« VorigeDoorgaan »
London, to 24°; at Vienna, to 37°. Comparing the two extremes, we find the summer temperature of Vienna 69°; that of Dublin 59o. Every kind of fruit and grain therefore ripens more perfectly in the continental than in the insular situation. On the other hand, the winter temperature of Vienna is 32°; that of Dublin 39o: consequently, many tendèr shrubs flourish in Ireland, which will not grow at Vienna, about 350 miles nearer to the equator. What is termed botanical geography, is closely connected with the science of climatology. The vine, for instance, is found to succeed only in those climates where the annual mean temperature is between 50° and 63o; or the mean cemperature may even be as low as 48°, provided the summer heat rises to 68°. The region of vineyards, or the climate of the vine, occupies a zone of about 20o in breadth in the Old Continent, and not more than half that breadth in the New World. The olive requires a mean temperature between 58° and 66°.' pp. 161, 162.
As a specimen of another class of articles combining historical with geographical matter, we take the following.
TURK. TOORK. This name, which, like the appellation Parthian, is said to signify wanderer, is given with doubtful propriety to the Ottoman nation, who, though a branch of the Turco-Tatarian family, are more properly Turkmans than Turks, and have become blended and incorporated with the nations they have conquered, so as to form a mixed but now distinct race. By the Ottomans themselves, the term Turk is regarded as a contumelious appellation nearly equivalent to boor; while, by the nomadic tribes, to whom it properly belongs, it is considered as an honourable name. Thus, Tamerlane, usaally called the Mogul conqueror, in his correspondence with Bajazet, distinguishes himself and his country by the name of Tûrk, and stigmatises the Ottoman nation as Turkmans. In like manner, his illustrious descendant, Sultan Baber, the founder of what is improperly called the Mogul dynasty in Hindostan, always speaks of himself in his Memoirs as a Turk, while of the Moguls he speaks with mingled hatred and contempt. The language in which his Memoirs are written is the Jaghatâi Turki dialect. According to a curious piece of legendary genealogy preserved by an Oriental writer, the ancestor of the Turkish nations was Toork, the eldest son of Japheth; and Tatar and Moghul were twin-brothers, between whom the great-great-grand-son of Toork divided his dominions. The historical fact disguised under this legend is, that the word Turk is used by the Arabian geographers as the generic designation of the various hordes inhabiting Eastern and Western Tatary, or Scythia within and beyond Imaus; but the word seems specifically to belong to the great western branch, usually called Tatars. The ancient Parthians, and perhaps the Medes, were of this family, as are several of the tribes now inhabiting Northern Persia. The Kajar tribe, to which the reigning family of Persia belongs, is Turkish, and that dialect is the court language of the empire. The Tatars scattered throughout Russia, from the Crimea to Kasan, are also of the same family. Pli. ny ranks the Turks among the Sarmatian tribes; and Pomponius
Mela speaks of the Thyssageta and Turca as inhabiting the region near Mæotis. The Turkmans or Trukmans are pastoral nomades, inhabiting the plains watered by the Oxus, whence they have spread over the Caspian provinces, to Armenia, Asia Minor, and Syria; and a branch of this nation have settled in Macedonia, where they have preserved uncorrupted their Asiatic character. In Syria and Koordistan, they come in contact with the pastoral Koords; but their respective manners and customs are in many particulars remarkably opposed. The Koords are plunderers: the Turkmans are esteemed honest. The latter give their daughters a dower: the former receive a premium for them. The Turkmans speak a dialect of the Toorki: the Koordish bears a close affinity to the Hindoostanee. The Turkish nomadic tribes of Persia are estimated at about 320,000; the Turkmans of Ajerbijan, &e. being rated at 12,000. The Koordish tribes amount to about 210,000. The language of the European Turks or Ottomans has received so large an admixture of Arabic and Persian, as to be denominated on that account, Mulemma, the pied mare.' pp. 677, 8.
It will be seen from this slight sketch, that the book is not a mere gazetteer, but that it rests its claims to public patronage on higher grounds. It is, in fact, a work of science made universally intelligible and accessible. The possession of such a book would, in our youth, when there were no such books, have saved us incredible labour and disgust; and its presence, now that we are no longer young, will spare us many a tedious search and much time-wasting reference.
Art. VII. Italy. By Josiah Conder. In 3 Vols. 12mo. 1227. London, 1834.
THAN Italy, a more rich and noble subject for historical and topographical illustration cannot possibly be presented to the man of taste or science; but the difficulties which lie in the way of its adequate treatment, are at least commensurate with its interest and importance. The materials are ample, but they are so various in quality and character, as to demand not only the utmost circumspection in dealing with them, but a degree of original knowledge nearly equivalent in precision and extent to the matter collected for examination. Authorities are vexatiously conflicting; and as the race is not always won by the swift, so, the trustworthiness of a writer, in the present case, is not uniformly in proportion to his abilities or his means of observation. For instance, no one would risk the comparison, in point of talent, between the spirited sketches of Forsyth, and the heavy elaborations of Woods: yet, the latter is incomparably the surer guide, and has only missed by a strange want of tact in the con
coction of his volumes, the credit of being the great architectural guide of the Italian tourist *.
Another difficulty, and a very formidable one too, lies in the redundancy of the materials. A library of alarming extent might be formed out of merely the modern works that have been written about Italy; and this we take to be one of the most tangible explanations of the fact, that while every body has a great deal to say on the general subject, the quantity of specific knowledge that is gained either by reading or hearing, is incredibly small. Some of the most popular and highly praised of these productions-books that are in every one's hands, and of whose value the boldest critic does not venture to raise a doubtcontain the smallest possible quantity of available information; while others of higher intellectual character, seem to have been sent into the world for the pure purpose of shewing how completely great research and sound knowledge may be neutralised by a wrong principle of selection. Obviously, then, the student and the general reader require a guide through all this confusion. They want to know where may be the safe starting-point, which is the true road, and where the proper end of their journey. Either of these is easily missed, and error in this matter occasions
* Mr. Woods's work is selling at half-price, and we do not wonder at it, much as we regret its unmerited fate; -unmerited, we mean, on the score of intrinsic worth, though rendered inevitable by mismanagement. Mr. W. seems to have entertained a very erroneous notion of his own qualifications as a writer, and he exhibits accordingly an unfortunate propensity to be unprofitably excursive. His authorship is indifferent, but his professional criticism is remarkably sound; and if he had resolutely discarded all his travelling common-place, multiplied his wood-cut diagrams, and rejected such uninstructive illustrations as the Arch at Orange,' the Ruins of Selinus,' or the Palatine Hill,' he would, with the further precaution of supplying omissions and correcting dates, have furnished us with one of the most valuable works of its kind and time. He somewhere, if we rightly recollect, expresses an intention of putting aside technical phraseology, without, however, keeping very strictly to his pledge. For instance, not being architects by profession, we were somewhat puzzled by the term Scheme Arch,' and, not having, at the time access to metropolitan authorities, we took local counsel on the matter. From three individuals, two of them architects, in a large and increasing county town, we received the three following explanations: any arch greater than the semi-circle-any arch less than the semicircle and greater than the quadrant-any arch less than the quadrant! We wish not to be understood as objecting to the use of technicalities; many of them are extensively understood, and they are almost always more expressive than periphrase: we would use them freely, but our index or our annotation should be glossarial,
much trouble, even if detected and retrieved. The only way of meeting these difficulties, is to have recourse to the self-same method that in all other departments of human knowledge has been found effectual, the compilation of a work that shall be at once collective and critical. Law, history, theology, science, have all their digests, and in none of these can the urgency be greater than in that branch of intellectual pursuit which forms the subject of the volumes before us.
We will frankly confess, that when we began to handle these volumes, we felt considerable misgiving as to the Author's discretion in attempting to melt down such a mass of material in so small a crucible; and we had strong suspicions that the process of reduction must have been somewhat violent, savouring rather of the alchymist than the philosophic experimenter. Quite aware that an accomplished writer could hardly fail to make a pleasant and instructive book on so pregnant a subject, we were still unprepared for the completeness of the present publication. It is not merely a skilful abridgement, nor is it simply a judicious selection: it combines both these characters, blended together by the skilful employment of searching but liberal criticism, pervading the work, and communicating both originality and homogeneousness to materials as various as the sources whence they are derived. Essentially, then, this production is both a digest and an index, at once giving the information demanded, and supplying not only the means of enlarging it to any required extent, but of forming an accurate judgement concerning the value of the primary authorities. An extract from the Preface will at once point out, more distinctly than any thing we could add, the object of the work, and give some notion of a part, and a part only, of the difficulties that lay in the way of its adequate execution.
'So wide are the discrepancies in the varying reports of our best writers, even upon points which it might seem easy to verify, or impossible to mistake, that it has often been a matter of no small perplexity, to ascertain which statement might be most safely depended upon. Not to speak of the varying estimates of the area of Italy, given by Humboldt at 10,000, by Malte Brun at 15,000 square leagues; the reader will find, for instance, the height of the Falls of Terni stated, by different travellers, at 1060, 800, 266, and 200 feet; that of the Torre d'Asinello at Bologna, at 256, 327, 348, 376, and 476 feet; the Val di Chiana, at 60 miles in length and 3 in breadth, and again at 40 miles in length by from 7 to 12 in breadth; the height of the aqueduct at Spoleto, at 250 feet and 238 yards, &c. But in numberless instances, these variations have been too unimportant to notice, though they have materially added to the difficulty of the Writer's task. Who would have expected to find the accurate Gibbon guilty of the gross blunder of making the Mincio flow into the Lago di Guarda ?
• It will be obvious, that these volumes, if the Editor has competently fulfilled his task, claim to be considered in a higher light than
that of a compilation; that they are rather a condensation of our knowledge of Italy, drawn from the most authentic sources, and reduced, by a careful collation, to distinctness and accuracy. Two objects have been kept in view; the one, to supply the traveller with all the information, historical and topographical, requisite to enable him to enjoy and understand the scenes and objects which crowd upon his attention or deserve his research; the other, to enable him, when
In his own chimney nook,"
to recall those scenes and occurrences dear to recollection; and at the same time to afford to the less privileged reader, cui non contigit adire Corinthum,-in other words, who has never seen Rome, the best compensation for being denied the pleasure of crossing the Alps, in a full and faithful account of the most interesting country in the world.' pp. xix-xxi.
Our readers will not expect from us any thing approaching to an analysis of the volumes before us, and yet, without the application of some such process, we should not be dealing fairly either by them or the Author. Very briefly, therefore, we shall pass through the principal divisions in their order, rather allowing the Writer to speak for himself in the few extracts we shall have occasion to make, than entering into discussions which would be, in the present instance, completely out of place. Passing over the preface, which contains some admirable criticism on the leading authorities on Italian travel, we come at once to the work itself; and as a fair example of the composition and concentration of the work, we shall cite a fragment or two of the introductory part.
In modern geography, Italy, like Germany, comprehends a groupe of countries forming a grand natural division of the European continent; allied by a common language and a general similarity of customs and institutions, but united by no political bond, having no common centre, and distinguished by a considerable diversity of physical circumstances and of moral and political condition.
The natural limits of this region are formed by the great Alpine barrier, which presents a steep, unbroken acclivity towards the plains of Lombardy; but the lines of political demarcation deviate considerably from this natural boundary, and modern Italy extends beyond the Alps, on the north-west, to the Lake of Geneva, and westward, in Savoy, to the course of the Rhone.
‹ Italy is divided, by its variety of surface and climate, into four distinct zones or regions, which are thus distinguished. The first, comprising the whole of Lombardy and a part of Romagna to the slopes of the Apennines on the side of Florence, is about 260 miles in length, and 150 at its greatest breadth, from the Alps to the Gulfs of Genoa and Venice, and the Apennines; lying between the parallels of 46° 30′ and 43o 30. The cold in winter is here often very severe,