REVIEWS OF A System of Universal Geography (1832), by Samuel G. Goodrich

Reviews of other works by Goodrich
The New-England Magazine, August 1831
Christian Watchman, 14 September 1832
New England Magazine, October 1832
2nd edition: American Quarterly Review, September 1833

“In Press.” The New-England Magazine 1 (August 1831): 184.

A System of Universal Geography, popular and scientific, comprising a physical, political, and statistical account of the world and its various divisions; embracing numerous sketches from recent travels, and illustrated by four hundred engravings, of manners, costumes, curiosities, cities, edifices, remarkable animals, fruits, trees, plants, &c. by S. G. Goodrich, 1 vol. 8vo.—Boston, Richardson Lord & Holbrook.

Review by J. A. B. Christian Watchman 13 (14 September 1832): 142.

Goodrich’s Universal Geography. 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 920—Boston, Carter, Hendee & Co. 1832.

This beautiful volume supplies a deficiency in our list of school books which was caused by the numerous and expensive volumes of Malte Brun and the antiquity of Morse.—The plan of the work is excellent—even such as we might have expected from Mr. S. G. Goodrich, whose talents as a compiler of school books are of the highest order. It is not formed on the dry and dull model of the Census and Statistical Tables; it stops not at the delineation of boundaries and the names of physical and political divisions: but, as the title page announces, it comprises a physical, political and statistical account of the various parts of the world, with their manners, costumes, curiosities, cities, edifices, animals, fruits, tree,s and plants; its materials are collected from the rich stores of recent travellers, and illustrated by a multitude of engravings which add not merely to the beauty, but to the utility of the work, by addressing the memory through the best possible medium, the sight. The book, unlike any other geography accessible to ordinary students, bears the stamp of the present hour, making known, not what was, or might have been, twenty or thirty years ago, but what is in 1832,—bringing down its statements to actually existing facts. It will be to those who are unable to purchase Malte Brun and The Modern Traveller an Encyclopedia of geographical knowledge, and must soon become the text book of all our Academies and Colleges. Great credit is due to the publishers, who have been at great expense to make it what it is at once—a splendid and economical volume—beautiful but cheap. The order of arrangement is, 1st. America, 2d. Europe, 3d. Africa, 4th Asia, 5th Oceanica. Of the 115 chapters the first 35 are devoted to the United States—the next 8 to the other North American countries; 11 to the West Indies, South America, and the Atlantic Ocean; 34 to Europe; 12 to Africa; 1[3] to Asia; 1 to Oceanica, and 1 to the general view of the world. The smaller divisions of a count[r]y are first treated of in order, and then a general view of them taken, so that, as in the survey of a picture, we contemplate first the individual figures and then the grouping, and thus acquire a distinct and harmonious conception of the whole.

The style of the book is lively and exceedingly interesting on the whole, but bearing marks of a number of editors. In some instances the language is not sufficiently clear and simple for a work of this character—as in the chapters on France and Italy, and occasionally there is an inaccuracy which betrays either haste or carelessness, as on page 257—speaking of the young of the flamingo. “The young ones are a long while before they are able to fly;” and on page 471, in describing the Sloth, there are two errors, the one in the language, viz. “His fur has so much the hue of the moss which grows on the branches of the tree that it is very difficult to make him out when he is at rest;” and the other in the engraving, which, after the preceding paragraph has told us that the ai Sloth is distinguished from the unai species by having three claws on each foot and a tail, (or, as the book says, a tail, and three claws upon each foot!”) represents him with three claws, but tail-less. Such inaccuracies are very few, however, and not worthy of naming, when the general merit of the book is to be estimated. We have seen no book of American typography illustrated largely by wood engravings of so high an order of spirit and excellence—and no other school book within our knowledge has attained even to decency in this respect. We are glad therefore to see that learners are beginning to receive proper treatment from teachers and publishers, and to be relieved from the danger of having their taste destroyed or horrified, and their credulity and consciences outraged by the monstrous creations of miserable artists and their more miserable apprentices. If a book should ever be well printed, and its illustrations be true and accurate, it is when that book is intended for schools.—The publishers of this Geography have already done much for that course of improvement in which the Lyceums and Institutes of our day are labouring, and we trust that the public will consult the interest of all concerned, and extend that patronage which is the desert of merit.

Review. New England Magazine, 3 (October 1832): 342. Ed. Joseph T. & Edwin Buckingham.

A System of Universal Geography, Popular and Scientific, comprising a Physical, Political, and Statistical Account of the World and its various Divisions; embracing numerous Sketches from recent Travels; and Illustrated by Engravings of Manners, Costumes, Curiosities, Cities, Edifices, Remarkable Animals, Fruits, Trees, and Plants. By S. G. Goodrich.

Mr. Goodrich is extensively known, as the author of many popular works descriptive of the earth, in which instruction is blended with amusement. Some of these are about to be republished in London. The popularity and circulation of some of the “Parley’s” are, we believe, unprecedented in this country.

Mr. Goodrich has brought his own proper name into no discredit, by placing it in the title page of this volume. Our cotemporaries in the newspapers have awarded to the work unqualified and unmeasured praise; but it is our duty to praise with discrimination; though, after all, our remarks must be laudatory.

A Universal Geography is a comprehensive title, though much matter can be compressed into 900 pages of royal octavo. The author well knows that readers are the best instructed when they are a little pleased, and “Geography made easy” is, with him, but another name for geography made interesting.

In this sense Mr. Goodrich has made it easy in a three-fold manner. He has in the first place chosen pictures as well as words to give an idea of visible objects, especially in the animal and vegetable creation, or in the monuments raised by human labor and art. In the second place he has described the animal creation, so fully that this department is a treatise on Natural History in itself. Thirdly, the descriptions of national character, manners, amusements, dress, religion, laws, arts, &c. is, we opine, fifty fold more extensive than in any other Geography. Though all geographies must be compilations, yet these descriptions of Mr. Goodrich’s have at least an original form, and, to gather the materials for them, hundreds of volumes must have been searched, especially recent books of travels. The strictly geographical part, is principally derived from the voluminous works of Malte Brun and Bell, and it is perspicuous and correct.

The descriptions of national character are so extensive, that any extract that we could admit within our limits would afford but a sorry specimen. Those relating to England alone occupy more than twenty pages. In reading them, perhaps, an Englishman might not think himself flattered. The French are not drawn with an Englishman’s pencil, but, we presume, they are fairly delineated. The Turks are not flattered, ad though a people who call Christians dogs, and argue upon religious points with the cymetar, may not be altogether amiable, yet we should think that they are better than they are described to be. If they are intolerant, Christians should, in describing them, try to fall into the opposite error, if they must fall into error. The Turks have probably deteriorated since they encamped in Europe; but many intelligent travelers have found much to approve in them. Besides, little is known of their domestic life. The writer allows them no virtue but honesty, and this he thinks they originally practised from contempt of the Greeks, whose policy was not that which the proverb calls the best.

The chief part of the work is devoted to Europe and America, of which the accounts are very full.

Many of the wood-cuts are good, especially the animals; but those representing cities and landscapes, had been better omitted. There is one intended to represent the capitol at Washington, which defies all attempts to trace any resemblance.

Review of second edition. American Quarterly Review, 14 (September 1833): 126-142. Ed. Robert Walsh.

ART. VI.—A System of Universal Geography, Popular and Scientific, comprising a Physical, Political, and Statistical Account of the World and its various Divisions; embracing numerous Sketches from recent Travels; and illustrated by Engravings. By. S. G. GOODRICH. 2d edition: Boston: 1832.

The work of which we have here given the full title, with the well known name of the author, is comprised in a neatly executed octavo of more than nine hundred pages, embellished with a large number of wood cuts. These are illustrative of manners, costumes, curiosities, cities, edifices, remarkable animals, fruits, trees, and plants; and although they are not all equally elegant as specimens of art, nor equally indispensable as accompaniments to the text, they appear to us to add materially to the intrinsic value, and still more to the popular utility of the book. We allude to this point the more seasonably, while the title lies before us, because it is one of the distinctive indications of the system generally adopted by Mr. Goodrich, and one which, under circumstances of discretion and fidelity, we believe has been, and may be rendered much further, the instrument of effecting no small good in its way. Fidelity, we say; for unless the engraver [p. 127] be made to understand what he undertakes to illustrate, it is hardly to be expected that the pupil will be essentially instructed, however much amused, by his efforts. For all the purposes of information, we should esteem a copy of that accurate draught Apollyon’s Single Combat with Christian—from the wood cuts in Pilgrim’s Progress of the seventeenth century, much more, as a representation of some of our Western Indians, than most of the original sketches of the same doubly unfortunate people which have in time past held grim possession of some of the school books we wot of.

The author of this work, in reference to the system of illustration so judiciously adopted by himself, has profited by his observations abroad, to notice the popularity and success of the same plan, in the case particularly of almost all the valuable books of travels, natural history, and other works on subjects admitting of visible representations, recently issued from the British press. The truth is, that no verbal description can convey, especially to the mind of readers at an age not competent to appreciate the force of language, an image of a wild animal, a costume, a tree, or an edifice, so distinct or so impressive as will be the inevitable effect of a tolerable, and especially of an elegant wood cut.

But the question may arise, how far the subjects themselves, which chiefly require this incidental aid, are suitable ones for a work of this description; for, as we have already intimated, these embellishments, while they certainly would operate as a douceur to that large class of young readers (we should hardly say students,) whose best relish for information is in its immediate excitement, are much more worthy of serious consideration to the critic as illustrating the theory of instruction which they accompany, and embody in palpable feature and form. Was it proper, then, to introduce these subjects, so extensively as our author has done, into a system of universal geography? Here, for example, are between thirty and forty of his large, and often very closely printed pages, occupied with what he entitles a general view of the western states. This is additional not only to the political, physical, and statistical geography, strictly so termed, of each state by itself, but also in many cases, to matter thus previously introduced under the same head and upon the same subjects. Here are the boundaries and extent, the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, natural productions, minerals, face of the country, &c., &c., of Illinois, Michigan, and the other separate sections; and then not only have we the same points handled over again, but quite an account of the food and drink, the diseases, the amusements, and at more length than either of these, the manners and character, supposed to belong to the people of that part of the country at large. The author has contrived even to introduce in his notes the very graphic and

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quite detailed sketches which Mr. Flint furnishes in his Geography and his “Ten Years Residence,” of the various modes and perils of navigating the Mississippi, the dialect of the boatmen, and the characteristics of emigration from the East, together with that writer’s fine description of a camp-meeting among the mountains of Tennessee; and also some of Audubon’s best anecdotes, in his best style, of the rifle-sports of Kentucky, and the curious practice of regulating among the people of the frontiers. For the better setting forth of our author’s spirit of compilation, we give place to the ornithologist’s account of “barking off squirrels,” a specimen of which rare amusement he witnessed near Frankfort, the performer being the celebrated Daniel Boone.

“We walked out together, and followed the rocky margins of the Kentucky river, until we reached a piece of flat land thickly covered with black walnuts, oaks, and hickories. As the general mast was a good one that year, squirrels were seen gamboling on every tree around us. My companion, a stout, hale, and athletic man, dressed in a homspun hunting shirt, bare legged and moccassined, carried a long and heavy rifle, which, as he was loading it, he said had proved efficient in all his former undertakings, and which he hoped would not fail on this occasion, as he felt proud to show me his skill. The gun was wiped, the powder measured, the ball patched with six hundred thread linen, and the charge sent home with a hickory rod. We moved not a step from the place, for the squirrels were so numerous that it was unnecessary to go after them. Boon [sic] pointed to one of these animals which had observed us, and was crouched on a branch about fifty paces distant, and bade me mark well where the ball should hit. He raised his piece gradually, until the head (that being the name given by the Kentuckian to the sight) of the barrel was brought to a line with the spot he intended to hit. The whip-like report resounded through the woods and along the hill in repeated echoes. Judge of my surprise, when I perceived that the ball had hit the piece of the bark immediately beneath the squirrel, and shivered it into splinters, the concussion produced by which, had killed the animal, and sent it whirlling through the air, as if it had been blown up by the explosion of a powder magazine.”

The snuffing of a candle with a ball, the traveller first had an opportunity of seeing near the banks of Green River. On reaching the place, he says,—

“I was welcomed by a dozen tall stout men, who told me they were exercising, for the purpose of enabling them to shoot by night at the reflected light from the eyes of a deer or wolf, by torch light, of which I shall give you an account somewhere else. A fire was blazing near, the smoke of which rose curling among the thick foliage of the trees. At a distance that rendered it scarcely distinguishable, stood a burning candle, as if intended as an offering to the goddess of night, but which in fact was only fifty yards from the spot on which we stood. One man was within a few yards of it, to watch the effects of the shots, as well as to light the candle should it chance to go out, or replace it should the shot cut it across. Each marksman shot in his turn. Some never hit either the snuff or the candle, and were congratulated with a loud laugh; while others actually snuffed the candle without putting it out, and were recompensed for their dexterity by numerous hurrahs. One of them who was particularly expert, was very fortunate, and snuffed the candle three times out of seven, whilst all the other shots either put out the candle, or cut it immediately under the light.”

The following passage of Mr. Flint’s notes of the camp-meeting, will bear repetition in this place.

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“The line of tents is pitched; and the religious city grows up in a few hours under the trees, beside the stream. Lamps are hung in lines among the branches, and the effect of their glare upon the surrounding forest is as of magic. The scenery of the most brilliant theatre in the world, is a painting only for children, compared with it. Meantime the multitudes, with the highest excitement of social feeling added to the general enthusiasm of expectation, pass from tent to ten, and interchange apostolic greetings and embraces, and talk of the coming solemnities. Their coffee and tea are prepared, and their supper is finished. By this time the moon, (for they take thought, to appoint the meeting at the proper time of the moon) begins to show its disk above the dark summits of the mountains; and a few stars are seen glimmering through the intervals of the branches. The whole constitutes a temple worthy of the grandeur of God. An old man, in a dress of the quaintest simplicity, ascends a platform, wipes the dust from his spectacles, and in a voice of suppressed emotion, gives out the hymn, of which the whole assembled multitude can recite the words,—and an air, in which every voice can join. We should deem poorly of the heart that would not thrill, as the song is heard, like the ‘sound of many waters,’ echoing among the hills and mountains.”

The compiler of the Geography considers the Kentuckian character the pervading one of the west, and he gives the following sketch of it, which may be taken as a specimen of his own style.

“It is a branch of that of Virginia, modified by a more adventurous, but secluded life. The Kentuckian is bold in his bearing, and lofty in his port; but his dignity is dashed with humour and gaiety. He has a degree of modest assurance, that belongs to men who are satisfied with their own qualifications. He deems himself equal to any man, and the abstract conception of a superior, never occurred to him. He never mars his fortune by an idle distrust of himself; he believes himself capable of accomplishing any thing, and the belief renders him so. Hospitality and generosity, which are virtues in common men, are none in the Kentuckian; they are the effect of his impulses, a part of his instinct. He is not given to falsehood, for he is not accessible to fear. He is courteous with the civil, and with the ungentle he is also froward. He will fight for any cause or fo no cause, but he will not commence the quarrel. His pride is a part of his life, and he defends it; his honour is the best of his possessions, and he suffers no encroachment. In one respect he is unfortunate; he has not enough to do; there are no Indians to be hunted, or forests to be cleared; the country is a garden, the proprietor rich, and his restless spirit is sometimes urged by ennui into the borders of dissipation.”

If it be added, that eighteen pages of this general view of the western states are taken up with cuts and descriptions of its natural history, our readers will have an idea of that principle, running through the whole of this work, which has led to the introduction of so much matter foreign, as the compilers of the old systems of geography would say, to the business and name of the volume. It is very well for amusement—perhaps they would add—very well for excitement, but how does it concern the science? Or as the mathematician asked as to the poetry—what does it prove? How shall we reconcile a critical disquisition on the musical taste of the Italians, such as Mr. Goodrich has furnished, with the scheme and design of a geography?

For ourselves, we have no hesitation in deciding this matter with the compiler of the system before us. The objection, if it implies any thing, implies too much. It goes upon the principle

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of limiting the range of the geographer to a literal “description of the earth;” and that interpretation of his privileges would be equally contrary to custom and reason. Geographers, indeed, have all goone astray. The only difference between them in this particular, from Ptolemy down to Myers, is to be found in the length of the tether of which they have severally given themselves the scope. Pinkerton and Guthrie, for a long time the highest standards, as well as Dr. Morse, who appears to have followed them closely in his compilations, went beyond their predecessors in the latitude of their design and the license of their mode of pursuing it; but not further than their successors, and especially the great French savant, Malte-Brun, have gone beyond them. Thus have the confines of the science been gradually enlarged by custom, until the student, instead of restricting his researches to a literally superficial survey of the physical face of the earth, descends with his more venturous guide of modern times, into his penetralia and arcana, mounts with him the ambient atmosphere, and anon returns to investigate the philosophy, as well as to observe the phenomena of the elements. Pursuing the same system in political geography, he there learns not only the artificial divisions and institutions of society and government, but the origin of both, and the effect of both, in the circumstances which constitute and modify what is called national and sectional character.

We are aware, when we justify an author who has carried the liberal system here explained so far as the volume before us indicates, that it makes the science in question one of vast compass; or, rather, we may say, that it gives up the boundaries of the science, undefined and indefinable, to the discretion and even imagination of the author. It looks, indeed, to a revolution—a reformation, let us add—in geography, congenial to the catholic spirit which at the present day vitalizes more and more all the systems of science, after having struggled for so many centuries against the precedence of rules, the prejudice of antiquity, and the dogmatism of scholastic dicta. The same revolution has taken place in physiology, in chemistry, in logic, in poetry; and the changes in either the politics or religion of the world at large since the middle ages, have hardly been either more considerable or more signal than all of these.

The most important variations between the plan of the geography before us and its predecessors, in reference to the subject just alluded to, consists in the amount of its zöology, and of its commentary on the manners and character of the various people of the earth. As regards the latter, the propriety of introducing something upon these topics, will perhaps admit of no controversy; the only question will be— whether that something should be so much and so minute—as much on the character and man-

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ners of the English, for example, as upon all other subjects together relating to the geography of that country. Here is a specimen, in the account of an English nobleman’s mode of passing his time, which the author furnishes in one of his foot notes. We take the latter part of it:—

“But Parliament at length is up, London gaiety ends,

‘And tradesmen, with long bills, and longer faces,

Sigh as the post-boys fasten on the traces.’

“Every one who has the least pretensions to fashion, hastens from town, as if the plague, or cholera morbus had suddenly nude their appearance in its populous streets. As Lord Byron says,

‘The English winter—ending in July

To recommence in August—now was done,

’Tis the postillions’ paradise; wheels fly;

On roads east, south, north, west, there is a run.’

“The Morning Poet announces the departure of the noble lord and his family for his seat the county of ——, as the shooting-season is about to commence. His lordship, however numerous his estates, gives the preference to that where the best sport can be furnished. But to enliven the solitude of the country, a select and numerous party of his fashionable and sporting friends are invited to join him. Dukes and duchesses, earls and countesses, foreigners of distinction, Greek counts, and Polish princes, sporting characters, men of talent and literature, or who wish to pass for such; wits, poets, and hangers on of every description; and frequently the last celebrated actress or singer, who has consented to warble a few notes at an enormous expense, all follow in his train; some to amuse, and some to be amused, some to kill time, and others to kill birds; fortune-hunters and fox-hunters, some from the love of gaming, and others from the love of game. A French cook, an Italian confectioner, and a German courier have been sent down to prepare for the reception of the guests. The country squires and their wives look out anxiously for the arrival of the nobleman and his London train; the ladies, in hopes of seeing the last London fashions and London airs, gay breakfasts and county balls; the gentlemen in the more substantial expectation of good dinners and choice wines. The villagers rejoice at seeing the curling smoke once more ascend from the chimneys of the great house. The game-keepers clean their rusty fire-locks and shot belts. The grooms look well to the condition of their stud, and the gardeners arrange their hot-houses, conservatories, and pineries, for my lady’s approbation. The family seat of an English nobleman, usually combines ancient grandeur with modern elegance.

“The principal entries arc guarded by gates of solid iron, with porter’s lodges constructed with much taste; sometimes castellated to suit, the architecture of the house itself, or low Grecian buildings with rows of marble pillars, entwined with jasmine and roses. The avenue winds through the park, which is a vast enclosure, frequently twenty miles in circumference, and adorned with scattered clumps of noble trees, oaks which are the growth of centuries,

‘And oaks, as olden as their pedigree,

Told of their sires, a tomb in every tree.’

“Summer-houses, cottage-ornees, and temples are scattered in every direction. Perhaps a noble river winds its course through the grounds, with wooded banks sloping downwards to its brink; or a broad transparent lake with islands and pleasure-boats, adds to the variety of the scenery. Numerous herds of deer may be seen lying under the forest- trees, startling at the slightest sound, and sweeping by to hide themselves in the thickest shade. Then there are gardens with heated-walls, shrubberies and plantations of vast extent, green-houses and hot-houses, graperies, pineries, and aviaries. But little rural beauty is enjoyed by the proprietor of the estate. The flowers have faded, and the leaves grown yellow with the autumnal tint, before fashion permit him to pay any lengthened

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visit to his country seat. Within the mansion there are long suites of rooms, furnished with all the refinement of modern luxury, turkey carpets, low ottomans, damask hangings, and walls draped with silk, and panneled with mirrors; statues, vases, and candelabras, tables of mosaic and or-molu; long galleries, and huge halls which retain a more ancient and feudal taste; the walls hung with family-portraits, descended from generations long since passed away, barons in steel, and ladies in antique court-dresses; judges in ermine, and generals in armour; beauties from the pencil of Vandyke and Sir Peter Lely; frequently mingled with paintings from still greater masters; Claude Lorraines, Titians, and Salvators. It might be thought from the heterogeneous mixture of guests assembled at the nobleman’s villa, that little harmony would subsist among them. But there is one rule observed by the host which is seldom broken in upon. He never interferes with the pursuits of his guests, but leaves them to follow the bent of their own inclinations whether grave or gay.

“The man of literature and the sportsman, follow their respective tastes undisturbed. Here is a library for the studious, music-rooms for the lover of harmony; for the connoisseur there is the gallery of paintings, and billiards for those who prefer that amusement. Horses ready saddled are at the disposal, of all who wish for exercise; and numerous servants are ready to attend the call of those who remain in their apartments, and prefer their own society to that of others. If the morning is fine, and fitted for the enjoyment of the chase, his lordship rises betimes, and joins the sportsmen. The court now presents an animated scene; there are game-keepers; gentlemen in shooting-jackets or hunting-coats; grooms giving gentle exercise to the hunters; grey-hounds in leashes; pointers, &c. A substantial breakfast is spread for the keen appetite of the sportsmen. The side-tables are covered with game, cold meat and wine. A hasty breakfast is interrupted by the shrill blast of the horn. The huntsman rides round at the head of his yelping pack of fox-hounds, cracks his whip, and calls each dog to order by name. The nobleman and his sporting guests hurry out, mount their hunters, and gallop after the hounds. But if the morning is dark and rainy, and no sport can be enjoyed out of doors, other amusements are resorted to. The breakfast-room is filled with idlers and loungers. The first interesting moment is the arrival of the newspapers and letters. The eagerness with which the bag is opened, and the avidity with which its contents are received, would lead one to suspect, that wherever the guests may have strayed, their thoughts are in London. As his lordship enjoys the same liberty that he leaves to his guests, he probably passes the morning in his apartment, receives his steward, looks over his bills, listens to the complaints of his tenantry, or consults with his architect in regard to the repairing or embellishing his mansion. Perhaps an hour at billiards, or a visit to the stables, passes away the time till luncheon, where the ladies meet to eat, and the gentlemen to look at them, for no true gourmand will spoil his dinner by an intervening meal. But the dinner hour in the country is the time for sociability, when English reserve thaws, when the company meet together probably for the first time in the day, and the courteous host presides at his table with the cares of the morning erased from his brow.

“The large hall is brilliantly lighted up, and a cheerful fire blazes in the grate. The tables and sideboard shine in all the luxury of massive gold plate, with the family arms emblazoned in every direction. The refined French cookery is mingled with more solid fare for the hungry sportsman and the county squire. The conversation sparkles like the champagne; and brilliant wit, which had been corked up all day, now flows unchecked. In the evening, the long suite of rooms are in a blaze of light, and the delicate exotics of the conservatory shining in the light of the lamps produce a kind of artificial summer. Music and dancing, cards and conversation are resorted to by turns. The sportsmen recount their feats, the gourmand discusses the merits of the dinner, the politicians sit in a nook apart, calculating upon the probabilities of a continental war. The company usually disperse by midnight, the ladies to recruit their looks for the next London season, the gentlemen to recruit their strength for the next pheasant battue, or fox-chase. When the sporting season is over, the guests disperse, and his lordship is left at liberty to dispose of his time, either in remaining to culti-

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vate the acquaintance of his country neighbours, or in visiting his other estates. The Christmas festivities bring a renewal of country gaiety. A tour to the continent frequently disposes of the remaining months till the politics and pleasure recall the noble lord to London.”

Now, here we have taken our author at the worst; there are very few passages of description in his volume so detailed as the one we have given. But even under the aspect which this extract throws upon his book—as a popular one, elegantly written, and well fitted to amuse not less than to instruct—we should be willing to say much in his favour. To state the case in its most unfavourable term, if all this matter which the book comprises in the way of illustrative anecdote and fine writing, were of no sort of service to the strict design of the geography; if it could only be approved as a sprightly miscellany, and fully introduced with the mere view of relieving the tedium or increasing the interest of the main work, still we should offer a plea in its defence, rather than in its bar. Nay, though we might like more of the science, or might not, we doubt much if we should hate one jot of the condiment which makes thus much of it agreeable to all guests, and tolerable even to those who have least relish for a matter-of-fact dish.

We have great faith in the doctrine of making a book, upon whatever subject—to be readable. It was a shrewd remark of the most popular miscellaneous writer of the times, in reference to a very sensible, indeed unexceptionable production of another author in eminent esteem with the public; “Sir, it is very true, no fault can be found with it; but I am myself in favour of a work which is written to be not criticised, but read.” It would have been easier for the author of our geography to follow out his original project of a compilation from Malte-Brun and Bell, than it has been to do what he has done; and there would then have been no dispute about the technical propriety of his system. But would he have communicated as much information, relative to his science, to as many readers? and would it have been remembered as long, either on account of its clearness or its interest? We think not. And although, therefore, it should be granted, that all the anecdote in these foot notes, and all the fine writing in the text, upon travelling, amusements, and curiosities, is strictly supererogatory, yet should we count such accompaniment most essentially promotive, not only of the professed design of this work—which is utility, in itself always desirable, by means of a popularity in itself at least harmless—but of the proper design of any work intended to convey in the smallest compass, the most knowledge of the subject-matter, to the best understood, most widely read, and longest remembered. Malte-Brun himself might find more of the science in his own book than in this, and might therefore as a scholar feel even more in-

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terest in it; and the same may be true of such other individuals, here and there, as call themselves critics, and perhaps are such in the science; but the people, after all—the great mass of the community—those who are to be attracted to a subject in the first instance, and who will rely upon only one book, perhaps, on the same subject—these, we say, are after all, in a case like this, both your most grateful pupils and your best critics. The true question to be decided, then, is, we repeat it, for it implies a principle of cardinal importance to all literature, not whether any particular passages, independently considered, might have been spared; but whether any considerable amount of all this kind of matter, in the aggregate—the running accompaniment, with the variations—can be fairly said to be of more detriment as a violation of the artificial propriety of the ancient school, than of benefit as part of a complete work designed to be extensively and permanently useful.

But let us not be understood to value either the natural history contained in this geography, or the commentary on manners and character, only as recommendations of the strict subject matter in the way of interest. They clearly possess a positive scientific worth of their own, as a part of the system. Something of the latter topics is indeed admitted, as we have said, into all works in this department, and if something should be admitted, is it not better to admit enough thoroughly to illustrate all the leading differences in the character of the various nations, with the causes and effects of them to some extent, than barely to say, with the old writers, that the Spaniards are irascible and haughty; the English, proud and brave; the Germans, persevering and fond of hot stoves; and the North American Indians copper-coloured (not true, by the way) and grateful, revengeful and blood-thirsty. This is daubing a portrait with a vengeance; and for all purpose of either philosophical or popular interest, the painter did just as well in economically representing Pharaoh and his hosts crossing the Red Sea, by one universal amalgam of brick dust.

If the reader will refer once more to the extract we have given, respecting the manners of the English noblemen, let us ask whether a passage like that, considering its striking faithfulness to the life, and the light it throws collaterally upon many other points of interest, is not a model, so far as it goes, of what a disquisition on character, for a work of this kind, ought to be. Or take the following well drawn sketch of the English women,

“There is nothing in England that strikes an American more forcibly than the difference in the situation of women, there, and here. As he arrives in a vessel at Liverpool, he notices among the crowd, that press to the wharf, nearly as many women as men. These are of the lower order, and mingle with the men as if there were no distinction of sex. They listen to the coarse jokes and rude oaths of the multitude without shame, and as freely join in the laugh and retort

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as if they were sailors and porters. As the stranger passes along through the town, he sees a multitude of women abroad, most of them without any other head-dress than a cap, and carrying bundles, or going in haste, as if on business. He proceeds to the vegetable market, and there he finds it almost exclusively attended by women; many of them with infants in their arms, or laid on the floor at their side. The traveller proceeds on his way to Manchester, and on the public highway, in the meadows and fields, and in every street through which he passes, he still sees women of the lower class abroad, attending to various occupations. Instead of shrinking from the gaze, as American women of the same class would do, they look the coachmen and passengers boldly in the face, and seem not a whit abashed at impertinent looks, and more impertinent speeches. At Manchester and Birmingham the women are seen engaged in various kinds of severe bodily labour: not only are the manufactories filled with them, but in some instances they drive the horses attached to the days, work iron in the smithies, and shovel coal to feed the fires of the steam engines. These women are in the constant habit of mixing with the men, and it is perfectly obvious that they can possess no part of the delicacy and modesty, which are so common, and so nearly universal, among the humbler classes of females in our country.

“There is a correspondent differences in the condition of the females of the higher classes of England and America. The women of the middle ranks, as well as the ladies of quality in England, are more accustomed to mix freely in the society of the other sex. Their lives are less secluded, less domestic. The married ladies, in particular, are less confined to the society of their husbands, and often mingle in matters of business, which are here left exclusively to men. If the English females are therefore better acquainted with the world, they are inferior to ours in delicacy. The rules of decorum in their state of society are somewhat relaxed, and topics which here would be considered improper, are freely discussed or alluded to, as legitimate themes of conversation, between the sexes, there.

“But if our ladies have the advantage in natural delicacy, we must admit that in artificial refinement, those of England surpass them. Their education is more thorough; their accomplishments more numerous and perfect. In the art of conversation they excel, and bestow upon fashionable society that exquisite polish which is never found here.”

And how can a full conception of the English character be conveyed—an imperfect one is much worse than none at all—without even those disagreeable traits in the national manners which make the obscuro of the picture? Hence, while a note on one page furnishes the best account of “Almacks” we have ever seen—evidently from the pen of an accurate eye-witness—the next presents us an amusing, though revolting, description, from the English papers, of a boxing-match—a scene which is hardly less an “incarnation of John Bull,” than is even an English mob, according to our author,

“It is to be remembered that there is a vast crowd about the ring which is cleared in this way. The amateurs make a regular onset upon them, and although it is taken as a jest, there is no lack of heavy blows. It is for a moment a scene of the greatest uproar, after which every one takes his place. The fight seems not to have been one of the most desperate ones, though perhaps it is a fair specimen of a battle by people under the grade of the professors. It was between deaf Davis and a feather- bed maker named English.

“Round 1. The deaf-one had hardly put himself into an attitude when he went to work like a hammer-man and floored English like a shot flat upon his back.

“2. The feather-bed hero before he could look round him again received three facers in succession and was again floored.

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“3. English came up gamely to the scratch, when David punished him in all directions and put in such a blow over one of his peepers that he was positively electrified. He put up his arm to feel if he had not lost his head, turned his back and was stopped only by the ropes. Here Davis caught his adversary and once more levelled him. ‘Take him away,’ rang from all parts of the ring, ‘he will be killed.’

“4. Contrary to all expectation, the ‘feather- bed maker’ was not such a flat as he seemed; he met Davis like a trump, and afer a terrific rally Davis was hit down almost senseless.

“5. English put a new face, or rather one of another colour, on Davis; he milled him from one end of the ring to the other, and by a flooring hit, levelled the deaf-one in his native dust.

“6. Davis again took the lead, and nobbed the feathered hero to a stand still, when English in turn gave him a hit that was almost a finisher, on the knowledge box.

“7. This round was fighting ‘with a vengeance.’ The claret ran in streams from both their mugs. Davis was floored, and on being called, said to his second ‘he could not stand.’ It was over in twelve minutes.”

It is but just to take this occasion of saying, that our author’s delineations of character possess in a remarkable degree the merit of impartiality, as well as of liveliness and correctness. He professes himself, in his preface, unconscious of any other influence in portraying them, than the love of truth; and we are free to say, that our own examination, though a somewhat jealous one, has rather confirmed our previous opinion as to the existence of this important qualification in the present case. Let us corroborate our judgment by the aid of evidence of his own coining. How true, and yet how fair, is all this commentary on the New- England character:

“They have a caution that prevails in all things, and they seldom answer directly an abrupt question, without knowing why it is asked. They have the impress of Franklin; Poor Richard’s maxims of thrift fall upon a congenial soil, and no proverbs are oftener quoted, or more followed. They are like Franklin, to a great degree inventive in practical things, and far the greater number of inventions in the patent office, are from New England. It is peculiar to these people that they are seldom found without a pocket knife, which they use with dexterity; and boys at school are frequently seen whittling, or cutting wood into some shape, for a wind mill or other toy. It is a universal trait, and it is said that a gentleman from Havana who invited a large company to dine, gave each man from New England a shingle to cut, that they might not carve his furniture.

“The situation of the females marks a high state of society. Their employment is always domestic, and within the house, and they are never seen engaged in any agricultural occupations with men, as in almost every other country. The origin of the people of New England may be traced in their scriptural names, and there are others that would nto have been without honour even in the days of Cromwell, as the prefixes of Relief, Hopestill, Waitstill, Mercy, Rejoice, Makepeace, Thankful, and Silence, which are still common names. In retired spots there is much of the ancient simplicity of character, and the patriarchs who may there be found with a numerous offspring around them, are worthy of the following description, which was made for a peasant in the Alps.

“ ‘Thy humble virtues’ hospitable home,

And spirit patient, pious, proud, and free;

Thy self-respect grafted on innocent thoughts;

Thy days of health, and nights of sleep, thy toils

By danger dignified, yet guiltless; hopes

Of cheerful old age, and a quiet grave;

And thy grand children’s love for epitaph.’

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“One of the first traits developed in the New England character is, if not a love of gain, at least a disposition to traffic. It commences at an early age, and children at school not only exchange or ‘swap’ knives, and other things, but make lotteries, in which the prizes are paid in gingerbread and raisins, and which leave a little profit to the manager and proprietor. The farmers too, though not the most industrious kind, sometimes bring up horses and cattle for a ‘swap’ to the village inn; and the tin-pedlars, whose wheels are in every road in the United States, are to a man from New England.

“Another trait of character is the readiness with which the people of New England admit the equality of all men with themselves, and the steadiness with which they deny both in theory and practice that any are superior. It would raise a tempest in the breast even of a female doestic, to ask for her mistress, nor would hse be satisfied to be called a servant or even a domestic. Help is the word by which servants reconcile their pride with their interest, or employment, as it denotes, that though the assistants, they are equals of their employers. A foreigner probably finds some ground for dissatisfaction on the score of domestics, for among house-wives it is a subject of universal complaint at home; the best servants are English, who have been more familiar with the distinction of classes.”

And now let us see another of those numerous phases of American character which former writers have commonly compounded into one indiscriminate general remark, that the Americans have no character at all:

“ ‘It is on his plantation that the planter is the best known. He is, there independent of all modes and circumstances, ‘as free as Nature first made man,’ and more powerful than it is safe for men to be,—having little restraint upon his will but that of his prudence of his sense of justice. In New England and other ‘foreign parts,’ he may sometimes have an air of constraint, for he is

‘Lofty and sour to those who love him not,

But to all such as seek him sweet as summer.’

Yet in his own cotton-field he is himself, and what you see of him there you may consider (as we say) genuine. If you are his guest, he tells you that his plantation is your own, and while you remain it is such, in all things but the title deeds. You cannot stay too long, or take too much of the choice old wines.’

“Virginia appears like a new settled, not an old state. You pass no stone walls; but hedge, or in-and-out zig-zag cedar rails, or wattled fences, if indeed any, on the main roads. At the south, a few houses, though not incorporated, are called a town. If you visit a plantation, you strike off the main road, up or down the banks of the long rivers, that run from the western mountains to the sea-coast; or you mount into the ridge-forests. You feel a solitary emotion, as you find a house and out-buildings, on a spot cleared in the middle of the woods, and surrounded by broad wheat and cornfields; not fifteen or twenty acres of arable land, but from one to five hundred; not tilled by five or six hired men, but by from thirty to one or two hundred slaves; and in harvest time are in motion from twenty to fifty reapers, men, women, and children.

“ ‘As to the manners of the Virginians, they are a sallow, mercurial, liberal race; having much of the suaviter in modo, as well as the fortiter in re; abroad, extravagant in dress; at home slouching in homespun; the children of rich planters not disdaining to wear check not quite tartan. They ride fine horses; a wealthy landlord keeping his saddle, his racing, his carriage, and his plough horses, distinct. They teach the riding horses to pace over their smooth sands, and dislike trotters; ride without cruppers, and, about home, with one spur; thinking with Sir Hudibras, that if they get one side along, the other will not hang ashank. Instead of a chaise, they use a chair, which is very light, but unsocial, as they are usually single; and which, moreover, being without a top, exposes them to the weather. Wherever the Virginians go, a slave or two moves behind as their shadow, to hold their horses, pull off their boots and pantaloons

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at bed time, and, if cold, to blow up the fire in their bed-rooms with their mouths; bellows being unknown in a slave state. All are fox-hunters, and duck-shooters; some keeping parks of deer, and others a ducker for the season. As game is plenteous near their enclosures, on a cloudy drizzly day, or a clear frosty night, when the hounds can scent the trail along the dew, out start young lads and bring home the partridge, the groundhog, the rabbit, and the opossum with her offspring not bigger than a bean clinging to her teats in her false pouch. Formerly, there was a small bounty given for each crow’s scalp, and they were taken in part for county taxes. Accustomed from boyhood to athletic sports, in an infinite series, the Virginians are muscular and elastic in limb; and, leaving draughts, whist, backgammon, and chess, for the evening, they are out at sling-fist, and sling-foot; or outjumping, or outrunning each other. I saw a young man betted upon, for five hundred dollars, at a foot race. Indeed, everything id decided by a wager. The Virginians are fierce marksmen, and duelling is not discountenanced. They sometimes meet, and shoot at a target for a fish- fry. Fish-fries are held about once in a fortnight, during the fish season; when twenty or thirty men collect, to regale on whiskey, and fresh fish, and soft crabs just out of their sloughs, cooked under a spreading tree, near a running stream, by the slaves.’”

The description of the manners and customs of the slaves, as well as of all the other features of the system under which they are held in bondage, was perhaps the most difficult portion of the author’s whole task. He has acquitted himself of it exceedingly well, and we regret that our limits do not permit us to commend both his ingenuity and his industry by further extracts. Thus much of his commentary on manners and character, which we consider, on the whole, by far the best ever introduced within our knowledge into any geography, or indeed into any other single book. Of the natural history, of which a large proportion relates only to this continent, some of the same remarks may be made. Not to repeat, what has been said on our last topic, as to the relief it gives to the heavier matters of the science,—and not to lay stress on the author’s suggestion that these Zöological details will be new and therefore important to many of his readers,—we think it sufficient to justify their introduction, that they are geographically indispensable in many cases; and that in other cases where they are not so, they are still as admissible, at least, as part of a description of the earth, as an account of its antiquities and its curiosities. Our author ingeniously observes, that no landscape is perfect without the birds and quadrupeds accustomed to hover in the air or to range in the fields; that the climate of a country cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the peculiar animals which live under it; and that even manners and customs are in many instances eventually illustrated, as in the case of the Laplander and the Arab, by an explanation of the qualities of certain domestic animals. There is more force in some of these suggestions than in others; and one of them would go to justify the author’s practice only to a very limited extent; but without resort to such argument, why should the lower animals be excluded from Physical Geography any more than man

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himself from either Physical or Political? There are some reasons in their favour which have no application at all in his case.

Of the natural history, too, we should of course say, as of every other department of the work, that the propriety of admitting it thus extensively once allowed, the author must be responsible for its liveliness, so far as it is intended to make the work interesting, and for its correctness, so far as designed to add to its utility.

Here again we are glad to give due credit. The author has evidently taken great pains to collect, as well as to condense, what he has to say. The cuts have been already approved. The descriptions which they accompany are not inferior in spirit or fidelity; and some of them have occasionally surprised us with the mention of important facts not commonly observed, and as we had supposed known only to those few who have seen them with their own eyes. The author is correct, for example, in stating that the Ceribou [sic] (which he rightly calls also the American rein-deer) is nowhere met with in our country but within the boundaries of Maine. It is only within some ten or fifteen years, we apprehend, that the animal has travelled even so far southward as the boundary state. We may add in his connection, that his curious account of the great lumbering-business of the section last named, is the only one to be found in the books.

Our readers must by this time, we think, be prepared to hear us say, that the great praise of this system of universal geography is its attractiveness. It is eminently what the author undertook to render it, “a popular book.” Its deficiencies, and the mode of supplying them, we shall allude to but briefly, after observing that among the number of its excellencies not yet named, should be duly remembered the vast amount of recent information which it furnishes respecting foreign countries, on the authority of travellers, whose works, however valuable, are rarely to be seen on this side of the Atlantic. The author, in his future editions, will, no doubt, derive some benefit from the result of the English expedition now penetrating the country of the Niger, from the discoveries of Morrell in Oceanica and the South Sea, and various other sources entitled to credit.

Still, there will be something wanting in the scientific department, and especially the statistical. This deficiency might be supplied, as indeed we have seen or heard it suggested that it will be, not by a cumbrous addition to the text, but by an accompaniment in the form of a separate atlas, extensive enough to furnish all the surveys of the earth’s surface, and all the details relating to trade, commerce, manufactures, agriculture, and other matters proper to make the whole work a complete treatise for such as wish for the whole, without disparaging the present suitableness of the separate volume to the wants of that large

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portion for whom it was primarily designed. Such an atlas would also supply a more extended view of mathematical geography than was compatible with the plan of the main work.

Something might be said of the disproportion between the parts of our author’s system which are appropriated severally to the different continents, since it will be found that he has devoted about three hundred and fifty pages to the United States, and about one half of the volume to the American continent entire. Those who think this a serious evil must bear in mind, (as the author has himself suggested,) that of no country is the knowledge so important to ourselves as that of our own, and of none is the character, political or physical, more misunderstood by foreigners; so that if the author has done us justice in this department, he has done it where our convenience at home and our reputation abroad had the strongest claims upon his notice. Still, his sketches of the African and Asiatic countries, and of the various Archipelagoes, are perhaps as ample as they should be. They embrace a fund of modern authentic information, to be found in no other system. This is ingeniously and most laboriously condensed, indeed, into a small compass, but is perhaps quite sufficient to serve all ordinary purposes of reference, besides furnishing a useful index and skeleton for those who would seek further information elsewhere on the same subjects. It is hardly a conclusive charge against the work, that while it has trebled the knowledge commonly given out by similar treatises in some departments, it has only doubled it in others.

As for the mere errata, which we have observed in this volume, and of which no doubt many more might be gleaned by a more industrious critic, our easiest mode of disposing of them, is to leave them to the vision of the author in his second edition. There must be inadvertencies and inaccuracies, more or less, in the course of printing so large a mass of matter of this description, as well as in collecting and selecting it. As the author observes also, there are continual changes in this country, of the names of places and institutions, in population, boundaries, &c., &c. Only a few of the statistical errata which would be most likely to escape his own notice, together with certain passages in the comment of the text which are either ambiguous or apocryphal, we shall allude to in the most cursory terms.

He has in several instances, we believe, somewhat exaggerated the importance of maritime towns on the rivers and coast of the Atlantic, by mistaking and mis-stating the tonnage of a whole district for that of a principal place in it, which gives its name to the whole, and is probably the site of the custom-house. Witness the case of Waldoborough, in Maine, which comes in for a principal town of the state, by virtue of the tonnage of a whole maritime district, the largest in Maine, we believe, being attri-

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buted to its separate account. Hence, by the way, Thomaston, in the same district, passes altogether unmentioned, although the latter is not only the second town in Maine as to population, but still more distinguished throughout the country as the great lime manufactory of the north. It may be remarked here that the estimates of the last census are far enough from the present truth, as in the instance of Bangor, Maine, for example, the population has already doubled since that time, but a survey of the lumbering exports of such a place, taken in 1826, is still more inadequate to give a full view of the actual facts. We particularlize these instances only as examples of a class which require “looking after.” Generally, the geographical account of Maine in this volume is beyond all comparison the most complete and the most correct ever published.

In the account of Western Africa, recently become geographically, as well as politically, an important quarter of the globe, we should have been gratified with a more detailed description of Liberia (which the author calls “a colony,”) than could well be printed in the compass of six lines, however compact or eloquent. The Revue Encyclopedique of Paris, or the London Amulet for the year 1830, on the authority of an officer of the British navy, would supply the author with an interesting summary of the leading facts relating to both the colony and the country, without the necessity of resorting to what may possibly be called the partial testimony of our respectable fellow citizens, Captains Nicholson, Weaver, Sherman, and many others. The author is not correct, however, so far as he goes. He rates the population at seven hundred, whereas, it was not far from quadruple that number when he wrote, since which about eight hundred have been carried out within the last year.

Timbuctoo is a place of perhaps more interest to the geographer, as such, than any other upon the globe. It has also an extensive commerce; and although we should reluctantly strike hands with the old Arabian writer who considers it “the largest city which God ever created,” that is, suffered to be created, yet we should appropriate rather more than fifteen lines to its history and condition. Caillié, the only living European who has visited the place and returned to describe it, devotes fifty pages to that part of his subject.

We ought not to condlude our notice of this geography, without allowing the author credit for a signally ample and accurate* account of the various Indian tribes on this continent,

* What we consider the errors in this department, occur chiefly in the case of moot questions, such as the degree of prevalence of the totem, and the existence of cannibalism as a practice among several tribes. As we can prove nothing and disprove nothing on these points, we object only to positive assertion, of one kind or another. The cannibalism we should rather dispute altogether.

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ample and accurate especially, in comparison with preceding accounts. In this as in other departments, he has availed himself of the latest authentic information, and has extended his survey to the furthest wanderings of the most adventurous travellers.

This information, we cannot forbear to say en passant, is much more satisfactory than the inferences which it most closely suggests. Within the territories of the Union, there are now perhaps 400,000 of the aborigines yet remaining, of about two millions, which, according to the most approved estimates, may be set down as the population two centuries since. In Maine, where there were 11,000 at or about the settlement of Plymouth,* there are now half as many hundreds. In Massachusetts, the faourite rendezvous, as the name indicates, of a great confederacy rivalled only by the power of the Last of the Wampanogs himself, the royal Philip, there may be nearly the same number; but so adulterated, that, as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature recently said, of all the “Indians” on Martha’s Vineyard, only one individual is said to be full blooded. Nearly the same is true of the few hundred Narraghansetts and Mohegans in Rhode Island and Connecticut. A census was recently published as of the “Indians” in New Hampshire, who were thereupon severally disposed of in the different penitentiaries, prisons, and almshouses of the state— but, luckily, it turned out to be a misprint for the “insane.” Not an Indian remains in either New Hampshire or Vermont. Not one is set down, in the volume before us, even for Virginia, (that paradise of “the red ruler of the shade,”) where, in Smith’s time, there were thought to be 5,000 within sixty miles of Jamestown. But enough of such a picture. Nothing remains but to do justice to both the living and the dead. Not long will the former make any such demand upon us. Too soon will the history of this people be the record of a race of which no representative shall exist on the face of the earth. Their bones may continue to be ploughed up, ever and anon, by the farmer who whistles as he ploughs; their rude inscriptions on the rocks of the forest, will be matter of pondering amusement; the names of many a noble river and many a mountain, will make their memory at least immortal. But that is all, and poor consolation is that to dust and ashes—poor acknowledgment for the cession of a hemisphere—poor atonement for the extermination of its primeval and immemorial masters.

* Williamson’s History.
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