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In preparing this reading-book, the first aim of the compiler was, to select passages suited to interest the youthful mind, and to furnish
scope for effective reading. Care has also been taken that the sentiments expressed should have a practical bearing, and be of a pure and exalted tone. Pieces distinguished for force and beauty of thought have been preferred to those recommended merely by style.
A subordinate, but not less favorite design, is to furnish exercises in reading which may, likewise, serve as a study in literature. The national grouping, the biographical sketches and the chronological order, are intended to favor this object. It is believed that literature, and the history of literature, are more important branches of elementary education, and deserve a more prominent place in our schools, than most of the political histories so much in use, which are chiefly occupied with the intrigues of rulers, with wars, conquests and national convulsions. That which is moral, intellectual and spiritual, would seem to merit greater attention than the movements of brute force, and the struggles for self-aggrandizement.
It is not pretended that historical completeness has been preserved. Some worthy authors have been omitted because they were already familiarly known; and others, for the simple reason, that the limits of the book did not allow space for them.
The compiler has drawn largely upon the older classics, partly because very few of the young people of the day are supposed to be acquainted with them, and partly from a desire that they should become interested in that description of literature, and that writings celebrated for simplicity, naturalness and pathos, might serve as models for their own compositions.
Extracts are given from about one hundred and fifty authors, their dates ranging mainly within the last four hundred years. The selection from each is necessarily short. But it is thought this circumstance will give additional interest to the work, as a series of reading-lessons, especially as each passage is accompanied with an introduction to the author.
It is hoped that those who use these exercises may receive some just ideas and useful suggestions from a careful perusal of the remarks upon the art of reading. Questions, by the teacher, upon the dates and other facts relating to the authors, might prove a valuable exercise.
The volume contains many pieces suitable for declamation.
For the family, and for the general reader, as well as for the youthful student, it may be found to comprise much that is pleasing and attractive.
A. HALL. Brooklyn Female Academy,
God wills all to live in the Order ordained,
On Hearing Music by Night,
Preface to Essay on Human Understanding,
Duty of Preserving Health,
Opposition to New Doctrines,
Character of Charles II.,
The Czar Peter in England, .