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YOU are about to enter upon one of the m when rightly pursued, one of the most interestin hole circle of science. If, however, you, li! uided youth, are under the impression that the har is dry and irksome, and a matter of little rust I shall succeed in removing from your min otions and ungrounded prejudices; for I wil onvince you, before I close these lectures, that pleasing study, but one of real and substantial hat directly tends to adorn and dignify human r orate the condition of man. Grammar is a lea hat learning which alone is capable of unfoldin he mental powers, and of elevating man to his he scale of intellectual existence ;-of that lear he soul from earth, and enables it to hold conver and worlds. In pursuing any and every other ou will discover the truth of these remarks, and or you will find, that, as grammar opens the do artment of learning, a knowledge of it is indis hould you not aspire at distinction in the repul his knowledge cannot fail of being serviceable you are destined to pass through the humblest w hink it is clear, that, in one point of view, gran edge possesses a decided advantage over every earning. Penmanship, arithmetick, geograph Dotany, chymistry, and so on, are highly useful tivo places; but not one of them is so univers
cumstances, on all occasions ;-when you speak, read, write, or think, a knowledge of gramınar is of essential utility.
Doubtless you have heard some persons assert, that they could detect and correct any errour in language by the ear, and speak and write accurately without a knowledge of grammar Now your own observation will soon convince you, that this assertion is incorrect. A man of refined taste, may, by perusing good authors, and conversing with the learned, acquire that knowledge of language which will enable him to avoid those glaring errours that offend the ear; but there are other errours equally gross, which have not a harsh sound, and, consequently, which cannot be detected without a knowledge of the rules that are violated. Believe me, therefore, when I say, that without the knowledge and application of grammar rules, it is impossible for any one to think, speak, read, or write with accuracy. From a want of such knowledge, many often express their ideas in a manner so improper and obscure as to render it impossible for any one to understand them: their language frequently amounts, not only to bad sense, but non-sense. In other instances several different meanings may be affixed to the words they employ; and what is still worse, is, that not unfrequently their sentences are so constructed, as to convey a meaning quite the reverse of that which they intended. Nothing of a secular nature can be more worthy of your attention, then, than the acquisition of grammatical knowledge.
The path which leads to grammatical excellence, is not all the way smooth and flowery, but in it you will find some thorns interspersed, and some obstacles to be surmounted; or, in simple language, you will find, in the pursuit of this science, many intricacies which it is rather difficult for the juvenile mind completely to unravel. I shall, therefore, as I proceed, address you in plain language, and endeavour to illustrate every principle in a manner so clear and simple, that you will be able, if you exercise your mind, to understand its nature, and apply it to practice as you go along; for I would rather give you one useful idea, than fifty high-sounding words, the meaning of which you would probably be unable to comprehend.
Should you ever have any doubts concerning the meaning of a word, or the sense of a sentence, you must not be discouraged, but persevere, either by studying my explanations, or by asking some person competent to inform you, till you obtain a clear conception of it, and till all doubts are removed. By carefully examining, and frequently reviewing, the following lectures, you will soon be able to discern the grammatical construction of our language, and fix in your mind the principles by which
it is governed. Nothing delights youth so much, as a clear and distinct knowledge of any branch of science which they are pursuing; and, on the other hand, I know they are apt to be discouraged with any branch of learning which requires much time and attention to be understood. It is the evidence of a weak mind, however, to be discouraged by the obstacles with which the young learner must expect to meet; and the best means that you can adopt, in order to enable you to overcome the difficulties that arise in the incipient stage of your studies, is to cultivate the habit of thinking methodically and soundly on all subjects of importance which may engage your attention. Nothing will be more effectual in enabling you to think, as well as to speak and write, correctly, than the study of English grammar, according to the method of pursuing it as prescribed in the following pages. This system is designed, and, I trust, well calculated, to expand and strengthen the intellectual faculties, in as much as it involves a process by which the mind is addressed, and a knowledge of grammar communicated in an interesting and familiar manner.
You are aware, my young friend, that you live in an age of light and knowledge ;- -an age in which science and the arts are marching onward with gigantick strides. You live, too, in a land of liberty;-a land on which the smiles of Heaven beam with uncommon refulgence. The trump of the warriour and the clangour of arms no longer echo on our mountains, or in our valleys; "the garments died in blood have passed away;" the mighty struggle for independence is over; and you live to enjoy the rich boon of freedom and prosperity which was purchased with the blood of our fathers. These considerations forbid that you should ever be so unmindful of your duty to your country, to your Creator, to yourself, and to succeeding generations, as to be content to grovel in ignorance. Reinember that "knowledge is power;" that an enlightened and a virtuous people can never be enslaved; and that, on the intelligence of our youth, rest the future liberty, the prosperity, the happiness, the grandeur, and the glory of our beloved country. Go on, then, with a laudable ambition, and an unyielding perseverance, in the path which leads to honour and renown. Press forward. Go, and gather laurels on the hill of science; linger among her unfading beauties; "drink deep" of her crystal fountain; and then join in "the march of fame." Become learned and virtuous, and you will be great. Love God and serve him, and you will be happy.
LANGUAGE, in its most extensive sense, implies those signs by which men and brutes communicate to each other their thoughts, affections, and desires.
Language may be divided, 1. into natural and artificial; 2. into spoken and written.
NATURAL LANGUAGE consists in the use of those natural signs which different animals employ in communicating their feelings one to another. The meaning of these signs all perfectly understand by the principles of their nature. This language is common both to man and brute. The elements of natural language in man, may be reduced to three kinds; modulations of the voice, gestures, and features. By means of these, two savages who have no common, artificial language, can communicate their thoughts in a manner quite intelligible: they can ask and refuse, affirm and deny, threaten and supplicate; they can traffick, enter into contracts, and plight their faith. The language of brutes consists in the use of those inarticulate sounds by which they express their thoughts and affections. Thus, the chirping of a bird, the bleating of a lamb, the neighing of a horse, and the growling, whining, and barking of a dog, are the language of those animals, respectively.
ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE consists in the use of words, by means of which mankind are enabled to communicate their thoughts to one another.-In order to assist you in comprehending what is meant by the term word, I will endeavour to illustrate the meaning of the term
Idea. The notices which we gain by sensation and perception, and which are treasured up in the mind to be the materials of thinking and knowledge, are denominated ideas. For example, when you place your hand upon a piece of ice, a sensation is excited which we call coldness. That faculty which notices this sensation or change produced in the mind, is called perception; and the abstract notice itself, or notion you form of this sensation, is denominated an idea. This being premised, we will now proceed to the consideration of words.
Words are articulate sounds, used by common consent, not as natural, but as artificial, signs of our ideas. Words have no meaning in themselves. They are merely the artificial representatives of those ideas affixed to them by compact or agreement among those who use them. In English, for instance, to a particular kind of metal we assign the nanie gold; not because there is, in that sound, any peculiar aptness which
is modulated by the action of the throat, pai lips, and nostrils.
WRITTEN LANGUAGE. The elements of consist of letters or characters, which, by con general usage, are combined into words, an ocular representatives of the articulate soun veice.
GRAMMAR is the science of Grammar may be divided into two speci particular.
UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR explains the prin common to all languages.
PARTICULAR GRAMMAR applies those gen a particular language, modifying them accord and the established practice of the best spe by whom it is used. Hence,
The established practice of the best speak any language, is the standard of grammatica use of that language.
By the phrase, established practice, is impl tional, and present usage. A usage become when it has been long and generally adopted. The best speakers and writers, or such as