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UNIVERSAL CLASS-BOOK :
A NEW SERIES
(ORIGINAL AND SELECTED)
EACH LESSON RECORDING
SOMÉ IMPORTANT EVENT IN GENERAL HISTORY,
OR DETAILING, IN FAMILIAR LANGUAGE,
ALSO, A VARIETY OF
AUTHOR OF “THE TREASURY OF KNOWLEDGE,” “THE SCIENTIFIC AND
LITERARY TREASURY,” ETC.
THE UNIVERSAL Class Book is submitted to the notice of all who are engaged in the arduous duties of Tuition, as combining in a more than ordinary degree such subjects as are likely to be read with interest, while at the same time they impart to the reader a fund of useful information.
It is true there are many books already in use whose compilers profess a similar object; but none of them are edited precisely upon the same plan, or embrace so great a variety, either with respect to the nature of the subjects or the style of composition. But in making this observa-' tion, the Editor begs to be understood that he is not anxious to exalt the character of his work beyond its real merits; much less would he decry the labours of any one who has preceded him in this humble department of scholastic literature.
The great importance of judiciously furthering the progress of education is now a universally admitted axiom; nay, so convinced of its value is every one who has watched, with a parental eye, the operations of the mind from childhood to adolescence, that whoever conscientiously discharges that duty will at least obtain the credit of having laboured in a good cause.
But in doing this, it is not sufficient merely to establish the validity of good intentions. Theory and practice should go hand in hand. There must be no straining after popularity by the introduction of novelties and untried methods of instruction: one constant and uniform
tendency should be apparent in every line. And although a series of Reading Lessons, however well chosen, cannot be expected to afford much assistance to a youth in any particular branch of study, they may be calculated to furnish his mind with a store of valuable knowledge; and a varied and graceful superstructure may thus be raised on the basis of religious and moral principles, without excluding such articles as are intended to divert the fancy, appeal to the passions, or give a zest to the cultivation of a correct taste.
The only work to which the present may be said to bear a resemblance is “Blair's Class Book,” which belongs to the Publishers of this volume, and which, like this, contains Lessons for every day in the year; but there the resemblance ends, for the Editor has not borrowed a single Lesson from it; so that those Teachers who may think proper to use this volume will be in no danger of meeting “an old friend with a new face.” Independently of which, it will be seen that to each of these Lessons are subjoined a few leading or promiscuous Questions for examination.
It is also proper to observe, that, although a majority of the Lessons relate to important events, historical or biographical — the greater part of which may be termed national — there is no deficiency of narrative and descriptive pieces in prose : many of these are simply selections from authors of acknowledged eminence; others have been abridged and adapted from more lengthened compositions, and some have been written expressly for the work.
Interspersed with the above are several Lessons of a scientific character, the principal part of them being extracted from the Editor's “Scientific and Literary Treasury ;” such only being admitted as contain matter of interest and amusement suitable for youth, and are calculated to enlighten them on subjects with which, in the present advanced state of knowledge, it is absolutely necessary they should become early acquainted.
To render the UNIVERSAL Class Book at once varied, pleasant, and instructive, appropriate Poetical Extracts have been introduced wherever they seemed best calculated to lighten or illustrate the text. And it is not irrelevant in this place, to observe also, that the Editor has, with a somewhat unsparing hand, gleaned from the attractive page of Poesy many a chaste and pleasing effort of the Muse, which, while they tend to improve the language and refine the taste of the youthful reader, will render him sufficiently conversant with the different kinds of metrical versification, to read, without hesitation, any poetical composition that may chance to come before him.
The Questions appended to each Lesson have been inserted with the view of drawing the Instructor's attention to that part of practical tuition, rather than of directing him what questions to put. They may be altered, or added to, at his discretion ; but such a mode of examination is one of the surest tests of the ability and attention of the scholar. The Editor will, however, say no more on the subject, but leave its application to wiser heads; and in the hope that he has produced a school-book free from any glaring faults, and in some degree worthy of this era of intellectual expansion, he throws himself on the candour and good feeling of those for whom it is intended.