An astronomical and geographical catechism


Material Information

An astronomical and geographical catechism for the use of children
Physical Description:
35 p. : ; 14 cm.
Bingham, Caleb, 1757-1817
Hall, Samuel, 1740-1807
S. Hall
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:
2nd ed.


Subjects / Keywords:
Geography -- Textbooks -- 1800-1870   ( lcsh )
Astronomy -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Catechisms -- 1796   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1796
Catechisms   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
by Caleb Bingham.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 030666616
oclc - 12256722
System ID:

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I The Earth, the Hcavens-are ruh I with Inftrua1ion."

Pinted 4ad dby S. z4NO53COfilSo d a o by the Author, No.*
L 17 9 6


Af ronomzcal & Geographical


-tefl. XVHAT doesaf'tronomy
treat of ?
Anf. Afironomy treats of the fun,
lars, planets, comets, and other
heavenly bodies.
6,Who firft attended to this
science ?
A4. The Shep iCT5 on the plains S of Egy pt and Baby]
H.1ow many prim ar plane
are there ? e~i~
A. Seven, which rvterud
the Sun in the following cdr-

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jug, Piter,* Saturn, and Herfihel.* y Q. What are their diameters and diftances from the Sun?A.~ Thee may be ifeqgin thefollowing TA B LE.
En&1 fji miles. I from the Sun.

Mercury 3,19 3 6,387,593
Eat 7,928 94,00% 4
Mar S1195 1-4 T Z7,58Z
Jjp~c 9z"E4 A71,974 585
Saturn 2 79,136 j 6,7CzO1
llrihel 33,()4 7,781,698,'2441
r- In what time Is the revolution.,
of MerCUry, which is nearelt the fuil, performed ?
A4. In 87 days, -23 hours.
R. In what time is the revolution, of lierfchel, which isfrthefl fwro Q the fu~n, performed ?
A. In eighty-4two y rs.

ofe Fth pcr$f'rmed ?

A. In one year, or 365 days, 5
hours, 48 minutes, 57 feconds.
9. How many fecondary planets;
or moons, are there ?
A. Fourteen. Th e Earth has ojie,.
Jupiter four, Saturn feven, .,.-,n
Herfchel two.
Q.What are the motions of the
planets called ? z
A. Their motion round the fun
is called their annual motion, and'
that upon their own axis is called y
their diurnal motionn,
Q~Do you fi'ppofe the P
are inhabited, Ijke this earth
A. It is altogether proh they
are, as they are undoubldlly crTh.
1,ofed of the fame materiffl, ami gre cheered by the enliveninag ras o
-the fame fun.
Q~Does the moon rc, 0"lj ..the earch, as well as around, the 4
A. Yes, it revolves ai6"(1 tlhi!
e ~arth once in29 days, xiwaurs n":S 44 minutes.

* AN-AsThONqomrIA and~.Does the moon ffiine with herA No-,'.fthe borrows all her light. from the fun ; and this is the reason, 'why we fee only that part of her: which the fun Thines upon.
QWhat are comets?
A. Comets are large, opale bodies, whiich move in very elliptical, orisand in all poffible directions;
havig long, fiery, tranfiparenr tails. Som~e appear no bigger than fiars.,
-others~ as big as t~e moon.
Q. How many comets. are there
Anour fyflem ?
A It is not known. Twenty-one have been feen. and the periods. of feveral have been determined.
.What is meant by the folar fyltelmx?
A The Suni, the feven planets, with their fourteen fatell'Ites er moons, and the cornets, maxke -the folar fv ten, A hdic h is rmetimes' called the Copernican'tyfkzn.

~.What do you fuppfe the fixed Itars are,?
,A. I fuppoki they ;tre, funs to, other worlds, 'as they fliine withr their own light.
.. What is their diftanc froi, the Earth ?;
A. It is not certainly known.- It is fuippofed,, however, they are, at leaft, a- hundred thoufand times far.ther from it than the Sun is.
9~How long would it take ai cannon bait to reach them.
Aa. Seven hundred thoufand years..
t. What is th ubrdlr difcernible by the hepo arft-pe
A. About three thouland.
6)What is the figure of theA. Its figure is round, through not perfely fo it being abotit thi rty miTles further through the equata ta n is from poleto pole.
.Q: What is the circurtfrence of' the Earth ~

A. Twenty-four thoufand nine
hundred and fix miles.
What reafons have you to
fuppofe the Earth is round?
A. I. This fhape is belft adapted to motion. 2. From the appearance of its shadow in eclipfes of the
moon. 3. From analogy ; all other planets being round. 4. From its having been circumnavigated many
1. Who firft failed round the
world ?
A. Magellan ; and, after him, 4 Franeis Drake, Thomas Cavendiflh,
.Lord Anfon, Captain Cook, & others.
What is an artificial globe ?
A. A round body, on which all
parts of the Earth are reprefented.
Q. What is the axis of the Earth ?
At imaginary line, paffing
thro Ugh the cre of the Earth, from north to iuth, the ends of
which are called the pols.

9, How many great circles are there ?
A. Six ; the equator, the meCridian, the horizon, the ecliptic, and the two colures.
Q~How many degrees are there. in furrounding the globe ?
J. Three' hundred andi fixty.. La h degree meal-ures 4ixty miles, and eachi mile is fixty minutes.
-. How, many .fmaller circles arc there ?
A. Four;- the two tropics,. and: two polar circles.
Q.What is the equator, or equino~7iia1 line ?
;A. It is a line which encompafes the Earth in the Mpiddle, from eaft to~ wefl, on which the degrees of longitude are marked.. is the~ meridian
A,. 1I s reprefented on h'ob ras ring, paffinthgh~
ples as it encompaffes the globeon, which the degrees of latitude are,

marked. When it is noon in any place, the Sun is then in the meridian of thit place; and in all other places diredly north or fouth of it.
Where do geographers begin
to count longitude ?
A. From fome affumed meridian.
The Englith begin from that of London, the French from that of Paris, and the Americans from that S of Philadelphia.
What is the ecliptic ?
A. That circle in which the Sun
appears to move round the Earth once a year. It is divided into twelve figns, each containing thirty degrees, viz. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pifes.
.. What is the zodiac ? .
A. It is comprehended, tween
two lines, at the diflance f eight degrees from the ecliptic on each fide of it, and includes the orbits of
all the planets.

What is the horizon?
A. It is reprefented on the globe by a broad wooden circle, dividing the globe into the upper and lower hemifpheres. When the Sun is rifing and fetting, he is in the horizon.
What are the colures ?
A. They divide the globe into four equal parts, pafling through the. points Aries, and Libra, Cancer and Capricorn.
-. What are the tropics ?
A. They are two circles drawny parallel to the equator, at the diftance of 230 28' on each fide of it. On the 2ift of June, when the Sun is nearest the north pole, he is faid to be in the tropic of Cancer ; and on the 2 I ft of December, when neareft the fouth pole, he is faid to be in the tropic ofC-apticorn.
What are the polar circles?
A. They are drawn 230 28' from the poles. The northern is called

the arflic, and the fauthern the dnia7-fic circle.
Q.What doa you uxtderfland by!a zone?
A. A zone! its a broad circle, frrnrouniding the globifrom eaft to weffj, by which the different diviflons of the, earth are diflinguifhed, with, re;fpedt to heat and cold.
9. Howi many zones are there ?
A.Five; one torrid, tww~tcrmpe;i*ate, and two frigid zones.
Zz What is meant by a: climate ?
A. It is a-trad of the earth., 'com. prehended bren two parallels of latitude, at fuch. a diftaince as to make one half hour's difference in the length of the day.
What do you mean by latitude?11
A. Latitukde is the~4lfltince of :1 place from the equator~, either north or fourth. is ite'
Q.What is reanr ylngtd
A. It is the diftancc from a, cer4 tain meridian, either eaft or wefb

The length of a degree diminifhes as you depart from the equator towards the poles, where it comes to a point.
What do you mean by the atmosphere ?
A. It is the air which we breathe; and it extends about 45 miles in height.
What caufes the ebbing and flowing of the tide ?
A. The attradion of the Sun and Moon ; chiefly that of the latter.
What are clouds ?
A. Collecions of vapours, exhaled from the Earth by the attradion of the Sun or other caufes.
What caufes an eclipse of the Sun ?
A. The Moon, when it paffes between the Sun and the Earth.
What caufes an eclipse of the Moon ?
A. The Earth, as it paffes between the Sun and the Moon.

H.1-ow is the Earth divided with refpeft To land and water?
A. About three fourths of its furface, is covered with water, the refl is land.
What is a continent?
A. Alarge tratd of land, comprehending feveral kingdoms, &c.
~..How many continents are there?'
A Twothe eaflern and weftern. T he eaftern continent comprehends Europe, Afia and _Africa ; the wefttern, North and South America. To tbefe may, with- Wrpvty, be added Nw-Holland,7 khich' is too extenfive a. tradf of land to be called an iflanid.
Q~What is an ifland?
A. A trad -of land enltirely furroun~ded by water.
PQ. What is a peninll
J. It is a tra4.of land al'moft furrounded byr watrr, joined to the main land only by a n1arr~ow neck.
'.What is an iIlhmus

A. It is that nwrow neck of land which joins a peninfula to the main land.
What is a promontory ?
A. It is a high point of land, ex" tending far into the fea. When is flat, it is call a cape.
.Q. What do mean b n ocean ?
A. An ocean is a vaft colledlion of water, not feparated by land, dividing one continent from another.
.. How many oceans are there ?
A. Five; the Atlantic, between America and Europe; the Pacific, between Afia and America ; the Indian, between Africa and the EaftIndies; the northern and fouthern frzen oceans.
R. What is meant by a lake ?
A. A lake is a large colledion of water, entirely furounded by land.
.. What is a fda ?
A. A fea or gulf is part of an ocean, furrounded by land, except-

ing a narrow pafs ; which pafs is called a firalt.
Oll What is a bay ?
A. A bay is part of the fea, exending into the main land, cornonly between two capes.
What are rivers ?
A A. Large teams running into the fea, originally derived from [prings. When they are fmall, they are called brooks, rivulets, rills, &c.
.9 When was America difcovered, and by whom ?
A4. In the year 1492, by Chriflopher Columbus, a native of Genoa, who made four voyages to this continent.
-e.Why was it called America?
A. It was named America ii honor of Americus Vefputius, who ungeneroufly robbed Columbus of the honor which, roperly belonged to him.
S9, Whofe fervice was Columbus in, when he made this difcovery I

A. In the fervice of the Court of Spain, who, at firfit, paid him great honors; but, in the latter part of his. life, treated him shamefully.
J. Of what extent is America ?
A. It extends from the north pole to Cape Horn, in 560 fouth latitude; being nearly ten thoufand miles long. Its breadth is not known.
.9. What are the principal rives of America?
A. The Amazon, La Plata, and Oronoke, in South-America; the Miffifippiand St.Lawrence in NorthAmerica.
Whichare the principal mou ntains ?
A. The Andes, in South-America, are the highest mountains in the world, being upwards of twenty thoufand feet in height. The principal mountains in North-America are the Allegany Mountains.
I. What were the inhabitants of America, when the Europeans difcovered it ? B 2

A. It was peopled by various tribes of favages, who itill occupy the largest part of the continent.
Were they totally ignorant of the arts and fciences ?
A. They were all ignorant of letters, and threats of civilized nations; but they were not all equally ignorant. Some of the nations, particularly the Mexicans and Peruvians, had made great advancements towards civilization. They were poffeffed of immenfe quantities of gold, and were capable of working it into all'* kids of utenfils. They were rich a d happy ; but their riches tempted the avaricious Europeans to deftroy them.
4 How do you fuppofe America was firft peopled?
A. It is probable it was peopled from the north-ealft part of Afia, from which it is divided by a narrow tfirait only.
What part of North-Ainerica was firft fettled by European. ?


A. Qebec, in i 6og, by the French.
-.~ What part was fettled next?
A. Virginia, in 1 609, by the Englifh. New-England began to be fettled in 1620. !' Plymouth, in Maffachufetts, was the firf fpot pitched upon.
.9, How manyy United States are there, and what are their capital towns ? A Sixteen, which are,
States. Ctip nals.
New-Hampfhire Portfiouth.
Maffachufetts Bofton.
Rhode-Ifland Newport.
Connedicut New-baven.
VermontBengt. New-York New-York.
New-Jerfey Trenton.
Pennfylvania PhiladelphiaDelaware Dover.
Maryland Annapolis.
Virginia Ricbrnond.
Kenitucky Lexington.
North-Carolina Edenton.
South-Carolina Charlefton
Georgia Auguila.

.9 What is the fituation and extent of the United States ?
A. Length z5o between I and 46N5. Lat.
Breadth xo4oS b *E. & 2z4 W. Long. bounded by Canada and the lakes on the north ; by the Miffifippi on the weft ; by Eaft and Weft Florida on the fouth ; by the Atlantic and Nova-Scotia on the fouth-eaft and caft.
.. Ar'e there any Lakes in the United States ?
A. There are many ; fome of which are much larger than any others in the known world.
Wiat are the names of the lakes ?
A. The principal ones are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and, many others.
& What are the principal rivers in the United States ?
A. The Miffifippi, the Ohio, the Potowmack, the Hudfon, Conneicut, &c. &c.C i

Which are the principal bays ??
A. Chefapeak bay, Delaware bay, Maffachufetts bay, the bay of Fundy, &c.
.9. What are fome of the principal animals of the American woods?
A. The Mammoth, (fuppofed by its bones to be one of the largeft animals in the world; but whether any of them are now living, is uncertain :) the Buffalo, the Tyger, the Panther, the Elke, the Moofe, the Deer, &c. The Beaver, the Opoffum, and the Skunk, are curious animals.
What are fome of the moft curious birds?
A. The Humming Bird, which is the leaft of all the feathered tribe; the Whip-poor-will,thePelican,&c.
4. Are theretany ferpents in the United States ?
A. There are many; the moft venomous of which is the Rattlc. Snake.

What is the number of inhabitants ?
A. About five millions.
What is the government of
the United States ?
A. Republican. The different
fates are free and independent, confederated under the general government of a prefident, vice-prefident,
and congrefs.
SWhat power did they belong
-i before the late war ?
A. To Great-Britain.
R What'was the occafion of the
war which feparated them from that
power ?
A. T4 oppreffive meafures of the
Brititbh government.
SWhen did the war begin, and
where ?
A. It begin'ihe year 1775, at.
Lexington, in Maffachufetts; and

ted States, and to the difgrace of Brnded in 178, in honor .e U L ritifh nation. :,

tQ. What are the grand divifions of the United States ?
A. They are divided into three grand divifions, viz. the northern or eastern States, the middle States, and the fouthern States. The firft divifion comprehends theNew-England States, with the diflrift of Maine; the fecond includes NewYork, New-Jerfey, Delaware, Pennfylvania, and the territory northweft of the Ohio; the third comprehends Maryland, Virginia, NorthCarolina, South-Carolina, Georgia, and Tenneffee.
What flares are called NewEngland States ?
A. New-Hampfhire, Maffachufetts, Rhode-Ifland,Connecticut,and Vermont.
!& What is the number of inhabitants in the New-England States ?
A. About one million.
What is the lace of the country?

A. In general, rough and mountainous.
.9 What is the late of literature ?
A. Superior, perhaps, to that of any other country in the world. Schools are eftablilhed by law, in almoft all the townfhips.
.. What is the religion of NewEngland ?
A. The principal feas are Congregationalifts, Prefbyterians, Baptiffs, Epifcopalians, Quakers, &c.
.. Where does New-Hampfhire lie ?
A. It is the moft northerly of all the plates; bounded on the northeaft by the Diflrict of Maine; on the weft, by Vermont ; and on the fouth, by Maflfachufetts.
What is the number of inhabitants?
A. One hundred a n2forty-one thousand.
9. What is the climate, foil'
A. Cold, but healthy. It iso".

tainous ; and in fome parts, barren.
9. What is the fiate of literature ?
A. In Hanover, there is a college, called Dartmouth College; and at Exeter, an academy; both in a flourishing ftate.
What State lies next to NewHampfhire ?
A. Maffachufetts, containingfour hundred and feventy-five thoufand inhabitants, divided into feventeen counties, and three hundred and fixty-five townfhips.
What is the flate of literature A. There is a univerfity at Cam'bridge, a college at Williamflown, and a number of flourishing academies in other places.
.Q What is the numbe of inhabitants, and meeting houfes, in Boflon ?
A. About twenty-five thoufand inhabitants, and nineteen houfes for public worship.
SWhat are the other principal towns? C

A. Salem, Newbury-Port, Mark.
blehead, Worcefler, Ipfwich, Gloucefter, Portl~and, &c.
1~ here is the Diftri~t of
Maine ?
A4. It lies between Nev-Hampthire and Nova-Scotia, and -belongs
to Maffachufetts.
JQ_ What State lies next in order?
A. Rhode-Ifland,fixty-eightffilles
b forty, con~taining fixty-nint thou.~What is the Rate of literature ?
A. It is chiefly confied -to their
two capital -towns,, Newport ,and 4I Providence, in the latter of which is
-a college, call ed Rhode-Ifland Col:1 lege. 'Lhey have, hoeer, 4 numnA ber of fl~rifilg fchol in feveral
other town .
What is the next State?
A. Connedicut, eightytwo miles
by filty-feven, containigtwo hun~dred and three thoufand inhabitants
and five incorporated towns, ort -

ies, viz. New-Haven, Hartford, Middletown, Norwich, and NewLondon.
.9, What is the fate of literature ?
A. Very flouritfhing. In NewHaven is a college, called Yale College; and in feveral, other towns there are academies.
Where is Vermont ?
A. It is an inland State, lying between Canada and Maffachufetts, containing one hundred thoufand inhabitants.
1. Where is New-York State ?
A. It lies to the weflward of NewEngland, containing two hundred and thirty-ninethoufand inhabitants.
A.. W cities has it ?
A. New-York, Albaip, Hudfon, Lanfingburg, and Troy; the former of which contains about fifty thoufand inhabitants, and twenty-two houfels of public worfhi.
.. What is the flate of literature?
A. There is a college in New-

York city ; and they are nowi miaking provlfion for public fchools.,
~.What State lies, next ?
A~Nei-jerfey, containing two. hundred thoufand inhabitants.
SWhat is the Rlate of literature ?
X.There' is a college at Princetohn, and feveral academnies-in. other-, parts of the State.
What, State is nexti?-L Pexsnfyhrvrnia, containing four hundred and thirty-four thoufand inhabitants., Philadelphia contains about fixty thoufand inhabitants, aridtwenty-fix houifes of worfluip.
What are their improvements, in literature ?
'J. Very great. Ttare no lef than three colleges, bfde many fchoohs.
..What are the next Sta ?
A. Delaware, a fmall State Maryland, containing two hundred and thirteen thoufrand inhabitants ; Virgin 'a, which is the oldeft St tin tbe

union, containing feven hundred and forty-feven thoufand inhabitants. It has a university, but not in' high repute; and a number of academies.
O. What are the other five States?
A. North-Carolina, South-Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tenneffee. None of them quite fo celebrated for literature as the other States : Charleflon, however, is not deficient in learning and politenefs.
What other dominions are there in North-America ?
Dominiois. Capital
A. New-Britain
Canada Quebec.
Nova-Scotia Halifax.
Eaft & rida St. Auguftine.
Louifihka New-Orleans.
Mexio Mexico.
What are the dominions of Soutl merica ?
Dominions. Capitals.
A. Terra Firma Panama.
Peru Limna.

Amnazonia St. Pedro.
Guiaria Surrinam.
Brazil St. 13aftia.
La Platia Thenos Ayres-.
chili St. Jago.
Thefe belong chiefly to Spain, Portugali and the natives.
..What are the kingdoms of, Europe, withtheir capitals ?
Kingom.CPap ii'.
.4. Ruflia Perterfburg.
Sweden~ Stockholm. Denmatk. Copenhagen..
PolanA Warfaw.
Germany- Vienna.I
~ France Prs
Holland AmfliiI

Scotland Edinhwh
Ireland Dublin.
Swvitzerland Bermn.
Italy Rome.

GB6CRA341CAL CATEtillsT; 3U1
Portugal Litboti.Spain Madrid.
Hungary Prelburg,
Turkey Conftaminople..
Q. What are the dimenfiona of, Europe
A 3000 miles by :z5oo.
What are the dimcnfion -of, Afia
-4 4800 Mileg hY 4300:
What, are the domi i OR Afia,?

A. China Pekin.
Tarmry Tobolfki&lMibet.
Ferfia Ifpahan.
T' k

t- are the dimenflom of A4
A r thousand three hundred
mft_ thrcc thousand five bund

Q.What are its domiinions?
A.' Egypt, Barbara, Guinea, Zaia;, Negroland4 Ethiopia, and the Iflands.
.~What are the principal iflands of America ?
A. The Weft-India Iflands, Cape Breton, Long-Ifland, Rhode-Iffind, &c.
SWhat are the principalifad of Europe ?
A. England, Ireland, Sicily, Sar4inia, Majorca, Minorca, &c.
QWhat are the principal illands of Atia?
A. Borneo, Ceylon, Japa.n, PhiJQ.What are theprincipal iflands of Africa ?
A. Maclagafa Caiary r, como4rra Ifles,~ Cape Verde Ifli &c.
th~h wemany inhabitat is it
A. 950 millions.
Q. Which quarter of the globe contains thq~ Jargeft number?

A, Afia contains by far the largeft number.
_Q. How great a. part of the inhabitants of te globe are called Chriflians ?
A. Perhaps about one fcventb.
,). What are the general divisions of the Chr iflian religion ?
4. Romzan CathoIicks, Praftants, and the Greek church.
Q.How long'is itfince the world was created ?
A. Five thoufand feven hudrd and ninety-three yrars.
.~ Where $i tuppofe th garAo hes In the Mtd

A. Nankib, Pekin, LnoPrg
Grand Cairo, &c. Na ln is ad
by oe to contain four. iiis of,

34 AN ASTRONOMICAL and inhabitants, and Pekin twomillions.
W at are fome of the principal rivers on the eaftern continent ?
A. The Danube, the Nile, the Rhine, Rhone, Euphrates, Indus, Don, Walgaj &c.
SWhat does England abound in, principally ?
A. In grain, and in almoft all kinds of manufactures, especially woollen cloths.
.. What does France principally abound in ?
A. Wines, fruits of various kinds, and manufadures.
9. What does Spain principally abound in, ?
.Whichrsi teditc ed CwC1 from the United States to Ina?
A. .Crofs the Atlantic, double the Cape of Good Hope, ad pafi on through the Indian Ocean.
6. Which is the direct way to Kamfchatka ?


.4. Sail down the eaf~cen coaft of South-America, double Cape Horn, or paFs throp~gh the flraits of Magellan, anid then fteer north-weft.
Z Wjilch is the route to Peerf.1,X4ofs the Atfrnic,\F I4 r the Englifh Ch~i nel, and then up the 13al P
Aich is th@ oUte Spain,,

Algiers, &c.
A. Crofs the -Atanticpf h
* Qraits of Gibraltar intoq the MedtcX




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