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a work of this kind is sufficiently obvious. It requires an extent and variety of reading and acquirements to which very few can have any pretensions; and a patience of investigation, and soundness of judgment, still more rarely to be met with. Notwithstanding the popularity of geogra. phical works, it is not, therefore, at all surprising that they should be so very generally defective. Previous to the publication of Mr. Pinkerton's work, geographical science was, at the very lowest ebb. The graminars of Salmon and Guthrie, and the bulkier, but less valuable, compilations of Martin, Gordon, Bankes, &c. presented only a confused mass of historical and statistical details, mixed together without the least regard to order, or to the relative importance of the subjects. But the inaccuracy of these publications was their principal and radical defect. The last slavishly copied the errors of those by which it had been preceded; statements were frequently inserted directly contradictory to each other; no authorities were ever referred to ; and the reader had either to trust implicitly to the accuracy of the accounts before him, or to disregard them altogether. Mr. Pinkerton made some improvements on this method of compiling. He excluded the long historical details, wbich merely swell the size of geographical books, without adding to their real value; and he engrossed into his publication a considerable body of information derived from the relations of Spanish voyagers and travellers, and other works, which had not been consulted by former compilers. But Mr. Pinkerton's, though undoubtedly the best system of geography in the English language, is extremely imperfect. It often consists of little else than long extracts, clumsily put together, from the most common books of travels ; only a very few authorities are referred to, and these frequently in such a manner as to render it impossible to verify the reference, and to occasion a doubt whether they had ever been consulted by the author; many of the most important statements have been shewn to be altogether erroneous; while the repulsive and affected style of the work is but ill calculated to recommend it to the general reader. By referring to vol. 10th of the Edinburgh Review, p. 154, it will be seen that this is very far, indeed, from being either a partial or an unjust character of Mr. Pinkerton's work.
It cannot be doubted that a translation of M. Malte-Brun's System of Universal Geography will be acceptable to the public. This gentleman was peculiarly well qualified for executing a work of this kind. In conjunction with M, Mentelle, he bad a considerable sbare in the compilation of the “ Geographie de toutes les parties du Monde,” in 16 vols. Subsequently M. Malte-Brun edited the “ Annales des Voyages," a publication continued for several years, and which contains more original and important information on geographical and statistical subjects than is to be found in any similar production. The work, wbich it is now intended to translate, was begon in 1812, and it is expected will be completed in about two years. Five volumes are already published; the first contains the History of Geography, and of the progress of Discovery, from the earliest ages to the present day; the second contains the Theory of Mathematical, PHYSICAL, and Political Geography; and the three last contain the description of Asia, Africa, and America; the description of Europe will be comprised in two additional volumes, which will complete the work.
The character of Malte-Brun's Geography is now so well established, as to render it unnecessary to enter into any particular examination of its contents. Every part of it has been elaborated with the utmost care and diligence: and it is impossible to peruse a single chapter without being salisfied of the variety and solidity of the author's acquirements. References are constantly given for every fact of any importance; and the author's intimate acquaintance with the German, Danish, and other porthern languages, as well as with those of the more southern countries of Europe, has enabled him to avail himself of the information embodied in various works of very great merit, which had not been consulted by any preceding French or English writer on geography. The volumes containing the History and the Theory of Geography cannot fail of being peculiarly acceptable to the English reader. They are executed with the greatest ability, and there are no works of the same kind in our language. Two large impressions of the first three volumes of the Paris edition have already been sold off.
Malte-Brun's Geography has been translated into German, (a sufficient proof of its merit,) and very valuable notes have been added by the German editors. It is intended to incorporate the greater part of these notes in this edition. And as arrangements have been made for procuring the assistance of the author himself, and of gentlemen of distinguished literary attainments, both in England and America, in the revising and correcting of the present translation, the Publishers entertain a confident expectation that it will be in every respect preferable to the original, and that it will form the most complete body of geographical science ever given to the public.
AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE WORK.
The design of the present Work is, to bring together, in a series of historical discourses, the whole of Ancient and Modern Geography, in such a manner as to furnish the reader with a lively picture of the whole terraqueous globe, with all its different countries the memorable places which they contain-the tribes of men by which they have been succes. sively peopled, and those which at the present moment are its inbabitants. It appears an immense undertaking, when we consider how many varied details require to be combined in a work of moderate size. It might even appear rash in its nature, when we contemplate the characters of the different subjects embraced in it-subjects which have usually been consigned to erudite rather than to elegant pens, and have been regarded as susceptible of no brilliancy of literary composition, or depth of philosophical remark.
The diffidence which the prospect of so many difficulties naturally creates, has, however, yielded to a thorough conviction, that the science of geography admits of being made very different from what it now is. We have thus reasoned: Is pot geography the sister and the rival of history? If the one enjoys the empire of universal time, does not the other rightfully claim that of place? If the one has the power of recalling past generations, should not the other'exert that of fixing in one scene the shifting pictures of history, by delineating to the mind the permanent theatre of the poor and brief transactions of mankind, strewed with the wrecks of numerous empires; and describe the course of nature, constantly occupied in repairing, by its beneficial operation, the ravages arising from human discord? Does not a description of the globe intimately connect itself with the study of human nature, human manners, and human institutions? Does it not offer information of the utmost importance to the political sciences ? Is not this department always brought fully into view before a complete form can be given to any branch of natural history? And does it not supply literature with a boundless treasure of feelings and of images?
These considerations have cherished in our minds the hope of raising for geography a monument not unworthy to rank along with the pleasing compositions by which history has been adorned. Many long years would indeed be requisite to confer on such a work that degree of perfection which it is natural to desire. In publishing it in a state short of this, we find ourselves excused by the urgent demands made on us for a 66 Treatise on Geography." The attempt now laid before the public will, we hope, with all its imperfections, satisfy the wishes of those who complain that there is an absolute want of a work by which geography may be learned, without the risk of contracting a permanent disrelish for this branch of instruction.
We presume to trust that our compend may be qualified to serve as a guide to any professor who is ambitious of teaching geography in a profitable manner; that in the more advanced seminaries it may be put into the hands of pupils ;and that it will not be an unacceptable present to adults, who have long passed their period of tuition, and wish to acquire instruction by private reading,
It is the Author's most ambitious wish, that his work may obtain the suffrages of those real philosophers, who, in every science, set even less value on its useful economical results, than on the intellectual enjoyment and the improvement which the study of it implies.
The following is the arrangement of the present work: it will begin with the general theory of geography, consisting of its Mathematical, Physical, and Political principles.-From astronomy we shall borrow the requisite information, respecting the figure, size, and motions of our planet; from geometry, the views which are most necessary for understanding the art of representing, in small plans, the exact form of the lands and the seas: we shall explain the method of determining the actual distances of places, and comparing with one another the measures employed in different countries.
Proceeding next to the physical picture of the globe, we shall take a view of the leading features of nature ; the mountains which diversify the surface of the land, the seas which bound its outline, and the rivers and the valleys by which it is intersected. We shall seek our way downward, through caverns and through mines. We shall direct over the brink of the volcanic crater an eye of interest and curiosity; and thus do our utmost to explore the structure of the globe. After inquiring into the mo. tions of the atmosphere, and the laws of temperature, we shall distribute into their native regions the animals, the plants, and all the beings that are nourished in the exhaustless bosom of the earth. We shall conclude the picture by considering man in his natural and in his political condition. We shall classify the races of our species according to the varieties which are marked in their bodily appearance and character--according to the languages which they speak-according to the creeds by which their minds are consoled, or degraded and enslaved and according to the laws which mark the progress of civilization, or the profound darkness of utter barbarism.
What revolutions has the terrestial globe undergone? This is a ques. tion which equally interests the history of man and that of nature. But is it a question which enters into the science of physical geography ? is it a question wbich, in the present state of our knowledge, we can profitably discuss ? We shall not certainly undertake to resolve the problem, or series of problems, which it implies; but we shall present to our readers a view of the leading facts which geologists employ to construct their bril. liant, but empty systems.
This philosophical theory of geography will occupy the first volume of our work. The others, with the exception of one, will be devoted to a successive description of all the parts of the world. In that department we found it necessary to engage in long meditation, and in weighing opposite considerations, before we could invent and fix upon the method which would upite the greatest degree of solidity with the most agreeable manner. An order purely geographical must apparently have destroyed the political and moral connections of the different portraits wbich we had to present. An order purely political would have injured the physical delineation of the mountains, the seas, the rivers, and the climates. The great desideration was, to reconcile, in some measure, with each other these two rival methods. For this purpose, our mode of procedure must be varied according to the character of the obstacles presented on different occasions, and the difficulties which they create in following chiefly or exclusively one or the other of these two methods. In introductions prefixed to particular departments, we must give a sketch of the geoeral features which a large division of the world possesses in common. We must place a view of the Alps in front of our description of Europe, and a view of the Cordilleras at the beginning of the division appropriated to South America. Do we find some nations which are politically separate, united in their origin, in their language, or in their history ?--we must collect them into one group, and survey them from one point of view. We must endeavour every where to form our subject into natural masses, easily embraced under one regular vista. Small states must be combined into natural groups; the provinces of great empires must be distributed in conformity with the direction of the mountains and the rivers ; and the comparisons formed between the different divisions must not be permitted to encumber the current of our discourse, but reserved for exhibition in the form of synoptical and analytical tables.
Besides our general arrangement, it was necessary to find out the particular method best suited for the description of each country. After examining all the classifications which authors have given of the objects of special geography, we have found that a too rigorous adherence to these abstract methods has been the real cause of the pedantic dryness attached to books of geography. From this empty technical parade of science, geography, which ought to be a living picture of the universe, has been converted into the gloomy anatomy of a great subject in a dead and dismembered state. Thus it has been held in dread by the young, ne. glected by the learned, and scorned by the multitude.
From these considerations it has appeared our duty to follow the general principles of the art of writing, and, by varying according to the nature of the subject, not only the tone but the order of our descriptions, we have endeavoured to contrive, for the delineation of each country, a particular scale suited to the relative size and importance of its objects. Where one presents the spectacle of a smiling cultivation, we give a careful detail of its different productions. Where it is uncultivated, we draw an outline of the character impressed on it by nature. At one time, in an imaginary tour, we give an easy enumeration of the towns of the interior. At another, in the character of fire-side navigators, unfettered by the dread of contrary winds or dangerous currents, we proceed from harbour to harbour, and from island to island. Does a particular nation act a leading part in the civilized world ?- we discuss its powers, its resources, its interests. Is it a savage horde that engages our notice?-we take an interest in depicting its manners and mode of living.
Our choice of the towns and remarkable places on which we dwell, will be determined sometimes by degrees of political importance, somePREFACE.
times by historical celebrity.' We shall sometimes, in passing, take the liberty of discussing a point of critical geography, resolving a doubt, or correcting an error. We shall not even scrupulously deny ourselves and our readers the pleasure of occasionally mingling our topographical descriptions with passages of history, or with anecdotes tending to ilustrate manners, and often serving to ix in the memory names of localities, which otherwise it would be dimicuit to retain. There is no reason why we should refuse to pick up a flower which obtrudes itself on our view. A description of the world should resemble the world itselt, in which the most arid deserts present here and there a limpid fountain, or a refreshing shade.
From fifteen years of geographical reading and study, we have been fully convinced that this free and animated march is that which will enable geography to give the surest access to the sanctuary of historical knowledge, which never could be afforded by any of those rigid abstract methods which are applicable only to the mathematical sciences. Our object is to write an agreeable and useful book, not to draw up an extended table of mere contents.
Adopting this plan for our “Universal Geography," we are far from depying the merits of methods different from our own. Let a new Va. renius, in a purely mathematical geography, employ all the resources of the higher geometry; let another Bergmann discuss, in the language of chemistry and of natural history, the elements of an improved physical geography ; let naturalists subdivide physical geography itself into braucb. es corresponding to particular sciences, as the geography of plants, of minerals, and of animals ; let the pupiis and successors of Busching collect, with indefatigable patience, the materials of chorography and topography, the object of which is to give a particular description of each country, each canton, and each town; let them display, in immense columns of numbers, the details of that branch of political geography which is called statistics. Let others of the learned explore other parts, such as that of forming a Critical Comparison of the old geographers; or, the History of Voyages and Travels. Nothing is more useful to sciencenothing more deserving of the esteem of the learned world, than labours thus consecrated to a single object. Nothing is more laudable than to give to each of these branches the most rigorous and scientitic form which its particular nature will admit of. We have already shown some zeal in collecting, announcing, and appreciating labours of these different kinds, in our periodical work, entitled, annales des Voyages de la Géographie et de l'Histoire. But, as a universal geography cannot, without swelling to an undue extent, embrace all the details of every branch of geographical science, we must here content ourselves with gathering the towers and the fruit of these learned discussions and laborious researches.
There is another view of the subject which we wish to lay before the readers of our work. The mathematical and physical principles of geography are immutable ; but the state of human knowledge is variable, both in the materials furnished, and in the use which the mind is, at different epochs, qualified to make of them. Nations are extinguished, kingdoms destroyed, cities laid in ruins, and at last every trace of their former existence is effaced. We may therefore suppose a series of geographical works, each of which, though quite different from those which precede and follow, may be correct and complete for the year or the age to which it belongs. Under this point of view, custom has in some measure sanctioned a three-fold partion of the science. - Ancient geograpby" comprises all that precedes the 500th year of the Christian era, or the