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NOTES ON PROPER NAMES.
“HANS fans.com bere, mog pop From This was before academies for writing
mynheer, knows you vot for were had I calls my poy Hans ?"
ont letters patent for his invention of “ No, indeed sir, I cannot think of letters. Billets, it is true, had been sent any peculiar fitness in it.”
before, but they were billets of wood, * Well, mynheer, it ish because that addressed rather to the head than ish his name."
the understanding. Cain is supposed Here ended the question with our to be the originator of this kind of simple-minded Dutchman, here it ends epistlatory correspondence. Forging was, with most inen, who never ask why of course, impossible. By a singunames should be suffered to lord it over lar coincidence, this was first heard of things. But philosophy, which is al- the days of Tubal Cain, whose impuways permitted to step in when utility dence in that respect caused a particular steps out, has a longer inquisition in the mention of his " brass;" and the sad case. To Hans it were enough to know consequence is not omitted, that he was that the rough aspirate-dasal-hiss, is his “first who walked in irons”-very sug. name, and he would hardly be so wise gestive of the fate of forgers to this day as to let sour-krout wait for him to set- —thus early, in its history, humauty is tle the wherefore of his having any seen limping with its two Cains! name, or that name in which he was You may suppose that Adam, or the summoned to dinner. But philosophy first man, bore a proper name, though a never dines, and to her it imports much little stained with apple-juice. But why he was so called; and she might this is from a misapprehension of the cusfroin so short a text preach an endless toms of the time. It has become so dissertation on philology, anatomy, the well known as to be a proverbial phrase progress of civilization, and the arts, and that every human, at his debut in this the great science of nomenclature. But world is a " little red baby ;" it is a birth if she has her head, nobody else could mark from his father Adam, who was ever dine; so nstead of our going into made of red clay from the disintegrated the wilderness of wisdom opened up
by his red sand-stone with which the earth was raine, Hans may go to his father the underpinned. For this reason he was D— Dutchman, and we will go to the called Adam, that is Redey, just as limited consideration of proper names. naughty boys say darkey, to people of a
To commence methodically, though deeper shade. This was enough to dissomeways from the beginning : names tinguish him in that early age, when are of two kinds, proper and common; the family was small, and Fame's geneayet nothing is now more common than logical banian had not grown to a perproper names are; and, indeed, nothing fect swamp of oblivion, with its myriad more proper than coinmon names. A branches turned trunks. man's oron name is his proper name, in We are told that he gave names to the spite of unfitness and incongruity. To animals, but properly speaking they were appropriate the name of another, as not proper names; merely for distincat the bottom of a note of hand, is, how- tion he called his favorite cows “bugever, not proper, though, alas! too com- horn," " brindle," and "line-back;" and mon. He is a forger who does that, on that long first day, before Eve came, whatever his trade may be. Yet a hun- it is not strange that he called one gracedred Smiths “black” or “white,” might ful creature his " deer,” and another his write John to their notes without impu- “duck.” The thing was highly proper, tation of guilt, John Smith being a com- but the names were not; and we repeat mon noun, and synonymous with ano. you cannot be too cautious about connymous, if that is not a bull.
founding names with things. When In the “brave days of old,” all men people began to multiply-which Daboll were anonymous, not, indeed, John says is "a more rapid way of doing adSrnitbs, but really unchristened Pagans. dition "—it is obvious they must have a It was no unmeaning phrase that of more convenient, not to say more polite, "ighting to win themselves a name," way of distinguishing people in the sefor they verily had none; which had cond person, than to run tagging at this advantage that no envious slanderer their coat-tails
, and saying “you! you!" could rob them of one, "good” or ill. or the not less indelicate fashion of
pointing to those in the third person; or in their absence, of going through the laborious circumlocution of a circumstantial description. Hence, at a very early period men, men began to lay hold of any remarkable feature, even if it were the very nose of a man, and with equal facility if it chanced to be enormously large, or astonishingly small, a hatchet, or a turn-up; thereby to hang a naine, which should be his biography, portrait, caricature, or genealogy, condensed to the very marrow and gristle.
On a bald pate where a fly would trip up, they would stick a cognomen; and call the hardiest hero names, to his very face. So Nimrod—which you must not suppose to be a corruption of ram-rodcaught his name by being a great hunter; and all the Cæphuses, Stones, Pedros, Pierres, Paythers, and Peters, are de-rived from some bard-headed, hardhearted old Arab, who had "piled up the rucks” in the Stony Desert. Charlemange was a great Carle; Front-deBæutan obstinate bull-head; and Charlesle-Chaune, who in spite of consecrating hereditary rights, could leave no hairs to his name, was but a bald-headed Charley.
Ainong men's faces, as among their opinions, were all varieties of shades, and White, Black, Brown, Grey, Dunn, and Green—" to that complexion had it come at last,”—were all fastened on the posterity of their first possessors, as indelibly as if they had all sat down on so many different paint-pots. Yet hereditary nomenclature is comparatively modern. When men 'had nothing else to give their children, they were too generous to give them the paternal name; it was enough then, if the parent bequeathed his vices to his son, without the legacy of the bad came they earned. And the sons, to do them justice, generally did ainple credit to the implied faith in their ability to earn their own reputation in that direction. When all the natural peculiarities were exhausted to name men by, and “still they caine,”--the accidents, the incidents, their exploits, and their blunders, "the lay of the land, and the looks of the people," were all pressed into the service; and Billy Bowlegs bowed and scraped to Mr. Packpenny, and Mr. Stack-pole leant his assistance to his neighbor Cobbouse, and Mr. Craven bequeathed his name to a race of heroes, and his nature to some great uncle of Col. Bragg ; while Hill stooped kindly to Le Valle, and Underbill looked
up respectfully to Montaign; Waters ran into Lakes; and La Fontaine had a draught for Lion, Lamb, Fox, Wolf, and half of Barnum-Noah's Menagerie.
When arts advanced, and the common people became too numerous for particular names, they took names in classes from their several trades—so they were called according to their calling. Parsons and Priests met with Churches and Parishes, and Dyers bound to Coffins, while Graves yawned before both; Brewer sent out Beers, and Fisher brought in Eels; and, in short, everybody had the name of doing something in the way of his trade.
How came there so many John Smiths? The philosopher who undertakes to account for human names, and overlooks that great question, is but poorly qualified to grapple with his subject. So large and diversified a portion of the human family, comprising as it does every degree of excellence in character from sainthood to zero, and from devil-hood up to zero, claims particular notice in the philosophy of proper names, and this is the place to bestow it. Why are there so many John Smiths? We undertake to answer the momentous query.
Beating, as well as beating down, is a process in most trades. He that smote with the hammer, whether a carpenter or metal-worker, was called a smith, one who smiteth,—drop the e and you have the name with entire ease. Hence, the family name of a race that includes more members than kindred, more namesakes of the “Meek Disciple” Jolin-than imitators of his meekness; not to say that the smiters are more pugnacious than other families, but only more of thein.
An ancient king of Poland, once victorious over an army of unbelievers, had them all christened; the superior officers first, and singly, then the subordinates, according to rank in classes, then the soldiery, in solid regiments. The priest waving from a cedar bough a shower of holy water along the ranks, shouted as the case may be—“Tenth Regiment of the Twelfth Battalion of Light Infantry -I baptize you Peter, in the name, &c., the next
John,” the third " Andrew," and so on, through all the Apostles, Holy Fathers, Unholy Father-Contessors, Mar. tyrs and Marvel-mongers; till the whole army of the faithful had lent their names, to gracr the army of the aliens, down to the baggage-boys and camp.
scnllions.* The regiment of artisans, all feeds on. In addition to a small fraction smiters before they were fighters, of their own earnings, and the privilege chanced to be christened for the Apoca- of fighting the battles of their lords, the İşptic Seer, and were soon dispersed by retainer was allowed to take the good the general order, “ To the Eleventh Re- name of the nobles, to the vast gratificagiment, Twelfth Battalion of the Royal tion of the pride and vanity of those farInfantry, John Smith, you are hereby sighted gentlemen who had not anticidisbanded, and ordered to repair to your pated the inevitable democracy of nature, several homes without delay.” This, in whlch soon confounded masters and seraddition to all natural and ordinary ine- vant in indistinguishable confusion. thods of increase. will account for the An aristocratic name of any authentio multiplicity of Johns in the great family antiquity argues this assuredly to its of smiters.
holder, he is either descended from My All names were significant in the prim- Lord Foodle or his man Jack, and lucky itive times, though doubtless many who he, if the latter, say we. Surrounded by bore them were insiguificant, as indeed their retainers, those great lords built the names themselves often signified. villages for them, and as a memorial legBut now, alas ! what signifies a name? acy to their country, enriched by their A rose is supposed to be capable of ex- exemplary household, the common lanerting the saine titillatory power to pro- guage with two invaluable words, Knavo duce sensations of pleasure under any and Villain, which was, in another sort, other cognomen; as Shakespeare has er- giving their names to their retainers. roneously, but beautifully observed. Heraldic devices became & fruitful
Men of old did not so belie the signifi- source of proper names ; so that the cance of their names as they now do- crusades if they did little towards Christfor being cut to fit, the garment of fame ianizing the Paynim, did much in christdid fit, sometimes like the shirt of Nessus ening the believers. The man whose on the back of Hercules. But handed father had killed a peculiarly tough hog down to posterity, they sit oddly on the in the woods, was privileged to deck his dwarfed or exaggerated figures of the epaulets with a memento of the spoilspresent. Black is perhaps a white-liver- in short, to wear a hog's head on his ed milk-sop; and White could play the shoulders; which honor often descended Moor without cork; Craven fights like a where there was an astonishing natural Trojan; Little stalks by, six feet seven in fitness. He could also put a pig's face bis boots; Strong inight creep with his in his bandanna, and set it up for a sign pany body through the sword-hilt of his on his spear-pole; and ever after sport ancestor; Swift mopes behind the snails; his bristling honors in the name of Wildand Good raises " the antiquated Henry boar, which time has greatly tamed down, with his rogueries. Such contradictions and domesticated into Wilbour. Thus and anomalies result from the use of old boar glorifieth bore, and the bright wine fossils to build new houses. Let us re- of fame is put up like any vulgar liquor, mernber, however, that there are inore by the hogshead. people now than formerly, and when all Gratitude and a certain remorseless the gravestones of antiquity will not far- admiration have been cruel disseminaters nish labels enough for the demand, there of proper names. To perpetuate their is small chance for selection and adapta respect or love, men give their children tion.
the names of great or good men, so Among landholders, the stock of the handing them down, too literally, to posfamily tree derived its name from the soil, terity. Geo. Washington Snubbs, Senand with its name took nearly every aca Miggs, and Solomon Muddle, are thing else from the soil, till the serfs had bumble but genuine witnesses to the imlittle left but the name. Those feudal mortality of genius. There is some disfamily trees were "gallows" trees, to count in this kind of glory; it renders a use a modernism; and the numerous de- white name liable to dirty handling, and pendents from their many branches had has reduced Cæsar and Pompey to their ihe name of being supported by the least common denominator, as dogs and sarne. With them was the name, but donkeys. Then, if the unlucky bearer with the lordly tree the game; which of a great name proves himself a genius, game some tree in fact supported them, poor bewildered Fame, with her trum: as the fly-catchers supports the fly it pet cracked on some fortieth “Second
For the accurate hist.consult Chronicles of Poland-year 1987 ; reign of Ladislaus Jagellon.
Byron," and five and fortieth “Father of excite wonder. It is only a contraction his Country," which, by the way, doesn't of of, a word sufficiently short, one speak well for said country's mother would think, but put in such frequent must blow her imınortal jaws into cramps requisition it has to throw off its lamtrying to distinguish between the full bering consonant, that it may keep up sonorous blast of “ William Shakes- with the march of population. peare!" and the new worthy Wm. Tibbs The Dutch carry along their family Shakespeare! William Tibbs were safer honors in a Van, which term serves not on his own legs.
only for Wags, but Wagons, and Wag? Before family names became hereditary, it was a very common device among The Russians, in handing down perall nations to prefix or affix syllables to sonal honors as an heir-and-hide-)loom, the father's name, and give it to the son, to their families, give their sons the itch, the addition usually signifying of or from which foreigners so sneeze at to this or son. Thus Bar-Jonah was the son of day. Jaroslaf's son Vsevolod, was the Jonah ; Jackson, the son of a Jack, and first to introduce the custom, by calling Jillson, the son of Jill, of that firm. himself Jaroslavitch, thinking anything Whether Cinnebar, that alias for the better than his own name, which a man thief-god, Mercury, is the son of sin, we cannot begin to pronounce without stickleave to the cominentators. The addi- ing up his nose at it. To their grandtion of the genitive 's proves that Adams sons, in the same euphonious tongue, is a descendant of Adam-a fact im- they said off"; thus Kutmynoseoff is a portant to those who would claim an grandson of Kut-my-nose. ancient, well-authenticated genealogy. The Orientals, with no intention to Mac has the same significance, and nickname, call their boys Ben, which stands as a monument in the name of makes it appear that Benhadad must the great road-maker, Macadam, to show have been the son of 'A-Dad, to say the bis derivation from the same distin- least. As Fame in the East blows her guished progenitor. When remarkable trumpet both ways—that is, from son to men are related, it is pleasant to know father, as well as from father to sonit; hence the utility of our researches. they have to prefix Abou to signify the
The Welch multiply appellations by father of —; so that “ Abou-Ben-Adaps, as Richard-ap-Richard, which, by hem,” whose tribe has been respectfully rapid enunciation, becomes Richard requested to "increase," must bave been Pritchard, the son of Richard. In this the father of the son of Adam, making way a Welchman may carry a complete him no other than that illustrous pergenealogical list of his ancestors from sonage himself, whose " name led all the Adam-ap-Cain-ap- the Lord knows rest. There needed no especial promptwho, down to the last prince of wails ing to his tribe, from Leigh Hunt, since and wants that 'appened to precede it was to him that the first command to him. If Mr. Hazzard were a Welchman, “increase," was given, and which has his son might be called 'ap-Hazzard, been obeyed with a cheerful alacrity that without intimating anything fortuitous seems to be almost too good a beginning in his origin.
to hold out, and prepares us to expect a The Irish, to represent the “son of," falling off on the latter commandments. say O'—not indeed as an exclamation of And here, having described a circle and surprise--for in that prolific Island the come back to the beginning, we propose birth of a son is no such a rarity as to to rest.
happy social position of the duellist. Most
persons .. will assent to AXERICAX.-LORENZO SABINE, Esq., the duellist's plea ; namely, that if wrongknown already as the author of a valuable ed or insulted, he is required to choose beHistory of the American Loyalists, now
tween a violation of human and divine gives us an acceptable and curious book of
laws on the one hand, and the loss of his Notes on Duels and Duelling. The volume
place in society on the other; and that of comprises a historical essay on duelling, and
consequence, and do what he may, he falls
a helpless sacrifice." notices of the principal duels of the world,
Again, in mentioning the crazy challenge arranged alphabetically under the names
of Paul of Russia, to several European of the parties, with an appendix of valua
kings, to fight a duel at St. Petersburg, ble and amusing miscellany on the same
with Pitt, Talleyrand, and Bernstoff, as sesubject. It is the result of much reading
conds, and so settle the questions pending and care, and is, as a mass of curious and
between them, Mr. Sabine says, a little condetailed information, both highly interest
fusedly, that this notion, “though conceived ing to the general reader, and a convenient
by a madman, deserves serious thought; book of reference for libraries and students.
for there is something grand, even just, in The duels treated at most length are four
the idea of demanding kings and cabinets American duels ; namely, those between
to meet in person, and in the field, the Hamilton and Burr, Barron and Decatur,
questions which can be, and ought to be, Clay and Randolph, and Graves and Cilley; adjusted in council and by diplomacy." the narratives of which are given in
Again : “ It is not the individual man whom full, and accompanied with the correspond
we should assail, but the PUBLIC OPINION ence. Mr. Sabine's style is somewhat homely,
which with its imperative voice, demands but usually direct and clear, without any
bim to hold his weapon at the breast of his ambitious ornament; and the general drift
fellow.” The points which we make against of his thoughts and reflections very just.
what we think the fallacious statements of But there are two errors, which sadly mar
Mr. Sabine, are two. 1. Society and standthe usefulness, and lower the dignity of the
ing lost by refusing the duel, are not worth work. One is the direct and repeated re
keeping—are better lost. Without suggestcommendation to such Americans as may
ing the comparison of the “society" of a be reproached by Englishmen on account
clear conscience, and the standing" justiof the personal quarrels and fights among
fied before God, we may well assert that our public men, to twit the Britons back
merely amongst men, the best society, and again with the same discords, among their
the best standing, will not be risked, but members of Parliament. This is altogether
rather secured, by him who is just enough a small business—too much like the little
to refuse the duel. 2. No man may allege boys' “ You're another !" Railing for rail
expediency as a justification or palliation ing is no better than theft for theft, or mur
for violating Right. It is a new evangel, der for murder, or than that murder for
indeed, that proclaims pity and sympathy provocation, which constitutes the very cus
for the coward who violates human and ditom of duelling, which Mr. Sabine's book discusses and reprehends. There are many
vine law in sneaking away from the sneers
of fools. It is high time that the cursed answers to such foreign sophistication, bet
and savage demand of so barbarian a pubter than counter-sophistication. The other
lic opinion as that, if it does in truth ty. error is based upon a surprising misconcep
rannize over free Americans—which we do tion of the relative significance and value
not believe-were hunted mercilessly down of Custom and Right. Mr. Sabine says in
and slain. And every recreant, in high his preface
place or low, who is so false to the spirit of “ There are many in New England who the age, of our nation, of freedom, of juswill object, because terms of unconditional, indiseriminate condemnation of the duellist
tice, of Christianity, as to bow before such have been withheld. With all respect, be
a Moloch, in sending, or accepting a cbalit 80. Yet, let it be said in reply, that the lenge, deserves precisely the sympathy and sympathy manifested in these pages is in no the pity which are accorded to Peter, when case for the crime, but always for the un- public opinion, even in the sneering faces