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Although the first of the following Letters was intended as an Introduction to this Volume, and the motives which induced the Author to undertake it are there detailed; yet, after a 'lapse of some months, and on completion of the work, it
appears to be necessary to say somewhat farther on laying it before the public.
The Author being unwilling, in a matter which he considered of so much importance, to depend wholly upon his own judgment, submitted these Letters in manuscript to a friend, in whose opinion, both literary and moral, her placed the greatest confidence. It is not to be supposed that this friend agreed with him in every particular; nor that the author, on his part, should acquiesce in every objection and remark made upon them. The result, however, was in favour of the publication of them, and many and material alterations have been made in consequence. What these have been
it is not necessary either in general or in particular to inform the Reader, farther than as they appear
in or two instances in the course of the Letters. But, upon the manner in which the Author had made his quotations from different works, and particularly those of Dr. Aikin, by printing some of the passages in Italics, for the purpose of calling the Reader's attention to them, he thinks it right to state some of the remarks of his friend :
66 I consider the use of inverted commas as clearly declaring that Quotation is intended or professed. When they are used, therefore, I can admit of no variation which alters (or can alter) the sense ; whether the Quoter thinks. the alteration material or not. Of this he is not to judge, after he once undertakes to copy or quote. From that time, his only business is to make his Copy agree with the Original. Now, not only Words, but also Stops, Capitals, Parentheses, and Italics, affect the Sense; or are liable to do so. Therefore these are all to be copied; and none to be added. The chief difficulty that I am aware of, is this :-a Quoter wishes to shew, by Italics (or Underlining*), what particular words, of those
* It may be right, perhaps, to state, for the information of
quoted, he wants to have chiefly noticed by the Reader. I allow, that I wish there were some short mode of thus drawing the attention of the Reader : but I cannot allow, that, on account of the inconvenience, it is either safe or honest to underline (in copying) what is not underlined in the original. It is not safe, as to the conveying of our own meaning : for, as there may already be some Italics in the Original, no Reader can possibly tell which words were underlined in the Original in order to fix a meaning, and which were underlined by the Quoter in order to draw attention. Hence great confusion. And it is not honest towards the original Author ; because the Quoter's Underlinings may easily cause the words quoted to bear a sense different from that intended by the Author. Our ingenuity, therefore, must be exercised, not in defending the too common practice of additional underlining by the Quoter, on account of the dif. ficulty he lies under, but in devising (either generally or in each single case) how to draw
persons not conversant with the press, that an author usually marks those words, with a line drawn with his pen underneath, (tbus,) which he wishes to be printed in Italics, and with two lives, (thus,) those which he wishes to be printed in
the Reader's attention to the proper part of the words quoted, without recurring to this confounding and dishonest mode.
I doubt not you have heard proposed such sentences as the following, by way of illustrating the force (or, I
may say, the language) of Emphasis.
Will you walk to church with me to-day ?" To which at least six different senses are given, by underlining at different times the six words Will, you, walk, church, me, to-day. If the author under-lined walk and no other word, the question is about walking or going by some other conveyance.
If a Quoter underlines church, he raises the question whether the walk is to be to church or to some other place. If he even retains the author's underlining of walk, he still (by adding that of church) perverts the meaning : and it is impossible for the Reader to tell, by the mere words quoted, which was the underlining of the Author, which of the Quoter. Therefore he cannot know the meaning of the words ; except from some other help. Where the passage is such that you cannot conveniently quote it, that is, copy it; all I require is that you do not profess to quote (therefore, that you do not use inverted commas,' or any thing tantamount), and that, in giving the substance, as far as you want it for
your purpose, you do this honestly; not suppressing what appears likely to affect the point in question."
Having been always accustomed to add Italics myself, and seen them in the works of others, especially in Reviews, I pleaded precedent to my friend, and said that I thought the matter was so well understood as not to mislead. To this my friend replies,
“I am sorry we do not agree about Italics added by the Quoter. You speak of it as an established mode. I own it is in my judgment) far too frequent : but, I think, some to whom I have stated my ideas have allowed the practice to be wrong. It is, with me, clearly and decidedly wrong, beyond the power of authority or custom so to establish it as to make it right; though I fancy I have been one of the most obedient of men, through life, to things established, -particularly in lunguage:-and Italics (we agree) are a part of lauguage. You say “it appears to me to be sufficiently understood not to mislead.” My grand objection is, that it does mislead, or may do it. If such rule on this point be not observed, how should you, or any reader of the few words I have just quoted from your letter, know whether thetwo. words were underlined by you or by me.