« הקודםהמשך »
to acquiesce, or is the noun for father; while another noun, derived from it, is 17312x, acquiescence. Parkhurst will furnish not a few instances of this kind; besides others in which his root, from the absurd notion that it should be always a verb, requires him to say, as in the first word of his Lexicon, X To swell. It occurs not how. ever as a verb in this sense.” Should our learned author attempt to give us a Hebrew Dictionary, in which all the words of that language should be alphabetically arranged and explained, as in any Lexicon of another tongue, we think he would perform an acceptable ser. vice to theological literature, and save students in divinity the trouble of digging up real and imaginary roots. His Hebrew Grammar already published may teach the learner bow gender, number, and pronominal relations are expressed, together with the articles and the idea of property or possession; and then every noun in the Lexicon may, or may not, be its own root; just as some nouns in the English language are derived from other English words, while a great proportion of them are not. The expression," it occurs not as a verb,” will then be banished from the Dictionary of the language.
It would not be consistent with the design of our Re. view to follow the author through his Essay; we therefore only remark, that it evinces an attentive and thorough examination of the philosophy of language; that it is written with great precision; and that the principles inculcated in it, are, with a few exceptions, such as we are constrained to adopt. The philologists of our country will find it a treasure.
Of the English Grammar appended to the Essay, we observe, that it is at once the most concise and satisfactory system of rules concerning our language, which we have seen. With a few alterations, we could wish it were introduced into every school in our land. In its general features it resembles Harrison's Grammar, which was used in the English department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1795, and for several years before. We do not think the Doctor is a plagiarist, but his developement of his peculiarities, renders it probable that he must have seen Harrison's work, and drawn from its resources. VOL. I.
If he has not read it, we have a striking proof that his mode of analyzing our language must be correct, because he and Mr. Harrison arrive, by a philosophical investigation, at nearly the same results. Bioren's edition of Harrison's Grammar, published in Philadelphia in 1804, is divided into numerical sections, makes only two tenses of verbs, and banishes the passive voice, like the one under review; but the former is far inferior to the latter in the classification of pronouns, in the accuracy of its definitions, and in the perfection of its rules.
There are, however, a few things in Dr. Wilson's Grammar, which we could wish altered. Instead of saying “ John hisself wrote it,” we would say, according to the established custom of the best speakers, “ John himself wrote it.” Dr. Wilson would say, “they theirselves prayed;” whereas the law of our tongue has it, “they themselves prayed.” Hisself and theirselves we are glad not to find in the most respectable dictionaries; and we hope our author on the revision of his syllabus will allow those who shall introduce it into schools to use himself and themselves both as subjects and objects. p. of Gram. xi.
We know of no writer who has come nearer to a just definition of a verb than Dr. W., but he does not satisfy our mind; nor are we confident that we can please our. selves. He says, "A verb, whilst it implies time, predicates, connects an attribute, or expresses an action or inclination." Go, in the expression Go thou, neither predicates any thing, nor expresses any action or inclination, nor connects an attribute, nor implies any particular time. It may be to day, or to-morrow, or never, that the person spoken to is commanded to go; and the action may never be performed. It expresses therefore nothing but the commanding of an action. Go, in the expression Go I? is a verb not included in the foregoing definition. Go thou, is a command: Go I? is an interrogation. As a substitute we propose the following definition: a verb is a word which expresses either being, operation, interrogation, command, or predication. If there is any verb, or mood cf a verb, not included in the above definition, we know not what it is; but presume-some one will soon tell us,
if it should be discovered; and then we shall have the satisfaction of failing, in company with one of the best grammarians in America, our reverend brother, in our endeavours to settle the classification of words.
Our author makes three moods of verbs; the indicative, the imperative, and the infinitive. Had he given us also the interrogative mood, we think he would have been complete in his enumeration; for the interrogative is as distinct a mode of using the verb from any other, as the indicative is from the imperative. To go is the infinitive mood, or mode; I go, the indicative; go I? the interrogative; and go, or go thou, the imperative. What some have denominated, the subjunctive, and the potential moods, are not modes of using a verb, as our author remarks, but are expressions in which other words are introduced to denote circumstance, permission, power, possibility, and other things. This he cannot say of our interrogative mood, and we hope, therefore, to have it inserted in some future edition, through his candour, and desire of promoting useful science. On the 19th page of the Grammar, we have would
past tense of will. Willed, we think is also the past tense of that verb; so that it would be desirable to read, I willed or would, thou willedst or wouldst, &c. On the same page, the second person of the verb be is, thou beest, which should have been marked as obsolete; and be like must, should have been carried through all the numbers and persons. We would have marked lesser too, on the 10th page, as an obsolete term, for the compara. tive less.
We dissent from the law, that there should not be more than one colon in the same sentence. p. 32.-We dissent also, from the assertion, that Gratitude is the name of an abstract idea, p. 34. but perhaps it is because we have some prejudice against abstract ideas. “Gratitude is a delightful emotion,” is the proposition in which the word is used; and the proposition itself calls gratitude the name of an emotion, that is, a certain mental feeling, instead of an abstract idea. Any feeling, or mental emo. tion, which is called a feeling of gratitude, is a delightful emotion, the proposition asserts.
Notwithstanding these objections to a few parts of the Grammar, we would teach it, had we ability and opportunity, universally; and think science much indebted to Dr. Wilson for his learned, comprehensive, and simple analysis of the English language.
The work is peculiarly acceptable at the present time, because our city is filled with grammatical quackery; and many in their rage for simplification would reduce our language to a state of barbarism; while others, disdaining all the advantages which the science of grammar affords, would teach us French, German, and Spanish, in fortyeight lessons, as “Nature Displayed” teaches it to the children of foreign families, by rote, To teach men languages, without communicating the knowledge of them through the medium of a grammar, may be very convenient for those teachers who are ignorant of the analysis of their own vernacular language; but for the learner it is as foolish a mode of proceeding, as it would be, to turn a boy into a printer's office, and bid him try experiments, until he can print a book, without being taught the names of the implements he must use, or the established rules of the art.
Mr. Dufief seems to have led the van of deterioration in the science of grammar; but he cuts nothing like such a figure as the man, who gives us long columns of stuff in the newspapers over the signature of Hamilton. What the first name of this celebrated personage is, we suppose the good people of Philadelphia are not to know; for should any thing precede the great name of Hamilton, the gaping multitude would not think they had a teacher of half nobie, if not royal, blood. Now, they must think him like some English lord, or perhaps a relative of the respectable Hamiltons of America, but a much greater scholar, for having been born on the other side of the Atlantic.
We are sorry that Mr. Francis Varin, well skilled in several languages, should have thought it necessary to follow the example of Hamilton, and advertise that he will teach the Germani“ upon the plan of Mr. Hamilton, , that is in 48 lessons.” Why should not these gentlemen say 50, at once; for it is a number of a better sound?
One would think the Philadelphians to be idiots, were he to judge from the late pompous advertisements about the "Lancasterian HIGH School," and the wonderful things performed by a few lectures, and 48 lessons; for he would say, “ how could these quacks pay the printer, if they were not well paid for enchanting the people?”
This day of wonders will pass away, and the greater part of people, who take the trouble to think at all, will be convinced, that nothing great in science is to be achieved without laborious study; and, that the experience of ages is preferable to the juggling tricks of a few designing men.
ARTICLE IX.-On Terms of Communion; with a particular view
to the case of the Baptists and Pædobaptists: by Robert Hall, M. A. First American (from the third English edition.) Philadelphia: published by Anthony Finley. 1816. pp. 203. 12mo.
One might well afford to have his intellectual facul. ties now and then discomposed and beclouded, if he might be enabled in his lucid intervals to write like this author. He is certainly one of the most argumentative and finished theological writers of the present age. A better sermon than the one which is published from his pen, on “the encouragements and discouragements of the Christian ministry,” we do not recollect to have read; and his discourses on “ Modern Infidelity,” has met with almost universal approbation.
Mr. Hall is a Baptist. What he has written on the subject of communion with other denominations of Christians besides his own, deserves, therefore, peculiar attention; especially on the part of his brethren in the Baptist connexion; who can virtually acknowledge us to be Christian ministers, by exchanging pulpits, and by honouring our public teaching, while they refuse to sit with us, either in their places of Worship, or in our own, at the table of the Lord; because, according to their exposition of the law of baptism, we appertain not to the visible church of Christ. We have no complaints of in