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MASTER OF BUCCLEUCH SESSIONAL SCHOOL, EDINBURGH.
EDINBURGH: SUTHERLAND AND KNOX.
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.
THE plan upon which this Part of the present work has been constructed, is based upon the principle of rendering the study of English Composition, in its higher branches, practical and interesting. Conceiving that lengthy dissertations have a tendency to fatigue and perplex rather than to stimulate and enlighten the pupil, the Authors have preferred the more direct, and, as it seems to them, the more inspiriting method of exemplifying by Models the manner in which every class of subjects may be treated. In addition to these, numerous Skeletons, in which the heads have generally been adapted to a fair estimate of the pupil's capacity, are submitted for his further encouragement and assistance. The First Book contains an explanation of the principal Figures of Speech, with corresponding exercises, the application of which will be evolved in the course of the pupil's subsequent progress. The Second and Third Books will be found to embrace a great variety of subjects in Morals, General Literature, Science, and History. With respect to the Skeletons for Biographical and Historical Narrative, it may be remarked that, in some instances, the subject is so regarded as to suggest a more excursive mode of treatment than is usually indicated in such exercises. As a means of cultivating the habit of generalization, and thus enlarging the ideas of the pupil, the life of a Columbus, for example, might be viewed less as a history of the individual than as a nucleus for the illustration of the great era, in its various relations and important consequences, with which his name is associated.
Besides the methods usually prescribed for Themes, a new Set of Heads is presented in the Third Section of the Fourth Book, as being, in the opinion of the Authors, more suitable than any of the others to the class of subjects to which they refer. In the Fifth Book, which treats of the Essay, it is believed that the analysis will be of service to the pupil before he begins that branch of composition. Such exercises as those prescribed in the Sixth Book have, in the course of the Authors' own experience, been attended with the happiest results.
The various exercises comprised in this Part of the work have, as in the First, been arranged in conformity with the essential principle of gradually expanding the mind of the pupil, with a view at the same time towards his acquisition of that information which is necessary to his success as a writer. Regarding the number and diversity of the subjects prescribed, in connection with the corresponding Models and Skeleton Exercises, the accomplishment of these objects, together with the satisfactory progress of the pupil in the Art of Composition, may, it is presumed, be not unreasonably anticipated.
The difficulty, in most instances, of obtaining from extraneous sources such Models as were deemed suitable to the exercises, has imposed upon the Authors the necessity of writing them expressly for the present work. Those which are not original are so specified in the Contents.