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A native of Newbury, in Berkshire. He was chosen Fellow of New College in 1574. He was appointed the King's Professor of Greek in 1585, being, at the time, in holy orders. He was head-master of Winchester School for nine years, and Warden of Winchester College for seventeen years. He became Doctor in Divinity in 1605. Dr. Harmar obtained all his preferment through the patronage of the potent earl of Leicester. He accompanied that nobleman to Paris where he held several debates with the popish Doctors of the Sorbonne. He published several learned works, and stood high in that crowd of tall scholars, the literary giants of that day. As crabbed Anthony Wood, the cynical annalist of Oxford, says of him, he was "a most noted Latinist, Grecian, and Divine." Of him too it may be said, that he was a fitting compeer with the worthies who have given the Scriptures in English to untold millions, past, present, and to come.


THE writer of a review, made in the true spirit of a just and generous criticism, is a benefactor to the author, and to the public. He often enables the author to modify his work, and extend its usefulness. Without either claiming or disclaiming very decidedly such a spirit for the author of a "Review of Weld's English Grammar," published in the CHRISTIAN OBSERVATORY for July, we propose to make a few remarks on the same, and on the book reviewed.

The avowed purpose of the reviewer is to make "a simple statement of the demerits of the work." The Grammar is arraigned, tried, and condemned capitally, on six different counts.

The Review of Mr. Weld's Grammar, which appeared in our last number, was furnished by a gentleman entirely disinterested, and fully competent for his self-imposed task. This reply is from the pen of a gentleman of the highest qualifications in regard to the matters in dispute. We leave our readers, with both sides of the question before them, to their own opinions thereon.



1. Numerous repetitions. 2. Inaccurate statements. 3. Loose definitions. 4. Barbarous phraseology. 5. Important omissions. 6. Faulty arrangement. These he claims to set forth as the characteristics of the book. If he has not done it, we are ready to testify that the failure is through no fault of the reviewer. He never ventures, except by mistake, across the line which separates merits from demerits. Such a plan, however, makes the review necessarily a one-sided affair; whereas, most things which have one side, have two sides. This book is an exception, unless the reviewer has some how or other overlooked the second side. His eye seems a microscope of high power, but with a narrow field of view,- too narrow to take in the general plan of the work, or to perceive the correspondence between the plan and its execution. It can see very small things, and magnify them into very large things. It can detect the small dust on the surface of a gem, while it overlooks the inherent qualities of the gem itself. When we come to look at these "demerits," perhaps some of them can spare the prefix, and be transferred to the side of merits. In a land of enemies, the reviewer, by all gentle appliances, has won over to his side as many as he could.


The first count the culprit is charged with, is numerous repetitions. It is important to remark, that this grammar was made, neither for adults, nor for ready-made grammarians, but for young learners. The author manifestly kept this object in view. In estimating the character of the work, it is essential to do the A learner commences the study of English Grammar. His attention is first directed to the noun. Numerous illustrations and exercises are given. Then comes the verb illustrated in the same manner, so far as the present purpose requires. Out of these two essential elements of a sentence, a sentence is formed, the simplest possible; as, man walks. Here is a subject and predicate, both simple. Around each of these may be clustered a great variety of modifying words, adjuncts, clauses, and dependent sentences, till the original simple sentence becomes. compound and complicated. As the author of the Grammar progresses in his work, all these modifications are introduced one by one, and they are illustrated in the order of their introduction. They are made familiar by a great variety of practical exercises, more or less of which may be used, according to the age and capacity of the pupil, and the judgment of the teacher. These

exercises may not be interesting to one who has already learned; but many trials have shown that they are so to the learner, and give ample exercise to his various faculties.

Such a plan brings the subject previously treated of under constant review; and accounts for the repetitions, on which the reviewer lays so much stress. Take the noun, the instance set forth so fully in the review: "Every name is a noun." After some simple illustrations, it is said again, "The name of every person, object, or thing which can be thought of, or spoken of, is a noun." Subsequently, "A noun is the name by which every person or thing is called." And again, "The names of all persons, places, qualities and substances are nouns." Whoever will look at these in their connexion in the book, will see at once the reason for them. The definition is made up of the elements, which enter into the thing defined. These elements are first exhibited; then, a definition deduced from them. It is presented under various aspects, with a view, no doubt, of making sure to the learner, not the mere words of a definition, but the idea they express. Every discriminating teacher well knows the vast difference between a flippant rehearsal of a definition, and the inwrought possession of the idea, which the words convey. In the examples given, the definition is one, though the form is varied; just as an "excuse" may be "one" and "good," while the mode of communicating it may be varied indefinitely. Multitudes of experienced teachers differ widely from the reviewer, and consider this characteristic of the work as being a merit, instead of a "demerit."

This is the proper connexion in which to notice the sixth alleged characteristic, faulty arrangement. The smaller matters mentioned were corrected long before the review appeared. The arrangement of the work corresponds with the plan of the author, as already mentioned. If the plan is wrong, the arrangement is wrong; but we claim for the plan, that it is the natural method, and therefore logical, and vastly superior to the arbitrary arrangement of the old grammars.

We come next to inaccuracies, another of the "demerits." Here one verb in the wrong number is pointed out, as a glaring inconsistency, also a difference of opinion between the author and his reviewer about nouns denoting time, distance, etc. Then several literal errors, which every body must know are typo

graphical. Nearly one fourth of the whole review is devoted to alleged inaccuracies in orthography, although thirty thousand copies of the Grammar, have since been sold, in which the reviewer acknowledges they do not exist. Why so much labor should be bestowed on what is, at present, a nonentity, must be left to conjecture. Could it be because entities of the right sort were scarce? Or was it for some other reason?

Under the next class of "demerits" which "characterize" the work, the author may find one or two useful suggestions, for which he will no doubt cheerfully acknowledge his obligation to the writer of the review.

Next, "barbarous phrases are said to "characterize" the work. Failing to find any in the author's text, the reviewer finds three in examples quoted for exercises. In one of them the article, the, is wanting before Tippecanoe. The other two have found a place in the works of reputable writers, and are examples of a construction which belongs to the language. Pray tell us what it is to "characterize " a work? It would seem that the reviewer can hardly agree with our standard lexicographers.

The only remaining class of "characteristic demerits" spoken of, is "omissions." An elementary grammar must omit many things, and treat others briefly. There is occasion here for sound judgment, and for some difference of opinion. On "minor matters," we presume the author and the reviewer would agree. On "the more important subjects," perhaps not.

We have followed the reviewer very briefly through the six classes of "demerits" which characterize the work. He says "there will still be much left." We concur in this most fully. The aggregate of all the letters, words, and sentences, those corrected and those not corrected, repetitions and all, which are summoned to sustain the six charges, would scarcely cover half a page of the Grammar.

We regret that this labor of love came too late to answer its most important purpose, as so large a part of the faults had been already corrected. There is some consolation however in "good intended," although the good we would, we do not. The delay is moreover pardonable. The book in the possession of the reviewer, was laid away among the trash for more than a year, as not worthy of notice; till the Boston School Committee made such an egregious blunder, as to think it the best grammar for

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the Boston Grammar Schools. "The course of the Boston School Committee in adopting this book," says the reviewer, "was the occasion of our undertaking it," [the review.] He hunts up the book to see if his first impression is correct, and on examination, finds it more than confirmed. That this heresy spread no further, he undertakes to set forth the "demerits " of Weld's English Grammar, for the public benefit, and especially for the enlightenment of the Boston School Committee. We verily congratulate the poor innocents who compose this Committee, that such a kind-hearted champion among critics has come to aid their impotency, and illuminate their darkness.

It may be well enough for him and others to know by what "possible management or influence the book obtained their approbation." We have ascertained from reliable sources. It was on this wise. Several months ago, a mutual friend handed a copy of the Grammar to a well known gentleman and scholar in this city; with a simple request, that he would examine it, and suggest amendments for a future edition. This gentleman happened to be on the school committee; a fact, not known to the giver, at the time of giving the book. After this gentleman had critically examined it, he caused other members of the Committee to be furnished with copies for examination. It is an unquestionable truth, that the first suggestion of introducing this book originated with the Committee. The movement of the Book Committee in recommending it was first learned by the author when published through the newspapers. It was entirely a spontaneous movement.

This was the beginning, middle, and end, of all the management. One of the publishers once inquired of the writer of this article, whether it would be proper to do anything to favor its introduction. The reply was: The reply was: "Keep away, and leave the book to stand or fall by its own merits." He acted accordingly. The result was, that after much deliberation, and opposing influence from without, Weld's English Grammar was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Committee.

Some imperfections are incident to most things. It is easier to detect them, than to prevent them. The best writers have failed to make their language so perfect, that criticism could not reach it. Witness the strictures of Blair and Cobbett, on Addison, Johnson, Watts, and others. Yet some imperfect things

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