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As you are now able to read pretty well in plain reading, I propose to write a number of letters to you, concerning the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In these letters I shall tell you a great many things, which you will be very glad to know; and I have no doubt you will read my letters with great pleasure.

I have long thought, that the children of Massachusetts ought to be the best children in the world, because they live in this good land, and have so many advantages; and I trust you will be satisfied, by reading my letters, that I have thought right.

You have already been instructed concerning your duty, and can tell what conduct is

proper almost as well as I can.

You know as well as any body, that the right way to be happy is to be good. You know too, that those children ought to behave best, who have the best means of knowing what their duty is. Now there are very few children in the world, who are so happily situated as the children of Massachusetts; very few, who have so much good instruction as they have. I hope, therefore, that you will be thankful to God for the many and great blessings, which he has given you; and that you will always behave yourself in such a manner as to give your parents and friends great pleasure.

I shall take pains to make my letters pleas ing and useful to children; and as children do not like to read long letters, I shall write short ones; so that no child will have need to leave off in the middle of a letter, because he is tired. But before I write again, I wish you to learn, if you have not already learned, to count a hundred. I wish you also to get some kind person to show you the length of an inch, of a foot, of a yard, of a rod. And I should be glad, if the same kind person would endeavour to teach you concerning the length of a mile. Before I write again, you must learn to answer the following questions. With very

little assistance, you may learn to answer them in a short time perfectly well.


What town do you live in?

Which way is north?

Which way is south?

Which way is east?

Which way is west?

Which way is northwest? southeast? southwest? northeas .

How many inches in a foot?!?

How many feet in a yard ?

How many yards in a rod ?

How many rods in a mile ?

What place, house, or other object, is a mile from the place where you are?


THE Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the same as the State of Massachusetts. A State, or Commonwealth, contains a great many people, living under the same government ; — that is, having the same rulers, and obeying the same laws. Perhaps you do not understand this very well now; but as you grow older, you will understand it better.

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts contains a great many people. You know a hun

dred is a pretty large number, and a thousand is ten hundred. Now there are six hundred and ten thousand people in Massachusetts. If you had eleven barrels full of cents, you would not have as many cents as there are men, women and children in this Commonwealth. The men, women, and children, that belong to Massachusetts, are called the inhabitants of Massachusetts. These inhabitants live in three hundred and eight towns. These towns have not all the same number of people, nor the same quantity of land in them. Some towns have a great deal of land, and only a few hundred people; other towns have a smaller quantity of land, and several thousand people. The quantity of land in Boston is less than that in many other towns in the Commonwealth; but the number of inhabitants is four or five times as large. When we say a town is large or small, we commonly speak of the number of people in it. Some towns in Massachusetts do not contain more than four or five hundred people; others contain a thousand, others two thousand, others three, four, and five thousand. Salem contains fourteen thousand; and Boston, which is the largest of all the towns in the State, contains more than sixty thousand. I shall give you a

particular account of Boston and of Salem, and likewise of many other large and beautiful towns. Indeed, I shall take much pains to make you well acquainted with the Commonwealth. I hope, therefore, you will not fail to study very carefully all the questions you may find at the ends of my letters, till you can answer them with ease and propriety.

What town lies north of the town you are in?
What town lies south? What, east? What, west?
How many towns in the Commonwealth?

How many inhabitants in the Commonwealth?

How many inhabitants in some of the smallest towns?
How many in others?

How many in the largest of all the towns?

What do you mean by inhabitants ?


A TOWN, you know, is a quantity of land, divided into lots, fields, or farms, and having roads and streets, with houses and inhabitants. The town in which you are now living has a great deal of land in it. It is a considerable distance from one end of it to the other. Your mother, or sister, or some other kind friend, can tell you of a person who lives a good way

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