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The Grammar of English Grammars by Gould Brown

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TUCKER, BENJAMIN; "A Short Introd. to E. Gram.;" 18mo, pp. 36: 4th Ed.,
Phila., 1812.

TURNER, DANIEL, A. M.; English Grammar; 8vo: London, 1739.

TURNER, Rev. BRANDON, A. M.; Grammar from G. Brown's Inst.; 12mo, pp. 238:
Lond., 1841.

TWITCHELL, MARK; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 106: 1st Ed., Portland. Me.,

USSHER, G. NEVILLE; English Grammar: 12mo, pp. 132: London, 1787; 3d Amer.
Ed., Exeter, N. H., 1804.

WALDO, JOHN; "Rudiments," 12mo; Philad., 1813: "Abridg't," 18mo, pp. 124;
Philadelphia, 1814.

WALKER, JOHN; (1.) E. Gram., 12mo, pp. 118: London, 1806. (2.) "Elements of
Elocution;" 8vo, pp. 379: Boston, 1810. (3.) Rhyming Dict., 12mo; (4.)
Pronouncing Dict., 8vo; and other valuable works.

WALKER, WILLIAM, B. D.; (1.) "A Treatise of English Particles;" 12mo, pp.
488: London, 1653; 10th Ed., 1691. (2.) "The Art of Teaching Grammar;"
large 18mo, pp. 226: 8th Ed., London, 1717.

WALLIS, JOHN, D. D.; E. Gram. in Latin; 8vo, pp. 281:. Lond., 1653; 6th
Ed., 1765.

WARD, H.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 151: Whitehaven, England, 1777.

WARD, JOHN, LL. D.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 238: London, 1768.

WARD, WILLIAM, A. M.; "A Practical Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 192: York, England,

WARE, JONATHAN, Esq.; "A New Introduction to English Grammar;" 12mo, pp.
48: Windsor, Vt., 1814.

WASE, CHRISTOPHER, M. A.; "An Essay of a Practical Gram.," 12mo, pp. 79:
Lond., 1660.

WATT, THOMAS, A. M.; "Gram. Made Easy;" 18mo, pp. 92: Edinburgh, 1708.; 5th
Ed., 1742.

WEBBER, SAMUEL, A. M., M. D.; "An Introd. to E. Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 116:
Cambridge, Mass., 1832.

WEBSTER, NOAH, LL. D.; (1.) "A Plain and Comprehensive Grammar;" 12mo, pp.
131: 8th Ed., Hartford, Ct., 1800. (2.) "A Philosophical and Practical
Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 250: Newhaven, Ct., 1807. (3.) "Rudiments of English
Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 87: New York, 1811. (4.) "An Improved Grammar of the E.
L.;" 12mo, pp. 180: Newhaven, 1831. (5.) "An American Dictionary of the E.
L.," 4to; and an Abridgement, 8vo.

WELCH, A. S.; "Analysis of the English Sentence;" 12mo, pp. 264: New York,
1854. Of no value.

WELD, ALLEN H., A. M.; (1.) "English Grammar Illustrated;" 12mo, pp. 228:
Portland, Me., 1846; 2d Ed., 1847: "Abridged Edition," Boston, 1849.
"Improved Edition," much altered: Portland, 1852. (2.) "Parsing Book,
containing Rules of Syntax," &c.; 18mo, pp. 112: Portland, 1847.

WELLS, WILLIAM H., M. A.; "Wells's School Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 220: 1st Ed.,
Andover, 1846; "113th Thousand," 1850.

WHITE, MR. JAMES; "The English Verb;" 8vo, pp. 302: 1st Ed., London, 1761.

WHITING, JOSEPH, A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo: Detroit, 1845.

WHITWORTH, T.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 216: 1st Ed., London, 1819.

WICKES, EDWARD WALTER; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 106: 2d Ed., London,

WILBER & LIVINGSTON; "The Grammatical Alphabet;" (with a Chart;) 18mo, pp.
36: 2d Ed., Albany, 1815.

WILBUR, JOSIAH; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 132: Bellows Falls, N. H., 1815;
2d Ed., 1822.

WILCOX, A. F.; "A Catechetical and Practical Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 110: 1st
Ed., Newhaven, Ct., 1828.

WILLARD, SAMUEL: English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 54: 1st Ed., Greenfield, Mass.,

WILLIAMS, MRS. HONORIA; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 226: London, 1823; 3d
Ed., 1826.

WILSON, CHARLES, D. D.; "Elements of Hebrew Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 398: 3d Ed.,
London, 1802.

WILSON, GEORGE; English Grammar; 18mo; London, 1777.

WILSON, JAMES P., D. D.: "An Essay on Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 281: Philadelphia,

WILSON, JOHN; "A Treatise on English Punctuation;" 12mo, pp. 204: Boston,

WILSON, Rev. J.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 184: 3d Ed., Congleton,
England, 1803.

WINNING, Rev. W. B., M. A.; "A Manual of Comparative Philology;" 8vo, pp.
291: London, 1838.

WISEMAN, CHARLES; an English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1765.

WOOD, HELEN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 207: London, 1st Ed., 1827; 6th
Ed., 1841.

WOOD, Rev. JAMES, D. D; English Grammar; 12mo: London, 1778.

WOODWORTH, A.; "Grammar Demonstrated;" 12mo, pp. 72: 1st Ed., Auburn, N.
Y., 1823.

WORCESTER, JOSEPH, E.; "Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English
Language;" 1st Ed., Boston, 1846.

WORCESTER, SAMUEL; "A First Book of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 86; Boston,

WRIGHT, ALBERT D.; "Analytical Orthography;" 18mo, pp. 112: 2d Ed.,
Cazenovia, N. Y., 1842.

WRIGHT, JOSEPH W.; "A Philosophical Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo,
pp. 252: New York and London, 1838.

[Asterism] The _Names_, or _Heads_, in the foregoing alphabetical
Catalogue, are 452; the _Works_ mentioned are 548; the _Grammars_ are 463;
the _other Books_ are 85.






"Haec de Grammatica quam brevissime potui: non ut omnia dicerem sectatus,
(quod infinitum erat,) sed ut maxima necessaria."--QUINTILIAN. _De Inst.
Orat._, Lib. i, Cap. x.

1. Language, in the proper sense of the term, is peculiar to man; so that,
without a miraculous assumption of human powers, none but human beings can
make words the vehicle of thought. An imitation of some of the articulate
sounds employed in speech, may be exhibited by parrots, and sometimes by
domesticated ravens, and we know that almost all brute animals have their
peculiar natural voices, by which they indicate their feelings, whether
pleasing or painful. But _language_ is an attribute of reason, and differs
essentially not only from all brute voices, but even from all the
chattering, jabbering, and babbling of our own species, in which there is
not an intelligible meaning, with division of thought, and distinction of

2. Speech results from the joint exercise of the best and noblest faculties
of human nature, from our rational understanding and our social affection;
and is, in the proper use of it, the peculiar ornament and distinction of
man, whether we compare him with other orders in the creation, or view him
as an individual preeminent among his fellows. Hence that science which
makes known the nature and structure of speech, and immediately concerns
the correct and elegant use of language, while it surpasses all the
conceptions of the stupid or unlearned, and presents nothing that can seem
desirable to the sensual and grovelling, has an intrinsic dignity which
highly commends it to all persons of sense and taste, and makes it most a
favourite with the most gifted minds. That science is Grammar. And though
there be some geniuses who affect to despise the trammels of grammar rules,
to whom it must be conceded that many things which have been unskillfully
taught as such, deserve to be despised; yet it is true, as Dr. Adam
remarks, that, "The study of Grammar has been considered an object of great
importance by the wisest men in all ages."--_Preface to Latin and English
Gram._, p. iii.

3. Grammar bears to language several different relations, and acquires from
each a nature leading to a different definition. _First_, It is to
language, as knowledge is to the thing known; and as doctrine, to the
truths it inculcates. In these relations, grammar is a science. It is the
first of what have been called the seven sciences, or liberal branches of
knowledge; namely, grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry,
astronomy, and music. _Secondly_, It is as skill, to the thing to be done;
and as power, to the instruments it employs. In these relations, grammar is
an art; and as such, has long been defined, "_ars recte scribendi, recteque
loquendi_" the art of writing and speaking correctly. _Thirdly_, It is as
navigation, to the ocean, which nautic skill alone enables men to traverse.
In this relation, theory and practice combine, and grammar becomes, like
navigation, a practical science. _Fourthly_, It is as a chart, to a coast
which we would visit. In this relation, our grammar is a text-book, which
we take as a guide, or use as a help to our own observation. _Fifthly_, It
is as a single voyage, to the open sea, the highway of nations. Such is our
meaning, when we speak of the grammar of a particular text or passage.

4. Again: Grammar is to language a sort of self-examination. It turns the
faculty of speech or writing upon itself for its own elucidation; and makes
the tongue or the pen explain the uses and abuses to which both are liable,
as well as the nature and excellency of that power, of which, these are the
two grand instruments. From this account, some may begin to think that in
treating of grammar we are dealing with something too various and
changeable for the understanding to grasp; a dodging Proteus of the
imagination, who is ever ready to assume some new shape, and elude the
vigilance of the inquirer. But let the reader or student do his part; and,
if he please, follow us with attention. We will endeavour, with welded
links, to bind this Proteus, in such a manner that he shall neither escape
from our hold, nor fail to give to the consulter an intelligible and
satisfactory response. Be not discouraged, generous youth. Hark to that
sweet far-reaching note:

"Sed, quanto ille magis formas se vertet in omnes,
Tanto, nate, magis contende tenacia vincla."
VIRGIL. Geor. IV, 411.

"But thou, the more he varies forms, beware
To strain his fetters with a stricter care."

5. If for a moment we consider the good and the evil that are done in the
world through the medium of speech, we shall with one voice acknowledge,
that not only the faculty itself, but also the manner in which it is used,
is of incalculable importance to the welfare of man. But this reflection
does not directly enhance our respect for grammar, because it is not to
language as the vehicle of moral or of immoral sentiment, of good or of
evil to mankind, that the attention of the grammarian is particularly
directed. A consideration of the subject in these relations, pertains
rather to the moral philosopher. Nor are the arts of logic and rhetoric now
considered to be properly within the grammarian's province. Modern science
assigns to these their separate places, and restricts grammar, which at one
period embraced all learning, to the knowledge of language, as respects its
fitness to be the vehicle of any particular thought or sentiment which the
speaker or writer may wish to convey by it. Accordingly grammar is commonly
defined, by writers upon the subject, in the special sense of an art--"the
_art_ of speaking or writing a language with propriety or
correctness."--_Webster's Dict._

6. Lily says, "Grammatica est recte scribendi atque loquendi ars;" that is,
"Grammar is the art of writing and speaking correctly." Despauter, too, in
his definition, which is quoted in a preceding paragraph, not improperly
placed writing first, as being that with which grammar is primarily
concerned. For it ought to be remembered, that over any fugitive colloquial
dialect, which has never been fixed by visible signs, grammar has no
control; and that the speaking which the art or science of grammar teaches,
is exclusively that which has reference to a knowledge of letters. It is
the certain tendency of writing, to improve speech. And in proportion as
books are multiplied, and the knowledge of written language is diffused,
local dialects, which are beneath the dignity of grammar, will always be
found to grow fewer, and their differences less. There are, in the various
parts of the world, many languages to which the art of grammar has never
yet been applied; and to which, therefore, the definition or true idea of
grammar, however general, does not properly extend. And even where it has
been applied, and is now honoured as a popular branch of study, there is
yet great room for improvement: barbarisms and solecisms have not been
rebuked away as they deserve to be.

7. Melancthon says, "Grammatica est certa loquendi ac scribendi ratio,
Latinis Latine." Vossius, "Ars bene loquendi eoque et scribendi, atque id
Latinis Latine." Dr. Prat, "_Grammatica est recte loquendi atque scribendi
ars._" Ruddiman also, in his Institutes of Latin Grammar, reversed the
terms _writing_ and _speaking_, and defined grammar, "_ars rece loquendi
scribendique_;" and, either from mere imitation, or from the general
observation that speech precedes writing, this arrangement of the words has
been followed by most modern grammarians. Dr. Lowth embraces both terms in
a more general one, and says, "Grammar is the art of _rightly expressing_
our thoughts by words." It is, however, the province of grammar, to guide
us not merely in the expression of our own thoughts, but also in our
apprehension of the thoughts, and our interpretation of the words, of
others. Hence, Perizonius, in commenting upon Sanctius's imperfect
definition, "_Grammatica est ars recte loquendi_," not improperly asks,
"_et quidni intelligendi et explicandi_?" "and why not also of
understanding and explaining?" Hence, too, the art of _reading_ is
virtually a part of grammar; for it is but the art of understanding and
speaking correctly that which we have before us on paper. And Nugent has
accordingly given us the following definition: "Grammar is the art of
reading, speaking, and writing a language by rules."--_Introduction to
Dict._, p. xii.[1]

8. The word _recte_, rightly, truly, correctly, which occurs in most of the
foregoing Latin definitions, is censured by the learned Richard Johnson, in
his Grammatical Commentaries, on account of the vagueness of its meaning.
He says, it is not only ambiguous by reason of its different uses in the
Latin classics, but destitute of any signification proper to grammar. But
even if this be true as regards its earlier application, it may well be
questioned, whether by frequency of use it has not acquired a signification
which makes it proper at the present time. The English word _correctly_
seems to be less liable to such an objection; and either this brief term,
or some other of like import, (as, "with correctness"--"with propriety,")
is still usually employed to tell what grammar is. But can a boy learn by
such means what it is, _to speak and write grammatically_? In one sense, he
can; and in an other, he cannot. He may derive, from any of these terms,
some idea of grammar as distinguished from other arts; but no simple
definition of this, or of any other art, can communicate to him that learns
it, the skill of an artist.

9. R. Johnson speaks at large of _the relation_ of words to each other in
sentences, as constituting in his view the most essential part of grammar;
and as being a point very much overlooked, or very badly explained, by
grammarians in general. His censure is just. And it seems to be as
applicable to nearly all the grammars now in use, as to those which he
criticised a hundred and thirty years ago. But perhaps he gives to the
relation of words, (which is merely their dependence on other words
according to the sense,) an earlier introduction and a more prominent
place, than it ought to have in a general system of grammar. To the right
use of language, he makes four things to be necessary. In citing these, I
vary the language, but not the substance or the order of his positions.
_First_, That we should speak and write words according to the
significations which belong to them: the teaching of which now pertains to
lexicography, and not to grammar, except incidentally. "_Secondly_, That we
should observe _the relations_ that words have one to another in sentences,
and represent those relations by such variations, and particles, as are
usual with authors in that language." _Thirdly_, That we should acquire a
knowledge of the proper sounds of the letters, and pay a due regard to
accent in pronunciation. _Fourthly_, That we should learn to write words
with their proper letters, spelling them as literary men generally do.

10. From these positions, (though he sets aside the first, as pertaining to
lexicography, and not now to grammar, as it formerly did,) the learned
critic deduces first his four parts of the subject, and then his definition
of grammar. "Hence," says he, "there arise Four Parts of Grammar;
_Analogy_, which treats of the several parts of speech, their definitions,
accidents, and formations; _Syntax_, which treats of the use of those
things in construction, according to their relations; _Orthography_, which
treats of spelling; and _Prosody_, which treats of accenting in
pronunciation. So, then, the true definition of Grammar is this: Grammar is
the art of _expressing the relations_ of things in construction, with due
accent in speaking, and orthography in writing, according to the custom of
those whose language we learn." Again he adds: "The word _relation_ has
other senses, taken by itself; but yet the _relation of words one to
another in a sentence_, has no other signification than what I intend by
it, namely, of cause, effect, means, end, manner, instrument, object,
adjunct, and the like; which are names given by logicians to those
relations under which the mind comprehends things, and therefore the most
proper words to explain them to others. And if such things are too hard for
children, then grammar is too hard; for there neither is, nor can be, any
grammar without them. And a little experience will satisfy any man, that
the young will as easily apprehend them, as _gender, number, declension_,
and other grammar-terms." See _R. Johnson's Grammatical Commentaries_, p.

11. It is true, that the _relation of words_--by which I mean that
connexion between them, which the train of thought forms and suggests--or
that dependence which one word has on an other according to the sense--lies
at the foundation of all syntax. No rule or principle of construction can
ever have any applicability beyond the limits, or contrary to the order, of
this relation. To see what it is in any given case, is but to understand
the meaning of the phrase or sentence. And it is plain, that no word ever
necessarily agrees with an other, with which it is not thus connected in
the mind of him who uses it. No word ever governs an other, to which the
sense does not direct it. No word is ever required to stand immediately
before or after an other, to which it has not some relation according to
the meaning of the passage. Here then are the relation, agreement,
government, and arrangement, of words in sentences; and these make up the
whole of syntax--but not the whole of grammar. To this one part of grammar,
therefore, the relation of words is central and fundamental; and in the
other parts also, there are some things to which the consideration of it is
incidental; but there are many more, like spelling, pronunciation,
derivation, and whatsoever belongs merely to letters, syllables, and the
forms of words, with which it has, in fact, no connexion. The relation of
words, therefore, should be clearly and fully explained in its proper
place, under the head of syntax; but the general idea of grammar will not
be brought nearer to truth, by making it to be "the art of _expressing the
relations_ of things in construction," &c., according to the foregoing

12. The term _grammar_ is derived from the Greek word [Greek: gramma], a
letter. The art or science to which this term is applied, had its origin,
not in cursory speech, but in the practice of writing; and speech, which is
first in the order of nature, is last with reference to grammar. The matter
or common subject of grammar, is language in general; which, being of two
kinds, _spoken_ and _written_, consists of certain combinations either of
sounds or of visible signs, employed for the expression of thought. Letters
and sounds, though often heedlessly confounded in the definitions given of
vowels, consonants, &c., are, in their own nature, very different things.
They address themselves to different senses; the former, to the sight; the
latter, to the hearing. Yet, by a peculiar relation arbitrarily established
between them, and in consequence of an almost endless variety in the
combinations of either, they coincide in a most admirable manner, to effect
the great object for which language was bestowed or invented; namely, to
furnish a sure medium for the communication of thought, and the
preservation of knowledge.

13. All languages, however different, have many things in common. There are
points of a philosophical character, which result alike from the analysis
of any language, and are founded on the very nature of human thought, and
that of the sounds or other signs which are used to express it. When such
principles alone are taken as the subject of inquiry, and are treated, as
they sometimes have been, without regard to any of the idioms of particular
languages, they constitute what is called General, Philosophical, or
Universal Grammar. But to teach, with Lindley Murray and some others, that
"Grammar may be considered as _consisting of two species_, Universal and
Particular," and that the latter merely "applies those general principles
to a particular language," is to adopt a twofold absurdity at the
outset.[2] For every cultivated language has its particular grammar, in
which whatsoever is universal, is necessarily included; but of which,
universal or general principles form only a part, and that comparatively
small. We find therefore in grammar no "two species" of the same genus; nor
is the science or art, as commonly defined and understood, susceptible of
division into any proper and distinct sorts, except with reference to
different languages--as when we speak of Greek, Latin, French, or English

14. There is, however, as I have suggested, a certain science or philosophy
of language, which has been denominated Universal Grammar; being made up of
those points only, in which many or all of the different languages
preserved in books, are found to coincide. All speculative minds are fond
of generalization; and, in the vastness of the views which may thus be
taken of grammar, such may find an entertainment which they never felt in
merely learning to speak and write grammatically. But the pleasure of such
contemplations is not the earliest or the most important fruit of the
study. The first thing is, to know and understand the grammatical
construction of our own language. Many may profit by this acquisition, who
extend not their inquiries to the analogies or the idioms of other tongues.
It is true, that every item of grammatical doctrine is the more worthy to
be known and regarded, in proportion as it approaches to universality. But
the principles of all practical grammar, whether universal or particular,
common or peculiar, must first be learned in their application to some one
language, before they can be distinguished into such classes; and it is
manifest, both from reason and from experience, that the youth of any
nation not destitute of a good book for the purpose, may best acquire a
knowledge of those principles, from the grammatical study of their native

15. Universal or Philosophical Grammar is a large field for speculation and
inquiry, and embraces many things which, though true enough in themselves,
are unfit to be incorporated with any system of practical grammar, however
comprehensive its plan. Many authors have erred here. With what is merely
theoretical, such a system should have little to do. Philosophy, dealing in
generalities, resolves speech not only as a whole into its constituent
parts and separable elements, as anatomy shows the use and adaptation of
the parts and joints of the human body; but also as a composite into its
matter and form, as one may contemplate that same body in its entireness,
yet as consisting of materials, some solid and some fluid, and these
curiously modelled to a particular figure. Grammar, properly so called,
requires only the former of these analyses; and in conducting the same, it
descends to the thousand minute particulars which are necessary to be known
in practice. Nor are such things to be despised as trivial and low:
ignorance of what is common and elementary, is but the more disgraceful for
being ignorance of mere rudiments. "Wherefore," says Quintilian, "they are
little to be respected, who represent this art as mean and barren; in
which, unless you faithfully lay the foundation for the future orator,
whatever superstructure you raise will tumble into ruins. It is an art,
necessary to the young, pleasant to the old, the sweet companion of the
retired, and one which in reference to every kind of study has in itself
more of utility than of show. Let no one therefore despise as
inconsiderable the elements of grammar. Not because it is a great thing, to
distinguish consonants from vowels, and afterwards divide them into
semivowels and mutes; but because, to those who enter the interior parts of
this temple of science, there will appear in many things a great subtilty,
which is fit not only to sharpen the wits of youth, but also to exercise
the loftiest erudition and science."--_De Institutione Oratoria_, Lib. i,
Cap. iv.

16. Again, of the arts which spring from the composition of language. Here
the art of logic, aiming solely at conviction, addresses the understanding
with cool deductions of unvarnished truth; rhetoric, designing to move, in
some particular direction, both the judgement and the sympathies of men,
applies itself to the affections in order to persuade; and poetry, various
in its character and tendency, solicits the imagination, with a view to
delight, and in general also to instruct. But grammar, though intimately
connected with all these, and essential to them in practice, is still too
distinct from each to be identified with any of them. In regard to dignity
and interest, these higher studies seem to have greatly the advantage over
particular grammar; but who is willing to be an ungrammatical poet, orator,
or logician? For him I do not write. But I would persuade my readers, that
an acquaintance with that grammar which respects the genius of their
vernacular tongue, is of primary importance to all who would cultivate a
literary taste, and is a necessary introduction to the study of other
languages. And it may here be observed, for the encouragement of the
student, that as grammar is essentially the same thing in all languages, he
who has well mastered that of his own, has overcome more than half the
difficulty of learning another; and he whose knowledge of words is the most
extensive, has the fewest obstacles to encounter in proceeding further.

17. It was the "original design" of grammar, says Dr. Adam, to facilitate
"the acquisition of languages;" and, of all practical treatises on the
subject, this is still the main purpose. In those books which are to
prepare the learner to translate from one tongue into another, seldom is
any thing else attempted. In those also which profess to explain the right
use of vernacular speech, must the same purpose be ever paramount, and the
"original design" be kept in view. But the grammarian may teach many things
incidentally. One cannot learn a language, without learning at the same
time a great many opinions, facts, and principles, of some kind or other,
which are necessarily embodied in it. For all language proceeds from, and
is addressed to, the understanding; and he that perceives not the meaning
of what he reads, makes no acquisition even of the language itself. To the
science of grammar, the _nature of the ideas_ conveyed by casual examples,
is not very essential: to the learner, it is highly important. The best
thoughts in the best diction should furnish the models for youthful study
and imitation; because such language is not only the most worthy to be
remembered, but the most easy to be understood. A distinction is also to be
made between use and abuse. In nonsense, absurdity, or falsehood, there can
never be any grammatical authority; because, however language may be
abused, the usage which gives law to speech, is still that usage which is
founded upon the _common sense_ of mankind.

18. Grammar appeals to reason, as well as to authority, but to what extent
it should do so, has been matter of dispute. "The knowledge of useful
arts," says Sanctius, "is not an invention of human ingenuity, but an
emanation from the Deity, descending from above for the use of man, as
Minerva sprung from the brain of Jupiter. Wherefore, unless thou give
thyself wholly to laborious research into the nature of things, and
diligently examine the _causes and reasons_ of the art thou teachest,
believe me, thou shalt but see with other men's eyes, and hear with other
men's ears. But the minds of many are preoccupied with a certain perverse
opinion, or rather ignorant conceit, that in grammar, or the art of
speaking, there are no causes, and that reason is scarcely to be appealed
to for any thing;--than which idle notion, I know of nothing more
foolish;--nothing can be thought of which is more offensive. Shall man,
endowed with reason, do, say, or contrive any thing, without design, and
without understanding? Hear the philosophers; who positively declare that
nothing comes to pass without a cause. Hear Plato himself; who affirms that
names and words subsist by nature, and contends that language is derived
from nature, and not from art."

19. "I know," says he, "that the Aristotelians think otherwise; but no one
will doubt that names are the signs, and as it were the instruments, of
things. But the instrument of any art is so adapted to that art, that for
any other purpose it must seem unfit; thus with an auger we bore, and with
a saw we cut wood; but we split stones with wedges, and wedges are driven
with heavy mauls. We cannot therefore but believe that those who first gave
names to things, did it with design; and this, I imagine, Aristotle himself
understood when he said, _ad placitum nomina significare._ For those who
contend that names were made by chance, are no less audacious than if they
would endeavour to persuade us, that the whole order of the universe was
framed together fortuitously."

20. "You will see," continues he, "that in the first language, whatever it
was, the names of things were taken from Nature herself; but, though I
cannot affirm this to have been the case in other tongues, yet I can easily
persuade myself that in every tongue a reason can be rendered for the
application of every name; and that this reason, though it is in many cases
obscure, is nevertheless worthy of investigation. Many things which were
not known to the earlier philosophers, were brought to light by Plato;
after the death of Plato, many were discovered by Aristotle; and Aristotle
was ignorant of many which are now everywhere known. For truth lies hid,
but nothing is more precious than truth. But you will say, 'How can there
be any certain origin to names, when one and the same thing is called by
different names, in the several parts of the world?' I answer, of the same
thing there may be different causes, of which some people may regard one,
and others, an other. * * * There is therefore no doubt, that of all
things, even of words, a reason is to be rendered: and if we know not what
that reason is, when we are asked; we ought rather to confess that we do
not know, than to affirm that none can be given. I know that Scaliger
thinks otherwise; but this is the true account of the matter."

21. "These several observations," he remarks further, "I have unwillingly
brought together against those stubborn critics who, while they explode
reason from grammar, insist so much on the testimonies of the learned. But
have they never read Quintilian, who says, (Lib. i, Cap. 6,) that,
'Language is established by reason, antiquity, authority, and custom?' He
therefore does not exclude reason, but makes it the principal thing. Nay,
in a manner, Laurentius, and other grammatists, even of their fooleries,
are forward to offer _reasons_, such as they are. Moreover, use does not
take place without reason; otherwise, it ought to be called abuse, and not
use. But from use authority derives all its force; for when it recedes from
use, authority becomes nothing: whence Cicero reproves Coelius and Marcus
Antonius for speaking according to their own fancy, and not according to
use. But, 'Nothing can be lasting,' says Curtius, (Lib. iv,) 'which is not
based upon reason.' It remains, therefore, that of all things the reason be
first assigned; and then, if it can be done, we may bring forward
testimonies; that the thing, having every advantage, may be made the more
clear."--_Sanctii Minerva_, Lib. i, Cap. 2.

22. Julius Caesar Scaliger, from whose opinion Sanctius dissents above,
seems to limit the science of grammar to bounds considerably too narrow,
though he found within them room for the exercise of much ingenuity and
learning. He says, "Grammatica est scientia loquendi ex usu; neque enim
constituit regulas scientibus usus modum, sed ex eorum statis
frequentibusque usurpatiombus colligit communem rationem loquendi, quam
discentibus traderet."--_De Causis L. Latinae_, Lib. iv, Cap. 76. "Grammar
is the science of speaking according to use; for it does not establish
rules for those who know the manner of use, but from the settled and
frequent usages of these, gathers the common fashion of speaking, which it
should deliver to learners." This limited view seems not only to exclude
from the science the use of the pen, but to exempt the learned from any
obligation to respect the rules prescribed for the initiation of the young.
But I have said, and with abundant authority, that the acquisition of a
good style of writing is the main purpose of the study; and, surely, the
proficients and adepts in the art can desire for themselves no such
exemption. Men of genius, indeed, sometimes affect to despise the pettiness
of all grammatical instructions; but this can be nothing else than
affectation, since the usage of the learned is confessedly the basis of all
such instructions, and several of the loftiest of their own rank appear on
the list of grammarians.

23. Quintilian, whose authority is appealed to above, belonged to that age
in which the exegesis of histories, poems, and other writings, was
considered an essential part of grammar. He therefore, as well as Diomedes,
and other ancient writers, divided the grammarian's duties into two parts;
the one including what is now called grammar, and the other the
explanation of authors, and the stigmatizing of the unworthy. Of the
opinion referred to by Sanctius, it seems proper to make here an ampler
citation. It shall be attempted in English, though the paragraph is not an
easy one to translate. I understand the author to say, "Speakers, too, have
their rules to observe; and writers, theirs. Language is established by
reason, antiquity, authority, and custom. Of reason the chief ground is
analogy, but sometimes etymology. Ancient things have a certain majesty,
and, as I might say, religion, to commend them. Authority is wont to be
sought from orators and historians; the necessity of metre mostly excuses
the poets. When the judgement of the chief masters of eloquence passes for
reason, even error seems right to those who follow great leaders. But, of
the art of speaking, custom is the surest mistress; for speech is evidently
to be used as money, which has upon it a public stamp. Yet all these things
require a penetrating judgement, especially analogy; the force of which is,
that one may refer what is doubtful, to something similar that is clearly
established, and thus prove uncertain things by those which are
sure."--QUINT, _de Inst. Orat._, Lib. i, Cap. 6, p. 48.

24. The science of grammar, whatever we may suppose to be its just limits,
does not appear to have been better cultivated in proportion as its scope
was narrowed. Nor has its application to our tongue, in particular, ever
been made in such a manner, as to do _great_ honour to the learning or the
talents of him that attempted it. What is new to a nation, may be old to
the world. The development of the intellectual powers of youth by
instruction in the classics, as well as the improvement of their taste by
the exhibition of what is elegant in literature, is continually engaging
the attention of new masters, some of whom may seem to effect great
improvements; but we must remember that the concern itself is of no recent
origin. Plato and Aristotle, who were great masters both of grammar and of
philosophy, taught these things ably at Athens, in the fourth century
_before_ Christ. Varro, the grammarian, usually styled the most learned of
the Romans, was _contemporary_ with the Saviour and his apostles.
Quintilian lived in the _first_ century of our era, and before he wrote his
most celebrated book, taught a school twenty years in Rome, and received
from the state a salary which made him rich. This "consummate guide of
wayward youth," as the poet Martial called him, being neither ignorant of
what had been done by others, nor disposed to think it a light task to
prescribe the right use of his own language, was at first slow to undertake
the work upon which his fame now reposes; and, after it was begun, diligent
to execute it worthily, that it might turn both to his own honour, and to
the real advancement of learning.

25. He says, at the commencement of his book: "After I had obtained a quiet
release from those labours which for twenty years had devolved upon me as
an instructor of youth, certain persons familiarly demanded of me, that I
should compose something concerning the proper manner of speaking; but for
a long time I withstood their solicitations, because I knew there were
already illustrious authors in each language, by whom many things which
might pertain to such a work, had been very diligently written, and left to
posterity. But the reason which I thought would obtain for me an easier
excuse, did but excite more earnest entreaty; because, amidst the various
opinions of earlier writers, some of whom were not even consistent with
themselves, the choice had become difficult; so that my friends seemed to
have a right to enjoin upon me, if not the labour of producing new
instructions, at least that of judging concerning the old. But although I
was persuaded not so much by the hope of supplying what was required, as by
the shame of refusing, yet, as the matter opened itself before me, I
undertook of my own accord a much greater task than had been imposed; that
while I should thus oblige my very good friends by a fuller compliance, I
might not enter a common path and tread only in the footsteps of others.
For most other writers who have treated of the art of speaking, have
proceeded in such a manner as if upon adepts in every other kind of
doctrine they would lay the last touch in eloquence; either despising as
little things the studies which we first learn, or thinking them not to
fall to their share in the division which should be made of the
professions; or, what indeed is next to this, hoping no praise or thanks
for their ingenuity about things which, although necessary, lie far from
ostentation: the tops of buildings make a show, their foundations are
unseen."--_Quintiliani de Inst. Orat., Prooemium._

26. But the reader may ask, "What have all these things to do with English
Grammar?" I answer, they help to show us whence and what it is. Some
acquaintance with the history of grammar as a science, as well as some
knowledge of the structure of other languages than our own, is necessary to
him who professes to write for the advancement of this branch of
learning--and for him also who would be a competent judge of what is thus
professed. Grammar must not forget her origin. Criticism must not resign
the protection of letters. The national literature of a country is in the
keeping, not of the people at large, but of authors and teachers. But a
grammarian presumes to be a judge of authorship, and a teacher of teachers;
and is it to the honour of England or America, that in both countries so
many are countenanced in this assumption of place, who can read no language
but their mother tongue? English Grammar is not properly an indigenous
production, either of this country or of Britain; because it is but a
branch of the general science of philology--a new variety, or species,
sprung up from the old stock long ago transplanted from the soil of Greece
and Rome.

27. It is true, indeed, that neither any ancient system of grammatical
instruction nor any grammar of an other language, however contrived, can be
entirely applicable to the present state of our tongue; for languages must
needs differ greatly one from an other, and even that which is called the
same, may come in time to differ greatly from what it once was. But the
general analogies of speech, which are the central principles of grammar,
are but imperfectly seen by the man of one language. On the other hand, it
is possible to know much of those general principles, and yet be very
deficient in what is peculiar to our own tongue. Real improvement in the
grammar of our language, must result from a view that is neither partial
nor superficial. "Time, sorry artist," as was said of old, "makes all he
handles worse." And Lord Bacon, seeming to have this adage in view,
suggests: "If Time of course alter all things to the worse, and Wisdom and
Counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the
end?"--_Bacon's Essays_, p. 64.

28. Hence the need that an able and discreet grammarian should now and then
appear, who with skillful hand can effect those corrections which a change
of fashion or the ignorance of authors may have made necessary; but if he
is properly qualified for his task, he will do all this without a departure
from any of the great principles of Universal Grammar. He will surely be
very far from thinking, with a certain modern author, whom I shall notice
in an other chapter, that, "He is bound to take words and explain them as
he finds them in his day, _without any regard to their ancient construction
and application_."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 28. The whole history of every
word, so far as he can ascertain it, will be the view under which he will
judge of what is right or wrong in the language which he teaches. Etymology
is neither the whole of this view, nor yet to be excluded from it. I concur
not therefore with Dr. Campbell, who, to make out a strong case,
extravagantly says, "It is _never from an attention to etymology_, which
would frequently mislead us, but from custom, the only infallible guide in
this matter, that the meanings of words in present use must be
learnt."--_Philosophy of Rhetoric_, p. 188. Jamieson too, with an
implicitness little to be commended, takes this passage from Campbell; and,
with no other change than that of "_learnt_" to "_learned_" publishes it as
a corollary of his own.--_Grammar of Rhetoric_, p. 42. It is folly to state
for truth what is so obviously wrong. Etymology and custom are seldom at
odds; and where they are so, the latter can hardly be deemed infallible.



"Respondeo, dupliciter aliquem dici grammaticum, arte et professione.
Grammatici vera arte paucissimi sunt: et hi magna laude digni sunt, ut
patuit: hos non vituperant summi viri; quia ipse Plinius ejusmodi
grammaticus fuit, et de arte grammatica libelos edidit. Et Grellius verae
grammaticae fuit diligentissimus doctor; sic et ipse Datus. Alii sunt
grammatici professione, et ii plerumque sunt inceptissimi; quia scribimus
indocti doctique, et indignissimus quisque hanc sibi artem vindicat:----hos
mastigias multis probris docti summo jure insectantur."--DESPAUTER.
_Syntaxis_, fol. 1.

1. It is of primary importance in all discussions and expositions of
doctrines, of any sort, to ascertain well the _principles_ upon which our
reasonings are to be founded, and to see that they be such as are immovably
established in the nature of things; for error in first principles is
fundamental, and he who builds upon an uncertain foundation, incurs at
least a _hazard_ of seeing his edifice overthrown. The lover of _truth_
will be, at all times, diligent to seek it, firm to adhere to it, willing
to submit to it, and ready to promote it; but even the truth may be urged
unseasonably, and important facts are things liable to be misjoined. It is
proper, therefore, for every grammarian gravely to consider, whether and
how far the principles of his philosophy, his politics, his morals, or his
religion, ought to influence, or actually do influence, his theory of
language, and his practical instructions respecting the right use of words.
In practice, grammar is so interwoven with all else that is known,
believed, learned, or spoken of among men, that to determine its own
peculiar principles with due distinctness, seems to be one of the most
difficult points of a grammarian's duty.

2. From misapprehension, narrowness of conception, or improper bias, in
relation to this point, many authors have started wrong; denounced others
with intemperate zeal; departed themselves from sound doctrine; and
produced books which are disgraced not merely by occasional oversights, but
by central and radical errors. Hence, too, have sprung up, in the name of
grammar, many unprofitable discussions, and whimsical systems of teaching,
calculated rather to embarrass than to inform the student. Mere collisions
of opinion, conducted without any acknowledged standard to guide the
judgement, never tend to real improvement. Grammar is unquestionably a
branch of that universal philosophy by which the thoroughly educated mind
is enlightened to see all things aright; for philosophy, in this sense of
the term, is found in everything. Yet, properly speaking, the true
grammarian is not a philosopher, nor can any man strengthen his title to
the former character by claiming the latter; and it is certain, that a most
disheartening proportion of what in our language has been published under
the name of Philosophic Grammar, is equally remote from philosophy, from
grammar, and from common sense.

3. True grammar is founded on the authority of reputable custom; and that
custom, on the use which men make of their reason. The proofs of what is
right are accumulative, and on many points there can be no dispute, because
our proofs from the best usage, are both obvious and innumerable. On the
other hand, the evidence of what is wrong is rather demonstrative; for when
we would expose a particular error, we exhibit it in contrast with the
established principle which it violates. He who formed the erroneous
sentence, has in this case no alternative, but either to acknowledge the
solecism, or to deny the authority of the rule. There are disputable
principles in grammar, as there are moot points in law; but this
circumstance affects no settled usage in either; and every person of sense
and taste will choose to express himself in the way least liable to
censure. All are free indeed from positive constraint on their phraseology;
for we do not speak or write by statutes. But the ground of instruction
assumed in grammar, is similar to that upon which are established the
maxims of _common law_, in jurisprudence. The ultimate principle, then, to
which we appeal, as the only true standard of grammatical propriety, is
that species of custom which critics denominate GOOD USE; that is, present,
reputable, general use.

4. Yet a slight acquaintance with the history of grammar will suffice to
show us, that it is much easier to acknowledge this principle, and to
commend it in words, than to ascertain what it is, and abide by it in
practice. Good use is that which is neither ancient nor recent, neither
local nor foreign, neither vulgar nor pedantic; and it will be found that
no few have in some way or other departed from it, even while they were
pretending to record its dictates. But it is not to be concealed, that in
every living language, it is a matter of much inherent difficulty, to reach
the standard of propriety, where usage is various; and to ascertain with
clearness the decisions of custom, when we descend to minute details. Here
is a field in which whatsoever is achieved by the pioneers of literature,
can be appreciated only by thorough scholars; for the progress of
improvement in any art or science, can be known only to those who can
clearly compare its ruder with its more refined stages; and it often
happens that what is effected with much labour, may be presented in a very
small compass.

5. But the knowledge of grammar may _retrograde_; for whatever loses the
vital principle of renovation and growth, tends to decay. And if mere
copyists, compilers, abridgers, and modifiers, be encouraged as they now
are, it surely will not advance. Style is liable to be antiquated by time,
corrupted by innovation, debased by ignorance, perverted by conceit,
impaired by negligence, and vitiated by caprice. And nothing but the living
spirit of true authorship, and the application of just criticism, can
counteract the natural tendency of these causes. English grammar is still
in its infancy; and even bears, to the imagination of some, the appearance
of a deformed and ugly dwarf among the liberal arts. Treatises are
multiplied almost innumerably, but still the old errors survive. Names are
rapidly added to our list of authors, while little or nothing is done for
the science. Nay, while new blunders have been committed in every new book,
old ones have been allowed to stand as by prescriptive right;. and
positions that were never true, and sentences that were never good English,
have been published and republished under different names, till in our
language grammar has become the most ungrammatical of all studies!
"Imitators generally copy their originals in an inverse ratio of their
merits; that is, by adding as much to their faults, as they lose of their
merits."--KNIGHT, _on the Greek Alphabet_, p. 117.

"Who to the life an exact piece would make,
Must not from others' work a copy take."--_Cowley_.

6. All science is laid in the nature of things; and he only who seeks it
there, can rightly guide others in the paths of knowledge. He alone can
know whether his predecessors went right or wrong, who is capable of a
judgement independent of theirs. But with what shameful servility have many
false or faulty definitions and rules been copied and copied from one
grammar to another, as if authority had canonized their errors, or none had
eyes to see them! Whatsoever is dignified and fair, is also modest and
reasonable; but modesty does not consist in having no opinion of one's own,
nor reason in following with blind partiality the footsteps of others.
Grammar unsupported by authority, is indeed mere fiction. But what apology
is this, for that authorship which has produced so many grammars without
originality? Shall he who cannot write for himself, improve upon him who
can? Shall he who cannot paint, retouch the canvass of Guido? Shall modest
ingenuity be allowed only to imitators and to thieves? How many a prefatory
argument issues virtually in this! It is not deference to merit, but
impudent pretence, practising on the credulity of ignorance! Commonness
alone exempts it from scrutiny, and the success it has, is but the wages of
its own worthlessness! To read and be informed, is to make a proper use of
books for the advancement of learning; but to assume to be an author by
editing mere commonplaces and stolen criticisms, is equally beneath the
ambition of a scholar and the honesty of a man.

"'T is true, the ancients we may rob with ease;
But who with that mean shift himself can please?"
_Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham_.

7. Grammar being a practical art, with the principles of which every
intelligent person is more or less acquainted, it might be expected that a
book written professedly on the subject, should exhibit some evidence of
its author's skill. But it would seem that a multitude of bad or
indifferent writers have judged themselves qualified to teach the art of
speaking and writing well; so that correctness of language and neatness of
style are as rarely to be found in grammars as in other books. Nay, I have
before suggested that in no other science are the principles of good
writing so frequently and so shamefully violated. The code of false grammar
embraced in the following work, will go far to sustain this opinion. There
have been, however, several excellent scholars, who have thought it an
object not unworthy of their talents, to prescribe and elucidate the
principles of English Grammar. But these, with scarcely any exception, have
executed their inadequate designs, not as men engaged in their proper
calling, but as mere literary almoners, descending for a day from their
loftier purposes, to perform a service, needful indeed, and therefore
approved, but very far from supplying all the aid that is requisite to a
thorough knowledge of the subject. Even the most meritorious have left
ample room for improvement, though some have evinced an ability which does
honour to themselves, while it gives cause to regret their lack of an
inducement to greater labour. The mere grammarian can neither aspire to
praise, nor stipulate for a reward; and to those who were best qualified to
write, the subject could offer no adequate motive for diligence.

8. Unlearned men, who neither make, nor can make, any pretensions to a
knowledge of grammar as a study, if they show themselves modest in what
they profess, are by no means to be despised or undervalued for the want of
such knowledge. They are subject to no criticism, till they turn authors
and write for the public. And even then they are to be treated gently, if
they have any thing to communicate, which is worthy to be accepted in a
homely dress. Grammatical inaccuracies are to be kindly excused, in all
those from whom nothing better can be expected; for people are often under
a necessity of appearing as speakers or writers, before they can have
learned to write or speak grammatically. The body is more to be regarded
than raiment; and the substance of an interesting message, may make the
manner of it a little thing. Men of high purposes naturally spurn all that
is comparatively low; or all that may seem nice, overwrought, ostentatious,
or finical. Hence St. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, suggests that
the design of his preaching might have been defeated, had he affected the
orator, and turned his attention to mere "excellency of speech," or "wisdom
of words." But this view of things presents no more ground for neglecting
grammar, and making coarse and vulgar example our model of speech, than for
neglecting dress, and making baize and rags the fashionable costume. The
same apostle exhorts Timothy to "hold fast the form of sound _words_,"
which he himself had taught him. Nor can it be denied that there is an
obligation resting upon all men, to use speech fairly and understandingly.
But let it be remembered, that all those upon whose opinions or practices I
am disposed to animadvert, are either professed grammarians and
philosophers, or authors who, by extraordinary pretensions, have laid
themselves under special obligations to be accurate in the use of language.
"The _wise in heart_ shall be called prudent; and _the sweetness of the
lips_ increaseth learning."--_Prov._, xvi, 21. "The words of a man's mouth
are as deep waters, and the well-spring of wisdom [is] as a flowing
brook."--_Ib._, xviii, 4. "A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips
are the snare of his soul."--_Ib._, xviii, 7.

9. The old maxim recorded by Bacon, "_Loquendum ut vulgus, sentiendum ut
sapientes_,"--"We should speak as the vulgar, but think as the wise," is
not to be taken without some limitation. For whoever literally speaks as
the vulgar, shall offend vastly too much with his tongue, to have either
the understanding of the wise or the purity of the good. In all untrained
and vulgar minds, the ambition of speaking well is but a dormant or very
weak principle. Hence the great mass of uneducated people are lamentably
careless of what they utter, both as to the matter and the manner; and no
few seem naturally prone to the constant imitation of low example, and
some, to the practice of every abuse of which language is susceptible.
Hence, as every scholar knows, the least scrupulous of our lexicographers
notice many terms but to censure them as "_low_," and omit many more as
being beneath their notice. Vulgarity of language, then, ever has been, and
ever must be, repudiated by grammarians. Yet we have had pretenders to
grammar, who could court the favour of the vulgar, though at the expense of
all the daughters of Mnemosyne.

10. Hence the enormous insult to learning and the learned, conveyed in the
following scornful quotations: "Grammarians, go to your _tailors_ and
_shoemakers_, and learn from them the _rational_ art of constructing your
grammars!"--_Neef's Method of Education_, p. 62. "From a labyrinth without
a clew, in which the _most enlightened scholars_ of Europe have mazed
themselves and misguided others, the author ventures to turn
aside."--_Cardell's Gram._, 12mo, p. 15. Again: "The _nations_ of
_unlettered men_ so adapted their language to philosophic truth, that all
physical and intellectual research can find no essential rule to reject or
change."--_Ibid._, p. 91. I have shown that "the nations of unlettered men"
are among that portion of the earth's population, upon whose language the
genius of grammar has never yet condescended to look down! That people who
make no pretensions to learning, can furnish better models or instructions
than "the most enlightened scholars," is an opinion which ought not to be
disturbed by argument.

11. I regret to say, that even Dr. Webster, with all his obligations and
pretensions to literature, has well-nigh taken ground with Neef and
Cardell, as above cited; and has not forborne to throw contempt, even on
grammar as such, and on men of letters indiscriminately, by supposing the
true principles of every language to be best observed and kept by the
illiterate. What marvel then, that all his multifarious grammars of the
English language are despised? Having suggested that the learned must
follow the practice of the populace, because they cannot control it, he
adds: "Men of letters may revolt at this suggestion, but if they will
attend to the history of our language, they will find the fact to be as
here stated. It is commonly supposed that the tendency of this practice of
unlettered men is _to corrupt the language_. But the fact is directly the
reverse. I am prepared to prove, were it consistent with the nature of this
work, that nineteen-twentieths of _all the corruptions_ of our language,
for five hundred years past, have been introduced by _authors_--men who
have made alterations in particular idioms _which they did not understand_.
The same remark is applicable to the _orthography_ and _pronunciation_. The
tendency of unlettered men is to _uniformity_--to _analogy_; and so strong
is this disposition, that the common people have actually converted some of
our irregular verbs into regular ones. It is to unlettered people that we
owe the disuse of _holpen, bounden, sitten_, and the use of the regular
participles, _swelled, helped, worked_, in place of the ancient ones. This
popular tendency is not to be contemned and disregarded, as some of the
learned affect to do;[3] for it is governed by _the natural, primary
principles of all languages_, to which we owe all their regularity and all
their melody; viz., a love of uniformity in words of a like character, and
a preference of an easy natural pronunciation, and a desire to express the
most ideas with the smallest number of words and syllables. It is a
fortunate thing for language, that these natural principles generally
prevail over arbitrary and artificial rules."--_Webster's Philosophical
Gram._, p. 119; _Improved Gram._, p. 78. So much for _unlettered

12. If every thing that has been taught under the name of grammar, is to be
considered as belonging to the science, it will be impossible ever to
determine in what estimation the study of it ought to be held; for all that
has ever been urged either for or against it, may, upon such a principle,
be _proved_ by reference to different authorities and irreconcilable
opinions. But all who are studious to know, and content to follow, _the
fashion_ established by the concurrent authority of _the learned_,[4] may
at least have some standard to refer to; and if a grammarian's rules be
based upon this authority, it must be considered the exclusive privilege
of the unlearned to despise them--as it is of the unbred, to contemn the
rules of civility. But who shall determine whether the doctrines contained
in any given treatise are, or are not, based upon such authority? Who shall
decide whether the contributions which any individual may make to our
grammatical code, are, or are not, consonant with the best usage? For this,
there is no tribunal but the mass of readers, of whom few perhaps are very
competent judges. And here an author's reputation for erudition and
judgement, may be available to him: it is the public voice in his favour.
Yet every man is at liberty to form his own opinion, and to alter it
whenever better knowledge leads him to think differently.

13. But the great misfortune is, that they who need instruction, are not
qualified to choose their instructor; and many who must make this choice
for their children, have no adequate means of ascertaining either the
qualifications of such as offer themselves, or the comparative merits of
the different methods by which they profess to teach. Hence this great
branch of learning, in itself too comprehensive for the genius or the life
of any one man, has ever been open to as various and worthless a set of
quacks and plagiaries as have ever figured in any other. There always have
been some who knew this, and there may be many who know it now; but the
credulity and ignorance which expose so great a majority of mankind to
deception and error, are not likely to be soon obviated. With every
individual who is so fortunate as to receive any of the benefits of
intellectual culture, the whole process of education must begin anew; and,
by all that sober minds can credit, the vision of human perfectibility is
far enough from any national consummation.

14. Whatever any may think of their own ability, or however some might
flout to find their errors censured or their pretensions disallowed;
whatever improvement may actually have been made, or however fondly we may
listen to boasts and felicitations on that topic; it is presumed, that the
general ignorance on the subject of grammar, as above stated, is too
obvious to be denied. What then is the remedy? and to whom must our appeal
be made? Knowledge cannot be imposed by power, nor is there any domination
in the republic of letters. The remedy lies solely in that zeal which can
provoke to a generous emulation in the cause of literature; and the appeal,
which has recourse to the learning of the learned, and to the common sense
of all, must be pressed home to conviction, till every false doctrine stand
refuted, and every weak pretender exposed or neglected. Then shall Science
honour them that honour her; and all her triumphs be told, all her
instructions be delivered, in "sound speech that cannot be condemned."

15. A generous man is not unwilling to be corrected, and a just one cannot
but desire to be set right in all things. Even over noisy gainsayers, a
calm and dignified exhibition of true docrine [sic--KTH], has often more
influence than ever openly appears. I have even seen the author of a faulty
grammar heap upon his corrector more scorn and personal abuse than would
fill a large newspaper, and immediately afterwards, in a new edition of his
book, renounce the errors which had been pointed out to him, stealing the
very language of his amendments from the man whom he had so grossly
vilified! It is true that grammarians have ever disputed, and often with
more acrimony than discretion. Those who, in elementary treatises, have
meddled much with philological controversy, have well illustrated the
couplet of Denham: "The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes, Produces
sapless leaves in stead of fruits."

16. Thus, then, as I have before suggested, we find among writers on
grammar two numerous classes of authors, who have fallen into opposite
errors, perhaps equally reprehensible; the visionaries, and the copyists.
The former have ventured upon too much originality, the latter have
attempted too little. "The science of philology," says Dr. Alexander
Murray, "is not a frivolous study, fit to be conducted by ignorant pedants
or visionary enthusiasts. It requires more qualifications to succeed in it,
than are usually united in those who pursue it:--a sound penetrating
judgement; habits of calm philosophical induction; an erudition various,
extensive, and accurate; and a mind likewise, that can direct the knowledge
expressed in words, to illustrate the nature of the signs which convey
it."--_Murray's History of European Languages_, Vol. ii, p. 333.

17. They who set aside the authority of custom, and judge every thing to be
ungrammatical which appears to them to be unphilosophical, render the whole
ground forever disputable, and weary themselves in beating the air. So
various have been the notions of this sort of critics, that it would be
difficult to mention an opinion not found in some of their books. Amidst
this rage for speculation on a subject purely practical, various attempts
have been made, to overthrow that system of instruction, which long use has
rendered venerable, and long experience proved to be useful. But it is
manifestly much easier to raise even plausible objections against this
system, than to invent an other less objectionable. Such attempts have
generally met the reception they deserved. Their history will give no
encouragement to future innovators.

18. Again: While some have thus wasted their energies in eccentric flights,
vainly supposing that the learning of ages would give place to their
whimsical theories; others, with more success, not better deserved, have
multiplied grammars almost innumerably, by abridging or modifying the books
they had used in childhood. So that they who are at all acquainted with the
origin and character of the various compends thus introduced into our
schools, cannot but desire to see them all displaced by some abler and
better work, more honourable to its author and more useful to the public,
more intelligible to students and more helpful to teachers. Books
professedly published for the advancement of knowledge, are very frequently
to be reckoned, among its greatest impediments; for the interests of
learning are no less injured by whimsical doctrines, than the rights of
authorship by plagiarism. Too many of our grammars, profitable only to
their makers and venders, are like weights attached to the heels of Hermes.
It is discouraging to know the history of this science. But the
multiplicity of treatises already in use, is a reason, not for silence, but
for offering more. For, as Lord Bacon observes, the number of ill-written
books is not to be diminished by ceasing to write, but by writing others
which, like Aaron's serpent, shall swallow up the spurious.[5]

19. I have said that some grammars have too much originality, and others
too little. It may be added, that not a few are chargeable with both these
faults at once. They are original, or at least anonymous, where there
should have been given other authority than that of the compiler's name;
and they are copies, or, at best, poor imitations, where the author should
have shown himself capable of writing in a good style of his own. What then
is the middle ground for the true grammarian? What is the kind, and what
the degree, of originality, which are to be commended in works of this
sort? In the first place, a grammarian must be a writer, an author, a man
who observes and thinks for himself; and not a mere compiler, abridger,
modifier, copyist, or plagiarist. Grammar is not the only subject upon
which we allow no man to innovate in doctrine; why, then, should it be the
only one upon which a man may make it a merit, to work up silently into a
book of his own, the best materials found among the instructions of his
predecessors and rivals? Some definitions and rules, which in the lapse of
time and by frequency of use have become a sort of public property, the
grammarian may perhaps be allowed to use at his pleasure; yet even upon
these a man of any genius will be apt to set some impress peculiar to
himself. But the doctrines of his work ought, in general, to be expressed
in his own language, and illustrated by that of others. With respect to
quotation, he has all the liberty of other writers, and no more; for, if a
grammarian makes "use of his predecessors' labours," why should any one
think with Murray, "it is scarcely necessary to apologize for" this, "or
for _omitting_ to _insert_ their names?"--_Introd. to L. Murray's Gram._,
8vo, p. 7.

20. The author of this volume would here take the liberty briefly to refer
to his own procedure. His knowledge of what is _technical_ in grammar, was
of course chiefly derived from the writings of other grammarians; and to
their concurrent opinions and practices, he has always had great respect;
yet, in truth, not a line has he ever copied from any of them with a design
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 he at first proposed to himself. Nor
is there in all the present volume a single sentence, not regularly quoted,
the authorship of which he supposes may now be ascribed to an other more
properly than to himself. Where either authority or acknowledgement was
requisite, names have been inserted. 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 almost every thing which is really taken from any other known writer, a
name or reference is added. For those citations, however, which there was
occasion to repeat in different parts of the work, a single reference has
sometimes been thought sufficient. This remark refers chiefly to the
corrections in the Key, the references being given in the Exercises.

21. Though the theme is not one on which a man may hope to write well with
little reflection, it is true that the parts of this treatise which have
cost the author 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 with the writer, or common to
everybody, 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 some great name. Anonymous examples are
sufficient to elucidate principles, if not to establish them; and
elucidation is often the sole purpose for which an example is needed.

22. It is obvious enough, 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 the caprices of individuals; and especially against that
presumption 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.'"--_Sanctii Minerva_, Lib. ii, Cap. 2. 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.

23. 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 English grammarians; and he who begins with saying, that
"little can be expected" from the office he 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 respectably 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
grammarian 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.

24. 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
improve 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 world under better
auspices? If the love of learning supply such a motive, who that has
generously yielded to the impulse, will not now, like Johnson, feel himself
reduced to an "humble drudge"--or, like Perizonius, apologize for the
apparent folly of devoting his time to such a subject as grammar?

25. The first edition of the "Institutes of English Grammar," the doctrinal
parts of which are embraced in the present more copious work, was published
in the year 1823; since which time, (within the space of twelve years,)
about forty new compends, mostly professing to be abstracts of _Murray_,
with improvements, have been added to our list of English grammars. The
author has examined as many as thirty of them, and seen advertisements of
perhaps a dozen more. Being various 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 his earlier text, 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 manifest to men of learning, that in the
production of the books which bear his name, far more has been done for the
grammar of our language than any single hand had before achieved within the
scope of practical philology, 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 needful to remodel Murray's defective compilation, would
forbear to publish under his name or their own what they find only in the
following pages.

26. 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;
and a multitude of minute things must be minutely compared. And who will
undertake such a task but he that is personally 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
subject. The common notions of mankind conform more easily to fashion than
to truth; and even of some things within their reach, the majority seem
contend 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 appreciated. 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.

27. The fortune of a grammar is not always an accurate test of its merits.
The goddess of the plenteous horn stands blindfold yet upon the floating
prow; and, under her capricious favour, any pirate-craft, ill stowed with
plunder, may sometimes speed as well, as barges richly laden from the
golden mines of science. Far more are now afloat, and more are stranded on
dry shelves, than can be here reported. But what this work contains, is
candidly designed to qualify the reader to be himself a judge of what it
_should_ contain; and I will hope, so ample a report as this, being thought
sufficient, will also meet his approbation. The favour of one discerning
mind that comprehends my subject, is worth intrinsically more than that of
half the nation: I mean, of course, the half of whom my gentle reader is
not one.

"They praise and they admire they know not what,
And know not whom, but as one leads the other."--_Milton_.



"Non is ego sum, cui aut jucundum, aut adeo opus sit, de aliis detrahere,
et hac via ad famara contendere. Melioribus artibus laudem parare didici.
Itaque non libenter dico, quod praesens institutum dicere cogit."--Jo.
AUGUSTI ERNESTI _Praef. ad Graecum Lexicon_, p. vii.

1. 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 talent 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.

2. It is an ungrateful task to correct public opinion by showing the
injustice of praise. Fame, though it may have been both unexpected and
undeserved, is apt to be claimed and valued as part and parcel of a man's
good name; and the dissenting critic, though ever-so candid, is liable to
be thought an envious detractor. It would seem in general most prudent to
leave mankind to find out for themselves how far any commendation bestowed
on individuals is inconsistent with truth. But, be it remembered, that
celebrity is not a virtue; nor, on the other hand, is experience the
cheapest of teachers. A good man may not have done all things ably and
well; and it is certainly no small mistake to estimate his character by the
current value of his copy-rights. Criticism may destroy the reputation of a
book, and not be inconsistent with a cordial respect for the private worth
of its author. The reader will not be likely to be displeased with what is
to be stated in this chapter, if he can believe, that no man's merit as a
writer, may well be enhanced by ascribing to him that which he himself, for
the protection of his own honour, has been constrained to disclaim. He
cannot suppose that too much is alleged, if he will admit that a
grammarian's fame should be thought safe enough in his _own keeping_. Are
authors apt to undervalue their own performances? Or because proprietors
and publishers may profit by the credit of a book, shall it be thought
illiberal to criticise it? Is the author himself to be disbelieved, that
the extravagant praises bestowed upon him may be justified? "Superlative
commendation," says Dillwyn, "is near akin to _detraction_." (See his
_Reflections_, p. 22.) Let him, therefore, who will charge detraction upon
me, first understand wherein it consists. I shall criticise, freely, both
the works of the living, and the doctrines of those who, to us, live only
in their works; and if any man dislike this freedom, let him rebuke it,
showing wherein it is wrong or unfair. The amiable author just quoted, says
again: "Praise has so often proved an _impostor_, that it would be well,
wherever we meet with it, to treat it as a vagrant."--_Ib._, p. 100. I go
not so far as this; but that eulogy which one knows to be false, he cannot
but reckon impertinent.

3. Few writers on grammar have been more noted than WILLIAM LILY and
LINDLEY MURRAY. Others have left better monuments of their learning and
talents, but none perhaps have had greater success and fame. The Latin
grammar which was for a long time most popular in England, has commonly
been ascribed to the one; and what the Imperial Review, in 1805, pronounced
"the best English grammar, beyond all comparison, that has yet appeared,"
was compiled by the other. And doubtless they have both been rightly judged
to excel the generality of those which they were intended to supersede; and
both, in their day, may have been highly serviceable to the cause of
learning. For all excellence is but comparative; and to grant them this
superiority, is neither to prefer them now, nor to justify the praise which
has been bestowed upon their authorship. As the science of grammar can
never be taught without a book, or properly taught by any book which is not
itself grammatical, it is of some importance both to teachers and to
students, to make choice of the best. Knowledge will not advance where
grammars hold rank by prescription. Yet it is possible that many, in
learning to write and speak, may have derived no inconsiderable benefit
from a book that is neither accurate nor complete.

4. With respect to time, these two grammarians were three centuries apart;
during which period, the English language received its most classical
refinement, and the relative estimation of the two studies, Latin and
English grammar, became in a great measure reversed. Lily was an
Englishman, born at Odiham,[6] in Hampshire, in 1466. When he had arrived
at manhood, he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; and while abroad studied
some time at Rome, and also at Paris. On his return he was thought one of
the most accomplished scholars in England. In 1510, Dr. John Colet, dean of
St. Paul's church, in London, appointed him the first high master of St.
Paul's School, then recently founded by this gentleman's munificence. In
this situation, Lily appears to have taught with great credit to himself
till 1522, when he died of the plague, at the age of 56. For the use of
this school, he wrote and published certain parts of the grammar which has
since borne his name. Of the authorship of this work many curious
particulars are stated in the preface by John Ward, which may be seen in
the edition of 1793. Lily had able rivals, as well as learned coadjutors
and friends. By the aid of the latter, he took precedence of the former;
and his publications, though not voluminous, soon gained a general
popularity. So that when an arbitrary king saw fit to silence competition
among the philologists, by becoming himself, as Sir Thomas Elliott says,
"the chiefe authour and setter-forth of an introduction into grammar, for
the childrene of his lovynge subjects," Lily's Grammar was preferred for
the basis of the standard. Hence, after the publishing of it became a
privilege patented by the crown, the book appears to have been honoured
with a royal title, and to have been familiarly called King Henry's

5. Prefixed to this book, there appears a very ancient epistle to the
reader, which while it shows the reasons for this royal interference with
grammar, shows also, what is worthy of remembrance, that guarded and
maintained as it was, even royal interference was here ineffectual to its
purpose. It neither produced uniformity in the methods of teaching, nor,
even for instruction in a dead language, entirely prevented the old manual
from becoming diverse in its different editions. The style also may serve
to illustrate what I have elsewhere said about the duties of a modern
grammarian. "As for the diversitie of grammars, it is well and profitably
taken awaie by the King's Majesties wisdome; who, foreseeing the
inconvenience, and favorably providing the remedie, caused one kind of
grammar by sundry learned men to be diligently drawn, and so to be set out,
only every where to be taught, for the use of learners, and for the hurt in
changing of schoolemaisters." That is, to prevent the injury which
schoolmasters were doing by a whimsical choice, or frequent changing, of
grammars. But, says the letter, "The varietie of teaching is divers yet,
and alwaies will be; for that every schoolemaister liketh that he knoweth,
and seeth not the use of that he knoweth not; and therefore judgeth that
the most sufficient waie, which he seeth to be the readiest meane, and
perfectest kinde, to bring a learner to have a thorough knowledge therein."
The only remedy for such an evil then is, to teach those who are to be
teachers, and to desert all who, for any whim of their own, desert sound

6. But, to return. A law was made in England by Henry the Eighth,
commanding Lily's Grammar only, (or that which has commonly been quoted as
Lily's,) to be everywhere adopted and taught, as the common standard of
grammatical instruction.[7] Being long kept in force by means of a special
inquiry, directed to be made by the bishops at their stated visitations,
this law, for three hundred years, imposed the book on all the established
schools of the realm. Yet it is certain, that about one half of what has
thus gone under the name of Lily, ("because," says one of the patentees,
"he had _so considerable a hand_ in the composition,") was written by Dr.
Colet, by Erasmus, or by others who improved the work after Lily's death.
And of the other half, it has been incidentally asserted in history, that
neither the scheme nor the text was original. The Printer's Grammar,
London, 1787, speaking of the art of type-foundery, says: "The Italians in
a short time brought it to _that_ perfection, that in the beginning of the
year 1474, they cast a letter not much inferior to the best types of the
present age; as may be seen in a Latin Grammar, written by Omnibonus
Leonicenus, and printed at Padua on the 14th of January, 1474; _from whom
our grammarian, Lily, has taken the entire scheme of his Grammar, and
transcribed the greatest part thereof, without paying any regard to the
memory of this author_." The historian then proceeds to speak about types.
See also the same thing in the History of Printing, 8vo, London, 1770. This
is the grammar which bears upon its title page: "_Quam solam Regia Majestas
in omnibus scholis docendam prcaecipit_."

7. Murray was an intelligent and very worthy man, to whose various labours
in the compilation of books our schools are under many obligations. But in
original thought and critical skill he fell far below most of "the authors
to whom," he confesses, "the grammatical part of his compilation is
_principally indebted for its materials_; namely, Harris, Johnson, Lowth,
Priestley, Beattie, Sheridan, Walker, Coote, Blair, and
Campbell."--_Introd. to Lindley Murray's Gram._, p. 7. It is certain and
evident that he entered upon his task with a very insufficient preparation.
His biography, which was commenced by himself and completed by one of his
most partial friends, informs us, that, "Grammar did not particularly
engage his attention, until a short time previous to the publication of his
first work on that subject;" that, "His Grammar, as it appeared in the
first edition, was completed in rather less than a year;" that, "It was
begun in the spring of 1794, and published in the spring of 1795--though he
had an intervening illness, which, for several weeks, stopped the progress
of the work;" and that, "The Exercises and Key were also composed in about
a year."--_Life of L. Murray_, p. 188. From the very first sentence of his
book, it appears that he entertained but a low and most erroneous idea of
the duties of that sort of character in which he was about to come before
the public.[8] He improperly imagined, as many others have done, that
"little can be expected" from a modern grammarian, or (as he chose to
express it) "from a _new compilation_, besides a careful selection of the
most useful matter, and some degree of improvement in the mode of adapting
it to the understanding, and the gradual progress of learners."--_Introd.
to L. Murray's Gram._; 8vo, p. 5; 12mo, p. 3. As if, to be master of his
own art--to think and write well himself, were no part of a grammarian's
business! And again, as if the jewels of scholarship, thus carefully
selected, could need a burnish or a foil from other hands than those which
fashioned them!

8. Murray's general idea of the doctrines of grammar was judicious. He
attempted no broad innovation on what had been previously taught; for he
had neither the vanity to suppose he could give currency to novelties, nor
the folly to waste his time in labours utterly nugatory. By turning his own
abilities to their best account, he seems to have done much to promote and
facilitate the study of our language. But his notion of grammatical
authorship, cuts off from it all pretence to literary merit, for the sake
of doing good; and, taken in any other sense than as a forced apology for
his own assumptions, his language on this point is highly injurious towards
the very authors whom he copied. To justify himself, he ungenerously places
them, in common with others, under a degrading necessity which no able
grammarian ever felt, and which every man of genius or learning must
repudiate. If none of our older grammars disprove his assertion, it is time
to have a new one that will; for, to expect the perfection of grammar from
him who cannot treat the subject in a style at once original and pure, is
absurd. He says, "The greater part of an English grammar _must necessarily
be a compilation _;" and adds, with reference to his own, "originality
belongs to but a small portion of it. This I have acknowledged; and I trust
_this acknowledgement_ will protect me from all attacks, grounded on any
supposed unjust and irregular assumptions." This quotation is from a letter
addressed by Murray to his American publishers, in 1811, after they had
informed him of certain complaints respecting the liberties which he had
taken in his work. See "_The Friend_," Vol. iii, p. 34.

9. The acknowledgement on which he thus relies, does not appear to have
been made, till his grammar had gone through several editions. It was,
however, at some period, introduced into his short preface, or
"Introduction," in the following well-meant but singularly sophistical
terms: "In _a work_ which professes itself to be a _compilation_, and
which, _from the nature and design of it_, must consist chiefly of
materials selected from the writings of others, _it is scarcely necessary
to apologise_ for the use which the Compiler has made of his predecessors'
labours, or for _omitting to insert_ their names. _From the alterations_
which have been frequently made in the sentiments and the language, to suit
the connexion, and to adapt them to the particular purposes for which they
are introduced; and, in many instances, _from the uncertainty to whom_ the
passages originally belonged, the insertion of names _could seldom be made
with propriety_. But if this could have been generally done, a work of this
nature _would derive no advantage from it_, equal to the inconvenience of
crowding the pages with a repetition of names and references. It is.
however, proper to acknowledge, in general terms, that the authors to whom
the grammatical part of this compilation is principally indebted for its
materials, are Harris, Johnson, Lowth, Priestley, Beattie, Sheridan,
Walker, and Coote."--_Introd.; Duodecimo Gram._, p. 4; _Octavo_, p. 7.

10. The fallacy, or absurdity, of this language sprung from necessity. An
impossible case was to be made out. For compilation, though ever so fair,
is not grammatical authorship. But some of the commenders of Murray have
not only professed themselves satisfied with this general acknowledgement,
but have found in it a candour and a liberality, a modesty and a
diffidence, which, as they allege, ought to protect him from all
animadversion. Are they friends to learning? Let them calmly consider what
I reluctantly offer for its defence and promotion. In one of the
recommendations appended to Murray's grammars, it _is_ said, "They have
nearly superseded every thing else of the kind, by concentrating the
remarks of the best authors on the subject." But, in truth, with several
of the best English grammars published previously to his own, Murray
appears to have been totally unacquainted. The chief, if not the only
school grammars which were largely copied by him, were Lowth's and
Priestley's, though others perhaps may have shared the fate of these in
being "superseded" by his. It may be seen by inspection, that in copying
these two authors, the compiler, agreeably to what he says above, omitted
all names and references--even such as they had scrupulously inserted: and,
at the outset, assumed to be himself the sole authority for all his
doctrines and illustrations; satisfying his own mind with making, some
years afterwards, that general apology which we are now criticising. For if
he so mutilated and altered the passages which he adopted, as to make it
improper to add the names of their authors, upon what other authority than
his own do they rest? But if, on the other hand, he generally copied
without alteration; his examples are still anonymous, while his first
reason for leaving them so, is plainly destroyed: because his position is
thus far contradicted by the fact.

11. In his later editions, however, there are two opinions which the
compiler thought proper to support by regular quotations; and, now and
then, in other instances, the name of an author appears. The two positions
thus distinguished, are these: _First_, That the noun _means_ is
necessarily singular as well as plural, so that one cannot with propriety
use the singular form, _mean_, to signify that by which an end is attained;
_Second_, That the subjective mood, to which he himself had previously
given all the tenses without inflection, is not different in form from the
indicative, except in the present tense. With regard to the later point, I
have shown, in its proper place, that he taught erroneously, both before
and after he changed his opinion; and concerning the former, the most that
can be proved by quotation, is, that both _mean_ and _means_ for the
singular number, long have been, and still are, in good use, or sanctioned
by many elegant writers; so that either form may yet be considered
grammatical, though the irregular can claim to be so, only when it is used
in this particular sense. As to his second reason for the suppression of
names, to wit, "the _uncertainty to whom_ the passages originally
belonged,"--to make the most of it, it is but partial and relative; and,
surely, no other grammar ever before so multiplied the difficulty in the
eyes of teachers, and so widened the field for commonplace authorship, as
has the compilation in question. The origin of a sentiment or passage may
be uncertain to one man, and perfectly well known to an other. The
embarrassment which a _compiler_ may happen to find from this source, is
worthy of little sympathy. For he cannot but know from what work he is
taking any particular sentence or paragraph, and those parts of a
_grammar_, which are new to the eye of a great grammarian, may very well be
credited to him who claims to have written the book. I have thus disposed
of his second reason for the omission of names and references, in
compilations of grammar.

12. There remains one more: "A work of this nature _would derive no
advantage from it_, equal to the inconvenience of crowding the pages with a
repetition of names and references." With regard to a small work, in which
the matter is to be very closely condensed, this argument has considerable
force. But Murray has in general allowed himself very ample room,
especially in his two octavoes. In these, and for the most part also in his
duodecimoes, all needful references might easily have been added without
increasing the size of his volumes, or injuring their appearance. In nine
cases out of ten, the names would only have been occupied what is now blank
space. It is to be remembered, that these books do not differ much, except
in quantity of paper. His octavo Grammar is but little more than a reprint,
in a larger type, of the duodecimo Grammar, together with his Exercises and
Key. The demand for this expensive publication has been comparatively
small; and it is chiefly to the others, that the author owes his popularity
as a grammarian. As to the advantage which Murray or his work might have
derived from an adherence on his part to the usual custom of compilers,
_that_ may be variously estimated. The remarks of the best grammarians or
the sentiments of the best authors, are hardly to be thought the more
worthy of acceptance, for being concentrated in such a manner as to merge
their authenticity in the fame of the copyist. Let me not be understood to
suggest that this good man sought popularity at the expense of others; for
I do not believe that either fame or interest was his motive. But the right
of authors to the credit of their writings, is a delicate point; and,
surely, his example would have been worthier of imitation, had he left no
ground for the foregoing objections, and carefully barred the way to any
such interference.

13. But let the first sentence of this apology be now
considered. It is here suggested, that because this work is a compilation,
even such an acknowledgement as the author makes, is "scarcely necessary."
This is too much to say. Yet one may readily admit, that a compilation,
"from the nature and design of it, must consist chiefly"--nay,
_wholly_--"of materials selected from the writings of others." But what
able grammarian would ever willingly throw himself upon the horns of such a
dilemma! The nature and design _of a book_, whatever they may be, are
matters for which the author alone is answerable; but the nature and design
_of grammar_, are no less repugnant to the strain of this apology, than to
the vast number of errors and defects which were overlooked by Murray in
his work of compilation. It is the express purpose of this practical
science, to enable a man to write well himself. He that cannot do this,
exhibits no excess of modesty when he claims to have "done all that could
reasonably be expected in a work of this nature."--_L. Murray's Gram.,
Introd._, p. 9. He that sees with other men's eyes, is peculiarly liable to
errors and inconsistencies: uniformity is seldom found in patchwork, or
accuracy in secondhand literature. Correctness of language is in the mind,
rather than in the hand or the tongue; and, in order to secure it, some
originality of thought is necessary. A delineation from new surveys is not
the less original because the same region has been sketched before; and how
can he be the ablest of surveyors, who, through lack of skill or industry,
does little more than transcribe the field-notes and copy the projections
of his predecessors?

14. This author's oversights are numerous. There is no part of the volume
more accurate than that which he literally copied from Lowth. To the Short
Introduction alone, he was indebted for more than a hundred and twenty
paragraphs; and even in these there are many things obviously erroneous.
Many of the best practical notes were taken from Priestley; yet it was he,
at whose doctrines were pointed most of those "positions and discussions,"
which alone the author claims as original. To some of these reasonings,
however, his own alterations may have given rise; for, where he "persuades
himself he is not destitute of originality," he is often arguing against
the text of his own earlier editions. Webster's well-known complaints of
Murray's unfairness, had a far better cause than requital; for there was no
generosity in ascribing them to peevishness, though the passages in
question were not worth copying. On perspicuity and accuracy, about sixty
pages were extracted from Blair; and it requires no great critical acumen
to discover, that they are miserably deficient in both. On the law of
language, there are fifteen pages from Campbell; which, with a few
exceptions, are well written. The rules for spelling are the same as
Walker's: the third one, however, is a gross blunder; and the fourth, a,
needless repetition.

15. Were this a place for minute criticism, blemishes almost innumerable
might be pointed out. It might easily be shown that almost every rule laid
down in the book for the observance of the learner, was repeatedly violated
by the hand of the master. Nor is there among all those who have since
abridged or modified the work, an abler grammarian than he who compiled it.
Who will pretend that Flint, Alden, Comly, Jaudon, Russell, Bacon, Lyon,
Miller, Alger, Maltby, Ingersoll, Fisk, Greenleaf, Merchant, Kirkham,
Cooper, R. G. Greene, Woodworth, Smith, or Frost, has exhibited greater
skill? It is curious to observe, how frequently a grammatical blunder
committed by Murray, or some one of his predecessors, has escaped the
notice of all these, as well as of many others who have found it easier to
copy him than to write for themselves. No man professing to have copied and
improved Murray, can rationally be supposed to have greatly excelled him;
for to pretend to have produced an _improved copy of a compilation_, is to
claim a sort of authorship, even inferior to his, and utterly unworthy of
any man who is able to prescribe and elucidate the principles of English

16. But Murray's grammatical works, being extolled in the reviews, and made
common stock in trade,--being published, both in England and in America, by
booksellers of the most extensive correspondence, and highly commended even
by those who were most interested in the sale of them,--have been eminently
successful with the public; and in the opinion of the world, success is the
strongest proof of merit. Nor has the force of this argument been
overlooked by those who have written in aid of his popularity. It is the
strong point in most of the commendations which have been bestowed upon
Murray as a grammarian. A recent eulogist computes, that, "at least five
millions of copies of his various school-books have been printed;"
particularly commends him for his "candour and liberality towards rival
authors;" avers that, "he went on, examining and correcting his Grammar,
through all its forty editions, till he brought it to a degree of
perfection which will render it as permanent as the English language
itself;" censures (and not without reason) the "presumption" of those
"superficial critics" who have attempted to amend the work, and usurp his
honours; and, regarding the compiler's confession of his indebtedness to
others, but as a mark of "his exemplary diffidence of his own merits,"
adds, (in very bad English,) "Perhaps there never was an author whose
success and fame were more _unexpected by himself than Lindley
Murray_."--_The Friend_, Vol. iii, p. 33.

17. In a New-York edition of Murray's Grammar, printed in 1812, there was
inserted a "Caution to the Public," by Collins & Co., his American
correspondents and publishers, in which are set forth the unparalleled
success and merit of the work, "as it came _in purity_ from the pen of the
author;" with an earnest remonstrance against the several _revised
editions_ which had appeared at Boston, Philadelphia, and other places, and
against the unwarrantable liberties taken by American teachers, in altering
the work, under pretence of improving it. In this article it is stated,
"that _the whole_ of these mutilated editions _have been seen_ and examined
by Lindley Murray himself, and that they, have met with _his decided
disapprobation_. Every rational mind," continue these gentlemen, "will
agree with him, that, 'the _rights of living authors_, and the _interests
of science and literature_, demand the abolition of this _ungenerous
practice_.'" (See this also in _Murray's Key_, 12mo, N. Y., 1811, p. iii.)
Here, then, we have the feeling and opinion of Murray himself, upon this
tender point of right. Here we see the tables turned, and other men judging
it "scarcely necessary to apologize for the use which _they have made_ of
their predecessors' labours."

18. It is really remarkable to find an author and his admirers so much at
variance, as are Murray and his commenders, in relation to his grammatical
authorship; and yet, under what circumstances could men have stronger
desires to avoid apparent contradiction? They, on the one side, claim for
him the highest degree of merit as a grammarian; and continue to applaud
his works as if nothing more could be desired in the study of English
grammar--a branch of learning which some of them are willing emphatically
to call "_his_ science." He, on the contrary, to avert the charge of
plagiarism, disclaims almost every thing in which any degree of literary
merit consists; supposes it impossible to write an English grammar the
greater part of which is not a "compilation;" acknowledges that originality
belongs to but a small part of his own; trusts that such a general
acknowledgement will protect him from all censure; suppresses the names of
other writers, and leaves his examples to rest solely on his own authority;
and, "contented with the great respectability of his private character and
station, is satisfied with being _useful_ as an author."--_The Friend_,
Vol. iii, p. 33. By the high praises bestowed upon his works, his own voice
is overborne: the trumpet of fame has drowned it. His liberal authorship is
profitable in trade, and interest has power to swell and prolong the

19. The name and character of Lindley Murray are too venerable to allow us
to approach even the errors of his grammars, without some recognition of
the respect due to his personal virtues and benevolent intentions. For the
private virtues of Murray, I entertain as cordial a respect as any other
man. Nothing is argued against these, even if it be proved that causes
independent of true literary merit have given him his great and unexpected
fame as a grammarian. It is not intended by the introduction of these
notices, to impute to him any thing more or less than what his own words
plainly imply; except those inaccuracies and deficiencies which still
disgrace his work as a literary performance, and which of course he did not
discover. He himself knew that he had not brought the book to such
perfection as has been ascribed to it; for, by way of apology for his
frequent alterations, he says, "Works of this nature admit of repeated
improvements; and are, perhaps, never complete." Necessity has urged this
reasoning upon me. I am as far from any invidious feeling, or any sordid
motive, as was Lindley Murray. But it is due to truth, to correct erroneous
impressions; and, in order to obtain from some an impartial examination of
the following pages, it seemed necessary first to convince them, _that it
is possible_ to compose a better grammar than Murray's, without being
particularly indebted to him. If this treatise is not such, a great deal of
time has been thrown away upon a useless project; and if it is, the
achievement is no fit subject for either pride or envy. It differs from
his, and from all the pretended amendments of his, as a new map, drawn from
actual and minute surveys, differs from an old one, compiled chiefly from
others still older and confessedly still more imperfect. The region and the
scope are essentially the same; the tracing and the colouring are more
original; and (if the reader can pardon the suggestion) perhaps more
accurate and vivid.

20. He who makes a new grammar, does nothing for the advancement of
learning, unless his performance excel all earlier ones designed for the
same purpose; and nothing for his own honour, unless such excellence result
from the exercise of his own ingenuity and taste. A good style naturally
commends itself to every reader--even to him who cannot tell why it is
worthy of preference. Hence there is reason to believe, that the true
principles of practical grammar, deduced from custom and sanctioned by
time, will never be generally superseded by any thing which individual
caprice may substitute. In the republic of letters, there will always be
some who can distinguish merit; and it is impossible that these should ever
be converted to any whimsical theory of language, which goes to make void
the learning of past ages. There will always be some who can discern the
difference between originality of style, and innovation in
doctrine,--between a due regard to the opinions of others, and an actual
usurpation of their text; and it is incredible that these should ever be
satisfied with any mere compilation of grammar, or with any such authorship
as either confesses or betrays the writer's own incompetence. For it is not
true, that, "an English grammar must necessarily be," in any considerable
degree, if at all, "a compilation;" nay, on such a theme, and in "the
grammatical part" of the work, all compilation beyond a fair use of
authorities regularly quoted, or of materials either voluntarily furnished
or free to all, most unavoidably implies--not conscious "ability,"
generously doing honour to rival merit--nor "exemplary diffidence,"
modestly veiling its own--but inadequate skill and inferior talents,
bribing the public by the spoils of genius, and seeking precedence by such
means as not even the purest desire of doing good can justify.

21. Among the professed copiers of Murray, there is not one to whom the
foregoing remarks do not apply, as forcibly as to him. For no one of them
all has attempted any thing more honourable to himself, or more beneficial
to the public, than what their master had before achieved; nor is there any
one, who, with the same disinterestedness, has guarded his design from the
imputation of a pecuniary motive. It is comical to observe what they say in
their prefaces. Between praise to sustain their choice of a model, and
blame to make room for their pretended amendments, they are often placed in
as awkward a dilemma, as that which was contrived when grammar was
identified with compilation. I should have much to say, were I to show them
all in their true light.[9] Few of them have had such success as to be
worthy of notice here; but the names of many will find frequent place in my
code of false grammar. The one who seems to be now taking the lead in fame
and revenue, filled with glad wonder at his own popularity, is SAMUEL
KIRKHAM. Upon this gentleman's performance, I shall therefore bestow a few
brief observations. If I do not overrate this author's literary importance,
a fair exhibition of the character of his grammar, may be made an
instructive lesson to some of our modern literati. The book is a striking
sample of a numerous species.

22. Kirkham's treatise is entitled, "English Grammar _in familiar
Lectures_, accompanied by a _Compendium_;" that is, by a folded sheet. Of
this work, of which I have recently seen copies purporting to be of the
EDITION," each published at Baltimore in 1835, I can give no earlier
account, than what may be derived from the "SECOND EDITION, enlarged and
much improved," which was published at Harrisburg in 1825. The preface,
which appears to have been written for his _first_ edition, is dated,
"Fredericktown, Md., August 22, 1823." In it, there is no recognition of
any obligation to Murray, or to any other grammarian in particular; but
with the modest assumption, that the style of the "best philologists,"
needed to be retouched, the book is presented to the world under the
following pretensions:

"The author of this production has endeavoured to condense _all the most
important subject-matter of the whole science_, and present it in so small
a compass that the learner can become familiarly acquainted with it in a
_short time_. He makes but small pretensions to originality in theoretical
matter. Most of the principles laid down, have been selected from our _best
modern philologists_. If his work is entitled to any degree of _merit_, it
is not on account of a judicious selection of principles and rules, but for
the easy mode adopted of communicating _these_ to the mind of the
learner."--_Kirkham's Grammar_, 1825, p. 10.

23. It will be found on examination, that what this author regarded as
_"all the most important subject-matter of the whole science" of grammar_,
included nothing more than the most common elements of the orthography,
etymology, and syntax, of the English tongue--beyond which his scholarship
appears not to have extended. Whatsoever relates to derivation, to the
sounds of the letters, to prosody, (as punctuation, utterance, figures,
versification, and poetic diction,) found no place in his "comprehensive
system of grammar;" nor do his later editions treat any of these things
amply or well. In short, he treats nothing well; for he is a bad writer.
Commencing his career of authorship under circumstances the most
forbidding, yet receiving encouragement from commendations bestowed in
pity, he proceeded, like a man of business, to profit mainly by the chance;
and, without ever acquiring either the feelings or the habits of a scholar,
soon learned by experience that, "It is much better to _write_ than [to]
_starve_."--_Kirkham's Gram., Stereotyped_, p. 89. It is cruel in any man,
to look narrowly into the faults of an author who peddles a school-book for
bread. The starveling wretch whose defence and plea are poverty and
sickness, demands, and must have, in the name of humanity, an immunity from
criticism, if not the patronage of the public. Far be it from me, to notice
any such character, except with kindness and charity. Nor need I be told,
that tenderness is due to the "young;" or that noble results sometimes
follow unhopeful beginnings. These things are understood and duly
appreciated. The gentleman was young once, even as he says; and I, his
equal in years, was then, in authorship, as young--though, it were to be
hoped, not quite so immature. But, as circumstances alter cases, so time
and chance alter circumstances. Under no circumstances, however, can the
artifices of quackery be thought excusable in him who claims to be the very
greatest of modern grammarians. The niche that in the temple of learning
belongs to any individual, can be no other than that which his own labours
have purchased: here, his _own merit_ alone must be his pedestal. If this
critical sketch be unimpeachably _just_, its publication requires no
further warrant. The correction has been forborne, till the subject of it
has become rich, and popular, and proud; proud enough at least to have
published his utter contempt for me and all my works. Yet not for this do I
judge him worthy of notice here, but merely as an apt example of some men's
grammatical success and fame. The ways and means to these grand results are
what I purpose now to consider.

24. The common supposition, that the world is steadily advancing in
knowledge and improvement, would seem to imply, that the man who could
plausibly boast of being the most successful and most popular grammarian of
the nineteenth century, cannot but be a scholar of such merit as to deserve
some place, if not in the general literary history of his age, at least in
the particular history of the science which he teaches. It will presently
be seen that the author of "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures," boasts
of a degree of success and popularity, which, in this age of the world, has
no parallel. It is not intended on my part, to dispute any of his
assertions on these points; but rather to take it for granted, that in
reputation and revenue he is altogether as preeminent as he pretends to be.
The character of his alleged _improvements_, however, I shall inspect with
the eyes of one who means to know the certainty for himself; and, in this
item of literary history, the reader shall see, in some sort, _what profit_
there is in grammar. Is the common language of two of the largest and most
enlightened nations on earth so little understood, and its true grammar so
little known or appreciated, that one of the most unscholarly and
incompetent of all pretenders to grammar can have found means to outrival
all the grammarians who have preceded him? Have plagiarism and quackery
become the only means of success in philology? Are there now instances to
which an intelligent critic may point, and say, "This man, or that, though
he can scarcely write a page of good English, has patched up a grammar, by
the help of Murray's text only, and thereby made himself rich?" Is there
such a charm in the name of _Murray_, and the word _improvement_, that by
these two implements alone, the obscurest of men, or the absurdest of
teachers, may work his passage to fame; and then, perchance, by contrast of
circumstances, grow conceited and arrogant, from the fortune of the
undertaking? Let us see what we can find in Kirkham's Grammar, which will
go to answer these questions.

25. Take first from one page of his "hundred and fifth edition," a few
brief quotations, as a sample of his thoughts and style:

"They, however, who introduce _usages which depart from the analogy and
philosophy_ of a language, _are conspicuous_ among the number of those who
_form that language_, and have power to control it." "PRINCIPLE.--A
principle in grammar is a _peculiar construction_ of the language,
sanctioned by good usage." "DEFINITION.--A definition in grammar is a
_principle_ of language expressed in a _definite form_." "RULE.--A rule
describes _the peculiar construction_ or circumstantial relation of words,
_which_ custom has established for our observance."--_Kirkham's Grammar_,
page 18.

Now, as "a rule describes a peculiar construction," and "a principle is a
peculiar construction," and "a definition is a principle;" how, according
to this grammarian, do a principle, a definition, and a rule, differ each
from the others? From the rote here imposed, it is certainly not easier
for the learner to conceive of all these things _distinctly_, than it is to
understand how a departure from philosophy may make a man deservedly
"_conspicuous_." It were easy to multiply examples like these, showing the
work to be deficient in clearness, the first requisite of style.

26. The following passages may serve as a specimen of the gentleman's
taste, and grammatical accuracy; in one of which, he supposes the neuter
verb _is_ to express an _action_, and every _honest man_ to be _long since
dead!_ So it stands in all his editions. Did his praisers think so too?

"It is correct to say, _The man eats, he eats_; but we cannot say, _The man
dog eats, he dog eats_. Why not? Because the man _is here represented_ as
the possessor, and dog, the property, or thing possessed; and the genius of
our language requires, that when we add _to the possessor_, the _thing_
which _he_ is represented as possessing, _the possessor_ shall take a
particular form to show ITS case, or relation to the property."--_Ib._, p.

THE PRESENT TENSE.--"This tense is sometimes applied to represent the
_actions_ of persons _long since dead_; as, 'Seneca _reasons_ and
_moralizes_ well; An HONEST MAN IS the noblest work of God.'"--_Ib._, p.

PARTICIPLES.--"The term _Participle_ comes from the Latin word
_participio_,[10] which signifies to _partake_."--"Participles are formed
by adding to the verb the termination _ing, ed_, or _en_. _Ing_ signifies
the same thing as the noun _being_. When _postfixed_ to the _noun-state_ of
the verb, the _compound word_ thus formed expresses a continued state of
the _verbal denotement_. It implies that what is meant by the verb, is
_being_ continued."--_Ib._, p. 78. "All participles _are compound_ in their
meaning and office."--_Ib._, p. 79.

VERBS.--"Verbs express, not only _the state_ or _manner of being_, but,
likewise, all the different _actions_ and _movements_ of all creatures and
things, whether animate or inanimate."--_Ib._, p. 62. "It can be easily
shown, that from the noun and verb, all the other parts of speech have
sprung. Nay, more. _They_ may even be reduced to _one_. _Verbs do not, in
reality, express actions_; but they are intrinsically _the mere_ NAMES _of
actions_."--_Ib._, p. 37.

PHILOSOPHICAL GRAMMAR.--"I have thought proper to intersperse through the
pages of this work, under the head of '_Philosophical Notes_,' an entire
system of grammatical principles, as deduced from what _appears[11] to me_
to be the _most rational and consistent_ philosophical investigations."--
_Ib._, p. 36. "Johnson, and Blair, and Lowth, _would have been laughed at_,
had they essayed to thrust _any thing like our_ modernized philosophical
grammar _down the throats of their cotemporaries_."--_Ib._, p. 143.

Is it not a pity, that "more than one hundred thousand children and youth"
should be daily poring over language and logic like this?

27. For the sake of those who happily remain ignorant of this successful
empiricism, it is desirable that the record and exposition of it be made
brief. There is little danger that it will long survive its author. But the
present subjects of it are sufficiently numerous to deserve some pity. The
following is a sample of the gentleman's method of achieving what he both
justly and exultingly supposes, that Johnson, or Blair, or Lowth, could not
have effected. He scoffs at his own grave instructions, as if they had been
the production of some _other_ impostor. Can the fact be credited, that in
the following instances, he speaks of _what he himself teaches_?--of what
he seriously pronounces _"most rational and consistent?"_--of what is part
and parcel of that philosophy of his, which he declares, "will _in general
be found to accord_ with the _practical theory_ embraced in the body of his
work?"--See _Kirkham's Gram._, p. 36.

"Call this '_philosophical parsing_, on reasoning principles, according to
the original laws of nature and of thought,' and _the pill will be
swallowed_, by pedants and their dupes, with the greatest ease
imaginable."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 144. "For the _satisfaction_ of those
teachers who prefer it, and _for their adoption, too_, a modernized
philosophical theory of the moods and tenses is here presented. If it is
not quite so convenient and useful as the old one, they need not hesitate
to adopt it. It has the advantage of being _new_; and, moreover, it sounds
_large_, and will make the _commonalty stare_. Let it be distinctly
understood that you teach '[_Kirkham's_] _philosophical grammar_, founded
on reason and common sense,' and you will pass for a very learned man, and
make all the good housewives wonder at the rapid march of intellect, and
the vast improvements of the age."--_Ib._, p. 141.

28. The _pretty promises_ with which these "Familiar Lectures" abound, are
also worthy to be noticed here, as being among the peculiar attractions of
the performance. The following may serve as a specimen:

"If you _proceed according to my instructions_, you will be sure to acquire
a practical knowledge of Grammar in _a short time_."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p.
49. "If you have sufficient _resolution to do this_, you will, in a short
time, _perfectly understand_ the nature and office of the different parts
of speech, their various properties and relations, and the rules of syntax
that apply to them; _and, in a few weeks_, be able to speak and write
accurately."--_Ib._, p. 62. "You will please to turn back and read over
again _the whole five lectures_. You must exercise _a little_
patience."--_Ib._, p. 82. "By studying these lectures with attention, you
will acquire _more grammatical_ knowledge in three months, than is commonly
obtained in _two years_."--_Ib._, p. 82. "I will conduct you _so smoothly
through the moods and tenses_, and the conjugation of verbs, that, instead
of finding yourself involved in obscurities and deep intricacies, you will

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