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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 185),
By LEAVITT & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York.
Books of common-place are the amusements of literature. It is pleasant to have at one's side a wellselected volume, to which he may turn for mentai recreation, when the fatigue of preceding exertion has rendered him unequal to intellectual effort. It is pleasant, also, to have before us the eloquent passages of our favourite authors, so that we may occasionally awake.. and prolong the delightful sensations with which we at first perused them. But the mere power of conferring amusement is not that, which gives to publications of this sort their highest value. To all those, whose constant occupation precludes the possibility of spending many leisure hours in the acquisition of literary taste and knowledge, they may be ren. dered eminently useful.
The present volume is selected entirely from American authors, and contains specimens of American literature from its earliest period to the present day. It is hoped that it may not be found inferior in excellence or interest to any of those compilations which have hitherto embraced only the morceaux delicieuse of English genius.
When we say this, it is without any feeling of national vanity or rivalry. Our wish is merely to furnish a volume which shall correspond in design and execu tion to those which are now so popular abroad, and
TABLE OF CONTENTS.