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have had an imperfect appreciation of their duty if they had allowed any narrow trade-notions to interfere with the task they had taken in hand-that of humanizing a nation.
So far from there being any prestige attached to them because they are issued by the commissioners, we know from our own experience that there has been a great prejudice against them. They have been suspected by the clergy, because they are the practical embodiment of that principle to which they so strongly object- secular and moral, without doctrinal teaching. This prejudice still exists even where they are used, and they have been adopted only because they are best suited to the wants of the National Schools. We ourselves have invariably recommended them for that purpose, though we acknowledge their deficiency. That the sale beyond Ireland is not very enormous is proved by the fact, that the total amount received from the sale in England, Scotland, Wales, and the colonies, in 1849, was 69551. 58. 6d.; and this sum included such books as were sold to schools in Ireland not in connection with the Board. The injury to individual publishers cannot therefore be very great, and ought not to be considered when it is set against a great public good.*
Having determined upon publishing a series of books, the Board then issued them to the National Schools, at a little more than half the cost price; and we think it was a justifiable economy, which
gave books that cost 201. for 111., rather than 501. in money to buy such books as they chose.
Having published the series, it was very natural that the Board should not refuse to sell them to those who wished to buy, and who approved of the principle upon which they were prepared." But they did not then sell their books at the same price to the public as to their own schools : the “ First Book of Lessons,” which is charged to the schools a halfpenny, is sold to the public at twopence; and, according to the principle upon which they fix their prices, this costs them a penny; and therefore there is a penny to be divided between the public, the agents, and the Board; and so throughout the series.
The publishers state in their memorial that the books are sold to the public at less than the cost; now, as the above statement is drawn from the Commissioners' Report, we are prepared positively to say that they are not; and an examination of the books in their list, and a comparison with the standard libraries and popular libraries which meet us at every turn, prove to us that the prices which they charge actually leave a profit, and that it would be quite possible for any publisher to compete with them who chose to issue his books in a similar cheap style, more especially as the memorialists state that an individual can always produce an article more cheaply than Government. We do not think, therefore, that it is a case for Government interference; but we venture to suggest that the Commissioners might offer to public competition the right of sale to the public, reserving the right of circulation in their own schools as at present.
* The expenditure for printing and binding books, in 1849, was 14,3701. 98. 9d.; for books bought of various publishers for circulation along with their own at a reduced price, 45841. 138. 4d.; the amount received from the sales was 12,1961. 158, 4d.; the cost therefore to the nation was 67581. 78. 9d.
METHODS OF GIVING LESSONS ON OBJECTS. HEADS OF A LESSON ON A VEGETABLE SUPSTANCE.*- -CORK-THE
CORK-TREE. 1. Particulars regarding external appearance, qualities, &c. 2. Where it is found. 3. How the substance is obtained or prepared. 4. Uses to which it is applied. 5. History
SPECIMENS OF NOTES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THESE HEADS. 1. (a) The Tree. Two varieties of the cork-tree-the narrow leaved and the broad leaved ; attains the height of thirty feet; is an evergreen; has leaves of a bright colour; oval shape, and indented edge; tree much like common oak in form, but more beautiful; called quercus suber ; quercus means an oak tree; suber, cork, or cork-tree.
(b) Piece of Cork. Ist. The parts :-has two ends, two surfaces, edges, &c. 2nd. The qualities :- Jight, porous, opaque, elastic, compressible, smooth, &c.
2. Found in S. parts of France ; in Spain, but most abundant in Catalonia and Valencia; in Portugal; Italy; and Barbary, in Africa.
3. Cork is outer bark of tree; can be removed without injuring the tree; the best taken from old trees; that of young ones being too porous; taking off bark called peeling, done every ten years; if inner bark removed the tree would be destroyed; removed from tree by curved knife with two handles ; slits are made from top to bottom, others across, then removed in large or small pieces ; this depends on the number of incisions across. When taken off, soaked, and afterwards placed over a fire to char it; this blackens the surface and closes the pores; thinner layers not thus operated on, because charred cork apt to give bad flavour to liquors stopped with it.
4. Used for stopping bottles and casks, because compressible and elastic; bungs and large corks more porous than small corks; pores of the latter lie across ; floats of fishing-nets often made of cork; life-preservers; insuring buoyancy of life-boats ; pieces fastened together form buoys; put between soles of shoes to keep out moisture, is impervious to water; on account of its lightness is made into false legs; when burnt, obtain Spanish black; great quantities made from the cork parings.
5. Use of cork for stopping bottles introduced about 15th century; ancient Egyptians made coffins of it; principal exports from Valencia and Catalonia ; duty on cork in a rough state 8s. per cwt.; price per cwt. from £20 to £70.
FORM OF QUESTIONS. 1. How many varieties are there of the cork-tree? State the difference between them. To what height does it attain ? Describe the leaves. Explain what you mean by indented. What is the root of this word? What tree does the cork-tree resemble? The proper name of cork-tree. What does quercus mean? What do you mean by
* For methods of giving these lessons, see p. 95 of Vol. for 1850.
porous?-elastic?-compressible? Mention other objects having these
2. Where is the cork-tree found? Show me France on the map. How does Spain lie from France? What are Catalonia and Valencia? Show Italy, Barbary, &c. 3. What is cork? What is the best obtained from? Why are old trees better than young ones? How often is the bark stripped off? What word means taking off? How is the bark obtained from the tree? Describe the whole operation. Why is the bark charred? What is an incision?
4. Why is cork used for stopping bottles? Why are small corks less porous than large ones? Mention other uses to which it is applied. Explain the words buoyancy and impervious. To what uses are cork parings applied?
5. Where does cork principally come from? bring in? What do you understand by duty? cork not manufactured? The value of cork per
What word means to What is the duty on cwt.?
The upper classes should be required to write an abstract of the lesson. In order to assist them in this exercise, the teacher should write on the black-board the Heads of the Lesson, numbering them as in the example given above. The children are not, however, to number their answers; but each answer is to be a consecutive account of the object that has been described. They should also be accustomed to give distinct answers to separate questions; when this is done, both the question and the answer should be numbered. The following are examples of such questions:
1. Write the particulars concerning the external appearance of the cork-tree.
2. Mention all the qualities of cork, and clearly explain the meaning of each term.
3. Explain the mode of obtaining and preparing cork.
4. Enumerate the uses to which cork is applied.
LESSON ON THE RIVERS OF EUROPE.
RIVERS OF EUROPE, WITH THE PRINCIPAL CITIES AND TOWNS SITUATED ON THEM.
The Rivers of Europe may be arranged into seven divisions: 1. Those that enter the Caspian Sea; 2. Those that enter the Black Sea; 3. Those that fall into the Mediterranean, including its bays and gulfs; 4. Those that are emptied into the Atlantic Ocean; 5. Those that fall into the Baltic Sea; 6. Those that enter the White Sea; and 7. Those that enter the Arctic Ocean.
Rivers entering the Caspian.
1. The OURAL River has its source in the Ural Mountains, forms the boundary between Asia and Europe, and enters the Caspian Sea on its northern side.
2. The Volga issucs from a small lake in the chain of the Valdai, and empties itself by about 70 outlets into the Caspian Sea. It is the largest river in Europe, and has a length of more than 2000 miles. Its basin is 482,464 square miles. It is navigable throughout a great part of its course, and is the great highway of Central Russia. It abounds in fish; the principal of which are the carp and the sturgeon. The fisheries give employment to many thousand small vessels.
Astracan is built on an island formed by the branches of the Volga, near its entrance into the north end of the Caspian Sea. It is the fishing mart of the Volga, and isinglass forms one of its most important articles of trade. It is the centre of all the commerce of Russia with Persia and the East.
Rivers entering the Sea of Azof and Black Sea. 3. The Don issues from a lake in the government of Tula, and, after a course of nearly 1000 miles, enters the Sea of Azof by several mouths. It is not navigable for large vessels, on account of its being full of shallows. Like the Nile, it overflows its banks in the lower part of its course, and its waters carry down vast quantities of mud, by which a new soil is brought upon the fields every year.
4. The Dnieper has its source in the Alaunian Hills, and enters the Black Sea in the neighbourhood of Odessa, after a course of 1050 miles. The navigation of this river is greatly impeded by rocks and cataracts. It abounds in fish, such as the pike and the sturgeon.
Kherson, on the Dnieper, is a naval port with a fortress. Howard, the philanthropist, is buried in the vicinity of the town.
5. The Dneister has its source in the northern base of the Carpathian Mountains in Austria, takes a south-easterly direction, and, after a course of 480 miles, enters the Black Sea.
6. The Danube rises in the Black Forest, passes through Baden, Wirtemberg, Bavaria, Austria, and Turkey, and enters the Black Sea by several mouths. It is 1750 miles in length, and is navigable to Ulm, a distance of nearly 1600 miles from its mouth. It has a basin of 230,768 square miles. It receives more than 100 tributaries, the principal of which are the following :(a) The Isar, which passes through Bavaria.
(b) The Inn passes through the Tyrol and Bavaria, and forms, in part of its course, the boundary between Bavaria and Austria.
(c) The Drave rises in the Tyrol, flows through Styria and part of Hungary, and enters the Danube in Sclavonia. Its length is about 400 miles.
(d) The Save rises in the Corinthian Alps, flows between Styria and Illyria, then divides Sclavonia from Turkey, and enters the Danube near the town of Belgrade. It is 440 miles in length.
(e) The Theiss rises in Transylvania, passes through Hungary, and enters the Danube, near Belgrade, after a course of 740 miles.
Vienna is on the right bank of the Danube, at its confluence with the Vien. It is the largest city in Germany, and is well provided with scientific institutions and places of amusement.
It is noted for its imperial library, which contains, besides some thousands of valuable
manuscripts, upwards of 420,000 volumes. The arsenal contains arms sufficient for 30,000 men, besides artillery. Vienna is the principal manufacturing town in the empire. Silk, cotton, porcelain, gold and silver lace, hardware, &c., are the most important articles of manufacture. Vienna was besieged in 1683 by the Turks ; the siege was raised by John Sobieski, King of Poland, who defeated the Turks with great slaughter under the walls of the city. The head of the Grand Vizier, Kara Mustapha, who commanded the Turks in this siege, is preserved among other Turkish trophies in the arsenal. It twice surrendered to the French-once in 1805, and again in 1809.
Ratisbon, in Bavaria, is situated on the right bank of the Danube. Among other fine buildings is the Town House, where the diet of the empire used to assemble. It has considerable trade in jewellery and goldsmith work.
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, on the Isar, is one of the finest cities in Germany. It contains many beautiful buildings, the most remarkable of which are the King's Palace, one of the largest in Europe, and the Picture Gallery, containing one of the finest collections of paintings in Europe.
Innspruck, on the Inn, is the capital of Tyrol. It is situated in a pleasant valley surrounded by lofty mountains, which are covered with snow, even in summer. It has some trade in cotton, silk and woollen stuffs, and all kinds of glass wares.
Buda, or Ofen, on the right bank of the Danube, is the capital of Hungary. It contains the arsenal, the Palatine's palace, and many splendid palaces. It is noted for its baths, which are abundantly supplied with hot springs of water strongly impregnated with sulphur. In the adjacent country are vineyards, which produce famous red wines. A suspension bridge connects Buda with Pesth, the finest town in the kingdom. Although a modern city, it contains a university, the most richly endowed in Europe, a library of 50,000 volumes, and many literary and scientific institutions. Pesth suffered considerably in the late civil war between the Austrians and the Magyars. It has manufactures of cotton, silk, leather, and musical instruments.
Belgrade, the capital of Servia, is on the right bank of the Danube, near the influx of the Save. It was formerly a town of considerable importance, being considered the bulwark of Turkey in the north, but it is now falling to decay.
Tokay, in Hungary, on the Theiss, is celebrated for its wine. In the vicinity are large salt-works.
Rivers entering the Mediterranean. 7. The Po, the most important of the Italian rivers, rises in Monte Viso, one of the Cottian Alps, on the confines of France and Italy. It passes almost due east, divides the possessions of Austria in Italy from Parma, Modena, and the States of the Church, and, after a course of 500 miles, enters the Adriatic Sea. The basin of this river has an area of about 40,000 sỹ. miles. This river is greatly elevated above the surrounding fields, and has a strong and rapid current, which renders it difficult of navigation. Immense dykes are built along its