A solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger

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chobalsim

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
A solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people.

This is a part of the farewell speech of George Washington.

(1) I don't know what "but" in the first sentence means. Is it OK to simply leave it out, which, I think, the meaning of context is clear.

(2) What is the difference between solicitude and apprehension?
 
  • cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Leaving out the "but" would change the meaning. You would end up with "A solicitude for your welfare which cannot end with my life" (in other words, it has to continue after my death.)

    The actual phrase means that he will always feel solicitude for your welfare and that that feeling will only end when he dies.

    You could substitute "except" for "but" in this case, and it will have the same meaning.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Glad to be of help. :)

    Regarding the difference between "solicitude" and "apprehension" (which should really be asked in a separate thread, so that other learners can find the discussion if they look up either of those words), they are quite different in meaning, as a dictionary ought to make clear.

    "Solicitude" in this instance means "high degree of caring", while "apprehension" means here "(heightened) awareness of the possibility".

    Perhaps a kind moderator could split this into two threads! :)
     

    chobalsim

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    Thank you again, cycloneviv. Your answer is very helpful to understand the difference.

    By the way, one more question has occurred to my mind now. The above paragraph says "the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urges me...." What danger is the author referring to? Why does a solicitude of your welfare bring danger? Am I going to wrong way???
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    He's speaking of being aware of danger, or of the possibility of danger. He's not speaking of any particular threat, but I'd imagine he's going to go on to talk about measures for the defence of the population.

    He's not saying that being concerned about the people causes or brings danger, but that when one cares very much about a person or group of people, it is natural to be very aware of possible threats to that person or group of people.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Splitting this thread probably ends up with two unsatisfactory threads - so I changed the title instead:)

    A small additional note: apprehension is often used to mean fear of something in the future, but here it means something like grasping with the mind, understanding, comprehending. In this sense, one could speak of the apprehension of delights to come. The OED lists examples of both meanings going back 350+ years.
     
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