« PreviousContinue »
Philadelphia, Aug. 10, 1829. Having, for several years, boen engaged in lecturing on the science of grammar and, during this period, having thoroughly tested the merits of Mr. S. Kirkham's bystent of English Grammar in Familiar Lectures” by using it as a text-book for my classes, I take pleasure in giving this testimonial of my cordial approbation of the work. Mr. Kirkham has attempted to improve upon this branch of science, chiefly by unfolding and explaining the principles of grammar in a manner so clear and simple, as to adapt them completely to the understanding of the young learner, and by adopting a new arrangement, which enables the pupil to commit the principles by a simultaneous application of them to practical examples. The publick may rest assured, that he has been successful in his attempt in a pre-eminent degree. make this assertion under a full conviction that it will be corroborated by every candid judge of the science who becoines acquainted with the practical advantages of this manual.
The explicit brevity and accuracy of the rules and definitions, the novel, the striking, the lucid, and critical illustrations accompanying them, the peculiar and advantageous arrangement of the various parts of the subject, the facilities proffered hy the "systematick mode of parsing” adopted, the convenient and judicious introduction and adaptation of the exercises introduced, and the deep researches and critical investigations displayed in the “ Philosophical Notes," render this system of grammar so decideilly superiour to all others extant, thai, to receive general patronagc, it needs but to be known.
My knowledge of this systein from experience in teaching it, and witnessing its effects in the hands of private learners, warrants ine in saying, that a learner will, by studying this book four months without a leacher, obtain a more clear conception of the nature and proper construction of words and phrases, than is ordinarily obtained in common schools and academics, in five times four months.
It is highly gratifying to know, that wherever this system has been circulated, it · 18 very rapidly supplanting those works of dulness which have so long paralyzed the energies of the youth of our country.
I think the specimens of verbal criticism, additional corrections in orthography and ortheopy, the jeading principles of rhetorick, and the inprovements in tho illustrations generally, which Mr. K. is about introducing into his ELEVERTO EDI TIUN, will rerder it quite an improvement on the former editions of this work.
H. WINCHESTER. From the Rev. S. Center, Principal of a Classical Academy. I have examined the last edition of Kirkham's Grammar with peculiar satisface tion. The improveinents which appear in it, do, in my estimation, give it a decided preference to any other system now in use. To point out the peculiar qualitios which secure to it claims of which no other system can boast, would be, if required, perfectly easy. At present it is sufficient to remark, that it embodies all that is essentially excellent and useful in other systems; whilst it is entirely freu from thai tediousness of method and prolixity of definition which so much perplex and ein barrass the learner,
The peculiar excellence of Mr. Kirkham's grammar is, the simplicity of its method and the plainness of its illustrations. Being conducted by familiar lectures, the teacher and pupil are necessarily brought into agreeable contact by each lesson. Both aro improved by the same task, without the slightest suspicion, on the part of the pupil, that there is any thing hard, difficult, or obscuro in the subject : à conviction, this, which must inevitably precede all offorts, or no proficiency will be made. In a word, the treatise I am recomiending, is a practical one; and for that reason. if there were no others to bo urged, it ought to be introduced into all our schools and academies. From actual experiment I can attest to the practicability of the plan which the author has adopted. Or this fact any ono may be convinced who will take the pains to make tho experiment,
SAMUEL CENTER.. Albany, July 10, 1829. From a communication addressed to S. Kirkham by the Rev. J. Stockton, author
of the “ Western Calculator" and "Western Spelling-Book.” Dear Sir,-I am much pleased with both the plan and execution of your "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures." In giving a systematick mode of parsing, cale culated alike to exercise the understanıling and memory of the pupi), and also freo the teacher from the drudgery of continued interrogation, you have made your gramınar what every elementury school book ought to be,-pluin, systematiek, and easy to be understood.
This, with the copious definitions in every part of the work, and other improve ments so judiciously introduced, gives it a decisive superiority over the caperica grammar of Murray, now so generally rised. JOSEPH STOCKTOS, A.M.
Alicghcny. Town, (near Piitsburgh, Darch 15, 1325.
There appears to be something assuming in the act of writing, and thrusting into publick notice, a new work on a subject which has already employed many able pens; for who would presume to do this, unless he believed his 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 English 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, indiferent 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 un. commonly 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 arsange those principles in such a manner 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 attention and talents of men 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 parging; and nearly all have neglected to levelop 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 simplicily, whilst to others its simplicity will prove its principal recommendation. Ils design is an humble one. It proffers no great advantages to the recondite grammarian; it professes not to instruct the literary connoisseur ; it presents no 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 mini'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 enQcavours 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 him 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 shun the path of those whose aim appears to bave been
But, than, as 116, 124, 165 Poetry transposed
Nominative case absolute 130, 177 | Pronunciation
Letters, sounds of
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 im. proved; 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,)
re 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. Noi 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 verbal 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 jnst what they may deem their real valuc. The author's ow opinion on this point, is, that they profler no material advantages to common learners; but that they may profitably engage the attention of thc curious, and perhaps impart a degree of interest to the literary connoisscur.
New-York, August 22, 1829.
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'a 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 emi. nent 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 sinilar 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 own, merely because some one else has, at some time 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 unreasonahly voluminous, treat some topicks as extensively as was desirable. Its design is to embrace, not only all the most inportant principles of the science, but also exercises in parsing, false syntax, and punctuation, sufficiently extensive for all ordinary, practical purposes, and a key to the exercises, and, moreover, a series of illustrations so full and intelligible, as completely to adapt the principles to the capacities of common learners. IVhether 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 without hitherto affording the author any pecuniary profit,) are favourable omens.
In the selection and arrangement of principles for his work, the author has 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 that arrogant, innovating spirit, which sets at de fiance all authority, and attempts to overthrow all former systems, and convince the world that all true knowledge and science are wrapped up in a crude system of vagaries of its own invention. Notwithstanding the author is aware that publick prejudice is powerful, and that he who venturca 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 hiinself
, to inves tigate the subject critically and dispassionately, and to adopt such principles only as he deemed the least objectionable, and best calculated to effect the object he had in view. But what his system claiins as improvements on