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R The American Sekeption, the well received and much used in schools, has been thought susceptible of improvement; the compiler has therefore made some alterations, omiting some pieces which were believed to be less adapted to interest young minds, and substituting others, which cannot fail to be as entertaining as useful. The present edition comprchen is a great variety of sentiment; morality, history, elocution, anecdote and description ; and it is belicved, will be found to contain as much interesting matter, as any compilation of the size and price,


DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, $8. BE it remembered that on the thirtieth day of January in the twenty eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, NOAH WEBSTER, jun. of said : District ESQ. hath deposited in this office the title of a book the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, viz. "An American Selection of Lessons in Reading and Speaking, caiculated to improve the minds and rejine the taste of youth. To which are prefixed Rules in Klocution and directions for expressing the principal passions of the mind-By Noah Webster, jun. Author of Dissertations on the English Language, Collection of Essays and fugitive Writing8, the Prompter, &*c." In conformi1.11 to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled an act for the encouragement of learning by securing the corries of mafis, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.


Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
Connecticut, ss.
District Clerk's Office, Jan. 30, 1804.
A true copy of Record.

CHARLES DEnisov, Clerk..


Let your Articulation be clear and distinct.
GOOD articulation consists in giving every letter


Let each syllable and the letters which compose it, be pronounced with a clear voice, without whining, drawiing, lisping, stammering, mumbling in the throat, or speaking through the nose. Avoid equally a dull drawiing habit, and too much rapidity of pronunciation : for each of these faults destroys a distinct articulation.

Observe the Stops, and mark the proper Pauses ; but make

no pause where the sense requires none.
The characters we use as stops are extremely arbitro -
ry, and do not always mark a suspension of the voice. On
the contrary, they are often employed to separate the sera
eral mumbers of a period, and shew the grammatical con-
struction. · Nor when they are designed to mark paus-
es, do they always determine the length of those pauses,
for this depends much on the sense and the nature of the
subject. A semicolon, for example, requires a longer
pause in a grave discourse, than in lively & spirited die
clamation. However, as children are incapable of nice
distinctions, it may be best to adopt, at first, some gener-
al rule with respect to the pauses, and teach them to pay
the same attention to these characters as they do to the
words.† They should be cautioned likewise against pal-
sing in the midst of a member of a sentence, where the
sense requires the words to be closely connected in pro-

Pay the stridtest attention to accent, ciphasis ücadence.

Let the accented syllables be pronounced with a prop. er stress of voice; the unaccented, with little stress of yoice, but distinctly.

The important words of a sentence, which I call naturally emphatical, have a claim to a considerable force of voice; but particles, such as of, to, as, and, &c. require no force of utterance, unless they happen to be emphatical, which is rarely the case. No person can read or speak

+ See my American Spelling Book, in which the pauses of the com ma, semicolon, colon, and period, are fixed at one, two, four, six.

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well, unless he understands what he reads; and the sense will always determine what words are emphatical. It is a matterof the highest consequence, therefore, that a speak-er should clearly comprehend the meaning of what he slelivers, that he may know where to lay the emphasis.-This may be illustrated by a single example. This short question, will you ride to town to-day ? is capable of four different meanings, and consequently of four different answers, according to the placing of the emphasis. If the emphasis is laid upon you, the question is whether 1/02L will ride to town or another person. If the emphasis is iaid on ride, the question is, whether you will ride or so on foot. If the emphasis is laid on town, the question 15, whether you will ride to town or to another place. If the emphasis is laid on to-day, the question is whether Pou will ride to-dlay or some other day. Thus the whole meaning of a phrase often depends on the emphasis; and . it is absolutely necessary that it should be laid on the.: proper words.

Cadence is a filling of the voice in pronouncing the vlucing syllable of a period. This ought not to be uni-. form, but different at the close of different sentences.f

But in interrogative sentences, the sense often requires she closing word or syllable to be pronounced with an elcvated voice. This, however, is only when the last word is emphatical; as in this question, " Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss ?". Here the subject of enquiry is, whether the conunon token of love and benevolence is. prostituted to the purpose of treachery; the force of the question depends on the last word, which is therefore. pronounced with an elevation of voice. But in this quescior, “\Vhere is boasting then ?” the emphatical word is boasting, which of course requires an elevation of voice.

The most natural pitch of voice is that in which we speak in common conve

versation. Whenever the voice is. | We may observe that good speakers always pronounce upon a certain key; for although they modulate the voice according to the various ideas they express, yet they retain the same pitch of voice. Accent and emphasis require no eleyation of the voice, but a more forcible expression on the same key. Cadence respects the last syllable only of the sentence, which syllable is actually pronounced with a lower tone of voice; but, when words of several syllables close a pe. riod, all the syllables but the last are pronounced on the same key as The rest of the sentence.

raised above this key, pronunciation is difficult and fatiguing. There is a difference bctween a luild aunt a high voice. A person may speak much louder than he was in ordinary discourse, without any elevation of voice: and he may be heard distinctly, upon the same key, cisner in a private room, or in a large assembly.

RULE IV Let the sentiments you express be accompanied with firon

er Tones, Looks, and Gestures. By tones are meant the various modulations of voice by which we naturally express the emotions and passions. By looks we mean the expression of the emotions and passions in the countenance.

Gestures are the various motions of the hands or body, which correspond to the several sentiments and passions which the speaker designs to express.

All these should be perfectly natural. They should be the same which we use in cominon conversation. speaker should endeavor to feel what he speaks; for the perfection of reading and speaking is to pronounce the words as if the sentiments were our own.

If a person is rehearsing the words of an angry man, he should assume the same furious looks; his eyes should flash with rage, his gestures should be violent, and the tone of his voice threatening. If kindness is to be expressed, the countenance should be calm and placid, and wear a smile; the tone should be mild, and the motion of the hand invitipg. An example of the first we have in these words : " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” An example of the last, in these words : “Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world."

A man who should repeat these different passages with the same looks, tones and gestures, would pass, with his hearers, for a very injudicious speaker.

The whole art of reading and speaking all the rules of eloquence may be comprised in this concise direction : Let a reader or speaker express every word as if the sentiments were his own. General Directions for expressing certain Passions or

Sentiments.--[From the Art of Speaking:] Mirth or Laughter opens the mouth, crisps the nose, les

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sens the aperture of the eyes, and shakes the whole frame.

Perplexity draws down the eyc-brows, hangs the head, casts down the eyes, closes the eye-lids, shuts the mouth, and pinches the lips; then suddenly the whole body is agitated, the person walks about busily, stops abruptly, talks to himself, &c.

Veration adds to the foregoing, complaint, fretting and lamenting:

Pity draws down the eye-brows, opens the mouth, and draws together the features.

Grief is expressed by weeping, stamping with the feet, lifting up the eyes to heaven, &c.

Melancholy is gloomy and motionless, the lower jarv falls, the eyes are cast down and half shut, words few, and interrupted with sighs.

Fear opens the eyes and mouth,shortens the nose, draws down the eye-brows, gives the countenance an air of wildness; the face becomes pale, the elbows are drawn back

parallel with the sides, one foot is drawn back, the heart beats violently, the breath is quick, the voice weak and trembling. Sometimes it produces shrieks and fainting.

Shame turns away the face from the beholder, covers it with blushes, casts down the head and eyes, draws down the eye brows, makes the tongue to faulter, or strikes the person dumb.

Remorse casts down the countenance, and clouds it with anxiety. Sometimes the teeth gnash, and the right hand beats the breast.

Courage, steady and cool, opens the countenance,sives the whole form an erect and graceful air. The voice is firm, and the accent strong and articulate.

Boasting is loud and blustering. The eyes stare, the face is red and bloated, the mouth pouts, the voice is hol. low, the arms akimbo, the head nods in a threatening manner, the right fist sometimes clenched and brandished.

Pride assumes a lofty look, the eyes open, the mouth pouting, the lips pinched, the words slow and stiff, with an air of importance, the arms akimbo, and the legs at a distance, or taking large strides.

Authority opens the countenance, but draws down the cye-brows a little, so as to give the person an air of gravity.

Commanding requires a peremptory tone of voice, and a severe look.

Inviting is expressed with a smile of complacency, the

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