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children of both sexes, to educate them, at an early age, in the manners of Civil Society, and to eradicate prejudices and animosities arising from different religious or political creeds, which, as History teaches, have, in other countries, finally led to strife and bloodshed.
5. The Course of Instruction imparted to pupils in the Public Schools is complete. It comprises not only the branches necessary to the ordinary pursuits of life, but also Sciences, Languages, Music, Calisthenics, and other accomplishments well calculated to develop the physical powers of the Mind and Body.
6. But the principal characteristic of the Public Schools, which cannot fail to strike the visitor with wonder, is the admirable order and discipline which prevails therein. The docile submission to authority, close application to study, polite behavior and silence observed by pupils, even of a tender age, is a marvel which exceeds ordinary belief. And yet no coercion is used-in fact, none is necessary; for, conscious of their duty, pupils submit voluntarily—and not “like dumb-driven cattle”--to lawful authority, discipline and study.
7. Thus, these newly-born children of the Republic do early arise to the full dignity of Free-Manhood, and nobly sustain the character and name of the Great Mother Country; and thus, do they completely refute the charge of Inveterate Prejudice, that “the Public System of Instruction is the natural parent of Disorder, Ignorance and Evil.”
8. Hence, the Free Public Instruction justly forms the pride of the Nation, as it is, in fact, its best ornament; and being intimately connected with its welfare, it imposes on the Government a strict duty, as well as gives it a full right of exercising over the same a constant watchful care.
9. In order, then, to cherish and promote still further a system 80 full of vigor and life, the present work has been written, in hopes that it may also serve as a guide and source of reference,
not only to the Teacher and Pupil, but to the Graduate also, the Member of the Legal Profession, the Preacher, and the Political Speaker.
10. The Author has divided the whole subject of Literary Composition into three books, with a design of dividing the whole course in three years, according to the system observed by some renowned Lyceums; it may, however, be finished in two, in which case the first and second book may be studied in the first, and the third in the last year, as the Directors of Instruction shall deem expedient.
11. The method pursued by the Author in developing the subject of Composition, is both the synthetical and analytical. The former is necessary to teach the theory, the latter the practice of the art; and as these are both indispensable to the scholar, so are also the two methods, as the sequel will show.
12. It is evident that theory, or the speculative knowledge of an art, is necessarily complex; hence, nature demands that its acquisition should proceed orderly from the simple to the compound, which method is called Synthetical. Practice, on the other side, consists in the execution of the rules of an art, and in the critical examination of the work after it has been finished, which latter part is called Analysis. A young pupil, therefore, who wishes to learn the theory and practice of composition, must follow both the synthetical and analytical method.
13. According to the above principle in regard to the present subject, practice comprises three parts; the first is the execution of the precepts by composition; the second is the critical examination after it is finished; the third is a similar examination of some other writer's composition.
14. These three parts the student must observe, but in a different order. In the first place, after he has well learned the rules and precepts of the Art, he must begin by a critical examination or analysis of some good author's composition; for, in
this manner the rules will be practically illustrated, and therefore better and sooner understood, since the axiom is, “The way by precepts is long, but by examples is short.” In the second place, the pupil must put in practice the rules and precepts which he has learned, by making a composition of his own, at first by imitation, and subsequently by invention. Lastly, he must criticise or analyze his own composition, alone if he can, or with the teacher if he cannot, in order to see whether he has observed faithfully the proper rules and precepts, and to make the necessary corrections.
15. According to this—which the author believes to be the true system of learning the art of Composition-he has compiled this work; hence, after the principles and rules of Composition have been expounded, three and sometimes four and five exercises are prescribed for the pupil. The first is the analysis of a piece or passage of some distinguished writer, already prepared and made easy by the author. The second consists of a similar analysis of some other passage, at the option of the pupil or teacher, on which the work of analysis is left entirely to the scholar. The third consists in the work of composition by the student, in which he will test his ability to execute the rules he has learned. To these exercises, a fourth is sometimes added; namely: the correction of some faulty exercise. The fifth exercise-the critical examination of his own composition by the pupil—is not always prescribed at the end of a subject; as that must be observed as a general rule.
16. On the exact and complete performance of these exercises, the progress of the pupil in the art of Composition will principally depend.
17. But as the work of composition is not simply a collection and right disposition of materials, but is principally the work of Invention, and this must be confessed is the most difficult part, for young students especially-in which, however, books are gen
erally defective—so, in order to assist the learner, the author has placed after each principal subject, a method, or praxis, by which the intellect and imagination may acquire ideas necessary to originate a part or the whole of a Literary Composition.
18. Some directions which regard teachers, the author has thought more expedient to indicate in suitable places during the course of this work; as, also, to make certain special remarks on the subject of Belles-Lettres, and Oratory, at the beginning of each 'respective book.
19. For the purpose of illustrating rules and precepts, especially on Oratory, many examples have been taken from Latin Classics—First, because, by universal consent, they are the masters of Literature, and Oratory in particular; second, because their examples explain the rules better than any others that could be found ; third, because many of them are probably new to the pupil, never as yet having been produced in the English language on the subject of Composition.
20. In composing this work, with the exception of the examples from Latin and English Classics, the Author has received very little aid from other preceptors on the subjects treated herein. Their definitions, divisions of various subjects, precepts and rules, were to be, in a great measure, rectified, altered, supplied and adapted to the American School-System.
21. Whatever merit of originality this work may possess, the Literary Public may better judge by comparing it with others of a similar kind which have appeared both in this, and the other Continent.
22. If the Public and Private Institutions of Learning of the United States of America, and more particularly those of the STATE OF CALIFORNIA—whenee this Treatise has emanatedshall derive benefit from the Author's work, he will have attained his object, and will consider himself amply repaid for his labor.