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LADY ELEANOR FORTESCUE,
WHO TRANSLATED THE GREATER PART, AND MATERIALLY
ASSISTED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE WHOLE,
OF THE PRESENT WORK,
THE RESULT OF THEIR JOINT LA BOURS,
IS GRATEFULLY INSCRIBED,
BY HER AFFECTIONATE NEPHEW,
In offering this volume to the public, I think that, perhaps, the best introduction I can give it will be to state what originally led me to take this step.
Having heard, while at Geneva, in the autumn of 1844, of the remarkable success which had attended the system pursued by the Père Girard in the schools under his direction in the neighbouring Canton, at Friburg, I eagerly read the work in which he described it.
The book struck me very much, and as it seemed calculated to be of use, no less to those engaged in Home, than in School Education, I procured a number of copies for various friends, who all agreed in praising it, while several of them expressed their regret that it should remain out of reach of the numbers, who, if not wholly ignorant of French, are yet unable to read it with facility.
As, however, there appeared no probability of any one else attempting the translation of the work, and its adaptation to the use of English readers, I determined to undertake it myself, and was not long in obtaining the valuable assistance to which I have alluded in the Dedication.
There are, however, others to whom I feel much,
though not equally, indebted. Without the aid of my friend, the Rev. J. S. Howson, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, I know not how I could ever have accomplished the adaptation to our own language of the principles laid down in the original.
To Mrs. Chadwick and Mrs. Drummond my best thanks are also due for their kindness in looking over the MS. before its publication, and for the judicious suggestions they made to me.
I would not be supposed, in any way, to have adopted the metaphysical views of the Père Girard; they are probably the same in which he was originally educated, and it is needless to say that since that time, several other systems have successively appeared, which have been more or less generally received; but the good Father's views, such as they are, so completely pervade his book and are so intimately blended with his practical recommendations, that to alter or even omit them would involve almost re-writing the whole.
These metaphysical mistakes, if I may venture so to call them, in no degree interfere with the usefulness of his practical recommendations, which not only seem founded on reason, but, according to the most satisfactory testimony, appear to have successfully stood the test of long experience; and though the chief value of this little work undoubtedly consists in these, yet to me its greatest charm lies in the delightful picture it presents of the Author's piety, benevolence, and delicacy of feeling.