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contrary, the simplicity and facility of it, that occasions this neglect. Were the language less easy and fimple, we should find ourselves under a necessity of studying it with more care and attention. But as it is, we take it for granted, that we have a competent knowlege and skill, and are able to acquit ourselves properly in our own native tongue : a faculty solely acquired by use, conducted by habit, and tried by the ear, carries us on without reflection; we meet with no rubs or difficulties in our way, or we do not perceive them ; we find ourselves able to go on without rules, and we do not so much as suspect that we stand in need of them.
A grammatical study of our own language makes no part of the ordinary method of instruction which we pass through in our childhood; and it is very seldom that we apply ourseives to it afterward. And yet the want of it will not be effectually supplied by any other advantage whatsoever. Much practice in the polite world, and a general acquaintance with the b-ft authors, are good helps, but, alone, will hardly be suficient: we have writers who have enjoyed these advantages in their full extent, and yet cannot be recommended as models of an accurate style. Much less then will what is commonly called learning serve the purpose; that is, a critical knowledge of ancient languages, and much reading of ancient authors: the greatest critic and most able grammarian of the last age, we are told, when he came to apply his learning and his criticism to an English author, was frequently at a loss in matters of ordinary use and common construction in his own vernacular idiom.
“ The principal design of a grammar of any language, fays our Author, is, to teach us to express ourselves with propriety in that language, and to be able to judge of every phrase and forin of conitruction, whether it be right or not. The plain way of doing this, is to lay down rules, and to illuftrate them by examples. But besides thewing what is right, the matter may be farther explained by pointing out what is wrong. I will not take upon me to say, whether we have any grammar that sufficiently performs the first part : but the latter method here called in, as subservient to the former, may perhaps be found in this case to be, of the two, the more useful and effectual manner of instruction.
“ Befides this principal design of grammar in our own language, there is a secondary use to which it may be applied, and which, I think, is not attended to as it deferves. A good foundation in the general principles of grammar is, in the first place, necessary for all those who are initiated in a learned education; and for all others likewise, who thall have occafion to furnish themselves with the knowlege of modern languages. Universal grammar cannot be taught abAtractedly : it must be done with refcrence to some language already known, in which the terms are to be explained, and the rules exemplified. The learner is supposed to be unacquainted with all but his own native tongue; and in what other, consistently with reason and common-sense, would you go about to explain it to him? When he has a competent knowlege of the main principles, the common terms, the general rules, the whole subject and business of grammar, exemplified in his own language, he then will apply himself with great advantage to any foreign language, whether ancient or modern. To enter at once upon the science of grammar, and the study of a foreign language, is to encounter two difficulties together, cach of which would be much lessened by being taken separately, and in its proper order. For these plain reasons, a competent grammatical knowlege of our own language is the true foundation upon which all literature, properly so called, ought to be raised. If this method were adopted in our schools; if children were first taught the common principles of grammar by fome short and clear system of English grammar, which happily, by its simplicity and facility, is perhaps of all others the fittest for such a purpose, they would have some notion of what they were going about, when they should enter into the Latin gramozar; and would hardly be engaged so many years, as They now are, in that most irksome and difficult part of literature, with so much labour of the memory, and with so little ajiltance of the understanding.--A design somewhat of this kind gave occafion to the following little fyftem, intended merely fur a private and domestic use.”
What our Author has here advanced, with so much modesty, and good sense, will, we are persuaded, be readily asfented to by every candid and unprejudiced reader; and yet, such is the amazing force of influence and custom, that little or no attention is given to the study of the English language, in this country, either in public or private places' of education. It is, indeed, aftonithing, that, in fo enlightened an age, and in a country eminen:ly distinguished by the noblest privileges, the plain dictates of reason and common sense Tould be over-ruled and borne down by custom, in a point of such importance to public welfare, as that of education.
When one considers that our youth, in general, are employed for so many years in the dull drudgery of learning the Greek and Latin languages, while the study of our own, nay, what is still worse, while the study of almost every thing else that can contribute to form a gentleman, a good citizen, or a Christian, is entirely neglected, it is impoflible not to be filled with the deepest concern, and earnestly to wish for å REFORMATION.
We shall conclude this article with observing, that our Author's critical Notes clearly prove the charge of inaccuracy brought against our language as it subsists in practice, and thew the necessity of investigating the principles of it, and studying it grammatically, if we would attain to a due degree of skill in it. It evidently appears from them, that our belt authors have been guilty of palpable errors in point of grammar. The examples, which the Doctor gives, are such as occurred in reading, without any very curious or methodical examinations; and, he justly observes, they might easily have been much increased in number by any one, who had leisure or phlegm enough to have gone through a regular course of reading with this particular view. They are sufficient, however, to answer the purpose intended, viz, to evince the necessity of the study of grammar in our own language, and to admonish those who fet
among us, that they would do well to consider this part of learning as an object not altogether beneath their regard.
The natural History of the Horse. To which is added, that of the
As, Bull, Cow, Ox, Sheep, Goat, and Swine. With accurate Descriptions of their several Parts. And full Directions for breeding, feecling, and improving those useful Creatures. Transated from the French of the celebrated M. de Buffon, 8vo. 5s. in boards. Griffiths.
(ATURAL History has always been confidered as a
useful and instructive science, as it enlarges our ideas, by making us acquainted with the nature and properties of the inany objects that surround us; and accordingly many authors, in different parts of Europe, have exerted their ta lents in elucidating a subject so beneficial to society. Among these the famous M. de Buffon, and his coadjutor M. Daubenton, have distinguished themselves, and blended the curious with the useful Parts of this science; and as they have formed no fyftem, but followed nature closely in every particular, they have exploded a multitude of errors commit:ed by other authors, in support of a favourite hypothefis, and sufficiently th wn, that it is not by contracting the sph<re of nature within a narrow circle, but by extending it to immensity', that we can obtain a true knowledge of her proceedings. * The views of the illustrious * author of nature,” says M. de Buffon, “ are not to be fathomed, by attributing to him our ideas: instead of curtailing the limits of his power, they must be widened, and extended to immensity. We are to confider nothing impossible; we are to imagine every thing, and to suppose that whatever can does exist. Ambiguous species, irregular productions, anomalous beings, will then cease to staggrr us, and will be found, in the infinite order of things, as necellary as others. They fill up the intervals of the chain; they form the links, the intermediate points, and also indicate the extremities. These beings are, to the human inind, valuable and fingular copies, in which nature; though apparently less condutint with her usual method, thews herself more openly; in which we may perceive marks and characters, denoting her ends to be much more general than our views; and that, as dhe
a dous nothing in vain, she also does nothing with the defigns we impute to her,”
On such extensive principles, unbiassed by system, or the authority of any other writer, the natural history of M. de Brton is executed ; and, at the same time, all the particulars r lating to each species of animals, that have the least tendency to improve its qualities, or display its character, are carefully enumerated.
As a specimen of tliis large work, the picce before us, containing the natural histories of some of ihe most useful animals in nature, is published, and contains complete treaties on the horse, ass, horned cattle, sheep, goats, and swine, in which the manner of breeding, fattening, and improving these valuable creatures is particularly explained, and a great variety of curious questions relative to their nature and properties are discussed, and satisfactorily answered.
The degeneracy of horses has been long known, and several methods have been taken to prevent it. It is apparent, that these differences proceed from the air and food; but the
We do not remember ever to have seen this inadequate epithet applied to the Supreme benefactor.
only method of preventing it is by crossing the breed. Our author's reasoning will throw considerable light upon this practice.
“ Nature," he observes, “ has, in every species, a general prototype, after which each individual' is formed : this, in the realization, degenerates or improves from circumstances: so that with regard to certain qualities, there is apparently a capricious variation in the succession of individuals, and, at the same time, a remarkable stability in the whole species. The first horse, for instance, was the external model, and internal mould, by which all horses that have ever existed have been formed: but this model, of which we only know the copies, may, by the communication of form, and by its increale, have undergone some disadvantageous changes, or, 'on the other hand, received improvement. The original form wholly subfifts in each individual. But though there are millions of these individuals, not two of them are, in every particular, exactly alike, nor consequently any one of them the same with the model from whence it received its form. This difference, which at once demonstrates how far nature is from fixing any thing absolutely, and the infinite variations she fpreads through her works, is seen in the human race, in every species of animals and vegetables, and, in a word, in cvery series of beings. But what deserves attention is, that the model of beauty and goodness seems diftributed throughout the whole earth, every climate affording only a portion; and this continually degenerating, unless re-united with another portion from some distant country : fo that to have good grain, beautiful Aowers, &c. the seeds must be changed, and never fown in the soil that produced them. In the same manner, to have fine horses, &c. foreign stallions must be given to native mares, or foreign mares to native stallions : for otherwise, the mother will so powerfully influence the form, as to cause an apparent degeneracy : the foron remains, but disfigured by many diffimilar lineaments. Whereas, let the breed be mixed, and constantly renewed by foreign species, and the form will advance towards perfection, and recruited nature display her choicest productions.
“ The general reason for these effects does not belong to this place; yet we may be permitted to mention the conjecțures which at first offer themselves. Experience shews, that animals, or vegetables, transported from a remote climate, pften degencraic, and sometimes greaily improve, in a small