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362
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
to accelerate and expand its power. It would seem that the vast beds of coal which have slept for centuries in the gloomy recesses of the earth, could have little to do with the progress of knowledge. But these are now dragged from their repose, and compelled to lend their power to the manufacture of books. Hundreds of steam presses are at work on both sides of the Atlantic, throwing off countless reams of newspapers, pamphlets and volumes of every form, rilled with every species of literature. A single printer in Scotland had a few years since forty thousand volumes of the various works of Sir Walter Scott, in the press, at one time. Three millions of a single tract, by Hannah More, were published in her lifetime. Books to the value of a million and a half of dollars go from the Eastern to the Western States, annually. From these scattered hints we can form some faint conception of the stupendous progress of improvement in the various arts devoted to the circulation of knowledge.
But while we are impressed with the advan­tages we possess over the people of former ages, let parents consider one thing—that books are human productions, and that some are good and some bad. Every volume has within it a spirit, and imparts, to those who commune with
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