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This little volume, intended for the use of American youth, contains many facts not found in any other history of the United States. It begins with an account of the creation and of the dispersion of men, on the attempt to build Babel; and describes our ancestors, descendants of Japheth, in the wilds of Germany, as they were when the Romans conquered Gaul, before the christian era. A brief account is then given of the conquest of England by our Saxon ancestors, and of their gradual improvement in the arts of life, down to the Reformation. Then follows an account of the peopling of America, and a description of the character and manners of the aboriginals, both in Mexico and in the more northern latitudes. The origin of the Puritans and the causes of their migration to America are then stated.
The discoveries of various parts of America made by European navigators, and the first settlements are narrated with brevity. In the history of these settlements, of their progress, of the Indian wars, of the forms of government in the several colonies, of the revolutionary war, and of the measures which were pursued for obtaining the present constitution of the United States, the most authentic authorities have been
consulted, and some facts are related from the personal knowledge of the writer. The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the christian religion.
The Advice to the Young, it is hoped, will be useful in enlightening the minds of youth, in religious and moral principles, and serve, in a degree, to restrain some of the coinmon vices of our country. Republican government loses half of its value, where the moral and social duties are imperfectly understood, or negligently practiced. To exterminate our popular vices is a work of far more importance to the character and happiness of our citizens, than any other improvements in our system of education.
An impartial history cannot be published during the lives of the principal persons concerned in the transactions related, or of their near connections, without being exposed to the charge of undue flattery or censure; and unless history is impartial, it misleads the student, and frustrates its proper object. Hence the following history concludes with the organization of the present constitution of the United States.
If this history should be read in schools, I would not recommend that the pupil should be
required to commit entire paragraphs to memo ry, but that he should abridge them in writing, extracting only the principal facts, and reducing them within the compass of a few lines, which may be easily remembered and recited.
When the book is used only for learning to read and understand what is read, I would recommend that the pupil' should have time to study his lesson before he reads to the teacher, and that he should be required to consult a dictionary for the explanation of words which he does not understand. In this case, as words often have different senses, he should be instructed to find the proper signification of the word in the paragraph in which it is used. This mode of study would accustom the pupil to exercise his mind in discriminating between the various applications of terms, and would be most efficacious in impressing upon his memory their different significations.
The practice of writing books for youth in the household language of children, is proper and useful for those who are learning to read; but as soon as words of common use become familiar to the eye, children should leave the style of puerility, and read only or chiefly a more elevated language; or that which is used by well educated people in adult years. The habit of using the peculiar phrases of children and vulgarisms should be counteracted as early in life as is practicable ; otherwise such phrases will never be lost, but will often infect the language of polite conversation, in every period of future life. The practice of reducing language to the capacities of children, instead of elevating their understandings to the style of elegance, may be carried to an extent not warranted by just views of improvement.
History should be read with maps, which are to be found in all our bookstores and in most of our schools.