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It is well known that the recommendations which generally accompany new books, have very little weight with the publick. This is as it should be, for that work which rests more on its written testimonials, than on its intrinsick 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 & 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 publick tribunal as an author, will, as far as 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 oid beaten track of English writers on grammar, in the general principles of the science; endeavouring, 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 endeavoured 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 most important parts of speech, are first explained, and afterwards those which e cons Jered in a secondary and subordinate character. By following this order, he was avoided the absurdity so common among authors, of defining the minor parts b-tore 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 familar objects, are well calculated to arrest the attention, and aid the understanding, of the pupil, and thereby to lessen the labour of the instructer. The principles of the science are simplified, and rendered so perfectly easy of compre hension, 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 gemuine 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 cal culated 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 publickly 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
Your arrangement and systematick 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 publick 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, Chambersburgh Academy, Feb. 12, 1825.
From Mr. N. R. Smith, editor of a valuable literary journal, styled "The Hesperus." Mr. Kirkham,
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 ele ments of grammar, and accoinmodated 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 developement of grammatical principles, while it is calcu lated 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,
Pittsburgh, March 22, 1825.
N. R. SMITH, A. M.
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 publick, 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 casily 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 attenlively, acquire a better practical knowledge of this important branch of literature in three months, than is ordinarily obtained in one year. JOHN E. JUNGMANN,
Frederick, Md Sept 17 1923.
Exact: 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 thi useful science. DE WITT CLINTON
Albany, Sept. 25, 1824.
New-York, July 29, 1829.
S. Kirkham, Esq.-I have examined your Grammar with attention, and with a par ticular 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 publick. 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 exarnination of your work, under a strong prejudice against it, in consequence of the numerous "improved systems" with which the publick 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.
With the the opinion of Mr. Wheaton respecting Mr. Kirkham's English Gram mar, we heartily concur.
Newburgh, Aug. 4, 1829.
NATHAN STARK, Pr. Acad.
(Rev.) WM. S. HEYER.
(Rev.) JOHN JOHNSTON,
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 patronized. CHARLES P. McILVAINE.
Brooklyn, July 9, 1829.
We fully concur in the above.
From the partial examination which I have given Mr. S. Kirkham's English Grammar, I do not hesitate to recommend it to the publick 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.
Brooklyn, L. I. June 29, 1829.
We fully concur in the foregoing recommendation.
From A. W. Dodge, Esq.
D. L. CARROLL.
B. B. HALLOCK,
E. KINGSLEY, T. S. MAYBON. 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 it 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. Byla 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 ardour of youth, and waste their energies in fruitless attempts to surmount its obstacles, is cleared of these ob structions 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 scienee of gramm and, during this period, having thoroughly tested the merits of Mr. S. Kirkham system of English Grammar in Familiar Lectares" 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 princi ples by a simultaneous application of them to practical examples. The publick may rest assured, that he has been successful in his attempt in a pre-eminent degree. I make this assertion under a full conviction that it will be corroborated by every candid judge of the sciènce 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 systematick mode of parsing" adopted, the convenient and judicious intro duction 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 superiour 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 orthoepy, the leading principles of rhetorick, 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 his work.
From the Rev. S. Center, Pr. of a Classical Academy.
I have examined the last edition of Kirkham's Grammar with peculiar satisfac tion. 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 imbodies all that is essentially excellent and useful in other systems; whilst it is entirely free from that tediousness of method and prolixity of definition which so much perplex and em
barrass the learner.
The peculiar excellence of Mr. Kirkham's grammar is, the simplicity of its method, and the plainness of its illustrations. Being conducted by familiar lectures, the teacher and pupil are necessarily brought into agreeable contact by each lesson. Both are improved by the same task, without the slightest suspicion, on the part of the pupil, that there is any thing 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 systematick mode of parsing, cal culated 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, systematick, and easy to be understood.
This, with the copious definitions in every part of the work, and other improve ments so judiciously introduced, gives it a decided 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 publick opinion, the gales of patronage which have wafted it along, have been far more favourable than he had reason to anticipate. Had any one, on its first appearance, predicted, that the demand for it would call forth twenty-two thousand copies during the past year, the author would have considered the prediction extravagant and chimerical. In gratitude, therefore, to that publick which has smiled so propitiously on his humble efforts to advance the cause of learning, he has endeavoured, by unremitting attention to the improvement of his work, to render it as useful and as unexceptionable as his time and talents would permit.
It is believed that the tenth and eleventh editions have been greatly 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 criticks and reviewers. Any compromise with them would betray a want of self-confidence and moral courage which he would, by no means, be willing to avow. It would, more
er, be prejudicial to his interest; for he is determined, if his life be preservea, to avail himself of the advantages of any judicious and candid criticisms on his production, that may appear, and, two or three years hence, revise his work, and present to the publick another and a better edition.
The improvements in the tenth edition, consisted mainly in the addition of many important principles; in rendering the illustrations more critical, extensive, accurate, and lucid; in connecting more closely with the genius and philosophy of our language, the general principles adopted; and in adding a brief view of philosophical grammar interspersed in notes. The introduction into the ELEVENTH EDITION, of many verbal criticisms, of additional corrections in orthography and orthoepy, of the leading principles of rhetorick, and of general additions and improvements in various parts of the work, render this edition, it is believed, far preferable to any of the former editions of the work.
Perhaps some will regard the philosophical notes as a useless exhibition of pedantry. If so, the author's only apology is, that some investigations of this nature seemed to be called for by a portion of the community whose minds, of late, appear to be under the influence of a kind of philosophical ma nia; 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, 1829.