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The Man Who Made The Spelling-book And Dictionary

The Man Who Made The Spelling-book And Dictionary image
Parent Issue
Day
19
Month
March
Year
1875
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The record of the life and labors of Noah Webster is an entertaiiiing tale, as all uamitives of the struggles of American republicana durins: the infancy of the republie are to us to-day ; and it is certainly as instructivo at any one of the fables in the old spelling books. It is entertaiiiing, because i recalls vividly to the reader's mind tho exciting and picturesque times of the Bevolutionary war and the succeeding . years of confusión ; and it is instrnctive because it teaches quite as forcibly as any work of fiction with an appended moral, that perseverance, sobriety, courage and education are the conditions of hoiiest success. Noah Webster was a representative American republican. While he was a growing boy lic was imbued with the principies which govemed the founders of our country. While he was at ! lege the war of tho Kevolution was begiui. He left his books and shouldered a musket. When he had done what he i could as a soldier, he returned to his studies, and completed his college education as the smoke of battle rolled away from tho field and discovered to the astonished world the young repubhc victorious. He was notrich, and he had to earu the money to pay for his tution. All these things combined to make Webster a democrat of a rigid stamp. He had helped to throw off from lus countrymen the chains of British rule. When he left college he looked about him for some useful occupation, and it occurred to him that he could make America still more independent. Perhaps he was too democratie in this. I Some people thought that, in counseling the disuse of English books and English methods of education, Webstor was advising his eountrymen to cut off their noses to spite their faces, as a good old proverb (of the kind that Dr. Franklin fikedï savs so forcibly. Talking of Dl. Franklin reminds va that tliatcheery oíd I republican was one of Webster's truest Meada and strongest supporters. In i 1783, when the echo of the last gun of the Kevolution had scarcely died away, Webster's Spelling-Book was given to the public. Who does not know Webster's Spelling-Book? When we consider that 50,000,000 of copies of ïthave been sold, and that it is now selling at the rate of a million copies a year, it seems probable that every one knows it. Unf ortunately, the chief mei-it of Webster's Spelling-Book, in the opinión oí a great many sensible persons, was lts author's originality and industry. The spelling book, they thought, taught persous liow not to spell. most ot tüe : boys aud girls who studied it liad to uniesen a part of it taughtthem, wlieiithey became men and women. But whether not we spell theater- t-e-r, ter we nnist reveré the memory of the man v,ho made the spelling-book and afterwarda gave bis lif e to the dictionary. We need not accept Webster's peculiar opinions of orthography and lexicography to appreciato his character as a man and his ; indomitable energy. We still look upon the old spelling-book with reverence. When, together with the English reader, an arithmetic, and an exceedingly small geography, it constituted whole school library, there -was afeeling of awe mingled with our reverence for it. Many a man's spelling lesson was the greatest stumbling blockof thcdaüy journey j ing the early years of liis life's pilgrimage. Then the uncompromising morality of the reading matter in Webster's Spelling-Book made himfeel prematurely that he was very -wicked. He can look back now into the old school-roorn, through the open window that faced the lane, and see the master at his desk with his ferule beside hún, and the diminutive lad standing in a corner, the target for furtivo volleysof paper pellets f rom hisschoolmates, with the dosr-eared spelling-book in his

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus