24 APRIL 1886, Page 24

An Historical Atlas. By Robert H. Labberton. (Macmillan and Co.)—There

is no lack of historical atlases now-a-days, but the more the better, especially when, as in this case, they are clear, well selected, and to some extent novel. There is no more forcible way of impressing the main features of history on the mind than by impressing them on the eye through historical atlases. It always requires an effort to keep in mind that through the greater part of the early history of Europe, after 700 A.D. to 1500, the dominant power in the civilised or quasi-civilised world was not French, or German, or English, or Spanish, but Arabian and Turkish ; and nothing more forcibly aids the effort than to see the map coloured with the 'colours of the Arabs at one time from India, through Asia, Arabia, Egypt, the North Coast of Africa, and the whole of Spain, to Arles; and at a later period to see the Mahommedan power gradually gaining in Asia Minor and Turkey in Europe what they as gradually lost in Spain. Again, nothing but a map can impress on us the fact that Henry II. was the greatest King in France, and the Angevin Empire the second in extent of dominion, while it was greater in real power than that of the Holy Roman Empire. The maps are interspersed with a historical text, which appears to be extracted, on the whole, from the beet authors. Why, however, in a historical epitome, an American author should be kind enough to lay down the absurd doctrine that "if England wants to keep her Anglo-Indian Empire, she ought to pursue the same policy as the Moghule, to take possession of Afghanistan, the true north-western gate of India, of which the key is Herat," it is difficult to see. We have yet to learn that the English conquered the Moghuls through Afghanistan. The blunder of a his- torian attempting to prophesy on wrong data must apparently be imputed to the fact that the author, in the innocence of his American heart, selected Roper Lethbridge's short manual of the history of India as an authority. It is funny, too, to mark the bounce of the " Great Repnblio" coming out in the account of the war between the States and England in 1812. The amazing statement that England had 1,000 " men-of-war" at the time, and " a million of well-drilled veterans," when there were only some fifteen millions of people in the whole United Kingdom, is calculated, no doubt, to raise patriotic

pride at the " madness" of the declaration of war by the States. But the pride must be rather tempered by the remembrance of the fact that whatever veterans England did possess were more than occupied in the struggle with Napoleon in Europe, with the Dutch and others at the Cape, and had to be transported across the Atlantic before they could meet the " mass of half-drilled and half-armed recruits " who formed the United States' forces. The true patriotism and pluck of our cousins across the water is better shown by the maps which exhibit the progress of the States since 1812, and their wonderful conquests of Nature, than by the fratricidal folly of their and our attempt to conquer each other in useless battles.