26 DECEMBER 1914, Page 15



.0h no, we never mention it, Its name is never heard; Our lips are now forbid to speak

That once familiar word.'

SAS, Press and the literary profession generally seem to be in a conspiracy with Scotch Chauvinists and politicians with an eye on votes to extirpate the grand old words English and Englishman from our language, soon, I suppose, to be called the British language. You may look through whole issues of our daily and weekly papers in vain for our national name, except in quotations from American or foreign papers, and even in the latter case the translation often gives " British" where the original had the equivalent of "English?' Everything worth doing by this country before 1600, and more than three-quarters of everything since, have been done by England and the English. Yet we have a "History of the British Nation," and Chaucer has been expressly claimed as " wholly British," in the same way, I suppose, as Shakespeare is " wholly German." At this rate we shall ere long see our glorious name, that enshrines the achievements and ideals of fifteen hundred years, erased from the pages of our past literature. The apathy of Englishmen in this matter, though they form seventy-five per cent.. of the inhabitants of these islands and ninety per cent. of our Army and Navy, and their disregard of an incomparable past, are to me inconceivable. "British " is a vile term. It is, as a word, ugly, and is in sound ineffective. Take, for instance, the Eastern (and also Spanish) proverb, The word of an Englishman, expressing our rational characteristic, and substitute for it "The word of a British man." What an anaemic changeling ! It is

inaccurate. The name of this island was at the first Aihion. Afterwards the northern part came to be called Caledonia. Then the .Anglo-Saxons conquered and nearly exterminated the Celtic British, occupying the whole country as far as Edinburgh, which was founded and named by an English King. By the right of conquest all this land became Engel-londe, or Angle-land, or England, as even the language shows, for the so-called Scotch is merely an older dialect of English. The word " British " also belongs, first, to earlier claimants, the inhabitants of Brittany (Bacon calls Brittany Britain), and, secondly, to the conquered Celts of this island, and is therefore ambiguous as well as inaccurate. Moreover, it has no past, nor any prestige attached to it, and it is not the name by which we have hitherto been known throughout the world from Calais to Tokio. Finally, there is no substantive form of the word, except the poetical " Briton," and the detestable word "Britisher" has been imported to supply the want. No one with any self-respect or love for his own language should deign to use this word, which is simply odious. Is it too late even now to protest against Englishmen surrendering their heritage in the glorious name of " England " and "English" at the bidding of the Northern "British," as they wish to call themselves, and acquiescing in a name which breaks with cur whole past and neither as a racial nor local name covers Ireland and the outlying islands, which together form about twenty-five per cent. of our whole area P—I am,

Sir, &c., O. R. HinvEs. Godalming.

[We have a great deal of sympathy with our correspondent's spirit of "right Englishry," but he is surely not correct in saying that " British " does not cover Ireland. Great Britain— Magna Britannia—is the island in which these words are being written. Ireland is Parva. Britannia. The two islands taken together are Britannia. Hence it is legally correct to talk of Britain, meaning - the United Kingdom, and of the British Parliament, meaning the Parliament at Westminster.—ED. Spectator.]