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PREFACE.

There is no science in which progressive improvement is so distinctly marked as in Astronomy. The steps by which it has advanced to the state of excellence in which we now behold it, may be as accurately traced as the principal events of our past lives. But although this be the case, and although the improvement of this science has been productive of more important benefits to society than any other that could be named, yet there is no branch of useful knowledge so little studied by the inhabitants of this country, at the present day, as Astronomy. For though great and important discoveries have lately been made in this science, yet a knowledge of these and even of the principles of the science itself, is confined to a few individuals. The chief reason, perhaps, that can be assigned for this well-known fact, is, that the science of Astronomy has been generally cultivated by eminent mathematicians; and hence an illfounded opinion has arisen, that it is necessary to study a tedious course of mathematics, previous to entering upon the study of this science. But however necessary mathematical knowledge may be in the pursuit of astronomical studies, much important and useful information may be acquired on this subject, without possessing a knowledge of mathematics.

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