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DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF
SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES.
ON A NEW PLAN.
BY REV. J. L. BLAKE, A. M.
"History serves to amuse the imagination; to interest the passions; to improve
STEREOTYPED BY T. H. CARTER & CO. BOSTON.
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS :-TO WIT. DISTRICT CLERK'S OFFICE.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the third day of November, A. D. 1825, and in the fiftieth year of the Independence of the United States of America, JOHN LAURIS BLAKE, of the said District, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, viz.
"The Historical Reader, designed for the use of Schools and Families. On a new plan. By Rev. J. L. Blake, A. M. Minister of St. Matthew's Church, and Principal of a Literary Seminary, Boston. "History serves to amuse the imagination; to interest the passions; to improve the understanding; and to strengthen the sentiments of virtue and piety."
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the Authors and Propietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned:"-and also to an Act, entitled, An Act supplementary to an act, entitled, "An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
JNO. W. DAVIS,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
THE object of this volume is to enable young persons, when learning to read at school, to acquire a knowledge of some of the most interesting and useful portions of history. A book consisting chiefly of extracts filled with real incidents, which equal, if not surpass, the most successful efforts of imagination in romance, cannot fail to captivate the attention of youth; and it is moreover believed, that few thus made acquainted with the extraordinary events described in the Historical Reader, will have so little curiosity, were there no other motive to influence them, as not to be inspired with a strong desire for further reading on this important subject—that few, at least, will have so little curiosity as not to fill up the chasms, connecting together the prominent parts here given.
It may possibly be apprehended by some, that a book, like the Historical Reader, which contains accounts of battles, massacres, and other tragical scenes, will cause young persons, especially, to place a false estimate on human conduct-that, in the same degree as they thence fail duly to appreciate real goodness, they will become the less inclined to it; and in the same degree as they become familiarized with vice, they will view it with less abhorrence, and will consequently be the less secured against temptations to it. The Author would not deny that this may sometimes be the case; but he does maintain, that there is no necessary tendency in history, to produce these deleterious effects in the human character. Those who read history, must blame themselves or their teachers, if suitable moral reflections are not made as they pass along. If history were studied as it ought, the most tragical relations which disfigure its ensanguined pages might be made conducive to our instruction. If we did but reflect on the tears of the widows and orphans, and imagine ourselves to hear the groans of the wounded and dying; if we represented to ourselves the splendid and warlike appearance of an army, at its first taking the field, contrasted with the distressful spectacle of its shattered remains, after a hard fought battle, or a bloody campaign; we
should be thunderstruck at the reflection, and contemplate with horror the dreadful effects of the human passions, instead of being greatly dazzled with what is called martial glory, and unduly inspired with love for the praise usually bestowed on it in history.
The names of the several persons from whose writings extracts have been made in this work, are not annexed to those extracts, because in some instances the same article has been taken from different writers, and in other instances the phraseology has been partially altered the former of which renders the giving of names inconvenient, and the latter might be considered an act of injustice, inasmuch as it would ascribe to the individuals named what is not properly their own. The Author, however, aiming to let the work possess as much variety of style as possibly consistent with his main plan, has avoided introducing his own phraseology, in many instances, where the extracts made are evidently susceptible of improvement in this particular. Indeed, it has been found difficult, if not impossible, to obtain that variety, connected with that approved excellency of style, which is practicable in a collection of extracts on more miscellaneous subjects. The best class of writers on history is comparatively small; and the subject admits also only a comparatively small rhetorical diversification of language. The Author nevertheless indulges the belief, that this compilation is not greatly wanting in that variety and excellency of style which are of the first importance in books for the use of schools; and, that it will be found well calculated to inspire the youthful mind with a desire for more extensive and connected reading on this useful and interesting subject.
J. L. BLAKE.