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PRINTED FOR C. AND J. RIVINGTON; J. NUNN; J. CUTHELL; J. AND W. T. CLARKE; T. CADELL;
THIS Book owes its origin to a wish, expressed by persons of experience in the conduct of schools, that such a compilation might be published for their use, as by means of a full page, and a small, but very legible type, might contain in one Volume a little introductory Library. A common Pocket Volume is soon perused, and laid aside for want of novelty; but to supply a large school with a constant succession, or with voluminous SETS of English Books, is too expensive and inconvenient to be generally practicable. A quantity of matter is therefore collected in this one Volume, great enough to fill up a considerable time and furnish an abundance of knowledge, before it can be read to satiety or entirely exhausted; and it may properly be said to constitute, what it was intended to be, a portable library for learners from the age of nine or ten, to the age at which they leave their school. At the same time, it is evident upon inspection, that it abounds with such Extracts, as may be read with pleasure and improvement, in the more advanced periods of life. Though it professes to be a school-book, and is chiefly and primarily adapted to young scholars; yet it is certain, that all readers may find it an agreeable companion, and particularly qualified to enliven short intervals of leisure.
The compilation is calculated not only for classical schools, but for those also which are limited to the language of our own country. It is certain young persons cannot read a book containing so much matter, without great improvement in the English language, together with correct ideas on many pleasing subjects of taste and general literature; and, which is of much higher importance, they cannot fail to imbibe from it, together with an increase of elegant knowledge, the purest principles of virtue and religion. It may be employed in various methods for the improvement of learners according to the judgment of various instructors. The pupils may not only read it in private, or in the classes in the presence of their teachers, at stated times; but write out select paragraphs in their copy-books, commit favourite passages to memory, and endeavour to recite them with the proper gesture and pronunciation for the improvement of their powers of utterance. With respect indeed to the Art of Speaking, so much talked of, and pretended to, in the present age; it depends more on practice under the superintendence of a master, than on written precepts; and this Book professes to offer matter for practice, rather than systematic instruction, which may be more advantageously given vivá voce, by him who is able to enforce and illustrate his rules by his example. To learn the practice of speaking in public, or the art of managing the voice, and adorning the delivery, by written rules alone, is like learning to play on a musical instrument by the bare assistance of a Book of Directions, without a master; a mode usually found no less inefficacious than tedious and operose.