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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and fifty-five, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of
The improvements in this revised edition consist,
I. In the addition of a large amount of New and Valuable Matter, with the omission of certain portions of the old not deemed so important.
II. In the annexation of Questions to most of the chapters, for the aid both of the pupil and the teacher. · III. In the annexation of Exercises in Analysis and Synthesis to each of the eight parts. In the use of these exercises, the learner, by taking the language to pieces, and by putting its component parts together, in eight several ways, can become intimately acquainted with it, in all its elements and forms. To thorough practice in these exercises, namely, in decomposing the language, and composing it in accordance with established principles and rules, the author attaches great importance.
IV. In certain portions of it being Recast, in order to make it better adapted to be used as a text-book in classes. In some cases, where the pupils are favorably situated, the whole book can be advantageously studied and recited. To do this for obtaining a thorough knowledge of the English language would not require near as much time as is often devoted to the acquisition of a superficial knowledge of the Greek, the Latin, or the French. But in other cases, certain portions of it can be selected by the teacher for recitation, while other portions the learner can read at his pleasure, and consult in the way of reference.
Not long after the publication of the first edition, a gentleman, as well qualified as any other to appreciate the character of the work, said to the author, “Your work has been very favorably received by learned men and by the public generally. There is a wide opening for it, treating as it does of a subject which concerns all who speak and write the languåge. Why do you not, in the next edition, make it a national work ?" Such a work I have endeavored to make it.
In preparing it for publication, I have taken great pains in collecting and combining the materials. I have consulted the best authorities in the most extensive libraries in this country and in Europe. I have sought and obtained the aid and advice of learned men and of judicious friends. I have also derived advantage from those candid critics in the public prints who have pointed out errors or suggested improvements.
In this edition, the sections furnished by Professor Josiah W. Gibbs, LL.D., are 79, 93, 95, 159, 162, 163, 167, 280, 302, 318, 358, 359, 364, 366, 370, 374, 381, from 383 to 422, and 539.
I can not permit this edition to go forth from the press without expressing my grateful acknowledgments to those learned men, whether at home or abroad, and to those practical teachers, who bestowed their approbation on the first edition. I may also be allowed to congratulate the cultivators of English philology upon the increasing interest that is taken in the study of the English language; an interest which has evidently increased in five years, since the publication of the first edition of this work; an interest which, it is hoped, ere long may be commensurate with the increasing numbers who speak and write that language as their mother-tongue.
W. C. F. Amherst, September, 1855.
In preparing this work for publication, my attention has been constantly fixed upon the wants of the Students in the Higher Institutions of learning. Were the president of one of these institutions asked why the systematic study of the English language is neglected in his college, his reply would very likely be, “ There is no suitable text-book; our pupils, when boys, studied English Grammar superficially in the primary schools. Afterward, when older, in the academy, during their preparation for college, they perhaps despised it, in comparison with the Latin and the Greek; and in the college they do not systematically study the language after they come to maturity. Hence it often happens that they go into their professional studies without a thorough and extensive acquaintance with their mother tongue."
Ought the English language, as a study, to be confined to the lower schools, and excluded from colleges ? Is there not in its matter and in its forms; in its historical elements and relations; in its grammatical and logical structure; in its ordinary uses, whether by the lips or the pen, for the common purposes of life; in its esthetical applications to eloquence and poetry; in it, as a portraiture of the soul of the Anglo-Saxon race, enough to attract, and task, and reward the mind in the full maturity of its powers? Besides what it has in common with other languages, is there not in it enough of inherent interest, enough of difficulty, enough