From the Preface:
This book is designed for a class of learners too young to use the “Grammar” or “Lessons” to advantage, including those who have not yet studied English grammar. While the inevitable drill-book had better be left till they are some years older, I do not see why intelligent children of ten or twelve — as the way was, forty or fifty years ago (1820-1830) — should not learn to know Latin and enjoy it in some of its simpler forms ; which, indeed, seems to me the best possible introduction to a systematic school-course. But, to serve this end, it must be taught, first of all, as a living and flexible tongue not in the abstract principles and method of its grammar; and, in the second place, by familiar use in actual narrative and dialogue not by committing to memory disjointed examples and dry forms. If we consent to regard it as a dead language merely, or study it as if it had no other than an antiquarian or a scientific interest, we cannot long uphold the general study of it at all. An easy and familiar reading knowledge of a language is worth incomparably more, to most students of it, than any supposed advantage in the study of its grammatical theory. These lessons aim to give as much of the grammar as is essential for this, and no more.
The selections which follow have a vocabulary of considerable variety and range ; and the learner who has mastered them all will be prepared either for the severer, method of a classical course, or (if old enough) for entering directly on a line of reading in the masterpieces of classical antiquity.
Cambridge, March 36, 1870.