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against religion, than all the annals of superstition and bigotry can furnish against true philosophy.
De Luc entered upon his task with an active and persevering spirit. He patiently analysed his opponent's argument, exposed his sophistries, his inconsistencies, and his gratuitous assumptions, and by a large induction of facts, collected chiefly from personal examination, he overthrew the fundamental position upon which the Huttonian theory rested; proving that those processes of nature by which its abettors accounted for the conversion of old continents into new ones, in the course of millions of years, could not by any possibility effect what was pretended, for that in fact they had a direct tendency the other way. All the operations produced on them, says De Luc, (and no man was better entitled to speak from accurate and extensive observation,) by the combined action of atmospherical causes, gravity, and running waters, have tended only to obliterate their original characters, by reducing the abrupt faces into gradual slopes, by softening down the asperities of the hills, by raising instead of excavating the beds of vallies, and by filling up the cavities of lakes; while neither the materials conveyed by rivers to the sea, nor those detached from the steep coasts by waves are transported to any distance: the waves and the tides throw them back upon the coasts, arrd even bring up the sand from the bottom, wherever they can reach it. § 290.
We dwell the longer upon the works of this excellent and candid writer, because although he has fallen into some material errors, yet we regard his writings as constituting a kind of epoch in geological science. He first, if we mistake not, hit upon that sound distinction which has introduced a ray of light into this confused and intricate subject; by the aid of which the inquiry has been since pursued with rapidly increasing success. He divided the various phenomena which the surface of the earth exhibits, into those which are produced by causes still in action, and those whose causes have ceased to act. Adopting this distinction, and proceeding to examinewith indefatigable industry, the phenomena of coasts, vallies, lakes, ravines, estuaries and deltas, he arrived at similar conclusions in every case, by processes totally independent of each other; and these conclusions were in strict accordance with the scriptural account of an universal deluge, which overwhelmed the earth about four or five thousand years ago.
De Luc indeed frequently talks of the birth of the present continents, as if their forms must needs have been the result of a single catastrophe; and his favourite hypothesis, which he is ever labouring to support, is, that the deluge was effected by the sinking of the old continents, when the sea rushing into the lower
level level laid bare its former bed, which composes our present land. Against all gratuitous hypotheses or' this nature, however simple or ingenious, when they rest tipou no positive evidence, we have a decided objection. The falsehood of De Luc's has been at length fully demonstrated by Mr. Buckland in the work before us: anil it is only one out of many important points which he has been the first to establish. And as to the reiterated phrase, ' birth of our present continents,' it would have been quite sufficient for De Luc's purpose, and much more consonant with the sober tone of his reasoning, to have spoken of the continents as the if were left at the subsidence of the deluge, without determining whether they existed before that event, the same in their leading characters as at the present day, or not. The chronometers which he has beautifully deduced from the progressive growth of subsequent phenomena, would have been equally valuable and conclusive under either supposition; because the deluge so modified the surface of the globe as to obliterate all phenomena of this kind, and to fix the commencement at least of a new aera.
In tracing thus rapidly the history of geological science, we are obliged to pass over many eminent names, and to confine ourselves to a few which serve to mark its more prominent epochs. In this point of view, the labours of M. Cuvier are by far the most important. Following up the principle so happily propounded by De Luc, with equal candour, and love of truth, but with greater strength of mind, a more capacious intellect, and more exact science, Cuvier has determined, in his admirable Essay on the Theory of the Earth, that the causes now hi action are insufficient to account for the phenomena we discover; and the general result of his investigations, as far as it affects the subject more immediately before us, may best be given in his own words: from which we shall perceive that, in adopting De Luc's hypothesis of a reciprocal change of sea and land, he has left an important error to be corrected by the author now before us.
'I am of opinion then, with M. De Luc and M. Dolomieu—That, if there is any circumstance thoroughly established in geology, it is, that the crust of our globe has been subjected to a great and sudden revolution, the epoch of which cannot be dated much farther back than five or sjx thousand years ago; that this revolution had buried nil the countries which were before inhabited by man and by the other animals that are now best known; that the same revolution had laid dry the bed of the last ocean, which now forms all the countries at present inhabited; that the small number of individuals of men and other animals that escaped from the effects of that great revolution, have since propagated and spread over the lands then newly laid dry, and consequently that the human race has only resumed a progressive state of improvement since that epoch.'—Theory of the Earth, § 34.
Independently indeed of direct historical evidence, and with very slight reference to the phenomena exhibited on the earth's surface, philosophical inquirers had long ago been convinced of the recent origin of the human race, and of the present order of things on our planet. The novelty of the arts and sciences, the low antiquity of the most ancient monuments, and the short period within ■which all authentic history is included, forced this belief even on the mind of the atheistical poet of Rome, who with good reason asks, .:
Praeterea, si nulla fuit genitalis origo
Ten-arum ac coeli, semperque aetema fuere,
Cur supra bellum Thebanum et funera Trojae,
Non alias alii quoque res cecinfere poetas?
Quo tot facia virum toties cecidere? nee usquam
jEternis fama? monumentis insita florent?
Verum, ut opinor, habet novitatem summa, recensque
Natura st mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit. The same concession (for so, from his manner of treating the subject, it is fair to call it) is made by La Place in his Syslttme du Monde: who suggests that the jew families which escaped the general destruction would be for some ages so far plunged in ignorance as to efface all accurate knowledge of former events, and to envelope the tradition of this catastrophe in fable. That a few escaped is an undeniable fact: but an extraordinary anxiety is manifested by most of these philosophers to leave the escape open to natural causes. Even Cuvier, whose works never indicate hostility or disrespect towards Revelation, and who seems to be actuated by a sincere love of truth, yet betrays a morbid eagerness to separate his reasoning from scripture, and to seek no support or confirmation from that quarter. He is clearly of opinion, that the deluge did not cover the highest mountains, and that several portions of the human race might thus have escaped: and adverting in particular to the remarkable difference in the form of the Chinese and Negroes from the rest of mankind, he suggests the probability that their ancestors escaped from the general catastrophe by different routes, and on different parts of the great mountain-ranges of the world. § 32. To such conclusions also the doctrine of De Luc himself is open; for he supposes many species of animals to have been preserved* by retiring to the tops of mountains, which were as islands in his antediluvian sea: but if brute animals were thus preserved, it is even more probable that some individuals among men would have betaken themselves to the same places of refuge.
We are now arrived at that stage in the scientific investigation of the subject, where Mr. Buckland commenced his labours.
* See his 6th Letter to Blumenbach, $ 35.
Vol. xxix. No. Lvii. K Having Having been appointed Professor of Geology in the University of Oxford, a situation rather of honour than of emolument, and having previously devoted several years with ardour and assiduity to the study, he commenced a series of lectures in that University, embracing all the branches of this complicated science. His success was brilliant beyond example. Something perhaps must be attributed to the novelty of the subject, and to the rapid advances made within a few years through the combined researches of the most eminent men of science in Europe: all which information Mr. Buckland embodied in his lectures, together with a large collection of materials, the fruit of his own observation and inquiry. But this alone could never have kindled the admiration and enthusiasm which has attended him throughout his career. In the luminous arrangement of his subject, in the copiousness and accuracy of his details, in the candour with which conflicting opinions were discussed, the large and interesting views of nature which he presented to the mind, the promptitude and felicity of his illustrations, and the perspicuity, spirit, and beauty of his. language, he far exceeded any thing that his hearers had ventured to anticipate. The charm which was thus thrown over the subject awakened attention, excited curiosity, and infused an appetite for physical knowledge, which had never before been the leading characteristic of that University. But what more, than all contributed to the value of his lectures was, the new demonstrations continually introduced of providential design throughout this department of nature; and the satisfactory proofs given of the reality of that event recorded by Moses, which once swept the whole surface of the globe, destroying all the fair works of the creation, and leaving a single family to re-people and subdue the earth.
In the vast field of research which geology includes, this event occupies indeed but a small space: yet considering its intimate connexion with the moral and religious history of man, it possesses an interest far more powerful than all the rest. As such, it is well deserving of a separate discussion; and the minutest phenomena which tend to elucidate and establish the truth assume an importance, similar to that which in a grave judicial inquiry often attaches to circumstances the most insignificant in their own nature.
We have already remarked on the judicious distinction adopted by De Luc between the result of causes now in action, and of those which have ceased to act. Under this latter head falls the evidence of the deluge: and it forms but a small part of that comprehensive division. Setting aside therefore the consideration of all the phenomena of the earth prior to that epoch, the successive gradation of primitive, secondary and tertiary formations, with their
several mineral and organic contents, all which have been largely treated in the course of his academical lectures, the professor, in the work before us, distributes his proofs of the Deluge under three heads.
1. The appearances of caves and fissures of rocks; and the sand, clay, pebbles, and bones of animals found in them.
2. The beds of diluvial sand, loam and gravel, containing the bones of animals, which are found in all parts of the world, and at the highest levels.
3. The excavation of vallies, and the marks worn into the surface of the earth by diluvial currents.
The first portion of the volume is a reprint nearly of the paper on the Kirkdale cave, which we not long ago reviewed from the Philosophical Transactions, and which procured from the Royal Society their award of the Copley medal. Of the conclusiveness of the professor's reasoning on the phenomena of this cave our opinion has been already given. We will only add, that it appears to us just as reasonable to doubt that the town of Pompeii was the habitation of humau beings, as to suspend our belief in the conclusion, that this cave was the long continued abode of hyaenas before the deluge, which has left enveloped in its muddy sediment the shattered fragments of those beasts, and of the several animals on which they preyed. The animals found in the cave agree in species with those that occur in the diluvian gravel of England, and of great part of the northern hemisphere; four of them, the hyaena, elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, belong to species that are now extinct, and to genera that live exclusively in warm climates, and which are now found associated only in the southern parts of Africa near the Cape.
Another cave similar to that of Kirkdale having been discovered at Kirby Moorside, and having been closed up by Mr. Duncombe the proprietor, until some qualified person should be present to inspect it in its undisturbed state, Mr. Buckland went into Yorkshire accompanied by Sir Humphry Davy for that purpose; and though it contained not a single bone, yet its circumstances with respect to diluvial sediment and stalagmite were precisely analogous to those of Kirkdale, and fully confirmed his reasoning upon them. Since that time the author has visited and minutely examined several caves and fissures containing animal remains, in this country, as those of Hutton in the Mendip Hills, Derdham Down near Clifton, Dream Cave near Wirksworth in Derbyshire, the Oreston caves near Plymouth, those at Crawley Rocks, and at Paviland in Glamorganshire.
Of all these a perspicuous and detailed description is given in the present volume; and they exhibit a specimen of strict and severe inductive reasoning, such as no fallacy can escape. De
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