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scarcely fail to win its way to the acceptance and confidence and growing estimation of those for whose use it has been so considerately prepared. It comes forward as an exceedingly well-timed assistant to the discharge of the hallowed functions of those whom God hath 'set in families. Within the most convenient compass it embodies a really large mass of sound and sanctified good sense on the various topics of which it treats. It is seasonable, suitable, practical, adapted, as it is intended, to befriend parents who are to educate their children for heaven. Ăs a vade mecum, replete with hints, principles, suggestions, cautions, rules, encouragements, we cannot conceive of any Christian father or mother who would not be enriched by its possession. The position of the author in the midst of a splendid city population gives him peculiar advan. tages for estimating and portraying the evil influences which beset parental exertion from that source, and enable him to speak as an instructed monitor on the gaieties, modishness, and follies that under a specious guise war against the soul.
The Prefatory Address of the American Editor is in the happiest vein, and we cannot perhaps speak in more laudatory terms of the volume itself than to say that it is worthy of such an exordium. No one on reading the whole will find that there is any want of keeping between the rich preludium and the brief but pithy sequel.
17.—The School Library, published under the sanction of the
Massachusetts Board of Education.
This enterprize is one of momentous consequences. A judicious selection of books, which are to constitute a large part of the reading of the children, and we may add of the parents too of a State,-a selection made with a discriminating literary taste, an accurate apprehension of the wants of the community, and a regard to sound principles of religion and morality may be not only one of the strongest influences in elevating the poor and informing the ignorant ; but by raising the general standard of thought and of attainment, may raise the whole body of the people insensibly but surely to higher degrees of refinement and cultivation. The greatness of the scheme seems to have been fully appreciated by the framers of it; and they have carefully guarded against any abuse of the vast powers which have been committed to their hands.
A large portion of the works which are to constitute this library are to be original productions by men of well known literary and scientific character, made expressly for this collection; or standard works revised by responsible and suitable persons, and adapted, by whatever changes may be necessary, to the purposes of it. Those of the first kind will probably be the largest number. Every book, before it can occupy a place in the Library, must be approved by each member of the Board of Education, gentlemen who are elected to that place, with regard to their taste, their knowledge of the people, their acquaintance with the business of education, and their sound discretion. The names of those gentlemen are a sufficient guaranty that no unworthy volume will be offered to the public. The names of the gentlemen whose pens have been engaged to prepare different works for this collection are another and sufficient guaranty. We notice among them that Dr. Robley Dunglison is to prepare two volumes on Human Physiology; Prof. Silliman, one or more on Chemistry ; Prof. Olmsted, a popular treatise on Astronomy ; Dr. Jacob Bigelow, two on the Useful Arts; Judge Story, one on the Constitution of the United States; etc. etc. etc.
The Library when complete is to consist of two series, of fifty volumes each, one in 18rno. of 250 to 280 pages a volume ; the other in 12mo. of 350 to 400 pages. One of them is to be a juvenile series. Ten volumes (more perhaps, but we are not aware of it) have been published. These are the Life of Columbus, by Washington Irving, revised by him and enlarged for this edition ; Paley's Natural Theology in two volumes, with wood cuts, and Selected Notes from Brougham and others, arranged by Dr. Elisha Bartlett; three volumes of Lives of Eminent Individuals, celebrated in American History, with portraits; these are selected from Sparks' American Biography; The Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, by Rev. Henry Duncan, of Scotland, edited, in four volumes, by Rev. F. W P. Greenwood of Boston. These works are clearly of great value. Placed in the hands of intelligent youth, they will impart knowledge and kindle thought, and stimulate inquiry. They will make labor and thrift intelligent. They will aid every effort that is made in any way and any where, to elevate the moral and social character of our people.
In looking over these volumes we were struck with the singularly infelicitous account given in his Life of Vane, by Rev. Mr. Upham, of the doctrinal faith of Mrs. Hutchinson. No one who understands the spirit, and especially the theological spirit of New England in her day, and who has studied the documentary evidence in the case, could easily, we think, imagine that her doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost was just modern Unitarianism, an indwelling of the moral virtues. Such blemishes may here and there perhaps be detected, but they do not materially impair the value of the whole.
There is one defect, which some may consider an excellency, in the plan of the Board. All works more directly religious, than those which treat of morals and of natural theology are excluded. We fear that the state of public sentiment in Massachusetts is such as to require it. Yet we cannot but believe and hope that the dread of sectarianism will ere long be found to have been officious in this thing, and that men will bear to have their children read works of theology which may not in every respect harmonize with their own judgments. We regret to have it so gravely implied that party differences in religion are so fierce among us.
The publication of this library is the serious enterprize of a state, guarded, ordered, and controlled by the best wisdom of the state. We know of no similar collection, that can be compared with it, for pureness and for valuable information. It is published under the superintendence of the Board, by Marsh, Capen, Lyon and Webb, 109 Washington-street,
18.—The School District Library, published by Harper and
Brothers, 82 Cliff-street, New-York :-embracing History,
Education, etc. The preceding notice of the “School Library," published under the sanction of the Massachusetts Board of Education, has been furnished us by a literary friend in that state, in whose good sense and accurate discrimination, on such a subject, we have the highest confidence. We have therefore inserted it with pleasure, and would commend it to the careful attention of our readers. The enterprise is highly creditable to the state, and to the individuals who have commenced it.
Such a notice, however, of the laudable endeavors of Mas. sachusetts to enlarge and elevate the sphere of Commonschool Instruction, reminds us that it may be our duty to advert, in connection with it, to the progress of a similar enterprise in another state. “The School District Library," by Messrs. Harper and Brothers, of New York, has been for some time before the public. Their first preparation of a School Library was commenced as early as 1835, and embraced SECOND SERIES, NO. III. VOL. 1.
a first and second series, of from ten to twenty volumes each. Since that time they have much enlarged and improved their plan. The Library now embraced under the general title given at the head of this notice consists of a First Series, of fifty volumes, and a Second Series, of forty-five volumes, already printed and bound in a neat and uniform style, and a Third Series, now in the progress of publication.
It appears to have been the aim of these enterprizing publishers to adapt their preparation to the recent provision of the state for the improvement of Common Schools. This provision appropriates to each school district a sum sufficient for the purchase of a library, more or less extensive. They have sought also and obtained the counsel of the Superintendant of Common Schools, of the State, (at present the Hon. John C. Spencer,) and his able advisers. The first and second series are accordingly accompanied by the unqualified recommendation of that gentleman, whose character and ample qualifications to judge on such a subject will give to his opinions great influence with the Trustees and Commissioners of Common Schools throughout the State.
Here then is another endeavor to provide for the reading of the mass of the population embraced in the school districts of an immense Commonwealth. This endeavor, however it may have originated, has become, like that of Massachusetts, "the serious enterprise of a State,” through its constituted officers for such purposes. We agree with our correspondent in contemplating it as an enterprise of momentous consequences. It proposes to itself a duty of the highest responsibility and the greatest difficulty. It ought therefore to be stimulated by an energy adequate to its full accomplishment, and guarded by all the salutary checks of sound discretion and practical morality.
The object of such an enterprise should be to provide such books as are adapted by the variety and interest of their topics and the style in which they are discussed, to allure the people to the pursuit of knowledge, and which shall, at the same time, inculcate and enforce the principles of the Christian religion. It is not enough that we exclude from the Libraries, procured for our School districts, books which avow and defend infidel and irreligious principles. Nothing should be retained that is, in this respect, even equivocal. It is time that this were understood by politicians, and publishers, as well as by the Christian ministry. It is believed by the inost intelligent and sagacious among us, of all professions, that the only security for the permanent continuance of a healthy state
of morals in any community is in the religious principles of the people. Every department of Education, therefore, should be adapted to the inculcation of truth ;—not scientific and intellectual truth only, but religious truth, which is in harmony with all the truths of nature and of science, and without which the best developments of the human mind can never be attained.
We have not ourselves compared the laws of Massachusetts and New-York, in regard to the securities which they afford for the procuring of School Libraries of the best moral tendency. Of one thing, however, we feel assured. It is that that library will ultimately be preferred and will secure to itself the most lasting success, which conformns with the most firmness and decision to the principles above stated. The books in all these libraries which lay claim to the public patronage must be examined and tried by these principles. It is the duty of the periodical press thus to try them, and for ourselves we hope not to be remiss in this duty. It is a Christinn literature for which we propose to labor, in all the departments of education, from the common school to the highest seminary of learning. Not that we desire to see every book written about religion. But as the goodness of God pervades all his works and ways, so would we have piety towards him pervade all our learning. Nor would we plead for a sectarian litera. ture. We will join hands with sober minded Christian men of all classes in the promotion of intelligence and virtue.
We confess that we are not prepared to express an opinion of all the books contained in “Harper's School District Library.” We have been favored with the possession of only a very few of them, as they appear in these series. A catalogue of their subjects and authors only is before us. Most of these are familiar to us, as among the most instructive and useful books in our language for juvenile and even for adult reading. The selection, as a whole, appears to be judiciously chosen and well adapted to the object proposed. We name the fol. lowing as among the ninety-five volumes which constitute the first and second series ;-Life of Washington, by J. K. Paulding, Esq.,-American History, by the author of American Popular Lessons ;— American Revolution, by B. B. Thatcher, Esq. ;--The Principles of Physiology, etc., by Dr. Combe ;Celestial Scenery, etc., by Dr. Dick ;-Palestine, or the Holy Land, by Rev. Dr. Russell ;--Improvement of Society, etc., by Dr. Dick ;—The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings, by Abercrombe ;-Life and Works of Dr. Franklin ;~The Farmer's Instructor, by the late Judge Buel ; The Pursuit of Know.