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71 > Page 71 of History of the McGuffey readers / by Henry H.Vail ; with three portraits.

Western and Southern papers after the death of one of the authors. There is general recognition on the part of the writers of these articles that while the books served well their purpose of teaching the art of reading, their greatest value consisted in the choice of masterpieces in literature which by their contents taught morality, and patriotism and by their beauty served as a gateway to pure literature. One editor, who used these books in his school career, said, "Thousands of men and women owe their wholesome viewG of life, as well as whatever success they may have attained to tbe wholesome maxims and precepts found on every page of these valuable books. The seed they scattered has Vyelded a mil- ilon-fold. All honor to the name and memory of this excellent and Useful man." One of the wise mern of the oJden time cared not who wrote the laws if he might write their songs. Among a people devoid of books the folk-songs are early lodged firmly in the mind of every child. They influence his whole life. The modern schoolbooks- particularly the readers -furnish the basis of the moral and intellectual training of the youth in every community. The McGuffey Readers, from their own peculiar inherent qualities, retained their hold upon the schools until in some states laws were passed which in their operation caused schoolbooks to be regarded as commodities estimated almost solely up- on the cost of paper, printing and binding. The value of these material things can easily be ascer- [71]