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warmest commendation,--we mean the historical atlas.
The use of charts in the study of history, has hitherto, been rare. Of the benefit likely to attend it, however, there can be but one opinion in the minds of those whose memories can reach back to the time when geography was taught without maps.
The atlas we consider not merely as a thing valuable in itself, from its bringing under a glance of the eye the whole surface of history, but from its interwearing the study of this branch of education with that of chronology, biography, and mythology.
All who are now on the stage of adult life, must, we think, be quite prepared to admit that, with all the skill of their teachers, and all the accuracy of their books in this department of instruction, they feel the want of some expedients by which their knowledge of the subject might have been associated more intimately with the connection of its parts, and with its collateral branches of learning; so as to have occupied a larger and better defined space in the mind, and to have been more ready at the call of recollection. These advantages Mr. Worcester has put fully in the power of the rising members of the community.
For the benefit of readers at a distance, into whose hands these works may not yet have fallen, we transcribe a part of the description and illustration of the chart of history,
1. This Chart affords means of facilitating the study of history, similar to what are afforded by maps in the study of Geography. It supposes time to be flowing, in a stream, from the left hand to the right; and represents, at one view, the principal states and empires which have existed in the world, together with their origin, revolutions, decline, and fall.
62. Those who may make use of this Chart, are supposed to be conversant with the common principles of geography, and to understand the relative situation and importance of the different countries which are represented. It will be readily seen, that the spaces which represent the several countries on the Chart, do not give any idea of the extent of those countries, but of the revolutions which they have undergone, and in some degree, of their comparative importance in history. Those parts of the world which are almost unknown in history, (as for example, all Africa except Egypt and the Barbary states,) are not represented at all on the Chart.
. 3. In the arrangement of the countries, the geographical order is generally followed. It unavoidably happens, that owing to conquests and other acquisitions, the several parts of an empire or state, cannot always be placed in a contiguous position. To remedy this inconvenience, recourse has been had to coloring the different parts of the same empire with the same color, by means of which, the eye can embrace, at one view, the various territories, of which it was, at any given period, composed. The colors fit for this purpose are so few, that
a repetition of some of them has been necessary; but they are such as will not be likely to mislead the student.
• 4. The whole scale comprises a period of two thousand seven hundred years ; namely, from the year B. C. 800, to the end of the 19th century. This interval is divided into twenty-seven equal parts, by perpendicular lines, extending from the top to the bottom, each space between the lines denoting the period of 100 years. The several countries, whose history is delineated, are represented in spaces formed by the horizontal lines. By carrying the eye horizontally along the Chart
, the principal revolutions which a state has undergone, will be seen.
• 5. To ascertain the date of any event in the history of a country represented on the Chart, add the figures at the line denoting the event or revolution to the next century, if after Christ, on the left hand; and if before Christ, on the right hand ; and the sum will give the date before or after the Christian era, as the case may be. Thus it appears by the Chart, that the Babylonian empire ended, and the Persian began, B. C. 536 ; tbat Macedonia was reduced to subjection to the Romans B. C. 168, and Greece B C. 146 : also that the kingdom of the Lombards was incorporated with that of the Franks A. D. 774 ; that the kingdom of England, under the Saxons, commenced in 827; that Ireland was added to it in 1172; Scotland, in 1603; that the English held possessions in France from the year 1066 to 1558. The slant lines denote, generally, the gradual conquest of a country ; as for example the conquest of Britain by the Romans, was commenced A. D. 43, but not completed till 84.
6. By inspecting the Chart, and carrying the eye vertically, from the top to the bottom, one may see what states and empires were flourishing at any given era.'
The atlas, we are happy to understand, is to be had separately from the Elements; so that pupils who have made use of any
other history, may finish this branch of their education, with the aid of the charts.
The American Speaker, or Exercises in Rhetoric; being a Selection
of Speeches, Dialogues, and Poetry, from the best American and English sources, suitable for Recitation. Boston, 1826. 12mo,
A natural and impressive manner of speaking is, in every stage of society, a personal advantage which is highly valued. The means of acquiring it are partially furnished in every country; and in
none can these facilities be more desirable than in one like ours, where every active and useful citizen is expected to take a part, in the conduct of public affairs, and consequently to speak sometimes of the common interests, in presence of his fellowcitizens.
In the United States as well as in England, the practice of declamation at school and college, has been deemed the best preparation for the discharge of this branch of public business. The exercise of declaiming, accordingly forms a part of the prescribed course of early education, in all good schools; and usually a set time is appropriated for this purpose, to every class and every pupil.
The portion of time thus assigned is reduced, however, to a mere fraction, when it comes to be distributed among the scholars of a numerous school, or the students of a college.
of a college. Two very unpropitious results are inseparable from this unfortunate state of things. The pupil, if he is conscious of inferiority in this species of exercise, comforts himself with the certainty of a long and happy exemption from this unpleasant part of his duties; if he is conscious, on the other hand, of excelling, he performs this exercise remissly, because it devolves on him so seldom, that there is not an adequate and steady excitement kept up in his feelings towards it. As for the teacher, he has commonly so many pupils to 'hear' within a limited time, that he has it not in his power to bestow on every individual, that attention which is required.—Add to all this the want of good books of instruction, and even of the necessary selections of suitable pieces; and it is idle to ask why so little is accomplished in this branch of education-why the young man who is entering on professional life, appears commonly to such disadvantage in all the externals of oratory; or why men who are endowed with the noblest gifts of heaven, are fain to blush or blunder through a public address, as a dreaded and disagreeable task, or to deliver themselves in a style which bears no manner of relation to the thoughts and feelings which they utter.
A great mind, it is true, will force its way through every difficulty; and even the very unwieldiness of its movements and its expression, may be associated in the imagination of an audience, with the idea of gigantic proportions, or ungovernable force. This circumstance, however, can never be pleaded as an apology, but by the favored few who are conscious of such powers.
In most cases, certainly, an impressive and efficient delivery is an accomplishment purchased at the usual expense of time and industry; and the true policy of judicious superintendents of youth, is, to provide their charge, as early as possible, with the best means of making this desirable acquisition. That the common provisions of instruction in this department are not adequate to the importance of the object, is universally acknowledged.
No one in our day will be found hardy enough to advocate the painful and laborious preparation of ancient rhetorical discipline. Still, it is admitted there is something—there is much that may be done, even in these times, by proper training in early life.
One preparatory measure which seems indispensable to improvement in this branch of education, is, not to force the superintendence of it on persons who are possessed of perhaps no qualification for the office. A man may be an unrivalled linguist, a profound mathematician, an expert and successful teacher in every other branch, but absolutely incompetent in this. He may be entirely deficient in that force of imagination, that warmth of feeling, that versatility of mind, that control of his voice, and that management of his person, without which, all his other talents and acquirements are nothing to the purpose.
It is, we think, a pleasing indication of the improvement in public opinion and taste on this subject, that such impressions begin to be felt; and that, in our large cities, at least, the patronage bestowed on this branch of education, apart from others, is sufficient to induce individuals to devote themselves to the business of teaching it. Another indication of improvement is the readiness of parents to provide their children with the assistance of the best books in this department.
Of these, Mr. Fowle's, is certainly one which will have a very favorable influence in its sphere.
The natural aversion of the young to frequent repetition, in any thing, makes it peculiarly necessary that, in matters of taste and feeling, they should not be wearied and disgusted in their exercises by the incessant reiteration of the same subject. Besides, the teacher, no less than the pupil, requires occasional relief by novelty. Without this aid both become dull and remiss,-no ordinary misfortune in a thing which depends much on the state of the animal spirits.
The American Speaker, therefore, is a book which we are glad to see: it adds much that is new and interesting to the previous stock; and, although all the compositions from which the extracts are made, are by no means of a classical order, they all possess that vivacity of character which is a great point in producing animated delivery,—the very soul of good speaking.
Mr. Fowle has not prefixed to his selection any of the common rules of elocution. This we think an omission. Many of the rules and directions usually laid down in the introduction to such books, are, it is true, infinitely worse than none. This circumstance, however, cannot justify the neglect of all rules.
The difficulty of obtaining access to any good work on this subject, is perhaps a better and a sufficient apology for the want of preliminary instruction. The only book which contains any thing worth transcribing on this subject, is Austin's Chironomia* a work by the tutor of some of the best orators of Ireland. The expensive illustrations of this publication, might be presented in a cheaper form; and its few undisputed principles and excellent rules, might easily be extracted and transferred to the pages of an elementary work. An arrangement such as this, would, we think, add much to the value of a second edition of the Speaker.
A New Method of teaching the art of Book-keeping. By J. Irvine
Hitchcock. Philadelphia, 1823.
Mr. Hitchcock's method is ingenious, and, in some particulars, quite novel. It is a bold deviation from the dull routine established by the old systems. Book-keeping used to be treated as a dark and mysterious subject, to the knowledge of which the learner must worry his way through a world of puzzling and perplexity. The new method is plain and intelligible : the subject is simplified as far as possible : no intricacy remains, but that which is inseparable from the complicated nature of some mercantile transactions. A boy of fourteen may now take up this branch of education, with a rational hope of making as much progress in it, as in
Mr. H's work is, we think, highly creditable to him, both as an accountant and a teacher. We ought to say more. It speaks favorably for our country, in this branch of instruction. The most popular English treatise on this subject is perhaps Morison's, a work of deserved reputation for its practical character. Compared with Hitchcock's, however, it will be found inferior in simplicity of plan, and in the quantity of useful exercise.
As a school-book, Mr. H’s publication seems to us to possess a decided superiority over the various works on book-keeping, which, in several years' practice in teaching, we have had occasion to use; and we would warmly recommend it to other instructers.
Mr. H’s plan being chiefly original, and the form of his work making it impossible to introduce extracts, it may not be amiss to mention some of the peculiar advantages of his system.--It furnishes the learn
There are but few copies of this work accessible in this country. One is to be found, however, in the miscellaneous department of the Atheneum in Boston.