|This site reprints excerpts from this 1867 fifth grade school text book. [Full text is online.] It should be read in conjunction with that era's high school graduation requirements at our
dumbed-down education background site.
Test yourself / others. Read the Table of Contents. Identify each subject, author. Was your own / their education at 1867 5th grade level?
THE demand for a greater variety of reading exercises suitable for the more advanced classes in our public schools and academies, has led to the preparation of the present volume, THE UNION FIFTH READER; and the title of the previously so-called Union Fifth Reader has been changed, and that book will hereafter be styled THE UNION SIXTH, OR RHETORICAL READER.
In the preparation of the present volume, a wide range of selections has been made in order to present every variety of style, and the best examples for the exercise of Rhetorical reading, and such as are peculiarly adapted to the expression of every tone and modulation of the human voice, whether grave or gay, humorous or pathetic, simple or declamatory.
Of these exercises, both of prose and poetry, a large portion has been selected from speeches and writings of recent date, and which, of course, have never been used in any other reading-book. These lessons breathe forth the sentiments of loyalty, and tend to inspire the spirit of patriotism, aod a deeper devotion to the cause of our republican institutions, and to the welfare of our wbole country.
The principles of Elocution, which have been cxplained and illustrated by examples in the fore part of the Union Fourth and Sixth Readers, and which have been tested by actual experiment in the schoolroom by thousands of experienced teachers, have been adopted in the present work. These principles should be thoroughly studied and understood by the pupil in
order to express the various sentiments [beliefs, viewpoints], presented in the Reading Lessons, in the most elegant and appropriate manner.
That the pupil may clearly understand the subjects, all the classical terms, and such words and phrases as seem to require it, have been explained. Wherever allusion is made to proper names, such biographical or historical account has been given of them, in brief notes, as a thorough knowledge of the subject seemed to demand; and, wherever there is a liability to mistake, the pronunciation of the words has also been given, and, in some cases, their analysis and definitions.
In the preparation of reading-books for the youth of our country, it is of the utmost importance to place before their minds lessons not only of literary accuracy, but also those of a high moral character. In these respects, the present work, it is believed, will be found to contain nothing at least objectionable, even to the most fastidious.
Nearly thirty years ago [about 1838], the author published his first series of reading-books. Since that time, he has contributed to this department of literature TWENTY-TWO YOLUMES of lessons for reading and speaking. These books have been more extensively used in the schools of this country than any other; and several of the lower numbers have been translated into the dialects of other nations, and are now in use in the schools of foreign countrios; an evidence of the appreciation in which they are held by educators abroad, and of their adaptedness to the purposes of juvenile instruction.
That the UNION FIFTH READER may serve to promote the great cause of education, create a lively interest in the reading class, improve the moral and intellectual powers of the youth of our country, and merit that favor which has been shown to the other numbers [volumes] of the Union Series, has been the aim of the author in its preparation.
NEW YORK, July, 1867.