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subjects for the higher training; and Locke was far from the theories of a later day, when he held that "the only grammar which a gentleman needs is that of his own tongue, which alone he means to write." "Our most noble Queen Elizabeth," says Roger Ascham, "never yet took Greek or Latin grammar in her hand after the first declining of a noun and a verb."
In the system that has grown up since this rude but wholesome beginning, fashion and superstition have had their full share. Think, for instance, of the nonsense that has been written and believed as to the "perfect forms" and "perfect models" to be found in the ancient writers! Think of the atrocity of setting up four hundred pages of grammar as a barrier to be surmounted, before one should enter on the living use, possibly (though some teachers doubt it) the rational enjoyment of an ancient tongue! All this must have its reaction; and it is excellently met in the Essay of Professor Sidgwick, who points out with clear good sense the real use and advantage of classical study: Greek is needed for theology, Latin for history and law; it is their literature, not their grammar, that we want to cultivate; yet even for that they are hardly required, amidst the great wealth of modern speech; and few learners, at any rate, will read them both.
The third Essay, by Professor Seeley, criticises the system of university studies and examination for honors, and is of much interest,— aside from the fresh and admirable style in which the writer puts his thought, in view of the changes taking place in our own colleges. It may be well, too, to take notice of what he says of the despotism of the Tripos:" it is made the one test of scholarship; special tastes are substituted for liberal culture; success in one set line is the only success that teacher or student cares to aim at; "if such-a-one did not hink so much, he might do very well," is the comment actually given by some painstaking tutor, and shows the result of the system. Universities should be better organized for the business of instruction. "The college system keeps down the character of the teaching class;" each college- of which at Oxford there are more than twenty — aiming at a certain thin completeness in every thing. Colleges should be specialized. Again: as to the method of private tuition. "It is deceptive to compare the teacher to a book. In the first place, he is a great number of books; next, he is a book that can be questioned; and a book that can put questions; and a book that can recommend other books; and last, not least, he is a book in English. As a rule, good books are in German, and it may happen that the student does not read German."
But the most vigorous protest against modern pedantry that we remember to have seen, is that by Professor Bowen, in the fourth Essay, on "Teaching by Means of Grammar." That grammar is useful for the sake of teaching the language, "we meet," he says, "with a direct negative," meaning by grammar "a formal analysis of usage, in respect of inflection and syntax." And here is the method he advises: "Let them begin the translation of easy sentences, even before they know the declensions by heart. Never give a rule of any kind unless it is one which is clearly and obviously founded upon a collection of instances. Get the meaning accurately, and the grammar may follow as its handmaid. Never let time be wasted at a difficulty; if, when fairly coped with, it is insuperable, give quick and willing help." And again: "We assert that systematic grammar-complete, technical, printed in a book for the purpose of learning the dead languages - is more an encumbrance than a help." And again: "A grain of showing is worth a bushel of telling, whether the topic be a handicraft or a virtue, the performance of a trick of cards or the construction of an infinitive mood."
We have not space to follow out the arguments of these timely and valuable essays. Such sentences as these just quoted, coming from the high places of English culture, are bolder and more radical than almost any one has yet ventured to use in our own educational journals or teachers' conventions. On the other hand, the need of instruction in natural science and modern learning seems to have dawned freshly, and with great force, on the mind of those scholars and is very strikingly illustrated in Mr. Wilson's Essay (the sixth) "On Teaching Natural Science in Schools," and the closing one, "On the present Social Results of Classical Education." The seventh, "On the Teaching of English," and the eighth," On the Education of the Reasoning Faculties," are well worth attention. That logic may be made as simple as geometry or grammar, while it is a matter of infinitely more practical advantage, and is likely to be far more entertaining, is set forth with great vigor. Somewhat curiously the writer, Mr. W. Johnson, finds great advantage in Latin composition over any thing to be done in any modern language, especially English; essays by boys in the vernacular he thinks will be purely formal and worthless. On the whole, while there are many points in this volume in which the writers freely differ from one another, and some, perhaps, in which we might differ from them all, there are few books to which we should be more glad to direct the attention of the great teaching class among ourselves.
MR. MORRIS'S Greek Grammar has some features quite new, to which we desire to call the attention of those interested in classical instruction. Of grammar proper, it contains 168 pages, with a tabular supplement of 30; its Syntax is embraced in 50 pages; while more than a hundred are occupied with exercises for the class-room. The type is uncommonly bold and clear, and gives the points — which appear to be very carefully and skilfully thought out — with remarkable distinctness to the eye. But the distinguishing feature of the book is this, - that it deals with the language throughout in its "crude forms; " giving careful and clear rules for the forming of cases, tenses, and the like; indicating by symbols, with each crude form, to what class it should be referred; and giving, in a series of "plates" (occupying, perhaps, a quarter of the book), very full exhibitions of the forms of the language, by which the learner is to make his own inflections as he goes along. No such thing as a full paradigm, of noun or verb, is given, - except by what seems an afterthought, in the supplement which follows the reading lessons, which are arranged, with great skill, to apply the method already learned. A careful examination of the book, in its general features, satisfies us that any teacher who will have patience with it at starting, will find himself in possession of a most valuable aid in getting at the true form and genius of the tongue.
WHILE the growth and occupation of "The Great West "† were the fresh wonder of our own day, it was pardonable in us to forget that there was a history of its discovery waiting to be read; and now that it is open to us, in Mr. Parkman's clear and handsome pages, we find in it, with a sort of surprise, that, turning back over the little space of two centuries, we come upon a pre-historic period, as full of marvel, adventure, and romance, in its kind, as that of older countries. So thin are the layers of that stratification which time has spread over the wide continent, yet so strange and distinct from one another. The Canadian forests, the shores of the Great Lakes, the cataracts and rapids, the broad prairies of Wisconsin and Illinois, the great rivers of
*A Compendious Grammar of Attic Greek, with copious Exercises. By CHARLES B. MORRIS. New York: F. J. Huntington & Co. pp. 330.
†The Discovery of the Great West. By FRANCIS PARKMAN, author of The Conspiracy of Pontiac, Jesuits in Canada, &c. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 8vo, pp. 425.
VOL. LXXXVII. — NEW SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. III.
the West, are not only the field of the vast colonization of our century; they are the scene where actors almost forgotten played their part, and where the passion of the play was often deepened into tragedy, long before that struggle of British and French forces on this continent, in which our own colonial annals begin to emerge into the broader light of history.
We need not recite Mr. Parkman's claims to be the explorer of that field. A comparison of this with the "Jesuits in Canada," will show the same qualities of faithful investigation, clear and vivid description, interesting narrative, and a quick, keen appreciation of the human interest of the story. And besides, this volume shows to still better advantage the writer's personal familiarity with the scenes and populations with which he deals. No picture of savage life is comparable to his for the definite, positive lines in which it is drawn. The romantic halo that once transfigured the brutish and rude existence of the Indian tribes has been fading with all our better knowledge of them. Pitilessly Mr. Parkman brushes away what might be left of it in the field of that distant and early adventure; yet with a keen sense of what was pitiful and tragic in it, as well as what was purely barbarous and grotesque. Nothing can excel in oddity the scenes which the old French explorers have left so fully detailed of their contact with the savage tribes; and they become the more piquant, by the personal and local touches which the historian is able to add from the note-book of his own experience.
The volume, in its general drift and outline, is the biography of La Salle, the ambitious, able, dauntless, tireless, ill-fated explorer of the Mississippi. Mr. Parkman has studied his life afresh, from all the documentary sources within reach, especially from family papers gathered and preserved in Paris; and has succeeded in filling out, with great vigor and life, the sketch which Mr. Sparks had given-interesting, but cold and feeble in comparison in his "American Biography." In particular, the jealous bad faith, if not positive treachery, which betrayed the heroic explorer to his destruction, is shown with great distinctness; and its shadow is made to fall, in a damaging way, upon the Jesuit party, of whom he was the open foe. The book is apparently quite impartial and fair, whether in telling of the Catholic missionaries who lived and died faithful in their toilsome, hopeless service; or the hardy and heroic fidelity of Tonty; or of the garrulous, vain, jealous, and mendacious Father Hennepin, whose well-known
*See vol. i. of the Second Series.
narrative shows to ill advantage in the light of sober history. We are promised, in a coming volume, the story of "the stormy career of Frontenac," royal governor of Canada, and La Salle's constant friend. No one but Mr. Parkman can have known so well the breadth and wealth of the field he has made his own: a field in which he has created an interest, that will look with eager expectation for each coming instalment of his work.
THE Messrs. Roberts, in their "Handy-Volume Series," have published a book of remarkable interest, whose title we give below.* The author is a man of education and the highest social connections, – cousin of the Rev. Richard Chenevix Trench,— who held the difficult, responsible, and hazardous post of Agent of estates in Ireland, during and after the famine of 1846-7. His story of the conspiracies, crimes, sufferings, and imprisonments among the tenantry, diversified with several touching little romances of private life, has the interest and freshness of novelty, after all that has been said and written on that unhappy matter. The narrative is very direct and personal, full of names, incidents, and dates, given apparently with absolute frankness. It is a plainer story of the writer's daring, skill, prudence, and success, under most difficult circumstances, than most men could give or would care to give; but its personal quality is quite essential in the account it would give of the land and people. Nothing can excite warmer interest and commendation, than the way in which hopeless poverty and desperate crime are checked by the unfailing panacea of emigration, and the skill with which this panacea is administered. But it raises the question, too, how far it is right or safe to thrust so much raw material of barbarism upon a foreign country; and it suggests, more vividly than any thing we have seen, an explanation of what is most dangerous in the "Fenian" exhibitions of the last few years. One should read it beside Maguire's "Irish in America."
"THE Seven Curses of London "* are neglected children; professional thieves; professional beggars; fallen women; drunkenness ; betting gamblers; the waste of charity. Mr. Greenwood, who began his investigations, two or three years ago, by his experience of one
*Realities of Irish Life. By W. STEWART TRENCH. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
†The Seven Curses of London. By JAMES GREENWOOD, the "Amateur Casual." Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co.