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THE publishers of the Family Library have the pleasure of presenting to its patrons and readers a work of more than common excellence. The poetical reputation of Mr. Montgomery has long been very great; and his appointment as one of the lecturers before the London Institution, was equally honourable to himself and to the taste and judgment of the directors. The discourses read by him in that capacity were listened to by most numerous auditories, and the publication drew forth from the critics of Great Britain the warmest expressions of delight and approbation. The publishers of the Family Library are confident that their reception in America will be not less favourable; and that to the student, the scholar, and the general reader, they will afford the highest gratification.
The publishers of the Family Library with pleasure seize this opportunity to express their grateful sense of the encouragement and support that have been bestowed upon their publication. It is but little more than three years since the first number of the Library was published; the undertaking was of a character as yet untried in the United States, and many entertained serious doubts of its success. By the liberal patronage bestowed upon it from the very first, it has grown within that short period of time into a collection of sixty-four volumes, comprising a great variety of subjects; indeed, it may be said to contain almost the whole circle of the sciences, and very many of the departments of literature; and it is with pride that the publishers feel themselves imboldened by the unanimous and reiterated voice of the press throughout the country, to assert that the ability and value of the several works, are equal to the variety and interest of the subjects. These volumes are now indeed a Family Library, in the most expressive signification of the term; full of entertainment and instruction, and alike captivating and important as well to the opening mind of youth as to the matured intellect of riper years. No care, labour, or expense has been spared to procure the best materials; and the publishers are confident that, judging from the past, their friends and patrons will have faith in their assurance that there will be no relaxation in their efforts for the future.
From among the almost innumerable testimonials of every form and character with which they have been favoured, the publishers cannot deny themselves the gratification of selecting and laying before the public, the following extracts from letters received by them within the last few weeks, and written by gentlemen of high character for learning, judgment, and intelligence
"Messrs. J. & J. Harper,
Enclosed is an order upon for fifty dollars, for which you will oblige me by forwarding two complete sets of your excellent Family Library. You may remember that I ordered from you, about six months ago, all the numbers then published; these I gave to my eldest son, requiring him to pur chase every succeeding volume. He has read them all, and has often spoken to me of the pleasure they have yielded him; and the effect they have produced in storing his mind and improving his understanding, is so great and so perceptible, that I have determined to give a set to each of his brothers."
"Messrs. Harpers-New York,
"GENTLEMEN: I wish you to send me all the numbers of the Library since the Life of Frederic the Great, to complete the set I began taking several months since; and also to send me another set complete; several of my neighbours and myself have been so much pleased with the work, that we have agreed to subscribe for a set and give it to our town library; in fact some measure of this kind has become absolutely necessary for me, for in our little place the work is so much liked, that I am perpetually worried with applications to lend the volumes."
"Have the goodness to send to me five copies of each of the last three works published in your Family Library, for which the enclosed will, I believe, be sufficient to pay. I have adopted the plan mentioned in a letter from a teacher, published in one of the former numbers, viz. that of placing the works in the hands of some of my more advanced scholars, and the effect has been equally gratifying to me, and beneficial to them."
"GENTLEMEN-I am the Preceptor of an Academy in this village, in which are a great many young men who take an interest in every publication which has a tendency to improve their minds, and store them with useful knowledge. Having read a number of very favourable notices of the Family Library, I purchased, a few weeks since, the first eight numbers of that work, and placed it at the disposal of the young men under my charge. The anxiety which they manifested in obtaining these volumes for perusal, has induced me to send for the remaining numbers of the Library, and also to express to you my entire conviction of the utility of the work."
DELIVERED AT THE ROYAL INSTITUTION IN 1830 AND 1831.
BY JAMES MONTGOMERY,
Author of "The World before the Flood," "The Pelican Island," &c. &c.
PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS,
NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,
AND SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS THROUGHOUT THE
HAVING ventured to lay these papers before the Public, the author dare not go further, in explanation or apology, than to express a hope that, whatever imperfections may be found in them, the candid reader will be more inclined to approve than condemn what he cannot but perceive has been done in good faith, and in honour of a noble art, which its advocate may have
"loved, not wisely, but too well."
That art he pretends not to teach, but merely to illustrate according to his views of its worth and influence.
Claiming the right of an author to borrow from himself, he has adopted a few brief passages, with necessary alterations, from the Introductory Essays to the Christian Psalmist and the Christian Poet, compiled by him for MR. COLLINS, of Glasgow. A few larger sections, but entirely new-modelled, have been taken from critical articles furnished by him to a respectable Review, between the years 1806 and 1815. The "Retrospect of Literature," and the "View of Modern English Literature,"