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the direction of the ridges. Climate also should given after mountains, because differences of tein rature are usually the effect of different elevations the surface. Vegetable productions, animals and iu erals depend commonly either on the climate or fa ef the country, and should, therefore, be reserved i the last place in the natural geography. After goi through with these heads we are then prepared 1 an account of the towns, population, religion, govei mcnt, manufactures, commerce, &c; and here also i shall find that there is an order to be observed, th there is a connection and dependence of the vario heads, which makes it proper that they should folic eac,h other in a particular succession. The effect this strict adherence to a natural arrangement greater than at first, perhaps, would be imagined, we watch the operations of our own minds, we sh; perceive that it is exceedingly difficult to remember catalogue of propositions which appear to have no r lation to each other; but if we can connect them t gether in a regular series, and reason from one to tl other, the memory receives them with ease, the ii pression which they make upon the mind is deep ai permanent, and the acquisition of knowledge in th way, becomes easy and delightful.

The method which the author has pursued in pr paring the following volume has been, in the first plac to read extensively and minutely the best works i which he had access on the several countries* both the English and German languages, with a view i ebtain a distinct image in his own mind of the natur features of the country; and then, by a proper a rangement of the articles, and an attention to the o der in which the particular thoughts are presentei he has endeavoured to communicate this impressic as perfectly as possible to the mind of the reader. . has been his aim especially in the introductory viev •f each grand division of the globe, to give such an ou Hne of its mountains, rivers and other prominent fei fures, as would prepare the student in the best mannc for the account of each particular country. He hs endeavored also to render the descriptions of important towns, harbors, monuments of art, natural curiosities and every other subject that would admit of it, at graphical as possible. It is to be regretted, however, that the materials for such descriptions are in most cases wanting.

From the manner in which the work has been prepared, it would have been impossible to have referred on each page to the different authors from whom the information was derived. The language of others is seldom used, each article being commonly the result of a comparison of all that was read upon the subject It is believed, however, that a much larger portion of the information has been derived from original sources than is common in works of this nature. Mexico was given almost entirely on the authority of Humboldt. In Buenos Ayresand Chili we have relied chiefly on the valuable documents furnished to our government by the commissioners, who were sent to those countries in 1817, to collect information.* Brazil is described principally from Ma we. Most of the countries of Europe have been riven on the authority of the New Edinburgh Gazetteer, and the latest editions of Hassel and Cannabrich. In Asia we have derived considerable assistance from Hurray's Historical account of discoveries in Asia, ml the description of Hindoostan was principally aken from the interesting article in that work. The ecent discoveries in Africa, particularly those of Jelzoni in Egypt and Nubia, will be found noticed in hoir proper place?. The regions within the Arctic irele haveoflate been rendered peculiarly interesting ■ona the discoveries made by Capt. Parry in 1819, a articular notice of which is given under the head of olar Regions. The account of our own country was riocipally the result of investigittions made by the

if hor during the last year in the preparation of arti


* Note. Since the ihecU containing Sontli America were printed, the r'mincn' of the United Slate* ha* u< kn-.ivli ilged the independence oX ~o, the republic of Columbia, Buenos Ajrt», Chili and Peru.


«lcs for the third edition of Morse's Universal Gazet-
teer. The documents consulted in those investiga-
tions are too numerous to be mentioned in this place.
A catalogue of them is annexed to the preface of th*

The Statistical Tables and General Views at the

close of the volume, it is believed, will be found an

interesting addition to the work. They contain

much valuable information in a narrow compass, and

the comparison of the facts which they present will

be a very profitable exercise for the student. The

knowledge which we obtain from the comparison of

such facts is of the most solid and substantial charac-

ter. To facilitate the study of the tables Remarks

and Questions are annexed. The Remarks are in-

tended to explain every thing which needs explana-

tion, and to point out the comparisons which will lead

to the most interesting results. The questions are

designed to show the manner in which the tables are

to be studied; and they are generally so framed as

not to require that the numbers should be committed

to memory. It has been commonly supposed that

the study of statistics must necessarily be dry, but iC

it is conducted in the manner which is here pointed

out, it is believed that it will prove as interesting as

it is profitable.

It was originally the intention of the Author tr

have inserted a System of Ancient Geography in this

volume, but upon more mature consideration he ha

concluded to reserve it for publication in a separate


The Atlas which accompanies this work, except tin

part relating to the United States, is principally a re
print of the latest edition of Arrowsmith.

Boston, Sept. 1822.



rf^- EOGRAPHY is a form,* derived from the Greek language ^^ and literally signifies a description of the earth. It treats of the nature, figure, and magnitude of the earth; the situation, extent, and appearance of different parts of its surface; its produo lions and inhabitants.

The time when attention was first paid to the pleasing and useful study of geography, is unknown. It seems to be the general opinion, that the Greeks, who were the first cultivators of this science in Europe, received it either from the Egyptians or Babylonian*; but it cannot be determined to which of these two nations belongs the honor of having invented it.

Geography was very imperfect in it* beginning, and has advanced slowly towards its present degree of perfection. The true figure of the earth was unknown to its first inhabitant9, and the earliest opinion seems to have been that, which would most naturally result from the first information given by the senses. It was considered as a large circular plane; and the heavens, in which the son, moon, and stars appear daily to move from east to west, were supposed not to be elevated to a very great height above it, and to have been created solely for its use and oniament. It is not known who first rejected this erroneous hypothesis, and shewed that the figure of the earth is spherical; but it seems to have been done at a time of remote antnjnity.

It appears that the situation of places was first determined according to climates; and that geographers were then guided, in fixing on the climates, by the term and colour of certain animals, which were to be found in JiiTerent countries. The of Negroes, or what they called Ethiopians, and of the larger sized animals, as the, rhinoceros ii'l < lephant, suggested to them the northern and 90ut!iern limits of the torrid zone. A different and more scientific method was used by the Egyptian* and Balylonian*, who determined the situation of places, or their distance from the equator, by observing the length of their longest and shortest days. And these observations were made with a species of sun-dial, having a stilus or gnomon, erected peqiendicularly upon a horizontal plane, hv which the length of the shadow of the jjnomon, in proportion to its height, might be measured.

It may bo conjectured that travelling, soon after it began to be much practised in the world, gave rise to a kind of geography.

• rt»y»«?M, from y« the *»rth, ind yfi^f to detcribe.

Some, who had performed journies, made a rough sketch or description of their routes, for the information of others who might afterward wish to travel. The earliest specimen of this kind, of which we have an account, is that of Sesostris, an Egyptian king and conqueror, who, as Eustathius relates," having traversed great part of the earth, recorded his march in maps, and gave copies of his maps not only to the Egyptians, but to the Scythians, to their great astonishment." Some have imagined that the Jews made a map of the Holy Land, when they gave the different portions to the nine tribes at Shiloh; for Joshua tells us, that they were sent to walk through the land, and that they described it in seven parts in a book.

Homer was first distinguished among the Greeks for his knowledge of the different nations of the earth, and the countries they inhabited. He has described so many places, and with such a degree of accuracy, that Strabo considered him as first among the geographers of ancient times.

A taste for the sciences led Thaies, the father of Grecian philosophy, into Egypt, where he lived with the priests. On his return, be taught his countrymen that the earth is globular, and may be divided into five zones, by means of five parallel circles, viz. the equator, the two tropics, and the two polar circles; and that the equator is cut obliquely by the ecliptic, and perpendicularly by the meridian. Thus he made them acquainted with the principal circles of the sphere.* He also taught them, that the year consisted of 365 days, which he learned from the Egyptians.

Axaximander, a disciple of Thaies, was the author of the first Grecian map on record, which is mentioned by Strabo. The knowledge of the earth was indeed very limited at that time, as it scarcely extended beyond the temperate zone, and did not even comprise the whole of that. The extent of the representation of the world from east to west was twice as great as from south to north; hence the reason, why distances on the earth in the former direction were denominated longitude; and those in the latter, latitude. Maps were afterwards multiplied.

Eratosthenes was the first who introduced a regular parallel of latitude. He began it at the straits of Gibraltar; continued it through the island of Rhodes and the bay of Issus; and extended it to the mountains of India. In drawing this parallel he was regulated by observing where the longest day was 14-J hours, which was afterwards found by Hipparchus to be the latitude of 36 degrees.

Eratosthenes soon after attempted not only to draw other parallels of latitude, but also to trace a meridian at right angles to these, passing through Rhodes and Alexandria down to Syene and Meroc; and, as tbe progress he thus made naturally tended to enlarge bis ideas, heat lost, attempted the much more difficult operation of determining the circumference of" the globe, by an actual measurement of an arc of one of its great circles. He knew that the sun,

* See Explanation of Termi.

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