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UTILITY is the chief design of the present volume; whether it may conduce to that end the reader will judge. The author had long observed, with regret, that a degree of mystery (not to say total ignorance) prevailed, with respect to the origin and signification of many of the various particulars noted in the Calendar; and conceiving that this dearth of information arose from the want of a work, having some claim on the attention of the young, he was induced to the task of compiling the following CONVERSATIONS for their use.
On the best manner of conveying instruction to the youthful mind, much has been said; but it is generally admitted, that when entertainment is blended with instruction, the results are uniformly favourable. This method appeared to be particularly desirable on the present occasion; and the form of dialogue has therefore been chosen, as affording opportunities for digression, by which a relief is given to the less interesting details of historical facts.
In tracing the sources of the various festivals, both political and religious, allusion has occasionally been made to the many superstitious rites of our ancestors : but while their errors are treated with the consideration that a more enlightened age seems to require, their many virtues, amiable display of selfdenial, and sacrifices of life and fortune in support of Christianity, have been duly estimated.
By the young, therefore, it is presumed, this work may be perused as monthly lessons ; when it is hoped that the bright examples brought under their notice, will excite their emulation, and induce them to follow in the paths of religion and virtue : while to those of more advanced years, it will serve as a book of reference--a Christian chronology-whereby they may remove that obscurity, which, owing to the present almost enigmatical state of the Calen
dar, extends even to the best informed. To this end some explanatory Notes, and a copious Index, have been annexed; by referring to which, every subject treated of will be readily found.
In the production of such a work, much being evidently due to previous writers, it was deemed superfluous to distinguish any individual authorities from whence information has been collected; but as Brady's excellent library work, entitled “ Clavis Calendaria,” first suggested the present undertaking, and has contributed much to his materials, the compiler conceives it just to make due acknowledgment of his obligation. Brand's Popular Antiquities, together with numerous anonymous sources, have been consulted, and every exertion used to render the work complete. Notwithstanding which, the author is aware that it might have been more ably executed; having, however, been zealous in his desire to attain the object stated in the commencement of this introduction, he will esteem himself well repaid for the employment of his leisure hours, if he shall be found to have directed the attention of his young friends to subjects of great interest, but which have hitherto been concealed from their view in obsolete and voluminous works.