Hugh Miller: Miscellanea (3)

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EMIGRATION FROM THE ISLE OF SKYE.


THE desolate grandeur of the scenery in some parts of Skye annually attracts to it crowds of tourists.  Every phase of our society is duly represented in the course of each season, at the Stor, Quiraug, Coruishk, and the Cuchullin or Coollen Hills.  They return delighted, as well they may, with the wildest and most impressive scenery in the kingdom.  Gay and joyous, they see in the hovels around them only objects of curiosity, and subjects for their pencils.  It interests them to observe a man turning the ground with the "Caschrom," for they have come expressly to see what they have never seen before.  The old woman leaning on her staff, with her "creel of peats" on her back, is charmingly picturesque; and forthwith figures in half-a-dozen portfolios.  They venture to peep into a hut, and recoil disgusted by its squalor; but the day is bright, the scenery is superb, their own spirits are buoyant with youth or with exercise and the mountain air; and they pass on rejoicing in the success of their excursion, or the materials it has furnished for the sketch-book, the note-book, or the next letter.

 

THE CUCHLLIN OR COOLEIN HILLS.

 

    Alas! that there should be another side to so pleasant a picture--that there should be another point of view from which the objects that have afforded our lively tourists so much gratification or amusement become subjects of painful anxiety or of sorrow.  That hovel, with its broken walls and tattered thatch, is the habitation of a human family, with hearts as warm, as brave, as gentle, as pious as your own.  That man whom you saw toiling with a rude implement to turn up the ground which he cannot plough, has laboured in vain for the last six years to raise sufficient food for his family.  That agèd woman, tottering under her load of peats, has carried them perhaps a mile over the swampy moor, for the fire that is to cook a scanty meal; but, scanty though it be, He by whose bounty it is provided will be solemnly and reverently implored to bless it.  Look at that heap of sea-shells at the door--limpets, periwinkles, cockles, of various forms: these will tell you what, for many a day in latter years, has been the food of that family.  Yet not a neighbour has lost a sheep from the hill, or a sheaf from his barn.  There was a time when that family lived in humble, abundance.  They had sheep of their own on the common, and cows of their own in the byre, and potatoes in heaps more than they could consume.  Year after year the potatoes failed; wet harvests destroyed their little patch of corn; the sheep were first sold to buy food; the cows, too, are now gone.  Sons and daughters have yearly travelled long journeys to seek amongst strangers the employment which they could not find at home, and have failed to bring back enough to feed the family and pay the rent.  Arrears have accumulated, hope is failing, and every night they are almost ready to relinquish the struggle for existence, which every morning they have renewed with less and less prospect of success.  This is no imaginary picture; it is a living reality; too true a representation of the condition of thousands in the Western Highlands and Islands.  Noble efforts were made to aid them at home, both by public subscriptions, and by the sacrifices and exertions of individual proprietors; but the evils of over-population could not thus be overcome.  Every attempt to extricate them from their difficulties by eleemosynary assistance tended but to aggravate the mischief; and, after careful investigation, it became obvious that the time had arrived when a part must seek in other lands the means of subsistence which the land they inhabit cannot furnish for them all.

 

 

    The poor people themselves, with an instinct that anticipated the conclusions of science, had long felt that their numbers were increasing beyond what their native localities could maintain; and, if left to the guidance of that instinct, would probably have moved westward, following the course that their race has pursued for ages, and in numbers sufficient to have prevented undue accumulation on the soil they now occupy.  But unwise interference with the natural course of events first stopped their egress and pent them up within too narrow limits; and well-meaning friends raised delusive hopes, founded upon speculative and impracticable schemes, to counteract the evil without resorting to the natural remedy for excess of population.  Migration is the destiny of the tribes of man.  If we seek for the primitive home of any one of the various races inhabiting Europe, we must turn to the East.  All have migrated, and the course of migration, so far as it can be traced, has invariably been westward, as if some unseen power had directed the steps of these different tribes towards that undiscovered world in the west which their descendants were in after ages to people.  And now that the population of that new world has been provided for, another great vacant continent draws to itself a stream of migration even as air rushes to fill a vacuum.

    Before the discoveries that now draw thousands to the gold fields, the overcrowded population of the Western Highlands had begun to feel the influence of that current which even then was beginning to set towards Australia.  Its boundless pastoral districts promised them abundant employment of the kind most congenial to their character and habits; a renewal, in short, under brighter skies and in the midst of abundance, of the life and occupations they had been used to follow on the moist and stormy shore of the Atlantic, amidst penury and want.

    But years of distress had exhausted their means; and to remove any considerable number to so great a distance was a costly operation.  A passage to Australia costs about £15.  The demand for labour in the colonies, had, however, led to the appropriation of colonial funds to the payment of the passages of efficient labourers; and as the attractions of the gold diggings drew multitudes in the colony from ordinary service, the agricultural and pastoral industry of Australia was in danger of perishing for want of hands.  Large sums were remitted from the colonies to facilitate emigration, and a way of escape appeared thus to be opened for the suffering Highlanders, if means could be found to supplement the deficiency in their own resources to such an extent as would provide the outfit and deposit, which the Emigration Commissioners require the emigrants themselves to provide as a condition of their receiving aid from the colonial funds.  It was for the purpose of aiding the Highlanders to provide for these preliminary expenses, amounting on an average of all ages to £3 or £4 per head, that the Highland and Island Emigration Society was formed.  Originating in "small beginnings" in the Island of Skye, the scheme of the society and the detailed arrangements for conducting its operations were matured in Edinburgh under Sir John M'Neille; and at length its management devolved upon a committee in London, composed of several influential noblemen and gentlemen, with his Royal Highness Prince Albert as patron, and Sir Charles Trevelyan for their chairman.

    The rules adopted by the society are few and simple, and fully explain the principles on which the plan is founded.


1. The emigration will be conducted, as much as possible, by entire families, and in accordance with the rules of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners.

2. Passages to Australia are provided by the Commissioners, from Colonial funds, for able-bodied men and women of good character, and not exceeding a specified age, with a certain proportion of children, on production of a stated quantity and description of clothing, and on payment of a deposit of from £1 to £2 for adults, and 10s. for children.  For persons exceeding a specified age, a larger amount of deposit is required.  The emigrants asking for aid will be required to apply all their available means to defraying the expense of their outfit and deposits.

3. The society will advance the sum necessary to make good whatever may be deficient for these purposes, as far as its funds will admit, in the districts to which it may be determined to extend its operations.

4. The owners or trustees of the properties from which the emigrants depart, will be expected to pay one-third of the sum disbursed on account of the emigrants by the society.  The emigrants will be required to repay to the society the whole of the sums advanced to them, which will again be applied in the same manner as the original fund.


    The committee thus urge the great benefits which must accrue on every side from such a mode of relief:--

    The destitute portion of the population of the distressed districts will be placed in a position of comfort and independence; the colonies will be benefitted by the immigration of a moral and industrious population, whose tastes are peculiarly congenial to the pastoral life of Australia; the general course of emigration will be improved by the prominence given in the plan to colonization by unbroken families, including at least an equal proportion of females; and the industrial schemes contemplated for the improvement of agriculture in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and of the fisheries on their coasts, may be carried out with more freedom and better prospects of success when the surplus population has been removed.

    His Royal Highness Prince Albert has been graciously pleased to express his approbation of the object and plan of the committee, and has given them full authority to announce his willing acquiescence to become Patron of the undertaking.

    Subscriptions are received at the following bankers:--At the West-end--Messrs. Bouverie, Murdoch, and James, 11, Haymarket; Messrs. Coutts and Co., Strand; Messrs. Drummond, Charing-cross; Messrs. Herries and Co., 1, St. James's-street; Messrs. Ransom and Co., 1, Pall-Mall, East.  In the City--Messrs. Prescott, Grote, and Co., Threadneedle-street; Messrs. Smith, Payne, and Co., Lombard-street; Messrs. Williams Deacon and Co., Birchin -lane; and at the office of the Committee, 4, St. Martin's-place, Trafalgar-square, where every information as to the details the plan will be afforded.

    This appeal was not disregarded. Subscriptions to a considerable amount have been received; and since the end of May, 1852, when the society commenced its operations, it has sent to Australia from the distressed districts in the Highlands about 3000 persons, of whom about 2000 have gone from Skye.

    H.M.S. Hercules, 74, ultimately destined to become a floating floating barrack at Hong-Kong during the sickly season, is now in the harbour of Campbelton, at the entrance of the Firth of Clyde, receiving emigrants aided by the society, by an arrangement which they have made with the Admiralty and the Colonial Emigration Commissioners.  A measure originally adopted solely with a view to preserve the health of the British soldiers stationed at Hong-Kong, is made conducive to the relief of distress in the islands of Scotland caused by the excess of the population, and, at the same time, to the relief of distress, hardly less urgent, in Australia, caused by a deficient supply of labourers.  It is pleasant to see so many beneficent objects effected, as it were, by one operation, and with an economy of means for which Government Commissioners and societies rarely get credit.

 

"THE HERCULES" IN HARBOUR AT CAMPBELTON.

 

    The Hercules has on board 840 emigrants, of all ages, making, as has been stated, with those who have preceded them, above 3000 sent by the aid of the society in the last half-year.  This emigration has been effected in unbroken families, many of them consisting of three generations, and has thus furnished a nearer approach than has yet been made to a correct system of colonisation, as distinguished from individual emigration.  Each ship contains a group of families, accompanied by a religious instructor and schoolmaster--a small colony which carries with it in full strength and activity the domestic affections and sympathies which, amongst this people, have peculiar force and sanctity.  In the letter from Colonel Phipps, which transmitted to the society a munificent donation from the Queen, the immediate advantage to the colonies of conducting emigration on this system is clearly and truly stated.  He says--"The only possible chance against a large portion of the emigrants deserting to the diggings lies in the system of family emigration.  What are usually considered the prohibitory clogs to emigration--the old and the very young--are now most useful, as forming anchors by which a family would be held to a rural home, with plenty of space and plenty of food.*  The prospective advantages with reference to its moral condition, of peopling a colony with families, instead of detached individuals who have no domestic ties or sympathies, is too obvious to require illustration.

    Another advantage attending the course pursued by this society is, that it provides, in a more natural and less objectionable mode, for the great object of the Female Emigration Society.  Of the unmarried adults sent out by the Highland Emigration Society, a great majority have been fermales, members of emigrating families, who have gone to the colony under the care of their parents and other near relations.  Every one who has seen these Highland emigrants must have been struck with the air of sedate respectability that belongs to even the poorest amongst them.  In abject poverty they have nothing of the reckless or disreputable aspect that so often accompanies it.  This is no doubt due to the humble and simple piety that is interwoven with their whole existence.  They are no sooner collected in a dépôt, or on board of ship, than they establish family worship, and conduct it with reverence and composure in the midst of persons who are engaged in other and very different occupations.

    Mr. Chant, the benevolent and intelligent officer who has conducted, on the part of the Commissioners, the whole of the emigration that has been aided by the society, says, in a letter to a friend:--


The St. Kildeans are a very interesting people.  Their kind patron, Mr. Mc Leod, of St Kilda, has behaved most generously to them.  He pays the whole expense of their outfit and deposit, so that they may land at Port Phillip free of any obligation to the Highland Society, and supplies them with money for their immediate wants on landing.  You would be much pleased with the simplicity of their manners, their gratitude, and, above all, their piety.  They conduct family worship three times a day, in the dépôt at the table assigned for their use, regardless of the noise and bustle by which they are surrounded.  As you may suppose, they are much astonished with the change and the number of people they have seen in Liverpool.  One of them said to me on Monday, "Well may the Day of Judgment be called the great day.  If there were no more to come to judgment than I leave seen in Liverpool, it might well be called the great day."  Poor people!  Born and brought up on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean, the whole population of which is only 110 souls, it is not to be wondered at that they are astonished at the crowded state of Liverpool, with its fleets and its large docks, warehouses, &c.


    They all partake, more or less, of the same character.

    The emigrants on board the Hercules are from the islands of Skye, North Uist, and Harris.  They were brought from those islands in the Celt steamboat, hired by the society for their accommodation, the season being too far advanced--too cold and boisterous--to admit of their being exposed without hazard to their health on the decks of the steamboats that ply to those distant islands.  On her voyage from North Uist and Harris, the Celt had a stormy passage, that would have been perilous in a less efficient vessel.  Some of the women were on board for five days and nights, with their infants in their arms.  Nearly all the females and children suffered greatly greatly from sea-sickness; and when, on the afternoon of Sunday, the 12th ult., they passed from the Celt to the dock of the Hercules (riding quietly in the beautiful harbour of Campbelton), many of them were still much exhausted; but the men, accustomed to boating, seemed to have suffered little.  It was curious to observe them, as they stepped over the gangway of the great ship.  The young women came first--some looking cheerfully round, some sad, and some in tear, but all took pains to adjust their shawls and handkerchiefs, their tresses, or their caps, as they made their appearance before strangers.  The married women and their children followed, the latter skipping and dancing on the broad deck, overjoyed at their escape from the confinement of the steamboat; the former, so completely absorbed by the care of their children, and the fear of losing them in the crowd, that they did not seem to be conscious of where they were, or what had brought them there.  The men looked dark and stern, like men about to confront danger, and not likely to shrink from the encounter, but relaxed into a smile at the first kind word.  Next day they were all cheerful and happy, spoke with gratitude of the pains that had been taken to provide for their comfort; and expressed astonishment at the extent and completeness of the arrangements, which greatly exceeded any thing they had imagined to he possible.  On the third day they all looked quite at home, some engaged in reading, some in writing to the friends they had left.  The young women were working with their needles, or knitting, the children playing together, and all loud in their praises of the kindness they received from Captain Baynton, and every officer in the ship.  On Wednesday and Thursday they were visited by the Rev. Roderick M'Leod, of Snizort, and Dr. Mackintosh Mackay, of Dunoon--two ministers of the Free Church, who were known to them all.  The latter preached to them on Thursday; and, as they sat on the upper deck, singing a psalm, one of their own number leading, their whole hearing and aspect was such as must have given infinite satisfaction, could they have seen it, to those through whose bounty these poor and pious creatures are enabled to escape from wretchedness to comfort, from mendicity to independence.  It would have been difficult to collect a more respectable-looking body of their class.  Yet many of these families had been reduced to such straits before leaving home, that for some weeks it had been found necessary to supply them with food, for otherwise they must have starved before the steamboat arrived to take them ,way.  It is no doubt an acceptable recompense to those who have taken a part in promoting the success of the Highland and Island Emigration Society, to know that by their aid 3000 human beings, who for the last five or six years have been hopelessly struggling with misery, have been rescued from the suffering and the moral evils of such a condition, and have been placed, with their descendants for some generations, beyond the reach of want, as surely as any thing in human affairs can be considered sure.

 

TOWN AND HARBOUR OF PORTREE.

 

    But though there is much satisfaction in having contributed to effect so happy a change in the lot of so many of our fellow-creatures, fellow-countrymen, and fellow-Christians, it would be unfortunate if those who have engaged in this undertaking should rest satisfied with what has been done instead of deriving, from the success that has so far attended their exertions, the confidence and encouragement it is calculated to give them.  The population of Skye has, it is true, been reduced, by the aid of the society, from 23,500 to 20,500, but there are still thousands there who desire to follow their friends to Australia, because they find themselves unable to obtain employment and subsistence at home.  In the outer Hebrides there are thousands more in similar circumstances.  On the west coast of the mainland the number is nearly as great.  The Society has, in truth, but entered upon the ground it proposed to occupy; still it is something to have made a commencement, and to have performed perhaps about one-tenth of the work it has to do in the Highlands.  The only difficulty it has to encounter is the want of sufficient funds to maintain a continuous stream of emigration, such as the urgency of the distress in the Highlands and Australia demands.

    The perils of that colony are such as to cause the greatest anxiety.  It is evident that agricultural and pastoral industry must there cease to be remunerative, unless it can be supplied with labour at a price much lower than the probable gains of a successful gold-digger.  This difficulty will be most effectually met by sending to the colony in large numbers persons who, by their character or circumstances, or both, are the least likely to relinquish the certain wages of ordinary service for the more precarious gains of the diggings; and the want of enterprise which has prevented the Highlanders--unless to a very limited extent--from engaging in the competition that was open to them in the great marts of industry at home, will probably make them shrink from the more formidable and ruder competition of the diggings.  What was considered a reproach to them here is their chief excellence there.

    It is to be hoped that a society constituted and conducted as this has been will not be permitted to decline for want of means to carry on its operations.  At least a year must elapse before any part of the money it has advanced can be recovered and become available.  In the meanwhile, much wretchedness remains, which, with ampler means, might at once be permanently relieved.  Any one who can spare three pounds may have the gratification of placing one suffering fellow-Christian beyond the risk of want for the future.  Doubtless, there must be many thousands, of persons in the kingdom who would gladly contribute such a sum for the accomplishment of that object; and, through the agency of this society, they have every facility for effecting it.

    The Hercules sailed from Campbelton on the 26th ult., and, after contending in vain for five days with adverse and boisterous weather, she anchored off Rothsay, in the Isle of Bute, where she is waiting a favourable wind.  So far from there having been any loss of life, the emigrants received an addition to their number while they were at sea.  A small pamphlet has just been published by Rivington, containing an interesting series of correspondence relating to this gallant ship and her living freight, from the time of her arrival at Campbelton till her temporary return to Rothsay.

    A few days before the sailing of the vessel, the provost and magistrates of Campbelton entertained at dinner in the Town-hall, Captain Baynton and the officers of H.M.S. Hercules--the provost occupied the chair; and the guests included some of the most influential gentlemen of the district.  The toast of "Captain Baynton and the officers of H. M. S. Hercules," was drunk with great cordiality; and was followed by various toasts having reference to the benevolent object of the meeting.

    The accompanying illustrations are from sketches by Mr. Samuel read, taken expressly for this Journal.

* See Selections from the Printed Correspondence of the Society. London: Trelawny Saunders, 6, Charing-cross.  Two feeling and eloquent sermons on this subject have lately been published by Rivington, one of which was preached by the Bishop of Argyle and the Isles, and the other by the Rev. H. Mackenzie, Vicar of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; and those who are interested in the history and prospects of the Celtic race would do well to peruse them.

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HARPER’S
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.


VOLUME XXXI.
JUNE TO NOVEMBER, 1865.


HUGH MILLER AND GEOLOGY.


THE latest born and not the least interesting among the natural sciences is Geology.  It belongs to the present century, almost to the present generation.  When the first developments in this science were made public the believers in Revelation experienced no small alarm; even the defenders of the Faith, regarding the stranger as an invention of the enemy, cautiously advised the avoidance of so novel and dangerous a study.  But truth, though slow in its first movements, and opposed by preconceived opinions, never fails in the end to triumph over prejudice.  Religious toleration and the advances made in political economy are marked evidences of the moral power of truth, and that its progress admits of no reflux.

    Among the first who successfully defended the harmony between Geology and Sacred History was Buckland, of Oxford.  “No reasonable man can doubt,” says the Doctor, “that all the phenomena of the natural world derive their origin from God; and no one who believes the Bible to be the word of God has cause to fear any discrepancy between this, His word, and the results of any discoveries respecting the nature of His works.”  Other writers have maintained the same argument.  To the lamented Hugh Miller, however, belongs the credit of having demonstrated beyond a peradventure that the history of the world, written by the hand of God on the rocks and in the everlasting hills, is perfectly consistent with the inspired narrative of the servant of the Lord.  Chalmers and Pye Smith exhibit the Creation recorded in Genesis as an event which took place about six thousand years ago; both describe it as begun and completed in six natural days; and both represent it as cut off from a previously existing creation by a chaotic period of death and darkness.  That is, the creation of matter took place “in the beginning,” long antecedent to the six days of labor.  This view is generally founded upon the assumption that the first verse of Genesis is an introduction to the Bible.  Late developments, however, in Hebrew scholarship render it probable that Moses, in writing the Book of Genesis, was assisted by archaic records, oral or written, [Rawlinson's Evidences, chapter ii.] which accounts for there being two histories of Creation and two of the Flood.  The arrangement of the first verse, therefore, can not be relied upon to sustain the position, while geological investigations prove that from the beginning until the creation of man there was a regular systematic progress in the formation of the globe.  There is no evidence of a chaotic period, and no such theory is suited to the “present state of geological knowledge.”

    The word “YOM” translated “day,” in the first chapter of Genesis, may with propriety be rendered period of time, and does convey that idea in the fourth verse of the second chapter.  It may be safely assumed, therefore, in accordance with the facts of geology, that the days of creation were periods of great duration.  Of three of these periods, viz.: (1.) when “light was;“ (2.) when the firmament was made; (3.) when the heavenly bodies appeared, of course no record is found in the rocks.  For the other three, viz.: (4.) the period of plants; (5.) the period of amphibia; (6.) the period of mammalia, Hugh Miller has accounted in a manner not less satisfactory to reason than to Revelation.  And of the whole six he has given a panoramic view in the “Vision of Creation,” as it appeared to Moses in the “open vision,” in language unsurpassed for beauty and sublimity in the pages of science.  Jeremy Taylor has been aptly styled the Shakspeare of theology; Hugh Miller, with equal truth, might be called the Milton of science.  “He did for geology what Burns had done for the songs of Scotland.”  He was indeed, as his beautiful motto declares, “in league with the stones of the field” for the cause of truth.  Upon the basis of it Revelation and science are reconciled; and, as prophesied by Buckland, “geology and religion are found potent and consistent auxiliaries, exalting our conviction of the power, and wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.”

    The last and the finest work which Hugh Miller produced is the “Testimony of the Rocks.”  Hardly had his pen traced the concluding lines of that noble effort of genius—the much-loved and crowning labor of his life, upon which he had “put out all his strength,” and worked with the “topmost pitch of intensity”—when the over-wrought brain gave out.

    Years have passed away since the event to which we have alluded cast a gloom over the scientific world.  The memory, however, of Hugh Miller’s death is still fresh, and there is no need that we should enlarge upon so sad a theme.  Our purpose is, aided by the “Testimony of the Rocks” and other sources of information, to give our readers a sketch of the science to which Miller devoted his best energies, and which he so nobly adorned.

    Geology is divided into two departments—Systematic and Descriptive.  The former treats upon the structure of the earth—how it


“—rose out of chaos:”


the latter, of the details of that structure, manifested in the kind, character, and position of the constituent matter; also of organic remains.

    At the beginning the earth was composed of a burning, molten nucleus, surrounded by a dense atmosphere of great extent, saturated with vapor and gas.  As the heat from the nucleus was radiated into space, and the surface cooled, the minerals which are fused with most difficulty—such as alumina, silica, and mica—formed a crust, which gradually increased in thickness, and separated the atmosphere from the burning mass.  The vapor contained in the latter became condensed, and the globe was encircled by a hot sea of moderate depth, holding in solution immense quantities of minerals and chemical elements.  These were slowly deposited as the heat diminished.  From time to time the crust would give away in places, when whole oceans of water would be precipitated into the molten nucleus, and an enormous amount of steam generated, the expansive force of which would burst through the encircling barrier, carrying up floods of liquid rock to overflow the surface of the globe, and when dissolved by the water to be deposited again in various strata.  By these operations, in process of time the surface of the earth became greatly altered.  Continents were upheaved by internal convulsions, and the waters collected into the valleys formed lakes and seas.  It was a long time, however, before the earth attained a definite arrangement.  Ages passed away ere it was fit for plants and animals, and ages still before it was suited for the habitation of man.  Repeated deluges, violent earthquakes, varied its aspect and sometimes almost reduced it to chaos.  The birth of a world is not in a day.  What scenes the earth must have passed through can with difficulty be imagined, or in what grand and varied forms nature must have exhibited itself.  At last the work was finished.  The lofty mountains and the low savannas assumed the relative positions marked out for them, and the rivers returned to the seas whence they came.  The internal fires were restrained, and only by volcanic eruptions at intervals gave notice of their existence.

    Such was the mode in which the earth was formed and adapted for the abode of man.  No material changes have taken place in its form or surface since he appeared upon the scene.  That the centre is still in a state of ignition is proven by the experiments made in the Artesian wells near Paris and elsewhere.  It has been ascertained that at about sixty feet beneath the surface the temperature is unvaried by the changes of the seasons, and that beyond that point the heat increases at an average of one degree for fifty-four feet; so that at a depth of twenty-one miles the hardest rocks would be in a state of fusion.  The surface, however, is uninfluenced by the action of the internal fires, except in cases of earthquake or volcanic eruption.  The heat which the earth now receives, and which renders it habitable, proceeds from the sun and the stars—the latter contributing no small amount.

    The details of the general creation thus concisely described, form the second department, or Descriptive Geology.

    This branch of the science is arranged in two divisions, viz., the Plutonic or Igneous formation, which is abnormal, and had its origin through fire; and the Aqueous formation, which is normal or stratified, and resulted from the action of water.

    The first of these formations is composed of those portions of the molten mass which were upheaved by the convulsions of nature, and remained in that state unchanged by the influence of water.  They are known as massive rocks, and are always unstratified, destitute of fossils, and more uniform in their character than the rocks of the aqueous formation.

    Sometimes veins of metal are found to have been protruded through them when the mass was in a partially fused state, and drusic cavities, or geodes—cavities in the rock lined with crystals—exhibit themselves.  The massive rocks are distinct in their entire formation; no other rocks are ever found under them, except in a few cases, where the Plutonic rock evidently overflowed the aqueous strata.  Great boulders are now and then discovered in parts of the world where geologists affirm there is nothing that resembles them in character.  Deluges, which frequently passed over the earth, undoubtedly brought these fragments of massive rock from their distant homes.  Evidences now exist of boulders having been transported from the northern regions by the icebergs which annually leave the shores of Greenland.

    Five groups compose the Plutonic rocks: viz., the granite and its varieties; the greenstone, sometimes called the trap formation, including serpentine; the porphyry, the basalt, and the volcanic rock, or lava and scoria.  An examination of the character of these rocks would involve the science of mineralogy.  Most of them are compound—quartz, mica, and feldspar being the principal constituents.  Other elements, however, enter into some of them, and they all differ in various respects.  No rocks equal them for hardness and durability; and the soil derived from their disintegration is generally excellent for agricultural purposes.  The neighborhood of volcanoes, where the lava has combined with the soil, often exhibits a most luxuriant vegetation.  At the foot of Mount Vesuvius the land is remarkably fertile, and produces the vine from which is made the Lachryamæ Christi, the celebrated Italian wine, which some suppose to be similar to the old Falernian so much lauded by Horace.

    The second division of Descriptive Geology contains the aqueous or stratified formations.  They extend back to the remotest period, and are rendered peculiarly interesting by fossil remains of organic life which record the physical progress of the world through unnumbered ages.  “Geologists agree,” says Mr. Miller, “that the vast geological scale naturally divides into three great parts.  The master divisions, in each of which we find a type of life so unlike that of the others, that even the unpracticed eye can detect the difference, are simply three—the Paltæozoic, or oldest fossiliferous division; the secondary (Mesozoic), or middle fossiliferous division; the tertiary (Kainozoic), or latest fossiliferous division.”  These divisions comprehend five classes, which are again subdivided into formations and groups.

    The first class comprises the primitive rocks.  Resulting from the combined action of fire and water, at the time the crust of the earth was formed, they are also termed metamorphic, or altered rocks.  They include the different varieties of slate, gneiss, and primitive limestone, and, widely distributed, they often form part of many mountain ranges.  Slate, the first of these, composed the earliest shell of the earth, and underlies, frequently at a great depth, all the aqueous formations.  Massive rocks often pierce through it, and exhibit veins of ore, which—especially in Scotland—are mined to advantage.  It is of various qualities, evincing the action of heat and water in its formation.  Where the former prevailed the fossils are almost entirely obliterated.  In some cases, the slate being crystalline, there are none.

    Gneiss, an arbitrary name given by miners, differs from granite only in being stratified.  No doubt it was granite originally, thrown up from the centre of the globe and disintegrated by water, when it became gradually deposited in strata upon the slate.

    The last of these rocks is limestone, the finest specimen of which is found in the quarries of Paros and Pentelicus, whence the ancients derived the pure statuary marble, in which the genius of Greek art has been so nobly perpetuated. Of this stone were made the Apollo and the Hercules of the Vatican, works so “express and admirable” that the pen of Winekelmann can alone interpret them.  Out of this stone also was carved the Laocoon, which Lessing has so inimitably described.  And in this stone


“—stands the statue that enchants the world,”


the Venus de Medicis, rich with


“The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.”


    The second class, containing the Transition rocks, is subdivided into two groups, the Silurian, and the Carboniferous.  The former, so called from its prevalence in Wales—Siluria being the ancient name of that country—possesses only graywacke, a fine sandstone, associated with lime and magnesia.  The Silurian abounds in fossils, principally polypi, which form the coral reefs, trilobites, and other small shells.  A few fishes and some plants are also found in this group; but its peculiar treasure is the trilobite.

    The other group, the carboniferous or coal formation, is perhaps the most important in the geological scale, and the one most intimately connected with the present interests of man.  Its first member is the Devonian or old red sandstone, from the examination of which Mr. Miller derived a distinguished name, and the science of geology an equivalent advantage.  This stone, a coarse conglomerate, made up of the fragments of older rocks, bound together by silica or sand, is of a red color and attains the thickness of three thousand feet, and sometimes constitutes mountains of itself, as the Hartz in Germany.  It overlies the graywacke and sustains the coal.  Fossil fish and shells are abundant in it, but few plants appear.  Next follows the coal.  “What distinguished this period,” says Miller, “was its gorgeous flora.  It was emphatically the period of plants—of herbs yielding seed after their kind.  The youth of the earth was peculiarly an umbrageous youth, a youth of dark and tangled forests, of stately araucarians and tall tree ferns.”  It has been determined that forests of the greatest density must have existed in the large basins in which the coal is principally found.  These forests, overthrown by some fearful convulsion, were calcined under enormous pressure.  Hence the coal is of various qualities, according to the amount of heat and pressure to which it was subjected.  Entire calcination produced anthracite, or nearly pure carbon, the gas being mostly consumed; partial calcination, bituminous coal, the hydrogen gas being retained; imperfect calcination, the brown coal.  It is an interesting fact that microscopic examinations of the carbonized ferns show that they were not influenced by a variety of seasons, but grew with an unchecked growth.  In connection with this point it must be remembered that we are now in the third day, the period which preceded the appearance of the heavenly bodies.  A dense vapor then surrounded the earth and intercepted the rays of the sun.  The heat therefore which stimulated vegetation was radiated through the crust of the earth from the internal fires, and as it was continuous in its action, so vegetation was continuous in its growth.

    Among the coal, especially the brown variety, vestiges of plants and leaves are discovered. Whole trees even may be seen in various states of carbonization, and in many different shapes, evincing the numerous and singular actions they must have undergone.

    The beds of coal, which sometimes lie quite deep, and in some places crop out, vary in thickness from one to forty feet, and are mingled with mountain limestone, coal-sandstone, and clay.  The coal measures, as they are called, exist in many parts of the world.  Russia has very little coal, and that is of an inferior quality; England possesses a great quantity, mostly bituminous, however; while in North America the coal measures extend from Nova Scotia to Vancouver’s Island, comprehending all descriptions, from the inflammable cannel to the hardest Lehigh.  The mountain limestone which accompanies the coal often contains iron ore of great value.  In smelting the latter this stone is used to form a flux, and also to crust the surface of the liquid metal with schlag to preserve it from the oxydizing effect of the atmosphere.  Organic remains are numerous in this stratum, especially fish.  Some of these appear to have been of a very high organization, and were perhaps allied to amphibia; they have no representatives in the present age.  Fossil trees and plants are likewise found in a great variety, and to a great extent, and afford the ancient botanist no small pleasure.  The latter know nearly as much about extinct plants and trees as their brethren do of those now existent.  By the aid of the microscope they are enabled to divide them up according to their respective groups, classes, orders, genera, and species, following the artificial system of Linnæus, and finding it as applicable to fossil as to living flora.  Coal, when carefully heated to redness and then allowed to cool, will exhibit, under the glass, the character of the wood from which it was formed.  Leaves, too, have been brought to light, and their nervation and indentation as certainly proven as if they had left the tree but yesterday instead of myriads of years “before Noah was a sailor.

    Much interest attaches to ancient botany, and not a little curious are the facts which its study reveals; but we have not space to dwell upon it.

    We have alluded to the gorgeous flora which characterized the period of which we are now writing.  Its exuberance may be explained upon the following hypothesis, which is doubtless a correct one.  The moist atmosphere which then surrounded the earth was probably surcharged with carbonic acid gas.  This deleterious element necessarily promoted an enormous vegetable growth, and was thus eliminated from the atmosphere, which gradually purified in process of time we know not how soon, became respirable for superior orders of animals.  So all things “worked together for good.”

    The Palæozoic age here terminates—”the evening and the morning were the third day.”  Destitute of animal life in all the higher forms, it was “emphatically the period of plants as described in the Mosaic record, peculiarly a period of herbs and trees, yielding seed after their kind.”

    The first, second, and third days referred to in Genesis, as we understand them, have now been traversed.  As the first two, however, do not belong to geology, only the last has been specially treated.  We have reached the fourth day.  That is not a geologic day; but the grand event of that day, bearing as it does so directly and importantly upon all that follows, must not be passed over in silence.  Upon the fourth day the dense atmosphere became rarefied, and the heavenly bodies appeared; the sun shone in upon the dank earth with its benign and genial influences, causing all creation to smile.  Previously its operation could hardly have been appreciable.  With the sun, too, was introduced a new principle—actinism—the life-giving influence which belongs to the sun’s ray, and acts so powerfully in the generation of both plants and animals.  Upon the sun also depends the beauty of the world in all that relates to color.  In the Palæozoic age, the various hues and tints which result from the action of light and heat emanating from the sun could have had no existence; all must have been dun and dreary.  Light “was,” it is true—perhaps it was electric—but not the glorious light of heaven.  The operations, therefore, of the fourth day—the rolling away of the dense mist, the lifting up of the thick curtain which obscured the face of the earth, and the revelation of the “two great lights,” with the consequences that ensued, are among the grandest themes that can be suggested for contemplation.  Indeed, the fourth day of the Mosaic record in sublimity yields to none save the first.

    We return to our subject. Now commences the fifth day—the Mesozoic, or middle fossiliferous division—comprehending the secondary rocks. This class is divided into four formations and as many groups.

    The first Sir Roderick Murchison designates as the Permian, from the name of that part of Russia where this formation is most extensively developed.  It contains magnesian limestone, or zechstein, and is less distributed than any other of the stratified rocks.  Germany, after Russia, exhibits it the most; and France and England are not without it.  Its especial feature is the marl-slate, celebrated for the richness of the copper ore which it yields; also the beds of rock salt and gypsum which accompany it.  Poland possesses extensive mines of salt, which seem to have resulted from the evaporation of great seas, as sea-shells, the claws of crabs, and vegetable impressions have been found in them.  In England, near Liverpool, similar mines also exist.  Secondary limestone underlies both salt and gypsum.  This is quite apparent in the salt formation of the State of New York, where the Niagara limestone extends through a large section of the State.  The same may be said likewise of the salines in the State of Michigan.  The latter have hardly been worked, but are presumed to be of great value.  Should the prognostications in regard to the latter prove correct, they will rival the salines of New York, and be a source of great wealth to Michigan.  Virginia has salt-mines, but the salt which they furnish is of an impure character, and can not compete with that of New York except for the commonest uses, in regions where the latter may not readily be obtained.

    The fossils of the Permian are more abundant in quantity than variety, and do not differ much from those of the carboniferous group.

    The second group, known as the Trias, or new red sandstone, derives its name from the three members of which it is composed—the keeper sandstone, the muschalkalk, or shell limestone, and variegated sandstone.  This formation appears in Europe and England; and in the United States extends from Vermont to the Carolinas.  It is characterized in the former countries by gypsum and rock salt.  The Trias is extremely poor in organic remains of all kinds.  The fact most interesting and worthy of record is the evidence preserved in the variegated sandstone of the footprints of beasts and birds.  In the valley of the Connecticut especially, the magnitude and separation of the tracks determine the birds to have been nearly, if not quite as large as camels.  In Saxony footprints remain of the labyrinthodon, formerly called the hand-beast, from the character of his marks.  The remains of one beautiful plant are also found in this stone well worthy of note—”the lily encrimite; remarkable for the elegance and symmetry of its form and for its complicated skeleton, which consisted of not less than twenty-six thousand pieces.”

    The third group is the Jura, embracing the oölitic formation and the has, and obtains its appellation from the mountains of that name.  The former is subdivided into the upper, middle, and lower oölitic—a limestone so termed from the egg-like shape of the grains which compose it.  Clay, sandstone, and dolomite or magnesian limestone, are found mingled with the oölitic; fossils are abundant; and it is rendered quite interesting by the caverns which have been discovered in it, containing quantities of petrified bones.  None of them, however, belong to man.  The lowest member, the lias (layers), is distinguished by the remains of enormous ampibia.  It was the period when the Saurians lived, animals of the lizard and crocodile species, no less remarkable for their size and length than for their voracity.  The chief were the icthyosaur, the plesiosaur, and the pterodactylus.  “It was the age,” says Miller, “of egg-bearing animals, both winged and wingless—the age when reptiles of the sea tempested the deep; the age of enormous creeping reptiles of the land, and of gigantic birds; the age when the waters brought forth abundantly.”

    The last group of the secondary is the cretaceous.  Chalk being the prominent member, it gives its name to the group, but other strata are found in it, as clay, marl, and green sand.  Fossil shells, the remains of deep-sea animals, with a few fish and a small number of plants, have been discovered in this formation.  With chalk flints are always associated, and are resolved by the microscope into “agglomerates of the silicious shells of infusoria.”  Among the rocks of this class the most celebrated are those which have given the name of Albion to England.  The white cliffs of Dover are seen afar and hailed with cries of exultation by the returning mariner as an earnest of his home.  The chalk is the last of the middle series.  Thus ends the Mesozoic period—the day in which God ‘‘created the fowl that flieth over the earth,” the creeping thing and the tauninim of the deep.

    The Kainozoic, or latest fossiliferous division—the Tertiary—follows.  It contains but one group, the Molasse—a coarse, loose sandstone, forming the base of the Alps—and is divided into the Eocene, the Meiocene, and the Pleiocene, or early, middle, and later formations.  Fragments of other rocks are found cemented together among it, and it often alternates with brown coal and limestone.  Clay, green earth, gypsum, and, near Paris, millstone are abundant.  A peculiarity of this formation is, that it appears to have proceeded in many places from the filling up of great basins.  The principal capitals of Europe are situated in such basins.  They are of marked interest, particularly the extensive Molasse basin of Paris.  In the United States this formation extends along the Atlantic coast from Long Island to Louisiana, sometimes reaching inland, as in the valley of the Mississippi, which is one great Molasse basin, and evinces no sign of having ever been disturbed by inferior strata.

    The organic remains exhibited in the Tertiary distinguish it as the period of the Mammalia.  Its flora is not remarkable, its reptiles occupy no important place, but its animals almost exceed credibility.  For this reason it is called the elephantoid epoch—the epoch of the pachyderms, elephanti, rhinoceri, and hippopotami, animals of the hog genus, which surpassed the largest animal of the present day, as the tiger surpasses the cat, and whose number was so vast that “ivory quarries” of their bones are found in Siberia, and even the local museums in England are stored with specimens.  The latter, however, probably came from a little later formation—the diluvium.  Herbaceous and carnivorous animals of the types now existent, as the deer, horse, wild cattle, lions, tigers, bears, hyenas, etc., existed in immense numbers, and attained a prodigious size.  It was the age of beasts: of the dinotherium of Mayence, the greatest of all beasts, a behemoth among elephants; the age of the Megatherium of Cuvier; the ponderous sloth, the laziest of all beasts—the age of animal life.

    The Quarternary rocks—the Alluvium and Diluvium —close the Kainozoic age, and the aqueous formations.  The gradual disintegration of rock, the slacking of various minerals, the falling down of matter and the movement of the waters through many ages, often increased by deluges, deposited and diffused the different earths and soils which now render the fields susceptible of cultivation.  The rivers rolled down quantities of matter in their turbid courses, and deposited them at their embouchures.  Thus the deltas of the Nile and the Mississippi were formed, and have not occupied less than a million of years.  Floods undoubtedly passed over the globe, carrying boulders from one region to another, filling up basins, washing down hills, distributing the debris of mountain rocks in their progress, and diversifying the surface of the earth.  The centre of the State of New York, known as the Onondaga Salt Basin, is one of these diluvial deposits, superimposed upon the Niagara limestone.  It derives its salt from the formation on its southern boundary; hence the superiority of the Syracuse to the Salina wells.  Alluvial soil increased wherever climate would permit, and often attained great depths, as in the bottom lands of the United States, and some of the most fertile parts of Europe.  The flora of this epoch was similar to that of the present day, but more luxuriant, and, owing to a higher temperature and a more equable climate throughout the world, exhibited much less the influence of latitude.  Life, too, was expressed in every form, from the smallest to the largest species—from the bird to the mammoth.  One example may illustrate it.  "Grand indeed," says an English naturalist, “was the fauna of the British islands in those early days.  Tigers as large again as the biggest Asiatic species lurked in the ancient thickets; elephants of nearly twice the bulk of the individuals that now exist in Africa or Ceylon roamed in herds; rhinoceri forced their way through the primeval forest; and the lakes and rivers were tenanted by hippopotami, as bulky and with as great tusks as those of Africa.  The massive cave-bear and hyena belonged to the same group, with great oxen, and an elk ten feet in height.”  Truly, adds Mr. Miller, “this Tertiary age—this third and last of the great geological periods—was peculiarly the age of great beasts of the earth after their kind, and of cattle after their kind.”  For this age desolations were likewise appointed; the exuberance of life was crushed out by fearful cataclysms and throes which shook the globe to its centre; and the preparation of the earth for its high destiny was continued through countless ages of time.

    The sixth day of Moses—the sixth grand period of the genesis of the world which has been thus rapidly and succinctly delineated—was now drawing to a close.  The earth had been long, long quiet; no convulsions disturbed the face of nature; all was repose.  The ever-revolving seasons, and the gray eve and the ruddy morn returned anon to bless creation; and the “bright eyes” of heaven “rained influence.”


“ ____Earth in her rich attire
 Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth,
 By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walked
 Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remained:
 There wanted yet the master-work, the end
 Of all yet done.”


    With the advent of man the labor of creation terminated.  Adam, “the goodliest of men,” came from the hand of God to rule the glorious heritage, “the image of his Maker.”  How majestic he was in his original uprightness, how admirable, how beautiful his abode, may be gathered from the words of Dr. South: “Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.”


“From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
     This universal frame began;
 From harmony to harmony,
     Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
     The diapason closing full in man.”


    The beauty was not to last.  Sin soon entered and marred the fair creation; and God, who had rested from all his work, hallowed the seventh day—the present period—by commencing the task of the redemption of His fallen race.  In the great Sabbath of God is worked out the restoration of man, and the glory of the creation perfected through the sacrifice of the Eternal Son, “by whom are all things.”

    Since the advent of man no great derangement of the earth has occurred.  The Noachic deluge, though universal for man, was, as is clearly proven by the records in the hills, confined to the portion of the globe then inhabited.  It was a judgment, the first of God’s great visitations in wrath for the sins of man, but it was not without mercy.

    The seventh day—the last great period with which the “grand drama” must close—progresses; nearly sixty centuries have passed away, and nature still is quiet.  To man it seems as if it could never change—that seed-time and harvest would endure forever.  It is the period of forbearance.  Another convulsion must come, more awful than any that have preceded it; again “the elements will melt with fervent heat.”

    But what then?  “The general tenor of prophecy, and the analogies of the Divine dealings,” says Alford, “all point unmistakably to this earth, purified and renewed, as the eternal habitation of the blessed.”  When the last fearful day shall have been numbered, the purposes of God completed, and His word fulfilled, the “new earth,” purged from corruption and redeemed from sin—the Paradise of the faithful in Christ—will abide in an everlasting Sabbath.  “But of that day knoweth no man.”

 


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