« 이전계속 »
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1832, by
WILLIAM HYDE & Co. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
Waitt & Dow's Press.
To come before the public as an author, with an apology for doing so, has become so customary, that it is almost a violation of good manners to appear without it; and yet so common, as often to obtain but the passing compliment of a look, or perhaps a smile; and the pages it occupies are turned over, to find what is expected to be more interesting in the book itself. But a few moments, therefore, will be asked for an attention to prefatory remarks.
In selecting books for her own children, the writer found a work of this kind a desid- . eratum. The usual studies in a common course of education, geography, arithmetic, &c., are now so simplified and so brought down to the capacities of the mere child, or we might say, infant, that they are often acquired, before the mind is sufficiently strong to receive, to much advantage, the more complex theories of philosophy and chemistry, or sufficiently matured, to relish the dry defini
tions of grammar, either of our own, or of a foreign language. There is, in such cases, a vacancy of a year or two, somewhere between the ages of six and ten or twelve, (according to the capacity and previous advantages of the child) which might be profitably filled, in part, with a study which would interest at the same time that it would improve and strengthen the mind, without creating a distaste for books by being dry or unintelligible. This vacancy, it was thought, might be supplied in some degree, by an abridgement of ancient history.
But to write such a history, particular enough to be interesting, without being tedious—to insert all that is necessary, in order to keep the connexion, without burdening the memory by a multitude of facts, will be found, by any one who attempts it, a task of no small difficulty. How far the present attempt will answer the purpose intended, must be left for others to decide.
It may be asked, "Why adapt the character of the book to children ? why not elevate it to the taste of the youth of fifteen ?' The answer is, that this would be attempting to force an abridgement upon those who ought to study the whole; and the vacancy complained of would still remain unsupplied : besides that, it would be arrogating to herself an ability which the Author does not claim to possess.
Another objection may be urged by those not much accustomed to the instruction of children, viz. that the answers of the children in the recitations, are far above the style of their remarks. But is well known to teachers, that children will repeat the words, or very nearly imitate the style, of the author they are studying ; even when the language would appear to be far above their comprehension, if compared with the style of their ordinary conversation with each other.
For the rest-children are best pleased with those books, which most closely copy their own thoughts and words—their own little pleasantries and every day occupations.
Should this little work fall into the hands of those who notice every imperfection, they will doubtless find sufficient employment. It has been written in the midst of the cares and business of a family. Very few of its pages have been arranged apart from the interruptions of children's prattle, while very many have been, not only written, but, doubtless, to the great annoyance of the printer, copied too, with a little one on the lap, whose paper must be allowed a place, and whose pen must be filled, precisely as often as her mother's; with the addition of all those comforting assistants ; such as a shake of the table, or an occasional slide of the paper, or an upsetting of the ink, or a climbing upon the neck; which, moth
ers, who wisely turn authors, may at almost any time be supplied. But to those who know what such interruptions are, and are inclined to look with indulgence upon whatever proceeds from a good motive, though but imperfectly performed, the book is offered with some degree of hope that it will be acceptable.
The appearance of future volumes, should life and health be spared, will depend entirely upon the opinion which the public shall form of this. An opportunity to finish the work would be gratifying: but the last to crowd the efforts of her own pen upon the notice of the public, will be,