« ZurückWeiter »
information, while examining the provision that is made for the intellectual wants of their readers, it must be when they inspect a production that originates in such a quarter. Our readers shall judge how much the expectations we formed on the present occasion were realised, by perusing the following scientific and comprehensive, yet concise and perspicuous
plan of study' relative to geography, as taught at the Royal Military College.
6 PLAN OF STUDY-FIRST CLASS. • Under Remove. Chapters I. and II. are to be learnt by heart, The definitions in chapter I. are to be explained by the Professor.
• Upper Remove. The remaining six chapters are to be studied with maps, together with the divisions of countries in chapter II.
SECOND CLASS. • UNDER Remove.-The preparatory observations and definitions pre: fixed to the problems for the terrestrial globe, are to be learnt ' by heart, together with the twenty-five problems.
Upper REMOVE.-Solutions of problems on the globe.' But from the plan of study' we must remove to the work itself; of which the first eight chapters are appropriated to descriptive geography : these are followed by the • description and use of the terrestrial globe;' and the book closes with the etymology of many terms used in geography.' Chapter I contains geographical definitions ; chap. II general divisions of the four quarters of the globe;' chap. III
general features of Europe;" chap. IV general features of Asia;' chap. V general features of Africa ;' chap. VI
general features of America ;' chap. VII British dominions ; chap. VIII. general features of Great Britain and Ireland.' The general features of Europe' are, Land; islands, peninsulas, capes, isthmuses, mountains :—Water; oceans and seas, lakes, gulfs and bays, straits and channels, rivers.' And the general features of Asia' are given in just the same order,-islands, peninsulas, &c. on to rivers. This method possesses the peculiar advantage of making the general features of all the four quarters of the globe' exactly alike. The fact is, that the six chapters of general features' are simply enumerations, and these very scanty. Thus under chap. VII we have · English and Welsh lakes, Windermere, Ulswater, Coniston, Keswick, Bala, omitting Whittlesea mere, by far the largest fresh water lake in England, as well as Ugg-mere, Ramsey-mere, Benwick-mere, Trundle. mere, Yare-mere, and several others
It is doubtless highly proper, that a young military officer should know nothing more of English lakes than is contained in the preceding quotation of less than two lines; and it is equally proper that every other part of this "Synopsis' should in like manner be little else than a meagre and defective list of names. What military man can wish to know more of any place than its name? at least till he arrives at it. What can it signify to him with regard to Sardinia, Corsica, Elba, Lipari isles, Sicily, Malta, Corfu, Lefcathia, &c. whether they be of different sizes, or all nearly of the same, of easy or of difficult access, well or ill fortified, or not fortified at all ?
From these observations, suggested by a gaze at the 'general features' of the book, we descend to a few particular remarks.
Page 4. 'A Sound is a strait, so shallow, that it may be sounded.' This is truly ingenious. Some of our etymologists have been so shallow as to derive the word sound, employed in this sense, from the Saxon word sund ; so named a fremitu maris, from the roaring or noise of the sea, occasioned by the increased rapidity of the current according to the proximity of the opposite shores : but' they bad not enjoyed the opportunity of studying under this Marlow Professor,
Page 6. Little Tartary is placed in the empire of Turkey. In favour of this, our learned author can quote all the geographers who published from the beginning to the middle of the eighteenth century. And although Little Tartary, the Crimea, and all their dependencies, were ceded to Russia at the treaty of Asoph in 1783, and have from that time been incorporated with the Russian empire under the name of Taurida, yet that is only a circumstance, too trivial to be regarded by philosophic geographers.
Page 7. Mogul empire :' chief town, Delhi.' No doubt, Delhi was the metropolis of what was once the Mogul em. pire. What though Nadir Shah, in 1738 and 1739 effected the complete destruction of the Mogul empire, and reduced Delhi to a mere heap of ruins! What though Delhi now retains no vestige of its pristine grandeur, but is merely the capital of a province of the same name in Hindustan proper! These are only circumstances, and cannot be of any importance to the military men of the present day; especially to those gentlemen who are educated at Marlow for the East India service. It is equally obvious that these gentlemen cannot want to learn any, thing respecting Bengal, Madras, or the Coast of Coromandel, nor wish to know more of Hindustan than they will be taught at p. 17, where it is named among the peninsulas. The consistency of our geographer is eminently conspicuous, in omitting the West India islands in his account of British dominions;' and to say of an author, that he is consistent, is surely no small praise.
We shall now glance for a few moments af the definitions and observations that relate to the terrestrial globe. Here we are told, (p. 38.) that every place may be conceived to have its own peculiar meridian.' Some unlearned', geographers would doubt this, and would tell us, that all places, falling upon one and the same circle that intersects the equator at right angles, have one and the same meridian. Our author has divulged some other curious discoveries respecting meridians. He affirms, (p. 40.) that · longitude is the distance of any place, east or west, from a fixed meridian:' earlier geographers asserted, we believe universally, that the longitude of any place was the distance of its meridian from another meridian, assumed as the first, that distance being measured upon the equator: in future, we trust, they will never indulge in such lax definitions,
At p. 41, again, our professor talks of opposite meridians, while other authors, who, like this gentleman, say that the meridian place is a complete circle, will not allow that there can be any such things as opposite meridians,
To conclude, we shall quote from the last page a specie men of our author's abilities as an etymologist.
• Zenith, (samt, Arab, semita, Lat.) track or way in the heavens above our heads. The word azimuth (assamt, Arab.) is the same with zenith, except in having the article al prefixed to it: almacanther is another term for which we are probably indebted to the improvements in science, made under the caliphs. It is derived either from catar’ pera. gravit terram, sive per sèries" alii post alios venerunt, or from “ cútr," tractus terræ.'
It is quite needless to descant upon the erudition and acumen displayed in this passage, or upon its scientific accuracy. No future geographer, we trust, will have the effrontery to give a different derivation to the word azimuth, to pretend that it means any thing else than al-zenith, the zenith, or to assert tható zenith' is not a 'track, but a point over head.
Lest we should be thought interested in commending this most curious performance, we will only add, that we know of no publication of equal magnitude, in which the reader will meet with so little of what he would naturally expect to find, or find so much that he would meet with no where else. We have heard of some riyal authors, who were vain enough to think they could prepare a better Synopsis of Geography than the present; but if by better they mean. more original, we defy them; and we trust the specimens we have advanced, (though they are not a tenth part of the instances we might have adduced in proof of the author's abilities and attainments) will effectually tend
• To fool their preparation, and to conquer
Art. VIII. A Letter on the Genius and Dispositions of the French Go
vernment, including a View of the Taxation of the French Empire. By an American recently returned from Europe. Philadelphia printed. London reprinted. 8vo. pp. 253. Price 6s. Longman and Co.
1810. WE E shall perform a very pleasing part of our duty, in recom
mending this able and interesting pamphlet; which possesses every claim to the public attention, that can arise from extensive knowledge, original information, political science, enlarged and accurate views, brilliancy of style, an important subject, and an useful tendency. The strength of our recommendation will not be thought excessive, by any unpre· judiced reader of these pages. Nor indeed will prejudice itself be found capable of resisting their influence, except among the blindest and most infatuated of its dupes.
It has often been observed, as not a little extraordinary, that a partiality for the present ruler of France should still exist in any order of men amongst us.
The admirers of the French revolution might have been expected to be the very first to cover his name with execrations. It would seem natural for the friends of liberty, of commerce, of humanity, of peace, of democratic institutions, to regard the bitter enemy and base violator of every thing they hold in veneration, as the fittest object of antipathy and abhorrence. To have favoured the republican general, would seem the surest pledge of hatred to the imperial despot. The very 'reverse of this, however, is true in the North American commonwealth ; and those who are acquainted with the state of opinion in the various classes of English society, must be aware that it is in some measure the case even in England. A sort of idolatrous affection for the French emperor seems to pervade a large class of the American population; and the same spirit, though in a weaker form, undoubtedly exists, in a small and decreasing number of our countrymen.
The solution of this paradox is not perhaps very difficult, though it may be somewhat different in particular instances, and require a more extensive developement than this cursory notice will allow. In some men, the predilection arises from an attachment to the French cause; an attachment produced by various principles which have not since been excited to destroy it, or, as it often happens, which are absolutely unequal to the task. It was remarked of a certain personage, by one who had studied his character, The tutor of that young man must take care what he beats into his head, for he will never be able to beat it out. The fire which has once fixed the colours of an enamel-painting, is said to be incapable of detaching them,
Those, however, whose attachment to the French interest was less enlightened and philanthropic, who were rather the enemies of England than the friends of France, whatever else they may be accused of, must be acquitted of inconsistency. It seems that some men, moreover, are dazzled with the fierce lustre of unrelenting energy, uninterrupted success, and unlimited power; as the splendor of a conflagration be.. guiles us into an oblivion of its horrors. In many instances, the partiality may be of a different kind : a despotic power, may still be the destroyer of despotisms, and find favour with those who prefer a new institution of tyranny to an old one, from a persuasion that its oppressions will be less intolerable and its foundation less secure. The most dangerous cause of partiality, however, is a belief, that even the present influence of such a power is salutary, that its exercise is beneficent and its subjects happy. This belief, which is to a great extent the effect of the partiality, as well as the cause,
a fictitious ground which it first creates and then occupies, -is certainly maintained by a considerable number of politicians, especially of the lower kind, both in England and America. But whatever be the origin of the sentiment, its prevalence, in any free nation, would be a dangerous if not a fatal disease. It would corrupt the principles of the people, if not destroy the independence of the state or the constitution of the government. To be enamoured of what is vicious, is to be tolerant of vice. We regard the pamphlet before us as a very safe and very effectual antidote. Its principles may be received, and its purposes answered, without involving any acquiescence in abuses or misrule. It will tend to expose the true character of the French dominion, and remove many erroneous and pernicious. ideas respecting the domestic prosperity which it has been sup. posed to promote. The views it gives of the dispositions of France towards America, and the light in which it exhibits the British character, warrant the most sanguine expectations of its efficacy, in removing the prejudices of our brethren across the Atlantic, and restoring cordiality between two nations united as well in interest as in origin. We shall endeavour to give such an account of it, as may at' once extend its sale and diffuse its sentiments.
The name of Mr. Walsh, an American gentleman connected with the legation from his own government to that of France, has been so extensively whispered, as the author of this pamphlet, that we presume there can be no impropriety in mentioning it. The form adopted is that of a letter, and the person addressed is said to be a gentleman who enjoys the highest reputation as a statesman and an author', both in Europe and America. It was published at Philadelphia last De