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3 > Page 3 of History of the McGuffey readers / by Henry H.Vail ; with three portraits.

fot'nmetG of Ctactcete The literature of the English language is rich in material suited to this intent; no other language is better endowed. This material is fresh to every pupil, no matter how familiar it may be to teacher or parent. Although some of it has been in print for three centuries, it is true and beautiful today. President Eliot has said, "When we teach a child to read, our primary aim is not to enable it to de- cipher a way-bill or a receipt, but to kindle its im- agination, enlarge its vision and open for it the avenues of knowledge." Knowledge gives power, which may be exerted for good or for evil. Char- acter gives direction to power. Power is the engine which may force the steamer through the water, character is the helm which renders the power ser- viceable for good. Readers which have been recognized as formers of good habits of action, thought, and speech for three-quarters of a century, which have taught a sound morality to millions of children without giv. ing offense to the most violent sectarian, which have opened the doors of pure literature to all their users, are surely worthy of study as to their origin, their successive changes, and their subsequent career. The story of these readers is told in the specimens of the several editions, in the long treasured and time-worn contracts, in the books of accounts kept by the successive publishers, and in the traditions which have been passed down from white haired men who gossiped of the early days in the school- t3,