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THIS volume has been constructed on the presumption that those who may use it can already read fluently and intelligently.
The Editor's purpose has been not to give formal courses of instruction in various departments, but to afford the means of cultivating the opening mind of youth, and, at the same time, to give a certain completeness and firmness to previous acquirements, by introducing, in a new and fresh form, the subjects partially handled in the earlier lesson-books of the Series. The treatment is designedly free from technicalities, in so far as it is scientific ; sacrificing to attractive method and style all attempt at exhaustiveness, and even at instructiveness, in the more pedantic sense. The object is to interest boys and girls in all those subjects which form the staple of the mental life of an educated man, by speaking to them on what may be regarded as representative 1 departments of knowledge in a way which is suitable to their years, and likely to promote a taste for intellectual pursuits.
The only subjects which have been treated technically are Human Physiology and Botany, and this for two reasons—(1.) Because it is difficult to advance beyond the vaguest and most elementary statements in these departments of science, without adopting technical language and treatment. (2.) Because at the age to which advanced classes have attained, it is desirable that, while Literature and Social Economy are a common ground for all, some one department of science should be taught as a discipline, and, therefore, with the strict use of precise and technical terms. With this view Human Physiology and Botany have been selected as offering a suitable alternative to different classes of teachers and pupils.
1 The Sciences of Observation, Experiment, and of Organic as well as of Inorganic Nature, are represented in Natural History, Physics, Human Physiology, and Botany, which severally deal with the Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral world. The Useful Arts or Technology, is represented by the lessons of Professor Archer. The Moral Sciences find practical illustration in the Social Economy and the lessons on Law and the Constitution, while they also occupy a large share of that portion of the book devoted to the æsthetic cultivation of the pupil—the Literary Selections.
As in the Scientific, so in the Literary Lessons, the Editor has endeavoured not to over-estimate the capacity of intelligent pupils. But the necessity of introducing interesting reading has not been allowed to exclude those passages from our Classics which offer to the Teacher a valuable means of conveying instruction or developing taste.
The lessons on Law and the Constitution and the Literary Extracts, have been compiled by the Editor, and are intended to be read along with the scientific chapters : the other subjects have been handled by men each distinguished in his own department, viz., Professor Tyndall of London, Professor Kelland of Edinburgh, Professor Archer of Liverpool, Mr. Patterson of Belfast, Dr. Struthers of Edinburgh, Professor Balfour of Edinburgh, and Mr. Shields of the Birkbeck School, Peckham. These names are a sufficient guarantee to every teacher.
EDINBURGH, May 1860.
The Publishers have to thank Messrs. J. W. Parker and Son, and Messrs. W. Blackwood and Sons, for permission to reprint extracts from Works published by them, viz., Mr. Kingsley's VILLAGE SERMONS, and Mr. Caird's RELIGION IN COMMON LIFE.
LESSONS ON ZOOLOGY.
By DR. STRUTHERS, Lecturer on Anatomy, Edinburgh.
VEGETABLE PRODUCTS AND THEIR USES.
By PROFESSOR ARCHER of Liverpool :-
for Fuel and Metals; Machinery in providing Water; Machinery
LESSONS ON BOTANY.