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peared in 1823. The author is a native of Spain, and has evidently received a liberal education. His style denotes a sufficient familiarity with the genius and structure of the English language. The arrangement of his grammar we consider an improvement on the usual construction of such treatises. The division of his work is given in the title. The first part, which occupies only a fourth of the volume, is an excellent elementary grammar in itself. The second, is an admirably arranged system of rules of etymology and syntax, and forms an extensive and lucid commentary on the general principles laid down in the first division. The remarks on the orthography of the Castilian language are copious, and the niceties of pronunciation accurately explained by a key referring to the corresponding sounds in English. In one or two minor respects, we have been taught to differ with him ; for instance, in considering the H as always a silent letter, to which Mr. M•Henry makes two exceptions : “when it precedes the diphthong ue, and sometimes when placed between two vowels : in the first instance, its sound resembles the harsh sound of the English g, and in the second, that of the English h aspirated; but in both cases the aspiration is exceedingly weak.”' p. 4.
He has wisely deviated from the arrangement of the cases of nouns adopted by the Spanish Academy, which gives them six, in conformity to the Latin language. T'his may be well calculated for the instruction of Spaniards in the grammar of their own tongue ; but as there is no change of termination, the rules of syntax are much simplified for the English learner, by admitting, as the author has done, only two cases, the nominative and objective.
In the several conjugations of the auxiliary and regular verbs, laid down in the first division, the learner has every facility for acquiring a correct accentuation of the syllables; a matter which often costs teachers much trouble, and impedes the progress of their disciples. All the terminations of the verbs have been carefully accentuated; while the letters which require the accent in writing are distinguished by a change of the type. This simple expedient is worth more than half the quack improvements in the modern patent grammars. The verbs having been once thoroughly mastered in this manner, are not easily forgotten.
In the second part of this grammar, we have been particularly struck with the ingenuity and industry displayed in the rules for ascertaining the genders of nouns from their termination, and with the accuracy of the accompanying tables of exceptions. These rules are generally multiplied to an extent fatiguing to
the memory, in the common grammars, while their lists of exceptions are exceedingly imperfect
. The rules for the government of adjectives and pronouns are also unusually comprehensive and perspicuous. The most valuable part of this grammar is, probably, that in which the author lays down the nice distinctions between Ser and Estar, the most perplexing characteristic of the Spanish language to a foreigner, and which can only be effectually overcome by practice. Theoretically, however, we believe, this author has nearly removed all the difficulties of the subject; and we are much mistaken if some others have not had credit given them for explanations of it, which have been cheaply purloined from this writer, and foisted into their own compilations, with a few bungling variances, additions and omissions. We make an extract from this part of the book, omitting the examples under the several rules.
“ Among the difficulties which Englishmen encounter in the study of the Spanish language, there is, perhaps, none greater than the one attending the proper choice of these verbs. A Spaniard, no doubt, perceives a very striking difference between them; yet he finds it almost iinpossible to make an Englishman sensible of the distinction, because the English language has but one word to express their different meanings. Ser and estar equally signify in English to be; but ser denotes an absolute, and estar a relative existence: might I be allowed the definition, I would say that ser expresses the kind, and estar the manner of being; and therefore we find that estar is employed when the existence is connected with, and as it were modified by, some circumstances either of time or of place. If I say, este hombre es valiente, this man is valiant; I mean that this man possesses that certain portion of natural courage requisite to form what is meant by a valiant man : but if estar be substituted, este hombre está valiente will then mean, that the man is at that time inspired with valour by some existing circumstance. In the same manner, esta naranja es ágria, this orange is sour, denotes that the orange belongs to a species of which the acid taste is a characteristic: change the verb into estar, and esta naranja está úgria, will then convey the idea that the orange might have been sweet had it not been gathered too soon, or some other circumstance preventing its reaching the necessary degree of maturity.
“From the foregoing remarks may be drawn the following general rule : viz. That when the attribute is inherent in, or essential to, the subject, we express it by ser; and when it is only accidental or contingent, we make use of estar : thus, if we saw a man with a wooden leg, we should say, este hombre es coxo, this man is lame; but a man walking with crutches only, inight be expressed by este hombre es, or esta, coxo : with es we should denote that his lameness was deemed permanent, and with esta that we considered it as temporary only. This however will be more clearly shown in the following rules.
6 General truths and the qualities of the mind are expressed with ser, and emotions with estar.
“ The natural beauties of the body, and its defects, when deemed permanent, are denoted by ser.
“ The physical changes in the animal body are expressed with estar. 5. The natural qualities of substances are expressed by ser.
“ The chemical and mechanical changes in substances are expressed with estar.
“When to be connects two nouns, two pronouns, two infinitives, or one of each, it is translated ser.
6. The materials of which bodies are formed are denoted by ser.
“ To be, forming the passive voice, or used impersonally, is, generally, translated ser.
“ Possession or destination is expressed with ser.
“ Before adverbs or adverbial expressions denoting manner, we generally use estar."
With these rules, illustrated by appropriate examples and notes, a correct idea must be acquired of the proper use of these auxiliaries, sometimes so perplexing to beginners in the language, that they would probably prefer studying some of those Indian dialects, terrible as they look in print, which are said to have no substantive verb at all. The rules and observations on the distinctions between haber and tener are equally lucid.
In the table of the terminations of the regular verbs, the usual paradigm has been adopted, with the improvement of exhibiting, at a single glance, the similarity which exists between the second and third conjugations. A supplemental table exhibits, in an ingenious manner, and within the compass of some three dozen letters, “every change which can possibly take place in the radical letters of the regular verbs, in order that the final consonant of their root may retain, in each tense, the harsh or soft pronunciation which it has before the infinitive.” p. 144. . This table may be of great service to the learner; and we have not observed any thing similar to it in the other grammars we have met with.
In the arrangement of the irregular verbs, Mr. M'Henry has been eminently successful.
Although a subdivision of these verbs into thirty different conjugations, carries with it, at first view, rather a formidable aspect, yet, on examination, it will be found that of these, twelve consist only of the single verb forming the conjugation, there being no other example similar to it, and nine of the other conjugations have merely their compounds, as examples, thus reducing the whole number of such of the irregular conjugations as are accompanied with a multiplicity of examples to nine. The great similarity, too, which prevails between each of these conjugations, renders it far from difficult to acquire a thorough knowledge of them. The uniformity, too, of the Spanish idiom is, of itself, sufficient, after a short application, to enable the
learner to perceive at once the irregularity which will take place in each inflexion of the verb. Appended to the tables of the irregular conjugations will be found a complete list of all the irregular verbs in the language, with a reference to the conjugation to which each belongs.
We fear that on so dry a subject we have already trespassed too long on the patience of our readers : but we cannot omit taking notice of the very able manner in which Mr. M`Henry has defined and explained the several uses of the various tenses, particularly the difficulties attending the proper use of the three imperfect tenses of the subjunctive. On these he has thrown more light than the Spanish Academy itself has done ; and even ventures, and, in our opinion, very properly, to question some of their dicta. We refer our more curious readers to the 207th and five following pages of the book itself, for the luminous expositions of the author on this subject.
The syntactical rules for all the other parts of speech are equally praiseworthy. The different import of the prepositions
para before a verb governed in the infinitive, is well explained : and the difference between the significations of jamas and munca is pointed out with felicitous discrimination.
The Appendix contains an excellent practical vocabulary, with specimens of commercial docuinents, and a short treatise on Spanish versification ; and concludes with a very learned and curious dissertation on the derivation of the Spanish language, a perusal of which cannot but gratify every classical scholar.
We think we hazard nothing in recommending this as by far the best English-Spanish grammar extant; and we hope that the enterprise of some of our established booksellers may speedily produce an American edition; nor do we hesitate in asserting, that such enterprise must, from the real merits of the book itself, ensure a liberal and rich reward to the publisher.
Art. XXXI.-Some Account of the Life, Writings and Speeches
of William PINKNEY. By HENRY WHEATON. New-York : John W. Palmer & Co. 1826.
If the purpose of biography be to instruct by example, the record of the life of Mr. Pinkney has great claims on our atten-tion. He was one of those characters not uncommon in the history of our country, who have risen to greatness independently of those helps of education and instruction, which are every where employed to strengthen and improve the natural powers.
Whether it be that the possession of great abilities enables such men to arrive at the acquisition of extraordinary accomplishments by shorter ways than the beaten road, or whether, as some suppose, the mortification of being deficient in what inferior minds are familiar with, and the ambition of effecting much with small means, stings them to more intense efforts, certain it is that they are often seen to distance and leave behind them more regularly trained competitors. . We should be the last persons in the world to underrate the value of judicious systems of public instruction; but there can be no doubt, we believe, that they tend to produce a certain uniformity and level of talents, acquirements, and tastes: and the more perfect the system, the more remarkably is the original inequality removed or effaced. It is not for us to say, however, that there are not minds of so peculiar a cast as to make faster progress and larger acquisitions when suffered to seek out their own way to eminence, than they could do by merely the common processes of instruction, as some plants flourish best without the culture of man. The instances of Zerah Colburn, and other youthful arithmetical prodigies, as they are called, are curious exemplifications of this remarkable property of the human mind.
The early education of Mr. Pinkney was quite imperfect; but the consciousness of a defective education did more for him than a good one does for most men. To all those solid attainments of his profession, which diligent study never fails to supply at any period of life, he contrived to add those liberal accomplishments which are necessary to the finished advocate, but which are supposed to be conferred only by an early cultivation. He devoted his solitary studies to the acquisition of everything which could add to the force, the grace, and the effect of his eloquence. All that ready coinmand of the copious vocabulary of our language, all those rich stores of allusion and illustration, drawn from a variety of branches of knowledge which he possessed so remarkably, were acquired by him after he had reached maturity. The remains which we have of Mr. Pinkney's eloquence cannot be expected to give a very perfect idea of his powers. It appears that he seldom revised his reported speeches, and very rarely wrote them out for the press. When he did so, the want of practice, probably, caused his attempts of this kind to be less vivid copies of his spoken eloquence. His fame, therefore, like most other great orators, particularly those who have flourished in the profession of the law, must rest mainly on tradition. Mr. Wheaton has done well, however, to gather up the relics of his eloquence, which, after all, are rather the evidences than the examples of his powers, before they are dispersed and forgotten.