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which he meets with at Madrid decides him to visit the Spanish possessions of America. “He receives permission not only to visit them,” says Prof. Agassiz, but “instructions are given to the officers of the colonies to receive him everywhere and to give him all facilities to permit him to transport his instruments, to make astronomical and other observations, and to collect whatever he chooses."
What more could a young man of thirty desire! He climbs the peaks of Teneriffe, explores for a year and a half the valleys of the Amazon and Orinoco, ascends Chimborazo, to a hight which man had never attained before, and with almost equal progress ascends the hill of fame. Having studied the ancient monuments of Central America, he retums to Europe. The King of Prussia makes him his friend and companion, at home and in his travels. He publishes his researches. The Emperor of Russia invites him to explore the Ural Mountains and he pushes his researches to the heart of the continent of Asia. He returns to Berlin and is sent as an Ambassador to Paris. For eighteen years be dwells alternately in Germany and France, studying, writing, lecturing, printing, until at the age of eighty he goes home to Berlin, not to die, not even to rest, but to add ten years of work to the laborious half-score by which he has already overrun the appointed limits of human activity. To the end of his life he is not less the courtier by day than the student by night.
How different the career of Ritter! Left at the age of five years, in 1784, a fatherless, penniless boy, received as a charity scholar in a newly established boarding-school, succeeding with difficulty in obtaining a university education, pledging bis services as a private tutor to the patron who provides him with money, not receiving the appointinent of a gymnasium professor till he is forty years of age,-it is obvious that the great geographer had little to encourage him or awaken his ambition, throughout his early life. But he improved every opportunity which was given him to cultivate his mind, and was ready for greater things. He is called to Berlin in 1820, and an empty auditory is the greeting which he received, so little was his character appreciated. A single year wrought
a wonderful change. “Auditory full-I must have a larger," is the minute in his journal. Occasional journeys in Europe, but never to Africa or Asia, his special fields of study, relieve the duties of his professional charge. Volume after volume of his “Erdkunde” successively appear. The attainments of the author are recognized by all; his original views are everywhere accepted; his work becomes a classic, and the ideas which it contains, and which the author advances in his lectures, penetrate the writings of every geographer, and reach the mind of every school-boy.
Humboldt was emphatically a cosmopolitan. He had traversed four continents, and was equally at home in every capital. He spoke with fluency a score of languages; he knew everybody worth knowing; he answered with his own hand every note; books, pamphlets, specimens, letters, consequently flowed to his study from all sources, like rivers to the sea, till at last he was compelled through the journals to beg the public to have some pity for an old man of almost ninety years of age, already overwhelmed with the necessity of writing two thousand letters a year.
Ritter, on the other hand, was more a man of books. He lived mostly in bis study and lecture room. He possessed, in a rare degree, the power of gathering the truth from the conflicting statements of a hundred authors, of making in his own mind a complete picture of the lands which they described, and of reproducing that picture with the orderly and impressive strokes of a master.
With the countenance of Humboldt our readers are familiar. An admirable portrait taken from the life has lately, been exhibited in New York; while, thanks to the art of photography, speaking likenesses adorn the walls of almost every laboratory and the portfolio of every scholar. .
The personal appearance of Ritter was at once prepossessing and dignified. Those who knew him in the prime of life describe his presence as commanding in a high degree, and although in later years his movement was somewhat slow and heavy, yet his erect and elevated stature, his strong frame, his noble head, and his benignant smile, would arrest attention in any company, and convey to every one the impression of uncommon power and goodness. If we were permitted to compare him with one of our own countrymen, we should say that there was much in his general appearance and manner which would suggest the elder Professor Silliman. We may notice in passing, the more remarkable coincidence, that they were born in the same year, the same month, and the same day.
We are faniliar with but two portraits of Ritter. One of them was taken by request of the students in the university, at the head of whom was his favorite pupil, now his distinguished follower, Professor Guyot, and this we suppose, on the whole, must be regarded as the more satisfactory likeness. It was à crayon drawing made by Krüger, which was lithographed and published. Mr. Guyot, in his eulogy on Ritter, before the Geographical Society of New York, referred to the circumstances under which this portrait was taken, and said that the students requested a motto to be placed beneath the name. It was then that Ritter wrote the words which have become familiar to many of our readers, on the title page
of "Earth and Man,"_“Our earth is a star among the stars; and should not we who are on it prepare ourselves by it for the contemplation of the universe and its Author?” A more compendious statement of the spirit of the Erdkunde could not possibly be given.
But although the earlier may be the better portrait, Ritter's later students will see more resemblance to the instructor whom they knew, in a lithographed likeness which was published in Berlin not many years since, and has lately been copied in a wood cut in the Illustrirte Zeitung. It gives Ritter's look as we remember him, to the life. Even the broad Byronic collar, the large round eye-glasses, the erect locks of thick hair, mere accessories we acknowledge, assist us in recalling the image of the man.
We trust that enough has been said in respect to the character of these two men to interest the reader in what we have to add respecting the science to which they both devoted so much energy. But let it be distinctly understood, that it is not our plan to attempt a complete estimate of their writings.
Such a review, by a more competent hand, would be appropriate in a scientific journal. We shall only bring forward some general notions of their services to mankind in the department of Physical Geography. Avoiding for the most part any technical expressions, we shall restrict ourselves still further to those comprehensive views which ought to be of interest to every man of education.
Before the days of Humboldt and Ritter, geography was hardly worthy the name of a science. At the close of the last century, more was known of the world than in the days of Herodotus, and more method was exhibited in the arrangement of facts; but the establishment of principles by comparison and induction was almost as much neglected as in the days of the Greek historian and traveler. It is true that within the last half century also vast accessions have been made to our knowledge of facts. To say nothing of other sources of information, the scientific expeditions equipped by the governments of Enrope and of our own country, for the purpose of studying the globe on which we dwell, have been rich in their contributions to the sum of human information. But the eye of every observer has been rendered more acnte, and the value of his researches immeasurably hightened, by the philosophical discussion of physical phenomena which was inaugurated by Humboldt, expanded by Ritter, and universally adopted by writers and teachers in geographical science.
The contrast between the old geography and the new may be easily stated, for the one holds nearly that relation to the other which chronology has to history; which the Art de verifier les Dates, for example, has to the eloquent pages of Grote, or the thoughtful treatises of Guizot.
The old geography was nothing but a description of the earth and its inhabitants. Its method was arbitrary and unsatisfactory. Facts independent of their relations; details withont reference to generalizations; phenomena and not causes were the sum and substance of its teachings. In short, it was not science but topography.
On the other hand, the new geography is not description but philosophy. It gives us reasons for facts, laws for phe
nomena. It studies the mutual relations of the earth, the air and the sea, and their united infinence upon the animal and vegetable life of the globe. It investigates the connection and the mutual dependence of the various divisions of the world. It shows how every part is important to every other part, and how all are subordinate to the wants of man. It teaches conclusively that the marks of design which are apparent in the root, the stem, the leaf and the fruit of a plant, in the trunk, the limbs, the heart and the head of an animal, each having its own office, are as really, if not as obviously displayed in the world regarded as an organic whole. To use the words of Professor Guyot, expanded and illustrated in his opening lecture on the Earth and Man,” the geography of Humboldt and Ritter discusses the physiology of the great terrestrial forms,” or, in other words, " THE LIFE OF THE GLOBE.”
The advantage, then, of the new above the old geography is not alone nor chiefly in the number of facts which it makes known but in the lessons they are shown to teach. We are aware that glimpses of these general truths dawned on the minds of the earlier geographers. Thus, Heylyn, for example, whose famous Cosmography passed through several editions a century and a half ago, remarks that the great body of the world, like the body of a man, though it have many parts and members, is but one body only. A body of so perfect and exact a form, of so complete a symmetry
respect of the particular parts, and all those parts so beautified and adorned by the God of Nature that from the elegancy and beauties of it, it was called Kosmos by the Grecians, and Mundus by the Latins, both names declaring
composure of it to be full of ornament; and all those ornaments conducting mankind to the knowledge of God.”
Yet this very same writer deems it important to add upon the following page, in refutation of the vulgar notions of his day, that “they which have entertained a fancy of resembling every
more obvious to the sight and understanding have likened Europe to a dragon, the head of which they wake to be Spain; the two wings Italy and Denmark. In like manner, they have been curiously impertinent in resembling
country to things