« VorigeDoorgaan »
may have been of the land then inhabited. It appears to us, that either translation is consistent with the expressions of the sacred historian; but the first meaning implies a miracle, and the second leaves us at liberty to assign secondary causes, acting according to known laws, and sufficient to explain the circumstances detailed in this part of holy writ. Whether the rule, nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus, ought to take place in the present instance, the reader must judge. Our own opinion is, if the acknowledged facts cannot be explained without a miracle, we must admit the miracle; if they can, we ought not to resort to supernatural, interposition, when the known action of secondary causes will suffice.
When we assign fifty miles as the thickness of the crust of the earth, we do it at hazard: we have no sufficient data; nor can we reconcile the phenomena of volcanic eruptions undoubtedly taking place under the old granite with a thickness so great. We refer to Cordier's late paper, in Silliman's journal.
That the nucleus of the earth is at this moment, and from its very first formation constantly has been, in a state of igneous fusion, is demonstrable. 1st. It was so at its origin, or the flattening at the poles could not have taken place. 2ly. Every volcanic eruption throws out fused masses that continue red hot for many years under the outward crust of cinders. 3ly. Three hundred experiments have shown, that on descending from the surface into deep mines, the warmth increases about 12° of Fahrenheit, for every one thousand feet of descent. This has been ascertained, after making every possible allowance for the burning of candles, or the warmth of the human body, and avoiding these causes of deduction wherever it was possible. 4ly. The organic remains of the plants and the animals of southern Asia, abound in Siberia under circumstances which show that they must have lived and died there. Siberia, therefore, has been formerly as warm as southern Asia, the sun being then just as it now is. Are not excellent pine-apples raised in the hot-houses of England? We refer the reader to Cordier's essay, of which a full abstract and account may be found in the last number of Silliman's Journal; to the treatises of Scrope and Daubeny on volcanoes, to the last paper of Sir H. Davy on the same subject, and to the essay of Von Humboldt on the structure of volcanoes. The following is an extract from that essay, which receiving our own full assent, we think is also entitled to the assent of the reader.
"It is, perhaps, in the internal heat of the earth, a heat indicated by experiments made with the thermometer, and the phenomena of volca
noes, that the cause of one of the most astonishing phenomena which the knowledge of petrifactions presents to us, resides. Tropical forms of animals, arborescent ferns, palms, and bamboos, occur imbedded in the frozen regions of the North. The primitive world, every where, discloses to us a distribution of organic forms, which is in opposition to the present existing state of climates. To solve so important a problem, recourse has been had to a great number of hypotheses, such as the approach of a comet, the change of obliquity of the ecliptic, the increase of intensity of solar heat. None of these hypotheses has been able to satisfy, at the same time, the astronomer, the natural philosopher, and the geologist.
"As to my own opinion on the subject, I leave the earth's axis in its position. I admit no change in the radiation of the solar disk; a change by which a celebrated philosopher thought he could explain the good and bad harvests of our fields. But I imagine that in each planet, independently of its relations to a central body, and of its astronomical position, there exist numerous causes of the developement of heat, whether by the chemical processes of oxydation, or by the precipitation and changes of capacity of bodies, or by the augmentation of the electromagnetic intensity, or the communication between the external and internal parts of the globe.
"When in the primitive world, the deeply-fissured crust of the earth exhaled heat by these apertures, perhaps during many centuries, palms, arborescent ferns, and the animals of warm climates lived in vast expanses of country; (from whence they are now excluded.) According to this system of things, which I have already indicated in my work, entitled Essai Geognostique sur le gisement des roches dans les deux Hemispheres,' the temperature of volcanoes is the same as that of the interior of the earth, and the same causes which now produce such frightful ravages, would formerly have made the richest vegetation to spring in every zone, from the newly oxydized envelope of the earth, and the deeply-fissured strata of its rocks.
"If in order to account for the distribution of the tropical forms that occur buried in the northern regions of the globe, it is assumed that elephants, covered with long hair, now immersed in the polar ice, were originally natives of those climates; and, that forms resembling the same principal type, such as that of lions and lynxes, may have lived at the same time in very different climates-such a mode of explanation would yet be inapplicable to the vegetable productions. For reasons which vegetable physiology discloses, palms, bananas, and arborescent monocotyledonous plants, are unable to support the cold of the northern countries; and, in the geognostical problem which we are here examining, it appears to me difficult to separate the plants from the animals. No explanation can be satisfactory which does not embrace the two forms."
From this view of the subject, no person competent to judge of it in the present day, will, for a moment, dissent. It is manifest, that all the objections to M. Bailly's theory, deduced from the assumed cold of the northern regions, melt away like the
snows on the approach of summer. In the year 1776, all this was, in substance, foreseen and argued at length by M. Bailly, in his Lettres sur l'Atlantide, with a distinctness, a sagacity, and a fearlessness, that nothing but the confidence of clear sighted talent could dictate.
We hope and trust, the discussions on this curious subject will continue, till the literary portion of the públic is fully prepared to adopt a final opinion concerning it. Like the organic remains imbedded in the strata of the globe, the present investigation is intimately connected with the primeval history, both of the earth and its inhabitants: and the progress of the discussion will serve to excite and gratify a reasonable curiosity, even if it should do no more.
When a traveller passes through our western country, and observes the very frequent remains of fortifications manifestly intended for the defence of a people more numerous, more civilized, and better informed than any tribe of North-American Indians now known-when he inquires if any trace of traditionary history of these former people, now remains among those who have taken their place, and finds none-does he hesitate, nevertheless, to believe that a race of people, capable of constructing these defensive works, did formerly inhabit the country? Who doubts if some nation competent to the building of Persepolis and Balbec, and the works at Elephantis and Ellora, did actually exist and build them? If we see manifest traces of skill, knowledge, and intelligence, can we avoid referring them to some intelligent agent as the author of them?
So, if we glean from scattered history the positive proofs of skill and knowledge, far anterior to any now known nation, or to any people regularly known to history, can we help referring them to some nation now no more, to some people who actually lived and once possessed them? Is it not fair then, as part of the history of the human race, to connect the scattered facts, and make out a tale consisting with probability, although not strictly conformable to our previous ignorance, or our early prejudices? M. Bailly has done this, with a diligence, a clear sightedness, a skill, a mass of learning, an unlooked-for induction of fact, a luminous course of reasoning, and a style of uncommon clearness and eloquence, to which we know but few equals. He has not received the credit due to him, because he went too far ahead of the knowledge of his day. But his eclipse is not destined to continue much longer; his winter period of darkness and oblivion has nearly passed away; and we may safely prophecy, although he may occasionally have erred in ardently pursuing a new source of knowledge, that with all his
very pardonable faults and mistakes- maculæ quas aut incuria fudit, aut humana parum cavit natura', he will emerge from the temporary obscurity which envy and dulness have contrived to cast around him.*
We are now enabled to proceed more satisfactorily than without this trouble we could have done, to a review of the work mentioned at the head of this article, the Celtic Druids by Godfrey Higgins, Esq.
The author proposes in this work to shew, that the Druids of the British Isles were the priests of a very ancient nation called Celta. That these Celta were a colony from the first race of people-a learned and enlightened people, the descendants of the persons who escaped the effects of the deluge on the borders of the Caspian Sea. That they were the earliest occupiers of Greece, Italy, France and Briton, arriving in those places by a route nearly along the 45th parallel of north latitude. (He had better have adopted north of 50°.) That in a similar manner, colonies advanced from the same great nation by a southern line through Asia, peopling Syria and Africa, and arriving at
* We promised to suggest, for the benefit of the American student, the course of reading that has enabled us to come to these conclusions. In London or Paris, we should not thus intrude ourselves; but these investigations, and the libraries that enable us to pursue them, are not yet common among us. At the hazard, therefore, of the imputation of pedantry, we shall endeavour to be useful :
Bocharti Phaleg et Chanaan, 4to. 1674. Indispensable.
Pezron on the Antiquity of Nations. Jones' translation, 1706.
Major Vallancey's Vindication of the Ancient History of Ireland, 1786.
The reader must be strongly on his guard against the etymological propensities of the three last named authors.
Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis.
Lettres sur l'Atlantide, par M. Bailly, 2 vols. 8vo. 1779.
Histoire de l'Astronomie, ancienne, 4to. par M. Bailly, second edition, 1781.
moderne, 3 vols, 4to. par M. Bailly, 1785.
Indienne et Orientale, par M. Bailly, 4to. 1787.
Origine de Tous Les Cultes, par M. Dupuis, 8vo. 7 v. edit. of M. Auguis, 1822.
Dutens, Origine des Decouvertes attribuès aux modernes, 2 vols. 8vo. 1776.
by Professor Playfair, in the Edinb. Philoso
phical Transactions, 2 vols. The Disquisitions of Sir Wm. Jones, in the first vol. of the 4to. edit. of his works, 1799
The Remarks of Mr. Wilkins on the Sanscrit words used at the close of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Asiatic Researches.
Zend-Avesta, translated by Anquetil, 2 vols. 8vo.
Gentil sur l'Astronomie des Indiens in the Hist. de l'Acad. des Sciences, 1772. Rudbeck's Atlantica, Professor Rask's Edda, 2 vols. Stockholm, 1818, Huddlestone's edition of Toland on the Druids, we have referred to, but at second hand; we do not possess them. The list above given is of books on our table, and the origi nal authorities cited, for the most part within our reach.
last by sea, through the Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar) at Britain. In the course of the work, the mode in which the ancient patriarchal religions, as well as those of Greece and Italy were founded, will be pointed out and the author flatters himself that he shall have much strengthened the foundation of rational Christianity. He will show that all the languages of the Western world were the same; and that one system of letters, that of the ancient Irish Druids, pervaded the whole-was common to the British Isles and to Gaul-to the inhabitants of Italy, Greece, Syria, Arabia, Persia and Hindostan and that one of the two alphabets of the same system, m which the ancient Irish manuscripts are written, namely, the Beth-luis-nion came by Gaul through Britain to Ireland; and the Bobeloth came through the Straits of Gibraltar. (xcvi.)
Such is the system propounded in the present work. The reader will now perceive that it is a continuation of the controversy that began with M. Bailly, and that our preliminary remarks were necessary to a full understanding of the whole ground of contest. Mr. Higgins' theory in favour of the Celts, is in direct opposition to Mr. Pinkerton's, which holds that ancient people in great contempt. Mr. Higgins takes very little notice of Pinkerton's theory, his arguments or authorities; referring to Mr. Huddlestone's edition of Toland, as having placed Pinkerton hors de combat. We are not yet in possession of Huddlestone's book. Such publications are not of ready access with us. We must, therefore, get on without it.
ART. VIII.—Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England. By the Rev. R. WALSH. London, printed-Philadelphia, reprinted. 1828. 1 Vol. 12ino. pp. 270.
THIS small work contains the narrative of a rapid journey in the fall of 1827, from Constantinople through Romelia, Bulgaria, Wallachia, Transylvania, Hungary, to Vienna, and onwards to England. It presents a clear, concise and graphic delineation of the country over which the author travelled, and the people whom he encountered and derives an additional interest from the circumstance that his route lay directly across
VOL. III. NO. 5.