen by persons that came to the house.
"Previous to his quitting it, general Arnold had prepared a passport for him to go to the White Plains, and a flag of truce for me to go thither and return. Finding myself better, and refreshed with the rest I had taken, I ordered my servant to get the horses in readiness, and we reached the ferry at Stony Point before it was dark, intending, if the weather should be fine, to proceed as far as major de la Van's that night, at a place called Crum Pond, the distance of about eight or ten miles from the ferry, where I knew we should be well entertained, and take the dawn of the morning to proceed with more satisfaction. Between my house and the fort at Stony Point, our conversation was principally about the taking and retaking of that place; I found my fellowtraveller very backward in giving any opinion, or saying much about it We were met on the road by several officers belonging to this post, with whom we conversed very freely, and stopped at the sutler s at the ferry to drink with them. When we arrived on the opposite side, we rode up to the tent of colonel Livingston, the commanding officer at Verplank's Point; I being well acquainted with him, he having served his clerkship and studied the law with my brother, the late chief justice of Canada, and being also a relation of Mrs. Smith; he pressed us to stay to supper with him, but this Mr. Anderson seemed desirous to decline. As we proceeded, I thought he grew more cheerful, and as our road became better, we rode on with an increased speed, and had reached about five or six miles when we were challenged by a patrole party. On advancing, the commanding officer, a captain Bull, demanded a countersign before we should pass, and drew his corps about us; he inquired who we were, the reason of our travelling in the night, and whence we came? I told him who I was, and that we had passports from general Arnold, the commanding officer at West