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FOUNDED ON ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS, AND
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL FRENCH,
BY JOHN BLACK.
PREFACE BY THE TRANSLATOR.
It is observed by a popular French writer, Bernardin de St. Pierre, that by far the most valuable and entertaining part of modern literature is the department filled up by travellers. While the knowledge of the ancients extended merely to a small circle around them, and even there was far from accurate, there is hardly a nook in the most remote corner of the world of which we do not now possess some description, and with the inhabitants of which we are not more or less acquainted. We see the human race before us in every stage of civilization, from the refinement and enterprise of the inhabitants of the west of Europe, down to the stupid savage of New Holland, or the Terra del Fuego.
The eagerness with which the public have always received the accounts of travellers has naturally contributed to their multiplication. It is to be regretted, however, that this eagerness is too frequently so indiscriminate that almost nothing is so very insipid that it will not be devoured in the shape of travels. Hence the numerous productions which have appeared of late without adding any thing to our stock of information. No individual now who has left the bounds of our own island, hesitates a moment about the qualifications necessary for his appearance before the public at his return, His previous education, his means of access to proper sources of information, and