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This book is a companion volume to American Poems, and like that is intended chiefly for use in schools and colleges. The selections from American prose of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are expected to supply all the reading in these periods that most classes will need; they have been chosen for their historical significance as well as their literary interest, and represent the various phases of American life in colonial and revolutionary times. The selections from the prose of the nineteenth century are limited to tales, essays, and orations by the greater writers, and stop with the end of the Civil War; this limitation of scope has made it possible to include ample material for classroom study and much for outside reading, in the chief authors, and in most cases to print complete works. It may be especially noted that the speeches by Calhoun, Webster, and Lincoln afford a basis for the study of American oratory in its prime, and at a great crisis in the history of the nation.

The text follows with scrupulous care the text of the early editions. I have reproduced spelling, capitalization, punctuation, use of italics, etc., in the belief that students should read even the older works as they originally appeared, thus becoming familiar with their flavor and atmosphere, and gaining a sense of the historical development of language and typographical usage. The interchange of i and j and of u and v has not been kept, however, because it is confusing to inexperienced readers; and obvious misprints, and a few eccentricities of punctuation and capitalization that obscured the thought, have been corrected.

The explanatory notes are few and brief, dealing only with points of real difficulty to students of average intelligence. The illustrative notes consist mainly of specimens of contemporary

criticism on writers of the nineteenth century; they have been collected from many sources, and show the impression made at home and abroad by the most famous American authors during their lifetime.

My thanks are due to Mr. Champlin Burrage, librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and to his assistants, for aid in utilizing the resources of that unique collection of Americana; to Librarian Harry L. Koopman and his staff, for facilitating my use of the Brown University Library; and to Doubleday, Page & Co., and Mr. J. S. Bassett, for permission to print extracts from the copyright edition of William Byrd's works. My wife has been co-editor of the book, helping in the choice of material, aiding in the collation of texts, preparing the copy, making the indices, and sharing in the labor of reading the proofs.


April 6, 1916

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