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PREFACE

TO THE

IMPROVED EDITION OF THE ENGLISH READER.

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An attempt to improve a work stamped with the name of the immoral Murray and clothed with universal patronage, may be deemed the height of presumption. But the Author has not handled the Reader irreverently; for he has left it in precisely the same shape in which he found it : except that a few pages are added to its size by placing a yocabulary over each section, giving the definition and true pronunciation of the most important words, agreeably to the principles of the celebrated John Walker Walker's orthography is also given to the work for the purpose of uniformity. Mr. Murray says, that the English Reader is « designed tc assist young persons to read with propriety and effect; and to improve their language and sentiments." To every one, who can read Murray's title page, it is evident, that young persons cannot read the following work with propriety and effect, without a perfect know ledge of the words of which it is composed. Neither can their language and sentiments be much improved, by prating over a work, without regard either to pronunciation or definition. As there can be no diversity of opinion on this point, the only question is, what is the most convenient and expeditious method of acquiring a necessary knowledge of words ? All :vuil agree, that the best method of becoming acquainted with words, is to consult them, as they occur in the writings of the best authors But the drudgery of looking out words in a full dictionary, (which must be repeated as often as the learner may forget them,) added to the loss of time and the expense of having dictionaries tumbled to pieces in the hands of children, calls loudly for improvement. The public are now invited to determine, whether a pronouncing vocabulary placed at the head of cach section, is not a more desirable mode of acquisition than to ramble over Walker's full work, for every unknown word that may occur.

By the aid of this vocabulary, teachers can furnish their pupils with lessons in spelling, pronunciation, and definition, to be committed to memory, previously to reading the sections, from which the words are selected. The letters of reference will guide the pupil in the application of the definitions. Thus a key is hung over each section, inviting the young reader to unlock the door, and view the treasure, which Mr Murray has prepared for him.

Should any material errour be discovered in the vocabulary, by ang one, who will communicate the proper corrections to the author the få your will be received with gratitude.

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MANY selections of excellent matter have been made for the benefit of young persons. Performances of this kind are of so great utility, that fresh productions of them, and new attempts to improve the young mind will scarcely be deemed superfluous, if the writer make his compilation instructive and interesting, and sufficiently distinct from others.

The present work, as the title expresses, aims at the attainment of three objects: To improve youth in the art of reading ; to meliorate their language and sentiments; and to inculcate some of the most im portant principles of piety and virtue.

The pieces selected, not only give exercise to a great variety of emo. tions, and the correspondent tones and variations of voice, but contain sentences and members of sentences, which are diversified, proportioned, and pointed with accuracy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A selection of sentences, in which variety and proportion, with exact punctuation, have been carefully observed, in all their parts, as well as with respect to one another, will probably have a much greater effect, in pro perly teaching the art of reading, than is commonly imagined. In such constructions, every thing is accommodated to the understanding and the voice; and the common difficulties in learning to read well, are obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of reading such sentences, with justness and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the improve ments he has made, to sentences more complicated and irregular, and of a construction entirely different.

The ianguage of the pieces chosen for this collection, has been careful ly regarded. Purity, propriety, perspicuity, and, in many instances, elegance of diction, distinguish them. They are extracted from the works of the most correct and elegant writers. From the sources whence the sentiments are drawn, the reader may expect to find them connected and regular, sufficiently important and impressive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentrick.—The frequent perusal of such composition, naturally tends to infuse a taste for this species of excel ience; and to produce a habit of thinking, and of composing, with judg. ment and accuracy.*

* The learner in his progress through this volume and the sequel to it will meet with numerous instances of composition, in strict conformity to the rules for promoting perspicuous and elegant writing, contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Gramınar. By occasionally oxamining this conformity, he will be confirmed in the utility of those rules; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterity,

It is proper further to observe, that the Reader and the Sequel, besides teaching to read accurately, and inculcating many important sentiments, may be considered as auxiliaries to the Author's English Grammar ; as practical illustrations of the principio wales contained in that work.

That this collection may also serve the purpose of promoting piety ana virtue, the Compiler has introduced many extracts, which place religion in the most amiable light; and which recommend a great variety of moral duties, by the excellence of their nature, and the happy effects they produce. These subjects are exhibited in a style and manner, which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth; and to make strong and durable impressions on their minds.*

The Compiler has been careful to avoid every expression and sentiment that might gratify a corrupt mind, or in the least degree, offend the eye or ear of innocence. This he conceives to be peculiarly incumbent on every person, who writes for the benefit of youth. It would, indeed, be a great and happy improvement in education, if no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly, innocent'; and if, on all proper occasions, they were encouraged to peruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue, and an abhorrence of vice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such impressions, deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of attending them through life, and of producing a solidity of principle and character, that would be able to resist the danger arising from future intercourse with the world.

The Author has endeavoured to relieve the grave and serious parts of his collection, by the occasional admission of pieces, which amuse as well as instruct. If, however, any of his readers should think it contains too great a proportion of the former, it may be some apology to observe, that in the existing publications designed for the perusal of young persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay and amusing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improve

When the imagination, of youth especially, is much entertained the sober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference, and the influence of good affections is either feeble, or transient. A temperate use of such entertainment seems therefore requisite, to afford proper scope for the operations of the understanding and the heart.

The reader will perceive that the Compiler has been solicitous to recommend to young persons, the perusal of the sacred Scriptures, by interspersing through his work, some of the most beautiful and interesting passages of those invaluable writings. To excite an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point of so high importance, as to warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper occasion.

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To improve the young mind and to afford some assistance to tutors, in the arduous and important work of education, were the motives which led to this production. If the Author should be so successful as to' accomplish these ends even in a small degree, he will think that his time and pains have been well employed and will deem himself amply rewarded.

* In some of the pieces, the Compiler has made a few alterations, chiefly verbal, to adapt them the better to the design of his work.

exact.

a

nancy, idea.

00 a) i-e-ty, pro-pri'-e-te, exclu-jr Au-di-ence, dw'-de-ense, the act sive right, justness.

of hearing, persons collected to o Im-por-tant, im-pôr-tånt, momen- hear. tous, weighty

8 Doubt-less, doåt'-lès, unquestionc At-tain-ment,åt-táne'-mênt, acqui- ably. sition.

t Ex-tra-or-di-na-ry, éks-tror'-ded Pro-duc-tive, pro-důk/-tiv, fertile, når-é, eminent, unusual. generative.

u Ex-cel-lence, ék'-sel-lense, state e Es-sen-tial, és-sèn'-shål, necessa- of excelling, eminence. ry, important.

v Art, art, science, skill. f Mi-nute-ly, me-núte'-le, exactly. w Am-ply, âm'-plė, largely, liberal& In-ac-cu-rate, in-åk/-ků-råte, not ly.

ac Re-ward, re-wård', a recompense, + Con-cep-tion, kỐn-sếpo-shản, preg- to recompense, to repay.

y Ex-er-tion, égz-êr'-shủn, the act ? Re-sult, ré-zált', to follow as a con- of exerting, effort. sequence.

z Nec-es-sar-y,

nês'-sés-sér-re, k As-cer-tain, ås-ser-tåne', to make needful, requisite. certain.

a Pause, påwz, a stop, suspense. 1 Ac-quire, åk-kwire', to gain by la-6 Em-pha-sis, ém'-fà-sis, a remarkbour or power:

able stress laid upon a word. m Fa-cil-i-ty, få-sil'-e-té, easiness, c At-tain-a-ble, åt-tåne'-å-bl, that dexterity.

may be obtained. n Con-sti-tute, kồn/-ste-tůte, to pro- d Im-i-ta-tive, im'-e-ta-tiv, inclined

duce, appoint. o Com-pen-sa-tion, kôm-pén-sa'-e Ut-ter-ance, út’-tůr-ånse, pronunshủn, recompence,

ciation. p Pleas-ure, plèzh'-úre, delight, ap- f Ac-cu-rate, åk'-ků-råte, exact, probation.

without defect. g Com-mu-ni-ca-tion, kôm-må-ne- & Com-prise, kôm-prize', to conka'-shủn, the act of imparting.

tain, include. OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.

To read with proprietya is a pleasing and important attain ment: productived of improvement both to the understanding, and the heart. It is essentiale to a complete reader, that he niinutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat: for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurates conceptions" of ourselves ? If there were no other benefitsi resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertainingk the meaning of what we read; and the

Note.—For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and 10 the En cyclopedia Britannica.

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nabit thence acquired,' of doing this with facility,m both when reading silently and aloud, they would constituten a sufficient compensation" for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject, But the pleasure derived to qurselves and others, from a clear communicationo of ideas and feelings; and the strong and dura, ble impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience,' are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art. The perfect attainment of it doubtless' requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers; but as there are many degrees of excellence" in the art, the student whose aims fall short of perfection will find himself amplyw rewarded* for every exertion he may think proper to make.

To give rules for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessaryż pausesa, emphasist, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not possible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructer: much will be attainablec by no other means, than the force of example influencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance; to give the young reader some taste of the subject; and to assist him in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The observations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised: under the following heads: PROPER LOUDNESS OF VOICE; DISTINCTNESS; SLOWNESS; PROPRIETY OF PRONUNCIATION; EMPHASIS; TONES; PAUSES; and MODR

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OF READING VERSE.

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SECTION I. a En-deav-our, én-dév/-ür, to labour|k Per-se-vere, pér-se-vére, to persist to a certain purpose.

in an attempt. 6 Oc-cu-py, ok’-ků-pi, to possess, 1 Or-di-na-ry, Br’-de-nå-re, common employ.

usual. c Tal-ent, tål'-ént, faculty, power. m Trans-gress, trans-grès', to vio: d As-sis-lance, ås-sis'-tånse, help, late, pass over,

offend. furtherance.

In Ve-he-ment, ve-he'sment, forcible e Man-age-ment, mån/-Idje-ment, ardent.

conduct, administration. o El-e-va-tion, él-e-va'-shủn, exaltar f Ap-proach, åp-prótsh', to draw tion, dignity.

p De-press-ion, de-présh'-ún, the & Con-found, kon-fðůnd', to mingle, act' of pressing down. perplex,

q Har-mo-ny, hầr'-mo-nė, just proh Ďa-ri-e-ty, vå-r\'-e-té, change, di- portion, concord. versity.

Mo-not-o-ny, mô-nốt'-t8-ne, want iRen-der, rên’-dar, to restore, trans- of variety in cadence. late, make.

s Req-ui-site, rêk'-we-zit, necessa

near.

1

ry, any thing necessary.

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