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RHETORIC AND BELLES LETTRES,
HUGH BLAIR, D.D. F.R.S. EDIN.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF THE HIGH CHURCH, AND PROFESSOR
OF RHETORIC AND BELLES LETTRES IN THE
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
AN ANALYSIS OF ÈÆCH LECTURE,
TEACHER OF RHETORIC AND BELLES LETTRES.
STEREOTYPED FOR G. & C. & H. CARVILL,
No. 108 Broadway.
Southern District of New York, ss.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the 18th day of August, A. D. 1829, in the 54th year of the Independence of the United States of America, G. & C. & H. CARVILL, of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right wliereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit: “Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, by Hugh Blair, D.D. F.R.S. Edin. one of the Ministers of the High Church, and Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the University of Edinburgh. To which are added, Copious Questions, and an Analysis of each Lecture, by Abraham Mills, Teacher of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres."
In conformity to the act of Congress afo the United States, entitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by Securitg the.coples of Mope,'Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of suchcopies during the time thrrein mentioned.” And also to an act, entitled, “ An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled, an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the cogios 5 Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies. shiring: the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts pf designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
Clerk of the Soltherr District of New-York.
The following LECTURES were read in the university of Edinburgh, for iwenty-four years. The publication of them, at present, was not altogether a matter of choice. Imperfect copies of them, in manuscript, from notes taken by students who heard them read, were first privately handed about; and afterwards frequently exposed to public sale. When the author saw them circulate so currently, as even to be quoted in print,* and found himself often threatened with surreptitious publications of them, he judged it to be high time that they should proceed from his own hand, rather than come into public view under some very defective and erroneous form.
They were originally designed for the initiation of youth into the study of belles lettres, and of composition. With the same intention they are now published; and, therefore, the form of Lectures, in which they were at first composed, is still retained. The author gives them to the world, neither as a work wholly original, nor as a compilation from the writings of others. On every subject contained in them, he has thought for himself. He consulted his own ideas and reflections : and a great part of what will be found in these Lectures is entirely his own. At the same time he availed himself of the ideas and reflections of others, as far as he thought them proper to be adopted. To proceed in this manner, was his duty as a public professor. It was incumbent on him to convey to his pupils all the knowledge that could improve them; to deliver not merely what was new, but what might be useful, from whatever quarter it came. He hopes, that to such as are studying to cultivate their taste, to form their style, or to prepare themselves for public speaking or, compesision, his Lectures will afford a more comprehensive view of what relates to these subjects, than, as far as he knows, is to be received from any one book in our: larguage.
In order to render his worki of greater service, he has generally referred to the books which he, consulted, as far as he remembers them; that the readers inight be directed in any farther illustration which they afford. But, as such a length of time has ‘elapsed since the first composition of these Lectures, he may, perhaps have adopted the sentiments of some author into whose writings he had then looked, without now remembering whence he derived them.
In the opinions which he has delivered concerning such a variety of authors, and of literary matters, as come under his consideration, he cannot expect that all his readers will concur with him. The subjects are of such a nature, as allow room for much diversity of taste and sentiment: and the author will respectfully submit to the judgment of the public.
Retaining the simplicity of the lecturing style, as best fitted for conveying instruction, he has aimed, in his language, at no more than perspicuity. If, after the liberties which it was necessary for him to take, in criticising the style of the most eminent writers in our language, his own style shall be thought open to reprehension, all that he can say, is, that his book will add one to the many proofs already afforded to the world, of its being much easier to give instruction, than to set example.
* Biographia Britanica. Article Addisor.
THE Editor of the present edition of Dr. Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, has endeavoured to present the work to the public, in a style which he thinks will meet with entire approbation. The plates from which it is printed, were originally cast for Mr. George F. Hopkins, from a late London copy, and were, in general, found to be very correct; a few errors were, however, on critical examination, detected; but these having been carefully removed, the Editor has now no hesitation in saying, that this is as perfect an edition of the work, as any previously issued from the press, either in this country or in Great Britain.
In addition to its correctness, this edition has to recommend it, a copious collection of questions, which were prepared with the greatest care and attention. The Editor is, however, aware, that this method of teaching has, by some gentlemen of science; been, abjeoted to ;.and.considering the manner in which questions have almost uniformly.boen utjiten, the objection is certainly not without foundation. But that the student may be preserved from the disadvantages arising from using questions unskilfully prepared, and, at the same time, be relieved froni tha. tediousness of studying the work without them, the Editor has been'.careful: so to construct these questions, that the answers which they require : vécessarily include every sentence of the work itself; thus effecting the double purpose of greatly facilitating the recitations of classes, and, at the same time, of compelling each scholar to learn every word of the author.
To the lectures that require them, the Editor has also affixed analyses, which are principally designed to facilitate the studies of young gentlemen at college, and of young ladies at school, who may be sufficiently advanced to pursue this course; and it affords the Editor peculiar pleasure here to state, that they have been used by a number of classes of young ladies, educated by himself, in this city, with entire success.
In preparing these analyses, the Editor has generally followed the natural divisions of the lectures, as they are laid down by the author himself; but from the necessity of making each one of nearly the same length, he has, perhaps, in a few instances, extended the number of his subdivisions beyond their natural length: he presumes, however, that no inconvenience will result to the student from the course which he has pursued, as the omission of such subdivisions as may appear unnecessary, will be attended with no material consequences.
New-York, August, 1829.