A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 18 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 938 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
acts, though to us in an imperceptible manner, on every other body.  So commerce acts; but its action is not momentary; its impulses, once begun, continue with augmented force.  And it appears to us no absurd or extravagant expectation, that through its means, either directly, or by enlarging the views and desires of man, the civilization, knowledge, freedom and happiness of Europe will ultimately be spread over the whole globe.

[6] Since this part of our work was written, the narrative of Lieutenant
    Franklin has been published:  from this it appears, that he was engaged
    in this arduous undertaking during the years 1819, 1820, 1821, and
    1822; that the route he followed to the Coppermine River was to the
    east o the routes of M’Kenzie and Hearne; that he reached the river
    three hundred and thirty-four miles north of Fort Enterprize; and the
    Polar Sea in lat. 67 deg. 47’ 50”; and in longitude 115 deg. 36’ 49” west;
    that he sailed five hundred and fifty miles along its shores to the
    eastward, and then returned to Port Enterprize.


Preliminary Observations on the Plan and Arrangement pursued in drawing up this Catalogue.

It is obvious, that whoever undertakes to draw up a catalogue of books on any particular subject, must proceed on one or other of these two plans,—­either to give a complete catalogue of all the works published on that subject, or a select catalogue of what seems to him the best works.  It is scarcely necessary to point out the objection to the first plan, arising from the impracticability of making any catalogue absolutely complete; but it may be said, though not absolutely complete, it may, by sufficient information and diligence, be rendered nearly so.  Let us suppose, then, that by unwearied assiduity and research, aided and guided by the requisite knowledge, a catalogue is rendered as perfect as it practically can be made,—­is the utility of such a catalogue enhanced in a proportion any thing approaching to the labour, research, and time expended upon it; or, rather, would not such a catalogue be much less useful than one within smaller compass, drawn up on the plan of selection?

On all subjects there are more bad or indifferent works published than good ones.  This remark applies with peculiar justice and force to modern works of voyages and travels.  A very extensive catalogue, therefore, must contain a large portion of bad or indifferent books, which are not worth the purchasing, the consulting, nor the perusing; consequently, if such works appear in a catalogue drawn up for the purpose of guiding those who purpose to travel in particular countries, to write on the subject of them, or merely to read respecting them for the sake of information, it is plain that such a catalogue cannot be trusted as a safe and judicious guide; as if the persons consulting it select for themselves, there is an equal chance of selecting useless books as good ones; and if they attempt to peruse all, they must waste a great deal of time.

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