338 Old-time Schools and School-books
inches. Comparatively little color was used on the maps, and even at their newest the atlases must have looked dull and uninteresting. To modern eyes the oddest features of the maps are the vacant or mistaken outlines of the northern coasts of this continent, and the general blankness of all its western portion, with Mexico making a great sweep up into the present domains of our republic. Some of the African maps, too, are given a strange appearance by the portrayal of an immense line of mountains — the "Jibbel Kumra or Mts of the Moon " — extending in a continuous and perfectly straight chain from east to west entirely across the broadest part of the continent.
Jedidiah Morse was the pioneer among American authors of school geographies, as I have explained in the previous chapter. The earliest rival to contest the field with Morse's books was a small volume of questions and answers compiled by Nathaniel Dwight and published at Hartford in 1795. Our own continent is confined to the final third of Dwight's Geography, while Europe, Asia, and Africa have the first two-thirds. How very remote and unfamiliar many portions of the globe still were can be judged from the fact that most of the capital cities in Africa and some even in Asia and Europe are located by giving their distance and direction from London. Thus, " Peterfburgh the capital of Ruffia is 1140 miles north-eaft from London. Pekin the capital of China ftands eight thoufand and fixty-two miles fouth-eafterly of London." Monomotapa, the capital of a country of the same