« ZurückWeiter »
THIS DAY IS PUBLISHED,
DY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND JOHN MURRAY,
To be Continued Regularly every Two Months,
VOYAGES AND TRAVELS,
ARRANGED IN SYSTEMATIC ORDER;
FORMING A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN AND
ROBERT KERR, F.R.S. & F.A.S. E».
ILLUSTRATED WITH MAPS AND CHARTS.
I. This work will not, it is expected, much exceed twenty Volumes, and will be illustrated throughout by a series of Maps and Charts.
H. It will be published in Numbers, one of which will regidarly appear every two months; price six (hidings.
III. Each Number will contain sixteen sheets of letter-press, and two of these will form a full-sized Volume, exceeding £00 pages.
w Hoever shall institute a comparison of the respective value of the sciences, will soon be induced to assign high consequence to that one, which treats of human nature, as diversified in appearances and conditions, among the various countries of the world. He will be influenced by a feeling of affectionate curiosity, which respects his species as its end and aim; and this motive cannot fail to be enforced by the consideration of the consequences resulting to human happiness, from the enquiries and pursuits to which it has given rise. In viewing those interesting memorials of antiquity, which the hand of time has spared fdfhis information, as to the enjoyments and occupations of the earlier 2 Books Printed for Wiixfam Blackwood, Edinburgh.
KERR'S VOYAGES AND TRAVELS.
generations of mankind, he will perceive with no little delight, that this very feeling always formed a part of their character, and prompted them to beneficial enterprizes, and the extension of useful knowledge. In the histories of more recent times again, he will recognize the operations of the same powerful agent, in the discovery of new worlds and people, and in causing the far-separated inhabitants of the earth to impart to each other their multipbed blessings: and in the splendid improvements of the physical sciences in his own day, as well as in the gradually ameliorating systems of modern political associations, which seem to derive their validity from the sacred consideration they maintain of what is due to man, in' whatever condition he exists; he will find made manifest the beneficence of his Creator, who, in giving him this feeling as an earnest of the dignity of his nature, indicates by it, in language impossible to be misunderstood, and as universal as his kind, the only certain mode by which his greatest glory can be consummated—the dispensation of good to his fellow-creatures. To the real philosopher, accordingly, who values knowledge as it is conducive to the welfare of society, this science, though scarcely classified by any appropriate name, * will seem supereminently important in its origin, its progress, and its results. In all these respects, its advantages are obviously most considerable, and it has in consequence obtained cultivation from the intelligent in all ages.
He that shall attempt to delineate man, from the mirror of his own mind only, will soon find himself confused by the indistinct images, of memory, the flitting illusions of fancy, and the still more embarrassing creatures which vanity will not fail to insinuate into places of most note and consideration. Any one of these very delusive existences may be mistaken for a characteristic in the picture, and in so far will distort it from a just resemblance; and it may be safely inferred, from the multiplicity of failures in the undertaking, tliat the very activity of genius is more detrimental in these metaphysical disquisitions, than it is ever serviceable in any other pursuit. This, then, it is evident, cannot be the mode of study which minds of ordinary conformation, and destined to the complicated and fatiguing occupations of active life, will adopt; nor is it that in which the philosopher, however exalted in intellectual importance, will terminate his labours. Both of them will be drawn, though perhaps by different considerations, to contemplate another scene, more attractive in the first instance, by the novelty and the multipbcity of its objects, and ultimately move beneficial, inasmuch as it checks the wanderings of the imagination, by occupying the judgment in the realities of human concerns. A man indeed may ascertain something of his own faculties and powers, by close attention to the objects of his consciousness ; but in order to understand human nature, he must study it as it appears in masses of the species.
Such, then, in few words, are the higher advantages of surveying the manners, customs, opinions, and beliefs of the various classes of mankind, as related in the narratives of voyagers and travellers; and of collecting from them, by the laws of inductive reasoning, those general principles which, from their being respected by them all, may be
• Might it not be denominated Anthropographv, or Anthropology?
KERR'S VOYAGES AND TRAVELS.
safely considered as the constituents of our common nature. It is obvU ous, that when these are ascertained, the best, nay the only just foundation is secured, for whatever good can be accomplished by the institution of laws and the ordering of governments. Such, undoubtedly, is the important purpose to which this study is essentially conducive, and to which those exalted minds will aspire by it, whose labours are fated to benefit the age in which they live, and to carry down blessings to the generations which succeed them. These persons, from a consciousness of its value, will applaud every reasonable attempt to facilitate and render accessible the means of prosecuting the study, by the publication, at a comparatively cheap rate, of so necessary an instrument of investigation, as a Collection of Voyages and Travels, on any thing like a well-organized system: And they, be it added, are the only proper judges of both the magnitude of the difficulties which such an undertaking must encounter, .and also the real merit of whatever production shall seem to have removed them, or, which is better still, to hold them in subserviency to the attainment of its object.
Thus far as to the importance and necessity of studying Voyages and Travels, with a reference to moral and political science:—A reference, it may be observed, of which the instructors of youth in the higher classes of the community, from which in general the leaders are taken, do not appear to have been sufficiently aware. Hence, in a great degree, the errors and blundering conceits of statesmen, who draw from the pages of mythologists and poets, or the recesses of metaphysicians and visionary projectors, the splendid but inane maxims by which they are to govern empires, and to controul the operations of the world, but which, in tact, are as unsuitable to man as he is, as they are incapable of making him either better or more happy.
To the cultivators of the physical sciences, very few words indeed will suffice to recommend Vqyages and Travels to their regard. It is enough to remind them, in general terms, of the multiplied and still accumulating phenomena of the elements, the important discoveries of new beings and objects in the animal, the vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, and the consequent improvements or inventions in the valuable departments of astronomy, navigation, agriculture, medicine, and all the other arts or sciences which contribute so widely to modern happiness and power. They will then most readily admit, that to many such works they must have recourse, for the facts on which their own reasonings and labours proceed. .
After all, however, they who read, and who tvill read Voyages and Travels fqr mere amusement sake, are the most numerous. As such, undoubtedly, they claim very important consideration from every wellwisher of humanity; and the more peculiarly so, because they are «1 necessity, from their very habits and conditions of life, essentially ob-» noxious to the contagion of erroneous sentiments, and vicious principles, too potent in works which claim no other merit than that of giving pleasure. All men cannot be legislators or philosophers—a few only, it should seem, have the talents, the industry, and self-denial, or the opportunities, requisite to fit them for the guiding of national affairs, or rectifying the erroneous judgments of mankind. But all men desire amusement; and, if in a civilized country, and not doomed to unre