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adjacent continent, is not to be compared with the island system of Europe, which is bound to the main land by the closest ties.

Were a similar insular dismemberment the universal principle on which the world is constructed, and were there no continents whatever, there would be an entire want of direct dependence in nations upon each other, and a degree of independence which would be fatal to the best interests of man. Europe would be broken up into a number of great islands, like Borneo, and into countless islets. In the conformation of Europe, however, there is the happiest system of compensations, and the most harmonious play of contrasts to be found in the world. The disadvantages of a too great dividing up into islands, as in Polynesia, and of too compact and unrifted a central mass, as in Africa, are alike shunned. Both extremes could not fail to be injurious to the best interests of the population. The fullness and richness of nature might, perhaps, be inincreased; but the effects on human life could not fail to be bad. Man's highest development does not consist with any extreme in the natural world: it is linked to the action and reaction of contrasts. In Polynesia, the district of extreme dismemberment, the Malays are the least homogeneous of any race on the earth. Malays, Battals, Dakkas, Horasuras, and Papuas are all engaged in destructive war on each other, and are among the most degraded peoples on the globe. In this region there is the greatest diversity in physical nature, but not in the essential characteristics of man. One point of accord ought not to be passed by: there, where the forces of nature, maritime and volcanic, are on the greatest scale known, the warlike passions of man are on a not less consuming scale. In Polynesia there are the rankest vegetation, the

most fervid heat, the most costly spices, animals very large and rare; but man attains to no such superiority,—he degenerates in worth and takes a low place. Where the three natural kingdoms attain their perfection, man seems to linger in the rear.

In Africa, where there is perfect uniformity in nature, there is uniformity in man; and the negro stock, though prolific, gives no race of high development to the world. Both extremes are equally unfavorable to the advance of man; he must have, in order to expand and take the place to which his possibilities lead him, a sphere of mutual conditions, to which a compact continent like Africa and Central Asia can lay no clain, and at the same time be free from that extreme individualization characteristic of the islands of Polynesia.

Europe lies between these extremes. Limited in area, diversified in surface, and deeply indented in its coast-line, it has experienced all the advantages which a continent needs for its development, and for that historical greatness which Europe has won for itself. Less striking in natural scenery and comparatively poor in resources, its contrasts in respect mainly to the action of its inland seas and rivers over the main land have conduced to the happiest results. It has become the school for the Old and the New World, taking the vitality and the crude gifts of Asia and turning them into channels where they could issue in new forms for the advancement and the humanizing of the race.

The Results of the above Considerations briefly stated.

It will be seen, from what has now been said, that, with an area three times less than that of Africa, Europe (including its adjacent islands) has a coast-line twice as ex

tended. Without the islands, it is 25,380 miles in length, or the circumference of the earth. The coast-line of Africa extends 17,860 miles; that of Asia 32,900.

The exceedingly varying areas of the continents may now be passed in very speedy review. Europe is but a fifth as large as Asia. It is somewhat more than a quarter as large as Africa; it is almost of the same size with Australia. In relation to America, it stands between Asia and Africa; it makes about 5 of all the continents, and about of all the land surface of the globe; but it is not absolute size, but relative, which determines the importance of a continent; and this twentieth part of all. the land on the globe has had paramount influence over all the rest within the past few centuries. The ethnographical character of its population has had great weight in securing this result, and other reasons will doubtless be more apparent in the future.

One of the most important features in the study of the relative importance of the continents is the comparative relation of the main trunk, articulation, and island system to each other. The following table presents this relation as it exists in the Old World :

Africa: trunk 1, extremities 0,

islands o

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These are but approximations to the exact mathematical statement; but they serve to indicate comprehensively this important fact. No exact canon now exists for the perfect expression of the relations of the continents to each other, and their physical superiority and inferiority, and its lack is no less felt than it has been in art to express the comparative importance of the organs of the human body in giving a representation of man.

The New World.

America is broken by the Caribbean Sea into a double continent, both parts being of colossal magnitude, although the southern portion is about 2,000,000 square miles less in area than the northern. North America contains 9,055,146 square miles. South America contains 7,073,875 square miles; and both contain 16,129,021. The connecting link is found in the tapering isthmus of Central America, with its 302,443 square miles of surface.

But closely connected as is the northern part of the continent with the southern, in a physical sense, in real connection, so far as man is concerned, they are widely separated. During the three centuries which have elapsed since the discovery of America, the Spanish and the Americans have thought of breaking the connection-of sundering the isthmus. All communication between North and South America takes place by water, absolutely none by land. Even before the navigation of the historical period, there seems to have been no land road opened along the isthmus. The old race of the Caribs passed in boats from the Appalachian mountain land of North America to South America and the West Indies. The Toltecs and Aztecs-the oldest tribes which wandered southward -seemed to have ended their march on the high plateau of Mexico and the vale of Anahuac. The legends of the Incas give us no tidings of their traversing the isthmus and reaching Peru on foot, and it is probable that they reached that land otherwise. The isthmus seems never to have been a bridge, but always a barrier. The great Antilles group of islands appears to have served far more as a means of communication between North and Sonth America.

In respect of contour, both divisions have an unmistakable analogy, which appears at first view. Both exhibit a triangular form, with the base at the north and the apex at the south. Toward the south, too, rather than toward the west, speaking in general terms, the gradual conquests of man advance, and therefore there cannot be in the New World, as in the Old, a striking contrast between the Orient and the Occident. East and west, in the New World, are less dependent on each other; they have more individuality, but with a great preponderance of importance in the east over the west side, by reason of the more favorable situation in relation to the sea, less sharpness and boldness of physical features, and a more scanty population. The west side of America has by no means kept up with the advance of its eastern side. Nor could the more southern shores of America compete with those on the northeast, and supply an analogy to the occident of the Old World; for North America stands related to Europe by ties of the closest nature, by wind systems, currents, a not dissimilar climate, and is far more nearly connected with it than with South America: nor could the latter derive any real advantage from its opposite neighbor, rude and undeveloped Africa; nor has the Caribbean Sea performed any such service for America as the Mediterranean has for Europe, being twice as large in area and far more unfavorably situated to advance the interests of civilization. It is only within a recent period that the Caribbean has become a valuable auxiliary to the culture of the world.

South America is only a colossal right-angled triangle of land, with very little articulation in its shores. The northwest and the eastern angles are sharply defined, and the southern one is very acute, the continent running out

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