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Another important feature of the collection is the introduction of those masterpieces of oratory - long excluded from books of this class, though now rendered appropriate by the new phase of public opinion,which advocate the inalienable rights of man, and denounce the crime of human bondage.
Aware of the deep and lasting power which pieces used for declamation exert in moulding the ideas and opinions of the young, it' has been my aim to admit only such productions as inculcate the noblest and purest sentiments, teaching patriotism, loyalty, and justice, and firing the youthful heart with ambition to be useful, and with heroic devotion to duty.
The text of the extracts has been made to conform to that of the most authentic editions of the works of their authors. Some pieces which have heretofore been presented in a mutilated form, are here restored to their original completeness. Where compression or abridgment has been necessary, it has been executed with caution, and with strict regard to the sentiments and ideas of the authors.
Fully convinced that elaborate treatises on elocution more appropriately form separate publications, nothing of the kind has been included in this volume. A summary of practical suggestions to teachers and students was thought to form a more useful introduction.
For the sake of artistic beauty in the page, as well as for the convenience of the student, the notes and explanatory remarks necessary for the proper understanding of the pieces, have been thrown together at the end of the volume, and so arranged that reference to them can be easily made.
This work, the preparation of which has been a recreation rather than a labor — an agreeable diversion from the daily routine of a laborious office,- is the embodiment of the experience and observation of twenty-five years, with reference to this description of literature. It originated in a desire to contribute something to the furtherance of the right education of the young men of my country, and the extent to which it promotes this object, will in my estimation, be the measure of its success.
Boston, July 4, 1864.
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