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prove himself the greatest of benefactors to the rising generation.

An ardent desire for the acquisition of knowledge need not incapacitate children from entering into all the sports and joyous merriment so natural and becoming to their age, nor will their studious habits in maturer life induce them to shun entirely those scenes of gaiety which possess so many attractions for youth-these will be enjoyed by them, occasionally, with far greater zest than by those busy idlers who find pleasure in no higher pursuits-thus giving a dignity to amusements, as forming the relaxation of intellect rather than the business of frivolity.

Books of fiction are perhaps among our most pleasing resources in seasons of rest from severer studies, and if the characters and incidents portrayed in some of the best of those written for youth, be occasionally made the subjects of discussion and comment between preceptor and pupils, they may perhaps be found excellent incitements to good conduct. These, however, to be useful, should take a higher tone than the publications under present consideration.

It would be tedious, as well as unprofitable, to attempt any analysis of the contents of these volumes; perhaps, however, it is right briefly to point out, and if possible to distinguish, each from the other-the latter is certainly rather a difficult task, for so marked a similarity runs through the whole, that a description of one will pretty well pass for that of all.

The contributors to these works certainly show every desire of inculcating moral sentiments, and of blending instruction with amusement—although they may often fail in their attempts. The very nature of the works, however, would seem to preclude the display of talent. We know not what chilling influence there is in the atmosphere of these annual miscellanies, but the faculties of the various writers appear benumbed, and display themselves in one dull mediocrity. Each of the volumes before us alike contains the usual complement of insipid poetry, and of common-place tales, together with a plentiful supply of true stories,' which, as usual, are infinitely more improbable than those confessedly fictitious. There is little in this array to counteract the inherent bad effects of the publications, or to withdraw them from that ephemeral existence to which they are doomed. The pictures are admired, the contents are glanced at, and, after sufficient discussions as to the relative merits of the bindings and embellishments, these Christmas presents

are generally thrown aside by their youthful possessors for some newer, and therefore more attractive plaything.

Most of the contributors to Ackermann's Juvenile ForgetMe-Not' give us the impression that the writers are making an effort to play the agreeable to young folks, whom, moreover, they intend to cheat into a little knowledge, or to edify by excellent examples of good conduct, A stiff and formal air consequently creeps over what is meant to be very playful and amusing, and either a want of nature, or a degree of puerility, is found in the generality of the pieces. The presumption that the juvenile critics will not be very fastidious as to language, induces a carelessness of style sometimes very conspicuous, which the writers, it is most probable, would not have allowed to pass uncorrected in any of their other works. But few of the characters, and as few of the incidents, excite sympathy or interest. The Little Queen; A Tale for Children of all ages,' is evidently intended as a satire upon those adults, as well as juveniles, who wish for reforms of any kind it is a ridiculous failure. After the young heroine, moved by the love of innovation, has committed overwhelming, and what is supposed irremediable mischief, it is discovered to be all make believe,' if we except one rather serious incident, the death of a little boy, occasioned by a broken looking-glass. Ample consolation is, however, afforded for this misfortune, for Zoe 'put such a pretty monument over little Cleon-a pedestal, and an urn, and a willow-tree-that many a mother wished her son under such another; and every one said she was a good queen, which is more than every one said of every other queen.'-p. 65.




In The Little Thief,' the idea of a young lady committing 'petty larceny' is treated far too lightly; the possibility of such a dereliction of principles should be noticed with the greatest horror, instead of being detailed like the matter-offact examination of a police-office. In this volume, perhaps 'Cecilia Howard,' and 'The Gentleman,' are the best told tales; the latter is, however, spoilt for want of a conclusion. Scarcely any of the poetry rises above, and much of it falls below, mediocrity.

A short tale, by Mrs. Hofland, is found in this collection, 'Little William and his Story Books,' wherein these Story Books' are made to work too wonderful effects. This tale shows how much more effectually and satisfactorily the pen may be used when not chained to a prescribed subject, and an allotted space in the dull pages of an annual. Among this lady's numerous publications The Son of a

Genius' is well known as a very pleasing little work, which is always read with interest and pleasure.

The general remarks on the foregoing volume fully apply to 'The New Year's Gift.' Even in those stories which are the best told, and which are written by persons of acknowledged talent, the reader cannot help feeling how much better the narrative might have been conducted. A tale entitled Children of Alsace' affords a striking illustration of this remark. The opening paragraph gives a very partial and biassed view of the first French Revolution, while the latter part of the tale is extremely confused, and evidently hurried to a conclusion. The Day of Pleasure' is no doubt well meant, but is very improbable. What child having (as the heroine is said to have had) judicious parents, would, in contemplating the delights of a day of pleasure, single out as her chief anticipated gratification a despicable triumph over her friend and poorer neighbour, for being less fashionably and less expensively dressed then herself? What writer, who understands the meaning of words, would call the display of this unnatural and peculiarly unamiable feeling-bad temper'?

In 'The Christmas Box,' Dillon's account of the locust is well appropriated, and one or two of the tales might perhaps be pointed out, as not being quite so common-place as the rest of the collection.


There is more originality in The Juvenile Forget-MeNot, edited by Mrs. Hall,' than in any of the other annuals. Frank Finlay' is an American tale, written with spirit, and recommended by being something new. 'Mabel Dacre' is likewise sensibly and naturally told. The selection of subjects, too, is better made in this volume than in the restone-third of it treating on matters of natural history. Anecdotes of Birds' are amusing and instructive. Some of them, however, are so remarkable as to need confirmation. The peacock flying away with the boy is one of these—which we must likewise notice as being related with a sad confusion of genders and disregard to antecedents. If the marvellous parts are really founded on facts, the authorities should be given; at present the youthful reader is left in doubt whether they be sober realities or happy inventions to provide entertainment for the young.'


No. II.

A Sketch of Modern and Ancient Geography, for the use of Schools, by Dr. Butler, head master of Shrewsbury Grammar School. Fifth Edition. Do. Ninth Edition.

THIS work of Dr. Butler's to which the attention of our readers is now called, is too well known to require any introduction respecting its nature and design. It has been put into the hands of almost every classical student in the public and private schools of this country, for the last ten or fifteen years, and a ninth edition is now in course of sale. In fact, it is considered a stock-book by booksellers, and a text-book by students throughout England. It is not a matter of surprise to us that the work has met with such encouragement. It was the first on the subject; for, strange as it may appear, before the appearance of the Sketch and, the accompaning ancient atlas, there was no special school-book on Ancient Geography, notwithstanding the great improvements this subject had received from the labours of D'Anville, Rennel, Mannert, and others; and no tolerable ancient maps, except a very incorrect reprint of D'Anville's published in Paris. It is, then, only fair to state distinctly, that whatever opinion may be formed of the mode in which Dr. Butler has executed his undertaking, he is justly entitled to the thanks of the public for having called their attention to this branch of learning previously so much neglected.

Dr. Butler's sketch (and we shall keep in mind that it is a sketch) having an extensive circulation, sanctioned by places and persons possessing authority' in matters of education, and, on the whole, enjoying considerable reputation*,' it becomes the duty of this Journal to give it such an examination as may enable teachers to form something like a just estimate of its meritst.

The book comprises both modern and ancient geography. With respect to the former, the work has been much enlarged in the present edition, about forty pages of new matter being added. These additions appear to be made judiciously, and to constitute a decided improvement.

The arrangement of this part is that which is usual in

*See Journal, vol. i. p. 297. See also the Introduction.

+ Dr. Butler's maps are generally used together with the Sketch. These have been examined in a previous number, and they will come under occasional review at present, only so far as they are connected with the object of our inquiry.

most bocks of this description; but many facts are introduced, which we have not generally seen noticed in these manuals, and this circumstance gives the book a practical superiority over most others of the same kind. The extent and population of the European countries are given pretty correctly; the length and course of rivers, and, occasionally, the height and connexions of mountains, are clearly and correctly stated. Remarkable political events are sometimes noticed; and if not always judiciously selected, they yet tend to fix positions in the learner's memory, In many instances information is given of such a nature as to show that considerable pains have been taken with the improved edition of the Sketch of Modern Geography. At the same time it is not in our power to give this part of the work unqualified praise. It has serious faults, of which we shall point out a few. There is a want of exact arrangement throughout the book, not perhaps so great as in some manuals that have come under our notice, but sufficient to render it an unsafe guide for learners. This defect is to be traced to two causes; first, a neglect of the important principle that all political geography is dependent on the physical features of countries, and that the latter must be antecedent to the former in the order of instruction; secondly, to the adoption of a familiar*,' instead of a scientific,' or, as we should term it, correct manner of laying down the position of districts and places. The student having none of those decisive land-marks to guide him, which a previous knowledge of the natural phenomena of a country would furnish, gains little satisfactory information from matter such as the following:

'The island of Great Britain is in the west of Europe. West of Great Britain is Ireland, and above Ireland Iceland. Below Great Britain is France; below France, to the eastward, is Switzerland; at the south-west of which is the lake of Geneva and city of that name, and below it (Switzerland or Geneva ?) Italy, which resembles a boot. At the top of Italy to the west is Genoa; and above, Piedmont, in which is Turin. At the top of Italy in the east is Venice, giving name to the Gulf of Venice. Immediately above the Gulf of Venice is the Tyrol, and Carinthia, Istria, and Carniola, provinces of Austria; and above Turkey in Europe is Hungary, west of which is Austria, and north of this, Bohemia.'

The style of the whole matches well with the above selections. How different would these vague, obscure, and often erroneous descriptions become, if some correct notices were

* Dr. Butler is not, however, always consistent in using the 'familiar' instead of the scientific' term.

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