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In countries where the established form of government is monarchy, most of the elementary books used to instruct children in their native language, are calculated to imprefs on their youthful minds, a prejudice in favour of the exifting order of things. National glory (which means the spreading havoc and deftruction among other nations), the fplendor of monarchy, and the advantages of conqueft, are displayed in the moft captivating and glowing colours. This fyflem is the refult of profound policy. An early bias is thus given to the mind, which in moft cafes " grows with its growth," and often retains its influence to the last stage of decrepitude.
And is not fuch a fyftem at least as proper and neceffary in this country as chewhere? Should not endeavours be used to imprefs on the rifing generation, a refpect and reverence for the forms of government under which we live? Our conftitutions are all grounded on the right of the citizens to liberty and the fecurity of property, and on the grand principle, that the officers of government, legislative as well as executive, are all the agents of the people, deputed to perform for them thofe functions which they cannot execute themselves. In every one of them are recognised thofe grand and fublime truths, the defence of which has rendered fo many men illuftrious, in the English annals-thofe principles for which
“a Hambden struggled, and a Sydney bled"
thofe principles, in fine, which are to be found in a greater or lefs degree, through the writings of the best men of all ages and nations.
On this ground, it is prefumed that great advantages must accrue from fubjecting to the perufal of youth, fuch a variety of elegant paffages, tending to fhew in the ftrongest light the advantages of liberty, of peace, of good order-the dignity of human nature-to infpire an abhorrence of war-and to difplay its tremendous confequences, in all their native deformity, ftripped of the impofing glofs which artful and interested men have spread over them.
The names of the writers are generally given, partly as a tribute of gratitude towards those whofe writings have ferved to complete this work-partly to facilitate a comparison between the fentiments of men in different ages-and partly with a view of exciting the reader's curiofity to fearch into their works complete. It is not pretended that a sublime truth
can receive any corroboration from the celebrity of the man who wrote it. The fentiment, that
"The pureft treasure mortal times afford,
is an eternal axiom, and, whether connected with the name of a Shakespeare or a Blackmore, mult carry conviction to every correct mind. In like manner, the pofition in page 210,"No man is better born than another, unless he is born with "better abilities, and a more amiable difpofition," needs not the prop of Seneca's name to command affent.
With these few remarks this small work is fubmitted to the candour and indulgence of the public, whofe decifion on its utility fhall be acquiefced in by the editor. He may have eftimated too highly the probable beneficial effects of his labour. This is fo common an error as to be perhaps a venial one. But whatever may be its tendency or its fuccefs, he can never be deprived of the folid fatisfaction arifing from a perfect confciousness of having used his most earnest endeavours to promote the best interests of his fellow men. M. C.
December 1, 1800.
book, as foon as the pupil is so far advanced as to reflect on what he reads; and that I believe is in an earlier stage than is generally imagined. I concur with you in the importance of inculcating into the minds of young people the great moral and political truths; and that it is better to put into their hands books which, while they teach them to read, teach them to think alfo, and to think foundly. I have always believed that Tacitus would be one of the beft fchool-books, even while children are learning to read: they could never forget the hatred of vice and tyranny which that author infpires You often quote a book, under the title of The Spirit of Defpotifm. I never before heard of it; but it is written with great ítrength. of feeling and conception.
I am with great esteem, Sir,
Mr. Mathew CareY.
To MR. MATHEW CAREY.
I HAVE, with much pleasure as well as profit, read over your American Monitor; and find it to be juft fuch an one as I have long wifhed for. The judicious felection you have made, will undoubtedly have a strong tendency to produce very lafting and falutary effects on the minds of all by whom the Jeffons there inculcated will be attentively confidered.
All those who, for any confiderable time, have been engaged in the inftruction of youth, well know what great advantages refult from teaching them to read and recite fuch pieces of compofition as ftore their opening minds with juft ideas of God, religion, liberty, and patriotifm; that by thefe leffons their tafte for good authors is formed, noble fentiments implanted, virtue exhibited in all her beauty, and vice in all its deformity--To form a felection which should embrace all these objects, and be of fuch a price as might fuit the convenience of all, was the task-and that task you have, in my opinion, well performed. Convinced that it is well calculated to answer these purposes, I have introduced it into my school, and do warmly recommend it to the confideration of others. I am, Sir,
Philad. 26th Jan. 1801.
Your very humble ferv't,