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reading, and without which, even under the most favorable circumstances, he cannot be said to have acquired more than half the language. We have heard students feelingly complain of their grievous disappointment, when having expected by the time they had finished their collegiate course, to read almost any Greek or Latin author with some degree of facility, they have found themselves no nearer their object than they had been years before, and the last author presenting almost the same difficulties as the first.
Under such a course of instruction as we have been attempting to describe, the student's progress at first often seems most rapid ; but the deluded victim soon arrives at a stopping point, beyond which his own and all the exertions of his teachers fail to carry him. Here he remains stationary for years, or else abandons the study in disgust. In this situation, the best service that could be rendered would be, if possible, to divest his mind of all he had thus loosely acquired, and kindly restore him to his former state of blank ignorance. Some have the moral courage to retrace their steps and begin anew; but most, amid intricacies and perplexities still more and more increasing, press on their dark and joyless way, and at the end of their course, add to the swelling crowd who are continually increasing the force of the standing objection to the study of classical literature.”
"If it can be shown that on the plan proposed there will be an actual saving of time, there should be no hesitation in at once adopting it, and utterly discarding all those pretended labor-saving methods which have been tried by dearbought experience and found wanting. That this will be the case, has, we think, been shown from considerations before mentioned.”
“ It may be well, however, to enter into a more minute estimate of the manner in which we conceive this is to be effected. Let us suppose the time allotted to preparation for the lowest classes in college to be four years ; during which period the languages are studied in connection with the mathematics, as the two main branches ; an equal portion of time being allotted to each. It is taken for granted: that the student has previously gone through what are styled the ordinary branches of English education, and that he has been well exercised in English grammar. We have supposed the half of each day for one year to be occupied with the
Latin grammar, as the principal study; including however the other exercises above mentioned, as subordinate auxiliaries. This has been allotted as the farthest possible extension of time necessary. Six months, in ordinary cases, would be amply sufficient to render a boy master of his grammar, and enable him to treasure the whole of it correctly in his memory. Six months more might be spent in what may be called the application of the grammar, or the slow and sure reading of some Latin author, in the manner which we have previously pointed out; the amount read being regarded as a matter of minor importance, and the main object being to stereotype in the mind the grammatical structure, and render, as familiar as possible, all its forms, rules and inflections. During the exercise he will also have acquired a large stock of words derived from the grainmatical forms and examples, and also from the author whom he has been thus carefully reading. This stock of words will be of the highest possible value, in consequence of being associated with grainmatical principles, and calculated to suggest them to the thoughts in all subsequent reading. We will suppose the portion read during this period to be the first book of the Æneid, although perhaps this is not the best selection which might be made. It is not too much to say, that in these eight hundred lines is contained the substantial part of the Latin language, both in respect to words and syntax. Suppose this to have been committed to memory, and rendered, by double translations, from Latin to English, and from English to Latin, the primary and metaphorical sense of every word carefully explained, and the whole so thoroughly studied, that every word has been minutely examined in all its syntactical relations, and carefully inflected through all its forms, with every grammatical rule and observation accurately repeated, on the occurrence of every peculiarity with which it is connected; can it be doubted that a year, thus faithfully and patiently devoted to these exercises, will leave the student very far in advance of those who have been hurried, by other methods, over apparently a much greater extent of ground ? May we not go still farther, and say, that one thus instructed, and with such habits of accurate study, will be in advance, in respect to actual and substantial knowledge of the language, of many who have enjoyed the advantages of a collegiate course ?
At the end of one year, or, at the farthest, of two, we suppose him to commence a course of reading, in which he may be pushed forward at his fullest speed. Habits of the most perfect accuracy (almost the whole of education) have been acquired. A most minute acquaintance with the grammatical structure has been secured. A large stock of words has been already laid up, and these words are not merely disconnected substitutes for English terms, but associated, each as the representative of some grammatical peculiarity of inflection or syntax, and calculated, whenever they occur in subsequent reading, to recall to mind his previous acquisitions. In addition to completing his stock of words, (which, after this previous preparation, we have every reason to believe will be most rapidly accomplished,) he has one thing yet to acquire. We mean by this, what may be called tact in reading ; a readiness in seizing the meaning of a sentence at a glance; in having the thought arise to the mind directly from the Latin, in the Latin order, and without the intervention of any English words, in the way of either verbal or mental construing. This can only be acquired by practice, or by continual and extensive reading ; and that he may be now enabled to pursue this as his principal object, unembarrassed by other difficulties, is the great reason for his former slow and cautious progress. The new words which he now meets with will be comparatively few ; the new grammatical constructions still more rare. These being daily noted in a memorandum book, and the memory refreshed by a frequent recurrence to it, their number will be every day constantly diminishing, till he will soon find that he can read whole pages in any common author without resort to grammar or lexicon. It is not an extravagant estimate to suppose, that having commenced this period with reading three or four pages of an author per day, he may, before the end of the year, read from twenty to twenty five; and thus, reckoning a daily average of fifteen pages during the year, he may be safely supposed to have read during the time between four and five thousand pages; or a larger quantity than the whole amount of all the scattered fragments to which, in the ordinary method, his attention is directed from the commencement of his study to the end of his collegiate course. During the third year he may be permitted to commence the Greek. It needs no proof, that after the facilities of mem
ory, attention and investigation have been thus exercised in the Latin, a far less time will be required in this department; and that at the end of the fourth year he may be supposed to have made in it a similar degree of progress. Experience has shown that after a certain stage of advancement, the study of the two languages together instead of impeding, actually accelerates the progress in each; and this will be the more especially the case, if the student is required to use Greek and Latin lexicons, and Greek authors with Latin notes. During the fourth year, however, the daily time allotted to the languages may be supposed to be principally devoted to the Greek, with a diminished reading of the Latin. At the end of the fourth year of his academical course, and at the age of sixteen or seventeen years, our tyro may be regarded as prepared for college. Classes thus prepared will furnish the professor with his proper subjects, and will allow him to discharge those appropriate duties to which we have before adverted. Instead of recitations there may be substituted, especially in the higher classes, lectures on any Greek or Latin author that may be selected. Such lectures, instrad of a long time devoted to previous preparation on the part of the student, would require nothing more than the taking of notes, and a brief examination each day of what had been acquired by the exercises of the preceding. Classes will be able, or should be able, to follow and understand their instructor in critical or philosophical dissertations on any author that he might select; and in these selections he might take a range which, before the end of their collegiate course, would render them familiar with the general mass of classical history, poetry and philosophy. Another advantage in this would consist in its allowing them more time for those indispensable branches of natural science which now necessarily form so large a department in every course of education.
To the results which we have given in this hurried sketch we are well aware that many exceptions might be stated.
There might be frequent failures in realizing all the benefits which have been imagined; but we do firmly believe, that on a fair trial these consequences would generally follow. Everything would depend on the plan of the first year, or the first two years being patiently and rigidly adhered to. It is in this part of the course that temptations would most powerfully beset the teacher to depart from the line marked out; but if these temptations are perseveringly resisted, and the student, however reluctant, is given to understand that the whole grammar, is expected to be thoroughly mastered, it does seem to us that, with ordinary minds, the results must be such as have been described, and that with extraordinary minds, they may be such as to exceed our most sanguine anticipation.”
“ It may also be objected, that many parts of the grammar must remain unintelligible until after a considerable progress in reading. This difficulty has been greatly overrated, and it may be wholly obviated by the continual parsing of appropriate examples under every rule. This, although involving to a certain degree the knowledge of words, may be legitimately included in the study of the grammar. Admitting, however, that after all some parts may not be fully understood, there is a great advantage in having them stored in the memory. When the time comes for their more perfect application, such parts will be much more likely to be intelligible than though this process had been neglected ; and perhaps a great cause of the confusion and perplexity of those who have taken an opposite course, arises from the mind not having been familiarized, by constant verbal repetition, to the logical language of grammar. There is a spirit in words, however much their value may be underrated in this age of things. There is a power in well arranged and logical formulas of expression, tending to produce thought, and at the first impulse from the presentation of the subject to which they are applicable, to manifest their own fitness and render themselves intelligible. Perhaps there is no greater fallacy, in some of our present modes of education, than that practice which directs youth to reject the use of well made formulas as slavish and parrot-like, and makes it a merit that they should express their ideas in their own language.* Their ideas! What ideas will they have if this
• Almost all our new systems of education make a great merit of saving the memory, as though they would prevent its injury by over exercise. The opposite mode of instruction has been stigmatized as “ learning by rote,” parrot-like, &c. The analytical plan, as it is styled, is recommended as more philosophical, more free from slavish submission to authority, more favorable to the development and independence of thought and tbc culli. vation of the mind's own native powers ; as though the philosophy of a thing could be acquired before the thing itself was known, or the mind