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EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUESTIONS :
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
AN ETYMOLOGICAL APPENDIX OF GREEK, LATIN, AND
For the Els of Schools and Private Reading.
EDWARD HUGHES, F.R.A.S., &c.
PHYSICAL, POLITICAL, AND COMMERCIAL GEOGRAPHY," &c. &c.
"If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL,
The present work is intended to be a companion volume to the author's “ Select Specimens of English Poetry." The selections are, in a great measure, from modern writers--such as have not been hitherto generally introduced into schoolbooks. The bulk of the work is prose, but a few congenial poetical pieces have been adopted with the view of giving variety to the readings. Most of the standard authors of our literature have been laid under contribution, and subjects have been brought forward about education and social progress, and at the same time, religious and moral questions have been discussed, that have not received from teachers so much notice as their intrinsic importance requires, and the circumstances of the present age demand.
As far as educational subjects have been laid before the pupil, it will, perhaps, not be objècted to, as the principle is now very generally admitted, that the young ought not so much to be forced to learn dogmatically, as induced to co-operate intelligently in their own education. As to social questions, again, it is now so much the custom for men, so young that in our fathers' days they would have been called
boys, to pronounce very confidently, and often very ignorantly, that the matured opinions of generally-approved writers ought to be, at as early a period as possible, made known to them. The discussion of these points cannot, and, as I think, ought not to be checked; but it may be regulated and guided to good account.
In the moral and religious section I have drawn copiously from our older and standard divines, and I am not without hope that any youth, who is made throughly to comprehend and appreciate the extracts from Hooker, Barrow, Taylor, and that class of thinkers, will not readily yield his judgment to declamatory writers of the present day. The false and superficial knowledge, “ that leads to betray, and dazzles to blind,” will be best corrected, not by keeping men in total ignorance—for that, happily, is no longer possible—but by imparting the fullest information on every subject upon which they are inclined to think.
The general plan of this volume being the same as that in the volume of Poetry, it is unnecessary to say much on it. The words selected and placed at the beginning of each lesson are meant for grammatical and exegetical exercise before the reading is commenced. Derivative and collateral words ought to be sought out and put into sentences, so as really to make sure that the meaning of words and phrases is fully understood. As “the mower loses no time in whetting his scythe,” so the teacher will find that no time is lost in these preparatory exercises. To convert the lists of words into mere spelling lessons is altogether to give up what ought to be a most valuable instrument of instruction, for a use that must long previously have been fully answered.
The Appendix is not given as a complete list of the roots that enter into the English Language. It is only for this special work that it has been prepared. The facts, dates, and definitions that are interspersed are calculated, it is hoped, to interest the student. Mere vocables are found to be dry and repulsive; but by adorning the path of learning with the flowers of poetry, and using all available means to amuse, and not merely to amuse but to instruct, we may able to attract the young, and to inspire them with a love of reading, which shall accompany them in their future course, and be an ornament and protection to them through life. In the hope that this work will contribute somewhat to effect this most desirable end, it is now respectfully submitted to the public.
ROYAL NAVAL SCHOOLS,