The following pages were originally intended as a preface to a little grammatical work. What, however, was at first a subordinate digression,– the enquiry into the operations of the intellect, gradually swelled into the principal subject, and appears at present under a very awkward form :filled with digressions which sprung up naturally and necessarily as the sheets were written, and undivided into chapters, from my not anticipating the length to which they have extended.' It is not a subject likely to attract many readers, but very likely to excite disapprobation in those who venture on it. I can only console myself against such feeling, by the consciousness of having advanced nothing which, after a very long, and patient, and impartial observation of the workings of my own mind, undirected by books, and unbiassed by authority, does not seem to be true, and promise to be useful. It is in this hope that it is offered to the public, and they are the fittest judges of its

errors or correctness.





If an ancient Persian were to rise from the dead, there is one feature above all others in the system of modern life, which would strike him with surprise and perplexity; and, probably the majority of ourselves would be equally astonished at the fact, if we were not habituated to the sight of it. What is the meaning, he would ask, of devoting so much labour and time in the process of education, exclusively to the study of Latin and Greek ? If the object of education is to fit men for discharging with propriety the duties of their subsequent life, why compel them to consume the first twenty years of their age, in an endeavour, and in nine instances out of ten, a painful and futile endeavour, to acquire a


knowledge which gives them no practical information, which they throw aside the moment it is acquired, which, if pursued, would lead them far away from the business and interests of life; and which sends them into the world ignorant of its commonest facts, and with all the main principles of conduct still wanting, and still to be supplied ?

At the present day we are beginning to put this question to ourselves, as it would be put by the old Persian, and as it has been put for years by every boy who has groaned under the discipline of the system.

And till it has been answered satisfactorily, and the answer pressed home to the reason of every student, it is doubtful if we are justified in pursuing a paradoxical method; and it is quite certain, that we shall have to encounter a spirit most opposed to improvement, in the opinion, whether groundless or not, that the object to be aimed at is valueless.

Now we should perhaps attribute too much to the wisdom of our ancestors, if we traced their adoption of our present system to any very profound metaphysical views. have been the result of circumstances; and to have commenced at a time, when a knowledge of the dead languages was almost indispensable, from their em

It appears rather to

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