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The noblest literary study of an Englishman is the study of the English language. The noblest literary gain of the educated man is the power of wielding that language well. But as long as a medley of unworkable rules culled from languages of a different character passed for English Grammar, it was as hopeless to teach it, as it was easy to praise it; or as long as its curious early history, philology, and archaisms were all that could really be mastered, it was a luxury for a few. The National Schools, however, brought forcibly home to many the need of teaching language to those who had neither time to learn useless rules nor curious facts. For the first time in the history of the world the teaching language came forward as the most ready means of enlightening the ignorant and time-pinched; and not merely as a luxury for those who could get it, but with a sublime pity for those who could not. Simple principles were required. Out of this kind of work has grown the present volume and its companion. Many years' experience in a different class of school has also strengthened the conviction that all teaching, classical as well as elementary, ought to stand firmly on an English foundation, on English Grammar, and Sentence-Analysis. It is hoped that these works may contribute something towards making this possible in all cases.
The School-house, Uppingham,