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For a very long time Switzerland was the only country in Europe which possessed a Guide-book, worthy of the name. The excellent work of Ebel, here alluded to, indeed deserves the highest praise ; and it is upon the foundation of the materials collected by him that every succeeding work of the same kind, on that country, has been laid. It is, however, voluminous, extending to four volumes : its arrangement and bulk fit it more for the library than the pocket, or even the travelling-worriage; and the abridged French translation is unskilfully made, inconvenient to consult; and full of gross errors*. In addition to this, the original work was written more than forty years ago, and was not corrected at the time of the author's death. In consequence of this, and owing to the great changes which have been made in every part of Switzerland since its publication, a portion of the information is necessarily antiquated. The improvements of roads, the opening of new passes over the Alps, the establishment of steam-boats, and the increased facilities of locomotion, have given rise to a thoroughly different system of travelling. Most valuable contributions to our stock of knowledge, respecting the natural history, resources, etc., of Switzerland, have been made since his time; the geology of the country has assumed a totally different aspect; and the ancient political forms are now scarcely recognised since the recent revolutions.
The editor of the present work has great plea* The Guide-Books For Switzerland recently published by M. Maison, Paris, are free from error.
sure in acknowleding his obligations to Ebel, as well as to the later writers on the country, especially to the scientific researches of Agassiz, Hugi; and Studer, to the compilations of Glutz Blotzheim and Bolman, and to the recent publication entitled “ Gemälde der Schweitz.” Nor is he less indebted to his own countrymen, having found the greatest assistance from the accurate and interesting works of Brockedon* and Latrobet. For his own part, he has brought to the task the experience gained in four different visits to the country, in the course of which he left but a small portion of it unexplored. Notwithstanding this, he cannot speak of the Handbook for Switzerland with less diffidence than he did of the volumes relating to Germany which have preceded it; and he must equally trust in the indulgence of his readers to excuse numerous inaccuracies which no doubt pervade it.
He has, however, no hesitation in speaking of the merits of the second section of this volume; relating to Savoy and Piedmont, which has been prepared by a friend and fellow-traveller, most intimately acquainted with those countries, which he has explored in almost every direction, and on many different occasions. The routes contained in it possess great interest, from the total want of any other information respecting the country they traverse, from the extreme accuracy with which they are described, and from their being derived, not from books, but from personal knowledge. They will probably be the means of throwing open to English travellers a region little visited hitherto, but possessing, from its romantic beauties, the highest claim to attention.
* The Passes of the Alps, 2 vols 4to.: and Excursions among the Alps.
† The Alpenstock and the Pedestrian.
*.* The names of many places are necessarily repeated in seve-.