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The success which has attended the publication of several of the more expensive Annuals, has led to the belief that a work of a similar class, adapted, in all respects, for the perusal of children, from the age of six to twelve years, would, if carefully and judiciously arranged, be secure of meeting with considerable encouragement; without in the smallest degree encroaching upon ground which is already so fully and ably pre-occupied.
The Editor would, however, have despaired of accomplishing the object she had in view, with satisfaction to herself, had she not been so fortunate as to secure the aid of many friendly pens, fitted to adorn a far higher walk of literature than that to which she has, of necessity, restricted them.
This array of popular names, whatever eclât it might bestow upon an Annual of more lofty pretensions, would, however, have conferred but little real value on her work, had not their owners kindly consented to adapt their several contributions to the comprehensions of the class of readers for whose especial perusal they were destined. And hence it is, that the thanks of the Editor are doubly due to them for their exertions.
The leading aim of the Tales and Sketches, of which the New Year's Gift is composed, has been, undoubtedly, the AMUSEMENT of the juvenile reader; hut, as the minds of children receive decided impressions of either good or evil from all that passes under their observation, it has been deemed expedient that each story should inculcate some moral truth. With this view, whilst the extravagances of those apocryphal personages -- giants, ghosts, and fairies - have been entirely banished from her pages, as tending not only to enervate the
infant mind, and unfit it for the reception of more wholesome nutriment, but also to increase the superstitious terrors of childhood,
- the Editor has not less scrupulously excluded those novel-like stories of exaggerated sentiment, which may now almost be said to form the staple commodity of our nursery literature; and which, injurious as the improbable fictions already referred to must be pronounced, are infinitely more pernicious. There is abundance wherewith to stimulate the curiosity of young persons, without introducing to their notice and imitation, the false taste, and falser sentiment, which are but too frequently the concomitants of an artificial state of society. Avoiding alike both extremes, the Writers of the New YEAR'S GIFT have been induced to confine their narratives exclusively to the romance of history, and of real life:
“ Familiar matter of to-day;
Some natural sorrow, joy, or pain,
To render the work as attractive as possible, twelve Engravings on steel, with one or two exceptions from original designs either lent or purchased for the occasion, have been executed expressly for this work; of which, several may be compared advantageously with those usually given in the larger Annuals. In the selection of subjects, care has also been taken to choose such as appeared best calculated to interest the juvenile connoisseur.
In conclusion, the Editor begs leave to acknowledge, with thanks, the politeness of several gentlemen who have favoured her with the loan of pictures; viz.
To James Northcote, Esq., for the Marriage of the Infant Prince Richard Duke of York (son of Edward IV.) to the Lady Anne Mowbray.
To J. Green, Esq., for the Boy and Dog.
To T. Brown, Esq., for the Cottage Door; by Hamilton.
To R. Farrier, Esq., for the Boy and Butterfly.