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window the various noise and haste, the running, and the outeries of laborers and tradespeople, the mountebanks and marionnettes, cabs and water-carriers, national guards and chestnut-sellers, cobblers and fishwives, and thus, by your observation of a small part of the city, you would obtain a knowledge of it as a whole, by the method of natural symbols. Ex ungue leonem.
Now put the earth in the place of Paris. We have all manner of representations of it: globes, maps, reliefs, pictures, and engravings of localities, cities, and buildings, descriptions of all countries, and general descriptions, compiled from the descriptions of individual immediate observers. These representations are, some of them, of late invention, such as reliefs and panoramas; and in part they have been so improved, within the last century or two, that they must now be treated as entirely new subjects—as is the case with maps.
Thus there has arisen, during these last centuries, a most earnest and thoughtful endeavor to create, by means of these various representations, a new earth on the earth—the greatest of all artistic efforts. To this end point the untiring zeal shown in collecting beasts, animals, and minerals from all parts of the world; and the investigations of all the nations, their languages and manners. tell how far this unwearied zeal will go? As man's susceptibility to impressions increases by early travels within his own country, and at the same time his own powers of representing, and his capacity for comprehending the representations of others, which again are on their part becoming more and more perfect, who can tell to what a degree of broad, general comprehension of the whole earth one can attain who is acquainted with his own country, by means of intercourse and artificial symbols ?
In describing natural symbols, George says:
As at Paris you would become acquainted with Paris itself by looking out of your window, and not with a representation of itlearning the whole from a part—so should you gain from your own country a knowledge of the whole earth; this portion of the earth should be to you a symbol of the whole of it. Do not the sun, moon, and stars shine upon your own country as they do upon
all the rest of the world? Does not the magnetic needle, that living representative of the earth's magnetic axis, point to the north before your
Are not the mountains of your own country constructed almost exactly as are those of all other parts of the world; and are not her plants and animals the same, or of the same species, which are found throughout a great part of the world? Open your eyes, and your own home will be seen to be as a new paradise, having gathered together in it all the creatures of the earth. Learn, however,
first of all, to know and love your own people ; and this will lead you to the comprehension of humanity as it exists throughout the whole earth. Thus direct knowledge of your own country is an object in itself, and affords the means of understanding representative descriptions of the earth—the geography of artificial symbols--while its thorough development also forms a basis for the geography of natural symbols, which shows, in our own country, the features which characterize the whole earth.
Four years after writing this dialogue, I went to Nuremberg, and there taught geography for the first time. The question came up, whether my views in this department of instruction, based upon Rousseau's, would stand the test of practice? And I must confess that they did not.
Taking walks—an aimless wandering about the neighborhoodwas very pleasant to the boys. But when a definite purpose was contemplated in these walks—when the boys were made to gain correct knowledge in them, consciously and of purpose, and were again made to use all their knowledge in drawing a map, all their enjoyment of the walk was at once destroyed. Instead of being a relaxation and a relief from the school-lessons, they became merely peripatetic lessons themselves. This dislike of theirs proved to me clearly that my theory of geographical instruction was wrong; and I gave
I afterward, however, attained my purpose of making my pupils use a knowledge of their abode and its vicinity as an introduction to the understanding of maps, and even of the globe, in a manner apparently similar to that which had failed, but really very different. During the geographical instruction which I gave in Erlangen, I began, for instance, with a large plan of the city. The pupils examined this with the most lively interest, and picked out all the streets, their own homes and those of their acquaintance, and the churches and other public buildings. They could not satisfy themselves with looking, and their researches had no end.
After this I gave them a large and very fully detailed plan. On this the city itself was, of course, smaller than on the first plan, but was still clearly laid down. The pupils now first carefully compared the two representations of the city, and observed their resemblance, and how they differed only in the difference of their scale.
They then looked out upon this map all the neighboring localities with which they had become familiar during their walks, and followed the roads from the city to one place and another, vieing with each other in the exercise. Those who were less accurate in their
knowledge afterward of themselves directed their excursions to points not known by them, and others searched out new routes. Without my baving at any time imposed this acquisition of correct knowledge upon them as a task, they came at last to have a good knowledge both of the localities themselves and of the map of them. The map did not become, what Rousseau finds so much fault with, “a mere set of marks, without any equivalent conception in the mind of the thing represented.”
After this map of the neighborhood of Erlangen, I placed before them one of Middle Franconia. The area of the last map occupied but a small space on this. But, on the other hand, it included a much larger surface; and the pupils could pick out upon it Nuremberg, Fürth, Forchheim, Bamberg, and other places which they knew, and also the villages, &c., which they had observed on the roads to these larger places.
I need not add the details of the course by which I went on to exhibit Middle Franconia as but a small part of Germany, that as one part of Europe, and Europe as one part of the whole earth.
Even while the pupils were occupied with the neighborhood of Erlangen, I at the same time began to instruct them, in the simplest manner, about the cardinal points, the rising and setting of the sun at different times of the year, and its place at noon.
Those city streets which ran north and south, and over whose southern ends the sun thus stood at noon in summer, were of great assistance in this course of instruction.
I am here only discussing the first beginning of geographical instruction. If now it be inquired, Why is this method adapted to beginners, and not the systematic examination of localities and mapdrawing along with it? the explanation is to be found, as I have already shown, in the dislike of children to what is purposeful and methodical. In the school, they are satisfied to have every thing go on in the fixed routine; but they think it unendurable and even unjust to apply school discipline to their whole lives, and even to their walks. And, moreover, it is natural for beginners to prefer good and welldrawn maps to the imperfect and ill-looking ones which they scratch off with so much pains and weariness. And, again, when they find out, as by my method, that they have been acquiring knowledge in taking walks, they are as delighted as was M. Jourdain in the
Bourgeois Gentilhomme," when he found out that he had been talking prose all his life without knowing it.
After having made a beginning in this way, I was at a loss to know what geographical text-book to use in my subsequent instruc
tion. In most of the older manuals I failed to find a proper arrangement, either in general or in the description of particulars; and many of them were also faulty in selection of materials, and in the proper proportions of it.
The lack of proper general arrangement appeared most prominently in the fact that the authors had not sufficiently distinguished between what is proper for a universal geography and what belonged to a description of particular parts of the earth and countries. *
To illustrate the extreme want of good order in describing subordinate portions of the earth, I give the following enumeration of German mountains and lakes, which I request the reader to follow on a map: "The principal mountains are, the Harz, (Brocken, 3,495 feet high ;) Schwarzwald, (Feldberg, 4,610 ft. ;) the rocky Alps, the Rhætian and Noric Alps, (Orteles or Ortles, 14,814; ft.; Grossglockner, 11,982 ft.; Hochhorn, 10,667 ft.; Platey-Kugel, 9,748 ft.; Watzmann, 9,150 ft. ;) the Carnic and Julian Alps, (Terglou, 10,845 ft. ;) the Fichtelgebirge, the Schneeberge, 3,468 ft.; the Kahlenberg, the Birnbaumerwald, the Sudetic Alps, and Riesengebirge, (Riesenkoppe, 4,950 ft.;) the Moravian mountains, (Spieglitzer Schneeberg, 4,280 ft. ;) part of the Carpathians, connected by low hights with the Moravian and Sudetic chains, the Thuringian mountains, the Erzgebirge, the Spessart, the Rhone mountains, the Böhmerwald, (Rachel, 3,904 ft.; Arber, 4,500 ft. ;) the Wesergebirge, Westerwald, Odenwald, Ardennes, Vosges, Hundsrück, &c. Lakes : Lake of Constance, (seven miles long, three miles broad, and more than three hundred fathoms deep;) Chiemsee, Lake of Cirknitz, the salt and sweet lake of Mangfeld, the lakes of Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, and Pomerania, the Dümmersee, the Traunstätter and Hallstätter in archducal Austria, the Steinhuder Lake,” &c.
Nor is this example of confused and disorderly arrangement from the earliest best geography, but from the favorite manual of Stein, which has been translated even into Polish, and from the fourteenth edition of it.
But many geographical manuals are also deficient in proper selection and proportion of materials. They contain unimportant matter, and omit the most important. Murray, for instance, in his description of Cologne, mentions Farina's eau de Cologne, but not the cathedral. They sometimes contain statements of results in natural science which are quite problematical or even altogether inadmissible—such as youth should not be informed about. They should receive, as far as possible, only what is entirely true.
* I have expressed myself more fully on this point in my review of Murray's Geography, reprinted in my “Crusades,” (Kreuzzugen.) Subsequent examples will illustrate the point.
It is also often the case that geographers quite fail in an accurate understanding of their subject, and of the limits between it and the provinces of other sciences; for the idea of geography is entirely different from what it was in the time of Busching. It is in our time as if all the arts and sciences had appointed a rendezvous with geography for a great family feast on occasion of the first discovery of their relationship. Here gather astronomers, physicists, botanists, zoologists, mineralogists, philologists, statisticians—who can enumerate them all !—bringing the fruits of labors too vast for description, to throw them all into one great common 'structure. They seek to gather together every thing which the wide earth offers, so that it may be seen and understood.
It is accordingly of great importance to observe a proper proportion among all these, and to select judiciously; so that the geography shall not come out a hydrology, zoology, nor mineralogy; so that in general no department shall exceed its proper limits. That many fail in this respect is shown, for instance, by V. Hoffmann's geographical writings. In his work "for all classes," entitled " Germany and its Inhabitants,” (Deutschland und seine Bewohner,) the description of the Rhine and its tributaries occupies sixty-three pages; and he mentions 481 streams in the valley of the Rhine, 337 in that of the Elbe, 215 in that of the Oder, 487 in the German part of that of the Danube. In his “ Europe and its Inhabitants : a Manual and Reading-book for all Classes," (Europa und seine Bewohner : ein Hand-und Lesebuch für alle Stande,) he gives a list of measured hights of land, and of uninteresting lengths and breadths, occupying no less than 191 pages. In the same work, intended "for all classes," he gives a hundred
pages of Latin names of animals to be found in Germany; as, for instance, of 85 tape-worms, 54 snails—such as Helix holosericea, H. Olivieri, leucozona, &c. In this way school geographies are filled up with Latin names of plants and animals which the boys have never seen and probably may never see; and the author flatters himself that he puts forth an intelligent method of instruction and natural science, and good intuitional exercises.
I wrote, in 1831, a manual of general geography; in which I endeavored, as far as possible, to supply these deficiencies of my prede
Future writers will, in turn, supply my own. At the same time, I published a “ Description of the Earth's Surface: an Introduction to Geography," (Beschreibung der Erdoberfläche : eine Vorschule der Erdkunde, *) for beginners; and made use of it in giving instruction subsequent to that which I have already
* This was extracted from the second part of the manual.