Historical Dialogues for Young Persons (1806-08)
Copies of Historical Dialogues for Young Persons are quite rare. A complete set of the volumes can be found in the Bodleian Library, Vet.A6. e.2478; Cambridge University Library, Syn.7.80.82; and Ball State University Library, L 824 H425h. The title page, Dedication, and Advertisement for Vol. 1 appear below; vols 2 (1807) and 3 (1808) can be found among the collections of the Pforzheimer Library, NYPL.
—— “The sage historic Muse
Should next conduct us thro’ the deeps of time.”
“Then would we try to scan the moral World,
Which, tho’ to us it seems embroil’d, moves on
In higher order.”
Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul’s Churchyard;
And J. Mawman, Poultry.
Are presented to
THE YOUTH OF MY FAMILY,
WITH A VIEW TO WHOSE
INSTRUCTION AND ENTERTAINMENT
THEY WERE ORIGINALLY
BY THEIR AFFECTIONATE FRIEND,
“Absent or dead, still let my name be dear,
A sigh the absent claim – the dead, a tear.”
Most persons must have been convinced, either from observation or experience, of the disinclination generally felt by young persons, more especially of the female sex, for the study of history: its complexity and general nature, to say nothing of the details of commerce and finance, which can interest only where their utility is felt, render it dry and unattractive at a period of life, when the affections and imagination are the most lively and active. The indulgence, also, in lighter and more captivating studies, and the facility with which works of this nature are acquired, make an attention to mere facts wearisome, if not disgusting.
The design of the volumes now offered to youth, is, by a selection of interesting narratives, scenes, and events, from popular historical productions, to overcome this inaptitude: to lead the mind to reflect on the facts presented, without which the knowledge of them is but of little value, has likewise formed no inconsiderate part of the plan. Also to give general moral principles, unconnected with system or sect,  arising out of the nature of society and of man, and founded on the stable basis of humanity.
A clear, uniform, and not ungraceful style has been attempted, such as might give to the work a degree of originality, and preserve it from the humiliating character of a mere tame and servile compilation.
No extraordinary researches* have been made, since they were not conceived necessary to the purpose, which was to present what was attractive, rather than what was new, and to lead young readers to the sources whence their entertainment was extracted.
The work is not designed for children, to whose capacities the reflections, generally arising out of the subjects, would scarcely be found level; but for youth, from the age of twelve years and upwards; and also, as a recreation, or exercise, for the elder pupils in schools, where the author has been encouraged to hope, by several of their respectable conductors, that it may prove an acceptable present.
*Where the stories are selected from popular works, found in all good libraries, and in the hands of every one, it has not been deemed necessary to state authorities. In other cases, they are uniformly marked.