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much cause for thankfulness in the success of this attempt at the amalgamation of these opposite systems of instruction. In this teacher's "suggestions to teachers” she says: “We begin by directing attention to that which is under the eye of the pupil ; we show him how to interrogate the region of country in the midst of which he lives.” The first thing that the pupil finds to "interrogate” is a picture, which at once readily recalls that of Hogarth representing "false perspective."
The author seems to have suspected this, for in the annexed lesson the pupil is informed that “horses are drawing a wagon over the ground," and that “ships and boats are sailing on the water," which in this case seems to be needed information, as to all appearances the horses are walking into the water, and the ships sailing over the houses! After the pupil has sufficiently exercised his "powers of observation ” upon the view he is told that it is “a picture of the land and water.” This false perspective is even more noticeable in a view called “ New York wharves, foot of Canal street," where land, water, and sky, houses, boats, and men, are all in indescribable confusion. Indeed all the cuts are extremely rude, and in their style and execution carry us back to the primitive days of the typographic art. Nor can much better be said of the maps, especially of that of the world on Mercator's projection, which greatly enlarges the comparative size of the polar regions; but that is regarded as of "little consequence." Upon this map we notice what at first appears to be a shower of blots, but which we learn are intended to represent islands. By the time the pupil bas been able to discriminate the islands from the blots, we have no doubt that his faculties of observation will be sufficiently exercised !
The coloring of the maps is intended to represent the relative heights above the sea level, but, as the standard is not uniform, it fails entirely to give any idea of the actual elevations. The claim that the coloring in any manner pictures to the mind the respective elevations is entirely without foundation, while we are convinced that to the young pupil it is only an embarrassment, and to the older student very inadequate for the purpose.
The “constructive system of map, drawing” is claimed as the chief and crowning excellence of this series. We should like to transcribe for our readers the directions for drawing the map of South America, which, as it is considered the simplest, is given first. Quite a complete set of drafting instruments, as well as a knowledge of some of the problems of geometry, are necessary in order to carry out these instructions. “ Thus the pupil is to lay off the line m as a basis of measurement, to make B very nearly two m, C one and one-half m; a little (not quite one-fifth m) above its end we find,” etc. When we reflect that this map is the least complex, that the others employ all the known and unknown geometrical figures, that the standard of measurement is different for each map, and tbat the directions in each case are arbitrary, without system or connection with each other, it is easy to judge of the merits of this plan as adapted to the capacities of young pupils, or compared with either the triangular or rectangular system.
The last merit we shall notice that is claimed for these books is, that they give great exercise to the imagination. This claim we are disposed to allow ; for certainly most of the facts which one might expect to find in a work of this kind, intended for young pupils who acquire nearly all their geographical knowledge in a short period at school, are left entirely to be imagined. Among these important omissions are the counties and corresponding divisions of states and countries, an account of the government, religion, degree of civilization, population, and political power of the several countries of which no hint is given except in a low pages of the Teacher's edition. As an example of the manner in which the giving of the most natural information seems to be studiously avoided, and of the general looseness of expression, we give one more extract of the kind, in which the work abounds: “ Brooklyn, on Long Island, is next to New York in size,” but nothing is said as to whether it is one mile or a hundred from that city. “Philadelphia is situated on Delaware river not far from Delaware Bay. This is a great marufacturing city” (p. 34).
With these extracts we leave the reader to judge whether the exertions put forth to secure the endorsement of these books and their introduction into all our schools is justified by their merits. We take no pleasure in alluding to these facts, but since our attention has been so frequently called to them, it becomes our duty to do so. The giving away of text-books to teachers and others interested in making changes, may be merely an evidence of the remarkable genierosity of the publishers, but it smacks rather too strongly of undue influence in introducing books which are unable to introduce themselves. If these educators are thus favored, what shall we say of those to whom copies, not only of these text books, but of other and more valuable works, are presented in order to secure their recommendation ? But, under the law of compensations, they too experience the disadvantages of being prominent men, if constant importunity in public and in private, lengthy interviews, and even the dogging of their steps in order to secure the endorsement which they cannot conscientiously give, may be considered a drawback t' their position. Certain publishers, like the Greeks, are to be suspected most when conferring gifts. Not that we would imply that it is culpabie in a business point of view for a man to invite examination and praise of his wares if they deserve it; but making updue, not to say improper efforts, to secure recommendation, is of itself prima facie evidence of a lack of genuine excellence in the article thus sought to be puffed. When publishers of text-books designed for the instruction of our children employ all the arts of quack-medicine venders, in order to promote the sale of their works, criticism is plainly called for. But when the educational wares thus sought to be praised and puffed are in reality much inferior to those already in the market, it becomes a duty to discriminate, and point out the defects of the one as well as the excellences of the other.
This we owe not only to the cause of education, but to prominent educators who have been “interviewed” by enterprising publishers to such a degree that we have frequently been requested to expose their annoying proceedings. As an illustration of this annoyance to which our influential men are daily subject, we will refer to a case fully known to ourselves. A well-known educator who has control over several literary institutions, having frequently declined with thanks the generous offers of certain publishers to substitute their books for others much superior, they at iength bring up their great gun and demand an "unconditional surrender.” This was a no less personage than a high functionary of our Board of Education, and being of the same religious belief as the gentleman who was the object of attack, this combination was deemed irresistible. Yet, strange as it may appear, the assailed party was able to resist this combined assault, and even to intimate to the above-mentioned functionary that pernaps the Board of Education had as much claim upon his services as the liberal publishers in whose interests he was so active. Acting on this hint, they retired in good order, but have not since been heard from in that quarter.
Here, for the present, we will take leave of the subject, only referring to the physical geography to say that in it the amalgamation attempt is abandoned, and to that extent, at least, it is a better text-book than the others of the series. When we have an opportunity to examine it entire we will take pleasure in commending it if it seems to us to deserve it; for we certainly do not infer because certain publications of a house are open to criticism that all partake of that character.
Zell's Descriptive Hand-Atlas of the World. By J. BARTHOLOMEW,
Geographer. 4to. Philadelphia : T. Ellwood Zell. 1871-73.
When the publication of the present work was begun, the publishers announced “an Atlas on a new plan.” The need of such a work has long been evident to those who have noticed the rapid ex. tension of our intercourse with distant portions of the globe, as seen in our new relations with China and Japan, and the frequency with which we meet the Mongolian type of features upon our streets. “Scientia est Potentia” is the motto of the publishers ; Knowledge is Power—not possessed by an exclusive guild over the unenlightened multitude, but diffused, scattered broadcast, and placed within the reach of every man. To aid in rendering the knowledge of our globe more available, and hence more valuable, is the object of this new Atlas. An acquaintance with geography is no longer an accomplishment; it is a necessity, felt each day more and more by every man who transacts business or even reads a newspaper.
There are, it is true, excellent geographies in use, such, for example, as Mitchell's, especially adapted to the use of the pupil; nor would we be understood as saying one word derogatory to its merits. That now under consideration is eminently the business man's Atlas, yet it does not fail to meet the requirements of the student. For the information of the latter are given the direction and course of each of the oceanic currents, with a description of their causes and effects, isothermal lines, limits of ice and of human habitation, and the distribution of races and religions, with accompanying statistics. For the former are given the air-line distance of the capital of each country from New York, the ocean steamer aud sailing-vessel routes, distinctly traced to and from the chief American and British ports, with the distance and time in days, the limits of commercial intercourse, and all the principal telegraph lines laid and projected by land and sea, with the distances.
This will indicate the comprehensive character of the work, yet it is designed for popular use and brought within the reach of all. It is published in twenty-five parts, containing thirty-five maps, one being issued each month, and of which twenty-two numbers are now before us. The maps are models of good coloring and clear printing This may be seen by reference to the map of England and Wales, for instance, upon which are upwards of two thousand names of towns, rivers, mountains, etc. ; yet there is no confusion or indistinctness. VOL. XXVI. --NO. LII.
The approximate population of each city and town is seen by the size and kind of type employed, thus dispensing in many cases with reference to the tables, in which are given, in addition to the population, the county or district in which the village or city is situated, and an , alphabetical index for reference to the map. The value of this index will be appreciated by every man of business habits, as soon as he perceives the vast saving of time otherwise lost in searching the map. This is effected by the lettering upon the top and side of each map, and the squares formed by the meridians and parallels of latitude. By reference to the proper square the desired place is found at once. This we have ourselves had occasion to prove, and can testify to the advantage of the plan over those we had previously seen.
The map of the world in No. 1 is on Sir J. Herschel's projection, thus repeating parts of Asia and North America, and the whole of the Pacific Ocean. By this means ocean routes, currents, etc., may be traced in their full extent without losing the connection. The longitude upon all the maps is reckoned from the same meridian, that of Greenwich, thus securing uniformity in the estimate of distances and the relative positions of countries and cities. The parallels of latitude are also mentioned which correspond in one hemisphere to those in another. Thus, of the New England States we read that they correspond in latitude in the eastern hemisphere to France, the north of Spain and Italy, and to the Isle of Yesso, in Japan. The difference in climate of these places has often been noticed. Thus, also, we know that London is a little north of parallel 57° north latitude, which corresponds upon this continent to the frozen regions of Labrador. These great climatic differences are now known to be due chiefly to those vast oceanic and aerial currents whose silent flow produces such grand results.
The map of England and its scale, 29 miles to the inch, are taken as the standard of comparison with all the other maps, thus conveying a correct idea not only of the absolute but the relative extent of each country or continent. The maps are all of the same size, so that by a simple reference to the scale of miles it is easy to compute, in a moment, the comparative areas of any two countries. This is decidedly a distinguishing excellence of the new Atlas. As an instance of this comparative method of statement we quote that in reference to South America :
" The area, of which about three-fourths are within the tropics, is estimated at above 7,000,000 square miles, equal to one and eight-tenths of Europe, one-fifth less