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years ago. What a momentous change had in this long interval passed over it! First and most important of all, Britain was no longer a part of the continent, but had become an island, separated then, as now, by a strip of rough seachannel from the nearest part of Europe. The climate, too, had changed: snowfields and glaciers had vanished: the summers and winters had become much what they are still. Of the characteristic animals, some had disappeared, others had become rare. The lion, hyæna, rhinoceros, elephant and hippopotamus, for instance, had retreated to more southern latitudes; but the wolf, brown bear, and wild boar still haunted the forests. The early tribe of men, too, who made the flint weapons found in the valley-gravels, had been driven away or been swallowed up by successive waves of immigrants from the great family of the Celts, who were now the dominant race in these islands.
In trying to account for such great changes in the character of the outer aspect of Britain, a wide range of investigation opens out to us, wherein but little progress has yet been made. example, what were the circumstances under which Britain became an island? That this geological revolution was mainly due to a subsidence of the region can hardly be doubted. To this day, between tide marks, or below low water, we can still see the stumps of trees standing where they grew, and beds of peat containing nuts and other vestiges of a land vegetation. These "submerged forests' are proofs of a comparatively recent sinking, and are, no doubt, to be regarded as relics of the general mantle of wood and bog that covered the country at the time of the downward movement. The floor of the North Sea still preserves many of the features which must have marked the former wide terrestrial plain that occupied its site. From the headlands of Yorkshire the line of cliff is prolonged as a steep submarine bank for many miles toward the coast of Denmark, broken by two gorges or valleys, in the westmost of which may have flowed the Thames, while the eastmost gave passage to the Rhine. Was the subsidence slow and tranquil, or was it sudden, and accompanied with waves of disturbance
that devastated the lower grounds of western Europe?
The last connecting link between Britain and the continent was probably the line of chalk-ridge between Dover and Calais. There is some reason to surmise that it survived the submergence of the northern plain. Along this narrow ridge the earliest Celtic immigrants may have made their way. Its ultimate disappearance is probably referable rather to erosion at the surface than to underground movements. Attacked on the one side by the breakers driven against it by the south-western gales from the Atlantic, and on the other by those of the North Sea, it would eventually be cut through. When once the tides of the two seas united, their progress for a time would be comparatively rapid in sawing down the soft chalk, in widening for themselves a passage and deepening it as far as the downward limit of their erosive power. But to this day the narrows of the strait remain so shallow that, as has often been said, St. Paul's Cathedral, if set down there, would rise half out of the water.
Since the subsidence of the great plain, other manifestations of underground energy have shown themselves within the British area. Some portions of the land have been elevated, and in the selvage of uplifted coast-line relics of the human occupants of the country have been found. In other places, renewed depression has been suspected to have occurred. But the evidence for these upward and downward movements deserves further careful investigation both from the geological and the historical side.
Though on the whole singularly free. from those more violent exhibitions of subterranean activity which, as within the last few days, have carried death and destruction far and wide through some of the fairest regions of the earth's surface, Britain has from time to time been visited by earthquakes of severity enough to damage public buildings. The cathedral of St. David's, in its uneven floor and dislocated walls, still bears witness to the shock which six hundred years ago did so much injury to the churches of the west of England. But though a formidable catalogue has been drawn up of the earthquakes ex
perienced within the limits of these islands, it is not to that kind of underground disturbance that much permanent alteration of the surface of the country is to be attributed.
At the dawn of history the general appearance of this country must have presented in many respects a contrast to that which we see now; and notably in the wide spread of its forests, in the abundance of its bogs and fens, and (through the northern districts) in the prodigious number of its lakes.
At the first coming of the Romans by far the larger part of the country was probably covered with wood. During the centuries of Roman occupation some of the less dense parts of the woodland were cleared. In driving their magnificent straight highways through the country, the Roman legionaries felled the trees for seventy yards on each side of them to secure them from the arrows of a lurking foe. So stupendous was the labor involved in this task, that they gladly avoided forests where that was possible, and sometimes even swung their roads to right or left to keep clear of these formidable obstacles. For many hundreds of years after the departure of the legions, vast tracts of primeval forest remained as impenetrable barriers between different tribes. In these natural fastnesses the wolf, brown bear, and wild boar still found a secure retreat. Even as late as the twelfth century the woods to the north of London swarmed with wild boars and wild oxen. Everywhere, too, the broken men of the community betook themselves to these impenetrable retreats, where they lived by the chase, and whence they issued for plunder and bloodshed. The forests were thus from time immemorial a singularly important element in the topography. They have now almost entirely disappeared, and their former sites have as yet only been partially determined, though much may doubtless still be done in making our knowledge of them more complete.
In connection with this subject it should be remembered that, in many instances, the areas of wood and open land have in the course of generations completely changed places. The wide belts of clay-soil that sweep across the island, being specially adapted for the growth
of trees, were originally densely timbered. But the process of clearance led to the recognition of the fact that these clay-soils were also eminently fitted for the purposes of agriculture. Hence, by degrees, the sites of the ancient forests were turned into corn-fields and meadows. On the other hand, the open tracts of lighter soil, where the earlier settlers established themselves, were gradually abandoned, and lapsed into wastes of scrub and copsewood.
The fens and bogs of Britain played likewise a large part in the attack and defence of the country in Roman and later times. They were of two kinds. One series lay on the coast, especially in sheltered inlets of the sea, and were liable to inundation by high tides. The most notable of these was the wide tract of low, swampy land at the head of the Wash, our Fenland-an area where, secure in their amphibious retreats, descendants of the Celtic population preserved their independence not only through Roman but through Saxon times, if indeed, as Mr. Freeman conjectures, outlying settlements of them may not have lingered on till the coming of the Normans. The other sort of fens were those formed in the interior of the country by the gradual encroachment of marshy vegetation over tracts previously occupied by shallow sheets of fresh water and over flat land. It was in these swamps that the Caledonians, according to the exaggerated statement of Xiphiline, concealed themselves for many days at a time, with only their heads projecting above the mire. At a far later time the peat-bogs of the debatable land between England and Scotland formed an important line of advance and retreat to the freebooters of the border, who could pick their way through sloughs that to less practised eyes were impassable.
One of the distinguishing features among the topographical changes of the last few hundred years has been the disappearance of a vast number of these fens and bogs. In some cases they have been gradually silted up by natural processes; but a good many of them have
doubt been artificially drained. Their sites are still preserved in such Saxon names as Bogside, Bogend, Mossflats; and where other human record is gone, the black peaty soil remains to
mark where they once lay. It would not be impossible with the help of such pieces of evidence and a study of the present contours of the ground to map out in many districts, now well drained and cultivated, the swamps that hemmed in the progress of our ancestors.
No one looking at the present maps of the north of England and Scotland would be led to suspect what a large number of lakes once dotted the surface of these northern regions. Yet if he turns to old maps, such as those of Timothy Pont, published some three hundred years ago, he will notice many sheets of water represented there which are now much reduced in size or entirely replaced by cultivated fields. If, farther. he scans the topographical names of the different counties, he will be able to detect the sites of other and sometimes still older lakes; while, if he sets to work upon the geological evidence by actual examination of the ground itself, he will be astonished to find how abundant at comparatively recent times were the tarns and lakes of which little or no human record may have survived, and often how much larger were the areas of the lakes that still exist. Owing to some peculiar geological operations that characterized the passage of the Ice Age in the northern hemisphere, the land from which the snow-fields and glaciers retreated was left abundantly dotted over with lakes. The diminution and disappearance of these sheets of water is mainly traceable to the inevitable process of obliteration which sooner or later befalls all lakes great and small. Detritus is swept into them from the surrounding slopes and shores. Every brook that enters them is engaged in filling them up. The marsh-loving vegetation which grows along their shallow margins likewise aids in diminishing them. Man, too, lends his help in the same task. In early times he built his pile-dwellings in the lakes, and for many generations continued to cast his refuse into their waters. In later days he has taken the more rapid and effectual methods of drainage, and has turned the desiccated bottoms into arable land.
Nor have the changes of the surface been confined to the interior of the country. Standing as it does amid stormy seas and rapid tidal currents,
Britain has for ages suffered much from the attacks of the ocean. More especially has the loss of land fallen along our eastern shores. Ever since the submergence of the North Sea and the cutting through of the Strait of Dover, the soft rocks that form our sea-board facing the mainland of Europe have been a prey to the restless waves. Within the last few centuries whole parishes, with their manors, farms, hamlets, villages, and churches, have been washed away; and the fisherman now casts his nets and baits his lines where his forefathers ploughed their fields and delved their gardens. And the destruction still goes on. In some places a breadth of as much as five yards is washed away in a single year. Holderness, once a wide and populous district, is losing a strip of ground about two and a quarter yards broad, or in all about thirty-four acres annually. Its coast-line is computed to have receded between two and three miles since the time of the Romans-a notable amount of change, if we would try to picture what were the area and form of the coast-line of eastern Yorkshire at the beginning of the historic period.
But though the general result of the action of the sea along our eastern border has been destructive, it has not been so everywhere. In sheltered bays and creeks some of the material, washed away from more exposed tracts, is cast ashore again. In this way part of the mud and sand swept from off the cliffs of Holderness is carried southward into the Wash, and is laid down in that wide recess which it is gradually filling up. Along the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk inlets which in Roman and later times were navigable channels, and which allowed the ships of the Danish Vikings to penetrate far into the interior of the country, are now effaced. On the shores of Kent, also, wide tracts of low land have been gained from the sea. Islands, between which and the shore Roman galleys and Saxon war-boats made their way, are now, like the Isle of Thanet, joined to the mainland. Harbors and towns, like Sandwich, Richborough, Winchelsea, Pevensey, and Porchester, which once stood at the edge of the sea, are now, in some cases, three miles inland. There appears also to have been
a curious gain of land on the south coast of Sussex, which has considerably altered the physical geography of that district. The valleys by which these downs are trenched were formerly filled with tidal waters, so that the ancient camps, perched so conspicuously on the crest of the heights, could not communicate directly with each other except by boat. Instead of being a connected chain of fortifications as was once supposed, they must have been independent strongholds, surrounded by water on three sides, and on the north by dense forest and impassable morasses.
But the enumeration of the minor changes of surface might be indefinitely extended. Let me only add, in conclusion, that what I have tried to say generally for the whole country must be worked out for each district. A large amount of information still remains to be gleaned; and though our knowledge of the past must always be fragmentary, it need not continue to be so vague and imperfect as it is now. The field is a wide one, where many workers are needed, and where the active co-operation of the young is especially welcome. -Macmillan's Magazine.
FRANKLIN IN FRANCE. From Original Documents, Most of Which are Published for the First Time. By EDWARD E. HALE and EDWARD E. HALE, JR. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
The Hales, father and son, have contributed not only a valuable addition to American history, but a record of events, anecdotes, opinions, and influences of great interest in the study of Continental and English history.
Franklin's residence in France had a vital connection not only with the politics but with the science, literature, philosophy and society of the period. Franklin's character and attainments have been most absurdly conceived by not a few, even students in the field of history and letters. In the minds of such he is not the discoverer of electricity as a force; the astute diplomatist and statesman; the accomplished man of letters and society; the genial old worldling, who was as much at home in the most polished society of Paris and Versailles as he had been at an earlier period in a Philadelphia printing house; the intimate friend of Condorcet, Diderot, Rousseau, Helvetius, Gluck, Mirabeau, Beaumarchais, Maurepas,
dissipated by the book before us. Benjamin Franklin's discoveries in electricity were already well known in France when he first went there as envoy from the Continental Congress. His essays on politics were also in repute, and he found French society well prepared to receive him as one of its distinguished ornaments. Franklin's fame in England was also well established, and some years prior to he had formed intimate connections with emithe breaking out of the American Revolution nent English scientists. Among the latter was Sir John Pringle, who became President of the Royal Society. In accordance with Franklin's theories, lightning-conductors, with sharp points for conductors, had been put up at the royal palace of Kew. When Franklin became obnoxious as a rebel, George III., in the heat of his animosity to the Americans, resolved to have blunt knobs instead of sharp points, and the courtiers took sides with him. Sir John Pringle being asked his scientific opinion, intimated that the laws of nature had little regard for royal prejudices, and was thereupon ordered to resign his Presidency of the Royal Society. Apropos of this absurd controversy, the follow
"While you, great George, for safety hunt
and a score of other men famous throughout ing clever epigram became current : the world. Dr. Franklin is by these, well typified by a distinguished English man of letters who has recently written a history of the United States, regarded as simply the prosaic preacher of homely platitudes in Poor Richard's Almanac," a sort of seventeenth century Martin Farquhar Tupper. This utter ignorance of a most significant life and an original character, so far as it is shared by any considerable number of people, will be thoroughly
By keeping to the point."
While Franklin was living in London, some years before the breaking out of the Revolution, he was already carrying on secret negotiations with France, apropos of the great political storm which was threatening, and which the
bigotry of the King and his ministers precipitated. It is probable, nay sure, that a separation would have coine some time, but it appears to be certain that it might have been much delayed by prudent conciliation on the part of England. Dr. Franklin was in the thick of this diplomatic work, and made several visits to France during this time. All this prepared the way for the magnificent reception given him by the aristocratic, political, scientific, and philosophical circles of France when he became a resident, in 1776, as accredited agent of the United States. Though the temper of the nation favored armed intervention to assist the Americans, the King and Queen were firm set for peace, and the American envoy had a very nice and difficult game to play in spite of his unquestionable popularity with all classes, and the universal admiration expressed for him. Franklin at this time was nearly eighty, but still in the ripe splendor of all his powers. Though France for a time remained nominally neutral, Franklin's influence secured a thousand methods of secret aid which was of great value to the struggling cause. The surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777 was the turning point which seems to have determined the French Government to an open acknowledgment of and alliance with the new nation on the other side of the water.
Franklin's mission in France, where he acted not only as envoy to the French but as intermediary in the most important negotiations, both secret and open, between Great Britain and the United States, was discharged with the utmost skill and delicacy. The arrival of John Adams, a man of the most positive and aggres. sive temperament, in Paris, in 1778, introduced a new element into diplomacy, and in some respects a discordant one. Franklin and his new colleague did not get on" together, though the polished and suave old philosopher did much to soften his associate's asperities of temper and opinion. John Adams did not hesitate to denounce Franklin as an indolent and indecisive man, both in private and public, and to attempt to "damn him with faint praise." Nevertheless, Franklin ignored his associate's peculiarities, and recognized his many great qualities, anxiously working with him for the common end.
It was through his efforts, in the main, that the little fleet which, under the heroic John Paul Jones, struck such a terror into the hearts of the enemy, was equipped and sent to sea in 1779. In spite of Adams's charge that Franklin's time was taken up with frivolities, and
that he could not say plumply yes or no, unless it was absolutely necessary, he performed a thousand multifarious duties, old as he was, and was indefatigable in work which would have worn out many a younger man. Diplomat, treasurer and disburser of American funds, Minister of Marine, he united many` functions in one, and remained the principal commissioner in responsibility.
We can scarcely follow all the different steps of Franklin's historic part in the momentous period from 1776 to 1781. The chief value of the volume under review is not that it follows these up in a clear and interesting manner, but that its publication of Franklin's correspondence during this time, much of it entirely new, sheds light on public events, and gives us most agreeable glimpses of the writer's private life and thoughts. This is the great charm of all correspondence, for it is in their letters that men unburden their secret souls, at all events in those letters which are not designed for the public eye. The source of the new material is explained in the preface. Dr. Franklin left his letters and papers to his grandson, Temple Franklin, to be edited and published. The manuscripts were only partially edited, and but a small portion of them saw the light (in an English edition, in 1818) under Temple Franklin's supervision. The latter died in London, in 1823, and for seventeen years the priceless manuscripts lay in loose bundles on the top shelves of an old tailor-shop in St. James. They were rediscovered by a former friend of Temple Franklin and offered at various times to the British Museum, to Lord Palmerston, and to different American ministers. Through Abbott Lawrence, they were finally purchased by Mr. Henry Stevens, and made by him a special object of antiquarian zeal. He spent more than $5000 in repairing, copying, and binding them. There are in the collection 2938 different papers. Of these about 2495 pages had never been printed before the publication of the present book. The collection was bought by the American Government in 1881 at Mr. Blaine's instigation. Mr. Hale was the earliest student of these manuscripts after their arrival. Hence the present book. Cordial acknowledgment is made to Hon. George Bancroft, Hon. John Bigelow, and other students of American history, for assistance rendered. Mr. Edward Everett Hale, assisted by his son, has done a piece of good work, valuable as a historical contribution and executed with excellent taste and literary judgment.