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Fallow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh ; Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy ; of the 
Royal Society of Sciences of Denmark ; of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Berlin ; of the Royal Academy of 
Naples ; of the Geological Society of France ; Honorary Member of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta ; Fellow of 
the Royal Liimean, and of the Geological Societies of London ; of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, and 
of the Cambridge Philosophical Society ; of the Antiquarian, Wemerian Natural History, Royal Medical, Royal 
Physical, and Horticultural Societies of Edinburgh ; of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland ; of 
the Antiquarian and Literary Society of Perth ; of the Statistical Society of Glasgow ; of the Royal Dublin 
Society ; of the York, Bristol, Cambrian, Whitby, Northern, and Cork Institutions ; of the Natural History So- 
ciety of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle ; of the Imperial Pharmaceutical Society of Petersburgh ; of 
the Natural History Society of Wetterau ; of the Minerdlogical Society of Jena ; of the Royal Mineralogical So- 
ciety of Dresden ; of the Natural History Society of Paris ; of the Philomathic Society of Paris ; of the Natural 
History Society of Calvados ; of the Scnkenberg Society of Natural History ; of the Society of Natural Sciences 
and Medicine of Heidelberg ; Honorary Member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York ; of 
the New York Historical Society ; of the American Antiquarian Society ; of the Academy of Natural Sciences of 
Philadelphia ; of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York ; of the Natural History Society of Montreal ; of 
the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts ; of the Geological 
Society of Pennsylvania ; of the Boston Society of Natural History of the United States ; of the South African 
Institution of the Cape of Good Hope ; Honorary Member of the Statistical Society of France ; Member of the 
Entomological Society of Stettin, &c. &c. &c. 

APRIL .... OCTOBER 1844. 







Art. I. On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Views 
recently published concerning the compound 
nature of Carbon, Silicon, and Nitrogen. 
By George Wilson, M.D., Lecturer on 
Chemistry, Edinburgh. Communicated by 
the Author, . . . .1 

II. On the Volume of the Niagara River, as de- 
duced from Measurements made in 184 L 
By Mr E. R. Blackwell ; and calculated 
by Z. Allen, . . , .21 

III. On a Carbonaceous Deposit, or Film, on the 
Lakes of Westmoreland. By John Davy, 
M.D., F.R.S., L. and E. Communicated 
by the Author, . . . .27 

IV. Outlines of Mr W. Hopkin's Researches in 
Physical Geology. 1st, 2d, and 3d Series. 
(London, 1839-1842.) By Charles Mac- 
LAREN, Esq., F.R.S.E. Communicated by 
the Author, . . . .29 

V. On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected 
with the Appearance of Man on the Earth : 
being the substance of a Lecture delivered 
by Professor Gustav Bischof of Bonn, at 
Bonn, . . . . .44 

I. Coal and Soil, .... 44 

II. Saltpetre, ..... 52 

III. Water— its Effects, .... 53 


VI. Contributions towards Establishing the Ge- 
neral Character of the Fossil Plants of the 
g-enus Sigillaria. By William King, Esq., 
Curator of the Museum of the Natural His- 
tory Society of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Com- 
municated by the Author. Continued from 
Vol. XXXVI., page 290, . . , 62 

VII. On the Action of Yellow Lig'ht in producing" 
the Green Colour, and Indigo Light the 
Movements of Plants. By D. P. Gardner, 
M.t)., Cor. Memb. Lye. Nat. Hist., New 
York, ..... 76 

1. On the Production of Chlorophyl by Yellow 

Light, 76 

2. On the Movements of Plants towards Indigo 

Light, 82 

3. Some Applications of the preceding Facts, &c. 88 

VIII. Memoir of the late Mr William Blackio, Opti- 
cian. By John Coldstream, Leith. Com- 
municated by the Royal Scottish Society of 
Arts, ..... 94 

IX. Description of Portable Levelling Instru- 
ments. By David Stevenson, F.R.S.E., 
F.R.S.S.A., Civil Engineer, Edinburgh. 
Communicated by the Royal Scottish So- 
ciety of Arts. With a Plate, . . 99 

X. Some Account of Levelling Instruments, with 
Description of one of an Improved Form. 
By Thomas Stevenson, Civil Engineer, 
Edinburgh. Communicated by the Royal 
Scottish Society of Arts, . . . 101 

XI. An Inquiry into the Nature of the Simple 
Bodies of Chemistry. By David Low, 
F.R.S.E., Professor of Agriculture in the 
University of Edinburgh, . . . 107 

XII. Notice of the Employment of the Flesh of 


Small Whales for Feeding Cattle in the 
Faroe Islands. In a Letter to the Editor 
from W. C. Trevelyan, Esq., . .110 

XIII* Report on M. Alcide D'Orbig-ny's Memoir, 
entitled, General Considerations on the Geo- 
log^y of South America. By M. Elie de 
Beaumont. (Concluded from Vol. XXXVI. 
page 62, . . . . .111 

XIV. On the Classification of Fishes. By L. Agas- 

siz, ...... 132 

XV. On the Mode of Formation of Crystalline 
Limestone, Contact Products, Crystalline 
Silicide- Slates, and Un stratified Crystalline 
Silicide-Rocks ; with Preliminary Observa- 
tions on the present state of Geology, and 
on the Methods of Investigation pursued in 
that Science. ByB. M. Keilhau, Professor of 
Geology in the University of Christiania. 
Communicated by the Author. '(Concluded 
from Vol. XXXVI., page 362), . , 143 

Contact Products, . . . . 143 

Crystalline Silicide Slates, . . . 161 

Uustratified Crystalline Silicide Rocks, . , 166 

XVI. Analysis of Wines from Palestine, Syria, and 
Asia Minor. By Professor Edward Hitch- 
cock, LL.D., of Amherst College, . 176 

XVII. Description of an Improved Apparatus for 
Levelling Small Theodolites. By Mr John 
Sang, Land- Surveyor, Kirkaldy. With a 
Plate. Communicated by the Royal Scot- 
tish Society of Arts, . . .182 

XVIII. Observations on the Motion of Earthquakes 
transmitted under the Andes. By Richard 
Solly, Esq. Communicated by the Author, 183 

XIX. On Parietin, a Yellow Colouring Matter, and 





on the Inorganic Food of Lichens. By Ro- 
bert D. Thomson, M.D., 

Food of Lichens, 
Preparation of Parietin, 
Composition of Parietin, 
Parietin as a Test of Alkalies, 

On the Yamud and Goklan Tribes of Turko- 
mania. By the Baron Clement Augustus 
DE Bode. Communicated by the Ethnolo- 
gical Society, . . 

New Publications received, 

XX. List of Patents granted for Scotland from 
22d March 1844 to 25th June 1844, 







Art. I. Memoir of the late D. F. Gregory, M.A., 
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. By 
R. Leslie Ellis, Esq., Fellow of Trinity 
College, Cambridge. Communicated by 
Dr Alison, F.R.S. Ed., &c. &c., . 223 

II. Sixth Letter on Glaciers. Addressed to the 
Right Honourable Earl Cathcart. Com- 
municated by Professor Forbes, . 231 

III. Seventh Letter on Glaciers — On the Veined 

Structure of the Ice. Addressed to the 
Rev. Dr Whewell, Master of Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge. Communicated by Pro- 
fessor Forbes, .... 244 

IV. On the Ancient Peruvians. By Dr J. J. de 

TscHUDi, Author of the Fauna Peruviana, 
&c. &c. Communicated by the Ethnolo- 
gical Society, .... 249 

V. The Mongols. By Bayle St John, Esq. 
Communicated by the Ethnological So- 
ciety, ..... 256 

VI. Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism, 
employed for illuminating the open Cavi- 
ties of the Body ; with a view to facilitate 
the examination of Disease, and the appli- 
cation of remedial means in such situa- 
tions; illustrated with an Ear " Specu- 



lum," or Prismatic Auriscope, adapted to 
this method of observation. By Adam 
Warden, M.D., F.R.C.S.E. (With a 
Plate and Woodcut.) Communicated by 
the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. . 273 

Art. VII. Comparative Analysis of Recent and Fossil 

Bones. By J. Middleton, F.G.S., . 285 

VIII. On the Occurrence of Fluorine in Recent as 
well as in Fossil Bones. By Charles 
Daubeny, M.D., F.R.S., . . 288 

IX. On the Existence of Phosphoric Acid in 
Rocks of Igneous Origin. By George 
Fownes, Ph. D., Lecturer on Chemistry in 
Middlesex Hospital Medical School, . 294 

X. An Account of Electrical Experiments. By 
Mr R. Adie, Liverpool. Communicated 
by the Author, .... 298 

XL On the Origin of the Nilotic or Egyptian 
Population. By Samuel George Mor- 
ton, M.D., .... 305 

XII. On some Particular Phenomena presented by 
the Mica Slate Formation at Finsberg, in 
the Riesingebirge. By M. Gustav Rose, 311 

XIII. On Guano from the Yorkshire Coast, and 

from the North Coast of Scotland. By 
John Davy, M.D., F.R.S. London and 
Edin. Communicated by the Author, 313 

XIV. Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. Com- 

municated by the Author, . • 318 

XV. On Fossil Fishes:— 

1. Their Classification, . , • 331 

2. Fossil Fishes important in an Anatomical point 

of view, 335 

3. Importance of Fossil Fishes, in a Geological 

point of view, . . . . .341 

XVI. On the Cause of the Electricity of Steam. 

By G. A. RowELL, Esq. Communicated 

by the Author, . . . 347 







Art. XVU. Miscellaneous Observations on Animal Heat. 
By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S.L. and E., 

1. On the Temperature of the Pelamides, . 

2. On the Temperature of Man in advanced Age, 

3. On the Effect of Air of different Temperatures 

on Animal Heat, .... 

4. On the Effect of Exercise on the Temperature 

of the Body, ..... 

XVIII. Researches on the Situation of Zones with- 
out Rain, and of Deserts. By M. J. Four- 
net, Professor in the Faculty of Sciences 
of Lyons, .... 361 

XIX. Eighth Letter on Glaciers. Addressed to Pro- 
fessor Jameson. By Professor Forbes, 375 
Experiments on the Plasticity of Glacier Ice. 

XX. Extract from a Letter from Rev. George B. 
Warren to Dr Davy, relative to a Sooty 
Deposit on the Surface of the Sea, off the 
Coast of Devon, .... 381 

XXI. On the Mammalia of the Counties of Aber- 
deen, Banff, and Kincardine. By Wil- 
liam MacGillivray, A.m., Professor of 
Natural Hiscory in Marischal College and 
University, Aberdeen. Communicated by 
the Author, . . . .383 

XXII. Transition Rocks (Palaeozoic Rocks of Ro- 
gers) of North America, . . 392 

XXIII. On the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh, in 

the Lower Valley of the Indus and Cutchi. 
By Captain T. Postans. Communicated 
by the Ethnological Society, . . 395 

XXIV. Scientific Intelligence : — 


1. Climate of Kordofan, .... 402 


2. Depression of the Caspian. 3. Calling of the 

Sea 403 


4. Fossil Physeter Whale. 5. A recently disco- 
vered Bed of Diamonds in Mexico. 6. Struc- 


tures and probable Mode of Formation of the 
Older Mountain Rocks. 7. Do Fossil Or- 
ganic Remains of Living Animal Species 
occur in any of the Primitive, Transition, and 
Secondary, and Tertiary Classes of Rocks ? 
8. Diluvium and Alluvium. 9. Geology of 
Abyssinia. 10. Limestone of Corfu and Vido. 
11. Greology of Malta and Gozo. 12. Rocks of 
Tangier. 13. Eruption of Vesuvius of 1843, 404 


14. Colouring Matter of Flint, Carnelian, and Ame- 
thyst. 15. Composition of Calc-chrome Gar- 
net or Uwarow^ite. 16. Beaumontite and Lin- 
colnite, identical with Heulandite. 17. Zeo- 
lites. 18. Periclase, a new mineral. 19. Piau- 
zite, a Mineral Resin. . , . . . 408 


20. Early History of Guano. 21. On the Hyaena, 409 

Art. XXV. List of Patents for Inventions granted for 
Scotland from 23d June to 21st Septem- 
ber 1844, inclusive, . . . 411 




On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Views recently published 
concerning the compound nature of Carbon^ Silicon, and 
Nitrogen. By George Wilson, M.D., Lecturer on Che- 
mistry, Edinburgh. Communicated by the Author.* 

I propose, in the following Memoir, to offer some observa- 
tions on the views recently published by Dr Samuel Brown» 
Mr Knox, and Mr Rigg, concerning the compound nature of 
silicon, nitrogen, and carbon r Before entering, however, at 
any length on the discussion of these, I would consider, very 
briefly, some points connected with the general question of 
the simplicity and unity of matter. 

The great majority of chemists acknowledge the existence 
of some 55 simple or elementary substances. These are 
declared to be simple, not in virtue of any test of simplicity 
which the chemist has discovered and applied to them, but 
solely because they resist the decomposing or modifying action 
of all the forces which are, or at least are known to be, at 
man's disposal. The chemist, as it were, begins with the 
globe itself, and breaks it down into some thousand organic 
and inorganic compounds ; these, in their turn, he resolves into 
some hundred less complex substances ; and the latter, last 
of all, into the 55 bodies which are called simple. Here his 
analysis, in the meanwhile, has ended ; all the forces which 
are at his command, for the modification of matter, having 

* This memoir contains nearly verbatim the substance of a lecture 
delivered on 6tli May 1844. 


2 On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Nature of 

been spent in vain on these refractory substances. The 
single and combined agencies of heat, light, electricity, mag- 
netism, mechanical pressure, and the like, have been directed 
in innumerable ways against them. But they have emerged 
from every trial, except those we are soon to consider, with- 
out betraying any sign of non-simplicity, or unfolding, if they 
are compound, the hidden secret of their true nature. 

On the negative evidence of this insusceptibility of decom- 
position, the residual undecomposed bodies have been termed 
simple or elementary : they are the visible elements out of 
which all things are made. It cannot be denied, however, 
that in the minds of many, the term •' simpW^ has passed for 
something more than the expression of " hitherto undecom- 
posedy^ and has been accepted as fully equivalent to essentially 
" indecomponihle?^ But it would be doing injustice to the 
majority of chemists, to affirm that they have not employed 
the word '■^ elementary^^ in its restricted and negative mean- 
ing, and have been willing to acknowledge the possible com- 
positeness of all the so-called simple bodies. I refer to this 
the more particularly, that, in a curious volume recently pub- 
lished by Professor Low, exception has been taken to the maxim 
acknowledged among chemists, that a body should be con- 
sidered simple till it can be shewn to be compound, and the 
opposite opinion advocated, *' that a body is to be regarded as 
compound, when we are not able to prove it to be simple."* 
Mr Low is at great pains to shew, that the maxim he objects 
to *' is unsound, and is arrived at, not * by the just logic of 
Chemical Philosophy,' but by a chemical dogma which ought, 
long ere now, to have been banished from the science into 
which it has been introduced."! Every chemist, however, 
will smile at this correction ; for the proposition that all bodies, 
which cannot be resolved into something less complex than 
themselves, shall be accepted as simple, is quite accurate, and 
of much practical value, when taken in the sense in which he 
uses it. The simplicity of the so-called elementary bodies, is 
not affirmed to be intrinsic, essential, or absolute, but only to 
exist in relation to the decomposing or modifying forces which 

* An Inquiry into the Nature of the Simple Bodies of Chemistry, by 
David Low, F.R.S.E., &c. p. 9. 
t Ibid. pp. 11, 12. 

Carbon^ Silicon^ and Nitrogen. 3 

chemistry supplies. It remains competent to whomsoever 
chooses, to affirm, on the grounds of analogy, probability, direct 
experiment, or whatever else may seem to warrant it, that 
any or all of them are not simple substances : all that the 
chemist contends for is, that, tested by their power to resist 
the weapons and agents he can direct against them, they pre- 
serve their simplicity. 

Professor Low would have the chemical elements included 
among compound substances, because it violates the law of 
continuity in nature, to suppose some 55 bodies simple, 
whilst all the rest are compound. This may or may not be 
true ; but it could do no service to term the elements com- 
pound, unless we were prepared immediately to follow up the 
statement, by shewing of what they are compounded. Such 
a proposition is consistent enough on Mr Low's part, since he 
offers a scheme of their composite constitution, founded on 
certain hypothetical views ; but it is not competent to the 
chemist. All the knowledge he possesses of the composition 
of bodies, has been obtained by decomposing, or con^bining 
them, or by transforming them without decomposition, into 
each other. According to the characters they have shewn, 
when thus treated, they have been named and classified in 
the order of their complexity, and so as to shew, within cer- 
tain limits, the nature and number of their several compo- 
nents. But the elementary bodies being insusceptible of re- 
solution into substances more simple than themselves, cannot 
be affirmed to be compound in the sense the other bodies the 
chemist considers, are ; and it is not his office to discuss their 
complexity on other grounds than those afforded by their 
behaviour, when subjected to analytic, synthetic, or purely 
transformative forces. 

Whilst, therefore, I fully sympathise with the speculative 
spirit that has led Mr Low to propose a scheme of elemental 
constitution, and differ from most of my fellow chemists, in 
believing that some such scheme will hereafter be realized in 
our laboratories, I dissent from him in thinking that the 
chemist has erred, in demanding that every undecomposed 
body shall be considered simple. The term residual, or resi- 
duary, might indeed be better than simple, as indicating more 

4 On Isomeric Transtnutation^ and the Nature of 

clearly undecompounded as distinguished from indecomponihle ; 
but, after all, that, or any other novel phrase is unnecessary, 
for the explicit sense in which the term simple is applied by 
the chemist, leaves the question of the bona fide simplicity of 
the elementary bodies quite open to discussion. How fully it 
does so, may best be gathered from the fact, that Sir H. Davy 
and Berzelius, two of the warmest advocates of the maxim I 
have been discussing, were the freest in speculating on the 
nature of the elementary bodies, and the foremost in endea- 
vouring to decompose them. 

Further, I would observe, before leaving the subject, that it 
is not necessary, or, indeed, desirable, in the discussion of many 
chemical problems, that the possibility of the elementary 
bodies being simple should be considered. The study of most 
of the properties of the suite of oxides of a metal, or of a 
series of organic compounds, would not be facilitated, espe- 
cially to a beginner, by shaking his faith in the stability and 
unchangeability of their simplest components. The elemen- 
tary bodies stand in truth, in relation to all the more complex 
substances into whose composition they enter, like arithmeti- 
cal ciphers, possessing in regard to all numbers higher than 
their own a fixed value, unalterable by any discovery which 
may be made concerning the lower figures which make up 
them. Silicon may be a simple body, as many believe, or a 
modification of carbon, as Dr Brown supposes, or a compound 
of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, or of carbon and hydrogen, 
as Mr Low thinks probable. But whichever of these it be, if 
any, is as indifferent to the chemist, while ascertaining the pro- 
portion in which it combines with oxygen to form silica, and 
a multitude of its other relations, as it was to the builder of an 
Egyptian pyramid, whether the bricks he made use of, so long 
as they possessed the proper shape and weight, and coherence, 
consisted of clay alone, or of clay mixed with sand, or of clay 
and sand mingled with straw. 

We are free then to speculate to the uttermost on the na- 
ture of the elementary bodies ; and if we consider from what 
direction we are likely to obtain the means of lessening their 
number, we shall find that the hopes of chemists («. e, of those 
who hope at all on the matter) are fixed at present on three 

Carbon^ Silicon, and Nitrogen. 5 

' different quarters, from any, or from all of which, the power 
to effect the desired reduction may come. One method open 
to the chemist, is analysis ; another synthesis. The experiments 
I am about to notice illustrate the application of both ; for the 
same researches which seem to Dr Brown to establish synthe- 
tically the compound nature of silicon, appear to Mr Knox to 
demonstrate analytically the compound nature of nitrogen. 
The third method is not so easily defined ; it may be termed 
that of reduction, by mutual isomeric transmutation. 

The application of analysis to the reduction of the elemen- 
tary bodies is easily understood. Without any addition to the 
resources, in the way of agent and instrument, we at present 
possess, it may suffice to produce more remarkable decompo- 
sitions than we have yet seen it effect. If Mr Rigg's and Mr 
Knox's experiments are confirmed, it certainly will. More- 
over, we may anticipate the discovery of novel agents, or of 
new powers in those we are familiar with, as we have recently 
become aware of the presence of marvellous modifying forces 
in the sunbeam, and in light and heat from other sources, of 
the existence of which we had scarcely a suspicion ten years 
ago. We may farther expect greatly to improve our instru- 
ments, and thereby to increase enormously our power over 
matter. Not to speak of what we should effect, could we re- 
alize certain improvements which theory indicates as possible 
in our voltaic batteries, the simple discovery of a substance 
which would resist the action of very high temperatures as 
effectually as platina and fireclay do our ordinary furnace heats, 
would put in the chemist's hands a weapon for conquest of the 
highest value. Many of the bodies which appear at present, 
to use the quaint words of old Sir Thomas Browne, " to lie 
immortal in the arms of fire," might then be found susceptible 
of resolution into simpler forms of matter. The possibility of 
all this is so apparent, that it is needless to enlarge on it at 
greater length. Before passing from it, however, I would ob- 
serve, that the attempts of chemists to decompose the so-called 
simple bodies, appear to me to have been hitherto too much 
directed against the naked elements themselves, and not upon 
them in a state of combination ; and, further, to have too 

6 On Isomeric Transmutation^ and the Nature of 

much implied an expectation, that their decomposition was to 
be brought about, by some successful violent effort to tear or 
force asunder their constituents. Hence, the uselessly large 
battery which Davy employed when he effected the decompo- 
sition of the alkalis. But the more we learn of molecular 
forces, the more we seem to become aware of the truth, that 
the simple reversal or neutralization of the affinities which 
bind the components of a body together, is all that is necessary 
to effect its decomposition; and that this may be as fully 
secured by the invisible action of a sunbeam, or the inappre- 
ciable influence of an electric current, as by the most gigantic 
galvanic battery, or a furnace heated seven times more than 
is wont. 

Meanwhile, it remains to be acknowledged, that analysis 
hitherto has done nothing to lessen the number of elementary 
bodies ; on the other hand, it has continually been adding to 
them. The ancients acknowledged but four, — air, earth, fire, 
and water ; a later school had their three, — salt, sulphur, and 
mercury ; and no class of chemists, down to the destruction of 
the Phlogiston School, acknowledged, so far as I am aware, as 
many as a dozen. Since the era of Lavoisier, we have been 
steadily increasing the list, till now we count 55. Sir H. Davy 
only altered the names of the elements with metallic bases, 
without abridging the roll by one ; and since his death, several 
new bodies have been ranked among simple substances. The 
further result of analysis, whether with its present or with 
additional powers, may be of the same kind. The fifty-five 
elementary bodies may each be resolved into two, or three, 
or four, unlike, and for the time, indecomponible substances ; 
so that the list of elements shall be doubled, tripled, or qua- 
drupled. But though this may be the first effect, analogy 
and probability conspire unequivocally to assure us, that it 
will not be the ultimate result of a victorious analysis of 
matter. As we find the prevailing elements of the countless 
organic bodies we examine, to be the constantly recurring 
four, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen ; and as Davy 
found a common element, oxygen, in all the earths, so we may 
expect, if the so-called elements are really compound, to find 

Carbon^ Silicon^ and Nitrogen, 7 

the same bodies present in many. We can suppose all the 
metals proving to be compounds in different proportions of 
but two : fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine, in the same 
way reduced to two ; carbon, boron, silicon, and the other 
groups of simple bodies, in like manner diminished to two. 
In this way, or in some other, we may resolve all the ele- 
mentary bodies, as Mr Low thinks we shall, into the two 
lowest on the atomic scale, carbon and hydrogen ; or, descend- 
ing further, identify them every one, as Mr Rigg thinks we 
should, with hydrogen ; or, in the lowest deep, finding a lower 
still, pass beyond even hydrogen to the long dreamed of 
"rx»j -r^wrjj, the materia prima^ or material substratum and 
essence of all things. 

The application of synthesis to the reduction of the list of 
elementary bodies, is not so obvious as that of analysis, but 
may, on the whole, be made manifest enough. We can con- 
ceive the possibility of its being discovered, that two of the 
lower metals, such as lead and copper, when fused together 
formed gold ; and that, nevertheless, the compound should be 
of such a nature, as to resist the decomposing influence of 
every agent. In such a case, it would be possible to prove 
gold not to be a simple substance, by shewing our ability to 
compound it out of lead and copper, though we might for ever 
remain unable to establish the same point analytically, by re- 
solving it into these metals. Should such a synthetic demon- 
stration of the compound nature of one of the elements ever 
be obtained, it would prepare us for attacking the problem of 
their true nature, by endeavouring to compound them out of 
each other. There is nothing, however, in the present state 
of Chemistry to warrant the expectation of such a discovery 
being made ; and it is not in this shape, but as one of the 
forms of the method of reduction by isomeric transmutation, 
that synthesis has been applied to the diminution of the list 
of elementary bodies. 

I turn now, therefore, to the consideration of Isomerism. 
For a long period after the publication of the Atomic Theory, 
it was universally believed that the same elements could com- 
bine in the same proportion to form only one compound, and 
that difference in physical properties, such as hardness, solu- 

8 On Isomeric Transmutation^ and the Nature of 

bility, specific gravity, &c., was always occasioned by difference 
at least in the proportion of ingredients, and in most cases by 
difference also in their nature ; and this is still acknowledged as 
true in regard to the majority of substances ; water, e.g. is the 
only body containing oxygen and hydrogen, in the proportion 
of eight parts by weight of the former to one of the latter ; com- 
mon salt is the only substance, with thirty-five parts of chlorine 
to twenty-three of sodium, and so with other compounds. But 
within the last few years many bodies have been discovered 
containing the same elements, in the same proportion, and yet 
differing in every physical and chemical property. A striking 
example of this may be found in a group of organic substances 
particularly referred to by Liebig in his Familiar Letters : — 
" A great class of bodies," says he, " known as the volatile 
oils, oil of turpentine, essence of lemons, oil of balsam of co- 
paiba, oil of rosemary, of juniper, and many others, differing 
widely from each other in their odour, their medicinal effects, 
their boiling points, their specific gravity, &;c. are exactly 
identical in composition ; they contain carbon and hydrogen 
in the same proportions ;"* viz. five atoms of carbon to four 
of hydrogen. Bodies which possess this peculiarity are termed, 
in relation to each other. Isomeric (from /cog, equal^ and [J^z^og, 
part), which may be Englished equiproportional, and marks 
their possession of an equal proportion of the same elements. 
The unexpected discovery of this curious law, while it has 
shewn chemists that the greatest dissimilarity in the proper- 
ties possessed by bodies may accompany the most perfect coin- 
cidence in proportional composition, has, at the same time, 
directly led to the conclusion, that the elementary bodies may 
form a group, or a series of groups, related to each other iso- 
merically, or equiproportionally, as the volatile oils referred 
to, are. Who first detected the applicability of the law of Iso- 
merism to the possible solution of the problem of the true 
nature of the chemical elements, I do not know ; nor do I 
profess to offer any historical sketch of the progress of specu- 
lation on this subject. I need only mention, that three of our 
living chemists have published views on the possible Isomerism 

* Familiar Letters on Chemistry, by Justus Liebig, pp. 47; 48. 

Carbon, Silicon, and Nitrogen. 9 

of the elementary bodies, — Professor Johnston* in 1837 ; Dr 
Samuel Brown,t and Professor Kane in 18414 

Dr Brown's theory, which I consider first, as it is a scheme 
of transmutation by synthesis, is founded upon the existence 
of a class of isomeric bodies, in which, while the equipropor- 
tionality of identical elements occurs, the number of atoms 
combining to produce this, is different in each member of the 
group. Thus, there exists a series of compounds of carbon 
and hydrogen, containing these bodies in the proportion of 
atom to atom. This is satisfied in the lowest, which is 
termed methylene, by 2 atoms of carbon to 2 of hydrogen ; 
in the next olefiant gas, by 4 to 4 ; in the third oil gas, by 
8 to 8, and in a fourth cetene, by 32 to 32. The volatile oils 
referred to previously, form so far at least, a similar series ; 
in them the elements are also carbon and hydrogen, in the 
proportion of five atoms of the former to four of the latter. In 
oil of citron this is doubled, or we have Cjo Hs ; in oil of cubebs 
tripled, or 0^^ Tl^^ ; in turpentine quadrupled, or Q^q Hig. 

Groups of isomeric bodies of this kind are supposed by Dr 
Brown to be formed by successive duplications or doublings. 
The lowest member of the series, by combining with itself, 
produces a first multiple ; this, by uniting with itself a se- 
cond ; that, by combining with itself a third ; and so on ad 
infinitum. It is not essential, however, to the truth of this 
view, that a full series of duplicate multiples should be shewn 
to exist, provided no body is found to manifest an unequivo- 
cal departure from the rule : the gaps which occur in the 
known series may be filled up by future discoveries. Dr 
Brown thinks he has established the truth of his view by ex- 
periment, in regard to the isomeric compounds of carbon and 
nitrogen, cyanogen and paracyanogen ; the latter of which he 
believes to be produced by the former combining with itself. 
In like manner he represents the 55 so-called simple sub- 
stances as a group, or a series of groups, of isomeric bodies, 
produced by the element of lowest atomic weight (which may 

* Report of the Seventh Meeting of the British Association, pp. 163- 

t Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. xv. pp. 165- 
X76, and 229-246. 

X Elements of Chemistry, p. 377. 

10 On Isomeric Transmutation ^ and the Nature of 

be the lowest at present known to us hydrogen^ or a lower and 
more truly elemental body), forming successive combinations 
in the way already mentioned, so as to reach from, or through 
hydrogen, which we call 1, up to gold which is 199. times 
higher. To prevent any mistake, I quote Dr Brown's own 
words :* — ■" This view of isomerism, and the relation of 
cyanogen to paracyanogen, is farther recommended by the 
consideration, that it affords a practical foundation for a likely 
hypothesis of the constitution of the so-called chemical ele- 
ments, and points out the way in which such a hypothesis 
may be either established or overthrown by experimental ob- 
servation. Let it be supposed that several of the elemental 
groups are so many series of isomeric forms, and it is at once 
to be inferred, that heat, electrolysis, and reagents, shall all 
be incapable of decomposing them, as has been found in the 
actual practice of the laboratories of modern Europe, by in- 
numerable trials. If, to take one instance, sulphur (16 or 2) 
be an isomeric form of oxygen (8 or 1), which it as much re- 
sembles in chemical properties, as it is conformably contrasted 
with it in mechanical condition, it must be impossible to ex- 
tract oxygen from it by any analytical force which has yet 
been discovered ; and the only method in which it shall be 
possible to prove that such is the mutual relation of these 
two elements, shall be to have recourse to synthesis, and 
convert oxygen into sulphur. It is within the scope of this 
hypothesis that the various elements may be all isomeric forms 
of one truly elementary substance." 

Dr Brown's scheme of elemental reduction may be termed 
one by isomeric synthetic transmutation. You will observe, 
that he supposes transmutation to take place only by syn- 
thesis, and in one direction ; so that an element possessing 
a certain atomic weight, may form, by uniting with itself, 
another possessing a higher combining proportion ; but the 
reverse cannot occur. Oxygen, ' which is eight, may double 
itself into sulphur, which is sixteen ; but sulphur cannot halve 
itself into oxygen ; carbon may quadruple itself into silicon, 
but silicon cannot quarter itself into carbon. All the other 

* Trans. Royal Society, vol. xv. p. 176. 

Carbon^ Silicon, and Nitrogen. 11 

elements may be transmuted into gold, which has the highest 
atomic weight ; for, in this respect, Dr Brown's views are 
strictly in accordance with those of the alchymists ; but gold 
can be changed into none of them, and, if it suffer transmu- 
tation, must pass into some unknown new body possessing a 
higher combining proportion. I shall return immediately to 
the consideration of those experiments by which Dr Brown 
thought he had proved the truth of his view, so far as carbon 
and silicon were concerned. Meanwhile, I proceed, very briefly, 
to explain in what respect Professors Johnston's and Kane's 
schemes of elemental isomerism differ from that we have been 

Mr Johnston's views are founded on the existence of a class 
of isomeric bodies not taken into consideration in Dr Brown's 
speculations. The members of certain isomeric groups possess 
not only the same proportion of elements, but likewise the 
same atomic weight. They are not multiples or submultiples 
of each other, like those already considered, but owe their 
difference in properties to the relative grouping of their 
molecules otherwise than by multiplication, or simple super- 
addition of the atoms on each other. We have a group of 
three such bodies in cyanuric acid, hydrated cyanic acid, and 
cyamelide, compounds of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. "We 
have another in aldehyde, metaldehyde, and eltaldehyde ; and 
a well-known pair in urea and cyanate of ammonia.* These 
isomerics possess the character of mutual convertibility: thus, in 
a group of three, which we may term A, B, C ; A is convertible 
into B and C ; B into A and C ; C into A and B ; and this without 
addition or subtraction of any of their constituent elements. 
Guided by these facts. Professor Johnston observes, that " the 
speculations of chemists in regard to the probable diminution 
of the number of received elementary bodies, have hitherto 
run only in the channel of decomposition. * * * * The 
idea of a possible transformation has hitherto hardly been 
thought of ; and yet the doctrine of isomerism, rich already in 
its numerous discoveries, has shewn that any number of the 
received elementary bodies may be made up of the same ele- 

* Liebig's Familiar Letters, pp. 49, 50. 

12 On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Nature of 

ments united in the same proportion."* After some incidental 
remarks, he continues, " It may be, however, that the patient 
study and pursuit of the kindred classes of phenomena we have 
been considering, shall, in some brighter moment, shew that 
substances considered elementary are yet mutually convertible 
without decomposition ;" and, again, " It may be, indeed, that 
all our supposed elementary bodies are in reality such, and 
therefore wholly beyond the resolving energy of electricity, 
or any other agent ; and yet the study of their changes and 
reactions in the laboratory, in conformity, perhaps, with new 
views or modes of investigation, may, at some future period, 
so enlarge our dominion over the molecules, as shall cause 
them, at our bidding, to assume this or that arrangement — to 
appear with the properties of chlorine or iodine, of cobalt or 
nickel, of rhodium, iridium, or osmium."t Professor John- 
ston's view, it will be observed, is a wider one than Dr 
Brown''s, inasmuch as it acknowledges a possible mutual con- 
vertibility of the elementary bodies ; and, therefore, implies 
that transmutation may proceed in both directions of the 
atomic scale. Sulphur may become oxygen, as readily as oxygen 
sulphur ; silicon carbon, as readily as carbon silicon ; gold 
hydrogen, as hydrogen gold. Any one element, in short, may 
become any other, whatever be their atomic weights. This 
scheme might be termed, in opposition to Dr Brown's, a 
method of elemental reduction by mutual isomeric transmu- 

Professor Kane"'s views are too slightly sketched, in his 
work on Chemistry, to enable us to judge exactly in what way 
he expects the elements to prove isomeric, and they were 
certainly formed with a knowledge of what Professor John- 
ston had written on the subject. But he has indicated, in a 
way neither of the other chemists referred to have done, some 
remarkable relations between the atomic weights of certain 
of the metals, which would strikingly accord with either of 
their theories of elemental isomerism. 

I do not offer any opinion as to the relative probability of 
Dr Brown's and Professor Johnston's views ; but it is impos- 

* Report of British Association, vol. vi. p, 211. t ^^^'c?. p. 212. 

Carbon, Silicon^ and Nitrogen, 13' 

sible to help wishing that the latter chemist's scheme of 
Elemental Isomerism should prove the truer of the two. For 
Dr Brown supplies us with but a one- edged weapon for con- 
quering nature, while Professor Johnston puts in our hands a 
two-edged sword, smiting both ways, and increasing twofold 
our power over matter. 

Meanwhile, Dr Brown is the only chemist who has had 
faith and courage enough to test the reality of Elemental 
Isomerism, by endeavouring to transmute one of the elements 
into another. This, he believes, he has succeeded in doing 
in the case of carbon and silicon. His experiments have been 
made upon certain compounds of the former body with nitro- 
gen, which he subjected to various modifying processes ; one 
general principle, however, runs through them all, which may 
be explained in a few words. By a special process, instituted 
for the purpose, or as a product of a general process for 
transmutation, he obtained paracyanogen, a body consisting 
of carbon and nitrogen, in the proportion of twelve parts of the 
former to fourteen (by weight) of the latter ; or of two atoms 
of carbon to one of nitrogen. The atomic weight and exact 
constitution of this body are unknown, but Dr Brown, as we 
have already seen, supposes it to be a duplication of cyanogen, 
and, therefore, to contain four atoms of carbon to two of ni- 
trogen. When this body is treated in various ways, of which the 
simplest, and the only one we need consider, is that of heat- 
ing it out of contact with air, alone, or in contact with sub- 
stances (such as platina or carbonate of potass) having a 
strong attraction for silicon, its two atoms of nitrogen, 
according to Dr Brown, pass away unchanged, and its four 
atoms of carbon combine together, and form silicon. To some, 
perhaps, the view intended, and its relation to the isomerism 
of confessedly compound bodies, will be clearer, if they suppose 
for the moment that carbon is a compound of two elements, 
which are united in it in certain proportions, and in the same 
ratio, but in a multiple four times higher in silicon. 
. The greater number of chemists refused to acknowledge 
that silicon was, or could be, produced from paracyanogen ; 
and, joining issue with Dr Brown on this point, oiffered 
no opinion on his theory of the origin of the silicon which 
appeared in his experiments. There was one chemist, how- 

14 On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Nature of 

ever, Mr G. J. Knox, who not only accepted Dr Brown*s 
statements as true, so far, at least, as the appearance of sili- 
con was concerned, but advocated the probability of such an 
occurrence ; on grounds, however, quite opposed to those Dr 
Brown himself built upon. Mr Knox's views are unfortu- 
nately not known to us fully, although it is more than a year 
since they were laid before the Royal Irish Academy. Owing 
to a peculiarity in the mode of publishing its transactions fol- 
lowed by that Society, the paper has not yet been printed ; 
and the only shape in which its contents have reached us is 
that of an imperfect and insufficient abstract in one of our 
own journals.* Mr Knox conceives that the nitrogen of the 
paracyanogen, and not its carbon, is the source of the silicon 
which appeared in Dr Brown''s experiments. His own words 
are the following : after referring to certain experiments of Sir 
H. Davy, which seem to him. to warrant the belief that nitrogen 
is a compound body, he says, " The latest experiments which 
bear upon this subject, and from which I received the idea 
which led me to this investigation, are those of Dr Brown, 
* upon the Conversion of Carbon into Silicon,' — an explanation 
of phenomena which appears to me most unreasonable, and con- 
trary to all chemical analogy : while the supposition of the car- 
bon having reduced the nitrogen, is not only a simple, but an 
unavoidable conclusion to arrive at, if nitrogen be a compound 
substance. To determine, by experiment, the correctness or 
incorrectness of this idea, it were only necessary to reduce 
nitrogen by some other substance than charcoal ; and should 
silicon result from its decomposition, the problem might be 
considered to be solved.*' f 

Mr Knox then describes several experiments made with a 
compound of hydrogen, nitrogen, and potassium, heated in 
different ways with iron, in two of which silicon appeared, 
although no carbon was present. The compound Mr Knox 
employed, he terms the " ammonia-nitruret of potassium," 
by which I understand him to signify the amidide of potassium 
(KNH^) of other authors. He rejects one of the two experi- 
ments where silica appeared, as inconclusive as to its anoma- 

Chemical Gazette, September 1843. t Ibid., p. 574. 

Carbon^ Silicon, and Nitrogen. 15 

lous production ; and draws from the whole the following 
conclusion: " From these experiments, together with those 
of Sir H. Davy mentioned above, one might infer that nitro- 
gen is either a compound of silicon and hydrogen, or of sili- 
con, hydrogen, and oxygen ; to determine which synthetically, 
a current of dry muriatic acid was passed over siliciuret of 
potassium," and the resulting gases examined. These were 
found to contain a variable but marked proportion of nitro- 
gen ; so that, so far as can be judged from the imperfect ac- 
count we possess, Mr Knox seems to consider nitrogen a com- 
pound of silicon and hydrogen, and to believe that he formed 
it by the action of muriatic acid on siliciuret of potassium. 
He does not suppose, however, as some have imagined, that 
the nitrogen is transmuted into silicon ; he believes that the 
former yields, but not that it forms the latter, in the way 
Dr Brown supposes that carbon forms silicon. Silicon, ac- 
cording to Mr Knox, pre-exists in nitrogen, along with hydro- 
gen, or with hydrogen and oxygen, by combination with 
which it makes up the nitrogen. He supposes, accordingly, 
that, in Dr Brown's experiments, the nitrogen was the 
source of the silicon, and that the carbon was useful only 
by combining with and removing the non-siliceous element 
or elements of the nitrogen, and setting the silicon free; 
and he endeavours to establish this by shewing, that if the 
other conditions of Dr Brown's experiments were retained, 
but the carbon replaced by a metal such as potassium (or 
rather by potassium and iron), the production of silicon went 
on as well as if carbon had been there. His view, there- 
fore, has the advantage of explaining Dr Brown's results as 
well as his own ; whereas that gentleman's theory afibrds no 
explanation of Mr Knox's experiments.* The latter, moreover, 

* In so far as Dr Brown refers the silicon which appeared in his expe- 
riments to carbon, his explanation will, of course, not apply to re- 
searches like those of Mr Knox, where silicon was found, though no 
carbon was present. He may fall back, however, on his general hypo- 
thesis, that the higher elements are isomeric forms of the lowest, and 
affirm that the hydrogen of the ammonia-nitruret of potassium was trans- 
muted, mediately through carbon, or immediately into silicon. When 
the text was written, I was not aware that Dr Brown had explained 

16 On Isomeric Transmutation^ and the Nature of 

professes not only to have decomposed nitrogen into silicon 
and hydrogen, but to have combined silicon and hydrogen into 
nitrogen ; so that he offers both synthetic and analytic proof 
of the truth of his views. It is impossible, however, to judge 
of the value of Mr Knox's experiments, till we see them re- 
ported in full ; and there is a hesitation in his view of the 
constitution of nitrogen, as to whether it contains oxygen or 
not, which might, and should have been removed by prolonged 
experiments, before he published on the question at all. 
Moreover, he determines nothing as to the quantitative con- 
stitution of nitrogen, which should surely have been the chief 
object of investigation, as soon as he saw reason to believe 
that nitrogen was not a simple body. 

As to the relative probability of the rival theories of the 
origin of the silicon, which appeared when paracyanogen was 
subjected to Dr Brown's processes, it is impossible at present 
to give a decision. I have repeated none of Mr Knox's expe- 
riments, and it would be presumptuous in me to criticise his 
results ; but I devoted the greater part of last winter, along 
with my friend Mr John Crombie Brown, to the repetition of 
Dr S. Brown's processes for the transmutation of carbon into 
silicon, and I am free to offer an opinion on their value. Those 
who wish to know in detail the results my colleague and my- 
self arrived at, will find them in the fifteenth volume of the 
Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.* Our gene- 
ral conclusions may be stated in a word. 

We were able to confirm Dr Brown's phenomenal results 
thus far, that we obtained silicon in several of our experiments, 
in circumstances which seemed, to myself at least, to preclude 
the possibility of its being derived as an impurity or accidental 
ingredient, from the vessels or materials, or reagents made use 
of. The quantity was alv/ays much less, than by Dr Brown*'s 
hypothesis it should have been, and much less than he him- 
self procured ; in many experiments, moreover, no silicon was 
obtained at all. So far, however, as this scanty and precarious 

Mr Knox's results in this way. His hypothesis aflfords no explanation 
of the latter gentleman's synthetic experiments on the formation of ni- 
trogen from silicon and hydrogen. 

* Pp. 547-559. 

Carbon, Silicon, and Nitrogen. 17 

appearance or production of silicon is concerned, we can authen- 
ticate Dr Brown's results, but no further. Some misappre- 
hension, I believe, exists on this subject, and I am anxious it 
should continue no longer. I took the most public opportunity 
that was open to me last autumn,* of declaring my confident 
expectation, that a repetition of Dr Brown's processes would 
establish the truth of his theory ; and I owe it to myself, still 
more to those I induced by my representations to advocate his 
cause, but above all to the interests of science, which must be 
hindered in its progress by the confusion of doubtful with cer- 
tain knowledge, to take as public an opportunity of saying, that 
Dr Brown's processes have not, in my hands, yielded proof 
of the transmutability of carbon into silicon. 1 have further 
come to the conclusion, that they are too imperfect to establish 
the truth of that proposition in the hands of any one ; and that 
there exists at present no evidence, in the way of demonstra- 
tion by experiment, to satisfy a chemist, that carbon or any 
other element has ever suffered transmutation. 

A peculiar difficulty attends the reception of the proposition, 
that carbon is transmutable into silicon ; a difficulty which to 
many chemists seems insurmountable, and which has not been 
provided for by Dr Brown in any of his papers, although he 
was aware of its existence. It results from the irreconcila- 
bility of the atomic weights of carbon and silicon, the former 
of which is 6, the latter 2222. According to Dr Brown, an 
atom of silicon consists of 4 atoms of carbon ; but four times 
six is 24, not 22*22. If, therefore, transmutation by isomeric 
synthesis of carbon into silicon occur, it must, according to this 
view, be accompanied by a destruction of matter equal to the 
difference between 24 and 22-22 ; or, for every 24 parts by 
weight of carbon subjected to transmutation, only 22*22 of 
silicon would be obtained. I did not allow this difficulty to 
stand in the way of my repetition of the silicon experiments, 
as I saw a way of overcoming it. I shall mention what this 
was, without entering into any details in the way of vindication 

* In a letter to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh on Dr Brown's claims 
to the Chair of Chemistry, which was printed and widely circulated, but 
not published. 


18 On Isomeric Transmutation, and the Nature of 

of its truth or probability. Let the received atomic weight of 
silicon, 22*22, be diminished by removal of the decimals, and 
made the round number 22. Such an alteration will, not im- 
probably, be made by chemists, apart from all consideration of 
the question of transmutation. Then divide the received atom 
of carbon, 6, by 3, a liberty which would be conceded by many 
of my brethren, and it becomes 2 ; of which silicon is a multiple 
by the whole number 11. 11 atoms of carbon might, by syn- 
thetic transmutation, become 1 atom = 22 silicon, without any 
difficulty in the way of atomic weights.* 

From all that I have said, it will be manifest that no light 
task awaits those who propose to labour in the cause of trans- 
mutation. In the particular case of silicon, the question 
between Mr Knox and Dr Brown is one which can be settled 
only in the laboratory. It is possible that both of these gen- 
tlemen are right in their views. Nitrogen may be a compound 
of silicon and hydrogen, and silicon nevertheless, a compound 

* I need scarcely say, that such a speculation possesses at present not 
the slightest value, and was pursued only at a time when I believed that 
there was full demonstration by experiment of the transmutability of 
carbon into silicon. 

The recent researches of Dumas, Erdmann, and other continental che- 
mists, have shewn, that the atomic weights of several of the elementary 
bodies (carbon, nitrogen, calcium, barium, strontium) are multiples, in 
whole numbers of that of hydrogen ; and many, both in this country and 
abroad, encourage the expectation, that the equivalents of all the ele- 
ments will prove^ according to Dr Front's hypothesis, multiples of hydro- 
gen in the same way. I was willing to hope, that the atom of silicon at 
least, which, owing to the difficulty of procuring that substance, has been 
fixed on the evidence of comparatively few experiments, might prove to 
be a multiple of that of hydrogen by 22. This is a point to be decided 
solely by experiment. 

As for the division of the equivalent of carbon by 3, it is acknowledged 
on all hands, that the received atomic weights may be multiples, or sub- 
multiples of the true ones. Thus, it is matter of dispute among chemists 
what are the true equivalents of copper, mercury, arsenic, phosphorus, 
antimony, and several others ; and any alteration is hypothetically justi- 
fiable which does not contradict the law of multiple combination, and for 
which a sufficient necessity can be shewn. The justifying necessity in 
this case would have been the transmutation of carbon into silicon, and 
the acknowledgment of the atomic weight of the latter as 22, 

Carbon, Silicotic and Nitrogen. 19 

or form of carbon. To do the subject justice, would require 
a careful repetition of all Dr Brown's and all Mr Knox's 
experiments, besides a lengthened series of independent re- 
searches, which would occupy at least six months of unremit- 
ting labour. The fact of an anomalous production of silicon 
is not beyond dispute ; and till it is, the practical chemist 
cannot be expected even to consider the question of trans- 
mutation. Should the anomalous production of silicon, how- 
ever, be fully confirmed, I think there are few who will not 
agree with me in wishing, that, whatever be the fate of Mr 
Knox's explanation, Dr Brown's theory should prove true. It 
seems absurd to wish that a law of nature should prove one 
thing rather than another ; as if the law, when discovered, 
could be other than of God's making, and the best that can 
be. But what I mean is this : — Mr Knox's view, whilst it 
cuts off nitrogen from the list of simple bodies, reveals no 
general principle applicable to the reduction of the number of 
remaining elements. But if, with Dr Brown, we could effect 
the transmutation of one of these, sooner or later we should 
assuredly succeed in effecting the transmutation of all. If we 
can find a key, that will unlock in this way the intricacies of 
one group of elementary bodies, we may fully believe that the 
same instrument, or one fashioned like it, will open for us the 
mysteries of the rest. 

In conclusion, it will be gathered from the brief and imper- 
fect sketch I have offered, that the doctrine of Elemental 
Isomerism, and the transmutability of the elements, exists at 
present only as an unrealized idea, little, if at all, further ad- 
vanced than it was in 1837, when first explicitly announced 
by Professor Johnston. 

We are flung back, therefore, on the general analogies and 
probabilities that warrant the entertainment of such a doc- 
trine ; but these, I think, are neither slight in force nor scanty 
in number. All chemistry seems to me to point steadily and 
increasingly to the necessity of assuming, and, if possible, real- 
izing such a law ; and many of my brethren, I am certain, 
would agree with me in this. The scepticism so generally 
expressed as to the truth of Dr Brown's views, was directed 
rather against the processes and experiments by which he 

20 On Isomeric Transmutation^ §fc. 

professed to establish his doctrine, than against the doctrine 
itself ; and so far as this implied a resolution to accept nothing 
but the most rigidly quantitative experiments, in proof of so 
revolutionary a proposition as that of transmutation, it was 
quite justifiable. The instrument par excellence of chemistry 
is the Balance ; and every chemist must expect to have his 
discoveries literally and metaphorically weighed in it, and re- 
jected if found wanting. The Familiar Letters of Liebig, 
e.g.f show that, although he unhesitatingly and too summarily 
condemns Dr Brown's experiments, he willingly speculates on 
the light which Isomerism may throw on the true constitu- 
tion of the elements. 

And if chemistry is in favour of the doctrine we are con- 
sidering, the other physical sciences justify it also. The 
geologist acknowledges the existence of many phenomena, 
in the relative distribution of the materials forming the earth's 
crust, which seem inexplicable by our present chemistry. 
The naturalist affirms that the whole subject of fossil zoology 
is plunged in mystery; and anxiously demands if the ap- 
pearance of substances in fossils, which no one can trace 
to ordinary sources, does not depend upon a transmutation 
of some of the pre-existing ingredients of these bodies.* 
The agriculturist is frequently perplexed, in his endeavours 
to trace the constituents of the plants he cultivates to the 
soil they have grown upon. The difficulty is generally got 
over by the accusation of imperfect analysis ; but some have 
courage enough to refuse this argumentum ad ignaviam aut 
ignorantiam, and one, Mr Rigg, who has been studying 
the subject for years, declares that his observations have 
led him to the conclusion, " that of the elements, carbon, 
hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, fee, 
which constitute the organic and inorganic parts of plants, 
hydrogen is the only ultimate element, the rest being all com- 

* I refer particularly to a discussion which took place last winter in 
the Zoological Society of London, as to the source of the fluoride of 
calcium which appears in fossil bones. Literary Gazette, 2d December 
1843, p. 773. The subject was afterwards referred to by Mr E. Solly, 
in a lecture at the Royal Institution. 

On the Volume of the Niagara River, 21 

pound bodies ; and to question the compound nature of hy- 

Encouraged by these things, I, for one, will, in faith and 
patience, abide the issue, ready and willing, should I again 
see as much encouragement as I did last autumn, to spend 
another winter, or many winters, in endeavouring to bring 
about a consummation so devoutly to be wished, as the mani- 
festation of the essential simplicity and unity of matter. 

On the Volume of the Niagara River, as deduced from Measure- 
ments made in 1841. By Mr E. R. Blackwell; and call 
culated by Z. Allen. 

Very little attention appears to have been hitherto bestowed 
on the investigation of the comparative volumes of water dis- 
charged by the great rivers of the globe. The relative amount 
of the evaporation and drainage from the soils of different 
countries, in proportion to the quantity of rain that falls upon 
each, as denoted by rain-gauges, is also another interesting 
subject connected with the preceding one ; for by measuring 
the quantity of water discharged from a region of country 
by the streams that drain it, and by deducting this quantity 
from the whole amount that falls upon it, as indicated by rain- 
gauges, the relative amount of evaporation may be ascertained. 
The investigation of these facts forms the basis of a branch of 
the science of hydrography, and leads to many useful as well 
as curious and interesting inquiries. 

Whilst passing a few days at the Falls of Niagara, in the 
summer of 1841, it occurred to me to make the necessary ad- 
measurements for ascertaining the quantity of water precipi- 
tated by the grand cataract, and drained from the vast area 
of country bordering on the great lakes of North America. 
This subject has long remained a mere matter of conjecture, 
although unusual facilities are offered for making the ad- 
measurement of the volume of this majestic river, from the 

* Experimental Researches, &c., shewing Carbon to be a compound 
body made by Plants. By Robert Rigg, F.R.S. p. 264. 

22 Mr G. R. Blackwell on the 

circumstance of its issuing from Lake Erie, in an average 
equalised current throughout the various seasons of the year, 
unaffected by the droughts of summer and the floods of win- 
ter. In order to ascertain the average volume of water dis- 
charged by most other rivers of the earth, it becomes neces- 
sary to multiply a great number of observations during the 
several seasons of the year. But the flow of the Niagara 
River remains always nearly the same, varying only from the 
action of winds on the surface of Lake Erie, and from a pe- 
riodical succession of several rainy or dry years in the broad 
regions ot the upper lakes.* 

The results of the admeasurements of the volume of water 

* It appears from the best inforaiation I was enabled to obtain, that a 
strong breeze or gale on Lake Erie^ in the direction of the outlet of this 
lake, will cause the waters to become heaped up at that end, so as to pro- 
duce a rise of the level of about two feet, and a corresponding rise of 
the Niagara River. A subsidence of the level of the surface to an equal 
extent occurs^ whenever a gale takes placed in an opposite direction, 
making a total variation of about four feet in the rise and fall of the 
level of the river, from the simple action of the wind on the surface of 
the lake. These changes of level have sometimes taken place in the 
course of a few hours. A nearly equal, but more gradual change of level 
is produced, as before stated, by the alternations of a period of several 
rainy years followed by a period of successive years of comparative 
drought. The descent of the waters of Niagara River^ from the outlet 
of Lake Erie, is at first so considerable, as to cause the flow of the cur- 
rent to become accelerated to a velocity of about eight miles per hour. 
By means of an embankment^ constructed parallel with the shore, along 
the margin of the river, the level of the surface of Lake Erie is main- 
tained or upheld, through a distance of several miles, above the level of 
the descending stream. This embankment serves to form a portion of 
the Erie Canal, and also to convey a supply of water to several large 
flour-mills at Black Rock ; thus afibrding an efiicient fall of about five 

From the general levelness of the low banks of the river between 
Black Rock and Lewiston, it appears probable that water-power, to any 
extent that ever will be required, may be obtained by diverting the 
water of the Niagara River over the table land adjacent to its bed ; and 
that mills might there be erected sufiicient to grind all the wheat pro- 
duced on the broad regions of country whose tributary waters swell 
the great lakes, and the Niagara affording unrivalled facilities for trans- 
porting the wheat to these mills. 

Volume of the Niagara River. 23 

of Niagara River, are now submitted, with the hope that they 
may furnish facts in this branch of the science of hydrography 
which will be used as data by scientific men for various cal- 
culations ; and with the hope, also, that others may be in- 
duced to commence a system of similar admeasurements of 
the other great rivers of the earth, such as the Mississippi, 
Ganges, &c., which may form a basis of comparison of their 
relative magnitudes. 

I have also subjoined some calculations, from which it will 
appear that the motive-power of the cataract of Niagara ex- 
ceeds, by nearly forty fold, all the mechanical force of water 
and steam power rendered available, in Great Britain, for the 
purpose of imparting motion to the machinery that suffices 
to perform the manufacturing labours for a large portion of 
the inhabitants of the world, including also the power applied 
for transporting these products by steam-boats and steam-cars, 
and their steam-ships of war, to the remotest seas. Indeed it 
appears probable, that the law of gravity, as established by the 
Creator, puts forth in this single waterfall more intense and 
effective energy, than is necessary to move all the artificial 
machinery of the habitable globe. 

In order that confidence may be placed in the estimates 
now presented, it may be proper to subjoin a statement of 
the modes in which the admeasurements were made, and the 
calculations based upon them were accomplished. 

After having personally, and with much labour, rounded 
the fearfully rapid current of the Niagara river above the Falls, 
at Black Rock, where the bottom or bed appears to be nearly 
level from one side to the other, and the depth about thirty- 
two feet ; and having repeated a course of similar admeasure- 
ments below the falls at Queenston, where the current is 
more placid, and the depth in the deepest place about one 
hundred and sixty feet ; and after having lost an anchor in 
the course of these experiments, I finally found it necessary 
to have recourse to the aid of an engineer, in order to perfect 
all the admeasurements, which my limited time would not al- 
low me to complete. For this purpose the services of Mr E. 
R. Blackwell, of Black Rock, a most skilful and accurate 
engineer, were engaged by me. His residence at that time 

24 Mr G. R. Blackwell on the 

in the immediate vicinity of Black Rock, enabled him, 
with his zeal for the accomplishment of this object, to 
devote much time to completing an exact survey. By 
reference to Mr Blackwall's elegant map of a section of 
Niagara River opposite Black Rock, it will be observed that 
thirty-eight soundings were taken in three distinct ranges or 
lines across the channel of the river, each of the ranges being 
at the distance of six hundred and sixty feet apart.* After 
thus obtaining three cross sections of the volume of the cur- 
rent, whereby its area or dimensions were ascertained, the 
velocity of the surface was then found in ten different places 
between these three lines, by noting the time in which float- 
ing bodies set adrift in different parts of the width of the 
river, were borne down from one sectional line below it. All 
these admeasurements were made with every attention to 

Having thus found by experiment the velocity of the surface 
of the stream, the average or mean velocity of the bottom and 
middle, as well as of the surface, was ascertained by means of 
the formula established by Eytelwein (v = ~ x 9), which for 
measuring the volume of water flowing in rivers of great depth, 
I consider to be a closer approximation to accuracy than those 
established by Prony and other philosophers, who have inves- 
tigated the subject of the discharge of water flowing down the 
inclined planes of the beds of rivers. These calculations have 
been carefully revised ; and the results stated may, therefore, 
be deemed as a sufliciently accurate estimate of the volume 
of water that flows down from Lake Erie. 

Allowing about 374,000 cubic feet of water (by estimate) 
to flow through the harbour of Black Rock per second, as in- 
dicated on the map, the results of their calculations shew that 
about 22,440,000 cubic feet, or 167,862,420 gallons, weighing 
710,250 tons, or 1,402,500,000 lbs. of water flow out of Lake 

* In Mr Blackwall's map the left hand column of figures in each section 
represents the distance of each sounding from the American shore, and 
the right hand column the depth of the soundings. The distance of the 
soundings from each other may be found by subtracting each measure- 
ment from the one next above it. The arrow denotes both the direction 
of the current and the point of compass. 

Volume of the Niagara Biver, 25 

Erie every minute, and become precipitated over the cliffs of 
rocks at the grand cataract of the Falls of Niagara. 

Estimating the perpendicular descent of the waters of the 
grand cataract to be one hundred and sixty feet, and making 
the usual allowance of one-third part for waste of effective 
power, in the practical application of water to water-wheels ; 
and also estimating the power of a horse to be equal to a force 
that will raise a weight of 33,000 pounds one foot high in one 
minute, which is Watt and Bolton's standard, we obtain the 
following results : 

1,402,500,000 lbs of water x 160 feet of descent 1 _ , 
33,000 J ^ 

=5 4,533,334 horse-power, which is the measure of the me- 
chanical force, or motive power, that the waterfall of Niagara 
is capable of imparting. 

It has been estimated by Mr Baines, in his History of the 
Cotton Manufactures of the United Kingdom of Great Britain 
in 1835, that the motive-power employed to operate the ma- 
chinery of all the cotton-mills in Grreat Britain was then 
equal to that of about 

33,000 horses, imparted by the agency of steam. 
11,000 ... ... ... waterfalls. 

100,000 horse-power he estimated to be employed to operate 
the woollen, flax, and other mills, and mechanical 
50,000 horse-power for propelling the machinery of steam- 
boats and coal-mines. 

194,000 horse-power in the year 1835. 

Supposing about 20 per cent, to have been added 
to this motive-power in the increase of locomo- 
tive engines for railways and steam-boats, as 
well as for various manufacturing purposes, since 
39,000 1835, we add to this aggregate 39,000 horse-power 


233,000 horse-power may be taken to be the aggregate of 
motive-power of all the steam-engines and improved 
waterfalls of Great Britain ; which, it will be per- 
ceived, is only l-19th part of the effective water- 
power of Niagara Falls. 

26 Mr G. R. Blackwell on the Volume of the Niagara Eiver. 

When it is considered that the water-power of the cataract 
of Niagara is unceasing, by night as well as by day, and that 
the power, as calculated above, for practical purposes in Great 
Britain, is only applied, on an average, about eleven hours per 
day, during six days of the week, it may be assumed that the 
motive-power of Niagara Falls is at least forty-fold of the 
aggregate of all the water and steam power employed in 
Great Britain, and probably equal to the aggregate of all the 
motive power employed for mechanical purposes on this earth. 

The surface of Lake Erie is found to be 331 feet above the 
surface of Lake Ontario, and 565 feet above that of the 
ocean. The descent of the waters of Niagara River, in the 
few miles of distance between Black Rock and Queenston, is 
about 171 feet, exclusive of the grand cataract itself, forming 
a succession of rapids, which, in some places, present to view 
the sublime spectacle of the agitated surface of the ocean in 
a storm ; and these rapids continue to occur during the sub- 
sequent descent of the river St Lawrence, from the level of 
Lake Ontario to that of the sea, making, in the aggregate, 
above three-fold of the waterfall of the grand cataract, and, 
consequently, one hundred and twenty-fold of all the physical 
power derived from the use of all the waterfalls and steam- 
engines employed, as above stated, in Great Britain, omitting 
to take into account the several huge rivers that are tribu- 
taries of the St Lawrence. Such, and in so great a scale, are 
|he ordinary operations of the impulses of physical power em- 
ployed in the " mechanics of nature," in governing the move- 
ments of the waters of a single river, exceeding manyfold the 
portion of physical forces rendered available and employed 
by all the inhabitants of the earth, as a motive-power in the 
*' mechanics of the arts." There is thus furnished an im- 
pressive lesson to humble the pride of man in his boasted 
achievements of the triumphs of mind over inert matter. It 
is well that these considerations should occur to the spectator, 
whilst he regards the cataract of Niagara ; for nowhere is 
there exhibited on this earth a more impressive spectacle of 
the display of energetic physical power. Cold and indifferent, 
indeed, to the highest attribute of Omnipotent excellence, 
must be the mind of that human being, who can raise his eyes 

On a Carbonaceous Deposit or Film^ §fc, 27 

from the contemplation of this sublime work of nature, with- 
out a glow of fervent admiration of the ** might, majesty, and 
power " of nature's God. — The American Journal of Science 
and ArtSy vol. xlvi. No. 1. January 1844, p. 67. 

On a Carbonaceous Deposit^ or Film, on the Lakes of West- 
moreland. By JoHN Davy, M.D.,F.R.S., L. and E. Com- 
municated by the Author. 

Although the lakes of "Westmoreland, in common with its 
streams, are distinguished for the purity of their waters, yet 
occasionally their surface may be seen covered to some extent 
with a blackish film. I have observed such a film, or pellicle, 
drifted, as it seemed, by the wind, when very gentle, not only 
on Windermere, and the Rydal and Grasmere lakes, but also 
on Easdale tarn, a small secluded mountain lake. 

The matter of this pellicle I have found, on examination, 
to be chiefly carbonaceous, and very like the matter of soot 
from coal : thus, it has deflagrated when heated with chlorate 
of potash ; it has taken fire and consumed without flame be- 
fore the blow-pipe ; triturated with water, so as to be tho- 
roughly wetted, it has sunk ; and, under the microscope, it 
has appeared to consist of particles of irregular form, varying 
in size from ^^^^^ inch in diameter, or under that, to ^J^g 
of an inch, or more ; and transmitting, like particles of soot, 
a brownish light. 

Having the properties of soot, must it not be inferred that 
the matter of this film is soot in reality, wafted probably from 
a distance, from the great manufacturing districts of Lanca- 
shire and Yorkshire, and brought down, when floating in the 
atmosphere, by rain ; the mountains of the lake country act- 
ing as great refrigeratories, tending to arrest and condense, 
or precipitate, the vapours rising from lower and warmer 
levels \ What is in favour of this view is, that the pellicle is 
most commonly seen after heavy rains, succeeded by a calm 
or a gentle breeze, and also that a similar matter is sometimes 
observed on the surface of snow on the remote hills and 

When it is considered to what vast distances the sand of 

28 Dr Davy on a Carbonaceous Deposit or Film, ^c. 

the desert, and volcanic sand, and the spray of the sea, have 
been carried by the wind, it is easy to conceive that soot, the 
matter of smoke, may be wafted through the atmosphere, 
even farther than is required, on the supposition that the 
main source of the film in question is the adjoining manufac- 
turing districts. 

Liebig has detected in the rain water of Germany, besides 
carbonate of ammonia, fecal matter, that is, the odour of this 
matter. I have examined many samples of rain water col- 
lected at Ambleside, and have always detected in them am- 
monia, but never the offensive smell alluded to. I have found, 
too, it may be remarked, collected in the funnel of my rain- 
gauge, to the terminal pipe of which a piece of linen is 
fastened as a filter, a notable portion of soot, exactly resem- 
bling the matter of the pellicle of the lakes. But, though 
I believe that the greater part of it was brought from a 
distance, I would not insist on this, inasmuch as it may be 
said to have been derived from the smoke of the adjoining 

I have made no mention of the quantity of black matter 
observed on the Westmoreland lakes, or on its duration. Its 
duration is generally short, disappearing after disturbance of 
the water by the first heavy wind, when being wetted by the 
agitation, it is probably diffused through the water, and 
shortly sinks. Its quantity is often considerable, quite pre- 
cluding the idea of its being derived from the villages and 
hamlets of the country ; and is of such common occurrence, 
especially on Windermere, that some gentlemen keeping plea- 
sure-boats, from its blackening effect, have ceased, I am in- 
formed, to paint the bottoms of them white. 

The Windermere boatmen, with whom the appearance is 
familiar, imagine that the black matter rises from the bottom 
of the lake; a supposition which can hardly be maintained, 
being incompatible with the specific gravity of the substance 
when wet, when, as I have already observed, the matter of the 
film sinks in water. Another supposition regarding its origin, 
which at first view seems more probable, is, I believe, equally 
untenable, viz., that the black matter is of the nature of peat, 
and is washed down from the hills from beds of peat. The 

Constitution and Structure of the Interior of the Globe. 29 

objections to this are, that the microscopic character of the 
substance of the film is different from that of peat, being with- 
out vegetable fibres ; and that the water of the lakes and 
mountain tarns of Westmoreland are never, that I am aware, 
discoloured by peat, which, indeed, is not abundant in the 
lake district, is chiefly confined to the hollows of the higher 
hills, and, I believe contains very little soluble matter capable 
of imparting a brown colour to water, supposing that this 
colour is owing to dissolved mater, and not merely to sus- 
pended particles of peat. 

Whether a film of soot, or of black matter, such as I have 
pointed out, has been observed on any other lakes, I am igno- 
rant ; I am not aware that it has been described before. 
Were attention, however, paid to the subject, it is probable 
that the same appearance would be observed elsewhere ; and 
it may be deserving of attention, not only as a matter of curi- 
osity, but also as an indication of currents of air, and of the 
course and spread of effluvia.* 

The Oaks, Ambleside^ 7tli May 1844. 

Outlines of Mr W. HopkirCs JResearches in Physical Geology. 
1st, 2d, and 3d Series. (London, 1839-1842.) By Charles 
Maclaren, Esq., F.R.S.E. Communicated by the Author. 

Physical geology, which treats of the structure of the globe 
in mass, without reference to the succession of rocks at the 
surface, has been greatly advanced by the labours of this able 
mathematician. The results to which the present researches 
have conducted him are new and curious, as well as geolo- 
gically important. So far as T know, they have not yet found 
their way into any of the geological works now in circulation ; 
and for this reason, as well as on account of their intrinsic 
value, a popular outline of these results may be useful. 

Modern science is rich in wonders. Who would think that 
the sun and the moon, bodies so distant, and of which in most 

* The black-rains of Canada, also the film of carbonaceous mat- 
ter observed on the surface of Loch Earn by Mr Milne, as noticed in 
one of our volumes, appear to have the same origin as that above 
described. — Edit. 


On the Constitution and Structure of the 

respects we know so little, could be interrogated respecting 
the structure of our globe in those deep recesses to which we, 
who live on its surface, cannot find access — ay, and should be 
able to return us distinct and instructive responses 1 Such is 
the case, as Mr Hopkins has shewn in these very learned papers. 

Mr Hopkins's conclusions rest entirely on the effects of the 
sun and the moon's attraction, as indicated by the phenomena 
of Precession and Nutation. Any analysis of his elaborate 
calculations would be out of place here. What I propose, is 
to give a general idea of the basis and form of his argument, 
and an abstract of his conclusions. 

It is known that the sun itself, and all the planets and 
secondaries of the solar system, attract each other with forces 
directly proportioned to their masses (that is their weights), 
and inversely proportioned to the squares of their relative dis- 
tances. It is known also that the earth is not a perfect 
sphere, but an oblate or flattened spheroid, the equatorial dia- 
meter of which exceeds the polar by 1 -300th part. To 
express it in another form, the equatorial parts are thirteen 
miles farther from the centre than the polar. 

In the above diagram, the round figure G represents a sec- 
tion of the globe through its axis, N the north and S the 
south pole ; a b the equatorial protuberance on one side of the 
globe, c d that on the other. If the earth were a perfect 
sphere, the moon''s attraction would have no disturbing effect 
upon it. And though it is an oblate spheroid, the result 
would be the same if the moon's orbit were in the plane of the 
equator, that is in the position G m, as in this case the force 
of attraction on the one side of the earth would exactly 
balance that on the other. But the plane of the moon's orbit 

Interior of the Globe. 31 

IS oblique to that of the equator, or in the line h M ; and as 
the distance between the satellite and the earth is only thirty 
diameters of the latter, the action of the moon M is a little 
greater on a b, the part of the protuberance next to it, than 
on the part opposite, c d. The effect of this disturbing action 
is to draw down the plane of the equator from the direction 
G E to the direction G ^, and to produce a corresponding 
angular change in the position of the earth's axis, shifting it 
from N S to ;i *. This change of position is called the Nuta- 
tion of the earth's axis (from nutatio, nodding). The name is 
appropriate, for the motion is constantly varying in amount, and 
constitutes a sort of tremor or vibration, which runs through its 
principal phases in eighteen and a-half years, the period in 
which the moon''s Nodes complete their revolution. The action 
of the sun is conjoined with that of the moon, but is compara- 
tively feeble. The secondary effect of this Nutation is the 
precession of the equinoxes^ or the shifting of the equinoctial 
points 50' westward annually, which makes the pole of the 
earth describe a circle of 47° in diameter round the pole of the 
ecliptic in 25,800 years. 

The thickness of the equatorial protuberance ah cd^ and 
the magnitude of the angular change in the earth's axis N w, 
must not be judged of from the figure, in which they are 
necessarily exaggerated. The equatorial protuberance amount- 
ing only to 13 miles upon a semi- diameter of 4000, may be 
compared to a band of writing-paper wrapped round the 
middle of an orange. The nutation makes the pole N describe 
a very small circle round its mean place, namely, of about 
900 feet radius. To give an idea of the extreme minuteness 
of the change, let us suppose an iron rod 100 feet long, fixed 
at one end and moveable at the other, to represent one-half of 
the earth*'s axis. If the moveable end were pulled the twentieth 
part of an inch to one side, the deviation Avould be proportion- 
ally as great as that which the lunar nutation produces in the 
terrestrial axis. 

The earth'*s equatorial diameter exceeds, I have said, the 
polar only by a 300th part. The moon's attraction, there- 
fore, may be considered as acting upon the part a, with the 
aid of a lever, a fraction longer than if the earth had been a 

32 On the Constitution and Structure of the 

perfect sphere. The difference is very small ; but when we 
also recollect that the moon's attraction at d counteracts her 
attraction at a, and that it is only the difference between the 
one attraction and the other, depending on the inequality ol 
the distance, which disturbs the earth's position — and further, 
that the mass or weight of the disturbing agent, the moon 
(which is the measure of her power), is only the 68th part of 
that of the earth — when all these circumstances are considered, 
it might be inferred that the effect of causes so very minute 
would be inappreciable. Such an inference, however, would 
be erroneous. In truth, the effect was discovered first, and 
led to the knowledge of the cause. Dr Bradley detected a 
change in the latitude of the stars, which, after increasing for 
nine years, diminished for the next nine, and amounted in all 
to eighteen seconds. He observed that its period coincided 
exactly with that of the revolution of the moon's nodes, and 
was thus led to the discovery of the cause. 

Cavendish's celebrated experiments with lead balls have 
been lately repeated at the expense of Government ; and the 
conclusion drawn from them is, that the mean density or 
w^eight of the earth is rather more than 5 4 times the weight 
of an equal bulk of water.* Now, the rocks at the surface are 
only about 2| times the weight of water, and to make up the 
mean density or weight of the whole to 51^, it follows that the 
interior must be as much above that as the surface is below 
it. We thus arrive at the conclusion, that the density in- 
creases with the depth beneath the surface. 

Astronomers simplify the problem by considering the pro- 
tuberance, a b c df eiS a, ring detached from the spherical mass. 
The action of the moon in shifting the axis of such a ring, 
revolving in free space, would be very great ; but it is reduced 
to the very minute quantity I have mentioned, because the 
sphere, to which the ring is attached, has no tendency to 
change its position, and resists the change in the ring by its 
inertia. The ring, in short, has an incomparably larger mass 

* The proportion, as given in the last volume of the ''Penny Cyclopsedia," 
is 5G6 to 100. This workj though bearing a humble title, is invaluable 
for the accuracy and great amount; as well as the accessible form, of 
the knowledge it communicates. 

Interior of the Globe. 33 

to drag after it, and hence undergoes but a very slight change 
of position. 

The magnitude and density of the globe being known ap- 
proximately, and also the magnitude and density of the ring 
abed, the action of a body like the moon, whose mass and 
distance are known, can be subjected to mathematical calcula- 

Mr Hopkins first investigates the phenomena of precession 
and nutation on the hypothesis that the earth is of uniform 
density throughout ; and in this case the conditions of solidity 
and fluidity are considered. His chief object here seems to 
have been to test the accuracy of his process ; and we need not, 
therefore, stop to notice the results. He then passes to the 
case in which the earth is assumed to be, what it really is, a 
body whose density is variable, increasing with the depth, and 
is modified by the conditions of internal fluidity and solidity. 

The mean density of the globe is about the same with that 
of the heaviest iron ore, or 5<J. Keeping in mind that the 
force of attraction is in proportion to the quantity of matter, 
let us assume the ring abed to be of the same density with 
the sphere G, or five and a half times the weight of water. In 
this case its efi^ect, under the moon'*s attraction, in disturbing 
the position of the earth's axis, would be in proportion to its 
relative mass, and its distance from the earth's centre. But 
if the density of the ring were only that of brick, or two times 
the weight of water, its disturbing effect upon a sphere of the 
superior density of iron ore would be comparatively trifling. 
If, again, the ring had merely the density of pine wood, which 
is but the eighth part of that of iron ore, its disturbing effect 
would scarcely be appreciable by the nicest observation. 

But the density of the ring, and the average density of the 
globe, are not the only elements involved in the problem. We 
have further to inquire into the constitution and distribution 
of the matter in the interior of the globe. We know that it 
is solid at the surface. It is solid to the centre — that is to 
say, is it composed of parts immoveable inter se ? We know 
also from volcanoes, that there is fluid matter within it, that 
is, matter whose parts are moveable, and obedient inter se to 
the laws of gravitation, external attraction, and centrifugal 


34 On the Constitution and Construction of the 

force. Does this fluid matter compose a large or a small part 
of the entire mass ? Is it situated near the surface, or at a 
vast depth \ The disturbing action of the moon will not be 
the same upon a globe all solid, and upon one nearly all fluid ; 
will not be the same upon a globe in which the solid shell 
forms one-half of the mass, and another in which it forms only 

These statements will convey a general idea of the condi- 
tions of the problem which Mr Hopkins had to solve ; and he 
seems to have been careful to examine it under all its various 

The conclusion to which his researches have conducted him 
is thus announced : — " Upon the whole, then, we may venture 
to assert, that the minimum thickness of the crust of the globe, 
which can he deemed consistent with the observed amount of 
precession, cannot be less than one-fourth or one-fifth of the 
earth^s radius^ That is from 800 to 1000 miles. 

Let it be observed that this is the minimum thickness con- 
sistent with the known precession. The actual thickness may 
be much greater. The globe may even be solid to the centre, 
and this, too, without very materially altering the conditions 
of the problem ; for if the shell is 1000 miles thick, it consti- 
tutes /<9w/*-5e?;e^i^5 of the bulk of the globe ; and though the 
remaining three-sevenths may have a higher density, the action 
of disturbing forces upon them from without is greatly lessened 
by their central position. Two other elements are yet want- 
ing to give us complete information on the points in question. 
These are the eff'ect of pressure in producing condensation in 
the matter of the globe, and the eff^ect of heat in resisting it. 
Professor Leslie made some experiments to ascertain the rela- 
tion of density to pressure, from which he inferred, that at the 
depth of 400 miles, or one-tenth of the semi-diameter, marble 
would have its density increased nearly one-half, while water 
would have its density more than quadrupled, and would, in 
fact, be heavier than marble. He hence concluded, that the 
density of the globe must increase so rapidly in the interior, 
that if it consisted either of solid or fused matter to the centre, 
the mean density would greatly exceed five and a half times 
the weight of water ; and, therefore, that it must consist of a 
hollow shell, the cavity of which is probably filled with some 

Interior of the Globe, 35 

extremely elastic substance, such as elemental fire or light. 
In these calculations, the modifying effects of heat were loft 
out of view ; and partly, perhaps, on this account, partly from 
the insufficiency of the data, no great importance seems to 
have been attached to the result by men of science. So far as 
I can see, Mr Hopkins's conclusions would only be partially 
affected by a more accurate determination of the relations 
between pressure, density, fusibility, and heat. Such deter- 
mination would merely add a little to, or subtract a little 
from, the thickness of the crust, which must still remain a large 
submultiple of the radius. 

From the rapid increase of heat as we descend beneath the 
surface, it had been inferred that a temperature sufficient to 
fuse every known substance, would be found at a very mode- 
rate depth. Cordier, one of the first who took a comprehen- 
sive and scientific view of the subject, thought that the thick- 
ness of the crust did not probably exceed sixty miles, but 
might be much less ; and he further inferred that the lavas 
flowing from volcanoes were merely portions of the great central 
reservoir of molten matter, squeezed out in consequence of a 
slow contraction of the shell of the globe, produced by secular 
refrigeration.* Like Mr Leslie, he made no allowance for the 
antagonism betwixt heat and pressure. It was justly objected, 
too, that the supposition of the depth of the solid envelope 
being so small — only one-sixty-sixth part of the semi-diameter 
— in comparison with that of the fluid mass within, was incon- 
sistent with the known stability of the earth's surface. 

Mr Hopkins's conclusion, no doubt, rests on a narrow enough 
basis. It is something like an estimate of the distance of the 
stars, deduced from a difference of one or two seconds in their 
apparent position — a difference scarcely distinguishable from 
errors of observation — but in the absence of more direct and 
positive evidence, we are thankful to obtain it. I beUeve it 
to be correct in principle, and that its errors, if any, are errors 
of degree ; and the views respecting the structure of the globe, 

♦ Essai 8ur la Temperature de rinterieur de la Terre ; lu a I'Aca- 
demie des Sciences, Juin 1827. His estimate is 20 leagues of 5000 


On the Constitution and Construction of the 

to which it conducts us, are in harmony with facts derived 
from other sources. 

" The results arrived at," says Mr Hopkins, " have an im- 
portant bearing on our physical theories of volcanic forces, 
and the mode in which they act. Many speculations respect- 
ing actual volcanoes have rested on the hypothesis of a direct 
communication, by means of the volcanic vent, between the 
surface and the fluid nucleus beneath, assuming the fluidity to 
commence at a depth little, if at all, greater than that at 
which the temperature would suffice, under merely the atmo- 
spheric pressure, to fuse the matter of the earth's crust. 
When it is proved, however, that that crust must be several 
hundred miles in thickness, the hypothesis of this direct com- 
munication is placed much too far beyond the bounds of pro- 
bability, to be for an instant admitted as the basis of theo- 
retical speculations. We are necessarily led, therefore, to the 
conclusion that the fluid matter of actual volcanoes exists in 
subterranean reservoirs of limited extent, forming subterra- 
nean lakes, and not a subterranean ocean. Such, also, we 
conclude, from the present thickness of the earth's crust, must 
have been the case for enormous periods of time ; and, conse- 
quently, there is a very high degree of probability that the 
same was true at the epochs of all the great elevations which 
we recognise, with the exception, perhaps, of the earliest.** 

Let figure 2 represent a section of a portion of the globe 
to illustrate the hypothesis. 

Interior of the Globe, 


C The centre of the globe. 

L The shell or crust of solid matter, whose depth is as- 
Bumed to be 1000 miles, or one-fourth of the radius 8 0. 

8 8 The surface of the globe, or outer boundary of the crust. 

1 1 The inner surface or boundary of the solid crust. 

N The interior, which may be filled with matter, either fluid 
or solid. 

r r Eeservoirs of fluid matter, at a moderate depth under 
the surface, which produce movements of elevation and give 
birth to volcanoes. 

Mr Hopkins thinks the origin of these subterranean lakes 
or insulated masses of fused matter, may be ascribed to two 
causes ; first, the greater fusibility of the matter composing 
them ; and, secondly, a relaxation of the pressure, which coun- 
teracts fluidity. We know that there is a great difference in 
the fusibility of the rocks forming the outer parts of the globe ; 
and we have no reason to doubt that there may be a similar 
diff'erence in the matter existing at a greater depth. We 
know, too, that when certain substances which act as fluxes 
happen to be present, fusion is facilitated. The greater fusi- 
bility of some parts being admitted, Mr Hopkins shews how 
it might be sustained or increased by upheavals ; and his 
hypothesis has the further merit of explaining very happily a 
phenomenon attending elevatory movements which has hitherto 
puzzled geologists. 


C ^ ^ ^ ^ 

^ I 

Let A B, fig. 3, represent a transverse section of a portion 

S8 On the Constitution and Construction of the 

of the outer crust of the globe, some miles thick, which has 
undergone an elevatory movement, and been fissured by it. 

R The cavity containing the fluid matter, whose expansion 
or intumescence has heaved up A B. " The fissures," says 
Mr Hopkins, " will scarcely ever be exactly parallel, and 
therefore will meet if sufiiciently produced." The diagram 
shews them before they have undergone any displacement. 
Some of the separate masses are complete wedges, as b and h ; 
some truncated wedges with their broad sides upwards, as df; 
and some truncated wedges with their broad sides downwards, 
SiS ace^i. The formation of these fissures will be completed 
at nearly the same instant of time. Conceive the mass A B 
to be then further uplifted. The fissures will not be farther 
widened ; for the complete wedges b h, which do not reach 
down to the fluid mass below, will descend by their gravity 
into the position shewn in fig. 4. The truncated wedges also, 
df, having their narrow sides downwards, will encounter lesS 
resistance from the fluid mass below than ac e g i^ which have 
their broad sides downwards, and will also descend ; and thus 
the different masses will arrange themselves as shewn in fig 4, 
forming an arch which will sustain itself. Supposing, then, 
the cause of the intumescence of the fluid to cease acting, and 
that fluid to return to its original dimensions, the pressure of 
the superincumbent mass A B may thus be wholly or partially 
removed from the fluid. " Hence, assuming that solidification 
is promoted by great pressure, it evidently appears how a 
portion of the interior mass might be maintained in a state of 
fluidity by the removal of a superincumbent pressure, which 
would otherwise have brought it to a state of solidity." 

" It is not essential to assume that the arch shall entirely 
support itself. It may be partly supported by the fluid be- 
neath, or it may break down in certain points, or along cer- 
tain lines, and form there new supports intermediate to the 
extreme ones. Instead of one continuous internal lake, a num- 
ber may thus be formed, connected with each other by more 
or less obstructed channels of communication." 

The phenomenon previously mentioned, which this hypothesis 
so well explains, is the following : — When faults, or shiftings 
of the strata, occur in mines, it is always found that the dis- 

Interior of the Globe, 3d 

located portion is to be sought above or below, according as 
the line of fault, traced downwards across the bed, inclines 
outwards from, or inwards to, its plane. Thus if w, a bed in 
the mass e, is cut off by the fault t dividing e from d, the miner 
seeks for the prolongation of it downward, and will find it at n, 
because the line of fault t inclines outward from the plane of 
the bed. If, again, he had been working on n, he would have 
sought the prolongation upward, because the angle inclines in 
the opposite way. The explanation is, that the fluid matter 
in the cavity R exerts a greater pressure on the masses ac egi^ 
whose broad sides are downwards, than onb df /*, whose nar- 
row sides are downwards, and in the general movement the 
former are therefore pushed farther up than the latter. Or, 
to express it in another form, the latter slip down till their 
immersion in the fluid counterbalances the narrower surface 
exposed to its pressure. This curious fact in mining has long 
been observed ; and, so far as I know, it has hitherto baffled 
the ingenuity of geologists to give even a plausible explanation 
of it. 

The hypothesis of the fluid matter existing in isolated cavi- 
ties at a moderate depth, enables us to explain some of the 
phenomena of volcanoes by the operation of an agent which is 
known to be always present, namely steam or watery vapour. 
Professor Bischof of Bonn, in an elaborate and learned me- 
moir,* calculates that steam, at its maximum elasticity, is ca- 
pable of supporting a column of liquid lava 17 miles in height. 
The depth at which the internal heat of the globe would suf- 
fice to keep lava in a state of fusion, is estimated at 20 or SO 
miles ; but the data are too imperfect to indicate the ratio of 
increase with any certainty. The increase, too, may follow a 
geometrical, instead of the arithmetical, ratio assumed ; and in 
this case the depth will be much less. Besides, if there is an 
excess of heat at the bottom of a reservoir, the matter may be 
kept fluid by circulation, to a level much nearer the surface 
than the supposed limit of fusing temperature. Watery va- 
pour, also, may not only reach the cavity containing the fluid 
matter, but may mingle with it through chinks in the volcanic 

* Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, January and April 1839. 

40 On the Constitution and Construction of the 

vent ; and, " as a bubble of air let into a barometer tube drives 
the mercury into the Torricellian vacuum far above the baro- 
metric height, aqueous vapour may raise a column of lava of a 
height equal to its expansive force into the channels opening 
into the craters."* We may thus have a continual alterna- 
tion of columns of lava and steam rising in succession, the 
consequence of which would be an alternate ejection of lava, 
red-hot masses, and clouds of vapour, as well exemplified at 

Now, to enable the steam to exert the prodigious force re- 
quired, we must suppose both it and the lava on which it acts 
to be lodged in a cavity, surrounded on all sides by solid resist- 
ing walls, with no opening but the volcanic vent and the chinks 
by which water is admitted. If lava were part of a central 
fluid nucleus, water reaching it at any point, after being con- 
verted into vapour, would glide along the under part of the 
solid crust, and settle at the highest vaulted cavities, till ad- 
ditions to its quantity or its temperature enabled it to open a 
passage for itself, or for a portion of the lava, through the 
crust. Water passing downwards from the ocean near the 
shore, might thus create a volcano at the distance of 500 or 
1000 miles inland, as readily as near the coast. But the fact 
of all active volcanoes being near the sea, or large bodies of 
water, is at variance with this supposition. On the contrary, 
it lends support to the conelusion, first, that water is a ne- 
cessary agent in volcanoes ; and, next, that the fluid matter 
upon which it acts exists in isolated basins of various forms 
and dimensions, confined within solid rocks. Thus, one basin 
150 miles in length may exist under southern Italy, connecting 
Vesuvius, the Lipari Isles, and Etna. There may be one 200 
miles in length and breadth, under Iceland ; and a vast trough 
4000 miles or more in length, but of comparatively small 
breadth, may extend under the Andes. The sudden and si- 
multaneous activity of three volcanoes in the Cordillera, far 
distant from each other, which broke out from a state of re- 
pose into violent eruption on the same day, favours the idea 
of a subterranean connection between them ; and the existence 

^ Jischof s Paper, p. 38, 

Interior of the Globe. 41 

of an almost continued line of craters in the intermediate 
spaces, strengthens the probability of such a connection. The 
three volcanoes were, Osorno in lat. 40° S., Concagua in 32° S., 
and Ooseguina in lat. 13° N., and the day of their simultane- 
ous eruption was 20th Jan. 1835. — (Mr Darwin, Trans. Geol. 
Soc, March 1838.) If the volcanoes at the two extremities 
of the line sympathize in their action, we would expect all the 
intermediate parts to be disturbed less or more ; and the ex- 
treme frequency of earthquakes in the Andes (often several in 
a day) may thus be the natural consequence of the long series 
of craters, the activity of any one of which will agitate the 
whole chain in a less or greater degree. 

The hypothesis helps us to explain local elevation and local 
subsidence. Fused matter must be subject to greater changes 
of temperature than solid matter. The one is influenced by 
conduction and circulation, the other by conduction only. A 
small contraction or expansion in a fluid mass 5 miles or 50 
miles deep, is sufficient alone to account for a portion of the 
external crust which forms its roof being raised or depressed, 
without calling in the agency of water at all. Then as to the 
causes of contraction and expansion, the fluid mass, indepen- 
dently of mere variations of temperature, may augment its 
bulk by dissolving a part of its walls, or diminish its bulk by 
partial or entire solidification. Again, let us suppose a large 
volume of steam to be permanently in contact with the fused 
mass, and so placed that it cannot escape, it will act like the 
air in the air-chamber of a fire-engine, and a small addition to 
its volume will force upwards, and eject, a part of the fused 
matter. I think, then, that the hypothesis of partial deposits 
of fluid matter has material advantages over that of a fluid 
nucleus. Firstly, it allows us to assign a thickness to the crust 
of the globe which is more in accordance with its known sta- 
bility. Secondly, it offers greater probabilities of such changes 
taking place in the condition of the matter itself, as the phe- 
nomena require us to suppose. Thirdly, by placing each fluid 
mass within solid walls, it better explains how these changes 
may manifest themselves at the surface ; because it allows us 
to suppose that the fused matter, confined and compressed 
within its rocky envelope, may ascend, on the same principle 

42 On the Constitution and Construction of the 

as the mercury ascends in the thermometrical tube. Fourthly, 
limited and local deposits of fused matter best account for 
limited and local movements — for certain portions of the earth's 
surface being repeatedly ruptured or disturbed, while others 
appear to be in a state of complete repose. 

While it was supposed that the source of subterranean ac- 
tion was at a vast depth under the surface, it was natural to 
infer that the effects of one movement might extend over a 
vast space. In common with many others, I was accustomed 
to consider it as probable that earthquake shocks which syn- 
chronised within a few hours, though happening in distant 
countries, might proceed from one and the same effort of the 
plutonic force. This was merely a conjecture, favoured by 
some facts, and opposed by others. A dditional light has lately 
been thrown on the subject by the researches of Mr David 
Milne. The register of the shocks at Comrie for some years 
past which he has published, and the record which he has col- 
lected of those occurring abroad, shew that the synchronism 
of shocks at distant localities, when carefully examined, wants 
the accuracy and consistency necessary to prove a common 
origin. Two well-known foci of disturbance are St Jean de 
Maurienne in Savoy, and Comrie in Scotland, separated by 
an interval of 1100 miles. It happens sometimes that an 
earthquake occurs at both on the same day, and the coinci- 
dence is thought remarkable. But on comparing a register of 
the shocks at each for the five months from October 1839 to 
March 1840, Mr Milne found that while no less than 150 were 
observed at Comrie, and 58 at St Jean de Maurienne, there 
was a complete want of that general agreement which a com- 
mon origin would have produced.* Indeed, when we are ap- 
prised of the frequency of the shocks at each locality, we na- 
turally infer that an accidental coincidence within the limits 
of a day must occur at times. Mr Milne, therefore, considers 
the evidence he has collected as irreconcileable with the idea 
that any connection exists betwixt the sources of subterranean 
movement at these localities. Other observations have led 
him to conclude, that even in cases where the seats of disturb- 

* Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. No. 12, p 363. 

Interior of the Globe. 43 

ance are comparatively near (as Comrie and Oban), their ac- 
tion may be independent of each other. The agitation felt 
over so wide a region at the great earthquake which destroyed 
Lisbon, and on other occasions, may be considered as a mere 
vibration propagated through the outer part of the crust, 
from the focus of disturbance, like the tremor which accom- 
panies the blasting of rocks. From the independence of ac- 
tion, he reasonably infers that the seat of disturbance cannot 
be at any great depth. These views harmonise with the con- 
clusions of Mr Hopkins, deduced from very diflPerent data. 
While, therefore, some of the basins of fused matter may be 
of great extent, like that under the Andes (supposing the 
synchronism of volcanic action over the long line to be estab- 
lished), others may be very small ; and the simultaneousness 
of disturbance at distant spots may be merely the effect of 
vibrations propagated from the centre. 

I shall advert in the briefest terms to some hypothetical 
views thrown out by Mr Hopkins, as to the changes of form 
the globe has undergone. If the earth was originally fluid, it 
might pass to the solid state in two modes. The heat would 
be continually dissipated from the surface, and would there- 
fore be greatest at the centre ; and so long as the mass was 
fluid, the inequality of the heat would cause a constant circu- 
lation betwixt the surface and the centre. Now, if the efl*ect 
of heat in preventing solidification was greater than the effect 
of pressure in promoting it, solidification would begin at the 
surface, where a crust would be formed, and would constantly 
increase in thickness, by layer after layer added to its under 
side. But if the eff'ect of pressure in promoting solidification 
was greater than the eff'ect of heat in preventing it, solidifica- 
tion would begin at the centre and extend outwardly. While 
the process was going on, circulation would continue in the 
fluid part exterior to the solid nucleus. But before the last 
portions become solid, a state of imperfect fluidity would 
arise, just sufficient to prevent circulation. The cooled par- 
ticles at the surface being then no longer able to descend, a 
crust would be formed, from which the process of solidification 
would proceed far more rapidly downwards than upwards 
from the solid nucleus. Our globe would thus arrive at a 

44 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

state in which it would be composed of a solid exterior shell, 
and a solid central nucleus, with matter in a state of fusion 
betwixt them — a state, in short, similar to that indicated in 
figure 2, supposing the central space, N, to be filled up with 
solid matter. 

On the Terrestrial Arrangements connectedwith the Appearance 
of Man on the Earth: heing the substance of a Lecture de- 
livered by Professor Gustav Bischof of Bonn, at Bonn. 

I. Coal and Soil. 

Coal. Evaporation goes on the more rapidly the higher the 
temperature of the sea and of the surrounding atmosphere. The 
southern seas are, therefore, much more productive of vapours 
than those situated farther to the north. Moreover, during 
the earliest geological periods, when the amount of heat diffused 
over the earth was comparatively greater than at present, the 
quantity of atmospheric moisture must have been much more 

We have, in one of our former lectures, pointed out the 
surprising grandeur and luxuriance which characterised the 
vegetation that was destined to furnish the materials for the 
formation of our immense beds of coal. Whence comes this 
luxuriant growth of plants ? Because the two main conditions 
of vegetable life, heat and moisture, were then much more 
copiously diffused than they are at present. 

It has also been observed in one of our former lectures, that 
the ocean covered a much larger space ages ago ; and that ex- 
tensive countries now raised above the sea, were then but in- 
considerable islands. The ocean yielded a greater amount of 
vapours, not only because it was warmer, but because it pre- 
sented a larger surface. These, then, were the principal 
causes active in the production of a very great early vegeta- 
tion. It has been incontestibly proved, that at one time the 
whole earth, with the exception of a few islands, must have 
been covered by the waters of the ocean. We shall here make 
a few remarks on this subject. If, for instance, our Rhine 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth, 45 

pi'ovince had formerly possessed the same extent of surface as 
at present, we would feel completely at a loss to account iot 
the fact, that the coal strata are so irregularly distributed over 
the country. 

The same causes which, in the vicinity of Saarbrucken, of 
Eshweiler and of Aachen, gave rise to a luxuriant vegetation, 
and which influenced the formation of such extensive beds of 
coal, must have been in operation all over the other dis- 
tricts of the Rhine province. Instead of this, the coal has 
been deposited in isolated basins, analogous to the manner in 
which islands are grouped together. Some of these coal-beds 
are, however, of considerable dimensions ; witness, for instance, 
the enormous coal-beds in England and Scotland, which prove 
such a blessing to these two countries, and which lead us to 
infer, that, during the period of luxuriant vegetation. Great 
Britain had nearly attained to its present size. 

Another component element of our atmosphere, viz., car- 
bonic acid gas, formerly in large quantities, and which con- 
stitutes a chief portion of the nourishment of plants, in con- 
junction with heat and moisture, acted a prominent part in 
the production of a vegetation remarkable for its luxuriance. 

On examining more closely, we cannot but perceive the ad- 
mirable order displayed, in all the arrangements of nature. 
This very element of our atmosphere, the carbonic acid, so 
indispensable to the growth of plants, is prejudicial to animal 
life ; for an atmosphere containing more than 8 per cent, of 
this gas proves fatal to every animal, our own species not 
excepted. It kills, because it arrests the process of breathing. 
Nevertheless, the elements of which it is composed are neces- 
sary to the sustenance of human life. Not a single animal 
has been gifted by nature with the faculty of digesting these 
elements when presented under this particular form. Vegeta- 
tion was destined to inter-mediate between unorganized na- 
ture and the animal world. An unorganized world issued 
from the hand of the Creator ; immense quantities of carbonic 
acid gas were disengaged from its bowels. This gas was de- 
composed by plants, the second wonder of the creation ; and 
food was thus provided for animals, the third wonder of the 

46 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

For what reason was it that warm-blooded animals did not 
make their appearance when such enormous quantities of food 
lay ready for consumption? Because the colossal vegetables were 
destined to purify the atmosphere, and to reduce the carbonic 
acid gas to a certain minimum. (The average proportion in 
which it occurs in our present atmosphere is nearly one in 2000 
parts.) But they were also destined to furnish the materials for 
fuel and commerce. The next period brought to light the various 
species of monstrous reptiles ; the gigantic lizards, and others. 
All the conditions necessary to the growth and propagation of 
these monsters were then in existence : abundance of food, and 
an excess of heat and moisture. The atmosphere at that time 
— in a state of much greater impurity than it is at present — 
could have no effect on these reptiles, accustomed as they were 
to breathe the foul air of swamps and marshes. 

It was for the exclusive benefit of mankind that these early 
vegetables were converted into dead matter, so as to furnish 
the materials for coal. We are always in the habit of consi- 
dering the material world created for no other object than that 
of ministering to our own immediate wants and pleasures. 
"We fancy ourselves the lords of the whole creation ; and it is, 
therefore, natural to ask for what purpose was it that such a 
vast number of animals were first created, and these again de- 
stroyed — what part in the great drama of life was to be per- 
formed by those large reptiles \ We might answer with a 
verse from Ecclesiastes (i. 4), " One generation passeth away, 
and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever." 
Let us, however, be more explicit on this subject. 

In the first place, let us put the question in general terms. 
Why have millions and millions of animals been doomed to 
live and to die before man could make his appearance on earth % 
The answer is very simple. The Brahmins live exclusively 
on vegetable diet. This proves that we can exist without the 
flesh of animals. There are many amongst us who, in imita- 
tion of monastic discipline, abstain altogether from animal food. 
We might thus be induced to believe that human existence is 
independent of animals. It is easy to expose the fallacy of this 
reasoning. We assert that those who feed upon vegetables 
only, belong, nevertheless, to the class of carnivorous animals. 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth, 47 

This looks very paradoxical, but still it is true, We may, in- 
deed, live on mere vegetable diet, provided that the plants 
have grown on a soil manured with the dung of animals ; but 
the dung of animals implies the existence of these latter. Ani- 
mals were, therefore, of necessity the precursors of the human 
race. Animals are said to be either carnivorous or herbivor- 
ous. We may, with equal justice, express ourselves in this 
manner : every animal is both herbivorous and carnivorous. 
Our horses and our cattle are classed among the herbivorous 
animals, but their food is produced on a soil fertilized by the 
dung of animals. Although we are not in the habit of manur- 
ing our pasture lands, it is easy to prove that the growth of 
the grass depends entirely on the presence of animal manure, 
which, if not actually mixed with the soil, is carried to the 
plants by the atmosphere. 

As it is very evident that the world of animals has emanated 
from that of vegetables, it follows that the first race of animals 
inhabiting our earth were purely herbivorous. It would, how- 
ever, be difficult to point out the exact species. I merely wish 
to draw your attention to the fact, that when plants, of what- 
ever description, are made to pass into a state of putrefaction 
by keeping them immersed in water, a crowd of animalculae — 
the so-called Infusoria — is then brought to view by the micro- 
scope. The same mysterious laws, which cause animals to 
spring up under our own eyes, were likewise in operation at 
the period when the earliest race of animals was called into 
being. With the infusoria the first link of the great chain is 
given, connecting one generation with another, until it closes 
with our own species, the last and most perfect of created ani- 

All that is required are infusoria — dating their birth from 
the putrefaction of vegetable matter — in order to obtain a 
series of carnivorous animals. 

The moment that plants began to decay, and to give rise to 
infusoria, which, in their turn, fell a prey to other small ani- 
mals — ^for instance, to the mollusca, which again became the 
food of a larger species, &c. — they became part of the food of the 
monstrous reptiles, the most voracious of the then existing 
animals ; that moment organization had taken a new direction. 

48 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

Ages ago, when by far the greater portion of vegetables was 
converted into dead matter for the formation of coal, there was 
but little left for the food of molluscous and other small animals. 
The converse appears to have taken place in a later period. 
The red and variegated sandstone formations, and the groups 
of oolites, where those monstrous reptiles are still found in a 
fossil state, is indeed productive of coal, but the beds are very 
thin and few in number. On the other hand, the remains of 
animals are copiously disseminated throughout the whole mass 
of the rocks just mentioned. These remains, the result of de- 
cayed animal and vegetable substances, and of very common 
occurrence in the various kinds of sandstone, are all comprised 
under the term Bitumen. Accordingly, we read in geological 
works of bituminous slate, of bituminous limestone, &c. In 
the copper slate, which is a formation very widely distributed, 
and where the working of mines proves to be a lucrative busi- 
ness — as, for example, at Stadzbergen, in the province of West- 
phalia — ^the bitumen amounts to the tenth part of the weight. 
This slate abounds with the impressions of fish, from the sub- 
stance of which the bitumen has for the most part been de- 
rived. The contorted position frequently indicated by these 
impressions intimates a violent and sudden death of the animal ; 
and their complete preservation proves, that, soon after death, 
the fish were imbedded in a mass of finely divided mud. 

In a similar manner, the colouring principle of the most 
esteemed species of marble, embracing the spotted and striped 
varieties, as also those of a yellow, red, brown, or blackish 
colour, consist exclusively of bitumen. Hence it happens that 
all these species burn completely white — the bitumen is de- 
stroyed, and the white limestone remains. The drawing slate 
(black chalk) used by artists is likewise indebted to bitumen 
for the blackness of its colour. 

The manner in which animal substances are transformed into 
bitumen is very plainly illustrated by the ammonites — a genus of 
shell abounding in the lias formation. Among the vast number 
of ammonites' found in the lias, we have had occasion to examine 
several where the large external chamber forming the abode of the 
animal is found half empty. The creature in its death-struggle 
seems to have, as far as possible, retreated into this part of the 

tlie Appearance of Man on the Earth. 49 

ishell, so as to prevent the mud from entering. The matter 
which occupies the other divisions of this latter chamber is, 
owing to the decay of the animal, highly bituminous. 

Soil. If we now consider, that all the mountain strata, formed 
at a time when billions of animals might easily be buried in 
their substance, are filled with their remains, we may justly 
regard these strata as the large cemeteries or burying-grounds 
of antiquity, if we be allowed to use such an expression. The 
greater portion of the crust of our globe is formed by these 
strata. Let us, for instance, examine the mountains of Swit- 
zerland and of our own country. In the Jura mountains of 
Switzerland the strata rise to a height of from 4000 to 5000 
feet above the sea ; they continue their course through Swa- 
bia and a part of Bavaria, as far as Saxe-Coburg, reappearing 
in the north of Germany between the Weser and the Hartz 
mountains. Similar strata are found in Swabia and the 
northern parts of Germany, and amongst them the red sand- 
stone formations occur in considerable masses. 

Suppose the surface of all these strata to be decomposed by 
the action of the atmosphere, and to be converted into earth, 
what will be the result \ We obtain a mould or soil impreg- 
nated with primordial manure. All those animal and vege- 
table substances, which have been imbedded in these moun- 
tain strata during the period of their formation, are there still, 
existing, in a mineralised condition, under the form of bitu- 
men ; for not a particle of matter can be lost. Since the Crea« 
tion, there has not been lost one single grain of sand, nor one 
single drop of water. There is only motion in a circle, — one 
metamorphosis succeeding another. It follows, therefore, that 
all those mountain strata, which abound with the remains of 
animals and vegetables, furnish a species of rich soil. Plants 
and fruit-trees thrive and give nourishment to man and beasts, 
at the expense of these remains and of this primordial manure. 
We return to the fields, through the medium of manure, what 
we gather from them at the various seasons. Again a motion 
in a circle. 

Nature, in order to distribute the fertile mould over the 
country, and to carry it even to the lower plains and sandy 
deserts, has raised into a vertical position the strata so often 


50 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

alluded to, and which were originally deposited at the bottom 
of the sea. 

They have been raised to heights exceeding 10,000 and 
12,000 feet. I shall here advert to one particular mountain. 
Six years ago, as I was ascending the Faulhorn, which is 
situated in the highlands of the Canton Bern, and rises about 
8,200 feet above the level of the sea, I inquired of my guide 
concerning the origin of the name given to that mountain. 
His answer was, because the rocks of which it is composed, 
are more apt to rot than any others in Switzerland, This was 
not correctly expressed ; because stones cannot undergo the 
process of rotting. I understood, however, what he meant to 
say ; and I became soon enlightened on the subject by ocular 
inspection. The mountain is formed of a species of slate of 
a blackish colour, which is easily decomposed by the action of 
the atmosphere. The water insinuates itself between the 
laminse, and expanding, when in the act of freezing, tears the 
rocks asunder ; so that, on the commencement of thaw, large 
masses of stone are seen to roll down into the valleys below, 
where they break to pieces, are decomposed, and finally dis- 
solved into a mould of a deep black colour. On lifting up 
stones of the size of my fist, or larger, they appeared so soft 
to the touch, that I could easily reduce them to powder be- 
tween my fingers. Towards the end of August, I spent a few 
days on the top of this mountain (the highest in Switzerland, 
where the traveller can be accommodated with lodgings), with 
the view of making experiments. It was one of my objects 
to observe the temperature of the ground in such an altitude. 
I hardly expected to accomplish this, as it was necessary to fix 
the thermometer in the ground to the depth of nearly one 
foot, a thing quite impracticable on heights consisting of solid 
rock. To my astonishment, on removing the snow, I could, 
with the greatest ease, penetrate the ground to the depth of 
several feet, where I discovered a mould so rich, and of a colour 
so intensely black, that I would think myself fortunate to have 
some of it in my garden. There, on the borders of eternal 
snow, we might rear the most delicate garden-plants, were it 
but possible to provide them with the necessary quantity of 
heat. This valuable humus was evidently derived from the 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth. 51 

decomposition of the strata of the black limestone rock, of 
which the Faulhorn chiefly consists. 

The mountain-torrents, when swelled by a continuation of 
rain, or by the melting of snow, carry this fertile mould from 
the mountain to the lowlands. The Bergelbach, one of the 
largest, is charged to such a degree with this finely divided 
earth, that the water has assumed a deep black colour, and 
that it communicates this tint to another glacier stream, some- 
what the size of our Sieg, which, on that account, has received 
the name of the Black Liitchine. 

The productive powers of this mould are displayed to advan- 
tage on taking the rather dangerous route from the Faulhorn 
to the Giessbach, a celebrated waterfall in the vicinity of the 
Lake of Brience. As soon as we pass into the region of forests, 
we encounter the most luxuriant vegetation, not surpassed by 
that of tropical countries. The tallest fir-trees are there 
crowded together, improving the soil by their decay, and 
thereby clearing a space for the growth of others. The tra- 
veller forces his way with great difficulty through the shrubs, 
and across an ocean of the most delicious strawberries, rasp- 
berries, and bilberries, &c. 

What enormous quantities of the most fruitful soil have 
been transferred from this mountain alone to the lowlands, 
through the agency of the mountain-torrents ! And this has 
been going on for centuries, and will continue for thousands 
of years, until, in the course of time, the whole Colossus, now 
at an elevation of 8200 feet above the level of the sea, shall 
have entirely disappeared. 

After such reflections, we need no longer be astonished at 
the fertility of the valley of the Rhine, for which it is indebted 
to Switzerland. What wonder, if, by the accumulation of a 
fertile mould, which, for thousands of years, has been floating 
down the Rhine, entire countries, such as Holland, have, out 
of large plains covered by the sand of the sea, been converted 
into the most fruitful corn-fields and pasture-lands ^ Indeed 
the Dutch ought to pronounce the name of Switzerland with 
the greatest respect, for Holland owes its existence altogether 
to Switzerland. 

My friend, Von Dechen, has informed us, that the waters 

52 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

of the Rhine rose formerly to a much higher level than at 
present. At that period, the river deposited a species of 
earth of a yellowish- white colour, which bears the name of 
marl (in German, Loss). This earth may be seen to the right- 
of the public road between Remagen and Sinzig, extending in 
compact masses high on the neighbouring hills. It occurs, 
moreover, on the road from Poppelsdorf to Typendorf. It is 
likewise a gift of Switzerland ; though many tributaries of the 
Rhine, rising in the Schwarzwald, Overwald, &;c., come in for 
a certain share. The vegetation between Remagen and Sin- 
zig proves it to be a mould possessing strong productive 
powers, though inferior to that of the Faulhorn and other 
mountains of Switzerland. 

II. Saltpetre. 

Chemical experiments have demonstrated, beyond all doubt, 
that saltpetre, a well-known salt, requires for its production 
the presence of animal remains. From time immemorial 
this salt has been procured from Egypt, the East Indies, &c. ; 
formerly in smaller quantities, but since the invention of gun- 
powder, of which it is the chief element, its importation has 
become very considerable. In those hot countries, the salt 
effloresces on the surface of the ground. The species of 
rock from which it is secreted, has recently been examined 
in the island of Ceylon, where saltpetre is of frequent occur- 
rence, and the result has shewn it to be a limestone con- 
taining animal matter. Mariano de Rivero discovered, not 
many years ago, immense quantities of a similar salt, the 
so-called cubic saltpetre^ in the wilds of Atacama, a pro- 
vince belonging to Peru. The bed which it forms is over- 
topped by a thin coating of earth, and extends in one direc- 
tion for upwards of an hundred miles, in beds of variable 
thickness. There is not the least doubt that a multitude of 
animals found their grave in this quarter. 

How singular, that one race of animals was doomed to 
perish, in order to furnish, in such vast quantities, the mate- 
rials for the destruction of other races of animals ; and we 
grieve to think even for the slaughter of human beings when 
engaged in deadly warfare. But whatever may be the per- 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth. 53 

nicious effects of saltpetre when employed under the form of 
gunpowder, it is impossible to do without it in the present 
advanced state of society. The want of gunpowder would 
prevent us from conducting roads through rocks and over large 
mountains, and from building tunnels for the use of railroads. 
Without saltpetre, chemistry, which so powerfully influences 
our trades and commerce, would scarcely have existence. 

After all these reflections, is there still need of asking, why 
were such multitudes of animals destined to live and to die 
before man could make his appearance on earth \ 

What a miserable doom, one might exclaim, was imposed 
on the extinct races of animals, to live merely in order to 
perish ! But what other fate awaits the present race of ani- 
mals ? What diff'erence is there between the slaughtered ox 
and those monstrous reptiles which, millions of years ago, were 
suffocated in mud ? Merely this, that the flesh of the former 
.is directly used for food, whilst that of the latter was fit- 
.tcd for our nourishment only after a series of metamor- 
phoses. I have remarked, in my last lecture, that nothing on 
earth exists for its own sake, but that every thing is created 
for the attainment of higher objects. Even man himself is 
but a link in the great chain of events. The moment he 
begins to care for nothing beyond his own self, he ceases to 
be a useful member of society. It is our duty to employ our 
talents and our skill for the good of our fellow-creatures ; and, 
as regards the lower animals, we consider them bound to serve 
us with their physical strength, and with their body. 

III. Water— its Effects. 
On casting another glance upon those long periods which 
my colleague, Mr Goldfuss, has so well described, we cannot 
but perceive, that when Divine Providence caused a vegeta- 
tion to spring up for the subsequent deposition of coal-beds, 
it was with the view of supplying us with fuel and the means 
of preparing our food. Nature made use of the then superfluous 
heat by expending it on the growth of a luxuriant vegetation, 
and afterwards of a vigorous animalization. This was a very 
wise arrangement in the economy of nature. She, in order 
to store up a portion of the original heat for the benefit of the 
future race of man, buried, in the bowels of the earth, the 

54 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

whole mass of vegetables which had been reared by the aid of 
a high temperature. A pious mind cannot but feel deeply 
moved, on contemplating the infinite wisdom and goodness of 
the Creator, which is manifested in the works of nature. 
" O Lord," so we may exclaim with the Psalmist (Ps. civ. 24), 
** how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made 
them all : the earth is full of thy riches.'' I have already 
observed, that the temperature and the waters of the sea 
have always been on the decrease since the period character- 
ised by the growth of a monstrous vegetation. What was 
the consequence \ This decrease of the temperature and of 
the waters of the sea involved a decrease in the amount of 
vapours, which arise from the latter, and descend again, 
under the form of rain. In order to remedy this, and to 
restore the balance, it became necessary to raise up chains of 
lofty mountains. 

It is a well-known fact, proved even by our hills, the Sie- 
bengebirge,and the Slate Mountains of the Rhine, that a greater 
quantity of moisture is condensed from the atmosphere by the 
action of mountains, than by that of plains. 

We observe, that the clouds are attracted by the mountains, 
that they discharge upon them their contents, and give origin 
to springs, brooks, and rivers. It is said in the same Psalm, 
that the Lord sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run 
among the hills. 

It was sufficient to raise the chain of the Alps in order to 
supply with water, through the medium of the largest streams, 
a considerable portion of Europe, — ^the south and west of Ger- 
many, the Netherlands, the south of France, the north of Italy, 
Hungary, and European Turkey. 

Those parts of the Alps which have been lifted above the 
snow-line, became, of necessity, covered with eternal snow. 
There was nothing lost by this arrangement, though large 
tracts of country were thus rendered inaccessible to the growth 
of plants and animals ; for beyond a certain altitude there is 
an end to every species of organized products. Add to this, 
that on the other side of the Alps a large extent of country, 
traversed by low ranges of hills, is well adapted for the growth 
of organized products. A fertile mould, covering the ground 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth, Hi 

for miles, and extensive tracts of Alpine country, where nu- 
merous flocks of cattle and goats are seen to pasture, became 
the result of those subterraneous actions by which nature has 
uplifted mountains. Fertility was gradually spread from the 
Alps to the most distant countries of Europe. The heat en- 
gendered in the narrow and deeply indented valleys of the 
Alps would become intolerable, and forbid the growth of plants, 
unless the atmosphere were constantly cooled down by the 
neighbouring snow and ice-mountains as also by the ice-cold 
waters of the glaciers. 

In the same way as the superfluous heat of former ages has 
been, as it were, preserved by the coal-beds, the water which, 
during winter, falls down in the form of snow, is stored up in 
the Alps for the summer season. Glaciers descend from the 
highest parts of the Alps, which lie buried in everlasting 
snow, into those regions where the snow begins to melt in 
summer. At the same time that those rivers, which do not rise 
from the Alps or glaciers, as, for instance, our Elbe, Oder, &c., 
are nearly dried up during the summer months, the streams 
issuing from the Alps, as, for instance, the Rhine, the Danube, 
the Rhone, the Etch, &c., continue to swell in proportion as 
the heat increases ; for the greater the heat the larger will 
be the supply of water, formed by the melting of the snow 
and of the ice of the glaciers. Nature has covered the Alps 
with eternal snow and ice ; but she avoided to do so with re- 
gard to the inferior regions of lakes and of the sea, because 
she intended them for the abode of organized beings. To 
what expedient did Nature resort, in order to eflect her object ? 
She fell upon a very simple plan, but which appears, on that 
account, so much the more wonderful. 

All substances, both in the liquid and in the solid state, 
contract during the process of cooling ; and the more so the 
longer that process is carried on. We may observe this every 
day on the liquid mercury contained in the glass tube of our 
thermometers. We perceive that the column contracts when- 
ever the cold increases. The thermometer is then said to fall. 
The contraction of water is, however, regulated by a law very 
different, and very peculiar. It is certainly true that water 

56 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

contracts in proportion as the cold increases ; but the instant 
that it has cooled down as far as 39° Fah., it ceases to con- 
tract, — ^nay, at a still lower temperature, it begins again to 
expand, and continues to do so down to the freezing point. 
The power of expansion is so considerable, that the strongest 
metallic vessels, if completely filled with water, and closely 
shut, are seen to burst during the process of freezing. This 
power is indeed irresistible. I request you to keep this in 
remembrance, since I shall afterwards have occasion to revert 
to this subject. 

Water diminishes in volume, and gains in specific gravity, 
in proportion as it continues to contract. Again, a heavier 
fluid sinks below that which is lighter, as may be witnessed 
on pouring water on oil. In the same way the heavier 
particles of water descend through those which are lighter, 
and the lighter ones rise through those which are heavier. 
What takes place in a lake, for instance, in our Laacher 
Lake, on the commencement of the winter's cold ? The 
sheet of water on the surface being in immediate contact 
with the cold atmosphere, begins to assume a lower tempera- 
ture. It contracts, becomes heavier, and sinks down through 
the water below, which, being warmer and lighter, rises in its 
turn to the surface. This movement continues, until the water 
which is uppermost has acquired the temperature of about 
39° Fah. ; its specific gravity is then at its maximum. Water 
of this temperature has, therefore, still a tendency to sink ; 
but it loses that tendency the moment that it cools down 
below 39° Fah. ; for now it begins again to expand, becomes 
lighter, and swims on the warmer water below, as oil swims 
on water. It follows from this, that water of a temperature 
lower than 39° Fah., can never reach the bottom of the lake. 
We have thus explained the mystery, why deep lakes can 
never be frozen to the bottom. The temperature of water, 
which occupies the lower regions of lakes, can never sink 
below 39° Fah. ; whence we infer that, at a certain depth, 
there exists a temperature of about 39° F., and this not only 
in winter, but likewise in summer. I have said likewise in 
summer, because it is obvious that water of the above tempe- 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth, 57 

rature can never be replaced by water of a higher tempera- 
ture, on account of the inferior weight of the latter. Deep lakes 
exhibit, therefore, this peculiarity, that heat cannot descend 
downwards, whereas cold may. But as it is impossible for water 
of an icy temperature to arrive at the bottom of the lake, it 
follows that the lake cannot be frozen to the bottom. 

Many experiments, made, for instance, in the lakes of Swit- 
zerland, prove the truth of our theory. On examination, the 
temperature of their lower regions amounts at all seasons to 
from 41° Fah. to 43°.2 Fah. The cause why it was never exactly 
39° Fah., is attributable partly to the internal heat of the earth, 
partly to the circumstance that water of the temperature of 
39° Fah. never reaches the bottom without being mixed with 
some of the warmer particles through which it passes. This 
temperature of 41° Fah. or 43° Fah. is observed in all the lakes 
where that of the surrounding atmosphere sinks in winter at 
least as low as 39° Fah. It is common to all the lakes of the 
northern and southern countries of Europe ; as, for instance, 
to the lakes of Sweden, Norway, and Lower Germany, as well 
as to those of the Alps and of Italy. Hence it is intelligible 
why the same species of fish are found in lakes belonging to 
very different climes. The unequal temperature of the atmo- 
sphere does not in the least affect them. The fish inhabiting 
the lakes in the north of Sweden swim about in their native 
element at a depth where the water has constantly the same 
temperature ; as is, for instance, observed in the Lago di Como, 
although in winter the atmosphere frequently shows 20° or 30° 
below 32° Fah., whilst in summer it rises here as many degrees 
above 32° Fah. It is only during the hot season that the fish 
betake themselves to the upper regions, in order to deposit 
their spawn. 

The same providential care which Nature has bestowed on 
the accommodation of the finny tribe is also discernible in the 
manner in which she has attended to the comforts of quadru- 
peds. The organization of each particular class is strictly 
adapted to the climate and condition of the country assigned 
to it. The ice bear and the reindeer are confined to the polar 
regions ; the lion and the leopard to the torrid zone. Misery 
and death await them should they venture beyond the bounds 

58 Oil the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

of their native clime. Birds, the most nimble of all ani- 
mals, are by nature allowed the most extensive range. The 
birds of passage — as swallows — too delicate for the severity of 
our winters, leave us in autumn, in search of warmer countries. 
Reptiles — as toads, lizards, serpents, &c. — not provided with 
the means of escape, hide themselves in the bosom of the 
earth, to protect themselves from the winter's cold. The in- 
sects, which in summer swarm about in such abundance, perish 
at the commencement of winter, but their eggs and larvae are 
preserved for the propagation of their species. How very dif- 
ferent from this is the life of fish, allowed to traverse their 
native element at a depth where they may always enjoy the 
same uniform temperature. 

Suppose, now, that the creation of water had been left to 
ourselves — short-sighted beings as we are — with what properties 
would we have endowed it ? It would never have occurred to 
us, in the case of the contraction of water, to deviate from the 
general law with regard to the contraction of bodies. Like 
other fluids, we would have made it to contract as far as the 
freezing point. What would have been the consequence \ In 
one severe winter the beautiful lakes of the Alps, and of other 
countries visited by frost, would have been frozen to the bot- 
tom. The fish, and every other creature in them, would have 
died — a whole creation v/ould have perished. Nothing is 
plainer than this. 

It is evident that lakes, no deeper than the Rhine, will re- 
quire the same time for cooling down to 32° Fah. The tempera- 
ture of that river sinks to 32° Fah. a few days after the com- 
mencement of frost, when shoals of ice are seen to float about. 
For a series of winters I have been in the habit of examining the 
temperatui'e of the Rhine at the time of incipient frost, when 
I have invariably found that the thermometer, although it stood 
several degrees above 32° Fah., fell to the freezing point upon 
the weather continuing severe for three days. You may make 
the same observation, with less inconvenience to yourselves, 
if you watch the Rhine from your windows. Mark the day 
when the first ice is seen on the streets. On that day you will 
never perceive any ice floating on the Rhine. This will, how- 
ever, be the case after a few days of sudden and intense frost. 

the Appearance of Man on the Earth. 60 

But it is not only on the surface that the Rhine assumes the 
temperature of 32° Fah. ; it may be traced at whatever depth we 
examine it. Several years ago this matter was very carefully 
investigated at Strasburg. Water, drawn from different depths, 
shewed the same temperature of 32° with that on the surface. 
In some places the Rhine is more than fifty feet deep. 
This river being frozen three days after the commencement of 
severe frost, it follows that a lake 1500 feet deep, for instance 
the Lake of Geneva, will cool down to 32° in the course of 
three months ; so that the next moment it may be converted 
into one solid mass of ice. Considering that in the Alps, 
where the lakes occupy a much more elevated situation, the 
winter makes its appearance in November, and frequently lasts 
till April or May, it is evident that such lakes will already be 
frozen to the bottom before the end of February. It is true, 
that, in the succeeding summer, the ice would begin to melt 
on the surface, but that would scarcely produce a sheet of 
water a few feet deep ; for, in order to melt a mass of ice 1500 
feet thick, it would require our summer heat to continue with- 
out intermission for many years. Such lakes would cease to 
deserve the appellation of lakes ; they would for ever present 
one solid mass of ice. 

Such would have been the fate of the magnificent lakes in 
Switzerland, in Upper Bavaria, and in Upper Italy ; of the 
charming Lago Maggiore, of the Lago di Como, and others. 
Their fish would have been frozen to death, and their shores 
stripped of that matchless luxuriance of vegetation for which 
they are so remarkable. Steam-boats would have been out of 
the question, for the thin sheet of water obtained by the melt- 
ing of the upper crust of ice would scarcely admit of the use of 
flat canoes. 

Our beautiful lakes in Northern Germany, for instance 
those of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, and which are almost 
the only ornaments of those countries, would be visited by a 
similar misfortune. We might certainly, up to the middle of 
summer, amuse ourselves with skating, and with excursions on 
sledges ; but then the ice would melt so slowly as to leave the 
lakes scarcely accessible to the smallest boats. 

How different would be the aspect of countries if water had 

60 On the Terrestrial Arrangements connected with 

not been endowed with the peculiar property of attaining its 
maximum density at about 39° Fah. In the contrary case, 
nothing would have been better, but everything so much the 
worse ; and we ought, therefore, to give praise to our Creator, 
who, by such simple means, has conferred on mankind such 
great and everlasting benefits. Job, the hero of that well- 
known ancient poem, seems to allude to this when he says, 
chap, xxxviii. 29, 30, " Out of whose womb came the ice 1 The 
waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is 

The atheist may object to this, and protest that the water 
received this property by a mere caprice of nature. But what 
right have we so to call that beautiful arrangement, whereby 
such important ends are accomplished? He who does not 
recognise therein the power and exceeding mercy of God, will 
never find it elsewhere. 

Let us now turn away from that picture of desolation, and once 
more direct our attention to contemplate that wise arrangement 
by which such great things have been effected. A continued 
frost is requisite, in order to reduce the temperature of deep 
lakes to 39° Fah. If the frost continues still longer, a thin 
layer of water at the surface begins to undergo the pro^ 
cess of freezing. The crust of ice that is forming slowly in- 
creases downwards, but, on the appearance of thaw, its growth 
is immediately arrested. Under this cover the fish con- 
tinue in a lively and active condition, because the region in 
which they move about preserves, winter and summer, the 
same temperature. A few warm days of spring are sufficient 
to melt the ice, and to destroy every trace of the winter. 

The time which is required in order to cool the lakes down 
to 39° Fah., and to continue that process on their surface, is 
proportional to their depth. The freezing of deep lakes is, 
therefore, a very rare occurrence. It has happened but once 
within these fifty-four years, namely, in the year 1830, that 
the Lake of Constance was frozen over during the severe frost 
in January and February. It was almost completely covered 
with ice, with the exception, however, of a small circle opposite 
to Frederichshafen, which, being exactly over the spot where 
it is deepest, presented an open space, scattered over with 

tfie Appearance of Man on the Earth. 61 

shoals of floating ice. The greatest thickness of the ice was 
found to be half a foot. Of course, a few warm days of spring 
were sufficient to remove all traces of the ice. 

The sea presents relations very analogous to those of lakes ; 
But there is this diflPerence, that the water of the former, 
owing to its salt condition, takes much longer time to freeze 
than that of the latter. 

I have stated before, that water expands in the act of freez- 
ing, and that this power is irresistible. It follows from this, 
that ice must be lighter than water ; for it is seen to swim on 
the latter. 

Here we have again a proof of Divine wisdom. What would 
be the consequence if the ice had been heavier than water \ 
That substance would sink to the bottom as soon as it is 
formed, a second layer would thus be deposited, and so on, 
until the whole bed of the Rhine was filled with ice. Ah 
impenetrable and immoveable ice-wall would thus begin to 
overtop the water, cause the river to overflow, and to depo- 
sit fresh masses of ice. The ice-wall would then rise above 
the banks, occasioning the most fearful inundations, by which 
the whole country would be converted into one scene of desor 
lation and misery. 

If it had pleased the' Almighty to ordain that ice should be 
heavier than water, one single severe winter would be suffi- 
cient to destroy all our cities, and to lay waste all the adjacent 
districts of the Rhine. The beautiful valley, which extends 
along the whole course of that river, from Switzerland down 
to Holland, would present one entire wilderness. 

But do not imagine that ice has been made lighter than 
water, merely in order to prevent ruin and desolation ! Nature 
intended thereby to confer on us the most signal and everlasting 
benefits. The whole coast extending from Holland to Russia 
is deficient in rocks. In that whole direction, not one single 
rock is to be seen. In order to remedy this evil. Nature fell 
upon the following plan : At an early period of our earth, she 
loaded large ice islands with the rocks of Sweden. This was 
probably the same period when the mammoths and elephants 
were buried in the ice at the mouths of the river Lena. The 
ice islands landed on the coast of the Baltic, then still under 

62 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

water ; they divested themselves of their burden, depositing the 
stones in localities where they are now found under the name 
of erratic blocks, consisting chiefly of large pieces of granite, 
porphyry, &c., and employed for decorating the bridges and 
museums of Berlin, as also for paving the highways and public 
roads of Brandenburg. Our countrymen on the Baltic enjoy 
the possession of these stones merely because ice is lighter than 

You will remember that I stated before, that the expansive 
power of water, when in the act of freezing, is irresistible. 
Nature possesses no gunpowder, for this is altogether an arti- 
ficial product; but she accomplishes by water what we obtain 
by fire. I have already brought to your notice, how the rocks 
of the Faulhorn are broken to pieces by the action of freezing 
water. Nature purposed to convert steril rocks and stones 
into a fruitful mould. She employed the simple means of ad- 
mitting water into the crevices, and of causing it to freeze. 
The ice, in severing the rocks, acts on the principle of a wedge. 
When it begins to melt, it assists in loosening the rocks, and 
in accelerating their dilapidation. This process is repeated 
until the stone is completely reduced to clay. 

I have now endeavoured to shew, that Nature is able to ac- 
complish great things by small means ; and I trust you will 
not depreciate the small means I have employed in order to 
amuse you, and to direct your attention to a class of phenomena 
on which you have had perhaps little occasion to reflect. It 
has fallen to the share of very few individuals to perform great 
things by small means ; an ordinary mortal frequently accom- 
plishing but little by great means. But he is contented with 
the testimony, that his labours have not been thrown away. 

Contributions towards Establishing the General Character of 
the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. By "William King, 
Esq., Curator of the Museum of the Natural History So- 
ciety of Newcastle-on-Tyne, &c. (Communicated by the 

(Continued from page 290 of vol. xxxvi. 

Hitherto no specimens of the genus Sigillaria have been made known, 
possessing clear evidence as to the nature of its root. In a few instances, 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria, 6S 

this organ is said to have been found attached to the stem of this plant i 
but, with the exception of a single case, to be alluded to presently, 
the external characters were so imperfectly displayed as to render their 
identity with those of any known fossil a matter of complete uncertainty. 
The Sigillarias found at Dixonfold, in the excavation of the Manchester and 
Bolton Railway, though clearly shewing the junction of the stem with 
the root, yet, from the absence of the requisite characters, the latter part, 
cannot be identified with any of the coal-measure fossils ; even the stem 
is in such a state as to shew, in no very satisfactory manner, its identity 
with Sigillaria, The same may be said of the fossil which is described 
by the Rev. Patrick Brewster, in a paper read at a meeting of the Royal 
fiociety of Edinburgh, in 1818, and published in the sixth volume of their 
Transactions. The Killingworth specimen described by Mr Nicholas 
Wood, in the first volume of the " Transactions of the Natural History 
Society of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne," and 
by Lindley and Hutton, in the first volume of the " Fossil Flora," ap^ 
pears to have afibrded clearer evidence on this point ; but, unfortunately, 
some cause or other, prevented it at the time, being followed up so 
completely as could be wished. The fragment figured by these gentle- 
men, as a portion of the root of this specimen, is now in the Newcastle 
Museum ; and it is a fact not generally known, that it is no other than a 
true Stigmaria. 

Our attention having been drawn to the last genus, we will, in the 
next place, confine ourselves to the same, with the view of ascertaining 
whether or not its connexion with Sigillaria, as favoured by Wood, 
Lindley, and Hutton's account of the Killingworth fossil, can be sup- 
ported by any other evidence than such as they have published. 

With reference to the situation which Stigmaria occupied in the vege- 
table kingdom, various conjectures have been formed. Naw considered 
it a palm : Schrank allied it to the Stapelias : Von Martins and Stem- 
berg thought that it approached to the Euphorbias and Cactuses, — an 
opinion which Lindley and Hutton seem inclined to adopt : Brongniart 
at first placed it in ^' Aroidete" afterwards he referred it to " Lycopodia- 
ceae ;" but, of late, he considers that it ought to be included in " a 
peculiar and extinct family, belonging probably to the Gymnospermous 
division of the Dicotyledons :" Buckland, in his " Bridge water Treatise," 
seems in favour of its euphorbiaceous aflBnities ; but he advances the opi- 
nion that it was probably an aquatic plant, " trailing in swamps, or 
floating in still and shallow lakes, like the modern Stratiotes and 
Isoetes :" Corda considers it to be more or less connected with " Cras- 
sulacea " and " Cycadacea :" Gceppart elevates it to the rank of a 
family under the name Stigmariadte, and looks upon it as connecting the 
Lycopods with the Cycases: and Endlicher, in his "Enchiridion," 
places it in the order " Jsoetete," class " Selagines," which, in addition to 
the latter, is made to include the Lycopods and Lepidodendrons. 

The 'earliest detailed account of Stigmaria was given by the Rev, 

64 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

Henry Steinhauer,* who described it under Martin's name " PhytoUthm 
verrucosus*" He supposed it to have been a " cylindrical trunk or root 
grouA,ng in a direction nearly horizontal, in tJie soft mud, at the bottom offresh^ 
water lakes or seas, without branches, but sending out fibres on all 

The next account of this fossil appeared in the ''Fossil Flora," by Lind- 
leyandHutton, who have expressed themselves much in the same terms 
as Steinhauer, respecting its habitat and mode of vegetating ; but instead 
of a branchless cylindrical trunk, as Steinhauer supposed, their view is, 
that it had a centre, in the form of a " continuous homogeneous cup or 
dome," from which '* numerous arms proceeded on all sides." 

In connection with the specimen which has led to the foregoing opi- 
nion, and which Messrs Lindley and Hutton have figured in their 
" Fossil Flora," t a point must, in the next place, be considered, which, 
if not cleared up, will leave the question now entered upon completely 
inconclusive, however cogent the arguments may be that are to be 

As the specimen itself has not been fully described, — and as it is for- 
tunately preserved in the Newcastle Museum, though not exactly in the 
same condition as when first obtained, — the present opportunity may 
be embraced to state, that it is a convex mass of shale about four feet 
and a-half in diameter, and fifteen inches high in the centre : the crown 
or central part, which may be reckoned two feet across, is evenly 
rounded, and the sides are channelled: the whole of the crown is 
crowded with strongly marked wrinkles, which pass off into the chan- 
nels on the sides : in a few instances, a channel is occupied with a com- 
pressed branch, also composed of shale, and encircled with a thin layer 
of coal — in this case, the remains of a cuticle ; with this exception, the 
specimen is completely decorticated. It is necessary to observe, that 
the strong wrinkles of the crown become much finer as they pass off 
into the channels ; and that there is superadded to the latter a number 
of scars, which, as well as their accompanying wrinkles, are in every 
respect similar to those of Stigmaria : both characters were doubtlessly 
impressed by the outer surface of the cuticle of the branches. After 
alluding to some other specimens which had been discovered in the roof 
of the Bensham seam in Jarrow colliery, one of which is described as 
shewing a central concavity and fifteen arms proceeding from it, and 
consequently resembling the fossil represented in their thirty-first plate, 
figure 1, the authors of the " Fossil Flora, " proceed to state, that the 
convex specimen " has detached itself from the roof, which none of the 
before-cited instances did. This exhibits the same wrinkled appear- 
ance, with indistinct circular spots, as the under side, described vol. i. 

• Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, N. S. Vol. i. 1818. 
t " Fossil Flora," vol. ii. Preface, p. xiii. 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. 65 

page 104 ; it has nine arms, five of which subdivide into two branches, 
at about eighteen inches from the centre of the fossil, and one at three 
feet ; in this, as in the other instance, they are all broken off short." * 
But the branches — what connection have they with the specimen upon 
which they rest ? This is a question that does not appear to have been 
sufficiently attended to when drawing up the description just quoted. 
From^the remark elsewhere made, that Stigmaria was "of a yielding 
fleshy substance, with numerous arms, proceeding on all sides from a 
central dome,"t one would be induced to suppose that the *^'arms" oi 
the convex specimen grew out from the margins of the " central por- 
tion." I cannot agree to this, because the specimen affords no evidence 
in support of it ; on the contrary, nothing is more easy to prove, than, 
that the arms or branches had no other connection with the specimen but 
that of superposition. The proving of this may be effected by simply 
removing the branches, when it will be seen that the markings on the 
channels are perfectly continuous with the wrinkles on the central por- 
tion : were it as is generally supposed, the wrinkled part would here 
and there display a fractured surface, arising from the breaking off of 
the branches. 

From what has just been said, it is evident that the markings on the 
central portion of the convex specimen have been produced in the same 
manner as the scars and wrinkles on the channels ; or, in other words, 
that they are merely impressions which have been derived from a super- 
imposed body : in short, it follows, that this specimen is nothing more 
than an indurated mass of mud, precisely similar to what must have 
occupied the hollow or under surface of the fossil represented in plate 
31, fig. 2, of the " Fossil Flora;" and, that the branches are portions of 
a Stigmaria which originally rested upon it, and which probably still 
remains fixed in the roof of the pit. 

The explanation which has been given, there is every reason to sup- 
pose, would not have been required, but for the fact, that the branches 
have undergone so much compression, especially at their upper extre- 
mity, as to produce the appearance as if they had grown out from the 
sides of the specimen, and as if the markings on their upper surface 
were continuous with the wrinkles on the crown. I am fully per- 
suaded, it is entirely through this deceptive appearance that Lindley 
and Hutton have been led into the belief that Stigmaria had a dome- 
shaped centre, from which numerous arms proceeded on all sides. 
Agassiz also appears to have been misled in the same manner.j 

Another point remains to be disposed of. From the " ideal vertical 
section," which is given in plate 31, figure 2, of the " Fossil Flora," it 
might be concluded that Stigmaria had a rounded or convexly formed 
upper surface The untenableness of this conclusion will, however, be 

» " Fossil Flora," vol. ii. preface, pages xiii. and xiv. f Ibid. p. xv. 

X Translation of the '• Bridgewater Treatise." 

6id Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

manifest from the fact, that, up to the present time — although I have 
now examined several specimens — I have not fallen in with one which 
exhibits the upper surface otherwise than truncated : further, when the 
centre of a Stigmaria has fallen from the roof, a portion in the shape of 
a stem, and answering to the truncated surface, is often seen remaining 
in the roof, and passing upwards.* 

The disposal of these two points (and they have, I am decidedly of 
opinion, been the greatest hinderances to the working out of the true 
character of this fossil) , not only proves, that the prevailing opinion re- 
garding the form of Stigmaria is erroneous, but it leads to the inference, 
that what has hitherto been looked upon as the centre of this fossil, is in 
the form of a root stock deprived of its stem. 

All the specimens of Stigmaria which have been seen in a perfect 
condition, or nearly so, have their branches running out in the manner 
of wide- spreading roots : this will be sufficiently evident by consulting 
figure 1, plate 31, of the " Fossil Flora." Besides the specimen just 
referred to, several others are still to be seen fixed in the roofs of several 
pits in this district. At Felling, a very large specimen occupies the roof 
of one of the galleries : it is impossible to ascertain its size, as it passes 
into an un worked part of the mine : some of the branches, at a little dis- 
tance from their commencement, measure eighteen inches across in the 
compressed state. An idea may be formed of the dimensions which some 
Stigmarias attain, from the statement communicated to me by the head 
wasteman of Felling pit, that he has traced the impression of a single 
branch for full fifty feet, without finding its terminations. I am quite 
disposed to credit this statement, for I myself have measured an im- 
pression of this fossil in the roof of Jarrow pit, and succeeded in fol- 
lowing it for thirty feet, until it disappeared in a part where the work- 
men had not carried on their operations. And, very lately, I have 
obtained for the Newcastle Museum, portions of three different speci- 
mens, equally confirmatory of the immense size which some Stigma- 
rias attain. The first is a branch fifteen feet in length, rather flexuose, 
and remarkably uniform in thickness, which is four inches. The 
second differs from the last in being singularly yet gracefully tor- 
tuous, and in diminishing at one end to a mere film ; the opposite end 
appears to have been joined to the main body of the fossil ; or, what is 
more probable, this specimen may have been one of the off- sets of a 
divided branch ; it is eleven feet long, and five inches in thickness, at 
the largest end. The third consists of three furcated branches, which 
have been broken off from the central stock ; the two off- sets of one of 
these furcated branches are respectively seven and two feet long, and 

♦ In general, these perpendicular stems are so polished or slickensided, that it 
is impossible to identify them with any known fossil r and nothing is more common 
than to see the surface of a so-called centre of Stigmaria as smooth as glass. The 
last is called a " kettle bottom" by the miners. I would suggest that this pheno- 
menon has been produced by the fossil offering some thp enormous 
compression into which the sarroundingg rock has been subjected. 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. 67 

' both are truncated. This specimen is by far the finest that has ever 
been procured in this district ; and it appears, from its superficial cha- 
racters, to be specifically distinct from Sivjmaria ficoides. These cha- 
racters will be reverted to in another part of this paper. 

All the specimens of Stigmaria which have been described as occur- 
ring in the pits of this district are in the roof, and consequently only their 
under side is exhibited. There is a very large decorticated specimen, 
however, in the Ouse Burn, about two miles from Newcastle, having its 
upper side exposed. When discovered, the part which answers to the 
stock or centre was visible ; and from all that I can ascertain, both 
from the fragments still remaining, and a sketch made at the time by 
Mr Albany Hancock, who was the first to make the specimen known, 
this part was broken in such a manner as to induce the supposition that 
a stem had been originally attached to it. The only external character 
which was displayed on the surface of so much of the branches as was 
visible at the time of the discovery of this fossil, consisted of a number 
of rude flutings, which character was the cause of some supposing it to 
be the branched apex of a Sigillaria : it was further supposed, that the 
stem had been destroyed or removed ; and, that the apex, by some 
means or other, had been overturned, and afterwards covered up with 
sediment — now an argillaceous sandstone. The complete absence of 
scars was also appealed to as confirmatory of its belonging to the last- 
named genus, since decorticated specimens of Sigillaria are occasionally 
to be met with, divested of this character. 

This allusion to the Ouse Burn fossil, makes it necessary for me to 
mention, that, on May the l7th, 1841, and shortly after the Newcastle 
Museum had become possessed of the earliest received North Biddick 
Sigillaria, I read, at a meeting of the Natural History Society of Nor- 
thumberland, Durham, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a paper which gave 
an account of the last specimen, and which adverted to a character oc- 
curring on the under side of its base, '* apparently leading to the con- 
clusion, that Stigmaria is the root of Sigillaria." 

The reading of this paper having brought before Mr Hutton, who was 
present, a question which had often occuiTed to him, he kindly drew my 
attention to the Ouse Burn fossil, as likely to assist me in my future re- 
searches. A few days afterwards, we examined this fossil, when I be- 
came convinced that it was not the branched apex of a Sigillaria, but 
the central stock of a Stigmaria. Mr Hutton having some doubts on 
this point, but being anxious to have it settled, he empowered me to 
employ some workmen to lay bare the branches ; and, with his accus- 
tomed liberality, he went to considerable expense in the prosecution of 
this object. Two of the branches were exposed for upwards of six feet, 
and both were seen to divide, and to dip into the rock at an angle of 40 
degrees to the line of stratification : the flutings were observed to become 
more and more indistinct as they passed downwards ; but still no scars 
were visible. This was the result of our first inspection. I confess, that at 
this stage of the inquiry, the opinion I had formed was ahoaost forsaken. 

68 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

However, the idea occurred to me to examine the rock which the work- 
men had removed, especially those portions which had been in imme- 
diate contact with the fossil : this immediately led to the discovery of 
the cuticle adhering to those portions, in the condition of a rotten car- 
bonaceous layer, which, on being removed, shewed the wrinkles and 
scars of Stigmaria. Nor was this all ; the appendages were seen to be 
attached to wherever the scars were visible, and to penetrate the rock 
in regular directions. Thus, the evidences as to the fossil being a Stig- 
maria were conclusive ; and it may be added, that the running out of 
its branches, in the manner of wide- spreading roots, was placed beyond 

The well-known appendages, so often seen attached to the branches 
of Stigmaria, have, in general, been looked upon as leaves. They are 
nearly always flattened ; occasionally, however, they are observed to 
be round, or, rather, vermicular — thus reminding one of the fibrils of the 
yellow water lily {Nuphar lutea) ; and there is little doubt, from the 
form of the scars which they leave when detached, that they were of this 
form originally. A beautiful and instructive example, shewing the ap- 
pendages completely vermicular, has been figured by Sternberg.* 

Steinhauer says, he found traces of these appendages proceeding from 
a branch " in every direction, to the distance of 20 feet," — a statement 
•which Lindley and Hutton think has originated through some error of 
observation, since they have never been able to trace them to a distance 
of more than 3 feet ; but, it would appear, from the researches of Mr 
Logan, in the coal-mines of South Wales, that the length which Stein- 
hauer gives to the appendages is not at all exaggerated, — the former 
having " traced them in a vertical direction, 7 or 8 feet from the stem, 
and more than 20 feet horizontally." f Up to the present time, I have 
never seen them exceed 18 inches. 

Artis in his " Antediluvian Phytology," represents the appendages as 
forked.J I cannot say whether this character has been observed by 
any other observer. Once I saw an appearance of the kind ; but still I 
cannot urge it with any degree of confidence. 

One of the most important circumstances connected with the append- 
ages, is the regular manner in which they are arranged around the 
branch to which they are attached. Steinhauer appeals to this circum- 
stance as a proof that Stigmaria was a root which grew at the bottom of 
fresh water lakes, and which " shot out its fibres in every direction 
through the then yielding mud."§ The following extract from the 
" Fossil Flora" is to the same effect : — " The leaves also, which thickly 
surrounded the arms, could not, under any circumstances, even sup- 

♦ « Flore du Monde Primitif," Parts 5 and 6, Tab. xv., fig. 4. 
t Buckland's Anniversary Address to the Geological Society, delivered in 
1841, page 34. 
X Plate III. 
§ " Transactions of the American Philosophical Society," N. S., Vol, i., p273. 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria, 69 

posing them to have been hard woody spines (which assuredly they were 
not), have taken the direction in which we now find them, proceeding 
from the stem on all sides at right angles to its axis, and penetrating 
the shale, even perpendicularly up and down to the extent of two or 
three feet at least ; had the plant been floated, the leaves, on the con- 
trary, must of necessity have been pressed upon the arms, surrounding 
which we should have found their remains in confused masses, and 
spread out irregularly by their side, in the plane of the surface on which 
the plant had finally reposed ; none of this, however, takes place ; but, 
on the contrary, when the shale is split, so as to expose the surface of 
the fossil, the leaves are seen proceeding with the greatest regularity, 
each from its separate tubercle— those only being distinct in the length 
and breadth, which, when in a growing state, had been shot out in the 
plane which is now the cleavage (line of deposition) of tlie shale. From 
all these circumstances, we are compelled to conclude that these Stig" 
marice were not floated from a distance, but that, on the contrary, they 
grew on the spots where we now find their remains, in the soft mud, 
most likely of still and shallow water."* Dr Buckland, however, has 
arrived at a different conclusion. He says, " All these are conditions 
which a plant habitually floating, with the leaves distended in every 
direction, would not cease to maintain when drifted to the bottom of an 
estuary, and there gradually surrounded by sediments of mud and 
fiilt."t These are conflicting inferences, let us endeavour to ascertain 
which is the true one. 

The data which the " intelligent observer," Steinhauer, has adduced, 
in support of his opinion that IStigmaria '* shot out its fibres in every 
direction through the then yielding mud," may be received without the 
least hesitation, since they have been observed by too many witnesses to 
be doubted for a single moment. The diagram which Lindley and Hutton 
have given to represent the appendages " proceeding from the stem on 
aU sides at right angles to its axis, and penetrating the shale even perpen- 
dicularly up and down," may occasionally be seen represented on hand 
specimens. I have lately obtained one of this kind, which is now in 
the Newcastle Museum : it is a forked branch resting upon a matrix of 
shale ; the last is made up of countless laminae, which there is little 
doubt were deposited horizontally : both the forks cut the laminae at an 
angle of twenty degrees. As this specimen is deprived of the super- 
imposed portion of its matrix, it is of course deficient in enabling us to 
trace the direction of the appendages which proceeded from its upper 
surface ; but it furnishes us with positive evidence respecting the direc- 
tion of those which passed from its sides and under surface. 

Fossil Flora," Vol. ii, Preface, p. xvi. 
Bridgewater Treatise," Vol. i.,p. 477, foot note. 

70 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 
I have endeavoured in the annexed sketch, to represent one of the 

forks or branches (a) of this specimen, with its appendages (h) penetrating 
the laminse (c c.) The lateral appendages are not represented ; but it may 
be stated, that they run out in the same plane as that of the branch — 
thus agreeing with the diagram before mentioned. With respect to 
the appendages which proceeded from the upper surface, it may, I 
think, be safely concluded from the concurrent testimony of Steinhauer, 
Hutton, Logan, and others, as to the direction of similarly situated 
appendages found on other specimens of Stigmaria, when in situ, that 
they passed upwards, and probably formed the same angle with the 
branch as is made by their analogues on the under surface. 

Respecting the question as to how have the appendages become so 
regularly arranged in their matrix, which, judging from the perfect 
parallelism of its constituent laminee, shews that no obstruction pre- 
vailed during its deposition, — there can, I think, be only one opinion, 
which is, that the matrix was deposited in the first instance, and, that 
the appendages penetrated the latter, when it was in a yielding condi- 
tion. To bring forward arguments in support of this opinion is clearly 
superfluous, since it is demonstrated by the simple fact of the laminse of 
deposition being so regularly arranged. Had the matrix been deposited 
upon or around the appendages, it is difficult to conceive any thing else 
than that the laminse would have been exceedingly irregular. But, admitting 
for a moment that Stigmaria was a floating plant, under what circum- 
stances, I would ask, have the inferior appendages been able to preserve 
a downward, the lateral ones a horizontal, and the superior ones an up- 
right direction ? The only way to account for these facts, is to suppose 
that the appendages were of the nature of spines, and strong enough 
to have retained their original direction, had the plant become stranded 
or covered up with silt ; but against such a supposition may be urged 
the succulent nature of the appendages, as proved by their being com- 
posed, with the exception of a central bundle of spiral vessels, of a thin 
walled cellular tissue,* and by their occasionally being found twisted 
and matted together in the greatest confusion. Thus, no circumstance 
can be conceived to render, even probable, the opinion that Stigmaria was 
a floating plant ; but, on the contrary, every thing evinces the sound- 

* Goeppart " Uber die Stigmaria eine neue Familie der VorweltUchen 
Plora," in Karsten and Von Dechen's Archives, xiv., 1840, 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. 71 

ness of Steinliauer's view, that its appendages did in reality penetrate 
their matrix in the same way as root fibrils. 

Having proceeded thus far with our inquiry, we may for a moment 
stop to give a brief recapitulation of the results that have now been 
arrived at, as to the characters of Stigmaria, and also, to consider the 
general corollary deducible therefrom. These results are, Ist^ that Stig- 
maria possessed a centre, in the form of a root-stock deprived of its stem ; 
2<7, that its centre was furnished with branches, which ran out in the 
manner of wide-spreading roots ; and, 3(/, that its branches were pro- 
vided with appendages, which penetrated the matrix in which they are 
imbedded in the same way as root fibrils. All these characters, there 
can be no hesitation in saying, amount to a complete demonstration tiiat 
jStigmaria fulfilled the purpose of a root. 

We have now to consider the plant to which this root belonged. 
The principal vegetable fossils of the coal-measures in the shape of 
€tems, are included in the following list: — Megaphyton, Ulodendron^ 
Lepidodcndron, Aiiracaria (?), some other Conifers, Cauloptcris^ Anabathra, 
a,nd Sigillaria. With one exception, the whole of these may be readily 
disposed of. Megaphyion is too rare to have belonged to a fossil so abun- 
dant as Stigmaria ; Caulopteris is generally admitted to belong to a dijSer- 
ent group of plants — the Vascular Cryptogams ; Lepldodendron is without 
the ligneous cylinder of Stigmaria ; Ulodendron is probably in the same 
predicament ; Auracaria (?) aind the other Conifers have the walls of 
their woody tissue furnished with discs instead of stripes, as in Stig" 
niaria; and Anahathra, although it ofiers a considerable approximation 
to Stigmaria in the character of its ligneous tissue, its extreme scarcity 
places it in the same category as Mcgaphyton, Sigillaria only remains to 
be considered, and this may be done by giving a synopsis of parallelisms 
between it and Stigmaria in the first instance, and then to enter some- 
what into detail respecting some other points of agreement. 
Sigillaria Stigmaria 

is rooted in beds of the coal-forma- vegetated in beds of the £oaJ-for«- 

tion, as proved by the Dixon- mation : 

fold, Killingworth, and North 

Biddick specimens : 
possesses enormous roots, as shewn is of enormous size : 

by the Dixon-fold fossils : 
is one of the most abundant stems abounds in the coal-formation: 

of the coal-formation : 
possesses a ligneous cylinder, the possesses a ligneous cylinder, the 

tissue of wiiich is marked with tissue of which is marked wit^ 

stripes, and arranged in radiating stripes, and arranged in radiating 

series : series : 

is furnished with forked root is furnished with forked branches^ 

branches, as shewn by the Dixon- 
fold sp,ecimens. 

72 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

These points of agreement between the stem Sigillaria and the root 
Stigmana cannot but give rise to tlie suspicion, that they are the parts 
so named of one and the same plant. 

The examination of the Ouse Burn fossil brought to light a character 
which, until then, was not generally known as belonging to Stigmaria, 
I allude to the rude flutings. The Newcastle Museum contains several 
specimens displaying the same character. One of these shews the exter- 
nal surface of the cuticle ornamented with a number of scars ; but the 
latter are only seen on the median part of the ribs — the furrows being, 
like those of Sigillaria, entirely without them : the wide difference be- 
tween this specimen, and those usually met with, led some to suppose 
that it belonged to an undescribed genus. It was its fluted character 
that caused me to maintain that the Ouse Burn fossil was a Stigmaria. 

It will be recollected, when the North Biddick stems were described, 
that the ribs at their base were stated to be nearly obsolete. Now, the 
rude flutings of Stigmaria have very much the aspect of these obsolete 
ribs — the only difference being, that the former are not so regular ; the 
resemblance, however, is so striking as, of itself, to suggest the opinion 
that Stigmaria is nothing more than the root of Sigillaria ; but, consider- 
ing that the rude flutings, and the nearly obsolete ribs are on those parts 
where it may be supposed the two fossils were joined, and consequently 
where the former passed into the latter, it would appear that this opinion 
is so far rendered extremely probable. If the Dixon-fold specimens have 
the surface of the upper portion of their roots rudely fluted, it would 
follow that at this stage of our inquiries the question was completely 
settled. I have not seen the Dixon-fold Sigillarias myself, but Mr Mor- 
ris, who has, and who has also examined the fluted Stigmarias in the 
Newcastle Museum, has assured me, that the flutings on the base of 
some of the former closely resemble the same character on the latter. 
The account which Mr Hawkshaw has published of the Dixon-fold 
specimens would even incline one to rest satisfied on this point; for, he 
says, near the root of one (No. 5.) a coaly envelope remains, about 
three-fourths of an inch in thickness, having " its surface marked slightly 
with longitudinal furrows, but they are very irregular in distance and 

The two specimens of Sigillaria from North Biddick, as they now 
stand in the Newcastle Museum, shew no indications of root-branches ; 
but on some portions which formed the root-stock of one, and which it 
has been deemed necessary to preserve separately, there is a decided 
appearance, not only of marginal branches, but also of others originating 
inwardly to the latter. The branches are unfortunately broken ofl*, or 
truncated, almost at their commencement ; what remains is, however, of 
considerable value in our inquiries. 

It is well known that the cuticle of Stigmaria is more or less wrinkled, 

* Transactions of the Geological Society. Second Series, Part VI. p. 174. 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. IZ 

and that the wrinkles run in flexuose lines. With the exception of those 
parts from which the root branches have been broken off, the whole of 
the under surface of the root-stock mentioned in the last paragraph 
is crowded with flexuose wrinkles, which in no respect differ from 
those of Stigmaria.* There are certainly none of the scars so com- 
monly seen associated with the wrinkles of Stigmaria ; but their absence 
on the under surface of the root-stock of the North Biddick Sigillaria 
will be readily explained by the fact, that the corresponding part of the 
former is equally divested of scars. As bearing upon the last point, it 
requires to be mentioned, that the Stigmaria, figured in PI. 31, fig. 2. of 

* I discovered the wrinkles on the under surface of the root of the North Bid- 
dick Sigillaria a few days after it was deposited in the Newcastle Museum ; at 
the same time, 1 was struck with their resemblance to those of Stigmaria : I was 
thus led to suspect that the one plant might be the root of the other : the highly 
problematical nature of the last fossil had also considerable share in eliciting 
this suspicion. I was then preparing a short paper descriptive of the North 
Biddick fossil, to be read at the next meeting of the Society ; so I resolved on 
making this the vehicle of my suspicion, and to embody in it all the arguments I 
was master of in support of the same. This paper was read May 17. 1841. On re- 
ferring to it at the present moment, I find, besides the above-mentioned point of 
agreement, that the fact of the appendages of Stigmaria having penetrated their 
matrix was strongly insisted upon : there were also some vague allusions to the 
convex specimen in the Museum, answering to the under surface or hollow of a 
root : nothing was said of the analogy between the rude flutings of Stigmaria and 
those on the base of Sigillaria, although, at that time, I was acquainted with this 
character occurring on the former ; indeed, as remarked in the text, the rude 
flutings formed one of ray chief arguments for maintaining that the Ouse Burn 
fossil was a Stigmaria. When I became acquainted with the last specimen, I was 
in possession of clearer views respecting the convex fossil, and I had also read the 
accounts of the Killingworth specimen ; these circumstances, and the fluted charac- 
ter of Stigmaria, strongly fortified me in my opinion. Shortly after it was settled 
that the Ouse Burn fossil was a Stigmaria, Mr Hutton very kindly lent me his 
copy of Brongniart's " Observations on the internal structure of Sigillaria elegans, 
&c.," and I was delighted to find that Sigillaria and Stigmaria agreed so closely in 
their internal structure, and that Brongniart himself, from this circumstance, and 
the creeping habit of the lailer, had been led to suspect that the one was nothing 
more than the root of the former. From that time to May 1842, I was more or 
less engaged in working out this question ; and at the date just mentioned, I com- 
menced the reading of a paper (then in a nearly finished state), substantially the 
same as the one now in course of publication. In order, that every one should 
have his due share of credit who has anticipated the view which is now 
being advocated, the name of Professor Lindley must not be overlooked ; in the 
aiticle " Ck)al Plants," of the Penny Cyclopaedia, written in 1386 or 1837, he 
asks, " is it quite impossible that Sigillarias and Stigmarias are both the same 
thing; the former being the stem, the latter the roots?" after which, he very 
briefly refers to the root branch, and base of the stem of the Killingworth fossil, 
figured in PI. 64, " Fossil Flora" so, as the reader might compare them with 
the Stigmaria represented in PI. 31, fig. 2 (Qu. fig. 1 ?) of the same work 
(April 1844.) 

74 Contributions towards Establishing the General Character 

the *' Fossil Flora/* (Vol. i.) is said to have had the whole of its under 
surface '' distinctly covered with wrinkles, which, when attentively 
examined, are seen to be caused by depressed semicircular spots, com- 
pactly arranged in a spiral manner, in the centre of which is a roundish 
scar, to which a fine coaly matter usually adheres :" further, the convex 
specimen, described in the preface of the second volume, is stated to 
exhibit " the same wrinkled appearance, with indistinct circular spots," 
as the last. As I have only seen the dome-shaped specimen, I can, of 
course, only speak with reference to it, and I shall do so with the view 
of preventing the supposition arising, that the " indistinct circular spots" 
are such as to shew, that the convexity of the last fossil, and the concavity 
of the North Biddick Sigillaria, exhibit totally different characters. It 
is necessary, however, to remark, in the first instance, that as the convex 
specimen is merely an impression of the outer surface of the cuticle of a 
root, it is obvious, a knowledge of the character which this surface dis- 
plaj^ed would materially assist us in our immediate object. Influenced 
by this consideration, I took a plaster cast of the crown of the speci- 
men ; by this means I succeeded in obtaining an exact copy of the 
surface of the cuticle, which copy displayed a character strikingly re- 
sembling — though on a smaller scale — the elongated lozenge-shaped rifts 
characteristic of the bark of some of our forest trees, especially the ash 
(Fraxinus excelsior.) 

As to the scars — that is, such as have resulted from the falling off of the 
fibrils, not a single one was visible ; they were, in fact, only seen where 
the branches had left their impression on the channels. The absence of 
the rifted character on the under surface of the root of the North Bid- 
dick Sigillaria, and its presence on the same part of the root which pro- 
duced the convex specimen, seems to be due simply to a difference of 
age, and to a rifting of the cuticle of the last example, through an in- 
crease of the tissues which this cuticle originally enclosed ,* at least, such 
are the apparent causes of the disparity between the bark of old and 
young individuals of the ash ; and there appears to be no reason why 
the same causes have not operated in producing the like difference 
noticed in the fossils. 

There yet remains another point to be mentioned in favour of Stig- 
maria being the root of Sigillaria. As previously remarked, the charac- 
ter which has just been concluded is only to be seen on the root-stock 
of one of the North Biddick specimens. The root-stock of the other has 
also been preserved separately ; but instead of its under surface dis- 
playing any wrinkles, there are visible two strongly-marked furrows, 
which cross each other in the centre, and at right angles, and which dis- 
appear at the margin : this difference is probably due to both fossils 
being preserved under different circumstances. I have observed similar 
furrows on the under side of a root-stock of a stem — apparently of a Sigil- 
laria, belonging to Wm. J. Charlton, Esq. of Hesleyside. Now, on ex- 
amining the crown of the dome-shaped specimen, — which, it must be 

of the Fossil Plants of the genus Sigillaria. 75 

remembered, has been proved to be merely the indurated mud which 
occupied the hollow or under surface of a root, — there are actually dis- 
played two strongly-marked ridges, crossing each other precisely under 
the same circumstances as the furrows of the aforementioned Sigillarias. 
It will doubtlessly occur to many, that these furrows are analogous to 
those usually seen on the under surface of the branches of ^tigmaria, 
and that they have been produced in the same manner, — that is, by the 
settling down of the ligneo-vascular cylinder after the destruction of the- 
enveloping and less enduring cellular tissue. According to this view, 
the intersecting furrows on the fossil root-stocks, will have resulted 
from the ligneo-vascular cylinder of the stem dividing itself into four 
parts ; and these divisions striking off into the root-branches, at right 
angles to each other : a circumstance of this kind, it is conceived, would 
give rise to that appearance of crossing each other which the furrows 

I cannot conclude the present inquiry more appropriately than by 
quoting a portion of Mr N. Wood's description of the Killing worth Si- 
gillaria, — observing, in the first place, that the specimen, which appears 
to have been about 10 feet in height, was discovered with several others, 
in a nearly vertical position, and evidently rooted in a thin bed of argillo- 
bituminous shale, overlying a workable seam of coal : " The lower part 
or base of the tree was about two feet in diameter, flattening out consider- 
ably at the bottom ; this part was so much broken that it could not be 
procured ; but the bed of it, with the roots proceeding from it, was most 
clearly seen in situ. The roots could be traced for about four feet from 
the stem, penetrating the shale ; but the compact nature of the shale pre- 
vented us from obtaining specimens, when the thickness of the roots 
diminished ; but they were seen running into the shale composed of the 
same kind of sandstone, though a little more indurated, until they were 
less than an inch thick. * * * * The roots were not numerous, 
but ran into the shale quite parallel with the inclination of the beds, and 
spread out from all the diflPerent sides of the fossil.''* To this account, 
it is necessary to add, that the specimens themselves of the divided root 
branch, and the stem, which are figured in Mr Wood's paper, are at 
present in the Newcastle Museum : the root-branch is decidedly a Stig- 
maria, and the stem appears to be a Sigillaria. 

Thus, bearing in mind that Siigmaria has been proved to have been a 
root ; and, considering the tendency of the evidences latterly adduced, 
it now seems to be all but demonstrated, that this fossil was the root of 

{To be concluded in our January Number.) 

* Transactions of the Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham, 
jmd Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Vol. i., p. 210. 

( 76 ) 

On the Action of Yellow Light in producing the Green Colour, 
and Indigo Light the Movements of Plants. By D. P. 
Gardner, M.D., Cor. Memb. Lye. Nat. Hist. New York. 

1. The object of this paper is to prove the existence of dif- 
ferent properties in the rays of the spectrum, in their action 
on vegetables ; and more especially to shew that the rays 
which produce the green colour of plants, are altogether dis- 
similar from those which influence their movements towards 
light, the colour being developed by the less refrangible rays, 
and chiefly by the yellow ; whereas, the motion is influenced 
by indigo light. The discussion of the subject will be divided 
under three heads : 

1. On the production of chlorophyl by yellow light. 

2. On the movements of plants towards indigo light. 

3. Some application of these facts to vegetable physiology, 

1. On the production of chlorophyl by yellow light. 

(2.) It is a fundamental fact in botany, that light is neces- 
sary to the formation of chlorophyl. Von Humboldt adduced 
certain exceptions to this law, in the case of plants found in 
the mines of Freyberg, and, with Senebier, ascribed the green 
matter to the action of hydrogen gas. But the experiments of 
the latter failed in the hands of De Candolle, and a series in- 
stituted by myself, and conducted with great care, were equal- 
ly unsuccessful. On the other hand, Humboldt succeeded in 
greening a plant of Lepidimn sativum^ raised in darkness, by 
the light of two lamps, and De Candolle obtained the same 
result with six Argand lamps. 

(3.) The investigation has been subsequently confined to 
the name of the ray which produces chlorophyl.* Formerly 

* Chlorophylj the green matter of leaves. It is insoluble in water, 
but soluble in ether and alcohol. The ultimate analysis has not been 
made ; but chemists agree that it is of the nature of wax. The yellow 
colour of autumnal foliage is due to a similar yellow wax, called Xan- 
thopliyl, supposed to be produced by the action of frost on the former 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 77 

it was tacitly admitted, on the authority of Senebier, that the 
chemical^ or blue ray, was most active. Professor Morren 
(Annal. des Scien. Nat., Oct. 1832) ascribed it to the luminous 
colours, more especially the rays which had passed through 
bright yellow and orange glasses. Dr Daubeny (Phil. Trans. 
1836) in his valuable researches, arrived at the same conclu- 
sion. The next investigator, Dr Draper (Jour. Franklin 
Inst. 1837) obtained better results in yellow than blue light. 
Mr Hunt, in 1840 (Lond. and Edin. Phil. Mag. April), re- 
sumed the question, and published the most decided results 
(p. 272), to the effect, that blue light alone causes the green 
colour of plants, and that the yellow and red rays, " destroy 
the vital principle in the seed^ In 1841, he was one of a 
committee appointed by the British Association, to report on 
this subject, and in a subsequent conversation at the late meet- 
ing of that body, has repeated his statements. Being the last 
writer, his results have given a prominence to the doctrine, 
that chlorophyl is produced by the blue rays, so as to mislead 
Professor Johnston in his agricultural lectures, and Professor 
Graham (Chemistry, p. 1013). 

(4.) In September 1840, I repeated Mr Hunt's experi- 
ments in Virginia, and obtained dissimilar results. A known 
number of turnip seeds were sown, and every grain germinat- 
ed in the yellow and red rays. The greenest plants were 
found in yellow light. Every condition was favourable, and 
the results well characterised, but my reason for deferring the 
publication arose from a conviction that the use of solutions 
and coloured glasses was objectionable, and that no perfect re- 
sults could be obtained except with the spectrum. Plants ex- 
posed to light which has permeated cobalt glass, are not placed 
in blue rays, but in red, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and \iolet, 
in proportions differing with the tone of colour, and thickness 
of the material. The effect may therefore be produced by any 
of these rays, or by their peculiar combination. (See Sir J. 
F. W. Herschel's paper in the Philosophical Transactions for 
1840, p. 24, on " The combined action of rays of different de- 
grees of refrangibility.") 

(5.) I shall not attempt to explain the discrepancy between 

78 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables, 

my results and those of Mr Hunt, for I do not esteem re- 
searches such as all the foregoing, made with coloured media, 
of any value in this branch of vegetable physiology. It is well 
to remark, however, that in treating of the germination of 
cress seed behind the blue, green, yellow, and red media, he 
states, " that the earth continued damp under the green and 
blue fluids^ whereas it rapidly dried under the yellow and red^ 
(p. 271). This difference would by most persons have been 
considered sufficient to retard or " destroy" \ germination. 

(6.) Other engagements in 1842 interfered with my design 
of examining this question with the spectrum ; and it was not 
until July 1843, that such arrangements were made as are ne- 
cessary to the prosecution of the subject. 

(7.) The apparatus. A beam of the sun's light was direct- 
ed by a heliostat placed outside my window, along a square 
tube of wood, passing through the shutter. The inner extre- 
mity of the tube was closed, and contained near its end a flint 
glass equilateral prism, one inch on the side and six inches 
long, with the axis adjusted perpendicularly. The dispersed 
light passed into the chamber through an aperture in the side 
of the tube. All that portion of the beam which exceeded 
the breadth of the prism was cut off by a diaphragm. The 
object of these arrangements was to render the room dark. 
The experiments were performed in Virginia, in lat. 37° 10' 
N., and continued from July 6 to October 1, during a season 
of unusual brilliancy and temperature. 

(8.) Arrangements for the experiments. Seedlings of tmv 
nips, radish, mustard, pease, several varieties of beans, peas, and 
the following transplanted specimens, were used, Solanum ni- 
grum, S. Virginianum ; Plantago major, P. minor ; Polygonum 
hydropiper ; Chenopodium rubrum ; Bumex obtusifolius. They 
were placed in boxes with partitions, or planted in jars, and 
grew in darkness until ready for experiment, so that they ac- 
quired a yellow colour. The number of plants exposed to 
each ray averaged one hundred, when the smaller seeds were 
used, and the result indicated was obtained by a comparison 
of the whole. The age of seedlings is a matter of moment ; 
those which are young, and from ono inch to one inch and 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 79 

three-fourths high, in the case of turnips, were most sensitive ; 
indeed these plants were found to give the best results, and 
were used almost exclusively after the first month. 

The spectrum was allowed to fall on the specimens at a dis- 
tance of fifteen feet from the prism, and undecomposed light 
shut out by screens. Each ray acted in a separate compart- 
ment, unless otherwise stated. 

(9.) The following extract of an experiment, will shew 
some farther details : — 

" August 13. — Five jars, containing each about one hundred 
turnip seedlings, were placed respectively in the orange, yel- 
low, blue, indigo, and violet rays, at 9 h. A.M. Day bright ; tem- 
perature in shade at noon 80° Fah., in the sun 95°. Duration 
of sunshine G^ hours. Result at 3^ p.m. The third column 
of the table shews the altitude of the plants at the commence- 
ment of the observation : 



Height at 9 Hours. 









1 inch. 
1 » 

Full Green. 
Slight Olive. 



" August 14. — The same plants, with the addition of a fresh 
crop (6) in the green ray. Exposure from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or 
six hours sunshine. Temperature in shade at noon 85° Fah. 
and 105° in the sun. Result at 3 p.m. 



Height at 9 Hours. 










2t inches. 

f :: 
% : 

1 inch. 

Full Green. 
Perfect Green. 
Slight Green. 
Fair Green. 




The leaves of 1 and 2 were developed. Experiment con- 
cluded after 80 hours, of which 12J were sunshine, and 17J 

* The fifth column contains a comparative estimate of the depth of 
colour, assuming unity of the highest value ; on this scale the plant in blue 
light did not become green, and the value is negative, but there was a 
visible alteration designated olive, and indicating the tint which vegetables 
assume in passing from the yellow colour of darkness to green. 

80 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

darknessi The greater altitude of the plants in the indigo 
and violet rays, a fact discovered by Morren, is due probably 
to the slowness of exhalation by vegetables in those colours, 
an effect not of light, but of heat. In this observation, no re- 
sult whatsoever was produced on the original yellow colour of 
the seedlings in the indigo and violet rays. 

(10). The ensuing table contains the comparable points of 
six similar experiments. The 1st column gives the number of 
the observation ; the 2d, the plants used ; the 3d, the number 
of hours of sunshine ; the 4th, the whole duration of the ex- 
periment ; and from the 5th to the 1 3th column, the rays of 
the spectrum ; the figures in the last spaces indicate only the 
order of colour in the particular observation. The sign of 
minus is introduced whenever the effect of the ray was not 
tested, or the result was defective. 

Table, shewing the Active and Inactive liays of the Spectrum, 
in producing the Green Colour of Plants. 


Active Rays. 

Inactive Rays. 






































Beans, &c. 











Turnips, &c. 



































In experiment 5, the blue ray produced a green colour, but 
the usual effect was a light olive. The indigo, violet, and 
lavender portions were always inactive, although several ob- 
servations were continued until the plants faded. 

(11.) Under favourable circumstances it requires a long ex- 
posure to develope chlorophyl. The shortest period I wit- 
nessed was in a crop of turnip seedlings, which required two 
hours in the centre of the yellow rays, but frequently six or 
more hours were necessary. In the full sunshine of Virginia, 
it requires more than one hour to produce the same effect. 

The colour acquired is not fugitive. It has been observed 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 81 

scarcely changed after seventy-two hours' darkness, in turnips, 
and seven days in beans. Plants from the field preserve their 
colour sometimes for weeks, but finally become yellow. 

(12.) The fact established by these experiments is, that the 
less refrangible rays are most active in producing the green 
colour of plants. It is not stated that the blue, &c. rays will 
not effect this change in time, but that they are remarkably 

(13.) The maximum action is in yellow light. For the pur- 
pose of obtaining a measure of the comparative activity of each 
ray, the following experiment was made. The spectrum of a 
circular beam of light, three-fourths of an inch in diameter, 
was received upon a double convex lens of three feet focus, 
placed near the prism. The dispersed rays passed through a 
chink of one-fourth of an inch, into a camera, and each fell 
into a separate compartment containing a few turnip seedlings, 
situated near the focus of the ray. The place of the extreme 
red and central yellow rays was determined through cobalt- 
glass, and the whole spectrum divided into the spaces given 
by Fraunhofer, for the width of each colour. The arrange- 
ments being carefully adjusted, the plants were examined at 
intervals, by allowing a little difi'used light to fall upon them, 
and excluding the spectrum ; in this way the number of hours 
was obtained in which a given ray produced a certain effect. 
The depth of green colour was estimated by carefully compar- 
ing the plants with a selected specimen ; in this way I was 
assisted by a friend, whose eye is well skilled in distinguishing 
between shade, of colour. 

(14.) The best result gave for the yellow 3^ hours, the 
orange 4^ hours, and the green ray 6 hours ; the plants were 
selected from the centre of each gi'oup, and all the measures 
obtained on the same day, during uninterrupted sunshine. 
The experiment was continued until 17^ hours of sunlight 
had acted upon the seedlings in the blue space, which then 
acquired a tint, estimated at one half that of the test. In 
another observation, the indigo, violet, and lavender of Sir 
John Herschel produced no effect in 23 hours. 

(15.) From those experiments, I conclude that the centre 
of the yellow rag is the point of maximum effect in the pro-" 


82 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

duction of chlorophyl ; and that the action diminishes on either 
side, to the termination of the mean red and blue, 

(16.) In this stage of the subject an interesting question 
suggests itself — Is the active agent light ? some form of chemi- 
cal ray ? or heat 1 

To discover whether it was due to Tithonicity,* I placed a 
crop of turnip seedlings in a box, illuminated exclusively with 
light, which had traversed a solution of bichromate of potassa, 
sufHciently concentrated to absorb all tithonic rays. The 
plants became green in about 2 J hours, so as to indicate not 
only, that detithonised light was capable of producing the 
green matter, but of doing so with remarkable activity. 
Hence ^ the formation of chlorophyl is not due to Tithonicity. 

Nor is heat the active principle, for the maxima of heat which 
has traversed flint-glass, do not correspond with the rays which 
produce the chief action on etiolated plants. Chlorophyl is 
therefore produced by the imponderable light, as distinguished 
from all other known agents found in the sunbeam. 

2. On the movements of plants towards indigo light, 

(17.) Among the most interesting phenomena of plants, is 
the apparent instinct of bending towards light. The charac- 
ter of the movement may be seen with ease, by exposing a 
crop of turnip seedlings near the light of an Argand lamp, pro- 
vided with an opaque shade. If they be adjusted in such a 
manner as to leave the leaflets slightly above the lower mar- 
gin of the shade, the whole will be found inclined forwards in 
two or four hours. It is this movement I propose to examine. 

(18.) All erect plants obtained in darkness, when exposed 
to the solar spectrum, in distinct compartments, incline them- 
selves forward towards the prism. It is, therefore, an efifect 
which is produced in every variety of light ; even obscure 
light can accomplish it ; therefore, in researches on this sub- 
ject every precaution must be taken to darken the place of 

* See Dr Draper's paper in the Lond., Edin., and Dub. Phil. Mag. for 
Dec. 1842. Tithonicity is the name of an un ponderable agent, supposed 
to differ from light, by being invisible, and from heat, by not being con- 
ducted by metals, and incapable of producing the expansion of bodies. 
From this term, tithonometer and tithonic rays axe derived. 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables, 83 

experiment. The amount of bending frequently exceeds 
ninety degrees ; and a movement of the fore extremity of the 
stem through one inch, to one inch and a half from the perpen- 
dicular, is not unusual in turnip seedlings. 

(19.) If the young plants be exposed to a spectrum, pro- 
duced, as in art. 13, in a box without compartments, after a 
time they will be found inclined diagonally towards a common 
axis ; those in the red, orange, yellow, and green, bending to- 
wards the indigo ; and the plants of the violet and lavender 
spaces moving to meet them. When a larger spectrum of 
fourteen inches was used, and the seedlings exposed for five 
hours, they were so inclined as to suggest the appearance of a 
field of growing wheat, blown by two winds to a common 
point. If the experiment were sufficiently prolonged, some of 
the plants from either side of the spectrum interlocked in the 
direction of the axis. 

(20.) This axis is in the direction taken by Fraunhofer's 
indigo ray^ in passing from the prisrn to the plants. The 
seedlings growing in indigo light inclined directly along it j 
but those of the red and orange did not move towards the 
radiant in the prism, but along a diagonal, inclined in part to- 
wards the plants illuminated by the active rays, which were 
much nearer than the prism. The amount of this lateral in- 
clination diminished as the plants were nearer the axis, so 
that those illuminated by blue, violet, and lavender, were little 
deflected from a line drawn from their place of growth to the 
radiant. Seedlings in the red, orange, and yellow rays, frequent- 
ly bent to such an extent as to cause their summits to pass 
through the adjoining coloured space. 

(21.) The secondary (lateral) inclination did not occur when 
the radiant was a reflected image of the spectrum, which was 
not allowed to fall on any of the plants. If the mirror reflect- 
ed neither of the more refrangible rays, the plants appeared to 
be inclined to the light immediately before them. 

(22.) These experiments satisfied me that the active force 
was in the indigo ray, and the intensity of the light necessary 
to produce deflection was extremely feeble, so that an amount 
inappreciable to the eye, which is an admirable measure of the 
intensity, but incapable of estimating the effect of quantities, 

84 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

would, after a lengthened exposure, cause considerable deflec- 
tion. Indeed, the phenomenon is so little dependent on the 
brilliancy of light, that very little seems to be gained by con- 
centrating the rays beyond a certain point. There is suificient 
activity in each prismatic colour to produce bending, if enough 
of time be allowed. The movement is, therefore, a result de* 
pending upon the absorption of light. 

(23.) As this is an entirely new subject, it is thought expedi- 
ent to advance some further evidence concerning the position of 
the deflecting force. For this purpose the spectrum was 
allowed to fall upon a screen, perforated by two similar aper- 
tures, in such positions as to allow the red to pass through one, 
and the indigo through the other. Behind the screen a box 
was placed, containing four jars of turnip seedlings, arranged 
along a line occupying the centre between the intromitted 
rays. The light passed through the box without any reflexion, 
and was stifled by black cloth when it reached the further ex- 
tremity. All the plants commenced bending in a short time, 
and in two hours the nearest group were inclined forwards 
90°, and laterally 50°, towards the indigo aperture, the edges 
of which formed the radiant. In three hours the second crop 
exhibited the same movement ; and so with the plants of the 
third and fourth jars. At the conclusion of the experiment, 
in six hours and a half, all were bent forward at about 90°, 
and each group inclined towards the indigo aperture in a 
direction indicated by drawing a straight line from the plants 
to the radiant. Not one plant inclined towards the red ray, 
although half the collection were at first nearer to it than to 
the more refrangible light. 

With similar arrangements, the yellow, orange, and green 
rays were contrasted with the indigo, and always with the 
foregoing result. The time necessary to develope a satisfac- 
tory lateral inclination from the green rays, is greater than in 
the experiments made between the less refrangible rays and 

(24.) The same results were obtained when the radiants 
were reflected images. The extent to which the influence of 
the active light is felt was frequently surprising ; in some of 
the observations pea plants were four feet from the indigo, 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 85 

and within half an inch of the yellow, red, or orange radiant, 
notwithstanding which they inclined towards the indigo. In. 
these researches, the mirror was so situated as to reflect no 
prismatic light upon the plants. 

(25.) That no doubt may rest on the place of the soliciting 
force, another arrangement was used. The instrument figured 
by M. Pouillet {FAemens de Phys., t. i. fig. 218) for examining 
the effect of combinations of rays of light in producing colour, 
was taken. Red rays were received on one mirror, and indigo 
on another ; and the two so far inclined as to cause the rays 
to intermix at a place about three inches in advance of the in- 
strument, and out of the incident beam. A jar of turnip 
seedlings was then placed so as to receive the compound light 
in its centre ; the plants being illuminated in part by the red, 
indigo, and purple rays. In two hours the movements were 
considerable, and somewhat complex. Every plant lighted 
by the indigo rays was inclined directly to taht radiant. 
Those which received red light were bent to the central pur- 
ple, and none to the red radiant. But many seedlings at first 
in the red, inclined themselves towards the purple, and after 
being fully illuminated thereby, commenced a lateral move- 
ment towards the indigo radiant ; so that, at the close of the 
experiment, their stems exhibited two inclinations, the one in 
a vertical, and the other in a horizontal plane. 

(26.) Plants raised in darkness, as well as those which were 
green, were used in the preceding observations ; but the sen- 
sibility of the former gi-eatly exceeds that of the latter. In- 
deed, plants that have been exposed to light for several days, 
become sluggish in their movements, and the phenomenon 
probably ceases in parts which are ligneous. In the seedlings 
submitted to examination the movements were found to take 
place in consequence of an action impressed upon the stem 
only ; for the removal of the leaflets did not alter the result. 
A still more remarkable fact was discovered in all the cases 
observed — that after complete bending, plants erect them- 
selves again when placed in darkness, at least in situations so 
dark as to appear entirely deprived of light. This effect is 
best seen in seedlings which have never been exposed to the 
direct rays of the sun ; for, after full and lengthened exposure 

86 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

it diminishes almost to zero. Tlie action of light in produc- 
ing movement seems therefore to be transient ; that is, it is not 
accompanied with a permanent change of structure in the stem. 

(27.) From all the foregoing experiments, it is demonstra- 
ble, that the force which constrains the movements of plants to^ 
wards lights has its maximum in the indigo ray. 

(28.) But the solar beam contains a number of agents, one 
of which more especially developes itself in this part of the 
flint-glass spectrum acting upon argentine compounds with 
great effect. Dr Draper has discovered the existence of che- 
mical action, distinct from the rays of light or heat through- 
out the spectrum, and terms the agent which produces it, 
Tithonicity. Is the bending of plants produced by the tithonic 
rags ? by heat ? or by light ? 

(29.) The investigation of these important problems has 
cost me much labour ; but the following results will shew that 
a satisfactory solution has been attained. 

A trough of plate-glass, containing persulphocyanide of 
iron, which has the property of absorbing the tithonic rays of 
the indigo space, and allowing indigo light to pass, was placed 
before a small aperture made in the side of a suitable box. 
The proper place for the hole was determined by receiving the 
analysed spectrum on a daguerre plate resting against the box. 
In a few minutes, two stains were observed, with an interval 
between them, corresponding to the place of the indigo light. 
The inactive space was marked on the wood, and a perforation 
made in its centre, without deranging the adjustment, so that 
the aperture continued to admit detethonised light. Plants 
placed in this box were bent in two hours, whilst a crop illu- 
minated by indigo rays, which had not been transmitted 
through the solution, did not move with much more activity, 
although one crop was exposed to the maximum of the indigo 
tithonic rays, and the other placed in detithonised light. 

(30.) Solution of bichromate of potash intercepts nearly all 
tithonic matter, but permits the free passage of luminous rays. 
A crop of turnip seedlings was introduced into a box and illu- 
minated by the yellow rays of the spectrum, analysed by this 
solution. A daguerre plate was also introduced, to serve as a 
test of chemical action. In two hours and a half the plants 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables, 87 

were all equally bent, and the plate but slightly stained on one 
edge. A group of similar plants, exposed in the same place, 
without the solution, were inclined in a period of time not 
materially different. If the bending had been due to tithoni- 
city, the seedlings should have moved towards the place where 
the silver was stained. 

(31.) The tithonic activity of rays transmitted through the 
above solution, from an Argand lamp, is diminished to less than 
one two-hundredth part, as measured by Dr Draper's tithono- 
meter.* But plants were bent in light from this source which 
had traversed the solution, in a period of time not much 
greater than that required in the full blaze of the lamp. 

This result alone is abundantly sufficient to decide the ques- 
tion, and shew the total inactivity of the tithonic rays in pro- 
ducing these vegetable movements. 

(32.) That the bending is not due to heat, appears from the 
following considerations : The action is greatest in those parts 
of the spectrum which give evidence of least heat : The axis 
is approached, on one side, by plants from the red, orange, 
yellow, and green, and by those from the violet and lavender 
on the other, which is a phenomenon altogether inexplicable, 
on the supposition that heat is the active agent. 

Plants shut from the light of an argand lamp, by a plate o£ 
copper foil, do not incline to the warm metal. 

Finally, the moonbeams, even without condensation, are 
capable of producing extensive bending in one or two hours. 
This result is conclusive of the question ; for no trace of caloric 
can be found in the moon's light. 

(33.) As far, therefore, as the presence of heat can be deter- 
mined by thermoscopes, or the tithonic rays by argentine 
compounds, and the union of chlorine and hydrogen, we are 
justified in concluding that the movements of plants are eifect- 
ed by a totally different agent. Light only remains in the 
spectrum^ so far as we knorv ; and to it, therefore, I refer the 
motions under consideration. 

(34.) This conclusion is of deep interest, inasmuch as it is 

* Tithonometer — an instrument for measuring the chemical force o 
rftys, by the union of chlorine and hydrogen. 

88 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables, 

the first case of a movement^ perceptible to the eye, being 
traced to the unaided action of light. That this unponderable 
produced molecular changes, was readily admitted ; but its in- 
fluence, in bringing about palpable movements of considerable 
extent, has never been suspected. In the irritability of the 
iris, physiologists have always seen the influence of nervous 
matter ; but in plants no such agent exists to complicate the 
phenomenon ; and, therefore, the action is due to light only. 

In this newly discovered property light is also more closely 
assimilated to the other unponderables ; for both heat and 
electricity are capable of producing palpable motion. 

3. Some applications of the preceding facts, Sfc. 

(35.) Numerous applications to vegetable physiology will 
suggest themselves to the reader ; but it is my purpose to treat 
only of the following : 

The intimate relation which exists between the rags which 
produce chlorophgl, the decomposition of carbonic acid, and the 
luminous spectrum. The maximum for the formation of green 
matter has been shewn to reside in the yellow ray. Dr 
Draper (Lond. and Edin. Phil. Mag., Sept. 1843) discovered 
the maximum action, for the decomposition of carbonic acid, 
to be between the green and yellow ; or, more correctly, in the 
centre of the yellow. Sir W. Herschel and Fraunhofer 
placed the maximum for light in the same space. 

(36.) The relation goes further ; for if the quantities obtain- 
ed by Dr Draper for decomposing action, as measured by 
liberated gas — Fraunhofer, for illuminating power, determined 
i>y the eye — ^and my estimate, obtained in time, and by the 
eye — be rendered commensurable and tabulated, they will 
give quantities nearly allied. To produce such a table, I 
assume all the maxima equal to unity. My results being in 
time, and theirs in efilsct, the inverse proportion is taken for 
each value given in Art. 14. 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables, 


Table, shewing the Force of the Solar Bays in producing the 
Green Colour of Plants^ the Decomposition of Carbonic Acid^ 
and Illumination. 

Places Examined. 

Production of 



Extreme rod •••. 















Line B 


Commencement of orange 

Line D 

Centre of orange 

Centre of yellow 


Centre of Green 


Centre of blue 

End of blue 

Line G 


Upon projecting these numbers, which, although not rigor- 
ously correct, are very good approximations, the unity of the 
active agent will be more strikingly exhibited. Let the axis 
of abscissus be divided into intervals corresponding to Fraun- 
hofer's coloured spaces, and the positions of the mean places of 
the dark lines be marked from Powell's recent work on Disper- 
pion. The ordinates are from the table. Fraunhofer's esti- 
mates are indicated by a bold line, Dr Draper's by dots, and 
jTiy own by an interrupted line, fig. 1. 

<«u p W Ph O 

Had more points in these figures been determined, there is 
no doubt they would have coincided precisely. It is not to be 
forgotten, that these results were obtained in places many hun- 
dred miles apart. They determine, what hitherto has only 

00 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

been conjectured, that the greening of plants, and decomposi- 
tion of carbonic acid, are produced by the same agent — which 
is also the active unponderable in producing vision — a pheno- 
menon in no way similar, as suggested by M. Moser, to the 
change of Daguerre's plate, which is a tithonic action. The 
dependence of the depth of green colour in foliage upon bril- 
liant light, is also shewn. The statements of travellers, in re- 
spect to tropical vegetation, confirm this conclusion. 

(38.) Chlorophyl, the body generated in the yellow leaflets 
of plants, raised in darkness by the action of light, is a hydro- 
carbon, of the nature of wax. Whether it be produced by de- 
composition of carbonic acid, or be the yellow matter, or some 
other substance, as dextrine, already present in the leaf, which 
has suffered deoxidation, is altogether unknown. The latter 
view, applied to the formation of oils and fats in animals, by 
Liebig, is probably correct ; by adopting it, we are relieved 
from all difficulty in regard to the supply of hydrogen in plants ; 
for the evidence that water is decomposed in their structures, 
is by no means conclusive. In the formation of oils in seeds, 
it is known that the deoxidation of sugar occurs ; for we have 
the liberation of carbonic acid from the petals, &c., and a de- 
struction of the organic matter. 

Subsequently to the production of chlorophyl, carbonic acid 
is decomposed by light, and this function, directly or indirectly, 
is sufficient to generate all organic matter. Hence the exist- 
ence of all organic matter is due to the light of the sun. 

(39.) On the destruction of Chlorophyl by Light. — The pro^ 
duction of green matter by the yellow rays, leads us to infer 
its destruction by the blue and red. Sir J. F. W. Herschel 
(Phil. Mag., Feb. 1843; found that the expressed juices of 
leaves are acted upon by the spectrum with much uniformity. 
In the case of elder leaves (fig. 8), there was a strong maxi- 
mum, producing a nearly insulated solar image at — 11.5 of 
his scale,* or nearly at the end of the red rays, — the action 

* By proceeding as in art. 13, a spectrum is obtained which has only 
the width of the focal picture of the sun, and is of considerable length ; 
these elements differ, however, with the focal distance of the lens. Upon 
examining such a spectrum through cobalt-glass, a perfectly circular 
image of the sun is seen at the extreme red end, another in the centre 

Dr Gardner on the Aetion of Light on Vegetables. 91 

thence was feeble, with, two minima at — 5.0 and + 6.8, with 
a slight intermediate maximum at (0.0) the centre of the yel- 
low, and beyond these, or about the termination of the green, 
the action again increases, reaches another maximum at + 20.0, 
which corresponds to the centre of Fraunhofer's indigo, after 
which it declines to a point beyond the violet + 45.0. 

I have been thus precise in giving his result, because my 
experiments made with ethereal solution of chlorophyl from 
grass leaves spread upon paper, gave similar spectra. There 
are two points, however, which it is necessary to discuss. 

The first action of light is perceived in the mean red ray, 
and it attains a maximum incomparably greater at that point 
than elsewhere ; the next place affected is in the indigo, and, 
accompanying it, there is an action from + 10.5 to + 36.0 
of the same scale, beginning abruptly in Fraunhofer's blue. 
So striking is this whole result, that some of the earlier spec- 
tra obtained by me, contained a perfectly neutral space from 
— 5.0 to + 10.5, in which the chlorophyl was in noway 
changed, whilst the solar picture in the red was sharp and of 
a dazzling whiteness, and the maximum of the indigo was also 
bleached, producing a linear spectrum, as in fig. 2 ; in which 
the orange, yellow, and green rays are inactive ; these, it will 
be remembered, are energetic in forming the green matter. 

Fig. 2. 

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. 

Upon longer exposure, the subordinate action along the yel- 
low, &c., occurs, but not until the other portions are perfectly 

In Sir J. Herschel's experiments, there remained a salmon- 
colour after the discharge of the green. This is not seen when 

of the yellow, and the termination of the violet is sharp and distinct. Sir 
John Herschel takes the centre of the yellow, thus insulated, as his zero 
point, and, using a scaleof thirtieths of an inch, divides the distance between 
it and the red end into negative parts, and in the direction of the violet po- 
sitively. The spectrum he used contained 13.30 negative, and 40.62 po- 
sitive parts, and was, therefore, ^^i inches long. My spectrum corre- 
sponded with this very closely. 

92 Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 

chlorophyl is used, and is due to a colouring matter, insoluble 
in ether. 

(40.) No ground exists, therefore, for the theory that the 
autumnal tint of leaves is due to the residual, after the destruc- 
tion of the green colour. Xanthophyl, which imparts the yel- 
low, depends on an organic change of chlorophyl, which Berze- 
lius could not imitate (Journ. de Pharm., JuUiet, 1837). 

Some observations made with a view of determining the ac- 
tion of indigo light on the green of living plants, brought me 
to the conclusion, that it faded into a yellowish-green colour ; 
but I will not speak positively. Plants do, however, lose all 
their greenness in a dark place, after a greater or less time, 
and become the colour of seedlings raised without light. In 
this result my experience is at variance with the statement of 
Macaire Princep, '' Les feullles d'une plante conservees a I'abri 
de la lumiere s'en detachent colorees vert." (In Berzelius, 
Chimie, t. 6, p. 42 ; from Mem. de la Soc. Hist. Nat. de Ge- 
neve, t. 4.) 

(41.) In the Bleaching of Chlorophyl, as well as in its pro- 
duction, the active agent is light, for it will take place behind 
a medium excluding the tithonic rays ; and the points of acti- 
vity have no relation to the maxima of the calorific spectrum. 
See Sir John Herschel's paper (Phil. Trans. 1840, part i., 
p. 51, " On the distribution of the calorific rays of the solar 

(42.) The coincidence shewn to exist between the illumi- 
nating power, activity of decomposition, and greening effect of 
yellow light, is conclusive of the discussion respecting the rays 
which are favourable to the growth of vegetables. 

Blue light cannot be the best, as originally afi[irmed by Se- 
nebier, and subsequently maintained by Mr Hunt ; nor would 
a conservatory glazed with cobalt-glass answer the expectations 
of Professor Johnston. 

(43.) It is impossible to conclude without calling the atten^ 
tion of physiologists to the remarkable fact, proved in the se- 
cond part of this paper, — ^that indigo light possesses a solicit- 
ing power, capable of governing the direction of the stems, 
peduncles, &c. of plants ; an action accomplished by light in- 
comparably feeble in comparison with the yellow rays. The 

Dr Gardner on the Action of Light on Vegetables. 93 

blue of the atmosphere is scarcely less intense, when compared 
with the sun's beams. Does not the colour of the sky^ there- 
fore^ regulate the upright growth of stems to a certain extent ? 
Is it not in virtue of the soliciting force therein, that plants 
continue to grow erect, rvhenever other disturbing forces are 
in equilibrio ? These questions might be investigated with 
profit, were not this communication too extended already. 

(44.) It is proper to state, however, that De CandoUe's theory 
of the bending of plants towards light, has been fully dis- 
approved in the context,* inasmuch as it is effected by the indigo 
rays which have not power to decompose carbonic acid and pro- 
duce lignin, &c. (See Mem. Soc. d'Arcueil, 1809, p. 104.) 

In conclusion, it appears that the following facts have been 
established : — 

1^^, That chlorophyl is produced by the more luminous rays» 
the maximum being in the yellow. 

2d, This formation is due to pure light, an imponderable 
distinct from all others. 

3fl?, That the ray towards which plants bend occupies the 
indigo space of Fraunhofer. 

Ath, This movement is due to pure light, as distinguished 
from heat and tithonicity* 

bth. That pure light is capable of producing changes which 
result in the development of palpable motion* 

Qth, The bleaching of chlorophyl is most active in those 
parts of the spectrum which possess no influence in its produc- 
tion, and are complimentary to the yellow rays. 

1th, This action is also due to pure light. Wehave^ there- 
fore, an analysis of the action of every ray in the luminous 
spectrum upon vegetation. The several effects produced are 
not abruptly terminated within the limits of any of the spaces, 
but overlap to a certain extent, a fact which coincides with 
our experience of the properties of the rays. Whilst heat and 

* De Candolle advanced a theory to account for the bending of plants 
towards light on the following grounds. . That as the side of any plant 
nearest the light was acted on thereby, whilst the distant portions were 
unilluminated, Ciirbonic acid would be decomposed, and lignin, &c., pro- 
duced on one side and not the other. The plant becoming firmer on 
the part thus furnished with woody fibre, bent over towards the lumi- 
nous Source. 

94 Memoir of the late Mr William Blackie. 

tithonidty are capable of causing the union of mineral particles, 
light appears to be the only radiant body which rules pre- 
eminent in the organic world. To the animating beams of the 
sun, we owe whatever products are necessary to our very exist- 
ence. (The American Journal of Science and Arts, vol. xlvi., 
No. I, January 1844, p. 1.) 

Memoir of the late Mr William Blackie^ Optician, By John 
Coldstream, M.D., Leith. Communicated by the Royal 
Scottish Society of Arts.* 

William Blackie was born at Bainfield, near Edinburgh, 
24th May 1808. He was brought up by his maternal grand- 
father, Mr George Blackie, gardener, whose name he assumed 
in after life, in preference to that of his father, in consequence 
of the latter having basely deserted his mother. 

After having received the elements of education in various 
suburban schools, he began, at the age of twelve years, to 
work in his grandfather's garden at Upper Hermitage, South 
Leith. Nothing remarkable appeared in his character or dis- 
positions during his boyhood ; but, when he had reached the 
age of seventeen years, he became impatient of the monotony 
of a gardener's life ; and, along with a cousin, suddenly left 
his home and went to sea. He was received on board of a 
coal-brig trading between North Shields and London, in 
which he met with treatment so harsh as to lead him speedily 
to repent of the rash step he had taken. While at London, 
he sought long and anxiously for employment in some of the 
large gardens near the metropolis, but in vain ; and, at last, 
he was compelled by hunger to return to the vessel. Having 
completed the homeward-voyage, he felt that he had had 
enough of a sailor's life, and penitently returned to his friends 
within two months after absconding. He then resumed work 
in the garden. 

It was about two years after this that an incident occurred 
which gave a decided turn to his occupations, and influenced 

♦ Read before the Royal Society of Arts on 8th April 1844r 

Memoir of the late Mr William Blackie, 96 

the whole course of his future life. While digging in the 
garden, he happened to turn up the bottom of a chrystal 
tumbler ; it was concave ; and, on looking through it, he ob- 
served that it diminished the object. He then thought 
whether, if the glass were convex, it would have the effect of 
magnifying the object. This he resolved to bring to the test 
of experiment ; and immediately proceeded to grind the piece 
of glass into a convex form. At this time, he was entirely 
ignorant of optical science ; nevertheless, after long and hard 
labour, by means of a common grindstone, he succeeded in 
giving his glass the desired form ; and he polished it with 
earth. He then found that, rough as his workmanship was, 
the convex glass realized all his expectations. 

Delighted with his success, he now resolved to attempt the 
construction of a telescope. With this view, he procured two 
pieces of glass, which he formed into lenses in the same man- 
ner as the bottom of the tumbler. He could, at first, procure 
no better tube in which to fix his lenses than a cabbage-stalk, 
hollowed out. One day, while he was enjoying the performance 
of this rude instrument near Locliend, he was accosted by a 
young man of the name of Forbes, who held in his hand a 
properly constructed telescope, and who proposed to Blackie 
to exchange instruments for a few minutes. Blackie shewed 
much reluctance to allow a stranger to inspect his telescope, 
but at last yielded to the entreaties of Mr F., who was much 
delighted and astonished at the effect produced by means so 
rude and simple. This interview led to the formation of a 
friendship which continued throughout life. It was at Mr 
Forbes's suggestion that William began to attend the lectures 
delivered at the Leith Mechanics'* Institution, on Mathematics, 
Chemistry, and Mechanical Philosophy, which he did in the 
Session 1827-28. He continued to attend these lectures di- 
ligently until 1832, acknowledging that he derived from them 
much benefit. He also actively availed himself of the use of 
the excellent library connected with the same institution, de- 
voting his attention more particularly to works on practical 
mechanics and optics. 

These studies occupied only his evening hours until 1832, 
when, for a time, he abandoned the spade, and confined his 

9d Memoir of the late Mr William Blackie. 

labours, almost exclusively, to practical optics, '.n hopes of 
being able to obtain a livelihood by disposing of lenses and 
other apparatus, in the construction of which he now began 
to evince considerable dexterity. 

He persevered in this for about twelve months, when, find- 
ing that his success did not equal his expectations, he once 
more returned to his former employment. For a short time 
he laboured in the Experimental Garden at Inverleith, but 
left it abruptly, in consequence of what he considered bad 

He now thought of becoming an engineer ; and, with this 
view, endeavoured to procure employment in some engine 
factory, but in vain. This fresh disappointment brought him 
back to his lenses with new zest ; and he spent the four re- 
maining years of his life almost entirely in the manufacture 
of these, and that with a degree of success^ as to the excel- 
lence of their performance, that has rarely, if ever, been 
equalled. The fact of Blackie's attaining such eminence as 
an artificer in work so delicate and minute as that of the con- 
struction of microscope-lenses of high power, notwithstand- 
ing his having been fully exercised for many years in the 
use of so large a tool as the spade, may be regarded as a very 
interesting addition to the history of the human hand ; and 
as supplying another striking proof of the wonderful plasticity 
with which it has been endowed by the all-wise Author of 
our being. 

It was about this time (the beginning of 1834), that he suc- 
ceeded in forming a diamond lens having a focus of 3 -90th 
of an inch, and a radius of l-35th of an inch, which magnified 
549 times. This, it is believed, was the first lens of the kind 
ever made in Scotland. His successful effort was the means 
of bringing him and his works under the notice of Sir David 
Brewster, Professor Forbes, and other philosophers, who sub- 
sequently employed him in various pieces of work connected 
with practical optics, and continued sedulously to interest 
themselves in his welfare to the close of his life. Encouraged 
by such patronage, he continued his work steadily, but still 
in the most quiet and simple manner possible. He usually 
wrought at a common table in his grandfather's kitchen : all 

Memoir of the late Mr iniliam Black ie. 97 

his moulds and tools were made by his own hands, and were 
so insignificant in appearance, that they were seldom recog- 
nised even by persons conversant with the like pursuit. Some 
of his processes in lens-grinding and polishing were entirely 
of his invention ; and, indeed, in almost every step of his pro- 
gress, he strove to master difficulties by the exertion of his 
own ingenuity, rather than have recourse to the advice or 
assistance of others. To Mr George Saunderson, however, 
he acknowledged himself indebted for his having described 
to him a simple method of executing the spherical surfaces of 
garnet lenses. 

By unremitting exertions, he produced numerous micro- 
scopic lenses of excellent workmanship and high power in the 
course of four years. He was particularly successful in mak- 
ing the bird's eye lenses, or grooved spheres, now so much 
used as pocket microscopes. He also brought to great per- 
fection achromatic object-lenses for the compound microscope. 
These have been pronounced by competent judges to be en- 
tirely free from spherical aberration, and to aiford an ex- 
tended field of vision. The following testimony to the sur- 
passing merits of one of these lenses is extracted from the 
article " Microscope," in the last edition of the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica : — " Mr Pritchard remarks, that when the lens 
next the object is a jewel, the performance of the doublet is 
improved ; but that he has not observed any advantage when 
both lenses are gems. This must be a mistake ; for lenses 
of any gem that are superior to glass ones when acting singly, 
must, if suitably combined, be superior also when united. In 
proof of this we have a garnet doublet before us, executed by 
Mr Blackie, the performance of which is quite remarkable. 
The lenses are made of Elie garnets, and their convex sides 
are placed towards each other. The radius of the smallest 
lens near the object is l-70th of an inch, and that of the 
other l-20th of an inch. Its magnifying power is very high, 
exceeding greatly that of the semi-jewel doublet made by Mr 
Pritchard, with a sapphire lens l-60th of an inch focus, com- 
bined with a glass lens 1-lOth of an inch focus." 

After having so far distinguished himself by these beauti- 
ful works, Blackie was encouraged to visit London in 1836, 


98 Memoir of the late Mr William Blackie, 

partly with the view of making himself acquainted with ihe 
state of the art to which he had devoted himself, as carried 
on in the metropolis, and partly with the hope of obtaining 
some orders for pieces of work. He carried with him letters 
of introduction from Sir David Brewster to Mr Robert Brown, 
Mr Pritchard, Mr Bate, and Mr Jackson Lister. Mr Prit- 
chard received him with great kindness, and gave him orders 
for some of the grooved spheres. He was favoured also with 
the patronage of several other distinguished philosophers and 
fellow-artists; and he returned home both pleased and re- 
freshed by the agreeable incidents of his journey, and by the 
excellent opportunities of improvement which he had en- 

Mr Blackie now made for the late Mr Sivright of Megget- 
land, a diamond lens similar to that which he manufactured 
in 1834, which, it is believed, remains in the possession of Mr 
Sivright's family. He also made, about this time, a number 
of lenses of various kinds for Professor Forbes ; and assisted 
that gentleman greatly, by grinding plates and lenses of rock- 
salt, which were used in the experiments on light and heat, 
subsequently communicated to the Royal Society by the Pro- 
fessor. It is understood that no other artist was found able 
and willing to undertake this labour. 

Mr Blackie also made a fine sapphire-lens, focus one- 
seventieth of an inch, radius one-fortieth of an inch, which 
magnifies 420 times ; a garnet-lens, one-fiftieth of an inch 
focus, magnifying 300 times ; and a smaller garnet-lens, one- 
twentieth of an inch focus, magnifying 720 times. 

But the subject of our memoir was not a mere artist. He 
carefully and successfully cultivated the higher powers of his 
mind, and did much to supply the deficiencies of his early 
education. He was fond of plants, although he disliked the 
labours of the gardener ; and he sedulously cherished a fine 
collection of choice flowers, of the produce of which he made 
his friends partakers. He made good progress in the acqui- 
sition of botanical, chemical, and astronomical science. He 
was, above all, eminently characterised by extreme modesty, 
and perfect simplicity and ingenuousness of disposition. His 
deportment was particularly unassuming. He was most kind, 

Description of a Portable Levelling Instrument. 99 

attentive, and obliging, in all the relations of life / and he was 
most warmly loved by all who knew him best. 

It is probable that intense application to his labours laid the 
foundation of the disease — consumption of the lungs — of which 
he died. The symptoms of the fatal malady began to mani- 
fest themselves in the autumn of 1836 ; but he was able to 
continue at work, although with many interruptions, until 
within two or three months of his death, which happened on 
the 15th January 1838. 

Throughout the whole of his illness, he maintained the 
same meek and quiet deportment which ever distinguished 
him. He spoke little ; but that little proved how much his 
spirit was cheered by Christian faith and hope, and discovered 
on what a deep foundation were based the remarkable humi- 
lity, simplicity, and sincerity, which formed the chief orna- 
ments of his character, and endeared him to all connected 
with him. 

March 30. 1844. 

Description of Portable Levelling Instruments, By David 
Stevenson, F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Civil Engineer, Edin- 
burgh. Communicated by the Royal Scottish Society 
of Arts.* With a Plate. 

In examining a tract of country, I have often experienced 
the want of some portable, and, at the same time, accurate 
instrument, for ascertaining, in a general manner, the rela- 
tive levels of different points, previous to determining the 
line of a more detailed survey. A small spirit-level without 
any telescope, having a common sight and cross-hair attached, 
is sometimes used for that purpose, being fixed on a staff 
stuck into the ground. The large instruments commonly 
used in levelling are also often employed, but neither of these 
instruments answers the object I had in view ; the first being 
much too rude for the required accuracy, and the second too 

Read before the Society, 12th February 1844. 

100 Description of a Portable Levelling Instrument 

heavy for easy transport. The level represented in the ac- 
companying drawing (Plate 1st), vi^as designed to supply this 
want. It consists of an accurate spirit-level, a 10-inch tele- 
scope, and a compass, so arranged as to admit of being very 
portable. The telescope unscrews at letter A, so as to form 
two compartments, and the whole is packed in a pocket case 
measuring 6 by 2| inches ; and the tripod on which it stands 
does not exceed the bulk of a thick walking staff. 

Referring to the drawing, B C is the level, D a circular 
level, E the compass, F screw for adjusting focus, G the eye 
piece, H screw acting on spring K L, which is fixed to the 
telescope at M by a crutch on which it moves, N the screw 
by which it is fixed to the tripod, O P Q R the top of the 
tripod, which contains a ball and socket-joint, shewn in dotted 
lines, which can be clamped and undamped by means of a 
screw viTought on the inside of the part S T. In setting the 
instrument, the screw S T is first undamped, and the instru- 
ment is moved by the hand on the ball and socket-joint until 
the air-bubble of the level D occupies the centre of the 
circular box containing it. The screw S T is then clamped, 
and the instrument being directed to the object to be ob-< 
served, the final and more perfect adjustment is made by 
bringing the air-bubble B C to occupy the centre of its tube, 
which is done by means of the screw H, which acts on the 
spring K L. The tripod is that used by Dollond for the 
camera lucida, and answers both instruments. The tele- 
scope can be made either, as in ordinary levels, to reverse 
the objects, or, as in theodolites, to shew them in their true 
positions. In this level made for myself, I have adopted 
the latter construction, in order that the instrument may an- 
swer more perfectly the purposes of a field telescope. The 
addition of the compass is ?ilso a further convenience. 

In connection with this instrument, I have also had a port- 
able levelling staif made, which also is shewn in Plate I. It 
consists of an elliptically-moulded staff, 3 ft. 3 in. in length, and 
cut through the middle ; the two halves are hinged at one ex- 
tremity, and when unfolded, are fixed by a spring at A, form- 
ing a rod 6 ft. 6 in. long, on the flat side of which the gradua- 
tions of feet and inches are painted ; when closed, the gradua- 

hy/n. < few Fhil. Journal. JdlJCXXVnFUitelFa^/e lOO 

, Sm/// wr/ad/r leve//i/t^/nstruf/w/// Sc/IM, corislriulGfdyMcss^Jdit'^/JfwtdSkffensaniC^ 

Size OfieTkird 



102 Mr T. Stevenson on Levelling Instruments, 

fixed to his works,* in the following terms : — " Ibi" (Lutetise) 
" vixit ab anno 1666 ad annum 1681. Durante hoc tempore 
pulcherrima subtilissimaque multa in mathematieis detexit 
variaque ex iis operibus conscripsit quse nunc in unum corpus 
collecta quid in variis Matheseos partibus prsestiterit sub oculis 
ponunt. Praeter ipsius jam memorata inventa prseclara inter 
alia duo insigni usu eminent. Libellam telescopio munitam 
ita construxit ut ipsi pras ceteris fides haberi possit," &c. 

The honour of having first applied the air-bubble to the de- 
termination of horizontality seems to be due to that universal 
genius Dr Hooke. From all that I can gather, it appears that 
his invention must have been made subsequent to 25th March 
1674, and prior to the year 1675, as, in his '* Attempt to prove 
the Motion of the Earth by Observations,*' of date 25th March 
1674, he describes a new method of stilling the plummethy im- 
mersion in water. While in his animad versions, f published also 
in 1674, after fully describing his invention of the air-bubble 
confined in a tube, he speaks of its peculiar advantages, and 
great delicacy of movement, and remarks, — " This can hardly 
be performed by the ordinary way of plummets, without hang- 
ing from a vast height, which is not practically to be per- 
formed without almost infinite trouble, expense, and diffi- 
culty," &c. 

Hutton, in his Mathematical Dictionary, remarks, that the 
application of the air-bubble to the level " is said to be due 
to M. Thevenot ;" but with what justice I cannot say, having 
been unable to meet with any reference to this instrument in 
the writings of that author. Thevenot was born in 1621, and 
he died in 1692. 

I have been unable to discover who was the inventor of the 
circular level, which I imagined had been of recent date ; but 
Switzer, at page 91 of his Treatise on Water-works, which 
was published in 1734, remarks, that the circular level was 

* Christ. Hugenii Op. Var. Lugd. Batav. 1724. 

t Animadversions on the first part of the Machina cselestis of the Hon., 
learned, and deservedly famous Astron. Johannes Hevelius, Consul of 
Dantzick, together with an explication of some instruments made by 
Rob. Hooke, Prof. Geom. in Gresh. Coll., and F.R.S. Lond. 1674, p. 61, 
et seq. 

Vdin.acwFha.Journal Tol.XXXVJTPlaiellPa^clS^. 

JCrSa/i^'s a/^parcUiis fir lei/dl/7L^ small T/uodolites. 

Tbkn, San^ cboi. 

S.Zeie^Li&io^f'Sdiit " 

with Description of one of an Improved Form, 103 

then employed in the construction of the surveying instrument 
called a Plane-table. 

According to Sir John Herschel, the cross-hair, which gives 
so much accuracy to all astronomical as well as levelling in- 
struments, was the invention of Gascoigne, a young English- 
man, who used it in 1640. He was killed at the age of 23, at 
the battle of Marston Moor. 

M. Le Bion* appears to have been the first to conjoin the 
telescope of Huygens with the air-bubble of Dr Hooke ; and 
this must have been subsequent to the year 1684, as such an 
instrument is not shewn in De La Hire's edition of Picard's 
Treatise on Levelling.t 

But it was not till Sisson's improvements that the level 
could be considered as in any way an accurate or philosophic 
instrument. All that were made previous to his time were 
coarse instruments, adjusted by a ball and socket, and in other 
respects resembling the common perambulatory survey-level, 
which, from the nature of the construction, can be levelled in 
only one direction, and cannot be reversed, or moved even in 
the slightest degree, without requiring readjustment. Sisson 
may, therefore, be considered as the inventor of the instru- 
ment in common use. The main feature in his improvements 
was the introduction of the four screws called the parallel 
plate-screws (D, in the Diagram). I have been unable to 
find out the date of Sisson's improvement ; and, indeed, the 
only notice I can find of him is the following in Switzer's Sys- 
tem of Water- works : *' The invention" (alluding to the in- 
strument with parallel plate-screws) " as I take it (for I am 
not as yet well acquainted with that gentleman), of William 
Sisson, at the corner of Beaufort Buildings^ in the Strand." J 

Since the time of Sisson, the celebrated Ramsden intro- 
duced a tangent-screw and clamp, for moving the instrument 
with accuracy through small distances in an arimuthal direc- 
tion. Messrs Troughton and Simms also made several im- 

* Traite de la Construction et des Principaux usages des Instrumens 
de Mathematique. Par N. Le Bion^ Ingenieur du Roi pour les Instru- 
mens de Math. Nouv. Edit. A La Haye, 1723. 

t Traite du Nivellement Par M. Picard, mis en lumiere par les soins 
de M. De La Hire, 12mo. A Paris, 1684. 

% An Universal System of Water and Waterworks. By Stephen Swit- 
zcr, 2 vols. 4to. Lond. 1734. 

104 Mr T. Stevenson 071 Levelling Instruments, 

provements in the arrangement of the various parts of the 
instrument ; and Mr Gravatt has of late years added a cross- 
bubble for facilitating the rough-setting of the instrument — 
or that adjustment which is made with the legs of the tripod ; 
and an enlargement of the diameter of the object-glass, so as, 
by the admission of a greater number of rays of light, to allow 
of the telescope being shortened, without impairing its optical 

A B is the telescope. 

C C the compass-box. 

M the screw for adjusting the focus. 

H H the tubular spirit-level. 

G the spherical or circular level. 

D D D the parallel plate-screws of Sisson. 

K the old ball and socket motion. 

F the new ball and socket motion. 

N clamping-screw for ditto. 

with Description of one of an Improved Form. 105 

Having thus endeavoured to describe the successive changes 
which the level has undergone, I shall now proceed to notice 
the nature of the present improvements. 

The first of these is the substitution of a circular, or, to 
speak more correctly, a spherical level (G), sluggish in its 
motions, instead of the small cross-level, which was introduced 
by Mr Gravatt. The advantage of the circular level over the 
common form, is its peculiarity in at once shewing the devia- 
tion of the instrument from horizontality in both directions, 
instead of only one. 

Before describing the next improvement, it may be proper 
to state, that the clumsiness of the common level consists in 
its being at all dependent on the setting of the legs. This 
arises from the circumstance of the ball-and-socket motion (K) 
being controlled in its action by the parallel plate-screws of 
Sisson (D), the consequence of which is, that, in using the 
common level, care must be taken to set the instrument very 
nearly level by the eye^ so as to be within the range of the 
parallel plate- screws (D), otherwise it is impossible to adjust 
the instrument. And although to the practical man, the trou- 
ble attending this may be comparatively small, still he will 
admit that it is one of the most irksome parts of the whole 
operation of levelling ; to say nothing of the time that is lost 
in adjusting the instrument afterwards with the parallel plate- 
screws. What appeared to be wanting was a motion for the 
preliminary, or rough-setting^ intermediate in nicety between 
those of the parallel plate-screws and of the legs. In order 
to gain this end, a ball-and-socket motion (F), having a clamp 
(N), is introduced in addition to the ball-and-socket (K), whose 
action is limited by Sissou'^s parallel plate-screws (D) ; so that 
my improved level has two ball-and-socket movements. 

With the instrument thus improved, the observer is made 
quite independent of the level of the ground where he sets the 
legs of his instrument, and may place them without regard to 
the inclination of the telescope to the horizon. Looking first 
to the circular level (G), and releasing the clamp (N) of the 
ball and socket (F), he, with one hand, moves the head of the 
instrument till the bubble is in tfie centre of the circle, an 

106 Mr T. Stevenson on Levelling Instruments, 

operation which is done almost instantaneously.* The socket- 
screw (N) is then clamped, and the telescope bubble (HH) is 
brought to the absolute level by a slight touch of the parallel 
plate-screws (D). In this way the legs of the tripod never need 
to be moved after the instrument has been placed on the 
ground, and the parallel plate-screws have almost nothing to 
do — advantages which all who are accustomed to levelling will 
fully appreciate. 

In levelling over mountainous districts, it very often hap- 
pens that it is desirable to select a station where the ground 
is so rugged and precipitous as to render it difficult, if not im- 
possible, to find three points for the extremities of the legs of 
the instrument to rest on, which shall be on such levels as to 
bring the telescope within the range of the parallel plate - 
screws ; but wherever the instrument can be made to stand with 
safety i the bubble of the improved level can be adjusted, and 
adjusted in exactly the same time^ and with exactly the same 
ease, as if the instrument were placed on level ground. 

Another advantage of these improvements is the removal of 
a great practical difficulty which is often experienced on slop- 
ing ground. The instrument being set and properly adjusted, 
the observer, on looking through the telescope, may discover 
that he is not within the range of the levelling-staff ; in other 
words, he has chosen a station too high or too low to admit of 
his seeing any part of the staff within the field of the object- 
glass. The only remedy for this is to choose a new station 
where the instrument must be again set up and levelled, at a 
great expense of time and trouble. In order to remedy this, 
it was my intention at one time to have fixed on the telescope 
a French level, on the principle of the plummet, in order 
speedily to discover, before making the adjustments, whether 
the intended station were within the range of the staff or not. 
But the instrument can be roughly set with so much quick- 

* In the annexed plan the instrument is shewn off the level, so that 
neither the air-bubble of the circular level (G) is in the centre of the 
circle ; nor does the air-bubble in the tube (H H) correspond with the 
file-marks made on the glass. 

An Inquiri/ into the Simple Bodies of Chemistry, 107 

ness by means of the additional ball and socket, that the French 
plummet may be considered as being now scarcely necessary. 
In my letter to the Secretary of the Institution of Civil En- 
gineers, I pointed out the advantages which would result to 
the surveyor were the theodolite provided with a second ball 
and socket motion ; but no opportunity of trying this has as 
yet occurred. 

Edinburgh, 1844. 

An Inquiry into the Nature of the Simple Bodies of Chemistry. 

By David Low, F.R.S.E., Professor of Agriculture in the 

University of Edinburgh. 

In a former Number we referred to this work, and we do so again, 
in order that we may enter our early protest against certain attempts 
that have been recently made, not to refute the arguments em- 
ployed, but to run down the author. Fortunately for the interests 
of truth and science, offences of this kind have now become rare. 
Mr Low's argument will be best stated in his own words ; 


" The greater number of substances with which we are conversant, are 
derivable one from another, and are therefore termed Compound; but of 
the numerous class which we term simple, many are similar to one ano- 
ther with respect to their essential characters, and pass the one into the 
other by scarcely perceptible gradations, nay, pass into those we term 
compound, so that no line of natural division can be drawn between the 
two classes. Yet we hold the one class to be derivative or compound^ 
and the other to be derived from no other bodies ; but to be, as it were, 
distinct products of nature, each formed of particles proper to itself. It 
is not enough that we explain the meaning which we attach to the term 
simple, as applied to these bodies, by saying that we hold them to be 
simple, because we are unable, by the means at our command, to resolve 
them into other bodies more simple. This is the mere expression of a 
fact ; but even were the fact established beyond dispute, which it is not, 
we should not be entitled to regard the bodies in question as simple, in 
contradistinction to another class which we regarded as compound. 
By the terms simple and compound, we indicate two Orders of bodies, 
the most distinct, with respect to their chemical constitution, which we 
can conceive to exist in nature. But there is no such distinction in the 
chemical and physical characters of the bodies themselves, as can war- 
rant us in assuming that they are distinct in their nature. The mere 
circumstance of our inability to compose or decompose the substances 
in the laboratory, furnishes, at the best, merely negative evidence. Su- 
perior means of analysis, or a better use of the means we possess, may 

108 Afi Inquiry into the Simple Bodies of Chemistry, 

enable us to prove bodies to be compound which we now hold to be 
simple. But even were it otherwise, we have other means of investiga- 
tion than the processes of the laboratory, for conducting us to truths in 
science. We have induction and analogy, without which even experi- 
ment would fail to conduct us to the discovery of natural laws. If the 
bodies which we term simple, present the same general physical proper- 
ties, and exert the same chemical actions, as those which we terra com- 
pound, and pass into the compound bodies in their characters and 
functions, the merely negative evidence, that we are unable to decom- 
pose them by overcoming their chemical affinities, should not invalidate 
the conclusion, that both classes are to be placed in the same order of 
natural bodies, and cannot be separated the one from the other, by so 
wide a chasm as a distinct molecular constitution." 

Having enunciated his proposition, the author proceeds to the in- 
quiry, whether, consistently with the known laws of chemical com- 
bination, we can conceive the bodies regarded as simple to be re- 
solvable into any other bodies more simple of their own order. He 
makes the supposition that they may be resolved into three, having 
the lowest atomic weight, namely, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. 
He thus adopts the method of reasoning so well known, of assuming 
certain premises, and determining their truth or error by the con- 
clusions arrived at. This is done by a review of all the undecom- 
posed bodies of chemistry, and of their relations with one another, 
and with the bodies which we know to be compound. The results 
are in many cases remarkable, but in no case, as far as we can per- 
ceive, inconsistent with the laws of chemical combination, as deter- 
mined by experiment. 

But of the three bodies referred to, one or more may be com- 
pound. Pursuing the same mode of reasoning, one of them is as- 
sumed to be compound, and this one to be oxygen ; because, while 
the known atomic weights of hydrogen and carbon, 1 and 6 respec- 
tively, will allow us to suppose one or both to be resolvable into 
oxygen, the atomic weight of oxygen, 8, will not allow us to resolve 
oxygen into hydrogen or carbon. This is the second stage of the 
argument, although carried on coincidently with the first. The 
author, therefore, makes' the supposition, that all the undecomposed 
bodies may be resolvable into two of their own order, namely, hydro- 
gen and carbon ; and this supposition is to be tested, like the other, 
by its accordance or disagreement with the results arrived at. It is 
remarkable, that this stage of the hypothesis, though arrived at by 
a different train of reasoning, agrees with a favourite speculation of 
Sir Humphrey Davy, who supposed that all the simple bodies of 

An hiquiry into the Simple Bodies of Chemistry, 109 

chemistry, so called, might be resolvable into two — hydrogen and an 
unknown base. Under the present supposition, the base is inferred 
to be a known body, namely, carbon, or the elements of carbon. 

But hydrogen and carbon may, one or both, be compound bodies. 
The author, pursuing the train of his reasoning, shews, that we must 
then derive them from an order of molecules superior to that of 
known forms of matter. We are, therefore, directly led to a conclu- 
sion, favoured by the most eminent metaphysicians, regarding the 
nature of matter, namely, that all matter is derived from some com- 
mon form of existence. The author arrives at this generalization ; 
but he does not pursue it to its results, because, as he states, it is 
not necessary for his argument, which is designed simply to shew 
that the bodies termed simple cannot be separated, as a distinct 
order of natural products, from the bodies which are determined to 
be compound, by experiment. 

It is difficult to comprehend why a speculation like this, within 
the fair range of philosophical inquiry, should have been received 
with so much bitterness by certain chemists. Are they afraid to 
have preconceived opinions shaken by the progress of inquiry ? It 
must be confessed, that the author presses hard on some favoured 
opinions. He will have it, that chlorine is no more a simple body 
than cyanogen, with which it preserves the closest parallelism in its 
chemical actions ; that ammonia is not distinguished from the other 
alkaline bodies by any essential difference in constitution ; that if 
ammonium, II^N, be a metal, all the other metals must be com- 
pound. He makes light of the many chemical formulae held to be 
established by something little short of demonstration. He asserts 
that we know nothing of the mode of existence of a compound mole- 
cule, and that all that a chemical formula can express is, the number 
and ratio of the elements which enter into any given body, or which 
are derived from it. We express no opinion upon this, or the 
author's other views. We only say that he argues the question fair- 
ly and temperately ; and we doubt not he is able and prepared to 
defend his opinions, and answer every fair objection. 


Notice of the Employment of the Flesh of Small Whales for feed- 
ing Cattle in the Faroe Islands. In a letter to the Editor 
from W. C. Trevelyan, Esq. 

I yesterday received a letter, dated June 2d, from the Faroe 
Islands, which contains further information regarding the cap- 
ture of whales by means of nets, of which a notice appeared 
in the Journal for January. The total number of the Delphi- 
nus melas (Caaing whale) taken in Faroe in 1843, was 3146, 
besides a few individuals of other species ; most of these were 
captured by means of the net before mentioned. The quan- 
tity of oil obtained from the blubber and exported, was 87,404 
gallons, and its value L.5665 ; besides this, about one-eighth of 
the blubber was salted for food, and some oil reserved for 
domestic uses, &;c. During the past winter, a novel but im- 
portant experiment has been tried with the flesh of these ani- 
mals : — it was then for the first time used as food for cows, 
and apparently with perfect success. For this purpose the 
flesh is cut into long and narrow strips, and dried, without 
salt, in the air, in the same manner as when used for food by 
the natives ; when well dried it will keep good for two years. 
When used, it is cut into pieces two or three inches long, 
and slightly boiled ; any oil rising to the surface is skimmed 
ofi\ and then the soup and meat are given to the cows, to- 
gether with about one-half or one-third the usual quantity of 
hay. On this food they appear to thrive well, giving an in- 
creased quantity of milk ; and neither it nor the cream has 
any unpleasant flavour, as they have when the animals are fed 
on dried fish, as in Iceland and other northern countries. 
Many cows have usually perished in Faroe from the scarcity 
of fodder in winter; and my correspondent, the Rev. Mr 
Schroter, (who has for many years exerted himself in improv- 
ing the condition of his fellow countrymen), calculates that the 
lives of more than 600 cows were saved last winter by the 
use of this food ; which, he remarks, might be found of value 
for the same purpose in Shetland and Orkney, where, from 

Erratic Blocks. Ill 

the flesh of the Delphinus being disliked as food, great quan- 
tities of it are wasted which might be profitably employed in 
this way — a more valuable application of it than for manure, 
as formerly suggested ; and if the supply were at all regular, 
it might enable the inhabitants to increase their stock of cows 
in winter, and thus add much to their domestic comfort. 

Edinbukqh, 25«A June 1844. 

Report on M. Alcide UOrhignifs Memoir, entitled General 
Considerations on the Geology of South America, By M. 
Elie de Beaumont. 

Concluded from vol. xxxvi. p. Q>2. 

Erratic blocks. — The deposit of erratic blocks, not less mys- 
terious than that of the loam formations, also exists in South 
America ; but there, as in Europe, it is placed at the side of 
the loam, and appears to be parallel to it. The Pampean loam 
is rarely mixed with pebbles, and it is only so in the moun- 
tains. Messrs D'Orbigny and Darwin agree in saying, that 
there is not a single rolled pebble to be met with on the sur- 
face of the Pampas. t It is different in Patagonia, where the 
Pampean loam does not exist, and where the Patagonian ter- 
tiary formation is everywhere exposed. The surface of this 
tertiary formation appears, according to M. D'Orbigny, to have 
been furrowed by great currents of salt water coming from the 
west. It is those currents which, according to him, have not 
only formed vast depressions and extensive valleys, but have 
also every where left, at the surface of the rocks, a thin mix- 
ture of round and small porphyritic pebbles, derived, doubt- 
less, from the rocks by which the Cordillera is composed. 
These porphyritic pebbles, distributed over the surface of the 
tertiary formations of a large part of Patagonia, do not extend 
over the Pampean loam. Their transport must, therefore, have 
been contemporaneous with the deposit of loam, or anterior 
to it. 

* From I'Instltut, No. 540, p. 154. 
t Darwin's Geology of the Voyage of the Beagle ; Introduction, p. iii. 

112 Geology of South America. 

It appears that these pebbles increase in size towards the 
south, and at last pass into erratic blocks. These blocks, dis- 
tributed in great abundance over the southern extremity of 
the American continent, as they are over the northern extre- 
mity both of the new world and of Europe, were not observed 
by M. D'Orbigny, but they have afforded Mr Darwin a num- 
ber of curious observations. The most northern point at which 
they were noticed by this distinguished traveller, on the plains 
of the eastern portion of South America, was on the banks of 
the river Santa Cruz, in S. lat. 50°, 10', a latitude corresponding 
to that in which the phenomenon of erratic blocks derived 
from the north becomes much less intense in the northern 
hemisphere. Erratic blocks are not met with in Patagonia 
near the coast ; in ascending the river of Santa Cruz, they have 
not been remarked nearer the coast than 112 English miles, 
and that 74 English miles from the foot of the Andes at the 
nearest point ; they consist of compact clay slate, a felspathic 
rock, a very quartzose chlorite slate, and basaltic lava. They 
are generally angular, and their dimensions are frequently 

What are the relations of these erratic blocks to the Pam- 
pean loam \ The question is here the same as in regard to 
Europe and North America, because the blocks and the loam 
succeed each other in the same order of succession as we ad- 
vance from the pole to the equator, and the blocks cease where 
the loam commences.*!- 

Becent Alluvial Deposits. — The Pampean loam, although 
very recent, is, nevertheless, not the newest of the deposits 
which are spread over the surface of South America. It is 
itself covered by deposits of two different kinds, but which 
M. D'Orbigny regards as contemporaneous. On the great 
Bolivian Plateau, and in the province of Moxos, there are thick 

* Darwin, on the distribution of the erratic boulders, and on the con- 
temporaneous unstratified deposits of South America. ( Transactions of 
the Geological Society ^ 2d Series, vol. vi. p. 415.) 

t Vide Report on the Memoir of M. de Castelnau, Comptes Rendus, 
t. xvi. p. 535. 

Recent Alluvial Deposits. 113 

alluvial deposits whose age has been indicated to M. D'Or- 
bigny by human remains. They are, according to him, all 
posterior to the commencement of our epoch. In the Pam- 
pas, there are, moreover, over a large extent of surface, me- 
danos (ancient downs of sand) ; and near the coast, at Bahia 
Blanca, at San Pedro, &c., beds of shells analogous to those 
which exist at the present day in a living state in the neigh- 
bouring seas. 

M. D'Orbigny was for a long time in doubt as to the age of 
the alluvial matters which cover the Pampean formation at 
the eastern base of the Andes, but an observation made in the 
province of Moxos enabled him to determine it. He found 
on the Rio-Securi a bank 8 yards in height, composed, at its 
lower portions, of 2 yards of Pampean formation, and above, 
of 6 yards of alluvial deposit. At a little distance from the 
Pampean formation, in the lowest beds of the alluvium, he 
discovered a great number of fragments of earthen-ware, which 
proved the former residence of the ancient inhabitants ; this 
discovery afforded certain evidence that these alluvia (if they 
are all contemporaneous), are posterior to the creation of 

At the extremity of the bay of San- Bias, at a place named 
Riacho-del' Ingles^ M. D'Orbigny found superimposed on the 
tertiary sandstone, an immense arenaceous bed, containing, 
along with crystals of gypsum, a great number of shells of 
Gasteropoda and Acephala identical with those which now 
live in the bay. This bed, situated about a mile and a quar- 
ter from the sea, was half a yard above the highest tides. 
The shells were in the position in which they had lived, and 
the acephala had their two valves united. The tides in these 
latitudes rise upwards of eight yards ; these shells occur about 
half a yard above the highest ; at present they live at a dis- 
tance of two miles and a half from thence, below the lowest 
tides. We may hence conclude that the shells in this bed 
are elevated about ten yards above their present position. 

The environs of Monte Video present hills of gneiss, at the 
base of which reposes a bed of marine shells, at the height of 
four or five yards above the La Plata ; the species are indeed 
different from those which live in the brackish water of the 


114 Geology of South America. 

hKj of Monte Video itself, but identical with those of the 
maritime coasts, at a distance of 74 miles nearer the mouth of 
the river. M. D'Orbigny observed in the neighbourhood of 
San-Pedro, on the tosca plains, about thirty yards above the 
coasts of the Parana, small mounds, about two or three yards 
high, having an elongated form, and, generally speaking, the 
same direction as the course of the Parana. These mounds 
are composed of very fine sand, and are so filled with shells 
that they have received from the inhabitants the name of 
concMllas, These shells belong to the species Azara labiata, 
which no longer lives near San-Pedro, and is not met with, 
descending the river, sooner than at Riacho-de-las-Palmas, not 
far from Buenos Ayres ; it abounds in the fresh and brackish 
water of the mouth of the Plata. These mounds, whose thick- 
ness and extent are so considerable that they have been used 
for the manufacture of hydraulic lime, cannot have been accu- 
mulated by man. If, on the one hand, the state of preserva- 
tion of the shells proves that they belong to a deposit contem- 
poraneous with the human epoch, the fact of their two valves 
being united, and their perfect preservation, forbid, on the 
other hand, the idea of their having been transported, and 
prove that they lived at no great distance, if not upon the 
very spot where they are now found. These deposits are evi- 
dently connected with the cause which has given rise to the 
fonnation of the medanos^ or ancient downs, which are found 
distributed very far from the sea in the centra of the Pampas, 
towards the south. 

To the west of the Cordillera, analogous mounds, containing 
the shells which occur on the present coasts, have been observed 
at Talcahuano, at Coquimbo, at Cobija, at Arica, and at Lima, 
over an extent of upwards of 1600 miles. 

The recent shells observed by M. D'Orbigny in the raised 
beaches of the two shores of South America, have given rise 
to two very interesting remarks. The first is, that all these 
shells have their analogues in the neighbouring seas, and that, 
as a whole, they exhibit on the two sides of the Andes as great 
a difference as is presented by the existing faunas of these 
two seas. Whence it necessarily results, that at the epoch 
when they lived the two seas were already separated. The 

Becent Alluvial Deposits. 115 

second observation made by M. D'Orbigny is, that the recent 
shells of the raised beaches of the two coasts of South Ame- 
rica, are all in the natural position in which they lived, the 
acephala having their two valves united and placed vertically. 
This fact supports the idea of a sudden movement, and not a 
gradual elevation of the coast, as has been supposed by some 
authors. The study of the present coasts proves, that when 
the sea gradually abandons a shore, it leaves, everywhere on 
the uncovered portion, shells, which are exposed for a long 
period to the incessant movement of the waves, and which 
soon become more or less rounded, no one remaining in its 
original position. Nothing of this kind presenting itself in 
the elevated deposits visited by M. D'Orbigny, it seems to him 
evident that these shells had been suddenly and instantaneously 
raised from the bottom of the sea to the height which they 
now occupy. This leads him to conclude that a sudden 
movement has taken place on the surface of America, whose 
traces are preserved, on the one hand, in the terrestrial allu- 
via J and, on the other, in the elevation of the marine beds of 
the coasts of the two oceans. 

The terrestrial alluvia and the marine beds which cover the 
Pampean tertiary formation, would thus be contemporaneous 
with the species which now live on the globe ; while the Pam- 
pean formation itself, from its terrestrial fauna being very dif- 
ferent from the fauna of the present day, would belong to a 
very different anterior epoch, characterised by large animals 
of a lost race. Thus, while on the one hand, the Pampean 
formation seems to refer to a great event which destroyed the 
megatherium and the mylodon, it would seem equally pro- 
bable, that since the existence of the present fauna there 
have been general and transient causes which, at the same 
time that they elevated a portion of the shore, as well of the 
Atlantic as of the Pacific Ocean, containing organised bodies 
identical with those living at the present day, have also de- 
nuded the plateaux and mountains, and have transported to 
the Pampas and to the plains of Moxos those immense masses 
of alluvial matter which are there observed, and whose mo- 
dern origin is indicated, as we have already mentioned, by 

116 Geology of South America. 

the products of human industry discovered by M. D'Orbigny 
at the Rio-Securi. 

It is, doubtless, sufficiently difficult to trace with certainty 
the line of demarcation between the ancient raised beaches, 
and those beaches which are from time to time elevated by 
earthquakes on the coasts of Chili, as well as between the 
alluvia of the present day and the vast alluvial deposits of the 
great plains of the interior of America. Nevertheless, the fine 
sand, sometimes containing shells, which covers the Pampas ; 
the medanos, or ancient downs of the same plains ; the sands 
which form elongated hills in the east of the province of Co- 
rientes ; the gravels and sands of the great Bolivian plateau ; 
the immense alluvia of the environs of Santa-Cruz-de-la- 
Sierra, of the plains of Moxos, and of the province of Chiqui- 
tos ; all these deposits, more modern than the Pampean for- 
mations, cover them too generally, and too uniformly, not to 
induce us to suppose that they are traces of a general pheno- 
menon. The same is the case with the deep denudations, so 
different from those produced by ordinary running waters, 
which have furnished their materials. 

Ancient Beds of Torrents. — This is the natural place for 
noticing one of the most curious observations made by the 
author. M. D'Orbigny has pointed out at Cobija, at Arica, 
and over the whole coast of the Pacific Ocean, ancient beds 
of torrents, which, subsequently to the last movements of the 
surface of South America, furrowed the whole slopes of the 
Cordillera, from the summits to the shore. He is convinced 
that these ancient beds of torrents, occurring in a region 
where it has not rained in historical times, have not been 
derived from local rains, but must be attributed to masses of 
water which descended from the Cordilleras alone. At the 
present day an aqueous cloud is never seen on the mountains 
of the western side ; a patch of snow is never visible on this 
slope of the Cordilleras. In order, then, to explain these tor- 
rents whose traces are observed over a great space, it is ne- 
cessary to suppose that the Cordilleras for a time received 
rains or snow which they no longer receive ; an aqueous phe- 
nomenon must thus have occurred on the mountains analogous 

Ancient Beds of Torrents. 117 

to that whose traces are visible on all the great mountains of 
Europe. These facts are remarkable in themselves, and the 
approximations to which they may give rise seem to us wor- 
thy of all the attention which the author has bestowed on them. 
They will remain as landmarks, without doubt still too few 
in number, in the midst of the discussions which they will not 
fail to originate. 

General Observations. — From all that we have said, it thus 
appears that the stratified formations of South America may 
be divided, according to M. D'Orbigny, into eight very dis- 
tinct groups : — 1. The old crystalline formations, in w^hich 
gneiss predominates ; 2. The Silurian and Devonian transi- 
tion formations ; 3. The Carboniferous formations ; 4. The 
Triassic formation ; 5. The Cretaceous formations ; 6. The 
Guaranian and Patagonian tertiary formations ; 7. The Pam- 
pean loam ; 8. The modern deposits, which he also terms di- 
luvial, from the nature of the cause which has produced them. 

These different groups of beds have positions which are al- 
together dissimilar and discordant ; and, according to M. D'Or- 
bigny, these discordances result directly from the dislocations 
which have changed the surface of America, and have given 
rise to the chains of mountains which traverse it. In the same 
manner as has been attempted in Europe, and as M. Pissis 
has attempted in regard to Brazil,* M. D'Orbigny has endea- 
voured to connect the interruptions of continuity presented 
by the series of American formations, with the successive ap- 
pearance of the chains of mountains which form the principal 
features of the relief of South America. His classification 
embraces two systems of mountains already pointed out by M. 
Pissis. As we have already said at the commencement of 
this report, a very old gneiss formation presents itself over a 
great extent of country on the eastern coast of South Ame- 
rica. It occupies the eastern portion of Brazil, to the east of 
the Mantiquiera, from the 16th to the 27th degree of S. lati- 
tude, and there forms a series of small chains, whose general 
direction is, according to M. Pissis, from east 38° north, to 

* Vide the Rapport on the Memoir of M. Pissis, Comptes rendus, 
t. xvii. p. 28. 

118 Geology of South America. 

west 38° south. This system, which M. D'Orbigny names the 
Brazilian system^ would seem to be one of the most ancient 
which we can trace through the posterior modifications of the 
crust of the globe. M. Pissis regards it as anterior to the 
transition formations of Brazil, and perhaps it preceded the 
soulevement of the most ancient system of mountains hitherto 
described in Europe. It is probable that it affects to great 
distances the fundamental rocks of America ; for the general 
direction which we have just indicated differs but little from 
that of N. 45° E., which M. de Humboldt, at the beginning of 
this century, pointed out in the slaty rocks of the coast of 
Venezuela, and in the mountains of granitic gneiss, from the 
lower Orinoco to the basin of the Rio-Negro and of the Ama- 

Nevertheless, the hills of gneiss which occur in the Pampas 
between Cape Corientes and the Sierra of Tapalquen, as well 
as the hills of Monte Video, are characterised by a different 
direction, running from W. 25° to 30° N., to E. 25° to 30° S. 
M. D'Orbigny gives them the provisional name of Pampean 
system, and he thinks that this system is nearly as ancient as 
the Brazilian system. If subsequent observations confirm this 
conjecture, the relations of these two systems, whose direc- 
tions are nearly perpendicular to each other, will naturally 
recal the relations which subsist in Europe between the West- 
moreland system and the system of the Ballons. 

In the midst of the multitude of dislocations of which the 
Silurian series presents traces, M. D'Orbigny has endeavoured 
to ascertain the soulevements which affected this system before 
it was covered by subsequent formations, but he has not been 
able to define any one of them with certainty. He has not 
succeeded better with the Devonian system, for a most atten- 
tive examinat'.on of the innumerable multitude of mountains 
and hills belonging to this series has not enabled him to dis- 
cover any system of dislocations specially limited to itself; but 
in Brazil M. Pissis has pointed out a system of dislocation 
which he regards as immediately posterior to the formation 

* Humboldt's Essai Geognostique sur le Gisement des roches dans 
les deux hemispheres, p. 5Q, 

Brazilian, Pampean, and Itacolumian Systems. 119 

of the transition series, " whose deposition/* he says, " was 
interrupted by commotions which elevated it at some parts to 
a height of a thousand or eleven hundred yards above the level 
of the sea, and produced at other points large fissures running 
east and west, through which escaped diorites, that spread 
themselves like lavas, and modified the rocks they met with. 
The most elevated mountains of Brazil, those of the province 
of Minas Geraes, viz. Itacolumi, Caraca, Morro Itampe, and 
the plateaus to the south of San-Paolo, belong to this 
aoulevement, which gave the beds an EW. direction, and 
communicated to the surface its present form."* 

M. D'Orbigny terms the whole of the ridges formed by this 
dislocation Itacolumian system. He would be induced to con- 
nect with it the mountains of the Malouine Islands, which 
he designates by the name of the Malouinian system, if it 
should be ascertained that these mountains are formed of 
Silurian beds having an EW. direction. 

Thus, according to him, the gneiss islands, which form the 
most ancient portion of the American surface, were extended 
towards the west by dislocations, which took place after the 
deposition of the transition formations, while, perhaps, new 
points were elevated from the bosom of the waters in the 
Malouine Islands, and near Cochabamba, in Bolivia. This 
phenomenon appears to have been anterior to the deposition 
of the carboniferous system, subsequently to which new dis- 
locations occurred, whose most marked traces were observed 
by M. D'Orbigny in the province of Chiquitos. 

The hills of this province have gneiss for a fundamental 
rock, on which repose silurian and devonian beds ; and these 
are covered by sandstones referred by M. D'Orbigny to the 
upper layers of the carboniferous system, and flanked by triassic 
beds, and by tertiary deposits. These hills present a general 
parallelism which renders them a well characterised system, 
having a direction from ESE. to WNW., and to which be- 
long the chains of Parecys, of Diamantino, and of Cuyoba, in 
the western portion of Brazil. M. D'Orbigny terms the whole 

* Pissis, Comptes rendus des Seances de rAcademie des Sciences, 
t. xiv. p. 1044. 

120 Geology of South America. 

the Chiquitian system, and considers it as posterior to the last 
carboniferous layers, and as anterior to the trias, seeing that 
the last beds which are seen to be deranged belong, accord- 
ing to him, to the carboniferous system. 

The production of a great system of dislocations in South 
America at this epoch, is confirmed, according to M. D'Or- 
bigny, by the immediate contact of the variegated clays of 
the region situated to the east of Cochabamba, with the de- 
vonian formations. This contact seems to announce a denu- 
dation of the carboniferous formations anterior to the deposi- 
tion of the triassic series. 

The hills of the Chiquitian system nearly join the moun- 
tains of Brazil at the base of the Andes. We have thus a 
new appendage added to that already formed by the Itacolu- 
mian system. When we cast our eyes over the geological 
map of Bolivia prepared by M. D'Orbigny, it may appear at 
the first glance that there are numerous features of resem- 
blance in the arrangement of the formations of the hills of 
Chiquitos, and of the eastern chain of the Andes. However, 
the direction which predominates in the mountains of Chi- 
quitos is not exactly the same as that of the ridges occurring 
on the flanks of the Cordillera, to the south-east of the 
plains of Moxos and of Santa-Cruz-de-la-Sierra, and the 
height of the two masses of mountains is too different to make 
it natural to suppose that they should be referred to one and 
the same epoch of soulevement. 

The colossal mountains which rise above the north-east of 
the lake of Titicaca, and with which is connected the whole 
eastern region of the Cordilleras, from the fifth to the twen- 
tieth degree of south latitude, or, to speak more correctly, the 
Andes properly so called, the Antis of the ancient Incas, form 
a distinct system, to which M. D'Orbigny has given the name 
of Bolivian system. The mean direction of this system, very 
different from the directions which prevail in the rest of the 
Cordilleras, is from SE. to NW. The ridges composing it 
consist of elevated beds of the silurian, devonian, carbonife- 
rous, and triassic formations. This celebrated Nevados of 
Illimani and of Sorata, ascertained by Mr Pentland to be 
the most elevated summits of the New World, are the two 

Chiquitian^ Bolivian^ Columbian, and Fuegian Systems, 121 

culminating points of an axis of granatoidal rocks, running 
from SE. to NW., and which having doubtless been elevated 
through a great crevasse, has been the cause of the elevation 
of the whole Bolivian system. 

This elevation took place after the deposition of the trias, as 
is shewn by the triassic beds which M. D'Orbigny has seen 
in an inclined position, and at a height of more than 4000 
yards above the sea. The triassic formations form the last 
upraised beds in the different localities where they have been 
observed in Bolivia. At all the parts of the Bolivian system 
where M. D'Orbigny has seen them, when they are covered, 
they are so only by horizontal beds of the Pampean formations, 
or by modern alluvia, products which are entirely terrestrial, 
and not marine. It thus appears certain that the Bolivian 
system has assumed the characteristic features of its outline, 
subsequently to the period of the triassic formations. We 
may also conjecture that this phenomenon took place before 
the deposition of the Jurassic and cretaceous formations, for 
otherwise these formations would have been deposited on the 
trias of Bolivia, and would have been upraised along with it. 

Probably, therefore, it was between the triassic and the 
Jurassic periods, or nearly at that epoch of our European 
chronology, that the whole mass comprised between the west- 
ern plateau of Bolivia and the plains of Santa-Cruz and Moxos 
was elevated above the ocean. 

Endeavouring to complete, at least in a conjectural manner, 
the tableau of the great geological phenomena of which South 
America has been the theatre and the product, M. D'Orbigny 
is led to suppose, from the observations of the latest travellers, 
that two great dislocations took place during the great creta- 
ceous period : the one, represented by the Columbian system, 
running from N. 33° E. to S. 33° W., formed the mountains of 
Suma-paz and of Quindiu, elevating the cretaceous formations 
of the plateau of Bagota ; the other produced the Fuegian 
system, which occupies the western portion of Terra del 
Fuego, and runs from N. 30° W. to S. 30° £. 

The effect of these different and successive phenomena 
must have been to elevate above the ocean the principal 
mountainous centres of South America ; but these different 

122 Geology of South America. 

groups could not then have been yet connected together by 
the great continuous chain of the Cordilleras. This vast chain 
is sinuous, like our Alps. It presents different portions which 
are very variously disposed : without speaking of those which 
M. D'Orbigny refers to the Columbian and the Fuegian sys- 
tems, and without leaving the region examined by himself, 
two very distinct directions are observed. From the Straits 
of Magellan to Bolivia, over a space of 35°, which embraces 
the whole length of Chili, the Cordillera runs from S. 5°. W. 
to N. 5° E. ; afterwards, in Bolivia itself, it makes a sudden 
bend to the west, and runs from SE. to NW. On entering 
South Peru, the mountains preserve a constant parallelism to 
those of Bolivia, as far as the fifth parallel of south latitude ; a 
fact which permits us to suppose that the geological lines ob- 
served by M. D'Orbigny in the Bolivian system, to the east of 
the Cordillera, properly so called, extend as far as that latitude, 
thus embracing a total extent of 15°. Further north, the 
chain again changes its direction, and takes that of the Cordil- 
lera of Chili. 

Thus, in the region comprised between the Straits of Ma- 
gellan and the equator, the Andes present two great systems 
of mountain-chains and valleys. These two systems, which 
M. D'Orbigny designates the Bolivian system and the Chilian 
system, cross each other nearly in the same manner as the 
systems of the Western Alps and of the principal chain of 
the Alps cross in Europe, and they appear likewise to be the 
result of successive dislocations. 

The circumstance that the Cordillera, in the region between 
Terra-del-Fuego and Quito, is composed of several large frag- 
ments variously placed, and probably of different origins, is con- 
nected with a curious fact, which confirms, in a remarkable man- 
ner, the reality of the distinction founded on the difference of 
directions. No earthquake has ever been felt on the great 
Bolivian plateau. This, at least, was what M. D'Orbigny was 
informed, and it corresponds with his experience in the lati- 
tude of Arica. It is natural to ask, if the presence of the 
Bolivian system in this latitude has not some influence con- 
nected with the limitation of earthquakes. It appears, in fact, 
that very violent shocks are experienced in the centre of the 

Chilian System. 1^ 

Cordillera of Chili, simultaneously with the earthquakes which 
ravage the coast, near to which they take place with their 
maximum of intensity. 

Another peculiarity which distinguishes the Chilian system 
from the Bolivian system, is the presence of patches, which 
are still problematical, of the Jurassic formation, and of largely 
developed masses of the cretaceous formation, in beds much 
dislocated and raised to great heights. According to M. D'Or- 
bigny, it was after the cretaceous period, but before the period 
of the tertiary deposits, that the Chilian system had its origin. 
It was produced by the eruption of the porphyritic rocks, or 
perhaps only of a portion of these rocks, which, in South 
America, are of various kinds. M. D'Orbigny found at Co- 
bija on the coast of the Pacific, sienitic porphyries of a blackish 
colour and very compact ; at the Morro of Arica, pyroxenic 
porphyries ; at Palca (Bolivia), and at Machacamarca, sienitic 
porphyries ; in the mountains of Cobija and of Palca (Peru), 
and throughout the whole western line of the Cordilleras, he 
found a great variety of old amygdaloidal wackes, containing 
a large quantity of different substances ; at the Missions, there 
is a greyish or violet-coloured amygdaloidal rock. Porphyritic 
rocks have also been observed by Messrs Gay, Darwin, and 
Domeyko, in different parts of the Cordillera of Chili. 

According to M. D'Orbigny, the termination of the creta- 
ceous period was marked in South America by a series of dis- 
locations, which occurred to the west of the land already pro- 
jecting from the sea, and which gave to the Cordillera of Chili 
its first relief, by permitting the elevation of a continuous 
series of porphyritic masses. This vast porphyritic eruption 
took place in the direction from N. 5° E. to 5° W. between 
the Straits of Magellan and the junction of the Chilian sys- 
tem with the Bolivian system, which the band of eruptive rock 
has accompanied to the west, elevating the cretaceous forma- 
tion of the plateau of Guancavelica. The violent commotion 
of the water caused by this movement had, as its result, ac- 
cording to M. D'Orbigny, the formation of the Guaranian ter- 
tiary deposit, which covers the province of Moxos, and which 
seems to be spread over the bottom of a large portion of the 

124 Geology of South America. 

basin of the Pampas. There is thus attributed to this deposit 
an origin analogous to that which has often been attributed in 
Europe to a portion of the plastic clay formation. The absence 
of fossils in the Guaranian deposit, its invariable ferruginous 
nature, and its imperfect stratification, would seem favourable 
to this supposition. 

A new period of repose having then succeeded to the dis- 
turbances, the tertiary seas extended to the east and to the 
west of the Chilian system. The marine sedimentary deposits 
of the Patagonian formation began to extend over the Guaran- 
ian formation. Terrestrial streams transported from the 
neighbouring continents bones of mammifera, fragments of 
wood, and fluviatile shells ; some of them coming, no doubt, 
from the ridge of the Chilian system, would convey from the 
SE. bones, still provided with their ligaments, into the Pata- 
gonian sea, while others arrived from the great northern con- 
tinent, that is to say, from Brazil, which had already emerged 
in a great measure from the ocean. The continent of South 
America already possessed, so to speak, in the state of outline, 
the configuration which it was to preserve ; it already present- 
ed a chain rising above the ocean, indicating the course of the 
Cordillera from N. to S., and thus separating the Atlantic Ocean 
from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow tract of land, similar to 
the isthmus of Panama of the present day. We can thus con- 
ceive how the tertiary formation of the two sides may have 
been contemporaneous, although they do not contain species 
of fossil shells common to both ; and, notwithstanding the 
reservations which we have made above, it must be confessed 
that the hypothesis proposed by M. D'Orbigny, explains so 
happily the complete difference of the Faunas of these two 
formations, of at least a nearly similar age, that it is difiicult 
not to regard it as possessing a very considerable degree of 

But the seas which then encroached so largely on the form 
ultimately assumed by South America, receded and removed 
from the base of the Cordillera, leaving the continent to in- 
crease in size, towards the east, by the amount of all the space 
occupied by the Patagonian tertiary formation, and towards 

Formation of Trachytes^ ^c, 125" 

the west by the tract occupied by the tertiary formation of 
Chili, which runs along the whole extent of the Chilian Cor- 

M. D'Orbigny connects this event with the appearance of 
the trachytes which were erupted in the axis of this Cordillera, 
and which completed its relief at a very modern epoch. 

By studying the position of the trachytes, and of the tra- 
chytic conglomerates, M. D'Orbigny has been able to convince 
himself that these two species of rocks have performed very 
different parts. His maps shew, in fact, that the solid trachytes 
must have risen in an incandescent state, at different times, 
over great lines. Sometimes elevated in pasty masses nearly 
solid, they have given rise to those obtuse cones so remark- 
able, and at the same time so characteristic, which, at the 
summit of the Cordilleras, have absolutely the same form as 
in Auvergne. If at other points these rocks have a stratified 
appearance, this evidently results from the eruption of more 
or less liquid masses, which have spread themselves out in 
sheets. Of this we have an example in the section left by the 
Rio Maure, where the author distinctly remarked the alterna- 
tion of masses of trachyte with pumice conglomerates; and 
also on the coast near Tacna, where the pumice conglomerates 
cover thin layers of trachytes. With the exception of the 
alternation observed near the Rio Maure, M. D'Orbigny has 
always found the trachytes under the conglomerates. The 
former present very various asperities, while the latter every- 
where form masses like beds, nearly horizontal, which level 
these asperities. The pumice conglomerates are composed of 
alternate beds of pumice, more or less considerable, or of frag- 
ments of obsidian, and the component ingredients are not 
united by any kind of tement, a circumstance which leads us 
to believe that the conglomerates have been ejected in the 
state of cinders, during the eruption of the trachytes, or pos- 
terior to it. We may even ask if all the conglomerates be- 
long to the same epoch as the trachytes, and if their superior 
position does not shew that they sometimes belong to a more 
modern period. 

In South America, the trachytic rocks only shew themselves 
in the chain of the Cordilleras, and there most frequently ac- 

126 Geology of South America. 

company porphyritic rocks. In Bolivia, they only present 
themselves on the Great Bolivian PlateaUy on the Western 
Plateau, and on the western side of the Cordillera. No one 
has observed them in Brazil. 

M. D'Orbigny admits that, on the western side of the long 
ridge which formed the first outline of the Cordillera, and con- 
sisted of elements belonging to the different systems men- 
tioned above, a new opening took place, and incandescent 
trachytic matters, pushed with violence towards this vast out- 
let, escaped in all directions, dislocated the porphyries and the 
cretaceous rocks, and invaded the whole summit of the chain. 

In the immense mass of Bolivia, events apparently more 
complicated took place. The lines of dislocation of the Chilian 
system meeting with reliefs existing previously to the Bolivian 
system, and not being able to fracture this great mass, ex- 
tended to the west, as the porphyritic rocks had done pre- 
viously. The trachytes and their conglomerates, which, ac- 
cording to M. De Humboldt, form an immense dome on the 
Plateau of Quito, formed, according to M. D'Orbigny, another 
dome on the Western Plateau of Bolivia. Moreover, these 
rocks issued through fissures in the sedimentary rocks, along 
that line, so interrupted by trachytic eminences, which, to the 
east of the Great Bolivian Plateau, borders the foot of the dis- 
locations of the Devonian rocks from Achacoche to Potosi. 
They are not the primary cause of the Bolivian system, but 
t;hey upraised some portions of it, while, at the same time, 
they perhaps communicated to the Chilian Cordillera the 
greater part of its external shape. The trachytes thus acted 
in the New World as in Southern Italy and in Greece, where 
their lines of eruption followed those of systems of mountains 
of more ancient origin, especially of the system of the Pyrenees. 

A dislocation of 50°, or upwards of 3400 English miles in 
length, which produced one of the highest chains in the world, 
and which elevated above the ocean all the marine tertiary 
formations of the Pampas over an immense extent, could not 
have taken place without causing a proportional displacement 
in the waters of the sea. It was then, according to M. 
D'Orbigny, that the latter, being agitated with violence, in- 
vaded the continent, destroyed and transported the great ter- 

Geology of South America. 127 

restrlal animals of the extinct fauna, such as the Mylodon, the 
Megalonyx, the Megatherium, the Platonyx^ the Toxodon^ and 
the Mastodon, depositing them, along with earthy matters, at 
all heights, in the terrestrial basins or in the neighbouring 
seas. Those matters simultaneously transported and deposited 
on the Plateaux of the Cordilleras to a height of 13,000 feet 
above the ocean, on the plains of Moxos and Chiquitos, and 
over the whole bottom of the great basin of the Pampas, consti- 
tuted the Pampean formation. This Pampean formation, 
which occurs in horizontal beds at all heights, which is every- 
where composed of the same loams, and which only contains 
remains of mammifera, could only have been produced by a 
general terrestrial cause. M. D'Orbigny believes that he has 
discovered this cause in one of the soulevements which took 
place in the Great Cordillera, and which must have produced 
a sudden displacement of the waters of the ocean ; which latter, 
moved and agitated with violence, invaded the continents, and 
destroyed the great terrestrial animals, transporting them tu- 
multuously to the lowest portions of the continents, or into the 
bosom of the deep ; and it is evidently to the soulevement of 
the trachytes alone that the phenomenon can be attributed. 

M. D'Orbigny has remarked that, at some points on the 
Bolivian Plateau, the trachytic conglomerates appear to cover 
the Pampean formation, a circumstance which would lead to 
the belief that they are posterior to that great deposit. This 
observation coincides with the one noticed above, viz. that the 
trachytic conglomerates do not appear to be all exactly of the 
same age. The greater part are contemporaneous with the 
Pampean formation, but some of them are posterior. In 
Auvergne, the numerous mammifera of the fauna anterior to 
that epoch, and which are found at various localities, are en- 
veloped by trachytic rocks and their conglomerates. We have 
here an approximation which may not be Avithout its value. 

To this movement may perhaps be referred or compared many 
facts observed in various parts of the surface of the globe, since we 
everywhere meet with remains of a terrestrial fauna, now en- 
tirely extinct ; and because, in a multitude of localities, we 
find deposits analogous to those of the Pampas, containing 

128 Geology of South America. 

bones of the mammifera, belonging to species which have been 

The appearance of the trachytic rocks of which the highest 
summits of the Cordilleras of Chili and Peru are composed, 
does not, however, seem to have been the last of the great 
geological movements of which South America has been the 
theatre. This eruption seems to be connected with the origin 
of the Pampean loam, and this formation is covered, as we have 
seen above, by other deposits, which indicate another and more 
modern great event. This last great event can only be sought 
for in the first outburst of the American volcanoes now in ac- 
tivity, which, up to the period just mentioned, had not yet 
commenced the series of their eruptions. The long line of 
the volcanoes of Chili, ranged in accordance with the axis of 
the trachytic zone, is the extreme link of that great zig-zag 
volcanic chain, which, resting on the half of a great circle of 
the earth, described from the republic of Bolivia to the Birman 
empire, marks the limits of the great mass of the American 
and Asiatic Continents, and of the vast oceanic extent of the 
Pacific. It was, without doubt, a memorable day in the his- 
tory of the inhabitants of the globe, and perhaps even in the 
history of the human race, when that immense volcanic battery, 
which does not include less than two hundred and seventy 
principal orifices, was opened for the first time. Perhaps the 
traditions of a universal deluge are connected with this great 
events rvhich could not fail to be a fearful disaster. The au- 
thor is favourable to this opinion, which had already been pre- 
viously proposed, but only as an hypothesis. He adduces, in 
support of it, many facts which, even although they should 
remain isolated, seem to us deserving of the attention of geo- 

We have already quoted the observations according to which 
M. D'Orbigny concludes that the recent elevated shells on the 
shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific could not have been 
raised by a slow action, but by a sudden movement. These 
remarks, together with the facts also noticed in relation to 
the beds of conchillas of the Pampas, to the shells of Monte 
Video and of Patagonia, and to all those of the coast of the 

Geology of South America. 129 

Pacific, lead him to admit a sudden general elevation of the 
whole coast, which gave rise to the present configuration of 
the Continent. This last movement of the American surface, 
which coincided with the first outburst of the volcanoes, would 
produce a commotion in the adjacent seas, whose waters rising 
above the crests of the mountains, hollowed them out, broke 
up the surface at all heights, and transported vast masses of 
alluvial matter into the plains. 

The traditions of a deluge, which have been met with 
among most of the American nations, may be only a souvenir 
of this last revolution. The discovery made by M. D'Orbigny 
of the remains of human industry in the alluvium of the plains 
of Moxos, on the banks of the Rio Securi, is an additional 
reason for this conjecture* As it is at least evident that 
that event was posterior to the existence of the present marine 
fauna, M. D'Orbigny has considered himself entitled to term 
its products diluvial formations. 

In conclusion, it results from the investigations of M. D'Or- 
bigny, that the new continent has been formed, like the old 
one, by the successive soulevements of the difi'erent systems of 
mountains which traverse the surface ; that these systems be- 
come more and more extended in proportion as their origin 
approaches the present period ; and that the reliefs resulting 
from these different systems have been successively added 
to one another, advancing generally from the east to the 
west. Thus the most ancient prominences presented by the 
American Continent appear to have had their origin in the 
eastern region of Brazil, after the epoch of the formation of 
the gneiss. The transition formations next made their ap- 
pearance to the west, and increased the original continent by 
the amount of the whole Itacolumian system. The carboni- 
ferous formations, to the west of the two others, form a part 
of a new appendage composed of the Chiquitian system. The 
triassic formations, to the west of the three first systems 
have been upraised in the Bolivian system, a surface of much 
greater extent than the others. Up to that period America 
had been elongated from the east to the west. The creta- 
ceous formations ceased to be deposited, and the Cordillera, still 


130 Geology of South America. 

to the west of the land already elevated, was the first to as- 
sume a relief from north to south, thus changing completely 
the form of the Continent. Subsequently the eruption of the 
trachytes, and the first outbreak of the now existing volcanoes, 
completed the external forms of this vast chain, and gave to 
the shores of the Continent their present configuration ; and 
it is very remarkable that these last phenomena manifested 
themselves more especially in the western region of the Con- 
tinent, where the earthquakes of the present day have concen- 
trated their action. 

This general remark on the advance of the soulevements 
from the east to the west, leads to a curious analogy between 
the New and the Old World. Buifon had already been struck 
by the diff'erence in the form of the two great Continents. 
He had remarked that in the Old Continent, or to speak more 
exactly, in Europe, Asia, and the north of Africa, the great 
geographical features are arranged in relation to an east and 
west line, nearly as they are in the New World in relation to 
a north and south line. Mr Poulet Scrope, in addition to this 
observation of BufFon, remarked the essential difference pre- 
sented by the east and west sides of the South American 
Continent, in that, while the one presents a long ridge brist- 
ling with peaks and volcanoes, the other exhibits large rounded 
mountains, without any indication of volcanic phenomena. 
The results obtained by M. D'Orbigny enable us to charac- 
terise this analogy more exactly, inasmuch as it appears that in 
South America the successive soulevements which have fashion- 
ed the relief of the Continent, had generally their principal 
point of application more and more to the west in proportion 
as they are more modern ; whereas in Europe the soulevements^ 
in proportion as they are more modern, exercised their princi- 
pal efi'ects more and more to the south. 

In America the great plains of the Pampas and of the Ama- 
zon, correspond to that great plain in the north of Europe, of 
which a small depression is occupied by the waters of the 
Baltic ; and the vast lake of Titicaca fills the sinuosities pro- 
duced by the meeting of the various systems which cross one 
another in the Andes, much in the same manner as the Me- 

Old and New Continents. 131 

diterranean fills the larger and deeper sinuosities caused by 
the crossing of the system of the Pyrenees, the Alpine systems, 
and some other modern systems. 

The two Continents present each a great exception to the 
rule indicated relatively to the direction in which the souleve- 
ments have succeeded one another. The one is in the modem 
dislocations which, according to the observations of M. Pissis, 
have given rise to the external form of the eastern coast of 
Brazil ; the other is in the presumed modern soulevement of 
the great line of the Scandinavian Alps : but the existence of 
corresponding exceptions both in the one and the other, forms 
an additional analogy, and this analogy is so much the more 
curious, because the two chains which constitute the excep- 
tion, belong to one and the same system of mountains, the 
system of the Western Alps. 

Comparisons analogous to those which we have just been 
making between Europe and South America, had already been 
established between Italy and India, and between Europe and 
North America ; the investigations of M. D'Orbigny will con- 
tribute to render these comparisons less rare and more easy. 
They will even present a point of departure more elementary 
than those upon which science has hitherto been able to rest. 
We believe that there is much justice in the following remark 
made by M, D'Orbigny, towards the conclusion of his Memoir, 
on the small degree of complexity of South America. He 
says, " Owing to the extreme simplicity of its geological com- 
position, and owing to the large proportions of each epoch, 
South America is perhaps, of all parts of the globe, the most 
easy to understand geologically, and that where study is des- 
tined to throw the greatest light on the great revolutions to 
which our planet has been subjected. Far from being, like 
Europe, subdivided into a great number of patches of forma- 
tions, or traversed by innumerable transverse chains, whose 
epoch it is difl&cult to determine with precision. South Ame- 
rica presents reliefs extending over hundreds of leagues, and 
deposits stretching over several degrees of surface. There, 
every thing is exhibited on a great scale, the mountains as 
well as the basins, and on that great Continent every thing is 
visible — the powerful causes and their vast effects.*' 

( 132 ) 

On the Classification of Fishes. By L. Agassiz. 

Far from participating in the opinion of those who regard 
Our classifications merely as an artificial scaffolding calculated 
to facilitate our researches, by assisting the memory, I ani 
firmly persuaded that the progress of the natural sciences will, 
sooner or later, lead to the establishment of a system which 
shall be the true and complete expression of the various re- 
lations by which the entire series of created beings are con- 
liected with each other. But such a system cannot be estab- 
lished until we acquire a more complete acquaintance with the 
innumerable variety of objects in this vast field of inquiry. The 
attempts hitherto made to attain to it, appear to me to be only 
the first foundation of the edifice, a provisional means for re- 
cognising when we are among the varied forms which must be 
registered according to their diverse affinities. Even the 
very principles which must guide us in this operation have 
not been definitively settled. We may compare the efforts of 
naturalists desirous of grouping natural bodies in the most con- 
venient manner, to the labours of engineers wishing to repre- 
sent the aspect of a country in a map. They first fix a few 
salient points from which they can command the whole. 
From thence they enter upon the details by subdividing the con- 
siderable extent comprised within their first triangulation ; they 
then study each new section by itself, by traversing it in every 
direction. It is then only that they can begin to note the pe- 
culiarities which form the special character of these restricted 
compartments. With such materials alone a good map may 
be constructed. But one observer would wish further to learn 
the heights of the mountains which are indicated in relief ; an- 
other would desire to know what parts of the surface are wooded, 
or what is cultivated, and what not ; while another might de- 
sire information on the diff*erent climatological phenomena, and 
find nothing to guide him. In these respects, therefore, a 
map constructed on the basis mentioned, would be insufficient 
for the wants of science. New researches would become ne- 
cessary ; the results of geological and meteorological studies 
would have to be combined with geodesical details ; draw- 
ings to represent the accidents of the formations would have 

M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 133 

to be completed ; and the design would have to represent 
the relief itself as much as possible. Then the time may 
come, perhaps, when the requirements of science will go so 
far as to render, in most instances, real reliefs indispensable ; 
that is to say, the material reproduction of forms, reduced to 
certain dimensions, will one day become a necessary accom- 
paniment to topographical works. 

May we not say the same thing of systems in natural his- 
tory ? There was a time when vague approaches were suffi- 
cient to give an idea of the limited number of beings, imper- 
fectly known, which constituted the subject of the naturalist's 
study. They were grouped according to some conspicuous 
characters, easily perceived ; sometimes all that was attempted 
was to place them after one another, according to their size, 
their manner of life, or the places which they inhabited. 
However incomplete these methods were, they still satisfied 
tjie wants of inquirers at that period ; and notwithstanding 
their imperfection, they even contributed to the progress of 
the natural sciences. Some author or other, by remarking the 
gaps in such arrangements, completed the method; others 
collected new materials calculated to facilitate the researches 
of their successors, and by degrees new systems arose, founded 
on good characters. From that period the progress was rapid ; 
monographical works came to extend the field of comparisons, 
by fixing new bases for the study of details. New ideas led 
to the discovery of new aspects in subjects supposed to have 
been exhausted. It was thus, without leaving the domain of 
zoology, and without going back to the first attempts at classi- 
fication proposed for the animal kingdom, that naturalists 
confined themselves for a long tinie to seek for the distinctive 
characters of species, and to group them in a small number of 
genera, often founded on a very imperfect acquaintance with 
their organisation. This tendency is particularly characteristic 
of the works belonging to the school of Linna)us, which caused 
the science to make immense progress, by simplifying the metho4 
and limiting it to the most concise expression of known facts. 
It was soon perceived, however, that this system could be 
regarded only as a frame-work fitted to include, in one view, 
all the classes, but the compartments of which were poorly fur- 
nished. Every day, in truth, enriched science with important 

134 M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 

facts, which outgrew, beyond measure, the limits assigned by 
Linnaeus to the extent of his incomparable diagnoses. Com- 
parative anatomy, in particular, by investigating the inter- 
nal structure of animals to the minutest details, furnished 
to zoology more precise characters for fixing the limits of 
classes, orders, and families. In place of simple diagnosis, at- 
tempts were thenceforth made to form descriptive pictures of 
the entire characters of all the natural sections which could 
be circumscribed in a precise manner ; naturalists endeavoured 
to arrange the characters according to their relative value in 
the functions of life ; species were strictly compared with each 
other ; all the facts relating to their manner of life, their re- 
production, and geographical distribution, were carefully re- 
gistered. It is to the immense influence which the works of 
Cuvier have exercised on the development of the natural 
sciences, that this new direction given to zoological studies 
has principally to be ascribed ; and it may be affirmed that it is 
in this same spirit that most of the great monographical works 
which have been continually enriching science for the last 
quarter of a century, have been conducted. There are few 
classes which are without their monographs : the facts of 
structure which have been studied and the species examined, 
are now in general represented with so much exactness, that 
we can form an accurate idea of them without ever having seen 
them in nature. Such a detailed knowledge of species, and 
such multiplied researches into the organisation of the prin- 
cipal types of all classes of the animal kingdom, must neces- 
sarily bring about great changes in classification. According- 
ly, we have seen systems multiplied without end. Yet, not- 
withstanding their number, they do not differ essentially from 
each other, and in all of them we can more or less recognise 
the influence of Cuvier's works ; the diff*erences which distin- 
guish them consist principally in the respective position of the 
great divisions relatively to each other, resulting from the difl'e- 
rent principles which guided their authors, and the extension 
assigned to these same divisions ; for it will be understood that 
we cannot regard as particular systems all the systematic 
sketches, in which, for the most part, there is nothing original, 
and the outlines of which differ only in the order in which 

M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 135 

groups succeed each other, and in the names applied to them. 
The most important changes effected in the general system of 
zoology, since the time of Linnaeus, consist in the dismem- 
berment Cuvier has made of the Swedish naturalists' shapeless 
and undigested class of Vermes ; and it may be affirmed, with* 
out in any dcgi'ee depreciating the value of the works of mo- 
dern naturalists, that they are only a development of the pri- 
mary sections of the great French naturalist. The modifica- 
tions which these classifications have been subjected to in der 
tail, do not appear to me less important ; but they belong to 
so many difierent authors, that I cannot here undertake to give 
any account of them ; I shall only say that they have essen- 
tially borne upon defining the limits of families and genera, 
and upon a more complete and rigorous appreciation of their 

But while this advancement was going on in zoology pro- 
perly so called, a new science arose, under the hands of the 
same individual who had already contributed so powerfully to 
the development of zoology. The study of fossils acquired, 
from the profound researches of Cuvier, an importance hither- 
to unknown to it, from the time when he demonstrated that 
the remains of organized beings embedded in the strata of the 
earth, are generally different from the living species, and even 
belong to different generic types. This fact having been firmly 
established in regard to the mammifera and reptiles, investi- 
gations were increased in all the classes, and in relation to all 
the series of strata composing the solid crust of our globe in 
which fossils are found. The relations of these primitive beings 
with those which at present people the surface of the earth, 
were inquired into ; observers were desirous to appreciate their 
analogy, and determine the differences which distinguished 
them. This investigation was the cause of new and great 
progress in zoology and the comparative anatomy of the solid 
parts of the bodies of animals ; and it is easy to see that the in- 
fluence of paleontology on zoological and anatomical studies will 
become more and more important in proportion as these different 
branches of science become more closely xmited. I do not even 
doubt but that we shall soon be led to unite the results of pan- 
leontological and zoological researches into one body, as soon 

186 M. Agassi? on the Classification of Fishes, 

as an attempt is made to establish a complete system of natu- 
ral affinities throughout the entire animal kingdom. The 
lacunae are in fact too obvious and too numerous, when fossils 
are not taken into account, to admit of zoologists for the future 
dispensing with the enumeration of them along with the living 
species, in their attempts at classification.* For, by omitting 
them, we obtain only the fragments of the frame-work, and 
can attain only to an incomplete exposition of the plan fol- 
lowed in the creation of organized beings. We have long 
been assured of the fact that the beings which have disappeared 
fyom the surface of the globe, far from having lived simulta- 
neously, succeeded each other at diff"erent epochs, and have be- 
longed to diff'erent creations, or rather that they have consti- 
tuted series by themselves which have had a limited existence, 
and been replaced by others after longer or shorter intervals. 
Hence arise new requirements for systematic zoology. It will 
not be sufficient henceforward to group genera and species ac- 
cording to their organic affinities ; we must also take into ac- 
count the relative age of their appearance on the surface of 
the globe, and the importance of each group in the different 
epochs of the general development ; in a word, zoology oughjt 
to comprehend in its systems the genealogy of the whole ani- 
mal kingdom. 

Important works have already pointed out the relations 
which exist between the natural affinities of the genera and 
species of many families, as well as their geological age ; but 
perhaps no class exists in which this succession of types, 
and their relations with the geological formations to which they 
belong, is more evident than among fishes. It may, indeed, be 
affirmed, that the closest connection exists between the prin- 
cipal types of this class, and the epoch of their progressive de- 
velopment. We have only to glance at the tables of species 
characteristic of the formations, which I published at the end 
of vols. 2, 3, 4, and 5 of my work,t to be convinced that each 

* \n my monographs of living and fossil Echinodermes, I have en- 
deavoured to realise in certain groups, still very few in number, it ia 
true, this idea of a union of zoology with paleontology and comparative^ 
anatomy. It is much to be wished that similar attempts were madQ 
with reference to all the classes of the animal kingdom. 

I Recherches sur les Poissons par L'Agassiz. Qto, 

M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 137 

order, and even each family, follows a particular progression ; 
that there is, in regard to each group, a beginning and an apo- 
gee in its development ; that by turns they terminate by be- 
coming extinct, if they go back to a remote antiquity, or by 
acquiring a considerable extension in the present creation, if 
their appearance dates only from a recent epoch. These re- 
sults, which are so evident in the class of fishes, I have, in like 
manner, established in that of Echinodermata ; and although 
I have not yet given a detailed explanation of the general re- 
sults of my studies respecting these animals, I can yet affirm 
that I have recognised among them the same laws of develop- 
ment. To be convinced of this, it is enough to remember in 
what proportion we find the Crinoides and star-fish in the series 
of formations, and what is the condition, in narrower limits, 
of the diff*erent families of the order of Echinites. With such 
results before us, we are naturally led to suppose that it is the 
same with the other classes of the animal kingdom ; and that, 
if we have not yet succeeded in seizing everywhere the thread 
of their development, it is because we have not found out the 
key to their connection. We already possess, in regard to all 
the classes, positive indications of this preponderance, at de- 
terminate epochs, of certain types, which change proportion 
with their cotemporaries belonging to more recent eras ; for 
example, among the Mammifera, the Pachydermata, the Eden- 
tata, the Marsupialia, and the Quadrumana ; among reptiles, 
the Ichthyosaures, the Plesiosaures, the Megalosaures, the 
Ophidians, and the tailless Batracians ; among the Crustacea, 
the Trilobites ; among the Cephalopoda, the genera with par- 
titioned shells, whose development is most remarkable, from 
the Orthoceratites and the Goniatites, down to the singularly 
plicate enrolled or straight forms of the Scaphites, the Ancylo- 
ceras, the Cyrtoceres, the l^tychoceres, the Turrilites, the He- 
licoceres, and the Baculites. Among the Acephales, may we not 
point out facts in every way similar between the Brachiopodes 
and the Lamellibranches ? And is it not a very significant fact, 
that we observe this regularity in progi-essive development shew 
itself in a manner so much the more evident, as we endeavour 
to find the marks of it^ in the best known classes \ From 
this consideration, very powerful arguments may be advanced 

188 M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 

against tlie objections which some are desirous to draw from 
the imperfect state of our knowledge respecting the entire se- 
ries of fossils embedded in the strata of the whole globe. But 
it is evident, that the knowledge we have already acquired in 
this respect, ought to have an influence on our classifications ; 
and that authors will thus come always to take more into ac- 
count the order of the succession of types in their systematic 

I have already had more than one occasion to draw atten- 
tion to the striking analogy which exists between certain em- 
bryonic forms, which are transitory in the development of in- 
dividuals, and the constant characters of numerous genera be- 
longing to different families, which have but few representa- 
tives in the existing creation, or have become wholly extinct. 
It cannot be doubted, therefore, that these considerations ought 
to exercise, in their turn, an influence on the position to be 
assigned, in the system, to these same genera. When resum- 
ing my researches on the conformation of the skeleton of fishes, 
I have shewn, at different times, how far the results of embry- 
ology agree with those of paleontology. I have thence become 
convinced that embryological researches, prosecuted with the 
view of appreciating the value of organic forms, as zoological 
characters, ought, in like manner, one day to exercise a gi'eat 
influence on our methods. It will, no doubt, be the same with 
microscopic investigations, which are now pursued with so 
much ardour in every branch of natural science. 

Do the relations between organized beings, thus varied as 
they are, admit of being expressed by linear series I I think 
not. I am more inclined to believe that naturalists will revert 
to the idea of well-defined divisions, placed after each other, to 
admit, as the expression of the varied relations of organized 
beings, of graphic pictures, in the centre of which the best 
known types will be placed, and around which will be ranged, 
according to their greater or less affinity, other types, which 
may become, in their turn, the centre around which other se- 
condary types will gravitate. And the better we become ac- 
quainted with the entire details of one great division, the better 
will we group all its members, according to their diverse affi- 
nities. If we are considering the Echinodermata, for example, 

M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 139 

it will be of importance to notice how this class is connected 
with the Vermes by certain genera of the order of the Holo- 
thurias, and with the Polypes by means of the Crinoides. If 
we wish to divide the Crinoides in the most natural way, we 
must insist on the analogy of the Echinocrines, for example, 
with the true Echinides, and on that of the Comatules with the 
Asterioe, while the true Encrines will form the central type of 
the order ; and so on in succession. And in order to combine 
the indications relating to the affinities of one class with those 
which we possess respecting their succession, it will be neces- 
sary to add to these zoological charts, as they may be called, 
genealogical trees, on the trunk of which the most ancient ge- 
nera will be inscribed, while the branches will bear the names 
of the most recent types. By properly managing the propor- 
tions of the trunk and branches, and making them of suitable 
dimensions, we may even indicate exactly the period when 
each group appeared, by giving to the different branches of 
each order a degree of thickness proportionate to the import- 
ance of the part which the types they represent have occupied 
in each geological formation. 

It is in accordance with these principles that I have con- 
structed the annexed table, which represents the history of 
the development of the class of fishes across all the geological 
formations, and which expresses, at the same time, the degrees 
of affinity which the different families have to each other.* At 
the top of the figure are inscribed the names of the four orders 
into which I divide this class, and the characters of which are 
discussed in the Becherches sur les Poissons Fossiles. These are, 
the orders Cycldides, Ctendldes, CauQlflcs., and Placoules. Below 
these appear the names of the families which have represen- 
tatives in the presently existing creation. They are arranged 
vertically, to correspond to the ascending lines, more or less 
strongly marked, which indicate, by their lower extremity, the 
point of departure in the development of the families, and, by 
their breadth, the degree of importance which they possessed at 
each epoch. On the sides of the table are inscribed the names 
of the principal formations, in order to indicate the geological 
Jievels from which all the families take their origin, as well as 

* The Table will be given in our next number. 

140 M. Agassi z on the Classification of Fishes, 

those to which they rise. The names of the families which do 
not come down to the present creation are inscribed on the 
trunks which represent them ; those which have no fossil re- 
presentatives are simply indicated by broad lines on the level 
which denotes the present creation. Finally, the convergence 
of all these vertical lines indicates the affinity of the families 
with the principal trunk of each order. I have not, however, 
connected the lateral branches with the principal trunks, be- 
cause I am convinced that they do not descend the one from the 
other,by way of direct procreation, or successive transformation, 
but that they are materially independent of each other, although 
forming an integral part of one systematic whole, the connect 
tion of which cannot be traced but by the creative intelligence 
of its Author. Having ascertained that the species of each for- 
mation are always different from those of other epochs, I have 
drawn lines of demarcation from the geological levels, across 
all the ascending lines of the families, in order to shew that 
the genealogical development of the species is often interrupt- 
ed, and that |if, notwithstanding, each trunk shews a regular 
progression, this filiation is not the result of a continued de-r 
scent, but rather a repeated manifestation of an order of things 
determined beforehand, tending towards a precise object, and 
methodically realised in the order of time. I have not pre- 
tended to express in a limited synoptical table, of a class so 
numerous as that of fishes, all the facts I have studied, and 
what I could have developed in this place, even to an enume- 
ration of all the species. I have only wished to present a 
sketch, which might express the general idea of which my 
whole work may be regarded as a detailed exposition, and 
which a glance at the figure will render easily understood. 
Two orders of the class appear alone, appertaining to the ear^ 
liest periods of the developement of life on the surface of the 
globe : they appear there simultaneously with the representa- 
tives of all the classes of invertebrate animals, while they con- 
tinue for a long period the only existing types of vertebrate 
animals. The principal development of these two orders, 
namely, the Ganoides and the Placoides, takes place in the for- 
mations anterior to the chalk, and their typical families be- 
come extinct before the present creation, where they are re- 
presented only by a few species ; such are, in the order of the 

M. Agassiz on the Classification of Fishes. 141 

Placoides, the Cestraciontes^ and the Hyhodontes^ with their 
subdivisions ; and among the Gano'ides, the Lepiddides, the 
SaurdideSy the Celacanthes^ and the Pycnodontes^ along with the 
less important groups, aiid Cephalaspides, Dipteriens, wadLAcan- 
thodiens. The collateral brinks of the Placoides, which are in 
general poorly represented in the existing creation, terminate 
rather early ; the Squalides commence in the coal formation, the 
Chimeras and the Bays soon after. The Cyclostomes are the 
only kinds that exist exclusively in our own times. But at 
the epoch of the chalk, every thing is changed in the class of 
fishes. All of a sudden we perceive two orders appear, the 
Ctendides and the Cycldides^ as much diversified from their 
origin as their predecessors were. Before the commencement 
of the tertiary period, the Ctenoides comprehend nine dis- 
tinct families, to which two others must be added during the 
tertiary epoch, and at the commencement of the present era. 
The Cycloides are more diversified still ; for after they appear, 
the type of the Acanthopterygians presents itself by the side 
of the Malacopterygians, and their numerous families ascend, 
for the most part, into the era of the chalk. But, notwith- 
standing these diff'erences, there is a close analogy between 
the primary representatives of all these types. During this 
period, the Placoides are reduced, so to speak, to the families 
of the Chimerae, Sharks, and Rays, and even these are by no 
means numerous ; while the four new families of the Sclero- 
dermeSi the Gymnodontes^ the Lophohranches^ and the Aci- 
penserides, appear almost at the same time in the family of 
the Ganoides, replacing those which become extinct. The 
lists of fossil fishes, arranged according to geological forma- 
tions, which will be found in my work, will render these ge- 
neralities more consistent, while they will serve, at the same 
time, as direct proofs of them. 

Such facts as these loudly proclaim principles which science 
has not yet discussed, but which paleontological researches 
bring under the notice of the observer, with a continually in- 
creasing force, I refer to the relations which the creation 
bears to its Creator. Phenomena closely allied in the order 
of their succession, and yet without sufficient cause in them- 
selves for their appearance; an infinite diversity of species 
without a common material bond of connection, grouping^ 

142 M. Agassiz ofi the Classification of Fishes. 

themselves so as to represent the most admirable progressive 
development, in which our own species forms one of the links ; 
are not these indisputable proofs of the existence of a superior 
Intelligence, whose power alone could ^establish such an order 
of things 1 But such is the severity of our method of investi- 
gation, that what we feel to be altogether natural cannot be 
admitted by our reason, until supported by facts, as numerous 
as they are well established ; and it is for this reason that I 
have delayed till the last moment to express my convictions 
on this subject. Not that I have shrunk from the discussions 
which the announcement of such results must necessarily ex- 
cite, but because I have not wished to provoke them before 
being able to settle them on a purely scientific foundation, and 
support them by substantial demonstrations, rather than by a 
profession of faith. Upwards of fifteen hundred species of 
fossil fishes with which I have become acquainted, convince 
me that the species do no pass into one another, but that they 
appear and disappear unexpectedly, without having any direct 
relations to their predecessors ; for I do not imagine that it 
can be seriously pretended that the numerous types of the 
Cycloides and of the'Ctenoides, which are almost all cotempo- 
rary with each other, descend from the Placoides and the 
Ganoides. It might as well, in truth, be affirmed that the 
mammifera, and man among them, descend directly from 
fishes. All these species have a fixed period of appearance and 
disappearance ; their existence is even limited to a determi- 
nate time ; and yet they present, when viewed as a whole, 
numerous affinities more or less close ; a determinate co-ordi- 
nation in a given system of organisation, which possesses inti- 
mate relations with the mode of existence of each type, and 
even of each species. There runs, moreover, an invisible 
thread, at all times, across this immense diversity, and pre- 
sents to us, as a definite result, a continual progress in this de- 
velopment, of which man is the termination, of which the four 
classes of vertebrate animals occupy the intermediate position, 
and the whole of the invertebrate animals are a constant acces- 
sory accompaniment. Are not these manifestations of a Mind 
as powerful as it is fruitful I acts of an intelligence as sublime 
as it is prescient '? marks of a goodness as infinite as it is wise ? 
the most palpable demonstration of the existence of a personal 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 143 

Deity, the First Author of all things, the Regulator of the 
whole world, the Dispenser of all blessings ? Such at least is 
the truth which my feeble intelligence reads in the works of 
creation, when I contemplate them with a grateful heart. It 
is a sentiment, moreover, which better disposes us to search 
for the truth, and seek it for its own sake ; and I am convinced 
that if, in the study of the natural sciences, inquirers less fre- 
quently dispensed with touching upon these questions, even 
in the special domain of direct observation, their progress 
would generally be more certain and more rapid.* 

On the Mode of Formation of Crystalline Limestone^ Contact 
Products^ Crystalline Silicide-Slates, and unstratified Crys- 
talline Silicide-Bocks ; with Preliminary Observations on the 
present state of Geology^ and on the Methods of Investigation 
pursued in that science. By B. M. Keilhau, Professor of 
Geology in the University of Christiania. Communicated 
by the Author. 

(Concluded from vol. xxxvi. p. 362.) 

Contact Products. 
Besides the crystalline limestones just discussed occurring 
at the junctions of rocks, there are, as is well known, a 
number of other mineral substances, which present them- 
selves close to various mountain rocks, in such a manner, as 
to lead us to conclude that the proximity of the latter has 
had some direct participation in the production or modifi- 
cation of these substances. If geological knowledge were 
founded entirely on chemistry ; if it is forgotten that the 
latter science is still so far from having reached that perfec- 
tion which alone would enable it to solve all the chemico- 
geological problems ; if we are to reject the demand arising 
out of the very nature of the case, that geological phenomena 
must first of all be taken into consideration in the establish- 
ing as well as in the acquiring of geological knowledge, then, 
in our opinion, this knowledge would not only be checked 

* From Recherclies sur les Poissons Fossiles par L'Agassiz. Demiere 
Livraison. 1843. 

144 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

in its development, but may be rendered entirely false. This 
has taken place to the fullest extent with respect to the ques- 
tions which have arisen as to contact productions. It was 
firmly believed that here the views of the volcanists could 
alone satisfy the requirements of chemistry ; and as it was 
a fundamental rule that these should and must be satisfied, 
so it followed that these products should and must owe their 
origin to processes put in operation by the great agent of the 
volcanists. Some phenomena actually produced by heat ex- 
isted, which, on a superficial consideration, might answer as 
analogies, and in this way we now find elevated to the rank of a 
doctrine in our science what should never have been more than 
a mere provisional opinion. This mode of at once regarding 
as certain what should have been based on a complete investi- 
gation of all the facts, has also here produced its usual effects. 
No attention has been bestowed on a multitude of facts and 
special circumstances which are most intimately related to the 
subject, while in the descriptions other facts have been adapted 
to that doctrine, nay, under its influence even ornamented 
with additions, which it would give subsequent observers some 
trouble to rediscover. That, for example, the changes of the 
kind we are now discussing, which have been instanced by 
keen partisans as consisting of actual conversions into melted 
masses and slags, will in so far be shewn by later observers to 
be entirely incorrect, is a conviction which I cherish, and 
which, trusting to the impartial decision of futurity, I am not 
afraid to express. 

Let us suppose that the object of study be those changes 
that have occurred in certain rocks near a bounding mass, 
and which consist especially in this, that the rock has become 
harder, and has acquired a considerable quantity of silica ; and 
that, at the same time, it matters not whether sooner or later, 
the knowledge of the following facts has been attained : 

1. In the Isle of Portland, there rests immediately on a 
stratum belonging to the oolite group, a bed which contains 
a quantity of trunks of trees completely converted into a sili- 
ceous mass. Round these the rock is also harder and contains 
more silica, than where it is not in the vicinity of the trees. 

2. In the Peninsula of Melazzo, a very new (" quaternary") 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 145 

limestone reposes on granite and gneiss. As the fundamen- 
tal rock, during the deposition of the new masses, was full of 
open fissures and rents, the limestone is also found in these. 
Thus the limestone is very frequently in contact with the si- 
liceous rocks. It is there to be seen firmly cemented to the 
subjacent mass, and possessing great hardness ; in other words, 
it has become siliceous. 

3. In the Plauensche Grund, near Dresden, the Planer for- 
mation reposes on a syenite, which is held to be undoubtedly 
of older origin. At certain points, the former has filled up 
fissures in the syenite, and in these fissures, at least, the lime- 
stone has been found converted into a fine granular mass re- 
sembling hornstone. 

4. In Auvergne, it has been observed that tertiary strata, 
which lie on granite (a granite which in many places passes 
into gneiss), possess a greater degree of hardness near that 
rock, and that the new masses and the granite are so much 
intermingled at their common boundary, that it is difficult to 
distinguish them. (Bull, de la Soc. Geol., t. xiii. p. 220.) 

These facts will be treated in a different way by diff"erent 
geologists. He who in his investigations sincerely wishes to 
obtain a correct result, even though it should be in opposition 
to this or that system, will first of all, without having the 
smallest doubt on the subject, recognise all these facts as be- 
longing with perfect justice to the category in question. We 
may assume that, in the next place, in the problem regarding 
the cause of these contact phenomena, he will test the hypo- 
thesis of the volcanists. If he be but convinced of the accuracy 
of the data adduced, he must soon become aware how little 
applicable in these cases is that hypothesis. As to the first 
example, the masses near which the silicification has taken 
place, are of such a nature that no one supposes that they 
have been in a melted state, or have had a high temperature ; 
and in both the two next instances, the altered deposit is in 
contact with rocks, which, if they were ever in a hot condition, 
undoubtedly were not so at the time when the new masses were 
in juxtaposition with them. When the superimposed de. 
posits were formed, these rocks presented an ordinary, wea- 
thered, fissured, and undoubtedly very old surface. With re- 


146 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

gard to the Auvergne granite, it certainly cannot be supposed 
by any one to belong to the tertiary or to a still newer epoch ; 
and if it ever was hot, this must have been very long before 
the deposition of the strata which have been modified by it. 
It will hence be concluded, that such changes as those spoken 
of can go on at the ordinary temperature. It is next to be 
considered, whether more general information is to be de- 
rived from the same facts. Unfortunately, the result will so 
far not be a brilliant one ; but, as I have repeatedly said, the 
reasonable investigator does not expect this. Here, again, 
we have effects of actions which are, for the most part, only 
exhibited in one or other of such effects produced long ago, 
and, in trying to account for which, while we are groping but 
too much in the dark, we are again reduced to call upon 
electro-chemical currents, molecular displacement, cementa- 
tion, &c. It may possibly be considered as essential, that the 
masses by which the silicifications have apparently been effect- 
ed, are themselves very rich in silica. It is to be remarked, 
that the inquirer, by having obtained these moderate results, 
has still reached a point, whence he cannot be so easily led 
into error by the discussion of other facts connected with the 
subject. For example, should any one, in order to support the 
hypothesis of the volcanists, refer to the thousands of places 
where silicification has taken place in the vicinity of rocks 
which, according to the prevalent opinion, are pyrogenic, the 
answer would at once be, that even though this view were cor- 
rect, still there is no proof that the heat had caused the change ; 
nay, if due weight be given to facts like those adduced, it must, 
on the contrary, be concluded, that this change near the really 
pyrogenic rocks has likewise happened in their cold condition. 
But let us now return to our examples, in order to see how 
the supporters of the prevailing school would treat, or have 
really treated of them. The first of them will probably 
be dictatorially rejected as inapplicable ; or, at all events, it 
will be exclaimed, this is a mere bagatelle, an isolated fact, 
which is not to be taken into consideration ! As it is always 
the practice to endeavour to give the method followed an air 
of strictness, the principle is announced, that conclusions are 
only to be formed from the totality of the observed facts ; but 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 147 

notwithstanding this, all such as do not suit the deductions are 
excluded with the greatest ease as " accidental anomalies.'* 

With respect to the phenomena presented at Melazzo, some 
expressions of a distinguished geologist, viz. Constant Prevost, 
can be adduced. Notwithstanding that it is evident, according 
to F. Hoffman, whose testimony the volcanists will not reject, 
that the deposition of limestone has taken place on an old, 
fissured surface of rock ;* yet Prevost finds it difficult to 
decide " si c'est le calcaire qui a penetre les roches felspa- 
thiques, ou bten si ce sent celles-ci qui ont passe a travers une vase 
calcaire.^' The last alternative is adapted for those who wish 
to see, even here, an effect of volcanic agency ; it is also said 
that the gneiss has evidently been violently moved since the 
deposition of the limestone. Moreover, an astonishment is 
expressed regarding this simple phenomenon, which is in- 
explicable, if the observer does not, at the same time, mean 
to say — I have found a gneiss, a granite, and a pegmatite, 
which were pressed up during the quaternary epoch, and 
which, as is shewn by the alteration of the limestone, were 
still hot at so late a period ! The author writes to Cordier 
in Paris, — " La presqu'ile de Melazzo m'a offert des faits tel- 
lement curieux que je n'ose en parler sans avoir des pieces 
de conviction k faire voir en meme temps." When a geolo- 
gist like Prevost can deceive himself so far ; and when it can 
be supposed that a geologist like Cordier can be convinced 
that there exist granite, gneiss, &c. which have been solidified 
either at or since the quaternary period, merely by having 
placed before him specimens of these rocks, with attached 
indurated quaternary limestone, we have signs which bear 
evidence that the science is not in the best possible condition. 
In the present case, in order to make all surprise vanish, and 
to render every absurd supposition superfluous,! it is merely 
necessary to group the fact in a natural way, and to place it 
along with other analogous cases in such a manner, that true 

* " There can be no doubt as to the infiltration of the limestone, which has 
penetrated the gneiss to a depth of ten feet beneath the surface." (Karsten's 
Archiv.j xiii. p. 345.) 

t I think it necessary for me to say expressly, that I do not mean to assert 
that it is impossible that granite can have been produced at the quaternary epoch. 

148 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products, 

resemblance alone is taken into consideration, and not the 
arbitrary requirements of particular systems. 

An opinion which has been really expressed can also be 
brought forward respecting the phenomenon near Plauen. 
The observer who described the appearance says, that the 
hornstone-like and fine granular nature of the limestone mass, 
leads to the conclusion, " that a complete chemical penetra- 
tion of carbonate of lime mixed with siliceous jelly into the 
fissures of the syenite, has taken place." It is, thus, not here 
assumed that the peculiar constitution of the Fldner forma- 
tion, where it is in the vicinity of the syenite, belongs to 
the usual contact-actions ; and why % Most assuredly because 
the syenite cannot be asserted to be newer than the Planer, 
or, in other words, because it is impossible in this case to assert 
that the syenite operated by heat. On this account, the above 
unnatural hypothesis was had recourse to, and thus it is proba- 
bly assumed that the proper homage due to chemistry has 
been rendered. If I am not mistaken, we have here an ex- 
ample which, though otherwise of little moment, is yet very 
instructive, from its exhibiting, in a striking manner, to what 
the method at present employed often leads ; viz. to misap- 
prehension and suppression of important facts, and to the 
formation of artificial ideas, rather resembling a profitless play 
of fancy, than the anxious endeavour to discover the truth. 

The contact phenomenon in Auvergne also receives no 
particular attention from the volcanists, as it is here impossible 
to cite the granite in a hot state as its cause. 

I shall here give a few of my own observations, chiefly for 
the purpose of shewing, that a complete study of the silicifica- 
tions occurring in certain rocks, requires the consideration of 
a number of, as it would seem, very complicated relations, 
which, notwithstanding their importance, enquirers may be 
very easily induced to overlook, under the guidance of the 
existing school : 1. Contact indurations often do not exist at all 
in the vicinity of masses which are not less regarded as pyro- 
genic by the prevailing school, than others near which these 
changes are met with in a high degree of development. Thus, 
such indurations are not observable in the Christiania district 
near those masses of porphyry and greenstone which have more 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 149 

or less the form of beds, notwithstanding that, in other respects, 
all the circumstances seem to be the same as those in which 
the silicification of the slate so frequently presents itself. 2. 
The very extensive silicifications of the clay-slate, occurring 
in the same district in the vicinity of the great masses of 
granite and syenite, cease where the boundary between the 
slate and the granite or syenite passes near the underlying 
gneiss. There, instead of the usual horn-slate, we regularly 
find perfectly soft alum-slates, sometimes containing embedded 
needles of chiastolite. Supposing that the gneiss has there 
really performed an active part, this may, perhaps, be in some 
respect compared to the operation of catalytic bodies. 3. 
Where, in the same district, whole zones of several thousand 
feet in breadth, round the granite, consist of altered strata, it 
very often happens that, near the boundary of these zones 
which is away from the granite, some completely unaltered 
strata are to be observed between others which are altered in 
the usual manner. This occurs in the most remarkable manner 
at a place where the strata do not strike towards the granite, 
but past it. There we find that, where the altered zone passes 
into the unaltered slate-formation, there is a regular alterna- 
tion of modified and unmodified strata, so that several of the in- 
durated strata are entirely separated from the granite by unin- 
durated strata* (Gaea Norvegica, i. p. 16.) 

The necessity is evident of observing such relations, and 
not passing them over in silence, whether they lead to this or 
that result. That hitherto similar phenomena have been little 
or not at all noticed in other places, plainly arises from the 
mode in which geology is at present prosecuted. If the fa^ 
vourite theory were placed aside for a time, and if more truly 
philosophical principles were adopted, a multitude of hitherto 
unnoticed facts would be discovered, and new light would be 
thrown on many obscure subjects. 

* G. Rose, in his ^eise nach dem Ural, gives a description and representation 
of a cliflf near Orsk, which, in its upper portion, consists of hypers thene-rock, under 
which lie jasper and clay-slate. Of the last, it is said that it contains many beds 
of flinty slate. As Rose regards the jasper as an altered clay-slate, and as the 
flinty slate can only be a transmuted clay-slate also, and that merely in an in- 
ferior degree to the jasper, we have here, undoubtedly, a phenomenon of the same 
kind as that occurring at the junction of the granite near Christiania. 

150 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

The information to be derived from contact indurations is 
very important ; and what they tell us of their own origin 
has also its application to the question of the formation of 
certain mountain rocks. Clay-slate, where it is in contact 
with granite, is frequently of the nature of hornstone ; but 
the change likewise proceeds much farther. The hornstone- 
like condition is but the beginning of a series of modifications, 
which at last exhibits to us gneiss-formations as a product of 
conversion ; sandstone strata, which, at some parts of their 
junctions with other mountain rocks, have only become harder 
and more homogeneous, are, at other points of the same 
junctions, converted into mica-slate or crystalline quartzite ; 
in short, both these investigations regarding indurations and 
silicifications have to deal, not only with the production of 
these themselves, but also with the mode of formation of a 
whole class of important rocks. And yet, with how little 
attention geologists have gone to work in the examination of 
these phenomena ! After it had been found that the indura- 
tions in some degree resemble imperfectly melted masses, and 
with the possession of the undeniable fact, that melted masses 
of great volume must act with a fusing effect on the sand- 
stones, slates, &c. with which they come in contact in the hot 
state, it was without hesitation assumed as a general principle, 
that all the indurated slates occurring at junctions are more 
or less perfect products of this description. Here the irra- 
tionality of the method of investigation is very evident. Not 
only, in deciding as to whether a rock is of eruptive and pyro- 
genic origin, have the contact-changes occurring near it been 
employed as an infallible criterion, but, as already hinted, the 
important question, which must necessarily arise in a cautious 
and logical investigation, has been entirely neglected or sup- 
pressed, — whether, namely, the phenomenon is really exclu- 
sively connected with such rocks as may be supposed to have 
been at one time in a hot state l and, in so far as it occurs 
near masses which have actually at one time possessed a 
high temperature, whether it was not produced after these 
were cooled \^ As to the chemical part of the question, but 

* If we turn our attention to the subject, we may convince ourselves that con- 
tact-actions still go on. In the coal-field of Northumberland, hydrogen gas con- 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products, 151 

little regard has been paid to those strict principles which 
have been laid down respecting the mutual relation of geology 
and chemistry ; for, in so far as the altered deposits have be- 
come siliceous or richer in silica than they previously were, 
this is a matter in which chemistry is still pretty much in 

When an uncrystalline slate, like that already noticed, has 
been converted into gneiss, for example, at a junction with 
granite, individual crystalline portions of felspar, mica, and 
quartz, have been formed at the boundary ; and these minerals 
are properly distinguished as actual contact-products, in con- 
tradistinction to those results of juxtaposition which consist 
of more or less considerable modifications of previously exist- 
ing masses. There is a great number of these contact-pro- 
ducts ; as well of those which occur as disseminated mine- 
rals, as of such (particularly ores) as constitute very exten- 
sive masses of different mineral species. Among many other 
topics connected with these remarkable products, which I 
cannot now discuss, are the following : — Their subdivision, 
according to a more exact determination of their situation, 
in so far as they either occur in one or other of the rocks 
which are in contact, at a little distance from the junction, or 
actually between them ; and their subdivision into those in re- 
gard to which it may be assumed that the material existed in 
the immediate vicinity of the places where they are now found, 
and those in whose case such a supposition appears to be in- 
admissible. At present, I shall only treat of these products, 
in so far as is incumbent on me, in order still farther to make 
good the assertion, that the present practice in geology is essen- 
tially deficient, inasmuch as nothing is listened to regarding 
contact-phenomena, except in connection with volcanism, and 
then, of course, only in its favour ; the actual contact-products 
are perseveringly and obstinately regarded as the mere result 

tinues to be evolved at the side of a vein of basalt. (Boue'a Jahretbericht for 1822, 
p. 12). In the Magasin for Naturvidenskabeme, vol. ix. p. 72, attention is 
directed to a fact which probably bears on the same subject. It is there stated, 
in a series of observations to determine the intensity of terrestrial magnetism in 
a portion of Central Europe, that there is an extremely remarkable magnetic rela- 
tion in the valley of Fassa, precisely where the well-known granite of Predazzo 
comes in contact with the limestone. 

152 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products, 

of sublimations from furnaces in the interior of the earth, and 
of fusions, in short of the action of " fire." On this subject, a 
multitude of important facts are partly denied, partly misin- 
terpreted, and the path is obstructed to points of view, from 
which new and instructive considerations might be obtained. 
I shall not be discouraged by the inattention hitherto paid to 
my repeated attempts to direct attention to the many indubi- 
table facts, which shew, that the generally received doctrine 
of the pyrogenic origin of contact-products is hasty, and 
must be retracted. I continue to beg that geologists may 
test such facts, of which, therefore, I shall here also adduce 
a group. In my memoir, entitled " Einiges gegen den Vul- 
kanismus^^ (p. 75-6), I brought forward the following: — 

a. Near Commern, there rests, on greywacke, a transition 
limestone, which, at the junction with the former, contains 
large masses of ironstone, that are mined. 

b. In the Harz, also, beds of ironstone lie at the junction, 
between limestone and greywacke. 

c. The ore at Rammelsberg, near Goslar, is situated be- 
tween clay-slate and greywacke-slate. 

d. At Zellerfeld, in the Harz, the mine of Herzog- August 
is excavated in a vein, which has limestone on the one side, 
and clay-slate on the other. 

e. Near Iserlohn, the masses of calamine are placed be- 
tween greywacke and limestone of the coal-formation. 

/. The mine Tschakirskoy, in the government Kolyvan 
(Asiatic Russia), is situated in a repository of ore, at the 
boundary between limestone and clay-slate. Near Nerts- 
chinsk, a similar repository lies in the same manner, between 
the same rocks, 

The following are additional examples : — - 

g. Near Brzezina, in Bohemia, a red ironstone occurs, 
which a geologist of the dominant school of geology thinks he 
cannot regard as of pyrogenic origin, but which is considered 
by him as a deposit produced by mineral water. Between this 
substance and the surrounding greywacke there are found — 
compact cinnabar, heavy spar, iron-flint, and iron-pyrites, 
which are extracted by mining operations. (Noggerath's 
Ausflug nach Bohmen, p. 384.) 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 153 

' h. '* The great repository of iron-ore in Elba, occurs as an 
irregular mass, between slate and limestone " (F. Hoffmann, 
in Kareten's Archiv., vol. xiii. p. 31). It is well known that 
this slate is a very new one, and that a part of it contains 
vegetable remains. 

«. At Sandomir, in Poland, the numerous masses of ore are 
generally found at the boundary between transition-limestone 
and a quartz ite-like sandstone, belonging to the same group 
(a greywacke formation). (Pusch, Geognostische Beschreibung 
von Polen, vol. i. p. 73). 

k. Near Kielee, in Poland, there occurs, resting on transi- 
tion-limestone, a deposit of red sandstone, whose lowest bed 
is impregnated, for a fathom, with lead-ore. This takes 
place at several places in the same neighbourhood. As at 
that locality the lead-ores otherwise belong exclusively to the 
limestone, or to the transition series in general, Pusch (1. c. 
p. 76), not without reason, also ascribes the so-to-speak 
merely parasitic ore in the superimposed newer formation 
to the limestone. 

/. The great bed of Miedzianagora, which contains copper, 
iron, and manganese ores, and has been mined for centuries, 
rests on calcareous slate, and is overlaid by quartz ite, with 
strata of slaty clay (^^ Letten''^) and clay-slate ; the dip being 
from 30° to 40°. The mean thickness of the bed of ore is 
from 2 to 3 fathoms, and its known length is upwards of 3 
English miles. Pusch instances a great number of similar 
cases in the same district, in which the ore is met with in the 
same position, close to the junction of the limestone and 
quartz-rock (1. c. p. 76-91). 

m. The beds of hematite, occurring in the southern dis- 
tricts of the State of New York, usually lie near the junc- 
tion of the talcose slate-formation with a newer limestone. 
(Silliman's Journal, vol. xl. pp. 75, 76). 

n. In New York, masses of iron-glance occur as a contact- 
formation. The position of these sometimes extremely large 
repositories of ore " is confined to the upper portion of the 
primary strata, and the lower layers of the Potsdam sand- 
stone," (1. c. pp. 81 and 82). 

0. In Wales, in the midst of Cambrian slates and grey- 

164 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

wacke, there rises the mural ridge of Cerrig-Mwyn, a mass of 
grey quartz-rock, which is sometimes brecciated. In contact 
with this projecting mass, which, in so far as the strike at 
least is concerned, is parallel to the bounding slates, the latter 
are much indurated, and contain very considerable portions 
of lead-glance. This ore is likewise accumulated in large 
quantities, just at the side of the quartz-rock. (Murchison's 
Silurian System, vol. i. p. 366). 

Regarding all these facts, I must first be allowed to offer 
some incidental observations. 

The whole of the examples now adduced, exhibit masses of 
ore as contact-formations. Although it appears that it is 
really metallic minerals which most frequently present them- 
selves in this manner, still, the one-sided tendency of geology 
must still so far bear the blame, that, up to the present time, it 
is difl&cult to find in descriptions, other substances than ores 
mentioned, as belonging to junctions of rocks whose non- vol- 
canic origin cannot easily be called in question. It is only 
when one of the rocks in contact is regarded as pyrogenic, 
that the theorizing geologists trouble themselves with notic- 
ing the peculiar mineral products occurring between them ; 
and, on this account, we are acquainted with innumerable 
examples of such cases, in masses which meet the crystalline 
siliceous rocks. We are indebted almost exclusively to those 
occupied with the practical department of the science for a 
number of instances of a different description ; but, from this 
cause, attention has naturally been chiefly directed to the ores, 
and not to the other substances belonging to this group of 
mineral products. 

With respect to the example indicated by the letter d, it 
must be remarked, that when the repository there noticed is 
designated a vein, perhaps no error has been committed. It 
is, however, certain, that very many contact-repositories have 
been improperly termed veins ; for where one of the two rocks 
in juxtaposition is unstratified, the contact-masses are, for 
the most part, quite irregular and disposed in lumps, and al- 
together do not run so uniformly as true veins, which lie be- 
tween the sides of a rent or fissure.* 

* I have formerly expressed the opinion, that to refer by far the greater number 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 155 

Pusch remarks in regard to examples i and /, that these masses 
of ore were originally nothing else but strata of one or the other 
of the including masses of rock, which were metamorphosed 
to what they now are. That this geologist, who in other re- 
spects does not seem to oppose the prevalent geological opin- 
ions, should have recourse to such a view, which certainly 
would only be adopted in the greatest need, must be a 
proof of the absence at the locality cited of all arguments 
in favour of the volcanic hypothesis. As to the opinion 
itself, undoubtedly it can only be approved of in part ; we 
are certainly forced to the avowal, that the spaces which 
are now filled with ores were formerly occupied only by a 
mass of barren rock ; but the assertion that this mass has been 
converted into ore, belongs to those modes of speaking which 
set all experience at defiance, and which properly deserves 
blame. If it be the intention by this expression only to pro- 
hibit absolutely the natural idea, that the material for the 
ores was conveyed from without, but by some means not yet 
explained, then there is here an unseemly anticipation ; and 
if it be only meant that we still know absolutely nothing 
about the origin of such products, then the selection ought not 
to have been made of an expression which may so easily lead 
to misconceptions. 

It may easily be imagined what an unyielding volcanist will 
say to examples m and n ; it is only necessary to recal Pro- 
vost's expressions regarding the appearances in the Promon- 
tory of Melazzo. I have brought forward these cases, be- 
cause they afford good examples of the phenomenon observed 
by me in Norway, and which, upon the whole, seems by no 
means to be of rare occurrence, in which not merely modifi- 
cations of the masses in contact have been produced, but even 
entirely new products have been called forth, where older 
rocky surfaces are covered by deposits of a newer period. The 
observer who reports on the above mentioned iron-ore, and 
who is undoubtedly a perfectly impartial witness, says, •' that 
the ore appears as a bed lying between the primitive rocks 

of true fissure veins to the category of contact-formations, is an idea which would 
probably be far from unproductive for the theory of veins in general. Compare 
farther on. 

156 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

and the oldest of the sandstones ;" and he endeavours to shew, 
that though there are numerous other places where this ore 
has no other connection than with the primitive rocks, yet at 
one time the latter must certainly there also have been covered 
by sandstone. It will be believed that this description is quite 
fair and free from blame, when it is known that the author, not- 
withstanding what he has adduced, regards the masses of ore 
as veins in the primitive rocks. 

1 will not conceal, in regard to the last example o, that 
Murchison considers the quartz-rock with which the ore is 
associated, to have been probably influenced by a trap-rock 
concealed beneath. He who arranges the phenomena of Na- 
ture according to a favourite notion, instead of allowing him- 
self to be instructed by what Nature actually exhibits, has 
here in this manner a path prepared for him. 

Let us now proceed to the actual application of these facts. 
They were introduced, in order still farther to prove, that there 
is good ground for complaining of the method at present pur- 
sued in geological investigations. Although such facts unde- 
niably shew that the general assertion as to the volcanic* 
origin of contact-formations is unauthorized, yet, hitherto, they 
have not at all been taken into consideration in the question 
regarding the production of mineral masses of this description; 
and, nevertheless, it is, above all, cases like these which are 
to decide the problem. It is clear that it is not where such 
masses are, for example, met with in contact with basalt, that 
we can hope to find a certain explanation, as to whether they 
are pyrogenic or not, so long as basalt is considered only as a 
volcanic rock. If such products are attended to only where 
they occur near rocks of which it is asserted that they have 
been in a melted condition, it is plain that geologists here fol- 
low a course which was least to have been expected from in- 
vestigators who profess to adopt strict philosophical principles, 
and who maintain that they pursue a method which infallibly 
leads to the truth. Doubtless, this course is extremely well 
adapted for keeping up the system which has been established, 

* In making use on the present and many similar occasions of this expression 
to which many may object, I do not think that I am essentially in error, but, ou 
the contrary, that I am really in the right. 

Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 167 

for it shuns no arbitrariness which can advance the cause ; 
and reasoning in a circle is quite suited to it. In this way it 
is impossible to approach nearer to indications of the real 
truth ; on the contrary, by such a mode of proceeding, the path 
to truth is blocked up. 

The following is the undisguised and true geognostical re- 
sult as to the subject of which we are now treating : that where 
two different rocks have been in contact with each other for 
a long time, there occur, in innumerable cases, peculiar mineral 
masses, in whose formation this meeting of the two rocks must 
have performed a very essential part. As, at least in many 
of these cases, it is quite certain, that the two touching rocks 
have always had only an ordinary temperature, that hypo- 
thesis (which is, moreover, of little use in explaining the phe- 
nomenon) must be rejected, according to which it has been 
assumed, that the one or the other of the meeting rocks was 
in a hot condition during the formation of the new masses. 

As, however, from the plan adopted, this datum is falsified, — 
a datum which at once procures for us insight into the sub- 
ject, and, at all events, ought to be regarded as extremely 
important as a point of departure for new investigations, — these 
fruits cannot be attained, and the opportunity of advancing 
thus afforded, is lost ; and in this way, not only geology 
suffers, but even chemistry, for the love of which such 
sacrifices are believed to be made. The loss thus caused to 
geology is really incalculable. Since Nature has it in her 
power, without fire, and, as it appears, without water, to call 
forth such products as the contact-formations, is it not madness 
continually to attend only to the fire and water hypotheses, in 
treating of the origin of the many problematical mountain 
rocks and mineral masses. I cannot here leave unnoticed two 
cases in which what we are taught by the contact-formations 
must, as it appears to me, be of great use. The first relates 
to the occurrence in granite, gneiss, &c., of certain completely 
embeddedminerals, which contain some of the very rarest metals 
and earths, and of which these may be especially named the 
allanite, gadolinite, orthite, thorite, and euxenite. Mr Scheerer 
of Christiania, who has gained so much credit by the chemical 
examination of most of these minerals, properly considers their 

158 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products, 

isolated occurrence in extremely rare small portions, in the 
midst of enormous masses of crystalline silicide rocks, as a 
very remarkable circumstance. The rare substances which 
they contain, were not, as is remarked by Mr Scheerer, so dis- 
tributed as silicium, calcium, potassium, or sodium, for in that 
case they must have been more frequently met with. If it be 
now asked, whether it is to be assumed that, in such a case, these 
materials were not originally present at the places where the 
minerals containing them now make their appearance ? — I main- 
tain, that, in consequence of the phenomena exhibited by con- 
tact-formations, the answer may very well be in the affirmative. 
We still know nothing as to whether they were there produced 
at a later period " by means of an inexplicable chemical pro- 
cess," or whether we must suppose that they were conveyed 
thither in some way or other from other places ; let, however, 
the study of such invariably parasitic formations be but once 
undertaken, so that the relations of some of them may throw 
light on those of the others, and we may then hope to obtain 
some insight into this subject likewise. 

Another case, in which the phenomena of contact-forma- 
tions may become explanatory, is that of the origin of veins, 
and especially of metallic veins. In another publication I have 
already expressed myself on this subject, in the following 
terms {Einiges gegen den Vulkanismus, p. 78) : as shifts almost 
always occur near metallic and mineral veins, and as they 
generally bring into contact the transverse terminations of 
halves of beds not belonging to one another, we easily perceive 
the analogy between the occurrence of such veins in stratified 
rocks dislocated by fissures, and those mineral products which 
we have specially denominated contact-formations. The ideas 
arising from the study of these last mentioned products, be- 
come, however, by continued attentive consideration, still more 
comprehensive as regards the theory of veins. When two 
heterogeneous masses touch each other'J forces are brought 
into operation, by means of which chemical products are called 
forth ; but is it not also probable, that in the formation of a 
fissure, the tearing asunder of one and the same rock disturbs 
the tranquillity of these forces, and brings them into action % 
Certainly one disturbance or the other of the previously exist- 


Professor Keilhau on Contact Products, 159 

ing equilibrium follows the discontinuity that has been pro- 
duced, and, at all events, two masses now exist where there 
was only one formerly. It will be observed, that I am now 
pointing out how, in general, metallic and mineral veins may be 
brought under the same category with contact-formations. 

I have already remarked, that it cannot really contribute 
much to simplify the chemical explanation of the occurrence 
of mineral products developed at junctions, if we assume that 
one or other of the rocks in contact has had an extraordinarily 
high temperature. In relation to the subject, let us consider 
the following appearance described by Leonhard. Near Auer- 
bach, there is, in the gneiss, a " vein" of granular limestone, 
which, near the walls, is full of idocrase. Leonhard is of opin- 
ion, that, when the limestone, in a hot liquid condition, came 
in contact with the gneiss, separations and combinations of the 
elementary constituents of the two rocks took place, and that 
in this manner the idocrase was formed. If the principle were 
fully admitted, that liquidity must be supposed when such 
operations as this take place, then, with reference to the che- 
mical explanation of the phenomenon, a necessary reason 
would appear for bringing forward the hypothesis of the for- 
mer liquid condition of the limestone. But, at present, the 
object of this hypothesis can only be to open up the path for 
farther explanation. Does it actually accomplish this? I doubt 
it much. It would be interesting to hear what the chemists 
themselves would say on the subject. But let us suppose that 
this phenomenon, chemically considered, is really thus rendered 
more intelligible, and, at the same time, let us see how this 
advantage is obtained. It is only by doing violence to all geo- 
logical probability that we can assert that the limestone has had 
the origin ascribed to it by the hypothesis ; for the eruptions 
which are known to have taken place have never exhibited any 
thing of the kind, whereas, on the contrary, w^e meet with crys- 
talline limestone containing minerals composed of silicates, 
which, we know with certainty, was never in a melted state (see 
first part of this paper, vol. xxxvi. p. 357). But, moreover, this 
hypothesis can only be brought forward at the expense of the 
eruption doctrine itself. So long as this doctrine endeavours 
to explain phenomena by the general state of liquidity of the 
interior of the earth, and, when the question is as to the source 

160 Professor Keilhau on Contact Products. 

of all those masses regarded as eruptive, it refers to the great 
central reservoir, it is undoubtedly extremely attractive on ac- 
count of its simplicity and intelligibility. When, however, it 
is required, that not only the rocks composed of silicates, but 
also limestones, therefore, in short, the most heterogeneous 
masses, are to be regarded as having burst forth from the in- 
terior of the earth, this theory, as has been remarked by others, 
no longer possesses the qualities just mentioned ; for, instead 
of producing light, it only leads us into still greater darkness. 
If, however, it should be the case that the geognostical phe- 
nomenon in question is less correctly represented for the pur- 
pose of rendering the eruption-hypothesis available, it must be 
confessed that that doubtful relief is dearly purchased. I do 
not, indeed, venture to assert that the description quoted of 
the phenomenon at Auerbach is incorrect, for it scarcely con- 
tains any absolute impossibility. It can very well be supposed 
that the gneiss received from above the upfilling of limestone 
into an existing fissure, nay, if necessary, we may even ima- 
gine a filling proceeding from beneath, and standing in no 
connection whatever with volcanic action; for, it might be 
assumed, perhaps, that an internal mass of limestone had been 
brought to the state of a sort of moya, in some way or other, 
for example, by the movement of the overlying rock and the 
entrance of water, and that in this way it could be pressed 
upwards into the fissure. But the real question is, if we have 
here actually before us a filling up of a fissure, and if the phe- 
nomenon has not assumed that character in the description on 
account of the theory. Leonhard terms the mass a vein, and, 
from his sketch, the conclusion must be drawn that it really 
cuts through the gneiss strata ; but, in the description which 
I have seen {Leonhard^ s Populdre Vorlesungen iiber Geologie, 
vol. ii. p. 215), this latter and most important circumstance is 
passed over in silence, which seems not a little suspicious. Is 
it not the case here, as has undoubtedly happened in other si- 
milar instances, that an error has been committed in making 
a vein of a mass which ought, perhaps, more correctly to be 
included among the beds \ 

But it is now time to close these remarks on contact-pheno- 
mena, and to pass to another important subject, in the consi- 

Professor Keilhau on Crystalline Silicide Slates. 161 

deration of which erroneous paths have also been followed, in 
consequence of the prevailing, and, as it is pretended, highly 
philosophical, but, in fact, altogether incorrect maxims. It is 
to the crystalline silicide slates that we are now to direct 
our attention. 


Regarding these formations, we see one party directly deny- 
ing palpable facts, and proposing the most unnatural hypotheses, 
in order to keep on good terms with chemistry, whose claim 
to the office of judge in the matter no one has yet examined 
with attention ; while the other party, overpowered by the 
evidence of the phenomena as displayed in nature, certainly 
are near seeing the truth, but still, in consequence of tradi- 
tional scruples, stop short of its full perception, and, at the 
same time, affect a language which sounds like homage paid 
to the principle, — that geological results must always be che- 
mically comprehensible. 

The hypothesis of the Wernerian school of the direct hy- 
drogenic formation of gneiss, mica-slate, &c., meets with no 
support either from chemistry or geology, and is now scarcely 
adopted by any one. Some have brought forward the opin- 
ion that these formations must be masses derived from the 
interior of the earth,* which became what they now are from 
a melted condition ; while others suppose that they are sedi- 
mentary products, which have been transmuted by volcanic 

The idea of the crystallization of such rocks after a previous 
condition of liquidity, is shewn to be quite absurd even by the 
consideration of their petrographical constitution; for they are 
slates. If such are to be regarded as produced by the solidi- 
fication of masses which have been in a burning liquid state, 
then that which receives no support from any one observation 
is assumed to be possible, and thus the very rule to which 

* Leonhard includes these^formations among those which are of direct plutonic 
derivation ; and by this he means that they ascended from the depths of the earth 
in the form in which they now are ( ? ** als solchc," that is to say as gneiss, &c.), 
and that they were the first solidified crust of the red-hot globe. It is not easy 
to perceive how both these suppositions can be admitted together. 


162 Professor Keilhau on 

these geologists so strongly profess to adhere is directly 
violated by themselves. The notion that a solidification 
under strong pressure, or great tension, and so forth, might 
possibly have produced the peculiar texture in these rocks, 
should least of all have been heard from those theorists at 
whom we are now aiming, who, according to their own ac- 
count, follow such strict principles. But it is still worse 
that this party must deny the very clearest geognostical facts, 
in order to maintain their opinion. It has now been ob- 
served in many places, that strata of rock, which can be re- 
cognised by any one, by means of the usual characters, as 
masses that have been produced in the mechanical way, and 
deposited in water, present themselves for a longer or shorter 
portion of their extent as gneiss, mica-slate, or some one of 
the rocks now under discussion, and thus plainly exhibit a 
transmutation in these portions, inasmuch as a direct " Nep- 
tunian " crystallization can just as little be supposed here as 
in other cases. As here the geognostical fact itself decides 
the question in dispute in the most complete manner, inas- 
much as the confirmation of these geognostical observations 
gives it to us as a pure result of observation^ as 2ifact, that se- 
dimentary, originally uncrystalline masses, have, at certain 
points, been converted into gneiss, mica-slate, &c., it must be 
flatly denied by the just mentioned party that such strata exist, 
which are partly crystalline silicide masses, but in their other 
portions have retained that condition which betrays the ori- 
ginal formation of the whole by means of deposition in water ; 
and, accordingly, this mode of proceeding has not been omitted. 
The opponents of the principle of transmutation have a 
much better field in regard to conversions that have taken 
place on the great scale. Where we see no unaltered remains 
of the transmuted masses, the conviction of the change that 
has occurred does not follow directly from the geognostical 
phenomena themselves, but can only be founded on the con- 
clusions derived from other evident cases. As in this way the 
knowledge was obtained that entire large countries, which are 
almost entirely composed of gneiss and similar rocks, are 
enormous altered formations of sandstone, clay-slate, &c., this 
result did not fail to be termed an hypothesis ; and under this 

Crystalline Silicide Slates. 163 

designation it was brought before the judgment-seat of che- 
mistry. As those who adopted the doctrine of transmutation 
had committed the fault of not distinctly separating what was 
the incontrovertible result of geognostical observations from 
those immature explanations with which they deemed it ne- 
cessary to accompany this result, it thus undeniably acquired 
an aspect of uncertainty. Thus proclaimed by its adversaries 
to be a mere idea, and obscured in this manner by its champions, 
it was rejected by the chemists, who estimated the whole ac- 
cording to the subjoined chemical suppositions. " The most 
distinguished chemists of our time," says Leonhard, " have, 
as was to be expected, expressed themselves strongly against 
the transmutation theory ; they characterized it as founded 
on an insecure basis. Although there are many of the higher 
problems of geology which chemistry may not be in a position 
to solve, yet it certainly does not become the former science to 
hasten beyond the latter ; and especially in such bold hypo- 
theses as those in this theory, geologists require recognition 
on the part of chemistry as a guarantee. Can we blame chemists 
for keenly finding fault with the adoption of obscure processes 
without taking into consideration the how and wherefore, 
without naming the agent which produced these very strange 
phenomena, without pointing out whence this or that ele- 
ment in the newly produced formations was derived, and 
without indicating the manner in which the others disap- 
peared ? " Now, it is well to notice that, in this reasoning 
of the influential author, those chemical speculations brought 
forward by certain geologists, and which have produced mis- 
belief regarding the result as to transmutations, are alone to 
be understood as included in the expression insecure basis of 
the " conversion theory ;'* for the true basis of our knowledge 
of the conversions in question lies beyond the proper limits of 
chemistry. When two equally good geological hypotheses, 
which regard a subject of a chemical nature, stand side by 
side, it is then quite proper that the decision should be referred 
to chemistry. But we repeat it again and again, that this is 
by no means the case here ; for, whoever wishes, can see, that 
transmutations of uncrystalline strata into crystalline silicide 
rocks have taken place. The question no longer turns by any 

slM Professor Keilliau on 

means on the possibility or probability of the transmutations, 
inasmuch as it is now absolutely certain that they have really 
occurred. Although, in the mean time, they may be chemi- 
cally inexplicable, yet this can have no influence on the incon- 
trovertibility of the result. How many other facts are there 
not which still remain chemical mysteries. When, for example, 
certain after-crystals of augite are found, containing a con- 
siderable quantity of alkali, whose origin is incomprehen- 
sible to chemists, the conviction is not therefore suppressed, 
that in this case augite has been transmuted. It is only 
the explanations added to the matter of fact which can 
here be blamed by the chemist ; and, certainly, in some of 
these occasion has been given for their propounders being cut 
short by the " how" and '• wherefore," or it has been found 
necessary to advance beyond the limits within which the ex- 
perimental investigator must remain, and which are often re- 
garded by him as the boundaries of the science itself.* 

It will thus be perceived that, in two respects, we consider 
that party to be in error, who prefer considering the crystal- 
line silicide rocks as erupted masses which have been solidi- 
fied from an originally burning liquid condition, instead of the 
regarding them as transmuted, originally uncrystalline, slates, 
sandstones, fee. 1. Because that party have turned away 
from nature, which tells them that such transmutations are 
actually met with^ and have addressed themselves to an incom- 
petent authority with the unnecessary question, whether such 
processes Sive possible ; and, 2. Because, after receiving a nega- 
tive answer, they believe themselves obliged io reject palpable 
facts. If we are not wrong in these accusations, nothing else 
is required to shew the disposition and the judgment with 
which these theorists proceed. It is not at present necessary 
to consider other weak points of their geological result. 

* The lamentable part performed by geologists as to the question of the for- 
mation of dolomite also naturally occurs to us in speaking of this subject. In- 
stead of, at all events, at first, adhering simply to what personal observation 
taught them, namely, that dolomite is incontrovertibly a transmuted carbonate of 
lime, and instead of enriching their science with this result of observation, as 
with an incontestable fact, they went with their discovery to the chemists, pre- 
senting it in the form of a theory. Now, as this theory could receive no appro- 
bation from the chemists, the good people remained standing with empty hands, 
notwithstanding the great discovery which they bad really made. 

Crystalline Silicide Slates. 166 

Let us now turn to the other party, viz., to those who re- 
cognise the reality of the transmutations. The mistake com- 
mitted by these geologists, in not, above all things, bringing 
forward simply and solely the ascertained truth itself, has been 
already alluded to. Owing to this error, the general reception 
of this truth into science has been refused ; and notwithstand- 
ing that care had been taken just to render it agreeable to 
chemists, by means of attempts at explanation which were 
added, nothing was obtained from them but an admonitory 
lecture, of which a repetition has been given above. By 
adopting heat as the chief agent in the transmutations, it was 
expected to satisfy the chemists ; and I shall here limit my 
observations to this circumstance, that the conversion-phe- 
nomena are in this manner brought under volcanism. 

None of the facts relating to this question are in favour of the 
opinion, and many are against it, that heat has been in operation 
in the conversion of various uncrystalline rocks into gneiss, 
hornblende-slate, &c. In so far as the transmutations have 
taken place, where the altered strata meet with certain bound- 
ing foreign masses, no case has yet been met with, which 
shews, as a matter of fact, that such masses have produced the 
change in consequence of their having been in a very hot con- 
dition. It is but pure and mere hypothesis when it is asserted 
that the rocks here spoken of were in a hot liquid state ; and 
even though they had been so, it is far from being a necessary 
consequence that the change was effected at that time. I have 
previously directed attention to this point ; and I have also 
already stated that, moreover, there are circumstances con- 
nected with the contact- changes which really positively prove 
that heat did not operate in causing these transmutations. 

Those gneisses, mica-slates, talc-slates, &c., that are not at 
all in contact with the unstratified rocks, near which, generally, 
meeting strata of different slates are seen to be crystalline, 
seem best adapted for disproving the idea that the change 
by which they received their crystalline structure was pro- 
duced by the aid of a very high temperature. In order to 
shew whence the great heat came, the most arbitrary hypo- 
theses are had recourse to, but even these fail. When 
whole countries, from the surface to the greatest depths, are 

166 Professor Keilhau on Unstratified 

composed of gneiss, it is alleged that the original slaty mass, 
some miles in thickness, has been heated through and through 
from the internal general reservoir of melted materials. But 
what as to the many cases where we find the transmuted beds 
high up in series, which contain unaltered strata under the 
altered \ The answer is, the altered strata there are no longer 
in their original situation ; either they have separately been 
elevated to the place which they now occupy, or the whole 
series of strata has been reversed ! It is really remarkable 
that people will so designedly deceive themselves. The geo- 
gnostical facts on the subject are to such a degree speaking, 
that although they have hitherto been but very superficially 
considered, and then only regarded with a prejudiced eye, yet 
individual geologists have been induced to waver regarding the 
hypothesis of the action of heat. We now hear something of 
electrical and other non'thermal actions, which were in operation 
during indefinitely long periods, and which, along with the 
high temperature, have contributed their assistance to pro- 
duce the changes. — (Lyell's Elements, p. 251.) 

But why will geologists not place entire confidence in what 
the natural phenomena teach with such clearness? By stop- 
ping half way, it remains equally impracticable, as we have 
seen, to give an explanation in which chemical experimental 
observation shall not be anticipated, while, on the other hand, 
a true apprehension of the facts is prevented, and a check is 
put to farther advancement. 


We have still to speak of the unstratified crystalline silicide 
rocks. The prevailing erroneous ideas regarding the forma- 
tion of the crystalline slates, of contact-products, of marble, 
dolomite, &c., have, in fact, been caused by the view enter- 
tained respecting the unstratified silicide rocks. It was here 
that the irrational principles of investigation first came into 
operation, and here, that method which has so undeservedly 
come to be regarded as the true philosophical one, especially 
found its application ; the other questions were mere acces- 
saries to that respecting the last mentioned formations. 

It is said that we must assume that granite, syenite, por- 

Crystalline Silicide Bocks. 167 

phyry, amygdaloid, &c., &c., have become what they now are 
from a melted condition, because this opinion alone is satis 
factory to the chemists. 

Thus is this important matter settled ! 

But if the case is, that we need not at all assume any thing 
as to the mode of formation of these rocks ; that, on the con- 
trary, by the study of their geognostical relations in a reason- 
able manner, perfect certainty can be obtained in regard to this 
problem, at least up to a point, which in the mean time 
must be sufficiently satisfactory to geologists ; and if it is the 
case, that chemistry, on its part, is precisely not in a position to 
deliver a safe videtur in this matter — then does this mode of 
proceeding not betray either a want of knowledge, a deficiency 
of sound judgment, or a wilful opposition to what is right % 

And should it, moreover, be the case, that the really un- 
prejudiced chemist will not be pre-eminently, much less ex- 
clusively, satisfied by the hypothesis spoken of, that at least 
he cannot consider it as chemically more suitable than the 
result which can be obtained by geological investigations on the 
subject, then must the accusation made receive still more 

He who studies the geognostical relations of the unstrati- 
fied crystalline silicide rocks, will undoubtedly meet with 
many obscure appearances, and with many circumstances 
which seem suited only to envelope the subject in dark- 
ness ; let him, however, but pursue his investigations with 
assiduity, with reflection, and with the sole view to discover 
the truth, and he will find it to be a certain matter o/'/ac^that, 
with a few, partly undoubted, partly problematical, exceptions, 
these rocks also became what they now are, by having been, 
so to speak, twice formed, first of all, by any of the usual modes 
by which rocks are almost formed before our eyes ; and next, 
by an alteration which proceeded on the very spot, in conse- 
quence of causes which are still unknown, whereby these rocks 
received their present petrographical character, which just 
constitutes the difficult part of the subject. It may be dis- 
agreeable and disheartening to us, to be obliged to receive 
into our science an incomprehensible position founded on ex- 
perience, and which must stand there as such in all its naked- 

168 Professor Keilhau on Unstratified 

ness ; but what is correct in fact cannot be rejected on that 
account. If this epigenetic mode of formation, as it may be 
shortly termed, were even less intelligible than it really is, if 
even also there were no prospect of our understanding it better 
in future than we do at present, yet we ought to find no rea- 
son in this for casting away the result that has been obtained ; 
for, as it is entirely a matter of fact, it must remain, however 
burdensome it should become in regard to its farther expla- 

It is not my intention to discuss fully here all the facts 
which shew that the unstratified rocks containing quartz, and 
composed of crystallized silicides, are transmutations of what 
were originally sedimentary, or perhaps also partly eruptive 
masses ; but the position of the matter is such, that the most 
important at least of these facts must here be brought to the 
recollection of my readers. 

1. Granite, syenite, greenstone, porphyry, amygdaloid, 
&c., are often found connected, by gradual transitions, with 
stratified rocks, which partly in a direct, partly in an indirect 
way, present themselves as formations, which were originally 
deposited by water. The most striking phenomenon of this 
kind is when the unstratified rock is entirely surrounded by 
sedimentary strata, of which some with their terminations, and 
others with their hanging or lying sides, gradually pass into 
the epigenetic mass. The assertions that have been made 
regarding these occurrences, for the purpose of supporting the 
eruption-theory, are quite contrary to nature. Among the 
most frequent of the transitions where the stratified rock can 
directly be recognised as of ordinary hydrogenic origin, are 
those from fossiliferous clay-slate into diorite and other green- 
stone rocks. Of those from strata which can only be indirectly 
recognised as hydrogenic, the transitions from gneiss into 
granite are the most usual. Here, however, the phenomenon, 
certainly in most cases, is to be understood in this way, that 
one portion of the original hydrogenic deposit was converted 
into gneiss, while other neighbouring portions assumed the 
character of granite, which two rocks, by means of their 
close mutual relationship, can of course easily run into each 
other at their common boundaries. In Norway, there are 

Crystalline filicide Bocks. 169 

interesting and not unfrequent transitions from slates partly 
approaching clay-slate, partly chlorite-slate, and partly quartz- 
slate into Helleflint porphyry (Porphyre a base de Petrosilex 
of the French), hornstone-porphyry, &c. These porphyries are 
rendered so much the more instructive by their retaining, even 
at a considerable distance from the characteristic slate, its par- 
allel structure to a certain extent, so that the original strati- 
fication can still be clearly distinguished, although the mass, 
when examined in small pieces, is a perfectly characteristic 
porphyry. The same slates pass also into gneiss, so that it is 
easily explained how strata are sometimes encountered, which 
consist partly of gneiss, partly of such porphyries together, 
with complete transitions between the two. Gustav Rose 
noticed similar transitions in the neighbourhood of Schlan- 
genberg (Feise nach dem TJraU vol. i. p. 558.) 

2. Each particular kind of crystalline silicide rocks is more 
especially associated with certain uncrystalline stratified rocks, 
so that a more or less constant genetic relation evidently sub- 
sists between two and two kinds of the two great classes : as, 
for example, between granite or syenite, and clay-slate, be- 
tween greenstone and greywacke-slate or clay-slate, or newer 
slates petrographically similar to the clay-slate, between horn- 
stone-porphyry and flinty-slate, between red porphyry or 
amygdaloid and sandstone formations, &;c. 

3. It is possible that, in some instances, errors have been 
committed in the accounts given of the direct occurrence of 
fossils in the rocks in question, and that, in such examples, the 
only petrifactions observed were those which had formerly 
belonged to other older rocks. But, undoubtedly, this has 
not always been the case when organic remains have been 
met with in crystalline silicide formations. It is self-evident 
that such an occurrence must, on the whole, be a rare one ; 
for the conversion of the original rock into an aggregate of 
crystals, which is frequently very coarse, must, in most in- 
stances, have obliterated every trace of the fossils which have 
previously been more or less perfectly preserved in the mass. 
However, these occasionally remain, to a certain extent, pre- 
served, and they then clearly prove that the including mass, 

170 Professor Keilhau on Unstratified 

like other fossiliferous rocks, was originally sedimentary. 
The examples given by Murchison (Silurian System, vol. i. 
chapters 19, 21, &c.) of the occurrence of petrifactions 
in different traps or similar rocks, are among the newest facts 
of this kind ; and they can so much the less be rejected 
by geologists of the present day, because the author, as is 
well known, is a zealous volcanist. His having in this 
capacity arbitrarily assigned peculiar names to these rocks 
containing fossils, cannot much stand in the way of our pro- 
per apprehension of their real nature, and only shews how 
little the system, which it is so constantly the endeavour to 
support, is applicable to the very phenomena which are so 
distinctly and fully opened up to view. Murchison recog- 
nised perfectly distinct traces of encrinites, trilobites, and 
other Silurian organisms, in masses which, according to the 
petrographical description given, must be sometimes perfect- 
ly characteristic syenite, sometimes greenstone, sometimes 
a kind of felspar porphyry, &;c. As these masses, according 
to the statement of the author, frequently pass into the stra- 
tified and mechanically deposited rocks in which, as their 
original repositories, fossils generally occur, there is no 
reason for supposing that the organic remains met with in 
these crystalline rocks, proceed from petrifactions derived 
from any other quarter. Murchison has also really acknow- 
ledged that these animal remains existed from the first in the 
masses which he found presenting the characters of the above 
mentioned crystalline silicide rocks. Lastly, it is also wor- 
thy of all attention, that he describes these masses as hav- 
ing, for the most part, the nature of beds, and frequently 
alternating, in this form, with sandstone, slates, <&c., but, ne- 
vertheless, sometimes constituting one mass with the amor- 
phous portions of the same rock which frequently occur at the 
same localities. Murchison's descriptions are in the highest 
degree convincing : it is perfectly evident that, at particu- 
lar places, many of the silurian strata have been either par- 
tially or entirely converted into trap or other similar rocks. 
Even the volcanic language employed on the same occasion 
must contribute to strengthen this conviction ; for it sounds 
quite like irony, and the explanation offered is really a cari- 

Crystalline Silidde Bocks. 171 

cature of the volcanic theory.* — It will be curious to see to 
what mode of escape the advocates of the volcanic system will 
have recourse with respect to the inconvenient discovery that 
the agate-balls of Oberstein — masses derived from one of the 
rocks regarded by them as pyrogenic — contain traces of or- 

4. Many of the relations of form and extent of these rocks 
shew directly that such masses were originally sedimentary. 
Comparatively very thin layers spread over an immense area 
(of which the most striking examples are afforded by Iceland, 
and perhaps in a still higher degree by Hindostan) could only 
have been deposited by precipitation from water. 

If now, in addition to such positive criteria for the epige- 
netic mode of formation of most of the crystalline granular 
silicide rocks, we bring forward all of what is more of a nega- 
tive character which can be adduced against those two hypo- 
theses regarding their origin which have successively prevailed, 
the unreasonableness of adhering either to the one or the 
other of those will become still more apparent-t But, as re- 
gards the volcanists, such a clinging to the view once adopted 
must be considered as quite astonishing when we are told, as 
I have already stated, that this is done in order to retain the 
secure foundation of chemistry. This can be but a false colour 
given to the matter. In the first place, chemistry here affords 
no secure foundation whatever; to-day it proves that minerals 
composed of silicides can be formed in the moist way, re- 
garding which, but yesterday, it found that they are of pyro- 
genic origin. In fact, the confessions of the chemists them- 

♦ It may be worth remarking, that if the trap strata really were at first " finely 
levigated volcanic scoriae passing into sand" (Murchison, i, 75), which fell to the 
bottom of the sea in which, at the same time, the whole silurian formation was 
deposited, even this must tell in favour of Epigenism. If epigenism is rejected, 
it cannot be said that such sandy masses became crystalline trap beds, without 
inventing processes which never took place. 

I may also notice, that a German geologist, whe, in his own country, observed 
many greenstones containing fossils, but, slavishly following Murchison, regards 
them as volcanic tufis, nevertheless proves, that these spurious greenstones, as he 
terms them, are, petrographically, completely the same as the others. 

t One of the most recent pieces of evidence against the pyrogenic origin of 
certain granite masses and other similar rocks, is the occurrence in them of what 
are termed pyrognomic minerals. 

172 Professor Keilhau on Unstratified 

selves have also been very different.* It will be remem- 
bered, that just a short time ago Fuchs, no mean chemical au- 
thority, took up the doctrine of Neptunism. In short, it is a 
pure fiction that chemistry is in possession of an immovable 
foundation on which our knowledge respecting the origin of 
the crystalline silicide rocks should rest. In the next place, 
it may probably come to pass, that when it is decided before 
a perfectly impartial tribunal^ whether, in the case before us, 
Epigenism may not have as good claims to the approbation of 
chemistry as Volcanism, the answer may be in the affirmative. 
If the discussions regarding the processes which have been de- 
signated by the name of cementation, regarding what are 
termed *' actions lentes^^ regarding molecular movements in 
solid bodies, &c., have not materially assisted us in under- 
standing the phenomena on which such discussions turn ; still 
these phenomena, which chiefly lie in the more limited sphere 
of investigation of chemistry, are sufficient of themselves to 
shew, that that description of nature''s actions which is to be 
discerned by means of the study of the epigenetic rocks, can 
also be satisfactorily recognised elsewhere, and is certainly 
quite normal, t 

It must undoubtedly be chiefly owing to want of knowledge 
of the subject, that the question as to the formation of gran- 
ite and the other rocks more or less similar to it, has been 
treated in the manner mentioned above. An intimate ac- 
quaintance with more than one part of the subject is requisite ; 
but this is, above all, necessary with regard to the mode of oc- 
currence of these rocks, their relations to other rocks, and, in 
short, all the phenomena and circumstances which can interest 
geologists. A proper knowledge of this kind, however, is 
partly rvanting even in those who are considered as the greatest 

• Upon this subject I have fully expressed my opinion in my little publica- 
tion, entitled, Einiges gegen den Vulkanismus, p. 65-68. 

t One of the most interesting of the newer facts connected with this subject 
is the transmutation of old glass, regarding which Brewster made a communica- 
tion to the British Association at Glasgow in 1840. The homogeneous mass pro- 
duced by fusion and subsequent cooling, had, according to him, acquired a hete- 
rogeneous and crystalline structure ; the metallic particles had separated them- 
selves, and the siliceous particles " had resumed their position as regular crystals, 
and arranged themselves circularly round the centre of decomposition." The glass 

Cri/8lalline Silicide Bocks. 173 

authorities in the science. It will doubtless be thought improper 
that I should venture on such an assertion, but I cannot keep 
it back, as I am firmly convinced that it is true, and that it is 
necessary to make it. It is undeniable that the difficulty is 
very great of attaining to a perfect knowledge of the relations 
of the rocks under consideration. It is only at very few points 
— and even these are for the most part very difficult of access, 
and are frequently remote — ^that these rocks are displayed in 
such a manner as not to be misunderstood. Most observers only 
see localities which are of such a nature, that, in their case, theo- 
ries and imagination come to form the chief part of that deline- 
ation of the natural phenomena it is the object to produce.* 
When this takes place with those who make a personal exa- 
mination of the subject, we may easily form an idea of the 
situation of the geologists who must derive their information 
from descriptions.t The deficiency of knowledge can thus 
be excused ; but still it exists. Were this not the case, — did 
the many geologists who believe that it is not their province, 
but that of the chemists, to decide on the question as to the 

was excavated among the ruins of the Chapter-house of the Cathedral of St An- 

* The following is a most remarkable example of the extent to which this may 
proceed with even the most experienced observers. In several parts of Sweden, 
as is well known, horizontal transition strata are found reposing on an ancient 
surface of rock, which consists of the upright ends of beds of gneiss. Nothing can 
be more certain and more simple than this ; and the relation can be directly and 
distinctly observed at many of the points where the two systems of strata meet 
each other. Nevertheless, it lately escaped the observation of one of the most 
practiced geologists. During his last visit to Sweden, Von Buch was so far from 
being able to notice it, that, on the contrary, he asserts that *' the gneiss is never 
in contact with these transition strata, but remains everywhere at a distance, and 
with a distinct margin." — (Neues Jahrbuchfiir Mineralogie, 1842, p. 282.) From 
this result of his examination of the localities, the author then forms some most 
singular ideas regarding the internal structure and origin of these mountains. 

t The geological authors and teachers belonging to the last class, who nnfor* 
tunately are not few in number, are, however, just the individuals who feel 
perfectly assured on the subject. As an illustration, I may instance a Gei-man 
schoolman, who perhaps never saw a mountain, but has felt himself called upon 
to write a book on " The Constitution of the Globe" He says, that, with the che- 
mical reasons for the formation of granite from the melted state, those also agree, 
which are derived from positional arrangement ; and these, he asserts, are quite 
decisive ; while, according to his opinion, some objections might be made to the 

174 Professor Keilhau on Unstratified 

origin of the crystalline silicide rocks, know how perfectly 
convincing are the geognostical facts which actually exist as 
an answer to the question ; were they fully aware of the many 
completely conclusive points with regard to the occurrence of 
these formations, — then immediately it would be universally 
perceived how natural and reasonable it is to take into con- 
sideration, above all things, the geological data, and then the 
emancipation of geology, which is so extremely requisite, 
would be accomplished. The misfortune is, that precisely 
so long as this emancipation has not taken place, geologists 
are prevented from supplying what has hitherto been ne- 
glected. In the mean time, I hope that no one will be 
prevented from invariably seeking for information founded 
on fact, or, moreover, from applying what he has discovered 
in an unfalsified state ; and the period must eventually arrive 
when geology shall rest on an independent basis. Although it 
must always continue to be felt as a deficiency, that so large a 
portion of the globe can only be observed indirectly, yet it is 
nevertheless possible materially to remedy this deficiency, by 
properly conducted investigations, in the manner already pointed 
out ; and the existence of the possibility gives us sufficient se- 
curity that this will happen. It will then, I trust, be rendered 
evident to every one, that the history of what took place in 
and with the crust of the earth, composed of mountain rocks, 
is by no means lost to the extent that certain persons of great 
influence assert ;* and some misunderstandings of the most 

chemical arguments. Certainly the blind know more of colours than this worthy 
man does of the relations on which he rests with so much confidence. 

* I must here be permitted to add some remarks suggested by what is said in 
Berzelius' Jahresbericht for 1841, with reference to an article by Studer. " The 
geologists," it is there asserted, " who suppose that chemistry must be able to ex- 
plain all geological observations, have entirely forgotten that this explanation 
must be founded on something more than chemistry." In this there is truth ; 
and it might appear that he who thus expressed himself, must be at one with the 
views brought forward in the present paper. This, however, is by no medns the 
case. Immediately after this passage, the author states it as his opinion, that if 
geologists could but give a correct history of the changes which have taken place 
in the crust of the earth, chemistry, even in its present state, could give exact 
explanations of most of them. But we cannot expect that this should ever take 
place, for it is given us to understand that this history is irrecoverably lost. I do 
not know what the author would require in such a historical delineation of what has 

Crystalline Silicide Bocks. lib 

injurious Icind, in which, unfortunately, distinguished investi- 
gators are involved, will then be removed ; and no one, how- 
ever great may be his name, will allow himself dictatorially 
to stamp as ** hypotheses" or " false explanations," historico- 
geological/ad* of the first rank. 

occurred in the cmst of the globe ; the demands might be so great that geologists 
would not be able to satisfy them ; but in this case it is to be remarked, that, 
after such 9i full elucidation of what had taken place, there would not be much 
question as to an explanation, for, in this elucidation, the series of chemical 
events would also form an element. Should, however, only reasonable require- 
ments be made as to a history of this kind, then it is my opinion, as has already 
been seen, that this can be accomplished, but that chemistry will be found defi- 
cient in a greater or less degree, and especially if it will not admit of any other 
illustrations but those obtained in the usual manner by experiment. 

The following, for example, is a fragment of geological history — pure and un- 
disguised history — in regard to which I venture to think, that it is in all its parts 
perfectly to be relied on. At some period or other after the strata constituting 
our so-termed primitive gneiss-formation had been brought into their present up- 
right position, a series of strata were deposited at the transitive epoch, which 
afterwards were variously transmuted in a gradual manner, and at the ordinary 
temperature. We see most of them now as clay-slates, but other portions exhibit 
more or less crystalline masses, which occur as well in the slaty form as in the state 
of unstratified rocks. These were developed, not quite irregularly, according to 
their diflFerent kinds, in the transition district ; thus, in the neighbourhood of 
Christiania, it is quite evident that always only a particular part of the masses 
of this formation, viz. solely some of the beds which lie next the fundamental 
rock, have been converted into a peculiar kind of porphyry ; in consequence of 
which this porphyry is quite generally met with in the form of beds, either direct- 
ly on the fundamental rock, or at least near it, (Gaea Norvegica, i., plate ii., fig. 
6, 7, 8). — Now, must not the chemist, before whom this account is placed, with 
the request that he will give an exact explanation of the act of formation of these 
beds of porphyry, confess that the problem is beyond his powers ? But this he 
must confess with respect to many much less important cases. Chemistry is not 
yet in a position to explain the change produced on glass by long lying, observ- 
ed by Brewster, and mentioned at p 172 ; a change which, it may be remarked 
in passing, is undoubtedly analogous to that of the conversion of a more or 
less homogeneous rock into porphyry, diorite, &c. Let it then be assumed 
that, although the chemist be forced to make this confession, he is by no means 
absolutely unwilling to admit as true the above historical report ; but that, on the 
contrary, he is inclined to investigate the subject more closely, in combination 
with the geologist ; then his reasoning will be as follows : Many things are pos- 
sible in nature, which are not so in laboratories ; in the former case, enormous 
masses are in operation for enormous periods of time ; in the instance before us, 
we have to take into account that enormous apparatus which is produced by the 
different mutual position of the beds of the two formations meeting each other ; 

( 176 ) 

Analysis of Wines from Palestine^ Syria, and Asia Minor » 
By Professor Edward Hitchcock, LL.D., of Amherst Col- 

It is well known, that in the discussions which have arisen in this 
country and England on the subject of temperance, much has been 
said respecting the character of the wines described in the Bible and 
other ancient writings. By some it was maintained, '* that few, if 
any, of the wines of antiquity were alcoholic ;" that the strongest 
grape wines of the ancients had in them a less quantity of alcohol 
than our common table-beer ;" *' that of one hundred and ninety -five 
kinds of wine used by the Romans in Pliny's time, only one was al- 
coholic ;" " that amongst the Jews in Judea there was a real diffi- 
culty, from chemical and natural causes, in the making and preserv- 
ing any wines except the unfermented ;" '* that the wines of Pales- 
tine were not alcoholic," &c. (Anti -Bacchus.) A vast amount of 
curious learning was put in requisition in the discussion of this sub- 
ject. But it has seemed to me that a few analyses of wines from 
some of the most famous localities of Western Asia, whence the wines 
of Scripture were obtained, would do much more towards settling the 
question as to their alcoholic character, than the most ingenious phi- 
lological criticisms. And I confess I was surprised to find that no 
such analysis had been made. I wrote, therefore, to my friend, Rev. 
Henry J. Van Lennep, American missionary at Smyrna, requesting 
him to send me specimens of the common wines of Palestine, Syria, 
and Asia Minor. As Mr Van Lennep was a native of Smyrna, I 
thought he would be better acquainted with the proper localities than 
a foreigner, and be more sure of obtaining specimens in an unenforced 
and unadulterated state ; while the fact, that he was educated in 
this country, would make him fully acquainted with the precise object 
I had in view. I was particular to request him to send no specimen 
but the pure juice of the grape, to which no ardent spirit had been 
added. To my request he kindly attended, though with no small 
trouble. In a letter dated at Smyrna, Sept. 23. 1842, he says : 
" I have been a great while in fulfilling your commission for specimens 
of wine from the Levant. I have met with a good deal of difficulty 
in obtaining specimens from Syria and Palestine, or rather in getting 
them transported from thence. For what with quarantine regula- 
tions, delays of vessels, &c. it is now more than a year, I think, since 

— and, in this manner, at least the possibility of obtaining light and insight in 
regard to the subject would be afforded. — All this is very different in its nature 
and consequences from the course followed, of regarding the above historical report 
as an illusion, because facts belonging to the province of chemistry are therein 
stated, for whose explanation that science has not yet found the key. 

Analysis of Wines from Palestine, Si/ria, and Asia Minor. 177 

I wrote to some of the missionary brethren at Beyroot and Jeru- 
salem on the subject. I now forward to Boston, to your address, a 
box containing the following : — One bottle of wine from Mount 
Lebanon, one year old, and another from the same place six 
years old; two bottles from Hebron, age unknown; one -bottle 
from Corfu, age unknown ; one bottle from Syria, place and ago 
unknown ; one bottle from Cyprus, not old ; one bottle from Samos, 
not old ; one bottle from Rhodes, one year old ; one bottle from 
Smyrna, new, that is, about a year old. I hope the custom-house 
officers will not open the box, and shall therefore write the contents 
on the outside. But with all the precautions I have taken, I should 
not be surprised should they all, or many of them, reach you soured. 
Then, instead of your laboratory, they will take their place in your 
store-room ; and whenever you have salad on your table, you will 
please pour on the vinegar to my health — a sour health, to be sure !" 

Fortunately, this anticipation of Mr Van Lennep was not realised, 
except that one of the bottles from Hebron contained considerable acetic 
acid, probably because in passing through so many custom-houses, it 
had been tested till nearly half of it was gone ; yet even this, as we 
shall see, contained no small share of alcohol. All the other bottles, 
on breaking their seals, were found in a healthy state. And I may 
add, that in none of them could I discover any carbonic acid, so that 
probably the process of fermentation had been completed. 

The mode of analysis was essentially that of Mr Brande. The 
specific gravities were determined by ascertaining the weight of a 
tubeful of the liquor, and comparing it with the same tube full of 
distilled water, in all cases at a temperature of 60° Fah. The tube 
which I employed held 736.4 grains of distilled water, and was sus- 
pended from one of the arms of Chemin's delicate balances. The 
weight of the tube and liquid was, indeed, rather too great for a 
balance of this description, and I do not think I could be sure of the 
weight nearer than one-tenth of a grain, although with small quan- 
tities the one-hundredth of a grain was perceptible. After weighing 
the tube full of wine, in order to obtain its specific gravity, it was 
distilled nearly to dryness, from a small retort into a receiver sur- 
rounded by snow, and afterwards, to make up for the deficiency, another 
small portion of the wine was distilled also nearly to dryness. Enough 
was thus obtained of the distilled liquor to fill the tube, which was 
then weighed, and the specific gravity thence deduced. In deducing 
from thence the per centum of alcohol, I used the new tables of 
Tralles. founded upon the principles of those by Gilpin, and given 
by Dr Ure in his Dictionary of the Arts, Manufactures, and Mines. 
These tables assume that water at the temperature of 60° has a spe- 
cific gravity of 0.9991 ; and they give the per centum of anhydrous 
alcohol by measure. Hence they shew a smaller amount of alcohol 
than those of Gilpin, used by Professors Brande and Beck, whose 
standard is alcohol of the specific gravity of 0.825. But as Gilpin's 
tables have been so commonly used, I have added a column of the 


178 Professor Hitchcock on the Analysis of Wines from 

amount of alcohol by measure, as obtained by those tables in Brande's 
Chemistry. The tables of Lowitz of St Petersburgh are also pre- 
ferred by some. He assumes, as his standard, alcohol of the specific 
gravity .796 at 60° Fah., and gives the per centum by weight. I 
have given a column deduced from his tables, also, as contained in 
the Second Supplement to the seventh London edition of Turner's 
Chemistry, by Professor Gregory. From the specific gravity of the 
wine before and after distillation, I have deduced the amount of solid 
matter, and given the per centum by weight. Finally, I have added 
a column to the per centum by measure of brandy, on the supposition 
that brandy contains 49.44 per cent, of pure alcohol. 

As others like myself, who may desire to analyse fermented li- 
quors, may not be able to procure Gay Lussac's apparatus for that 
purpose, I will observe that I used two methods of connecting the 
retort and receiver, which I consider much better than to lute them 
together. One was, to make the junction by a strong India rubber 
tube tied firmly to both vessels by a waxed thread. The other, and 
still better method, was, to find a receiver whose neck would just 
admit the neck of the retort, with a piece of firm paper wound care- 
fully around it, and slightly pasted to it. By giving the retort a 
screwing motion, it was easily made to fit into the receiver so firmly, 
that there was no danger of leakage. 

Results of the Analysis of Wines from Palestine^ Syria, and the 




> 1* 




cent, of Alcohol by 
sasnre "by the Ta- 
BS of Tralles, 
standard Alcohol 
60° Fahr., 0.7946. 










j5 S S 







No. 1, Hebron, soured, age unknown 








... 2. Hebron, age unknown, 

1st trial. 




1|1} 17.50 


17.1 ] 



2d ... 





15 9 1 

... 3. Mount Lebanon, 1 year 

1st ... 




14-^ 14.15 





2d ... 




14.1 . 

...4. Mount Lebanon, 6 years 

list ... 




1^-4 1 10.95 


11.9 ) 



2d ... 



11.5 j 


12.2 J 

... 5, Syria (Port wine), place 
and age unknown. 

}lst ... 

1.0051 0.9808 


15.0 1"-™ 


14.3 ] 


2d ... 



14.9 / 

...6. Cyprus, not old, . : . 

1st :.. 

1.02200 9779 




16.2 ) 
15.9 } 



2d ... 




... 7. Rhodes, one year old, . 

1st ... 



J?|| 17,75 


16.9 ) 
16.6 } 



2d ... 




... 8. Corfu, age unknown, . 

1st ... 

0.9930,0.9790 1.41 



15.6 J 
15.2 1 


• •. 

2d ... 



... 9. Samos, not old, . . . 

1st ... 

1.0205 0.9812 


14.7 ! 1^-^ 


13.9 1 
14.6 1 


2d ... 




... 10. Smyrna, rather new, . 

Ist ... 





13.3 I 
13.11 ) 


• •• 



13.3 i ""•"" 


Palestine, St/ria, and Asia Minor. 179 

I was surprised to find so much alcohol as the above Table exhi- 
bits in No. 1, which would pass for tolerably good vinegar. No. 2, 
from the same locality, shews us probably how much alcohol it con- 
tained before the acetic fermentation commenced. These specimens 
were from grapes, grown probably not far from the " Valley of 
Eschol," whence the famous cluster was borne away by the Jewish 
spies in the time of Moses ; for that valley must have been in the 
south-easterly part of Palestine. No. 2 has the taste of strong 
Madeira wine. Nos. 3 and 4 are from Mount Lebanon, one of the 
most famous localities of the wines of Scripture. No. 3 is astrin- 
gent and somewhat sweet, yet it appears to be fully wrought. No. 4 
has a similar taste, but it is quite thick, as its high specific gravity 
shews ; and I strongly suspect that the grape juice was partially 
boiled down before it was allowed to ferment, as we know was for- 
merly practised, and is still done, on Mount Lebanon, according to 
Mr Buckingham. It has the appearance of the other wines, after 
they have been heated to the boiling point in the retort ; that is, a 
redder colour than is natural. No. 5 is perfect Port wine in colour, 
taste, and the amount of sediment deposited in the bottle. No. 6 
is from Cyprus, which is one of the most famous localities of the 
ancient Greek wines. It is sweet and astringent, but not thick, and 
has no appearance of having been boiled before fermentation, as Mr 
Buckingham says is usually done on that island. It will be seen 
that it is a very strong wine. The age of those wines mentioned in 
the table are their ages when obtained by Mr Van Lennep. A year 
more, at least, should be added, except, perhaps, in one or two cases, 
as having elapsed before they were analysed. No. 7, from Rhodes, 
is a very clear strong wine, the strongest which I analysed, and 
slightly astringent, resembling some varieties of Madeira. No. 8, 
from Corfu, whose age is unknown, considerably resembles it in 
appearance and taste, and, as the analysis shews, in alcoholic power. 
No. 9, from Samos, is less clear, more astringent, and less strong. 
No. 10, from Smyrna, has the colour of Port wine, and is sour, 
astringent, and unpleasant, tasting strongly of the skin of the grape. 
The sourness appears to have been derived, chiefly at least, from the 
grape, and not from fermentation. It was about eighteen months 
old when analysed ; called, however, by M. Van Lennep, a new wine. 
In short, these specimens exhibit a good deal of variety of character, 
and are, therefore, favourable for the object in view. It will be 
seen that, in all cases except the first, which I conceived to be of 
little importance, I performed two analyses of each specimen ; and I 
have given both results, that chemists might judge how much 
dependence is to be placed upon my researches. In No. 2, the dif- 
ference in the amount of alcohol, by the two processes, amounts to 
1.2 per cent. In the other cases the diff'erence is less ; and it seems 
to me we are warranted in concluding, that my mean results do not 
vary more than 1 per cent, from the truth in any case ; and this is 

ISO Pi'ofcssor Hitchcock 07i the Analysis of Wines from 

near enough for all the purposes for which the analysis was under- 

It appears that in all cases, except Nos. 7 and 8, the specific 
gravity of the wines before distillation was greater than that of 
water. No. 4, from Lebanon, was much heavier ; in part, proba- 
bly, because the juice was concentrated before fermentation, and in 
part because it is so old. It yields, of course, a large per cent, of 
solid matter. 

The difference in the results, according to the tables used, is just 
what we might expect from the different standards assumed by 
Tralles, Gilpin, and Lowitz, and from the fact that the table of the 
latter gives the per cent, by weight, whereas all the others give it 
by measure. Gilpin's tables have been most commonly made the 
standard, but they convey erroneous conclusions ; that is, as the sub- 
ject is usually understood, they indicate more alcohol in fermented 
liquors than they contain. 

The results wliich I have now given justify, it seems to me, the 
following conclusions : — 

In the first place, the grapes of Palestine, Syria, and the Levant 
generally, produce wines as strongly alcoholic as those of any country 
whose soil and climate are congenial to the vine. 

It has been thought that the great quantity of sugar which must 
exist in the grapes of those countries, and the heat of the climate, 
are so unfavourable to fermentation that little or no alcohol can be 
produced from them. But here we have ten specimens of the com- 
mon wines of those countries, all of wliich belong to the class of 
strong wines. It may be thought that the strongest wines were 
selected by Mr Van Lennep ; but I particularly requested him not 
to do it, desiring him to send me rather the common wines ; and 
the apprehension which he expressed that they would be all soured 
before reaching this country, shews that he supposed them to be 
quite weak. I incline to believe that their strength is not above 
the average in those countries ; and yet, by consulting the analyses 
of Brande, Beck, Fontenelle, &c., we shall see that they rank among 
the stronger wines. And, indeed, this is just what the chemist 
would expect ; for if those countries furnish the finest grapes, they 
doubtless contain a large amount of the sugar and ferment requisite 
for the production of alcohol,* 

In the second place, we have every reason to believe that the 

* Since the above was written, I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr Van 
Lennep in this country, and he confirms all the statements made in the text re- 
specting the strength of the wines. He is even of opinion that those from the 
neighbourhood of Smyrna are below the average strength of the wines of that 
region. Rev. Mr Sherman, also, who obtained the specimens from the vicinity 
of Hebron, and whom I have lately seen, thinks that they may be somewhat 
stronger than the average of wines in that region. The specimens from Mount 
Lebanon were procured by the Rev. Leander Thomson, who is also in this coun- 
try, but I have not met with him. 

Palestine^ Byria^ and Asia Minor. 181 

ancient wines of the countries under consideration possessed essen- 
tially the same character as the modern wines made there. 

There has been no important change in the climate, and of course 
the grapes now produced there, are the same essentially as in ancient 
times. If the wines are different, then, it must be the result of 
different modes of making them ; and I am not aware of any im- 
portant difference in this respect, unless it be in those cases (and 
whether there be any such cases I know not) in which the wines are 
enforced by the addition of distilled liquor ; but such a case affects 
not my present argument, because I have analysed only those which 
are derived from the pure juice of the grape. Much, indeed, has 
been said about the practice of the ancients, of boiling down the 
juice of the grape, more or less, before allowing it to ferment. But 
the same practice exists now ; nor is there any reason to believe that 
it was ever general, but resorted to only to furnish an agreeable 
variety. And it so happens, fortunately, that one of the specimens 
analysed — viz., from Mount Lebanon — is a wine thus prepared ; 
and it may stand as a representative of that class of wines. It is, 
indeed, the weakest wine of the number ; and we learn from this 
fact, that this process does affect the amount of alcohol ; and yet 
this specimen contains about 11 per cent, of pure alcohol, and 22 
per cent, of brandy, — enough, certainly, to make the wine quite 
intoxicating. Yet it is quite sweet, and therefore sweetness does 
not prove that a wine is unintoxicating. When the juice of the grape 
is boiled down, so as to become thick like honey, or even solid, then, 
indeed, it cannot ferment, and may be kept an indefinite length of 
time without containing alcohol. Such was sometimes the case 
among the ancients ; but whether the wine which they called dcr- 
frutum, in which the juice was boiled away only one-half, was of this 
character, that is, thick enough to prevent all fermentation, I much 
doubt. This inspissated juice of the grape was rather regarded as 
honey, and so it is called in the Bible, and at the present day, in 
the Eastern world, it is a very common article ; but so far as I can 
learn, by inquiring of several missionaries, it is not called wine, but 
is rather a substitute for our honey or molasses. Admitting, how- 
ever, that this article was sometimes called wine by the ancients 
(and I have no doubt of the fact), its use as a beverage must neces- 
sarily have been quite limited, and therefore this fact does not inva- 
lidate my general conclusion, that the character of the ancient and 
modern wines in Eastern countries was essentially the same. This 
conclusion, at which Professor Beck arrived by chemical considera- 
tions, in his valuable paper on the analysis of wines in this Journal 
(vol. xxviii.), seems now to be still farther confirmed by experiment. 

I trust that, in arriving at such conclusions, it will not be ima- 
gined that I wish to take away any support — or do, in fact, take 
away any support — from the noble cause of temperance, which I 
have endeavoured for so many years to sustain, both theoretically 

182 Mr Sang's Improved Theodolite Adjusbnent. 

and practically. True, some able friends of the cause have supposed 
the ancient wines to be mostly intoxicating. But I rest, and always 
have rested, its support on very different grounds than the per cent. 
of alcohol in the wines of Syria and Palestine. But this is a point 
irrelevant to the present paper, and therefore I waive it. To find 
out the exact truth should be the object of every scientific investiga- 
tion, however it may affect opposing opinions. — American Journal of 
Science and Arts, vol. xlvi. No. II., p. 249. 

Description of an Improved Apparatus for Levelling Small 
Theodolites* By Mr John Sang, Land-Surveyor, Kirkcaldy. 
"With a Plate. Communicated by the Royal Scottish So- 
ciety of Arts.* With a Plate. 

A theodolite of the common construction is levelled by 
a series of alternate adjustments of two pairs of screw^s, 
each adjustment requiring both hands of the operator ; its 
plate is prevented from moving in azimuth by the same 
screws, which have to be gradually tightened at each step 
of the process, until, when the adjustment is completed, the 
screws have also obtained the tension proper to keep the in- 
strument steady. The operation requires some address, and 
occupies a considerable time. By the improvement now de- 
scribed, only one hand is required to regulate each level, and 
the instrument is kept steady without tightening the screws, 
so that both levels can be adjusted at the same time, and more 
rapidly. It gives the same facility as the apparatus of three 
screws, sometimes applied to large instruments, whose weight 
is enough to resist shaking in azimuth. 

A (see P. II.) is a part made fast to the legs of the instru- 
ment. It has two sockets at B B, and a box at C for holding 
a cylinder containing a screw-nut. The box C is not well 
seen in the drawing ; it is similar to the other one marked G. 

The part D has an axis E, working in the sockets B B, 
each end of the axis is a double cone, carefully fitted into the 
sockets, and tempered by the screws b b. It has, at right 
angles to this axis, two sockets F F similar to those in the 
lower part, and it has also a box at G, holding a cylinder con- 
taining a screw-nut. 

* Read before the Society _, 8th January 1844. 

Mr Solly on the Motion of Earthquakes. 183 

The screw H is attached to the part D by means of a re- 
volving joint, and it works in the nut at C, so that, on being 
turned, it alters the inclination of the part D to the fixed part 

The part I, which contains the outer axis of the theodolite, 
has an axis (like E) working in the sockets F F. 

The screw K, working in the nut at G, and being attached 
to the part I by a revolving joint, alters the inclination of I 
with regard to D ; so that, by means of the two screws H and 
K, the part I can be inclined in any manner to the fixed part 
A, while there is in every portion of the apparatus a firm re- 
sistance to a motion in azimuth. 

The small screw L is intended to temper the pressure of a 
piece of tin, inserted into the nut to make up for the wearing 
of the levelling screw. 

This apparatus will add to the expense of a theodolite, but 
by no means in proportion to the time which it will save. 

John Sang. 

KiBKCALDT, ^th Nov, 1843. 

Observations on the Motion of Earthquakes transmitted under 
the Andes. By RiCHARD SoLLY, Esq. Communicated by 
the Author. 

Sir, — Having been lately engaged on a paper for the Shef- 
field Literary and Philosophical Society, the subject of which 
was earthquakes, I have been much interested in the valuable 
communications published in your Journal, especially those of 
Professor Bischof, Dr Daubeny and Mr Milne. One or two 
remarks have occurred to me respecting a fact which I have 
not seen alluded to by any of our geologists, but which you 
may perhaps consider as not altogether unworthy of their at- 
tention. I refer to the shocks of earthquakes having extend- 
ed beyond vast mountain ranges, and yet having been felt 
either very slightly, or not at all, in those mountains. 

Mrs Maria Graham, in her account of the great earthquake 
of the 19th November 1822,* which destroyed so many build- 

* Trans, Geol. Soc. 2d series, vol. i. part ii. p. 413. 

184 Mr Solly on the Motion of Earthquakes. 

ings in the town of Valparaiso, and permanently raised the 
adjoining coast from two to three feet, states that it was felt 
eastward, beyond the Andes, at Mendoza and St Juan. I 
heard the same account when I was in Chili in 1828, and have 
no doubt whatever of the fact. I crossed the Andes that year 
by the Aconcagua and Uspallata Pass, six years therefore 
after the great earthquake, and my astonishment was excited 
by the position of an immense mass of rock called the " Penon 
rajado," or " Piedra partida," about half way between the 
Cumbre and the Plain of Uspallata, and 7800 feet above the 
level of the sea. It had evidently fallen, at some former 
period, from the cliffs above, and had split into two large 
pieces and several smaller. The equilibrium of both of the 
principal fragments appeared so precarious that in spite of 
the burning sun, one of my companions refused to repose 
under their shade, being convinced, as he said, *' that the 
slightest shock would overthrow the enormous mass and crush 
us to atoms."* This seemed likely enough, but nevertheless 
our head muleteer, Pedro Aransivia, assured us that they had 
not changed their position in his time, nor in that of his father 
before him, and that they had always availed themselves of 
their shelter ; also, that there were traditions, respecting the 
ancient Incas, connected with these rocks. 

Of the great Conception earthquake of the 20th February 
1835, which permanently raised the coast two feet and upwards, 
Captain Fitzroy says, " This earthquake was felt at all places 
between Juan Fernandez and Mendoza. At Mendoza the 
motion was evenly gentle. Towns and houses which lay be- 
tween the parallels of 35 and 38, suffered extremely, nearly 
all were ruined, but northward and southward of those lati- 
tudes slight injury was done to any building."-!- This account 
I know to be correct, with the exception of the first sentence, 
if taken literally, as the shock was not felt in the Andes, 
although it was felt beyond them, at Mendoza. An intimate 
friend of mine happened to be in the Cordillera at the time, 
and I can state positively that neither he nor any of his party 

* Extract from my journal, written at the time. 

t Narrative of tbe surveying voyages of the Beagle^ vol. ii. p. 418. 

Mr Solly on the Motion of Earthquakes. 185 

knew that there had been an earthquake until their arrival at 

These facts are quite in harmony with the theory adopted 
by Professor Bischof, by Mr Darwin and other eminent geolo- 
gists, at least partially, which Professor Phillips favours,* and 
which Mr Lyell requires,t namely, that the nucleus of the 
earth is an intensely heated liquid or fluid mass. This granted, 
motion is supposed to be transmitted by subterraneous undu- 
lations to enormous distances, proportionate to the strength 
of the explosion, and the depth beneath the earth's surface at 
which it takes place. Now, we can well imagine that an im- 
mense mass of mountains, such as the Chilian Andes,+ might 
ride unshaken (while lower ground sufi'ered) like a ship of the 
line which moves not with the ripple tossing the little boat at 
its side. 

Nevertheless we know that the Andes do sometimes suffer 
extreme dislocations ; for instance, by the Tacna shock of the 
18th September 1833, of which Mr Matthie Hamilton gives 
a circumstantial account in your Journal. § He states that 
after the calamity, when the atmosphere became clear, the 
Andes, as seen from Tacna, presented a novel spectacle, and 
in many parts appeared with a new surface, large portions 
had been thrown off, or had slid into valleys below, leaving 
some of the more elevated peaks denuded of what had been 
their more prominent limbs ; and he gives many other similar 
particulars. Indeed the examples of shattered mountains are 
too numerous to require citing. 

Mr Darwin expresses his surprise at the effect produced 
by the Conception earthquake of 1835, on the island of Qui- 
nquina. He says, " The effect of the vibration on the hard 
primary slate which composes the foundation of the island 
was still more curious, the superficial parts of some narrow 
ridges were as completely shivered as if they had been blasted 
by gunpowder." II 

* Treatise on Geology, vol. ii. p. 209. 

t Elements of Geology, p. 267. 

t From 11,000 to 23,000 feet high and from 100 to 200 miles across. 

§ Jameson's Philosophical Journal, vol. xxx. p. 153. 

I! Journal of Researches, p. 370. 

186 Mr Solly on the Motion of Earthquakes. 

May we not then assume as correct, both explanations of 
the mode in which earthquakes are supposed to transmit their 
motions \ by the undulations of the subterranean fluids, and 
by the vibrations of the superficial crust. Mr Milne has 
pointed out that most of the English and Scotch earthquakes, 
being confined to mere patches of the earth's surface, must be 
due to the latter ; and, on the other hand. Professor Phillips 
remarks that rocks being very imperfectly elastic, owing to 
the numerous divisions which intersect them, cannot be sup- 
posed capable of transmitting vibrations to any very consider- 
able distance. To the subterraneous undulation we may at- 
tribute the motion ; which passing under, without shaking the 
Andes, was felt " evenly gentle" at Mendoza. To the super- 
ficial vibration we may attribute the fall of the mountain 
peaks at Tacna, the shivered rocks at Quiriquina, and those 
strange rotatory motions referred to by Mr Darwin,* and of 
which T have seen striking examples at Tacna and at Lima. 
In the latter case the upper stone of a lofty obelisk was turn- 
ed, in 1828, in a manner precisely similar to that in Calabria, 
of which Mr Lyell has given a drawing, t 

The question occurred to me some time since, though I 
should scarcely have ventured to mention it without having 
seen Professor Keilhau's remarks in your last number, whether 
frequent vibration, repeated during long series of ages (which, 
according to Mr Darwin, + I will suppose to accompany the 
elevation of a mountain chain), may not have produced consi- 
derable changes, all tending to crystalline forms, in the mole- 
cular constitution of some of the basaltic and metamorphic 
rocks. It is now an ascertained fact, though but recently 
acknowledged, that malleable iron, and other metals in a 
fibrous state, assume the crystalline, under the operation of 
vibration, and without the accession of heat.§ My friend Mr 
William Lucas, (this year the President of our Sheffield So- 

* Journal of Researches, p. 376. 

t Principles of Geology, 6th edit, vol. ii. p. 336. 

X Journal of Researches, p. 380 ; and Geological Observations on Vol- 
canic Islands, pp. 95 and 129. 

§ The axle-trees of railway carriages, and the holding down pins in 
iron works, afford familiar instances. 

Dr Thomson mi Farietin^ §fc, 187 

ciety) has been making some interesting experiments on the 
changes in metals, and I have requested him to extend them 
to rocks, which I hope he will do. 

Richard Solly. 

Sakdon Place, Sheffield, 
28«A May 1844. 

On Parietin, a Yellow Colouring Matter^ and on the Inorganic 
Food of Lichens. By Robert D. Thomson, M.D. Com- 
municated by the Author.* 

The objects of the present paper are, \st^ To endeavour to 
prove that, contrary to the usually received opinion, the class 
of plants termed Lichens, require inorganic matter as part of 
their food, which they must derive from the localities upon 
which they are fixed ; and, 2d, To describe the yellow colour- 
ing matter obtained from the yellow wall lichen, and to detail 
its properties, composition, and application, as a test for 

Although chemists are acquainted with several yellow 
colouring matters, few of them have been separated in a pure 
state, and analysed. This arises from the difficulty of pro- 
curing such substances in the same state as that in which 
they existed in the plant from which they are extracted — 
depending principally on the facility with which they unite 
with oxygen, and on their consequent conversion into a body 
of inferior beauty, and of an uncrystallized structure. The 
yellow colouring matters which have hitherto been analysed, 
are derived from various parts of phenogamous plants, prin- 
cipally the roots and flowers. The subject of the present 
paper is procured from a totally different tribe — the lichens — 
but one to which we are indebted for some important dyes. 
The Greeks gave the name Xf/%»3v to a disease of the skin, and 
likewise to certain plants possessing the power of healing these 
cutaneous eruptions. Dioscoridest tells us that the lichen, 
which is familiarly known from its growing on stones, and 
attaching itself to the rough parts of rocks, like a moss, was 

* From the Transactions of the Glasgow Philosophical Society. 
t Mat. Med. b. iv. cap. 48. 

188 Dr Thomson on Parte tin, 

called by some persons hryon^ and was useful in the cure of 
sanguineous fluxes and inflammations. Pliny likewise uses the 
term lichen ; but from his describing it as growing on rocks, 
with one leaf from a broad root, and with one small stem, 
it is obvious he refers to a species of the hepaticse.* Galen 
likewise enumerates lichens among the instruments of cure, in 
the treatment of impetiginous or cutaneous diseases. Modern 
botanists, up to a comparatively recent period, appear to have 
overlooked this class of plants, if we may draw this conclusion 
from the catalogue of English plants, by John Ray, the second 
edition of which was published in 1677. In this work, the 
celebrated author describes, under the title of lichen, eight 
species of plants, only three of which, however, can be reckoned 
true lichens, the remainder being hepaticse and algaB. In 
Hooker's Flora, published in 18rJ3, there are enumerated and 
described thirty genera and 420 species of lichens. It is well 
known that many of these are capable of supplying powerful 

The lichen from which the colouring matter to be described 
is derived, is of very frequent occurrence on walls and trees. 
It is the Parmelia parietina, (yellow wall parmelia), described 
by Hooker as possessing a rounded bright yellow frond, with 
lobes radiating, marginal, appressed, rounded, crenate, crisped, 
and granulated in the centre. The repositories, or apothecia, 
are deep orange, concave, with an entire border. The bright 
yellow colour of the lichen is a sufficient indication of the pre- 
sence of a colouring matter ; but the real intensity of the 
colour could scarcely be anticipated merely by an inspection 
of the plant. 

The most luxuriant samples of the parmelia grow in the 
neighbourhood of the sea, from what cause, unless it be the 
moistness of the air, it is not easy to determine. Botanists 
consider that this race of plants derive no nourishment from 
the rocks upon which they grow, although the circumstance 
of many of them containing oxalate of lime would appear to 
aff'ord a demonstration of their being enabled to suck up inor- 

* Nat. Hist, xxvii. c. iv. 

a Yellow Colouring Matter. 189 

ganic substances in the game manner as other plants. Viewed 
in this light, the moistening and decomposing effect of a humid 
atmosphere on the rocks on the sea-coast, may explain the 
almost herbaceous appearance of some of the lichens which 
may be observed in such situations. The subject, however, 
of the nutrition of lichens, is in its infancy, and will require a 
searching investigation. 

It has been already stated that, according to the opinion of 
botanists (Hooker's English Flora), lichens derive no nourish- 
ment from the rocks, stones, or trees, on which they grow. 
The roots or fibres with which they are often supplied, it is 
conceived, are only useful in fixing the plant to its place of 
growth, its nutriment being derived from the air. One of the 
most common of our lichens, the Pelt idea canina^ possesses 
fibres on its under surface so closely resembling those of 
shrubs, that one would be inclined to attribute to them similar 
functions. The circumstance, as stated in chemical works, of 
the absence of any considerable quantity of inorganic matter 
in the composition of lichens, would appear to lend counte- 
nance to the view, that gases constitute the only food of 
lichens. But the fact of oxalate of lime having been obtained 
from many lichens, seemed to call in question the validity of 
the conclusion. The detection, also, of small portions of 
bitartrate of potash and phosphate of lime in some lichens, 
added still further evidence against the opinion of botanists. 
So far as I am aware, no other substance of an inorganic 
nature has been hitherto detected in lichens, except in such 
minute proportion that it might have been derived, perhaps, 
from extraneous sources. I was not, therefore, prepared to 
expect the remarkable results which the analysis of the yellow 
parmelia afforded. In one experiment, 50 grains, obtained 
from mica-slate rocks at Dunoon, on the west coast of Scot- 
land, when ignited, yielded 3.4 grains of inorganic matter; 
and in another experiment, 40 grains, to which, as in the pre- 
ceding trial, no earthy matter was attached, afforded, by burn- 
ing, a residue of 2.7 grains. In a third experiment, 7 grains 
of the carefully selected upper parts of fronds, which had never 
been in contact with rock, and therefore were free from the 
suspicion of having extraneous particles mixed with them, after 
washing, as in the previous trials, yielded, by incineration, 

190 Dr Thomson on Parietin^ 

0.47 grains of a skeleton, answering to the form of the lichen, 
and consisting of silica and phosphates, &c. These three 
experiments, therefore, give a per-centage respectively of 
ashes, amounting to 6.8, 6.75, and 6.71.* In all these trials, 
the colouring matter was volatilized before the lichen caught 
fire. Another specimen, very carefully washed, and -consist- 
ing of the upper parts of fronds, yielded 5 per cent, of ash, in 
which phosphate of alumina formed a prominent ingredient. 
In proof of the fact that the ash is in no degree connected 
with the rock, a specimen of Parmelia omphalodes, taken from 
the stem of an ash tree, ten feet from the ground, was ignited, 
and found to yield 7 per cent, of ash, consisting of silica, 
phosphates of lime, iron, and alumina. The Cladonia pixi- 
data, taken from a wall, and free from all extraneous sub- 
stances, yielded 6 per cent, of ashes, consisting of similar 
ingredients. Hence it would appear, that this species of 
plants contain no inconsiderable amount of substances calcu- 
lated to serve as vegetable manure. The ash possessed the 
form of the lichen, and a slight iron tint ; it effervesced 
slightly on the addition of an acid. In one instance, some 
carbonate of lime was present. On digesting the ash in water, 
a minute portion was dissolved. This solution, on the addi- 
tion of chloride of barium, gave a white precipitate, part of 
which was insoluble in nitric acid. On throwing the sulphate 
of barytes on a filter, and adding caustic ammonia to the fil- 
tered liquid, a flocky precipitate — phosphate of barytes — fell. 
The addition of an alcoholic solution of bichloride of platinum 
gave no indication of the presence of potash. Nitrate of 
silver gave a flocky precipitate, insoluble in nitric acid. The 
soluble salts, therefore, appear to be sulphate and phosphate 
of soda and common salt. The portion of the residue insolu- 
ble in water, became nearly white when boiled with dilute 
muriatic acid, and left a gritty powder, which, affording a 
nearly colourless glass with carbonate of soda before the blow- 
pipe, was obviously silica, with slight impurity. The muriatic 
acid solution gave a copious reddish precipitate, with caustic 
ammonia. This precipitate was partly soluble in caustic 

* These determinations were made in conjunction with Mr James 

a Yellow Colouring Matter. 191 

soda, and consisted of phosphates of iron, alumina, and lime. 
The latter precipitates being tested with lead, yielded a pre- 
cipitate of phosphate of lead, soluble in nitric acid. The 
results of the analysis of two specimens of ashes were as fol- 
lows : — 














Soluble salts, sulphate, phosphate, and 

muriate of soda, 
Peroxide of iron, and phosphates of iron 

and lime, 

Phosphate of alumina. 
Carbonate of lime, 

100. 100.0 

From these facts it is evident that this lichen requires the 
same inorganic constituents for food as other plants, with this 
difference, that the amount of inorganic substances present in 
its composition is greater than in higher orders of plants, but 
in a proportion tending towards that existing in the sea -weeds ; 
another character, therefore, in addition to the general exter- 
nal features, indicating an alliance between the algae and 
lichens. '„ 

To ascertain if the great abundance of inorganic matter 
was peculiar to this species, the Parmelia ofuphalodes was inci- 
nerated, the specimen being taken from a portion collected by 
a Highlander on the borders of Loch Venachar, where it is 
extensely used, as well as generally in the Highlands, with an 
alum mordant, to impart a fine purple to woollen cloths. Its 
habitat had been a rock, and portions were selected free from 
any appearance of suspended earthy particles among their 
roots ; 200 grains gave a residue of 7.8 grains, consisting of 
substances similar to those already enumerated in the analysis 
of the yellow parmelia. Part of these, however, may have 
been foreign. When we compare the amount of these inor- 
ganic constituents with those found in trees, the balance ap- 
pears in favour of the lichens, as shewn by the analyses of the 

* Mr David Murdoch assisted me in the first analysis, and Mr James 
Murdoch in the second. 

192 Dr Thomson on Parietin, 

ashes of genuine specimens of lima, sapan, and logwoods. The 
results are in 1000 parts : — 

Lima Wood. 

Suspan Wood 

[. Logwood. 

Organic matter, . . . 971.255 



Silica and sand, . . . 1.800 



Common salt, .... — 



Alkaline phosphates and sulphate, 2.000 



Phosphate of lime, . . . 0.725 



Carbonate of lime, . . . 24.140 



1000. 1000. 1000.000* 

Both of these classes of plants alluded to, however, appear 
but insignificantly supplied with inorganic matter, when con- 
trasted with some of the gigantic sea- weeds from Cape Horn. 
490 grains of one of these enormous inhabitants of the deep 
supplied me by Dr Joseph Hooker, yielded, by incineration, 
116-7 of ashes, equivalent to a per-centage of 23. 8. 

The introduction of inorganic matter into the substance of 
trees and lichens, can only be effected by the inferior extremity 
and surface of those portions which are in contact with the 
source of this peculiar pabulum of vegetable life ; while it 
would appear that the connexion which we always find to ex- 
ist between sea-weeds and some fixed rocky position, even in 
the case of these immense inhabitants of the southern seas, ac- 
cording to some physiologists, only serves the purpose of re- 
taining them stationary in one locality, their food being de- 
rived from the fluid in which they are immersed. But whether 
this be true or not, it is certain that the waters of the ocean 
are capable of affording nearly, if not all, the inorganic ingre- 
dients with which these plants are supplied. Trees and lichens 
have no such atmosphere, rich in salts, from which they can 
derive their food. They must be indebted for the inorganic 
matter which they contain to the soil upon which they grow. 
Hence, since lichens do certainly contain inorganic matter of 
various kinds, as appears by the facts detailed in this paper, 
the inevitable conclusion is forced upon us, that these species 
of plants are not only nourished by the atmosphere, to which 
botanists have hitherto appeared to restrict their sources of 
food, but that they are also capable of extracting inorganic 

* In these analyses I was assisted by Mr John Aitken. 

a Yellow Colouring Matter. 193 

matter from the rocks and trees over whose surfaces they are 
so largely distributed as humble tenants. 


When the yellow Parmelia is digested in cold alcohol, of 
.840, a yellow liquid is obtained, obviously from the solution of 
the yellow colouring matter of the lichen. When boiled 
gently the liquid becomes deeper coloured, and when a sufficient 
quantity of alcohol is employed, and the liquor is allowed to 
evaporate spontaneously, the colouring matter is deposited on 
the sides of the vessel, in the form of fine needles, sometimes 
a quarter of an inch in length. The specimens of lichen from 
which the best crystals of this description were obtained, were 
from the neighbourhood of Glasgow, and were rather dry, as 
if they had grown upon a dry wall, little exposed to moisture. 

In order to procure the colouring matter of the P. parietina, 
it is proper to dry the plant at a moderate temperature. This 
is particularly to be attended to with the sea specimens, which 
are succulent when compared with the plants from other lo- 
caUties. By this precaution, the alcohol will more effectually 
extract the colouring matter, without violent or long- continued 
boiling. We should probably succeed in obtaining the purest 
product, by removing as much as possible of the water from 
the lichen, by drying in a stove, and then digesting in cold al- 
cohol. The quantity of the lichen at my disposal has not 
hitherto been sufficient to enable me to attempt to extract the 
colouring matter in this manner, but I intend to do so on the 
first opportunity. I have stated that I have succeeded in ob- 
taining the colouring matter, or Parietin, as I propose to term 
it, in the form of needles, but generally it falls in the shape of 
brilliant yellow scales, as the alcoholic solution cools. The 
mode in which I have extracted it was by gently boiling for a 
few minutes the lichen in contact with the alcohol, then filter- 
ing and adding fresh alcohol until the colour appeared to be 
extracted. The solution has scarcely passed through the fil- 
ter, before it begins to deposit the shiny scales of parietin. 
If we attempt to purify these by redissolving them in alcohol, 
we shall find that only a portion is dissolved, and the deposit 
from the alcoholic solution, instead of presenting the lustre of 


Ift4 Dr Thomson on Parietin^ 

the substance as at first obtained, assumes the aspect of a 
brownish yellow powder. 


The product of the second solution in alcohol, when dried at 
212°, and burned with oxide of copper, afforded the following 
result : — 

3.16 grains gave 7.376 carbonic acid. 
1.410 water. 
This corresponds with 

Expt. Atoms. Calcula. Atoms. Calcula. 

Carbon, . 2.0116 63.65 40 63.82 40 62.51 
Hydrogen, 0.1566 4.95 16 4.25 16 4.16 

Oxygen, . 0.9918 31.40 15 31.93 16 33.33 

3.1600 100. 100. 100. 

As it appeared from the preceding result that the parietin 
was altered in its character, by attempting to redissolve it in 
alcohol ; the parietin, after being dissolved in alcohol from the 
lichen, was, after the filtration of the fluid, allowed to deposit 
by cooling. It was then thrown on a filter, and dried on a 
tile, and then digested in hot alcohol, to remove any fatty or 
resinous matter with which it might be contaminated. The 
same object may be attained by digestion in ether. The 
parietin was then dried at 212°, and analysed. 

2.96 grains afforded, when burned with black oxide of copper, 
7-15 grains carbonic acid. 
1.294 ... water. 

This is equivalent to 


Carbon, 1.9500 65.87 

Hydrogen, 0.1437 4.85 

Oxygen, 0.8663 29.28 

2.9600 100. 
and agrees with the following calculation : — 

Calculation. Expt. 

Carbon, . . .75 X 9 = 6.75 65.85 65.87 

Hydrogen, . .125x4= .5 4.87 4.85 

Oxygen, . . 1. x3 = 3.0 29.28 29.28 

10.25 100. 100. 

a Yellow Colouring Matter. 196 

The formula, therefore, will be, according to this view, 

Co H4 O3 ; 

or we may, as in the preceding case, consider it as an oxide of 
an oil, and the composition, when calculated, would be — 


Carbon, ....... 40 65.21 

Hydrogen, 16 4.34 

Oxygen, 14 30.45 

and the formula, 

C40 H16 Ou ; 

exhibiting a stage in the oxidation of an oil similar to what 
we meet with in the gradual production of resins from oils of 
the turpentine type. In some respects the colouring matter 
under discussion resembles a resin, and especially in its ap- 
pearance, when precipitated from its solution in alkalies by an 
acid. If we then consider parietin as a resin, deriving its origin 
from an oil of the turpentine type, the preceding analyses may 
be classed as follows : — 

Oil of Parietin, . , . . . . C40 His 

Parietin, . . . . . . . C40 Hie Ou 

Oxide of Parietin, C40 Hie Oie 

The effect of reagents upon parietin is striking. A very 
minute portion of the substance will impart its yellow colour 
to a large quantity of alcohol, and this solution is sensibly acted 
on by reagents. When to such a solution a drop or two of 
nitric, or muriatic or sulphuric acids are added, the yellow 
colour imparted to it by the parietin becomes much heightened, 
and even a very small proportion (much more minute than that 
mentioned) will effect a sensible change. When the solution 
is strong, the addition of acid produces a yellow precipitate. 
When caustic ammonia, in the smallest quantity, is dropped 
into, or applied by means of a rod, to a solution of parietin, the 
yellow colour immediately becomes a rich red, inclining to 
purple. The same result is obtained with caustic potash, caustic 
barytes, carbonate of soda, caustic lime, &c. 


The extreme delicacy of parietin in detecting alkalies, sug- 

196 Dr Thomson on Parietin, 

gests its utility in the laboratory. An alcoholic solution may be 
kept for use, as the addition of a drop or two of the solution 
to a considerable quantity of an alkaline liquor, will be imme- 
diately followed by a change to red ; or the process may be 
reversed, by placing a few drops of the alcoholic solution in a 
test-glass, and adding to it a drop or two of the alkaline liquor. 
The alcoholic solution may be prepared simply by digesting 
the lichen in cold alcohol, of sp. gr. '840, as I have found that 
a small portion of lichen will impart a colour to a large quan- 
tity of alcohol, sufficiently intense to serve as a very delicate 
test for alkalies. Observing the strong colour that the alco- 
holic solution imparted to the filtering paper which was used 
to purify the solution when first prepared, I cut these into test 
papers, and found that, when properly impregnated with the 
solution, they were little, if at all inferior to turmeric paper, 
in their delicate detection of ammonia. Test paper may be 
prepared extemporaneously from the alcoholic solution, when 
it is wished to detect ammonia, by dipping a piece of paper 
into the alcoholic solution, and then applying it in its wet state 
to the ammoniacal vapour. The yellow colour is immediately 
transformed into a reddish purple, but more distinct than the 
colour that becomes apparent in turmeric paper of old prepa- 
ration, under similar circumstances, which is a dirty brown. 
One of the principal recommendations of the liquid test already 
noticed, is the circumstance of its being capable of preserva- 
tion without undergoing deterioration, while the test papers 
which have been frequently recommended although possessing 
most delicate testing powers when freshly prepared, gradually 
lose their value by preservation. I believe this to be the ex- 
planation of the failure in this country of some continental 
test papers, which have been recently recommended. It would 
therefore appear, that the best test paper being that which is 
of fresh preparation, the most convenient source for its pro- 
duction is that from which it can be most rapidly procured in 
an efficient state. The observations which have been made 
upon parietin, in reference to its colouring powers, tend to 
show that it may be employed with advantage for the most 
delicate purposes to which turmeric is applied. Parietin, how- 
ever, is not acted on by acids ; the natural yellow colour merely 

a yellow Colouring Mailer. 197 

becomes brighter, while turmeric, which contains a blue and 
yellowing colouring principle, has the former reddened by 
acids, and the latter converted to a brown by alkalies. Moist- 
ened yellow parietin paper, on the other hand, becomes red or 
purple when freshly prepared, and reddish brown, if long pre- 
pared, by coming in contact with ammonia and other alkalies. 
The other reactions of parietin are simple. The alcoholic 
solution is precipitated yellow by nitrate of silver and acetate 
of lead, and other metallic salts. A solution of permuriate of 
iron renders the colour much darker. The precipitates with 
silver and lead have not been analysed, from the minute quan- 
tity of parietin at my disposal. 

The yellow colour of the Parmelia parietina early attracted 
the attention of those persons interested in dyes. It was ac- 
curately described by Hoffmann, Amoreux, and Willemet, in 
1786.* The latter informs us, that the Swedes in the pro- 
vince of Oeland, obtained by means of this lichen and alum a 
yellow dye for woollen stuffs, and that a flesh tint was also 
procured from it, fitted for linen and paper ; that goats eat 
this lichen ; and that Haller recommended it as a powerful 
tonic in diarrhoea. He adds, that he had himself used it in 
his practice as a tisan, and had found it to prove beneficial in 
that form of the disease which occurs in autumn. Hoffmann 
states, that in Norway, when boiled with milk, it is used as a 
remedy in jaundice. This idea may have perhaps originated 
from the correspondence in colour of the disease and cure, 
upon the principle so much in vogue at present, " similia 
similihus curanturT Hoffmann affirms that he never could 
obtain a yellow colour from this lichen, but that with wine 
vinegar he obtained an olive-green or fawn colour ; and with 
true wine vinegar {aceto vini vero) and copperas, a flesh or 
apricot shade. Of these colours he has appended to his essay 
specimens, together with forty-nine others, obtained from 
various species of lichens. Dr John P. Westring of Nord- 
koping, in Sweden, who prosecuted an extensive inquiry into 
the colouring matter of lichens, describes the Lichen parietinus 

♦ M^moires Couronnes en Tannee 1786, par TAcademie des Sciences, 
Belles Lettres, et Arts, de Lyon, sur rUtilite des Lichens, dans la Me- 
dicine et dans les Arts. 8vo, 1787. 

198 Dr Thomson on Parietin^ ^c. 

(Wagglaf) as affording, with wool, by infusion for fourteen 
days, and then boiling for half an hour, a fawn colour ; by 
longer boiling, a yellow was produced, and this mixture be- 
came, by simple infusion and extraction, similar to the red 
wool of Florence. With common salt and nitre boiled for an 
hour, a beautiful straw colour was elicited. Upon silk it gave 
similar colours, differing in their shade from red to yellow, 
according to the methods employed in dyeing the goods.* 

Subsequently to these observations, which are perhaps in- 
teresting in an economical point of view, the yellow parmelia 
was recommended by Dr Sande, probably misled by the co- 
lour, as a substitute for Peruvian bark, during the last French 
war. It has also been chemically examined by Herberger, 
•but not apparently with the same results afforded by Scotch 
specimens, as he found no inorganic constituents which amount 
to from 6 to 7 per cent., according to my trials, and obtained 
a much larger quantity of colouring matter than existed in 
any plants examined by me. He also found a red colouring 
matter, which did not appear in the process of extraction as 
followed by me, and which may therefore be a product of the 
oxidation of parietin. More lately still, Dr Gumprecht ex- 
tracted yellow oil from the lichen, but in such minute quan- 
tity as not to be susceptible of examination. I obtained a 
quantity of sugar, by means of alcohol, in crystalline grains. 

Note. — Since the preceding paper was read, the yellow 
needles described above have been analysed in the laboratory 
at Giessen, and have been found to consist of Qo Hig Ojg, ap- 
proaching one of the analyses already detailed. So that we 
have now the following oxides : — 

Oil of Parietin, C40 Hie 

Parietic acid, C40 Hie O12 

Parietin, C40 Hie Ou 

Oxide of Parietin, C40 Hie Oie 

Glasgow College, Dec, 1843. 

* Kongl. Vetenskap, Acad. xii. p. 300, Ann. 1791. 

( 199 ) 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. By the 
Baron Clement Augustus de Bode. 

Read before the Ethnological Society of London, 13th March 1844, and 
communicated for this Journal. 

In offering an account of some particular branches of the 
Turkoman race, it will be proper at first to cast a rapid glance 
over what constitutes Turkomania in general, and name the 
principal tribes that form the great Turkoman family. 

The extensive plains between Bokhara on the east, the 
Alburs chain to the south, the Caspian Sea to the west, and 
the Khanat of Khiva to the north, form the natural, although 
insufficiently defined boundaries, in which the wandering Tur- 
komans roam with their droves of horses and camels, and their 
flocks of sheep, spreading their tents along the banks of the 
mountain streams which flow into the Caspian, or are lost in 
the sands of the desert ; and, in default of rivers, digging wells 
in the dry steppes, to slake their own thirst and supply their 
cattle, often only with brackish and salt water. 

The Turkomans consist of the following great divisions : — 
The Salu, reckoned the most noble tribe, occupy Serekhs, 
to the east of Mesched in Khorasan, on the road to Bokhara. 
The Saruk or Sarik, inhabit Merv at Merti, to the north of 
Mesched, in a straight line to Khiva. The Tekke, the most 
numerous tribe, are scattered along the northern skirts of the 
Alburs chain, called Attok, to the north-west of Mesched, 
and subdivided into Tekke Akhdl and Tekke Tejen. 

The Goklans live to the west of the latter, and the Ya- 
muds to the west of the Goklans, up to the eastern shores of 
the Caspian. 

Before I enter into a more minute description of the Yamiid 
and Goklan tribes of Turkomania^ it may be as well to point 
out the geographical limits to their wanderings. To the west 
is the Caspian Sea ; to the south, the great chain of Alburs 
and the province of Asterabad ; to the east, spurs of the same 
chain, separating the Goklans and Yamuds from another con- 
siderable Turkoman tribe, the Tekeh ; and lastly, to the north, 
the desert extending to Khivah. 

This country, the ancient Hyrcania, and very probably the 

200 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 

Vehrkdna, the eighth abode of bliss mentioned in the Zend 
texts, and known to the Arab writers by the name of Jurjan ; 
is watered by two great rivers, the Giirgan and the Attrek, both 
of which flow from east to west, and fall into the Caspian 
Sea. The country occupied by the Turkomans bears the repu- 
tation of being healthy. The plain at the foot of the mountains 
being more open and lighter, than the strip of land which, in 
Ghilan, Mazanderan, andAsterabad, runs between the hills and 
the shores of the Caspian, there is much less dampness in the air 
and unwholesome exhalations in summer, which, combined with 
other causes, produces in those provinces intermittent fever and 
bilious complaints. The lower courses only of the Gurghan and 
the Attrek partake of the same unwholesome climate ; there 
the country is low, and from the overflowing of the rivers in 
spring, marshes and pools are formed, which, in summer, cor- 
rupt the air, breed swarms of gnats, and render the place dis- 
agreeable and unwholesome. The heats in summer are tem- 
pered by the cool breezes from the sea, which waft freely 
across the open plains ; the dews at night are likewise copious 
and refreshing ; the winter, nearer to the mountains, is not 
severe ; further to the north, in the desert, it is more sensible ; 
there, likewise, the snow lies longer on the ground. Autumn 
and winter are, however, more especially the seasons for rain, 
although Turkomonia is not deprived of it at other periods of 
the year, as is the case on the high table-land of central Per- 
sia. Rains are most frequent in the neighbourhood of the 
hills and near the Caspian Sea. 

The Turkomans, then, who live nearest the Caspian Sea, 
are the Yamuds, having the Goklans to the east of their en- 
campments. As great animosity reigns between them, there 
is a strip of neutral land which separates the two rival tribes, 
having the solitary minaret of Jurfan as a sign-post to mark 
the boundary. 

The Yamuds are divided into four principal tribes :— 

1. Sheref, subdivided into 6 shafts. 

2. Chdni, subdivided into 10 shafts. 

3. Beyram-Shali, 5 shafts. 

4. Kujuk-Tat4r, 8 shafts. 

These tribes are said to be the descendants of four brothers, 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania, 201 

whose father, Yamdd, is looked upon as the founder of their 

All these tribes encamp on the borders of the Gtirgan and 
Attrek rivers ; extending to the NW., they roam with their 
herds in summer in the hilly country of Balkhan, and many 
families are settled in the Khan4t of Khiva. The average 
number of the Yamtids amounts probably to 40,000 or 50,000 
families. The principal distinction among the Yamuds is 
their division into Chomur and Chorvd ; it is founded on the 
difference of their mode of occupation, and the relative dis- 
tance of their encampments in respect to the Persian territory 
of Asterahad, 

The Yamtid Chomur occupy both the banks of the Gurgan 
river, and even stretch as far south as the river Karasti, where 
they have their corn-fields, their rice plantations, and vege- 
table gardens. They are less wild than their neighbours to 
the north, the Chorvd ; give themselves up to agriculture, and 
are on much better terms with the Persians than the latter. 
They often visit the bazars of Asterabad, bringing into the 
market for sale the produce of their industry — such as felt, 
and woven carpets, wheat, (which is much superior to that of 
Asterabad), barley, butter, sheep, horses, &c., and receive in 
exchange the coarse manufactures of that province, consist- 
ing of different sorts of alijeh or silk stuffs from Anezane and 
other districts, kadek or cotton from the looms of Shahrud, in 
Khorasan, of Burujird, (near Hamadan), and of Isfahan. 
This friendly commercial intercourse with their neighbours 
does not prevent them from committing plunder whenever a 
favourable opportunity offers ; but the principal charge lodged 
against them by the Persians, is, that they give refuge and 
screen from pursuit the foraging parties of the Attrek Ya- 
muds, in their incursions into the territory of Asterabad. 

The Yamud Chorva encamp to the north of the former, on 
the banks of the river Attrek. They are the same Yamuds 
as the Chomur, composed of the same tribes ; the only differ- 
ence is the mode of life they lead, which is essentially pas- 
toral ; they have more numerous flocks of sheep, herds of 
camels, and droves of horses, than their agricultural neigh- 
bours of the Gurgan river, and, living nearer the desert, and 

202 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomama. 

further from Asterabad, they are perfectly independent of 
the Persian sway. 

It frequently happens that the Chomtir and the Chorva 
change their avocations. When a Chomtir realises a small 
fortune, he lays out his stock in the purchase of sheep, camels, 
&c., quits the banks of the Gtirgan, approaches the desert, 
and becomes a Chorva, in order to be beyond the reach of 
the Asterabad authorities. On the other hand, when a Chorva 
is deprived, through misfortune, of his flocks, he turns agri- 
culturist, and becomes a Chomtir. According to the prin- 
ciples laid down in political economy, the agriculturist stands 
a degree higher in the scale of society than the shepherd who 
tends his flocks ; it is the reverse on the plains of Turko- 
mania. We must observe, however, that although the Chorva 
lead essentially a pastoral life, they still possess some fields 
which they cultivate between the rivers of Attrek and Gur- 
gan, but the soil is much inferior to that on the southern 
banks of the latter river. 

It would be foreign to the object of the Society were I to 
dwell at any great length on the various remains we meet on 
the plains of the Yamtids and Goklan Turkomans, and which 
denote that this country must have been formerly densely 
populated, and have attained a certain degree of civilization, 
to which, at present, it can lay no claim. I shall, therefore, 
limit my observations to a summary sketch of what may 
appear most interesting. The first object deserving of notice 
is the great wall which runs from E. to W., and situated be- 
tween the Gtirgan and Attrek rivers. By whom was it 
erected ? In D'Herbelot we find some obscure accounts about 
a certain wall to the east of the Caspian, which he surmises 
may extend to the Chinese walls, and compares with the 
Saddi Tuj-i-Majuj of the Arab writers — the Gog and Magog 
of Scripture. Oriental historians speak of a wall which 
Ntishirvan raised against the encroachments of northern bar- 
barians, or only repaired an old one, attributed to Alexander 
Dtilkarnein ; but I shall leave the hypothetical and historical 
part concerning this wall (although the subject well deserves 
a closer investigation), and attend to the description of it in 
its present state. 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 203 

The wall commences at the mountain of Pushti-Kemer, 
about fifteen miles below the source of the Gurgan river, 
along which it is carried nearly in a parallel line with the 
stream, on the right bank, till it reaches the shores of the 
Caspian, and the continuation of it is said to be seen under 
water for some distance. The whole length of the wall may 
be ninety miles, or thereabouts. I must observe, however, 
that it does not form an uninterrupted rampart, but consists 
of mounds of various heights — in some parts from eight, to ten 
or twelve feet high, in others level with the ground, and im- 
perceptible. The wall, externally, is covered with earth, and 
overgrown with grass and brambles ; and it is only from the 
intersections, and the bricks strewed about, one can judge 
that it was built of large square bricks. 

At fixed intervals there are square redoubts, each face of 
the redoubt measuring 150 paces ; on some of them the Tur- 
komans have their burying-ground. 

This wall goes by the name of Kizil-Alldn, (Kizil meaning 
gold, and Allan probably borrowed from the once powerful 
nation of that name, who were settled for a time near the 
Caspian, and who, during the rush of the Asiatic hordes into 
Western Europe, penetrated, with the Suevi and the Vandals, 
into Spain.) Klaproth is of opinion, that the Ossets, spread 
in the Kabarda and the valleys of the Caucasus, are a remnant 
of the Allans. Deguignes says nearly the same thing. 

Beyond the Kizil-A114n is another wall, running parallel to 
it, but much lower, and in many places imperceptible. The 
intervening ground forms a road at present ; but I suspect 
that formerly it must have been a canal or ditch, serving two 
purposes — that of strengthening the line of defence, and, in 
time of peace, supplying water to the fields beyond the Gur- 
gan. What bears me out in this conjecture is the following 
fact : — As the Gurgan, with its tributaries, flows between 
very high banks, water could not be procured for irrigating 
the fields ; the cultivators of the land were obliged, therefore, 
by means of canals, to bring the water from a distance, where 
its level was higher than the fields which required irrigation. 
I met with several of such canals, brought from the mountains, 
and extending to the Gurgan, with remains of aqueducts, 

204 On the Yamud and Gokldfi Tribes of Turkomania. 

by means of which the water was carried over the river, and 
then ran along another channel, till the junction of the latter 
with the Kizil-Alldti wall, which in those parts is cut across, 
to allow the passage for the water. 

The tower called Gumbet-i-Kabus has been described by 
other travellers ; it stands amid the ruins of the once popu- 
lous town of Jurjan^ celebrated for its learned men, and ca- 
pital of the whole province which bore its name, now covered 
with high grass and reeds — a receptacle for leopards and 
other beasts of prey. 

Of the town of Bibi- Shir van nothing more is seen beyond 
a number of green mounds, although the Turkomans assured 
me that some deep subterraneous passages have been dis- 
covered there. 

Both Bibi- Shir van and Jurjan are said to have been de- 
stroyed by an earthquake. I likewise learned, when it was 
too late to retrace my steps, of the existence of a great reser- 
voir of water, somewhat in the style of the Lake Mceris, in 
Egypt. The natives call it Ystdkhl^ and say that it is about 
7i English miles in length, and wide in proportion, and above 
30 feet in depth. In spring, the water of the torrents, flow- 
ing from the mountains, is accumulated in the lake, and is 
used in summer for the irrigation of the rice plantations. 

Gatir-Kaleh, Perez, Shahrek, appear to have been towns or 
fortified camps. Dashtalghe or Salocil represents, in all pro- 
bability, the site of the palace and pleasure-gardens which 
Amir-Timur had constructed for the ladies of his harem dur- 
ing the winter he spent at Turjan, which is close by. 

The plains of Turkomania possess above 60 very consider- 
able artificial mounds, such as are met in Khorassan ; they 
certainly are of great antiquity, and may be referred to the 
times of the Scythians or Parthians. In one of these mounds 
some very curious articles, in gold, copper, and marble, have 
been lately discovered. A detailed description of them has 
been presented by me to the Society of Antiquaries. 

The ruins of Ak-Kaleh, a modern town, are situated between 
the Kara-Su and Gurgan rivers. It was once the capital of 
the Kajars. 

The Goklans ascribe their origin to two brothers, Du- 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 205 

durgd and Alghidagli^ from whom all their different clans 
proceed. They are now divided into the following tribes : — 

1. Yangakh. 

2. Senkrik. 

3. Kerrik. 

4. Boindcr. 

5. Kara-Balkhan, 

6. Erkegli. 

7. Koii. 

8. Ay-dervish. 

The number of the Goklans formerly amounted to 12,000 
families, but of late years it has, from various causes, consi- 
derably decreased. The Khan of Khiva forced several thou- 
sands to settle in "his dominions ; others voluntarily migrated 
in the same direction at the approach of a Persian army in 1836, 
They soon found, however, that they had exchanged their 
wooded, fertile, and beautiful valleys, abundantly watered by 
mountain streams, for a barren and sandy waste, and prepared 
to return to their former habitations, but were met with an 
obstinate resistance on the part of the Khan of Khiva, who, 
to prevent their escape, issued an order that the first deserter 
should be thrust into the mouth of a loaded mortar and blo\vn 
up into the air. But such is the love of country, and the 
power of local associations, that the Goklans braved the san- 
guinary decree, and the no less dangerous flight across the 
desert ; and many escaped pursuit. It is on occasions like 
those that the excellency of the Turkoman horse can be best 
appreciated — the fugitives being obliged to traverse, day and 
night, immense tracts without water. The Goklans, on escap- 
ing from the pursuit of the Usbeks, are exposed to the attacks 
of the Teke Turkomans, their deadly foes, through whose ter- 
ritories they are under the necessity to pass before they can 
reach their native vallies. Hiding themselves during day time 
in ravines, they continue their flight at night, often traversing 
from 35 to 40 miles at a brisk trot on their hardy, yet slen- 
der-limbed animals. 

As a proof (if proof be yet necessary) how kind Providence 
is over watchful to help the needy, I may state tliat, on the 
very verge of the desert, but still in the country of the enemy, 
the Goklans find a tribe of their own countrymen — the Kdl — 

206 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 

settled there for a number of years by permission of the Teke 
Turkomans, who never molest them. Here the fugitives alight 
for a short time, to fetch breath, and snatch a momentary re- 
pose : the Koi procure them food, and often fresh horses, to 
continue their journey. 

The beacon which serves to guide the Goklans across the 
dreary steppe is the snowy peak of Demarend (not more than 
30 or 40 miles from Teheran), and yet seen at a great distance 
in the desert of Khorazm. 

The Turkomans follow the creed of Mohammed, and are of 
the Sunni persuasion, i.e.^ they recognise the four caliphs, his 
immediate successors. Although not very scrupulous in follow- 
ing the tenets of the Koran, they still have their Mullahs or 
Cazi, the propounders of the law, who, at the same time, are 
the civil judges of the tribe. These Cazi follow their course of 
studies at the colleges at Khiva, but are seldom less ignorant 
than the rest of their countrymen, although perhaps more crafty. 

Among the Turkoman tribes there are four distinct from 
the rest, supposed to be descended from the four first caliphs. 
They are equally respected by the Yamtids, the Goklans, the 
Tekke, the Saltirs, and the Sariks, and are not touched by 
those rival tribes. 

The names of these four families are the following : — The 
Khoja, descendants of Ali ; the Atta, descendants of Omar ; 
the Shikhs, descendants of Osman ; and the Makhtum-Kuli, 
descendants of Abubekr. 

Some of these tribes have turned to account the advanta- 
geous position they enjoy amid their countrymen ; and, under 
the safe-guard of their sacred origin, have become merchants, 
traversing with their caravans of camels in all the directions 
of the desert — carrying goods to the different hostile tribes, 
and receiving others in exchange, without fear of being plun- 
dered or molested by any of them. 

In wishing to present here a sketch of the Turkoman 
character, I regret that I can find but very few redeeming 
qualities to palliate the evil propensities of their nature. 
The Turkomans are said to be brave ; but I am inclined to 
suspect that this notion arises from the circumstances of their 
enemies being cowards. A Turkoman feels always reluctant 
to expose himself to danger ; his warfare against the Persians 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 207 

is seldom a manly, open war ; it generally consists in sudden 
unexpected incursions. The Turkomans approach the Per- 
sian villages in stealth, in the dead of night, wait for the first 
dawn of morning, then rush on the disarmed and drowsy po- 
pulation, plunder what they can ; after which they retreat pre- 
cipitately, carrying off into their deserts the captives who have 
fallen into their hands. Their piratic exploits on the Caspian 
are likewise directed against the poor villagers of Mazanderan, 
who venture too near the beach, or fish in the sea. If the 
Yam^d finds his enemy armed with a matchlock he seldom at- 
tacks him, but speedily retreats, or hides himself in the thick 
forest. The Turkoman seldom makes use of fire-arms, and 
prefers the lance and the sabre. 

The ruling passion of the Turkoman is thirst for plunder — 
nothing is reckoned sacred that stands in the way to the at- 
tainment of the objects of his cupidity ; and when force can- 
not be employed, he has recourse to cunning in order to be 
possessed of the object he covets. 

The second passion which fills his breast is revenge : it is 
subservient to the first, and proceeds generally from some sor- 
did motive. The secret, and often the ostensible, cause of 
their bloody feuds, is founded on the prospect of plunder. 

The reason why the Turkomans are more inhuman than 
the other barbarous wandering tribes, cannot be attributed, I 
believe, to any other cause, than that they are slave-dealers. 
Their daring forays are usually undertaken with a view to 
carry away captives, whom they retain in chains until re- 
deemed by their relations, or sell them in the bazars of Khiva, 
if the ransom money fails to arrive in time, or proves insuffi- 
cient to satisfy their cupidity. The prisoners are sometimes 
retained for their own use, and sent to tend their flocks in the 
desert, or employed in field works. Thus they are the terror 
of their neighbours — the Persians of Mazanderan, Asterabad, 
and Khorassan, who are obliged to be always on their guard 
against the sudden attacks of the Turkomans. 

As the Persians are of the Shia sect, and the Turkomans 
of the Sunni, the latter justify themselves on the ground that 
to seize on a Persian and sell him is lawful ; others, however, 
are more sincere, and own that if the Persians, instead of 

208 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 

Shia, had been Sunni, then they themselves must have turned 
Shia, — as the circumstance of being of the same religion might 
have interfered perhaps with their present lucrative trade. 
These religious scruples do not prevent them, however, from 
capturing persons of their own religious persuasion and their 
own tribe, with whom they happen to be in enmity, and fixing 
enormous prices for their release. 

If this thirst for gain renders the heart of the Turkoman cal- 
lous to the suffering of his fellow-creatures, I found, on the 
other hand, that the feelings of sympathy are more developed 
among the inhabitants of Asterabad, than in other parts of 
Persia, — the danger apprehended from the Turkomans being 
the tie which unites them. Thus, if any of them falls into 
the hands of the enemy, subscriptions are made to release the 
captive, and the whole community takes a lively interest in 
the sad event. I beg leave to mention here an instance, of 
which I myself was a witness. 

On riding one evening through the streets of Asterabad, I 
found a woman kneeling in an open mosque, clinging with 
both arms to the pulpit, and weeping bitterly. On inquiry, 
I found that intelligence had just been received of her son 
being kidnapped by the Turkomans. I recommended the dis- 
consolate mother to pray with faith, and God would hear her 
prayer. In the meanwhile, the news spread through the town, 
horsemen were sent in pursuit of the robbers, but returned 
without having discovered any traces of them. The boy, a 
lad of 13, was the son of a common dyer, and had strolled out 
of the gate with a companion to fetch fuel from the wood close 
to the walls. A Turkoman, it seems, who had been prowling 
like a beast of prey, seized on him, while the other lad made 
his escape. 

The night was far advanced, when a loud noise in the street 
close to my dwelling aroused our party. It was the lad, who 
had made his escape from the Turkoman, and was now led in 
triumph about the streets with joyful acclamations. As I had 
evinced some interest in the catastrophe, his father brought 
him to shew me that he was safe. 

It appears that the Turkoman, while it was light, lay hid 
in the thicket ; as night came on, he issued from his hiding 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 209 

t)lace, and stole near to the ramparts of the town, in order to 
gain the plain, dragging along with him his captive by the 
arm, who dared not scream for fear of being put to death. He, 
however, recollected that he had a knife in his right pocket, 
and complaining that his right arm was quite benumbed from 
the Turkoman*s grasp, he entreated him to release it for a 
while and take hold of the left ; to which the robber acceded. 
As soon as he had found his right arm free, he thrust it into 
his pocket, seized the knife, and with all his force hit a blow 
on the hand which held his left arm. The man let go his hold 
from pain, and the boy dashed into the thicket. The night 
was dark, the town too near for the Turkoman to tarry long ; 
he soon gave up the search, and fled to the Gurgan river, while 
the boy ran to the city-gates, and knocked for admittance. 

The Yamuds, as well as the Goklans, have a very high opi- 
nion of their own race, and never grant their daughters in 
marriage to strangers foreign to their respective tribes, like 
the Rajputs in India. 

To prove how great is their susceptibility on this point, I 
shall state a fact which took place during the reign of the late 
Feth Ali-Shah. 

Mirza-Naghi-Khan, of Fenderis, father to Mir-Sadullah- 
Khan, the present chief of this district, fell in love with a 
young Turkoman girl, and demanded her in marriage from 
her parents. They resisted for a long time, but at last, by 
money and fair promises, yielded to his importunities, and 
their daughter became his wife. This event exasperated greatly 
the whole tribe against Mirza-Naghi-Khan; but as he was a 
powerful and dangerous neighbour, they stifled their feelings, 
made peace with him, and feigned to have forgotten the af- 
front. At the expiration of a year, the young Turkoman wo- 
man expressed a wish to visit her parents, and as the Persian 
Khan felt no apprehension in her going, he granted her re- 
quest. But no sooner had she entered the encampment of 
her tribe, than the Turkomans seized on her, dragged her to 
the top of an artificial barrow, and there, in the presence of 
her parents, cut her to pieces. Foreseeing the vengeance 
which threatened them on the part of Mirza-Naghi-Khan, and 
not feeling themselves sufiiciently strong to resist him, the 


210 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomama, 

Turkomans broke up their tents and retired to Khiva. But 
if we feel shocked at the barbarous act above related, how 
much more shall we have to deplore the atrocious means to 
which the injured party had recourse in retaliation for the 

Mirza-Naghi-Khan made believe that he was sorry for what 
had happened, acknowledged himself in the wrong for not 
having respected their prejudices, and pledged his word that 
no harm should be done to them, if they would only return. 
The Turkomans believed him ; but they were not reinstated 
long in their former encampments, when Mirza-Naghi-Khan 
seized an opportunity to fall on them unawares, and carry 
away about 50 women of their tribe, whom he put to death 
in cold blood, in order to avenge the death of his wife, and 
slake his thirst for vengeance. The decrees of Providence 
are ever just, — a few years later the chief of Fenderiss him- 
self fell by the hands of the Turkomans. 

The Turkomans observe a difference between their children 
from Turkoman mothers, and those from the Persian female 
captives whom they take as wives, and the Kazakh women 
whom they purchase from the Uzbeks of Khiva. The Tur- 
komans of pure race enjoy full privileges, while the others are 
not allowed to contract marriages with Turkoman women of 
pure blood, but must choose themselves wives among the 
half-castes and Kazakh captives. 

As there exists a great animosity between the Yamtids and 
Goklans they do not intermarry, although they reckon them- 
selves of equally noble lineage. The same hatred is extended 
to the Tekke Turkomans, whom the Goklans and Yamuds, 
moreover, look upon as their inferiors, being, according to their 
genealogies, the descendants of a slave- woman, whilst they are 
the posterity of a free-woman. 

All subjects are better understood when explained by com- 
parison ; faithful to this principle, I shall endeavour to delineate 
the physical features of the Turkomans, by likening them to^ 
or distinguishing them from, the Mogol race, as a term of com- 
parison, because their exists some affinity between them. 
The eye of the Turkoman is formed on the same principle 
as that of the Mogol, and appears to constitute a remarkable 

On the Vamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 211 

feature in the Mogol race. It is the eye of the feline species, 
with the extremities drawn up towards the temples ; but, if 
I am not mistaken, the pupil of the eye is not so black with 
the Turkoman, and the eye larger. Neither is the nose so 
flat, nor the lips so thick, although the high cheek-bones bear 
the Mogol type. The Kalmuk approaches nearest to, or is 
more probably identical with, the Mogol ; he has the same 
low forehead, the head pressed down, forcing the cheek-bones 
to protrude forward ; the same flattened nose, and thick pout- 
ing lips, with small black eyes, nearly hid from sight by his 
swollen face ; the same jet black hair ; the chest is like- 
wise broad and muscular ; and, to judge by appearance, one 
would think it alone endowed with power at the expense of 
the lower part of the figure, as the legs are short and gauky ; 
but one is brought to form a better opinion of them, when 
the Kalmuk vaults on horseback, without saddle or bridles 
clinging fast to the sides of the animal with his thighs and, 
ankles, and defying the wildest horse of the steppe to throw 
him down. The Turkoman does not resemble the Mogol in 
these respects : — He has a high forehead ; his hair is not so 
black ; the chest less developed, in fact, narrow and flat like 
that of the Persian race ; or, bringing the comparison nearer 
home, like the chest of his own breed of horses. Like his 
noble animal, the Turkoman, generally speaking, is tall, welU 
shaped, with large bones. He is not deficient in strength, 
and has muscular arms, probably from the use of the bow ; 
but the arms of the women are perhaps still more muscular, 
owing to the heavy work which falls to their share. 

As the Turkomans generally wear long flowing robes, I 
could not well examine the form of their legs. There appears, 
it is true, a certain curvature, by the toes being bent inward, 
which may proceed from their equestrian habits from child- 
hood ; but they are not so bandy-legged as the Mogols or the 

If I were to search for a family resemblance between the 
Turkomans and any other Turkish tribe which has fallen under 
my notice, I should be inclined to compare them to the No- 
gay-Tartars, in Northern Daghestan, on the Western shores of 
the Caspian. The Nogay, with the Krim, the Astrakhan, and 

212 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania, 

the Kazan Tartars, formed once the Golden Horde, under the 
sway of Mogol or Tartar Chiefs. It was in consequence of the 
Mogol dominion that the name of Tartar extended to them, 
although they reckon themselves of the same extraction as the 
Turks of Constantinople ; and the Turkomans pretend to be 
of the same origin. It is affirmed, however, by those who 
have studied the several Turkish dialects, that there exists a 
material diflference between the language spoken at Constanti- 
nople, and that by the Kazan Tartars, or the Turkomans, who, 
together with the Usbeks and others, speak the Jagataii 
Turkish. The language in use among the wandering tribes 
of Turkish origin in Persia is diiferent from both the former, 
and is reckoned a corrupted dialect. That of Constantinople 
is the most elegant and the best cultivated of the three. 

The more intimate connection of the Astrakhan and Kazan 
Tartars with the Mogols can be traced in their features ; with 
the Nog ay it is less visible. In like manner, the Turkomans 
further off in the desert, and the Uzbeks of Khive, have more 
of the Mogol expression than the Turkomans who encamp 
near the Persian frontier. The frequent intercourse of the 
Nogay, in latter years, with the Cherkess, seems to have im- 
proved their race ; and notwithstanding the enmity that exists 
between the Turkomans and the Persians, it is still not un- 
likely that their close vicinity should have produced on the 
former a similar effect in a lapse of several centuries. The 
fact we have seen, that the Turkomans marry Persian women, 
when they take them as prisoners. The Turkoman women 
are, like the men, tall, and when young, well-shaped ; their 
faces are rounder than those of the men ; the cheek-bones less 
prominent ; the eyes black, with fine eye -brows, and many 
with fair complexion ; the nose is rather flat ; the mouth small, 
with a row of regular white teeth . In a word, a great number 
of the younger part of the community might be reckoned as 
fair specimens of pretty women. 

I hope I may not he accused of partiality if I do not draw 
an equally advantageous picture of the old Turkoman ma- 
trons ; for they are downright hideous, to say the least of it. 
Their ugliness is, however, cast in a different mould from that 
of the old women among the wandering tribes of Persia. The 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 2 13 

latter have sharp-marked features, with a wild piercing eye 
sunk in a hollow socket ; the face of the former, on the con- 
trary, is nearly flat, with hardly any appearance of a nose, and 
shrivelled all over. 

What presses the nose of the Turkoman women towards the 
top lip, is their custom of hiding their mouths under a hand- 
kerchief, which reaches to the tip of the nose, pressing it 
down. The same custom prevails among all the Armenian 
women in the East, and is reckoned as an indispensable con- 
dition of female decency. This part of the dress is somewhat 
similar to the Fenom worn by the ancient Gebber priests 
whenever they approached the sacred fire, for fear their breath 
should pollute the pure essence and symbolic manifestation of 
the Deity ; for, according to the doctrines of the Zend-Avesta^ 
the same as in Gospel truths, it is that which cometh out of 
man which defiles him ; with that difference, that Zoroaster 
understood it in a more literal sense. 

We have seen that the Yamuds are addicted both to a pas- 
toral and an agricultural mode of life — although more espe- 
cially to the former. Their neighbours, the Goklans, are more 
settled. Their tents are spread in beautiful valleys, others in 
the plain along the banks of the Gurgan and its tributaries. 
Their chief occupation is agriculture ; the land is reckoned 
very productive, although at present much neglected. The 
soil between the mountains and the Gurgan, consisting in black 
earth and clay, is used under wheat and barley fields, — the 
crop of which, in proportion to the seed, in good years, is 100 
to 1. Beyond, but close to, the river Gurgan, the fields yield 
the sixtieth grain, and less as one advances towards the north." 
We might feel somewhat reluctant to admit this great dis- 
proportion between the seed and the harvest, were we not 
informed by Herodotus, on whose veracity we may safely 
rely, that the fields near Babylon produced corn in the pro- 
portion of 200 bushels to one bushel committed to the earth. 

Independent of field work, the Goklans have plantations of 
the mulberry-tree for their silk-worms. If China be the father- 
land, as it is supposed, of the silk-worm, then in travelling 
towards the west, this insect was probably reared in the val- 
leys of Gurgan, before it spread and flourished in the pro- 

214 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkotnania. 

vinces of Ghilan, of Shirvan, or even attained Asia-Minor 
and Brusa.* 

We read in the Arab writers, that in the flourishing days of 
Jurjan the revenue of the province was collected in raw silk. 

The Turkomans marry their children at an early age — the 
lads from fourteen to fifteen, and the girls from ten to twelve. 
But in cases of early marriages a singular custom exists among 
them. After the ceremony is over, the young spouse tarries 
only two or three days with her youthful mate, and then 
returns to her parents, where she remains two, and sometimes 
three, years. During this interval she prepares her dowry 
consisting in her apparels, and the necessary articles for adorn- 
ing the interior of their future tent. When the two or three 
years are completed she is conducted to the tents of her father- 
in-law, and lives there with her husband during a twelve- 
month. At the expiration of the year, the father allows his 
children to have a separate household, especially if a child be 
born unto them. Separate tents are then allotted to the young 
couple, and the young man receives his share of his father's 
property, consisting in camels, horses, flocks of sheep, &c. But 
notwithstanding the separation has taken place, the father still 
continues to provide for their maintenance the first six months ; 
after which the young man becomes free from the control and 
guardianship of his parent, who till then had exercised an 
unlimited power over him — possessing the right even of life 
and death, without being liable to give any account of his 
actions to the society of which he is a member. 

As hard work generally falls to the lot of the women, while 
the men saunter away their time, when not engaged in a foray, 
the Turkomans prefer young widows to young girls for their 
wives, as the former are more accustomed to hard labour, and 
more experienced in household concerns. The Turkoman 
widows fetch a double price in comparison to spinsters. Thus, 
if a girl be worth the value of five camels, a widow cannot be 
had under the rate of ten camels. But justice must be given 
to these women for their industrious habits ; they have always 
some work in hand, and are seldom seen idle or loitering 

* See in Professor Ritter's geographical work, entitled 
an interesting historical account of the culture of the Silk- worm. 

On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania. 215 

about ; and notwithstanding the fatigues of the day's labour, 
I generally found that whenever an enemy was prowling about 
the camp at night, they were always the first, like the geese 
of old Rome, to give the word of alarm. 

The Turkomans have a notion that they cannot shew a 
greater degree of respect to their departed friends than by 
burying them the moment they give up the ghost ; and it is 
greatly to be feared that many an unfortunate victim is thus 
prematurely hurried to the grave from this mistaken notion of 
honouring the dead. 

On the spot, in the field where the corpse is washed, the 
Turkomans raise a small barrow, and dig a ditch round it ; 
from thence the dead body is carried to the burying ground of 
the tribe on some elevated tepeh or artificial hillock, as there 
are so many on the plains of the Turkomans since times imme- 
morial. As soon as the sad news spread abroad, all the 
relations and friends arrive from the different encampments 
to condole with and offer consolation to the family of the 
deceased. They bring their own tents and place them in 
a circle round that of the mourners ; the women then go 
by turns to weep with the family, especially such who have 
gained some reputation in the art and manner of weeping 
in the proper style. The men remain mostly out of doors ; 
and, as on all occasions when they meet, whether at joyous 
festivals or funeral ceremonies, riding is their great amuse- 
ment, horse-races are usually resorted to. They remain, thus 
carousing, for weeks together, at the expense of their host, 
until the latter announces to his friends, that, thanks to 
their endeavours, he (if it be a widower) or she (if a wi- 
dow) feels consoled and resigned to his or her fate. This is a 
signal for the party to break up their tents, and take their leave. 
These condoling visits become very expensive to the poor sur- 
vivors, who have often not only to weep for the loss of their 
relative, but likewise that of being ruined into the bargain 
by their considerate friends. It sometimes happens that rich 
Turkomans, from a feeling of ostentation, retain their guests 
for a whole month, feeding them with rice, mutton, cheese, 
butter, milk, and such other produce of their flocks and herds, 
in which their riches chiefly consist. Among the Yamuds, 

216 On the Yamud and Gokldn Tribes of Turkomania, 

there are individuals who possess upwards of 1500 sheep, 200 
camels, from 20 to 30 mares, and as many captives. The 
Goklans are not so rich in herds. I have mentioned that the 
Turkomans are fond of horse-racing. It is quite a passion 
with them. To a Turkoman a horse is everything. On its 
strength and power of endurance depends materially the suc- 
cess of his predatory excursions into the enemies' country ; on 
its fleetness — ^his means of escape. It is to develope these 
essential qualities that the Turkoman consecrates to his horse 
all his leisure hours. To say that he attends more to the care 
of his horse than to his own child, would not be saying 
much ; because the latter is left completely at the mercy of 
chance, to grow up as he can, while the favourite horse receives 
all the attentions, not only of its master but of the whole 
family. It would take us too far were we to enter into the 
details of training Turkoman horses ; moreover, other travellers 
have already given descriptions about it ; we shall only ob- 
serve that the Tekke are reckoned the best horses for a long 
and protracted journey and forced marches ; the Goklan and 
Yamud are more slender, and swifter horses. 

The Tekke are preferred even to the pure Arab blood-horse, 
by the Persians at the Court of the Shah, and among the great 
men. As the encampments of the Tekke Turkomans are 
among the ruins of Nissa, it is very probable that the Tekke 
horses belong to the same Nissean race of horses which 
Strabo, and other ancient writers, mentioned as being mostly 
prized by the Persians. It is equally to be supposed, that it 
was on the same Turkoman breed of horses that the Scythians, 
and, later, the Parthians, waged war against their enemies ; 
and the plains of Turkomania was the seat of their dominions. 

When not engaged in plundering expeditions, nor exercis- 
ing their horses, the wandering Turkomans lead an idle life, 
spending the day in sauntering from one tent to the next. 
They assemble in groups, and find great pleasure in talking 
over their deeds of prowess, and cunning manoeuvres in sur- 
prising their enemies. Among other recreations, we must 
not omit to mention that the Turkomans are very fond of the 
game of chess, and are reckoned to be great proficients in 
it : even their enemies, the Persians themselves, who are good 

New Publications. 217 

chess-players, admit the superiority of the Turkomans in that 
respect. What renders the game more puzzling, and the 
calculations much more difficult, is, that their chess-board is 
not, like ours, divided into thirty-two light and thirty-two 
dark compartments for the movers, but consists all of one 
colour. It is nothing more than a four-cornered linen rag, 
with lines drawn over it in a vertical and horizontal direction 
to mark the sixty-four compartments. This simple chess- 
board, which can be wrapped up as a pocket-handkerchief and 
carried about in the pocket, is evidently manufactured by 
their women, for the transversal lines are stitched on the 
linen with dark worsted threads. It is recorded that, during 
the reign of the late Shah, a Turkoman came to Teheran, 
and having been admitted into the presence of the Feth-Ali- 
Shah, he beat all the best chess-players at the Court of hi^ 
Majesty, and gained a large sum of money. 


1. Elements of Natural History, for the use of Schools and Young 
Persons. By Mrs R. Lee (formerly Mrs T. Edward Bowdich). 1 vol. 
pp. 485, with engravings in wood. Longman and Co., London. 1844. 
We recollect no work, on Elementary Zoology more deserving of introduction 
into our schools than this pleasing volume, by a lady already favourably knotvn 
to the scientific world. 

2. Researches on Light. By Robert Hunt, Esq., Secretary to the 
Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. 8vo, pp. 303. 1844. Longman 
and Co., London. Mr Hunt's reputation is so well established, that we need 
only mention this volume to secure it a favourable reception from the philoso- 
phical public. 

3. Fifth Annual Report of the Registrar- General in England. 2d edi- 
tion, revised and corrected, 8vo, pp. 603. London, printed by W. 
Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street. For Her Majesty's Stationery 
Office. 1843. 

4. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, held at Phila- 
delphia for promoting Useful Knowledge. Vol. ix. New Series, Part 1st, 
4to. Philadelphia. 1844. This part contains three articles : — Article 1st, 
Continuation of Mr Lea's Paper on Fresh- water and Land Shells. 2. Tri- 
gonometrical Survey of Massachusetts. 3. Observations on Egyptian 
Ethnography, derived from Anatomy, History, and the Monuments. By 
Samuel George Morton, M.D. Illustrated by an extensive series of En- 
gravings. This important memoir we shall notice in our next number. 

218 New Publications. 

5. Die ersten Begriffe der Mineralogie und Geognosie fur junge prac- 
tische Bergleute. Von Friederick Mohs. Herausgegeben nach Seinem 
Tode. 2-Band, 8vo. Wien, 1842. A copy of this work has at length 
reached us. The second vohime^that on Geognosy j — we consider very interest- 
ing ^ and likely to change or modify prevailing views in Geognosy and Geology, 

6. A System of Mineralogy, comprehending the most recent dis- 
coveries, with numerous woodcuts and four copperplates. By James 
Dana, A.B. 2d edition, 1 vol. 8vo, pp. 801. New York and London, 
Published by Wiley and Putnam. 1844. This heautiful volume does great 
credit to the author, and also to his printers, engravers, and publishers. We 
have carefully examined it, and although we do not agree with him in all his 
views, we can with great truth recommend his booh to every one desirous of be- 
coming acquainted with mineralogy, as one of the best treatises on this very im- 
portant branch of Natural History in our language. 

7. A Lecture on Institutions for the Better Education of the Farming 
Classes. By Charles Daubeny, M.D., F.R.S., Professor of Rural Eco- 
nomy at the University of Oxford. 8vo, pp. 32. John Murray, London. 

8. Lehrbuch der Naturphilosophie. Yon Oken. Dritte, neu Bearbeitete 
Auflage. Zurich, 1843. This work contains a condensed view of the cele^ 
hrated author's speculations in general natural history, and his systems of 
geology, mineralogy, zoology, and botany, 

9. Lehrbuch der Physikalischen Geographic und Geologic. Von B. 
Studer, Doctor and Professor in Bern. Erstes Capitel Enthaltend: 
Die erde im Verhaltniss zur Schwere. 8vo, pp. 398. Bern, 1844. 
Much is expected from this work on Physical Geography, by a philosopher so 
celebrated as its author. The first part only has reached us. We therefore 
delay expressing our opinion of its merits until the whole work is before the 
public. We may, however, remark, that Geologists look forward to the volume 
on Geology as likely to contain a full geognosy of the Alps, which Professor 
Studer is so able to give, from his very extensive practical acquaintance with 

10. Excursion through the Slave States. By G. W. Featherstonhaugh, 
F.R.S., F.G.S. 2 vols. 8vo. John Murray, London. These amusing 
and interesting volumes we recommend to the attention of our readers. The 
author's Geological observations will be considered afterwards, 

11. Grundzuge der Botanik Entworfen. Von Stephan Endlioher und 
Franz Unger. 8vo, pp. 494. Wien, 1843. This is one of the best of the 
smaller philosophical works on Botany we are acquainted with. 

( 219 ) 

List of Patents granted for Scotland from 22d March to 
June 1844. 

1. To William Ritter, of 106 Fenchurch Street, in the city of Lon- 
don, gentleman, being a communication from abroad, " improvements in 
crystallizing and purifying sugars." — ^26tli March 1844. 

2. To Charles Harrison, manager of the Coed Talon, and Lees- 
wood Iron- works, Flintshire, " certain improvements in the manufac- 
ture of cast-iron pipes, and other iron castings." — ^26th March 1844. 

3. To William Isaac Cookson, of the borough and county of New- 
castle-upon-Tyne, Esquire, " improvements in apparatus for burning 
sulphur in the manufacture of sulphuric acid." — 26th March 1844. 

4. To Elisha Haydon Collier, of Goldsworthy Terrace, Rother- 
hithe, in the county of Surrey, civil engineer, *' certain improvements in 
the construction of furnaces and flues." — 27th March 1844. 

5. To Joseph Dickenson Stagg, of Middleton in Teesdale, in the 
county of Durham, manager of smelting works, '' a new or improved 
plan for collecting, condensing, and purifying the fumes of lead, copper, 
and other ores and metals ; also the particles of such ores and metals 
arising or produced from the roasting, smelting, or manufacturing 
thereof; and also the noxious smoke, gases, salts, and acids, soluble 
and absorbable in water, generated in treating and working such ores 
and metals,"— 30th March 1844. 

6. To William Edward Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 
Chancery Lane, in the county of Middlesex, civil engineer and patent 
agent, being a communication from abroad, *' an improvement or im- 
provements in furnaces/' — 4th April 1844. 

7. To John Stevelly, of Belfast, in the county of Antrim, professor 
of natural philosophy, " improvements in steam engines." — 10th April 

8. To Thomas Nash, of Paul's Cray, in the county of Kent, paper- 
maker, and Francis Pirie, of WatUng Street, in the city of London, 
paper-maker, " certain improvements in the manufacture of paper, and 
in the machinery to be used therein."— 11th April 1844. 

9. To William Thomas, of Cheapside, in the city of London, mer- 
chant, being a communication from abroad, *' improvements in fasten- 
ings for wearing apparel, and which may also be applied as fastenings to 
portmanteaus, bags, boxes, books, and other things." — 15th April 1844. 

10. To John Lawson, of Leeds, in the county of York, engineer, and 

220 List of Patents. 

Thomas Robinson, of Leeds, in the county of York, flax-dresser, " cer- 
tain improvements in machinery, for heckling, dressing, combing, and 
cleaning flax, wool, silk, and other fibrous substances." — I7th April 

11. To John Lee, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Esquire, " improvements 
in obtaining products from sulphurets and other compounds containing 
sulphur."— 24th April 1844. 

12. "To William Scott, of Bolton Street, Piccadilly, in the county 
of Middlesex, Esquire, being a communication from abroad, " improve- 
ments in the manufacture of fuel." — ^24th April 1844. 

13. To William Henry Barlow, of Leicester, civil-engineer, " im- 
provements in the construction of keys, wedges, or fastenings, for en- 
gineering purposes." — ^24th April 1844. 

14. To John Dixon, of Wolverhampton, iron-master, " improvements 
in heating air for blast-furnaces, and for other uses."— 26th April 1844. 

15. To William Wright, of Duke Street, St James's, in the county 
of Middlesex, surgeon, " certain improvements in rendering leather, 
skins, or hides impervious to wet, more flexible, and more durable." — 
30th April 1844. 

16. To John M'Intosh, of the city of Glasgow, in Scotland, gentle- 
man, " certain improvements in revolving engines, and an improved 
method of producing motive power, and of propelling vessels." — 30th 
April 1834. 

17. To Samuel Faulkner, of Manchester, in the county of Lancas- 
ter, cotton-spinner, " certain improvements in machinery or apparatus 
for carding cotton and other fibrous substances." — 30th April 1844. 

18. To William Irving, of No. 102 Regent Street, Lambeth, in the 
•county of Surrey, '* improved machinery and apparatus for cutting and 
carving substances to be applied for inlaying and other purposes." — 
3d May 1844. 

19. To James Murray, of the Garnkirk Coal Company, in the parish 
of Cadder and county of Lanark, Scotland, *' a new method of using and 
applying artificial gas made from coal, oil, or other substances, for light- 
ing and ventilating caverns, pits, or mines, or other pits where minerals 
t* metlfcls a*e worked or extracted." — 3d May 1844. 

20. To James Bremner, residing at Pulteney Town, in the county 
of Caithness, civil-engineer, " certain arrangements for constructing har- 
bours, piers, and buildings in water; for cleansing harbours, and for 
raising sunken vessels." — ^9th May 1844. 

List of Patents, 221 

21. To John Wilkib, of Glasgow, mechanic, *' improvements in 
machinery or apparatus for working wood into the various forms required 
for making doors, window-shutters, window-sashes, mouldings, flooring, 
and other purposes." — 16th May 1844. 

22. To Frederick William Ethereimg*, of Piirnival's Inn, m the 
county of Middlesex, gentleman, ** improvements in the manufacture of 
bricks, tiles, and tubes."— 27th May 1844. 

23. To William Basford, of Burslem, in the county of Stafford, 
brick and tile manufacturer, " certain improvements in the mode of ma- 
nufacturing bricks, tiles, quarries, and certain other articles made or 
composed of clay and brick-earth, and of burning and firing the sanie, 
and certain articles of pottery and earthen wa're."— 27th May 1844. 

24. To William Johnson, of Richmond Hill, in the county of Surrey, 
Esquire, ^' certain improvements in machinery for boring, cleaving, cut- 
ting, and dressing stone and slate of such kinds as are or may be used 
for building and for ornamental purposes, and for paving of public and 
private ways."— 28th May 1844. 

25. To John Taylor, of Duke Street, Adelphi, in the county of Mid- 
dlesex, gentleman, being a communication from abroad, " certain new 
mechanical combinations, by means of which economy of power and of 
fuel are obtained in the use of the steam-engine." — ^29th May 1844. 

2Q. To William Walker junior, of Brown Street, Manchester, hy- 
draulic-engineer, " improvements in warming and ventilating apartments 
and buildings."— 29th May 1844. 

27- To James Fenton, of Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, 
engineer, being a communication from abroad, " an improved combina- 
tion or alloy of metals, applicable to various purposes for which brass and 
copper are usually employed in the construction of machinery.'* — 31st 
May 1844. 

28. To Joseph Cowan, of Blaydon Burn, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
merchant, " certain improvements in making retorts for generating gas 
for illumination." — 5th June 1844. 

29. To Joshua Procter Westhead, of Manchester, in the county 
of Lancaster, cotton-spinner, *' a new and improved fabric, or new and 
improved fabrics, and also certain modifications of machinery for making 
the same, which modifications of machinery are applicable to the manu- 
fiicture of woven fabrics." — 6th June 1844. 

30. To George WiltonTurnbr, of Gateshead, in the county of Dur- 
ham, doctor in philosophy, '' the manufacturing of salts of ammonia and 
compounds of cyanogen from a substance never before applied to that 
purpose." — 10th June 1844. 

222 List of Patents. 

31. To RoBEET Rettie, of Gourock, near Greenock, in the county 
of Renfrew, in the kingdom of Scotland, civil-engineer, " improvements 
in gridirons, frying-pans, and other cooking utensils and heating appa- 
ratus."— 13th June 1844. 

32. To James Kennedy, of the firm of Bury, Curtis, & Kennedy, of 
Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, engineer, and Thomas Veenon", 
of the same place, iron-shipbuilder, " certain improvements in the build- 
ing or construction of iron and other vessels for navigation on water." — 
24th June 1844. 

33. To Chaeles William Geaham, of Kings'-Arms Yard, in the 
city of London, merchant, being a communication from abroad, ^' im- 
provements in manufacturing pathological, anatomical, zoological, geo- 
logical, botanical, and mineralogical representations in relief, and in 
arranging them for use." — 24th June 1844. 



Memoir of the late D, F, Gregory, M.A.y Fellow of Trinitt/ 
College, Cambridge. By R. Leslie Ellis, Esq., Fellow of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 

The subject of the following memoir died in his thirty-first 
year. He had, nevertheless, accomplished enough not only to 
justify high expectations of his future progress in the science 
to which he had principally devoted himself, but also to entitle 
his name to a place in some permanent record. 

Duncan Farquharson Gregory was born at Edinburgh in 
April 1813. He was the youngest son of Dr James Gregory^ 
the distinguished professor of Medicine, and was thus of the 
same family as the two celebrated mathematicians James and 
David Gregory. The former of these, his direct ancestor, ig 
familiarly remembered as the inventor of the telescope which 
bears his name ; he lived in an age of great mathematicians,, 
and was not unworthy to be their contemporary. 

Of the early years of Mr Gregory's life but little need be 
said. The peculiar bent of his mind towards mathematical 
speculations does not appear to have been perceived during 
his childhood ; but, in the usual course of education, he shewed 
much facility in the acquisition of knowledge, a remarkably 
active and inquiring mind, and a very retentive memory. It 
may, perhaps, be mentioned here, that his father, whom he 
lost before he was seven years old, used to predict distinction 
for him ; and was so struck with his accurate information and 


224 Memoir of Mr Gregory. 

clear memory, that he had pleasure in conversing with him, 
as with an equal, on subjects of history and geography. In 
his case, as in many others, ingenuity in little mechanical con- 
trivances seems to have preceded, and indicated the develope- 
ment of a taste for abstract science. 

Two years of his life were passed at the Edinburgh Acade- 
my ; when he left it, being considered too young for the Uni- 
versity, he went abroad and spent a winter at a private aca- 
demy in Geneva. Here his talent for mathematics attracted 
attention ; in geometry, as well as in classical learning, he had 
already made distinguished progress at Edinburgh. 

The following winter he attended classes at the University 
of Edinburgh, and soon became a favourite pupil of Professor 
Wallace's, under whose tuition he made great advances in 
the higher parts of mathematics. The Professor formed the 
highest hopes of Mr Gregory's future eminence: those who 
long afterwards saw them together in Cambridge, speak with 
much interest of the delighted pride he shewed in his pupil's 
success and increasing reputation. 

In 1833, Mr Gregory's name was entered at Trinity Col- 
lege in the University of Cambridge, and shortly afterwards 
he went to reside there. He brought with him a very unusual 
amount of knowledge on almost all scientific subjects : with 
Chemistry he was particularly well acquainted, so much so 
that he had been at Cambridge but a few months when it was 
proposed to him by one of the most distinguished men in the 
University to act as assistant to the professor of Chemistry ; 
which for some time he did. Indeed, it is impossible to doubt 
that, had not other pursuits engaged his attention, he might 
have achieved a great reputation as a chemist. He was one 
of the founders of the Chemical Society in Cambridge, and 
occasionally gave lectures in their rooms. 

He had also a very considerable knowledge of botany, and 
indeed of many subjects which he seemed never to have stu- 
died systematically : he possessed in a remarkable degree the 
power of giving a regular form, and, so to speak, a unity to 
knowledge acquired in fragments. 

All these tastes and habits of thought, Mr Gregory culti- 
vated, to a certain extent, during the first years of his resi- 

Memoir of Mr Gregory. 225 

dence in Cambridge, of course in eubordinntion to that which 
was the end principally in view in his becoming a member of 
the University, namely, the study of mathematics and natural 

He became a bachelor of arts in 1837, having taken high 
mathematical honours ; more, however, might, we may believe, 
have been effected in this respect, had his activity of mind 
permitted him to devote himself more exclusively to the pre- 
scribed course of study. 

From henceforth he felt himself more at liberty to follow 
original speculations, and, not many months after taking his 
degree, turned his attention to the general theory of the com- 
bination of symbols. 

It may be well to say a few words of the history of this 
part of mathematics. 

One of the first results of the differential notation of Leib- 
nitz, was the recognition of the analogy of differentials and 
powers. For instance, it was readily perceived that 

or supposing the y to be understood^ that 

ta \ m+n^ fd \^ rd V 

Kdi) ~ \dx) \dx) 

just as in ordinary algebra we have a being any quantity, 

This, and one or two other remarks of the same kind, were 

sufficient to establish an analogy between --- the symbol of 

differentiation and the ordinary symbols of algebra. And it 
was not long afterwards remarked that a corresponding ana- 
logy existed between the latter class of symbols and that 
which is peculiar to the calculus of finite differences. It was 
inferred from hence that theorems proved to be true of com- 
binations of ordinary symbols of quantity, might be applied by 
analogy to the differential calculus and to that of finite dif- 
ferences. The meaning and interpretation of such theorems 
would of course be wholly changed by this kind of transfer 
from one part of mathematics to another, but their form 

226 Memoir of Mr Gregory, 

would remain unchanged. By these considerations many 
theorems were suggested of which it was thought almost im- 
possible to obtain direct demonstrations. In this point of 
view the subject was developed by Lagrange, who left unde- 
monstrated the results to which he was led, intimating, how- 
ever, that demonstrations were required. Gradually, how- 
ever, mathematicians came to perceive that the analogy with 
which they were dealing involved an essential identity ; and 
thus results, with respect to which, if the expression may be 
used, it had only been felt that they must be true, were now 
actually seen to be so. For, if the algebraical theorems by 
which these results were suggested, were true, because the 
symbols they involve represented quantities, and such opera- 
tions as may be performed on quantities, then indeed the ana- 
logy would be altogether precarious. But if, as is really the 
case, these theorems are true, in virtue of certain fundamental 
laws of combination, which hold both for algebraical symbols, 
and for those peculiar to the higher branches of mathematics, 
then each algebraical theorem and its analogue constitute, in 
fact, only one and the same theorem, except quoad their dis- 
tinctive interpretations, and therefore a demonstration of 
either is in reality a demonstration of both.* 

The abstract character of these considerations is doubtless 
the reason why so long a time elapsed before their truth was 
distinctly perceived. They would almost seem to require, in 
order that they may be readily apprehended, a peculiar faculty 
— a kind of mental disinvoltura which is by no means common. 

Mr Gregory, however, possessed it in a very remarkable 
degree. He at once perceived the truth and the importance 
of the principles of which we have been speaking, and pro- 
ceeded to apply them with singular facility and fearlessness. 

It had occurred to two or three distinguished writers that 

* If, as it has been suggested, the values of certain definite integrals 
are to be looked upon as merely arithmetical results, then in such cases 
we are not at liberty to replace the constants involved in the definite 
integral by symbols of operation. In other cases we are at liberty to do 
so, and this remarkable application of the principles stated in the text 
has already led Mr Boole of Lincoln, with whom it seems to have ori- 
ginated, to several curious conclusions. 

Memoir of Mr Gregory. 227 

the analogy, as it was called, of powers, differentials, &;c., 
might be made available in the solution of differential equa- 
tions, and of equations in finite differences. 

This idea, however, probably from some degree of doubt as 
to the legitimacy of the methods which it suggested, had not 
been fully or dearly developed: it seems to have been chiefly 
employed as affording a convenient way of expressing solutions 
already obtained by more familiar considerations. 

To this branch of the subject Mr Gregory directed his at- 
tention, and from the general views of the laws of combina- 
tion of symbols already noticed, deduced in. a regular and sys- 
tematic form, methods of solution of a large and important 
class of differential equations (linear equations with constant 
coefficients, whether ordinary or partial) of systems of such 
equations existing simultaneously, of the corresponding classes 
of equations in finite and mixed differences; and lastly, of 
many functional equations. The steady and unwavering ap- 
prehension of the fundamental principle which pervades all 
these applications of it, gives them a value, quite independent 
of that whixjh arises from the facility of the methods of solu- 
tion which they suggest. 

The investigations of which I have endeavoured to illustrate 
the character and tendency, appeared from time to time in 
the Cambridge Mathematiaal Journal. 

In this periodical publication Mr Gregory took much inter- 
est. He had been active in establishing it, and continued to 
be its editor, except for a short interval, from the time of its 
first appearance in the autumn of 1837, until a few months 
before his death. For this occupation he was for many rea- 
sons well qualified ; iiis acquaintance with mathemati<jal hter- 
ature was very extensive, .while his interest in all subjects con- 
nected with it was not only very strong, but also singularly 
free from the least tinge of jealous or personal feeling. That 
which another had done or was about to do, seemed to give 
him as much pleasure as if he himself had been the author of 
it, and this even when it related to some subject which his 
own researches miglit seem to have appropriated. 

This trait, as the recollections of those who knew him best 
will bear me witness, was intimately connected with his whole 

228 Memoir of Mr Gregory, 

character, which was in truth an illustration of the remark of 
a French writer, that to be free from envy is the surest indi- 
cation of a fine nature. 

To the Cambridge Mathematical Journal^ Mr Gregory con- 
tributed many papers beside those which relate to the re- 
searches already noticed. In some of these he developed cer- 
tain particular applications of the principles he had laid down 
in an Essay on the Foundations of Algebra, presented to the 
Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1838, and printed in the four- 
teenth volume of their Transactions. I may particularly 
mention a paper on the curious question of the logarithms of 
negative quantities, a question which, it is well known, has 
often been discussed among mathematicians, and which even 
now does not appear to be entirely settled. 

In 1840, Mr Gregory was elected fellow of Trinity College ; 
in the following year he became master of arts, and was ap- 
pointed to the office of moderator, that is, of principal mathe- 
matical examiner. His discharge of the duties of this office 
(which is looked upon as one of the most honourable of those 
which are accessible to the younger members of the Univer- 
sity) was distinguished by great good sense and discretion. 

In the close of the year 1841, Mr Gregory produced his 
" Collection of Examples of the Processes of the Differential 
and Integral Calculus;" a work which required, and which 
manifests much research, and an extensive acquaintance with 
mathematical writings. He had at first only wished to super- 
intend the publication of a second edition of the work with a 
similar title, which appeared more than twenty-five years 
since, and of which Messrs Herschel, Peacock, and Babbage, 
were the authors. Difficulties, however, arose, which pre- 
vented the fulfilment of this wish, and it is not perhaps to be 
regretted that Mr Gregory was thus led to undertake a more 
original design. It is well known that the earlier work exer- 
cised a great and beneficial influence on the studies of the 
University, nor was it in any way unworthy of the reputation 
of its authors. The original matter contributed by Sir John 
Herschel is especially valuable. Nevertheless, the progress 
which mathematical science has since made, rendered it desir- 
able that another work of the same kind should be produced, 

Memoir of Mr Gregory. 229 

in which the more recent improvements of the calculus might 
be embodied. 

Since the beginning of the century, the general aspect of 
mathematics has greatly changed. A different class of pro- 
blems from that which chiefly engaged the attention of the 
great writers of the last age has arisen, and the new re- 
quirements of natural philosophy have greatly influenced the 
progress of pure analysis. The mathematical theories of heat, 
light, electricity, and magnetism, may be fairly regarded as 
the achievement of the last fifty years. And in this class of 
researches an idea is prominent, which comparatively occurs but 
seldom in purely dynamical enquiries. This is the idea of dis- 
continuity. Thus, for instance, in the theory of heat, the con- 
ditions relating to the surface of the body whose variations of 
temperature we are considering, form an essential and peculiar 
element of the problem ; their peculiarity arises from the dis- 
continuity of the transition from the temperature of the body 
to that of the space in which it is placed. Similarly, in the 
undulatory theory of light, there is much difficulty in deter- 
mining the conditions which belong to the bounding surfaces 
of any portion of ether ; and although this difficulty has, in 
the ordinary applications of the theory, been avoided by the 
introduction of proximate principles, it cannot be said to have 
been got rid of. 

The power, therefore, of symbolizing discontinuity, if such 
an expression may be permitted, is essential to the progress 
of the more recent applications of mathematics to natural 
philosophy, and it is well known that this power is intimately 
connected with the theory of definite integrals. Hence the 
principal importance of this theory, which was altogether 
passed over in the earlier collection of examples. 

Mr Gregory devoted to it a chapter of his work, and noticed 
particularly some of the more remarkable applications of de- 
finite integrals to the expression of the solutions of partial 
differential equations. It is not improbable that in another 
edition he would have developed this subject at somewhat 
greater length. He had long been an admirer of Fourier's 
great work on heat, to which this part of mathematics owes 
so much ; and once, while turning over its pages, remarked to 

230 Memoir of Mr Gregory. 

the writer, — " All these things seem to me to be a kind of 
mathematical paradise." 

In 1841, the mathematical Professorship at Toronto was 
•offered to Mr Gregory : this, however, circumstances induced 
him to decline. Some years previously he had been a candi- 
-date for the Mathematical Chair at Edinburgh. 

His year of office as moderator ended in October 1842. In 
the University examination for mathematical honours in the 
following January, he, however, in accordance with the usual 
routine, took a share, with the title of examiner, — a position 
little less important, and very nearly as laborious, as that of 
moderator. Besides these engagements in the University, he 
had been for two or three years actively employed in lecturing 
and examining in the College of which he was a fellow. In 
the fulfilment of these duties, he shewed an earnest and con- 
stant desire for the improvement of his pupils, and his own 
love of science tended to diffuse a taste for it among the better 
order of students. He had for some time meditated a work 
on Finite Differences, and had commenced a treatise on Solid 
Geometry, which, unhappily, he did not live to complete. 
In the midst of these various occupations, he felt the earliest 
approaches of the malady which terminated his life. 

The first attack of illness occurred towards the close of 
1842. It was succeeded by others, and in the spring of 1843, 
he left Cambridge never to return again. He had just before 
taken part in a college examination, and, notwithstanding se- 
vere suffering, had gone through the irksome labour of ex- 
amining with patient energy and undiminished interest. 

Many months followed of almost constant pain. Whenever 
an interval of tolerable ease occurred, he continued to interest 
himself in the pursuits to which he had been so long devoted ; 
he went on with the work on geometry, and, but a little while 
before his death, commenced a paper on the analogy of diffe- 
rential equations and those in finite differences. This analogy 
it is known that he had developed to a great length ; unfor- 
tunately, only a portion of his views on the subject can now 
be ascertained. 

At length, on the 23d February 1844, after sufferings, on 
which, notwithstanding the admirable patience with which 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers, 231 

they were borne, it would be painful to dwell, his illness ter- 
minated in death. He had been for a short time aware that 
the end was at hand, and, with an unclouded mind, he pre- 
pared himself calmly and humbly for the great change ; re- 
ceiving and giving comfort and support from the thankful hope 
that the close of his suffering life here, was to be the beginning 
of an endless existence of rest and happiness in another world. 
He retained to the last, when he knew that his own connection 
with earthly things was soon to -cease, the unselfish interest 
which he had ever felt in the pursuits and happiness of those 
he loved. 

A few words may be allowed about a character where rare 
and sterling qualities were combined. His upright, sincere, 
and honourable nature* secured to him general respect. By 
his intimate friends, he was admired for the extent and va- 
riety of his information, always communicated readily, but 
without a thought of display, — for his refinement and delicacy 
of taste and feeling, — for his conversational powers and play- 
ful wit ; and he was beloved by them for his generous, amiable 
disposition, his active and disinterested kindness, and steady 
affection. And in this manner his high-toned character ac- 
quired a moral influence over his contemporaries and juniors, 
in a degree remarkable in one so early removed. 

To this brief history, little more is to be added ; for though 
it is impossible not to indulge in speculations as to all that 
Mr Gregory might have done in the cause of science and for 
his own reputation, had his life been prolonged, yet such 
speculations are necessarily too vague to find a place here ; 
and even were it not so, it would perhaps be unwise to enter 
on a subject so full of sources of unavaiHng regret. 

Sixth Letter on Glaciers, Addressed to the Right. Hon. 
Earl Cathcart. 

(Communicated by Professor Forbes.) 

Rome, Feb. 5. 1844. 
My Lord, — In a letter which I addressed to you on the 
29th ult., I gave some account of the few new observations 

232 Professor Forbes's ^ixth Letter on Glaciers. 

which untoward circumstances permitted me to make, last 
autumn, upon the glaciers of Switzerland and Savoy. I have, 
however, had leisure to reflect maturely upon the theory of 
glaciers, which I have been occupied for two years in endea- 
vouring to mature ; and, without pretending to find in it a 
complete solution of every problem which might be proposed 
respecting these wonderful bodies, I am perfectly satisfied that 
it is fundamentally conformable to the laws by which they are 
governed. Some new analogies, to which your Lordship has 
referred in your last letter, such as that between glaciers and 
lava streams, may serve to render the subject more popu- 
larly intelligible ; and in explaining them, I may have an 
opportunity of removing, in some degree, the difficulties which 
have arisen in the minds of candid and intelligent persons, 
who have studied this theory for the first time — difficulties 
which would probably disappear of themselves by a more pro- 
longed attention. 

I have not had the advantage of seeing the eruption of 
Etna, to which your Lordship alludes, which was indeed over 
before I arrived at Naples, and of which I did not even hear 
for a considerable time after ; so small is the sensation which 
such events excite in the country. I have, however, had an 
opportunity — probably not less favourable, though far less 
imposing — of studying the mechanism of plastic lava, in the 
small currents which, during the months of November and 
December, were very frequently flowing from mouths 7vithin 
the crater of Vesuvius. On the SOth November, in particular, 
I descended to the bottom of the crater, in order to examine 
a current of very liquid lava, fifteen or twenty feet wide, which 
issued from a cavity near the foot of the small cone which 
occupied the centre of the crater, and from whose top (in the 
shape of an inverted funnel, or of a blast furnace) there issued 
smoke and flames,* occasionally accompanied by a discharge 

* I am able to add my distinct testimony to that of M. Pilla, as to 
the emission of Jiames by the crater of Vesuvius. I spent part of the 
evening of the 1st January on the top, and had not the least doubt that 
what I saw were actual flames, which issued from time to time from the 
orifices of the small cone, and which were of a pale colour, often inclin- 
ing to blue. 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 233 

of volcanic projectiles. The lava issued in a very steady rapid 
stream, and spread itself over a gentle declivity with a velo- 
city of not less, I think, than a foot per second. 

Admitting the plastic or viscous theory of glaciers, the 
resemblance to lava fails (1.), In respect of the great liquidity 
of the lava near its source ; (2.), From its very unequal rate of 
consolidation ; a crust being very soon formed upon the sur- 
face, which becoming more and more massive, the principle of 
fluidity is not uniformly distributed throughout the mass, as 
in the glacier, but a tolerably perfect fluid struggles with the 
increasing load of its ponderous crust, which it tears and rends 
by the mighty energy of hydrostatic pressure ; and here and 
there finding a freer exit far removed from its source, tosses 
high those mighty fragments of the stony arch which confined 
it into the wild shapes which strike the eye in crossing the 
wastes of a lava stream, and which seem at first incompatible 
with the fluid or semifluid principle of motion. This second 
circumstance, then, — the very unequal and rapid superficial 
consolidation of the lava near its source, — has no analogy in a 
glacier, nor even in a river, unless when breaking up a pon- 
derous crust of ice after a sudden thaw. The regulated pro- 
gression of the glacier, swiftest in its centre, and with a gra- 
duated retardation towards the sides, has a much more precise 
analogy to that of a river than the lava stream has, which 
is subdivided (when it has any considerable breadth) into many 
little currents, each rolling past, and being retarded by its 
more sluggish or already consolidated neighbour ; so that its 
surface resembles that of the bed of many torrents in the 
Alps, where the more solid matters, the rocks, stones, gravel, 
sand, and clay, trace out the form of a sluggish mass propelled 
downwards by gravity, whilst its surface is seamed by the 
trickling of innumerable rills of water, charged with the more 
portable materials which have been washed down, or squeezed 
from the general mass. 

There are other circumstances, however, in which the ana- 
logy of the glacier with the lava stream is more complete ; 
and of these I shall observe — 

I. That the cracks of the dark-coloured slag on the surface 
of the liquid lava, as it spreads itself abroad, on issuing from 

234 Professor Forbes' s Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 

the fiery mouth, are radiated exactly as those of a glacier 
under similar circumstances, and which I have represented in 
the margin as I saw them on Vesuvius, the lines of fissure 

/ ' 




Fissures in the Crust of Lava during Crystallization. 

being marked by the liquid fire shining through. A perfect 
analogy here exists with the phenomena of radiating fissures 
in ice, which I first described in the glacier of the Rhone, and 
afterwards in the ice of the Gl. du Talefre, where it joins the 
Gl. de Lechaud, in the Gl. of Arolla, and very many other 

II. That the slags, where solidified, presented striae or 
ripple-marks along their surface, parallel to the direction of 
the " ribboned structure" of glacier ice, i. e.^ inclining slightly 
from the sides towards the centre of the current, in the direc- 
tion in which the current is moving. These striae, or ripple- 
marks, which have a striking analogy in certain cases of the 
retarded movement of rivers, are carefully to be distinguished, 
on the one hand, from the cracks or flawsy and, on the other, 
from the direction of motion of the fluid particles.* 

III. When, at some distance from the source, the lava be- 
came viscid and tenacious, and forced itself, in streamlets of 
a pasty consistence, through the interstices of its slag, thence 
it became streaky and drawn out, in the direction last men- 
tioned, as molten glass does in the hands of the workman. 

* A long accidental delay in the printing of this letter enables me to 
add, that I have found in the lavas of Etna a yet far more perfect ana- 
logy to the veined structure of glaciers than that described in the text. 
It is, indeed, so completely developed as to leave no doubt as to the 
identity of origin. Aug. 1844. 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 235 

IV. But there is a more striking analogy to the ribboned 
structure of glacier ice, to be found in lava currents at a dis- 
tance from their origin, and where by any circumstance their 
surface has been broken up, and their internal structure ex- 
posed. In the Fossa della Vetrana, for instance, and other 
places, I have found the lava divided into thin layers parallel 
to the interior of the surface of the channel through which it 
flowed, evidently produced by the adhesion or retardation 
which the soil exerted upon its adjoining film of lava, and the 
successive portions of lava upon one another, in proportion as 
the semifluid mass, rolling upon its own particles (or rather 
sliding imperfectly over them), produced a solution of con- 
tinuity and a series of shells, parallel in direction to the bed 
upon which the whole rests. The thickness of these shells 
varies from one-third of an inch upwards. I have never, how- 
ever, observed a structure in the interior of the lava except 
that parallel to the sides and bottom of the canal in which it 
moves; nothing, in short, corresponding to the fro?ital dip in 
glaciers. But this is quite natural and conformable to the 
very different constitution of a glacier ; and, in particular, it 
corresponds to the fact so often urged as a difficulty to the 
semifluid theory of glaciers, namely, the want of ductility or 
tenacity of their parts. It is that fragility precisely, which, 
yielding to the hydrostatic pressure of the unfrozen water con- 
tained in the countless capillaries of the glacier, produces the 
crushing action which shoves the ice over its neighbour par- 
ticles and leaves a bruise, within which the infiltrated water 
finally freezes and forms a blue vein. In the lava, on the other 
hand, where the tenacity is great, the discontinuity, if pro- 
duced at all, is soldered up by the plasticity of the parts, whose 
small crystalHne structure farther tends to obliterate the se- 
paration. The layers just mentioned, parallel to the bed, 
are perhaps produced by the successive adhesion of warmer 
streams of lava to the colder parts already deposited, and, con- 
sequently, their analogy to the glacier structure must not be 
pushed farther than as shewing the directions of the tendency 
to separation of a very viscid stream, powerfully retarded by 
its bed. It is the congealing of the lava which makes its 
adhesion to the- sides great enough, and its own fluidity small 

236 Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 

enough, to bear a comparison with the far less ductile body 
of a glacier. In the heart of the mass where the same intes- 
tinal motions take place (as I have shewn conclusively by 
using coloured layers of plastic matter in the models formerly 
exhibited to the Royal Society), the displaced particles re- 
unite and consolidate into a homogeneous mass without any 
trace of dislocation.* 

V. The convexity or concavity of a semifluid stream like a 
current of lava or of a glacier, depends entirely upon the re- 
lations or conditions in which it is placed. Upon the same 
slope, a fluid of one degree of consistence will run off in a con- 
cave stream, whilst a more viscid one, which must accumulate 
in thickness, in order to overcome the resistance in front (just 
as water which meets a sudden obstacle), rises into a convex 
curve. This is perfectly seen in the case of a substance like 
plaster of Paris, mingled with water, whose consistence may be 
varied at pleasure, and a stream of which may be made either 
concave or convex, or concave at its origin and convex at its 
termination, as is the case with a glacier. The evidence 
on this subject, afforded by the models formerly laid before 
the Royal Society, is so complete and conclusive, that, how- 
ever interesting it might be to put into a mathematical form 
the relations of the constants of the effect of gravity, the vis- 
cosity of the body, and the retardation of the sides, as affect- 
ing the form of the surface, it is sufficient for my present pur- 
pose to appeal to facts so familiar, and experiments so easy, 
that their evidence may well be preferred to the more casual 
and embarrassed case of lava streams, which, as I have already 
observed, are seldom or never to be regarded, on a great scale, 
as simple moving masses. I may, however, add, that when the 
inclination is small the surface is convex, at a certain distance 
from the origin. 

* The following passage from M. Dufrenoy's Account of Vesuvius, is 
interesting, if it were only as recording his remark, that the variation of 
velocity in different parts of a stream must produce longitudinal striae. 
" La plupart des coulees presentent des bandes longitudinales assez paral- 
leles entre elles ; ces larges stries saillantes sur la surface sont les traces 
du mouvement de la lave qui ne s'avance pas d'une seule piece, mais 
par bandes paralle'les." Sur les Environs de Naples, p. 324. 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 237 

VI. There is a circumstance attendant on the motion of 
lava streams, which has struck several geologists, before the 
viscous theory of glaciers had been proposed — I mean the ex- 
istence of moraines. The moraines of lava are best seen in 
the more defined and united lava streams on rather a small 
scale, — those, in short, which have the unity and character of 
a proper stream, moving at once in its various parts. The 
moraine is composed of stranded masses of lava crust, thrown 
aside by the liquid fiery stream, and partly, perhaps, of the 
yielding matter of the bed of the stream pressed outwards and 
upwards by the hydrostatic pressure of the centre. The for- 
mer is chiefly, perhaps, the case when streams of tolerably 
fluid lava flow down a steep inclination, as on the exterior of 
the cone of Vesuvius ; the latter, when the inclination is small 
and the weight of accumulated lava great. The igneous mo- 
raines, though noticed by various geologists, are most em- 
phatically described by M. Elie de Beaumont, in his masterly 
memoir on Etna, in the following w^ords : — '' Une des circon- 
stances que les coulees de lave presentent le plus invariable- 
ment toutes les fois qu'elles ont parcouru des talus o^ elles 
pouvaient acquerir une certaine vitesse, caracteres que j'ai ob- 
serves sur toutes sortes de pentes depuis 33° jusqu'^ 2° et quo 
je n'ai cesse d' observer que 1^ o\i les coulees se sont arreteea 
faute de pente, consiste en ce que chaque coulee est flanqu^e 
de part et d'autre par une digue de scories accumulees qui 
rappelle par sa forme la moraine d' un glacier ; digue qui s'eleve 
constamment ^ une hauteur sup^rieure a celle ^ laquelle la coulee 
est reduite a la fin du mouvement, et qui marque le maximum 
de hauteur qu'*elle a atteint dans le moment de son plus grand 
gonflement. Souvent aussi les coulees presentent de pareilles 
digues vers leur milieu, lorsqu' elles sont partagees en plusieurs 
courants distincts coulant Tun ^ cote de Fautre."* 

VII. The termination of a lava stream on a level or slightly 
inclined surface due to its increasing viscidity, presents ap- 
pearances almost identical with those of a glacier. The same 
protuberant convexity of surface, the same steeply-inclined 

* E. de Beaumont Recherches sur le Mont Etna, p. 184. 

238 Professor Forbes' s Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 

sides and front, and nearly the same ground-plan, all bespeak 
a similarity in the circumstances of motion. I may add, that 
in some experiments which I made some years ago upon the 
flowing of melted iron in narrow channels, and upon small 
slopes, with a view to illustrate some phenomena of lava 
streams, before I had commenced a particular study of gla- 
ciers, I arrived at similar results, and obtained the same con- 
vexity of surface which is produced in the plaster models be- 
fore cited. 

It is very interesting to observe how many intelligent per- 
sons have been struck with the similarity between glaciers and 
lava streams, without, however, pushing the parallel beyond 
a general resemblance. M. Elie de Beaumont, we have seen, 
speaks of the moraines of volcanoes ; but in various parts of 
his writings, as well as those of his colleague, M. Dufrenoy, we 
find the mention of glaciers as continually suggested to his 
mind w-hen surveying the wastes of Etna and Vesuvius. One 
of these passages is the following : *' L'ecorce superieure d'une 
coulee separee de l'ecorce inferieure et du sol sousjacent par 
une certaine epaisseur de lave liquide ou du moins visqueuse, 
se trouve dans un etat comparable ^ celui d'un glacier, qui, 
ne pouvant adherer au sol sousjacent a cause de la fusion 
continuelle de sa couche inferieure, se trouve contraint h. 
glisser ;"* shewing that the author then adopted the theory 
of Saussure (since ably defended by Mr Hopkins), in which the 
fusion of the ice by the heat of the earth, might be said, in 
some sense, to jfoat down the superincumbent solid ; an opinion 
best controverted by the fact which M. E. de Beaumont has 
since clearly brought into notice, that under existing circum- 
stances such fusion is perfectly insignificant.f 

The writer of a popular Italian guide-book, Mrs Starke, is 
perhaps one of the first who indicated the striking general 
resemblance of a stream of lava to a glacier. She describes 
the former (which she saw during a small eruption of Vesuvius) 
as " rolling, wave after wave, slowly down the mountain with 

* Recherches sur I'Etna, p. 177. 

t Annales des Sciences G^ologiques par Riviere, 

Professor Forbes' s ^ixth Letter on Glaciers. 239 

the same noise, (?) and in the same manner, as the melting 
glaciers roll into the valley of Chamouni ; indeed, this awful 
and extraordinary scene would have brought to mind the base 
of the Montanvert, had it not been for the crimson glare and 
excessive heat of the surrounding scoriae."* 

Mr Auldjo, the author of a Narrative of an Ascent of Mount 
Blanc, and therefore acquainted with the appearance of gla- 
ciers, has renewed Mrs Starke'^s comparison in very similar ex- 
pressions, in a work more recently published upon Mount 
Vesuvius. Captain Basil Hall has, if I mistake not, in more 
than one part of his writings suggested the picturesque ana- 
logy of volcanoes and icy mountains, the cradle of glaciers. 

We have seen how far there is a real analogy between the 
mechanism of these two terrible scourges of Almighty power 
— the ice-flood and the fire-flood, both of which invade the 
homes and the labours of man, with a force alike irresistible. 
But to render the analogy more than apparent or poetical, i^ 
was required that several difficulties, very obvious, and seem- 
ingly insuperable, should be removed ; and the chief of these 
was the texture of ice compared to the texture of lava — the 
former passing from a brittle solid into limpid fluid by heat, 
the latter passing like sealing-wax through every intermediate 
degree of viscidity. This difficulty could only be met by an 
exact determination of the question — Of how far a glacier is 
to be regarded as a plastic mass % Were a glacier composed 
of a solid crystalline cake of ice, fitted or moulded to the 
mountain bed which it occupies, like a lake tranquilly frozen, 
it would seem impossible to admit such a flexibility or yielding 
of parts as should permit any comparison to a fluid or semi- 
fluid body, transmitting pressure horizontally, and whose parts 
might change their mutual position, so that one part should 
be pushed out whilst another remained behind. But we know, 
in point of fact, that a glacier is a body very diff*erently con- 
stituted. It is clearly proved by the experiments of Agassiz 
and others, that the glacier is not a mass of ice, but of ice and 

* Starke's Travels. French edit., p. 311. 


240 Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 

water ; the latter percolating freely through the crevices of 
the former, to all depths of the glacier ; and as it is matter of 
ocular demonstration that these crevices, though very minute^ 
communicate freely with one another to great distances, the 
water with which they are filled communicates force also to 
great distances, and exercises a tremendous hydrostatic pres- 
sure to move onwards in the direction in which gravity urges 
it, the vast, porous^ crackling mass of seemingly rigid ice, in 
which it is, as it were, bound up. 

But farther than this, the experiments first announced in 
the earliest of these letters, shewed, that whatever be the con- 
stitution of a glacier, and whatever be the cause of its motion, 
THE FACT IS, that it does not move like a solid body sliding 
down a bed or channel, but that the velocity of each part of 
its breadth is different. It was demonstrated by the most 
clear and plain geometrical measurements, that whilst the 
Centre of a glacier moves 500 feet, the side of the glacier moves 
only 300 ; consequently, the portions of ice which started to- 
gether soon part company, and the central molecule has com- 
pleted its course, or arrived in the lower valley, whilst the 
other, which was its companion, has advanced only three-fifths 


^ d 


a g 


c , e 

h f 

of the distance, or remains perhaps several miles behind. 
Thus it has been shewn from multiplied measurements of the 
most precise and accordant kind, that a series of stones or 
marks being supposed to be laid across a glacier in the line 
ABCDEFG ; they will be found, after a certain time, in the 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 241 

position abcdefg, after other equal intervals at a'Uc'd'e'fg', and 
at a!'h"d'd"e"f"g'\ by which time it will be seen that the neigh- 
bour particles have entirely changed their relative positions, 
and that the mass can have no pretension to be called rigid, 
but moulds itself after the manner that a fluid or semifluid 
body does in like circumstances, the centre advancing fastest, 
and, for some space in the centre, nearly uniformly, whilst the 
retardation produced by the friction of the banks is most in- 
tense in their neighbourhood ; which is conformable to what 
we know of the movement of viscous fluids. It is, therefore, 
no hypothesis, but a simple statement of a demonstrated fact, 
that the manner of movement of the surface of a glacier is not 
such as is consistent with the continuity of a rigid body, hut 
that it coincides with the manner of motion of a viscous or semi- 
fluid body, "Whatever may be the difiiculty of conceiving the 
glacier to be a body thus constituted, the fact admits of no 
doubt ; — the effects of forces applied on a great scale to bodies, 
are the best and only conclusive proofs of their real constitu- 
tion, and worth all molecular theories and minute experiments 
put together. 

If a body be really of a ]pasty consistence, ductile and plas- 
tic like lava or tar, such transpositions taking place in the 
interior of the mass are effected without any injury to the 
texture or continuity of the substance. With a degree less 
of plasticity, a violent separation of the parts may take place, 
but they will, by juxtaposition, soon reunite and take a new 
set. With a degree more of rigidity, there must be a per- 
manent bruising and rending of the parts, in order that a 
semi-rigid body may assimilate all in its movements to a 
fluid. It must, therefore, be considered as entirely confirma- 
tory and explanatory of the preceding statements of the seem- 
ing plasticity of a body so fragile in its elements as pure ice, 
that the ice of glaciers is found rent in many parts by the 
forces tending to dislocation, and that, besides, it contains 
within itself a testimony to the internal partial movements by 
which its total motion is effected, in the veined structure al- 
ready alluded to, occasioned by the varying velocity of the 
Adjacent icy strips k. a d d\ B 6 U b\ &c. This structure 
is jQot exactly parallel to the direction of motion of the ice, 

242 Professor Forbes' s Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 

for reasons which I have elsewhere stated, but which need 
not now be adverted to. My present object is to shew, that 
the rigidity of ice, as a physical fact, cannot contradict the 
mathematical evidence of the manner in which glaciers do 
move, and that the seeming contradiction is reconciled by 
shewing, that the ice bears permanent traces of the violent 
strain to which it is subjected, and of the actual bruising and 
disseverment of its parts, producing a phenomenon otherwise 
impossible to be explained. 

I believe that it is during the progress of the glacier thus 
subjected to a new and peculiar set of forces depending upon 
gravity, and which remodel its internal constitution, by sub- 
stituting hard blue ice, in the form of veins, for its previous 
snowy texture, that the horizontal stratification observed in 
the higher part of the glacier or neve^ is gradually obliter- 

If, as we cannot doubt, the slower motion of the glacier 
near its sides be owing to the retardation which their exces- 
sive friction occasions, there must necessarily be a retardation 
at the bottom in a similar manner, and the surface of the 
glacier will move faster than the strata in contact with the 
ground ; to which it is even supposable, that, in some cases, 
they may be entirely frozen. This retardation may, perhaps, 
be less than the lateral retardation, because the slope of the 
valley in which the glacier lies is probably more even, gene- 
rally speaking, than its breadth is regular. In fact, so great 
is the irregularity of the ground-plan of any compound valley, 
— so frequent the interfering ridges or promontories, the bays 
formed by adjoining tributary valleys, — and so numerous the 
gorges or contractions, — that we cannot so properly call the 
lateral resistance to the onward motion of a glacier, friction, 
but rather a direct opposition to the exit of a solid body, 
which renders its plasticity absolutely essential to its progres- 
sion. Nevertheless, the inferior slope of the glacier bed being 
also irregular, and its friction great, must cause a retardation 
in the lower strata of ice, which must be continually over- 
taken by the superior ones : and this appears to me to be so 
plain and necessary a consequence of the combination of facts 
which we have to consider, that perhaps the direct proof of it 

Professor Forbes's Sixth Letter on Glaciers. 243 

would not repay the labour which it would involve, which 
would be of the most serious kind ; — for we must not expect 
to find the difference of velocity apparent in the superficial 
strata, even to a considerable depth, since we know that the 
retardation is a maximum near the sides and bottom, and that, 
for the same reason, the motion of all the central part of a 
glacier is nearly uniform, so will the motion of all the part of 
the ice near the surface be nearly uniform. 

These considerations suggest the explanation of a difficulty, 
kindly suggested to me by a most competent judge, who ex- 
pressed himself at the same time persuaded of the truth of 
the viscous theory of glaciers. '• How comes it, that, if the 
motion of the diff'erent parts of a glacier diminishes from the 
surface to the bottom, the ' trou de sonde' or bore^ 140 feet 
deep, made by M. Agassiz in the glacier of the Aar, is stated 
to have remained vertical for a period of many weeks ?" In 
the first place, the fact of the verticality requires confirma- 
tion ; for it is difficult to understand how, by means of a plum- 
met, a hole 140 feet deep, and only 3 or 4 inches in diameter, 
could have its verticality tested. Such bores, so far as I 
have seen them, are more or less twisted, owing to the softness 
of the material, and the method of working ; and it seems 
beyond all probability, that a hole of such a depth construct- 
ed in the ordinary way, should be either mathematically 
straight or vertical. I apprehend that the verticality alluded 
to by M. Agassiz, or his coadjutors, is merely that of popular 
language, indicated by the boring rods standing vertically 
outwards when plunged into the hole, which, on account of 
their flexibility, would not be an indication of the verticality 
of more than the upper twenty or thirty feet of the bore at the 

* Since this passage was written, I have had an opportunity of refer- 
ring to the description of the experiments of Agassiz in the Biblioihique 
Univ^rselle j and I find that there is no evidence whatever of the con- 
tinued verticality of the bore of 140 feet, which existed (to that depth), 
I believe, but a few days ; the observations of continued verticality, 
such as they are, applied to small bores only, not exceeding 25 or 30 feet, 
which, of course, greatly increases the force of the reasoning^ in the text. 
Aug. 1844. 

244 Professor Forbes's Seventh Letter on Glaciers. 

But, even setting aside this important consideration, the 
principle of the variation of velocity being chiefly confined to 
the neighbourhood of the sides and bottom, and the compara- 
tively quiescent and passive state of the central and super- 
ficial part, seem sufficient to explain the facts within the rea- 
sonable limits of error. The depth of 140 feet appears, from 
M. Agassiz's own observations, not to exceed one sixth, at 
most, of the depth of the glacier of the Aar in that part. 
Now, let ABC, &c., represent points in the vertical section 
of the glacier ; then, from all that we know of the superficial 

motion of glaciers, or of the parallel case of rivers whose 
velocity has been ascertained at diff'erent depths, the veloci- 
ties will vary in some such manner as A a, B 6, C c, &c., — the 
variation being scarcely sensible at first, and very rapid at 
the bottom, where the velocity may even be zero, if the curve 
be prolonged to the point h. But, supposing G to be the 
bottom of the glacier, it will be seen how insignificant may be 
expected to be the variation of velocity between A, the sur- 
face, and B, one-sixth of the depth, during the short period of 
a few weeks, or even months. I have the honour to be, &c. 

Seventh Letter on Glaciers, — On the Veined Structure of the 
Ice. Addressed to the Rev. Dr Whewell, Master of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. By Professor Forbes. 

Salerno, May 18. 1844. 
* * * ***** 

You object that the shells produced by the rupture of the 
parts of the ice caused by excessive friction, should be all 
parallel to the sides and bottom of the trough of the glacier, 
instead of being inclined from the sides inwards and forwards 
towards the centre, as in Fig. 1, 

Professor Forbes''s Seventh Letter on Glaciers* 245 

Fig. 1. 



and from the bottom upwards and forwards, as in Fig. 2. 
You will find that I have endeavoured to explain this in the 
last chapter of my book of Travels ; but not having it by me, 
I cannot refer you to the particular passages. The point in 
question is undoubtedly the least obvious and most difficult 
part of the theory ; but as I have no doubt of its exactness, it 
will have a proportionate weight in deciding in its favour the 
opinion of persons accustomed to mechanical theories. It 
would be difficult to bring it home to the apprehension of 
ordinary readers ; and, for this reason, I have dwelt upon it, 
perhaps, too shortly in the chapter alluded to. 

You will readily admit, that if I shall demonstrate separate 
reasons for the existence of each of the structures figured 
above, (the first a plan, the second a section), the result will 
be the spoon-shaped structure which I have shewn to exist in 

(1.) The tearing asunder of the particles of the glacier, 
owing to the friction of the sides is, nearly, but not quite, pa- 
rallel to the sides ; for this reason, that the lines of greatest 
strain are determined, not merely by the force of gravitation 
which urges the particles forwards, but there is a drag to- 
wards the centre of the stream, in consequence of the greater 
velocity there. 

Let A B be the side of 
the glacier, whilst the par- 
ticle a moves to a', the cen- 
tral particle h moves to h\ 
b' which, owing to the cohe- 
- /S sive bond between a and h 
must produce a strain ob- 
lique to the axis of the 

Fig. 3. 

' ^K 

246 Professor Forbes's Seventh Letter on Glaciers. 

Or view the matter thus — the movement of the ice stream 
(considered just now solely as respects its surface), is eifected 
against a varying resistance. The line of particles in the 
direction a a presents a greater force of opposition to the 
movement of the particle a, than the line of particles b (3 pre- 
sents to the movement of b. This is owing to the lateral 
friction acting more powerfully in retarding the first than the 
second ; consequently the virtual w3i\\ of the glacier, or plane 
of complete resistance, will be no longer A B, but inclined 
(for the particle a) in the direction A' B'. 

If this reasoning require support from experiment, it is 
easily had. I have described, in a foot note to my last chapter, 
the experiment of dusting powder upon a moving viscous 
stream ; and our friend Heath has now a specimen of the 
result, shewing the lines of separation in the direction I have 
stated. The same is remarkably shewn in the case of a stream 
of water ; for instance, a mill-race. Although the movement 
of the water, as shewn by floating bodies, is exceedingly nearly 
(for small velocities, sensibly) parallel to the sides ; yet the 
variation of speed from the side to the centre of the stream 
occasions a ripple or molecular discontinuity, which inclines 
forward from the sides to the centre of the stream at an angle 
with the axis, depending on the ratio of the central and lateral 
velocities. The veined structure of the ice corresponds to 
the ripple of the water, a molecular discontinuity whose mea- 
sure is not comparable to the actual velocity of the ice ; and, 
therefore, the general movement of the glacier, as indicated 
by the moraines, remains sensibly parallel to the sides.* 

(2.) If I have explained myself distinctly as respects the 
fissures produced by lateral friction, there will be little diffi- 
culty in applying the same reasoning to the resistance of the 
frontal dip, exhibited in the second figure of this letter. When 
a fluid, or semi-fluid, is very viscous, there is a great resistance 
to its onward motion in the direction which gravity and the 

* have lately identified completely the planes of separation in the 
laya streams of Etna, which correspond perfectly to those of the glacier, 
being nearly vertical at the slides, and directed slightly towards the 
centre of the stream. 

Professor Forbes' s Seventh Letter on Glaciers. 


fall of the bed prescribes. Let L M be the surface, N O 
the bed of a glacier ; then the resolved force is usually con- 

Fig. \. 

sidered as acting on the particles m w, in the directions m m\ 
n n\ parallel to the bed. But if we reflect that, owing to the 
length of the glacier, and the toughness or consistency in its 
mass, the resistance of the line of particles nv is enormous, 
the plane of complete resistance N O will virtually be twisted 
in the direction N' 0', and the particle tends to be thrust /<?r- 
wards and upwards, which will evidently produce the frontal 

(3.) But there is a peculiarity in the vertical plane which 
did not exist in the horizontal one. In the case we first con- 
sidered, the veined structure exists almost entirely in the 
neighbourhood of the sides of the glacier, and is lost towards 
its centre, being due to the influence of friction, which varies 
with the distance from the side ; the central part, efg h 
(Fig. 1.), moving nearly uniformly, would cease to exhibit a 
linear arrangement. The completion of the curve is due to 
the influence of the curvilinear bottom, combined with the 
opposing mass of the glacier in front ; and this influence will 
extend to the very surface, as a little consideration will shew. 
For, resuming the construction of Fig. 4, since a vertical series 
of particles, m^ , , m^ (Fig. 5) are supposed to be acted on by a 
force partaking of the nature of hydrostatic pressure, derived 
from a great elevation, each particle is ready to move onward 

248 Professor Forbes's Seventh Letter on Glaciers. 

in the direction in which the effective pressure is greatest ; and 

it is plain, that, owing to the 
*^* ^* diminishing relation between 

the weight of the superincum- 
bent particles and the frontal 
resistance, the direction in 
which the particles will tend 
to slide over one another, or 
to produce rents, will ap- 
proach verticality at the sur- 
face, and on the whole will, 
therefore, tend to produce 
lines of discontinuity, such as 
(4.) Considering the glacier at different points of its length. 

Fig. 6. 

it is evident, by similar reasoning, that near the region of 
the neve a the frontal dip will be all but vertical, because 
there the horizontal resistance is enormous ; whilst at the 
lower end b, where it tends to vanish, the shells will tend to 
parallelism with the bed. It is needless to add, that the 
relative movements of the particles over one another, produ- 
cing discontinuity, are not to be confounded with their abso- 
lute motions in the glacier, exactly as under head (1.) I must 
however, observe, that as the tendency of any particle due to 
the hydrostatic pressure will be to describe ultimately the 
whole curve N m^ M within the glacier, this may account 
for some of the facts, or supposed facts, which indicate a ten- 
dency in the ice to expel bodies engaged in it, as well as the 
convexity of the glacier at all times, and its remarkable rise 
of surface during winter. 

Lastly, The ablation of the surface of the glacier during its 

Dr de Tschudi on the Ancient Peruvians. 249 

descent from a to 6, (Fig. 6.) will tend continually to give the 
observed elongated forms of the superficial bands, by cutting 
the shells of structure obliquely. 

I remain, my Dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

James D. Forbes. 

To the Rev. Dr Whewell. 

On the Ancient Peruvians, By Dr J. J. de Tschudi * 

Communicated by the Ethnological Society. 

During a stay of five years in Peru, spent for the most part 
in the interior of that remarkable country, I devoted as much 
of my time as I could spare from my studies in Natural His- 
tory to the investigation of the condition, past and present, of 
the aboriginal inhabitants. In the course of these researches 
I collected many facts connected with their history and man- 
ners. I have thoroughly examined more than eighty ruins of 
Indian villages, with, perhaps, half that number of tombs. I 
have seen and desciibed many of their relics, and have brought 
to Europe ten mummies of different ages and sexes (six others 
are still expected) ; and more than thirty skulls of Indians are 
lying before me, the most beautiful collection that has ever 
been obtained from that part of America. 

I shall, probably, at some other time have the pleasure of 
bringing before the Ethnological Society my researches on the 
great migrations of the nations of the northern division of the 
New World, together with my views on the different tribes and 
races : for the present I shall communicate a few general re- 
marks only. 

The greater part of the old Indian villages in the Sierras of 
Peru, are situated on steril heights, conical turreted hills, 
summits of mountains or narrow ridges, and on an eastern 
exposure. The choice of this latter situation was determined 
by their religion. It was, in fact, natural that the Indians, 
who considered their kings to be the offspring of the sun, which 
they adored as their primary divinity, should have chosen, for 
the sites of their toAvns and villages, positions from which they 

* Read before the Society, 1844. 

250 Dr de Tschudi on the Ancient Peruvians, 

could see and adore the god at his first appearance above the 
horizon. To this practice, which in some provinces was very 
rigidly followed, they sacrificed much of their comfort, as they 
were not only exposed to violent and icy winds, but also found 
themselves on points totally deprived of water, which, in some 
cases, had therefore to be brought from a distance of two or 
three miles. This explains why we find in certain ruins of 
Indian villages, especially such as are situated at a distance from 
springs or brooks, so great a number of water-pots of all sizes, 
forms, and materials. In these pots the indispensable fluid 
was fetched from a distance on the backs of Llamas. I found 
the same custom still subsisting among the Indians. 

In all large villages, where the ground permitted, a great 
central square was formed, from which very regular streets 
frequently branched off in all directions. The structure of 
the houses is extremely varied. Close to the largest palaces, 
having from twenty to twenty-five windows in front, are the 
smallest, narrowest, and poorest cottages. Stones and cement 
are almost everywhere the usual building material ; but near 
the coast, on the western side of the Cordilleras, larger edi- 
fices of bricks are found, and called by the Indians Ticacuna. 
In the districts of Tunin and Ayacucho, I have seen large 
villages consisting of tower-like buildings of a very peculiar 
structure. Every house is round or quadrangular, the inner 
diameter being about 6 feet. The walls are from 18 inches 
to 2 feet thick, and the height of the whole building seldom 
exceeds 20 feet. The entrance opens towards the east or the 
south, and is, at the utmost, 2 feet high. Having crawled in, 
we find ourselves in a space of about 6 feet across, and of 
equal height. The walls are rude and bare, but in them are 
deep holes, which must once have served as cupboards, as we 
still find in them very frequently maize, corn, small pots, &c. 
No window enlightens the space. The roofs of these rooms 
consist of several horizontal immured flagstones, which, in the 
middle, do not touch each other, but leave an open space 
about one foot and a half broad. By this opening we may 
ascend, and arrive, not without difficulty, at the second story, 
which is built in the same manner, but has generally some 
openings instead of windows. The roof is the same as the 

Dr de Tschudi on the Ancient Peruvians. 251 

lower one, and through it we come to the upper story, the 
roof of which forms that of the whole house, and consists of 
very solid masonry. The upper story is generally lower than 
the other, and probably served as a store-room. I once, how- 
ever, found in it the well-preserved mummy of a child. The 
family lived on the ground-floor. We can distinguish very 
clearly the place where they used to cook. The one imme- 
diately above was the sleeping-room ; a great flagstone is often 
found in it, which served to cover the opening. The old Indian 
fortification Hinckay is of entirely similar structure, though 
on a grander scale. I have felt very comfortable in these small 
and narrow dwellings ; they frequently protected me for hours 
from violent rain, after I had expelled a fox or a zorillo from 

I have often found in these houses the best preserved mum- 
mies and other antiquities. Only a small part of the dead 
were buried in tombs of masonry, in the so-called Huaca, or 
more correctly Aya-huaci (Dead house). Near the coast the 
bodies were laid, many together, in certain places in the sand ; 
in the mountains, however, in caves, in fissures of the rocks, 
or in their own houses. When the last was the case, I ob- 
served the following arrangement. Immediately below the 
surface, and only covered with a thin stratum of earth, the 
bodies are placed, more or less preserved, mostly, but not 
always, in a sitting posture. The head, in this case, is sup- 
ported by the hands, the elbows by the thighs, and all the 
fingers of each hand are tied together with a string, which, 
running across the neck, connects both hands. 

If we remove the bodies and clear away the second stratum 
of earth, we arrive at the domestic implements of the Indians, 
cooking and water-pots of clay, calabayos, huallcas, imple- 
ments of war and hunting. Below this stratum there followed 
the third and last, which contain the gods ; they are mostly 
made of clay, but sometimes also of silver and gold ; such 
idols have been found in different places, which contained from 
twenty-five to thirty pounds of the finest gold. 

On the eastern side of the Cordilleras, large huacas are 
very scarce ; but they are frequently met with in the coast 
districts of Peru. The mummies deposited in the fissures of 

252 Dr de Tschudi on the Ancient Peruvians, 

rocks cannot often be removed without extraordinary diffi- 
culty ; and it appears incomprehensible how the dead bodies, 
with all their muscles attached, could be forced into them. 
Most curious groups of mummies are found, which strongly 
excite our curiosity. One of the most interesting was dis- 
covered in the fortification Huickay mentioned above : — A 
woman in the act of delivery, in a sitting posture, presses with 
her knees forcibly against the back of a man, who is squatting 
before her, and keeps hold of his shoulders with her hands 
spasmodically contracted ; the head of the child is already 
born, but the trunk and extremities are still in the genitation 
of the mother. I intended to have sent this peculiar group to 
Europe, but in my absence it was destroyed by the brutality 
of a European. I found another group in which a child kept 
firmly hold of the nipple of the mother. Together with the 
mummies are frequently discovered skulls and skeletons of 
animals, especially of the mammiferous genera, canis,* felis 
(Felis onca, and concolor), lutra, mephitis, lagidium, anchenia ; 
of birds, condors, owls, ramphastidae, prittaci^e. With the 
mummies of children, which I dug out in the Palace of Tar- 
motambo, I found the specimens of a species of Arara, not 
natives of Peru, but only of the northern parts of South 
America. Of reptiles, the tortoise is the only one which was 
buried with the dead. I have never observed any remains 
either of Saurians or Ophidians. 

Regarding the skulls, I will here only mention one very sin- 
gular peculiarity. In the children of that part of the primi- 
tive inhabitants of Western South America, who were dis- 
tinguished by a flattened occiput, a bone is found between 
the two parietal bones, below the lambdoidal suture, separating 
the latter from the inferior margin of the squamous part of 
the occiput. This bone is of a triangular shape — its upper 
angle lies between the ossa parietalia, and its horizontal dia- 
meter is twice that of its vertical. It coalesces at very diffe- 
rent periods with the occipital bones, sometimes in the first 
month after birth, and sometimes not until after six or seven 

* I hope to shew in the second number of my Fauna Peruviana, that 
.the dog, Canis familiarisj was indigenous to Peru, and not introduced by 
the Spaniards. 

Dr de Tschudi on the Ancient Peruvians, 253 

years. In one skull belonging to a child about seven years 
old, with a very flat occiput, this line is separated by the most 
perfect suture from the squamous part of the occiput, and is 
4 inches broad and 2 inches high. In a more advanced age, 
it probably completely integrates with the rest of the skull. 
I have, however, perceived it in all the skulls of this class 
which I have examined. On a close scrutiny, we generally 
find traces of it in the linea semicircularis superior. 

This bone, which, in remembrance of the nation in which it 
is found, I call Os Incce^ corresponds entirely to the Os inter- 
parietalia of the Rodentia and Marsupialia. We know that it 
exists in these classes of mammalia through life — that it also 
occurs in the foetal state of several pachydermata, ruminantia, 
carnivora, &c. In the ordinary embryos of man, there are 
barely some traces in the first months, which, however, soon 
disappear. I think it, therefore, very curious that we should 
find so retarded a formation in a whole race of men, who have 
exhibited a very inferior degree of the intellectual faculties. 

I have just heard that Mr Bellamy, in a paper on Peruvian 
Mummies, read before the British Association on the 3d of 
August 1841, and printed in the Annals and Magazine of Na- 
tural History, October 1842, has already pointed out this pe- 
culiarity in the osseous structure, and I am much pleased to 
confirm his observations by the examination of more than a 
hundred of such skulls. 

I may, however, observe, that Mr Bellamy certainly did not 
obtain his mummy from the high plams of Peru, as in those 
districts there occurs no drift sand strongly impregnated with 
salt. In those plains the mummies are not found in any 
quantity at a short distance below the surface ; and, lastly, 
Captain Banckley, who could obtain any quantity of mummies 
at Arica, or some other seaport town, would certainly not have 
taken the trouble of fetching them from the high plains. Dr 
Bellamy is also too hasty in determining the race of the na- 
tion to which these skulls belonged, especially if he ascribe 
them to that nation, which is said to descend from Asiatics, 
who emigrated with Manco Capac. 

I transmit to the Society the drawing of a skull, which I 
dug out of the old Indian fortification Thrickay. It belongs 

254 Dr de Tsclmdi on the Ancient Peruvians. [ 

to one of the three typical races of the former inhabitants 
of Peru, and is not to be confounded with those figured by 
D'Orbigny under the denomination of Aymara. 

In the hope of throwing some new Hght on the question in 
dispute between Dr de Tschudi and Mr Bellamy, Dr King en- 
tered into correspondence with the latter gentleman, which 
drew forth this reply. " In the very rough communication 
which I had the honour of making to the British Association, 
I confined myself as much as possible to facts, just venturing 
enough, in the way of opinion, to draw on discussion. I am 
delighted that the time is at length arrived, for something 
favourable to science must be the result. My knowledge, 
however, is far too limited to permit of my joining in any ar- 
gument that may be advanced ; all I can do, is to take care 
that no misstatement is made of what I have made public. 

" It has been, and I fear always will be, my misfortune to 
write from my own fireside, for my avocations have, and pro- 
bably ever will, keep me at home. I have little or no geogra- 
phical knowledge of Peru, and of its minute physical charac- 
ters I know less. Dr de Tschudi, I presume, from the bold- 
ness of his assertions, is a traveller, and that he has visited 
the part of the world in question. Hence, doubtless, he is 
correct, when he says that the mummy was not brought from 
the high plains of Peru, for the reasons he gives appear to be 
too forcible to admit of any doubt. We have, in fact, from 
him what looks very much like personal observation, for he 
says, * in those districts there occurs no drift-sand,' &c. 

" Captain Blanckley, from whom the mummies were pro- 
cured, some little time after they fell under my notice, went 
abroad, and I have in vain several times since endeavoured to 
communicate with him. In my paper I have said, after re- 
gretting my inability to furnish information of a more correct 
character, that he ' stated to me in conversation, that he ex- 
humed them himself from an elevated part of land in the 
mountainous district of Peru, but at a considerable distance 
from the lake Titicaca.' Now, all one can remark upon the 
different statements of the Doctor and Captain Blanckley is 
simply this, that the * elevated tract of land ■" of the latter is 
not included geographically in ' the high plains' of the former ; 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 255 

and as Captain Blanckley has added, that the spot where he 
exhumed them is at a considerable distance from the lake 
Titicaca, it is fair to presume that his discovery refers to some 
locality nearer the sea ; an opinion which I should consider to 
be correct, as he was only a casual explorer, not able to ven- 
ture far from the ship of which he had the command. 

*' Dr de Tschudi considers that I have been ' too hasty in 
determining the race of the nation to which the skull belonged/ 
All I have said upon that question is as follows : — * This pecu- 
liar race were in all probability the aborigines of the country, 
and it is probable that these mummies may be the relics of 
some of the last of the Titicacans ;' so that it must be observed 
that I have not determined — I have but suggested, and the 
question is left entirely open for the more competent to argue. 

" In the last place, Dr de Tschudi alludes to the mixed race, 
recently from the intermixture of the aborigines with the fol- 
lowers of Manco Capac, as if I had referred the mummies to 
them or their descendants. In this he has completely mis- 
understood me, as will be apparent from what I have just 
stated, and from this which i now quote from my original 
papers : — ' I would suggest that the adult skulls of Titicacans, 
in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, are of this 
kind, the one possessing all the peculiarities of the race in its 
unalloyed form — the true Titicacan ; and the other being of a 
spurious character, resulting from the union of the indigeae 
with the settlers of Asiatic origin, the companions of Manco 
Capac of traditionary fame.' " 

The Mongols. By Bayle St John, Esq.* 

(Communicated by the Ethnological Society.) 

The Mongols belong to that vast family of nations which 
inhabits the eastern, central, and perhaps northern, divisions 
of Asia. But they are most intimately connected with the 
Tatars — so intimately, indeed, that it would often be difficult 
to distinguish the descriptions given by travellers of the two 

* Read before the Ethnological Society, 24th January 1844. 


256 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

people, were it not for certain characteristics which the sub- 
ject state of the one, and the independent condition of the 
other, have impressed upon them. Not many centuries ago, 
there appears to have existed so little difference between the 
Tatars and the Mongols, that their names became convertible 
terms. Carpin furnishes more than one example of this ; and 
he expressly asserts that the Yeka, or Great Mongols — ^the 
Su-Mongols, commonly called Tatars — the Merkats, and the 
Metrits — ^resembled each other so much in form and language, 
that the only division he could perceive was into countries 
and provinces. Perhaps we ought to consider the word Ta- 
tar as a generic term, and apply it indifferently to all the in- 
habitants of Central Asia, including the Independent Tatars 
and the Mongols as the principal sub-divisions. The tradi- 
tions of these people represent them as descendants of two 
brothers — according to some old travellers, Gog and Magog ; 
and, indeed, if we base our views on the opinions of the tribes 
of Central Asia themselves, we must recognise them every 
one as closely related. Isbrants Ides informs us, that all with 
whom he had come in contact seemed anxious to assert their 
community of origin. It is well known, moreover, that the 
Turks are a branch from the same stock. 

In the present paper, however, I intend to confine myself 
to the Mongols properly so called — ^that is to say, the descend- 
ants of the race which, under the banner of Genghis Khan 
and his immediate successors, overran and subdued the 
greater part of Asia, and the north-east of Europe. Accord- 
ing to Rashid-eddin, the name (which, used as an adjective, 
signifies '' valorous," *' courageous") was first bestowed on 
the numerous progeny of Alung-goa, mother of Budantzar, 
tenth ancestor of Genghis Khan, about the year 1000. It 
must have been afterwards applied by extension to the sub- 
jects of Budantzar ; for at the birth of his illustrious descend- 
ant, the Mongols were already a powerful people. Subse- 
quently, many tribes of kindred origin assumed the name, in 
order to claim relationship with the conquerors of the thirteenth 

The Ghers, or felt-tents, of this pastoral people were ori- 
ginally pitched amidst the mountains and forests on the south- 

Mr St John on the Mongols, 257 

eastern banks of Lake Baikal, round the mouth of the Selinga, 
which, flowing from the very heart of Mongolia, seemed to 
tempt them upwards to the land which they afterwards occu- 
pied. They settled also in the islands of the lake ; and 01k- 
hon is still inhabited by their descendants (the Buriats), who 
possess fine herds of cattle, cultivate the ground, which they 
carefully irrigate by little runnels derived from their rare 
springs, hunt wolves, bears, and squirrels, and cross over to 
the southern shores of the lake to capture the seal. Previous 
to the promulgation of the Lamaic religion among the Mon- 
gols, the waters of Baikal, and the mountainous island I have 
mentioned, seem to have monopolised a considerable portion 
of the veneration of the people of this part of Central Asia. 
Olkhon was, and is indeed still by many, believed to be the 
habitation of a god invested with certain ill-defined attributes 
of terror ; and the lake itself has been endowed with conscious- 
ness and a due sense of its own importance. It will not, it is 
said, submit to receive the contemptuous epithet of Osera, 
*' sleeping or stagnant water," and stickles for the appella- 
tion of Dalai, or " sea." By its very nature, however, it is 
precluded from avenging its dignity on those who insult it 
from the land ; but woe to him who ventures to treat it igno- 
miniously, whilst sailing or sliding over its surface ! Tempests 
blow, waves rise, the ice cracks, and the ingratitude of the tra- 
veller is often punished with death ! An adventurous Russian 
resolved once to try the temper of the liquid divinity, and, 
when he had reached the centre, poured out a glass of brandy, 
in v/hich he drank the health of the Christians of Europe, 
calling upon the lake, by the opprobrious epithet of Osera, to 
be his witness. The terrified natives every instant expected 
to hear the first howl of the hurricane, but the weather was 
more than ordinarily serene, and they urged their sledges 
hurriedly towards terra firma, wondering at the unusual for- 
bearance of the insulted lake ! 

It was in such a situation, and in the midst of such super- 
stitions, that the tribe of Mongols grew up, scarcely keeping 
pace with its neighbours in knowledge and civilisation, until 
the birth of the Great Temugin — by some, derived from a 
smith — ^by others, from an ancient family who introduced the 

258 Mr St John on the Mongols, 

use of forges into the country— by the Chinese, from the blue 
wolves and white goats, which they assert to be the ancestors 
of all the Mongols ; but, as I have already obsei-ved, by Ra- 
shid-eddin and other credible authorities, from Budantzar, son 
of Alung-goa. This is not the place to relate the exploits or 
estimate the character of that celebrated conqueror. I shall 
merely observe, that after spreading on every side with asto- 
nishing rapidity, massacring or enslaving surrounding nations, 
the Mongols beheld their brilliant but brief period of conquest 
fade away, and were once more confined to their steppes and 
plateaus, and reduced to live on their herds and a scanty agri- 
culture. The establishments they made in foreign countries, 
if we except China and Hindustan, had none of the elements 
of duration. They could storm and sack fortified places, win 
pitched battles, build cities in the midst of wildernesses, but 
they could not, at least in most instances, conceive and exe- 
cute any plan for keeping the fertile districts they overran in 
anything like lasting subjection. It remained for their bre- 
thren the Turks to perfect a system by which a barbarous 
tribe, such as they were, could establish a permanent sway 
over a civilised though efi*eminate empire. 

The Mongols, however, were soon driven back from their 
splendid acquisitions ; or, rather, as soon as fresh accessions 
to their forces ceased to flow from their original seat, they 
melted into the populations they had conquered, without in- 
fluencing in any perceptible degree their form of government, 
their manners, or their religion. This last, indeed, the Mon- 
gols in most cases received from the conquered. 

There are two periods in the history of Mongolia since the 
days of Genghis Khan : the first extends through the thirteenth, 
fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries ; the seventeenth 
was an age of transition ; the second period continues to our 
own day. 

During all this time there may be observed a gradual revo- 
lution in the manners and character of the Mongols, amply 
accounted for by the changes in their political condition and 
religious ideas. In the first place, we behold the imperfect 
civilisation they had attained to under Genghis Khan, rapidly 
giving way before the influences of their climate and the con- 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 259 

figuration of their soil. It was not of native growth, and 
never took firm root among them. They soon relapsed into 
their original barbarism, and split into tribes, the number of 
which constantly increased, whilst each claimed to be governed 
by a descendant of the Khan Temugin. Meanwhile, however, 
the Kootooktoo, the great Pontiff of Mongolia, gradually ex- 
tended his influence with the increase of the Lamaic religion ; 
so that, at the period of his voluntary submission to China, 
he was enabled to carry with him a great part of the whole 
population. At this very period it was calculated, by shrewd 
observers, that, had the Mongols known their own strength, 
they could once more have conquered, not only China, but the 
Manchtis themselves, with the greatest facility. Instead, how- 
ever, of refusing to submit to the yoke, the greater number — 
I except, of course, the Sungarians, who made a bloody re- 
sistance — ^yielded without a murmur ; whilst those who still 
asserted their independence, contented themselves with con- 
tinuing their predatory incursions, both on the Siberians and 
Chinese, and assaulting the caravans that passed to and fro. 
Their attacks were conducted in a very peculiar manner. It 
was their custom to set fire to the grass round the camps, and 
endeavour to burn out the travellers. They were often, how- 
ever, too timid or too weak to follow up their attempts, and 
their intended victims escaped with the loss of a tent or so, or 
perhaps of a camel or a horse ; but tracts burnt up for the 
space of two days' journey frequently exhibited the mischiev- 
ous consequences of their proceeding. 

Since this time China has gradually consolidated her power ; 
and her manners, considerably modified it is true, have been 
adopted by the Mongols, who are now distinguished by gentle • 
ness and docility ; whereas formerly they were ferocious, in- 
tractable, cruel, and insolent. Martini remarks that they are 
still subject to sudden outbursts of anger, in which case 
neither their father nor their mother is safe from their wrath ; 
but in general it is acknowledged that their character is good. 
It is difficult to say, whether the beneficent precepts of the 
Lamaic religion, or the influence and laws of China, have had 
most share in the production of this marked change. At any 
rate, certain it is that all travellers unite in asserting the 

260 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

superiority of the character of the Mongols to that of their 
fellow-subjects within the wall, who are equally submissive, 
but far less kind and hospitable to strangers. This superi- 
ority is strikingly evinced by the gratitude which the pastoral 
people feel and express for the smallest present, whilst the 
rapacity of the Chinese is never satisfied, and is so intense 
that thankfulness for past favours is almost entirely swallowed 
up by cravings after new. 

At the same time it must be remembered, that, in industry, 
the Mongols are extremely deficient, whilst in this the Chinese 
excel. The latter are averse to leaving a single foot of land 
uncultivated ; whereas the former can scarcely prevail on 
themselves to sow a little millet, barley, and wheat. This 
has been accounted for by Timkowski in the following man- 
ner : — ^" The sterility of the steppes obliges the Mongols 
often to change their habitations. Always on the look out 
for pasture, they are frequently obliged to pass the summer 
in places very distant from their winter and spring encamp- 
ments, and consequently to leave their cultivated fields for a 
long time." But natural idleness has much to do with their 
agricultural slovenliness. Even in those quarters, between 
Kiakhta and Urga, for example, where wood and pasturage 
abound, they neglect to prepare dwellings, or lay up provi- 
sions for the winter, contenting themselves with carelessly 
heaping up a few stacks of hay. Accordingly, when the snow 
falls and the cold strengthens, their cattle are attacked by 
disease, and perish in incredible numbers. The Lamas, on 
the other hand, are active cultivators ; and the church lands 
of Mongolia, instead of being, as in some of our colonies, im- 
pediments to civilisation, might, if the people possessed any 
of the necessary qualities, form nuclei for the successful ex- 
ertion of agricultural industry. 

The portrait of the Mongols has been painted with various 
colours. When they were objects of dread to the nations of 
the earth, words could scarcely be found to describe their 
hideousness ; and the pictures left of them are rather those 
of devils than men. This prejudice has been imbibed by 
Bory de St Vincent, who says they are the most hideous of 
the human race, though he is of opinion that one of their 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 261 

branches, the Turks, became the most beautiful, by migrating 
into the balmy Ionia, Macedonia, and Greece, and by mixing 
with the Circassians and the descendants of the ancient Hel- 
lenes. It appears, however, that the reports of the ugliness 
of the Mongols have been greatly exaggerated. Timkowski 
observes, that many of the women, with their clear complexions, 
cheerful countenances, and lively, animated eyes, would be 
esteemed handsome even in Europe ; and the Baron de Bode 
assures me that he has seen Tatars who possessed great per- 
sonal beauty. 

From this, however, it must not be understood that I in- 
tend to break a lance in favour of the peerless charms of the 
Mongols, male or even female. What I mean is, that they 
are very far from possessing the diabolical assortment of 
features which has been attributed to them ; and that their 
countenances do at least exhibit a capacity for beauty. Among 
the principal characteristic features are a slightly pointed 
head and chin, and high or rather wide cheek-bones. The 
bare knowledge of these facts, unaccompanied by personal 
experience, has induced some naturalists to compare the face 
of the Mongols to a lozenge ; but that this resemblance is 
arbitrarily traced, will appear from the fact that Timkowski, 
who had seen thousands of specimens, expressly says that 
their face is round. Their temples are slightly hollow, and 
the upper maxillar is square, whilst the lower, on the contrary, 
is somewhat pointed. Like the Chinese, too, the upper teeth 
of the Mongols project, so as to rest sometimes upon the lower 
lip, whilst the other range inclines rather inwards. This 
peculiarity of construction influences greatly the pronuncia- 
tion of their language. But the most remarkable traits in 
the physiognomy of the Mongol, are the oblique position of the 
eyes, and the distance between them, by some exaggerated to 
more than the breadth of a man's hand. The former charac- 
teristic is common to the Chinese, whom I believe to be the 
first Tatars who came down from their plateaus to settle on 
the plain, being tempted by the fertility of the banks of the 
Hoang-ho. In later times the same impulse led to the fre- 
quent conquest of the country, and the transformation of suc- 
cessive tides of invaders into peaceful, and at length effemi- 

262 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

nate citizens. The Malays, also, have the inner corner of 
their eyes depressed, and the outer raised towards their 
temples ; and Lesson observed the same peculiarity in some 
of the islanders of the Indian Archipelago. 

Whilst on the subject of the eyes of the Mongols, I may 
observe that they are deep-set and lively, — " inconstant" is 
the expression of an old writer, — and that their iris is almost 
always black, though said to be blue by Bory de St Vincent. 
This incorrect writer asserts, moreover, that these people are 
furnished with an ample growth of beard, especially on the 
upper lip ; whereas all travellers who have visited Mongolia 
concur in representing their faces as covered with a very 
tardy and scanty crop of hair. They admire, however, and 
envy this element of manly beauty ; and, when chance be- 
stows it upon any of their countrymen, look upon him with 
extreme veneration. A stranger, too, may be sure of respect 
in exact proportion to the length of his beard. Whiskers, 
which are more common, are less prized ; whilst the hair over 
the forehead and temples, in obedience to the caprices of 
fashion, is shaved, the rest being braided into a tail which 
hangs down the back. Even the varieties of the toilette form 
curious subjects of study for the ethnologist. This simple 
method of disfiguring the countenance has succeeded another 
far more complicated but no less effectual, which has been 
described with greater minuteness than perspicuity by the old 
travellers. We may gather, however, from their accounts, 
that the period of the greatest political splendour of the Mon- 
gols was coincident with their greatest elaborateness of dress ; 
and that, like individuals, they have become more careless in 
proportion as they have sunk in the scale of fortune. It is 
well known, that after the task of conquering China had been 
accomplished by the Manchus, they nearly forfeited their new 
acquisition, by imposing their head-dress as well as their 
laws upon the vanquished. They insisted on the adoption of 
the fashion I have described. The empire was convulsed 
from one end to the other. A general insurrection was for a 
while expected, but the conquerors were firm ; and the 
Chinese furnished the strongest possible testimony of their 
Jiumiliation, by consenting to change their customs as well as 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 263 

their masters. It may be that it was the desire of the Man- 
ehus to prevent the repetition of the notorious influence ex- 
ercised by the Chinese on the former Tatar invaders. A 
second attempt of a similar tendency was made in later times 
by the Emperor Kien Long, who caused 5000 Manchu words 
to be substituted for as many Chinese ones, forbidding the use 
of the latter under pain of corporal punishment ! 

The hair of the Mongols is black, and naturally by no 
means scanty or short. Among the neighbouring Tunguses 
instances have been met with of hair of extraordinary length. 
A Russian ambassador mentions a man whose locks measured 
four yards, and whose son promised in this respect to emulate 
his sire. 

The complexion of the Mongols is sometimes described as 
dark-yellow, sometimes as deep olive. The truth seems to be, 
that it is rather sallow and tanned by the sun. The children 
are frequently mentioned as having ruddy cheeks : and the 
rosy countenances of the women are also dwelt upon. 

The stature of the Tatars generally is moderate. Their 
legs are remarkable for their shortness ; their feet also are 
small ; and their knees are slightly bent out. Their thighs 
are thick, their shoulders broad, their waists small, their arms 
long and vigorous. The peculiarities of their lower limbs may 
result from their equestrian habits ; the strength of their arms 
is very possibly derived from the constant use of the bow. 

It is natural that a slight notice of the country inhabited by 
the Mongols should succeed the description of their physical 
organisation. Without believing in the theory of autoch- 
thoneity, I consider man to be in some measure the creature 
of the hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, winds, storms, and sun- 
shine of his native land. All these participate in the forma- 
tion of his character. It is in this sense alone that I under- 
stand that the Tatar race traces its origin to the Altai chain 
of mountains. There was the cradle of its future indivi- 
duality. In the regions to which its various subdivisions mi- 
grated, new elements were added by degrees. Not the least 
remarkable instance is that of the Mongols. 

Their present country occupies the sides and summit of a 
vast swell in the surface of Central Asia, broken up into hills 

264 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

and valleys, and intersected by a few large rivers and nume- 
rous small streams. It is crowned by the great desert of Kobi, 
or Shamo, as the Chinese call it, one of the wildest and bleak- 
est regions of the globe, of still unknown extent and unde- 
fined limits, though parts have been more than once explored 
and described. In some places its surface is undulating, like 
that of the rolling prairies of America ; in others it is rough, 
broken up by ravines, and gullies, whilst frequent plains are 
met with, covered with pasture. The hills are generally clothed 
in a mantle of dark hudurgima, which resembles young oak- 
shoots, and are often inhabited by such prodigious numbers 
of mice, that the horses' feet sunk at every step into their 

Among the ever-recurring features of a Mongolian land- 
scape, are the salt-lakes, with their white incrustation, and 
elegant fringe of slender reeds. Many of these are met with 
in the vast sea of sand and flints which stretches north of the 

But we must not consider Mongolia under the most un- 
favourable aspect only. In many quarters it is highly fertile, 
especially near the Great Wall, where the climate has been 
compared to that of Germany. The banks of the Boro, the 
Shara, the Iro, and other large rivers in the northern section 
of the country, abound in pasture, and there occurs here and 
there land admirably adapted for tillage. 

In one part of the desert of Kobi, there is an eminence, 
which, seen from a distance, appears like a forest. As you 
approach, however, an extraordinary lusus naturce is observed. 
Here is beheld an immense altar ; there a sarcophagus. Now 
is seen a lofty tower ; then the ruins of a house with a stone- 
floor. The rock, a decomposed granite, lies in large masses, 
from three to nine inches thick ; in some parts the Bobinia 
pygmoea grows thick on the surface ; no other plants are seen, 
and the soil around is sandy. The Mongols declare that 
much loadstone is found in this place ; and if any one ap- 
proaches with a gun, it is strongly attracted. In Mount Dar- 
kan is said to be preserved the anvil of Genghis Khan, com- 
posed of the peculiar metal called huryn^ possessing the pro- 
perties of iron and copper, being at once hard and flexible. 

Mr St John 07i the Mongols, 265 

One of the peculiarities of a Mongolian landscape is, that 
almost every considerable eminence is surmounted by an obo 
or altar, consisting either of a heap of stones, a mound of 
earth or sand, or a construction of wood, generally of colossal 
dimensions. These altars are raised under the direction of a 
Lama, with many solemn ceremonies, and are constantly visited 
for the purpose of prayer, or the presentation of offering. 
Every passer by alights from his horse, places himself south of 
the obo, with his face to the north, makes several prostrations; 
and, having breathed his humble supplication, and deposited 
his gift, rides away, satisfied with the performance of his duty. 
Tufts of horse-hair are the most frequent offerings, the object 
of which is generally the preservation of the pastoral riches of 
the Nomades. Similar ceremonies, with a similar object, are 
performed by the Yakoutes, in the worship of the Spirit of the 

The climate of Mongolia is generally cold, but in some 
places, and at certain times, the heat is excessive. Kiakhta 
itself is 2400 feet above the level of the sea, consequently, 
higher than all the towns of the Hartz and Swiss Alps ; and 
there is a continual rise from this place to Urga. 

It is well known, that Mongolia is politically divided into 
several principalities, each recognizing the sovereignty of the 
emperor of China. This is not the place to enter into any de- 
tail on the arrangements by which government is carried on. 
I can only say, that they ensure the complete subjection of the 
Mongols ; and that even the Chinese themselves now feel that 
their Great Wall is superfluous. Previous to the annexation 
of Mongolia, this stupendous fortification seemed always in a 
state of siege, so numerous were the soldiers that passed to 
and fro along it. It now winds its deserted line along the 
valleys, up the sides and over the crests of the mountains, like 
a railway started without sufficient capital to keep it open. 

The Lamaic religion is one of the chief instruments for 
keeping the population in order. Its own natural influence 
is to render the people who profess it mild and gentle ; but 
its ministers are, besides, under the complete control of the 
celestial emperor, who even directs the inspiration of the 
Kootooktoo, or Pope of Mongolia. 

266 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

There is one point in the ancient civilisation of Mongolia, 
which may be worth noticing. Europe, towards the close of 
the middle ages, was filled with reports of vast cities in this 
part of the world, among the principal of which was Kara- 
korum. But modern geographers deny that these cities had 
any real existence, at least, with the circumstances of gran- 
deur which have been attributed to them. Malte Brun ob- 
serves, that no ruins remain to attest the former splendour of 
Karakorum ; and that " the Mongols have never been suffi- 
ciently numerous, or sufficiently rich, to build cities worthy of 
the name." But even in the desolate steppes of Kobi there 
occurs the fragments of former architectural magnificence ; 
in one place they encumber the slope of a mountain for the 
space of two wersts. They are all of stone ; the remains of 
temples, altars, and other buildings of colossal dimensions, pre- 
sent themselves on every side, covered with grass and moss ; 
in some cases the foundations only are of granite, whilst the 
superstructure is brick. Clay, mixed with gravel, was used 
as mortar ; the clay has now disappeared, and the gravel 
alone remains. Some of the buildings are round, and adorned 
with cornices ; in the temples are empty vaulted niches, 
broken bits of a green stone strew the courts, and troughs of 
the same material also occur. 

For a space of four wersts beyond the cluster I have de- 
scribed, similar remains are visible, though more thinly scat- 
tered ; and tombs, towers, and deserted walls appear on every 
side. There cannot be a doubt that on this spot a vast popu- 
lation once swarmed ; for in all probability the most import- 
ant structures have alone survived, those of a humbler cha- 
racter having been constructed of a more perishable material. 
*' These ruins," says Timkowski, " formerly inhabited by a 
descendant of Genghis Khan, now serve as a retreat for the 
flocks ; the Mongols seldom visit the monuments of their for- 
mer splendour and independence." 

I can hardly understand how, after this, M. Bory de St 
Vincent could have asserted of the race, in which he includes 
the Mongols, that they have never attempted to build cities, 
*' Nulle part ils n'ont bati des villes." 

But I have not as yet alluded to all the authentic accounts 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 267 

of ruined cities in Mongolia. The Russian ambassador 
Isb rants Ides described no less than three in the seventeenth 
century, full of fragments of statues of kings sitting cross- 
legged (perhaps Budhist idols), and surrounded with an 
earthen rampart. These, it may be said, were not cities in 
our sense of the word. They were rather nuclei for popula- 
tion, consisting chiefly of public buildings ; but I question 
whether the wooden habitations with which they were sur- 
rounded, were not at least as durable as the brick houses of 
London at the present moment ; and whether any other 
traces will remain of this great metropolis three or four hun- 
dred years after its total desertion, than its churches, prisons, 
parliament-houses, and other public edifices. 

However this may be, certain it is, that the Mongols have 
generally manifested a peculiar predilection for temporary 
habitations, tempted thereto by the nature of their steppes, 
and the occupations to which they are compelled to addict 
themselves, as well as by their own inclinations fostered by 
their mode of life. The skeleton of their tents is generally 
made of osier, the cross-pieces being tied together with small 
thongs. The rafters of the roof are long poles, which meet at 
the top, leaving a small opening for the smoke. The covering 
of this frame-work consists in summer of one, in winter of 
three, layers of felt, manufactured of wool and horse- hair, pro- 
cured by cutting off the manes of the foals in their first year, 
and that of some of the horses every spring. 

The real Mongol name of a tent is gher, though travellers 
generally use the Siberian terms kibitka and yourt. On 
entering the low and narrow door, which is always turned 
towards the south, you observe on the right hand, near the 
entrance, the place reserved for the women. Aged persons 
have carpets of felt, with patterns worked in them, to sit on. 
The rich import these luxuries from Persia or Turkestan. 
Opposite the entrance is a small table supporting copper idols 
and various utensils for the offerings. On the right hand of 
this stands a wooden bedstead covered with felt ; to the left 
are trunks, boxes, &c., for clothes. All the Mongols sit cross- 
legged on the ground, so that chairs and couches are dis- 

268 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

pensed with. Their dwellings are mostly very small, though 
those of the rich are comparatively spacious ; and in some in- 
stances several tents are joined together, so as to resemble the 
various apartments of one house. These ghers. as they them- 
selves confess, are often inadequate to protect them from the 
cold, so that the little children are sometimes completely 
wrapped in furs and skins. 

The dress of the Mongols generally is in summer a long 
robe made of nankeen (like their shirts and other under gar- 
ments), or coloured silk and satin, generally dark blue. Their 
cloth cloaks are usually black or red, with yellow button-holes. 
A leathern girdle, fastened with silver or copper buckles, 
serves to hold a knife, flint, and steel. Their silk caps are 
round, and trimmed with black plush ; three long red rib- 
bons hang down behind as ornaments, and produce a very 
beautiful eifect, as they wave and flutter in the wind. Their 
thick-soled boots are made of leather. In winter they are 
protected from the inclemencies of the season by long pelisses 
of sheep skin, and caps trimmed with the same material, or 
the fur of sables, foxes, or marmots. 

The women dress in many respects like their husbands. 
The old travellers assert that they could see no difference. 
But at present, if there be not much distinction in form, the 
female costume is remarkable for its superior richness. The 
robes of the wealthy are often of the most beautiful blue satin, 
their caps of sable, their silken zones interwoven with silver, 
and studded with large carnelians. Even the saddles of their 
horses are covered with these precious stones. They divide 
their hair into two tresses, which fall on the breast, and are 
adorned at the extremities with small pieces of silver, coral, 
pearls, and precious stones of diff'erent colours. Coral is much 
prized in Mongolia, and is very dear. 

The Mongol bridles, saddle, and harness, are often orna- 
mented with copper, rarely with silver. Bows and arrows, 
with a short sword, are the favourite arms of the country, as 
they have always been among pastoral nations. We may sup- 
pose that the custom which prevailed anciently in China, of 
hanging up a bow and arrow before the door of a house at the 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 269 

birth of a son, was a remnant of the nomadic habits of the 
people. Muskets and rifles are only used by hunters, who 
obtain their powder, shot, and balls, from China. 

Milk forms the staple article of food in Mongolia, being 
used as a beverage in its original state, and afterwards eaten 
when transformed to butter and cheese. This light food may 
account for the activity, as well as the lack of muscular vi- 
gour of the people. A Cossack is more than a match for a 
Mongol; but the latter, even when arrived at the age of 
sixty, will ride, it is asserted, two hundred wersts in a day 
without being fatigued. In summer they drink a kind of 
brandy, which is extracted from milk. 1 may here remark, 
by the way, that smoking is extremely common. Meat is 
rarely eaten ; and then mutton is preferred. No game is 
touched, except on pressing occasions, but the wild goat and 
the wild boar. Fish are protected by superstition. In ex- 
treme cases they will eat the flesh of camels, horses, and 
even of animals that have died of disease ; in which, I sup- 
pose, they would be imitated by every European under simi- 
lar circumstances, though our fastidiousness might perhaps 
lead us so form a different opinion of what constituted 
urgency. Water is rarely tasted, brick tea being the favour- 
ite drink. This, indeed, is almost invariably the contents of 
the cast-iron kettle which swings over the fire of dried dung ; 
and any traveller who passes by, provided he be furnished 
with his own wooden cup, sometimes lined with silver, may 
enter and quench his thirst. This beverage, called satoiiran^ 
is generally rendered palateable with milk, butter, and salt. 
A little flour fried in oil is sometimes added. What is usually 
denominated brick-tea consists of the dry, dirty, and damaged 
leaves and stalks of tea thrown aside in the Chinese manu- 
factories, pressed in moulds, and dried in ovens. The Chinese 
will never drink it themselves. But the Mongols, the Buriats, 
the Kalmucks, and the Siberians, use it to excess. The lat- 
ter, indeed, are said to weaken their constitutions by this 

The small, fat, buffaloes of Mongolia are generally black, 
and their tufted hair gives them an extraordinary appear- 
ance. The sheep, which furnish abundance of milk, and 

270 Mr St John on the Mongols. 

whose excellent meat is spoken of by Martini with the relish 
of a connoisseur, are white, with long black ears and very 
large tails, like those mentioned by Herodotus and ^Elian. 
They belong to the second class enumerated by these writers, 
and are not those which, from the length of their tails, re- 
quired a little carriage to prevent them from dragging on 
the earth, — the peculiarity consisting rather in extreme 
breadth. The Mongolian horses are small, but vigorous 
and spirited. Their head is remarkably short : their hoof 

Were any accident to deprive this people of either of the 
three species of animals I have described, a great revolution 
would necessarily be effected in their mode of life, and con- 
siderable influence exerted on their habits and physical or- 
ganisation. The gradual destruction of the rein-deer in Si- 
beria, within these last two or three centuries, has brought 
many changes into the manners of that country, besides in- 
troducing the use of dogs ; but the loss of the buffaloes, the 
sheep, or the horses, would be far more influential on the for- 
tunes of the Mongols. That the contingency which I have 
supposed is by no means an improbable one, is shewn by the 
parallel case of the rein-deer in the country immediately to 
the north ; and about twenty-five years ago, the whole steppe 
of Kobi was visited by such a mortality among the domestic 
animals, that some proprietors of five hundred horses had not 
above twenty left, and others who possessed two hundred, 
had saved only four. It seems, certainly, at first sight, by 
no means likely that the breed of horses should be destroyed 
in Mongolia. Still, admitting even the possibility of such 
an occurrence, we are at liberty to speculate on its conse- 

In Siberia, it has been observed that those tribes which 
have lost their rein-deer have sensibly deteriorated, and afford 
a striking contrast, by their humility and weakness of cha- 
racter, to the martial disposition and proud bearing of the 
more fortunate people. I have no doubt that the Yakoutes, 
before they were reduced by Russia, and had begun to em- 
ploy dogs instead of rein-deer, offered far more points of re- 
semblance with the Tchuktchis than at present. A similar re- 

Mr St John on the Mongols. 271 

suit would perhaps arrive, were any portion of the Mongol 
race deprived of its horses, its buffaloes, or its sheep. But, 
in addition, some of the most striking of their physical charac- 
teristics might become gradually obliterated. 

To convince ourselves of this, we have but to reflect on the 
extent of the influence exerted by their peculiar mode of life 
on the Mongols, and on the determining causes of this mode 
of life. In the first place, their nomadic habits, and all the 
modifications of their character and structure resulting there- 
from, are attributable to the necessity they are under of 
seeking support for their herds and their flocks. Their wan- 
dering life, to which Lucian compares that of a gourmand 
continually passing from one part of a table to another in 
search of a variety of good things, is especially inimical to 
steady industry, and must induce a certain tendency to vacil- 
lation and inconstancy, combined with general indolence and 
momentary displays of energy. One of the wisest of ancient 
writers asserts this character to be distinctive of a nomadic 
people. Should the Mongols ever be induced, by the acci- 
dent I have supposed, or any other reason, to settle in their 
fertile valleys and plains, the natural result would be, the dis- 
appearance of this quality — ^this restlessness, I mean, and love 
of change, and unsteadiness, and proneness to indulge in spe- 
culative migrations, as well as aptitude to grow disgusted 
with late acquisitions, — from which most of the splendid 
achievements, and most of the misfortunes, of the race have 
proceeded. That there is arable land in Mongolia sufiicient 
to support an agricultural population of two millions (the 
estimated number of the present inhabitants), I have no 

1 have already made some observations on the milk-diet of 
the Mongols ; but there are a few facts which I have pur- 
posely withheld for this place. Even so far back as the time 
of Homer, the habits of the Scythians or Tatars were so well 
known, that they won for them the appellation of Milk- 
Drinkers ; and all nomadic nations have exhibited the same 
propensity. It is curious to remark, that Coxe, in describing 
the wandering shepherds of the Alps, asserts that they live 


272 Mr St John on the Mongols, 

on cheese, curds, and whey. The Mongols, as we have seen, 
like the ancient ^Ethiopians, indulge occasionally in meat ; 
but milk, and the substances extracted from it, still form 
their staple articles of food. Mares* milk is generally pre- 
ferred, — not, as was believed in the last century, because the 
cows will not suffer themselves to be milked, but because, on 
turning sour, it acquires a slightly inebriating quality. When 
in this state, Pallas informs us, it is called koumiss — the kos- 
mo8 of Rubruquis, the kemuls of Marco Polo, and suggests 
Coray, the oxygala of Strabo. It is from this koumiss that 
the brandy I have already mentioned is manufactured. In 
winter, says Witzen, when the mares are less lactiferous, a 
beverage composed of snow water, honey, and millet, is sub- 
stituted. It is obvious that the constant use of food so pe- 
culiar, for a long succession of ages, must have strikingly in- 
fluenced the physical character of the Mongols ; and that the 
substitution of a vegetable diet, which would be consequent on 
an alteration in their mode of life, would work considerable 
changes in them. 

But on the nomadic mode of life depends, also, the con- 
stant use of horse-exercise, which I conceive to be one of the 
principal causes of some of the characteristics of the Mongols. 
Coray, in his learned notes on Hippocrates, enlarges on the 
diseases to which equestrian nations are peculiarly liable. On 
this theme I am not competent to enter ; but it is easy to 
understand how, in this way, their moral character may be 
affected. Not, however, to lengthen out this speculation, some 
of the distinguishing characteristics of the Mongols, — I mean 
the shortness and outward curvature of their legs, and the 
smallness of their feet, — ^would, I think, entirely disappear as 
soon as their present mode of life should be changed. 

( 273 ) 

Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism, employed for illii- 
minating the open cavities of the Body ; rvith a view to faci- 
litate the examination of Disease^ and the application of reme- 
dial means in such situations ; illustrated rvith an Ear *' Spe- 
culum'''' or Prismatic Auriscope, adapted to this method of 
observation. By Adam Warden, M.D., F.R.C.S.E. (With 
a Plate and Woodcut.) Communicated by the Royal Scot- 
tish Society of Arts.* 

Having been present on repeated occasions at meetings of 
the Society of Arts, and appreciating highly their efforts to 
give an impulse to useful observation, and to its practical appli- 
cation to general purposes, I beg leave to present to their notice 
a method of illuminating the open cavities of the body, whereby 
the examination of disease and the application of remedial 
means in such situations may be facilitated. 

As I had heard Monsieur Charles Dupin express himself to 
the Society of Arts of Paris, " Here, in the doctrine of parallel 
lines, the weaver and the carpenter are to see the secrets of 
their own art, and in the various expositions every artisan is 
to catch the application of the doctrine of his trade ;" so, in 
listening, as a casual auditor at a late meeting of this society, 
to some notices of the useful application of prismatic reflection, 
an adaptation of a prism to the apparatus of surgery suggested 
itself to me, and is now submitted to inspection. 

A short time before the meeting of this society above re- 
ferred to, my attention was especially awakened to the diffi- 
culty attending the management of diseases in the open cavi- 
ties of the body, by the experienced imperfections of the exist- 
ing apparatus of aural surgery. The object of my present 
communication is to explain my attempt to improve that appa- 
ratus, by a new method of throwing light upon the parts to 
be examined, and it will readily appear that the arrangement 
proposed is equally applicable to any of the other open cavities 
of the body. The manifold importance of the diseases of the 
ear, as affecting the valuable sense of hearing, and in their 

* Read and exhibited to the Society on 22d April 1844. 

274 Descnption of a Totally 'Reflecting Prism. 

more serious forms even endangering life itself, will be con- 
ceived, when it is mentioned that Valsalva, one of the most 
eminent anatomists of the last century, devoted sixteen years 
of a laborious life to their investigation, and to the composition 
of his treatise on the subject. His biographer, Morgagni, men- 
tions that he performed an incredible number of dissections in 
this research. The great proportion of the diseases of this 
organ, and those of the most remediable kind, have their origin 
in the external auditory canal, and the tympanum at its termi- 
nation — ^the vascular texture and the situation of those parts 
exposing them to the first attacks of disease, and, whence, in 
its unchecked progress, it is propagated to the complicated in- 
terior structures, to the bones and the brain. 

The external auditory passage exceeds an inch in length, is 
curved in its course, and is commonly so beset with hairs as to 
prevent the view of its inward track and termination ; but by 
the aid of a straight canula, or the common speculum^ these 
obstacles to observation are readily obviated ; sufficient light, 
however, to illuminate the passage, still remains the one desi- 
deratum, without which, to exhibit the actual condition of the 
membrane of the tympanum, the surgeon cannot pronounce as 
to the importance or curability of disease, nor resort, with con- 
fidence of its safety from danger, even to the popular remedy 
of the syringe. The instrument submitted to the Society, and 
represented in the Woodcut, is constructed upon the prin- 
ciple of illumination derived from prismatic reflection. It con- 
sists of separate portions : a straight handle, a a, five inches in 
length, terminating in a ring, 6, of half an inch internal dia- 
meter, the ring grooved in its interior as a screw. To this 
screw are adapted four canulae or straight tubes, c, of one, 
two, three, and four lines calibre, and another, d, of a funnel or 
tapering shape, applicable to the dimensions of the auditory 
canal at different ages and under different degrees of constric- 
tion resulting from disease ; the wider mouthed canula is in- 
tended to be employed for preliminary exploration and removal 
of any accumulated cerumen obstructing the passage of the 
light, also for affording a proper field for the passage of instru- 
ments and other topical manipulation. The canulae are an inch 
and a quarter in length, and terminate in blunted edges, to 

Description of a Totally Reflecting Frism, 275 

276 Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism. 

prevent injury in their passage into the ear. From the middle 
of the straight handle, and at an angle with it of about 20°, 
arises a curved branch, e, moveable in a pivot joint at/, toward 
either side of the handle. This branch forms a stalk, on which 
a prism of flint glass, g, is perched erect, to the level of the 
opening of the affixed canula. The prism rests in a metallic 
socket, and is made to revolve on its own axis at the touch of 
the finger, or to remain fixed in any desired position by the aid 
of a small clamping screw, h. The instrument is thus complete 
for use. The canula is to be introduced into the ear to be 
examined, the patient being seated by a table, having a good 
light of a gas jet or argand burner at a convenient distance to 
one side. The surgeon being placed opposite to the ear to be 
inspected, a face of the prism is turned towards the light, and 
it is made to revolve until the luminous spectrum is conveyed 
to the bottom of the canula, and to the surface sought to be 
observed. There is no difficulty in the adjustment of position, 
when the relations of the light and the object are ascertained 
by a little experience ; and when this adjustment is made, the 
full and clear illumination of the object is at once obtained, 
and with a degree of brilliancy proportioned to the quantity of 
light employed in the particular observation. Where different 
circumstances require it, the intensity of the light may be arti- 
ficially increased to any desired extent. 

The principle or theory, as already mentioned, consists in 
total reflection. The light is received by one side of the 
prism, is reflected from the second side, and emerges by the 
third side to the object illuminated, as represented by the 
dotted lines ac y z^ and thus its view is revealed to the eye. 
The light afforded is nearly equivalent to the same candle 
or gas-light applied to the page of a book, or other familiar 
uses, so little of it is lost in its passage through the prism. 
The illumination is not preternatural or dazzling, such as 
would alter the real features of disease, but natural, and 
such as the eye is familiar with. The advantage of this 
unconcentrated natural light can only be fully appreciated 
by professional eyes ; and I am persuaded that any method of 
concentrating light by lenses or converging mirrors, substitut- 
ed for the prism, would not increase the serviceableness of the 

Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism. 277 

instrument exhibited for medical examinations, but the reverse; 
and of this I speak from sufficient experiment. 

The Society will understand that whilst this instrument is 
constructed so as to afford the utmost amount of light which 
the dimensions of the passage of the ear can admit, it is not 
intended to supersede the use of the speculum which generally 
bears Dr Kramer's name, the utility of which, in so far as 
that extends, is established by the concurrent experience of 
the profession ; neither in th« other applications of prismatic 
illumination which present themselves to me, would I be un- 
derstood to depreciate existing apparatus, when I suggest 
such modifications as may increase or extend their efficiency. 
Indeed, it has been my aim, in constructing the other adapta- 
tions of the prism, to frame these so as to be a ready appen- 
dage of all the different forms of specula in the hands of the 
profession. The importance attached by professional persons 
to the existing very imperfect methods of illuminating the 
ear may be estimated by a reference to Dr Kramer's Treatise 
on the Ear, translated by Dr Bennet, which describes his in- 
genious efforts to effect this end in these terms. " In order 
to obviate the above objections (to all other forms of illumina- 
tion) as far as possible, 1 have constructed the following appa- 
ratus. The principal part is an argand lamp, with a thick 
cylindrical wick, the reservoir of oil being placed behind the 
box next to be described. This box is constructed of tin- 
plate, the inner surface of which is painted black in order to 
prevent any reflection of the light. It covers the lamp so as 
completely to enclose the flame, the lamp-glass passing through 
an opening in the top. At a convenient distance from the 
flame, and behind it, against the inside of the back of the box, 
there is a plated concave mirror. In the anterior face of the 
box there is inserted a tin tube fourteen inches in length, which 
is likewise blackened inside, and each extremity is provided 
with a double convex lens two inches and a half in diameter. 
The argand lamp throws its powerful mass of light against the 
concave mirror, whence the rays are reflected through the 
first convex lens, along the tube and through the second con- 
vex lens. The luminous rays are thus collected into an in- 
tensely bright focus of the size of a shilling, at a distance from 

278 Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism. 

the tube of the apparatus very convenient for the illumination 
of the auditory passage." Op. cit. p. 92. 

This large and incommodious lantern is liable to the general 
objection applicable to all such means of illuminating the 
cavity of the ear, that any direct light, even of the sun itself, 
is unavoidably liable to be intercepted by the head of the 
observer in so narrow a field ; and if a lamp and lens be placed 
between the eye and the object viewed, not only does the 
dazzling artificial medium alter the characteristic appearance 
of disease, but such apparatus, in order to guide any surgical 
procedure, must be kept strictly in such a position as neces- 
sarily to interfere with any convenient manipulation in the 
removal of foreign bodies from the ear, the puncture of the 
membrane of the tympanum, the application of caustic, or 
any other operation. The method of illuminating diseased 
parts by the prism is not liable to these objections. The 
cavity of the ear and other deeper seated parts may be inspect- 
ed with the satisfaction only short of sunlight view, by means 
of a common gas jet or other light, and with little less facility 
than the tongue; while by the position of the prism in the 
apparatus, it presents no obstruction to the procedure of the 
surgeon, — a circumstance which commends it to the operator 
in diseases of the rectum and uterus, where the application of 
ligatures, cauteries, &;c., render any increased facilities pecu- 
liarly desirable. 

To those who are at all acquainted with the progress of the 
medical art in our own day, it is well known that this has 
been chiefly owing to the more exact investigation and the 
more extended knowledge possessed of the alterations which 
take place in parts affected with disease, and the minute 
detail of physical appearances which medical authors employ 
to describe these changes, is well calculated to convey an idea 
of the great and just importance attached to them. In pro- 
portion as we attain to the means of recognizing with preci- 
sion the actual state of disease in the interior parts of the 
body, will its successful treatment be insured ; and if, by the 
method here proposed, we can in any case confirm the doubt- 
ful testimony of touch, by the farther evidence of sight, which 
before was wanting, it is obvious that the full force of medical 

Description of a Totalis/ Bejfecting Prism, 279 

experience may be brought to bear upon such diseased parts 
with increased confidence and effect. Among the altered con- 
ditions produced by disease which come under our observa- 
tion in the living body, change of colour is at once the most 
obvious, and in all its diversities the most significant, mark 
which presents itself. From the first evanescent blush of 
erysipelas to the inky stains of gangrene, and in the various 
forms of eruptive disease there is scarcely need of farther in- 
telligence than is gathered by the eye at a glance ; and when 
the softer and more vascular textures within the mouth and 
the other cavities of the body are the subject of morbid affec- 
tion, the characteristics derived from the shades of colour, be 
it of an inflamed, abraded, or ulcerated surface, are still the 
most distinctive and important to be observed. The tutored 
sense of touch, so far as that can extend, discerns somewhat, 
nay much, of the conditions of disease even in the dark 
cavities of the body ; but of colour, it cannot, at the present 
day, form a better estimate than blind persons are said to 
have done of scarlet when they likened it to the sound of a 

The advantage of Prismatic Illumination consists in the 
opportunity it affords of examining the recesses of the open 
cavities of the body by light of any desired intensity, and 
that placed on either side of the observer, so as not to be 
liable to be intercepted by his shadow, nor to interfere with 
the freedom of any operative procedure ; and by the combina- 
tion of two prisms, one placed at the external opening of the 
speculum, the other moveable within it, so as to traverse its 
extent, disease presenting itself at the opposite extremity of 
the tube may be fully inspected, while through the transparent 
sides of a glass tube, or the interrupted continuity of a metal- 
lic one, the whole surface of the passage may in succession be 
surveyed, and remedial appliances conducted to any point 
affected with disease. Thus the numerous and serious affec- 
tions of the straight-gut, whose nature is often obscure, and 
the treatment uncertain and difficult, may derive all the ad- 
vantages which light and the sense of sight are capable of 
contributing in other cases. And these advantages are not 
confined to the very limited extent to which touch can be 

280 Description of a Totally Beflecting Prism. 

carried in that particular situation. Those cases of highly- 
seated stricture which occur at the farther extremity of the 
straight bowel, and so are removed beyond touch, and all 
satisfactory management, may, by the method which 1 have 
proposed, be brought fully under examination, and have the 
treatment adapted with the same accuracy as in the more 
superficial affections. 

It is probable that an erroneous idea of the expense of the 
instruments required for this method of investigation may 
deter many from making trial of them ; but it will serve to 
remove this mistake if I shall mention that my experiments 
were mostly made with the materials within reach of all, such 
as tubes of block-tin, of bone, aud of rosewood. At the 
same time, more expensive materials, as silver gilt, silver plate, 
or German silver, are the most appropriate, and such as I 
would recommend. The quality and finish of the glass em- 
ployed admits of lass latitude of choice, — the second or in- 
terior prism especially must possess that highly-finished sur- 
face which Messrs Adie & Son, opticians, of this city, are so 
competent to supply. 

I shall now, as briefly as possible, explain the parts which 
compose another of the forms of the Prismatic Speculum, of 
which a plate is appended (Plate IV.) to this paper. Any dif- 
ference in the model or size of the instrument wiU'depend upon 
the specialties of different cases, and the forms of specula which 
these may demand. Indeed, the same instrument may serve 
equally for the great majority of cases of disease affecting 
the rectal and uterine passages. I confine myself to the de- 
scription of one of these forms of apparatus, that adapted to 
the examination of the rectum. The first portion, which I 
have thought it unnecessary to delineate, is a glass cylinder 
open at both extremities. This is to be employed by the 
patient as the medium for a jet of water from the syringe in 
common use, by which thorough ablution and exposure of the 
diseased surface is to be effected. The second portion of ap- 
paratus, represented in two aspects. Figs. 1 and 2, is more 
complicated, and consists of a metallic speculum («), having 
a glass tube (6) concealed within. This tube is not open at 
its farther extremity, but is made to terminate in a smooth 

Description of a Totally Beflecting Prism. 281 

bulb or obtuse cone, projecting beyond the edge of the metallic 
tube, as shewn in the plate, so as to facilitate the introduction 
of the speculum, and defend the surface of the passage from 
injury. If the disease to be examined is seated in the axis 
of the instrument, such as stricture, the glass tube is to be 
withdrawn when it has reached the seat of obstruction, be 
that at the distance of 5, 7, or more inches, and a beam of 
light transmitted through the prism (c), which is appended 
to the neck of the instrument, is then to be conducted and 
made to rest on the part affected, until it be fully and satis- 
factorily examined, in the same manner as already detailed in 
describing the auriscope. In passing, it is to be observed, 
that, while the mechanical method of pressure and dilatation 
is the most suitable for the treatment of simple stricture, it 
is obvious that we must forego this plan when the disease is 
situated beyond cognizance by the finger, the hazard of pene- 
trating the coats of the bowel being a far more likely conse- 
quence of the use of instruments in such circumstances than 
the forcing of the more unyielding parts affected with disease. 
By the introduction of light, and by obtaining a view of the 
precise seat and remaining dimensions of the strictured part, 
the bougie suited to enter this may be selected, and by the 
first interference relief may be afi'orded, and progress made 
in the track of cure. 

This much may suffice to exemplify the service afforded by 
the single prism employed to illuminate a surface at the ex- 
tremity of a straight tube. For the examination of disease 
afi'ecting the sides of the cavity, a second prism (o?) is to be 
used, mounted on the end of a slender metal rod (e/), of a 
length somewhat greater than the tube, in order that it may 
terminate externally in a small knob or handle, whereby it 
may be conveniently moved throughout the extent of the in- 
strument. To obtain the service designed in this arrange 
ment, the speculum inclosing the close coniform glass tube, is 
to be introduced as before. The metallic part of the instru- 
ment represented in the plate consists of two light cylinders 
{g and /i), one within one another, from each of which a longi- 
tudinal section of half an inch, extending nearly the whole 
length, has been removed. By a semi-revolution of the in- 

282 Description of a Totally Reflecting Prism. 

ternal cylinder {h), which is effected by a corresponding turn- 
ing of the projecting ring (A;), forming the neck of the 
speculum, the open sections of both tubes are brought into 
coaptation, as is shewn partially by the dark space in Fig. 4, 
and thereupon a similar portion of the mucus surface imme- 
diately applies itself to the exterior of the glass tube within 
contained. Illumination being afforded through the exterior 
prism (c), as before explained, the interior one {d) in the 
same manner transmits the light to the surface opposed to its 
reflecting side, and a picture of this surface, in all the truth of 
outline and colouring, is, simultaneously, thrown back on the 
reflecting face of the prism, and so offered to the inspection of 
the observer. By making the interior prism to course along 
the open section of the speculum, every portion of the surface 
exposed may be minutely examined. If the glass tube become 
dimmed by exhalations or secretions before the survey of a 
section is completed, it is merely necessary to turn it slightly 
and to present a clean portion of its surface. Pursuing the 
same method, neighbouring portions of the lining of the bowel 
are to be included in the open aspect of the instrument, and 
examined in the same manner until the survey of the whole 
cavity is made. Let it be supposed that the open mouth of a 
bleeding vessel is the subject of search ; the longitudinal aper- 
ture of the speculum, in that case, may be contracted to a 
chink, and this may be made to traverse the circle of the pas- 
sage until the direct issue of the blood obviously corresponds 
with the opening. If the case be not urgent, after the removal 
of the glass tube, styptics or a caustic pencil may be applied 
to the spot, as in common cases ; and if the haemorrhage is pro- 
fuse, deluging the tube and the prism, we may probably be left 
in doubt as to the situation of the bleeding vessel to the ex- 
tent of a quarter of an inch. But it is surely calculated to 
increase the chance of safety to the patient, to be enabled to 
conclude, that in one certain small arc of the surface the cause 
of danger is situated ; for, this being determined, a small cau- 
tery, corresponding to the opening of the speculum, which in- 
cludes the open bloodvessel, could readily be made to traverse 
the isolated portion of the surface, and so to seal the issue of 
the blood. Or, vsuppose the case under examination to be one 

Description of a Totally Beflecting Priam. 283 

of fistula, the knotty question as to the existence and situation 
of an internal opening can hereby be cleared up. Search being 
made in the manner above described, and with the joint advan- 
tage of touch and sight, the internal opening, if there be one, 
can scarcely fail to be detected ; and when discovered, attempt 
might be made to seal it by the cautery or caustic before hav- 
ing recourse to a serious operation. Thanks to Mr Listen and 
Dr Pagan, the practicability of effecting the occlusion of even 
large fistulous openings by such applications is no longer a 
problem ; and there is no need of argument to prove the 
immediate mitigation of fistula in ano which must follow 
upon shutting off its communication with the interior of the 
bowel. Thereby the noisome character of the disease would 
be removed, the constitution would be relieved from the 
irritation of a foul discharge, and the case be at once con- 
verted into a simple abscess capable of going through a mild 
process of healing. It will be obvious, from an inspection of 
Fig. 5, that by means of the pinching-screw I, the outer prism 
and its connecting-ring p may be applied to any other size of 
speculum ; and the handle m, which is made to unscrew, may 
be fixed in any of the holes n formed in the ring for that pur- 
pose, should it be found convenient to alter its position or to 
transfer it to the hand of an assistant without removing the 

It is unnecessary to multiply illustrations of the simple me- 
thod of observation explained in this paper, and I would only 
remark, with reference to the speculum for the uterine pas- 
sage, that by this way of obtaining observation in the diseases 
of females, the withdrawn position of the light is calculated to 
lessen the misery to them attending all professional interfer- 
ence. In such cases, by having a prism appended to the glass 
aperture of a small lantern, the patient's apartment might be 
darkened to any desired extent. 

It may be, that my confident anticipation of adapting the 
prism to the examination of the avenues meeting in the throat, 
have led me to use expressions which to some may savour of 
hyperbole. If I have exposed myself to such a charge, the 
inaccuracy is unintentional, and the instruments produced 
afford ready opportunity of testing the characters ascribed to 

284 Description of a Totally He fleeting Prism. 

them. Upon a first examination, the observer will be apt to 
be satisfied with an indistinct view of objects which he has 
been used to regard as beyond the reach of observation, and 
the full power of prismatic illumination will therefore not at 
once be appreciated. Those who have discovered objects 
through the different tubes produced only in a shadowy and 
shrouded light, can have but a very inadequate idea of the 
much greater satisfaction attainable by the proper adjustment. 
It will convey a notion of what is meant, when I mention that 
through a tube of two feet in length and half an inch in bore, 
I can discern, by a good light, slender initials impressed on 
red sealing-wax, a test as sufiicient as any ever likely to be 
required for recognising disease in the living body, be it in the 
stomach itself. 

Although in this communication I have confined myself to 
the consideration of prismatic illumination as applied to the 
subjects pertaining to my own profession, it will readily occur 
to the members of this Society, that it may be employed with 
equal advantage in any department of the arts where light 
could be used to test the interior condition and soundness of 
straight narrow cylinders, such as valuable ordnance, &;c., and 
also to some extent of tubes joined together at an angle. 

Adam Warden, M.D. 

3 Baxter's Place, Edinburgh, 
12th April 1844. 

Report of Committee of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts on Dr War- 
den's employment of the Totally Reflecting Prism for illuminating the 
open Cavities of the Body, with a view to facilitate the examination 
of disease, and the application of remedial means in such situations j 
illustrated with an Ear " Speculum" adapted to this method of obser- 

Committee. — Dr Traill, Dr Douglas Maclagan, Dr Cowan, Dr Rans- 
ford. Dr Ransford, Convener. 

The Committee met on Wednesday, 15th instant, and carefully ex- 
amined this adaptation of the prism ; they found, that, in narrow pas- 
sages, such as the auditory canal, the invention was peculiarly fitted to 
assist in the discovery of disease ; and, from the reports of other medi- 
cal men, that it was found to be equally satisfactory in examining other 
cavities of the human body. 
Dr Warden also laid before the Committee various surgical instru- 

Comparative Analysis of Becent and Fossil Bones. 285 

ments, in which the prism may be used with great advantage ; and the 
Committee have no hesitation in asserting, that this is a most ingenious 
and useful mode of throwing light, either natural or artificial, in all casee 
in which " Specula" are employed. 

The Committee unanimously recommend it to the fiavGurable consi- 
deration of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. 
Signed in name of the Committee. 

(Signed) Charles Ransfokd, M.D., F.R.S.S.A., 
Edinbubgh, May 22. 1844. 

Comparative Analysis of Becent and Fossil Bones. 


Dear Sir, — Having lately devoted some time and attention to 
the analyses of bones, both recent and fossil, I trust some of the 
results at which I have arrived may not be unacceptable to the 
readers of the Philosophical Magazine. I took up the subject with 
the view of ascertaining, if possible, the law by which fluoride of 
calcium becomes augmented or developed in fossil bones ; as, should 
this be established, an important step would, I conceive, be thereby 
made towards the ascertainment of geological time. 

That fossil bones contain fluoride of calcium in greater quantity 
than recent ones, is a fact which has long been known, though here- 
tofore not adequately explained. One theory proposed to account 
for it on the hypothesis, that the source of fluorine in animals is 
their food, and that in former times it must have contained a greater 
quantity of the substance than it does now ; and thus the bones of 
animals then living came to possess it in a higher proportion. To 
this theory, however, I felt unable to consent, as, in order to entitle 
it to credence, its supporters should, in my opinion, be prepared to 
shew that fluoride of calcium is capable, from its nature, of occupying 
the place, and discharging the functions of phosphate of lime in liv- 
ing bones, without detriment to their health and strength ; as also, 
that if a greater quantity of fluoride of calcium were present in the 
food of animals, a greater proportion would be absorbed. To as- 
sume these is to assume too much, the more especially as the gene- 
ral constancy and uniformity of Nature is thereby opposed, who, 
having her own materials to select from, and to work with from the 
beginning, is as little likely to deviate in the constituent elements of 
things, as in the laws by which the things themselves are governed. 

It is, perhaps, unnecessary to examine other explanations less 
generally received, though all equally exceptionable; suffice it to 
say, that, unsatisfied with them, I was induced to seek for another. 

286 Comparative Analysis of Beceni and Fossil Bones, 

In this search it occurred to me that fluorine might exi«t in common 
water ; and, if so, that its accumulation in fossil bones would be found 
to be the result of infiltration, as with carbonate of lime, peroxide 
of iron, &c. In order to ascertain whether there was any founda- 
tion for this view, I examined the toUowing substances, and found 
them to contain fluorine, some in greater, some in less proportion : — 
1. Deposit in a chloride of lime vat, 2. Deposit in a water-con- 
duit pipe of a coal-mine. 3. Stalactitic deposit from the old red 
sandstone.* 4. Deposit in a wooden pipe for conducting water from 
a building. 5. Deposit in a kettle used solely for the boiling of 
water. 6. Portion of a vein of sulphuret of barytes from the old 
red sandstone above mentioned. 7. Fossil wood from Egypt, fos- 
silized by infiltration of carbonate of lime. 8. Fossil wood from 
Egypt, fossilized by infiltration of silica. f 

I no longer entertained a doubt as to the source of fluorine in 
recent bones, and of its accumulation in fossil bones. The fact 
which my investigation also disclosed to me, viz. that fluorine is not 
confined to the bones of recent mammalia, but exists also in those 
of birds and reptiles, as also in the shells of mollusca, was also thus 
accounted for. Indeed, the last fact is alone enough to prove that 
the source of fluorine must bo as generally diffused as water is ; 
while the reception of that substance by the organism being secured 
and placed beyond the dominion of tastes or caprice, seems to elevate 
in importance the function which it has to fulfil. 

I shall now proceed to detail a hvf of the analyses made in pro- 
secution of the object with which my investigations were begun. My 
inferences as to the geological bearing of the results have already 
been submitted to the Geological Society. 

First, Colossochylus atlas of the Sewalic Hills — entosternal bone 
of the sternum, Caut. and Falc. ; phosphate of lime, 64*95 per cent. ; 
carbonate of lime, 22*36 ; fluoride of calcium, 11*68; peroxide of 
iron, 1*00. 

Second, Fossil ruminant of the Sewalic-— phosphate of lime, 
78*00 per cent.; carbonate of lime, 11*34; fluoride of calcium, 
10'65 ; peroxide of iron, trace. 

Third, A fossil horse of the St.^walic — phospliate of lime, 58*46 
percent.; fluoride of calcium, 11*24; carbonate of lime, 28*80; 
peroxide of iron, 0*60. 

Fourth, Fossil camel of the Sewalic — phosphate of lime, 62*35 
per cent.; carbonate oi lime, 25*23; fluoride of calcium, 11*16; 
peroxide of iron, 0*76. 

Fifth,\ Part of a fossil alligator, Sewalic — phosphate of lime, 

* Contained about 8 per cent, of fluoride of calcium. 

t A minute trace of fluorine. 

X The state of this fossil differed essentially from that of the foregoing ; 
the}' being soft and friable, hard and refractory, and having quite a mi. 
neral character. 


Comparative Analysis of Beceni and Fossil Bones. 287 

76'79 per cent. ; carbonate of lime, 7*40; phosphate and peroxide 
of iron, 8*67 ; fluoride of calcium, 4*85 ; carbonate of magnesia, 
1-76 ; silica, 1-50. 

The above are analyses of a few of several specimens furnished to 
me by Dr Falconer, a gentleman whose love of science and perse- 
verance in its cause are only equalled by the cordiality with which 
he encourages and assists others engaged in scientific pursuits. 

Sixth, Iguanodon of the Wealden — phosphate of lime, 35*35 per 
cent.; carbonate of lime, 19*59; fluoride of calcium, 11*51; in- 
soluble silicates, 8*75 ; chloride of sodium, 1*26; soda, 2*50; mag- 
nesia and chloride of magnesium, 3*50 ; alumina and peroxide of iron. 
6-91 ; organic, 10*71. 

Seventh, Recent shells— carbonate of lime, 99*01 per cent.; 
chloride of sodium, 0*20 ; fluoride of calcium,* tissue and loss, 0-79. 

Eighth, Sea urchin of the Miocene from Malta — carbonate of 
lime, 98*12 per cent. ; chloride of sodium, 0*48 ; insoluble silicates, 
0*80 ; fluoride of calcium, 0*55. 

For the interesting subjects, of which the following are analyses, 
I am indebted to the kindness and courtesy of the authorities of 
University College. It will be readily seen how important they 
were to the investigations with which I set out, as also how directly 
they bear upon the truth to which my investigations led me, viz. 
*' that fluorine in fossil bones is a product of infiltration." 

The of these analyses, and the ninth in order, is that of a 
Greek skull, its age being about 2000 years, as indicated by a coin 
found under the jaw, and which, according to usage, had no doubt 
been placed in the mouth of a corpse previous to burial. The bone 
had so far assumed a fossil character as to bo friable ; easily pul- 
verized in a mortar, and having a faintly pinkish tint, due to the 
presence of the peroxide of iron. The following were found to be 
its constituents : — 

Phosphate of lime, 70-01 per cent. ; carbonate of lime, 10*34 per 
cent. ; fluoride of calcium, 5*04 ; organic matter, 9*97 ; insoluble 
acids, 1*68 ; soda and chloride of sodium, 1*15 ; phosphate of mag- 
nesia, 1*34 ; peroxide of iron a small quantity. 

Tenth, Skull of an Egyptian mummy — organic matter, 38-50f 
per cent. ; phosphate of lime, 5076 ; carbonate of lime, 6*01 ; 
fluoride of calcium, 2*35; phosphate of magnesia, 1*14; soda and 
chloride of sodium, 1'12. 

Eleventh, Analysis of a portion of a skull lately recovered from 
the wreck of the Royal George. This bone had undergone but little 

* The quantity too small for estimation. 

t I can only account for the large proportion of organic matter, and 
the small proportion of carbonate of lime, by supposing them to be the 
results of the process of embalming. 


288 Dr Daubeny on the Occurrence of Fluorine 

change in appearance from its normal state, while it had all the 
tenacity of recent bone. It had, however, a slightly yellowish tinge, 
and the cells between the plates were charged with a white substance 
which, when examined, was found to consist of chloride and oxide of 
magnesium. The following were its constituents : — 

Organic matter, 31*59 per cent.; phosphate of lime, 50"58 ; 
carbonate of lime, 9*83; fluoride of calcium, 1*86 ; soda, 1"08 ; 
chloride of sodium, 2*42 ; magnesia and chloride of magnesium, 

Twelfth, Analysis of a portion of a recent skull — Organic mat- 
ter, 33*43; phosphate of lime, 51*11; carbonate of lime, 10*31; 
fluoride of calcium,* 1*99; soda, 1-08 ; chloride of sodium, 0*60 ; 
magnesia and phosphate of magnesia,! 1*67. 

It is perhaps unnecessary to add more to these analyses than the 
statement that they have been performed with great care, and that 
to these, and congeneric inquiries, I have devoted some months ; while 
pursued as they were in the Laboratory of University College, I had 
the advantage of most able advice and assistance. + — I am, &c. 


LoN^DON, June 7. 1844. 
— JPhilosopJiical Magazine No. 164, p. 14. 

On the Occurrence of Fluorine in Recent as well as in Fossil 
Bones. By Charles Daubeny, M.D., F.R.S. 

Having, in the course of the preceding spring, paid a visit to the 
deposit of compact phosphorite, which occurs in the province of 
Estremadura in Spain, I was subsequently led to examine into the 
chemical constitution of the mineral which forms the prevailing in- 
gredient of the vein to which my inquiries had been directed. 

The results of my examination have already been reported in the 
memoir communicated by my fellow-traveller, Captain Waddington, 
R.N., and myself, to the G-eological Society, with respect to the 
rock in question, and read at their meeting on the I7th of January 
last ; from which it will be seen, that the mineral, although not 

* So far as an inference maybe drawn from qualitative indications, 
the bone of a foetus of Q\ months, contains as great a proportion of 
fluoride as that of an adult ; an interesting fact, and not, I believe^ pre- 
viously noticed. 

t If none of the magnesia existed in the bone as phosphate, which 
there is much reason to doubt, the phosphate of lime would be increased 
about 1 per cent. ; and the fluoride of calcium would be, therefore, pro- 
portionally diminished. 

I The results of MM. Girardin and Preisser's analyses of ancient and 
fossil bones will be found in Phil. Mag. s. 3, vol. xxiv., p. 18. — Ed. 

in Recent as well as in Fossil Bones. 28^ 

being crystallized, it is somewhat variable in its composition, yet, 
when selected as pure as possible, contains as much as 81 per cent, 
of phospate of lime, and 14 per cent, of fluoride of calcium, the re- 
mainder appearing to consist of silica and peroxide of iron. 

The conclusion arrived at, with respect to the compact form of 
mineral phosphate of lime occurring in the above locality, coupled 
with the reports of other chemists to the same effect relative to the 
crystallized apatite, naturally led me to speculate as to the final 
causes of the apparently constant association of fluoride of calcium 
with earthy phosphates, amongst the older materials of the globe, 
and to ask myself, whether it might not bo possible, that fluorine, 
as well as phosphorous, fulfilled some hitherto unexplained ofl^ice, 
in the economy of those organic beings, for the sake of which such 
mineral matters may be conjectured to have been treasured up in 
the rock formations from the beginning of time. 

These reflections brought to my mind the researches of Morichini 
and of Berzelius, with respect to the existence of fluorine in bones, 
seeing that the latter, according to the concurrent testimony of botli 
these philosophers, appear to contain, as a constant ingredient, a 
minute quantity of fluoride of calcium, inasmuch as its presence is 
vouched for by them, in recent as well as in fossil bones, and in the 
teeth of mammalia, as well as in other parts of their osseous struc- 

Here, however, I was compelled to pause, by observing the con- 
trary statements put forth by other able chemists relative to this 
point. Fourcroy and Vauquelin having, previously to the re- 
searches of Berzelius, denied the existence of fluorine in recent 
bones ; and Dr Rees having, subsequently to them, in a memoir 
drawn up under a full knowledge by what had been done before, 
arrived at a conclusion equally opposed to that of the Swedish phi- 
losopher.* One too, which has been since corroborated in a com- 
munication relative to the composition of bones, made to the French 
Institute, by Messrs. Girardin and Preisser of Rouen, and lately 
published in the Comptes Hendus.jf 

As, however, none of these gentlemen appear to dispute that 
fluorine does occur iri fossil bones generally, the conclusion they have 
arrived at leaves the subject, it must be confessed, encumbered with 
greater difficulties than before ; for as all sound chemical analogies 
stand opposed to the admission of the idea, that fluorine can have 
been generated from the other constituents, during any process of 
decay or alteration that might have occurred in it during the ages 
that had elapsed since it formed a part of the living structure, we 
should be driven to the belief, that the fluoride of calcium contained 
in bone had filtered in from w^ithout ; a conjecture which, although 

* See Phil. Mag. S. 3, vol. xv. p. 55S. Ed. 
1 Ibid. S. 3, vol. xxiv. p. 154. Ed. 

290 Dr Daubeny on the Occurrence of Fluorine 

perfectly plausible, if the concurrence of this ingredient had been 
casual, or had been limited to bones found in rocks of a certain age 
or composition, seemed rather a violent one, when extended to those 
of all ages and formations, being scarcely reconcileable with the rarity 
of the mineral itself in the waters of springs, and its sparing solu- 
bility in most re-agents. 

These difficulties that occurred to my mind, no less than the 
weight I attached to the positive testimony of the great Swedish 
chemist, in favour of the existence of fluorine in recent bones, in- 
duced me to consider, whether it might not be possible that certain 
circumstances had operated in the mode of conducting the experi- 
ment, by which the presence of fluorine, in the hands of the chemists 
who adopt the opposite conclusion, escaped detection. 

And, on further investigation, it appeared to me, that two ingre- 
dients naturally present in recent bones might have interfered with 
the result in the instances alluded to. 

The first of these is animal matter, which, owing to the strong 
affinity it possesses for fluorine, may arrest its escape, and thus pre- 
vent it from coming into contact with the glass ; the second, salts con- 
taining any volatilizable ingredient, such as the carbonic or muriatic 
acids, which would be disengaged by the same agent by which the 
fluorine was set at liberty, and which, escaping in a rapid current, 
might carry the latter along with them, before it could have time 
to exert any sensible action upon the glass suspended over it. 
Accordingly, I found, that whilst one-tenth of a grain of fluor spar, 
mixed with more than 100 grains of any earthy mineral, occasioned, 
under the action of sulphuric acid, an easily discernible, though 
faint con-osiun, on the exposed parts of the glass, the same quantity 
produced no effect whatever, when mixed with 5 per cent, of carbo- 
nate of lime, or with a little gelatine ; and that half a grain of 
fluor spar, and the earth, when mixed with gelatine, caused a trace 
on glass not much more distinct than that occasioned by one-tenth 
ef a grain without this admixture. 

In testing, therefore, the bones and teeth which I had obtained 
for examination, I did not choose to content myself with merely 
adding sulphuric acid to the pulverized specimen, but I began by 
burning off all the animal matter ; and then, finding that carbonic 
acid still in part remained, I dissolved the earthy residuum in muri- 
atic acid, and threw down, by means of caustic ammonia, the earthy 

The latter, after being well washed and dried, were treated with 
concentrated sulphuric acid in a platina crucible, covered over by a 
plate of glass, shielded, except on the parts intended to be acted 
upon, by a coating of wax ; but no artificial heat was applied, as the 
sulphuric acid, by its action upon the phosphate, raised the temper- 
ature sufficiently to expel whatever fluoric acid might be present in 
the specimen. 

in Recent as well as in Fossil Bones. 291 

The glass was allowed to remain as a cover to the platina crucible 
for at least two hours, and in order to insure the condensation upon 
it of the hydrofluoric vapour, a rim of wax was placed round the 
margin of the upper surface of the glass, by means of which a small 
portion of water might be kept the whole time in contact with it, 
so as to maintain a suitably low temperature. 

That these precautions were not unnecessary, I satisfied myself 
by observing the difference in the degree of corrosion produced by a 
fossil bone given mo by Dr Buckland from the cave of Kirkdale in 
Yorkshire, when thus purified from the animal matter by which its 
loiig interment had not yet deprived it, as well as of its carbonic 
acid, as compared with the same when treated with sulphuric acid 
without having undergone such a preparation. 

In proof of this I submit to the inspection of members, specimens 
No. 3, and No. 4 ; the one shewing the glass corroded by a Kirk- 
dale bone, deprived of its animal matter and carbonic acid ; the lat- 
ter, by one retaining both. Operating in this manner, I have suc- 
ceeded in engraving upon glass, not only by means of fossil bones 
from Stonesfield, from Montmartre, from the cave of Kirkdale in 
Yorkshire, and from that of Gailenreuth in Franconia, specimens of 
all which were supplied me by Dr Buckland ; but likewise with the 
bone of some quadruped that had been lying for a long, but unknown 
time, exposed to the weather in the soil of our Botanic Garden ; 
with the vertebra of an ox recently killed ; with the tibia of a human 
subject from an anatomical cabinet at Oxford ; with the teeth of an 
ox just killed ; and with human teeth of recent date. The markings 
differ widely in the degree of their distinctness, and are, in some 
instances, so faint as hardly to be discerned except by day-light ; but 
I have convinced myself, that they cannot be attributed to the dis- 
engagement of phosphoric acid, as the same glass was in no degree 
affected by the fumes proceeding from the action of sulphuric acid 
upon pure phosphate of lime, where the acid had been derived from 
the direct combustion of phosphorous, nor, for a long time at least, 
by the vapour of free phosphoric acid exposed to a heat sufficiently 
great to fuse and partially to volatilize it. 

Nor was it dependent on any peculiarity in the nature of the 
glass, for plate glass was corroded in the same manner as the crown 
glass, more usually employed. 

By the oldest and most fossilized specimens, the glass seemed 
undoubtedly to be the most deeply etched ; yet even here there 
occurred exceptions, for the marks caused by a bear's bone taken 
from Gailenreuth, are the faintest in the whole series, and were 
produced only after a long exposure to the acid vapours, two trials 
having proved unsuccessful ; whilst, on the other hand, the tibia of a 
human subject gave indications almost as distinct as any of the 
fossil bones operated upon. 

It would doubtless have been more satisfactory if I could have 

292 Dr Daubeny on the Occurrence of Fluorine 

stated the proportion of fluorine in these samples of bones and teeth, 
as well as the fact of its actual presence, and likewise if I had ex- 
tended my examination over a larger number of specimens ; but I 
have been compelled to postpone the former part of the inquiry until 
I could obtain an apparatus suitable for the purpose, and doubted 
when my time would permit me to carry further the present inves- 
tigation, if, in order to give my results in a state of greater com- 
pleteness, I neglected the present opportunity of communicating 
them.* The only criterion, therefore, I am at present enabled to 
offer as to the proportion of fluorine in the bones examined, is a 
comparison of the depth and distinctness of the marks produced by 
the latter, vvdth those caused by a certain amount of fluor spar, 
mixed with a weight of phosphate of lime, or other earthy material, 
equal to that present in the bones operated upon. Judging by this 
rough mode of measurement, it would appear, that in several in- 
stances the faintness of the marks shews a smaller quantity of fluo- 
rine to have been present in the specimen, than would have been 
contained in a mixture of one-tenth of a grain of fluor spar added 
to 100 grains of phosphate of lime. 

The existence of fluoric acid, as a constant, or at least a common 
ingredient in bones of all ages, would seem, a priori, to be much 
more probable than its absence in recent bones would be, if its nor- 
mal presence in fossil ones be admitted, for we can readily under- 
stand its finding its way into the animal structure through the 
medium of plants, which may imbibe it along with those phosphates 
with which it is so generally associated. Indeed it seems so likely, 
that those vegetables at least that contain much phosphate of lime 
should possess a trace of it, that I am at this very time examining 
the ashes of barley with reference to the latter point, t 

Th6 greater distinctness of the marks produced by the fossil bones 
acted upon than by the recent ones, may be more difficult of expla- 
nation ; but before it is urged as an objection against the view taken, 
it should be determined whether the difference may not arise from 
the removal of the greater part of the animal matter from the fossil 
bone, owing to its long mterment in the earth. Of the six speci- 

* I have since, by the aid of the apparatus described in the former 
note, attempted to estimate the amount of fluorine in the fossil bone 
from Stonesfield, and in the recent human bone from an anatomical 
cabinet. The former afforded 8*7 grains per cent, of fluoride of calcium, 
the latter only 2*0, results which will at least indicate the relative, if not 
the absolute quantity of fluorine present. 

t I have since ascertained that no sensible action is exerted on glass 
by heating with sulphuric acid the earthy phosphates present in 12 lbs. 
of barley. Sprengel, I find, had already suggested the probable occur- 
rence of fluorine in plants, but conceives that it exists in such a state of 
combination, as causes it to be dissipated by the heat necessary for ex- 
pelling the carbonaceous matter, and therefore cannot be detected in 
the ordinary method. 

in Becent as ?vell as in Fossil Bones, 293 

mens of fossil and recent bones of which I made a rough analysis, 
that from Stouesfield, which was the oldest of any, having been im- 
bedded in a .secondary rock belonging to the oolite formation, lost, by 
exposure to ajieat of 212°, 4*2 per cent. ; by a further heat of about 
500°, 5*0 per cent, more, and by increasing the temperature to a red 
heat, only 1-8 percent, in addition, the latter probably representing 
very nearly the amount of animal matter remaining, the two former 
numbers the water retained within the bone. 

Proceeding upon the same data, the bone from tertiary rocks of 
the Paris basin, next in the order of antiquity, would contain 10 
per cent, of water, 2 of animal matter ; the bone from Gailenreuth, 
water 13.9, animal matter 5.0; that from Kirkdale 12.5 water, 11 
animal matter ; whereas the recent bone picked up in the Botanic 
Garden contained, even when dry externally, about 30 per cent, of 
water, and 1 1 animal matter ; and the human tibia, which had been 
kept in an anatom.ical cabinet for a certain time, gave out 23 per 
cent, of water, and 17 of animal matter. 

It may also be suggested, as a possible explanation, that the 
fluoride of calcium distributed through the mass has, in the course 
of time, become collected into little nuclei m certain parts of the 
bone, and for this reason may allow of a more ready disengagement 
from it of the fluoric acid which it contains, as an ingredient. 

That a certain alteration in the arrangement of the earthy particles 
of a bone does occasionally take place after its deposition, is evinced 
from the curious observations, by Messrs Girardin and Preisser, in the 
memoir which has been already referred to, as these gentlemen state, 
that the bone-earth phosphate appears, in some instances, to have se- 
parated into two distinct compounds, crystals of apatite being recog- 
nised by them in some of the fossil bones in their possession, which 
they conceive to have arisen from the segregation of the tribasic 
from the bibasic compound. 

Will not this latter fact also help us towards an understanding 
of the function which fluate of lime may fulfil in the structure of 
bones, and likewise of the peculiar adaptation of the bone-earth 
phosphate to serve as its prevailing earthy ingredient ? 

It seems a general law in both kingdoms of organic nature, that 
crystallization should operate as a sort of antagonist force to the 
process of assimilation, so that no material can be fitted to enter into 
the fabric of a living body, between w^hose particles the natural force 
of polarity operates with all its energy. Hence, according to Dr Prout, 
the use of the infinitesimal small portions of foreign inorganic 
matter interposed between the particles of most bodies, which form 
the constituents of vegetable or animal organization ; and although 
it may be true, as has been suggested by Von Buch, that the very 
prismatic form which belongs to the phosphate of lime as a mineral 
species, adapts it for the fibrous structure of bone better than other 
earthy compounds, in which the axis of crystallization is equal in 

294 Mr George Fownes on the Existence of 

both directions, yet, even in this case, the tendency to arrange itself 
according to the laws which regulate inert matter might operate too 
powerfully, were it not diminished by the association, in equal atomic 
weiglits of the two phosphates, each of which possesses a polarity in 
some degree differing from the other, and consequently, to a certain 
extent, counteracts the disposition in the particles of the other to 
assume a determinate arrangement. 

If there be any truth in these speculations, is it not also conceiv- 
able, that the interposition of a mineral matter, like fluor-spar, whose 
particles crystallize in quite another manner, that is in cubes, may 
co-operate on the same principle, in imparting that freedom of motion 
to the particles of the prevailing constitutent of bones, by which it 
is rendered more pliant to the purposes of the animal economy, more 
obedient to the laws of life, more ready, in short, to insinuate itself 
into the pores, so as to form the coats of those delicate capillary 
canals, of which the osseous structure appears to consist ? — Philoso- 
phical Magazine, vol. xxv. !N"o. 164, p. 122, 

On the Existence of Phosphoric Acid in Rocks of Igneous Ori- 
gin. By George Fownes, Ph. D., Chemical Lecturer in the 
Middlesex Hospital Medical School. Communicated by 
Thomas Graham, Esq., F.R.S., &c.* 

The important, though obscure, functions attributed to the ele- 
mentary body, phosphorus, both in the vegetable and in the animal 
kingdoms ; and the well known fact, that rocks of nearly every de- 
scription afford, on disintegration, soils more or less capable of sup- 
porting the life of plants, and from which, consequently, phosphoric 
acid cannot possibly be absent, seemed to render a search for that 
substance, in rocks of igneous origin, generally very desirable, be- 
cause if there found, an easy and satisfactory explanation of the 
origin and first source of the element in question would be given. 
As I am not aware that any direct researches on this subject have 
yet been made, or at least placed on record, I venture to submit to 
the notice of the Royal Society, the results of a ^^yt experiments 
made by myself, which, so far as they go, resolve the question in 
the affirmative. 

The first substance tried was the fine white porcelain-clay of Dart- 
moor, Devon, the result of the disintegration of the felspar of the 
granite of that district. This is one of the chief components of por- 
celain, and of the finer kinds of English earthenware, and was found 
on analysis to correspond very closely in composition with that of 
the material employed in the manufacture of the Sevres porcelain. 

* Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. London. Year 1844. Part I., page 53. 

Pltoi'phoric Acid in Rocks of Igneous Origin, 295 

It was thought that phosphoric acid, if present, would be in combi- 
nation with a portion of the alumina ; and as the phosphate of that 
earth is readily soluble in dilute mineral acids, while the silicate 
offers great resistance to these agents, mere digestion with acid would 
suffice to extract the whole, or the greater part of the phosphate, 
which could be afterwards precipitated by an alkali, and examined. 

With this view, 1000 grains of the clay were boiled during seve- 
ral hours in a flask with a quantity of pure dilute hydrochloric acid ; 
a large bulk of distilled water was then added, and the whole allowed 
to rest until perfectly clear. The acid liquid was then carefully de- 
canted from the undissolved clay, evaporated in a porcelain basin to 
a small bulk, and precipitated by a slight excess of pure ammonia. 
The scanty reddish precipitate obtained, which consisted chiefly of 
alumina and oxide of iron, was collected upon a little filter, thoroughly 
washed with distilled water, dried, and ignited. It was next reduced 
to fine powder, and mixed with an equal weight of pure silica in a 
finely divided state, and six times as much anhydrous carbonate of 
soda. This mixture was heated to fusion in a platinum crucible. 
When cold, the melted mass was acted upon by boiling water, and 
the soluble and highly alkaline portion separated by a filter from the 
insoluble silicate of alumina. The solution was mixed with excess 
of nitric acid, evaporated to dryness, water added, and the product 
filtered. The liquid thus obtained was divided into two portions ; 
one of these was carefully neutralized by a little ammonia, and mixed 
with a few drops of nitrate of silver ; a distinct yellow precipitate 
appeared which was freely soluble in dilute nitric and acetic acids. 
The nitric acid was mixed with excess of ammonia and some hydro- 
chlorate of ammonia, and a few drops of solution of sulphate of mag- 
nesia added. After a short interval, a crystalline, granular, white 
precipitate, the ammonio-magnesian phosphate, made its appearance, 
which increased in quantity by agitation. 

This experiment, which demonstrates the presence of a small 
quantity of phosphoric acid in the clay in a most unequivocal man- 
ner, was several times repeated with a like result. The purity of 
the acids, carbonate of soda, and other materials employed, were 
rigorously tested, and filtration through paper of the original acid 
liquid purposely avoided, lest a trace of earthy phosphate should 
have been dissolved from the paper. 

The porcelain-clay is extracted from the disintegrated granite by 
mere washing with water, and subsidence ; and the water of the dis- 
trict in which it is found, is, in all probability, exceedingly pure. 
It was thought worth while, however, to examine in the same man- 
ner the decomposed rock which had not been subjected to any artifi- 
cial treatment, and a specimen taken by myself from the quarry was 
chosen for the purpose. The result shewed the presence of phos- 
phoric acid as in the clay, and apparently to about the same extent, 
allowance being made for the quartz-grains, mica, &c. 

296 Mr George Fownes on the Existence of 

In the examination of unaltered felspar, I failed, unfortunately, 
in getting a conclusive result. The mineral, although reduced to 
very fine powder by trituration in a mortar of Swedish porphyry, 
was found to be so hard and dense as to resist completely the 
action of the acid at a boiling temperature. An insignificant quan- 
tity of oxide of iron was dissolved out, in which no phosphoric acid 
could be detected. 200 grains of the powdered felspar were then 
fused with a large excess of carbonate of soda ; the mass was treated 
with w^ater, filtered, the solution supersaturated with nitric acid, and 
evaporated to dryness ; water was then poured upon the residue, and 
the whole placed upon a filter. The solution was then examined, 
as before, for phosphoric acid, but with an indistinct and doubtful 
result. Too small a quantity of the felspar had been used, and the 
mass of nitrate of soda present interfered too seriously with the 
action of the tests to render their evidence of any value. A far bet- 
ter mode of investigation would be, to act upon the powdered mineral 
with hydrofluoric acid, in the manner recommended by some analysts 
in the examination of natural silicates containing an alkali ; not 
being, however, in possession of the necessary platinum vessels, I was 
obliged to abandon the attempt. 

Other substances were then tried with very decisive results. The 
method of proceeding adopted was very much the same as that already 
described. The minerals were finely powdered in the porphyry mor- 
tar, and boiled, as before, with dilute hydrochloric acid. All were 
much more readily attacked than the porcelain clay, and yielded 
solutions containing a large quantity of alumina and oxide of iron. 
The liquid was separated from the insoluble part by decantation, 
evaporated nearly to dryness, water added, and then an excess of 
ammonia. The copious bulky precipitates obtained were washed 
and digested in dilute acetic acid, which has the property of dissolv- 
ing, with great facility, both oxide of iron and alumina, while it 
leaves untouched the phosphates of those bases. The undissolved 
residue was dried, ignited, fused with silica and carbonate of soda, 
and the product examined in the manner already described. The 
addition of silica is indispensable to the retention by the whole of 
the alumina in an insoluble condition. Phosphate of alumina is not 
decomposed by carbonate of soda by fusion, or only partially, and is, 
besides, soluble in an aqueous solution of that salt. 

The results of the examination may be thus briefly stated : — 
Dark grey vesicular lava from the Hhine, used at Cologne as a 
building stone, being exceedingly stro7ig and durable, — Enough of 
phosphate of soda was extracted from 1000 grains of this substance 
to exhibit the yellow phosphate of silver, and the phosphate of mag- 
nesia and ammonia on a large scale. The phosphoric acid might 
be said to be very abundant., that is, comparatively speaking. No 
attempt was, however, made to estimate it quantitatively, as the ope- 
ration is attended with great difficulty, and the result of doubtful 

Phosphoric Acid in Rocks of Igneous Origin, 297 

value, from the unavoidable errors of experiment bearing too large a 
proportion to the quantity of the substance. 

White trachyte of the Drachenfels, near Bonn, on the Rhine.— ^ 
This rock is apparently as rich in phosphoric acid as the preceding ; 
nothing could be more distinct and satisfactory than the indications 
of the re-agents. 

Dark red, spongy y scoriaceous lava from Vesuvius. — This was 
tried in the same manner, and yielded abundance of phosphoric acid. 
Compact dark green basalt, or toadstone, from Cavedale, Derby- 
shire. — This substance was very tough, and difficult to powder. 
Enough of phosphate of soda was, however, extracted from 750 grains 
of the rock, to exhibit very unequivocally the characteristic tests de- 

Dark blackish-green, extremely strong basalt from the neighbour- 
hood of Dudley, termed Rowley-rag g., gave a very similar result. 
Phosphoric acid is not so plentiful in these substances as in the lava, 
although its presence is easily rendered evident. 

An ancient phosphyritic lava, contairiing numerous crystals of 
hornblende from Vesuvius. — This phosphoric acid was here very 
distinct, but not so abundant as in the more recent lava. 

A specimen of tufa, or volcanic mud, also from Vesuvius, was 
found to contain phosphoric acid in notable quantity. 

These were all the substances tried ; they were taken, as is at 
once seen, indiscriminately from igneous formations of many localities 
and many ages, and they all, with one doubtful exception, in which 
practical difficulties interfered with the inquiry, yielded phosphoric 
acid. It is highly probable, therefore, that this substance is a very 
usual, although small, component of volcanic rocks. 

It is not unlikely that the remarkable fertility possessed by soils, 
derived from the decomposition of some varieties of lava, may be, in 
part at least, due to the presence of this phosphate in the original 
rock, although much must of course be ascribed to the alkali, espe- 
cially potash, which these substances contain, and which is gradually 
brought by the continued process of disintegration into a soluble 
state. There can be little doubt that the matter erupted from time 
to time from the interior of the earth, in a state of fusion, is thus 
destined to renew the surface from which the more valuable and 
more soluble components have gradually been removed by the action 
of water and other causes constantly in operation. If it should 
hereafter bo found, on a more extended investigation, that phosphoric 
acid, although present in all igneous rocks, is most abundant in those 
of modern date, the fact will thus receive an explanation, the more 
ancient lavas having been most changed by the slowly-acting and 
almost imperceptible causes in question. One might be attempted 
to consider lava as a kind of fundamental material, from the subse- 
quent alteration of which all others are derived, and expect it to 
contain, here and there at least, traces of all the elementary bodies 

298 Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 

known, even those most rare. In the present case, it cannot be al- 
together devoid of interest to trace to its first source the enormous 
quantities of phosphoric acid, for the most part locked up in a tem- 
porarily insoluble condition in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, 
and in the various strata of calcareous and sedimentary deposits, in 
the formation of which, organized beings have played so prominent 
and important a part. 

An Account of Electrical Experiments. By Mr R. Adie, Liver- 
pool. Communicated by the Author. 

Among the details of the experiments as originally drawn up by 
me for publication, in the 70th and 71st Numbers of Jameson's 
Philosophical Journal, I had some which shewed a molecular action 
in the joint of M. Pelletier's cross, when subjected to the continued 
influence of a feeble electrical current for six w^eeks. Ultimately, 
these experiments were withdrawn from the first series submitted for 
the consideration of your readers ; for I failed in an attempt to detect 
any action on the galvanometer, from the slow mechanical fracture 
of a thermo joint, and the disappointment in this experiment made 
me desirous of examining more at leisure the details of the subject. 

The results I have now to offer, appear to me to lead by steps to 
the explanation of the sources of the electrical currents noticed by M. 
Pelletier ; but I regret that they do not confirm an observation de- 
duced from his original experiments, namely, that a current of elec- 
tricity, in passing from one metal into another, can, under some cir- 
cumstances, lower the temperature of the joint below that of the sur- 
rounding atmosphere ; or, in other words, can produce cold. It will 
be seen that a given current of electricity may heat a joint 12°, by 
passing through it in one direction, and only 2° when passed in an 
opposite direction ; but in no instance is the temperature ever re- 
duced below that of the apartment where the investigations are car- 
ried on. Another result which these experiments go to prove, and 
to my mind the more important of the two, is, that an electrical 
current, in passing across any medium, heats the part where it en- 
ters higher than the part where it quits the medium. 

35. To the extremities of a galvanic battery of ten pairs of zinc 
and silver plates, superficies of each plate in action about 50 inches, 
two small platina capsules were attached by bands or ribbons of cop- 
per, so that these capsules could be used as a pair of decomposing 
poles. They were then inserted to about two-thirds of their depth, 
in acidulated water, with nearly a superficial inch of surface in ac- 
tion as a decomposing pole. On completing the circuit, a brisk de- 
composition commenced, which kept the platina surfaces well covered 
with gas bells. Inside the capsules, I had two delicate thermometers, 

Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 299 

with a small quantity of water, sufficient to cover their bulbs. Both 
thermometers soon indicated an elevation of temperature, the one in 
the positive capsule standing the highest; after 15' action, the ob- 
served temperatures were, — apartment, 42° ; negative pole, 69° ; 
positive pole, 62° ; in this case, the capsules were 2^ inches, as 
under ; on approaching them together, till nearly in contact, the ra- 
pidity of the decomposition increased ; and after a similar interval 
of 15', the negative pole was 62° ; the positive, QQ°. The temper- 
atures stated were verified by counter-experiments, with the poles 
reversed, to guard against any error which might arise from inequal- 
ity in the capsules, or in the extent of their surfaces in action. 

The next experiment was made with the same battery, and it 
was designed to ascertain if the double volunm of hydrogen evolved 
at the negative pole, could occasion the reduction in temperature 
there noticed. The platina capsules were replaced by two larger 
copper ones, superficies in action 3J inches ; these were made to de- 
compose in a saturated sulphate of copper solution, where there is no 
gas given off; the thermometers were arranged as for the first re- 
sults. The temperatures observed, after an interval of 15', were, 
for the room, and a large vessel containing a solution of sulphate of 
copper, 46° ; negative pole, 46° ; positive pole, 47° ; the small bulb 
of a thermometer placed betwixt the two capsules 48°; counter-ex- 
periments, like those for the first set, were made, to verify these 
small differences of temperature. The extent of the changes could 
not be expected to approach those given for the platina capsules, 
where the surface in action was 3 J times less, with the resistance to 
conduction greater. 

36. A piece of platina wire, 1 J inches long, was connected by two 
stout copper wires, with the poles of a five pair galvanic battery, 
which I found sufficient to keep the temperature of the platina at a 
full red heat ; in this common experiment there is always a portion 
of the thin wire, where it joins the stout copper wire, which remains 
dark, the present operation was arranged, to ascertain if the dark 
portions on both sides were equal ; to prevent the interference of cur- 
rents of air, a glass shade was used to cover the whole. 

P, fig. 1, is the stout wire from the positive pig. i_ 

pole ; N, the negative wire ; A, the dark por- 
tion of the platina wire on the positive side, 
which always appeared shorter than the dark 
portion C, on the negative side ; B, the incan- 
descent part of the wire. I reversed the poles 
and repeated this experiment several times, al- 
ways with the same result. To me it appears to P 
be the readiest proof of the difference of tem- 
perature betwixt the extremities of an electri- 
fied wire ; but, as it is impossible to give measurements of the re- 
lative lengths of the dark parts A and C, I removed the thin wire 


300 Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 

A C, and in lieu placed a bar of bismuth, 8 inches long, and .2 of 
an inch square. The naked bulbs of two small thermometers were 
put, one near each end, touching the upper surface of the bismuth, 
and fastened down to the bar by a single fold of thick soft cloth tied 
round with thread ; this effectually prevented the exposure of any 
part of the bulbs to the air, while the coverings of both were as 
nearly as possible equal. I may here mention that I have found 
this method of applying thermometers to test the temperatures of 
different parts of electrified bars, worthy of every reliance ; for, in no 
instance, through a number of trials, has the result of the reversed 
poles ever contradicted the first differences in temperature shewn. 
The bismuth bar, with its attached thermometers, was allowed half 
an hour to settle in temperature, then it was connected to a battery 
consisting of a single pair of zinc and silver plates, superficies in ac- 
tion 42 inches ; after an interval of 30', the observed temperatures 
were, — room, 46°; positive end, corresponding to A, fig. 1, 59°; 
negative end, 54°. Another trial, room, 50°; positive end, 60°; 
negative end, 55° ; shewing a difference of 5° betwixt the two ex- 
tremities of a bismuth bar, when conducting the electricity from a 
single pair of plates. 

A still more marked effect, due to an electrical current, rais- 
ing the temperature higher at the part where it enters a medium, 
is given by Professor Daniell. " There is another well established 
and remarkable effect of the heating power of the voltaic current, 
which is as yet unexplained. When the conducting wires from a, 
powerful battery, cross one another, and are brought in contact, upon 
separating them to a short distance, a flame will appear betM'een the 
two, and the zincode (the positive pole) will become red-hot, and 
•that connected with the generating metal (the negative pole) will 
remain dark, and comparatively cool. This effect is constant, of 
whatever metal the conducting wires may be made."* The experi- 
ment quoted, appears to me to differ only in degree from those 
given for fine platina wire, and a bar of bismuth ; a powerful current 
of electricity has to pass through a short space of air ; where the 
resistance to conduction is great, the side where it enters is highly 
heated, while the side where it escapes from the bad conductor re- 
mains cool. 

37. For the foregoing experiments, the wires which carried the fluid 
from the battery to the bars of metal, where the difference of tem- 
perature were examined, offered less resistance to the passage of the 
electricity than those bars. I, therefore, wished to try the effect of 
conducting wires, which would offer a greater resistance to conduc- 
tion than the bars tested. 

Iron wires were attached to a single pair battery, superficies of 
each plate in action 42 inches, and an 8-inch copper bar 2 of an 

• Sec Daniell's Introduction to Chemical Philosophy, page 472. 

Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 301 

inch square, with 2 attached thermometers, was arranged in every 
way the same as in the experiment with the bismuth bar. The 
observed temperatures were, room 49° ; positive end 50^° ; negative 
60.° The same experiment repeated with a 2 pair battery — room 
45° ; positive end 49° ; negative end 48°. 

The iron conducting wires were changed for lead ones, and the 
current derived from 1 pair passed through the copper as before ; 
the observed temperatures were, room 49°; positive end 55° ; nega- 
tive end 56°, In these experiments, the temperatures of the con- 
ducting wires and bars must act and re-act on one another through 
their metallic contact. In the iron wire the resistance to conduction 
is not sufficient entirely to counteract the natural action of the 
electricity on the bar of copper ; but with lead conducting wires, 
where the resistance is increased, the negative end is 1° warmer 
than the positive ; at the negative end the electrical current has to 
enter lead, which it heats considerably, on account of its bad con- 
ducting power, the lead re-acts on the copper, and produces this 
apparent elevation of temperature at the negative pole of the copper 
bar, which is due to the electrical current entering into a lead bar, 
or acting on it as a positive pole. With bismuth conductors, the 
change would, I apprehend, be still greater. 

In these experiments, electricity passes through matter in its thre^ 
different conditions of gaseous, fluid, and solid, and in all of them 
heats the part where it enters higher than the part where it quits the 

38. Figure 2 represents one of M. Pel- ^'e- ^^ 

letier's crosses. BD, a bar of antimony, 
8 inches long, .2 square ; C E, a similar 
bar of bismuth fastened together at their 
centres A, either by soldering, or by 
cleaning the surfaces of the bars where 
they are in contact and binding them 
firmly together by cord ; H B and I C 
are copper wires soldered to the bars at 
band C, for the purpose of conveying a 
current of electricity from a battery ; 
E F and D G, are similar wires joined 
for connecting with a galvanometer. 

When a current is circulated through the joint A in the direction 
B A C, a galvanometer attached to the extremities of the wires F and 
G is deflected, as if the joint A was heated ; but when the current 
is circulated in the direction, CAB, the action on the galvanometer 
is the same as if a piece of ice had been placed on A. This result 
is constant for all electrical currents, at least within the limits of 
intensity given by a thermo-battery, and a 10 cell zinc and silver 
battery. To shew the connection of these currents which act on the 
galvanometer, with the variations in temperature produced by the 


Mr R. A die on Electrical Experiments. 

primary current in its passage along CAB. I made the following 

Two bars of bismuth and antimony, 8 inches long each, were tied 
together in the form of letter V, and ribbons of copper fixed to 
their upper ends for connecting with a battery, — the joint of the 
bars was placed in the bottom of a conical wine-glass, beside a 
delicate thermometer, and a small quantity of water, sufficient to cover 
the thermometer bulb and the joint. The heating power of a hydro 
current, derived from a single pair used in experiments (37), was 
now tested by observing the change of temperature of the water. 
The duration of each trial was 30', and an interval of 30' intervened 
betwixt every experiment, to allow the temperature of the parts to 
settle. Then the antimony was replaced b^ a similar bar of copper, 
and another set of results taken. Again lead was substituted for 
the copper, and the heating effects similarly tested. The observed 
results were — 

rent, passing from the thermo positive Battery current, passing from the 
r^ thfi tliprmn nPirntJvA r«ofpi thermo negative to the thermo 

Battery cm ,^ o --- - 

to the thermo negative metal. 

Bismuth and antimony couple gave 3° increase 
in temperature. 

copper 2 

" ■ Oi 


positive metal. 

Gave 9° increase in tempera- 



The bars used in the foregoing experiments were now tied up in the 
form fig. 2 ; the bismuth bar being connected with each of the other 
3 in the same order as above. A feeble current of electricity derived 
from a pair of plates excited by water only, was then passed through 
BAG, and the action on the galvanometer attached to F and G noted. 
The deflections were not very regular in their extent ; to compensate 
for this, I took the mean of a number of experiments, omitting the 
fractional parts as unnecessary, bismuth and antimony gave 48" 

copper ... 16 

lead ... 8 

Here the action on the galvanometer corresponds with the changes 
of temperature produced by similar joints immersed in water, from 
which I infer, that the currents in M. Pelletier's cross are the results 
of differences of temperature only ; and, in a variety of experiments, 
made with thermo joints, I have never seen any evidence of a re- 
duction of temperature or cold. The arrangement which produced 
the widest difference in temperature of a joint heated by a current, 
passing, first, in one direction, then in another, was, when the bismuth 
and antimony couple, used to heat water in a wine-glass, were ar- 
ranged with a piece of the bar of bismuth projecting beyond the joint 
into the water, which did not touch the bar of antimony. The cur- 
rent passing from the thermo positive metal increased the tempera- 
ture 2°, the contrary current 12"^. 

39. The experiments I have now submitted, appear to me to offer 

Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 


an explanation of tho apparent reduction of temperature, caused by 
an electrical current passing through the cross, fig. 2, in the direc- 
tion CAB. The bismuth bar is unequally heated (36), tho tem- 
perature of tho positive, or entering end, being the highest, which 
developes a thermo-electrical current, passing in the direction A C I, 
or left to right ; but tho fluid in the cells of the battery, connected 
with tho wires H and I, or the resistance in a powerful thermo elec- 
trical scourco, prevent the current passing in that direction, it finds 
less resistance to its passage through A E F, where the direction is 
unchanged; and it acts on the galvanometer, as if a piece of ice had 
been applied at A, while this joint is in reality slightly heated. Be- 
fore leaving the consideration of M. Pelletier''s cross, I feel bound to 
state, that should men of science attach any value to the whole of 
tho series of experiments now placed before them, it was the action 
of the electrical currents on this cross which first occasioned me to 
commence these inquiries. 

40. The elevation of temperature, where an electrical current 
passes from a good conductor, copper wire, mto an inferior one, lead, 
supplies a ready mode of watching the action of a constant battery. 
For this purpose, the bulb of a thermometer has to be placed upon 
the joint, and wrapped round with a good non-conductor of heat; the 
height the thermometer stands above the temperature of the room 
indicates the activity of the battery. 

The annexed fig. 3, is a representation of this calorific galvano- 
meter. A A, a thermometer. 

B, a bar of metal, a good ^ 

Pig. 3. 

conductor of electricty. 

~ A 

C, a similar bar of 

metal, a bad conductor. 

D, the joint of the 

two bars, where they 

are either soldered, or 

tied together. ! 

E, the thermometer ! 

bulb placed in contact - 

with the bar D C. ^ 

F F, an envelope for 

the bulb E, made of cot- t 


ton wool. The two ar- W 


rows indicate the direc- , — Ap 


tion of the electrical '' ' "* d^ 

i^p - < WK B 


When the electricity, from a newly prepared Smee's battery of 
48 superficial inches surface, was passed along a pair of antimony 
and bisnmth bars, arranged as above, the thermometer A A rose 19° 
above the temperature of the room. This amount of action is not 


304 Mr R. Adie on Electrical Experiments. 

long sustained in Smee's battery, the galvanometer indicated only 9° 
at the end of the first 48 hours, then the decrease in the electrical 
current is much more slow ; and it required 8 days' continued action 
for the galvanometer to fall through the remaining 9°. 

With joints disposed like fig. 3, I made a number of experiments 
to try the effect of electrical currents on them ; but as all of the re- 
sults obtained could be accounted for, by the influence of the heat 
which electricity developes in passing across those joints, it seems to 
me to be unnecessary to enter into the details of the experiments in 

41. There are some remarks on voltaic phenomena by Professor 
Grove and Mr Mackerell,* which may be thought at variance with 
the fact of the unequal heating of any medium traversed by an elec- 
trical current, as I have above attempted to prove. For Professor 
Grove has shewn that in rapid decompositions, a more brilliant com- 
bustion is observed at the negative pole than at the positive ; while 
in my experiments the temperature of the negative pole is always 
the lowest. This apparent contradiction can be reconciled, when 
the necessary conditions for the appearance of combustion at the 
poles of a battery are examined. I have always found that the de- 
composing surface must be enveloped in gas when the spark appears ; 
it is while the electricity is crossing this gaseous atmosphere that 
combustion takes place (see 1st series 2Q.) A consequence of this is, 
that where the largest volume of gas is evolved from a given super- 
ficies, there the sparks should be the most brilliant. Where acidu- 
lated water is decomposed, there is double the volume of gas elimi- 
nated at the negative pole, compared with the gas at the positive 
pole ; hence the greater brilliance in Professor Grove's experiments, 
when the voltaic circuit is completed by dipping the negative wire ; 
for the same surface of wire has to evolve twice the volume of gas 
which it had to do when the contact was made by dipping the positive 
wire into the acid solution. By employing a positive wire of half the 
section of the negative wire, the difference noticed disappears. The 
crackling noise stated by Professor Grove to accompany these rapid 
decompositions, becomes much sharper when sulphuric acid S. G. 
1850, is substituted for acidulated water. It appears to me to bo 
occasioned by the rapid formation of gas bells, exactly like steam 
bells formed in pure water boiling in a smooth glass vessel. The 
noise in both cases is very similar, and with sheathed poles the bells 
of gas may be seen to quit the pole at each sharp sound heard.t 

* See Elec. Mag. pp. 121 and 277. 

t The experiments with platiua and copper capsules detailed above; 
were performed during last winter, when the ground was partially covered 
with melting snow. The temperature of that season was unfavourable 
for secondary decompositions, and as I wished to obtain greater changes 
in the temperatures with copper poles decomposing sulphate of copper, I 
returned to them in midsummer, and employed small capsules of i a su- 

( 305 ) 

On the Origin of the Nilotic or Egyptian Population, By 
Samuel George Morton, M.D. 

Since the physical characteristics of the ancient Nilotic 
population, as derived from history and the monuments, coin- 
cide, in a remarkable manner, with the facts derived from 
anatomical comparison, it becomes necessary to offer some 
explanation of these results ; or, to shew at what period, 
and under what circumstances, several different branches of 
the Caucasian race were blended into a single nation, pos- 
sessing more or less the chracteristics of each, and this, again, 
modified in degree by another race wholly different from 
either. It is, in the first place, necessary to recur to the fact 
of the very long occupation of Egypt by successive dynas- 
ties of Hykshos, or Shepherd Kings, and that these were not 
of one but of several nations — Phoenicians, Pelasgi, and 
Scythians; while to these followed, at a long interval, an 
Ethiopian or Austral-Egyptian dynasty. Each of these great 
revolutions must have tended, in turn, to the amalgamation of 
the Egyptians with other nations ; and this result may be 
referred to three principal epochs, independently of several 
subordinate ones. 

The first epoch embraces the dynasty of the Hykshos or 
Shepherd Kings, commencing before Christ two thousand 
and eighty, and having a duration of two hundred and sixty 

It is important, however, to observe, that Josephus, quoting 
Manetho, makes the Hykshos dynasty last five hundred and 

perficial inch of surface. The electrical current derived from 2 cells of 
baniell's battery, 1 quart each, gave the observed temperature, room 68% 
negative pole 71% positive pole 73^°. The same batter}^ acting on silver 
capsules decomposing a salt of silver, shewed changes in temperature of 
2 less. When small quantities of the fluids were used in the voltameter, 
1 found the temperatures before beginning the electrical part of the ex- 
periments frequently 2° below that of the surrounding air. This was evi- 
dently a hygrometric effect, but the two sources of change of tempera- 
ture, namely the unequal heating efiect of an electrical current and rapid 
evaporation when acting together, might very readily be mistaken for 
the development of cold by electricity. 

306 Dr Morton on the Origin of the 

eleven years ; and the learned Baron Bunsen, whose work has 
not yet appeared, extends it to one thousand, beginning B. C. 
2514.* The shorter period is that of Rosellini ; but the longer 
one is, perhaps, most consistent with facts, and at least makes 
room for those various dominations which, in the lists of 
Manetho, precede the eighteenth dynasty ; which last, headed 
by Amrenoph the First, drove out the intrusive kings. During 
this long period the legitimate sovereigns were exiled into 
Ethiopia ; and it is evident that, had Meroe been any other 
than a province or dependency of Egypt, it is hardly pro- 
bable that the Egyptians — kings, priests, and people — could 
have found a safe asylum in that country during the long 
period of their exile. It is expressly stated by Josephus, that 
the Shepherd Kings lived at Memphis, *' and made both the 
upper and lower country pay tribute." It would appear, how- 
ever, that, during the greater part of the Hykshos dynasty, the 
Egyptians retained possession of the Thebaid ; nevertheless, 
the occupation of Lower Egypt by their enemies, must have 
effectually precluded all communication with other countries 
excepting Ethiopia, Southern Arabia, and India ; which fact 
will account for a vast influx of population from those countries, 
(and, consequently, from the slave regions of Africa,) into the 
Upper Nilotic provinces. 

It is, moreover, reasonable to suppose that, even after the 
expulsion of the Hykshos, multitudes of Egyptians would 
remain in Ethiopia, — ^that country wherein whole generations 
of their ancestors had lived and died ; at the same time that 
great numbers of Meroites, influenced by a variety of motives, 
and especially by social alliances, would descend the Nile into 

It is, moreover, evident, that while the Egyptians became 
thus fraternized with the nations of Southern Asia, and the 
motley races of the Upper Nile, the provinces of Lower Egypt 
would be overrun with the Caucasian tribes of Europe and 
Western Asia ; for these, either as cognate with the Hykshos, 
or as allies in their service, must have been in immense num- 
ber to have conquered so populous a country, and especially 

* See Mrs Hamilton Gray's History of Etruria, vol. i., p. 29. 

Nilotic or Egyptian Population. 30t 

to have kept possession during so long a period. It is to these 
events, then, that we attribute that blending of nations which 
appears to have been coeval with the early ages of the Nilotic 
family, and which amply accounts for the ethnographic diver- 
sities everywhere manifest on the monuments. 

The second epoch is comprised in the Ethiopian dynasty of 
three kings, which lasted forty-four years, beginning B.C. 719. 

These Meroite or Austral-Egyptian kings, during their intru- 
sive occupation of Egypt, would naturally, and indeed neces- 
sarily, engage the neighbouring tribes, and especially such as 
were hostile to Egypt, as mercenary soldiers; and there are 
more than conjectural grounds for believing that the negroes 
themselves were thus employed. We are told in the Sacred 
Writings, (2Chron.,chap.xii.,)that when Shishak king of Egypt 
— who is identical with Sheshonk of the monuments — went 
up against Jerusalem, he took with him " twelve hundred cha- 
riots and three score thousand horsemen : and the people were 
without number that came with him out of Egypt ; the Lubims, 
the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians." Of this multitude we 
may presume that the horsemen, and people in chariots, were 
part of the Egyptian army ; the Lubims and Sukkiims are by 
most commentators regarded as Libyans and Meroites, while, 
as the Ethiopians are placed last on the list, and are designated, 
in the Hebrew original, by the name of Cush, it is not unreason- 
able to suppose that they were Negroes. This view is sus- 
tained by a passage in Herodotus, * who states, that in the 
army of Xerxes which invaded Greece was a legion of Western 
Ethiopians^ " who had hair more crisp and curling than any 
other men." f Now, if the army of Xerxes embraced a legion 
of African negroes, it would not be remarkable if the Egyptian 
troops should have been composed in part of the same people ; 
which, indeed, with respect to the Ethiopian dynasty, may be 

* In my Crania Americana, note, p. 29, 1 have employed this passage 
to shew, that those Colchians whom Herodotus mentions as forming 
" part of the troops of Sesostris," might have been Negroes acting as 
mercenary or auxiliary soldiers. I am now satisfied that such explana- 
tion is at least unnecessary ; and I, therefore, take this occasion to with- 
draw it. 

t Polhym., cap. Ixx. 

308 Dr Morton on the Origin of the 

assumed as a thing of course ; for the Meroites would naturally 
avail themselves of every expedient to establish their power 
by augmenting the number of their exotic confederates, and 
by extending to them those privileges which had once been 
sacred to particular castes. For these and other oppressive 
acts, the Meroite kings were hated by the Egyptians ; and no 
sooner were they expelled than their names were erased from 
the monuments.* 

The third epoch dates from the conquest by Cambyses, B.C. 
525, and continues through the whole of the Persian dynasty, 
or in other words, until the Ptolemaic era, B.C. 332, — a period 
of nearly two hundred years. 

Every one knows that the Persian dominion in Egypt was 
marked by an utter disregard of all the established institutions. 
No occasion was omitted which could humble the pride or 
debase the character of the people. The varied inhabitants 
of Europe, Asia, and Nigritia, poured into the valley of the 
Nile, abolishing in degree the exclusiveness of caste, and 
involving an endless confusion of races. 

The prelude to these changes and misfortunes can be traced 
to the reign of Psammeticus the First, who permitted to 
foreigners, and especially to the Greeks, a freedom of ingress 
which the laws and usages of the country had previously de- 
nied them. The same policy appears to have been fostered by 
the subsequent kings of the same dynasty until its consumma- 
tion by Amasis (B.C. 569), when, in the language of Cham- 
pollion Figeac, Egypt became at once Egyptian, Greek, and 
Asiatic ; her national character was lost for ever ; her armies 
were filled with foreign mercenaries ; the throne was guarded 
by European soldiers, and continual wars completed the 
destruction of a tottering kingdom.-f 

* Among the meagre facts which history has preserved in relation to 
those intrusive kings, the following is the most remarkable : " Sabakon 
(the first king of the Ethiopian dynasty,) having taken Boccoris (the 
legitimate sovereign) captive, burnt him alive." Manetho apud Cory, 
Frag.j p. 126. Could any circumstances have rendered the Ethiopians 
more detestable in the eyes of the Egyptians than this first act of barba- 
rian policy ? 

t Egypte Ancienne, p. 207. 

Nilotic or Egyptian Population. ^09 


1. The valley of the Nile, both in Egypt and in Nubia, was 
originally peopled by a branch of the Caucasian race. 

2. These primeval people, since called Egyptians, were the 
Mizraimites of Scripture, the posterity of Ham, and dkectly 
affiliated with the Libyan family of nations. 

3. In their physical character, the Egyptians were inter- 
mediate between the Indo-European and Semitic races, 

4. The Austral-Egyptian or Meroite communities were an 
Indo-Arabian stock engrafted on the primitive Libyan inha- 

5. Besides these exotic sources of population, the Egyptian 
race was at different periods modified by the influx of the 
Caucasian nations of Asia and Europe, — ^Pelasgi, or Hellenes, 
Scythians, and Phoenicians. 

6. Kings of Egypt appear to have been incidentally derived 
from each of the above nations. 

7. The Copts, i^ part at least, are a mixture of the Cauca- 
sian and the Negro, in extremely variable proportions. 

8. Negroes were numerous in Egypt, but their social posi- 
tion in ancient times was the same that it now is, that of 
servants and slaves. 

9. The national characteristics of all these families of man 
are distinctly figured on the monuments ; and all of them, 
excepting the Scythians and Phoenicians, have been identified 
in the catacombs. 

10. The present Fellahs are the lineal and least mixed 
descendants of the ancient Egyptians ; and the latter are col- 
laterally represented by the Tuaricks, Kabyles, Siwahs, and 
other remains of the Libyan family of nations. 

11. The modern Nubians, with a few exceptions, are not 
the descendants of the monumental Ethiopians, but a variously 
mixed race of Arabs and Negroes. 

12. Whatever may have been the size of the cartilaginoua 
portion of the ear, the osseous structure conforms in every 
instance to the usual relative position. 

13. The teeth difi'er in nothing from those of other Cauca- 
sian nations. 

310 Dr Morton o)i the Origin of the Egyptian Population. 

14. The hair of the Egyptians resembled, in texture, that 
of the fairest Europeans of the present day. 

15. The physical or organic characters which distinguish 
the several races of men, are as old as the oldest records of 
our species. — Transactions of the American Philosophical 
Society^ vol. ix., New series, Part I., p. 155. 

Note.— I have taken frequent occasion to quote the opinions of the 
late Professor Blumenbach, of Gottingen, whose name is inseparably 
connected with the science of ethnography ; but I have to regret that, up 
to the present time, I have not been able to procure, either in this country 
or from Europe, the last two memoirs which embrace his views on 
Egyptian subjects, and especially the work entitled, " Specimen historise 
naturalis antique artis operibus illustratse." His views, however, as pre- 
viously given to the world, have been repeatedly adverted to in these 
pages; and his matured and latest observations, as quoted by Dr Wise- 
man, appear to have confirmed his original sentiments. " In 1808," says 
Dr Wiseman, *^ he more clearly expressed his opinion, that the monu- 
ments prove the existence of three distinct forms ^ or physiognomies, among 
the ancient inhabitants of Egypt. Three years later he entered more 
fully into this inquiry, and gave the monuments, which he thought bore 
him out in this hypothesis. The first of these forms he considers to 
approach to the Negro model, the second to the Hindoo, the third to the 
Berber, or ordinary Egyptian head. — f Betrage zur Naturgerschichte, 2 
ter Th. 1811.) But I think an unprejudiced observer will not easily fol- 
low him so far. The first head has nothing in common with the Black 
race, but is only a coarse representation of the Egyptian type ; the second 
is only its mythological or ideal purification.'' — Lectures on the Connexion 
between Science and Revealed Religion, second edit., p. 100. 

I thus place side by side the opinions of these learned men. With 
respect to Professor Blumenbach, I may add, that when he wrote on 
Egyptian ethnography there were no fac simile copies of the monuments, 
such as have since been given to the world by the French and Tuscan 
commissions ; and again, that learned author had not access to a suffi- 
cient number of embalmed heads to enable him to compare these with 
the monumental effigies. With these lights he would at once have 
detected an all-pervading physiognomy which is peculiarly and essentially 
Egyptian; and in respect to which all the other forms, — Pelasgic, 
Semitic, Hindoo, and Negro, are incidental and subordinate ; sometimes, 
it is true, represented with the attributes of royalty, but for the most 
part depicted as foreigners, enemies, and bondsmen. 

With Egyptian statuary I am little acquainted. The only four years 
of my life which were spent in Europe were devoted almost exclusively 
to professional pursuits ; and the many remains of Egyptian art which 
are preserved in the British and Continental museums, have left but a 

On the Mica Slate Formation at Flimherg. 311 

vague impression on my memory. How invaluable to Ethnography are 
the two statues of the First Osortasen, now in the royal cabinet of Ber- 
lin ! Those I have not seen, nor the memoir in which Dr Lepsius has 
described them. 

I have, for the most part, omitted any remarks on the intellectual and 
moral character of the Egyptians, because they would have extended my 
work beyond the limits prescribed by the present mode of publication. 
I have also avoided, as much as possible, those philological disquisitions 
which have of late years combined so much interest and discrepancy ; 
but which are all important to Egyptian ethnography, and are daily 
becoming better understood, and, therefore, of more practical value. For 
an instructive view of this question, and many collateral facts and 
opinions, the reader is referred to the third volume of Dr Prichard's 
Researches into the Physical History of Mankind — a work which commands 
our unqualified admiration, both in respect to the multitude and the 
accuracy of the facts it contains, and the genius and learning with which 
they are woven together. 

I look with great interest to the researches of Dr Lepsius at Meroe, as 
well as to those of my friend Dr Charles Pickering, who is now in Egj-pt 
for the sole purpose of studying the monuments in connexion with the 
people of that country ; and, finally, it gives me great pleasure to state, 
that the profound erudition of the Baron Alexander de Humboldt is at 
this moment engaged in a work which will embrace his views on Egyp- 
tian ethnography, and give to the world the matured opinions of a mind 
which has already illuminated every department of natural science. — 
Transactions of the American Philosophical Society ^ vol. ix., New Series, 
Part I., p. 158. 

On some particular Phenomena presented by the Mica Slate 
Formation at Flinsberg^ in the Biesengehirge, By M. Gus- 
TAV Rose. 

This bed of mica slate is found in the gneiss to the north- 
west of the Riesengebirge, and extends from Raspenau as far 
as Wittich, and follows a curved line by Liebwerda, Schwarz- 
bach, Flinsberg, Giehern, Querbach, Kunzendorf, Blumen- 
dorf, Hindorf, Alt-Kemnitz, as far as Voigtsdorf. Near the 
middle portion at Flinsberg, at the surface, it is rather 
more than a quarter of a German mile in breadth ; it then 
cuts under sharp angles the two elevated summits of the 
gneiss of the Riesengebirge, which extend in a north-west 
direction from the two sides of the upper valley of gneiss, the 

dil2 On the Mica Slate Formation at Flmsberg. 

two extremities of which consist of this same mica slate. In 
this part of the formation, the mica slate has in every respect 
the character of a mountain ; a little further to the east it rises 
into the highest mountains, when its breadth diminishes, and 
it becomes narrower in proportion as we advance onwards. 

M. Kose follows the rock throughout its whole extent and 
shews, by noticing all the localities where it is exposed, that 
the two sides of the gneiss valley do not correspond in their 
geognostic relations — that the southern limits of the mica 
slate are moved on the right side much more to the north than 
on the left side, although the strata on both sides proceed in 
absolute correspondence with the direction of the course of 
the river in the valley. These strata have, therefore, been 
torn asunder, and displaced at the time of the formation of the 
gneiss valley, and the eastern portion has been moved, but 
without changing the allure of the strata, along with the gneiss 
of Geierstein, more to the north than that on the left side. The 
same appearances, moreover, present themselves in all the 
valleys transverse to that of gneiss, but not on so large a scale. 

Analysing all the facts, M. Rose remarks, that the strata 
of mica slate not only appear to have been cut and interrupted 
In their continuity by the valleys, but that it must have hap- 
pened that the portions thus separated have been moved in 
certain directions ; and if we now admit that the valleys 
among high mountains are nothing else than fissures, and that 
the strata must have been thus moved out of their position, it 
is certain that so conclusive a demonstration of this has not 
hitherto been oifered.* 

The author likewise describes the particular appearances 
presented by the mica slate in the vicinity of granite, appear- 
ances which he ascribes to the irruption of the latter, when the 
slate had already reached its crystalline state. 

In conclusion, M. Rose shews that the mica slate of Flins- 
berg presents three phenomena deserving of attention ; the 
direction in which it lies in relation to the summits of the sys- 
tem of mountains, the manner in which it has been moved 

* Our author has not alluded to the possibility of the portions of mica 
slate and gneiss being merely great distinct concretions, that is, ahgesonr- 
derte stUcke, and therefore not moved. — Ed. 

Notice of Guano from the Yorkshire Coast ^ ^c. 313 

at the time of the formation of the valley, and, finally, the 
changes which the mineralogical character of the rock has 
undergone at the points where it touches the granite.* 

Notice of Guano^ from the Yorkshire Coast, and from the North 
Coast of Scotland. By John Davy, M.D., F.E.S. Lond. 
and Edm. Communicated by the Author. 

The term guano seems likely to become a generic one, to 
designate all manures composed of the excrements of birds : 
it is thus already used in many parts of England and Scot- 

Although, from the nature of our climate, it cannot be ex- 
pected that the home -guano can be equal in efficacy to the 
Peruvian and African, yet, considering that a considerable por- 
tion of the excrement of birds is very slightly, or not at all, 
soluble in water — and further, that it is a question whether 
the fixed and insoluble phosphates do not perform the most 
important part in promoting the growth of those plants into 
the composition of which they enter — there is sufficient reason 
that the home kind should not only not be neglected, but that 
attention should be specially directed to it. 

With this persuasion, I purpose briefly to give an account 
of two portions of guano which I have lately received ; for one 
of which I am indebted to Mr Hodgson, of Ayton Lodge, near 
Scarborough ; and for the other to my friend Professor Jame- 
son ; the former collected on the Yorkshire coast ; the latter 
brought from the Skerries in the Pentland Firth, procured by 
Eobert Stevenson, Esq., civil- engineer, and Manager of the 
Lighthouses of Scotland and the Isles. 

The Yorkshire guano, Mr Hodgson informs me, is the 
excrement of wild pigeons, which, in large numbers, frequent 
and breed in the limestone cliffs of Scarborough Head . About 
forty tons of it are collected annually, by men who follow the 
difficult and dangerous occupation of gathering eggs, and who, 
for that purpose, let each other down, by means of a *' gin" 
or windlass, from the margin of the cliff, varying there in 
height from 50 to 200 feet. It is purchased by the farmers in 
the neighbourhood, at the rate of Is. per bushel, or about 2s. 6d. 

♦ From rinstitut, No. 540, p. 154. 

314 Notice of Guano from the Yorkshire Coasts 

per cwt. ; and has been used, from time immemorial, as a 
manure for grain crops, in the proportion of about six cwt. 
per acre, and with such effect, that it is held in great estima- 
tion for its fertilizing power. 

It is of a light brown colour — a mixture of fine powder, bits 
of straw and chaff, and a little sand and gravel. It has a pe- 
culiar smell, but not ammoniacal till moistened and mixed 
with lime, when it emits this odour distinctly. From a coarse 
analysis of it which I have made, it appears to consist of — 

10 Saline matter, soluble in water, in which the muriatic, sulphuric, 
and nitric acids were detected, with lime, potash, ammonia, 
and magnesia. 

24 Organic matter, chiefly vegetable, destructible by fire, not soluble 
in water. 

60 Matter not destructible by fire, of which 21 were soluble in muriatic 
acid, consisting chiefly of phosphate of lime, with a little car- 
bonate of lime and magnesia ; and 39 were insoluble, composed 
principally of siliceous sand and gravel. 
6 Hygrometric or adhering moisture. 


This composition of the Yorkshire guano accounts, in a sa- 
tisfactory manner, for its fertlHzing effect, especially when 
applied to grain crops. 

It may appear singular, that, whilst mention is made of 
nitric acid and soluble salts, as present in this guano, no notice 
is taken of lithic acid, of which, in combination with ammonia, 
as is well known, the urinary portion of the excrement of 
birds chiefly consists. It was sought for, but in vain ; or, at 
farthest, only an obscure trace of it could be detected. This 
is not difficult of explanation, remembering that the lithate of 
ammonia is soluble in water, and that the guano examined 
had been exposed to the action of rain. In another specimen, 
collected, at my desire, from parts of the cliff protected from 
the weather, and for which, also, I am indebted to Mr Hodg- 
son, I found a considerable quantity of lithate of ammonia. 

The nitric acid present — probably in combination with 
lime— it may be conjectured, was derived, with the soluble 
salts, from an overhanging surface of limestone rock, and was 
either scraped off in gathering the excrement, or was washed 
down by the dropping of water, and absorbed and retained by 

and from the North Coast of Scotland, 315 

the guano, supposing a period of dry weather to have preceded 
its collection. 

It is worthy of remark, that both the Peruvian and African 
guano, although abounding in nitrogenous compounds, are 
destitute of nitric acid. This circumstance is strongly corro- 
borative of the theory of the formation of nitre, in which car- 
bonate of lime is held to be essential to the production of the 
acid, by exerting a certain influence in uniting its gaseous 

The guano from the Pentland Firth was in firm lumps, of a 
dirty brown colour, some of them speckled with white. It 
had a peculiar smell, not unlike that of sea- weed, and unmixed 
with any ammoniacal odour, till after having been triturated 
moistened with lime, when it gave off a pretty strong smell of 
ammonia, overpowering the odour first perceived. Broken up, 
after soaking in water, when it offered no resistance, and care- 
fully examined with the microscope, it was found to consist 
chiefly of minute fragments of sea-shells and of sea- weed, with 
which were intermixed a fine granular matter, and particles 
of siliceous sand — leading to the inference that it was derived 
from birds that feed mostly on sea-weed, and on the smaller 
mollusca common amongst sea-weed. According to the infor- 
mation with which I have been favoured by Professor Jame- 
son, the birds inhabiting the Skerries are " cormorants, and 
a few gulls and marrots." From a rough analysis, it appears 
to consist of about — 

4 Matter soluble in water, chiefly muriate of ammonia, nitrate and 
sulphate of lime, with a trace of common salt. 
28 Matter destructible by fire, a mixture of vegetable and animal 

matter, nearly insoluble in wafer. 
60 Matter not destructible by fire, consisting of 30.6 carbonate and 
phosphate of lime, with a trace of magnesia, and a little sul- 
phate of lime, and of 29.4 siliceous sand. 
8 Hygrometric water, or adhering moisture. 


Considering the proportion of carbonate and phosphate of 
lime which this guano contains, as well as the saline matter 
soluble in water, and the organic matter destructible by fire, 
and capable of yielding carbonic acid during its slow decom- 
position, it may be pronounced to be of some value as a ma- 

316 Notice of Guano from the Yorkshire Coast, 

nure, and deserving of being collected. And, recurring to a 
preceding remark, I would lay the more stress on the value of 
manure of this kind, deprived of the greater part of its salts, 
and especially of its ammoniacal salts, by the action of rain, 
the earthy phosphates remaining, which vv^ater is incapable of 
dissolving, — seeing that a notion, far from correct, is common- 
ly entertained, that guano, after exposure to rain, is rendered 
useless. Thus, in a letter from Ichaboe, recently published in 
the Leeds Mercury, descriptive of that remarkable islet, the 
writer of it (Mr J. Lees), after expressing his apprehension 
that the great deposits of guano will soon be exhausted, and 
that no new ones will be discovered, as he supposes that they 
must be limited to rainless climates, adds — " That many thou- 
sands of tons of guano, after having been taken in [shipped], 
were cast away, when it was discovered that the rains had 
caused its fermentation, and destroyed its properties." This is 
an opinion not less erroneous than one lately announced at a 
great agricultural meeting, that the effect of guano, as a ma- 
nure, must be fugitive — depending on its volatile ammoniacal 
ingredients, — overlooking the non-volatile ammoniacal salts 
which it contains in large proportions, as well as the insoluble 

Considering, as has been already observed, these phosphates 
as not the least important of the ingredients of guano, the ex- 
crements of birds, wherever they have been accumulated, whe- 
ther abounding in nitrogenous compounds, as in dry climates, 
or in the insoluble phosphates, as in rainy climates, must be 
valuable to the agriculturist, and are likely to repay the enter- 
prising merchant who may import them. In the arctic and 
antarctic regions of the ocean, and those bordering on them, 
as birds, feeding on fish, there abound, it is probable tliat great 
stores of guano of the latter kind are laid up in accessible 
situations, and which may furnish cargoes to our whalers, and 
partly remunerate them when unsuccessful in their fishing en- 
terprise. And, nearer home, as in Iceland, the Feroe Islands, 
and St Kilda, it is likely much useful guano might be collected, 
were the inhabitants who depend chiefly for their support on 
the feathered race to collect the excrement at the same time 
that they take the birds or their eggs. 

The same view may be even farther extended. As the ex- 

and from the North Coast of Scotland. 317 

crements of birds, without exception, when first voided, are 
rich in ammoniacal compounds, and contain more or less of 
phosphate of lime, birds, generally, must be admitted to be 
fertilizers — the effect being in proportion to their numbers, — 
in the instance of the solitary bird not perceptible, but in that 
of gregarious birds, especially in their roosting-places, very 
manifest. I have examined the soil under rookeries, and have 
detected in it ammonia and phosphate of lime. And as, under 
old rookeries, there must be an accumulation of the insoluble 
salts derived from the excrements of these birds, it hardly al- 
lows of question, that it will be advantageous to collect the 
soil so impregnated, from time to time, at proper intervals, 
and to employ it as a manure, restoring in this form to the 
fields a great part of what was taken from them by these use- 
ful birds, in the shape of worms and grubs. It is a pleasing 
circumstance in the economy of nature, that the sheltering 
shrub or tree, and the sheltered bird, benefit each other; 
that the excrementitious matter of the one, which, to the incu- 
rious and uninformed, may appear ofi^ensive, and a pollution, is 
perfectly fitted to contribute to the growth of the plant, 
and its beauty. In harmony with this, is another fact, one 
which I have lately ascertained, viz., that where there is no 
rain, and, consequently, where there can be no vegetation, 
there the lithate of ammonia, constituting the greater propor- 
tion of the urine of birds, is converted, by the action of the 
sun's rays, into a non-volatile but soluble salt, the perdurable 
oxalate of ammonia — one of the principal ingredients of the 
great depots of American and African guano — instances of 
the most concentrated manure, hoarded in absolutely desert 
wastes, forming a genuine sinking fund for the agriculture of 
a country such as ours, wasteful of its natural manures. 
The Oaks, Ambleside, August 31. 1844. 

We are informed by our friend David Stevenson, Esq., Civil Engineer, 
tliat the deposit of guano on the Little Pentland Skerries, as mentioned 
by Dr Davy, is about 30 yards in length, 20 yards in breadth, and 1 foot 
in thickness ; and that the amount of this manure on that spot alone is, 
therefore, probably about 200 yards, on about the same number of tons. 
We would recommend the proprietors of the coasts and ishmds of the 
north of Scotland to direct their attention to this subject. ~Edi tor. 

( 318 ) 

Professor Buckland oti Artesian W^ells.* 

Professor Buckland said, he would at once proceed to the 
subject on which he had been requested to address the mem- 
bers of the Artesian Well Committee of this place. In his 
address, last Wednesday, to the Council of the Koyal Agricul- 
tural Society, he had spoken of the capabilities of permanent 
agricultural improvement in Hampshire, and other southern 
counties of England, especially in the districts between the 
sea coast, and a line drawn from Dorchester through Salis- 
bury and Winchester to London, including Wareham Heath, 
Poole Heath, the New Forest, and Bagshot Heath. If the 
improvement of these wastes by the mineral manures that lie 
beneath their surface, were taken up in a scientific manner, 
and on a large scale, by great proprietors, or by a land-im- 
provement company, small portable steam-engines, and port- 
able tram roads, might be employed, to raise from shafts in 
any part of this district, and transfer to profitable distances, 
and spread upon the surface, the chalk, and clay, and marl, 
that lie at various depths under the area of all these sandy 
wastes. Thus, the silt of the Humber has, with very great 
profit, been lately transferred by tram roads to be spread on 
the surface of barren peat ; and in Norfolk, vast tracts of 
sandy rabbit warrens have, during the last half century, been 
converted to productive corn-fields, by adding to their surface 
a top-dressing of marl, clay, chalk, or shelly sand and gravel, 
locally called cra^. The cost of such top-dressings of mineral 
manure need rarely exceed L.IO an acre, and the consequent 
benefit is the conversion of dreary deserts into permanently 
valuable arable land. On Lincoln Heath, where, not 100 
years ago, a land-lighthouse was erected to guide the be- 
nighted traveller across a barren sandy waste, the application 
of scientific agriculture and capital had converted thousands 

* The above is an account of an interesting Address to the Mayor, 
and Members of the Artesian Well Committee of Southampton, on the 
27th of July 1844, by the Rev. Wm. Buckland, D.D., Professor of Geo- 
logy, Oxford, &c. 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 319 

of acres of unprofitable heath into pleasant and productive 
corn-fields. The chalk-hills, also, that form the wolds of Lin- 
colnshire, and the wolds of Yorkshire, had been made rich by 
processes which were now beginning to be introduced in 

On Thursday last, the Prussian minister had called the at- 
tention of the assembled agriculturists of England to the ex- 
ample of good farming that is set them by the most illustrious 
of living warriors, the Duke of Wellington, who had turned 
his glorious sword into a not less glorious ploughshare ; and 
near Strathfieldsaye may now be seen rich fields of barley and 
turnips on naturally heavy clay lands, which, two or three 
years ago, were reeking with moisture, and incapable of that 
rotation of green and grain crops, which all good farming re- 
quires. The Duke of Wellington was, year after year, im- 
proving his clay lands, first by thorough-draining, which is the 
indispensable precursor of all other improvements ; and after 
drainage, spreading large quantities of chalk over the surface 
of the clay. Not Jess than 1000 waggon loads of chalk had 
during the last year, been brought from the neighbourhood 
of Basingstoke to that of Strathfieldsaye. 

Similar improvements of poor sandy soils may be made by 
laying upon them a good top-dressing of clay and chalk, in 
addition to ordinary manures ; and geology had ascertained 
the existence of several kinds of marl and clay, and also of 
chalk, at various depths beneath the poor sandy heaths which 
form so large a portion of South Hants, and Dorset, and 
Berks, and under the whole of Bagshot Heath. The place of 
these clay beds is often indicated by the oozing of water and 
growth of rushes near the base of the sloping sides of the shal- 
low valleys or combes that traverse these sandy plains, and are 
occasionally covered with peat. Between Christchurch and 
Poole, many such oozing streamlets point out spots from 
which, by the aid of a small steam-engine and tram-road, clay 
may be brought up to reclaim the sandy wastes around each 
of these centres of supply of fertilizing mineral manure ; and 
the efficacy of this process had been shewn on a small scale 
near Poole, in little inclosures, made by a few industrious pea- 


320 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 

sants. In Hampshire, he rejoiced in the occasion of recording 
a much greater example of improvements of this order, now 
in progress, on the property of the accomplished Baronet, who 
so worthily represents this county in Parliament, and who, 
like the noble and gallant Lord-Lieutenant of the county, has 
placed himself at the head of those who are engaged in the 
patriotic work of amending the productive capabilities of the 
soil. Between Southampton and his hospitable mansion at 
Hursley Park, Sir William Heathcote has already converted 
to good arable land, large inclosed portions of the sandy soils 
at Anfield and Cranberry Heath, by enriching them with the 
permanent mineral manures of clay and chalk. Sir W. Heath- 
cote has also adopted, on the farm he occupies at Hursley, the 
practice of stall-feeding oxen, which is essential to produce 
the great quantities of manure that are required for the ferti- 
lization of all soils that are naturally poor, and without which, 
the improved fertility of the chalk and sandy lands in Lin- 
colnshire could not be sustained. He has rendered a further 
inestimable service to the agriculture of Hampshire, by the 
first establishment, in this county, of one of those agricultu- 
ral steam-engines, which are so common on large farms in 
Scotland and the North of England. The employment of a 
steam-engine is one of several causes of the great profit of 
farming in Scotland, and wherever it has been introduced in 
England. That erected by Sir W. Heathcote performs the 
work of thrashing, winnowing, grinding, and bruising corn, of 
cutting chaff and turnips, cracking bones and beans, turning 
a saw-mill, &c. ; and thus leaves a large number of labourers 
free to be employed in the more profitable and improving 
work of cleaning and cultivating more highly the ancient 
corn-fields, of draining wet lands, and transporting chalk, and 
clay, and marl, to enrich the surfaces of sandy commons. 
Sir W. Heathcote had also dug wells at Hursley, which have 
near connection with the well now in progress on Southamp- 
ton Common ; and when this great and costly public work 
shall be completed, the level of its water will probably be 
found to oscillate in unison with the variations in the level of 
the water in the wells of Hursley. 

The scientific search for water, and the scientific conver- 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells, 321 

sion of barren soils to fertility, were examples of the practical 
application of geology to the useful purposes of life ; and the 
sciences of agriculture and civil engineering must obviously 
be imperfect in some of their most fundamental points, w^ith- 
out a know^ledge of the composition of soils, and structure of 
the earth.* 

In all kinds of operations under ground, the necessity to 
the engineer of a knowledge of geology, and of the hydro- 
static conditions of subterraneous water, would appear from 
every fact he was about to notice in the well on Southampton 
Common, and also in the very recent Artesian well at the 
Southampton Railway Station, and in wells at Otterbourn 
and Hursley, on the south-west of Winchester. He would, 
however, first inquire — whence came that inexhaustible sub- 
terranean supply of water which Providence had laid up 
in store, wherever the earth was habitable. On this part of 
the history of water he should say less, because he had given 
a summary of what was known on the subject, in a chapter of 
his Pridgewater Treatise, illustrated by diagrams, explaining 
the origin of springs and Artesian wells. 

The sun now shining so bright and beauteous, drew up 
vapour from the surface of the ocean, which was held in a 
state of invisible solution in the air, until, condensed by cold, 
it fell in fertilizing drops upon the earth. By this sublimely 
simple natural machinery, supplies of fresh water were ob- 
tained from the sea, for the salt was not taken up with the 
vapour, except in an almost imperceptible degree. The mean 
quantity of rain which fell annually in England was about 31 
inches, and nearly 3000 tons of water were deposited annually 
upon every acre, in a manner which the best watering-pot could 
imperfectly imitate. These fructifying waters descended from 
the air upon the earth in a state most favourable for vegeta- 
tion, charged with minute quantities of sea-salt, together with 

* The best little and cheap book he could recommend to farmers, for 
shewing the agricultural character and capabilities of the different soils 
and subsoils of England, and particularly of the chalk, and beds of clay 
and sands, that lie above and immediately beneath it, was " Morton on 

322 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 

ammonia and carbonic acid, all affording elements of nutrition 
to the vegetable kingdom. The water thus supplied at inter- 
vals by rain from the clouds, was disposed of in four different 
ways. The flood- waters of stormy weather, and the sudden 
meltings of snow, were rapidly restored by rivers to the sea. 
Another portion of the rain-water that fell upon dry land, was 
evaporated from the surface of the soil, and so again taken 
into the atmosphere, to mix with the vapour exhaled from- 
rivers, lakes, and seas. A third portion supplied the drink- 
and fluid nutriment of all animal and vegetable nature ; and 
a fourth was disposed of to maintain the perennial supplies of 
wells, and springs, and rivers. M. Arago states, that it has 
been ascertained by an apparatus placed across the river at 
Paris, that not one-third of the rain that falls on the district 
that is drained by the basin of the Seine, returns directly by 
that river to the sea, — the remaining two-thirds being applied 
to the other purposes just mentioned. This most distinguished 
astronomer had directed special attention to the investigation 
of the economy of water in the natural world, and had illus- 
trated it by the phenomena of the great Artesian well at Gre- 
nelle, near Paris. He had not only foretold that water would 
be found in this well, at an enormous depth below the chalk, 
but that it would rise and overflow the surface ; accordingly, 
it has risen in a large column 30 feet above the highest part 
of Paris. M. Arago predicted also, that the temperature of 
this water would become gradually higher, increasing about 
one degree at every 45 feet below the surface. It now rises 
from the depth of near 1800 feet, at the temperature of 91° 
(Fahrenheit), warm enough to be applied to the heating of 
green-houses and hospitals. 

In ancient days the difiicult scientific problem of the origin 
of subterraneous water had occupied the attention of Aristotle 
and Seneca, and their opinion was, that water was supplied 
to springs by the action of central heat, causing it to ascend 
towards the surface of the earth. This theory cannot be true 
in the case of that large part of the earth's surface which is 
formed of stratified beds of porous stone, permeable by water, 
and alternating with impermeable beds of clay, through which 
no water can ascend or descend. The condition of a water- 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 323 

logged porous stratum thus placed between two beds of cte-y, 
through which no water can pass, may be compared to that 
of water enclosed in a tick or waterproof case, to form what 
is called a water-bed. We may, in imagination, extend inde- 
finitely the size of this bed, containing water instead of 
feathers ; and if we added to this water sand, or pebbles, or 
angular stones, the intervals of all these would be occupied 
by that portion of the fluid which was not displaced by the 
solid bodies thus immersed in it. Such a tick or bed-case full 
of stones and water would represent the permanently drenched 
and water-logged condition of all permeable strata below the 
level of the lowest springs by which their water can find 
issue. A sheet of such water-logged stone, or of permanently 
wet sand, is called by tho French geologists a *' Nappe 
(TEau ;" it is not a sheet of pure water, but a bed or sheet of 
sand or stones, whose interstices are filled with water, subject 
to the laws of hydrostatic pressure. The lowest regions of 
the chalk and of other porous strata are usually filled with 
such sheets of water, supplied by rain descending through in- 
numerable cracks and fissures ; and it was one of the infinite 
wise provisions we find in the natural world that the same 
water, which if placed in casks or open tanks, becomes putrid, 
continues fresh so long as it remains in the cavities and in- 
terstices of the strata of the earth. 

The greatest number of ordinary wells are dug in shallow 
beds of gravel resting on the hollow surface of a subjacent 
bed of clay. Wells sunk to a greater depth through stratified 
rocks often afibrd larger supplies, but rise rarely to the 
surface ; and in cases where they do so, they are called 
Artesian wells, from the circumstance of such artificial over- 
flowing wells being common in Artois, the ancient Roman 
province, of Artesium, The deepest well we know of this 
kind is that just mentioned, at Grenelle, near Paris, about 
1800 feet deep ; from which the water rises thirty feet 
above the surface, and at the temperature of 91° Fahren- 
heit. Less deep, but similar wells abound near London ; 
and the Board of Woods and Forests was now erecting 
two large fountains in Trafalgar Square, to be supplied by 
two contiguous wells, in which it was expected that wateij 

324 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 

would rise within 60 or 70 feet of the surface, in sufficient 
quantity to supply these fountains that have been prepared in 
the assurance of finding water. Other wells had been sunk 
in various parts of London, some into sheets of water pervad- 
ing beds of sand and gravel that alternate with plastic clay, 
others into the still lower beds of chalk. In all these cases 
the water was forced up, by hydrostatic pressure, to various 
distances from the surface. At Brentford there were many 
wells that continually overflowed their orifice, which is a few 
feet only above the Thames ; — in the London wells the water 
rises to a less level than in those at Brentford. 

As the largest part of the earth's surface is composed of 
stratified rocks, the most frequent cause of water being sup- 
plied to wells, and springs, and rivers, was the alternation of 
beds of clay with porous and permeable beds of stone or 
sand. These alternating strata, having been originally formed 
in nearly horizontal positions, have been more or less dis- 
placed, and set on edge by volcanic forces, which raised them 
from the bottom of the sea. The greater part of these strata 
being porous and permeable by water, whilst beds of clay are 
impervious to that fluid, the residuary portions of rain-water 
(which are not disposed of by floods, or by evaporation, or by 
entering the bodies of animals or vegetables) are absorbed 
into the fissures and small interstices of the permeable strata, 
where they form subterraneous sheets or reservoirs of water 
for the sustentation of springs and rivers. About two-thirds 
of the habitable portions of the earth consist of stratified 
rocks, and the other third part of unstratified and crystalline 
rocks, such as granite, porphyry, lava, and other rocks of 
igneous origin. These also contain water in the countless 
cracks and interstices of their lower regions, and are inter- 
sected by innumerable fissures, which collect and transmit 
rain-water, and give origin to springs. 

As persons who have no experience in such subjects may 
be surprised at the knowledge geologists profess to have ac- 
quired respecting the internal structure of the earth, he 
would endeavour to confirm the above theoretical explanation 
of the origin and supply of springs, by appealing to practical 
proofs, in the proceedings of water companies and well-dig- 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 325 

gers, and in the pounds, shillings, and pence, in the ledgers 
of manufacturers. In November 1840, notice was given of 
an application to be made to Parliament to obtain a new sup- 
ply of water for London, from wells and water-works to be made 
at Watford, in the chalk. A company had been proposed to 
effect this object, which would, probably, have been carried, had 
not Mr Clutterbuck demonstrated, by a long-continued series of 
measurements of the water in the chalk hills of Hertfordshire, 
near Watford, that every drop of water taken from that 
neighbourhood would have been abstracted from the summer 
and autumn supplies of the river Colne, and would have rob- 
bed the proprietors of more than thirty mills upon this river 
and its tributaries, and the owners of the adjacent water- 
meadows, frights which they had inherited from time imme- 
morial. One intelligent manufacturer of paper, Mr Dicken- 
son, who now supplies the paper for stamped letter-covers, 
and whose mills were on one of the tributaries of the Colne, 
had, during many years, found arithmetical evidence that the 
quantity of summer water in that river varied with the quan- 
tity of rain in the preceding winter. He could always tell in 
the end of February or March how much water there would 
be in these rivers in the following eight or nine months, and 
he regulated the contracts he made in every spring for paper 
to be delivered in the summer and autumn by the quantity 
of water in his winter rain-gauge. This rain-gauge, the in- 
vention of Dalton, being buried three feet below the surface, 
shewed that, except in December, January, and February, rain- 
water rarely descends more than three feet below the soil, so 
as to add anything to the supply that sinks into the earth to 
issue during summer, and form springs and rivers ; and 
whenever Mr Dickenson found, by this instrument, that but 
little rain had fallen in the three months of winter, he pro- 
portionally limited his contracts for the following summer 
and autumn ; thus proving the practical advantage of induc- 
tions from philosophy, and shewing that paper-making was 
dependent on meteorology, on hydrostatics, and on geology. 
In Germany, Mr Bruckman of Heilbronn, published, in 1835, 
an octavo volume on the Artesian wells in the valley of the 
Neckar, from which it appeared that there were manufactories 

326 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 

in Wurtemberg, near Canstadt, where the mills were kept 
in work during the severest cold of winter, by means of the 
warm water from Artesian wells, which overflowed into the 
mill-ponds, and prevented them from freezing. And at Heil- 
broon, also, there were persons who saved the expense of 
fuel by conducting Artesian warm water in pipes through 
their houses and green-houses. In France, M. Hericart de 
Thury, a distinguished engineer, and president of the Royal 
Agricultural Society of France, has published a most interest- 
ing history of the Artesian wells in that country, all in theo- 
retical accordance with the wells in Wurtemberg and Eng- 
land. Let those who doubt go to Grenelle, and see the 
majestic column of warm water from that philosophically 
predicted fountain, rising thirty feet above the surface, at the 
exact temperature foretold by Arago, and learn the correct- 
ness and value of practical deductions from geology, applied 
to the useful purposes of life. 

The learned professor then explained the principles of 
hydrostatic pressure that are involved in the theory of the 
rise of water in common springs, and in Artesian and other 
wells, which he exemplified by reference to maps and dia- 
grams representing sections of the London basin. In this 
and other geological basins, the position of a water-logged 
porous bed between two beds of clay may be illustrated by a 
tea-saucer placed within another tea-saucer, and having the 
narrow space between them filled with sand and water ; if a 
hole were drilled through the bottom of the upper saucer, 
and a quill or small pipe fixed vertically in the hole, water 
would rise in this pipe to the level at which it stands within 
the margin of the lower saucer, its rise being caused by the 
same hydrostatic pressure that raised the water in the well 
on Southampton Common from the vast subterranean sheets 
of this fluid which exist in the fissured chalk-beds of the 
Hampshire basin, as they do also in the chalk under the basin 
of London. The rain that falls on the uncovered chalk 
within the area of these basins descends, by countless crevices, 
into the lower regions of tjie chalk strata to a level, where 
they are permanently charged with water throughout all their 
interstices and fissures, as the water charges the interspace 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 327 

between the two saucers just mentioned ; and wherever a 
hole is bored, or a well sunk, into these water-bearing beds, 
through the impermeable strata that lie over them, the water 
will rise to the level of the lowest natural outlet or spring 
that gives vent to the overflowings of the sheet of water thus 
penetrated. As the streamlet that flows over the lower lip 
of the margin of a common pond prevents the further rise of 
water in that pond, so the springs that issue from chalk, and 
from all other water-bearing strata, prevent the permanent 
rise of subterranean water within the crevices of these strata 
much above the level of their respective springs. 

The surface-line of any subterranean sheet of water may be 
ascertained by measuring a series of wells at distant intervals 
along the dip of the stratum under examination ; and this 
subterraneous water-surface is usually found to be at its 
greatest height at the end of the rainy months of winter, and 
lowest at the end of the rainy months of autumn. In the 
village of Hursley, the water, after very rainy seasons, over- 
flows from the wells of nearly every cottage ; in the end of 
autumn, their water is usually more than forty feet below the 
surface. Observations by Mr Fowlie, the intelligent steward 
of Sir W. Heathcote, had discovered a sympathy between 
these village wells and three which have been sunk at a higher 
level in the park and farm-yard; and a similar sympathy 
may, ere long, be found between the Hursley wells and the 
deep well upon Southampton Common. The water they 
now extracted from the latter well was probably supplied by 
rain that sunk into the chalk in distant parts of the country ; 
springs of fresh water often rose even from fissures at the 
bottom of the sea, and one near Chittagong was 100 miles 
distant from any land. M. Arago, speaking of the water in the 
well at Grenelle, near Paris, says it may come 40, 80, or 180 
miles under ground to supply that well. An Artesian well at 
Tours rose with a jet that sustained in the air a cannon ball ; 
the same jet has brought up a great quantity of seeds ; and 
the nearest place at which these seeds could have entered the 
stratum below the chalk to come that distance under ground 
was thirty or forty miles off". There were two swallow holes 
at Hursley, where, at certain seasons of flood, the water is 

328 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells, 

swallowed or engulphed into the chalk, and may carry down 
seeds with it, and it was not impossible that such seeds might 
one day rise in the well at Southampton Common. 

Districts composed of chalk were, beyond all others, exempt 
from inundations, and absorbed unusual quantities of rain- 
water. Those persons who had seen Stockbridge may have 
remarked that many of the bridges were so low that even 
the ducks lower their heads as they swim under them. The 
bridges are low also at Salisbury and Winchester, because 
the chalk in their neighbourhood absorbs great part of that 
rain water which causes floods upon less absorbent strata. A 
rare exception to this rule occurred three or four years ago, at 
the village of Shrewton, on Salisbury Plain, in a severe win- 
ter, when the surface of the chalk was sealed up with ice. 
Nearly all the houses in this village were washed away by a 
flood, produced by the melting of snow, at a time when the 
ground, being frozen, could not, as it usually does, admit the 
water to the absorbing crevices of the chalk. 

He would now call attention to the large and important 
spring, called Pole's Hole, which issues permanently, in quan- 
tity sufiicient to turn a mill, at Otterbourne, distant about 
seven miles hence, between Southampton and Winchester. 
In this spring we have the nearest large natural vent, or out- 
let, which regulates the level of the subterranean waters of 
the chalk in that part of Hants, The level of this vent may, 
therefore, affect that of the water which rises in the well on 
Southampton Common ; for if this water comes from the 
same bed of chalk that supplies the spring, or vent, at Otter- 
bourne, it can rise to no great height above the level of this 
vent when the water is lowest, nor above the level of the 
wells at Hursley when the water is highest.* The capacity 

* The water in the well on Southampton Common is said to rise at 
the present time (August 1844), to within 41 feet 7 inches of the surface. 
Should this level be much above that of the vent at Otterbourne, some 
water must either enter the well from the tertiary strata above the chalk, 
or enter the bore hole from fissured beds of chalk lower than that which 
has its lowest vent at Otterbourne ; and such water-bearing lower beds 
must be separated from that which has this vent at Otterbourne, by inter- 
mediate beds of solid and impermeable chalk. All these beds must also 

Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells. 329 

for transmitting water differs in different beds of the great 
chalk formation ; some beds are fragmentary and incoherent, 
and through these the water passes rapidly ; other beds are so 
continuous and solid, that little or no water can percolate them. 
In the boring at Grrenelle, they found no useful water in the 
chalk, nor until they had gone down a considerable depth in 
the sandy and argillaceous beds of the green-sand formation 
below it ; the lower chalk beds on Southampton Common may 
be equally destitute of water, and a continuation of the present 
borings many hundred feet more through the lowest chalk, into 
the green-sand formation, may possibly produce a jet like those 
from the same green-sand at Paris and at Tours ; but per- 
chance it may fail to increase materially the quantity of water 
that is already found, and which, if the facts that are said 
to be now observed in pumping from the present supply be 
correct, is sufficient to yield more than 40,000 gallons a-day. 
In 1842 a well had been sunk at Brighton in chalk, which, 
though but 97 feet deep, gave, by pumping with steam, 700 
gallons of water per minute, and 347,000 gallons in 24 hours. 
At 80 feet, they cut into a water-bearing bed of chalk, full of 
fissures, from which the water gushed out abundantly. In this 
fissured stratum they made four horizontal galleries or adits, 
all of them intersecting so many small fissures or crevices, 
loaded with water, that further progress was soon impeded. 
The water in this fissured stratum was descending from the 
chalk hills of the South-Downs into the sea, which it enters 
by numerous springs along the shore near Brighton. In two 
of Sir W. Heathcote's wells at Hursley, the lowest bed of 
chalk was dry, and the water was obtained by making horizontal 
adits in a weeping fissured bed, a few feet above the bottom of 
each well. Had the downward digging on Southampton Com- 
mon been stopped when the well arrived at the first bed of 
chalk that gave signs of water, and had lateral galleries been 
driven into that bed, these might have possibly have yielded 

bo exempt from any of those great transverse fractures called faults or 
slips, which whenever they occur below the level of the vent of subter- 
raneous sheets of water, may form channels of communication between 
the water in upper and lower porous beds that have an impermeable 
stratum between them. 

330 Professor Buckland on Artesian Wells, 

a sufficient supply without boring to the present depth ; but 
in such case the water would not have risen to the surface, so 
as to form an overflowing Artesian well. The further con- 
tinuation of the present deep borings may, by possibility, 
intersect a fault, or large fissure, abounding in water, but it is 
much more probable it would not do so ; and as it is impos- 
sible to drive out horizontal galleries from a bore hole, it might 
have been prudent to have driven them from that part of the 
well where the chalk first yielded the smallest streamlets of 

Mr Clutterbuck had ascertained that a sympathy exists 
between deep wells more than a mile distant from each other 
in London. Every long-continued pumping in the well at 
Reid's brewery, in Liquorpond Street, was felt in the well 
of the New River Water Company, in the Hampstead Road, 
more than one mile from the brewery ; and as the number 
of deep wells is continually increasing, each of which lowers 
the level of those next adjacent to it, the general level to 
which water will now rise under London has been reduced 
many feet below that at which it stood in the first made well. 
Mr Clutterbuck had further observed that the surface line of 
subterranean sheets of water was not horizontal, like the sur- 
face of a lake, but inclined at a rate varying from 14 to 20 
feet per mile, in consequence of friction caused by the particles 
of the strata through which those sheets of rain-water descended 
with retarded motion to be discharged by springs. This in- 
clination of the subterranean water line in the chalk of Hert- 
fordshire had been found by Mr Clutterbuck to be nearly at 
the rate of 20 feet per mile in the chalk between Sir John 
Sebright ""s park at Beechwood and the town of Watford, and 
14 feet per mile in the chalk under tertiary strata in some 
parts of the basin of London. The engineers of the South- 
ampton railway had found a similar fall of about 16 or 17 feet 
per mile in the wells at the railway stations between Basing- 
stoke and Southampton. 

He would now congratulate this town on the recently dis- 
covered evidence of another valuable source of water, of great 
importance to its inhabitants. A true Artesian well, overflow- 
ing from a depth of 220 feet, had just been completed at the 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 331 

railway station. The water overflows from this well, at the 
rate of ten gallons per minute, at five feet above the surface ; 
at the depth of 100 feet it supplied to the pumps 48 gallons 
per minute ; and it is probable, that wherever they might bore 
to the same depth under any house or street in the town, water 
would rise to nearly the same height as that to which it rises 
at the railway station. This water comes from a sandy stratum 
in the tertiary formations that overlie the chalk, which forms 
the foundation of the geological basin in which Southampton 

In conclusion, Dr Buckland alluded to the many admirable 
contrivances by which the Creator has adapted both the waters 
and the land to supply the wants of all organized beings He 
has placed upon this beautiful world. The whole of what is 
now dry land had been upraised by the agency of earthquakes 
and volcanic forces from the bottom of the sea; and the entire 
surface of the globe has been rent by millions of fractures and 
fissures destined, to serve an important purpose, as reservoirs 
and conduits, for pouring everlasting supplies of water into the 
springs and rivers that run among the hills. Amidst apparent 
confusion, science finds method and order ; from seemingly 
discordant and perturbate elements, she extracts evidences of 
concord and harmony, and benevolent design, teaching lessons 
of gratitude to the Almighty Author of every natural good, the 
giver of every moral benefit and religious blessing. 

On Fossil Fishes. 

1. Classification. 2. Illustrated by comparative Anatomy. 

3. hnportance in Geology, 

Agassiz having now finished his great work on Fossil Fishes, 
we have much pleasure in laying before our readers the fol- 
lowing observations on this important work : — 

1. Classification. 

1. In a zoological point of view, the most important fact 
is, that M. Agassiz' s work makes us acquainted with upwards 
of a thousand species of fishes, more than the half of which 
are described in detail, and carefully represented of the natural 

332 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes, 

size. Such a number of species added to the inventory of the 
animal kingdom is an important acquisition, a real advance- 
ment in zoology, particularly in a class so little known as that 
of fishes. 

So many new species could not enter into the systems of 
Ichthyology, without causing a necessity for new changes, both 
by discovering types entirely new, and making us better ac- 
quainted with the affinities of various groups and families. 
M. Agassiz, accordingly, has not confined himself to the 
establishment of a number of species, genera, and even fami- 
lies. He has created a classification entirely new, founded, in 
a great measure, on the importance of fossil fishes. Cuvier 
admits two great divisions in the class of fishes, the osseous 
fishes, and the cartilaginous fishes. M. Agassiz likewise sepa- 
rates the osseous from the cartilaginous fishes, of which he 
composes his first order, that of Placoid ; but he further 
divides the osseous fishes into three other orders of the same 
value, so that the class of fishes is thus divided into four orders, 
which are, l^^, The Order of the Placolds ; 2d, The order of the 
Ganoids ; Sd, Order of the Ctendids ; Ath, Order of the Cycloids. 
This classification is not founded on the skeleton, like that of 
Cuvier, but on the nature of the exterior integuments, the 
scales. M. Agassiz lays it down as a principle, that the ex- 
terior integuments of fishes are the reflection of their internal 
organization. Proceeding on this, he examines the difi^erent 
famihes of the class of fishes in relation to their scales ; and he 
finds in the conformation of the exterior cuirass a multitude 
of characters, on which he founds his classification. In this 
point of view, it is, first, to be observed, that all the osseous 
fishes, with the exception of certain genera, are covered with 
corneous scales, while the skin of the cartilaginous fishes is 
furnished with plates or spines of a particular form, known 
by the name of shagreen in Sharks, and houcles among Rays. 
The scales of the osseous fishes are constructed on an entirely 
different plan : the differences are even so decided, that they 
have appeared sufficient to M. Agassiz to serve as a basis 
to the three orders Cycloid, Ctenoid, and Ganoid. The 
Cycloids and the Ctenoids, which comprehend nearly all the 
osseous fishes of our era, are both possessed of corneous scales ; 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 333 

but they differ in this, that the one, the Ctenoids, have the 
posterior edge of the scales denticulated, while in the Cycloids 
the same edge is entire. The author endeavours to prove 
that this distinction, apparently insignificant, is, notwithstand- 
ing, founded in nature ; that it is the expression of a funda- 
mental feature, which, in like manner, appears in the other 
parts of the body. It is thus that the fishes possessing den- 
ticulated or pectinated scales, are in general stuck over with 
spines on the head, the operculum, and various parts of the 
body, while the others, the Cycloids, are smooth fishes, without 
any armature. M. Agassiz considers the family of perches 
and its allies as the type of his order of Ctenoids ; and the 
family of carps, salmon, and pikes, as the type of the order 
Cycloid. This division, therefore, corresponds to a certain 
point with Cuvier's division, into Acanthopterygians and Mala- 
copterygians ; and this coincidence will be sufiicient of itself 
to prove the necessity that exists for separating these two 
types, since we arrive at the same result by ways entirely 
opposite. Is M. Agassiz's method more successful in this than 
that of Cuvier ? We scarcely believe that it is ; and already 
the researches of other naturalists have pointed out fishes be- 
longing to the same family, some of which have the scales of 
the cycloids, and others the scales of the ctenoids. Yet we 
willingly admit, that, for the study of fossil fishes, the distinc- 
tion derived from the scales is of greater practical value than 
that which is founded on the structure of the dorsal fins. 

M. Agassiz's second order. Ganoid, appears to us much better 
founded. Two fishes exist in the Nile and in the rivers of 
South America, which have at all times embarrassed ichthy- 
ologists. One of them, that of the Nile, is known under the 
name of Bichir {Folypterus Bichir) ; the other, that of Ame- 
rica, under the name of the Osseous Pike {Lepidosteus), be- 
cause in its exterior it resembles our pike. Both these fishes 
are covered with scales, of a form and structure quite peculiar. 
Instead of being placed one over another like tiles on a roof, 
as among ordinary fishes, they are simply placed beside each 
other, and their surface is covered with a coat of enamel, 
which forms a very solid cuirass. M. Agassiz has examined 
these fishes in an anatomical point of view, and diff^ercnces 

334 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes, 

appeared in their skeleton not less remarkable than in the 
scales and soft parts of the body. Notwithstanding that, he 
would have hesitated to insulate these fishes completely from 
the other great families ; and particularly because, when their 
small number is considered, it would have been contrary to all 
methods, to place them on the same rank with the Placoids on 
the one hand, and the osseous fishes on the other. But what 
the study of recent fishes did not warrant, was justified by the 
study of fossil fishes. We have met with an ichthyological 
fauna possessed neither of the characters of the osseous nor of 
the cartilaginous fishes, but which remind us in every respect 
of the Bichir and Lepidosteus. Thus it is that these two genera 
of fishes, which appear so exceptional in the existing creation, 
really form a type by themselves, which, however small in 
number in our days, is not the less, on that account, the expres- 
sion of an entire order of things. By grouping round these 
fishes all the numerous fossils whose scales are of the same 
structure, M. Agassiz forms of them his division Ganoid, which 
already contains many hundred species, and which promises 
always to become more numerous ; for, as we shall afterwards 
see, it is it which predominates in all the epochs anterior to the 
chalk. M. Agassiz has determined many distinct families in 
this order; the two principal are that of the Sauro'ids^ to 
which the Lepidosteus and the Bichir belong, and that of the 
Lepidoids, which comprehends inoffensive, and probably om- 
nivorous fishes, similar in their physiognomy to our carps, but 
which have no representative in the present era. 

To each of the four orders a volume is devoted, accom- 
panied with a magnificent series of plates, in which all the species 
described are represented. In the descriptions, which are often 
very much in detail, the author has not confined himself to the 
indication of the particular characters of the ichthyolite with 
which he is specially occupied. It is seldom that he does not find 
an opportunity of introducing some reflections of general inte- 
rest on the family to which the fish he is describing belongs, 
on its distribution or its mode of association with other fossils, 
and on the circumstances in which it is probable the animal 
lived. Besides, the study of the families or genera which have 
representatives in the present period, is commonly preceded by 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 335 

a description of tho skeleton of a living species, in order to 
facilitate and complete the knowledge of the fossil species, 
which, not being usually preserved entire, are on that account 
more difficult to determine. If, on the contrary, he treats of 
families wholly extinct, the author has endeavoured to afford 
a similar advantage by restored figures, representing the fish 
with the form and ornaments which may be supposed to have 
belonged to it, judging from the preserved remains. 

2. Fossil Fishes important in an anatomical point of view. 

M. Agassiz's work is not a less important contribution to 
anatomy than it is to zoology and geology. Obliged to study 
minutely, not only the external form, but also all the parts of 
the skeleton in living fishes, in order to determine the detached 
analogous pieces met with in the strata of the earth, the author 
was under the necessity of tracing, with the greatest care, the 
numerous modifications which these same bones undergo in the 
diflferent families of the class of fishes. There can be no doubt 
that this is the most difficult part of the work ; for in no other 
class of the vertebrata is the osseous frame-work so variable. 
We have only once to examine the head of a fish in order to 
perceive the difficulty of referring all the pieces to a constant 
type ; for not only are the bones of the head more numerous 
among fishes than among the other vertebrata, but they are 
combined in so many different manners, that it is very difficult 
to detect their true relations. On the other hand, age induces 
very considerable changes, not only in the form and dimen- 
sions of the different bones, but even in their structure, and to 
such a degree that the same bone often cannot be recognised 
in the different stages of life. Hence the necessity of studying 
the development of all the parts of the skeleton, in order to 
be in a condition to distinguish with certainty the essential 
characters from the secondary characters — what is constant 
from what is transitory. Considered in this light, the re- 
searches which the author has undertaken, in connection with 
M. Vogt, on the embryology of the Salmonidse, must have afford- 
ed him great assistance ; they have, above all, given him the 
means of appreciating the relative value of the different organs, 


336 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

and the rank which the families ought to occupy in the ich- 
thyological scale. 

These comparative studies have led our author to the dis- 
covery of a capital fact, which had not previously been an- 
nounced, namely, that a remarkable parallelism exists between 
the development of the individual and the development of the 
entire class in the order of time. In the earlier periods of 
embryonic life, no vertebral column exists. This organ is 
represented, in embryos, by a gelatinous cord, which is called 
the dorsal cord. It is around this organ, which continues for 
a longer or shorter period in all fishes, that the vertebrae are 
formed in the shape of osseous rings. These rings insensibly 
enlarge, and always encroach more and more on the dorsal 
cord, which at last altogether disappears in the majority of 
fishes. There are certain types, however, the sturgeon, for 
example, where it remains during the whole life ; accordingly, 
this fish has no vertebrae, and the apophyses rest immediately 
on the dorsal cord. Now, M. Agassiz makes us acquainted 
with the fact, that this is likewise the case with the fishes of 
the ancient epoch. All of them possess distinct spiny apo- 
physes, often very strong and completely ossified, but they ex- 
hibit no traces of distinct vertebrae ; whence the author con- 
cludes that they were deprived of these organs, and that the 
dorsal cord continued in them during the whole period of life, 
as in the sturgeon. 

We may make a single remark with regard to the relative 
superiority of the living types. Here, also, embryology every- 
where reveals to us a wonderful parallelism. There is no fish, 
however imperfect it may be, whose organization does not cor- 
respond to one or other of the phases of life in the most per- 
fect types. Let us take the lamprey for an example, or that 
still more imperfect fish known by the name of Amphioxus or 
BrancMostoma^ and which was arranged by Linnaeus among 
the Vermes, so widely does it differ from ordinary fishes. Of 
these two types, the first has only the cartilaginous base of 
the cranium ; the second is completely destitute of it, and the 
dorsal cord extends as far as the extremity of the muzzle. 
The first has only a single fin, more or less separated ; in the 
second, this fin uniformly surrounds the entire body. Finally, 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 337 

neither the one nor the other is possessed of true jaws. Now, 
it will be observed that our most perfect fishes, such as the 
salmon, have a period in their lives when they are at this 
point of development ; only in the one this period is temporary, 
a progress towards a state of higher development ; while in the 
others it is the extreme term of development. These consi- 
derations are of great importance in a philosophical point of 
view, especially when we consider the application that may be 
made of them to the other classes of the animal kingdom. 
They have also served as a guide to our author in the rank he 
assigns to the different families of fishes according to their 

The direction thus given to his studies necessarily led M. 
Agassiz to discuss many questions of more general interest, 
respecting which anatomists are not yet agreed. What he 
says respecting the formation of the cranium appears to us 
particularly interesting ; and no one, we think, can read the 
following reflections without feeling their force. He says, — 
" I have shared with a multitude of other naturalists the opi- 
nion which regards the cranium as composed of vertebrae. I 
am, consequently, in some degree called upon to point out the 
motives which have induced me to reject it. This I shall do 
the more freely, since we may now discuss the question in all 
its aspects without fear of wounding the feelings of others. 

" M. Oken was the first to assign this signification to the 
bones of the cranium. The new doctrine he expounded was 
received in Germany with great enthusiasm by the school of the 
philosophers ef nature. The author conceived the cranium to 
consist of three vertebrae, and the basal occipital, the sphenoid, 
and the ethmoid, were regarded as the central parts of these 
cranial vertebrae. On these alleged bodies of vertebrae, the arches 
enveloping the central parts of the nervous system were raised, 
while on the opposite side were attached the inferior pieces 
which went to form the vegetative arch destined to embrace the 
intestinal canal and the large vessels. It would be too tedious 
to enumerate in this place the changes which each author intro- 
duced in order to modify this matter, so as to make it suit his 
own views. Some went the length of affirming that the vertebrae 
of the head were as complete as those of the trunk ; and, by 

338 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

means of various dismemberments, separations, and combina- 
tions, all the forms of the cranium were referred to the ver- 
tebrae, by admitting that the number of pieces was invariably 
fixed in every head, and that all the vertebrata, whatever 
might be their organization in other respects, had in their 
heads the same number of points of ossification. At a later 
period, what was erroneous in this manner of regarding the 
subject was detected ; but the idea of the vertebral composi- 
tion of the head was still retained. It was admitted as a 
general law, that the cranium was composed of three primi- 
tive vertebrae, as the embryo is of three blastodermic leaflets ; 
but that these vertebrae, like the leaflets, existed only ideally, 
and that their presence, although easily demonstrated in cer- 
tain cases, could only be slightly traced and with the greatest 
difficulty in other instances. The notion thus laid down of 
the virtual existence of cranial vertebrae did not encounter very 
great opposition ; it could not be denied that there was a cer- 
tain general resemblance between the osseous case of the brain 
and the rachidian canal ; the occipital, in particular, had all the 
characteristic features of a vertebra. But whenever an attempt 
was made to push the analogy further, and to determine 
rigorously the anterior vertebrse of the cranium, the observer 
found himself arrested by insurmountable obstacles, and he 
was obliged always to revert to the virtual existence. 

" In order to explain my idea clearly, let me have recourse 
to an example. It is certain that organized bodies are some- 
times endowed with virtual qualities, which, at a certain 
period of the being's life, elude dissection, and all our means 
of investigation. It is thus, that, at the moment of their 
origin, the eggs of all animals have such a resemblance to 
each other, that it would be impossible to distinguish, even by 
the aid of the most powerful microscope, the ovarial egg of a 
craw- fish for example, from that of true fish. And yet who 
would deny that beings in every respect different from each 
other exist in these eggs "? It is precisely because the difier- 
ence manifests itself at a later period, in proportion as the 
embryo develops itself, that we were authorized to conclude, 
that, even from the earliest period, the eggs were different ; that 
each had virtual qualities proper to itself, although they could 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 339 

not be discovered by our senses. If, on the contrary, any 
one should find two eggs perfectly alike, and should observe 
two beings perfectly identical issue from them, he would 
greatly err if he ascribed to these eggs different virtual quali- 
ties. It is, therefore, necessary, in order to be in a condition 
to suppose that virtual properties peculiar to it are concealed 
in an animal, that these properties should manifest themselves 
once in some phase or other of its development. Now, ap- 
plying this principle to the theory of cranial vertebrae, we 
should say that if these vertebra) virtually exist in the adult, 
they must needs shew themselves in reality, at a certain period 
of development. If, on the contrary, they are found neither 
in the embryo nor the adult, I am of opinion that we are en- 
titled likewise to dispute their virtual existence. 

" Here, however, an objection may be made to me, drawn 
from the physiological value of the vertebrae, the function of 
which, as is well known, is, on the one hand, to furnish a 
solid support to the muscular contractions which determine the 
movements of the trunk, and, on the other, to protect the 
centres of the ner\^ous system, by forming a more or less solid 
case completely around them. The bodies of the vertebrae are 
particularly destined to the first of these offices, the neura- 
pophyses to the second. What can be more natural than to 
admit, from the consideration of this, that, in the head, the 
bodies of the vertebrae diminish in proportion as the moving 
function becomes lost, while the neurapophyses are consider- 
ably developed for protecting the brain, the volume of which 
is very considerable, when compared with that of the spinal 
marrow % Have we not an example of this feet in the verte- 
brae of the tail, where the neurapophyses become completely 
obliterated, and a simple cylindrical body alone remains i 
Now, may it not be the case, that, in the head, the bodies of 
the vertebrae have disappeared ; and that, in consequence, there 
is a prolongation of the cord only as far as the moving"] func- 
tions of the vertebrae extend % There is some truth in this 
argument, and it would be difficult to refute it a priori. But 
it loses all its force the moment that we enter upon a de- 
tailed examination of the bones of the head. Thus, what 
would we call, according to this hypothesis, the principal sphe- 

340 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

noid, the great wings of the sphenoid, and the ethmoid, which 
form the floor of the cerebral cavity ? It may be said they 
are apophyses. But the apophyses protect the nervous centres 
only on the side and above. It may be said that they are the 
bodies of the vertebrae. But they are formed without the 
concurrence of the dorsal cord ; they cannot, therefore, be the 
bodies of the vertebrse. It must, therefore, be allowed that 
these bones at least do not enter into the vertebral type ; that 
they are in some measure peculiar. And if this be the case 
with them, why may not the other protective plates be equally 
independent of the vertebral type ; the more so because the 
relation of the frontals and parietals vary so much that it would 
be almost impossible to assign to them a constant place." 

Microscopic studies had also to furnish their contingent to 
M. Agassiz's work, since the researches of Mr Owen on the 
structure of the hard parts of animal bodies, and especially the 
teeth, have demonstrated that a perfect regularity and a won- 
derful uniformity exist in the arrangement of the smallest 
fibres of these organs. The knowledge of these details is par- 
ticularly valuable for the study of the fossil Placo'ids, of which 
we possess only teeth and fin rays, the other parts of the skele- 
ton not being fitted for preservation in a fossil state on ac- 
count of their soft nature. Even in the existing fauna, there 
is a group of Sharks, whose teeth are so like each other in ex- 
ternal form, that it is almost impossible to distinguish them ; 
for example, the teeth of the Lamnse and those of the true 
Sharks (Carcharias), or the teeth of the true Sharks and the 
Carcharodons. But examine their internal structure, and you 
will find remarkable difi'erences. The same thing applies to 
the rays of the fins, in so much that hereafter it will be suffi- 
cient to cut a slice from a tooth or a ray, and to examine it 
with the microscope, to ascertain correctly to what animal it 
has belonged. We may, in like manner, determine by means 
of this ingenious proceeding, even the smallest fragments, pro- 
vided they are capable of being cut into fine slices. We con- 
gratulate M. Agassiz on having devoted a certain number of 
plates to the study of these details, which appears to us destined 
continually to acquire more importance in palaeontology. The 
same affinities, the same transitions which take place from one 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 841 

genu8 to another, and from one family to another, likewise re- 
appear in those details. It is thus that the Sauro'ids, which 
of all fishes approach nearest to Reptiles, have teeth of a 
structure very similar to that of the Ichthyosauri, while the 
Sharks, which occupy a lower degree in the scale, shew quite 
a different structure. 

3. Importance of Fossil Fishes in a geological point of view. 
It is by their geological importance that M. Agassiz*s B^e- 
searches on Fossil Fishes are particularly destined to create a 
sensation. Even in the earlier parts of the work, the author, 
by comparing the fishes of the different formations, found an 
opportunity of throwing new light on the relative age of many 
of these formations. He was thus led (to mention only a single 
example), by the study of the fishes enclosed in the slates of 
Glaris, to demonstrate that this deposit, previously regarded 
as belonging to the most ancient sedimentary formation, the 
greywacke, is much more recent, and is a part of the creta- 
ceous formation. Another more general result of M. Agassiz's 
work is, that not only all the fossil species are different from 
those that live in our days, but that they are equally distinct 
as we proceed from one formation to another. Besides this, 
the author does not only limit these differences to the great 
formations ; he establishes them also in the diverse stages of 
the same formation. It is thus that he does not find identical 
species in the lias and the upper Jura, in the inferior and su- 
perior deposits of the chalk, in the ancient and recent por- 
tion of the Tertiary class, &c. Now, the natural consequence 
of these differences is, that the entire creation has been re- 
newed at these different epochs by a direct intervention of the 
Creator. Such a conclusion will perhaps seem rash ; but it 
appears that observation tends to confirm it more and more ; at 
least M. D'Orbigny arrives at nearly the same results by the 
study of the testaceous animals. 

Along with these differences, so constant and so regular, the 
author likewise discovers a genetic connection between the type 
of fishes and that of the other classes of the vertebrata, when 
their development is considered throughout the different geo- 
logical epochs. The considerations which he attaches to this 

342 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

fact are as new as they are bold ; for they tend to nothing less 
than to prove, that fishes are in some sort the primitive trunk 
from which, in the course of time, the different other <jlasses 
of the vertebrata have been detached. It is, indeed, curious 
to observe, that fishes have been, during the whole Transition 
period, the only representatives of the vertebrata. There is, 
in particular, a type of voracious fishes, which arrives at its 
apogee in this period; namely, that of the Sauroids, which 
seems to have then shared with the sharks the empire of the 
seas, in so much that this period may be justly called the reign 
of fishes. 

Only at a later date, during the Triassic period, reptiles ap- 
peared, and they soon became, in their turn, the lords of the 
creation, principally in the Jurassic formation, when the Ich- 
thyosauri and the Plesiosauri inhabited the scarcely formed 
coasts of Europe, It was then the reign of reptiles. A mul- 
titude of fishes belonging to new species existed along with 
these reptiles, but they lost the pre-eminence ; and if many 
of them attract observation by their large size, they are still 
far from equalling the power of the great Sauroids of the car- 
boniferous epoch. 

With regard to mammifera and birds, M. Agassiz makes 
their reign commence only with the tertiary epoch ; and here, 
perhaps, his system is open to criticism, for he is not ignorant 
that there exist mammifera of the Jura period (the fossil Didel- 
phis of Stonesfield) ; and we believe that he has distinctly ad- 
mitted that it is to the type of the mammifera that these sin- 
gular remains ought to be referred. If he takes no account of 
them in his system, it is, no doubt, because he regards them as 
an exception ; and, in fact, it is curious that we meet with no 
other remains of mammifera in the subsequent strata of the 
Jura formation and of the chalk formation, while they appear 
suddenly in extraordinary abundance, and of colossal dimen- 
sions, in the tertiary epoch. With regard to birds, M. 
Agassiz has himself informed us that unquestionable traces of 
them exist in the slates of Glaris. Now, while we acknow- 
ledge the ingenuity of regarding the succession of types in 
this manner, it would still be of much importance, in the in- 
terest of the system, that neither mammifera nor birds were 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 343 

found in the secondary epoch ; for if it is the task of a system 
to assign a reason for all the phenomena which it embraces, 
it is evident that precursors of the kind alluded to, such as the 
Didelphis of Stonesfield and the birds of Glaris, offer difficul- 
ties of no easy solution. 

At the top of the scale of the vertebrata, our author places 
man as the crown of the creation, and whom he regards as 
the object and end of the creation. According to M. Agassiz, 
it is with reference to man that this successive and continuous 
development, from fishes to reptiles, from reptiles to birds and 
the mammifera, and from the latter to man himself, has been 
effected. But this process of perfection has not been effected 
by filiation — ^by direct procreation, since all the species are 
different as we go from one formation to another. The bond 
which unites them is not a material bond ; it exists in the 
mind of the Creator, who had in view an intelligent being 
whom he designed to be sovereign over all. M. Agassiz thus 
expresses his thoughts on this subject : — " The progressive 
connection, as if by the links of a chain, of the four classes of 
vertebrate animals, is a fact which contrasts, in every respect, 
and in a very striking manner, with the uniform and parallel 
development of all the classes of the invertebrata. The gi-a- 
dation of the vertebrates is so much the more remarkable, on 
accoimt of its direct connection with the advent of man, whom 
we may consider not only as the term, but also as the object 
of all this development. Let us first regard fishes, which ap- 
peared first. Plunged in a medium denser and less mobile 
than the atmosphere, they are always found in conditions of 
existence less varied than those of terrestrial animals. Their 
body is all of a piece ; their head is not detached from the 
trunk, of which it is nothing else than a simple prolongation ; 
their organs are obtuse, and their faculties very limited ; their 
members placed in pairs are not the principal organs of 
motion, and there exist only very slight relations between 
individuals of the same species. Reptiles, which succeed 
fishes in the order of time, present us with a more perfect 
organization ; their head is more or less detached from the 
rest of the body, and can even be raised above the horizontal 
line which the trunk still forms ; the members in pairs, when 

344 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

they exist at all, are true locomotive organs ; they cannot, 
however, elevate the whole mass of the body, which is dragged, 
rather than carried, by the feet. These animals are evidently 
superior to fishes in the development of the organs of the 
senses and intellectual faculties; more varied relations be- 
tween individuals of the same species are accordingly found 
among them. In birds, which come next in order, we observe 
a very remarkable development. Without attempting to de- 
monstrate the indisputable superiority of their organization 
over that of the two preceding classes, I shall insist only on 
this single fact, that their bodies can be completely raised 
from the ground by means of their locomotive members, 
which present, in their disengagement from the body, the 
most striking contrast with the locomotive appendages of 
fishes and reptiles. We constantly find in birds two kinds 
of locomotive members, wings for flight, and feet for walking 
or swimming ; and, what is curious, when they rest, these 
animals support themselves only on their posterior limbs, the 
body and head inclined forward and upwards. Among the 
mammifera, we find, for the first time, an organization in 
which all the limbs harmonize — all of them maintaining the 
body in an elevated position. We need not be surprised, 
however, to find, in this class, types as varied as the Cetacea, 
Quadrupeds properly so called, the Cheiroptera, and the quad- 
rumana ; for, after a development as eccentric as that of birds, 
what can be more natural than to find the mammifera repro- 
duce, in their sphere, forms which recall inferior types, as if 
it were definitively to overcome the relations which connect 
animals with the soil, before attaining to the noble gait and 
free movements which characterise man, and which permit 
him to elevate his face towards his Creator — to contemplate 
the entire universe — ^to perceive the laws which regulate it, 
— and to prostrate himself with gratitude and love before 
Him to whom he is indebted for such marvellous preroga- 

The class of fishes, considered in itself, has likewise under- 
gone numerous modifications during the series of geological 
ages, from the period of the transition formations down to our 
own times. Here, as in all the other classes of the animal 

M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 346 

kingdom, the fossil species bear a greater resemblance to the 
living species, in proportion as they belong to strata more 
recent; and each new formation is a further approach to- 
wards the actually existing state of things. The most im- 
portant change in the entire class of fishes, has taken place at 
the end of Jura epoch. Up to that period, all the fishes had 
a peculiar physiognomy, in general very different from that 
which we now perceive them to possess ; no other kinds were 
to be met with but the Ganoid and the Placoid. It was not 
till the time of the chalk formation that the two other orders, 
the Ctenoid and the Cycloid, which almost exclusively prevail 
in the present creation, made their appearance. The first 
types of these orders belong, for the most part, to extinct ge- 
nera, allied to our Clupea3 and Tunnies. In this epoch, fresh 
water fish were still wanting. The fishes of the tertiary epoch 
are much more nearly related to those of our own times ; a 
great number belong to genera now existing : we find true 
Tunnies, true Clupeae, true Anchovies, true Smelts, and fresh- 
water fishes well characterised, such as Pikes, Leucisci, Tenches, 
Loaches, Gudgeons, &c., but neither Trouts nor Salmon. On 
the other hand, the Ganoids become more and more rare in the 
tertiary formations. In a word, the Ichthyological Fauna of the 
tertiary deposits, whether viewed as a whole or in its details, 
presents the greatest analogy with that of our own times. In 
order to shew more conspicuously the signification of these 
difi'erent changes, the author has represented them, in a very 
ingenious manner, in a pictorial sketch, which indicates the ap- 
pearance of the different families, and their development, rela- 
tively to the different eras. — {Plate 3d, contained in this 

It is, in general, to the tertiary fossils that those geologists 
who do not admit marked differences between the Faunas of 
the different epochs, have recourse, in order to establish, ac- 
cording to their views, the filiation of species across the dif- 
ferent formations. They have even founded on the propor- 
tional number of living species of mollusca, which they pre- 
tend to have discovered in the strata of this period, a division 
of the tertiary class into Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene forma- 
tions. Now, if these identities had been real, they ought to 

346 M. Agassiz on Fossil Fishes. 

have appeared equally among fishes. This was the capital 
point to establish. The fishes of the celebrated locality of 
Monte-Bolca had, it is true, been referred by Volta, without ex- 
ception, to species actually living in the Mediterranean ; but it 
was easy to see that the determinations of the author of the 
Ittiolitologia Veronese were not the result of sufficient study ; 
many naturalists had pointed out his errors even by a simple 
comparison of the plates. In order to be perfectly certain in 
this respect, it was of importance to compare the originals 
themselves. This M. Agassiz has done, with the greatest de- 
tail, in the Museum of Paris, where the collection of Count 
Gazzola, and the greater part of the originals of Volta's work, 
are preserved. He was not long in discovering that all the 
species were new, and that about the half belonged even to ex- 
tinct genera. 

M. Agassiz has arrived at nearly the same results with re- 
gard to the fossil fishes of another deposit, equally celebrated, 
the species of which had also been regarded as identical with 
those of our own times ; I mean the fishes of Oeningen. The 
formation of Oeningen is a fresh-water deposit of more recent 
date than Monte-Bolca. The fishes it contains are very similar 
to those which now live in the Lake of Constance, and almost 
all belong to the same genera. Now, when we consider how 
little our Leucisci or poissons blancs differ from each other, we 
might fear that the analytical method employed by Agassiz 
would not be sufficient. Fortunately, the fishes of this locality 
are in general admirably preserved, so well that we can study 
the details of their skeleton with as much precision as that of 
a living species. From the minute comparison our author has 
made of these fossils with the fishes of the lake of Constance 
and the basin of the Rhine in general, it appears that not only 
are these fossils different from their living analogues, but also 
that they equally differ from the fossil species of the other 
great hydrographical basins, and in particular, from the species 
of Menat in the basin of the Rhone. Now, in order that it 
could happen thus, it is necessary to admit that at the period 
of the deposition of these formations, the two basins of the 
Rhone and the Rhine were already separated ; for if they had 
communicated with each other, and if the fishes which now in- 

Mr Rowell on the Electricity of Steam. 347 

habit them were the direct descendants of the fossils of Oenin- 
gen and Menat, it would follow that we ought no longer to 
meet with species peculiar to them either in the basin of the 
Rhone or in that of the Rhine. Now, every thing leads us to 
believe that the lake of Constance, as well as the greater part 
of the Swiss lakes, were produced by dislocations posterior to 
the deposition of the tertiary formations ; and that being the 
case, how could the fishes of Oeningen survive catastrophes 
which have produced such modifications in the form of the sur- 
face of Switzerland 1 The consequence of these facts is obvious. 
If we succeed in demonstrating that certain basins, like certain 
terrestrial regions, are inhabited by peculiar species not found 
elsewhere in contemporaneous deposits, we must thence con- 
clude that the creation has been not only renewed at difierent 
geological epochs, but also that the successive creations have 
been more or less local ; that is to say, the species have been 
created in the places which they inhabit, and that a limit has 
been assigned to each which it does not overpass, as long as it 
remains in its natural conditions. It is only man, and a small 
number of species he has associated with him, that are not sub- 
ject to this general law. And as the migrations of these same 
species have taken place under the direct influence of man, we 
may thence conclude that they did not take place in the ante- 
rior ages.* 

On the Cause of the Electricity of Steam, By G. A. Rowell, 
Esq. Communicated by the Author. t 

The cause of rain, evaporation, and atmospheric electricity, 
having engaged my attention for many years, I endeavoured, 
in two papers read before the Ashmolean Society, 1839i and 
1841,§ to shew that evaporation is caused by the increase of 
the surface of particles of water by expansion, and that thus 

* From BibliotliequG Universelle de Geneve, No. 100, p. 334-356. 
t Read before the Ashmolean Society, February 26. 1844. 
X Vide Report of the British Association, Glasgow Meeting. 
§ London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, vol. xx., p. 45. 

348 Mr Eowell on the Electricity of Steam. 

having a greater capacity for electricity, they are buoyed up 
by their coating of electricity as a bullet may be buoyed up 
in water by a coating of cork, and that no evaporation at low 
temperatures could go on without electricity ; that the vapour 
so raised into the air, when condensed, becomes surcharged 
with electricity, and thus remains suspended until the sur- 
charge escapes, either as lightning, or else imperceptibly, to 
the earth, when the remaining coating of electricity being 
insufficient to buoy up the particles of vapour, they fall as 
rain, &c. ; and that it is possible to cause rain at will by 
raising electrical conductors to the clouds, by means of bal- 
loons, and thus enabling the surcharge of electricity in the 
clouds to escape to the earth. 

The discovery of the electricity of steam I considered a 
strong support of these opinions ; but a theory having been 
proposed by Dr Faraday, who explained the electricity of 
steam as caused by the friction of particles of water carried 
along by the steam rubbing against the solid matter of the 
passage through which the steam is escaping from the boiler, 
— the following is an attempt to shew that the electricity of 
steam is not caused by friction, but by its expansion, on 
escaping from the boiler, thus carrying off electricity, and 
rendering the boiler (if insulated) negative, the steam again 
giving off its positive electricity when condensed ; and that 
the phenomena of Dr Faraday's experiments will sunport this 

One experiment, which I believe tells against the theory 
of friction is as follows : — " An insulated wire was held in the 
stream of steam issuing from a glass or metal tube, about half 
an inch from the mouth of the tube, and was found to be un- 
excited; on moving it in one direction, a little further off, it 
was rendered positive, on moving it in the other direction, 
nearer to the tube, it was negativeP In addition to this, both 
Mr Armstrong and Mr Pattison, in their experiments, found 
the greatest development of electricity at some distance from 
the boiler, in some cases five or six feet. 

I cannot conceive how this phenomenon can take place 
if the excitement is caused by friction of the particles of water 
in the tube, as in that case I believe the strongest develop- 
ment of electricity would be at the mouth of the tube or 

Mr Rowell on the Electricity of Steam. 349 

boiler ; but it fully agrees with the hypothesis that the pheno- 
menon is caused by the expansion and contraction of the par- 
ticles of steam. 

All the experiments on the subject shew, that the steam 
within the boiler is not electrified, and that the electrical 
development takes place on its escape from the mouth of 
the tube. At this point, there is an enormous expansion of 
the steam ; and it then takes up its portion of electricity, 
according to its expanded surface, in the same proportion as 
the electrical state of the boiler, or rather the issue tube. If 
the boiler or tube be insulated, they will be rendered nega- 
tive ; the steam at this point is so also ; but, as it begins im- 
mediately to condense, it is, at a short distance, neutral; 
and, on a further condensation, and consequent diminution of 
surface, the steam becomes positively electrified. 

The cause of the increase, through friction, of the electri- 
city of steam, is probably from its bringing a greater quantity 
of the steam in contact with the issue tube ; thus enabling a 
greater portion of the steam to take up its coating of electri- 
city than could be the case if escaping from a round smooth 
aperture ; as, in that case, owing to the non-conducting powers 
of high pressure steam, only the exterior particles of the 
column of steam could take their full coating of electricity. 

The presence of water in the tube may increase the elec- 
trical development, by rendering the connecting and issue tube 
a better conductor of electricity from the boiler to the mouth 
of the issue tube. 

The necessity for the issue tube being a good conductor of 
electricity is shewn by the experiments of Dr Faraday, who 
says, " A metal, glass, or box-wood tube, well soaked in distil- 
led water, being used for the steam issue, the boiler was ren- 
dered well negative, and the steam highly positive ; but if a 
quill or an ivory tube be used, the boiler received scarcely any 
change^ and the stream of steam is also in a neutral state.'' 

This must be owing to the difi^erence in the conducting 
power of the various tubes, and not to the difference in the 
friction they occasion, as metal, wood when well soaked in 
water, and glass, from its becoming damp from the steam, are 
good conductors, and would supply the escaping steam with 
electricity ; but quill and ivory being non-conductors, and hav- 

350 Mr Rowell on the Electricity of Steam. 

ing a tendency to resist dampness, would prevent the supply 
of sufficient electricity to cause any strong development- 

Every insulated substance held in the current of steam from 
ivory or quill tubes became negatively charged, from the steam 
taking off a portion of their electricity. 

That electricity cannot be obtained from currents of low 
pressure steam, may be accounted for by the increased con- 
ducting power of steam in this state preventing any develop- 
ment of electricity in the condensed steam, by conducting the 
electricity back to the boiler the instant any accumulation 
takes place : even the addition to high pressure steam of any 
saline or other substances (which increases the conducting 
power of water) prevented electrical development. 

It is difficult to account for the absence of electricity when 
the valve of the boiler was lifted, in Dr Faraday's experiments, 
as both Mr Armstrong and Mr Pattison performed most of 
their early experiments from the safety valves of several boilers, 
and Mr Armstrong states that on one occasion " the engine 
was rendered intensely negative by a copious emission of steam 
from the valve." It may be owing to the small pressure on the 
boiler used by Dr. Faraday. 

"With respect to the cause why oil of turpentine, olive oil, 
&c., renders the steam negative, I can form no opinion, but 
believe that any substance which would reduce the conduct- 
ing power from the boiler to the mouth of the tube, in any 
great degree, would render the stream of steam negative, by 
preventing the particles of steam obtaining their coating of 

The increase of electricity, with the increase of pressure 
on the boiler, may be accounted for ; as the expansion of 
steam on escaping from the boiler increases also with the 

( 351 ) 

Miscellaneous Observations on Animal Heat. By John Davy, 
MD., F.R.S. L. and E.* 

1. On the Temperature of the Pelamides. 2. On the Tempe- 
rature of Man in advanced age, 3. On the Effect of Air of 
different Temperatures on Animal Heat. 4. On the Effect 
of Exercise on the Temperature of the Body, 

I. On the Temperature of the Pelamides {Pelamys Sarda, 
Cuv. and Val.) 

Fishes generally are commonly considered as cold-blooded. 
In a work published in 1839, I have stated particulars tend- 
ing to shew that this commonly received opinion is not uni- 
versally correct, and that fishes of the genus Thynnus, with 
some others of the Scomber family, may be inferred to be an 

As this inference was founded chiefly on reports of fisher- 
men, it appeared very desirable to determine by actual ther- 
mometrical measurement what is the exact temperature of 
fishes of this family. 

Hitherto, although watching for opportunities, and promised 
the aid of friends favourably situated, I have not been able to 
make any observations of the kind required, excepting on one 
species of these fishes, the Pelamides, the Pelamys Sarda of 
Cuvier and Valenciennes. The Pelamides, like most of its 
congeners, is migratory in its habits. In the early part of 
summer it appears in the sea of Marmora and the Bosphorus, 
and in August in the Black Sea, from whence, after spawning, 
it returns in September and October, on its passage to the 
Mediterranean, It is caught in the same manner as the 

In June 1841, whilst at Constantinople, I visited a fishing 
station for this fish, in an inlet of the sea of Marmora, and 
was present when a small capture was made, enabling me to 

* Phil. Transactions, Part I. for 1844. Received November 2.— Read 
December 11, 1843. 
t Researches, Physiological and Anatomical, vol. i. p. 218, 

352 Dr Davy on Animal Heat. 

ascertain the temperature of four specimens. This was done 
the instant they were taken out of the water, being in a boat 
alongside the net, by introducing a thermometer with a pro- 
jecting bulb, through a small incision, into the muscle of the 
back, about an inch and a half, and immediately after into the 
cavity of the abdomen. In three instances, the thermometer 
in the back rose to 75° Fahr. ; in one to 74° ; in all, in the 
abdomen, it rose to 73°. The Pelamides were of moderate 
size, between two and three feet long. The air at the time 
was 71° ; the sea at the surface 68° : but probably at the depth 
from which the fishes were taken, it was a few degrees lower, 
the descending current of the Bosphorus then being, where 
coldest, at 62°. 

Supposing that the water from which they were taken was 
62°, — and it might have been lower, as the Pelamides swim 
in deep water, — the temperature of this fish would appear to 
be about 12° above the medium in which it swims, and at 
least 7° above that of the surface. 

This result seems in accordance with the inference, that all 
fishes are not cold-blooded. In the work already referred to, 
reasoning from the smaller size of the respiratory nerves of 
of the Pelamys Sarda, compared with those of the Tunny, I 
ofi^ered the conjecture that its temperature would be found 
less than that of the Tunny, and somewhat higher than that 
of fishes of other orders with still smaller respiratory nerves, 
a conjecture which the observations described may be adduced 
as confirming. 

In connection with their temperature, my attention was 
directed to the blood of these fishes. T have been able to ex- 
amine it only in three instances, and that partially, viz. the 
Sword-fish, the Felamys Sarda^ and the common Tunny, 
Considering the great difficulty there is in obtaining the sub- 
jects for experiment under favourable circumstances for exa- 
mination, imperfect as were my results, I am induced to offfer 
them now. 

The Sword-fish appears to abound less in blood than the 
Pelamides, and the Pelamides less than the common Tunny ; 
and, accordingly, the muscles of the former two are of a much 
lighter colour than those of the latter. 

Dr Davy on Animal Heat. 353 

The blood of the Tunny is very rich in red particles : this 
is indicated not only by its appearance, but also by its specific 
gravity, which I have found as high as 1.070. The blood 
tried was taken from a fish, caught in the sea of Marmora, 
that weighed between two and three hundred pounds. 

The blood of the Pelamides appears to be less rich in red 
particles than that of the Tunny, but more than that of the 
Sword-fish : I have not ascertained its specific gravity. The 
specific gravity of the blood of the Sword-fish I have found to 
be 1.051 ; the fish from which the blood was taken was caught 
in the Bosphorus, in the month of December, and was of large 

Under the microscope the appearance of the red particles 
of the blood of these three fishes is very similar. They are 
commonly thin oval discs (very soft), containing oval nuclei : 
a few circular discs are intermixed with them. The medium 
dimensions of those of the Pelamides were about ^Jih of an 
inch by —fh. ; of the Sword-fish, about ^th by ^1 th ; and of 
the Tunny, about ^th by s^^h- 

That the red particles constitute that portion of the blood 
which is chiefly concerned in the production of animal heat, 
is now generally admitted. What a contrast appears, in com- 
paring the blood of the fishes under consideration, with that 
of some of the colder, especially of the cartilaginous kind, in 
which it is very small in quantity, accompanied by a propor- 
tionally diminutive heart, and poor in red particles ! The blood 
of the Squalus Acanthias I have found to exceed in density 
only a little its serum, one being of the specific gravity 1.030, 
the other of the specific gravity 1.027- 

Whether the peculiar constitution of the red particles ope- 
rates in any way in promoting their union with oxygen, seems 
to be deserving of consideration. It may be thrown out as a 
conjecture, that the circumstance of their possessing nuclei 
may have an efi^ect of the kind, supposing, which is possible, 
the blood corpuscle and nucleus, or containing and contained 
pai't, to be in the electrical relation to each other of positive 
and negative. If it be objected to this, that, as regards nuclei 
as well as size, there is an analogy between the blood-corpuscle 
of fishes, birds, and reptiles, the temperature of which com- 

364 Dr Davy on Animal Heat. 

monly is so very different, it may be answered, that in all these 
classes such a constitution of blood-corpuscle may be designed 
for the same end ; and that birds partly owe their high tempe- 
rature to it ; and that in reptiles and fishes, in most of which 
the proportion of red particles is small, were the constitution 
of blood-corpuscle different, it would be inadequate to perform 
the part required of it. 

2. On the Temperattere of Man in advanced age* 

Not aware of any observations having been published on 
the temperature of man in advanced old age, I have been in- ■ 
duced to institute some trials, the results of which I shall 
now briefly describe. 

1. 91 years of age ; feeble on his legs, but in pretty good 
health; a native of Grasraere, in Westmorland, where he 
has always resided, in easy circumstances, cultivating his own 
land. In June, when the temperature of the air was 60°, a 
thermometer placed under the tongue rose to 99°-5; his hands 
were warm ; his pulse at the wrist 48, strong, intermitting. 
The observation was made at 2 p.m. ; he had dined at noon. 
On the 28th of the October following, his temperature was 
again tried, about the same time of day, when the open air 
was 42°, the air of his room 52° ; now, under the tongue, the 
thermometer was 98°.5 ; the pulse 56° ; his state of health 
much the same as before. 

2. 88 years of age, also a native of Grasmere, where he 
has mostly resided, as a day labourer ; is pretty firm on his 
feet,, but troubled with chronic cough and difficulty of breath- 
ing. In June, when the temperature of the air was 60°, a 
thermometer placed under the tongue rose to 99°. 5 ; his pulse 
was 56, and rather feeble ; he had dined three hours pre- 
viously. On the 28th of October, an hour after dinner, when 
his pulse was 70, the thermometer under the tongue was 98° ; 
the air of the room 55°. In February, about three hours after 
dinner, when his pulse was 44 and feeble, the temperature 
under the tongue was 96°. This was on the 27th ; the air 
then of his room was 44° ; the open air about 32°, after a 
heavy fall of snow, and a sharp frost of several days' dura- 
tion. The old man was feebler than in the summer and 

Dr Davy (m Animal Heat, 355 

autumn ; and though he did not complain of cold, his hand 
felt cold. 

3. The wife of the preceding, the mother of several chil- 
dren, 76 years of age; hale for her years, but blind from 
cataract, complicated with amaurosis. Her temperature, 
tried at the same time as her husband's, in June, was found 
under the tongue to be 98°.5, her pulse 78, and pretty strong. 
Tried again in October, it was found to be 98°, with a pulse 
of 70 ; and again in February, on the 27th, it was found to 
be 99°, her pulse being 80. 

4. 87 years of age ; a native of Ambleside, where she has 
commonly resided ; feeble, but, excepting chronic cough, in 
tolerable health. On the 26th of October, at 3 p.m., the tem- 
perature under the tongue was found to be 98°.5 ; her pulse 
84, and pretty strong ; the air of the room then was 57°, the 
open air about 42°. 

5. On the same day, and in the same village, tried the 
temperature of another old inhabitant, 92 years of age. The 
thermometer under her tongue stood about 98° ; it could not 
be determined with perfect exactness, on account of the tre- 
mulous motion of her head, which also affected the limbs, 
preventing the counting of her pulse ; her general health was 
pretty good. 

6. An inhabitant of Ambleside, by trade a hatter, 89 years 
of age, hale, able to walk to church. On the 27th of Octo- 
ber, when the air of his room was 56°, the outer air 42°, his 
pulse 64, strong and regular, the thermometer under his 
tongue stood at 98°. Observed again on the 27th of Febru- 
ary, at 1 P.M., just after dinner, when the outer air was 32°, 
the air of his room 54°, the temperature under his tongue was 
found to be 99°.5 ; his pulse 70. 

7. The temperature of his wife, two years younger, taken 
on the 27th of October, was 98°.5 ; her pulse was 88, irregu- 
lar ; she was very infirm, and suffering from asthma. 

8. A native of Scotland, 95 years of age, now residing in 
Ambleside, where he has been many years, always in good 
health, still tolerably strong and active. On the 28th of 
October, found the temperature under his tongue 98o.5 ; his 
pulse 66, intermitting; the air of his room 57°. The old 

356 Dr Davy on Animal Heat. 

people in all the preceding instances, at the time the obser- 
vations were made, were sitting by their fireside, as is their 
usage in the cool climate of Westmorland, the greater part 
of the year, and all of them, with one exception, seemed to 
be comfortably warm ; the poorest of them were not in want. 

Old age is commonly represented as cold, and the tempe- 
rature of the body is commonly supposed to diminish with 
advancing age. The results of the preceding observations 
generally are not in accordance with this opinion ; they seem, 
on the contrary, to shew, that the temperature of old people, 
at least as regards the deep-seated parts, of which the tongue 
at its base may be considered as some indication, is rather 
above than below the average temperature of middle age, 
taking that to be about 98° of Fahr. Nor, perhaps, is this 
surprising, when we reflect, that most of the food consumed 
by old persons — and their appetite generally is good — is pro- 
bably chiefly employed in administering to the function of 
respiration, being very partially expended in meeting the 
waste of the body. 

Probably in very advanced old age, as in very early infancy, 
the power of resistance to cold is feeble, and the temperature 
of the body is easily reduced on exposure. An observation 
which I made, many years ago, in Ceylon, would seem to be 
confirmatory of this. At seven o'clock in the morning, when 
the air was 72°, I tried the temperature of an old man, almost 
a century old, and of a boy about twelve years old, both cool, 
being thinly clad, and out of doors ; the temperature of the 
old man under the tongue was 95° ; in the axilla, 93° ; that of 
the boy under the former, 98° ; and in the latter 96°.5. The 
observation, too, on the old man in Grasmere, made in Fe- 
bruary, in cold weather, is also favourable to this conclusion ; 
whilst those made at the same time, on the other two old per- 
sons in stronger health, seem to shew, that, provided there is 
a vigorous action of the heart, and free circulation of the 
blood, the temperature of the body is easily maintained. 

3. On the Effect of Air of different Temperatures on Animal 

As from observations made on man on entering the tropics, 

JDr Davy on Animal Heat. 357 

and within the tropics on descending from a cool mountainous 
district to a hot low country, it would appear that his tem- 
perature, as measured by a thermometer placed under the 
tongue, is liable to fluctuate, — rising one or two degrees in a 
warm atmosphere, and falling as much on entering a cool 
one,* — it seemed probable that like differences of effect might 
be produced by air kept at different degrees of temperature 
in buildings in this country. 

In the autumn of last year, when going through the cotton 
manufactory of Deanstone, in the neighbourhood of Doune, in 
Stirlingshire, — an establishment admirably conducted, and in 
the highest order, — I availed myself of the opportunity to try 
the temperature of a few individuals in relation to this ques- 
tion. In the room called the " piecing-room," where a high 
temperature is always required on account of the kind of 
work, — a temperature kept up by means of warm air and 
steam, — when at 92°, I found the thermometer placed under 
the tongue of one man who had been at work there about six 
hours, rise to 100°.5 ; and of another, who had been there the 
same time, to 100° : the former was 52 years of age, healthy, 
his pulse 64 ; the other 33 years of age, in pretty good health, 
but liable to acidity of stomach ; his pulse 78. 

In an adjoining room, where the temperature of the air was 
73°, the thermometer placed under the tongue of a young 
woman rose to 99° ; and in a large room, where 300 persons 
were employed in weaving, and where the temperature of 
the air was 60°, the thermometer placed under the tongue of 
another healthy young woman rose only to 97°.5. 

Few as are these observations, they seem to warrant the 
conclusion that a high temperature of even a few hours in the 
heated air of a room is capable of raising the temperature of 
the body above its usual standard, in accordance with what 
had been anticipated from the effect of different degrees of 
atmospheric temperature. 

In further confirmation of the same, I may briefly state the 
results of multiplied observations made on the temperature of 

♦ Op. Cit, i. 169. 

358 Dr Davy on Animal Heat. 

the same individual. The subject of them was of middle age, 
in good health, under whose tongue the thermometer com- 
monly was stationary at 98°, when neither suffering from 
heat nor cold. The place where they were made was Con- 
stantinople, — the climate of which capital, it may be observ- 
ed, is exceedingly variable, — often cold in winter and the 
early spring, and commonly very hot in summer, — ^liable to 
great vicissitudes from its situation on the confines of two 
seas, in regard to warmth very different in character during 
a great part of the year. The observations were begun early 
in March, and were continued at intervals till the latter end 
of July. During this time the thermometer in the open air 
ranged from 31° to 94°, and the temperature observed under 
the tongue from 97° to 99°. 5. It may not be amiss to men- 
tion some particular instances. 

On the 5th of March, after having been exposed several 
hours in an open boat on the Bosphorus, with a strong wind 
at 43°, the thermometer placed under the tongue stood at 97°. 

On the the 11th of the same month, when the ground was 
covered deeply with snow, and the thermometer in the open 
air at 7 a.m. was 31°, and in a bed-room 45°, the temperature 
under the tongue was found to be 97°. 5. 

On the 3d of April, when the thermometer in the room, 
with the window open, was QQ,°, under the tongue it was 

• On the 17th of July, when the thermometer was 87°, under 
the tongue it rose to 99°.5. On the 21st of the same month, 
when the air was 87°, the temperature under the tongue was 
99°.5 ; and on the 28th, when the former was 94°, the latter 
was 99°. 

During the hot weather of July, it may be deserving of re- 
mark, that the pulse was less affected than the respiration, 
which, habitually about sixteen in the minute, was now com- 
monly fourteen, and one day did not exceed twelve. 

It may also be mentioned that attention was paid to the 
temperature of the extremities, and also to that of the urine, 
and that commonly it was found of highest temperature when 
the tongue and extremities were of lowest temperature : thus, 
on the 5th of March, when the thermometer under the tongue 

Dr Davy on Animal Heat. , 359 

was 97°, the feet and hands cold, in the urine it rose to 101'' ; 
and on the 28th of July, when under the former it was 99°.5, 
in the latter it was the same. 

Do not these observations, besides tending to confirm the 
preceding conclusion, for which they were brought forward, 
viz. that the temperature of the body rises and falls in a per- 
ceptible manner with the temperature of the air, lead also to 
the further conclusion, that the tendency of a high tempera- 
ture of atmosphere is to raise the temperature of the surface 
and of the parts adjoining the surface, in a somewhat higher 
ratio than the deep-seated organs ; and of a low temperature 
of atmosphere to raise the temperature of the deep-seated 
parts, whilst that of the surface is subjected to undue reduc- 
tion from the cooling agencies to which it is exposed, directed, 
as it were, in both instances, for a beneficial result, on the 
principle of compensation 1 

4. On the Effect of Exercise on the Temperature of the Body. 

This subject of inquiry, notwithstanding its manifest im- 
portance, has been much neglected ; indeed, I do not know 
of any work in which any precise information is to be obtain- 
ed respecting it. 

The observations which I have to offer are fewer than I 
could wish, and more limited ; they were made at Constanti- 
nople in 1841, at intervals between February and August, 
and had for their object mainly to endeavour to determine 
the effect of moderate exercise in walking, on the temperature 
of the body. The individual on whom they were made was 
the same as was mentioned in the last section. The particu- 
lar observations are the following : 

February 19th, at 1^^ p.m., air of room, 60° ; before walking, 
feet cold, temperature between the toes QQ° ; under the tongue 
98° ; urine 100°. At 5^ p.m., open air 40° ; just returned from 
a walk, gently warmed by the exercise ; feet and hands warm ; 
the former 96°.5, the latter 97° ; under the tongue 98° ; urine 


March 2d, at 4^ p.m., open air 50° ; air of room ^Q>°', feet 
and hands moderately warm ; the former 75°, the latter 81° ; 
under the tongue 98° ; urine 100°. At 5i p.m., after having 

360 Dr Davy on Animal Heat 

walked pretty quickly an hour, a gentle perspiration produced, 
the hands and feet hot, found the latter 99°, the former 98° ; 
under the tongue 98° ; the urine 101°.5. 

March 20th, at 5^- p.m., open air 42° ; returned warm, after 
a walk of three hours: the hands, which had worn warm 
gloves, were 99° ; feet 97° ; under the tongue 98° ; the urine 

April 7th, after a walk of three hours in the open air, be- 
tween 60° and 70°, returned at 5 p.m., gently perspiring : the 
hands ^vere 94° ; the feet 96°.5 ; under the tongue 98°.5 ; the 
urine 100°.5. 

May 27th, at 6 J p.m., after a walk of an hour and half, the 
air 68°, returned slightly perspiring ; the hands were 95° ; the 
feet hot ; under the tongue 99°. 5 ; the urine 101°.5. 

May 28th, air 65° ; under the tongue before taking exercise 
98°.5 : after a walk of four hours and a half, gently perspir- 
ing, under the tongue 98° ; hands 93° ; feet 97°.5 ; urine 

September 13th, at 4 p.m., the open air on the shore of the 
Bosphorus 76° ; ascended in about twenty minutes, without 
stopping, the steep side of the hill, called the Giant's Moun- 
tain ; on reaching its summit, when profusely perspiring, the 
pulse was 102°, usually about 52° ; the hands 98° ; under the 
tongue 98°. The pulse of another individual in company, of 
about the same age, also profusely perspiring, was 138° ; ther- 
mometer under his tongue 98° ; and in the hand the same. 
After descent, the pulse of the former was 94° ; thermometer 
under his tongue and in the hand 98°.5 ; the pulse of the lat- 
ter was 112° ; the thermometer under his tongue 98°.5 ; both 
only gently perspiring. 

What is the inference from these observations % Do they 
not seem to indicate that whilst moderate exercise promotes 
the diffusion of temperature and its exaltation in the extre- 
mities, it augments very little, if at all, the heat of the deep- 
seated parts \ And considering the blood as the heating me- 
dium, warmed itself chiefly by respiration, is not this what 
might be expected, reasoning on the subject? By active 
exercise, the pulse and the respiration are both accelerated ; 
more oxygen, it may be presumed, is consumed, more heat is 

Professor Fournet's Researches on Zones without Bain. 361 

generated ; the blood is made to circulate more rapidly, and 
is sent in larger quantity into the extremities, and where, in 
consequence, the excess of heat is conveyed and expended, 
and its accumulation in the central and deep-seated organs 
prevented, affording another striking example of harmonious 

The same thermometer was employed in making all the ob- 
servations described in the paper ; and in every instance, in 
stating the results, allowance has been made for error in its 
graduation, carefully determined by comparison with a stand- 
ard instrument, one belonging to Professor Forbes of Edin- 
burgh, and for the use of which I have been indebted to his 

The Oaks, Ambleside, 
Nov. 1. 1843. 

Researches on the Situation of Zones without Rain, and of Be-r 
serts. By M. J. Fournet, Professor in the Faculty of 
Sciences of Lyons. 

In the present state of science, meteorologists distinguish 
various zones, more or less exactly parallel to the equator, and 
subject to as many distinct laws, with reference to the mode 
of distribution of rain according to the seasons. We proceed 
to make these known, premising, once for all, that in this pre- 
liminary statement, as well as in the whole of the memoir, we 
shall invariably retain for the seasons of both hemispheres the 
name which they receive in ours. Thus, for example, the 
summer will be regarded as composed of the months of June, 
July, and August, and the winter of the months of December, 
January, and February, whatever part of the globe may be 
under consideration. This definition was necessary, both be- 
cause the epochs of dryness of the southern hemisphere are 
the humid epochs of the northern hemisphere, or conversely ; 
and because the expressions intended to define the seasons 
become complicated by other local denominations, which, not 
being very precise, contribute to various ambiguities that are 
but too frequent in the narratives of travellers. 

362 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

The first of the zones in question, that of two annual rainsy 
having a great tendency to pass into continual rains, is placed 
nearly at the equator, with the exception of some deviations, 
which it is unnecessary to specify at present. There then 
come the bands of hemi-annual rains, comprised between the 
equinoctial line and the tropics. In these it rains during the 
six months following the period of the sun's passing the zenith ; 
that is to say, there are summer rains in the northern hemi- 
sphere, and winter rains in the southern hemisphere. These 
semestrial rains degenerate into trimestrial rains near the 
tropics. This intertropical arrangement is perfectly regulated, 
so that it may be said, in a general manner, that to absolute 
dryness, lasting some months, succeed almost daily rains during 
the other season. In this manner are constituted the seasons 
of suns and of clouds of the Indian of the Orinocco ; and it is 
only the presence of high chains of mountains, or the vicinity 
of coasts, which produces disturbances in the phenomena of 
this description. 

Without the tropics. Von Buch was the first to point out 
the existence of zones termed sub-tropical, in which the rains 
become the reverse of what they were in the bands already 
mentioned ; that is to say, they are hyemal in our hemisphere, 
and estival in the southern hemisphere ; in other words, they 
occur in each of these situations when the sun is in the oppo- 
site hemisphere, and as examples of this, we may cite Algeria 
and the Cape of Good Hope. The arrangement here no longer 
possesses the extreme regularity which characterises that in 
the tropics ; for sudden falls of rain and storms interrupt from 
time to time the uniformity of the dryness of other periods of 
the year, just as the rains are subject to frequent interruptions. 

Further to the north, in our hemisphere, matters become 
still more complicated by the intercalation of irregular and 
more frequent rains ; but taking the sums of several years, we 
find that the months characterised by the largest quantities 
of pluvial water are those of spring and of autumn ; such is 
the arrangement which prevails in the whole of the south of 
Europe, as far as about the latitude of Paris. 

Lastly, beyond this, and towards the North Pole, these rains 
of spring and of autumn unite so as to produce a maximum in 

Situation of Zones without Bain, and of Deserts. 363 

the summer season, the reverse naturally taking place in the 
other hemisphere. 

The preceding results can be rendered more palpable by 
the assistance of curves, in order to draw which, it is only ne- 
cessary to raise on an equatorial line equidistant perpendicu- 
lars representing the different months. Those which represent 
the months of spring, of summer, and of autumn, fill the in- 
termediate space, in such a manner that the summer occupies 
the middle. This first sketch will be completed by the dif- 
ferent latitudes ; and by co-ordinating the pluviometrical in- 
dications by means of these axes, we shall have for our hemi- 
sphere, first of all, on the equatorial line, the rectilineal 
band of nearly perpetual rains ; there will then come a curve, 
whose two branches, starting from points at the equator, re- 
presented by the months of spring and of autumn, will con- 
verge towards the tropic in the months of summer, and all the 
interior of this arch being shaded, will express the semestrial 
rains degenerating into trimestrial rains towards the summit 
of the curve. Lastly, concentrically with the preceding, there 
will be a second curve, whose branches having their origin to 
the north of the tropic, at points represented by the winter 
months in the latitudes of Algeria, will afterwards pass by 
points represented by the months of spring and of autumn in 
the latitudes of the south of Europe, and will become, in the 
parallels which are rainy during the summer months, a per- 
pendicular to the equator, prolonged from the latitude of Paris 
to the North Pole. 

This mode of expressing succinctly the results of observa- 
tion, of course does not take into consideration local disturb- 
ances, upon which I do not mean to insist at present, as they 
form the subject of a very extensive separate investigation, 
with which I have been occupied for several years. It pos- 
sesses, however, the advantage of exhibiting a very remark- 
able phenomenon — that, namely, of the abrupt transition 
which presents itself from the zones of the trimestrial rains 
of the tropics, to that of the trimestrial rains of the opposite 
seasons of the sub-tropical zone of Von Buch. Now, a sudden 
leap of this kind not being in harmony with the ordinary 

364 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

laws of continuity of nature, I have investigated the causes 
of the anomaly, and have found that observation makes it 
disappear, and shews us that the two preceding zones, far 
from being in immediate contact, are, on the contrary, dis- 
tinctly disjoined by bands of absolute dryness, at least in the 
portion of the globe constituting the region of the trade-winds, 
with which we shall, in the first place, occupy ourselves ; we 
shall, afterwards, examine the phenomena connected with the 
regions subject to the monsoons. 

Africa presents a very manifest demonstration of this cir- 
cumstance. In the northern part of that continent, the band 
of absolute dryness is represented by the Sahara, which we 
may regard as prolonged, without interruption, from the 
Atlantic to the Red Sea, and having a breadth which the 
tropic divides into two nearly equal parts. In this manner, 
by uniting under a collective name the Sahara properly so 
called, the two deserts of Nubia and those of Egypt, the den- 
ticulations of the band would reach to 15° of north latitude, 
encompassing the ramifications of the central chains of the 
continent ; while, on the opposite side, being bounded, for a 
part of its course, by the masses of the Atlas, it would, 
nevertheless, send off branches to the Mediterranean, as far 
as 13° of north latitude, by the lower parts of Egypt, and the 
salt plain of the Syrtis. Von Humboldt assigns to its sur- 
face, not including Darfour and Dongolah, an extent of 
194,000 square leagues — that is, more than double the extent 
of the Mediterranean, which is 77,300 square leagues ; but 
it must not be supposed that all this immense breadth be- 
longs, properly speaking, to the Sahara- bela-md of the Arabs, 
nor that it is in a state of absolute dryness, although the hot- 
test climates are situated under the tropic of Cancer, and as 
far as four or five degrees to the north. The true physiog- 
nomy of the desert only presents itself progressively, by the 
diminution of the vegetation, which, in proportion as the rains 
become more rare, degenerates from the condition of forests 
to that of brushwood, and is afterwards replaced by steppes, 
and, finally, by the sands, pebbles, or naked rocks of the cen- 
tral portions nearest the tropic. 

Situation of Zones without Bain, and of Deserts. 365 

It is thus that, in the western portion, at Timbuctoo (lat. 
17° 50' north), the rains, so abundant near the equatorial 
zone, are already rare, and the soil is poor ; at El Araouan 
(lat. 20° north), the rains are still less frequent, and hardly 
any traces of verdure are visible ; soon afterwards, the desert 
is reached, with its boundless horizon, its fiery sky, its rocks, 
its sands, and the moveable parts of its surface in which the 
winds hollow out valleys, raising, at the same time, pillars of 
sand, whose fall is the only representation of showers. At 
the northern limit of this immense land of desolation, there 
appears, at first here and there, spaces covered with plants, 
near El-Arib (lat. 28° north) ; these become more numerous 
under the influence of some hyemal rains which are still but 
little abundant in the steppes of Beled-el-Djerid (country of 
dates), where, nevertheless, the ?vadis (valleys with temporary 
torrents), and the vicinity of the Atlas, put an end to the 
aridity. Here there is no longer a desert properly so called, 
— for who would venture to give this name to a country 
where one single tribe, that of the Arbaa, is 40,000 strong ! 
In the time of the splendour of the caliphs, this Beled-el- 
Djerid was of great importance, on account of its castles, its 
fortresses, its towns, its gardens, its forests of palms, its com- 
merce, and its activity. At the present day, Ain-Modhy has 
been able to resist the power and perseverance of Abd-el-Ka- 
der. All this necessarily presupposes a numerous population, 
consequently also a favourable climate ; and hence it results 
that the extension of our conquests in the south of Algeria is 
constantly revealing to us productive districts ; for, up to 
the present time, we have scarcely passed 35° N., which is 
still very far removed from the region deserving the name of 

The coast of the Atlantic is not entirely free from the 
nullity of rains of the middle system which we are defining; for 
round Cape Barbas, from 22° to 21° N., two consecutive years 
sometimes pass without the smallest trace of rain ; and the 
same is the case in the Cape de Verd islands, which are some- 
times deprived of rain for a period of even seven or eight 

To the east, between the Nile and the Red Sea, there ex- 

366 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

tends the chain of the Mokattam, which may be considered 
as the line of the disjunction of Asiatic monsoons and the 
trade-winds ; upon it, in consequence of its summits, and of 
the phenomenon of the monsoons, there are as violent and 
frequent winter rains as in Palestine, for they cause the moun- 
tain torrents to swell to overflowing ; but this result is not to 
be regarded as contradicting the general law, for close to 
Qoceyr (lat. 26° 7' N.) the sky is constantly serene, and no 
house possesses a cistern, although the nearest spring is dis- 
tant a day's march. On the opposite side from the Red Sea, 
Thebes (lat. 25° 43' N.) receives rain only during a small num- 
ber of days in the year ; it then ceases in Upper Egypt, but 
recommences in Dongolah in 20"" N., where it becomes estival. 
There, also, the arid soil and the naked rocks cease, as well as 
the cloudless sky of Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia; but 
nevertheless, the pluvial intermission is still distinctly dis- 
played in Dongolah ; according to some, Gerry, in lat. 16° 15' 
N., and according to others, lat. 17° N., is to be regarded as 
the true limit of the regular intertropical rains of that portion 
of the continent. 

Various oases, or depressions of the surface (the oasis of 
Siwah is 100 feet below the level of the sea), are scattered 
here and there in the midst of the sand, and owe their 
fertility to springs. Among these there is one which should 
fix our attention in a particular manner, because it forms a 
sort of diaphragm, so to speak, dividing the Sahara into two 
equal parts, and serving as the great highway for the caravans 
from Fezzan to the centre of Africa. At the epochs of the year 
when the temperature is lowered, that is to say, from October 
to February, the caravans of the north, of the east, and of the 
west, meet at Mourzouk ; they take fifty-seven days' march to 
reach Birney (the capital of Bornou, to the west of Lake 
Tchad, in lat. 16° N.), following a chain of rocks more or less 
abrupt, that enclose a sort of long valley (Wady Kawas), in 
which there are numerous stations, and consequently likewise 
that watery subsoil, without which the journey would be im- 
possible. This line is only interrupted here and there by 
saline tracts, and by the sandy desert of Timtuma ; and it is, 
therefore, not astonishing that it served as the foundation of 

Situation of Zones without Bain, and of Deserts. 367 

conrmerce, and of the Carthagenian power in Africa, and that 
the English have endeavoured to secure its investigation by 
their alliance with the Pacha of Tripoli. On the side of Alge- 
ria, the route of Timbuctoo, by the oasis of Touat, is much less 
convenient ; the stations are still rarer on the routes from 
Tafilet to the same town. It results, moreover, from the in- 
formation obtained by Consul Jackson, that the oases there are 
liable to lose their springs, — a fact confirmed by the terrible 
example of 1805, when a caravan of two thousand persons 
and eighteen hundred camels perished entirely, from having 
trusted to these subterranean waters. 

But this digression must not make us forget our principal 
object. The mountains of this median portion of the Sahara 
do not exercise a very sensible influence on the phenomenon 
of rain. Thus, in those which are to the west of Mourzouk, 
rains are so irregular that nine years sometimes elapse without 
their occurrence ; the rough and rugged district of Haroudje 
alone exhibits valleys of bright verdure on account of the fre- 
quency of rain, but we must not forget that it is situated in 
27° N. According to some travellers, rain is unknown even 
at Mourzouk (lat. 25° 54' N.) ; and the small quantity of water 
which falls in the whole of Fezzan is so subject to intermis- 
sion, that it cannot be depended on for the cultivation of the 
soil. Some garden products and com are obtained in Decem- 
ber and January only by the assistance of these springs ; and 
Captain Lyon only saw three springs which reached the sur- 
face, the others being found at the bottom of holes dug to a 
depth of from three to seven yards. The oasis of Fezzan thus 
presents nothing else but a plain, generally sandy, steril, and 
destitute of streams worthy of remark ; and this physiognomy 
continues to Tegerry (lat. 24° 4' N.), where we have, at the 
same time, the southern limit of the date, and the northern 
of the Cucifera thebaica, and where, likewise, the rocky band 
already described commences. 

Let us now place the facts relative to the opposite hemi- 
sphere beside those regarding the Sahara. The sub-tropical 
portion of Southern Africa presents to us, between the high 
regions of the centre of this continent and the mountains of 
the Cape of Good Hope, another series of deserts placed in a 


368 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

eymmetrical position with reference to the Sahara. In fact^ 
the coast of Cimbasia, to the north of the Orange river, as 
for as 19° S., did not present to the English expedition sent 
in 1824 any place susceptible of cultivation, or which v»ras not 
even too dreadful for criminals. The small traces of very 
spare verdure, the brackish taste of the water of the streams, 
and the extreme scarcity of every other kind of water, indicate 
but toa distinctly the absence of rain in that inhospitable re- 
gion. In the interior, between the countries of the Nama- 
quas and Damaras, some mountains and water- courses, con- 
stituting oases, vary a little this solitude ; and then comes in 
the central portion a terra incognita for positive meteorology, 
where, however, the immense deserts of Tschallahenga and cf 
Kalahari are indicated, forming in some measure the northern 
prolongation of the ochrey argillaceous Karoo grounds, a sort 
of steppes, whose soil is indurated during the nine months of 
dryness of their latitude. They are again interrupted in their 
approach to the oceanic coast by the extension of the moun- 
tains of Caffraria towards Monomotapa ; but on the eastern 
side of these mountains, there are the low plains of Inhambana 
and of Sofala, and there it not only rains as little as in Lower 
Egypt, but the inhabitants of the Rio del' Agoa have never 
even seen rain fall. 

In this continent, therefore, the phenomena are identical 
©n both sides of the equator, and the first causes are conse- 
quently the same ; let us, then, pause a moment, and cast 
a glance over the general configuration. It combines a very 
simple internal structure, with an outline devoid of articu- 
lations, and of notable denticulations ; for, according to the 
observations of Russegger, the whole surface affects a very gra- 
dual ascending slope, from the north to the plains of Kordofan, 
which, although separated by an interval of 18° of lat. from 
the nearest shores of the Mediterranean, have only an eleva- 
tion of about 1200 feet around El-Obheid (lat. 13° 12' N). 
This inclination becomes greater between 16° and 13° N., but 
without forming either terraces or other escarpments; and 
the plane of slope continuing in the same direction as far as 
10° N., where it attains an elevation of from 1600 to 2100 

Situation of Zones without Bain, and of Deserts. 369 

feet, presents a vast plain, interspersed with mountain crests, 
elongated in various directions, unconnected with one ano- 
ther, and resembling large islands disseminated over the sur- 
face of the ocean. But to the south of Darfour and of Kor- 
dofan, in the country of the Gallas, the Dingas-Schillucks, 
and the Fungis, these asperities cease ; and, as far as the eye 
can reach, nothing is to be discovered but a few rounded 
elevations, disseminated in the midst of the uniformity of 
the immense savannahs, which commence about 16° N. with 
the region of the periodical rains of the tropic. From 9° N., 
our information regarding central and southern Africa only 
permits us to suppose, that, in that part, the plateau continues 
to rise for a long distance, till it reaches an altitude of 
nearly 6200 feet, and that it afterwards descends rapidly, 
on the side of the Cape ; so that, hitherto, no continuous 
chain, comparable to the chains of America, of Asia, or even 
of the Alps, has been found on the longitudinal axis of this 
inclined plane. 

At the two opposite extremities of this continent, we have, 
on the one side, the Mediterranean mass of the Atlas, rising 
to the height of perpetual snow in Morocco, and sinking gra- 
dually to the east towards the plateau of Barka ; and, on the 
other side, the mountains of the Cape of Good Hope and the 
Snowbergs, to the north of Camdebo, as high, perhaps, but, at 
all events, cold, and placed in 30° S., just as the preceding, 
which occur in 30° N. 

From these terminal masses emanate, in some measure, the 
chains and the terraces of the east and west of the continent. 
The first (the eastern) extend from CafFraria, by Monomo- 
tapa, Mozambique, and Zanguebar, into the country of the 
Gallas, above which the elevations of Abyssinia rise to a 
height of from 10,000 to 14,500 feet ; and they afterwards ter- 
minate towards the Mediterranean in the interrupted chains 
of Mokattam. 

The band of western eminences forms, in the same manner, 
as regards Abyssinia, the mountains of Upper and Lower 
Guinea, the great mass at the sources of the Niger, the Gam- 
bia, and the Senegal, as well as the prolongation of these 

370 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

branches on the borders of the Sahara. According to Mol- 
lien, the altitude of some of these summits is such as to reach 
the limit of perpetual snow. 

There results, then, from the position of the plane of gene- 
ral slope of this continent, combined with that of the fractures 
and rugosities of the coasts, a sort of immense central valley, 
which, commencing near the southern point of Africa, opens 
to the north upon the broad low plain of the Sahara ; but 
the altitudes scarcely appear to be such as to perform any 
other part but that of an epanouissement in the regulation of 
the rains ; the form of the plateau may accord with the phy- 
siognomy of the desert : the two intumescences of the east 
and of the west might alone occasion greater disturbances ; 
but their opposite position, on very neighbouring parallels of 
the equator, is such, that, by favouring the atmospheric afflu- 
ence of the two heteronymous poles, they only contribute to 
the establishment of the trade-winds, and consequently to the 
symmetry of the zones without rain and of the deserts. 

The structure of the New World differs materially from 
the preceding ; the essential forms no longer correspond, either 
in a parallel manner or symmetrically, with reference to the 
equator : the arrangement of the principal masses is even at 
right angles ,* the meteorological phenomena likewise are no 
longer everywhere identical. 

In fact, for the east and west protuberances of Africa, 
situated in the neighbourhood of the equator, there is sub- 
stituted the vast depression of the basins of the Amazon 
and Orinocco, to which the entrance of east winds is pre- 
vented, for a certain distance, by two mountain masses : the 
one, the Cordillera of Parima or of the Guianas, is comprised 
between the Orinocco, the Amazon, and the mouth of the 
Meta, and is composed of a mass of mountains, among which 
the Sierra of Duida attains nearly the height of the St 
Gothard ; the other forms the Sierras of Amanbahy, of Mar, 
of Montequerra, of Vertentes, of Epinhaco, &c., which cover 
a portion of Uruguay, of Entre-Rios, of Oorrientes, of Para- 
guay, and of Brazil, and comprehends, from the mouth of the 
Plata to Cape San-Roque, an extent of 30^ lat. This vast 
plateau, having a mean height of about 2600 feet, on which 

Situation of Zones without Eain, and of Deserts. 371 

are elevated chains presenting bold and sharp forms, whose 
summits have an altitude of about 6300 feet, offers, as the 
most characteristic feature, the mountainous band which ex- 
tends from Rio Janeiro to near Pernambuco. This band rises 
on the Atlantic coast to a mean height of 3250 feet, and 
includes the lofty summits of Itacolumi, Itambe, and the 
Morro ; so that if it constitutes between 23° and 10° S., a 
barrier analogous to that of the Guianas, it also differs from 
it in another respect, in that while it does not approach 
the equator nearer than 10° S., the other terminates at the 

It results, therefore, from the opposite position of these two 
littoral chains, that the mean axis of the largest of the basins 
of South America, that alone which traverses almost entirely 
the continent in a direction parallel to the equator, is, as it 
were, refoule at 5° of south latitude, and that the breadth of 
its entrance on the Atlantic side is comprised between 0° and 
10° south. 

These masses of mountains become lower towards the inte- 
rior, and lose themselves, the one in the Llanos of the Ornocco, 
and the other towards the Campos Parieceys, as well as in the 
vast plains of Moxos and Chiquitos, where it constitutes, in 
16° and 18° south, a simple threshold, so to speak, upon which 
we may unite artificially the Paraguay to the Amazon by 
means of the Madera ; just as on the other side in 2° and 3** 
N., the communication with the Orinocco is effected by nature 
by means of the Rio Negro, and the Cassiquiare. We have, 
therefore, a great system of depression, varying, according to 
Von Humboldt, from 200 to 1100 feet in height, extending 
from the Cordillera of the coast of the Venezuela to the 
Straits of Magellan, and forming an area of 456,900 square 
leagues. It comprehends the Savannahs, the Llanos, the Pam- 
pas, and the Steppes of the Orinocco, the Amazon, the Plata, 
and of Patagonia, which preserve, for distances of from twenty 
to thirty days' journey, an imposing and melancholy unifor- 
mity ; palms grow at their one extremity, while the ground is 
frozen at the other ; lastly, from time to time, this monotony is 
broken by lagoons, by sands, and by the mass of virgin forests, in 
the midst of which are discovered immense low islands of naked 

372 Professor Fournet's Besearches on the 

rock, rising only a few centimetres above the rest of the plain. 
We may next remark, that, for the deep Gulf of Mexico, 
placed between 10° and 30° N., we find substituted, in the op- 
posite hemisphere, the broad enlargement and the mountains 
of Brazil ; that the emaciation of form towards the South 
Pole is the substitute for the great transversal extent in North 
America ; and, lastly, we may notice, as another character of 
want of symmetry, the arrangement of the royal Cordillera of 
snows. It approaches so near to the Pacific Ocean, that the 
space on the western side is scarcely worthy of the name of 
plains. For its fantastic configuration in South America, there 
is substituted a uniform plateau in Mexico ; the chief routes 
there attain altitudes greater than the height of Mont Blanc ; 
populous towns there exist at the level of the Col du Geant 
and of Mont St Bernard ; and, lastly, the principal summits 
rise above the whole to a height of from 3000 to 6500 feet ; 
so that, a priori^ these immense heights, with their' elongatioA 
from north to south, would seem to have caused to turn, at a 
right angle, the meteorological system, which, in Africa, cor- 
responds with the direction of the equator. It thus becomes 
a matter of high interest to examine the disturbances which 
such a discordance can produce in the regularity of the great 
atmospheric phenomena, and to ascertain in what degree the 
effects of pure and simple solar action are modified by orO' 
graphical circumstances. If we still find some trace of sym- 
metry in the position of the deserts, the influence of a very 
energetic cause must be recognised in this trace, since it must 
have subsisted in the midst of so many causes of anomalies ; 
and it will thus furnish us with the best proof of the law 
whose existence we are endeavouring to establish. 

In the latitude of the Sahara, on the coast of the great 
ocean, the low lands of Old California are destitute of rain ; 
the mountains which constitute the ridge of this peninsula 
alone receive a small quantity, and the vegetation is there as 
poor as the water is rare ; so that, in this respect, the resem- 
blance between that portion of America and the correspond- 
ing region of Africa could not be more complete. Neverthe- 
less, some special phenomena seem to characterise these lati- 
tudes; for the atmosphere, almost constantly clear, i^ always 

Situation of Zones without Rain, and of Deserts. 373 

©f a deep blue colour ; but if some clouds occur at tbe setting 
of the sun, they are ornamented with the most beautiful tints 
of green, purple, and violet, so that the scene then possesses 
an extraordinary beauty. If to this we add, that rain, during 
a serene sky, is pretty frequent in the Gulf of California, we 
shall perceive that there is a series of effects derived from a 
particular state of the aqueous vapour dissolved in the air, 
whose more minute examination is well worthy of the atten- 
tion of navigators. 

To the east of Lower California, and beyond the break in 
the continuity of the land, produced by the Gulf of California, 
there rises the vast undulated plateau of Mexico, which sinks 
rapidly on the opposite side in Cohahuila and Texas, to which 
succeed the low land of New Orleans and the Floridas, washed 
by the warm waters of the Mexican Gulf. These varieties 
of configuration must necessarily produce abrupt variations in 
the climate ; and these affect the transition of the hemi- 
annual rains of summer into those of winter ; so that a certain 
degree of attention is necessary to follow these different ar- 
rangements, and the following are the complications, whose 
existence observation has enabled us to ascertain. 

According to the information communicated to me by M. 
Duport Saint Clair, the district of Cinaloa, situated opposite 
to Old California, possesses estival rains, which become rarer 
towards the north in Sonora, whei'e they are very feeble, and 
very irregular. Beyond Guaimas, in lat. 28° N., a week often 
passes without any thing falling but a trifling shower ; but this 
season is prolonged until December, when one or two tropical 
rains take place, wliich cause the rivers to overflow, and 
from that time these rains cease completely until June: in 
Sonora, between 27° and 32'' N., the air is said to be generally 
healthy and salubrious, excepting on the coast; further to- 
wards the north, there are the fogs and irregular rains of 
Monterey, in New California. 

On the plateau of New Mexico, in the same latitude as 
Central Persia and ^yvi2L, there are very intense colds ; snow 
is sometimes seen to fall at Mexico in lat. 19'' 25' at the height 
of 7400 feet ; nevertheless, this circumstance does not destroy 
the arrangement of the summer intertropical rains, although 

374 Professor Fournet's Besearches on Zones without Bain. 

this arrangement becomes complicated by the winter sub- 
tropical rains. Thus, at Guadalupe-y-Calvo (lat. 26° 5' N.), 
independently of the trimestrial estival rains of June, July, 
and August, which prevail at Mexico, there is a repetition from 
October till January, during which there are two or three falls 
of very cold water, continued during several days, and to 
which the inhabitants of the country give the name of equi- 
parte. We see, then, here, the reproduction of the phenome- 
non of Sonora ; so that the hiatus of the Sahara is awanting 
in this region, and, in fact, meteorology has acquired a know- 
ledge of various modes of transition from one climate to the 
other, of which it was ignorant until lately. But these rains 
do not entirely efface the droughts ; for, according to Von 
Humboldt, the latter are frightful in a portion of this region, 
where, moreover, a specimen of a desert is found in the arid 
and dry plain of Muerto, the extent of which is about thirty 
leagues ; the dews which are so abundant in Sonora do not 
exist on those heights. At Chiahuahua, in 25" N., the seasons 
are still less marked by irregular rains ; and, the atmosphere 
is so destitute of aqueous vapour, that, at night, during a 
bivouac, the mere touching one's coverings is sufficient to pro- 
duce electric sparks, and a Leyden jar can be charged in this 

On the eastern side, Xalappa (lat. 20° N.), at the height of 
the tierras templadas (temperate regions), is frequently en- 
veloped in fogs, and there are frequent rains there at all sea- 
sons; but from Stander to Monterey, from 23° to 26°, and on 
the banks of the Rio-Bravo-del-Norte, as far as Texas, we 
immediately find, as in Algeria, the winter rains characterised 
by small falls of snow, and by the north wind. In this last 
country, where there are vast savannahs, they are accompanied 
by frightful storms, while, in the first, there are some summer 
rains. From this there result transitions analogous to the pre- 
ceding ; but the warm waters of the gulf, as well as the coast 
of the Atlantic, increase the various causes of anomalies ; for, 
at New Orleans, in lat. 29° 27', rains fall during the whole 
year, although the most violent are in summer ; whereas, at 
Hey west, the most southern town of the United States in 25° 

Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers. 375 

N., there are, as in the south of France, rains of spring and 
of autumn intermixed with those of all seasons. 

To recapitulate, the band of droughts and of deserts is only 
indicated in this portion of the northern hemisphere by the sta- 
tions of Lower California, leaving which, it is, first of all, ef- 
faced by the junction of the estival rains with the hivernal 
rains, and is afterwards completely obliterated on the coasts 
of the Gulf of Mexico ; but it suffices for shewing the regu- 
larity of the law, that it is distinctly indicated at some points, 
and we ought only to regard the disturbances as resulting from 
the influence of the configuration and the relief of the surface, 
the effect of which we also endeavour to appreciate. 

The southern portion of the New World exhibits other ex- 
amples of the same circumstances, 

( To he continued.) 

Eighth Letter on Glaciers, Addressed to Professor Jameson 
by Professor Forbes. 

Experiments on the Plasticity of Glacier Ice. 

Geneva, 30«A Auigmt 1844. 
My Dear Sir, — The theory of glaciers has now reached 
that point when it can only receive some material addition by 
the multiplication of accurate measurements ; and these mea- 
surements must be conducted in the manner which will best 
discriminate between rival hypotheses, and, if possible, yield 
direct instead of indirect proofs of each fundamental fact 
assumed. In my former letters I have insisted sufficiently 
upon the importance of the results which a system of nice 
measurement has introduced into this branch of science, and 
their value to the theorist who afterwards wishes to put nu- 
merical for unknown quantities in his investigations ; I also 
shewed that there is a continuity and approximate constancy 
in the motions of glaciers, which permits us to obtain, with 
certain precautions, in a few days, better results than any one 
had previously acquired during the lapse of months or years. 
I have now to announce to you that I have pushed these mea- 

376 Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers. 

surements to a still greater degree of minuteness, and with 
results which shew that the methods I have employed are 
trustworthy, and are able to afford the direct solution of ques- 
tions which at first appeared to admit of only indirect or in- 
ductive proof. 

Of this class by far the most important appeared to be the 
manner in which the glacier alters its form in such a way, 
and to such a degree, as to suffer its central portion to de- 
scend towards the valley with double or treble the velocity of 
its lateral parts. Such, for instance, I have found to be the 
case in the middle region of the great glacier of Aletsch, 
where its inclination is small (about 4°), and where the con- 
tinuity of the ice with the side wall is preserved without the 
interference of large fissures. I there found that, whilst the 
velocity of the ice at 1300 feet, or about a quarter of a mile, 
from the side, is 14 inches in 24 hours ; at 300 feet distant 
from the side it was but 3 inches in the same time ; and, close 
to the side, it had nearly, if not entirely vanished. Facts like 
this seem to shew, with evidence, what intelligent men, such as 
Bishop Rendu, had only supposed, previously to the first exact 
measures in 1842, that the ice of glaciers, rigid as it appears, 
has in fact a certain '' ductility" or "viscosity," which per- 
mits it to model itself to the ground over which it is forced 
by gravity, — and that^ retaining its compact and apparently 
solid texture, unless the inequalities be so abrupt as to force 
a separation of the mass into dislocated fragments, such as it 
is well known that every glacier presents, when the strain 
upon its parts reaches a certain amount, — as when it has to 
turn a sharp angle, or to descend upon a rapid or convex 

The mutual action of the parts of the glacier, the drag 
which the centre exerts upon the sides (and, by an exact 
parity of reasoning, the top upon the bottom), seemed to me 
so obvious, after measurement had proved their variable velo- 
city, and observation had shewn that this was not necessarily 
accompanied by a general dislocation of the mass, — that I 
should scarcely have thought of attempting a direct proof of 
the yielding and ductile nature of glacier ice, had I not been 
favoured by Mr Hopkins with copies of his two ingenious 

Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers, Zll 

papers on the subject of glaciers, read to the Cambridge 
Philosophical Society on the 1st May and 11th December 
1843, which were put into my hands here less than a month 
ago, by his friend Mr Williamson. I there found it stated that 
there is " a necessity of proving, by independent experimental 
evidence, that glacier ice does possess this property of semU 
fluidity or viscosity^ if we would attribute to that property the 
effectiveness of gravity in setting a glacier in .motion." — 
First Memoir, p. 3. 

Since Mr Hopkins admits the fact of the swifter central 
motion of the glacier, he must have recourse to some me« 
chanical explanation of the fact. This he does by assuming 
the existence of vertical fissures, parallel to the sides of 
the glacier, dividing it into a series of longitudinal stripes, 
whose adjacent surfaces, according to him, slide over 
one another, and, in the case of a glacier forcing its way 
through a gorge, the lateral portions are altogether arrested, 
whilst the central parts slip down between them. 

These parallel stripes of ice are supposed by Mr Hop- 
kins to be of considerable breadth, and to have no sort of 
analogy with the ribboned structure, to which the readers of 
my earlier letters will recollect that I have ascribed a similar 
origin, being lines of discontinuity arising from the crushing 
of one portion of the semi-rigid glacier past another. This 
Mr Hopkins regards as " no more possible than that a mass 
should permanently maintain a position of unstable equili- 
brium.'' The veined structure of glaciers he considers to be 
unexplained, and, in the present state of science, inexpli- 

Although the general absence of such a system of longitu- 
dinal fissures as Mr Hopkins has figured in page 14 of his 
First Memoir, and the regularity and continuity of motion of 
the glacier and of its parts, wholly inconsistent with the jost- 
ling of huge masses of dislocated ice, might be considered as 
a sufficient answer to this modification of the theory of De 
Saussure, the consideration of this demand for a direct proof 
of the flexibility of glacier ice led me to think of its practica- 
bility ; and I shall now state what I have succeeded in doing, 
towai'ds the solution of this practical question in the only way 

378 Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers, 

in which it admits of being treated, namely, by the assiduous 
observation of the motion and change of form of a small com- 
pact space of ice on a glacier. The Mer de Glace of Cha- 
mouni offers fewer fit points for such an experiment than 
many other glaciers, since in all its middle and lower portions 
the ice is excessively crevassed near the sides. There is one 
spot, however, between the " Angle " and Trelaporte, below 
the little glacier of Charmoz, where the ice is extremely flat 
and compact for a space of about seventy yards in width, and 
several hundred yards in length, which is wholly devoid of 
open crevasses, and where I expected to find the variation of 
velocity from the side towards the centre very sensible, be- 
cause the veined structure is there more perfectly developed 
than in any other part of the glacier. In this anticipation I 
was not disappointed. The ice in question is separated from 
the western moraine of the glacier by a space deeply crevassed 
50 or 60 yards wide. The entire breadth of the glacier is 
here at least 800 yards. The central part has great transver- 
sal crevasses due to the rapid descent of the glacier where it 
sweeps round the promontory of Trelaporte immediately 
above. There is no trace of longitudinal fissures of any kind, 
except the true blue veined or ribboned structure, which, as 
already mentioned, is here exceedingly developed ; giving to 
the even part of the glacier already specified the appearance 
of exquisite veined chalcedony of an aqua-marine colour ; and 
the vertical plates of ice thus subdivided are so distinct as to 
produce a true cleavage when the ice is broken by a hammer 
or cut with an axe. When the glacier is wet, the blade of a 
knife may be introduced to a depth of some inches between 
the laminae, which are commonly not more than a quarter of 
an inch apart. 

I fixed in a line transverse to the axis of the glacier six 
stations. Over the first of these the theodolite was regularly 
centered, in order to observe the relative motions of the others 
which were respectively 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 feet distant. 
Finding that, even in the course of a single day, the accelera- 
tion of the more central parts was evident, and the six points 
in question formed a portion of a continuous curve, I subdi- 
vided the first 90 feet from the theodolite into 45 spaces of 2 

Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers. 370 

feet, each of which was marked by a perforation in the ice 
into which short pins could be accurately fitted, and the de- 
formation of this straight line of 90 feet in length was care- 
fully observed at short intervals. The errors of the original 
places of the marks were determined by a simple but nice 
process, and their daily progress was similarly noted. I have 
now before me the registers and also the graphical projections 
of the actual places of this portion of the curve of flexure of 
the ice, cleared of the errors arising from the movement of the 
theodolite, which was itself placed upon the ice, which error was 
independently determined. You will probably be surprised 
when I state, that in seventeen days, the part of the glacier 
90 feet nearer the centre than the theodolite, had moved past 
the theodolite by a space of 26 inches, and the intermediate 
spaces in proportion. When I was reluctantly compelled to 
cease my observations on the 45 marks, they had, in the 
course of six days, formed a beautiful curve slightly convex 
towards the valley ; and as the vertical wire of the theodolite 
ranged over them, their deviations from a perfect curve were 
slight and irregular, nor was there any great dislocation to be 
observed in their whole extent ; proving the general conti- 
nuity of the yielding by which each was pushed in advance of 
its neighbour. During these six days the 45th mark had 
shifted 10 inches ; and besides this obliquity of the line of 
pins (=31' 46") J they had a convexity whose versed sine was 
about an inch. All this, viewed in prospective with the theo- 
dolite, left no remaining doubt as to the plasticity of the gla- 
cier on the great scale. 

Lest, however, the convexity should have been too small, in 
so short a time, to admit of measurement, I had provided 
another test, in order to shew that the progressive advance- 
ment of the line of marks was due to the actual deformation 
of the ice, and not to the mass of the glacier in this part re- 
volving round some fixed or moveable centre. For this pur- 
pose, I fixed a mark in the glacier, 20 feet from the theo- 
dolite, and in a direction perpendicular to the before men- 
tioned line of marks. It was, therefore, seen from the theo- 
dolite in the direction of the length of the glacier, and, con- 
sequently, was not liable to displacement by its motion. I 

380 Professor Forbes's Eighth Letter on Glaciers, 

measured, from time to time, the angle between this mark 
and the several marks transverse to the glacier, and I found 
that this angle became continually, and without any excep- 
tion, more and more obtuse. During seventeen days, it re- 
volved through an angle of about a degree and a half. 

I reserve to another opportunity the publication of the 
details of the measurements and the graphical projections, 
which offer, when minutely examined, some interesting pecu- 
liarities too long to specif}^ The main conclusion is, that 
even the most compact parts of the ice yield to pressure, and 
that where no fissures exist, there is a sliding of the parts of 
the ice over one another, or else a plasticity of the whole 
mass. With the abundance of blue bands before us in the 
direction in which the differential motion must take place (in 
this case sensibly parallel to the sides of the glacier), it is 
impossible to doubt that these infiltrated crevices (for such 
they undoubtedly are) have this origin, and are the main 
mechanism of the forward motion ; but it occurred to me, on 
one occasion (the 23d August), to obtain all but ocular evi- 
dence of the fact. Standing at the theodolite with an assist- 
ant, we heard a dull noise in the ice within a very few feet of 
us, attended (I think) with a slight tremor, and followed by a 
rushing and hissing sound. As we were very near the great 
crevasses of the moraine, it was, no doubt, a subsidence of a 
portion of the glacier, and the rushing was occasioned by the 
more rapid flow of the superficial streamlets in the direction 
of increased inclination of the ice. I instantly searched in all 
directions, but in vain, for the slightest evidence of the frac- 
ture of the ice. All that I could see was, that where the 
veined structure was best developed, innumerable air bubbles 
escaped through the superficial water, which was slowly im- 
bibed in those parts where the strain had expanded the ice, 
and thus enlarged the capillary fissures between the blue 

Mr Hopkins has done me the honour, in the memoirs be- 
fore alluded to, to mention with approbation my observations 
and experiments on the subject of glaciers. He has been 
more sparing either in praise or criticism of the theory which 
I have founded upon them. Had Mr Hopkins applied him- 

On a Sooty Deposit on the Surface of the Sea. 3 

self with equal care to that as to other parts of my writings, 
he would have observed coincidences in our views which he 
appears not to have noticed; and he would probably have 
hesitated before laying down so broadly as he has done, an 
objection to the Viscous Theory, very easily refuted, and 
some peculiar views which he considers distinctive of his 
manner of considering the subject, from De Saussure's and 
my own. I shall probably, on another occasion, endeavour 
to shew that, by following out his own principles, the results 
must inevitably merge in mine, when what is inadmissible 
shall have been subtracted. — I remain, my dear Sir, yours 
very truly, 

James D. Forbes. 

P.S. — .The influence of the Dimension, Slope, and absolute 
Elevation (or surrounding temperature) of glaciers upon their 
motion, is a matter of observation in detail which oflfers no 
peculiar difficulty, and which deserves to be extended. Hav- 
ing measured the rate of motion of perhaps the largest glacier 
in Switzerland (the Aletsch), I have also measured one of the 
smallest, a glacier of the second order, near the Hospice of 
the Simplon, almost 8000 feet above the sea, and not many 
hundred feet in length. The velocity was little more than 
an inch in twenty-four hours, a result corresponding with the 
extreme dryness of the neve at that elevation, indicated by 
the very trifling issue of water from beneath, and to the in- 
significant vertical pressure of so small a mass, notwithstand- 
ing its considerable slope. A similar result, it must be 
owned, might be expected in this case upon almost any 

Extract from a Letter from JRev. George B. Warren^ to Br 
Davy^ relative to a Sooty Deposit on the Surface of the Sea^ 
off the Coast of Devon. 

Your paper in Jameson'*s Edinburgh Philosophical Journal on 
the carbonaceous deposit on the lakes of Westmoreland, recalls 

382. On a Sooty Deposit on the Surface of the Sea. 

to my recollection a similar phenomenon which I have noticed 
on the sea off the coast of Devon. During a residence of five 
years at Sidmouth, I generally remarked, that after a calm of 
two or three days, the surface was covered with a deposit 
which had the appearance of very fine powder intermixed with 
soot. I at first thought it must have been occasioned by the 
dust and smoke from the town, but finding it equally diffused 
over a space of eight or ten miles, and at some distance from 
the shore (indeed there was every reason to suppose that it 
extended many miles in every direction), I was obliged to look 
to some other quarter for the cause of so singular an appear- 
ance. The absence of all large towns or manufactories in this 
part of England, induced me to suppose that the matter which 
so extensively covered the water, must have been conveyed by 
the winds from the smoke of London, and this opinion was 
strengthened by the fact, that on every occasion when I had 
noticed the phenomenon in question, the wind had for some 
days been blowing from the east. About three years since, I ob- 
served a magnificent water-spout cross from Torbay to the im- 
mediate neighbourhood of Sidmouth, and being very near the 
spot where it struck the land, I was enabled to observe that 
the column of fine spray raised by the vortex, reached fully the 
height of seven hundred feet, being at least an hundred feet 
above the top of the cliff". The column was travelling at the 
time a little north of east, and as the newspapers announced 
the fall of some small fish in a heavy shower of rain about 
half an hour afterwards in the streets of Salisbury, they were, no 
doubt, the small fry swept up with the surface water, and which 
were kept suspended in the air as long as the vortex lasted. 
It cannot, therefore, be inconsistent with probability to suppose, 
that the smoke of London may be conveyed to the coast of 
Devon by the east wind, and deposited on the sea as soon as 
the quiet state of the air should allow it to subside. 

G. B. Warren. 

7. Mont le Grand, Exeter, 
August 5. 1844, 

( 383 ) 

On the Mammalia of the Counties of Aberdeen^ Banff, and Kincar- 
dine. By William MacGillivRAY, A.M., Professor of Natural 
History, in Marischal College and University, Aberdeen. (Com- 
municated by the Author.) 

The north-eastern portion of the Middle Division of Scotland 
forms an extensive natural district, of which the indigenous animals 
may be presumed to be not less worthy of examination than those 
of other parts of Britain. It is formed of the three counties of 
Aberdeen, Banff, and Kincardine, which, though presenting con- 
siderable diversity of surface, and differing from each other in 
various respects, unite so naturally, that in traversing them, ons 
finds no very abrupt transitions either in a geological or a geogra- 
phical point of view. Bounded on the east by the German Ocean, 
and on the north by the commencement of the Moray Firth, it 
stretches inland toward the central parts of the island, where moun- 
tain ranges of considerable elevation, on which are some of the high- 
est summits in Britain, constitute a highland tract not surpassed in 
stern grandeur by any other in Scotland. Among these ranges of 
granite mountains are found the sources of the North Esk, the Dee, 
the Don, the Doveran, and some of the tributaries of the Spey. 
The first of these rivers forms the southern boundary of the dis- 
trict, while the last terminates it on the northern side. From the 
upper or more inland portion of the district, commencing with the 
Cairngorm, Ben-na-muic-dui, Ben-na-buird, and Loch-na-gar moun- 
tains, the high land declines eastward, sometimes terminating rather 
abruptly, but generally passing gradually into the comparatively 
level tracts of the south-eastern and north-eastern lowlands. The 
whole district, however, is essentially hilly, and composed of granite, 
gneiss, mica slate, and serpentine, together with greywacke and old 
red sandstone. Massy, rounded hills, covered with detritus, scarred 
by the torrents, and partially clad with heath and coarse herbage, 
valleys in which green pastures and corn-fields alternate with wild 
woods and plantations; undulated plains, partly in their natural 
state, and partly converted into fertile fields ; tracts of maritime 
sand, covered with bent, and thickets of furze, long ranges of sea- 
cliffs, often of great height, together with numerous streams, and a 
few lakes, afford fitting habitations for quadrupeds and birds, as well 
as reptiles, of which the number is few, and fishes, which, although 
not numerous as to species in the fresh waters, abound in the seas 
that wash so extended a portion of the boundaries of the district. 
Compared with the western coast of the middle division of Scotland, 
that of our eastern side is remarkably continuous, the sinuosities 
which it presents being but slight. For this reason, in part, th** 


384 Professor MacGillivray on the Mammalia of the 

marine predaceous quadrupeds are of rare occurrence with us. But 
our terrestrial mammalia appear to be as numerous as in any other 
district of equal extent in Scotland ; and some species rare in other 
parts are common with us. It seems inexpedient, however, to 
enter into geographical details, which may with more effect be in- 
troduced on occasion. I shall, therefore, proceed to give an account 
of the mammalia which I have met with, taking leave here to state 
that all the descriptions are from objects found in the district ; and 
that, though my observations are not so complete as one might wish, 
they may prove interesting to those who have not themselves made 
a more extended examination, as well as to naturalists in general, 
to whom our district is not quite so well known, in a zoological point 
of view, as it deserves to be. 

The Mammalia of Aberdeenshire, and the two neighbouring 
counties, belong to the orders of the Bimana, Chiroptera, Insecti- 
vora, Carnivora, Rodentia, Buminantia, and Getacea. Of the first 
of these orders, it seems inexpedient to say anything ; for although 
the people of the district have many good qualities, physical and 
intellectual, they have also some defects, and an account of either 
would necessarily be viewed with less good-will than would prove 


Of the Chiroptera, characterised by having the anterior limbs much 
extended, and connected with the posterior by a bare expansion of the 
skin, so as to render them organs of flying, together with pectoral 
maramsDj we have only three species, belonging to two genera of the 
family of Vespertilionina. 

Fam. Vespertilionista. — Molar teeth with acute tubercles ; anterior 
digit elongated, the first only being short and free, and having a claw, 
the rest connected by a broad membrane, which extends along the sides 
to the hind feet, and from them to the tail. 

Gen. Plecotus. — Head roundish, forehead flat, with a bare longitu- 
dinal line ; wings and ears very thin, the latter very larg-e and elon- 

1. Plecotus miritus. — Common Long-eared Bat. 

Ears more than twice the length of the head, oblong, rounded, their 
inner margin and longitudinal rib ciliate ; tragus about a third of the 
length of the ear, lanceolate^ rather obtuse ; fur brownish-grey above, 
pale grey beneath. 

This Bat has been found in the roof of Old Machar Cathedral, 
whence Mr Thomas Smith took several specimens, in the summer 
of 1841, five of which I sawj and of which one was given to me by 
hinii Another specimen was obtained there in the summer of 
1844 ; and I have seen or heai*d of a few more that were procured 
in different parts of Aberdeenshire* 

Gen. Vespertilio.— liead oblong, forehead convex, muzzle rounded ; 
wings and ears thin, the latter moderate, subovate. 

Counties of Aberdeen^ Banff^ and Kincardine. 385 

1. Vespertilio Datibentonii.'—Davhenton's Bat. 

Ears ovate, obtuse, one-third shorter than the head, deeply sinuate on 
the outer margin, and having at the base a small rounded opercular 
lobe, convex on the inner margin ; tragus nearly half the length of the 
ear, narrow, tapering, rather acute, slightly incurved, and having a small 
angular lobe at the base externally ; cheeks tumid ; space about the eyes 
rather bare ; a small tubercle bearing a tuft of long hairs before the eyes ; 
fur rather long, dense, soft, dull reddish-brown above, light brownish- 
grey beneath. Young, dusky above, dull grey beneath. 

In seventj'^-two individuals examined, there were scarcely any varia;- 
tions in colour. Some were slightly lighter or browner above, some 
brownish-grey, silvery-grey, or light-grey beneatli. In some the hair 
was longer, in some finer and more glossy. The tragus varied consider- 
ably in form ; in some it was almost straight, in some with a sinus or 
slight notch near the end externally ; in all the point tapering, but in 
some more obtuse than in others, never blunt and rounded, nor ever 
quite acute. In some the interfemoral membrane light-grey, almost 
whitish, in others dusky. The soles dusky flesh colour, lighter or 

This species is distinguished from the Pipistrelle Bat by its larger 
size and different proportions, but especially by the form of the 
tragus, which is much narrower, and not rounded at the end, but 
tapering to a rather obtuse point, Its hind feet are also much 

It is very abundant about Old Aberdeen, and is found in great 
numbers in Old Machar Cathedral, where its slumbers have not 
been much disturbed until recently. They retire for the season 
from the middle of October to the end of November, according to 
the temperature. In the winter of 1842, I have seen them flying 
so late as the middle of December. In spring, they sometimes ap- 
pear by the end of February, generally about the middle of March. 

On the 20th September 1841, accompanied by two young friends, 
I ascended one of the steeples of the Cathedral to make search for 
bats, which were represented as being of frequent occurrence in 
various parts of the building. Mr Thomas Spiith, one of my com- 
panions, having apprised us of a favourable place under the roof, we 
slipped over the bartisan upon the slates, and obtained ingress. 
The beams, placed at a considerable distance from each other, with 
the intervening spaces occupied by very thin boards, afforded rather 
dangerous footing ; but, having lighted our candles, we proceeded 
cautiously. Having advanced a considerable way into the dark 
space, my companions ascended upon the cross-beams, when one of 
them, my son, discovered a conglomeration of bats, clinging to the 
roof and to each other, and Mr Smith found another not three feet 
distant. They presented a very singular appearance, as they stuck 
together like clusters of bees, and excited the admiration of us all. 
A very large proportion was consigned to two handkerchiefs ; but 
probably a third at least escaped. A smaller group, of about ten 
individuals, was afterwards discovered by me, and secured by Mr 
Smith. In this part of the building quantities of their dung, 

386 Professor MacGillivray on the Mammalia of the 

almost incredibly large, were observed on the beams and elsewhere ; 
and several of the upper steps of the stair of one of the steeples 
were thickly covered with it. The quantity seen might be rudely 
estimated at two barrowfuls. On returning, we let loose the bats 
in my working-room. The number, as we afterwards ascertained, 
was seventy-four, of which about forty were liberated or escaped. 

These bats are very active. They hobble along the floor with 
considerable speed, and can rise on wing very readily from a flat 
surface. Their flight is moderately quick, and usually silent ; but 
in hovering, when intending to settle, or in turning a corner, or 
when any impediment presents itself, the flutter of their wings may 
be distinctly heard at the distance of twenty or thirty feet. They 
utter a feeble, shrill, rather harsh cry, and when irritated, emit an 
incessant querulous chatter. On being seized, they generally try to 
bite, some individuals shewing considerable ferocity, while most are 
timid. When single, they feel cold to the hand, especially their 
membranes; but when many are together, a most surprising degree 
of heat is generated. Forty of them kept some time in a large tin 
cannister, rendered it quite warm to the hand applied to its lower 
part externally. The moisture caused by their perspiration, or 
otherwise, covered the sides and top in drops, and ran down as on 
the glass of a window in damp weather, and their hair at length 
became soaked with it. 

In the middle of October of the same year, I revisited the steeples 
and roof, accompanied by Mr Leslie and my son. The weather was 
boisterous and cold, there being a fierce easterly gale, with rain. 
Not a single individual could be found. They had probably retired 
to their winter quarters, at least temporarily. 

This species is much infested by parasites of three kinds. At 
least, I have seen individuals of which the membranes were dotted 
all over with inflamed spots caused by their punctures; and some, 
which were found in the churchyard unable to fly, seemed to have 
been reduced to that state of debility by these animals. 

I have frequently seen it flying in the evening, even before sun- 
set, and, on a few occasions, early in the morning ; but until the 
autumn of 1843, had not observed it abroad at midnight. In clear 
moonlight nights, however, it flies all night, as probably do all the 
other species. 

In so far as I know, this species has not hitherto been observed 
in any other part of the district ; but there is reason to think that 
it is extensively distributed, as bats are not uncommon in very many 

2. Vespertilio Pipistrellus. Pipistrelle Bat. 

Ears ovato-triangular, a little shorter than the head, sinuate on the 
outer margiuj and having at the base a small rounded lobe, nearly 
straight, on the inner margin ; tragus about half the length of the ear, 
linear-oblong, slightly incurvate, rounded at the end, and having a siniis 

Counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Kincardine, 387 

on the outer margin near the base ; cheeks tumid ; space about the eyes 
rather bare ; a small tubercle bearing a tuft of longish hairs above the 
eyes ; fur rather long, dense, soft, deep reddish-brown above, of the same 
tint, or pale beneath ; young dusky above, not much lighter beneath. 

Of the habits of this species, as observed in Aberdeenshire, I have 
nothing to say, it being impossible to distinguish it on wing from 
Vespertilio Daubentonii. In 1819 I found a specimen in Corby 
Den, Maryculter. Mr Leslie has in his collection a specimen said 
to have been found in Aberdeen. I have also seen it at Peterhead 

and Banff. 


The Insectivora have the feet adapted for running, sometimes also for 
digging and swimming; several small molar teeth; large molar teeth 
with angular points ; incisors, if present, thin-edged ; canine teeth large, 
oblique, generally compressed. Six species have been observed with 
us ; one belonging to the Erinaceina, four to the Soricina, and one to 
the Talpina. 

Fam. Erinaceina. — Two large canine teeth above, two below, with- 
out incisors ; several small molar teeth, and several larger, with sharp 
tubercles, in both jaws ; limbs short, all five toes ; claws strong, arched ; 
tail very short ; body covered above with prickles, and capable of being 
contracted into a globose form. 

Gen. Erinaceus. — Head oblong, muzzle pointed; eyes of moderate 
size ; ears broadly rounded ; anterior claws large. 

1. Erinacens Europceus. European Hedgehog. 

Ears very short, rounded ; prickles of moderate length, yellowish- 
grey in their lower half, brownish-grey in the upper, with the tip pale; 
lower parts with yellowish-grey stiff hairs, mixed with brownish-grey 
woolly hairs. 

Although twenty years ago of very rare occurrence, or confined 
to particular tracts, the hedgehog is now generally dispersed over 
the district, being found in all the lower parts, from the coast to 
the highland valleys of the interior, in many places in great abun- 
dance. It is especially plentiful along the Dee, as at Ballater, Ban- 
chory, and about Aberdeen, as well in the parishes on the Don. In 
some parts of Formartine it is also abundant, and of late years has 
extended, more or less, over the greater part of Buchan. In the 
New Statistical Account of the Parish of St Fergus, it is stated 
that, about 1834, before which it was not known in the district, it 
was discovered in St Fergus, on the farm of Nether Hill ; and in 
that of Banff it is observed, that, of late years, several instances of 
its occurrence in the parish have been known, although it was un- 
known there at no distant period. It is probable enough that the 
alterations which have taken place in the country, and especially the 
increasing shelter of woods, may have given rise to this extension. 
With us it frequents thickets and other sheltered places, reposing 
by day in some crevice or concealed corner, or among whins or 
other shrubs, and searching by night for its food, which consists of 
slugs, snails, worms, larvae, and insects. In the beginning of winter, 
it forms a large nest of leaves and grass in some sheltered and con- 

388 Professor MacGillivray on the Mammalia of the 

cealed place, and enters into a lethargic state, which continues until 
about the end of spring, or earlier, according to the temperature, 
when it leaves its retreat, generally much emaciated. 

The form of its skull and teeth shews that it closely approaches 
to the Shrews, which belong to the next family, and both groups 
present a considerable resemblance to the Insectivorous Chiroptera 
in these respects. 

Fam, SoEiciNA. — Two large, more or less decurved, canine teeth 
above, two more elongated, generally protended, canine teeth below ; 
several small, compressed, anterior, and large tuberculate molar teeth 
in both jaws. Anterior limbs very short, with the feet rather long; 
posterior limbs short, slender, with the feet narrow ; tlie claws com- 
pressed, slender, acute; body sub-cylindrical, or somewhat tapering be- 
hind, with fine soft or velvety pile ; tail of moderate length. 

Gen. SoREX. — Head depressed, tapering to a long narrow muzzle, 
with the snout small and mobile; nostrils small, terminal; eyes very 
small ; ears very short, broadly rounded ; mouth small ; in the upper 
jaw, on each side, a large, more or less decurved, lobed canine tooth, 
from three to five small, and four large, many-pointed molar teeth in 
the lower jaw, on each side, a very large canine tooth directed forwards ; 
body nearly cylindrical, or somewhat tapering behind; neck short; tail 
slender, of moderate length ; anterior limbs very short, with the feet 
slender, five- toed ; posterior limbs short,, with slender toes ; claws small, 
arched, compressed, very acute. 

The British species of this genus have received much attention 
from Mr Jenyns, to whom we are indebted for nearly all the correct 
knowledge hitherto possessed respecting them. I have made those 
of our district very special objects of study, and have some hope that 
the following minute descriptions of them will be found not unin- 
teresting : — 


1. Sorex Tetragonurus. Square-tailed Shrew. 

Dusky -brown above ; reddish-brown on the sides ; greyish-white be- 
neath ; feet very small, with short hairs ; tail half the length of the body 
and head, four-sided, narrower at the base, of nearly equal breadth 
throughout, depressed toward the end ; feet beneath, covered with short, 
adpressed hairs, forming a pointed terminal tuft ; upper canine tooth 
bilobate, with the lobes obtuse, the anterior little longer ; first and 
second small molar teeth nearly equal, and level with the basal lobe of 
the canine tooth ; third and fourth much smaller and nearly equal ; fifth 
very small ; lower canine tooth directed forwards, with three, generally 
faint lobes on the edge ; teeth tipped with brownish-red. 

This, our most common species, may be more fully described as having 
the body sub-cylindrical, and rather full ; the head oblongo-conical, 
somewhat less than a third of the length, excluding the tail, which is 
nearly a half of the whole length, including the head; the snout long, 
tapering, somewhat square, with a deep broad groove above, and a 
narrow groove beneath, mobile, and projecting far beyond the jaws, with 
the bare tip narrow and emarginatc ; the ears short, rounded, with two 
large thin internal lobes, the upper and outer parallel to the margin ; the 
eyes very small, convex ; the eyelids forming a narrow elliptical aperture ; 
the feet short and small ; the anterior with the first toe much shorter than 
the fifth, the second considerably shorter than the third and fourth, which 
are equal and longest; the sole bare, with six tubercles and numerous small 
prominences; the claws rather long, compressed, little arched, acrrte; 

Counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Kincardine. 389 

the hind feet longer, with the first toe a little shorter than the fifth, the 
rest nearly equal, but the second shorter, the claws more slender, the 
sole bare, with seven tubercles and numerous papillae; the tail four- 
sided, narrower at the base, afterwards of nearly equal breadth, de- 
pressed toward the end, scaly, with short, ^dpressed hairs, the tefminaJ 
fornaing a stifiish point. 

The fur is soft, close, somewhat velvety ; on the upper parts dark 
reddish-brown, or dull brown, sometimes intermixed with Tfhitish hairs ; 
on the sides reddish-brown or light greyish-brown ; beneath greyish- 
white, on the breast tinged witli yellowish^ The lower surface of the 
jsnout, and the lower lip, flesh-coloured. The feet pale flesh-coloured. 
The snout with long, spreading, extremely fine bristles. The feet not 
ciliated, but having short, adpressed hairs. The tail dusky -brown above, 
silvery-grey beneath and on half the sides. 

Canine teetii i, anterior molar |, molar ^ = *^ = 32. 

In the upper jaw, on each side, the canine tooth biiobate, obliquely 
compressed, obtuse, the terminal lobe considerably elongated, decuryed 
in about the eighth of a circle, obtuse, but thin- edged at the end, curved 
inward, the two teeth meeting near the end. First laniar tooth ob- 
liquely compressed, rounded, or rather pointed at the end, about the 
same size as the basal lobe of the canine tooth, or rather larger ; se- 
iGond similar, about the same size, and equal in length ; third much 
smaller, and less elevated; fourth a little smaller, fifth much smaller. 
First molar tooth large, with two anterior external, conical, rather acute 
prominences ; the second larger, and a thin-edged ridge behind, termi- 
nating in a slight prominence in contact with the next ; a little behind the 
anterior lobe internally is a small lobe, and nearly in a line with these 
two an internal less elevated lobe. Second grinder smaller, with three 
external lobes, two internal terminating the transverse grooves between 
the outer lobes, and two inner lobes. Third grinder with three exter- 
nal lobes, two internal, and two inner. Fourth grinder very small, 
transverse, with the crown irregularly concave, and a posterior prominent 
thin edge. 

In the lower jaw, the canine tooth horizontal, rather slender, obliquely 
compressed, thin-edged, with three obtuse lobes on the margin, the last 
lobe less elevated and broader, the tip obtuse but thin-edged. The first 
laniar compressed, thin-edged, rising into an anterior thin, obtuse lobe ; 
the second larger, but similar ; the first grinder larger, with three ex- 
ternal points, the middle largest, the anterior projecting inwards, and 
two internal points ; the second grinder s,imilar, but smaller ; the thjrd 
much smaller, but similar. 

The teeth are white, with the tips brownish-red, or reddish-brown, 
sometimes blackish-brown. On the grinders of the upper jaw the red is 
chiefly r^n the inner, on those of the k)wer jaw on the outer side. 

Entire length, . . . 
Length of head, . . 
Length of tail, . . 
L^gth of fore foot, . 
Length of hipd foot. 
Skull in length, . . 
Skull in breadth, . . 

Individuals vary considerably in size and colour, as well as in the 4i- 
mensions of the snout, and in the length of the ha^s on the tail; th^y 
being in some worn at the tip, in others forming a pointed tuft. After 
the completion of the moult in June, the |>€ncil at th« tip of the tail is 





Ft. iu. 

Ft. io. 

Ft. ip. 

Ft, ip. 

5 3 

4 10 

4 9 

4 8 

1 1 


1 01 


1 10 

1 7 

1 7 

1 6 













390 Professor MacGillivray on the Mammalia of the 

finely pointed, and some of the hairs project nearly a quarter of an inch. 
In an old female, obtained on the 30th of June 1843, the hairs on the 
tail were adpressed and very short, those at the tip obliterated. The 
upper parts vary from very dark-brown to chestnut-brown ; the sides, 
although always distinctly of a lighter brown, klso vary in tint; and the 
lower parts from brownish-grey to greyish-white. The teeth vary chiefly 
from being used. The lower canine, in old individuals, has its anterior 
lobes worn down, so as to represent only the two posterior lobes. 

In an adult, the aosophagus was about an inch in length ; the stomach 
ovate, five-twelfths of an inch long, and four-twelfths in breadth ; the 
intestine eleven and a half inches long, and from one and a half to two 
and a half twelfths in breadth. 

This species is common, and generally distributed in the three 
counties, being found equally in the lower districts and in the high- 
land valleys. It occurs on dry grassy and mossy banks, in woods 
and copses, by hedges, on links or downs, and in fields, meadows, 
and pastures. It feeds on insects, larvaa, and worms, in searching 
for which it works its way in concealment, among the moss and 
herbage, forming long tortuous passages or galleries, similar to those 
of the mole, and which it appears to force more by its snout than 
feet, as the claws are seldom in any degree blunted. Individuals are 
often met with in hay fields, and even in wet meadow ground. But 
it is among the long tangled grass by walls and hedges, and especially 
among the ferns and thick herbage of rocky banks, that it is most 
numerous. Often, when it cannot be seen, its presence is made 
known by its shrill, weak, little modulated cry. On the surface it 
runs with considerable speed ; but it is not there so active as a mouse, 
for it is liable to be tripped by the herbage. It is very often found 
dead in the woods and pastures, especially from the middle of May 
to the end of September, and, I think, more particularly in dry wea- 
ther. It is difficult to discover the cause of this mortality ; but, 
judging from circumstances, I should suppose it to be owing to con- 
tinued drought, which either destroys the worms near the surface, 
or causes them to retreat to an inaccessible depth, for the runs of 
this species are not found to pass into the soil. But I have also 
seen shrews lying dead on paths in the woods in rainy weather. In 
most cases those found in such situations have been crushed by the 
foot ; but frequently I could not trace any injury inflicted upon them. 
Owls and Kestrels frequently prey upon it ; but cats, although they 
kill it, refuse to eat it, which may, perhaps, be owing to the peculiarly 
fetid odour that emanates from it. 

Several foolish notions prevail respecting it among the country 
people, who allege that by running over the backs of horses it causes 
lameness in them, and that it is unsafe for a person to walk over it. 
Some imagine that it lames for life the foot over which it happens 
to run, and others are afraid of allowing it to pass between their 
fe^t. It is, perhaps, on this account that it is so generally killed 
when met with. The creature, however, is exceedingly harmless ; 
and, as it feeds on worms and insects, it rather merits protection. 

Counties of Aberdeen^ Banff, and Kincardine. 391 

There is reason to believe that it becomes torpid in winter, it be- 
ing never heard or seen during the cold months of December and 
January. Its periods of parturition, and its mode of nestling, are 
not known to me from observation ; nor have I found any person 
who could give information respecting them. But a female, which 
I opened on the 30th of June 1843, contained eight young ones ; 
and in one examined on the 14th July there were seven. These 
are positive facts, worth any number of conjectures. The teats are 
eight. The young are of a light brown above, and have the hairs 
on the tail proportionally longer and a little more spreading. In 
September they moult, and assume a dark brown fur on the upper 

The moult of the adults takes place in the beginning of summer, 
and is generally completed by the middle of June, when the colour 
of the upper parts is darker, and the hair of the feet and under part 
of the tail brownish-white and silky. 

Small individuals, found when the tints of the fur are faded, might 
seem to belong to Mr Jenyns's sorex rusticus. I have seen many 
such specimens ; but still there is a distinct species, race, or variety, 
which occurs with us, and apparently in equal numbers. It does not 
differ materially in colour from the other ; but may be distinguished 
by its smaller size, narrower head, longer and broader snout, some- 
what stronger feet, and proportionally longer and thicker tail, which 
is four-sided, as in the other, but has the hairs a little spreading. 

Oui' country people name sorex tetragonurus the Thraw Mouse. 

Sorex tetragonurus, Jen. Ann. Nat. Hist., i. 423. 

Sorex araneus, Jen. Brit. Vert. Anim., 17. 

Sorex araneus, Bell, Brit. Quadr., 109. 

Sorex araneus, Penn. Brit. Zool., i. 125. 

2. Sore^ Rnsticiis. Field Shrew. 

Dusky brown above, brownish-grey on the sides, greyish- white be- 
neath ; feet very small, with short hairs ; tail more than half the length 
of the body and head, four-sided, narrower at the base, of nearly equal 
breadth throughout, depressed toward the end ; flat beneath, covered 
with short, slightly-spreading hairs, forming a pointed terminal tuft ; 
upper canine tooth bilobate, with the lobes obtuse, the anterior consi- 
derably longer ; first and second small molar tooth nearly equal, and 
level with the basal lobe of the canine tooth ; third much smaller ; fourth 
somewhat less ; fifth very small, inconspicuous, partly from being placed 
a little within the line of the rest ; lower canine tooth directed forwards, 
and with three semicircular lobes on the edge, gradually decreasing from 
the front ; teeth tipped with reddish-brown. 

As the description of this species would be in most respects the same 
as that of Sorex Tetragonurus, it will be enough here to point out the 
circumstances in which they agree and differ. They are both dusky 
brown above, greyish-white beneath, and brownish or reddish-grey on 
the sides ; the number and form of their teeth is the same ; their feet 
and tail are similar. When their pile is new, ihey are of a deep brown 
above, and the tail is well covered with fine hairs, and those at the tip 

392 Transition Bocks of North America, 

are elongated, so as to form a pointed pencil ; but when their pile is old 
and worn, they are of a much ligliter tint, greyish-brown or reddish- 
brown above, and the lighter colour of the sides is not then so contrasted 
"with the darker colour of the back. 

{To he continued in our next Number.) 

Transition Bocks {Paloeozoic Rocks of Messrs Rogers) of North 


The following interesting document is extracted from an 
address delivered at the meeting of the Association of ximeri- 
can Geologists and Naturalists, on May 4. 1844, by Professor 
H. D. Rogers. It contains a short account of the order of 
succession, and some of the characters of the different North 
American transition formations, from the deepest or oldest, 
called Primal, which rests upon certain sandstones or quartz 
rocks (one of them called Potsdam sandstone), and conglome- 
rates without petrefactions, which may be considered as the 
uppermost deposits of the primitive class. To those reading 
on American Geology, this sketch will prove very useful. The 
nomenclature part of the extract does not harmonise with our 
views on this subject. 

We propose to distribute the whole great body of strata 
from the base, that is, from the Potsdam sandstone, and the 
conglomerates, to the top of the coal measures in nine distinct 
series, the products of as many great successive periods ; and 
resorting to the analogy between these periods and the nine 
natural intervals into which the day is conveniently divided, 
we have named them in ascending order, the primal, matinal^ 
levant, premedidial, medidial, post-medidial, ponent, wspertine, 
and serai series, the deposits of the dawn, morning, sunrise, 
forenoon, afternoon, sunset, evening, and twilight periods of 
the Great Appalachian Palaeozoic day. Subdividing eaoh series 
in obedience to natural and obvious relations of the organic 
remains and mineral boundaries, we have named each ultimate 
subdivision or formation, calling the time during which each 
formation was produced an epoch ; and between the series and 
formations, we have constructed groups, in all cases where the 
natural affinities of the formations require that two or more 
of these latter shall be united into associations, subordinate 
to the series. 

Our Primal series embraces the four great rooks between 

Transition Rocks of North America. 393 

the base of the Palaeozoic strata and the base of the first lime- 
stone, the calciferous sandstone of New York. Of these, the 
primal white sandstone would seem to be the only formation 
existing in New York, or, according to Owen, on the north- 
western margin of the basin in the western states. 

The Matinal series includes all the strata from the horizon 
of the base of the calciferous sandstone, to that which marks 
the top of the Hudson River slate in New York, and the top 
of the blue limestone of the western states. This series, in 
south-western Virginia, and East Tennessee, embraces a thick 
and important middle group, consisting of three formations, 
not extending north east of the New River, and only imper- 
fectly represented in some portions of the western states. 

The Levant series includes all the formations between the 
horizon, terminating the Matinal rocks, and one running 
through the top of the water lime formation of New York, the 
top of the non-fossiliferous and " pitted rock" of Lake Huron, 
and through a plain low in the cliff limestone of the western 
states. It takes in, therefore, the Medina, Clinton, Niagara, and 
Onondaga salt groups, and water lime of the New York survey. 

The Premedidlal series embraces the strata between the top 
of the water lime and the top of the Oriskany sandstone of New 
York, and includes, therefore, the Pentamerus and Catskill 
Shaly limestones of that state, as its oldest formation, and the 
Oriskany sandstone as its newest ; and, besides these, a middle 
formation not there seen, but well developed in Pennsylvania, 
with characteristic fossils. 

The Medidial series ranks in it all the strata between the 
top of the Oriskany or Premedidial sandstone and the 3far- 
cellus black slate of New York, or the black bituminous slate 
of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Middle Tennessee. It, there- 
fore, includes the Schoharie grit and Onondaga and corfiifer- 
ous limestones of New York, and the upper division of the cliff 
limestone of the wesit. 

The Postmedidial series embraces that very natural assem- 
blage of formations, commencing with the black slate just 
named, and crossing with the horizon which marks the base 
of the Catskill red sandstone. It contains, therefore, for New 
York, the Marcellus shades, the Hamilton group, the Tully 

394 Transition Rocks of North America. 

limestone, the Genesee slate, the Portage group, and the 
Chemung group, and for the west all the strata between the 
top of the cliff limestone and the bottom of the carboniferous 

The Ponent series includes all the rocks between the base 
of the Catskill red sandstone and the top of the overlying con- 
glomerate. (Formation X. of the Pennsylvania and Virginia 
Annual Reports.) It usually embraces but two formations, 
the Ponent red sandstone, and the Ponent conglomerate, 
though the former of these requires for some districts a triple 

The Vespertine series comprehends the interesting formations 
above the horizon of the Ponent conglomerate, and below that 
at the base of the great conglomerate under the coal measures. 
In Pennsylvania, it is composed of the thick red shale deposit 
of the coal regions ; and in Virginia, of a much more complex 
set of strata, including a lower red shale or variegated marl, 
next a great thickness of carboniferous limestone, and then an 
upper set of shales with alternating sandstones. In the west- 
ern states, on the other hand, it consists almost exclusively of 
the carboniferous limestone and its subordinate chert. 

The Serai series embraces one vast and multiform body of 
coal strata, the thickness of which in Western Pennsylvania 
and Virginia, exceeds three thousand feet, being in the an- 
thracite basins probably still greater. The lowest or oldest 
subdivision of this series, is the Serai conglomerate, and the 
true coal formation overlying this, is divided into four distinct 
members, — the older coal measures, older shales, new coal 
measures, and new shales; these last terminating the entire 
succession of one thick and wide-spread Appalachian strata. 

The whole body of rocks here grouped into nine series, con- 
tains, upon the most careful analysis which we have been able 
thus far to institute, about forty-eight formations, few, if any, 
of which are co-extensive with the present limits of the great 
Palaeozoic basin in which they lie, or even with that part of it 
included between the Blue Ridge chain, the Mississipi River, 
and the great Lakes. Those which were the most widely de- 
posited, are the Matinal magnesian limestone, the Levant 
older (oi- Niagara) limestone, the Vespertine (or carboniferous) 

On the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh. 395 

limestone, and the older coal measures. Others occupy a re- 
latively circumscribed area, yet none are called formations 
which are not the products of distinct formative actions ope- 
rating during epochs characterised by distinct groups of races. 
My brief limits will not allow me to present here even the 
general scheme of names by which we purpose to designate the 
divisions of this extensive system of strata ; but T will explain 
succinctly the principles upon which the names are chosen. 
The title given to any formation is composed, first, of the 
name of the period to which it appertains ; and, secondly, of a 
word or words descriptive of the ruling mineral character of 
the rock ; and to these is appended, when we wish to specify 
the type under which the formation is referred to, the name 
of the district or place where it is so developed. Let me ex- 
emplify this by one or two instances. The well characterized 
formation, called in the New York survey, the Marcellus 
shales, is named by us the Postmedidial older black slate, while 
the Genesee slate is called Postmedidial nev-er black slate, and 
a member of the Clinton group of New York, occurring there 
as a thin bed of brown and ponderous sandstone (seen on the 
Sequoit), but expanded in Pennsylvania and Virginia into an 
important mass, having characteristic fossils, and a maximum 
thickness of two hundred feet, we propose to call the Levant 
iron sandstone. — American Journal of Science and Arts, Vol. 
xlvii.— No. 1, p. 154, July 1844. 

On the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh in the Lower Valley of 
the Indus and CutcU. By Captain T. Postans.* 

Communicated by the Ethnological Society, 

The general term of Biluchi is applied to a race professing 
the Mahomedan religion, whose country is hence called 
Biluchistan, which may be described as the whole of that 
mountainous and desert region stretching westward of the 
Indus from Cape Monze to the Valley of Shawl, and of which 
Kelat may be considered as the capital. This people thus 
form a connecting link, as it were, between the Persian and 

* Read before the Ethnological Society on the 10th of April 1844. 

396 Captain Postans on the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh 

AfFghan tribes beyond, and the mixed Kajput races who oc- 
cupy the northern and north-western portion of Guzerat in 

The earliest detailed and well authenticated account given, 
I believe, of this people by a European authority, is by that 
distinguished traveller, and now high functionary. Sir Henry 
Pottinger, who, in the year 1810, undertook a highly danger- 
ous though deeply interesting journey through the whole ex- 
tent of this country, and has recorded, in a series of valuable 
notes, the result of his personal observations and inquiries. 
From that period up to the last five or six years, few, if any, 
Europeans have had the opportunities of seeing more of them 
than was presented by casual journies through portions of 
their country : of such the most interesting results have been 
given by Mr Masson, who, taken as a traveller beyond the 
Indus and in Central Asia generally, is probably the most 
valuable as an actual authority, from the intrepid manner in 
which he threw himself amongst these wild and lawless 
people, and the favourable opportunities he therefore had, 
for a long period of time, of intimately studying their pecu- 
liarities and characteristics. These few observations are 
made at starting, lest any undue value should be placed on the 
slight remarks which are now to be made, and which solely 
have for their object the results of the author's experience of 
portions of tribes, with many of whom the British Govern- 
ment has for the last five or six years been unexpectedly 
brought more or less into contact, seldom amicably, and lat- 
terly in deadly hostility, and over many of whom prospective- 
ly it intends, it is to be hoped, to extend the fostering hand 
of civilization and take to its charge, along with the millions 
who own its sway in the vast regions of the East. And 
here the author trusts he shall stand excused if, in having 
the gratification and advantage of addressing a Society like 
the present for the first time, he ventures to off'er his humble, 
though sincere, tribute of congratulation, that a body so form- 
ed should exist in this country, having such laudable objects 
to work out as increased knowledge of the races, states, and 
condition of that " noblest work of the Creator," in all parts 
of the globe ; for surely few purposes for which societies are 

in the Lower Valley of the Indus and Cutchi. 397 

formed can be considered as of greater interest or even merit ; 
and, as applied to that magnificent portion of British dominion, 
to which all the attention that this great nation can shew, 
will but be found barely inadequate to do justice. Inquiry 
into its vast and ever varying population must be highly 
valuable, if the result be only to bring us more intimately 
acquainted with a people, who demand not only an interest 
excited by curiosity, but to whom this nation individually 
and collectively are under deep responsibilities ; for it may, in 
all reverence, be fairly inferred, that so immeasurably import- 
ant a charge as providing for the well-being of a large share 
of the population of the globe, was not committed to us as a 
nation by Providence, without demanding a due weight of 

The origin of the Biluchis, as a distinctive class, is involved, 
like most inquiries of this sort in the East, in obscurity ; 
though it may be conjectured that they are of an Arabian 
stock, and in all probability came to the neighbourhood of the 
Indus, either shortly prior to or at the period of the first Ma- 
homedan conquest eastward under the Khalifat of Walid. 
Their own traditions vaguely ascribe their original locality to 
Sham or Damascus, though they have no date or record, oral 
or inscribed, to attest it. As, however, the seat of the Kha- 
lifat was in those days at Damascus, and it was from thence 
that the army which conquered the countries bordering the 
lower Indus was dispatched, there is some reason for conclud- 
ing that they were colonies from these conquerors who either 
subdued and possessed themselves of the countries of the 
aborigines, who were Hindus, driving them out or else caus- 
ing them to be amalgamated in religion with themselves by 
conversion, of which certain classes amongst them to this day 
bear considerable evidence. 

Such are the Babis in higher Biluchistan, and the Jutts in 
the lower country. It is also particularly noted by the Ma- 
homedan historians of that period, that certain tribes (an ap- 
pellation not applicable to Hindus, but which the Moslems 
adopted,) embraced Islamism, and were obedient to the con- 
queror, receiving immunities for so doing. A list of these 
tribes is even given. But to the BiMchis. They are certainly 

398 Captain Postans on the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh 

a different race from all about them, they hold no affinity 
except in religion with the Affghans, who are more of the 
Persian character, and are again distinct from the Brahims 
and Mekranis, who are farther west. The true Biltich, or, 
as he proudly styles himself proudly, the " Usul," (literally, 
originally pure,) Biluch of the desert is decidedly a particular 
and distinct class, and possesses peculiarities apart from his 
geographical position, which would appear to mark him as hav- 
ing considerable claim to an original offshoot from the Arabian 
family. With respect to the claims of these people to a Jew- 
ish origin, it may be said, like those of the Affghans, to con- 
sist principally in the conformation of feature, — the division 
into tribes and certain curious adherence to the Levitican 
law in the brother marrying the brother's widow, — punish- 
ment of adultery by stoning to death, and other minor points. 
This is too interesting a subject, however, to be passed over 
lightly, but where conjecture can only be applied, and where, 
moreover, the strong bias of the mind might lead to errone- 
ous conclusions, in default of anything authentic, it is perhaps 
better to dismiss it than to hazard mere opinions. Suffice it, 
therefore, to observe, that the Biluchi cast of feature is cer- 
tainly Jewish, the appearance and costume of the wilder 
tribes, such as is strikingly represented in Oalmet's Illustra- 
tions of Patriarchal Habiliments (though it may probably arise 
from the same causes of climate, &c.) and that, as before ob- 
served, several of their laws, social and religious, bear an affi- 
nity to those of the Levitican ; — but whether they (the Bilti- 
chis) have any claim to be of the lost tribes, in any Jewish 
extraction beyond an Ishmaelitish one, is a subject requiring 
deeper and more learned antiquarian research, than has 
hitherto been applied, and until competently dealt with, had 
better be left alone. 

The history of the Biluchi is as much involved in obscurity 
as their origin, until a certain period, when they appear to 
have constituted themselves with the Brahors under Nasir 
Khan, about the middle of last century, an independent 
people, and Kelat became if not the seat of regal power, at 
least of a powerful chieftainship, which the various tribes duly 
acknowledged and maintained by a complete system of feu- 


in the Lower Valley of the Indus and Cutchi. 399 

dalism. As our object is, however, rather to inquire into the 
present condition of this people, as presented to our view, 
than to discuss points which may be considered after all to 
have secondary or antiquarian interest, we may proceed to 
describe the Biltichis as they are, or lately were, for with 
many of them a new order of things has arisen within these 
two years, and causes are at work which may possibly have a 
great effect ultimately on their moral and social condition. 

The first great feature of the Biliichis, is their intricate 
division and subdivision into numerous Koums or tribes, and 
these again are subbivided into almost endless families or 
minor parties. Each tribe acknowledges implicitly the autho- 
rity of a chief, which office is hereditary. The attachment, 
amounting to devotion, paid by this people to their chiefs, is 
manifested on every occasion whether of peace or war, and a 
true patriarchal system is thus perpetuated. But the tribes 
are by no means unanimous amongst themselves ; on the con- 
trary, it is difficult to find any two who are not at feud with 
their neighbours, and a great many have blood quarrels, which 
are perpetuated by continued acts of violence, for a blood 
feud can never sleep, and it is said that a Biluch never fore- 
goes his revenge, though for mutual advantages these feuds 
sometimes slumber, and are relinquished for a certain period, 
and seasons are agreed upon between parties for mutual ad- 
vantages, wherein they abstain from violence ; but on the ex- 
piration of these, the old state of deadly animosity is revived 
with increased bitterness, and a condition of society therefore 
exists, which is analogous to that of the Arabs and w41d tribes 
of other countries. This, however, does not prevent this 
people from amalgamating to meet a common foe ; their pri- 
vate sources of quarrel are in such cases kept in abeyance, 
and as a proof of this, the British troops in the course of our 
campaigns beyond the Indus, often found that Biltichi tribes, 
who were well known to be at most deadly feud with each 
other, had joined in meeting the British bayonets in the va- 
rious terrific defiles and passes which the Biliichis held as 
their own unaleniable right and property. 

There are no less than fifty-eight distinct tribes branching 


400 Captain Postans on the Biluchi Tribes inhabiting Sindh 

from three great heads, Binds, Mughsees, and Nihroes, not 
calculating their subdivisions, enumerated by Sir Henry Pot- 
tinger. Of the numbers of these it would be difficult to ar- 
rive at anything like an approximation, but of those located 
immediately on or near the banks of the Indus, it was cal- 
culated that 40,000 fighting men could be collected, and late 
events have proved that this was a pretty fair estimate of 
their strength, though this, it must be remembered, refers 
only to those dwelling in the cultivated plains, and not in- 
cluding those of the desert or the mountaineers. The prin- 
cipal tribes located in Sindh are the Murris (in reality a hill 
tribe, but having colonies in the plains), Khosas, Muzaris, 
Mughsis, Umranis, Lakis, Chandlers, Julbanis, Jatois, Salpurs 
(the late reigning chiefs were of this family), Kainas (the pre- 
ceding dynasty who appear to have been rather of a sacred 
stock than Biluchi), Binds, Burdis, Kurmatis, Jokias, and 
Numrias (two tribes inhabiting the range of hills immediately 
to the westward of Karuchi, and belonging in reality to the 
province of Lus, under the dominion of the Jam of Bella), 
though their services as escorts to the trader and traveller are 
constantly called for through Lower Sindh, and others. Of 
these the Binds, Burdis, Muzaris, UmraniSy and Jatois, are 
found to have their head-quarters in the partially desert 
tracts lying between the Indus and the Bolan Pass, and in or 
near the same locality are also found the Murris, Brogtis, 
DumkiSy Jekranis, and Jekrarus, The Chandias^ again, are in 
the Chandokah district, of which Larkhana is the capital, and 
which is notorious as being the most fertile in all Sindh ; a 
very powerful and numerous tribe, whose influence, when 
thrown into the balance, has often helped to settle matters 
affecting the stability of the rulers. There is another very 
important tribe, the Lagharis, the chief of whom, Ahmed 
Khan, was a distinguished nobleman and statesman at the 
Court of Hyderabad, holding an office equivalent to that of 
vizier or prime minister, but this tribe is said by some to be 
of Jutt extraction, and not real Biluch. The Khosas were 
formerly a powerful tribe, but attaching their fortunes to the 
falling house of Kalora, they were visited, accordingly, by 
the successful Talptirs. On the confines of the desert known 

in the Lower Valley of the Indus and Cutchi. 401 

as the Thurr, which separates Sindh from Cutch and Guzirat, 
they are predatory, but in Sindh are cultivators and peace- 
able, and for Biltichis, an industrious class. I am not aware 
that there are any physical peculiarities distinguishing tribes 
generally, though, as will be hereafter noticed, the desert and 
hill Bilachis differ in costume, stature, and habits from their 
brethren of Sindh. There are numerous other tribes in the 
line of country designated, but they scarcely merit detail, 
were not the materials wanting. 

The Biltichis, in their divisions into tribes, have a great 
deal of the family pride which distinguishes the Rajput ; and 
of the above heads of families, the Rinds are considered to 
hold a particularly high place — many of the other tribes, 
therefore, claim Rind extraction, such as the Murris, Dumkis, 
Jekranis, and others. In marriage this is particularly ob- 
servable ; a daughter may be given by a Rind to a Bind^ but 
it would be considered degrading to marry into a lower order 
of clan, the extreme pride with which this people boast of 
their claim, as before observed, to " Usidy A real unmixed 
Biltichi blood is peculiar, and seldom seen amongst Mahome- 
dans in the East, though happily for them they are, or pretend 
to be, totally ignorant or unmindful of the very low estima- 
tion in which, as a people, they are elsewhere held, the term 
Biluch being by the other inhabitants of these countries lite- 
rally translated by its initial Persian letters to mean ^ be, 
thus t-* bud or bad J 14m, lorchur or vagabond, and ^. chccm, 
choz or thief, a silly invention in itself, but significant of the 
bad character this people have gained. 

The Biltichis located in Sindh, acquired under the late 
Biluch dynasty a great and important share of the country, as 
Jabgirdars and feudatories, the tenure by which they held 
their possessions being military service, and very analogous 
to the old feudal system in Europe. This also obtained 
throughout the whole of Biltichistan. Locating themselves in 
the plains, and on the banks of the river, the Biltichis in Sindh, 
though wild and barbarous as compared with the inhabitants 
of our own Indian provinces, were yet superior in this respect 
to their untamed brethren of the desert and mountains, who, 
occupied alternately as robbers or shepherds, are as wild as 

402 Scientific hitelligence — Meteorology. 

it is possible to find any race of men similarly situated. Even 
those who may be considered as peaceable clans, since they 
occupied themselves on their farms or estate as supervising 
cultivators, carried with them the thieving propensities for 
which they are notorious, and thus acquired for the inhabi- 
tants of Sindh generally a proverbially dishonest title, though 
in reality it appears to be this class which alone merited it ; 
but we shall refer to this point more particularly in discuss- 
ing the character of this people. 

{To be concluded in our next Numher.) 



1. Climate of Kordof an. — The climate of Kordofan, says Ignatius 
Pallme in his travels, is very unhealthy, especially during the rainy season; 
no hut is then, indeed, to be met with, in which there are not, at least, 
several sick. In the dry season, again, aU disease disappears ; at this 
time, however, not only man, but all living creatures, suiFer from ex- 
treme heat. The eye then rests with melancholy on the desolate and 
parched plains, trophies of the victory of the heat over animated nature, 
where nothing is to be seen but bones of men and animals bleached by 
the burning sun. During the whole of this season, which endures about 
8 months, the sky is clear and cloudless, and the heat is insupportable, 
especially in the months of April and May. From 11 o'clock a.m. to 3 
p.M,, when the thermometer stands in the shade at 38° or even at 40° 
Reaumur (117° to 122° Fahrenheit), it is impossible for any breathing 
creature to remain in the open air. Every living being, both men and 
cattle, with equal eagerness, seek the shade to protect themselves from 
the scorching rays of a fierce sun. Man sits, during these hours, as if 
in a vapour bath ; his cheerfulness of disposition declines, and he is al- 
most incapable of thought ; listless, and with absence of mind, he stares 
vacantly before him, searching in vain for a cool spot. The air breathed 
is hot, as if it proceeded from a heated furnace, and acts in so enervating 
a manner on the animal economy, that it becomes a trouble even to move 
a limb. All business ceases, every thing is wrapped in a sleep of death 
until the sun gradually sinks, and the cool air recalls men and animals 
again into life and activity. The nights, on the other hand, are so 
sharp, that it is necessary to be more careful in guarding against the 
effects of cold in this country, than in the northern parts of Europe; for 
the consequences frequently prove fatal. During the dry season, every 
thing in nature appears desolate and dismal ; the plants are burnt up ; 
the trees lose their leaves and appear like brooms ; no bird is heard to 
sing ; no animal delights to disport in the gladness of its existence ; 

Scientific Intelligence — Hydrography. 403 

every living being creeps to the forest to secrete itself, seeking shelter 
from the fearful heat ; save that, now and then, an ostrich will be seen 
traversing the desert fields in flying pace, or a giraffe hastening from 
one oasis to another. " When I arrived at Lobeid," says the writer, " I 
only found one single European living, Dr Iken, whom I have before 
mentioned, a native of Hanover, who, like most of the Europeans, after 
a short residence there, paid his tribute to the climate." 


2. Depression of the Caspian. — The President of the Geographical 
Society of London, in June last, read the note of a Russian operation for 
determining the actual depression of the Caspian Sea below the level of 
the Mediterranean — which operation had been reduced by the eminent 
astronomer, M. Struve, then in England, and communicated by that 
gentleman to him. A few years ago it was generally believed that the 
waters of the Caspian were at least 300 feet below the level of those of 
the Black Sea and INIediterranean. This view was adopted in consequence 
of a series of barometrical observations ; but it having been found that, 
from the great number of stations across the land separating the Caspian 
from the sea of Azoff, small errors had become greatly magnified, a new 
survey was made. Three able mathematicians, Messrs Fuss, Savitch, 
and Sabler, were, therefore, employed to make independent trigonometri- 
cal le veilings ; and their observations agreeing to within a foot or two, 
give, for the mean result, 83.6 English feet as the depression, the possible 
error being limited to 1.3 foot, which definitively settles this long pend- 
ing geographical question. — Athenaum, No. 870, p. 601. 

3. " The Calling of the Sea." — As the foreknowledge of approaching 
changes in the weather is of importance, especially to fishermen and 
agriculturists, I invite attention to a very common, but not generally 
known, indication of such changes. 

In Mount's Bay, and probably in all places similarly situated, there is 
often heard inland, at a distance from the shore, a peculiar hollow, mur- 
muring sound, locally termed '* the calling of the sea," which, if proceed- 
ing from a direction different from the wind at the time, is almost always 
followed by a change of wind, generally within twelve, but sometimes 
not until a lapse of twenty-four, or even thirty hours. It is heard some- 
times at the distance of several miles, although on the shore from which 
it proceeds, the sea may not be louder than usual ; and yet at other times, 
even when the sea on the shore is louder than usual, and in apparently 
equally favourable states of the atmosphere, it cannot be heard at the 
distance of a mile. When the sound, in fine weather, proceeds from the 
coves or cliffs on the west or south of the observer, it is followed by a 
wind from about west or south, accompanied generally with rain. When 
it comes from tlie east or north of the observer, a land wind from about 
east or north succeeds, attended with fine weather in summer, and often 
with frost in winter. All my own observations during the last twelve 
months, confirm the above statement ; indeed, none of those of whom I 
Ijave inquired, and who have for many years been accustomed to observe 
these indications, can recollect a single instance of their failure. This 
sound must not be confounded with that arising from a *' ground sea," 
which is the well known agitation along the shore, oec^asioned by a dis- 

404 Scientific Intelligence — Geology. 

tant storm, and which may likewise often proceed from the direction sub- 
sequently taken by the wind, for this latter noise propagates itself in 
every direction, and chiefly in that of the wind ; whereas the " calling'* 
is heard only from one direction, and usually contrary to the wind. 
Besides, if this " calling" come from the north-eastern, or inmost shore, 
of the bay, and the wind afterwards change to that quarter, it could not 
possibly arise from a " ground sea" produced by a distant storm from 
that direction. 

Hence it appears that the " calling" of the sea depends not on the 
condition of the sea, but on that of the atmosphere. I am informed, too, 
that previously to a change of weather, all distant sounds are heard 
loudest in the direction which the wind subsequently takes. The fisher- 
men of Portleven, who are very observant of all signs of atmospherical 
changes, are particularly attentive to this. They also notice the motion 
of the clouds, and observe whether these are moving or not in the direc- 
tion of the vanes — one very singular and sure sign which they have, that 
the wind will change in the course of the day to the south-west, is a 
morning fog flowing from the Loo-pool into the bay towards that point. 
These last indications may possibly assist in ascertaining the cause of the 
** calling of the sea." — Richard Edmonds, Esq. Eleventh Annual 
Report of the Royal Polytechnic Society of Cornwall, p. 47. 

4. Fossil Physeter Whale. — In the collection of Mr Brown of Stan- 
way, is a remarkable fossil, which Professor Owen proved to be the tooth 
of a Cachalot, and, in the report of the British Association for 1842, 
states to have been procured from the Diluvium of Essex. Mr Charles- 
worth having examined the specimen in question, considers it a genuine 
crag fossil from the same deposit with the cetacean remains described by 
Professor Henslow at a previous meeting of the Association. 

5. A recently discovered Bed of Diamonds in Mexico. — According 
to the report of an expert geologist, Von-Gerold, diamonds have been 
discovered in the great Mexican mountain range, in the Sierra madre, 
in the direction of Acapulco, (to the S.W. of the city of Mexico.) 
Humboldt had conjectured that diamonds and platina occurred further to 
the N.W. in the gold washery of Sonora. It is also said that immense 
tracts of auriferous alluvium occur in Upper California, as also in New 
Mexico. They are principally in the possession of wild tribes, a circum- 
stance which will accelerate the intrusion of the North Americans, and 
hasten the taking possession of them by strangers.* 

6. Structures and prohdble mode of formation of the older Mountain 
Rocks. — Those naturalists who continue to believe in the existence of the 
true stratified structure in primitive and many transition rocks — who 
consider mineral veins as of after formation to the rocks in which they 
are contained — who conceive inclined tabular rocks (the old stratified 
rocks of authors) to have been upraised from an original horizontal posi- 
tion — who maintain that the natural seams of rocks, sometimes bounding 
OP enclosing masses many hundred yards or fathoms in extent, are me- 

Poggendorff 's Annalen, vol. 62/p. 283, 

Scientific Intelligence — Geohgy. 405 

chanical, and not chemical effects — who deny the existence of colossal dis- 
tinct concretions, and see the columnar structure of trap, porphyry, gra- 
nite, &c., as a mechanical effect — who believe all conglomerated rocks to 
be of mechanical formation — that all sandstones are of mechanical origin 
— that trap rocks have received their structure and positions through 
volcanic agency — that granite, syenite, and porphyry, are of after forma- 
tion to the rocks with which they are connected ; and that the apparent 
fragments these rocks sometimes contain, are mechanical effects — will 
obtain clearer views of the structures of the crust of the earth, and 
their mode of formation, if they reject the mechanical hypothesis, and 
call to their aid the chemical and contemporaneous geognostical doctrine. 

7. Do fossil organic remains of living animal species occur in any 
of the four great classes of rocks, viz. Primitive, Transition, Secondary, 
and Tertiary ? — At present, it is a prevailing opinion, that fossil remains 
of living animal species occur, along with those of extinct species, in 
rocks, as in those of the tertiary class. If, however, the late discoveries 
of palaeontologists prove true, it follows, that all the fossil animal species, 
even those found in the newest of the tertiary class, are extinct ; and 
that fossil living species do not occur but in alluvial deposits. 

8. Diluvium, and Alluvium. — As the waters of the globe formerly 
covered its whole surface, and as these waters have gradually sunk to 
their present level, or rather as the land has gradually risen above the 
surface of the ocean, does it not follow that the formation of diluvium and 
alluvium commenced about the same time, and that both must occur in 
every country, the diluvium being formed by the action of the sea, at 
whatever height it may be found above its present level, while the allu- 
vium is the result of the action of the atmosphere, lakes, rivers, and 
springs ? 

9. Geology of Abyssinia. — Captains Galinierand Ferret, who are about 
to publish at the expense of the minister of war, an account of their ex- 
pedition to Abyssinia, have sent to the Academy of Sciences a list of the 
subjects treated of in the four volumes of which their work will consist. 
They have also transmitted a separate memoir on the geology of Tigre 
and Semen. 

For the purpose of drawing up this geological description of Abyssinia, 
and forming the map and geological sections which accompany it, the 
authors have collected on the spot a series of specimens, which are now 
deposited in the Jardin-des-Plantes, illustrated by sections and a num- 
ber of notes. Their work shews that Abyssinia is a country which has 
been subject to many geological accidents, and that these accidents 
are of different kinds. In consequence of this complex orography, we 
perceive from the first, that this country is necessarily very remarkable 
in respect to its geological constitution. MM. Galinier and Ferret are 
convinced, that if Abyssinia does not offer the complete series of forma- 
tions to the geologist, it presents at least a great number, and that it 
ought to be ranked among the most complex and remarkable countries 
in a geological point of view. The formations they have met with in 
Abyssinia, range from the first to the last degree of the geological scale. 
Thus they have found primary and transition formations in the country 
of the Chohos, in Tigre, Ac. ; secondary formations at the extremity of 
Tigre and the country of the Taltals ; tertiary and modem formations 

406 Scientific Intelligence — Geology. 

on the shores of the Red Sea, in Tigre, Semen, Chire, &c. If we join 
to this range of the geological scale, a great variety of sedimentary rocks, 
rocks of plutonic and volcanic origin, also those usually named metamor- 
phic, a considerable number of extinct volcanoes, hot springs, repositories 
of iron, sulphur, rock-salt, combustible substances, malachite, &c., we 
will obtain a general idea of the geological importance of Abyssinia. 

The general character of the relief of this country has been produced 
by three kinds of ridges. The first is formed by the direction of the 
mountains of Tarenta ; it affects the primary formations, and runs from 
the north-west to south-east, that is to say, in a direction parallel with 
the Arabian gulf. The second is represented by the mountains of the 
transition formations of Tigre ; it evidently runs from the north-east to 
south-west, that is, in a direction parallel to the shores of the Gulf of 
Aden in the Indian Sea. Lastly, the third is formed by the general 
direction of the tertiary plateaux of Tigre, Chile, Agame, &c. ; and runs 
from north-north-west to south-south-east. 

It would be very interesting to connect the three systems of elevation 
which MM. Galinier and Ferret have pointed out in Abyssinia, with the 
general systems of elevation established by M. Elie de Beaumont ; but 
for want of suiRcient data, the authors of the memoir have not attempted 
to do this. With regard to volcanoes, MM. Galinier and Ferret have 
observed, that the products of numerous volcanoes are to be seen in the 
islands near Abyssinia, and on the shores of the sea. They consider it 
probable that they existed before the period when the Ptolemies founded 
establishments on the coasts ; but it is not certain that any now exist 
in Abyssinia ; the springs of hot water they observed on the shore, could 
not decide the question, although some reach 64° and 65°,* and even 
exceed that. Many travellers, it is true, affirm that they have seen 
volcanoes on the coasts of Choa. M. Rochet, in particular, has mentioned 
the volcano of Dofano, and figured it as being in a state of activity ; it is 
situate in the vicinity of Angobar ; but MM. Galinier and Ferret are of 
opinion, that it is very possible M. Rochet has mistaken fumaroles for 
a true volcanic eruption ; for the Abyssinians appear to have no idea of 
volcanoes, t 

10. Limestone of Corfu and Vido. — Captain Portlock, R.E., is of 
opinion that the limestone of Vido is probably oolite. 

11. Geology of Malta and Gozo. — From the observations of Lieut. 
Spratt, R.N., it appears that the Maltese islands are formed of tertiary 
strata, of the Middle or Miocene period. 

12. Rochs of Tangier. — In the travels of Badia, better known as Alt 
Bey, occurs the following passage : — 

" The ground which forms the basis of the coast at Tangier, is com- 
posed of different beds of secondary granite, of a compact or fine granu- 
lar texture. These beds are inclined to the horizon, and form with it 
a 1 angle of 50 to 70 degrees. They are generally one foot and a half 
thick ; their direction runs from east to west, and their inclination, by 
which the angle is formed, is northerly. 

" The distance between the beds is commonly about two feet, and 

• It is not mentioned whether of Reaumur or the Centigrade, 
t L'Institut, No. 647, p. 210. 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology. 407 

this space is filled with a sort of white, and not very hard clay, which, 
taking the same direction, forms intermediate beds of a slaty texture. 
These beds of granite and clay are very little above the level of the 

All this is erroneous. Not a vestige of granite occurs in the country 
around Tangier. I visited that country in 1814, and passed along the 
coast from the east of Tangier towards Cape Spartel, where I observed 
no other rock than sandstone, and a crumbling clay-slate, or rather shale. 
In my journal is the following note : — 

" Observe that the rocks under the walls of the town consist of alter- 
nate strata of a yellowish-brown sandstone, of a fine grain, and a crumb- 
ling bluish slaty clay. The beds of the former are about a foot and a 
half thick, the latter generally three or four feet. This alternation is 
continued under the town, and forms the rock on which the castle 

I traced it in various other places on both sides of Tangier ; and Cape 
Spartel seems to consist of this sandstone. The other indications of 
granite, mentioned by Ali Bey, between Tangier and Tetuan, I believe 
to be erroneous ; for the whole of that part of Morocco appears to be 
exceedingly like, in geological structure, to the opposite coasts of Spain, 
which, westward of Tarifa, are composed of sandstone. In Barbary, 
these rocks seldom attain an elevation of above 30 or 40 feet along the 
coast, until it rises rather abruptly into the rugged and lofty limestone 
mountains, opposite to Gibraltar, named Apes' Hill by the English, 
the Mom Ahyla of antiquity — the geological characters of which seem 
identical with the limestone of Gibraltar, and the eastern Sierras of 
Andalusia.~T. S. T. 

13. Erupticn of Vemvius of 1843. — M. Rozet reported to the Geolo- 
gical Society of France, at one of its last meetings, some circumstances re- 
lative to an eruption of Vesuvius, which he witnessed in September 1843, 
and which he had leisure to examine in all its details. His report men- 
tions many facts of a certain degree of importance in explaining volcanic 
phenomena in general. 

About the middle of July 1843, the holes of the crater of Vesuvius 
were all stopped, small columns of smoke issued here and there by 
small fissures, and there was a large prominence near the nortliern 
edge of the bottom, on which it was easy to walk, although the smoke 
issued by numerous crevices. On the 30th September, an immense 
quantity of fumaroles, much more considerable than those of the 
Solftitara, arose on all the edges of the crater, the interior walls, and 
even as far as the summit of Palo. These fumaroles issued by fissures 
and holes, some of which were covered with a pale yellow crust of mu- 
riate of iron, others surrounded with a white efflorescence of nearly pure 
marine salt. The smoke was composed of steam, with a small quantity 
of hydrochloric acid, easily known by its pungent odour, but tliere was 
so little of it, that the observer could remain in the midst of the smoke 
for upwards of five minutes, without being put to much inconvenien ce 
No trace either of sulphur or of sulphureous odour was perceptible. The 
bottom of the crater was covered with fluid lava, whose black and ex- 
tremely irregular surface presented numerous fissures, in which the red 
matter, in a state of fusion, was perceptible. This surface was smoking. 

408 Scientific Intelligences-Mineralogy . 

principally from the fissures ; and the smoke, much thinner than that 
from the walls of the crater, appeared to be composed of nearly pure 
steam. Towards the northern edge of the bottom, a black cone, pierced 
with two mouths, almost diametrically opposite to each other, rose to a 
height of from 2b to 30 yards above the liquid lava. From each of 
these mouths a thick column of smoke and jets of melted matter con- 
tinually issued ; the column of smoke was traversed by an incandescent 
mass, projected into the air, which soon fell back again in a shower of fire. 
At intervals of 30 seconds, a dull noise was heard in the interior of the 
cone, and immediately a sheet of melted matter arose with a loud de- 
tonation, from one or other of the mouths alternately ; it fell back again 
in plates round the opening. At the same instant, a jet of fragments 
of various sizes was projected into the air, and rose to a height of 30 
or 40 yards. Having descended to the bottom of the crater, the 
observer, seated at a distance of 50 yards from the southern mouth, 
could see pretty distinctly what was passing in its interior, to a depth 
of two yards. The detonations which succeeded the internal noise