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EoneT 98.41.755 Hos 41
1886. Mar. 13
NEW YORK PUBLIC SCHOOL
The Sequel to American Popular Lessons was first published in 1827, and was designed for a successor to the former work. The writer takes the liberty again to present it to the managers of the Public Instruction as being fitted to promote the design of their excellent institution.
I am aware that the preface to a school book is not likely to be much read. Parents will not read it—they commit the literary training of their children's minds to schoolmasters, and leave the choice of elementary helps to their judgment; and schoolmasters and schoolmistresses are, generally, creatures of habit, content with such things as they have. There is, indeed, small hope for the compiler of a school book that teachers will pay much attention to a new one—they usually impute a catch-penny character to every work of this class, and manifest impatience of all solicitation upon the subject of one; 80 that the apathy of the very persons for whose advantage the book in question is designed, is a discouragement to the indi. vidual who would explain its specific purpose. But notwithstanding my knowledge of the fact that any attempt to introduce a new book of education into common use is not a matter of much interest to general readers, my conviction that the public has need of books better adapted to instruction than those now employed for this purpose, induces me to call everi reluctant attention to this which I have prepared.
It may be necessary, in respect to some parts of our knowledge, to store the memory before we can inform the understanding, but it surely is well, so far as we can, to make all in
struction intelligible-to impart and multiply clear ideas as early in life as the mind will receive them. Because I believe that this object is not effected, but frustrated, by common school books, I have written this. The presumption of implied fitness and self-sufficiency, exhibited by such a purpose and endeavour, will be pardoned, if it shall be proved by experiment, that religion, general truth, and the rules of a right conduct, are made comprehensible and agreeable by the little books in which I have sought to simplify and condense some of their most important principles, I must entreat the favour of parents and teachers to examine my humble claim in behalf of children, that they will defer for a little while giving them books of History, of Eloquence, and of Poetry. Give them matter of fact, adapted to their capacity; and impart rudiments of taste, that are not "words signifying nothing,” to the young and uninformed. If parents and tcachers are averse from improvements, and are convinced that modes and means of instruction in present use, are good enough, they had better examine the first fruits of education among us.
After a long course of study, and a large expense bestowed upon the young, they generally leave school with a lamentable want of all literary curiosity and application. Grammar, History, and Natural Philosophy, are commonly taught only in the technical way, and it is curious to observe what total disconnection exists in the minds of most young people between these studies and their practical knowledge. A miserable poverty in the expression of the English language, and ignorance of the world we live in the moral world of time present, and past the physical world of nature and art, are characteristics of minds trained by the education which we pronounoe to be finished. A little facility in foreign and ancient languages, with a very little skill in some fine arts, acquired by their children is too often all the reward, connected with the understanding, which parents receive for great efforts and expense. But this would not be, if from the beginning of literary education, we should impart the spirit with the letter of knowledge, Intelligence is the source of our best virtues and enjoymentsto enlarge and exalt it is the duty of every generation to that which succeeds. Can any little book, or suggestion of yours