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of anthors, to indulge any confident anticipations of success; yet he will not deny that his hopes are large, being conscious of having cherished them with a liberality of feeling which cannot fear disappointment. In this temper he would invite the reader to a thorough perusal of the following pages. A grammar should speak for itself. In a work of this nature, every word or tittle which does not recommend the performance to the understanding and taste of the skillful, is, so far as it goes, a certificate against it. Yet, if some small errors have escaped detection, let it be recollected that it is almost impossible to print with perfect accuracy a work of this size, in which so many little things should be observed, remembered, and made exactly to correspond. Thero is no human vigilance which multiplicity may not sometimes baffle, and minuteness sometimes elude. To most persons grammar seems a dry and difficult subject; but there is a disposition of mind, to which what is arduous, is for that very reason alla. ring. The difficulties encountered in boyhood from the use of a miserable epitome, and the deep impression of a few mortifying blunders made in public, first gave the author a fondness for grammar; circumstances having since favoured this turn of his genius, he has voluntarily pursued the study, with an assiduity which no man will ever imitate for the sake of pecuniary recompense.
14. This work contains a full series of exercises adapted to its several parts, with notices of the manner in which they are to be used, according to the place assigned them. The examples of false syntax placed under the rules, are to be corrected orally; the four chapters of exercises adapted to the four parts of the subject, are to be written out by the learner. In selecting examples for these exercises, the author has been studious to economize the learner's and the teacher's time, by admitting those only which were very short. He has, in general, reduced each example to a single line.
And, in this manner, he has been able to present, in this small volume, a series of exercises, more various than are given in any other grammar, and nearly equal in number to all that are contained in Murray's two octavoes. It is believed that a grammatical treatise at once so comprehensive and concise, has not before been offered to the public.
15. The only successful method of teaching grammar, is, to cause the principal definitions and rules to be committed thoroughly to memory, that they may ever afterwards be readily applied. Oral instruction may smooth the way, and facilitate the labour of the learner; but the notion of communicating a competent knowledge of grammar without imposing this task, is disproved by universal experience. Nor will it avail any thing for the student to rehearse definitions and rules of which he makes no practical application. In etymology and syntax, he should be alternately exercised in learning small portions of his book, and then applying them in parsing, till the whole is rendered familiar. To a good reader, the achievement will be neither great nor difficult; and the exercise is well calculated to improve the memory, and strengthen all the faculties of the mind.
16. The mode of instruction here recommended is the result of long and succesfful experience. There is nothing in it, which any person of common abilities will find it difficult to understand or adopt. It is the plain didactic method of definition and example, rule and praxis; which no man who means to teach grammar well, will ever desert, with the hope of finding an other more rational or more easy. The book itself will make any one a grammarian, who will take the trouble to observe and practise what it teaches;- and even if some instructors should not adopt the readiest and most efficient method of making their pupils familiar with its contents, they will not fail to instruct by it as effectually as they can by any other. Whoever is acquainted with the grammar of our language, so as to have some tolerable skill in teaching it, will here find almost every thing that is true in his own instructions, clearly embraced under its proper head, so as to be easy of reference. And perhaps there are few, however learned, who, on a perusal of the volume, would not be furnished with some im. portant rules and facts which had not before occurred to their own observation.
17. The greatest peculiarity of the method is, that it requires the pupil to speak or write a great deal, and the teacher very little. But both should constantly remember that grammar is the art of speaking and writing well; an art which can no more ba acquired without practice than that of dancing or swimming. And each should be careful to perform his part handsomely-without drawling, omitting, stopping, hesitae ting, faltering, miscalling, reiterating, stuttering, hurrying, slurring, mouthing, mis. quoting, mispronouncing, or any of the thousand faults which render utterance disa agreeable and inelegant. It is the learner's diction that is to be improved; and the system will be found well calculated to effect that object; because it demands of him, not only to answer questions on grammar, but also to make a prompt and practical application of what he has just learned. If the class be tolerable readers, it will not be necessary for the teacher to say much; and, in general, he ought not to take up the time by' so doing. He should, however, carefully superintend their rehearsals; give the word to the next, when any one errs; and order the exercise in such a manner that either his own voice, or the example of his best scholars, may gradually cor. rect the ill habits of the awkward, till all learn to recite with clearness, understanding well what they say, and making it intelligible to others.
18. The exercise of parsing commences immediately after the first lesson of etymok ogy, , and is carried on progressively till it embraces all the doctrines that are applica.
ble to it. If it be performed according to the order prescribed, it will soon make the student perfectly familiar with all the primary definitions and rules of grammar. It requires just enough of thought to keep the mind attentive to what the lips are utter. ing; while it advances by such easy gradations and constant repetitions as leave the pupil utterly without excuse, if he does not know what to say. Being neither wholly extemporaneous nor wholly rehearsed by rote, it has more dignity than a school-boy's conversation, and more ease than a formal recitation, or declamation; and is therefore an exercise well calculated to induce a habit of uniting correctness with fluency in or. dinary speech-a species of elocution as valuable as any other.
19. The best instruction is that which ultimately gives the greatest facility and skill in practice; and grammar is best taught by that process which brings its doctrines most directly home to the habits as well as to the thoughts of the pupil—which the most effectually conquers inattention, and leaves the deepest impress of shame upon blundering ignorance. In the whole range of school exercises, there is none of greater importance than that of parsing; and yet perhaps there is none which is, in general, more defectively conducted. Scarcely less useful, as a means of instruction, is the practice of correcting false syntax orally, by regular and logical forms of argument; nor does this appear to have been more ably directed towards the purposes of discipline. There is so much to be done, in order to effect what is desirable in the management of these things; and so little prospect that education will ever be generally raised to a just appreciation of that study which, more than all others, forms the mind to habits of correct thinking; that, in reflecting upon the state of the science at the present time, and upon the means of its improvement, the author cannot but sympathize, in some degree, with the sadness of the learned Sanctius; who tells us, that he had “always lamented, and often with tears, that while other branches of learning were excellently taught, grammar, which is the foundation of all others, lay so much neglected, and that for this neglect there seemed to be no adequate remedy."-Pref. to Minerva. The grammatical use of language is in sweet alliance with the moral; and a similar regret seems to have prompted the following exclamation of the Christian poet:
“Sacred Interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!"-Cowper. 20. No directions, either oral or written, can ever enable the heedless and the unthinking to speak or write well. That must indeed be an admirable book, which can attract levity to sober reflection, teach thoughtlessness the true meaning of words, raise vulgarity from its fondness for low examples, awaken the spirit which attains to excellency of speech, and cause grammatical exercises to be skillfully managed, where teachers themselves are so often lamentably deficient in them. Yet something may be effected by means of a better book, if a better can be introduced. And what with. stands? Whatever there is of ignorance or error in relation to the premises. And is it arrogant to say there is much? Alas! in regard to this, as well as to many & weightier matter, one may too truly affirm, Mulla non sunt sicut multis videntur-Many things are not as they seem to many. Common errors are apt to conceal themselves from the common mind; and the appeal to reason and just authority is often frustrated, because a wrong head defies both. But, apart from this, there are difficul. ties: multiplicity perplexes choice; inconvenience attends change; improvement requires effort; conflicting theories demand examination; the principles of the science are unprofitably disputed; the end is often divorced from the means; and much that belies the title, has been published under the name.
21. It is certain, that the printed formularies most commonly furnished for the important exercises of parsing and correcting, are either so awkwardly written, or so negligently followed, as to make grammar, in the mouths of our juvenile orators, little else than a crude and faltering jargon. Murray evidently intended that his book of exercises should be constantly used with his grammar; but he made the examples in the former so dull and prolix, that few learners, if any, have ever gone through the series agreeably to his direction. The publishing of them in a separate volume, has probably given rise to the absurd practice of endeavouring to teach his grammar witho out them. The forms of parsing and correcting which this author furnishes, are also misplaced ; and when found by the learner, are of little use. They are so verbose, awkward, irregular, and deficient, that the pupil must be a dull boy, or utterly ignorant of grammar, if he cannot express the facts extemporaneously in better English. When we consider how exceedingly important it is, that the business of a school should proceed without loss of time, and that, in the oral exercises here spoken of, each pupil should go through his part promptly, clearly, correctly, and fully, we can. tri think it a light objection that these forms, so often to be repeated, are badly writ
Nor does the objection lie against this writer only: Ab uno disce omnes. But wireader may demand some illustrations. ult: Firstfrom his etymological parsing: "O Virtue! how amiable thou art!"
his form for the word Virtue is--“ Virtue is a common substantive of the neuter this yolúnthe third person, in the singular number, and the nominative case." It easily have fornaVirtue is a common noun, personified proper, of the second per as too well verse things should have followed in regular numerical order, lle yivec
the class of this noun wrong, for virtue addressed becomes an individual; he gives the gender wrong, and in direct contradiction of what he says of the word, in his section on gender; he gives the person wrong, as may be seen by the pronoun thou; he re peats the definite article three times unnecessarily, and inserts two needless preposi. tions, making them different where the relation is precisely the same: and all this, in a sentence of two lines, to tell the properties of the noun Virtue !-But, in etymological parsing, the definitions explaining the properties of the parts of speech, ought to be regularly and rapidly rehearsed by the pupil, till all of them are perfectly familiar, and till he can discern, with the quickness of thought, what is true or false in the description of any word in any intelligible sentence. All these the author omits; and, on account of this omission, his whole method of etymological parsing is miserably deficient
23. Secondly-from his syntactical parsing: “ Vice degrades us." Here his form for the word Vice is—“Vice is a common substantive of the third person, in the singular number, and the nominative case." Now, when the learner is told that this is the syntactical parsing of a noun, and the other the etymological, he will of course conclude, that to advance from the etymology to the syntax of this part of speech, is merely to omit the gender--this being the only difference between the two forms. But even this difference had no other origin ihan the compiler's carelessness in preparing his octavo book of exercises—the gender being inserted in the duodecimo. And what then? Is the syntactical parsing of a noun to be precisely the same as the etymological? Never. But Murray, and all who admire and follow his work, are content to parse many words by halves-making a distinction, and yet often omitting, in both parts of the exercise, every thing which constitutes the difference. He should here have said_“ Vice is a common noun of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case: and is the subject of degrades; according to the rule which says, “A noun or a pronoun which is the subject of a verb, must be in the nominative case.'
Because the meaning is—vice degrades." This is the whole description of the word, with its construction; and to say less, is to leave the matter unfinished.
24. Thirdly—from his “ mode of verbally correcting erroneous sentences: The man is prudent which speaks little.' This sentence, says Murray, “is incorrect; becaus3 which is a pronoun of the neuter gender, and does not agree in gender with its antecedent man, which is masculine. But a pronoun should agree with its antecedent in gender, &c., according to the fifth rule of syntax. Which should therefore be who, a relative pronoun, agreeing with its antecedent man; and the sentence should stand thus: “The man is prudent who speaks little.'" Again: “After I visited Europe, I returned to America. This sentence,” says he, is not correct; because the verb visited is in the imperfect tense, and yet used here to express an action, not only past, but prior to the time referred to by the verb returned, to which it relates. By the thirteenth rule of syntax, when verbs are used that, in point of time, relate to each other, the order of time should be observed. The imperfect tense visited, should therefore have been had visited, in the pluperfect tense, representing the action of visiting, not only as past, but also as prior to the time of returning. The sentence corrected would stand thus: After I had visited Europe, I returned to America.'" These are the first two examples of Murray's verbal corrections, and the only ones retained by Alger, in his improved, recopy-righted edition of Murray's Exercises. Yet, in each of them, is the argumentation palpably false ! In the former, truly, which should be who; but not because which is of the neuter gender; but because the application of that relative to persons, is now nearly obsolete. Can any grammarian forget that, in speaking of brute animals, male or female, we commonly use which, and never who? But if which must needs be neuter, the world is wrong in this.-As for the latter example, it is right as it stands: and the correction is, in some sort, tauto. logical. The conjunctive adverb after makes one of the actions subsequent to the other, and gives to the visiting all the priority that is signified by the pluperfect tense. “ After I visited Europe," is equivalent to “When I had visited Europe." The whole argument is therefore void.
25. These few brief illustrations, out-of thousands that might be adduced in proof of the faultiness of the common manuals, the author has reluctantly introduced, to show that, even in the most popular books, the grammar of our language has not been treated with that care and ability which its importance demands. It is hardly to be supposed that men unused to a teacher's duties, can be qualified to compose such books as will most facilitate his labours. Practice is a better pilot than theory. And while, in respect to grammar, the evidences of failure are constantly inducing changes from one system to another, and almost daily giving birth to new expedients as constantly to end in the same disappointment; perhaps the practical instructions of an expe• rienced teacher, long and assiduously devoted to the study, may approve themselves to many, as seasonably supplying the aid and guidance which they require.
26. From the doctrines of grammar, novelty is rigidly excluded. They consist of details to which taste can lend no charm, and genius no embellishment.
A writer may express them with neatness and perspicuity--their importance alone can commend them to notice. Yet, in drawing his illustrations from the stores of literature, the grammarian may select some gems of thought, which will fasten on the memory a worthy sentiment, or relieve the dullness of minnte instruction. Such examples have been taken from various authors, and interspersed through the following pages.
27. The moral effect of early lessons being a point of the utınost importance, it is es. pecially incumbent on all those who are endeavouring to confer the benefits of intel. lectual culture, to guard against the admission or the inculcation of any principle which may have an improper tendency, and be ultimately prejudicial to those whom they instruct. In preparing this treatise for publication, the author has been solicitous to avoid every thing that could be offensive to the most delicate and scrupulous reader; and, of the several thousands of quotations given, he trusts that the greater part will be considered valuable on account of the sentiments they contain.
28. He has not thought it needful, in a work of this kind, to encumber his pages with a useless parade of names and references, or to distinguish very minutely what is copied and what is original. All strict definitions of the same thing are necessarily similar. The doctrines of the work are, for the most part, expressed in his own language, and illustrated by that of others. Where authority was requisite, names have been inserted ; and in general also where there was room. In the doctrinal parts of the volume, not only quotations from others, but most examples made for the occasion, are marked with guillemets, to distinguish them from the main text; while, to al. most every thing which is really taken from any other known writer, a name or reference is added. In the exercises for correction, few references have been given; be-, cause it is no credit to any author, to have written bad English. But the intelligent reader will recognize as quotations a large portion of the examples, and know from what works they are taken. To the school-boy this knowledge is neither important nor interesting
29. Many of the definitions and rules of grammar have so long been public property, and have been printed under so many names, that it is difficult, if not impossible, to know to whom they originally belonged. Of these the author has freely availed himself, though seldom without some amendment; while he has carefully abstained from every thing on which he supposed there could now be any individual claim. He has therefore fewer personal obligations to acknowledge, than most of those who are reputed to have written with sufficient originality on the subject.
30. In truth, not a line has here been copied with any view to save the labour of composition; for, not to compile an English grammar from others already extant, but to compose one more directly from the sources of the art, was the task which the writer proposed to himself.
And though the theme is not one upon which a man may hopo to write well with little reflection, it is true, that the parts of this treatise which have cost him the most labour, are those which consist chiefly of materials selected from the writings of others." These, however, are not the didactical portions of the book, but the proofs and examples; which, according to the custom of the ancient grammarians, ought to be taken from other authors. But so much have the makers of our modern grammars been allowed to presume upon the respect and acquiescence of their readers, that the ancient exactness on this point would often appear pedantic. Many phrases and sentences either original or anonymous will therefore be found among the illustrations of the following work; for it was not supposed that any reader would demand for every thing of this kind the authority of a great name. Anonymous exam. ples are sufficient to elucidate principles, if not to establish them; and elucidation is often the sole purpose for which an example is needed.
31. The author is well aware that no writer on grammar has any right to propose himself as authority for what he teaches; for every language, being the common property' of all who use it, ought to be carefully guarded against any caprice of individuals, and especially against that which might attempt to impose erroneous or arbitrary definitions and rules. “Since the matter of which we are treating," says the philologist of Salamanca, “is to be verified, first by reason, and then by testimony and usage, none ought to wonder if we sometimes deviate from the track of great men; for, with whatever authority any grammarian may weigh with me, unless he shall have confirmed his assertions by reason and also by examples, he shall win no confidence in respect to grammar. For, as Seneca says, Epistle 95, Grammarians are the guardians, not the authors, of language.'"-Alinerva, Lib. i, Cap. ii. Yet, as what is intuitively seen to be true or false, is already sufficiently proved or detected, many points in grammar need nothing more than to be clearly stated and illustrated ; nay, it would seem an injurious reflection on the understanding of the reader, to accumulate proofs of what cannot but be evident to all who speak the language.
32. Among men of the same profession, there is an unavoidable rivalry, so far as they become competitors for the same prize ; but in competition there is nothing dishonourable, while excellence alone obtains distinction, and no advantage is sought by unfair means. It is evident that we ought to account him the best grammarian, who has the most completely executed the worthiest design. But no worthy design can need a false apology; and it is worse than idle to prevaricate. That is but a spurious modesty, which prompts a man to disclaim in one way what he assumes in an other or to underrate the duties of his office, that he may boast of having “done all that could reasonably be expected." Whoever professes to have improved the science of English grammar, must claim to know more of the matter than the generality of Enge lish grammarians; and he who begins with saying that "little can be expected" from
the office be assumes, must be wrongfully contradicted when he is held to have done much. Neither the ordinary power of speech, nor even the ability to write respecta bly on common topics, makes a man a critic among critics, or enables him to judge of literary merit. And if, by virtue of these qualifications alone, a man will become a giammarian or a connoisseur, he can hold the rank only by courtesy-a courtesy which is content to degrade the character, that his inferior pretensions may be accepted and honoured under the name.
33. By the force of a late popular example, still too widely influential, grammatical authorship has been reduced in the view of many, to little or nothing more than a mere serving-up of materials anonymously borrowed; and, what is most remarkable, even for an indifferent performance of this low office, not only unnamed reviewers, but several writers of note, have not scrupled to bestow the highest praise of grammatical excellence! And thus the palm of superior skill in grammar, has been borne away by a professed compiler; who had so mean an opinion of what his theme required, as to deny it even the common courtesies of compilation. What marvel is it, that, under the wing of such authority, many writers have since sprung up, to im. prove upon this most happy design ; while all who were competent to the task, have been discouraged from attempting any thing like a complete grammar of our language? What motive shall excite a man to long-continued diligence, where such notions prevail as give mastership no hope of preference, and where the praise of his ingenuity and the reward of his labour must needs be inconsiderable, till some honoured compiler usurp them both, and bring his “ most useful matter" before the worbu. der better auspices? If the love of learning supply such a motive, who than a erously yielded to the impulse, will not now, like Johnson, feel himself redim his time to a subject as grammar? "humble drudge"--or, like Perizonius, apologize for the apparent folly of ad anan many of them professing to be abstracts of Murray with improvements, have
34. Since the first edition of this work, more than two hundred new con lo by added to our list of English grammars.
The author has examined about one hun. and fifty, and seen advertisements or notices of nearly half as many more. Being a rious in character, they will of course be variously estimated; but, so far as he can judge, they are, without exception, works of little or no real merit, and not likely to be much patronized or long preserved from oblivion. For which reason, he would have been inclined entirely to disregard the petty depredations which the writers of several of them have committed upon the following digest, were it not possible that by such a frittering-away of his work he himself might one day seem to some to have copied that from others which was first taken from him. Trusting to make it mani. fest to men of learning, that in the production of these Institutes far more has been done for the grammar of our language, than any single hand had before achieved within the limits of a school-book, and that with perfect fairness towards other writers; he cannot but feel a wish that the integrity of his text should be preserved, whatever else may befall; and that the multitude of scribblers who judge it so need. ful to remodel Murray's defective compilation, would forbear to publish under his name or their own what they find only in the following pages.
35. The mere rivalry of their authorship is no subject of concern; but it is enough for any ingenuous man to have toiled for years in solitude to complete a work of public utility, without entering a warfare for life to defend and preserve it. Accidental coincidences in books are unfrequent, and not often such as to excite the suspicion of the most sensitive. But, though the criteria of plagiarism are neither obscure nor disputable, it is not easy, in this beaten track of literature, for persons of little reading to know what is, or is not, original. Dates must be accurately observed. Many things must be minutely compared. And who will undertake such a task, but he that is per: sonally interested? Of the thousands who are forced into the paths of learning, few ever care to know, by what pioneer, or with what labour, their way was cast up for them. And even of those who are honestly engaged in teaching, not many are adequate judges of the comparative merits of the great number of books on this subjects The common notions of mankind conform more easily to fashion than to truth; and, even of some things within their reach, the majority seem content to take their opinions upon trust. Hence, it is vain to expect that that which is intrinsically best, will be everywhere preferred ; or that which is meritoriously elaborate, adequately appreeiated. But common sense might dictate that learning is not encouraged or respected by those who, for the making of books, prefer a pair of scissors to the pen.
36. The real history of grammar is little known; and many erroneous impressions are entertained concerning it: because the story of the systems most generally received, has never been fully told; and that of a multitude now gone to oblivion, was never worth telling. In the distribution of grammatical fame, which has chiefly been made by the hand of interest, we have had a strange illustration of the saying: “Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath." Some whom fortune has made popular, have been greatly overrated, if learning and talents are to be taken into the account; since it is manifest, that with no extraordinary claims to either, they have taken the very foremost rank'among grammarians, and thrown the learning and talents of others into the shade, or made them tributary to their own success and popularity.