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We are firmly convinced, after much consideration on the subject, that the practice of learning grammatical rules by heart, not only is not the only or the best, but is one of the very worst methods of acquiring a language which the wit of man can devise. The declensions of the articles, pronouns, substantives, and adjectives, and the conjugations of the verbs, need alone be committed to memory. All farther labour is, at the best, a mere waste of time, and often is positively mischievous, in exciting a disgust of a language of which the approaches seem beset with such difficulties, and in associating with it the idea of the most irksome drudgery. The truth is, that however boys may be tormented, the grammar must be learnt from the language, not the language from the grammar. The idioms and structure of a language can only be learnt by a comparison of similar usages and expressions; and a reference to a copious grammar, arranged on a scientific plan, and illustrated with numerous examples, such as the Greek grammars of Buttmann, Thiersch, and Matthiæ, and the Latin grammar of Zumpt, is of the highest use to a learner. But to refer a boy who meets with the words do tibi in a Latin book, to a grammar in which he is told that verbs of giving govern 'a dative case,' conveys to him absolutely no information. The rule is proved by the example, not the example by the rule. The enunciation of the general proposition neither demonstrates nor illustrates the particular case. A philosophical grammar affords continually the most valuable assistance to a student somewhat advanced in a language; but a meagre statement of a few simple grammatical facts, without order or method, such as is complimentarily called a syntax in the Westminster and Eton grammars, and, above all, when embodied in a barbarous metrical jargon, is useless to most beginners, mischievous to many, and contemptible in the eyes of all proficients.


The Latin and Greek grammars now employed at Westminster, have been recently introduced in the place of those formerly in use. They have, we understand, (with the exception of those parts retained from the old grammars,) been drawn up by the masters of the school, and therefore may be fairly taken as affording an estimate of their opinion as to the best grammars which, in the present state of classical literature, can be prepared for the wants of learners. The first twenty-eight pages of the Latin grammar appear to contain all that a beginner need commit to memory: the syntax, which occupies the next twentynine pages, is written in English, and not (like the Eton Latin Syntax) in Latin; it cannot, of course, make any pretensions to completeness or ingenuity; but as far as such a treatise can be useful, it appears to us fitted to attain its end. Then follow

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sixty-one pages of Latin hexameter verses, called a Rudimentum Grammatica Latina Metricum, followed by a literal English translation. Near the end of this poem is an explanation of the meaning of a foot and a verse, and a hexameter and a pentameter, after the pupil has been toiling through some pages of rules, forced, by every kind of barbarous contrivance and license, into hexameter verses, for the sake of making them more easy to him! We subjoin, as a specimen of this strange medley, inconvenient for reference, and useless as a memoria technica, the last eight lines of The Latin Verse Grammar, for the use of the Lower 'Forms in Westminster School.'

Schemata vim verbis addunt: vocat Ecphonema,

Pusma rogat; simili illustratque Parábola* sensum.
Rem positam ante oculos digito notat Hypotyposis ;
Quaque Prosopopoëia personam efficit ex re.
Aposiopesis silet; hæret Diaphoresis :

Epimone ingeminans auget; Paralipsis omittit.
Arguit anticipans Prolepsis, Epitrope cedit.
Scite Oxymoron secum pugnantia dicit.'

With this choice specimen of a kind of poetry not known to the inventors of the epic, lyric, elegiac, and dramatic styles, viz. the grammatical style of poetry, we take our leave of the Latin, and proceed to the Greek grammar. The first part of this work, comprising the rules for the declensions, conjugations, &c., apparently occupies eighty-five pages; but is, in fact, contained in a smaller compass, as the rules are given in Latin on one page, while the opposite page contains a literal translation of them in English. In some places, however, we observe that the English is fuller than the Latin version. In a report to the States General of the Netherlands, before the late revolution, we can conceive that it would have been highly useful to print the Dutch version on the one side of the leaf, and the French on the other; but as England is not a bilingual nation, we should recommend an immediate and perpetual banishment of the Latin moiety of this Greek grammar. The arrangement of the declensions and conjugations, and of the various rules in this elementary part, is much less simple and intelligible than that adopted in the small grammar compiled by the present Bishop of London, (which is, in every respect, far superior to this new Westminster grammar;) and there occur, in the new Westminster grammar, several assertions which appear to have been made without

Numerous false quantities occur throughout this poem, which pointed out by marking over the syllables their true quantity.


sufficient caution. For instance, we are quite unable to understand what is meant by the following passage:

The etymology [of the Greek language] agrees with the Latin; except that the Greeks supply the place of the Latin ablative by a dative, or genitive, with or without a preposition; and add a dual number, a middle voice, a subjunctive mood, distinct in form from the potential, or optative, and a paulopost future, and two aorists, or inde finite tenses.'-P. 4.

In p. 31, we find it stated, that

There seems to be no difference of meaning between the first and second aorist.'

The treatise on the prepositions, in pp. 74-76, (of which there is not any corresponding Latin version,) is founded on completely erroneous principles. It is hopeless to attempt to reduce the multifarious usages of the Greek prepositions to a few simple rules; for instance, it is not true, generally, that the particular force implied by the genitive, is motion, or pro'cession from,' or that the particular force implied by the accu'sative, is motion to,' as is there asserted. The treatise on the particles is likewise too imperfect to be of any use to a learner.* Some rules on the Greek accent, in Latin and English, close the first part.

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The rest of the Greek grammar, amounting to sixty-two pages, is filled with extracts from the old metrical Grammatica Busbeiana,' which contains a variety of rules with regard to anomalous forms omitted in the other grammar; and concludes with a poetical treatise on Greek syntax, prosody, accent, and dialect, in twenty-eight pages: of this space, the syntax fills no more than eight pages. We shall only trouble our readers with one verse from these effusions of the Busbeian muse, which appears to us to express, with great propriety, a fundamental maxim of the grammatical school of poetry:

'Effræni canonem omnem exturbat jure poësis.'-P. 46.

There is one, and only one, excuse which we can imagine for the maintenance of an antiquated and inaccurate grammar, viz.: that the change from one grammar to another is inconvenient in itself, and unfair towards those boys who have already learnt the old one. We do not indeed consider that this argument has

It is stated in this section, (p. 77,) that in a train of reasoning "aga expresses a particular inference, and draws the general conclusion. This distinction between the two particles cannot be supported. The author of the above paragraph appears, moreover, to suppose that there is a distinction between an inference and a conclusion; he seems to think that a conclusion can only come at the end.

any real weight, as we cannot admit that grammars are meant to be learnt by heart; and for purposes of reference, an accurate is better than an inaccurate treatise, whatever may be their respective dates. But the managers of Westminster school have not even this defence, poor as it is; for they have changed their Greek grammar, and yet the new production deserves the same fate as its predecessor.

All boys in the upper school are required to make, every week, at least twenty Latin hexameter verses on some sacred subject, called the Bible-exercise. A theme, or short prose essay, on some trite moral subject, is likewise required, being alternately Latin or English, in succeeding weeks. In the fifth form, this theme is sometimes supplanted by a literal translation of about twenty lines of Homer or Virgil into English prose. In the two highest forms, an additional exercise is imposed, viz. to turn an ode of Horace into Latin elegiac verses, or a stanza of an ode into Greek trimeter iambics, six lines being sufficient. Sometimes, however, this task is commuted into twenty or more Latin elegiac verses on a given subject. The practice of learning by heart, which, when properly regulated, tends both to improve the taste, and strengthen the memory, is at Westminster either neglected, or rendered useless. With the exception of the Greek grammar, an ode of Horace, or twenty lines of Virgil, once aweek, is alone required even from those at the head of the school. From this account of the studies of a Westminster boy in the higher forms of the school, it will be seen that the negative list, or the number of subjects which he does not learn, is of very considerable magnitude. Arithmetic, algebra, modern languages, modern history, are wholly excluded. Some feeble attempts are made to communicate a slight knowledge of ancient history; but not to such an extent as to afford afterwards much assistance in the serious prosecution of historical studies. We have purposely omitted all mention of the physical and moral sciences; and we are well aware that an extensive knowledge of ancient and modern history and languages is not to be acquired in a few years. But why are some of these branches wholly neglectedwhy is not an attempt made to teach a few portions at least of modern history, and to give an elementary acquaintance with some modern languages? If, however, even the Greek and Latin languages were really taught to a large portion of the boys by either of the different systems adopted at Eton and Westminster, we should be less inclined to censure the neglect of other branches of learning. But the fact is notoriously the contrary. A considerable portion of the boys who leave those public schools, are unable to read with ease an ordinary Latin book, and still fewer

have even a tolerable acquaintance with the Greek language. In too many cases, when a boy's compulsory education is finished, his Latin and Greek books are thrown aside, as associated in his mind with none but painful recollections. When we remember that the Greeks were not only the inventors and originators of almost every branch of art and literature, but that their language contains the most admirable, and, in many cases, confessedly the finest models of poetry, whether epic, lyric, or dramatic, of the various styles of historical composition, of deliberative and forensic oratory, of philosophical discussion and exposition; we can only account for the general indifference to Greek literature which prevails in this country, where in all the public schools it is one of the principal subjects of instruction, by the imperfect, tedious, and disgusting manner in which it is communicated.

It will likewise be observed, that the subject of composition does not receive at Westminster that attention which it deserves. The practice of compelling boys to compose original essays of a given length on moral subjects, necessarily encourages a habit of diffuse declamation, and of spreading the least possible quantity of thought over the greatest possible surface of words. In the poetical parts there is little more praise to be bestowed; the custom of travestying the Odes of Horace into Latin elegiac verses, is a most barbarous contrivance, and quite unworthy of the good taste and judgment of the masters of a public school.

The system of rewards and punishments is at Westminster arranged on nearly the same inartificial plan as at Eton. The rewards consist in the distribution of prizes, in the obtaining a higher place in the form in all forms below the two highest, and in the selection of an exercise for its merit by the master. The principal punishments are transcription, and flogging with a rod. When a boy is complained of by the usher, he is immediately flogged in the middle of the school, sometimes on the hand, and sometimes on the naked back. These inflictions are not of unfrequent occurrence.

It is not our intention to repeat, in this place, the arguments which, in a former article, we urged against the use of corporal punishment in the upper forms of a large public school. Our meaning on that occasion has, however, been so strangely misunderstood, that we will take the liberty of shortly explaining the drift of our former reasoning. We asserted that it is an essential attribute of a good punishment, that the pain should increase with the duration of the punishment, or the number of its inflictions. For instance, that solitary confinement is a good punishment, because it is more than twice as painful to

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