ACCOMPANIED BY A COMPENDIUM EMBRACING
A NEW SYSTEMATIC ORDER OF PARSING
A NEW SYSTEM OF PUNCTUATION,
EXERCISES IN FALSE SYNTAX,
A SYSTEM OF PHILOSOPHICAL GRAMMAR, IN NOTES:
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
AN APPENDIX AND A KEY TO THE EXERCISES DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE LEARNERS.
BY SAMUEL KIRKHAM.
ROBERT B. COLLINS,
254 PEARL STREET.
Southern District of New-York, ss.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the 22d day of August, A.D. 1829, in the L. S. 54th year of the Independence of the United States of America, Samuel Kirkham, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:
"English Grammar in familiar Lectures, accompanied by a Compendium, embracing a new systematic order of Parsing, a new system of Punctuation, exercises in false Syntax, and a System of Philosophical Grammar in notes: to which are added an Appendix, and a Key to the Exercises: designed for the use of Schools and Private Learners. By Samuel Kirkham. Eleventh Edition, enlarged and improved." In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled "an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an act entitled "an act supplementary to an act entitled an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
FRED. J. BETTS, Clerk of the Southern District of New-York.
AN ESSAY ON ELOCUTION,
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE LEARNERS
BY SAMUEL KIRKHAM.
This work is mainly designed as a Reading-Book for Schools. In the first part of it, the principles of reading are developed and explained in a scientific and practical manner, and so familiarly illustrated in their application to practical examples as to enable even the juvenile mind very readily to comprehend their nature and character, their design and use, and thus to acquire that high degree of excellence, both, in reading and speaking, which all desire, but to which few attain.
The last part of the work, contains Selections from the greatest master-pieces of rhetorical and poetical composition, both ancient and modern. Many of these selections are taken from the most elegant and classical American authors—writers whose noble productions have already shed an unfading lustre, and stamped immortality upon the literature of our country.—In the select part of the work, rhetorical marks are also employed to point out the application of the principles laid down in the first part.—The very favorable reception of the work by the public, and its astonishingly rapid introduction into schools, since its first publication in 1833, excites in the author the most sanguine hopes in regard to its future success.
After a careful perusal of this work, we are decidedly of opinion, that it is the only successful attempt of the kind. The rules are copious, and the author's explanations and illustrations are happily adapted to the comprehension of learners. No school should be without this book, and it ought to find a place in the library of every gentleman who values the attainment of a just and forcible elocution.—Pittsburgh Mer. April, 1834.
Mr. Kirkham has given rules for inflections and emphasis, and has followed them by illustrative examples, and these by remarks upon the inflection which he has adopted, and the reasons for his preference of one inflection to another—a most admirable plan for such a work. Copious examples occur in which all the various inflections and the shades of emphasis are distinguished with great accuracy and clearness. The catechetical appendages of each chapter, give the work new value in a school, and the selections made for the exercise of scholars, evince good taste and judgment. U.S. Gazette, Philadelphia, Sept. 17, 1834.
The Essay now before us, needs not depend on any former work of its author for a borrowed reputation; it has intrinsic merits of its own. It lays down principles clearly and concisely. It presents the reader with many new and judicious selections, both in prose and poetry; and altogether evinces great industry combined with taste and ingenuity.—Courier of Upper Canada, York, Oct. 12, 1833.
Of the talent and judgment of Mr. Kirkham, we have already had occasion to speak in terms of honest praise. His work on Elocution raises him still higher in our estimation.—The book would be of great utility in schools—such a one as has long been wanted; and we are glad to see it forthcoming.—Baltimore Visitor, July, 1833.
Every facility for teaching Elocution, which I have so often needed, but never before found, is exactly furnished in this work:—principles are clearly and concisely laid down, and are very happily adapted to the comprehension of the learner. Thoroughly convinced of its utility, I shall lose no time in introducing it into my school. Hartford, Conn. Aug.. 20, 1834. NATHANIEL WEBB.
It is well known that the recommendations which generally accompany new books have very little weight with the public. This is as it should be, for that work which rests more on its written testimonials, than on its intrinsic merits for support, asserts no claims to permanent patronage. But recommendations which analyze the merits of a work, and which, by exhibiting its prominent features in a striking light, are calculated to carry conviction to the reader that the system recommended is meritorious, the author is proud to have it in his power to present in this volume. The following are some of the numerous testimonials which he has received, and for which he tenders his grateful acknowledgments to those literary gentlemen to whose liberality and politeness he is indebted for them. More than six hundred others presented to the author, and many of which are equally flattering with these, he has not room to insert.
The following notice of this work is extracted from the "Western Review." This journal is ably conducted by the Rev. Timothy Flint, author of "Francis Berrian," "History and Geography of the Miss. Valley," and many other popular and valuable works.
We had not, at that time, seen Mr. Kirkham's "Grammar in familiar Lectures," but have since given it a cursory perusal. If we comprehend the author's design, it is not so much to introduce new principles, as to render more easy and intelligible those which have been long established, and to furnish additional facilities to an accurate and thorough knowledge of our language. In this we think he has been successful.
It is to be expected that a modest, unassuming writer, on presenting himself before the public tribunal as an author, will, as far as is consistent with his plan, avail himself of the authority of such as have written well on the subject before him. Mr. Kirkham has accordingly followed Mr. Murray in the old beaten track of English writers on grammar, in the general principles of his science; endeavoring, at the same time, to avoid whatever appeared to be erroneous or absurd in the writings of that author, and adopting an entirely new arrangement. The most useful matter contained in the treatise of Mr. Murray, is embraced in this; but in the definitions and rules, it is simplified, and rendered much more intelligible. Though our author follows Mr. Murray, in the general principles of his work, he has, in numerous instances, differed from him, pursuing a course that appears to be his own, and introducing some valuable improvements.
Among these may be mentioned some additional rules and explanatory notes in syntax, the arrangement of the parts of speech, the mode of explaining them, manner of parsing, manner of explaining some of the pronouns, and the use of a synopsis which presents the essentials of the science at one view, and is well calculated to afford assistance to learners.
In his arrangement of the parts of speech, Mr. Kirkham seems to have endeavored to follow the order of nature; and we are not able to see how he could have done better. The noun and verb, as being the most important parts of speech, are first explained, and afterwards those which are considered in a secondary and subordinate character. By following this order, he has avoided the absurdity so common among authors, of defining the minor parts before their principals, of which they were designed to be the appendages, and has rationally prepared the way for conducting the learner by easy advances to a correct view of the science.
In his illustrations of the various subjects contained in his work, our author appears to have aimed, not at a flowery style, nor at the appearance of being learned, but at being understood. The clearness and perspicuity of his remarks, and their application to familiar objects, are well calculated to arrest the attention, and aid the understanding of the pupil, and thereby to lessen the labor of the instructor. The principles of the science are simplified, and rendered so perfectly easy of comprehension, we should think no ordinary mind, having such help, could find them difficult. It is in this particular that the work appears to possess its chief merit, and on this account it cannot fail of being preferred to many others.
It gives us pleasure to remark, in reference to the success of the amiable and modest author whose work is before us, that we quote from the fifth edition.
Cincinnati, Aug. 24, 1827.
The following is from the pen of a gentleman of the Bar, formerly a distinguished Classical teacher. [Extract from the "National Crisis."]
As a friend to literature, and especially to genuine merit, it is with peculiar pleasure I allude to a notice in a late paper of this city, in which Mr. S. Kirkham proposes to deliver a course of Lectures on English Grammar. To such as feel interested in acquiring a general and practical knowledge of this useful science an opportunity is now presented which ought not to be neglected. Having myself witnessed, in several instances, within the last ten months, the practical results of Mr. Kirkham's plan, I am enabled to give a decisive opinion of its merits. The extensive knowledge acquired in one course by his class in Pittsburgh, and the great proficiency evinced by his classes elsewhere, are a demonstration of the utility and superiority of his method of teaching, and a higher encomium on him than I am able to bestow.
The principles on which Mr. Kirkham's "New system of Grammar" is predicated, are judiciously compiled, and happily and briefly expressed; but the great merit of his work consists in the lucid illustrations accompanying the principles, and the simple and gradual manner in which it conducts the learner along from step to step through the successive stages of the science. The explanations blended with the theory, are addressed to the understanding of the pupil in a manner so familiar, that they cannot fail to excite in him a deep interest; and whatever system is calculated to bring into requisition the mental powers, must, I conceive, be productive of good results. In my humble opinion, the system of teaching introduced into this work, will enable a diligent pupil to acquire, without any other aid, a practical knowledge of grammar, in less than one-fourth part of the time usually devoted.
My views of Mr. Kirkham's system are thus publicly given, with the greater pleasure, on account of the literary empiricisms which have been so extensively practised in many parts of the western country.
Cincinnati, April 26, 1826.
From Mr. Blood, Principal of the Chambersburgh Academy, Pa.
Mr. Kirkham,—It is now almost twenty years since I became a teacher of youth, and, during this period, I have not only consulted all, but have used many of the different systems of English grammar that have fallen in my way; and, sir, I do assure you, without the least wish to flatter, that yours far exceeds any I have yet seen.
Your arrangement and systematic order of parsing are most excellent; and experience has convinced me, (having used it, and it only, for the last twelve or thirteen months), that a scholar will learn more of the nature and principles of our language in one quarter, from your system, than in a whole year from any other I had previously used. I do, therefore, most cheerfully and earnestly recommend it to the public at large, and especially to those who, anxious to acquire a knowledge of our language, are destitute of the advantages of an instructer.
Yours, very respectfully, SAMUEL BLOOD.
Chambersburgh Academy, Feb. 12, 1825.
From Mr. N.R. Smith, editor of a valuable literary journal, styled "The Hesperus."
Sir, I have examined your Lectures on English Grammar with that degree of minuteness which enables me to yield my unqualified approbation of the work as a grammatical system. The engaging manner in which you have explained the elements of grammar, and accommodated them to the capacities of youth, is an ample illustration of the utility of your plan. In addition to this, the critical attention you have paid to an analytical development of grammatical principles, while it is calculated to encourage the perseverance of young students in the march of improvement, is sufficient, also, to employ the researches of the literary connoisseur. I trust that your valuable compilation will be speedily introduced into schools and academies.
With respect, yours, N.R. SMITH, A.M.
Pittsburgh, March 22, 1825.
From Mr. Jungmann, Principal of the Frederick Lutheran Academy:—Extract.
Having carefully examined Mr. S. Kirkham's new system of "English Grammar in familiar Lectures," I am satisfied that the pre-eminent advantages it possesses over our common systems, will soon convince the public, that it is not one of those feeble efforts of quackery which have so often obtruded upon our notice. Its decided superiority over all other systems, consists in adapting the subject-matter to the capacity of the young learner, and the happy mode adopted of communicating it to his mind in a manner so clear and simple, that he can easily comprehend the nature and the application of every principle that comes before him.
In short, all the intricacies of the science are elucidated so clearly, I am confident that even a private learner, of common docility, can, by perusing this system attentively acquire a better practical knowledge of this important branch of literature in three months, than is ordinarily obtained in one year.
Frederick, Md. Sept 17, 1824. JOHN E. JUNGMANN.
Extract: from De Witt Clinton, late Gov. of New-York.
I consider the Compendium of English Grammar, by Samuel Kirkham, a work deserving encouragement, and well calculated to facilitate the acquisition of this useful science. DE WITT CLINTON.
Albany, Sept 25, 1824.
S. Kirkham, Esq.—I have examined your Grammar with attention, and with a particular view to benefit the Institution under my charge. I am fully satisfied, that it is the best form in which Murray's principles have been given to the public. The lectures are ample, and given in so familiar and easy language, as to be readily understood, even by a tyro in grammar.
I feel it due to you to say, that I commenced the examination of your work, under a strong prejudice against it, in consequence of the numerous "improved systems" with which the public has been inundated, of late, most of which are by no means improvements on Murray, but the productions of individuals whom a "little grammar has rendered grammatically insane." My convictions, therefore, are the result of investigation. I wish you, Sir, success in your publication.
Respectfully, EBER. WHEATON,
Pr. of Mechanics' Society School
With the opinion of Mr. Wheaton respecting Mr. Kirkham's English Grammar, we heartily concur.
NATHAN STARK, Pr. Acad. (Rev.) JOHN JOHNSTON, Newburgh, Aug. 4, 1829. (Rev.) WM. S. HEYER, From the Rev. C.P. McIlvaine, and others.
So far as I have examined the plan of grammatical instruction by Samuel Kirkham I am well satisfied that it meets the wants of elementary schools in this branch, and deserves to be patronised. CHARLES P. McILVAINE.
Brooklyn, L.I. July 9, 1829.
We fully concur in the above, ANDREW HAGEMAN, E.M. JOHNSON. EXTRACT.
From the partial examination which I have given Mr. S. Kirkham's English Grammar, I do not hesitate to recommend it to the public as the best of the class I have ever seen, and as filling up an important and almost impassable chasm in works on grammatical science. D.L. CARROLL.
Brooklyn, L.I. June 29, 1829.
We fully concur in the foregoing recommendation. B.B. HALLOCK, E. KINGSLEY, T.S. MAYBON. From A.W. Dodge, Esq.
New-York, July 15, 1829.
The experience of every one at all acquainted with the business of instruction, must have taught him that the study of grammar, important as it is to every class of learners, is almost invariably a dry and uninteresting study to young beginners, and for the very obvious reason, that the systems in general use in the schools, are far beyond the comprehension of youth, and ill adapted to their years. Hence it is, that their lessons in this department of learning, are considered as tasks, and if committed at all, committed to the memory, without enlightening their understandings; so that many a pupil who has been through the English grammar, is totally unacquainted with the nature even of the simplest parts of speech.
The work of Mr. Kirkham on grammar, is well calculated to remedy these evils, and supply a deficiency which has been so long and so seriously felt in the imperfect education of youth in the elementary knowledge of their own language. By a simple, familiar, and lucid method of treating the subject, he has rendered what was before irksome and unprofitable, pleasing and instructive. In one word, the grammar of Mr. Kirkham furnishes a clew by which the youthful mind is guided through the intricate labyrinth of verbs, nouns and pronouns; and the path which has been heretofore so difficult and uninviting, as to dampen the ardor of youth, and waste their energies in fruitless attempts to surmount its obstacles, is cleared of these obstructions by this pioneer to the youthful mind, and planted, at every turn, with friendly guide-boards to direct them in the right road. The slightest perusal of the work alluded to, will convince even the most skeptical of the truth of these remarks, and satisfy every one who is not wedded by prejudice to old rules and forms, that it will meet the wants of the community.
ALLEN W. DODGE.
Philadelphia, Aug. 10, 1829
Having, for several years, been engaged in lecturing on the science of grammar and, during this period, having thoroughly tested the merits of Mr. S. Kirkham's system of "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures" by using it as a text-book for my classes, I take pleasure in giving this testimonial of my cordial approbation of the work. Mr. Kirkham has attempted to improve upon this branch of science, chiefly by unfolding and explaining the principles of grammar in a manner so clear and simple, as to adapt them completely to the understanding of the young learner, and by adopting a new arrangement, which enables the pupil to commit the principles by a simultaneous application of them to practical examples. The public may rest assured, that he has been successful in his attempt in a pre-eminent degree. I make this assertion under a full conviction that it will be corroborated by every candid judge of the science who becomes acquainted with the practical advantages of this manual.
The explicit brevity and accuracy of the rules and definitions, the novel, the striking, the lucid, and critical illustrations accompanying them, the peculiar and advantageous arrangement of the various parts of the subject, the facilities proffered by the "systematic mode of parsing" adopted, the convenient and judicious introduction and adaptation of the exercises introduced, and the deep researches and critical investigations displayed in the "Philosophical Notes," render this system of grammar so decidedly superior to all others extant, that, to receive general patronage, it needs but to be known.
My knowledge of this system from experience in teaching it, and witnessing its effects in the hands of private learners, warrants me in saying, that a learner will, by studying this book four months without a teacher, obtain a more clear conception of the nature and proper construction of words and phrases, than is ordinarily obtained in common schools and academies, in five times four months.
It is highly gratifying to know, that wherever this system has been circulated, it is very rapidly supplanting those works of dulness which have so long paralyzed the energies of the youth of our country.
I think the specimens of verbal criticism, additional corrections in orthography and ortheopy, the leading principles of rhetoric, and the improvements in the illustrations generally, which Mr. K. is about introducing into his ELEVENTH EDITION, will render it quite an improvement on the former editions of this work. H. WINCHESTER.
From the Rev. S. Center, Principal of a Classical Academy.
I have examined the last edition of Kirkham's Grammar with peculiar satisfaction. The improvements which appear in it, do, in my estimation, give it a decided preference to any other system now in use. To point out the peculiar qualities which secure to it claims of which no other system can boast, would be, if required, perfectly easy. At present it is sufficient to remark, that it imbodies all that is essentially excellent and useful in other systems, while it is entirely free from that tediousness of method and prolixity of definition which so much perplex and embarrass the learner.
The peculiar excellence of Mr. Kirkham's grammar is, the simplicity of its method, and the plainness of its illustrations. Being conducted by familiar lectures, the teacher and pupil are necessarily brought into agreeable contact by each lesson. Both are improved by the same task, without the slightest suspicion, on the part of the pupil, that there is anything hard, difficult, or obscure in the subject: a conviction, this, which must inevitably precede all efforts, or no proficiency will be made. In a word, the treatise I am recommending, is a practical one; and for that reason, if there were no others to be urged, it ought to be introduced into all our schools and academies. From actual experiment I can attest to the practicability of the plan which the author has adopted. Of this fact any one may be convinced who will take the pains to make the experiment. SAMUEL CENTER.
Albany, July 10, 1829.
From a communication addressed to S. Kirkham, by the Rev. J. Stockton, author of the "Western Calculator" and "Western Spelling-Book."
Dear Sir,—I am much pleased with both the plan and execution of your "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures." In giving a systematic mode of parsing, calculated alike to exercise the understanding and memory of the pupil, and also free the teacher from the drudgery of continued interrogation, you have made your grammar what every elementary school book ought to be—plain, systematic, and easy to be understood.
This, with the copious definitions in every part of the work, and other improvements so judiciously introduced, gives it a decisive superiority over the imperfect grammar of Murray, now so generally used. JOSEPH STOCKTON, A.M.
Allegheny-Town, (near Pittsburgh,) March 18, 1825.
TO THE ELEVENTH EDITION.
The author is free to acknowledge, that since this treatise first ventured on the wave of public opinion, the gales of patronage which have waited it along, have been far more favorable than he had reason to anticipate. Had any one, on its first appearance, predicted, that the demand for it would call forth twenty-two thousand copies during the past year, the author would have considered the prediction extravagant and chimerical. In gratitude, therefore, to that public which has smiled so propitiously on his humble efforts to advance the cause of learning, he has endeavored, by unremitting attention to the improvement of his work, to render it as useful and as unexceptionable as his time and talents would permit.
It is believed that the tenth and eleventh editions have been greatly improved; but the author is apprehensive that his work is not yet as accurate and as much simplified as it may be. If, however, the disadvantages of lingering under a broken constitution, and of being able to devote to this subject only a small portion of his time, snatched from the active pursuits of a business life, (active as far as his imperfect health permits him to be,) are any apology for its defects, he hopes that the candid will set down the apology to his credit. This personal allusion is hazarded with the additional hope, that it will ward off some of the arrows of criticism which may be aimed at him, and render less pointed and poisonous those that may fall upon him. Not that he would beg a truce with the gentlemen critics and reviewers. Any compromise with them would betray a want of self-confidence and moral courage which he would, by no means, be willing to avow. It would, moreover, be prejudicial to his interest; for he is determined, if his life be preserved, to avail himself of the advantages of any judicious and candid criticisms on his production, that may appear, and, two or three years hence, revise his work, and present to the public another and a better edition.
The improvements in the tenth edition, consisted mainly in the addition of many important principles; in rendering the illustrations more critical, extensive, accurate, and lucid; in connecting more closely with the genius and philosophy of our language, the general principles adopted; and in adding a brief view of philosophical grammar interspersed in notes. The introduction into the ELEVENTH EDITION, of many verbal criticisms, of additional corrections in orthography and orthoepy, of the leading principles of rhetoric, and of general additions and improvements in various parts of the work, render this edition, it is believed, far preferable to any of the former editions of the work.
Perhaps some will regard the philosophical notes as a useless exhibition of pedantry. If so, the author's only apology is, that some investigations of this nature seemed to be called for by a portion of the community whose minds, of late, appear to be under the influence of a kind of philosophical mania; and to such these notes are respectfully submitted for just what they may deem their real value. The author's own opinion on this point, is, that they proffer no material advantages to common learners; but that they may profitably engage the attention of the curious, and perhaps impart a degree of interest to the literary connoisseur.
New-York, August 22, 1820.
Address to the learner
A, an, one: i, ii
Adjectives: i, ii
Agreement of words
But, than, as: i, ii, iii
Nominative: i, ii Possessive Objective: i, ii Nominative case independent: i, ii, iii, iv Nominative case absolute: i, ii Apposition of cases: i, ii Nominative and objective after the verb to be Active, passive, and neuter nominatives
Conjugation of regular verbs
Derivation (all the philosophical notes treat of derivation): i, ii, iii
Exercises in false syntax
Figures of speech
Grammar, general division of
Have: i, ii
Key to the exercises
Letters, sounds of
Manner of meaning of words: i, ii
Moods Signs of Subjunctive: i, ii, iii
Gender of Person of Number of Case of: i, ii
Orthography: i, ii
Personal Compound personal Adjective Relative
Rules of syntax
Sentences, definitions of simple and compound
Transposition of: i, ii
Standard of grammatical accuracy: i, ii
Tenses: i, ii
Signs of the
The: i, ii
That: i, ii
Terminations: i, ii, iii, iv, v
Verbs: i, ii
Active-transitive: i, ii Active-intransitive Passive Neuter Defective Auxiliary: i, ii Regular Irregular Compound: i, ii
Worth: i, ii
What, which, who: i, ii, iii
There appears to be something assuming in the act of writing, and thrusting into public notice, a new work on a subject which has already employed many able pens; for who would presume to do this, unless he believed his production to be, in some respects, superior to every one of the kind which had preceded it? Hence, in presenting to the public this system of English Grammar, the author is aware that an apology will be looked for, and that the arguments on which that apology is grounded, must inevitably undergo a rigid scrutiny. Apprehensive, however, that no explanatory effort, on his part, would shield him from the imputation of arrogance by such as are blinded by self-interest, or by those who are wedded to the doctrines mid opinions of his predecessors, with them he will not attempt a compromise, being, in a great measure, indifferent either to their praise or their censure. But with the candid, he is willing to negotiate an amicable treaty, knowing that they are always ready to enter into it on honorable terms. In this negotiation he asks nothing more than merely to rest the merits of his work on its practical utility, believing that, if it prove uncommonly successful in facilitating the progress of youth in the march of mental improvement, that will be its best apology.
When we bring into consideration the numerous productions of those learned philologists who have labored so long, and, as many suppose, so successfully, in establishing the principles of our language; and, more especially, when we view the labors of some of our modern compilers, who have displayed so much ingenuity and acuteness in attempting to arrange those principles in such a manner as to form a correct and an easy medium of mental conference; it does, indeed, appear a little like presumption for a young man to enter upon a subject which has so frequently engaged the attention and talents of men distinguished for their erudition. The author ventures forward, however, under the conviction, that most of his predecessors are very deficient, at least, in manner, if not in matter; and this conviction, he believes, will be corroborated by a majority of the best judges in community. It is admitted, that many valuable improvements have been made by some of our late writers, who have endeavored to simplify and render this subject intelligible to the young learner, but they have all overlooked what the author considers a very important object, namely, a systematic order of parsing; and nearly all have neglected to develop and explain the principles in such a manner as to enable the learner, without great difficulty, to comprehend their nature and use.
By some this system will, no doubt, be discarded on account of its simplicity; while to others its simplicity will prove its principal recommendation. Its design is an humble one. It proffers no great advantages to the recondite grammarian; it professes not to instruct the literary connoisseur; it presents no attractive graces of style to charm, no daring flights to astonish, no deep researches to gratify him; but in the humblest simplicity of diction, it attempts to accelerate the march of the juvenile mind in its advances in the path of science, by dispersing those clouds that so often bewilder it, and removing those obstacles that generally retard its progress. In this way it endeavors to render interesting and delightful a study which has hitherto been considered tedious, dry, and irksome. Its leading object is to adopt a correct and an easy method, in which pleasure is blended with the labors of the learner, and which is calculated to excite in him a spirit of inquiry, that shall call forth into vigorous and useful exercise, every latent energy of his mind; and thus enable him soon to become thoroughly acquainted with the nature of the principles, and with their practical utility and application.
Content to be useful, instead of being brilliant, the writer of these pages has endeavored to shun the path of those whose aim appears to have been to dazzle, rather than to instruct. As he has aimed not so much at originality as utility, he has adopted the thoughts of his predecessors whose labors have become public stock, whenever he could not, in his opinion, furnish better and brighter of his own. Aware that there is, in the public 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.
The author is not disposed, however, to disclaim all pretensions to originality; for, although his principles are chiefly selected, (and who would presume to make new ones?) the manner of arranging, illustrating, and applying them, is principally his own. Let no one, therefore, if he happen to find in other works, ideas and illustrations similar to some contained in the following lectures, too hastily accuse him of plagiarism. It is well known that similar investigations and pursuits often elicit corresponding ideas in different minds: and hence it is not uncommon for the same thought to be strictly original with many writers. The author is not here attempting to manufacture a garment to shield him from rebuke, should he unjustly claim the property of another; but he wishes it to be understood, that a long course of teaching and investigation, has often produced in his mind ideas and arguments on the subject of grammar, exactly or nearly corresponding with those which he afterwards found, had, under similar circumstances, been produced in the minds of others. He hopes, therefore, to be pardoned by the critic, even though he should not be willing to reject a good idea of his own, merely because some one else has, at some time or other, been blessed with the same thought.
As the plan of this treatise is far more comprehensive than those of ordinary grammars, the writer could not, without making his work unreasonably voluminous, treat some topics as extensively as was desirable. Its design is to embrace, not only all the most important principles of the science, but also exercises in parsing, false syntax, and punctuation, sufficiently extensive for all ordinary, practical purposes, and a key to the exercises, and, moreover, a series of illustrations so full and intelligible, as completely to adapt the principles to the capacities of common learners. Whether this design has been successfully or unsuccessfully executed, is left for the public to decide. The general adoption of the work into schools, wherever it has become known, and the ready sale of forty thousand copies, (though without hitherto affording the author any pecuniary profit,) are favorable omens.
In the selection and arrangement of principles for his work, the author has endeavored to pursue a course between the extremes, of taking blindly on trust whatever has been sanctioned by prejudice and the authority of venerable names, and of that arrogant, innovating spirit, which sets at defiance all authority, and attempts to overthrow all former systems, and convince the world that all true knowledge and science are wrapped up in a crude system of vagaries of its own invention. Notwithstanding the author is aware that public prejudice is powerful, and that he who ventures much by way of innovation, will be liable to defeat his own purpose by falling into neglect; yet he has taken the liberty to think for himself, to investigate the subject critically and dispassionately, and to adopt such principles only as he deemed the least objectionable, and best calculated to effect the object he had in view. But what his system claims as improvements on others, consists not so much in bettering the principles themselves, as in the method adopted of communicating a knowledge of them to the mind of the learner. That the work is defective, the author is fully sensible: and he is free to acknowledge, that its defects arise, in part, from his own want of judgment and skill. But there is another and a more serious cause of them, namely, the anomalies and imperfections with which the language abounds. This latter circumstance is also the cause of the existence of so widely different opinions on many important points; and, moreover, the reason that the grammatical principles of our language can never be indisputably settled. But principles ought not to be rejected because they admit of exceptions.—He who is thoroughly acquainted with the genius and structure of our language, can duly appreciate the truth of these remarks.
Should parents object to the Compendium, fearing it will soon be destroyed by their children, they are informed that the pupil will not have occasion to use it one-tenth part as much as he will the book which it accompanies: and besides, if it be destroyed, he will find all the definitions and rules which it contains, recapitulated in the series of Lectures.
HINTS TO TEACHERS AND PRIVATE LEARNERS.
As this work proposes a new mode of parsing, and pursues an arrangement essentially different from that generally adopted, it may not be deemed improper for the author to give some directions to those who may be disposed to use it. Perhaps they who take only a slight view of the order of parsing, will not consider it new, but blend it with those long since adopted. Some writers have, indeed, attempted plans somewhat similar; but in no instance have they reduced them to what the author considers a regular systematic order.
The methods which they have generally suggested, require the teacher to interrogate the pupil as he proceeds; or else he is permitted to parse without giving any explanations at all. Others hint that the learner ought to apply definitions in a general way, but they lay down no systematic arrangement of questions as his guide. The systematic order laid down in this work, if pursued by the pupil, compels him to apply every definition and every rule that appertains to each word he parses, without having a question put to him by the teacher; and, in so doing, he explains every word fully as he goes along. This course enables the learner to proceed independently; and proves, at the same time, a great relief to the instructer. The convenience and advantage of this method, are far greater than can be easily conceived by one who is unacquainted with it. The author is, therefore, anxious to have the absurd practice, wherever it has been established, of causing learners to commit and recite definitions and rules without any simultaneous application of them to practical examples, immediately abolished. This system obviates the necessity of pursuing such a stupid course of drudgery; for the young beginner who pursues it, will have, in a few weeks, all the most important definitions and rules perfectly committed, simply by applying them in parsing.
If this plan be once adopted, it is confidently believed that every teacher who is desirous to consult, either his own convenience, or the advantage of his pupils, will readily pursue it in preference to any former method. This belief is founded on the advantages which the author himself has experienced from it in the course of several years, devoted to the instruction of youth and adults. By pursuing this system, he can, with less labor, advance a pupil farther in a practical knowledge of this abstruse science, in two months, than he could in one year when he taught in the "old way." It is presumed that no instructor, who once gives this system a fair trial, will doubt the truth of this assertion.
Perhaps some will, on a first view of the work, disapprove of the transposition of many parts; but whoever examines it attentively, will find that, although the author has not followed the common "artificial and unnatural arrangement adopted by most of his predecessors," yet he has endeavored to pursue a more judicious one, namely, "the order of the understanding."
The learner should commence, not by committing and rehearsing, but by reading attentively the first two lectures several times over. He ought then to parse, according to the systematic order, the examples given for that purpose; in doing which, as previously stated, he has an opportunity of committing all the definitions and rules belonging to the parts of speech included in the examples.
The COMPENDIUM, as it presents to the eye of the learner a condensed but comprehensive view of the whole science, may be properly considered an "Ocular Analysis of the English language." By referring to it, the young student is enabled to apply all his definitions and rules from the very commencement of his parsing. To some, this mode of procedure may seem rather tedious; but it must appear obvious to every person of discernment, that a pupil will learn more by parsing five words critically, and explaining them fully, than he would by parsing fifty words superficially, and without understanding their various properties. The teacher who pursues this plan, is not under the necessity of hearing his pupils recite a single lesson of definitions committed to memory, for he has a fair opportunity of discovering their knowledge of these as they evince it in parsing. All other directions necessary for the learner in school, as well as for the private learner, will be given in the succeeding pages of the work. Should these feeble efforts prove a saving of much time and expense to those young persons who may be disposed to pursue this science with avidity, by enabling them easily to acquire a critical knowledge of a branch of education so important and desirable, the author's fondest anticipations will be fully realized; but should his work fall into the hands of any who are expecting, by the acquisition, to become grammarians, and yet, have not sufficient ambition and perseverance to make themselves acquainted with its contents, it is hoped that the blame for their nonimprovement, will not be thrown upon him.
To those enterprising and intelligent gentlemen who may be disposed to lecture on this plan, the author takes the liberty to offer a few hints by way of encouragement. Any judicious instructor of grammar, if he take the trouble to make himself familiar with the contents of the following pages, will find it an easy matter to pursue this system. One remark only to the lecturer, is sufficient. Instead of causing his pupils to acquire a knowledge of the nature and use of the principles by intense application, let him communicate it verbally; that is, let him first take up one part of speech, and, in an oral lecture, unfold and explain all its properties, not only by adopting the illustrations given in the book, but also by giving others that may occur to his mind as he proceeds. After a part of speech has been thus elucidated, the class should be interrogated on it, and then taught to parse it, and correct errors in composition under the rules that apply to it. In the same manner he may proceed with the other parts of speech, observing, however, to recapitulate occasionally, until the learners become thoroughly acquainted with whatever principles may have been presented. If this plan be faithfully pursued, rapid progress, on the part of the learner, will be the inevitable result; and that teacher who pursues it, cannot fail of acquiring distinction, and an enviable popularity in his profession. S. KIRKHAM. FAMILIAR LECTURES
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