صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

fame, that work is the best possible. For it is evident; that it either cannot be improved, or that the improvement of it is highly improbable.

• When all the good of a system can easily be traced to general principles ; and when all the evils appear to be exceptions closely connected with some good, the excess being evidently, though perhaps but in a small degree, on the side of good, the contriver must be regarded as beneficent.

· Hypothetical reasonings (whether concerning final or efficient causes) are susceptible of the highest degree of evidence when two conditions are fulfilled; when the given hypothesis explains many phenomena, and contradicts none; and when every other hypothesis is inconfiftent with some of the phenomena.

• As it is very rare that one is able to reckon up all the hypotheses imaginable, in order to Thew that only one of them can be received, the best philofophers, and the most scrupulous, have contented them. selves with less, and have thought it sufficient if the hypothefis, which they adopt explains many phenomena' with precision. The more numerous the phenomena, and the greater the degree of precision, with the more confidence do they conclude, that no other supposition will account for the appearances. It is on such a foundation, as this, that the theory of gravitation is established. '

On the whole, we conceive that this treatise on Teleology is written on more philosophical principles than most of those that have appeared ; and we cannot but regret that it has not been given to the public entire, or with such alterations as the changes in the state of science might seem to require. The date of the MS. is 1756, and, since that time, the discoveries in philosophy must have, no doubt, added considerably to the examples that might be brought to illustrate the doctrine of final causes; a doctrine which we cannot help thinking might be so treated, as to form one of the most beautiful and interesting branches of human knowledge. Indeed, we should be glad to think that more of the works of our learned and ingenious author were destined to see the light. M. Prevost, who, in the biographical sketch before us, has so judiciously consulted the reputation of his friend, and the information of the public, has it still in his power to render an important service to both..


Art. XI. Modern Geography. A Description of the Empires,

Kingdoms, States and Colonies, with the Oceans, Seas and Isles, in all parts of the World, including the most recent Discoveries and Political Alterations, digested on a New Plan. By John Pinkerton. The Astronomical Introduction by the Reverend S. Vince, A. M. F. R. S. &c. &c. with numerous Maps revised by the Author. To the whole are added a Catalogue of the best Maps and Books of Travels and Voyages in all Lan. guages, and an ample Index. A new Edition, greatly enlarg. ed. 3 vol. 4to. pp. 2800. London, Cadell & Co., Longman & Co. 1807.

In a former Number of this Journal *, we bestowed considert able attention upon the first edition of Mr Pinkerton's work. We commended him for several beneficial changes which he had introduced into the manner of treating the subject; and we gave him credit for a great degree of labour in the collection of his materials. As the new edition which lies before us has been increased more than one half in bulk, and is presented rather as a new work, than a republication, we are called upon to consider in what manner the alteration has been effected, --how far the purchasers of the first work have been fairly treated, and whether the favourable judgment pronounced on that edition may be extended to the one now offered to the public.

The first edition was given as a finished work. No allusion was made to a continuation. It pretended to be such a system of geography as the existing state of the science enabled the au. thor to compile. We were told that it had been the favourite object of his study, from his earliest years, and that it was accomplished at the period of all others the most appropriate for giving such a present to the world. "No period of time' (said Mr Pinkerton in his preface, Ist edition) could be more favourable to the appearance of a new system of geography; than the beginning of a new century, after the elapse of the eighteenth, which will be memorable in all ages from the gigantic progress of every science, and in particular of geographical information ; nor less from the surprising changes which have taken place in most countries of Europe, and which, of themselves, render a new description indispensable. Whole kingdoms have been annihilated; grand provinces transferred ; and such a general alteration has taken place in states and boundaries, that a geographical work, published five years ago, may be pronounced to be already antiquat


* No. V. Art. VI.

ed.' - After a general war,' he continues, of the most eventful description ; after revolutions of the most astonishing nature ; Europe, at length, reposes in universal peace. The new divi, sions and boundaries no longer fluctuate with every campaign, but are established by solemn treaties which promise to be dur, able, as at no former period has war appeared more sanguinary or destructive, and at the same time more fruitless, even to the victors.?

It soon appeared, however, that all these reasons for publishing geography in 1801, were susceptible of an extended application,-nay, that the attempt was then premature, the first edition incomplete, and the true epoch for unfolding the system,--not during the permanent repose? secured by the universal peace' of Amiens, but the profound tranquillity of the present day,--when several states have been destroyed and others created, during the printing of our author's volumes! Accordingly, the prefatory advertisement to this new edition begins with an unmerciful abuse of the former one, in which, it seems, a great portion of Asia, and the whole of America and Africa, had been treated with such brevity, that there was no space even for the most important and interesting geographical information.' "The strik, ing brevity and deficiency' of half the second volume, we are told, had been perceived at home and abroad.' 'In a general system of geography,' Mr Pinkerton observes,' it is indispensable that there be a harmony of the parts; and the author must be an impartial cosmopolite, without predilection for particular portions.' Moreover, after long reflection and experience, the author has discovered, that an exact system of geography, of whatever size, ought to be divided into three parts ; ' one for Europe, another for Asia, because it ' teems with civilized empires and states, not to mention its vast extent;' and he has further discovered, that of the remaining third part, ' two thirds must ever be allotted to America,' and one to Africa, on account of the harmony of proportions, importance, and materials. ? For all which reasons, and because Mr Pinkerton had procured some Spanish books, and because a few new volumes of tracts have been published, the two volumes of the first edition are now worked up into three, by such means as we shall presently describe. The additions which are made, in order to supply the acknowledged defects of the first edition, are so incorporated with the present, that they cannot be procured separately; and the unlucky purchasers of that complete system have now the satisfaction of hearing its manifold imperfections proclaimed by the author himself, who will furnish no remedy but the purchase of this new work.' He adds, however, in case of fur

ther ther alarms, that this is to be the last demand ; but the only security which he gives, is an appeal to his discovery of 'harmony' above noticed. It would be impossible, he says, to add another volume without destroying this harmony.' He boasts, therefore, that " at length he has been able to complete his favourite plan of presenting to the public a system of modern geography, duly proportioned in all its parts, and such as to offer harmony and uniformity in its various divisions and arrangements.' We shall not tire our readers with quoting the other praises which he bestows upon himself, and quotes from others in the courøe of his work. We shall merely proceed to justify ourselves for differing very widely from him on those topics. Referring to the former article for an account of his plan, the most ' noble, scientific and luminous, of any before projected,' (vol. I. p. 22.) we shall endeavour to shew in what manner the additions now made have been executed; and we greatly deceive ourselves, if our readers shall not agree with us, before the close of the detail, in the opinion, that these additions, where they are not mere insertions of other mens writings, betray unpardonable carelessness and ignorance, augmenting the bulk, and not the value of the original work. In order to illustrate this position, we shall consider, successively, the principal improvements for which Mr Pinkerton takes credit. The additions made to the geography of Asia and the Asiatic Islands, of Africa, of the United States, Spanish America, and the West Indies, are, as we have already observed, the bulk of the new matter which has swelled the book to its present size. But the changes which have happened in Europe since 1802 are at least equally important ; and we shall begin by examining how far the author has kept pace with these. It would be endless to point out the mistakes into which he has fallen in the first volume, devoted to European geography “ according to the harmony.' We shall therefore take Germany as a fair specimen of the rest. No country abounds so much in statistical writers. It has been most frequently visited by Englishmen during the late wars. Its language is pretty generally understood. Its importance to the rest of the world never was more striking than in these times. Our author had, therefore, every facility, as well as every inducement, for exerting himself to exhibit a just picture of the German states, according to their appearances after the treaty of Presburg. Let us see how he has succeeded.

To the geography of the Prussian monarchy in its zenith, he has allotted no more than twenty-three pages; a proportion not too scanty for the dominions which now remain to that unfortunate power. · Yet even in this short sketch of so vast à subject, .


mes credit. Islands, of. Indies, atehich has

the number of his inaccuracies and defects is altogether unaccountable. By following him through these with some minuteness, we shall be able to judge of his claims to the highest rank among laborious and skilful compilers. . · The extent and boundaries of the country are given in a most négligent manner. The length and breadth of the body of the state, exclusive of detached provinces, are first noted, and the boundaries are then described as follows.

. On the east and south, Prussia now borders on the dominions of Russia and Austria, and the western limits adjoin to the bishoprick of Hildesheim, if ambition have not extended them ftill further."

1. Here is no menor of Saxonfor the

Here is no mention of Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and the Baltic on the north, or of Saxony, which bounds a considerable part of the southern frontier ; and for the western limit of a country which extends over more than four degrees of latitude, we are referred to a line of about eleven miles in length,' if ambition have not already extended it further.' That the treaty of indemnities did extend it further, above four years ago, appears in a supplementary note, attached, not to this article, but to the description of the German states. But even in this misplaced supplement, the changes effected by the treaty on the Prussian limits are most imperfectly stated. Of the acquisitions made by Prussia, Hildesheim, Paderborn and Munster only are named; Erfurt, Blankenhayn, Untergleichen, Eichsfeld, 'Muhlhausen, Nordhausen, Quedlinburg, Essen, Werden, Elten, and Ihrford, are omitted. Nor is any mention made of Cleves, Gelders, and Moers, which were ceded by her; or of the mutual cessions which took place between Bavaria and her in 1803.

The passage above extracted is immediately followed by a statement of the population, in which the extent of the country, the subject in hand, occurs incidentally. Before the recent acquia sitions in Poland, the number of Prussian subjects was only computed at 5,621,500, in a total extent of 56,414 square miles, that is, about 99 to the square mile. At present, they probably amount to about eight millions, including the Margraviate of Anspach and Bareuth, computed at 400,000, and the last acquisitions in Poland estimated at 2,100,000 inhabitants.' A note, however, is subjoined, stating that Prussia has recently ceded the Margraviate, together with Neufchatel and Wallengin,' to the French arrangements in Germany.'

Now, the sum of what we learn from all this, respecting the actual extent of Prussia, proves to be, that it is a country composed of many contiguous provinces, and of some detached piem çes of territory; but the proportion of the mass to these parcels

« السابقةمتابعة »