« ElőzőTovább »
no reason why a young person arriving at this distinction, and educated in the Hamiltonian system, may not carry the study of grammar to any degree of minuteness and accuracy. The only difference is, that he begins grammar as a study, after he has made a considerable progress in the language, and not before,--a very important feature in the Hamiltonian system, and a very great improvement in the education of children.
The imperfections of the old system proceed in a great measure from a bad and improvident accumulation of difficulties, which must all perhaps, though in a less degree, at one time or another be encountered, but which may be, and in the Hamiltonian system are, much more wisely distributed. A boy who sits down to Greek with lexicon and grammar, has to master an unknown character of an unknown language to look out words in a lexicon, in the use of which he is inexpert-to guess, by many trials, in which of the numerous senses detailed in the lexicon he is to use the word—to attend to the inflexions of cases and tense to become acquainted with the syntax of the language--and to become acquainted with these inflexions and this syntax from books written in foreign languages, and full of the most absurd and barbarous terms, and this at the tenderest age, when the mind is utterly unfit to grapple with any great difficulty; and the boy, who revolts at all this folly and absurdity, is set down for a dunce, and must go into a marching regiment, or on board a man of war! The Hamiltonian pupil has his word looked out for him, its proper sense ascertained, the case of the substantive, the inflexions of the verb pointed out, and the syntaxical arrangement placed before his eyes. Where, then, is he to encounter these difficulties? Does he hope to escape them entirely ? Certainly not, if it is his purpose to become a great scholar; but he will enter upon them when the character is familiar to his eye-when a great number of Greek words are familiar to his eye and earwhen he has practically mastered a great deal of grammarwhen the terminations of verbs convey to him different modifications of time, the terminations of substantives different varieties of circumstance--when the rules of grammar in short are a confirmation of previous observation, not an irksome multitude of directions, heaped up without any opportunity of immediate application.
The real way of learning a dead language, is to imitate as much as possible the method in which a living language is naturally learnt. When do we ever find a well educated Englishman or Frenchman embarrassed by an ignorance of the grammar of their respective languages? They first learn
it practically and unerringly; and then, if they choose to look back, and smile at the idea of having proceeded by a number of rules without knowing one of them, by heart, or being conscious that they had any rule at all, this is a philosophical amusement: But who ever thinks of learning the grammar of their own tongue before they are very good gram. marians ? Let us hear what Mr Locke says upon this subject:If grammar ought to be taught at any time, it must be to
one that can speak the language already; how else can he be * taught the grammar of it? This at least is evident, from the * practice of the wise and learned nations amongst the ancients.
They made it a part of education to cultivate their own, not . foreign languages. The Greeks counted all other nations • barbarous, and had a contempt for their languages. And, though the Greek learning grew in credit amongst the Romans towards the end of their commonwealth, yet it was the 6
Roman tongue that was made the study of their youth; their ' own language they were to make use of, and therefore it was • their own language they were instructed and exercised in.
. But, more particularly, to determine the proper season for • grammar, I do no not see how it can reasonably be made any one's study, but as an introduction to rhetoric. When it is
thought time to put any one upon the care of polishing his 'tongue, and of speaking better than the illiterate, then is the • time for him to be instructed in the rules of grammar, and * not before. For grammar being to teach men, not to speak, .but to speak correctly, and according to the exact rules of * the tongue, which is one part of elegancy, there is little use 6 of the one to him that has no need of the other. Where rhetoric is not necessary, grammar may be spared. I know not • why any one should waste his time, and beat his head about • the Latin grammar, who does not intend to be a critic, or • make speeches, and write dispatches in it. When any one • finds in himself a necessity or disposition to study any foreign
language to the bottom, and to be nicely exact in the know• ledge of it, it will be time enough to take a grammatical sur
vey of it. If his use of it be only to understand some books - writ in it, without a critical knowledge of the tongue itself, . reading alone, as I have said, will attain that end, without charging the mind with the multiplied rules and intricacies of grammar.'-Lacke on Education, p. 78, folio.
In the Eton Grammar, the following very plain and elementary information is conveyed to young gentlemen utterly ignorant of every syllable of the language. • Nomina anomala quæ contrahuntar sunt, 'Oxotxon, quæ contra
huntur in omnibus, ut goos gốs, &c. Onyorală, quæ in paucioribus casibus contrahuntur, ut substantiva Barytonia in ig. Imparyllatria in xg, '&c. &c.
From the Westminster Grammar we make the following extract—and somethousand rules, conveyed in poetry of equal merit, must be fixed upon the mind of the youthful Grecian, before he advances into the interior of the language.
'w finis thematis finis utriusque futuri est
Westminster Greek Grammar, 1814. Such are the easy initiations of our present methods of teaching. The Hamiltonian system, on the other hand, 1. teaches an unknown tongue by the closest interlinear translation, instead of leaving a boy to explore his way by the lexicon or dictionary. 2. It postpones the study of grammar till a considerable progress has been made in the language, and a great degree of practical grammar has been acquired. 3. It substitutes the cheerfulness and competition of the Lancasterian system for the dull solitude of the Dictionary. By these means, a boy finds he is making a progress, and learning something from the very beginning. He is not overwhelmed with the first appearance of insuperable difficulties; he receives some little pay from the first moment of his apprenticeship, and is not compelled to wait for remuneration till he is out of his time. The student having acquired the great art of understanding the sense of what is written in another tongue, may go into the study of the language as deeply and as extensively as he pleases. The old system aims at beginning with a depth and accuracy which many men never will want, which disgusts many from arriving even at moderate attainments, and is a less easy, and not more certain road to a profound skill in languages, than if attention to grammar had been deferred to a later period.
In fine, we are strongly persuaded, that the time being given, this system will make better scholars; and the degree of scholarship being given, a much shorter time will be needed. If there is any truth in this, it will make Mr Hamilton one of the most useful men of his age; for if there is any thing which fills reflecting men with melancholy and regret, it is the waste of mortal tinie, parental money, and puerile happiness, in the present method of pursuing Latin and Greek.
Art. III.-The late Crisis in the Money Market Impartially
considered. London, 1826.
ance that the public should be well informed, than the causes of those sudden and ruinous revulsions which occasionally occur in highly commercial and manufacturing countries, and involve thousands in bankruptcy and ruin. Important, however, as this knowledge undoubtedly is, it has hitherto been
very little attended to. It is rather mortifying to know, that the severe revulsion we have so lately experienced, and from the effects of which we shall long continue to suffer, was wholly unexpected by the vast majority of our merchants and manufacturers: and, eyen since it has taken place, a very great discrepancy of opinion has been entertained with respect to the causes to which it should be ascribed. Under these circumstances we are sure we shall be excused for availing ourselves of this opportunity, to submit a few obseryations on the subject.
In entering on this investigation, it is necessary to distinguish between those revulsions which depend on political contingencies, and may therefore be considered as in some measure accidental, and those which arise from the miscalculation of individuals, or from some defect in the system under which the industry of any given country is conducted. The causes of the former are plainly beyond the sphere of the Economist. It is his business to determine what course a government ought, under any given circumstances, to adopt with a view to the increase of the public wealth ; but it is impossible for him to say a priori what it will adopt. He can neither divine its measures, nor warn those who may be injuriously affected by them, of the approaching danger. We do not, therefore, mean to make
observations on such revulsions as are the immediate effect either of the measures of foreign governments, or of our own; but to confine ourselves exclusively to those which take place in the ordinary course of affairs, and which recent experience has shown may be as sudden and violent as any that could be occasioned by the breaking out of a war, or the occurrence of a great revolution.
This class of revulsions have their origin either, first, in the miscalculations of those who are engaged in the production of commodities; or, second, in the miscalculations of the merchants who deal in them; or, third, in a fluctuation of prices, caused by a sudden change in the quantity, and, consequently, in the value of money. We shall take the liberty to submit a few observations on each of these heads.
I. With respect to the first class of revulsions, or those which are caused by the miscalculations of the producers, they generally originate in some derangement of the usual proportion between the supply and demand of certain species of commodities. Suppose, for example, that, owing either to the opening of new markets, to a change of fashion, or to any other cause, the demand for cotton goods were considerably increased:–The consequences of such increased demand would be, that the price of cottons would immediately rise, and that the manufacturers would obtain comparatively high profits. But the rate of profits in different employments has a constant tendency equality; and it can never, unless when monopolies interfere to prevent or counteract the operation of the principle of competition, continue for any considerable period either higher or lower in one than in the rest. As soon, therefore, as this rise in the price of cottoñs had taken place, additional capital would begin to be employed in their production. The manufacturers already engaged in the cotton trade would endeavour to borrow fresh capital ; while a number of those engaged in other businesses, would withdraw from them, and enter into it. Unluckily, however, it is next to certain that this transference of capital would not stop at the point when it would suffice to produce the additional supply at the old prices, but that it would be carried so much farther as to produce a glut of cottons, and a ruinous revulsion. A variety of causes conspire to produce this effect :- The advantages which any one class of producers derive from an increased demand for their peculiar produce, are uniformly exaggerated, as well by that portion of themselves who are anxious, in order to improve their credit, to magnify their gains, as by the whole body of those who are engaged in other busi
The adventurous and sanguine--those who are particularly disposed to take omne ignotum pro magnifico--crowd into a business which they readily believe presents the shortest and safest road to wealth and consideration; at the same time that many of that generally numerous class, who have their capitals lent to others, and who are waiting until a favourable opportunity occurs for investing them in some industrious undertaking, are tempted to follow the same course. It occurs to few, that the same causes that impel one to enter into a department that is yielding comparatively high profits, are most