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was discovered by its inhabitants. The first and most natural conclusion was that it was flat--the superficies over which the eye can at one time travel, not being sufficient to give us the least idea of its convexity. If we stand on any part of the earth's surface and look around us, it seems to us a level space, broken only by the inequalities of the ground. If we proceed hundreds of miles, we still find it the same ; which, we shall understand, results from the largeness of the circumference, and the small space we see at once--for our readers will have observed that there is in every circle a portion so small, that separate from the rest, it appears to us a straight line. It is thence that in the scriptures and all old writings, and from habit and established figures of speech, even in modern ones, we hear continually of the ends of the earth and the four corners of the worldthough why it was supposed to be square as well as flat, does certainly not appear. The book of Job, by some supposed the oldest writing extant, though it evinces some knowledge of astronomy and of the arrangement of the stars in constellations, betrays that the writer had no knowledge of the form of the earth or the manner of its revolution-he speaks throughout of the Creator having laid the foundations of the earth and made them fast, evincing that they then, as long after, believed it to be built on something, though no one could guess on what. Equally ignorant were the ancients of the extent of this habitable space. The Romans talked of possessing the whole world, though Europe, a small proportion of Africa, and a still less of Asia, was all they ever reached. And even so late a writer as Tasso calls Ireland, “ La divisa del mondo ultima Irlanda.”
The increasing knowledge of Astronomy and the improvement of Navigation, have now disclosed to us with great certainty, the form and size of the globe we inhabit, and very nearly the form and measure of the lands and seas that cover its surface—for there is now but a little space, immediately bordering on the poles, that has pot
ultima nice of Astrodisclosed to
been compassed by European Navigators. And we have learned that those ends and corners of the earth which our ancestors concluded to be somewhere, though they could not find them, have, indeed, no existence; since the world is ascertained to be a sphere-a form in every direction circular; and therefore, of course, without a beginning or an end: the circumference, or distance round, being 24,900 miles.
Of the interior of this enormous ball we know not much-a few fathoms below its surface is all we have yet been allowed to penetrate—and with what is known, our subject has not now to do ; we may at some future time recur to it: Geography has to treat only of the exterior. This, as we know, is entirely composed of land and water ; above two-thirds of the surface being covered with the water. There is not reason to suppose this division has always been as it is now. On the contrary, recent geological researches prove it to have been very much otherwise. Lands have been submerged by the waters and disappeared. Waters have in other parts receded and left bare the land where before it was not. These changes may have had various causes—but they are chiefly attributed to volcanic influence. At the great deluge, probably, the most material changes were effected.
The land as it is at present placed upon our globe, we divide geographically into four quarters, or more properly four parts, for equal quarters they are not: America stretching over nearly the half, while Europe, Asia, and Africa, divide the other hemisphere very unequally between them. We call also America the Western Hemisphere, and the others the Eastern—but this of course is an arbitrary distinction, alluding to their situation with respect to ourselves—because the earth being round, no part of it can be positively East or positively West, though it may be so relatively to our own or any other country. We make again the distinction between the old world and the new, all as we know of equal date,
because America is to us a country more newly discovered, and of the existence of which the ancients seem to have had no knowledge. As the most remote from the spot where man was first created, it was probably the last to become inhabited; which supposition the thinness of its population confirms. In these divisions of the land we comprise the waters that encompass and separate them. And they are materially distinguished from each other by the appearance and character of the inhabitants, their state of civilization, climate, and natural productions both animal and vegetable. But of this we shall speak hereafter.
We conclude our readers know what is meant by Latitude and Longitude. We have already said the distinction of East and West is merely relative. If in England we speak of Poland, we say it is in the Eastbut if we speak of it in Russia, we should call it West. When therefore we say a place is in such a degree of East or West Longitude, we mean no more than that it is so far to the eastward or westward of ourselves. For example, there is no place that has positively twenty degrees of East Longitude, because the person who used that expression in Venice, would not mean the same place as he who used it in London. In Venice they would mean twenty degrees East of them-in London we should mean twenty degrees East of us, and that would make thirteen degrees difference of situation on the globe: of course the same place could not be meant.With the Latitude the case is different: for though a place may be called North or South with respect to some other place, as at Edinburgh we might say London is in the South, and in Paris that it is in the North, yet North and South Latitudes are positive and invariable, there being a fixed point from which to measure them. We measure our degrees of Latitude always from the Equator, and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are determined and divided by it. Therefore, however much South of us a place may be, it has North Latitude if it is North
ward of the Equator. We have found some learners make themselves difficulties by not observing this difference between Latitudes and Longitudes, for which reason we have thus stated it.
On the situation of a country with respect to the Equator, too, depends the seasons and the length of days, as well as in great measure the climate and productions. But the cause of this, as well as the phoenomena of the earth's motion, &c. comes more properly into the study of Astronomy; therefore we shall leave them for the present, and proceed with our remarks on the different quarters of the globe.
(To be continued.)
HYMNS AND POETICAL RECREATIONS.
Say, shipwrecku mariner, on desert shore,
Is hope a stranger to his soul who dwells
And no kind hand can stay the falling tear,
Where misery and want their influence shed,
There is a hope, deep seated in the breast
Nor trace thy future way;
Proportion’d to thy day.
O rather let this care be thine,
To use thy portion given-
Might make thee meet for heaven.
Then, though thy heart be sunk in grief,
And flesh and heart decay;
That never pass away.