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POPULAR AND SCIENTIFIC,
A PHYSICAL, POLITICAL, AND STATISTICAL ACCOUNT
WORLD AND ITS VARIOUS DIVISIONS.
BY JAMES BELL,
AUTHOR OF CRITICAL RESEARCHES IN GEOGRAPHY, EDITOR OF ROLLIN'S ANCIENT HISTORY,
ILLUSTRATED BY A COMPLETE SERIES of MAPS, AND
ARCHIBALD FULLARTON AND CO.;
W. TAIT, EDINBURGH; W. CURRY, JUN., & CO., DUBLIN;
THE Publishers of the following work flatter themselves that it is one which will be found extensively valuable, both from its subject and from its execution. Geography is a branch of knowledge, which, if less adapted than most others for ambitious display, is more than most characterized by practical utility. It is less a showy accomplishment than a solid acquirement; it is not so much a thing for occasional exhibition, as a matter of every day's demand, and constantly recurring application. It may be truly said, indeed, that of all departments of secular study, this is at once the most universally and the most uniformly important for the various classes of men who are desirous of employing their lives in practical exertion, or of cultivating their minds by general knowledge.
The importance of geographical knowledge to both these classes of men, is too obvious to require much illustration. To every system of practical accomplishment, its value is direct. In every one of man's active pursuits-the greatest and the most trifling-the knowledge of the earth which he inhabits is power, and the want of it is weakness. A geographical miscalculation will more than any other ignorance involve a man in difficulties in the intercourse of ordinary life; a geographical miscalculation contributed more than all occasions else to overthrow the most extraordinary empire in the political, history of man. To the lawyer, the knowledge of Geography is necessary for throwing light on the constitution of policies, and the spirit of laws; to the physician, as a basis for the arrangement of his materia, and the comparison of climates; to the divine, as a recourse for the illustration of his belief, and a guide to the application of his maxims; to the soldier, for the regulation of his movements, and
the calculation of military chances; to the sailor, at once in the choice and in the conduct of his undertakings; to the merchant, for the knowledge of his commodities, and the speculations of his traffic; to the agriculturist, for the explanation of the primary laws of his science, and for suggesting the special arrangements of his practice; to the politician, for the adequate intelligence of the statistics of his own country, the relations of foreign States, and the balance of political powers; to the man of the world, for its connexion with all that practical knowledge which is appropriate to the character of a cultivated gentleman. For, viewed as a branch of general information not less than as a necessary part of practical accomplishment, will the value of geographical science become manifest. It is not merely that Geography is itself a science, ample in extent, and rich in valuable and interesting materials: but it pervades and mingles with almost all other knowledge. Every real existence, except God, is local, and hence every event also of which we have any knowledge has its locality. The relation of place is thus one of the most constant principles of association in every science, and in every mind. And he by whom the facts of that relation are not in some degree truly understood, is destitute at once of one of the most necessary safeguards against delusion, and of one of the most important principles for the consolidation of systematic truth. Terra incognita has always been the favourite haunt of unlicensed fancies, and the prolific birth-place of vulgar delusions. The extension of general knowledge has always kept pace with that of geographical science. Thus, Thales, the founder of mathematical Geography, was the founder of Grecian philosophy: Thus, the discovery of America was one great element in the combination of causes, which, three centuries ago, produced the revival of genuine knowledge and the resurrection of the human mind. Thus, in these latter ages of general illumination, has it become a national object to the most enlightened people of the earth, and a fond enterprise to her most adventurous children, to lift the veil which has so long