Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

partment of our Quarterly. And why reprint what all our readers have already in their own possession ? Let each of them put his pencil-mark of admiration against his favorite passages, and thus make out an anthology of his own. It may be less critically perfect than the one which we should give bim; but it will probably be much more satisfactory to his own tastes and feelings.

About a year since "Thorndale, or the Conflict of Opinions,"* came to our hands in the English edition, and now we observe that an American reprint has been issued by Messrs. Ticknor & Fields, which, however, we bave not had the pleasure of seeing. On reading it, we were so impressed with its rare power of intellect, and the uncommon attractions of its style, as also with its thoroughly anti-christian tendency, as to form the purpose of reviewing it at·length. That purpose we may hereafter be able to execute. It will be extensively read, we do not doubt, by thoughtful and sensitive minds, and will charm every reader by its finished pictures of quiet beauty, as well as by its humane and gentle spirit. If any one finds himself likely to be haunted by its unbelieving spirit, we can only repeat the advice suggested by a lady, "after cach sitting, read a chapter of the gospel of Joho."

PHILOLOGY.

We wish to call attention to the “ Latin Analyst,"t which Prof. Gibbs bas recently published. It is a very different book from any elementary Latin work that has preceded it in this country. It seems to have been the aim of our most modern text books, not only to make knowledge easy of acquisition, but also easy of communication; to lighten the task of the teacher as well as of the pupil. This is no evil in itself, but it leads to an evil, and a very serious one-indolence in teachers, a disposition to rely altogether on the book, to hear lessons rather than to teach, to sit as censors, applying the test guage to each scholar's performance, rather than as instructors, helping the youthful mind onward, and stimulating its full activity. With some teachers, no book will find favor that takes them out of the comfortable, sleepy,

* Thorndale, or the Conflict of Opinions. By William Smith, author of " Athelwood," a drama, “A Discourse on Ethics," &c. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons. 1859.

+ A Latin Analyst on Modern Philological Principles. By Josiah W. GIBBS, Prof. Sac. Liter., Yale College. New Haven. 12mo. 1858. pp. 150.

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cider-mill round of their own time honored and inveterate method. To such, this work does not address itself, but rather to those who move on with the world in the path of progress. It will seem quite novel to those teachers who have not yet acquainted themselves with the new philology; and, unless taken in connection with the “Philological Studies” of the same author, a more expanded work, on which it is based, it may seem uninviting, on account of the condensed form in which the new principles are here stated. But we are convinced, by

, experience, that it is available for beginners in Latin-always provided that the teacher himself be competent to understand the subject-and that if faithfully followed out, it will produce results of which the old methods are utterly incapable.

According to the new philology, the proposition is regarded as the central point. The old method starts with the word, or as they are called in the grammar, the “parts of speech.” The new is concerned with the thought, the old with the form. The new is subjective, the old is objective.

" The new grammar," says our author," does not consist in a few practical rules to guard the student against plausible errors in speaking or writing the vernacular language, nor in the most minute or mechanical rules for imitating the latinity of Cicero; but it is the science of language. To understand a language is to understand its forms, whether of words or propositions, historically in their origin, philosophically in the want or occasion which called them into existence, and practically in the various applications of these forms in present use. It is, as it were, language itself subjectively conceived, apprehended, appreciated.”

Reflection on the preceding statement shows that the new philology, however, need not, and does not supersede the old. We must understand the word and its formations before we can enter upon

the

proposition. Our Latin and Greek grammars may flourish unassailed. But, to our apprehension, the merit of the new philology consists in the introduction of a new element into linguistic study; in adding to the verbal criticism, oftentimes so dry, in which grammatical discussions are chiefly occupied, the study of the proposition, a study ever new and full of unflagging interest.

Chronologically, we must begin with the word; logically, with the proposition. We must collect our facts before we can reason upon them. Let the student, then, con his paradigms and the indispensable rules for the "common concords," by way of preparation, and then he

[ocr errors]

may begin with the study of propositions, in which he will find the “ Latin Analyst ” an invaluable assistant.

This work consists of select Latin sentences, arranged in about sixty sections, so as to exhibit a complete series of distinct propositions in the order of their natural development, from the more simple to the more complicated forms, so as to exhaust the strictly syntactical forms of the language. Each section is introduced by explanatory remarks, accompanied with references to the fuller statement of the same in the author's larger work. The usual references to grammars, found in elementary books, are here omitted, and left to the inclination and judgment of the teacher, as being foreign to the plan of this work. Nor is this any objection. A teacher who is qualified for his position, can better judge what his class requires, than any other. Some books are too much encumbered with help for any class; some give help injudiciously; some classes need more help, others less, and all differently. A few dialogues and fables are added, with such notes as are adapted to the general plan of the book, and a convenient vocabulary is provided at the end. The dialogues will prove an agreeable as well as an useful feature. The colloquial style has been too much neglected in our Latin Readers.

We look with some interest to the reception of this unpretending little work, by American teachers. It has a mission to fulfill, we have no doubt. Some teachers, who care to learn nothing beyond the inevitable requirements of the day, will ignore its claims; but it is equally certain that not a few who aim chiefly to teach their scholars to think, will learn and use what it has to communicate. There is not a little in Analyst” which will not be available to the young

scholar without explanation and illustration by his teacher; there are some technical terms, too, which must be acquired and comprehended by the same assistance. And if this little book will only rouse up the teachers, and make them more alert to think for and with their scholars, it will have accomplished a good work.

We have been assured by teachers who bave begun to use the “ Analyst” in their courses of instruction, that they have observed with interest and surprise the ease with which young scholars comprehend the principles of the new philology. It is a great mistake to suppose that these are beyond the comprehension of a child of twelve years. The distinction between the substantive, the adjective and the adverbial proposition, between the subordinate and coördinate, between the object and effect of an action, is as plain and as interesting to the boy

the 6

as to the man; and the boy, as well as the man, rejoices in something of which he can understand the reason: instead of the fossil facts of a petrified grammar, he craves the fresh product of living thought.

It is, then, not a matter of slight importance to know that the experiment has been tried and has been successful. The analysis of a proposition has long been a part of the daily drill of classes in some of the best schools of the country. With the assistance of Prof. Gibbs's latest contribution to philology, may we not expect to see this useful exercise take on a completeness and accuracy hitherto impracticable !

SCIENCE.

The peculiar views of Professor Agassiz, in regard to the origin of the human race, have led many religious men, both in this country and abroad, to look with some degree of suspicion upon all bis scientific investigations. The great work bearing the title, “ Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of America,"* the mere commencement of a magnificent series, intended to give the result of his labors during the last twenty years of his life in this country, will do much to clear him from such suspicions. Among scientific men it will take the rank in elaborateness and care, if not in vastness of subject, with his great work, “ Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles."

The two volumes now issued consist of three distinct treatises. The first, an Essay on the general principles of Animal Classification. The second, a Zoological classification and definition of the American Turtles, in which the principles proposed in the first are applied. And the third, an elaborate account of the Embryology of the samo groupthe Turtles.

Wo bave had in manuscript for some time a notice of this book, which we are obliged again to defer. We shall now only briefly allude to the work, and shall hope to return to the subject on some future occasion.

Although Professor Agassiz states that he has written with a view to interest every general reader, and hopes to find his work in the hands of farmers, fishermen and working men generally, yet it is evident that the two last parts require so much familiarity with science, or so careful a study of what is here written, that few, we fear, of those who are not

* Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of America. BJ LOUIS AGASSIZ. 2 Vols. 4to. With 34 Plates. 1857.

already given to the study of nature, will find it very readable. Yet, we might add, for the encouragement of those who may attempt it, that no one can get in a simpler form, or with more ease, so much of information in regard to the latest results of science upon the points here discussed, than by reading this work.

The work is dedicated to the memory of Ignatius Dællinger, whom Prof. Agassiz considers, in his personal rather than written influence, the father of modern philosophic embryology in its investigation of the relations of developinent to Zoology. It seems to carry us very far back, to find that personal influence direct upon the author, who studied under Dællinger from the year 1827 to 1831, and to find one living to link us almost visibly with the times of Wolf and Ponder. It is also dedicated to the memory of Francis Calley Grey, of Boston, to whose zeal and individual action, perhaps its appearance is entirely due. For Prof. Agassiz chancing to mention that the great mass of his American investigations would probably never be published, on account of the costliness of their illustration, Mr. Grey " entered at once into the matter, with an energy and hopefulness which were most inspiring; spent some time in examining the manuscripts, and having satisfied himself of the feasibility of their publication, set on foot a subscription, of which he took the whole direction himself, awakening attention to it by personal application to his friends and acquaintances by his own liberality, and every means which the warmest friendship and the most genuine interest in science could suggest.” “My generous friend," adds the Professor, "did not live to witness the completion of the first volume of the series, which without his assistance could not have appeared, but he followed with the deepest interest every step in its progress till the day of his death."

[ocr errors]

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

An examination of the Constitution and laws of the United States in reference to slavery in the states and territories, has been published in Hartford. It is written by a lawyer, and is a compact legal argument on the subject of which it treats ; indeed, we think niany unprofessional readers will regard it as too abstract. Were it not for a few

* Slavery in the United States of America ; its national recognition and relations, from the cstablishment of the confederacy to the present time. A word to the North and the South. By HENRY SHERMAN, Counselor at Law. Hartford : J. 0. Hurlbert. 1858.

« ПредишнаНапред »