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BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the eleventh day of
June, in the forty-seventh year of the Independence of the
United States of America, Noah WEBSTER, of the said Dis-
irict, hath desposited in this Office the title of a Book, the right

whereof he claims as Author, in the words following-to wit:
6 Letters to a young gentleman commencing his education : to which is sub-
joined a brief history of the United States. By Noah Webster, Esq.”

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.”

CHARLES A. INGERSOLL,

Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me,

CHARLES A. INGERSOLL,

Clerk of the District of Conneclicul.

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CONTENTS.

Page.

LETTER 1.

Instructions respecting Moral and Political conduct-
Observations on Duelling,

5
LETTERS II, III, and IV.

Respecting accuracy in speaking and writing the English

language-Low state of Philology, illustrated by ex-

amples from the best authors,

21

LETTER V.

On conjectures and theories in Philosophy-Brown's

theory of cause and effect,

56

LETTER VI.

On the question whether Moses was the writer of the

several books of the Pentateuch,

6.3

LETTER VII.

On the Divinity of Christ, and the nature of the Atone-

ment,

79

LETTER VIII.

A brief History of our Ancestors, from the earliest

times : exhibiting a concise view of the Japhetic set-

'tlements after the Dispersion, and the migration of

our ancestors from Asia, to their establishment in the

West of Europe,

94

LETTER IX.

General view of the character, manners and religion of

our ancestors, in their uncivilized state,

112

TO WHICH IS SUBJOINED,

A Summary History of the discovery and settlement of

America—particularly of the settlement of the Eng-
lish colonies—the formation of the colonial govern-
ments-Wars of the colonies-Political and Ecclesi-
astical affairs-Diseases and physical phenomena-

LETTERS

TO A

YOUNG GENTLEMAN

COMMENCING HIS EDUCATION.

LETTER I.

My Dear Friend,

AS you are now commencing a course of classical educa. tion, and need the guidance of those who have preceded you in the same course, you cannot but receive with kindness, and treat with attention, the remarks of a friend, whose affection for you, excites in him a deep solicitude for your future reputation and happiness. I feel the more desirous to furnish you with some hints for the direction of your studies, for I have experienced the want of such helps myself; no small portion of my life having been spent in correcting the errors of my early education.

It has been often remarked, that men are the creatures of habit. The rudiments of knowledge we receive by tradition; and our first actions are, in a good degree, modelled by imitation. Nor ought it to be otherwise. The respect which young persons feel for their parents, superiors and predecessors is no less the dictate of reason, than the requirement of heaven; and the propensity to imitation, is no less natural, than it may be useful. These principles however, like many others, when pursued or indulged to an extreme, produce evil effects; as they often lead the young to embrace error as well as truth. Some degree of confidence in the opinions of those whom we respect, is always a duty-in the first stages

es.

of life, our confidence in parents must be implicit--and our obedience to their will, complete and unreserved. In later stages of life, as the intellectual faculties expand and the reasoning power gains strength, implicit confidence in the opinions even of the most distinguished men, ceases to be a duty. We are to regard their opinions only as probably correct; but refer the ultimate decision of this point to evidence to be collected from our own reasonings or research

All men are liable to err; and a knowledge of this fact should excite in us constant solicitude to obtain satisfactory reasons for every opinion we embrace.

As men are furnished with powers of reason, it is obviously the design of the creator, that reason should be employed as their guide, in every stage of life. But reason, without cultivation, without experience and without the aids of reyelation, is a miserable guide; it often errs from ignorance, and more often from the impulse of passion. The first ques. tions a rational being should ask himself, are, Who made me? Why was I made? What is my duty ? The proper answers to these questions, and the practical results, constitute, my dear friend, the whole business of life.

Now reason, unaided by revelation, cannot answer these questions. The experience of the Pagan World has long since determined this point. Revelation alone furnishes satisfactory information on these subjects. Let it then be the first study that occupies your mind, to learn from the scriptures the character and will of your maker; the end or purpose for which he gave you being and intellectual powers, and the duties he requires you to perform. In all that regards faith and practice, the scriptures furnish the principles, precepts and rules, by which you are to be guided. Your reputation among men ; your own tranquillity of mind in this life ; and all rational hope of future happiness, depend on an exact conformity of conduct to the commands of God revealed in the sacred oracles.

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