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THE LATIN TONG U E,
THE INFLECTIONS AND
ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF TRANSLATION
Intended for Use in Schools,
TO THE EXIGENCIES OF SELF-INSTRUCTING STUDENTS.
THOMAS GOODWIN, A.B.
OF THE GREENWICH PROPRIETARY SCHOOL.
325. Ĉ. 27
NOTWITHSTANDING that some people, in obedience to utilitarian principles, in many instances falsely so called, have of late years sought to decry the classical languages as a medium of training for the youthful mind, they still retain their place in the curriculum of school studies ; and a knowledge of the Latin language is beginning to be cultivated even by those teachers who conduct national schools, more or less in amount, according as they are anxious to place their schools in a position to entitle them to look for some of the rewards proposed by Government for successful teaching. This is as it should be. Apart from the necessity of a classical education imposed on those designed for professional avocations, the training and discipline of the mind, and the exercise thereof in correct and even deep thinking induced by such studies, enable a youth accustomed thereto to exhibit, according to the testimony of every unprejudiced observer, an amount of intelligence and a vigour of mind, far, very far superior to those of the youth, who, equal to him in respect of every other advantage and endowment, has not had the opportunity of such training.
To facilitate a study so useful is the purpose of the following little work. It has long been the opinion of the writer thereof, and of many other teachers known to him,—an opinion confirmed by the practical experience of the school-room for many years,—
that something may yet be done to systematize the efforts of the anxious student, and obviate the many difficulties he finds in his path towards the temple of classical learning. To involve a student, after the acquisition by him of some knowledge of the inflections of words, in the perplexing mazes of the “Propria quæ maribus” and “ As in præsenti”—the asses' bridge, in too many educational establishments, even in this somewhat practical day, of Latin literature—is not only inefficient as a system of instruction, but often creates such discouragement in the mind of many a learner, as causes him to give up in disgust the attempt to acquire a knowledge of Latin as wholly unaccomplishable, and thus not unfrequently tends to swell the tide of prejudice against this often indispensable and always invigorating study. The Delectus commonly in use as the first introduction to Latin translation and construction, is defective in that want of arrangement and elucidation of principle after principle progressively, according to the capacity of the learner to understand and follow, which should exhibit themselves in the pages of a book designed for the use of a beginner, and especially for that class of beginners who labour without the assistance of a vivá voce teacher. The distinctive plan of the following Treatise has been conceived with a view to obviate thiş want ; and the conviction in the mind of the writer that the elucidation of a few of the great leading principles of Latin construction, by examples judiciously selected and progressively arranged, is the best method which an elementary work can adopt, has been acted on as an axiom in the execution of the plan. The sentences are from the best Latin authors, and the rules and observations thereon are so systematized, that a learner never meets with a principle of construction in one sentence, which has not been laid down and explained in some foregoing one. It is not meant to be asserted that rules and principles are seen to result from each other in the construction of a language, as propositions in geometry; but it is asserted that there exists no reason why, in a work intended to help the student of a language out of difficulties, there should be presented to bim sentences involving, to his great discouragement, principles never before grappled with. The notes on the passages quoted will be found, it is thought, serviceable to the student in comparing the idioms of the Latin with those of his own language, and, by referring back continually to the principles illustrated by particular forms of words, they make provision whereby such principles may be indelibly impressed on his memory, and at the same time render it necessary for him to think for himself, instead of leaning too much on the ill-directed assistance of others. Philological and theoretical disquisitions have been cautiously avoided, as calculated to confuse rather than inform the learner ; a copia verborum, a matter of primary importance, is supplied in the sentences furnished; and it is confidently hoped that, when the diligent and anxious student wades through the pages of this and another book to follow on a similar plan, he will have acquired such knowledge of the principles of construction of the Latin tongue as will enable him “to swim without the cork,” and master the difficulties which may be presented to him in reading the works of any Latin author. A book, after all, is but a teacher, and the legitimate province of a teacher is but to help out of difficulties. No royal road has as yet been discovered leading to the temple of learning. The writer of this little work has as little faith as any one in the utility and success of works professedly designed to make knowledge easy, and desires earnestly to impress on the minds of those who may address themselves for assistance to the following pages, that no aid can obviate the necessity of deep and anxious study, and no book, however judiciously written, can supply the place of painstaking and laborious assiduity on their part.