A New York correspondent says: "Will you kindly inform me whether a tomato is classed as a fruit or a vegetable?" The horticultural answer is, that it is a vegetable. If the question were put to a botanist he would answer that it was a fruit. He would say the same of a pine cone with its seeds, or of a spike with its hay seed. On the other hand he would say that a pear was a vegetable, if the question were one that bore on the distinction between plants and animals. We see that the answer depends on the view of the questioner. In the household a fruit which is generally eaten cooked would be a vegetable; that which is generally eaten uncooked would be fruit. We use the word "generally," because the lines sometimes overlap.

A squash and a water-melon are both fruits botanically, but the squash is classed conventionally as a vegetable, and the water-melon as a fruit; the cooking idea, evidently deciding the case. Much depends on the class in which the subject under discussion was originally introduced under. The tomato was first introduced to gastronomy by the cook; in subsequent years it has been found good to eat raw. But the law of priority gives the class to the cook; it is a vegetable.

It is the general or original uses of the article that decide its class when we come to arbitrary classification, outside of science.