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preference, if we must choose between these two alone, to the Gloucester Grammar, as a school book for our country. But we frankly say, that if the University had not originally selected this, we should have considered it quite as well to have adopted, in an English translation, and with a few additions to the syntax, and some illustrative notes, either Ward's edition of the Westminster Grammar, or the Eton Grammar. We have good reasons for believing too, that this would have been the choice of the distinguished Greek scholar now at the University, to whom we have before alluded.* The Gloucester Grammar, it is well known, differs from these in the number of conjugations, and a few other particulars of less importance; which changes, upon the principles above discussed, we cannot consider as having been demanded by any urgent reasons. And though we have already extended this article to a much greater length than we ever intended, we cannot forbear adding here the judicious observations of a solid English scholar, made at the time when Valpy's Grammar was published. After some general commendation of that work, he says;
'At the same time, and with all due deference to the great authorities both at home and abroad from whom I differ, I can never give my entire approbation to this or to any other Grammar, which deviates from the established number of Declensions and Conjugations, as taught and referred to by the Greek grammarians themselves. There can be but one reason for this deviation, and that is, to assist the scholar. It is worth while, therefore, to ascertain how much bis labor is abridged by the consolidation of Declensions and Conjugations. If we compare the Accidents in Dr. Valpy's Grammar, with those in the Eton Grammar, and leave out of consideration the notes in both, it may be asserted, that there are not ten pages of text to be learned less in one Grammar than in the other. This, therefore, is the just amount of labor saved to the pupil. Now let me ask, what is the value of this saving to a boy, whose time is-not very precious, and whose memory is fresh and active, and cannot well be too much exercised ? But are we sure, that even this saving is a real and clear gain? On the contrary, when he is an adult and comes to the reading of the Greek Scholiasts, Commentators, and Grammarians, will he not find them perfectly unintelligible, in all their grammatical allusions, upon the principles of the new Grammar? The old Grammar must be got by heart, at last, by those who would understand the old Grammarians; and surely it is much better to learn their grammar at first, and once for all, at little or no waste of time and trouble, than after
• Since these remarks were written, we have had the satisfaction of receiving a communication from the eminent scholar alluded to in p. 302 by which we find that we were not mistaken in the general statement here made of his opinions upon this subject.
wards at a very great one. It is making two scaffoldings necessary, where one alone might be sufficient.'*
"With these views of the subject, we cannot but consider it as a great misfortune, that any of our principal colleges should have countenanced a departure from the old system, which had been so long followed in this country; but above all, that the conductors of those institutions should not have agreed among themselves in selecting the same elementary work. We cannot but still flatter ourselves, that they will one day concur; and we hope every teacher in the country will co-operate with them in the adoption of some one grammar, that shall not be changed, at least, in our day.j Under the present diversity of works of this kind, the students, that meet at any one of our colleges from every part of the United States, lose all benefit of having a common technical language; and, under the changes which are continually making, parents, who have been taught by one grammar, are deprived of the means of aiding the progress of their own children from the same cause. Frequent changes in elementary works of any kind, are attended with the most mischievous effects: they occasion an actual retardation of the whole community for a time. The truth is, there are
* Classical Journal, vol. xii, p. 312, notes.
t We hope, too, for the reputation of our country, that we shall never again see an edition of a Grammar, or any other Greek book, published under the sanction of our Colleges, without the Accents. Bath the editions now before us are without them j though we do not know that the Colleges are in any way responsible for it: we trust they are not. Our English brethren have been obliged to bear the taunts and sneers of the Continental scholars, on account of' the unfortunate instance of the Oxford Theocritus,' as Bishop Horsley calls it with no little mortification, and a few other Greek publications without accents; and it is truly surprising, that we should be willing to encounter their jeers and reproaches for the same cause. This same whimsical notion of simplifying, as it is called, induced Masclef in France, and Parkhurst in England, and some followers of them in our own country, to teach the Hebrew language without the Masoretic points; but the opinion and practice of our best Hebrew scholars are fast correcting this affectation of improvement. In respect to Greek, we wish the advice of those eminent scholars, Wyttenbach and Porson, were a little more listened to.
'Id accentibut vero,1 says Wyttenbach,' ne turbaretur eo magis cavimus, quod rorum observatione pars baud cootemnenda' accurate rationis grammatics: continetur; ad cujus negligentiam subinde quoque magistros adeo proclives videniu', ut Graecum locum, vel prave positis, vel omnino omissis, accentibus, scribentcs et edenles, eum sui quasi imaginem stuporis, prodere videantur. Wyttenbach. Seleeta Princip. Historic. Prafat.
And Porson, with his accustomed tone of independence and contempt of blockheads, says;
'Siquis igitur vestrum (sc. adolescentium) nd accuratam Groecarum literamin sciential!) aspirat, is probabilem sibi acctntuum notitium quam maturrime compare!, in propositoque perstet, scurrarum dicacitatc et stnttorum irrisione imraotu*.* Porson, Medea, in .Vol.
many things of a purely practical nature, in the common wants of social life, and in the acquisition of the knowledge which is to administer to those wants, which are the best of their kind, merely because they have been long established. It would, to take one example for many, be more philosophical to begin our common calendar at the equinoxes, as that lively nation, the French, once did, and then we might have our 'gipsy-jargon' of 'prairial' and 'floreal', or any other childish names, which our less lively imagi.nations could devise. Yet, what man of common sense would exchange for it our present old fashioned calendar with its rude heathen names? We might, again, as was proposed a few years ago by one of the ingenious and patriotic savans of our country, determine to adopt a new first meridian, instead of making use of the one already established in that nation, who use the same noble language with ourselves, which is daily spreading over the globe, and which has already so largely contributed to the diffusion of the arts and sciences, and civilisation among the various families of man; and we might thus most effectually lend our aid, in confounding the common language of the nautical and scientific men in both countries. Yet what man of reflection is there, who has either given his own attention to this fanciful scheme, or has read the well deserved animadversions upon it, by the distinguished astronomer before alluded to, once also a practical navigator himself, that would not resist such a project*—a project, that would tend only to the injury of science, and to useless embarrassments in the intercourse between the two nations, especially that intercourse which will necessarily take place, between the great numbers of nautical men of both countries, on the ocean and elsewhere?In fine; with respect to the classification or arrangement of the subjects of human knowledge, we may ask, what can be more unphilosophical than that of our own alphabet, the repository of all knowledge, or what more imperfect in its constituent parts? The letters are neither arranged according to their resemblance in shape, nor the organic formation of their sounds; to represent some sounds we have too many letters, and for some letters too many sounds; and then, again, we have some double letters, which denote but one sound, though absurdly called diptliongs, and we have some single letters, denoting two sounds, which we as inconsistently class among the vowels. Yet this same alphabet, imperfect and unphilosophical as it is, now serves as the basis of the most convenient arrangement for dictionaries of languages, encyclopedias of the sciences, and digests of all our law, physic, and divinity, and
» See the Monthly Anthology, vol. ix, p. 245, and vol. x. p. 40. every other portion of human knowledge. But we forbear any further illustrations of this point. From practical considerations of this nature, therefore, we confess that we have ever been disinclined to make any innovations upon the general arrangements of the Greek and Latin Grammars, which we received from our mother country, and whioh have been in use from the first settlement of our own. We do not think the gain in philosophical exactness is a compensation for the practical inconveniences flowing from such changes. We should apply to this subject a remark of Vossius,—'Verum philosophi quidem est spectare rerum naturam; et grammalico in talibus non tam dispiciendum quid potuerit fieri quam factum quid sit.'* Now a work to be adopted in our country should be one, constructed upon a plan with which our teachers are already in some measure acquainted; as they are by five and twenty years' practice with the Gloucester Grammar; it should also be copious enough to embrace a certain portion of critical matter, for the benefit of those instructers, who have not access to good libraries; in which case the parts intended for pupils, either during the first or subsequent times of their going over it, may be distinguished by a difference of type. The learned translator of Buttmann's Grammar justly observes in his preface, that 'if the grammar should be the first book put into the learner's hands, it should also be the last to leave them;' and 'it must therefore combine elementary principles with critical detail.' And it is a just remark of the learned Krigel, 'that it is of no small advantage, when we are learning the rules of grammar, to use one book only, and not to begin with compendiums, epitomes, or any books of that sort, and then have recourse to larger and more copious works.'t
We may add, too, that with a view to the general advancement of learning, we should think it desirable, other things being equal, to adopt an elementary work of the kind now under consideration, which should be common to ourselves and that people, who speak the same language, and whom we cannot but regard with feelings somewhat different from those we entertain towards foreigners. It is true, that with the exception of some doubts, which we hardly dare intimate, in regard to certain questions of mere taste, we entertain the most profound reverence for the science and literature of the continental nations of Europe, especially of that wonderful people the Germans, who have traversed with giant stride the whole expanse of human knowledge. But, to say nothing of those imperative claims, which the great cause of civil liberty has at the
* De Analogia, iii. cap. 2.
\ Krigel's Pref. to Welter's Grammar.
present day upon the co-operation of the two freest nations of the globe, we think there are to be found, in the science and literature of England, sufficient reasons against severing the old and natural ties, which have so long bound us to our English kindred. Has the science of a nation, which produced a Newton, become unworthy of our notice since the age which his name alone has immortalised? Look at the opinion of Baron Zach, a foreigner, supported as we know it to be by our American astronomer, in regard to the very sublime of the sciences,—that 'if any one should assert that our astronomical tables would be equally perfect, if the other hundred and thirty European observatories (out of England) had never existed, he would be very well able to support his assertion, though at first view it might appear extravagant.'* Is her literature less deserving of our study than her science'! In the department of classical literature, which has been more immediately in our view on the present occasion, look at the illustrious catalogue of her Bentleys, her Porsons, her Parrs, her Burneys, with others whose authority is respected by the proudest continental scholars. No; long may it be, before we throw away the treasures of science and literature, which we can now command without being obliged to possess ourselves of them by the clumsy instrument of a foreign tongue. The language and literature of England are ours; we draw the lessons of wisdom from her historians, we feel the inspiration of her poets, and our bosoms kindle at the lofty and swelling sentiments of liberty, which animate her orators and statesmen; and, leaving to politicians the discussion of the stormy questions, which belong to their province, we can, as lovers of learning, respond with all the sincerity and ardor, which was felt by one of our own writers,! when he applied to her the glowing language of antiquity, Salve, magna Parens fruguni, Saturnia tellui, Magna virum.
• See North American Review, No. 47, p. 320.
+ Walsh's Letter on the Genius and Dispositions of the French Government.