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District Clerk's Office.

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty-third day of June, A. D. 1823, and in the
forty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, WILLIAM B
FOWLE, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right
whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, to wit:-"The American First
Class Book; or, Exercises in Reading and Recitation: selected principally from Modern
Authors of Great Britain and America; and designed for the use of the highest class in
public and private schools. By John Pierpont, Minister of Hollis-street Church, Boston:
Author of Airs of Palestine, &c." 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 an Act, entitled, "An Act supplementary to an Act,
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 men-
tioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching
historical, and other prints."
JNO. W. DAVIS, Massachusetts.
Clerk of the District

Gift of ma





Printed by Lewis and Penniman,

Bromfield Street.


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THIS book has been compiled with a special reference to the public Reading and Grammar Schools of this city. It is the result of an attempt to supply the want-which has long been a subject of complaint among those whom the citizens of Boston have charged with the general superintendence of their public schools, as well as with those who are appointed to the inmediate instruction of them-of a book of Exercises in Reading and Speaking better adapted, than any English compilation that has yet appeared, to the state of society as it is in this country; and less obnoxious to complaint, on the ground of its national or political character, than it is reasonable to expect that any English compilation would be, among a people whose manners, opinions, literary institutions, and civil government, are so strictly republican

as our own.

But, though the immediate design of this compilation was a limited and local one, it has been borne in mind, throughout the work, that the want, which has been a subject of complaint in this city, must have been still more widely felt; especially by those, in every part of our country, who are attentive to the national, moral, and religious sentiments, contained in the books that are used by their children while learning to read, and while their literary taste is beginning to assume something of the character which it ever afterwards retains.

How far the objections, which have been made to other works of this sort, have been obviated in the present selection, it is for others to determine. I willingly leave the decision of this question to the ultimate and only proper tribunal the public; to whose kindness, as shown towards one of my efforts, in another department of literature, I am no stranger, and for which I should prove myself ungrateful should I not acknowledge my obligation.—Į only hope that the kindness of the public towards the past, may not have led me into presumption and carelessness in regard to the present.

In as much, however, as this book departs, in some particulars, from most others of the same general character, it may be expected that the author should assign his reasons for such deviations. These relate principally to the omission of some things that are usually deemed essential to a schoolreader; and to the arrangement of the materials of which this is made up.

First, then, it may be urged as an objection to this, as a compilation that is to be used by those who are learning to read, that it consists entirely of exercises in reading and speaking, to the exclusion of those rules, the knowledge of which is indispensable to any considerable proficiency in either.

I have observed, however, that that part of school-books which consists of Brief Treatises upon Rhetoric, Rules for Reading, and Essays on Elocution, is, almost uniformly, little worn :-an evidence that it is little used; in other words, that it is of little use. I have construed this fact into an oracular monition not to devote to such Rules, Treatises, or Essays, any part of the present work.

The truth probably is, that reading, like conversation, is learned from example rather than by rule:-No one becomes distinguished, as a singer, by the most familiar knowledge of the gamut: so, no one is ever made an accomplished reader or speaker by studying rules for elocution, even though aided


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