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TO THE ELEVENTH EDITION,
The anthor is free to acknowledge, that since this treatise first ventured on the wave of publick opinion, the gales of patronage which have wafted it along, have been far more favourable than he had reason to anticipate. Had any one, on its first appearance, predicted, that the demand for it would call forth twenty-two thousand copies during the past year, the author would have considered the prediction extravagant and chimerical. In gratitude, therefore, to that publick which has smiled so propitiously on his humble efforts to advance the cause of learning, he has endeavoured, by unremitting attention to the improvement of his work, to render it as useful and as unexceptionable as his time and talents would permit.
It is believed that the tenth and eleventh editions have been greatly improved; but the author is apprehensive that his work is not yet as accurate and as much simplified as it may be. If, however, the disadvantages of lingering under a broken constitution, and of being able to devote to this subject only a small portion of his time, snatched from the active pursuits of a business life, (active as far as his imperfect health permits him to be,) are any apology for its defects, he hopes that the candid will set down the apology to his credit. This personal allusion is hazarded with the additional hope, that it will ward off some of the arrows of criticism which may be aimed at him, and render less pointed and poisonous those that may fall upon him. Not that he would beg a truce with the gentlemen criticks and reviewers. Any compromise with them would betray a want of self-confidence and moral courage which he would, by no means, be willing to avow. It would, moreover, be prejudicial to his interest; for he is determined, if his life be preserved, to avail himself of the advantages of any judicious and candid criticisms on his production, that may appear, and, two or three years hence, revise his work, and present to the publick another and a better edition.
The improvements in the tenth edition, consisted mainly in the addition of many important principles ; in rendering the illustrations more critical, extensive, accurate, and lucid; in connecting more closely with the genius and philosophy of our language, the general principles adopted; and in adding a brief view of philosophical grammar interspersed in notes. The in troduction into the ELEVENTH EDITION, of many verlal criticisms, of addi tional corrections in orthography and orthoepy, of the leading principles of rhetorick, and of general additions and improvements in various parts
of the work, render this edition, it is believed, far preferable to any of the former editions of the work.
Perhaps some will regard the philosophical notes as a useless exhibition of pedantry. If so, the author's only apology is, that some investigations of this nature seemed to be called for by a portion of the community whose minds, of late, appear to be under the influence of a kind of philosophical mania; and to such these notes are respectfully submitted for just what they may deem their real value. The author's own opinion on this point, is, that they proffer no material advantages to common learners; but that they may
tably engage the attention of the curious, and perhaps impart a degree vi interest to the literary connoisseur.
New-York, August 22, 1829.
dent 38, 129, 164, 177 Relative
Apposition of cases 130, 178 Prosody
Manner of mcaning of words 28, 73 Compound
There appears to be something assuming in the act of writing, and thrusting into publick notice, a new work on a snbject which has already employed mang able pens; for who would presume to do this, unless he
production to be, in some respects, superiour to every one of the kind which had preceded'it? Hence, in presenting to the publick this system of Eng, lish Grammar, the author is aware that an apology will be looked for, and that the arguments on which that apology is grounded, must inevitably undergo a rigid scrutiny. Apprehensive, however, that no explanatory effort, on his part, would shield him from the imputation of arrogance by such as are blinded by self-interest, or by those who are wedded to the doctrines and opinions of his predecessors, with them he will not attempt a compromise, being, in a great measure, indifferent either to their praise or their censure. But with the candid, he is willing to negotiate an amicable treaty, knowing that they are always ready to enter into it on honourable terms. In this negotiation he asks nothing more than merely to rest the merits of his work on its practical utility, believing that, if it prove uncommonly successful in facilitating the progress of youth in the march of mental improvement, that will be its best apology.
When we bring into consideration the numerous productions of those learned philologists who have laboured so long, and, as many suppose, so successfully, in establishing the principles of our language ; and, more especially, when we view the labours of some of our modern compilers, who have displayed so much ingenuity and acuteness in attempting to arrange those principles in such a inanner as to form a correct and an easy medium of mental conference; it does, indeed, appear a little like presumption for a young man to enter upon a subject which has so frequently engaged the aitention and talents of nien distinguished for their erudition. The author ventures forward, however, under the conviction, that most of his predecessors are very deficient, at least, in manner, if not in malter ; and this conviction, he believes, will be corroborated by a majority of the best judges in community. It is admitted, that many valuable improvements have been made by some of our late writers, who have endeavoured to simplify and render this subject intelligible to the young, learner, but they have all overlooked what the author considers a very important object, namely, a systematick order of parsing; and nearly all have neglected to develop and explain the principles in such a manner as to enable the learner, without great difficulty, to comprehend their nature and use.
By some this system will, no doubt, be discarded on account of its simplicity, whilst to others its simplicity will prove its principal recommendation. Its design is an humble one. It proffers no great advantages to the recondite grammarian; it professes not to instruct the literary connoisseur ; it presents to attractive graces of style to charm, no daring flights to astonish, no deep researches to gratify him; but in the humblest simplicity of diction, it at tempts to accelerate the march of the juvenile min.l'in its advances in the path of science, by dispersing those clouds that so often bewilder it, and removing those obstacles that generally retard its progress. In this way it endeavours to render interesting and delightful a study which has hitherto been considered tedious, dry, and irksome. Its leading object is to adopt a correct and an easy method, in which pleasure is blended with the labours of the learner, and which is calculated to excite in him a spirit of inquiry, that shall call forth into vigorous and useful exercise, every latent energy of his mind; and thus enable hiin soon to become thoroughly acquainted with the nature of the principles, and with their practical utility and application.
Content to be useful, instead of being brilliant, the writer of these pages has endeavoured to shún the path of those whose aim appears to have been
to dazzle, rather than to instruct. As he has aimed not so much at originality as utility, he has adopted the thoughts of his predecessors whose labours have become publick stock, whenever he could not, in his opinion, furnish better and brighter of his own. Aware that there is, in the publick mind, a strong predilection for the doctrines contained in Mr. Murray's grammar, he has thought proper, not merely from motives of policy, but from choice, to select his principles chiefly from that work; and, moreover, to adopt, as far as consistent with his own views, the language of that eminent philologist. In no instance has he varied from him, unless he conceived that, in so doing, some practical advantage would be gained. He hopes therefore, to escape the censure so frequently and so justly awarded to those unfortunate innovators who have not scrupled to alter, mutilate and torture the text of that able writer, merely to gratify an itching propen sity to figure in the world as authors, and gain an ephemeral popularity by arrogating to themselves the credit due to another.
The author is not disposed, however, to disclaim all pretensions to origi nality; for, although his principles are chiefly selected, (and who would presuine to make new ones?) the manner of arranging, illustrating, and applying them, is principally his own. Let no one, therefore, if he hape pen to find in other works, ideas and illustrations similar to some contained in the following lectures, too hastily accuse him of plagiarism. It is well known that similar investigations and pursuits often elicit correspond ing ideas in different minds: and hence it is not uncommon for the same thought to be strictly original with many writers. The author is not here at. tempting to manufacture a garment to shield him from rebuke, should he unjustly claim the property of another; but he wishes it to be understood, that a long course of teaching and investigation, has often produced in his mind ideas and arguments on the subject of grammar, exactly or nearly corresponding with those which he afterwards found, had, under similai circumstances, been produced in the minds of others. He hopes, therefore, to be pardoned by the critick, even though he should not be willing to reject a good idea of his oron, merely because some one else has, at some tirne or other, been blessed with the same thought.
As the plan of this treatise is far more comprehensive than those of ordi nary grammars, the writer could not, without making his work ureasonably voluminous, treat some topicks as extensively as was desirable. Its design is to embrace, not only all the most important principles of the science, but also exercises in parsing, false syntax, and punctuation, autticiently extensive for all ordinary, practical purposes, and a key to the exereises, and, moreover, a series of illustrations so full and intelligible, as completely to adapt the principles to the capacities of common learners. Whether this 'design has been successfully or unsuccessfully executed, is left for the publick to decide. The general adoption of the work into schools, wherever it has become known, and the ready sale of forty thousand copies, (though acuthout hitherto affording the author any pecuniary profit,) are favourable omens.
In the selection and arrangement of principles for his work, the author -Jas endeavoured to pursue a course between the extremes, of taking blindly on trust whatever has been sanctioned by prejudice and the authority of venerable names, and of thiat arrogant, innovating spirii, which sets ai de fiance all authority, and attempts to overthrow all former systems, and conrince the world that all true knowledge and science are wrapped upin a crude system of vagaries of its own invention. Notwithstanding the authos is aware that publick prejudice is powerful, and that he who ventures much by way of innovation, will be liable to defeat his own purpose by fall ing into neglect; yet he has taken the liberty to think for hiinsell, to in tigate the subject critically and dispassionately, and to adopt euch principles only as he deemed the least objectionable, and best calculated to effect the object he had in view. But what his system claims as improvements on
others, consists not so much in bettering the principles themselves, as in the method adopted of communicating a knowledge of them to the mind of the learner. That the work is defective, the author is fully sensible: and he is free to acknowledge, that its defects arise, in part, from his own want of judgment and skill. But there is another and a more serious cause of them, namely, the anomalies and imperfections with which the languagr abounds. This latter circumstance is also the cause of the existence of so widely different opinions on many important points; and, moreover, the reason that the grammatical principles of our language can never be indisputably settled. But principles ought not to be rejected because they ad.nit of exceptions.-HƏ who is thoroughly acquainted with the genius and structure of our language, can duly appreciate the truth of these remarks.
To conform, in our orthography and orthoepy, to some admitted stand. ard, the author deems a consideration of sufficient importance to justify him in introducing
into his work an article on each of these subjects, in which many words that are often misspelled or mispronounced, are corrected .ccording to a work,* which, in his estimation, justly claims a decisive preserence, in point of accuracy, to any other Dictionary of the English language.
* Should parents object to the Compendium, fearing it will soon be destroyed by their children, they are informed that the pupil will not have occasion to use it onc-tenth part as much as he will the book wh.ch it accompanies : and besides, it it be destroyed, he will find all the delinitions and rules which it contains, recapitulated in the series of Lectures.
HINTS TO TEACHERS AND PRIVATE LEARNERS.
As this work proposes a new mode of parsing, and pursues an arrangement essentially different from thai generally adopted, it may not be decmed improper for the author to give some directions to those who may be disposed to use it. Perhaps they who take only a slight view of the order of parsing, will not consider it new, but blend it with those long since adopted. Some writers have, indeed, attempted plans somewhat similar; but in uo instance have they reduced them to what the author considers a regular systematick order.
The methods which they have generally suggested, require the teacher to interrogate the pupil as he proceeds; or else he is permitted to parse without giving any explanations at all. Others hint that the learner ought to apply definitions in a general way, but they lay down no systematick arrangement of questions as his guide. The sysiemátick order laid down in this work, if pursued by the pupil, compels him to apply every definition and every rule that appertains to each word he parses, without having a question put to him by the teacher; and, in so doing, he explains every word fully as ne goes along. This course enables the learner to proceed independently; and proves, at the same time, a great relief to the instructer. The convepience and advantage of this method, are far greater than can be easily conceived by one who is unacquainted with it. The author is, therefore, anxious to have the absurd practice, wherever it has been established, of causing learners to commit and recite definitions and rules without any simultaneous application of them to practical examples, iminediately abol. ished. This system obviates the necessity of pursuing such a stupid course of drudgery; for the young beginner who pursues it, will have, in a few weeks, ail the most important definitions and rules perfectly committed, simply by applying them in parsing.
If this plan be once adopted, it is confidently believed that every teacher who is desirous to consult, either his own convenience, or the advantage of bis pupils, will readily pursue it in preference to any former method. This
* The work alluded to, is “Walker's Dictionary,” revisod and corrected by Mr Lyman Cobb.