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FOR THE USE OF
SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES.
ON A NEW PLAN.
BY REV. J. L. BLAKE, A. M. S. H. S.
History serves to amuse the imagination; to interest the passions; to im-
ASTOR, LENOX AND
DISTRICT OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE :-TO WIT.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the eighteenth day of December, A. D. 1822, and in the forty-seventh 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 Author, in the words following, viz.
"The Historical Reader, designed for the use of Schools and Families. On a new plan. By Rev. John Lauris Blake, A. M. S. H. S., Principal of the Literary Seminary, Concord, New-Hampshire. "History serves to amuse the imagination; to interest the passions; to improve the understanding; and to strengthen the sentiments of virtue and piety."
A true copy of record.
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 proprietors 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 encour agement 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."
WILLIAM CLAGGETT, Clerk.
WHY is it, there exists such a propensity, and especially with females, for reading Novels? And, why such an aversion, it may be said, such a consequent aversion, for reading History? Is this an evil inseparable from human nature? Is man naturally the subject of an intellectual as well as of a moral depravity? Should the great extent of the evil be thought to warrant such a conclusion, it is confidently believed that man does not inherit this species of degradation. But if the mental perversion under consideration is an exotic in our nature, whence is it derived, and what corrective can be applied?-An inquiry is thus suggested, which, if successfully answered, cannot be deemed unimportant.
The reading books for schools, so far as the observation of the Author has extended, consist principally of extracts of the moral, didactic, and declamatory kind. It is admitted, that from the last, boys and young men are furnished with suitable exercises for declamation; but extracts from public discourses suitable for declamation, are not sufficiently sentimental for reading lessons; or, if in any considerable degree sentimental, they are generally on subjects not interesting to young persons. And this last remark is applicable to those parts of our school reading books which consist of moral and didactic pieces. It is indeed true, the minds of young persons should be impressed with virtuous sentiments as soon as possible; but it is apprehended, the first impressions of the kind must rather be made incidentally, than by a regular attention to moral essays and dissertations. The discussion of ethical subjects is too abtruse and metaphysical for minds not invigorated by study and long habits of reflection. Besides, the most effectual method of impressing the minds of young persons with moral principles, is by presenting to them virtuous actions. The first ideas we have, are of sensible objects--objects of sight, of touch, of sound, and of taste. A long discourse on the beauties of a particular virtue, or a particular moral principle, will not make the deep impression on the mind, that is made by the description of an action which exemplifles this virtue, or involves this principle. Nor will a long discourse, on a particular vice, produce that abhorrence of it, that is produced by a full detail of the several circumstances attending the commission of it. In other words, virtue must be taught by example, or the history of virtuous actions, which is essentially the same thing; and the mind must be fortified against bad principles, by the exhibition of vicious conduct attended with all its disgraceful consequences.