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cause of the moral renovation of the world. The time is fast coming, when the usefulness of every publication will be tested by its adaptedness to this object. This is the great design of our Creator in his providential government of the world, and it ought to be the main purpose of his intelligent creatures in all their labors. It has not been so much the intention of the compiler to advocate any specific modes of benevolent effort, as to cherish in the bosoms of his readers an enlarged and philanthropic spirit. The good of one's own country is best secured by consulting for the interests of the whole human race. The effort has been made to select such articles as men of a truly catholic spirit, in all countries, may regard with approbation, rather than those of a patriotic or national character.
More than THREE FOURTHS of the articles in the Eclectic Reader are not found in any other selection, not excepting Mr. Cheever's excellent compilations. Fifteen or twenty of the most popular reading books have been examined, so that this selection might have the character of novelty and variety. If the articles are of equal merit with those contained in previous collections, an important object is attained, as a new body of valuable English literature is presented to the youthful mind.
The compiler has endeavored to keep in recollection the principle, that the young reader should be familiarized with those kinds of writing with which he will most commonly meet in mature life. It were easy to multiply extracts from Dr. Johnson, Dr. Blair, Mr. Alison, and other writers of a stately and formal character. But little preparation could be made in this way for the exigencies of a miscellaneous and widely various reading. The style of writing at the present time is more forcible,
direct and unembarrassed than was the case in the days of Queen Anne, or George III. The same objection may be made to the selection of dialogues, except so far as the reading of them serves to give variety and compass to the intonations of the voice. They are not the species of composition with which it is necessary to become very familiar. Unhappily, also, many dialogues are objectionable on the score of morality and good taste.
In conclusion, the compiler hopes that the Eclectic Reader will be an acceptable addition to the number of reading books already before the public. Selections might have been made from Milton, Cowper, Shakespeare, Thomson, and other well-known writers, both foreign and American; but it was not necessary. some compensation, the man of taste will be pleased with the mature and finished compositions of Professors Playfair and Frisbie, the delightful allegories of Jane Taylor, the "wisdom married to immortal verse" of Coleridge and Wordsworth, the manly sense and comprehensive views of Evarts, and the Ciceronian elegance and dignity of Robert Hall.
Boston, December, 1832.
LESSONS IN VERSE.