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Canadian History Readings
Edited and Published by George U. Hay (1900)


The history of Canada is full of incidents of romantic interest, of the details of personal bravery and heroic self-sacrifice, of the struggles of individuals to found for themselves homes amid the wilderness, and to obtain that measure of self-government which helps to establish character and independence. The records of these events, so stimulating and full of interest to the youthful imagination, have not been available to the extent that one might wish. The ordinary school text-book of Canadian history is shorn of much of that interest so attractive to the young. It is crowded with details of facts, that have to be condensed in order to provide a book of a certain number of pages of an unbroken uniformity. There are many books which present with more fullness the events of the story of Canada, but they do not come within the reach of the children in our schools. To make up for this want, a series of Leaflets will be published by the EDUCATIONAL REVIEW, which will present the leading events and persons in our history in such a graphic way as to secure interest and at the same time give instruction. It is hoped that the effort to provide, at a low price, supplementary reading in Canadian history for schools will meet with such encouragement at the outset that a series of Leaflets, covering all periods of our history, will be the result. Many leading writers of Canada have promised assistance, and the names of those who are contributing to the first number should be a guarantee of what may be expected in the future. The aim, first of all, will be to make history instructive. There is no need to sugar-coat such history as ours by trying to make it fascinating as a story. That is only an attempt to deceive children. Let  them be presented with history as history. Let the events tell their own story. Let children, when possible, be brought into contact with original documents, with the historians of the past, and there will soon be a change from the passive hearer of a dull history recitation to the earnest, diligent enquirer after further light.

This Series will make it possible for schools with limited library privileges to do history work in the spirit and method of our best equipped institutions, by introducing them to the original sources of our history, and by awakening a spirit of thoughtful investigation, not only in this study, but in literature and science as well. The passages from original authorities will be so selected as to excite the interest and pique the curiosity of intelligent boys and girls, and stimulate them to further research in the sources of our surpassingly rich collection of historical material. Thus, an enthusiasm will be aroused, a love for Canada, for its history, for its institutions, and a keen sympathy with the perils and sufferings of those who have helped to make it.

History so studied will be a happy mean between the delightful amusement of a "fascinating story" and the dry husks of details to be memorized from text-books. If history has not suffered from the former, it has certainly suffered from the latter, in consisting too often of a dreary mass of facts, dates and events with no more coherence than beads upon a string. Another point that the Series has in view, aside from the value of the historical matter contained in it, is the advantage to students of coming in contact with the style of some of our best Canadian writers, and of historians like Champlain, Parkman and others, thus suggesting to them the true way of writing, as well as studying the events of history.

It is upon these lines, then, that the present Series is to be issued, not to take the place of any text-book, but for subsidiary use in our schools, and to aid teachers and students who have limited access to books and documents relating to the history of Canada.

G. U. HAY.

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