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Title: The Grammar of English Grammars

Author: Goold Brown

Release date: March 1, 2004 [eBook #11615]
Most recently updated: December 26, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Karl Hagen and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Transcriber's Notes: Despite the severity with which the author of this work treats those who depart from his standard of correctness, the source text does contain a small number of typographical errors. Missing punctuation has been supplied silently, but all other errors have been left uncorrected. To let the reader distinguish such problems from any inadvertent transcription errors that remain, I have inserted notes to flag items that appear errors by Brown's own standard. Spellings that are simply different from current practice, e.g., 'Shakspeare' are not noted. Special characters: vowels with macrons are rendered with an equals sign (=) before the vowel. Vowels with breve marks are rendered with tildes (~) before the vowels.—KTH.


"So let great authors have their due, that Time, who is the author of authors, be not deprived of his due, which is, farther and farther to discover truth."—LORD BACON.



The present performance is, so far as the end could be reached, the fulfillment of a design, formed about twenty-seven years ago, of one day presenting to the world, if I might, something like a complete grammar of the English language;—not a mere work of criticism, nor yet a work too tame, indecisive, and uncritical; for, in books of either of these sorts, our libraries already abound;—not a mere philosophical investigation of what is general or universal in grammar, nor yet a minute detail of what forms only a part of our own philology; for either of these plans falls very far short of such a purpose;—not a mere grammatical compend, abstract, or compilation, sorting with other works already before the public; for, in the production of school grammars, the author had early performed his part; and, of small treatises on this subject, we have long had a superabundance rather than a lack.

After about fifteen years devoted chiefly to grammatical studies and exercises, during most of which time I had been alternately instructing youth in four different languages, thinking it practicable to effect some improvement upon the manuals which explain our own, I prepared and published, for the use of schools, a duodecimo volume of about three hundred pages; which, upon the presumption that its principles were conformable to the best usage, and well established thereby, I entitled, "The Institutes of English Grammar." Of this work, which, it is believed, has been gradually gaining in reputation and demand ever since its first publication, there is no occasion to say more here, than that it was the result of diligent study, and that it is, essentially, the nucleus, or the groundwork, of the present volume.

With much additional labour, the principles contained in the Institutes of English Grammar, have here been not only reaffirmed and rewritten, but occasionally improved in expression, or amplified in their details. New topics, new definitions, new rules, have also been added; and all parts of the subject have been illustrated by a multiplicity of new examples and exercises, which it has required a long time to amass and arrange. To the main doctrines, also, are here subjoined many new observations and criticisms, which are the results of no inconsiderable reading and reflection.

Regarding it as my business and calling, to work out the above-mentioned purpose as circumstances might permit, I have laid no claim to genius, none to infallibility; but I have endeavoured to be accurate, and aspired to be useful; and it is a part of my plan, that the reader of this volume shall never, through my fault, be left in doubt as to the origin of any thing it contains. It is but the duty of an author, to give every needful facility for a fair estimate of his work; and, whatever authority there may be for anonymous copying in works on grammar, the precedent is always bad.

The success of other labours, answerable to moderate wishes, has enabled me to pursue this task under favourable circumstances, and with an unselfish, independent aim. Not with vainglorious pride, but with reverent gratitude to God, I acknowledge this advantage, giving thanks for the signal mercy which has upborne me to the long-continued effort. Had the case been otherwise,—had the labours of the school-room been still demanded for my support,—the present large volume would never have appeared. I had desired some leisure for the completing of this design, and to it I scrupled not to sacrifice the profits of my main employment, as soon as it could be done without hazard of adding another chapter to "the Calamities of Authors."

The nature and design of this treatise are perhaps sufficiently developed in connexion with the various topics which are successively treated of in the Introduction. That method of teaching, which I conceive to be the best, is also there described. And, in the Grammar itself, there will be found occasional directions concerning the manner of its use. I have hoped to facilitate the study of the English language, not by abridging our grammatical code, or by rejecting the common phraseolgy [sic—KTH] of its doctrines, but by extending the former, improving the latter, and establishing both;—but still more, by furnishing new illustrations of the subject, and arranging its vast number of particulars in such order that every item may be readily found.

An other important purpose, which, in the preparation of this work, has been borne constantly in mind, and judged worthy of very particular attention, was the attempt to settle, so far as the most patient investigation and the fullest exhibition of proofs could do it, the multitudinous and vexatious disputes which have hitherto divided the sentiments of teachers, and made the study of English grammar so uninviting, unsatisfactory, and unprofitable, to the student whose taste demands a reasonable degree of certainty.

"Whenever labour implies the exertion of thought, it does good, at least to the strong: when the saving of labour is a saving of thought, it enfeebles. The mind, like the body, is strengthened by hard exercise: but, to give this exercise all its salutary effect, it should be of a reasonable kind; it should lead us to the perception of regularity, of order, of principle, of a law. When, after all the trouble we have taken, we merely find anomalies and confusion, we are disgusted with what is so uncongenial: and, as our higher faculties have not been called into action, they are not unlikely to be outgrown by the lower, and overborne as it were by the underwood of our minds. Hence, no doubt, one of the reasons why our language has been so much neglected, and why such scandalous ignorance prevails concerning its nature and history, is its unattractive, disheartening irregularity: none but Satan is fond of plunging into chaos."—Philological Museum, (Cambridge, Eng., 1832,) Vol. i, p. 666.

If there be any remedy for the neglect and ignorance here spoken of, it must be found in the more effectual teaching of English grammar. But the principles of grammar can never have any beneficial influence over any person's manner of speaking or writing, till by some process they are made so perfectly familiar, that he can apply them with all the readiness of a native power; that is, till he can apply them not only to what has been said or written, but to whatever he is about to utter. They must present themselves to the mind as by intuition, and with the quickness of thought; so as to regulate his language before it proceeds from the lips or the pen. If they come only by tardy recollection, or are called to mind but as contingent afterthoughts, they are altogether too late; and serve merely to mortify the speaker or writer, by reminding him of some deficiency or inaccuracy which there may then be no chance to amend.

But how shall, or can, this readiness be acquired? I answer, By a careful attention to such exercises as are fitted to bring the learner's knowledge into practice. The student will therefore find, that I have given him something to do, as well as something to learn. But, by the formules and directions in this work, he is very carefully shown how to proceed; and, if he be a tolerable reader, it will be his own fault, if he does not, by such aid, become a tolerable grammarian. The chief of these exercises are the parsing of what is right, and the correcting of what is wrong; both, perhaps, equally important; and I have intended to make them equally easy. To any real proficient in grammar, nothing can be more free from embarrassment, than the performance of these exercises, in all ordinary cases. For grammar, rightly learned, institutes in the mind a certain knowledge, or process of thought, concerning the sorts, properties, and relations, of all the words which can be presented in any intelligible sentence; and, with the initiated, a perception of the construction will always instantly follow or accompany a discovery of the sense: and instantly, too, should there be a perception of the error, if any of the words are misspelled, misjoined, misapplied,—or are, in any way, unfaithful to the sense intended.

Thus it is the great end of grammar, to secure the power of apt expression, by causing the principles on which language is constructed, if not to be constantly present to the mind, at least to pass through it more rapidly than either pen or voice can utter words. And where this power resides, there cannot but be a proportionate degree of critical skill, or of ability to judge of the language of others. Present what you will, grammar directs the mind immediately to a consideration of the sense; and, if properly taught, always creates a discriminating taste which is not less offended by specious absurdities, than by the common blunders of clownishness. Every one who has any pretensions to this art, knows that, to parse a sentence, is but to resolve it according to one's understanding of its import; and it is equally clear, that the power to correct an erroneous passage, usually demands or implies a knowledge of the author's thought.

But, if parsing and correcting are of so great practical importance as our first mention of them suggests, it may be well to be more explicit here concerning them. The pupil who cannot perform these exercises both accurately and fluently, is not truly prepared to perform them at all, and has no right to expect from any body a patient hearing. A slow and faltering rehearsal of words clearly prescribed, yet neither fairly remembered nor understandingly applied, is as foreign from parsing or correcting, as it is from elegance of diction. Divide and conquer, is the rule here, as in many other cases. Begin with what is simple; practise it till it becomes familiar; and then proceed. No child ever learned to speak by any other process. Hard things become easy by use; and skill is gained by little and little. Of the whole method of parsing, it should be understood, that it is to be a critical exercise in utterance, as well as an evidence of previous study,—an exhibition of the learner's attainments in the practice, as well as in the theory, of grammar; and that, in any tolerable performance of this exercise, there must be an exact adherence to the truth of facts, as they occur in the example, and to the forms of expression, which are prescribed as models, in the book. For parsing is, in no degree, a work of invention; but wholly an exercise, an exertion of skill. It is, indeed, an exercise for all the powers of the mind, except the inventive faculty. Perception, judgement, reasoning, memory, and method, are indispensable to the performance. Nothing is to be guessed at, or devised, or uttered at random. If the learner can but rehearse the necessary definitions and rules, and perform the simplest exercise of judgement in their application, he cannot but perceive what he must say in order to speak the truth in parsing. His principal difficulty is in determining the parts of speech. To lessen this, the trial should commence with easy sentences, also with few of the definitions, and with definitions that have been perfectly learned. This difficulty being surmounted, let him follow the forms prescribed for the several praxes of this work, and he shall not err. The directions and examples given at the head of each exercise, will show him exactly the number, the order, and the proper phraseology, of the particulars to be stated; so that he may go through the explanation with every advantage which a book can afford. There is no hope of him whom these aids will not save from "plunging into chaos."

"Of all the works of man, language is the most enduring, and partakes the most of eternity. And, as our own language, so far as thought can project itself into the future, seems likely to be coeval with the world, and to spread vastly beyond even its present immeasurable limits, there cannot easily be a nobler object of ambition than to purify and better it."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 665.

It was some ambition of the kind here meant, awakened by a discovery of the scandalous errors and defects which abound in all our common English grammars, that prompted me to undertake the present work. Now, by the bettering of a language, I understand little else than the extensive teaching of its just forms, according to analogy and the general custom of the most accurate writers. This teaching, however, may well embrace also, or be combined with, an exposition of the various forms of false grammar by which inaccurate writers have corrupted, if not the language itself, at least their own style in it.

With respect to our present English, I know not whether any other improvement of it ought to be attempted, than the avoiding and correcting of those improprieties and unwarrantable anomalies by which carelessness, ignorance, and affectation, are ever tending to debase it, and the careful teaching of its true grammar, according to its real importance in education. What further amendment is feasible, or is worthy to engage attention, I will not pretend to say; nor do I claim to have been competent to so much as was manifestly desirable within these limits. But what I lacked in ability, I have endeavored to supply by diligence; and what I could conveniently strengthen by better authority than my own, I have not failed to support with all that was due, of names, guillemets, and references.

Like every other grammarian, I stake my reputation as an author, upon "a certain set of opinions," and a certain manner of exhibiting them, appealing to the good sense of my readers for the correctness of both. All contrary doctrines are unavoidably censured by him who attempts to sustain his own; but, to grammatical censures, no more importance ought to be attached than what belongs to grammar itself. He who cares not to be accurate in the use of language, is inconsistent with himself, if he be offended at verbal criticism; and he who is displeased at finding his opinions rejected, is equally so, if he cannot prove them to be well founded. It is only in cases susceptible of a rule, that any writer can be judged deficient. I can censure no man for differing from me, till I can show him a principle which he ought to follow. According to Lord Kames, the standard of taste, both in arts and in manners, is "the common sense of mankind," a principle founded in the universal conviction of a common nature in our species. (See Elements of Criticism, Chap, xxv, Vol. ii, p. 364.) If this is so, the doctrine applies to grammar as fully as to any thing about which criticism may concern itself.

But, to the discerning student or teacher, I owe an apology for the abundant condescension with which I have noticed in this volume the works of unskillful grammarians. For men of sense have no natural inclination to dwell upon palpable offences against taste and scholarship; nor can they be easily persuaded to approve the course of an author who makes it his business to criticise petty productions. And is it not a fact, that grammatical authorship has sunk so low, that no man who is capable of perceiving its multitudinous errors, dares now stoop to notice the most flagrant of its abuses, or the most successful of its abuses? And, of the quackery which is now so prevalent, what can be a more natural effect, than a very general contempt for the study of grammar? My apology to the reader therefore is, that, as the honour of our language demands correctness in all the manuals prepared for schools, a just exposition of any that are lacking in this point, is a service due to the study of English grammar, if not to the authors in question.

The exposition, however, that I have made of the errors and defects of other writers, is only an incident, or underpart, of the scheme of this treatise. Nor have I anywhere exhibited blunders as one that takes delight in their discovery. My main design has been, to prepare a work which, by its own completeness and excellence, should deserve the title here chosen. But, a comprehensive code of false grammar being confessedly the most effectual means of teaching what is true, I have thought fit to supply this portion of my book, not from anonymous or uncertain sources, but from the actual text of other authors, and chiefly from the works of professed grammarians.

"In what regards the laws of grammatical purity," says Dr. Campbell, "the violation is much more conspicuous than the observance."—See Philosophy of Rhetoric, p. 190. It therefore falls in with my main purpose, to present to the public, in the following ample work, a condensed mass of special criticism, such as is not elsewhere to be found in any language. And, if the littleness of the particulars to which the learner's attention is called, be reckoned an objection, the author last quoted has furnished for me, as well as for himself, a good apology. "The elements which enter into the composition of the hugest bodies, are subtile and inconsiderable. The rudiments of every art and science exhibit at first, to the learner, the appearance of littleness and insignificancy. And it is by attending to such reflections, as to a superficial observer would appear minute and hypercritical, that language must be improved, and eloquence perfected."—Ib., p. 244.

LYNN, MASS., 1851.


  Preface to the Grammar of English Grammars
  This Table of Contents
  Catalogue of English Grammars and Grammarians

  Chapter I. Of the Science of Grammar
  Chapter II. Of Grammatical Authorship
  Chapter III. Of Grammatical Success and Fame
  Chapter IV. Of the Origin of Language
  Chapter V. Of the Power of Language
  Chapter VI. Of the Origin and History of the English Language
  Chapter VII. Changes and Specimens of the English Language
  Chapter VIII. Of the Grammatical Study of the English Language
  Chapter IX. Of the Best Method of Teaching Grammar
  Chapter X. Of Grammatical Definitions
  Chapter XI. Brief Notices of the Schemes of certain Grammars

  Introductory Definitions
  General Division of the Subject

PART I. ORTHOGRAPHY. Chapter I. Of Letters I. Names of the Letters II. Classes of the Letters III. Powers of the Letters IV. Forms of the Letters Rules for the use of Capitals Errors concerning Capitals Promiscuous Errors of Capitals Chapter II. Of Syllables Diphthongs and Triphthongs Rules for Syllabication Observations on Syllabication Errors concerning Syllables Chapter III. Of Words Rules for the Figure of Words Observations on Figure of Words On the Identity of Words Errors concerning Figure Promiscuous Errors in Figure Chapter IV. Of Spelling Rules for Spelling Observations on Spelling Errors in Spelling Promiscuous Errors in Spelling Chapter V. Questions on Orthography Chapter VI Exercises for Writing
PART II. ETYMOLOGY. Introductory Definitions Chapter I. Of the Parts of Speech Observations on Parts of Speech Examples for Parsing, Praxis I Chapter II. Of the Articles Observations on the Articles Examples for Parsing, Praxis II Errors concerning Articles Chapter III. Of Nouns Classes of Nouns Modifications of Nouns Persons Numbers Genders Cases The Declension of Nouns Examples for Parsing, Praxis III Errors concerning Nouns Chapter IV. Of Adjectives Classes of Adjectives Modifications of Adjectives Regular Comparison Comparison by Adverbs Irregular Comparison Examples for Parsing, Praxis IV Errors concerning Adjectives Chapter V. Of Pronouns Classes of the Pronouns Modifications of the Pronouns The Declension of Pronouns Examples for Parsing, Praxis V Errors concerning Pronouns Chapter VI. Of Verbs Classes of Verbs Modifications of Verbs Moods Tenses Persons and Numbers The Conjugation of Verbs I. Simple Form, Active or Neuter First Example, the verb LOVE Second Example, the verb SEE Third Example, the verb BE II. Compound or Progressive Form Fourth Example, to BE READING Observations on Compound Forms III. Form of Passive Verbs Fifth Example, to BE LOVED IV. Form of Negation V. Form of Question VI. Form of Question with Negation Irregular Verbs, with Obs. and List Redundant Verbs, with Obs. and List Defective Verbs, with Obs. and List Examples for Parsing, Praxis VI Errors concerning Verbs Chapter VII. Of Participles Classes of Participles Examples for Parsing, Praxis VII Errors concerning Participles Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs Classes of Adverbs Modifications of Adverbs Examples for Parsing, Praxis VIII Errors concerning Adverbs Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions Classes of Conjunctions List of the Conjunctions Examples for Parsing, Praxis IX Errors concerning Conjunctions Chapter X. Of Prepositions List of the Prepositions Examples for Parsing, Praxis X Errors concerning Prepositions Chapter XI. Of Interjections List of the Interjections Examples for Parsing, Praxis XI Errors concerning Interjections Chapter XII. Questions on Etymology Chapter XIII. Exercises for Writing
PART III. SYNTAX. Introductory Definitions Chapter I. Of Sentences The Rules of Syntax General or Critical Obs. on Syntax The Analyzing of Sentences The several Methods of Analysis Observations on Methods of Analysis Examples for Parsing, Praxis XII Chapter II. Of the Articles Rule I. Syntax of Articles Observations on Rule I Notes to Rule I; 17 of them False Syntax under Notes to Rule I Chapter III. Of Cases, or Nouns Rule II. Of Nominatives Observations on Rule II False Syntax under Rule II Rule III. Of Apposition Observations on Rule III False Syntax under Rule III Rule IV. Of Possessives Observations on Rule IV Notes to Rule IV; 5 of them False Syntax under Notes to Rule IV Rule V. Of Objectives after Verbs Observations on Rule V Notes to Rule V; 8 of them False Syntax under Rule V Rule VI. Of Same Cases Observations on Rule VI Notes to Rule VI; 2 of them False Syntax under Rule VI Rule VII. Of Objectives after Prepositions Observations on Rule VII Note to Rule VII; 1 only False Syntax under Rule VII Rule VIII. Of Nominatives Absolute Observations on Rule VIII False Syntax under Rule VIII Chapter IV. Of Adjectives Rule IX. Of Adjectives Observations on Rule IX Notes to Rule IX; 16 of them False Syntax under Rule IX Chapter V. Of Pronouns Rule X. Pronoun and Antecedent Observations on Rule X Notes to Rule X; 16 of them False Syntax under Rule X Rule XI. Pronoun and Collective Noun Observations on Rule XI Notes to Rule XI; 2 of them False Syntax under Rule XI Rule XII. Pronoun after AND Observations on Rule XII False Syntax under Rule XII Rule XIII. Pronoun after OR or NOR Observations on Rule XIII False Syntax under Rule XIII Chapter VI. Of Verbs Rule XIV. Verb and Nominative Observations on Rule XIV Notes to Rule XIV; 10 of them False Syntax under Rule XIV Rule XV. Verb and Collective Noun Observations on Rule XV Note to Rule XV; 1 only False Syntax under Rule XV Rule XVI. The Verb after AND Observations on Rule XVI Notes to Rule XVI; 7 of them False Syntax under Rule XVI Rule XVII. The Verb with OR or NOR Observations on Rule XVII Notes to Rule XVII; 15 of them False Syntax under Rule XVII Rule XVIII. Of Infinitives with TO Observations on Rule XVIII False Syntax under Rule XVIII Rule XIX. Of Infinitives without TO Observations on Rule XIX False Syntax under Rule XIX Chapter VII. Of Participles Rule XX. Syntax of Participles Observations on Rule XX Notes to Rule XX; 13 of them False Syntax under Rule XX Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs Rule XXI. Relation of Adverbs Observations on Rule XXI Notes to Rule XXI; 10 of them False Syntax under Rule XXI Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions Rule XXII. Use of Conjunctions Observations on Rule XXII Notes to Rule XXII; 8 of them False Syntax under Rule XXII Chapter X. Of Prepositions Rule XXIII. Use of Prepositions Observations on Rule XXIII Notes to Rule XXIII; 5 of them False Syntax under Rule XXIII Chapter XI. Of Interjections Rule XXIV. For Interjections Observations on Rule XXIV False Syntax Promiscuous Examples for Parsing, Praxis XIII Chapter XII. General Review False Syntax for a General Review Chapter XIII. General Rule of Syntax Critical Notes to the General Rule General Observations on the Syntax False Syntax under the General Rule False Syntax under the Critical Notes Promiscuous Examples of False Syntax Chapter XIV. Questions on Syntax Chapter XV. Exercises for Writing
PART IV. PROSODY. Introductory Definitions and Observations Chapter I. Punctuation Obs. on Pauses, Points, Names, &c. Section I. The Comma; its 17 Rules Errors concerning the Comma Section II. The Semicolon; its 3 Rules Errors concerning the Semicolon Mixed Examples of Error Section III. The Colon; its 3 Rules Errors concerning the Colon Mixed Examples of Error Section IV. The Period; its 8 Rules Observations on the Period Errors concerning the Period Mixed Examples of Error Section V. The Dash; its 3 Rules Observations on the Dash Errors concerning the Dash Mixed Examples of Error Section VI. The Eroteme; its 3 Rules Observations on the Eroteme Errors concerning the Eroteme Mixed Examples of Error Section VII. The Ecphoneme; its 3 Rules Errors concerning the Ecphoneme Mixed Examples of Error Section VIII. The Curves; and their 2 Rules Errors concerning the Curves Mixed Examples of Error Section IX. The Other Marks Mixed Examples of Error Bad English Badly Pointed Chapter II. Of Utterance Section I. Of Articulation Article I. Of the Definition Article II. Of Good Articulation Section II. Of Pronunciation Article I. Powers of Letters Article II. Of Quantity Article III. Of Accent Section III. Of Elocution Article I. Of Emphasis Article II. Of Pauses Article III. Of Inflections Article IV. Of Tones Chapter III. Of Figures Section I. Figures of Orthography Section II. Figures of Etymology Section III. Figures of Syntax Section IV. Figures of Rhetoric Section V. Examples for Parsing, Praxis XIV Chapter IV. Of Versification Section I. Of Verse Definitions and Principles Observations on Verse Section II. Of Accent and Quantity Section III. Of Poetic Feet Critical Observations on Theories Section IV. Of the Kinds of Verse Order I. Iambic Verse; its 8 Measures Order II. Trochaic Verse; its Nature Observations on Trochaic Metre Trochaics shown in their 8 Measures Order III. Anapestic Verse; its 4 Measures Observations on the Short Anapestics Order IV. Dactylic Verse; its 8 Measures Observations on Dactylics Order V. Composite Verse Observations on Composites Section V. Improprieties for Correction Chapter V. Questions on Prosody Chapter VI. Exercises for Writing

  Chapter I. Of Letters; Capitals
    Corrections under each of the 16 Rules
    Promiscuous corrections of Capitals
  Chapter II. Of Syllables
    Corrections of False Syllabication
  Chapter III. Of the Figure of Words
    Corrections under each of the 6 Rules
    Promiscuous corrections of Figure
  Chapter IV. Of Spelling
    Corrections under each of the 15 Rules
    Promiscuous corrections of Spelling

  Chapter I. Of the Parts of Speech
    Remark concerning False Etymology
  Chapter II. Of Articles; 5 Lessons
  Chapter III. Of Nouns; 3 Lessons
  Chapter IV. Of Adjectives; 3 Lessons
  Chapter V. Of Pronouns; 3 Lessons
  Chapter VI. Of Verbs; 3 Lessons
  Chapter VII. Of Participles; 3 Lessons
  Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs; 1 Lesson
  Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions; 1 Lesson
  Chapter X. Of Prepositions; 1 Lesson
  Chapter XI. Of Interjections; 1 Lesson

  Chapter I. Of Sentences; Remark
  Chapter II. Of Articles. Corrections under the 17 Notes to Rule 1
  Chapter III. Of Cases, or Nouns
    Cor. under Rule II; of Nominatives
    Cor. under Rule III; of Apposition
    Cor. under Rule IV; of Possessives
    Cor. under Rule V; of Objectives
    Cor. under Rule VI; of Same Cases
    Cor. under Rule VII; of Objectives
    Cor. under Rule VIII; of Nom. Absolute
  Chapter IV. Of Adjectives. Corrections under the 16 Notes to Rule IX
  Chapter V. Of Pronouns. Corrections under Rule X and its 16 Notes
    Corrections under Rule XI; of Pronouns
    Cor. under Rule XII; of Pronouns
    Cor. under Rule XIII; of Pronouns
  Chapter VI. Of Verbs. Corrections under Rule XIV and its 10 Notes
    Cor. under Rule XV and its Note
    Cor. under Rule XVI and its 7 Notes
    Cor. under Rule XVII and its 15 Notes
    Cor. under Rule XVIII; of Infinitives
    Cor. under Rule XIX; of Infinitives
  Chapter VII. Of Participles. Corrections under the 13 Notes to Rule XX
  Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs. Corrections under the 10 Notes to Rule XXI
  Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions. Corrections under the 8 Notes to Rule XXII
  Chapter X. Of Prepositions. Corrections under the 5 Notes to Rule XXIII
  Chapter XI. Promiscuous Exercises. Corrections of the 8 Lessons
  Chapter XII. General Review. Corrections under all the preceding Rules
    and Notes; 18 Lessons
  Chapter XIII. General Rule. Corrections under the General Rule; 16
  Corrections under the Critical Notes
  Promiscuous Corrections of False Syntax; 5 Lessons, under Various Rules

  Chapter I. Punctuation
    Section I. The Comma; Corrections under its 17 Rules
    Section II. The Semicolon; Corrections under its 8 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section III. The Colon; Corrections under its 8 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section IV. The Period; Corrections under its 8 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section V. The Dash; Corrections under its 8 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section VI. The Eroteme; Corrections under its 3 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section VII. The Ecphoneme; Corrections under its 3 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section VIII. The Curves; Corrections under their 2 Rules
    Mixed Examples Corrected
    Section IX. All Points; Corrections
    Good English Rightly Pointed
  Chapter II. Utterance; no Corrections
  Chapter III. Figures; no Corrections
  Chapter IV. Versification. False Prosody, or Errors of Metre, Corrected

  Appendix I. (To Orthography.) Of the Sounds of the Letters
  Appendix II. (To Etymology.) Of the Derivation of Words
  Appendix III. (To Syntax.) Of the Qualities of Style
  Appendix IV. (To Prosody.) Of Poetic Diction; its Peculiarities




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ALEXANDER, SAMUEL; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 216: 4th Edition, London, 1832.

ALGER, ISRAEL, Jun., A. M.; "Abridgement of Murray's E. Gram.," &c.; 18mo, pp. 126: Boston, 1824 and 1842.

ALLEN, Rev. WILLIAM, M. A.; "Grammar of the English Language," &c.; 18mo:
London. Also, "The Elements of English Grammar." &c.; 12mo, pp. 457:
London, 1813; 2d Ed.,

ALLEN and CORNWELL; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 162: 3d Edition, London, 1841.

ALLEN, D. CAVERNO; "Grammatic Guide, or Common School Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 94: Syracuse, N. Y., 1847.

ANDREW, JAMES, LL. D.; English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 129: London, 1817.

ANDREWS & STODDARD; "A Grammar of the Latin Language;" 12mo, pp. 328:
Boston, 1836; 11th Ed., 1845.

ANGELL, OLIVER, A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 90: 1st Edition,
Providence, R. I., 1830.

ANGUS, WILLIAM, M. A.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 255: 2d Edition, Glasgow,
Scotland, 1807.

ANON.; "The British Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 281: London, 1760, or near that date. Boston, Mass., 1784.

ANON.; "A Comprehensive Grammar," &c.; 18mo, pp. 174: 3d Ed., Philadelphia,
T. Dobson, 1789.

ANON.; "The Comic Grammar," &c,: London, 1840.

ANON.; "The Decoy," an English Grammar with Cuts; 12mo, pp. 33: New York,
S. Wood & Sons, 1820.

ANON.: E. Gram., "By T. C.;" 18mo, pp. 104: London, 1843.

ANON.; Grammar and Rhetoric; 12mo, pp. 221: London, 1776.

ANON.; "The English Tutor;" 8vo: London, 1747.

ANON.; English Grammar, 12mo: London, Boosey, 1795.

ANON.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 161: London, 1838.

ANON.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 85: London, 1838.

ANON.; An English Grammar, with Engravings; 18mo, pp. 16: London, 1820.

ANON.; English Grammar, pp. 84: 1st Ed., Huddersfield, 1817.

ANON.: "The Essentials of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 3d Edition,
London, 1821.

ANON.; "A Plain and Comprehensive Grammar," in "The Complete
Letter-Writer;" 12mo, pp. 31;—pages of the whole book, 215: London, 1811.

ANON.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 131: Albany, N. Y., 1819.

ANON.; (A. H. Maltby & Co. pub.;) Murray's Abridgement, "with Additions;" 18mo, pp. 120: Newhaven, Ct., 1822.

ANON.; (James Loring, pub.;) Murray's Abridgement, "with Alterations and
Improvements; by a Teacher of Youth;" (Lawson Lyon;) 18mo, pp. 72: 14th
Ed., Boston, 1821.

ANON.; "The Infant School Grammar;" (said to have been written by Mrs.
Bethune;) 18mo, pp. 182: New York, 1830. Jonathan Seymour, proprietor.

ANON.; Pestalozzian Grammar; 12mo, pp. 60: Boston, 1830.

ANON.; Interrogative Grammar; 12mo, pp. 70: Boston, 1832.

ANON.; Grammar with Cuts; 18mo, pp. 108: Boston, 1830. ANON.; "The Juvenile English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 89: Boston, 1829. B. Perkins & Co., publishers and proprietors.

ANON.; "The Little Grammarian;" 18mo, pp. 108: 2d Edition, Boston, 1829.

ANON.; An Inductive Grammar; 12mo, pp. 185: Windsor, Vt., 1829.

ANON.; "A Concise Grammar of the English Language, attempted in Verse;" 18mo, pp. 63: 1st Edition, New York, 1825. ANON.; "Edward's First Lessons in Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., Boston, T. H. Webb & Co., 1843.

ANON.; "The First Lessons in English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 90: 1st Edition,
Boston, 1842.

ANON.; "A New Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 124: New York, 1831; 2d Ed., Boston, 1834.

ANON.; "Enclytica, or the Principles of Universal Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 133:
London, J. Booth, 1814.

ANON.; "The General Principles of Grammar, edited by a few Well-Wishers to
Knowledge;" 18mo, pp. 76: Philadelphia, Lea & Blanchard, 1847.

ANON.; "English School Grammar;" small 12mo, pp. 32: London, 1850. A meagre sketch, published by "the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge."

ANON.; "An English Grammar, together with a First Lesson in Reading;" 18mo, pp. 16: James Burns, London; 2d Ed., 1844. Not worth a pin.

ARISTOTLE; his Poetics;—the Greek text, with Goulston's Latin Version, and
Winstanley's Notes;—8vo, pp. 320: Oxford, England, 1780.

ARNOLD, T. K., M. A.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 76: 2d Edition, London, 1841.

ASH, JOHN, LL. D.; "Grammatical Institutes;" 18mo, pp. 142: London, first published about 1763; New York, "A New Edition, Revised and Corrected," 1799.

BACON, CALEB, Teacher; "Murray's English Grammar Put into Questions and Answers;" 18mo, pp. 108: New York, 1st Edition, 1818; 5th Edition, 1823, 1827, and 1830.

BADGLEY, JONATHAN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 200: 1st Edition, Utica, N.
Y., 1845. Suppressed for plagiarism from G. Brown.

BALCH, WILLIAM S.; (1.) "Lectures on Language;" 12mo, pp. 252: Providence, 1838. (2.) "A Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp, 140: 1st Edition, Boston, 1839.

BALDWIN, EDWARD; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 148: London, 1810; 2d Ed., 1824.

BARBER, Dr. JONATHAN; "A Grammar of Elocution;" 12mo; Newhaven, 1830.

BARNARD, FREDERICK A. P., A. M.; "Analytic Grammar; with Symbolic Illustration;" 12mo, pp. 264: New York, 1836. This is a curious work, and remarkably well-written.

BARNES, DANIEL H., of N. Y.; "The Red Book," or Bearcroft's "Practical
Orthography," Revised and Enlarged; 12mo, pp. 347: New York, 1828.

BARNES, WILLIAM, B. D.; (1.) English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 120: London, 1842. (2.) "A Philological Grammar, grounded upon English, and formed from a Comparison of more than Sixty Languages;" 8vo, pp. 312: London, 1854.

BARRETT, JOHN; "A Grammar of the English Language;" 18mo, pp. 214: 2d Ed.,
Boston, 1819.

BARRETT, SOLOMON, Jun.; (1.) "The Principles of Language;" 12mo, pp. 120:
Albany, 1837. (2.) "The Principles of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 96;
"Tenth Edition, Revised:" Utica, 1845. (3.) "The Principles of Grammar;"
12mo, pp. 407: "Revised Edition;" Cambridge, 1854.

BARRIE, ALEXANDER; English Grammar; 24to, pp. 54: Edinburgh, 9th Ed., 1800.

BARTLETT, MONTGOMERY R.; "The Common School Manual;" called in the Third or Philadelphia Edition, "The National School Manual;"—"in Four Parts," or Separate Volumes, 12mo: I, pp. 108; II, 302; III, 379; IV, promised "to consist of 450 or 500 pages." First three parts, "Second Edition," New York, 1830. A miserable jumble, in the successive pages of which, Grammar is mixed up with Spelling-columns, Reading-lessons, Arithmetic, Geometry, and the other supposed daily tasks of a school-boy!

BAILEY, N., Schoolmaster; "English and Latin Exercises;" 12mo, pp. 183:
London. 18th Ed., 1798.

BAILEY, Rev. R. W., A. M.; "English Grammar," or "Manual of the English
Language;" 12mo, pp. 240: 2d Ed., Philadelphia, 1854.

BAYLEY, ANSELM, LL. D.; English Grammar, 8vo: London, 1772.

BEALE, SOLON; English Grammar, 18mo, pp. 27: Bangor, Maine, 1833.

BEALL, ALEXANDER; English Grammar, 12mo: 1st Ed., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1841.

BEATTIE, JAMES, LL. D.; "Theory of Language:" London, 1783; Philadelphia,
1809. "Elements of Moral Science;" 12mo, pp. 572; Baltimore, 1813. See, in
Part 1, the sections which treat of "The Faculty of Speech," and the
"Essentials of Language;" and, in Part IV, those which treat of "Rhetorick,
Figures, Sentences, Style, and Poetry."

BECK, WILLIAM; "Outline of English Grammar;" very small, pp. 34: 3d Ed.,
London, 1829.

BEECHER, CATHARINE E.; English Grammar, 12mo, pp. 74. 1st Ed., Hartford,
Ct., 1829.

BELL, JOHN; English Grammar, 12mo, pp. 446: (2 vols.:) 1st Ed., Glasgow, 1769.

BELLAMY, ELIZABETH; English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1802.

BENEDICT,————; English Grammar, 12mo, pp. 192: 1st Ed., Nicholasville,
Ky., 1832.

BETTESWORTH, JOHN; English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1778.

BICKNELL, ALEXANDER, Esq.; "The Grammatical Wreath; or, a Complete System of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 804: London, 1790.

BINGHAM, CALEB, A. M.; "The Young Lady's Accidence;" 18mo, pp. 60: Boston, 1804; 20th Ed., 1815.

BLAIR, HUGH, D. D., F. B. S.; "Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres;" 8vo, pp. 500: London, 1783; New York, 1819.

BLAIR, JOHN, D. D.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 145: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1831.

BLAIR, DAVID, Rev.; "A Practical Grammar of the English Language;" 18mo, pp. 167: 7th Ed., London, 1815.

BLAISDALE, SILAS; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 88: 1st Ed., Boston, 1831.

BLISS, LEONARD Jun.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 73: 1st Ed., Louisville,
Ky., 1839.

BOBBITT, A.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 136: 1st Ed., London, 1833.

BOLLES, WILLIAM; (1.) "A Spelling-Book;" 12mo, pp. 180: Ster. Ed., N. London, 1831. (2.) "An Explanatory and Phonographic Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language;" royal octavo, pp. 944; Ster. Ed., New London, 1845.

BOOTH, DAVID; Introd. to Analytical Dict.; 8vo, pp. 168: London, 1814. Analytical Dictionary of the English Language: London, 1835. E. Grammar, 12mo: London, 1837.

BRACE, JOAB; "The Principles of English Grammar;" (vile theft from Lennie;) 18mo, pp. 144: 1st Edition, Philadelphia, 1839.

BRADLEY, JOSHUA, A. M.; "Youth's Literary Guide;" 12mo, pp. 192: 1st Ed.,
Windsor, Vt., 1815.

BRADLEY, Rev. C.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 148: York, Eng., 1810; 3d Ed., 1813.

BRIDIL, EDMUND, LL. D.; E. Gram., 4to: London, 1799.

BRIGHTLAND, JOHN, Pub.; "A Grammar of the English Tongue;" 12mo, pp. 800: 7th Ed., London, 1748.

BRITTAIN, Rev. LEWIS; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 156: 2d Edition, London, 1790.

BROMLEY, WALTER; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 104: 1st Ed., Halifax, N. S., 1822.

BROWN, GOOLD; (1.) "The Institutes of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 220-312: New York, 1st Ed., 1823; stereotyped in 1832, and again in 1846. (2.) "The First Lines of English Grammar;" early copies 18mo, late copies 12mo, pp. 108: New York, 1st Ed., 1823; stereotyped in 1827, and in 1844. (3.) "A Key to the Exercises for Writing, contained in the Institutes of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 51: New York, 1825. (4.) "A Catechism of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 72: New York, 1827. (5.) "A Compendious English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 22: (in Part I of the Treasury of Knowledge:) New York, 1831. (6.) "The Grammar of English Grammars;" 8vo, pp. 1028; first printed in Boston in 1850 and 1851.

BROWN, JAMES; (1.) An Explanation of E. Grammar as taught by an Expensive
Machine; 8vo, pp. 40: 1st Ed., Boston, 1815. (2.) "The American Grammar;" a
Pamphlet; 12mo, pp. 48: Salem, N. Y., 1821. (3.) "An American Grammar;"
18mo, pp. 162: New York, 1821. (4.) "An Appeal from the British System of
English Grammar to Common Sense;" 12mo, pp. 336: Philadelphia, 1837. (5.)
"The American System of English Syntax;" 12mo, pp. 216: Philad., 1838. (6.)
"An Exegesis of English Syntax;" 12mo, pp. 147: Philad., 1840. (7.) "The
First Part of the American System of English Syntax;" 12mo, pp. 195:
Boston, 1841. (8.) "An English Syntascope," a "Chart," and other
fantastical works.

BROWN, J. H., A. M.; (with Gengemhre;) "Elements of English Grammar, on a
Progressive System;" 12mo, pp. 213: Philad., 1855.

BROWN, RICHARD; English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1692.

BUCHANAN, JAMES; "A Regular English Syntax;" 12mo, pp. 196: 5th American
Ed., Philad., 1792.

BUCKE, CHARLES; "A Classical Grammar of the E. Language;" 18mo, pp. 152:
London, 1829.

BULLEN, Rev. H. ST. JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 140: 1st Edition,
London, 1797.

BULLIONS, Rev. PETER, D. D.; (1.) "Elements of the Greek Language;" (now called, "The Principles of Greek Grammar;") mostly a version of Dr. Moor's "Elementa Linguæ Græcæ:" 1st Ed., 1831. (2.) "The Principles of English Grammar;" (mostly copied from Lennie;) 12mo, pp. 187; 2d Ed., New York, 1837; 5th Ed., Revised, pp. 216, 1843, (3.) "The Principles of Latin Grammar;" (professedly, "upon the foundation of Adam's Latin Grammar;") 12mo, pp. 312: Albany, 1841: 12th Ed., New York, 1846. (4.) "Practical Lessons in English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 132: New York, 1844. (5.) "An Analytical and Practical Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 240: 1st Ed., New York, 1849.

BULLOKAR, WILLIAM; (1.) "Booke at Large for the Amendment of Orthographie for English Speech." (2.) "A Bref Grammar for English:" London, 1586.

BURHANS, HEZEKIAH; "The Critical Pronouncing Spelling-Book;" 12mo, pp. 204: 1st Ed., Philad., 1823.

BURLES, EDWARD; E. Gram., 12mo: Lond., 1652.

BURN, JOHN; "A Practical Grammar of the E. Lang.;" 12mo, pp. 275: Glasgow, 1766; 10th Ed., 1810.

BURR, JONATHAN, A. M.; "A Compendium of Eng. Gram.;" 18mo, pp. 72: Boston, 1797,—1804,—1818.

BUTLER, CHARLES; E. Gram., 4to: Oxford, Eng., 1633.

BUTLER, NOBLE, A. M.; (1.) "A Practical Grammar of the E. Lang.;" 12mo, pp. 216: 1st Ed., Louisville, Ky., 1845. (2.) "Introductory Lessons in E. Grammar," 1845.

CAMPBELL, GEORGE, D. D., F. R. S.; "The Philosophy of Rhetoric;" 8vo, pp. 445: London, 1776: Philad., 1818.

CARDELL, WM. S.; (1.) An "Analytical Spelling-Book;" (with Part of the "Story of Jack Halyard;") 12mo, pp. 192: (published at first under the fictitious name of "John Franklin Jones:") New York, 1823; 2d Ed., 1824. (2.) An "Essay on Language;" 12mo, pp. 203: New York, 1825. (3.) "Elements of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 141: New York, 1826; 3d Ed., Hartford, 1827. (4.) "Philosophic Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 236: Philadelphia, 1827.

CAREY, JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 220: 1st Ed., London, 1809.

CARTER, JOHN; E. Gram., 8vo: Leeds, 1773.

CHANDLER, JOSEPH R.; "A Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 180:
Philad., 1821. Rev. Ed., pp. 208, stereotyped, 1847.

CHAPIN, JOEL; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 252: 1st Edition, Springfield,
Mass., 1842.

CHAUVIER, J. H., M. A.; "A Treatise on Punctuation;" translated from the
French, by J. B. Huntington; large 18mo, pp. 112: London, 1849.

CHESSMAN, DANIEL, A. M.; Murray Abridged; 18mo, pp. 24: 3d Ed., Hullowell,
Me., 1821.

CHILD, PROF. F. J.; "Revised Edition" of Dr. Latham's "Elementary English
Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 236: Cambridge, N. E., 1852.

CHURCHILL, T. O.; "A New Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 454: 1st Ed., London, 1823.

CLAPHAM, Rev. SAMUEL; E. Grammar: London, 1810.

CLARK, HENRY; E. Grammar; 4to: London, 1656.

CLARK, SCHUYLER; "The American Linguist, or Natural Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 240: Providence, 1830.

CLARK, S. W., A. M.; "A Practical Grammar," with "a System of Diagrams;" 12mo, pp. 218; 2d Ed., New York, 1848.

CLARK, WILLIAM; E. Gram.; 18mo: London, 1810.

CLARKE, R.; "Poetical Grammar of the English Language, and an Epitome of
Rhetoric;" 12mo, pp. 172; price, 2s. 6d.: London, 1855.

COAR, THOMAS; "A Grammar of the English Tongue;" 12mo, pp. 276: 1st Ed.,
London, 1796.

COBB, ENOS; "Elements of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed.,
Boston, 1820.

COBB, LYMAN, A. M.; (1.) A Spelling-Book according to J. Walker; "Revised Ed.:" Ithaca, N. Y., 1825. (2.) "Abridgment of Walker's Crit. Pron. Dict.:" Hartford, Ct., 1829. (3.) "Juvenile Reader, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and Sequel:" New York, 1831. (4.) "The North American Reader;" 12mo, pp. 498: New York, 1835. (5.) "New Spelling-Book, in Six Parts;" 12mo, pp. 168: N. Y., 1843. (6.) An "Expositor," a "Miniature Lexicon," books of "Arithmetic, &c., &c."

COBBETT, WILLIAM; "A Grammar of the E. Language;" 12mo, New York and Lond., 1818; 18mo, N. Y., 1832.

COBBIN, Rev. INGRAM, M. A.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 72: 20th Edition,
London, 1844.

COCHRAN, PETER, A. B.: English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 71: 1st Ed., Boston, 1802.

COLET, Dr. John, Dean of St. Paul's; the "English Introduction" to Lily's
Grammar; dedicated to Lily in 1510. See Gram. of E. Gram., Introd., Chap.
XI, ¶¶ 3, 4, and 5.

COMLY, JOHN; "English Grammar Made Easy;" 18mo, pp. 192: 6th Ed., Philad., 1815; 15th Ed., 1826.

COMSTOCK, ANDREW, M. D.; "A System of Elocution;" 12mo, pp. 364:
Philadelphia, 1844. "A Treatise on Phonology;" 12mo, 1846: &c.

CONNEL, ROBERT; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 162: Glasgow, 1831; 2d Ed., 1834.

CONNON, C. W., M. A.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 168: Edinburgh, 1845.

COOPER, Rev. JOAB GOLDSMITH, A. M.; (1.) "An Abridgment of Murray's English Grammar;" (largely stolen from G. Brown;) 12mo, pp. 200: Philadelphia, 1828. (2.) "A Plain and Practical English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 210: Philad., 1831.

COOTE, C., LL. D.; on the English Language; 8vo, pp. 281: 1st Edition,
London, 1788.

CORBET, JAMES; English Grammar; 24to, pp. 153: 1st Edition, Glasgow, 1743.

CORBET, JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo: Shrewsbury, England, 1784.

CORNELL, WILLIAM M.; English Grammar; 4to, pp. 12: 1st Edition, Boston, 1840.

COVELL, L. T.; "A Digest of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 219: 3d Ed., New
York, 1853. Much indebted to S. S. Greene, H. Mandeville, and G. Brown.

CRANE, GEORGE; "The Principles of Language;" 12mo, pp. 264: 1st Ed.,
London, 1843.

CROCKER, ABRAHAM; English Grammar, 12mo: Lond., 1772.

CROMBIE, ALEXANDER, LL. D., F. R. S.; "A Treatise on the Etymology and
Syntax of the English Language;" 8vo, pp. 425: London, 2d Ed., 1809; 4th
Ed., 1836.

CUTLER, ANDREW, A. M.; "English Grammar and Parser;" 12mo, pp. 168: 1st
Ed., Plainfield, Ct., 1841.

DALE, W. A. T.; a small "English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 72: 1st Ed., Albany,
N. Y., 1820.

DALTON, JOHN; "Elements of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 122: London, 1st
Ed., 1801.

DAVENPORT, BISHOP; "English Grammar Simplified;" 18mo, pp. 139: 1st Ed.,
Wilmington, Del., 1830.

DAVIDSON, DAVID; a Syntactical Treatise, or Grammar; 12mo: London, 1823.

DAVIS, Rev. JOHN, A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 188: 1st Ed., Belfast,
Ireland, 1832.

DAVIS, PARDON; (1.) An Epitome of E. Gram.; 12mo, pp. 56: 1st Ed., Philad., 1818. (2.) "Modern Practical E. Gram.;" 12mo, pp. 175: 1st Ed., Philad., 1845.

DAY, PARSONS E.; "District School Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 120: 2d Ed., Ithaca,
N. Y., 1844.

DAY, WILLIAM; "Punctuation Reduced to a System;" 18mo, pp. 147: 3d Ed.,
London, 1847.

DEARBORN, BENJAMIN; "Columbian Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 140: 1st Ed., Boston, 1795.

DEL MAR, E.; Treatise on English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 115: 1st Ed., London, 1842.

D'ORSEY, ALEXANDER J. D.; (1.) A Duodecimo Grammar, in Two Parts; Part I, pp. 153; Part II, pp. 142: 1st Ed., Edinburgh, 1842. (2.) An Introduction to E. Gram.; 18mo, pp. 104: Edin., 1845.

DE SACY, A. J. SYLVESTRE, Baron; "Principles of General Grammar;" translated from the French, by D. Fosdick, Jun.; 12mo, pp. 156: 1st American, from the 5th French Edition; Andover and New York, 1834.

"DESPAUTER, JOHN, a Flemish grammarian, whose books were, at one time, in great repute; he died in 1520."—Univ. Biog. Dict. Despauter's Latin Grammar, in Three Parts,—Etymology, Syntax, and Versification,—comprises 858 octavo pages. Dr. Adam says, in the "Preface to the Fourth Edition" of his Grammar, "The first complete edition of Despauter's Grammar was printed at Cologne, anno 1522; his Syntax had been published anno 1509." G. Brown's copy is a "complete edition," printed partly in 1517, and partly in 1518.

DEVIS, ELLEN; E. Gram.; 18mo, pp. 130: London and Dublin; 1st Ed., 1777; 17th Ed., 1825. [Fist] Devis's Grammar, spoken of in D. Blair's Preface, as being too "comprehensive and minute," is doubtless an other and much larger work.

DILWORTH, THOMAS; "A New Guide to the English Tongue;" 12mo, pp. 148:
London; 1st Ed., 1740: 26th Ed., 1764; 40th Ed., (used by G. B.,) undated.

DOHERTY, HUGH; a Treatise on English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 240; 1st Ed.,
London, 1841.

DRUMMOND, JOHN; English Grammar; 8vo: London, 1767. DYCHE, THOMAS; English
Grammar; 8vo, pp. 10: London, 1st Ed., 1710; 12th Ed., 1765.

EARL, MARY; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 36: 1st Ed., Boston, 1816.

EDWARDS, Mrs. M. C.; English Grammar; 8vo: Brentford. England, 1796.

EGELSHEM, WELLS; English Grammar; 12mo: London, 1781.

ELMORE, D. W., A. M.; "English Grammar, or Natural Analysis;" 18mo, pp. 18: 1st Ed., Troy, N. Y., 1830. A mere trifle.

ELPHINSTON, JAMES; on the English Language; 12mo, pp. 298: 1st Ed., London, 1796.

EMERSON, BENJAMIN D.; "National Spelling-Book;" 12mo, pp. 168: Boston, 1828.

EMERY, J., A. B.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 39: 1st Ed., Wellsborough,
Pa., 1829.

EMMONS, S. B.; "The Grammatical Instructer;" 12mo, pp. 160: 1st Ed.,
Boston, 1832. Worthless.

ENSELL, G.; "A Grammar of the English Language;" in English and Dutch; 8vo, pp. 612: Rotterdam, 1797.

EVEREST, Rev. CORNELIUS B.; "An English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 270: 1st Ed.,
Norwich, Ct., 1835. Suppressed for plagiarism from G. Brown.

EVERETT, ERASTUS, A. M.; "A System of English Versification;" 12mo, pp. 198: 1st Ed., New York, 1848.

FARNUM, CALEB, Jun., A. M.; "Practical Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 124: 1st Edition, (suppressed for petty larcenies from G. Brown,) Providence, R. I., 1842; 2d Edition, (altered to evade the charge of plagiarism,) Boston, 1843.

FARBO, DANIEL; "The Royal British Grammar and Vocabulary;" 12mo, pp. 344: 1st Ed., London. 1754.

FELCH, W.; "A Comprehensive Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 122: 1st Edition, Boston, 1837. This author can see others' faults better than his own.

FELTON, OLIVER C.; "A Concise Manual of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 145:
Salem, Mass., 1843.

FENNING, DANIEL; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 224: 1st Ed., London, 1771.

FENWICK, JOHN; an English Grammar, 12mo.: London, 1811.

FISHER, A.; "A Practical New Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 176: London: 1st Ed., 1753; 28th Ed., 1795; "A New Ed., Enlarged, Improved, and Corrected," (used by G. B.,) 1800.

FISK, ALLEN; (1.) Epitome of E. Gram.; 18mo, pp. 124: Hallowell, Me., 1821; 2d Ed., 1828. (2.) "Adam's Latin Grammar Simplified;" 8vo, pp. 190: New York, 1822; 2d Ed., 1824. (3.) "Murray's English Grammar Simplified;" 8vo, pp. 178: 1st Ed., Troy, N. Y., 1822.

FLEMING, Rev. CALEB; an English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1765.

FLETCHER, LEVI; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 83: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1834.

FLETCHER, Rev. W.; English Gram.; 18mo, pp. 175: London; 1st Ed., 1828; 2d
Ed., 1833.

FLINT, ABEL, A. M., and D. D.; "Murray's English Grammar Abridged;" 12mo, pp. 204: Hartford, Ct.; 1st Ed., 1807; 6th Ed., pp. 214, 1826.

FLINT, JOHN; "First Lessons in English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 107: 1st Ed.,
New York, 1834.

FLOWER, M. and W. B.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 170: 1st Ed., London, 1844.

FOLKER, JOSEPH; "An Introduction to E. Gram.;" 12mo, pp. 34: Savannah, Ga., 1821.

FORMEY, M., M. D., S. E., &c., &c.; "Elementary Principles of the
Belles-Lettres;"—"Translated from the French, by the late Mr. Sloper
Forman;" 12mo, pp. 224: Glasgow, 1767.

FOWLE, WILLIAM BENTLEY; (1.) "The True English Grammar," (Part I;) 18mo, pp. 180: Boston, 1827. (2.) "The True English Grammar, Part II;" 18mo, pp. 97: Boston, 1829. (3.) "The Common School Grammar, Part I;" 12mo, pp. 46: Boston, 1842. (4.) "The Common School Grammar, Part II;" 12mo, pp. 108: Boston, 1842.

FOWLER, WILLIAM C.; "English Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 675: 1st Ed., New York, 1850.

FRAZEE, Rev. BRADFORD; "An Improved Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 192: Philad., 1844;
Ster. Ed., 1845.

FRENCH, D'ARCY A.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 168: Baltimore, 1st Ed., 1831.

FROST, JOHN, A. M.; (1.) "Elements of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., Boston, 1829. (2.) "A Practical English Grammar;" (with 89 cuts;) 12mo, pp. 204: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1842.

FULLER, ALLEN; "Grammatical Exercises, being a plain and concise Method of teaching English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., Plymouth, Mass., 1822. A book of no value.

GARTLEY, G.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 225: 1st Edition, London, 1830.

GAY, ANTHELME; "A French Prosodical Grammar;" for English or American
Students; 12mo, pp. 215: New York, 1795.

GENGEMBRE, P. W.; "Brown and Gengembre's English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 213:
Philad., 1855. (See J. H. Brown.)

GIBBS, Prof. J. W., of Yale C.; on Dialects, Sounds, and Derivations. See about 126 pages, credited to this gentleman, in Prof. Fowler's large Grammar, of 1850.

GILBERT, ELI; a "Catechetical Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 124: 1st Ed., 1834; 2d
Ed., New York, 1835.

GILCHRIST, JAMES; English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 269: 1st Ed., London, 1815.

GILES, JAMES; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 152: London, 1804; 2d Ed., 1810.

GILES, Rev. T. A., A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, London, 2d Ed., 1838.

GILL, ALEXANDER; English Grammar, treated in Latin; 4to: London, 1621.

GILLEADE, G.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 206: London; 1st Ed., 1816.

GIRAULT Du VIVIER, Ch. P.; (1.) "La Grammaire des Grammaires;" two thick volumes, 8vo: Paris; 2d Ed., 1814. (2.) "Traité des Participes;" 8vo, pp. 84: 2d Ed., Paris, 1816.

GOLDSBURY, JOHN, A. M.; (1.) "The Common School Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 94: 1st Ed., Boston, 1842. (2.) "Sequel to the Common School Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 110: 1st Ed., Boston, 1842.

GOODENOW, SMITH B.; "A Systematic Text-Book of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 144: 1st Edition, Portland, 1839; 2d Edition, Boston, 1843.

GOUGH, JOHN and JAMES; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 212: 2d Ed., Dublin, 1760.

GOULD, BENJAMIN A.; "Adam's Lat. Gram., with Improvements;" 12mo, pp. 300:
Boston, 1829.

GRAHAM, G. F.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 134: 1st Ed., London, 1843.

GRANT, JOHN, A. M.; (1.) "Institutes of Latin Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 453:
London, 1808. (2.) A Comprehensive English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 410: 1st Ed.,
London, 1813.

GRANVILLE, GEO.; English Grammar, 12mo: London, 1827.

GRAY, JAMES, D. D.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 144: 1st Ed., Baltimore, 1818.

GREEN, MATTHIAS; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 148: 1st Ed., London, 1837.

GREEN, RICHARD W.; "Inductive Exercises in English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., New York, 1829; 5th Ed., Phila., 1834.

GEEENE, ROSCOE G.; (1.) E. Gram.; 12mo, pp. 132: Hallowell, Me.; 1st Ed., 1828; Ster. Ed., 1835. (2.) "A Practical Grammar for the English Language;" (with Diagrams of Moods;) 12mo: Portland, 1829. (3.) "A Grammatical Text-Book, being an Abstract of a Practical Gram., &c.;" 12mo, pp. 69: Boston, 1833.

GREENE, SAMUEL S.; (1.) "Analysis of Sentences;" 12mo, pp. 258: 1st Ed.,
Philadelphia, 1848. (2.) "First Lessons in Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 171: 1st
Ed., Philad., 1848.

GREENLEAF, JEREMIAH; "Grammar Simplified;" 4to, pp. 48: New York; 3d Ed., 1821; 20th Ed., 1837.

GREENWOOD, JAMES; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 315: London, 1711; 2d Ed., 1722.

GEENVILLE, A. S.; "Introduction to English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 63: 1st Ed.,
Boston, 1822.

GRISCOM, JOHN, LL. D.; "Questions in English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 42: 1st
Ed., New York, 1821.

GURNEY, DAVID. A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 72: Boston, 1801; 2d Ed., 1808.

GUY, JOSEPH, Jun.; "English School Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 143: 4th Ed., London 1816.

HALL, Rev. S. R.; "The Grammatical Assistant;" 12mo, pp. 131: 1st Ed.,
Springfield, Mass., 1832.

HALL, WILLIAM; "Encyclopedia of English Grammar;" (by report;) Ohio, 1850.

HALLOCK, EDWARD J., A. M.; "A Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 251: 1st Ed., New York, 1842. A very inaccurate book, with sundry small plagiarisms from G. Brown.

HAMLIN, LORENZO F.; "English Grammar in Lectures;" 12mo, pp. 108: New York, 1831; Ster. Ed., 1832.

HAMMOND, SAMUEL; English Grammar; 8vo: Lond., 1744.

HARRIS, JAMES, Esq.; "Hermes; or a Philosophical Inquiry concerning
Universal Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 468; London, 1751: 6th Ed., 1806.

HARRISON, Mr.; "Rudiments of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 9th American
Ed., Philad., 1812.

HARRISON, Rev. MATTHEW, A. M.; "The Rise, Progress, and Present Structure of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 393: Preface dated Basingstoke, Eng., 1848; 1st American Ed., Philad., 1850.

HART, JOHN S., A. M.; "English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 192; 1st Ed.,
Philadelphia, 1845.

HARVEY, J.; English Grammar: London, 1841.

HAZEN, EDWARD, A. M.; "A Practical Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 240: New York, 1842.

HAZLITT, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 205: London, 1810.

HENDRICK, J. L., A. M.; "A Grammatical Manual;" 18mo, pp. 105: 1st Ed.,
Syracuse, N. Y., 1844.

HEWES, JOHN, A. M.; English Grammar; 4to: London, 1624.

HEWETT, D.; English Grammar; folio, pp. 16: 1st Edition, New York, 1838.

HIGGINSON, Rev. T. E.; E. Gram.; 12mo; Dublin, 1803.

HILEY, RICHARD; "A Treatise on English Grammar," &c.; 12mo, pp. 269: 3d Ed., London, 1840. Hiley's Grammar Abridged; 18mo, pp. 196: London, 1843: 4th Ed., 1851.

HILL, J. H.; "On the Subjunctive Mood;" 8vo, pp. 63: 1st Ed., London, 1834.

HODGSON, Rev. ISAAC; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 184: 1st Ed., London, 1770.

HOME, HENRY, Lord Kames; "Elements of Criticism;" 2 volumes 8vo, pp. 836: (3d American, from the 8th London Ed.:) New York, 1819. Also, "The Art of Thinking;" 12mo, pp. 284: (from the last London Ed.:) New York, 1818.

HORNSEY, JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 144; York, England, 1798: 6th
Ed., 1816.

HORT, W. JILLARD; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 219: 1st Ed., London, 1822.

HOUGHTON, JOHN; English Grammar; 8vo: London, 1766.

HOUSTON, SAMUEL, A. B.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 48: 1st Ed.,
Harrisburgh, Pa., 1818.

HOWE, S. L.; English Grammar; 18mo; 1st Ed., Lancaster, Ohio, 1838.

HOWELL, JAMES; English Grammar; 12mo: London, 1662.

HULL, JOSEPH HERVEY; "E. Gram., by Lectures;" 12mo, pp. 72: 4th Ed.,
Boston, 1828.

HUMPHREY, ASA; (1.) "The English Prosody;" 12mo, pp. 175: 1st Ed., Boston, 1847. (2.) "The Rules of Punctuation;" with "Rules for the Use of Capitals;" 18mo, pp. 71: 1st Ed., Boston, 1847.

HURD, S. T.; E. Gram.: 2d Ed., Boston, 1827.

HUTHERSAL, JOHN; English Grammar; 18mo: England, 1814.

INGERSOLL, CHARLES M.; "Conversations on English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 296:
New York, 1821.

JAMIESON, ALEXANDER; "A Grammar of Rhetoric and Polite Literature;" 12mo, pp. 345: "The first American, from the last London Edition;" Newhaven, 1820.

JAUDON, DANIEL; "The Union Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 216: Philadelphia; 1st Ed., 1812; 4th, 1828.

JENKINS, AZARIAH; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 256; 1st Ed., Rochester, N.
Y., 1835.

JOEL, THOMAS; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 78: 1st Ed., London, 1775.

JOHNSON, RICHARD; "Grammatical Commentaries;" (chiefly on Lily;) 8vo, pp. 436: London, 1706.

JOHNSON, SAMUEL, LL. D.; "A Dictionary of the English Language;" in two
thick volumes, 4to: 1st American, from the 11th London Edition;
Philadelphia, 1818. To this work, are prefixed Johnson's "History of the
English Language," pp. 29; and his "Grammar of the English Tongue," pp. 14.

JONES, JOSHUA; E. Gram.; 18mo: Phila., 1841.

JONSON, BEN;—see, in his Works, "The English Grammar, made by Ben Jonson, for the Benefit of all Strangers, out of his Observation of the English Language, now spoken and in use:" London, 1634: 8vo, pp. 94; Lond., 1816.

JUDSON, ADONIRAM, Jun., A. B.; E. Grammar; 12mo, pp. 56: 1st Ed., Boston, 1808.

KENNION, CHARLOTTE; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 157: 1st Ed., London, 1842.

KILSON, ROGER; English Grammar; 12mo: England, 1807.

KING, WALTER W.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 76: 1st Ed., London, 1841.

KIRKHAM, SAMUEL; "English Grammar in familiar Lectures;" 12mo, pp. 141—228: 2d Ed., Harrisburgh, Pa., 1825; 12th Ed., New York, 1829.

KNOWLES, JOHN; "The Principles of English Grammar;" 12mo: 3d Ed., London, 1794.

KNOWLTON, JOSEPH; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 84: Salem, Mass., 1818; 2d
Ed., 1832.

LATHAM, ROBERT GORDON, A. M., M. D., F. R. S. (1.) "The English Language;" 8vo, pp. 418: 1st Ed., London, 1841. (2.) "English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 214: 1st Ed., London, 1843. (3.) "A Hand-Book of the English Language;" large 12mo, pp. 898: New York, 1852.

LEAVITT, DUDLEY; English Grammar; 24to, pp. 60: 1st Ed., Concord, N. H., 1826.

LENNIE, WILLIAM; "The Principles of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 142: 5th
Ed., Edinburgh, 1819; 13th Ed., 1831.

LEWIS, ALONZO; "Lessons in English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 50: 1st Ed., Boston, 1822.

LEWIS, JOHN; (1.) English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 48: 1st Ed., New York, 1828. (2.) "Tables of Comparative Etymology; or, The Student's Manual of Languages;" 4to, pp. 108: Philad., 1828.

LEWIS, WILLIAM GREATHEAD; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 204: 1st Ed., London, 1821.

LILY, WILLIAM; "Brevissima Institutio, seu Ratio Grammatices cognoscendæ;" large 18mo, pp. 140: London, 1793.

LINDSAY, Rev. JOHN, A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 88: 1st Ed., London. 1842.

LOCKE, JOHN, M. D.; small English Grammar; 18mo: 1st Ed., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1827.

LOUGHTON, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 194: 3d Ed., London, 1739.

LOVECHILD, Mrs.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 72: 40th Ed., London, 1842.

LOWTH, ROBERT, D. D.; "A Short Introduction to English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 132: London, 1763;—Philadelphia, 1799;—Cambridge, Mass., 1838.

LYNDE, JOHN; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 10: 1st Ed., Woodstock, Vt., 1821.

MACK, EVERED J.; "The Self-Instructor, and Practical English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 180: 1st Ed., Springfield, Mass., 1835. An egregious plagiarism from G. Brown.

MACGOWAN, Rev. JAMES; "English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 248: London, 1825.

MACKINTOSH, DUNCAN; "An Essay on English Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 239: Boston, 1797.

MACKILQUHEM, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 12mo: Glasgow, 1799.

MAITTAIRE, MICHAEL; English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 272: London, 1712.

MANDEVILLE, HENRY, D. D.; (1.) "Elements of Reading and Oratory;" large 12mo: Utica, N. Y., 1845. (2.) "A Course of Reading for Schools;" 12mo, pp. 377: Improved Ed.; New York, 1851.

MARCET, Mrs.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 331: 7th Ed., London, 1843.

MARTIN, BENJ.; English Grammar; 12mo: London, 1754.

MATHESON, JOHN; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 138: 2d Ed., London, 1821.

MAUNDER, SAMUEL; Grammar prefixed to Dict.; 12mo, pp. 20: 1st Ed., London, 1830.

MAVOR, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 70: 1st Ed., London, 1820.

M'CREADY, F.; 12mo Grammar: Philad., 1820.

M'CULLOCH, J. M., D. D.; "A Manual of English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 188: 7th
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M'ELLIGOTT, JAMES N.; "Manual, Analytical and Synthetical, of Orthography and Definition;" 8vo, pp. 223: 1st Ed., New York, 1846. Also, "The Young Analyzer:" 12mo, pp. 54: New York, 1846.

MEILAN, MARK A.; English Grammar; 12mo: London, 1803.

MENDENHALL, WILLIAM; "The Classification of Words;" 12mo, pp. 36: Philad., 1814.

MENNYE, J.: "English Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 124: 1st Ed., New York, 1785.

MERCEY, BLANCHE; English Grammar; 12mo, 2 vols., pp. 248: 1st Ed., London, 1799.

MERCHANT, AARON M.; Murray's Small Grammar, Enlarged; 18mo, pp. 216: N. Y., 1824. This "Enlarged Abridgement" became "The American School Grammar" in 1828.

MILLER, ALEXANDER; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 119: 1st Ed., New York, 1795.

MILLER, The Misses; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 63: 1st Ed., London, 1830.
MILLER, FERDINAND H.; "The Ready Grammarian;" square 12mo, pp. 24: Ithaca,
New York, 1843.

MILLER, TOBIAS HAM; Murray's Abridgement, with Questions; 12mo, pp. 76:
Portsmouth, N. H., 1823.

MILLIGAN, Rev. GEORGE; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 72: Edin., 1831; 2d Ed., 1839.

MOORE, THOMAS; "Orthography and Pronunciation;" 12mo, pp. 176: London, 1810.

MORGAN, JONATHAN, Jun., A. B.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 405: 1st Ed.,
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MORLEY, CHARLES, A. B.; "School Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 86: (with Cuts:) 1st
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MOREY, AMOS C.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 106: Albany, N. Y., 1829.

MULKEY, WILLIAM; "An Abridgment of Walker's Rules on the Sounds of the
Letters;" 18mo, pp. 124: Boston. 1834. Fudge!

MULLIGAN, JOHN, A. M.; (1.) "Exposition of the Grammatical Structure of the English Language;" small 8vo, pp. 574: New York, 1852. (2.) Same Abridged for Schools; 12mo, pp. 301: N. Y., 1854.

MURRAY, ALEXANDER, D. D.; "The History of European Languages;" in two vols., 8vo.; pp. 800.

MURRAY, ALEXANDER, Schoolmaster; "Easy English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 194: 3d
Ed., London, 1793.

MURRAY, LINDLEY; (1.) "English Grammar, Adapted to the Different Classes of Learners;" 12mo, pp. 284: York, Eng., 1795; 2d Ed., 1796; 23d Ed., 1816. (2.) "Abridgment of Murray's English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 105: "From the 30th English Ed.," New York, 1817. (3.) "An English Grammar;" in two volumes, octavo; pp. 684: 4th American from the last English Ed.; New York, 1819. (4.) A Spelling-Book; 18mo, pp. 180: New York, 1819.

MYLINS, WM. F.; Gram., 12mo: England, 1809.

MYLNE, Rev. A., D. D.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 180: 11th Ed., Edinburgh, 1832.

NESBIT, A.; "An Introd. to English Parsing;" 18mo, pp. 213: 2d Ed., York,
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NEWBURY, JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 152: 5th Ed., London, 1787.

NIGHTINGALE, Rev. J.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 96: 1st Ed., London, 1822.

NIXON, H.; (1.) "The English Parser;" 12mo, pp. 164: 1st Ed., London, 1826. (2.) "New and Comprehensive English Grammar;" 12mo: 1st Ed., London, 1833.

NUTTING, RUFUS, A. M.; "A Practical Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 144: 3d Ed.,
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ODELL, J., A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 205: 1st Ed., London, 1806.

OLIVER, EDWARD, D. D.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 178: 1st Ed., London, 1807.

OLIVER, SAMUEL; English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 377: 1st Ed., London, 1825.

PALMER, MARY; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 48: New York, 1803.

PARKER, RICHARD GREEN; (1.) "Exercises in Composition;" 12mo, pp. 106: 3d
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PARKER and FOX; "Progressive Exercises in English Grammar;" in three separate parts, 12mo:—Part I, pp. 96; Boston, 1834: Part II, pp. 60; Boston, 1835: Part III, pp. 122; Boston, 1840.

PARKHURST, JOHN L.; (1.) "A Systematic Introduction to English Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 104: Concord, N. H., 1820; 2d Ed., 1824. (2.) "English Grammar for Beginners;" 18mo, pp. 180: 1st Ed., Andover, Mass., 1838.

PARSONS, SAMUEL H.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 107: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1836.

PEIRCE, JOHN; "The New American Spelling-Book," with "A Plain and Easy Introduction to English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 200: 6th Ed., Philadelphia, 1804. This Grammar is mostly copied from Harrison's.

PEIRCE, OLIVER B.; "The Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 384: 1st Ed., New York, 1839. Also, Abridgement of the same; 18mo, pp. 144: Boston, 1840.

PENGELLEY, EDWARD; English Gram.; 18mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., London, 1840.

PERLEY, DANIEL, M. D.; "A Grammar of the English Language;" 18mo, pp. 79: 1st Ed., Andover, Mass., 1834.

PERRY, WILLIAM; Grammar in Dict.; 12mo: Edinburgh, 1801.

PICKBOURN, JAMES; "Dissertation on the English Verb:" London, 1789.

PICKET, ALBERT; "Analytical School Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 252: New York, 1823; 2d Ed., 1824.

PINNEO, T. S., M. A., M. D.; (1.) "A Primary Grammar, for Beginners:" Cincinnati. (2.) "Analytical Grammar of the E. Language:" 12mo, pp. 216: Cincinnati, 1850; New York, 1853. (3.) "Pinneo's English Teacher; in which is taught the Structure of Sentences by Analysis and Synthesis;" 12mo, pp. 240: Cincinnati, 1854.

PINNOCK, W.; (1.) A Catechism of E. Gram.; 18mo, pp. 70: 18th Ed., London, 1825. (2.) A Comprehensive Grammar; 12mo, pp. 318: 1st Ed., London, 1829.

POND, ENOCH, D. D.; "Murray's System of Eng. Grammar, Improved;" 12mo, pp. 228: 5th Ed., Worcester, Mass., 1835. Also, under the same title, a petty Grammar with Cuts; 18mo, pp. 71: New Ed., Worcester, 1835.

POWERS, DANIEL, A. M.; E. Grammar; 12mo, pp. 188: 1st Ed., West Brookfleld,
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PRIESTLEY, JOSEPH, LL. D.; "The Rudiments of E. Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 202: 3d
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PUE, HUGH A.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 149: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1841.

PULLEN, P. H.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 321: London, 1820; 2d Ed., 1822.

PUTNAM, J. M.; "English Grammar;" (Murray's, Modified;) 18mo, pp. 162:
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PUTNAM, SAMUEL; "Putnam's Murray;" 18mo, pp. 108: Improved Ster. Ed.;
Dover, N. H., 1828.

PUTSEY, Rev. W.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 211: London, 1821; 2d Ed., 1829.

QUACKENBOS, GEO. PAYN; (1.) "First Lessons in Composition." (2.) "Advanced
Course of Composition and Rhetoric;" 12mo, pp. 455: New York, 1854.

RAND, ASA; "Teacher's Manual," &c.; 18mo, pp. 90: 1st Ed., Boston, 1832.

REED, CALEB, A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 30: 1st Ed., Boston, 1821.

REID, A.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 46: 2d Ed., London, 1839.

REID, JOHN, M. D.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 68: 1st Ed., Glasgow, 1830.

RICORD, F. W., A. M.; "The Youth's Grammar; or, Easy Lessons in Etymology;" 12mo, pp. 118: 1st Ed., N. Y., 1855.

RIGAN, JOHN; Grammar, 12mo: Dublin, 1823.

ROBBINS, MANASSEH; "Rudimental Lessons in Etym. and Synt.;" 12mo, pp. 70:
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ROBINSON, JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 95: 1st Ed., Maysville, 1830.

ROOME, Rev. T.; Gram.; 12mo: England, 1813.

ROSS, ROBERT; an American Grammar; 12mo, pp. 199: 7th Ed., Hartford, Ct., 1782.

ROTHWELL, J.; English Grammar; 12mo: 2d Ed., London, 1797.

ROZZELL, WM.; English Grammar in Verse; 8vo: London, 1795.

RUSH, JAMES, M. D.; "Philosophy of the Human Voice;" 8vo: Philadelphia, 1833.

RUSSELL, Rev. J., D. D.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 168: London, 1835; 10th
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RUSSELL, WILLIAM; (1.) "A Grammar of Composition;" 12mo, pp. 150: Newhaven, 1823. (2.) "Lessons in Enunciation:" Boston, 1841. (3.) "Orthophony; or the Cultivation of the Voice;" 12mo, pp. 300: improved Ed., Boston, 1847.

RUSSELL, WILLIAM E.: "An Abridgment of Murray's Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 142:
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RYLAND, JOHN; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 164: 1st Ed., Northampton, Eng., 1767.

SABINE, H., A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 120: 1st Ed., London, 1702.

SANBOBN, DYER H.; "An Analytical Grammar of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 299: 1st Ed., Concord, N. H., 1836.

SANDERS, CHARLES W. and J. C.; "The Young Grammarian;" 12mo, pp. 120:
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SARGENT, EPES; "The Standard Speaker; a Treatise on Oratory and Elocution;" small 8vo, pp. 558: Philadelphia, 1852.

SCOTT, WILLIAM; Grammar, 12mo: Edinb., 1797. Dictionary, with Grammar prefixed; square, pp. 492: Cork, 1810.

SEARLE, Rev. THOMAS; Grammar in Verse; 18mo, pp. 114: 1st Ed., London, 1822.

SHATFORD, W.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 104: 1st Ed., London, 1834.

SHAW, Rev. JOHN; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 259: 4th Ed., London, 1793.

SHERIDAN, THOMAS, A. M.; (1.) "Lectures on Elocution;" 12mo, pp. 185: London, 1762; Troy, N. Y., 1803. (2.) "Lectures on the Art of Reading." (3.) "A Rhetorical Grammar;" square 12mo, pp. 73: 3d Ed., Philadelphia, 1789. (4.) "Elements of English;" 12mo, pp. 69: Dublin, 1789. (5.) "A Complete Dictionary of the English Language;" 1st Ed., 1780.

SHERMAN, JOHN; American Grammar; 12mo, pp. 323: 1st Ed., Trenton Falls, N.
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SIMMONITE, W. J.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 228: 1st Ed., London, 1841.

SKILLERN, R. S., A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 184: 2d Ed., Gloucester,
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SMETHAM, THOMAS; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 168: 1st Ed., London, 1774.

SMITH, ELI; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 108: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1812.

SMITH, JOHN; Grammar, 8vo: Norwich, Eng., 1816.

SMITH, PETER, A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 176: 1st Ed., Edinburgh, 1826.

SMITH, Rev. THOMAS; (1.) Alderson's "Orthographical Exercises," Copied;
18mo, pp. 108: 15th Ed., London, 1819. (2.) "Smith's Edition of L. Murray's
Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 128: London, 1832. Very petty authorship. SMITH,
ROSWELL C.; (1.) "English Grammar on the Inductive System;" 12mo, pp. 205:
Boston, 1830; 2d Ed., 1881. (2.) "English Grammar on the Productive
System;" 12mo, pp. 192: 2d Ed., New York, 1832. A sham.

SNYDER, W.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 164: 1st Ed., Winchester, Va., 1834.

SPALDING, CHARLES; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 36: 1st Ed., Onondaga, N. Y., 1825.

SPEAR, MATTHEW P.; "The Teacher's Manual of English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 116: 1st Ed., Boston, 1845.

SPENCER, GEORGE, A. M.; "An English Grammar on Synthetical Principles;" 12mo, pp. 178: New York, 1851.

STANIFORD, DANIEL, A. M.; "A Short but Comprehensive Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 96: Boston, 1807; 2d Ed., 1815.

STEARNS, GEORGE; English Grammar; 4to, pp. 17: 1st Ed., Boston, 1843.

STOCKWOOD, JOHN; Gram., 4to: London, 1590.

STORY, JOSHUA; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 180: 1st Ed., Newcastle, Eng., 1778; 3d, 1783.

ST. QUENTIN, D., M. A.; "The Rudiments of General Gram.;" 12mo, pp. 163:
Lond., 1812.

SUTCLIFFE, JOSEPH, A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 262; London, 1815; 2d
Ed., 1821.

SWETT, J., A. M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 192: Claremont, N. H., 1843; 2d Ed., 1844.

TICKEN, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 147: 1st Ed., London, 1806.

TICKNOR, ELISHA, A. M.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 72: 3d Ed., Boston, 1794.

TOBITT, R.; "Grammatical Institutes;" (in Verse;) 12mo, pp. 72: 1st Ed.,
London, 1825.

TODD, LEWIS C.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 126: Fredonia, N. Y., 1826; 2d
Ed., 1827.

TOOKE, JOHN HORNE, A. M.; "Epea Pteroenta; or, the Diversions of Purley;" 2 vols., 8vo; pp. 924: 1st American, from the 2d London Ed.; Philadelphia, 1806.

TOWER, DAVID B., A. M.; "Gradual Lessons in Grammar;" small 12mo, pp. 180:
Boston, 1847.

TRENCH, RICHARD CHENEVIX, B. D; "On the Study of Words;" 12mo, pp. 236:
London, 1st Ed., 1851; 2d Ed., 1852: reprinted, New York, 1852.

TRINDER, WILLIAM M.; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 116: 1st Ed., London, 1781.

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., 1825.

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, 1765.

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, 1841.

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., 1816.

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, 1817.

WILSON, JOHN; "A Treatise on English Punctuation;" 12mo, pp. 204: Boston, 1850.

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, 1831.

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.






"Hæc 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 words.

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 preëminent 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 rectè scribendi, rectèque 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."
                    DRYDEN'S VIRGIL.

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 rectè 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 Latinè." Vossius, "Ars benè loquendi eóque et scribendi, atque id Latinis Latinè." Dr. Prat, "Grammatica est rectè loquendi atque scribendi ars." Ruddiman also, in his Institutes of Latin Grammar, reversed the terms writing and speaking, and defined grammar, "ars recè 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 rectè 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 rectè, 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. 4.

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 definition.

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 grammar.

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 tongue.

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 Cæsar 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. Latinæ, 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 veræ grammaticæ 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 erudition!

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 viâ ad famara contendere. Melioribus artibus laudem parare didici.
Itaque non libenter dico, quod præsens institutum dicere cogit."—Jo.
AUGUSTI ERNESTI Præf. ad Græcum 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 Grammar.

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 doctrine.

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 prcæcipit."

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 grammar.

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 strain.

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 "SIXTY-SEVENTH EDITION," and others again of the "HUNDRED AND FIFTH 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 preëminent 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. 52.

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. 138.

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 scarcely find an obstruction to impede your progress."—Ib., p. 133. "The supposed Herculean task of learning to conjugate verbs, will be transformed into a few hours of pleasant pastime."—Ib., p. 142. "By examining carefully the conjugation of the verb through this mood, you will find it very easy."—Ib., p. 147. "By pursuing the following direction, you can, in a very short time, learn to conjugate any verb."—Ib., p. 147. "Although this mode of procedure may, at first, appear to be laborious, yet, as it is necessary, I trust you will not hesitate to adopt it. My confidence in your perseverance, induces me to recommend any course which I know will tend to facilitate your progress."—Ib., p. 148.

29. The grand boast of this author is, that he has succeeded in "pleasing himself and the public." He trusts to have "gained the latter point," to so great an extent, and with such security of tenure, that henceforth no man can safely question the merit of his performance. Happy mortal! to whom that success which is the ground of his pride, is also the glittering ægis of his sure defence! To this he points with exultation and self-applause, as if the prosperity of the wicked, or the popularity of an imposture, had never yet been heard of in this clever world![12] Upon what merit this success has been founded, my readers may judge, when I shall have finished this slight review of his work. Probably no other grammar was ever so industriously spread. Such was the author's perseverance in his measures to increase the demand for his book, that even the attainment of such accuracy as he was capable of, was less a subject of concern. For in an article designed "to ward off some of the arrows of criticism,"—an advertisement which, from the eleventh to the "one hundred and fifth edition," has been promising "to the publick another and a better edition,"—he plainly offers this urgent engagement, as "an apology for its defects:"

"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 imperfect health permits him to be,) are any apology for his defects, he hopes that the candid will set down the apology to his credit.—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."—Kirkham's Gram., (Adv. of 1829,) p. 7.

30. Now, to this painful struggle, this active contention between business and the vapours, let all credit be given, and all sympathy be added; but, as an aid to the studies of healthy children, what better is the book, for any forbearance or favour that may have been won by this apology? It is well known, that, till phrenology became the common talk, the author's principal business was, to commend his own method of teaching grammar, and to turn this publication to profit. This honourable industry, aided, as himself suggests, by "not much less than one thousand written recommendations," is said to have wrought for him, in a very few years, a degree of success and fame, at which both the eulogists of Murray and the friends of English grammar may hang their heads. As to a "compromise" with any critic or reviewer whom he cannot bribe, it is enough to say of that, it is morally impossible. Nor was it necessary for such an author to throw the gauntlet, to prove himself not lacking in "self-confidence." He can show his "moral courage," only by daring do right.

31. In 1829, after his book had gone through ten editions, and the demand for it had become so great as "to call forth twenty thousand copies during the year," the prudent author, intending to veer his course according to the trade-wind, thought it expedient to retract his former acknowledgement to "our best modern philologists," and to profess himself a modifier of the Great Compiler's code. Where then holds the anchor of his praise? Let the reader say, after weighing and comparing his various pretensions:

"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 propensity to figure in the world as authors, and gain an ephemeral popularity by arrogating to themselves the credit due to another." [13]—Kirkham's Gram., 1829, p. 10.

32. Now these statements are either true or false; and I know not on which supposition they are most creditable to the writer. Had any Roman grammatist thus profited by the name of Varro or Quintilian, he would have been filled with constant dread of somewhere meeting the injured author's frowning shade! Surely, among the professed admirers of Murray, no other man, whether innovator or copyist, unfortunate or successful, is at all to be compared to this gentleman for the audacity with which he has "not scrupled to alter, mutilate, and torture, the text of that able writer." Murray simply intended to do good, and good that might descend to posterity; and this just and generous intention goes far to excuse even his errors. But Kirkham, speaking of posterity, scruples not to disavow and to renounce all care for them, or for any thing which a coming age may think of his character: saying,

"My pretensions reach not so far. To the present generation only, I present my claims. Should it lend me a listening ear, and grant me its suffrages, the height of my ambition will be attained."—Advertisement, in his Elocution, p. 346.

His whole design is, therefore, upon the very face of it, a paltry scheme of present income. And, seeing his entered classes of boys and girls must soon have done with him, he has doubtless acted wisely, and quite in accordance with his own interest, to have made all possible haste in his career.

33. Being no rival with him in this race, and having no personal quarrel with him on any account, I would, for his sake, fain rejoice at his success, and withhold my criticisms; because he is said to have been liberal with his gains, and because he has not, like some others, copied me instead of Murray. But the vindication of a greatly injured and perverted science, constrains me to say, on this occasion, that pretensions less consistent with themselves, or less sustained by taste and scholarship, have seldom, if ever, been promulgated in the name of grammar. I have, certainly, no intention to say more than is due to the uninformed and misguided. For some who are ungenerous and prejudiced themselves, will not be unwilling to think me so; and even this freedom, backed and guarded as it is by facts and proofs irrefragable, may still be ingeniously ascribed to an ill motive. To two thirds of the community, one grammar is just as good as an other; because they neither know, nor wish to know, more than may be learned from the very worst. An honest expression of sentiment against abuses of a literary nature, is little the fashion of these times; and the good people who purchase books upon the recommendations of others, may be slow to believe there is no merit where so much has been attributed. But facts may well be credited, in opposition to courteous flattery, when there are the author's own words and works to vouch for them in the face of day. Though a thousand of our great men may have helped a copier's weak copyist to take "some practical advantage" of the world's credulity, it is safe to aver, in the face of dignity still greater, that testimonials more fallacious have seldom mocked the cause of learning. They did not read his book.

34. Notwithstanding the author's change in his professions, the work is now essentially the same as it was at first; except that its errors and contradictions have been greatly multiplied, by the addition of new matter inconsistent with the old. He evidently cares not what doctrines he teaches, or whose; but, as various theories are noised abroad, seizes upon different opinions, and mixes them together, that his books may contain something to suit all parties. "A System of Philosophical Grammar," though but an idle speculation, even in his own account, and doubly absurd in him, as being flatly contradictory to his main text, has been thought worthy of insertion. And what his title-page denominates "A New System of Punctuation," though mostly in the very words of Murray, was next invented to supply a deficiency which he at length discovered. To admit these, and some other additions, the "comprehensive system-of grammar" was gradually extended from 144 small duodecimo pages, to 228 of the ordinary size. And, in this compass, it was finally stereotyped in 1829; so that the ninety-four editions published since, have nothing new for history.

35. But the publication of an other work designed for schools, "An Essay an Elocution" shows the progress of the author's mind. Nothing can be more radically opposite, than are some of the elementary doctrines which this gentleman is now teaching; nothing, more strangely inconsistent, than are some of his declarations and professions. For instance: "A consonant is a letter that cannot be perfectly sounded without the help of a vowel."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 19. Again: "A consonant is not only capable of being perfectly sounded without the help of a vowel, but, moreover, of forming, like a vowel, a separate syllable."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 32. Take a second example. He makes "ADJECTIVE PRONOUNS" a prominent division and leading title, in treating of the pronouns proper; defines the term in a manner peculiar to himself; prefers and uses it in all his parsing; and yet, by the third sentence of the story, the learner is conducted to this just conclusion: "Hence, such a thing as an adjective-pronoun cannot exist."—Grammar, p. 105. Once more. Upon his own rules, or such as he had borrowed, he comments thus, and comments truly, because he had either written them badly or made an ill choice: "But some of these rules are foolish, trifling, and unimportant."—Elocution, p. 97. Again: "Rules 10 and 11, rest on a sandy foundation. They appear not to be based on the principles of the language."—Grammar, p. 59. These are but specimens of his own frequent testimony against himself! Nor shall he find refuge in the impudent falsehood, that the things which I quote as his, are not his own.[14] These contradictory texts, and scores of others which might be added to them, are as rightfully his own, as any doctrine he has ever yet inculcated. But, upon the credulity of ignorance, his high-sounding certificates and unbounded boasting can impose any thing. They overrule all in favour of cue of the worst grammars extant;—of which he says, "it is now studied by more than one hundred thousand children and youth; and is more extensively used than all other English grammars published in the United States."—Elocution, p. 347. The booksellers say, he receives from his publishers ten cents a copy, on this work, and that he reports the sale of sixty thousand copies per annum. Such has of late been his public boast. I have once had the story from his own lips, and of course congratulated him, though I dislike the book. Six thousand dollars a year, on this most miserable modification of Lindley Murray's Grammar! Be it so—or double, if he and the public please. Murray had so little originality in his work, or so little selfishness in his design, that he would not take any thing; and his may ultimately prove the better bargain.

36. A man may boast and bless himself as he pleases, his fortune, surely, can never be worthy of an other's envy, so long as he finds it inadequate to his own great merits, and unworthy of his own poor gratitude. As a grammarian, Kirkham claims to be second only to Lindley Murray; and says, "Since the days of Lowth, no other work on grammar, Murray's only excepted, has been so favourably received by the publick as his own. As a proof of this, he would mention, that within the last six years it has passed through fifty editions."—Preface to Elocution, p. 12. And, at the same time, and in the same preface, he complains, that, "Of all the labours done under the sun, the labours of the pen meet with the poorest reward."—Ibid., p. 5. This too clearly favours the report, that his books were not written by himself, but by others whom he hired. Possibly, the anonymous helper may here have penned, not his employer's feeling, but a line of his own experience. But I choose to ascribe the passage to the professed author, and to hold him answerable for the inconsistency. Willing to illustrate by the best and fairest examples these fruitful means of grammatical fame, I am glad of his present success, which, through this record, shall become yet more famous. It is the only thing which makes him worthy of the notice here taken of him. But I cannot sympathize with his complaint, because he never sought any but "the poorest reward;" and more than all he sought, he found. In his last "Address to Teachers," he says, "He may doubtless be permitted emphatically to say with Prospero, 'Your breath has filled my sails.'"—Elocution, p. 18. If this boasting has any truth in it, he ought to be satisfied. But it is written, "He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance, with increase." Let him remember this.[15] He now announces three or four other works as forthcoming shortly. What these will achieve, the world will see. But I must confine myself to the Grammar.

37. In this volume, scarcely any thing is found where it might be expected. "The author," as he tells us in his preface, "has not followed the common 'artificial and unnatural arrangement adopted by most of his predecessors;' yet he has endeavoured to pursue a more judicious one, namely, 'the order of the understanding.'"—Grammar, p. 12. But if this is the order of his understanding, he is greatly to be pitied. A book more confused in its plan, more wanting in method, more imperfect in distinctness of parts, more deficient in symmetry, or more difficult of reference, shall not easily be found in stereotype. Let the reader try to follow us here. Bating twelve pages at the beginning, occupied by the title, recommendations, advertisement, contents, preface, hints to teachers, and advice to lecturers; and fifty-four at the end, embracing syntax, orthography, orthoëpy, provincialisms, prosody, punctuation, versification, rhetoric, figures of speech, and a Key, all in the sequence here given; the work consists of fourteen chapters of grammar, absurdly called "Familiar Lectures." The first treats of sundries, under half a dozen titles, but chiefly of Orthography; and the last is three pages and a half, of the most common remarks, on Derivation. In the remaining twelve, the Etymology and Syntax of the ten parts of speech are commingled; and an attempt is made, to teach simultaneously all that the author judged important in either. Hence he gives us, in a strange congeries, rules, remarks, illustrations, false syntax, systematic parsing, exercises in parsing, two different orders of notes, three different orders of questions, and a variety of other titles merely occasional. All these things, being additional to his main text, are to be connected, in the mind of the learner, with the parts of speech successively, in some new and inexplicable catenation found only in the arrangement of the lectures. The author himself could not see through the chaos. He accordingly made his table of contents a mere meagre alphabetical index. Having once attempted in vain to explain the order of his instructions, he actually gave the matter up in despair!

38. In length, these pretended lectures vary, from three or four pages, to eight-and-thirty. Their subjects run thus: 1. Language, Grammar, Orthography; 2. Nouns and Verbs; 3. Articles; 4. Adjectives; 5. Participles; 6. Adverbs; 7. Prepositions; 8. Pronouns; 9. Conjunctions; 10. Interjections and Nouns; 11. Moods and Tenses; 12. Irregular Verbs; 13. Auxiliary, Passive, and Defective Verbs; 14. Derivation. Which, now, is "more judicious," such confusion as this, or the arrangement which has been common from time immemorial? Who that has any respect for the human intellect, or whose powers of mind deserve any in return, will avouch this jumble to be "the order of the understanding?" Are the methods of science to be accounted mere hinderances to instruction? Has grammar really been made easy by this confounding of its parts? Or are we lured by the name, "Familiar Lectures,"—a term manifestly adopted as a mere decoy, and, with respect to the work itself, totally inappropriate? If these chapters have ever been actually delivered as a series of lectures, the reader must have been employed on some occasions eight or ten times as long as on others! "People," says Dr. Johnson, "have now-a-days got a strange opinion that every thing should be taught by lectures. Now, I cannot see that lectures can do so much good as a private reading of the books from which the lectures are taken. I know of nothing that can be best taught by lectures, except where experiments are to be shown. You may teach chymistry by lectures—you might teach the making of shoes by lectures." —Boswell's Life of Johnson.

39. With singular ignorance and untruth, this gentleman claims to have invented a better method of analysis than had ever been practised before. Of other grammars, his preface avers, "They have all overlooked what the author considers a very important object; namely, a systematick order of parsing."—Grammar, p. 9. And, in his "Hints to Teachers," presenting himself as a model, and his book as a paragon, he says: "By pursuing this system, he can, with less labour, advance a pupil farther in the practical knowledge of this abstruse science, in two months, than he could in one year, when he taught in the old way."—Grammar, p. 12. What his "old way" was, does not appear. Doubtless something sufficiently bad. And as to his new way, I shall hereafter have occasion to show that that is sufficiently bad also. But to this gasconade the simple-minded have given credit—because the author showed certificates that testified to his great success, and called him "amiable and modest!" But who can look into the book, or into the writer's pretensions in regard to his predecessors, and conceive the merit which has made him—"preëminent by so much odds?" Was Murray less praiseworthy, less amiable, or less modest? In illustration of my topic, and for the sake of literary justice, I have selected that honoured "Compiler" to show the abuses of praise; let the history of this his vaunting modifier cap the climax of vanity. In general, his amendments of "that eminent philologist," are not more skillful than the following touch upon an eminent dramatist; and here, it is plain, he has mistaken two nouns for adjectives, and converted into bad English a beautiful passage, the sentiment of which is worthy of an author's recollection:

   "The evil deed or deeds that men do, lives after them;
    The good deed or deeds is oft interred with their bones." [16]
                    Kirkham's Grammar, p. 75.

40. Lord Bacon observes, "Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great person as his letter; and yet, if it be not in a good cause, it is so much out of his reputation." It is to this mischievous facility of recommendation, this prostituted influence of great names, that the inconvenient diversity of school-books, and the continued use of bad ones, are in a great measure to be attributed. It belongs to those who understand the subjects of which authors profess to treat, to judge fairly and fully of their works, and then to let the reasons of their judgement be known. For no one will question the fact, that a vast number of the school-books now in use are either egregious plagiarisms or productions of no comparative merit. And, what is still more surprising and monstrous, presidents, governors, senators, and judges; professors, doctors, clergymen, and lawyers; a host of titled connoisseurs; with incredible facility lend their names, not only to works of inferior merit, but to the vilest thefts, and the wildest absurdities, palmed off upon their own and the public credulity, under pretence of improvement. The man who thus prefixes his letter of recommendation to an ill-written book, publishes, out of mere courtesy, a direct impeachment of his own scholarship or integrity. Yet, how often have we seen the honours of a high office, or even of a worthy name, prostituted to give a temporary or local currency to a book which it would disgrace any man of letters to quote! With such encouragement, nonsense wrestles for the seat of learning, exploded errors are republished as novelties, original writers are plundered by dunces, and men that understand nothing well, profess to teach all sciences!

41. All praise of excellence must needs be comparative, because the thing itself is so. To excel in grammar, is but to know better than others wherein grammatical excellence consists. Hence there is no fixed point of perfection beyond which such learning may not be carried. The limit to improvement is not so much in the nature of the subject, as in the powers of the mind, and in the inducements to exert them upon a theme so humble and so uninviting. Dr. Johnson suggests, in his masterly preface, "that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient." Who then will suppose, in the face of such facts and confessions as have been exhibited, that either in the faulty publications of Murray, or among the various modifications of them by other hands we have any such work as deserves to be made a permanent standard of instruction in English grammar? With great sacrifices, both of pleasure and of interest, I have humbly endeavoured to supply this desideratum; and it remains for other men to determine, and other times to know, what place shall be given to these my labours, in the general story of this branch of learning. Intending to develop not only the principles but also the history of grammar, I could not but speak of its authors. The writer who looks broadly at the past and the present, to give sound instruction to the future, must not judge of men by their shadows. If the truth, honestly told, diminish the stature of some, it does it merely by clearing the sight of the beholder. Real greatness cannot suffer loss by the dissipating of a vapour. If reputation has been raised upon the mist of ignorance, who but the builder shall lament its overthrow? If the works of grammarians are often ungrammatical, whose fault is this but their own? If all grammatical fame is little in itself, how can the abatement of what is undeserved of it be much? If the errors of some have long been tolerated, what right of the critic has been lost by nonuser? If the interests of Science have been sacrificed to Mammon, what rebuke can do injustice to the craft? Nay, let the broad-axe of the critic hew up to the line, till every beam in her temple be smooth and straight. For, "certainly, next to commending good writers, the greatest service to learning is, to expose the bad, who can only in that way be made of any use to it." [17] And if, among the makers of grammars, the scribblings of some, and the filchings of others, are discreditable alike to themselves and to their theme, let the reader consider, how great must be the intrinsic worth of that study which still maintains its credit in spite of all these abuses!



"Tot fallaciis obrutum, tot hallucinationibus demersum, tot adhuc tenebris circumfusum studium hocce mihi visum est, ut nihil satis tuto in hac materia præstari posse arbitratus sim, nisi nova quadam arte critica præmissa."—SCIPIO MAFFEIUS: Cassiod. Complexiones, p. xxx.

1. The origin of things is, for many reasons, a peculiarly interesting point in their history. Among those who have thought fit to inquire into the prime origin of speech, it has been matter of dispute, whether we ought to consider it a special gift from Heaven, or an acquisition of industry—a natural endowment, or an artificial invention. Nor is any thing that has ever yet been said upon it, sufficient to set the question permanently at rest. That there is in some words, and perhaps in some of every language, a natural connexion between the sounds uttered and the things signified, cannot be denied; yet, on the other hand, there is, in the use of words in general, so much to which nature affords no clew or index, that this whole process of communicating thought by speech, seems to be artificial. Under an other head, I have already cited from Sanctius some opinions of the ancient grammarians and philosophers on this point. With the reasoning of that zealous instructor, the following sentence from Dr. Blair very obviously accords: "To suppose words invented, or names given to things, in a manner purely arbitrary, without any ground or reason, is to suppose an effect without a cause. There must have always been some motive which led to the assignation of one name rather than an other."—Rhet., Lect. vi, p. 55.

2. But, in their endeavours to explain the origin and early progress of language, several learned men, among whom is this celebrated lecturer, have needlessly perplexed both themselves and their readers, with sundry questions, assumptions, and reasonings, which are manifestly contrary to what has been made known to us on the best of all authority. What signifies it[18] for a man to tell us how nations rude and barbarous invented interjections first,[19] and then nouns, and then verbs,[20] and finally the other parts of speech; when he himself confesses that he does not know whether language "can be considered a human invention at all;" and when he believed, or ought to have believed, that the speech of the first man, though probably augmented by those who afterwards used it, was, essentially, the one language of the earth for more than eighteen centuries? The task of inventing a language de novo, could surely have fallen upon no man but Adam; and he, in the garden of Paradise, had doubtless some aids and facilities not common to every wild man of the woods.

3. The learned Doctor was equally puzzled to conceive, "either how society could form itself, previously to language, or how words could rise into a language, previously to society formed."—Blair's Rhet., Lect. vi, p. 54. This too was but an idle perplexity, though thousands have gravely pored over it since, as a part of the study of rhetoric; for, if neither could be previous to the other, they must have sprung up simultaneously. And it is a sort of slander upon our prime ancestor, to suggest, that, because he was "the first," he must have been "the rudest" of his race; and that, "consequently, those first rudiments of speech," which alone the supposition allows to him or to his family, "must have been poor and narrow."—Blair's Rhet., p. 54. It is far more reasonable to think, with a later author, that, "Adam had an insight into natural things far beyond the acutest philosopher, as may be gathered from his giving of names to all creatures, according to their different constitutions."—Robinson's Scripture Characters, p. 4.

4. But Dr. Blair is not alone in the view which he here takes. The same thing has bean suggested by other learned men. Thus Dr. James P. Wilson, of Philadelphia, in an octavo published in 1817, says: "It is difficult to discern how communities could have existed without language, and equally so to discover how language could have obtained, in a peopled world, prior to society."—Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 1. I know not how so many professed Christians, and some of them teachers of religion too, with the Bible in their hands, can reason upon this subject as they do. We find them, in their speculations, conspiring to represent primeval man, to use their own words, as a "savage, whose 'howl at the appearance of danger, and whose exclamations of joy at the sight of his prey, reiterated, or varied with the change of objects, were probably the origin of language.'—Booth's Analytical Dictionary. In the dawn of society, ages may have passed away, with little more converse than what these efforts would produce."—Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 31. Here Gardiner quotes Booth with approbation, and the latter, like Wilson, may have borrowed his ideas from Blair. Thus are we taught by a multitude of guessers, grave, learned, and oracular, that the last of the ten parts of speech was in fact the first: "Interjections are exceedingly interesting in one respect. They are, there can be little doubt, the oldest words in all languages; and may be considered the elements of speech."—Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 78. On this point, however, Dr. Blair seems not to be quite consistent with himself: "Those exclamations, therefore, which by grammarians are called interjections, uttered in a strong and passionate manner, were, beyond doubt, the first elements or beginnings of speech."—Rhet., Lect. vi, p. 55. "The names of sensible objects were, in all languages, the words most early introduced."—Rhet., Lect. xiv, p. 135. "The names of sensible objects," says Murray too, "were the words most early introduced."—Octavo Gram., p. 336. Bat what says the Bible?

5. Revelation informs us that our first progenitor was not only endowed with the faculty of speech, but, as it would appear, actually incited by the Deity to exert that faculty in giving names to the objects by which he was surrounded. "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him."—Gen., ii, 19, 20. This account of the first naming of the other creatures by man, is apparently a parenthesis in the story of the creation of woman, with which the second chapter of Genesis concludes. But, in the preceding chapter, the Deity is represented not only as calling all things into existence by his Word; but as speaking to the first human pair, with reference to their increase in the earth, and to their dominion over it, and over all the living creatures formed to inhabit it. So that the order of the events cannot be clearly inferred from the order of the narration. The manner of this communication to man, may also be a subject of doubt. Whether it was, or was not, made by a voice of words, may be questioned. But, surely, that Being who, in creating the world and its inhabitants, manifested his own infinite wisdom, eternal power, and godhead, does not lack words, or any other means of signification, if he will use them. And, in the inspired record of his work in the beginning, he is certainly represented, not only as naming all things imperatively, when he spoke them into being, but as expressly calling the light Day, the darkness Night, the firmament Heaven, the dry land Earth, and the gatherings of the mighty waters Seas.

6. Dr. Thomas Hartwell Horne, in commending a work by Dr. Ellis, concerning the origin of human wisdom and understanding, says: "It shows satisfactorily, that religion and language entered the world by divine revelation, without the aid of which, man had not been a rational or religious creature."—Study of the Scriptures, Vol. i, p. 4. "Plato attributes the primitive words of the first language to a divine origin;" and Dr. Wilson remarks, "The transition from silence to speech, implies an effort of the understanding too great for man."—Essay on Gram., p. 1. Dr. Beattie says, "Mankind must have spoken in all ages, the young constantly learning to speak by imitating those who were older; and, if so, our first parents must have received this art, as well as some others, by inspiration."—Moral Science, p. 27. Horne Tooke says, "I imagine that it is, in some measure, with the vehicle of our thoughts, as with the vehicles for our bodies. Necessity produced both."—Diversions of Purley, Vol. i, p. 20. Again: "Language, it is true, is an art, and a glorious one; whose influence extends over all the others, and in which finally all science whatever must centre: but an art springing from necessity, and originally invented by artless men, who did not sit down like philosophers to invent it."—Ib., Vol. i, p. 259.

7. Milton imagines Adam's first knowledge of speech, to have sprung from the hearing of his own voice; and that voice to have been raised, instinctively, or spontaneously, in an animated inquiry concerning his own origin—an inquiry in which he addresses to unintelligent objects, and inferior creatures, such questions as the Deity alone could answer:

   "Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
    Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
    With supple joints, as lively vigor led:
    But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
    Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;
    My tongue obeyed, and readily could name
    Whatever I saw
. 'Thou Sun,' said I, 'fair light,
    And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay,
    Ye Hills and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains;
    And ye that live and move, fair Creatures! tell,
    Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
    Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
    In goodness and in power preëminent:
    Tell me how I may know him, how adore,
    From whom I have that thus I move and live,
    And feel that I am happier than I know.'"
                  Paradise Lost, Book viii, l. 267.

But, to the imagination of a poet, a freedom is allowed, which belongs not to philosophy. We have not always the means of knowing how far he literally believes what he states.

8. My own opinion is, that language is partly natural and partly artificial. And, as the following quotation from the Greek of Ammonius will serve in some degree to illustrate it, I present the passage in English for the consideration of those who may prefer ancient to modern speculations: "In the same manner, therefore, as mere motion is from nature, but dancing is something positive; and as wood exists in nature, but a door is something positive; so is the mere utterance of vocal sound founded in nature, but the signification of ideas by nouns or verbs is something positive. And hence it is, that, as to the simple power of producing vocal sound—which is as it were the organ or instrument of the soul's faculties of knowledge or volition—as to this vocal power, I say, man seems to possess it from nature, in like manner as irrational animals; but as to the power of using significantly nouns or verbs, or sentences combining these, (which are not natural but positive,) this he possesses by way of peculiar eminence; because he alone of all mortal beings partakes of a soul which can move itself, and operate to the production of arts. So that, even in the utterance of sounds, the inventive power of the mind is discerned; as the various elegant compositions, both in metre, and without metre, abundantly prove."—Ammon. de Interpr., p. 51.[21]

9. Man was made for society; and from the first period of human existence the race were social. Monkish seclusion is manifestly unnatural; and the wild independence of the savage, is properly denominated a state of nature, only in contradistinction to that state in which the arts are cultivated. But to civilized life, or even to that which is in any degree social, language is absolutely necessary. There is therefore no danger that the language of any nation shall fall into disuse, till the people by whom it is spoken, shall either adopt some other, or become themselves extinct. When the latter event occurs, as is the case with the ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the language, if preserved at all from oblivion, becomes the more permanent; because the causes which are constantly tending to improve or deteriorate every living language, have ceased to operate upon those which are learned only from ancient books. The inflections which now compose the declensions and conjugations of the dead languages, and which indeed have ever constituted the peculiar characteristics of those forms of speech, must remain forever as they are.

10. When a nation changes, its language, as did our forefathers in Britain, producing by a gradual amalgamation of materials drawn from various tongues a new one differing from all, the first stages of its grammar will of course be chaotic and rude. Uniformity springs from the steady application of rules; and polish is the work of taste and refinement. We may easily err by following the example of our early writers with more reverence than judgement; nor is it possible for us to do justice to the grammarians, whether early or late, without a knowledge both of the history and of the present state of the science which they profess to teach. I therefore think it proper rapidly to glance at many things remote indeed in time, yet nearer to my present purpose, and abundantly more worthy of the student's consideration, than a thousand matters which are taught for grammar by the authors of treatises professedly elementary.

11. As we have already seen, some have supposed that the formation of the first language must have been very slow and gradual. But of this they offer no proof, and from the pen of inspiration we seem to have testimony against it. Did Adam give names to all the creatures about him, and then allow those names to be immediately forgotten? Did not both he and his family continually use his original nouns in their social intercourse? and how could they use them, without other parts of speech to form them into sentences? Nay, do we not know from the Bible, that on several occasions our prime ancestor expressed himself like an intelligent man, and used all the parts of speech which are now considered necessary? What did he say, when his fit partner, the fairest and loveliest work of God, was presented to him? "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." And again: Had he not other words than nouns, when he made answer concerning his transgression: "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself?" What is it, then, but a groundless assumption, to make him and his immediate descendants ignorant savages, and to affirm, with Dr. Blair, that "their speech must have been poor and narrow?" It is not possible now to ascertain what degree of perfection the oral communication of the first age exhibited. But, as languages are now known to improve in proportion to the improvement of society in civilization and intelligence, and as we cannot reasonably suppose the first inhabitants of the earth to have been savages, it seems, I think, a plausible conjecture, that the primeval tongue was at least sufficient for all the ordinary intercourse of civilized men, living in the simple manner ascribed to our early ancestors in Scripture; and that, in many instances, human speech subsequently declined far below its original standard.

12. At any rate, let it be remembered that the first language spoken on earth, whatever it was, originated in Eden before the fall; that this "one language," which all men understood until the dispersion, is to be traced, not to the cries of savage hunters, echoed through the wilds and glades where Nimrod planted Babel, but to that eastern garden of God's own planting, wherein grew "every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food;" to that paradise into which the Lord God put the new-created man, "to dress it and to keep it." It was here that Adam and his partner learned to speak, while yet they stood blameless and blessed, entire and wanting nothing; free in the exercise of perfect faculties of body and mind, capable of acquiring knowledge through observation and experience, and also favoured with immediate communications with their Maker. Yet Adam, having nothing which he did not receive, could not originally bring any real knowledge into the world with him, any more than men do now: this, in whatever degree attained, must be, and must always have been, either an acquisition of reason, or a revelation from God. And, according to the understanding of some, even in the beginning, "That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."—1 Cor., xv, 46. That is, the spirit of Christ, the second Adam, was bestowed on the first Adam, after his creation, as the life and the light of the immortal soul. For, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men," a life which our first parents forfeited and lost on the day of their transgression. "It was undoubtedly in the light of this pure influence that Adam had such an intuitive discerning of the creation, as enabled him to give names to all creatures according to their several natures."—Phipps, on Man, p. 4. A lapse from all this favour, into conscious guilt and misery; a knowledge of good withdrawn, and of evil made too sure; followed the first transgression. Abandoned then in great measure by superhuman aid, and left to contend with foes without and foes within, mankind became what history and observation prove them to have been; and henceforth, by painful experience, and careful research, and cautious faith, and humble docility, must they gather the fruits of knowledge; by a vain desire and false conceit of which, they had forfeited the tree of life. So runs the story

   "Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world, and all our wo,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful seat."

13. The analogy of words in the different languages now known, has been thought by many to be sufficiently frequent and clear to suggest the idea of their common origin. Their differences are indeed great; but perhaps not greater, than the differences in the several races of men, all of whom, as revelation teaches, sprung from one common stock. From the same source we learn, that, till the year of the world 1844, "The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech."—Gen., xi, 1.[22] At that period, the whole world of mankind consisted only of the descendants of the eight souls who had been saved in the ark, and so many of the eight as had survived the flood one hundred and eighty-eight years. Then occurred that remarkable intervention of the Deity, in which he was pleased to confound their language; so that they could not understand one an other's speech, and were consequently scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. This, however, in the opinion of many learned men, does not prove the immediate formation of any new languages.

14. But, whether new languages were thus immediately formed or not, the event, in all probability, laid the foundation for that diversity which subsequently obtained among the languages of the different nations which sprung from the dispersion; and hence it may be regarded as the remote cause of the differences which now exist. But for the immediate origin of the peculiar characteristical differences which distinguish the various languages now known, we are not able with much certainty to account. Nor is there even much plausibility in the speculations of those grammarians who have attempted to explain the order and manner in which the declensions, the moods, the tenses, or other leading features of the languages, were first introduced. They came into use before they could be generally known, and the partial introduction of them could seldom with propriety be made a subject of instruction or record, even if there were letters and learning at hand to do them this honour. And it is better to be content with ignorance, than to form such conjectures as imply any thing that is absurd or impossible. For instance: Neilson's Theory of the Moods, published in the Classical Journal of 1819, though it exhibits ingenuity and learning, is liable to this strong objection; that it proceeds on the supposition, that the moods of English verbs, and of several other derivative tongues, were invented in a certain order by persons, not speaking a language learned chiefly from their fathers, but uttering a new one as necessity prompted. But when or where, since the building of Babel, has this ever happened? That no dates are given, or places mentioned, the reader regrets, but he cannot marvel.

15. By what successive changes, our words in general, and especially the minor parts of speech, have become what we now find them, and what is their original and proper signification according to their derivation, the etymologist may often show to our entire satisfaction. Every word must have had its particular origin and history; and he who in such things can explain with certainty what is not commonly known, may do some service to science. But even here the utility of his curious inquiries may be overrated; and whenever, for the sake of some favourite theory, he ventures into the regions of conjecture, or allows himself to be seduced from the path of practical instruction, his errors are obstinate, and his guidance is peculiarly deceptive. Men fond of such speculations, and able to support them with some show of learning, have done more to unsettle the science of grammar, and to divert ingenious teachers from the best methods of instruction, than all other visionaries put together. Etymological inquiries are important, and I do not mean to censure or discourage them, merely as such; but the folly of supposing that in our language words must needs be of the same class, or part of speech, as that to which they may be traced in an other, deserves to be rebuked. The words the and an may be articles in English, though obviously traceable to something else in Saxon; and a learned man may, in my opinion, be better employed, than in contending that if, though, and although, are not conjunctions, but verbs!

16. Language is either oral or written; the question of its origin has consequently two parts. Having suggested what seemed necessary respecting the origin of speech, I now proceed to that of writing. Sheridan says, "We have in use two kinds of language, the spoken and the written: the one, the gift of God; the other, the invention of man."—Elocution, p. xiv. If this ascription of the two things to their sources, were as just as it is clear and emphatical, both parts of our question would seem to be resolved. But this great rhetorician either forgot his own doctrine, or did not mean what he here says. For he afterwards makes the former kind of language as much a work of art, as any one will suppose the latter to have been. In his sixth lecture, he comments on the gift of speech thus: "But still we are to observe, that nature did no more than furnish the power and means; she did not give the language, as in the case of the passions, but left it to the industry of men, to find out and agree upon such articulate sounds, as they should choose to make the symbols of their ideas."—Ib., p. 147. He even goes farther, and supposes certain tones of the voice to be things invented by man: "Accordingly, as she did not furnish the words, which were to be the symbols of his ideas; neither did she furnish the tones, which were to manifest, and communicate by their own virtue, the internal exertions and emotions, of such of his nobler faculties, as chiefly distinguish him from the brute species; but left them also, like words, to the care and invention of man."—Ibidem. On this branch of the subject, enough has already been presented.

17. By most authors, alphabetic writing is not only considered an artificial invention, but supposed to have been wholly unknown in the early ages of the world. Its antiquity, however, is great. Of this art, in which the science of grammar originated, we are not able to trace the commencement. Different nations have claimed the honour of the invention; and it is not decided, among the learned, to whom, or to what country, it belongs. It probably originated in Egypt. For, "The Egyptians," it is said, "paid divine honours to the Inventor of Letters, whom they called Theuth: and Socrates, when he speaks of him, considers him as a god, or a god-like man."—British Gram., p. 32. Charles Bucke has it, "That the first inventor of letters is supposed to have been Memnon; who was, in consequence, fabled to be the son of Aurora, goddess of the morning."—Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 5. The ancients in general seem to have thought Phoenicia the birthplace of Letters:

   "Phoenicians first, if ancient fame be true,
    The sacred mystery of letters knew;
    They first, by sound, in various lines design'd,
    Express'd the meaning of the thinking mind;
    The power of words by figures rude conveyed,
    And useful science everlasting made."
                            Rowe's Lucan, B. iii, l. 334.

18. Some, however, seem willing to think writing coeval with speech. Thus Bicknell, from Martin's Physico-Grammatical Essay: "We are told by Moses, that Adam gave names to every living creature;[23] but how those names were written, or what sort of characters he made use of, is not known to us; nor indeed whether Adam ever made use of a written language at all; since we find no mention made of any in the sacred history."—Bicknell's Gram., Part ii, p. 5. A certain late writer on English grammar, with admirable flippancy, cuts this matter short, as follows,—satisfying himself with pronouncing all speech to be natural, and all writing artificial: "Of how many primary kinds is language? It is of two kinds; natural or spoken, and artificial or written."—Oliver B. Peirce's Gram., p. 15. "Natural language is, to a limited extent, (the representation of the passions,) common to brutes as well as man; but artificial language, being the work of invention, is peculiar to man."—Ib., p. 16.[24]

19. The writings delivered to the Israelites by Moses, are more ancient than any others now known. In the thirty-first chapter of Exodus, it is said, that God "gave unto Moses, upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." And again, in the thirty-second: "The tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables." But these divine testimonies, thus miraculously written, do not appear to have been the first writing; for Moses had been previously commanded to write an account of the victory over Amalek, "for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua."—Exod., xvii, 14. This first battle of the Israelites occurred in Rephidim, a place on the east side of the western gulf of the Red Sea, at or near Horeb, but before they came to Sinai, upon the top of which, (on the fiftieth day after their departure from Egypt,) Moses received the ten commandments of the law.

20. Some authors, however, among whom is Dr. Adam Clarke, suppose that in this instance the order of the events is not to be inferred from the order of the record, or that there is room to doubt whether the use of letters was here intended; and that there consequently remains a strong probability, that the sacred Decalogue, which God himself delivered to Moses on Sinai, A. M. 2513, B. C. 1491, was "the first writing in alphabetical characters ever exhibited to the world." See Clarke's Succession of Sacred Literature, Vol. i, p. 24. Dr. Scott, in his General Preface to the Bible, seems likewise to favour the same opinion. "Indeed," says he, "there is some probability in the opinion, that the art of writing was first communicated by revelation, to Moses, in order to perpetuate, with certainty, those facts, truths, and laws, which he was employed to deliver to Israel. Learned men find no traces of literary, or alphabetical, writing, in the history of the nations, till long after the days of Moses; unless the book of Job may be regarded as an exception. The art of expressing almost an infinite variety of sounds, by the interchanges of a few letters, or marks, seems more like a discovery to man from heaven, than a human invention; and its beneficial effects, and almost absolute necessity, for the preservation and communication of true religion, favour the conjecture."—Scott's Preface, p. xiv.

21. The time at which Cadmus, the Phoenician, introduced this art into Greece, cannot be precisely ascertained. There is no reason to believe it was antecedent to the time of Moses; some chronologists make it between two and three centuries later. Nor is it very probable, that Cadmus invented the sixteen letters of which he is said to have made use. His whole story is so wild a fable, that nothing certain can be inferred from it. Searching in vain for his stolen sister—his sister Europa, carried off by Jupiter—he found a wife in the daughter of Venus! Sowing the teeth of a dragon, which had devoured his companions, he saw them spring up to his aid a squadron of armed soldiers! In short, after a series of wonderful achievements and bitter misfortunes, loaded with grief and infirm with age, he prayed the gods to release him from the burden of such a life; and, in pity from above, both he and his beloved Hermíonè were changed into serpents! History, however, has made him generous amends, by ascribing to him the invention of letters, and accounting him the worthy benefactor to whom the world owes all the benefits derived from literature. I would not willingly rob him of this honour. But I must confess, there is no feature of the story, which I can conceive to give any countenance to his claim; except that as the great progenitor of the race of authors, his sufferings correspond well with the calamities of which that unfortunate generation have always so largely partaken.

22. The benefits of this invention, if it may be considered an invention, are certainly very great. In oral discourse the graces of elegance are more lively and attractive, but well-written books are the grand instructors of mankind, the most enduring monuments of human greatness, and the proudest achievements of human intellect. "The chief glory of a nation," says Dr. Johnson, "arises from its authors." Literature is important, because it is subservient to all objects, even those of the very highest concern. Religion and morality, liberty and government, fame and happiness, are alike interested in the cause of letters. It was a saying of Pope Pius the Second, that, "Common men should esteem learning as silver, noblemen value it as gold, and princes prize it as jewels." The uses of learning are seen in every thing that is not itself useless.[25] It cannot be overrated, but where it is perverted; and whenever that occurs, the remedy is to be sought by opposing learning to learning, till the truth is manifest, and that which is reprehensible, is made to appear so.

23. I have said, learning cannot be overrated, but where it is perverted. But men may differ in their notions of what learning is; and, consequently, of what is, or is not, a perversion of it. And so far as this point may have reference to theology, and the things of God, it would seem that the Spirit of God alone can fully show us its bearings. If the illumination of the Spirit is necessary to an understanding and a reception of scriptural truth, is it not by an inference more erudite than reasonable, that some great men have presumed to limit to a verbal medium the communications of Him who is everywhere His own witness, and who still gives to His own holy oracles all their peculiar significance and authority? Some seem to think the Almighty has never given to men any notion of Himself, except by words. "Many ideas," says the celebrated Edmund Burke, "have never been at all presented to the senses of any men but by words, as God,[26] angels, devils, heaven, and hell, all of which have however a great influence over the passions."—On the Sublime and [the] Beautiful, p. 97. That God can never reveal facts or truths except by words, is a position with which I am by no means satisfied. Of the great truths of Christianity, Dr. Wayland, in his Elements of Moral Science, repeatedly avers, "All these being facts, can never be known, except by language, that is, by revelation."—First Edition, p. 132. Again: "All of them being of the nature of facts, they could be made known to man in no other way than by language."—Ib., p. 136. But it should be remembered, that these same facts were otherwise made known to the prophets; (1 Pet., i, 11;) and that which has been done, is not impossible, whether there is reason to expect it again or not. So of the Bible, Calvin says, "No man can have the least knowledge of true and sound doctrine, without having been a disciple of the Scripture."— Institutes, B. i, Ch. 6. Had Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, then, no such knowledge? And if such they had, what Scripture taught them? We ought to value the Scriptures too highly to say of them any thing that is unscriptural. I am, however, very far from supposing there is any other doctrine which can be safely substituted for the truths revealed of old, the truths contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments:

   "Left only in those written records pure,
    Though not but by the Spirit understood." [27]—Milton.



"Quis huic studio literarum, quod profitentur ii, qui grammatici vocantur, penitus se dedidit, quin omnem illarum artium pæne infinitam vim et materiam scientiæ cogitatione comprehenderit?"—CICERO. De Oratore, Lib. i, 3.

1. The peculiar power of language is another point worthy of particular consideration. The power of an instrument is virtually the power of him who wields it; and, as language is used in common, by the wise and the foolish, the mighty and the impotent, the candid and the crafty, the righteous and the wicked, it may perhaps seem to the reader a difficult matter, to speak intelligibly of its peculiar power. I mean, by this phrase, its fitness or efficiency to or for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it is used. As it is the nature of an agent, to be the doer of something, so it is the nature of an instrument, to be that with which something is effected. To make signs, is to do something, and, like all other actions, necessarily implies an agent; so all signs, being things by means of which other things are represented, are obviously the instruments of such representation. Words, then, which represent thoughts, are things in themselves; but, as signs, they are relative to other things, as being the instruments of their communication or preservation. They are relative also to him who utters them, as well as to those who may happen to be instructed or deceived by them. "Was it Mirabeau, Mr. President, or what other master of the human passions, who has told us that words are things? They are indeed things, and things of mighty influence, not only in addresses to the passions and high-wrought feelings of mankind, but in the discussion of legal and political questions also; because a just conclusion is often avoided, or a false one reached, by the adroit substitution of one phrase or one word for an other."—Daniel Webster, in Congress, 1833.

2. To speak, is a moral action, the quality of which depends upon the motive, and for which we are strictly accountable. "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."—Matt., xii, 36, 37. To listen, or to refuse to listen, is a moral action also; and there is meaning in the injunction, "Take heed what ye hear."—Mark, iv, 24. But why is it, that so much of what is spoken or written, is spoken or written in vain? Is language impotent? It is sometimes employed for purposes with respect to which it is utterly so; and often they that use it, know not how insignificant, absurd, or ill-meaning a thing they make of it. What is said, with whatever inherent force or dignity, has neither power nor value to him who does not understand it;[28] and, as Professor Duncan observes, "No word can be to any man the sign of an idea, till that idea comes to have a real existence in his mind."—Logic, p. 62. In instruction, therefore, speech ought not to be regarded as the foundation or the essence of knowledge, but as the sign of it; for knowledge has its origin in the power of sensation, or reflection, or consciousness, and not in that of recording or communicating thought. Dr. Spurzheim was not the first to suggest, "It is time to abandon the immense error of supposing that words and precepts are sufficient to call internal feelings and intellectual faculties into active exercise."—Spurzheim's Treatise on Education, p. 94.

3. But to this it may be replied, When God wills, the signs of knowledge are knowledge; and words, when he gives the ability to understand them, may, in some sense, become—"spirit and life." See John, vi, 63. Where competent intellectual faculties exist, the intelligible signs of thought do move the mind to think; and to think sometimes with deep feelings too, whether of assent or dissent, of admiration or contempt. So wonderful a thing is a rational soul, that it is hard to say to what ends the language in which it speaks, may, or may not, be sufficient. Let experience determine. We are often unable to excite in others the sentiments which we would: words succeed or fail, as they are received or resisted. But let a scornful expression be addressed to a passionate man, will not the words "call internal feelings" into action? And how do feelings differ from thoughts?[29] Hear Dr. James Rush: "The human mind is the place of representation of all the existences of nature which are brought within the scope of the senses. The representatives are called ideas. These ideas are the simple passive pictures of things, or [else] they exist with an activity, capable of so affecting the physical organs as to induce us to seek the continuance of that which produces them, or to avoid it. This active or vivid class of ideas comprehends the passions. The functions of the mind here described, exist then in different forms and degrees, from the simple idea, to the highest energy of passion: and the terms, thought, sentiment, emotion, feeling, and passion, are but the verbal signs of these degrees and forms. Nor does there appear to be any line of classification, for separating thought from passion: since simple thoughts, without changing their nature, do, from interest or incitement, often assume the colour of passion."—Philosophy of the Human Voice, p. 328.

4. Lord Kames, in the Appendix to his Elements of Criticism, divides the senses into external and internal, defining perception to be the act by which through the former we know outward objects, and consciousness the act by which through the latter we know what is within the mind. An idea, according to his definition, (which he says is precise and accurate,) is, "That perception of a real object which is raised in the mind by the power of memory." But among the real objects from which memory may raise ideas, he includes the workings of the mind itself, or whatever we remember of our former passions, emotions, thoughts, or designs. Such a definition, he imagines, might have saved Locke, Berkley, and their followers, from much vain speculation; for with the ideal systems of these philosophers, or with those of Aristotle and Des Cartes, he by no means coincides. This author says, "As ideas are the chief materials employed in reasoning and reflecting, it is of consequence that their nature and differences be understood. It appears now that ideas may be distinguished into three kinds: first, Ideas derived from original perceptions, properly termed ideas of memory; second, Ideas communicated by language or other signs; and third, Ideas of imagination. These ideas differ from each other in many respects; but chiefly in respect to their proceeding from different causes. The first kind is derived from real existences that have been objects of our senses; language is the cause of the second, or any other sign that has the same power with language; and a man's imagination is to himself the cause of the third. It is scarce [ly] necessary to add, that an idea, originally of imagination, being conveyed to others by language or any other vehicle, becomes in their mind an idea of the second kind; and again, that an idea of this kind, being afterwards recalled to the mind, becomes in that circumstance an idea of memory."—El. of Crit., Vol. ii, p. 384.

5. Whether, or how far, language is to the mind itself the instrument of thought, is a question of great importance in the philosophy of both. Our literature contains occasional assertions bearing upon this point, but I know of no full or able discussion of it.[30] Cardell's instructions proceed upon the supposition, that neither the reason of men, nor even that of superior intelligences, can ever operate independently of words. "Speech," says he, "is to the mind what action is to animal bodies. Its improvement is the improvement of our intellectual nature, and a duty to God who gave it."—Essay on Language, p. 3. Again: "An attentive investigation will show, that there is no way in which the individual mind can, within itself, to any extent, combine its ideas, but by the intervention of words. Every process of the reasoning powers, beyond the immediate perception of sensible objects, depends on the structure of speech; and, in a great degree, according to the excellence of this chief instrument of all mental operations, will be the means of personal improvement, of the social transmission of thought, and the elevation of national character. From this, it may be laid down as a broad principle, that no individual can make great advances in intellectual improvement, beyond the bounds of a ready-formed language, as the necessary means of his progress."—Ib., p. 9. These positions might easily be offset by contrary speculations of minds of equal rank; but I submit them to the reader, with the single suggestion, that the author is not remarkable for that sobriety of judgement which gives weight to opinions.

6. We have seen, among the citations in a former chapter, that Sanctius says, "Names are the signs, and as it were the instruments, of things." But what he meant by "instrumenta rerum" is not very apparent. Dr. Adam says, "The principles of grammar may be traced from the progress of the mind in the acquisition of language. Children first express their feelings by motions and gestures of the body, by cries and tears. This is[31] the language of nature, and therefore universal. It fitly represents[32] the quickness of sentiment and thought, which are as instantaneous as the impression of light on the eye. Hence we always express our stronger feelings by these natural signs. But when we want to make known to others the particular conceptions of the mind, we must represent them by parts, we must divide and analyze them. We express each part by certain signs,[33] and join these together, according to the order of their relations. Thus words are both the instrument and signs[34] the division of thought."—Preface to Latin Gram.

7. The utterance of words, or the making of signs of any sort, requires time;[35] but it is here suggested by Dr. Adam, that sentiment and thought, though susceptible of being retained or recalled, naturally flash upon the mind with immeasurable quickness.[36] If so, they must originate in something more spiritual than language. The Doctor does not affirm that words are the instruments of thought, but of the division of thought. But it is manifest, that if they effect this, they are not the only instruments by means of which the same thing may be done. The deaf and dumb, though uninstructed and utterly ignorant of language, can think; and can, by rude signs of their own inventing, manifest a similar division, corresponding to the individuality of things. And what else can be meant by "the division of thought," than our notion of objects, as existing severally, or as being distinguishable into parts? There can, I think, be no such division respecting that which is perfectly pure and indivisible in its essence; and, I would ask, is not simple continuity apt to exclude it from our conception of every thing which appears with uniform coherence? Dr. Beattie says, "It appears to me, that, as all things are individuals, all thoughts must be so too."—Moral Science, Chap, i, Sec. 1. If, then, our thoughts are thus divided, and consequently, as this author infers, have not in themselves any of that generality which belongs to the signification of common nouns, there is little need of any instrument to divide them further: the mind rather needs help, as Cardell suggests, "to combine its ideas." [37]

8. So far as language is a work of art, and not a thing conferred or imposed upon us by nature, there surely can be in it neither division nor union that was not first in the intellect for the manifestation of which it was formed. First, with respect to generalization. "The human mind," says Harris, "by an energy as spontaneous and familiar to its nature, as the seeing of colour is familiar to the eye, discerns at once what in many is one, what in things dissimilar and different is similar and the same."—Hermes, p. 362. Secondly, with respect to division. Mechanical separations are limited: "But the mind surmounts all power of concretion; and can place in the simplest manner every attribute by itself; convex without concave; colour without superficies; superficies without body; and body without its accidents: as distinctly each one, as though they had never been united. And thus it is, that it penetrates into the recesses of all things, not only dividing them as wholes, into their more conspicuous parts, but persisting till it even separate those elementary principles which, being blended together after a more mysterious manner, are united in the minutest part as much as in the mightiest whole."—Harris's Hermes, p. 307.

9. It is remarkable that this philosopher, who had so sublime conceptions of the powers of the human mind, and who has displayed such extraordinary acuteness in his investigations, has represented the formation of words, or the utterance of language, as equalling in speed the progress of our very thoughts; while, as we have seen, an other author, of great name, avers, that thought is "as instantaneous as the impression of light on the eye." Philosophy here too evidently nods. In showing the advantage of words, as compared with pictures, Harris says, "If we consider the ease and speed with which words are formed,-an ease which knows no trouble or fatigue, and a speed which equals the progress of our very thoughts,[38]—we may plainly perceive an answer to the question here proposed, Why, in the common intercourse of men with men, imitations have been rejected, and symbols preferred."—Hermes, p. 336. Let us hear a third man, of equal note: "Words have been called winged; and they well deserve that name, when their abbreviations are compared with the progress which speech could make without these inventions; but, compared with the rapidity of thought, they have not the smallest claim to that title. Philosophers have calculated the difference of velocity between sound and light; but who will attempt to calculate the difference between speech and thought!"—Horne Tooke's Epea Pteroenta, Vol. i, p. 23.

10. It is certain, that, in the admirable economy of the creation, natures subordinate are made, in a wonderful manner, subservient to the operations of the higher; and that, accordingly, our first ideas are such as are conceived of things external and sensible. Hence all men whose intellect appeals only to external sense, are prone to a philosophy which reverses the order of things pertaining to the mind, and tends to materialism, if not to atheism. "But"—to refer again to Harris—"the intellectual scheme which never forgets Deity, postpones every thing corporeal to the primary mental Cause. It is here it looks for the origin of intelligible ideas, even of those which exist in human capacities. For though sensible objects may be the destined medium to awaken the dormant energies of man's understanding, yet are those energies themselves no more contained, in sense, than the explosion of a cannon, in the spark which gave it fire. In short, all minds that are, are similar and congenial; and so too are their ideas, or intelligible forms. Were it otherwise, there could be no intercourse between man and man, or (what is more important) between man and God."—Hermes, p. 393.

11. A doctrine somewhat like this, is found in the Meditations of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, though apparently repugnant to the polytheism commonly admitted by the Stoics, to whom he belonged: "The world, take it all together, is but one; there is but one sort of matter to make it of, one God to govern it, and one law to guide it. For, run through the whole system of rational beings, and you will find reason and truth but single and the same. And thus beings of the same kind, and endued with the same reason, are made happy by the same exercises of it."—Book vii, Sec. 9. Again: "Let your soul receive the Deity as your blood does the air; for the influences of the one are no less vital, than those of the other. This correspondence is very practicable: for there is an ambient omnipresent Spirit, which lies as open and pervious to your mind, as the air you breathe does to your lungs: but then you must remember to be disposed to draw it."—Book viii, Sec. 54; Collier's Translation.

12. Agreeably to these views, except that he makes a distinction between a natural and a supernatural idea of God, we find Barclay, the early defender of the Quakers, in an argument with a certain Dutch nobleman, philosophizing thus: "If the Scripture then be true, there is in men a supernatural idea of God, which altogether differs from this natural idea—I say, in all men; because all men are capable of salvation, and consequently of enjoying this divine vision. Now this capacity consisteth herein, that they have such a supernatural idea in themselves.[39] For if there were no such idea in them, it were impossible they should so know God; for whatsoever is clearly and distinctly known, is known by its proper idea; neither can it otherwise be clearly and distinctly known. For the ideas of all things are divinely planted in our souls; for, as the better philosophy teacheth, they are not begotten in us by outward objects or outward causes, but only are by these outward things excited or stirred up. And this is true, not only in supernatural ideas of God and things divine, and in natural ideas of the natural principles of human understanding, and conclusions thence deduced by the strength of human reason; but even in the ideas of outward objects, which are perceived by the outward senses: as that noble Christian philosopher Boëthius hath well observed; to which also the Cartesian philosophy agreeth." I quote only to show the concurrence of others, with Harris's position. Barclay carries on his argument with much more of a similar import. See Sewell's History, folio, p. 620.

13. But the doctrine of ideas existing primarily in God, and being divinely planted in our souls, did not originate with Boëthius: it may be traced back a thousand years from his time, through the philosophy of Proclus, Zeno, Aristotle,[40] Plato, Socrates, Parmenides, and Pythagoras. It is absurd to suppose any production or effect to be more excellent than its cause. That which really produces motion, cannot itself be inert; and that which actually causes the human mind to think and reason, cannot itself be devoid of intelligence. "For knowledge can alone produce knowledge." [41] A doctrine apparently at variance with this, has recently been taught, with great confidence, among the professed discoveries of Phrenology. How much truth there may be in this new "science," as it is called, I am not prepared to say; but, as sometimes held forth, it seems to me not only to clash with some of the most important principles of mental philosophy, but to make the power of thought the result of that which is in itself inert and unthinking. Assuming that the primitive faculties of the human understanding have not been known in earlier times, it professes to have discovered, in the physical organization of the brain, their proper source, or essential condition, and the true index to their measure, number, and distribution. In short, the leading phrenologists, by acknowledging no spiritual substance, virtually deny that ancient doctrine, "It is not in flesh to think, or bones to reason," [42] and make the mind either a material substance, or a mere mode without substantial being.

14. "The doctrine of immaterial substances," says Dr. Spurzheim, "is not sufficiently amenable to the test of observation; it is founded on belief, and only supported by hypothesis."—Phrenology, Vol. i, p. 20. But it should be remembered, that our notion of material substance, is just as much a matter of hypothesis. All accidents, whether they be qualities or actions, we necessarily suppose to have some support; and this we call substance, deriving the term from the Latin, or hypostasis, if we choose to borrow from the Greek. But what this substance, or hypostasis, is, independently of its qualities or actions, we know not. This is clearly proved by Locke. What do we mean by matter? and what by mind? Matter is that which is solid, extended, divisible, movable, and occupies space. Mind is that which thinks, and wills, and reasons, and remembers, and worships. Here are qualities in the one case; operations in the other. Here are two definitions as totally distinct as any two can be; and he that sees not in them a difference of substance, sees it nowhere: to him all natures are one; and that one, an absurd supposition.

15. In favour of what is urged by the phrenologists, it may perhaps be admitted, as a natural law, that, "If a picture of a visible object be formed upon the retina, and the impression be communicated, by the nerves, to the brain, the result will be an act of perception."—Wayland's Moral Science, p. 4. But it does not follow, nor did the writer of this sentence believe, that perception is a mere act or attribute of the organized matter of the brain. A material object can only occasion in our sensible organs a corporeal motion, which has not in it the nature of thought or perception; and upon what principle of causation, shall a man believe, in respect to vision, that the thing which he sees, is more properly the cause of the idea conceived of it, than is the light by which he beholds it, or the mind in which that idea is formed? Lord Kames avers, that, "Colour, which appears to the eye as spread upon a substance, has no existence but in the mind of the spectator."—Elements of Criticism, i, 178. And Cicero placed the perception, not only of colour, but of taste, of sound, of smell, and of touch, in the mind, rather than in the senses. "Illud est album, hoc dulce, canorum illud, hoc bene olens, hoc asperum: animo jam hæc tenemus comprehensa, non sensibus."—Ciceronis Acad. Lib. ii, 7. Dr. Beattie, however, says: "Colours inhere not in the coloured body, but in the light that falls upon it; * * * and the word colour denotes, an external thing, and never a sensation of the mind."—Moral Science, i, 54. Here is some difference of opinion; but however the thing may be, it does not affect my argument; which is, that to perceive or think is an act or attribute of our immaterial substance or nature, and not to be supposed the effect either of the objects perceived or of our own corporeal organization.

16. Divine wisdom has established the senses as the avenues through which our minds shall receive notices of the forms and qualities of external things; but the sublime conception of the ancients, that these forms and qualities had an abstract preëxistence in the divine mind, is a common doctrine of many English authors, as Milton, Cowper, Akenside, and others. For example: "Now if Ens primum be the cause of entia a primo, then he hath the idea of them in him: for he made them by counsel, and not by necessity; for then he should have needed them, and they have a parhelion of that wisdom that is in his Idea."—Richardson's Logic, p. 16: Lond. 1657.

   "Then the Great Spirit, whom his works adore,
    Within his own deep essence view'd the forms,
    The forms eternal of created things."—AKENSIDE.
                    Pleasures of the Imagination, Book i.

    "And in the school of sacred wisdom taught,
    To read his wonders, in whose thought the world,
    Fair as it is, existed ere it was."—COWPER.
                    Task: Winter Morning Walk, p. 150.

    "Thence to behold this new-created world,
    The addition of his empire, how it show'd
    In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair,
    Answering his great idea."—MILTON.
                    Paradise Lost, Book vii, line 554.

    "Thought shines from God as shines the morn;
    Language from kindling thought is born."
                    ANON.: a Poem in imitation of Coleridge.

17. "Original Truth," [43] says Harris, "having the most intimate connection with the Supreme Intelligence, may be said (as it were) to shine with unchangeable splendor, enlightening throughout the universe every possible subject, by nature susceptible of its benign influence. Passions and other obstacles may prevent indeed its efficacy, as clouds and vapours may obscure the sun; but itself neither admits diminution, nor change, because the darkness respects only particular percipients. Among these therefore we must look for ignorance and error, and for that subordination of intelligence which is their natural consequence. Partial views, the imperfections of sense; inattention, idleness, the turbulence of passions; education, local sentiments, opinions, and belief; conspire in many instances to furnish us with ideas, some too partial, and (what is worse than all this) with many that are erroneous, and contrary to truth. These it behoves us to correct as far as possible, by cool suspense and candid examination. Thus by a connection perhaps little expected, the cause of Letters, and that of Virtue, appear to coincide; it being the business of both, to examine our ideas, and to amend them by the standard of nature and of truth."—See Hermes, p. 406.

18. Although it seems plain from our own consciousness, that the mind is an active self-moving principle or essence, yet capable of being moved, after its own manner, by other causes outward as well as inward; and although it must be obvious to reflection, that all its ideas, perceptions, and emotions, are, with respect to itself, of a spiritual nature—bearing such a relation to the spiritual substance in which alone they appear, as bodily motion is seen to bear to material substances; yet we know, from experience and observation, that they who are acquainted with words, are apt to think in words—that is, mentally to associate their internal conceptions with the verbal signs which they have learned to use. And though I do not conceive the position to be generally true, that words are to the mind itself the necessary instruments of thought, yet, in my apprehension, it cannot well be denied, that in some of its operations and intellectual reaches, the mind is greatly assisted by its own contrivances with respect to language. I refer not now to the communication of knowledge; for, of this, language is admitted to be properly the instrument. But there seem to be some processes of thought, or calculation, in which the mind, by a wonderful artifice in the combination of terms, contrives to prevent embarrassment, and help itself forward in its conceptions, when the objects before it are in themselves perhaps infinite in number or variety.

19. We have an instance of this in numeration. No idea is more obvious or simple than that of unity, or one. By the continual addition of this, first to itself to make two, and then to each higher combination successively, we form a series of different numbers, which may go on to infinity. In the consideration of these, the mind would not be able to go tar without the help of words, and those peculiarly fitted to the purpose. The understanding would lose itself in the multiplicity, were it not aided by that curious concatenation of names, which has been contrived for the several parts of the succession. As far as twelve we make use of simple unrelated terms. Thenceforward we apply derivatives and compounds, formed from these in their regular order, till we arrive at a hundred. This one new word, hundred, introduced to prevent confusion, has nine hundred and ninety-nine distinct repetitions in connexion with the preceding terms, and thus brings us to a thousand. Here the computation begins anew, runs through all the former combinations, and then extends forward, till the word thousand has been used nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand times; and then, for ten hundred thousand, we introduce the new word million. With this name we begin again as before, and proceed till we have used it a million of times, each combination denoting a number clearly distinguished from every other; and then, in like manner, we begin and proceed, with billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions, etc., to any extent we please.

20. Now can any one suppose that words are not here, in some true sense, the instruments of thought, or of the intellectual process thus carried on? Were all these different numbers to be distinguished directly by the mind itself, and denominated by terms destitute of this artificial connexion, it may well be doubted whether the greatest genius in the world would ever be able to do what any child may now effect by this orderly arrangement of words; that is, to distinguish exactly the several stages of this long progression, and see at a glance how far it is from the beginning of the series. "The great art of knowledge," says Duncan, "lies in managing with skill the capacity of the intellect, and contriving such helps, as, if they strengthen not its natural powers, may yet expose them to no unnecessary fatigue. When ideas become very complex, and by the multiplicity of their parts grow too unwieldy to be dealt with in the lump, we must ease the view of the mind by taking them to pieces, and setting before it the several portions separately, one after an other. By this leisurely survey we are enabled to take in the whole; and if we can draw it into such an orderly combination as will naturally lead the attention, step by step, in any succeeding consideration of the same idea, we shall have it ever at command, and with a single glance of thought be able to run over all its parts."—Duncan's Logic, p. 37, Hence we may infer the great importance of method in grammar; the particulars of which, as Quintilian says, are infinite.[44]

21. Words are in themselves but audible or visible signs, mere arbitrary symbols, used, according to common practice and consent, as significant of our ideas or thoughts.[45] But so well are they fitted to be made at will the medium of mental conference, that nothing else can be conceived to equal them for this purpose. Yet it does not follow that they who have the greatest knowledge and command of words, have all they could desire in this respect. For language is in its own nature but an imperfect instrument, and even when tuned with the greatest skill, will often be found inadequate to convey the impression with which the mind may labour. Cicero, that great master of eloquence, frequently confessed, or declared, that words failed him. This, however, may be thought to have been uttered as a mere figure of speech; and some may say, that the imperfection I speak of, is but an incident of the common weakness or ignorance of human nature; and that if a man always knew what to say to an other in order to persuade or confute, to encourage or terrify him, he would always succeed, and no insufficiency of this kind would ever be felt or imagined. This also is plausible; but is the imperfection less, for being sometimes traceable to an ulterior source? Or is it certain that human languages used by perfect wisdom, would all be perfectly competent to their common purpose? And if some would be found less so than others, may there not be an insufficiency in the very nature of them all?

22. If there is imperfection in any instrument, there is so much the more need of care and skill in the use of it. Duncan, in concluding his chapter about words as signs of our ideas, says, "It is apparent, that we are sufficiently provided with the means' of communicating our thoughts one to another; and that the mistakes so frequently complained of on this head, are wholly owing to ourselves, in not sufficiently defining the terms we use; or perhaps not connecting them with clear and determinate ideas."—Logic, p. 69. On the other hand, we find that some of the best and wisest of men confess the inadequacy of language, while they also deplore its misuse. But, whatever may be its inherent defects, or its culpable abuses, it is still to be honoured as almost the only medium for the communication of thought and the diffusion of knowledge. Bishop Butler remarks, in his Analogy of Religion, (a most valuable work, though defective in style,) "So likewise the imperfections attending the only method by which nature enables and directs us to communicate our thoughts to each other, are innumerable. Language is, in its very nature, inadequate, ambiguous, liable to infinite abuse, even from negligence; and so liable to it from design, that every man can deceive and betray by it."—Part ii, Chap. 3. Lord Kames, too, seconds this complaint, at least in part: "Lamentable is the imperfection of language, almost in every particular that falls not under external sense. I am talking of a matter exceedingly clear in the perception, and yet I find no small difficulty to express it clearly in words."—Elements of Criticism, Vol. i, p. 86. "All writers," says Sheridan, "seem to be under the influence of one common delusion, that by the help of words alone, they can communicate all that passes in their minds."—Lectures on Elocution, p. xi.

23. Addison also, in apologizing for Milton's frequent use of old words and foreign idioms, says, "I may further add, that Milton's sentiments and ideas were so wonderfully sublime, that it would have been impossible for him to have represented them in their full strength and beauty, without having recourse to these foreign assistances. Our language sunk under him, and was unequal to that greatness of soul which furnished him with such glorious conceptions."—Spectator, No. 297. This, however, Dr. Johnson seems to regard as a mere compliment to genius; for of Milton he says, "The truth is, that both in prose and verse, he had formed his style by a perverse and pedantick principle." But the grandeur of his thoughts is not denied by the critic; nor is his language censured without qualification. "Whatever be the faults of his diction, he cannot want the praise of copiousness and variety: he was master of his language in its full extent; and has selected the melodious words with such diligence, that from his book alone the Art of English Poetry might be learned."— Johnson's Life of Milton: Lives, p. 92. 24. As words abstractly considered are empty and vain, being in their nature mere signs, or tokens, which derive all their value from the ideas and feelings which they suggest; it is evident that he who would either speak or write well, must be furnished with something more than a knowledge of sounds and letters. Words fitly spoken are indeed both precious and beautiful—"like apples of gold in pictures of silver." But it is not for him whose soul is dark, whose designs are selfish, whose affections are dead, or whose thoughts are vain, to say with the son of Amram, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."—Deut., xxxii, 2. It is not for him to exhibit the true excellency of speech, because he cannot feel its power. It is not for him, whatever be the theme, to convince the judgement with deductions of reason, to fire the imagination with glowing imagery, or win with graceful words the willing ear of taste. His wisdom shall be silence, when men are present; for the soul of manly language, is the soul that thinks and feels as best becomes a man.



"Non mediocres enim tenebræ in sylva, ubi hæc captanda: neque eon, quo pervenire volumus semitæ tritæ: neque non in tramitibus quædam objecta, quæ euntem retinere possent."—VARRO. De Lingua Latina, Lib. iv, p. 4.

1. In order that we may set a just value upon the literary labours of those who, in former times, gave particular attention to the culture of the English language, and that we may the better judge of the credibility of modern pretensions to further improvements, it seems necessary that we should know something of the course of events through which its acknowledged melioration in earlier days took place. For, in this case, the extent of a man's knowledge is the strength of his argument. As Bacon quotes Aristotle, "Qui respiciunt ad pauca, de facili pronunciant." He that takes a narrow view, easily makes up his mind. But what is any opinion worth, if further knowledge of facts can confute it?

2. Whatsoever is successively varied, or has such a manner of existence as time can affect, must have had both an origin and a progress; and may have also its particular history, if the opportunity for writing it be not neglected. But such is the levity of mankind, that things of great moment are often left without memorial, while the hand of Literature is busy to beguile the world with trifles or with fictions, with fancies or with lies. The rude and cursory languages of barbarous nations, till the genius of Grammar arise to their rescue, are among those transitory things which unsparing time is ever hurrying away, irrecoverably, to oblivion. Tradition knows not what they were; for of their changes she takes no account. Philosophy tells us, they are resolved into the variable, fleeting breath of the successive generations of those by whom they were spoken; whose kindred fate it was, to pass away unnoticed and nameless, lost in the elements from which they sprung.

3. Upon the history of the English language, darkness thickens as we tread back the course of time. The subject of our inquiry becomes, at every step, more difficult and less worthy. We have now a tract of English literature, both extensive and luminous; and though many modern writers, and no few even of our writers on grammar, are comparatively very deficient in style, it is safe to affirm that the English language in general has never been written or spoken with more propriety and elegance, than it is at the present day. Modern English we read with facility; and that which was good two centuries ago, though considerably antiquated, is still easily understood. The best way, therefore, to gain a practical knowledge of the changes which our language has undergone, is, to read some of our older authors in retrograde order, till the style employed at times more and more remote, becomes in some degree familiar. Pursued in this manner, the study will be less difficult, and the labour of the curious inquirer, which may be suspended or resumed at pleasure, will be better repaid, than if he proceed in the order of history, and attempt at first the Saxon remains.

4. The value of a language as an object of study, depends chiefly on the character of the books which it contains; and, secondarily, on its connexion with others more worthy to be thoroughly known. In this instance, there are several circumstances which are calculated soon to discourage research. As our language took its rise during the barbarism of the dark ages, the books through which its early history must be traced, are not only few and meagre, but, in respect to grammar, unsettled and diverse. It is not to be expected that inquiries of this kind will ever engage the attention of any very considerable number of persons. Over the minds of the reading public, the attractions of novelty hold a much greater influence, than any thing that is to be discovered in the dusk of antiquity. All old books contain a greater or less number of obsolete words, and antiquated modes of expression, which puzzle the reader, and call him too frequently to his glossary. And even the most common terms, when they appear in their ancient, unsettled orthography, are often so disguised as not to be readily recognized.

5. These circumstances (the last of which should be a caution to us against innovations in spelling) retard the progress of the reader, impose a labour too great for the ardour of his curiosity, and soon dispose him to rest satisfied with an ignorance, which, being general, is not likely to expose him to censure. For these reasons, ancient authors are little read; and the real antiquary is considered a man of odd habits, who, by a singular propensity, is led into studies both unfashionable and fruitless—a man who ought to have been born in the days of old, that he might have spoken the language he is so curious to know, and have appeared in the costume of an age better suited to his taste.

6. But Learning is ever curious to explore the records of time, as well as the regions of space; and wherever her institutions flourish, she will amass her treasures, and spread them before her votaries. Difference of languages she easily overcomes; but the leaden reign of unlettered Ignorance defies her scrutiny. Hence, of one period of the world's history, she ever speaks with horror—that "long night of apostasy," during which, like a lone Sibyl, she hid her precious relics in solitary cells, and fleeing from degraded Christendom, sought refuge with the eastern caliphs. "This awful decline of true religion in the world carried with it almost every vestige of civil liberty, of classical literature, and of scientific knowledge; and it will generally be found in experience that they must all stand or fall together."—Hints on Toleration, p. 263. In the tenth century, beyond which we find nothing that bears much resemblance to the English language as now written, this mental darkness appears to have gathered to its deepest obscuration; and, at that period, England was sunk as low in ignorance, superstition, and depravity, as any other part of Europe.

7. The English language gradually varies as we trace it back, and becomes at length identified with the Anglo-Saxon; that is, with the dialect spoken by the Saxons after their settlement in England. These Saxons were a fierce, warlike, unlettered people from Germany; whom the ancient Britons had invited to their assistance against the Picts and Scots. Cruel and ignorant, like their Gothic kindred, who had but lately overrun the Roman empire, they came, not for the good of others, but to accommodate themselves. They accordingly seized the country; destroyed or enslaved the ancient inhabitants; or, more probably, drove the remnant of them into the mountains of Wales. Of Welsh or ancient British words, Charles Bucke, who says in his grammar that he took great pains to be accurate in his scale of derivation, enumerates but one hundred and eleven, as now found in our language; and Dr. Johnson, who makes them but ninety-five, argues from their paucity, or almost total absence, that the Saxons could not have mingled at all with these people, or even have retained them in vassalage.

8. The ancient languages of France and of the British isles are said to have proceeded from an other language yet more ancient, called the Celtic; so that, from one common source, are supposed to have sprung the present Welsh, the present Irish, and the present Highland Scotch.[46] The term Celtic Dr. Webster defines, as a noun, "The language of the Celts;" and, as an adjective, "Pertaining to the primitive inhabitants of the south and west of Europe, or to the early inhabitants of Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Britain." What unity, according to this, there was, or could have been, in the ancient Celtic tongue, does not appear from books, nor is it easy to be conjectured.[47] Many ancient writers sustain this broad application of the term Celtæ or Celts; which, according to Strabo's etymology of it, means horsemen, and seems to have been almost as general as our word Indians. But Cæsar informs us that the name was more particularly claimed by the people who, in his day, lived in France between the Seine and the Garonne, and who by the Romans were called Galli, or Gauls.

9. The Celtic tribes are said to have been the descendants of Gomer, the son of Japhet. The English historians agree that the first inhabitants of their island owed their origin and their language to the Celtæ, or Gauls, who settled on the opposite shore. Julius Cæsar, who invaded Britain about half a century before the Christian era, found the inhabitants ignorant of letters, and destitute of any history but oral tradition. To this, however, they paid great attention, teaching every thing in verse. Some of the Druids, it is said in Cæsar's Commentaries, spent twenty years in learning to repeat songs and hymns that were never committed to writing. These ancient priests, or diviners, are represented as having great power, and as exercising it in some respects beneficially; but their horrid rites, with human sacrifices, provoked the Romans to destroy them. Smollett says, "Tiberius suppressed those human sacrifices in Gaul; and Claudius destroyed the Druids of that country; but they subsisted in Britain till the reign of Nero, when Paulus Suetonius reduced the island of Anglesey, which was the place of their retreat, and overwhelmed them with such unexpected and sudden destruction, that all their knowledge and tradition, conveyed to them in the songs of their predecessors, perished at once."—Smollett's Hist. of Eng., 4to, B. i, Ch. i, §7.

10. The Romans considered Britain a province of their empire, for a period of about five hundred years; but the northern part of the island was never entirely subdued by them, and not till Anno Domini 78, a hundred and thirty-three years after their first invasion of the country, had they completed their conquest of England. Letters and arts, so far at least as these are necessary to the purposes of war or government, the victors carried with them; and under their auspices some knowledge of Christianity was, at a very early period, introduced into Britain. But it seems strange, that after all that is related of their conquests, settlements, cities, fortifications, buildings, seminaries, churches, laws, &c., they should at last have left the Britons in so helpless, degraded, and forlorn a condition. They did not sow among them the seeds of any permanent improvement.

11. The Roman government, being unable to sustain itself at home, withdrew its forces finally from Britain in the year 446, leaving the wretched inhabitants almost as savage as it found them, and in a situation even less desirable. Deprived of their native resources, their ancient independence of spirit, as well as of the laws, customs, institutions, and leaders, that had kept them together under their old dynasties, and now deserted by their foreign protectors, they were apparently left at the mercy of blind fortune, the wretched vicissitudes of which there was none to foresee, none to resist. The glory of the Romans now passed away. The mighty fabric of their own proud empire crumbled into ruins. Civil liberty gave place to barbarism; Christian truth, to papal superstition; and the lights of science were put out by both. The shades of night gathered over all; settling and condensing, "till almost every point of that wide horizon, over which the Sun of Righteousness had diffused his cheering rays, was enveloped in a darkness more awful and more portentous than that which of old descended upon rebellious Pharaoh and the callous sons of Ham."—Hints on Toleration, p. 310.

12. The Saxons entered Britain in the year 449. But what was the form of their language at that time, cannot now be known. It was a dialect of the Gothic or Teutonic; which is considered the parent of all the northern tongues of Europe, except some few of Sclavonian origin. The only remaining monument of the Gothic language is a copy of the Gospels, translated by Ulphilas; which is preserved at Upsal, and called, from its embellishments, the Silver Book. This old work has been three times printed in England. We possess not yet in America all the advantages which may be enjoyed by literary men in the land of our ancestors; but the stores of literature, both ancient and modern, are somewhat more familiar to us, than is there supposed; and the art of printing is fast equalizing, to all nations that cultivate learning, the privilege of drinking at its ancient fountains.

13. It is neither liberal nor just to argue unfavourably of the intellectual or the moral condition of any remote age or country, merely from our own ignorance of it. It is true, we can derive from no quarter a favourable opinion of the state of England after the Saxon invasion, and during the tumultuous and bloody government of the heptarchy. But I will not darken the picture through design. If justice were done to the few names—to Gildas the wise, the memorialist of his country's sufferings and censor of the nation's depravity, who appears a solitary star in the night of the sixth century—to the venerable Bede, the greatest theologian, best scholar, and only historian of the seventh—to Alcuin, the abbot of Canterbury, the luminary of the eighth—to Alfred the great, the glory of the ninth, great as a prince, and greater as a scholar, seen in the evening twilight of an age in which the clergy could not read;—if justice were done to all such, we might find something, even in these dark and rugged times, if not to soften the grimness of the portrait, at least to give greater distinctness of feature.

14. In tracing the history of our language, Dr. Johnson, who does little more than give examples, cites as his first specimen of ancient English, a portion of king [sic—KTH] Alfred's paraphrase in imitation of Boëthius. But this language of Alfred's is not English; but rather, as the learned doctor himself considered it, an example of the Anglo-Saxon in its highest state of purity. This dialect was first changed by admixture with words derived from the Danish and the Norman; and, still being comparatively rude and meagre, afterwards received large accessions from the Latin, the French, the Greek, the Dutch—till, by gradual changes, which the etymologist may exhibit, there was at length produced a language bearing a sufficient resemblance to the present English, to deserve to be called English at this day.

15. The formation of our language cannot with propriety be dated earlier than the thirteenth century. It was then that a free and voluntary amalgamation of its chief constituent materials took place; and this was somewhat earlier than we date the revival of learning. The English of the thirteenth century is scarcely intelligible to the modern reader. Dr. Johnson calls it "a kind of intermediate diction, neither Saxon nor English;" and says, that Sir John Gower, who wrote in the latter part of the fourteenth century, was "the first of our authors who can be properly said to have written English." Contemporary with Gower, the father of English poetry, was the still greater poet, his disciple Chaucer; who embraced many of the tenets of Wickliffe, and imbibed something of the spirit of the reformation, which was now begun.

16. The literary history of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is full of interest; for it is delightful to trace the progress of great and obvious improvement. The reformation of religion and the revival of learning were nearly simultaneous. Yet individuals may have acted a conspicuous part in the latter, who had little to do with the former; for great learning does not necessarily imply great piety, though, as Dr. Johnson observes, "the Christian religion always implies or produces a certain degree of civility and learning."—Hist. Eng. Lang. before his 4to Dict. "The ordinary instructions of the clergy, both philosophical and religious, gradually fell into contempt, as the Classics superseded the one, and the Holy Scriptures expelled the other. The first of these changes was effected by the early grammarians of Europe; and it gave considerable aid to the reformation, though it had no immediate connexion with that event. The revival of the English Bible, however, completed the work: and though its appearance was late, and its progress was retarded in every possible manner, yet its dispersion was at length equally rapid, extensive, and effectual."—Constable's Miscellany, Vol. xx, p. 75.

17. Peculiar honour is due to those who lead the way in whatever advances human happiness. And, surely, our just admiration of the character of the reformers must be not a little enhanced, when we consider what they did for letters as well as for the church. Learning does not consist in useless jargon, in a multitude of mere words, or in acute speculations remote from practice; else the seventeen folios of St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelical doctor of the thirteenth century, and the profound disputations of his great rival, Duns Scotus the subtle, for which they were revered in their own age, had not gained them the contempt of all posterity. From such learning the lucid reasoning of the reformers delivered the halls of instruction. The school divinity of the middle ages passed away before the presence of that which these men learned from the Bible, as did in a later age the Aristotelian philosophy before that which Bacon drew from nature.

18. Towards the latter part of the fourteenth century, Wickliffe furnished the first entire translation of the Bible into English. In like manner did the Germans, a hundred and fifty years after, receive it in their tongue from the hands of Luther; who says, that at twenty years of age, he himself had not seen it in any language. Wickliffe's English style is elegant for the age in which he lived, yet very different from what is elegant now. This first English translation of the Bible, being made about a hundred years before the introduction of printing into England, could not have been very extensively circulated. A large specimen of it may be seen in Dr. Johnson's History of the English Language. Wickliffe died in 1384. The art of printing was invented about 1440, and first introduced into England, in 1468; but the first printed edition of the Bible in English, was executed in Germany. It was completed, October 5th, 1535.

19. "Martin Luther, about the year 1517, first introduced metrical psalmody into the service of the church, which not only kept alive the enthusiasm of the reformers, but formed a rallying point for his followers. This practice spread in all directions; and it was not long ere six thousand persons were heard singing together at St. Paul's Cross in London. Luther was a poet and musician; but the same talent existed not in his followers. Thirty years afterwards, Sternhold versified fifty-one of the Psalms; and in 1562, with the help of Hopkins, he completed the Psalter. These poetical effusions were chiefly sung to German melodies, which the good taste of Luther supplied: but the Puritans, in a subsequent age, nearly destroyed these germs of melody, assigning as a reason, that music should be so simplified as to suit all persons, and that all may join."—Dr. Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 283.

20. "The schools and colleges of England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were not governed by a system of education which would render their students very eminent either as scholars or as gentlemen: and the monasteries, which were used as seminaries, even until the reformation, taught only the corrupt Latin used by the ecclesiastics. The time however was approaching, when the united efforts of Stanbridge, Linacre, Sir John Cheke, Dean Colet, Erasmus, William Lily, Roger Ascham, &c., were successful in reviving the Latin tongue in all its purity; and even in exciting a taste for Greek in a nation the clergy of which opposed its introduction with the same vehemence which characterized their enmity to a reformation in religion. The very learned Erasmus, the first who undertook the teaching of the Greek language at Oxford, met with few friends to support him; notwithstanding Oxford was the seat of nearly all the learning in England."—Constable's Miscellany, Vol. xx, p. 146.

21. "The priests preached against it, as a very recent invention of the arch-enemy; and confounding in their misguided zeal, the very foundation of their faith, with the object of their resentment, they represented the New Testament itself as 'an impious and dangerous book,' because it was written in that heretical language. Even after the accession of Henry VIII, when Erasmus, who had quitted Oxford in disgust, returned under his especial patronage, with the support of several eminent scholars and powerful persons, his progress was still impeded, and the language opposed. The University was divided into parties, called Greeks and Trojans, the latter being the strongest, from being favoured by the monks; and the Greeks were driven from the streets, with hisses and other expressions of contempt. It was not therefore until Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey gave it their positive and powerful protection, that this persecuted language was allowed to be quietly studied, even in the institutions dedicated to learning."—Ib., p. 147.

22. These curious extracts are adduced to show the spirit of the times, and the obstacles then to be surmounted in the cause of learning. This popular opposition to Greek, did not spring from a patriotic design to prefer and encourage English literature; for the improvement of this was still later, and the great promoters of it were all of them classical scholars. They wrote in English, not because they preferred it, but because none but those who were bred in colleges, could read any thing else; and, even to this very day, the grammatical study of the English language is shamefully neglected in what are called the higher institutions of learning. In alleging this neglect, I speak comparatively. Every student, on entering upon the practical business of life, will find it of far more importance to him, to be skillful in the language of his own country than to be distinguished for any knowledge which the learned only can appreciate. "Will the greatest Mastership in Greek and Latin, or [the] translating [of] these Languages into English, avail for the Purpose of acquiring an elegant English Style? No—we know just the Reverse from woeful Experience! And, as Mr. Locke and the Spectator observe, Men who have threshed hard at Greek and Latin for ten or eleven years together, are very often deficient in their own Language."—Preface to the British Gram., 8vo, 1784, p. xxi.

23. That the progress of English literature in early times was slow, will not seem wonderful to those who consider what is affirmed of the progress of other arts, more immediately connected with the comforts of life. "Down to the reign of Elizabeth, the greater part of the houses in considerable towns, had no chimneys: the fire was kindled against the wall, and the smoke found its way out as well as it could, by the roof, the door, or the windows. The houses were mostly built of wattling, plastered over with clay; and the beds were only straw pallets, with a log of wood for a pillow. In this respect, even the king fared no better than his subjects; for, in Henry the Eighth's time, we find directions, 'to examine every night the straw of the king's bed, that no daggers might be concealed therein.' A writer in 1577, speaking of the progress of luxury, mentions three things especially, that were 'marvellously altered for the worse in England;' the multitude of chimneys lately erected, the increase of lodgings, and the exchange of treen platters into pewter, and wooden spoons into silver and tin; and he complains bitterly that oak instead of willow was employed in the building of houses."—REV. ROYAL ROBBINS: Outlines of History, p. 377.

24. Shakspeare appeared in the reign of Elizabeth; outlived her thirteen years; and died in 1616 aged 52. The English language in his hands did not lack power or compass of expression. His writings are now more extensively read, than any others of that age; nor has any very considerable part of his phraseology yet become obsolete. But it ought to be known, that the printers or editors of the editions which are now read, have taken extensive liberty in modernizing his orthography, as well as that of other old authors still popular. How far such liberty is justifiable, it is difficult to say. Modern readers doubtless find a convenience in it. It is very desirable that the orthography of our language should be made uniform, and remain permanent. Great alterations cannot be suddenly introduced; and there is, in stability, an advantage which will counterbalance that of a slow approximation to regularity. Analogy may sometimes decide the form of variable words, but the concurrent usage of the learned must ever be respected, in this, as in every other part of grammar.

25. Among the earliest of the English grammarians, was Ben Jonson, the poet; who died in the year 1637, at the age of sixty-three. His grammar, (which Horne Tooke mistakingly calls "the first as well as the best English grammar,") is still extant, being published in the several editions of his works. It is a small treatise, and worthy of attention only as a matter of curiosity. It is written in prose, and designed chiefly for the aid of foreigners. Grammar is an unpoetical subject, and therefore not wisely treated, as it once very generally was, in verse. But every poet should be familiar with the art, because the formal principles of his own have always been considered as embraced in it. To its poets, too, every language must needs be particularly indebted; because their compositions, being in general more highly finished than works in prose, are supposed to present the language in its most agreeable form. In the preface to the Poems of Edmund Waller, published in 1690, the editor ventures to say, "He was, indeed, the Parent of English Verse, and the first that shewed us our Tongue had Beauty and Numbers in it. Our Language owes more to Him, than the French does to Cardinal Richelieu and the whole Academy. * * * * The Tongue came into His hands a rough diamond: he polished it first; and to that degree, that all artists since him have admired the workmanship, without pretending to mend it."—British Poets, Vol. ii, Lond., 1800: Waller's Poems, p. 4.

26. Dr. Johnson, however, in his Lives of the Poets, abates this praise, that he may transfer the greater part of it to Dryden and Pope. He admits that, "After about half a century of forced thoughts and rugged metre, some advances towards nature and harmony had been already made by Waller and Denham;" but, in distributing the praise of this improvement, he adds, "It may be doubted whether Waller and Denham could have over-born [overborne] the prejudices which had long prevailed, and which even then were sheltered by the protection of Cowley. The new versification, as it was called, may be considered as owing its establishment to Dryden; from whose time it is apparent that English poetry has had no tendency to relapse to its former savageness."—Johnson's Life of Dryden: Lives, p. 206. To Pope, as the translator of Homer, he gives this praise: "His version may be said to have tuned the English tongue; for since its appearance no writer, however deficient in other powers, has wanted melody."—Life of Pope: Lives, p. 567. Such was the opinion of Johnson; but there are other critics who object to the versification of Pope, that it is "monotonous and cloying." See, in Leigh Hunt's Feast of the Poets, the following couplet, and a note upon it:

   "But ever since Pope spoil'd the ears of the town
    With his cuckoo-song verses half up and half down."

27. The unfortunate Charles I, as well as his father James I, was a lover and promoter of letters. He was himself a good scholar, and wrote well in English, for his time: he ascended the throne in 1625, and was beheaded in 1648. Nor was Cromwell himself, with all his religious and military enthusiasm, wholly insensible to literary merit. This century was distinguished by the writings of Milton, Dryden, Waller, Cowley, Denham, Locke, and others; and the reign of Charles II, which is embraced in it, has been considered by some "the Augustan age of English literature." But that honour, if it may well be bestowed on any, belongs rather to a later period. The best works produced in the eighteenth century, are so generally known and so highly esteemed, that it would be lavish of the narrow space allowed to this introduction, to speak particularly of their merits. Some grammatical errors may be found in almost all books; but our language was, in general, written with great purity and propriety by Addison, Swift, Pope, Johnson, Lowth, Hume, Horne, and many other celebrated authors who flourished in the last century. Nor was it much before this period, that the British writers took any great pains to be accurate in the use of their own language;

   "Late, very late, correctness grew our care,
    When the tir'd nation breath'd from civil war."—Pope.

28. English books began to be printed in the early part of the sixteenth century; and, as soon as a taste for reading was formed, the press threw open the flood-gates of general knowledge, the streams of which are now pouring forth, in a copious, increasing, but too often turbid tide, upon all the civilized nations of the earth. This mighty engine afforded a means by which superior minds could act more efficiently and more extensively upon society in general. And thus, by the exertions of genius adorned with learning, our native tongue has been made the polished vehicle of the most interesting truths, and of the most important discoveries; and has become a language copious, strong, refined, and capable of no inconsiderable degree of harmony. Nay, it is esteemed by some who claim to be competent judges, to be the strongest, the richest, the most elegant, and the most susceptible of sublime imagery, of all the languages in the world.



"Quot enim verba, et nonnunquam in deterius, hoc, quo vivimus, sæculo, partim aliqâ, partim nullâ necessitate cogente, mutata sunt?"—ROB. AINSWORTH: Lat. Dict., 4to; Præf., p. xi.

1. In the use of language, every one chooses his words from that common stock which he has learned, and applies them in practice according to his own habits and notions. If the style of different writers of the same age is various, much greater is the variety which appears in the productions of different ages. Hence the date of a book may often be very plausibly conjectured from the peculiarities of its style. As to what is best in itself, or best adapted to the subject in hand, every writer must endeavour to become his own judge. He who, in any sort of composition, would write with a master's hand, must first apply himself to books with a scholar's diligence. He must think it worth his while to inform himself, that he may be critical. Desiring to give the student all the advantage, entertainment, and satisfaction, that can be expected from a work of this kind, I shall subjoin a few brief specimens in illustration of what has been said in the foregoing chapter. The order of time will be followed inversely; and, as Saxon characters are not very easily obtained, or very apt to be read, the Roman letters will be employed for the few examples to which the others would be more appropriate. But there are some peculiarities of ancient usage in English, which, for the information of the young reader, it is proper in the first place to explain.

2. With respect to the letters, there are several changes to be mentioned. (1.) The pages of old books are often crowded with capitals: it was at one time the custom to distinguish all nouns, and frequently verbs, or any other important words, by heading them with a great letter. (2.) The letter Ess, of the lower case, had till lately two forms, the long and the short, as [tall-s] and s; the former very nearly resembling the small f, and the latter, its own capital. The short s was used at the end of words, and the long [tall-s], in other places; but the latter is now laid aside, in favour of the more distinctive form. (3.) The letters I and J were formerly considered as one and the same. Hence we find hallelujah for halleluiah, Iohn for John, iudgement for judgement, &c. And in many dictionaries, the words beginning with J are still mixed with those which begin with I. (4.) The letters U and V were mixed in like manner, and for the same reason; the latter being a consonant power given to the former, and at length distinguished from it by a different form. Or rather, the figure of the capital seems to have been at last appropriated to the one, and that of the small letter to the other. But in old books the forms of these two letters are continually confounded or transposed. Hence it is, that our Double-u is composed of two Vees; which, as we see in old books, were sometimes printed separately: as, VV, for W; or vv, for w.

3. The orthography of our language, rude and unsettled as it still is in many respects, was formerly much more variable and diverse. In books a hundred years old or more, we often find the most common words spelled variously by the same writer, and even upon the very same page. With respect to the forms of words, a few particulars may here be noticed: (1.) The article an, from which the n was dropped before words beginning with a consonant sound, is often found in old books where a would be more proper; as, an heart, an help, an hill, an one, an use. (2.) Till the seventeenth century, the possessive case was written without the apostrophe; being formed at different times, in es, is, ys, or s, like the plural; and apparently without rule or uniformity in respect to the doubling of the final consonant: as Goddes, Godes, Godis, Godys, or Gods, for God's; so mannes, mannis, mannys or mans, for man's. Dr. Ash, whose English Grammar was in some repute in the latter part of the eighteenth century, argued against the use of the apostrophe, alleging that it was seldom used to distinguish the possessive case till about the beginning of that century; and he then prophesied that the time would come, when correct writers would lay it aside again, as a strange corruption, an improper "departure from the original formation" of that case of English nouns. And, among the speculations of these latter days, I have somewhere seen an attempt to disparage this useful sign, and explode it, as an unsightly thing never well established. It does not indeed, like a syllabic sign, inform the ear or affect the sound; but still it is useful, because it distinguishes to the eye, not only the case, but the number, of the nouns thus marked. Pronouns, being different in their declension, do not need it, and should therefore always be written without it.

4. The common usage of those who have spoken English, has always inclined rather to brevity than to melody; contraction and elision of the ancient terminations of words, constitute no small part of the change which has taken place, or of the difference which perhaps always existed between the solemn and the familiar style. In respect to euphony, however, these terminations have certainly nothing to boast; nor does the earliest period of the language appear to be that in which they were the most generally used without contraction. That degree of smoothness of which the tongue was anciently susceptible, had certainly no alliance with these additional syllables. The long sonorous endings which constitute the declensions and conjugations of the most admired languages, and which seem to chime so well with the sublimity of the Greek, the majesty of the Latin, the sweetness of the Italian, the dignity of the Spanish, or the polish of the French, never had any place in English. The inflections given to our words never embraced any other vowel power than that of the short e or i; and even, this we are inclined to dispense with, whenever we can; so that most of our grammatical inflections are, to the ear, nothing but consonants blended with the final syllables of the words to which they are added. Ing for the first participle, er for the comparative degree, and est for the superlative, are indeed added as whole syllables; but the rest, as d or ed for preterits and perfect participles, s or es for the plural number of nouns, or for the third person singular of verbs, and st or est for the second person singular of verbs, nine times in ten, fall into the sound or syllable with which the primitive word terminates. English verbs, as they are now commonly used, run through their entire conjugation without acquiring a single syllable from inflection, except sometimes when the sound of d, s, or st cannot be added to them.

5. This simplicity, so characteristic of our modern English, as well as of the Saxon tongue, its proper parent, is attended with advantages that go far to compensate for all that is consequently lost in euphony, or in the liberty of transposition. Our formation of the moods and tenses, by means of a few separate auxiliaries, all monosyllabic, and mostly without inflection, is not only simple and easy, but beautiful, chaste, and strong. In my opinion, our grammarians have shown far more affection for the obsolete or obsolescent terminations en, eth, est, and edst, than they really deserve. Till the beginning of the sixteenth century, en was used to mark the plural number of verbs, as, they sayen for they say; after which, it appears to have been dropped. Before the beginning of the seventeenth century, s or es began to dispute with th or eth the right of forming the third person singular of verbs; and, as the Bible and other grave books used only the latter, a clear distinction obtained, between the solemn and the familiar style, which distinction is well known at this day. Thus we have, He runs, walks, rides, reaches, &c., for the one; and, He runneth, walketh, rideth, reacheth, &c., for the other. About the same time, or perhaps earlier, the use of the second person singular began to be avoided in polite conversation, by the substitution of the plural verb and pronoun; and, when used in poetry, it was often contracted, so as to prevent any syllabic increase. In old books, all verbs and participles that were intended to be contracted in pronunciation, were contracted also, in some way, by the writer: as, "call'd, carry'd, sacrific'd;" "fly'st, ascrib'st, cryd'st;" "tost, curst, blest, finisht;" and others innumerable. All these, and such as are like them, we now pronounce in the same way, but usually write differently; as, called, carried, sacrificed; fliest, ascribest, criettst; tossed, cursed, blessed, finished. Most of these topics will be further noticed in the Grammar.


6. Queen Victoria's Answer to an Address.—Example written in 1837.

"I thank you for your condolence upon the death of his late Majesty, for the justice which you render to his character, and to the measures of his reign, and for your warm congratulations upon my accession to the throne. I join in your prayers for the prosperity of my reign, the best security for which is to be found in reverence for our holy religion, and in the observance of its duties."—VICTORIA, to the Friends' Society.

7. From President Adams's Eulogy on Lafayette.—Written in 1834.

"Pronounce him one of the first men of his age, and you have yet not done him justice. Try him by that test to which he sought in vain to stimulate the vulgar and selfish spirit of Napoleon; class him among the men who, to compare and seat themselves, must take in the compass of all ages; turn back your eyes upon the records of time; summon from the creation of the world to this day the mighty dead of every age and every clime; and where, among the race of merely mortal men, shall one be found, who, as the benefactor of his kind, shall claim to take precedence of Lafayette?"—JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

8. From President Jackson's Proclamation against Nullification.—1832.

"No, we have not erred! The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defence in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace. It shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to our posterity: and the sacrifices of local interest, of State prejudices, of personal animosities, that were made to bring it into existence, will again be patriotically offered for its support."—ANDREW JACKSON.

9. From a Note on one of Robert Hall's Sermons.—Written about 1831.

"After he had written down the striking apostrophe which occurs at about page 76 of most of the editions—'Eternal God! on what are thine enemies intent! what are those enterprises of guilt and horror, that, for the safety of their performers, require to be enveloped in a darkness which the eye of Heaven must not penetrate!'—he asked, 'Did I say penetrate, sir, when I preached, it?' 'Yes.' 'Do you think, sir, I may venture to alter it? for no man who considered the force of the English language, would use a word of three syllables there, but from absolute necessity.' 'You are doubtless at liberty to alter it, if you think well.' 'Then be so good, sir, as to take your pencil, and for penetrate put pierce; pierce is the word, sir, and the only word to be used there.'"—OLINTHUS GREGORY.

10. King William's Answer to an Address.—Example written in 1830.

"I thank you sincerely for your condolence with me, on account of the loss which I have sustained, in common with my people, by the death of my lamented brother, his late Majesty. The assurances which you have conveyed to me, of loyalty and affectionate attachment to my person, are very gratifying to my feelings. You may rely upon my favour and protection, and upon my anxious endeavours to promote morality and true piety among all classes of my subjects."—WILLIAM IV, to the Friends.

11. Reign of George IV, 1830 back to 1820.—Example written in 1827.

   "That morning, thou, that slumbered[48] not before,
    Nor slept, great Ocean I laid thy waves to rest,
    And hushed thy mighty minstrelsy. No breath
    Thy deep composure stirred, no fin, no oar;
    Like beauty newly dead, so calm, so still,
    So lovely, thou, beneath the light that fell
    From angel-chariots sentinelled on high,
    Reposed, and listened, and saw thy living change,
    Thy dead arise. Charybdis listened, and Scylla;
    And savage Euxine on the Thracian beach
    Lay motionless: and every battle ship
    Stood still; and every ship of merchandise,
    And all that sailed, of every name, stood still."
                  ROBERT POLLOK: Course of Time, Book VII, line 634-647.


12. Reign of George III, 1820 back to 1760.—Example written in 1800.

"There is, it will be confessed, a delicate sensibility to character, a sober desire of reputation, a wish to possess the esteem of the wise and good, felt by the purest minds, which is at the farthest remove from arrogance or vanity. The humility of a noble mind scarcely dares approve of itself, until it has secured the approbation of others. Very different is that restless desire of distinction, that passion for theatrical display, which inflames the heart and occupies the whole attention of vain men. * * * The truly good man is jealous over himself, lest the notoriety of his best actions, by blending itself with their motive, should diminish their value; the vain man performs the same actions for the sake of that notoriety. The good man quietly discharges his duty, and shuns ostentation; the vain man considers every good deed lost that is not publickly displayed. The one is intent upon realities, the other upon semblances: the one aims to be virtuous, the other to appear so."—ROBERT HALL: Sermon on Modern Infidelity.

13. From Washington's Farewell Address.—Example written in 1796.

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and publick felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of a peculiar structure; reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."—GEORGE WASHINGTON.

14. From Dr. Johnson's Life of Addison.—Example written about 1780.

"That he always wrote as he would think it necessary to write now, cannot be affirmed; his instructions were such as the character of his readers made proper. That general knowledge which now circulates in common talk, was in his time rarely to be found. Men not professing learning, were not ashamed of ignorance; and in the female world, any acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured. His purpose was to infuse literary curiosity, by gentle and unsuspected conveyance, into the gay, the idle, and the wealthy; he therefore presented knowledge in the most alluring form, not lofty and austere, but accessible and familiar. When he shewed them their defects, he shewed them likewise that they might easily be supplied. His attempt succeeded; inquiry was awakened, and comprehension expanded. An emulation of intellectual elegance was excited, and from this time to our own, life has been gradually exalted, and conversation purified and enlarged."—SAMUEL JOHNSON: Lives, p. 321.

15. Reign of George II, 1760 back to 1727.—Example written in 1751.

"We Britons in our time have been remarkable borrowers, as our multiform Language may sufficiently shew. Our Terms in polite Literature prove, that this came from Greece; our terms in Music and Painting, that these came from Italy; our Phrases in Cookery and War, that we learnt these from the French; and our phrases in Navigation, that we were taught by the Flemings and Low Dutch. These many and very different Sources of our Language may be the cause, why it is so deficient in Regularity and Analogy. Yet we have this advantage to compensate the defect, that what we want in Elegance, we gain in Copiousness, in which last respect few Languages will be found superior to our own."—JAMES HARRIS: Hermes, Book iii, Ch. v, p. 408.

16. Reign of George I, 1727 back to 1714.—Example written about 1718.

"There is a certain coldness and indifference in the phrases of our European languages, when they are compared with the Oriental forms of speech: and it happens very luckily, that the Hebrew idioms ran into the English tongue, with a particular grace and beauty. Our language has received innumerable elegancies and improvements from that infusion of Hebraisms, which are derived to it out of the poetical passages in holy writ. They give a force and energy to our expressions, warm and animate our language, and convey our thoughts in more ardent and intense phrases, than any that are to be met with in our tongue."—JOSEPH ADDISON: Evidences, p. 192.

17. Reign of Queen Anne, 1714 to 1702.—Example written in 1708.

   "Some by old words to Fame have made pretence,
    Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense;
    Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style,
    Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile."
    "In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
    Alike fantastick, if too new or old:
    Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
    Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."
                    ALEXANDER POPE: Essay on Criticism, l. 324-336.


18. Reign of William III, 1702 to 1689.—Example published in 1700.

"And when we see a Man of Milton's Wit Chime in with such a Herd, and Help on the Cry against Hirelings! We find How Easie it is for Folly and Knavery to Meet, and that they are Near of Kin, tho they bear Different Aspects. Therefor since Milton has put himself upon a Level with the Quakers in this, I will let them go together. And take as little Notice of his Buffoonry, as of their Dulness against Tythes. Ther is nothing worth Quoting in his Lampoon against the Hirelings. But what ther is of Argument in it, is fully Consider'd in what follows."—CHARLES LESLIE: Divine Right of Tithes, Pref., p. xi.

19. Reign of James II, 1689 back to 1685.—Example written in 1685.

      "His conversation, wit, and parts,
    His knowledge in the noblest useful arts,
     Were such, dead authors could not give;
     But habitudes of those who live;
    Who, lighting him, did greater lights receive:
     He drain'd from all, and all they knew;
    His apprehension quick, his judgment true:
     That the most learn'd with shame confess
    His knowledge more, his reading only less."
       JOHN DRYDEN: Ode to the Memory of Charles II; Poems, p. 84.

20. Reign of Charles II, 1685 to 1660.—Example from a Letter to the Earl of Sunderland, dated, "Philadelphia, 28th 5th mo. July, 1683."

"And I will venture to say, that by the help of God, and such noble Friends, I will show a Province in seven years, equal to her neighbours of forty years planting. I have lay'd out the Province into Countys. Six are begun to be seated; they lye on the great river, and are planted about six miles back. The town platt is a mile long, and two deep,—has a navigable river on each side, the least as broad as the Thames at Woolwych, from three to eight fathom water. There is built about eighty houses, and I have settled at least three hundred farmes contiguous to it."—WILLIAM PENN. The Friend, Vol. vii, p. 179.

21. From an Address or Dedication to Charles II.—Written in 1675.

"There is no [other] king in the world, who can so experimentally testify of God's providence and goodness; neither is there any [other], who rules so many free people, so many true Christians: which thing renders thy government more honourable, thyself more considerable, than the accession of many nations filled with slavish and superstitious souls."—ROBERT BARCLAY: Apology, p. viii.

22. The following example, from the commencement of Paradise Lost, first published in 1667, has been cited by several authors, to show how large a proportion of our language is of Saxon origin. The thirteen words in Italics are the only ones in this passage, which seem to have been derived from any other source.

   "Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden; till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
    Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
    Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
    That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
    In the beginning, how the Heav'ns and Earth
    Rose out of Chaos."—MILTON: Paradise Lost, Book I.

23. Examples written during Cromwell's Protectorate, 1660 to 1650.

"The Queene was pleased to shew me the letter, the seale beinge a Roman eagle, havinge characters about it almost like the Greeke. This day, in the afternoone, the vice-chauncellor came to me and stayed about four hours with me; in which tyme we conversed upon the longe debates."—WHITELOCKE. Bucke's Class. Gram., p. 149.

"I am yet heere, and have the States of Holland ingaged in a more than ordnary maner, to procure me audience of the States Generall. Whatever happen, the effects must needes be good."—STRICKLAND: Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 149.

24. Reign of Charles I, 1648 to 1625.—Example from Ben Jonson's Grammar, written about 1634; but the orthography is more modern.

"The second and third person singular of the present are made of the first, by adding est and eth; which last is sometimes shortened into s. It seemeth to have been poetical licence which first introduced this abbreviation of the third person into use; but our best grammarians have condemned it upon some occasions, though perhaps not to be absolutely banished the common and familiar style."

"The persons plural keep the termination of the first person singular. In former times, till about the reign of Henry the eighth, they were wont to be formed by adding en; thus, loven, sayen, complainen. But now (whatever is the cause) it hath quite grown out of use, and that other so generally prevailed, that I dare not presume to set this afoot again: albeit (to tell you my opinion) I am persuaded that the lack hereof well considered, will be found a great blemish to our tongue. For seeing time and person be, as it were, the right and left hand of a verb, what can the maiming bring else, but a lameness to the whole body?"—Book i, Chap. xvi.

25. Reign of James I, 1625 to 1603.—From an Advertisement, dated 1608.

"I svppose it altogether needlesse (Christian Reader) by commending M. VVilliam Perkins, the Author of this booke, to wooe your holy affection, which either himselfe in his life time by his Christian conversation hath woon in you, or sithence his death, the neuer-dying memorie of his excellent knowledge, his great humilitie, his sound religion, his feruent zeale, his painefull labours, in the Church of God, doe most iustly challenge at your hands: onely in one word, I dare be bold to say of him as in times past Nazianzen spake of Athanasius. His life was a good definition of a true minister and preacher of the Gospell."—The Printer to the Reader.

26. Examples written about the end of Elizabeth's reign—1603.

   "Some say, That euer 'gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Saviour's Birth is celebrated,
    The Bird of Dawning singeth all night long;
    And then, say they, no Spirit dares walk abroad:
    The nights are wholsom, then no Planets strike,
    No Fairy takes, nor Witch hath pow'r to charm;
    So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."
                                      SHAKSPEARE: Hamlet.

    "The sea, with such a storme as his bare head
    In hell-blacke night indur'd, would haue buoy'd up
    And quench'd the stelled fires.
    Yet, poore old heart, he holpe the heuens to raine.
    If wolues had at thy gate howl'd that sterne time,
    Thou shouldst haue said, Good porter, turne the key."
                                       SHAKSPEARE: Lear.


27. Reign of Elizabeth, 1603 back to 1558.—Example written in 1592.

"As for the soule, it is no accidentarie qualitie, but a spirituall and inuisible essence or nature, subsisting by it selfe. Which plainely appeares in that the soules of men haue beeing and continuance as well forth of the bodies of men as in the same; and are as wel subiect to torments as the bodie is. And whereas we can and doe put in practise sundrie actions of life, sense, motion, vnderstanding, we doe it onely by the power and vertue of the soule. Hence ariseth the difference betweene the soules of men, and beasts. The soules of men are substances: but the soules of other creatures seeme not to be substances; because they haue no beeing out of the bodies in which they are."—WILLIAM PERKINS: Theol. Works, folio, p. 155.

28. Examples written about the beginning of Elizabeth's reign.—1558.

"Who can perswade, when treason is aboue reason; and mighte ruleth righte; and it is had for lawfull, whatsoever is lustfull; and commotioners are better than commissioners; and common woe is named common weale?"—SIR JOHN CHEKE. "If a yong jentleman will venture him selfe into the companie of ruffians, it is over great a jeopardie, lest their facions, maners, thoughts, taulke, and dedes, will verie sone be over like."—ROGER ASCHAM.

29. Reign of Mary the Bigot, 1558 to 1553.—Example written about 1555.

"And after that Philosophy had spoken these wordes the said companye of the musys poeticall beynge rebukyd and sad, caste downe their countenaunce to the grounde, and by blussyng confessed their shamefastnes, and went out of the dores. But I (that had my syght dull and blynd wyth wepyng, so that I knew not what woman this was hauyng soo great aucthoritie) was amasyd or astonyed, and lokyng downeward, towarde the ground, I began pryvyle to look what thyng she would save ferther."—COLVILLE: Version from Boëthius: Johnson's Hist. of E. L., p. 29.

30. Example referred by Dr. Johnson to the year 1553.

"Pronunciation is an apte orderinge bothe of the voyce, countenaunce, and all the whole bodye, accordynge to the worthinea of such woordes and mater as by speache are declared. The vse hereof is suche for anye one that liketh to haue prayse for tellynge his tale in open assemblie, that hauing a good tongue, and a comelye countenaunce, he shal be thought to passe all other that haue not the like vtteraunce: thoughe they have muche better learning."—DR. WILSON: Johnson's Hist. E. L., p. 45.

31. Reign of Edward VI, 1553 to 1547.—Example written about 1550.

   "Who that will followe the graces manyfolde
    Which are in vertue, shall finde auauncement:
    Wherefore ye fooles that in your sinne are bolde,
    Ensue ye wisdome, and leaue your lewde intent,
    Wisdome is the way of men most excellent:
    Therefore haue done, and shortly spede your pace,
    To quaynt your self and company with grace."
                    ALEXANDER BARCLAY: Johnson's Hist. E. L., p. 44.

32. Reign of Henry VIII, 1547 to 1509.—Example dated 1541.

"Let hym that is angry euen at the fyrste consyder one of these thinges, that like as he is a man, so is also the other, with whom he is angry, and therefore it is as lefull for the other to be angry, as unto hym: and if he so be, than shall that anger be to hym displeasant, and stere hym more to be angrye."—SIR THOMAS ELLIOTT: Castel of Helthe.

33. Example of the earliest English Blank Verse; written about 1540.

The supposed author died in 1541, aged 38. The piece from which these lines are taken describes the death of Zoroas, an Egyptian astronomer, slain in Alexander's first battle with the Persians.

   "The Persians waild such sapience to foregoe;
    And very sone the Macedonians wisht
    He would have lived; king Alexander selfe
    Demde him a man unmete to dye at all;
    Who wonne like praise for conquest of his yre,
    As for stoute men in field that day subdued,
    Who princes taught how to discerne a man,
    That in his head so rare a jewel beares;
    But over all those same Camenes,[49] those same
    Divine Camenes, whose honour he procurde,
    As tender parent doth his daughters weale,
    Lamented, and for thankes, all that they can,
    Do cherish hym deceast, and sett hym free,
    From dark oblivion of devouring death."
                       Probably written by SIR THOMAS WYAT.

34. A Letter written from prison, with a coal. The writer, Sir Thomas More, whose works, both in prose and verse, were considered models of pure and elegant style, had been Chancellor of England, and the familiar confidant of Henry VIII, by whose order he was beheaded in 1535.

"Myne own good doughter, our Lorde be thanked I am in good helthe of bodye, and in good quiet of minde: and of worldly thynges I no more desyer then I haue. I beseche hym make you all mery in the hope of heauen. And such thynges as I somewhat longed to talke with you all, concerning the worlde to come, our Lorde put theim into your myndes, as I truste he doth and better to by hys holy spirite: who blesse you and preserue you all. Written wyth a cole by your tender louing father, who in hys pore prayers forgetteth none of you all, nor your babes, nor your nources, nor your good husbandes, nor your good husbandes shrewde wyues, nor your fathers shrewde wyfe neither, nor our other frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well for lacke of paper. THOMAS MORE, knight."—Johnson's Hist. E. Lang., p. 42.

35. From More's Description of Richard III.—Probably written about 1520.

"Richarde the third sonne, of whom we nowe entreate, was in witte and courage egall with either of them, in bodye and prowesse farre vnder them bothe, little of stature, ill fetured of limmes, croke backed, his left shoulder much higher than his right, hard fauoured of visage, and such as is in states called warlye, in other menne otherwise, he was malicious, wrathfull, enuious, and from afore his birth euer frowarde. * * * Hee was close and secrete, a deep dissimuler, lowlye of counteynaunce, arrogant of heart—dispitious and cruell, not for euill will alway, but after for ambicion, and either for the suretie and encrease of his estate. Frende and foo was muche what indifferent, where his aduauntage grew, he spared no mans deathe, whose life withstoode his purpose. He slew with his owne handes king Henry the sixt, being prisoner in the Tower."—SIR THOMAS MORE: Johnson's History of the English Language, p. 39.

36. From his description of Fortune, written about the year 1500.

   "Fortune is stately, solemne, prowde, and hye:
    And rychesse geueth, to haue seruyce therefore.
    The nedy begger catcheth an half peny:
    Some manne a thousaude pounde, some lesse some more.
    But for all that she kepeth euer in store,
    From euery manne some parcell of his wyll,
    That he may pray therefore and serve her styll.
      Some manne hath good, but chyldren hath he none.
    Some manne hath both, but he can get none health.
    Some hath al thre, but vp to honours trone,
    Can he not crepe, by no maner of stelth.
    To some she sendeth chyldren, ryches, welthe,
    Honour, woorshyp, and reuerence all hys lyfe:
    But yet she pyncheth hym with a shrewde wife."
                                       SIR THOMAS MORE.


37. Example for the reign of Henry VII, who was crowned on Bosworth field, 1485, and who died in 1509.

"Wherefor and forasmoche as we haue sent for our derrest wif, and for our derrest moder, to come unto us, and that we wold have your advis and counsail also in soche matters as we haue to doo for the subduying of the rebelles, we praie you, that, yeving your due attendaunce vppon our said derrest wif and lady moder, ye come with thaym unto us; not failing herof as ye purpose to doo us plaisir. Yeven undre our signett, at our Castell of Kenelworth, the xiii daie of Maye."—HENRY VII: Letter to the Earl of Ormond: Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 147.

38. Example for the short reign of Richard III,—from 1485 to 1483.

"Right reverend fader in God, right trusty and right wel-beloved, we grete yow wele, and wol and charge you that under oure greate seale, being in your warde, ye do make in all haist our lettres of proclamation severally to be directed unto the shirrefs of everie countie within this oure royaume."—RICHARD III: Letter to his Chancellor.

39. Reign of Edward IV,—from 1483 to 1461.—Example written in 1463.

"Forasmoche as we by divers meanes bene credebly enformed and undarstand for certyne, that owr greate adversary Henry, naminge hym selfe kynge of England, by the maliceous counseyle and exitacion of Margaret his wife, namynge hir selfe queane of England, have conspired," &c.—EDWARD IV: Letter of Privy Seal.

40. Examples for the reign of Henry VI,—from 1461 back to 1422.

"When Nembroth [i.e. Nimrod] by Might, for his own Glorye, made and incorporate the first Realme, and subduyd it to hymself by Tyrannye, he would not have it governyd by any other Rule or Lawe, but by his own Will; by which and for th' accomplishment thereof he made it. And therefor, though he had thus made a Realme, holy Scripture denyd to cal hym a Kyng, Quia Rex dicitur a Regendo; Whych thyng he did not, but oppressyd the People by Myght."—SIR JOHN FORTESCUE.

41. Example from Lydgate, a poetical Monk, who died in 1440.

   "Our life here short of wit the great dulnes
    The heuy soule troubled with trauayle,
    And of memorye the glasyng brotelnes,
    Drede and vncunning haue made a strong batail
    With werines my spirite to assayle,
    And with their subtil creping in most queint
    Hath made my spirit in makyng for to feint."
        JOHN LYDGATE: Fall of Princes, Book III, Prol.

42. Example for the reign of Henry V,—from 1422 back to 1413.

"I wolle that the Duc of Orliance be kept stille withyn the Castil of Pontefret, with owte goyng to Robertis place, or to any other disport, it is better he lak his disport then we were disceyved. Of all the remanant dothe as ye thenketh."—Letter of HENRY V.

43. Example for the reign of Henry IV,—from 1413 back to 1400.

"Right heigh and myghty Prynce, my goode and gracious Lorde,—I recommaund me to you as lowly as I kan or may with all my pouer hert, desiryng to hier goode and gracious tydynges of your worshipful astate and welfare."—LORD GREY: Letter to the Prince of Wales: Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 145.


44. Reign of Richard II, 1400 back to 1377.—Example written in 1391. "Lytel Lowys my sonne, I perceve well by certaine evidences thyne abylyte to lerne scyences, touching nombres and proporcions, and also well consydre I thy besye prayer in especyal to lerne the tretyse of the astrolabye. Than for as moche as a philosopher saithe, he wrapeth hym in his frende, that condiscendeth to the ryghtfull prayers of his frende: therefore I have given the a sufficient astrolabye for oure orizont, compowned after the latitude of Oxenforde: vpon the whiche by meditacion of this lytell tretise, I purpose to teche the a certame nombre of conclusions, pertainynge to this same instrument."—GEOFFREY CHAUCER: Of the Astrolabe.

45. Example written about 1385—to be compared with that of 1555, on p. 87.

"And thus this companie of muses iblamed casten wrothly the chere dounward to the yerth, and shewing by rednesse their shame, thei passeden sorowfully the thresholde. And I of whom the sight plounged in teres was darked, so that I ne might not know what that woman was, of so Imperial aucthoritie, I woxe all abashed and stonied, and cast my sight doune to the yerth, and began still for to abide what she would doen afterward."—CHAUCER: Version from Boëthius: Johnson's Hist. of E. L., p. 29.

46. Poetical Example—probably written before 1380.

   "O Socrates, thou stedfast champion;
      She ne might nevir be thy turmentour,
    Thou nevir dreddist her oppression,
      Ne in her chere foundin thou no favour,
      Thou knewe wele the disceipt of her colour,
      And that her moste worship is for to lie,
    I knowe her eke a false dissimulour,
      For finally Fortune I doe defie."—CHAUCER.

47. Reign of Edward III, 1377 to 1327.—Example written about 1360.

   "And eke full ofte a littell skare
    Vpon a banke, er men be ware,
    Let in the streme, whiche with gret peine,
    If any man it shall restreine.
    Where lawe failleth, errour groweth;
    He is not wise, who that ne troweth."—SIR JOHN GOWER.

48. Example from Mandeville, the English traveller—written in 1356.

"And this sterre that is toward the Northe, that wee clepen the lode sterre, ne apperethe not to hem. For whiche cause, men may wel perceyve, that the lond and the see ben of rownde schapp and forme. For the partie of the firmament schewethe in o contree, that schewethe not in another contree. And men may well preven be experience and sotyle compassement of wytt, that zif a man fond passages be schippes, that wolde go to serchen the world, men mighte go be schippe all aboute the world, and aboven and benethen. The whiche thing I prove thus, aftre that I have seyn. * * * Be the whiche I seye zou certeynly, that men may envirowne alle the erthe of alle the world, as wel undre as aboven, and turnen azen to his contree, that hadde companye and schippynge and conduyt: and alle weyes he scholde fynde men, londes, and yles, als wel as in this contree."—SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE; Johnson's Hist. of E. L., p. 26.

49. Example from Rob. Langland's "Vision of Pierce Ploughman," 1350.

   "In the somer season,
    When hot was the Sun,
    I shope me into shroubs,
    As I a shepe were;
    In habit as an harmet,
    Vnholy of werkes,
    Went wyde in this world
    Wonders to heare."

50. Description of a Ship—referred to the reign of Edward II: 1327-1307.

   "Such ne saw they never none,
    For it was so gay begone,
    Every nayle with gold ygrave,
    Of pure gold was his sklave,
    Her mast was of ivory,
    Of samyte her sayle wytly,
    Her robes all of whyte sylk,
    As whyte as ever was ony mylke.
    The noble ship was without
    With clothes of gold spread about
    And her loft and her wyndlace
    All of gold depaynted was."
        ANONYMOUS: Bucke's Gram., p. 143.

51. From an Elegy on Edward I, who reigned till 1307 from 1272.

   "Thah mi tonge were made of stel,
      Ant min herte yzote of bras,
    The goodness myht y never telle,
      That with kyng Edward was:
    Kyng, as thou art cleped conquerour,
      In uch battaille thou hadest prys;
    God bringe thi soule to the honour,
      That ever wes ant ever ys.
    Now is Edward of Carnavan
      Kyng of Engelond al aplyght;
    God lete him never be worse man
      Then his fader, ne lasse myht,
    To holden his pore men to ryht,
      Ant understonde good counsail,
    Al Engelond for to wysse and dyht;
      Of gode knyhtes darh him nout fail."
        ANON.: Percy's Reliques, Vol. ii, p. 10.


52. Reign of Henry III, 1272 to 1216.—Example from an old ballad entitled Richard of Almaigne; which Percy says was "made by one of the adherents of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, soon after the battle of Lewes, which was fought, May 14, 1264."—Percy's Reliques, Vol. ii.

   "Sitteth alle stille, and herkneth to me;
    The kyng of Almaigne, bi mi leaute,
    Thritti thousent pound askede he
    For te make the pees in the countre,
          Ant so he dude more.
      Richard, thah thou be ever trichard,
          Trichten shalt thou never more."

53. In the following examples, I substitute Roman letters for the Saxon. At this period, we find the characters mixed. The style here is that which Johnson calls "a kind of intermediate diction, neither Saxon nor English." Of these historical rhymes, by Robert of Gloucester, the Doctor gives us more than two hundred lines; but he dates them no further than to say, that the author "is placed by the criticks in the thirteenth century."—Hist. of Eng. Lang., p. 24.

   "Alfred thys noble man, as in the ger of grace he nom
    Eygte hondred and syxty and tuelue the kyndom.
    Arst he adde at Rome ybe, and, vor ys grete wysdom,
    The pope Leo hym blessede, tho he thuder com,
    And the kynges croune of hys lond, that in this lond gut ys:
    And he led hym to be kyng, ar he kyng were y wys.
    An he was kyng of Engelond, of alle that ther come,
    That vorst thus ylad was of the pope of Rome,
    An suththe other after hym of the erchebyssopes echon."

    "Clere he was god ynou, and gut, as me telleth me,
    He was more than ten ger old, ar he couthe ys abece.
    Ac ys gode moder ofte smale gyftes hym tok,
    Vor to byleue other pie, and loky on ys boke.
    So that by por clergye ys rygt lawes he wonde,
    That neuere er nere y mad to gouerny ys lond."
             ROBERT OF GLOUCESTER: Johnson's Hist. of E. L., p. 25.

54. Reign of John, 1216 back to 1199.—Subject of Christ's Crucifixion.

   "I syke when y singe for sorewe that y se
    When y with wypinge bihold upon the tre,
    Ant se Jhesu the suete ys hert blod for-lete
                           For the love of me;
    Ys woundes waxen wete, thei wepen, still and mete,
                           Marie reweth me."
                               ANON.: Bucke's Gram., p. 142.


55. Reign of Richard I, 1199 back to 1189.—Owl and Nightingale.

   "Ich was in one sumere dale,
    In one snive digele pale,
    I herde ich hold grete tale,
    An hule and one nightingale.
    That plait was stif I stare and strong,
    Sum wile softe I lud among.
    An other again other sval
    I let that wole mod ut al.
    I either seide of otheres custe,
    That alere worste that hi wuste
    I hure and I hure of others songe
    Hi hold plaidung futhe stronge."
             ANON.: Bucke's Gram., p. 142.

56. Reign of Henry II, 1189 back to 1154.—Example dated 1180.

   "And of alle than folke
    The wuneden ther on folde,
    Wes thisses landes folke
    Leodene hendest itald;
    And alswa the wimmen
    Wunliche on heowen."
              GODRIC: Bucke's Gram., p. 141.

57. Example from the Saxon Chronicle, written about 1160.

"Micel hadde Henri king gadered gold & syluer, and na god ne dide me for his saule thar of. Tha the king Stephne to Engla-land com, tha macod he his gadering æt Oxene-ford, & thar he nam the biscop Roger of Seres-beri, and Alexander biscop of Lincoln, & te Canceler Roger hife neues, & dide ælle in prisun, til hi jafen up here castles. Tha the suikes undergæton that he milde man was & softe & god, & na justise ne dide; tha diden hi alle wunder." See Johnson's Hist. of the Eng. Language, p. 22.

58. Reign of Stephen, 1154 to 1135.—Example written about this time.

   "Fur in see bi west Spaygne.
    Is a lond ihone Cokaygne.
    There nis lond under heuenriche.
    Of wel of godnis hit iliche.
    Thoy paradis be miri and briyt.
    Cokaygne is of fairer siyt.
    What is ther in paradis.
    Bot grasse and flure and greneris.
    Thoy ther be ioi and gret dute.
    Ther nis met bot ænlic frute.
    Ther nis halle bure no bench.
    Bot watir manis thurst to quench."
                ANON.: Johnson's Hist. Eng. Lang., p. 23.

59. Reign of Henry I, 1135 to 1100.—Part of an Anglo-Saxon Hymn.

   "Heuene & erthe & all that is,
      Biloken is on his honde.
    He deth al that his wille is,
      On sea and ec on londe.

    He is orde albuten orde.
      And ende albuten ende.
    He one is eure on eche stede,
      Wende wer thu wende.

    He is buuen us and binethen,
      Biuoren and ec bihind.
    Se man that Godes wille deth,
      He mai hine aihwar uinde.

    Eche rune he iherth,
      And wot eche dede.
    He durh sighth eches ithanc,
      Wai hwat sel us to rede.

    Se man neure nele don god,
      Ne neure god lif leden,
    Er deth & dom come to his dure,
      He mai him sore adreden.

    Hunger & thurst, hete & chele,
      Ecthe and all unhelthe,
    Durh deth com on this midelard,
      And other uniselthe.

    Ne mai non herte hit ithenche,
      Ne no tunge telle,
    Hu muchele pinum and hu uele,
      Bieth inne helle.

    Louie God mid ure hierte,
      And mid all ure mihte,
    And ure emcristene swo us self,
      Swo us lereth drihte."
                  ANON.: Johnson's Hist. Eng. Lang., p. 21.


60. Saxon,—11th Century.[50]


"5. On Herodes dagum Iudea cynincges, wæs sum sacred on naman Zacharias, of Abian tune: and his wif wæs of Aarones dohtrum, and hyre nama waas Elizabeth.

6. Sothlice hig wæron butu rihtwise beforan Gode, gangende on eallum his bebodum and rihtwisnessum, butan wrohte.

7. And hig næfdon nan bearn, fortham the Elizabeth wæs unberende; and hy on hyra dagum butu forth-eodun.

8. Sothlice wæs geworden tha Zacharias hys sacerdhades breac on his gewrixles endebyrdnesse beforan Gode,

9. Æfter gewunan thæs sacerdhades hlotes, he eode that he his offrunge sette, tha he on Godes tempel eode.

10. Eall werod thæs folces wæs ute gebiddende on thære offrunge timan.

11. Tha ætywde him Drihtnes engel standende on thæs weofodes swithran healfe.

12. Tha weard Zacharias gedrefed that geseonde, and him ege onhreas.

13. Tha cwæth se engel him to, Ne ondræd thu the Zacharias; fortham thin ben is gehyred, and thin wif Elizabeth the sunu centh, and thu nemst hys naman Johannes."—Saxon Gospels.

English.—14th Century.


"5. In the dayes of Eroude kyng of Judee ther was a prest Zacarye by name, of the sort of Abia: and his wyf was of the doughtris of Aaron, and hir name was Elizabeth.

6. And bothe weren juste bifore God, goynge in alle the maundementis and justifyingis of the Lord, withouten playnt.

7. And thei hadden no child, for Elizabeth was bareyn; and bothe weren of greet age in her dayes.

8. And it befel that whanne Zacarye schould do the office of presthod in the ordir of his course to fore God,

9. Aftir the custom of the presthood, he wente forth by lot, and entride into the temple to encensen.

10. And al the multitude of the puple was without forth and preyede in the our of encensying.

11. And an aungel of the Lord apperide to him, and stood on the right half of the auter of encense. 12. And Zacarye seyinge was afrayed, and drede fel upon him.

13. And the aungel sayde to him, Zacarye, drede thou not; for thy preier is herd, and Elizabeth thi wif schal bere to thee a sone, and his name schal be clepid Jon."

Wickliffe's Bible, 1380.

English.—17th Century.


"5. There was in the days of Herod the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.

7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren; and they both were now well stricken in years.

8. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,

9. According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shall call his name John."

Common Bible, 1610.

See Dr. Johnson's History of the English Language, in his Quarto


61. Alfred the Great, who was the youngest son of Ethelwolf, king of the West Saxons, succeeded to the crown on the death of his brother Ethelred, in the year 871, being then twenty-two years old. He had scarcely time to attend the funeral of his brother, before he was called to the field to defend his country against the Danes. After a reign of more than twenty-eight years, rendered singularly glorious by great achievements under difficult circumstances, he died universally lamented, on the 28th of October, A. D. 900. By this prince the university of Oxford was founded, and provided with able teachers from the continent. His own great proficiency in learning, and his earnest efforts for its promotion, form a striking contrast with the ignorance which prevailed before. "In the ninth century, throughout the whole kingdom of the West Saxons, no man could be found who was scholar enough to instruct the young king Alfred, then a child, even in the first elements of reading: so that he was in his twelfth year before he could name the letters of the alphabet. When that renowned prince ascended the throne, he made it his study to draw his people out of the sloth and stupidity in which they lay; and became, as much by his own example as by the encouragement he gave to learned men, the great restorer of arts in his dominions."—Life of Bacon.

62. The language of eulogy must often be taken with some abatement: it does not usually present things in their due proportions. How far the foregoing quotation is true, I will not pretend to say; but what is called "the revival of learning," must not be supposed to have begun at so early a period as that of Alfred. The following is a brief specimen of the language in which that great man wrote; but, printed in Saxon characters, it would appear still less like English.

"On thære tide the Gotan of Siththiu mægthe with Romana rice gewin upahofon. and mith heora cyningum. Rædgota and Eallerica wæron hatne. Romane burig abræcon. and eall Italia rice that is betwux tham muntum and Sicilia tham ealonde in anwald gerehton. and tha ægter tham foresprecenan cyningum Theodric feng to tham ilcan rice se Theodric wæs Amulinga. he wass Cristen. theah he on tham Arrianiscan gedwolan durhwunode. He gehet Romanum his freondscype. swa that hi mostan heora ealdrichta wyrthe beon."—KING ALFRED: Johnson's Hist. of E. L., 4to Dict., p. 17.



"Grammatica quid est? ars rectè scribendi rectèque loquendi; poetarum enarrationem continens; omnium Scientiarum fons uberrimus. * * * Nostra ætas parum perita rerum veterum, nimis brevi gyro grammaticum sepsit; at apud antiques olim tantum auctoritatis hic ordo habuit, ut censores essent et judices scriptorum omnium soli grammatici; quos ob id etiam Criticos vocabant."—DESPAUTER. Præf. ad Synt, fol. 1.

1. Such is the peculiar power of language, that there is scarcely any subject so trifling, that it may not thereby be plausibly magnified into something great; nor are there many things which cannot be ingeniously disparaged till they shall seem contemptible. Cicero goes further: "Nihil est tam incredibile quod non dicendo fiat probabile;"—"There is nothing so incredible that it may not by the power of language be made probable." The study of grammar has been often overrated, and still oftener injuriously decried. I shall neither join with those who would lessen in the public esteem that general system of doctrines, which from time immemorial has been taught as grammar; nor attempt, either by magnifying its practical results, or by decking it out with my own imaginings, to invest it with any artificial or extraneous importance.

2. I shall not follow the footsteps of Neef, who avers that, "Grammar and incongruity are identical things," and who, under pretence of reaching the same end by better means, scornfully rejects as nonsense every thing that others have taught under that name; because I am convinced, that, of all methods of teaching, none goes farther than his, to prove the reproachful assertion true. Nor shall I imitate the declamation of Cardell; who, at the commencement of his Essay, recommends the general study of language on earth, from the consideration that, "The faculty of speech is the medium of social bliss for superior intelligences in an eternal world;" [51] and who, when he has exhausted censure in condemning the practical instruction of others, thus lavishes praise, in both his grammars, upon that formless, void, and incomprehensible theory of his own: "This application of words," says he, "in their endless use, by one plain rule, to all things which nouns can name, instead of being the fit subject of blind cavil, is the most sublime theme presented to the intellect on earth. It is the practical intercourse of the soul at once with its God, and with all parts of his works!"—Cardell's Gram., 12mo, p. 87; Gram., 18mo, p. 49.

3. Here, indeed, a wide prospect opens before us; but he who traces science, and teaches what is practically useful, must check imagination, and be content with sober truth.

   "For apt the mind or fancy is to rove
    Uncheck'd, and of her roving is no end."—MILTON.

Restricted within its proper limits, and viewed in its true light, the practical science of grammar has an intrinsic dignity and merit sufficient to throw back upon any man who dares openly assail it, the lasting stigma of folly and self-conceit. It is true, the judgements of men are fallible, and many opinions are liable to be reversed by better knowledge: but what has been long established by the unanimous concurrence of the learned, it can hardly be the part of a wise instructor now to dispute. The literary reformer who, with the last named gentleman, imagines "that the persons to whom the civilized world have looked up to for instruction in language were all wrong alike in the main points," [52] intends no middle course of reformation, and must needs be a man either of great merit, or of little modesty.

4. The English language may now be regarded as the common inheritance of about fifty millions of people; who are at least as highly distinguished for virtue, intelligence, and enterprise, as any other equal portion of the earth's population. All these are more or less interested in the purity, permanency, and right use of that language; inasmuch as it is to be, not only the medium of mental intercourse with others for them and their children, but the vehicle of all they value, in the reversion of ancestral honour, or in the transmission of their own. It is even impertinent, to tell a man of any respectability, that the study of this his native language is an object of great importance and interest: if he does not, from these most obvious considerations, feel it to be so, the suggestion will be less likely to convince him, than to give offence, as conveying an implicit censure.

5. Every person who has any ambition to appear respectable among people of education, whether in conversation, in correspondence, in public speaking, or in print, must be aware of the absolute necessity of a competent knowledge of the language in which he attempts to express his thoughts. Many a ludicrous anecdote is told, of persons venturing to use words of which they did not know the proper application; many a ridiculous blunder has been published to the lasting disgrace of the writer; and so intimately does every man's reputation for sense depend upon his skill in the use of language, that it is scarcely possible to acquire the one without the other. Who can tell how much of his own good or ill success, how much of the favour or disregard with which he himself has been treated, may have depended upon that skill or deficiency in grammar, of which, as often as he has either spoken or written, he must have afforded a certain and constant evidence.[53]

6. I have before said, that to excel in grammar, is but to know better than others wherein grammatical excellence consists; and, as this excellence, whether in the thing itself, or in him that attains to it, is merely comparative, there seems to be no fixed point of perfection beyond which such learning may not be carried. In speaking or writing to different persons, and on different subjects, it is necessary to vary one's style with great nicety of address; and in nothing does true genius more conspicuously appear, than in the facility with which it adopts the most appropriate expressions, leaving the critic no fault to expose, no word to amend. Such facility of course supposes an intimate knowledge of all words in common use, and also of the principles on which they are to be combined.

7. With a language which we are daily in the practice of hearing, speaking, reading, and writing, we may certainly acquire no inconsiderable acquaintance, without the formal study of its rules. All the true principles of grammar were presumed to be known to the learned, before they were written for the aid of learners; nor have they acquired any independent authority, by being recorded in a book, and denominated grammar. The teaching of them, however, has tended in no small degree to settle and establish the construction of the language, to improve the style of our English writers, and to enable us to ascertain with more clearness the true standard of grammatical purity. He who learns only by rote, may speak the words or phrases which he has thus acquired; and he who has the genius to discern intuitively what is regular and proper, may have further aid from the analogies which he thus discovers; but he who would add to such acquisitions the satisfaction of knowing what is right, must make the principles of language his study.

8. To produce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a knowledge of grammar rules; yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules, that without a knowledge of them no elegant and able writer is produced. Who that considers the infinite number of phrases which words in their various combinations may form, and the utter impossibility that they should ever be recognized individually for the purposes of instruction and criticism, but must see the absolute necessity of dividing words into classes, and of showing, by general rules of formation and construction, the laws to which custom commonly subjects them, or from which she allows them in particular instances to deviate? Grammar, or the art of writing and speaking, must continue to be learned by some persons; because it is of indispensable use to society. And the only question is, whether children and youth shall acquire it by a regular process of study and method of instruction, or be left to glean it solely from their own occasional observation of the manner in which other people speak and write.

9. The practical solution of this question belongs chiefly to parents and guardians. The opinions of teachers, to whose discretion the decision will sometimes be left, must have a certain degree of influence upon the public mind; and the popular notions of the age, in respect to the relative value of different studies, will doubtless bias many to the adoption or the rejection of this. A consideration of the point seems to be appropriate here, and I cannot forbear to commend the study to the favour of my readers; leaving every one, of course, to choose how much he will be influenced by my advice, example, or arguments. If past experience and the history of education be taken for guides, the study of English grammar will not be neglected; and the method of its inculcation will become an object of particular inquiry and solicitude. The English language ought to be learned at school or in colleges, as other languages usually are; by the study of its grammar, accompanied with regular exercises of parsing, correcting, pointing, and scanning; and by the perusal of some of its most accurate writers, accompanied with stated exercises in composition and elocution. In books of criticism, our language is already more abundant than any other. Some of the best of these the student should peruse, as soon as he can understand and relish them. Such a course, pursued with regularity and diligence, will be found the most direct way of acquiring an English style at once pure, correct, and elegant.

10. If any intelligent man will represent English grammar otherwise than as one of the most useful branches of study, he may well be suspected of having formed his conceptions of the science, not from what it really is in itself, but from some of those miserable treatises which only caricature the subject, and of which it is rather an advantage to be ignorant. But who is so destitute of good sense as to deny, that a graceful and easy conversation in the private circle, a fluent and agreeable delivery in public speaking, a ready and natural utterance in reading, a pure and elegant style in composition, are accomplishments of a very high order? And yet of all these, the proper study of English grammar is the true foundation. This would never be denied or doubted, if young people did not find, under some other name, better models and more efficient instruction, than what was practised on them for grammar in the school-room. No disciple of an able grammarian can ever speak ill of grammar, unless he belong to that class of knaves who vilify what they despair to reach.

11. By taking proper advantage of the ductility of childhood, intelligent parents and judicious teachers may exercise over the studies, opinions, and habits of youth a strong and salutary control; and it will seldom be found in experience, that those who have been early taught to consider grammatical learning as worthy and manly, will change their opinion in after life. But the study of grammar is not so enticing that it may be disparaged in the hearing of the young, without injury. What would be the natural effect of the following sentence, which I quote from a late well-written religious homily? "The pedagogue and his dunce may exercise their wits correctly enough, in the way of grammatical analysis, on some splendid argument, or burst of eloquence, or thrilling descant, or poetic rapture, to the strain and soul of which not a fibre in their nature would yield a vibration."—New-York Observer, Vol. ix, p. 73.

12. Would not the bright boy who heard this from the lips of his reverend minister, be apt the next day to grow weary of the parsing lesson required by his schoolmaster? And yet what truth is there in the passage? One can no more judge of the fitness of language, without regard to the meaning conveyed by it, than of the fitness of a suit of clothes, without knowing for whom they were intended. The grand clew to the proper application of all syntactical rules, is the sense; and as any composition is faulty which does not rightly deliver the author's meaning, so every solution of a word or sentence is necessarily erroneous, in which that meaning is not carefully noticed and literally preserved. To parse rightly and fully, is nothing else than to understand rightly and explain fully; and whatsoever is well expressed, it is a shame either to misunderstand or to misinterpret.

13. This study, when properly conducted and liberally pursued, has an obvious tendency to dignify the whole character. How can he be a man of refined literary taste, who cannot speak and write his native language grammatically? And who will deny that every degree of improvement in literary taste tends to brighten and embellish the whole intellectual nature? The several powers of the mind are not so many distinct and separable agents, which are usually brought into exercise one by one; and even if they were, there might be found, in a judicious prosecution of this study, a healthful employment for them all. The imagination, indeed, has nothing to do with the elements of grammar; but in the exercise of composition, young fancy may spread her wings as soon as they are fledged; and for this exercise the previous course of discipline will have furnished both language and taste, as well as sentiment.

14. The regular grammatical study of our language is a thing of recent origin. Fifty or sixty years ago, such an exercise was scarcely attempted in any of the schools, either in this country or in England.[54] Of this fact we have abundant evidence both from books, and from the testimony of our venerable fathers yet living. How often have these presented this as an apology for their own deficiencies, and endeavoured to excite us to greater diligence, by contrasting our opportunities with theirs! Is there not truth, is there not power, in the appeal? And are we not bound to avail ourselves of the privileges which they have provided, to build upon the foundations which their wisdom has laid, and to carry forward the work of improvement? Institutions can do nothing for us, unless the love of learning preside over and prevail in them. The discipline of our schools can never approach perfection, till those who conduct, and those who frequent them, are strongly actuated by that disposition of mind, which generously aspires to all attainable excellence.

15. To rouse this laudable spirit in the minds of our youth, and to satisfy its demands whenever it appears, ought to be the leading objects with those to whom is committed the important business of instruction. A dull teacher, wasting time in a school-room with a parcel of stupid or indolent boys, knows nothing of the satisfaction either of doing his own duty, or of exciting others to the performance of theirs. He settles down in a regular routine of humdrum exercises, dreading as an inconvenience even such change as proficiency in his pupils must bring on; and is well content to do little good for little money, in a profession which he honours with his services merely to escape starvation. He has, however, one merit: he pleases his patrons, and is perhaps the only man that can; for they must needs be of that class to whom moral restraint is tyranny, disobedience to teachers, as often right as wrong; and who, dreading the expense, even of a school-book, always judge those things to be cheapest, which cost the least and last the longest. What such a man, or such a neighbourhood, may think of English grammar, I shall not stop to ask.

16. To the following opinion from a writer of great merit, I am inclined to afford room here, because it deserves refutation, and, I am persuaded, is not so well founded as the generality of the doctrines with which it is presented to the public. "Since human knowledge is so much more extensive than the opportunity of individuals for acquiring it, it becomes of the greatest importance so to economize the opportunity as to make it subservient to the acquisition of as large and as valuable a portion as we can. It is not enough to show that a given branch of education is useful: you must show that it is the most useful that can be selected. Remembering this, I think it would be expedient to dispense with the formal study of English grammar,—a proposition which I doubt not many a teacher will hear with wonder and disapprobation. We learn the grammar in order that we may learn English; and we learn English whether we study grammars or not. Especially we shall acquire a competent knowledge of our own language, if other departments of our education were improved."

17. "A boy learns more English grammar by joining in an hour's conversation with educated people, than in poring for an hour over Murray or Horne Tooke. If he is accustomed to such society and to the perusal of well-written books, he will learn English grammar, though he never sees a word about syntax; and if he is not accustomed to such society and such reading, the 'grammar books' at a boarding-school will not teach it. Men learn their own language by habit, and not by rules: and this is just what we might expect; for the grammar of a language is itself formed from the prevalent habits of speech and writing. A compiler of grammar first observes these habits, and then makes his rules: but if a person is himself familiar with the habits, why study the rules? I say nothing of grammar as a general science; because, although the philosophy of language be a valuable branch of human knowledge, it were idle to expect that school-boys should understand it. The objection is, to the system of attempting to teach children formally that which they will learn practically without teaching."—JONATHAN DYMOND: Essays on Morality, p. 195.

18. This opinion, proceeding from a man who has written upon human affairs with so much ability and practical good sense, is perhaps entitled to as much respect as any that has ever been urged against the study in question. And so far as the objection bears upon those defective methods of instruction which experience has shown to be inefficient, or of little use, I am in no wise concerned to remove it. The reader of this treatise will find their faults not only admitted, but to a great extent purposely exposed; while an attempt is here made, as well as in my earlier grammars, to introduce a method which it is hoped will better reach the end proposed. But it may easily be perceived that this author's proposition to dispense with the formal study of English grammar is founded upon an untenable assumption. Whatever may be the advantages of those purer habits of speech, which the young naturally acquire from conversation with educated people, it is not true, that, without instruction directed to this end, they will of themselves become so well educated as to speak and write grammatically. Their language may indeed be comparatively accurate and genteel, because it is learned of those who have paid some attention to the study; but, as they cannot always be preserved from hearing vulgar and improper phraseology, or from seeing it in books, they cannot otherwise be guarded from improprieties of diction, than by a knowledge of the rules of grammar. One might easily back this position by the citation of some scores of faulty sentences from the pen of this very able writer himself.

19. I imagine there can be no mistake in the opinion, that in exact proportion as the rules of grammar are unknown or neglected in any country, will corruptions and improprieties of language be there multiplied. The "general science" of grammar, or "the philosophy of language," the author seems to exempt, and in some sort to commend; and at the same time his proposition of exclusion is applied not merely to the school-grammars, but a fortiori to this science, under the notion that it is unintelligible to school-boys. But why should any principle of grammar be the less intelligible on account of the extent of its application? Will a boy pretend that he cannot understand a rule of English grammar, because he is told that it holds good in all languages? Ancient etymologies, and other facts in literary history, must be taken by the young upon the credit of him who states them; but the doctrines of general grammar are to the learner the easiest and the most important principles of the science. And I know of nothing in the true philosophy of language, which, by proper definitions and examples, may not be made as intelligible to a boy, as are the principles of most other sciences. The difficulty of instructing youth in any thing that pertains to language, lies not so much in the fact that its philosophy is above their comprehension, as in our own ignorance of certain parts of so vast an inquiry;—in the great multiplicity of verbal signs; the frequent contrariety of practice; the inadequacy of memory; the inveteracy of ill habits; and the little interest that is felt when we speak merely of words.

20. The grammatical study of our language was early and strongly recommended by Locke,[55] and other writers on education, whose character gave additional weight to an opinion which they enforced by the clearest arguments. But either for want of a good grammar, or for lack of teachers skilled in the subject and sensible of its importance, the general neglect so long complained of as a grievous imperfection in our methods of education, has been but recently and partially obviated. "The attainment of a correct and elegant style," says Dr. Blair, "is an object which demands application and labour. If any imagine they can catch it merely by the ear, or acquire it by the slight perusal of some of our good authors, they will find themselves much disappointed. The many errors, even in point of grammar, the many offences against purity of language, which are committed by writers who are far from being contemptible, demonstrate, that a careful study of the language is previously requisite, in all who aim at writing it properly."—Blair's Rhetoric, Lect. ix, p. 91.

21. "To think justly, to write well, to speak agreeably, are the three great ends of academic instruction. The Universities will excuse me, if I observe, that both are, in one respect or other, defective in these three capital points of education. While in Cambridge the general application is turned altogether on speculative knowledge, with little regard to polite letters, taste, or style; in Oxford the whole attention is directed towards classical correctness, without any sound foundation laid in severe reasoning and philosophy. In Cambridge and in Oxford, the art of speaking agreeably is so far from being taught, that it is hardly talked or thought of. These defects naturally produce dry unaffecting compositions in the one; superficial taste and puerile elegance in the other; ungracious or affected speech in both."—DR. BROWN, 1757: Estimate, Vol. ii, p. 44.

22. "A grammatical study of our own language makes no part of the ordinary method of instruction, which we pass through in our childhood; and it is very seldom we apply ourselves to it afterward. Yet the want of it will not be effectually supplied by any other advantages whatsoever. Much practice in the polite world, and a general acquaintance with the best authors, are good helps; but alone [they] will hardly be sufficient: We have writers, who have enjoyed these advantages in their full extent, and yet cannot be recommended as models of an accurate style. Much less then will, what is commonly called learning, serve the purpose; that is, a critical knowledge of ancient languages, and much reading of ancient authors: The greatest critic and most able grammarian of the last age, when he came to apply his learning and criticism to an English author, was frequently at a loss in matters of ordinary use and common construction in his own vernacular idiom."—DR. LOWTH, 1763: Pref. to Gram., p. vi.

23. "To the pupils of our public schools the acquisition of their own language, whenever it is undertaken, is an easy task. For he who is acquainted with several grammars already, finds no difficulty in adding one more to the number. And this, no doubt, is one of the reasons why English engages so small a proportion of their time and attention. It is not frequently read, and is still less frequently written. Its supposed facility, however, or some other cause, seems to have drawn upon it such a degree of neglect as certainly cannot be praised. The students in those schools are often distinguished by their compositions in the learned languages, before they can speak or write their own with correctness, elegance, or fluency. A classical scholar too often has his English style to form, when he should communicate his acquisitions to the world. In some instances it is never formed with success; and the defects of his expression either deter him from appearing before the public at all, or at least counteract in a great degree the influence of his work, and bring ridicule upon the author. Surely these evils might easily be prevented or diminished."—DR. BARROW: Essays on Education, London, 1804; Philad., 1825, p. 87.

24. "It is also said that those who know Latin and Greek generally express themselves with more clearness than those who do not receive a liberal education. It is indeed natural that those who cultivate their mental powers, write with more clearness than the uncultivated individual. The mental cultivation, however, may take place in the mother tongue as well as in Latin or Greek. Yet the spirit of the ancient languages, further is declared to be superior to that of the modern. I allow this to be the case; but I do not find that the English style is improved by learning Greek. It is known that literal translations are miserably bad, and yet young scholars are taught to translate, word for word, faithful to their dictionaries. Hence those who do not make a peculiar study of their own language, will not improve in it by learning, in this manner, Greek and Latin. Is it not a pity to hear, what I have been told by the managers of one of the first institutions of Ireland, that it was easier to find ten teachers for Latin and Greek, than one for the English language, though they proposed double the salary to the latter? Who can assure us that the Greek orators acquired their superiority by their acquaintance with foreign languages; or, is it not obvious, on the other hand, that they learned ideas and expressed them in their mother tongue?"—DR. SPURZHEIM: Treatise on Education, 1832, p. 107.

25. "Dictionaries were compiled, which comprised all the words, together with their several definitions, or the sense each one expresses and conveys to the mind. These words were analyzed and classed according to their essence, attributes, and functions. Grammar was made a rudiment leading to the principles of all thoughts, and teaching by simple examples, the general classification of words and their subdivisions in expressing the various conceptions of the mind. Grammar is then the key to the perfect understanding of languages; without which we are left to wander all our lives in an intricate labyrinth, without being able to trace back again any part of our way."—Chazotte's Essay on the Teaching of Languages, p. 45. Again: "Had it not been for his dictionary and his grammar, which taught him the essence of all languages, and the natural subdivision of their component parts, he might have spent a life as long as Methuselah's, in learning words, without being able to attain to a degree of perfection in any of the languages."—Ib., p. 50. "Indeed, it is not easy to say, to what degree, and in how many different ways, both memory and judgement may be improved by an intimate acquaintance with grammar; which is therefore, with good reason, made the first and fundamental part of literary education. The greatest orators, the most elegant scholars, and the most accomplished men of business, that have appeared in the world, of whom I need only mention Cæsar and Cicero, were not only studious of grammar, but most learned grammarians."—DR. BEATTIE: Moral Science, Vol. i, p. 107.

26. Here, as in many other parts of my work, I have chosen to be liberal of quotations; not to show my reading, or to save the labour of composition, but to give the reader the satisfaction of some other authority than my own. In commending the study of English grammar, I do not mean to discountenance that degree of attention which in this country is paid to other languages; but merely to use my feeble influence to carry forward a work of improvement, which, in my opinion, has been wisely begun, but not sufficiently sustained. In consequence of this improvement, the study of grammar, which was once prosecuted chiefly through the medium of the dead languages, and was regarded as the proper business of those only who were to be instructed in Latin and Greek, is now thought to be an appropriate exercise for children in elementary schools. And the sentiment is now generally admitted, that even those who are afterwards to learn other languages, may best acquire a knowledge of the common principles of speech from the grammar of their vernacular tongue. This opinion appears to be confirmed by that experience which is at once the most satisfactory proof of what is feasible, and the only proper test of what is useful.

27. It must, however, be confessed, that an acquaintance with ancient and foreign literature is absolutely necessary for him who would become a thorough philologist or an accomplished scholar; and that the Latin language, the source of several of the modern tongues of Europe, being remarkably regular in its inflections and systematic in its construction, is in itself the most complete exemplar of the structure of speech, and the best foundation for the study of grammar in general. But, as the general principles of grammar are common to all languages, and as the only successful method of learning them, is, to commit to memory the definitions and rules which embrace them, it is reasonable to suppose that the language most intelligible to the learner, is the most suitable for the commencement of his grammatical studies. A competent knowledge of English grammar is also in itself a valuable attainment, which is within the easy reach of many young persons whose situation in life debars them from the pursuit of general literature.

28. The attention which has lately been given to the culture of the English language, by some who, in the character of critics or lexicographers, have laboured purposely to improve it, and by many others who, in various branches of knowledge, have tastefully adorned it with the works of their genius, has in a great measure redeemed it from that contempt in which it was formerly held in the halls of learning. But, as I have before suggested, it does not yet appear to be sufficiently attended to in the course of what is called a liberal education. Compared with, other languages, the English exhibits both excellences and defects; but its flexibility, or power of accommodation to the tastes of different writers, is great; and when it is used with that mastership which belongs to learning and genius, it must be acknowledged there are few, if any, to which it ought on the whole to be considered inferior. But above all, it is our own; and, whatever we may know or think of other tongues, it can never be either patriotic or wise, for the learned men of the United States or of England to pride themselves chiefly upon them.

29. Our language is worthy to be assiduously studied by all who reside where it is spoken, and who have the means and the opportunity to become critically acquainted with it. To every such student it is vastly more important to be able to speak and write well in English, than to be distinguished for proficiency in the learned languages and yet ignorant of his own. It is certain that many from whom better things might be expected, are found miserably deficient in this respect. And their neglect of so desirable an accomplishment is the more remarkable and the more censurable on account of the facility with which those who are acquainted with the ancient languages may attain to excellence in their English style. "Whatever the advantages or defects of the English language be, as it is our own language, it deserves a high degree of our study and attention. * * * Whatever knowledge may be acquired by the study of other languages, it can never be communicated with advantage, unless by such as can write and speak their own language well."—DR. BLAIR: Rhetoric, Lect. ix, p. 91.

30. I am not of opinion that it is expedient to press this study to much extent, if at all, on those whom poverty or incapacity may have destined to situations in which they will never hear or think of it afterwards. The course of nature cannot be controlled; and fortune does not permit us to prescribe the same course of discipline for all. To speak the language which they have learned without study, and to read and write for the most common purposes of life, may be education enough for those who can be raised no higher. But it must be the desire of every benevolent and intelligent man, to see the advantages of literary, as well as of moral culture, extended as far as possible among the people. And it is manifest, that in proportion as the precepts of the divine Redeemer are obeyed by the nations that profess his name, will all distinctions arising merely from the inequality of fortune be lessened or done away, and better opportunities be offered for the children of indigence to adorn themselves with the treasures of knowledge.

31. We may not be able to effect all that is desirable; but, favoured as our country is, with great facilities for carrying forward the work of improvement, in every thing which can contribute to national glory and prosperity, I would, in conclusion of this topic, submit—that a critical knowledge of our common language is a subject worthy of the particular attention of all who have the genius and the opportunity to attain it;—that on the purity and propriety with which American authors write this language, the reputation of our national literature greatly depends;—that in the preservation of it from all changes which ignorance may admit or affectation invent, we ought to unite as having one common interest;—that a fixed and settled orthography is of great importance, as a means of preserving the etymology, history, and identity of words;—that a grammar freed from errors and defects, and embracing a complete code of definitions and illustrations, rules and exercises, is of primary importance to every student and a great aid to teachers;—that as the vices of speech as well as of manners are contagious, it becomes those who have the care of youth, to be masters of the language in its purity and elegance, and to avoid as much as possible every thing that is reprehensible either in thought or expression.



"Quomodo differunt grammaticus et grammatista? Grammaticus est qui diligenter, acutè, scienterque possit aut dicere aut scribere, et poetas enarrare: idem literatus dicitur. Grammatista est qui barbaris literis obstrepit, cui abusus pro usu est; Græcis Latinam dat etymologiam, et totus in nugis est: Latinè dicitur literator."—DESPAUTER. Synt., fol. 1.

1. It is hardly to be supposed that any person can have a very clear conviction of the best method of doing a thing, who shall not at first have acquired a pretty correct and adequate notion of the thing to be done. Arts must be taught by artists; sciences, by learned men; and, if Grammar is the science of words, the art of writing and speaking well, the best speakers and writers will be the best teachers of it, if they choose to direct their attention to so humble an employment. For, without disparagement of the many worthy men whom choice or necessity has made schoolmasters, it may be admitted that the low estimation in which school-keeping is commonly held, does mostly exclude from it the first order of talents, and the highest acquirements of scholarship. It is one strong proof of this, that we have heretofore been content to receive our digests of English grammar, either from men who had had no practical experience in the labours of a school-room, or from miserable modifiers and abridgers, destitute alike of learning and of industry, of judgement and of skill.

2. But, to have a correct and adequate notion of English grammar, and of the best method of learning or teaching it, is no light attainment. The critical knowledge of this subject lies in no narrow circle of observation; nor are there any precise limits to possible improvement. The simple definition in which the general idea of the art is embraced, "Grammar is the art of writing and speaking correctly," however useful in order to fix the learner's conception, can scarcely give him a better knowledge of the thing itself, than he would have of the art of painting, when he had learned from Dr. Webster, that it is "the art of representing to the eye, by means of figures and colors, any object of sight, and sometimes emotions of the mind." The first would no more enable him to write a sonnet, than the second, to take his master's likeness. The force of this remark extends to all the technical divisions, definitions, rules, and arrangements of grammar; the learner may commit them all to memory, and know but very little about the art.

3. This fact, too frequently illustrated in practice, has been made the basis of the strongest argument ever raised against the study of grammar; and has been particularly urged against the ordinary technical method of teaching it, as if the whole of that laborious process were useless. It has led some men, even of the highest talents, to doubt the expediency of that method, under any circumstances, and either to discountenance the whole matter, or invent other schemes by which they hoped to be more successful. The utter futility of the old accidence has been inferred from it, and urged, even in some well-written books, with all the plausibility of a fair and legitimate deduction. The hardships of children, compelled to learn what they did not understand, have been bewailed in prefaces and reviews; incredible things boasted by literary jugglers, have been believed by men of sense; and the sympathies of nature, with accumulated prejudices, have been excited against that method of teaching grammar, which after all will be found in experience to be at once the easiest, the shortest, and the best. I mean, essentially, the ancient positive method, which aims directly at the inculcation of principles.

4. It has been already admitted, that definitions and rules committed to memory and not reduced to practice, will never enable any one to speak and write correctly. But it does not follow, that to study grammar by learning its principles, or to teach it technically by formal lessons, is of no real utility. Surely not. For the same admission must be made with respect to the definitions and rules of every practical science in the world; and the technology of grammar is even more essential to a true knowledge of the subject, than that of almost any other art. "To proceed upon principles at first," says Dr. Barrow, "is the most compendious method of attaining every branch of knowledge; and the truths impressed upon the mind in the years of childhood, are ever afterwards the most firmly remembered, and the most readily applied."—Essays, p. 84. Reading, as I have said, is a part of grammar; and it is a part which must of course precede what is commonly called in the schools the study of grammar. Any person who can read, can learn from a book such simple facts as are within his comprehension; and we have it on the authority of Dr. Adam, that, "The principles of grammar are the first abstract truths which a young mind can comprehend."—Pref. to Lat. Gram., p. 4.

5. It is manifest, that, with respect to this branch of knowledge, the duties of the teacher will vary considerably, according to the age and attainments of his pupils, or according to each student's ability or inclination to profit by his printed guide. The business lies partly between the master and his scholar, and partly between the boy and his book. Among these it may be partitioned variously, and of course unwisely; for no general rule can precisely determine for all occasions what may be expected from each. The deficiencies of any one of the three must either be supplied by the extraordinary readiness of an other, or the attainment of the purpose be proportionably imperfect. What one fails to do, must either be done by an other, or left undone. After much observation, it seems to me, that the most proper mode of treating this science in schools, is, to throw the labour of its acquisition almost entirely upon the students; to require from them very accurate rehearsals as the only condition on which they shall be listened to; and to refer them to their books for the information which they need, and in general for the solution of all their doubts. But then the teacher must see that he does not set them to grope their way through a wilderness of absurdities. He must know that they have a book, which not only contains the requisite information, but arranges it so that every item of it may be readily found. That knowledge may reasonably be required at their recitations, which culpable negligence alone could have prevented them from obtaining.

6. Most grammars, and especially those which are designed for the senior class of students, to whom a well-written book is a sufficient instructor, contain a large proportion of matter which is merely to be read by the learner. This is commonly distinguished in type from those more important doctrines which constitute the frame of the edifice. It is expected that the latter will receive a greater degree of attention. The only successful method of teaching grammar, is, to cause the principal definitions and rules to be committed thoroughly to memory, that they may ever afterwards be readily applied. Oral instruction may smoothe the way, and facilitate the labour of the learner; but the notion of communicating a competent knowledge of grammar without imposing this task, is disproved by universal experience. Nor will it avail any thing for the student to rehearse definitions and rules of which he makes no practical application. In etymology and syntax, he should be alternately exercised in learning small portions of his book, and then applying them in parsing, till the whole is rendered familiar. To a good reader, the achievement will be neither great nor difficult; and the exercise is well calculated to improve the memory and strengthen all the faculties of the mind.

7. The objection drawn from the alleged inefficiency of this method, lies solely against the practice of those teachers who disjoin the principles and the exercises of the art; and who, either through ignorance or negligence, impose only such tasks as leave the pupil to suppose, that the committing to memory of definitions and rules, constitutes the whole business of grammar.[56] Such a method is no less absurd in itself, than contrary to the practice of the best teachers from the very origin of the study. The epistle prefixed to King Henry's Grammar almost three centuries ago, and the very sensible preface to the old British Grammar, an octavo reprinted at Boston in 1784, give evidence enough that a better method of teaching has long been known. Nay, in my opinion, the very best method cannot be essentially different from that which has been longest in use, and is probably most known. But there is everywhere ample room for improvement. Perfection was never attained by the most learned of our ancestors, nor is it found in any of our schemes. English grammar can be better taught than it is now, or ever has been. Better scholarship would naturally produce this improvement, and it is easy to suppose a race of teachers more erudite and more zealous, than either we or they.

8. Where invention and discovery are precluded, there is little room for novelty. I have not laboured to introduce a system of grammar essentially new, but to improve the old and free it from abuses. The mode of instruction here recommended is the result of long and successful experience. There is nothing in it, which any person of common abilities will find it difficult to understand or adopt. It is the plain didactic method of definition and example, rule and praxis; which no man who means to teach grammar well, will ever desert, with the hope of finding an other more rational or more easy. This book itself will make any one a grammarian, who will take the trouble to observe and practise what it teaches; and even if some instructors should not adopt the readiest means of making their pupils familiar with its contents, they will not fail to instruct by it as effectually as they can by any other. A hope is also indulged, that this work will be particularly useful to many who have passed the ordinary period allotted to education. Whoever is acquainted with the grammar of our language, so as to have some tolerable skill in teaching it, will here find almost every thing that is true in his own instructions, clearly embraced under its proper head, so as to be easy of reference. And perhaps there are few, however learned, who, on a perusal of the volume, would not be furnished with some important rules and facts which had not before occurred to their own observation.

9. The greatest peculiarity of the method is, that it requires the pupil to speak or write a great deal, and the teacher very little. But both should constantly remember that grammar is the art of speaking and writing well; an art which can no more be acquired without practice, than that of dancing or swimming. And each should ever be careful to perform his part handsomely—without drawling, omitting, stopping, hesitating, faltering, miscalling, reiterating, stuttering, hurrying, slurring, mouthing, misquoting, mispronouncing, or any of the thousand faults which render utterance disagreeable and inelegant. It is the learner's diction that is to be improved; and the system will be found well calculated to effect that object; because it demands of him, not only to answer questions on grammar, but also to make a prompt and practical application of what he has just learned. If the class be tolerable readers, and have learned the art of attention, it will not be necessary for the teacher to say much; and in general he ought not to take up the time by so doing. He should, however, carefully superintend their rehearsals; give the word to the next when any one errs; and order the exercise in such a manner that either his own voice, or the example of his best scholars, may gradually correct the ill habits of the awkward, till all learn to recite with clearness, understanding well what they say, and making it intelligible to others.

10. Without oral instruction and oral exercises, a correct habit of speaking our language can never be acquired; but written rules, and exercises in writing, are perhaps quite as necessary, for the formation of a good style. All these should therefore be combined in our course of English grammar. And, in order to accomplish two objects at once, the written doctrines, or the definitions and rules of grammar, should statedly be made the subject of a critical exercise in utterance; so that the boy who is parsing a word, or correcting a sentence, in the hearing of others, may impressively realize, that he is then and there exhibiting his own skill or deficiency in oral discourse. Perfect forms of parsing and correcting should be given him as models, with the understanding that the text before him is his only guide to their right application. It should be shown, that in parsing any particular word, or part of speech, there are just so many things to be said of it, and no more, and that these are to be said in the best manner: so that whoever tells fewer, omits something requisite; whoever says more, inserts something irrelevant; and whoever proceeds otherwise, either blunders in point of fact, or impairs the beauty of the expression. I rely not upon what are called "Parsing Tables" but upon the precise forms of expression which are given in the book for the parsing of the several sorts of words. Because the questions, or abstract directions, which constitute the common parsing tables, are less intelligible to the learner than a practical example; and more time must needs be consumed on them, in order to impress upon his memory the number and the sequence of the facts to be stated.

11. If a pupil happen to be naturally timid, there should certainly be no austerity of manner to embarrass his diffidence; for no one can speak well, who feels afraid. But a far more common impediment to the true use of speech, is carelessness. He who speaks before a school, in an exercise of this kind, should be made to feel that he is bound by every consideration of respect for himself, or for those who hear him, to proceed with his explanation or rehearsal, in a ready, clear, and intelligible manner. It should be strongly impressed upon him, that the grand object of the whole business, is his own practical improvement; that a habit of speaking clearly and agreeably, is itself one half of the great art of grammar; that to be slow and awkward in parsing, is unpardonable negligence, and a culpable waste of time; that to commit blunders in rehearsing grammar, is to speak badly about the art of speaking well; that his recitations must be limited to such things as he perfectly knows; that he must apply himself to his book, till he can proceed without mistake; finally, that he must watch and imitate the utterance of those who speak well, ever taking that for the best manner, in which there are the fewest things that could be mimicked.[57]

12. The exercise of parsing should be commenced immediately after the first lesson of etymology—the lesson in which are contained the definitions of the ten parts of speech; and should be carried on progressively, till it embraces all the doctrines which are applicable to it. If it be performed according to the order prescribed in the following work, it will soon make the student perfectly familiar with all the primary definitions and rules of grammar. It asks no aid from a dictionary, if the performer knows the meaning of the words he is parsing; and very little from the teacher, if the forms in the grammar have received any tolerable share of attention. It requires just enough of thought to keep the mind attentive to what the lips are uttering; while it advances by such easy gradations and constant repetitions as leave the pupil utterly without excuse, if he does not know what to say. Being neither wholly extemporaneous nor wholly rehearsed by rote, it has more dignity than a school-boy's conversation, and more ease than a formal recitation, or declamation; and is therefore an exercise well calculated to induce a habit of uniting correctness with fluency in ordinary speech—a species of elocution as valuable as any other.[58]

13. Thus would I unite the practice with the theory of grammar; endeavouring to express its principles with all possible perspicuity, purity, and propriety of diction; retaining, as necessary parts of the subject, those technicalities which the pupil must needs learn in order to understand the disquisitions of grammarians in general; adopting every important feature of that system of doctrines which appears to have been longest and most generally taught; rejecting the multitudinous errors and inconsistencies with which unskillful hands have disgraced the science and perplexed the schools; remodelling every ancient definition and rule which it is possible to amend, in respect to style, or grammatical correctness; supplying the numerous and great deficiencies with which the most comprehensive treatises published by earlier writers, are chargeable; adapting the code of instruction to the present state of English literature, without giving countenance to any innovation not sanctioned by reputable use; labouring at once to extend and to facilitate the study, without forgetting the proper limits of the science, or debasing its style by puerilities.

14. These general views, it is hoped, will be found to have been steadily adhered to throughout the following work. The author has not deviated much from the principles adopted in the most approved grammars already in use; nor has he acted the part of a servile copyist. It was not his design to introduce novelties, but to form a practical digest of established rules. He has not laboured to subvert the general system of grammar, received from time immemorial; but to improve upon it, in its present application to our tongue. That which is excellent, may not be perfect; and amendment may be desirable, where subversion would be ruinous. Believing that no theory can better explain the principles of our language, and no contrivance afford greater facilities to the student, the writer has in general adopted those doctrines which are already best known; and has contented himself with attempting little more than to supply the deficiencies of the system, and to free it from the reproach of being itself ungrammatical. This indeed was task enough; for, to him, all the performances of his predecessors seemed meagre and greatly deficient, compared with what he thought needful to be done. The scope of his labours has been, to define, dispose, and exemplify those doctrines anew; and, with a scrupulous regard to the best usage, to offer, on that authority, some further contributions to the stock of grammatical knowledge.

15. Having devoted many years to studies of this nature, and being conversant with most of the grammatical treatises already published, the author conceived that the objects above referred to, might be better effected than they had been in any work within his knowledge. And he persuades himself, that, however this work may yet fall short of possible completeness, the improvements here offered are neither few nor inconsiderable. He does not mean to conceal in any degree his obligations to others, or to indulge in censure without discrimination. He has no disposition to depreciate the labours, or to detract from the merits, of those who have written ably upon this topic. He has studiously endeavoured to avail himself of all the light they have thrown upon the subject. With a view to further improvements in the science, he has also resorted to the original sources of grammatical knowledge, and has not only critically considered what he has seen or heard of our vernacular tongue, but has sought with some diligence the analogies of speech in the structure of several other languages. If, therefore, the work now furnished be thought worthy of preference, as exhibiting the best method of teaching grammar; he trusts it will be because it deviates least from sound doctrine, while, by fair criticism upon others, it best supplies the means of choosing judiciously.

16. Of all methods of teaching grammar, that which has come nearest to what is recommended above, has doubtless been the most successful; and whatever objections may have been raised against it, it will probably be found on examination to be the most analogous to nature. It is analytic in respect to the doctrines of grammar, synthetic in respect to the practice, and logical in respect to both. It assumes the language as an object which the learner is capable of conceiving to be one whole; begins with the classification of all its words, according to certain grand differences which make the several parts of speech; then proceeds to divide further, according to specific differences and qualities, till all the classes, properties, and relations, of the words in any intelligible sentence, become obvious and determinate: and he to whom these things are known, so that he can see at a glance what is the construction of each word, and whether it is right or not, is a good grammarian. The disposition of the human mind to generalize the objects of thought, and to follow broad analogies in the use of words, discovers itself early, and seems to be an inherent principle of our nature. Hence, in the language of children and illiterate people, many words are regularly inflected even in opposition to the most common usage.

17. It has unfortunately become fashionable to inveigh against the necessary labour of learning by heart the essential principles of grammar, as a useless and intolerable drudgery. And this notion, with the vain hope of effecting the same purpose in an easier way, is giving countenance to modes of teaching well calculated to make superficial scholars. When those principles are properly defined, disposed, and exemplified, the labour of learning them is far less than has been represented; and the habits of application induced by such a method of studying grammar, are of the utmost importance to the learner. Experience shows, that the task may be achieved during the years of childhood; and that, by an early habit of study, the memory is so improved, as to render those exercises easy and familiar, which, at a later period, would be found very difficult and irksome. Upon this plan, and perhaps upon every other, some words will be learned before the ideas represented by them are fully comprehended, or the things spoken of are fully understood. But this seems necessarily to arise from the order of nature in the development of the mental faculties; and an acquisition cannot be lightly esteemed, which has signally augmented and improved that faculty on which the pupil's future progress in knowledge depends.

18. The memory, indeed, should never be cultivated at the expense of the understanding; as is the case, when the former is tasked with ill-devised lessons by which the latter is misled and bewildered. But truth, whether fully comprehended or not, has no perplexing inconsistencies. And it is manifest that that which does not in some respect surpass the understanding, can never enlighten it—can never awaken the spirit of inquiry or satisfy research. How often have men of observation profited by the remembrance of words which, at the time they heard them, they did not "perfectly understand!" We never study any thing of which we imagine our knowledge to be perfect. To learn, and, to understand, are, with respect to any science or art, one and the same thing. With respect to difficult or unintelligible phraseology alone, are they different. He who by study has once stored his memory with the sound and appropriate language of any important doctrine, can never, without some folly or conceit akin to madness, repent of the acquisition. Milton, in his academy, professed to teach things rather than words; and many others have made plausible profession of the same thing since. But it does not appear, that even in the hands of Milton, the attempt was crowned with any remarkable success. See Dr. Barrow's Essays, p. 85.

19. The vain pretensions of several modern simplifiers, contrivers of machines, charts, tables, diagrams, vincula, pictures, dialogues, familiar lectures, ocular analyses, tabular compendiums, inductive exercises, productive systems, intellectual methods, and various new theories, for the purpose of teaching grammar, may serve to deceive the ignorant, to amuse the visionary, and to excite the admiration of the credulous; but none of these things has any favourable relation to that improvement which may justly be boasted as having taken place within the memory of the present generation. The definitions and rules which constitute the doctrines of grammar, may be variously expressed, arranged, illustrated, and applied; and in the expression, arrangement, illustration, and application of them, there may be room for some amendment; but no contrivance can ever relieve the pupil from the necessity of committing them thoroughly to memory. The experience of all antiquity is added to our own, in confirmation of this; and the judicious teacher, though he will not shut his eyes to a real improvement, will be cautious of renouncing the practical lessons of hoary experience, for the futile notions of a vain projector.

20. Some have been beguiled with the idea, that great proficiency in grammar was to be made by means of a certain fanciful method of induction. But if the scheme does not communicate to those who are instructed by it, a better knowledge of grammar than the contrivers themselves seem to have possessed, it will be found of little use.[59] By the happy method of Bacon, to lead philosophy into the common walks of life, into the ordinary business and language of men, is to improve the condition of humanity; but, in teaching grammar, to desert the plain didactic method of definition and example, rule and praxis, and pretend to lead children by philosophic induction into a knowledge of words, is to throw down the ladder of learning, that boys may imagine themselves to ascend it, while they are merely stilting over the low level upon which its fragments are cast.

21. The chief argument of these inductive grammarians is founded on the principle, that children cannot be instructed by means of any words which they do not perfectly understand. If this principle were strictly true, children could never be instructed by words at all. For no child ever fully understands a word the first time he hears or sees it; and it is rather by frequent repetition and use, than by any other process, that the meaning of words is commonly learned. Hence most people make use of many terms which they cannot very accurately explain, just as they do of many things, the real nature of which they do not comprehend. The first perception we have of any word, or other thing, when presented to the ear or the eye, gives us some knowledge of it. So, to the signs of thought, as older persons use them, we soon attach some notion of what is meant; and the difference between this knowledge, and that which we call an understanding of the word or thing, is, for the most part, only in degree. Definitions and explanations are doubtless highly useful, but induction is not definition, and an understanding of words may be acquired without either; else no man could ever have made a dictionary. But, granting the principle to be true, it makes nothing for this puerile method of induction; because the regular process by definitions and examples is both shorter and easier, as well as more effectual. In a word, this whole scheme of inductive grammar is nothing else than a series of leading questions and manufactured answers; the former being generally as unfair as the latter are silly. It is a remarkable tissue of ill-laid premises and of forced illogical sequences.

22. Of a similar character is a certain work, entitled, "English Grammar on the Productive System: a method of instruction recently adopted in Germany and Switzerland." It is a work which certainly will be "productive" of no good to any body but the author and his publishers. The book is as destitute of taste, as of method; of authority, as of originality. It commences with "the inductive process," and after forty pages of such matter as is described above, becomes a "productive system," by means of a misnamed "RECAPITULATION;" which jumbles together the etymology and the syntax of the language, through seventy-six pages more. It is then made still more "productive" by the appropriation of a like space to a reprint of Murray's Syntax and Exercises, under the inappropriate title, "GENERAL OBSERVATIONS." To Prosody, including punctuation and the use of capitals, there are allotted six pages, at the end; and to Orthography, four lines, in the middle of the volume! (See p. 41.) It is but just, to regard the title of this book, as being at once a libel and a lie; a libel upon the learning and good sense of Woodbridge;[60] and a practical lie, as conveying a false notion of the origin of what the volume contains.

23. What there is in Germany or Switzerland, that bears any resemblance to this misnamed system of English Grammar, remains to be shown. It would be prodigal of the reader's time, and inconsistent with the studied brevity of this work, to expose the fallacy of what is pretended in regard to the origin of this new method. Suffice it to say, that the anonymous and questionable account of the "Productive System of Instruction," which the author has borrowed from a "valuable periodical," to save himself the trouble of writing a preface, and, as he says, to "assist [the reader] in forming an opinion of the comparative merits of the system" is not only destitute of all authority, but is totally irrelevant, except to the whimsical name of his book. If every word of it be true, it is insufficient to give us even the slightest reason to suppose, that any thing analogous to his production ever had existence in either of those countries; and yet it is set forth on purpose to convey the idea that such a system "now predominates" in the schools of both. (See Pref., p. 5.) The infidel Neef, whose new method of education has been tried in our country, and with its promulgator forgot, was an accredited disciple of this boasted "productive school;" a zealous coadjutor with Pestalozzi himself, from whose halls he emanated to "teach the offspring of a free people"—to teach them the nature of things sensible, and a contempt for all the wisdom of books. And what similarity is there between his method of teaching and that of Roswell C. Smith, except their pretence to a common parentage, and that both are worthless?

24. The success of Smith's Inductive and Productive Grammars, and the fame perhaps of a certain "Grammar in Familiar Lectures," produced in 1836 a rival work from the hands of a gentleman in New Hampshire, entitled, "An Analytical Grammar of the English Language, embracing the Inductive and Productive Methods of Teaching, with Familiar Explanations in the Lecture Style" &c. This is a fair-looking duodecimo volume of three hundred pages, the character and pretensions of which, if they could be clearly stated, would throw further light upon the two fallacious schemes of teaching mentioned above. For the writer says, "This grammar professes to combine both the Inductive and Productive methods of imparting instruction, of which much has been said within a few years past"—Preface, p. iv. And again: "The inductive and productive methods of instruction contain the essence of modern improvements."—Gram., p. 139. In what these modern improvements consist, he does not inform us; but, it will be seen, that he himself claims the copyright of all the improvements which he allows to English grammar since the appearance of Murray in 1795. More than two hundred pretenders to such improvements, appear however within the time; nor is the grammarian of Holdgate the least positive of the claimants. This new purveyor for the public taste, dislikes the catering of his predecessor, who poached in the fields of Murray; and, with a tacit censure upon his productions, has honestly bought the rareties which he has served up. In this he has the advantage. He is a better writer too than some who make grammars; though no adept at composition, and a total stranger to method. To call his work a "system" is a palpable misnomer; to tell what it is, an impossibility. It is a grammatical chaos, bearing such a resemblance to Smith's or Kirkham's as one mass of confusion naturally bears to an other, yet differing from both in almost every thing that looks like order in any of the three.

25. The claimant of the combination says, "this new system of English grammar now offered to the public, embraces the principles of a 'Systematic Introduction to English Grammar,' by John L. Parkhurst; and the present author is indebted to Mr. Parkhurst for a knowledge of the manner of applying the principles involved in his peculiar method of teaching grammatical science. He is also under obligations to Mr. Parkhurst for many useful hints received several years since while under his instruction.—The copy right of Parkhurst's Grammar has been purchased by the writer of this, who alone is responsible for the present application of its definitions. Parkhurst's Systematic Introduction to English Grammar has passed through two editions, and is the first improved system of English grammar that has appeared before the public since the first introduction of Lindley Murray's English Grammar."—Sanborn's Gram., Preface, p. iii. What, then, is "THE PRODUCTIVE SYSTEM?" and with whom did it originate? The thousands of gross blunders committed by its professors, prove at least that it is no system of writing grammatically; and, whether it originated with Parkhurst or with Pestalozzi, with Sanborn or with Smith, as it is confessedly a method but "recently adopted," and, so far as appears, never fairly tested, so is it a method that needs only to be known, to be immediately and forever exploded.

26. The best instruction is that which ultimately gives the greatest facility and skill in practice; and grammar is best taught by that process which brings its doctrines most directly home to the habits as well as to the thoughts of the pupil—which the most effectually conquers inattention, and leaves the deepest impress of shame upon blundering ignorance. In the language of some men, there is a vividness, an energy, a power of expression, which penetrates even the soul of dullness, and leaves an impression both of words unknown and of sentiments unfelt before. Such men can teach; but he who kindly or indolently accommodates himself to ignorance, shall never be greatly instrumental in removing it. "The colloquial barbarisms of boys," says Dr. Barrow, "should never be suffered to pass without notice and censure. Provincial tones and accents, and all defects in articulation, should be corrected whenever they are heard; lest they grow into established habits, unknown, from their familiarity, to him who is guilty of them, and adopted by others, from the imitation of his manner, or their respect for his authority."—Barrow's Essays on Education, p. 88.

27. In the whole range of school exercises, there is none of greater importance than that of parsing; and yet perhaps there is none which is, in general, more defectively conducted. Scarcely less useful, as a means of instruction, is the practice of correcting false syntax orally, by regular and logical forms of argument; nor does this appear to have been more ably directed towards the purposes of discipline. There is so much to be done, in order to effect what is desirable in the management of these things; and so little prospect that education will ever be generally raised to a just appreciation of that study which, more than all others, forms the mind to habits of correct thinking; that, in reflecting upon the state of the science at the present time, and upon the means of its improvement, the author cannot but sympathize, in some degree, with the sadness of the learned Sanctius; who tells us, that he had "always lamented, and often with tears, that while other branches of learning were excellently taught, grammar, which is the foundation of all others, lay so much neglected, and that for this neglect there seemed to be no adequate remedy."—Pref. to Minerva. The grammatical use of language is in sweet alliance with the moral; and a similar regret seems to have prompted the following exclamation of the Christian poet:

   "Sacred Interpreter of human thought,
    How few respect or use thee as they ought!"—COWPER.

28. No directions, either oral or written, can ever enable the heedless and the unthinking to speak or write well. That must indeed be an admirable book, which can attract levity to sober reflection, teach thoughtlessness the true meaning of words, raise vulgarity from its fondness for low examples, awaken the spirit which attains to excellency of speech, and cause grammatical exercises to be skillfully managed, where teachers themselves are so often lamentably deficient in them. Yet something may be effected by means of better books, if better can be introduced. And what withstands?—Whatever there is of ignorance or error in relation to the premises. And is it arrogant to say there is much? Alas! in regard to this, as well as to many a weightier matter, one may too truly affirm, Multa non sunt sicut multis videntur—Many things are not as they seem to many. Common errors are apt to conceal themselves from the common mind; and the appeal to reason and just authority is often frustrated, because a wrong head defies both. But, apart from this, there are difficulties: multiplicity perplexes choice; inconvenience attends change; improvement requires effort; conflicting theories demand examination; the principles of the science are unprofitably disputed; the end is often divorced from the means; and much that belies the title, has been published under the name.

29. It is certain, that the printed formularies most commonly furnished for the important exercises of parsing and correcting, are either so awkwardly written or so negligently followed, as to make grammar, in the mouths of our juvenile orators, little else than a crude and faltering jargon. Murray evidently intended that his book of exercises should be constantly used with his grammar; but he made the examples in the former so dull and prolix, that few learners, if any, have ever gone through the series agreeably to his direction. The publishing of them in a separate volume, has probably given rise to the absurd practice of endeavouring to teach his grammar without them. The forms of parsing and correcting which this author furnishes, are also misplaced; and when found by the learner, are of little use. They are so verbose, awkward, irregular, and deficient, that the pupil must be either a dull boy or utterly ignorant of grammar, if he cannot express the facts extemporaneously in better English. They are also very meagre as a whole, and altogether inadequate to their purpose; many things that frequently occur in the language, not being at all exemplified in them, or even explained in the grammar itself. When we consider how exceedingly important it is, that the business of a school should proceed without loss of time, and that, in the oral exercises here spoken of, each pupil should go through his part promptly, clearly, correctly, and fully, we cannot think it a light objection that these forms, so often to be repeated, are so badly written. Nor does the objection lie against this writer only: "Ab uno disce omnes." But the reader may demand some illustrations.[61]

30. First—from his etymological parsing: "O Virtue! how amiable thou art!" Here his form for the word Virtue is—"Virtue is a common substantive, of the neuter gender, of the third person, in the singular number, and the nominative case."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, Vol. ii, p. 2. It should have been—"Virtue is a common noun, personified proper, of the second person, singular number, feminine gender, and nominative case." And then the definitions of all these things should have followed in regular numerical order. He gives the class of this noun wrong, for virtue addressed becomes an individual; he gives the gender wrong, and in direct contradiction to what he says of the word in his section on gender; he gives the person wrong, as may be seen by the pronoun thou, which represents it; he repeats the definite article three times unnecessarily, and inserts two needless prepositions, making them different where the relation is precisely the same: and all this, in a sentence of two lines, to tell the properties of the noun Virtue!—But further: in etymological parsing, the definitions explaining the properties of the parts of speech, ought to be regularly and rapidly rehearsed by the pupil, till all of them become perfectly familiar; and till he can discern, with the quickness of thought, what alone will be true for the full description of any word in any intelligible sentence. All these the author omits; and, on account of this omission, his whole method of etymological parsing is, miserably deficient.[62]

31. Secondly—from his syntactical parsing: "Vice degrades us." Here his form for the word Vice is—"Vice is a common substantive, of the third person, in the singular number, and the nominative case."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, Vol. ii, p. 9. Now, when the learner is told that this is the syntactical parsing of a noun, and the other the etymological, he will of course conclude, that to advance from the etymology to the syntax of this part of speech, is merely, to omit the gender—this being the only difference between the two forms. But even this difference had no other origin than the compiler's carelessness in preparing his octavo book of exercises—the gender being inserted in the duodecimo. And what then? Is the syntactical parsing of a noun to be precisely the same as the etymological? Never. But Murray, and all who admire and follow his work, are content to parse many words by halves—making, or pretending to make, a necessary distinction, and yet often omitting, in both parts of the exercise, every thing which constitutes the difference. He should here have said—"Vice is a common noun, of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case: and is the subject of degrades; according to the rule which says, 'A noun or a pronoun which is the subject of a verb, must be in the nominative case.' Because the meaning is—vice degrades." This is the whole description of the word, with its construction; and to say less, is to leave the matter unfinished.

32. Thirdly—from his "Mode of verbally correcting erroneous sentences:" Take his first example: "The man is prudent which speaks little." (How far silence is prudence, depends upon circumstances: I waive that question.) The learner is here taught to say, "This sentence is incorrect; because which is a pronoun of the neuter gender, and does not agree in gender with its antecedent man, which is masculine. But a pronoun should agree with its antecedent in gender, &c. according to the fifth rule of syntax. Which should therefore be who, a relative pronoun, agreeing with its antecedent man; and the sentence should stand thus: 'The man is prudent who speaks little.'"—Murray's Octavo Gram., Vol. ii, p. 18; Exercises, 12mo, p. xii. Again: "'After I visited Europe, I returned to America.' This sentence," says Murray, "is not correct; because the verb visited is in the imperfect tense, and yet used here to express an action, not only past, but prior to the time referred to by the verb returned, to which it relates. By the thirteenth rule of syntax, when verbs are used that, in point of time, relate to each other, the order of time should be observed. The imperfect tense visited should therefore have been had visited, in the pluperfect tense, representing the action of visiting, not only as past, but also as prior to the time of returning. The sentence corrected would stand thus: 'After I had visited Europe, I returned to America.'"—Gr., ii, p. 19; and Ex. 12mo, p. xii. These are the first two examples of Murray's verbal corrections, and the only ones retained by Alger, in his improved, recopy-righted edition of Murray's Exercises. Yet, in each of them, is the argumentation palpably false! In the former, truly, which should be who; but not because which is "of the neuter gender;" but because the application of that relative to persons, is now nearly obsolete. Can any grammarian forget that, in speaking of brute animals, male or female, we commonly use which, and never who? But if which must needs be neuter, the world is wrong in this.—As for the latter example, it is right as it stands; and the correction is, in some sort, tautological. The conjunctive adverb after makes one of the actions subsequent to the other, and gives to the visiting all the priority that is signified by the pluperfect tense. "After I visited Europe," is equivalent to "When I had visited Europe." The whole argument is therefore void.[63]

33. These few brief illustrations, out of thousands that might be adduced in proof of the faultiness of the common manuals, the author has reluctantly introduced, to show that even in the most popular books, with all the pretended improvements of revisers, the grammar of our language has never been treated with that care and ability which its importance demands. It is hardly to be supposed that men unused to a teacher's duties, can be qualified to compose such books as will most facilitate his labours. Practice is a better pilot than theory. And while, in respect to grammar, the consciousness of failure is constantly inducing changes from one system to another, and almost daily giving birth to new expedients as constantly to end in the same disappointment; perhaps the practical instructions of an experienced teacher, long and assiduously devoted to the study, may approve themselves to many, as seasonably supplying the aid and guidance which they require.

34. From the doctrines of grammar, novelty is rigidly excluded. They consist of details to which taste can lend no charm, and genius no embellishment. A writer may express them with neatness and perspicuity—their importance alone can commend them to notice. Yet, in drawing his illustrations from the stores of literature, the grammarian may select some gems of thought, which will fasten on the memory a worthy sentiment, or relieve the dullness of minute instruction. Such examples have been taken from various authors, and interspersed through the following pages. The moral effect of early lessons being a point of the utmost importance, it is especially incumbent on all those who are endeavouring to confer the benefits of intellectual culture, to guard against the admission or the inculcation of any principle which may have an improper tendency, and be ultimately prejudicial to those whom they instruct. In preparing this treatise for publication, the author has been solicitous to avoid every thing that could be offensive to the most delicate and scrupulous reader; and of the several thousands of quotations introduced for the illustration or application of the principles of the science, he trusts that the greater part will be considered valuable on account of the sentiments they contain.

35. The nature of the subject almost entirely precludes invention. The author has, however, aimed at that kind and degree of originality which are to be commended in works of this sort. What these are, according to his view, he has sufficiently explained in a preceding chapter. And, though he has taken the liberty of a grammarian, to think for himself and write in a style of his own, he trusts it will be evident that few have excelled him in diligence of research, or have followed more implicitly the dictates of that authority which gives law to language. In criticising the critics and grammatists of the schools, he has taken them upon their own ground—showing their errors, for the most part, in contrast with the common principles which they themselves have taught; and has hoped to escape censure, in his turn, not by sheltering himself under the name of a popular master, but by a diligence which should secure to his writings at least the humble merit of self-consistency. His progress in composing this work has been slow, and not unattended with labour and difficulty. Amidst the contrarieties of opinion, that appear in the various treatises already before the public, and the perplexities inseparable from so complicated a subject, he has, after deliberate consideration, adopted those views and explanations which appeared to him the least liable to objection, and the most compatible with his ultimate object—the production of a work which should show, both extensively and accurately, what is, and what is not, good English.

36. The great art of meritorious authorship lies chiefly in the condensation of much valuable thought into few words. Although the author has here allowed himself ampler room than before, he has still been no less careful to store it with such information as he trusted would prevent the ingenious reader from wishing its compass less. He has compressed into this volume the most essential parts of a mass of materials in comparison with which the book is still exceedingly small. The effort to do this, has greatly multiplied his own labour and long delayed the promised publication; but in proportion as this object has been reached, the time and patience of the student must have been saved. Adequate compensation for this long toil, has never been expected. Whether from this performance any profit shall accrue to the author or not, is a matter of little consequence; he has neither written for bread, nor on the credit of its proceeds built castles in the air. His ambition was, to make an acceptable book, by which the higher class of students might be thoroughly instructed, and in which the eyes of the critical would find little to condemn. He is too well versed in the history of his theme, too well aware of the precarious fortune of authors, to indulge in any confident anticipations of extraordinary success: yet he will not deny that his hopes are large, being conscious of having cherished them with a liberality of feeling which cannot fear disappointment. In this temper he would invite the reader to a thorough perusal of these pages.

37. A grammar should speak for itself. In a work of this nature, every word or tittle which does not recommend the performance to the understanding and taste of the skillful, is, so far as it goes, a certificate against it. Yet if some small errors shall have escaped detection, let it be recollected that it is almost impossible to compose and print, with perfect accuracy, a work of this size, in which so many little things should be observed, remembered, and made exactly to correspond. There is no human vigilance which multiplicity may not sometimes baffle, and minuteness sometimes elude. To most persons grammar seems a dry and difficult subject; but there is a disposition of mind, to which what is arduous, is for that very reason alluring. "Quo difficilius, hoc præclarius," says Cicero; "The more difficult, the more honourable." The merit of casting up a high-way in a rugged land, is proportionate not merely to the utility of the achievement, but to the magnitude of the obstacles to be overcome. The difficulties encountered in boyhood from the use of a miserable epitome and the deep impression of a few mortifying blunders made in public, first gave the author a fondness for grammar; circumstances having since favoured this turn of his genius, he has voluntarily pursued the study, with an assiduity which no man will ever imitate for the sake of pecuniary recompense.



"Scientiam autem nusquam esse censebant, nisi in animi motionibus atque rationibus: quâ de causâ definitiones rerum probabant, et has ad omnia, de quibus disceptabatur, adhibebant."—CICERONIS Academica, Lib. i, 9.

1. "The first and highest philosophy," says Puffendorf, "is that which delivers the most accurate and comprehensive definitions of things." Had all the writers on English grammar been adepts in this philosophy, there would have been much less complaint of the difficulty and uncertainty of the study. "It is easy," says Murray, "to advance plausible objections against almost every definition, rule, and arrangement of grammar."—Gram., 8vo, p. 59. But, if this is true, as regards his, or any other work, the reason, I am persuaded, is far less inherent in the nature of the subject than many have supposed.[64] Objectionable definitions and rules are but evidences of the ignorance and incapacity of him who frames them. And if the science of grammar has been so unskillfully treated that almost all its positions may be plausibly impugned, it is time for some attempt at a reformation of the code. The language is before us, and he who knows most about it, can best prescribe the rules which we ought to observe in the use of it. But how can we expect children to deduce from a few particulars an accurate notion of general principles and their exceptions, where learned doctors have so often faltered? Let the abettors of grammatical "induction" answer.

2. Nor let it be supposed a light matter to prescribe with certainty the principles of grammar. For, what is requisite to the performance? To know certainly, in the first place, what is the best usage. Nor is this all. Sense and memory must be keen, and tempered to retain their edge and hold, in spite of any difficulties which the subject may present. To understand things exactly as they are; to discern the differences by which they may be distinguished, and the resemblances by which they ought to be classified; to know, through the proper evidences of truth, that our ideas, or conceptions, are rightly conformable to the nature, properties, and relations, of the objects of which we think; to see how that which is complex may be resolved into its elements, and that which is simple may enter into combination; to observe how that which is consequent may be traced to its cause, and that which is regular be taught by rule; to learn from the custom of speech the proper connexion between words and ideas, so as to give to the former a just application, to the latter an adequate expression, and to things a just description; to have that penetration which discerns what terms, ideas, or things, are definable, and therefore capable of being taught, and what must be left to the teaching of nature: these are the essential qualifications for him who would form good definitions; these are the elements of that accuracy and comprehensiveness of thought, to which allusion has been made, and which are characteristic of "the first and highest philosophy."

3. Again, with reference to the cultivation of the mind, I would add: To observe accurately the appearances of things, and the significations of words; to learn first principles first, and proceed onward in such a manner that every new truth may help to enlighten and strengthen the understanding; and thus to comprehend gradually, according to our capacity, whatsoever may be brought within the scope of human intellect:—to do these things, I say, is, to ascend by sure steps, so far as we may, from the simplest elements of science—which, in fact, are our own, original, undefinable notices of things—towards the very topmost height of human wisdom and knowledge. The ancient saying, that truth lies hid, or in the bottom of a well, must not be taken without qualification; for "the first and highest philosophy" has many principles which even a child may understand. These several suggestions, the first of which the Baron de Puffendorf thought not unworthy to introduce his great work on the Law of Nature and of Nations, the reader, if he please, may bear in mind, as he peruses the following digest of the laws and usages of speech.

4. "Definitions," says Duncan, in his Elements of Logic, "are intended to make known the meaning of words standing for complex ideas;[65] and were we always careful to form those ideas exactly in our minds, and copy our definitions from that appearance, much of the confusion and obscurity complained of in languages might be prevented."—P. 70. Again he says: "The writings of the mathematicians are a clear proof, how much the advancement of human knowledge depends upon a right use of definitions."—P. 72. Mathematical science has been supposed to be, in its own nature, that which is best calculated to develop and strengthen the reasoning faculty; but, as speech is emphatically the discourse of reason, I am persuaded, that had the grammarians been equally clear and logical in their instructions, their science would never have been accounted inferior in this respect. Grammar is perhaps the most comprehensive of all studies; but it is chiefly owing to the unskillfulness of instructors, and to the errors and defects of the systems in use, that it is commonly regarded as the most dry and difficult.

5. "Poor Scaliger (who well knew what a definition should be) from his own melancholy experience exclaimed—'Nihil infelicius grammatico definitore!' Nothing is more unhappy than the grammatical definer."—Tooke's Diversions, Vol. i, p. 238. Nor do our later teachers appear to have been more fortunate in this matter. A majority of all the definitions and rules contained in the great multitude of English grammars which I have examined, are, in some respect or other, erroneous. The nature of their multitudinous faults, I must in general leave to the discernment of the reader, except the passages be such as may be suitably selected for examples of false syntax. Enough, however, will be exhibited, in the course of this volume, to make the foregoing allegation credible; and of the rest a more accurate judgement may perhaps be formed, when they shall have been compared with what this work will present as substitutes. The importance of giving correct definitions to philological terms, and of stating with perfect accuracy whatsoever is to be learned as doctrine, has never been duly appreciated. The grand source of the disheartening difficulties encountered by boys in the study of grammar, lies in their ignorance of the meaning of words. This cause of embarrassment is not to be shunned and left untouched; but, as far as possible, it ought to be removed. In teaching grammar, or indeed any other science, we cannot avoid the use of many terms to which young learners may have attached no ideas. Being little inclined or accustomed to reflection, they often hear, read, or even rehearse from memory, the plainest language that can be uttered, and yet have no very distinct apprehension of what it means. What marvel then, that in a study abounding with terms taken in a peculiar or technical sense, many of which, in the common manuals, are either left undefined, or are explained but loosely or erroneously, they should often be greatly puzzled, and sometimes totally discouraged?

6. Simple ideas are derived, not from teaching, but from sensation or consciousness; but complex ideas, or the notions which we have of such things as consist of various parts, or such as stand in any known relations, are definable. A person can have no better definition of heat, or of motion, than what he will naturally get by moving towards a fire. Not so of our complex or general ideas, which constitute science. The proper objects of scientific instruction consist in those genuine perceptions of pure mind, which form the true meaning of generic names, or common nouns; and he who is properly qualified to teach, can for the most part readily tell what should be understood by such words. But are not many teachers too careless here? For instance: a boy commencing the process of calculation, is first told, that, "Arithmetic is the art of computing by numbers," which sentence he partly understands; but should he ask his teacher, "What is a number, in arithmetic?" what answer will he get? Were Goold Brown so asked, he would simply say, "A number, in arithmetic, is an expression that tells how many;" for every expression that tells how many, is a number in arithmetic, and nothing else is. But as no such definition is contained in the books,[66] there are ten chances to one, that, simple as the matter is, the readiest master you shall find, will give an erroneous answer. Suppose the teacher should say, "That is a question which I have not thought of; turn to your dictionary." The boy reads from Dr. Webster: "NUMBER—the designation of a unit in reference to other units, or in reckoning, counting, enumerating."—"Yes," replies the master, "that is it; Dr. Webster is unrivalled in giving definitions." Now, has the boy been instructed, or only puzzled? Can he conceive how the number five can be a unit? or how the word five, the figure 5, or the numeral letter V, is "the designation of a unit?" He knows that each of these is a number, and that the oral monosyllable five is the same number, in an other form; but is still as much at a loss for a proper answer to his question, as if he had never seen either schoolmaster or dictionary. So is it with a vast number of the simplest things in grammar.

7. Since what we denominate scientific terms, are seldom, if ever, such as stand for ideas simple and undefinable; and since many of those which represent general ideas, or classes of objects, may be made to stand for more or fewer things, according to the author's notion of classification; it is sufficiently manifest that the only process by which instruction can effectually reach the understanding of the pupil and remove the difficulties spoken of, is that of delivering accurate definitions. These are requisite for the information and direction of the learner; and these must be thoroughly impressed upon his mind, as the only means by which he can know exactly how much and what he is to understand by our words. The power which we possess, of making known all our complex or general ideas of things by means of definitions, is a faculty wisely contrived in the nature of language, for the increase and spread of science; and, in the hands of the skillful, it is of vast avail to these ends. It is "the first and highest philosophy," instructing mankind, to think clearly and speak accurately; as well as to know definitely, in the unity and permanence of a general nature, those things which never could be known or spoken of as the individuals of an infinite and fleeting multitude.

8. And, without contradiction, the shortest and most successful way of teaching the young mind to distinguish things according to their proper differences, and to name or describe them aright, is, to tell in direct terms what they severally are. Cicero intimates that all instruction appealing to reason ought to proceed in this manner: "Omnis enim quse à ratione suscipitur de re aliqua institutio, debet à definitione proficisci, ut intelligatur quid sit id, de quo disputetur."—Off. Lib. i, p. 4. Literally thus: "For all instruction which from reason is undertaken concerning any thing, ought to proceed from a definition, that it may be understood what the thing is, about which the speaker is arguing." Little advantage, however, will be derived from any definition, which is not, as Quintilian would have it, "Lucida et succincta rei descriptio,"—"a clear and brief description of the thing."

9. Let it here be observed that scientific definitions are of things, and not merely of words; or if equally of words and things, they are rather of nouns than of the other parts of speech. For a definition, in the proper sense of the term, consists not in a mere change or explanation of the verbal sign, but in a direct and true answer to the question, What is such or such a thing? In respect to its extent, it must with equal exactness include every thing which comes under the name, and exclude every thing which does not come under the name: then will it perfectly serve the purpose for which it is intended. To furnish such definitions, (as I have suggested,) is work for those who are capable of great accuracy both of thought and expression. Those who would qualify themselves for teaching any particular branch of knowledge, should make it their first concern to acquire clear and accurate ideas of all things that ought to be embraced in their instructions. These ideas are to be gained, either by contemplation upon the things themselves as they are presented naturally, or by the study of those books in which they are rationally and clearly explained. Nor will such study ever be irksome to him whose generous desire after knowledge, is thus deservedly gratified.

10. But it must be understood, that although scientific definitions are said to be of things, they are not copied immediately from the real essence of the things, but are formed from the conceptions of the author's mind concerning that essence. Hence, as Duncan justly remarks, "A mistaken idea never fails to occasion a mistake also in the definition." Hence, too, the common distinction of the logicians, between definitions of the name and definitions of the thing, seems to have little or no foundation. The former term they applied to those definitions which describe the objects of pure intellection, such as triangles, and other geometrical figures; the latter, to those which define objects actually existing in external nature. The mathematical definitions, so noted for their certainty and completeness, have been supposed to have some peculiar preëminence, as belonging to the former class. But, in fact the idea of a triangle exists as substantively in the mind, as that of a tree, if not indeed more so; and if I define these two objects, my description will, in either case, be equally a definition both of the name and of the thing; but in neither, is it copied from any thing else than that notion which I have conceived, of the common properties of all triangles or of all trees.

11. Infinitives, and some other terms not called nouns, may be taken abstractly or substantively, so as to admit of what may be considered a regular definition; thus the question, "What is it to read?" is nearly the same as, "What is reading?" "What is it to be wise?" is little different from, "What is wisdom?" and a true answer might be, in either case, a true definition. Nor are those mere translations or explanations of words, with which our dictionaries and vocabularies abound, to be dispensed with in teaching: they prepare the student to read various authors with facility, and furnish him with a better choice of terms, when he attempts to write. And in making such choice, let him remember, that as affectation of hard words makes composition ridiculous, so the affectation of easy and common ones may make it unmanly. But not to digress. With respect to grammar, we must sometimes content ourselves with such explications of its customary terms, as cannot claim to be perfect definitions; for the most common and familiar things are not always those which it is the most easy to define. When Dr. Johnson was asked, "What is poetry?" he replied, "Why, sir, it is easier to tell what it is not. We all know what light is: but it is not easy to tell what it is."—Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. iii, p. 402. This was thought by the biographer to have been well and ingeniously said.

12. But whenever we encounter difficulties of this sort, it may be worth while to seek for their cause. If we find it, the understanding is no longer puzzled. Dr. Johnson seemed to his biographer, to show, by this ready answer, the acuteness of his wit and discernment. But did not the wit consist in adroitly excusing himself, by an illusory comparison? What analogy is there between the things which he compares? Of the difficulty of defining poetry, and the difficulty of defining light, the reasons are as different as are the two things themselves, poetry and light. The former is something so various and complex that it is hard to distinguish its essence from its accidents; the latter presents an idea so perfectly simple and unique that all men conceive of it exactly in the same way, while none can show wherein it essentially consists. But is it true, that, "We all know what light is?" Is it not rather true, that we know nothing at all about it, but what it is just as easy to tell as to think? We know it is that reflexible medium which enables us to see; and this is definition enough for all but the natively blind, to whom no definition perhaps can ever convey an adequate notion of its use in respect to sight.

13. If a person cannot tell what a thing is, it is commonly considered to be a fair inference, that he does not know. Will any grammarian say, "I know well enough what the thing is, but I cannot tell?" Yet, taken upon this common principle, the authors of our English grammars, (if in framing their definitions they have not been grossly wanting to themselves in the exercise of their own art,) may be charged, I think, with great ignorance, or great indistinctness of apprehension; and that, too, in relation to many things among the very simplest elements of their science. For example: Is it not a disgrace to a man of letters, to be unable to tell accurately what a letter is? Yet to say, with Lowth, Murray, Churchill, and a hundred others of inferior name, that, "A letter is the first principle or least part of a word," is to utter what is neither good English nor true doctrine. The two articles a and the are here inconsistent with each other. "A letter" is one letter, any letter; but "the first principle of a word" is, surely, not one or any principle taken indefinitely. Equivocal as the phrase is, it must mean either some particular principle, or some particular first principle, of a word; and, taken either way, the assertion is false. For it is manifest, that in no sense can we affirm of each of the letters of a word, that it is "the first principle" of that word. Take, for instance, the word man. Is m the first principle of this word? You may answer, "Yes; for it is the first letter." Is a the first principle? "No; it is the second." But n too is a letter; and is n the first principle? "No; it is the last!" This grammatical error might have been avoided by saying, "Letters are the first principles, or least parts, of words." But still the definition would not be true, nor would it answer the question, What is a letter? The true answer to which is: "A letter is an alphabetic character, which commonly represents some elementary sound of human articulation, or speech."

14. This true definition sufficiently distinguishes letters from the marks used in punctuation, because the latter are not alphabetic, and they represent silence, rather than sound; and also from the Arabic figures used for numbers, because these are no part of any alphabet, and they represent certain entire words, no one of which consists only of one letter, or of a single element of articulation. The same may be said of all the characters used for abbreviation; as, & for and, $ for dollars, or the marks peculiar to mathematicians, to astronomers, to druggists, &c. None of these are alphabetic, and they represent significant words, and not single elementary sounds: it would be great dullness, to assume that a word and an elementary sound are one and the same thing. But the reader will observe that this definition embraces no idea contained in the faulty one to which I am objecting; neither indeed could it, without a blunder. So wide from the mark is that notion of a letter, which the popularity of Dr. Lowth and his copyists has made a hundred-fold more common than any other![67] According to an other erroneous definition given by these same gentlemen, "Words are articulate sounds, used by common consent, as signs of our ideas."—Murray's Gram., p. 22; Kirkham's, 20; Ingersoll's, 7; Alger's, 12; Russell's, 7; Merchant's, 9; Fisk's, 11; Greenleaf's, 20; and many others. See Lowth's Gram., p. 6; from which almost all authors have taken the notion, that words consist of "sounds" only. But letters are no principles or parts of sounds at all; unless you will either have visible marks to be sounds, or the sign to be a principle or part of the thing signified. Nor are they always principles or parts of words: we sometimes write what is not a word; as when, by letters, we denote pronunciation alone, or imitate brute voices. If words were formed of articulate sounds only, they could not exist in books, or be in any wise known to the deaf and dumb. These two primary definitions, then, are both false; and, taken together, they involve the absurdity of dividing things acknowledged to be indivisible. In utterance, we cannot divide consonants from their vowels; on paper, we can. Hence letters are the least parts of written language only; but the least parts of spoken words are syllables, and not letters. Every definition of a consonant implies this.

15. They who cannot define a letter or a word, may be expected to err in explaining other grammatical terms. In my opinion, nothing is well written, that can possibly be misunderstood; and if any definition be likely to suggest a wrong idea, this alone is enough to condemn it: nor does it justify the phraseology, to say, that a more reasonable construction can be put upon it. By Murray and others, the young learner is told, that, "A vowel is an articulate sound, that can be perfectly uttered by itself;" as if a vowel were nothing but a sound, and that a sort of echo, which can utter itself; and next, that, "A consonant is an articulate sound, which cannot be perfectly uttered without the help of a vowel." Now, by their own showing, every letter is either a vowel or a consonant; hence, according to these definitions, all the letters are articulate sounds. And, if so, what is a "silent letter?" It is a silent articulate sound! Again: ask a boy, "What is a triphthong?" He answers in the words of Murray, Weld, Pond, Smith, Adams, Kirkham, Merchant, Ingersoll, Bacon, Alger, Worcester, and others: "A triphthong is the union of three vowels, pronounced in like manner: as eau in beau, iew in view." He accurately cites an entire paragraph from his grammar, but does he well conceive how the three vowels in beau or view are "pronounced in like manner?" Again: "A syllable is a sound, either simple or compound, pronounced by a single impulse of the voice."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 22. This definition resolves syllables into sounds; whereas their true elements are letters. It also mistakes the participle compounded for the adjective compound; whereas the latter only is the true reverse of simple. A compound sound is a sound composed of others which may be separated; a sound compounded is properly that which is made an ingredient with others, but which may itself be simple.

16. It is observable, that in their attempts to explain these prime elements of grammar, Murray, and many others who have copied him, overlook all written language; whereas their very science itself took its origin, name, and nature, from the invention of writing; and has consequently no bearing upon any dialect which has not been written. Their definitions absurdly resolve letters, vowels, consonants, syllables, and words, all into sounds; as if none of these things had any existence on paper, or any significance to those who read in silence. Hence, their explanations of all these elements, as well as of many other things equally essential to the study, are palpably erroneous. I attribute this to the carelessness with which men have compiled or made up books of grammar; and that carelessness to those various circumstances, already described, which have left diligence in a grammarian no hope of praise or reward. Without alluding here to my own books, no one being obliged to accuse himself, I doubt whether we have any school grammar that is much less objectionable in this respect, than Murray's; and yet I am greatly mistaken, if nine tenths of all the definitions in Murray's system are not faulty. "It was this sort of definitions, which made Scaliger say, 'Nihil infelicius definitore grammatico.'"—See Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 351; also Paragraph 5th, above.

17. Nor can this objection be neutralized by saying, it is a mere matter of opinion—a mere prejudice originating in rivalry. For, though we have ample choice of terms, and may frequently assign to particular words a meaning and an explanation which are in some degree arbitrary; yet whenever we attempt to define things under the name which custom has positively fixed upon them, we are no longer left to arbitrary explications; but are bound to think and to say that only which shall commend itself to the understanding of others, as being altogether true to nature. When a word is well understood to denote a particular object or class of objects, the definition of it ought to be in strict conformity to what is known of the real being and properties of the thing or things contemplated. A definition of this kind is a proposition susceptible of proof and illustration; and therefore whatsoever is erroneously assumed to be the proper meaning of such a term, may be refuted. But those persons who take every thing upon trust, and choose both to learn and to teach mechanically, often become so slavishly habituated to the peculiar phraseology of their text-books, that, be the absurdity of a particular expression what it may, they can neither discover nor suspect any inaccuracy in it. It is also very natural even for minds more independent and acute, to regard with some reverence whatsoever was gravely impressed upon them in childhood. Hence the necessity that all school-books should proceed from skillful hands. Instruction should tell things as they are, and never falter through negligence.

18. I have admitted that definitions are not the only means by which a general knowledge of the import of language may be acquired; nor are they the only means by which the acquisition of such knowledge may be aided. To exhibit or point out things and tell their names, constitutes a large part of that instruction by which the meaning of words is conveyed to the young mind; and, in many cases, a mere change or apposition of terms may sufficiently explain our idea. But when we would guard against the possibility of misapprehension, and show precisely what is meant by a word, we must fairly define it. There are, however, in every language, many words which do not admit of a formal definition. The import of all definitive and connecting particles must be learned from usage, translation, or derivation; and nature reserves to herself the power of explaining the objects of our simple original perceptions. "All words standing for complex ideas are definable; but those by which we denote simple ideas, are not. For the perceptions of this latter class, having no other entrance into the mind, than by sensation or reflection, can be acquired only by experience."—Duncan's Logic, p. 63. "And thus we see, that as our simple ideas are the materials and foundation of knowledge, so the names of simple ideas may be considered as the elementary parts of language, beyond which we cannot trace the meaning and signification of words. When we come to them, we suppose the ideas for which they stand to be already known; or, if they are not, experience alone must be consulted, and not definitions or explications."—Ibid., p. 69.

19. But this is no apology for the defectiveness of any definition which might be made correct, or for the effectiveness of our English grammars, in the frequent omission of all explanation, and the more frequent adoption of some indirect form of expression. It is often much easier to make some loose observation upon what is meant by a given word or term in science, than to frame a faultless definition of the thing; because it is easier to refer to some of the relations, qualities, offices, or attributes of things, than to discern wherein their essence consists, so as to be able to tell directly and clearly what they are. The improvement of our grammatical code in this respect, was one of the principal objects which I thought it needful to attempt, when I first took up the pen as a grammarian. I cannot pretend to have seen, of course, every definition and rule which has been published on this subject; but, if I do not misjudge a service too humble for boasting, I have myself framed a greater number of new or improved ones, than all other English grammarians together. And not a few of them have, since their first publication in 1823, been complimented to a place in other grammars than my own. This is in good keeping with the authorship which has been spoken of in an other chapter; but I am constrained to say, it affords no proof that they were well written. If it did, the definitions and rules in Murray's grammar must undoubtedly be thought the most correct that ever have been given: they have been more frequently copied than any others.

20. But I have ventured to suggest, that nine tenths of this author's definitions are bad, or at least susceptible of some amendment. If this can be shown to the satisfaction of the reader, will he hope to find an other English grammar in which the eye of criticism may not detect errors and deficiencies with the same ease? My object is, to enforce attention to the proprieties of speech; and this is the very purpose of all grammar. To exhibit here all Murray's definitions, with criticisms upon them, would detain us too long. We must therefore be content to take a part of them as a sample. And, not to be accused of fixing only upon the worst, we will take a series. Let us then consider in their order his definitions of the nine parts of speech;—for, calling the participle a verb, he reduces the sorts of words to that number. And though not one of his nine definitions now stands exactly as it did in his early editions, I think it may be said, that not one of them is now, if it ever has been, expressed grammatically.

21. FIRST DEFINITION:—"An Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to point them out, and to show how far their[68] signification extends."—Murray, and others, from, Lowth's Gram., p. 10. This is obscure. In what manner, or in what respect, does an article point out substantives? To point them out as such, or to show which words are substantives, seems at first view to be the meaning intended; but it is said soon after, "A or an is used in a vague sense, to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indeterminate; as, 'Give me a book;' 'Bring me an apple.'"—Lowth, p. 11; Murray, p. 31. And again: "It is of the nature of both the articles to determine or limit the thing spoken of."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 170. Now to point out nouns among the parts of speech, and to point out things as individuals of their class, are very different matters; and which of these is the purpose for which articles are used, according to Lowth and Murray? Their definition says the former, their explanations imply the latter; and I am unable to determine which they really meant. The term placed before would have been better than "prefixed;" because the latter commonly implies junction, as well as location. The word "indeterminate" is not a very easy one for a boy; and, when he has found out what it means, he may possibly not know to which of the four preceding nouns it ought to be referred:—"in a vague sense, to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indeterminate." What is this "vague sense?" and what is it, that is "indeterminate?"

22. SECOND DEFINITION:—"A Substantive or Noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion."—Murray, and others. According to his own syntax, this sentence of Murray's is wrong; for he himself suggests, that when two or more relative clauses refer to the same antecedent, the same pronoun should be used in each. Of clauses connected like these, this is true. He should therefore have said, "A Substantive, or Noun, is the name of any thing which exists, or of which we have any notion." His rule, however, though good against a text like this, is utterly wrong in regard to many others, and not very accurate in taking two for a "series" thus: "Whatever relative is used, in one of a series of clauses relating to the same antecedent, the same relative ought, generally to be used in them all. In the following sentence, this rule is violated: 'It is remarkable, that Holland, against which the war was undertaken, and that, in the very beginning, was reduced to the brink of destruction, lost nothing.' The clause ought to have been, 'and which in the very beginning.'"—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 155. But both the rule and the example, badly as they correspond, were borrowed from Priestley's Grammar, p. 102, where the text stands thus: "Whatever relative be used, in one of a series of clauses, relating to the same antecedent, the same ought to be used in them all. 'It is remarkable, that Holland,'" &c.

23. THIRD DEFINITION:—"An Adjective is a word added to a substantive, to express its quality."—Lowth, Murray, Bullions, Pond, and others. Here we have the choice of two meanings; but neither of them is according to truth. It seems doubtful whether "its quality" is the adjective's quality, or the substantive's; but in either sense, the phrase is false; for an adjective is added to a noun, not to express any quality either of the adjective or of the noun, but to express some quality of the thing signified by the noun. But the definition is too much restricted; for adjectives may be added to pronouns as well as to nouns, nor do they always express quality.

24. FOURTH DEFINITION:—"A Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word."—Dr. Ash's Gram., p. 25; Murray's, 28 and 50; Felton's, 18; Alger's, 13; Bacon's, 10; and others. The latter part of this sentence is needless, and also contains several errors. 1. The verb avoid is certainly very ill-chosen; because it implies intelligent agency, and not that which is merely instrumental. 2. The article the is misemployed for a; for, "the too frequent repetition," should mean some particular too frequent repetition—an idea not intended here, and in itself not far from absurdity. 3. The phrase, "the same word" may apply to the pronoun itself as well as to the noun: in saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered," there is as frequent a repetition of the same word, as in saying, "Cæsar came, Cæsar saw, Cæsar conquered." If, therefore, the latter part of this definition must be retained, the whole should be written thus: "A Pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun, to prevent too frequent a repetition of it."

25. FIFTH DEFINITION:—"A Verb is a word which signifies to be, to do, or to suffer"—Lowth, Murray, and others. NOTE:—"A verb may generally be distinguished by its making sense with any of the personal pronouns, or the word to before it."—Murray, and others. It is confessedly difficult to give a perfect definition of a verb; and if, with Murray, we will have the participles to be verbs, there must be no small difficulty in forming one that shall be tolerable. Against the foregoing old explanation, it may be objected, that the phrase to suffer, being now understood in a more limited sense than formerly, does not well express the nature or import of a passive verb. I have said, "A Verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon." Children cannot readily understand, how every thing that is in any way acted upon, may be said to suffer. The participle, I think, should be taken as a distinct part of speech, and have its own definition. The note added by Murray to his definition of a verb, would prove the participle not to be included in this part of speech, and thus practically contradict his scheme. It is also objectionable in respect to construction. The phrase "by its making sense" is at least very questionable English; for "its making" supposes making to be a noun, and "making sense" supposes it to be an active participle. But Lowth says, "Let it be either the one or the other, and abide by its own construction." Nay, the author himself, though he therein contradicts an other note of his own, virtually condemns the phrase, by his caution to the learner against treating words in ing, "as if they were of an amphibious species, partly nouns and partly verbs."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 193.

26. SIXTH DEFINITION:—"An Adverb is a part of speech joined to a verb, an adjective, and sometimes to another adverb, to express some quality or circumstance respecting it."—Murray's Gram., pp. 28 and 114. See Dr. Ash's Gram., p. 47. This definition contains many errors; some of which are gross blunders. 1. The first word, "An," is erroneously put for The: an adverb is one adverb, not the whole class; and, if, "An adverb is a part of speech," any and every adverb is a part of speech; then, how many parts of speech are there? 2. The word "joined" is not well chosen; for, with the exception of not in cannot, the adverb is very rarely joined to the word to which it relates. 3. The want of a comma before joined, perverts the construction; for the phrase, "speech joined to a verb," is nonsense; and to suppose joined to relate to the noun part, is not much better. 4. The word "and" should be or; because no adverb is ever added to three or four different terms at once. 5. The word "sometimes" should be omitted; because it is needless, and because it is inconsistent with the only conjunction which will make the definition true. 6. The preposition "to" should either be inserted before "an adjective," or suppressed before the term which follows; for when several words occur in the same construction, uniformity of expression is desirable. 7. For the same reason, (if custom may be thus far conformed to analogy,) the article "an" ought, in cases like this, if not always, to be separated from the word other; thus, "An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb." Were the eye not familiar with it, another would be thought as irregular as theother. 8. The word "quality" is wrong; for no adverb ever expresses any quality, as such; qualities are expressed by adjectives, and never, in any direct manner, by adverbs. 9. The "circumstances" which we express by adverbs never belong to the words, as this definition avers that they do, but always to the actions or qualities which the words signify. 10. The pronoun it, according to Murray's second rule of syntax, ought to be them, and so it stands in his own early editions; but if and be changed to or, as I have said it should be, the pronoun it will be right.

27. SEVENTH DEFINITION:—"Prepositions serve to connect words with one another, and to show the relation between them."—Lowth, Murray, and others. This is only an observation, not a definition, as it ought to have been; nor does it at all distinguish the preposition from the conjunction. It does not reach the thing in question. Besides, it contains an actual solecism in the expression. The word "between" implies but two things; and the phrase "one another" is not applicable where there are but two. It should be, "to connect words with each other, and to show the relation between them;"—or else, "to connect words with one an other, and to show the relations among them." But the latter mode of expression would not apply to prepositions considered severally, but only to the whole class.

28. EIGHTH DEFINITION:—"A Conjunction is a part of speech that is chiefly used to connect sentences; so as, out of two or more sentences, to make but one: it sometimes connects only words."—Murray, and others. Here are more than thirty words, awkwardly and loosely strung together; and all that is said in them, might be much better expressed in half the number. For example: "A Conjunction is a word which connects other terms, and commonly of two sentences makes but one." But verbosity and want of unity are not the worst faults of this definition. We have three others to point out. 1. "A conjunction is" not "a part of speech;" because a conjunction is one conjunction, and a part of speech is a whole class, or sort, of words. A similar error was noticed in Murray's definition of an adverb; and so common has this blunder become, that by a comparison of the definitions which different authors have given of the parts of speech, probably it will be found, that, by some hand or other, every one of the ten has been commenced in this way. 2. The words "or more" are erroneous, and ought to be omitted; for no one conjunction can connect more than two terms, in that consecutive order which the sense requires. Three or more simple sentences may indeed form a compound sentence; but, as they cannot be joined in a cluster, they must have two or more connectives. 3. The last clause erroneously suggests, that any or every conjunction "sometimes connects only words;" but the conjunctions which may connect only words, are not more than five, whereas those which connect only sentences are four times as many.

29. NINTH DEFINITION:—"Interjections are words thrown in between the parts of a sentence, to express the passions or emotions of the speaker; as, 'O Virtue! how amiable thou art!'"—Murray, and many others. This definition, which has been copied from grammar to grammar, and committed to memory millions of times, is obviously erroneous, and directly contradicted by the example. Interjections, though often enough thrown in between the parts of a discourse, are very rarely "thrown in between the parts of a sentence." They more frequently occur at the beginning of a sentence than any where else; and, in such cases, they do not come under this narrow definition. The author, at the head of his chapter on interjections, appends to this definition two other examples; both of which contradict it in like manner: "Oh! I have alienated my friend."—"Alas! I fear for life." Again: Interjections are used occasionally, in written, as well as in oral discourse; nor are they less indicative of the emotions of the writer, than of those "of the speaker."

30. I have thus exhibited, with all intentional fairness of criticism, the entire series of these nine primary definitions; and the reader may judge whether they sustain the praises which have been bestowed on the book,[69] or confirm the allegations which I have made against it. He will understand that my design is, here, as well as in the body of this work, to teach grammar practically, by rectifying, so far as I may, all sorts of mistakes either in it or respecting it; to compose a book which, by a condensed exposition of such errors as are commonly found in other grammars, will at once show the need we have of a better, and be itself a fit substitute for the principal treatises which it censures. Grammatical errors are universally considered to be small game for critics. They must therefore be very closely grouped together, to be worth their room in this work. Of the tens of thousands who have learned for grammar a multitude of ungrammatical definitions and rules, comparatively few will ever know what I have to say of their acquisitions. But this I cannot help. To the readers of the present volume it is due, that its averments should be clearly illustrated by particular examples; and it is reasonable that these should be taken from the most accredited sources, whether they do honour to their framers or not. My argument is only made so much the stronger, as the works which furnish its proofs, are the more esteemed, the more praised, or the more overrated.

31. Murray tells us, "There is no necessary connexion between words and ideas."—Octavo Gram., Vol. i, p. 139. Though this, as I before observed, is not altogether true, he doubtless had very good reason to distinguish, in his teaching, "between the sign and the thing signified." Yet, in his own definitions and explanations, he frequently confounds these very things which he declares to be so widely different as not even to have a "necessary connexion." Errors of this kind are very common in all our English grammars. Two instances occur in the following sentence; which also contains an error in doctrine, and is moreover obscure, or rather, in its literal sense, palpably absurd: "To substantives belong gender, number, and case; and they are all of the third person when spoken of, and of the second person when spoken to."—Murray's Gram., p. 38; Alger's Murray, 16; Merchant's, 23; Bacon's, 12; Maltby's, 12; Lyon's, 7; Guy's, 4; Ingersoll's, 26; S. Putnam's, 13; T. H. Miller's, 17; Rev. T. Smith's, 13. Who, but a child taught by language like this, would ever think of speaking to a noun? or, that a noun of the second person could not be spoken of? or, that a noun cannot be put in the first person, so as to agree with I or we? Murray himself once taught, that, "Pronouns must always agree with their antecedents, and the nouns for which they stand, in gender, number, and person;" and he departed from a true and important principle of syntax, when he altered his rule to its present form. But I have said that the sentence above is obscure, or its meaning absurd. What does the pronoun "they" represent? "Substantives," according to the author's intent; but "gender, number, and case," according to the obvious construction of the words. Let us try a parallel:" To scriveners belong pen, ink, and paper; and they are all of primary importance when there is occasion to use them, and of none at all when they are not needed." Now, if this sentence is obscure, the other is not less so; but, if this is perfectly clear, so that what is said is obviously and only what is intended, then it is equally clear, that what is said in the former, is gross absurdity, and that the words cannot reasonably be construed into the sense which the writer, and his copyists, designed.

32. All Murray's grammars, not excepting the two volumes octavo, are as incomplete as they are inaccurate; being deficient in many things which are of so great importance that they should not be excluded from the very smallest epitome. For example: On the subject of the numbers, he attempted but one definition, and that is a fourfold solecism. Ho speaks of the persons, but gives neither definitions nor explanations. In treating of the genders, he gives but one formal definition. His section on the cases contains no regular definition. On the comparison of adjectives, and on the moods and tenses of verbs, he is also satisfied with a very loose mode of teaching. The work as a whole exhibits more industry than literary taste, more benevolence of heart than distinctness of apprehension; and, like all its kindred and progeny, fails to give to the principles of grammar that degree of clearness of which they are easily susceptible. The student does not know this, but he feels the effects of it, in the obscurity of his own views on the subject, and in the conscious uncertainty with which he applies those principles. In grammar, the terms person, number, gender, case, mood, tense, and many others, are used in a technical and peculiar sense; and, in all scientific works, the sense of technical terms should be clearly and precisely defined. Nothing can be gained by substituting other names of modern invention; for these also would need definitions as much as the old. We want to know the things themselves, and what they are most appropriately called. We want a book which will tell us, in proper order, and in the plainest manner, what all the elements of the science are.

33. What does he know of grammar, who cannot directly and properly answer such questions as these?—"What are numbers, in grammar? What is the singular number? What is the plural number? What are persons, in grammar? What is the first person? What is the second person? What is the third person? What are genders, in grammar? What is the masculine gender? What is the feminine gender? What is the neuter gender? What are cases, in grammar? What is the nominative case? What is the possessive case? What is the objective case?"—And yet the most complete acquaintance with every sentence or word of Murray's tedious compilation, may leave the student at a loss for a proper answer, not only to each of these questions, but also to many others equally simple and elementary! A boy may learn by heart all that Murray ever published on the subject of grammar, and still be left to confound the numbers in grammar with numbers in arithmetic, or the persons in grammar with persons in civil life! Nay, there are among the professed improvers of this system of grammar, men who have actually confounded these things, which are so totally different in their natures! In "Smith's New Grammar on the Productive System," a work in which Murray is largely copied and strangely metamorphosed, there is an abundance of such confusion. For instance: "What is the meaning of the word number? Number means a sum that may be counted."—R. C. Smith's New Gram., p. 7. From this, by a tissue of half a dozen similar absurdities, called inductions, the novice is brought to the conclusion that the numbers are two—as if there were in nature but two sums that might be counted! There is no end to the sickening detail of such blunders. How many grammars tell us, that, "The first person is the person who speaks;" that, "The second person is the person spoken to;" and that, "the third person is the person spoken of!" As if the three persons of a verb, or other part of speech, were so many intelligent beings! As if, by exhibiting a word in the three persons, (as go, goest, goes,) we put it first into the speaker, then into the hearer, and then into somebody else! Nothing can be more abhorrent to grammar, or to sense, than such confusion. The things which are identified in each of these three definitions, are as unlike as Socrates and moonshine! The one is a thinking being; the other, a mere form peculiar to certain words. But Chandler, of Philadelphia, ("the Grammar King," forsooth!) without mistaking the grammatical persons for rational souls, has contrived to crowd into his definition of person more errors of conception and of language,—more insult to common sense,—than one could have believed it possible to put together in such space. And this ridiculous old twaddle, after six and twenty years, he has deliberately re-written and lately republished as something "adapted to the schools of America." It stands thus: "Person is a distinction which is made in a noun between its representation of its object, either as spoken to, or spoken of."—Chandler's E. Grammar; Edition of 1821, p. 16; Ed. 1847, p. 21.

34. Grammarians have often failed in their definitions, because it is impossible to define certain terms in the way in which the description has been commonly attempted. He who undertakes what is impossible must necessarily fail; and fail too, to the discredit of his ingenuity. It is manifest that whenever a generic name in the singular number is to be defined, the definition must be founded upon some property or properties common to all the particular things included under the term. Thus, if I would define a globe, a wheel, or a pyramid, my description must be taken, not from what is peculiar to one or an other of these things, but from those properties only which are common to all globes, all wheels, or all pyramids. But what property has unity in common with plurality, on which a definition of number may be founded? What common property have the three cases, by which we can clearly define case? What have the three persons in common, which, in a definition of person, could be made evident to a child? Thus all the great classes of grammatical modifications, namely, persons, numbers, genders, cases, moods, and tenses, though they admit of easy, accurate, and obvious definitions in the plural, can scarcely be defined at all in the singular. I do not say, that the terms person, number, gender, case, mood, and tense, ia their technical application to grammar, are all of them equally and absolutely undefinable in the singular; but I say, that no definition, just in sense and suitable for a child, can ever be framed for any one of them. Among the thousand varied attempts of grammarians to explain them so, there are a hundred gross solecisms for every tolerable definition. For this, as I have shown, there is a very simple reason in the nature of the things.

35. But this reason, as well as many other truths equally important and equally clear, our common grammarians, have, so far as I know, every man of them, overlooked. Consequently, even when they were aiming at the right thing, they frequently fell into gross errors of expression; and, what is still more surprising, such errors have been entailed upon the very art of grammar, and the art of authorship itself, by the prevalence of an absurd notion, that modern writers on this subject can be meritorious authors without originality. Hence many a school-boy is daily rehearsing from his grammar-book what he might well be ashamed to have written. For example, the following definition from Murray's grammar, is found in perhaps a dozen other compends, all professing to teach the art of speaking and writing with propriety: "Number is the consideration of an object, as one or more." [70] Yet this short sentence, as I have before suggested, is a fourfold solecism. First, the word "number" is wrong; because those modifications of language, which distinguish unity and plurality, cannot be jointly signified by it. Secondly, the word "consideration" is wrong; because number is not consideration, in any sense which can be put upon the terms: condition, constitution, configuration, or any other word beginning with con, would have done just as well. Thirdly, "the consideration of an object as one," is but idle waste of thought; for, that one thing is one,—that an object is one object,—every child knows by intuition, and not by "consideration." Lastly, to consider "an object as more" than one, is impossible; unless this admirable definition lead us into a misconception in so plain a case! So much for the art of "the grammatical definer."

36. Many other examples, equally faulty and equally common, might, be quoted and criticised for the further proof and illustration of what I have alleged. But the reader will perhaps judge the foregoing to be sufficient. I have wished to be brief, and yet to give my arguments, and the neglected facts upon which they rest, their proper force upon the mind. Against such prejudices as may possibly arise from the authorship of rival publications, or from any interest in the success of one book rather than of an other, let both my judges and me be on our guard. I have intended to be fair; for captiousness is not criticism. If the reader perceives in these strictures any improper bias, he has a sort of discernment which it is my misfortune to lack. Against the compilers of grammars, I urge no conclusions at which any man can hesitate, who accedes to my preliminary remarks upon them; and these may be summed up in the following couplet of the poet Churchill:

   "To copy beauties, forfeits all pretence
    To fame;—to copy faults, is want of sense."



"Sed ut perveniri ad summa nisi ex principiis non potest: ita, procedente jam opere, minima incipiunt esse quæ prima sunt."—QUINTILIAN. De Inst. Orat., Lib. x, Cap. 1, p. 560.

1. The history of grammar, in the proper sense of the term, has heretofore been made no part of the study. I have imagined that many of its details might be profitable, not only to teachers, but to that class of learners for whose use this work is designed. Accordingly, in the preceding pages, there have been stated numerous facts properly historical, relating either to particular grammars, or to the changes and progress of this branch of instruction. These various details it is hoped will be more entertaining, and perhaps for that reason not less useful, than those explanations which belong merely to the construction and resolution of sentences. The attentive reader must have gathered from the foregoing chapters some idea of what the science owes to many individuals whose names are connected with it. But it seems proper to devote to this subject a few pages more, in order to give some further account of the origin and character of certain books.

2. The manuals by which grammar was first taught in English, were not properly English Grammars. They were translations of the Latin Accidence; and were designed to aid British youth in acquiring a knowledge of the Latin language, rather than accuracy in the use of their own. The two languages were often combined in one book, for the purpose of teaching sometimes both together, and sometimes one through the medium of the other. The study of such works doubtless had a tendency to modify, and perhaps at that time to improve, the English style of those who used them. For not only must variety of knowledge have led to copiousness of expression, but the most cultivated minds would naturally be most apt to observe what was orderly in the use of speech. A language, indeed, after its proper form is well fixed by letters, must resist all introduction of foreign idioms, or become corrupted. Hence it is, that Dr. Johnson avers, "The great pest of speech is frequency of translation. No book was ever turned from one language into another, without imparting something of its native idiom; this is the most mischievous and comprehensive innovation."—Preface to Joh. Dict., 4to, p. 14. Without expressly controverting this opinion, or offering any justification of mere metaphrases, or literal translations, we may well assert, that the practice of comparing different languages, and seeking the most appropriate terms for a free version of what is ably written, is an exercise admirably calculated to familiarize and extend grammatical knowledge.

3. Of the class of books here referrred [sic—KTH] to, that which I have mentioned in an other chapter, as Lily's or King Henry's Grammar, has been by far the most celebrated and the most influential. Concerning this treatise, it is stated, that its parts were not put together in the present form, until eighteen or twenty years after Lily's death. "The time when this work was completed," says the preface of 1793, "has been differently related by writers. Thomas Hayne places it in the year 1543, and Anthony Wood, in 1545. But neither of these accounts can be right; for I have seen a beautiful copy, printed upon vellum, and illuminated, anno 1542, in quarto. And it may be doubted whether this was the first edition."—John Ward, Pref., p. vii. In an Introductory Lecture, read before the University of London in 1828, by Thomas Dale, professor of English literature, I find the following statement: "In this reign,"—the reign of Henry VIII,—"the study of grammar was reduced to a system, by the promulgation of many grammatical treatises; one of which was esteemed of sufficient importance to be honoured with a royal name. It was called, 'The Grammar of King Henry the Eighth;' and to this, 'with other works, the young Shakspeare was probably indebted for some learning and much loyalty.' But the honour of producing the first English grammar is claimed by William Bullokar, who published, in the year 1586, 'A Bref Grammar for English,' being, to use his own words, 'the first Grammar for English that ever waz, except my Grammar at large.'"

4. Ward's preface to Lily commences thus: "If we look back to the origin of our common Latin Grammar, we shall find it was no hasty performance, nor the work of a single person; but composed at different times by several eminent and learned men, till the whole was at length finished, and by the order of King Henry VIII.[,] brought into that form in which it has ever since continued. The English introduction was written by the reverend and learned Dr. John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, for the use of the school he had lately founded there; and was dedicated by him to William Lily, the first high master of that school, in the year 1510; for which reason it has usually gone by the name of Paul's Accidence. The substance of it remains the same, as at first; though it has been much altered in the manner of expression, and sometimes the order, with other improvements. The English syntax was the work of Lily, as appears by the title in the most ancient editions, which runs thus: Gulielmi Lilii Angli Rudimenta. But it has been greatly improved since his time, both with, regard to the method, and an enlargement of double the quantity."

5. Paul's Accidence is therefore probably the oldest grammar that can now be found in our language. It is not, however, an English grammar; because, though written in antique English, and embracing many things which are as true of our language as of any other, it was particularly designed for the teaching of Latin. It begins thus: "In speech be these eight parts following: Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Participle, declined; Adverb, Conjunction, Preposition, Interjection, undeclined." This is the old platform of the Latin grammarians; which differs from that of the Greek grammars, only in having no Article, and in separating the Interjection from the class of Adverbs. Some Greek grammarians, however, separate the Adjective from the Noun, and include the Participle with the Verb: thus, "There are in Greek eight species of words, called Parts of Speech; viz. Article, Noun, Adjective, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, and Conjunction."—Anthon's Valpy, p. 18. With respect to our language, the plan of the Latin Accidence is manifestly inaccurate; nor can it be applied, without some variation, to the Greek. In both, as well as in all other languages that have Articles, the best amendment of it, and the nearest adherence to it, is, to make the Parts of Speech ten; namely, the Article, the Noun, the Adjective, the Pronoun, the Verb, the Participle, the Adverb, the Conjunction, the Preposition, and the Interjection.

6. The best Latin grammarians admit that the Adjective ought not to be called a Noun; and the best Greek grammarians, that the Interjections ought not to be included among Adverbs. With respect to Participles, a vast majority of grammarians in general, make them a distinct species, or part of speech; but, on this point, the English grammarians are about equally divided: nearly one half include them with the verbs, and a few call them adjectives. In grammar, it is wrong to deviate from the old groundwork, except for the sake of truth and improvement; and, in this case, to vary the series of parts, by suppressing one and substituting an other, is in fact a greater innovation, than to make the terms ten, by adding one and dividing an other. But our men of nine parts of speech innovated yet more: they added the Article, as did the Greeks; divided the Noun into Substantive and Adjective; and, without good reason, suppressed the Participle. And, of latter time, not a few have thrown the whole into confusion, to show the world "the order of [their] understanding." What was grammar fifty years ago, some of these have not thought it worth their while to inquire! And the reader has seen, that, after all this, they can complacently talk of "the censure so frequently and so justly awarded to unfortunate innovators."—KIRKHAM'S Gram., p. 10.

7. The old scheme of the Latin grammarians has seldom, if ever, been literally followed in English; because its distribution of the parts of speech, as declined and undeclined, would not be true with respect to the English participle. With the omission of this unimportant distinction, it was, however, scrupulously retained by Dilworth, by the author of the British Grammar, by William Ward, by Buchanan, and by some others now little known, who chose to include both the article and the adjective with the noun, rather than to increase the number of the parts of speech beyond eight. Dr. Priestley says, "I shall adopt the usual distribution of words into eight classes; viz. Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections.[71] I do this in compliance with the practice of most Grammarians; and because, if any number, in a thing so arbitrary, must be fixed upon, this seems to be as comprehensive and distinct as any. All the innovation I have made hath been to throw out the Participle, and substitute the Adjective, as more evidently a distinct part of speech."—Rudiments of English Gram., p. 3. All this comports well enough with Dr. Priestley's haste and carelessness; but it is not true, that he either adopted, "the usual distribution of words," or made an other "as comprehensive and distinct as any." His "innovation," too, which has since been countenanced by many other writers, I have already shown to be greater, than if, by a promotion of the article and the adjective, he had made the parts of speech ten. Dr. Beattie, who was Priestley's coeval, and a much better scholar, adopted this number without hesitation, and called every one of them by what is still its right name: "In English there are ten sorts of words, which are all found in the following short sentence; 'I now see the good man coming; but, alas! he walks with difficulty.' I and he are pronouns; now is an adverb; see and walks are verbs; the is an article; good, an adjective; man and difficulty are nouns, the former substantive, the latter abstract; coming is a participle; but, a conjunction; alas! an interjection; with, a preposition. That no other sorts of words are necessary in language, will appear, when we have seen in what respects these are necessary."—Beattie's Moral Science, Vol. i, p. 30. This distribution is precisely that which the best French grammarians have usually adopted.

8. Dr. Johnson professes to adopt the division, the order, and the terms, "of the common grammarians, without inquiring whether a fitter distribution might not be found."—Gram. before 4to Dict., p. 1. But, in the Etymology of his Grammar, he makes no enumeration of the parts of speech, and treats only of articles, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs; to which if we add the others, according to the common grammarians, or according to his own Dictionary, the number will be ten. And this distribution, which was adopted by Dr. Ash about 1765, by Murray the schoolmaster about 1790, by Caleb Alexander in 1795, and approved by Dr. Adam in 1793, has since been very extensively followed; as may be seen in Dr. Crombie's treatise, in the Rev. Matt. Harrison's, in Dr. Mandeville's reading-books, and in the grammars of Harrison, Staniford, Alden, Coar, John Peirce, E. Devis, C. Adams, D. Adams, Chandler, Comly, Jaudon, Ingersoll, Hull, Fuller, Greenleaf, Kirkham, Ferd. H. Miller, Merchant, Mack, Nutting, Bucke, Beck, Barrett, Barnard, Maunder, Webber, Emmons, Hazen, Bingham, Sanders, and many others. Dr. Lowth's distribution is the same, except that he placed the adjective after the pronoun, the conjunction after the preposition, and, like Priestley, called the participle a verb, thus making the parts of speech nine. He also has been followed by many; among whom are Bicknell, Burn, Lennie, Mennye, Lindley Murray, W. Allen, Guy, Churchill, Wilson, Cobbett, Davis, David Blair, Davenport, Mendenhall, Wilcox, Picket, Pond, Russell, Bacon, Bullions, Brace, Hart, Lyon, Tob. H. Miller, Alger, A. Flint, Folker, S. Putnam, Cooper, Frost, Goldsbury, Hamlin, T. Smith, R. C. Smith, and Woodworth. But a third part of these, and as many more in the preceding list, are confessedly mere modifiers of Murray's compilation; and perhaps, in such a case, those have done best who have deviated least from the track of him whom they professed to follow.[72]

9. Some seem to have supposed, that by reducing the number of the parts of speech, and of the rules for their construction, the study of grammar would be rendered more easy and more profitable to the learner. But this, as would appear from the history of the science, is a mere retrogression towards the rudeness of its earlier stages. It is hardly worth while to dispute, whether there shall be nine parts of speech or ten; and perhaps enough has already been stated, to establish the expediency of assuming the latter number. Every word in the language must be included in some class, and nothing is gained by making the classes larger and less numerous. In all the artificial arrangements of science, distinctions are to be made according to the differences in things; and the simple question here is, what differences among words shall be at first regarded. To overlook, in our primary division, the difference between a verb and a participle, is merely to reserve for a subdivision, or subsequent explanation, a species of words which most grammarians have recognized as a distinct sort in their original classification.

10. It should be observed that the early period of grammatical science was far remote from the days in which English grammar originated. Many things which we now teach and defend as grammar, were taught and defended two thousand years ago, by the philosophers of Greece and Rome. Of the parts of speech, Quintilian, who lived in the first century of our era, gives the following account: "For the ancients, among whom were Aristotle[73] and Theodectes, treated only of verbs, nouns, and conjunctions: as the verb is what we say, and the noun, that of which we say it, they judged the power of discourse to be in verbs, and the matter in nouns, but the connexion in conjunctions. Little by little, the philosophers, and especially the Stoics, increased the number: first, to the conjunctions were added articles; afterwards, prepositions; to nouns, was added the appellation; then the pronoun; afterwards, as belonging to each verb, the participle; and, to verbs in common, adverbs. Our language [i. e., the Latin] does not require articles, wherefore they are scattered among the other parts of speech; but there is added to the foregoing the interjection. But some, on the authority of good authors, make the parts only eight; as Aristarchus, and, in our day, Palæmon; who have included the vocable, or appellation, with the noun, as a species of it. But they who make the noun one and the vocable an other, reckon nine. But there are also some who divide the vocable from the appellation; making the former to signify any thing manifest to sight or touch, as house, bed; and the latter, any thing to which either or both are wanting, as wind, heaven, god, virtue. They have also added the asseveration and the attrectation, which I do not approve. Whether the vocable or appellation should be included with the noun or not, as it is a matter of little consequence, I leave to the decision of others."—See QUINTIL. de Inst. Orat., Lib. i, Cap. 4, §24.

11. Several writers on English grammar, indulging a strange unsettlement of plan, seem not to have determined in their own minds, how many parts of speech there are, or ought to be. Among these are Horne Tooke, Webster, Dalton, Cardell, Green, and Cobb; and perhaps, from what he says above, we may add the name of Priestley. The present disputation about the sorts of words, has been chiefly owing to the writings of Horne Tooke, who explains the minor parts of speech as mere abbreviations, and rejects, with needless acrimony, the common classification. But many have mistaken the nature of his instructions, no less than that of the common grammarians. This author, in his third chapter, supposes his auditor to say, "But you have not all this while informed me how many parts of speech you mean to lay down." To whom he replies, "That shall be as you please. Either two, or twenty, or more." Such looseness comported well enough with his particular purpose; because he meant to teach the derivation of words, and not to meddle at all with their construction. But who does not see that it is impossible to lay down rules for the construction of words, without first dividing them into the classes to which such rules apply? For example: if a man means to teach, that, "A verb must agree with its subject, or nominative, in person and number," must he not first show the learner what words are verbs? and ought he not to see in this rule a reason for not calling the participle a verb? Let the careless followers of Lowth and Priestley answer. Tooke did not care to preserve any parts of speech at all. His work is not a system of grammar; nor can it be made the basis of any regular scheme of grammatical instruction. He who will not grant that the same words may possibly be used as different parts of speech, must make his parts of speech either very few or very many. This author says, "I do not allow that any words change their nature in this manner, so as to belong sometimes to one part of speech, and sometimes to another, from the different ways of using them. I never could perceive any such fluctuation in any word whatever."—Diversions of Purley, Vol. i, p. 68.

12. From his own positive language, I imagine this ingenious author never well considered what constitutes the sameness of words, or wherein lies the difference of the parts of speech; and, without understanding these things, a grammarian cannot but fall into errors, unless he will follow somebody that knows them. But Tooke confessedly contradicts, and outfaces "all other Grammarians" in the passage just cited. Yet it is plain, that the whole science of grammar—or at least the whole of etymology and syntax, which are its two principal parts—is based upon a division of words into the parts of speech; a division which necessarily refers, in many instances, the same words to different sections according to the manner in which they are used. "Certains mots répondent, ainsi au même temps, à diverses parties d'oraison selon que la grammaire les emploie diversement."—Buffier, Art. 150. "Some words, from the different ways in which they are used, belong sometimes to one part of speech, sometimes to another."—M'Culloch's Gram., p. 37. "And so say all other Grammarians."—Tooke, as above.

13. The history of Dr. Webster, as a grammarian, is singular. He is remarkable for his changeableness, yet always positive; for his inconsistency, yet very learned; for his zeal "to correct popular errors," yet often himself erroneous; for his fertility in resources, yet sometimes meagre; for his success as an author, yet never satisfied; for his boldness of innovation, yet fond of appealing to antiquity. His grammars are the least judicious, and at present the least popular, of his works. They consist of four or five different treatises, which for their mutual credit should never be compared: it is impossible to place any firm reliance upon the authority of a man who contradicts himself so much. Those who imagine that the last opinions of so learned a man must needs be right, will do well to wait, and see what will be his last: they cannot otherwise know to what his instructions will finally lead: Experience has already taught him the folly of many of his pretended improvements, and it is probable his last opinions of English grammar will be most conformable to that just authority with which he has ever been tampering. I do not say that he has not exhibited ingenuity as well as learning, or that he is always wrong when he contradicts a majority of the English grammarians; but I may venture to say, he was wrong when he undertook to disturb the common scheme of the parts of speech, as well as when he resolved to spell all words exactly as they are pronounced.

14. It is not commonly known with how rash a hand this celebrated author has sometimes touched the most settled usages of our language. In 1790, which was seven years after the appearance of his first grammar, he published an octavo volume of more than four hundred pages, consisting of Essays, moral, historical, political, and literary, which might have done him credit, had he not spoiled his book by a grammatical whim about the reformation of orthography. Not perceiving that English literature, multiplied as it had been within two or three centuries, had acquired a stability in some degree corresponding to its growth, he foolishly imagined it was still as susceptible of change and improvement as in the days of its infancy. Let the reader pardon the length of this digression, if for the sake of any future schemer who may chance to adopt a similar conceit, I cite from the preface to this volume a specimen of the author's practice and reasoning. The ingenious attorney had the good sense quickly to abandon this project, and content himself with less glaring innovations; else he had never stood as he now does, in the estimation of the public. But there is the more need to record the example, because in one of the southern states the experiment has recently been tried again. A still abler member of the same profession, has renewed it but lately; and it is said there are yet remaining some converts to this notion of improvement. I copy literally, leaving all my readers and his to guess for themselves why he spelled "writers" with a w and "riting" without.

15. "During the course of ten or twelv yeers, I hav been laboring to correct popular errors, and to assist my yung brethren in the road to truth and virtue; my publications for theze purposes hav been numerous; much time haz been spent, which I do not regret, and much censure incurred, which my hart tells me I do not dezerv." * * * "The reeder wil observ that the orthography of the volum iz not uniform. The reezon iz, that many of the essays hav been published before, in the common orthography, and it would hav been a laborious task to copy the whole, for the sake of changing the spelling. In the essays, ritten within the last yeer, a considerable change of spelling iz introduced by way of experiment. This liberty waz taken by the writers before the age of queen Elizabeth, and to this we are indeted for the preference of modern spelling over that of Gower and Chaucer. The man who admits that the change of hoasbonde, mynde, ygone, moneth into husband, mind, gone, month, iz an improovment, must acknowlege also the riting of helth, breth, rong, tung, munth, to be an improovment. There iz no alternativ. Every possible reezon that could ever be offered for altering the spelling of wurds, stil exists in full force; and if a gradual reform should not be made in our language, it wil proov that we are less under the influence of reezon than our ancestors."—Noah Webster's Essays, Preface, p. xi.

16. But let us return, with our author, to the question of the parts of speech. I have shown that if we do not mean to adopt some less convenient scheme, we must count them ten, and preserve their ancient order as well as their ancient names.[74] And, after all his vacillation in consequence of reading Horne Tooke, it would not be strange if Dr. Webster should come at last to the same conclusion. He was not very far from it in 1828, as may be shown by his own testimony, which he then took occasion to record. I will give his own words on the point: "There is great difficulty in devising a correct classification of the several sorts of words; and probably no classification that shall be simple and at the same time philosophically correct, can be invented. There are some words that do not strictly fall under any description of any class yet devised. Many attempts have been made and are still making to remedy this evil; but such schemes as I have seen, do not, in my apprehension, correct the defects of the old schemes, nor simplify the subject. On the other hand, all that I have seen, serve only to obscure and embarrass the subject, by substituting new arrangements and new terms which are as incorrect as the old ones, and less intelligible. I have attentively viewed these subjects, in all the lights which my opportunities have afforded, and am convinced that the distribution of words, most generally received, is the best that can be formed, with some slight alterations adapted to the particular construction of the English language."

17. This passage is taken from the advertisement, or preface, to the Grammar which accompanies the author's edition of his great quarto Dictionary. Now the several schemes which bear his own name, were doubtless all of them among those which he had that he had "seen;" so that he here condemns them all collectively, as he had previously condemned some of them at each reformation. Nor is the last exempted. For although he here plainly gives his vote for that common scheme which he first condemned, he does not adopt it without "some slight alterations;" and in contriving these alterations he is inconsistent with his own professions. He makes the parts of speech eight, thus: "1. The name or noun; 2. The pronoun or substitute; 3. The adjective, attribute, or attributive; 4. The verb; 5. The adverb; 6. The preposition; 7. The connective or conjunction; 8. The exclamation or interjection." In his Rudiments of English Grammar, published in 1811, "to unfold the true principles of the language," his parts of speech were seven; "viz. 1. Names or nouns; 2. Substitutes or pronouns; 3. Attributes or adjectives; 4. Verbs, with their participles; 5. Modifiers or adverbs; 6. Prepositions; 7. Connectives or conjunctions." In his Philosophical and Practical Grammar, published in 1807, a book which professes to teach "the only legitimate principles, and established usages," of the language, a twofold division of words is adopted; first, into two general classes, primary and secondary; then into "seven species or parts of speech," the first two belonging to the former class, the other five to the latter; thus: "1. Names or nouns; 2. Verbs; 3. Substitutes; 4. Attributes; 5. Modifiers; 6. Prepositions; 7. Connectives." In his "Improved Grammar of the English Language," published in 1831, the same scheme is retained, but the usual names are preferred.

18. How many different schemes of classification this author invented, I know not; but he might well have saved himself the trouble of inventing any; for, so far as appears, none of his last three grammars ever came to a second edition. In the sixth edition of his "Plain and Comprehensive Grammar, grounded on the true principles and idioms of the language," a work which his last grammatical preface affirms to have been originally fashioned "on the model of Lowth's," the parts of speech are reckoned "six; nouns, articles, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and abbreviations or particles." This work, which he says "was extensively used in the schools of this country," and continued to be in demand, he voluntarily suppressed; because, after a profitable experiment of four and twenty years, he found it so far from being grounded on "true principles," that the whole scheme then appeared to him incorrigibly bad. And, judging from this sixth edition, printed in 1800, the only one which I have seen, I cannot but concur with him in the opinion. More than one half of the volume is a loose Appendix composed chiefly of notes taken from Lowth and Priestley; and there is a great want of method in what was meant for the body of the work. I imagine his several editions must have been different grammars with the same title; for such things are of no uncommon occurrence, and I cannot otherwise account for the assertion that this book was compiled "on the model of Lowth's, and on the same principles as [those on which] Murray has constructed his."—Advertisement in Webster's Quarto Dict., 1st Ed.

19. In a treatise on grammar, a bad scheme is necessarily attended with inconveniences for which no merit in the execution can possibly compensate. The first thing, therefore, which a skillful teacher will notice in a work of this kind, is the arrangement. If he find any difficulty in discovering, at sight, what it is, he will be sure it is bad; for a lucid order is what he has a right to expect from him who pretends to improve upon all the English grammarians. Dr. Webster is not the only reader of the EPEA PTEROENTA, who has been thereby prompted to meddle with the common scheme of grammar; nor is he the only one who has attempted to simplify the subject by reducing the parts of speech to six. John Dalton of Manchester, in 1801, in a small grammar which he dedicated to Horne Tooke, made them six, but not the same six. He would have them to be, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions. This writer, like Brightland, Tooke, Fisher, and some others, insists on it that the articles are adjectives. Priestley, too, throwing them out of his classification, and leaving the learner to go almost through his book in ignorance of their rank, at length assigns them to the same class, in one of his notes. And so has Dr. Webster fixed them in his late valuable, but not faultless, dictionaries. But David Booth, an etymologist perhaps equally learned, in his "Introduction to an Analytical Dictionary of the English Language," declares them to be of the same species as the pronouns; from which he thinks it strange that they were ever separated! See Booth's Introd., p. 21.

20. Now, what can be more idle, than for teachers to reject the common classification of words, and puzzle the heads of school-boys with speculations like these? It is easy to admit all that etymology can show to be true, and still justify the old arrangement of the elements of grammar. And if we depart from the common scheme, where shall we stop? Some have taught that the parts of speech are only five; as did the latter stoics, whose classes, according to Priscian and Harris, were these: articles, nouns appellative, nouns proper, verbs, and conjunctions. Others have made them four; as did Aristotle and the elder stoics, and, more recently, Milnes, Brightland, Harris, Ware, Fisher, and the author of a work on Universal Grammar, entitled Enclytica. Yet, in naming the four, each of these contrives to differ from all the rest! With Aristotle, they are, "nouns, verbs, articles, and conjunctions;" with Milnes, "nouns, adnouns, verbs, and particles;" with Brightland, "names, qualities, affirmations, and particles;" with Harris, "substantives, attributives, definitives, and connectives;" with Ware, "the name, the word, the assistant, the connective;" with Fisher, "names, qualities, verbs, and particles;" with the author of Enclytica, "names, verbs, modes, and connectives." But why make the classes so numerous as four? Many of the ancients, Greeks, Hebrews, and Arabians, according to Quintilian, made them three; and these three, according to Vossius, were nouns, verbs, and particles. "Veteres Arabes, Hebræi, et Græci, tres, non amplius, classes faciebant; l. Nomen, 2. Verbum, 3. Particula seu Dictio."—Voss. de Anal., Lib. i, Cap. 1.

21. Nor is this number, three, quite destitute of modern supporters; though most of these come at it in an other way. D. St. Quentin, in his Rudiments of General Grammar, published in 1812, divides words into the "three general classes" last mentioned; viz., "1. Nouns, 2. Verbs, 3. Particles."—P. 5. Booth, who published the second edition of his etymological work in 1814, examining severally the ten parts of speech, and finding what he supposed to be the true origin of all the words in some of the classes, was led to throw one into an other, till he had destroyed seven of them. Then, resolving that each word ought to be classed according to the meaning which its etymology fixes upon it, he refers the number of classes to nature, thus: "If, then, each [word] has a meaning, and is capable of raising an idea in the mind, that idea must have its prototype in nature. It must either denote an exertion, and is therefore a verb; or a quality, and is, in that case, an adjective; or it must express an assemblage of qualities, such as is observed to belong to some individual object, and is, on this supposition, the name of such object, or a noun. * * * We have thus given an account of the different divisions of words, and have found that the whole may be classed under the three heads of Names, Qualities, and Actions; or Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs."—Introd. to Analyt. Dict., p. 22.

22. This notion of the parts of speech, as the reader will presently see, found an advocate also in the author of the popular little story of Jack Halyard. It appears in his Philosophic Grammar published in Philadelphia in 1827. Whether the writer borrowed it from Booth, or was led into it by the light of "nature," I am unable to say: he does not appear to have derived it from the ancients. Now, if either he or the lexicographer has discovered in "nature" a prototype for this scheme of grammar, the discovery is only to be proved, and the schemes of all other grammarians, ancient or modern, must give place to it. For the reader will observe that this triad of parts is not that which is mentioned by Vossius and Quintilian. But authority may be found for reducing the number of the parts of speech yet lower. Plato, according to Harris, and the first inquirers into language, according to Horne Tooke, made them two; nouns and verbs, which Crombie, Dalton, M'Culloch, and some others, say, are the only parts essentially necessary for the communication of our thoughts. Those who know nothing about grammar, regard all words as of one class. To them, a word is simply a word; and under what other name it may come, is no concern of theirs.

23. Towards this point, tends every attempt to simplify grammar by suppressing any of the ten parts of speech. Nothing is gained by it; and it is a departure from the best authority. We see by what steps this kind of reasoning may descend; and we have an admirable illustration of it in the several grammatical works of William S. Cardell. I shall mention them in the order in which they appeared; and the reader may judge whether the author does not ultimately arrive at the conclusion to which the foregoing series is conducted. This writer, in his Essay on Language, reckons seven parts of speech; in his New-York Grammar, six; in his Hartford Grammar, three principal, with three others subordinate; in his Philadelphia Grammar, three only—nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Here he alleges, "The unerring plan of nature has established three classes of perceptions, and consequently three parts of speech."—P. 171. He says this, as if he meant to abide by it. But, on his twenty-third page, we are told, "Every adjective is either a noun or a participle." Now, by his own showing, there are no participles: he makes them all adjectives, in each of his schemes. It follows, therefore, that all his adjectives, including what others call participles, are nouns. And this reduces his three parts of speech to two, in spite of "the unerring plan of nature!" But even this number is more than he well believed in; for, on the twenty-first page of the book, he affirms, that, "All other terms are but derivative forms and new applications of nouns." So simple a thing is this method of grammar! But Neef, in his zeal for reformation, carries the anticlimax fairly off the brink; and declares, "In the grammar which shall be the work of my pupils, there shall be found no nouns, no pronouns, no articles, no participles, no verbs, no prepositions, no conjunctions, no adverbs, no interjections, no gerunds, not even one single supine. Unmercifully shall they be banished from it."—Neef's Method of Education, p. 60.

24. When Cardell's system appeared, several respectable men, convinced by "his powerful demonstrations," admitted that he had made "many things in the established doctrines of the expounders of language appear sufficiently ridiculous;" [75] and willingly lent him the influence of their names, trusting that his admirable scheme of English grammar, in which their ignorance saw nothing but new truth, would be speedily "perfected and generally embraced." [76] Being invited by the author to a discussion of his principles, I opposed them in his presence, both privately and publicly; defending against him, not unsuccessfully, those doctrines which time and custom have sanctioned. And, what is remarkable, that candid opposition which Cardell himself had treated with respect, and parried in vain, was afterwards, by some of his converts, impeached of all unfairness, and even accused of wanting common sense. "No one," says Niebuhr, "ever overthrew a literary idol, without provoking the anger of its worshipers."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 489. The certificates given in commendation of this "set of opinions," though they had no extensive effect on the public, showed full well that the signers knew little of the history of grammar; and it is the continual repetition of such things, that induces me now to dwell upon its history, for the information of those who are so liable to be deceived by exploded errors republished as novelties. A eulogist says of Cardell, "He had adopted a set of opinions, which, to most of his readers, appeared entirely new." A reviewer proved, that all his pretended novelties are to be found in certain grammars now forgotten, or seldom read. The former replies, Then he [Cardell,] is right—and the man is no less stupid than abusive, who finds fault; for here is proof that the former "had highly respectable authority for almost every thing he has advanced!"—See The Friend, Vol. ii, pp. 105 and 116, from which all the quotations in this paragraph, except one, are taken.

25. The reader may now be curious to know what these doctrines were. They were summed up by the reviewer, thus: "Our author pretends to have drawn principally from his own resources, in making up his books; and many may have supposed there is more novelty in them than there really is. For instance: 1. He classes the articles with adjectives; and so did Brightland, Tooke, Fisher, Dalton, and Webster. 2. He calls the participles, adjectives; and so did Brightland and Tooke. 3. He make the pronouns, either nouns or adjectives; and so did Adam, Dalton, and others. 4. He distributes the conjunctions among the other parts of speech; and so did Tooke. 5. He rejects the interjections; and so did Valla, Sanctius, and Tooke. 6. He makes the possessive case an adjective; and so did Brightland. 7. He says our language has no cases; and so did Harris. 8. He calls case, position; and so did James Brown. 9. He reduces the adjectives to two classes, defining and describing; and so did Dalton. 10. He declares all verbs to be active; and so did Harris, (in his Hermes, Book i, Chap. ix,) though he admitted the expediency of the common division, and left to our author the absurdity of contending about it. Fisher also rejected the class of neuter verbs, and called them all active. 11. He reduces the moods to three, and the tenses to three; and so did Dalton, in the very same words. Fisher also made the tenses three, but said there are no moods in English. 12. He makes the imperative mood always future; and so did Harris, in 1751. Nor did the doctrine originate with him; for Brightland, a hundred years ago, [about 1706,] ascribed it to some of his predecessors. 13. He reduces the whole of our syntax to about thirty lines; and two thirds of these are useless; for Dr. Johnson expressed it quite as fully in ten. But their explanations are both good for nothing; and Wallis, more wisely, omitted it altogether."—The Friend, Vol. ii, p. 59.

26. Dr. Webster says, in a marginal note to the preface of his Philosophical Grammar, "Since the days of Wallis, who published a Grammar of the English Language, in Latin, in the reign of Charles II.[,] from which Johnson and Lowth borrowed most of their rules, little improvement has been made in English grammar. Lowth supplied some valuable criticisms, most of which however respect obsolete phrases; but many of his criticisms are extremely erroneous, and they have had an ill effect, in perverting the true idioms of our language. Priestley furnished a number of new and useful observations on the peculiar phrases of the English language. To which may be added some good remarks of Blair and Campbell, interspersed with many errors. Murray, not having mounted to the original sources of information, and professing only to select and arrange the rules and criticisms of preceding writers, has furnished little or nothing new. Of the numerous compilations of inferior character, it may be affirmed, that they have added nothing to the stock of grammatical knowledge." And the concluding sentence of this work, as well as of his Improved Grammar, published in 1831, extends the censure as follows: "It is not the English language only whose history and principles are yet to be illustrated; but the grammars and dictionaries of all other languages, with which I have any acquaintance, must be revised and corrected, before their elements and true construction can be fully understood." In an advertisement to the grammar prefixed to his quarto American Dictionary, the Doctor is yet more severe upon books of this sort. "I close," says he, "with the single remark, that from all the observations I have been able to make, I am convinced the dictionaries and grammars which have been used in our seminaries of learning for the last forty or fifty years, are so incorrect and imperfect that they have introduced or sanctioned more errors than they have amended; in other words, had the people of England and of these States been left to learn the pronunciation and construction of their vernacular language solely by tradition, and the reading of good authors, the language would have been spoken and written with more purity than it has been and now is, by those who have learned to adjust their language by the rules which dictionaries prescribe."

27. Little and much are but relative terms; yet when we look back to the period in which English grammar was taught only in Latin, it seems extravagant to say, that "little improvement has been made" in it since. I have elsewhere expressed a more qualified sentiment. "That the grammar of our language has made considerable progress since the days of Swift, who wrote a petty treatise on the subject, is sufficiently evident; but whoever considers what remains to be done, cannot but perceive how ridiculous are many of the boasts and felicitations which we have heard on that topic." [77] Some further notice will now be taken of that progress, and of the writers who have been commonly considered the chief promoters of it, but especially of such as have not been previously mentioned in a like connexion. Among these may be noticed William Walker, the preceptor of Sir Isaac Newton, a teacher and grammarian of extraordinary learning, who died in 1684. He has left us sundry monuments of his taste and critical skill: one is his "Treatise of English Particles,"—a work of great labour and merit, but useless to most people now-a-days, because it explains the English in Latin; an other, his "Art of Teaching Improv'd,"—which is also an able treatise, and apparently well adapted to its object, "the Grounding of a Young Scholar in the Latin Tongue." In the latter, are mentioned other works of his, on "Rhetorick, and Logick" which I have not seen.

28. In 1706, Richard Johnson published an octavo volume of more than four hundred pages, entitled, "Grammatical Commentaries; being an Apparatus to a New National Grammar: by way of animadversion upon the falsities, obscurities, redundancies and defects of Lily's System now in use." This is a work of great acuteness, labour, and learning; and might be of signal use to any one who should undertake to prepare a new or improved Latin grammar: of which, in my opinion, we have yet urgent need. The English grammarian may also peruse it with advantage, if he has a good knowledge of Latin—and without such knowledge he must be ill prepared for his task. This work is spoken of and quoted by some of the early English grammarians; but the hopes of the writer do not appear to have been realized. His book was not calculated to supply the place of the common one; for the author thought it impracticable to make a new grammar, suitable for boys, and at the same time to embrace in it proofs sufficient to remove the prejudices of teachers in favour of the old. King Henry's edict in support of Lily, was yet in force, backed by all the partiality which long habit creates; and Johnson's learning, and labour, and zeal, were admired, and praised, and soon forgot.

29. Near the beginning of the last century, some of the generous wits of the reign of Queen Anne, seeing the need there was of greater attention to their vernacular language, and of a grammar more properly English than any then in use, produced a book with which the later writers on the same subjects, would have done well to have made themselves better acquainted. It is entitled "A Grammar of the English Tongue; with the Arts of Logick, Rhetorick, Poetry, &c. Illustrated with useful Notes; giving the Grounds and Reasons of Grammar in General. The Whole making a Compleat System of an English Education. Published by JOHN BRIGHTLAND, for the Use of the Schools of Great Britain and Ireland." It is ingeniously recommended in a certificate by Sir Richard Steele, or the Tattler, under the fictitious name of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., and in a poem of forty-three lines, by Nahum Tate, poet laureate to her Majesty. It is a duodecimo volume of three hundred pages; a work of no inconsiderable merit and originality; and written in a style which, though not faultless, has scarcely been surpassed by any English grammarian since. I quote it as Brightland's:[78] who were the real authors, does not appear. It seems to be the work of more than one, and perhaps the writers of the Tattler were the men. My copy is of the seventh edition, London, printed for Henry Lintot, 1746. It is evidently the work of very skillful hands; yet is it not in all respects well planned or well executed. It unwisely reduces the parts of speech to four; gives them new names; and rejects more of the old system than the schools could be made willing to give up. Hence it does not appear to have been very extensively adopted.

30. It is now about a hundred and thirty years, since Dr. Swift, in a public remonstrance addressed to the Earl of Oxford, complained of the imperfect state of our language, and alleged in particular, that "in many instances it offended against every part of grammar." [79] Fifty years afterward, Dr. Lowth seconded this complaint, and pressed it home upon the polite and the learned. "Does he mean," says the latter, "that the English language, as it is spoken by the politest part of the nation, and as it stands in the writings of the most approved authors, often offends against every part of grammar? Thus far, I am afraid the charge is true."—Lowth's Grammar, Preface, p. iv. Yet the learned Doctor, to whom much praise has been justly ascribed for the encouragement which he gave to this neglected study, attempted nothing more than "A Short Introduction to English Grammar;" which, he says, "was calculated for the learner even of the lowest class:" and those who would enter more deeply into the subject, he referred to Harris; whose work is not an English grammar, but "A Philosophical Inquiry concerning Universal Grammar." Lowth's Grammar was first published in 1758. At the commencement of his preface, the reverend author, after acknowledging the enlargement, polish, and refinement, which the language had received during the preceding two hundred years, ventures to add, "but, whatever other improvements it may have received, it hath made no advances in grammatical accuracy." I do not quote this assertion to affirm it literally true, in all its apparent breadth; but there is less reason to boast of the correctness even now attained, than to believe that the writers on grammar are not the authors who have in general come nearest to it in practice. Nor have the ablest authors always produced the best compends for the literary instruction of youth.

31. The treatises of the learned doctors Harris, Lowth, Johnson, Ash, Priestley, Horne Tooke, Crombie, Coote, and Webster, owe their celebrity not so much to their intrinsic fitness for school instruction, as to the literary reputation of the writers. Of Harris's Hermes, (which, in comparison with our common grammars, is indeed a work of much ingenuity and learning, full of interesting speculations, and written with great elegance both of style and method,) Dr. Lowth says, it is "the most beautiful and perfect example of analysis, that has been exhibited since the days of Aristotle."—Preface to Gram., p. x. But these two authors, if their works be taken together, as the latter intended they should be, supply no sufficient course of English grammar. The instructions of the one are too limited, and those of the other are not specially directed to the subject.

32. Dr. Johnson, who was practically one of the greatest grammarians that ever lived, and who was very nearly coetaneous with both Harris and Lowth, speaks of the state of English grammar in the following terms: "I found our speech copious without order, and energetick without rules: wherever I turned my view, there was perplexity to be disentangled, and confusion to be regulated."—Preface to Dict., p. 1. Again: "Having therefore no assistance but from general grammar, I applied myself to the perusal of our writers; and noting whatever might be of use to ascertain or illustrate any word or phrase, accumulated in time the materials of a dictionary."—Ibid. But it is not given to any one man to do every thing; else, Johnson had done it. His object was, to compile a dictionary, rather than to compose a grammar, of our language. To lexicography, grammar is necessary, as a preparation; but, as a purpose, it is merely incidental. Dr. Priestley speaks of Johnson thus: "I must not conclude this preface, without making my acknowledgements to Mr. Johnson, whose admirable dictionary has been of the greatest use to me in the study of our language. It is pity he had not formed as just, and as extensive an idea of English grammar. Perhaps this very useful work may still be reserved for his distinguished abilities in this way."—Priestley's Grammar, Preface, p. xxiii. Dr. Johnson's English Grammar is all comprised in fourteen pages, and of course it is very deficient. The syntax he seems inclined entirely to omit, as (he says) Wallis did, and Ben Jonson had better done; but, for form's sake, he condescends to bestow upon it ten short lines.

33. My point here is, that the best grammarians have left much to be done by him who may choose to labour for the further improvement of English grammar; and that a man may well deserve comparative praise, who has not reached perfection in a science like this. Johnson himself committed many errors, some of which I shall hereafter expose; yet I cannot conceive that the following judgement of his works was penned without some bias of prejudice: "Johnson's merit ought not to be denied to him; but his dictionary is the most imperfect and faulty, and the least valuable of any[80] of his productions; and that share of merit which it possesses, makes it by so much the more hurtful. I rejoice, however, that though the least valuable, he found it the most profitable: for I could never read his preface without shedding a tear. And yet it must be confessed, that his grammar and history and dictionary of what he calls the English language, are in all respects (except the bulk of the latter[81]) most truly contemptible performances; and a reproach to the learning and industry of a nation which could receive them with the slightest approbation. Nearly one third of this dictionary is as much the language of the Hottentots as of the English; and it would be no difficult matter so to translate any one of the plainest and most popular numbers of the Spectator into the language of this dictionary, that no mere Englishman, though well read in his own language, would he able to comprehend one sentence of it. It appears to be a work of labour, and yet is in truth one of the most idle performances ever offered to the public; compiled by an author who possessed not one single requisite for the undertaking, and (being a publication of a set of booksellers) owing its success to that very circumstance which alone must make it impossible that it should deserve success."—Tooke's Diversions of Purley, Vol. i, p. 182.

34. Dr. Ash's "Grammatical Institutes, or Easy Introduction to Dr. Lowth's English Grammar," is a meagre performance, the ease of which consists in nothing but its brevity. Dr. Priestley, who in the preface to his third edition acknowledges his obligations to Johnson, and also to Lowth, thought it premature to attempt an English grammar; and contented himself with publishing a few brief "Rudiments," with a loose appendix consisting of "Notes and Observations, for the use of those who have made some proficiency in the language." He says, "With respect to our own language, there seems to be a kind of claim upon all who make use of it, to do something for its improvement; and the best thing we can do for this purpose at present, is, to exhibit its actual structure, and the varieties with which it is used. When these are once distinctly pointed out, and generally attended to, the best forms of speech, and those which are most agreeable to the analogy of the language, will soon recommend themselves, and come into general use; and when, by this means, the language shall be written with sufficient uniformity, we may hope to see a complete grammar of it. At present, it is by no means ripe for such a work;[82] but we may approximate to it very fast, if all persons who are qualified to make remarks upon it, will give a little attention to the subject. In such a case, a few years might be sufficient to complete it."—Priestley's Grammar, Preface, p. xv. In point of time, both Ash and Priestley expressly claim priority to Lowth, for their first editions; but the former having allowed his work to be afterwards entitled an Introduction to Lowth's, and the latter having acknowledged some improvements in his from the same source, they have both been regarded as later authors.

35. The great work of the learned etymologist John Horne Tooke, consists of two octavo volumes, entitled, "EPEA PTEROENTA, or the Diversions of Purley." This work explains, with admirable sagacity, the origin and primitive import of many of the most common yet most obscure English words; and is, for that reason, a valuable performance. But as it contains nothing respecting the construction of the language, and embraces no proper system of grammatical doctrines, it is a great error to suppose that the common principles of practical grammar ought to give place to such instructions, or even be modelled according to what the author proves to be true in respect to the origin of particular words. The common grammarians were less confuted by him, than many of his readers have imagined; and it ought not to be forgotten that his purpose was as different from theirs, as are their schemes of Grammar from the plan of his critical "Diversions." In this connexion may be mentioned an other work of similar size and purpose, but more comprehensive in design; the "History of European Languages," by that astonishing linguist the late Dr. Alexander Murray. This work was left unfinished by its lamented author; but it will remain a monument of erudition never surpassed, acquired in spite of wants and difficulties as great as diligence ever surmounted. Like Tooke's volumes, it is however of little use to the mere English scholar. It can be read to advantage only by those who are acquainted with several other languages. The works of Crombie and Coote are more properly essays or dissertations, than elementary systems of grammar.

36. The number of English grammars has now become so very great, that not even a general idea of the comparative merits or defects of each can here be given. I have examined with some diligence all that I have had opportunity to obtain; but have heard of several which I have never yet seen. Whoever is curious to examine at large what has been published on this subject, and thus to qualify himself to judge the better of any new grammar, may easily make a collection of one or two hundred bearing different names. There are also many works not called grammars, from which our copyists have taken large portions of their compilations. Thus Murray confessedly copied from ten authors; five of whom are Beattie, Sheridan, Walker, Blair, and Campbell. Dr. Beattie, who acquired great celebrity as a teacher, poet, philosopher, and logician, was well skilled in grammar; but he treated the subject only in critical disquisitions, and not in any distinct elementary work adapted to general use. Sheridan and Walker, being lexicographers, confined themselves chiefly to orthography and pronunciation. Murray derived sundry principles from the writings of each; but the English Grammar prepared by the latter, was written, I think, several years later than Murray's. The learned doctors Blair and Campbell wrote on rhetoric, and not on the elementary parts of grammar. Of the two, the latter is by far the more accurate writer. Blair is fluent and easy, but he furnishes not a little false syntax; Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric is a very valuable treatise. To these, and five or six other authors whom I have noticed, was Lindley Murray "principally indebted for his materials." Thus far of the famous contributors to English grammar. The Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, delivered at Harvard University by John Quincy Adams, and published in two octavo volumes in 1810, are such as do credit even to that great man; but they descend less to verbal criticism, and enter less into the peculiar province of the grammarian, than do most other works of a similar title.

37. Some of the most respectable authors or compilers of more general systems of English grammar for the use of schools, are the writer of the British Grammar, Bicknell, Buchanan, William Ward, Alexander Murray the schoolmaster, Mennye, Fisher, Lindley Murray, Penning, W. Allen, Grant, David Blair, Lennie, Guy, Churchill. To attempt any thing like a review or comparative estimate of these, would protract this introduction beyond all reasonable bounds; and still others would be excluded, which are perhaps better entitled to notice. Of mere modifiers and abridgers, the number is so great, and the merit or fame so little, that I will not trespass upon the reader's patience by any further mention of them or their works. Whoever takes an accurate and comprehensive view of the history and present state of this branch of learning, though he may not conclude, with Dr. Priestley, that it is premature to attempt a complete grammar of the language, can scarcely forbear to coincide with Dr. Barrow, in the opinion that among all the treatises heretofore produced no such grammar is found. "Some superfluities have been expunged, some mistakes have been rectified, and some obscurities have been cleared; still, however, that all the grammars used in our different schools, public as well as private, are disgraced by errors or defects, is a complaint as just as it is frequent and loud."—Barrow's Essays, p. 83.

38. Whether, in what I have been enabled to do, there will be found a remedy for this complaint, must be referred to the decision of others. Upon the probability of effecting this, I have been willing to stake some labour; how much, and with what merit, let the candid and discerning, when they shall have examined for themselves, judge. It is certain that we have hitherto had, of our language, no complete grammar. The need of such a work I suppose to be at this time in no small degree felt, especially by those who conduct our higher institutions of learning; and my ambition has been to produce one which might deservedly stand along side of the Port-Royal Latin and Greek Grammars, or of the Grammaire des Grammaires of Girault Du Vivier. If this work is unworthy to aspire to such rank, let the patrons of English literature remember that the achievement of my design is still a desideratum. We surely have no other book which might, in any sense, have been called "the Grammar of English Grammars;" none, which, either by excellence, or on account of the particular direction of its criticism, might take such a name. I have turned the eyes of Grammar, in an especial manner, upon the conduct of her own household; and if, from this volume, the reader acquire a more just idea of the grammar which is displayed in English grammars, he will discover at least one reason for the title which has been bestowed upon the work. Such as the book is, I present it to the public, without pride, without self-seeking, and without anxiety: knowing that most of my readers will be interested in estimating it justly; that no true service, freely rendered to learning, can fail of its end; and that no achievement merits aught with Him who graciously supplies all ability. The opinions expressed in it have been formed with candour, and are offered with submission. If in any thing they are erroneous, there are those who can detect their faults. In the language of an ancient master, the earnest and assiduous Despauter, I invite the correction of the candid: "Nos quoque, quantumcunque diligentes, cùm a candidis tùm a lividis carpemur: a candidis interdum justè; quos oro, ut de erratis omnibus amicè me admoneant—erro nonnunquam quia homo sum."


New York, 1836.


Grammar, as an art, is the power of reading, writing, and speaking correctly. As an acquisition, it is the essential skill of scholarship. As a study, it is the practical science which teaches the right use of language.

An English Grammar is a book which professes to explain the nature and structure of the English language; and to show, on just authority, what is, and what is not, good English.

ENGLISH GRAMMAR, in itself, is the art of reading, writing, and speaking the English language correctly. It implies, in the adept, such knowledge as enables him to avoid improprieties of speech; to correct any errors that may occur in literary compositions; and to parse, or explain grammatically, whatsoever is rightly written.

To read is to perceive what is written or printed, so as to understand the words, and be able to utter them with their proper sounds.

To write is to express words and thoughts by letters, or characters, made with a pen or other instrument.

To speak is to utter words orally, in order that they may be heard and understood.

Grammar, like every other liberal art, can be properly taught only by a regular analysis, or systematic elucidation, of its component parts or principles; and these parts or principles must be made known chiefly by means of definitions and examples, rules and exercises.

A perfect definition of any thing or class of things is such a description of it, as distinguishes that entire thing or class from every thing else, by briefly telling what it is.

An example is a particular instance or model, serving to prove or illustrate some given proposition or truth.

A rule of grammar is some law, more or less general, by which custom regulates and prescribes the right use of language.

An exercise is some technical performance required of the learner in order to bring his knowledge and skill into practice.

LANGUAGE, in the primitive sense of the term, embraced only vocal expression, or human speech uttered by the mouth; but after letters were invented to represent articulate sounds, language became twofold, spoken and written, so that the term, language, now signifies, any series of sounds or letters formed into words and employed for the expression of thought.

Of the composition of language we have also two kinds, prose and verse; the latter requiring a certain number and variety of syllables in each line, but the former being free from any such restraint.

The least parts of written language are letters; of spoken language, syllables; of language significant in each part, words; of language combining thought, phrases; of language subjoining sense, clauses; of language coördinating sense, members; of language completing sense, sentences.

A discourse, or narration, of any length, is but a series of sentences; which, when written, must be separated by the proper points, that the meaning and relation of all the words may be quickly and clearly perceived by the reader, and the whole be uttered as the sense requires.

In extended compositions, a sentence is usually less than a paragraph; a paragraph, less than a section; a section, less than a chapter; a chapter, less than a book; a book, less than a volume; and a volume, less than the entire work.

The common order of literary division, then, is; of a large work, into volumes; of volumes, into books; of books, into chapters; of chapters, into sections; of sections, into paragraphs; of paragraphs, into sentences; of sentences, into members; of members, into clauses; of clauses, into phrases; of phrases, into words; of words, into syllables; of syllables, into letters.

But it rarely happens that any one work requires the use of all these divisions; and we often assume some natural distinction and order of parts, naming each as we find it; and also subdivide into articles, verses, cantoes, stanzas, and other portions, as the nature of the subject suggests.

Grammar is divided into four parts; namely, Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody.

Orthography treats of letters, syllables, separate words, and spelling.

Etymology treats of the different parts of speech, with their classes and modifications.

Syntax treats of the relation, agreement, government, and arrangement of words in sentences.

Prosody treats of punctuation, utterance, figures, and versification.


OBS. 1.—In the Introduction to this work, have been taken many views of the study, or general science, of grammar; many notices of its history, with sundry criticisms upon its writers or critics; and thus language has often been presented to the reader's consideration, either as a whole, or with broader scope than belongs to the teaching of its particular forms. We come now to the work of analyzing our own tongue, and of laying down those special rules and principles which should guide us in the use of it, whether in speech or in writing. The author intends to dissent from other grammarians no more than they are found to dissent from truth and reason; nor will he expose their errors further than is necessary for the credit of the science and the information of the learner. A candid critic can have no satisfaction merely in finding fault with other men's performances. But the facts are not to be concealed, that many pretenders to grammar have shown themselves exceedingly superficial in their knowledge, as well as slovenly in their practice; and that many vain composers of books have proved themselves despisers of this study, by the abundance of their inaccuracies, and the obviousness of their solecisms.

OBS. 2.—Some grammarians have taught that the word language is of much broader signification, than that which is given to it in the definition above. I confine it to speech and writing. For the propriety of this limitation, and against those authors who describe the thing otherwise, I appeal to the common sense of mankind. One late writer defines it thus: "LANGUAGE is any means by which one person communicates his ideas to another."—Sanders's Spelling-Book, p. 7. The following is the explanation of an other slack thinker: "One may, by speaking or by writing, (and sometimes by motions,) communicate his thoughts to others. The process by which this is done, is called LANGUAGE.—Language is the expression of thought and feeling."—S. W. Clark's Practical Gram., p. 7. Dr. Webster goes much further, and says, "LANGUAGE, in its most extensive sense, is the instrument or means of communicating ideas and affections of the mind and body, from one animal to another. In this sense, brutes possess the power of language; for by various inarticulate sounds, they make known their wants, desires, and sufferings."— Philosophical Gram., p. 11; Improved Gram., p. 5. This latter definition the author of that vain book, "the District School," has adopted in his chapter on Grammar. Sheridan, the celebrated actor and orthoëpist, though he seems to confine language to the human species, gives it such an extension as to make words no necessary part of its essence. "The first thought," says he, "that would occur to every one, who had not properly considered the point, is, that language is composed of words. And yet, this is so far from being an adequate idea of language, that the point in which most men think its very essence to consist, is not even a necessary property of language. For language, in its full extent, means, any way or method whatsoever, by which all that passes in the mind of one man, may be manifested to another."—Sheridan's Lectures on Elocution, p. 129. Again: "I have already shown, that words are, in their own nature, no essential part of language, and are only considered so through custom."—Ib. p. 135.

OBS. 3.—According to S. Kirkham's notion, "LANGUAGE, in its most extensive sense, implies those signs by which men and brutes, communicate to each other their thoughts, affections and desires."—Kirkham's English Gram., p. 16. Again: "The language of brutes consists in the use of those inarticulate sounds by which they express their thoughts and affections."—Ib. To me it seems a shameful abuse of speech, and a vile descent from the dignity of grammar, to make the voices of "brutes" any part of language, as taken in a literal sense. We might with far more propriety raise our conceptions of it to the spheres above, and construe literally the metaphors of David, who ascribes to the starry heavens, both "speech" and "language," "voice" and "words," daily "uttered" and everywhere "heard." See Psalm xix.

OBS. 4.—But, strange as it may seem, Kirkham, commencing his instructions with the foregoing definition of language, proceeds to divide it, agreeably to this notion, into two sorts, natural and artificial; and affirms that the former "is common both to man and brute," and that the language which is peculiar to man, the language which consists of words, is altogether an artificial invention:[83] thereby contradicting at once a host of the most celebrated grammarians and philosophers, and that without appearing to know it. But this is the less strange, since he immediately forgets his own definition and division of the subject, and as plainly contradicts himself. Without limiting the term at all, without excluding his fanciful "language of brutes," he says, on the next leaf, "Language is conventional, and not only invented, but, in its progressive advancement, varied for purposes of practical convenience. Hence it assumes any and every form which those who make use of it, choose to give it."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 18. This, though scarcely more rational than his "natural language of men and brutes," plainly annihilates that questionable section of grammatical science, whether brutal or human, by making all language a thing "conventional" and "invented." In short, it leaves no ground at all for any grammatical science of a positive character, because it resolves all forms of language into the irresponsible will of those who utter any words, sounds, or noises.

OBS. 5.—Nor is this gentleman more fortunate in his explanation of what may really be called language. On one page, he says, "Spoken language or speech, is made up of articulate sounds uttered by the human voice."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 17. On the next, "The most important use of that faculty called speech, is, to convey our thoughts to others."—Ib., p. 18. Thus the grammarian who, in the same short paragraph, seems to "defy the ingenuity of man to give his words any other meaning than that which he himself intends them to express," (Ib., p. 19,) either writes so badly as to make any ordinary false syntax appear trivial, or actually conceives man to be the inventor of one of his own faculties. Nay, docs he not make man the contriver of that "natural language" which he possesses "in common with the brutes?" a language "The meaning of which," he says, "all the different animals perfectly understand?"—See his Gram., p. 16. And if this notion again be true, does it not follow, that a horse knows perfectly well what horned cattle mean by their bellowing, or a flock of geese by their gabbling? I should not have noticed these things, had not the book which teaches them, been made popular by a thousand imposing attestations to its excellence and accuracy. For grammar has nothing at all to do with inarticulate voices, or the imaginary languages of brutes. It is scope enough for one science to explain all the languages, dialects, and speeches, that lay claim to reason. We need not enlarge the field, by descending

   "To beasts, whom[84] God on their creation-day
    Created mute to all articulate sound."—Milton.[85]



ORTHOGRAPHY treats of letters, syllables, separate words, and spelling.


A Letter is an alphabetic character, which commonly represents some elementary sound of the human voice, some element of speech.

An elementary sound of the human voice, or an element of speech, is one of the simple sounds which compose a spoken language. The sound of a letter is commonly called its power: when any letter of a word is not sounded, it is said to be silent or mute. The letters in the English alphabet, are twenty-six; the simple or primary sounds which they represent, are about thirty-six or thirty-seven.

A knowledge of the letters consists in an acquaintance with these four sorts of things; their names, their classes, their powers, and their forms.

The letters are written, or printed, or painted, or engraved, or embossed, in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes; and yet are always the same, because their essential properties do not change, and their names, classes, and powers, are mostly permanent.

The following are some of the different sorts of types, or styles of letters, with which every reader should be early acquainted:—

1. The Roman: A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, Z z.

2. The Italic: A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, Z z.

3. The Script: [Script: A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, Z z.]

4. The Old English: [Old English: A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, Z z.]


OBS. 1.—A letter consists not in the figure only, or in the power only, but in the figure and power united; as an ambassador consists not in the man only, or in the commission only, but in the man commissioned. The figure and the power, therefore, are necessary to constitute the letter; and a name is as necessary, to call it by, teach it, or tell what it is. The class of a letter is determined by the nature of its power, or sound; as the ambassador is plenipotentiary or otherwise, according to the extent of his commission. To all but the deaf and dumb, written language is the representative of that which is spoken; so that, in the view of people in general, the powers of the letters are habitually identified with their sounds, and are conceived to be nothing else. Hence any given sound, or modification of sound, which all men can produce at pleasure, when arbitrarily associated with a written sign, or conventional character, constitutes what is called a letter. Thus we may produce the sounds of a, e, o, then, by a particular compression of the organs of utterance, modify them all, into ba, be, bo, or fa, fe, fo; and we shall see that a, e, and o, are letters of one sort, and b and f of an other. By elementary or articulate sounds,[86] then, we mean not only the simple tones of the voice itself, but the modifying stops and turns which are given them in speech, and marked by letters: the real voices constituting vowels; and their modifications, consonants.

OBS. 2.—A mere mark to which no sound or power is ever given, cannot be a letter; though it may, like the marks used for punctuation, deserve a name and a place in grammar. Commas, semicolons, and the like, represent silence, rather than sounds, and are therefore not letters. Nor are the Arabic figures, which represent entire words, nor again any symbols standing for things, (as the astronomic marks for the sun, the moon, the planets,) to be confounded with letters; because the representative of any word or number, of any name or thing, differs widely in its power, from the sign of a simple elementary sound: i. e., from any constituent part of a written word. The first letter of a word or name does indeed sometimes stand for the whole, and is still a letter; but it is so, as being the first element of the word, and not as being the representative of the whole.

OBS. 3.—In their definitions of vowels and consonants, many grammarians have resolved letters into sounds only; as, "A Vowel is an articulate sound," &c.—"A Consonant is an articulate sound," &c.—L. Murray's Gram., p. 7. But this confounding of the visible signs with the things which they signify, is very far from being a true account of either. Besides, letters combined are capable of a certain mysterious power which is independent of all sound, though speech, doubtless, is what they properly represent. In practice, almost all the letters may occasionally happen to be silent; yet are they not, in these cases, necessarily useless. The deaf and dumb also, to whom none of the letters express or represent sounds, may be taught to read and write understandingly. They even learn in some way to distinguish the accented from the unaccented syllables, and to have some notion of quantity, or of something else equivalent to it; for some of them, it is said, can compose verses according to the rules of prosody. Hence it would appear, that the powers of the letters are not, of necessity, identified with their sounds; the things being in some respect distinguishable, though the terms are commonly taken as synonymous. The fact is, that a word, whether spoken or written, is of itself significant, whether its corresponding form be known or not. Hence, in the one form, it may be perfectly intelligible to the illiterate, and in the other, to the educated deaf and dumb; while, to the learned who hear and speak, either form immediately suggests the other, with the meaning common to both.

OBS. 4.—Our knowledge of letters rises no higher than to the forms used by the ancient Hebrews and Phoenicians. Moses is supposed to have written in characters which were nearly the same as those called Samaritan, but his writings have come to us in an alphabet more beautiful and regular, called the Chaldee or Chaldaic, which is said to have been made by Ezra the scribe, when he wrote out a new copy of the law, after the rebuilding of the temple. Cadmus carried the Phoenician alphabet into Greece, where it was subsequently altered and enlarged. The small letters were not invented till about the seventh century of our era. The Latins, or Romans, derived most of their capitals from the Greeks; but their small letters, if they had any, were made afterwards among themselves. This alphabet underwent various changes, and received very great improvements, before it became that beautiful series of characters which we now use, under the name of Roman letters. Indeed these particular forms, which are now justly preferred by many nations, are said to have been adopted after the invention of printing. "The Roman letters were first used by Sweynheim and Pannartz, printers who settled at Rome, in 1467. The earliest work printed wholly in this character in England, is said to have been Lily's or Paul's Accidence, printed by Richard Pinson, 1518. The Italic letters were invented by Aldus Manutius at Rome, towards the close of the fifteenth century, and were first used in an edition of Virgil, in 1501."—Constables Miscellany, Vol. xx, p. 147. The Saxon alphabet was mostly Roman. Not more than one quarter of the letters have other forms. But the changes, though few, give to a printed page a very different appearance. Under William the Conqueror, this alphabet was superseded by the modern Gothic, Old English, or Black letter; which, in its turn, happily gave place to the present Roman. The Germans still use a type similar to the Old English, but not so heavy.

OBS. 5.—I have suggested that a true knowledge of the letters implies an acquaintance with their names, their classes, their powers, and their forms. Under these four heads, therefore, I shall briefly present what seems most worthy of the learner's attention at first, and shall reserve for the appendix a more particular account of these important elements. The most common and the most useful things are not those about which we are in general most inquisitive. Hence many, who think themselves sufficiently acquainted with the letters, do in fact know but very little about them. If a person is able to read some easy book, he is apt to suppose he has no more to learn respecting the letters; or he neglects the minute study of these elements, because he sees what words they make, and can amuse himself with stories of things more interesting. But merely to understand common English, is a very small qualification for him who aspires to scholarship, and especially for a teacher. For one may do this, and even be a great reader, without ever being able to name the letters properly, or to pronounce such syllables as ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy, without getting half of them wrong. No one can ever teach an art more perfectly than he has learned it; and if we neglect the elements of grammar, our attainments must needs be proportionately unsettled and superficial.

I. NAMES OF THE LETTERS. The names of the letters, as now commonly spoken
and written in English, are A, Bee, Cee, Dee, E, Eff, Gee, Aitch, I, Jay,
Kay, Ell, Em, En, O, Pee, Kue, Ar, Ess, Tee, U, Vee, Double-u, Ex, Wy,


OBS. 1.—With the learning and application of these names, our literary education begins; with a continual rehearsal of them in spelling, it is for a long time carried on; nor can we ever dispense with them, but by substituting others, or by ceasing to mention the things thus named. What is obviously indispensable, needs no proof of its importance. But I know not whether it has ever been noticed, that these names, like those of the days of the week, are worthy of particular distinction, for their own nature. They are words of a very peculiar kind, being nouns that are at once both proper and common. For, in respect to rank, character, and design, each letter is a thing strictly individual and identical—that is, it is ever one and the same; yet, in an other respect, it is a comprehensive sort, embracing individuals both various and numberless. Thus every B is a b, make it as you will; and can be nothing else than that same letter b, though you make it in a thousand different fashions, and multiply it after each pattern innumerably. Here, then, we see individuality combined at once with great diversity, and infinite multiplicity; and it is to this combination, that letters owe their wonderful power of transmitting thought. Their names, therefore, should always be written with capitals, as proper nouns, at least in the singular number; and should form the plural regularly, as ordinary appellatives. Thus: (if we adopt the names now most generally used in English schools:) A, Aes; Bee, Bees; Cee, Cees; Dee, Dees; E, Ees; Eff, Effs; Gee, Gees; Aitch, Aitches; I, Ies; Jay, Jays; Kay, Kays; Ell, Ells; Em, Ems; En, Ens; O, Oes; Pee, Pees; Kue, Kues; Ar, Ars; Ess, Esses; Tee, Tees; U, Ues; Vee, Vees; Double-u, Double-ues; Ex, Exes; Wy, Wies; Zee, Zees.

OBS. 2.—The names of the letters, as expressed in the modern languages, are mostly framed with reference to their powers, or sounds. Yet is there in English no letter of which the name is always identical with its power: for A, E, I, O, and U, are the only letters which can name themselves, and all these have other sounds than those which their names express. The simple powers of the other letters are so manifestly insufficient to form any name, and so palpable is the difference between the nature and the name of each, that did we not know how education has been trifled with, it would be hard to believe even Murray, when he says, "They are frequently confounded by writers on grammar. Observations and reasonings on the name, are often applied to explain the nature of a consonant; and by this means the student is led into error and perplexity."—L. Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 8. The confounding of names with the things for which they stand, implies, unquestionably, great carelessness in the use of speech, and great indistinctness of apprehension in respect to things; yet so common is this error, that Murray himself has many times fallen into it.[87] Let the learner therefore be on his guard, remembering that grammar, both in its study and in its practice, requires the constant exercise of a rational discernment. Those letters which name themselves, take for their names those sounds which they usually represent at the end of an accented syllable; thus the names, A, E, I, O, U, are uttered with the sounds given to the same letters in the first syllables of the other names, Abel, Enoch, Isaac, Obed, Urim; or in the first syllables of the common words, paper, penal, pilot, potent, pupil. The other letters, most of which can never be perfectly sounded alone, have names in which their powers are combined with other sounds more vocal; as, Bee, Cee, Dee,—Ell, Em, En,—Jay, Kay, Kue. But in this respect the terms Aitch and Double-u are irregular; because they have no obvious reference to the powers of the letters thus named.

OBS. 3.—Letters, like all other things, must be learned and spoken of by their names; nor can they be spoken of otherwise; yet, as the simple characters are better known and more easily exhibited than their written names, the former are often substituted for the latter, and are read as the words for which they are assumed. Hence the orthography of these words has hitherto been left too much to mere fancy or caprice. Our dictionaries, by a strange oversight or negligence, do not recognize them as words; and writers have in general spelled them with very little regard to either authority or analogy. What they are, or ought to be, has therefore been treated as a trifling question: and, what is still more surprising, several authors of spelling-books make no mention at all of them; while others, here at the very threshold of instruction, teach falsely—giving "he" for Aitch, "er" for Ar, "oo" or "uu" for Double-u, "ye" for Wy, and writing almost all the rest improperly. So that many persons who think themselves well educated, would be greatly puzzled to name on paper these simple elements of all learning. Nay, there can be found a hundred men who can readily write the alphabetic names which were in use two or three thousand years ago in Greece or Palestine, for one who can do the same thing with propriety, respecting those which we now employ so constantly in English:[88] and yet the words themselves are as familiar to every school-boy's lips as are the characters to his eye. This fact may help to convince us, that the grammar of our language has never yet been sufficiently taught. Among all the particulars which constitute this subject, there are none which better deserve to be everywhere known, by proper and determinate names, than these prime elements of all written language.

OBS. 4.—Should it happen to be asked a hundred lustrums hence, what were the names of the letters in "the Augustan age of English literature," or in the days of William the Fourth and Andrew Jackson, I fear the learned of that day will be as much at a loss for an answer, as would most of our college tutors now, were they asked, by what series of names the Roman youth were taught to spell. Might not Quintilian or Varro have obliged many, by recording these? As it is, we are indebted to Priscian, a grammarian of the sixth century, for almost all we know about them. But even the information which may be had, on this point, has been strangely overlooked by our common Latin grammarians.[89] What, but the greater care of earlier writers, has made the Greek names better known or more important than the Latin? In every nation that is not totally illiterate, custom must have established for the letters a certain set of names, which are the only true ones, and which are of course to be preferred to such as are local or unauthorized. In this, however, as in other things, use may sometimes vary, and possibly improve; but when its decisions are clear, no feeble reason should be allowed to disturb them. Every parent, therefore, who would have his children instructed to read and write the English language, should see that in the first place they learn to name the letters as they are commonly named in English. A Scotch gentleman of good education informs me, that the names of the letters, as he first learned them in a school in his own country, were these: "A, Ib, Ec, Id, E, Iff, Ig, Ich, I, Ij, Ik, Ill, Im, In, O, Ip, Kue, Ir, Iss, It, U, Iv, Double-u, Ix, Wy, Iz;" but that in the same school the English names are now used. It is to be hoped, that all teachers will in time abandon every such local usage, and name the letters as they ought to be named; and that the day will come, in which the regular English orthography of these terms, shall be steadily preferred, ignorance of it be thought a disgrace, and the makers of school-books feel no longer at liberty to alter names that are a thousand times better known than their own.

OBS. 5.—It is not in respect to their orthography alone, that these first words in literature demand inquiry and reflection: the pronunciation of some of them has often been taught erroneously, and, with respect to three or four of them, some writers have attempted to make an entire change from the customary forms which I have recorded. Whether the name of the first letter should be pronounced "Aye," as it is in England, "Ah," as it is in Ireland, or "Aw," as it is in Scotland, is a question which Walker has largely discussed, and clearly decided in favour of the first sound; and this decision accords with the universal practice of the schools in America. It is remarkable that this able critic, though he treated minutely of the letters, naming them all in the outset of his "Principles" subsequently neglected the names of them all, except the first and the last. Of Zee, (which has also been called Zed, Zad, Izzard, Uzzard, Izzet, and Iz,)[90] he says, "Its common name is izzard, which Dr. Johnson explains into s hard; if, however, this is the meaning, it is a gross misnomer; for the z is not the hard, but the soft s;[91] but as it has a less sharp, and therefore not so audible a sound, it is not impossible but it may mean s surd. Zed, borrowed from the French, is the more fashionable name of this letter; but, in my opinion, not to be admitted, because the names of the letters ought to have no diversity."—Walker's Principles, No. 483. It is true, the name of a letter ought to be one, and in no respect diverse; but where diversity has already obtained, and become firmly rooted in custom, is it to be obviated by insisting upon what is old-fashioned, awkward, and inconvenient? Shall the better usage give place to the worse? Uniformity cannot be so reached. In this country, both Zed and Izzard, as well as the worse forms Zad and Uzzard, are now fairly superseded by the softer and better term Zee; and whoever will spell aloud, with each of these names, a few such words as dizzy, mizzen, gizzard, may easily perceive why none of the former can ever be brought again into use. The other two, Iz and Izzet, being localisms, and not authorized English, I give up all six; Zed to the French, and the rest to oblivion.

OBS. 6.—By way of apology for noticing the name of the first letter, Walker observes, "If a diversity of names to vowels did not confound us in our spelling, or declaring to each other the component letters of a word, it would be entirely needless to enter into so trifling a question as the mere name of a letter; but when we find ourselves unable to convey signs to each other on account of this diversity of names, and that words themselves are endangered by an improper utterance of their component parts, it seems highly incumbent on us to attempt a uniformity in this point, which, insignificant as it may seem, is undoubtedly the foundation of a just and regular pronunciation."—Dict., under A. If diversity in this matter is so perplexing, what shall we say to those who are attempting innovations without assigning reasons, or even pretending authority? and if a knowledge of these names is the basis of a just pronunciation, what shall we think of him who will take no pains to ascertain how he ought to speak and write them? He who pretends to teach the proper fashion of speaking and writing, cannot deal honestly, if ever he silently prefer a suggested improvement, to any established and undisturbed usage of the language; for, in grammar, no individual authority can be a counterpoise to general custom. The best usage can never be that which is little known, nor can it be well ascertained and taught by him who knows little. Inquisitive minds are ever curious to learn the nature, origin, and causes of things; and that instruction is the most useful, which is best calculated to gratify this rational curiosity. This is my apology for dwelling so long upon the present topic.

OBS. 7.—The names originally given to the letters were not mere notations of sound, intended solely to express or make known the powers of the several characters then in use; nor ought even the modern names of our present letters, though formed with special reference to their sounds, to be considered such. Expressions of mere sound, such as the notations in a pronouncing dictionary, having no reference to what is meant by the sound, do not constitute words at all; because they are not those acknowledged signs to which a meaning has been attached, and are consequently without that significance which is an essential property of words. But, in every language, there must be a series of sounds by which the alphabetical characters are commonly known in speech; and which, as they are the acknowledged names of these particular objects, must be entitled to a place among the words of the language. It is a great error to judge otherwise; and a greater to make it a "trifling question" in grammar, whether a given letter shall be called by one name or by an other. Who shall say that Daleth, Delta, and Dee, are not three real words, each equally important in the language to which it properly belongs? Such names have always been in use wherever literature has been cultivated; and as the forms and powers of the letters have been changed by the nations, and have become different in different languages, there has necessarily followed a change of the names. For, whatever inconvenience scholars may find in the diversity which has thence arisen, to name these elements in a set of foreign terms, inconsistent with the genius of the language to be learned, would surely be attended with a tenfold greater. We derived our letters, and their names too, from the Romans; but this is no good reason why the latter should be spelled and pronounced as we suppose they were spelled and pronounced in Rome.

OBS. 8.—The names of the twenty-two letters in Hebrew, are, without dispute, proper words; for they are not only significant of the letters thus named, but have in general, if not in every instance, some other meaning in that language. Thus the mysterious ciphers which the English reader meets with, and wonders over, as he reads the 119th Psalm, may be resolved, according to some of the Hebrew grammars, as follows:—

[Hebrew: Aleph] Aleph, A, an ox, or a leader; [Hebrew: Beth] Beth, Bee, house; [Hebrew: Gimel] Gimel, Gee, a camel; [Hebrew: Dalet] Daleth, Dee, a door; [Hebrew: he] He, E, she, or behold; [Hebrew: vav] Vau, U, a hook, or a nail; [Hebrew: zajin] Zain, Zee, armour; [Hebrew: het] Cheth, or Heth, Aitch, a hedge; [Hebrew: tet] Teth, Tee, a serpent, or a scroll; [Hebrew: jod] Jod, or Yod, I, or Wy, a hand shut; [Hebrew: kaf] Caph, Cee, a hollow hand, or a cup; [Hebrew: lamed] Lamed, Ell, an ox-goad; [Hebrew: mem] Mem, Em, a stain, or spot; [Hebrew: nun] Nun, En, a fish, or a snake; [Hebrew: samekh] Samech, Ess, a basis, or support; [Hebrew: ayin] Ain, or Oin, O, an eye, or a well; [Hebrew: pe] Pe, Pee, a lip, or mouth; [Hebrew: tsadi] Tzaddi, or Tsadhe, Tee-zee, (i. e. tz, or ts,) a hunter's pole; [Hebrew: qof] Koph, Kue, or Kay, an ape; [Hebrew: resh] Resch, or Resh, Ar, a head; [Hebrew: shin] Schin, or Sin, Ess-aitch, or Ess, a tooth; [Hebrew: tav] Tau, or Thau, Tee, or Tee-aitch, a cross, or mark.

These English names of the Hebrew letters are written with much less uniformity than those of the Greek, because there has been more dispute respecting their powers. This is directly contrary to what one would have expected; since the Hebrew names are words originally significant of other things than the letters, and the Greek are not. The original pronunciation of both languages is admitted to be lost, or involved in so much obscurity that little can be positively affirmed about it; and yet, where least was known, grammarians have produced the most diversity; aiming at disputed sounds in the one case, but generally preferring a correspondence of letters in the other.

OBS. 9.—The word alphabet is derived from the first two names in the following series. The Greek letters are twenty-four; which are formed, named, and sounded, thus:—

[Greek: A a], Alpha, a; [Greek: B, b], Beta, b; [Greek: G g], Gamma, g hard; [Greek: D d], Delta, d; [Greek: E e], Epsilon, e short; [Greek: Z z], Zeta, z; [Greek: Æ æ], Eta, e long; [Greek: TH Th th], Theta, th; [Greek: I i], Iota, i; [Greek K k], Kappa, k; [Greek: L l], Lambda, l; [Greek: M m], Mu, m; [Greek: N n], Nu, n; [Greek: X x], Xi, x; [Greek: O o], Omicron, o short; [Greek: P p], Pi, p; [Greek: R r] Rho, r; [Greek: S s s], Sigma, s; [Greek: T t], Tau, t; [Greek: Y y], Upsilon, u; [Greek: PH ph], Phi, ph; [Greek: CH ch], Chi, ch; [Greek: PS ps], Psi, ps; [Greek: O o], Omega, o long.

Of these names, our English dictionaries explain the first and the last; and Webster has defined Iota, and Zeta, but without reference to the meaning of the former in Greek. Beta, Delta, Lambda, and perhaps some others, are also found in the etymologies or definitions of Johnson and Webster, both of whom spell the word Lambda and its derivative lambdoidal without the silent b, which is commonly, if not always, inserted by the authors of our Greek grammars, and which Worcester, more properly, retains.

OBS. 10.—The reader will observe that the foregoing names, whether Greek or Hebrew, are in general much less simple than those which our letters now bear; and if he has ever attempted to spell aloud in either of those languages, he cannot but be sensible of the great advantage which was gained when to each letter there was given a short name, expressive, as ours mostly are, of its ordinary power. This improvement appears to have been introduced by the Romans, whose names for the letters were even more simple than our own. But so negligent in respect to them have been the Latin grammarians, both ancient and modern, that few even of the learned can tell what they really were in that language; or how they differed, either in orthography or sound, from those of the English or the French, the Hebrew or the Greek. Most of them, however, may yet be ascertained from Priscian, and some others of note among the ancient philologists; so that by taking from later authors the names of those letters which were not used in old times, we can still furnish an entire list, concerning the accuracy of which there is not much room to dispute. It is probable that in the ancient pronunciation of Latin, a was commonly sounded as in father; e like the English a; i mostly like e long; y like i short; c generally and g always hard, as in come and go. But, as the original, native, or just pronunciation of a language is not necessary to an understanding of it when written, the existing nations have severally, in a great measure, accommodated themselves, in their manner of reading this and other ancient tongues.

OBS. 11.—As the Latin language is now printed, its letters are twenty-five. Like the French, it has all that belong to the English alphabet, except the Double-u. But, till the first Punic war, the Romans wrote C for G, and doubtless gave it the power as well as the place of the Gamma or Gimel. It then seems to have slid into K; but they used it also for S, as we do now. The ancient Saxons, generally pronounced C as K, but sometimes as Ch. Their G was either guttural, or like our Y. In some of the early English grammars the name of the latter is written Ghee. The letter F, when first invented, was called, from its shape, Digamma, and afterwards Ef. J, when it was first distinguished from I, was called by the Hebrew name Jod, and afterwards Je. V, when first distinguished from U, was called Vau, then Va, then Ve. Y, when the Romans first borrowed it from the Greeks, was called Ypsilon; and Z, from the same source, was called Zeta; and, as these two letters were used only in words of Greek origin, I know not whether they ever received from the Romans any shorter names. In Schneider's Latin Grammar, the letters are named in the following manner; except Je and Ve, which are omitted by this author: "A, Be, Ce, De, E, Ef, Ge, Ha, I, [Je,] Ka, El, Em, En, O, Pe, Cu, Er, Es, Te, U, [Ve,] Ix, Ypsilon, Zeta." And this I suppose to be the most proper way of writing their names in Latin, unless we have sufficient authority for shortening Ypsilon into Y, sounded as short i, and for changing Zeta into Ez.

OBS. 12.—In many, if not in all languages, the five vowels, A, E, I, O, U, name themselves; but they name themselves differently to the ear, according to the different ways of uttering them in different languages. And as the name of a consonant necessarily requires one or more vowels, that also may be affected in the same manner. But in every language there should be a known way both of writing and of speaking every name in the series; and that, if there is nothing to hinder, should be made conformable to the genius of the language. I do not say that the names above can be regularly declined in Latin; but in English it is as easy to speak of two Dees as of two trees, of two Kays as of two days, of two Exes as of two foxes, of two Effs as of two skiffs; and there ought to be no more difficulty about the correct way of writing the word in the one case, than in the other. In Dr. Sam. Prat's Latin Grammar, (an elaborate octavo, all Latin, published in London, 1722,) nine of the consonants are reckoned mutes; b, c, d, g, p, q, t, j, and v; and eight, semivowels; f, l, m, n, r, s, x, z. "All the mutes," says this author, "are named by placing e after them; as, be, ce, de, ge, except q, which ends in u." See p. 8. "The semivowels, beginning with e, end in themselves; as, ef, ach, el, em, en, er, es, ex, (or, as Priscian will have it, ix,) eds." See p. 9. This mostly accords with the names given in the preceding paragraph; and so far as it does not, I judge the author to be wrong. The reader will observe that the Doctor's explanation is neither very exact nor quite complete: K is a mute which is not enumerated, and the rule would make the name of it Ke, and not Ka;—H is not one of his eight semivowels, nor does the name Ach accord with his rule or seem like a Latin word;—the name of Z, according to his principle, would be Ez and not "Eds," although the latter may better indicate the sound which was then given to this letter.

OBS. 13.—If the history of these names exhibits diversity, so does that of almost all other terms; and yet there is some way of writing every word with correctness, and correctness tends to permanence. But Time, that establishes authority, destroys it also, when he fairly sanctions newer customs. To all names worthy to be known, it is natural to wish a perpetual uniformity; but if any one thinks the variableness of these to be peculiar, let him open the English Bible of the fourteenth century, and read a few verses, observing the names. For instance: "Forsothe whanne Eroude was to bringynge forth hym, in that nigt Petir was slepynge bitwixe tweyno knytis."—Dedis, (i. e., Acts,) xii, 6. "Crist Ihesu that is to demynge the quyke and deed."—2 Tim., iv, 1. Since this was written for English, our language has changed much, and at the same time acquired, by means of the press, some aids to stability. I have recorded above the true names of the letters, as they are now used, with something of their history; and if there could be in human works any thing unchangeable, I should wish, (with due deference to all schemers and fault-finders,) that these names might remain the same forever.

OBS. 14.—If any change is desirable in our present names of the letters, it is that we may have a shorter and simpler term in stead of Double-u. But can we change this well known name? I imagine it would be about as easy to change Alpha, Upsilon, or Omega; and perhaps it would be as useful. Let Dr. Webster, or any defender of his spelling, try it. He never named the English letters rightly; long ago discarded the term Double-u; and is not yet tired of his experiment with "oo;" but thinks still to make the vowel sound of this letter its name. Yet he writes his new name wrong; has no authority for it but his own; and is, most certainly, reprehensible for the innovation.[92] If W is to be named as a vowel, it ought to name itself, as other vowels do, and not to take two Oes for its written name. Who that knows what it is, to name a letter, can think of naming w by double o? That it is possible for an ingenious man to misconceive this simple affair of naming the letters, may appear not only from the foregoing instance, but from the following quotation: "Among the thousand mismanagements of literary instruction, there is at the outset in the hornbook, the pretence to represent elementary sounds by syllables composed of two or more elements; as, Be, Kay, Zed, Double-u, and Aitch. These words are used in infancy, and through life, as simple elements in the process of synthetic spelling. If the definition of a consonant was made by the master from the practice of the child, it might suggest pity for the pedagogue, but should not make us forget the realities of nature."—Dr. Push, on the Philosophy of the Human Voice, p. 52. This is a strange allegation to come from such a source. If I bid a boy spell the word why, he says, "Double-u, Aitch, Wy, hwi;" and knows that he has spelled and pronounced the word correctly. But if he conceives that the five syllables which form the three words, Double-u, and Aitch, and Wy, are the three simple sounds which he utters in pronouncing the word why, it is not because the hornbook, or the teacher of the hornbook, ever made any such blunder or "pretence;" but because, like some great philosophers, he is capable of misconceiving very plain things. Suppose he should take it into his head to follow Dr. Webster's books, and to say, "Oo, he, ye, hwi;" who, but these doctors, would imagine, that such spelling was supported either by "the realities of nature," or by the authority of custom? I shall retain both the old "definition of a consonant," and the usual names of the letters, notwithstanding the contemptuous pity it may excite in the minds of such critics.


The letters are divided into two general classes, vowels and consonants.

A vowel is a letter which forms a perfect sound when uttered alone; as, a, e, o.

A consonant is a letter which cannot be perfectly uttered till joined to a vowel; as, b, c, d.[93]

The vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y. All the other letters are consonants.

W or y is called a consonant when it precedes a vowel heard in the same syllable; as in wine, twine, whine; ye, yet, youth: in all other cases, these letters are vowels; as in Yssel, Ystadt, yttria; newly, dewy, eyebrow.


The consonants are divided, with respect to their powers, into semivowels and mutes.

A semivowel is a consonant which can be imperfectly sounded without a vowel, so that at the end of a syllable its sound may be protracted; as, l, n, z, in al, an, az.

A mute is a consonant which cannot be sounded at all without a vowel, and which at the end of a syllable suddenly stops the breath; as, k, p, t, in ak, ap, at.

The semivowels are, f, h, j, l, m, n, r, s, v, w, x, y, z, and c and g soft: but w or y at the end of a syllable, is a vowel; and the sound of c, f, g, h, j, s, or x, can be protracted only as an aspirate, or strong breath.

Four of the semivowels,—l, m, n, and r,—are termed liquids, on account of the fluency of their sounds; and four others,—v, w, y, and z,—are likewise more vocal than the aspirates.

The mutes are eight;—b, d, k, p, q, t, and c and g hard: three of these,—k, q, and c hard,—sound exactly alike: b, d, and g hard, stop the voice less suddenly than the rest.


OBS. 1.—The foregoing division of the letters is of very great antiquity, and, in respect to its principal features sanctioned by almost universal authority; yet if we examine it minutely, either with reference to the various opinions of the learned, or with regard to the essential differences among the things of which it speaks, it will not perhaps be found in all respects indisputably certain. It will however be of use, as a basis for some subsequent rules, and as a means of calling the attention of the learner to the manner in which he utters the sounds of the letters. A knowledge of about three dozen different elementary sounds is implied in the faculty of speech. The power of producing these sounds with distinctness, and of adapting them to the purposes for which language is used, constitutes perfection of utterance. Had we a perfect alphabet, consisting of one symbol, and only one, for each elementary sound; and a perfect method of spelling, freed from silent letters, and precisely adjusted to the most correct pronunciation of words; the process of learning to read would doubtless be greatly facilitated. And yet any attempt toward such a reformation, any change short of the introduction of some entirely new mode of writing, would be both unwise and impracticable. It would involve our laws and literature in utter confusion, because pronunciation is the least permanent part of language; and if the orthography of words were conformed entirely to this standard, their origin and meaning would, in many instances, be soon lost. We must therefore content ourselves to learn languages as they are, and to make the best use we can of our present imperfect system of alphabetic characters; and we may be the better satisfied to do this, because the deficiencies and redundancies of this alphabet are not yet so well ascertained, as to make it certain what a perfect one would be.

OBS. 2.—In order to have a right understanding of the letters, it is necessary to enumerate, as accurately as we can, the elementary sounds of the language; and to attend carefully to the manner in which these sounds are enunciated, as well as to the characters by which they are represented. The most unconcerned observer cannot but perceive that there are certain differences in the sounds, as well as in the shapes, of the letters; and yet under what heads they ought severally to be classed, or how many of them will fall under some particular name, it may occasionally puzzle a philosopher to tell. The student must consider what is proposed or asked, use his own senses, and judge for himself. With our lower-case alphabet before him, he can tell by his own eye, which are the long letters, and which the short ones; so let him learn by his own ear, which are the vowels, and which, the consonants. The processes are alike simple; and, if he be neither blind nor deaf, he can do both about equally well. Thus he may know for a certainty, that a is a short letter, and b a long one; the former a vowel, the latter a consonant: and so of others. Yet as he may doubt whether t is a long letter or a short one, so he may be puzzled to say whether w and y, as heard in we and ye, are vowels or consonants: but neither of these difficulties should impair his confidence in any of his other decisions. If he attain by observation and practice a clear and perfect pronunciation of the letters, he will be able to class them for himself with as much accuracy as he will find in books.

OBS. 3.—Grammarians have generally agreed that every letter is either a vowel or a consonant; and also that there are among the latter some semivowels, some mutes, some aspirates, some liquids, some sharps, some flats, some labials, some dentals, some nasals, some palatals, and perhaps yet other species; but in enumerating the letters which belong to these several classes, they disagree so much as to make it no easy matter to ascertain what particular classification is best supported by their authority. I have adopted what I conceive to be the best authorized, and at the same time the most intelligible. He that dislikes the scheme, may do better, if he can. But let him with modesty determine what sort of discoveries may render our ancient authorities questionable. Aristotle, three hundred and thirty years before Christ, divided the Greek letters into vowels, semivowels, and mutes, and declared that no syllable could be formed without a vowel. In the opinion of some neoterics, it has been reserved to our age, to detect the fallacy of this. But I would fain believe that the Stagirite knew as well what he was saying, as did Dr. James Rush, when, in 1827, he declared the doctrine of vowels and consonants to be "a misrepresentation." The latter philosopher resolves the letters into "tonics, subtonics, and atonics;" and avers that "consonants alone may form syllables." Indeed, I cannot but think the ancient doctrine better. For, to say that "consonants alone may form syllables," is as much as to say that consonants are not consonants, but vowels! To be consistent, the attempters of this reformation should never speak of vowels or consonants, semivowels or mutes; because they judge the terms inappropriate, and the classification absurd. They should therefore adhere strictly to their "tonics, subtonics, and atonics;" which classes, though apparently the same as vowels, semivowels, and mutes, are better adapted to their new and peculiar division of these elements. Thus, by reforming both language and philosophy at once, they may make what they will of either!

OBS. 4.—Some teach that w and y are always vowels: conceiving the former to be equivalent to oo, and the latter to i or e. Dr. Lowth says, "Y is always a vowel," and "W is either a vowel or a diphthong." Dr. Webster supposes w to be always "a vowel, a simple sound;" but admits that, "At the beginning of words, y is called an articulation or consonant, and with some propriety perhaps, as it brings the root of the tongue in close contact with the lower part of the palate, and nearly in the position to which the close g brings it."—American Dict., Octavo. But I follow Wallis, Brightland, Johnson, Walker, Murray, Worcester, and others, in considering both of them sometimes vowels and sometimes consonants. They are consonants at the beginning of words in English, because their sounds take the article a, and not an, before them; as, a wall, a yard, and not, an wall, an yard. But oo or the sound of e, requires an, and not a; as, an eel, an oozy bog.[94] At the end of a syllable we know they are vowels; but at the beginning, they are so squeezed in their pronunciation, as to follow a vowel without any hiatus, or difficulty of utterance; as, "O worthy youth! so young, so wise!"

OBS. 5.—Murray's rule, "W and y are consonants when they begin a word or syllable, but in every other situation they are vowels," which is found in Comly's book, Kirkham's, Merchant's, Ingersoll's, Fisk's. Hart's, Hiley's, Alger's, Bullions's, Pond's, S. Putnam's, Weld's, and in sundry other grammars, is favourable to my doctrine, but too badly conceived to be quoted here as authority. It undesignedly makes w a consonant in wine, and a vowel in twine; and y a consonant when it forms a syllable, as in dewy: for a letter that forms a syllable, "begins" it. But Kirkham has lately learned his letters anew; and, supposing he had Dr. Rush on his side, has philosophically taken their names for their sounds. He now calls y a "diphthong." But he is wrong here by his own showing: he should rather have called it a triphthong. He says, "By pronouncing in a very deliberate and perfectly natural manner, the letter y, (which is a diphthong,) the unpractised student will perceive, that the sound produced, is compound; being formed, at its opening, of the obscure sound of oo as heard in oo-ze, which sound rapidly slides into that of i, and then advances to that of ee as heard in e-ve, and on which it gradually passes off into silence."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 75. Thus the "unpractised student" is taught that b-y spells bwy; or, if pronounced "very deliberately, boo-i-ee!" Nay, this grammatist makes b, not a labial mute, as Walker, Webster, Cobb, and others, have called it, but a nasal subtonic, or semivowel. He delights in protracting its "guttural murmur;" perhaps, in assuming its name for its sound; and, having proved, that "consonants are capable of forming syllables," finds no difficulty in mouthing this little monosyllable by into b-oo-i-ee! In this way, it is the easiest thing in the world, for such a man to outface Aristotle, or any other divider of the letters; for he makes the sounds by which he judges. "Boy," says the teacher of Kirkham's Elocution, "describe the protracted sound of y."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 110. The pupil may answer, "That letter, sir, has no longer or more complex sound, than what is heard in the word eye, or in the vowel i; but the book which I study, describes it otherwise. I know not whether I can make you understand it, but I will tr-oo-i-ee." If the word try, which the author uses as an example, does not exhibit his "protracted sound of y," there is no word that does: the sound is a mere fiction, originating in strange ignorance.

OBS. 6.—In the large print above, I have explained the principal classes of the letters, but not all that are spoken of in books. It is proper to inform the learner that the sharp consonants are t, and all others after which our contracted preterits and participles require that d should be sounded like t; as in the words faced, reached, stuffed, laughed, triumphed, croaked, cracked, houghed, reaped, nipped, piqued, missed, wished, earthed, betrothed, fixed. The flat or smooth consonants are d, and all others with which the proper sound of d may be united; as in the words, daubed, judged, hugged, thronged, sealed, filled, aimed, crammed, pained, planned, feared, marred, soothed, loved, dozed, buzzed. The labials are those consonants which are articulated chiefly by the lips; among which, Dr. Webster reckons b, f, m, p, and v. But Dr. Rush says, b and m are nasals, the latter, "purely nasal." [95] The dentals are those consonants which are referred to the teeth; the nasals are those which are affected by the nose; and the palatals are those which compress the palate, as k and hard g. But these last-named classes are not of much importance; nor have I thought it worth while to notice minutely the opinions of writers respecting the others, as whether h is a semivowel, or a mute, or neither.

OBS. 7.—The Cherokee alphabet, which was invented in 1821, by See-quo-yah, or George Guess, an ingenious but wholly illiterate Indian, contains eighty-five letters, or characters. But the sounds of the language are much fewer than ours; for the characters represent, not simple tones and articulations, but syllabic sounds, and this number is said to be sufficient to denote them all. But the different syllabic sounds in our language amount to some thousands. I suppose, from the account, that See-quo-yah writes his name, in his own language, with three letters; and that characters so used, would not require, and probably would not admit, such a division as that of vowels and consonants. One of the Cherokees, in a letter to the American Lyceum, states, that a knowledge of this mode of writing is so easily acquired, that one who understands and speaks the language, "can learn to read in a day; and, indeed," continues the writer, "I have known some to acquire the art in a single evening. It is only necessary to learn the different sounds of the characters, to be enabled to read at once. In the English language, we must not only first learn the letters, but to spell, before reading; but in Cherokee, all that is required, is, to learn the letters; for they have syllabic sounds, and by connecting different ones together, a word is formed: in which there is no art. All who understand the language can do so, and both read and write, so soon as they can learn to trace with their fingers the forms of the characters. I suppose that more than one half of the Cherokees can read their own language, and are thereby enabled to acquire much valuable information, with which they otherwise would never have been blessed."—W. S. Coodey, 1831.

OBS. 8.—From the foregoing account, it would appear that the Cherokee language is a very peculiar one: its words must either be very few, or the proportion of polysyllables very great. The characters used in China and Japan, stand severally for words; and their number is said to be not less than seventy thousand; so that the study of a whole life is scarcely sufficient to make a man thoroughly master of them. Syllabic writing is represented by Dr. Blair as a great improvement upon the Chinese method, and yet as being far inferior to that which is properly alphabetic, like ours. "The first step, in this new progress," says he, "was the invention of an alphabet of syllables, which probably preceded the invention of an alphabet of letters, among some of the ancient nations; and which is said to be retained to this day, in Ethiopia, and some countries of India. By fixing upon a particular mark, or character, for every syllable in the language, the number of characters, necessary to be used in writing, was reduced within a much smaller compass than the number of words in the language. Still, however, the number of characters was great; and must have continued to render both reading and writing very laborious arts. Till, at last, some happy genius arose, and tracing the sounds made by the human voice, to their most simple elements, reduced them to a very few vowels and consonants; and, by affixing to each of these, the signs which we now call letters, taught men how, by their combinations, to put in writing all the different words, or combinations of sound, which they employed in speech. By being reduced to this simplicity, the art of writing was brought to its highest state of perfection; and, in this state, we now enjoy it in all the countries of Europe."—Blair's Rhetoric, Lect. VII, p. 68.

OBS. 9.—All certain knowledge of the sounds given to the letters by Moses and the prophets having been long ago lost, a strange dispute has arisen, and been carried on for centuries, concerning this question, "Whether the Hebrew letters are, or are not, all consonants:" the vowels being supposed by some to be suppressed and understood; and not written, except by points of comparatively late invention. The discussion of such a question does not properly belong to English grammar; but, on account of its curiosity, as well as of its analogy to some of our present disputes, I mention it. Dr. Charles Wilson says, "After we have sufficiently known the figures and names of the letters, the next step is, to learn to enunciate or to pronounce them, so as to produce articulate sounds. On this subject, which appears at first sight very plain and simple, numberless contentions and varieties of opinion meet us at the threshold. From the earliest period of the invention of written characters to represent human language, however more or less remote that time may be, it seems absolutely certain, that the distinction of letters into vowels and consonants must have obtained. All the speculations of the Greek grammarians assume this as a first principle." Again: "I beg leave only to premise this observation, that I absolutely and unequivocally deny the position, that all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are consonants; and, after the most careful and minute inquiry, give it as my opinion, that of the twenty-two letters of which the Hebrew alphabet consists, five are vowels and seventeen are consonants. The five vowels by name are, Aleph, He, Vau, Yod, and Ain."—Wilson's Heb. Gram., pp. 6 and 8.


The powers of the letters are properly those elementary sounds which their figures are used to represent; but letters formed into words, are capable of communicating thought independently of sound. The simple elementary sounds of any language are few, commonly not more than thirty-six;[96] but they may be variously combined, so as to form words innumerable. Different vowel sounds, or vocal elements, are produced by opening the mouth differently, and placing the tongue in a peculiar manner for each; but the voice may vary in loudness, pitch, or time, and still utter the same vowel power.

The vowel sounds which form the basis of the English language, and which ought therefore to be perfectly familiar to every one who speaks it, are those which are heard at the beginning of the words, ate, at, ah, all, eel, ell, isle, ill, old, on, ooze, use, us, and that of u in bull.

In the formation of syllables, some of these fourteen primary sounds may be joined together, as in ay, oil, out, owl; and all of them may be preceded or followed by certain motions and positions of the lips and tongue, which will severally convert them into other terms in speech. Thus the same essential sounds may be changed into a new series of words by an f; as, fate, fat, far, fall, feel, fell, file, fill, fold, fond, fool, fuse, fuss, full. Again, into as many more with a p; as, pate, pat, par, pall, peel, pell, pile, pill, pole, pond, pool, pule, purl, pull. Each of the vowel sounds may be variously expressed by letters. About half of them are sometimes words: the rest are seldom, if ever, used alone even to form syllables. But the reader may easily learn to utter them all, separately, according to the foregoing series. Let us note them as plainly as possible: eigh, ~a, ah, awe, =eh, ~e, eye, ~i, oh, ~o, oo, yew, ~u, û. Thus the eight long sounds, eigh, ah, awe, eh, eye, oh, ooh, yew, are, or may be, words; but the six less vocal, called the short vowel sounds, as in at, et, it, ot, ut, put, are commonly heard only in connexion with consonants; except the first, which is perhaps the most frequent sound of the vowel A or a—a sound sometimes given to the word a, perhaps most generally; as in the phrase, "twice ~a day."

The simple consonant sounds in English are twenty-two: they are marked by b, d, f, g hard, h, k, l, m, n, ng, p, r, s, sh, t, th sharp, th flat, v, w, y, z, and zh. But zh is written only to show the sound of other letters; as of s in pleasure, or z in azure.

All these sounds are heard distinctly in the following words: buy, die, fie, guy, high, kie, lie, my, nigh, eying, pie, rye, sigh, shy, tie, thigh, thy, vie, we, ye, zebra, seizure. Again: most of them may be repeated in the same word, if not in the same syllable; as in bibber, diddle, fifty, giggle, high-hung, cackle, lily, mimic, ninny, singing, pippin, mirror, hissest, flesh-brush, tittle, thinketh, thither, vivid, witwal, union,[97] dizzies, vision.

With us, the consonants J and X represent, not simple, but complex sounds: hence they are never doubled. J is equivalent to dzh; and X, either to ks or to gz. The former ends no English word, and the latter begins none. To the initial X of foreign words, we always give the simple sound of Z; as in Xerxes, xebec.

The consonants C and Q have no sounds peculiar to themselves. Q has always the power of k. C is hard, like k, before a, o, and u; and soft, like s, before e, i, and y: thus the syllables, ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy, are pronounced, ka, se, si, ko, ku, sy. S before c preserves the former sound, but coalesces with the latter; hence the syllables, sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy, are sounded, ska, se, si, sko, sku, sy. Ce and ci have sometimes the sound of sh; as in ocean, social. Ch commonly represents the compound sound of tsh; as in church.

G, as well as C, has different sounds before different vowels. G is always hard, or guttural, before a, o, and u; and generally soft, like j, before e, i, or y: thus the syllables, ga, ge, gi, go, gu, gy, are pronounced ga, je, ji, go, gu, jy.

The possible combinations and mutations of the twenty-six letters of our alphabet, are many millions of millions. But those clusters which are unpronounceable, are useless. Of such as may be easily uttered, there are more than enough for all the purposes of useful writing, or the recording of speech.

Thus it is, that from principles so few and simple as about six or seven and thirty plain elementary sounds, represented by characters still fewer, we derive such a variety of oral and written signs, as may suffice to explain or record all the sentiments and transactions of all men in all ages.


OBS. 1.—A knowledge of sounds can be acquired, in the first instance, only by the ear. No description of the manner of their production, or of the differences which distinguish them, can be at all intelligible to him who has not already, by the sense of hearing, acquired a knowledge of both. What I here say of the sounds of the letters, must of course be addressed to those persons only who are able both to speak and to read English. Why then attempt instruction by a method which both ignorance and knowledge on the part of the pupil, must alike render useless? I have supposed some readers to have such an acquaintance with the powers of the letters, as is but loose and imperfect; sufficient for the accurate pronunciation of some words or syllables, but leaving them liable to mistakes in others; extending perhaps to all the sounds of the language, but not to a ready analysis or enumeration of them. Such persons may profit by a written description of the powers of the letters, though no such description can equal the clear impression of the living voice. Teachers, too, whose business it is to aid the articulation of the young, and, by a patient inculcation of elementary principles, to lay the foundation of an accurate pronunciation, may derive some assistance from any notation of these principles, which will help their memory, or that of the learner. The connexion between letters and sounds is altogether arbitrary; but a few positions, being assumed and made known, in respect to some characters, become easy standards for further instruction in respect to others of similar sound.

OBS. 2.—The importance of being instructed at an early age, to pronounce with distinctness and facility all the elementary sounds of one's native language, has been so frequently urged, and is so obvious in itself, that none but those who have been themselves neglected, will be likely to disregard the claims of their children in this respect.[98] But surely an accurate knowledge of the ordinary powers of the letters would be vastly more common, were there not much hereditary negligence respecting the manner in which these important rudiments are learned. The utterance of the illiterate may exhibit wit and native talent, but it is always more or less barbarous, because it is not aided by a knowledge of orthography. For pronunciation and orthography, however they may seem, in our language especially, to be often at variance, are certainly correlative: a true knowledge of either tends to the preservation of both. Each of the letters represents some one or more of the elementary sounds, exclusive of the rest; and each of the elementary sounds, though several of them are occasionally transferred, has some one or two letters to which it most properly or most frequently belongs. But borrowed, as our language has been, from a great variety of sources, to which it is desirable ever to retain the means of tracing it, there is certainly much apparent lack of correspondence between its oral and its written form. Still the discrepancies are few, when compared with the instances of exact conformity; and, if they are, as I suppose they are, unavoidable, it is as useless to complain of the trouble they occasion, as it is to think of forcing a reconciliation. The wranglers in this controversy, can never agree among themselves, whether orthography shall conform to pronunciation, or pronunciation to orthography. Nor does any one of them well know how our language would either sound or look, were he himself appointed sole arbiter of all variances between our spelling and our speech.

OBS. 3.—"Language," says Dr. Rush, "was long ago analyzed into its alphabetic elements. Wherever this analysis is known, the art of teaching language has, with the best success, been conducted upon the rudimental method." * * * "The art of reading consists in having all the vocal elements under complete command, that they may be properly applied, for the vivid and elegant delineation of the sense and sentiment of discourse."—Philosophy of the Voice, p. 346. Again, of "the pronunciation of the alphabetic elements," he says, "The least deviation from the assumed standard converts the listener into the critic; and I am surely speaking within bounds when I say, that for every miscalled element in discourse, ten succeeding words are lost to the greater part of an audience."—Ibid., p. 350. These quotations plainly imply both the practicability and the importance of teaching the pronunciation of our language analytically by means of its present orthography, and agreeably to the standard assumed by the grammarians. The first of them affirms that it has been done, "with the best success," according to some ancient method of dividing the letters and explaining their sounds. And yet, both before and afterwards, we find this same author complaining of our alphabet and its subdivisions, as if sense or philosophy must utterly repudiate both; and of our orthography, as if a ploughman might teach us to spell better: and, at the same time, he speaks of softening his censure through modesty. "The deficiencies, redundancies, and confusion, of the system of alphabetic characters in this language, prevent the adoption of its subdivisions in this essay."—Ib., p. 52. Of the specific sounds given to the letters, he says, "The first of these matters is under the rule of every body, and therefore is very properly to be excluded from the discussions of that philosophy which desires to be effectual in its instruction. How can we hope to establish a system of elemental pronunciation in a language, when great masters in criticism condemn at once every attempt, in so simple and useful a labour as the correction of its orthography!"—P. 256. Again: "I deprecate noticing the faults of speakers, in the pronunciation of the alphabetic elements. It is better for criticism to be modest on this point, till it has the sense or independence to make our alphabet and its uses, look more like the work of what is called—wise and transcendent humanity: till the pardonable variety of pronunciation, and the true spelling by the vulgar, have satirized into reformation that pen-craft which keeps up the troubles of orthography for no other purpose, as one can divine, than to boast of a very questionable merit as a criterion of education."—Ib., p. 383.

OBS. 4.—How far these views are compatible, the reader will judge. And it is hoped he will excuse the length of the extracts, from a consideration of the fact, that a great master of the "pen-craft" here ridiculed, a noted stickler for needless Kays and Ues, now commonly rejected, while he boasts that his grammar, which he mostly copied from Murray's, is teaching the old explanation of the alphabetic elements to "more than one hundred thousand children and youth," is also vending under his own name an abstract of the new scheme of "tonicks, subtonicks, and atonicks;" and, in one breath, bestowing superlative praise on both, in order, as it would seem, to monopolize all inconsistency. "Among those who have successfully laboured in the philological field, Mr. Lindley Murray stands forth in bold relief, as undeniably at the head of the list."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 12. "The modern candidate for oratorical fame, stands on very different, and far more advantageous, ground, than that occupied by the young and aspiring Athenian; especially since a correct analysis of the vocal organs, and a faithful record of their operations, have been given to the world by Dr. James Rush, of Philadelphia—a name that will outlive the unquarried marble of our mountains."—Ibid., p. 29. "But what is to be said when presumption pushes itself into the front ranks of elocution, and thoughtless friends undertake to support it? The fraud must go on, till presumption quarrels, as often happens, with its own friends, or with itself, and thus dissolves the spell of its merits."—Rush, on the Voice, p. 405.

OBS. 5.—The question respecting the number of simple or elementary sounds in our language, presents a remarkable puzzle: and it is idle, if not ridiculous, for any man to declaim about the imperfection of our alphabet and orthography, who does not show himself able to solve it. All these sounds may easily be written in a plain sentence of three or four lines upon almost any subject; and every one who can read, is familiar with them all, and with all the letters. Now it is either easy to count them, or it is difficult. If difficult, wherein does the difficulty lie? and how shall he who knows not what and how many they are, think himself capable of reforming our system of their alphabetic signs? If easy, why do so few pretend to know their number? and of those who do pretend to this knowledge, why are there so few that agree? A certain verse in the seventh chapter of Ezra, has been said to contain all the letters. It however contains no j; and, with respect to the sounds, it lacks that of f, that of th sharp, and that of u in bull. I will suggest a few additional words for these; and then both all the letters, and all the sounds, of the English language, will be found in the example; and most of them, many times over: "'And I, even I, Artaxerxes, the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers' who 'are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily' and faithfully, according to that which he shall enjoin." Some letters, and some sounds, are here used much more frequently than others; but, on an average, we have, in this short passage, each sound five times, and each letter eight. How often, then, does a man speak all the elements of his language, who reads well but one hour!

OBS. 6.—Of the number of elementary sounds in our language, different orthoëpists report differently; because they cannot always agree among themselves, wherein the identity or the simplicity, the sameness or the singleness, even of well-known sounds, consists; or because, if each is allowed to determine these points for himself, no one of them adheres strictly to his own decision. They may also, each for himself, have some peculiar way of utterance, which will confound some sounds which other men distinguish, or distinguish some which other men confound. For, as a man may write a very bad hand which shall still be legible, so he may utter many sounds improperly and still be understood. One may, in this way, make out a scheme of the alphabetic elements, which shall be true of his own pronunciation, and yet have obvious faults when tried by the best usage of English speech. It is desirable not to multiply these sounds beyond the number which a correct and elegant pronunciation of the language obviously requires. And what that number is, it seems to me not very difficult to ascertain; at least, I think we may fix it with sufficient accuracy for all practical purposes. But let it be remembered, that all who have hitherto attempted the enumeration, have deviated more or less from their own decisions concerning either the simplicity or the identity of sounds; but, most commonly, it appears to have been thought expedient to admit some exceptions concerning both. Thus the long or diphthongal sounds of I and U, are admitted by some, and excluded by others; the sound of j, or soft g, is reckoned as simple by some, and rejected as compound by others; so a part, if not all, of what are called the long and the short vowels, as heard in ale and ell, arm and am, all and on, isle or eel and ill, tone and tun, pule or pool and pull, have been declared essentially the same by some, and essentially different by others. Were we to recognize as elementary, no sounds but such as are unquestionably simple in themselves, and indisputably different in quality from all others, we should not have more sounds than letters: and this is a proof that we have characters enough, though the sounds are perhaps badly distributed among them.

OBS. 7.—I have enumerated thirty-six well known sounds, which, in compliance with general custom, and for convenience in teaching. I choose to regard as the oral elements of our language. There may be found some reputable authority for adding four or five more, and other authority as reputable, for striking from the list seven or eight of those already mentioned. For the sake of the general principle, which we always regard in writing, a principle of universal grammar, that there can be no syllable without a vowel, I am inclined to teach, with Brightland, Dr. Johnson, L. Murray, and others, that, in English, as in French, there is given to the vowel e a certain very obscure sound which approaches, but amounts not to an absolute suppression, though it is commonly so regarded by the writers of dictionaries. It may be exemplified in the words oven, shovel, able;[99] or in the unemphatic article the before a consonant, as in the sentence, "Take the nearest:" we do not hear it as "thee nearest," nor as "then carest," but more obscurely. There is also a feeble sound of i or y unaccented, which is equivalent to ee uttered feebly, as in the word diversity. This is the most common sound of i and of y. The vulgar are apt to let it fall into the more obscure sound of short u. As elegance of utterance depends much upon the preservation of this sound from such obtuseness, perhaps Walker and others have done well to mark it as e in me; though some suppose it to be peculiar, and others identify it with the short i in fit. Thirdly, a distinction is made by some writers, between the vowel sounds heard in hate and bear, which Sheridan and Walker consider to be the same. The apparent difference may perhaps result from the following consonant r, which is apt to affect the sound of the vowel which precedes it. Such words as bear, care, dare, careful, parent, are very liable to be corrupted in pronunciation, by too broad a sound of the a; and, as the multiplication of needless distinctions should be avoided, I do not approve of adding an other sound to a vowel which has already quite too many. Worcester, however, in his new Dictionary, and Wells, in his new Grammar, give to the vowel A six or seven sounds in lieu of four; and Dr. Mandeville, in his Course of Reading, says, "A has eight sounds."—P. 9.

OBS. 8.—Sheridan made the elements of his oratory twenty-eight. Jones followed him implicitly, and adopted the same number.[100] Walker recognized several more, but I know not whether he has anywhere told us how many there are. Lindley Murray enumerates thirty-six, and the same thirty-six that are given in the main text above. The eight sounds not counted by Sheridan are these: 1. The Italian a, as in far, father, which he reckoned but a lengthening of the a in hat; 2. The short o, as in hot, which he supposed to be but a shortening of the a in hall; 3. The diphthongal i, as in isle, which he thought but a quicker union of the sounds of the diphthong oi, but which, in my opinion, is rather a very quick union of the sounds ah and ee into ay, I;[101] 4. The long u, which is acknowledged to be equal to yu or yew, though perhaps a little different from you or yoo,[102] the sound given it by Walker; 5. The u heard in pull, which he considered but a shortening of oo; 6. The consonant w, which he conceived to be always a vowel, and equivalent to oo; 7. The consonant y, which he made equal to a short ee; 8. The consonant h, which he declared to be no letter, but a mere breathing, In all other respects, his scheme of the alphabetic elements agrees with that which is adopted in this work, and which is now most commonly taught.

OBS. 9.—The effect of Quantity in the prolation of the vowels, is a matter with which every reader ought to be experimentally acquainted. Quantity is simply the time of utterance, whether long or short. It is commonly spoken of with reference to syllables, because it belongs severally to all the distinct or numerable impulses of the voice, and to these only; but, as vowels or diphthongs may be uttered alone, the notion of quantity is of course as applicable to them, as to any of the more complex sounds in which consonants are joined with them. All sounds imply time; because they are the transient effects of certain percussions which temporarily agitate the air, an element that tends to silence. When mighty winds have swept over sea and land, and the voice of the Ocean is raised, he speaks to the towering cliffs in the deep tones of a long quantity; the rolling billows, as they meet the shore, pronounce the long-drawn syllables of his majestic elocution. But see him again in gentler mood; stand upon the beach and listen to the rippling of his more frequent waves: he will teach you short quantity, as well as long. In common parlance, to avoid tediousness, to save time, and to adapt language to circumstances, we usually utter words with great rapidity, and in comparatively short quantity. But in oratory, and sometimes in ordinary reading, those sounds which are best fitted to fill and gratify the ear, should be sensibly protracted, especially in emphatic words; and even the shortest syllable, must be so lengthened as to be uttered with perfect clearness: otherwise the performance will be judged defective.

OBS. 10.—Some of the vowels are usually uttered in longer time than others; but whether the former are naturally long, and the latter naturally short, may be doubted: the common opinion is, that they are. But one author at least denies it; and says, "We must explode the pretended natural epithets short and long given to our vowels, independent on accent: and we must observe that our silent e final lengthens not its syllable, unless the preceding vowel be accented."—Mackintosh's Essay on E. Gram., p. 232. The distinction of long and short vowels which has generally obtained, and the correspondences which some writers have laboured to establish between them, have always been to me sources of much embarrassment. It would appear, that in one or two instances, sounds that differ only in length, or time, are commonly recognized as different elements; and that grammarians and orthoëpists, perceiving this, have attempted to carry out the analogy, and to find among what they call the long vowels a parent sound for each of the short ones. In doing this, they have either neglected to consult the ear, or have not chosen to abide by its verdict. I suppose the vowels heard in pull and pool would be necessarily identified, if the former were protracted or the latter shortened; and perhaps there would be a like coalescence of those heard in of and all, were they tried in the same way, though I am not sure of it. In protracting the e in met, and the i in ship, ignorance or carelessness might perhaps, with the help of our orthoëpists, convert the former word into mate and the latter into sheep; and, as this would breed confusion in the language, the avoiding of the similarity may perhaps be a sufficient reason for confining these two sounds of e and i, to that short quantity in which they cannot be mistaken. But to suppose, as some do, that the protraction of u in tun would identify it with the o in tone, surpasses any notion I have of what stupidity may misconceive. With one or two exceptions, therefore, it appears to me that each of the pure vowel sounds is of such a nature, that it may be readily recognized by its own peculiar quality or tone, though it be made as long or as short as it is possible for any sound of the human voice to be. It is manifest that each of the vowel sounds heard in ate, at, arm, all, eel, old, ooze, us, may be protracted to the entire extent of a full breath slowly expended, and still be precisely the same one simple sound;[103] and, on the contrary, that all but one may be shortened to the very minimum of vocality, and still be severally known without danger of mistake. The prolation of a pure vowel places the organs of utterance in that particular position which the sound of the letter requires, and then holds them unmoved till we have given to it all the length we choose.

OBS. 11.—In treating of the quantity and quality of the vowels, Walker says, "The first distinction of sound that seems to obtrude itself upon us when we utter the vowels, is a long and a short sound, according to the greater or less duration of time taken up in pronouncing them. This distinction is so obvious as to have been adopted in all languages, and is that to which we annex clearer ideas than to any other; and though the short sounds of some vowels have not in our language been classed with sufficient accuracy with their parent long ones, yet this has bred but little confusion, as vowels long and short are always sufficiently distinguishable."—Principles, No. 63. Again: "But though the terms long and short, as applied to vowels, are pretty generally understood, an accurate ear will easily perceive that these terms do not always mean the long and short sounds of the respective vowels to which they are applied; for, if we choose to be directed by the ear, in denominating vowels long or short, we must certainly give these appellations to those sounds only which have exactly the same radical tone, and differ only in the long or short emission of that tone."—Ib., No. 66. He then proceeds to state his opinion that the vowel sounds heard in the following words are thus correspondent: tame, them; car, carry; wall, want; dawn, gone; theme, him; tone, nearly tun; pool, pull. As to the long sounds of i or y, and of u, these two being diphthongal, he supposes the short sound of each to be no other than the short sound of its latter element ee or oo. Now to me most of this is exceedingly unsatisfactory; and I have shown why.

OBS. 12.—If men's notions of the length and shortness of vowels are the clearest ideas they have in relation to the elements of speech, how comes it to pass that of all the disputable points in grammar, this is the most perplexed with contrarieties of opinion? In coming before the world as an author, no man intends to place himself clearly in the wrong; yet, on the simple powers of the letters, we have volumes of irreconcilable doctrines. A great connoisseur in things of this sort, who professes to have been long "in the habit of listening to sounds of every description, and that with more than ordinary attention," declares in a recent and expensive work, that "in every language we find the vowels incorrectly classed"; and, in order to give to "the simple elements of English utterance" a better explanation than others have furnished, he devotes to a new analysis of our alphabet the ample space of twenty octavo pages, besides having several chapters on subjects connected with it. And what do his twenty pages amount to? I will give the substance of them in ten lines, and the reader may judge. He does not tell us how many elementary sounds there are; but, professing to arrange the vowels, long and short, "in the order in which they are naturally found," as well as to show of the consonants that the mutes and liquids form correspondents in regular pairs, he presents a scheme which I abbreviate as follows. VOWELS: 1. A, as in =all and wh~at, or o, as in orifice and n~ot; 2. U—=urn and h~ut, or l=ove and c~ome; 3. O—v=ote and ech~o; 4. A—=ah and h~at; 5. A—h=azy, no short sound; 6. E—=e=el and it; 7. E—m=ercy and m~et; 8. O—pr=ove and ad~o; 9. OO—t=o=ol and f~o~ot; 10. W—vo=w and la~w; 11. Y—(like the first e—) s=yntax and dut~y. DIPHTHONGS: 1. I—as ah-ee; 2. U—as ee-oo; 3. OU—as au-oo. CONSONANTS: 1. Mutes,—c or s, f, h, k or q, p, t, th sharp, sh; 2. Liquids,—l, which has no corresponding mute, and z, v, r, ng, m, n, th flat and j, which severally correspond to the eight mutes in their order; 3. Subliquids,—g hard, b, and d. See "Music of Nature," by William Gardiner, p. 480, and after.

OBS. 13.—Dr. Rush comes to the explanation of the powers of the letters as the confident first revealer of nature's management and wisdom; and hopes to have laid the foundation of a system of instruction in reading and oratory, which, if adopted and perfected, "will beget a similarity of opinion and practice," and "be found to possess an excellence which must grow into sure and irreversible favour."—Phil. of the Voice, p. 404. "We have been willing," he says, "to believe, on faith alone, that nature is wise in the contrivance of speech. Let us now show, by our works of analysis, how she manages the simple elements of the voice, in the production of their unbounded combinations."—Ibid., p. 44. Again: "Every one, with peculiar self-satisfaction, thinks he reads well, and yet all read differently: there is, however, but one mode of reading well."—Ib., p. 403. That one mode, some say, his philosophy alone teaches. Of that, others may judge. I shall only notice here what seems to be his fundamental position, that, on all the vocal elements of language, nature has stamped duplicity. To establish this extraordinary doctrine, he first attempts to prove, that "the letter a, as heard in the word day," combines two distinguishable yet inseparable sounds; that it is a compound of what he calls, with reference to vowels and syllables in general, "the radical and the vanishing movement of the voice,"—a single and indivisible element in which "two sounds are heard continuously successive," the sounds of a and e as in ale and eve. He does not know that some grammarians have contended that ay in day is a proper diphthong, in which both the vowels are heard; but, so pronouncing it himself, infers from the experiment, that there is no simpler sound of the vowel a. If this inference is not wrong, the word shape is to be pronounced sha-epe; and, in like manner, a multitude of other words will acquire a new element not commonly heard in them.

OBS. 14.—But the doctrine stops not here. The philosopher examines, in some similar way, the other simple vowel sounds, and finds a beginning and an end, a base and an apex, a radical and a vanishing movement, to them all; and imagines a sufficient warrant from nature to divide them all "into two parts," and to convert most of them into diphthongs, as well as to include all diphthongs with them, as being altogether as simple and elementary. Thus he begins with confounding all distinction between diphthongs and simple vowels; except that which he makes for himself when he admits "the radical and the vanish," the first half of a sound and the last, to have no difference in quality. This admission is made with respect to the vowels heard in ooze, eel, err, end, and in, which he calls, not diphthongs, but "monothongs." But in the a of ale, he hears =a'-ee; in that of an, ~a'-~e; (that is, the short a followed by something of the sound of e in err;) in that of art, ah'~-e; in that of all, awe'-~e; in the i of isle, =i'-ee; in the o of old, =o'-oo; in the proper diphthong ou, ou'-oo; in the oy of boy, he knows not what. After his explanation of these mysteries, he says, "The seven radical sounds with their vanishes, which have been described, include, as far as I can perceive, all the elementary diphthongs of the English language."—Ib., p. 60. But all the sounds of the vowel u, whether diphthongal or simple, are excluded from his list, unless he means to represent one of them by the e in err; and the complex vowel sound heard in voice and boy, is confessedly omitted on account of a doubt whether it consists of two sounds or of three! The elements which he enumerates are thirty-five; but if oi is not a triphthong, they are to be thirty-six. Twelve are called "Tonics; and are heard in the usual sound of the separated Italics, in the following words: A-ll, a-rt, a-n, a-le, ou-r, i-sle, o-ld, ee-l, oo-ze, e-rr, e-nd, i-n,"—Ib., p. 53. Fourteen are called "Subtonics; and are marked by the separated Italics, in the following words: B-ow, d-are, g-ive, v-ile, z-one, y-e, w-o, th-en, a-z-ure, si-ng, l-ove, m-ay, n-ot, r-oe."—Ib., p. 54. Nine are called "Atonics; they are heard in the words, U-p, ou-t, ar-k, i-f, ye-s, h-e, wh-eat, th-in, pu-sh."—Ib., p. 56. My opinion of this scheme of the alphabet the reader will have anticipated.


In printed books of the English language, the Roman characters are generally employed; sometimes, the Italic; and occasionally, the [Font change: Old English]: but in handwriting, [Font change: Script letters] are used, the forms of which are peculiarly adapted to the pen.

Characters of different sorts or sizes should never be needlessly mixed; because facility of reading, as well as the beauty of a book, depends much upon the regularity of its letters.

In the ordinary forms of the Roman letters, every thick stroke that slants, slants from the left to the right downwards, except the middle stroke in Z; and every thin stroke that slants, slants from the left to the right upwards.

Italics are chiefly used to distinguish emphatic or remarkable words: in the Bible, they show what words were supplied by the translators.

In manuscripts, a single line drawn under a word is meant for Italics; a double line, for small capitals; a triple line, for full capitals.

In every kind of type or character, the letters have severally two forms, by which they are distinguished as capitals and small letters. Small letters constitute the body of every work; and capitals are used for the sake of eminence and distinction. The titles of books, and the heads of their principal divisions, are printed wholly in capitals. Showbills, painted signs, and short inscriptions, commonly appear best in full capitals. Some of these are so copied in books; as, "I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD."—Acts, xvii, 23. "And they set up over his head, his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS."—Matt., xxvii, 37.



When particular books are mentioned by their names, the chief words in
their titles begin with capitals, and the other letters are small; as,
"Pope's Essay on Man"—"the Book of Common Prayer"—"the Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments." [104]


The first word of every distinct sentence, or of any clause separately numbered or paragraphed, should begin with a capital; as, "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things: hold fast that which is good."—1 Thess., v, 16—21.

"14. He has given his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: 15. For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: 16. For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for murders: 17. For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: 18. For imposing taxes on us without our consent:" &c. Declaration of American Independence.


All names of the Deity, and sometimes their emphatic substitutes, should
begin with capitals; as, "God, Jehovah, the Almighty, the Supreme Being,
Divine Providence, the Messiah, the Comforter, the Father, the Son, the
Holy Spirit, the Lord of Sabaoth."

"The hope of my spirit turns trembling to Thee."—Moore.


Proper names, of every description, should always begin with capitals; as,
"Saul of Tarsus, Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, England, London, the Strand,
the Thames, the Pyrenees, the Vatican, the Greeks, the Argo and the


Titles of office or honour, and epithets of distinction, applied to
persons, begin usually with capitals; as, "His Majesty William the Fourth,
Chief Justice Marshall, Sir Matthew Hale, Dr. Johnson, the Rev. Dr.
Chalmers, Lewis the Bold, Charles the Second, James the Less, St.
Bartholomew, Pliny the Younger, Noah Webster, Jun., Esq."


Those compound proper names which by analogy incline to a union of their
parts without a hyphen, should be so written, and have but one capital: as,
"Eastport, Eastville, Westborough, Westfield, Westtown, Whitehall,
Whitechurch, Whitehaven, Whiteplains, Mountmellick, Mountpleasant,
Germantown, Germanflats, Blackrock, Redhook, Kinderhook, Newfoundland,
Statenland, Newcastle, Northcastle, Southbridge, Fairhaven, Dekalb,
Deruyter, Lafayette, Macpherson."


The compounding of a name under one capital should be avoided when the general analogy of other similar terms suggests a separation under two; as, "The chief mountains of Ross-shire are Ben Chat, Benchasker, Ben Golich, Ben Nore, Ben Foskarg, and Ben Wyvis."—Glasgow Geog., Vol. ii, p. 311. Write Ben Chasker. So, when the word East, West, North, or South, as part of a name, denotes relative position, or when the word New distinguishes a place by contrast, we have generally separate words and two capitals; as, "East Greenwich, West Greenwich, North Bridgewater, South Bridgewater, New Jersey, New Hampshire."


When any adjective or common noun is made a distinct part of a compound
proper name, it ought to begin with a capital; as, "The United States, the
Argentine Republic, the Peak of Teneriffe, the Blue Ridge, the Little
Pedee, Long Island, Jersey City, Lower Canada, Green Bay, Gretna Green,
Land's End, the Gold Coast."


When a common and a proper name are associated merely to explain each other, it is in general sufficient, if the proper name begin with a capital, and the appellative, with a small letter; as, "The prophet Elisha, Matthew the publican, the brook Cherith, the river Euphrates, the Ohio river, Warren county, Flatbush village, New York city."


The name of an object personified, when it conveys an idea strictly individual, should begin with a capital; as, "Upon this, Fancy began again to bestir herself."—Addison. "Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come."—Thomson.


Words derived from proper names, and having direct reference to particular
persons, places, sects, or nations, should begin with capitals; as,
"Platonic, Newtonian, Greek, or Grecian, Romish, or Roman, Italic, or
Italian, German, or Germanic, Swedish, Turkish, Chinese, Genoese, French,
Dutch, Scotch, Welsh:" so, perhaps, "to Platonize, Grecize, Romanize,
Italicize, Latinize, or Frenchify."


The words I and O should always be capitals; as, "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion."—Psalm cxlvii. "O wretched man that I am!"—"For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I."—Rom., vii, 24 and 15.


Every line in poetry, except what is regarded as making but one verse with the line preceding, should begin with a capital; as,

   "Our sons their fathers' failing language see,
    And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be."—Pope.

Of the exception, some editions of the Psalms in Metre are full of examples; as,

   "Happy the man whose tender care
      relieves the poor distress'd!
    When troubles compass him around,
      the Lord shall give him rest."
             Psalms with Com. Prayer, N. Y., 1819, Ps. xli.


The first word of a full example, of a distinct speech, or of a direct quotation, should begin with a capital; as, "Remember this maxim: 'Know thyself.'"—"Virgil says, 'Labour conquers all things.'"—"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"—John, x, 34. "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother."—Luke, xviii, 20.


Other words of particular importance, and such as denote the principal subjects treated of, may be distinguished by capitals; and names subscribed frequently have capitals throughout: as, "In its application to the Executive, with reference to the Legislative branch of the Government, the same rule of action should make the President ever anxious to avoid the exercise of any discretionary authority which can be regulated by Congress."—ANDREW JACKSON, 1835.


Capitals are improper wherever there is not some special rule or reason for their use: a century ago books were disfigured by their frequency; as, "Many a Noble Genius is lost for want of Education. Which wou'd then be Much More Liberal. As it was when the Church Enjoy'd her Possessions. And Learning was, in the Dark Ages, Preserv'd almost only among the Clergy."—CHARLES LESLIE, 1700; Divine Right of Tythes, p. 228.


OBS. 1.—The letters of the alphabet, read by their names, are equivalent to words. They are a sort of universal signs, by which we may mark and particularize objects of any sort, named or nameless; as, "To say, therefore, that while A and B are both quadrangular, A is more or less quadrangular than B, is absurd."—Murray's Gram., p. 50. Hence they are used in the sciences as symbols of an infinite variety of things or ideas, being construed both substantively and adjectively; as, "In ascending from the note C to D, the interval is equal to an inch; and from D to E, the same."—Music of Nature, p. 293. "We have only to imagine the G clef placed below it."—Ib. Any of their forms may be used for such purposes, but the custom of each science determines our choice. Thus Algebra employs small Italics; Music, Roman capitals; Geometry, for the most part, the same; Astronomy, Greek characters; and Grammar, in some part or other, every sort. Examples: "Then comes answer like an ABC book."—Beauties of Shakspeare, p. 97. "Then comes question like an a, b, c, book.—Shakspeare." See A, B, C, in Johnson's quarto Dict. Better:—"like an A-Bee-Cee book."

   "For A, his magic pen evokes an O,
    And turns the tide of Europe on the foe."—Young.

OBS. 2.—A lavish use of capitals defeats the very purpose for which the letters were distinguished in rank; and carelessness in respect to the rules which govern them, may sometimes misrepresent the writer's meaning. On many occasions, however, their use or disuse is arbitrary, and must be left to the judgement and taste of authors and printers. Instances of this kind will, for the most part, concern chief words, and come under the fifteenth rule above. In this grammar, the number of rules is increased; but the foregoing are still perhaps too few to establish an accurate uniformity. They will however tend to this desirable result; and if doubts arise in their application, the difficulties will be in particular examples only, and not in the general principles of the rules. For instance: In 1 Chron., xxix, 10th, some of our Bibles say, "Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever." Others say, "Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever." And others, "Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever." The last is wrong, either in the capital F, or for lack of a comma after Israel. The others differ in meaning; because they construe the word father, or Father, differently. Which is right I know not. The first agrees with the Latin Vulgate, and the second, with the Greek text of the Septuagint; which two famous versions here disagree, without ambiguity in either.[105]

OBS. 3.—The innumerable discrepancies in respect to capitals, which, to a greater or less extent, disgrace the very best editions of our most popular books, are a sufficient evidence of the want of better directions on this point. In amending the rules for this purpose, I have not been able entirely to satisfy myself; and therefore must needs fail to satisfy the very critical reader. But the public shall have the best instructions I can give. On Rule 1st, concerning Books, it may be observed, that when particular books or writings are mentioned by other terms than their real titles, the principle of the rule does not apply. Thus, one may call Paradise Lost, "Milton's great poem;" or the Diversions of Purley, "the etymological investigations of Horne Tooke." So it is written in the Bible, "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias."—Luke, iv, 17. Because the name of Esaias, or Isaiah, seems to be the only proper title of his book.

OBS. 4.—On Rule 2d, concerning First Words, it may be observed, that the using of other points than the period, to separate sentences that are totally distinct in sense, as is sometimes practised in quoting, is no reason for the omission of capitals at the beginning of such sentences; but, rather, an obvious reason for their use. Our grammarians frequently manufacture a parcel of puerile examples, and, with the formality of apparent quotation, throw them together in the following manner: "He is above disguise;" "we serve under a good master;" "he rules over a willing people;" "we should do nothing beneath our character."—Murray's Gram., p. 118. These sentences, and all others so related, should, unquestionably, begin with capitals. Of themselves, they are distinct enough to be separated by the period and a dash. With examples of one's own making, the quotation points may be used or not, as the writer pleases; but not on their insertion or omission, nor even on the quality of the separating point, depends in all cases the propriety or impropriety of using initial capitals. For example: "The Future Tense is the form of the verb which denotes future time; as, John will come, you shall go, they will learn, the sun will rise to-morrow, he will return next week."—Frazee's Improved Gram., p. 38; Old Edition, 35. To say nothing of the punctuation here used, it is certain that the initial words, you, they, the, and he, should have commenced with capitals.

OBS. 5.—On Rule 3d, concerning Names of Deity, it may be observed, that the words Lord and God take the nature of proper names, only when they are used in reference to the Eternal Divinity. The former, as a title of honour to men, is usually written with a capital; but, as a common appellative, with a small letter. The latter, when used with reference to any fabulous deity, or when made plural to speak of many, should seldom, if ever, begin with a capital; for we do not write with a capital any common name which we do not mean to honour: as, "Though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth—as there be gods many, and lords many."—1 Cor., viii, 5. But a diversity of design or conception in respect to this kind of distinction, has produced great diversity concerning capitals, not only in original writings, but also in reprints and quotations, not excepting even the sacred books. Example: "The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all Gods."—Gurney's Essays, p. 88. Perhaps the writer here exalts the inferior beings called gods, that he may honour the one true God the more; but the Bible, in four editions to which I have turned, gives the word gods no capital. See Psalms, xcv, 3. The word Heaven put for God, begins with a capital; but when taken literally, it commonly begins with a small letter. Several nouns occasionally connected with names of the Deity, are written with a very puzzling diversity: as, "The Lord of Sabaoth;"—"The Lord God of hosts;"—"The God of armies;"—"The Father of goodness;"—"The Giver of all good;"—"The Lord, the righteous Judge." All these, and many more like them, are found sometimes with a capital, and sometimes without. Sabaoth, being a foreign word, and used only in this particular connexion, usually takes a capital; but the equivalent English words do not seem to require it. For "Judge," in the last example, I would use a capital; for "good" and "goodness," in the preceding ones, the small letter: the one is an eminent name, the others are mere attributes. Alger writes, "the Son of Man," with two capitals; others, perhaps more properly, "the Son of man," with one—wherever that phrase occurs in the New Testament. But, in some editions, it has no capital at all.

OBS. 6.—On Rule 4th, concerning Proper Names, it may be observed, that the application of this principle supposes the learner to be able to distinguish between proper names and common appellatives. Of the difference between these two classes of words, almost every child that can speak, must have formed some idea. I once noticed that a very little boy, who knew no better than to call a pigeon a turkey because the creature had feathers, was sufficiently master of this distinction, to call many individuals by their several names, and to apply the common words, man, woman, boy, girl, &c., with that generality which belongs to them. There is, therefore, some very plain ground for this rule. But not all is plain, and I will not veil the cause of embarrassment. It is only an act of imposture, to pretend that grammar is easy, in stead of making it so. Innumerable instances occur, in which the following assertion is by no means true: "The distinction between a common and a proper noun is very obvious."—Kirkham's Gram., p 32. Nor do the remarks of this author, or those of any other that I am acquainted with, remove any part of the difficulty. We are told by this gentleman, (in language incorrigibly bad,) that, "Nouns which denote the genus, species, or variety of beings or things, are always common; as, tree, the genus; oak, ash, chestnut, poplar, different species; and red oak, white oak, black oak, varieties."—Ib., p. 32. Now, as it requires but one noun to denote either a genus or a species, I know not how to conceive of those "nouns which denote the genus of things," except as of other confusion and nonsense; and, as for the three varieties of oak, there are surely no "nouns" here to denote them, unless he will have red, white, and black to be nouns. But what shall we say of—"the Red sea, the White sea, the Black sea;" or, with two capitals, "Red Sea, White Sea, Black Sea," and a thousand other similar terms, which are neither proper names unless they are written with capitals, nor written with capitals unless they are first judged to be proper names? The simple phrase, "the united states," has nothing of the nature of a proper name; but what is the character of the term, when written with two capitals, "the United States?" If we contend that it is not then a proper name, we make our country anonymous. And what shall we say to those grammarians who contend, that "Heaven, Hell, Earth, Sun, and Moon, are proper names;" and that, as such, they should be written with capitals? See Churchill's Gram., p. 380.

OBS. 7.—It would seem that most, if not all, proper names had originally some common signification, and that very many of our ordinary words and phrases have been converted into proper names, merely by being applied to particular persons, places, or objects, and receiving the distinction of capitals. How many of the oceans, seas, lakes, capes, islands, mountains, states, counties, streets, institutions, buildings, and other things, which we constantly particularize, have no other proper names than such as are thus formed, and such as are still perhaps, in many instances, essentially appellative! The difficulties respecting these will be further noticed below. A proper noun is the name of some particular individual, group, or people; as, Adam, Boston, the Hudson, the Azores, the Andes, the Romans, the Jews, the Jesuits, the Cherokees. This is as good a definition as I can give of a proper noun or name. Thus we commonly distinguish the names of particular persons, places, nations, tribes, or sects, with capitals. Yet we name the sun, the moon, the equator, and many other particular objects, without a capital; for the word the may give a particular meaning to a common noun, without converting it into a proper name: but if we say Sol, for the sun, or Luna, for the moon, we write it with a capital. With some apparent inconsistency, we commonly write the word Gentiles with a capital, but pagans, heathens, and negroes, without: thus custom has marked these names with degradation. The names of the days of the week, and those of the months, however expressed, appear to me to partake of the nature of proper names, and to require capitals: as, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; or, as the Friends denominate them, Firstday, Secondday, Thirdday, Fourthday, Fifthday, Sixthday, Seventhday. So, if they will not use January, February, &c., they should write as proper names their Firstmonth, Secondmonth, &c. The Hebrew names for the months, were also proper nouns: to wit, Abib, Zif, Sivan, Thamuz, Ab, Elul, Tisri, Marchesvan, Chisleu, Tebeth, Shebat, Adar; the year, with the ancient Jews, beginning, as ours once did, in March.

OBS. 8.—On Rule 5th, concerning Titles of Honour, it may be observed, that names of office or rank, however high, do not require capitals merely as such; for, when we use them alone in their ordinary sense, or simply place them in apposition with proper names, without intending any particular honour, we begin them with a small letter: as, "the emperor Augustus;"—"our mighty sovereign, Abbas Carascan;"—"David the king;"—"Tidal king of nations;"—"Bonner, bishop of London;"—"The sons of Eliphaz, the first-born you of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek."—Gen., xxxvi, 15. So, sometimes, in addresses in which even the greatest respect is intended to be shown: as, "O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food."—Gen., xliii, 20. "O my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears."—Gen., xliv, 18. The Bible, which makes small account of worldly honours, seldom uses capitals under this rule; but, in some editions, we find "Nehemiah the Tirshatha," and "Herod the Tetrarch," each with a needless capital. Murray, in whose illustrations the word king occurs early one hundred times, seldom honours his Majesty with a capital; and, what is more, in all this mawkish mentioning of royalty, nothing is said of it that is worth knowing. Examples: "The king and the queen had put on their robes."—Murray's Gram., p. 154. "The king, with his life-guard, has just passed through the village."—Ib., 150. "The king of Great Britain's dominions."—Ib., 45. "On a sudden appeared the king."—Ib., 146. "Long live the King!"—Ib., 146. "On which side soever the king cast his eyes."—Ib., 156. "It is the king of Great Britain's."—Ib., 176. "He desired to be their king."—Ib., 181. "They desired him to be their king."—Ib., 181. "He caused himself to be proclaimed king."—Ib., 182. These examples, and thousands more as simple and worthless, are among the pretended quotations by which this excellent man, thought "to promote the cause of virtue, as well as of learning!"

OBS. 9.—On Rule 6th, concerning One Capital for Compounds, I would observe, that perhaps there is nothing more puzzling in grammar, than to find out, amidst all the diversity of random writing, and wild guess-work in printing, the true way in which the compound names of places should be written. For example: What in Greek was "ho Areios Pagos," the Martial Hill, occurs twice in the New Testament: once, in the accusative case, "ton Areion Pagan," which is rendered Areopagus; and once, in the genitive, "tou Areiou Pagou," which, in different copies of the English Bible is made Mars' Hill, Mars' hill, Mars'-hill, Marshill, Mars Hill, and perhaps Mars hill. But if Mars must needs be put in the possessive case, (which I doubt,) they are all wrong: for then it should be Mars's Hill; as the name Campus Martins is rendered "Mars's Field," in Collier's Life of Marcus Antoninus. We often use nouns adjectively; and Areios is an adjective: I would therefore write this name Mars Hill, as we write Bunker Hill. Again: Whitehaven and Fairhaven are commonly written with single capitals; but, of six or seven towns called Newhaven or New Haven, some have the name in one word and some in two. Haven means a harbour, and the words, New Haven, written separately, would naturally be understood of a harbour: the close compound is obviously more suitable for the name of a city or town. In England, compounds of this kind are more used than in America; and in both countries the tendency of common usage seems to be, to contract and consolidate such terms. Hence the British counties are almost all named by compounds ending with the word shire; as, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, &c. But the best books we have, are full of discrepancies and errors in respect to names, whether foreign or domestic; as, "Ulswater is somewhat smaller. The handsomest is Derwentwater."—Balbi's Geog., p. 212. "Ulswater, a lake of England," &c. "Derwent-Water, a lake in Cumberland," &c.—Univ. Gazetteer, "Ulleswater, lake, Eng. situated partly in Westmoreland," &c.—Worcester's Gaz. "Derwent Water, lake, Eng. in Cumberland."—Ibid. These words, I suppose, should be written Ullswater and Derwentwater.

OBS. 10.—An affix, or termination, differs from a distinct word; and is commonly understood otherwise, though it may consist of the same letters and have the same sound. Thus, if I were to write Stow Bridge, it would be understood of a bridge; if Stowbridge, of a town: or the latter might even be the name of a family. So Belleisle is the proper name of a strait; and Belle Isle of several different islands in France and America. Upon this plain distinction, and the manifest inconvenience of any violation of so clear an analogy of the language, depends the propriety of most of the corrections which I shall offer under Rule 6th. But if the inhabitants of any place choose to call their town a creek, a river, a harbour, or a bridge, and to think it officious in other men to pretend to know better, they may do as they please. If between them and their correctors there lie a mutual charge of misnomer, it is for the literary world to determine who is right. Important names are sometimes acquired by mere accident. Those which are totally inappropriate, no reasonable design can have bestowed. Thus a fancied resemblance between the island of Aquidneck, in Narraganset Bay, and that of Rhodes, in the Ægean Sea, has at length given to a state, or republic, which lies chiefly on the main land, the absurd name of Rhode Island; so that now, to distinguish Aquidneck itself, geographers resort to the strange phrase, "the Island of Rhode Island."—Balbi. The official title of this little republic, is, "the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." But this name is not only too long for popular use, but it is doubtful in its construction and meaning. It is capable of being understood in four different ways. 1. A stranger to the fact, would not learn from this phrase, that the "Providence Plantations" are included in the "State of Rhode Island," but would naturally infer the contrary. 2. The phrase, "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," may be supposed to mean "Rhode Island [Plantations] and Providence Plantations." 3. It may be understood to mean "Rhode Island and Providence [i.e., two] Plantations." 4. It may be taken for "Rhode Island" [i.e., as an island,] and the "Providence Plantations." Which, now, of all these did Charles the Second mean, when he gave the colony this name, with his charter, in 1663? It happened that he meant the last; but I doubt whether any man in the state, except perhaps some learned lawyer, can parse the phrase, with any certainty of its true construction and meaning. This old title can never be used, except in law. To write the popular name "Rhodeisland," as Dr. Webster has it in his American Spelling-Book, p. 121, would be some improvement upon it; but to make it Rhodeland, or simply Rhode, would be much more appropriate. As for Rhode Island, it ought to mean nothing but the island; and it is, in fact, an abuse of language to apply it otherwise. In one of his parsing lessons, Sanborn gives us for good English the following tautology: "Rhode Island derived its name from the island of Rhode Island."—Analytical Gram., p. 37. Think of that sentence!

OBS. 11.—On Rules 7th and 8th, concerning Two Capitals for Compounds, I would observe, with a general reference to those compound terms which designate particular places or things, that it is often no easy matter to determine, either from custom or from analogy, whether such common words as may happen to be embraced in them, are to be accounted parts of compound proper names and written with capitals, or to be regarded as appellatives, requiring small letters according to Rule 9th. Again the question may be, whether they ought not to be joined to the foregoing word, according to Rule 6th. Let the numerous examples under these four rules be duly considered: for usage, in respect to each of them, is diverse; so much so, that we not unfrequently find it contradictory, in the very same page, paragraph, or even sentence. Perhaps we may reach some principles of uniformity and consistency, by observing the several different kinds of phrases thus used. 1. We often add an adjective to an old proper name to make a new one, or to serve the purpose of distinction: as, Now York, New Orleans, New England, New Bedford; North America, South America; Upper Canada, Lower Canada; Great Pedee, Little Pedee; East Cambridge, West Cambridge; Troy, West Troy. All names of this class require two capitals: except a few which are joined together; as Northampton, which is sometimes more analogically written North Hampton. 2. We often use the possessive case with some common noun after it; as, Behring's Straits, Baffin's Bay, Cook's Inlet, Van Diemen's Land, Martha's Vineyard, Sacket's Harbour, Glenn's Falls. Names of this class generally have more than one capital; and perhaps all of them should be written so, except such as coalesce; as, Gravesend, Moorestown, the Crowsnest. 3. We sometimes use two common nouns with of between them; as, the Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Shoals, the Lake of the Woods, the Mountains of the Moon. Such nouns are usually written with more than one capital. I would therefore write "the Mount of Olives" in this manner, though it is not commonly found so in the Bible. 4. We often use an adjective and a common noun; as, the Yellow sea, the Indian ocean, the White hills, Crooked lake, the Red river; or, with two capitals, the Yellow Sea, the Indian Ocean, the White Hills, Crooked Lake, the Red River. In this class of names the adjective is the distinctive word, and always has a capital; respecting the other term, usage is divided, but seems rather to favour two capitals. 5. We frequently put an appellative, or common noun, before or after a proper name; as, New York city, Washington street, Plymouth county, Greenwich village. "The Carondelet canal extends from the city of New Orleans to the bayou St. John, connecting lake Pontchartrain with the Mississippi river."—Balbi's Geog. This is apposition. In phrases of this kind, the common noun often has a capital, but it seldom absolutely requires it; and in general a small letter is more correct, except in some few instances in which the common noun is regarded as a permanent part of the name; as in Washington City, Jersey City. The words Mount, Cape, Lake, and Bay, are now generally written with capitals when connected with their proper names; as, Mount Hope, Cape Cod, Lake Erie, Casco Bay. But they are not always so written, even in modern books; and in the Bible we read of "mount Horeb, mount Sinai, mount Zion, mount Olivet," and many others, always with a single capital.

OBS. 12.—In modern compound names, the hyphen is now less frequently used than it was a few years ago. They seldom, if ever, need it, unless they are employed as adjectives; and then there is a manifest propriety in inserting it. Thus the phrase, "the New London Bridge," can be understood only of a new bridge in London; and if we intend by it a bridge in New London, we must say, "the New-London Bridge." So "the New York Directory" is not properly a directory for New York, but a new directory for York. I have seen several books with titles which, for this reason, were evidently erroneous. With respect to the ancient Scripture names, of this class, we find, in different editions of the Bible, as well as in other books, many discrepancies. The reader may see a very fair specimen of them, by comparing together the last two vocabularies of Walker's Key. He will there meet with an abundance of examples like these: "Uz'zen Shérah, Uzzen-shérah; Talitha Cúmi, Talithacúmi; Náthan Mélech, Nathan'-melech; A'bel Mehólath, Abel-mehólah; Házel Elpóni, Hazelepóni; Az'noth Tábor, Asnoth-tábor; Báal Ham'on, Baal-hámon; Hámon Gog, Ham'ongog; Báal Zébub, Bäal'zebub; Shéthar Boz'näi, Shether-boz'näi; Meródach Bal'adan, Merodach-bal'adan." All these glaring inconsistencies, and many more, has Dr. Webster restereotyped from Walker, in his octavo Dictionary! I see no more need of the hyphen in such names, than in those of modern times. They ought, in some instances, to be joined together without it; and, in others, to be written separately, with double capitals. But special regard should be had to the ancient text. The phrase, "Talitha, cumi,"—i. e., "Damsel, arise,"—is found in some Bibles, "Talitha-cumi;" but this form of it is no more correct than either of those quoted above. See Mark, v, 41st, in Griesbach's Greek Testament, where a comma divides this expression.

OBS. 13.—On Rule 10th, concerning Personifications, it may be well to observe, that not every noun which is the name of an object personified, must begin with a capital, but only such as have a resemblance to proper nouns; for the word person itself, or persons, or any other common noun denoting persons or a person, demands no such distinction. And proper names of persons are so marked, not with any reference to personality, but because they are proper nouns—or names of individuals, and not names of sorts. Thus, Æsop's viper and file are both personified, where it is recorded, "'What ails thee, fool?' says the file to the viper;" but the fable gives to these names no capitals, except in the title of the story. It may here be added, that, according to their definitions of personification, our grammarians and the teachers of rhetoric have hitherto formed no very accurate idea of what constitutes the figure. Lindley Murray says, "PERSONIFICATION [,] or PROSOPOPOEIA, is that figure by which we attribute life and action to inanimate objects."—Octavo Gram., p. 346; Duodecimo, p. 211. Now this is all wrong, doubly wrong,—wrong in relation to what personification is, and wrong too in its specification of the objects which may be personified. For "life and action" not being peculiar to persons, there must be something else than these ascribed, to form the figure; and, surely, the objects which Fancy thinks it right to personify, are not always "inanimate." I have elsewhere defined the thing as follows: "Personification is a figure by which, in imagination, we ascribe intelligence and personality to unintelligent beings or abstract qualities."—Inst., p. 234.

OBS. 14.—On Rule 11th, concerning Derivatives, I would observe, that not only the proper adjectives, to which this rule more particularly refers, but also nouns, and even verbs, derived from such adjectives, are frequently, if not generally, written with an initial capital. Thus, from Greece, we have Greek, Greeks, Greekish, Greekling, Grecise, Grecism, Grecian, Grecians, Grecianize. So Murray, copying Blair, speaks of "Latinised English;" and, again, of style strictly "English, without Scotticisms or Gallicisms."—Mur. Gram., 8vo, p. 295; Blair's Lect., pp. 93 and 94. But it is questionable, how far this principle respecting capitals ought to be carried. The examples in Dr. Johnson's quarto Dictionary exhibit the words, gallicisms, anglicisms, hebrician, latinize, latinized, judaized, and christianized, without capitals; and the words Latinisms, Grecisms, Hebraisms, and Frenchified, under like circumstances, with them. Dr. Webster also defines Romanize, "To Latinize; to conform to Romish opinions." In the examples of Johnson, there is a manifest inconsistency. Now, with respect to adjectives from proper names, and also to the nouns formed immediately from such adjectives, it is clear that they ought to have capitals: no one will contend that the words American and Americans should be written with a small a. With respect to Americanism, Gallicism, and other similar words, there may be some room to doubt. But I prefer a capital for these. And, that we may have a uniform rule to go by, I would not stop here, but would write Americanize and Americanized with a capital also; for it appears that custom is in favour of thus distinguishing nearly all verbs and participles of this kind, so long as they retain an obvious reference to their particular origin. But when any such word ceases to be understood as referring directly to the proper name, it may properly be written without a capital. Thus we write jalap from Jalapa, hermetical from Hermes, hymeneal from Hymen, simony, from Simon, philippic from Philip; the verbs, to hector, to romance, to japan, to christen, to philippize, to galvanize; and the adverbs hermetically and jesuitically, all without a capital: and perhaps judaize, christianize, and their derivatives, may join this class. Dr. Webster's octavo Dictionary mentions "the prussic acid" and "prussian blue," without a capital; and so does Worcester's.

OBS. 15.—On Rule 12th, concerning I and O, it may be observed, that although many who occasionally write, are ignorant enough to violate this, as well as every other rule of grammar, yet no printer ever commits blunders of this sort. Consequently, the few erroneous examples which will be exhibited for correction under it, will not be undesigned mistakes. Among the errors of books, we do not find the printing of the words I and O in small characters; but the confounding of O with the other interjection oh, is not uncommon even among grammarians. The latter has no concern with this rule, nor is it equivalent to the former, as a sign: O is a note of wishing, earnestness, and vocative address; but oh is, properly, a sign of sorrow, pain, or surprise. In the following example, therefore, a line from Milton is perverted:—

"Oh thou! that with surpassing glory crowned!" —Bucke's Gram., p. 88.

OBS. 16.—On Rule 13th, concerning Poetry, it may be observed, that the principle applies only to regular versification, which is the common form, if not the distinguishing mark, of poetical composition. And, in this, the practice of beginning every line with a capital is almost universal; but I have seen some books in which it was whimsically disregarded. Such poetry as that of Macpherson's Ossian, or such as the common translation of the Psalms, is subjected neither to this rule, nor to the common laws of verse.

OBS. 17.—On Rule 14th, concerning Examples, Speeches, and Quotations, it may be observed, that the propriety of beginning these with a capital or otherwise, depends in some measure upon their form. One may suggest certain words by way of example, (as see, saw, seeing, seen,) and they will require no capital; or he may sometimes write one half of a sentence in his own words, and quote the other with the guillemets and no capital; but whatsoever is cited as being said with other relations of what is called person, requires something to distinguish it from the text into which it is woven. Thus Cobbett observes, that, "The French, in their Bible, say Le Verbe, where we say The Word."—E. Gram., p. 21. Cobbett says the whole of this; but he here refers one short phrase to the French nation, and an other to the English, not improperly beginning each with a capital, and further distinguishing them by Italics. Our common Bibles make no use of the quotation points, but rely solely upon capitals and the common points, to show where any particular speech begins or ends. In some instances, the insufficiency of these means is greatly felt, notwithstanding the extraordinary care of the original writers, in the use of introductory phrases. Murray says, "When a quotation is brought in obliquely after a comma, a capital is unnecessary: as, 'Solomon observes, "that pride goes before destruction."'"—Octavo Gram., p. 284. But, as the word 'that' belongs not to Solomon, and the next word begins his assertion, I think we ought to write it, "Solomon observes, that, 'Pride goeth before destruction.'" Or, if we do not mean to quote him literally, we may omit the guillemets, and say, "Solomon observes that pride goes before destruction."



[Fist][The improprieties in the following examples are to be corrected orally by the learner, according to the formules given, or according to others framed from them with such slight changes as the several quotations may require. A correct example will occasionally he admitted for the sake of contrast, or that the learner may see the quoted author's inconsistency. It will also serve as a block over which stupidity may stumble and wake up. But a full explanation of what is intended, will be afforded in the Key.]


"Many a reader of the bible knows not who wrote the acts of the apostles."—G. B.

[FORMULE OF CORRECTION.—Not proper, because the words, bible, acts, and apostles, here begin with small letters. But, according to Rule 1st, "When particular books are mentioned by their names, the chief words in their titles begin with capitals, and the other letters are small." Therefore, "Bible" should begin with a capital B; and "Acts" and "Apostles," each with a large A.]

"The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles."—SCOTT'S BIBLE: Neh., xii, 23. "Are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?"—SCOTT, ALGER: I Kings, xi, 41. "Are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel?"—ALGER: 1 Kings, xxii, 39. "Are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"—SCOTT: ib., ver. 45. "Which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms."—SCOTT: Luke, xxiv, 44. "The narrative of which may be seen in Josephus's History of the Jewish wars."—Scott's Preface, p. ix. "This history of the Jewish war was Josephus's first work, and published about A. D. 75."—Note to Josephus. "'I have read,' says Photius, 'the chronology of Justus of Tiberias.'"—Ib., Jos. Life. "A philosophical grammar, written by James Harris, Esquire."—Murray's Gram., p. 34. "The reader is referred to Stroud's sketch of the slave laws."—Anti-Slavery Mag., i, 25. "But God has so made the bible that it interprets itself."—Ib., i, 78. "In 1562, with the help of Hopkins, he completed the psalter."—Music of Nature, p. 283. "Gardiner says this of Sternhold; of whom the universal biographical dictionary and the American encyclopedia affirm, that he died in 1549."—Author. "The title of a Book, to wit: 'English Grammar in familiar lectures,'" &c.—Kirkham's Gram., p. 2. "We had not, at that time, seen Mr. Kirkham's 'Grammar in familiar Lectures.'"—Ib., p. 3. "When you parse, you may spread the Compendium before you."—Ib., p. 53. "Whenever you parse, you may spread the compendium before you."—Ib., p. 113. "Adelung was the author of a grammatical and critical dictionary of the German language, and other works."—Univ. Biog. Dict. "Alley, William, author of 'the poor man's library,' and a translation of the Pentateuch, died in 1570."—Ib.


"Depart instantly: improve your time: forgive us our sins."—Murray's
, p. 61.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the words improve and forgive begin with small letters. But, according to Rule 2nd, "The first word of every distinct sentence should begin with a capital." Therefore, "Improve" should begin with a capital I; and "Forgive," with a capital F.]

EXAMPLES: "Gold is corrupting; the sea is green; a lion is bold."—Mur. Gram., p. 170; et al. Again: "It may rain; he may go or stay; he would walk; they should learn."—Ib., p. 64; et al. Again: "Oh! I have alienated my friend; alas! I fear for life."—Ib., p. 128; et al. Again: "He went from London to York;" "she is above disguise;" "they are supported by industry."—Ib., p. 28; et al. "On the foregoing examples, I have a word to say. they are better than a fair specimen of their kind, our grammars abound with worse illustrations, their models of English are generally spurious quotations. few of their proof-texts have any just parentage, goose-eyes are abundant, but names scarce. who fathers the foundlings? nobody. then let their merit be nobody's, and their defects his who could write no better."—Author. "goose-eyes!" says a bright boy; "pray, what are they? does this Mr. Author make new words when he pleases? dead-eyes are in a ship, they are blocks, with holes in them, but what are goose-eyes in grammar?" ANSWER: "goose-eyes are quotation points, some of the Germans gave them this name, making a jest of their form, the French call them guillemets, from the name of their inventor."—Author. "it is a personal pronoun, of the third person singular."—Comly's Gram., 12th Ed., p. 126. "ourselves is a personal pronoun, of the first person plural."—Ib., 138. "thee is a personal pronoun, of the second person singular."—Ib., 126. "contentment is a noun common, of the third person singular."—Ib., 128. "were is a neuter verb, of the indicative mood, imperfect tense."—Ib., 129.


"O thou dispenser of life! thy mercies are boundless."—W. Allen's Gram., p. 449.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word dispenser begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 3d, "All names of the Deity, and sometimes their emphatic substitutes, should begin with capitals." Therefore, "Dispenser" should here begin with a capital D.]

"Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?"—SCOTT: Gen., xviii, 25. "And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."—Murray's Gram., p. 330. "It is the gift of him, who is the great author of good, and the Father of mercies."—Ib., 287. "This is thy god that brought thee up out of Egypt."—SCOTT, ALGER: Neh., ix, 18. "For the lord is our defence; and the holy one of Israel is our king."—See Psalm lxxxix, 18. "By making him the responsible steward of heaven's bounties."—Anti- Slavery Mag., i, 29. "Which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day."—SCOTT, FRIENDS: 2 Tim., iv, 8. "The cries of them * * * entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth."—SCOTT: James, v, 4. "In Horeb, the deity revealed himself to Moses, as the eternal I am, the self-existent one; and, after the first discouraging interview of his messengers with Pharaoh, he renewed his promise to them, by the awful name, jehovah—a name till then unknown, and one which the Jews always held it a fearful profanation to pronounce."—Author. "And god spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the lord: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of god almighty; but by my name jehovah was I not known to them."—See[106] Exod., vi, 2. "Thus saith the lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no god."—See Isa., xliv, 6.

   "His impious race their blasphemy renew'd,
    And nature's king through nature's optics view'd."—Dryden, p. 90.


"Islamism prescribes fasting during the month ramazan."—Balbi's Geog., p. 17.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word ramazan here begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 4th, "Proper names, of every description, should always begin with capitals." Therefore, "Ramazan" should begin with a capital R. The word is also misspelled: it should rather be Ramadan.]

"Near mecca, in arabia, is jebel nor, or the mountain of light, on the top of which the mussulmans erected a mosque, that they might perform their devotions where, according to their belief, mohammed received from the angel gabriel the first chapter of the Koran."—Author. "In the kaaba at mecca, there is a celebrated block of volcanic basalt, which the mohammedans venerate as the gift of gabriel to abraham, but their ancestors once held it to be an image of remphan, or saturn; so 'the image which fell down from jupiter,' to share with diana the homage of the ephesians, was probably nothing more than a meteoric stone."—Id. "When the lycaonians, at lystra, took paul and barnabas to be gods, they called the former mercury, on account of his eloquence, and the latter jupiter, for the greater dignity of his appearance."—Id. "Of the writings of the apostolic fathers of the first century, but few have come down to us; yet we have in those of barnabas, clement of rome, hermas, ignatius, and polycarp, very certain evidence of the authenticity of the New Testament, and the New Testament is a voucher for the old."—Id.

"It is said by tatian, that theagenes of rhegium, in the time of cambyses, stesimbrotus the thracian, antimachus the colophonian, herodotus of halicarnassus, dionysius the olynthian, ephorus of cumæ, philochorus the athenian, metaclides and chamæleon the peripatetics, and zenodotus, aristophanes, callimachus, erates, eratosthenes, aristarchus, and apollodorus, the grammarians, all wrote concerning the poetry, the birth, and the age of homer." See Coleridge's Introd., p. 57. "Yet, for aught that now appears, the life of homer is as fabulous as that of hercules; and some have even suspected, that, as the son of jupiter and alcmena, has fathered the deeds of forty other herculeses, so this unfathered son of critheis, themisto, or whatever dame—this melesigenes, mæonides, homer—the blind schoolmaster, and poet, of smyrna, chios, colophon, salamis, rhodes, argos, athens, or whatever place—has, by the help of lycurgus, solon, pisistratus, and other learned ancients, been made up of many poets or homers, and set so far aloft and aloof on old parnassus, as to become a god in the eyes of all greece, a wonder in those of all Christendom."—Author.

   "Why so sagacious in your guesses?
    Your effs, and tees, and arrs, and esses?"—Swift.


"The king has conferred on him the title of duke."—Murray's Key, 8vo, p. 193.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word duke begins with a small letter.
But, according to Rule 5th, "Titles of office or honour, and epithets of
distinction, applied to persons, begin usually with capitals." Therefore,
"Duke" should here begin with a capital D.]

"At the court of queen Elizabeth."—Murray's Gram.; 8vo, p. 157; 12mo, p. 126; Fisk's, 115; et al. "The laws of nature are, truly, what lord Bacon styles his aphorisms, laws of laws."—Murray's Key, p. 260. "Sixtus the fourth was, if I mistake not, a great collector of books."—Ib., p. 257. "Who at that time made up the court of king Charles the second."—Murray's Gram., p. 314. "In case of his majesty's dying without issue."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 181. "King Charles the first was beheaded in 1649."—W. Allen's Gram., p. 45. "He can no more impart or (to use lord Bacon's word,) transmit convictions."—Kirkham's Eloc., p. 220. "I reside at lord Stormont's, my old patron and benefactor."—Murray's Gram., p. 176. "We staid a month at lord Lyttleton's, the ornament of his country."—Ib., p. 177. "Whose prerogative is it? It is the king of Great Britain's;" "That is the duke of Bridgewater's canal;" "The bishop of Llandaff's excellent book;" "The Lord mayor of London's authority."—Ib., p. 176. "Why call ye me lord, lord, and do not the things which I say?"—See GRIESBACH: Luke, vi, 46. "And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles."—SCOTT: Luke, vi, 13. "And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him."—See the Greek: Matt., xxvi, 49. "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent."—Luke, xvi, 30.


"Fall River, a village in Massachusetts, population 3431."—See Univ.
, p. 416.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the name Fall River is here written in two parts, and with two capitals. But, according to Rule 6th, "Those compound proper names which by analogy incline to a union of their parts without a hyphen, should be so written, and have but one capital." Therefore, Fallriver, as the name of a town, should be one word, and retain but one capital.]

"Dr. Anderson died at West Ham, in Essex, in 1808."—Biog. Dict. "Mad River, [the name of] two towns in Clark and Champaign counties, Ohio."—Williams's Universal Gazetteer. "White Creek, town of Washington county, N. York."—Ib. "Salt Creek, the name of four towns in different parts of Ohio."—Ib. "Salt Lick, a town of Fayette county, Pennsylvania."—Ib. "Yellow Creek, a town of Columbiana county, Ohio."—Ib. "White Clay, a hundred of New Castle county, Delaware."—Ib. "Newcastle, town and halfshire of Newcastle county, Delaware."—Ib. "Sing-Sing, a village of West Chester county, New York, situated in the town of Mount Pleasant."—Ib. "West Chester, a county of New York; also a town in Westchester county."—Ib. "West Town, a village of Orange county, New York."—Ib. "White Water, a town of Hamilton county, Ohio."—Ib. "White Water River, a considerable stream that rises in Indiana, and flowing southeasterly, unites with the Miami, in Ohio."—Ib. "Black Water, a village of Hampshire, in England, and a town in Ireland."—Ib. "Black Water, the name of seven different rivers in England, Ireland, and the United States."—Ib. "Red Hook, a town of Dutchess county, New York, on the Hudson."—Ib. "Kinderhook, a town of Columbia county, New York, on the Hudson."—Ib. "New Fane, a town of Niagara county, New York."—Ib. "Lake Port, a town of Chicot county, Arkansas."—Ib. "Moose Head Lake, the chief source of the Kennebeck, in Maine."—Ib. "Macdonough, a county of Illinois, population (in 1830) 2,959."—Ib., p. 408. "Mc Donough, a county of Illinois, with a courthouse, at Macomb."—Ib., p. 185. "Half-Moon, the name of two towns, in New York and Pennsylvania; also of two bays in the West Indies."—See Worcester's Gaz. "Le Boeuf, a town of Erie county, Pennsylvania, near a small lake of the same name."—Ib. "Charles City, James City, Elizabeth City, names of counties in Virginia, not cities, nor towns."—See Univ. Gaz. "The superior qualities of the waters of the Frome, here called Stroud water."—Balbi's Geog., p. 223.


"The Forth rises on the north side of Benlomond, and runs easterly."—Glas. Geog.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the name "Benlomond" is compounded under one capital, contrary to the general analogy of other similar terms. But, according to Rule 7th, "The compounding of a name under one capital should be avoided when the general analogy of other similar terms suggests a separation under two." Therefore, "Ben Lomond" should be written with two capitals and no hyphen.]

"The red granite of Ben-nevis is said to be the finest in the world."—Ib., ii, 311. "Ben-more, in Perthshire, is 3,915 feet above the level of the sea."—Ib., 313. "The height of Benclough is 2,420 feet."—Ib.. "In Sutherland and Caithness, are Ben Ormod, Ben Clibeg, Ben Grin, Ben Hope, and Ben Lugal."—Ib., 311. "Benvracky is 2,756 feet high; Ben-ledi, 3,009; and Benvoirlich, 3,300."—Ib., 313. "The river Dochart gives the name of Glendochart to the vale through which it runs."—Ib., 314. "About ten miles from its source, the Tay diffuses itself into Lochdochart."—Geog. altered. LAKES:—"Lochard, Loch-Achray, Loch-Con, Loch-Doine, Loch-Katrine, Loch-Lomond, Loch-Voil."—Scott's Lady of the Lake. GLENS:—"Glenfinlas, Glen Fruin, Glen Luss, Ross-dhu, Leven-glen, Strath-Endrick, Strath-Gartney, Strath-Ire."—Ib. MOUNTAINS:—"Ben-an, Benharrow, Benledi, Ben-Lomond, Benvoirlich, Ben-venue, and sometimes Benvenue."—Ib. "Fenelon died in 1715, deeply lamented by all the inhabitants of the Low-countries."—Murray's Sequel, p. 322. "And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim, the son of Josiah, king."—SCOTT, FRIENDS: 2 Kings, xxiii, 34. "Those who seem so merry and well pleased, call her Good Fortune; but the others, who weep and wring their hands, Bad-fortune."—Collier's Tablet of Cebes.


"When Joab returned, and smote Edom in the valley of salt."—SCOTT: Ps. lx, title.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the words valley and salt begin with small letters. But, according to Rule 8th, "When any adjective or common noun is made a distinct part of a compound proper name, it ought to begin with a capital." Therefore, "Valley" should here begin with a capital V, and "Salt" with a capital S.]

"Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill and said," &c.—SCOTT: Acts, xvii, 22. "And at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives."—Luke, xxi, 37. "Abgillus, son of the king of the Frisii, surnamed Prester John, was in the Holy land with Charlemagne."—Univ. Biog. Dict. "Cape Palmas, in Africa, divides the Grain coast from the Ivory coast."—Dict. of Geog., p. 125. "The North Esk, flowing from Loch-lee, falls into the sea three miles north of Montrose."—Ib., p. 232. "At Queen's ferry, the channel of the Forth is contracted by promontories on both coasts."—Ib., p. 233. "The Chestnut ridge is about twenty-five miles west of the Alleghanies, and Laurel ridge, ten miles further west."—Balbi's Geog., p. 65. "Washington City, the metropolis of the United States of America."—W.'s Univ. Gaz., p. 380. "Washington city, in the District of Columbia, population (in 1830) 18,826."—Ib., p. 408. "The loftiest peak of the white mountains, in new Hampshire, is called mount Washington."—Author. "Mount's bay, in the west of England, lies between the land's end and lizard point."—Id. "Salamis, an island of the Egean Sea, off the southern coast of the ancient Attica."—Dict. of Geog. "Rhodes, an island of the Egean sea, the largest and most easterly of the Cyclades."—Ib. "But he overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea."—BRUCE'S BIBLE: Ps. cxxxvi, 15. "But they provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea."—SCOTT: Ps. cvi, 7.[107]


"At that time, Herod the Tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus."—ALGER: Matt., xiv, 1.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word Tetrarch begins with a capital letter. But, according to Rule 8th, "When a common and a proper name are associated merely to explain each other, it is in general sufficient, if the proper name begin with a capital, and the appellative, with a small letter." Therefore, "tetrarch" should here begin with a small t.]

"Who has been more detested than Judas the Traitor?"—Author. "St. Luke, the Evangelist, was a physician of Antioch, and one of the converts of St. Paul."—Id. "Luther, the Reformer, began his bold career by preaching against papal indulgences."—Id. "The Poet Lydgate was a disciple and admirer of Chaucer: he died in 1440."—Id. "The Grammarian Varro, 'the most learned of the Romans,' wrote three books when he was eighty years old."—Id. "John Despauter, the great Grammarian of Flanders, whose works are still valued, died in 1520."—Id. "Nero, the Emperor and Tyrant of Rome, slew himself to avoid a worse death."—Id. "Cicero the Orator, 'the Father of his Country,' was assassinated at the age of 64."—Id. "Euripides, the Greek Tragedian, was born in the Island of Salamis, B. C. 476."—Id. "I will say unto God my Rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?"—SCOTT: Ps. xlii, 9. "Staten Island, an island of New York, nine miles below New York City."—Univ. Gaz. "When the son of Atreus, King of Men, and the noble Achilles first separated."—Coleridge's Introd., p. 83.

   "Hermes, his Patron-God, those gifts bestow'd,
    Whose shrine with weaning lambs he wont to load."
        —POPE: Odys., B. 19.


"But wisdom is justified of all her children."—SCOTT, ALGER: Luke, vii, 35.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word wisdom begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 10th, "The name of an object personified, when it conveys an idea strictly individual, should begin with a capital." Therefore, "Wisdom" should here begin with a capital W.]

"Fortune and the church are generally put in the feminine gender."—Murray's Gram., i, p. 37. "Go to your natural religion; lay before her Mahomet, and his disciples."—Blair's Rhetoric, p. 157: see also Murray's Gram., i, 347. "O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?"—1 Cor., xv, 55; Murray's Gram., p. 348; English Reader, 31; Merchant's Gram., 212. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."—SCOTT, FRIENDS, ET AL.: Matt., vi, 24. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."—IIDEM: Luke, xvi, 13. "This house was built as if suspicion herself had dictated the plan."—See Key. "Poetry distinguishes herself from prose, by yielding to a musical law."—See Key. "My beauteous deliverer thus uttered her divine instructions: 'My name is religion. I am the offspring of truth and love, and the parent of benevolence, hope, and joy. That monster, from whose power I have freed you, is called superstition: she is the child of discontent, and her followers are fear and sorrow.'"—See Key. "Neither hope nor fear could enter the retreats; and habit had so absolute a power, that even conscience, if religion had employed her in their favour, would not have been able to force an entrance."—See Key.

   "In colleges and halls in ancient days,
    There dwelt a sage called discipline."—Wayland's M. Sci., p. 368.


"In English, I would have gallicisms avoided."—FELTON: Johnson's Dict.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word gallicisms here begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 11th, "Words derived from proper names, and having direct reference to particular persons, places, sects, or nations, should begin with capitals." Therefore, "Gallicisms" should begin with a capital G.]

"Sallust was born in Italy, 85 years before the christian era."—Murray's Seq., p. 357. "Dr. Doddridge was not only a great man, but one of the most excellent and useful christians, and christian ministers."—Ib., 319. "They corrupt their style with untutored anglicisms."—MILTON: in Johnson's Dict. "Albert of Stade, author of a chronicle from the creation to 1286, a benedictine of the 13th century."—Universal Biog. Dict. "Graffio, a jesuit of Capua in the 16th century, author of two volumes on moral subjects."—Ib. "They frenchify and italianize words whenever they can."—See Key. "He who sells a christian, sells the grace of God."—Anti-Slavery Mag., p. 77. "The first persecution against the christians, under Nero, began A. D. 64."—Gregory's Dict. "P. Rapin, the jesuit, uniformly decides in favour of the Roman writers."—Cobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 171. "The Roman poet and epicurean philosopher Lucretius has said," &c.—Cohen's Florida, p. 107. Spell "calvinistic, atticism, gothicism, epicurism, jesuitism, sabianism, socinianism, anglican, anglicism, anglicize, vandalism, gallicism, romanize."—Webster's El. Spelling-Book, 130-133. "The large ternate bat."—Webster's Dict. w. ROSSET; Bolles's Dict., w. ROSET.

   "Church-ladders are not always mounted best
    By learned clerks, and latinists profess'd."—Cowper.


"Fall back, fall back; i have not room:—o! methinks i see a couple whom i should know."—Lucian, varied.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word I, which occurs three times, and the word O, which occurs once, are here printed in letters of the lower case.[108] But, according to Rule 12th, "The words I and O should always be capitals." Therefore, each should be changed to a capital, as often as it occurs.]

"Nay, i live as i did, i think as i did, i love you as i did; but all these are to no purpose: the world will not live, think, or love, as i do."—Swift, varied. "Whither, o! whither shall i fly? o wretched prince! o cruel reverse of fortune! o father Micipsa! is this the consequence of thy generosity?"—Sallust, varied. "When i was a child, i spake as a child, i understood as a child, i thought as a child; but when i became a man, i put away childish things."—1 Cor., xiii, 11, varied. "And i heard, but i understood not: then said i, o my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?"—Dan., xii, 8, varied. "Here am i; i think i am very good, and i am quite sure i am very happy, yet i never wrote a treatise in my life."—Few Days in Athens, varied. "Singular, Vocative, o master; Plural, Vocative, o masters."—Bicknell's Gram., p. 30.

   "I, i am he; o father! rise, behold
    Thy son, with twenty winters now grown old!"—See Pope's Odyssey.


   "Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
    lie in three words—health, peace, and competence;
    but health consists with temperance alone,
    and peace, O Virtue! peace is all thy own."
        Pope's Essay on Man, a fine London Edition.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the last three lines of this example begin with small letters. But, according to Rule 18th, "Every line in poetry, except what is regarded as making but one verse with the preceding line, should begin with a capital." Therefore, the words, "Lie," "But," and "And," at the commencement of these lines, should severally begin with the capitals L, B, and A.]

"Observe the language well in all you write, and swerve not from it in your loftiest flight. The smoothest verse and the exactest sense displease us, if ill English give offence: a barbarous phrase no reader can approve; nor bombast, noise, or affectation love. In short, without pure language, what you write can never yield us profit or delight. Take time for thinking, never work in haste; and value not yourself for writing fast." See Dryden's Art of Poetry:—British Poets, Vol. iii, p. 74.


"The word rather is very properly used to express a small degree or excess of a quality: as, 'she is rather profuse in her expenses.'"—Murray's Gram., p. 47.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word she begins with a small letter.
But, according to Rule 14th, "The first word of a full example, of a
distinct speech, or of a direct quotation, should begin with a capital."
Therefore, the word "She" should here begin with a capital S.]

"Neither imports not either; that is, not one nor the other: as, 'neither of my friends was there.'"—Murray's Gram., p. 56. "When we say, 'he is a tall man,' 'this is a fair day,' we make some reference to the ordinary size of men, and to different weather."—Ib., p. 47. "We more readily say, 'A million of men,' than 'a thousand of men.'"—Ib., p. 169. "So in the instances, 'two and two are four;' 'the fifth and sixth volumes will complete the set of books.'"—Ib., p. 124. "The adjective may frequently either precede or follow it [the verb]: as, 'the man is happy;' or, 'happy is the man:' 'The interview was delightful;' or, 'delightful was the interview.'"—Ib., p. 168. "If we say, 'he writes a pen,' 'they ran the river, 'the tower fell the Greeks,' 'Lambeth is Westminster-abbey,' [we speak absurdly;] and, it is evident, there is a vacancy which must be filled up by some connecting word: as thus, 'He writes with a pen;' 'they ran towards the river;' 'the tower fell upon the Greeks;' 'Lambeth is over against Westminster-abbey.'"—Ib., p. 118. "Let me repeat it;—he only is great, who has the habits of greatness."—Murray's Key, 241. "I say not unto thee, until seven times; but, until seventy times seven."—See Matt., xviii, 22.

   "The Panther smil'd at this; and when, said she,
    Were those first councils disallow'd by me?"—Dryden, p. 95.


"The supreme council of the nation is called the divan."—Balbi's Geog., p. 360.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word divan begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 15th, "Other words of particular importance, and such as denote the principal subjects treated of, may be distinguished by capitals." Therefore, "Divan" should here begin with a capital D.]

"The British parliament is composed of kings, lords, and commons."—Murray's Key, p. 184. "A popular orator in the House of Commons has a sort of patent for coining as many new terms as he pleases."—See Campbell's Rhet., p. 169; Murray's Gram., 364. "They may all be taken together, as one name; as, the house of commons."— Merchant's School Gram., p. 25. "Intrusted to persons in whom the parliament could confide."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 202. "For 'The Lords' house,' it were certainly better to say, 'The house of lords;' and, in stead of 'The commons' vote,' to say, 'The votes of the commons.'"—See ib., p. 177, 4th Amer. Ed.; also Priestley's Gram., p. 69. "The house of lords were so much influenced by these reasons."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 152; Priestley's Gram., 188. "Rhetoricians commonly divide them into two great classes; figures of words, and figures of thought. The former, figures of words, are commonly called tropes."—Blair's Rhet., p. 132. "Perhaps figures of imagination, and figures of passion, might be a more useful distribution."—Ib., p. 133. "Hitherto we have considered sentences, under the heads of perspicuity, unity, and strength."—Ib., p. 120.

   "The word is then depos'd, and in this view,
    You rule the scripture, not the scripture you."—Dryden, p. 95.


"Be of good cheer: It is I; be not afraid."—ALGER: Matt., xiv, 27.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word It begins with a capital I, for which there appears to be neither rule nor reason. But, according to Rule 16th, "Capitals are improper wherever there is not some special rule or reason for their use." Therefore, 'it' should here begin with a small letter, as Dr. Scott has it.]

"Between passion and lying, there is not a Finger's breadth."—Murray's Key, p. 240. "Can our Solicitude alter the course, or unravel the intricacy, of human events?"—Ib., p. 242. "The last edition was carefully compared with the Original M. S."—Ib., p. 239. "And the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews?"—ALGER: Matt., xxvii, 11. "Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame, that say, Aha, Aha!"—FRIENDS' BIBLE: Ps., lxx, 3. "Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame, that say unto me, Aha, aha!"—IB.: Ps., xl, 15. "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call him Lord?"—SCOTT: Matt., xxii, 42, 43. "Among all Things in the Universe, direct your Worship to the Greatest; And which is that? 'T is that Being which Manages and Governs all the Rest."—Meditations of M. Aurelius Antoninus, p. 76. "As for Modesty and Good Faith, Truth and Justice, they have left this wicked World and retired to Heaven: And now what is it that can keep you here?"—Ib., p. 81.

   "If Pulse of Terse, a Nation's Temper shows,
    In keen Iambics English Metre flows."—Brightland's Gram., p. 151.



"Come, gentle spring, Ethereal mildness, come."—Gardiner's Music of
, p. 411.

[FORMULES.—1. Not proper, because the word spring begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 10th, "The name of an object personified, when it conveys an idea strictly individual, should begin with a capital." Therefore "Spring" should here begin with a capital S.

2. Not proper again, because the word Ethereal begins with a capital E, for which there appears to be neither rule nor reason. But, according to Rule 16th. "Capitals are improper whenever there is not some special rule or reason for their use." Therefore, "ethereal" should here begin with a small letter.]

As, "He is the Cicero of his age; he is reading the lives of the Twelve Cæsars."—Murray's Gram., p. 36. "In the History of Henry the fourth, by father Daniel, we are surprized at not finding him the great man."—Priestley's Gram., p. 151. "In the history of Henry the fourth, by Father Daniel, we are surprised at not finding him the great man."—Murray's Gram., p. 172; Ingersoll's, 187; Fisk's, 99. "Do not those same poor peasants use the Lever and the Wedge, and many other instruments?"—Murray, 288; from Harris, 293. "Arithmetic is excellent for the gauging of Liquors; Geometry, for the measuring of Estates; Astronomy, for the making of Almanacks; and Grammar, perhaps, for the drawing of Bonds and Conveyances."—Harris's Hermes, p. 295. "The wars of Flanders, written in Latin by Famianus Strada, is a book of some note."—Blair's Rhet., p. 364. "William is a noun.—why? was is a verb.—why? a is an article.—why? very is an adverb.—why?" &c.—Merchant's School Gram., p. 20. "In the beginning was the word, and that word was with God, and God was that word."—Gwilt's Saxon Gram., p. 49. "The greeks are numerous in thessaly, macedonia, romelia, and albania."—Balbi, varied. "He is styled by the Turks, Sultan (Mighty) or Padishah (lord)."—Balbi's Geog., p. 360. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues;[109] O grave, I will be thy destruction."—SCOTT, ALGER, ET AL.: Hosea, xiii, 14. "Silver and Gold have I none; but such as I have, give I unto thee."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 321. "Return, we beseech thee, O God of Hosts, look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine."—Ib., p. 342. "In the Attic Commonwealth, it was the privilege of every citizen to rail in public."—Ib., p. 316. "They assert that, in the phrases, 'give me that,' 'this is John's,' and 'such were some of you,' the words in italics are pronouns: but that, in the following phrases, they are not pronouns; 'this book is instructive,' 'some boys are ingenious,' 'my health is declining,' 'our hearts are deceitful,' &c."—Ib., p. 58. "And the coast bends again to the northwest, as far as Far Out head."—Glasgow Geog., Vol. ii, p. 308. Dr. Webster, and other makers of spelling-books, very improperly write "sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday," without capitals.—See Webster's Elementary Spelling-Book p. 85. "The commander in chief of the Turkish navy is styled the capitan-pasha."—Balbi's Geog., p. 360. "Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?"—SCOTT'S BIBLE: Heb., xii, 9. "Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live?"—FRIENDS' BIBLE: Heb., xii, 9. "He was more anxious to attain the character of a Christian hero."—Murray's Sequel, p. 308. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion."—Psalms, xlviii, 2. "The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."—SCOTT: Heb., xiii, 6. "Make haste to help me, O LORD my Salvation."—SCOTT: Ps., xxxviii, 22.

   "The City, which Thou seest, no other deem
    Than great and glorious Rome, Queen of the Earth."
                              Harris's Hermes, p. 49.


"That range of hills, known under the general name of mount Jura."—Priestley's Gram., p. 110. "He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up."—SCOTT: Ps., cvi, 9. "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives."—John, viii, 1. "Milton's book, in reply to the Defence of the king, by Salmasius, gained him a thousand pounds from the parliament, and killed his antagonist with vexation."—See Murray's Sequel, 343. "Mandeville, sir John, an Englishman, famous for his travels, born about 1300, died in 1372."—Biog. Dict. "Ettrick pen, a mountain in Selkirkshire, Scotland, height 2,200 feet."—Glasgow Geog., Vol. ii, p. 312. "The coast bends from Dungsbyhead in a northwest direction to the promontory of Dunnet head."—Ib., p. 307. "Gen. Gaines ordered a detachment of near 300 men, under the command of Major Twiggs, to surround and take an Indian Village, called Fowl Town, about fourteen miles from fort Scott."—Cohen's Florida, p. 41. "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha Cumi."—ALGER: Mark, v, 4. "On religious subjects, a frequent recurrence of scripture-language is attended with peculiar force."—Murray's Gram., p. 318. "Contemplated with gratitude to their Author, the Giver of all Good."—Ib., p. 289. "When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth."—Ib., p. 171; Fisk, 98; Ingersoll, 186. "See the lecture on verbs, rule XV. note 4."—Fisk's E. Gram., p. 117. "At the commencement of lecture II. I informed you that Etymology treats, 3dly, of derivation."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 171. "This VIII. lecture is a very important one."—Ib., p. 113. "Now read the XI. and XII. lectures four or five times over."—Ib., p. 152. "In 1752, he was advanced to the bench, under the title of lord Kames."—Murray's Sequel, p. 331. "One of his maxims was, 'know thyself.'"—Lempriere's Dict., n. Chilo. "Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"—See Matt., xix, 16. "His best known works, however, are 'anecdotes of the earl of Chatham,' 2 vols. 4to., 3 vols. 8vo., and 'biographical, literary, and political anecdotes of several of the most eminent persons of the present age; never before printed,' 3 vols. 8vo. 1797."—Univ. Biog. Dict., n. Almon. "O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee?"—Merchant's School Gram., p. 172. "O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse," &c.—SINGER'S SHAK. Sec. Part of Hen. IV, Act iii. "Sleep, gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse," &c.—Dodd's Beauties of Shakspeare, p. 129.

   "And Peace, O, Virtue! Peace is all thy own."—Pope's Works, p. 379.
    "And peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own."—Murray's Gram., ii, 16.


"Fenelon united the characters of a nobleman and a Christian pastor. His book entitled 'An explication of the Maxims of the Saints concerning the interior life,' gave considerable offence to the guardians of orthodoxy."—Murray's Sequel, p. 321. "When natural religion, who before was only a spectator, is introduced as speaking by the centurion's voice."—Blair's Rhet., p. 157. "You cannot deny, that the great mover and author of nature constantly explaineth himself to the eyes of men, by the sensible intervention of arbitrary signs, which have no similitude, or connexion, with the things signified."—Berkley's Minute Philosopher, p. 169. "The name of this letter is double U, its form, that of a double V."—Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 19. "Murray, in his spelling book, wrote 'Charles-Town' with a Hyphen and two Capitals."—See p. 101. "He also wrote 'european' without a capital."—See p. 86. "They profess themselves to be pharisees, who are to be heard and not imitated."—Calvin's Institutes, Ded., p. 55. "Dr. Webster wrote both 'Newhaven' and 'Newyork' with single capitals."—See his American Spelling-Book, p. 111. "Gayhead, the west point of Martha's Vineyard."—Williams's Univ. Gaz. Write "Craborchard, Eggharbor, Longisland, Perthamboy, Westhampton, Littlecompton, Newpaltz, Crownpoint, Fellspoint, Sandyhook, Portpenn, Portroyal. Portobello, and Portorico."—Webster's American Spelling-Book, 127-140. Write the names of the months: "january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, october, november, december."—Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book, 21-40. Write the following names and words properly: "tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, saturn;—christ, christian, christmas, christendom, michaelmas, indian, bacchanals;—Easthampton, omega, johannes, aonian, levitical, deuteronomy, european."—Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book, sundry places.

   "Eight Letters in some Syllables we find,
    And no more Syllables in Words are joined."
                        Brightland's Gram., p. 61.


A Syllable is one or more letters pronounced in one sound; and is either a word, as, a, an, ant; or a part of a word, as di in dial.

In every word there are as many syllables as there are distinct sounds, or separate impulses of the voice; as, gram-ma-ri-an.

A word of one syllable is called a monosyllable; a word of two syllables, a dissyllable; a word of three syllables, a trissyllable; and a word of four or more syllables, a polysyllable.

Every vowel, except w, may form a syllable of itself; but the consonants belong to the vowels or diphthongs; and without a vowel no syllable can be formed.


A diphthong is two vowels joined in one syllable; as, ea in beat, ou in sound. In oe or æ, old or foreign, the characters often unite.

A proper diphthong is a diphthong in which both the vowels are sounded; as, oi in voice, ow in vow.

An improper diphthong is a diphthong in which only one of the vowels is sounded; as, oa in loaf, eo in people.

A triphthong is three vowels joined in one syllable; as, eau in beau, iew in view, oeu in manoeuvre.

A proper triphthong is a triphthong in which all the vowels are sounded; as, uoy in buoy.

An improper triphthong is a triphthong in which only one or two of the vowels are sounded; as, eau in beauty, iou in anxious. The diphthongs in English are twenty-nine; embracing all but six of the thirty-five possible combinations of two vowels: aa, ae, ai, ao, au, aw, ay,—ea, ee, ei, eo, eu, ew, ey,—ia, ie, (ii,) io, (iu, iw, iy,)—oa, oe, oi, oo, ou, ow, oy,—ua, ue, ui, uo, (uu, uw,) uy.

Ten of these diphthongs, being variously sounded, may be either proper or improper; to wit, ay,—ie,—oi, ou, ow,—ua, ue, ui, uo, uy.

The proper diphthongs appear to be thirteen; ay,—ia, ie, io,—oi, ou, ow, oy,—ua, ue, ui, uo, uy: of which combinations, only three, ia, io, and oy, are invariably of this class.

The improper diphthongs are twenty-six; aa, ae, ai, ao, au, aw, ay,—ea, ee, ei, eo, eu, ew, ey,—ie,—oa, oe, oi, oo, ou, ow,—ua, ue, ui, uo, uy.

The only proper triphthong in English is uoy, as in buoy, buoyant, buoyancy; unless uoi in quoit may be considered a parallel instance.

The improper triphthongs are sixteen; awe, aye,—eau, eou, ewe, eye,—ieu, iew, iou,—oeu, owe,—uai, uaw, uay, uea, uee.


In dividing words into syllables, we are to be directed chiefly by the ear; it may however be proper to observe, as far as practicable, the following rules.


Consonants should generally be joined to the vowels or diphthongs which they modify in utterance; as, An-ax-ag'-o-ras, ap-os-tol'-i-cal.[110]


Two vowels, coming together, if they make not a diphthong, must be parted in dividing the syllables; as, A-cka'-i-a, A-o'-ni-an, a-e'-ri-al.


Derivative and grammatical terminations should generally be separated from the radical words to which they have been added; as, harm-less, great-ly, connect-ed: thus count-er and coun-ter are different words.


Prefixes, in general, form separate syllables; as, mis-place, out-ride, up-lift: but if their own primitive meaning be disregarded, the case may be otherwise; thus, re-create, and rec'-reate, re-formation, and ref-ormation, are words of different import.


Compounds, when divided, should be divided into the simple words which compose them; as, boat-swain, foot-hold, never-the-less.


At the end of a line, a word may be divided, if necessary; but a syllable must never be broken.


OBS. 1.—The doctrine of English syllabication is attended with some difficulties; because its purposes are various, and its principles, often contradictory. The old rules, borrowed chiefly from grammars of other languages, and still retained in some of our own, are liable to very strong objections.[111] By aiming to divide on the vowels, and to force the consonants, as much as possible, into the beginning of syllables, they often pervert or misrepresent our pronunciation. Thus Murray, in his Spelling-Book, has "gra-vel, fi-nish, me-lon, bro-ther, bo-dy, wi-dow, pri-son, a-va-rice, e-ve-ry, o-ran-ges, e-ne-my, me-di-cine, re-pre-sent, re-so-lu-tion," and a multitude of other words, divided upon a principle by which the young learner can scarcely fail to be led into error respecting their sounds. This method of division is therefore particularly reprehensible in such books as are designed to teach the true pronunciation of words; for which reason, it has been generally abandoned in our modern spelling-books and dictionaries: the authors of which have severally aimed at some sort of compromise between etymology and pronunciation; but they disagree so much, as to the manner of effecting it, that no two of them will be found alike, and very few, if any, entirely consistent with themselves.

OBS. 2.—The object of syllabication may be any one of the following four; 1. To enable a child to read unfamiliar words by spelling them; 2. To show the derivation or composition of words; 3. To exhibit the exact pronunciation of words; 4. To divide words properly, when it is necessary to break them at the ends of lines. With respect to the first of these objects, Walker observes, "When a child has made certain advances in reading, but is ignorant of the sound of many of the longer words, it may not be improper to lay down the common general rule to him, that a consonant between two vowels must go to the latter, and that two consonants coming together must be divided. Farther than this it would be absurd to go with a child."—Walker's Principles, No. 539. Yet, as a caution be it recorded, that, in 1833, an itinerant lecturer from the South, who made it his business to teach what he calls in his title-page, "An Abridgment of Walker's Rules on the Sounds of the Letters,"—an Abridgement, which, he says in his preface, "will be found to contain, it is believed, all the important rules that are established by Walker, and to carry his principles farther than he himself has done"—befooled the Legislature of Massachusetts, the School Committee and Common Council of Boston, the professor of elocution at Harvard University, and many other equally wise men of the east, into the notion that English pronunciation could be conveniently taught to children, in "four or five days," by means of some three or four hundred rules of which the following is a specimen: "RULE 282. When a single consonant is preceded by a vowel under the preantepenultimate accent, and is followed by a vowel that is succeeded by a consonant, it belongs to the accented vowel."—Mulkey's Abridgement of Walker's Rules, p. 34.

OBS. 3.—A grosser specimen of literary quackery, than is the publication which I have just quoted, can scarcely be found in the world of letters. It censures "the principles laid down and illustrated by Walker," as "so elaborate and so verbose as to be wearisome to the scholar and useless to the child;" and yet declares them to be, "for the most part, the true rules of pronunciation, according to the analogy of the language."—Mulkey's Preface, p. 3. It professes to be an abridgement and simplification of those principles, especially adapted to the wants and capacities of children; and, at the same time, imposes upon the memory of the young learner twenty-nine rules for syllabication, similar to that which I have quoted above; whereas Walker himself, with all his verbosity, expressly declares it "absurd," to offer more than one or two, and those of the very simplest character. It is to be observed that the author teaches nothing but the elements of reading; nothing but the sounds of letters and syllables; nothing but a few simple fractions of the great science of grammar: and, for this purpose, he would conduct the learner through the following particulars, and have him remember them all: 1. Fifteen distinctions respecting the "classification and organic formation of the letters." 2. Sixty-three rules for "the sounds of the vowels, according to their relative positions." 3. Sixty-four explanations of "the different sounds of the diphthongs." 4. Eighty-nine rules for "the sounds of the consonants, according to position." 5. Twenty-three heads, embracing a hundred and fifty-six principles of accent. 6. Twenty-nine "rules for dividing words into syllables." 7. Thirty-three "additional principles;" which are thrown together promiscuously, because he could not class them. 8. Fifty-two pages of "irregular Words," forming particular exceptions to the foregoing rules. 9. Twenty-eight pages of notes extracted from Walker's Dictionary, and very prettily called "The Beauties of Walker." All this is Walker simplified for children!

OBS. 4.—Such is a brief sketch of Mulkey's system of orthoëpy; a work in which "he claims to have devised what has heretofore been a desideratum—a mode by which children in our common schools may be taught the rules for the pronunciation of their mother tongue."—Preface, p. 4. The faults of the book are so exceedingly numerous, that to point them out, would be more toil, than to write an accurate volume of twice the size. And is it possible, that a system like this could find patronage in the metropolis of New England, in that proud centre of arts and sciences, and in the proudest halls of learning and of legislation? Examine the gentleman's credentials, and take your choice between the adoption of his plan, as a great improvement in the management of syllables, and the certain conclusion that great men may be greatly duped respecting them. Unless the public has been imposed upon by a worse fraud than mere literary quackery, the authorities I have mentioned did extensively patronize the scheme; and the Common Council of that learned city did order, November 14th, 1833, "That the School Committee be and they are hereby authorized to employ Mr. William Mulkey to give a course of Lectures on Orthoëpy to the several instructors of the public schools, and that the sum of five hundred dollars is hereby appropriated for that purpose, and that the same amount be withdrawn from the reserved fund."—See Mulkey's Circular.

OBS. 5.—Pronunciation is best taught to children by means of a good spelling-book; a book in which the words are arranged according to their analogies, and divided according to their proper sounds. Vocabularies, dictionaries, and glossaries, may also be serviceable to those who are sufficiently advanced to learn how to use them. With regard to the first of the abovenamed purposes of syllabication, I am almost ready to dissent even from the modest opinion of Walker himself; for ignorance can only guess at the pronunciation of words, till positive instruction comes in to give assurance; and it may be doubted whether even the simple rule or rules suggested by Walker would not about as often mislead the young reader as correct him. With regard to the second purpose, that of showing the derivation or composition of words, it is plain, that etymology, and not pronunciation, must here govern the division; and that it should go no further than to separate the constituent parts of each word; as, ortho-graphy, theo-logy. But when we divide for the third purpose, and intend to show what is the pronunciation of a word, we must, if possible, divide into such syllabic sounds as will exactly recompose the word, when put together again; as, or-thog-ra-phy, the-ol-o-gy. This being the most common purpose of syllabication, perhaps it would be well to give it a general preference; and adopt it whenever we can, not only in the composing of spelling-books and dictionaries, but also in the dividing of words at the ends of lines.

OBS. 6.—Dr. Lowth says, "The best and easiest rule, for dividing the syllables in spelling, is, to divide them as they are naturally divided in a right pronunciation; without regard to the derivation of words, or the possible combination of consonants at the beginning of a syllable."—Lowth's Gram., p. 5. And Walker approves of the principle, with respect to the third purpose mentioned above: "This," says that celebrated orthoëpist, "is the method adopted by those who would convey the whole sound, by giving distinctly every part; and, when this is the object of syllabication, Dr. Lowth's rule is certainly to be followed."—Walker's Principles,—No. 541. But this rule, which no one can apply till he has found out the pronunciation, will not always be practicable where that is known, and perhaps not always expedient where it is practicable. For example: the words colonel, venison, transition, propitious, cannot be so divided as to exhibit their pronunciation; and, in such as acid, magic, pacify, legible, liquidate, it may not be best to follow the rule, because there is some reasonable objection to terminating the first syllables of these words with c, g, and q, especially at the end of a line. The rule for terminations may also interfere with this, called "Lowth's;" as in sizable, rising, dronish.

OBS. 7.—For the dividing of words into syllables, I have given six rules, which are perhaps as many as will be useful. They are to be understood as general principles; and, as to the exceptions to be made in their application, or the settling of their conflicting claims to attention, these may be left to the judgement of each writer. The old principle of dividing by the eye, and not by the ear, I have rejected; and, with it, all but one of the five rules which the old grammarians gave for the purpose. "The divisions of the letters into syllables, should, unquestionably, be the same in written, as in spoken language; otherwise the learner is misguided, and seduced by false representations into injurious errors."—Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 37. Through the influence of books in which the words are divided according to their sounds, the pronunciation of the language is daily becoming more and more uniform; and it may perhaps be reasonably hoped, that the general adoption of this method of syllabication, and a proper exposition of the occasional errors of ignorance, will one day obviate entirely the objection arising from the instability of the principle. For the old grammarians urged, that the scholar who had learned their rules should "strictly conform to them; and that he should industriously avoid that random Method of dividing by the Ear, which is subject to mere jumble, as it must be continually fluctuating according to the various Dialects of different Countries."—British Grammar, p. 47.

OBS. 8.—The important exercise of oral spelling is often very absurdly conducted. In many of our schools, it may be observed that the teacher, in giving out the words to be spelled, is not always careful to utter them with what he knows to be their true sounds, but frequently accommodates his pronunciation to the known or supposed ignorance of the scholar; and the latter is still more frequently allowed to hurry through the process, without putting the syllables together as he proceeds; and, sometimes, without forming or distinguishing the syllables at all. Merely to pronounce a word and then name its letters, is an exceedingly imperfect mode of spelling; a mode in which far more is lost in respect to accuracy of speech, than is gained in respect to time. The syllables should not only be distinctly formed and pronounced, but pronounced as they are heard in the whole word; and each should be successively added to the preceding syllables, till the whole sound is formed by the reunion of all its parts. For example: divisibility. The scholar should say, "Dee I, de; Vee I Ess, viz, de-viz; I, de-viz-e; Bee I Ell, bil, de-viz-e-bil; I, de-viz-e-bil-e; Tee Wy, te, de-viz-e-bil-e-te." Again: chicanery. "Cee Aitch I, she; Cee A, ka, she-ka; En E Ar, nur, she-ka-nur; Wy, she-ka-nur-e." One of the chief advantages of oral spelling, is its tendency to promote accuracy of pronunciation; and this end it will reach, in proportion to the care and skill with which it is conducted. But oral spelling should not be relied on as the sole means of teaching orthography. It will not be found sufficient. The method of giving out words for practical spelling on slates or paper, or of reading something which is to be written again by the learner, is much to be commended, as a means of exercising those scholars who are so far advanced as to write legibly. This is called, in the schools, dictation.



1. Correct the division of the following words of two syllables: "ci-vil, co-lour, co-py, da-mask, do-zen, e-ver, fea-ther, ga-ther, hea-ven, hea-vy, ho-ney, le-mon, li-nen, mea-dow, mo-ney, ne-ver, o-live, o-range, o-ther, phea-sant, plea-sant, pu-nish, ra-ther, rea-dy, ri-ver, ro-bin, scho-lar, sho-vel, sto-mach, ti-mid, whe-ther."—Murray's Spelling-Book, N. Y., 1819, p. 43-50.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the v in ci-vil, the l in co-lour, the p in co-py, &c., are written with the following vowel, but spoken with that which precedes. But, according to Rule 1st, "Consonants should generally be joined to the vowels or diphthongs which they modify in utterance." Therefore, these words should be divided thus: civ-il, col-our, cop-y, &c.]

2. Correct the division of the following words of three syllables: "be-ne-fit, ca-bi-net, ca-nis-ter, ca-ta-logue, cha-rac-ter, cha-ri-ty, co-vet-ous, di-li-gence, di-mi-ty, e-le-phant, e-vi-dent, e-ver-green, fri-vo-lous, ga-ther-ing, ge-ne-rous, go-vern-ess, go-vern-or, ho-nes-ty, ka-len-dar, la-ven-der, le-ve-ret, li-be-ral, me-mo-ry, mi-nis-ter, mo-dest-ly, no-vel-ty, no-bo-dy, pa-ra-dise, po-ver-ty, pre-sent-ly, pro-vi-dence, pro-per-ly, pri-son-er, ra-ven-ous, sa-tis-fy, se-ve-ral, se-pa-rate, tra-vel-ler, va-ga-bond;—con-si-der, con-ti-nue, de-li-ver, dis-co-ver, dis-fi-gure, dis-ho-nest, dis-tri-bute, in-ha-bit, me-cha-nic, what-e-ver;—re-com-mend, re-fu-gee, re-pri-mand."—Murray: ib., p. 67-83.

3. Correct the division of the following words of four syllables: "ca-ter-pil-lar, cha-ri-ta-ble, di-li-gent-ly, mi-se-ra-ble, pro-fit-a-ble, to-le-ra-ble;—be-ne-vo-lent, con-si-der-ate, di-mi-nu-tive, ex-pe-ri-ment, ex-tra-va-gant, in-ha-bi-tant, no-bi-li-ty, par-ti-cu-lar, pros-pe-ri-ty, ri-di-cu-lous, sin-ce-ri-ty;—de-mon-stra-tion, e-du-ca-tion, e-mu-la-tion, e-pi-de-mic, ma-le-fac-tor, ma-nu-fac-ture, me-mo-ran-dum, mo-de-ra-tor, pa-ra-ly-tic, pe-ni-ten-tial, re-sig-na-tion, sa-tis-fac-tion, se-mi-co-lon."—Murray: ib., p. 84-87.

4. Correct the division of the following words of five syllables: "a-bo-mi-na-ble, a-po-the-ca-ry, con-sid-e-ra-ble, ex-pla-na-to-ry, pre-pa-ra-to-ry;—a-ca-de-mi-cal, cu-ri-o-si-ty, ge-o-gra-phi-cal, ma-nu-fac-to-ry, sa-tis-fac-to-ry, me-ri-to-ri-ous;—cha-rac-te-ris-tic, e-pi-gram-ma-tic, ex-pe-ri-ment-al, po-ly-syl-la-ble, con-sid-e-ra-tion." —Murray: ib., p. 87-89.

5. Correct the division of the following proper names: "He-len, Leo-nard,
Phi-lip, Ro-bert, Ho-race, Tho-mas;—Ca-ro-line, Ca-tha-rine, Da-ni-el,
De-bo-rah, Do-ro-thy, Fre-de-rick, I-sa-bel, Jo-na-than, Ly-di-a,
Ni-cho-las, O-li-ver, Sa-mu-el, Si-me-on, So-lo-mon, Ti-mo-thy,
Va-len-tine;—A-me-ri-ca, Bar-tho-lo-mew, E-li-za-beth, Na-tha-ni-el,
Pe-ne-lo-pe, The-o-phi-lus."—Murray: ib., p. 98-101.


1. Correct the division of the following words, by Rule 1st: "cap-rice, es-teem, dis-es-teem, ob-lige;—az-ure, mat-ron, pat-ron, phal-anx, sir-en, trait-or, trench-er, barb-er, burn-ish, garn-ish, tarn-ish, varn-ish, mark-et, musk-et, pamph-let;—brave-ry, knave-ry, siave-ry, eve-ning, scene-ry, bribe-ry, nice-ty, chi-cane-ry, ma-chine-ry, im-age-ry;— as-y-lum, hor-i-zon,—fi-nan-cier, he-ro-ism,—sar-don-yx, scur-ril-ous,— com-e-di-an, post-e-ri-or."—Webster's Spelling-Books.

2. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 2d: "oy-er, fol-io, gen-ial, gen-ius, jun-ior, sa-tiate, vi-tiate;—am-bro-sia, cha-mel-ion, par-hel-ion, con-ven-ient, in-gen-ious, om-nis-cience, pe-cul-iar, so-cia-ble, par-tial-i-ty, pe-cun-ia-ry;—an-nun-ciate, e-nun-ciate, ap-pre-ciate, as-so-ciate, ex-pa-tiate, in-gra-tiate, in-i-tiate, li-cen-tiate, ne-go-tiate, no-vi-ciate, of-fi-ciate, pro-pi-tiate, sub-stan-tiate."—Webster: Old Spelling-Book, 86-91; New, 121-128.

3. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 3d: "dres-ser, has-ty, pas-try, sei-zure, rol-ler, jes-ter, wea-ver, vam-per, han-dy, dros-sy, glos-sy, mo-ver, mo-ving, oo-zy, ful-ler, trus-ty, weigh-ty, noi-sy, drow-sy, swar-thy."—Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book. Again: "eas-tern, full-y, pull-et, rill-et, scan-ty, nee-dy."—Webster.

4. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 4th: "aw-ry,"—Webster's Old Book, 52; "ath-wart,"—Ib., 93; "pros-pect-ive,"—Ib., 66; "pa-renth-e-sis,"—Ib., 93; "res-ist-i-bil-ity,"—Webster's New Book, 93; "hem-is-pher-ic,"—Ib., 130; "mo-nos-tich, he-mis-tick," [112]—Walker's Dict., 8vo; Cobb, 33; "tow-ards,"—Cobb, 48.

5. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 5th: "E'n-gland,"—Murray's Spelling-Book, p. 100; "a-no-ther,"—Ib., 71; "a-noth-er,"—Emerson, 76; "Be-thes-da, Beth-a-ba-ra,"—Webster, 141; Cobb, 159.


1. Correct the division of the following words, according to their derivation: "ben-der, bles-sing, bras-sy, chaf-fy, chan-ter, clas-per, craf-ty, cur-dy, fen-der, fil-my, fus-ty, glas-sy, graf-ter, gras-sy, gus-ty, ban-ded, mas-sy, mus-ky, rus-ty, swel-ling, tel-ler, tes-ted, thrif-ty, ves-ture."—Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book.

2. Correct the division of the following words, so as to give no wrong notion of their derivation and meaning: "barb-er, burn-ish, brisk-et, cank-er, chart-er, cuck-oo, furn-ish, garn-ish, guil-ty, hank-er, lust-y, port-al, tarn-ish, test-ate, test-y, trait-or, treat-y, varn-ish, vest-al, di-urn-al, e-tern-al, in-fern-al, in-tern-al, ma-tern-al, noc-turn-al, pa-tern-al."—Webster's Elementary Spelling-Book.

3. Correct the division of the following words, so as to convey no wrong idea of their pronunciation: "ar-mo-ry, ar-te-ry, butch-er-y, cook-e-ry, eb-o-ny, em-e-ry, ev-e-ry, fel-o-ny, fop-pe-ry, flip-pe-ry, gal-le-ry, his-to-ry, liv-e-ry. lot-te-ry, mock-e-ry, mys-te-ry, nun-ne-ry, or-re-ry, pil-lo-ry, quack-e-ry, sor-ce-ry, witch-e-ry."—Ib., 41-42.

4. Correct the division of the following words, and give to n before k the sound of ng: "ank-le, bask-et, blank-et, buck-le, cack-le, crank-le, crink-le, east-er, fick-le, freck-le, knuck-le, mark-et, monk-ey, port-ress, pick-le, poult-ice, punch-eon, qua-drant, qua-drate, squa-dron, rank-le, shack-le, sprink-le, tink-le, twink-le, wrink-le."—Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book.

5. Correct the division of the following words, with a proper regard to Rules 1st and 3d: "a-scribe, bland-ish, bran-chy, clou-dy, dus-ty, drea-ry, eve-ning, faul-ty, fil-thy, fros-ty, gau-dy, gloo-my, heal-thy, hear-ken, hear-ty, hoa-ry, lea-ky, loung-er, mar-shy, migh-ty, mil-ky, naugh-ty, pas-sing, pit-cher, rea-dy, roc-ky, spee-dy, stea-dy, stor-my, thirs-ty, thor-ny, trus-ty, ves-try, wes-tern, weal-thy."—Emerson's Spelling-Book, 17-44.


A Word is one or more syllables spoken or written as the sign of some idea, or of some manner of thought. Words are distinguished as primitive or derivative, and as simple or compound. The former division is called their species; the latter, their figure.

A primitive word is one that is not formed from any simpler word in the language; as, harm, great, connect.

A derivative word is one that is formed from some simpler word in the language; as, harmless, greatly, connected, disconnect, unconnected.

A simple word is one that is not compounded, not composed of other words; as, watch, man, house, tower, never, the, less.

A compound word is one that is composed of two or more simple words; as, watchman, watchhouse, watchtower, nevertheless.

Permanent compounds are consolidated; as, bookseller, schoolmaster: others, which may be called temporary compounds, are formed by the hyphen; as, good-natured, negro-merchant.



Words regularly or analogically united, and commonly known as forming a compound, should never be needlessly broken apart. Thus, steamboat, railroad, red-hot, well-being, new-coined, are preferable to the phrases, steam boat, rail road, red hot, well being, new coined; and toward us is better than the old phrase, to us ward.


When the simple words would only form a regular phrase, of the same meaning, the compounding of any of them ought to be avoided. Thus, the compound instead is not to be commended, because the simple phrase, in stead of, is exactly like the other phrases, in lieu of, in place of, in room of, in which we write no compound.


Words otherwise liable to be misunderstood, must be joined together or written separately, as the sense and construction may happen to require. Thus, a glass house is a house made of glass, but a glasshouse is a house in which glass is made; so a negro merchant is a coloured trader, but a negro-merchant is a man who buys and sells negroes.


When two or more compounds are connected in one sentence, none of them should be split to make an ellipsis of half a word. Thus, "six or seventeen" should not be said for "sixteen or seventeen;" nor ought we to say, "calf, goat, and sheepskins" for "calfskins, goatskins, and sheepskins" In the latter instance, however, it might be right to separate all the words; as in the phrase, "soup, coffee, and tea houses."—Liberator, x, 40.


When the parts of a compound do not fully coalesce, as to-day, to-night, to-morrow; or when each retains its original accent, so that the compound has more than one, or one that is movable, as first-born, hanger-on, laughter-loving, garlic-eater, butterfly-shell, the hyphen should be inserted between them.


When a compound has but one accented syllable in pronunciation, as watchword, statesman, gentleman, and the parts are such as admit of a complete coalescence, no hyphen should be inserted between them. Churchill, after much attention to this subject, writes thus: "The practical instruction of the countinghouse imparts a more thorough knowledge of bookkeeping, than all the fictitious transactions of a mere schoolbook, however carefully constructed to suit particular purposes."—New Gram., p. vii. But counting-house, having more stress on the last syllable than on the middle one, is usually written with the hyphen; and book-keeping and school-book, though they may not need it, are oftener so formed than otherwise.


OBS. 1.—Words are the least parts of significant language; that is, of language significant in each part; for, to syllables, taken merely as syllables, no meaning belongs. But, to a word, signification of some sort or other, is essential; there can be no word without it; for a sign or symbol must needs represent or signify something. And as I cannot suppose words to represent external things, I have said "A Word is one or more syllables spoken or written as the sign of some idea." But of what ideas are the words of our language significant? Are we to say, "Of all ideas;" and to recognize as an English word every syllable, or combination of syllables, to which we know a meaning is attached? No. For this, in the first place, would confound one language with an other; and destroy a distinction which must ever be practically recognized, till all men shall again speak one language. In the next place, it would compel us to embrace among our words an infinitude of terms that are significant only of local ideas, such as men any where or at any time may have had concerning any of the individuals they have known, whether persons, places, or things. But, however important they may be in the eyes of men, the names of particular persons, places, or things, because they convey only particular ideas, do not properly belong to what we call our language. Lexicographers do not collect and define proper names, because they are beyond the limits of their art, and can be explained only from history. I do not say that proper names are to be excluded from grammar; but I would show wherein consists the superiority of general terms over these. For if our common words did not differ essentially from proper names, we could demonstrate nothing in science: we could not frame from them any general or affirmative proposition at all; because all our terms would be particular, and not general; and because every individual thing in nature must necessarily be for ever itself only, and not an other.

OBS. 2.—Our common words, then, are the symbols neither of external particulars, nor merely of the sensible ideas which external particulars excite in our minds, but mainly of those general or universal ideas which belong rather to the intellect than to the senses. For intellection differs from sensation, somewhat as the understanding of a man differs from the perceptive faculty of a brute; and language, being framed for the reciprocal commerce of human minds, whose perceptions include both, is made to consist of signs of ideas both general and particular, yet without placing them on equal ground. Our general ideas—that is, our ideas conceived as common to many individuals, existing in any part of time, past, present, or future—such, for example, as belong to the words man, horse, tree, cedar, wave, motion, strength, resist—such ideas, I say, constitute that most excellent significance which belongs to words primarily, essentially, and immediately; whereas, our particular ideas, such as are conceived only of individual objects, which arc infinite in number and ever fleeting, constitute a significance which belongs to language only secondarily, accidentally, and mediately. If we express the latter at all, we do it either by proper names, of which but very few ever become generally known, or by means of certain changeable limitations which are added to our general terms; whereby language, as Harris observes, "without wandering into infinitude, contrives how to denote things infinite."—Hermes, p. 345. The particular manner in which this is done, I shall show hereafter, in Etymology, when I come to treat of articles and definitives.

OBS. 3.—If we examine the structure of proper names, we shall find that most of them are compounds, the parts of which have, in very many instances, some general signification. Now a complete phrase commonly conveys some particular notion or conception of the mind; but, in this case, the signification of the general terms is restricted by the other words which are added to them. Thus smith is a more general term than goldsmith; and goldsmith is more general than a goldsmith; a goldsmith, than the goldsmith; the goldsmith, than one Goldsmith; one Goldsmith, than Mr. Goldsmith; Mr. Goldsmith, than Oliver Goldsmith. Thus we see that the simplest mode of designating particular persons or objects, is that of giving them proper names; but proper names must needs be so written, that they may be known as proper names, and not be mistaken for common terms. I have before observed, that we have some names which are both proper and common; and that these should be written with capitals, and should form the plural regularly. It is surprising that the Friends, who are in some respects particularly scrupulous about language, should so generally have overlooked the necessity there is, of compounding their numerical names of the months and days, and writing them uniformly with capitals, as proper names. For proper names they certainly are, in every thing but the form, whenever they are used without the article, and without those other terms which render their general idea particular. And the compound form with a capital, is as necessary for Firstday, Secondday, Thirdday, &c., as for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, &c. "The first day of the week,"—"The seventh day of the month,"—"The second month of summer,"—"The second month in the year," &c., are good English phrases, in which any compounding of the terms, or any additional use of capitals, would be improper; but, for common use, these phrases are found too long and too artificial. We must have a less cumbersome mode of specifying the months of the year and the days of the week. What then? Shall we merely throw away the terms of particularity, and, without substituting in their place the form of proper names, apply general terms to particular thoughts, and insist on it that this is right? And is not this precisely what is done by those who reject as heathenish the ordinary names of the months and days, and write "first day," for Sunday, in stead of "the first day of the week;" or "second month," for February, in stead of "the second month in the year;" and so forth? This phraseology may perhaps be well understood by those to whom it is familiar, but still it is an abuse of language, because it is inconsistent with the common acceptation of the terms. Example: "The departure of a ship will take place every sixth day with punctuality."—Philadelphia Weekly Messenger. The writer of this did not mean, "every Friday;" and it is absurd for the Friends so to understand it, or so to write, when that is what they mean.

OBS. 4.—In the ordinary business of life, it is generally desirable to express our meaning as briefly as possible; but legal phraseology is always full to the letter, and often redundant. Hence a merchant will write, "Nov. 24, 1837," or, "11 mo. 24th, 1837;" but a conveyancer will have it, "On the twenty-fourth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven;"—or, perhaps, "On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven." Accordingly we find that, in common daily use, all the names of the months, except March, May, June, and July, are abbreviated; thus, Jan., Feb., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. And sometimes even the Arabic number of the year is made yet shorter; as '37 for 1837; or 1835-6-7, for 1835, 1836, and 1837. In like manner, in constructing tables of time, we sometimes denote the days of the week by the simple initials of their names; as, S. for Sunday, M. for Monday, &c. But, for facility of abbreviation, the numerical names, whether of the months or of the days, are perhaps still more convenient. For, if we please, we may put the simple Arabic figures for them; though it is better to add d. for day, and mo. for month: as, 1 d., 2 d., 3 d., &c.;—1 mo., 2 mo., 3 mo., &c.:—or more compactly thus: 1d., 2d., 3d., &c.;—1mo., 2mo., 3mo., &c. But, take which mode of naming we will, our ordinary expression of these things should be in neither extreme, but should avoid alike too great brevity and too great prolixity; and, therefore, it is best to make it a general rule in our literary compositions, to use the full form of proper names for the months and days, and to denote the years by Arabic figures written in full.

OBS. 5.—In considering the nature of words, I was once a little puzzled with a curious speculation, if I may not term it an important inquiry, concerning the principle of their identity. We often speak of "the same words," and of "different words;" but wherein does the sameness or the difference of words consist? Not in their pronunciation; for the same word may be differently pronounced; as, p=at'ron or p=a'tron, m=at'ron or m=a'tron. Not in their orthography; for the same word may be differently spelled; as, favour or favor, music or musick, connexion or connection. Not in their form of presentation; for the same word may be either spoken or written; and speech and writing present what we call the same words, in two ways totally different. Not in their meaning; for the same word may have different meanings, and different words may signify precisely the same thing. This sameness of words, then, must consist in something which is to be reconciled with great diversity. Yet every word is itself, and not an other: and every word must necessarily have some property peculiar to itself, by which it may be easily distinguished from every other. Were it not so, language would be unintelligible. But it is so; and, therefore, to mistake one word for an other, is universally thought to betray great ignorance or great negligence, though such mistakes are by no means of uncommon occurrence. But that the question about the identity of words is not a very easy one, may appear from the fact, that the learned often disagree about it in practice; as when one grammarian will have an and a to be two words, and an other will affirm them to be only different forms of one and the same word.

OBS. 6.—Let us see, then, if amidst all this diversity we can find that principle of sameness, by which a dispute of this kind ought to be settled. Now, although different words do generally differ in orthography, in pronunciation, and in meaning, so that an entire sameness implies one orthography, one pronunciation, and one meaning; yet some diversity is allowed in each of these respects, so that a sign differing from an other only in one, is not therefore a different word, or a sign agreeing with an other only in one, is not therefore the same word. It follows thence, that the principle of verbal identity, the principle which distinguishes every word from every other, lies in neither extreme: it lies in a narrower compass than in all three, and yet not singly in any one, but jointly in any two. So that signs differing in any two of these characteristics of a word, are different words; and signs agreeing in any two, are the same word. Consequently, if to any difference either of spelling or of sound we add a difference of signification everybody will immediately say, that we speak or write different words, and not the same: thus dear, beloved, and deer, an animal, are two such words as no one would think to be the same; and, in like manner, use, advantage, and use, to employ, will readily be called different words. Upon this principle, an and a are different words; yet, in conformity to old usage, and because the latter is in fact but an abridgement of the former, I have always treated them as one and the same article, though I have nowhere expressly called them the same word. But, to establish the principle above named, which appears to me the only one on which any such question can be resolved, or the identity of words be fixed at all, we must assume that every word has one right pronunciation, and only one; one just orthography, and only one; and some proper signification, which, though perhaps not always the same, is always a part of its essence. For when two words of different meaning are spelled or pronounced alike, not to maintain the second point of difference, against the double orthography or the double pronunciation of either, is to confound their identity at once, and to prove by the rule that two different words are one and the same, by first absurdly making them so.

OBS. 7.—In no part of grammar is usage more unsettled and variable than in that which relates to the figure of words. It is a point of which modern writers have taken but very little notice. Lily, and other ancient Latin grammarians, reckoned both species and figure among the grammatical accidents of nearly all the different parts of speech; and accordingly noticed them, in their Etymology, as things worthy to be thus made distinct topics, like numbers, genders, cases, moods, tenses, &c. But the manner of compounding words in Latin, and also in Greek, is always by consolidation. No use appears to have been made of the hyphen, in joining the words of those languages, though the name of the mark is a Greek compound, meaning "under one." The compounding of words is one principal means of increasing their number; and the arbitrariness with which that is done or neglected in English, is sufficient of itself to make the number of our words a matter of great uncertainty. Such terms, however, having the advantage of explaining themselves in a much greater degree than others, have little need of definition; and when new things are formed, it is very natural and proper to give them new names of this sort: as, steamboat, railroad. The propriety or impropriety of these additions to the language, is not to be determined by dictionaries; for that must be settled by usage before any lexicographer will insert them. And so numerous, after all, are the discrepancies found in our best dictionaries, that many a word may have its day and grow obsolete, before a nation can learn from them the right way of spelling it; and many a fashionable thing may go entirely out of use, before a man can thus determine how to name it. Railroads are of so recent invention that I find the word in only one dictionary; and that one is wrong, in giving the word a hyphen, while half our printers are wrong, in keeping the words separate because Johnson did not compound them. But is it not more important, to know whether we ought to write railroad, or rail-road, or rail road, which we cannot learn from any of our dictionaries, than to find out whether we ought to write rocklo, or roquelo, or roquelaur, or roquelaure, which, in some form or other, is found in them all? The duke of Roquelaure is now forgotten, and his cloak is out of fashion.

OBS. 8.—No regular phrase, as I have taught in the second rule above, should be needlessly converted into a compound word, either by tacking its parts together with the hyphen, or by uniting them without a hyphen; for, in general, a phrase is one thing, and a word is an other: and they ought to be kept as distinct as possible.[113] But, when a whole phrase takes the relation of an adjective, the words must be compounded, and the hyphen becomes necessary; as, "An inexpressibly apt bottle-of-small-beer comparison."—Peter Pindar. The occasions for the compounding of words, are in general sufficiently plain, to any one who knows what is intended to be said; but, as we compound words, sometimes with the hyphen, and sometimes without, there is no small difficulty in ascertaining when to use this mark, and when to omit it. "Some settled rule for the use of the hyphen on these occasions, is much wanted. Modern printers have a strange predilection for it; using it on almost every possible occasion. Mr. L. Murray, who has only three lines on the subject, seems inclined to countenance this practice; which is, no doubt, convenient enough for those who do not like trouble. His words are: 'A Hyphen, marked thus - is employed in connecting compounded words: as, Lap-dog, tea-pot, pre-existence, self-love, to-morrow, mother-in-law.' Of his six examples, Johnson, our only acknowledged standard, gives the first and third without any separation between the syllables, lapdog, preexistence; his second and fifth as two distinct words each, tea pot, to morrow; and his sixth as three words, mother in law: so that only his fourth has the sanction of the lexicographer. There certainly can be no more reason for putting a hyphen after the common prefixes, than before the common affixes, ness, ly, and the rest."—Churchill's Gram., p. 374.

OBS. 9.—Again: "While it would be absurd, to sacrifice the established practice of all good authors to the ignorance of such readers [as could possibly mistake for a diphthong the two contiguous vowels in such words as preexistence, cooperate, and reenter]; it would unquestionably be advantageous, to have some principle to guide us in that labyrinth of words, in which the hyphen appears to have been admitted or rejected arbitrarily, or at hap-hazard. Thus, though we find in Johnson, alms-basket, alms-giver, with the hyphen; we have almsdeed, almshouse, almsman, without: and many similar examples of an unsettled practice might be adduced, sufficient to fill several pages. In this perplexity, is not the pronunciation of the words the best guide? In the English language, every word of more than one syllable is marked by an accent on some particular syllable. Some very long words indeed admit a secondary accent on another syllable; but still this is much inferior, and leaves one leading accent prominent: as in expos'tulatory. Accordingly, when a compound has but one accented syllable in pronunciation, as night'cap, bed'stead, broad'sword, the two words have coalesced completely into one, and no hyphen should be admitted. On the other hand, when each of the radical words has an accent, as Chris'tian-name', broad'-shoul'dered, I think the hyphen should be used. Good'-na'tured is a compound epithet with two accents, and therefore requires the hyphen: in good nature, good will, and similar expressions, good is used simply as an adjective, and of course should remain distinct from the noun. Thus, too, when a noun is used adjectively, it should remain separate from the noun it modifies; as, a gold ring, a silver buckle. When two numerals are employed to express a number, without a conjunction between them, it is usual to connect them by a hyphen; as, twenty-five, eighty-four: but when the conjunction is inserted, the hyphen is as improper as it would be between other words connected by the conjunction. This, however, is a common abuse; and we often meet with five-&-twenty, six-&-thirty, and the like."—Ib., p. 376. Thus far Churchill: who appears to me, however, too hasty about the hyphen in compound numerals. For we write one hundred, two hundred, three thousand, &c., without either hyphen or conjunction; and as five-and-twenty is equivalent to twenty-five, and virtually but one word, the hyphen, if not absolutely necessary to the sense, is certainly not so very improper as he alleges. "Christian name" is as often written without the hyphen as with it, and perhaps as accurately.



"Professing to imitate Timon, the man hater."—Goldsmith's Rome, p. 161.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the compound term manhater is here made two words. But, according to Rule 1st, "Words regularly or analogically united, and commonly known as forming a compound, should never be needlessly broken apart." Therefore, manhater should be written as one word.]

"Men load hay with a pitch fork."—Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 40. "A pear tree grows from the seed of a pear."—Ib., p. 33. "A tooth brush is good to brush your teeth."—Ib., p. 85. "The mail is opened at the post office."—Ib., p. 151. "The error seems to me two fold."—Sanborn's Gram., p. 230. "To pre-engage means to engage before hand."—Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 82. "It is a mean act to deface the figures on a mile stone."—Ib., p. 88. "A grange is a farm and farm house."—Ib., p. 118. "It is no more right to steal apples or water melons, than money."—Ib., p. 118. "The awl is a tool used by shoemakers, and harness makers."—Ib., p. 150. "Twenty five cents are equal to one quarter of a dollar."—Ib., p. 107. "The blowing up of the Fulton at New York was a terrible disaster."—Ib., p. 54. "The elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu."—SCOTT: 2 Kings, x, 5. "Not with eye service, as men pleasers."—Bickersteth, on Prayer, p. 64. "A good natured and equitable construction of cases."—Ash's Gram., p. 138. "And purify your hearts, ye double minded."—Gurney's Portable Evidences, p. 115. "It is a mean spirited action to steal; i. e. to steal is a mean spirited action."—Grammar of Alex. Murray, the schoolmaster, p. 124. "There is, indeed, one form of orthography which is a kin to the subjunctive mood of the Latin tongue."—Booth's Introd. to Dict., p. 71. "To bring him into nearer connexion with real and everyday life."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 459. "The common place, stale declamation of its revilers would be silenced."—Ib., i, 494. "She formed a very singular and unheard of project."—Goldsmith's Rome, p. 160. "He had many vigilant, though feeble talented, and mean spirited enemies."—ROBERTS VAUX: The Friend, Vol. vii, p. 74. "These old fashioned people would level our psalmody," &c.—Music of Nature, p. 292. "This slow shifting scenery in the theatre of harmony."—Ib., p. 398. "So we are assured from Scripture it self."—Harris's Hermes, p. 300. "The mind, being disheartened, then betakes its self to trifling."—R. Johnson's Pref. to Gram. Com. "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them."—Beacon, p. 115: SCOTT, ALGER, FRIENDS: John, xx, 23. "Tarry we our selves how we will."—Walker's English Particles, p. 161. "Manage your credit so, that you need neither swear your self, nor want a voucher."—Collier's Antoninus, p. 33. "Whereas song never conveys any of the above named sentiments."—Rush, on the Voice, p. 424. "I go on horse back."—Guy's Gram., p. 54. "This requires purity, in opposition to barbarous, obsolete, or new coined words."—Adam's Gram., p. 242; Gould's, 234. "May the Plough share shine."—White's Eng. Verb, p. 161. "Which way ever we consider it."—Locke, on Ed., p. 83.

   "Where e'er the silent (e) a Place obtains,
    The Voice foregoing, Length and softness gains."
        —Brightland's Gr., p. 15.


"It qualifies any of the four parts of speech abovenamed."—Kirkham's
, p. 83.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because abovenamed is here unnecessarily made a compound. But, according to Rule 2d, "When the simple words would only form a regular phrase, of the same meaning, the compounding of any of them ought to be avoided." Therefore, above and named should here have been written as two words.]

"After awhile they put us out among the rude multitude."—Fox's Journal. Vol. i, p. 169. "It would be ashame, if your mind should falter and give in."—Collier's Meditations of Antoninus, p. 94. "They stared awhile in silence one upon another."—Rasselas, p. 73. "After passion has for awhile exercised its tyrannical sway."—Murray's Gram., ii, 135 and 267. "Though set within the same general-frame of intonation."—Rush, on the Voice, p. 339. "Which do not carry any of the natural vocal-signs of expression."—Ib., p. 329. "The measurable constructive-powers of a few associable constituents."—Ib., p. 343. "Before each accented syllable or emphatic monosyllabic-word."—Ib., p. 364. "One should not think too favourably of oneself."—See Murray's Gram., Vol. i, p. 154. "Know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you."—Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 355. "I judge not my ownself, for I know nothing of my ownself."— Wayland's Moral Science, p. 84. "Though they were in such a rage, I desired them to tarry awhile."—Josephus, Vol. v, p. 179. "A instead of an is now used before words beginning with a long."—Murray's Gram., p. 31. "John will have earned his wages the next new-year's day."—Murray's Gram., p. 82. "A new-year's-gift is a present made on the first day of the year."—See Johnson, Walker, Webster, et al. "When he sat on the throne, distributing new-year's-gifts."—STILLINGFLEET, in Johnson's Dict. "St. Paul admonishes Timothy to refuse old-wives'- fables."—Author. "The world, take it altogether, is but one."— Collier's Antoninus, B. vii, Sec. 9. "In writings of this stamp we must accept of sound instead of sense."—Murray's Gram., p. 298. "A male-child, A female-child, Male-descendants, Female-descendants."— Goldsbury's C. S. Gram., p. 13; Rev. T. Smith's Gram., p. 15. "Male-servants, Female-servants. Male-relations, Female-relations."— Felton's Gram., p. 15.

   "Reserved and cautious, with no partial aim,
    My muse e'er sought to blast another's fame."—Lloyd, p. 162.


"Our discriminations of this matter have been but four footed instincts."—Rush, on the Voice, p. 291.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the term four footed is made two words, as if the instincts were four and footed. But, according to Rule 3d, "Words otherwise liable to be misunderstood, must be joined together, or written separately, as the sense and construction may happen to require." Therefore, four-footed, as it here means quadruped, or having four feet, should be one word.]

"He is in the right, (says Clytus,) not to bear free born men at his table."—Goldsmith's Greece, Vol. ii, p. 128. "To the short seeing eye of man, the progress may appear little."—The Friend, Vol. ix, p. 377. "Knowledge and virtue are, emphatically, the stepping stone to individual distinction."—Town's Analysis, p. 5. "A tin peddler will sell tin vessels as he travels."—Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 44. "The beams of a wood-house are held up by the posts and joists."—Ib., p. 39. "What you mean by future tense adjective, I can easily understand."—Tooke's Diversions, Vol. ii, p. 450. "The town has been for several days very well behaved."—Spectator, No. 532. "A rounce is the handle of a printing press."—Webster's' Dict.; also El. Spelling-Book, p. 118. "The phraseology we call thee and thouing is not in so common use with us, as the tutoyant among the French."—Walker's Dict., w. Thy. "Hunting, and other out door sports, are generally pursued."—Balbi's Geog., p. 227. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden."—SCOTT, ALGER, FRIENDS: Matt., xi, 28. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son to save it."—Barclay's Works, i, p. 71. See SCOTT'S BIBLE: John, iii, 16. "Jehovah is a prayer hearing God: Nineveh repented, and was spared."—N. Y. Observer, Vol. x, p. 90. "These are well pleasing to God, in all ranks and relations."—Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 73. "Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle."—Numb., xvii, 13. "The words coalesce, when they have a long established association."— Murray's Gram., p. 169. "Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go in to them."—OLD BIBLE: Ps., cxviii, 19. "He saw an angel of God coming into him."—See Acts, x, 3. "The consequences of any action are to be considered in a two fold light."—Wayland's Moral Science, p. 108. "We commonly write two fold, three fold, four fold, and so on up to ten fold, without a hyphen; and, after that, we use one."—Author. See Matt., xiii, 8. "When the first mark is going off, he cries turn! the glass holder answers done!"—Bowditch's Nav., p. 128. "It is a kind of familiar shaking hands with all the vices."—Maturin's Sermons, p. 170. "She is a good natured woman;" "James is self opinionated;" "He is broken hearted."—Wright's Gram., p. 147. "These three examples apply to the present tense construction only."—Ib., p. 65. "So that it was like a game of hide and go seek."—Edward's First Lessons in Grammar, p. 90.

   "That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
    Whereto the climber upward turns his face."—Bucke's Gram., p. 97.


"This building serves yet for a school and a meeting-house."

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the compound word schoolhouse is here divided to avoid a repetition of the last half. But, according to Rule 4th, "When two or more compounds are connected in one sentence, none of them should be split to make an ellipsis of half a word." Therefore, "school" should be "schoolhouse;" thus, "This building serves yet for a schoolhouse and a meeting-house."]

"Schoolmasters and mistresses of honest friends [are] to be encouraged."—N. E. Discipline, p. xv. "We never assumed to ourselves a faith or worship-making-power."—Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 83. "Pot and pearl ashes are made from common ashes."—Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 69. "Both the ten and eight syllable verses are iambics."—Blair's Gram., p. 121. "I say to myself, thou, he says to thy, to his self; &c."—Dr. Murray's Hist. of Europ. Lang., Vol. ii p. 121. "Or those who have esteemed themselves skilful, have tried for the mastery in two or four horse chariots."—Zenobia, Vol. i, p. 152. "I remember him barefooted and headed, running through the streets."—Castle Rackrent, p. 68. "Friends have the entire control of the school and dwelling-houses."—The Friend, Vol. vii, p. 231. "The meeting is held at the first mentioned place in the first month, at the last in the second, and so on."—Ib., p. 167. "Meetings for worship are held at the same hour on first and fourth days."—Ib., p. 230. "Every part of it, inside and out, is covered with gold leaf."—Ib., p. 404. "The Eastern Quarterly Meeting is held on the last seventh day in second, fifth, eighth, and eleventh month."—Ib., p. 87. "Trenton Preparative Meeting is held on the third fifth day in each month, at ten o'clock; meetings for worship at the same hour on first and fifth days."—Ib., p. 231. "Ketch, a vessel with two masts, a main and mizzen-mast."—Webster's Dict., "I only mean to suggest a doubt, whether nature has enlisted herself as a Cis or Trans-Atlantic partisan?"— Jefferson's Notes, p. 97. "By large hammers, like those used for paper and fullingmills, they beat their hemp."—MORTIMER: in Johnson's Dict. "Ant-hill, or Hillock, n. s. The small protuberances of earth, in which ants make their nests."—Ib. "It became necessary to substitute simple indicative terms called pro-names or nouns."—Enclytica, p. 16.

   "Obscur'd, where highest woods, impenetrable
    To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad."—Milton.


"Evilthinking; a noun, compounded of the noun evil and the imperfect participle thinking; singular number;" &c.—Churchill's Gram., p. 180.

[FORMULE—Not proper, because the word evilthinking, which has more than one accented syllable, is here compounded without the hyphen. But, according to Rule 5th, "When the parts of a compound do not fully coalesce, or when each retains its original accent, so that the compound has more than one, or one that is movable, the hyphen should be inserted between them." Therefore, the hyphen should be used in this word; thus, evil-thinking.]

"Evilspeaking; a noun, compounded of the noun evil and the imperfect participle speaking."—Ib. "I am a tall, broadshouldered, impudent, black fellow."—SPECTATOR: in Johnson's Dict. "Ingratitude! thou marblehearted fiend."—SHAK.: ib. "A popular licence is indeed the manyheaded tyranny."—SIDNEY: ib. "He from the manypeopled city flies."—SANDYS: ib. "He manylanguaged nations has surveyed."—POPE: ib. "The horsecucumber is the large green cucumber, and the best for the table."—MORTIMER: ib. "The bird of night did sit, even at noonday, upon the market-place."—SHAK.: ib. "These make a general gaoldelivery of souls, not for punishment."—SOUTH: ib. "Thy air, thou other goldbound brow, is like the first."—SHAK.: ib. "His person was deformed to the highest degree; flatnosed, and blobberlipped."—L'ESTRANGE: ib. "He that defraudeth the labourer of his hire, is a bloodshedder."—ECCLUS., xxxiv, 22: ib. "Bloodyminded, adj. from bloody and mind. Cruel; inclined to blood-shed."—See Johnson's Dict. "Bluntwitted lord, ignoble in demeanour."—SHAK.: ib. "A young fellow with a bobwig and a black silken bag tied to it."—SPECTATOR: ib. "I have seen enough to confute all the boldfaced atheists of this age."—BRAMHALL: ib. "Before milkwhite, now purple with love's wound."—SHAK: ib. "For what else is a redhot iron than fire? and what else is a burning coal than redhot wood?"—NEWTON: ib. "Pollevil is a large swelling, inflammation, or imposthume in the horse's poll, or nape of the neck just between the ears."—FARRIER: ib.

   "Quick-witted, brazenfac'd, with fluent tongues,
    Patient of labours, and dissembling wrongs."—DRYDEN: ib.


"From his fond parent's eye a tear-drop fell."—Snelling's Gift for
, p. 43.

[FORMULE—Not proper, because the word tear-drop, which has never any other than a full accent on the first syllable, is here compounded with the hyphen. But, according to Rule 6th, "When a compound has but one accented syllable in pronunciation, and the parts are such as admit of a complete coalescence, no hyphen should be inserted between them." Therefore, teardrop should be made a close compound.]

"How great, poor jack-daw, would thy sufferings be!"—Ib., p. 29. "Placed like a scare-crow in a field of corn."—Ib., p. 39. "Soup for the alms-house at a cent a quart."—Ib., p. 23. "Up into the watch-tower get, and see all things despoiled of fallacies."—DONNE: Johnson's Dict., w. Lattice. "In the day-time she sitteth in a watchtower, and flieth most by night."—BACON: ib., w. Watchtower. "In the daytime Fame sitteth in a watch-tower, and flieth most by night."—ID.: ib., w. Daytime. "The moral is the first business of the poet, as being the ground-work of his instruction."—DRYDEN: ib., w. Moral. "Madam's own hand the mouse-trap baited."—PRIOR: ib., w. Mouse-trap. "By the sinking of the air-shaft the air hath liberty to circulate."—RAY: ib., w. Airshaft. "The multiform and amazing operations of the air-pump and the loadstone."—WATTS: ib., w. Multiform. "Many of the fire-arms are named from animals."—Ib., w. Musket. "You might have trussed him and all his apparel into an eel-skin."—SHAK.: ib., w. Truss. "They may serve as land-marks to shew what lies in the direct way of truth."—LOCKE: ib., w. Landmark. "A pack-horse is driven constantly in a narrow lane and dirty road."—Id. ib., w. Lane. "A mill-horse, still bound to go in one circle."—SIDNEY: ib., w. Mill-horse. "Of singing birds they have linnets, goldfinches, ruddocks, Canary-birds, black-birds, thrushes, and divers others."—CAREW: ib., w. Goldfinch. "Of singing birds, they have linnets, gold-finches, blackbirds, thrushes, and divers others."—ID.: ib., w. Blackbird. "Of singing birds, they have linnets, gold-finches, ruddocks, canary birds, blackbirds, thrushes, and divers other."—ID.: ib., w. Canary bird. "Cartrage, or Cartridge, a case of paper or parchment filled with gun-powder."—Johnson's Dict., 4to.

   "Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,
    The time of night when Troy was set on fire,
    The tune when screech-owls cry, and ban-dogs howl."
             SHAKSPEARE: ib., w. Silent.

    "The time when screech-owls cry, and bandogs howl."
             IDEM.: ib., w. Bandog.



"They that live in glass-houses, should not throw stones."—Old Adage. "If a man profess Christianity in any manner or form soever."—Watts, p. 5. "For Cassius is a weary of the world."—SHAKSPEARE: in Kirkham's Elocution, p. 67. "By the coming together of more, the chains were fastened on."—Walker's Particles, p. 223. "Unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month."—Jer., i, 3. "And the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad."—Numbers, xxxiv, 8. "And the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan."—Ib., ver. 9. "For the taking place of effects, in a certain particular series."—Dr. West, on Agency, p. 39. "The letting go of which was the occasion of all that corruption."—Dr. J. Owen. "A falling off at the end always hurts greatly."—Blair's Lect., p. 126. "A falling off at the end is always injurious."—Jamieson's Rhetoric, p. 127. "As all holdings forth were courteously supposed to be trains of reasoning."—Dr. Murray's Hist. of Europ. Lang., Vol. i, p. 333. "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."— Micah, v, 2. "Some times the adjective becomes a substantive."— Bradley's Gram., p. 104. "It is very plain, I consider man as visited a new."—Barclay's Works, Vol. iii, p. 331. "Nor do I any where say, as he falsely insinuates."—Ib., p. 331. "Every where, any where, some where, no where."—Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 55. "The world hurries off a pace, and time is like a rapid river."—Collier's Antoninus, p. 58. "But to now model the paradoxes of ancient skepticism."—Brown's Estimate, Vol. i, p. 102. "The south east winds from the ocean invariably produce rain."—Webster's Essays, p. 369. "North west winds from the high lands produce cold clear weather."—Ib. "The greatest part of such tables would be of little use to English men."—Priestley's Gram., p. 155. "The ground floor of the east wing of Mulberry street meeting house was filled."—The Friend, vii, 232. "Prince Rupert's Drop. This singular production is made at the glass houses."—Red Book, p. 131.

   "The lights and shades, whose well accorded strife
    Gives all the strength and colour of our life."
        —Murray's Gram., p. 54; Fisk's, 65.


"In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah."—1 Kings, xvi, 15. "In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah, began Omri to reign over Israel."—Ib., xvi, 23. "He cannot so deceive himself as to fancy that he is able to do a rule of three sum."—Foreign Quarterly Review. "The best cod are those known under the name of Isle of Shoals dun fish."—Balbi's Geog., p. 26. "The soldiers, with down cast eyes, seemed to beg for mercy."—Goldsmith's Greece, Vol. ii, p. 142. "His head was covered with a coarse worn out piece of cloth."—Ib., p. 124. "Though they had lately received a reinforcement of a thousand heavy armed Spartans."—Ib., p. 38. "But he laid them by unopened; and, with a smile, said, 'Business to morrow.'"—Ib., p. 7. "Chester monthly meeting is held at Moore's town, the third day following the second second day."—The Friend, Vol. vii, p. 124. "Eggharbour monthly meeting is held the first second day."—Ib., p. 124. "Little Egg Harbour Monthly Meeting is held at Tuckerton on the second fifth day in each month."—Ib., p. 231. "At three o'clock, on first day morning the 24th of eleventh month, 1834," &c.—Ib., p. 64. "In less than one-fourth part of the time usually devoted."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 4. "The pupil will not have occasion to use it one-tenth part as much."—Ib., p. 11. "The painter dips his paint brush in paint, to paint the carriage."—Ib., p. 28. "In an ancient English version of the New-Testament."—Ib., p. 74. "The little boy was bare headed."—Red Book, p. 36. "The man, being a little short sighted, did not immediately know him."—Ib., p. 40. "Picture frames are gilt with gold."—Ib., p. 44. "The park keeper killed one of the deer."—Ib., p. 44. "The fox was killed near the brick kiln."—Ib., p. 46. "Here comes Esther, with her milk pail."—Ib., p. 50. "The cabinet maker would not tell us."—Ib., p. 60. "A fine thorn hedge extended along the edge of the hill."—Ib., p. 65. "If their private interests should be ever so little affected."—Ib., p. 73. "Unios are fresh water shells, vulgarly called fresh water clams."—Ib., p. 102.

   "Did not each poet mourn his luckless doom,
    Jostled by pedants out of elbow room."—Lloyd, p. 163.


"The captive hovers a-while upon the sad remains."—PRIOR: in Johnson's Dict., w. Hover. "Constantia saw that the hand writing agreed with the contents of the letter."—ADDISON: ib., w. Hand. "They have put me in a silk night-gown, and a gaudy fool's cap."—ID.: ib., w. Nightgown. "Have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has saved that clod-pated, numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from ruin, and all his family?"—ARBUTHNOT: ib., w. Ninnyhammer. "A noble, that is, six, shillings and eightpence, is, and usually hath been paid."—BACON: ib., w. Noble. "The king of birds thick feather'd and with full-summed wings, fastened his talons east and west."—HOWELL: ib., w. Full-summed. "To morrow. This is an idiom of the same kind, supposing morrow to mean originally morning: as, to night, to day."—Johnson's Dict., 4to. "To-day goes away and to-morrow comes."—Id., ib., w. Go, No. 70. "Young children, who are try'd in Go carts, to keep their steps from sliding."—PRIOR: ib., w. Go-cart. "Which, followed well, would demonstrate them but goers backward."—SHAK.: ib., w. Goer. "Heaven's golden winged herald late he saw, to a poor Galilean virgin sent."—CRASHAW: ib., w. Golden. "My penthouse eye-brows and my shaggy beard offend your sight."—DRYDEN: ib., w. Penthouse. "The hungry lion would fain have been dealing with good horse-flesh."— L'ESTRANGE: ib., w. Nag. "A broad brimmed hat ensconced each careful head."—Snelling's Gift, p. 63. "With harsh vibrations of his three stringed lute."—Ib., p. 42. "They magnify a hundred fold an author's merit."—Ib., p. 14. "I'll nail them fast to some oft opened door."—Ib., p. 10. "Glossed over only with a saint-like show, still thou art bound to vice."—DRYDEN: in Johnson's Dict., w. Gloss. "Take of aqua-fortis two ounces, of quick-silver two drachms."—BACON: ib., w. Charge. "This rainbow never appears but when it rains in the sun-shine."—NEWTON: ib., w. Rainbow.

   "Not but there are, who merit other palms;
    Hopkins and Stern hold glad the heart with Psalms."
                       British Poets, Lond., 1800, Vol. vi, p. 405.


Spelling is the art of expressing words by their proper letters. This important art is to be acquired rather by means of the spelling-book or dictionary, and by observation in reading, than by the study of written rules; because what is proper or improper, depends chiefly upon usage.

The orthography of our language is attended with much uncertainty and perplexity: many words are variously spelled by the best scholars, and many others are not usually written according to the analogy of similar words. But to be ignorant of the orthography of such words as are spelled with uniformity, and frequently used, is justly considered disgraceful.

The following rules may prevent some embarrassment, and thus be of service to those who wish to be accurate.



Monosyllables ending in f, l, or s, preceded by a single vowel, double the final consonant; as staff, mill, pass—muff, knell, gloss—off, hiss, puss.

EXCEPTIONS.—The words clef, if, and of, are written with single f; and as, gas, has, was, yes, his, is, this, us, pus, and thus, with single s. So bul, for the flounder; nul, for no, in law; sol, for sou or sun; and sal, for salt, in chemistry, have but the single l.

OBS.—Because sal, salis, in Latin, doubles not the l, the chemists write salify, salifiable, salification, saliferous, saline, salinous, saliniform, salifying, &c., with single l, contrary to Rule 3d. But in gas they ought to double the s; for this is a word of their own inventing. Neither have they any plea for allowing it to form gases and gaseous with the s still single; for so they make it violate two general rules at once. If the singular cannot now be written gass, the plural should nevertheless be gasses, and the adjective should be gasseous, according to Rule 3d.


Words ending in any other consonant than f, l, or s, do not double the final letter; as, mob, nod, dog, sum, sun, cup, cur, cut, fix, whiz.

EXCEPTIONS.—We double the consonant in abb, ebb, add, odd, egg, jagg, ragg, inn, err, burr, purr, butt, buzz, fuzz, yarr, and some proper names. But we have also ab (from) and ad (to) for prefixes; and jag, rag, in, bur, and but, are other words that conform to the rule.


Monosyllables, and words accented on the last syllable, when they end with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, or by a vowel after qu, double their final consonant before an additional syllable that begins with a vowel: as, rob, robbed, robber; fop, foppish, foppery; squat, squatter, squatting; thin, thinner, thinnest; swim, swimmer, swimming; commit, committeth, committing, committed, committer, committees; acquit, acquittal, acquittance, acquitted, acquitting, acquitteth.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. X final, being equivalent to ks, is never doubled: thus, from mix, we have mixed, mixing, and mixer. 2. When the derivative retains not the accent of the root, the final consonant is not always doubled: as, prefer', pref'erence, pref'erable; refer', ref'erence, ref'erable, or refer'rible; infer', in'ference, in'ferable, or infer'rible; transfer', a trans'fer, trans'ferable, or transfer'rible. 3. But letters doubled in Latin, are usually doubled in English, without regard to accent, or to any other principle: as, Britain, Britan'nic, Britannia; appeal, appel'lant; argil, argil'laus, argilla'ceous; cavil, cav'illous, cavilla'tion; excel', ex'cellent, ex'cellence; inflame', inflam'mable, inflamma'tion. See Observations 13 and 14, p. 199.


A final consonant, when it is not preceded by a single vowel, or when the accent is not on the last syllable, should remain single before an additional syllable: as, toil, toiling; oil, oily; visit, visited; differ, differing; peril, perilous; viol, violist; real, realize, realist; dial, dialing, dialist; equal, equalize, equality; vitriol, vitriolic, vitriolate.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. The final l of words ending in el, must be doubled before an other vowel, lest the power of the e be mistaken, and a syllable be lost: as, travel, traveller; duel, duellist; revel, revelling; gravel, gravelly; marvel, marvellous. Yet the word parallel, having three Ells already, conforms to the rule in forming its derivatives; as, paralleling, paralleled, and unparalleled. 2. Contrary to the preceding rule, the preterits, participles, and derivative nouns, of the few verbs ending in al, il, or ol, unaccented,—namely, equal, rival, vial, marshal, victual, cavil, pencil, carol, gambol, and pistol,—are usually allowed to double the l, though some dissent from the practice: as, equalled, equalling; rivalled, rivalling; cavilled, cavilling, caviller; carolled, carolling, caroller. 3. When ly follows l, we have two Ells of course, but in fact no doubling: as, real, really; oral, orally; cruel, cruelly; civil, civilly; cool, coolly; wool, woolly. 4. Compounds, though they often remove the principal accent from the point of duplication, always retain the double letter: as, wit'snapper, kid'napper,[114] grass'hopper, duck'-legged, spur'galled, hot'spurred, broad'-brimmed, hare'-lipped, half-witted. So, compromitted and manumitted; but benefited is different.


Monosyllables and English verbs end not with c, but take ck for double c; as, rack, wreck, rock, attack: but, in general, words derived from the learned languages need not the k, and common use discards it; as, Italic, maniac, music, public.

EXCEPTIONS.—The words arc, part of a circle; orc, the name of a fish; lac, a gum or resin; and sac, or soc, a privilege, in old English law, are ended with c only. Zinc is, perhaps, better spelled zink; marc, mark; disc, disk; and talc, talck.


Words ending with any double letter, preserve it double before any additional termination, not beginning with the same letter;[115] as in the following derivatives: wooer, seeing, blissful, oddly, gruffly, equally, shelly, hilly, stiffness, illness, stillness, shrillness, fellness, smallness, drollness, freeness, grassless, passless, carelessness, recklessness, embarrassment, enfeoffment, agreement, agreeable.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. Certain irregular derivatives in d or t, from verbs ending in ee, ll, or ss, (as fled from flee, sold from sell, told from tell, dwelt from dwell, spelt from spell, spilt from spill, shalt from shall, wilt from will, blest from bless, past from pass,) are exceptions to the foregoing rule. 2. If the word pontiff is properly spelled with two Effs, its eight derivatives are also exceptions to this rule; for they are severally spelled with one; as, pontific, pontifical, pontificate, &c. 3. The words skillful, skillfully, willful, willfully, chillness, tallness, dullness, and fullness, have generally been allowed to drop the second l, though all of them might well be made to conform to the general rule, agreeably to the orthography of Webster.


Words ending with any double letter, preserve it double in all derivatives formed from them by means of prefixes: as, see, foresee; feoff, enfeoff; pass, repass; press, depress; miss, amiss; call, recall; stall, forestall; thrall, inthrall; spell, misspell; tell, foretell; sell, undersell; add, superadd; snuff, besnuff; swell, overswell.

OBSERVATION.—The words enroll, unroll, miscall, befall, befell, bethrall, reinstall, disinthrall, fulfill, and twibill, are very commonly written with one l, and made exceptions to this rule; but those authors are in the right who retain the double letter.


Final ll is peculiar to monosyllables and their compounds, with the few derivatives formed from such roots by prefixes; consequently, all other words that end in l, must be terminated with a single l: as, cabal, logical, appal, excel, rebel, refel, dispel, extol, control, mogul, jackal, rascal, damsel, handsel, tinsel, tendril, tranquil, gambol, consul.

OBSERVATION.—The words annul, until, distil, extil, and instil, are also properly spelled with one l; for the monosyllables null, till, and still are not really their roots, but rather derivatives, or contractions of later growth. Webster, however, prefers distill, extill, and instill with ll; and some have been disposed to add the other two.


The final e of a primitive word, when this letter is mute or obscure, is generally omitted before an additional termination beginning with a vowel: as, remove, removal; rate, ratable; force, forcible; true, truism; rave, raving; sue, suing; eye, eying; idle, idling; centre, centring.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. Words ending in ce or ge, retain the e before able or ous, to preserve the soft sounds of c and g: as, trace, traceable; change, changeable; outrage, outrageous. 2. So, from shoe, we write shoeing, to preserve the sound of the root; from hoe, hoeing, by apparent analogy; and, from singe, singeing; from swinge, swingeing; from tinge, tingeing; that they may not be confounded with singing, swinging, and tinging. 3. To compounds and prefixes, as firearms, forearm, anteact, viceagent, the rule does not apply; and final ee remains double, by Rule 6th, as in disagreeable, disagreeing.


The final e of a primitive word is generally retained before an additional termination beginning with a consonant: as, pale, paleness; edge, edgeless; judge, judgeship; lodge, lodgement; change, changeful; infringe, infringement.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. When the e is preceded by a vowel, it is sometimes omitted; as in duly, truly, awful, argument; but much more frequently retained; as in dueness, trueness, blueness, bluely, rueful, dueful, shoeless, eyeless. 2. The word wholly is also an exception to the rule, for nobody writes it wholely. 3. Some will have judgment, abridgment, and acknowledgment, to be irreclaimable exceptions; but I write them with the e, upon the authority of Lowth, Beattie, Ainsworth, Walker, Cobb, Chalmers, and others: the French "jugement," judgement, always retains the e.


The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a consonant, is generally changed into i before an additional termination: as, merry, merrier, merriest, merrily, merriment; pity, pitied, pities, pitiest, pitiless, pitiful, pitiable; contrary, contrariness, contrarily.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. This rule applies to derivatives, but not to compounds: thus, we write merciful, and mercy-seat; penniless, and pennyworth; scurviness, and scurvy-grass; &c. But ladyship and goodyship, being unlike secretariship and suretiship; handicraft and handiwork,[116] unlike handygripe and handystroke; babyship and babyhood, unlike stateliness and likelihood; the distinction between derivatives and compounds, we see, is too nice a point to have been always accurately observed. 2. Before ing or ish, the y is retained to prevent the doubling of i: as, pity, pitying; baby, babyish. 3. Words ending in ie, dropping the e by Rule 9th, change the i into y, for the same reason: as, die, dying; vie, vying; lie, lying.


The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a vowel, should not be changed into i before any additional termination: as, day, days; key, keys; guy, guys; valley, valleys; coy, coyly; cloy, cloys, cloyed; boy, boyish, boyhood; annoy, annoyer, annoyance; joy, joyless, joyful.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. From lay, pay, say, and stay, are formed laid, paid, said, and staid; but the regular words, layed, payed, stayed, are sometimes used. 2. Raiment, contracted from arrayment, is never written with the y. 3. Daily is more common than the regular form dayly; but gayly, gayety, and gayness, are justly superseding gaily and gaiety.


Words ending in ize or ise sounded alike, as in wise and size, generally take the z in all such as are essentially formed by means of the termination; and the s in monosyllables, and all such as are essentially formed by means of prefixes: as, gormandise, apologize, brutalize, canonize, pilgrimize, philosophize, cauterize, anathematize, sympathize, disorganize, with z;[117] rise, arise, disguise, advise, devise, supervise, circumcise, despise, surmise, surprise, comprise, compromise, enterprise, presurmise, with s.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. Advertise, catechise, chastise, criticise,[118] exercise, exorcise, and merchandise, are most commonly written with s and size, assize, capsize, analyze, overprize, detonize, and recognize, with z. How many of them are real exceptions to the rule, it is difficult to say. 2. Prise, a thing taken, and prize, to esteem; apprise, to inform, and apprize, to value, or appraise, are often written either way, without this distinction of meaning, which some wish to establish. 3. The want of the foregoing rule has also made many words variable, which ought, unquestionably, to conform to the general principle.


Compounds generally retain the orthography of the simple words which compose them: as, wherein, horseman, uphill, shellfish, knee-deep, kneedgrass, kneading-trough, innkeeper, skylight, plumtree, mandrill.

EXCEPTIONS.—1. In permanent compounds, or in any derivatives of which, they are not the roots, the words full and all drop one l; as, handful, careful, fulfil, always, although, withal; in temporary compounds, they retain both; as, full-eyed, chock-full,[119] all-wise, save-all. 2. So the prefix mis, (if from miss, to err,) drops one s; but it is wrong to drop them both, as in Johnson's "mispell" and "mispend," for misspell and misspend. 3. In the names of days, the word mass also drops one s; as, Christmas, Candlemas, Lammas. 4. The possessive case often drops the apostrophe; as in herdsman, kitesfoot. 5. One letter is dropped, if three of the same kind come together: as, Rosshire, chaffinch; or else a hyphen is used: as, Ross-shire, ill-looking, still-life. 6. Chilblain, welcome, and welfare, drop one l. 7. Pastime drops an s. 8. Shepherd, wherever, and whosever, drop an e; and wherefore and therefore assume one.


Any word for the spelling of which we have no rule but usage, is written wrong if not spelled according to the usage which is most common among the learned: as, "The brewer grinds his malt before he brues his beer."—Red Book, p. 38.


OBS. 1.—The foregoing rules aim at no wild and impracticable reformation of our orthography; but, if carefully applied, they will do much to obviate its chief difficulties. Being made variable by the ignorance of some writers and the caprice of others, our spelling is now, and always has been, exceedingly irregular and unsettled. Uniformity and consistency can be attained in no other way, than by the steady application of rules and principles; and these must be made as few and as general as the case will admit, that the memory of the learner may not be overmatched by their number or complexity. Rules founded on the analogy of similar words, and sanctioned by the usage of careful writers, must be taken as our guides; because common practice is often found to be capricious, contradictory, and uncertain. That errors and inconsistencies abound, even in the books which are proposed to the world as standards of English orthography, is a position which scarcely needs proof. It is true, to a greater or less extent, of all the spelling-books and dictionaries that I have seen, and probably of all that have ever been published. And as all authors are liable to mistakes, which others may copy, general rules should have more weight than particular examples to the contrary. "The right spelling of a word may be said to be that which agrees the best with its pronunciation, its etymology, and with the analogy of the particular class of words to which it belongs."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 647.

OBS. 2.—I do not deny that great respect is due to the authority of our lexicographers, or that great improvement was made in the orthography of our language when Dr. Johnson put his hand to the work. But sometimes one man's authority may offset an other's; and he that is inconsistent with himself, destroys his own: for, surely, his example cannot be paramount to his principles. Much has been idly said, both for and against the adoption of Johnson's Dictionary, or Webster's, as the criterion of what is right or wrong in spelling; but it would seem that no one man's learning is sufficiently extensive, or his memory sufficiently accurate, to be solely relied on to furnish a standard by which we may in all cases be governed. Johnson was generally right; but, like other men, he was sometimes wrong. He erred sometimes in his principles, or in their application; as when he adopted the k in such words as rhetorick, and demoniack; or when he inserted the u in such words as governour, warriour, superiour. Neither of these modes of spelling was ever generally adopted, in any thing like the number of words to which he applied them; or ever will be; though some indiscreet compilers are still zealously endeavouring to impose them upon the public, as the true way of spelling. He also erred sometimes by accident, or oversight; as when he spelled thus: "recall and miscal, inthrall and bethral, windfall and downfal, laystall and thumbstal, waterfall and overfal, molehill and dunghil, windmill and twibil, uphill and downhil." This occasional excision of the letter l is reprehensible, because it is contrary to general analogy, and because both letters are necessary to preserve the sound, and show the derivation of the compound. Walker censures it as a "ridiculous irregularity," and lays the blame of it on the "printers," and yet does not venture to correct it! See Johnson's Dictionary, first American edition, quarto; Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary, under the word Dunghil; and his Rhyming Dictionary, Introd., p. xv.

OBS. 3.—"Dr. Johnson's Dictionary" has been represented by some as having "nearly fixed the external form of our language." But Murray, who quotes this from Dr. Nares, admits, at the same time, that, "The orthography of a great number of English words, is far from being uniform, even amongst writers of distinction."—Gram., p. 25. And, after commending this work of Johnson's, as A STANDARD, from which, "it is earnestly to be hoped, that no author will henceforth, on light grounds, be tempted to innovate," he adds, "This Dictionary, however, contains some orthographical inconsistencies which ought to be rectified: such as, immovable, moveable; chastely, chastness; fertileness, fertily; sliness, slyly; fearlessly, fearlesness; needlessness, needlesly."—Ib. In respect to the final ck and our, he also intentionally departs from THE STANDARD which he thus commends; preferring, in that, the authority of Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, from which he borrowed his rules for spelling. For, against the use of k at the end of words from the learned languages, and against the u in many words in which Johnson used it, we have the authority, not only of general usage now, but of many grammarians who were contemporary with Johnson, and of more than a dozen lexicographers, ancient or modern, among whom is Walker himself. In this, therefore, Murray's practice is right, and his commended standard dictionary, wrong.

OBS. 4.—Of words ending in or or our, we have about three hundred and twenty; of which not more than forty can now with any propriety be written with the latter termination. Aiming to write according to the best usage of the present day, I insert the u in so many of these words as now seem most familiar to the eye when so written; but I have no partiality for any letters that can well be spared; and if this book should ever, by any good fortune, happen to be reprinted, after honour, labour, favour, behaviour, and endeavour, shall have become as unfashionable as authour, errour, terrour, and emperour, are now, let the proof-reader strike out the useless letter not only from these words, but from all others which shall bear an equally antiquated appearance.

OBS. 5.—I have suggested the above-mentioned imperfections in Dr. Johnson's orthography, merely to justify the liberty which I take of spelling otherwise; and not with any view to give a preference to that of Dr. Webster, who is now contending for the honour of having furnished a more correct standard. For the latter author, though right in some things in which the former was wrong, is, on the whole, still more erroneous and inconsistent. In his various attempts at reformation in our orthography, he has spelled many hundreds of words in such a variety of ways, that he knows not at last which of them is right, and which are wrong. But in respect to definitions, he has done good service to our literature; nor have his critics been sufficiently just respecting what they call his "innovations." See Cobb's Critical Review of the Orthography of Webster. To omit the k from such words as publick, or the u from such as superiour, is certainly no innovation; it is but ignorance that censures the general practice, under that name. The advocates for Johnson and opponents of Webster, who are now so zealously stickling for the k and the u in these cases, ought to know that they are contending for what was obsolete, or obsolescent, when Dr. Johnson was a boy.

OBS. 6.—I have before observed that some of the grammarians who were contemporary with Johnson, did not adopt his practice respecting the k or the u, in publick, critick, errour, superiour, &c. And indeed I am not sure there were any who did. Dr. Johnson was born in 1709, and he died in 1784. But Brightland's Grammar, which was written during the reign of Queen Anne, who died in 1714, in treating of the letter C, says, "If in any Word the harder Sound precedes (e), (i), or (y), (k) is either added or put in its Place; as, Skill, Skin, Publick: And tho' the additional (k) in the foregoing Word be an old Way of Spelling, yet it is now very justly left off, as being a superfluous Letter; for (c) at the End is always hard."—Seventh Edition, Lond., 1746, p. 37.

OBS. 7.—The three grammars of Ash, Priestley, and Lowth, all appeared, in their first editions, about one time; all, if I mistake not, in the year 1763; and none of these learned doctors, it would seem, used the mode of spelling now in question. In Ash, of 1799, we have such orthography as this: "Italics, public, domestic, our traffic, music, quick; error, superior, warrior, authors, honour, humour, favour, behaviour." In Priestley, of 1772: "Iambics, dactyls, dactylic, anapæstic, monosyllabic, electric, public, critic; author, emperor's, superior; favour, labours, neighbours, laboured, vigour, endeavour; meagre, hillock, bailiwick, bishoprick, control, travelling." In Lowth, of 1799: "Comic, critic, characteristic, domestic; author, favor, favored, endeavored, alledging, foretells." Now all these are words in the spelling of which Johnson and Webster contradict each other; and if they are not all right, surely they would not, on the whole, be made more nearly right, by being conformed to either of these authorities exclusively. For THE BEST USAGE is the ultimate rule of grammar.

OBS. 8.—The old British Grammar, written before the American Revolution, and even before "the learned Mr. Samuel Johnson" was doctorated, though it thus respectfully quotes that great scholar, does not follow him in the spelling of which I am treating. On the contrary, it abounds with examples of words ending in ic and or, and not in ick and our, as he wrote them; and I am confident, that, from that time to this, the former orthography has continued to be more common than his. Walker, the orthoëpist, who died in 1807, yielded the point respecting the k, and ended about four hundred and fifty words with c in his Rhyming Dictionary; but he thought it more of an innovation than it really was. In his Pronouncing Dictionary, he says, "It has been a custom, within these twenty years, to omit the k at the end of words, when preceded by c. This has introduced a novelty into the language, which is that of ending a word with an unusual letter," &c. "This omission of k is, however, too general to be counteracted, even by the authority of Johnson; but it is to be hoped it will be confined to words from the learned languages."— Walker's Principles of Pronunciation, No. 400. The tenth edition of Burn's Grammar, dated 1810, says, "It has become customary to omit k after c at the end of dissyllables and trisyllables, &c. as music, arithmetic, logic; but the k is retained in monosyllables; as, back, deck, rick, &c."—P. 25. James Buchanan, of whose English Syntax there had been five American editions in 1792, added no k to such words as didactic, critic, classic, of which he made frequent use; and though he wrote honour, labour, and the like, with u, as they are perhaps most generally written now, he inserted no u in error, author, or any of those words in which that letter would now be inconsistent with good taste.

OBS. 9.—Bicknell's Grammar, of 1790, treating of the letter k, says, "And for the same reason we have dropt it at the end of words after c, which is there always hard; as in publick, logick, &c. which are more elegantly written public, logic."—Part ii, p. 13. Again: "It has heretofore joined with c at the end of words; as publick, logick; but, as before observed, being there quite superfluous, it is now left out"—Ib., p. 16. Horne Tooke's orthography was also agreeable to the rule which I have given on this subject. So is the usage of David Booth: "Formerly a k was added, as, rustick, politick, Arithmetick, &c. but this is now in disuse."—Booth's Introd. to Dict., Lond., 1814, p. 80.

OBS. 10.—As the authors of many recent spelling-books—Cobb, Emerson, Burhans, Bolles, Sears, Marshall, Mott, and others—are now contending for this "superfluous letter," in spite of all the authority against it, it seems proper briefly to notice their argument, lest the student be misled by it. It is summed up by one of them in the following words: "In regard to k after c at the end of words, it may be sufficient to say, that its omission has never been attempted, except in a small portion of the cases where it occurs; and that it tends to an erroneous pronunciation of derivatives, as in mimick, mimicking, where, if the k were omitted, it would read mimicing; and as c before i is always sounded like s, it must be pronounced mimising. Now, since it is never omitted in monosyllables, where it most frequently occurs, as in block, clock, &c., and can be in a part only of polysyllables, it is thought better to preserve it in all cases, by which we have one general rule, in place of several irregularities and exceptions that must follow its partial omission."—Bolles's Spelling-Book, p. 2. I need not tell the reader that these two sentences evince great want of care or skill in the art of grammar. But it is proper to inform him, that we have in our language eighty-six monosyllables which end with ck, and from them about fifty compounds or derivatives, which of course keep the same termination. To these may be added a dozen or more which seem to be of doubtful formation, such as huckaback, pickapack, gimcrack, ticktack, picknick, barrack, knapsack, hollyhock, shamrock, hammock, hillock, hammock, bullock, roebuck. But the verbs on which this argument is founded are only six; attack, ransack, traffick, frolick, mimick, and physick; and these, unquestionably, must either be spelled with the k, or must assume it in their derivatives. Now that useful class of words which are generally and properly written with final c, are about four hundred and fifty in number, and are all of them either adjectives or nouns of regular derivation from the learned languages, being words of more than one syllable, which have come to us from Greek or Latin roots. But what has the doubling of c by k, in our native monosyllables and their derivatives, to do with all these words of foreign origin? For the reason of the matter, we might as well double the l, as our ancestors did, in naturall, temporall, spirituall, &c.

OBS. 11.—The learner should observe that some letters incline much to a duplication, while gome others are doubled but seldom, and some, never. Thus, among the vowels, ee and oo occur frequently; aa is used sometimes; ii, never—except in certain Latin words, (wherein the vowels are separately uttered,) such as Horatii, Veii, iidem, genii. Again, the doubling of u is precluded by the fact that we have a distinct letter called Double-u, which was made by joining two Vees, or two Ues, when the form for u was v. So, among the consonants, f, l, and s, incline more to duplication, than any others. These letters are double, not only at the end of those monosyllables which have but one vowel, as staff, mill, pass; but also under some other circumstances. According to general usage, final f is doubled after a single vowel, in almost all cases; as in bailiff, caitiff, plaintiff, midriff, sheriff, tariff, mastiff: yet not in calif, which is perhaps better written caliph. Final l, as may be seen by Rule 8th, admits not now of a duplication like this; but, by the exceptions to Rule 4th, it is frequently doubled when no other consonant would be; as in travelling, grovelling; unless, (contrary to the opinion of Lowth, Walker, and Webster,) we will have fillipping, gossipping, and worshipping, to be needful exceptions also.

OBS. 12.—Final s sometimes occurs single, as in alas, atlas, bias; and especially in Latin words, as virus, impetus; and when it is added to form plurals, as verse, verses: but this letter, too, is generally doubled at the end of primitive words of more than one syllable; as in carcass, compass, cuirass, harass, trespass, embarrass. On the contrary, the other consonants are seldom doubled, except when they come under Rule 3d. The letter p, however, is commonly doubled, in some words, even when it forms a needless exception to Rule 4th; as in the derivatives from fillip, gossip, and perhaps also worship. This letter, too, was very frequently doubled in Greek; whence we have, from the name of Philip of Macedon, the words Philippic and Philippize, which, if spelled according to our rule for such derivatives, would, like galloped and galloper, siruped and sirupy, have but one p. We find them so written in some late dictionaries. But if fillipped, gossipped, and worshipped, with the other derivatives from the same roots, are just and necessary exceptions to Rule 4th, (which I do not admit,) so are these; and for a much stronger reason, as the classical scholar will think. In our language, or in words purely English, the letters h, i, j, k, q, v, w, x, and y, are, properly speaking, never doubled. Yet, in the forming of compounds, it may possibly happen, that two Aitches, two Kays, or even two Double-ues or Wies, shall come together; as in withhold, brickkiln, slowwoorm, bayyarn.

OBS. 13.—There are some words—as those which come from metal, medal, coral, crystal, argil, axil, cavil, tranquil, pupil, papil—in which the classical scholar is apt to violate the analogy of English derivation, by doubling the letter l, because he remembers the ll of their foreign roots, or their foreign correspondents. But let him also remember, that, if a knowledge of etymology may be shown by spelling metallic, metalliferous, metallography, metallurgic, metallurgist, metallurgy, medallic, medallion, crystallize, crystalline, argillous, argillaceous, axillar, axillary, cavillous, cavillation, papillate, papillous, papillary, tranquillity, and pupillary, with double l, ignorance of it must needs be implied in spelling metaline, metalist, metaloid, metaloidal, medalist, coralaceous, coraline, coralite, coralinite, coraloid, coraloidal, crystalite, argilite, argilitic, tranquilize, and pupilage, in like manner. But we cannot well double the l in the former, and not in the latter words. Here is a choice of difficulties. Etymology must govern orthography. But what etymology? our own, or that which is foreign? If we say, both, they disagree; and the mere English scholar cannot know when, or how far, to be guided by the latter. If a Latin diminutive, as papilla from papula or papa, pupillus from pupus, or tranquillus from trans and quietus, happen to double an l, must we forever cling to the reduplication, and that, in spite of our own rules to the contrary? Why is it more objectionable to change pupillaris to pupilary, than pupillus to pupil? or, to change tranquillitas to tranquility, than tranquillus to tranquil? And since papilous, pupilage, and tranquilize are formed from the English words, and not directly from the Latin, why is it not as improper to write them with double l, as to write perilous, vassalage, and civilize, in the same manner?

OBS. 14.—If the practice of the learned would allow us to follow the English rule here, I should incline to the opinion, that all the words which I have mentioned above, ought to be written with single l. Ainsworth exhibits the Latin word for coral in four forms, and the Greek word in three. Two of the Latin and two of the Greek have the l single; the others double it. He also spells "coraliticus" with one l, and defines it "A sort of white marble, called coraline." [120] The Spaniards, from whose medalla, we have medal; whose argil[121] is arcilla, from the Latin argilla; and to whose cavilar, Webster traces cavil; in all their derivatives from these Latin roots, metallum, metal—coralium, corallium, curalium, or corallum, coral—crystallus or crystallum, crystal—pupillus, pupil—and tranquillus, tranquil—follow their own rules, and write mostly with single l: as, pupilero, a teacher; metalico, metalic; corolina (fem.) coraline; cristalino, crystaline; crystalizar, crystalize; traquilizar, tranquilize; and tranquilidad, tranquility. And if we follow not ours, when or how shall the English scholar ever know why we spell as we do? For example, what can he make of the orthography of the following words, which I copy from our best dictionaries: equip', eq'uipage; wor'ship, wor'shipper;—peril, perilous; cavil, cavillous;[122]—libel, libellous; quarrel, quarrelous;—opal, opaline; metal, metalline;[123]—coral, coralliform; crystal, crystalform;—dial, dialist; medal, medallist;—rascal, rascalion; medal, medallion;—moral, moralist, morality; metal, metallist, metallurgy;—civil, civilize, civility; tranquil, tranquillize, tranquillity;—novel, novelism, novelist, novelize; grovel, grovelling, grovelled, groveller?

OBS. 15.—The second clause of Murray's or Walker's 5th Rule for spelling, gives only a single l to each of the derivatives above named.[124] But it also treats in like manner many hundreds of words in which the l must certainly be doubled. And, as neither "the Compiler," nor any of his copiers, have paid any regard to their own principle, neither their doctrine nor their practice can be of much weight either way. Yet it is important to know to what words the rule is, or is not, applicable. In considering this vexatious question about the duplication of l, I was at first inclined to admit that, whenever final l has become single in English by dropping the second l of a foreign root, the word shall resume the ll in all derivatives formed from it by adding a termination beginning with a vowel; as, beryllus, beryl, berylline. This would, of course, double the l in nearly all the derivatives from metal, medal, &c. But what says Custom? She constantly doubles the l in most of them; but wavers in respect to some, and in a few will have it single. Hence the difficulty of drawing a line by which we may abide without censure. Pu'pillage and pu'pillary, with ll, are according to Walker's Rhyming Dictionary; but Johnson spells them pu'pilage and pu'pilary, with single l; and Walker, in his Pronouncing Dictionary, has pupilage with one l, and pupillary with two. Again: both Johnson's and the Pronouncing Dictionary, give us medallist and metallist with ll, and are sustained by Webster and others; but Walker, in his Rhyming Dictionary, writes them medalist and metalist, with single l, like dialist, formalist, cabalist, herbalist, and twenty other such words. Further: Webster doubles the l in all the derivatives of metal, medal, coral, axil, argil, and papil; but writes it single in all those of crystal, cavil, pupil, and tranquil—except tranquillity.

OBS. 16.—Dr. Webster also attempts, or pretends, to put in practice the hasty proposition of Walker, to spell with single l all derivatives from words ending in l not under the accent. "No letter," says Walker, "seems to be more frequently doubled improperly than l. Why we should write libelling, levelling, revelling, and yet offering, suffering, reasoning, I am totally at a loss to determine; and, unless l can give a better plea than any other letter in the alphabet, for being doubled in this situation, I must, in the style of Lucian, in his trial of the letter T, declare for an expulsion."—Rhyming Dict., p. x. This rash conception, being adopted by some men of still less caution, has wrought great mischief in our orthography. With respect to words ending in el, it is a good and sufficient reason for doubling the l, that the e may otherwise be supposed servile and silent. I have therefore made this termination a general exception to the rule against doubling. Besides, a large number of these words, being derived from foreign words in which the l was doubled, have a second reason for the duplication, as strong as that which has often induced these same authors to double that letter, as noticed above. Such are bordel, chapel, duel, fardel, gabel, gospel, gravel, lamel, label, libel, marvel, model, novel, parcel, quarrel, and spinel. Accordingly we find, that, in his work of expulsion, Dr. Webster has not unfrequently contradicted himself, and conformed to usage, by doubling the l where he probably intended to write it single. Thus, in the words bordeller, chapellany, chapelling, gospellary, gospeller, gravelly, lamellate, lamellar, lamellarly, lamelliform, and spinellane, he has written the l double, while he has grossly corrupted many other similar words by forbearing the reduplication; as, traveler, groveling, duelist, marvelous, and the like. In cases of such difficulty, we can never arrive at uniformity and consistency of practice, unless we resort to principles, and such principles as can be made intelligible to the English scholar. If any one is dissatisfied with the rules and exceptions which I have laid down, let him study the subject till he can furnish the schools with better.

OBS. 17.—We have in our language a very numerous class of adjectives ending in able or ible, as affable, arable, tolerable, admissible, credible, infallible, to the number of nine hundred or more. In respect to the proper form and signification of some of these, there occurs no small difficulty. Able is a common English word, the meaning of which is much better understood than its origin. Horne Tooke supposes it to have come from the Gothic noun abal, signifying strength; and consequently avers, that it "has nothing to do with the Latin adjective habilis, fit, or able, from which our etymologists erroneously derive it."—Diversions of Purley, Vol. ii, p. 450. This I suppose the etymologists will dispute with him. But whatever may be its true derivation, no one can well deny that able, as a suffix, belongs most properly, if not exclusively, to verbs; for most of the words formed by it, are plainly a sort of verbal adjectives. And it is evident that this author is right in supposing that English words of this termination, like the Latin verbals in bilis, have, or ought to have, such a signification as may justify the name which he gives them, of "potential passive adjectives;" a signification in which the English and the Latin derivatives exactly correspond. Thus dis'soluble or dissolv'able does not mean able to dissolve, but capable of being dissolved; and divisible or dividable does not mean able to divide, but capable of being divided.

OBS. 18.—As to the application of this suffix to nouns, when we consider the signification of the words thus formed, its propriety may well be doubted. It is true, however, that nouns do sometimes assume something of the nature of verbs, so as to give rise to adjectives that are of a participial character; such, for instance, as sainted, bigoted, conceited, gifted, tufted. Again, of such as hard-hearted, good-natured, cold-blooded, we have an indefinite number. And perhaps, upon the same principle, the formation of such words as actionable, companionable, exceptionable, marketable, merchantable, pasturable, treasonable, and so forth, may be justified, if care be taken to use them in a sense analogous to that of the real verbals. But, surely, the meaning which is commonly attached to the words amicable, changeable, fashionable, favourable, peaceable, reasonable, pleasurable, seasonable, suitable, and some others, would never be guessed from their formation. Thus, suitable means fitting or suiting, and not able to suit, or capable of being suited.

OBS. 19.—Though all words that terminate in able, used as a suffix, are properly reckoned derivatives, rather than compounds, and in the former class the separate meaning of the parts united is much less regarded than in the latter; yet, in the use of words of this formation, it would be well to have some respect to the general analogy of their signification as stated above; and not to make derivatives of the same fashion convey meanings so very different as do some of these. Perhaps it is from some general notion of their impropriety, that several words of this doubtful character have already become obsolete, or are gradually falling into disuse: as, accustomable, chanceable, concordable, conusable, customable, behoovable, leisurable, medicinable, personable, powerable, razorable, shapable, semblable, vengeable, veritable. Still, there are several others, yet currently employed, which might better perhaps, for the same reason, give place to more regular terms: as, amicable, for friendly or kind; charitable, for benevolent or liberal; colourable, for apparent or specious; peaceable, for peaceful or unhostile; pleasurable, for pleasing or delightful; profitable, for gainful or lucrative; sociable, for social or affable; reasonable, for rational or just.

OBS. 20.—In respect to the orthography of words ending in able or ible, it is sometimes difficult to determine which of these endings ought to be preferred; as whether we ought to write tenable or tenible, reversable or reversible, addable or addible. In Latin, the termination is bilis, and the preceding vowel is determined by the conjugation to which the verb belongs. Thus, for verbs of the first conjugation, it is a; as, from arare, to plough, arabilis, arable, tillable. For the second conjugation, it is i; as, from doc=ere, to teach, docibilis, or docilis, docible or docile, teachable. For the third conjugation, it is i; as, from vend=ere, to sell, vendibilis, vendible, salable. And, for the fourth conjugation, it is i; as, from sepelire, to bury, sepelib~ilis, sep'elible,[125] buriable. But from solvo and volvo, of the third conjugation, we have ubilis, uble; as, solubilis, sol'uble, solvible or solvable; volubilis, vol'uble, rollable. Hence the English words, rev'oluble, res'oluble, irres'oluble, dis'soluble, indis'soluble, and insol'uble. Thus the Latin verbals in bilis, are a sufficient guide to the orthography of all such words as are traceable to them; but the mere English scholar cannot avail himself of this aid; and of this sort of words we have a much greater number than were ever known in Latin. A few we have borrowed from the French: as, tenable, capable, preferable, convertible; and these we write as they are written in French. But the difficulty lies chiefly in those which are of English growth. For some of them are formed according to the model of the Latin verbals in ibilis; as forcible, coercible, reducible, discernible; and others are made by simply adding the suffix able; as traceable, pronounceable, manageable, advisable, returnable. The last are purely English; and yet they correspond in form with such as come from Latin verbals in abilis.

OBS. 21.—From these different modes of formation, with the choice of different roots, we have sometimes two or three words, differing in orthography and pronunciation, but conveying the same meaning; as, divis'ible and divi'dable, des'picable and despi'sable, ref'erable and refer'rible, mis'cible and mix'able, dis'soluble, dissol'vible, and dissol'vable. Hence, too, we have some words which seem to the mere English scholar to be spelled in a very contradictory manner, though each, perhaps, obeys the law of its own derivation; as, peaceable and forcible, impierceable and coercible, marriageable and corrigible, damageable and eligible, changeable and tangible, chargeable and frangible, fencible and defensible, pref'erable and referrible, conversable and reversible, defendable and descendible, amendable and extendible, bendable and vendible, dividable and corrodible, returnable and discernible, indispensable and responsible, advisable and fusible, respectable and compatible, delectable and collectible, taxable and flexible.

OBS. 22.—The American editor of the Red Book, to whom all these apparent inconsistencies seemed real blunders, has greatly exaggerated this difficulty in our orthography, and charged Johnson and Walker with having written all these words and many more, in this contradictory manner, "without any apparent reason!" He boldly avers, that, "The perpetual contradictions of the same or like words, in all the books, show that the authors had no distinct ideas of what is right, and what is wrong;" and ignorantly imagines, that, "The use of ible rather than able, in any case, originated in the necessity of keeping the soft sound of c and g, in the derivatives; and if ible was confined to that use, it would be an easy and simple rule."—Red Book, p. 170. Hence, he proposes to write peacible for peaceable, tracible for traceable, changible for changeable, managible for manageable; and so for all the rest that come from words ending in ce or ge. But, whatever advantage there might be in this, his "easy and simple rule" would work a revolution for which the world is not yet prepared. It would make audible audable, fallible fallable, feasible feasable, terrible terrable, horrible horrable, &c. No tyro can spell in a worse manner than this, even if he have no rule at all. And those who do not know enough of Latin grammar to profit by what I have said in the preceding observation, may console themselves with the reflection, that, in spelling these difficult words entirely by guess, they will not miss the way more than some have done who pretended to be critics. The rule given by John Burn, for able and ible, is less objectionable; but it is rendered useless by the great number of its exceptions.

OBS. 23.—As most of the rules for spelling refer to the final letters of our primitive words, it may be proper for the learner to know and remember, that not all the letters of the alphabet can assume that situation, and that some of them terminate words much more frequently than others. Thus, in Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, the letter a ends about 220 words; b, 160; c, 450; d, 1550; e, 7000; f, 140; g, 280; h, 400; i, 29; j, none; k, 550; l, 1900; m, 550; n, 3300; o, 200; p, 450; q, none; r, 2750; s, 3250; t, 3100; u, 14; v, none; w, 200; x, 100; y, 5000; z, 5. We have, then, three consonants, j, q, and v, which never end a word. And why not? With respect to j and v, the reason is plain from their history. These letters were formerly identified with i and u, which are not terminational letters. The vowel i ends no pure English word, except that which is formed of its own capital I; and the few words which end with u are all foreign, except thou and you. And not only so, the letter j is what was formerly called i consonant; and v is what was called u consonant. But it was the initial i and u, or the i and u which preceded an other vowel, and not those which followed one, that were converted into the consonants j and v. Hence, neither of these letters ever ends any English word, or is ever doubled. Nor do they unite with other consonants before or after a vowel: except that v is joined with r in a few words of French origin, as livre, manoeuvre; or with l in some Dutch names, as Watervleit. Q ends no English word, because it is always followed by u. The French termination que, which is commonly retained in pique, antique, critique, opaque, oblique, burlesque, and grotesque, is equivalent to k; hence we write packet, lackey, checker, risk, mask, and mosk, rather than paquet, laquey, chequer, risque, masque, and mosque. And some authors write burlesk and grotesk, preferring k to que.

OBS. 24.—Thus we see that j, q, and v, are, for the most part, initial consonants only. Hence there is a harshness, if not an impropriety, in that syllabication which some have recently adopted, wherein they accommodate to the ear the division of such words as maj-es-ty, proj-ect, traj-ect,—eq-ui-ty, liq-ui-date, ex-cheq-uer. But v, in a similar situation, has now become familiar; as in ev-er-y, ev-i-dence: and it may also stand with l or r, in the division of such words as solv-ing and serv-ing. Of words ending in ive, Walker exhibits four hundred and fifty—exactly the same number that he spells with ic. And Horne Tooke, who derives ive from the Latin ivus, (q. d. vis,) and ic from the Greek [Greek: ikos], (q. d. [Greek: ischus]) both implying power, has well observed that there is a general correspondence of meaning between these two classes of adjectives—both being of "a potential active signification; as purgative, vomitive, operative, &c.; cathartic, emetic, energetic, &c."—Diversions of Purley, Vol. ii, p. 445. I have before observed, that Tooke spelled all this latter class of words without the final k; but he left it to Dr. Webster to suggest the reformation of striking the final e from the former.

OBS. 25.—In Dr. Webster's "Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Peeces," published in 1790, we find, among other equally ingenious improvements of our orthography, a general omission of the final e in all words ending in ive, or rather of all words ending in ve, preceded by a short vowel; as, "primitiv, derivativ, extensiv, positiv, deserv, twelv, proov, luv, hav, giv, liv." This mode of spelling, had it been adopted by other learned men, would not only have made v a very frequent final consonant, but would have placed it in an other new and strange predicament, as being subject to reduplication. For he that will write hav, giv, and liv, must also, by a general rule of grammar, write havving, givving, and livving. And not only so, there will follow also, in the solemn style of the Bible, a change of givest, livest, giveth, and liveth, into givvest, livvest, givveth, and livveth. From all this it may appear, that a silent final e is not always quite so useless a thing as some may imagine. With a levity no less remarkable, does the author of the Red Book propose at once two different ways of reforming the orthography of such words as pierceable, manageable, and so forth; in one of which, the letter j would be brought into a new position, and subjected sometimes to reduplication. "It would be a useful improvement to change this c into s, and g into j;" as, piersable, manajable, &c. "Or they might assume i;" as, piercibe, managible, &c.—Red Book, p. 170. Now would not this "useful improvement" give us such a word as allejjable? and would not one such monster be more offensive than all our present exceptions to Rule 9th? Out upon all such tampering with orthography!

OBS. 26.—If any thing could arrest the folly of innovators and dabbling reformers, it would be the history of former attempts to effect improvements similar to theirs. With this sort of history every one would do well to acquaint himself, before he proceeds to disfigure words by placing their written elements in any new predicament. If the orthography of the English language is ever reduced to greater regularity than it now exhibits, the reformation must be wrought by those who have no disposition either to exaggerate its present defects, or to undertake too much. Regard must be had to the origin, as well as to the sounds, of words. To many people, all silent letters seem superfluous; and all indirect modes of spelling, absurd. Hence, as the learner may perceive, a very large proportion of the variations and disputed points in spelling, are such as refer to the silent letters, which are retained by some writers and omitted by others. It is desirable that such as are useless and irregular should be always omitted; and such as are useful and regular always retained. The rules which I have laid down as principles of discrimination, are such as almost every reader will know to be generally true, and agreeable to present usage, though several of them have never before been printed in any grammar. Their application will strike out some letters which are often written, and retain some which are often omitted; but, if they err on either hand, I am confident they err less than any other set of rules ever yet formed for the same purpose. Walker, from whom Murray borrowed his rules for spelling, declares for an expulsion of the second l from traveller, gambolled, grovelling, equalling, cavilling, and all similar words; seems more willing to drop an l from illness, stillness, shrillness, fellness, and drollness, than to retain both in smallness, tallness, chillness, dullness, and fullness; makes it one of his orthographical aphorisms, that, "Words taken into composition often drop those letters which were superfluous in their simples; as, Christmas, dunghil, handful;" and, at the same time, chooses rather to restore the silent e to the ten derivatives from move and prove, from which Johnson dropped it, than to drop it from the ten similar words in which that author retained it! And not only so, he argues against the principle of his own aphorism; and says, "It is certainly to be feared that, if this pruning of our words of all the superfluous letters, as they are called, should be much farther indulged, we shall quickly antiquate our most respectable authors, and irreparably maim our language."—Walker's Rhyming Dict., p. xvii.

OBS. 27.—No attempt to subject our orthography to a system of phonetics, seems likely to meet with general favour, or to be free from objection, if it should. For words are not mere sounds, and in their orthography more is implied than in phonetics, or phonography. Ideographic forms have, in general, the advantage of preserving the identity, history, and lineage of words; and these are important matters in respect to which phonetic writing is very liable to be deficient. Dr. Johnson, about a century ago, observed, "There have been many schemes offered for the emendation and settlement of our orthography, which, like that of other nations, being formed by chance, or according to the fancy of the earliest writers in rude ages, was at first very various and uncertain, and [is] as yet sufficiently irregular. Of these reformers some have endeavoured to accommodate orthography better to the pronunciation, without considering that this is to measure by a shadow, to take that for a model or standard which is changing while they apply it. Others, less absurdly indeed, but with equal unlikelihood of success, have endeavoured to proportion the number of letters to that of sounds, that every sound may have its own character, and every character a single sound. Such would be the orthography of a new language to be formed by a synod of grammarians upon principles of science. But who can hope to prevail on nations to change their practice, and make all their old books useless? or what advantage would a new orthography procure equivalent to the confusion and perplexity of such an alteration?"—Johnson's Grammar before Quarto Dict., p. 4.

OBS. 28.—Among these reformers of our alphabet and orthography, of whose schemes he gives examples, the Doctor mentions, first, "Sir Thomas Smith, secretary of state to Queen Elizabeth, a man of real learning, and much practised in grammatical disquisitions;" who died in 1597;—next, "Dr. Gill, the celebrated master of St. Paul's School in London;" who died in 1635;—then, "Charles Butler, a man who did not want an understanding which might have qualified him for better employment;" who died in 1647;—and, lastly, "Bishop Wilkins, of Chester, a learned and ingenious critic, who is said to have proposed his scheme, without expecting to be followed;" he died in 1672.

OBS. 29.—From this time, there was, so far as I know, no noticeable renewal of such efforts, till about the year 1790, when, as it is shown above on page 134 of my Introduction, Dr. Webster, (who was then only "Noah Webster, Jun., attorney at law,") attempted to spell all words as they are spoken, without revising the alphabet—a scheme which his subsequent experience before many years led him to abandon. Such a reformation was again attempted, about forty years after, by an other young lawyer, the late lamented Thomas S. Grimke, of South Carolina, but with no more success. More recently, phonography, or phonetic writing, has been revived, and to some extent spread, by the publications of Isaac Pitman, of Bath, England, and of Dr. Andrew Comstock, of Philadelphia. The system of the former has been made known in America chiefly by the lectures and other efforts of Andrews and Boyle, of Dr. Stone, a citizen of Boston, and of E. Webster, a publisher in Philadelphia.

OBS. 30.—The pronunciation of words being evidently as deficient in regularity, in uniformity, and in stability, as is their orthography, if not more so, cannot be conveniently made the measure of their written expression. Concerning the principle of writing and printing by sounds alone, a recent writer delivers his opinion thus: "Let me here observe, as something not remote from our subject, but, on the contrary, directly bearing upon it, that I can conceive no [other] method of so effectually defacing and barbarizing our English tongue, no [other] scheme that would go so far to empty it, practically at least and for us, of all the hoarded wit, wisdom, imagination, and history which it contains, to cut the vital nerve which connects its present with the past, as the introduction of the scheme of 'phonetic spelling,' which some have lately been zealously advocating among us; the principle of which is, that all words should be spelt according as they are sounded, that the writing should be, in every case, subordinated to the speaking. The tacit assumption that it ought so to be, is the pervading error running through the whole system."—R. C. Trench, on the Study of Words, p. 177.

OBS. 31.—The phonographic system of stenography, tachygraphy, or short-hand writing, is, I incline to believe, a very great improvement upon the earlier methods. It is perhaps the most reliable mode of taking down speeches, sermons, or arguments, during their delivery, and reporting them for the press; though I cannot pronounce upon this from any experience of my own in the practice of the art. And it seems highly probable, if it has not been fully proved, that children may at first be taught to read more readily, and with better articulation, from phonetic print, or phonotypy, as it has been called, than from books that exhibit words in their current or established orthography. But still it is questionable whether it is not best for them to learn each word at first by its peculiar or ideographic form—the form in which they must ultimately learn to read it, and which indeed constitutes its only orthography.



"He wil observe the moral law, in hiz conduct."—Webster's Essays, p. 320.

[FORMULES—1. Not proper, because the word "wil" is here spelled with one l. But, according to Rule 1st, "Monosyllables ending in f, l, or s, preceded by a single vowel, double the final consonant." Therefore, this l should be doubled; thus, will.

2. Not proper again, because the word "hiz" is here spelled with z. But, according to the exceptions to Rule 1st, "The words as, gas, has, was, yes, his, &c., are written with single s." Therefore, this z should be s; thus, his.]

"A clif is a steep bank, or a precipitous rock."—See Rhyming Dict. "A needy man's budget is ful of schemes."—Old Adage. "Few large publications in this country wil pay a printer."—Noah Webster's Essays, p. x. "I shal, with cheerfulness, resign my other papers to oblivion."—Ib., p. x. "The proposition waz suspended til the next session of the legislature."—Ib., p. 362. "Tenants for life wil make the most of lands for themselves."—Ib., p. 366. "While every thing iz left to lazy negroes, a state wil never be wel cultivated."—Ib., p. 367. "The heirs of the original proprietors stil hold the soil."—Ib., p. 349. "Say my annual profit on money loaned shal be six per cent."—Ib., p. 308. "No man would submit to the drudgery of business, if he could make money az fast by lying stil."—Ib., p. 310. "A man may az wel feed himself with a bodkin, az with a knife of the present fashion."—Ib., p. 400. "The clothes wil be ill washed, the food wil be badly cooked; and you wil be ashamed of your wife, if she iz not ashamed of herself."—Ib., p. 404. "He wil submit to the laws of the state, while he iz a member of it."—Ib., p. 320. "But wil our sage writers on law forever think by tradition?"—Ib., p. 318. "Some stil retain a sovereign power in their territories."—Ib., p. 298. "They sel images, prayers, the sound of bels, remission of sins, &c."—Perkins's Theology, p. 401. "And the law had sacrifices offered every day for the sins of al the people."—Ib., p. 406. "Then it may please the Lord, they shal find it to be a restorative."—Ib., p. 420. "Perdition is repentance put of til a future day."—Old Maxim. "The angels of God, which wil good and cannot wil evil, have nevertheless perfect liberty of wil."—Perkins's Theology, p. 716. "Secondly, this doctrine cuts off the excuse of al sin."—Ib., p. 717. "Knel, the sound of a bell rung at a funeral."—Johnson and Walker.

   "If gold with dros or grain with chaf you find,
    Select—and leave the chaf and dros behind."—Author.


"The mobb hath many heads, but no brains."—Old Maxim.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "mobb" is here spelled with double b. But, according to Rule 2d, "Words ending in any other consonant than f, l, or s, do not double the final letter." Therefore, this b should be single: thus, mob.]

"Clamm, to clog with any glutinous or viscous matter."—Johnson's Dict. "Whurr, to pronounce the letter r with too much force."—Ib. "Flipp, a mixed liquor, consisting of beer and spirits sweetened."—Ib. "Glynn, a hollow between two mountains, a glen."—Churchill's Grammar, p. 22. "Lamm, to beat soundly with a cudgel or bludgeon."—Walker's Dict. "Bunn, a small cake, a simnel, a kind of sweet bread."—See ib. "Brunett, a woman with a brown complexion."—Ib. and Johnson's Dict. "Wad'sett, an ancient tenure or lease of land in the Highlands of Scotland."—Webster's Dict. "To dodd sheep, is to cut the wool away about their tails."—Ib. "In aliquem arietare, CIC. To run full but at one."—Walker's Particles, p. 95. "Neither your policy nor your temper would permitt you to kill me."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 427. "And admitt none but his own offspring to fulfill them."—Ib., i, 437. "The summ of all this Dispute is, that some make them Participles," &c.—Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 352. "As, the whistling of winds, the buz and hum of insects, the hiss of serpents, the crash of falling timber."—Blair's Rhet., p. 129; Adam's Lat. Gram., p. 247; Gould's, 238. "Vann, to winnow, or a fan for winnowing."—Walker's Rhyming Dict. "Creatures that buz, are very commonly such as will sting."—Author "Begg, buy, or borrow; butt beware how you find."—Id. "It is better to have a house to lett, than a house to gett."—Id. "Let not your tongue cutt your throat."—Old Precept. "A little witt will save a fortunate man."—Old Adage. "There is many a slipp 'twixt the cup and the lipp."—Id. "Mothers' darlings make but milksopp heroes."—Id. "One eye-witness is worth tenn hearsays."—Id.

   "The judge shall jobb, the bishop bite the town,
    And mighty dukes pack cards for half a crown."—POPE:
       in Joh. Dict., w. Pack.


"Friz, to curl; frized, curled; frizing, curling."—Webster's Dict., 8vo.
Ed. of 1829.

[FORMULE—Not proper, because the words "frized" and "frizing" are here spelled with the single z, of their primitive friz. But, according to Rule 3d, "Monosyllables, and words accented on the last syllable, when they end with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, double their final consonant before an additional syllable that begins with a vowel." Therefore, this z should be doubled; thus, frizzed, frizzing.]

"The commercial interests served to foster the principles of Whigism."—Payne's Geog., Vol. ii, p. 511. "Their extreme indolence shuned every species of labour."—Robertson's Amer., Vol. i, p. 341. "In poverty and stripedness they attend their little meetings."—The Friend, Vol. vii, p. 256. "In guiding and controling[126] the power you have thus obtained."—Abbott's Teacher, p. 15. "I began, Thou beganest, He began; We began, You began, They began."—Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 92. "Why does began change its ending; as, I began, Thou beganest?"—Ib., p. 93. "Truth and conscience cannot be controled by any methods of coercion."—Hints on Toleration, p. xvi. "Dr. Webster noded, when he wrote 'knit, kniter, and knitingneedle' without doubling the t."—See El. Spelling-Book, 1st Ed., p. 136. "A wag should have wit enough to know when other wags are quizing him."—G. Brown. "Bon'y, handsome, beautiful, merry."—Walker's Rhyming Dict. "Coquetish, practicing coquetry; after the manner of a jilt."—Webster's Dict. "Potage, a species of food, made of meat and vegetables boiled to softness in water."—See ib. "Potager, from potage, a porringer, a small vessel for children's food."—See ib., and Worcester's. "Compromit, compromited, compromiting; manumit, manumitted, manumitting."—Webster. "Inferible; that may be inferred or deduced from premises."—Red Book, p. 228. "Acids are either solid, liquid, or gaseous."—Gregory's Dict., art. Chemistry. "The spark will pass through the interrupted space between the two wires, and explode the gases."—Ib. "Do we sound gases and gaseous like cases and caseous? No: they are more like glasses and osseous."—G. Brown. "I shall not need here to mention Swiming, when he is of an age able to learn."—Locke, on Ed., p. 12. "Why do lexicographers spell thinnish and mannish with two Ens, and dimish and ramish with one Em, each?"—See Johnson and Webster. "Gas forms the plural regularly, gases."—O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 38. "Singular, Gas; Plural, Gases."—S. W. Clark's Gram., p. 47. "These are contractions from sheded, bursted."—Hiley's Grammar, p. 45. "The Present Tense denotes what is occuring at the present time."—Day's Gram., p. 36, and p. 61. "The verb ending in eth is of the solemn or antiquated style; as, he loveth, he walketh, he runeth."—P. Davis's Gram., p. 34.

   "Thro' freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings,
    Degrading nobles and controling kings."—Murray's Sequel, p. 292.


"A bigotted and tyrannical clergy will be feared."—Brown's Estimate,
Vol. ii, p. 78.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the final t of bigot is here doubled in "bigotted." But, according to Rule 4th, "A final consonant, when it is not preceded by a single vowel, or when the accent is not on the last syllable, should remain single before an additional syllable." Therefore, this t should be single; thus, bigoted.]

"Jacob worshipped his Creator, leaning on the top of his staff."—Key in Merchant's Gram., p. 185. "For it is all marvelously destitute of interest."—Merchant's Criticisms. "As, box, boxes; church, churches; lash, lashes; kiss, kisses; rebus, rebusses."—Murray's Gram., 12mo, p. 42. "Gossipping and lying go hand in hand."—Old Maxim. "The substance of the Criticisms on the Diversions of Purley was, with singular industry, gossipped by the present precious secretary of war, in Payne the bookseller's shop."—See Key. "Worship makes worshipped, worshipper, worshipping; gossip, gossipped, gossipper, gossipping; fillip, fillipped, fillipper, fillipping."—Nixon's Parser, p. 72. "I became as fidgetty as a fly in a milk-jug."—Blackwood's Mag., Vol. xl, p. 674. "That enormous error seems to be rivetted in popular opinion."—Webster's Essays, p. 364. "Whose mind iz not biassed by personal attachments to a sovereign."—Ib., p. 318. "Laws against usury originated in a bigotted prejudice against the Jews."—Ib., p. 315. "The most criticcal period of life iz usually between thirteen and seventeen."—Ib., p. 388. "Generallissimo, the chief commander of an army or military force."—See El. Spelling-Book, p. 93. "Tranquillize, to quiet, to make calm and peaceful."—Ib., p. 133. "Pommeled, beaten, bruised; having pommels, as a sword or dagger."—Webster and Chalmers. "From what a height does the jeweler look down upon his shoemaker!"—Red Book, p. 108. "You will have a verbal account from my friend and fellow traveler."—Ib., p. 155. "I observe that you have written the word counseled with one l only."—Ib., p. 173. "They were offended at such as combatted these notions."—Robertson's America, Vol. ii, p. 437. "From libel, come libeled, libeler, libeling, libelous; from grovel, groveled, groveler, groveling; from gravel, graveled and graveling."—See Webster's Dict. "Wooliness, the state of being woolly."—Ib. "Yet he has spelled chappelling, bordeller, medallist, metalline, metallist, metallize, clavellated, &c. with ll, contrary to his rule."—Cobb's Review of Webster, p. 11. "Again, he has spelled cancelation and snively with single l, and cupellation, pannellation, wittolly, with ll."—Ib. "Oilly, fatty, greasy, containing oil, glib."—Rhyming Dict. "Medallist, one curious in medals; Metallist, one skilled in metals."—Johnson, Webster, Worcester, Cobb, et al. "He is benefitted."—Town's Spelling-Book, p. 5. "They traveled for pleasure."—S. W. Clark's Gram., p. 101.

   "Without you, what were man? A groveling herd,
    In darkness, wretchedness, and want enchain'd."
        —Beattie's Minstrel, p. 40.


"He hopes, therefore, to be pardoned by the critick."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 10.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "critick" is here spelled with a final k. But, according to Rule 5th, "Monosyllables and English verbs end not with c, but take ck for double c; as, rack, wreck, rock, attack: but, in general, words derived from the learned languages need not the k, and common use discards it." Therefore, this k should be omitted; thus, critic.]

"The leading object of every publick speaker should be to persuade."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 153. "May not four feet be as poetick as five; or fifteen feet, as poetick as fifty?"—Ib., p. 146. "Avoid all theatrical trick and mimickry, and especially all scholastick stiffness."—Ib., p. 154. "No one thinks of becoming skilled in dancing, or in musick, or in mathematicks, or logick, without long and close application to the subject."—Ib., p. 152. "Caspar's sense of feeling, and susceptibility of metallick and magnetick excitement were also very extraordinary."—Ib., p. 238. "Authorship has become a mania, or, perhaps I should say, an epidemick."—Ib., p. 6. "What can prevent this republick from soon raising a literary standard?"—Ib., p. 10. "Courteous reader, you may think me garrulous upon topicks quite foreign to the subject before me."—Ib., p. 11. "Of the Tonick, Subtonick, and Atoniek elements."—Ib., p. 15. "The subtonick elements are inferiour to the tonicks in all the emphatick and elegant purposes of speech."—Ib., p. 32. "The nine atonicks, and the three abrupt subtonicks cause an interruption to the continuity of the syllabick impulse."—Ib., p. 37. "On scientifick principles, conjunctions and prepositions are but one part of speech."—Kirkham's Gram., p. 120. "That some inferior animals should be able to mimic human articulation, will not seem wonderful."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, Vol. i, p. 2.

   "When young, you led a life monastick,
    And wore a vest ecelesiastick;
    Now, in your age, you grow fantastick."—Johnson's Dict.


"Fearlesness, exemption from fear, intrepidity."—Johnson's Dict.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "fearlesness" is here allowed to drop one s of fearless. But, according to Rule 6th, "Words ending with any double letter, preserve it double before any additional termination not beginning with the same letter." Therefore, the other s should be inserted; thus, fearlessness.]

"Dreadlesness; fearlesness, intrepidity, undauntedness."—Johnson's Dict. "Regardlesly, without heed; Regardlesness, heedlessness, inattention."—Ib. "Blamelesly, innocently; Blamlesness, innocence."—Ib. "That is better than to be flattered into pride and carelesness."—TAYLOR: Joh. Dict. "Good fortunes began to breed a proud recklesness in them."—SIDNEY: ib. "See whether he lazily and listlesly dreams away his time."—LOCKE: ib. "It may be, the palate of the soul is indisposed by listlesness or sorrow."—TAYLOR: ib. "Pitilesly, without mercy; Pitilesness, unmercifulness."—Johnson. "What say you to such as these? abominable, accordable, agreable, &c."—Tooke's Diversions, Vol. ii, p. 432. "Artlesly; naturally, sincerely, without craft."—Johnson. "A chilness, or shivering of the body, generally precedes a fever."—Murray's Key, p. 167. "Smalness; littleness, minuteness, weakness."—Rhyming Dict. "Gall-less, a. free from gall or bitterness."—Webster's Dict. "Talness; height of stature, upright length with comparative slenderness."—See Johnson et al. "Wilful; stubborn, contumacious, perverse, inflexible."—Id. "He guided them by the skilfulness of his hands."—Psal. lxxviii, 72. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."—Murray's Key, p. 172. "What is now, is but an amasment of imaginary conceptions."—GLANVILLE: Joh. Dict. "Embarrasment; perplexity, entanglement."—See Littleton's Dict. "The second is slothfulness, whereby they are performed slackly and carelesly."—Perkins's Theology, p. 729. "Instalment; induction into office; part of a large sum of money, to be paid at a particular time."—See Johnson's Dict. "Inthralment; servitude, slavery."—Ib.

   "I, who at some times spend, at others spare,
    Divided between carelesness and care."—Pope.


"Shall, on the contrary, in the first person, simply foretels."—Murray's
, p. 88; Ingersoll's, 136; Fisk's, 78; Jaudon's, 59; A.
, 42; Wright's, 90; Bullions's, 32.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "foretels" does not here retain the double l of tell. But, according to Rule 7th, "Words ending with any double letter, preserve it double in all derivatives formed from them by means of prefixes." Therefore, the other l should be inserted; thus, foretells.]

"There are a few compound irregular verbs, as befal, bespeak, &c."—Ash's Gram., p. 46. "That we might frequently recal it to our memory."—Calvin's Institutes, p. 112. "The angels exercise a constant solicitude that no evil befal us."—Ib., p. 107. "Inthral; to enslave, to shackle, to reduce to servitude."—Walker's Dict. "He makes resolutions, and fulfils them by new ones."—Red Book, p. 138. "To enrol my humble name upon the list of authors on Elocution."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 12. "Forestal; to anticipate, to take up beforehand."—Walker's Rhym. Dict. "Miscal; to call wrong, to name improperly."—Johnson. "Bethral; to enslave, to reduce to bondage."—See id. "Befal; to happen to, to come to pass."—Rhym. Dict. "Unrol; to open what is rolled or convolved."—Johnson. "Counterrol; to keep copies of accounts to prevent frauds."—See id. "As Sisyphus uprols a rock, which constantly overpowers him at the summit."—Author. "Unwel; not well, indisposed, not in good health."—See Red Book, p. 336. "Undersel; to defeat by selling for less, to sell cheaper than an other."—See id., p. 332. "Inwal; to enclose or fortify with a wall."—See id., p. 295. "Twibil; an instrument with two bills, or with a point and a blade; a pickaxe, a mattock, a halberd, a battle-axe."—See Dict. "What you miscal their folly, is their care."—Dryden. "My heart will sigh when I miscal it so."—Shakspeare. "But if the arrangement recal one set of ideas more readily than another."—Blair's Rhet., p. 130.

   "'Tis done; and since 'tis done, 'tis past recal;
    And since 'tis past recal, must be forgotten."—Dryden.


"The righteous is taken away from the evill to come."—Perkins's Works, p. 417.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "evill" is here written with final ll. But, according to Rule 8th, "Final ll is peculiar to monosyllables and their compounds, with the few derivatives formed from such roots by prefixes; consequently, all other words that end in l, must be terminated with a single l." Therefore, one l should be here omitted; thus, evil.]

"Patroll; to go the rounds in a camp or garrison, to march about and observe what passes."—Webster's Amer. Dict., 8vo. "Marshall; the chief officer of arms, one who regulates rank and order."—See Bailey's Dict. "Weevill; a destructive grub that gets among corn."—See Rhym. Dict. "It much excells all other studies and arts."—Walker's Particles, p. 217. "It is essentiall to all magnitudes, to be in one place."—Perkins's Works, p. 403. "By nature I was thy vassall, but Christ hath redeemed me."—Ib., p. 404. "Some, being in want, pray for temporall blessings."—Ib., p. 412. "And this the Lord doth, either in temporall or spirituall benefits."—Ib., p. 415. "He makes an idoll of them, by setting his heart on them."—Ib., p. 416. "This triall by desertion serveth for two purposes."—Ib., p. 420. "Moreover, this destruction is both perpetuall and terrible."—Ib., p. 726. "Giving to severall men several gifts, according to his good pleasure."—Ib., p. 731. "Untill; to some time, place, or degree, mentioned."—See Red Book, p. 330. "Annull; to make void, to nullify, to abrogate, to abolish." "Nitric acid combined with argill, forms the nitrate of argill."—Gregory's Dict., art. Chemistry.

   "Let modest Foster, if he will, excell
    Ten Metropolitans in preaching well."—Pope, p. 414.


"Adjectives ending in able signify capacity; as, comfortable, tenable, improvable."—Priestley's Gram., p. 33.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "improveable" here retains the final e of improve. But, according to Rule 9th, "The final e of a primitive word is generally omitted before an additional termination beginning with a vowel." Therefore, this e should be omitted; thus, improvable.]

"Their mildness and hospitality are ascribeable to a general administration of religious ordinances."—Webster's Essays, p. 336. "Retrench as much as possible without obscureing the sense."—James Brown's Amer. Gram., 1821, p. 11. "Changable, subject to change; Unchangeable, immutable."—Walker's Rhym. Dict. "Tameable, susceptive of taming; Untameable, not to be tamed."—Ib. "Reconcileable, Unreconcileable, Reconcileableness; Irreconcilable, Irreconcilably, Irreconcilableness."—Johnson's Dict. "We have thought it most adviseable to pay him some little attention."— Merchants Criticisms. "Proveable, that may be proved; Reprovable. blameable, worthy of reprehension."—Walker's Dict. "Moveable and Immovable, Moveably and Immovably, Moveables and Removal, Moveableness and Improvableness, Unremoveable and Unimprovable, Unremoveably and Removable, Proveable and Approvable, Irreproveable and Reprovable, Unreproveable and Improvable, Unimproveableness and Improvably."—Johnson's Dict. "And with this cruelty you are chargable in some measure yourself."—Collier's Antoninus, p. 94. "Mothers would certainly resent it, as judgeing it proceeded from a low opinion of the genius of their sex."—British Gram., Pref., p. xxv. "Titheable, subject to the payment of tithes; Saleable, vendible, fit for sale; Loseable, possible to be lost; Sizeable, of reasonable bulk or size."—Walker's Rhyming Dict. "When he began this custom, he was puleing and very tender."—Locke, on Ed., p. 8.

   "The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,
    Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd."—Shak.


"Diversly; in different ways, differently, variously."—Rhym. Dict., and Webster's.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "Diversly" here omits the final e of its primitive word, diverse. But, according to Rule 10th, "The final e of a primitive word is generally retained before an additional termination beginning with a consonant." Therefore, this e should be retained; thus, Diversely.]

"The event thereof contains a wholsome instruction."—Bacon's Wisdom of the Ancients, p. 17. "Whence Scaliger falsly concluded that articles were useless."—Brightland's Gram., p. 94. "The child that we have just seen is wholesomly fed."—Murray's Key, 8vo, p. 187. "Indeed, falshood and legerdemain sink the character of a prince."—Collier's Antoninus, p. 5. "In earnest, at this rate of managment, thou usest thyself very coarsly."—Ib., p. 19. "To give them an arrangment and diversity, as agreeable as the nature of the subject would admit"—Murray's Pref. to Ex., p. vi. "Alger's Grammar is only a trifling enlargment of Murray's little Abridgment."—Author. "You ask whether you are to retain or omit the mute e in the word judgment, abridgment, acknowledgment, lodgment, adjudgment, and prejudgment."—Red Book, p. 172. "Fertileness, fruitfulness; Fertily, fruitfully, abundantly."—Johnson's Dict. "Chastly, purely, without contamination; Chastness, chastity, purity."—Ib., and Walker's. "Rhymster, n. One who makes rhymes; a versifier; a mean poet."—Johnson and Webster. "It is therefore an heroical achievment to dispossess this imaginary monarch."—Berkley's Minute Philos., p. 151. "Whereby, is not meant the Present Time, as he imagins, but the Time Past."—Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 344 "So far is this word from affecting the noun, in regard to its definitness, that its own character of definitness or indefinitness, depends upon the name to which it is prefixed."—Webster's Philosophical Gram., p. 20.

   "Satire, by wholsome Lessons, wou'd reclaim,
    And heal their Vices to secure their Fame."
        —Brightland's Gr., p. 171.


"Solon's the veryest fool in all the play."—Dryden, from Persius, p. 475.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "veryest" here retains the final y of its primitive very. But, according to Rule 13th, "The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a consonant, is generally changed into i before an additional termination." Therefore, this y should be changed to i; thus, veriest.]

"Our author prides himself upon his great slyness and shrewdness."—Merchant's Criticisms. "This tense, then, implys also the signification of Debeo."—B. Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 300. "That may be apply'd to a Subject, with respect to something accidental."—Ib., p. 133. "This latter accompanys his Note with a distinction."—Ib., p. 196. "This Rule is defective, and none of the Annotators have sufficiently supply'd it."—Ib., p. 204. "Though the fancy'd Supplement of Sanctius, Scioppius, Vossius, and Mariangelus, may take place."—Ib., p. 276. "Yet as to the commutableness of these two Tenses, which is deny'd likewise, they are all one."—Ib., p. 311. "Both these Tenses may represent a Futurity implyed by the dependence of the Clause."—Ib., p. 332. "Cry, cries, crying, cried, crier, decrial; Shy, shyer, shyest, shyly, shyness; Fly, flies, flying, flier, high-flier; Sly, slyer, slyest, slyly, slyness; Spy, spies, spying, spied, espial; Dry, drier, driest, dryly, dryness."—Cobb's Dict. "Cry, cried, crying, crier, cryer, decried, decrier, decrial; Shy, shyly, shily, shyness, shiness; Fly, flier, flyer, high-flyer; Sly, slily, slyly, sliness, slyness; Ply, plyer, plying, pliers, complied, compiler; Dry, drier, dryer, dryly, dryness."—Webster's Dict., 8vo. "Cry, crier, decrier, decrial; Shy, shily, shyly, shiness, shyness; Fly, flier, flyer, high-flier; Sly, slily, slyly, sliness, slyness; Ply, pliers, plyers, plying, complier; Dry, drier, dryer, dryly, dryness."—Chalmers's Abridgement of Todd's Johnson. "I would sooner listen to the thrumming of a dandyzette at her piano."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 24. "Send her away; for she cryeth after us."—Felton's Gram., p. 140. "IVYED, a. Overgrown with ivy."—Todd's Dict., and Webster's.

   "Some dryly plain, without invention's aid,
    Write dull receipts how poems may be made."—Pope.


"The gaiety of youth should be tempered by the precepts of age."—Mur.
, p. 175.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "gaiety" does not here retain the final y of the primitive word gay. But, according to Rule 12th, "The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a vowel, should not be changed into i before an additional termination." Therefore, this y should be retained; thus, gayety.]

"In the storm of 1703, two thousand stacks of chimnies were blown down, in and about London."—See Red Book, p. 112. "And the vexation was not abated by the hacknied plea of haste."—Ib., p. 142. "The fourth sin of our daies is lukewarmness."—Perkins's Works, p. 725. "God hates the workers of iniquity, and destroies them that speak lies."—Ib., p. 723. "For, when he laies his hand upon us, we may not fret."—Ib., p. 726. "Care not for it; but if thou maiest be free, choose it rather."—Ib., p. 736. "Alexander Severus saith, 'He that buieth, must sell: I will not suffer buyers and sellers of offices.'"—Ib., p. 737. "With these measures fell in all monied men."—SWIFT: Johnson's Dict. "But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks."—POPE: ib., w. Volley. "Vallies are the intervals betwixt mountains."—WOODWARD: ib. "The Hebrews had fifty-two journies or marches."—Wood's Dict. "It was not possible to manage or steer the gallies thus fastened together."—Goldsmith's Greece, Vol. ii, p. 106. "Turkies were not known to naturalists till after the discovery of America."—See Gregory's Dict. "I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkies."—See Key. "Men worked at embroidery, especially in abbies."—Constable's Miscellany, Vol. xxi, p. 101. "By which all purchasers or mortgagees may be secured of all monies they lay out."—TEMPLE: Johnson's Dict. "He would fly to the mines and the gallies for his recreation."—SOUTH: Ib.

"Here pullies make the pond'rous oak ascend."—GAY: ib.

    ——————"You need my help, and you say,
    Shylock, we would have monies."—SHAKSPEARE: ib.


"Will any able writer authorise other men to revise his works?"—Author.

[FORMULES.—1. Not proper, because the word "authorise" is here written with s in the last syllable, in stead of z. But, according to Rule 13th, "Words ending in ize or ise sounded alike, as in wise and size, generally take the z in all such as are essentially formed by means of the termination." Therefore, this s should be z; thus, authorize.

2. Not proper again, because the word "revize" is here written with z in the last syllable, in lieu of s. But, according to Rule 13th, "Words ending in ize or ise sounded alike, as in wise and size, generally take the s, in monosyllables, and all such as are essentially formed by means of prefixes." Therefore, this z should be s; thus, revise.]

"It can be made as strong and expressive as this Latinised English."—Murray's Gram., p. 295. "Governed by the success or the failure of an enterprize."—Ib., Vol. ii, pp. 128 and 259. "Who have patronised the cause of justice against powerful oppressors."—Ib., pp. 94 and 228; Merchant, p. 199. "Yet custom authorises this use of it."—Priestley's Gram., p. 148. "They surprize myself, * * * and I even think the writers themselves will be surprized."—Ib., Pref., p. xi. "Let the interest rize to any sum which can be obtained."—Webster's Essays, p. 310. "To determin what interest shall arize on the use of money."—Ib., p. 313. "To direct the popular councils and check a rizing opposition."—Ib., p. 335. "Five were appointed to the immediate exercize of the office."—Ib., p. 340. "No man ever offers himself [as] a candidate by advertizing."—Ib., p. 344. "They are honest and economical, but indolent, and destitute of enterprize."—Ib., p. 347. "I would however advize you to be cautious."—Ib., p. 404. "We are accountable for whatever we patronise in others."—Murray's Key, p. 175. "After he was baptised, and was solemnly admitted into the office."—Perkins's Works, p. 732. "He will find all, or most of them, comprized in the Exercises."—British Gram., Pref., p. v. "A quick and ready habit of methodising and regulating their thoughts."—Ib., p. xviii. "To tyrannise over the time and patience of his reader."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. iii. "Writers of dull books, however, if patronised at all, are rewarded beyond their deserts."—Ib., p. v. "A little reflection, will show the reader the propriety and the reason for emphasising the words marked."—Ib., p. 163. "The English Chronicle contains an account of a surprizing cure."—Red Book, p. 61. "Dogmatise, to assert positively; Dogmatizer, an asserter, a magisterial teacher."—Chalmers's Dict. "And their inflections might now have been easily analysed."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, Vol. i, p. 113. "Authorize, disauthorise, and unauthorized; Temporize, contemporise, and extemporize."—Walkers Dict. "Legalize, equalise, methodise, sluggardize, womanise, humanize, patronise, cantonize, gluttonise, epitomise, anatomize, phlebotomise, sanctuarise, characterize, synonymise, recognise, detonize, colonise."—Ibid.

   "This BEAUTY Sweetness always must comprize,
    Which from the Subject, well express'd will rise."
        —Brightland's Gr., p. 164.


"The glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward."—COMMON BIBLES: Isa., lviii, 8.

[FORMULE—Not proper, because the compound word "rereward" has not here the orthography of the two simple words rear and ward, which compose it. But, according to Rule 14th, "Compounds generally retain the orthography of the simple words which compose them." And, the accent being here unfixed, a hyphen is proper. Therefore, this word should be spelled thus, rear-ward.]

"A mere vaunt-courier to announce the coming of his master."—Tooke's Diversions, Vol. i, p. 49. "The parti-coloured shutter appeared to come close up before him."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 233. "When the day broke upon this handfull of forlorn but dauntless spirits."—Ib., p. 245. "If, upon a plumbtree, peaches and apricots are ingrafted, no body will say they are the natural growth of the plumbtree."—Berkley's Minute Philos., p. 45. "The channel between Newfoundland and Labrador is called the Straits of Bellisle."—Worcester's Gaz. "There being nothing that more exposes to Headach." [127]—Locke, on Education, p. 6. "And, by a sleep, to say we end the heartach."—SHAK.: in Joh. Dict. "He that sleeps, feels not the toothach."—ID., ibid. "That the shoe must fit him, because it fitted his father and granfather."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 431. "A single word, mispelt, in a letter, is sufficient to show, that you have received a defective education."—Bucke's Gram., p. 3. "Which mistatement the committee attributed to a failure of memory."—Professors' Reasons, p. 14. "Then he went through the Banquetting-House to the scaffold."— Smollett's England, Vol. iii, p. 345. "For the purpose of maintaining a clergyman and skoolmaster."—Webster's Essays, p. 355. "They however knew that the lands were claimed by Pensylvania."—Ib., p. 357. "But if you ask a reason, they immediately bid farewel to argument."—Red Book, p. 80. "Whom resist stedfast in the faith."—SCOTT: 1 Peter, v, 9. "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine."—Acts, ii, 42. "Beware lest ye also fall from your own stedfastness."—2 Peter, iii, 17. "Galiot, or galliott, a Dutch vessel, carrying a main-mast and a mizen-mast."—Web. Dict. "Infinitive, to overflow; Preterit, overflowed; Participle, overflown."—Cobbett's E. Gram., (1818,) p. 61. "After they have mispent so much precious Time."—British Gram., p. xv. "Some say, two handsfull; some, two handfulls; and others, two handfull."— Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 106. "Lapfull, as much as the lap can contain."—Webster's Octavo Dict. "Darefull, full of defiance."— Walker's Rhym. Dict. "The road to the blissfull regions, is as open to the peasant as to the king."—Murray's Key, 8vo, p. 167. "Mis-spel is mis-spell in every Dictionary which I have seen."—Barnes's Red Book. p. 303. "Downfal; ruin, calamity, fall from rank or state."—Johnson's Dict. "The whole legislature likewize acts az a court."—Webster's Essays, p. 340. "It were better a milstone were hanged about his neck."—Perkins's Works, p. 731. "Plum-tree, a tree that produces plums; Hog-plumbtree, a tree."—Webster's Dict. "Trisyllables ending in re or le, accent the first syllable."—Murray's Gram., p. 238.

   "It happen'd on a summer's holiday,
    That to the greenwood shade he took his way."
        —Churchill's Gr., p. 135.


"Nor are the modes of the Greek tongue more uniform."—Murray's Gram., p. 112.

[FORMULE.—Not proper, because the word "modes" is here written for moods, which is more common among the learned, and usually preferred by Murray himself. But, according to Rule 15th, "Any word for the spelling of which we have no rule but usage, is written wrong if not spelled according to the usage which is most common among the learned." Therefore, the latter form should be preferred; thus, moods, and not modes.]

"If we analize a conjunctive preterite, the rule will not appear to hold."—Priestley's Gram., p. 118. "No landholder would have been at that expence."—Ib., p. 116. "I went to see the child whilst they were putting on its cloaths."—Ib., p. 125. "This stile is ostentatious, and doth not suit grave writing."—Ib., p. 82. "The king of Israel, and Jehosophat the king of Judah, sat each on his throne."—Mur. Gram., p. 165, twice; Merchant's, 89; Churchill's, 300. "The king of Israel, and Jehosaphat the king of Judah, sat each on his throne."—Lowth's Gram., p. 90; Harrison's, 99; Churchill's, 138; Wright's, 148. "Lisias, speaking of his friends, promised to his father, never to abandon them."—Murray's Gram., Vol. ii, pp. 121 and 253. "Some, to avoid this errour, run into it's opposite."—Churchill's Gram., p. 199. "Hope, the balm of life, sooths us under every misfortune."—Merchants Key, p. 204. "Any judgement or decree might be heerd and reversed by the legislature."—Webster's Essays, p. 340. "A pathetic harang wil skreen from punishment any knave."—Ib., p. 341. "For the same reezon, the wimen would be improper judges."—Ibid. "Every person iz indulged in worshiping az he pleezes."—Ib., p. 345. "Most or all teechers are excluded from genteel company."—Ib., p. 362. "The Kristian religion, in its purity, iz the best institution on erth."—Ib., p. 364. "Neether clergymen nor human laws hav the leest authority over the conscience."—Ib., p. 363. "A gild is a society, fraternity, or corporation."—Red Book, p. 83. "Phillis was not able to unty the knot, and so she cut it."—Ib., p. 46. "An aker of land is the quantity of one hundred and sixty perches."—Ib., p. 93. "Oker is a fossil earth combined with the oxid of some metal."—Ib., p. 96. "Genii, when denoting ærial spirits: Geniuses, when signifying persons of genius."—Mur.'s Gram., i, p. 42. "Genii, when denoting æriel spirits; Geniuses, when signifying persons of genius."—Frost's Gram., p. 9. "Genius, Plu. geniuses, men of wit; but genii, ærial beings."—Nutting's Gram., p. 18. "Aerisius, king of Argos, had a beautiful daughter, whose name was Danæ."—Classic Tales, p. 109. "Phæton was the son of Apollo and Clymene."—Ib., p. 152. "But, after all, I may not have reached the intended Gaol."—Buchanan's Syntax, Pref., p. xxvii. "'Pitticus was offered a large sum.' Better: 'A large sum was offered to Pitticus.'"—Kirkham's Gram., p. 187. "King Missipsi charged his sons to respect the senate and people of Rome."—See ib., p. 161. "For example: Gallileo invented the telescope."—Ib., pp. 54 and 67. "Cathmor's warriours sleep in death."—Ib., p. 54. "For parsing will enable you to detect and correct errours in composition."—Ib., p. 50.

   "O'er barren mountains, o'er the flow'ry plain,
    Extends thy uncontroul'd and boundless reign."—Dryden.



"A bad author deserves better usage than a bad critick."—POPE: Johnson's Dict., w. Former. "Produce a single passage superiour to the speech of Logan, a Mingo chief, delivered to Lord Dunmore, when governour of Virginia."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. 247. "We have none synonimous to supply its place."—Jamieson's Rhetoric, p. 48. "There is a probability that the effect will be accellerated."—Ib., p. 48. "Nay, a regard to sound hath controuled the public choice."—Ib., p. 46. "Though learnt from the uninterrupted use of gutterel sounds."—Ib., p. 5. "It is by carefully filing off all roughness and inequaleties, that languages, like metals, must be polished."—Ib., p. 48. "That I have not mispent my time in the service of the community."—Buchanan's Syntax, Pref., p. xxviii. "The leaves of maiz are also called blades."—Webster's El. Spelling-Book, p. 43. "Who boast that they know what is past, and can foretel what is to come."—Robertson's Amer., Vol. i, p. 360. "Its tasteless dullness is interrupted by nothing but its perplexities."— Abbott's Teacher, p. 18. "Sentences constructed with the Johnsonian fullness and swell."—Jamieson's Rhet., p. 130. "The privilege of escaping from his prefatory dullness and prolixity."—Kirkham's Elocution, p. iv. "But in poetry this characteristick of dulness attains its full growth."—Ib., p. 72. "The leading characteristick consists in an increase of the force and fullness."—Ib., p. 71. "The character of this opening fulness and feebler vanish."—Ib., p. 31. "Who, in the fullness of unequalled power, would not believe himself the favourite of heaven?"—Ib., p. 181. "They marr one another, and distract him."—Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 433. "Let a deaf worshipper of antiquity and an English prosodist settle this."—Rush, on the Voice, p. 140. "This phillipic gave rise to my satirical reply in self-defence."— Merchant's Criticisms. "We here saw no inuendoes, no new sophistry, no falsehoods."—Ib. "A witty and humourous vein has often produced enemies."—Murray's Key, p. 173. "Cry holla! to thy tongue, I pr'ythee: it curvetts unseasonably."—Shak. "I said, in my slyest manner, 'Your health, sir.'"—Blackwood's Mag., Vol. xl, p. 679. "And attornies also travel the circuit in pursute of business."—Red Book, p. 83. "Some whole counties in Virginia would hardly sel for the valu of the dets du from the inhabitants."—Webster's Essays, p. 301. "They were called the court of assistants, and exercized all powers legislativ and judicial."—Ib., p. 340. "Arithmetic is excellent for the guaging of liquors."—Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 288. "Most of the inflections may be analysed in a way somewhat similar."—Ib., p. 112.

   "To epithets allots emphatic state,
    Whilst principals, ungrac'd, like lacquies wait."
        —C. Churchill's Ros., p. 8.


"Hence it [less] is a privative word, denoting destitution; as, fatherless, faithless, pennyless."—Webster's Dict., w. Less. "Bay; red, or reddish, inclining to a chesnut color."—Same. "To mimick, to imitate or ape for sport; a mimic, one who imitates or mimics."—Ib. "Counterroil, a counterpart or copy of the rolls; Counterrolment, a counter account."—Ib. "Millenium, the thousand years during which Satan shall be bound."—Ib. "Millenial, pertaining to the millenium, or to a thousand years."—Ib. "Thraldom; slavery, bondage, a state of servitude."—See Johnson's Dict. "Brier, a prickly bush; Briery, rough, prickly, full of briers; Sweetbriar, a fragrant shrub."—See Johnson, Walker, Chalmers, Webster, and others. "Will, in the second and third Persons, barely foretels."—British Gram., p. 132. "And therefor there is no Word false, but what is distinguished by Italics."—Ib., Pref., p. v. "What should be repeted is left to their Discretion."—Ib., p. iv. "Because they are abstracted or seperated from material Substances."—Ib., p. ix. "All Motion is in Time, and therefor, where-ever it exists, implies Time as its Concommitant."—Ib., p. 140. "And illiterate grown persons are guilty of blameable spelling."—Ib., Pref., p. xiv. "They wil always be ignorant, and of ruf uncivil manners."—Webster's Essays, p. 346. "This fact wil hardly be beleeved in the northern states."—Ib., p. 367. "The province however waz harrassed with disputes."—Ib., p. 352. "So little concern haz the legislature for the interest of lerning."—Ib., p. 349. "The gentlemen wil not admit that a skoolmaster can be a gentleman."—Ib., p. 362. "Such absurd qui-pro-quoes cannot be too strenuously avoided."—Churchill's Gram., p. 205. "When we say, 'a man looks slyly;' we signify, that he assumes a sly look."—Ib., p. 339. "Peep; to look through a crevice; to look narrowly, closely, or slyly."—Webster's Dict. "Hence the confession has become a hacknied proverb."—Wayland's Moral Science, p. 110. "Not to mention the more ornamental parts of guilding, varnish, &c."—Tooke's Diversions, Vol. i, p. 20. "After this system of self-interest had been rivetted."—Brown's Estimate, Vol. ii, p. 136. "Prejudice might have prevented the cordial approbation of a bigotted Jew."—SCOTT: on Luke, x.

   "All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen,
    The briar-rose fell in streamers green."—Lady of the Lake, p. 16.


"The infinitive mode has commonly the sign to before it."—Harrison's Gram., p. 25. "Thus, it is adviseable to write singeing, from the verb to singe, by way of distinction from singing, the participle of the verb to sing."—Ib., p. 27. "Many verbs form both the preterite tense and the preterite participle irregularly."—Ib., p. 28. "Much must be left to every one's taste and judgment."—Ib., p. 67. "Verses of different lengths intermixed form a Pindarick poem."—Priestley's Gram., p. 44. "He'll surprize you."—Frost's El. of Gram., p. 88. "Unequalled archer! why was this concealed?"—KNOWLES: ib., p. 102. "So gaily curl the waves before each dashing prow."—BYRON: ib., p. 104. "When is a dipthong called a proper dipthong?"—Infant School Gram., p. 11. "How many ss would goodness then end with? Three."—Ib., p. 33. "Q. What is a tripthong? A. A tripthong is the union of three vowels, pronounced in like manner."—Bacon's Gram., p. 7. "The verb, noun, or pronoun, is referred to the preceding terms taken seperately."—Ib., p. 47. "The cubic foot of matter which occupies the center of the globe."—Cardell's Gram., 18mo, p. 47. "The wine imbibes oxigen, or the acidifying principle, from the air."—Ib., p. 62. "Charcoal, sulphur, and niter, make gun powder."—Ib., p. 90. "It would be readily understood, that the thing so labeled, was a bottle of Madeira wine."—Ib., p. 99. "They went their ways, one to his farm, an other to his merchandize."—Ib., p. 130. "A dipthong is the union of two vowels, sounded by a single impulse of the voice."—Russell's Gram., p. 7. "The professors of the Mahommedan religion are called Mussulmans."—Maltby's Gram., p. 73. "This shews that let is not a sign of the imperative mood, but a real verb."—Ib., p. 51. "Those preterites and participles, which are first mentioned in the list, seem to be the most eligible."—Ib., p. 47. "Monosyllables, for the most part, are compared by er and est; and dyssyllables by more and most."—Ib., p. 19. "This termination, added to a noun, or adjective, changes it into a verb: as modern, to modernise; a symbol, to symbolize."—Churchill's Gram., p. 24. "An Abridgment of Murray's Grammar, with additions from Webster, Ash, Tooke, and others."—Maltby's title-page. "For the sake of occupying the room more advantagously, the subject of Orthography is merely glanced at."—Nutting's Gram., p. 5. "So contended the accusers of Gallileo."—O. B. Peirce's Gram., 12mo, 1839, p. 380. "Murray says, 'They were traveling past when we met them.'"—Peirce, ib., p. 361. "They fulfil the only purposes for which they are designed."—Ib., p. 359. "On the fulfillment of the event."—Ib., p. 175. "Fullness consists in expressing every idea."—Ib., p. 291. "Consistently with fulness and perspicuity."—Ib., p. 337. "The word verriest is a gross corruption; as, 'He is the verriest fool on earth.'"—Wright's Gram., p. 202. "The sound will recal the idea of the object."—Hiley's Gram., p. 142. "Formed for great enterprizes."—Bullions's Prin. of E. Gram., p. 153. "The most important rules and definitions are printed in large type, italicised."—Hart's Gram., p. 3. "HAMLETTED, a. Accustomed to a hamlet; countrified."— Bolles's Dict., and Chalmers's. "Singular, spoonful, cup-full, coach-full, handful; plural, spoonfuls, cup-fulls, coach-fulls, handfuls."—Bullions's Analyt. and Pract. Gram., p. 27.

   "Between Superlatives and following Names,
    OF, by Grammatick Right, a Station claims."
        —Brightland's Gram., p. 146.



[Fist][The student ought to be able to answer with readiness, and in the words of the book, all the following questions on grammar. And if he has but lately commenced the study, it may be well to require of him a general rehearsal of this kind, before he proceeds to the correction of any part of the false grammar quoted in the foregoing chapters. At any rate, he should be master of so many of the definitions and rules as precede the part which he attempts to correct; because this knowledge is necessary to a creditable performance of the exercise. But those who are very quick at reading, may perform it tolerably, by consulting the book at the time, for what they do not remember. The answers to these questions will embrace all the main text of the work; and, if any further examination be thought necessary, extemporaneous questions may be framed for the purpose.]


1. What is the name, or title, of this book? 2. What is Grammar? 3. What is an English Grammar? 4. What is English Grammar, in itself? and what knowledge does it imply? 5. If grammar is the art of reading, writing, and speaking, define these actions. What is it, to read? 6. What is it, to writ