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What is commonly called History-the detail of wars and political negociations, is not readily comprehended by children; but the religious observances, domestic manners, public amusements, and eminent individuals of all countries, afford lessons which are intelligible to them. I have endeavoured to select from Jewish, Grecian, and Roman history, such traits of character as shall serve to illustrate the history of the res pective nations to which they relate, when the matured minds of those for whom this book is designed, shall enjoy better writers than the compend makers; and I hope I have made the triumph of mind and of true virtue over mere physical force, the apparent, as it is the true glory of human nature. For individual examples I have not celebrated any military heroes. Disinterested benevolent characters, as Socrates, Alfred, and Penn-young persons memorable for industry, accomplishments, and amiable dispositions, appear to me to be proper objects of admiration, as well as of imitation. Such are the models which I have set before my young readers,

I have endeavoured always to exhibit national character in some edifying aspect; or to present sensible and agreeable images, avoiding prolix moralizing and all disputed questions about the origin of states and of arts. To detect the fallacies of history, to balance the probability of inconsistent authorities is out of my power, and not necessary to my purpose. Who founded Rome, or who invented letters are facts involved in the obscurity of fable, and are of no real importance to be knownbut the civilization of a great empire and its influences upon succeeding times, and the results of that art which perpetuates and exalts all other arts, may be retraced with good effect to any mind that is training to just views of human power and human dignity.

The selections contained in these illustrations, are in conformity to the lessons I have written. In the selections I sometimes made omissions of beautiful passages, but always with a specific object;-they often involved a meaning not within the limits of my plan, and not easily made obvious to young persons. Poetry may thus suffer a little; but a small sacrifice on account of the immature faculties of the young, will be re

paid to them, when their developed and disciplined minds, train ed in the spirit of enquiry, shall be enabled to follow out all the truth, and perceive all the beauty which any work of geniu exhibits.

This book is the proper successor of another which has been widely circulated for seven years. I have heard that the style of that was considered too infantine-I hope that the subjects of this will not be accounted too ambitious.

I have ventured to write in it concerning oriental philosophy,and the institutions of ancient Greece. My ability to elucidate these subjects may be doubted, and their application to popular use may be still more questionable. In respect to my ability-the means of my information are entirely confined to the English language; but I have not, I trust, been undiscriminating in the use of those means, and I believe they are sufficient for the scope and application of my enquiries. The Bible is the most popular book in our language, and its historical connection with certain countries of Asia and Europe, render some knowledge of the former intellectual condition of those countries, necessary to the proper illustration of the Scriptures. The conquerors of the Jews-the men who offered homage to the infant Jesus-and the people to whom Paul preached, afford the basis of all I have said in relation to the science of the East, or the philosophy of Greece and Rome. It is easy to be so far informed, and necessary that every one should be so, who would read the Bible with intelligence.

Society has not rejected my little labours heretofore, and I have renewed them in good hope that a reward once accorded, still awaits me; and that this small seed, scattered in good ground will bear fruit, some fifty, and some an hundred fold.

New York, March 30, 1827.






WHEN we are young we are instructed in learning that we may become wise, that we may know what is right and do it; and besides the use of our knowledge to make us good, it is designed to make us happy, to furnish an agreeable employment for the mind when we are not occupied in mere labour of the body.

2. The most interesting part of our knowledge is what concerns our own species, what men have done every where since the beginning of the world. Accounts of the conduct and manners of men are called History.

3. A young person who would instruct himself in the knowledge of history must take a map of the world and find the countries which at different times have been distinguished for knowledge and power. Power, in history, signifies the authority which the king, or army, or civil government of a nation obtains over the inhabitants and territory of any part of the world. This is political power.

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