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Ancient Bowls found in the Severn.
shipwrecked foreigners at some English port, they bore up for Ramsgate as the nearest. On making their report to the harbour-master the vessel was very properly placed under quarantine in the middle of the harbour (the quarantine ground) for six or seven days, till all risk of danger was supposed to be at an end. The vessel was accordingly liberated; but as I was informed-without the crew obtaining any compensation for their loss of time; and without taking into consideration the reward they ought to have received from some authority for their humane exertions in endeavouring to save the lives of their fellow-creatures*.
Now, although I should be extremely sorry to argue that any deliberation ought to take place, should a vessel bound from Newcastle to the port of London be stranded on the coast of Lincoln or Norfolk, in giving every possible aid to the unfortunate seamen, yet, in order to fulfil the objects of the quarantine regulations, it will become necessary that immediately after the first offices of humanity are discharged in saving the lives of such men, they should be placed in a detached building for a given number of days, until every possibility of communicating the dreadful epidemic now prevailing in the north of England, shall be placed beyond a doubt by medical examination. 2.
IN the year 1824 two curious Bowls were found in the bed of the Severn, near the Haw Passage; one of which, in the possession of Jeremiah Hawkins, esq. was described in your vol. XCIV. ii. 164; and further noticed in vol. xcv. i. 417, 605. It is ornamented in seven compartments, with engravings of the stories of Ganymede, Eurydice, and others in ancient mythology; as is detailed in your pages at the place first named. A large lithograph was also made, and copied in the Monthly Magazine.
Of the second bowl, which was found shortly after the first, at nearly
the same part of the river, and is kept at the Haw Passage public-house, I have seen neither drawing nor description in any periodical, and as I promised the latter when I last wrote to you on this subject, I am now enabled to send it you.
It is in every respect a fellow of the first-mentioned bowl, except in the engravings. The shape is circular, 104 inches in diameter, with an horizontal rim at top, 3-8ths inch wide. Its depth internally at the centre, 1 13-16ths inch, and its thickness 1-8th inch. It is of a bright yellowish cast, and somewhat resembles bellmetal. The annexed outline sketch and section (drawn to a scale of 6 inches to an inch) will tend to make the description more interesting.
On the surface of its concavity, within seven compartments, are the rude engravings; in the periphery of each of which is a Latin hexameter engraved in Roman capitals. The centre compartment is 34 inches wide, and is raised 3-16ths of an inch above the lowest part of the bowl. Cadmus is here represented at his studies; he is said to have first introduced the use of letters into Greece, which is thus
* On making enquiry as to this point, I was informed by the harbour men of Ramsgate, that Lloyd's committee are accustomed to allow a liberal salvage for all goods saved from wrecks, but that no allowance whatever is made for any exertions in saving lives! Is this honorable to our nation? Is it even a fair inducement for the brave fellows who incur such dreadful hazards in putting off from Ramsgate, Deal and Dover to ships in distress? Ought we not to have a scale of Parliamentary rewards for saving lives as well as goods?
"Et combusserat idram," in this line alludes (I imagine) to his destruction of the Lernæan hydra, which had seven heads. As soon as one was mangled another sprang up in its place, until Iolas with a hot iron burnt the root of the head which Hercules had crushed to pieces.
In the sixth division, Hercules is represented attacking the famous robber Cacus, said to have had three heads, and to have vomited flames. This took place after his victory over Geryon, in consequence of Cacus stealing some of his cows, which the robber dragged backwards into his cave in order to prevent discovery. The allu
sion is in the three first words of the following line :
CACUS. CESSIT. EI-SUCCUMBIT. JANITOR. ORCI.
The latter part of the above line describes his last labour, which was to bring upon earth Cerberus, the watchful keeper of the entrance into Hell. Pluto permitted Hercules to carry away the dog, provided he used only his own force.
The death of Hercules is the subject of the seventh compartment. He is represented on a burning pile, which was erected by himself on Mount Eta, on account of the credulity of Dejanira, the cruelty of Eurystheus, and the jealousy of Juno. On this he laid himself down, leaning his head on his club. The pile was set on fire, and he was suddenly surrounded by flames. Jupiter seeing him from heaven, raised his immortal parts to the skies, as a hero who had freed the earth from so many monsters.
The circumscribed description is
INCENDEBAT. EVM. MERETRIX. DEJA
CONSIDERING the intimate association which exists between the prominent topographical and geographical features of our Island, and the geological arrangement of the mineral strata, I have been induced to believe that a synoptical view of the British series, describing the general outline of the respective strata, together with the application of the several mineral products to the purposes of Civil Economy and the Arts, might be acceptable to a numerous portion of the readers of the Gentleman's Magazine; more especially by way of adjunct to the amusement, if not the edification, of the English tourist.
If true patriotism consists in attachment to our native land and its institutions, how much will that patriotism be augmented, if it can be shown that, independent of our institutions, we possess infinitely greater advantages in Geological position,—or in other words, in mineral treasures, than any spot of equal area on the entire face of the globe.
Were it necessary to make out a case, by citing proofs of the extent to
which both our maritime and manufacturing interests are dependant on our Mineral products, it would be only necessary to give a brief history of our extensive Coaleries; of our Iron works; Lead, Copper, and Tin Mines, and the manufactories to which they furnish employment for at least one-third of the population of Great Britain.
Independent of the specific interest which every Englishman must feel (or ought to. feel) for the welfare of his country, and the advancement of its internal resources; there is something peculiarly interesting to the intelligent Tourist, in being able to appreciate, and describe to others, the Geological superposition of the strata in any given district over which he may be travelling; more especially should he have leisure to investigate the stratification of the district, so as to explain or account for any anomalies that may exist from the operation of volcanic or of diluvial action, in causing a disturbance of the strata.
A considerable proportion of your readers, Mr. Urban, are either Topographical, Geographical, or Geological virtuosi, who would derive but slight information beyond what they already possess from any popular view of our mineral strata. Yet should you think fit to allow me a few columns in your venerable Magazine, I shall feel much pleasure in sending you (monthly) a series of popular Geological Essays on the stratification of the British series, as a guide to the English Tourist;-to which the following may be deemed an introductory paper.
BRITISH GEOLOGY.-No. I. GEOLOGY has engaged the attention of scientific men within the last twenty years, perhaps in a greater degree than any other branch of science that could be named. This may be accounted for principally from the establishment of a Society whose labours are exclusively directed to objects of geological inquiry instead of miscellaneous science, and particularly from the admirable institutions of that Society, by which the united labours of its members are rendered conducive to the formation of a vast mass of valuable evidence supported by facts; in lieu of that mixture of hypothesis and sys
tem-building which constituted the labours of many of the geologists of the last century. The advantages resulting from the subdivision of labour were never more illustrated in any department of the arts, than in the branch of science termed Geology. The members of the Geological Society, as fellows of the Royal Society, had not a sufficient arena for the discussion of their favourite branch of science—even if the regulations of the latter were favourable to that mutual interchange of ideas, and unity of purpose, which is essential to the prosperity of all public as well as private societies. The want of which unity of object had been long felt by its more active members, and which has indeed led to the establishment of a number of branch Societies in the scientific world-each of which may, for the reasons before mentioned, now successfully dispute the palm with the parent institution.
The vast establishments in mining and manufactures, which are connected with, or immediately dependent on, geological inquiries, may however be called the basement of that strong interest which Geology has excited in this country of late years. With the exception of part of Saxony, perhaps there is no other country or district in Europe, where the study of the mineral strata is of so much importance as in England; while the great diversity of our mineral products, combined with our insular position, unquestionably give us advantages that cannot be equalled by any part of Germany, or indeed any part of the world. To ascertain the order of the series, the dip, or inclined position of the respective strata, their localities in the several counties, together with the mineral or metallic treasures they contain, must therefore be objects of primary interest, not only to the proprietor of the soil and its substratum, and to the practical miner; but also to the local resident and the intelligent topographer.
It is not, however, necessary for a person to undergo a long course of previous study, in order to arrive at a general or synoptical acquaintance with the strata. The adage" a little learning is a dangerous thing," however applicable to medicine or metaphysics, will not apply to Geology. Mr. Conybeare, in his mas
terly introduction to "Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales," with the view of inviting the geological student, truly observes, Although a competent knowledge of mineralogy is required to instruct the geological student in the nature of those materials as considered in themselves, and of Chemistry to enable him to understand their constitution, yet the number of mineral masses forming rocks of usual occurrence is so small, and the composition of those so simple, that a very limited knowledge of these sciences is sufficient for all introductory purposes as far as the general outlines of Geology are concerned. Siliceous, argillaceous, and calcareous masses (substances with which every one is familiar under the common names of sand, clay, and limestone,) constitute probably nine-tenths of these materials; and the compound rocks, forming the remaining tenth, consist principally of only four minerals, quartz, feldspar, mica, and hornblende. These great masses contain, dispersed in various manners through them, and in comparatively small quantities, all the other substances included in the mineral kingdom; and of these the various ores of the different metals are the most important. The Geologist must of course, as he proceeds in his inquiries, obtain a competent knowledge of all these substances; but this knowledge, which is the ultimate object of the mere mineralogist, is to the Geologist only a subordinate acquisition, and forms but the alphabet by which he endeavours to decypher the part of nature which he studies."
It is therefore highly consolatory both to the geological student as well as the miscellaneous class of readers of both sexes, to learn from such authority as the distinguished Geologist before mentioned, that much valuable information may be acquired relative to the structure of our Island, without undergoing an elaborate or laborious course of previous study. That, in short, every intelligent tourist may enhance the sources of his own gratification, and prove a valuable cicerone to his friends, by acquiring even a very moderate acquaintance with the mineral character and stratification of the district through which he is travelling,
either for amusement, for health, or for professional objects.
To the invalid the study of Geology also offers peculiar attractions. Debarred from the more laborious pursuits and objects of the tourist by infirmity of body, nothing can be a greater auxiliary to the benefits that may be reckoned upon from change of scene, and the contemplation of topographical beauties, than the investigation of those geological phenomena which present themselves in almost every part of our Island. The beautiful order and variety which is observable in the series, must be sufficient to satisfy every well-constituted mind that its arrangement could not have been (as some sceptical theorists have it) the work of mere chance, accident, or nature." The design of an Omnipotent superintending power, or First Cause, pervades every portion of the terrestrial fabric; not less in the formation of the vast variety of strata which by their inclined position become elevated to the earth's surface, and thereby rendered available to the wants and enjoyments of man, than by the creation and sustenance of countless myriads of animated beings.
The invalid who resorts to the seashore in pursuit of health, would have additional motives for geological inquiry, from the peculiar facilities which nature presents in the many picturesque cliffs that form the bulwarks of our Island against the ravages of the ocean. Such scenery instinctively teaches us "to look through nature up to nature's God!" Even the casual visitor, in traversing those picturesque districts with which our Island abounds, should not, if he regards his own gratification, remain quite unacquainted with the distribution or locality of the geological series. It would betray a want of information discreditable to any well-educated person at the present day, to order a search for coal-beds, slate rocks, or granite, in the strata of the south-east counties of the kingdom; or to look for chalk among the primitive strata of the north-western counties. In a word, the tourist who totally disregards the Geological beauties of any given district, may be truly said to be incapable of duly appreciating its topographical beauties.