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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.


THE "Guide to English Composition" is divided into four parts: the First Part contains forty-five Themes, in which the Moral Inference or Conclusion alone is omitted: the Second Part contains thirty-. seven Themes, in which the Introduction and Historical Illustrations are likewise omitted: the Third Part contains thirty-seven Themes, in which every division is omitted except the six or eight Reasons, and the Quotations; and the Fourth Part contains. eighty additional subjects for exercise, in the English, French, Italian, and Latin languages. The four parts, therefore, contain 200 Themes more or less. developed.

Experience has shown the author of these outlines, that the young can furnish an apt anecdote from history more readily than they can invent a similitude, and that both are more easily supplied than a pertinent quotation; hence, the divisions omitted

in the several parts are not from caprice, but according to a regular gradation of difficulties.

The plan of construction throughout is similar to one of the suggestions made by Mr. Walker in "The Tutor's Assistant;" and the publishers sincerely hope that this "Guide" may be the means of supplying a lack which has been long felt by intelligent teachers, and of raising English composition in schools from the puerile repetition of a hackneyed fable, or the random "commonplaces" of a moral essay, into an art which has for its object the analysis, illustration, development, and expression, of solid thought.


THIS book may be profitably employed in several ways, according to the capacity of the pupils in whose hand it is placed.


If placed in the hands of very young children, just able to write, the plan of proceeding might be somewhat after the following suggestions:-Let two or more of them be called up by their teacher, and be required to read aloud the theme from beginning to end. Let the different ideas be explained and amplified viva voce; then let them return to their places with the book, and be required to write upon a slate every point of resemblance they can think of between one or more of the SIMILES, and the subject of the Theme. Thus, in Theme I., "Patience and Perseverance will overcome Mountains," the habits of bees, ants, birds, coral insects, &c., will suggest numerous points of illustration to the youngest child, and the jotting of these will rapidly develop the mind, exercise ingenuity, provoke knowledge, and teach both English grammar and orthography in the most agreeable and best way. Let the child have the free use of any books-let every help and facility be given—and remember that the art of selecting is itself an exercise of judgment of no inconsiderable value.


If those in whose hands the book is placed are advanced beyond the age of mere childhood, the plan of operation would be somewhat after the following manner:-Let the class be called up, and be required to read aloud the theme from begin

ning to end. Let the books be then closed, and let the master question the pupils upon what has been read: thus,

What is the meaning of the proverb, “ Patience and Perseverance will overcome Mountains?"

Can any of you tell me a reason why patient diligence will surmount difficulties?

Can you suggest any other reason?-a third, a fourth, &c. a simile and so on to the end.

Let all the assembled class speak in answer.

Having gone through the entire subject in this manner, let the master himself read aloud to the assembled class the several reasons, csmmand the pupils to leave their books behind, go to their assigned places, and produce, in a given time, a theme with at least half the number of reasons, and one simile, historical illustration, and quotation, together with a conclusion, by way of moral or application.

N. B. Let the pupils have the free use of any books except the "Guide" itself, and be allowed to excerp to any length, provided they satisfy the conditions of the theme, and acknowledge the source whence the selection is taken.


the same plan may be pursued, only let them be required to give the full number of reasons.


The most difficult exercise will be to fill up the outlines and incorporate the similes, historical illustrations, and quotations, with the argument itself. In this case the book may remain in the hands of the writer; and it will not be needful for the master to trouble himself by any interference, but simply to examine the production after it is completed.

N. B. Certain contions have been suggested on page 184, which should be diligently regarded.

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