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Prose and Poetry;






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Mar 2019 30

Northern District of New York, to wit:

BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the eleventh day of January, in the fifty. fourth year of the independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1830, Moses SEVERANCE, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:

“The American Manual, or New English Reader : consisting of exercises in Reading and Speaking, both in prose and poetry; selected from the best writer3. To which are added, a succinct History of the Colonies, from the discovery of North America to the close of the War of the Revolution ; the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. For the use of Schools. By Moses Severance."

In conformity to the act of the congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;" And also to the act, entitled, “An act supplementary to an act, en. titled, in act for encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

Clerk of the District Court of the United States

for the Northern District of New York,


PERHAPS no book that has been introduced into the schools of this country, has been more deservedly held in high estimation, than the English Reader. It is admitted to unite the most judicious plan, with an excellent selection of matter; but as it has long been the principal reading book used in our schools, and as an occasional change is believed to have an enlivening and salutary effect upon the learner, I have ventured to offer this compilation to the consideration of those, to whose hands the instruction of youth may have been committed.

Confidence in the favorable reception of this offering arises from the circumstance, that it presents a selection of matter, a portion of which is from American authors. A just pride for the literary reputation of our own country, denies the necessity, or even the propriety, of withholding from our youth, in the books of our primary schools, specimens of our own literature —none of which being found in the English Reader.

Of the character of the pieces best calculated for the improvement of learners in reading, a diversity of opinion may be entertained. Should a want of adaptation to juvenile taste be urged, I would reply only, that I have designed it principally for the first class of learners in our common schools, whose taste it is hoped it may have a tendency to mature. In making the selections, an avoidance of what is ludicrous, and a rejection of what is unchaste, immoral, or offensive to the eye or ear of the most refined taste, have been strictly observed.

With a view of adding essentially to the value of this volume, not only in the hands of the learner, but in the hands of the community, I have added a concise history of our country at a most interesting period,--the Declaration of Independence-a document which is justly esteemed our nation's boast,--and the Constitution of the United States; with all which Americans, neither in youth nor mature age can be too familiar. Should the third part of this book, however, in which these are embraced, be thought not to afford profitable lessons for the exercise of young and inexperienced readers, it may be reserved for them, with undiminished value, when in a greater state of advancement.

Several modern writers on the subject of school education, whose opinions are entitled to much regard, have expressed their belief that no rules for the management of the voice in reading, can he of any value. This opinion, so far as it relates to the younger classes of learners, is undoubtedly correct : but as many of the first principles of elocution can be clearly illustrated, and applied to practical use by a little effort on the part of the more advanced learner, it appears to me that books of this kind, designed for the benefit of schools, must be deficient without them. Could every school in the country be under the instruction of a master of Elocution, the necessity would in a measure cease to exist. But this, unhappily, is not the case. Many of those who engage in the instruction of youth, require themselves the instruction they are expected to give, and have perhaps nu other means of acquiring it, than from these elementary books from which it would be withheld.

In this stereotype edition, some few alterations have been made; but the book contains as much matter as the former edition, and its use with it will not be found very inconvenient. It is now offered to the public in a permanent shape; and from the very favorable reception of the first edition, it will, I trust, continue to receive a patronage commensurate with its value.

M. S.



An ability to read in a correct and interesting manner, has become indispensably requisite for all who would hold a respectable station in society; and not only should its acquisition be considered as a polite accomplishment, but as a talent, subservient to the purposes of business, and of rational enjoyment."

There are indeed but few persons in this country, who are unable to read with some degree of correctness; yet those who may be called good readers, are less frequently met with than is generally imagined. Perfection in the art of reading, requires a natural talent, joined to the most persevering industry; and although it is a point to which few if any are ever able to arrive, yet every approach to it is of comparative value, and worth the effort required for its attainment.

Perhaps there cannot be a more unerring standard fixed for reading, than to adopt the same easy and natural mode that we would in common conversation. In the latter our object is to communicate our own thoughts; in the former to communicate the thoughts of others; and in both we wish to do it in the manner calculated to make us best understood. By this remark we do not design to recommend to those, who have adopted a careless manner of conversation, the adoption of a similar one in reading; but the same rules which serve to improve the one, may, by their application, have the same happy effect upon the other. But let it be distinctly understood, that no rules can be given for the management of the voice in reading, which, independent of feeling, can insure the object desired. “Emotion,” says a distinguished writer, “is the thing. One flush of passion on the cheek, one beam of feeling from the eye, one thrilling note of sensibility from the tongue, have a thousand times more value than any exemplificar tion of mere rules, where feeling is absent."

The observations which we shall make upon the principles of reading, or manner of delivery, will be comprised under the following heads : ARTICULATION, ACCENT, EMPHASIS, INFLECTION, MONOTONE, and MODULATION, with a few remarks upon the READING OF VERSE.

I. Articulation. A GOOD articulation consists in a clear and distinct utterance of the different sounds of the language; and is one of the most important particulars to be considered. No matter upon what subject, or upon what occasion a man may read or speak to his fellow men, he never will be listened to for any length of time, unless he be distinctly be and that without effort on the part of his hearers. No interest subject can excuse a rapid and indistinct utterance. Many th

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