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MORAL LESSONS, NATURAL HISTORY,
BIBLE LESSONS, AND POETRY,
A REGULAR OUTLINE OF SUCH ENTERTAINING AND
WITH THE ART OF READING;
SHORT ENGLISH GRAMMAR AND DICTIONARY,
BY ALEX. SPENCER, A. M. ,
To the Parochial Schoolmasters in the
Presbytery of Fordoun, viz.
MR. ALEXANDER, MARYKIRK; MR. ANDERSON,
ST. CYRUS; MR. BEGG, LAURENCEKIRK ; MR.
I have great pleasure in embracing the present opportunity of testifying publicly my respect and esteem for my brethren of this Presbytery ; and I am sure that in dedicating to you the following School Book, I place it in the hands, and under the patronage of a body of men, no less respectable in private life than diligent and assiduous in the duties of their calling, and harmonious and happy in their social intercourse with one another. To my nearest neigha bours, who perused the manuscript, I feel grateful for the very favourable opinion they have expressed of it, and for many valuable suggestions and remarks by which it has been improved. All of us are alive to the importance of giving useful information to the young, and improving their moral principles, as well as teaching them to read; and, as far as our time and attention to other branches of education permit, it is our aim to make our pupils both wiser and better by what they are reading ; but it is to be lamented that so great a part of the Collections commonly in use, consists of what is altogether unintelligible to children, or cannot be made interesting, even when explained to them ;not to speak of the love-stories and other absurdities that are quite improper and unfit for them. To remedy this, I have long wished to see a work on the plan of that now offered to the public, accessible to all by its cheapness, and calculated to be interesting and useful throughout. By making large and insulated Extracts, I could not have condensed and brought together in any regular order such a quantity of in. structive matter, suitable to the young, as I wished them to possess ; and, therefore, I have prepared this Selection of Lessons, by gleaning from all quarters, and connecting, and arranging, whatever in my opinion
seemed best fitted for the purpose of both pleasing and profiting the youthful reader. The Chapters on Quadrupeds and Birds, I have derived chiefly from the Edinburgh Encyclopedia ; and the Poetry, (except one piece which is original,) consists of interesting extracts, most of them descriptive, and suited, as much as possible, to the capacities of those for whom the whole is intended. Any scholar that has mastered his Spelling Book, may have this Selection put into his hands with advantage; the language in which it is written being so simple and easy. The Table of Contents, which is copious and large, may be made to serve as a sort of Catechism, from which the pupil may be questioned as to the knowledge he has acquired ; and, by the help of the Grammar, the reading classes in general, without farther expense, may be brought to a considerable degree of proficiency in that necessary branch of education. In short, the whole is so constructed as to render it, I trust, a favourite and useful book among the young; and, if parents and teachers shall find it adapted to assist them in the great work of cultivating aright the minds and the moral habits of the rising generation, by enlarging their understandings, and suggesting or supplying information and advice suited to their years, my labour in preparing it will be abundantly rewarded.