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plan, inducing them to teach themselves under what parallels and meridians all the great limiting points of the land are placed. For instance, a boy should be able to refer from memory such points as the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Verde, Cape Guardafui, the Straits of Gibraltar, the most southern point of Spain, the most southern point of the Morea (not the most southern point of Europe, as is sometimes stated), the mouth of the Rhine, Danube, &c., to their right astronomical position on the earth's surface. Such a bare outline as this, if a boy learned nothing at all beyond it, would save him from much confusion and numberless ridiculous errors. But this frame-work, when gradually filled up, would present to the mind a number of subdivisions, to each of which the pupil would readily refer all isolated facts, as they occur in his various readings, or whenever they are presented to him with sufficiently accurate data ; he thus would acquire a real geographical picture of the earth, the great outlines of which might be continually approximating more and more to accuracy without deranging the general impression. In a similar way he would print on his memory and imagination the general direction of the great mountain ranges, and the exact position of their more remarkable points. Both for those who make geography their special study, and for the botanist, zoologist, and geologist, such a foundation of geographical knowledge is absolutely indispensable. In all the three last departments of knowledge here alluded to, can we doubt that many erroneous generalizations, and often inconsistent assertions, would be checked if a man always had this fundamental knowJedge of geography ? * Men cannot always write with
* One instance is as good as a hundred. A modern writer on
maps before them, nor are men always willing to be making constant references to such very troublesome monitors as good maps are; sometimes most unkindly overturning a whole heap of hypotheses, ingenious conjectures, and pleasant, easy, self-satisfying generalizations.
To acquire an accurate and at the same time a complete geographical picture of a country, we must see it represented under various forms; we must have in fact a series of maps with the same outline, but a different filling in. Our own island, for example, might be represented, first with a bare coast outline and the courses of the rivers. This should be studied after the method of Agren till the picture is distinctly impressed on the mind. In a second map we would place the high ground and the rivers also. Other maps might be constructed to show the artificial water system of canals, in connexion with the natural water system of rivers. A map of roads, with all the great towns indicated, and all the seats of manufacturing industry, would also be necessary; and other maps no doubt might be suggested. Such maps roughly executed would soon be produced at a very moderate charge, if a sufficient demand for them could be calculated on.
It is impossible, in our opinion, to urge too strongly the importance of an exact knowledge of position on the earth's surface. This knowledge is not only the true basis of all geographical knowledge, but it is an indis
geology says—that the Pyrenees, the Apennines, the mountains of Dalmatia, and Croatia, the Carpathians, and the Alleghanies of America, are all parallel to an arc of a great circle, which passes through Natchez and the mouth of the Persian Gulf; of course they are also all parallel to one another. Such an assertion can hardly be surpassed for absurdity.
pensable element in every science which has for its object the observation and the comparison of natural phenomena in different parts of the earth. Without this knowledge the geographer has laid no foundation for his further pursuits, and the inquirer into nature will often fall into error, which may sometimes seriously affect his conclusions.
Next to the teaching of the general outline of countries, with their mountains and rivers, the most important thing is climate, or the comparison of meteorological phenomena as ascertained at different points of the earth's surface. This should, of course, be preceded by exact notions of the phenomena of the seasons, the length of day and night at different points on the earth's surface, the modes of determining the four cardinal points at any place, with the determination of the sun's angular distance at rising and setting from the east and west points at any season of the year, &c., the mode of measuring the shortest distance between any two points given in position on the earth's surface, reducing magnetic to true bearings, &c. Without this preliminary knowledge we do not see how the subject of climate can be treated satisfactorily, even in an elementary way. It would also furnish opportunities for giving a student a variety of easy problems, to the solution of which he might apply his mathematical acquirements.
We have already excluded the geographical distribution of plants and animals from the province of the geographer, with an earnest request to botanists and zoologists to look carefully after them, for nobody else can do it so well. But it does not follow that, in teaching the great principles of geography, these considerations should be entirely excluded. Plants and animals are, to a certain extent, the indications of climate ; and it is a matter of curiosity and of great interest to compare different points of the earth's surface, similar in position, but differing in products, which may often be the indication of some modifying cause of climate not hitherto investigated. If it were possible either in schools or colleges for such instruction to be given by a botanist and a zoologist, we are of opinion that it would come better from them than from the geographer. But till science be more subdivided with the view of improving it, it is much better that the geographical distribution of plants and animals should be treated of, even imperfectly, by the teacher of geography, than that so useful and attractive a branch of knowledge should be entirely neglected in a course of liberal instructions.
ON GEOGRAPHICAL AND STATISTICAL KNOW
(From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. XIV.)
Statistics, a term first introduced by the German writers, was defined by Achenwall, of Göttingen, to be the exposition of the effective components of any political society. This definition may perhaps be objected to by some, and indeed German writers are not yet very well agreed among themselves as to the definition of the term Statistics. Our object in this article is not to determine the exact limits of statistics, but simply to show the kind of information which is absolutely necessary for understanding the social and political condition of a country or nation; and having this object in view, we think that the term “political geography” expresses more nearly than any other that kind of knowledge of which it is our present purpose to speak. Political geography is the foundation of all political science, for unless we know the present condition of a country and its people, we cannot possibly reason correctly on their wants and wishes, and on the reasonableness of those wishes, or the means and chances there may be of satisfying them. This seems a truism, but it is a truism so often disregarded, that we think it necessary to assert it here as a proposition, the importance of which it is our object to demonstrate. The geographer, or statistician, gives the facts; the politician, the jurist, and the moralist, reason and speculate upon them.