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TO WHICH IS ADDED
A HISTORY OF AMERICAN CONTRIBUTIONS
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.
REV. ROYAL ROBBINS.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1837, by
in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Connecticut.
CASE, TIFFANY AND CO., PRINTERS.
MR. CHAMBERS, in his History of the English Language and Literature, has made a slight reference to American contributions to the language and its literature; yet he seems to have had no design of informing his readers, on the general subject of authorship, in the United States. With the exception of a notice of three American writers, he has confined himself to an account of authors in the British Isles. This exclusion of the productions of American genius from his book, was doubtless in conformity with his original plan of bringing into view the English language and literature, as these are exhibited at home. It is not, perhaps, a matter of surprise, that with this intention, he has nevertheless, embodied in his ‘History,’an account of the writings of the eminent individuals in the United States, whose names appear in his book: but it is justly a matter of surprise that having introduced these, probably by way of exception, he did not enrich his book with a notice of others. The discernment or the candor which admitted that we have so great a philosopher as Franklin, so fine a prose-writer as Irving, and so ingenious a novelist as Cooper, might be supposed also to allow the metaphysical acumen of Edwards, the theological knowledge of Dwight, the poetic fancy of Bryant, or the philological skill of Noah Webster. Perhaps, too, Dr. Channing might have stood some chance of being acknowledged in the ranks of literary, philosophical criticism; Prof. Stuart as holding an able pen in sacred exegesis; and the authors of the 'Federalist' as having written a political classic.
In a work oiherwise excellent, and adapted, according to the intention of Mr. Chambers, to the purposes of education, it has been thought that such a deficiency should be supplied. Or if the omission above mentioned cannot be charged on the author as a deficiency, considering the nature of his undertaking; yet it must appear, that such a work might properly admit the notice of American productions of genius and taste, since these are truly ornaments of the English language, and constitute a valuable portion of the literature which that language contains. With such a view of the subject, the American editor of the present volume,