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STUDY OF GEOGRAPHY,
ON AN IMPROVED PLAN.
COMPILED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS,
WITH A VIEW TO RENDER THE ACQUISITION OF GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCE
EASY AND PLEASANT TO THE STUDENT.
Mlustrated by Maps of the principal Cities in the United States, and by
A NEW ATLAS,
Erkibiting the Elevation of Mountains, Length of Rivers, and Population
FROM THE BEST AUTHORITIES.
BY THOMAS T. SMILEY.
SEVENTH EDITION, IMPROVED.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
In the table, the population of cities and towns in the United States is given according to the census of 1820, though many of them have increased since that period with very great rapidity, but in consequence of the difficulty of making an approximation to a correct estimate, it has been considered better not to make any alteration, especially as the census about to be taken will soon afford unquestionable authority, which will be immediately used for correcting them.
* # L. S. *
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to wit: BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the eighth day of March, in the fifty-fourth year of the independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1830,
THOMAS T. SMILEY, of the said district, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit: “An Easy Introduction to the Study of Gcography, on an improved plan.
Compiled for the use of Schools, with a view to render the acquisition of Geographical Science easy and pleasant to the Student. Illustrated by Maps of the Principal cities in the United States, and by numerous Cuts. Accompanied by a New Atlas, exhibiting the Elevation of Mountains, Length of Rivers, and Population of Cities. From the best authorities. By Thomas T. Smiley. Seventh Edition, improved.”
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, intituled, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned"?--And also to the Act, entitled " An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, “ An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned," and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints.”
D. CALDWELL, Clerk of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The value of any Geographical work, intended to be used as a manual in imparting instruction to youth, must depend principally on two circum. stances--a judicious selection of the numerous facts of which the science is composed, and their arrangement in such a manner as will enable the student with the least labour to acquire a competent knowledge of the subject.
In compiling this easy introduction, the author has kept both these objects constantly in view, and while he has been careful to present the most important facts to the attention of the student, he has at the same time endeavoured to arrange the subjects in the manner in which they naturally follow each other, and thereby to present, free from the confusion which too generally accompanies works of this nature, a clear and perspicuous view of the whole. Coinmencing with a description of the earth as one of the planets which compose the solar system, so far as it can be done without making too great an encroachment on the science of Astronomy, of which this work is not intended to treat: the next step leads to the consideration of the different climates and zones by which its surface is distinguished, and to a. short notice of the most remarkable animal and vegetable productions which exist on its surface within certain assignable limits. Having thus taken a cursory view of the earth as a whole, the student is prepared to enter successfully on the study of the different natural and political sections into which it is divided, and to obtain a clear and satisfactory knowledge of the different kingdoms and states which it contains. In describing the different sections of the earth, the author has enlarged on each of them in proportion to their relative importance; thus by far the greatest relative space has been agsigned to the United States, and consequently a much more minute and particular description has been given of them. Mexico, likewise, which appears to be destined next to our own country to exercise the most important influence on the affairs of the American continent, has received a large share of attention. The West Indies, also, on account of their importance, are entitled to, and have received a much more particular notice than bas been generally bestowed on them; and all the changes consequent on the rise of the new states of South America have been carefully attended to. Much embarrassment and confusion has heretofore existed in relation to a correct understanding of the situation of Germany, Austria, Prussia, Italy, and some other countries. This confusion having arisen from confounding the natural geography of the country with its political divisions, the attempt has been made, and it is believed, with entire success, to render the description of these countries as clear and intelligible as that of most others.
Great advantage has resulted in the study of Astronomy from the arrangement of the fixed stars, according to their apparent size, into six classes, according to their respective magnitudes, and marking each of them on the celestial globe or planisphere with the figure, by which its class or apparent magnitude is denoted. This circumstance arrested the attention of the author, and induced hir to believe that advantage might be derived in geographical science from a similar classification and arrangement of the cities on the surface of the earth into the saine number of classes, which, to an observer placed at a distance from our globe, would present an appearance analogous to that which the stars in the firmament do to us; and by applying the same principle to the mountains and rivers, he was induced to divide them also into the same number of classes as a means of affording a greater facility in recollecting their respective dimensions; the divisions, therefore, of mountains, rivers, and cities into classes, nunbered on the maps to corrc
spond with the classification in the book, will enable the student to remem. ber, with sufficient accuracy for ordinary purposes, the necessary particulars in relation to each of them; and when more precise information is requisite, the table itself may be referred to for that purpose.
But to acquire a practically useful knowledge of Geography, something more is requisite than the mere study of the description of countries. What would it avail if the student was able to repeat with the most scru. pulous exactitude all the descriptions of the countries which the surface of the earth contains? This might be done without the slightest knowledge of the situation or relative position of the countries or places described, or in. deed any other knowledge of the least practical utility, or which could ren. der the study interesting or beneficial. " It becomes, therefore, necessary to adopt some method by which a large portion of the earth's surface may be represented to the eye, and by which the position and relative situation of the different countries may be presented to the mind. To accomplish this object, one method only presents itself, and that is altogether adequate to the end proposed. By the study of an accurate map of a country, more information of real practical utility may be obtained in a few hours than could be derived from years of travelling, or from reading any description, however excellent. It becomes, therefore, indispensable that a geographical work should be accompanied by maps of the countries described, to which a con. stant reference should be made, in connexion with the description of the work itself; with these views the author has prepared the New Atlas to accompany the work, and has spared neither pains nor expense to impart to it as great a degree of accuracy as the present state of our knowledge would admit; and, in order to assist the student in studying the maps to advantage, the interrogatory system, the excellence of which is now very generally admitted in imparting instruction, not only in this, but in other sciences, has been introduced, and such queries have been proposed, immediately succeeding each section, as will serve to direct the attention to every important object contained in the map. In addition to the maps contained in the Atlas, numerous engravings have been introduced into the body of the work itself, intended to illustrate the local geography of places possessing more than ordinary interest, or to impress on the mind some important peculiarity in the animal or vegetable productions of the different countries, or in the manners and customs of its inhabitants. The maps of the different cities with their environs, in the United States, the author trusts will be found particularly interesting, and likewise of great practical utility in relation to the first of these objects.
The author feels great pleasure in acknowledging the obligations which he owes to his friend Henry S. Tanner, Esq. for important assistance in correcting this edition, and more particularly for his having kindly undertaken to construct, from the various recent and highly important original documents in his possession, and to superintend the engraving, of the maps which compose the New Atlas. With a knowledge of geographical detail which few can hope to equal, and access to the best sources of information, his assistance has been of the greatest importance in this part of the work.
With these explanations of his views, the author submits the work with confidence to the judgment of an enlightened public, and more particularly to those engaged in the arduous, but honourable and important, occupation of imparting instruction to youth, with the hope that it may be found extensively beneficial in diffusing a knowledge of the useful and important science of which it treats.