Abbildungen der Seite

Uils of moral, statistical, and religious geography should occupy a more prominent place than they generally do in our systems of geography and scholastic courses on this subject. The statistics of our own country, of the various states of Europe, and particularly of the United States of America, which arc very imperfectly known, and respecting which there exist numerous misconceptions and unreasonable prejudices on this side of the Atlantic, should be particularly detailed. The moral and mental degradation of the heathen world; the missionary stations which have been fixed in different parts of it for counteracting the influence of barbarism and idolatry, and diffusing the light of divine knowledge; the various success which has accompanied such undertakings; and the philanthropic enterprises which are now going forward in different countries for the moral renovation of mankind, should be depicted to the view of the young with all the vividness and energy which the importance of such subjects demands, in order to allure them to the consideration of ■uch objects, and to secure their endeavours in promoting them. It is a striking and melancholy feature in the records of our race, that almost the whole of history and historical geography is occupied with details of the miseries of mankind, produced by ambition, avarice, and injustice, the tyranny of despots, and the desolations of war; and that scarcely a bright spot can be perceived on the surface of the globe, and amidst the gloomy records of past generations, on which the eye of benevolence can rest with unmingled delight Hence it has happened, that we have scarcely a history of the operations of pure philanthropy, except in the instance of our Saviour and his apostles. And now, when philanthropic plans have been formed, and benevolent enterprises arc carrying on, our geographers and men of science, •o long accustomed to blaze abroad the exploits of ambition and malignity, will scarcely condescend to notice or record the operations by which the moral world is beginning to be enlightened and regenerated. This is not what it ought to be, or what we ought to expect from those who are engaged in the diffusion of knowjothxe. All knowlege should be directed so as to have a moral bearing, and to stimulate the mental activities of the young to those benevolent exertions by which the best interests of their Sellow-men, in every land, may be promoted.

Geographical compendiums for the use of schools should be clear and comprehensive in their details, and enlivened with occasional picturesque descriptions of human scenery ami of natural and artificial objects, which may be illustrated with neat engravings. They should also abound with questions and exercises of every description connected with

the subject, to afford scope for the industry of the pupil, and for the exercise of his judgment and reasoning powers. But however excellent the plan and details of any school-book may be, it ought by no means to be considered as superseding the more familiar illustrations of the teacher, and the conversational lectures alluded to above. No man can be a successful teacher of this science, but he who has a familiar and comprehensive knowledge of all the subjects connected with it, and who can, at any time, illustrate its principles and facts by viva me descriptions and elucidations, which always make a deeper impression on the young mind than can be produced by tha mere perusal of the best treatises. In working tho usual problems on the terrestrial globe, (some of which are of little practical importance,) due care should be taken, that the pupils be not guided merely by the rules given for the respective problems, but that they understand the reasons why they tum the globe in this or that direction—elevate the pole to a certain degree above the horizon—or set tho horary circle to a given hour. In problems which have a reference to the difference of time at different places, they may be taught to perform the operations by a mental calculation, and to ascertain, in the course of a few seconds, what nations have noon, midnight, morning or evening, at a given hour, or summer or winter, spring or autumn, on a given day or month. In commencing the study of geography, a plan or map of the town or village in which the pupils are taught, along with the adjacent country, and some of its prominent objects, might be laid before them, as introductory to the study and explanation of maps. On this map, they might be directed to attend to the cardinal points of the compass, the boundaries of the town, the streamlets or rivers, ponds or hills, and the bearings of tho different streets, lanes, public buildings, and other objects, from each other; and various questions and exercises in reference to such objects, might be proposed, which would excite a spirit of observation, and prepare them for understanding maps of countries on a larger scale. A map of the county, and then a map of the state or kingdom, might next form the subject of attention, which would prepare them for the study of the particular quarter of the globe in which they reside, and of all the other countries, seas, and oceans, dispersed over the surface of tho earth. This plan is evidently in conformity to the order of nature, although directly opposite to the order generally pursued.*

• Since writing tho preceding parts of this work, I have been favoured, through the liberality of a respected literary corres|iondent in the stale of CfinneetifHt, North America, with a variety of school-books on geography and other subjects

Section VII.—Geology. Geology is a science which, of late years, has excited the attention of philosophers, naturalists, and theologians; and, in consequence of the researches of its votaries, many striking and important facts in relation to the structure of the earth and the changes it has undergone, have been brought to light* Many of the facts which this science discloses have a tendency to convey to the mind impressions of the wisdom, and particularly of the power of the Creator, in those stupendous forces which produced the convulsions and changes which have taken place both on the surface and in the interior strata of the globe. They ore likewise applicable to various practical purposes. A minute and circumstantial knowledge of the various facts which have been ascertained by geologists in different countries, may be of extensive use to those employed in mining operations, when searching for coal, fossil salt, or metallic veins, and might prevent many ruinous speculations to which ignorant projectors are frequently subjected. In exca

which liave an extensive circulation in the NewEngland States. Among these are the following: — 1 Wood bridge's "System of Universal Geography, on the principles of comparison and classification 5th edition. 1833." This work, comprised in a thick 12mo. volume of 500 very closely printed pages, comprehends an immense mass of information on physical, civil, and statiatical geography, Including descriptions of a great variety of facts in relation to the geological structure of the earth. It is illustrated by nearly a hundred engravings of natural and artificial objects; such as sections of rivers, canals, comparative elevation of mountains, cataracts, races of man, geological sections, cities and public buildings, which both enliven and elucidate the descriptions. Appended to this work, is a lurid and judicious cotnpend of "Ancient Geography, as connected with Chronology,** including sketehes of sacred history, mythology, and the early history of mankind, by Mrs. VVillard—a lady who appears to have made considerable researches into the different departments of geographical science, and to have promoted the cause of general education. Both these works are admirably calculated for the higher classes in schools, and abound with a great number of questions and exercises, for stimulating the attention and ingenuity of the young. Had this volume been sparsely printed, according to the fashion that prevailed 20 or 30 years ago, like "Playfnlr's Geography,*' and other works, it would have occupied two or three quarto volumes of 1500 pages. —2 Wondbridge's *' Rudiments of Geography! on a new plan,'* 18mo containing 208 closely printed pages, and about 170 cuts, and comprising a very considerable portion of information on the different departments of geography. It may be considered as pirtly an abridgment of the larger work noticed above, and partly an introduction to it. The cuts, though small, are sufficiently vivid and distinct to convey an accurate idea of the objects they are intended to represent. It has passed through seventeen editions, comprising more than 200.000 copies. Mr. Woodbridge is a corresponding memher of the Geographical Society of Paris, and Editor of the American "Annals of Education;'* and a gentleman who appears to be quite familiar with all the departments of geographical, physical, and mathematical science. His geographical works are rich in information in respect

vations for the purpose of forming canals, tun nels, and rail-roads—operations which an now going forward in almost every part of the civilized world—a knowledge of this subject could not fail to be highly beneficial to all parties engaged in such projects. Besides, the study of this science is intimately connected with Scripture history and theology, and its facts, when viewed in a proper light, have a tendency to elucidate certain portions of the Sacred writings, and to illustrate the harmony and the connection which subsist between the visible operations of the Creator and the revelations of hi s word. For these reasons, it might be expedient to communicate to, the young a general idea of some of the leading facts connected with geology, without perplexing them with any of the speculations of pliilosophers, or the theories which have been formed to account for geological phenomena; leaving them to deduce their own conclusions at a future period, when their knowledge of such subjects shall be increased, and their judgment matured.

to every topic connected with his general subject, and have received the approbation of the Geographical Society of Paris, and of many scientific characters on the continent of Europe, particularly Humboldt and Fellenberg —3 "A Practical System of Modern Geography," by J. Olney, A. M.— an 18mo. of 288 pages, closely printed on a plan somewhat similar to Woodbridge's Rudiments, illustrated with pearly a hundred engraving*, and containing a very considerable portion of useful information. This work has passed through fifteen editions.—4 "The Malte-Brun School Geography," by Mr. Goodrich, a large 19mo. volume of nearly 300 pages, and containing about 133 engravings. This work contains a larger quantity of letter-press than the two former, and a great variety of facts in relation to civil and descriptive geography, but Is not so full as Woodbridge's volumes in Its details of physical and statistical geography. Fifteen thousand copies of this work were sold in the space of 18 months from the daie of its first publication. The Jttlase* belonging to these works are beautifully executed, and contain several of the projections I have suggested above, besides sets of maps as usually delineated, along with a variety of useful descriptions and statistical tables. In the Atlas which accompanies Olney's "Practical System," the population of the respective towns and cities can be ascertained at * glance, hy means of certain characters and fieures connected with their names. Hall's "Child's Book of Geography,*' and Peter Parley's "Geography for Children," each of them containing about a hundred pages, in a square 18mo *iz1,. and embellished with a variety of maps and cuts, appear well calculated to interest the minds of youth, and to convey a general idea of the leading features of the world. Some of the above works, with a few alterations, might he published with advantage in Great Britain. They contain ntore particular maps and descriptions of the United States than are to be found In geographical wnrka published on this side of the Atlantic A comprehensive and useful compend of geography for the use of schools, might be compiled fr^m the volumes now mentioned, by selecting the d**srrir>lions, exercises, and more interesting portions of each, and combining them into a volume calculated for the meridian of our own country.

A brief description might be given, in the first place, of the solid parts of the earth, of the various strata of which they arc composed, and of the classifications which geologists have made of the different kinds of rocks. These rocks are usually arranged under the following classes:—1. Primary rocks, which compose the grand framework 6f the globe, which form the most lofty mountains, and extend to the greatest depths yet penetrated by man, and below all the other formations. The substances of which such rocks are composed, are granite, gneiss, mica-slate, hornblend, granular quartz, &c., but never contain sait, coal, petrifactions, or any remains whatever of organized substances; and therefore are supposed to have been formed before the creation of animals or vegetables.—2. Transition rocks, which include those rocks that lie over the primitive, and are composed of the larger fragments of the primitive rocks. They contain graywacke, transition limestone, slate, sandstone, &c . Shells are sometimes found in them, but no remains of land animals or vegetables. It is supposed they were formed next after the primitive rocks, and after the creation of some kinds of organized beings.— 3. Secondary rock*, which lie upon the transition rocks, and appear like deposites, composed of grains which once belonged to primitive rocks. The principal secondary formations are coal, chalk, secondary limestone, oolite, millMont, grit, &c., which contain petrifactions of

animal and vegetable substances.—4. Tertiary itrata, which consist of beds of clay, sand, marl, and the newer limestone deposites. These formations are considered as newer than the secondary, and contain abundance of fossil shells and plants, along with the bones of quadrupeds and fishes.—5. Volcanic and basaltic rocks, which owe their origin to volcanic fire, and are sometimes forced up to the surface of the earth in a melted state, by the action of subterraneous heat. The principal volcanic rocks are basalt, lam, and greenstone.—6. Alluvial strain, which include deposites that are made of broken strata, consisting of sand, mud, clay, pebbles, &c., which are formed by the currents of rivers, and other causes now in operation.

These classifications of rocks and formations might be illustrated by such figures as in the annexed cut, which is taken from Woodbridge's "System of Universal Geography," where Fig. 1, represents the strata of the earth, P the primary strata, T transition, S secondary,

Fig. 1.

Fig. 2.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]

A alluvial, B basaltic, V vein, b bed. Fig. 2, represents a section of the earth between latitude 40o and 45o north. In conjunction with such pictorial representations, a cabinet of materials should be procured, containing at least the following: i|uartz, mica, talc, feldspar, limestone, argillite, or slate, hornblend, gypsum and chlorite, which form what has been termed the alphabet of geology. Besides these, specimens should be procured of basalt, gneiss, greenstone, lava, porphyry, graywacke, and other substances mentioned above. About thirty specimens in all are sufficient for illustrating the classes of geology. Without an exhibition of these, in connection with geological descriptions, no definite ideas can be conveyed to the mind of the student on this subject.*

Section VIII. Ustronomy.

Astronomy is a science which has for its object to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies, their various aspects, and the facts w hich have been ascertained in the planetary system, and throughout the region of the fixed stars. This is a subject of considerable interest and utility. It is intimately connected with geography, navigation, agriculture, commerce, chronology, and other arts and sciences, and has lent its aid to promote their improvement The study of it is likewise attended with many pleasures and advantages in a moral, intellectual, and religious point of view. It expands the range of the human intellect, and unfolds to our view tnc most striking displays of the perfections of the Deity, particularly the grandeur of his Omnipotence. It sets before us objects of overpowering magnitude and sublimity, and demonstrates the unlimited extent and magnificence of the universal empire of the Almighty. It has a tendency to raise the soul above grovelling pursuits and affections, to inspire hope, reverence and humility, and to excite to the contemplation of objects far surpassing every thing we behold in this terrestrial scene, and worthy of the dignity of immortal minds. In short, it prepares the mind for the employments of the future world, and demonstrates that the Creator has it in his power to distribute endlessly diversified streams of felicity, among every order of his intelligent offspring, throughout all the revolutions of eternity. It is a subject, therefore, on which a certain portion of information should be communicated to the young, and to every human being.

In communicating to the young instructions on this subject—instead of commencing with definitions of astronomical terms, and a vague description of the solar system, as is frequently done,—the pupils should be gradually prepared for acquiring a general knowledge of

* Books on geology have, of late years, increased both in number and in the interesting nature of the dtsruaitons they contain. The names of Bakewell. Macculloch, Delaboche, Buckland.Ure, Lyell, Ac. are well known as cultivators of this department of natural science. The new edition of Mr. LyeN'l " Principles of Geology," in 4 vols. 12mo. lately published, is perhaps one of the moat luminous and attractive works which has hitherto been published on this subject—thouch perhaps somewhat deficient in whnt relates to the primary and secondary rocks, and embodying certain statements which some will be apt to consider as scarcely consistent with the records of sacred history. Dr. Comstock, nf Hartford. Stale of Connecticut, has lately published, in a duodecimo vol. of about 310 pages, an interesting work, entitled, •'Outlines of Geology," which contains a popular and comprehensive view of this subject, and is peculiarly adapted to the instruction of general readers.

the principles of the science, by being taught to observe, with their own eyes, the motions and general phenomena of the heavens. The first object to which their attention might be directed, is the apparent motion of the sun. On some clear evening in the month of June, (in our northern latitude.) they may be placed in a situation where they may behold the setting sun, and be desired to take particular notice of such objects as mark the place of his going down. Next morning, or the first clear morning afterwards, they may be placed in the same situation, and, having first requested them to point to the place where the sun disappeared the evening before, their attention should next be directed to the point of his rising, and to mark the terrestrial objects in the direction of which he appeared to rise. The difference between the points of his setting and of his rising should be particularly impressed upon their minds. On this day, too, about twelve o'clock, they should be directed to attend to the sun's meridian altitude. These observations may either be accompanied with certain appropriate remarks, or the pupils may be left, in the mean time, to ruminate upon them, to consider them simply as facts, which may be afterwards adverted to, and to form their own conclusions. Similar observations may be made from the same spot about the 23d September, and particularly about the middle of December, when the direction of the rising and setting sun, his meridian altitude, and the apparent diumal arc he describes, will appear very different, when compared with the observations made in the month of June. Their attention might next be directed to the phases and motions of the moon. About three days after new moon, when the lunar crescent first makes its appearance, they may be directed to mark the form of the crescent, the most conspicuous stars in its vicinity, and its apparent distance from the place where the sun went down. Every clear evening afterwards, the gradual increase of the crescent, its motion among the stars, and the apparent distance it has moved during every successive period, should be particularly marked, till it arrive at the eastern part of the horizon after the sun has set in the west, when it will appear a full enlightened hemisphere. During the months of August, September, and October, when the* effect of the harvest-moon is apparent, they may be directed to trace the gradual diminution of the full moon, through its different stages of decrease, till it assume the form of a half moon or a large crescent. During the months of March or April, their attention may be directed to the difference in the time of its rising on each successive day after full moon, from what takes place during the months of harvest,—in the one case, namely, in harvest, there being only 20 minutes of diffidence after full moon, in its rising on each successive day; while in spring, the difference is nearly an hour and a half, which prevents her, at that season, from being seen in the form of a half-moon, during her decrease, till early in the morning;—whereas, in harvest, she may be seen rising in the northeast, in the form of a half-moon, about 8 or 9 in the evening.

They may next be directed to attend to some of the principal stars, and the more conspicuous constellations, and particularly to the apparent diurnal motion of the whole celestial vault. The month of January is perhaps the most eligible season for such observations. About the middle of that month, at eight o'clock in the evening, the most striking and brilliant constellations visible in the northern hemisphere are then above the horizon. The Pleiadts or Seven stars,-and other portions of the constellation Taurus, are nearly on the meridian, at an elevation of above 60 degrees. The splendid constellation Orion, to the south of Taurus, is a little to the cast of the meridian; Canis Minor to the cast, and Canis Major to the south-east of Orion. Nearly due cast and near the horizon, is the zodaical constellation Leo. To the west of the meridian are the constellations dries, Pisces, Cetus, Jlndromeda, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia, which is not far from the zenith. To the north-east is Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, sometimes distinguished by the name of the Plough, or Charles's Wain. The star Aldebaran, or the Bull's eye, is nearly on the meridian, at an elevation of 54», supposing the place of observation to be in 52» north latitude. It is distinguished by its ruddy appearance. The brilliant star Capella is nearly 32» north by east from Aldebaran, not far from the zenith; and Rigd, in the left foot of Orion, is about 27o south by cast of Aldebaran, and a little east of the meridian. Betclgeux is north-east from Rigel, and forms a riirht angled trianglo with it and Aldebaran. The stars Castor and Pollux are east by north from Aldebaran, at a considerable distance from it, (45o,) and nearly halfway between the zenith and the eastern horizon. Nearly straight south from Pollux and east from Betelgeux, is Proryon. These three stars form a right-angled triangle, the star Procyon being at the right angle. Near the south-eastern part of the horizon, and a little elevated above it, is Sirius, or the Dog-star, which is generally reckoned the most brilliant fixed star in the heavens. West from Rigel at a considerable distance, (46»,) mid at nearly the same elevation above the horizon, is Mira, or the Wonderful star which changes from a star of the second magnitude,

so as to become invisible once in a period of 334 days. The brilliant star Lyra is northnorth-west, very near the horizon. The two stars in the Great Bear, called the Pointers, are in a direction nearly north-east from Castor and Pollux, but at a considerable distance; they direct the eye to a star of the second magnitude, in Ursa Minor, at a considerable distance towards the west, called Abruaabah, or the Polestar.

Having pointed out these leading stars and constellations, to serve as so many known points in the heavens, the attention might be directed, on a subsequent evening, about six o'clock, to the apparent motions of theso bodies, and of the whole celestial sphere. On the evening of January 16th, at six o'clock, the star Procyon will be seen nearly due east, a very little above the horizon; Aldebaran, in an easterly direction, nearly halfway between the meridian and the eastern horizon: Rigel, towards the south-cast, a little above the horizon; and Lyra, in the north-west, about 15 degrees above the horizon. Having marked the terrestrial objects which appear in the direction of these stars, they may be viewed, from the same station, about two hours afterwards, when Procyon will be found to have risen a considerable way above the horizon; Rigel, to have moved nearly 30 degrees to the westward; and Aldebaran, to have arrived near the meridian; while Lyra has descended within two or three degrees of the horizon; and Sirius, which was before under the horizon, is elevated about ten degrees above it. At ten o'clock, the same evening, Rigel and Aldebaran will be seen at a considerable distance westward of the meridian; Sirius, within 6 or 7 degrees of it; the star Lyra, near the northern horizon; and the constellation Orion, which in the first observation appeared in the direction south-east by east* will be found to have moved to the westward of the meridian. By such observations, it may be shown that the whole starry firmament has an apparent diurnal motion from east to west . While pointing out these apparent motions to the young, it will be proper to direct their attention to the polestar, which, to a common observer, never appears to shift its position. They may likewise bo directed to notice that the stars near the pole appear to move slower, and to describe smaller circles than those at a greater distance from it—that thoso which rise near the south describe smaller ares than those which rise farther to the north—that the stars which rise due east, set due west, after an interval of twelve hours—that the stars which rise in the north-cast, after descrihing a largo arc of the heavens, set in the north-west, after an interval of about seventeen hours— that all the stars within a certain distance of

« ZurückWeiter »