Useful Knowledge_ Minerals. Volume 1 (of 3). or A familiar account of the various productions of nature
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Useful Knowledge: 4th ed. Minerals. Vol 1 of 3
Comparative Height of Mountains, Cities and Lakes
British Islands Continent of Europe Islands not British Asia America
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J. Shury sculp.
The mode in which instruction has hitherto beenconveyed, on the peculiar subjects of the presentwork, has chiefly been by small books, in questionand answer, denominated catechisms. But such,however respectable in themselves, or howeveradvantageous for children, are wholly insufficientfor persons who are in search of extended knowledge,and desirous of furnishing their minds withuseful information.
On these subjects there has not hitherto beenpublished any work in which they are collectivelyto be found; nor could a knowledge of them beobtained but by the consultation of many andexpensive writings. That they are generally importantto be known will not probably be denied.
It has consequently been the object of the authorto compress all the interesting information thatcould be obtained respecting them, within as narrowa compass, and at the same time to renderthis information as entertaining, and as devoid oftechnical words and phrases, as possible.
The scheme of the work will, it is hoped, befound sufficiently simple. The passage in smallercharacters at the head of each article, is in generalivso arranged as to reply to the questions, “Whatis?” “What are?” or “How do you know?”For instance: “What is flint?” (See Vol. I. p. 53.)The answer will be found thus: “Flint is a peculiarlyhard and compact kind of stone, generallyof smoke-grey colour, passing into greyish white,reddish, or brown. It is nearly thrice as heavy aswater, and, when broken, will split in every direction,into pieces which have a smooth surface.”The author is aware that, in many instances, thedefinitions are defective: but this has, in general,arisen from a necessity of rendering them short,and at the same time of using such terms as wouldbe likely to convey information to the minds ofpersons who have had no previous knowledge ofthe systems of natural history.
After the definition, a further illustration sometimesfollows; and in the large characters will befound a brief detail of the history and uses of theobject described. The articles are numbered, forthe greater convenience both of reference andexplanation, but particularly the latter. Thus,under the explanation of Carbon, it is stated that“in combination with oxygen (21) it forms carbonicacid (26), and that it is the chief componentpart of pit-coal (217), petroleum (213), and otherbituminous substances.” By a reference to thevnumbers inserted, each of the words, againstwhich they stand, will be explained: whilst at leastthree of them would otherwise have been incomprehensibleby the generality of unscientific readers.
It must be remarked that the reader will nothere find an account of every production of nature,which is employed for the use of man, noreven all the uses of such objects as are described.The most important of the productions, and theprincipal of the uses, are all that he trusts canreasonably be required in a work of the presentextent. On this ground it is that a great numberof animals, which are in request only for food,have been wholly omitted.
The figures that are inserted have been drawnupon as small and economical a scale as was compatiblewith a sufficiently accurate representationof the objects to which they relate. If the readerbe desirous of reference to further illustration, hewill derive much satisfaction from the invaluablefigures of Mr. Sowerby in his British and ExoticMineralogy, and English Botany, and Woodville’sMedical Botany; as well as from those in Dr.Shaw’s General Zoology, and Bewick’s Historiesof Quadrupeds and British Birds. There are alsomany figures of useful animals in the author’s ownwork, entitled “Memoirs of British Quadrupeds.”
Since this work was first printed, the author hasmade in it considerable improvements. The firstvolume, particularly, contains many additional articles,and more than half of it has been re-written.The plates also have been re-engraved. For the plateof the mountains a new drawing has been made,that the scale might be extended, and many particularsmight be introduced which before were omitted.For the plates of vegetables every drawing has beencorrected; and, in place of such figures as were mostdefective, new ones have been inserted.
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES
|1.||Horizontal beds or strata.|
|a. Veins or dykes.|
|3.||Minerals in detached masses.|
|b. A fault.|
|7.||Profile of a brilliant-cut stone.|
|8.||Profile of a rose-cut stone.|
|9.||Plane of a table-cut stone.|
|10.||Plane and profile of the Pitt diamond.|
|13.||Six-sided pyramids, joined base to base.|
|14||Regular four-sided prism.|
|17.||Four-sided pyramid having a rhomb for its base.|
|8.||Old red sand-stone.|
|9.||Alternating strata of lime-stone and sand-stone.|
|10.||Alluvial strata of clay, gravel, &c., &c.|
The BINDER is desired to insert all the Plates, exceptthe Frontispieces, immediately after the Explanationsin the respective Volumes.
Pl. 1. Vol. I.
J. Shury. sculp.
Sections of Strata &c.
Pl. 2. Vol. I.
Pl. 3. Vol. I.
Section of Rocks. J Shury sculp.
2. If we penetrate beneath the surface of the earth, weobserve there a very remarkable arrangement. Instead ofa generally uniform appearance, as we see on the surface,we pass through divers substances, as clay, gravel,sand, and numerous others, deposited in beds or strataof various thickness, from a few inches to a great manyfeet (Pl. I. Fig. 1). These lie, for the most part, nearlyhorizontal: but in some instances, particularly in mountainouscountries, they take different degrees of