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had reasons for concluding, that Tooke, whatever talents he might possess as a linguist, was certainly deficient in those which constitute a philosopher. He could quarrel with every definition of a verb that had hitherto been given, but he never thought proper to furnish one himself. With regard to the correctness of his etymological derivations, it is not for me to determine; but his opinions respecting the origin of languages, are at variance with all historical records; and his assertion, that words retain, through the lapse of ages, their original import, is contrary to experience. What can be more preposterous than to wish to reduce us to speak again the jargon of semi-barbarians? Yet this appears to have been the aim, if I mistake not, of Horne Tooke.

To Tooke, succeeded Gilchrist's "Rational Grammar," which was followed by Dugald Stewart's "Outlines of Mental Philosophy." After having been for some time beclouded in Metaphysics, we at last emerged, and stood again on solid ground.

We next directed our attention to Crombie's "Etymology and Syntax." This is the production of a superior and liberal mind, treading in the path of legitimate philosophy. From the length of detail, however, into which the author has thought proper to enter in the discussion of several points, and from the limited number of Rules which he has given, this work is less adapted to the purposes of general education, than to the advanced student who is well acquainted with the Classics. In several instances, I differ from the learned author, and particularly, in the moods and tenses. "The English verb," says the Doctor, "has only two tenses." The conclusion is correct, if we admit the premises assumed. But without descending into particulars in this place, I would ask, what advantage can the student derive from such a mode of considering the subject? Will he be thus enabled

to obtain clearer views of the various combinations of the verbs? Convenience, if not the nature of the subject, testifies that the usual division of the tenses, by assigning specific names to certain combinations, if not quite so philosophical as the one adopted by the Doctor, is, at all events, more intelligible to natives, as well as to foreigners. His own work is a proof of this. Sixty pages are occupied in explaining what it would not require more than ten or twelve to explain according to the ordinary method.

Crombie was followed by Cobbett's "Grammar." This work, written with remarkable perspicuity of style, displays talent, and a generally accurate discrimination. It is, however, most unfit for schools, from its unsuitable arrangement, from its want of compactness, from its great incompleteness, both in plan and in the number of Rules, but, above all, from the contempt which the writer, most improperly, manifests in almost every page towards the upper classes of society. Whatever be Mr. C.'s merits, this kind of conduct, no liberal mind can approve. Sometimes, also, by considering several expressions as incorrect, which are sanctioned by the most reputable usage, he forgets the province of the grammarian, and assumes that of the legislator. What man would hesitate to use, for instance, I have thrown," or, "I threw ?" Both of which are ungrammatical, according to Mr. Cobbett. But it is as correct to say, I threw (and not throwed, which Mr. C. wishes us to use), as to say men instead of mans. They are both irregularities, and originated, perhaps, from the prevalence of that neglect of our language, the erroneous-ness of which I have endeavoured to expose. But, whatever was their origin, they are now parts of the language, and cannot be rejected.


Besides the works already enumerated, we carefully perused Campbell's "Philosophy of Rhetoric," Blair's "Lec

tures," Harris's "Hermes," Bosworth's "Saxon Grammar," and a multiplicity of minor publications not deserving any particular notice.

Having finished this series of works, we returned to Murray's Grammar, as it appeared better adapted than any that we had seen, to the general purposes of education. We examined, with the greatest care, every definition; tested, by numerous examples, every Rule that presented the least doubt as to its correctness; allowed no difficulty to pass unexamined; nor did we desist from our examination till we had arrived, if not at a certain, at least at a probable result. We proceeded in this manner for some time, till I became more and more convinced of the necessity of composing an original work on the subject,—a measure to which my friend was decidedly opposed, as a risk and labour would be thus incurred greater than could be compensated by any ulterior advantages. But, as I felt I could not well teach by a work which did not accord with my own views, my purpose remained unchanged. My friend very kindly promised to render me his assistance, and, at an appointed time, he having followed an investigation independent of mine, was prepared to approve or animadvert upon the matter which I furnished him for inspection. Sometimes our conclusions were different; this led to an examination of the process by which we had obtained our results. It may readily be imagined, that this mode of proceeding was not calculated to forward the completion of the work; but, what was of far greater importance, it must necessarily enhance its value and utility. I had not, however, half completed my undertaking, when I lost the valuable censorship of my estimable friend, in consequence of his departure from England to reside abroad. His loss I have endeavoured to supply, as far as additional vigilance and industry would allow.

I have been induced to make these remarks on the labours of my predecessors, not to depreciate their merits, but to show the propriety of publishing another Grammar, in order to supply numerous deficiencies and rectify existing errors. For the same reason, I beg the attention of the reader, while I notice a few of the objections which may be urged against Mr. Murray's Grammar.

1. The first objection to Murray, is his Defectiveness. It has already been observed, that there are many, very many Rules, and observations of importance, which are totally unnoticed by Murray; indeed, his own Exercises, and particularly those adapted to the Appendix, can never be corrected by the information contained in his Grammar. Numerous valuable remarks, also, on different parts of Grammar, have been made since Murray's time: these I have noticed in their proper places.

2. His Redundancy. From a desire, perhaps, of rendering his work comprehensive, he has inserted much matter which is rarely needed, and which belongs rather to a Dictionary than to a Grammar. What possible advantage can be conferred by devoting twenty or thirty pages in elucidating the different sounds of the letters? I have known one instance, indeed, in which all these pages were actually required to be committed to memory.

3. His occasional want of Clearness. Though he has evidently paid great attention to his definitions, yet it would not be difficult to point out several instances of indefiniteness of expression. Thus, at the very commencement, he, like his predecessors, defines Grammar to be, "The art of writing and speaking with propriety." Now, what information does this convey to the mind? I recollect once asking a very intelligent individual, what he understood by the word propriety. After some consideration, he answered, "accord

ing to Syntax." He would have been quite as intelligible, had he said, "Grammar is the art of writing and speaking according to Grammar." Similar misconceptions, both on this and many other parts of Grammar, are not confined to a few.

4. His occasional Inconclusiveness. In some cases, in which a contrariety of opinion prevailed among grammarians, Murray has inserted these different opinions, for the benefit, as he states, of the reader. The fact is, that being undecided himself, he shrewdly leaves others to form whatever opinions they may think proper. Now, what was too difficult for Murray, will not, I presume, be very easy for the student.

The same motive has induced him sometimes to furnish the pupil with mere examples, instead of Rules and Principles.

In some cases, particularly in the Moods and Tenses, even when his conclusions are correct, the arguments which he has advanced in support of them are unsound. And thus, men entertaining different opinions, have naturally enough imagined, that as the arguments could be easily refuted, the conclusions must, of course, be wrong. So much does a good cause suffer from an incompetent advocate.

5. As he has not distinguished, by a difference of type, his secondary Rules and Principles from what is intended to be merely read, much unnecessary trouble is given to the teacher in separating these portions.

6. His Appendix is rendered almost useless, from the want of a proper connection between the different parts.

These, and other objections, will become evident by comparing Mr. Murray's with the present Grammar.

Independent, however, of these considerations, the growing wants of the age have long demanded a work, which, while it incorporated all the useful information contained in


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