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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 784041A
ASTOR, LENOX AND
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, TO WIT:
District Clerk's Office.
Be it remembered, that on the eleventh day of June, A. D. 1827, in the fiftyfirst year of the Independence of the United States of America, JOHN PIERPONT, of the said district, has Deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
"The National Reader; a Selection of Exercises in Reading and Speaking, de signed to fill the same Place in the Schools of the United States, that is held in those of Great Britain by the Compilations of Murray, Scott, Enfield, Mylius, Thompson, Ewing, and others. By JOHN PIERPONT, Compiler of the American First Class Book."
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 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."
JOHN W. DAVIS,
Extract from the Records of the School Committee of Boston
At a meeting of the School Committee of the City of Boston, holden at the Mayor and Aldermen's Room, July 2d 1829,-Voted, That "Pierpont's NATIONAL READER" be introduced into the public grammar schools of this city, in lieu of " Murray's English Reader," after the visitation of the Schools in August.
Attest, T. W. PHILIPS, Secretary of the School Committee.
THE favour shown by the public to the "American First Class Book" has encouraged me to proceed to the execution of a purpose, that I formed whils preparing that book for the press-the compilation of a Reader, for the Common Schools of the United States, which should be,--what no school book compiled in Great Britain is,-in some degree at least, American.
It cannot, indeed, be urged as an objection to a British school book, that it is not adapted to American schools; that it consists exclusively of the productions of British authors; that it abounds in delineations of British manners, in descriptions of British scenery,-in eulogies of British heroes and statesmen,-in selections from British history,-and in pieces, of which it is the direct aim to impress the mind of the reader with a deep sense of the excellence of British institutions, and of the power and glory of the British empire. A book of this character is moving in its proper sphere, and accomplishing the purpose of its author, when it is passing from hand to hand, among the children of Great Britain, introducing them to an acquaintance with their native land, and with those who have adorned it by their genius or their virtues, and thus exciting within them a love of their country, and a resolution to become its ornaments in their turn. That effect produced by the book, its author has gained his object, and has established his character, and secured his reward, as a benefactor of his country in one of its most valuable interests: and it derogates nothing from his merit or fame, to say that his book is not well adapted to those for whose use he did not intend it; for this is but saying that he has not done what he has not attempted to do. It is no disparagement to English laws, to say that they will not do for us. They were not made for us. Nor is it a disparagement to English school books, to say that they are not adapted to American schools. There is not one, among them all, that was designed for American schools. To the compiler of an American School Reader, it would, no doubt, be flattering, to know that his book had found such favour in England, as to be introduced extensively into common schools there. But, though this might be a little flattering to him, it would, probably, seem to him not a little strange, that they nad not books of their own in England, better fitted to the schools, under a monarchical form of government, than the compilation of a republican foreigner, which was never intended for them. And would it be to the honour of English literature, or of those men in England, who feel an interest in the prosperity of the state,-and, consequently, an interest in seeing the young so educated, that they may worthily fill its places of honour and trust, to admit, by the general introduction of foreign compilations into their schools, that there is no man in England able to make a good school book, and, at the same time, willing to submit to the labour of making one?
This country has political institutions of its own ;-institutions which the men of each successive generation must uphold. But this they cannot do, unless they are early made to understand and value them. It has a history
of its own, of which it need not be ashamed;-fathers, and heroes, and sages, of its own, whose deeds and praises are worthy of being "said or sung" by even the "mighty masters of the lay," ,"-and with whose deeds and praises, by being made familiar in our childhood, we shall be not the less qualified to act well our part, as citizens of a republic. Our country, both physically and morally, has a character of its own. Should not something of that character be learned by its children while at school? Its mountains, and prairies, and lakes, and rivers, and cataracts,-its shores and hill-tops, that were early made sacred by the dangers, and sacrifices, and deaths, of the devout and the daring-it does seem as if these were worthy of being held up, as objects of interest, to the young eyes that, from year to year, are opening upon them, and worthy of being linked, with all their sacred associations, to the young affections, which, sooner or later, must be bound to them, or they must cease to be-what they now are-the inheritance and abode of a free people.
It has been my object to make this book-what it is called-a National Reader. By this I do not mean that it consists, entirely, of American productions, or that the subjects of the different lessons are exclusively American. I do not understand that a national spirit is an exclusive spirit. The language of pure moral sentiment, the out-pourings of a poetical spirit, the lessons of genuine patriotism, and of a sublime and catho lic religion, let them have proceeded from what source they may,—not a few pieces, especially, which have long held a place in English compilations, I have adopted freely into this collection, and believe that I have enriched it by them. I trust that there will be found in it not a line or a thought, that shall offend the most scrupulous delicacy, or that shall give any parent occasion to tremble for the morals of either a son or a daughter; and I hope that a regard for my own interest, if no higher consideration, may have prevented my being unmindful of that section of the late law of this commonwealth, which provides, that no committee of a public school shall ever "direct any school books to be purchased, or used in any of the schools under their superintendence, which are calculated to favour any particular religious sect or tenet."
In regard to rules or directions for reading, the same considerations which prevented my filling up any part of the American First Class Book with them, have induced me to introduce none of them into this collection of exercises. Three things only are required make a good reader. He must read so that what he reads shall, in the first place, be heard; in the second, that it shall be understood; and, in the third, that it shall be felt. If a boy has voice, and intelligence, and taste enough to do all this, then, under the personal guidance and discipline of a teacher who can read well, he will learn to read well; but if he has not, he may study rules, and pore over the doctrine of cadences and inflections, till "chaos come again,” -he will never be a good reader.
In the humble hope that this compilation may contribute something to the accomplishing of the young, in this country, in the art of reading and speaking well, something to the improvement of their taste, the cultivation of their moral sense and religious affections, and, thus, something to their préparation for an honourable discharge of their duties in this life, and for
glory, honour, and immortality," in the life that is to come,-I submit it to the disposal of the public, and ask for it only the favour of which it may be thought worthy.
Boston, June, 1827.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
LESSONS IN PROSE.
36. Folly of deferring Religious Duties....
27 The Fall of the Leaf..