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P R E F A C. E
F I R S T
E DI TI O N.
T may appear singular to make the avowal, but it is certainly true, that of all
literary taiks, the compilation of a book like this is attended with the least d. ficulty. In the present cafe, not the smallest claim is made to any peculiar skiil or merit of execution. The book must be left to recommend itself by the unifuming pretensions of obvious utility. There are already many collections of a similar kind, which have been found very useful : and this pretends not to any other fuperiority over them, but that of affording a greater quantity of matter than any of them have exhibited in one volume.
This book derives its origin from a wish expressed by persons who have the conduct of schools, that such a compilation might be publithed, as by means of a full page, and a small, yet very leg ble type, might contain, in one volume, a little English library for young people who are in the course of their education. A conmon-sized volume, it was found, was soon perused, and laid aîde for want of novelty; but to supply a large school with a great variety, and conítant fucceffion of English books, is too expensive and inconvenient to be generally practicable; fach a quantity of matter is therefore collected in this volume as mult of necessity fill up a good deal of time, and furnish a great number of new ideas before it can be read to fatiety, or entirely exhausted. It inay therefore very properly conftitute, what it was intended io be, a little 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 by them at any age with pleasure and improvement. Though it is cnielly and primariiy adapted to scholars at fenool; yet it is certain, that all readers may find it an agreeable companion, and particulariy well adapted to fill up short intervals of accidental leisure.
As to the Authors from whom the extracts arc made, they are those whose characters want no recommendation. The Spectators, Guardians, and Tatlers, have been often gleaned for the purpose of selections; but to have omit:ed them, in a work like this, for that reason, would have been like rejecting the purest coin of the fulleit weight, because it is not quite fresh from the mut, but Itas been long in circulation. It ought to be remembered, that though the writings of Addison and his coadjutors may no longer have the grace of novelty in the eyes sf veterans, yet they will always be new to a riting generation.
The greater part of this book, however, consists of extracts from more modern books, and from some which have not yet been used for the purpose of telections. It is to be presumed that living Authors will not be displeased that uteful and elegant passages have been borrowed of them for this book; fince if they sincerely meant, as they profess, to reform and improve the age, they must be convinced, that to place their most falutary adınonitions and sentences in the hands of young perfons, is to contribute most effectually to the accomplishment of their benevolent design. The books themselves at large do not in general fall into the hands of school-boys; they are often too voluminous, too large, and too expensive for general adoption; they are soosi torn and disfigured by the rough treatment which
they usually meet with in a great school; and indeed, whatever be the cause of it, they seldom are, or can be conveniently introduced: extracts are therefore highly expedient, or rather, necessary. And with respect to those among writers or publishers who are interested in the sale of books, it may reasonably
be supposed, that the specimens exhibited in this volume will rather contribute to promote and extend, than to retard or circumscribe the circulation of the works from which they are selected.
The editors of fimilar compilations, it is feared, may not so freely forgive the borrowing of many passages from them: but it should be remembered, that they also borrowed of their predecessors; for it will be found on examination, that in all selections of this kind, this privilege has been claimed; and indeed, as the matter borrowed belongs as much to one as to the other, there is no just cause of complaint. A compiler can by no means pretend to an exclusive property in a passage of an author, which he has himself possessed on a very disputable title: every bird from whom the daw had stolen feathers, might claim his own plumage; nor can he pretend an exclusive right, who perhaps has no right at all, but by the connivance of the real and original pofleffor.
This book aims not at supplanting others by oftentatiously displaying its own merits, or detracting from their value: the public will ultimately fix its choice on that book which beit deserves it. Without instituting a competition, it will be enough if this work shall be united with others in furnishing, what it professes and intends, a copious source of entertainment and improvement to the rising generation: there cannot be too many books adapted to purposes so laudable. One instructor will choose this book, another a different one; but while all young persons are supplied with some book of the kind, it is impossible but that great good should be produced.
A D Đ E R T I s E M E N T
HE approbation with which the first edition of this book has been re
ceived by the Public, has operated as an encouragement to improve it. It has been judged proper to change the form and size from a duodecimo to an octavo; not only for the sake of giving it a more agreeable appearance, but also of adding to the quantity and variety of the contents. Some extracts have indeed been omitted, to make room for new matter; but the additions, upon the whole, are very considerable.
The utility of the collection is obvious. It is calculated for clasical schools, and for those in which English only is taught. Young persons cannot read a book, containing so much matter, without acquiring a great improvement in the English Language ; together with ideas on many plealing subjects of Taste and Literature; and, which is of much higher importance, they will imbibe with an encrease of knowledge, the purest principles of Virtue and Religion.
The book may be employed in various methods for the use of learners, according to the judgment of various instructors. The pupils may not only read it in private, or in the school at stated times, but write out paragraphs in their copy books; commit passages to memory, and endeavour to recite them with the proper action and pronunciation, for the improvement of their powers of utterance. With respect to the Art of speaking, an excellence in it certainly depends more on practice, under the fuperintendance of a master, than on written precepts; and this book professes to offer matter for practice, rather than systematic instructions, which may be more advantageously given in a rhetorical treatise or viva voce. To learn the practical part of speaking, or the art of managing the voice and gesture, by written rules alone, is like learning to play upon a musical instrument, with the bare assistance of a book of directions without a master.
The book in its improved state is under great obligations to the works of Dr. BLAIR. It would be ungrateful and disingenuous not to acknowledge them. The Editor thinks he consults the happiness of his young readers, when he recommends to them the purchase of Dr. BLAIR’s Sermons and Lectures at large, as soon as it may be convenient to them. These books are fit for their libraries, and may be made the companions of their lives; while the present compilation offers itself only as an humble companion at school. In the character of a companion, it has a great deal to say to them; and will probably improve in the power of affording pleasure and instruction, the more its acquaintance is cultivated.
PRONUNCIATION, OR DELIVERY.
FROM DR. BL AIR’S LECTURE S.
five look, or a passionate cry, unaccomOW much stress was laid upon Pro. panied by words, conveys to others more
nunciation, or Delivery, by the most foreible ideas, and rouses within them eloquent of all orators, Demofthenes, ap: stronger paflions, than can be communicatpears from a noted saying of his, related ed by the most eloquent discourse. The both by Cicero and Quinctilian; when be- fignification of our sentiments, made by ing asked, What was the first point in ora tones and gestures, has this advantage tory? he answered Delivery; and being above that made by words, that it is the alked, What was the second ? and after- language of nature. It is that method of wards, What was the third ? he still an- interpreting our mind, which nature has fwered, Delivery. There is no wonder, dictated to all, and which is understood by that he should have rated this so high, and all; whereas, words are only arbitrary, that for improving himself in it, he should conventional symbols of our ideas; and, have employed those afliduous and painful by consequence, must make a more feeble labours, which all the Ancients take so impression. So true is this, that, to render much notice of; for, beyond doubt, no- words fully significant, they must, almost thing is of more importance. To superfi- in every case, receive fome aid from the cial thinkers, the management of the voice manner of Pronunciation and Delivery; and gelture, in public Ipeaking, may ap- and he who, in speaking, should cmploy pear to relate
decoration only, and to be bare words, without enforcing them by one of the inferior arts of catching an au proper tones and accents, would leave us dience. But this is far from being the case. with a faint and indiftinct impression, often It is intimately connected with what is, or with a doubtful and ambiguous conception ought to be, the end of all public speak- of what he had delivered. Nay, so close ing, Persuasion; and therefore deserves is the connection between certain sentithe study of the most grave and serious ments and the proper manner of prospeakers, as much as of those, whose only nouncing them, that he who does not proaim it is to please.
nounce then after that manner, can never For, let it be considered, whenever we persuade us, that he believes, or feels, the address ourselves to others by words, our sentiments themselves. His delivery may intention certainly is to make some impres- be such, as to give the lye to all that he fion on those to whom we speak; it is to afferts. When Marcus Callidius accused convey to them our own ideas and emo one of an attempt to poison him, but entions. Now the tone of our voice, our forced his accusation in a languid manner, looks and gestures, interpret our ideas and and without any warmth or carneftness of emotions no less than words do; nay, the delivery, Cicero, who pleaded for the acimpresion they make on others, is fre- cured person, improved this into an arguquently much itronger than any that words ment of the fallity of the charge, “ An can make. We often see that an expres tu, M. Callidi nifi fingeres, fic ageres?”