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Each teacher will make his own list as his time and command of books allow. And each State or section of our great country will devote more time to its own special history and literature; this is right, for knowledge like charity begins at home, and gradually widens until it embraces the circle of the universe.
In collecting material for classes in American History to read in accordance with this plan, it was found easy to get cheap editions of Irving, Longfellow, Cooper, and other writers of the northern States, but almost impossible to get those of the southern, in cheap or even expensive editions. And the present volume has been prepared to supply in part this deficiency. To fit it to the plan suggested, the dates of the writers and the period and character of their works have been indicated, and some selections from them given for reading,—too little, it is feared, to be of much service, and yet enough to stimulate to further interest and study.
The materials have been found so abundant, even so much more abundant than I suspected when undertaking the work, that it has been a hard task to make a selection from the rich masses of interesting writing. I fear that the work is · too fragmentary and contains too many writers to make a lasting impression in a historical point of view.
If, however, it leads to a sympathetic study of Southern life and literature, and especially if it makes young people acquainted with our writers of the past and with something of the old-time life and the spirit that controlled our ancestors, it will serve an excellent purpose.
Our writers should be compared with those of other sections and other countries; and due honor should be given them, equally removed from over-praise and from depreciation. If we, their countrymen, do not know and honor them, who can be expected to do so? No people is great whose memory is lost, whose interest centres in the present alone, who looks not reverently back to true beginnings and hopefully forward to a grand future.
So I would urge my fellow-teachers to a fresh diligence in studying and worthily understanding the life and literature of our past, and in impressing them upon the minds of the rising generation, so as to infuse into the new forms now arising the best and purest and highest of the old forms fast passing away.
My sincere thanks are hereby tendered to the scholars who have aided me by their advice and encouragement, to living authors and the relatives of those not living who have generously given me permission to copy extracts from their writings, to the publishers who have kindly allowed me to use copyrighted matter, to Miss Anna M. Trice, Mr. Josiah Ryland, Jr., and the officials of the Virginia State Library where I found most of the books needed in my work, and to Mr. David Hutcheson, of the Library of Congress. My greatest indebtedness is to Professor Wil. liam Taylor Thom and Professor John P. McGuire, for scholarly criticism and practical suggestions in the course of preparation. 1895.
LIST OF WORKS FOR REFERENCE.
Appleton: Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 6 vols.
Stedman and Hutchinson : Library of American Literature, il vols.
Poe: Literati of New York.
Prose Writers of America.
Female Poets of America.
Miss Rutherford : American Authors, Franklin Publishing Company, Atlanta, Georgia.
Southern Literary Messenger, 1834-1863.
Ogden: Literature of the Virginias, Independent Publishing Company, Morgantown, West Virginia.
C. W. Coleman, Jr. : Recent Movement in the Literature of the South, Harper's Monthly, 1886, No. 74, p. 837.
T. N. Page: Authorship in the South before the War, Lippincott's Magazine, 1889, No. 44, p. 105.
Professor C. W. Kent, University of Virginia : Outlook for Literature in the South.
People's Cyclopedia (1894).
Table OF CONTENTS
In Chronological Order
HENRY LAURENS, 1724-1792
A Patriot in the Tower
GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1732–1799
An Honest Man.
Jefferson's Last Letter, 1826 .
St. George TUCKER, 1752—1828 .
Resignation, or Days of My Youch .