Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Ogilvie to Thomas Jefferson, [ca. 5 August 1814]

From James Ogilvie

[ca. 5 Aug. 1814]

This speculation on Neology appears to me equally valuable & new: It perfectly concurs with the opinion I was led to form, when I had occasion to examine this subject several years ago: Language & especially the modern languages of civilised nations are necessarily in a state of incessant mutation & flux: As new discoveries are made new terms must be provided to designate1 these discoveries: As errors are detected & exploded, the terms by which they were expressed are exploded also: It sometimes happens that the nomenclature of a whole science must undergo a radical change—Commerce too, in modern times so immensely extended by making common to every country the natural & artificial productions of every other, is constantly introducing new words.—

RC (MHi); undated; at head of text: “To Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ: “Ogilvie James Aug. 5. 14.”

1Word interlined in place of “express.”

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