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LONDON: J. SWIFT, 55, KING STREET, W.

PREFACE.

At the time when the Penny Reading movement began I happened to be residing in the West of England, and had ample opportunity of judging of the advantages it offered. I had noticed that Literary and Mechanics’ Institutes had very generally departed widely from their original province and design. The lectures had degenerated into entertainments of a mild form-sham scientific displays with showy commonplace experiments, exercitations for the honour and glory of little local dignitaries, or the “tumblings "_to use an expressive figureof professional jesters. Nothing was to be gained from these so-called lectures, save the useless knowledge that potassium burns

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