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It would appear a paradox that, though works on the English Language are generally received with favour by the public, the study of Composition should make little or no progress in our educational institutions. But it is certainly true, that few of our Grammar Schools for boys have yet made English a distinct subject of attention; and where it is admitted, the study is pursued in so desultory and imperfect a manner, that it produces but little fruit. In those Ladies' Schools, indeed, where any pretensions are made to impart sound general knowledge, English Composition holds a more prominent place; but even there, it is not always regularly studied, and is frequently given only as an occasional exercise.
The recent exposures of the ignorance of candidates for the Diplomatic Service, in the very rudiments of their own language and other branches of elementary education, would sufficiently warrant anyone in the attempt to supply a partial remedy for such a state of things; and, in the hope of contributing to the furtherance of so desirable an object, the writer offers the present work to the consideration of the public.