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Imuft however intreat him to recollect, (and at the same time whose authority it bears,) that—Qui Sapientiæ & literarum divortium. faciunt, nunquam ad solidam sapientiam pertingent. Qui verò alios etiam à literarum linguarumque studio absterrent, non antiquæ fapientia sed nova ftultitia. Doctores funt habendi,


Indeed 'I spoke my real sentiments: I think Grammar difficult, but I am very far from looking upon it as foolish : indeed so far, that I consider it as absolutely necessary in the search after philosophical truth; which if not the most useful perhaps, is at least the most pleasing employment of the human mind. And I think it no less necessary in the most important questions concerning religion and civil so- ciety. But since you say it is easy, tell me where it may: be learned.


If your look and the tone of your voice were less serious, , the extravagance of your compliment to grammar would ! incline me to suspect that you were taking your revenge, , and bantering me in your turn by an ironical encomium on my favourite ftudy. But, if I am to suppose you in: earnest, I answer, that our English grammar may be suf


ficiently and easily learned from the excellent Introduction

of Doctor Lowth: or from the firs (as well as the bes) * English grammar, given by Ben Johnson.


True, Sir. And that was my first night answer to our friend's instance. But his inquiry is of a much larger compass than you at present seem to imagine. He asks after the causes or reasons of Grammar *: and for satisfaction in them I know not where to send him ; for I assure you, he has a troublesome, inquisitive, fcrupulous mind of his own that will not take mere words in current payment.

B. I fhould think that difficulty easily removed. Dr. Lowth in his preface has done it ready to your hands.

66 Those,”

* Duplex Grammatica : alia civilis, alia PhiloSOPHICA.

Civilis, peritia est, non scientia : confiat enim ex austoritate usuque clarorum scriptori!in.

PhiloSOPHICA vero, ratione conftat; & hæc fcientiam olet.

Grammatica civilis habet ætatem, in qua viget, & illam amplectuntur Grammatici, dicunt enim fub Cicerone & Cafare adultam linguam, &c. PHILOSOPHICA non agnoscit ætatem linguæ, fed rationalitatem; ample&titurque vocabula bena omnium temporum, 6



he says, “ who would enter more deeply into this subject, “ will find it fully and accurately handled with the greatest “ acuteness of investigation, perspicuity of explication, and u elegance of method, in a treatise intitled Hermes, by 6 fames Harris, Esq. the most beautiful and perfect ex“ ample of Analysis that has been exhibited since the days 66 of Aristotle."


The recommendation no doubt is full, and the authority great; but I cannot say that I have found the performance to correspond: nor can I boast of any acquisition from its perusal, except indeed of hard words and frivolous or unintelligible distinctions. And I have learned from a most excellent authority, that “ Tout ce qui varie, tout ce qui “ se charge de termes douteux & envelopés, à toujours

paru suspect; & non seulement frauduleux, mais encore uwis • absolument faux: parcequ'il marque un embarras que ..., “ la verité ne connoit point *.”


And you, Sir?

Bossuet des variations des Eglises Protestantes.

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Have you tried any other of our English authors on the subject ?


I believe all of them, for they are not numerous * ; but none with satisfaction.

B. You

* The authors who have written professedly on this subject, in any language, are not numerous. Caramuel, in the beginning of his Grammatica Audax, says,-“ Solus, ut puto, Scotus, & poft eum SCALIGER & CAMPANELLA

(alios enim non vidi) Grammaticam Speculativam evulgarunt; vias tamen .omnino diversas ingreffi. Multa mibi in Scaligero, & plura in Campanella

displicuerunt ; & pauciora in Scoto, qui vix alibi subtilius fcripfit quam cum de Grammaticis modis fignificandi.

The reader of Caramuel (who, together with Campanella, may be found in the Bodleian Library) will not be disappointed in him; but most egregiously by him, if the smallest expectations of information are excited by the character which is here given of Scotus: whose De Modis Significandi, should be intitled, not Grammatica Speculativa, but-an Exemplar of the subtle art of saving appearances, and of discoursing deeply and learnedly on a subject with which we are totally unacquainted. Quid enim fubtilius vel magis tenue, quam quod nihil eft.

Wilkins, Part 3. Chap. 1. of his Effay towards a Real Character, says, after Caramuel,“ The first of these (i. e. philosophical, rational, universal « Grammar) hath been treated of but by few; which makes our learned


B. You must then give up one at least of your positions. For if, as you make it out, Grammar is so difficult that a

Verulan put it among bis Desiderata. I do not know any more that have

purposely written of it, but Scotus in bis Grammatica Speculativa, and

Caramuel in his Grammatica Audax, and Campanella in bis Grammatica " Philosophica. (As for Scioppius bis Grammar of this title, that dotb wholly concern the Latin tongue.) Besides which something bath been occa.

fionally spoken of it by Scaliger in his book De Causis Linguæ Latinæ; and " by Voffius in his Aristarchus.” So far Wilkins : who, for what reason I know not, has omitted the Minerva of Sanctius ; though well deserving his notice; and the declared foundation of Scioppius. But he who should confine himfelt to these authors, and to those who, with Wilkins, have since that time written professedly on this subject, would fall very short of the allistance he might have, and the leading hints and foundations of reasoning which he might obtain, by reading even all the authors who have confined themselves to particular languages.

The great Bacon put this subject amongst his Defiderata, not, as Wilkins says, because “ few had treated of it ;” but because none had given a fatisfactory account of it. At the same time Bacon, though evidently wide of the mark himself, yet conjectured best how this knowledge might most probably be attained ; and pointed out the most proper materials for reflection to work upon. Illa demum (says he) ut arbitramur, foret nobi« liffima Grammaticæ fpecies, fi quis in linguis plurimis, tam eruditis quam vulgaribus eximiè doétus, de variis linguarum proprietatibus traëtaret; in

quibus quæque excellat, in quibus deficiat oftendens. Ita enim & lingue mutuo commercio locupletari poffint ; & fiet ex iis quæ in fingulis linguis pulchra funt (tanquam Venus Apellis) orationis ipfius quædam formofiffima imago, & exemplar quoddam infigne, ad fenfus animi ritè exprimendos.De augment. Scient. Lib. 6. Cap. 1.



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