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FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS.
HARVEY GOODWIN, M. A.,
LATE FELLOW AND MATHEMATICAL LECTURER
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL & CO., AND GEORGE BELL.
GALILEO is accused of having adopted the conversational form in his physical treatises, in order that he might be the more free under the disguise of his interlocutors to praise his own discoveries. Without caring to undertake a complete defence, I can easily suggest a more charitable reason for his having expounded his views in the form of a dialogue. Galileo might feel, indeed must have felt, a freedom of explanation, and a facility in putting difficulties and solving them, when he adopted the dialogue, of which the greater stiffness and dignity of an ordinary treatise might not seem to allow and certainly we must admit that he has been singularly happy in bringing out and explaining the various points of his subject in an easy and entertaining manner.
It was probably the example of Galileo's dialogues, which suggested to me the possible advantage of introducing the conversational element into school-books on Mechanics. I knew, however, that a mere conversationbook could not be made to convey the subject in a form such as the student requires; I knew that the fundamental propositions must be given in that plain stern form in which they are usually presented; yet I thought that the dialogue might be introduced as subsidiary to the common method; and, finally, I determined to attempt an elementary treatise founded upon the union of the two. The following book, therefore, has been composed upon