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most youths are so devoid of all exact elementary notions as to be unable, as a general rule, to profit much by a complete written course of lectures. It is therefore most necessary that the improvement should begin with schools. The remarks that we are going to make have reference only to instruction in geography for youths, and they suppose that all the necessary previous knowledge has been obtained. The method used at Bruce Castle (Journal of Education, No. XI. p. 115, &c.), of giving the elementary notions of geographical position by making the youth familiar with the relative position of places near him, and the mode of teaching him the use of a map, appear as judicious as any that could be chosen. When these preliminary notions are obtained, it seems doubtful what is the next best step : whether to demonstrate the spherical figure of the earth, in such ways as are suitable to youthful capacity, and then to apply Agren's method for the purpose of giving a general notion of the exterior configuration of the land ; or to take the country in which the youth lives, and for the present dropping all notions of astronomical position, confine him to the determination of all points and places by the measurement of straight lines from a fixed point. If the latter mode is preferred, to which we incline, London, of course, would be used by us for obvious reasons. By measuring the distances of ail the great salient points on the coast from London, and laying them down according to their true bearings, the student would get a pretty accurate notion of the form of the island, and would become familiarized with the mode of referring the position of one place to that of another by its bearings. It would be desirable that he should obtain by actual measurement on a tolerably accurate map the length of sea-coast; first by making the island into a
polygon by lines drawn from one salient coast point to another, and then by measuring it along its sinuosities. The greatest and least dimensions of the island should also be measured both on meridians, on parallels, and also between other points on the coast not under the same meridian or parallel. Methods of approximating in a rough way to the area in square miles should also be pointed out. It might then be observed how inany miles of coast there are for each square mile of area, and the fraction expressing this ratio would be useful as a standard of comparison for similar fractions deduced from the ratio of the coast line and area of other islands. The value of the fraction would at once show the general nature of the coast line of any island or insular mass of land, whether it was regular or irregular*.
In describing the coast as well as the mountains and rivers of the country, a number of terms come immediately into use, such as gulf, bay, sound, channel, promontory, æstuary, river, velocity of stream, plain, plateau, marsh, mountain, mountain-range, &c.
And here, as it appears to us, is an opening of considerable difficulty. Many of these terms are vague in their meaning, and have a different value when applied to different countries. The name of golf is not applied to any parts of our English coast, though there are indentations to which it would be applicable. We believe a notion of considerable magnitude is generally attached to the term gulf, though there are exceptions to this, but we are not aware that the term includes any notion of form. As specimens of gulfs, there are the Gulf of Venice, Gulf of Lepanto, Gulf of Lions, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Gulf of Guinea, &c. It
* See Berghaus, Erste Elemente der Erdebeschreibung, p. 124, & Berlin, 1830.
seems difficult to say what a gulf is, though it is certainly desirable to fix the meaning of such a term. Of bays we have various specimens in these islands, from Pegwell Bay, a shallow sandy flat on the coast of Kent, to Bantry Bay in Ireland. Of foreign bays, we find the Bay of Biscay, Chesapeake Bay, the Bay of Bengal, &c., from which it appears difficult to say what are those characters which enable us to distinguish a bay from a gulf. It may be said that this is all trifling, and that such objections are mere quibbles, and that we all know what is meant by the words when applied to a particular gulf or bay. But any such answer as this appears to us entirely insufficient. We do not expect that people will forth with call the Galf of Mexico and Pegwell Bay by their new and more appropriate terms as soon as they are announced to the world; but if there be any marked characters of form, magnitude, position, &c., which will enable us to classify the gulfs, bays, &c., under certain heads, so that when we hear of a new gulf or bay, we have at least one correct idea suggested by the word, something would be gained. If this cannot be done, so much the worse for geography, which must always remain, as many wish it to do, rather loose and indefinite.
There is some difficulty about promontories, capes, heads, headlands, points, noses, though we think this difficulty is not insuperable. The word promontory might be used in a limited sense to express the bluff projecting termination of a mountain in the sea ; but there is no reason why it should be restricted to such a piece of land terminating in the sea. It is capable of being applied equally well, and sometimes is applied, to similar abrupt terminations of mountains on the edges of plains.
Cape and head are merely the same name in two different languages; but we are not at all sure that they are used with much precision. The word cape is certainly applied both to low and high land projecting into the ocean; but it is clearly desirable to have distinct names for these different kinds of projections. Nose, naze, or ness, is not uncommon in England; but frequent in Scotland, and we find it also in Denmark : we have in England Sheerness, Dungeness, the Naze, &c. All these terms perhaps would come under some of the more general denominations of promontory, or capes, if they were well defined. It would not appear very difficult to divide the different projections of land into the sea into classes, according to some one, two, or more characteristics ; it might be desirable to retain the usual names of cape, &c., adding to them a distinctive terın by which each would be referred to its proper class.
As to mountains, the difficulty is great, for nothing is so indefinite as the word mountain. Elevations which are only hills in one country are mountains in another; and even in the same country the point at which a hill becomes a mountain is always a little uncertain. The remedy for this is to have geographically only one name to indicate all elevation ; the altitude of each would be one element by which its more specific character would be determined. Next to elevation, the shape of mountains or of high land requires consideration. Land may be elevated and yet flat; there may be an ascent to it on one side, which looks like the slope of a hill or a mountain; but on ascending to the top of the slope we may find an extensive level, declining so imperceptibly as to convey no other idea than that of a great plain. Or a mountain may have two opposite
slopes of different inclination, with what is called its summit consisting of a level plain. Such a level is found on one of the summits of Olympus in Asia Minor, and indeed they exist in all hilly countries. Hence in connexion with elevations of the earth's surface we have various kinds of plains: we have river-plains, hillplains, mountain-plains (opomédia, Strabo), and, no doubt, other kinds of plains.' We by no means despair of seeing names given to these different kinds of flat lands, which will be favourably received and adopted. The term plateau, or table-land, seems to be sometimes used as indicating high flat lands as distinct from lower flat lands; but even if it obtains currency in this sense, it is hy no means sufficient*.
We have before spoken of valleys. A valley, we find, is often defined very loosely “ as the low ground between mountains, and as generally traversed by a river.” From this definition it must follow that a great many rivers flow in valleys for only a small part of their course, and some certainly flow in no valleys at all. It might however possibly be useful to consider all streams as flowing in valleys, provided we assign to these valleys specific names, derived from some one or more properties by which they are characterized.
There seems to be no method of imprinting on the memory a tolerably correct outline of the great boundaries of the land and water on the globe, except by some method similar to that of Professor Agren. (See Journal of Education, No. XI. p. 27, &c.) And we think there can be no difference of opinion at all on the necessity of teaching boys, or rather, according to Agren's
* See Berghaus, p. 41, &c., on flat lands, &c. His division appears founded too much on bare elevation, which we think insufficient.