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Fellow 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 ; Fellon of 
the Royal Linnean, 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 
(he Antiquarian and Literary Society of Perth ; of the Statistical Society of Glasgow j 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 
,he Natural History Society of Wetterau ; of the Mineralogical 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 
Historj- Society of Calvados ; of the Senkenberg 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 
Ihf 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 Mechanical 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 j Honorary Member of the Statistical Society of France ; Member of the 
F.ntomological Societj- of Stettin, &c. &c. &c. 

APRIL 1848 .... OCTOBER 1848. 









Art. I. Biography of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisinis, Engineer- 
in-Chief and Director of Mines. By M. De 
BoucHEPORN, Mining Engineer, ... 1 

II. Some additional Observations on the Urinary Excre- 
ment of Insects. By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., 
Lond. & Ed., Inspector-General of Army Hospi- 
tals. Communicated by the Author, . . 17 

III. On the Erratic Basin of the Rhine. By M. A. Guyot. 

Communicated by the Author, ... 20 

IV. On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean, . . 27 

V. Notice of Carbonate of Copper and Zinc from Mat- 
lock. By Professor A. Connell. Communi- 
cated by the Author, ..... 36 

VI. On the Comparative Value of different Kinds of Coal 
for the purpose of Illumination ; and on Methods 
not hitherto pi-actised for ascertaining the Value 
of the Gases they afford. By Andrew Fyfe, 
M.D., F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Professor of Che- 
misti-y, King's College University, Aberdeen, &c. 
Communicated by the Royal Scottish Society of 
Arts, 37 

1. Quality of the Gases, ■ • • • 37 

2. Value of Coals for the purpose of Illumination, 42 

3. Expense for Light by Diflferent Gases, . . 44 
Oonsumpt of Gases under different Pressures, 48 



VII. On the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. By James 
Thomson, Jun., M.A., Glasgow College. Com- 
municated by the Author, .... 49 

VIII. On Carbonic Acid as a solvent in the process of Vege- 
tation. By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., Lond. & 
Ed., Inspector -General of Army Hospitals. Com- 
municated by the Author, .... 61 

IX. Geological Reseai'ches in the Neighbourhood of Cha- 
mounix, in Savoy, By Alphonso Favre, Pro- 
fessor of Geology to the Academy of Geneva. 
(With a Plate.) Communicated by the Author, 69 

X. A Brief Description of some Sepulchral Pits, of Indian 
origin, lately discovered near Penetanqueshene. 
By Edward W. Bawtree, M.D., Staff Assistant- 
Surgeon. Communicated by Sir James Mac- 
GRiGOR, Bart., F.R.S., &c., Director-General of 
the Army Medical Department. (With a Plate), 86 

XI. General View of the mode of Formation of Iceland, 102 

XII. 1. On the Cause of the recent Oscillation of the 
Waters in the Lake Ontario. 2. An account of 
the extraordinary Agitation of the Sea in Corn- 
wall and Devon, on Sunday the 23d May 1847. 

3. An Account of four Whirlwinds which passed 
throught St Just, on the 12th of December 1846. 

4. On the rapid Diminution of the Sand-banks in 
Mount's Bay. By Richard Edmonds, Jan., Esq., 107 

1. On the Causes of the recent Oscillatidu of the 

Waters in Lake Ontario, . . 107 

2. An Account of the extraordinary Agitation of the 

Sea in Cornwall and Devon, on Sunday the 23d 

of May 1847, 109 

3. All Account of Four Whirlwinds which passed 

through St .Just on the 12th of December 1846, 1 1 1 

4. On the rapid Diminution of the Sand-banks in 

Mount's Bay, . . . . 113 



XIII. On the Internal Pressure to which Rock Masses may- 

be subjected, and its possible influence in the Pro- 
duction of the Laminated Structui-e. By W. Hop- 
kins, M. A., F.R.S., 115 

XIV. The Volcanoes of Central France not in a State of 

Activity in the Age of Julius Csesar, . .110 

XV. Notes of a Botanical Excursion, with Pupils, to the 
Mountains of Braemar, Glenisla, and Clova, and 
to Benlawers, in August 1847- By J. H. Bal- 
four, M.D., Professor of Botany in the University 
of EdinburgliN Communicated by the Author, 122 

XVI. On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. By W. Sar- 

TORius VON Waltershausen, . . .129 

XVII. Description of a Portable Cofferdam, adapted specially 
for the use of Harbour and other Marine Works 
in exposed situations. By Thomas Stevenson, 
F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Civil Engineer, Edinburgh, 
(With a Plate.) Communicated by the Royal 
Scottish Society of Arts, .... 140 

XVIII. Of the Source of Motions upon the Earth, and of the 
means by which they are sustained. By Robert 
E. Brown, M.D., Edinburgh. Communicated by 
the Author, 148 

XIX. Account of the Pi'oceedings of the Geological Society 
of France for 1847- By Sir Henry de la Beche, 
President of the Geological Society of London, 155 

XX. On the Decomposition and partial Solution of Mme- 

rals, Rocks, &c., by Pure Water, and Water 
charged with Carbonic Acid. By Professor W. B. 
Rogers, and Professor R. E. Rogers, of the Uni- 
versity of Virginia, . . . . .163 

XXI. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, . 169 
XXII. Wernerian Natural History Society, . . . 174 


XXIII. Scientific Intelligence : — 


1. On the Question in Natural History, Have Genera, 
like Species, Centres of Disti-ibution ? 2. Quater- 
nary or Diluvian Formation. 3. Temperature of the 
Sea at Spitzbergen. 4. Analogy between the Fossil 
Flora of the European Miocene and the living Flora 
of America. 5. Burra-Burra Copper Mines in New 
Holland. 6. On an Amorphous Boracite. 7. On 
the Fossil Vegetation of Anthracite Coal. 8. Arti- 
ficial Colours in Agate. 9. The Coal of the Kangra 
Valley. 10. On the Silification of Plants and Ani- 
mals. 11. Reptilian Remains in the Coal Forma- 
tion. 12. On the Structure and Teratology of Crys- 
tallised Bodies. 13. M. Ebelmen on Artificial Hya- 
lite and Uydrophane. 14. Geology of the Coasts of 
Australia. 15. Present and former e.xtent of the 
Island of Heligoland. 16. On the Transporting 
power of Currents. 17. On the Occurrence of Ores 
of Mercury in the Coal Formation of Saarbriick, 



18. On the Plant which furnished the precious wood called 
Ebony, and on the country from which the Hebrews 
exported it. 19. Preservation of the Forests in the 
N.-W. P. of India. 20. The Tea Plantations in the 
N.-W. Provinces of India, and the Culture of Ame- 
rican Cotton in India, .... 190—194 

21. Equus Hemionus. 22. Notice of Dr Martin Barry's 
Physiological Discoveries. 23. On the Fossil Bones 
of the Ancient Birds of New Zealand. 24. On the 
Geographical Distribution of Animal Species, 


25. and 26. Projected Physico-Geographical Survey of 
Kumaon and Gurhwal. 27. Adulteration in Medi- 
cines, 197-199 

XXIV. New Publications received, . . . .199 

XXV. List of Patents granted for Scotland from 3d April to 

22d June 1848, 202 



Art. I. Biography of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins, Engineer- 
in-Chief and Director of Mines. By M. De 
BoucHEPORN, Mining Engineer. (Continued fi-om 
p. 16), 205 

II. On the Sources of the Nile in the Mountains of the 
Moon. By Charles T. Beke, Ph. D., F.S.A., 
&c. (With a Plate.) Communicated by the 
Author, 221 

III. Researches into the Effects of certain Physical and 
Chemical Agents on the Nei'vous System, By 
Marshall Hall, M.D., F.R.S., Foreign Asso- 
ciate of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Paris, 
&c., &c. (With a Plate.) Communicated by the 

Section I. On the Blectrogenic Condition of Muscular 
Nerves : — 

1. Introductory Observations, .... 252 

2. Precautions — Effects of Dryness — of External Mois- 

ture — of Extent of Contact, . . . 255 

3. The Electrogenic Condition of the Nerves; and its 

Discharge, . . .... 258 

4. Some Collateral Experiments, . . • 265 



IV. On the ComparatiTO Value of different Kinds of Coal 
for the purpose of Illumination ; and on Methods 
not hitherto practised for ascertaining the Value 
of the Gases they afford. By Andrew Fyfe, 
M.D., F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Professor of Che- 
mistry, King's College University, Aberdeen, &c. 
Communicated by the Royal Scottish Society of 
Arts. (Continued from p, 49), . . . 267 

V. On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. By W. Sar- 
TORius VON Waltershausen. (Continued from 
p. 140), 281 

VI. Of the Source of Motions upon the Earth, and of the 
means by which they are sustained. By Robert 
E. Brown, M.D., Edinburgh. Communicated by 
the Author. (Continued from p. 155), . . 302 

VII. Account of the Proceedings of the Geological Society 
of France and Ireland for 1847. By Sir Henry 
DE LA Beche, President of the Geological Society 
of London. (Continued from p. 163), . . 311 

VIII. On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula, 332 

IX. Anniversary Address, for 1848, to the Ethnological 
Society of London, on the recent Progress of 
Ethnology. By the President, James Cowles 
Prichard, M.D„ F.R.S., Member of the Insti- 
tute of France, &c. Communicated by the Society, 336 

X. On the Continuity of Metalliferous Repositories in 

Depth. By M. Amedee Burat, . . . 346 

XI. On the Vegetation of the Carboniferous Period, as 
compared with that of tho present day. By Dr 



Hooker, Botanist to the Geological Survey of the 
United Kingdom, . . . \ _ 362 

XII. On the Coal Formation recently found in the Marem- 
ma of Tuscany. (Extracted from a Notice of M. 
PiLLA, Professor in the University of Pisa.) By 
M. L. Frapolli, • . . . . 369 

XIII. Synopsis of Meteorological Observations made at White- 

haven, Cumberland, in the year 1847. By John 
Fletcher Miller, Esq., .... 374 

XIV. On the Asteriadfe found Fossil in British Strata. By 

Edward Forbes, Esq., F.R.S., Professor of Bo- 
tany in King's College, London, Palaeontologist 
to the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom, 379 

XV. Miscellaneous Observations on the Centipede (Scolo- 
pendra morsitans), and on the large Land Snail 
of the West Indies (Helix ohlonga). By John 
Davy, M.D., F.R.S. London and Edinburgh ; 
Inspector-General of Army Hospitals. Communi- 
cated by the Author, . . . . .383 

XVI. Oxydation of the Diamond in the Liquid Way. By 
Professor R. E. Rogers and Professor W. B. 
Rogers, University of Virginia, . . . 388 

XVII. List of Prizes by the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, 

for Session 1848-49, ..... 389 

XVIII. Scientific Intelligence : — 


1. Researches on the Constitution of the Atmosphero. 
2. An Account of some Observations niaile on the 
Depth of Kain which falls in the same localities at 



different altitudes in the Uilly Districts of Lanca- 
shire, Cheshire, and Derbyshire. 3. Inundation of 
the Indus, a.d. 1842, 4. Flood of the Macquaric, 


5. The Glacial Theory not abandoned by its author, 
Professor Agassiz. 6. Level of the Caspian and 
Dead Seas. 7. Common Salt. 8. Talus Slopes. 
9. On the remains of Marine Shells of Existing 
Species found interspersed in deep portions of the 
Hills of Drift and Boulders in the Heights of Brook- 
lyn, on Long Island, near New York, . 396—398 

10. The Number of Vertebrate, Molluscous, Articulated, 
and Radiated Animals. 11. On Changes in the 
Fauna of Sweden. 12. On the Sounds emitted by 
Molluscs. 13. On the Boring of the Molluscs into 
Rocks, and on the removal of portions of their Shells, 


XIX. Mr Thomson's Letter on Parallel Roads of Lochaber, 404 

XX. List of Patents granted for Scotland from 22d June 

to 22d September 1848 405 

Index, 4O9 




Biography of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins, Engineer-in-Chief 
and Director of Mines. By M. De Bouciieporn, Mining 

It is already upwards of five years since the Corps des 
Mines lost, in M. D'Aubuisson, one of the engineers who 
have done it most honour by their works, and whose life has 
been most constantly and laboriously employed in useful 
undertakings. The long scientific career which then termi- 
nated, dates from the beginning of the century, and never 
for a moment did his activity, always directed to works of 
positive utility, suffer any interruption. The Corps des Mines, 
in which he left so many old friends and a still greater num- 
ber of admirers, and which regarded his name as one of 
those most worthy of being preserved, could not fail to devote 
a page of their Annals to his memory. This mournful but 
honourable duty has been reserved for us, who had the son^ow 
to close his eyes ; and, notwithstanding the grief which must 
attend it, it would be a kind of consolation for our own indi- 
vidual loss, if we were not apprehensive of our insufticiency 
for the task. It would have belonged more appropriately to 
other engineers of longer standing than ourselves in the pro- 
fession, and who had been acquainted with M. D'Aubuisson 
for a longer period, to appreciate the works he has bequeathed 
to us, and the services he has rendered to science and the 
body with which he was connected. We shall attempt to do 
this notwithstanding, encouraged by the reflection, that none 
can speak of him under the influence of a truer attachment, 
and with a more sincere respect for his memoi-y. 

The whole of M. D'Aubuisson's life does not equally claim 

2 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 

our notice, although science occupied the principal part of it. 
He was an officer of artillery previously to the Revolution of 
1791, and at that time his career was interrupted ; after 
numerous vicissitudes, it was not till the age of 38 that he 
again obtained a settled occupation by joining, under circum- 
stances which formed an exception to the existing practice, 
the department of mining engineers, where he has since occu- 
pied so honourable a place, during almost an equal length of 
time. "We must be brief, however, on the early portion of 
M. D'Aubuisson's life, as science did not then occupy the prin- 
cipal part of it. In a biography of a less special nature, and 
less rich in other respects, this no doubt would be a blank 
to be regi'etted : a man of merit ought to be viewed in every 
aspect, and this, perhaps, in the present instance, would have 
been particularly desirable ; for M. D'Aubuisson was not 
only a distinguished savant, but also a man of heart and 
spirit, possessed of a generous and elevated mind, and the 
stormy seasons in which he spent his youth must have brought 
these qualities into prominent exercise. We shall not hesi- 
tate to sketch a few traits, without forgetting at the same 
time that this simple notice must be principally devoted to 
the scientific life of M. D'Aubuisson, — that it is chiefly to 
the memory of the engineer and man of science that we are 
called upon to pay a tribute. 

Jean-Fkan^ois D'Aubuisson de Voisins, Engineer-in- 
Chief and Director to the Corps Royal des Mines, Officer of 
the Legion of Honour, Chevalier of St Louis, corresponding 
member of the Institute of France, and perpetual Secretary 
to the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse, was born in that 
town on the 16th of April 1769.* He entered upon his 
earliest studies at Soreze, a school renowned in the south, 
where education, although conducted by priests and monks, 
was established on a broad basis, and directed pai"ticularly 
to the exact sciences, and such as are preparatory for the 
military art. On leaving his first studies, at the age of 18, 

* The year 1769, famous for the birth of Napoleon, is remarkable in the 
history of geology ; MM. Ouvier, Humboldt, De Bucb, Alex. Brongniart, belong 
to it, as well as M. D'Aubuisson. 

Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 3 

M. D'Aubuisson at lirst turned his views to the study of 
public law. He was destined for diplomacy, a department 
in which the relations of his family would have aided his 
progress, had not death suddenly carried off the ambassador 
on whom he chiefly depended for support. Undoubtedly, the 
aptitude of his mind, if that be sufficient, might have ensured 
him success in this sphere ; the correctness of his views, the 
justness and elevated tone of his ideas, would certainly have 
made him equal to the highest interests ; but we may, never- 
theless, here congratulate ourselves that his life was reserved 
for the sciences ; it might have been more brilliant, it could 
scarcely have been more useful. 

Having returned to his family, M. D'Aubuisson turned his 
attention more particularly to the exact sciences, in the wish 
to become an accomplished soldier ; he was admitted in 1789 
as a candidate in the Royal Corps of Artillery. Soon after 
that, the violent tempest of the French Revolution broke 
forth : the emigration of a great number of our nobilit}^ 
either voluntarily or by force, took place ; and this unfortu- 
nate consequence of our civil commotions removed M. D'Au- 
buisson also from his native land, and enrolled him among 
the small army of officers assembled under the orders of the 
Prince de Conde. He was still very young, and it forms no 
part of our plan to discuss, or even to indicate, the part which 
he may have taken in the transactions of this important era : 
that it is the province of History alone to appreciate, when, 
after subduing, by the influence of time, the passions and re- 
collections which are still too vivid, it shall assign to each 
the pi'oportion which rightly belonged to him, arising from 
his education, social tendencies, and political religion. "What 
we may at least affirm is this, that M. D'Aubuisson's moving 
principle, at this period of his life, which had so decisive an 
influence on his future prospects, was a virtue which is 
always noble, in whatsoever circumstances it may be exer- 
cised ; that is, enthusiasm. We may here only further re- 
mark, that this exile of emigration proved, so to speak, 
M. D'Aubuisson's scientific cradle ; it was here that he formed 
the first taste for, and made the earliest applications of, the 
studies which afterwai'ds formed the occupation of his whole? 

4 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson cle Voisins. 

life, and which have made him become one of the most dis- 
tinguished members of the Corps des Mines, and one of the 
savants vpho have contributed most to spread the taste and 
principles of geology in France, as well as the enlightened 
study of the laws and applications of hydraulics. 

A few years after M. D'Aubuisson had left France, the 
progress of events, and the disbanding of the army to which 
he belonged, left him in a foreign land free from political 
engagements, but insulated, without support, and almost 
destitute of resources. Poor as then were his other com- 
panions in exile, he had to think of some means of providing 
for his subsistence, by turning to account the advantages of 
an excellent education. But it was not en6ugh for a mind 
like that of M. D' Aubuisson's to employ its faculties to secure 
the well-being of the moment ; he must exert them to the 
further benefit of his own understanding, and the promotion 
of his own knowledge. Being above all things a man of 
sense and judgment, he felt it necessary to go along with 
the times, and work for a future object, however uncertain 
that future might be to him. He could not forget that France 
was the country of his birth ; neither could he believe that 
his return to it was for ever precluded. His principal object, 
therefore, was to obtain in Germany what should be fitted 
for that country ; to enrich himself with the most valuable 
knowledge to be found there, that he might afterwards carry 
it as a tribute to his native land. 

Germany, the country of mines, is one of the cradles of 
mineralogy, and of all the sciences which relate to the know- 
ledge and investigation of the earth's surface. The study of 
mineralogy and geology had already attained some eminence 
in France, for our own country had pi'oduced Rome de Lisle, 
Buflfon, Saussure, Haiiy, Vauquelin, and Dolomieu. But it 
flourished in Germany at this time with a peculiar lustre, for 
Werner taught at Freiberg. 

Attracted by the fame of this celebrated master, it was to 
Freiberg that D'Aubuisson repaired : in that classic town he 
took up his abode for many laborious years (from 1797 to 
1802), at times changing his studies, sometimes hearing, at 
other times giving, lectures; traversing Saxony, studying 

Memoir of M. D' Aubidsson de Voisins. 5 

its geological structure, the works of its mines, its machines, 
its metallurgic workshops, all with that eye of practical accu- 
racy which he exhibited then, and which appeared in all his 
succeeding works. Werner, that eminent genius, and en- 
thusiastic master of a science which he had in part created, 
and who has shone, perhaps, as much by the renown of his 
school and disciples as by his own merits, — Werner could 
not fail to appreciate the high qualities of mind possessed by 
D'Aubuisson. He had welcomed him at first with German 
kindness — with that kindness which was peculiar to himself; 
when he knew him better he honoui'ed him with his particu- 
lar friendship, to which M. D'Aubuisson responded with the 
zeal of an ardent proselyte, and an attachment the recollec- 
tion and influence of which was never effaced from his heart. 
It was, in fact, M. D'Aubuisson Avho translated Werner's 
principal work, the Theox'y of Veins, into French, and who 
was one of the first to make the fundamental ideas of this 
great mineralogist known amongst us.* In his small work 
on the Basalts of Saxony, and in the introduction to his 
Treatise in Geognosy, published long after, he has devoted 
some beautiful and noble pages to his memory. 

From the period of his abode at Freiberg, M. D'Aubuisson 
took rank among men of science, and among the distinguished 
writers on the art of mining and geology. Every year was 
marked by some important publication ; we shall first men- 
tion those which appeared in Germany. In 1800 and 1801 
he sent from Freiberg to the Journal des Mines ilwee length- 
ened memoirs on the preparation of the minerals of Saxony, 
a subject altogether practical, but new in France, and which 
he had studied on the spot with extreme precision. These 
memoirs had been preceded by two others of a more elevated 
character, devoted at least to subjects of a more general 
kind, the one on the jurisprudence of the mines of Germany, 
the other on the administration of the mhies of Saxony, and 
their economical produce ; a dissertation full of interest, pai*- 
ticularly at this time, when the need was felt of remodelling 

* An excellent translation of Werner on Veins was published by Dr Auder- 
Bon of Luitb, one of the urigiaal lueuiburs of the VVurneiian fciociety. 

6 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 

and improving the legislation relating to the mines in France. 
M. D'Aubuisson had given, and always afterwards continued 
to give, particular attention to these legislative considera- 
tions. Accordingly, the administration of mines did not fail 
to profit by his knowledge in many circumstances, and par- 
ticularly in the preparation of the great law on mines in 
1810. In these early memoirs of which we now speak, he 
advocated strongly the adoption of certain principles which 
have since acquired the force of law in France, for example, 
that of a complete separation between the proprietorship of 
the mines and that of the surface of the ground. 

From 1801 to 1802 M. D'Aubuisson was occupied with a 
work of a more permanent character, which he published in 
three volumes, on the Mines of Freiberg.* This was a work 
containing much more than its modest title promised ; for this 
monograph of the Mines of Saxony is conceived according to 
so extensive a plan, that it seems rather a general treatise on 
the Art of Mining than a particular description. The author, 
in reality, passes in successive review the working of mines 
among the ancients, the classification and general disposition 
of metalliferous masses according to Werner's viewS; on which 
little had then been written; then all the technical generalities 
respecting the woi-king of metalliferous mines, comprehending 
the methods of cai'riage and ventilation, sinking of shafts, 
wood-work and masonry, hydraulic moving powers, the pre- 
paration of minerals ; next the topography, history, and sta- 
tistics of the mines of Freiberg taken collectively, the distri- 
bution of all their moving water, their administration ; and, 
lastly, a particular description of each of them. This publi- 
cation contained the germ of all the researches, whether 
mineralogical or hydx'aulic, which have been rendered so in- 
teresting to science by the works of the latter half of his life. 

He gives an account, in this work, of a numerous series of 
experiments made by him in the bottom of the mines of 
Freiberg, on the important question, which was still unsettled, 
of subterranean temperature. He was, in fact, along with 
M. Cordier, now General Inspector of Mines, one of the first 

* Des Mines de Freiberg en Saxe et do leur exploitation. Leipsick, 1802. 

Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voistns. 7 

men of science, after Saussure, who occupied themselves with 
these interesting experiments, and who have established, by 
positive figures, the great fact, up to that time doubtful, that 
the temperature increases with the depth. It ought to be 
mentioned, at the same time, that M. D'Aubuisson, carried 
away by the doctrine of Werner, did not then admit the in- 
ternal heat of the globe, as may be seen in a memoir on the 
temperature of the earth, inserted in the 62d volume of the 
Journal de Physique (April 1806.) 

About the same period (1802) appeared the French trans- 
lation of Werner's Theory of Veins. 

All the earliest of M. D'Aubuisson's writings, all that he 
composed during his residence in Germany, are therefore 
specially devoted to the study of mines, properly so called, 
and the mode of working them. Placed near the greatest 
centre of metalliferous mines, he became enthusiastic at the 
sight of these places, and engaged in the laborious investiga- 
tion of the work of the miners. This rude and technical 
labour was pei'haps, in other respects, an effort which he im- 
posed upon his mind to alleviate the sorrows of a long exile ; 
and it was not till his return to France that his mind was 
sufficiently at ease to engage in publications of a more gene- 
ral and less practical description. This return to his native 
country, so desirable and so long desired, at last took place, 
after ten years' attempts, upon the general recall of the 

But in reference to this subject, and in the interval of time 
of which we have spoken, we must place an incident in the 
life of M. D'Aubuisson, which we cannot permit ourselves to 
pass over in silence, notwithstanding the reserve we have 
prescribed for ourselves in regard to all that concerns his 
private life only. This trait at once indicates the warmth of 
his heart and the energy that were conspicuous in his cha- 
racter. From the bosom of Germany, where he was passing 
his exile, his eyes continued incessantly turned to France, to 
his native town, to his family ; the desire of seeing them again 
became so strong, that one day he could no longer resist it, 
and he set out. The law of death against emigres was then 
enforced in all its rigour ; but he had decided that he should 

8 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Foisins. 

again see his relatives, that he should again place his foot 
upon his native ground, should it be only for a few days ; and, 
animated by this pious idea, he undertook this long pilgrimage, 
from which, according to all appearance, he would never re- 
turn. He arrived at Paris, and had the boldness to assist, 
under a German name, at a scientific meeting, where he was 
recognised as French, and escaped the consequences of this 
imprudent act only by a kind of miracle. He then traversed 
all France, partly on foot, visited Toulouse, finally embraced 
his father and his family, then with a contented heart re- 
gained the frontier, and again found consolation for his exile 
in his studies at Freiberg. 

Similar traits, no doubt, were not I'are at that time, when 
French courage shewed itself under so many different forms ; 
but whatever be the measure we are inclined to assign to it, 
it is certain that in its motive and execution, it could only 
belong to a strong mind and an excellent heart. 

Having at length returned definitively to France, in con- 
sequence of the consular amnesty, we find M. D' Aubuisson 
engaged in geological publications of a freer spirit, and taking 
an active share in the great debate of the period, that between 
the Neptunians and Vulcanists. M. D'Aubuisson's banner 
could not be doubtful ; it was that of Werner. It was seen, 
however, that he was animated by a truly philosophical spirit, 
and did not blindly follow the guidance of a settled system, 
but that he sought for and recognised the truth, even when 
it cost him the public avowal of an error. 

When traversing Saxony as an observer, he thought that 
he perceived, in the position and nature of the basalts of that 
country, facts calculated to extend the principles of the Frei- 
berg school, to which he had devoted all the ardour of his 
first convictions. He made this the subject of an interesting 
memoir, written with elegance, in which the observations 
were brought forward and discussed with I'emarkable care 
and method, and which produced much effect on the Institute, 
to which it was read in the beginning of 1803. The Nep- 
tunians, I believe, then formed the majority in the Institute.* 

* Dr P. Neill, universally known as a learned and sagacious naturalist, jJub- 
lisbed a translation of D'Aubuisson's celebrated work on the Basalts of Saxony, 

Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 9 

This, in effect, was throwing a glove on the arena ; M. 
D'Aubuisson thought that he could prove that the basaltic 
masses, which crown some of the summits of the Erzgebii'ge,* 
were nothing else than fragments of a grand continuous layer, 
the modern deposit of waters, which had covered all the 
country ; a conclusion which he seemed to consider as uni- 
versal in regard to this kind of rock. Such also was Werner's 
general opinion with respect to basalts : and the idea, however 
paradoxical it may appear to us now, had then the support of 
other authorities not less high in science ; thus, the woi-k in 
question may be said to be only a development of this phrase 
of Dolomieu, " The basalts of Saxony (black prismatic traps) 
may be produced in the humid way." M. D'Aubuisson had 
taken this as the epigraph of his memoir, and a touch- 
ing allusion, made in the course of it, to the loss then so 
recent and unfortunate, of the illustrious French geologist, 
contributed to shed an interest over his work, and tended to 
secure for the author the good-will of the Institute. Of this 
an honourable proof was soon given him. He confessed in 
his memoirs that he had hitherto enjoyed no opportunity of 
observing any volcano, either in a state of activity or extinct. 
The Academy gave him a commission to visit those of Au- 
vergne and Vivarais, in order that he might obtain the ele- 
ments of a discussion opposite to the former ; and he was 
charged to make a detailed communication on the subject on 
his return. 

M. D'Aubuisson worthily fulfilled this mission, for he ful- 
filled it as a true friend of truth, affording a rare instance of 
tlie rejection of the conviction he had entertained, and which 
liad procured for him so many adherents. As soon as he 
arrived in Auvergne, he observed the obvious passage of the 
scoriaceous lavas into basalt, which are to be found there 
at evei'y step. He could no longer doubt his error as to the 
supposed Neptunian origin of the Saxony basalts, and, frankly 

with many imijortant annotations and additions. Dr Neill, like Dr Anderson 
already mentioned, is one of the original members of the Worncrian SociGty. 

* The small chain which separates Saxony from Bohemia, and wliosc name 
signifies metalli/crous mountains. M. Ue Bonnard made us acquainted with 
their geological constitution, in 1816, in his important memoir, Esiai Qeoynos- 
tique sur VJCrztjebirye. 

10 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 

abandoning it, he made a refutation, in a report presented to 
the Institute in 1804, of his own opinions. " And we wit- 
nessed (to borrow the expression of an individual of much 
intelligence, who has devoted some pages to the memory of 
M. D'Aubuisson, his relation) ; we witnessed a philosopher, 
truly worthy of the name, employing all the resources of his 
mind to demonstrate that he had been mistaken."* It was 
an interesting incident. He told me that some academicians 
never forgave him. 

I cannot here refrain from paying a just tribute to "Werner, 
and the principles of his school. Beyond the views he enter- 
tained, so beautiful and fruitful in results, respecting the suc- 
cession of formations, and metallic veins, Werner professed 
certain systematic ideas now generally abandoned, and which 
will probably never again be revived in science ; but Werner 
had seen at least that the body of doctrines called Geognosy, 
that is to say, knowledge of the earth, has its principle in 
observation ; he had, therefore, taught his pupils to observe 
and listen to the language of facts ; he had given them a taste 
for facts. In a word, he formed great observers ; and it is in 
this respect particularly that he has deserved so well of 
science and of posterity ; for, according to this method, error 
can only last for a time, and truth, sooner or later, is brought 
to light. By this method, every thing resulting from the 
exertions of honest minds contributes to the study of nature ; 
since neither the resistance they encounter to-day, nor the 
changes which the general progress of ideas will induce to- 
morrov/, have the power of discouraging them. The inevitable 
errors which may still accompany this labour of the mind, 
founded on observation, can only be ephemeral in their effects ; 
what is true remains, and will form a point of departure 
for others, sometimes more highly gifted, but not on that ac- 
count alone more deserving. 

In consideration of his remarkable works, M. D'Aubuisson 
at last obtained a situation at Paris, a small recompense for 
his merits, but which at least permitted him to devote him- 
self more freely to the cultivation of the sciences in which 

* Eloge pronounced to the Academy dcs jetix floraux, by M. Le Vicomte de 

Memoir of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins. 11 

he was so skilled : he was nominated, in the beginning of 
1803, coadjutor to the Conservator of the Mineralogical 
Collections in the School of Mines, in Paris, and specially 
entrusted with the examination and translation of foreign 
memoirs. He employed the leisure of this modest place use- 
fully for himself and for science, engaging for the most part 
in journeys of observation and study ; with which, on his re- 
turn, he enriched the principal scientific collections, and par- 
ticularly the Journal des Mines, where his publications suc- 
ceeded each other with a remarkable continuity. The Me- 
moir on the Volcanoes of Auvergne and Vivarais, is of the 
date of 1804. Nearly at the same time, he published a work 
of an entirely different kind, Sur les Leves de Plans Souter- 
rains par la methode des coordonees, a method generally fol- 
lowed since then, and which he believed he was the first to 
discover ; but, though in disuse, it had been known in Ger- 
many since 1772. He likewise published in the Journal of 
Mines, notices on the Coal-mines of Silesia, on the different 
Foundriesof Germany, and on the Steam-engines of the Mines 
of Tarnowitz. In 1805, a memoir appeared on the great 
Coal-mines of Anzin, in which were interesting and detailed 
observations (the first which had been printed), on the singu- 
lar and characteristic contortions, which have given a sort of 
celebrity in geology to the coal -formation of that country, 
and on the passage of large subterranean sheets of water, 
which render it so difficult to penetrate to its rich masses of 
coal ; a powerful obstacle, in fact, which seems to have been 
placed there by nature to defend the approaches to it, as 
formerly the di'agon of the fable was said to have guarded 
the entrance and the riches of the garden of the Hesperides ; 
but what obstacle can resist the efforts of that modern Her- 
cules, steam ? 

In 180G, M. D'Aubuisaon again inserted in the Journal of 
Mines, the description of a mining operation of the highest 
interest, that of a bed of galena, near Tarnowitz, in Silesia, 
a description completed by a work on the metallui-gic treat- 
ment of this mineral. Among other valuable details in these 
two memoirs, we find an account of the curious process em- 
ployed at Tarnowitz to cross a formation of moving sands by 

12 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 

means of mining pits, which consists in building a tower of 
masonry on the surface of the ground, which is allowed to 
sink by its own weight. This process, so original in its in- 
vention, had been brought into Silesia by a Frenchman, and 
has been since employed with much success, again by a 
Frenchman, in piercing one of the most beautiful subter- 
ranean works in existence, the tunnel under the Thames. 

Also in 1806, M. D'Aubuisson wrote a first memoir on the 
measurement of heights by the barometer, the formula of 
which he discussed and modified ; thus forming a prelude to 
his more impoi'tant barometrical works, of which we shall 
speak afterwards. He employed another portion of the same 
year in expei'imenting on the useful effects of the hydraulic 
machines of Poullaouen and Huelgoat, in Bretagne, and on 
the temperature in the interior of mines, in continuation of 
studies of the same kind undertaken at Freiberg. We ought 
likewise to mention some chemical investigations which 
occupied him during this period of his studious life, parti- 
cularly researches on the hydrate of iron, by which he shews 
that the water in it is combined with oxide of iron in defi- 
nite proportion, a circumstance which was not at that time 
without novelty. 

We now reach the period when M. D'Aubuisson obtained 
that reward of his labours of which he was most ambitious, 
because it enabled him to employ the future in satisfying his 
tastes, and in prosecuting the object of his long continued 
study ; on the 13th February 1807, he was attached to the 
Corps des Mines, with the title of engineer. The following 
was the occasion of this appointment. The French territory 
having become greatly extended, by conquest, the Emperor 
wished that four engineers should be appointed to the new de- 
partments which had been formed at the expense of Piedmont, 
Belgium, and Switzerland. The members of the engineering 
department were limited in number, and two eleves only were 
disposable; althDugh it was the rule that it could be aug- 
mented only by drawing from the Ecole Poly technique, yet 
the need of men of knowledge and experience being imme- 
diate, M. D'Aubuisson was proposed by the Council of 
Mines, and soon after nominated. The service of the de- 

Memoir of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins. 13 

partments of Doira and Sesia was entrusted to him. This 
was, no doubt, an anomaly, according to the existing rules ; 
all that we can say on the subject is, that this anomaly could 
not be justified by more real and special merit, by greater 
scientific services in the past, and better guarantees for the 
future. It was what I may call an extra-legal piece of good 
fortune for the Administration of Mines, on which we may 
freely congratulate ourselves, for an example attended by 
such a concurrence of circumstances and of merit could not 
be a dangerous precedent, 

M. D'Aubuisson remained five years in Piedmont ; and he 
spent them in continual activity, in the midst of numerous 
forges, the metalliferous mines of the sub-alpine country, and 
the high belt of mountains which bounds it. From time to 
time, however, he returned to Paris for the publication of his 
scientific labours, which were never for a moment interrupted, 
and for which he rendered the advantages of his position, in 
the interesting localities around him, immediately available. 
The depai'tments which he had to inspect, and which he may 
be said to have had to organise in a mineralogical point of 
view, were situated on the declivity of the Great Alps ; and 
of this situation he availed himself for geological study on 
the one hand, and on the other for experiments of the highest 
interest on the important subject of the measurement of 
heights by the barometer. 

His geological observations have been summarily stated 
in a memoir inserted in the Journal of Mines, vol. xxix., 
under the title of Statistique Miner alogique du Departement de 
la Doire. Independently of the interest which always attaches 
to the study of a little-known country, the composition of this 
work, and the important generalities it contains, recommend 
it to attention. It is by no means confined to mineralogical 
observations, but embraces, so to speak, all the details of the 
physical and climatological constitution of this side of the 
Alps ; he describes, in a picturesque style, the disposition 
of the valleys, the structure and aspect of the mountains, 
the nature of the soil and cultivation ; gives the heights of the 
principal summits, many of which had been measured by 
the author himself ; he likewise states the result of his own 

14 Memoir of M. D^ Aubuisson de Voisins. 

observations on the limit of perpetual snow, the variation of 
culture with the level of the ground, on the height of the 
most elevated habitation, and lastly, on that dismal plague 
of mountainous countries, well worthy of the attention of na- 
turalists, and which engaged the notice of Saussure, cretinism. 
His observant mind thus embraced all subjects, and seized 
all the details useful or interesting to science. "With regard 
to the part strictly geological, what appears most prominent 
in this memoir, in a general point of view, is the distinctness 
and force with which he perceived and pointed out the gradual 
passage of the rocks apparently primordial, into formations 
which, by their nature and fossils, are unquestionably se- 
condary ; a result, it is true, ft'om which M. D'Aubuisson de- 
duced no consequences, except in relation to the formations 
called primitive ; but which, in reality was, after the beauti- 
ful work of M. Brochant de Villiers on the Tai'entaise, the 
second step towards this pi'Ogressive rejuvenescence of the 
formations of the Alps, continued from that time, and com- 
pleted in our own day, particularly by geologists of whom 
also the Corps des Mines has reason to be proud. These ob- 
servations likewise tended to throw light on the transforma- 
tion of sedimentary rocks into ci'ystalline rocks, by igne- 
ous influence, one of the most positive theorems of modern 
geology, but which was then very strange even to the notions 
of the author himself. He was led, nevertheless, by his ac- 
curacy of observation to a conclusion, which the Edinburgh 
School alone, at that time, began to deduce theoretically from 
principles of an entirely different nature, and introduce for 
the first time into the science. 

The work published by M. D'Aubuisson at the same period, 
on the measurement of heights by the barometer, a work at 
once theoretical and experimental, is one of those which do 
him most honour. His abode at the foot of the Alps had 
furnished him at once with the idea, and the means of acting 
upon it. "We hive already seen that, in the year 1806, he 
had turned his attention to the true form and true value to 
be assigned to the different constructions of the barometrical 
formula — a formula of which the experiments of Pascal and 
Mariotte had laid the first foundation ; and which, since 

Memoir of M. D" Auhuisson de Voisins. 15 

that time, so many distinguished philosophers, Halley, 
Bougner, Deluc, Laplace, Gay-Lussac, Ramond, Biot, and 
Arago, have contributed to establish or bring to perfection. 
In his sojourn at the foot of the Alps, M. D'Aubuisson found 
a favourable opportunity of submitting this important matter 
to the test of rigorous and enlightened experiment. In con- 
cert with M. Mallet, chief engineer of Ponts-et-Chaussees, 
now honorary inspector-general, he measured by ti'iangula- 
tion (and with a precision which the most competent autho- 
rities, MM. Laplace, Biot, and Arago, Commissioners of the 
Institute, have acknowledged to be perfect) ; the height of 
Mount Gregorie, a peak in the north of Piedmont, about 2000 
metres above the sea, having its summit completely insula- 
ted. He then measured the same height by means of the 
barometer, with all the requisite precautions, on ten different 
days ; and the application of his formula to this measurement, 
gave him a mean height only two thousandths greater than 
the trigonometrical method ; a very slight difference, but 
which he availed himself of in order to correct the constant 
coefficients of his two comparative formulae. Lastly, by ap- 
plying the different known barometrical formulae to the same 
measurements, he could submit them to a very interesting 
comparative test. 

But this was not enough for M. D'Aubuisson ; he was de- 
sii'ous that his abode among the Alps should enable him to 
exhaust all that related to this important subject. He had 
still to examine the horary and daily influence on the variable 
cards of the barometrical method, to investigate the meaning 
and limit of these errors, and the effect of each cause. For 
this purpose, he went and set up a barometer at the hospice 
of the Great St Bernard, the highest inhabited spot then 
known, and for the space of fifty-two days he made conse- 
cutive observations, either personally, undertaking frequent 
and fatiguing journeys for the pui'pose, or by means of the 
good monks who inhabited the hospice ; those observations 
he compared, at the same time, with others made by a baro- 
meter stationed' at Turin. This is not the place to enter into 
a detail of these interesting experiments ; it may be merely 
remarked, that the greatest influence was found to be that 

16 Memoir of M. D' Auhuisson de Voisins. 

of the hour, the warmest hour giving the heights sensibly 
greater (about a thousandth as a mean of total elevation.) 
This influence he ascribed principally to the excess of rever- 
beration to which the solar radiation was subject in a low 
station, which changed the law of temperature in the strata 
of air. 

All the results above alluded to, were stated in a beauti- 
ful memoir read to the Institute in March and April 1810, 
which received the most flattering approbation. 

But these valuable scientific researches did not make 
M. D'Aubuisson forget the duties demanded of him by his 
ofl&ce as an engineer ; on the contrary, he fulfilled them with 
an activity and success, to which the peculiar state of this 
country gave additional value. During his residences in 
Paris, the administration likewise called in the aid of his 
knowledge in preparing the law on mines, and on the func- 
tions of the body of civil-engineers ; he thus obtained a claim 
to advancement, which, besides, he might have been allowed 
legitimately to expect on the ground of age. In 1811, on the 
new minera^ogical subdivison of the territory, he was no- 
minated engineer-in-chief of the arrondissement of Toulouse, 
then very extensive. 

M. D'Aubuisson's wishes were thus fulfilled. Restored to 
his native country, in a position if not brilliant, on the score 
of fortune, at least highly respectable, and calculated to in- 
dicate his personal merit ; and to this modest position, he 
afterwards confined all his ambition, only seeking to adorn 
and exalt it by his labours. Many others, in his place, might 
have thought that as the future was henceforth secure, the 
hour of repose was now come ; but such a mind as that of 
M. D'Aubuisson knew nothing of cessation or rest. Instead 
of looking for a termination to his labours in his new posi- 
tion, he only saw an opportunity of enlarging their sphere, 
and of being useful, at once to science, to the state, and to 
his native city. To the latter, as we shall soon have occa- 
sion to mention, he rendered eminent services during a re- 
sidence of thirty years, but particulai'ly dui'ing the fourteen 
years in which he acted as municipal counsellor. 

(To he concluded in our nenct number.) 

( 17 ) 

Some additional Observations on the Urinary Excrement of In- 
sects. By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., Lond. & Ed., Inspec- 
tor-General of Army Hospitals. Communicated by the 

In a former communication, I noticed the results of experi- 
ments tending to prove that the urinary excrement of many 
different species of insects in their perfect state— all that I 
examined— consisted chiefly of lithate of ammonia. Since 
then I have subjected to trial the excrements of caterpillars, 
of two or three kinds of butterflies, and also of hawk-moths 
and likewise the excrement accumulated in the larva state of 
each, and voided by them immediately after quitting the pu- 
parium, on assuming the imago form, and preparatory to 
taking wing and exercising the functions of the perfect in- 

The excrement of caterpillars, obtained when feeding on 
leaves, was chiefly fa^cal and very abundant, voided in small 
dark cylindrical masses. Acted on by very dilute nitric acid, 
and by alcohol, using separate portions, a very little lithic 
acid was detected in it, which probably existed as lithate of 
ammonia in the excretion, and some hippuric acid, judgino- 
from the crystals found on evaporation after solution in mu- 
riatic acid, and from other properties. 

The excrement of the caterpillars of the hawk-moths, when 
feeding, was very similar in appearance to the preceding, and 
resembled it also in composition. Hippuric acid was detected 
in it and lithic acid, and the latter in larger proportion, in- 
deed, in one instance, it was to be seen adhering to the little 
excrementitious masses as a whitish incrustation. This under 
the microscope was found to consist of globules of about 
Tijooo of an inch in diameter; and it had the properties of 
lithate of ammonia. 

The excrement voided by the butterflies I have had under 
observation immediately after quitting their puparia, has • 
commonly been a brownish turbid fluid. I have detected in 
it a very little lithate of ammonia, and u considerable pro- 
portion of hippuric acid. In one instance that the fluid had 

18 Dr Davy on the 

a reddish hue, it was found to be owing to the presence of a 
little purpurate of ammonia. Under the microscope, crystals 
were detected in it also of lithic acid. 

The excrement of the hawk-moths on quitting their pu- 
paria, was a turbid fluid of a reddish-brown colour, with a 
sediment of a fawn colour. The sediment, which was very 
abundant, consisted chiefly of granules of from to o o o to ts o o iy 
of an inch in diameter, as seen under the microscope, and 
was composed of lithate of ammonia. In the turbid fluid 
hippuric acid was detected, and also a trace of purpurate of 
ammonia, and of lithate of ammonia. 

Urea was sought for both in the excrement of the papi- 
lio and sphinx caterpillars, and in that voided on the acquir- 
ing of the imago state, but without well-marked results ; in 
one or two instances, there were appearances rather indica- 
tive of its presence ; and I think it probable, that were larger 
quantities of the excreted matter to be examined than I 
had an opportunity to collect, it would be found to be a con- 
stituent part, at least occasionally. 

The existence of hippuric acid in the urine of the leaf-eat- 
ing caterpillars may be considered as pointing to an analogy 
between the secretion in them and in the herbivorous mam- 
malia. The quantity of urinary excrement formed in the 
pupa stage of the insects under consideration, and voided on 
their quitting this stage, is remarkably lai'ge. It may be 
conjectured to be derived from elements obtained from cer- 
tain organs of the caterpillar, in its state of transition ; and 
the large quantity of nitrogenous matter, especially of lithic 
acid which it contains, seems in favour of this conclusioji. 

This composition of the excrement of catei'pillars, and of 
that voided in the assuming of the perfect form of insect, 
leads, in considering what pai't they may perform in the econo- 
my of Nature, to the conclusion, that they are not altogether 
destructive, and that, on the whole, they may be more use- 
ful to the vege!,able kingdom than injurious ; as by manuring 
where they have depastured ; and by feeding on the leaves of 
some plants, as they commonly do in preference to others, 
(one species of caterpillar mostly choosing for its food the 
leaves of only one species of plant), checking thereby the ex- 

Urinary Excrement of Insects. 19 

tension of one kind, and favouring the growth of other kinds. 
In illustration of their excrement acting as manure, I may 
mention that I have seen in this island, a field of many acres 
of sweet potatoes that was laid bare in a night by the inva- 
sion of caterpillars ; in the morning scarcely a leaf was left, 
and the caterpillars had disappeared ; but they had deposited 
where they had thus voraciously fed, abundance of their ex- 
crement, almost darkening the ground ; and shortly, the plants 
vegetated afi'esh and vigorously, and a good crop of roots 
was obtained. The illustration of their promoting the 
growth of various species of plants commingled, is best wit- 
nessed in flower-beds, and in wild natui'e, especially within the 
tropics, where, under favourable circumstances, the powers 
of vegetation are so great, and where, without some check, 
such as the one alluded to, the plants of most rapid and vigor- 
ous growth would deprive all others, feebler gi'owing, near 
them, of nourishment, and would starve them to death. 

I have endeavoured to detect the urinary organs in the 
catei'pillars of the hawk-moths. Their large size was favour- 
able to the inquiry ; but I cannot say that I have been per- 
fectly successful. On each side of the intestinal canal, there 
is a large quantity of yellowish matter, in which, examined 
under the microscope, ai'e to be seen innumerable minute 
tubes, some of them, no doubt, tracheae, others probably ovi- 
ducts, and some I apprehend performing the function of se- 
creting urine. I am led to this conclusion in consequence of 
finding that by digesting the yellow matter in very dilute ni- 
tric acid, traces of lithic acid are obtained in evaporating the 
solution formed, and heating the residue. A small glandular 
mass near the anal extremity of the intestinal tube, whicli I 
suspected might be the urinary organ, similarly treated, yield- 
ing only negative results. 

IUrbadoes, March 8, 1848. 

( 20 ) 

On the Erratic Basin of the Rhine. By M. A. GUVOT. 
Communicated by the Author. 

The following are the results of M. Guyot's last investiga- 
tions of the erratic basin of the Rhine, during the autumn 
of 1844 and the summer of 1845. 

This basin, of which we have hitherto known very little, 
not to say nothing at all, is the most considerable after that 
of the Rhone. It has not, like the latter, a double divergency 
in two opposite directions. On issuing from the valley of 
the Rhine, at the origin of the lake of Constance, it is from 
20 to 25 leagues in breadth and equal in length, in a direction 
of north-west and west, which is that of the lake, and it dis- 
appears on the declivities of the Wurtemberg Jura, or Rau- 
halp, which it nowhere exceeds in height. We may, therefore, 
affirm in the present day, that the line of the Jura has served 
as a banner to the Alpine erratic formation, throughout its 
whole length ; that this formation has never passed over it, 
not even in the region where the conflux of the Aar and 
Rhine takes place, although, at this point, the chain under- 
goes so considerable a diminution in height that it may al- 
most be called a gap. 

Limits. — The erratic rocks of the basin of the Rhine are 
essentially derived from the three valleys of the anterior 
Rhine, the middle Rhine, and the xilbula, the two latter of 
which unite in the Domleschg, and again join themselves, 
above Coire, to that of the anterior Rhine. Further down, 
the valley of Praettigau, and especially the great valley of 
Montafun, on the I'ight bank, furnish to this basin a contin- 
gent of rocks proportionally very considerable. 

A little way from its origin, the basin of the Rhine pre- 
sents a very remarkable bifurcation ; the erratic formation 
diverges not only by the transverse valley which the Rhine 
follows from Meyenfield and Luciensteig, but likewise by the 
lake of Wallenstadt and the valley of Gaster, where it en- 
counters blocks of the valley of Limmat, in the neighbour- 
hood of Wesen and Schaennis. There it is gradually pushed 
back by the more powerful erratic formation of the Linth ; 

M. A. Guyot on (he Erratic Basin of the Rhine. 21 

it accompanies and mixes with it, and soon appears only in 
insulated blocks along the eastern border of the basin of the 
Linth. In the neighbourhood of Chateau de Kybourg and 
Winterthour, the rocks of the Rhine again meet with their 
congeners, which descend by the principal valley by turning 
round the mountains of Appenzell. 

The principal branch follows the valley of the Rhine. On 
the left side, the boundary line runs along the mass of the 
Sentis, turns round the mountains of Appenzell, reaching 
the summit of the passages, without letting any other debris 
escape to the interior of the country than a few small blocks 
or rolled pebbles, passes on the heights which overlook 
Rheinach and Rorschach, turns to the south-west by the hills 
situate to the south of St Gall, reaching nearly to Herisau, 
passes to Tegerschen, intersects the plateau de Magdenau, 
cuts the valley of Thour transversely near lonschwyl, then 
resuming its normal direction towards the north-west, it runs 
along by Bichelsee and Schauenberg, towards Schlatt and 
Winterthour. Further on, it follows the valley of Tocss, 
and crossing the Rhine near Eglisau, reaches the heights near 
Neuenkirch and Du Uauden to the west of Schaffliouse. 

The eastern limit, or that of the right side, at first almost 
effaced by the immense fall of linestones in the vicinity of 
Luciensteig and Balzers, soon rises to a considerable height 
on the Frastensersand above Feldlkirch. On the eastern 
declivity of this same chain, many hundred feet higher still, 
we find the erratic formation of the long valley of Montafun, 
To the north of Feldkirch, it runs along the heights of Vo- 
lalberg above Embs, of Dornbirn and Sulzberg, passes Holz- 
leuten in the neighbourhood of Stauffen, then by the heights 
of Ebrazthofen and Isny. Further to the north, the points 
of Schellenberg and PfuUendorf, which I owe, the first to M. 
De Buch, the second to Professor Walchner, will very nearly 
fix the extreme limits of the basin. The rocks of the Rhetian 
Alps ascend, we observe, to the summit of the plateaux of 
Suabia, and even encroach on the domain of the Danube. 
On the east and north, the limit is difficult to trace ; the 
blocks are small and thinly scattered, for the most part 
rolled, lost under the earth or among the accumulation of 

22 M. A. Guyot on the Erratic Basin of the Rhine. 

pebbles and worn fragments, the greater number of lime- 
stone, strongly striated, and accompanied, as usual, with a 
greater or less quantity of mud. 

The basin of the Rhine, unlike those of the Rhone and the 
Gothard, presents us with none of these enormous blocks 
which surprise the geologist, and receive particular names 
from the inhabitants of the country. The rolled blocks, 
with their angles very much worn off, are very numerous in 
it, especially along the sides and extreme limits. The lime- 
stone blocks, which are in great abundance, particularly along 
the left bank, are rounded and striated. The angular blocks, 
and of a certain size, are found chiefly in long trains in the 
centre of the basin. The sides of the lake of Constance are 
even destitute of large and angular blocks to a distance 
of many hundred feet above its level ; but the accumulation 
of pebbles of the same species are there numerous and ex- 

The space comprised between the two branches of the 
erratic basin of the Rhine, occupied by the central mass of 
Haut-Sentis, and bounded on the south by the chain of Kur- 
fursten, is destitute of the erratic fragment.s of the Rhine, 
which seem not even to have passed the Col de Wildhaus, 
notwithstanding its inconsidei'able height of 3600 feet. The 
first fragments appear below Wildhaus on the Rheinthal road, 
at a height of about 3200 feet. But the Molasse and the 
Nagelfluhe of the whole of this region, and, in particular, of 
the valley of Toggenbourg, are covered with numerous lime- 
stone blocks, often very angular, sometimes rolled, accom- 
panied with considerable deposits of limestone and sand- 
stone pebbles. These debris constitute a very characteristic 
erratic formation, derived no doubt from the high summits 
and valleys of Sentis and KurfUrsten ; for we often observe 
in the blocks the fossils which characterise the shelly strata 
of the neighbouring chains. The general movement or spread 
appears to havi been directed to the north. The effusion 
of these masses has no doubt been arrested or disturbed 
by meeting with the erratic rocks of the Rhine ; but the in- 
riuence of this basin of the Sentis is felt much beyond its ap- 
parent limits by the extreme abundance of the blocks and 

M. A. Guyot on the Erratic Basin of the Bhine. 23 

limestone debris, the number of which, in this place, greatly 
exceeds that of the crystalline rocks of the valley of the Rhine. 
An important remark is this, that, from the moment when 
these limestones come in contact with the rocks of the Rhine, 
the angular blocks disappear, but thenimierous rolled blocks 
which replace them are almost all strongly furrowed and 
striated. This circumstance seems to indicate that the cal- 
careous blocks had already taken possession of these coun- 
tries when the erratic rocks of the Rhine came thither, and 
that it is to the agent which transported them to these places 
that we must ascribe this change in their manner of exist- 

Tlie existence of this new erratic region proves that, from 
the height of these calcareous summits also, has descended 
an alluvium, whose characters are absolutely the same as 
those of the erratic basins with primitive rocks, and which 
has no doubt been dispersed by causes altogether ana- 
logous. The insxilarity of this erratic region in the middle 
of the basin of the Rhine, its distance from the central chains 
of the Alps, and the calcareous nature of its debris, are a 
proof that the erratic phenomenon is not necessarily con- 
nected with the presence of the crystalline rocks, as has been 
alleged, nor with the greater or less depth to which the val- 
leys from which these debris descend penetrate into the cen- 
tral chains ; but that it rather depends on the conditions of 
height wliich may be met with beyond the principal mass of 
the Alps, as well as on their summit. Every orographic mass 
sufficiently elevated to become, if its structure admit of it, 
a centre of glaciers, may likewise become the centre and 
point of departure of a particular erratic formation. It would 
seem that facts of this nature are destined to restrict greatly 
the field of hypotheses by means of which we may give an 
explanation of the erratic phenomena. 

The distribution of the species of rocks in the erratic basin 
of the Rhine, without being so complicated as that of the 
species of the basin of the Rhone, is not less interesting from 
its regularity. It is subject to the same law which we have 
ascertained to operate in the other basins. 

Among the various rocks which have descended from the 

24 M. A. Guyot on the Erratic Basin of the Rhine. 

high Rhetian Alps by the valley of the Rhine, three may be 
named as peculiarly characteristic of this basin. These are 
the porphyroidal granites of Pontelja, or of Trons, the green 
granites of Juliers, and the brown gneiss of Montafun, three 
species, each of which corresponds to one of the principal 
affluents of the valley of the Rhine, as they have been named 

The porphyroidal granites are a species of protogine, dis- 
tinguished at first glance, by narrow and elongated rectangu- 
lar crystals of white felspar, usually mdcles, from a few lines 
to an inch or upwards in length, and which are distinctly de- 
lineated in the granitic mass. The quartz is ingrains, pretty 
numerous, but of small size ; the deep-green mica is dissemi- 
nated in flakes or masses ; a talcose substance, as in the pro- 
togines of Mont Blanc, tinges a part of the masses with a 
delicate green, but without ever altering the whiteness of the 
large made crystals ; small linear crystals of black amphibole 
appear numerous in some specimens, very rare in others ; final- 
ly, we notice here and there, in nearly all, a few minute crys- 
tals of yellow sphene. 

According to the observations of M. Arnold Escher, these 
porphyi'oidal granites come from the ravine of Ponteljas, 
scooped out of the southern mass of the Doedi, above Trons, 
in the valley of the anterior Rhine. This locality seems to 
be the only one that produces them, and indeed I did not 
find a fragment of them in this valley behind Trons, nor in 
any other of the Orisons. 

The granites of Julier are distinguished from the preced- 
ing by the absence of the large twin crystals of felspar, by 
the abundance and size of the quartz crystals, but above all, 
by the predominance and bright hue of the green talcose sub- 
stance which colours almost the entire mass of felspar, and 
communicates a green colour to the rock, which is not ob- 
served in the Ponteljas granites. They are known also, on 
the first stroke of the hammer, by their very great tenacity, 
which is a property not possessed by the latter. These granites 
belong not only to Julier, but in a considerable degree to the 
northern chain of the Engadine. 

The gneiss of Montafun has its origin in the masses of 

M. A. Guyot on the Erratic Basin of the lihine. 25 

crystalline rocks, among which the bottom of this great val- 
ley lies. This rock, of a coarse slaty structure, is remarkable 
for the great abundance of brown mica, which gives its gene- 
ral colour to the mass ; it is distributed in large shining 
plates, and in pretty extensive layers ; it is less rich in fel- 
spar than in quartz, which often forms large irregular crys- 
tals, the size of which interrupts the regularity of the laminae 
of the rock. 

We may add to the three preceding species, as a rock which 
usually accompanies the two first, the rose-coloured and 
greenish talc-slates and conglomerates detached from the 
heights which boi'der the left side of the valley of the anterior 
Rhine, and which seem to belong to the formation which 
predominates in the mass of Sernfthal. The progress of these 
iverse species is as follows : — 

The gi'anites of Ponteljas descend from the valley of the 
anterior Rhine, which they represent in the plain, always 
occupying the left bank in conjunction with the rose-coloured 
and green talc-slates. They pass the Col de Tamins and the 
valley of Tamina, although in small number. The principal 
mass follows the flanks of the Galanda, enters the valley of 
the lake of Wallenstadt, covering the declivities above Flums, 
on the left bank, as above "Wallenstadt and Amraon, on the 
right bank. Near Wesen, they are driven back by the red 
conglomerates of the Sernfthal, which issue from the valley of 
the Linth, and follow the limit of the basin of the Rhine along 
the heights indicated above, becoming all the time less nume- 
rous and more insulated. I met with some blocks as far as 
the heights of Chateau de Kybourg, and in the neighbourhood 
of Winterthour. But they do not fill this branch of the basin 
of the Rhine only ; we still meet with them, although much 
rarer, and mingled with the granites of Julier, on the right 
bank of the Rheinthal, along the sides of Sentis below Wild- 
haus, and the heights of Stoss. They are still frequent on 
the heights which surround St Gall, and along the right bank 
of the basin, as far as the vicinity of Winterthour and the 
hill of Irchel, when they meet with those which have followed 
the first route by the valley of Wallenstadt and the Gaster. 

The Julier granites descend the broad valley of Oberhalb- 

26 M. A. Guyot on the Erratic Basin of the Rhine. 

stein, not entering Churwalden, which, however, would be 
the direct line, and which seems quite open for their en- 
trance, but follow the course of the Albula, and enter the 
Domleschg, without a single fragment passing to the left 
bank of this latter valley. We again find them, already 
mingled with the porphyroidal granites, at the foot of Galanda 
and, as we have said, along the borders of the Rheinthal. 
Having reached the lake of Constance, they become the cha- 
racteristic rock throughout all the space lying between the 
southern bank of the lake of Constance, and the southern 
limit of the basin in St Gall and Thurgovia ; they even pass 
to the opposite bank, where I have met with them in the 
neighbourhood of Mersbourg, and even beyond Ittendorf, 
on the Ravensbourg road. Still further on, on the north and 
east side, we find them frequently, not in the state of blocks, 
but of pebbles. 

The gneisses of Montafun descend the valley of that name, 
where numerous blocks of very large size cover the sides of 
the mountains to a considerable height. They occupy all the 
rest of the basin, where they become predominant, running 
in a northern direction, with a slight bend to the east, like 
the preceding I'ocks. This is in the direction of Lindau and 
Ravensbourg ; but particularly in the neighbourhood of Cha- 
teau de la Waldbourg, where they are numerous, and of an 
angular form. Further to the east the blocks are rather 
rolled, and the species more varied. I have not found any 
blocks of Montafun gneiss on the left bank of the lake of 

We thus perceive, that the law of distribution is the same 
here as in the basins of the Rhone and Reuss. The granites 
of Ponteljas, which come from the valley of the anterior 
Rhine, everywhere keep the left bank, and the gneiss of 
Montafun the right bank ; the granites of Julier the centre. 
A transverse section of the principal part of the basin, from 
Jouschwyl on the Thour to the Chateau of Waldbourg, shews 
us in succession the porphyroidal granites on the sides, the 
granites of Julier, as far as the lake ; beyond the lake, the 
gneiss of Montafun, The respective situation of these species 
is the same as that of the valleys from which they originate 

On the Depth ami Saltness of the Ocean. 27 

All the conclusions we have di'awn from this law of the 
distribution of the species, and from the other circumstances 
which, here as elsewhere, accompany the erratic pheno- 
menon, in speaking of the basin of the Rhone, are applicable to 
the basin of the Rhine. The identity of the general pheno- 
mena is complete. Here also it is the law of moraines which 
can account for this distribution — a distribution which shews 
itself to be regular, notwithstanding the absolute mixture of 
species, such as we must expect in a valley so complicated, 
and subject to so many accidents, as that of the Rhine. 

Oh the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean* 

Captain Wilkes, U. S. N., to whom these subjects were re- 
ferred at the last meeting of the Association, said, that he 
found it impossible to make a written report upon subjects of 
so great interest as were embraced in the inquiry referred to 
him. From the little attention that had as yet been given to 
inquiries on these subjects, but few facts had been elicited ; 
he should therefore content himself by stating to the Associ- 
ation what had been done, although it was comparatively 
little, with the hope that the Association would be induced 
to turn their attention to the subject as one of great interest 
for future inquiry. He stated, that with the depth of the 
ocean there were connected many interesting subjects of in- 
quiry ; among them, its actual depth, its mean temperature 
and density, the penetration of solar light, submarine cur- 
rents, and the saltness and specific gravity of sea-water. 

Although experiments to ascertain the depth of the ocean 
have been frequently made, we are as yet ignorant of its 
maximum depth, and we continue to be satisfied with the con- 
jectures and the results obtained from theory. These, as is 
well known, vary in the limit of depth from five to eight 

The greatest depth to v\ hicli the ocean has been penetrated 

• Prom the Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Meeting of the American As- 
sociation of Ueologistti and Naturalists, at IJoston, SeptcnibLT It; 17. 

28 On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 

is 4600 fathoms, or 27,600 feet ; no bottom was obtained ; this 
was the result of an experiment by Captain Sir J.Clarke Ross, 
in lat. 15^ S., and 23° W. long. Several experiments have been 
made at other points, and some with success, bottom being ob- 
tained in apparent mid-ocean, in between 12,000 and 18,000 
feet. The ocean has been penetrated in too few places to 
afford any satisfactory or decisive results upon so interesting 
a subject; and considering the vast space of our globe occupied 
by the great ocean, it cannot but strike every one what a 
wide field is open for investigation and experiment, and how 
many interesting geological results may be elicited and are 
connected with these experiments ; sufficient facts have been 
developed, to prove that the inequalities of the level of the 
ocean's bed are much more remarkable than those of the 

It may excite sui-prise, that we should know so little on 
this point. Navigators, to whom this interesting inquiry 
properly belongs, have troubled themselves little about it, 
unless it was in some way connected with the safety of their 
voyages. The existence of discoloured water has alone in- 
duced them to cast the deep-sea lead. There is, however, 
some excuse to be made ; for though in theory the depth is 
easily to be ai-rived at, yet to obtain it practically is exceed- 
ingly troublesome, requiring much time as well as favourable 

The mode still practised is the ordinary lead-line. Sub- 
stitutes for this have been attempted ; many of them are in- 
genious, and some useful, but they do not obviate the diffi- 
culties, although they give greater accuracy in the results. 
Few are aware, that it requires from two to three hours for 
a well-appointed vessel to make a sounding to the depth of 
1500, or 2000 fathoms, for which opportunities seldom occur ; 
calms, or light winds, and a smooth sea, are requisite. 

The mode of sounding practised of late by several British 
officers to obtain the actual depth, is by attaching a weight 
of several hundred pounds to a small cord or spun yarn 
wound on a reel, which is carried off as the weight descends ; 
on reaching the bottom it is pulled taut and the length ascer- 
tained ; the cord being too weak to lift the weight, both are 

On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 29 

lost, — consequently, the experiments are expensive as well 
as inconvenient to make ; the time required for the experi- 
ments taken in this way, is half an hour for the descent of the 
weight ; the line in these cases, instead of being used from 
the ship, is lowered from a boat to avoid the drift of the ves- 
sel, which is very considerable during the time the weight is 
descending ; this renders the experiment more satisfactory 
and correct. It will thus be seen, that it is out of the power 
of an ordinary vessel to make the experiments. In order that 
this interesting inquiry may advance without these difficulties, 
it becomes necessary that some new mode of sounding be 
adopted, whei'eby both the time may be lessened and the op- 
portunities multiplied. It has been suggested to obtain an 
echo from the bed of the ocean by the explosion of a shell 
just beneath the surface, the depth to be measured thi'ough 
the propagation of reflected sound. The mode which appears 
to me more effective, is by the time of descent and direct 
waves of sound from an explosion at the bottom, which might 
be accomplished by charging the shell with some of the ex- 
plosive compounds ; the momentum acquired by the descent 
of the shell would cause explosion on striking the bottom ; 
the great difficulty which seems to present itself, is the pre- 
servation of the charge of the shell from damage by the enor- 
mous pressure to which it would be subjected in its descent. 
Such experiments would naturally lead to interesting inves- 
tigations relative to the descent and movement of bodies 
tlirough water, and I'esult in establishing the laws to which 
they are subject ; an inquiry that has been but partially car- 
ried out. 

Although the experiments to ascertain the depth of the 
ocean have been few, and without any regular order, yet they 
afford evidence, and jirepare us for some interesting results in 
future. Among them is one, that the great depressions or sub- 
marine valleys run nearly at right angles to the gi'eat mountain 
chains of this continent: for instance, we are led to believethat, 
at the equator, there is a depression to neai'ly the 5tli parallel 
of south latitude, where a ridge occurs ; at the I5th parallel, 
we find another depression ; 10^ farther south, we have an- 
other ridge ; it again deepens and rises twice towards tlio 

30 On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 

polar circle. These are, it is true, but conjectures derived 
from detached and isolated trials, and may not be confirmed 
by future and well-conducted experiments ; they are only ad- 
duced here to shew the field open to investigation, and to 
prompt to measures that the Association may deem necessary 
to secure results. A well-directed series of experiments taken 
with the imperfect means we now have, could not fail to 
make us acquainted with the submarine valleys and ridges 
which traverse our globe, and, in time, give us sections of the 
beds of the ocean. There are many opportunities enjoyed by 
the commanders of our men-of-war that might be taken ad- 
vantage of whilst proceeding to and returning from the dif- 
ferent foreign stations ; and, I make no doubt, that these 
would be readily authorised by the distinguished gentleman 
who now presides over the naval service. All that is required 
is, for this Association to take some measures to forward this 
subject, and to point out positions at which it would be most 
desirable to obtain results. If those who have the direction of 
foreign navies could be induced to join, we should be enabled, 
in a very few years, to exhibit complete sections of the oceans 
and seas, and full investigations into the phenomena con- 
nected with the ocean. 

Although the actual depth of the ocean has not yet been 
successfully determined, the numerous trials have resulted in 
determining satisfactorily its mean temperature and density. 
Its mean temperature is nearly 39^-5' ;* and, according to 
Captain Ross's experiments, the zone of mean temperature 
lies between the parallel of 54" and 60^ of south latitude, not 
only at the surface, but to as gi'eat a depth as the ocean has 
been penetrated. Future trials will, in all probability, re- 
duce it to narrower limits ; its position in the northern hemi- 
sphere remains yet to be ascertained. This mean tempei'a- 

* I am aware that several distinguished navigators and others have reported 
different results ; among them, Mr Lenz even places it down to 3G and 37 , 
which they report ha\ ing met with in the tropics at nearly 1000 fathoms. Prom 
our own experiments, and from those of many others, I cannot but believe that 
some error has occurred. 1 am well satisfied that so low a temperature will not 
be obtained within the tropics at any depth, unless through the agency of sub- 
marine currents. 

On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 31 

- ture is met with both within the polar circles and in proceed- 
ing towards the equator. In the higher latitudes above 60°, 
the ocean, in descending, increases in temperature until it 
arrives at its mean point; while proceeding towards the 
equator, it decreases from the surface downwards ; this de- 
ci'easebeyond the tropical circle is about twenty-three fathoms, 
for every degree of latitude. Within the ti'opics it is l'" for 
every thirteen fathoms of depth until 400 fathoms, after 
which it requii'es a descent from 200 to 300 fathoms to effect 
a like change. 

From the observations of Admiral D'Urville, it would' ap- 
pear that the waters of the Mediterranean do not follow tbe 
rate of descent of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He esti- 
mated the mean temperatui'e of that sea, below 200 fathoms, 
at 55°, and this from the fact of his having obtained that tem- 
perature at the depth of 1000 fathoms. If this be so, it leads 
to an interesting inquiry as to whether it may not be in con- 
sequence of the vast internal fii'es that are known to prevail 
in the countries that surround it. 

The penetrations of solar light, or the depths at which it 
becomes totally absorbed, is another subject which claimed 
particular attention during the cruise of the Exploring Ex- 
pedition. The mode of obtaining results was to let down a 
pot, bottom upwards, painted white, some eighteen inches 
in diameter, by the deep sea-line until it ~was lost sight of, 
noting the depth at which it disappeared, and then again its 
reappearance, the mean being taken for the result ; these sel- 
dom differed more than a fathom ; the eye was placed five 
feet above the surface in the direction with the line by which 
the pot was held. It would appear at first that the depth at 
which an object could be seen would depend upon the inten- 
sity as well as the angle at which the rays of light fell upon 
the surface of the ocean. They undoubtedly have some effect, 
but seldom made a greater difference than one and a half fa- 
thoms. Under different latitudes, and in different tempera- 
tures of the water, the anomalies far exceeded this, and were 
indeed too great not to excite inquiry and call attention to 
other causes. Tliere is little doubt that the great cause of the 
variation noticed in the temperature of the waters affected in 

32 0« the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 

a great degree the transmission of the rays of light or their 
absorption. In water at the temperature of 78 to 80°, the 
white object described was discernible at a depth of 180 feet, 
while, in water at 36", it was lost sight of at 40 feet. The 
object gradually diminished until it disappeared. Trials were 
made frequently, and at every hour in the day, from early in 
the morning till late in the evening, the altitude of the sun 
being measured at each trial. These experiments took place 
when the sea was nearly calm, and quite smooth ; the gi'eat- 
est depth at which the object could be perceived was 30 fa- 
thoms, or 180 feet. 

The next phenomenon connected with the depth of the 
ocean, is submarine currents. They exist in various parts of 
the ocean, where they have been traced, and are indicated by 
their low temperature. Their actual limits, as to depth, 
have not as yet been determined ; but they are found to pre- 
vail at from 500 to 600 feet below the surface. They are so 
immediately connected with the dynamics of the ocean, that 
the investigation into their direction and causes has long 
obtained attention. 

The saltness and specific gravity of the sea have been fre- 
quent subjects of inquiry. The results of the Expedition will 
throw much light upon this subject. The specimens of sea- 
water obtained in different latitudes were, on the return of 
the Expedition, placed in the hands of one of our most distin- 
guished associates, Dr C. T. Jackson, of Boston, whose ability 
as a chemist is well known to the country. He has analysed 
them, and as it will yet be some time before the full results 
can be published in the volumes of the Expedition, the Asso- 
ciation will be gratified by a knowledge of his method of ana- 
lysing, as well as by a few of the x*esults. 

Method of Analysis. — " The specific gravity of the waters 
was taken in a small flask, with a neck of about one-fourth of 
an inch in diametei*. A quantity of water, equal to 1000 
grains of distilled water, was evaporated slowly to dryness 
in a platina capsule, carrying the heat to 300° Fahr., then 
weighed the contents by counterpoising — dissolved out the 
muriates of lime and magnesia by absolute alcohol — filtered, 
dried, and weighed the insoluble part. The soluble jiart was 

On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 33 

evaporated in a counterpoised platina capsule and weighed 
— dissolved out in acidulated water, and precipitated the lime 
by oxalate of ammonia — filtered, dried, ignited, adding a few 
drops of the carbonate of ammonia, and weighed, which gave 
the quantity of carbonate of lime, from which the calcium 
and chloride of calcium was calculated. The magnesia was 
then precipitated by phosphate of soda and ammonia, filtered, 
dried, ignited, and weighed ; from the resulting biphosphate of 
magnesia, the quantity of chloride of magnesium was calcu- 

" The matter insoluble in absolute alcohol was dissolved 
in hot distilled water, and the part insoluble in water was 
ignited, dissolved in acid, filtered, and added to the aqueous 
solution. To this added ammonia, which threw down the phos- 
phates filtered, dried, ignited and weighed. To the solution 
then added oxalate of ammonia, to precipitate the lime, fil- 
tered, dried, ignited, and weighed ; from the carbonate was 
calculated the lime. To the remaining solution phosphate of 
soda and ammonia was added, which threw down the mag- 
nesia, — filtered, dried, ignited, and weighed ; from which cal- 
culated the magnesia. 

" A separate quantity of the water was operated on for the 
sulphuric and carbonic acids and chlorine. To the water was 
added baryta solution, which threw down the sulphuric and 
carbonic acids — filtered, washed slightly, and rapidly dried, 
ignited, adding a few drops of carbonate of ammonia, and 
weighed, then dissolved in muriatic acid, which dissolved the 
carbonate of baryta, leaving the sulphate — filtered, dried, 
ignited, and weighed ; from the sulphate of baryta the sul- 
phuric acid was calculated. 

" Subtracting the weight of sulphate of baryta from the 
sum of the weights of the sulphate and carbonate, gives the 
quantity of carbonate, from which the carbonic acid is calcu- 
lated. To the solution, after separating the sulphuric and 
carbonic acids, and the excess of baryta, a few drops of nitric 
acid were added, then nitrate of silver, which threw down the 
chlorine, — filtered, washing with acidulated water, dried and 
weighed, from the chloride of silver the chlorine was calcu- 


34 On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 

" The quantity of soda and sodium was found by subtract- 
ing the sum of the weights of the other ingredients from the 
whole weights of the dry salts obtained by the first evapora- 
tion. Four or five specimens of water were examined for 
iodine, bromine, and potash, of which no traces were found. 

" The filtering paper used was the fine white unsized India 
paper. Equal double filters were used throughout, burned 
separately in platina crucibles over the spirit-lamp, and 
weighed against each other ; for the greater part of the salts 
the filters were counterpoised previous to filtering. 

" The water used was distilled in Bohemian glass retorts, 
and was absolutely pure. All the tests and re-agents were 
prepared in Di' Jackson's laboratory, and were proved to be 
pure before employing them in analysis. The balance used 
in taking specific gravities, and for weighing the products of 
analysis, was made by Chemin of Paris, Fr,, and is sensible 
to the TUoth of a grain." All the tables comprising the ana- 
lysis of the waters will be given in the volumes of the Expe- 
dition, the two following will shew the ingredients of sea- 
water as determined by the above method by Dr Jackson. 
Analysis of water from the depth of 100 fathoms, in lat. 
63° 18', S. long. 55° W. : — temperature at surface 31°, below 
30°. March 4, 1839. Specific gravity of the water = 1-02G ; 
temperature CO" ; bar. 3005. 

A quantity of water equal in bulk to 1000 grains of dis- 
tilled water evaporated, gave — 



Saline matter, 

= 3600 

This saline matter 

analysed, yielded chlorine, 


Sulphm-ic acid, 






Soda and sodium, 





• • # ■ 


Oxide of iron, 


= .^fi-00 

Water from the depth of 450 fathoms : — temperature at 
that depth 44° 5' ; temperature of surface 74° ; lat. 17° 54' S., 
Ion. 112° 53' ^Y., July 29, 1839. Specific gravity = 10275 ; 

On the Depth and Saltness of the Ocean. 35 

temperature 60°; bar. 3005. A quantity of water equal in bulk 
to 1000 grains of distilled water evaporated, gave — 



Saline matter, 

= 37-9 

This saline matter 

yielded, chlorine, 


Sulphuric acid, 






Soda and sodium, 






Oxide of Iron, 


: 37-90 

Captain Wilkes, before concluding, alluded to the results 
of the Exploring Expedition, and gave some account of 
the progress that was making in their publication. At the 
same time he presented for the inspection of the Associa- 
tion some three hundred proofs of the plates of Natural 
History, a part only of those now in the engraver's hands, 
which he trusted would prove of interest to the Association, 
as shewing not only the progress of the work under publica- 
tion, but the advancement of American art. For the beau- 
tiful manner in Avhich they are got up and executed, we were 
chiefly indebted to Mr Drayton, one of the artists of the Ex- 
pedition, who has charge of the department of publication, 
and to whose talents and exertions he felt gi-eat pleasure in 
making this acknowledgment, and expressing Imw much the 
Expedition, the country, and he himself, were indebted to 
him. Captain Wilkes also gives strong hopes that the edi- 
tion of the work of the Exploring Expedition will be en- 
larged, and he hoped that it would be in the power of all to 
obtain a complete copy of the work ; at present they were 
making every exertion which the ability of the country and 
due economy would permit, to forward it to completion. The 
Committee of Congress, who have the publication in charge, 
have every desire to enlarge it ; but they have deemed it 
proper that the whole work should be first completed, and 
then it could not be doubted but that the liberality of Con- 
gress would cause the publication to be extended, so as to 
place the whole within the mcan.s of t'very institution in the 

36 Professor Connell on Carbonate of Copper and Zinc. 

Professor Agassiz here took occasion to express his opi- 
nion of the Expedition, and spoke of the results in the high- 
est terms. He bore testimony to the beauty as well as ac- 
curacy of the engravings, acknowledging that they were not 
surpassed by any that had hitherto appeared in Europe. — 
{American Journal of Science and Arts, Second Series, No. 
13, January 1848, p. 41.) 

Notice of Carbonate of Copper and Zinc from Matlock. By 
Professor A. Connell. Communicated by the Author. 

A pale-green mineral from Matlock, with a laminated 
structure and pearly lustre, and disseminated in small por- 
tions through the matrix, was some time ago put into my 
hands by Mr Brook, to ascertain if it was a carbonate of 
zinc and copper, and I accordingly found it to be so. I at- 
tempted a quantitative analysis with 3-lG grains of the mine- 
ral, and obtained by ordinary methods — 

Carbonic acid and water, 


Oxide of copper, . 
Oxide of zinc, 





This result might correspond to an atom of dicarbonate 
of copper and zinc combined with an atom of water, 

2{g;0|co« + HO 

which would give 27 "9 per cent, of carbonic acid and water ; 
but the smallness of the quantity prevented the determina- 
tion of the relative quantities of carbonic acid and water. 
The mineral seems to be either identical with or nearly allied 
to Aurichalcite. 

I at one tin:e thought I had got traces of a substance con- 
tained in it which I could not identify with any known body ; 
but Mr Tennant of King's College, London, having kindly 
procured for me several specimens of the mineral from 
Matlock, I was enabled to satisfy myself that no such body 

Plate H. 

Edrn^ New PM. JoxLTii. Vol.XLV. p,36. 


A. Tongdilck - ISTaces 
3. ShcrtDitdi "i^Faces 
D. Hound, Til 
H. Zona Jit 
T. GroDts 



iTUk hU- Edinhur<fh 

Value of (liferent kinds of Coal for Illumination. 37 

was present, although the specimens could hardly have 
yielded a larger quantity of pure and unmixed mineral to 
make an analysis on a larger scale. 

'■'e Value of different Kinds of Coal for the 
ination ; and on Methods not hitherto prac- 
lining the Value of the Gases they afford. 
FE, M.D., F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Professor 
Cing's College University, Aberdeen, &c. 
by the Royal Scottish Society of Arts.* 

lished in the Transactions of the Society for 
iccount of numerous trials made with the 
ing the value of different kinds of coal for 
illumination. Having been again engaged 
)eriments for the same purpose, I have beeo 
some of the results public, because I con- 
•e interesting, and lead to valuable practical 

hich I have had in view were to ascertain, 
ubi owij the <,!. , jaratwe amount of light afforded by the gases 
which the coals yield, but also the durability of these gases, 
so as to enable me to fix, as far as possible, their comparative 
value, and, consequently, their comparative expense, for the 
purpose of illumination. Besides these, however, my atten- 
tion was drawn to other circumstances connected with the 
consumption of gas, which, strictly bearing on the other part 
of the inquiry, are of importance. 

1 . Quality of the Gases. 

In estimating the quality of coal-gases, and, consequently, 
fixing their comparative value for the purposes of illumina- 
tion, we must take into account both the light afforded, and 
the time required for the consumpt of equal volumes. 

In trying the former, I have, in the following experiments, 
invariably had recourse to the method mentioned in my for- 
mer papers, viz., the condensation by chlox'ine, and in which, 

* KcaU befwc the Society 2itli April lSi8. 

38 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

now that the trials have been greatly extended, I place the 
utmost confidence. 

For ascertaining the latter, I have followed the usual 
method, an accurately-adjusted experimental metre; by which 
the times required for the consumpt of equal volumes, burn- 
ing under similar circumstances, and also the quantity con- 
sumed in equal times, were easily determined. The jet burner 
was the same in all the trials. 

I consider both of these circumstances absolutely necessary, 
for, though some have insisted only on the one, and others 
on the other only, yet. unless both be taken into account, we 
do not arrive at the true value oiUxQ gases, and, consequently, 
cannot compare one with another for the purpose of illumi- 
nation. Thus, if two gases afford, by their combustion, from 
the same or similar burners, with the same height of flame, 
the same light : but if a foot of the one lasts an hour, and a 
foot of the other an hour and a-half, then the latter is one- 
half more in value than the former for yielding light, because 
it is giving the same light for one-half more time ; or, which 
is the same thing, one-half more of the former must be used 
so as to complete the time which the latter will burn. This. 
T regret to say, has been too often overlooked by many in 
estimating the value of coal-gas. 

As the chief object I had in view was, not the comparison 
of the light afforded by coal-gas, or its expense, as compared 
with other sources of light ; but merely the value of the gases 
as compared with one another, when obtained from different 
coals, I shall commence with that got from English caking 
coal, and take it as the unit for comparison. 

English Caking-Coal Gas. — The gas from this kind of coal, 
on which my experiments were made, was that at New- 
castle ; others were also pi'ocured by means of an experimen- 
tal apparatus, fitted up expressly for the purpose. The con- 
densation by chlorine in the former, was, on an average of 
several trials, 4-33 per cent. 

The specific gravity, at Th. 60, B. 30, was, 420. 

The durability, with a four-inch flame, from a platinum 
jet, g^gd of an inch in diameter, was, 1 cubic foot in 50 mi 

Tiiffcrenl Kimh of Coal for the purpose of Illuminalion. 30 

nutes 30 seconds. The pressure by water-gauge at the bur- 
ner was To ths of an inch. 

From 1 ton of coal, about 8000 cubic feet of gas are obtained. 

The gases obtained with my experimental apparatus, from 
a variety of samples of the same kind of coal, both lately, 
and several years ago, were very nearly of the same compo- 
sition. Different heats were used in driving off the gas, with 
the view of finding the best heat. The condensation by chlo- 
rine varied from 3-5 to 55 ; the average of the trials, amount- 
ing to eight, was nearly 5, The durability varied fi'om 
47' 20" to 53' 30" ; the average being 50' 25". 

The average specific gravity of eight diifei'ent gases was 
464, the highest being 512, the lowest 414. 

As above mentioned, I take the gas from this kind of coal 
for illuminating power and durability, and, consequently, for 
value, as my standard of comparison. 

English Cannel-Coal Gas. — The gas obtained from this kind 
of coal, such as that from Wigan in Lancashire, with which 
Liverpool, Salford, and other places are supplied, and that 
from coals found in different parts of Yorkshire, which are 
occasionally used at Manchester, are very nearly of the same 

The Yorkshire Parrot Coal, in its appearance and quality, 
is altogether different from the English caking coal. It 
more nearly resembles the parrot coal of Scotland. The con- 
densation by chlorine was 7*66 ; the dui-ability, 52' 30" ; pres- 
sure at burner, xo- -A. ton of coals yields about 11,500 feet. 

I have already stated, that the chlorine test, with English 
caking-coal gas indicated 4-33, that with the Yorkshire can- 
nel-coal gas being 7"66 ; consequently, the illuminating power 
is as 1 to 1-76. The durabilities being 50' 30", and 52' 30", 
they are as 1 to 1"03 ; both taken together, makes the value 
of the latter, for the purpose of illumination, 1'81 to the for- 
mer, as 1-(1 : 1-76 :: 1-03 : 1-81). 

Wigan Cannel-Coal Gas. — I have had several opportunities 
of testing the quality of gas from this kind of coal, as at 
Liverpool, Salford, &c., at which the gas was found to be of 
the same quality. The chlorine indicated 755. The dura- 
bility was 57'; the pressure at the burner, x^ths and Troths, 

40 Dr Andrew Fyfe on (he Comparative Value of 

sp. gv. from 460 to 520. The quantity of gas from a ton of 
coal was 9500 feet.* 

Newcastle coal-gas being by the chlorine 4"33, and the 
Wigan cannel gas, 7'55, they are as 1 to 1-73. The dura- 
bility being 50' 30" and 57', they are 1 to 1'12. Taking both in- 
to account, then the value is as 1 to 1-93 (1 : 1-73 : : 1'12 : 1-93), 
which is nearly the same as that of the gas from Yorkshire 
cannel, already given as ISl. We may take the avei'age 
value of the gas from English parrot coal, so far as these 
trials go, as 1'85 compared to that from English caking coal, 
as 1. 

Scottish Parrot Coat. — I have had many opportunities of 
testing the quality of gas from this kind of coal, not only as 
manufactured at gas-works, but also when made by my ex- 
perimental apparatus in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I have, 
already in a paper, published in the Transactions of the So- 
ciety, for 1842, given the results of numerous trials conduct- 
ed in Edinburgh. I have now to allude, not only to those 
made in different towns of Scotland, but also to a very ex- 
tended series, more lately carried on with the experimental 

The gas, from all the varieties of Scottish parrot coal, is 
of superior quality to that from the best English parrot ; 
but it varies very much according to the kind of coal. In all 
of the towns in Scotland that I have visited, a mixture of one 
of fine quality, and of one or more of inferior quality, is em- 
ployed in the manufacture of gas ; partly, because the former 
cannot be got in sufficient quantity ; partly, because it is 
too expensive ; and hence, with one or two exceptions, chiefly 
in the smaller towns, the quality of the gas was found to be 
very nearly the same. 

In the paper already alluded to, I have stated the conden- 
sation by chlorino, with the gases prepared from the coals 
there mentioned, to vary from 9 to about 20. With two ex- 
ceptions, I never found it under 12 ; the average of all the 

* In one instance I found the quantity of gas amount to 11,500 feet ; but in 
this case the quality of the gas was not so good. I prefer, therefore, taking 
the one above. 

Different Kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illuminntion. 41 

trials, amounting to upwards of 20, may be taken as 15, that 
is, very nearly double of that with the English cannel coal ; 
and 3'46 as great as that with the English caking coal ; thus 
making the illuminating power, English caking 1, English 
cannel 1-85, Scottish cannel 3"46. The English cannel being 
1, the Scottish cannel is 2, or very nearly so. 

The trials with the same gases shew the durability to vary 
from 56' to 94'. with the two exceptions above mentioned, it 
was not below 70', — the average of the trials was 80' ; making 
the durability as 1-58 to the Newcastle, and 1'48, or 1-45 to 
the average of the English cannel as 1. Now, taking both 
into account, the value of the Scottish parrot-coal gas, bulk 
for bulk, for affording light in these trials, is as 5'46 to New- 
castle, as 1 and 2-68 to English parrot, as 1. 

Since these experiments were made public, I have been en- 
gaged in a very extensive series of trials with parrot coals 
procured from Fifeshire, the Lothiaus, and the Western dis- 
tricts of Scotland, so as to ascertain the value of the gases 
which they afford. The gases were manufactured with the 
experimental apparatus, and under a variety of circum- 
stances, so as not only to secure accuracy, but also to ob- 
serve how far the manufacture, &c. is affected by a difference 
in the mode of conducting it. It is not my intention to al- 
lude to these farther than to state, that, taking the average 
of the trials, amounting to upwards of 40, I found the chlo- 
rine test, and the durability to be very nearly the same as 
those given above. 

Witli regard to the gas with which the towns in Scotland 
are supplied, I have already said, that in manufacturing it, a 
mixture of different kinds of coal is employed, according to 
the situation of the town, and the supply that can be ob- 
tained. At Edinburgh, the coal is chiefly from the Lothians 
and from Fifeshire. At Glasgow, it is got from Lesmahago, 
Kelvinside, Wilsontown, &c. At Greenock, Monkland and 
Skaterig coals are employed. In the towns in the north of 
Scotland they are obtained chiefly from Lesmahagow and 

The price of coals varies according to the kind of coal. At 
Edinburgh and in the west, it is from about 20s. to 23s. per 

42 T>v Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

ton. In the north, however, it becomes higher and higher, 
according to the distance, and, consequently, to the carriage 
from the pits. 

In the larger towns that I have visited, I have found very 
little variation in the quality of the gas obtained from the dif- 
ferent mixtures used. The chlorine indicated from 13 to 15 ; 
the average may be taken as 14. The durability was from 70' 
to 90' very rarely below 80, — on an average, it was a little be- 
yond 80, — say 80. The pressure at the burner varied from 
iVoths to iVoths. The sp. gr. was, on an average, about 640. 
Thus, then, the illuminating power of the gas with which the 
towns in Scotland are supplied, is, on an average, as 3-23 to 
the Newcastle coal gas, and 1-85 to the average of English 
cannel, both taken as 1. The durability is as 1-58 to English 
caking, and 1-45 to the other, both as 1. Accordingly, taking 
both into account, the value of these gases, bulk for bulk, 
for the purpose of illumination, is English caking 1, English 
cannel 1-85, the average of the gas in the towns of Scotland 
5-1, say 5. Taking the English cannel-coal gas 1, then the 
Scottish is from 263 to 2-72, say 2-7. From the mixed coal 
employed in different towns, a ton yielded on an average 
9500 feet of gas. 

2. Value of Coals for the purpose of Illumination. 

Keeping in view what has now been said regarding the 
quality of gas which the different kinds of coal afford, an 
estimate may be foi-med of the comparative value of these 
coals for that purpose, independent of the price paid for the 
coals, and also of the returns made for coke, and other mat- 
ters disposed of, such as ammonia, &c. ; and in doing so, I still 
take the English caking coal as unity. 

A ton of English caking coal yields, on an average, at 
gas-works, 8000 feet of gas, and though a larger quantity 
was given with my apparatus, yet we must take 8000 as the 
quantity on a large scale. The value of the coal is taken as 1. 

The Wigan cannel yielded 9500 and 11,500 ; the value of 
the gas, bulk for bulk, being the same, viz., 1-85 to the former 
as 1. Now, taking into account the quantity of gas afforded, 
the value of the coals for yielding light, by the consumpt of 

different Kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 43 

their gases, is as 2-23 for the one quantity, and 25 for the 
other ; taking the average, we state the vahie of English 
cannel coal as 2-35, or say 2i to Newcastle caking coal 
as 1. 

Scottish Parrot. — While the English cannel coals may be 
considered as of the same value at different places, it is not 
so with the Scottish pai-rot. I have said that it varies very 
much in different districts ; and hence, though the value of 
the gases with which the different towns are supplied is very 
nearly the same in all, owing to mixtures of coals of superior 
and inferior quality being used, yet the value of the different 
coals varies considerably, owing to the quality and quantity 
of gas which they afford varying. 

I have taken the average value of the Scottish parrot-coal 
gas as 5, compared to that from the English caking coal as 
1. The quantity of gas from the latter being 8000, and that 
from the former 9500, then the value of the coals for the 
amount of light afforded by the combustion of their gases, is 
as 6*1 to 1. 

The above must be considered as the value of the Scottish 
parrot coals on an average, or as used in their mixed state, 
as is generally done by gas companies. It may be interest- 
ing to state the value of some of the coals themselves. The 
poorest Scottish parrot I have yet examined, yielded only 
9000 feet of gas, the value of which was 2-2 to that of the 
English caking-coal gas as 1 ; making, accordingly, the value 
of the coal for yielding light only 2-5, or very nearly so. 

The value of the gas from Lesmahago coal, which by gas- 
makers is gent-rally considered the best in the market, I have 
found to be (y-Q to the English caking-coal gas as 1 ; the quan- 
tity of gas being 113 to 1 ; accordingly the value of Lesma- 
hago coal is at least 7 to 1. Since the publication of my 
paper in 1842, I have had more valuable coals submitted to 
trial ; but as these are not, so far as I know, in the market at 
present, tliey must not be taken into account in fixing the 
average value of Scottish parrot coal. As above stated, we 
must still consider the value of this coal as about 6, to the 
Newcastle caking as 1 ; of course its value compared with tlie 
English cannel, will be 2-6 to 1. 

44 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

I have said that the value of the coke has not been taken 
into account in these calculations ; it must, however, be borne 
in mind, that, while I have fixed the value of the Newcastle 
coal for aifording light by the combustion of its gas, as very 
low, compared to that of the cannel coals, yet, taking into 
account the greater quantity of coke which it yields, and the 
higher price at which that coke is sold, the value of the coal 
to gas-manufacturers becomes comparatively greater than I 
have stated, of course, in this point of view, reducing the 
value of the others as compared with it ; but then this has 
nothing to do with the question under consideration, viz., 
the comparative value of the coals for affording light by the 
combustion of their gases. 

3. JExfpensefor Light by different Oases. 

Having fixed the value of the gases obtained from the va- 
rieties of coal mentioned, I have now to advert to the prices 
paid for the gases at different places, with the view of shewing 
the comparative expense to consumers for the same amount 
of light. 

In examining this part of the subject, a difficulty occurs, 
owing to the different methods followed in charging for gas 
in diffei'ent towns. The following remarks must therefore 
be considered only as an approximation to the truth. 

English Ca/ciuff -Coal Gas. — The charge for this gas is about 
4s. 6d. per 1000 feet, as at Newcastle, subject to discount, 
by which, and by charge for street-lamps, the average price 
may be taken as 3s. lOd. Let us take this as unity. 

In the different towns I have visited in England, where 
English cannel coal is used, the charge varies fi'om 4s. 6d. to 
5s. 6d. Suppose we take the average at 5s., then the com- 
parative charge for it, and for English caking-coal gas, is as 
1-3 to 1, But the value of the gases, bulk for bulk, for the 
purposes of illumination, being as 1-85 to 1, then the compara- 
tive price paid for the same amount of light is only 75 to 100. 

The price charged for the Scottish parrot-coal gas varies 
considei'ably in different towns, owing chiefly to the difference 
in the expense of coal. I have found it to vary, in the larger 
towns, from 5s. to 7s., but, making allowance for discount, 
it goes from 5s. to 6s. 6d. Taking it as 5s., then the charge, 

Different Kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 45 

compared with the English caldng-coal gas, is 1 to 1-3 ; 
takino- the value of the gases into account, the price paid, for 
equal amounts of light, is as 25 to 100 ; accordingly, to light 
to the same extent with these gases, the expense for the 
Eno-lish gas is four times as great as that for the other. 
At 6s. it would be 30 to 100, and at 6s. 6d. it would be 33 to 
100 ; and hence the price paid for equal amounts of light 
varies from one-third to one-fourth of that paid for the En- 
glish caking-coal gas. 

I have given the comparative value of the English parrot- 
coal gas, and of the Scottish as 1 and 2*7, the average price 
for the former being 5s., that for the latter 5s., 6s., and 6s. 6d. 
For the first, the pi-ice paid being the same, the expense for 
equal lights will be inversely as the value of the gases ; 2*7 to 
1 ; at 6s. 6d., the highest charge, the comparative expense 
is about 2 to 1. Accordingly, the expense paid for the same 
extent of lighting by these gases, varies from about 2 to 2f 
for the English, to the Scottish as 1; that is, the expense for 
a given amount of light, for a certain time, by Scottish gas 
being 1, that for the same light, during the same time, with 
the English parrot-coal gas, is from 2 to 2j, and for the 
English caking-coal gas, from 3 to 4, according to the price 
paid for the Scottish gas. 

In making these remarks I'egarding the value of the 
gases in different places, and the consequent prices paid 
for equal amounts of light, I trust it will not be supposed, 
that I mean to insinuate that the price paid by consumers of 
gas in England for their light is too great, and that conse- 
quently, it ought to be reduced, so as to bring it to a par, 
or nearly so, with that paid in Scotland. So far from that 
being the case, I believe, that, at present, some English gas 
companies are charging for their gas a price which does not 
remunerate them ; and that, instead of it being lowered, 
it ought to be raised. It must be borne in mind, that the 
price of gas, like that of other manufactured goods, must be 
regulated, in a great measure, by that paid for the raw ma- 
terial ; and it so happens that, in England, they are not so 
fortunate as we are in Scotland, where there is a coal, which, 
though much more expensive than the English coal, yet is 
superior to it for the manufacture of gas ; in so far tbnt it 

4G Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

yields an article of much higher value for the purposes of 
illumination ; but then, were this coal used in England, it 
would, most probably, owing to carriage, &c., become so ex- 
pensive, as to cause the charge for the same light to be more 
expensive than it is at present. 

In considering the results of the trials now recorded, the 
most superficial observer must be struck with the remark- 
able fact, that gases, having the same illuminating power, 
require, with the same burners, very dift'erent times for 
the consumpt of equal volumes; and hence, as I have al- 
ready said, it is necessary, in ascertaining the value of a 
gas, for the purposes of illumination, to take into account, 
not only the illuminating powers, but also the durability. 
Though I alluded to this in a former paper, published in 
the Transactions of the Society for 1842, my attention has 
been more particularly drawn to it during the investigations 
in which I have been lately engaged, by observing the strik- 
ing difference between the durabilities of gases obtained from 
Scottish cannel coals, procured from different districts ; and 
hence, the remarkable circumstance, that two coals may both 
yield the same quantity of gas, and which gases, when burned 
under similar circumstances, are of the same illuminating 
power, yet these coals may be of different value for the manu- 
facture of gas, in so far, that the gas from the one will burn 
a longer time than that fi'om the other will do, when con- 
sumed in the same way. This is well illustrated with the 
coals of the Lothians, and of the west of Scotland. Thus, 
the average condensation by chlorine, of the gas from the 
Marquis of Lothian coal, was, in my trials, 13125, the average 
durability 59' 30" ; while, with the Lesmahago coal gas, the 
former was 15-77, but the latter was only 62' 24". Had the 
one been in proportion to the other, the durability ought 
to have been 71' 30", or nearly so. The same remark is ap- 
plicable to the varieties of coal from the west of Scotland, 
when compared with one another. Thus, the average indi- 
cation by chlorine, with the Skaterig and Knightswood coal 
gas, was 9, the durability 46' 45". With the Lesmahago, as 
above, they were resi>ectively 1577 and 62' 24". The latter, to 
keep pace with that of the former, ought to have been 81''54". 

Different Kinds of Coal fur the purpose of Illumination. 47 

I have observed similar results in trials which I have 
lately made. Thus three coals, submitted to experiment, 
yielded gases, the indication of which, by chlorine, was 14 ; 
the durability in the one being 57', in the other two 66' ; and 
again, with other gases, in which the condensible matter was 
as high as 19 and 22, the durability did not exceed 77' and 
81'- In numerous trials I found that the gas from English 
caking coal gave condensation by chlorine 4-33, and dura- 
bility 50' 30", or nearly so. That from Wigan cannel coal 
had condensation as 7-5, but the durability was only 57' ; the 
Yorkshire cannel-coal gas was, condensation 7*66, and dura- 
bility only 52' 30". Had the durability of the English can- 
nel-coal gas kept pace with the condensation test, it ought 
to have been at least 87' instead of 52' and 57'. 

It is evident from this that the durability is affected by 
other circumstances than the presence of the ingredient, 
whatever it may be, which causes the condensation by chlo- 
rine, in other words, than by the illuminating power. 

Considering this still farther, I observed a remarkable 
coincidence between the durability and the specific gravity, 
as is shewn in the following table : — 

Sp. Gr., 









In the above table it is shewn, that as the specific gravity 
becomes greater, the times required for the consumpt of 
equal quantities become longer ; but the increase of the one 
does not keep pace with that of the other. There is, how- 
ever, some connection between them, and on farther investi- 
gation it occurred to me, that pei'haps the consumpt of 
gases by combustion is regulated by the same law as the 
diffusion of gases, as pointed out by Professor Graham, viz., 
that under equal pressures the diffusion is inverseli/ as the 
square roots of the specific gravities. Accordingly, in equal 
times, the consumpt should be inversely as the scjuare 
roots of the specific gravities ; and, convei*sely, the times for 
the consumpt of equal volumes, from similar burners, and 
under the same circumstances, will be as the roots of the 

48 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of - 

Again, if this be true, then, under diffei'ent pressures, the 
escape should be as the square roots of the pressures ; and, 
accordingly, the time for equal consumpts should be inversely 
as the roots of these pressures. 

To put this to the test of experiment, I procured a pla- 
tinum jet, furnished with a graduated pressure gauge, and 
adapted it to an experimental metre, by which I could con- 
sume the gas, under the same and different pressures, and 
mark the quantity consumed in a given time ; and conse- 
quently the times for the consumpt of equal quantities. The 
gauge had a vernief fitted to it, by which I could easily read 
off to one-hundredths of an inch. The temperature and baro- 
meter were also noted for each experiment, and the specific 
gravity, when necessary, was ascertained in the usual way. 

The following are the results of trials made for the pur- 
pose of putting these opinions to the test. 

Consumpt of Gases under different Pressures. 

Numerous experiments were made for ascertaining this, 
first with gauges of small diameter, the results of which did 
not agree with each other; but when the diameter was about 
half-an-inch, they more nearly corresponded. 

I give the following from among many : — 



root of 

by Metre. 

by Calcu- 


Jet, \ 

4 2 

8 2-82 
16 4 






Jet, \ 

3 1-73 

6 2-65 

12 3-47 





Jet, 1 






Jet, 1 









Different kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 49 

The following are the results with different kinds of bur- 
ners, the trials having been conducted with the view of ascer- 
taining the illuminating power by these burners : — 

Small Fishtail, | 








Large Fishtail, \ 







Large Fishtail, | 







Large Batwing, < 







From the above it will be seen that the escapes ai'e very 
nearly as the roots of the pressures. 

(To he concluded in our next Number.) 

On the Parallel Boadsof Lochaber. By JAMES THOMSON, Jun., 
M.A., Glasgow College. Communicated by the Author.* 

The Parallel Roads, Shelves, or Terraces, of Lochaber, 
constitute a wonderful inscription, traced by the hand of 
Nature, over the surface of a wide range of mountains and 
glens. To interpret this writing, and to disclose the story 
which these mysterious but clearly-marked chai'acters trans- 
mit, has long been an object of much interest, as well as of 
great perplexity, to geologists. As yet, however, no one has 
succeeded in arriving at an explanation of the subject, which, 
after having undergone the scrutiny of others, has given 
general satisfaction ; and scientific men are still, perhaps, as 
much divided in opinion as ever in regard to the nature of 
the operations by which they suppose these terraces to have 
been produced. Two papers, taking different sides on this 
question, have appeared in the last two numbers of Jame- 
son's Philosophical Journal, — the first by Mr David Milne, 

■* Read before the Ifoyal Society of Edinburgh, 6th March 1848. 
On reading this pajjer, consult the Map of the Shelves or Parallel Itoads 
of Lochaber, in vol. xliv. of this Journal. 


50 Mr Thomson on the Parallel Boads of Lochaher. 

and the second by Sir George S. Mackenzie. The new and 
very interesting discoveries which have lately been made by 
Mr Milne in his researelies among the hills, are brought for- 
ward by both writers in confirmation of their respective theo- 
ries. These discoveries, however, when taken in connection 
with the highly important principles of the motion of glaciers 
recently developed by Professor Forbes, appear to me to be 
far more strongly confirmatory of the leading features of the 
explanation given by Agassiz ; at the same time that they 
enable me to develop this explanation more fully, modifying 
and correcting it in some degree, so as to make it accord 
with the new facts and principles, and thns putting it in a 
form in which, to me at least, it appears so satisfactory as 
to leave scarcely the slightest doubt of the agency of ice in 
the formation of the Parallel Roads. 

Mr Milne's paper may be regarded as consisting pri- 
marily of two parts, — the object of the one being to prove 
that the terraces are the beaches of lakes whicli have been 
maintained among the hills by barriers occupying tlie lower 
parts of the glens ; and the object of the other, to shew that 
these ban'iers consisted of earthy detritus, and to explain 
the way in which he thinks they may have been formed, and 
subsequently removed. 

His explanation differs from those given by Dr MacCulloch 
and Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in 1817 and 1818, principally 
in his attributing the removal of the barriers not to any vio- 
lent convulsions of nature, but to the gradual operation of 
existing causes. These, if I fully understand his statements, 
he supposes to be the erosive action of the waters of the lakes 
themselves, combined with that of rivers and sti'eams. On tliis 
subject he says — " My explanation of the Lochaber shelves 
depends entirely on the supposition that the valleys were, in 
the lower parts of them, filled up with detrital matter ca- 
pable of being gradually worn down and washed away." Sir 
George S. Mackenzie, although there is much of his reason- 
ing which I do not consider satisfactory, appears to succeed 
completely in confuting tlie explanation given by Mr Milne, 
so far as it depends on the supposed existence of earthy bar- 
riers. On the other hand, Mr Milne proves, I think beyond 

Mr Thomson on the Parallel lioads of Lochaber. 51 

the possibility of doubt, that the Parallel lioads are the 
beaches of ancient lakes, which have been maintained amonfj 
the mountains by barriers across the lower parts of the glens. 

With reference to objections to the supposed existence of 
barriers which had previously been brought forward, Mr 
Milne remarks — " These objections resolve entirely into the 
difficulty of explaining the disappearance of the barriers, 
which must have dammed back the water in the valleys : 
but it would be no good reason for rejecting an explanation 
founded on the existence of bai'riers, even though we could 
not very clearly account for the disappearance of them, pro- 
vided that there is direct and conclusive evidence that such 
barriers existed. Now, I conceive that there is such evi- 
dence fui'nished by the considerations before referred to.'' 
Ideas similar to these of Mr Milne had also occurred to Sir 
Thomas Dick Lauder nearly thirty years ago, and, in a paper 
which he laid before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, they 
are expressed in the following terms : — " I believe it will 
be readily admitted, that it is much easier to suppose the 
existence of former banners, than to discover the means 
which operated in their removal ; but it must be also 
granted, that the difficulty of accounting for the destruction 
of such large masses, does not by any means imply that they 
never had any being at all, particularly where a number of 
facts remain to lead us to an opposite conclusion. From all 
the present appearances it is extremely probable that the 
barrier of Loch Roy was not only very thin, but of soft ma- 
terials, at the two parts which have been removed." 

Thus, both Sir Thomas Dick Lauder and Mr Milne have 
come decidedly, and, I think, with good reason, to the conclu- 
sion that barriei's did exist ; but tlien we are by no means ob- 
liged to assume, that these were composed of earthy materials. 
It is in this assumption, in fact, that all the difficulties con- 
nected with the*explanations given by these two writers arc 
involved ; and to me it seems perfectly clear that the bar- 
riers in reality were formed of glaciers. 

The glacial explanation of the Parallel Roads given by 
Agassiz in his paper in Jameson's Journal for 1842, was 
neeossarily imperfect in its details. Sufficient facts in regard 

52 Mr Thomson on the Parallel Boads of Lochaber, 

to the phenomena of the terraces themselves, and true prin- 
ciples of the motion of glaciers, were then wanting. Had these 
been within the reach of Agassiz, he could easily have modifi- 
ed his explanation so as to remove all valid objections which 
have been brought forward against it, and could have shewn 
the invalidity of others which are still adduced, but which, I 
think, will not be admitted by those who have duly appre- 
ciated the principles of the viscidity of glaciers, as developed 
in the theory of Professor Forbes. The object of Agassiz, 
however, at that time, was probably rather to adduce the 
Parallel Roads as confirming his grand idea of the former 
extensive prevalence of ice in these latitudes, than to enter 
fully into tlie details of the mode in which the roads had 
been produced ; and in representing his supposed glaciers on 
the map which accompanies his paper, his intention was, 
perhaps, not so much to assert that the glaciers had acted 
exactly in the way he indicated, as to illustrate the suppo- 
sition that glaciers, acting in some such way, would be found, 
in the end, fully to explain all the phenomena. Be this as 
it may, Mr Milne succeeds in shewing that the explanation 
by means of the supposed glaciers is inconsistent with ob- 
served facts. He then goes on to assert, that glaciers could 
not possibly have penetrated to the places where their pre- 
sence would actually have been required. This statement, 
of course, constitutes the turning point of the whole ar- 
gument, since, if it were correct, it would overthrow the 
glacial explanation. I hope, however, to be able, in what 
follows, to give good reasons against its soundness ; but, in 
the mean time, it will be necessary to advert to the facts 
which invalidate, in its details, the explanation given by 

Previously to the researches of Mr Milne, it had been 
known that there exist three " summit-levels^'' or " water- 
sheds,"' in connection with three of the Parallel Shelves ; but 
the existence of a fourth had not been noticed, and it had 
even been asserted by Mr Darwin, that " the middle shelf of 
Glen Roy is not on a level with any water-shed." Mr Milne 
has, however, found the wanting water- shed in Glen Glaster, 
a small glen which, though branching up from Glen Roy near 

Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 53 

the bottom of it, does not appear to have been visited, and 
certainly has not been correctly described by any former 
observer. But this is not all. Mr Milne has also traced 
the channel of an ancient river, proceeding from the water- 
shed in question, down into Glen Spean, and there termi- 
nating in a huge delta, or alluvial deposit, at the only shelf 
which winds round the sides of the latter glen, thus marking 
the point where the turbid waters of the river were swal- 
lowed up under the stagnant surface of the lake which, by 
these same indications, is palpably shewn to have stood in 
Glen Spean on a level with the lowest shelf, at the time when 
Glen Roy was occupied with water to the height of the shelf 
next above. 

In connection with these circumstances, Mr Milne finds 
that the uppermost shelf of Glen Roy does not, as was erro- 
neously indicated on Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's map, run 
round the sides of Glen Glaster, but that it suddenly stops 
short in Glen Roy, just above the entrance to that smaller 
tributary glen. 

From this we conclude, that the barrier which blocked up 
Glen Roy, so as to occasion the formation of its highest 
shelf, must have disconnected it from Glen Glaster, and thus 
forced it to discharge its surplus water into the valley of the 
Spey by the summit-level at its head, instead of permitting 
it to discharge by the lower summit-level at the head of Glen 
Glaster, and down by the ancient rivei"-channel into Glen 
Spean, — a course which must have been followed by any 
water occupying Glen Glaster, or communicating with it 

Now, to explain the formation of the highest shelf of Glen 
Roy, Agassiz supposed one glacier, in the lower part of Glen 
Spean, to have extended across from Ben Nevis to Moel 
Dhu ; and another, farther up that glen, to have issued from 
the valley of Loch Treig ; the two being sufficiently high and 
extensive to maintain the water between them, and, of course, 
also the water in Glen Roy, at the level of the shelf under 
consideration. In confirmation of this supposition, he stated 
that the shelf is marked on the south side of Glen Spean, be- 
tween the sites of the two supposed glaciers. Were the sup- 

54 Mr Thomson on the Parallel Boads of Lochaber. 

position true, the shelf should certainly be marked in that 
situation, and also round Glen Glaster ; but, according to Mr 
Milne, it is to be found in neither of these places. The middle 
shelf of Glen Roy, according to Agassiz, should also occur in 
Glen Spean, between the two supposed glaciers ; but Mr 
Milne asserts that, in fact, it does not. Thus, then, the gla- 
ciers supposed by Agassiz will not satisfy the conditions of 
the question ; nor will any other system of blockage do so, 
except one, according to which Glen Glaster would, for a cer- 
tain period, have been separated from Glen Roy. 

"We are, therefore, if we proceed on the supposition of the 
agency of glaciers, led to the conclusion, that the one which 
stopped up the mouth of Glen Roy to form its highest shelf, 
must have extended up that glen beyond the mouth of Glen 
Glaster. It must also have blocked up Glen Collarig nearly 
to the place named the Gap. Then, to explain the formation 
of the middle shelf, it is only necessai-y to suppose that the 
glacier retired a little, so as to connect Glen Glaster with 
Glen Roy. The water in the latter would immediately begin 
to discharge itself by the ancient river-course before men- 
tioned, and its surface would thus be lowered to the level of 
the middle shelf. Lastly, the lowermost shelf of all would 
be formed when the glacier retired to near the mouth of Glen 

Mr Milne, however, asserts that, on account of the character 
of the mouth of Glen Roy. in regard to levels, direction, and 
distance from Ben Nevis, such a glacier as I have described 
could not have existed ; but there does not appear to me to 
be any real difficulty in the supposition. 

The following considerations will, I think, tend to render 
this clear. Of all climates capable of generating glaciers, 
there are two extremes which must produce two correspond- 
ing extremes in the mode of distribution of the ice on the 
surfixce of the earth. The one of these extremes of cli- 
mate may be instanced as occuiTing in Switzerland, and the 
other in the Antarctic Continent recently discovered by Sir 
James Clarke Ross. In Switzerland the mean temperature of 
the comparatively low and flat land is so much above the 
freezing point, that the ice no sooner descends from the 

Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 55 

mountains than it melts away ; and it is thus usually pre- 
vented from spreading to any considerable extent over the 
plains. In the Antai'ctic Continent, on the contrary, the 
mean temperature is nowhere so high as the freezing point. 
The ice, therefoi"e, which descends from the hills, unites itself 
with that which is deposited from the atmosphere on the 
plains ; and the whole becomes consolidated into one conti- 
nuous mass, of immense depth, which glides gradually on- 
ward towards the ocean. The portions which are protruded 
out to sea break oif, and are floated away as icebergs ; the 
remainder being left, presenting to the sea a perpendicular 
face which rises, in insurmountable clitfs, to the height of 
from 150 to 20U feet above the water, and extends below the 
water to the depth of perhaps 1000 feet. 

Now, a climate somewhere intermediate between these ex- 
tremes appears to be that which would be requisite to form 
the shelves in the glens of Lochaber. The climate of Swit- 
zerland would be too warm to admit of a sufficient horizontal 
extension of the glaciers ; that of the Antarctic Continent 
too cold to allow the lakes to remain unfrozen. If the climate 
of Scotland were again to become such that the mean tem- 
perature of Glen Spean would be not much above the freezing 
point, there seems to be every reason to believe that that glen 
would again be nearly filled with an enormous mass of ice ; 
while its upper parts, and also Glen Roy, would be occupied 
by lakes, which would once more beat upon the ancient and 
long-deserted beaches, — that the rivers would resume their 
former channels, flowing out of the lakes by the summit- 
levels between the glens, — and that the ancient aspect of the 
country would, in all respects, be again restored. 

It will perhaps be objected, that in imagining the ice to 
make its way into Glen Roy, we are supposing it to flow up 
hill. A semifluid mass, however, so long as its upper surface 
slopes downwards, cannot be regarded as flowing up hill, no 
matter what may be the form of the bottom on which it rests. 
If a slightly-inclined trough or channel have an opening made 
in one side, at the middle of its length, and if a stream of 
thick mud be kept flowing into it by this opening, the mud 
will not all turn suddenly round towards the lower end of the 

56 Mr Thomson on the Parallel lioads of Lochaber. 

channel, but a portion of it will flow in the opposite direction, 
apparently up hill, till its surface comes to meet the bottom 
of the channel at a level little, if at all, below the surface of 
the mud at the side entrance. 

In confirmation of the views just brought forward, regard- 
ing the possible horizontal extension of the glaciers, I may 
refer to the evidence given by Professor Forbes, in his " Tra- 
vels in the Alps" (page 50), of immense erratic blocks having 
been conveyed by glaciers from the main chain of the Alps 
across all the inequalities of the great plain of Switzerland, 
and deposited high on the hills round the Lake of Neufchatel ; 
the total distance travelled over being 60 or 70 miles, and 
the total declivity due to their descent being certainly not 
more than 1° 8', and probably not half so much. 

Glen Gluoy, in regard to its blockage, seems to have been 
quite independent of all the other glens to which I have as 
yet alluded. A glacier occupying the present site of Loch 
Lochy, and receiving supplies from the various neighbouring 
mountains, would appear to aff'ord a sufficient explanation of 
the phenomena observed in this glen. Mr Milne has, how- 
ever, discovered in it a shelf which is lower than the one pre- 
viously known, and which does not appear to be in connection 
with any summit-level. If this be the case, we may suppose 
that, while the lake was at the level of this second shelf, its 
discharge took place by the present mouth of the glen, thx'ough 
an elevated channel in the moraine of the glacier. The lake 
would therefore have resembled almost exactly the Lac de 
Combal and the Matmark See, described and figured in the 
work by Professor Forbes to which I have already referred. 
(Pp. 193 and 345.) 

There is, however, a circumstance connected with this shelf 
which seems to me to involve some difficulty. As represented 
by Mr Milne, its terminations, on both sides of the glen, are 
farther from the mouth of the glen than those of the shelf 
above. In fact, the upper shelf is shewn round the sides of 
Glen Fintec, while the lower shelf is made to stop short with- 
out reaching the entrance to that glen. Should this repre- 
sentation be really correct, it would appear to involve the 
supposition, that the glacier, when at the lower level, pene- 

Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 57 

trated farther into Glen Gluoy than it did when at the higher 
level. Now the question arises, — Is it likely that this could 
have been the case ? Perhaps light may be thrown on the 
subject by some curious circumstances connected with the 
Lac de Combal. The glacier which occasions the damming 
up of this lake has actually retired a considerable way down 
the glen in which the lake is situated, since the deposition of 
that part of its moraine which now retains the water ; and 
yet the surface of the glacier is some hundreds of feet higher 
than that of the lake. Besides this, the glacier, at a point 
farther from the head of the glen, threatens to overwhelm 
with its moraine the channel of the river by which the super- 
fluous water of the lake is at present discharged. How immi- 
nent the prospect of this occurrence really is, may be judged 
from the fact, that it is necessary annually to remove the 
debris thrown down by the glacier on the road which, toge- 
ther with the river, winds through the bottom of a deep 
ravine, enclosed on the one side by the moraine of the glacier, 
and on the other by the continuation of the hill which forms 
a side of the glen containing the lake. Should the glacier 
force itself even a very little farther in this direction, the 
surface of the lake would not only be raised above its present 
level, but its horizontal extension towards the lower part of 
the glen would be increased. The beach of the lake at pre- 
sent existing, together with that of the new one thus formed, 
would therefore exhibit exactly the peculiarities which, ac- 
cording to the representation of Mr Milne, appear to exist in 
the two shelves of Glen Gluoy. This fact is enough to make 
the difficulty appear to be not insuperable. The simplest 
view, however, to take of the subject may, perhaps, be to 
suppose that the glacier which occasioned the formation of 
the higher of the Glen Gluoy shelves, had at some period 
protruded a terminal moraine as far up the glen as the 
terminations of the lower shelf; that on the final retiring 
of the glacier this old moraine served as a barrier to dam 
up the water to the level of the lower shelf, and that it 
has been subsequently washed away by the river flowing 
over it. 

I have thought it right to point out the foregoing difficulty 

58 Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 

ioY the consideration of those who may have it their power 
to gain farther information on the subject. Should any mu- 
tual action of a glacier and its moraine have occasioned the 
peculiarity in question, we might expect to find some re- 
mains of the moraine between the terminations of the upper 
and those of the lower shelf. It may here be remarked, that 
there is not the same- difficulty in accounting for the removal 
of this moraine, as for that of the barriers supposed by Mr 
Milne to have existed at the mouths of the other glens. For, 
in this instance, the water from the lake of Glen Gluoy must 
have dischai'ged itself over the top of the moraine ; while, in 
the case of the other glens, it certainly flowed out by the sum- 
mit-levels between the glens ; and would, therefore, have no 
power of cutting away the barriers. 

There is, in the Lochaber district, still another glen, con- 
taining a slielf, which was discovered by Mr Darwin, and de- 
scribed by him in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal 
Society of London for 1839. This glen is situated near Kil- 
linnan, at the north-eastern extremity of Loch Lochy. The 
shelf in it is stated by Mr Darwin to be in every respect as 
characteristic as any shelf in Glen Roy. He believes it to be 
perfectly horizontal ; and, in connection with it, he discovered 
a watei'-shed, similar in its nature to those which have been 
already mentioned. Now, as this author remarks, in regard 
to any explanation by means of earthy barriers, " the dis- 
covery of the shelf at Kilfinnin increases every difficulty mani- 
fold." Every additional glen containing a shelf, in fact, re- 
quires us to assume the deposition of an additional barrier, 
and the subsequent removal of this by causes which have left 
the shelves undisturbed. To admit, at the mouth of even a 
single glen, of a barrier of such a peculiar nature as would 
enable it to stand for a long time, but at last to be swept 
away, although no river flowed over it, seems difficult enough ; 
but to imagine ^-hat numerous glens should chance to be 
placed in such peculiar circumstances, appears to be quite 
unnatural ; no sufficient and generally-acting cause being as- 
signed for the repetition of the supposed phenomenon. On 
the other hand, the existence of the shelf in question is ex- 
actly what should have been expected, according to the gla- 

Mr Thomson 07i the Farallel Roads of Lochaber. 59 

cial theory I have maintained. The same mass of ice occu- 
pying Loch Lochy, which I have supposed to have been in- 
strumental in forming the shelf in Glen Gluoy, would, to all 
appearance necessarily, have blocked up also the glen at Kil- 
finnan, and thus have produced the shelf which is really 
found to exist round its sides, on a level with the water-shed 
at its top. Mr Milne himself mentions the occurrence, in 
various parts of the Highlands, of other glens containing 
shelves, none of which have, however, been so carefully in- 
vestigated as those we have been considering. According 
to what I have already said, this would appear to add to the 
difficulties of the explanation by means of eai'thy banners, 
and to confii'm the one I have given, depending on the agency 
of a climate such as would cover with a thick bed of ice almost 
the whole surface of the land in the neighbourhood of high 

It will be unnecessary for me to enter at length into a dis- 
cussion of the diluvial -theory of the parallel roads, given by 
Sir George Mackenzie, as, after a full consideration of it, it 
does not seem to me to be capable of explaining the observed 
facts. I may, however, mention some of the leading objec- 
tions which I would bring against it. During the sinking 
of the supposed wave, on the arrival of its surface at each 
successive summit-level, there would be no sudden check to 
the flow of the water through the glens, nor even to the rate 
of depression of the general surface of the wave ; but even 
if some material alteration in the flow of the water were to 
occur at those particular occasions, there seems to be no 
reason to suppose that these vast shelves would be the result. 
No attempt, besides, is made according to this theory, to shew 
why the various shelves should be expected to stop short at 
the particular places where, by observation, they are found 
to do so. 

An objection which has been urged by Mr LycU against 
the glacial theory of the parallel roads must not be left un- 
noticed. He thinks there are proofs to be met with in va- 
rious parts of Scotland of great changes having occurred in 
the relative levels of the eea and land ; and he supposes that 
such changes would have destroyed the horizontality which 

60 Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 

is found to characterise the terraces. Now, there is probably 
no doubt that important changes in the elevation of the land 
have occurred since the commencement of the glacial period, 
but I do not think that any proof can be given of their oc- 
currence since its termination. In other words, I think no 
proof can be adduced, that, ever since the last great disturb- 
ance of the land, the climate has been so warm as to pre- 
clude the supposition of the existence of glaciers round Ben 
Nevis. Could this, however, be proved, still it does not ap- 
pear to me that it would invalidate the glacial theory of the 
terraces. It is easy to conceive that the whole of Scotland 
might participate in a general elevation or depression ; each 
part remaining unaltered in regard to inclination to the hori- 
zon ; and even were we to suppose the south of Scotland to have 
risen 30 feet, while the north remained stationary, and the 
intervening parts moved in proportion to their distances from 
the north, the utmost deviation from horizontality which 
would thus be produced in the terraces would not exceed a 
foot of difference between the levels of the northern and 
southern extremities of any one of them ; an amount which 
would be quite imperceptible by any mode of measurement 
which could be applied on surfaces so uneven. 

In conclusion, I may remark, that, in calling in the aid of 
glaciers towards the explanation of the Parallel Roads, no 
gratuitous or unsupported assumption is made. So many 
various and independent proofs of the existence of a glacial 
climate in these countries, during some of the most recent 
geological periods, have been accumulated, especially within 
the last few years, that we may now regard it as an esta- 
blished fact, and use it like a stepping-stone to assist us in 
farther investigations. In addition to other proofs of a cold 
climate derived ft*om organic remains, and from effects which 
appear to have been produced by icebergs floating at sea, 
indications of glaciers, in some instances of the most unequi- 
vocal character, are to be met with in various mountainous 
parts of Great Britain and Ireland. Such appearances, more 
or less satisfactory, have been pointed out by various authors, 
of whom it may be sufficient to mention Buckland, Lyell, 
Bowman, Agassiz, Maclaren, and Forbes. In the island of 

Mr Thomson on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. 61 

Skye, in particular, among the Cuchullin Hills, which have 
been lately explored by the last-mentioned author, Professor 
Forbes, there are to be seen more striking and indisputable 
traces of glaciers than in any other locality which has, as yet, 
been examined. This is in a great degree to be attributed 
to the durable nature of the hypersthene rocks of which those 
hills are composed ; a property which has caused their sur- 
faces to retain not only the general forms, but also the most 
minute markings produced by the glaciers ; and which, at 
the same time, has prevented these from being concealed 
under a coating of decayed materials. The face of the country 
seems, in fact, to have retained, almost absolutely unaltered, 
all the appearances which it presented on the retiring of the 

In the Lochaber district, among other indications of the 
action of glaciers, Agassiz has pointed out one which is in- 
teresting in itself, and more so when taken in connection 
with the foregoing. At the mouth of Loch Treig, the rock 
consists of gneiss, intersected by veins of quartz. The quartz 
everywhere projects two or three inches above the gneiss, its 
upper surface being polished and striated, 'exactly as is the 
case with quartz veins exposed to the action of glaciers at the 
present day. It is clear that the gneiss and the quartz had 
originally been planed down to one even surface ; and that 
the gneiss, not being perfectly durable, has since decayed 
away, and thus left the quartz veins standing in relief. 

It would be out of place for me here to enter at greater 
length into the question as to the former prevalence of gla- 
ciers, or of a glacial climate. For farther details, I must 
refer to the authors who have discussed the subject, particu- 
larly to those I have already mentioned. 

On Carbonic Acid as a solvent in the process of Vegetation. 
By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., Lond. & Ed., Inspector-Ge- 
neral of Army Hospitals. Communicated by the Author. 

The importance of carbonic acid in the process of vegeta- 
tion, as the principal source of the carbon of plants, is now 

62 Dv Davy on Carbonic Acid 

generally admitted. But, whilst the effect of its decompo- 
sition, under the influence of light, has been carefully stu- 
died, comparatively little or no attention, to the best of my 
knowledge, has been paid to the solvent power of this acid 
in the physiology of vegetables. 

When we examine the ashes of plants, we find in the ma- 
jority of them, besides certain salts soluble in vi^ater, certain 
other compounds of little or no solubility in this fluid, such 
as carbonate of lime, phosphate of lime, and silica; and the 
two latter, in many of the grasses, especially in ti'opical 
species, in proportions exciting our surprise. Tliat these 
inorganic elements, as they are commonly called, are derived 
from the soil, can hardly be doubted, judging from well-esta- 
blished facts ; but, it is a question of some interest how they 
are derived, what tlie menstruum is by which ihey are con- 
veyed and distributed, and whether the acid mentioned— 
the carbonic acid — is mainly concerned in the function. 

To endeavour to answer this question, at least in part, I 
have instituted some experiments, which I shall now de- 
scribe, with their results. The subjects of the first trials I 
made were phosphate of lime, silica, and alumine. Portions 
of these (all with the exception of the sulphate of lime) were 
used in a moist state, freshly precipitated, after having been 
well washed on a filter. They were introduced into bottles, 
such as are used for holding soda-water, and were filled with 
water strongly impregnated with carbonic acid gas by means 
of the apparatus commonly employed in the manufacture of 
of soda-water, and were corked and wired in the usual man- 
ner. The degree of the compression of the gas was not 
ascertained : that it was considerable was evident from the 
explosive manner in which the corks were expelled on re- 
moving the binding wire for the purpose of examining the 
effects. In each instance, on the removal of the cork, the 
water was filtered as soon as possible, using three or four 
filters ; and, generally, I may remark, there was no appear- 
ance of any turbidness or precipitation on the escape of the 
highly-compressed gas, seeming to indicate, as might have 
been expected, that no solvent power was exercised by the 
compressed air. In each instance the filtered fluid was 

as a solvent in the process of Vegetation. G3 

carefully examined, subjected to such trials as were requi- 
site to determine whether and to what extent the substance 
introduced had been acted on by the acid. I shall briefly 
notice the results individually. 

Phosphate of Lime. — After having been kept eleven days, 
the carbonic acid water, in which a portion of this compound 
had been introduced, was examined. The water, immedi- 
ately after filtration, was clear. The whole was divided into 
two portions ; to one ammonia was added, the other was left 
exposed to the air. The volatile alkali instantly rendered 
the water turbid; six cubic inches of the water yielded a 
precipitate, which, collected and weighed, after having been 
dried and heated nearly to redness, was found equal to -64 
of a grain. It had the properties of phosphate of lime. The 
other portion exposed to the air, about 85 cubic inches, ex- 
amined after two hours, was found to have on its surface a 
fine continuous pellicle, not unlike that which forms on lime- 
water similarly exposed. Examined again after fourteen 
hours, the pellicle had become more conspicuous, and a de- 
position was observable on the inside of the glass vessel, 
diminishing downwards. The pellicle examined under the 
microscope with a high power (one-eighth of an inch focal 
distance) appeared finely granular, portions of it with well- 
defined bi'oken edges, other portions with a delicate arbo- 
rescent outline. The pellicle foimaed on the surface, and the 
deposit on the sides of the vessel collected on a filter, after 
thirty-eight hours' exposure, and thoroughly dried, weighed 
•7 of a grain. Still the water held carbonic acid and phos- 
phate of lime in solution, for, on addition of ammonia to the 
filtered fluid, it was rendered turbid, and yielded "S of a grain 
more of phosphate of lime. These results appear to sliew 
that 20,000 parts by weight of water saturated with carbonic 
acid gas arc capable of dissolving 1 part by weight of phos- 
phate of lime. The readiness with which phosphate of lime 
is dissolved by means of carbonic acid is most easily shewn 
by adding a portion of freshly-precipitated phosphate, well 
washed, to water merely satui'ated with carbonic acid gas 
by agitation. In a few minutes, if the portion be small, it 
will disappear, and will be precipitated distinctly by the ad- 

64 Dr Davy on Carbonate Acid 

dition of ammonia. I may mention in this place, in farther 
illustration of the solvent pov^fer of carbonic acid over phos- 
phate of lime, an experiment that is rather paradoxical. 
If to a solution of phosphate of lime in distilled vinegar 
carbonate of lime in fine povv^der be added, there is an instant 
and strong effervescence, and phosphate of lime is found to 
be precipitated ; but if calc-spar, in small pieces, be substi- 
tuted for the powder, comparatively little gas is given off, 
and very slowly ; the solution, in brief, becomes saturated with 
carbonic acid, and though an acetate of lime is formed, no 
phosphate of lime is thrown down, it being kept in solution 
by the carbonic acid, as is proved by heating the solution, 
when, on the expulsion of the gas, the phosphate of lime is 

Gypsum. — Some of this compound in powder, not of absolute 
purity, from a parcel imported for use as a manure, was sub- 
jected to the action of carbonic acid in water for twelve days. 
The results of the trial were negative. On the addition of 
ammonia to the filtered water, there was no precipitation of 
sulphate of lime ; nor, on exposm-e to the atmosphere of an- 
other portion of the water, was there any film or pellicle of 
the sulphate observable on the surface, after the greater part 
of the gas had escaped, or any deposition on the inside of 
the glass vessel ; thus indicating that water impregnated 
with carbonic acid gas had not its power of dissolving gyp- 
sum increased thereb}'. And a few experiments which I 
have made with other acids on this compound, as the sul- 
phuric, muriatic, and acetic acids diluted, have given a like 
I'esult, viz., that these acids are not solvents of sulphate of 

Alumine. — The portion of this earth, subjected to the ac- 
tion of the cai-bonic acid water, had been obtained from a 
solution of alum by the addition of ammonia, and conse- 
quently retained a minute proportion of sulphuric acid, even 
after having been well washed. On examination, after seven 
days, the results were entirely negative ; ammonia, added to 
the water the instant it had been filtered, did not occasion 
the slightest turbidness ; no pellicle appeared on another 
portion as the gas escaped on the exposure to the air ; nor 

as a solvent in the process of Vegetation. 65 

could any trace of alumine be detected in the minute residue 
obtained by evaporating this portion to dryness. 

Silica. — A portion of gelatinous silica obtained from liquor 
silicum, by means of an acid, was exposed to the action of 
the aerated water eight days. The filtered fluid was not 
distinctly precipitated by ammonia ; nor did a pellicle form 
on a portion of it e.xposed to the atmosphere ; but, from both 
portions, — that to which ammonia had been added, and that 
to which no addition had been made, a minute quantity of 
silica was obtained by evaporation to dryness. It adhered 
to the platina capsule, forming delicate circles ; the deposit 
was opaque and white ; was not dissolved by nitric acid : 
under the microscope it had the appearance of small thin 
plates, transparent, without any regularity of form, as to 
outline. From six cubic inches of aerated water, I infer 
that about -01 of a grain of silica was deposited. In another 
experiment, in which some silica that had been obtained from 
a mineral water in fine powder, had been exposed, after hav- 
ing been dried, to the action of the water containing cai'bonic 
acid gas compressed, for nineteen days, the results obtained 
were very similar to the preceding. In this instance, there 
was a slight appearance of turbidness produced on the addi- 
tion of ammonia to the filtered water, and a very slight de- 
position on the inside of the glass vessel, in which a portion 
of the water was exposed to the atmosphere, and that of 
matter not dissolved by an acid ; and, farther, the proportion 
of white matter having the character of silica, obtained by 
the evaporation of the water, was greater than in the first 
instance, — from 6 cubic inches -06 of a grain was procured. 
In a third experiment, in which a white powder, consisting 
chiefly of the silicious skeletons of infusoria, had been exposed 
to the action of water saturated with carbonic acid, without 
condensation, for fifteen days, a similar result was witnessed 
on evaporation, viz., a minute residue of silica. 

Besides the foregoing, I have made many other trials of 
tlie action of water impregnated with carbonic acid gas, both 
compressed and without compression, the results of which 
have been in accordance with the preceding. I shall briefly 


6Q T>r Davy on Carbonic Acid 

notice such of them as are likely to be useful in connection 
with vegetable physiology. 

A portion of calcareous marl in fine powder, acted on for 
fourteen days by water containing carbonic acid gas con- 
densed, yielded, after filtration, on exposure to the air and 
evaporation to dryness, some carbonate of lime, a little cai'- 
bonate of magnesia and phosphate of lime, and a trace of 
silica, and a minute portion of carbonate of potash. 

In a similar experiment, continued for the same time, on a 
portion of the ashes of the sugar-cane, the carbonic acid 
water yielded a considerable portion of phosphate of lime, 
and of carbonate of potash, and a small proportion of carbo- 
nate of magnesia, with a little silica, and a trace of carbo- 
nate of lime, — results in harmony with the composition of 
this ash, as ascertained by analysis. 

A portion of a subsoil from the island of Tinnidad was 
similarly acted on for eighteen days. The aerated water then 
yielded a little cai'bonate of lime, a very little carbonate of 
magnesia and phosphate of lime, and a trace of silica and of 
carbonate of soda. 

A mixture of two grains of bi-carbonate of potash and of 
four grains of a ehall<-like matter, of which there are exten- 
sive deposits in Barbadoes, consisting chiefly of the silicious 
skeletons of infusoria, was acted on by water containing cai*- 
bonic acid gas compressed, for eleven days. This water, 
then filtered and evaporated, yielded, besides the alkaline 
salt, a trace of carbonate of lime and magnesia, and of phos- 
phate of lime and silica ; and it may be worthy of remark, 
that the silica obtained in this instance, notwithstanding the 
presence of a large proportion of tlie vegetable alkali, was 
not more in quantity than when no alkali had been intro- 

A mixture of four grains of di'ied phosphate of lime, and 
of the same quantity of carbonate of lime, and of the chalk- 
like matter above mentioned, all in the state of fine powder, 
was similarly acted on during fifteen days. This examined, 
the aerated water was found to yield some carbonate of lime, 
a minute portion of phosphate of lime and of carbonate of 
magnesia, and a trace of silica. Silica was detected both in 

as a solvent in the process of Vegetation. 67 

the precipitate obtained by adding ammonia to the filtered 
water, and also by evaporating to dryness the same water 
after the addition of ammonia and filtration. 

These latter results appear to shew, that water impreg- 
nated with carbonic acid has the power of dissolving, at the 
same time, several compounds, as carbonate of lime, carbo- 
nate of magnesia, phosphate of lime and silica, besides what 
water alone is capable of taking up. 

The application of these results to the physiology of vege- 
table growth appears to be pretty obvious, and, in some par- 
ticulars, in admirable harmony with previously ascertained 
facts. For instance, how admirable it is, that the acid from 
which vegetables derive their carbonaceous elements, chiefly 
by the action of light and oxygen, is restored to the atmo- 
sphere by its decomposition, should, in passing from the soil, 
be the bearer of so many elements derived from the soil, and 
insoluble in water alone, to be deposited, it may be taken for 
granted, where required, partly owing to the decomposition 
of the acid, when the process of vegetation is most active 
tinder the influence of light, and partly owing to evapora- 
tion under the influence of heat, and of other causes promot- 
ing it. 

Perhaps the careful study of the manner and the influ- 
ences under which the several substances admitting of solu- 
tion in water, and in water holding carbonic acid in solution, 
are deposited, may throw some light on the composition of 
plants, as regards their inorganic elements. For instance, 
as sulphate of lime does not appear to have its solubility in- 
creased by the addition of carbonic acid to water, it does not 
seem incongruous that it should seldom be found excepting 
in minute quantities in vegetables. As alumine, insoluble in 
water, does not appear to be rendei'ed soluble by the same 
acid, the remark just made is a fortiori applicable to it, as a 
constituent of plants ; indeed, it seems questionable, that this 
earth, which performs so important a part in the soil, physi- 
cally considered, is ever abstracted from the soil to enter 
into the composition of any vegetable. Phosphate of lime, 
judging from the experiments I liave made, appears to part 
with its solvent carbonic acid on exposure to the atmosphere 

68 Dr Davy oti Carbonic Acid 

more readily than carbonate of lime does or carbonate of 
magnesia. May not this greater facility be concerned in 
many instances, especially of the grains of the cerealia, in 
occasioning the preponderance of the one compound greatly 
over the other, — the one so much more important than the 
other in these grains as articles of food ■? Farther, as silica 
appears, after having been dissolved by means of carbonic 
acid, not to be deposited distinctly on the escape of the acid, 
but rather on the evaporation of the aqueous part, may not 
this circumstance aid to explain the deposition of silica which 
is observable on the ripening of the cerealia and grasses at 
a period when they are losing their humidity, and becoming 
dry, and strong, and resisting 1 

Some of the results I have described bear, I believe, on 
other points of inquii\v, — for instance, on soils, and even the 
strata on which they rest, and mineral waters. The effects 
of the solvent power of rain containing carbonic acid on cer- 
tain ingredients of the soils, after what has been adduced, is 
obvious. When new deposits are formed, connected with 
the escape of carbonic acid gas, whether entirely, as in the 
production of stalactitical limestone, or in part, as in the 
foi'mation of freestone with a calcareous cement, should we 
not expect to meet, mixed with the deposited carbonate of 
lime, some carbonate of magnesia and phosphate of lime 1 
In the few instances in which I have sought for these latter 
compounds, in situations in which it seemed reasonable to 
expect them in admixture with cax'bonate of lime, I have not 
failed to find them ; for example, in stalactites now forming, 
pendent from cavernous roofs, in the rock of which are traces 
of phosphate of lime and of carbonate of magnesia. 

If, as the results of the experiments described seem to 
shew, silica is capable of being dissolved by water impreg- 
nated with carbonic acid gas, should it not follow that silica 
ought to be met with in mineral waters whenever abounding 
in this gas, provided the source or the strata through which 
they pass contain silica in a favourable state of minute divi- 
sion to be acted on 'i And, as far as my experience extends, 
this is the case. Many instances might be adduced, in which 
the proportion of silica in mineral waters seems to bear very 

as a solvent in the Process of Vegetation. 69 

little relation to the proportion of alkali present, and more 
to the degree of temperature of the spring, and the quantity 
of carbonic acid which it yields. These are remarks which 
I studiously make vei'y briefly, and chiefly with the hope of 
drawing attention to the subject in its most interesting rela- 
tions, and of leading, under more favourable circumstances, 
to farther and moi-e precise inquiry. 

I have observed at the commencement, that little or no at- 
tention has hitherto been paid to carbonic acid as a solvent 
of the inorganic elements of plants. Such is my belief in 
relation to their growth ; but I may be mistaken. Since I 
entered on the inquiry, referring to the work of Professor 
Johnston on Agricultural Chemisti-y, I find in a note that he 
describes an experiment made by him, proving that water, 
holding in solution carbonic acid, is a solvent of phosphate of 
lime, and as such, must tend constantly to abstract it from 
the soil.* I may likewise have been anticipated in some of 
the other results I have brought forward, and in their appli- 

Baubadoes, Feb. 15, 1847. 

Geological Researches in the Neighbourhood of Chainounix, in 
Savoi/. By Alphonso Favre, Professor of Geology to 
the Academy of Geneva. (With a Plate.) Communicated 
by the Author. 

The Col de Balme is placed in an excellent position to 
serve as general quarters to a geologist, and the formations 
in the neighbourhood deserve to be examined. Near the Col 
is a peak, named the Croix-de-fer (2373 metres above the sea). 
from which is obtained one of the finest views among the Alps. 
We observe from it that great chain of mountains which ex- 
tends fi'om the Dent du Midi, near St Maurice, as far as Fiz. 
It is rich in elevated peaks, and richer still in names ; for the 
peasants and huntsmen always give at least two names to 
each peak, according to the side fi'om which they view it. 

The Col de Balme is 2222 metres above the level of the 

* Lectures on Agricultural Chemistrjr and Geology, note, p. 290. Ediii. 

70 Professor Favre's Geological Researches 

sea, according to a mean of twelve of my barometrical obser- 
vations. It is situate exactly on the boundary of the ci*ys- 
talline slates and the jm-assic formation. The junction of 
these two formations can, therefore, be easily determined. 

In order to determine the exact limit of the protogine and 
crystalline slates, it was necessary for me to make a long 
expedition on the side of the glacier of Trient. Proceeding 
on my search, and having no other indication than the direc- 
tion of the beds, I wandered a little from my route ; and it 
was not till I had crossed five glaciers that I arrived at it. 
But I was rewarded for my trouble, by finding near the line 
of contact five banks or veins of granite, the largest of which 
was 5 or 6 metres in thickness. They are embedded in the 
crystalline slate, as well as a vein of Potstone, quite ana- 
logous to that now dug at Montanvert de Chamounix. This 
latter is likewise near the junction of the crystalline slates 
and protogines. De Saussure has described {Voyages, § 661) 
five banks of granite situate near the Chalets of Blaitiere, 
not far from the limit of the crystalline slates and proto- 
gines. Now, there are about 15 kilometres between Blai- 
tiere and the locality where I discovered the granite veins 
near the glacier of Trient. So that we may conclude, that 
the Potstone and granite vein^ are placed as bands parallel 
to the line of contact of the crystalline slates and the protogine ; 
and that throughout all this line, the same phenomena present 
the same appearance, at least on the north-west aspect of the 
chain of Mont Blanc. I can also affirm, that, on the same 
declivity, there exist parallel bands of serpentine or Pot- 
stone ; and I have other proofs of the parallelism with which 
these rocks are disseminated in the crystalline slates. These 
I have reserved for a work in which they will be described 
with more details than I can give here. 

These proofs are the result of a journey on foot to the 
Aiguille du Midi, in front of the Grand-Mulets, which the 
badness of the weather compelled me to make on two difFer- 
eut occasions, and in which I ascended to the height of 2757 
metres — that is to say, about 100 metres above the point 
which Saussure reached with much difficulty. (§ 660.) 

I use the words crystalline slates in preference to any 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamounix, in Savoy. 71 

other ; because, up to the present moment, I have been un- 
able fully to satisfy myself whether these rocks are gneiss or 
talcose rocks. The component part, consisting of leaflets, 
often appear harder than talc, and less elastic than mica. 
It seems intermediate between these two minerals. I be- 
lieve that there is often true talc associated with the fel- 
spar, and even that this rock plays as important a part in 
the protoginous chain of Mont Blanc, as is done by the gneiss 
in the granite chains. This foliated rock, which is essen- 
tially composed of felspar and talc or chlorite, has been 
named felspathic-steaschist by M. Omalius De Halloy ;* but 
it is so widely diffused among the Pennine Alps as to de- 
serve a special name ; and that of Dolerine, proposed by 
M. Jurine,t appears to be the only one that can be adopted 
to designate it. 

Near the glacier of Trient, I found large aiguilles entirely 
formed of eclogite. 

During my stay at the Col de Balme, I often examined the 
formation known by the name of Ponding ue de Valor sine, 
especially in the locality named Ceblancs, rendered classical 
by the observations of Saussure {Voyages, cli. xx.). These 
pudding-stones, in which I have found neither true granite 
nor limestone, constitute, along with sandstone and argilla- 
ceous slates, the anthraciferous formation of the Alps. By 
this name I do not pretend to decide its age, that being still 
problematical ; nor to assimilate this formation to the an- 
thraciferous formation of Belgium or the Ardennes. I merely 
mean, that it contains the anthracites of the Alps, which, as 
is known, are associated, according to M. Brongniart, with 
plants of the coal formation.^ Here the formation is inferior 
to the belemnite limestone ; and these two formations pre- 
sent a geological j}assage from the one to the other — that is 
to say, there is an alternation of the rocks of the two forma- 
tions near the line of contact. 

I have had occasion to verify, in this singular formation. 

* Des Roches conslderecs Mineralogiquement, 1841, p. 70. 
t Journal des Mines, 1806, t. xix., p. 374. 
X AnnalcB des Scicn. Nut., t. xiv., p. 127. 

72 Professor Favre's Geological Besearches 

the observations which MM. Escher and Studer* have made 
on the pebbles of Nagelflue, that is, I have seen some of the 
rolled pebbles forming part of it, which had made an impres- 
sion on each other ; or, in other words, the convex part of one 
pebble was embedded in the concave part of another pebble. 
This fact, however extraordinary it may seem, is less sur- 
prising in the pudding-stones of Valorsine than in the Nagel- 
flue, for this pudding-stone appears to have been partly re- 
melted since its formation. As a proof of this, we may I'efer 
to the pebbles which are closely soldered, at a part of their 
circumference, to the cement which encases them, and the in- 
sensible way in which they and this cement run into one 
another. If we admit this kind of semifusion, we can readily 
explain this singular phenomenon of impressed pebbles, for 
we can understand how rolled pebbles formed of fusible mat- 
ters could receive the impression of substances less fusible. 

Near Ceblancs we find the rocks of St Jean, in which there 
is a fissure where ice is formed, even in summer, by the efl"ect 
of a very rapid current of air. But I could not examine this 
natural glacier in a somewhat warm temperature, cold and 
bad weather having followed me during my excursions. 

After traversing for some days the valley of Chamounix, I 
was very much struck, as MM. De Saussure, Foi'bes, and 
Necker had been, with the singular position of the masses of 
limestone observed here and there on the sides and in the 
bottom of the valley. We perceive that the chain of the 
Brevent and the Aiguilles Rouges is nearly parallel to that 
of Mont Blanc. These two great masses of crystalline rocks 
are separated by the valley of Chamounix, in which stratified 
limestones occur. It is a very remarkable position for lime- 
stones to be thus enclosed between two masses of crystalline 
rocks so extensive and so near each other, the more so as 
the beds of limestone are very neai'ly vertical at the base of 
the Aiguilles Rouges, and dip under the chain of Mont Blanc 
with a great inclination. They thus constitute the structure 

* Actes de la 8oc. Helvetiquc des Sci. Nat. 1837, p. 28 ; 1839, p. 47 ; Annul, 
des Soc. Geologiques, tome i., p. 228 ; Oouiptes Kendus dc TAcad. des Sc. de 
Paris, 21 Fcvricr 1818, p. 251. 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamounix, in Savoy. 73 

which has been uaxaQdi fan-shaped, which is not unimportant 
in the geology of the Alps. These limestones have been re- 
ferred to the lias formation ; I myself this year found belem- 
nites in three different localities ; in Mont Lacha, near 
Ouches ; near the side of Piget, at the foot of the Glacier des 
Bois, and near the Chalets of Balme. It is annoying that the 
imperfect preservation of these fossils does not admit of de- 
termining them specifically. 

Hitherto it has been impossible to distinguish the upper 
from the lower part of these limestones, and from this there 
has arisen much confusion in the mind of geologists as to the 
stnicture of this portion of the Alps ; and many of them, glad 
to be supported by the authority of Saussure, are accustomed 
to say, with him, "We may almost assure ourselves that 
there is notliing so constant among the Alps as their variety."" 
{Voyages, ^2^01.) 

Dui'ing the many years that I have been in the habit of 
visiting these mountains, I have been always convinced that 
we might much more truthfully affirm that there is a great 
regularity in this part of the Alps ; that the enormous masses 
that have been raised upwards are in no respect of an excep- 
tional character, unless it be in consequence, perhaps, of 
their size ; and that they may be compared, for their regu- 
larity, with those of the Jura, the forms of which have been 
so distinctly described by M. Thuinnann. It ought to be 
thus ; for volcanic agency has operated in the same manner 
at all times, and over all the surface of the globe. 

It is with this opinion that I attached myself to the study 
of the neighbourhood of Chamounix ; and although I have 
not yet arrived at a definite and complete result, I hope to 
be able, by adducing new observations, to point out the way 
to an explanation of this structure, which has been regarded 
as abnormal. 

I at first endeavoured to discover which was the superior 
and which the inferior portions of the sedimentary formations, 
which, along with the transported formation, compose the 
valley of Chamounix. I began by examining the junction of 
the belemnitic limestones with the crystalline schists, at the 
base of the chain of Mont Blanc, and I did this from Forclaz 

74 Professor Favre's Geological Researches 

de Martigny, as far as Mont de Lacha, near Ouches. This 
junction is seen in a very great number of localities, among 
others, on the right side of the glacier of Bois, on the road 
leading to Chapeau, at a place called Bouchet. In this lo- 
cality, the beds of which are nearly a pi'olongation of those of 
the sides of Piget,* the fan-shaped structure is striking, the 
beds inclined, as pointed out by M. Forbes,! about 30° south- 
east ; the crystalline slates appear to dip under the crystalline 
rocks, and to rest on the limestones, whose beds present the 
same inclination. At the boundary of the crystalline slates 
and the limestone, we find the cellular magnesian limestone, 
named Cargneule, and between the Cargneule and the crystal- 
line schist is found a thin layer of a white or greenish sort of 
kaolin. This arrangement is seen along the whole line of 
contact. I have also found it at the torrent of La Gria, at 
the Col de Balme, &c., &c. 

As in the regular order of formation, tlie anthraciferous 
formation is placed below the Jurassic formation, and since 
we nowhere see this formation between the crystalline 
slates and the limestone on this side of the chain, I have 
thought that it is not the lower portion of the Jurassic for- 
mation which is found in contact with the crystalline schists. 
This absence of the anthraciferous formation seems to ex- 
clude the possibility of explaining the fan-shaped structure 
by the overturning of the beds resulting from the force and 
nature of the rising upwai'ds of the crystallised rocks. I 
know, however, that it is not thus throughout the whole cir- 
cumference of the chain of Mont Blanc. In the Vale of 
Ferret, for example, the Jurassic limestones rest upon the 
crystalline .slates, and on the massive rocks. They ap- 
pear to be in a normal position, and the fan-shaped structure 
does not exist. This belief, therefore, as to the superposi- 
tion of the crystalline slates on the upper part of the Juras- 
sic formation, needs to be confirmed. With this object I 
examined the line of junction of the Jurassic formation and 
of the Brevent chain, in a locality frequently visited, named 

* De Saussure, Voyages, § 709. 
t Travels, p. 63 and 66. 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamomiix, in Savoy. lb 

the Rafords, in front of the hamlet of Pras. From the time 
of Saussure {Voyages, § 710), as in the present day, lime- 
stone is quarried here. This rock forms a scarcely strati- 
fied mass, which rests on the base of the Aiguilles Rouges, be- 
low La Croix de Flegere. Ascending above the quarry, in 
order to examine the line of junction of the formation, I 
found beds of true slate placed between the limestone and 
the rocks of crystallization. I recognised the slates as be- 
longing to the anthraciferous formation. They are the pro- 
longation of those found at the base of the Aiguilles Rouges, 
above D'Argentiere, and of those which accompany the an- 
thracite mines of Coupeau. 

In tracing, as I have done, the geological map of this 
country, we perceive that from the neighbourhood of the Col 
de Balme as far as the village of Ouches, that is to say, 
throughout the whole length of the Valley of Chamounix, 
there exists, at the southern base of the chain of the Aiguilles 
Rouges, a band of the anthraciferous formation, which rests 
on this chain, and which has been subjected to great denuda- 
tions. In many localities, these rocks contain numerous im- 
pressions of plants, which are probably identical with the 
plants of the coal formation, like those of the Tarentaise. 
The slates of Rafords are in almost vertical beds, and co- 
vered by the Jurassic limestone. The rock immediately be- 
low them is a crystalline slate containing some pebbles, 
and which probably ought to be referred to the Valorsine 

There is often great difficulty in distinguishing certain 
parts of the Valorsine pudding-stone, which do not contain 
rolled pebbles of true crystalline slates. I have seen a sin- 
gular example above the Valorsine slates, which is covered 
by a rock identical with a true crystalline slate, and yet it is 
comprised in the formation of the pudding-stone of Valor- 

This doubtful Rafords rock passes insensibly into a rock 
which constitutes the greatest part of the Aiguilles Rouges, 
a species of gneiss, the colour of which has given its name 
to this chain. 

It is this intimate connection of the crystalline schists with 

76 Professor Favi'e's Geological Besearches 

the anthraciferous rocks, and the frequently crystalline ap- 
pearance of the latter, that has led M. Gras to refer the 
gi'eater part of the crystalline rocks of the Alps of Dauphine 
to the carboniferous period.* Oftener than once I have 
asked myself whether the great masses of crystalline slates 
placed between the protogines of the central chain of Mont 
Blanc and the limestones at the base of its northern aspect, 
might not pertain to the anthraciferous formation ; but no- 
thing in the numerous localities where I have examined them, 
enables me to answer this question in the affirmative. 

It appears to me, therefore, that it is the chain of the 
Aiguilles Rouges which has determined the straight arrange- 
ment of the sedimentary rocks in the Valley of Chamounix. 

This opinion appeared to me at first rather exti*aordinary ; 
for it Avas to annul, in some degree, the geognostic import- 
ance of the enormous protoginous chain of Mont Blanc. But 
I am aware that on the other side of the chain of Brevent, 
in the savage valley of the Diorza, all the beds are turned to 
the south-east; that is to say, they rest on the chain of the 
Aiguilles Rouges and of the Brevent. 

The chain of Fiz, rendered celebrated by the description 
which has been given of it by M. Brongniart,t forms a part 
of the upper crest of this lip, produced by being raised up- 
wards. Although this inclination has been hitherto attri- 
buted to the influence of the central chain of the Alps, yet I 
consider it as giving support to my view of the matter. But 
it was necessary for me to find other proofs of geological im- 
portance in the chain of the Aiguilles Rouges, and I resolved 
to go and seek them on the two declivities of this chain, by 
going along it from Servoz as far as Salantin, near St Mau- 
rice, in the Valais. 

Notwithstanding the badness of the weather, I was fortu- 
nate enough to succeed in this expedition. I crossed places 
so savage and so seldom explored, that, although not remote 
from Chamounix, I could not find, among the excellent guides 

* On the Geological Age of the Anthraciferous Beds of the Department of 
the Isere. Annalcs des Mines, 1839, t. xvi., p. 409. 
t Description of the Neighbourhood of Paris. 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamouniv, in Savoy. 77 

of that village, any one who was acquainted with them. But 
I shall give only the observations which I made in my expe- 
dition to the Aiguilles Kouges, properly so called, disregard- 
ing, for the present, such as refer to the other portions of this 


I had little expectation, m traversing these mountains, to 
make any observations possessed of interest. They have 
been described by Dr Berger ;* and his memoir not present- 
ing any curious results, they have been abandoned by natu- 
ralists. But the most remarkable observation relating to 
this chain escaped M. Berger, and my visit to them was not 
made in vain. 

I selected the day on which Mr Smith ascended Mont 
Blanc, in order to ascend the Aiguilles Eouges. On the 11th 
of Auo-ust 1847, when he left Chamounix, in order to sleep at 
the Grand-Mulets, I spent the night at Croix de Flegere 
(1878 metres, the mean of four of my barometrical observa- 
tions) ; and on the following day, while he was climbing 
Mont Blanc, I ascended the aiguille named Gliere (2855 
metres by barometrical measurement), which is also called 
Floria. But the true Floria is almost inaccessible, and the 
o-uides, by a little deception, of which travellers are often 
made the dupes, transfer the name from one of the aiguilles 
to another. It thence follows that travellers are sometimes 
flattered by having easily reached the summit of an inacces- 
sible mountain. 

I reached the top of Gliere some hours before Mr Smith 
gained the summit of Mont Blanc. I watched with gi'eat in- 
terest the progress of his little band, which, no doubt, was at 
that moment the most elevated in the old world, and which 
seemed about to be lost in these deserts of eternal snow. I 
saw the details of their ascent through my telescope, their 
arrival at the summit, and their descent. The weather was 
remarkably calm and warm, which favoured both Mr Smith's 
enterprise and my own. 

From the aiguille on which I stood I had an admirable 
view, not only on the central chain, but likewise on the chain 

* Journal ilf Phys. do Chomie, ot d'llist. Naturclle. 

78 Professor Favre's Geological Researches 

of Fiz, Du Buet, &c., the high peaks of which formed a frame 
to charming points of view among the most remote and low- 
est mountains of Savoy. 

I long contemplated these beautiful scenes with infinite 
pleasure, when, all of a sudden, I saw, in one of the Aiguilles 
Rouges, a structure which instantly gave rise to another or- 
der of ideas, not less grand and elevated than the reverse, 
into which the contemplation of the grand spectacle under 
my eyes had thrown me. 

I observed to the north-east, on the most elevated summit 
of the Aiguilles Rouges, some beds very nearly horizon- 
tal, contrasting singulai'ly with the vertical beds which 
form the whole of this chain. The singularity of this hori- 
zontal layer at such a great height, made me instantly com- 
prehend the importance of this observation. My guide, Jo- 
seph Couttet, was well acquainted with all the arrangements 
of the rocks, as well as with the minerals in the vicinity of 
Chamounix. I asked him if he knew whether slates or lime- 
stones had ever been found in this locality. He assured me 
that they never had — that no one had ever seen them — and 
that it was useless to go in search of them. The interest I 
attached to this observation increased every instant. I im- 
mediately changed my itinei'ary, and determined, after visit- 
ing the neighbourhood of Lake Cornu (2304 metres by baro- 
meter), again to go and spend the night at Croix de Flegere. 
On my way, I had an opportunity of seeing different curious 
objects, among others the Lac Noir. This lake, some hun- 
dred paces in length, is placed in the centre of an immense 
space, dazzling with snow. The latter penetrates into the 
lake ; all the portion of the water which is above the snow 
is of the purest sky-blue. In the centre of the lake, which 
is without snow, and thi'own, so to speak, into the shade by 
that at the margin, the water is of a fine black. The great 
plates of snow thus remaining between two waters, are per- 
forated with a multitude of holes of various forms (produced 
by cuiTents caused by the action of the sun), presenting a 
kind of Gothic architecture of the most singular nature. I 
likewise examined the position of the eclogites, serpentines, 
and remarkable traces of the erratic phenomenon. 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamounix, in Savoy. 79 

On the 13th of August, Couttet and I were again in motion 
in order to attempt the ascent of the Aiguille Rouge. We 
were aware that it was no easy task. We first passed near 
Lac Blanc, remarkable for the traces which ancient glaciers 
have left there, and by the moutonneed rocks which surround 
it. Approaching the Aiguille Rouge, we arrived at a glacier 
which is visited only by a few shepherds and hunters. The 
aiguille we were anxious to reach is in the highest part, and 
in the middle of this glacier. After examining it well, we 
thought we could reach the summit, by following the southern 
ridge. We traversed the length of the glacier notwithstand- 
ing its crevasses, and reached the ridge, but there we encoun- 
tered insurmountable diflftculties. We had again to descend 
a part of the glacier on a rapid declivity full of crevasses, in 
order to reach the ridge which connects this aiguille to the 
other Aiguilles Rouges, on the north side. 

Walking along this snow-covered glacier with great precau- 
tion, at the base of the aiguille we found some fragments of 
rocks, which had fallen down from it. The importance which 
I attached to the observation I had made, was more than 
doubled at this instant. I was certain of finding interesting 
rocks on the summit of this aiguille, if I could reach it. In 
fact, these debris consisted of slates and limestones. After 
this discovery, Couttet, -nvho had never believed in the possi- 
bility of finding these rocks on the peak of the Aiguilles 
Rouges, became as desirous as myself to gain the summit. 

Although the ascent appeared to us difiicultfrom the ridge 
where we now stood (2802 metres, by barometer), we did not 
despair of accomplishing it. We deposited our provisions 
near a beautiful vein of quartz and tourmaline, taking nothing 
with us but a hammer and my barometer. After climbing to 
a great height over rocks partly fallen, and along terrible 
precipices, we arrived at a ridge of snow and ice too much 
inclined, and bordered with too formidable precipices, to ren- 
der it possible for us to pass. We continued long consider- 
ing whether there might be the means of cutting steps in 
the snow, but all was vain. It was not till Couttet declared 
to me that they never, either in ascending Mont Blanc, or 
in chamois-hunting, attempted to cross such places, that I 

80 Px'ofessor Favre's Geological Researches 

consented to descend to Qhamounix, greatly disappointed at 
not being able to verify this slate formation, but satisfied 
that I had done all with that view that could be reasonably 

Couttet advised me not to give up my object, but to try the 
ascent again by a ridge which descends from this mountain 
to the Col de Berara, on the side of Buet.* I determined to 
follow his advice, resolving at the same time, that if I 
should again fail, to renew the attempt with a greater num- 
ber of guides, provided with hatchets, cramp-irons, and ropes. 

For two days I was diverted from my object by other ob- 
servations, but on the 16th of August, I went from Chamou- 
nix, and passed the night at Valorsine, and on the following 
day ascended to Buet. This journey was the more fatiguing, 
as the bad weather did not allow me to refresh myself on the 
summit, by enjoying the view. 

In my ascent from the Pierre a Berard to the top of Buet, 
I found the following formations ; — 

1. Rose protogine, and crystalline slates. 

2. Quartzy sandstone, greenish, with rose-coloured grains. 

3. Quartzy sandstone, of a yellowish colour. 

4. Argillo-ferruginous slate, red and green. 

5. Cargneule, with sulphate of barytes and reddish lime- 


6. Slate and limestone slate, with belemnites of great 


I observed that the anthraciferous formation which is re- 
presented here by the beds, Nos. 2, 3, and 4, as well as the Ju- 
rassic formation, No. 6, rest, with a discordant stratification, 
on the crystalline slates which form the base of Buet. Not 
only did I observe, as was done by Saussure (Voyages, § 555 
and 556), that the rocks of the secondary formations rest 
upon masses of crystalline slates, but I also noticed that 
the crystalline slates were directed to the north or north 
10°"0, and that the limestone I'ocks and slates were directed 
to the north 20° or 25° east. Yet I indicate these two direc- 

* This col is situate on a line drawn from the Aiguilles Rouges to Buet, and 
not on the north of that mountain, ns it is placed on many maps. 

in the Neighbourhood of Chamounix, in Savoy. 81 

tions with doubt, since I reperused the paragi'aphs in the 
Voyages refei'red to above, in which Saussure says, that the 
crystalline slates and .the secondai'y rocks, lie in the same 
direction. This is an observation, therefore, which deserves 
to be verified. 

If the fact of the nonconformity of these two formations 
be correct, it is new and important in the geology of Savoy, 
although it has already been observed in Dauphiny, * and 
M. de Charpentier has noticed it in the Valais, on the right 
bank of the Rhone. t This observation is particularly im- 
portant in the history of the anthraciferous formation. It 
proves that it is independent of the crystalline slates. We 
likewise know that it is sepai'ated from the Jurassic forma- 
tion by this same character of discordancy! which is the 
greatest that geognosy can furnish. 

I redescended the Buet by the Col de Salenton (2532 
metres, by barometer) where the formations present, with 
great distinctness, the same section as that which I have in- 
dicated at the Buet, except that we may here observe in this 
anthraciferous formation a thin bed of slate, placed between 
the sandstone and red and gi'een argillo-ferruginous slate. 
This bed is probably the same which, near De Moide, con- 
tains such a large number of vegetable impressions. 

By following, as I afterwards did, the western slope of the 
elongation of the chain of the Aiguilles Rouges, formed by 
Mont Loguia, Gros Perron, Bel-Oiseau, &c., we find a series 
of cols placed, like that of Salenton, between the ci'ystalline 
chain and the secondary chain. These are the Col des Vieux 
Emoussons, Col de Barberine, Col de Emmaney, and Col du 
Salentin. All are exactly on the limit of the two orders of 
formation, and present sections very nearly identical, 

I passed a most uncomfortable night in the frightful chalets 
of Villy (1879 metres, by barometer) ; and on the following 
day Couttet and I set out for the highest peak of the Aiguilles 

* My memoir, entitled Remarks on the Anthracites of the Alps, p. 17 ; Mem. 
lie la iiac. de Phjs. et d'llist. Naturelle de Geneve, t. ix. p. 425. 

t Charpentier, Memoir on the Nature and Position of the Gypsum at Bex, 
Annales des Mines, 1819. 

I Observations on the relative Position of the Formations of the Alps, &c. 
Archives, 1847, t. vi. p. 121. 


82 Professor Favre's Geological Researches 

Rouges, which had already twice frustrated our efforts. We 
soon arrived at the Col de Berard, an elevated passage of 
2463 metres, by barometer, and which is not without danger, 
as a glacier covered with snow had to be crossed. From the 
summit of the col, we follow the ridge looking southwards. 
Along this ridge it is very difficult to advance. "We require, 
indeed, to walk on large fragments of rock which are easily 
displaced. We move on, however, with a kind of enthusiasm. 
Couttet shared in my zeal. We soon arrive at a first 
aiguille placed on the ridge we are following. It is com- 
posed of crystalline slate, and contains a bank of saccaroidal 
limestone. From this point, we see the upper part of the 
Aiguille Eouge, and the beds of slate and limestone on its 
summit. We now see no obstacle to prevent us reaching it, 
and our joy is great. We must descend from this aiguille, 
and pass near a small lake surrounded with snow and rocks ; 
a lake which certainly had never before been visited by man. 
At last we arrive at the last acclivity of the peak of the 
great aiguille ; we walk on the slates and limestones. I had 
reason, therefore, to attach importance to these horizontal 
beds, which I had seen through my glass fi-om the top of Gliere. 
The first thing to be done is to reconnoitre the locality and 
take a glance at all the rocks : for this purpose we must 
reach the summit. There are two ways to it ; one follows 
the side of the aiguille as far as the southern reverse, and by 
that it appeared to us that we could ascend. But to reach 
it, it is necessary to walk on a cornice of a foot broad, with 
an immense precipice on the one side, and an overhanging 
rock on the other, which perhaps will completely close up the 
passage. We try another way ; it also is quite impracticable, 
opening on to a kind of bridge, one or two feet broad, and 
terminated by a rock six or eight feet high, which from its 
form would be aifficult to scale, even were it otherwise acces- 
sible than by the narrow passage which leads to it. I was, 
therefore, compelled, to my great regret, to abandon the idea 
of reaching the highest point of this chain. I calculated, 
however, that I was within 16 metres of the summit, that is 
to say, nearly the height of the peak of the other Aiguilles 
Rouges. I am certain that this estimate of 16 metres, then, 
cannot be any considerable erroi-, for both Couttet and my- 

in (he Neighbourhood of Chamounix, in Savoy. 83 

self made it separately, so that this number, added to the 
barometrical height which I took, gives the height of the 
Aiguille, without there being any other cause of error than 
that arising fx'om the barometer. This total height, or ele- 
vation of the summit of the Aiguilles Rouges above the level 
of the sea, is 2944 metres. 

A geological examination of these 16 metres could give 
me no farther knowledge, the rocks being entirely formed of 
the same limestones on which I was walking, and which I 
could examine at my ease. 

The following is a brief view of the observations which I 
made on this extraordinary formation, and which had never 
been examined by any of the numerous naturalists who have 
visited this country. 

1. The most elevated part is formed by various calcareous 
slates. They are blackish, containing beds of ferruginous 
limestone, and a species of homstone. Others are yellow- 
ish, and impregnated with a talcose matter, either more or 
less argillaceous and kidney-shaped. They contain frag- 
ments of belemnites, ammonites, and stalks of encrinites. 
There can be no doubt that these beds belong to the Jurassic 
formation. They are about 34 metres in thickness. 

2. Below, are found black slates and greyish-blue lime- 
stone, traversed by veins formed of quartz and calcareous 
spar ; further down we meet with cargneule. The two 
former of these rocks are about 4 or 5 metres in thickness. 
The thickness of the cargneule cannot be measured, but it 
is only a few metres. I have not found distinctive characters 
to induce me to refer these beds to the Jurassic formation 
rather than to the anthraciferous formation. 

3. The anthraciferous formation, formed by red and green 
argillo-ferruginous slates, and quartzy sandstone. The thick- 
ness is 9 metres. 

4. Crystalline slates of a wine and green colour, which 
are in vertical beds, and on which the preceding beds lie, 
with a non-conforming stratification, that is, if we regard 
the divisions of the crystalline slates as being <an indication 
of stratification. 

The calcareous beds which form the most elevated peak 
of the aiguille are horizontal ; tho. beds of the anthracife- 

84 Vro^e^^ovYskVYQ'^ Geological Researches 

rous formation, and particularly those of the sandstone, ai-e 
slightly undulated and modelled on the asperities of the 
crystalline ground. They occupy a small part of the northern 
slope of the aiguille, and are raised against the great Alps. 

I shall not state the other observations I made in this loca- 
lity. My object is not to enter into minute details in this 
place, but to throw a glance at the general structure of this 
part of the Alps. It is evident that the rocks on the sum- 
mit of this Aiguille Rouge are a prolongation of the lower 
part of the sedimentary formations of the Buet, and of those 
which rest upon the base of these aiguilles in the valley of 
Chamounix. Now, I estimate the thickness of the Jurassic 
formation, by means of barometrical measurements, at 800 
metres at least ; consequently, if there were no sinking down 
immediately after elevation, and no denudation since that 
time, the Jurassic formation would rise on the Aiguilles 
Rouges, at least to the height of 3750 metres (a fig. 1), and 
the Buet, of the height of 3100 metres, would be the north- 
ern declivity of this great mountain, and not, as it seems 
now to be, the principal chain. 

We must consider the chain of the Aiguilles Rouges as a 
great mass of crystalline rocks, extending from Servoz as far 
as the banks of the Rhone, near St Maurice in the Valais. 
It is flanked on the north-west side by the great Jurassic 
chain of Buet, the prolongation of which, to the south-west, 
is crowned by the cretaceous limestones of Fiz, and which is 
continued to the north-east as far as the Dent du Midi, above 
St Maurice. The beds of this great secondary chain are 
raised up to the south-east against the chain of the Aiguilles 
Rouges and the Brevent. Passing along the escarpment 
which it presents on this side, we can examine all the nu- 
merous and varied formations comprised between the num- 
niulitic beds and the crystalline slates. All these beds ap- 
pear, therefore, to form the northern base of a vault or 
gigantic elevation, the beds of which must have passed below 
the Aiguilles Rouges. 

On the south-east, this chain is likewise flanked by the 
formations of the valley of Chamounix and the Col de Balme, 
which are upraised against the Aiguilles Rouges. They ap- 
pear to form the southern base of the great vault or ele- 


I g 

in the Neighbourhood of Cliamounix, in Savoy. 85 

vation, of which the Buet and the Fiz form the northern lip. 
Lastly, the nearly horizontal beds of the Buet, as stated by 
M. Saussure (§ 581), and the perfectly horizontal ones of 
the Aiguille Rouge, are the prolongation of the formations 
of the two declivities, and leave no doubt as to the ancient 
formation of this great vault which, from Sixt (about 750 
metres) rises first to the Buet (3100 metres), then to the 
Aiguilles Rouges, of which the Jurassic formation alone 
reached, before the falling down of this great mass, the 
height of 3750 metres, and descended to Chamounix (1050 
metres), to be continued perhaps beneath the ground. 

The sedimentary formations, therefore, in this part of the 
Alps, seem to be arranged not by relation to the central chain 
of Mont Blanc, but by relation to the chain of the Aiguilles 
Rouges and the Br event ; and, what is very extraordinary, 
we cannot discover what has been the influence of the chain 
of Mont Blanc, in this part of the Alps, on the upraising of 
the beds. It seems to have had no effect. 

Figure 1 (Plate I.), represents, nearly on a scale of 
iso^oooj the section taken from Sixt to the Aiguille Verte ; 
it passes, as will be seen, by the summit of Buet, the Col 
de Salenton, the Col de Berard, the most elevated of the 
Aiguilles Rouges, and the valley of Chamounix. This is the 
only point where the secondary chain of the Buet is not se- 
parated from the chain of the Aiguilles Rouges by a deep 
valley. The dotted line indicates the form of the gi*eat vault 
of Jurassic limestone, and the height to which this formation 
must have been raised at the time of its elevation. Fig. 2 
represents the summit of the Aiguille Rouge on a larger 
scale. The first of these two sketches represents the same 
chain, and the same assemblage of formations as that figured 
PI. III., fig. 1, of M. Necker's Memoir on the Valley of Valor- 
sine.* This section is taken a little more to the north tban 
that which I give here. The only changes to be made would 
be to add to my section the granite figured in M. Necker's, 
and to add to the summit of Mont Loguia, figured by the lat- 
ter, the horizontal beds of limestone on the summit of the 
Aiguille Rouge. 

* Memoires Soc. de Physique et d'llist. Naturclle do Geneve, t. iv., ^j. DOD. 

86 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Oriyin. 

If I have not yet succeeded in giving a very satisfactory 
elucidation of the regularity of structure in this part of the 
Alps, I yet believe that I have made a step in the direction 
of the truth, by making known an observation which is by no 
means unimportant in a locality which deserves to be visited, 
and which, notwithstanding, has not yet been so. 

A Brief Description of some Sepulchral Pits, of Indian origin, 
lately discovered near Penetanqueshene . By EDWARD W. 
Bawtree, M.D., Staff Assistant- Surgeon. Communicated 
by Sir James Macgrioor, Bart, F.R.S, &c., Director- 
General of the Army Medical Department. (With a Plate.) 

With the exception of a short aiiiclo by Captain Anderson, of the 
Indian Department, which appeared in the British Colonist News- 
paper of 24th September 1847, the author of this communication is 
not aware of the existence of any other on the subject proposed ; his 
means of reference, however, are hmited. Should any sucli have 
been previously published, the present paper, it is hoped, if of any 
interest whatever, will retain that interest by the few additional facts 
it is supposed to contribute. 

Within the last two years, a quantity of human bones were found 
in one spot near Barrie, which excited no particular interest at the 
time ; since that, a pit, in the township of St Vincents, which had 
attracted attention, was opened, and found to contain an iiimiensc 
number of huia)an bones, with several copper and brass kettles, and 
various trinkets and ornaments in familiar use among Indians. This 
discovery led last autumn to the more accurate examination of a pit 
of the same description, about seven miles from Penetanqueshene, in 
the township of Giny. This pit was accidentally noticed about four 
years ago by a French Canadian, while making sugar in the neigh- 
bourhood. He was struck by its appearance, and the peculiar sound 
produced at the bottom, by stamping there ; and, in turning up a 
few spadefuls of earth he was surprised to find a quantity of human 
bones. It was more accurately examined in September last, and 
found to contain, besides a great number of human skeletons, of both 
sexes and all age:i, twenty -six copper and brass kettles or boilers, 
three largo conch-shells, pieces of beaver-skin, in tolerable preserva- 
tion, a fragment of a pipe, a larg iron axe, evidently of French manu- 
facture, some human hair (that of a woman), a copper bracelet, and 
a quantity of flat auricular beads, perforated through the centre. 

The form of the pit is circular, with an elevated margin ; it is 
about fifteen feet in diameter, and, before it was opened, was probably 
nine feet deep, from the level of its margin to the centre and bottom ; 
its shape, in one word, funnel-shaped. It is situate on the top of a 
gentle rise, with a shallow i-avine on the east side, through which, at 

"Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian origin. 87 

certain seasons, runs a small stream. At the present time, there is 
nothing peculiar or striking in its position, except, perhaps, the spot 
being nearly central on the peninsula which extends into Lake Hu- 
ron, between Gloucester and Nottawaraga Bays, and which is deeply 
indented by Thunder Bay and Penetanqueshene Harbour, and from 
both which bays the spot is nearly equidistant. The locality is not 
elevated above the surrounding country ; the soil is light, free front 
stones and dry ; a permanent stream runs within a quarter of a mile 
to Nottawaroga Bay ; and there is a fine spring of water within a 
few hundred yards. The character of the bush surrounding it seems 
similar to that elsewhere ; the timber is generally of hardwood, and 
well used ; a small ironwood tree, about two inches m diameter, 
grows in the centre of the pit. 

In consequence of the scramble among the French Canadians, 
which followed the first finding of the kettles, the exact position of 
the difterent contents of the pit could not be accurately observed. 
The bones had been removed to the depth of three or four feet before 
any of the other contents. The kettles were found arranged over its 
bottom, with their cavities upwards, placed on pieces of bai"k, and 
filled with bones. They had evidently been covered with beaver-skins, 
as pieces of that fur were still adhering to them in good preservation. 
The shells, as well as the axe, were found in the intervals of the 
kettles, the beads within them, and in scattered groups elsewhere 
among the bones, generally in bunches of strings. The other objects 
were picked up after the pit had been disturbed, by some Canadians, 
who made a second search. 

The kettles resembled somewhat the copper boilers in use at the 
present day; they appeared to be formed of sheet-copper, the rim be- 
ing beaten out to cover a strong iron band, which passes entirely or 
only partly round the neck of the vessel, for the purpose, evidently, 
of strengthening them, and to carry the iron hoop by which they 
were suspended, and which, with a somewhat clumsy hook on either 
side, is attached to an eye upon this band. The smallest of them 
measures about eighteen inches in diameter, and seven in depth, and 
will hold about six gallons ; one of the largest is more than two feet in 
diameter, and thirteen in depth, the thickness of the metal about one- 
sixteenth of an inch. The handle remains perfect in some, in the 
form of a strong semicircular iron hoop ; the copper is in good pre- 
servation, the iron deeply con-oded. ISo stamp or maker's name 
could be found on them ; on the base of one only was a mark, as 
shewn on the margin ; in soiiio, red paint, resembling chalk, and the 
inside of a piece of beaver-skin was marked with a similar matter. 
Two of the kettles were of brass, constructed nuich in the above 
manner. One only varied in shape from the others, and seemed as if 
tiio upper part of it had been cut off : the sides, too, were nearly 
perpendicular, whereas those of the remainder were circular in cvei'y 
way, though varying in degree of rotundity. 

The accompanying sketch is intended to show one of the largest 

88 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

and most perfect (fig. 1, Plate II.), and also the smallest of them 
(fig. 2). The brass kettles were of rather neater workmanship than 
the copper ; the lip being turned over in a scroll, and the hooks for 
the handle well rivetted on to the vessel. 

The largest of the conch-shells weighs three pounds and a quartei-, 
and measures fourteen inches in its longest diameter. Its outer sur- 
face has lost all polish, and is quite honeycombed by age and decom- 
position ; the inside still retains its smooth, lamellated surface. It 
has lost all colour, and has the appearance of chalk. A piece has 
been cut from its base, probably for the purpose of making the beads 
that were found with it. Another of these shells is smaller in size, 
and in better preservation, probably from having been originally a 
younger shell ; its substance is Unimpaired by age, though it has lost 
all colour. From the base of its columella a considerable piece has 
been cut, in a regular and even manner, as if, too, for the purpose of 
making the before-mentioned beads. The extreme point of the base 
of each shell has a perforation through it {fig. 3). 

The axe is nearly of the same model as the present tomahawk in 
use among the Chippeway Indians for their hunting excursions, though 
very much larger, measuring eleven inches in length and six inches 
and a half along its cutting edge, and weighing five pounds and a half 
It must have lost considerable weight, as it is deeply indented I)y 
rust ; it has no characteristic mark, but was recognised by the French 
Canadians as being most likely of Fi-ench manufacture, and similar 
ones have been found in the neighbourhood, on npwly cleaned land ; 
no less than five of the same pattern were found under a stone neai' 
Thunder Bay, a few years back, where they appeared to have been 
placed for concealment. The metal of these axes is remarkably aood, 
and easily converted into useful hoes by the Canadians (fig. 4). 

The pipe is imperfect. It is made of the earthenware of which so 
many specimens are found in the neighbourhood, in the form of 
vessels and pipes ; and the spots where the manufacture of these 
things were carried on are still to be seen in some places (fig. 5). 

The Beads are formed of a white chalky substance, varying in de- 
gree of density and hardness ; they ai-e accurately circular, with a 
circular perforation in the centre ; of different sizes, from a quarter 
to half an inch, or rather more, in diameter, but nearly all of the 
same thickness, not quite the eighth of an inch; they may be com- 
pared to a pepper nint lozenge with a hole through its centre. They 
were found in bunches or strings, and a good many were still closely 
strung on a fibrous woody substance. One of these strings was re- 
marked as being composed of a row of beads regularly gi-aduated in 
size, from the smallest to the largest. The above mentioned appear 
to have been the characteristic objects contained in this pit. The 
beaver-skin was found in pieces, but many of them in good preserva- 
tion. The Bracelet is a simple band of copper, an inch and hnlf 
broad, and fitting the wrist closely. The hair is long, evidently that 
of a woman, and quite fresh in appearance. 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 89 

The second pit was opened on the 16th of September last; it is 
about two miles from the last, or lot 18th, 17th Concession of Giny, 
It was accidentally discovered by the owner of the land, who settled 
on it last year, while searching in the bush for his cow. It is consi- 
derably smaller in diameter than that just noticed, being only about 
nine feet, and its depth, when dug out, the same. It is situate on 
rising ground, in light sandy soil ; but there is nothing now remark- 
able in its situation. A beech-tree, six inches thick, grew from its 
centre. It probably contained nearly as many bones, as there were 
no kettles to nari'ow the above space, which was entirely occupied by 
them. The bones seemed to belong to persons of both sexes, and 
all ages, though in this pit there were probably fewer of a smaller 
size ; among them were a few foetal bones. On the skulls which were 
found in the last pit, it was remarked that no signs of violence could 
be detected ; and when any fractures existed, they appeared to be 
easily accounted for by natural causes, as many of them were much 
decomposed and brittle ; but in this the fractures and injuries found 
on the skulls could hardly be explained in that way, and it is thought 
must have been produced previous to death. It was remarked pretty 
satisfactorily, that the injury was more common on the left side than 
the right ; many were found with the left parietal bone quite broken 
in, while a fracture of the right was comparatively rai'e ; in one skull 
was a clean round hole, of the size of a musket ball, and in another 
a circular depression of the same size, appearing to have been an old 
gunshot wound. Besides those indistinctly fi'actured on the parietal 
region, a great many others had quite collapsed, and become flattened ; 
and, from the fact of their not appearing more decomposed than the 
entire ones, and from the known strength of the uninjured skull, it is 
perhaps not unreasonable to conclude that they had been previously 

Besides the bones was a fragment of a brass vessel and a variety 
of beads. This vessel, of which a small piece only of the rim re- 
mained, must have been about a foot in diameter, and probably re- 
sembled the brass kettles last noticed, as the rim had been neatly 
turned over in a scroll which covered a small circular iron hoop 
about a quarter of an inch in diameter. At one point a square 
piece of the same metal is neatly folded over its edge, having an eye 
in its centre for the attachment of the handle. This vessel could 
hardly have been destroyed by time, as the pit was perfectly dry, 
and apparently more adapted to preserve its contents than the last 
one opened, and it would seem as if the piece had been buried in 
the state in whicii it was found. It had evidently been packed in 
furs. The beads or Whampum found in this pit were of several 
kinds. The principal were chalky-looking bodies, varying in size 
from a quarter to an inch and half in length, of irregular shape and 
thickness, some being quite flat and oval, others nearly circular 
wliilc a great many distinctly shewed, by their fluted and irregular 
surface, their probable origin, namely, the convolution of a lanTo 

90 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

shell. On some the smooth inner surface still remains in the form 
of a depression, and in others the worn edge shews the structure and 
formation. Each is perforated through its long axis ; they were 
found in bunches, and had evidently been strung together in gra- 
duated rows of large and small. Besides these were found cylin- 
drical pieces of earthenware and porcelain, or glass-tubes, from an 
eighth to a quarter of an inch in diameter, and from a quarter to 
two inches long ; the former had the appearance of red and white 
tobacco-pipes worn away by friction, the latter of blue and red 
glass. An hexagonal body with flat ends, about an inch and a-half 
in diameter, and one inch thick, was also found. It seemed to be 
formed of some kind of porcelain, being of hard texture, nearly 
vitreous, and much variegated in colour, with alternate layers of 
red, blue, and white. This also was perforated through^ the centre, 
and was probably used as an ornament, or formed part of a pipe. 
(Fig. 6.) This pit was carefully examined, and it is worthy of 
notice that no lozenge-shaped beads like those found in the last 
and two following could be detected by the closest search. 

The third of these sepulchral pits which have been examined can 
hardly be said to be in this neighbourhood. It was visited on the 
4th November last, and is situated on lot 7th, 8th Concession of the 
township of Oro, and had been opened by the proprietor of the land 
about a fortnight before. The land belongs to a Mr Galbraith, an 
intelligent Highlander, who gave a very distinct account of the ex- 
ploration of the pit. It had been cleared for several years, and no 
notice taken of the pit till the above time, when a new settler built 
a shenty nearly over it. A French Canadian happening to come 
there to work at the house, immediately recognised its peculiar ap- 
pearance, and told the people that if they would dig there, they would 
certainly find plenty of bones and twenty-six kettles, — a prediction 
which was speedily verified. 

This pit is on elevated ground, in the midst of a fine undulating 
and hilly country, but apparently without any relation in its situa- 
tion to surrounding objects or places, except, perhaps, that it is on a 
short line of communication between Lakes Simcoe and Huron. The 
soil is a light loam. It measures about fifteen feet in diameter, has 
the distinctly-defined elevated ring, but the centre less depressed 
than in those before examined, which may have arisen from the 
character of the soil, or the greater bulk of its contents. On its 
margin grew formerly a very large pine, which was cut down at the 
clearing of the land. The roots of this pine had grown through the 
pit in every direction. 

The bones were scarcely covered with earth ; they were of all sizes. 
Galbraith himself made a rough calculation of their number by 
counting the skulls from a measured space, which gave to the whole 
not less than fifteen hundred ; this was probably an exaggerated 
number, though they undoubtedly amounted to several hundreds. 
They were in good preservation ; on some, pieces of tendon still re- 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 91 

mained, and the joints of the small bones in some cases were un- 
separated. It was noticed that only a few of the skulls bore marks 
of violence. One which was exposed in our presence had a circular 
perforation on the top resembling a bullet hole, and others, it had 
been observed, bore tlae appearance of having been " tomahawked." 
A similar observation was made on the size of the bones as had been 
on those found in the other pits, that some of the lower jaws were 
very large, and would amply encircle that of a full-sized European, 
The cylindrical bones did not appear, however, to be of unusual 

As in the first noticed pit, so here were found also twenty -six ket- 
tles, — four of brass, the rest of copper ; one conch-shell, one iron axe, 
a pipe, and some of the lozenge-shaped beads. 

The kettles in this pit were described as being arranged in the 
form of a cross, through its centre, and in a row round the circum- 
ference. From observations made with the compass, it is probable 
that the points of this cross bore a relation to the cardinal points : 
two of them faced upwards, the others wei'e placed with their bases 
upwards. The conch-shell was found under one of the kettles, which 
had all been carefully packed with beaver skins and bark. They re- 
sembled exactly those before described, but averaged a smaller size. 
They were in good preservation ; but, with this peculiarity, that each 
had been rendered useless by blows from a tomahawk. That they 
had been intentionally cut into, there can be no doubt, — some bear- 
ing one, others three or four clean incisions, which were all of the 
same length and shape, and all on the base of the kettle ; they had 
evidently been made with an axe, and the size of the cuts seemed to 
correspond to the edge of the one found with them. Should any 
doubt exist as to the exact history of these pits, the fact of these 
kettles having been rendered unserviceable, seems highly calculated 
to increase that doubt, as it appears to have been a proceeding so 
very contrary to the habits and ideas of Indians in general. 

The conch-shell is smaller than those found in the township of 
Giny. It is in good preservation, though quite white, and, in some 
parts, has lost its smooth surface. A piece has been cut from it as 
in the last described, 

A pipe was also found, which the person who explored the pit de- 
scribed as having been formed out of bluestone or hard clay, and 
very neatly cut in a succession of circles, the base being nearly as 
large as a common tumbler. On one side it had a human face, the 
eyes of which were formed of a fine white pearly-looking bead. This 
pipe was unfortunately destroyed by some drunken farmers while ex- 
amining it. It was described as being remarkably liandsomc, and 
would iiave been more carefully preserved had the discoverer noticed 
its beauty at first ; but in its dirty soiled state, he paid but little at- 
tention to it. An iron axe, exactly similar also to that before no- 
ticed, though of snialler size, was fouzid ; and a large quantity of the 
flat circular beads. 

92 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

The fourth pit to be noticed was opened on the 19th December 
last; it had been known for some time to a French Canadian, who 
came upon it accidentally in the bush, and expressed no curiosity 
concerning it, till his attention was more immediately drawn to the 
subject by the recent discoveries of the same kind. 

It is situate on a gentle slope, probably on lot 110, second Con- 
cession west of the Penetanqueshene road, and in the township of Giny, 
having no peculiar feature in its locality, except a small and highly 
picturesque lake at a short distance, which is surrounded by a cran- 
beri-y swamp. This, however, can hardly be a feature worthy of 
notice as such. Lakes abound in the neighbourhood, and few are 
more than two miles distant from others. It is about two miles 
from the head of Penetanqueshene Bay. The soil in which it is 
formed is sandy, and free from stones. 

The size of this pit is about the same as those of Nos. 1 and 3 ; 
and it is supposed to have contained about the same number of skele- 
tons as the first of them. The other contents were — sixteen conch- 
shells, a stone-pipe, a clay-pipe, a species of pipe or ornament of 
which the use is not exactly known, copper-bracelets and ear-orna- 
ments, eleven beads of the red pipcstone, copper arrow-heads, a cup 
of iron which resembled an old iron ladle, beads of several kinds, and 
pieces of fur, among which that of the martin could yet be distin- 

The shells seemed to be arranged round the bottom of the pit, 
not in a regular row, but in threes or fours ; the other things were 
found mixed with the bones. The bones were of all sizes, and the 
skulls uninjured except by time. 

The conch-shells were exactly similar to those found elsewhere, 
and require no further description. The accompanying sketch will 
perhaps sufficiently shew the character of the pipes. The stone-pipe 
still contained some tobacco, which was burned by the finder for the 
purpose of analysis. (Fig- 8.) 

The stone ornament or pipe, fig. 7, may probably be recog- 
nised as appertaining to the " medicine ceremonies," still in use 
among some tribes of Indians ; the stone of which it is formed is 
common in the neighbourhood, and does not appear to be that usual- 
ly applied to the formation of pipes. A lizard's head composes a 
handle to the flat circular part, which is about five-eighths of an inch 
thick, having on its upper surface a cavity which would contain about 
the point of the thumb, and to the bottom of which passes a small hole, 
apparently adapted for the attachment of a pipe-stick. Another 
perforation on the side and lower edge seems to have been used to 
suspend it by. 

The arrow-heads, as they were supposed to have been, were simple 
folds of sheet-copper, resembling a roughly-formed ferrel to a walk- 

Besides the lozenge-shaped beads, which were found in great num- 
bers, were a few cylindrical porcelain beads, resembling those from 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 93 

pit No. 2, as well as two other varieties. One of them consisted of 
cylindrical bodies, resembling the porcelain just noticed, but of a dif- 
ferent material ; they averaged three-eighths of an inch in length, 
and two-eighths broad, — had a large central perforation, and ap- 
peared to have been formed of shell, the convolution of which is 
shewn on some of them in a small oblique groove. The other va- 
riety was a small oval bead of glass or porcelain, which had pro- 
bably been used for ornament, and some pieces of shell of various 
shapes, also found thei'e, seemed to have been applied to the same 

The red stone beads (fig. 10), were five-eighths of an inch broad, 
and three-eighths thick, irregularly circular, with flat ends, with two 
small holesat one end uniting with the other. 

It is perhaps worthy of remark, that no hair was found in this pit, 
as in two of the others. This fact might tend to prove a difference 
in the date of their formation. 

There is every reason to believe that the above noticed form but 
a small part of the number of such collections of bones that are to 
be found in the neighbourhood. The French Canadians, now that 
their attention has been directed to the subject, and they have been 
made familiar with the appearance of the pits, say that they have in 
several places observed them during their rambles in the bush, though 
at the time they paid but little regard to them. 

But besides these, larger and more evident excavations, which, 
once seen, would not again be passed unnoticed ; smaller ones of the 
same shape and apparent character are frequently met with. The 
Canadians now often notice them ; and people accustomed to the 
woods can easily recognise their peculiar features. It is not unusual 
to hear them called " potato-pits," as supposed to have been made 
by the Indian inhabitants, for the purpose of preserving that vege- 
table in. No less than five of them were found by a farmer within a 
quarter of a mile of the second pit just described ; they were close 
together. One of them he carefully dug out to the depth of six feet, 
as the ground appeared to have been disturbed to that extent, vvhen 
he came to solid clay. It was about four feet in diameter. The 
only relic it contained, but which satisfactorily proved its connection 
with Indian customs, was an iron or steel arrow-head, fia. 9. 

A second of the same description that has been examhied, is situ- 
ate about a hundred yards from the beach, in a little sandy bay in 
Penetanqueshene harbour, generally called Colbourne Bay. There 
can be little doubt of its artificial origin, though the most minute 
search failed to detect anything that would explain the pui-pose to 
which it liad been applied. 

There is another on a piece of high land opposite the garrison, 
which forms a part of the government revenue at the entrance of the 
harbour. The spot is nearly bare of trees, and has the appearance of 
an old clearing ; it is about two feet and a half deep, throu'di lifrlit 

9 4 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

sand, with a hard gravelly bottom, and about three feet in diameter. 
Nothing was found in it but pieces of bark ; these, however, were 
carefully packed over the bottom of the pit, evidently to form an 
artificial flooring. 

In the neighbourhood of pit No. 4, are several of the smaller ones, 
two or three of which have been opened, but the winter season pre- 
vented their accurate examination. Pieces of pottery, and one or 
two human bones were found in them, mixed with stones, and very 
black mould, which seems to strengthen the supposition previously 
formed, that they are Indian graves from which the bodies have been 
removed for interment in the larger pits. 

For the origin of these sepulchral pits (for that appears the most 
appropriate name to give them) we must refer to the time when the 
Pluron tribe of Indians inhabited this part of the country. That 
they are connected with a form of sepulture in use among these ori- 
ginal occupants of the soil, there can be little doubt, although the 
exact explanation of each does not seem to be quite so satisfactory, 
owing to some apparent inconsistency, which will be presently noticed, 
in the character of the deposits found in them. 

As relics of a nearly extinct race of Indians, these remains are 
highly interesting ; for although a remnant of the original Hurons 
still remains in the neighbourhood of Quebec, they have long since 
entirely disappeared from the shores of their own lake. It is now 
nearly 200 years since they were driven from their country by the 
Troquois, and these again have been expelled by the Ojibbeway or 
Chippeway Indians, who came down from Lake Superior, and whose 
claim to the land must have been of distant date, as it was by them 
ceded to the Crown ; and though they so lately owned the country, 
and still occupy that in the immediate neighbourhood, they hold no 
traditions concerning these pits, and have no customs that shew any 
connection with them. 

The Chippeways have ever formed a wandering nation, without 
any settled residences. Their habits have little to interest ; but the 
Hurons were far different. One of the most powerful and numerous 
of the Indian tribes of " New France," the French were glad of 
their alliance. They found them, Charlevoix says, spirited, enter- 
prising, industrious, and brave, with considerable ingenuity and elo- 
quence. They dwelt in well-fortified villages, and made war in large 
bodies; but from nxismanagement of their confederation of branch 
tribes, and a peculiar failing of simplicity, and want of precaution, 
they fell victims to the fierce and more warlike Mohawks, and the 
powerful alliance of the five nations, whose love of war and plunder 
was fostered and encouraged by the newly-settled English and Dutch. 
There can be little doubt, it is to a form of burial in use among them 
that the remains under notice may be attributed. Of the ceremony 
attending it, an interesting account may be found in Charlevoix's 
letters, a journal of a tour through this and other parts of Canada 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 9 

and America. Although the custom he describes is only mentioned 
as in use among certain tribes, there can be little doubt that his in- 
foi'mation is taken from the Hurons (in fact, he afterwards says as 
much), as his letters on the subject of this part of Canada are chiefly 
a history of the French Jesuit mission, among this tribe, the one 
which chefly formed the object of their Christianizing cares. This 
history is highly interesting, and, at first sight, might be considered 
to have more connexion with the general subject than it really has. 
The dreadful massacres which attended the extermination and ex- 
pulsion of the Hurons, then chiefly under the guidance of a strong 
body of Jesuit priests, might at the first glance be thought sufficient 
to account for these large deposits of human bones, which have been, 
and probably will still be found chiefly in the neighbourhood of these 
scenes ; and it is likely that some wei'e the results of these massa- 
cres, or, at all events, in some way connected with them, though, 
from the mode of treating their dead aftei' battle, as recorded to have 
been in general use at the time among Indians, that alone will not 
fully explain their origin. The following is an abstract of the ac- 
count given by that author, which is thought to bear sufficiently on 
the subject to make it worthy of being introduced, more especially 
as the work may not be easy of access to a great many. The de- 
tails describe scenes of extreme cruelty and ferocity in the treatment 
of their captives by the Troquois. Many of the localities have been 
distinctly recognised, within the last three years, by M. Choisil, a 
French Jesuit, who visited them by means of a map, procured, it 's 
said, from the chief Jesuit establishment at Paris. He died unfor- 
tunately before he had completed his tour. The Canadian voyao-ers 
who accompanied him were surprised at the facility with which he 
steered the canoe to each spot, and, in some instances, at once found 
remains which they had never seen or heard of, and which probably 
had not been visited by a European since the time that the Fi-ench 
Jesuit and the Huron dwelt there together : — 

" In the year 1634, three Jesuit priests, Fathers Braheuf, Daniel, and 
Davort, went as missionaries to the Huron village ' Thouatere,' to which 
they gave the name of St Joseph, and which corresponded nearly with 
the village of Cold Water. In the year 1644:, a superior-general of the 
Jesuit mission among the Hurons is mentioned, who resided at St Marie, 
the metropolis, as it is called, of the district, and from which missionaries 
were sent, not only to the neighbouring villages, but even to other tribes 
of Indians. 

" This St Marie is well known to have been at the River Hye, where 
the remains of a fortified enclosure, having some pretensions to an en- 
gineered work, are still to be seen, and the spot of ground since recog- 
nised Ijy the above person, is held in great veneration by the priesthood, 
it having been purchased within the last year, and presented to the Je- 
suits for the purpose of erecting a chapel there. 

" In what is now called Sturgeon Bay was the village and Jesuit set- 
tlement of St Ignacr, some remains of which are also still to be seen. In 

06 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

Hogg Bay was the settlement of St Louis ; the former is spoken of as 
surrounded with palisades and entrenchments, and it is likely that they 
were all fortified in some way. 

" During the years 1648-9, the Mohawks extended their conquests to 
these settlements, surprised each in succession, with the exception of St 
Marie, massacred all the inhabitants they found in them, and tortured 
the priests, among whom are mentioned Jean de Brabeuf and Gabriel 
Lallemand. (It is said that the head of the former is still preserved in 
Quebec by the Jesuits with great veneration.) A great number of hu- 
man beings perished in these massacres ; for the Huron tribe then num- 
bered from forty to fifty thousand, and the villages are said to have been 
of considerable size." 

Besides these, three other villages, St Jean Batisti, St Matthew, 
and St Michel, are noticed by the same author. The first was de- 
stroyed, the others joined the Mohawks. Their exact situations are 
not recorded. 

" The settlement of St Marie was the last to yield. It was not de- 
stroyed, but the inhabitants becoming straitened for provisions, and in 
constant terror of their enemies, deserted it, and went, in the year 1649, 
to the island of St Joseph, which is mentioned as being not far from the 
mainland. Here they built a large village of one hundred houses, and 
the priests are said to have baptized three thousand people. St Joseph, 
in the old maps, corresponds to one of the Christian islands ; and it is 
likely, or even certain, that they received that name from the above cir- 

" On this island are the remains of a quadrangular enclosure, of which 
the walls, still eight or nine feet high, remain in good preservation. 
No signs, however, of the original clearing are to be seen, and some of 
the trees growing within it are of the largest forest growth. It is situ- 
ate about fifty yards from the beach of a large sandy bay on the south 
side of the island, and there can be little doubt of its having been built 
by the Indians, under the directions of the Jesuit priests, for a tempo- 
rary protection against their persevering enemy. 

" At the island of St Joseph the Hurons sutfered from want of food ; 
and so straitened were they for provisions, that mothers exhumed their 
children and devoured them. Still pursued by the Mohawks, from this 
place they dispersed in all directions. Some were drowned while at- 
tempting to cross the ice to the mainland ; some concealed themselves in 
the woods, or dispersed among the neighbouring tribes ; some went to 
the Menitoulin island ; others to the States ; and the last remnant ac- 
companied their prssts down the Ottawa to Quebec, where they formed 
the settlement of Lorette." 

The mode of disposing of their dead, in use among many tribes of 
Indians of that time which was just now referred to, is thus de- 
cribed by the same author : — 

" This grand ceremony, the most curious and celebrated of all con- 
nected with Indian religion," as he calls it, " took place every eight 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 97 

years, among some tribes, every ten years among the Hixrons and 
the Troquois. It was called the ' FHe (les Morts" or the ' Festin des 
Ames.' It commenced by the appointment of a place where they should 
meet. They then chose a king of the fete, whose duty it was to arrange 
everything, and send invitations to the neighbouring villages. The ap- 
pointed day arrived, all the Indians assembled and went in procession 
two and two to the cemetery. In some tribes of stationary habits, the 
cemetery was a regular burial-ground outside the village. Some buried 
their dead at the foot of a tree, and others suspended them on a scaiFold 
to dry ; this last was a customary proceeding among them when absent 
from home on a hunting excursion, so that on their return they might 
more conveniently carry the body with them. 

" Arrived at the cemetery, they proceeded to search for the bodies ; 
they then waited for some time to consider in silence a spectacle so ca- 
pable of furnishing serious reflections. The women first interrupted the 
silence by cries of lamentation, which increased the feeling of horror 
with which each person seemed overcome. They then used to take the 
bodies, arrange the separate and Avy bones, and place them in packets to 
carry on their shoulders. If any of the bodies were not entirely decom- 
posed, they separated the flesh, washed them, and enclosed them in new 
beaver-skins. They then returned in the same procession they came in 
to the village, and each deposited his burden in his ' laban." During the 
procession the women used to continue their lamentations, and the men 
to testify the same marks of grief as on the day of death ; and this second 
act was followed by a feast in each house in honour of the dead of the 
family. The following days were considered public days— spent as days 
of interment, in dancing, games, and combats, at which prizes were be- 
stowed. From time to time they uttered certain cries, which they called 
' les cris des ames." They made presents to strangers, and received pre- 
sents from them. These strangers sometimes came 150 leagues. They 
also took advantage of this occasion to treat on public affairs, or elect a 
chief. Everything used to pass with order, decency, and moderation ; 
and every one seemed overcome with sentiments suitable to the occasion. 
Everything, even the dances and songs, used to breathe grief in some 
'**^ay, and every one to be so overcome with melancholy, that the most in- 
different spectator would have been touched by the sight. After some 
days they all went in procession to a grand council-room fitted for the 
occasion. They there suspended against the walls the bones and bodies 
in the same state as they had taken them from the cemetery, and placed 
there the presents intended for the dead. If among the relics there hap- 
pened to be those of a chief, his successor used to give a great feast in 
his name. In some places the bodies were paraded from village to vil- 
lage, and received everywhere with great demonstration of grief and 
tenderness, and everywhere presents were given them. They then took 
them to the place destined to be their final resting-place. All these ce- 
remonies were accomi)aiiied with music, both instrumental and vocal, to 
which each marched in cadence. 

" The last and common place of burial used to be a large pit (fosu), 
which was lined with the finest skins, and anything which they considered 
valuable. The presents destined for the dead were placed on one side, 
and wlien the procession arrived, each family arranged itself on a sort of 
scaffold, erected round the pit ; and, as soon as the bodies were deposited, 

VOL. XLV. NO. LX.XXIX. — JUhY 1848. G 

98 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

the women recommenced to cry and lament. Then all the assistants used 
to descend into the pit, and each person to take a handful of earth, which 
he carefully preserved, and this earth was supposed to bring them success 
at play. The bodies and bones were arranged in order, and covered with 
new furs and bark, over which was placed stones, wood, and earth. Each 
person then returned to his home, but the women used to go back, from 
day to day, with some sagamite." 

Here, then, there can be little doubt, is an explanation of the 
origin of some of these sepulchral pits ; it can hardly be said of all 
of them, owing to some difference in their character, the peculiarity 
of their contents, and their apparent inconsistency with the ideas of 
Indians on the subject of death. In the ceremonies first mentioned 
there is no notice taken of the burial of cooking utensils with the 
dead, though they were supplied with food by the women, who placed 
it near the grave. The utensils which have been found in some of 
the pits must have been highly valuable, very difficult to procure, and 
far too usei'ul to the living to be given to the dead merely as presents, 
and must have been placed there with some other motive. 

Bearing in mind the destruction of human life that attended the 
war of extermination just referred to, one cannot help in some degree 
associating the two, and concluding that some of the pits were merely 
depositories for the dead, formed in time of peace, in accordance with 
the above custom ; others, more particularly those containing kettles, 
were made or employed on an emeri^ency, for the purpose of burying 
the killed in battle, and secreting the property of the vanquished. 

It is easy to imagine, that a party oppressed and threatened with 
destruction by the Mohawks, unwilling to be encumbered in their 
flight with such heavy articles, disposed of them in this manner, 
trusting to their remaining thus concealed or protected from the 
enemy, by being deposited with the dead, till they should be able to 
return and recover them. Respect for the dead, being a feeling common 
to nearly all tribes of Indians, would hinder even their fierce enemies 
from disturbing them. 

That the kettles which were found in pit ]So. 3, in the township 
of Oro, were deposited there under some such circumstances, seems 
more likely from the fact of their having been previously rendered 
unserviceable ; thus proving almost to a certainty that they were not 
placed there for any purpose suggested by their ideas of the future 
lot that attended their deceased friends, as a broken kettle would be 
even less serviceable to them in their happy hunting-grounds than to 
those they left behind. 

The following is the authority for calling some of the beads found 
in these pits by the term " whampum," and Charlevoix's description 
of the shells from which they have been made. The translation is 
thought to be tolerably accurate, though one or two of the terms are 
not easily expressed in English : — 

" I have said that the ' porcelaines ' (whampum ?) of these countries are 

Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 99 

made of shells. These are found on the shores of New England and 
Virginia. They are hoUow (caunclees), elongated, and rather pointed 
without (oncelles), and pretty thick. The flesh of the fish contained in 
these shells is not good to eat, but the inside is so beautifully smooth 
(verni), and of such bright colours, that art can produce nothing like it. 
When the Indians used to go naked, they made the same use of them that 
our original parents did of fig-leaves. They also hang them round their 
necks, as the most precious things they possess, and even at the present 
day they form one of their greatest riches and finest ornaments ; in fact, 
they value them as we do gold, silver, or jewels ; and on that, perhaps, 
are more rational than we, inasmuch as they have only to stoop to pick 
up treasures as real as our own. 

" There are two sorts, or to speak more properly, two different-coloured 
shells, one white, the other violet. The first is most common, and per- 
haps on that account less esteemed. The second seems to possess a finer 
grain when worked. The brighter the colour the more valuable is the 
sheU considered. They make of both little cylindrical grains, which they 
pierce and put on a string, and thus it is they make the ' branches et les 
colurs de porcelaine.' The ' branches' are nothing but four or five 
threads, or little strips of skin, about a foot long, threaded with grains of 
the porcelaine. The ' coliers' are a sort of band or ' diademes,' formed of 
the ' branches' joined together by threads, which form a tissue of from 
four to seven rows of grains of a proportionate length, which depends 
on the importance of the affair under treaty, and the dignity of the per- 
son to whom the whampum is presented. By the mixture of grains of 
different colours, they form such figures and characters as serve to explain 
the affairs which may be the subject of discussion. They sometimes paint 
the grains ; at all events, when the subject of war is implied, they used 
a red whampum. These 'coliers' are preserved with care, as they not 
only in part form the public treasure, but are also used as registers and 
annals, which they are supposed to study who have charge of the public 
records, which are deposited in the ' labans' of the chief. When there 
are in the village two chiefs of equal authority, they guard by turns the 
archives and treasures during a night, which night, however, at present 
is an entire year. It is only in affairs of importance that they negotiate 
by means of ' coliers ;' for the less important they make use of ' branches 
de porcelaine,' skins, blankets, main en paen, or meat, and similar things, 
for all these form part of the public treasure." 

In applying to another tribe, too, for assistance in war, it was not 
unusual among some nations to send a large shell, with an invitation 
to drink the blood of their enemies. 

This description of whampum applies to the cylindrical beads found 
in No. 4 pit. The larger beads, too, which were found in pit No. 2, 
are evidently made of shell, as the specimen will shew ; but it is 
doubtful whether the circular ones, which appear to be by far the 
most common, were made in the same manner. From their exact 
roundness, and from the edge as well as surface of many of them 
being glazed, it is probable they were of French manufacture. 

Whampum is still worn as an ornament by some of the Indians of 
Lake Huron, and consists chiefly of pieces of porcelain tube of various 

100 Description of some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 

It is perhaps worthy of notice that, in the neighboui-hood of some 

of these sepulchral pits, other ancient signs of Indian existence are 

still to be found. Within about half a mile of the first may be seen 

a place where the earth has been thrown up, so as to form squares or 

columns. These spots might be passed without notice, and the 

mounds attributed to fallen trees ; but on examination, no traces of 

timber or roots can be found, and persons familiar with the bush 

consider them to be artificial. They may be traced extending in a 

line for a considerable distance. Below this, and following the course 

of a tolerably wide stream for about a mile, is what the Canadians 

of the neighbourhood call the " Plum Garden.'' It is an alluvial 

level, having the appearance of being at times flooded by the river, 

abounding in wild plum and cherry trees, with a mixture of poplar. 

They have given it this name under the idea that it has been cleared 

before and planted with fruit trees (they think by the French), 

though it is more likely that a peculiarity in the soil alone accounts 

for the existence of so many of these trees. A settler in cutting a 

tree here for some domestic purpose, not long since struck upon an 

iron ring, which was deeply imbedded in its substance. Following 

a small tributary of the river back to the rising ground, from this 

place a spot may be seen quite bare of vegetation, somewhat elevated 

and covered apparently with baked earth. Pieces of earthenware 

are found here in great quantities, which makes it likely that the 

material was manufactured on this piece of ground. Stone and iron 

axes, too, are often found in this neighbourhood. 

Edw. W. Bawtree, M.D. 

Since the above was written, another pit has been examined 
about eight miles from Penetanqueshenc, and as far back in the forest, 
having the same chai'acter as the other, but a little more interest 
perhaps attached to it from the following appearances, which were - 
noticed in its immediate vicinity. It is placed on a gentle elevation, 
which has a descent to the south, and is level towards the north ; 
in the former direction is Nottagawara Bay, which is supposed to be 
about four miles off; in the latter the small lake which was lately 
noticed ; its distance from the last pit being, perhaps, about five 
miles in a direct line across the lake. It is probably about the middle 
of the township of Giny. Close by the side of it is another pit, 
which is not circular but elongated, with a mound on each side. At 
the brow of the hill, if it may be so called, and commencing about 
20 yards from the pits, there is the appearance of a long ditch ex- 
tending in a direction soith-west ; another ditch about half of the 
length of this meets it at right angles on the top of the rising ground, 
and is continued a few yards beyond the point of junction ; a third 
ditch intersects the short one as sheivn in the diagram. 

The two first of these ditches form two sides of a parallelogram, 
but there is no sigrns of an enclosure at the other sides where the 

Description af some Sepulchral Pits of Indian Origin. 101 

ground is low and becomes nearly level. The long one is about 75 
paces in length, the other half that length, the former terminates 
at a moderate sized gum-tree, the latter moves abruptly at an old 
decayed birch. Their average depth is about a foot and half, some 
of them being much deeper than others, though the whole line is dis- 
tinctly marked. 

On the north side of the shorter and upper ditch, several Indian's 
graves were found, not placed in any order, but scattered about at 
various distances from each other. Three of these were examined 
and found to contain human bones ; one, in particular, contained an 
entire skeleton in perfect preservation. Some pieces of charcoal were 
found with the bones, but no weapons, vessels, or ornaments of any 

The ditches just noticed had the appearance at first of being a 
succession of these small pits or graves, particularly near the point 
of junction of the tree where the depth is greatest. This part was 
dug into with the idea that human bones would be found there also, 
but none could be discovered, nor was there an appearance of any- 
thincr havinfT been buried there ; and it seems certain that it had 
been applied to some other purpose than a grave, though what this 
may have been is rather difficult to determine. Had the enclosure 
appeared complete, it is thought there would be little doubt of its 
havino- formed the site of a fortified Indian village ; and it appears 
now it could hardly have been formed for protection, as the open 
sides of the space are guarded by no natural formation of ground even. 

Another conjecture is, that a temporary defence has been thrown 
up against an approaching enemy. The open space may have been 
filled up with fallen trees, a mode of defence often adopted by the 
Hurons while encamped during war. 

The small pits or graves just noticed have the same appearance as 
those described at p. 19, and the finding the bones in these seems 
satisfactorily to prove the conjecture there formed of their use to be 
true. It may be remarked that the skull of the very perfect skeleton 
spoken of was found placed upon pieces of bark. 

The laro-e pit was no doubt connected with the funeral ceremon/ 
Charlevoix desci'ibes ; and from the fact of finding skeletons in the 
graves, it is not unreasonable to imagine that the neighbouring village 
was hastily deserted or quickly depopulated, so that the full form of 
burial had not been enacted with all the dead. It seemed to contain 
very few relics besides the bones ; only one small conch-shell could 
be found, and there were no traces of beads or crockery, which, to- 
gether with the more decayed condition of the bones, seem to shew 
that this pit is more ancient than any of the others. The bones 
were covered with 3 or 4 feet of earth, which is more than is usually 
found over them, giving the pit a less evident form than they gene- 
rally have for want of the marginal ring which the ejected earth, 
not having been all thrown back in most of them, produces. 

( 102 ) 

General View of the mode of Formation of Iceland. 

M. Sartorius von Waltershausen says : — In the history of 
the development of our planet, there has doubtless been 
a time in which Iceland did not exist. Where now volca- 
noes, covered with solid glaciers, and mountains composed 
of alternate beds of tuffa and of trap, rise above the regions 
of the clouds, there formerly the ocean only existed. At the 
bottom of the sea lay horizontal beds, formation above for- 
mation, even up to the chalk and the tertiary formations,* 
together with their organic remains. 

By a gradual but unequal act of consolidation of the inte- 
rior of the earth, while still in a state of igneous fusion, by 
an irregular addition of new parts, in the act of solidifica- 
tion to the inner side of the already rigid crust of the earth, 
or by other circumstances lying altogether beyond our know- 
ledge, there were caused in the bottom of the sea very slow 
secular movements, upheavings and depressions, which pro- 
duced, as a first result, waved rock-formations. 

The re-action from within outwards gradually became 
greater ; a part of the bottom of the sea rose up in the form 
of a plateau, preserving the horizontal character of its beds, 
whilst another part, on the contrary, remained behind ; great 
flexures must consequently have taken place, and a bursting 
of the crust became inevitable. 

* An analogy with the geology of other countries, and certain observations 
i'ender it probable that both chalk and tertiary rocks are found in a stratified 
condition immediately beneath the neptunian formations of Iceland. That the 
chalk may be found at no very great depth may be concluded from the fact that 
common flints and fragments of slaty sandstone are to be found on the strand of 
llanfarharm, unless these had been carried thither by ice, currents, or other 
causes. This sandstone very much resembles that of the Appenine formation 
from the mountains of Linguagrossa and Oastilione, the northern part of which 
surrounds ^tna. The occurrence of tertiary formations in lower grounds 
seems to be proved by th e conchyliferous tufi'as of different districts, which 
contain the most recent organic remains. In the deeper invisible formations 
one might, therefore, expect tertiary formations of an older kind in the various 
transitions to the chalk. These, however, are only conjectures drawn from 
the geognostic circumstances of other countries ; we have nothing in the shape 
of satisfactory direct observations. 

General View of the Mode of Formation of Iceland. 103 

The submarine volcanic activity now first begins ; masses 
of water are engulfed by larger or smaller rents, and, in the 
deep, become converted into steam, which, in confined spaces; 
exerts its immense elastic force. The wonderful display of 
volcanic eruptions will now occur in exactly the same way 
as is observed in our day in different seas. Through one or 
even through several rents extending in a north-westerly 
or north-easterly direction, but chiefly in the latter, there 
will incessantly arise, in some favourable points, steam of an 
elastic force of several hundred atmospheres, accompanied 
by earthquakes, projecting into the air sea- water, together 
with clouds of ashes and scorise, furnished by the volcanic 
focus, and causing terror and destruction amongst the inha- 
bitants of the ocean. 

The heavier masses, volcanic bombs and coarser scoriae, at 
first fall back around the orifice of the eruption, and are 
soon scattered by currents along the bottom of the sea; 
whilst the finer pulverised ashes, drifted by the wind in dif- 
ferent directions, first reach the surface of the sea, by a 
longer road through the air, and cover the bottom in a thin, 
scarcely perceptible stratum. These coming in contact with 
the tertiary strata, whilst in the act of progressive formation, 
there arise those tuffacious marls which I have described in 
my account of the tertiary formation of Val di Noto in 
Sicily, and which are more or less largely impregnated 
with volcanic ashes. Such formations can now be found 
only where one or several submarine eruptions have occurred ; 
in Iceland, where they are quite covered by later eruptions, 
they are now no longer anywhere to be seen. 

After this eruption of ashes has continued for days or 
weeks, the lava begins to rise up in the fissures, and, as in 
the neighbourhood of Militello, spreads by injection into the 
lateral masses of the tertiary formations, and amongst the 
newly-ejected ashes, or, as probably more rarel}"" occurs, 
even flows over the latter. After these processes, which 
have caused an instantaneous uprising, hot vapours or fuma- 
roles make their appearance along the rent, and then the 
eruption ceases. At last, in the course of time, the ejected 
ashes assume their submarine character, and are changed, 
according to circumstances, either into amygdaloidal con- 

10-i General View of the Mode of Formation of Iceland. 

glomerates, or into beds of palagonite.* This is the mode 
of the origin of the first trap-formation, and of its co-ordi- 
nate bed of tufta. 

After such a catastrophe, months, and probably whole 
years elapsed, before a second similar eruption followed. 
Then a new fissure, either in the neighbourhood of the 
former, or at a greater distance from it, again broke open 
the volcanic furnace. If the place of the second eruption is 
sufficiently removed from the first, there will not be the 
slightest communication between the two recent foi-mations, 
unless it be that the shower of ashes of the second erup- 
tion has accidentally spread into the sphere of the former ; 
if, on the other hand, the eruptive localities he at a small 
distance from each other, the beds of tufi^a come in contact ; 
the newer overlaps the older ; as also a new pai't of the 
original bottom of the sea. There now follows a new sub- 
marine palagonite and amygdaloidal formation, which in- 
deed is similar to the former, except in a chronological point 
of view. The veins, in so far as they belong to the same 
system, proceed alongside each other in a pai-allel direction, 
or cross each other under very acute angles ; their lateral 
ramifications again unite and cross each other in different 
storeys, so that the mere fact of being above or below is 
here no criterion as to the age of the formations. 

While this secular rising of the land is going on, the se- 
cond eruption also is followed by a new instantaneous rising. 
After the lapse of some time, there occurs a third eruption, 
which either stands quite isolated, or unites, in a manner si- 
milar to that already described, with one or with both of the 
former, and may receive into its tuffa fragments of the already 
existing formations. A fourth eruption, and a fifth, and so 
on, continually I'epeat the same process. Every time a new 
bed of tuffa is formed, there arise new veins, new lateral ra- 
mifications, and new instantaneous risings ; the sea over the 
localities of eruption becomes always less and less deep, un- 
til, at last, the bottom begins to rise above the level of the 
sea in one or in several islands. 

Thus, have thousands of eruptions produced thousands of 

* This rock forms the basis of those tuffas named in Iceland mohera. 

General Fietv of the Mode of Formation of Iceland. 105 

different beds of trap, of palagonite, and of amygdaloidal tuffa, 
and equally numerous instantaneous risings, and contributed, 
during immense intervals of time, towards the formation of 
the island of Iceland. From this mode of explanation, we 
may understand how the innumerable varieties of dissimilar 
trap and tuffa have arisen, how the later formations can con- 
tain fi'agments of the former ones, and how the veins cross 
certain beds of palagonite, without our being constrained to 
the conclusion that a universal covering of palagonite forms 
the base of the whole island, whilst we cannot comprehend 
how this palagonite has itself arisen, and whence its materials 
are derived. 

After the beds of tuffa, together with the different trap 
foi'mations, had assumed a certain extension, the trachytic 
rocks of the same kind broke out here and there into veins, 
through the already extensive volcanic covering of the bot- 
tom of the sea, in the very same way as the traps themselves 
had done. These trachytic veins passed through the traps 
and tuffas with which they met, and caused in them new in- 
stantaneous risings. The trachytes were again followed by 
other trap injections, which passed through them, raised them 
up, and spread through them in vein-shaped lateral ramifica- 
tions. Thus simple is the explanation of the phenomena 
which we have formerly described among traps and trachytes, 
and their mutual injections into each other. After this al- 
ternate process had continued for many thousand years, Ice- 
land had again received a new and considerable increase, and 
it began to assume a greater size. 

Plants gradually covered the surface of the island, the val- 
leys became covered with gi'ass and moss, and there were 
also found extensive forests, which, as yet, had nought to 
fear from the stroke of the axe. The smaller hills were not 
yet covered with glaciers, and thus the climate, favoured by 
the superior influence of the ocean, was milder than in our 
days. Whole generations of trees arose and perished, tliey 
were the silent witnesses of countless new eruptions, which 
broke out, either whilst under the sea, or after the mainland 
had been formed, accompanied by earthquakes, and by showers 
of scoria, ashes, and incandescent lavas. The forests sank 

106 General View of the Mode of Formation of Iceland. 

under the might of the volcano, like Pompeii and Hercula- 
neum, they were buried beneath showers of ashes, and some- 
times sunk under the sea by secular movements, but they 
afterwards again rose up. At present, their remains are fre- 
quently found covered by huge mountain masses, and appear 
as surturbrand in the masses of tuffa, and enable geologists 
to discover a series of revolutions, in which one supplants 
the other, but all of which have, more or less, contributed 
their share towards the formation of the island. 

From the northerly situation of Iceland, it could not hap- 
pen otherwise than that the sea should begin to freeze on the 
shores of the very gradually increasing island, especially in 
the Fiords, which now lie dry, in the form of narrow val- 
leys, and that next spring, during the breaking up and drift- 
ing of the ice, there should be formed those striae and po- 
lished surfaces, which have been raised, by succeeding ris- 
ings, to the height of two or three thousand feet, and which 
are erroneously taken for glacial striae. At the time of the 
first formation of Iceland, the formation of a glacier was quite 
impossible ; this first occurred in more recent times, after, 
not merely individual points, but whole i-anges of mountains 
had reached a height far above the snow-line. 

That the glaciers descend from the snow-line into lower 
grounds is a known fact ; here nature herself fixes their 
boundary, their advance and retreat take place within mo- 
derate limits, and are determined, partly by the configuration 
of the rocks, and partly by the climate. 

The more Iceland rose out of the sea, so much the more 
were its plateaux and its mountains enlarged, and, along the 
valleys, rivulets and rivers now flowed. They began to cut 
through the traps and tuflPas, carrying along the disintegrated 
rocks or debris, and depositing them in the shape of alluvium, 
in the hollow^s, in the valleys, in the fiords, and on the sea- 
shore. The volcanic sand is particularly well adapted for 
this. Through it arise, in a special manner, at the foot of the 
southern volcanoes, those horizontal, though more frequently 
slightly upraised promontories, called the Sandr or Oerafen. 
In those parts where alluvium accumulates in the valleys, 
and the rivers have only a slight fall, there appear, as in the 

General View of the Mode of Formation of Iceland. 107 

valleys of the Alps, in the Pinzgan and in the Vallais, exten- 
sive peat-formations, frequently accompanied with bog iron- 
ore, and boggy marshes, which the traveller in Iceland soon 
comes to know rather too well. 

The action of the volcanoes still continues, in our day, as 
in former times : showers of ashes and streams of lava destroy 
the organic creation, the fumaroles decompose the rocks, and 
the Geysers and Strokkr hurl forth, from their orifices, their 
jets of boiling-water mixed with steam. As it has been going 
on for thousands of years, so will it still continue for thou- 
sands of years to come, until the thickness of the outer crust 
of the earth opposes unsurmountable obstacles to the pres- 
sure from within ; the mountains of Iceland will still slowly 
increase, and its coasts gradually become changed. 

Such, I think, is the probable mode of origin of this, in 
many respects, remarkable island. 

My theory has not, if I may be permitted so to speak, been 
caught up at random, but is founded on manifold and, I be- 
lieve, careful observations.* 

1. On the Cause of the recent Oscillation of the Waters in the 
Lake Ontario. 2, An account of the extraordinary Agita- 
tion of the Sea in Cornwall and Devon, on Sunday the 23rf 
May 1847. 3. An Account of four Whirlwinds which passed 
through St Just, on the 12th of December 1846. 4. On the 
rapid Dimimition of the Sand-bank in Mount's Bay. By 
Richard Edmonds, Jun., Esq. 

1. On the Cause of the recent Oscillation of the Waters in Lake 

" On 20th September 1845, was witnessed a singular phenomenon on Lake 
Ontario. In the afternoon, the waters suddenly moved, in a mass, out of the 
rivers, bays, coves, harbours, &c., lowering the water to different depths in dif- 
ferent places. In 10 or 12 minutes the waters returned and rose to a higher 
level than they had before. This oscillation, or efflux and reflux, was repeated 

* Phyisch-Geographische Skizze von Island. 

t I'enzance, Nat. Hist, and Antiq. Society's Kcport for 1847. 

108 On (he Oscillation of the Waters in Lake Ontario. 

at several times at about the same interval of 8 or 12 minutes. At the mouth 
of the Genesee river, 7 miles from the city, the vrater fell two feet below its 
common level, and soon rose as much above it. At Oswego, 70 miles east of this, 
a large body of logs moved out into the lake, to the great annoyance of their 
owner, till he saw them soon returning to their previous location. At Coburg, 
a little tvest of the Genesee, and on the Canada side of the lake, and distant about 
60 miles, the same fall and rise were observed to be repeated, the greatest being 
a little before sunset, when the waters rose to their highest point, or about two 
feet. At Port Hope, a few miles west of Coburg, the steam-boat. Princess 
Koyal, ran aground as she attempted to enter the harbour, so much had the 
water lowered in the port." — Jameson's Edinburgh Journal for April 1847, 
p. 295. 

Professor C. Dewey attributes the phenomenon above de- 
scribed to a tornado " about three-fourths of a mile wide, 
which passed that afternoon over the" centre of the lake, 
fi'om SW. to NE., attended with waterspouts, " large hail, 
and lightning and thunder.'' " The power of this tornado 
(he says) was probably sufficient to withdraw the waters 
fi'om the shores, so as to produce the efflux and reflux.'' But 
he does not explain how such an eifect could have resulted 
from such a cause ; nor does he say why the numerous tor- 
nadoes and waterspouts which traverse the American lakes 
do not generally occasion similar oscillations. 

It seems to me much more probable, that during the tor- 
nado, the upward shock of an earthquake occurred through- 
out the basin of the lake, whereby a considerable body of 
water resting on the inclined plain descending from its 
shores, was driven towards its centre ; thus producing the 
ejlux with which the oscillation commenced. It is no objec- 
tion that such supposed shock was unperceived above the 
level of the lake ; for shocks often " follow the course of the 
shore,''* without rising to higher levels. Had the oscillation 
begun everywhere with an influx, it might be accounted for 
by supposing that the sides of submerged rocks or shoals 
near the centre of the basin had vibrated, in directions to- 
wards its circumference, and that the shock, on i*eaching the 
margin of the lake, caused a quantity of the water there, 
proportioned to the momentum of the shock, to rush up the 
beach, in the same manner as a smart blow at the lower 

* Humboldt's Personal Narrative, pp. 222, 22-i. 

Agitation of the Sea in Cornwall and Devon. 109 

end of a line of marbles in a long tube causes the marble or 
marbles at the higher end instantly to fly up, while all the 
others remain stationary. A shock of this description is 
attended with no upheaving — no subsidence — no displace- 
ment of any portion of the ground, but is a mere vibration 
ti-ansmitted through the sea with as great velocity and by 
the same laws as through a solid body. Now, if a shock or 
rapid vibration of the deep bed of the ocean can, when trans- 
mitted vertically, strike a ship with such violence as to make 
all on board believe she had suddenly struck on a rock — an 
occurrence very frequent during earthquakes ; and if, as was 
the case in 1755 with a ship 40 leagues west of St Vincent, 
the concussion has been so great as to throw the men " a 
foot and a half perpendicularly up from the deck,"f surely 
the same power, if transmitted obliquely., in the direction of a 
shelving shore, would be sufficient to drive the marginal 
water a considerable distance up the beach. 

2. An Account of the extraordinary Agitation of the Sea in Corn- 
ivall and Devon, on Sunday the 2Sd of May 1847. 

The extraordinary agitation of the sea along the southern 
coast of -Cornwall on the day above mentioned was greater, 
and of longer continuance, than any that had previously oc- 
curred during the last fifty years. 

It was noticed in Mount's Bay as early as 5 o'clock in the 
morning, and continued with varying intensity throughout 
the day. It attracted, however, most general attention about 
5 o'clock in the afternoon, when the sea, near the time of 
low-water, rushed into all the tidal harbours of the bay, to a 
perpendicular height varying from about 3 to above 5 feet, and 
then returned to its previous level, occupying about fifteen 
or twenty minutes in this double movement. A similar influx 
and reflux immediately succeeded, and the sea thus continued 
to advance and retire until after midnight ; but at what hour 
the rise and fall were greatest 1 have not been able to ascer- 
tain. The motion resembled that of a very strong tide, or 

t Lyell's Geology, vol. ii. p. 241. 

110 Agitation of the Sea in Cornwall and Devon. 

rapid rivei', eddying and foaming in a most extraordinary 
manner. Large boats, from which the tide had completely 
receded, were again floated and left dry, while the bows of 
those moored in deep water near Newlyn were, by the alter- 
nating current, whirled every eight or ten minutes to oppo- 
site points of the compass, the wind, although fresh, having 
little or no influence upon them. Persons attempting to pass 
the causeway leading from Marazion to St Michael's Mount 
were overtaken by the unexpected influx and narrowly escaped 
being swept away. The sea all the day was quite smooth, 
and apparently undisturbed except near the shore where the 
agitation prevailed. 

At Plymouth, during the whole or the greatest part of the 
day, the sea, from the mouth of the Catwater to within Sut- 
ton Pool, was strangely agitated by an almost constant flux 
and reflux, although there was scarcely any wind. But in 
the evening, especially from half 7 to 9 o'clock, the commo- 
tion was still more alarming ; and the crews of the trawlers 
were obliged to remain on board all night, as their vessels 
were whirled in opposite directions by every change of the 
current, and several of them damaged by running foul of one 
another. The bores wei'e the most formidable remembered 
by the oldest inhabitant. 

In Falmouth harbour and the Scilly Isles, similar oscilla- 
tions occurred. But on the north coast, at least in St Ives 
Bay, nothing unusual was remarked. 

The cause of these phenomena I have endeavoured to ex- 
plain in a former communication. 

The temperature at Penzance on this day was much higher 
than it had been for the year, and the sun shone powerfully 
until about three in the afternoon, when the wind, vvhich had 
been about SE., suddenly changed, and blew strong fremW. 
or NW., with every appearance of an approaching thunder- 
storm. A few large drops fell about half-past five, and dis- 
tant thunder was frequently heard during the evening. The 
heat and electricity of the air this morning in London were 
unusually great, the thermometer there being 87° : at Chis- 
wick it was 89°, and " very hot and sultry." The barometer 

Whirlwinds. Ill 

in Marazion this day, at 3 P. M., was at a minimum of 29.67, 
being lower than foi' five days before and twenty-one days 
after, except at the same hour of the following day, when 
during a storm it reached a minimum of 29-62. 

In the night preceding the phenomenon above described, 
two of the Coast Guard of Mount's Bay, while standing on the 
cliflF between Newlyn and Mousehole, felt a slight motion of 
the ground, and repeatedly heard a sound like that of thun- 

It is remarkable that the earthshocks and extraordinary 
oscillations of the sea in Cornwall during the present cen- 
tury whose dates are known (and they are ten in number),* 
have, with only one exception, happened nearer to the moon's 
first quarter than to any other. The exception is the shock 
in the east of the county on the 20th of October 1837, the 
day before the moon's last quarter. 

3. An account of four Whirhvinds which passed through St Just 
on the \2th of December 1846. 

At one o'clock in the afternoon of the 12th of December 
1846, four whirlwinds or waterspouts were observed ap- 
proaching the coast north-west of Penzance, in parallel lines 
in the direction of the wind, then blowing a storm from 
NNE. Three of them having reached the northern shores 
of St Just, passed through different parts of that parish, un- 
roofing houses, overturning furze and turf-ricks, and carrying 
along a great quantity of snow, with stubble, birds, slates, 
tiles, pieces of wood, and other things, caught up in their 
progress. Sometimes they rushed along the gi'ound like so 
many clouds of mist without any definite forms. At other 
times they assumed the appearance of very elongated in- 
verted cones reaching from the earth into the clouds. As 
they advanced, each column revolved on its axis with varying 
rapidity, which appeared, however, to be greatest when the 

t The dates of the shocks are,— 30th December 1832 ; 20th October 1837 ; 
21st January 1839 ; 17th February 1842 ; 22cl May 1847. 

The dates of the oscillations are, — 5th .July 1843 ; 30th October 1843 ; 5th 
July 1846 ; Ist August 1846 ; 2.3 J May 1847. 

1 12 Whirlivinds. 

diameter of the column was least. Their progressive velo- 
city was probably between 10 and 1 5 miles per hour. Large 
hailstones fell at the time of their passing, and destroyed the 
glass in a great many windows, the hailstones in and near 
the town of St Just being nearly as lai'ge as marbles. The 
fourth, or westernmost whirlwind, appears to have swept 
over a small portion of the land close to Cape Cornwall. 

The counting-house of Wheal Spearn was so fearfully 
shaken by one of the whiidwinds, that those within expected 
it would have fallen. Richard Pearce, Esq. of Penzance, who 
was then near it, beheld, only a minute or two previously, a 
most magnificent electrical phenomenon. At the distance of 
about a mile SW. of the mine, in the direction of Ciipe 
Cornwall, there suddenly rose from the sea, or the land near 
to it, to a vast height, a pillar of fire, exceedingly vivid, and 
apparently of the thickness of a man's arm. On reaching its 
highest elevation, it spread itself from the top in all direc- 
tions, with splendid coruscations, followed by a terrific peal 
of thunder. This form of the luminous appearance renders it 
probable that the electric fluid passed at that moment from 
the earth into the clouds, along the axis * of the fourth or 
most westei'n whirlwind, which must at the time have been 
near the Cape. The shock in the immediate neighbourhood 
of that headland was tremendous. Two men, at a consider- 
able distance from each other, were struck to the earth, one 
of them in a barn, the other on the open common. Nor was 
it confined to the surface. Underground, in Bosweddan mine, 
near the Cape, the miners felt it severely at the depth of 44 
fathoms, the sensation being like that produced by an artifi- 
cial electric shock ; and the thunder of unparalleled loudness, 
heard by those above ground, seemed to the terrified miners 
beneath, as the sound of the falling in of the sides of a shaft. 
It is worthy of remark, that the noise thus heard under- 
ground was precisely similar to that which is heard by miners 
beneath the surface dui*ing shocks of earthquakes, r 

'■* An analogous phenomenon is described in Rees' OyclopaHlia. under the 
word " Spout." 

t Trans, of Royal Geol. Soc. of Cornvyall, vol. v., p. 459*. 

( 113 ) 

4. On the rapid Dimmution of the Sand-banks in Mount's Bay.* 

The great extent in former periods of the sand-banks on the 
east and west of Penzance, has been already noticed in the 
Transactions of this Society. t These banks, so recently as 
within the last fifty years, presented on the sea-side of the 
high road two beautiful walks of green turf, varying in breadth 
from about 40 feet to nearly as many fathoms — the one 
stretching more than two miles between Penzance and Mara- 
zion, and the other one mile from Penzance to Newlyn — 
each being continuous, with the exception of an occasional 
opening for communication with the beach. 

Seventy years ago a meadow lay outside the present sea- 
wall at the entrance to Newlyn ; and about the same period 
were several houses and gardens in Penzance seaward of the 
cottages at " Sandy-bank ; " but of these extremities of the 
old " Western Green " not a vestige is now visible. A mi- 
nute description of what remained of the western bank in 
1826 was given in the third volume of the Transactions.:}: 
In order to preserve the portion still left within the limits of 
Penzance, the Corporation in 1843 completed a strong wall, 
forming the sea-side of a noble terrace-walk or esplanade, 
half a mile in length, which promises to be a permanent bar- 
rier against all further encroachments of the sea. The east- 
ern bank is also rapidly diminishing, but no sea-wall has yet 
been required. Numerous rocks, lying between high and low 
water, which forty years since were always buried four or 
five feet beneath the sand, are now uncovered : this applies 
to the beaches below both sand-banks, and is particularly 
observable near Newlyn, Chyandour, and Marazion. 

The effect of this disappearance of the sand, and of the 
consequent deepening of the water along shore, is very re- 
markable at the causeway leading from Marazion to St 
Michael's Mount. This causeway, or ridge of shingle and 
sand, is evidently formed by the confluence of the waves 

* Vide Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall for 1847. 
t Vol. ii., p. 130. ; I'age IG7. 


114 On Sand-banks. 

coming round the Mount from the east and west at every 
tide. Three hundred years ago, Leland observed that " the 
passage to the Mount from the main was six hours open " out 
of the twelve — and so it continued for 220 years afterwards 
without " the least alteration."* But within the last eighty 
years a very sensible change has been effected ; for at pre- 
sent the passage is open only four hours out of the twelve, 
and frequently, at neap-tides, during the prevalence of strong 
SW. winds, the causeway remains covered for days together. 
This change in the period of the Mount's insulation from 
half to two-thirds of the day, appears to be owing to the re- 
moval of the sand that adjoined and supported the western 
side of the ridge, which has consequently lost much of its 
elevation, and is, therefore, covered proportionally earlier 
every tide. Another effect produced on the causeway from 
this removal of the sand and deepening of the water on its 
west, is that it has been bent or shifted, near the centre, 
many feet farther towards the east than it was forty years 

Some suppose that the action of the waves has been the 
chief cause of the disappearance of our sand-banks, and 
doubtless it has often, during storms, undermined and pros- 
trated large portions, and carried out considerable quantities 
of beach beyond the line of low-water ; but, in the course of 
the year the sea always deposits on the shore much more than 
it withdraws. The great cause of the lessening of the banks 
appears to be the constant abstraction of the adjacent sand 
and pebbles, between low and high water, for manure, ballast, 
road-making, building, and other purposes. Some idea of 
the vast quantity taken for manure may be gathered from 
the fact, that a very usual clause in farming-leases in this 
neighbourhood is, that ten butt-loads of sea-sand shall be 
spread on every acre whenever it is broken for tillage ; and 
the sand is often carted away over a hilly country to farms 
five or six miles ^rom the coves which furnish it. The quan- 
tity used for ballast must be also very great, as Penzance is 
a place of considerable trade, and the exports of merchandise 

* " Natural History of St Michael's Mount, by the late ingenious Mr Price 
of Penzance," quoted in Polwhele's Cornwall, i., p. 153. 

On Sand-hanks. 115 

are very little compared with the imports. That the cause 
now assigned is the true one is confirmed by the fact already 
mentioned, that no diminution in the height of the shoal be- 
tween the Mount and Marazion had taken place for 220 
years after the time of Leland, during which period there was 
but little agriculture or commerce in the bay. 

Thus the sands, which, in some neighbourhoods, accumu- 
late in the sea to the great peril of mariners, have here been 
deposited on the shore, where for centuries they have served 
as pastui-e grounds or pleasant walks, and as barriers against 
the sea, but have latterly proved still more valuable for agri- 
cultural purposes. Husbandmen are aware that the soil from 
one district on being distributed over another proves often- 
times highly beneficial to the latter. When, for example, 
fragments of granite are washed down into the bay, reduced to 
sand by the action of the waves, and then spread over a kil- 
las stratum, they tend greatly to its fertilization, and vice 
versa. Thus, in the great geological laboratory, during the 
lapse of ages, manures of various kinds — calcareous, siliceous, 
and argillaceous — have been prepared, without the least ex- 
penditure of human labour, and are treasured up on our 
coasts to be used on the neighbouring farms in any quantities 
that may be required. 

On the Internal Pressure to which Hock Masses may be sub- 
jected, and its possible influence in the Production of the La- 
minated Structure. By W. HOPKINS, M.A., F.E..S.* 

If a plane, of indefinitely small extent, pass through any 
proposed point in the interior of a continuous solid mass in 
a state of constraint, the resultant pressure or tension on this 
plane will vary with the angular position of the plane, and its 
direction will not, as in fluid masses, be generally perpendi- 
cular to the plane. There are, however, three angular posi- 
tions in which the direction of the pressure does coincide 
with a perpendicular to the plane. These are called princi- 

* Pri)ceedings of the Cambridge PhiloB )phic vl Society, AFay 3, 1847. 

116 Mr W. Hopkins on the Internal Pressure 

pal directions, and are at right angles to each other ; the cor- 
responding pressures are called principal pressures. In these 
particular positions of the plane there will be no tangential 
action upon it ; but generally the whole pressure or tension 
may be resolved into two parts, of which one is normal, and 
the other tangential. In certain positions of the plane, these 
forces assume their maximum or minimum values. The nor- 
mal action is a maximum, when a perpendicular to the plane 
coincides with one of the three principal directions ; and a 
minimum, when it coincides with another, the third of those 
directions, not corresponding either to a maximum or mini- 
mum value. These conclusions have been established by 
Poisson, Cauchy, and others. In this paper, the author has 
investigated the positions of the small plane, when the tan- 
gential force upon it is a maximum. There are two of these 
positions perpendicular to each other, in each of which the 
plane passes through that principal direction which does not 
correspond to either the maximum or minimum value of the 
normal force, and bisects the corresponding right angle be- 
tween the other two principal directions, those of the maxi- 
mum and minimum normal forces. Having established the 
relative positions of the planes of greatest normal and of 
greatest tangential action, the author proceeds to examine 
how far the evidence afforded by the distorted forms of or- 
ganic remains may justify the conclusion, that these forces 
have had an influence in determining the position of the planes 
of cleavage in the rocks containing those remains. 

Conceive one stratified bed placed on another, and acted 
on by forces tending to give the upper a small sliding motion 
along the surface of the lower one. A considerable tangen- 
tial force will be called into action between the beds ; and if 
any object be placed between them, its lower part will be 
pushed in one direction by the action of the lower bed, while 
its upper part will be equally pushed in the opposite direc- 
tion by the action of the upper bed, and thus the object will 
be twisted from its original form. For example, suppose the 
object be an equilateral shell lying between the two beds, 
with the plane of junction of the two valves parallel to the 
surfaces of the beds, and suppose the median line of either 

to which Rock Masses may be subjected. 117 

valve to be perpendicular to the direction in which the one 
bed tends to move along the other. The shell, in its dis- 
torted form, will no longer be equilateral ; one half of each 
shell will be crumpled into a smaller space, while the other 
half will be extended into greater breadth ; so that if there 
be longitudinal folds on the valve, those on the former half 
will be pressed together, and those on the latter will be di- 
lated into greater breadth. An exactly similar effect will 
be produced on both shells ; but the compressed half of one 
will be opposite to the dilated half of the other. 

Again, suppose the beds to be acted on by forces tending 
to compress them equally in a direction parallel to their sur- 
faces. The shell will then be compressed in the same direc- 
tion, so that, generally, the ratio of the length to the breadth 
of the shell will be altered, but without that twisting which 
will characterise the distorted form in the former case. In 
the case of this paragraph, the direction of compression will 
coincide with what has been above termed a principal direc- 
tion., and it will also be that of maximum normal pressure. In 
the pi-evious case, the common surface of the two beds will 
be the plane of maximum tangential action. 

If, then, in any stratified mass, we observe the organic re- 
mains to be regularly distoi'ted, and twisted from their origi- 
nal forms, as above described, we may conclude that the 
planes of stratification have nearly coincided with those of 
maximum tangential action ; but if, on the contrary, the dis- 
tortion consists only in compression of the shells in a given 
direction along the surface of the bed where they are found, 
we may conclude that the direction of maximum normal pres- 
sure has nearly coincided with this direction of compression, 
and was consequently parallel to the planes of stratification. 
The masses in which distorted remains have been found, are 
generally those which have been much disturbed. The dis- 
turbing forces are those to which the distortions are to be 
referred ; and it may be remarked, that in such cases the 
directions of maximum and minimum pressure at any point, 
would probably lie in a plane perpendicular to the strike of 
the elevated beds, and that, consecjuently, the planes of maxi- 
mum tangential action, which bisect the angles between those 

118 Mr W. Hopkins on the Internal Pressure of Rocks. 

directions, will have approximately the same strike as the 
beds themselves. 

The bearing of these conclusions on the question of lami- 
nated structure is easily seen. Suppose the planes of lami- 
nation are observed to be nearly coincident with those of 
stratification, and that the distortion of the organic remains 
consists in their being twisted from their primitive forms. 
Then, if the position of the planes of lamination has been due 
to the internal pressures to which the mass has been sub- 
jected, it is to tangential action, and not direct pressure, that 
the effect is attributable. Again, if the planes of lamination 
have nearly the same strike as the beds, and are inclined to 
them at an angle of about 45°, while the organic remains 
have been distorted only by direct compression, the planes of 
lamination must, in this case, also have coincided with those 
of maximum tangential action, and we shall have the same 
conclusion as in the former case. The direction of compres- 
sion of the organic forms ought, according to this view, to be 
perpendicular to the intersections of the planes of lamination 
and those of stratification. 

Mr Sharpe, in a paper recently published in the Journal 
of the Geological Society, has stated nearly all the evidence 
hitherto collected on this subject ; and it appears, that the 
organic bodies are most twisted from their original forms in 
those cases in which the planes of lamination coincide most 
nearly with those of stratification, and that they have gene- 
rally suffered most direct compression without twisting, in 
those cases in which the planes of lamination are inclined to 
those of stratification, at an angle of 40^ or 50". We must 
therefore conclude, according to the last paragi'aph, that the 
planes of lamination approximately coincide with those which 
were formerly the planes of greatest tangential action. 

The author does not regard this mechanical action as the 
probable primary cause of the laminated structure, but rather 
as u secondary cause, which may have had its influence in 
determining the positions of the planes of lamination. He 
trusts that further evidence will be collected on the subject 

( no ; 

The Volcanoes of Central France not in a State of Activity in 
the Age of Julius Cmsar. 

I remarked, indeed (says Dr Daubeny), in the former edition of 
my work on Volcanoes, that if any of those volcanoes of Central 
France had been in a state of activity in the age of Julius Otesar, 
that General, who encamped upon the plains of Auvergne, and laid 
siege to its principal city, would hardly have failed to notice them ; 
and that had there been any record even of their existence in the 
time of Pliny or Sidonius Apollinaris, the one would scarcely have 
omitted to make mention of it in his Natural History, nor the other 
to introduce some allusion to it among his descriptions of this his 
native province. 

The learned author of an article in the Quarterly Review on the 
Norman Coflquest* has questioned the soundness of this inference, 
and whilst he has erroneously placed me in opposition to Mr Lyell, 
who, on tho contrary, in this instance adopts in his workf the 
very conclusions I had previously arrived at, even cites against me 
the testimony of Sidonius AppoUinaris and of Alcimus Avitus, the 
Bishop of Vienne, as proving the existence of active volcanoes in 
Auvergne during the fifth century after Christ.j; But in so doing, 
the reviewer seems to me to have confounded together the volcanoes 
of Auvergne and those of the Vivarais, two groups which, although 
scarcely 100 miles distant from each other, are nevertheless divided 
by a barrier of primary rocks, and belong apparently to independent 

To infer that the volcanoes of Auvergne were in a state of activity 
when those of the Vivarais showed symptoms of disturbance, would 
be as rash as to presume that the extinct volcano of Mount Vultur 
in Apulia was roused into activity in the first century of the Chris- 
tian era, because ancient writers have recorded the ravages made at 
that time by Vesuvius. 

The letter which Sidonius addresses to the Bishop of Vienne evi- 
dently alludes to events which occurred within the diocese and' the 
neighbourhood of the latter, if not immediately around the city in 
which he resided. " Non enini latet nostram sciscitationem,'' says 
Sidonius, " primis temporibus harumce supplicationum institutarum, 
civitas coclitus tibi credita per cujusmodi prodigiorum terriculamonta 
vacuabatur. Nam modo, scenaj mocnium publicorum crebris terraj 
motibus concutiebantur ; nunc, ignes sajpe flammati caducas culmi- 

* Oct. 1844. 

t Principles of Geology, vol. iii., p. 2G9. 

\ Grei^ory of Tours has also been mentioned as an authority on the same 
side, but I can only find that he bears testimony to a great earthqualie which 
Hhook the city of Auvergne during the episcopate of ttt Clall in the sixth 

120 Dr Daubeny on the Volcanoes of Central France. 

nuin cristas superjecto favillaruni monte tumulabant." And as 
Alcimus Avitus was the successor in the See of Vienne to Manier- 
tus,* to whom Sidonius''s epistle was addressed, the allusions which 
the former Prelate, in his Rogation Homily, makes to the same 
fearful catastrophes, would seem to refer to this locality rather than 
to one more distant. 

I therefore submit to my readers, whether the entire silence of 
Sidoiiius as to the existence of volcanoes in Auvergne, although his 
residence was on the borders of the Lake Aidat, which, as we have 
seen, was caused by an eruption from one of the most modern of 
those which had desolated the country, is not a strong negative evi- 
dence of their antiquity, especially when this author dwells, in his 
poems, on the scenery of his own neighbourhood, and even compares 
its natural beauties with those of Baise, a spot which he must have 
known to be in the neighbourhood of a burning mountain. 

How natural would it have been for him, after he had said, with 
reference to his Baths on the Lake of Aidat, — 

" ^mula Baiano toUuntur culmina cono 

Parque cothui'nato vertice fulget apex," &c.t 

* It may be well to add the extract from Avitus's Rogation Homily, to which 
the reviewer refers : — 

" Et quidem terrorum teuiporis illius causas multos nostrum recolere scio ; 
siquidem incendia crcbra, terrw motus assidui, nocturni sonilus, cuidam totius orbis 
funeri prodir/iosum quoddam bnstualc minitabuntur. Nam populosis hominuin 
concursibns doniestica sylvestrium ferarum species observabatur, Deus viderit 
an ludificans oculis, an adducta portentis. Quicquid tamen ex iis diiobusforet, 
perinde nionstruosum intelligebatur, seu sic veraciter imniania bestiarura corda 
niansuefieri, seu tarn horribiliter conspectibus territorum falsaj visionis phaii- 
tasmata posse confingi. Inter ha;c diversa vulgi sententia, dispariunique ordi- 
num varias opiniones. Alii quod sentiebant dissimulando, quae fletui nolebant 
dare, casui dabant ; alii spiritu salubriort, abominabilia nova quoque congruis 
malorum proprietatis significationibus interpretabantur. Quis enim in crebris 
ignibus, imbre sodomtticos[ non timeret ? Quis tremcntibus dementis, atU decidua 
culminum, aut disrwpta terrarum imminere non crederet ? Quis videns, certe videre 
se putans, pavidos naturaliter cervos per angusta portarum usque ad fori lata 
penetrantes, non imminentem solitudinis sententiam forraidaret ?'' — Alcimi 
Aviti Homilia de Royationibus, Ed. Sirmond. ii. 90. 

t The following are the lines to which reference is made : — 
Carmen XVIII. 
De Bahieis Villce sucb supra lacwm positce. 
Si quis Avitacum dignaris visere nostrum, 

Non tibi displiceat, si quod habes placeat, 
^Emula Baiano tolluntur culmina cono, 

Parque cothurnato vertice fulget apex. 
Garrula Gauranis plus murniuret unda fluentis 

Contigui collis lapsa supcrcilio. 
Lucrinum dives stagnum Campania noUet 
^Equora si ncstri cerneret ilia lacus. 
' Illud puniceis ornatur littus echinis, 

Piscibus in nostris hospes utrumque vides. 
Si libet, et placido partiris gaudia corde 
Quisquis ades, Baias tu facis hie animo. 

Dr Daubeny on the Volcanoes of Central France. 121 

to have added, that in its vicinity, too, as in that of Baise, there was 
a mountain vomiting forth flames, supposing any such phenomenon 
to have been familiar to him near the spot where he resided ! When, 
therefore, as I remarked in my former edition, Sidonius, under the 
apprehension of an attack from the Goths, informs the Bishop of 
Vienne that he is going to enjoin public prayers, similar to those 
which the bishop established at the time when " earthquakes demo- 
lished the ivalls of Vienne ; when the mountaijis opened, and vo- 
mited forth torrents of inflamed materials ; and when the wild 
beasts, driven from the woods hy fire and terror, retired into the 
towns, where they made great ravages;'"' — I conceive, that even ad- 
mitting that he may have afforded some evidence in favour of the 
modern date of certain of the volcanoes in the neighbouring province 
of the Vivarais, his silence as to anything similar having happened 
in his own neighbourhood, speaks strongly in favour of the antiquity 
of the latter, and disposes us to assign to them an era as remote as 
is consistent with the fact of their posteriority to the formation of 
the principal valleys of the country. With regard to the silence of 
the elder Pliny as to the existence of volcanoes in Auvergne, al- 
though I should not bring it forward as conclusive, yet it cannot but 
be regarded as an extraoi'dinary circumstance, that, in his enumera- 
tion of the burning mountains existing in Sicily, in Pamphylia, in 
Lycia, in Bactria, in Media, in Ethiopia, and in so many other less 
known localities, he should have made no mention of those in Au- 
vergne, had their slumbers been at that period interrupted. 

On the other hand, Mr Lyell has shewn (Quarterly Journal of 
Geological Society, No. 6.) that one of the most recent of the lava 
currents, that from the Piiy de Tartaret, which occupies the bottom 
of a valley at the lower end of the Lac de Chambon, rests upon an 
alluvial deposit of red sandy clay, containing remains of animals, 
closely allied, indeed, to existing' species, but with some points of 
difference, indicating that the mammalian fauna was very distinct as 
a whole from that now inhabiting Auvergne. And that the current 
which has issued from the Puy de Tartaret was anterior to the pe- 
riod referred to, appears from the fact that a Roman bridge, of such 
form and construction as continued in use down to the fifth century, 
but which may be older, is now seen at a place about a mile and a 
half from this spot. The ancient bridge spans the river Couze in 
two arches, which spring from the lava on both banks, shewing that 
a ravine precisely like that now existing had already been excavated 
by the river, thirteen or fourteen centuries ago. — Daubeny on Vol- 
canoes, 2d edition, p. 31. 

( 122 ) 

Notes of a Botanical Excursion, with Pupils, to the Mountains 
of Braemar, Glenisla, and Clova, and to Benlawers, in August 
1847. By J. H. Balfour, M.D., Professor of Botany in 
the University of Edinburgh. Communicated by the 

Excursions may be truly said to be the life of the botanist. 
Tiiey enable him to study the science practically, by the exa- 
mination of plants in their living state, and in their native 
localities ; they impress upon his mind the structural and 
physiological lessons he has received ; they exhibit to him 
the geographical range of species, both as regards latitude 
and altitude ; and with the pursuit of scientific knowledge, 
they combine that healthful and spirit-stirring recreation 
which tends materially to aid mental efforts. The com- 
panionship too of those who are prosecuting with zeal and en- 
thusiasm the same path of science, is not the least delightful 
feature of such excursions. The various phases of character 
exhibited, the pleasing incidents that diversified the walk, 
the jokes that passed, and even the very mishaps or annoy- 
ances that occurred, — all become objects of interest, and 
unite the members of the party by ties of no ordinary kind. 
And the feelings thus excited are by no means of an evanes.- 
cent or fleeting nature ; they last during life, and are always 
recalled by the sight of the specimens which were collected. 
These apparently insignificant remnants of vegetation recal 
many a tale of adventure, and are associated with the de- 
lightful recollection of many a friend. It is not indeed a matter 
of surprise that those who have lived and walked for weeks 
together in a Highland ramble, who have met in sunshine 
and in tempest, who have climbed together the misty sum- 
mits, and have slept in the miserable sheiling — should have 
such scenes indelibly impressed on their memory. There is, 
moreover, something peculiarly attractive in the collecting 
of alpine plants. Their comparative rarity, the localities 
in which they grow, and frequently their beautiful hues, 
conspii'e in shedding around them a halo of interest far ex- 
ceeding that connected with lowland productions. The al- 
pine Veronica displaying its lovely blue corolla on the verge of 

Notes of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar. 123 

dissolving snows ; the Forget-me-not of the mountain sum- 
mit, whose tints far excel those of its namesake of the brooks ; 
the Woodsia with its tufted fronds adorning the clefts of the 
rocks ; the snowy Gentian concealing its eye of blue in the 
ledges of the steep crags ; the alpine Astragalus enlivening the 
turf with its purple clusters ; the Lychnis choosing the stony 
and dry knoll for the evolution of its pink petals ; the Sonchus 
{Mulgedium) raising its stately stalk and azure heads in spots 
which try the enthusiasm of the adventurous collector ; the 
pale-flowered Oxytropis confining itself to a single British 
cliff ; the Azalea forming a carpet of the richest crimson ; the 
Saxifrages with their white, yellow, and pink blossoms cloth- 
ing the sides of the streams ; the Saussurea and Erigeron 
crowning the rocks with their purple and pink capitula ; the 
pendent Cinquefoil blending its yellow flowers with the white 
of the alpine Cerastiums and the bright blue of the stony 
Veronica ; the stemless Silene giving a pink and velvety 
covering to the decomposing granite ; the yellow Hieracia 
whose varied transition forms have furnished such a fertile 
cause of dispute among botanists ; the slender and delicate 
grasses, the chickweeds, the carices, and the rushes, which 
spring up on the moist alpine summits ; the graceful ferns, 
the tiny mosses, with their urn-like thecse, the crustaceous 
dry lichens with their spore-bearing apothecia, all these add 
such a charm to Highland botany as to throw a comparative 
shade over the vegetation of the plains. 

A party, consisting of Messrs Murchison, Gilby, Ivory, 
Hewetson, Morse, Douglas, H. Balfour, and myself, met at 
Aberdeen on the 6th of August 1847, with the view of making 
an extended botanical trip. Some of the party had been at- 
tending the Highland Society's Agricultm*al Show at Aber- 
deen, and had made an excursion with Dr Dickie to Denmore, 
in the course of which they gathered Diphyscium foliosum, 
Gooclyera repens, Utricularia minor in flower, and large speci- 
mens of Drosera anylica. On the 7tli August, the whole 
party left Aberdeen by the mail for Ballater, a small village, 
beautifully situated on the Dee, about 780 feet above the 
level of the sea, and famous as the resort of invalids who 
wish to enjoy mountain air, and to have the benefit of the 

124 Notes of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar. 

chalybeate springs of Pannanich wells. In many of the woods 
on Deeside, Goodyera repens was observed ; and on visiting the 
liills in the vicinity of Ballater, some of the common subalpine 
species were gathered, and Equisetum umbrosum was found in 
quantity. On the 9th, the route lay along the banks of the 
river Muick, which furnished specimens of Melampyrum syl- 
vaticum, Hieracium boreale, denticulatum, inuloides var. lati- 
folium, and a species resembling diaphanum of Fries. After 
visiting the Linn of Muick, where the water falls from a 
height of 36 feet, and reaching The Hut, the party ascend- 
ed Lochnagar. On the westei'n side of the hill, near a large 
patch of snow, Azalea procumbens in full flower was seen, and 
a species of Gnaphaliuni, which seems to resemble the G. nor- 
vegicum of Swedish botanists. Carex rariflora abounded in 
marshy ground not far from the summit, and Carex vaginata 
was also common. Castleton Braemar was reached in the 
evening, and became the head-quarters of the party whence 
they visited the various mountains in the vicinity. 

In Glen Callater, on the 10th, among numerous species 
picked may be noticed, Carex rupestris, Salix lanata, myrsi- 
nites j3 arbutifolia, and various alpine forms of Hieracia, in- 
cluding H. alpinum, Halleri, nigrescens, Latvsoni. The forms 
commonly included under H. alpinum exhibited great varia- 
tions as regarded their leaves, some being rounded and broad, 
others narrow and spathulate. 

A visit to Ben Aven and Little Craigindal supplied some 
interesting species. Near the summit of the former, which 
is about 3964 feet above the level of the sea, Carex vaginata 
grows in profusion. The latter mountain, although by no 
means promising in its aspect, is nevertheless rich in alpine 
species. The following is an enumeration of some of those 
which were seen : — Astragalus alpinus in profusion, Fotentilla 
alpestris, Thalictrum alpinum, Dryas octopetala, Silene acaulis^ 
Pyrola secunda and media, Saxifraga oppositifolia, Satissurea 
alpina, Carex vaginata, capillaris, rupestris, and r'lgida, Lu- 
zula spicata, Poa alpina, Lycopodium annotinum, Azalea pro- 
cumbens, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi, Epilobium alpinum, Cornus 
suecica, Rubus chamoimorus, and Botrychium Lunaria. 

On the 13th August, the party proceeded to Ben Muich 

Notes of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar. 125 

Dhui, and examined particularly the cliffs on the north-eastern 
side, where specimens of Arahis petrcea, Veronica alpina 
in fine flower, Stellaria cerastoides, Hieracium alpinum in 
various forms, and Carex voffinata, were found. 

On the crumbling granite rocks near the summit, Silene 
acauUs, Luzula spicata and arcuata abound. The day was 
remarkably fine, and the party enjoyed a most extensive view 
from the summit, which is about 4300 feet above the level 
of the sea, and nearly 70 feet lower than Ben Nevis, accord- 
ing to the statement of the engineers connected with the 
Government survey, who were quartered on the summit 
during the visit of our party. 

From Ben na Muich Dhui the party walked to Cairngorm, 
on the summit of which were seen the following plants : — 
Salix herbacea, Carex rigida, Festuca vivipara, Aira ccespitosa 
alpine form, Silene acaulis, Jiincus trifidus, Empetrum nigrum, 
Luzula spicata, and Lycopodimn Selago. The descent was 
eflFected by a rocky ravine leading to Loch Aven, and after 
visiting the Shelter Stone the party again reached the summit 
of Ben Muich Dhui at sunset, and were kindly accommo- 
dated for the night in the huts of the engineering party. The 
rocks in the vicinity of Loch Aven and Loch Etichan sup- 
plied profusion of alpine Hieracia, especially the form de- 
nominated H. nigrescens. 

On the 14th, starting at sunrise, the " grisly rocks that 
auard the infant rills of Highland Dee" were visited, and 
yielded Veronica alpina, Sibbaldia jnocumbens, Phleum com- 
mutatum, and apparently a peculiar alpine form of P.pratense, 
and magnificent specimens of Stellaria cerastoides and Ceras- 
tiuni aljnnum. After reaching the valley of the Dee, where the 
river wells out in a remarkable manner from among the loose 
rocks, the party ascended the Breriach ridge, gathering Lu- 
zula arcuata, and many alpine species. The summit of the 
ridge presents a table land, consisting of dry disintegrated 
granite, the only patches of verdure being at the spots where 
the wells of the Dee pour foi'th their waters. It is chiefly in 
the moist crumbling rocks forming the sides of the moimtain 
that the rare alpine species are found. The walk, therefore 
along the flat plateau of the Breriach summits was monoton- 

12G Notes of a liotanical Excursion to Braemar. 

ous as regards vegetation ; and as the day was oppressively 
hot, it was with no small delight the party rested by the re- 
freshing springs of the Dee, the highest of which is situated 
nearly 4000 feet above the level of the sea. The cold ice- 
like waters of these springs gush forth from the ground like 
bubbling fountains, and take a meandei'ing course through a 
dry and parched ground, until they fall into the mountain 
crevices. They really are springs of water in a thirsty land, 
and streams in a dry place. 

The rocks in the vicinity of Loch Ennich appeared to be 
worthy of examination, but the party had not time to visit 
them. Their next point of ascent was Cairn Toul, a moun- 
tain continuous with the Breriach ridge, and rising to the 
height of 4245 feet above the level of the sea. Here Carex 
leporina was gathered in considerable quantity, this being the 
second British station for the plant. Luztda arcuata was 
also found, a plant which appears to grow on all the Braemar 
hills, such as Lochnagar, Ben Aven, Ben Muich Dhui, Cairn- 
gorm, and Cairn Toul. From the latter hill the party de- 
scended to the Dee, after picking, on the moist cliffs, Poa al- 
pina, Veronica alpina, and Phleum commutatum. 

The mountains at the source of the Dee seem to be well 
worthy of the attention of botanists. The chief difficulty, in 
the way of examining them carefully, is the want of proper 
accommodation in their immediate vicinity. Much better 
would it be if proprietors, in place of driving parties from the 
Highland hills and glens, would give naturalists facilities for 
prosecuting their researches, by providing shelter for them 
in these wild spots. 

Our excursion to Lochnagar on the 16th enabled the party 
to add to their treasures Mulgedium alpinum {Sonchus alpi- 
nus), which was discovered by Mr W. Douglas in great quan- 
tity on the cliffs, Saxifraga rivularis (some specimens five or 
six inches in length), Allosorus crispus, which sent up large and 
elegant fronds from the crevices of the rocks ; Poa laxa, and 
the alpine form called by Parnell P. Balfourii, a remarkably 
hairy Hieracium, with very long leaves, which seems to be H. 
alpinum (3 longifolium, Flor. Sites. Carex leporina was also 
picked sparingly in Dr Dickie's original station. On the 17th, 

Notes of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar. 127 

the oTound examined was Canlochan Glen, at the head of Glen 
Isla. This is a well-known botanical district, which has long 
been celebrated for its floral treasures. Among the plants 
gathered, the following deserve notice : — Potentilla alpestris, 
Erigeron alpinus, Carex vaginata, Salix reticulata, Gentiana ni- 
valis, JFoodsia hyperhorea, Sonchus alpinus, Polystichum Lon- 
chitis, Saxifraga nivalis, Saussurea alpina, Juncus castaneus, 
Alopecurus alpinus, and Veronica saxatilis. 

A short excursion was made on the 18th and 19th to Glen 
Phee, Glen Dole, and the Clova district. The Serpentine of 
Little Gilrannoch yielded a very scanty supply of Lychnis al- 
pina. This plant seems to have been nearly eradicated by 
the rapacity of botanists. Along with it, Cherleria sedoides, 
Armeria maritima, var. alpina, and a dwarf alpine form of 
Cochlearia officinalis were seen ; and in the marshy places 
in the vicinity, Carex aquatilis and Alopecurus alpinus in 
abundance. In Glen Phee, Carex Fahlii, Salix lanata, Wood- 
sia hyperhorea, and Oxytropis campestris were picked ; while, 
in Glen Dole, and by the banks of the White Water, the 
party observed Sonchus alpinus, Salix reticulata, phylicifolia, 
and many of the rare alpine species already enumerated. 

The adventures of the 2 1st will not soon be obliterated 
from the recollection of the party, inasmuch as they were in- 
terrupted in their scientific researches in a glen not far from 
Blair Atholl, which has been famous in the annals of geo- 
logy since the days of Hutton, and is now celebrated as a 
tabooed spot, where the votary of science must not tread 
with impunity. 

The Pass of Killiecrankie was visited on the 23d, and 
Orobus niger was gathered. Near Aberfeldy, Lysimachia vul- 
garis, Quercus sessilijlora, Bubus discolor, plicatus, Hieracium 
umbellatum and inuloides were seen. Benlawers was as- 
cended on the 25th, and the party was rewarded with spe- 
cimens of Draba incana and rupestris, Woodsia hyperhorea, 
Myosotis suaveolens, Saxifraga cernua,. Alsine rubella, Juncus 
biglumis and castaneus, and Carex saxatilis. At Killin, Ca- 
rex vesicaria, and at Inverarnan, Malaxis paludosa and Lyco- 
podimn inundatum were the chief plants noticed. Glen Fal- 
loch abounds in specimens of Quercus pedunculata, exhibiting 

128 Notes of a Botanical Excursion to Braemar. 

numerous variations in the size and division of the leaves, as 
well as in the length of the peduncle, and along with them 
grew a few specimens of Q. sessili/lora, which were at first 
sight distinguished by their peculiarly broad leaves reflexed 
at the margin. 

The number of alpine and subalpine species of phaneroga- 
mous plants collected during the trip amounted to about 130. 
The excursion occupied three weeks, during which the richest 
alpine districts in Britain were examined. The discovery of 
Carex leporina on Cairn Toul ; of Hieracium alpinum /3 longi- 
folium and of Sonclms alpinus on Lochnagar; of Woodsia 
hyperborea in several localities ; the finding of Luzula arcuata 
on every mountain in the Braemar district ; and of Carex va- 
ginata on all the hills visited, are facts which are interesting 
to British botanists. 

In taking a general review of the nature of the country 
visited, it may be remarked, that the rocks which produced 
the greatest variety of rare species were the crumbling gneiss 
and mica-slate rocks of Clova, Glenisla, and Benlawers. 
The granitic rocks of the Braemar district often presented 
large tracts of dry unproductive stony soil, and displayed 
fertility only where moisture and the atmosphere had been 
able to pulverise the rocks. 

It is curious to notice the occurrence of species such as 
Oxytropis campestris and Lychnis alpina on single rocks in 
Britain. The latter we have already stated to be serpentine, 
and in the case of the former, the rock appears in some re- 
spects to differ from those in its immediate vicinity. Luzula 
arcuata seems to prefer the granite in the district visited, and 
the same thing has been remarked in Sutherlandshire, where 
it is found in the granite of Foinivan. Carex Vahlii grows 
on gneiss, C. leporina on granite, while Astragalus alpinus is 
common to both ; Alsine rubella and Myosotis suaveolens oc- 
cur on mica-slate. The ordinary alpine species appear to 
grow indifferently on granite, gneiss, or mica-slate. 

( 129 ) 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. By W. Sartorius 
VON Waltersiiausen. 

The climate of Iceland, although, on the whole, it is deter- 
mined by the geographical situation of the island, is certainly 
also influenced by the peculiar disposition of the neighbour- 
ing seas, and of the currents prevailing in them ; perhaps, too, 
by the conformation of the hills. 

If we look back into the immense periods of past time, 
which are indicated by the geological monuments of the his- 
tory of our earth, we cannot fail to perceive that the forma- 
tion of Iceland has taken place in comparatively modern 

Deposits of volcanic tuffa, partly of submarine origin, form 
here extensive hills, in which the brown coal or Surturbrand 
constitutes no unimportant part. Olafsen, in his Travels in 
Iceland, so early as the middle of last century, directed atten- 
tion* to the fact, that, in some beds of the Icelandic Surtur- 
brand, well preserved impressions of leaves of oaks, willows, 
and birches, are to be found. 

Steenstrup, who, in the Commission of the Danish Govern- 
ment in the years 1838 and 1839, examined Iceland anew, 
especially with regard to the occurrence of the Surturbrand, 
and the possibility of turning it to a useful account, has added 
considerably to the observations of Olafsen, having pointed 
out the occurrence, among the beds of tuffa of Hredavatan 
and Laugarwasdlr, of the impressions of leaves and seeds of 
ten different kinds of trees belonging to an extinct Flora, 
which may be pronounced to be analogous to that at present 
existing in Canada.! The leaves of birches, willows, elms, 

* Reise durch Island, vol. i., § 678. Olafsen mentions the hills at Lak, in 
the Bardestrands-Syssel, as being the place where the fossil leaves are princi- 
pally found. It is doubtful whether this traveller, who has, in other respects, 
done so much for the geography of Iceland, has rightly comprehended the bo- 
tanical character of the oak leaves. lie mentions also a leaf as large as the 
palm of the hand, not unlike the oak leaf. 

t We have long expected in vain the work of Steenstrup on the Icelandic 

130 On (he Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

maples, and of the Liriodendron, as well as the cones and 
needle-like leaves of various coniferous trees, i*emove all 
doubt from this statement. These trees, whose well-pre- 
served leaves, and whose stems, often a foot thick, are found 
regularly deposited, must be supposed to have grown at some 
past period in Iceland, not to have been brought thither in 
the form of drift wood ; and from them we may conclude, 
that, during the tertiary period, the climate of Iceland was 
milder than at present.* 

A similar inference appears to be derivable from the fossil 
shells of Iceland, although, on account of the limited number 
of the fossil as well as of the living species, the conclusions 
thus drawn must be less certain than those obtained by like 
means with reference to the more southern regions of Europe. 

Although these observations on the vegetable and animal 
kingdoms indubitably favour the supposition that a greater 
M'armth and a milder climate formerly prevailed in Iceland, 
still the phenomena of the so-called glacier markings appear 
to lead to a directly opposite conclusion. 

For some years past, the glacier strife and smoothed 
surfaces, especially those in the granite and gneiss of Scan- 
dinavia, have attracted the attention of geologists, and have 
been the soiu'ce of much discussion. In this question, also, 
the great and prejudicial mistake which constantly recurs 
in spite of so many warnings from the history of science. 

Surturbrand, and we cannot refrain from expressing tlie wish that his observa- 
tions, so interesting in themselves, and so important for geology, were no longer 
withheld from the friends of this science. Much to our regret, we were un- 
able to visit those remarkable localities of the Surturbrand at Ilredavatan and 
Laugarwasdalr, though we were in the neighbourhood on our journey to the 
trachytic cone of Baula. The summer was excessively unfavourable, and seve- 
ral weeks of incessant rain, accompanied with cold, overthrew all our plans in 
this district, and compelled us to return to Reykjavik. 

* Professor Steenstrup has, in the collection of the Museum of Copenhagen, 
several impressions of leaves of a species of Liriodendron, which are so dis- 
tinctly formed, and so well preserved, that they cannot be mistaken, and which 
are found to be characteristically distinct from those of Liliodendron tulipifera. 
Oak leaves are found in none of the above mentioned localities, a fact which 
makes Olafsen's statement certainly appear doubtful, although we do not ven- 
ture to contradict his observations made in Isefiords-Lyssel. 

0» the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 131 

has manifested itself; the mistake into which people fall 
in endeavouring, from their preconceived opinions, to ex- 
plain phenomena by means of uninpe hypotheses, whilst 
the road of exact deliberate observation, if first trodden, 
would have led of itself to sure ground, and, at length, to a 
tenable theory. 

Although the geognostic condition of Iceland is not every- 
where so suitable as that of Scandinavia, to preserve for ages 
such effects of the action of ice ; yet, in all parts of the island, 
particularly along the coasts, where solid, and especially 
tabular basaltic rocks lie freely exposed to view, the above- 
mentioned smoothed surfaces and striae are frequently found.* 
By more careful searching, they may be observed at various 
levels from the sea-beach to an elevation of from two to 
three thousand feet ; at which great elevation they are met 
with, in unusual beauty, on a mountain pass in the eastern 
counti'y between Dalhus-Baer and Eskifiords Kaufstadt. 

On the whole, the directions of these striae correspond with 
those of the valleys and of the boundaries of the Fiords. 
This, for example, is very characteristically exhibited at the 
Hvalfiorderstrand. The smoothed surfaces are there exhibited 
on the almost horizontal tabular masses of trap rocks, at a 
height of from four to five metres (thirteen to sixteen feet) 
above the mean water-level. It is also worthy of remark, 
that in the same place the sides of the rocks lying freely 
exposed towards the sea, are worked out as if by filing, and 
appear fluted from below in the manner of architectural 

Furrows cut several inches deep into the rocks frequently 
occur. These arise from the union of several separate 
scratches, which, clearly marked at both sides, usually ter- 
minate the deepest incision. Not less frequently are these 

* At the very commencement of our stay in Iceland our travelling com- 
panion, Ilerr von Mathieson, directed attention to a place close to the sea-shore 
in the neighbourhood of Reykjavik, where smoothed or rubbed trap rocks are 
to be seen. In many other places, during the continuation of our journey, we 
observed the like exhibited in much greater extent and distinctness, at various 
elevations above the level of the sea, which w<! occasionally determined by 
barometrical measurements. 

132 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

groovings met with in two or three directions crossing one 
another at acute angles, so that a reticulated appearance is 
thus produced. 

It would be superfluous here to enter into a farther de- 
scription of this phenomonon which is so well known, and 
which has already been so much discussed. In Iceland and 
in Norway it bears one and the same character ; and, all 
circumstances being taken into consideration, its mode of 
origin appears to have been the same in both countries. We 
cannot pai'ticipate in the views of those who, from the uni- 
versal extension of the streaked rocks, infer the general pre- 
valence of ice over wide regions ; though, on the other hand, 
we will not deny that through the motion of such masses of 
ice as force forward, between themselves and the bounding 
rock, rolled stones or blocks which have fallen down from 
moraines, certain smoothed surfaces do arise which are often 
confounded with those already described. 

A more particular examination of the Icelandic and Scan- 
dinavian glacial markings, with especial regard to the con- 
figuration, in respect to hills and valleys, of the surface of 
the regions in which they are found, has satisfactorily proved 
that they have originated in a way entirely different from 
that of which we have just been speaking ; and that, there- 
fore, the idea of the universal prevalence of ice throughout 
the whole North is to be entirely thrown aside. 

The numerous Fiords which in both countries give an 
extremely irregular form to the coasts, are ordinarily frozen 
in the course of the winter. Their icy covering is then, 
especially in the vicinity of steep and rocky banks, not un- 
frequently covered over -wWh many blocks and stones which 
fall down from above, and which, becoming cemented to- 
gether with the ice, form a stiff and firmly-consolidated mass. 
When, in the following spring, the driving of the ice comes 
on, these floating masses of ice and stones combined, are put 
into such violent commotion by the beating of the waves, 
that they produce on the firm mountain masses of the ad- 
joining banks an attrition, of which those smoothed surfaces 
are the immediate consequence. 

In this manner a perfectly satisfactory explanation is 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 133 

afforded of the formation, both of the reticulated scratched 
surfaces, and of the inverted mouldings before mentioned. 
It is also clear that these ought in general to correspond in 
direction with the fiords, although the peculiar motion of 
the waves must have some influence on their configuration 

It is not surprising that the scratched rocks are now met 
with, far from the coasts, on the passages and ridges of high 
hills ; since, undoubtedly, the whole island, in the course of 
secular upheaving, has risen gradually out of the waves of 
the sea. This being the case, we ought to expect that the 
effects of the drift ice should in reality correspond with the 
former line of coast ; a supposition quite in accordance with 
all my observations in Iceland. 

The outlines of the coasts naturally change with the con- 
tinued upheaving, and new parts of the land come successively 
in contact with the sea, whilst those formerly in contact re- 
cede from it. Thus must these streaks gradually extend 
themselves over the whole island ; and, in those places where 
they are now wanting, either the ancient sea-bottom is 
covered over by the sand of volcanic eruptions, and by 
alluvial matter, or the rocks themselves are too soft and 
perishable to be adapted for retaining glacial markings for 
thousands of years. 

A great part of the surface of Iceland is formed of beds of 
tuffa, in which we now seek in vain for glacial markings. On 
the other hand, these markings are preserved quite distinct- 
ly in certain hard fine granular trap rocks, and in these they 
are sometimes yet more sharply engraved than in the Scan- 
dinavian gneiss and granite. Tliey are speaking inscriptions 
exhibited on that remarkable edifice, — the crust of our earth, 
— perhaps a hundred times as old as those which cover over 
the syenite and greenstone of Egyptian monuments. 

The coast of Iceland is, with the exception of the south 
side, intersected by numberless fiords which extend far into 
the interior. In various places where they are now want- 
ing, they formerly existed, but they have been filled up by 
volcanic alluvium ; and towards the sea they have been sur- 
rounded more recently with a border of low flat land. Thus 
the Geyser V^alley, for example, is without doubt a former 

134 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

fiord, which is now filled up. At the bottom of this, on a 
partly- destroyed lava, and at the lateral boundaries, in tra- 
chytic rock, the smoothed surfaces are very characteristically 
exhibited, and the direction of the marks, on the whole, cor- 
responds with that of the valley. 

Since the same phenomenon is repeated around the whole 
coast, it is evident that we should expect all the striae in 
reality to lie directed towards the middle of the island, with- 
out our being obliged to assume that a generally-extended 
covering of glaciers has applied its destroying agency in va- 
rious directions, radiating from the middle. 

Should we, however, adopt the supposition, that separate 
glaciers have tilled all these fiords, some of which are very 
deep, it would still remain inconceivable that the masses of 
ice, descending fi'om the higher parts of the valleys, — masses 
which, it is known, move only in summer, should not melt 
away on coming into contact with the sea, as well as the whole 
mountains of drift ice which, for months together, surround 
the whole north and east coasts of Iceland. 

But how rocks, exposed to the open sea at the entrances 
to fiords, often filled with water a thousand feet deep, and 
sometimes extending ten miles into the interior, could be 
scratched, where, in the nature of things, glaciers could never 
reach, it is certainly impossible to understand or to explain 
in a satisfactory manner. 

So far as Iceland is known, there is on the south coast only 
a single narrow glacier at the foot of the Myrdal (Fall- Jbkull 
or Skraid-Jokull) which extends down almost to the level of 
the sea, and, at present, leaves only a somewhat narrow pas- 
sage from the one side to the other. It has already been 
contemplated in advance, to divide this region into two dis- 
tricts under separate jurisdictions, if at any time the slowly- 
advancing rampart of ice should cut off all communication 
between the inhabitants dwelling on the two sides of the 

No one will, however, be inclined to consider that a glacier 
should be able here to protrude a pier or mound of ice out 
into a sea, the mean temperature of which amounts at least 
to five degrees Centigrade, in the same way as the lava stream 

On (he Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 135 

of Etna, in the year 1669, formed a stone-dike in the sea ; 
and, indeed, should the case above supposed occur, experience 
will certainly shew the contrary. 

Many other reasons which we derive from that peculiar 
configuration of the streaks, already described, namely, their 
mutual intersection, oppose quite as decidedly the supposi- 
tion of a universal prevalence of glaciers in Iceland. 

Forchhammer, some years ago, pointed out the true origin 
of the streaked rocks, in a valuable paper on the Formation 
of Boulders, and Diluvial Scratches, in Sweden and Den- 
mark.* According to later investigations made by him, of 
which some have not yet been published, and which he had 
the goodness to communicate to me, it appears indubitable 
that the formation of the streaked rocks continues to go on 
up to the present time-t A winter residence in Iceland or 
Scandinavia would probably introduce an attentive observer 
into the workshop of this very simple, but often misunder- 
stood phenomenon. 

My friend, Frapoli, to whose unwearied zeal we are in- 
debted for very valuable discoveries in the geology of our native 
country (Germany), has lately, during his travels in Norway 
and Sweden, on a part of which I accompanied him immediately 
after ray departure from Iceland, made the striated rocks of 
these countries a subject of very extensive and profound in- 
vestigations, which must set aside any doubt that may still 
prevail with regard to this question. He had also the good- 
ness occasionally to point out to me various phenomena, 
bearing on the subject, which are better exhibited on the 

* Poggendorff's Annalen, Second Series, vol. xxviii. 

t Thus Professor Forchhammer communicated to mo an interesting occur- 
rence which lately presented itself on the coast of North Zeeland, and which 
serves as a clue to assist in explaining the formation of the striated rocks. In 
the winter of tlie year 1844, the ice had formed itself round a granite block, 
sixty or eighty cubic feet in magnitude; and, on the approach of spring, this 
block was put in motion along with the retiring ice. The pressure which it 
produced on the almost horizontal sandy bank was so great, that a furrow was 
cut which, in the following .September, after the course of six months, had not 
completely disappeared. IJy the rubbing of such a block on a hard bottom, 
there is no doubt that smoothed or striated surfaces would be occasioned of the 
same kind that we liavc so often observed in Iceland uud Scandinavia. 

136 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

steep precipices of the Scandinavian inlets, than on the com- 
paratively thin beds of trap in Iceland. I may merely mention, 
as an example of these phenomena, the undulated smoothed 
surfaces, and those marked vs^ith curved lines intersecting one 
another and uniting to form a network ; phenomena which 
are not to be associated with a general prevalence of glaciers. 

When we determine on ascribing the origin of the striated 
rocks principally to the action of drift ice, we have thence the 
most certain evidence for the secular upheaving of the coasts 
of Iceland, in their whole extent. Even in countries having 
mild climates, the drift ice may exist under favourable cir- 
cumstances, and may produce effects on the rocks. There is 
even nothing unnatural in the supposition that they may 
occur at the 45th degree of latitude ; and it is, therefore, pos- 
sible that many phenomena in the low lands of Switzerland, 
which are now supposed to be due to widely-extended glaciers, 
may be explained in a simpler, and, on the whole, a more 
natural manner. 

We are far from wishing to deny the agency of glaciers 
in the changes by which the surface of the land has re- 
ceived its present form ; but we are of opinion that their 
influence has been much misunderstood and overrated, and 
that the ideas which have been held in reference to it require 
to be corrected and limited. 

The Icelandic glaciers cover certainly a very considerable 
part of the island ; their surface amounting to about 200 
square miles (about 4000 English square miles).* They ex- 
ist only where extensive mountain ranges rise to the line of 
perpetual snow, at the height of about 4000 feet. From such 
elevations, as this, the glaciers descend into the lower re- 
gions, even down to the vicinity of the sea ; and, like those 
in the valleys of the Alps, they often overwhelm, with irre- 
sistible power, patches of cultivated land. 

Throughout the northern half of Iceland, the hills are, for 
the most part, of more moderate height ; and there are there 
no glaciers, with the exception of a few in Isefiords-Syssel. 
The greatest mass of ice lies in the south-east of the island, 

* One German square mile is about twenty-one English square miles. 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 137 

and is known by the names of Klofa-Jokull and Vatna-Jokull. 
Separate parts of these frozen wintry wastes bear peculiar 
names, Orafa-Jokull, Skeidara-Jokull, Sidu-Jokull, and Skap- 
tar-Jbkull. This is the region in which, for some centu- 
ries past, the most fearful volcanic eruptions have occurred 
in the middle of that world of glaciers, where the destroying 
agency of water has in alternation emulated that of subter- 
ranean fire. 

Besides several comparatively smaller masses of ice, there 
lie on the high plateau, in the middle of the island, two other 
very extensive glaciers, the Lange-Jokull and the Hofs-Jokull, 
of the latter of which the eastern part is named Arnarfells 
Jokull, or the Eagle Glacier. 

On our Journey through the interior of the island to what 
is called the Sprengesandur-Vegur, we had the opportunity 
of making ourselves acquainted somewhat more minutely 
with this glacier and its immediate neighbourhood. 

In the middle of a gloomy waste of black volcanic sand, its 
crystal arches lie, overhung by grey piles of clouds, so- 
lemnising their own grandeur in dread solitude. The mur- 
mur of unseen springs, and the rushing of new-born ice- 
streams which, after a short course, unite themselves to the 
Thiorsa, alone enliven with a monotonous sound this other- 
wise silent wilderness, untrodden by the footsteps of man. 
High over this sheet of ice, whose dazzling whiteness is in- 
teiTupted by the deep blue " crevasses,'' Arnarfell rears ma- 
jestically its pointed form ; and the ice, with two far extend- 
ing arms, embraces the open hill on three sides, sparing 
only, towards the east, an alpine meadow at its foot. To 
the wearied travellei', and his exhausted horses, this patch 
of grass seen in the distance appears like an oasis in the 
desert, as it promises a welcome and pleasant place of rest 
for the night, after the exex'tions of the day. 

The stratified structure of the ice, from which Forbes, 
in his excellent Treatise, principally deduces the gradual 
motion of the glaciers, is exhibited, at their termination, 
in almost horizontal lines. In the present instance it could 
not escape even the most unpractised eye. Though there 
may be much with regard to the motion of glaciers which 

138 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

is not completely explained, yet one cannot avoid com- 
paring these rigid fields of ice with an advancing lava stream, 
although the internal texture of the two, and thus the 
cause of their motion, is different. With a slight inclina- 
tion, which rarely exceeds ten degrees, but in most places is 
less, the glacier we have been describing leans on Arnarfell, 
having almost perpendicular edges, just as is the case with 
the lava at the exterior border of ^tna, where it meets with 
interruption from the lateral cones. 

Close to the abrupt edge of the ice, which is covered over 
with sand and rolled stones, there lies a bulwark of shattered 
rocks, through which the newly liquid water, penetrating in 
streams of various magnitude, finds its issue. Near the 
glacier, a triple row of moraines surrounds it, and indicates 
decidedly that, in former times, it has had a somewhat 
greater extension. The extreme limits of these remarkable 
strong ramparts may be estimated as being at a distance of 
scarcely a thousand metres (3280 English feet) from the 
present border of the ice. It is, therefore, clear that the 
amount by which the glacier has receded from its former 
extension is very inconsiderable, when compared to the en- 
tire sui'face of the ice, which we estimate at 30 square 
miles (about 600 English square miles). The diminution, in 
fact, forms only a very small per-centage of the whole. "Were 
we, however, to regard as moraines of glaciers all the allu- 
vium which has really been deposited from rivers and from 
the sea, and which is found occupying entire valleys and 
fiords, and covering widely-extended plateaux, we should 
adopt an erroneous view, in justification of which no well- 
founded fact could be brought forward. 

In our opinion, the extension of the glaciers of Iceland is 
at present in a medium condition, with reference to which it 
oscillates backwards and forwards. During one period of 
time, they will probably be found to increase in some degree 
and during another to diminish, without the occurrence for 
centuries to come, or even for still greater periods, of a real 
perceptible change of the climate. It is also probable, that, 
during all the time Iceland has been inhabited, and more 
especially during all the time of which we have histoi'ical 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 130 

records, the extension of the glaciers has been the same as 
at present. 

But if we next look back into those periods regarding 
which we obtain information by geological monuments alone, 

periods during which the average temperature of the earth 

was perhaps somewhat higher than at present, — and if we 
reflect on the slow rising of the whole island, we may suppose 
that the climate of the surrounding ocean would then have 
prevailed on this land, its surface having been much smaller, 
and its hills lower than at present. Under such conditions, 
during the formation of the island, no glaciers could have 
existed ; and it is only at a later period, when the hills had 
attained the necessary height, that the glaciers could, for the 
first time, have extended over certain regions their rigid 
wintry covering, which now appears to be of an everlasting 

It is well known, that glaciers constantly produce polished 
or smoothed sm-faces on their lateral containing walls, and 
on the beds along which they advance. These, there is no 
doubt, may be, and frequently are, confounded with those 
foi'med by the drift ice. 

The reticulated patterns, already mentioned, formed, on 
the smoothed or polished rocTiS, by mutually-intersecting 
lines, cannot possibly be explained by glaciers, as these must 
necessarily push on the grinding material interposed between 
their base and the solid rock, in a perfectly determinate di- 
rection. It has also struck me, and it appears worthy of 
remark, that nowhere in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the Arnarfell- Jokull was a trace of such [smoothed surfaces 
to be seen, whilst they are often to be met with on the 
coasts. At the same time, it is to be recollected that rocks of 
a durable character are not frequent in that neighbourhood. 
If we turn yet once more our eyes to the past, and take a 
brief review of the results we have obtained, we shall per- 
ceive, on the one hand, the greatest probability that, in ante- 
historical periods, for the measui'ement of which we are ut- 
tei'ly devoid of any standard, the climate of Iceland may have 
been more mild than at present, and have been adapted for 
a more coiiiplete vegetation ; and also, on the othei' hand, 

140 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

the certainty, so far as we can venture to speak of certainty 
in a science as yet but little admitting of precision, that the 
supposition of a universal prevalence of glaciers over the 
whole island is quite untenable. The same conclusion may 
be formed, with quite as much certainty, in regard to the 
Scandinavian peninsula. Much more, then, must the fable 
of an alleged Glacial Period, which, for some time past, has 
been pretty widely promulgated, though perhaps no one has 
ever seriously believed it, be laid aside in the most decided 
manner, as contradictory to all known phenomena, and be 
finally driven out of science, as a geological abortion which 
has come still-born into the world, and to which people, as 
to a false idol, have, with no reason whatever, thought pro- 
per liberally to scatter frankincense.* 

It is in the highest degree probable that the climate of 
Iceland is subject to very considerable influences frona the 
various currents in the Atlantic Ocean, and in the Arctic 
Sea. Now, although, no doubt, the subject of oceanic cur- 
rents is one which still requires much elucidation ; yet, in re- 
gard to the general conditions of their motion which have 
been established by numberless observations, no completely 
contradictory opinions can prevail, 

(To he concluded in our next Number.) 

Description of a Portable Cofferdam, adapted specially/ for the use 
of Harbour and other Marine Works in exposed situations. 
By Thomas Stevenson, F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Civil Engi- 
neer, Edinburgh. (With a Plate.) Communicated by the 
Royal Scottish Society of Arts.f 

When it is necessary, in the execution of marine works, to 
carry on founding or excavation in exposed situations within 

* The printing of these jiages was already begun, when the author received 
the interesting paper by Leopold von Bucli on Bear Island, whicli was read 
on the 14th of May 18-^6, in the lioyal Academy of Sciences at Berlin. In 
hearing from this source, also, the funeral dirge of a misunderstood Glacier 
Theory, he is rejoiced to find his own views in accordance with those of this 
celebrated man. 

t Read before the Society, 10th January 1848. 

Description of a Portable Cofferdam. 141 

the high water-mark, cofFerdams of the common description 
are not found to be answerable. Many circumstances con- 
spire in rendering such erections inapplicable in situations 
where they are required to stand for several tides. The 
waves occasioned by a very moderate breeze of wind will, 
in many cases, even in the course of a few hours, either en- 
tirely break up a well-constructed cofferdam, or render it 
leaky and unserviceable. Again, where there happens to be 
a covering of a few feet of sand above a rocky bottom, the 
piles will be found, even where there is shelter from the 
waves, to have no stability, and to fall inwards as the sand 
is removed from the interior, although every care be taken 
to support them with shores or struts. 

The temporary dams which are generally employed in the 
execution of tide-works are of a very simple construction, 
and are intended to be serviceable during only one or two 
tides. They consist of a row of short piles which are driven 
in the line of a runner or waling-piece, and as the excavation 
proceeds, the piles are from time to time dinven farther 
down. But this kind of erection is very unsatisfactory, and 
in many situations, and for a variety of purposes, it is in 
fact quite useless ; for I have always found that it was 
impossible with this dam to drive the piles straight, from 
there being only one waling piece to direct them. But even 
although they could be driven, a farther source of inconve- 
nience still remains, for, as the stuff is removed from the 
interior, there is nothing left but the single waling to re- 
sist the pressure from the outside, and the bottoms of the 
piles being speedily forced inwards, all attempts to carry the 
excavation farther must necessarily be abandoned. 

At Hynish harbour, Ai'gyllshire, in 1843, I had a talus- 
wall to found on sand, which covered a rocky beach to the 
depth of from two to three feet. At another place, the 
rock was not only to be bared, but a navigable channel, 
twenty feet wide, and in some places as deep as eight feet 
in the rock, together with a small tide-bason, were to be ex- 
cavated to the level of the low-water springs. The shores 
also were frequently subject, even during the summer months, 
to a very heavy surf. 

142 Mr Thomas Stevenson's Description of 

The excavation of the tide-bason, which formed the land- 
ward part of the work, was effected by means of a series 
of dams, consisting of walls, built of Pozzolano rubble. 
These were found to be quite water-tight, and to answer 
remarkably well in every respect; but they required, for 
their protection against the waves, a considerable bulwark 
or breakwater of Pierres perdues to shelter them from the 

In the excavation, however, which had to be undertaken 
seaward of the breakwater of Pierres perdues, any attempt 
to exclude the water dm*ing the whole of the tide, was what 
I never considered practicable. A trial was accordingly made 
to effect the excavation by means of a low wall, composed 
of clay-rubble, resembling in its object those low dams 
consisting of logs of wood bedded in clay, which are often 
adopted in harbour-works, and which are only intended 
to keep out the tide during the first part of the flood, and 
to be pumped dry before the operations of the next tide 
are begun. But after many attempts with this clay-wall, 
it became quite evident that it would not be possible, wiih 
its assistance, to carry the excavations to near the level 
of low-water springs, which was due principally to two 
causes. First, because sand and shingle were, during almost 
every tide, washed in large quantities over the top of the 
wall into our excavation pit ; and, secondly, because the waves 
washed out the clay from among the stones, so as to render 
the barrier no longer water-tight. 

Being now compelled to set about some other way of car- 
rying on the woi'k, I had recourse to the simple method 
shortly to be explained, and which more than realised ray 
expectations. Before giving a description of this method, 
however, it will be interesting, as well as still farther expla- 
natory of the required objects, to quote a few lines relating 
to somewhat similar difficulties, from a Report upon the Har- 
bour of Peterhead, which was drawn up in the year 1806 by 
the late Mr John Rennie : — " The next material object of 
consideration," says the Report, " is that of deepening the 
hai'bour, which at present cannot well accommodate vessels 
drawing more than 12 feet of water in the spring-tides, but 

a Portable Cofferdam. 143 

in neaps is not sufl&cient. To render this harbour more ex- 
tensively useful, it would be advisable to have 17 or 18 feet 
of water over the gi'eatest part of its bottom, and particu- 
larly along the west quay. The mode of performing this 
kind of work will be different, according to the difference of 
situation. Those places where the tide ebbs from the sur- 
face, and continues so for some time, may be done by blast- 
ing, or by loosening the stones with quarrying tools in the 
usual manner ; but in those parts where the tide seldom leaves 
the bottom, and in others but for a short time, different methods 
must be resorted to. The best of all would be enclosing large 
spaces by cofferdams, and woi'king at all times of tide by 
quaiTying tools or blasting, as might best suit ; but in some 
situations this would be inconvenient, as the dams would be 
in the way of vessels going into and coming out of the har- 
bour. In such situations perhaps the simplest and most ex- 
peditious mode would be to use cast-iron cylinders of 7 or 8 
feet diameter, having sti'ong canvas fixed to the lower 
flanch, which might be kept to the bottom by bags of sand in 
places where there was but little agitation ; but where there 
is much, an outer cylinder might be sunk thereon, to keep 
them in their situations.'' 

The cylinders proposed by Mr Rennie were, no doubt, 
quite adequate to the special purjiose and locality for which 
they were designed, and they unquestionably possess some 
advantages not to be gained by other means ; but, on the 
other hand, they are attended with difficulties and disad- 
vantages which precluded their adoption in the present case. 
Those objections were the limited area, the weight and un- 
wieldiness of such cylinders, their inflexible nature and unal- 
terable form, as affording no means in themselves of adapta- 
tion to the very irregular rocky bottom which was to be 
excavated, and what was of as much consequence, the diffi- 
ficulty which must have attended the removal of the partitions 
of rock, or those parts which would necessarily be left be- 
tween the different compartments of the cutting. The last 
two objections, it may be remarked, refer equally to wooden 
caissons, or other contrivances on the same principle. 

144 Mr Thomas Stevenson's Description of 

In the present case, then, the following i*equisites were to 
be provided for. In the founding of the talus-wall, all that 
was required was some method which would enable the found- 
stones to be laid as deep in the sand as possible, for which 
purpose the dam did not require to be absolutely water-tight, 
provided it were capable of excluding from the inside the 
sand which was so liable to replace what was removed from 
the interior. For the excavation of the rock, on the other 
hand, it was necessary that the dam should be water-tight, 
and suitable for taking out all the partitions ; and both situ- 
ations required piles for fitting close to the iiTegular bottom, 
and those piles needed some support other than the soil into 
which they wei'e to be driven. 

To effect such objects, it was clear that the means to be 
adopted must be at once easily managed and efficient. For 
although, where there is time for their employment, many 
complicated and troublesome refinements of construction are 
forced to answer purposes which might have been attained by 
simpler means, or by less cumbrous arrangements, yet I was 
well aware that in the hurry and bustle attending tidal opera- 
tions and night-work, nothing can be tolerated but what is in 
every respect easily managed and truly efficient. 

In the accompanying Diagrams, A G (Plate III.), re- 
presents a frame of double waling pieces connected at the 
angles by the uprights I I, and bound together by the long 
bolts L, with forelocks and washers, while E F shews si- 
milar double-framed walings for the inside of the dam, and 
of smaller dimensions, with their uprights D, and connect- 
ing bolts K. These frames being placed in the required 
position, the one frame inside of the other, the piles C, are 
driven doAvn between them with heavy malls. 

The dam was 12 feet long by 10 feet broad inside, so that 
five men were able to work in the interior.* If it was to be 
fixed within low water-mark, the two frames being placed in 

* Since this paper was printed, a Cofferdam on the same principle and 30 
feet square, has been made for the Forth Navigation works, Stirling, where, in 
the removal of the " fords," under my direction, much difficulty has hitherto 
been experienced, from the constant flow of the river. 



Mui IM' f;fMi„.-,jl 

a Portable Cofferdam. 145 

the water, were guided to the spot by the men in charge, 
and whenever they were in the desired position, the men at 
once moored or fixed the frames to the bottom, by driving 
down a pile at each corner. After this was done, all the piles 
were placed between the frames and driven down, and keyed 
up by the small piles called " closers." Four iron jumpers 
J, were then driven down to their proper places outside of 
the frames, and edge planks for retaining the clay were 
slipped down upon the jumpers through ii'on staples, which 
were fixed to the planks. After this good clay (which should 
have some gravel mixed with it, to protect it from the wash 
of the sea), was punned hard between the planks and the 
cofferdam, after which the mast N was erected, and the 
water taken out by means of the iron scoop shewn in the 
drawing, which not only was used in taking out the stuff", but 
proved far more efficacious than any pump we ever had. 
Indeed, to get the dam pumped dry was for long the greatest 
difficulty we had to contend with. But Mr William Downie, 
to whom I gave the charge, soon removed this difficulty, by 

^p. The capacity of the 
jhey generally made nine 
und this method greatly 

• piles were from time to 
.sing tide began to come 
the clay, the men, before 
ing or " deck,^' as it was 
ads of the planks resting 
upon the top of the inner frame. Un this deck, ballast (con- 
sisting of stones of a convenient size) was deposited to prevent 
the whole frame from being floated up, — the quantity so de- 
posited varying with the height of tide, or appearance of the 
weather. As each compartment of the excavation was com- 
pleted, and before the dam was removed, the rock below the 
two rows of piles which adjoined the next cuttings was com- 
pletely taken out, and the piles driven down to the bottom of 
the excavated pit, and left standing.* When the dam was 

* Before lifting the cofferdam, the pit was filled with sand, to support the 

146 Mr Thomas Stevenson's Description of 

taken up, tlie fi'ames were, for the next compartment of 
cutting, again superimposed upon one of the rows which had 
been left standing in the last pit. In this way no rock could 
possibly escape being removed ; and when the frames were 
to be put down anew, there was no difficulty, (although the 
pit was entirely covered with sand), in knowing exactly the 
position which they were to occupy, as the piles which had 
been left standing were an infallible guide. 

The advantages peculiar to this description of dam are 
its cheapness, — its portability, — its ready adaptation to a 
sloping, or even to a very ii'regular bottom, — the ease and 
certainty with which the partitions between the different 
pits are removed, and the double-framed walings that sup- 
port and direct the driving of the piles. Wherever excava- 
tions require to be made in a rocky beach, covered by a stra- 
tum of sand, however thin, there need not be any hesita- 
tion in adopting this form of dam, as there is no kind of 
lateral support, such as stays or shores wanted, the structure 
containing within itself the elements necessary for its stabi- 
lity. It possesses, indeed, all the properties of a caisson, 
and has the farther advantage of accommodating itself to an 
irregular bottom.* 

I may observe, in conclusion, that although this form of 
construction is specially adapted to marine works, in the exe- 
cution of which it has proved a most valuable auxiliary, the 
same principle might also be earned to a greater extent, and 
be rendered fit, with little trouble, to answer for a variety of 
works, — such as underfooting quay walls, founding bridges, 
and in removing fords or other obstructions from the beds 

piles that were to rerciain, which, when the works were done, was cleared out 
by means of a water-scour provided for the purpose of keeping permanently 
open the navigable tract. 

* In situations also, where there is a considerable depth of water, and 
where, consequently, the frames must be made so as to stand high above the 
ground, it will be found of great advantage to plank the outside of the frames 
between A and G. This will not only make the dam more water-tight, but 
have the effect of binding and strengthening the framework. 

a Portable Cofferdam. 147 

of rivers. The application of a double-framed waling, I have 
also found in itself a very useful application in several situa- 
tions, and for a variety of purposes. 

Report of the Committee of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts on Mr 
Thomas Stevenson's Description of a Portable Cofferdam, for Marine 

The Committee have carefully examined this description, with the 
drawings and model, and are led to entertain a favourable opinion of the 
design. The introduction of an internal and external frame of timber, 
to retain the piles in their places, and guide the driving, is new, so far 
as we know ; and with the simplicity of the construction, and the facility 
with which the whole apparatus can be moved about, we have no doubt 
it must prove a valuable auxiliary in the construction of Marine Works, 
such as are described, where the depth of water is not great, and the bot- 
tom rocky or irregular. Mr Stevenson states, that he has already ap- 
plied it successfully in the foundation of a harbour-waU, and excavation 
of a tide-bason ; and in many other similar cases we think it is likely to 
prove highly serviceable. We are happy, therefore, in being able to re- 
commend it to the attention and favourable consideration of the Society. 

Geo. Buchanan. 
William Wightman. 

Edinburgh, 23d March 1848. 

( 148 ) 

Of the Source of Motions upon the Earth, and of the means by 
which they are sustained. By ROBERT E. Bkown, M.D., 
Edinburgh. Communicated by the Author. 

Among many of the material substances of which our globe is 
composed, a multitude of motions, changes, and transformations, per- 
petually occur. And, if it be considered that each of these motions 
individually, and of itself, tends to rest, — that each is in a downward 
direction, so to speak, and has a definite termination at which it must 
cease, the inquiry will present itself, ^^^ly does not a cessation of mo- 
tion take place ? How do the various terrestrial motions arise, and 
by what method is that constant and unimpaired activity maintained, 
which the earth exhibits to us ? It is to the consideration of these 
subjects, — to an attempt at the discovery of the origin, and of the 
mutual relations of the various motions, and of the plan upon which 
their continuance depends, that our attention is now to be directed. 

Let it be supposed, that, antecedently to the present order of 
thing.'*, the earth existed in some remote region of space apart from 
the influence of other matter. It may be conceived that the various 
chemical and physical forces inherent in the matter of the earth, 
might, during a long period of time, give rise to numberless motions, 
and changes, and combinations, among its molecules. But in these 
there would be no principle of perpetuity ; for no chemical action, 
nor any series of chemical actions, can, by their own powers, main- 
tain themselves in activity, any more than a mechanical motion or a 
series of such, can give rise to a pei'petual motion. In neither case 
can a motion call into existence a force equal to the reproduction or 
to the maintenance of itself; for friction alike counteracts them both, 
and i-enders them finite. After a time, therefore, it may be, of vio- 
lent turmoil and commotion, these forces would have carried matter 
through all the changes which they were capable of inducing, and 
both force and matter would have arrived at a condition of neutraliza^ 
tion and equilibrium, and perfect rest.* 

* It is to be noted that the above is a mere supposition, and that it is not 
conceived to correspond to anything which ever took place in natiu-e. It is very 
questionable whether any chemical actions could take place in the circumstances 
which have been described. Besides, we know that all matter has not been car- 
ried through the changes which its chemical forces are equal to produce, and 
the supposition is made merely for the purpose of subsequently presenting more 
clearly the effects wh'ch external nature has upon terrestrial matter. 

Here it may also be mentioned, that to speak of force being inherent in mat- 
ter, and of its proceeding from one body and influencing another, are modes of 
speech which, in all their modifications, it would have been better to have dis- 
pensed with, inasmuch as they seem to imply the existence of some real entity 
otlier than matter, and of the passage of something between the bodies, — which 
is purely hypothetical. It would have been better, when there is occasion to 

On the Source of Motions upon the Earth. 149 

In this condition let it be conceived, that the earth takes its place 
as a planet in the solar system. The forces of terrestrial gravity 
and cohesion, which had thus brought the constituent materials ot 
the earth into a state of rest, and had retained them in it, would be 
to some extent overcome by the attractions of external nature and by 
the solar heat, and a number of changes and motions would arise m 
conseauence. First of all, the atmosphere would be brought to its 
existina state as regards temperature and tenuity ; then water would 
assume" its present condition ; and to these would succeed the tides^ 
winds, evaporation, rain, dew, the formation of lakes and rivers and 
the endless lesser changes and motions occasioned by these. It is 
by means of the rotation of the earth upon its axis, that these mo- 
tions are permanently maintained. For, in this way, different por- 
tions of the earth are successively brought under, and are then to 
some extent removed from, the influence of external matter ; and 
there is thus brought about an alternate action of the forces inherent 
in terrestrial matter, and of those belonging to external nature, liy 
the solar heat, and by the attraction of certain of the heavenly bodies, 
the cohesion and the gravity of the matter of the earth, are, to a cer- 
tain extent, overcome, and various motions are thereby produced. It 
the external influences continued to operate upon the same portions 
of matter, these motions would go on in one direction, until the co- 
herence of these matters would almost be destroyed, and their separa- 
tion from the globe would perhaps take place. But by means of the 
rotation of the earth, the portions of matter which have been exposed 
to these external influences are in a short time removed in a great 
degree from them ; the solar heat is radiated from the earth ; terres- 
trial gravity and cohesion resume their comparative ascendancy ; and 
matter tends back towards that condition from which the opposing 

forces had led it. ^ ^^ c \ t 

The motions which have been mentioned are nearly all ot them ot 
a purely mechanical or physical sort. The position of certain por- 
tions of matter on the earth's surface is altered, but the power to 
effect molecular or chemical changes is wanting ; or, if this is not 
absolutely the case, such changes can occur only to a very limited 
extent. Thus, it is perhaps possible that the destruction of cohesion 
by the solar heat, as in the case of the evaporation of water and the 

speak of one body influencing another, to have employed language which ex- 
pressed no more than what we really know, namely,— that matter in certain 
conditions of relation toother matter is thrown into motion ; and to have avoiaea 
the use of the term force in any way which seemed to imply an existence apart 
from matter. For force is all that we know of matter ; and, that which we 
call matter, is force ; or, if we separate them, and make matter the substratum 
of force, we go farther than we have any reason or occasion to do. io express 
this, however, on every occasion would be inconvenient; and, I shall theretore, 
having thus explained my sense of the ordinary modes of speech as regards this 
subject, continue to adhere to them. (See a letter by Dr Faraday on this sub- 
ject, published three or four years ago in several of the scientific journals). 

150 Dr Robert E. Brown on the 

other motions produced by external nature, may, either of themselves, 
or by means of electricity thereby excited, effect some slight chemical 
changes. The extent of these can hardly, however, be very great 
and we shall not regard them at present. But a slight observation 
of nature shews, that chemical and other molecular changes of gi-eat 
extent take place among the component materials of the earth's sur- 
face, and give rise to new forms, varieties, and affections of material 
substances. Into the origin of these, therefore, it is now for us to 

The earth being in the condition we have supposed, — ^being formed 
and placed in relation to other matter as a planet, &c., and having 
a variety of motions developed upon it, by the agency of the forces 
belonging to that external matter, let it now be conceived that the 
germs of vegetation, or of life nearly allied to it, are implanted upon 
it. Under the influence of the terrestrial agencies of air and mois- 
ture, applied to these germs by means of the heavenly bodies, in the 
manner above shewn, and by the agency of the sun, directly through 
its light and heat, the latent vital forces become active, and living 
beings are produced. With the development of these new agents, 
by far the greatest number of the chemical and other molecular 
motions occurring upon the earth seem to be connected. For vital 
force in action appears to run counter to, and to overcome, both gra- 
vity and cohesion, but, above all others, the chemical forces. Thus, 
for example, by its means carbonic acid and water, two of the most 
stable chemical compounds which we know, and the hardest, and, to 
all appearance, the most unassailable stony materials, have their che- 
mical forces neutralised or overcome, the union of their component 
elements broken up, and these elements arranged in a succession of 
new combinations, at variance with, and in opposition to, the tenden- 
cies of their whole chemical and mechanical natures. Now, the ex- 
istence of each individual plant or being is temporary. On the com- 
pletion of a seiies of operations, and the production of a definite re- 
sult, it ceases to live ; the matter affected by its action comes again 
under the dominion of the chemical and mechanical forces, and by 
their means is brought back to its pristine condition, that it may be- 
come the object upon which the vital forces of other beings may 
operate. In this way there arise a vast number of chemical changes 
and transformations. We shall afterwards endeavour to shew that 
almost all chemical actions which occur upon the globe, either natu- 
rally or such as are produced by art, are the results, direct or indirect, 
of this descent of matter from an organic to an inorganic condition. 
Tlie temporary existence of living beings individually, would almost 
seem to be necessary to the pei-petuation of life. For in plants, at 
least, life never seems to act without giving rise to growth, and 
to the production of the germs of new individuals ; and, therefore, 
with a definite and limited supply of matter, such as the earth af- 
fords, vegetation, as it exists in this globe, could not be sustained 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 151 

without some such arrangement as this, under which the individual 

living existences died, and by restoring their matter to its inorganic 
form, so yield a supply of organizable substances. 

We have here again another instance of two different motions 
being maintained in activity by their alternate operation, and have 
set before us another of those circles in which motion continually 
proceeds. In the former instances, or in those which we termed 
the physical motions, this alternation was brought about by the rota- 
tion of the earth. Here we have the continuance of vital and che- 
mical actions, occasioned most notably by the temporary existence of 
individual vegetable beings ; but we have it also maintained in a less 
degree, throughout the whole life of the plant, by the rotation of day 
and niglit, and of the seasons of the year. Thus, in the presence of 
sunlight, the forces of life become either more intense, or what per- 
haps is more probable, and what comes virtually to the same thing, 
the power of the foi'ces opposing these is lowered, and the molecules 
of bodies are, to some extent, sundered from each other. Of bodies 
in this state, the opei'ation of the vital forces probably completes the 
decomposition ; what is wanted by the plant is assimilated and vital- 
ised by it, and what is useless to it is left behind. In this manner, 
plants, under the influence of sunlight, decompose carbonic acid, 
assimilate the carbon and evolve the oxygen. But on the cessation 
of sunlight, and during the presence of night, an opposite action takes 
place ; the vital forces are depressed or rendered less active, the 
chemical forces gain the ascendancy, and of the carbon which the 
plant had appropriated, part is recovered by the oxygen of the air, 
and is evolved from it as carbonic acid. Again, we have the action 
of the chemical forces brought into play during the life of a plant at 
somewhat longer intervals by the rotation of the seasons. During 
the warm months of the year, vitality is the predominant force of a 
plant, and its growth progresses with rapidity and energy. But in 
the cold months, its vital forces become dormant, its leaves and other 
weak parts die, and are decomposed by the chemical forces. 

Let it now be conceived that the higher sorts of animals appear 
upon the globe, — first herbivorous animals, and afterwards the carni- 
vorous. Under the dbect influence of solar light and heat, and in 
the condition of the globe to which these, as well as the other mo- 
tions induced by external nature, have given rise ; by means of the 
pure water which the sun has distilled, and by the vegetable bodies 
which life, under the direction and influence of the same power, has 
brought into being, the animals will be perfected and preserved in 
existence. With the appearance of animal life, a number of mo- 
tions, and some of them of a new, and, as compared with others, 
an anomalous sort, arise. Animal beings, like plants, have only a 
temporary existence, and for the like reasons. After a certain pe- 
I'iod they die, and the substances of which they ai'o composed are re- 
torcd to the influence of their chemical afllnities, and return to an 

152 Dr Robert E, Brown on the 

inorganic condition. They also, as in the case of plants, give rise 
to many lesser circles of motion during their lifetime, by the several 
substances of which they are composed being in a constant state of 
change, and passing through the stages of assimilation, of perfect 
vitalization, of death and separation from them, of decomposition, of 
organization by plants, and of reassimilation by animals. In the 
states of sleep and waking, it seems to me not unlikely that there 
may be found to be an alternately preponderating action of the vital 
and of the chemical forces analogous to that which we mentioned 
as taking place in plants, under the influence and in the absence 
of sunlight, and giving rise to some of the above-mentioned ac- 
tions. Animal beings have much the same relation to vege- 
table existences which these last bear to the inorganic matter 
upon which the forces of vegetable life act. For as vegetable mat- 
ter is derived from inorganic matter, so animal matter proceeds, for 
the most part, from that which is vegetable. When matter, there- 
fore, becomes animalised, it advances a step further from its original 
chemical and mechanical condition, and extends the circumference 
of that circle in which we have already seen the molecules of organ- 
isable matter proceeding. It is no part of our present subject to en- 
ter fully into a history of the many stages through which matter 
passes in moving in this round. I therefore speak of the pas- 
sage of matter from an inorganic state to one in which it is subject 
to vital influences : — .of the passage of vegetable matter into that 
which is animal, and of the descent of this last to its original 
inorganic state, as if each were a single step ; whilst the truth is, 
that between these stages, the matter in question passes through a 
series of minor changes and combinations. Thus, if we trace the 
progress of a portion of carbon from the mineral or inorganic state 
in which it exists in carbonic acid, through some plant which it is 
destined to feed, we may possibly find it performing a part succes- 
sively in the composition of oxalic acid, of malic or tartaric acid, of 
sugar or starch, and of albumen.* Again, between each of these 
stages, if our knowledge were so far extended, we would probably 
find it in an indefinite number of other conditions. For, from its 
first entrance into the structure of a plant, to its passage into an 
animal body, or its resolution into its first inorganic condition, it is 
in that constant motion and state of perpetual change which charac- 
terise matter under the influence of vitality. 

Besides the motions which have been noticed, there are many 
others which occur upon the earth, either naturally, or which are 
produced by art. The chief of these depend upon the forces of heat 
and light, derived 'rem terrestrial sources, of electricity, galvanism, 
magnetism, and the like, and upon the nervous force of animals. 

* Outlines of Chemistry, by Dr Gregory, 1st edit., p. 557. 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 153 

Consideration, I think, will shew, however, that almost all of these 
motions and forces are secondary to the others, and depend, not only 
in a general way, upon circumstances brought about by their agency, 
but that, in many cases, they are the direct effects, or accompani- 
ments, or modifications, of the motions already considered. Thus, 
for example, the chief terrestrial source of heat or fire, and of light, 
is from organic matter, — from coal, wood, charcoal, naphtha, oils, 
and the like. All of these are of organic origin, and are, therefore, 
the products, as we have seen, of the forces of life and of sunlight. 
Heat and light are the effects of the passage or transformation of this 
organic matter, or fuel, from an organic to a neutral and inorganic 
state. At the ordinary temperatures, and by the unaided chemical 
forces, this takes place so slowly, and is distributed through so long 
a time, that the heat and light are not in general perceptible. But 
if the chemical affinities be intensified, or rendered more active by 
the aid of other heat, or, m other words, if the fuel be kindled, we 
have the change effected with rapidity, and the forces which it might 
otherwise have taken centuries to evolve, are concentrated into a very 
short time.* Fuel may, therefore, be regarded as a reservoir of 
power, or of force with a tendency to action, which is the equivalent 
of the vital and solar forces employed in its production ; or, in other 
words, the force which we have concentrated in fuel, is equal in 
amount to the solar and vital forces which formed it. It resembles, 
therefore, the force by which an arrow is propelled, — a force which, 
although immediately proceeding from the elasticity of the bow, is 
nevertheless called into existence by, and may be said to be trans- 
mitted from, the hand which draws it ; and, in like manner, we may 
say that the motions which we produce by fire are the eftects of lii'e 
and sunlight. 

With regard to what is called the nervous force of animals, or 
that which gives rise to the voluntary and involuntary motions af- 
fecting the whole or particular parts of animal bodies, we shall only 
remark, that it is secondary to, and dependent for its existence upon, 
life and sunlight, inasmuch as it operates and manifests itself in no 
other way than through a fitly organised body, which is the product 
of those forces. Many different views of the nature of this force have 
been held by physiologists. With this subject, however, we have 
nothing to do at present ; but we may cursorily observe, that it might 

* It may possibly appear that this statement of the nature of combustion is 
not very accurate, inasmuch as no mention is made of the chemical combina- 
tion of the carbon and hydrogen of the organic matter with oxygen. This, 
however, is to bo understood as included in what 1 have said. Carbon and 
hydrogen occur in nature, as inorganic matter — so far as concerns plants — only 
in combination with oxygen as carbonic acid and water. The forces of life and 
sunlight give rise to organise fuel, by evolving carbon and hydrogen from car- 
bonic acid and water, and combustion may, tliereforc, witliout objectionable 
inaccuracy, be described as the descent or return of fuel to an inorganic con- 
dition — that is, to carbonic acid and water. 

154 On the Source of Motions upon the Earth, 

perhaps be worthy of consideration, whether the nervous influence is 
not a force bearing a relation to vital affinity, similar and analogous 
to that which galvanism has to chemical affinity. It is hardly ne- 
cessaiy to enter into any examination of the forces of electricity, 
galvanism, and magnetism, and of chemical action between non- 
organisable matter. Suffice it to say, that in nature almost all of these 
are called into existence, or are rendered active, by the physical and 
chiefly by the chemical changes and circumstances we have already 
considered, and seem to depend upon the vital and solar influences ; 
and it may be held to be certain that if all of these were in a state 
of equilibrium and quiescence upon the earth, none of the others 
could be called into being. Even when these forces seem to be pro- 
duced in the most artificial way, they might, in most cases, I believe, 
be shewn to be the product of the forces of life and external nature, 
and the equivalent of these forces actually so employed : — that in the 
case of a galvanic battery, for example, which may be regarded as 
one of the most artificial sources of motion known, we employ in the 
production of the different metals, acids, or other bodies, which form 
it, as much of what we have endeavoured to shew is vital and solar 
force in the form of fire, manual labour, &c., as we can gain froin 
them, in the form of galvanism. By our operations on certain sub- 
stances, we destroy their neutrality ; when these are brought to- 
gether, in a certain manner, they neutralize each other, and in doing 
so, they evolve the force of galvanism ; and it is, I think, manifest, 
that the force so evolved, will be the equivalent, and the measure 
of that which was employed in the destruction of their neutrality. 
It is true, that the elements of a battery may be found existing 
ready formed in nature, in which case the source of the galvanism 
may not be capable of being traced farther back than to the in- 
herent chemical forces. But, for the most part, the elements of a 
battery are formed by art. We commenced our view of the origin 
of terrestrial motion, by supposing that the matter of the earth had 
been carried through all the changes which its inherent forces were 
capable of inducing, and that it had been rendered neutral ; and we 
acknowledged at the time, that this was a mere supposition, and 
that all matter was not carried through its whole series of molecular 
changes. The motions, therefore, produced by such a battery as we 
have mentioned, do not come within the limits of our subject. 

Before finishing this part of the subject, and with a view to its 
completeness, it is perhaps proper to advert to those terrestrial mo- 
tions which originate in the interior of the earth, such as volcanoes, 
earthquakes, and the like, and which, according to the general opinion, 
are the eftects of a great heat existing in the interior of the globe. 
Nothing can positively be said with regard to the origin of this in- 
ternal heat, but it is commonly looked upon as a relic of some former 
condition of the earth. Thus, it has been supposed, that the various 
elementary substances of which the earth consists had, in the early 

Proceedings of the Geological Society of France. 155 

stages of creation, existed in an uncombined condition, — that, after- 
wards, they had united and evolved much heat, — that the crust of 
the earth x'esulted from the cooling of the surface, and that this cool- 
ing process is still incomplete at a short distance within its interior. 
By others it is conceived that in some remote period of time the 
earth had passed through a highly-heated region of space, or of space 
occupied by some ether or other medium intensely hot ; and that the 
internal heat of the earth is the remains of the heat then acquired 
by it, — the surface having cooled and hardened as before. If either 
of these views, or indeed, so far as I am aware, any of the others 
upon the subject be received, it will be obvious, that the heat exist- 
ing in the interior of the globe may be represented as a temporary 
and decaying power, inasmuch as it has no element of perpetuity and 
restoration within itself. It has a tendency in the course of time to 
arrire at rest and equilibrium, and possesses nothing within itself to 
break or counteract that rest, and so maintain itself in permanent 
action. It is the remains of an excitation of force and motion, which 
took place in some distant poi'iod of time, and the cause of which is 
unknown to us, and has ceased to operate. Such being the case, 
therefore, the consideration of these motions hardly comes under our 
pi'esent subject, which refers to the origin of the motions belonging 
to the present order of things. 

( To he concluded in next Ntcmber.) 

Account of the Proceedings of the Geological Society of France 
for 1847. By Sir Henry de la Beche, President of the 
Geological Society of London. 

In a connnunication on the variations of the igneous rocks, M. Du- 
rocher points out many examples of change, such as the passage of 
greenstone (diorite) into diallage rock and serpentine in the C6tes-du- 
Nord and the Loire Inferieure, and in other places in Brittany into 
syenite. lie also mentions, that they sometimes present the appear- 
ance of quartziferous porphyry and petrosilex, and not only pass 
into diallage rock, but like serpentine contain oxidulated iron, as in 
Scandinavia. After citing various other examples, such as the pas- 
sage in Norway of granite into the syenite, in which so many rare 
minerals are discovered, M. Durocher remarks, that the variations 
are not so extraordinary as they appear, these igneous rocks contain- 
ing the same elements, — silica, alumina, potash, soda, lime, magnesia, 
and oxide of iron ; granite being the most rich in silica and alumina, 
the poorest in lime, magnesia, and oxide of iron. When a granite 
becomes hornblendic and passes into syenite, the proportion of lime 
and oxide of iron augments, while that of alumina and potash or 

156 Account of the Proceedings of the 

soda diminishes. In the change of the hornblendic into augitic, dial- 
lagic and hypersthene rocks, there is but little difference in the ele- 
ments ; the hornblendic rocks are richest in silica and alumina, the 
augitic in lime and oxide of iron and the diallage and hypersthene 
rocks in lime, and more especially magnesia. The hornblendic rocks 
being those which contain most silica, often too much to be altogether 
combined, form, as it were, the transition fi'om those in which free 
silica is found, such as granite, to the augitic, diallage, and hypers- 
thene rocks, where silica is altogether combined with bases. 

M. FrapoUi read a paper on M. Desor's notice of the erratic block 
phenomena of the north, as compared with those of the Alps, in 
which he calls attention to the immense quantity of fragments of ice 
armed with blocks and pebbles, which are driven about the coasts of 
the north by the storms of winter and spring, grinding against the 
cliffs and the rocks. The coasts of Scandinavia, he I'emarks, are well 
known to be encased by a thick coating of ice, which, when broken 
up carries the blocks and pebbles with it. The masses of block-and- 
shingle-bearing ice put into motion by the tides and winds range along 
the shoi'e, polishing and scratching the rocks according to their sur- 
faces and position ; the cliffs being scratched in horizontal lines along 
the fiords, and in other similar situations. M. FrapoUi cites a map 
of M. Weibye of Kragero, upon which the latter has laid down with 
great precision the scratches and furrows on the rocks of the country 
bordering the sea in the Bradsbergsamt, and quotes the inference of 
M. Weibye, " that the scratches and furrows on horizontal, or nearly 
horizontal surfaces, take a direction always perpendicular to the gene- 
ral line of coast in open bays, and always parallel to the range of the 
channels in narrow fiords ; that the horizontality, or the greater or 
less inclination of the scratches on the inclined or vertical surfaces 
depends on the relief of the coasts of the locality, and always corre- 
sponds with this relief, and with the action of different winds." 

From personal observations, M. FrapoUi considers that the scratches 
and furrows observable in Scandinavia may be referable to the action 
of ice floated about, always taking into consideration the configura- 
tion of the coast when the levels of sea and land changed. And cer- 
tainly the freezing of the sea on coasts, the consequent encasing of 
blocks and shingles in ice, the drifting of this ice, together with the 
crushing' and grinding of ice-floes on the coasts, as they are to be 
found detailed in our voyages to the northern regions of America, 
are points of importance not to be neglected when we take a general 
view of the phenomena connected with erratic blocks. Indeed there 
are cases in our own land where this explanation would accord best 
with the facts observed. 

In a notice on the Heights of the Jura between the Dole and Re- 
culet, M. Jules Marcou gives a detailed account of that portion of 
the Jura range in which its chief heights are included. He observes 
that the four groups of Jurassic rocks are not exposed on these 

Geological Society of France for 1847. 157 

heights, the upper and Oxfordian divisions being alone visible, whilst 
the two lower groups occur more eastward in the lower range of the 
department of the Ain. The lower part and the great valleys of the 
Dole and the Keculet are composed of neocomian rocks, and the 
author infers that when the latter were deposited the mass of these 
mountains and of Mont-Credoz formed an island bathed by the sea, 
in which the neocomian deposits were effected. M. Marcou points 
out, that while the Oxfordian group, surrounding the ancient Hercy- 
nian and Vosgian islands, is characterised by a considerable develop- 
niLiit of marls, containing numerous pyritous fossils, the same group 
of the Jura is formed of a great thickness of greyish-blue limestones, 
more or less compact or marly. This difference of lithological 
structure the author attributes to the more littoral character of the 
Hercynian and Vosgian deposits, and the moi'e pelagic conditions 
under which the accumulations of the Jura were effected at the same 
date. After pointing out these changes, M. Marcou states that the 
pala?ontological character of the deposits corresponds with their litho- 
logical. Thus, in the littoral regions, the species are numerous, and 
more especially belong to the cephalopods, the gasteropods, and ace- 
phala ; in the subpelagic regions, the individuals have much dimi- 
nished, the cephalopods are stunted, and many species which did not 
occur in the littoral districts appear, as also many spongy polypifers 
and large Terebratulse. In the localities occupied by the deep seas, 
such as those of the Colombier and the Reculet, fossils are extremely 
rare ; those found are exclusively cephalopods, and hitherto confined 
to two species of Ammonites and one species of Nautilus. 

The upper group of the Jurassic rocks occupies the highest crests 
and summits, and is formed of a great mass of compact limestones, 
without any interstratified marls. Although the mass is not very 
divisible into sub-groups, that considered equivalent to the coral rag 
of England, is stated to be distinguishable both from its position 
above the Oxfordian group, and from its fossils. The author subse- 
quently enters into a detail of the various dislocations and contor- 
tions which the Jura may have suffered. 

M. Scheerer discusses the plutonic nature of granite, and of the 
crystalline silicates associated with it, in a communication translated 
by M. Frapolli. In the first pai't of this memoir, the author enters 
upon an investigation of a peculiar kind of isomorphism, an account 
of wliich it is difficult to present without the formulae and detail em- 
ployed. Referring to the composition of dichroite and aspasiolite, 
he states, that while in the proportions of silica and alumina, they 
are the same, the aspasiolite contains a considerable quantity of wa- 
ter ; both minerals also possessing, though in different proportions, 
magnesia and oxide of iron, the former, some lime, the latter, only 
traces of it ; and he asks if the differences in other characters of 
these minerals may not be due to the water acting as an isomorphous 
base as regards the magnesia, oxide of iron, &c. After investigating 

158 Account of (he Proceedings of the 

the component parts of serpentine, he observes, that if we infer that 
all the basic water of serpentine is replaced by magnesia, we should 
have the formula for olivine, so that we should expect these two mi- 
neral substances to have the same crystalline form, which, adds M. 
Scheerer, is the fact. This he considers as a proof of his new kind 
of isomorphism, so that olivine is to serpentine what dichroite is to 

Taking this view, M. Scheerer calculates the proportion of oxygen 
in more than one hundred minerals containing water, and examined 
with care, and infers, that by considering this water as basic water, 
the formulae become more simple, and more in accordance with the 
composition furnished by chemical analysis, than when we consider 
the water in a state of hydrate. From his researches, he concludes 
that one atom of magnesia, or of protoxide of iron, manganese, co- 
balt, nickel, and oxide of zinc, may be replaced in this kind of iso- 
morphism, to which he assigns the name •polymeric, by thi-ee atoms 
of water, and one atom of oxide of copper by two atoms of water.* 

Reasoning upon the water contained in many of the elements of 
granite, in which he includes mica, iron pyrites, talc, hornblende, 
schorl, gadolinite, orthite and allanite, M. Scheerer opposes the theory 
of granite having been in a state of igneous fusion, though he does 
not deny that heat may have given the humid mass of granite the 
plasticity and softness which it cannot be denied it must have pos- 
sessed, and thus he so far admits heat as having been an essential 
agent in the formation of granite. He considers that this pasty mass, 
impregnated with water, and heated under great pressure, would melt 
at a tempei'ature much less elevated than if, in other respects the 
same, it were anhydrous ; remarking that, from this fusion, which 
should not be confounded with simply igneous fusion, results would 
follow of a very different nature than if the mass cooled down from 
igneous fusion alone. The minerals which had the greatest tendency 
to crystallize, those of which the crystalline power was greater than 
the opposing action of the watery vapours, would be the first to sepa- 
rate. All the water, continues M. Scheerer, not appropriated by the 
minerals during their crystallisation would be concentrated where the 
free silica abounded. This silica would not become solidified until 
late, when the temperature of the granite was considerably reduced, 
and when the water not chemically combined with the component 
minerals had escaped from the mass, a process requiring a long lapse 
of time. M. Scheerer then applies this hypothesis to the alteration 
of rocks brought into contact with the granite, plastic with water and 
highly heated. 

* In thus giving this view of M. Scheerer, it is but right to observe that it 
is opposed by Prof. Nauraann and Dr Kammelsberg, who consider that it re- 
quires further proof. 

Geological Society of France for 1847. 159 

This communication was followed by one from M. Virlet d'Aoust, 
on normal metaraorphism, and the probability of the non-existence 
of true primitive rocks on the surface of the globe. He refers to 
the memoir of Scheerer as suppoi'ting the opinions he had previously 
advanced on metamorphic granites, and points out that it is not ne- 
cessary, as is too commonly sujjposed, that the temperature capable 
of producing normal metamorphism and granitic transformations 
should be very high, since M. Schafhautl has shewn that, under 
pressure, steam above 212^ Falir. can dissolve silica, and that pro- 
bably, as has been pointed out by Sir David Bi-ewster, other gases 
may have considerably influenced crystallisation in altered rocks. 
M. Virlet considers that geological discoveries, as well ns the advance 
of inorganic chemistry, tend to shew that there does not probably 
exist, and cannot now exist, any really primitive rocks on the sur- 
face of the eartli ; that is to say, any rocks which have not suffered 
some chemical or molecular transformation, including water chemi- 
cally combined, since their original cooling. Normal metamorphism, 
thus extended to all the rocks commonly called primitive, is only, lie 
observes, a corollary of the theory of central heat and of the original 
igneous fluidity of the earth ; conditions during the consolidation of 
the crust having caused changes of surface heat, and the returns of 
great heat at various times having assisted considerably in producing 
normal metamorphism. M. Virlet refers to the mechanical aggre- 
gation of crystalline I'ocks as affording a proof of general metamor- 
phism, and as due to conditions which the researches of Schafhautl, 
Brewstei", Biess, and Scheerer, would lead us to expect. 

In an elaborate account of analyses of some of the siliciferous 
thermal waters of Iceland, M. Damour considers that water, acting 
at a temperature of more than 120° Cent., under very considerable 
pressure and during a long period, upon the trachytic and zeolitic 
rocks beneath, would dissolve many of the elements of which they 
are composed ; among others silica, alumina, soda, potash and lime. 
The alumina and lime would not long continue dissolved in the sili- 
ceo-alkaline solution, while the silica, potash, and soda, would remain 
in different proportions, as is found in the thermal waters of Ice- 

M. Descloizeaux communicated the results of investigations made 
jointly with M. Bunsen, of Marbourg, on the two principal Geysers 
of Iceland. Experiments were made in the pipe of the Great Geyser, 
by which it was found that the temperature at the bottom was va- 
riable, being highest immediately before and lowest immediately after 
the great eruptions. It is inferred that the source of heat is not 
situate immediately beneath, but at a distance, probably consider- 
able, and that the column of water communicates by a long and 
winding channel with the space where the direct action of tlio sub- 
terranean heat is felt. After a great eruption, during which a 
large body of water and steam is ejected, the lower part of the liquid 

160 Account of (he Proceedings of the 

mass becomes colder, and the steam arriving from where it is formed, 
not being able to force the water out, is condensed by that filling the 
channel, the increased heat of which is transmitted to the bottom of 
the pipe. The water in the channel becomes boiling, and the 
steam, no longer condensing, acquires great power by compression, 
and finally drives out the water through the pipe. The same facts 
having been observed at the Strokkur, the same explanation is of- 

M. Dumont, in a memoir on the value of the palseontological cha- 
racter in geology, endeavours to ascertain the aid geology may de- 
rive from organic remains : first, as regards the relative age of su- 
perimposed beds in the same country ; secondly, in comparing the 
dates of I'ocks situated in counti'ies remote from each other ; and, 
thirdly, in order to fix the limits of formations. He concludes, after 
entering upon detail, that fossils are valuable in the same country in 
determining the relative age of x'ocks formed at epochs very distant 
from each other, while they gradually lose this value as the forma- 
tion of the beds approached each other in geological time. Under 
the second head he infers that analogous beings have existed in dif- 
ferent localities at different times, that the series of organisms be- 
longing to different latitudes have commenced at distinct epochs by 
analogous species, and that the organized beings existing at the same 
time ill the various geographical zones were as different formerly as 
they are now. With respect to the limits of formations, M. Dumont 
concludes tliat palasontological divisions cannot exactly accord with 
the geological divisions founded on the revolutions of the globe. 

In some reflections on the nature and application of characters 
for determining rocks, M. FrapoUi remarks that, zoological charac- 
ters being only of comparative value, and mineralogical considera- 
tions constantly leading us wrong, it is to superposition of rocks, or 
their stratigraphical arrangement, that we must look for the sole 
true base of geological science, and that our principal attention should 
be directed to it when determining unknown formations. M. Fra- 
poUi passes in review the hypothesis of the original igneous fluidity 
of the earth and its consequences, as the heat radiated into space 
and the crust became solid, adverting to times of repose and frac- 
ture, the accumulation of sedimentary deposits and their upheaval, 
and especially referring to secular upheavals and their results. 

M. de Verneuil read a note on the parallelism of the pala30zoic 
rocks of North America and Europe, followed by a table of the fos- 
sil species common to the two continents, with the indications of the 
groups in which they are found, and a critical examination of each 
of the species. In this communication M. de Verneuil, describing 
the composition of the pala30zoic rocks of New York, of which he 
enumerates the twenty-eight groups into which they have been di- 
vided by the New York State geologists, points to the excellent suc- 
cession of beds observable in that part of North America. He also 

Geological Society of France for 1847. 161 

gives an account of the groups, thirty-eight in number, into which 
the palaeozoic rocks of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, have been di- 
vided, and then proceeds to examine into the paialleHsm of these 
North American deposits with the older fossiliferous rocks of Eui'ope. 
He investigates this subject upon the principle, that if in two coun- 
tries a certain number of systems, characterised by the same fossils, 
are superimposed in the same order, whatever may be the thickness 
or number of the physical groups of which they are composed, these 
systems should be considered as parallel and synchronous. 

The American series is so complete, its parts being conformable 
and passing into each other, that marked divisions cannot be esta- 
blished. Hence it follows that the limits corresponding with the 
different European systems are in some cases uncertain, but this is 
considered as of less consequence if the middle parts of each system 
can be established. The important point, M. de Verneuil adds, is to 
feel assured that during the palaeozoic period the animal kingdom 
upon the area occupied by the two continents has suffered simulta- 
neous transformations, so that identical species occupy the same geo- 
logical positions. 

The six lowest New York groups, from the Potsdam sandstone to 
the Hudson River group inclusive, are referred to the Lower Silurian 
rocks, the lingula sandstone of Potsdam being probably equivalent to 
the obelus sandstone of Russia and the lower sandstones of Scandi- 
navia. The siliceous limestone, with the Black River and Trenton 
groups, are referred to the bituminous slates and the orthoceratite 
limestones of Sweden and Russia, while the Utica slates and the Hud- 
son River groups, with the Graptolites at their base, are considered 
equivalent to the graptolite slates of Sweden, succeeding the red 
orthoceratite limestone, and also to those of Bain in France. Trilo- 
bites were largely developed both in Europe and America at this pe- 
riod, and the genus Isotelus represents in the latter the Asaphus of 
the former. Orthoceratites were abundant, and Bellerophon appeared 
in connection with this early life, marked also by the presence of 
Orthis, LeptcEua, and Terebratula. 

The New York groups, rising above those mentioned, up to the 
Oriskany sandstone exclusive, are referred to the Upper Silurian 
rocks, the Niagara limestone and shales being considered equivalent 
to those of Wenlock and Gothland. Trilobites were still abundant, 
some species being rare and limited to thin groups of rocks, such as 
Phacops Hausmanni, Sphcerexochus minus, and Cheirurus insignis- 
Orthoceratites are less abundant than in the lower series. Spii'ifers 
and Tentaculites appear, and large corals are found, such as Favosites 
Gothlandica, &c., while Graptolites cease. Of forty identical species 
found in the Upper Silurian rocks of America and Europe, M. de 
Verneuil considers that thirty-two have neither lived before nor after 
this period. 

The New York groups, from the Oriskany sandstones to the sand- 


162 Account of the Proceedings of the 

stones and slates above the Chemung group, inclusive, are all referred 
to the Devonian series. The characters common to the Devonian 
fauna of Europe and America are considered to be the appearance of 
the ganoid fishes with great plaques or scales, and the genera Gonia- 
titcs. Nautilus, Pentremites, and Productus. 

Above these American rocks come the limestones referred to the 
carboniferous limestones of Europe, and M. de Verneuil considers 
this division as well characterised in both continents ; and it is re- 
marked that the Trilobites, decreasing in a parallel manner in both 
countries, finally end with the small species of Phillipsia in the car- 
boniferous limestones. The memoir of M. de Verneuil, of which the 
above is a very brief sketch, contains much detail, and terminates 
with remarks on the palaeozoic fossils common to America and 
Europe, and on their distribution. 

In a memoir on the mineral and chemical composition of the rocks 
of the Vosges, M. Achille Delesse remarks on the passage of the dif- 
ferent igneous rocks into each other. M. Delesse observes that many 
minerals, even those widely spread and forming important portions 
of rocks, are but little known, and he points out the felspar family, 
though it forms fifty percent, of the crust of the globe, as being one 
the species of which are Httle understood. Their chemical proper- 
ties are nearly identical, and their composition has reference to a 
common law ; they all contain the same radical bases, in such pro- 
portion that the quantities of oxygen are as 1 to 3, and the different 
felspars are only saturations of these radical bases with silica. Hence 
the difficulty of determining the different felspars, though they be- 
long to an easily-distinguished natural family. 

After taking a brief view of the foi'mation of the stratified, M. De- 
lesse proceeds to examine that of the unstratified rocks, and their 
igneous origin, glancing at the original fluidity of the earth, its con- 
sequences, and the metamorphism of rocks. Proceeding to the classi- 
fication of the non-stratified rocks, he points out that too much im- 
portance has been assigned to their physical characters, and too little 
value given to their chemical composition, and that it is highly de- 
sirable researches in chemical mineralogy should accompany the geo- 
logical study of the non-stratified rocks. He adds, that these re- 
searches in chemical mineralogy should be carried on with the rocks 
in place, inasmuch as the chemical geologist will not otherwise be 
enabled to observe all that is required. In this manner M. Delesse 
studied the non-stratified rocks of the Vosges, carefully separating 
the isolated minerals from the main mass and subsequently experi- 
menting upon them, and as carefully also examining the main mass 
or base of the locks. The crystals in the Belfahy porphyry were 
found to be a variety of labradorite. Augite is another mineral found 
in this porphyry, one of those termed also Melaphyre. Its base or 
paste contained water chemically combined, as in the crystals of fel- 
spar, and M. Delesse I'efers to the views of M. Scheerer on this sub- 

Geological Society of France for 1847. 163 

ject. In chemical composition this paste contained silica in the same 
proportion as in the isolated crystals of labradorite, and in all the 
varieties less alumina, soda, and potash, and more iron, manganese, 
and magnesia, with sometimes more, and sometimes less, water and 
lime. The spilite of Fauconey, a vesicular rock, was found upon ana- 
lysis to be nearly of the same composition as the base of the Belfahy 

In conclusion, M. Delesse points to the approximation which these 
researches on the Vosges melaphyres establish between them and 
basalts. The base of the two rocks is the same, being labradorite, 
and they likewise contain augite and oxidulated iron in common ; 
both also contain water. The differences consist chiefly in the greater 
or less proportion of bases in the constituent labradorite. Thus soda, 
potash, and water form a notable part of the labradorite of the mela- 
phyres, while these bases diminish and even completely disappear as 
the rock approaches to greenstones, basalts, and modern lavas. They 
are replaced by lime, which then becomes the dominant base. 
{^To he continued in our next Number.) 

On tlie Decomposition and partial Solution of Minerals, Hocks, 
^c, by Pure Water, and Water charged with Carbonic Acid. 
By Professor W, B. Rogers, and Professor E. E. Rogers, 
of the University of Virginia. * 

The present brief notice is designed as a mere abstract of 
the more prominent results of our investigations in this very 
interesting field of experiment. The facts accumulated dur- 
ing upwards of four months of laborious research, have be- 
come so voluminous as to acquire further time for throwing 
them into a shape suited to a detailed publication ; but we 
trust that the heads of our inquiry here presented, will suf- 
fice at present-to indicate the scope of the experiments, and 
the great intei'est of many of the determinations, especially 
in their bearing upon the chemisti'y of geology, the forma- 
tion of soils, and the nutrition of plants. 

It is matter of surprise that so little has hitherto been done 
to determine, by actual experiment, the solvent porver of water, 

* Communicated for this Journal (Professor Silliman's American Journal of 
of Science and the Arts) by the authors, in advance of a more extended me. 
moir on the same subject, which will appear in a future number. 

164 Professors Rogers on the Decomposition 

and of carbonated water, upon mineral compounds. The only 
results heretofore published on the subject, so far as we are 
aware, aire the comparatively isolated experiments of Struve, 
Forchhammer, and Polstorf and Wiegmann, as cited by 
Liebig, in the last edition of his Agricultural Chemistry.* 
But these were of too restricted a scope to furnish a solid 
basis for reasoning generally on the disintegration of rocks, 
the formation of chalcedonic, zeolitic, and other minerals, by 
solution, and the conveyance of inorganic materials into the 
structure of plants. Yet upon such slender experimental 
foundation rest the common theories of the decomposing and 
foi'ming action of the meteoric waters. 

It is obviously, therefore, a question of the first importance 
to decide whether water, pure or charged with carbonic acid, 
possesses the^en^ra^decomposing and dissolving power which 
some chemists have, vaguely and without suflficient evidence, 
ascribed to it, or whether this action is manifested only with 
the few materials hitherto tried, and which all contain alkali. 

To resolve this question has been the object of our labours; 
and we feel that we have been well rewarded by the result, 
proving, as it does most conclusively, the solvent and decom- 
posing power of pure and carbonated water upon all the im- 
portant mineral aggregates, as well without as with alkaline in- 

Our experiments have been of two kinds, first, by an ex- 
temporaneous method with the tache, and, second, by prolonged 
digestion at the ordinary temperatui'e. 

In the former method, a small quantity of the mineral, 
some five or ten grains, in very fine powder, is leached for a 
few moments on a small filter of purified paper, and a single 
clear drop of the liquid, received on a platinum slip, is dried 
and examined by appropriate tests, before and after ignition. 
In the second process, a quantity (40 grains) of the finely- 
powdered mineral, is placed with a certain volume (10 cubic 
inches) of the liquid in a green glass bottle, and agitated 
from time to time for a prescribed period. The liquid sepa- 

* See also a valuable memoir on the Solubility of Fluoride of Calcium in 
Water, &c., by G. Wilson, M.D., Trans. Koy. Soc. Edin., xvi., 145, 1846. 

and Partial Solution of Minerals, Bocks, ^c. 165 

rated by filtration is evaporated to dryness in a platinum cap- 
sule. The residuum is then critically examined, and, if in 
sufficient amount, is submitted to quantitative analysis. 

In both processes, tfvo parallel experiments are made, the 
one with pure de-aerated water, the other with water charged 
to saturation, at 60°, with COo. In the second process, the 
alkali, lime, &c., which may be dissolved by action on the 
containing glass, are determined by parallel experiments, 
with bottles of the same kind, charged, the one with simple 
water, the other with carbonated water, and exposed to the 
solvent action for the same time, and with the same agita- 
tion as those containing the powdered minerals. 

The following is a list of the minerals and other substances 
which we have subjected to the analytic action of pure water 
and of carbonic acid water. 

Potash felspar (3var.), Soda felspar, Lithia felspar. Glassy 
felspar, Labradorite, Mica (2 var.), Leucite, Analcime, Me- 
sotype, Scolecite, Schorl (2 var.), Greenstone (2 var.). Chal- 
cedony, Obsidian, Lava, Gneiss, Hornblende slate, «tc., Soils, 
Chlorite (2 var.). Talc (2 var.), Serpentine, Steatite, Olivine, 
Hypersthene, Hornblende (2 var.), Actynolite, Tremolite, 
Augite, Asbestus (2 var.), Coccolite, Epidote massive, Epi- 
dote crystals (2 var.), Axinite, Prehnite, Brown Garnet, Do- 
lomite, Flint-glass, Green bottle-glass, Green German glass, 
Hard white Bohemia glass, Wedgewood mortar, Chinese 
porcelain, Anthracite, Bituminous coal. Lignite, Charcoal, 
Ashes of coal and wood. Woods. 

(1.) By the tache process, we find that all the minerals 
and glasses in this list are partially decomposed and dis- 
solved by carbonated water, and most of them also by pure 

When the substance is very minutely powdered before 
mingling with the liquid, even the first drops that pass the 
filter will commonly give a tache containing some of the alkali 
or alkaline earth that has been dissolved. In this way, proof 
of the solvent power of the carbonated water may generally 
be obtained in less than ten minutes after adding it to the 
powder. As the action is continued, by returning the liquid 
to the filter, the efi^'ect is increased. In the case of simple 

166 Professors Rogers on the Decomposition 

water, the result is much feebler, and requires a longer time. 
But with nearly all the substances enumerated, it is entirely 
unequivocal, and with some of them quite intense. 

(2.) It is interesting to observe how, from a single drop of 
the clear filtered liquid, we obtain distinctive evidence of the 
presence of alkalies, or lime, or magnesia. The latter are in- 
dicated by the milkiness of the drop, when reduced by eva- 
poration on the platinum slip, as well as by the volume and 
whiteness of the tache. But farther and more minute infor- 
mation is obtained by testing the tache before ignition, and 
again at successive stages of ignition. The volatility of the 
three fixed alkalies and their carbonates, we have found to be 
much greater than seems to be generally imagined. By care- 
fully comparing them in this respect with one another, and 
with lime and magnesia, we have been enabled to make very 
advantageous use of the blow-pipe, in connection with test- 
paper, in examining the tache, so as to recognise the alkalies 
and alkaline earths severally present in the tache of felspai", 
hornblende, serpentine, epidote, and other minerals. 

These and other habitudes of the tache, obtained with car- 
bonated water, give this method unexpected value in the 
quantitative analysis of minerals. It furnishes by far the 
easiest and most speedy method of discerning the presence of 
an alkali, or lime, or magnesia, in a mineral ; and we think, 
therefore, that it promises to become a useful auxiliary to 
the mineralogist, in connection with the ordinary blowpipe 

(3.) By the second method, that of prolonged digestion, we 
have actually made with carbonated water, and even with 
simple water, a partial analysis of a number of complex mine- 
rals. The specimens exposed to the CO2 water for forty- 
eight hours, and to the simple water for one week, have, in 
many instances, furnished a sufficient amount of material to 
the liquid to admit of a quantitative examination. Thus, 
from hornblende, actinolite, epidote, chlorite, serpentine, felspar, 
mesutype, ^c, we have procured a quantity of ^iwe, magnesia, 
oxide of iron, alumina, silica, and alkali, the dissolved ingre- 
dients of these minerals severally amounting to from 0'4 to 
1 per cent, of the whole mass. The lime, magnesia, and alka- 

and Partial Solution of Bocks, Minerals, 6fc. 167 

lies are in the form of carbonates ; the iron, in the case of 
hornblende, epidote, &c., passing from the state of carbonate 
to that of peroxide during the evaporation, collects in brown 
flocculi, along with the silica and alumina, at the bottom of 
the capsule. Thus, 40 grains of hornblende, digested for 
forty-eight hours in COj water at 60°, with repeated agitation, 
yielded silica 0-08, oxide of iron 0-05, lime 0-13, magnesia 
0095, manganese a distinct trace. 

(4.) Most of the substances above enumerated, when finely 
powdered in an agate mortar, and moistened with pure water 
in a platinum capsule, give decided alkaline reaction with test- 
paper properly prepared. Among the materials presenting 
this effect most strongly, are serpentine, chlorite, tremolite, 
asbestus, mica, hornblende, the felspars, and glass. The 
effect is especially striking with powdered glass. But it is 
important to note, that this reaction is more immediate and 
stronger with the magnesian and calcareo-magnesian silicates,, 
than with the felspars and most other alkaline minerals. 

In making this, and all the other experiments embraced in 
the present inquiries, it is, of course, necessary that the speci- 
men should be free from any adhering carbonate of magnesia 
or lime, either of which would give rise to an alkaline reaction, 
and the former in quite a marked degree. It is, moreover, 
necessary to avoid using either a wedgewood or glass mortar, 
as the abraded matter would, in such a case, give to the car- 
bonated water quite a discernible amount of alkali. 

(.5.) The comparative readiness with which the magnesian 
and calcareo-magnesian silicates yield to the decomposing 
and dissolving action of carbonated and even simple water, 
it is, we believe, a fact no less important than it is true. It 
explains the rapid decomposition of the rocks composed 
mainly of hornblende, epidote, chlorite, &c., without calling 
in the agency of an alkali ; and it accounts for the fact, that 
rocks of this kind are often much more rapidly decomposed 
by meteoric actions than even the felspars themselves. It 
enables us, moreover, to trace the simple process by which 
plants are furnished with the lime and magnesia they require, 
from soils containing these silicates, without our having re- 

168 Professors Rogers on the Decomposition of Rocks, Sfc. 

course to any mysterious decomposing power of the roots of 
the growing vegetable. 

(6.) Among the points of interest incidentally determined 
during these investigations, may be mentioned the curious 
and instructive fact, that anthracite coal, bituminous coal, and 
lignite, treated by the tache process, ffive unequivocal evidence 
of alkali, while the ashes of these materials similarly treated 
yield no trace of alkali. It thus becomes evident, that the 
absence of alkali in the ashes of these combustibles, instead 
of being a consequence of its absence in the coal itself, is 
really due to the high temperature at which the ash is formed. 
We have here the explanation of a fact which might other- 
wise appear inconsistent with the admitted vegetable origin 
of coal. 

(7.) Another incidental result of interest, is the extraction 
of carbonate ofpotassafrom wood, by leaching it in fine powder, 
with carbonated water. This effect we have found to be quite 
distinct with maple, oak, hickory, &c. Hitherto the opinion 
appears to have prevailed, that the alkali or its carbonate 
could only be eliminated by the incineration of the vegetable 

From the great rapidity with which, according to our ex- 
periments, potassa and soda, and their carbonates, but espe- 
cially potassa and its carbonate, rise in vapour at a strong 
red heat, we are persuaded that a large error must be com- 
mitted in estimating the amount of these materials contained in 
plants, by the results of incineration ; and we believe that in 
not a few cases, the quantity obtained is scarcely one-half of 
what really exists in the vegetable mass. The important 
bearing of this consideration upon the late numerous and 
elaborate analyses of ashes, should, we think, claim the spe- 
cial attention of chemists. Indeed, it seems a little remark- 
able, that the source of error here referred to has not already 
been brought to the notice of analysts, as likely to modify 
materially their results. — [The American Journal of Science 
and Arts ; Second Series, vol. v., No. 15, May 1848, p. 401.) 

( 169 ) 

Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 
Monday, Qth December 1847. 
Sir Thomas M. Brisbane, Bart., President, in the Chair, 
The following Communications were read : — 

1. Biographical Memoir of the late Dr Hope. By Dr Traill. 

2. Note on the Constitution of the Phosphates of the Organic 

Alkalies. By Dr Thomas Anderson. 

The author had been led to investigate the phosphates of the 
organic alkalies, with the view of determining the accuracy of an 
analysis of the phosphate of strychnia by Regnault, which gave results 
incompatible with the known constitution of the inorganic phosphates. 
He alluded to the investigation of the phosphates of aniline by 
Nicholson, and proceeded to the statement of his own observations. 

Phosphate of Strychnia, with one equivalent of Strychnia, was 
obtained in long truncated needles, by digesting strychnia in 
tribasic phosphoric acid. It dissolved readily in water, and was acid 
to test-paper. By analysis it gave I'esults corresponding to the 

(Ci4 H23 N2 O4 HO) 2 HO PO5 

The crystallized salt was found to contain four equivalents of water 
of crystalization. 

Phosphate of Strychnia, with tiuo equivalents of Strychnia. By 
long-continued digestion of strychnia with the foregoing water in 
solution, an additional atom of the alkaloid is dissolved, and the solu- 
tion on cooling deposits rectangular tables of a salt which is neutral 
to test-paper. It is less soluble in water than the acid phosphate, 
and its constitution was found to be represented by the formula 

2 {Gu H,3 N, O4 HO) HO PO3 

Phosphate of Brucia, with two equivalents of Brttcia, is obtained 
by the solution of Brucia in phosphoric acid, and crystallizes from 
the concentrated solution in short prisms. The crystals are neutral 
to test-paper, and contain a large quantity of water of crystallization, 
which they lose by efflorescence. The formula of the salt is 

2 (Qi H,,3 N, 0-, HO) HO PO5 

A double phosphate of Brucia and soda was also formed, but could 
not be obtained perfectly pure. 

Phosphate of Quinine, with three equivalents of Quinine. By 
digesting quinine with phosphoric acid, a solution of this salt is ob- 
tained, which becomes a solid mass of silky needles on cooling. They 

170 Proceedings of the Boyal Society of Edinburgh. 

are extremely soluble in hot water, and are quite neutral to test- 
paper. They gave, by analysis, a result corresponding with 

3(C,oHi2N02HO) PO5 

These results the author considered sufficient to establish the fact, 
that the phosphates of the organic alkalies agree in their constitution 
with the inorganic salts of that acid ; and he concluded his paper by 
observing, that the relations of these bases to phosphoric acid might 
be made u^j of as a means of classifying them. Thus quinine, which 
replaces three equivalents of water in phosphoric acid, might be com- 
pared to oxide of lead and the oxides of the heavy metals. Brucia 
miofht represent the inorganic alkalies. While strychnia, which, 
under ordinary circumstances, replaces only one equivalent of water, 
belongs to a class which has no analogue among the series of inor- 
ganic bases. 

Monday, 20ih December 1847. 
The Right Rev. Bishop Terrot, Vice-President, in the Chair. 

The following Communication was read : — 
Ejiamination of some Theories of German Writers, and of 
Mr Grote, on the Authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey. 
By Professor Dunbar. 

Monday, 3d January 1848. 
The Right Rev. Bishop Terrot, Vice-President, in the Chair. 
The following Communication was read : — 

On Algebraical Symbolism. By Bishop Terrot. 

Monday, 17ih January 1848. 
Dr Christison, Vice-President, in the Chair. 
The following Communications were read : — 
1. Account of a Geological Examination of the Volcanoes 
of the Vivarais. By Professor Forbes. 

The author having, on former occasions, stated some results of his 
travels in Auvergne and the Cantal, gives a more detailed descrip- 
tion of the volcanoes of the Vivarais, which have been less fre- 
quently and less accurately described. 

He first gives an account of the journey from Le Puy across the 
chain of the Cevennes which culminate at the volcanic summit of the 
Mezeuc, by the course of the Loire, to Montpezat in the department 
of the Ardeche. 

The best descriptions of the Vivai-ais are those of Foajas de Sf 

Geological Notices. 171 

Fond and Mr Scrope. The plates illustrating the work of the lat- 
ter leave almost nothing to desire. These authors have described 
more or less fully the following volcanic orifices — Coupe de Jaujac, 
Souillolsor Neyvac, Mouleynes or Thuez ; Montpezat and Aysac. 
Other writers have described the cone of Bauzou, and the (so-called) 
crater of Elevation of Pal, which are generally supposed not to have 
given birth to any lava stream. The present autlwr has given a 
more minute and detailed account of each of these volcanoes, and of 
the great beds of basaltic lava to which they have respectively given 
birth. He discusses the relative age, the remarkable columnar struc- 
ture, and the surprising erosion by water, of these (comparatively 
modern) lava flows, which he illustrates by an exact map of the 
formations, based upon Cassini's, and by very numerous levels bai-o- 
metrically determined. He has also been able to add to the list of 
known volcanoes in this distinct, two craters which he believes never 
to have been described, occurring in remarkable positions, and giving 
rise to extensive lava streams, one in the valley of Budzet, the other in 
that of la Bastide. The former he believes to be unparalleled amongst 
ancient or modern lavas for the length and slendemess of its stream, 
shewing a surprising liquidity, which he illustrated by some experi- 
ments on the powers of melted iron solidifying in narrow channels. 
A series of specimens illustrating the paper had formerly been 
presented to the Society. 

2. Geological Notices. By Dr Fleming. 

(1.) Additional example of Diluvial Scratches on the Hocks 
in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. 

The author stated that, recently, an opportunity had presented 
itself of observing, at a newly- opened sandgtone quarry, dressed and 
scratched surfaces, at an elevation above the level of the sea greater 
than any examples of the same kind of diluvial action as yet re- 
corded, as occurring in the neighbourhood. The locality is east- 
ward of the east Cairn Hill, in the Pentland Hills, at a place termed 
" Thomson's Walls," and its elevation, according to Knox's Map of 
Mid-Lothian, is 1400 feet. 

Dr Fleming then stated, that, last autumn, in addition to the ex- 
ample of a dressed aud scratched surface 130 yards westward of 
Granton Pier, on a level luith the beach, he had observed a similar 
occurrence at the east side of the harbour of North Berwick, near 
the " Auld Kirk," on the surface of a rock of amygdaloid ; and 
added, that he had found similar scratches, at the sea-level, on the 
south side of Montrose Basin. 

The author next adverted to an example of dressed vertical 
surfaces, with horizontal scratches, on the northern base of North 
Berwick-Law. He likewise referred to the horizontal scratches on 

\.T2 Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

a vertical face of rock recently exposed at the Hadderwick Lime- 
Quarries, north from Montrose. 

Dr Fleming next called the attention of the Society to the Black- 
ford Hill example of a dressed and scratched surface, and intimated 
that the scratches had a dip to the eastward, reaching, in some cases, 
to 50°. He stated it as probable, that the phenomena, instead of 
having resulted from diluvial action, had been produced by the 
abrading operations of the Braid Burn. 

Monday, 1th February 1848. 
Sir Thomas Makdougall J^risbane, Bart., President, 

in the Chair. 
The following Communications were read : — 
1. On the Preparation of Kreatine, and on the amount of it 
in the flesh of different Animals. By Dr Gregory. 

After some remarks on the present state of animal chemistry, the 
author commenced by giving a brief account of the recent discoveries 
of Liebig in regard to the constituents of the " juice of flesh," or the 
liquid contained in the substance of the muscles, which is distin- 
guished from the blood by the large proportion of free acid it con- 
tains. This remarkable animal fluid has been found, by Liebig, to 
contain phosphoric and lactic acids in large quantity, inosinic acid in 
small proportion, and some other acids not yet studied ; also, potash 
in lai'ge quantity with a little soda, a considerable proportion of mag- 
nesia, and a little lime, chloride of potassium, with a little chloride of 
sodium, and, besides some compounds of animal origin not yet inves- 
tigated, the new base Kreatinine, and the very remarkable substance 
Kreatine, first discovered by Chevreul, but in vain sought for by Ber- 
zelius and other chemists; 

He then described the process, essentially that of Liebig, by which 
kreatine is extracted from the flesh of quadrupeds, birds, and fishes, 
in all of which hitherto tried, it has been found, although in small 
and variable quantity. A table was exhibited, shewing the per- 
centage obtained from different kinds of flesh and fish, and the re- 
sult was, that this interesting substance may be most easily and 
cheaply prepared from fish, especially cod, herring, salmon, and 
mackerel, all of which yielded much more than beef or horse-flesh, 
and nearly as much as fowl, which was the most productive. The 
maximum proportion of kreatine was 3" 2 per 1000 parts of flesh. 
The average about 1"5 per 1000. 

The author staled that he had found inosinic acid only in the 
flesh of fowl and turkey ; and he is informed, by Baron Liebig, that 
it is quite possible that this acid may also have been confined to 
the flesh of fowls in his experiments, as it was often absent, although 
he cannot now ascertain the cases in which it was present. 

He concluded by stating, that as kreatine is found in the urine, 

Contributions to Phenomena of Zodiacal Light. 17*<3 

along with kreatinine, it appears to be, in part at least, a substance 
intended for excretion. Its crystalline character renders this pro- 
bable ; and, at all events, if it has any function to perform in the body, 
that function is not yet known. It must be regarded, in the mean 
time, as one of the numerous series of less complex products derived 
from the decomposition, in the body, of the effete tissues ; and al- 
though we cannot yet produce it artificially, yet, from the rapid pro- 
gress recently made in the study of the products of decomposition of 
the albuminous substances, we may hope soon, not only to do this, 
but also to discover, from these products, the true formulae of the al- 
buminous compounds. 

2. Notices of a Flood at Frastanz, in the Vorarlberg, in the 

Autumn of 1846. By William Brown, Esq. 

3. Contributions to the Phenomena of the Zodiacal Light. 

By Professor C. Piazzi Smyth. 

The purport of this paper was to place on record certain observa- 
tions made during the years 1843—4—5, in the southern hemisphere, 
at those times of the year when the Zodiacal Light cannot be seen 
in the Northern hemisphere ; to test, by means of these new data, 
— which, besides the novelty of the geographical position, had the 
further one of being determined by instrumental measurement, — 
what laws of the phenomena may be considered to have been satis- 
factorily made out, and what required further elucidation ; and to re- 
commend these latter to the attention of observers situated in more 
favourable parts of the world than those commanded by European 
Observatories generally. 

After discussing the history of the subject, and mentioning the 
results arrived at by different observers, the author mentions the 
manner in which his attention was first particularly directed to the 
subject, describes the particular course of observation which he then 
commenced, and which consisted principally in observing the right 
ascension and declination of the apex of the light, by means of a 
small equatorial instrument of particular construction, which gave 
results not affected with more than 2° of probable error. Combin- 
ing his own observations with those of former investigators, the 
author concludes, that the hypothesis proposed by Cassini, and sub- 
sequently maintained by Laplace, Schubert, Poisson, Biot, and Hum- 
boldt, viz., that the Zodiacal light is in the form of a ring en- 
circling the sun, is decidedly untenable, but that it is rather, as first 
suggested by Marian, and since affirmed by Olbers and Sir John 
Ilerschel, in the form of a lenticular mass. Marian's idea, too, of 
the body being exccntrically disposed about the sun, being endued 
with a rotation, and occasionally crossing the earth's orbit, seems to 
be confirmed. But the exact quantity of such excentricity, the pe- 
rio'l of rotation, the position of the piano of the body, the question of 
any actual periodical increase in the size and brightness of the Zo- 

174 Wernerian Natural History Society. 

diacal light, and the physical nature of that light, whether entirely 
reflected, or whether, as rendered probable by some observations, 
partly direct, are matters for the satisfactory determination of 
which more data are required. For the assistance of those who 
may be inclined to prosecute the inquiry, the author adds descrip- 
tions, both verbal and pictoi-ial, of what tlie Zodiacal light is like, 
what observers may expect to see ; and mentions the times of the 
year at which, in different latitudes, the phenomenon may be best 
seen, together with a number of other attendant circumstances which 
are necessary to be complied with, in order to procure undeniable 

Monday, 2\st February 1848. 
Right Rev. Bishop Terrot, V.P., in the Chair. 
The following Communications were read :^ 

1. Practical Illustrations of the Adjustments of the Equato- 

rial Instrument. By Professor C. Piazzi Smyth. 

2. On the Vertebral Column, and some Characters that have 

been overlooked in the Descriptions both of the Anato- 
mist and Zoologist. By Dr Macdonald. 

Monday, 6th March 1848. 

The Very Rev. Principal Lee, V.P., in the Chair. 

The following Communication was read :— ^ 

On the Theory of the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. By James 
Thomson, Esq., jun., Glasgow. Communicated by Pro- 
fessor Forbes. 

(This memoir printed in the present number of this Jourtial.) 

Wernerian Natural History Society. 

At the meeting of this Society, held on Saturday 22d April, 
Dr Neill, secretary, read a communication from Dr John Davy, de- 
tailing some curious experiments and observations on the urinary 
excrements of the caterpillars of several species of Papilio and Sphinx, 
natives of Barbadoes. (This paper is printed in the present Number 
of this Journal, p. 17, ct seq.) 

At the same meeting, Professor Jameson, president, exhibited 
and described several highly interesting objects ; in particular, a fine 
cast of the head of the Sivatherium fi-om the Himala Mountains, 
with portions of the head itself: also a cast of the Pterodactyle, a 
winaed sort of reptile : likewise magnificent specimens of the teeth 
and great jaw of the Sauroidal Fishes of Agassiz, from the Gilmer- 
ton Quarries — forming undoubtedly the richest collection of remains 
of Sauroidal fishes in Europe. A fine specimen of Platina from 
Siberia, weighing 13 ounces, was also exhibited. 

( 175 ) 



1, On the Question in Natural History, Have Genera, like Spe- 
cies, Centres of Distribution P By Professor E. Forbes. — A species, 
according to the I'eceived opinion of naturalists, is an assemblage of 
individuals related to each other through descent, and derived from 
an original stock. A genus (using the word in its widest sense), is 
a natural group of species having certain characters of organization 
in common, but no relationship of descent. Thus, every dog is an 
individual of a single species, all the members of which are believed to 
be descended from an original pair or stock ; and, on the other hand, 
a fox and a dog are two species of one genus, evidently closely allied, 
but not derived from a common stock. In like manner, among 
vegetables, the individuals of the species apple might be cited on the 
one hand, and the apple and the pear mentioned as two species of 
one genus on the other. Every apple seed produces an apple plant, 
and is the product of a similar plant ; but apples cannot produce 
pears, nor pears apples. Every species, consequent on the relation- 
ship of its several individuals must occupy, or have occupied, a single 
area, within which there is some point or centre where the species 
had its origin. The researches of Professer E. Forbes have shewn, 
that in numerous cases where large assemblages of species, both of 
plants and animals, appeared to occupy more than one area or 
centre, the application of geological research to the elucidation of 
problems of distribution, went to prove that such were only so many 
parts of a common area, broken up by physical changes in the course 
of geological time. The researches of zoologists, botanists, and 
paleontologists, have all tended to shew, that in very numerous in- 
stances, probably in the majority of cases, natural groups of species 
{i. e. genera), of various degrees of limitation, occupied definite areas 
in geological time and geographical space. The assemblage of all 
the members of one great natural group of monkeys in the old world, 
and of all those of the other in the new — and in like manner the 
distribution of marsupials — were quoted to shew that such arrange- 
ment did not depend on mere elemental condition. Numerous instances 
cited from amongst both animals and plants, proved that such was 
the case also in minor groups. The distribution of the genera eden- 
tata and the camels, of those of the violets and hyacinths, was cited 
in illustration of the limitations of generic areas. In time we find 
similar phenomena, of which numerous instances among fossil fishes 
and niolhisca were mentioned, all tending to shew, that when the 
species of a geims once appeared, they either continued, or new forms 
of the same group were added to or replaced thorn, until the genus 
ceased to have representatives ; so tliat each genus might be said to 

176 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 

occupy a definite area in time. So far, researches seem to indicate 
that such areas in time are unique for each genus ; leading to the 
inference by analogy, that the apparent double areas occupied by 
certain genera in space, are also parts of unique areas. The genus 
Mitra was cited in illustration, it having several anomalous outlines 
which the recent researches of the geological survey have shewn 
to have been parts of an originally continuous area m the epoch preced- 
ing the present. 

Areas of genera in space being admitted, it remains to see whether 
such areas had centres, — applying the terms in two senses, viz., 
points of maximum and points of origin. Tables, shewing the man- 
ner in which the species of animals and plants are grouped numeri- 
cally within definite areas in geographical space, were shewn as in- 
dicating that in every such area there is a point of maximum, and 
that the number of species diminished around that point. In like 
manner, in time, the researches of Professor Agassiz among fossil 
marine vertebrata, and of the lecturer among the invertebrata, were 
cited to shew that natural groups or genera, were represented by few 
species at fii'st, increased more or less rapidly to a maximum, and 
then diminished before disappearing. Professor E. Forbes's re- 
searches on the fossils of Southern India go to shew, that in all pro- 
bability the point of origin of a genus is coincident with the point of 
maximum, and possibly with that of its final disappearance. All 
these phenomena presented by the distribution of genera, and indi- 
cating the localization of the type idea, or genus in time and space, 
are remarkably analogous with those presented by the distribution of 
the individuals of a species, although there is no true affinity between 
the two cases. Much yet remains to be done before the numerous 
problems connected with this subject can be solved. They present a 
wide and interesting field of research, offering a rich harvest to its 
explorers, but not to be worked out without the combined aid of 
zoological, botanical, and geological science. — [Atheneeum, No. 1062, 
p. 247, March 4, 1848.)* 

2. M. D'Archiac's results of observations made by him on the 
Quaternary or Diluvian Formation. 

The Quaternary or Diluvian Formation, as we understand it, com- 
prehends all the phenomena, both organic and inorganic, which have 
left traces behind them, between the end of the subapennine period, 
produced by the elevation of the principal chain of the Alps, and the 
commencement of the existing epoch, or modern formation. The 
comparison and co-ordination of all the materials which have been 
published for the ^.ast fifteen years, relating to Europe, Asia, the two 
Americas and Australia, on the products of these phenomena, have 
led us to the following results, which are solely the consequence of 
facts, and may be regarded as independent of all theory on the origin 
of the causes which produced them. It is, in other words, the most 

ScientMc Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 177 

simple expression of which has been secured to science up to the pre- 
sent time. 

\st, The phenomenon of striae and polishing of rocks, considered 
in a general way, has preceded all the deposits of this epoch, and, 
consequently, the development of the marine, lacustrine, and terres- 
trial faunas. If these traces of friction have been produced by gla- 
ciers, the shells called arctic, buried in the clays and sands which 
cover them, are not contemporary with the period of greatest cold, 
since they are found in the very place which the glaciers must have 
occupied. Accordingly, these shell deposits, which seem to indicate 
a lower temperature than what now prevails in the same latitude, 
would likewise prove a more elevated temperature than that of the 
epoch which immediately preceded them. 

2ci, As far as the existing documents permit us to conjecture, the 
terrestrial fauna of the great mammiferous Pachyderms, Ruminants, 
and Carnivora, would likewise be posterior to the phenomenon of 
striae, and partly also to the shell deposits of which I have spoken. 
The cause of its destruction could not therefore be, as has been alleged, 
the low tempei-ature which produced the greatest extension of the 
glaciers, unless these animals were found to belong to the superior 
tertiary formation. But the latter presents very distinct zoological 
characters, its end must coincide very nearly with this same period 
of cold, and, in the centre of Europe, with the upraising of the 
Alps of the Valais. This fauna of vertebrate animals, not less re- 
markable for their size than for their rarity and the number of indi- 
viduals, has lived, like the preceding shells, between the moment of 
the strise phenomenon or of the greatest degree of presumed cold, and 
the cataclysm which destroyed them almost simultaneously in Europe 
and in Asia, in the two Americas, and Australia, and which have en- 
veloped their remains in the sand, gravel, and rolled pebbles of val- 
leys, as well as in the mud of caverns, where we now find them. 

ScZ, If the erratic deposits which enclose these bones have been 
carried by currents arising from the melting of ancient glaciers, it 
must necessarily be that these did not belong to the period of the 
greatest cold ; they must then have been confined to the mountain- 
ous regions to permit the development in the plains and lower grounds, 
not only of the great mammifera, but also of a vegetation sufficiently 
rich to nourish them. There would thus be a very sensible increase 
of the temperature after the moment of the greatest cold represented 
by the strise and most ancient polished rocks, a period, for the dura- 
tion of which, we, as yet, pos.sess no chronometer similar to those 
which geologists employ, and of which we can only assign something 
like the commencement and the end. 

\th. The first erratic phenomenon would be exerted more particu- 
larly in the northern zone of Europe and America, and its effects 
would have been more general ; the second, affecting more especially 
the temperate regions of the two hemispheres, has been subjected to 


178 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy . 

the influence of causes more local, and, at many points, it must have 
had two distinct phases, each characterised by the nature of their 

We are thus led to a more general application of one part of the 
opinion advanced by M. H. D. Rogers, in regard to North America, 
namely, that there have been two erratic phenomena separated by a 
period of repose. It is during the latter that the fauna of marine, 
fluviatile, and terrestrial Molluscs lived, as well as that of the mam- 
miferous Pachyderms, Cai'nivora, and Ruminants, which character- 
ise the quaternary formation. The first of these faunas still exists 
almost entire, while the second has only a small number of represen- 
tatives in actual nature. 

bth. After the phenomenon of strife, there was a sensible sinking 
of the coasts at many points, and at a later period, in almost all 
quarters of the globe, the end of the quaternary epoch has coincided 
with the unequal rising upwards of these same coasts, * * * This 
elevation has varied from a few metres to 450, and perhaps 1000 
metres above the present level of the sea, without enabling us to de- 
termine, in the majority of cases, the dislocations in connection with 
these movements of the ground. 

Gth, Although, in all formations, we meet with pudding-stones, 
breccia, and incoherent conglomerates, it must be admitted that at 
no period of the history of the earth have there been produced on its 
surface, in a very general manner, detritic deposits, owing to me- 
chanical causes, violent and ti-ansitory, and a comparatively small 
quantity of regular sedimentary deposits, marine or lacustrine, which 
owe their origin to the action of tranquil waters. 

1th, Finally, it must be admitted that none of the hypotheses pro- 
posed for, in order to explain the phenomena of the diluvian epoch, 
is sufficient of itself to account for the facts observed, but that the 
agents adduced by . many of them have concurred, eitlier simulta- 
neously or successively, and in diverse proportions, according to cir- 
cumstances, to pi'oduce the results we now witness. Our object ought, 
therefore, to be to determine, in the time and space, the degree of 
influence of the different causes which have produced these effects. 

All the proofs in support of these conclusions will form the first 
part of the second volume of the History of the Progress of 
Geology. — (From VInstitut, No. 742, p. 87.) 

3. Temperature of the Sea at Spitzhergen. — M. Ch. Martins 
submitted, in March 1848, to the French Academy of Sciences, a 
memoir on the temperatures of the Icy sea, at the surface, at great 
depths, and in the neighbourhood of the glaciers of Spitzbergen. 

This memoir is founded on 305 observations of temperature made 
by MM. Bravais, Pettier, and Martins, during four voyages of the 
Recherche, between Hammerfest in Lapland (latitude 70'^ 40' N.), 
and Spitzbergen, as far as latitude 79° 34' N., as well as in the vi- 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 179 

cinity of the glaciers of that island, during the summers of 1838 and 
1839. The principal results flowing from these observations are 
the following : — 

(1.) Temperature of the sea at the surface. \st. In the middle 
of summer the temperature of the Icy sea is sensibly the same as 
that of the air. 2d, At all times, as a mean, that of the sea is a 
little higher, owing to the influence of the gulf-stream, a current of 
warm water, whose origin is in the Gulf of Mexico, and of which 
some of the branches are lost on the western coasts of Spitzbergen. 
Zd, The immense glaciers of Spitzbergen, which dip and fall down 
into the sea, have a very sensible cooling eifect on the surface. The 
coasts of Norway, the glaciers of which do not descend to the level 
of the ocean, tend rather to raise its temperature. 

(2.) Thermometrical soundings at great depths. These tempera- 
tures are always the mean of indication, agreeing well with each other, 
of several thermometers a deversement by M. Walfordin, let down 
to the bottom of the sea together, and protected from the pressure 
by a tube of glass hermetically closed. The scale engraven on the 
stalk is arbitrary, and nine divisions correspond as a mean to a centi- 
grade degree. The following are the most important consequences 
resulting from these experiments. \st. Between 70° 40' and 79° 33' 
latitude N., and from 7° to 21° 15' longitude east from Paris, the 
temperatures of the Icy sea decreased with the depth during the 
month of July and August. 2c?, These temperatures are always 
above zero, at least to the depth of 870 ni6tres, the greatest depth 
at which these experiments were made. 3(i, By comparing the 
temperature of the surface with that of the bottom, and with the 
intermediate temperatures, it was found that the decrease is uniform, 
and as a mean 0°'675 for 100 metres. 4i/«, The temperature of a 
liquid bed is the more equal and constant the deeper it is. 

(3.) Temperature of the sea in the neighbourhood of the glaciers of 
Spitzbergen. \st. In the month of July and August, the tempera- 
ture of the surface, although very near the point of congelation, is 
always above zero. 2d, From the surface to a depth of 70 metres, 
the temperature sometimes increases, sometimes diminishes. 3c?, 
Beyond 70 metres^ it is always decreasing. 4</i, The decrease of 
the temperature between the surface and the bottom is not uniform. 
5<A, Between the surface and 70 metres deep, the temperature is 
never below zero. Qtli, Beyond 70 metres, the temperature of the 
bed which covers the bottom of the sea is below zero. Ith, As a 
mean, the temperature of this bed is 1° 75', and consequently supe- 
rior to that of the maximum density and the point of congelation of 
sea-water, as they have been determined by M. Despretz. Qth, 
These facts admit of easy explanation if we recollect that the maxi- 
nmm of density and the point of congelation of salt-water, are many 
degrees below zero ; and if we consider the complex influences, inter- 
mittent, and of variable intensity, exorcised by the solidification of 

180 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy, 

the surface during winter, the glaciers, the floating ice, tlie tides, and 
currents. — (From Ulnstitut, No. 741, p. 78.) 

4. Analog}/ between the Fossil Flora of the European Miocene 
and the living Flora of America. Professor Agassiz, in a letter 
to R. I. Murchison {Athenteum, No. 1023), says, " I think I made 
a lucky and quite an unexpected hit, by tracing the close analogy be- 
tween the Fossil Flora of the European miocene deposits (molasse) 
and the living Floi'a of the temperate parts of the United States of 
North America. The correspondence extends to all the types of or- 
ganised beings. After having seen the Chelydra alive in the swamps 
here, under the shade of trees analogous to those which cover the 
ancient soil of Oeningen (so celebrated for its profusion of terrestrial 
and fresh-water fossil remains), I cannot help thinking that the cli- 
mate could not have been tropical in Europe at the time when the 
strata of Oeningen were deposited. Again, I may observe, that 
there is the closest affinity between the Flora of the Atlantic shores 
of North America and that of Japan ; v/here we have tlie Megaloba- 
trachus, the corresponding living type of the Andrias, or great fossil 
Salamander of Oeningen. As I am unable to write a paper now, I 
would thank you to make these remarks known before I can pub- 
lish them in extenso.'''' 

5. Burra-Burra Copper Mines in New Holland. — A full and sta- 
tistical account of the condition and prospects of the mines, up to a 
late period, is contained in these volumes. Of the one, in working 
which the greatest progress has yet been made, the Burra-Burra, 
about one hundred miles from Adelaide, we have, in these columns, 
from time to time, furnished our readers with various particulars of 
interest ; and will add a few statistics from the volume before us : — 
" The huge cargoes which have been shipped, the piles of ore we 
had seen at the port, the hundreds of draught-oxen and laden drays 
we met in their progress to the wharf, the thousands of tons of ore 
around the workings, and near the intended smelting-house, their 
daily accumulations, and the reports of credible, unbiassed witnesses, 
had prepared us to expect much ; but before we had passed through 
a sincrle oallerv, as the larger horizontal diverges or levels are very 
properly called, we saw enough to convince us we had commenced the 
examination of a mine incompai'ably richer and mo're productive than 
any mine of any kind we had ever seen in the United Kingdom. . . . 
The present openings or workings consist of twenty-nine shafts or 
winzes, the deepest being one hundred and forty-four ieet (at which 
depth a lode of very rich ore has recently been cut), and they amount, 
in the aggregate, to 1860 feet in depth; also seventy galleries or 
levels, the united 'engths of which measure 7292 feet, or rather more 
than one mile and a half. .... The directors estimate the total 
quantity of ores raised in the twelve months, ending to the 20th ult., 
was 7900 tons ; but, as in calculating the small ores retained for 
smelting at the mine at 1462 tons, they were greatly below the 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 181 

mark, and have been raising largely ever since, the entire quantity 
produced within thirteen months may safely be set down at 10,000 
tons. The prices obtained in the sales of Burra-Burra ores at Swan- 
sea already shew an average of something more than ^£23, 16s. per 
ton ; so that even deducting £8, 16s. per ton for carriage, freight, 
and charges, the mine may be said to have yielded value equal to at 
least £150,000, estimated upon the ground (or at grass, as miners 
would say) ; a*ad all this within the short space of thirteen months 
from the commencement. Nor is this large amount likely to be a 
maximum, for the malachite, red oxide, and other rich kinds of ore, 
have become predominant ; and as the mine is undoubtedly equal to 
the production of 300 tons or more per week of ores likely to yield a 
much higher average than heretofore, it is not difficult to foresee the 
immensity of future returns. The great importance of the operations 
at this mine, as beneficially affecting the trade and commerce of South 
Australia, may be judged of from the fact, that the sums already dis- 
tributed in thirteen months by this one concern, amongst our indus- 
trious settlers, for carriage alone, must have exceeded £10,000 ; 
those expended in wages, and the various items of disbursements, 
£20,000 ; and the British or Colonial freights, which cannot be less 
than £15,000.— (^i/iewffizm, No. 1072, p. 478, 3Iay 13, 1848.) 

6. O'li an Amorphoits Boracite. — When boring for rock-salt at 
Neusalzwerk, in the neighbourhood of Minden, in Prussia, at the 
depth of about 1400 feet, a bed of amorphous boi-acite was found, of 
which specimens were brought out by the boring apparatus. The 
chemical analysis, which proves that the composition of the amor- 
phous mineral is exactly the same as that of the well-known crystal- 
lised body, was made by Dr Karsten in Berlin, particulars of which 
may be seen in the monthly reports of the Berlin Academy. It 
seemed to him interesting to examine if that uncrystallised species 
would shew the pyroelectric quality whic-h, in so high a degree, is 
to be seen in boracite crystals. Sir D. Brewster has pointed out a 
way by which the pyroelectric quality of pulverised tourmaline may 
be shewn. By heating that substance the fine particles cohere to- 
gether, and shew that a polarisation has taken place in them. The 
same phenomenon is to be seen in the particles of the amorphous bo- 
racite by pulverising and heating it on a metallic plate. These bo- 
racite particles shew, by their pyroelectric properties, that they must 
be crystallised, although, by microscopic examination, the crystalli- 
sation cannot be discovered. The conclusion must be, that the dif- 
ference between the crystallised and the amorphous states cannot be 
exactly determined, since the microscopic shews, in this case, no 
crystallisation, where the pyroelcctricity is a proof that we must sup- 
pose a crystalline structure. 

7. On the Fossil Vegetation of Anthracite Coal. — M. J. E, 
Teschcmacher, at tlic recent meeting of the American Association of 
Geologists and Naturalists, read a paper on this subject, confining 

182 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 

his observations to the remains of vegetation found in the body of 
the coal, apart from tliat in the accompanying shales. The princi- 
pal points of the memoir were, that the remains of the larger forms 
of the coal epoch, as well as of the smaller plants, were abundant in the 
coal, contrary to the usual opinion. Specimens were exhibited from 
the interior of the coal, shewing the external and internal parts of 
plants — the vessels — the leaves — the seeds, &c. 

Since the meeting, Mr Teschemacher has continued his investiga- 
tions, and has communicated in a letter to one of the editors the fol- 
lowing results : — 

Isf, What I considered as vessels, were said to be mere mai'ks of 
the sliding of the coal. Prof. Bailey prepared a specimen of this 
by his method, and told me, that if I found vessels there, my propo- 
sition was correct. Examined by Agassiz and myself, with his large 
Obei'hauser, it turns out to be nothing but a mass of perfoi-ated ves- 
sels, as clear and as distinct as if they were recent. M. Agassiz 
observed, " One moment suffices to remove every doubt on the 

2d, What I considered as fossil seeds, were said to be mere pea- 
cock-eye coal : the dark carbonaceoiis centres of these seeds which I 
held to be carbonized cellular matter, was thought to be a mere mis- 
take, and the seeds imaginary. I have since discovered them with 
distinct and clear apparently spinous appendages. M, Agassiz thinks 
the seed a Sumara, and I have found sufficient quantity to pick 
out the carbonaceous matter from the interior with a fine needle — ■ 
decarbonize it in a clean platina crucible over a spirit-lamp, with 
every possible precaution to prevent any foreign substance mixing 
therewith ; on examining this with the Oberhauser, 700 diameters, 
M. Agassiz shewed to Dr Gould and myself the cells as clear and plain 
as possible ; it is a mass of cellular matter, as I stated. You may, 
of course, imagine the extreme tenuity of the parietes of cells of 
seeds when decarbonized, and the difficulty of those less experienced 
than Agassiz in the microscope in managing the subject. He feels 
quite convinced of their being fossil seeds. The nature of the genus 
of plants must require farther examination. 

3a?, The smooth glossy surfaces which I considered the external 
parts of large plants, rendered smooth by intense pressure, were said 
to be nothing more than slickenslides. My position here is proved 
much more easily than in the other cases, by specimens passing gra- 
dually from the smoother through different degrees of protuberance 
(all still smooth and polished), until we arrive at the full form of the 
Lepidodendron. Nay, more, I have found the parallel lines (chan- 
nels) which are on the slickenslides, also on the perfectly formed 
Lepidodendron. The correctness of my views here I could prove to 
the most sceptical. 

The discoveries still to be made on this subject are numerous 
and important, and I doubt not that the investigation of the coal 

Scientific Intelliyence — Geology and Mineralogy. 183 

itself will soon solve the doubts hitherto existing in the comparison 
of the coal fossils with recent plants. 

I will merely add, that I have found quite distinctly the impres- 
sion of the cellular cuticle of some of those plants, which, of course, 
cannot be seen in an impression on shale, the grains of the sedimen- 
tary matter being as large as the surface of the cells ; but on the 
pasty mass of the coal the impression is perfect. — {American Journal 
of Science and Arts, vol. iv., No. xii., p. 420.) 

8. Artificial Colours in Agate. — The change of colour produced 
artificially in the agates by the workers in them at Oberstein, an 
art learned from the Italians, and to which Mr Hamilton calls atten- 
tion in his communication, stating his belief (referring also to the 
labours of M. Noeggerath) that not a tew of the onyxes which have 
come down from ancient times were thus treated, is of much interest 
miueralogically, since it shews the very different porosity of different 
layers in the agates, the least porous bands not being necessarily the 
nearest to the centre, but dispersed irregularly thi-oUgh the mass. To 
this porosity JNIr Hamilton calls attention, citing the researches of 
M. Noeggerath, who states, that in some layers the minute hollows 
can be seen by means of a magnifying glass ; that, while some are 
round, others are long, and that they sometimes run into one another. 
These hollows, Mr Hamilton considers, may form interstices between 
the radiating crystals. By immersion for some time in honey and 
water or olive oil, so that the pores of the agate become more or less 
filled with a substance to be carbonised, a subsequent soaking of the 
stone in sulphuric acid produces a difference in the tints of the agate 
according to the porosity of the layers, the most porous becoming- 
black, while the least porous remain white or uncoloured. By im- 
mersion in a solution of sulphate of iron, and a subsequent heating 
of the agate, a carnelian red is in like manner obtained for the most 
porous layers, the iron being converted into a peroxide, while the 
least porous layers continue unchanged in colour. It would be out 
of place further to dwell upon the infiltration of mineral matter in 
solution into the isolated cavities of rocks. The mode in which the 
various minerals occur is highly interesting, as also their connection 
with the matter filling veins and fissures in adjoining parts of the 
same or adjacent rocks, as, for example, the filling of the fissures in 
the red conglomerate by the same kind of siliceous matter which 
entered into the cavities of the igneous rocks of Idal, the layers hav- 
ing, in both cases, adjusted themselves to the surfaces on which they 
were accumulated. — (.Sir Henry T. De la Beckers Address, delivered 
at the Anniversary Meeting of the Geological Society of London, on 
the 18th February 1048, p. 55.) 

9. The Coal of the Kangra Valley. — The mention of Dr Jame- 
son's labours in the Kangra districts reminds us of the question 
whether good coal is to bo found there. Much has been written upon 
the subject by some of our Mofussil contempoi'aries, and we believe 

184 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Miner alogij. 

an officer has been specially deputed to examine the tract. Frora 
what we have heard, and our authority is one we can rely upon, the 
coal occasionally met with is nothing but lignite, and there is little 
probability of true bituminous coal being found in quantity in that part 
of the country, as the formation in which it invariably occurs is en- 
tirely wanting, and — to use technical terms — the saliferous rocks 
which fornj the Kangra valley in general rest on the Silurian system. 
In this system, the only coal met with is glance-coal or anthracite, 
which is not bituminous. The same saliferous formations extend to 
Kalabagh, on the western bank of the Indus ; and there also lignite 
has been found associated with rock-salt, gypsum, &c. This is not 
a new discovery, though a mistaken view of its importance has lately 
led to undue agitation on its behalf, in the hope that the Indus 
steamers would derive benefit from the working of mines in this 
direction. So far back as 1840, if we mistake not, Dr Jameson him- 
self reported that no coal worth working would be found at Kala- 
bagh, and that the formations there prevalent extended along the foot 
of the Himalayas, and in Jelalpore, Bimber, Chumba, Kangra, Mundi, 
Belaspore, up to Kumaon, and probably still farther to the eastward. 
In the Journals of the Asiatic Suciety for 1842 and 1843 are re- 
corded Dr Jameson's notices upon this subject; his detailed i-eport 
on the geology of AfFghanistan and the Punjaub remains, we believe, 
in manuscript in Leadenhall Street. Mr Thornton, or his scien- 
tific coadjutor, in that gentleman's Gazetteer of the countries ad- 
jacent to India, has made an attack on Dr Jameson, with reference 
to these very opinions on coal, as likely to be found in the North 
Punjaub. In the article Punjab, after stating, on the authority of 
Burnes and Wood, that " coal exists about the Salt range at Muk- 
kud, on the left bank of the Indus, and in the localities of Joa, 
Meealee, and Nummul," the Gazetteer goes on in a foot-note, — 
" Dr Jameson, an agent of the Anglo-Indian government, despatched 
to obtain information respecting the coal-measures which Wood and 
Burnes reported they had examined in the Salt range, stated his opi- 
nion as follows : — ' To the question. Is any good coal to be found in 
quantity in this district '? we would at once answer, decidedly not.' 
This dictum will probably seem precipitate and rash to those who 
know that the important coal-fields of Flintshire, Denbighshire, and 
Gloucestershire, are connected with the saliferous deposits of Che- 
shii'e and Worcestershire. It would be at once idle and illiberal to 
detract from the merits of the valuable information which Dr Jame- 
son has given respecting the Punjab, but in such inquiries it is al- 
ways well to remember Bacon's maxim, Prudens interrogatio dimi- 
dium scientice^ This remark, as far as it is intended for a rebuke 
to the party at whom it was aimed, falls innocuous, inasmuch as his 
views, taken together, are perfectly correct in themselves, and we un- 
derstand have been confirmed by subsequent investigations. That 
the coal-formation may be found to the north and north-west of 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 185 

Chumba and Bimber, is not at all improbable, and it is in that direc- 
tion search should now be made. From what we have heard, there 
is not a greater likelihood of good bituminous coal being found in the 
Kangra valley than in the Dherah Dhoon, where small seams of lig- 
nite are frequently to be met with in the sandstone associated with 
the red and green marls. 

10. On the Silification of Plants and Animals. — The beautiful 
manner in which silica has entered the interstices of vegetable mat- 
ter, even shewing the succulent parts of plants which must have been 
in a state of partial decay, is well known. We have the finest vege- 
table tissues most perfectly pi'eserved by means of silica. It will be 
in the recollection of the Society, that Doctor Mantell pointed out to 
us in this i-oom, what he considered the soft parts of molluscs also pre- 
served in silica. Yesterday only, I received a communication from 
Mr Charlesworth, in which he informs me, that in a collection which 
constitutes part of the well-known museum of Miss Benett of Wilt- 
shire, he had found several examples of Trigonice with their branchise 
well preserved in silica. As silica may have, and has filled up 
cavities left by shells, thus giving us the most perfect representation 
in silica of that which was once carbonate of lime, great care is of 
course required, so that the mere filling up of the interior of univalve 
and bivalve shells, before the matter of the shells themselves disap- 
peared, or even when these are stiU left, be not taken for the pre- 
served remains of the fleshy portions of the molluscs. We should 
expect, in cases of real preservation, as in those of vegetables, that 
the original tissue would be found by slicing in the usual manner. 
Mr Charlesworth, who also forwarded a lithographic plate to appear 
with descriptions, in the next number of his Geological Journal, 
considers that in the specimens he notices, the fleshy parts of the 
Trigonise are really silicified, and states that the silica has only pre- 
served some of the soft parts, without filling the entire cavity of the 
shell, and so that the filaments of the branchise have all the appear- 
ance of an elaborate piece of dissection. Certainly the entire cavity 
of the shell not being filled up, is very important, and as we find 
that the tissue of succulent vegetables has been preserved in silica, 
it may be fairly asked, why may not the fleshy parts of molluscs be 
thus also preserved? — Sir Henry T. De la Beche, V.P.R.S., p. 98, 
Aicniversary Sleeting, February 1848.* 

11. Reptilian Remains in the Coal Formation. — As regards 
geological interest, one of the most remarkable palseontological dis- 
coveries of the year has been that of a reptile skull by Von Dechen 
in a nodule of ironstone from near Lebach, in the Saarbriick palseo- 

* liuch's observatious on the subject are interesting, and the papers in the 
Werneriun Memoirs arc deserving of notice. — Ed. 

186 Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 

zoic coal district. According to Goldfuss, who assigned the name 
Archigosaurus Dechcni to the reptile thus found, it is a kind of a 
crocodile-lizard, the skull not resembling that of the Emydosauri, 
which are nearest to it in geological date, but that of the true croco- 
diles now existing. At the same time, there are characters in the 
skull, which is 6^ inches long (Rhine measure), shewing it to par- 
take of the lizard. Regarding the skull to have formed the same 
proportion to the entire reptile, as in the young crocodile, this speci- 
men would have belonged to an individual measuring 3 feet 8 inches. 
Mr Lyell mentioned the discovery by Dr King, in 1844, of rep- 
tile foot-tracks upon sandstones in Pennsylvania, considered equiva- 
lent to part of the palseozoic coal-measures of the British islands ; 
indeed the Greensburg sandstone is stated to occur in the very midst 
of the Appalachian coal-field, the main Pittsburg seam of coal being 
worked 100 feet above it. — (Sir Henry T. De la Beche, V.P.R.S., 
Anniversary Address.) 

12. On the Structure and I'eratology of Crystallised Bodies. 
By M. A. Baudrimont (Comptes JRendus, Nov. 8, 1847, p. 668). 
— M. Baudrimont gives the following table of observations made by 
him on the cleavage of calc-spar. It is interesting, as shewing that 
while the fact that the vertical axis is normally an axis of symmetry, 
as demonstrated by the crystallisation, and by optical, therniome- 
tric, and acoustic investigations, still extrinsic circumstances cause 
some variations from perfect symmetry in the cleavage.* The cleav- 
ages observed are as follow : — 

(1.) Parallel to the faces of the primary rhombohedron. 2. Paral- 
lel to the longer diagonal of the primary faces. 3. Parallel to the 
shorter diagonal of the primary faces. 4. Parallel to different se- 
condary planes. 

(2.) Cleavage parallel to the primary rhombohedron. Equal in 
three directions (normal) ; rare. Iceland Spar. Equal in two di- 
rections; less rare. Unequal in three directions ; common. 

(3.) Cleavage parallel to the longer diagonal of the primary faces. 
In a single direction ; quite common. In two directions, unequal ; 
more rare. In three directions ; vej-y rare. 

Irised appearances and coloured bands are produced by this kind 
of cleavage. In all cases, images are polarized in directions parallel 
to the diagonals of the faces of the rhombohedron. 

(4.) Cleavage parallel to the smaller diagonal of the primary faces. 
In one direction ; very rare. Produces a species of coloured rings. 
M. Baudrimont gives details, shewing also that the lustre and trans- 

* It would add greatly to the value of these observations, if the mode of at- 
tachment of the crystal to the sujjportiiig rock were mentioned, as the axis of 
f.Uachmtnt (unless it were the vertical axis exactly) would be under a diflFerent 
condition from the other homolofrous axes of the crystal. 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 187 

parency vary like the cleavage, and that the plane-angles at tlic sum- 
mit are often unequal. — {American Journal of Science and Arts, 
New Series, vol. v.. No. 15, May 1848, p. 419.) 

13. M. Ebelmen on Artificial Hyalite and Hydrophane. (Aca- 
demy of Sciences, Dec. 4, 1847, L'Institut, No. 727.) — About two 
years since, Ebelmen presented to the Academy several products ob- 
tained by exposing silicic ether to moist air ; one of these is as trans- 
parent and colourless as quartz-crystal ; the others have an opaline 
tint, but in water they become as transparent as native hydrophane. 
The specimens now presented were of much larger dimensions, and 
are in the form of hemispherical lenses obtained in glass-globes ; they 
have remained entire, notwithstanding the considerable shrinkage 
which they have suffered. One of these lens-shaped masses is 5 or 
6 centimetres in diameter ; it has hardened during five or six months, 
and the molecular movement in it has not yet ceased. 

In mixing silicic ether with coloured alcoholic solutions, various 
tints of colour are imparted to the product. One of the most re- 
markable of these effects is from the employment of chloride of gold, 
which colours the silica of a beautiful topaz-yellow. After a time, 
and under the influence of diffuse light, flakes of gold, with the me- 
tallic lustre and brilliancy, are developed in the midst of the solid 
mass, giving it the appearance of aventui-ine. The development of 
metallic plates, in the midst of a solid mass, is a very remarkable 
molecular phenomenon, the study of which cannot fail to be of interest 
in explaining the origin of natural aventurine. Exposure to the di- 
rect light of the sun colours the aventurine of chloride of gold, of a 
blue violet or rose colour, remaining quite transparent. Thus, by 
the humid mode, we can reproduce the rose colour which is imparted 
by the dry mode to glass by gold. When the crystals of gold, pro- 
duced in the midst of the siliceous mass, are very numerous, a green 
colour can be observed in it by transmitted light. 

The diaphanous silica obtained by silicic ether, may be compared 
to the hyalite of mineralogists, which possess no double refraction. 
Hyalite is much hardei*, and the amount of water it contains does 
not exceed j\%, whilst the product obtained by M. Ebelmen con- 
tains 22 per cent, of water. The artificial product, however, con- 
tinues for a long time to lose water under the influence of a very 
gentle molecular change. The author has observed that, after more 
than two years' exposure to air, the product contains not more than 
19 per cent, of water; dried at 115° C, the diaphanous silica loses 
its water and becomes slightly opaline. It regains several centimes 
of this water by further exposure at the common temperature, but 
without recovering its transparency. 

14. Geoloijy of the Coasts of Australia. By J. Becte Jukes, 

188 Scientijic Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy^ 

Esq., M.A., F.G.S. — In a memoir by Mr Jukes, he gives a short 
abstract of all the information collected by various travellers regard- 
ing the Australian continent, including his own observations. 

The eastern coast is occupied by a great range of high land, ap- 
pearing like a continuous chain of mountains when seen from the sea, 
and rising in several places to 5000 feet or more above the sea-level. 
The chain has an axis of granite, with occasional large masses of 
greenstone, basalt, and other igneous rocks. It is flanked on both 
sides by thick beds of palseozoic formations, chiefly sandstone, but 
also containing limestone and coal. In the northern portion of the 
chain, Dr Leichardt found similar formations, and especially trap 
and granite near the Burdekin river. In the Port-Philip district 
there are similar igneous rocks, and on the coast tertiary formations, 
which Mr Jukes found resting on the edges of upturned palaeozoic 
beds. In West Australia, the Darling range consists of granite 
below, covered by metamorphic rocks ; and between it and the sea 
is a plain composed of tertiary beds. In the colony of North Aus- 
tralia, there is a great sandstone plateau, rising about 18U0 feet above 
the sea, and probably of palasozoic age ; whilst on the immediate shore, 
and round the gulf of Carpentaria are beds supposed to belong to the 
tertiary pei'iod. Similar formations constitute the substratum of the 
central desert, in which Captain Sturt was compelled to turn when 
halfway to the Gulf of Carpentaria, from the southern coast. Hence 
Mr Jukes conjectures that these tertiary rocks are probably continuous 
through the whole central region, and that, during the tertiary pe- 
riod, all this portion of the country was submerged, whilst the high 
lands on the coast rose like four groups of islands from a shallow sea. 
In confirmation of this view, he remarked that a greater diflerence 
existed between the plants and animals of New iSouth Wales and 
Western Australia, though in the same latitude, than between those 
at the southern and nox'thern extremities of the eastern chain of 
mountains, distant 20° of latitude from each other. — (^Geological 
Jouriial, No. 14, vol. iv., p. 142.) 

15. Present and Former Extent of the Island of Heligoland. By 
M. Wiehel. — It appears (1.), that the well-known map of Heligoland 
by Meyer, according to which the island once contained nine parishes, 
is entirely a work of the imagination ; (2.) that, on comparing the map 
made in the year 1793 by the Danish engineer, Wessel, of which, how- 
ever, only a three-inch reduction remains, with the author's own mea- 
surements, " the co-efficient of destruction in a century for the whole 
circumference of the rock washed by the sea, does not on the average 
amount to more than three feet ;" (3.), that, in the time of Adam 
of Bremen (an extended description by whom is still in existence), 
and of Charlemagne, the island was only a little larger than at pre- 
gent. — {Geological Journal, vol. iv., No. 14.) 

Scientific Intelligence — Geology and Mineralogy. 189 

16. On the Transporting Power of Currents, By Professor W. 
B. Rogers. — Professor W. B. Rogers remarked, that it was much 
to be regretted that we were yet in possession of no certain data on 
the subject of the transporting power of cui'rents. The usual state- 
ments, affirming, that at a certain rate of motion a stream will carry 
forward sand, at another gravel, &c., are evidently fallacious, as the 
important condition of the smooth or rough configuration of the bot- 
tom is not taken into account. The problem is one of great diffi- 
culty, requiring an accurate determination of the velocity at the bot- 
tom and sides of the stream, where in ordinary cases the slow trans- 
porting action is in progress ; and this velocity, it is well known, 
differs from that of the axis of the stream, and from the average 
speed of tlie whole mass, which is the datum usually sought by the 
engineer. The investigation of the subject systematically was urged 
by Professor Rogers as of fundamental interest in geological as well 
as hydrographical science, and he hoped that ere long the Association 
would institute a series of researches with that view. — (Sillhnan'' s 
Journal of Science and Arts ; Second Series, No. 13, vol. v., 
p. 115.) 

•' 17. On the Occurrence of Ores of Mercury in the Coal Forma- 
tion of Saarbrilck. By Herr Von Dechen. — In a lecture before the 
Society of the Lower Rhine, Herr Von Dechen notices this singular 
fact. These ores are, in general, very rare, and, in this place, occur 
in the upper division of the carboniferous group in beds belonging 
to the productive coal formation, or even to a higher part of the 
series, in which previously they were not known to be found in 
any part of the earth. In this district they are confined to its 
eastern portion; Baumholder, in the district of St Wendel, being 
the most western point where they have been found, the Kellerberg, 
near Weinsheini, the most nortlaern, Nack, near Erbesliidesheim, 
the most eastern. " They occur in veins ' in the normal beds of the 
coal formation, in the melaphyres, the amygdaloids, and the felspar 
porphyries ; these massive rocks lying within the range of the car- 
boniferous strata. They are also found disseminated and in fissures 
in beds of sandstone of this formation, as at Miinster-Appel and 
Waldgrehweiler, wholly unconnected with true veins. The associa- 
tion with the ores of mercury of certain claystones and hornstones, 
which are not in general found so much developed in this formation, 
is very j-emarkable. Within the limits mentioned, ores of mercury 
have been observed in thirteen different localities, some of which 
range in straight lines. The longest of these lines reaches from 
Katzenbach, over the Stahlberg, Landsberg, near Obermoschel, to 
the Kellerberg, and is about fourteen (three German) miles in ex- 
tent. — (Geological Journal, No. 14, p. 33.) 

190 Scientific Intelligence — Botany. 


18. On the Plant which furnished the jprecious wood called Ebony, 
and on the country from which the Hebrevjs exported it. By M. 
Ant. Bertoloni. — The ebony of Ezekiel and Solomon was a pro- 
duct of Ethiopia, which agrees perfectly with what Herodotus, Athe- 
iieus, Strabo, and other authors, have written on the subject. But 
have we direct proofs that this ebony has been since found grow- 
ing spontaneously in that country 1 Is the tree which produced it 
known to botanists ? Theophrastus, in speaking of ebony, says that 
it is a tree having the appearance of a Cytisus, and by a Cytisus 
he meant the Cytisus Laburnum, Linn., which has papilionaceous 
flowers arranged in long clusters, and composite leaves. 

M. C. Fornasini, who has long resided in Inanbane in Mozam- 
bique, in the neighbourhood of Caflfraria, and near Sofala, sent me, 
some time ago, says the author, specimens, with leaves and flowers, 
of a plant which is considered in that country as the true ebony, and 
stating that the tree was common among the CaflPres and in the 
surrounding countries. The flowers are papilionaceous, and its 
leaves composite ; it was thus easy for me to recognise in it the 
ebony with the appearance of a Cytisus described by Theophrastus : 
Dendron thammodes Cytisi modo. I also received a piece of the 
wood of this tree, which enabled me to determine its qualities. On 
examining the flower and fruit, 1 do not find that it can be referred 
to any of the known genera of Papilionacise or Leguminosfe, which 
leads me to suppose that it has hitherto escaped the notice of 
botanists, and ought to constitute a new genus, which I have thought 
proper to name Fornasinia, after the discoverer : — Fornasinia 
ebenifera, Bert. Arbor. Habitat in Ethiopia Caffrorum prope 
Mozambico. Lingua Caffrorum appellatur Muzzonghe. — This ge- 
nus is intermediate between Lonchocarpus of Humboldt and Bon- 
pland, and Neuroscapha of Tulasne. — (^From L'Jnstitut, No. 743, 
p.. 96.) 

19. Preservation of the Forests in the JV. W. P. of India. — 
Sometime in the year 1842 we entered at considerable length, in 
three different issues, on the absolute necessity that existed for the 
adoption of some immediate steps on the part of Government to pre- 
vent the gradual deterioration and ultimate extinction of the forests 
still existing in these provinces, and which were rapidily disappear- 
ino' before the axe of the woodman, no measures being in the mean- 
while taken to replace the trees that were felled. We quoted largely 
the opinions subn itted to Government by Dr Falconer, Capt. Cautley, 
and Mr Neave, and also adduced the reasonings embodied in a paper 
drawn up for a similar purpose by the writer of the present article. 
We moreover took frequent opportunities of recurring to the subject 

Scientific Intelligence — Botany. 191 

in the hope that repeated agitation might, at length, open the eyes 
of the authorities to the necessity of active interference, and were at 
one time so far successful that a subordinate officer was appointed 
to the charge of the Dhera Dhoon forests, while IMr Vansittart was 
superintendent ; but the severe sickness of the first incumbent, and 
the subsequent occurrence of grave political events having intervened, 
the attention of Government was diverted from this very important 
subject. We are, however, happy to learn that the matter has been 
revived, and that a committee have lately been appointed, consisting 
of Colonel Boileau, superintending engineer, N. W. P., Mr Edwardes, 
superintendent of Simlah, and Dr Jameson, superintendent of the 
Botanic Gardens, N. W. P., to report on the forests in the Simlah 
jurisdiction, as wood is becoming scarce in the neighbourhood of 
cantonments, and will of course become daily more so if Government 
do not take immediate steps to remedy the evil ; Dr Jameson pro- 
ceeds shortly to Simlah, to meet his colleagues, and we hope soon 
to hear of some eftectual measures being devised. In former days 
the British Government considered the hills so useless, that they 
actually searched everywhere for the heirs of the former hill-chiefs, 
who had been driven from their possessions by the Goorkas, in order 
to re-instate them, and the result is that even a few miles of hill 
land are procurable with the utmost difficulty, and that all the wood 
now supplied to the hill sanataria is purchased from foreign states. 
Ere long a large tract of hills, viz., the whole country between the 
Ganges and Jumna, will lapse to the Government, as the present 
Teeree Rajah is old and feeble, and cannot live much longer. He 
has no legitimate children, and it is devoutly to be hoped that any 
claims that may bo set up on behalf of his natural children will not 
be considered. On his territory coming under British rule, as we 
hope it will, there will be an uninterrupted tract of hill land in our 
possession from the Jumna to the Kalee in Kumaon, with the 
snowy range as a boundary to the north. 

20. The Tea Plantations in the N.-W. Provinces of India, and 
the Culture of American Cotton in India. — In the Journal of the 
Agri-Horticultural Society of India, the leading article, whicii is also 
the longest and most valuable, is descriptive of the tua planta- 
tions in Kumaon and Gurhwal, and of the mode of manufactu- 
ring black and green teas. It is from the pen of Dr Jameson, 
superintendent of the Botanic Gardens of Upper India, and is 
drawn up in the shape of a report to the Lieutenant-Governor of 
the N.-W. Provinces. A clearly-detailed and well-arranged paper, 
we doubt not it will be perused with pleasure by all who take an in- 
terest in so important a culture. Apart from the satisfactory view 
it affords of what has hitherto been effected, it gives much useful 
information on many other points, and is therefore likely to prove a 
valuable guide to those who may hereafter bo induced to carry out 

192 Scientific Intelligence — Botany. 

on an extended scale, the work in which the Government are now 
actinof the part of pioneers. We cannot undertake to give an ab- 
stract of this report, further than to mention, that the nurseries in 
Dr Jameson's charge occupy altogether 162 acres, all under culture. 
Of these, rather more than 30 acres were added during last year. 
That, in addition to the plants i-eserved for manufacturing purposes, 
these nurseries have lately yielded two and a-half lac of seedlings, 
ready for transplanting at the time the report was furnished, and of 
which the greater part has been appropriated for the additional land 
selected in. the Dherah Dhoon. A crore and upwards of seeds have 
been acrain sown, which will give a large additional stock for trans- 
planting. About twelve maunds of tea have been manufactured, both 
green and black varieties, from such plants as were of sufficient size 
for plucking. This, consequently, does not shew the total amount 
that 162 acres will yield; because, it must be remembered, that a 
tea shrub does not come into full bearing before the eighth year, and 
the oldest of these plantations were established, we believe, only ele- 
ven years since, while others have been added to, as mentioned above, 
during 1847. Perhaps this return scarcely gives one-twelfth of what 
the yield of nurseries of the present size will be when all the plants 
have arrived at maturity, seeing that an acre of land, covered with 
full-bearing plants, should yield a maund of tea in a manufactured 
state ; and this, it is estimated, will not only pay the expense of culti- 
vating, allowing the produce to yield three rupees a seer — by no means 
a hio-h rate — but give a fair profit to compensate for the loss of in- 
terest on capital during the earlier period of their growth. The re- 
port gives full particulars regarding the mode of growing the plant, 
and the proper season for plucking and gathering leaves. The num- 
ber of hands who are now being trained up in this department, and 
in that of manufactux'ing, will prove most useful auxiliaries to the 
European planter on a future, and, we trust, not distant day ; his 
capital and energy, in combination with their skill and experience, 
will probably eft'ect a change which can scarcely fail to prove bene- 
ficial to all concerned. The introduction of this culture will be the 
means of encouraging the settlement of Europeans ; of throwing a 
large amount of capital into what is at present a poor country, add- 
ing thereby to the comfort of the population genei'ally, especially the 
agricultural section ; and of augmenting considerably the small sum 
at present yielded to the State, in the shape of revenue, by these 
hill provinces. Moreover, the advantages arising from the intro- 
duction into the markets of Upper India of a wholesome beverage, 
sufficiently cheap for the consumption of the middling classes of the 
native communiy, and for supply to the commissariat, for the use of 
our European soldiery, are too palpable to need demonstration. In 
this light alone, the experiments now in progress must be viewed 
with interest and pleasure. But it is not solely to the provinces of 
Kumaon and Gurhwal that we have to look. Further inspection has 

Scientific Intelligence — Botany. 193 

proved the capability of various other spots, immediately to the west 
of the Jumna, for the culture of this important staple. Moreover, 
we are informed that, during the present cold season, Dr Jameson 
has not only selected many new sites in theKangra valley, but com- 
menced operations, by the despatch of several hundred thousands of 
seedlings. Besides this, the fact which we announced some time ago, 
that the Supreme Government had determined on the establishment 
of tea plantations along the whole of the mountainous part of the north- 
west frontier, from the Sutledj and the new country west of it to the 
Kali, coupled with the circumstance, that an annual grant of a lac 
of rupees has been lately authorised to carry them on in an efficient 
manner, prove that our rulers are fully alive to the importance of 
firmly establishing this culture in Upper India. Should these en- 
deavours prove successful, and private skill and capital be employed 
hereafter to continue what the State has so happily begun, it is not 
going beyond the bounds of probability to expect, that, in the course 
of time, tea, the produce of our own dominions, will not only com- 
pete successfully with that of China in the market of this metropolis, 
but add another to our list of export articles. 

The next paper is contributed by Dr Robert Wight, superintend- 
ent of the Government cotton-farms in the Coimbatore District, — 
On the Culture of the American Cotton in India, and the proper 
time for sowing it in various localities. We had expected a longer 
and more elaborate paper on a subject of such importance ; neverthe- 
less, as the remarks of one having considerable experience of this 
staple, and possessing an intimate knowledge of physiological botany, 
we can scarcely doubt they will prove valuable to those engaged in 
a similar pursuit. Dr Wight is of opinion, that in his district, as 
indeed throughout the western coast of the Peninsula, where the NE. 
monsoon is usually of short duration, July is the most favourable 
time for sowing the Mexican variety ; while August and all Septem- 
ber is the best season for localities along the eastern coast, the same 
monsoon being there of gi-eater force, and extending over a longer 
period ; and that as respects districts subject to the SW. monsoon, 
" the last week of May and all June will probably be found the most 
suitable seasons, the exact time being determined by the individual 
season and avei-age duration of the rains at each station." 

Dr Campbell, the superintendent of Darjeeling, communicates, in 
the third article, an experiment which he has instituted on the cul- 
ture of the tea-plant at that sanatarium, and which promises a fa- 
vourable result. He thinks it reasonable to expect quite as good tea 
to be produced there as at Kumaon, and in that opinion he is sup- 
ported by Dr Jameson. Darjeeling possesses an advantage over tho 
Kumaon and Gurhwal provinces in point of elevation, being 7000 
feet above the sea. Dr Campbell promises to report progress. We 
shall watch it with attention. The introduction of this valuable plant 


194 Scientific Intelligence — Zoology. 

within so short a distance of the metropolis is a matter of no little 
interest, as connected with the extension of its cultivation. 


21. Equus Hemionus. — By the exertions of Captain Ramsay, the 
senior assistant in Gurhwal, aided by the commissioner, Mr Lushing- 
ton, slavery, which was carried on in that country to some extent, has 
been entirely abolished, also all transit duties. While alluding to 
Kumaon affairs, we may mention here, more prominently than has 
hitherto been done, as it will be interesting to Zoologists, that a live 
specimen of the Kiang or wild horse {Equus hemionus), was pur- 
chased at Bagesur by the Lieut. -Governor, and is now en route to 
Calcutta, from whence it will be at once despatched by the overland 
route to the Zoological Society of London. It is now some eighteen 
months old, and is about twelve hands in height. It was caught 
when very young on the elevated (15,000 feet) plains of Thibet, and 
has been thoroughly tamed ; there is every probability therefore 
that it will reach England in good condition, and form, together 
with the wild Bulls or Aurochs lately presented by the Emperor of 
llussia, a great object of attraction at the gardens in Regent's Park. 

22. Dr M. Barry^s Physiological Discoveries. — In the last 
Number of the British and Foreign Medical Review, edited by Dr 
Forbes, a distinguished physiologist has the following remarks in 
regard to Dr Martin Barry's important physiological discoveries : — 

" The writer of the remarks in question, after shewing the im- 
portance of the combination of anatomical and physiological investi- 
gations with zoological researches, states that M. Milne Edwards, in 
several of his later Memoirs, ' has even adopted the principle, that 
embryology affords our best and surest guide in classification ; as it 
is by the study of development that we are enabled most certainly to 
distinguish between those essential chai'acters on which affinity de- 
pends, and those accessory characters which are engrafted (so to 
speak) on the original type for some special purpose. This doctrine 
was first formally enunciated by him in a Memoir on the Principles 
of the Natural Classification of Animals, published by him in 1844 :* 
in which he points out that the condition of the earliest germ of all 
animals is the same ; namely, the simple cell : — that the earliest 
phases of its development differ according to the sub- kingdom to 
which it belongs, whether radiated, molluscous, articulated, or verte- 
brated, and that the distinctive characters of these sub-kingdoms are 
consequently those first evolved ; — that, in the further progress of 
development, the characters of the classes next present themselves, 
then those of the orders, then those of the families, genera, and 
species consecutively, and lastly those of the individual. We are 

* Annales des Sciences Naturelles, N. S. Zooh, tome i., p. 65. 

Scientific Intelligence — Zoology. 195 

quite sure,' continues the writer, ' that Professor Milne Edwards 
could not have been aware that he had been completely anticipated 
in this doctrine by Dr Martin Barry ; or, with his accustomed can- 
dour, he would have alluded to the circumstances. Dr Barry's views, 
contained in two papers in Professor Jamesons Edinburgh New 
Philosophical Journal for January and April 1837, are most clearly 
expressed. ***** In the Brst of these 

papei-s, he works out the important principle of Von Baer, — that ' a 
heteroo-eneous or special structure can only arise out of one more 
homogeneous or general, and this by a gradual change ;' and applies 
this to the difFerent directions of development, which present them- 
selves in the primary subdivisions of the animal kingdom at a very 
early period of the history of the embryo, pointing out at the same 
time (as M. Milne Edwards has subsequently done) that this fact 
completely negatives the idea that the vertebrated animal ever passes 
throuoh the conditions which are characteristic of the radiated, the 
molluscous, or the articulated. He further shews that the order in 
which the distinctive characters of the germ are evolved, is that of 
their generality in the animal kingdom. ' Thus, in development, 
the structure characteristic of the vertcbrata only cannot manifest 
itself until there has been assumed essentially a structure common 
to animals, of which the vertebrata are but a part, and to whose type 
the type of the vertebrata is subordinate. In like manner, structures 
subordinate to the type of the vertebrata cannot manifest themselves, 
until after a modified appearance of the general type, of which they 
are but partial metamorphoses. More and more special forms are 
thus reached in succession, until the one most special is at length 
attained.' In his second paper, he expresses this view still more 
clearly, in the following table of the history of development of any 
single organism : — 

1. No appreciahU difference in the germs of all animals (fundamental 


2. The class manifest, but the utxler not distinguishable. 

3. The order manifest, but not the family. 

4. The family manifest, but the genus not known. 

5. The genus obvious, but not the species. 

6. The species manifest, but the variety unpronounced. 

7. The variety obvious, but the sexual difference scarcely apparent. 

8. The sexual character obvious, hntthe individual chavactei dbscave. 

9. The individual character in its most special form. 

" In both papers Dr Barry continually puts forth this principle as 
the groundwork of classification. Thus he says : ' The only sure basis 
for classification is — not structure, as met with in the perfect state, 
when function tends to embarrass, but — the history of the develop- 
ment, at that period when structure presents itself alone.' And 
again : the fact is, that naturalists have begun just where they should 
have ended. They have attended to details, but neglected general 

196 Scientific Intelligence — Zoology. 

principles. Instead of analysing, their process has been one of syn- 
thesis. Their attention has been directed to the grouping of the 
twigs, — as if they were thus to find their natural connexions, with- 
out even looking for assistance towards the branches, or the trunk 
that gave them forth. But the simile is inadequate ; the labour 
lost has been greater than even this supposes. For in the grown tree 
of animal structure, parts, once essentially the same, have not only 
diverged in their development, and become elaborated into very dif- 
ferent forms, — but, as before said, perform very different functions 
also. Hence a positive in addition to a negative source of error. 
But what other course could naturalists have taken \ Truly none : 
their ' circumstance' allowed no other. It is only now that a way 
is beginning to be opened, by which it may, by and by, be possible 
to proceed in an opposite direction, viz., from trunk to branches and 
to twigs. This, if ever accomplished, must be by means of the 
History of Development or Embryology.'' 

" We have thought it right to bring forward Dr Barry's claim as 
the first distinct enunciator of this doctrine, because we perceive 
that its truth is being more and more generally recognised, and that 
it must ultimately become the foundation of all philosophical zoology." 

23. On the Fossil Bones of the Ancient Birds of New Zealand, (in 
letters, dated January 19 and 26, 1848, from Dr G. A. Mantell 
to Professor Silliman Senior. — The collection of eight hundred 
fossil bones, — all the bones of birds (with a single exception, the 
femur of a quadruped, probably a dog), is the most interesting and 
extensive that has been sent from New Zealand to Europe, and pro- 
bably from any part of the world. Dr Mantell submitted the bones 
to tlie examination of Professor Owen, who made the subject his 
own by his former beautiful Memoirs on the Dinornis Apteryx. Mr 
Owen is expected to draw up a I'cport on the bones, for the Zoolo- 
gical Society. He had already described the crania of the Dinornis, 
which were objects of great importance, but no traces of the mandi- 
bles had been previously discovered. The collections include three 
distinct types. The beak of the Dinornis is like a cooper's adze, 
and seems designed to tear up the roots of plants ; the base of the 
skull is prolonged below the foramen magnum in a very extraor- 
dinary manner, for the attachment of powerful muscles, by which 
the mandibles were acted upon. 

Palapteryx (Paleo-apteryx) is a new genus, more allied to the 
Apteryx than is the Dinornis. The Notornis (the term signifying 
Southern Bird) is a new genus of Rallidaj, and related to a living 
genus of nocturnal parrot, a genus still existing in New Zealand. 

The state of pi-eservation of the bones is remarkable ; they are in 
this respect, wholly unlike those formerly sent. They are light and 
porous, and of a delicate fawn colour, resembling the bones from the 
caverns of Germany. They were found embedded in a loose sand, 
the detritus of earthy augitic rocks, much resembling the loose al- 

Scientific Intelligence — Miscellaneous. 197 

luvial deposits brought down by streams and rivulets in volcanic 
countries, as in Auvergne and the Phlegrsean fields. There are but 
a few bones of the most gigantic species ; the collection fortunately 
is the richest in those bones that were most i-are in the British and 
Hunterian Museum. 

Dr Mantell adds, " I have had Mr Dinkel* to make a restored 
outline of the Dinornis, or rather of its skeleton, which I have been 
able to make complete from the collection of my son.f The originals 
of the colossal species must have been glorious bipeds, some ten or 
twelve feet high, with a beak, as already remarked, like a cooper" s 
adze. The birds were of all dimensions, fi'om those of a water-hen 
to the colossal moa." 

" The collection is offered for sale to the British Museum. To 
form it must have been a work of great labour, exposure, and even 
danger ; the bones were found in places distant from any English 
settlement, and they had to be brought on men's shoulders, through 
untracked forests, lakes, moors,''' &c. {^American Journal of Science 
and Arts, Second Series, vol. v., No. 16, May 1818, p. 431.) 

24. On the Geographical Distribution of Animal Species. By 
Professor C. B. Adams. — In illustration of the principles of distri- 
bution of species, as connected with climate, so ably enforced by Pro- 
fessor Agassiz, it was stated, that four hundred species of mollusca 
were found in a small part of the island of Jamaica in a few weeks ; 
that one-fourth of these were land- shells, of which new species were 
found by the collector with every ten miles travel. As a remarkable 
example of the difference of station of different species, a small salt 
pond on the peninsula of Port-Royal was described, in which Cerithium 
atratum occurred very abundantly from the mai-gin to eighteen inches 
depth, where C. literatiim coumiences, and extends to three feet in 
depth. Although the two species approximate to contact at the zone 
of eighteen inches in depth, they do not intermingle. — (^American 
Journal of Science and Arts, Second Series, No. 13, vol. v., p. 168.) 


25. Projected Physico-Geographical Survey of Kumaon and 
Gurhwal. — It will be seen in the orders, published this day, that 
Lieutenant Strachey, of the engineers, brother we believe of the dis- 
tinguished officer attached to the Thibet mission, has been placed at 
tlie disposal of the Lieut.-Governor, for special duty at Kumaon. 
Lieut. Strachey is to make a physico-geographical survey of that pro- 
vince, and will be assisted in this important work by a number of na- 
turalists, particularly those who have studied the productions of the 
now world ; among them, we believe are Majors Cautley and Madden, 

* The celebrated artist, formerly employed by I'rofessor Agassiz. 
t Mr Walter Mantell, from whom the collcctiou wab obtaiucd. 

198 Scientific Intelligence — Miscellaneous. 

Messrs Batten, Ramsay, Falconei", Jameson, and M. P. Edgeworth. 
To illustrate the survey, a series of maps, shewing the distribution of 
plants and animals, will be appended ; also sections, shewing the geo- 
logical structure of the Himalayas, of which little is at present really 
known, from their base to Thibet. — (Delhi Gazette, February 1848.) 

26. The Calcutta Star has noticed the appointment of Lieut. 
Strachey to investigate the physical geography of Kumaon and Gurh- 
wal, assibted by several naturalists ; the inquiry to last a year. The 
talent and zeal already displayed by this promising young officei", lead 
us to anticipate great acquisitions to our knowledge of these sub-Hi- 
malayan ranges. And if Dr Jameson's more pressing official duties 
permit him to pursue his geological and physical observations along 
the new line of interesting country recently opened up to our ex- 
plorers, we shall have an outline survey of these regions completed, 
suggestive, no doubt, of inquiries in detail, as important for the pur- 
poses of theory as for the increase of our mineral resources. 

27. Adulteration in Medicines. — From a printed circular by the 
Trustees of the College Pharmacy, New York, we cite the following 
facts with regard to the adulterations in medicines used in the 
United States. Bromide of potassium is imported and sold for the 
iodide of potassium, some parcels being mixtures, and others entirely 
bromide. The iodide is also adulterated frequently in large propor- 
tion with other salts of an entirely different character. 

Blue pill is imported, containing a per-centage of mercury from 
ten down to seven and a half, mixed with blue clay and Prussian 
blue, to give the proper density and colour. Two importations of 
this kind, from the manufactory of William Bailey of Wolverhamp- 
ton, have been publicly exposed by this College in the newspapei'S, 
the first in the year 1845, and the second and worst lot during tho 
present month. Its composition, according to the analysis of our 
Professor Reid, is — 


Earthy clay, 

Prussian blue used in colouring, 

Sand, in combination with the clay. 

Soluble saccharine matters. 

Insoluble organic matters, 

Water, .... 




An account of the fo-mer, with the correspondence between our late 
President Adamson and Mr Bailey, was also published in the Ame- 
rican Journal of Pharmacy, vol. xi. (New Series), p. 148. The lat- 
ter appears in the New York Journal of Medicine for September. 

Very large quantities of rhubarb, much decayed, the better parts 
of which are dark coloured, with scarcely any taste or smell, having 
probably been exhausted to make extract, came from England, in- 

New Publications. 199 

voiced there from l^d. to 3d. per lb. It is intended and used for 
powdering, colour being given to it by turmeric, &c. 

The article called oxide of zinc on the English labels, is generally 
carbonate of zinc, being imported at a price which precludes the pos- 
sibility of honest preparation. 

All that is received under the name of precipitate sulphur (or 
" lac sulphui'," as the merchants commonly term it), except when 
it is expressly ordered from an honourable manufacturer, contains 
from 80 to 95 per cent, of sulphate of lime. 

Opium is often invoiced at one-third the value of good quality, 
and is found, upon examination, not to be worth even that. The 
same may be said of scammony. 

Most of the foreign extracts are not what they profess to be, and 
cannot be relied upon in the treatment of disease. 

The salts of quinine, morphine, and all the more costly chemicals, 
are greatly adultei^ated. 

We are informed, by the agent of an English manufacturer of 
chemicals, extracts, and many other preparations used in medicine, 
that it is a regular and systematic business, carried on by his princi- 
pal and others in his line, to make articles for the American market 
of different qualities, one for the Atlantic cities, and another, very 
much inferior, " for the West," meaning thereby our Western 
States. He gives us, for instance, the following quotations : — 
" Compound extract of colocynth, 9s. 6d. ; do. for the West, 5s." — 
the latter, as we are allowed to infer, containing no scammony at all, 
only the poorest sort of aloes, and but little, if any, colocynth or ex- 
tract from it; — " blue pill, 3s. 9d. ; for the West, Is. 8d." 

Is it wonderful that such uncommon doses as we hear of are 
taken, and indeed required, at the West, and that disappointment is 
every day experienced by physicians in the action of medicines ? 
And these examples are but a few out of many that might be given. 

This circular has been addressed as a memorial to the Legislature 
of New York, praying that a law may be enacted, declaring that all 
imported articles intended for medical use, which may appear to the 
proper Custom-House officers to be spurious, counterfeit, or adulte- 
rated, shall be subject to competent inspection, and if found to be of 
base character, confiscated and destroyed. — {American Journal, Se- 
cond Sorids, No. 13, January 1848, p. 139.) 


1. Physical Geography. By Mary Somerville. In two volumes, with 
a Portrait. John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1848. Two very delight- 
ful volumes, from the pen of the celebrated Mary Somerville, the moat 
diHtinguighed fem,ale cultivator of Physical Science of our time. 

200 New FuhUcations. 

2. A Familiar Introduction to the study of Polarized Light, &c. By 
Charles Woodward, Esq., F.R.S. Illustrated by numerous wood- en- 
gravings. 40 pp. London : John Van Voorst. 1848. We recom- 
mend this volume to all cultivators of the important subject of Polarized 

3. Ancient Sea-Margins, as memorials of Changes in the relative level 
of Sea and Land. By Robert Chambers, Esq., F.R.S.E. One volume, 
8vo, 337 pp. The substance of this interesting volume was, we believe, 
read at a m,eeting of the British Association. In its present extended 
and amply illustrated form, it cannot fail to excite general attention- 
It being admitted that the present dry land rose above the level of the 
sea, it follows that every country may be expected to exhibit traces of the 
ocean's action from great heights to the present sea-level. Mr Chambers, 
in his volume, has adduced many proofs of " Ancient Sea-Margins'' 
or of oceanic operations, even at great heights, in numerous localities 
throughout this island, and in other countries. 

4. 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. Second edition, enlarged. One volume 8vo, pp. 344. 
Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, London. 1848. This new 
edition of Professor Low's Inquiry displays the learned and distin- 
guished Professor's usual acuteness, and will satisfy those Chemists who 
objected to the views in the first edition, that he reasoned well and on 
sound principles. 

5. Meraoire sur Les Temperatures de la mer Glaciale, a la surface, a 
grandes profondeur, et dans le Voisinage des Glacier du Spitzberg. 
Par Ch. Martins, Membre de la Commission du Nord. Paris, 1848. 

6. Narrative of Events in Borneo and Celebes, down to the occupa- 
tion of Labuan. From the Journals of James Brooke, Esq , Rajah of 
Sarawak, and Governor of Labuan. Together with a Narrative of the 
Operations of H. M. S. Iris. By Capt. Rodney Mundy, R. N. Two 
volumes 8vo, with numerous Plates. John Murray, Albemarle Street, 
London, 1848. This interesting account of the proceedings of a re- 
markable and very distinguished individual having been already so 
fully considered in the British Journals, requires no particular notice 
from us ; but we may be allowed to express a hope that the philanthropy 
of the Rajah of Sarawak will meet with the reward it so justly de- 

7. Account of the Skerry vore Lighthouse ; with Notes on the Illumi- 
nation of Lighthouses. By Alan Stevenson, LL.B., F.R.S.E., M.I.C.E., 
Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board. Published by order of the 
Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses. 4to, pp. 439. With numerous 
Plates. Edinburgh : Adam and Charles Black ; and Longman and Co., 

New Publications. 201 

London. 1848. This splendid volume, so creditable to the liberality of 
the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, and honourable to the 
Author, is a worthy successor to the famous Account of the Bell Rock 
Lighthouse, by Robert Stevenson, the distinguished Engineer, and father 
of the author of the present work. 

8. The Physical Atlas. A series of Maps and Notes, illustrating 
the Geographical Distribution of Natural Phenomena. By A. K. John- 
ston, F.R.G.S., and Professor H. Berghaus of Berlin. One volume folio. 
Blackwood, Edinburgh. This beautiful work is now finished. We sub- 
join the followiiig Table of the Maps for the information of our readers: 
— 1. Meteorology. — Plate 1. Map of Isothermal Lines. 2. Chart of 
the Geographical Distribution of the Currents of Air. 3. Hyetographie 
or Rain Map of the World. 4. Hyetographie or Rain Map of Europe. 

5. Chart of the Polarising Structure of the Atmosphere. 2. Hydro- 
graphy .—VlaXe 1. Physical Chart of the Atlantic Ocean. 2. Physical 
Chart of the Indian Ocean. 3. Physical Chart of the Pacific Ocean. 
4. Tidal Chart of the British Seas. 5. River Map of Europe and Asia. 

6. River Map of America. 3. Geology.— V\&ie 1. Mountain Systems 

of Europe. 2. Geological Structure of the Globe. 3. Mountain Chains 
in Europe and Asia. 4. Mountain Chains in North America. 5. Mountain 
Chains in South America. 6. Map of the Glacier Regions. 7. Pheno- 
mena of Volcanic Action. 8. Comparative Views of Remarkable Geolo- 
gical Phenomena. 9. and 10. Palaeontological Map of the British Islands. 

4. Zoology and Botany. — Plate 1. Map of Botanical Geography. 

2. Distribution of Food Plants. 3. Distribution of Quadrumana, Eden- 
tata, Marsupiala, and Pachydermata. 4. Distribution of the Carni- 
vora. o. Distribution of Animals of the orders Rodentia and Rumi- 
nantia. 6. Distribution of Birds. 7. Distribution of Reptiles. 8. 
Ethnographic Map of Europe. 9. Ethnographic Map of British Islands. 
It augurs well for the advance of Physical Geography in this country, 
to find the Physical Atlas rapidly increasing in sale, and becoming a 
standard work in our seminaries of education. The letter-press accom.- 
panying the Plates, which occupies 100 folio pages, is illustrative and 

9. The Enthological Journal, No. I., just published. 

10. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society of Philadel- 
phia, Vol. X. New Series. Part I. Quarto. 

11. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Octavo. 

The different Journals, with the exception of Poggendorfs Annalen 
and the Bibliotheque Universelle. received regularly. * 

VOIi. XLV. NO. LXXXIX. — .lULY 1848. O 

. ( 202 ) 

List of Patents granted for Scotland from Bd April 1848 to 
2lst June 1848. 

1. To Matthew Sproule, of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, 
engineer, " certain improvements in steam-engines." — 3d April 1848. 

2. To William Sangstee, of Regent Street, in the county of Middle- 
sex, umbrella and parasol maker, " improvements in umbrellas and para- 
sols."— 4th April 1848. 

3. To William Maclardy, of Salford, in the county of Lancaster, 
manager, " certain improvements in machinery, or apparatus applicable 
to the preparation and spinning of cotton, wool, silk, flax, and other fibrous 
substances."— 4th April 1848. 

4. To James Peddee, of New Union Street, in the county of Middlesex, 
engineer, " certain improvements in steam-engines, and in propelling." 
- 6th April 1848. 

5. To David Fisher, of Clerkenwell Green, in the county of Middlesex, 
bootmaker, " certain improvements in the manufacture of boots and 
shoes."— 11th April 1848. 

6. To Samuel Clegg, of Regent Square, in the county of Middlesex, 
engineer, " improvements in gas meters." — 11th April 1848. 

7. To William Edwakd Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 Chan- 
cery Lane, in the county of IMiddlesex, civil-engineer, " an improvement 
or improvements in making coupling-joints for pipes, nozzles, stop-cocks, 
still and cylinder heads, and other apparatus." — 11th April 1848. 

8. To Henry Heywood, of Throstlenest Mills, Blackburn, in the 
county of Lancaster, cotton-spinner, " certain improvements in looms for 
weaving." — 13th April 1848. 

9. To Matthew Curtis, of the city of Manchester, machinist, and 
Robert Lakin, of Ardwick, in the county of Lancaster, machinist, " cer- 
tain improvements in machines used for prej^aring to be spun, and spin- 
ning cotton and other fibrous substances, and for weaving such substances 
when spun." — 17th April 1848. 

10. To John Coates, of Seedly, in the county of Lancaster, calico- 
printer, " certain improvements in machinery, or apparatus for printing 
calicoes and other surfaces." — 19th April 1848. 

11. To James Derham, manager of Willet & Co.'s spinning-mills, 
Bradford, in the cc unty of York, " machinery for carding, combing, pre- 
paring and spinning cotton, wool, alpaca, mohair, flax, silk, and other 
fibrous materials." — 20th April 1848. 

12. To Richard Turner, of Bath Place, New Road, Mary lebone, and 
Hammersmith Works, Dublin, wrought- iron manufacturer, " certain im- 
provements in wrought-iron girders, in the construction of roofs for rail- 
way stations, and roofs and floors of other buildings." — 1st May 1848. 

13. To Thomas Hancock, of Stoke, Newington, in the county of 

List of Patents. 203 

Middlesex, Esquire, and Reuben Phillips, of Islington, in the county 
of Middlesex, chemist, " improvements in the treating or manufacture of 
gutta percha, or any of the varieties of caoutchouc." — 2d May 1848. 

14. To Joseph Paul, of Thorp. Abbotshall, Norfolk, farmer, " im- 
provements in cutting or forming drains in land, and for raising subsoils 
to the surface of the land." — 3d May 1848. 

15. To John Henderson Portek, of Blackheath, in the coimty of 
Kent, engineer, " improvements in iron girders, beams, trusses, and sup- 
ports, for buildings, bridges, and other structures, and in rendering the 
floors of buildings fire-proof, by the use of iron." — 3d May 1848. 

16. To John William Normanville, of Park Village, in the county 
of Middlesex, gentleman, " certain improvements in railway or other 
carriages, partly consisting of new modes of constructing the axle-boxes, 
and journals of wheels. Also an improved method of lubricating the said 
journals or other portions of machinery, by the introduction of aqueous 
alkaline, oleaginous, or saponaceous solution." — 3d May 1848. 

17. To Henry William Schwartz, of Great St Helen's, in the city 
of London, merchant, " improvements in steam engines, being a commu- 
nication from abroad." — 3d May;1848. 

18. To Richard Madigan, of Haverstock Hill, in the county of 
Middlesex, civil engineer, " certain improvements in the manufacture of 
railway turn- tables." — 4th May 1848. 

19. To Edward Walmsley, of Heaton Norris, in the county of Lan- 
caster, cotton-spinner, " certain improved apparatus for preventing the 
explosion of steam-boilers." — 5th May 1848. 

20. To Peter Cladssen, of Leicester Square, in the county of Middle- 
sex, " certain improvements in weaving machinery, and in the preparation 
of the materials employed in weaving," being partly a communication from 
abroad.— 8th May 1848. 

21. To John Aitken, of Russell Street, Bermondsey, in the county of 
Surrey, leather-dresser, " improvements in steam-engines, atmospheric 
engines, in distilling and in pumping water." — 8th May 1848. 

22. To John Bethell, of Parliament Street, in the city of West- 
minister, gentleman, " improvements in preserving vegetable and animal 
matters."— 8th May 1848. 

23. To Edward Wand, of Bradford, in the county of York, spinner, 
" certain improvements in the construction of machinery for preparing 
and spinning alpaca, mohair, wool, flax, and other fibrous materials." — 
10th May 1848. 

24. To Gf.oroe Heaton, of Birmingham, engineer, " improvements 
in locomotive engines." — 12th May 184S. 

25. Thomas Forsyth, of the New North Road, in the county of 
Middlesex, engineer, " improvements in the manufacture of railway 
whcelfl."— 12th May 1848. 

204 List of Patents. 

26. To James K. Howe, of the city of New York, in the United States 
of America, manufacturer, " improvements in building ships and other 
vessels."— 12th May 1848. 

27. To Richard Baird, of Dundee, in the county of Forfar, Scotland, 
engineer, " a new or an improved method of communication between the 
guards, engine-drivers, and other servants in charge of trains of carriages 
and waggons on railways, and also between the passengers and engine- 
drivers, and other servants in charge of such trains." — 16th May 1848. 

28. To Thomas Hunt Barber, of King Street, Cheapside, in the city 
of London, " improvements in machinery for sawing wood," being a com- 
munication from abroad. — 24th May 1848. 

29. To Edmund Barber, of Tring, in the county of Herts, decorative 
painter, " certain improvements in graining and decorating in oil distem- 
per and other colours, and in imitating marbles, granites, fancy, and 
other woods, and in the apparatus and instruments to be used therein." — 
26th May 1848. 

30. To George Henry Bachhoffner, of the Royal Polytechnic Insti- 
tution, London, doctor of philosophy, professor of natural philosophy, 
" improved means of transmitting, communicating, or conveying intelli- 
gence." — 31st May 1848. 

31. Benjamin Lathrop, of No. 7 King Street, Cheapside, in the city 
of London, Esquire, " an improved wheel for railway purposes," being 
partly communicated from certain foreigners residing abroad. — 7th June 

32. To Lewis Dunbar Brodie Gordon, of Abingdon Street, in the 
city of Westminster, civil engineer, " an improvement or improvements 
in railways." — 7th June 1848. 

33. To William Rocke, of Dudley, in the county of Worcester, en- 
gineer, "a new mode of treating and applying wrought iron." — 12th 
June 1848. 

34. To Edward Brown, of Adam's Court, in the city of London, gen- 
tleman, " certain carbonic compounds formed of earth, vegetable, animal, 
and mineral rubbish, faecal substances, the waste of manufactories, and 
certain acids and alkalies, which compounds are applicable as manures," 
being a communication from abroad. — 16th June 1848. 

35. To George Phibbrick Swinboene, of Pimlico, in the county of 
Middlesex, gentleman, " certain improvements in the manufacture of gela- 
tinous substances." — 16th June 1848. 

36. To John Scoffern, of Upper Holloway, M.B., " improvements in 
the manufacture and refining of sugar." — 21st June 1848. 

37. To Alexander Parkes, of Birmingham, in the county of War- 
wick, experimental chemist, '' improvements in the manufacture of metals, 
and in coating iron and steel." — 21st June 1848. 



Biography of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins, Engineer -in-Chief 
and Director of Mines. By M. De BouchepORN, Mining 

(Continued from page 16.) 

But the first occupations of the new engineer-in-chief were 
such as pertained to his own profession. Independently of 
the contentious and administrative pai-t, to which he always 
paid particular attention, every year he went round the whole 
arrondissement on horseback ; that is to say, all the extensive 
country which lies between Toulouse and Bordeaux, Foix and 
Bayonne, not only inspecting the great mines of coal and 
iron, but visiting, one by one, the numerous forges of Landes, 
Perigord, and Ariege, with a cai^efulness of observation 
which was one of the traits of his character. For a long 
time this activity was sustained unimpaired, notwithstanding 
advanced age ; and it cannot be without utility to mention 
or recall such examples. But among the works which fell 
under his inspection, one object of the greatest importance 
at first claimed ail his solicitude, and soon required th« re- 
sources of his decision and knowledge, — the extensive iron 
mines of the valley of Vicdessos in the Ariege, which then 
supplied upwards of fifty forges (now upwai-ds of eighty), 
and which afforded employment, in the extraction and trans- 
port of the mineral alone, to ahnost the entire population 
of the four communes. These mines were then given up 
to the blind operations of a body of men, who, mining the 
gi'ound without prudence and without a guide, were endan- 
gering at once their own lives and the future state of the 

VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOIiEK 1H1>^. 1' 

206 Memoir of M. D^ Aubuinsoii de Voisins. 

works. After using unskilfully tor many ages the bounty 
of Nature, and excavating unceasingly the sides of the ferri- 
ferous mountain, they had opened vast caverns in it by por- 
tions falling in, and heaped up enormous masses of ruins, the 
movements of which, even in the present day, can neither be ar- 
rested nor completely regulated. In the eyes of a man of ex- 
perience, there was reason to conjecture that at some period, 
more or less near, not only the traces of the metal might be 
altogether lost, but that a part of the mountain would sink 
upon itself, and destroy in a single day, or entomb alive, the 
whole population of workmen. Neither as an engineer nor 
as a man could M. D'Aubuisson see this with indifference. 
In the year 1811 he brought this subject under the notice of 
the administration, and proposed that it should assume the 
direction of this mine, which was then merely under the 
management of the commune, or which at least, having been 
formerly ceded by the domain to an ancient vallee of the 
Pyrenees, and regulated by the consuls of Vicdessos, was 
without a chief since the centralization of '89 had banished 
from France all these kinds of petty republics, of which An- 
doiTe has continued up to the present day to be perhaps the 
only example. M. D'Aubuisson's wishes were soon realised ; 
and it was chiefly in accordance with the propositions made 
by him in his different reports that the administrative ar- 
rangements of the mines of Vicdessos were made, and they 
are now placed under the management of engineers. This 
arrangement, although troublesome to them, has been of great 
advantage to the poor miners, and has been, for thirty years, 
of great service to this part of the French Pyrenees, and will 
probably be of greater advantage to it still, if it be possible, as 
for our own part we believe it is, to extend, by suitable mea- 
sures, the field of new works to the hithei'to untouched bases 
of the mountain, and carry on all the mining operations there. 
It cannot, indeed, be affirmed that this administrative or- 
ganization is absolutely the simplest and best for the profit- 
able mining of a mineral mass ; but, in order to form a fair 
estimate of it, we must take into account the circumstances 
of the period when it was established. The inhabitants of the 
valley of '^'icdessos, in virtue of old charters, acted as if they 

Meiiiuir of M. D^ Aubuii^son ile Voisins. 207 

vvei'e individual proprietors, so to speak, each prosecuting his 
own portion of the work : rights acquired by centuries of 
usage could not be obliterated by a stroke of the pen ; one 
could not run counter to all the habitudes of this mining 
population, brought up, as it were, to govern themselves ; it 
could not be done, at least, without the risk of putting a stop 
to the works, and the forges which depended on them. It 
was expedient, therefore, to combine the diverse elements of 
the administration in such a manner as to give to the State 
only a surveillance of the whole, — a kind of invisible protec- 
tion, depriving it of the embarrassment and responsibility of 
an invidious individual inspection. This was done by the 
maintenance of a kind of elective magistracy, that oi jurats, 
who had been long employed in this kind of subteri'anean 
city as an interior police. By preserving this kind of muni- 
cipality, but under the control of the administration, and 
reserving to the engineers the direction of the works of art 
and the research, this turbulent population of workers were 
managed and protected, without being conscious, so to speak, 
that they were under the government of others, and without 
perceiving the change from their former to their new con- 
dition. Those who knew M. D'Aubuisson intimately, will 
easily recognise in this one of the traits of his character, 
namely, his respect for things long established. Most ardent 
and persevering for necessary reform, or an improvement in 
the arrangement of things, he had no liking for simple inno- 
vations in form, nor for sudden shocks in the habits and or- 
ganisation of the people ; his own sad experience had shewn 
him the evil of this. As a man of science, he was well ac- 
(juainted with the disastrous effects of sudden shocks in 
wheel-mechanism ; and it was by this knowledge that he was 
influenced in judging of the movements of social organisation. 
Notwithstanding the mildness of the reforms introduced 
into the mines of Rancic, M. D'Aubuisson had sometimes to 
struggle against the turbulence of the miners, and he did it 
witii that firmness which was peculiar to him. At other times 
lie had also to contend, which he did with no less firmness, 
against enci'oaehments of another kind, directed against the 
rights and authority of the engineers. But in all tliis he Avas 

208 Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson de Voisins. 

always guided by the love uf justice, and by the intei-ests of 
that population which he may be said to have saved from ruin. 
This district owes him much ; of this it is conscious ; and 
M. D' Aubuisson was there personally beloved ; his loss, thirty 
years after the time of which we speak, was mourned as a real 

The active duties of the engineer left some leisure to M. 
D' Aubuisson, that is to say, some tixne to employ in useful 
purposes ; he resolved to devote it to a work of science, a 
work of permanent utility, on which his thoughts had dwelt 
since his return to France. He wished to give, in a com- 
prehensive form, a complete and. methodical view of the prin- 
ciples of geology as then known, and particularly such as we 
owed to the school on which his affections were set, that of 
Freiberg. He wrought for many years at this task ; and at 
last, in 1819, his Traite de Geognosie appeared. 

It does not belong to me, less perhaps than to any other, 
to give an opinion on this beautiful work ; and it would, no 
doubt, be superfluous, for there are few geologists who have 
not studied it, and who have it not in their hands. Many 
years have passed since its publication, and years are of con- 
sequence in such a science as geology. M. D'Aubuisson's 
Treatise is no longer, therefore, the work of the day, nor the 
expression of the newest ideas and most recent knowledge ; but 
it is still well marked in the general history of the science.* 
It has, besides, beauties which belong to all periods ; I mean 
a pure and expressive style, a luminous exposition, a settled 
method, and a talent for description which produced a more 
certain effect, because the expression, though full of force 
and imagery, never exceeded what was strictly natural. We 
also find in it an extensive erudition, and a remarkable de- 
gree of impartiality in explaining opinions and facts. This 
work is rather descriptive than systematic. M. CAubuisson 

* Evei-ything here said relates only to the lirst edition of the Treatise on 
(■eognosy ; the second edition, of which he revised only the first part, has been 
continued without any share being taken in it by him, and under the influence 
of notions quite foreign to his. Excepting in the first volume we need look for 
nothing of M. D'Aubuisson's. 

Memoir of M. D' Aubiiisson de Voisins. 209 

belonged to the good school of geologists, — the school of ob- 
servers, — created, so to speak, by Saussure and Werner. As 
I'eserved as these great masters, he supplied in the least pos- 
sible degree the silence of facts and the uncertainty of a 
science as yet but little advanced. A sincere friend of truth, 
and particularly careful of things positive, he acted on the 
grand precept of Descartes, which he has inserted in the 
middle of one of the most beautiful pages of the Introduction 
to his Treatise : — " He who aspires to a knowledge of the 
truth must, at least for once in his life, allow himself to doubt 
of all that he has been taught." A philosophy, we may affirm, 
by no means adapted to every mind, and which, moreover, 
does not always lead to the truth ; but which, at least, can 
alone maintain science and the human mind in the way that 
conducts to it. 

The impai'tiality of a geologist cannot, however, be carried 
so far as to make hiin indifferent to all system ; there are 
certain questions of principles in which M. D'Aubuisson has 
remained more or less strictly faithful to the Wernerian 
ideas, and which predominate over all the other classifications 
of his work. Of this number is the opinion as to the sedi- 
mentary nature of the granitoidal rocks, — an opinion for which 
the principal experimental foundation rests, on the one hand, 
on the uni\ersality of thfse rocks, and their uniformity of 
composition ; and, on the other, the imperceptible transition 
so often observed between massive granite and rocks evi- 
dently stratified, such as gneiss and micaceous slates. This 
opinion, as is well known, was that of Saussure. It after- 
wards underwent many modifications, as happens in the natu- 
ral sciences, where the absolute is unknown ; nor has it yet 
disappeared ; and it seems to us that it is tending, under 
new forms, without excluding, as formerly, the action of fire, 
to revive again in all its force. Let us admit, then, that in 
this point of view, the work of M. D'Aubuisson, as well as 
those of M. De Humboldt, remains as a landmark placed 
on the road which science continually follows. Perhaps there 
is room to regret that he has not been equally explicit on 
other subjects ; that he has, for example, given so little space 
to dynamic geology. Wo find scarcely anything on the causes 

210 Memoir of M. D'Aubuisson de Voisins. 

of the formation of mountains, or on the question of their 
being raised upwards (soiilevemeni). And yet the author 
was alive to the effect of general causes,* in the vast up- 
raising of the hoi'izontal strata, and the great linear direc- 
tions of these elevations ; but it is to be regretted that he 
has been so reserved on these questions, in too close imita- 
tion of the reserve of Saussure. To make up for this, every- 
thing that relates to the physical description of the globe, to 
the temperatures of its crust and atmosphere, to the action of • 
waters, and the measurement of heights, is treated with the 
most remarkable care and precision. 

In consequence of this important publication, M. D'Au- 
buisson was elected Corresponding Member of the Institute 
for the Mineral ogical Section. He was likewise perpetual 
secretary of the Academy of Toulouse ; and it should be 
added, that he communicated to this society, either by his 
personal efforts or by his example, a little of that ecMt which 
is often so short-lived in provincial societies. But he was 
destined to be of greater real utility to his native town ; tlie 
hydraulic monument he bestowed on it will make his name 
long survive in the memory of his fellow-citizens ; it will 
make it live also in that of men of science, by beautiful 
researches on the movements of water and air, which were 
the consequence of it, and which, united in his hydraulic 
treatise with the whole bodj' of that most valuable science, 
will, no doubt, form the most positive and most durable of 
his scientific titles. 

In 1817, the municipal council of Toulouse, of which M. 
D'Aubuisson was a member, determined that they should no 
longer allow a legacy of 50,000 francs, left by an old chief 
magistrate, to lie unused, but that a considerable portion of 
it should be devoted to the erection and maintenance of foun- 
tains, which should distribute their limpid waters to all 
quarters of the town. This luxury, a vital one for large 
cities, — to procure which the ancients displayed such a mag- 
nificent prodigality, and such a degree of boldness, in their 

* See a remarkable passage in the first vol., p. 350 of the first edition ; p. 344 
of the second. 

Memoir of M. D'' Aubuisson de Voisins. 211 

undertakings, — the town of Toulouse, bordering on a great 
river, hitherto knew nothing of. At different periods, many 
attempts had been made, and many projects brought forward, 
either to bring the neighbouring springs into the city, or to 
tui'n aside, at great expense, the tributaries of the Garonne, 
the Garonne itself, or the Ariege ; but science and art had 
failed, or at least the means were insufficient, or tlie expense 
considered disproportionate to the resources of the city. 
M. D' Aubuisson, called upon to deliberate on a matter so 
important for the city of which he was a counsellor, saw at 
one glance the advantage that might be derived fi*om the 
great mass of running water that bathed its walls, which 
was fitted at once to furnish water to supply the fountains, 
and the moving power necessary to raise and distribute it. 
This idea, so simple and prolific, was as yet, however, ad- 
hered to by only a small number. M. D' Aubuisson studied 
it with the skill of a practical man, reduced it by calculation 
to the simplest terms ; then, sure of its advantages, and 
seizing this conviction with his usual vigour of mind, he 
defended it in the council with a perseverance and clearness 
of discussion which at length proved successful. He relates 
the circumstances of this discussion in the " History of the 
Fountains of Toulouse," a small work,* which he wrote for 
the town in 1828, and which is rendered valuable by a kind 
of natural simplicity, yet full of vigour, which seemed par- 
ticularly to recall Saussure's manner of writing. This small 
work, which is particularly devoted to a detailed descrip- 
tion of the works, the expenses of the establishment of foun- 
tains, and that of the system of supplying them, likewise 
notices the series of deliberations and trials to which the 
execution necessarily gave rise. In this report, he furnishes 
not only matter for the study of savans and practical men, 
but considerations of importance to all who are occupied with 

* It forms part of the Memoirs of the Academy of Toulouse, vol. ii. 1830. 
Much later, in 1840, in consequence of pressing invitations, M. D'Aubuisson 
made a short extract of this work for the Annales dos Fonts et Chaussees ; but 
this extract, very short and meagre, contains only the economical results of 
the pstablishiiii'iit of the fountains. 

212 Memoir of M. D" Aubuisson de roisins. 

the general interests of cities. They may, in particular, 
perceive from it, what is confirmed by so many other ex- 
amples, on how little the fate of the most important project 
often depends, in deliberative assemblies. At the sitting of 
the municipal council on which the expediency of this great 
measure of the establishment of fountains, and almost the 
explicit mode of execution, so clear and simple, were decided 
upon, the opinions were so divided, that the casting vote of 
the mayor, M. De Bellegarde, was necessary to prevent the 
indefinite postponement of the measure. And yet the town- 
council of Toulouse then consisted of individuals of the 
highest rank in the town, in regard to fortune, position, and 
influence, and not a few of them were distinguished in our 
political annals : they were certainly distinguished men, but 
not hydraulicians, and M. D'Aubuisson had to obtain their 
convictions and their votes, and remove the specious ob- 
jections and the fears with which it was easy to inspire men 
generally strangers to the sciences. Happily for the city he 
succeeded ; and we would not have lingered so long over these 
details, if we had not been desirous to shew that he possessed 
not only the judgment and sagacity of a philosopher, but also 
the rare talent of presenting his ideas in a lively and lucid 
point of view, calculated to give thc-m effect, and, so to speak, 
enforce conviction. 

No personal advantage, it may be necessary to state, 
resulted from the execution of this project to M. D'Aubuis- 
son himself; although he assumed a serious responsibility, 
and engaged in a long and important occupation (for he had 
the same anxiety about the execution of this scheme as he 
had manifested in the delibei'ations upon it), he desired to 
derive no other benefit from it than the satisfaction of being 
useful, — a satisfaction altogether personal ; for he was well 
aware in his own mind, that the gratitude of cities is not to 
be calculated upon, and that one is speedily forgotten when 
the good is accomplished. However this may be, this great 
scheme was immediately undertaken, and the execution com- 
pleted at the end of ten years, which may now appear to us 
rather a long period ; but by this mode of proceeding the 
revenues of the town felt the expenditure less, and there 

Memoir of M. D^lubidsson de Voisins. 213 

was real economy in not having recourse to credit; the 
impatience of enjoyment was subordinated to this economy ; 
such was then the system. "We shall not stop to consider 
the details of the constructions, which have been so well 
given by M. D'Aubuisson himself in his " History of the 
Fountains of Toulouse."* It may be enough for us to men- 
tion, that having secured the adoption and execution of the 
best hydraulic moving power, after having constantly assisted 
the skilful mechanician who had undertaken it with his ad- 

* As few persons have the Histoire des Fontaines in their hands, it appears 
proper that we should explain, in a few words, the hydraulic system of 

The water of the Garonne furnishes at once the moving power and the 
supply. The moving water is brought directly to the machines, placed at 
45" from the river; the portion intended for distribution in the town is 
alone filtered ; its quantity is 200 inches, and it can be increased to 250 inches, 
or 100 litres, for each inhabitant, in twenty-four hours. It is filtered by being 
washed across a bank of sand, which here forms the bank of the river, and 
which has accumulated for nearly a century behind the bridge (no doubt in 
consequence of the bridge being built). Galleries, with permeable walls, have 
been made in this bank, at one metre below the etiagc, and with a develop- 
ment of nearly 400 metres. They turn aside the limpid water into a reservoir, 
whence they are raised in a chateau d'eau by machines to 20 metres above the 
medium level of the waters of the river, and 6 metres above the culmi- 
nating point of the town. These machines consist of two equipages with 
independent pumps, formed by four pumps each, and each furnished with a 
hydraulic wheel. These pumps, aspirantes, and foulantes, with a piston of 
polished copper of the kind called phingers in England, passing across a fixed 
box of leather ; they are united two by two at the extremity of the same 
balance, in order to regulate the play and moving force. The two movei-s are 
hydraulic wheels ; their diameter is 6"" 50, their breadth 1™ 50 ; the water is 
let in l" 45 above their lowest point, and flows out by a subterranean canal, 
which opens into a ravine at the distance of a quarter of a league. The total 
fall of the water above the bottom of the wheels is 2" 20, and the quantity 
distributed is about \\ cubic metre per second. The 200 inches of filtered 
water are distributed in the town by ninety-one mouths, six of which are 
monumental fountains, by means of a development of cast-iron pipes of ll'SOO'", 
of which 1-300'" are double ; their diameter varies from 27 to 5 centimetres ; 
without the doubling, the principal must be nearly a demi-metre. Their 
thickness is between 15 and 10 millimetres. 

The total expense of a million is divided into nearly two equal parts ; 
500,000 francs for the machines, the chateau d'eau, filterage, and canals, 
and 500,000 francs for the distribution. 

214 Memoir of M. D\iubuisson de Voisins. 

vice, he took upon himself particularly all that related to 
the distribution of water in the town. For this purpose, not 
disdaining to engage in new studies, he repaired to Paris to 
examine the details of the mode of distribution in that city ; 
but, on his return, he engaged in entirely new experiments 
and researches on the perte de charge, in the passage of wa- 
ter across conduits and their branches — on the reduction 
which might be made in the thickness of the pipes usually em- 
ployed, and the great saving of expense resulting therefrom. 
Lastly, he was so accurate in his calculations both with re- 
gard to the distribution of the water and the entire expense 
of the undertaking, that not only all the parts of the town 
were liberally supplied with fresh and pure water, but, in a 
sum-total of upwards of a million, there was not a deviation 
of 10,000 francs from his original computation. 

In his History of the Fountains, M. D'Aubuisson is far from 
assigning too large a proportion to himself in this important 
work ; he says less than we have done in this respect. Al- 
ways studious of truth, he takes pleasure in rendering justice 
to all,— to the members of the Town-Council, his colleagues, 
the Commissioners of Water, and even to his opponents ; to 
a skilful mechanician, M. Abadie, to MM. Girard, Mallet, and 
Egault, engineers of waters at Paris, for the information he 
obtained frpm them ; and finally, to the Council of Ponts-et 
Chaussees, and the venerable M. De Prony, who, by his judi- 
cious opinions as to the best disposition of hydraulic wheels, 
effected a great saving in the expense of the moving water, 
and in the dimensions of the canal by which the water escapes. 
We cannot quit this subject without reminding the reader 
that all these cares and labours, of ten years' duration, — this 
direction, given by an engineer of high merit and the most 
scrupulous conscientiousness, cost the town absolutely no- 
thing ; and this disinterested benevolence was unquestion- 
ably of greater advantage to it than the posthumous gift of 
chief magistrate Lagane, prepetuated as it is on a marble 
monument. In this, M. D'Aubuisson naturally followed the 
noble impulse of his habitual sentiments ; he had not even the 
idea of making his civic zeal appear more valuable in the 
eyes of his fellow-citizens. He worked, he said, as a town- 

Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson cle Voisins. 215 

councillor ; let us add, as a friend of science. According- 
ly, the thanks of the public were not awarded to him : two 
years after the first jets of water were thrown up from the 
chateau d'eau on the town, on the occasion of a fete, and 
one year after the completion of all the works, M. D'Au- 
buisson was no longer chosen as a town-councillor, the du- 
ties of which he well understood, and the office had then be- 
come elective. 

I have said that the construction of the water-works at 
Toulouse was a great ixndertaking ; it is scarcely so, estimat- 
ing it by its material importance and the amount of outlay ; 
but it is so in the simplicity of its conception, the neatness of 
its execution, the absence of all difficulty in maintaining it for 
the future, the novelty and beauty of its mode of natural 
filterage ; in these respects it may be said to form an epoch 
in constructions of this nature, and it has given i*ise to many 
other similar undertakings, a result of much importance for 
the sanitary condition and welfare of the people, who shew 
a still stronger tendency than ever to congregate in towns. 
I may add, that this work has likewise been important in its re- 
sults to science, both on account of the researches and ex- 
periments made personally by M. D'Aubuisson for the occa- 
sion, principally on the movement of water in pipes, and on 
account of such as were made at his instigation, and by the 
means which he furnished. Always guided by the single ob- 
ject of scientific utility, he arranged the hydraulic construc- 
tions of the town in such a manner as fitted them for very ac- 
curate and varied experiments on the properties of water in 
motion. A tower specially intended for experiments of this 
kind has lately b^en built in Piedmont ; now, a simple acces- 
sory modification of the water-house at Toulouse afl^orded M. 
D'Aubuisson the means, at little expense, of contending, in 
this respect, and not unsuccessfully, with the magnificence 
of a prince. This arrangement enabled him, along with the 
assistance and active co-operation of an individual whose 
modest merit had attracted his attention, and whom he en- 
tirely formed, M. Castel, to execute a series of experiments on 
the expenditure of water by the deversoirs and tubes under 
diffijrent charges, experiments valuable by the precision of 

216 Memoir of M D^Aubuisson de Voisins. 

their results, and of which M. Col. Poncelet, his skilful 
friend, has demonstrated the importance, by giving to them 
the aid of his own experiments and high name. 

These scientific researches, however, did not exclusively 
occupy M. D'Aubuisson's attention ; he required to be fami- 
liarly known to enable one to perceive how his fine and active 
intellect could extend the circle of its ideas, and how his ima- 
gination could rise above the severity of science. Free from 
superfluities, nothing was absolutely strange to him in the 
domain of intelligence ; and, during the period in particular 
that we have followed his career as a man of science, never 
did he remain behind the general movement of mind and 
events. In 1825, he published, or at least distributed among 
his friends, a small work which wanted neither political im- 
portance nor literary merit, under the title of Considerations 
on the Boyal Authority and on Local Administrations. We 
find it remarkable, and we are not alone in this opinion, for 
a certain nervousness of thought and style, as well as a ma- 
turity and loyalty of views, so desii'able, and perhaps too little 
known in all works on politics. But we shall make no further 
remarks upon it, but return to the works which ought espe- 
cially to occupy us, — those of the man of science. 

The hydraulic questions of which we have spoken, carried 
M. D'Aubuisson's mind to a kind of research which was too 
much in harmony with his tastes and scientific aptitude not 
to induce him to prosecute it as far as possible : he knew well 
how to turn in this direction not only the works of his choice, 
but also such as he undertook officially as an engineer. Such 
was the custom of his whole life ; in every particular appli- 
cation of science he was called upon to make, he only saw 
the means of annving at some result of more general impor- " 
tance. Of this, we find a new example in a valuable series 
of researches which M. D'Aubuisson undertook preparatory 
to his great undertaking regarding the waters of Toulouse ; 
they have the merit of belonging to a particular branch of 
the dynamics of fluids, which may be said to have originated 
experimentally with M. D'Aubuisson, namely, that which re- 
lates to the movements of the air. As early as 1824, he en- 
gaged in experiments on very curious blowing-machines, much 

Memoir of M. D' Aubuisson Oe Voisins. 217 

employed amoug the Pyrenees, and named trompes, in which 
water alone, by falling rapidly into a vertical canal, hollowed 
out in the trunk of a tree, draws up the air and forces it back 
again. In 1825, he placed an air-pipe, 400 metres in length, 
in the mines of Rancie. In the eyes of any other engineer, 
probably, this would have been merely an artificial ventilation, 
necessary in piercing a great subterranean gallery ; but, in 
his view, the field was enlarged ; this became a new branch 
of bydrodynamics, not previously developed or experimented 
upon ; it was a new means of promoting science in one of its 
most valuable applications. He could not, however, discern 
all the future bearings of this principle ; he could not foresee, 
for example, that one day, perhaps, atmospheric propulsion 
on railroads might give a more extended application to the 
modest experiments of E,ancie, and a more direct bearing on 
the intei'ests of mankind. Tliis is the grand privilege of 
scientific works, that their power acknowledges neither time 
nor space ; they are strengthened by what weakens every- 
thing else. 

The erection of this long air-pipe was, therefore, the occa- 
sion of a numerous series of experiments, made in concert 
with the engineer M. Marrot, and which related to the gene- 
ral value of the pressure and expenditure of air at the ex- 
tremity of a pipe, considering its length, diameter, and the 
pressure at the entrance ; to the variations which these values 
undergo, whether by the effect of sudden bends, or by ter- 
minating the pipe by orifices in their walls of various diame- 
ters, or by conical tubes more or less resembling the buses 
of blowing-machines, &c., &c. These experiments furnish re- 
sults valuable at once by the simplicity of their form, and the 
precision of tlieir practical application, asM. D'Aubuisson has 
himself proved, by applying them numerically to a consider- 
able number of machines. He has published all these inves- 
tigations in a detached form in the Annals of Mines, year 
1826, and following years, and at a later period he gave a 
short view of them in his Traite Hydraulique. 

The last of these publications appeared in 1829, M. 
D'Aubuisson had just completed his great undertaking for 
the distribution of water to the town of Toulouse, to which he 

218 Memoir of M. D' Aiibuisson de Voisins. 

had devoted his attention, more or less directly, for ten years; 
and then also he gave to the scientific world his Treatise on 
the Movement of Water in Pipes or Conduits, which he after- 
wards remodelled in a more general work. The epoch of 
1830 now arrived ; the life of M. D'Aubuisson, entirely de- 
voted to objects of utility and science, the liberality of mind 
which he united to firmness in maintaining his principles, his 
absence of ambition, and finally, the eminent services he had 
rendered to the city, gave grounds to expect that, apart from 
all political considerations, he would again be called upon 
for his services as a town-councillor. Such, however, was 
not the case. Naturally involved in "the downfal of the 
council of which he formed a part, M. D'Aubuisson was not 
a man to court suffrages in order to be reinstated ; he felt 
that the moment was come when his part as a public man, 
and his influence in the affairs of the town, must cease. He 
profited by this, as it procured him more leisure, and he gave 
himself up with more complete absti'action to his favourite 
studies. Science must gain by this laborious repose : this 
was, in fact, the time when he composed his hydraulic trea- 
tise, intended to contain, besides his own researches, a view 
of our knowledge, the most general and precise, on the move- 
ments of water and air, and on the calculation of the effect of 
the machines which these two elements put in motion. This 
was his last work ; it is likewise, w^e believe, his chief work, 
imdoubtedly constituting the most positive and durable title 
to the gratitude of both scientific and practical men. It 
would be superfluous to speak at length of the Traite Hydrau- 
lique ; eulogium would likewise be superfluous ; every engi- 
neer has the book in his hands, and it will long continue to 
form their guide. They will always delight in that clearness 
of exposition found in it, which vivifies and colours the driest 
subjects, and illuminates the most obscure ; they will be 
pleased with that simplicity of calculation which goes before 
the efforts of the mind, so to speak, rather than embarrasses 
it ; they will love that subordination of theory to experience, as 
Avell as that richness and weight of facts which always pre- 
dominate in the writings of this author. We may add, that 
in this treatise, which embraces all the parts of so difficult 

Memoir of M. D'Aubuissoii de Voisins. 219 

a science, they will everywhere find M. D'^Aubuisson ; for, 
under the most diverse points of view which the dynamics 
of fluids comprehends, his own experiments have enlarged 
the field of science. 

Such was the occupation in which M. D'Aubuisson spent 
five years of the leisure of his life, and which afterwards oc- 
cupied the last moment of it. He had altogether abandoned 
geology. " You know," he wrote to a friend in 1829, " that 
I am almost a deserter from geognosy ; and yet deserter is 
not the word : it is not I who have left geology, but geology 
that has left me. While I was occupied with mines and con- 
duit tubes, she was advancing on the path ; and when I wished 
to go after her I had no longer sufficient activity to enable 
me to overtake her." He afterwards complains of the direc- 
tion this science has taken, and adds, that his mind is much 
more satisfied with physico-mathematical pursuits, both on 
their own account, and for the sake of their positive results 
admitting of such useful application. In this, M. D'Aubuis- 
son did not perhaps perceive that the bent of his mind which 
led him away from geology was nothing else than the bias 
given to it by age. Geology is a science of youth, not only 
in the activity which it requires, but also in its aptitude to 
excite the imagination ; the fancy must take its part in it. A 
period of life, however, arrives when we no longer love to 
throw ourselves into the field of possibilities, because, alas ! 
we ourselves have but a short time to sojourn here below. 
The taste for positive studies then engrosses the mind ; and 
we act more usefully by so doing, because we thus follow the 
indications of nature. M. D'Aubuisson did this in restricting 
himself entirely to physico-mathematical investigations, to 
which he imparted such a felicitous and skilful precision. 

This constituted the happiness of his latter days. In vain 
an administration, more liberal than his fellow-citizens, offered 
to reward his labours, and employ more worthily his useful 
knowledge, by the rank of Inspector-General, and a seat in 
the Council of Mines. It would be necessary for this pur- 
pose to give up his usual habits ; to say farewell to a great 
part of his family and friends : M. D'Aubuisson was no longer 
young, and he declined the honour. By his marriage, which, 

220 Memoir of M. D'Aiibuisson de \ oisins. 

though moderate in respect to fortune, connected him with a 
distinguished family of the country : by his merit, the attrac- 
tiveness of his mind and loyalty of his character; he had formed 
many delightful and endearing relations in his native city ; 
he there enjoyed that personal consideration and gratitude 
which considerate persons could not refuse to the services 
he had rendered. Benevolent himself, open-hearted, of gene- 
rous disposition, agreeable and easy of access, always ready 
to impart the advantages of his knowledge and experience, 
he had become attached to good and substantial friends, whom 
he was unwilling to quit. Without children, to his great re- 
gret, but bestowng upon his nieces and sisters those pater- 
nal cares and intimate family affection which his simple and 
patriarchal habits rendered almost necessary to him, he 
henceforth confined himself to this circle, in appearance nar- 
row, but which the affections of the heart and labours of the 
mind enabled him to extend. He lived in the silence of his 
cabinet, and in the calm of science, above the ambitious con- 
tentions of men ; and there he lived happily. For there is, 
and it is well to declare it, an inherent dignity in science, 
which may prove sufficient for those who cultivate it. 

M. D'Aubuisson thus ti'anquilly reached the close of his 
career. His last serious occupation was the second edition 
of his Traite de Hydraulique, which he greatly improved ; 
and he had thus the consolation of giving the finishing touch 
to this most valuable work. When the moment approached 
when it was the will of the Deity that he should be removed 
from this world and torn from the affection of his friends, he 
had a kind of presentiment of his approaching end ; and feel- 
ing his activity revive for a moment, he again traversed his 
district as chief engineer, and revisited all the establishments 
which he had either established or brought to prosperity, and 
the different mines which he had done so much to improve. To 
all whom he visited he bade adieu, and yet his activity never 
appeared to us to be greater; but some days after his return, a 
general weakness, which at first affected his sight, and threw 
him into a gloomy state of mind, soon extended to his whole 
frame : from this he never recovered. Yet in his last mo- 
ments, and when the end was at hand, he recovered all his 

On the Sources of the Nile. 221 

serenity, and neither the strength nor composure of his mind 
seemed to be abated. This was on the 21st August 1841. The 
A^enerable Archbishop of Toulouse administered to him, in 
person, the consolations of religion : he died with the tran- 
quillity of a good man, with the satisfaction of one who, look- 
ing before him, saw a better future opened up to his view, 
and looking backwards on what good he had been privileged 
to perform on some, and the works he had left behind him, 
might exclaim with the great poet of old, — Non omnis moriar. 

On the Sources of the Nile in the Mountains of the Moon. By 
Charles T. Beke, Ph. D., F.S.A., &c.* (With a Plate.) 
Communicated by the Author. 

In my Essay on the Nile and its Tributaries, read before 
the Royal Geogi'aphical Society of London, on the 28th of 
December 1846, and the 11th of January 1847, and printed 
in the seventeenth volume of that Society's Journal (p. 1, 
et seq), evidence was adduced to prove that the Bahr el 
Abyad or White River, the direct stream of the Nile, has its 
principal sources in the country of Mono-Moezi ; the approxi- 
mate position of which country was shown to be between the 
29th and 34th meridians of east longitude, and its northern 
limits to extend to the third, or, pei'haps, the second parallel 
of south latitude. 

It was at the same time explained that the name Mono- 
Moezi is a compound word, significant in many of the lan- 
guages of the Kaffir class, which are spoken throughout the 
entire continent of Africa south of the Equator, as far as 
the limits of the Hottentots. t The first component of this 

• Head before the Section of Geology and Physical Geography of the British 
Association for the Advancement of Science, at the Meeting at Swansea, on the 
15th August 1848. 

t See Dr Latham's Report on the Languages of Africa, in the Report of the 
Uritith Atsociativn for the Advancement of Hcience, for 1847, p. 189, et seq, 
VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. Q 

222 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

name, Mono or Manx, is of frequent occurrence in the desig- 
nations of countries in Southern Africa, such as Mani-Congo, 
Mani-Puto (as the Portuguese possessions in Africa are called), 
Mono-Motapa, &c. ; and its meaning appears to be king or 
ruler. The second component, Moezi, which alone is pro- 
perly the name of the country, has the signification of mooti : 
in Savv^hili and Mucardnga (i. e. Mono-Moezi), the word is 
moezi; in Bunda, moegi; in Miyao (Moujou), mueze ; in Kongo, 
muezi ; in Mozambique, mdise ;* and in Kanika (Wanika) and 
M'segua, muezi.\ The Sawdhilis (in Arabic ^X> '>«- a dweller 
on the coast, from J^^^l*- coast), among whom the word is 
thus significant, are the inhabitants of the sea-coast of Zindj, 
or Zangebar ; and I conceive that the Greek navigators and 
traders of Alexandria, who, from the time of Hippalus's dis- 
covery of the monsoons in the middle of the first century of 
our era,J frequented the east coast of Africa (even if they had 
not done so previously), § obtained from these Sawahilis, or 
dwellers on the coast, the particulars respecting the eastern 
portion of that continent and the sources of the Nile which 
are recorded by the geographer Ptolemy ; and that, as it was 
not an unusual practice of the Greeks to translate significant 
proper names into the equivalents in their own language,!! 

* Journ. Roy. Qeogr. Soc, vol. xvii., p. 75, note. 

t Zeitschrift der Deutschen morffenldndiichen Gesellschaft, vol. i., p. 55. 

X Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. x., cap. xxvi. ; Vincent, Commerce and Navigation of 
the Ancients, vol. i., p. 49, et seq. 

§ Subsequently to the voyage of Nearchus, B.C. 326, the trade to India had 
already been carried on by the Greeks of Egypt, though it would appear to 
have been inconsiderable till the Romans possessed that country, when it re- 
ceived an immense development. Strabo tells us (lib. ii., cap. iv., sec. 5, p. 118), 
that at the time of the expedition into Arabia of JElius Gallus, A.D. 25, as 
many as 120 vessels belonging to the Greeks of Alexandria sailed yearly for 
India, from Myos Ilormos in the Red Sea. This was probably a quarter of a 
century before the Hippalus, or south-west monsoon, was first made use of by 
the hardy seaman w^jo gave his name to that wind. 

II For example, ClJ^ Q', the sea oi Edom (D"l{i{ = red), became 'Egu^gA 
SaXaffCa, the Red Sea. In Origines £iblic(e, vol. i., p. 245, I have adduced 
several instances of Hebrew proper names, which have, in like manner, been 
translated into Greek. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 223 

the designation given by Ptolemy to the mountains in which 
those sources are situate, rh rrn lo^rivm ogog, " the mountains 
or hill-country of the Moon,'" is simply a translation of the 
Saw4hili expression, " the mountains of Moezi." 

On the present occasion, it is pi'oposed to continue the in- 
vestigation of the position of the sources of the Nile, on the 
assumption of the general correctness of the opinions thus 
expressed. And in order that we may ai'rive at a proper 
understanding of the subject, it is necessary that we should 
bring together all the particulars relating to the.upper course 
of that river which we find recorded by the geographer of 

In the prolegomena to his Geography * when commenting 
on the labours of Marinus of Tyre, who flourished in the pre- 
ceding century, Ptolemy states that the former writer had 
learned from a certain Diogenes, who is described as one of 
those who traded to India, that, as he was returning home 
a second time, and had approached Aromata (Cape Gardafui), 
he was driven back by the north wind ; so that in twenty-five 
days he reached the lakes from which the Nile flows, and 
which are situate at a short distance to the north of Cape 
Prasum, the extreme point on the east coast of Africa known 
to the navigators and geographers of that period. On this, 
Ptolemy observes,! that he himself had been informed by 
some mei'chants who traded between Arabia Felix and the 
east coast of Africa, as far as the city of Rhapta, that the lakes 
of the Nile are not near the ocean, but at a considerable dis- 
tance inland. It is unnecessary to dwell on these statements, 
further than to remark that Diogenes must evidently be con- 

The following remarks of Professor II. H. Wilson may further be cited as bear- 
ing on this point :— " The Greeks sometimes translated appellatives, as in the case 
of the Gynmosophists, the naked sages, Sanydsis and Digamharus. So also the Hyl- 
lobii, or dwellers in woods, which is a literal translation of Vdnaprastha ; the 
designation of the Member of the third order or anchoret, to whom it is pre- 
scribed by Menu to dwell in a forest." — Quarterly Oriental Magazine (March 
1827), vol. vii., p. 69. 

* Lib. i., cap. ix., p. 9 (Edit. Bertii, p. 11). 

t Lib. i., cap. xvii., p. 17 (Edit. Bertii, pp. 19, 20). 

224 Dv Beke 07i the Sources of the Nile 

sidered to have meant, not that he reached, during his voyage, 
the lakes of the Nile themselves, but merely that he vpas 
driven as far as the parallel of latitude in which those lakes 
are situate ; and so indeed both Marinus and Ptolemy may 
well have understood the matter, though it is not exactly so 

From these and from the various other sources of infor- 
mation to which he had access, the Greek geographer arrives 
at the following results. 

In the eighth Chapter of his fourth Book,* when describing 
the course of the Nile, he states that — 

The confluence of the Astapus [Blue River] EastofFerro. 

with the Nile is in . . . 61^ 0' long., and 12° 0' N. lat. 

That of the Astapus with the Astaboras 

[Takkazie] is in . . . 62° 30' ... 11" 30' ... 

[This error of causing the Astapus and As- 
taboras to unite, proceeded from the idea 
that Meroe was actually an island, whereas 
it is only bounded by the two rivers on either 
Then the spot where the Nile [White River] 

becomes a single stream, from the junction 

of the rivers flowing from the two upper 

lakes, is in . . . . 60° 

Of these lakes, the western one is in . 57° 

And the eastern one, in . . 65° 

Lake Coloe [Bahr Tsana, or the Lake of Dem- 

bea], from which the Astapus [Blue River 

or Abai] flows, is in . . 69° 

In the following Chapter,t the eastern coast of Africa is 
described as stretching — 

Towards the east from Cape Rhaptum on the Barbarian Gulf (Barbaricus Sinus), 
which is also called the Rough Sea on account of the shoals, as far as Cape 
Prasum ; beyond which the country is unknown. 

Cape Prasum is in . . . 80° E. long. 15° 0' S. lat. 

Kear this latter, towards the north-east, is an 

island named Jlenuthias, which lies in . 85° ... 12° 30' 

Round the gulf dwell certain cannibal negroes 
(^thiopes Anthropophagi) ; on the west of 
whose country are the Mountains (hill-coun- 
try) of the Moon, the snows of which are re- 
ceived into the lakes of the Nile. 

* P. 113 (Edit. Bertii, p. 129). f P. 115 (Edit. Bertii, p. 131). 


2° 0'[?] 
6° C ... 
7° 0' ... 


... and on the equator. 

F.d,n Wn n,l'Jn„'IHJI.m,, 


in the Mountains of the Moon. 225 

Of these Mountains of the Moon, the one extre- 
mity is in . . . . 57' E. long. 12° 30' S. lat. 
And the other is in . . . 67° ... 12° 30' ... 

And lastly, in the seventh Chapter of the same Book,* the 
following positions are given : — 

The mouth of the river Rhaptus, . 72° 0' E. long. 7° 0' 8. lat. 
Rhapta, the capital of Barbaria, at a short dis- 
tance from the sea, . . . 71° 0' ... 7° 0' ... 
Cape Rhaptum, . . . 73° 50' . . . 8° 36' ... 

Notwithstanding the minuteness with which these parti- 
culars of latitude and longitude are specified, it is not to be 
imagined that they are the results of actual observations, 
even if only roughly made. So far from this being the case, 
v/e have the express authority of Ptolemy himself t to show 
that they are nothing more than general approximations, such 
as every one w^ho constructs a map from imperfect oral infor- 
mation has to be satisfied vpith ; and it appears, indeed,J that 
the " Tables" from which the foregoing passages have been 
extracted, are merely of the nature of an index to the maps 
which were at the same time constructed by the geographer.§ 
By this it is not intended that the maps bearing the name of 
Agathodsemon, which are inserted in the several editions of 
the Geography, were actually delineated under Ptolemy's di- 
rection ; since no proof exists of this being the case, though 
it is far from improbable. All that is meant is, that Ptole- 
my formed his tables of latitude and longitude from maps 
which had previously been constructed by him, as maps are 
constructed by geographers now-a-days, " from the best au- 
thorities ;" and it is only by restoring the particulars recorded 
in those tables to their positions on the map, and placing them 
before our eyes in that shape, that we shall be enabled to 
estimate them at their true value. Accordingly, in the ac- 
companying Plate (PI. IV., fig. 1.) is represented Ptolemy's (or 
Agathodaemon's) fourth Table or Map of Africa, as the same 
is given in Bertius's edition of the great geographer's work.1I 
This map is doubtless subject to errors, arising from cor- 

* P. 112 (Edit. Rertii, p. 128). 

t Ijib. i., passim. | Lib. vii., viii. 

§ Pp. 200, 201 (Edit. Bertii, p. 234, 235). 

^ Theatrum Oeograpfiia: Vvterit (fol. Amstelodami, 1G18). 

226 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

ruptions of the original text of tlie Tables. But as, in the 
present remarks, it is not intended to enter upon a critical 
examination of the various details, these errors (admitting 
their existence) are immaterial. This map is intro- 
duced here in order that it may be compared, in the most 
general way, with one constructed with the materials pos- 
sessed by us at the present day (PI. IV., fig. 2.) ; and on com- 
paring these two maps, we are at once struck with the great 
extension, in a southerly direction, which Ptolemy has given 
to the courses of the Nile and its two great tributary streams, 
the Astaboras and Astapus, as likewise to the eastern coast 
of Africa, as far as it was then known. 

For the correction of this fundamental error our means are 
two. The one is the positive knowledge respecting the 
courses of the rivers themselves, which has been acquired 
from the recent Egyptian expeditions up the Nile, and from 
the explorations of travellers in Abessinia. The other is the 
like positive information derived from the surveys made of 
the east coast of Africa, and from the information respecting 
the interior of the continent collected at various points along 
the coast. 

From the former of these sources of information we are 
enabled to lay down, with almost absolute accuracy, the 
course of the Astaboras, now known as the Atbara or Tdk- 
kazie, and that of the Astapus, Blue River, or Ab^i. From 
the same source we further learn that in about 9° 20' N. lat. 
the main stream of the Nile divides into three arms ; namely, 
1*/, The Bahr el Abyad, or White River, which has been 
ascended as far as 4" 42' 42" N. lat. ;* 2dli/, The Sobat, Telfi, 
or River of Habesh, which falls into the central stream from 
the east, and is considered to contribute to the Nile nearly a 
moiety of its waters ;t and, ^dly, The Bahr el Ghazal or 
Keilah, which joins the Nile from the west, and is described 
as being a magnificent stream, with a tolerably rapid current. % 

* Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie de Paris, 2d Ser., vol. xviii., p. 367, et 
seq. ; xix., p. 89, et seq., p. 445 ; AVerne, in Hitter's Blick in das Nil-Quellland, 
p. 42, et seq. 

t Ibid. ; and see Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol. xvii., p. 69. 

J Bulletin, 3d Ser., vol. iv., p. 160, et seq. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 227 

By Ptolemy, however, the main stream of the Nile is laid 
down as consisting of two principal arms, the junction of 
which is placed in the second parallel of north latitude, or 
nearly 7° to the south of where the junction of the three 
principal arms actually takes place. In order to prevent 
misunderstanding, it is proper to direct attention to the fact, 
that we are not alluding here to the confluence of the White 
and Blue Rivers, commonly but erroneously called the White 
and ^\\xe Niles* which confluence takes place at Khartum, in 
15° 37' N, lat. That is merely the junction of the Astapus with 
the Nilus; whereas Ptolemy's bifurcation of tlie Nile is formed 
by the union of the River of Habesh with the White River, 
in 9° 20' N. lat., more than 6° of latitude beyond Khartum. 
The two lakes from which that geographer's two arms of the 
Nile are considered to flow, are placed by him in the 6th and 
7th parallels of south latitude ; and the Mountains of the 
Moon, in which the sources of those two arms are situate, 
are made to stretch across the Continent from east to west 
in 12° 30' S. lat. 

Were we to assume an amount of error in these latter in- 
stances equal to that which exists in the case of the junction 
of the two arms of the Nile, we should have to place the 
lakes between the equator and the first parallel of N. lat. ; 
and the Mountains of the Moon, and, consequently, the sources 
of the Nile, as also the island of Menuthias, in 5° 30' S. lat. 
Closely as this result would coincide with my views generally 
respecting the position of the head of the Nile, I am bound 
to confess, that Ptolemy's information is of too vague and 
insufficient a nature to permit of its being treated with any 
such precision. It is, in fact, of little avail to investigate 
any of the details of that geographei''s map separately. We 
can properly only look at it as a whole. And on an exami- 
nation of it in this point of view, we may reasonably arrive 
at the conclusion, that Ptolemy, like ourselves at the present 
day, derived his information respecting the Nile — either im- 
mediately, or through Marinus of Tyre and other geogra- 
phers who had preceded him — from two distinct and uncon- 

* 'Rejourn. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol. xvii., pp. 35, 73, note. 

228 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

nected sources ; that is to say, on the one hand, from travel- 
lers who had ascended the river southwards from Egypt, and, 
on the other, from navigators of the Red Sea and Indian 
Ocean ; and, further, that it was from this second source of in- 
formation that he obtained the details of the river above the 
confluence of the Astaboras and Astapus, or, at all events, 
above the junction, in 9° 20' N. lat,, of the two arms of the 
Nile. In like manner, as our positive information concern- 
ing the course of the main stream ceases in 4° 42' 42" N. lat., 
or about four degrees and a half of latitude above the point at 
which the two Niles of Ptolemy become a single stream, it is 
to the information collected on the east coast of Africa that 
we must principally look for the means of elucidating the par- 
ticulars recorded by that geographer respecting the river be- 
yond that point. 

It is to be observed, in the first place, that one of the re- 
sults of the attention which modern geographers have given 
to the subject, is the identification of the island of Zanzibar, 
in about 6° S. lat., with the Menuthias of Ptolemy, an island 
which is placed by him in 12° 30' S. lat. ; that is to say, in 
the same parallel as the sources of the Nile. It is true, that 
the generality of commentators have considered Menuthias 
to be represented by Madagascar ; and, on the other hand, it 
must not be concealed, that M. Gossellin supposed that island 
to lie at the mouth of the river of Makdashu (Magadasho*). 
It is, however, unnecessary to discuss this point here. The 
subject has been investigated by D'Anvillef and Vincent,t 
and recently very elaborately by De Froberville ;§ and the re- 
sult is, that the greatest amount of probability is certainly in 
favour of Zanzibar. 

It being absolutely essential to the investigation of the sub- 
ject that we should advance from some fixed point, it will be 
assumed that the identity of the island of Zanzibar with Me- 

* Recherches sur la Geographic des Ancienn, vol. i., p. 192. 

t Memoires de V Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Lcttres, vol. xxxv. (1770), 
p. 599, et seq. 

X Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, vol. ii., p. 174, et seq. ; Voyage of 
Ncarchus and Periplus, p. 80. 

§ Bulletin de la Societe de Geographic dc Paris, 3d Ser., vol. i., p. 224, et seq. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 229 

nuthias is established. And such being the case, it follows 
that the Barbarian Gulf (Barbaricus Sinus) is the bay or 
bight in which Zanzibar is situate ; and that the country of 
the Anthropophagi, who dwelled round this gulf, is that por- 
tion of the east coast of Africa which is opposite to that island. 
Further, as the Mountains of the Moon are stated to lie on 
the western side of the country of these Anthropophagi, we 
can have no hesitation in placing those mountains somewhere 
in that part of the main land, which, in like manner, lies op- 
posite to Zanzibar. It must be understood, that this is only 
a first approximation. 

We will now inquire how far the general results thus ar- 
rived at, are affected by the actual information which we pos- 
sess respecting the interior of Eastern Africa, 

At the Meeting of the British Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science, held at Southampton in 1846, I had the 
honour of explaining, to the Section of Geology and Physical 
Geogi'aphy, my views respecting the physical configuration 
of the plateau of Abessinia.* From a personal inspection of 
a considerable portion of the countries lying between the 
9th and 16th degrees of north latitude, and the 36th and 
43d degrees of east longitude, I was enabled to arrive at the 
conclusion, that this part of the continent of Africa consists 
of an extensive table-land, of which the eastern edge runs in 
a general direction from north to south, in about the 40th 
meridian, and at a general elevation of about 8000 feet ; and 
as the ascent to this great height, from the very much lower 
plain-country near the coast, occurs within the short hori- 
zontal distance of from 25 to 40 miles, it is manifest that the 
eastern or seaward edge of the plateau must present the ap- 
pearance, and indeed possess the character, of an extensive 
range of lofty mountains. 

Southwards of about the 9th parallel of north latitude, I 
enjoyed no opportunity of personal observation ; but from the 
information obtained by others at various points along the 

* See the Report of the British Association for 1846, " Transactions of the 
Sections," p. 70, et. leq. See also Journ. Roy. Geogr. Sue, vol. xvii., p. 76, et 

230 Dr Beke on (he Sources of the Nile 

coast, and also from analogy, it may be concluded that the 
same table-land extends to some distance beyond the equator, 
its eastern or seaward edge trending to the SSW. or SW., in 
a general direction parallel to the coast. The country of 
Mono-Moezi in particular, which, as before stated, lies to the 
south of 2° S. lat., appears to be, like Abessinia, " an elevated 
plain, the ascent to which lies chiefly in the territories of the 
M'sagara and Woliaha"* tribes, occupying the low lands to 
the north-west of Zanzibar. 

This table-land of Eastern Africa may, in the most genei-al 
way, be compared to the Indian Peninsula and to South 
America ; with this difference, however, that, whereas in 
those two portions of the globe, the western Ghauts and the 
Cordillera of the Andes present their principal acclivities 
towards the west, and thence slope gradually eastwards ; the 
African plateau rises abruptly from the east, and has its 
counter-slope westwards, towards the interior of the conti- 
nent and the valley of the Nile. Another point of difference 
is, that, while the rivers which rise near the western edge of 
the Ghauts and of the Andes, take their courses eastwards 
over the counter-slopes, at right angles with the water-part- 
ing, or nearly so, and discharge themselves into the ocean ; 
the streams which have their sources at the water-parting of 
Eastern Africa, flow in a general north-westerly direction, 
and fall into the main stream of the Nile ; which latter river 
takes its sluggish course along the foot of the lengthened 
western counter-slope, and in its upper course appears to con- 
sist, during the dry season, of a series of swamps and lakes, 
rather than to form a continuous running stream. 

Along the extreme eastern edge of the table-land of Abes- 
sinia is a succession of swamps, whence issue the numerous 
streams flowing, in opposite directions, towards the ocean and 
towards the Nile ; which swamps are at intervals replaced 
by lakes. Of these lakes, A'shangi in about 12° 30' N. lat., 
Haik in about 11° 30' N. lat., and Zuwai in about 8° 30' N. 
lat., are already known to us. Further to the south, we have 
information of the existence of another lake in the country of 

* Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol. xv., p. 212. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 231 

Korchdssi,* apparently in about 7° N. lat. ; and we may, from 
analogv, entertain the opinion that the same line of swamps 
and occasional lakes continues southwards along the entire 
water-parting, as far as it extends. Beyond the fourth or 
fifth parallel of south latitude, we have, indeed, evidence of 
the existence of a very large collection of fresh water, called 
N'yassi or " the sea,"t which is imperfectly represented in 
our maps under the name of Lake Maravi or Zambeze, and 
which is situate in or adjoining to the country of Mono- 
Moezi ; but whether this collection of water forms pax't of the 
same hydrographical system as the lakes already enumerated, 
or whether it possesses its own distinct and separate basin, 
our existing knowledge does not enable vis to determine. 

As it has already been observed, the seaward edge of the 
plateau of Eastern Africa, when viewed from the low lands, 
presents the appearance, and possesses the character, of an 
extensive range of lofty mountains. And that portion of this 
range which bounds the country of M.o\\o-Moezi, and which 
lies in a general direction to the west of the island of Zanzi- 
bar, corresponds so satisfactorily with the " Mountains of 
the Moon" situate on the western side of the country of the 
Anthropophagi, dwelling on the shores of the Barbaricus 
Sinus, that we may, with every show of reason, place here 
the source of Ptolemy's eastern arm of the Nile. We should, 
however, probably be in error were we to regard the position 
of that source as lying due west of Zanzibar, and this for the 
following reason. The general direction of the Somali and 
Zangebar coast, as far south as the island of Zanzibar, is 
from about NE. to SW., and the rivers of that coast appear to 
trend to the NW., at about right angles with the coast-line. 
It may, consequently, be more correct to regard the head of 
the Nile as being situate, not, strictly speaking, to the ivest of 
Zanzibar, but behind thai island, at right angles with the coast- 
line, and in the same general direction as the courses of the 
rivers. Assuming this to be its real bearing from Zanzibar, 
and its distance from that island to be between 300 and 400 

* Rochet, Second Voyage au Royaume de Choa, p. 274. 
t Juurn. Roy. Geo'jr. Soc, vol. xv., p. 1, ct seq. 

232 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

miles, which is apparently the utmost distance of the edge of 
the table-land from the coast, the position of the source of 
the Nile will fall in about 2° N. lat. and 34° E. long. ; that is 
to say, in the very spot which has already been attributed 
to the northern, and also to the eastern limits of the country 
of Mono-Moezi. 

The result thus arrived at is strikingly in accordance with 
the following statement of the Arabian geographer, Ibn el 
"Wardi, who flourished in the fourteenth century of our era. 
He says,* " The land of the Zindj [i.e., Zindjibar or Zangebar] 
lies opposite to that of Sind [India] ; between the two inter- 
venes the breadth of the sea of Persia [the Indian ocean]. 

The inhabitants are the blackest of the negro race 

Their habitations extend from the extremity of the gulf to 
the low land of gold (Sofalat-el-Dahab). . . The Nile is 
divided above their country at the mountain of Muksim. Most 
of the natives sharpen their teeth, and polish them to a 
point. They traffic in elephants' teeth, panthers' skins, and 
silk \X] They have islands in the sea, from which they col- 
lect cowries to adorn their persons, and they use them in 
traffic with one another at an established rate. Adjoining 
to these lies the land of the Dum-a-Dum. It is situate on the 
Nile, bordering on the Zindj. . . . In their country the river 
divides, one branch going towards Egypt, and the other to the 
country of the Zindj P 

Mr Salt, who has cited the above statement of Ibn el 
Wardi, says,t in commenting on the last sentence of it, " By 
this, I conceive, is meant the Nil I'Mugdesso (or river of Ma- 
gadasho), which takes its rise fi^om the same chain of moun- 
tains as the Abiad or Nile of Egypt ;'' and he supposes, fur- 
ther,:}: that the " extremity of the gulf," mentioned in the 
earlier portion of the extract, is Cape Gardafui. But this 
opinion cannot well be maintained, inasmuch as the state- 
ment of the Arabian geographer relates to the coast of Zindj 
or Zangebar, skirting what Mr Salt, in another portion of 

* Kkeridat el 'Adjatjib, cited in Salt's Voyage to Abyssinia, pp. 56, 57. 
t Voyage to Abyssinia, p. 57, note. 
X Ibid., p. 56. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 233 

his work,* describes as " the deep bay, as it may be justly 
termed, in which are situated the islands of Monfia, Zanzibar, 
and Pemba," from which islands cowries still continue to be 
exported to Bengal to serve there as a circulating medium.! 
Cape Gardafui, on the contrary, lies quite away from this 
bay, it being more than 17° of latitude to the north of Zan- 
zibar. Further, the Nile of Makdashu (^ji^i Iji^ written Ma- 

gadoxo by the Portuguese) is the Wabbi, Doho, or Haines's 
River, as will be more fully shown in the sequel ; and, as 
this river, the mouth of which is now closed, appears to have 
formerly discharged itself into the ocean in the Somdli terri- 
tory, in about 2° N. lat., that is to say, 8° of latitude to the 
north of the island of Zanzibar, it stands to reason that this 
cannot be the stream which Ibn el Wardi describes as "going 
towards the country of the Zindj." 

What other river is really intended by that geographer 
may not be easy to determine at present-; but the greatest 
probability is in favour of the Lufidji, one of the mouths of 
which river is just behind the island of Monfia, in 8° S. lat. 
This river is generally considered to flow out of N'yassi, the 
great lake of Eastern Africa already adverted to. Khamis 
bin Othman, an intelligent Sawahili, who was in London in 
1835, stated that he had been frequently to the shores of this 
lake ; and when questioned as to its outlets, he declared, at 
first, that three rivers issue from it ; namely, the Livtima, of 
which the mouth is in about 10° 20' S. lat., the Lufidji itself, 
and the Ozi, which latter river enters the ocean in about 2° 40' 
S. lat. Perceiving, however, that this statement was not 
well received, he admitted that with regard to the Livuma 
and Ozi, he spoke only from hearsay ; but as to the Lufidji, he 
maintained that he had himself seen its first egress from the 
lake. Mr Cooley, who reports this statement of Khami8,t 

* Page 89. 

t Cowries are mentioned by Captain Smee (Transactions of the Boinhay Geo- 
grajjkical Society, 1841-44, p. GO) among the articles of export from Zanzibar 
to Bengal. At a short distance to the north of Pemba, namely, in 2° 8' S. lat., is 
the island of Patta, which Jjieutenant Hardy tells us (It/id., p. 37) was formerly 
resorted to for cowries, but of lata years this trade has been discontinued. 

* Journ. Roy. fleoijr. Hoc, vol. xv., p. 203, et seq. 

234 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

shows indisputably, that both the Livtima and the Ozi have 
their sources at the eastern edge of the table-land ; and he 
adduces cogent reasons for believing that the case must be 
the same with the Luf idji, and that Khamis was merely la- 
bouring under a misconception common among native Afri- 
cans, when he said that it issues from the lake. 

I have myself collected information from various sources, 
into the particulars of which it is beside the present question 
to enter, showing that all the principal rivers of the east coast 
of Africa which flow towards the Indian Ocean, namely, the 
Hawdsh ; the "Wabbi, Doho, or Haines's River ; the Wabbi- 
Giweyna, Gowin, or Juba River ; the Ozi, Pokomozi, or Mai'o ; 
the Sabaki, the Luf idji, and the Livuma (Rovooma), all com- 
municate either with the Nile or with N'yassi ; such being 
the enunciation, in the native phraseology, of the fact, that 
the several sources of these rivers are at the water-parting 
between their basins and those of that river and lake ; the 
contiguity of the respective sources being, according to the 
native mode of thinking, equivalent to an actualVater-commu- 
nication between the streams themselves. Respecting these 
rivers, it is remarked by Lieutenant Hardy, who examined 
the entire coast in 1811,* that " it is confidently reported 
they all take their rise among the mountains in Abessinia ;" 
by which expression, as I have had occasion to explain in an- 
other place, t is meant, not merely the " Abessinia" of Euro- 
peans, but the entire elevated land of Eastei'n Africa, which 
is known to the Arabs by the name of Habesh, and to the 
people of Sennir by that of Makadah. 

There is a remarkable circumstance connected with one of 
these rivers, namely the Ozi, which calls for special obser- 
vation. By Khamis bin Othmdn, this river, not less than 
the Luf idji and Livuma, was said to issue from N'yassi, or 
the great lake. On the other hand, the Rev. Dr Krapf, 
who has for several years past been zealously pursuing his 
missionary labours in the vicinity of Monbisa (Mombis), in 
about 4i° S. latitude, lately sent home information that " it is 

* Transactions of Bombay Geogr. Soc, 1841-44, p. 59. 
t Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol. xvii., p. 2, note. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 235 

universally and invariably stated by the natives of the coast, 
that the Juba, Ozi, and Sabiki rivers rise from the main 
stream of a river which goes to the Nile." As, however, the 
Ozi was, not many years ago, explored almost to its source 
by a native chief, as is related by Mr Cooley,* no fact can 
well be more certain than that this river does not communi- 
cate either with N'yassi or with the Nile. Nevertheless, its 
connexion with both is asserted ; and this circumstance un- 
questionably gives to another native statement, to which I 
have adverted on a former occasion,! an importance which it 
might otherwise not be considered to possess. The state- 
ment to which I allude is that of Lief bin Saied, a native of 
Zanzibar, but bora of Mono-Moezi (Manmoise) parents, and 
it is, that " it is well known by all the people there that the 
river which goes through Egypt takes its source and origin 
from the lake'^X namely N'yassi ; an assertion w^hich seems to 
warrant the conclusion, that, if the Nile does not actually 
flow out of N'yassi itself, its sources are so contiguous to that 
lake, or to the sources of some of the streams draining into 
it, as to give occasion to the native opinion that an actual 
water-communication exists between the two. 

How^ever the fact may eventually be found to be, the ge- 
neral practical result is much the same. In either case, the 
head of the Nile is where it has already been placed approxi- 
mately, namely, at the edge of the high land behind the coast 
of Zanzibar. And as the Luf idji has some of its sources in 
the same locality, — it being, in like manner, positively as- 
serted to flow out of N'yassi, — we have an intelligible expla- 
nation of the statement of Ibn el Wardi, that the Nile di- 
vides above the country of the Zimlj, at the mountain of Muk- 

To this identification of the elevated country of Mono- 
Moezi with the Mountains of the Moon, it may be objected, 
that those mountains are represented by Ptolemy as running 
across the continent from east to west ; whereas the general 
direction of the edge of the table-land of Eastern Africa, of 

* Joum. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol, xv., p. 207. 

t Tbid., vol. xvii., p. 74. | Ibid., vol. xv., p. 373. 

236 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

which the country of Mono-Moezi forms a portion, is fi'om 
south to north. But this is an error on the part of that geo- 
grapher, which it was not only natural for him to fall into, 
but which, it may even be said, he was bound to commit. 
From the very general terms in which he speaks of the posi- 
tion of the sources of the Nile in the Mountains of the Moon, 
it is evident that his information on the subject was but 
scanty, and of an indefinite nature. We may with propriety 
conceive the Sawahilis, or natives of the coast, to have told 
the Greek navigators and traders who were his authorities, 
that the Nile had two principal sources ; that one of these 
sources was in the Mountains of Moezi, situate beyond the 
country of the Anthropophagi ; and that the other source was 
in the same ranrje of mountains, at a distance most probably 
estimated by them in days' journeys, but calculated, either 
by Ptolemy or by his informants, as being equal to 10 de- 
grees of longitude, or nearly 600 miles. All this we may 
well conceive to have been the information furnished to that 
geographer, it being in substance what is recorded by him. 
But we may not less readily conceive, that the direction in 
which those mountains extended was not stated. Now, in pro- 
ceeding to map these particulars, let us consider what, under 
the circumstances, would have been done by Ptolemy, or 
what would indeed now be done by any conscientious geo- 
grapher, possessed of no fuller or more precise information, 
and unbiased by any preconceived notions. The position of 
the one source in the mountains situate to the west of the 
country of the Anthropophagi being taken as a fixed point, 
and the other source being understood to lie in the same 
range of mountains, and at a distance of 600 miles from the 
former — the direction of the range being, however, not de- 
fined — there could not properly be any alternative but to re- 
gard these mountains as running in a dii'ection at right 
angles (or nearly so) with the main stream of the Nile ; such 
being, as we see in the case of the Western Ghauts of India 
and of the Andes of South America, and indeed in that of 
mountain-chains generally, the relative direction which they 
bear to the rivers rising in and flowing from them. And as the 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 237 

course of the Nile is in a general direction from south to north, 
the natural presumption would be, that the " Mountains of 
the Moon" extended from east to west, the two arms of the 
Nile being made to form the sides of an isosceles triangle, 
of which those mountains constituted the base ; and so they 
would be, as in fact they are, laid down in Ptolemy's map. 

This would be the case in the absence of all preconceived 
notions on the subject. But if, as we must believe, the geo- 
gi'apher of Alexandria had heard, in the same way as Hero- 
dotus had heard upwards of 500 years before him, of a great 
western arm of the Nile, the argviment becomes so much the 
stronger ; for there w6uld then have existed an actual posi- 
tive reason for placing the second source of that river to the 
west of the first, in preference to any other direction. 

As, however, the range of the Mountains of the Moon^ 
that is to say, that portion of the eastern edge of the table- 
land of Eastern Africa which forms the present subject of 
consideration — runs nearly from south-west to north-east, 
it is manifest that the head of Ptolemy's second arm of the 
Nile has to be placed in this latter direction. And if we 
assume, as we have already shown reason for assuming, that 
the one source is situate in about 2° S. lat. and 34° E. long., 
the position of the other, at a distance of about 600 miles in 
the above-mentioned direction, will fall in about 7° N. lat. 
and 39° E. long. ; and accordingly it is so laid down in the 
map which I have constructed. 

From the large amount of knowledge which has been ac- 
quired, during the last few years, respecting the countries 
situate to the south of Abessinia, we are enabled to assert 
the actual existence of a principal arm of the Nile, having 
some of its sources in the very position which has thus been 
hypothetically attributed to Ptolemy's second head of that 
river. When the Egyptian expeditions ascended the Bahr el 
Abyad, they came, in about 9° 20' N. lat., to a large river 
joining the main stream from the ESE., up which they pe- 
netrated about 80 miles, finding it to be (as has already been 
stated)*. of such magnitude that it was considered to contri- 

* Page 226. 
VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. r' 

238 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

bute to the Nile neai'ly a moiety of its waters. This river was 
called by the various names of Sobat, Telfi, Ta, and Babr el Ma- 
kddah or River of Habesh ;* and M. Russegger, when recently 
in the country to the south of SennAr, became acquainted with 
it under the name even of Bahr el Abyad.-)- From the infor- 
mation obtained by myself in the province of Godjam in 
Southern Abessinia, compared with that collected by MM. 
Russegger, Blondeel vanCuelebrook, and Antoine d'Abbadie,| 
this river is the lower course of the Bako (Bago), Bakka, or 
Uma ; which again is the channel that receives the united 
waters of the Godjeb, the Gibbe, and the numerous other 
rivers flowing through the countries of Kaffa, Enarea, Djan- 
djaro (Gingiro), Guragie, and others lying to the south of 
Abessinia. The eastern sources of these rivers extend along 
the water-parting, from about 8° N. lat. and 39° E. long, to 
about 5° N. lat. and 38° E. long. ; a space which comprehends 
the spot already fixed on as the position of the head of 
Ptolemy's second arm of the Nile. 

Which of the various head streams of this great " River 
of Habesh" is, by virtue of its magnitude, the directness of 
its course, or any other cause, entitled to be regarded as the 
principal one, cannot be determined without a far more inti- 
mate acquaintance with them than we at present possess. 
When in Southern Abessinia, in 1842, T was given to under- 
stand that the Godjeb is the head stream of this branch of the 
Nile; II and M. d'Abbadie, when he wrote to Europe in 1844, 
announcing that he had been to Entirea and Kaffa, was of 
the same opinion ; or, it should rather be said, he even consi- 
dered the Godjeb to be the upper course of the Bahr el Abyad, 
or the direct stream of the Nile itself § That traveller then 
stated that he had crossed the Godjeb within 30 miles of the 
spot where it issues fi'om the foot of a large tree between 
two high hills, called Boshi and Doshi, in the country of 
Gimira, Gtimaro, or Gamru; and he was led to derive the 

* See Journ. Rop. Ccogr. S^oc, vol. xvii., p. 39. 

t Reise in Europa, Asien und Afrika, vol. ii., part ii., p. 88. 

I See Bulletin de la Societe de Qeographie de Paris, 3d Ser., vol. viii., p. 359. 

U See Journ. Roy. Geogr. Sac, vol. xvii., p. 44, et seq. 

9 JbiU., pp. 48, 51 ; Bulletin de la Soc. de Qeogr., 3d Ser., vol, iii., pp. 313, 318. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 239 

Arabic name of Djebel el Kamar (Ganiar) — i. e. " tlie Moun- 
tains of the Moon^' — from the circumstance of that river's 
rising between these two hills m Garni u. A second journey, 
reported by the same traveller to have been made by him to 
En4rea in 1845, has, however, led to widely different conclu- 
sions. The Godjeb has been summarily deprived of the 
honour of being the head of the Nile, and the Bora, an in- 
significant tributary of the Gibbe of Enarea, distant 80 miles 
in longitude alone from the " mountains of Gamru;''* has 
been made to take its place ; while the Bako, which, on that 
traveller's former visit to Bonga, the capital of KafFa, had 
been found by him to be a tributary of the Godjeb, and to 
have its source within 15 miles of the place at which he then 
was, has altogether lost its existence as a separate head 
river, and is now become the lower coui'se of the Godjeb 
and Gibbe, and in fact the' main stream of the Bahr el 
Abyad.t What is most singular, in connexion with the 
marked differences thus existing between the results of the 
two journeys of M. d'Abbadie, is, that those of the earlier 
and much more important one to Kaifa, which the traveller 
said it had required several months of research on the spot 
to arrive at, J should have been superseded by oral information 
obtained in Enarea, a country which is not so distant as 
Kaffa by nearly, if not quite, one hundred miles. 

But without dwelling on these matters, it is sufficient to 
observe, that M. d'Abbadie does not pretend that his identi- 
fication either of the Godjeb or of the Bora with the head of 
the White River, is the result of his own personal explorations. 
As it is most justly observed by M. Vivien de St Martin, the 
learned Secretary of the Geogi^aphical Society of Paris, in his 
last Annual Report,! "What M. d'Abbadie calls his discovery 
[namely, of the Source of the Nile], is in reality only a con- 
jecture ; and, in a matter of fact, a conjecture, even if it has 
every probability in its favour, can never take the place of a di- 

* Nouvclks Annates dcs Voijarjas, 1845, vol. ii., p. 112. 
t AtUnaeum of 9th and 16th Oct. 1847, Nos. 1041, 1042, pp. 1058, 1077. 
X " 11 a fallu plusieurs mois de travail Rur les lieux memes pour ddmeler les 
elements de co vaste bassin." — Nouv. Ann. den Voy. 1845, vol. ii., p. 115. 
S Ilatletin, 3d Ser., vol. viii., p. 283. 

240 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

rect verification." And, as regards the validity of M. d'Ab- 
badie's hypothesis, I apprehend that the evidence adduced by 
myself, both in the Journal of the Royal Geographical So- 
ciety of London* and in the Bulletin of the Geographical 
Society of Paris, t is sufficient to prove (as far as it can be 
proved in the existing state of our knowledge on the subject), 
that it is the Sobi'it, Telfi. or River of Habesh, and not the 
direct stream of the Bahr el Abyad ascended by the Egyptian 
expeditions, which is the lower course of the Bako, theGodjeb, 
the Gibbe, and of all the other rivers belonging to the same 
hydrographical system. 

That the Godjeb is considered to be the head of the Nile by 
the inhabitants of Kaffa, who dwell within its curve, is not to 
be denied. M. d' Abbadie himself tells us, that its source at the 
foot of the tree between Mounts Boshi and Doshi, is venerated 
as such. I But this native opinion no more establishes the 
fact of this river's being the true head of the Kile, than the 
belief of the modern Abessinians, that the Ahki or Astapus 
is the Gihon of Genesis,§ proves it to be so ; or than the no- 
tion of the ancient Axumites or Ethiopians, that the Tak- 
kazie or Astaboras was the river whose waters were turned 
by Moses into blood, || establishes its identity with that river. 
All these native opinions arise from the very natural idea of 
the people dwelling on the banks of those rivers respectively, 
that their own river is the principal one, and that all others 
are merely tributaries to it ; and they can in no case be accept- 
ed as evidence, on which to decide the general question. 

* Vol. xvii., passim. t 3d Ser., vol. viil., p. 357, et seq. 

I " Les Sidaraas ont une telle veneration pour cette source qu'ils y foiittous 
les ans un sacrifice solennel." — Nouv. Ann. des Voy., 1845, vol. ii., p. 112. 

§ Journ. Roy. Oeogr. Soc, vol. xvii., p. 36. 

{{ Ibid. In the second portion of the inscription found by Cosmas Indicopleustes 
at Adule (of which city the ruins exist at Zulla in Annesley Bay, about 30 miles 
to the south of the island of Massowah), the Takkazie is expressly called the 
Nile. This portion of the inscription records the conquests of a native Axumite 
sovereign (see Valentia's Travels, vol. iii., p. 181 ; Salt's Voyage to Abyssinia, 
p. 411, Appendix, p. Ixxv. ; Vincent's Voyage of Nearchus and Periplus, pp. 118, 
119) ; and among the countries subdued by him, is mentioned " Sem6ne, a na- 
tion beyond the Nile, among mountains difficult of access, .and covered vrith 
snow ;" that is to say, the well-known province of Samen, beyond the Takkazie. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 241 

Nevertheless, there is one of the head streams of the great 
" River of Habesh," which, even if it should not eventually 
prove to be the true upper course of that river, possesses, at 
all events, peculiar claims to represent the head of Ptolemy's 
second arm of the Nile. 1 allude to a river with whose ex- 
istence I was made acquainted by the intelligentMohammedan 
Abessinian, 'Omar ibn Nedjat, who furnished me, when in 
Godjam, with much valuable information. 'Omar stated that 
the Godjeb and Gibbe, after uniting in the country of the 
Dokos with another river from Shoa,* the name of which 
river he did not know, go round westwards and northwards, 
to join the Bahr el Abyad ;t and in the map which I drew 
under his dictation, and of which a fac-simile is given in the 
seventeenth volume of the Journal of the Royal Geographical 
Society, a large river is so laid down. In my Essay on the 
Nile and its Tributaries, I identified this river from Shoa 
with one which had previously been mentioned by M. Le- 
febvre, under the name of " Gibbe," in the south of Shoa •,% 
and I likewise considered it to be the same as either the Bo- 
rara or the Walga, two rivers described, though not very dis- 
tinctly, by M. d'Abbadie, as joining the Godjeb from about 
the same direction. § But my impression now is, that another 
river, which is laid down by the latter traveller in his two 
sketch maps recently published in the Athenceum,\ has a 
greater claim to be regarded as the stream mentioned by my 
informant, 'Omar. On the occasion of his first journey to Kaffa, 
M. d'Abbadie named this i-iver the Wosho, and described 
its source^ as being " in Wolamo, at the water-parting be- 
tween the basin of the White River and that of Lake Ab- 
bale ;'' but in his maps in the Athenwum, above referred to, it 
is now called the IFebi. 

From these few vague notices, it would be presumptuou.s 

* Instead of Skoa, Omar made use of the nauie of Ifat. This is the most 
easterly province of Shoa, and is principally inhabited by Mohammedans, who 
are in the practice of giving its name to the entire kingdom. 

t Journ. Roy. Oeoyr. Hoc, vol. xiii., p. 267 ; vol. xvii., p. 54. 

X Bulletin, 2d. Ser., vol. xiii., p. 373 ; vol. xiv., p. 129. 

§ NoHv. Ann. des Voy., 1845, vol. ii., p. 114. 

II No. 1042; pp. 1077, 1080. ^ Nouv. Ann. det Vuij., 1845, vol. ii., p. 114. 

242 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

to think of laying down the course of this river with any- 
thing like precision. Still, its head may, without the slightest 
straining, and indeed with every appearance of probability in 
its favour, be hypothetically placed where we have already 
determined the position of the source of Ptolemy's second arm 
of the Nile to be, namely, in about T N. lat. and 39° E. long. 

In support of this hypothesis, the following important in- 
formation has to be adduced. It was obtained many years 
ago by the late Captain David Seton, the East India Com- 
pany's resident at Maskcit, from some persons of respecta- 
bility at that place, who were well acquainted with the part of 
the African coast to which it relates, and it is to the follow- 
ing effect : — " That a river of immense extent, known to the 
natives in its neighbourhood by the appellation of the Neelo 
(Nilo), and said to have its source in common with the Egyp- 
tian river of that name, discharges itself into the Indian Ocean 
in about 0° 5' N. lat. ; and that near to its mouth it is called 
Govind Khala."* 

This information was forwarded by Captain Seton to the 
Government of Bombay ; and, in consequence. Captain Smee 
and Lieutenant Hardy of the Indian Navy were sent, in the 
year 1811, to search for this river. They found it to be iden- 
tical with the Rio dos Fuegos of the Portuguese, which is 
also known by the name of Rogues' River.t At its mouth is 
a town or village named Juba Irunjba, which is called Jubo 
by Father Jerome Lobo, who visited it in 1614 •,% and from 
this place the river derives also the appellation of the Juba 
River, or, as it is written in the Portuguese maritime atlas, 
constructed, in 1546, by Joao Freire,§ " Rio de Jugo." By 
observation. Captain Smee and Lieutenant Hardy determined 
the mouth of this river to be, not in 0° 5' N. lat., but in 0° 17' 
S. lat. ; the error of 22 miles committed by Captain Seton's 
native informants with respect to its position, being one that 
persons unaccustomed to make accurate observations may 
easily be supposed to have fallen into. || 

* Trans, of Bomb. Geogr. Soc, 1841-44, pp. 31, 32. 

t Ibid., p. 32. I A Voyage to Abyssinia (London, 1735), p. 9. 

§ In the possession of the Viconde de Santarem, in Paris. 

U Trans, of Bomb. Qeogr. Soc, p. 32. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 243 

The Sultan of Patta, an island situate about 100 miles to 
the south of the Gowin (Govind), Juba, or Rogues' River, in- 
formed Captain Smee, that this stream was " of immense 
extent, and that its sources were far beyond his knowledge, 
and commonly believed to be in Europe, or (as he expressed 
it) in our country."* Such vague generalities and palpable 
exaggerations give way, however, before the positive infor- 
mation furnished by Mr Arcangelo, an officer in the service 
of the Imam of Maskat, who, in February 1844, ascended this 
river in a small boat to a distance of about 220 or 240 miles, 
the furthest point reached by him being apparently in about 
3° 20'N. lat. and 41° 20' E. long. Here Mr Arcangelo says,t— 
" The current after this became stronger every mile ; there 
was, however, plenty of water, the river being rather narrow. 
. . . Sometimes in the day the current would be so strong, 
that it was impossible to get 300 yards in four hours. . . . 
Some considerable distance up there are several falls, one of 
which was said to be a very high one." From these pai'ticu- 
lars it is clear, that Mr Arcangelo was approaching the edge 
of the table-land, at which the Juba River, like all the rivers 
of Eastern Africa, has its origin ; only, as he does not allude 
to any mountains being actually in sight, it is not less evi- 
dent that he was still at a considerable distance from them: 
according to the limits which I attribute to the table-land, 
there would exist an interval of about 150 miles between the 
explorer's furthest point and the extreme upper edge of the 
plateau in the same parallel of latitude. Mr Arcangelo does 
not state in what direction the further course of the river 
lies ; but if we hypothetically continue it upwards in the same 
general direction, in which it appears to have been ascended 
by him, namely, to the NNW., we shall find that it strikes 
the 39th meridian in about 7° N. lat. This is precisely the 
spot where we have placed the source of 'Omar's river from 
Shoa, or M. d'Abbadie's Wabbi (AVebi), which we have as- 
sumed to be the head of Ptolemy's second arm of the Nile ; 
and thus we have a direct confirmation of the statement made 

* Trans, of Bomb. Qeogr. Sue., p. 35. 

t See Journ. Roy. Oeotjr. fioc, vol. xvii., p. 46. 

244 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

to Captain Seton, that the Govind Khala, Juba, or Rogues' 
River, called also Nilo, has its source in common with the 
Egyptian river of the same name ; and at the same time a 
case is made out which is precisely parallel to that of the 
alleo-ed branchinff-off of the direct stream of the Nile towards 
the coast of Zangebar. 

Remarkable as this coincidence is, there is another which 
is not less so. In the language of the Somalis, through whose 
country the Juba river flows, the word Wabbi (Wehi or Wabe) 
is not a proper name, but an appellative, signifying " river ;" 
and in its unqualified application to any particular stream, it 
must be understood to mean the river, xar st,o-x/iv* Now, 
Wabbi is the name of the stream which I have hypothetically 
identified with Ptolemy's second arm of the Nile ; and Wabbi, 
as I shall next proceed to shew, is not only the designation 
of Captain Seton's River Nilo, or Gowin, — which latter name 
is nothing more than Wabbi-Giweyna, that is to say, " the 
great river ;" but it is also the designation of another river of 
the coast, which was called by the Arabian geographers the 
Nile of Mdkdashu. 

This latter river is one which is well known to us, at least 
by name. Professor Lee, in a note to his translation of Ibn 
Batuta, says,t " Abulfeda, as given by Rinck and Eichhorn 
{Africa, p. 33), pronounces this word Mahdishu, and says, that 
it is situate on the Indian sea ; that its inhabitants are Mos- 
lems. It has a large river like the Nile of Egypt, which 
swells in the summer season : it is said to be a branch of the 
Nile, which issues from the lake of Kuara, and runs into the 
Indian sea near Makdishu." At the present day, however, 
the channel of this river into the Indian Ocean has become 
choked up, and after running some distance parallel to the 
coast, it terminates in a lake near the sea-shore. 

Captain Smee states respectfng this river,J that " five or 
six coss, or about one day's journey, at the back of the towns 
of Magadosha, Marca, and Brava, is situated a small stream 

* It is probable that the Ahai of Abessinia was originally an appellative 
cognate with the name Wqbhi. 
t P. 55. 
X Trans, uf Bomb. Geoffr. Soc, 1841— A4, p. 59. 

in the 3Iountains of the Moon. 245 

called the Doha; it does not join the Govind, being lost 
among some hills before it reaches so far south. It appears 
to be (from the accounts of the reporter, an intelligent 
Soomaulee) a branch of the Zebee,* which he calls the Da- 
waha, where the Doho joins. The other and principal 
branch (he says) runs thi'ough Africa, and disembogues on 
the coast of Adel, near Burburreea." Confused, and in 
some parts erroneous, as these particulars are, it is, I appre- 
hend, clear that the river Dawaha, which Captain Smee sup- 
poses to be the Zebee, is the Hawash ; a river which truly 
goes through the country of the Adal or Danakil, and ap- 
proaches the Indian Ocean, but without entering it, behind 
Tadjuri'ah, and, consequently, at no very great distance from 
Berberah. The supposition that a water-communication 
exists between these two streams, the Dawaha or Hawash, 
and the Doho or Nile of Mdkdashu, is merely the result of 
the erroneous native notion, which has been already com- 
mented on, respecting rivers whose sources are contiguous. 

More I'ecently, this river Doho has been visited by Lieu- 
tenant Christopher of the Indian Navy, who appears not to 
have heard it called by any name except the generic appel- 
lation "Wabbi," and who, in consequence, designated it 
Haines's river.f His detailed description of it fully con- 
firms the briefer one of Captain Smee, with the addition 
that the river terminates in an extensive lake. This lake, 
according to Dr Krapf, is called Balli, + which is manifestly 
the iVbbale of M. d'Abbadie ; § and the river itself — the 
Wabbi, or Haines's river — is stated by that missionary || to 
rise at Adari or Harrar, a large town situate in about 9° 20' 
N. lat. and 42° 30' E. long. With respect to this latter 
fact, there appears to be no room for doubt ; a mass of de- 
tails collected by M. d'Abbadie at Berberah, and published 

* The Zebee was twice crossed, in 1613, by the Jesuit missionary, Antonio 
Fernandez. In the maps, it is usually made to fall into the Indian Ocean, but 
erroneously ; it being, in fact, the same as the Gihle of Endrea, which is a tribu- 
tary of the Nile. See Athenceum of the 30th Oct. 1848, No. 1044, p. 1106. 

t Journ. Roy. Oeo'jr. Hoc. vol. xiv., p. 79, et seq. 

\ Church MUsionarij Record (Jan. 1845), vol. xvi., p. 9. 

§ See page 241. || Loc. cit. 

246 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

with an able commentary, by M. d'Avezac, in the Bulletin of 
the Geographical Society of Paris,* sufficiently establishes 
this to be the case ; only fi-om the circumstance that the tra- 
veller seems to have made his inquiries on the erroneous 
assumption of the identity of the Wabbi of Makdashu vs^ith 
the Wabbi-Giweyna or Juba river (an error which he has 
since admittedt), his commentator was very naturally misled, 
though not without strong misgivings on his part, that the 
particulars furnished must, of necessity, be applicable to more 
than one stream.;}: 

M. d'Abbadie was informed that the Wabbi is composed 
of seven branches, of which the sources come from the Nile, 
another instance of the vulgar native error, but which that 
traveller justly explains as meaning " the country of Upper 
Ethiopia ;"§ and both Major Harris and M. Rochet concur in 
placing one, at least, of the sources of this river in or near a 
large lake situate in Korchassi,|| a country lying to the south 
of Lake Zuwai ; the approximate position of which lake in 
Korchissi has been already statedi^ to be in about 7° N. lat., 
and at the edge of the table-land in about 39° E. long. 

Thus, then, we have the remarkable fact, established on 
fair, even if not absolutely conclusive evidence, that there 
exist three rivers possessing a common origin ; that is to say, 
having their sources, or some of their sources, contiguous to 
one another in about 7° N. lat. and 39" E. long. ; two ..of which 
rivers flow towards the Indian Ocean, and the third has its 
course towards Egypt ; and all three bear, on the one hand, 
the generic name Wqbbi, or " the river," and, on the other 
hand, the not less geneinc designation of the Nile. 

Hence we may perceive — and Captain Seton himself drew 
attention to the same circumstance** — that four centuries 
before our era, the existence of the great water-parting of 

* 2d Ser., vol. xvii. 

t Ibid., 3d Ser., vol. iii., p. 55. X Ibid., vol. xvii., p. 109. 

§ Ibid., p. 97. 

II Trans, of Bomb. Geogr. Soc, 1841-44, p. 68; Kochet, Second Voyaged Choa, 
p. 274. And see Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc, vol. xvii. p. 47, note, 
% See page 231. 
** Trans, of Bomb. Geogr. Soc., p. 31. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 247 

Ethiopia above Egypt was known in the latter country ; inas- 
much as the historian Herodotus relates,* that he was in- 
formed by a priest of Sais that the sources of the Nile were 
situate in certain mountains, whence two streams flowed, tlie 
one taking its course to the north and dividing Egypt, and 
the other running to the south through Ethiopia. 

From the further statement which the historian says was 
made to him, that these mountains were situate between 
Syene and Elephantine, it is manifest that some gross mis- 
understanding existed somewhere on the subject. It is not 
improbable that the ambiguous description given by the 
priest of Sais, though it spoke substantially the truth, was 
intended to conceal the precise circumstances connected 
with the origin of the sacred river ; and it may even be con- 
jectured that the latter portion of his information, when 
dragged from him, was intended to mislead. However this 
may have been, the context shows that the matter-of-fact 
traveller and historian did not place implicit confidence in 
the statements of his priestly informer, and that he took the 
trouble to go in person as far as Elephantine, for the pur- 
pose of obtaining more pi'ecise information on a subject which 
so much interested him.t There he learned that " the source 
of the Nile is in the west" and that this river " rises in Libya, 
which country it divides. "J 

Contradictory as this latter information may at first sight 
seem, it is not so in reality. Till very recently it was im- 
possible to explain it satisfactorily ; but we now know that, 
in about 9° 20' N. lat., the direct stream of the Bahr el Abyad 
is not only joined by the Sobat, Telfi, or river of Habesh, 
which we have identified with Ptolemy's second arm of the 
Nile, and which falls into it from the east; but it also re- 
ceives, /row the west, the Bahr el Ghazal or Keilah, which is 
described as a magnificent river, with a tolerably rapid cur- 
rent. § 

At the conclusion of my Essay on the Nile and its Tribu- 

* Euterpe, xxviii. t I^uL, xxix. 

X Ibid., xxxi., et leq. § .See page 226. 

248 Dr Beke on (he Sources of the Nile 

taries, an opinion was expressed* as to the probable identity 
of this river, the Bahr el Ghazal or Keilah, with Ptolemy's 
second arm of the Nile. The reasons which have since con- 
vinced me that such an opinion is untenable, a,re evident in 
the preceding pages. Without then entering upon the con- 
sideration of this great western arm of the Nile, the subject 
of which is beyond the scope of the present inquirj^ it is suf- 
ficient to remark, that, as the attention of Herodotus, when 
at Elephantine, would seem to have been more particularly, 
if not exclusively, directed to this western arm, which would 
have been the best known to the merchants trading with 
those portions of the interior of Africa which are now repre- 
sented by the countries of Kordofdn and Darfur ; so he may 
not unnaturally have been led to reject the previous state- 
ment of the priest of Sais, as to the sources of the Nile being 
situate in the south. On the other hand, as the knowledge 
of the geographer of Alexandria respecting the upper Nile, 
was principally acquired from the merchants and seamen of 
that city, who traded with India and the east coast of Africa, 
we can well understand that he would, thi'ough them, have be- 
come acquainted with the existence of the two arms of that 
river, which rise in the mountains of Eastern Africa ; and 
having, in the manner already explained,t fallen into the very 
natural error of imagining that one of these arms had its ori- 
gin at a considerable distance to the west of the other, he 
may well have been led away from the separate considera- 
tion of any more westerly arm, such as is described by Hero- 
dotus, and also by many subsequent writers. 

In closing these remarks, I will venture to express my con- 
viction, that the fact that Ptolemy's two main streams of the 
Nile have their sources at the edge of the table-land running 
parallel to the east coast of Africa, has now been established 
as fully and satisfactorily as it is possible to be, in the absence 
of that direct and absolute proof which can only be furnished 
by the explorations of intelligent and veracious Europeans. 
It may confidenth be anticipated, that the final solution of 
this most interesting problem of geography will not much 

* Page 84. t Pages 236, 237. 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 249 

longer be delayed, and that the saying, Nili qucerere caput, 
will at length lose its force as a proverb. 

At the time when the foregoing pages were written (May 
27th), I was far from imagining that the prediction contained 
in the concluding sentence was so immediately in the way of 
being fulfilled. The Rev. Dr Friedrich Bialloblotzky, a 
scholar well known in the literary world, has just undertaken 
the enterprise of seeking for the sources of the Nile, in ac- 
cordance with the views which have thus been enunciated. 
This gentleman quitted England for Germany on the 24th 
of last month (June), and on the 5th instant he addressed a 
letter to me from his birth-place, Patten sen, near Hanover, 
announcing his departure for the east coast of Africa, by the 
way of Gottingen, Vienna, Constantinople, and Alexandria. 
He has, however, since been induced to proceed direct to 
Alexandria by the way of Trieste. According to the plan of 
operations agreed on before the traveller left London, he will 
proceed from Alexandria to Aden, where he will embark for 
Monbtisa (Mombas), an island on the east coast of Africa, in 
about 4° S. lat. ; and at Monbasa, or in its vicinity, he will 
make arrangements for travelling into the interior with a 
native caravan, or otherwise, as may be found most expe- 

The establishment of the Church Missionary station at 
Rabbay-Empia, on the main-land close to Monbisa, may 
confidently be expected to afford extraordinary facilities to 
the traveller for bis journey into the interior. In the last 
reports, dated June 1847,* received from the two worthy mis- 
sionaries stationed there, the Rev. Dr Ki'apf and Mr Reb- 
mann, the following passage occurs, which is deserving of 
being brought prominently forward in connexion with Dr 
Bialloblotzky' s expedition : — " Were we assisted," writes Dr 
Krapf, " by one or two other missionary brethren, we might, 

* Church Missiunary liecurd (January 1848), vol. xix., pp. 11, 12. 

250 Dr Beke on the Sources of the Nile 

without any particular difficulty, establish a school among 
the neighbouring Wakamba tribes, which appear to be more 
accessible to instruction than the Wonika. This people is of 
the utmost consequence to East Africa, as I have frequently 
mentioned in my letters. They are the commercial go-betweens 
of the coast and the interior. By their instrumentality you 
may reach the very centre of Africa ; for their main tribe lives 
within 400 or 600 miles from the coast, and is connected rvith 
western tribes to a long distance." 

It is by means of these people, the Wakimbas, that Dr 
Bialloblotzky hopes to be able to penetrate with safety into 
the interior. And on the assumption of the general correct- 
ness of my hypothesis, it is anticipated that a journey of about 
300 or 400 miles from the coast, in a direction between "W. 
and NW., will bring the traveller to the edge of the table- 
land of Eastern Africa, at the water-parting between the 
basin of the Upper Nile and those of the rivers Lufidji, Ozi, 
and Sabaki, flowing eastwards into the Indian Ocean — to the 
locality, in fact, where Ptolemy has placed the chief source of 
the Nile. 

On reaching the table-land, it will be Dr Bialloblotzky's 
object to determine the southei'n limits of the basin of the 
Nile, or that extensive tract of Africa which drains towards 
Egypt ; and he will endeavour to visit the sources of the prin- 
cipal streams which unite to form that river. By obtaining, 
at the same time, information respecting N'yassi, the great 
inland lake of which mention has been made, it is expected 
that he will have it in his power to clear up the various ques- 
tions connected with this very curious and interesting sub- 

Having explored the head streams of the Nile^ it is the 
intention of the traveller to proceed further westwards across 
the continent, should facilities present themselves for his so 
doing. But should he be prevented from penetrating in that 
direction, he then pui'poses tuiming northwards and tracing 
the course of the river downwards to Sennar and Egypt. On 
his way he will ascertain the existence of any branches join- 
ing the main stream ; and, by his informing himself of their 
length and direction, it may be hoped that some satisfactory 

in the Mountains of the Moon. 251 

and definite results will be arrived at, respecting the limits of 
the entire basin of the giant river of Africa. 

The object of Dr Bialloblotzky's journey will, however, not 
be confined to the solvition of the problem of the position of 
the sources of the Nile. He will observe and describe the 
nature of the countries which he proposes to traverse, with 
their productions and capabilities for cultivation, commerce, 
and colonization ; he will make himself acquainted with the 
character, manners, and customs of the natives, and their 
fitness for instruction or for emigration ; he will collect vo- 
cabularies and other materials for the investigation of their 
languages ; he will ascertain the state of slavery and the 
slave-trade, both on the coast and in the interior ; and he 
will make all such other observations and inquiries, as may 
reasonably be expected on the part of an intelligent and edu- 
cated European, visiting for the first time countries which 
have never been trodden by the foot of civilized man. 

Dr Bialloblotzky's expedition is unquestionably one of the 
most impoi'tant ever undertaken. Should it be crowned 
with sucpess, its results will be of an unprecedented value ; 
whether as concerns the solution of a geographical pro- 
blem, which has in all ages been deemed woi'thy of the at- 
tention of princes not less than of philosophers ; or whether 
as regards the opening up of a portion of Africa, which enjoys 
a climate of a character directly opposite to that of the un- 
healthy regions on the western coast, and which is inhabited 
by millions of our fellow-creatures, who appear to be far more 
fitted to receive the blessings of Christian civilization than 
those in most other parts of that vast continent. Surely, 
then, this expedition cannot fail to meet with sympathy in 
the breast both of the philanthropist and of the lover of 
science ; and the appeal which I have taken on myself to 
make on behalf of the travellei*, for the funds necessary for 
carrying it out in a suitable manner, will, I feel assured, be 
Bo responded to, as, in this respect at least, to guarantee his 
enterprise from failure. 

London, 27tA JuUi 1848. 

( 252 ) 

Researches into the Effects of certain Physical and Chemical 
Agents on the Nervous System. By Marshall Hall, 
M.D., F.R.S., Foreign Associate of the Royal Academy 
of Medicine of Paris, &c., &c. (With a Plate.) Commu- 
nicated by the Author. 

Section I. On the Electrogenic Condition of Muscular Nerves. 

My object in the present paper is to detail the results of 
an investigation of the phenomena and laws of production 
and action of certain secondary or induced conditions of the 
nervous system, which are effected by a Voltaic, and probably 
by any other electric current, but persistent, after the influ- 
ence of that current is withdrawn, and, for which I venture 
to pi'opose a new designation. 

I have chosen that of Electrogenic, as denoting at once the 
origin and the independence of this condition.* 

I. Introductory Observations. 

The immediate effects of the Voltaic influence on the 
nervous and muscular structure of the frog, as well as the 
phenomena of various Voltaic combinations of the different 
parts of that animal, have been admirably ascertained and de- 
scribed by Signor Matteucci ; the secondary and induced 
electrogenic conditions of the nervous structure, which I am 
about to describe, have not, I believe, been fully or accui'^tely 
noticed by any experimentalist. 

In prosecuting this inquiry, I shall be led to advert to the 
distinct portions of the spinal system, its incident or excitor 
nerves, its centre, the true spinal marrow, and its reflex or 
muscular nerves ; and to state the modes of electrogenic con- 
dition or induction, with the effects or phenomena of this con- 
dition on each of these parts of the nervous system. 

My first object in taking up this investigation was, to de- 

* This term is deri' ed from JjXexrgoi' and ynvofiai, tlie noun in the genitive 
case, the verb in the passive voice, as in yrjyivrii, ndiXoyevris, 'jrv^iyevrji, &c., 
and as in the recent terras, electrolytic, thermo-electric, photogenic, &.C., (phos- 
gene (gas) ought to be photogene). With these terms, may be compared the 
compounds of the active ytvvau with the accusative case in Scapula. 

Effects of Chemical Agents on the Nervous Si/stem. 253 

termine questions many years ago slightly investigated by 
me relative to the condition of the excito-motor property of 
the muscular nerves, and of the irritability of the muscular 
fibre itself, especially in the human subject, and under the in- 
fluence of various kinds of paralytic affection resulting from 
the removal of the influence of the cerebrum or of the spinal 
marrow. I soon found, that the results and phenomena ob- 
tained, varied with a variety of circumstances, the influence 
of each of which required to be ascertained before those ques- 
tions could be determined ; and my attention was soon diverted 
from my first object, and directed into new channels of in- 

But I propose to revert to my first object of inquiry here- 

On the present occasion, I confine myself to the subject of 
the electrogenic condition of the muscular nerves ; that of 
the incident nerves and of the spinal marrow will form the 
subject of subsequent papers ; it is one of greater difficulty. 

What hght these experiments throw upon pathology, and 
upon the modes of action of other physical and chemical agents, 
as mechanical injury, heat or cold, strychnia or the hydro- 
cyanic acid, must also remain for future inquiry. 

I cannot introduce my subject better than by a brief sketch 
of an early experiment ; and I beg, in the first instance, to 
state, that in all this investigation I have had the able and 
inval- able assistance of my friend, Mr Henry Smith of Tor- 
rington Square, whom I cannot sufficiently thank for his 
untiring attention, as well as generous devotion to this m- 


We took afresh and lively frog (the Rana temporaria, Lin.), 
and having first divided the spinal marrow near the cranium, 
to annihilate sensation, and to obviate all idea of the inflic- 
tion of suffering, and of the interference of volition with the 
other results, we divided the tissues along the sides of the 
spinal column, those connecting it with the anterior extremi- 
ties excepted, and removed all the viscera and the whole of 
the integuments ; we then removed the bones and muscles of 
the brachial, lumbar, and pelvic regions.and separated the two 
femora, leaving the brachial and lumbar nerves perfectly do- 
VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. S 

254 On the Effects of certain Physical and 

nuded on all sides, and raised from the glass on which the 
animal was placed (see Plate V., fig. 3). 

Having thus prepared the subject of experiment, we ar- 
ranged the platinum wires, issuing from a pair of cells of the 
" couronne de tasses" of Volta, and tipped with a platinum 
plate, so that at one time the wire from the silver should be 
placed upon the upper parts of the nerves near the spine, and 
that from the zinc upon the lower part of the nerves near the 
femora, so conveying a Voltaic current downwards, in the 
direction of the nerves, /row their origin in the spinal marrow, 
towards their ramifications and distribution in the muscles, 
and at another time in the contrary or reverted direction. 

On completing the circuit we had energetic muscular move- 

On allowing the platinum mres and plates to remain in 
this position, and in this apposition with, and relation to, the 
lumbar nerves, variously, for the space of five, ten, or fifteen 
minutes, and then interrupting the A'^oltaic circuit, and re- 
i^oving all Voltaic influence, we observed the effects of the 
^condary or electrogenic condition of the nerves, in the in- 
stant and most remai-kable spasmodic contractions and teta- 
noid rigidity of the muscles of both the limbs ; effects which 
as instantly subsided on the restoration of the Voltaic circuit, 
and the re-application of the Voltaic influence. 

In this experiment we have the simplest form of electro- 
genic induction of the nerves, and of its effects, — a condition 
which, though induced by the Voltaic influence, yet, when 
induced, is independent of it, and persistent for a certain 
length of time ; admitting, therefore, of being made the sub- 
ject of distinct investigation. 

I will take this early opportunity of begging my reader 
carefully to distinguish between the muscular movements, 
however energetic, of the first completion of the Voltaic cir- 
cuit, and the spasmodic or tetanoid condition of the muscles 
observed as the effect of the electrogenic state, when the 
Voltaic influence is removed. 

The apparatus which I have hitherto employed has been of 
the most simple character : from ten to twenty cells of the com- 
mon trough of Cruickshanks, containing pure water, and con- 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 255 

nected by copper wires, were used in the cases in which I 
wanted the more considerable power ; and two glasses of the 
" couronne de tasses" of Volta, with arcs of zinc and silver, 
connected with fine platinum wires, in those cases in which a 
mild Voltaic current was required ; lastly, a single arc of 
zinc and silver applied to the nervous tissue itself, or to the 
nervous and muscular tissues, when this form of experiment 
was preferred. 

The frog which was made the subject of the experiment 
about to be detailed, was prepared by my friend, Mr Smith, 
in the diflPerent manners represented in figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
6, 7, 8, or merely with the spinal marrow divided. 

As I shall have to state more particularly hereafter, it is 
necessary sometimes to remove the skin, which is a very im- 
perfect conductor., sometimes to insulate the nerves from all 
muscular or other structures, which are good conductors ; 
and it is especially necessary to prevent the neurilemma and 
the nervous substance itself from becoming dry, yet without 
an actual layer of humidity extending along the external sur- 
face of the nerve. 

II. Precautions— Effects of Dryness— of External Moisture— of 
Extent of Contact. 

Many circumstances combine to render experiments on the 
electrogenic condition of nerves extremely difficult, and liable 
to error. Of these are the three which I have just enume- 
rated, and of which I propose to give a brief account before 
I proceed to the actual investigation of my subject. 

It frequently happened that a phenomenon appeared in one 
experiment which was absent in another ; and that we could 
not always produce the phenomena of the electrogenic state, 
which we had succeeded in doing in a previous experiment, 
apparently identical ; and on one occasion, in which we ex- 
changed our copper wires of communication for others of fine 
platinum wire, our experiment was altogether unsuccessful. 
It was of the utmost importance to ascertain and remove the 
causes of these discrepancies. ■ 

We prepared a frog in the manner represented in fig. 3, 

256 On the Effects of certain Physical and 

removing the head, the viscera, the integuments, and de- 
nuding the brachial and lumbar nerves, so as to expose 
them to the influence of the atmosphere, placing the frog on 
a plate of glass, vi^ith its nerves raised and suspended as it 
were, so as to be free from contact with the glass, or any 
structure which could retain moisture, the arms and legs 
being drawn laterally and downwards ; we watched the effect 
of gradual desiccation of the nerves. In a moderate space 
of time slight movements were observed in both anterior and 
posterior extremities, but especially in the latter, and slight 
flickei'ings of the muscles, gradually augmenting as the nerves 
assumed the dusky colour and dulness of aspect induced by 
evaporation . 

We now moistened the lumbar nerves (by laying over them 
the viscera of the animal previously removed) ; all movements 
ceased forthwith. We repeated the experiments on the same 
animal, allowing the nerves to become di'y, and then re-apply- 
ing the natural moisture, with precisely the same effect, seve- 
ral times. 

We again allowed the lumbar nerves to become slightly de- 
siccated, and when the movements in the lower extremities 
wei*e most obvious and distinct, we divided the nerves, first 
clt)se to the spine, without any effect, and then close to the 
inferior extremities, with the instant and total cessation of 
all movement. 

I need scarcely add, that these effects of desiccation must 
be most carefully observed and appreciated, and distinguished 
from the electrogenic effects of the Voltaic influence. 

We now prepared a frog, as represented in fig. 1, leaving 
the lumbar nerves in contact with the posterior soft and humid 
tissues of the back. It was now impossible, by any means, 
to induce the sudden spasmodic tetanoid contraction of the 
muscles on breaking the Voltaic circuit, after causing the 
current to pass through those nerves, during periods of time 
which would have cei'tainly produced those effects had the 
animal been prepared as in fig. 3, the nerves being detached 
and insulated from the humid tissues beneath. 

We prepared another frog, as in fig. 3, and, keeping the 
nerves constantly wet with a layer of water applied over 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 257 

their surface, in contact with the glass, we instituted the 
usual Voltaic current. 

In this experiment, again, no spasmodic movements were 
observed, after passing the Voltaic cui'rent through the 
nerves during five, ten, or twenty minutes, and even longer, 
and breaking the circuit. 

We prepared a frog as in fig. 4, and having laid the moist 
intestine over one of the nerves, we passed the Voltaic cur- 
rent in the direction represented ; on breaking the current, 
the spasmodic movements were observed in the limb the 
nerve of which was exposed, and not in that of which the 
nerve was kept moist by the intestine. The same thing was 
observed on connecting the platinum plates or shillings ; yet 
the nerves were not discharged ; for on removing the intes- 
tine, and again uniting the platinum plates, the muscles of 
both limbs were seen to contract with energy. 

It is obvious, therefore, that in experiments on electrogenic 
conditions of the nervous system, we must carefully weigh 
the influence of external moisture as well as of dryness ; the 
former, as a conductor, discharges the electrogenic state, and 
prevents the energetic spasmodic and tetanoid contractions 
of the muscles, observed in cases in which the nerves are in- 
sulated. This efifect of moisture enables me to explain some 
other phenomena to be detailed hereafter, and especially the 
absence of muscular contractions in breaking the Voltaic cir- 
cuit, in that experiment which has been designated the " al- 
ternative Voltaique." 

There is a third circumstance of great importance and in- 

Having prepared a frog as in fig. 3, we subjected the lum- 
bar nerves to the continuous action of the Voltaic current as 
usual, with the sole exception of substituting platinum for 
copper wires. The experiment utterly failed. No spasmo- 
dic or tetanoid actions of the muscles were observed on break- 
ing the Voltaic circuit. 

We observed that the copper wires were of greater diame- 
ter than those of platinum. It occurred to me that the num- 
ber of the points of contact between the wires and the nerves 
might have its influence on this phenomenon, we therefore 

258 On the Effects of certain Physical and 

armed the five platinum wires with flat plates of platinum, 
of about one-eighth of an inch in breadth, and with these we 
made contact with the nerves. The effect was as we antici- 
pated. The phenomena of energetic spasmodic and tetanoid 
muscular contractions on breaking the Voltaic circuit, were 
instantly reproduced. 

To the effects of dryness and moisture must therefore be 
added those of the number of points of contact between the 
conducting wires and the neiwes. How many other circum- 
stances also demand attention ! the vigour, the sex of the 
animal, the season of the year, &c. So much more difficult 
are physiological than physical experiments and investiga- 

III. The Electrogenic Condition of the Nerves; and its 

In detailing the following experiments, I must necessarily 
be rather diffuse ; but I shall endeavour, whilst I omit no 
point of importance, to be as little so as possible. 

The reader will be prepared for the details of the experi- 
ments, if I first call his attention to figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 
observe, that if the Voltaic current be passed, in the manner 
indicated by the arrows, through the nerves, no spasmodic 
or tetanoid effect is observed on breaking the circuit in the 
cases 1 and 5, the electrogenic effect of that current being 
apparently diffused amongst the soft parts behind the nerves, 
or at the junction of the thighs ; whereas, if the current be 
applied, as represented in figures 3 and 4, for a sufficient 
time, and broken, the most extraordinary and continuous 
spasmodic or tetanoid conti'actions of the muscles of the 
limb are produced by the discharge of the electrogenic con- 
dition of the nerves, phenomena which as instantly cease on 
recompleting the Voltaic circuit. 

Experiment 1. Having carefully prepared a frog as repre- 
sented in fig. 3, we first caused the Voltaic circuit to pass 
through the wires from a to b, excluding the nerves, during 
15 minutes, thinking we might induce the electrogenic state 
in the spinal marrow ; but we had no spasmodic movement 
on breaking the circuit, the Voltaic influence having doubt- 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 259 

less traversed the surrounding humid tissues; we then caused 
that influence to pass from c to d, now including within it 
the isolated brachial and lumbar nerves. Having waited three 
minutes only, we had energetic spasmodic contractions in all 
the extremities on breaking the circuit, less marked, of course, 
in the anterior than in the posterior. 

On recompleting the circuit, all spasmodic action ceased ; 
aud on continuing its influence during three minutes, and 
again breaking it, the same phenomena were reproduced. 
The experiment was repeated with the same efi'ect. 

In this experiment, as in so many others, the spasmodic 
action still continued on dividing the lumbar nerve at e, but 
instantly ceased on dividing it at/. 

This experiment and that represented in fig. 1, concur with 
that designated the " alternative Voltaique," to demonstrate 
the influence of surrounding moisture in preventing the spas- 
modic effects of the electrogenic condition of the nerve, so re- 
markable when this latter is insulated. 

Ex. 2. We prepared a frog as represented in fig. 1, re- 
moving the head and viscera, but leaving the brachial and 
lumbar nerves in contact with the humid tissues underneath. 
The platinum wires being applied to the lumbar nerves, one 
near the spine, the other near the femora, and being uncon- 
nected with the Voltaic arrangement, we brought them into 
mutual contact, at various distances from the animal, and 
then connected them variously, by means of a separate piece 
of platinum wire laid across them ; no obvious effect was 

This proceeding, to obviate circumlocution, I shall here- 
after designate connecting the wires. I shall also use the 
phrase " making and breaking" the Voltaic circuit, for the 
completion or interruption of that circuit. 

We now instituted the Voltaic circuit ; a slight movement 
was observed in the limbs ; we then connected the wires. The 
circuit being complete, the movements of the limbs were 

We broke the Voltaic circuit and again connected the wires ; 
the same lively movements were observed. These move- 

260 On the Effects of Certain Physical and 

ments were repeated several times, on disconnecting and re- 
connecting the wires, without renewing the Voltaic circuit. 

On continuing the connection for some time tlie phenomena 
ceased. It was the discharge of the induced state, and re- 
semhled that of the charge of a Lej'den jar, with that of its 
residual electricity, on two successive contacts of a conductor. 

We renewed the Voltaic circuit for two minutes, we then 
broke, remade, and again broke the circuit, with but very 
slight effect. 

On breaking the circuit and connecting the wires we had 
lively muscular contractions in the limbs. On connecting 
the wires continuously these phenomena ceased ; on discon- 
necting the wires, waiting for two minutes, and again con- 
necting them, there was still a slight residual effect. 

We again completed the Voltaic circuit for four minutes, 
broke the circuit, and connected the wires, with the same 
effect as before ; we disconnected the wires, waited a minute 
or two, and reconnected them witli a similar slight residual 
eff'ect as before. 

It was observed that the phenomena were similar when- 
ever the wires were brought into contact, whether the circuit 
was complete or not ; and that, when the circuit was com- 
plete, by the accidental contact of the zinc and silver in one 
of the two Voltaic cells, the same phenomenon was produced. 

In none of these experiments were there any energetic 
spasmodic movements. These occurred, however, on raising 
and insulating the nerves, and then completing the circuit for 
a time, and breaking it. The moisture produces a gradual, 
and prevents the uninterrupted discharge, with its attendant 
tetanoid effect. 

I may here make a remark which I shall have to repeat ; 
that the difference of effect on the muscles, of making and 
breaking the Voltaic circuit, and of connecting the wires be- 
fore or after breaking that circuit, is quite extraordinary. 

It is plain that the fact involves some principle of Galvan- 
ism or Voltaism not yet fully investigated. 

E.r. 3. We prepared the frog and experiment as repre- 
sented in fig. 4. Having attached portions of platinum plate 
to the extremities of the platinum wires, proceeding from two 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 261 

glasses of the " couronne de tasses," we placed them care- 
fully in contact with discs of silvei- (bright shillings) placed 
under the feet. 

At the instant of contact there were energetic muscular 
movements, the points of contact being extensive. 

In two minutes we interrupted the circuit ; the muscles of 
the limbs were already affected with spasmodic contractions. 

After two minutes more of completed cii'cuit, the spasmo- 
dic contractions were again observed on breaking it, and it 
was observed that this effect continued longer in the limb b, 
than in that marked a. 

When the circuit was again completed, the mere contact 
of the wet camel' s-hair pencil, applied to keep the neurilemma 
moist, produced obvious muscular contractions, especially if 
the pencil touched the nerve and muscle of the limb together. 
The application of a curved platinum wire to two distinct 
points of the nerve, produced a sensible eflPect ; but, on lay- 
ing two portions of platinum plate on distant parts of the 
nerve, and connecting them by a platinum wire, represented 
at c, the effect was vei-y considerable, and sometimes seen in 
the other limb. 

On disconnecting the platinum wires from the discs of sil- 
ver, on which the feet were laid, and on connecting these by 
means of a curved platinum wire, energetic movements took 
place, an effect which was repeated four or five times, until, 
as it would appear, the electrogenic condition was discharged. 
On waiting a few minutes, and again making the con- 
nection, the same phenomenon was again observed in a slight 
form, no re-application of the Voltaic influence having been 

In this electrogenic state, if the femora be brought into 
contact, there ai'c convulsive movements if the points of con- 
tact be perfectly moist. The same effect is observed if the 
moistened nerves be connected by means of the jdatinum 
plates ; but the platinum wires Avere insufficient for this pur- 

As the excitability of the frog declined, the act of break- 
ing the circuit afl'ected the limb a, and that of remaking it 
the limb b, more than the other. 

262 On the Effects of Certain Physical and 

On breaking the circuit and connecting the wires, and on 
disconnecting and reconnecting them, there was invariably a 
distinct muscular action. 

Ex. 4. "We prepared a frog, as in figure 1, and placed the 
silver discs under its feet. Little effect was observed on 
completing the circuit, and none on breaking it. We then 
reduced the frog to the condition i*epresented in fig. 4, and 
the phenomena just detailed, as observed in the last experi- 
ment, were again reproduced, viz. ; spasmodic contractions 
of the muscles on breaking the circuit, which ceased on re- 
making it. 

On surrounding the nerves with the moist intestines, the 
phenomena of making and remaking the circuit, or of con- 
necting the wires or shillings, again ceased, and again re- 
curred on denuding the nerves ; effects reproduced several 
times, by repetition of the application and removal of the 
moist covering of the nerves ; the contact of the femora 
broken and renewed several times, also permitted or pre- 
vented the phenomena of the connection of the silver discs. 

Having prepared a frog as in figure 4, but without apply- 
ing the Voltaic influence, we brought the silver discs (bright 
shillings) into contact, or connected them by a curved pla- 
tinum wire ; there were slight but distinct contractions of 
the muscles : for the silver we now substituted platinum ; 
there were no movements, or movements of the very slightest 

Retaining the platinum plates, we now completed the Vol- 
taic circuit as in fig. 4. Having waited five minutes for elec- 
trogenic indiiction, we interrupted the circuit, and again con- 
nected the platinum plates, smaller platinum plates placed on 
the femoral muscles, and the platinum wires, in different 
points of their course, always with spasmodic action of the 

Ex. 6. We prepared a frog as in fig. 4. After breaking 
the circuit, we covered one of the nerves with the moist in- 
testines, and connected the platinum plates. One limb only 
was moved, that the nerves of which were left denuded. 

We removed the intestines, and again connected the pla- 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 263 

tinum plates; the muscles of both limbs were now affected 
with spasmodic contractions. , ^i • 

From this experiment, it would appear that though the m- 
fluence was so diffused as not to induce spasmodic action on 
connecting the platinum plates, it was not entirely discharged. 

Ex 6 We now placed a plate of platinum on one nerve 
of a frog, prepared as in fig. 4, and another under the foot, 
and completed the Voltaic circuit. When this circui was 
broken, and the platinum plates were connected, both limbs 

were moved. . , . i? xu„+ 

Hence, we may conclude, that the electrogenic state of that 
one nerve is sufficient to affect, in its discharge, both limbs. 
Ex 8 We now changed the form of the Voltaic apparatus, 
and instead of using the two cells of the " couronne de 
tasses," we applied an arc of zinc and silver, so as to mclude 
the nerves in the Voltaic circuit. 

If we used the frog prepared as in fig. 1, we had no spas- 
modic effect on breaking the circuit. But if we placed the 
zinc portion of the arc under the lumbar nerve of a frog, pre- 
pared as in fig. 6, and the silver portion over the femoral 
muscles, securing perfect contact, we had the most extraor- 
dinary convulsive and tetanoid conditions of the muscles, on 
breakino- the Voltaic circuit, which ceased instantly on re- 
makinglt. The same phenomena were observed in another 
froo-, on placing the silver portion of the arc on the nerves 
and the zinc on the muscles, thus reversing the direction of 

the current. . 

In these two cases we divided the nerves, first near the 
spine, and then near the femora, with the results of per- 
sistence of the spasmodic action in the former instance, and 
its instant cessation in the latter. In either case, when the 
nerve is under electrogenic influence, and the tetanoid state 
is most marked on breaking the circuit, ceasing when that 
circuit is renewed, as before; it still continues on -mak- 
ing the circuit in the reversed direction, that is, on rever- 
sing the relative positions of the zinc and silver plates of the 

arc. , 

Ex. 9. If, instead of applying the zinc on the nerves, and 

264 On the Effects of Certain Physical and 

the silver on the muscles, as in fig. 6, we apply the zinc and 
silver on the nerves, as in fig. 7, the eff'ects are precisely the 

Ex. 10. If, instead of preparing the frog in the manner de- 
scribed, we merely divide the spinal marrow, and suspend the 
animal so that its two inferior extremities may penetrate into 
two glasses or cups, nearly filled with pure water ; and if we 
connect the water of these glasses or cups with the two ends 
of a Cruickshanks' trough, of from five to ten or twenty cells, 
also filled with pure water, the first institution of the current 
is attended by energetic mviscular actions ; if the current be 
now continued for five or ten minutes, and then be interrupted 
and renewed, similar actions are observed, but in a far less 
mai'ked degree ; after a time they cease altogether, no mus- 
cular actions being observed on breaking and remaking the 
circuit. But that the nerves are in an electrogenic condition 
is proved by reversing the wires, and the direction of the 
current ; on making the circuit, muscular contractions are 
observed as at first, until, at length, they cease in their turn. 

These phenomena may be repeated again. The experi- 
ment was first made by Yolta, and its results have been de- 
signated the " alternatives Voltaiques." It has been especi- 
ally observed by Signor Matteucci. 

Having, in this manner, produced the electrogenic effect 
in the limbs of a frog, I endeavoured, by disconnecting the 
Voltaic circuit, and connecting the two portions of water in 
which those limbs were separately suspended, to produce ob- 
vious muscular contractions, but in vain ; it was only when 
one of the wires attached to the trough was touched by the 
platinum discharger, that very slight movements were ob- 

This fact pi'oves, either that the muscular fibre is only ex- 
citable through the medium of its nerve, or, which seems im- 
probable, that it is, like the nerve, in every respect and degree 
susceptible of electrogenic induction. 

Hitherto, I have refrained from noticing the slight differ- 
ences observed in the two legs, afi'ected by spasmodic and 
tetanoid action. This question is, however, illustrated by 
the following experiment. 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous St/stem. 265 

Ex. 11. We prepared a frog as in fig. 4 ; and havings sus- 
pended it with its feet in distinct glasses containing pure 
water, as in fig. 5, passed the influence of five cells of Cruick- 
shanks' trough, from one glass to the other, in such a man- 
ner as that the current passed upwards in a, and downwards 
in b. On first completing the circuit, there were energetic 
movements in both limbs. On continuing the circuit for five 
minutes, and breaking it, there was tetanoid rigidity in a 

On reinstituting the circuit, the limb b was moved ener- 
getically, and the limb a became suddenly and entirely re- 

"We reversed the wires and renewed the current ; in five 
minutes we again interrupted the current, and now the limb b 
was affected with rigidity, and on renewing the circuit, a 
was moved. The cui'rent was again reversed, with the same 
reversed effect. 

If the current be reversed on breaking — a point perhaps 
not yet perfectly established — it is always the downward cur- 
rent which produces the marked effect of muscular action or 

On removing the frog from its first position, and placing 
it on a piece of glass, its feet resting on a plate of platinum, 
and on connecting these, there were distinct movements of 
the leg which had been connected with the copper end of 
the battery, and therefore subjected to the ascending cur- 

Whilst the frog was still suspended, and the circuit com- 
plete, movements took place on allowing a drop of water to 
flow down that nerve in which the current was ascending, 
but not in the other under the same circumstances. 

IV. Some Collateral Experiments. 

It has been already observed that if when the Voltaic cir- 
cuit, including the lumbar nerves, see fig. 2 and 3, is com- 
plete, and has been so for some minutes, we connect the 
platinum wires in any part of their course, the effect, in in- 
ducing muscular contractions is incomparably greater than 

266 On the Effects of Certain Physical and 

that of the mere " making'' or " breaking" that circuit. 
The effect is also considerable if the circuit be first broken, 
and the wires then connected. 

We prepared a frog, as in fig. 3, and placed the platinum 
wires and plates so as to complete the Voltaic circuit, includ- 
ing the lumbar nerves. In two minutes we broke the cir- 
cuit and connected the wires ; there were spasmodic move- 
ments of the limbs. We then separated the wires from all 
contact with zinc and silver, and connected them, still with 
spasmodic movements, though less than before. We now 
removed these wires, and replaced them by others, which 
had never formed a part of the Voltaic circuit. There wei*e 
still spasmodic movements, though slight. 

The wires were again and again exchanged, with the same 

It remains to determine, by a new and careful series of 
experiments, the precise rationale and the influence of a 
residual Voltaic influence, or of the electrogenic state of the 
nerves, in these experiments ; an inquiry which I only post- 
pone for a time. 

It does not influence the result whether the "wires be con- 
nected near to, or distant from, the battery or the subject of 
experiment ; or whether the zinc and silver be made to touch 
in one of the cells, or whether the current be pursuing a 
parallel but similar or dissimilar course, as in fig. 9 and 10, 
this connection being made between a and b, or between c 
and d; or, lastly, whether these connections be made between 
either wire and the nerve, either included between the two 
wires, or above or below, or so exterior to either — facts of 
an extraordinary character in many points of view. 

Ex. 12. Similar phenomena are observed if the experi- 
ment be performed in the following manner : — 

Let the lumbar and femoral nerves be applied over the 
zinc and silver arc, as in fig. 8. This figure represents the 
galvanoscopic frog, and without addition, is identical with 
that in Plate 1., fig. 4., in Signior Matteucci's work.* On 
making contact at a and e, contractions are observed in the 

* Traite des Phenomenes Electro-Physiologiques. 

Edin'' NpvPM. Jmirn. 

Plate V. Vol, 4,5. p. 267. 

Y Schaick lOkof Idmbur^h- 

Chemical Agents on the Nervous System. 267 

This phenomenon is induced by so slight a Voltaic force, 
that the limb so prepared is used as a galvanoseope. The 
effect, however, is extremely augmented, if after making the 
contact, a connection be made by means of a platinum wire, 
between the points a and b, c and 6, or even between e or/ 
and g, or "between i andy and k, g and k being entirely out of 
the ordinary circuit. 

But these experiments involve too many questions as to 
the effects of the electrogenic state, of reversed current, and 
new circuits, — to be now detailed, and will, with others con- 
nected with them, form the subject of a subsequent paper. 

I have only to add my best thanks to Dr Faraday for .the 
kindness with which he has twice devoted an evening to 
witnessing some of these experiments. 

[Section II., or conclusion, in our next Number.) 

On the Comparative Value of different Kinds of Coal for the 
purpose of Illumination ; and on Methods not hitherto prac- 
tised for ascertaining the Value of the Gases they afford. 
By Andrew Fyfe, M.D., F.R.S.E., F.R.S.S.A., Profes- 
sor of Chemistry, King's College University, Aberdeen, 
&c. Communicated by the Royal Scottish Society of 

[Continued from No. Ixxxix., p. 49.) 

In the preceding part of this paper, I have shewn that gases 
from different coals not only require different times for the 
consumpt of equal volumes, but that for these consumpts dif- 
ferent pressures are necessary. It is of importance, there- 
fore, to ascertain whether the consumpt and the pressure 
bear the same ratio to each other, when different gases are 
used, that they do when the same gas is employed. The con- 
sumpt of gases, in some of the towns in England that I have 
visited, along with the pressure, was as follows, — the gases 
having been consumed from the same burner, and with the 
same height of flame : — 


Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 


Time for 

of Cubic 
Foot by 

Pressure at 
in lOOths 
of inch. 

Roots of 

Time cal- 
culated by 
Root of 

and Calcu- 
lated Time 

Newcastle, . 
Leeds, . . 
Liverpool, . 

50 30 
55 55 
52 30 






55 40 
57 6 
55 40 

3 10 

The following Table gives the results with gases ft'om 
Scottish parrot coal : — 

Time for 

Pressure at 

Roots of 

Time cal- 




culated by 



of Cubic 
Foot by 

in lOOths 
of inch. 

Root of 

and Calcu- 



lated Time. 





/ . 

' „ 


59 20 



61 30 

2 10 


69 5 



68 42 

0' 23 


65 50 






90 50 



89 20 

1 30 

In the above tables, the experimental results very nearly 
agree with those given by calculation ; and, accordingly, we 
may consider the consumpt of different gases, from similar 
burners, and under similar circumstances, to be as the square 
roots of the pressures necessary to burn them, under these 
circumstances; of course, the times required for the con- 
sumpt of equal volumes will be inversely as the roots of the 

Another important circumstance still remains to be ascer- 
tained, viz., as the pressure necessary for the consumpt of 
the gases varies, and as the consumpt also varies with the 
specific gravity. Is there any connection between the specific 
gravity of different gases and the pressures necessary for 
their consumpt, under similar circumstances 1 

The following table gives the results of the consumpt of 
gases under similar circumstances, along with the pressures 
and the specific gravities, taken in the usual way. 

Different kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 269 





of incli. 

roots of 

by Expe- 

Sp. Gr. cal- 
culated by 
square root 
of Pressure. 

mental and 
Sp. Gr. 






• 6855 












Average of H, ") 
I,K,L,M,N, i 

The results, by experiment and by calculation, above given, 
so very nearly correspond with one another, that I think we 
are warranted in concluding, that the pressui-e corresponds 
with the specific gravity, and that consequently the specific 
gravity may be ascertained by the pressure, when the gases are 
consumed under similar circumstances ; having of course pre- 
viously determined the specific gravity of a gas known to re- 
quire a certain pressure for its consumpt. Consequently 
the specific gravities being ascertained experimentally, the 
consumpts may be known ; these being, the times for equal 
consumpts, as the roots of the specific gravities, and the con- 
sumpts in equal times, inversely as these roots. 

Having established these positions, the next object I had 
in view was to ascertain, by a more extended series of trials, 
whether an indication of the consumpt of gases, in different 
places, could thus be obtained, without having recourse to a 
metre, which, to an experimenter, carrying one from place 
to place, is troublesome. It at first occurred to me that this 
might be done by ascertaining the specific gravity ; but this 
also must be a troublesome process, and unless ascertained 
with accuracy, would not tend to accurate results, especially 
in a hurried visit to different gas-works, where the height of 
the barometer cannot be always observed. After numerous 
trials, I at last determined to have recourse to the pressure- 
gauge, consuming the gas with a given height of flame, and 
always from the same burner. For this purpose, I used 
in my first trials the platinum-jet foi-merly alluded to, with 
an aperture of }^ of an inch, furnished with a scale for 

VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. T 

270 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

measuring the height of flame, and with a pressure-gauge, 
to which a graduated scale, with a vernier, was applied, and 
by which the pressure at the burner, necessary to keep up 
the combustion at the desired height of flame, could be 
measured to lOOths of an inch. The diameter of the pressure- 
gauge was half-an-inch, which, though it gave a considerable 
curve in the fluid, yet afforded more accurate results than when 
one with a smaller diameter was used. Indeed, I had re- 
course to various contrivances, such as floats in the water, 
with indices attached to them, and made to move on the 
scale ; but I found, after numerous trials, that the simple 
wide gauge was by far the best, provided that care was 
taken to mark the height of the fluid from the same part of 
the curve. I always marked it from the bottom ; and for this 
purpose had brass plates passing round the tube, and move- 
able, so that they could be brought to the curve in both limbs. 
In the following set of experiments, the gases were pre- 
pared from a variety of coals by means of the experi- 
mental apparatus. They were always consumed with a 5-inch 
flame. The illuminating power was tried by the chlorine 
test. The specific gravity was taken in the usual way, by 
filling a vessel of known capacity with the gas, and noting 
at the same time the state of the thermometer and baro- 
meter. Not less than two trials were made with each coal, 
and the experiments with each gas were frequently repeated ; 
and when it was necessary, other gases were made, and the 
trials again repeated, so as to secure accuracy. The con- 
sumpt of the gas was ascertained in the usual way, by an 
accurate experimental metre ; the trials with the specific 
gravity, the pressure, and chlorine, being frequently repeated. 
Instead of giving the names of the coals, I designate them 
by letters. 

Different kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 271 














Power by 


I'OOtS of 

by Metre, 

by square 

mental and 


of inch. 


1 foot min. 

root of 







' " 












































































































of the Err 

ors betw 

een the ex 


and the 1 

' // 


ated dural 

Uity of 

the 16 tria 




From the foregoing table, it is evident, I think, that the 
mode of finding the consumpt by the pressure is sufficiently 
accurate for all practical purposes. I mean, of course, mere- 
ly with the view of finding the durability of gases, as I do 
not propose it as a method for superseding the use of metres, 
to ascertain the quantity of gas consumed by different indi- 
viduals. I must mention, however, that in one or two in- 
stances, the observed pressure did not give the consumpt, as 
indicated by the metre : whether this was owing to a peculi- 
arity in the gas, or to inaccuracy in noting the results, I do 
not know. At the time that the expei'iments were perform- 
ed, the i-esults were merely marked down, and the calcula- 
tions were made afterwards ; and after discovering the want 
of correspondence, I had not then an opportunity of repeats 
ing the trials with the same coal, which was very remark- 
uljle for affording a gas of very high illuminating power. 
This was the more to be regretted, as the gas being at one 

272 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

extremity as to quality, made it appear, that there was some 
deviation from the rule I have laid down.* 

From the foregoing experiments, it is evident that the du- 
rability of a gas can be easily ascertained, by using a burner 
with an aperture of a certain diameter, having a scale for 
measuring the height of flame, and a gauge for observing the 
pressure, at which the gas is burning, at that height of flame ; 
of course taking care to make the measurement with accuracy. 
The consumpt of any gas by this burner, with the height of 
flame fixed on, is first to be determined by metx'e, numerous 
trials being made ; while, at the same time, at each trial, the 
pressure is also noted. By this means, and taking the ave- 
rage of alltheconsumpts and pressures, a standard is obtained. 
Suppose that with a flame of 5 inches, and a pressure of 
rVffths at the burner, the consumpt of a gas is, by metre, 
found to be one foot in 65 minutes ; and that another gas 
requires, with the same bui'ner and height of flame, a pres- 
sure of iVoths ; the square roots of these pressures are 
8560254 and 9695359 ; then, as the latter is to the former 
so is G5, the time for the consumpt of the latter to 57"21, 
which is the time for the consumpt of the former. Now, 
8560254 X 65 = 5564165; accordingly, this number divided by 
the square roots of the pressures necessary for the consumpt 
of other gases, will give the times for the consumpts of these 
gases, when consumed with the same burner, and with the 
same height of flame. 

The jets now in general use, vary from the 28tli of an inch, 
as recommended by Christison and Turner, to the 45th of an 
inch. Most of the trials which 1 have now recorded, were 
made with a jet of the 33d of an inch ; not because I prefer 
it, but because I had begun my investigations with it, without 
being aware of the practical applications to which the results 

* Since writing the above, I have fortunately had an opportunity of pro- 
curing the coal alluded to, and of jjreparing gas from it. All the trials were 
i-epeated with great care, and were found to give results corresponding with 
those in the above table, so that there must have been an error in noting the 
results of the first trials. In the subsequent trials, repeati^d again and again, 
the consumpt by metre and calculated by pressure differed only in 40 seconds. 

Different kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 273 

might lead ; and having once begun with it, I thought it 
better to complete the experiments with it. 

Since these experiments were finished, I have performed 
others, to enable me to find the best jet for the purpose now 
recommended. I had accordingly jets made with accuracy, 
the apertures in which were the 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 
and 50th of an inch ; with all of which numerous trials were 
performed, to ascertain the consumpt and pressure. I soon, 
however, rejected the first two, because they gave an unsteady 
flame ; while the pressure-column in the gauge was not of 
any great length. With the remainder, the flame was more 
steady, and more easily measured, while the pressure-column 
was of sufficient length to be easily marked. I soon, however, 
also rejected the burner, No. 50, because imless the pressure 
on the street-pipes is great, it does not give a flame of suf- 
ficient height ; indeed the same is sometimes the case with jet 
45. For these reasons, I now prefer the jet 40, because, 
while it gives a very steady flame at 5 inches, the water- 
column in the gauge is much longer than when a jet 33 or 35 
is used ; and thus, any slight inaccuracy, in noting the pres- 
sure, leads to a smaller error in the results, than when the 
same inaccuracy is committed, in noting the pressure when 
the water-column is not so long. 

The following is the results of trials made with the diff"er- 
ent jets I have mentioned : — 

Trials luith Flame. 

4 Inches. 

5 iNC 






of inch. 

1 Foot Burned 





of inch. 

1 Foot Burned 



75 35 



65 25 



75 30 



64 25 



75 41 






12 55 



63 40 



72 30 



64 40 




274 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparalive Value of 

On viewing the results above given, it will be observed, that 
the times for the consumpt of 1 foot are very nearly the same. 
Had the difference followed any regular gi^adation, then we 
might have supposed that it was occasioned by the difference 
in the size of the aperture in the jet ; but as it does not do so, 
we may, I think, safelyconclude,that,withjetsof different aper- 
tures, and with flames of the same height, the quantity of the 
same gas consumed in the same way is the same ; or that the 
times for equal consumpts are the same. That this is really 
the case is still farther proved by taking a small jet of gas, 
of given height of flame, and marking the consumpt by meti^e ; 
then removing the jet from the socket, which is left open, and 
consuming the gas from it ; the quantity, in the same time, 
will be found to be the same. Or, burn the gas from the latter, 
with a flame of such a height as can be measured with any 
degree of accuracy ; then introduce a jet, and burn the gas 
with the same height of flame ; the quantities consumed are 
the same, or as nearly so as can be expected from trials of 
the kind, where it is difficult to measure accurately the length 
of flame. Hence, most probably, the cause of the difference 
of time in the table given ; that difference having been occa- 
sioned by the flame in some of the trials having been a very 
little too high or too low, in the cases where the difference 
is greatest. Even that diflFerence, especially in the last 
table, the experiments of which were repeated again and 
again, with slightly varying results, is only 1' 20". This 
shews the necessity of i-epeated trials, altering the flame, and 
again bringing it to the fixed height, and each time mark- 
ing the consumpt and the pressure, so that, by taking the 
average of many trials, an accurate result may be obtained. 
Having fixed on the jet 40, bushed with platinum, and fur- 
nished with the scale for the flame, and with the pressure- 
gauge, I found, by numerous trials, that the time for the con- 
sumpt of 1 foot of a gas, was 64' 41", the flame being 5 inches. 
The pressure at the burner-gauge was i J^ths. The specific 
gravity of the gas was, by experiment in the usual way, 
found to be 602 6, at 60°, and barometer 30 ; of course one 
foot requiring 64' 41", then in 60', there are consumed 0-927 of 
foot. Thus, then, the consumpts being, in equal times, as the 

Different kinds of Coal for tlie purpose of Illumination. 275 

square roots of the pressures, and the times, for equal con- 
surapts being inversely as the square roots, while the spe- 
cific gravities are also inversely as the square roots of 
the pressures, the following table will give the consumpt 
of gases in 60 minutes, the time for the consumpt of a 
foot; and the specific gravity, at 60", and barometer 30, calcu- 
lated from the square roots of the pressiu'cs, the gases being 
consumed, with a flame of 5 inches from the jet 40 ; taking, 
as I have already stated, a gas of specific gravity 6026, burn- 
ing under a pressure of J^l^ths, 1 foot in 64' 41" ; the square 
root of pressure 117 being 108166. 

Should any other jet be found preferable, the quantity of 
gas consumed by it, with a flame of a fixed height, must be 
ascertained by repeated trials, with an accurate experi- 
mental metre ; taking the pressure accurately each time. 
The average consumpt and pressure being thus fixed on, the 
specific gravity is to be taken by expei'iment in the usual 
way ; then the consumpts and specific gravity of other gases 
with the same burner and height of flame, will be found, as al- 
ready directed, with jet 40 ; and for which the table has been 

Table, shewing the Times for Equal Consumpts, the Consumpts 
in Equal Times, and the Specific Grravities of Gases, requir- 
ing the following Pressures to burn them, from Jet 40, with 
a 6-Inch Flame. 





of inch. 

1 Foot 


of Foot 

in 60 




1 Foot 


of Foot 

in 60 



























































































738 3 











276 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Value of 

Table, shewing the Times for Equal Oonswmpts, &c. — Continued. 





of inch 


1 Foot 


of Foot 

in 60 




1 in 

of inch 

1 Foot 



of Foot 

in 60 








i ' 






















































































80 9 





































































83 9 





















































































































































































































































Different Kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 277 

Table, sh 

eiving the Times for Eq^ 

lal Consumpts, <b 

c. — Continued. 

of inch- 


I Foot 


of Foot 

in 60 






of inch. 

1 Foot 


of Foot 

in 60 


Air =1000. 












































110 4 
























































































































































Before concluding I wish to advert briefly to a mode of fix- 
ing the illuminating power, which, so far as 1 am aware, has 
not been publicly noticed in any of the papers lately printed. 
Dr Lyon Playfair, who described it to Mr King of the Gas- 
Works, Liverpool, from whom I first got the account of 
it, ascribes it to Professor Bunsen of Marburg; and, accord- 
ingly, as I understand, he has the merit of proposing it. It 
consists of a sheet of paper, besmeared with spermaceti, ex- 
cepting at a small part at the centre, by which the besmeai-ed 
portion becomes more pervious than the other to light; and 
consequently a light placed behind it, causes adark spot on that 
l)art not covered. When another light is placed before 
the paper, the spot is distinctly visible, if that light be 
placed at such a distance as to cause the reflexion from 
the paper to be either of greater or of less intensity than 

278 Dr Andrew Fyfe on the Comparative Vahie of 

that transmitted When, however, it is so situated that 
the transmission from behind, and the reflexion from be- 
fore, are of the same intensity, then the spot is invisible ; 
the paper appears as if uniform throughout Now, with 
a light of uniform intensity placed behind, the transmis- 
sion will always be the same. If another light before the 
paper requires to be at the distance of 5 inches, and another 
at 10 inches, to cause, one after the other, the spot to disap- 
pear, then, according to the usual law, they are giving light 
as 25 and 100, i. e., 1 to 4. After a little practice I have 
found this photometric process extremely delicate. It has 
many advantages over the shadow test : for instance, the 
difference in the colour of the shadow is avoided ; besides, the 
trials can be conducted without darkening the room, unless 
there are cross lights or sunshine directly into the apart- 

With regard to the light to be placed at the back of 
the screen, the only uniform source with which I am ac- 
quainted is a wax or spermaceti candle, of the same dia- 
meter, and with the same thickness of wick. With regard 
to the modes of preparing the paper, I at first used sperma- 
ceti melted, as recommended by Mr King, and applied it to 
bibulous paper in various ways ; but I never succeeded in 
getting it uniformly spread over the surface, — it was gene- 
rally thicker at one part than at another, which gave rise to 
a difficulty in fixing the distance at which the light should be 
placed. After trying different niethods, I have, however, suc- 
ceeded in getting the paper properly prepared. The process 
I now follow, is to dissolve spermaceti in distilled oil of 
naphtha, till it gives a mixture, which at natural tempera- 
tures is solid ; but is liquefied by the application of a very 
slight heat, such as by holding the vessel in the hand for 
some time. Wlien fluid, it is to be applied by a hair-pencil 
to the paper, leaving a part of about the size of a half-crown 
piece at the centre uncovered. After this the paper is held 
horizontally over a lamp, and very cautiously heated, by which 
all inequalities disappear. I prefer the fine cream-coloured 
paper now much used as letter paper. 

Different kinds of Coal for the purpose of Illumination. 279 

A screen fitted up in this way, stretched on a frame, with 
a holder for the light at the back, and with another holder in 
front for the other light, is all that is required : of course, if 
gases are to tried, the holder in front must be furnished with 
a jet of the diameter previously fixed on, and with a flexible 
tube to be connected with the gas-pipe. This holder can be 
made to move backwards and forwards on a scale, graduated 
to inches, with their corresponding squares ; or to lights of 
candles, as may be thought proper. To make the apparatus 
more complete, the gas-jet can be furnished with the pres- 
sure-gauge, which I have recommended for ascertaining the 
durability ; and thus, by the two together, the value of gases 
may be quickly ascertained. 

This mode of trying the illuminating power will be found 
very useful, not that I prefer it to the chlorine test, because, 
by the latter, all gases can be compared with a standard of 
unity, the illuminating power being just as the condensa- 
tion ; but because the former is easily managed, especially by 
those not pi'actised to work with water-troughs. Could a 
truly uniform source of light be procured, and, by general 
consent, be fixed on, as that for the back of the screen, then 
the light from gases, or indeed from other sources, could be 
compared with it ; but as yet, we are not, so far as I am 
aware, in possession of such a light. 

With the use of the screen now described, I was anxious 
to repeat the trials made, with the view of ascertaining the 
light for equal consumpts of gases by different burners ; an 
account of which was published in the Transactions of the 
Society for 1842, because 1 have again and again heard the 
accuracy of these results called in question. In conducting 
the trials, I had, as before, recourse to an experimental metre, 
to ascertain the consumpt, and made use of a gas-jet flame, 
always of the same height, and always at the same distance 
from the back of the screen. Each series of trials being con- 
ducted in one day, the gas was, of course, of the same quality 
for each day, by which a uniform transmission of liglit from 
behind was obtained. 

280 Dr Andrew Fyfe on Coal Illumination. 

The following are the average results : — 



in 60 

Light by 

Light for 

equal con- 


Jet — flame .5 inches, 

Small Fishtail, 

1 foot. 










Large Fishtail , 

Large Batwing, 

Argand 40 holes, 

In the paper published in 1842, it was stated that the 
most profitable way of consuming gas is by the Argand, pro- 
perly constructed ; in other words, that for equal consumpts, 
the greatest amount of light is given by the Argand ; next, 
by the batwing; then by the fishtail ; and, lastly, by the jet, 
which is the least economical ; and, consequently, lighting 
by gas, is comparatively, for equal amount of light, by far 
most expensive to those having recourse to this mode of 
burning it, such as to those requiring small quantities. The 
light, as then stated, was in the ratio of 100, 140, 160, 180. 
In the trials now recorded, the results do not all correspond 
with these. With the small fishtail and the Argand they do 
so very nearly ; the burners used having been the same as 
formerly. The others, such as the lai'ge fishtail, not for- 
merly tried, is more economical than the small fishtail ; the 
small batwing, also not formerly tried, is not more economi- 
cal than the small fishtail, and much less so than the large 
fishtail. The large batwing, the largest I have ever seen, 
is equally economical with the Argand : I found it very 
liable to smoke. The general results of these trials may, 
however, be said to correspond with those previously given, 
proving the accuracy of my former statement, that the jet 
is the worst kind of burner, giving least light for the same 
consumpt ; next come the fishtails, generally speaking ; then 
the batwings of medium size ; and, lastly, the Argand. 

( 281 ) 

On (he Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. By W. Sartorius 
VON Waltershausen. 

(^Continued from page 140.) 

By means of the rules of navigation, the displacement 
of a ship by currents is inferred by the comparison of the 
position of the ship, deduced from asti'onomical observation, 
with that given by the dead reckoning. At the same time, I 
believe I may say from experience, that such observations 
are, for the most part, subject to considerable errors, which 
are to be attributed partly to faults in the astronomical ob- 
servations, and partly to the steering of the vessel. To de- 
duce in this manner, with sufficient precision, the direction 
and velocity of a current is, in all cases, very difficult ; and 
to do so for certain points of the sea at least, it would be 
necessary to combine, in a systematic way, a much greater 
number of observations than have hitherto been employed. 
The observations of this kind, made in ordinary trading ves- 
sels are entirely untrustworthy, and the errors in the deter- 
mination of the positions of vessels, which are the necessary 
consequence of the ignorance of the observers and the defec- 
tiveness of the instruments, are too often ascribed to oceanic 

These matters are somewhat more favourably arranged in 
ships of war, where good sextants and excellent chronometers 
are provided ; but even in those vessels much is still to be 
desired, and the results obtained regarding the currents are 
often so contradictory, that it is impossible to combine them 
with one another. 

Floating bodies, on the other hand, such as bottles thrown 
out for the express purpose of giving information respecting 
currents, and also trunks of trees, fruits, and seeds of many 
plants, which are borne through the wide ocean from one side 
of the world to the opposite, or from one country to another, 
although they frequently afford no indication as to the velo- 
cities of the currents, yet often yield important results regard- 
ing their general courses. From many observations and ex- 
periments, it can no longer be doubted that the Gulf Sti'eam, 

282 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

proceeding from the Strait of Florida, divides itself, in a more 
northern region, into two principal branches ; of which the 
gi'eater is directed towai-ds the Azores, and the less towards 
the north of Europe, where it spreads itself, as it were, in 
the form of a fan in the sea, between Scotland and Iceland. 
This current, in the middle of which the Feroe Islands are 
situated, can be still fjirther traced along the coast of Scan- 
dinavia, from the 63d degree of latitude to the 74th, and it 
produces a very sensible influence on the climate of this land. 
It would, however, be by no means a correct representation 
of the case to assume, in the ultimate ramifications of the 
Gulf Stream, such a determinate motion of the masses of 
water as that which occurs on the coast of Florida, where 
the stream has its greatest velocity and temperature, and its 
smallest breadth. The velocity of the current diminishes as 
the breadth increases ; and hence, at great distances from 
the source of the current, circumstances, arising, for instance, 
from opposing storms, may sometimes intervene, which may 
be capable of interrupting the regular course of the water. 
According to an estimate made by Captain Irminger,* and 
founded on the best observations that have hitherto been 
made on the various parts of the Gulf Stream, a floating body 
would be about 161 days on its passage fi'om the Strait of 
Florida to the Feroe Islands. We are inclined to regard this 
period as being on the average much too short ; although, 
under very favourable circumstances, six months might be 
sufficient. Trunks of trees, distinctly of American origin, 
covered with mussels and sea-weed, or bored through by 
Pholades, are frequently found on the northern coasts of 
Europe, having performed their journey on the Gulf Stream. 
Thus, for example, there is exhibited in the museum of the 
Highland Agricultural Society in Edinburgh, a palm-tree, 

* Captain-Lieutenant Irminger, in a learned paper on the Velocity of the 
Gulf Stream, and its course between Iceland and Northern Europe (See Nyt 
Archiv for Sbvaesenet, Copenhagen, 1843), has collected various observations 
on the direction and velocity of the Gulf Stream. To his liindness I am in- 
debted for many eommunications and experiments, relating to the currents in 
the Atlantic Ocean, of which I have availed myself in preparing the present 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 283 

whicli, destitute of branches or leaves, but quite covered over 
with mussels and sea-weed, was some years ago cast on the 
shore of Argyleshire. 

Farther, it is stated by Lyngbye, that the front part of an 
American canoe, made of mahogany, and completely bored by 
Pholades, was driven ashore at Feroe, in the summer of the 
year 1817.* Another not less interesting example is cited 
by Rennell. It is afforded by the passage of a floating bottle, 
which was thrown out of the British ship Newcastle, on the 
20th of June 1819, in latitude 38" 52', and longitude 64' 0', 
west from Greenwich, and was again found, on the 2d of June 
1820, at the island of Arran, in the Frith of Clyde-t This 
case also, as well as the growth of mussels and sea-weeds 
on the trunks of trees drifted in the currents, would lead us 
to think that floating bodies occupy a longer time than is 
commonly supposed, on their passage with the Gulf Stream 
from America to Europe. 

In inquiries regarding the course of the Gulf Stream, the 
question as to the source of the drift-wood is especially 
worthy of consideration. In former times the drift-wood was 
found much more abundantly than at present on the coasts 
of Iceland and Feroe ; and it contributed, in some degree, to 
the welfare of both countries. At the present day, when the 
supply of this gift of Nature has decreased, its want is felt by 
the inhabitants so much the more, because their own forests, 
through neglected cultivation, are falling off" from year to year. 
There is certainly no doubt that the rivers of Northern Asia, 
as well as those of North America, carry out into the sea 
great quantities of drift-wood. That which arrives at the 
coasts of Feroe and Iceland belongs decidedly to the New 
Continent, and appears to be carried through the moutli of 
the Mississippi into the Mexican Gulf, and thence into the 
Gulf Stream and its northern branch. Hence the diminution 
of the drift-wood on the coast of Iceland is readily explained 

* Tentiinien Uydrophytologiae Danicae. Copenhagen, 1819. 

t See an Investigation of the Currents of the Atlantic Ocean, by Rfajor 
James Kennell, London, 1832, page 347. In this work raany other similar 
facts relating to the motion of the Gulf Stream are collected and arranged in 

284 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

by the advancing cultivation and the rapidly increasing popu- 
lation of North America, especially of the districts through 
which that river flows. Still, however, the middle of the 
north-eastern branch of the Gulf Stream sometimes carries 
a considerable quantity of drift-wood, which is not unfre- 
quently cast ashore on the Feroe Islands. Captain Irminger 
found, in the year 1844, on the sti'and of Kirkeboe, the 
southern point of Stromoe, a great quantity of trunks of trees, 
which had been drifted thither. Some of these were of large 
size ; and they were partly cut up into planks and boards, 
and were partly used for beams. I myself, dui'ing my stay 
in Husavik, observed a trunk of a pine-tree more than thirty 
feet long, and proportionately thick, which had been picked up 
in the vicinity of Feroe, by a ship coming from Copenhagen, 
and which was conveyed to Iceland for sale. All the other 
drift-wood which I had the opportunity of seeing on the coasts 
of Iceland, especially on the north and east sides, consisted 
merely of branches or thin stems, and was unsuitable for 
building purposes, and only fit for fire-wood. The drift-wood, 
on its long passage through the ocean, loses its bark, and is 
so much bleached by the air, that its surface receives a 
whitish-grey appearance. Its internal structure, however, 
shews that it belongs at least to two different kinds of trees, 
distinguishable from one another by a white and a reddish 
colour of their wood. 

In the Northern Ocean, besides, almost everywhere along 
the northern coasts of Siberia, drift-wood is found heaped 
up, and sometimes in immense masses. This, like the drift- 
wood of Feroe, is used by the inhabitants of the adjacent 
country in building and for fire-wood. The coasts, from the 
mouths of the Lena to Cape Schetagkoy, are especially rich 
in this drift-wood ; and among it there are everywhei'e to be 
found ti'unks and branches of pines, firs, larches, and poplars. 
Although the great rivers of Northern Asia in the vicinity of 
their mouths flow through a wilderness destitute of trees, yet 
it is known that they hold their course, a little farther towards 
the south, through impenetrable forests, which usually extend 
northward to the 70th degree of latitude, and in some places 
even extend bevond this limit. 

0?i (he Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 285 

Wrangel and Kosmin are inclined to consider the drift- 
wood which is thi'own on the Siberian coasts as being also of 
American origin, a supposition which we would regard with 
so much the more doubt, as their statements and observa- 
tions are often contradictory.* According to the statements 
of these travellers themselves, there exist on the banks of 
the Lena, and from thence eastward, wide-spreading forests 
of pines and firs, which certainly, according to their nature, 
do not extend themselves into the most northerly regions ; 
yet the sources of the Indigirka and Kolyma lie under the 
62d parallel of latitude, in a climate admitting of the growth 
of these trees. Besides, the distance from the mouth of the 
Lena to that of the Indigirka is only about an eighth of the 
distance from these parts to the western coast of Amei'ica, 
where rivers bearing drift-wood discharge themselves into 
the Pacific Ocean, The drift-wood, if it came from America, 
must first pass the Aleutian Islands, then Behring's Strait, 
and finally must float along several hundred miles of the Si- 
berian coast, to reach the places where it is now found ; but 
the supposition of its taking such a course as this appears in 
the highest degree questionable. In accordance with all 
that has been already said, it seems that the most reasonable 
conclusion we can adopt is to attribute the drift-wood on the 
coasts of Iceland and Feroe to the American rivers, and that 
of Siberia, which, in our opinion, has no connection with the 
other, to the rivers of Northern Asia. 

Evidence of the most incontrovertible kind, in favour of 
the American oria-in of the drift-wood which is thrown on the 

* Voyage of the Imperial-Russian Naval Lieutenant P. v. Wrangel along 
the coast of Siberia, and on the Arctic Sea, in the years 1820 to 1824 ; Berlin, 
1839. In vol. ii., p. 212, of this worl<, we find the following statement : — " The 
greater part of the drift-wood which is thrown ashore between Cape Schelag- 
skoy and Cape Tschucotslc is probably of American origin, since it consists for 
the most part of trunks of fir and pine trees, which grow on none of the rivers 
that fall into the sea between the mouth of the Indigirka and the Bay of 
Tschaun. The Lena, indeed, sometimes floats down trees of these kinds from 
the interior of the continent ; but the distance is too great to admit of their 
reaching the Indigirka ; and therefore it is rarely the case that a single stray 
pine-trunk is found among the enormous beds of larch and aspen trunks which 
the rivers of Siberia carry down." 

VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OOTOBEIl 1848. U 

286 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

coasts of Iceland and Feroe, is afforded by the seeds and 
fruits of certain tropical plants which are found along with 
those floating trunks of trees. These fruits and seeds are 
met with on the sea-beach of Iceland, where I had the oppor- 
tunity of making an entire collection of them between Rau- 
farhavn and Vapnafiord, and they also occur on the shores 
of Feroe, and of the north of Scotland. They have already 
for two centuries attracted the attention of natui'alists and 
geographers. By the concurring statements of various ob- 
servers, there are found, in the places just mentioned, the 
fruits of Mimosa scandens, Piscidia erythrina, Cocos nucifera, 
Cucurbita lagenaria, Cassia fistula, and Anacardium occi- 

Petrus Clauson mentions, in his Description of Norway, 
certain things called Yettenyre (Mimosa scandens), which he 
supposes to be stones. In Iceland the same productions are 
regarded as stones, and a miraculous influence is ascribed to 
them in certain diseases. Lucas Debes,* a subsequent writer, 
in his description of Feroe, corrects this error, and at the same 
time pronounces them to be West Indian beans. Also Strbmf 
and GunnerusJ describe in detail the occurrence of these 
fruits on the Norwegian coasts ; and Wahlenberg,§ their oc- 
currence in Norway and Finmark, although not to the south 
of the parallel of 62° 20' of north latitude. Finally, Lyngbye 
and Irminge mention the same things as being abundant 
and well known at Feroe. These transatlantic pi'oductions 
are evidently due to the branch of the Gulf Stream which is 
directed towards Northern Scandinavia. 

According to various other results of experience, which, in 
what follows, we shall communicate in detail, it appears that 
this branch of the Gulf Stream, directed towards Northern 
Scandinavia, is met by a cold current which flows backwards 

* Feroa reserata. Copenhagen, 1673. 

t Bescrivelse over Sondmor, Sorbe, 1762. 

X Det Trondheimske Selskabs-Skrifter, Kiobenhavn (Copenhagen) 1765. 
Efterretning om de saa kaldede Losning-Stene eller Vette-Nyrer cm Orme- 
Stene og nogle andere udenlandske Frugter, som findes hist og her ved stran- 
den i Norge. 

§ Wahleuberg's Flora Lapponica, Berlin, 1812, p. 516. 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 287 

in a south-westerly direction from Spitzbergen towards Jan 
May en and Iceland. In our opinion, it is thus that the drift- 
wood and tropical seeds are carried to the north-east coasts 
of Iceland. From the observations of the inhabitants of Rau- 
farhavn, it appears that the drift-wood, at least, comes fi'om 
the ocean, in the direction of the last-mentioned current, that 
current, namely, which flows from Spitzbergen. In accord- 
ance with this, Irminger, in the summer of 1834, found at the 
mouth of the Blanda, in the north of the island, the wreck of 
a Greenland trading-vessel of Gluckkstadt, which had been 
abandoned by its crew between Spitzbergen and Jan Mayen. 
The drift-ice which almost annually surrounds the north 
and east coasts of Iceland during a portion of the year, and 
which does not usually disappear before July, but sometimes 
even remains till August, is bi'ought thither by the northern 
current which has just been mentioned ; whilst, at the same 
time, the coast on the south and west, washed by the Gulf 
Stream, is free from ice, and enjoys a milder climate. Ice- 
landic trading-vessels which, on their way to Akureyre, have 
been interrupted in their passage on the east side of the 
island by drift-ice, have sometimes changed their course and 
gone round the Cape Reykjanes ; and thus, coming from 
the west, have reached their destination without further im- 

The current directed from the north-east towards Iceland, 
aflPords a satisfactory explanation of a phenomenon which has 
as yet received but little attention ; the occurrence, namely, 
of boulders composed of rocks different from those forming 
the solid mass of the island. These blocks and rolled stones, 
derived from primitive rocks, first attracted rny attention on 
the strand of Halbjarnastader-Kambur, between Husavik and 
Tiornes. At that place there are, not unfrequently, to be 
found pieces of a gx*ey granite, with rose-coloured garnets, 
and fragments of mica-slate, and there is a block of stone of 
the character of serpentine, of which the diameter is about 
two metres in every direction. These boulders lie at the level 
of the sea, in a locality quite inaccessible to foreign ships ; so 
that even the smaller pieces cannot be supposed to have been 
brought as ballast from Scandinavia ; and, as to the larger 

288 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

ones, such a supposition is at once precluded by their great 
size. Also on the east coast, especially at Vapnafiord, among 
the rolled masses of basalt lying on the shore, there are to be 
found pieces of granite, gneiss, mica-slate, and talc-slate ; 
and, of these rocks, it can be affirmed with certainty, that, in 
no part of Iceland ai'e they to be found in situ. In reply to 
particular inquiries, it was stated by the natives, that, on the 
arrival of the drift-ice, stones frozen in along with it are to 
be seen. 

This observation, which deserves to be followed out more 
particularly, throws a clear light on the manner in which the 
glacial markings, formerly mentioned, have been produced ; 
and also, on the dispersion of erratic blocks, especially in 
Northern Gei'many. 

Considering the direction of the current, we are inclined to 
suppose that the boulders occurring on the north-east coast 
of Iceland have been derived from Spitzbergen ; since Jan 
Mayen is, so far as we are aware, entirely of a volcanic cha- 
racter. Were we, however, to suppose that they have come 
from Greenland, the distance of which from Iceland is less 
than that of Spitzbergen, yet this journey far exceeds, in 
length, that which the blocks of Northern Germany would 
have required to perfoi'm in coming, for instance, from 
Southern Sweden to the foot of the Hartz Mountains. But, 
if those boulders have come i*eally from Spitzbergen, their 
passage with the ice must have been as long as that of the 
Scandinavian ones, which have been deposited on the Baltic 
plains, would have been, if, instead of taking the limited 
course which they actually have taken, they had proceeded 
from the coast of Schonen to the Pyramids of Egypt. Since, 
then, the distance of Iceland from the nearest primary moun- 
tains is comparatively so great, the small dimensions of the 
erratic blocks which occur in this island need not appear 

The two principal currents, the tropical and the ai'ctic, 
mentioned in what goes before, produce a very sensible in- 
fluence on the climate of Iceland. It is perfectly clear, in- 
deed, that the temperature of the air must be modified by 
that of such extensive masses of water. The temperature 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 289 

of the sea between the Shetland Islands and Cape Reyk- 
janes* is nearly constant ; and, during the month of May, it 
is, on the average, about 8-1 degrees centigi'ade. At Feroe, 
however, which we regard as lying nearly in the middle of 
the Gulf Stream, and which has a longitude of 7° west of 
Greenwich, it amounts to 8-7° centigrade ; and, in the same 
latitude, at the longitude of 20° west, it is as much as 9-3° 
centigrade. Continuing on the same parallel of latitude, and 
passing westward, we find, at a longitude of 35", the tempera- 
ture reduced to 5-8° centigi-ade, and at 40° longitude, we find 
it still farther reduced to 3-3° centigrade ; and, finally, on 
nearly reaching the coast of Greenland, we meet with a tem- 
perature less even than 1° centigrade. 

These observations are in perfect accordance with what we 
should expect to result from the dii'ections of the tropical and 
polar currents, of which the latter passes from Jan Mayen, 
with a south-westerly course, between Iceland and Green- 

Meteorological observations, continued for several years 
without interruption, which give us pretty satisfactory in- 
formation respecting the climate of Iceland, have been car- 
ried on up to the present time in Reykjavik by Thorstensen,t 
and in Akureyre, on the Oefiord, by Captain Scheel. 

The mean temperature of the air for the whole year, given 
by the observations conducted at Reykjavik is 4-5° centigrade ; 

* Regarding the temperature of the sea in those regions, we possess much 
information derived from observations repeated almost annually in vessels pas- 
sing between Copenhagen and Reykjavik. The numercial results given in the 
text rest on the authority of (!aptain Irminger ; and they agree well with our 
own observations, so far as we were able to carry them out during our very 
stormy voyage. We found the temperature of the sea, .some leagues to the 
south of Fair Hill, on the 9th of May, rising with the daily increase of tempera- 
ture till about two o'clock in the afternoon, from 7'3° to 80" centigrade ; whilst 
the temperature of the air attained its maximum of 11 centigrade at a quarter 
past 12 o'clock. 

t The meteorological observations made at Reykjavik from the 1st of 
January 1823 till the 1st of August 1837, have already appeared, under the 
title " Observationes MeteorologiciB in Islandia facta; a Thorstensenio me- 
dico," Copenhagen, 1839. The results which have been subsequently obtained 

290 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

whilst, according to observations made during a space of five 
years, the mean temperature of the sea may be taken to be 
5-42° centigrade. The mean temperature for the whole year 
at Akureyre, on the other hand, is, according to Scheel, 0-58° 
centigrade. If we compare these numerical data partly with 
one another, and partly with the positions of the isothermal 
curves, we readily an'ive at the following conclusions. 

The diminution of the mean temperature by 4 degrees from 
Eeykjavik to Akureyre is very striking, these two places dif- 
fering in latitude by only two and a half degrees. Accord- 
ing to the representation given in Berghaus's Physical Atlas, 
there is, on the whole northern hemisphere, no region where 
the belt contained between the isothermal lines of 0° and 5° 
centigrade is so nan*ovv as in Iceland. Besides this, the 
mean temperature for both places is unusually high with re- 
ference to the geographical latitude. 

This last remark applies, in an especial degree, to Reyk- 
javik [and Southern Iceland ; for at no other place in the 
world does the isothermal line oi^° centigrade rise to a lati- 
tude of more than 64° (the latitude of Reykjavik), whilst in 
Europe it sinks below the 60th, and in Upper Asia even below 
the 49th, degree of latitude. The isothermal line of 0° cen- 
tigrade has a form somewhat less favourable for the climate 
of Iceland ; for although, no doubt, it scarcely touches the 
extreme north of Iceland, yet near the Scandinavian North 
Cape it passes much farther northward, reaching the 71st 
degree of latitude. "With the exception of this single point, 
there is, in the whole northern hemisphere, no region where 
this curve cuts the polar circle — no milder climate for so 
high a latitude. 

If we compare the temperatures of the sea and the above- 
have not yet been published ; but they were kindly communicated to me by 
Dr Petersen of Copenhagen, to whom I am also indebted for the observations 
of Captain Scheel, which were made at Akureyre. 

In A. von Humbjldt's Central . Asia, and Berghaus's Physical Atlas, the 
mean temperature is deduced from the observations of only the first tvro years. 
The observations on the temperature of the sea were made by Thorstensen, in 
the mornings between five and eleven o'clock. The mean calculated by me for 
the whole year is perhaps rather too small, since the maximum temperature of 
the sea did not occur before half-past one in the afternoon. 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 291 

mentioned observations on the tropical and arctic currents 
on the one hand, with the isothermal lines on the other, it 
appears at once that the positions of the isothermal lines are 
mainly determined by the directions of the currents. The 
mean temperature of the sea at Reykjavik is about a degree 
centigrade higher than the mean temperature of the air. 
Now, in continental regions at the same latitude of 64°, the 
mean temperature of the air is usually zero, or even less. The 
Gulf Stream, therefore, produces a mean increase of tempera- 
ture of four degrees on the air, while the water itself still re- 
tains a higher temperature than that which the air thus re- 

It has been already remarked that the Gulf Stream spreads 
itself out from Feroe towards the Scandinavian coast, and 
that, from the 63d degree of latitude, it begins to scatter it- 
self out towards the north ; so that in Finmark its ultimate 
ramifications alone are perceived. From the paper by L. 
von Buch, already cited, it appears to be indubitable that the 
influence of this cuiTent reaches even to the Bear Island, in 
latitude 75°. South-westerly winds are, in that island, as 
well as in Iceland, accompanied by mild weather. The 
months of November and December usually bring rain, but 
no snow, and the taking of the walrus can be continued even 
till Christmas. The most severe cold commences in spring, 
accompanying the approach of the drift-ice from the north- 
east ; but, even then, the island enjoys the beneficial wann- 
ing influence of the Atlantic Ocean, and is in climate very 
difi^erent from the neighbouring icy Spitzbergen. All along 
the course of the current, so far as to this island, we per- 
ceive the isothermal lines sharply bent towards the north, 
whilst they suddenly turn towards the south, at the places 
where the influence of the current ceases, and the action of 
the continental climate begins to prevail. 

Finally, it appears that the retrograde polar current pro- 
duces efffccts on the climate of Jan Mayen, of Northern Ice- 
land, and of Greenland, in the same way as the Gulf Stream 
does, but that these eff'ects are of the opposite kind. Under 
such circumstances, it is rather striking that the mean tem- 
perature of Akureyre is not still less than it is actually 
found to be ; and the influence of the tropical heat, in miti- 

292 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

gating the severities of the north, is manifest even in this 
distant region. 

In inquiries respecting the Icelandic climate, the compari- 
son of the mean temperatures of the four seasons, in the 
north and south of the island, is not to be neglected. It 
would be quite possible that the mean temperature for the 
year in the north might be considerably reduced by the seve- 
rity of the winter, without the occurrence of any great differ- 
ence between the temperatures of the north and south at 
the remaining seasons. Experience, however, shews that, 
with reference to Reykjavik and Akureyre, the temperature 
of the latter place is, at every season of the year, consider- 
ably lower than that of the former. The difference of tem- 
perature, no doubt, is greatest in winter, amounting, at that 
time, to six degrees centrigade, while in spring and autumn 
it is four degrees, and in summer only a little above two. 

Thus, after a long winter, there follows, still more strik- 
ingly in the noi'th of the island than in the south, a short 
summer, without the intervention of any real spring ; and, 
again, after a scarcely perceptible autumn, a winter of eight 
months' duration suddenly sets in. 

In certain years, when the drift-ice from Spitzbergen con- 
tinues to block up the north and north-east coasts till July, 
or, as has sometimes occurred, even till August, one winter 
passes, with scarcely any interval, into another ; so that 
famine and bad times are the natural consequence to the in- 

The degree in which the configui*ation of the hills, and 
the direction of the winds, contribute to the difference be- 
tween the climates of the north and south, has not, as yet, 
been satisfactorily determined. Meteorological observations, 
conducted simultaneously on the north and south of the 
mountains, would pei'haps soon decide this question. In the 
western country, we had constantly cold, wet, disagreeable 
weather, when the wind was from the east or south-east ; 
and this is certainly to be ascribed to the position of the icy 
mountains. West and north-west winds, on the other hand, 
were accompanied by more genial weather. The prevailing 
winds, according to Thorstensen, are from the north-east. 

Oti the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 293 

Currents of air whicli blow over the whole land, and over high 
ranges of hills, and numerous fields of ice, would, therefore, 
only tend to injure the climate of the south-western regions, 
and to depress the mean temperature. Hence the above- 
mentioned difi'erence between the temperatures of Reykjavik 
and Akureyre cannot thus be explained. The weather, durmg 
the spring and summer which we spent in Iceland, was so 
extremely unfavourable for us, that it overthrew many of our 
plans ; but the autumn was somewhat more favourable. 

It has already been remarked, by various other writers, 
that the conditions of the weather in Iceland are entirely the 
reverse of those in the European continent. The last few 
years afford an interesting confirmation of this remark. The 
winter of 1844-5 was, as is well known, extremely protracted 
and severe on the Continent of Europe, while, on the con- 
trary, it was unusually mild in Iceland. The summer of 
1845 was dry and fine in Iceland, but rainy, and, with the 
exception of a few days, cold in the middle of Europe. In 
the last year, matters were entirely reversed. We had un- 
interruptedly bad weather in Iceland, while, on the contrary, 
in Europe, very unusual dryness and heat prevailed. 

Great changeableness of weather is a characteristic fea- 
ture of the Icelandic climate. Rain alternates with sunshine 
through the whole summer, as it does with us during the 
months of March and April. Entirely tranquil, calm wea- 
ther forms the exception ; while storms of the most terrific 
character, and of fearfullv-devastating force, and which carry 
everything before them, are very common. These often place 
the traveller in very critical and dangerous positions, or at 
least in circumstances accompanied with many hardships and 


We experienced one of the most terrible of these storms 
on the 8th of June, on the Hvalfiorder, at Thyrill, in a region 
which is notorious for them, and which has already been 
pointed out by Olafsen* as dangerous. The one which we 

* Reise durch Island, vol. i., § 4. Thyrill is a round, very high, steep, and 
prominent hill-top, at the inner extremity of the inlet which has just been 
mentioned. It is so named because the air frequently whirls around it, and 

294 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

experienced would seem exaggerated, or even almost incre- 
dible, were it not that om' description of it agrees in sub- 
stance with the description of such storms given by that emi- 
nent Icelandic traveller. In the morning, when we left Rey- 
nivellir, a violent wind was already blowing, and this in- 
creased more and more until we reached, a little before noon, 
a height which divides the Svinadal from the Hvalfiord. 
Here the storm began to blow in such a fearful and inde- 
scribable manner, that we could scarcely advance, and that 
we sometimes thought we should lose our breath. Our cir- 
cumstances became hazardous in the extreme, as we pro- 
ceeded down the steep declivity on our way to Botnsdalr, the 
eastern extremity of the Hvalfiord. The storm blew from 
the south-east with such violence that it threw one of our 
attendants from his horse, and threatened to hurl us over 
steep precipices into the abysses below. While the storm 
raged over the water of the fiord, the surface was converted 
into a cloud of spray, which reached even to us, having passed 
over hills 2000 feet high. In it there floated a rainbow of 
the most brilliant colours, which appeared like a bridge unit- 
ing the two sides of the dark-green fiord. During the after- 
noon the storm still continued to rage with equal fury, and 
it was only towards the evening, and during the following 
night that it began to abate. This storm was not confined, 
however, in accordance with the representations of Olafsen, 
to a very limited space ; but, on the contrary, it was felt 
along the whole south-west coast of the island ; and also, on 
the same morning, a ship bound for Reykjavik ran ashore at 
Oerebach (Eyrar Bakki). According to the statements of 
some Icelandic traders, a perfect calm prevailed during this 

thus causes dreadful whirlwinds from the north and north-east, against which 
travellers would require to be on their guard. § 186. At the inner extremity 
of the Hvalfiord, especially around the hill Thyrill, violent whirlwinds blow. 
These storms last always for several days ; and they are such as to carry up 
the sea-water like snov into the air, whilst, at the same time, in the southern 
country, beyond the rocks in the Borgarfiord, there is but little wind, or none 
at all. From this reason, the district at the Hvalfiord is called by the neigh- 
bouring inhabitants Wedra-Kista, that is, Box or Chest of Winds, which implies 
that this inlet is, as it were, the abode of violent storms. 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 295 

time on the sea, at about 6 miles (27 English miles) from 
the coast. 

Other stoi'ms of a similar kind occurred repeatedly during 
our journey, and were still more destructive than the one 
which has just been described ; as they were accompanied 
with rain, hail, and impenetrable clouds of fog, or dust. The 
neighbourhood of the Hecla is peculiarly subject to storms, 
accompanied with dust ; the dust being canned up by the 
wind from the extensive fields of volcanic ashes, which are 
spread out around that mountain. 

On the 25th of July, we witnessed, immediately at the foot 
of Hecla, a phenomenon of this kind. The storm had be- 
gun to rage in the night, and it blew down our tent, which 
we had pitched over the crater of Raudoldur. The dust and 
the volcanic ashes were raised in such quantities, that, as if 
surrounded by a thick cloud, the nearest hills were invisible, 
and it was often almost impossible for us to open our eyes. 

Storms, with showers of hail and torrents of rain accom- 
panied us through the whole country, during our stay, so 
constantly, that we at length began to become accustomed 
to them. Thunder stoi'ms, on the contrary, are rare, and 
during the course of the summer there were only two that I 

From this delineation of the Icelandic climate, in the most 
favourable season of the year, some idea may be formed as 
to the character of the weather in winter, which we did not 
learn from personal observation. At the end of Septembei% 
or the beginning of October, the winter usually sets in. Dark, 
stormy weather then occurs, which terminates in a thick im- 
penetrable fall of snow. The journeys over the mountain- 
passes (Fiall Vegur) then become peculiarly dangerous ; 
although the Icelanders, so as to avoid losing their way on 
such occasions, have taken the precaution of piling up, at 
short distances from one another, heaps of stones, of a pyra- 
midal form (Warde), which serve them as landmarks at night 
and in fogs. Here and there, little houses, or huts, are erected, 
which serve as places of refuge for men and animals ; and, 
where these are wanting, the Icelanders, who usually travel 
in large companies, sit down, closely crowded together, behind 

296 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

a rock ; while, by holding their mountain sticks upwards, and 
giving them a rotatory motion, they secure to themselves 
the access of air, and heap up the snow around themselves 
as a defence. 

At this season of the year, for five or six months in the 
south, and for seven or eight in the north, a thick coating of 
snow covers, from the highest hills down to the sea, this un- 
inhabited wilderness ; out of which no tree, no bush, no blade 
of grass arises ; but only here and there a black cliff, cover- 
ed over with grey lichens, projects, lonely and disconsolate. 

The reindeer* is now the sole occupant of the wilderness 
in the interior of the island, and there it subsists by scraping 
up the snow to find its hidden food ; while great flocks of 
sea-birds, in the short, misty days, I'ocking themselves in the 
storm, with svild cries, swarm about the coast. With the 
closing-in of the night, the magic play of the northern lights 
then begins. These, in varying colours, and trembling beams, 
— one time glimmering, another shining brightly, — spread 
over the starry firmament, and exhibit, with indistinct out- 
lines, the rocks and the rigid fields of ice. 

While Nature thus, in majestic greatness, follows her ever- 
lasting, immutable laws, man succumbs to their sway in the 
remote north ; and it is, indeed, wonderful that he loves his 
native country, with its dismal sky and barren soil. 

After a winter of half a year's duration, the spring begins 
at the end of April, in the south of Iceland, whei'e all the 
snow has usually disappeared from the low lands by that 
time, although, in the north country, it remains considerably 
longer. When we landed at Reykjavik, in the middle of May, 
the snow was ali'eady melted away throughout the whole 
south of Iceland, and the young grass was advancing in its 

* The reindeer was introduced from Norway into Iceland in the last cen- 
tury, and the individuals of this species have since become so numerous, that 
entire herds of them are now to be met with. The Icelanders derive less be- 
nefit, however, from this animal than the inhabitants of Finmark, because they 
have not learned to rear it up in a domestic state. From their disposition also 
to keep by old practices, they believe that, on the whole, they have been more 
injured than benefited by the introduction of the reindeer. 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 297 

When, at a later period of the summer, I visited Husavik, 
I was informed that at the time when we landed in Iceland 
the snow had been lying so deep as to enable people to walk 
over the tops of their houses without obstruction. It was 
only in the end of June that the snow had entirely disappeared 
from the sea-coast. 

In taking, at the conclusion of these inquiries, a brief re- 
view of the principal points of the climatic relations of Ice- 
land, the question appears worthy of particular considera- 
tion, whether, during the course of the last few centuries, 
the climate of this island has altered so much for the worse, 
as really to endanger the economic condition of the land, 
and the social state of its inhabitants % 

From the vegetable remains of the Surturbrand, we con- 
clude with certainty that, during the tertiary period, the 
climate of Iceland was milder than it is in our days. This 
conclusion with respect to Iceland need not surprise us, since 
at all places throughout the surface of the earth we meet 
with indications leading to the like results, with respect to 
those places ; a fact which is closely connected with the gra- 
dual cooling of our planet. During the interval of time which 
has elapsed since the tertiary period, and which must have 
been of immense duration, although for its measurement no 
scale is afforded to us, the diminution of temperature has. at 
all events, been very insignificant. The formerly-mentioned 
trees, allied to those at present growing in North America, 
would, there can be no doubt, flourish perfectly well in a cli- 
mate of which the mean temperature should exceed, by four 
or five degrees centigrade, that of Reykjavik ; but if, during 
such a vast period, the reduction of temperature amounts to 
so little, it is clear that, for the few centuries considered in 
the present question, it must be an inappreciably small quan- 

Thus, a glacial period, or a universal prevalence of ice 
over the whole land, occurring since the time of that milder 
climate, must be viewed as contradictory to all observations, 
and as being entirely inadmissible. At present, finally, the 
climate of Iceland, although it is ungenial and rainy, yet, 

298 On (he Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

when considered with reference to the high northern lati- 
tude of the island, is as favourable as that of any other place 
in the whole earth. A reduction of the mean temperature, 
and a deterioration of the climate, since the commencement 
of historical times is, therefore, much less than elsewhere to 
be assumed at this place, where the most favourable condi- 
tions which we could possibly look for, with the given geo- 
graphical position, are found to exist at the present time. 

It is true, we should expect to find in the growth of plants 
and the character of vegetation in Iceland, traces of a former 
milder climate ; but still one is surprised to find the land 
now utterly destitute of ti*ees, while, in former times, it was 
covered with forests. These have, however, as we shall soon 
shew, perished, not on account of a change of climate, but 
through the fault of the inhabitants. The flora of the island 
offers, on the whole, little that is peculiar ; and it is more 
nearly allied to the flora of Scandinavia than to that of the 
neighbouring Greenland. Widely-extended meadow-lands, 
adorned with numberless flowers, rejoice at times the eye 
of the traveller, which, too much accustomed to view rigid 
wastes of lava, and bare, rocky regions, gladly rests on the 
sight of the fresh and lively verdure of these fine meadows. 

To the botanist, the Cryptogamic vegetation in Iceland is 
not uninteresting ; and it is in a great degree characteristic 
of the country. Both Leafy Mosses and Lichens are very 
prevalent. The former are spread, like carpets of emerald 
green, over many hill-sides, along which streams and springs 
trickle down ; and the latter form clods tinted with silver- 
grey, and coatings of yellow and brownish-red colours, cover- 
ing deserts which extend for many miles, and consist of de- 
solate lava-streams thousands of years old. On account of 
the great uniformity of the geological formations, the soil is 
almost the same in character at all parts of the island ; and 
is fitted, through the flowing of water over decomposing vol- 
canic rocks, to conduce to a comparatively luxuriant growth 
of plants. Yet it is somewhat striking, that the very per- 
ceptible difference of climate in the north and the south of 
Iceland, does not bring its influence to bear on the vegeta- 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 299 

tion. Although the spring commences later in the north, and 
the autumn sets in earlier, yet the growth of grass is there 
quite as luxm'iant, and there also the cultivation of 'potatoes 
and other esculent vegetables is perhaps even more exten- 
sively carried on than in the southern and westei'n parts of 
the country ; and even Mountain Ashes flourish considerably 
better at Akureyre than in the neighbourhood of Reykjavik. 

This fact, which cannot be controverted, seems to be attri- 
butable to local causes, such, for instance, as shelter from 
certain winds ; and also to be partly due to the somewhat 
greater industry of the inhabitants in the northern country. 

After this general delineation of the vegetation of Iceland, 
let us cast a look, even though it be only a cursory one, on 
the animated creation of this island. 

The inhabitants of the sea, in the first place, are the less 
deserving of our attention from belonging rather to the 
Northern Ocean than to the coasts of Iceland. On the wnole, 
the sea is here compai'ative poor in genera and species, but 
it is often immensely rich in the number of individuals. This 
remark applies to Fishes in particular, of which some species, 
forming one of the chief means of support of the people, are 
often caught by millions. The class of reptiles, it is a re- 
markable fact, is entirely wanting. There are no serpents, 
tortoises, or lizards, of any kind whatever ; and, in all the 
Icelandic marshes, so far, at least, as we have been able to 
learn, there exists not a single frog. 

The Class of Birds is represented in Iceland perhaps in a 
more peculiar manner than any other division of the Animal 
Kingdom. The plumage of these denizens of the sea is, like 
all other features of the north, characterized by great unifor- 
mity ; white, grey, and brown, being the prevailing colours. 
The interior of the island is often almost destitute of birds ; 
and one may travel many leagues without seeing even a 
single individual. The coasts, on the contrary, are every- 
where enlivened with multitudes. On many estuaries and 
hills, where these birds usually breed, they swarm often in 
immense numbers round the rocks, and fill the air with their 
plaintive cries. The Eider Duck, which, by the Icelanders, 

300 On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 

is protected on peaceful islands with great favour, especially 
at the breeding season, is the most important bird of the 
coasts, and its utility is universally knovv^n. 

It is not our object in these pages to elucidate isolated par- 
ticulars selected from the wide range of natural history, but 
to view the general features of the country at large, from a 
point affording an extensive prospect; and we, therefore, do 
not wish to fatigue our readers by recounting the names of 
genera and species. It will not, however, appear out of place 
for us to direct attention to the fact, that at least the higher 
kinds of animals in Iceland have become natives of the 
country only by migration or colonization. They do not be- 
long to the soil on which they now live, in the same sense as 
do many peculiarly-formed animals which are found on islands 
in the southern seas. Such animtils as by nature are un- 
suited to migrate aci-oss the sea are, therefore, entirely want- 
ing in Iceland ; or else their translation to this remote deso- 
late island of the north, is due to some particularly favour- 
able circumstances. Whether of the lower kinds of animals, 
— the insect tribes, namely, — species really peculiar to the 
island occm% is certainly not yet fully determined. So far as 
we are able to judge, however, such species appear not to 
occur. That reptiles should be altogether wanting, and that 
birds, on the other hand, should be present in great numbers, 
need not appear astonishing. Of land mammalia, two species 
alone have been introduced by other agency than that of 
men, — by the agency, namely, of floating ice. All others 
which are now found on the island, — the Sheep, the Horse, 
the Pig, the Ox, the Dog, kc, — form merely an accompani- 
ment of the Human Race ; and they were introduced, for the 
first time, in the course of the last century. Just as the 
colder zones of our earth are not so well suited as others for 
the development of living beings ; so, at the time wdien 
Iceland began gradually to rise out of the sea, those favour- 
able conditions in nature, according to which more highly- 
organised animals might come into existence in a way different 
from that of ordinary generation, appear to have been past. 

In a complete sketch of the physical geography of a country, 

On the Glaciers and Climate of Iceland. 301 

Man should naturally assume a prominent place. It is not our 
intention, however, to enter at present on a subject which ap- 
pears worthy of being treated in a more detailed manner, and 
which, therefore, we will rather reserve for a more suitable 

Although now, in such an uncertain field, much that is pro- 
blematical may remain to be cleared up by future observers, 
yet we hope that we at present establish all essential points, 
so far as our limited time, and circumstances, which, in some 
respects, were extremely unfavourable, have made it possible 
for us to do so. We ai'e perfectly aware how much geology 
is in want of a strictly scientific foundation, yet our Ice- 
landic observations afford at least a pleasing prospect, that, 
even here, with the aid of the exact sciences, a sure ground 
may be attained. The co-operation of Natural Philosophy and 
Chemistry, together with the quite indispensable basis of a 
trustworthy topography,* will lead us in time to more favour- 

* Our resources regarding the topography of Iceland have been very consi- 
derably improved in recent times. In the last century, Olafsen's map, although 
defective and erroneous in many respects, was decidedly the best. This has 
since been frequently republished by various compilers, sometimes on a larger, 
and sometimes on a smaller scale ; never improved however ; but, as usually 
occurs in such cases, disfigured by numerous additional mistakes. To obviate 
in some degree the want of a good chart, which was much felt in the navigation 
of the northern seas, the Danish Government, in the beginning of the present 
century, commissioned Messrs Scheel and Frisack to make a trigonometrical 
survey of Iceland. They carried out from Reykjavik, round the whole island, 
a chain of triangles, returning into itself. The sides of the triangles were of 
considerable size for the time at which the survey was made. In the middle 
of the island a space remained unsurveyed, being out of the course of their 
measurements. Although this survey does not fulfil all the demands which, 
at the present day, may be made on such works, yet, when the almost incon- 
ceivable impediments occasioned by the climate are considered, its high merit 
cannot fail to be appreciated by all those who, under such circumstances, have 
been obliged to conduct similar undertakings. This survey also aff'ordsall that 
is requisite for the preparation of any charts on a moderate scale. More re- 
cently, Major Olsen has undertaken to construct a map of Iceland, on a scale of 
1 to 48,000. As the basis of this, he has adopted the survey of which we have 
just been speaking, and he has availed himself of all information as to details 
which has hitherto been obtained, and which, for the most part, is deposited 
in the Royal Treasury at Copenhagen. This information has originated from 
VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. X 

302 Dr Robert E. Brown on the 

able and more comprehensive results, even in the province of 

0/ the Source of Motions upon the Earth, and of the means hy 
which they are sustained. By ROBERT E. Brown, M.D., 
Edinburgh. Communicated by the Author. 

{Continued from fage 155.) 

Let us now take a shoi't and general survey of what has been 
said, with the view of attempting to exhibit the conclusions to which 
we are led, more clearly than has hitherto been done. Our atten- 
tion has been directed chiefly to what may be termed the primary 
forces of nature, inasmuch as all others are in some degree secondary 
to these, being either modifications or transformations of them, or 
derived from them, or developed in circumstances brought about by 
their agency. These forces are, gravity, cohesion, chemical affinity, 
and the vital and solar forces. They may be arranged in two classes 
— the first, including cohesion, chemical affinity, and the gravity 
of terrestrial matter ; the second, including the vital and solar forces, 
and the gravity of external matter. These two classes of force are 
antagonistic to each other, or at least, act 'antagonistically to each 
other. The first class may be termed negative or conservative, be- 
cause it tends to preserve matter in a state of aggregation and per- 
fect rest. The second class may be termed positive or destructive, 
because of itself it tends to produce motion, change, and ultimately, 
perhaps, the separation and dissipation of matter. By their acting in 
alternation to each other, therefoi'e, conservation is maintained, and, 
at the same time, a moderate degree of motion and change is per- 
mitted among material substances. The vital affinities and the solar 

many different sources ; but much of it is due to the officers already mentioned, 
and to an Icelander named Gunnlogsen. 

We think it right to direct the attention of such of the German public as 
may be interested in the geography of the north, to this beautiful and interest- 
ing work, which is at present in course of publication. This map is divided 
into four plates, of which the two southern are already completed ; and these 
have afforded us important service on our journey ; while the two northern 
ones are yet in the hands of the engravers. Major Olsen, who, with great ability 
and untiring diligence, sujJerintends the topograjjhical works in the kingdom 
of Denmark, has pevseveringly laboured, from time to time, to amend and to 
perfect the details of his Icelandic chart, so far as the scale permits, according 
to all new information of a trustworthy kind. Thus, of this inhospitable and 
almost desolate country, we possess a much better map than we do of the Island 
of Sicily.. 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 303 

influences, when they are predominant in power, lead matter away 
from a certain point. The mechanical and the chemical forces of 
terrestrial matter, when their turn of supremacy comes, bring it back 
to that point again ; and all the motions we have considered, take 
place between these two extremes, and by virtue of this antagonism 
and alternate action of the two classes of force. 

We have, in this manner, a vast number of " circles of eternal 
motion" produced, which, weaving and interweaving among them- 
selves, connect and maintain each other, and give rise to the present 
order of things. Here we may attempt to point out the individual 
operation, and the limits of the forces derived from external nature, 
and of the vital forces respectively. The motions which we termed 
physical, or those which are independent of life, as the tides, winds, 
evaporation, running water, and the like, are all of them derived 
from the forces of matter external to the earth, so that their measure- 
ment would give the amount of that lunar, solar, and, perhaps, stel- 
lar force so applied. The motions of organised matter, again, come 
from a compound source, partly from external nature, and chiefly 
from the sun, and partly from vital force. It is unknown what the 
exact operation of each of these is, but it seems not impi-obable, that, 
in the case of plants at least, the solar forces act chiefly by destroy- 
ing or neutralising chemical affinity, and by rendering the molecules 
of matter more mobile ; and that the operation of the vital force con- 
sists in completing the decomposition of the inorganic matter, the 
affinities of which have been weakened by light, in arranging the 
molecules of that matter in organic combinations, and in preserving 
them from the attacks of the chemical forces, after they are so ar- 
ranged.* What the action of the sun is upon animal beings, apart 
from its heat, and how far these are directly dependent upon it, is 
very uncertain. But the action of the sun, and their dependence 
upon it, does not seem to be so great as it is in the case of plants, 
and it would seem that the vital forces are those upon which their 
existence chiefly depends. It has, therefore, been attempted to be 
shewn, that all the motions we have mentioned are the result of 
vital forces, and of the forces of extei'nal nature. It is true that the 
physical and the chemical forces, inherent in terrestial matter, do 
play a part in the production of motion, but it is only a secondary 
one. They resemble the weights of a clock, which, by descending, 
produce a number of motions ; but the force which these weights 
exert, is communicated, or put into them as it were, by the hand 
which rolled them up, and the motions which they' produce are the 

* See a learned and able paper, by Dr Alison of the University of Edinburgh, 
on Vital Affinity, in Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. xvi., 
and reprinted in this Journal, Nos. Ixxxi. and Ixxxii. 

304 Dr Robert E. Brown on the 

result and the equivalent of that manual force. Finally, we endea- 
voured to shew that vital force is, in some degree, secondary to solar 
force, and that all vital action is dependent upon the sun, and upon 
circumstances produced by its agency, as well as by that of other 
matter external to the earth. If the earth were left to itself, and to 
its inherent forces, these would soon equilibrate themselves, and all 
motion would cease. The forces of external nature destroy the equili- 
brium of the terrestrial forces ; and it would therefore appear, that, 
in external nature, and chiefly in the sun, are originated all ter- 
restrial motions, and that under their influence all of them are sus- 

From these remai-ks it will result, that, for the maintenance of the 
existing order of things, and for the production of those sorts of or- 
ganised beings which belong to this globe, the two classes of motions 
must be adjusted to each other in a certain proportion, and preserve 
an exact balance between themselves. If chemical affinity and the 
other physical forces were greater than they are, the operations of 
life, and of external nature upon matter, would be impeded or ar- 
rested, unless they also were intensified in a like degree ; for a greater 
force would be necessary to overcome the chemical and physical 
forces. If the vital and solar forces, again, were augmented out of 
proportion to the others, other forms of derangement and confusion 
would result, tending to their own destruction as active forces, or as 
forces acting as they do in the existing order of nature. For the 
number of living existences being supposed to remain the same, the 
greater extent of their operations, and the increased quantity of mat- 
ter which they would require, could not be compensated by the che- 
mical forces, and vital operations would necessarily either cease, or 
take place only at intervals ; the intervals being occupied with the 
destruction of organic matter, and the return of its materials back to 
an inorganic state. 

In different regions of the earth, thei'e are considerable differences 
in the degree of energy of the individual forces, and in the propor- 
tion in which these exist, or act in relation to each other. In the 
torrid zone, as compared with the frigid and the temperate zones, 
the force of gravity is diminished, consequent upon the increase of 
the centrifugal tendency ; the solar influence, on the other hand, is 
increased to a great degree, and as a result of this, we have cohesion 
more strongly opposed, and, therefore, more easily overcome, by other 
agents. With regard to the vital and chemical forces, whether they 
are increased in real amount, or how far they are intrinsically af- 
fected, is uncertain. But the condition of the other forces, by 
rendering the jnolecules of matter more mobile, will cause them to 
act with more ease, and with greater activity ; just as we know that 
heat, by increasing the mobility of the molecules of matter, gives a 
facility to chemical action, and renders molecular changes more easy 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 305 

and active, although the chemical force itself is probably lessened in 
power in the same degree in which the molecules of matter are se- 
parated from each other, or even perhaps in a greater degree. 

We accordingly find, that, in different regions, motions take place 
to different amounts, in different modes, and with various energies ; 
and that they possess organised bodies either peculiar to themselves, 
or with variations and adaptations of their natures to the condition of 
the forces proper to the several regions. In the frigid and temperate 
parts of the earth, we have life existing in comparatively iew indivi- 
dual beings, and its operations tai'dy and sluggish. Within the 
tropics, again, we have vital forces acting with extreme activity, so 
that more organisable matter seems to come within their influence, 
and to be kept in action ; and we have life present in a great number 
of individual beings, different in structure and in nature from those 
of the other regions. But, although in different parts of the earth 
the individual forces may vary in intensity, and act in different pro- 
portions to each other, it must be held to be improbable that the two 
classes of force ever vary in their proportion to each other, to any 
great extent, or for any length of time. For any such variation 
would be attended with most destructive consequences, as we have 
endeavoured to shew. If any one force varies — if it is increased for 
instance — and so tends to exalt the power of one of the classes over 
the other, it must either be compensated by a depression of one or 
more of the other forces belonging to the same class, or else there 
must be a corresponding and equivalent exaltation of one or more of 
the forces belonging to the opposite class, so as to preserve the ba- 
lance between the two. For the absolute energy of both the classes 
may be conceived to be increased or dinunished without any material 
derangement of nature, if, in their increase or decrease, they pre- 
serve the same proportion between themselves. And, again, the ab- 
solute energies of the several forces belonging to each class may dif- 
fer to some extent, if the general power of the whole of the forces 
belonging to each class is proportional. Thus, if at any place 
the forces of gravity and cohesion are lessened, and the solar and 
vital forces be conceived to remain at the usual standard, it will be 
necessary, for the continuance of the existing order of nature, that 
the chemical forces be rendered more powerful, or more active, in 
the degree in which the other forces of the same class are impaired. 
For a greater activity of chemical force will compensate for a less 
activity of the other physical forces, and vice versa. In the same 
way a greater activity of vital force, in the case of plants, may be 
compensated by a less activity of solar foi'ce, or vice versa. 

We have thus set before us, upon a small scale in the earth, the 
results of the actions of various proportions of the forces productive 
of motion and of organisation ; and only by a study and knowledge 
of these — by discovering their exact effects in producing and varying 

306 Dr Robert E. Brown on the 

motions, both physical and vital ; their relative proportion in differ- 
ent regions, and at different times — can we, I think, expect to gain 
a true insight into the operations of nature. For a perfect know- 
ledge of these things would place us at its very fountain-head, whence 
we might survey its manifold operations, — predicate results in circum- 
stances beyond our observation, — and even, perhaps, exercise some 
direction and control over its acts, or regulate our own actions in its 
light. Such a knowledge, perhaps, transcends our powers ; never- 
theless the parallel instance of astronomy indicates that a great ap- 
proach to it may be made. The perfection of this science comes 
from the discovery of the law of gravity, and from our, therefore, 
viewing the physical motions of nature from the source whence they 
are directed ; and when the laws of other forces are as well known, we 
may perhaps have all natural sciences, physical as well as physiolo- 
gical, approaching in exactness and perfection to astronomy. 

If these views be admitted, it would be a matter of some conse- 
quence to know the comparative energies of the different forces in 
different regions and localities of the earth. The force of gravity 
may be perfectly ascertained by the methods already in common use. 
But it is scarcely probable that the variations in this force which occur 
in the earth, are sufficient to produce much influence on actions, 
either physical or vital. The sensible effect which we see the change 
in gravity produce upon the movement of the pendulum, however, 
shews that it must not be overlooked in any inquiry into the compa- 
rative energy of the forces. The cohesive force in different places 
might possibly be accurately estimated by their temperatures; and 
an approximation to the vital forces, again, might perhaps be arrived 
at by ascertaining the intensity of solar light and heat. This, how- 
ever, it would require experiment to determine. For the measure- 
ment of the heat which accompanies light, does not give the measure- 
ment of light ; and it is, therefore, questionable whether the chemi- 
cal and other forces of sunlight bear any constant pi'oportion to its 
luminosity, and whether they could be estimated in the way we have 
mentioned. With regard to the variations of chemical force, if such 
occur, and without which our knowledge of all the others could lead to 
no result, they might possibly be determined by ascertaining the 
amount of chemical action which takes place between two or more 
agents in different places, under the same circumstances, and in a 
given time. It may perhaps be found, however, that chemical ac- 
tion and vital action generally jn-eserve the same proportion in their 
increase or decrease, and that the knowledge of the one will, in most 
cases, inform us as to the state of the other. 

Among the many bearings which a knowledge of these circumstances 
might be expected to have upon various departments of knowledge, 
I foresee none which promise more practical utility than those which 
it seems likely to have upon many of the diseases to which man is 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 307 

subject in different regions of the earth, and at different times and 
circumstances in the same region. It is scarcely the place, however, 
for entering into the discussion of this subject, and I shall only, 
therefore, refer to it very shortly. 

It has been seen that, in different regions of the globe, the vital, 
chemical, solar, and other forces exist or act in various proportions 
to each other. In different seasons of the year also, and in the same 
place, their I'elative activity varies, as we see from the diversities in 
the actions of vegetable life in the different seasons ; and it is more- 
over certain that, in the same plaCe, their relative activity varies 
from year to year, of which we have an illustration in the fact that 
the vegetation and the harvests of no two years are perfectly alike. 
The growth and the maintenance of the body, — all those motions, 
changes, and arrangements of the molecules of the matter of which 
it is made up, and in which life consists, — are the result of the action 
of these forces. Certain changes and arrangements among the mole- 
cules produce a condition of the body to which the term normal or 
healthy is applied ; and the various forces we have spoken of, exist- 
ing, and acting in a certain relative proportion to each other, cause 
the molecular motions and arrangements which give i-ise to this con- 
dition. Again, certain motions, changes, and arrangements of the 
molecules of the different matters of which the body consists, produce 
conditions of the body to which the term abnormal, or unhealthy, is 
applied. These, as before, must result from the action of the same 
force, in certain relative proportions, and the conditions may be in- 
finite in number. When the state of the body and all its actions, 
or, in other woi'ds, when the vital forces are adapted to and in con- 
cordance with the external forces, we have the condition of health ; 
when they are not so, we have disease. In different regions of the 
earth, therefore, the conditions of health will result from different 
proportions between the several forces. That proportion between the 
forces which in this country is productive of health, may in another, 
a tropical country for example, produce disease. A European going 
to a tropical country, carries with him in ordinary circumstances 
a European constitution of body, formed by, and dependent upon, 
the relative activity and proportion of the various forces which pre- 
vail in his native place. The same degree of activity, and the same 
proportion, does not hold in the warm climate ; his constitution is not 
in accoi'danco with it, and, we should therefore expect that disease 
will result. 

We accordingly find that inhabitants of a cold or a temperate cli- 
mate, on removing to a tropical country, are subject to many diseases 
in a degree to which the native inhabitants are not ; and that on 
their arrival they are liable to " seasoning fevers," as they are called, or 
to something approaching to them, in which it may be supposed 
that the opposing forces seek to equilibriate themselves, or that 

308 Dr Robert E. Brown on the 

their former constitutions are destroyed, in order to make way for 
a state of body more in accordance with the amount and the arrange- 
ment of the forces existing m. their new place of abode. In the same 
way natives of a tropical country, on passing into a cold one, are 
peculiarly subject to various disorders. In certain localities again, it 
may happen, that the different forces exist in such a state of ac- 
tivity, either absolute or relative, or that they are subject to such 
variation, that the organisation of living beings cannot arrive at per- 
fection, or that it has a tendency to degenerate into abnormal states. 
In accordance with this we find that there are some countries in which 
"human litis, at least, hardly arrives at perfection, and in wliich it 
has a tendency to assume certain actions incompatible with health. 
We see these circumstances as strongly instanced on portions of the 
west coast of Africa as anywhere else, in the miserable physical 
development of the natives, and in the tendency which the native, 
and still more, the European inhabitants have to become diseased, 
and to die. That this comes either from the absokite activity of 
the forces, or from their relative proportions in the place, seems to 
be indicated by the fact, that it is chiefly in one certain mode 
that the functions of human bodies are affected, and the endemic 
disease of the place can only be supposed to originate in an endemic 
activity or proportion of the forces of the place. In different sea- 
sons of the year, ao-ain, and in the same place, — and again at certain 
times, independent of the seasons and the locality, and apparently 
irregular and unfixed, tiie relative activity of the forces vary, and, 
therefore, we should expect that a tendency to a certain abnormal 
mode of action should be developed among the inhabitants. Ac- 
cordingly, we find that at certain times and seasons, great numbers 
of people have the functions of their bodies disordered in some de- 
finite manner, and, in almost all, the tendency toward that disor- 
dered mode of action may be more or less observed — in other words, 
we have an epidemic disease. Lastly, it is perhaps conceivable that 
at any time the vital forces of individuals may vary from causes 
affecting them alone, and the just proportion between these and the 
external forces may thus be lost, either throughout the whole sys- 
tem, or in particular parts of it, in which case diseases, differing in 
character according to the degree or the mode in which this takes 
place, will befall them. How far all these abnormal actions of life 
correspond to the changes which certainly do take place in the rela- 
tive proportions of the various forces, and which ought, on the views 
given above, to produce these or some other similar effects, experi- 
ment and observation must determine. 

We have already seen, that in different regions of the earth the 
condition of health results although different proportions between the 
several forces exist in them. This diversity, however, as we formerly 
indicated, can hardly extend to the proportion between the two classes 

Source of Motions upon the Earth. 309 

of force ; for when this is lost — when the physical forces exceed 
those of life, or contrariwise, — it is inconceivable that there can be 
health. The absolute energy of both the classes may be conceived, 
in different places, to be greater or less, without necessarily pro- 
ducing abnormal action, if in their increase or diminution they 
preserve the same proportion between themselves. The absolute 
energy, again, of the several forces belonging to each class, may in 
different places vary, and still health exist, if the whole combined 
power of both classes are duly proportioned to each other. But if the 
whole power of the vital and solar forces is greater or less than the 
whole amount of the physical forces, it may be expected that the 
actions of life will either be performed with an energy and vifdence 
tending to the destruction of the living beings, or else that they must 
directly come to a stop. In tropical countries, the vital and che- 
mical actions of the body take place with more energy than they do 
in temperate climates, as was formerly mentioned, and as we may 
infer from the greater rapidity of the growth of the body, and of its 
dissolution and decomposition after death. If, however, the two 
counterbalance each other, health may be preserved ; but in conse- 
quence of their straining against each other, or from the state of 
tension in which they are held, the equilibrium will be somewhat 
unstable, and if one of them gives way, even to a small degree, the 
other will be apt quickly to gain the mastery. Hence, perhaps, the 
violence and rapidity of many tropical diseases. It seems to me 
not improbable, that in those sorts of fever to which the terms of 
typhoid, malignant, or putrescent, are applied, we have examples of 
the forces of life being depressed, or acting with insufficient power 
against the chemical and the external forces, and of a consequent 
tendency to the subjugation of life, and to a direct descent to death. 
What diseases illustrate the opposite condition, — that in which the 
vital forces are augmented, or act in undue attivity to the physical 
and chemical forces, — whether some of those termed inflammatory 
are of this sort or not, — cannot with anything like certainty be 

If there be truth in this doctrine, we should expect that vegetable 
life, and the lives of the lower animals, will at times be affected in 
a manner analogous to that of man. Possibly we see somewhat of 
this in the fact, that many epidemic diseases affecting man, are ac- 
companied by derangement in vegetable life also, and that disease 
and mortality frequently prevail, at the same time, among the cattle, 
and the lower animals. Thus, scanty harvests, mildews — " causino- 
vegetables, corn, and fruit, to become black and corrupt," — cattle 
dying, "horses, oxen, and cows, with rotten tongues, sheep and hon^s 
with their hoofs dropping off, and calves with rotten ears," are not 
unfroquent concomitants of some epidemic diseases. We have other 
illustrations of the same thing in what Dr Mead states, of it 

310 On the Source of Motions upon the Earth. 

" having been observed in times of the plague, that the country has 
been forsaken by birds." In an epidemic fever which occurred at 
Cadiz, we are told that " canary birds died with blood issuing from 
their bills ; and that in all the neighbouring towns which were after- 
wards affected, no sparrow ever appeared." In like manner, ancient 
writers mention " the silence of the grasshopper, and the drooping in- 
activity of the bee and the silkworm, among the presages of impending 
pestilence."* These and similar circumstances are often ascribed 
to the intemperate seasons, and to a corrupt state of the air, " ma- 
nifest or occult," which attend or precede epidemics; and the 
diseases themselves are by some supposed to originate in this 
unusual weather, and in the deficiency and bad quality of food. It 
is very possible that these circumstances may have some re-acting 
and indirect influence ; but if it be considered that all physical states 
of the atmosphere, and of other inorganic matter — such as windy- 
ness or stagnancy of the air, moisture or drought, heat or cold — are 
directly dependent upon the solar, lunar, and perhaps stellar, in- 
fluences, as we have attempted to shew ; and, again, that all con- 
ditions of living beings, whether normal or abnormal, ai"e dependent 
upon the same forces, as well as upon those of life (which, again, 
are dependent themselves upon the others) — it will perhaps seem 
more likely that all of these derangements in the physical, vegetable, 
and animal worlds, are merely concomitant, and that their origin 
must be sought for, proximately, in the variations in power of the 
several natural forces, and, ultimately, in the changes of the aspects 
or influences of the sun, and the other heavenly bodies. 

Before concluding, and in connection with this subject, I had in- 
tended to advert to what is called the sol-lunar influence in fever, 
and some other diseases, which has been frequently noticed in India, 
and in other countries, by accurate and trustworthy observers, and 
about which much information is given in the writings of Dr Francis 
Balfour. I had also purposed to endeavour to point out some of the 
relations which the views we have exhibited have to some other 
branches of knowledge. This, however, is hardly a fitting place for 
pursuing the subject farther ; but if any one should deem it worthy 
of greater consideration, enough has been said to guide them in the 
first steps, at least, of what seem to me to be some not uninterest- 
ing inquiries. 

I have thus, in^ a meagre and imperfect outline, attempted to ex- 
hibit what seems to me to be the existing origin and the course of 
motions upon the earth. A full description of the subject would 
have comprehended a history and inquiry into the whole system of 
nature appertaining to our globe, a work which would have required 
the learning and the genius of the author of Kosnios. 

* Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine. Article Epidemics. 

( 311 ) 

Account of the Proceedings of the Geological Society of France 
and Ireland for 1847. 

{Continued froin page 163.) 

Besides these communications there have been others, also pre- 
senting much interest, such as the observations of M. Martins on 
the mass of the Jungfrau, which M. Studer refers to gneiss, masses 
of Umestone being included among it ; the note of M. Boue, referring 
to a memoir of M. de Hauer on the Cephalopods of the shelly lime- 
stone of Bleiberg, Carinthia, wherein three stages of cephalopods, 
each characterised by its fossils, is considered to be distinguishable 
in the Alps ; a notice by Desmoulin of fossils in flints, which he in- 
fers are the remains in the south-west of France of upper chalk, 
equivalent to that of Maestricht, the softer part of these beds having 
been removed by denudation ; a notice by M. Viquesnel on the chalk 
of Turkey; a note on the mode of occurrence of the sulphur in the 
Soufriere of Guadaloupe, by M. Ch. Deville. We have also a note 
by M. Boue on pseudomorphism arising from the disappearance of 
crystals of rock-salt in rocks ; a notice and analysis of a hydrosilicate 
of alumina, found at Montmorillon (Vienne), by MM. Damour and 
Salvetat ; a note on the pisolitic limestone (of the Paris district) by 
M. Hebert ; remarks by M. Paillette in illustration of notes on the 
mines in the south of Spain, by M. PernoUet; reflections in favour 
of the hypothesis of the central heat of the earth, by M. d'Omalius 
d'Halloy ; a note by M. von Buch on some points connected with 
the structure of Terebratulse, and on the range of nummulitic lime- 
stones ; a description of a gigantic Orthoceratite, six English feet 
long, from North America, by M. de Verneuil ; a notice of the occur- 
rence of a cretaceous Terebratula in some tertiary marls near Cor- 
bieres, these marls considei-ed equivalent with others full of creta- 
ceous fossils in the Haute Garonne and Haute Pyrenees, by M. Ley- 
merie. There are other notices and papers, by M. de Collegno, on 
the classification of certain rocks in Italy ; on some peculiarities in 
the exterior form of the ancient moraines of the Vosges, by M. Col- 
lomb ; on the genus Palseotherium, by M. Pomel; a notice of the 
rocks in the basin of the Adour, by M. Delbos ; a notice respecting 
a geological map of the Subhercynian Hills, and an essay on the 
geological topography of that country, by FrapoUi ; a note on the 
mode of occurrence of the Iceland spar in Iceland, by M. Descloi- 
zeaux ; and a note by M. Neree Boubee on the relation between the 
nature of soils and the diff'erent antiquity of the alluvions in valleys 
marked by diiferent stages or levels. 

It^hould be observed that the Bulletin of the Geological Society 

312 Account of the Proceedings of the 

of France contains the observations of those present at the different 
meetings upon the papers read before them, and that among them 
there are remarks of great value, both as respects the memoirs be- 
fore the Society, and points of geological interest and importance 
connected with them. Indeed many a i-emark, as in the discussions 
upon papers read before us, may be considered as the foundation for 
subsequent researches and discoveries. This year the members of 
the Geological Society of Fi-ance have had presented to them the 
first part of a History of the Progress of Geology, from 1834 to 
1845, by the Vicomte d'Archiac, a closely-printed octavo volume of 
679 pages, published under the auspices of the French Minister of 
Public Instruction, M. de Salvandy. This part contains Cosmogonie 
and Geogenie, the Physique du Globe, Geographie physique and 
Terrain moderne. 

Geological Society of Ireland. — Our sister society in Dublin 
has, as heretofore, been active in promoting the advance of our 
science in Ii-eland. The earliest communication made to it during 
the year was by Sir Robert Kane, on the occurrence, in the county 
Clare, of carbonate of manganese as a thin earthy bed, interposed 
between a decomposed surface of old red sandstone and a bog, two 
feet deep. To all appearance this carbonate of manganese is of com- 
paratively recent origin. Respecting mineral substances a valuable 
paper was read by Dr Apjohn upon an undescribed variety of hyalite 
from Mexico, where it is found in large, glossy, transparent, globu- 
lar concretions. It is considered a hydrate of silica, containing 
about 2-5 of water, and was found by the optical researches of Dr 
Apjohn to be formed of a confused aggregation of microscopically- 
miimte rock-crystals. This result will be appreciated by those ac- 
quainted with hyalite, a mineral exhibiting, at first sight, few traces 
of crystalline ai-rangomcnt ; and it at the same time proves the value 
of optical methods of research in the examination of minerals. 

Another communication of interest respecting mineral substances 
was made by Professor Oldham. Among the many alterations in 
the structure of the various beds of the older fossiliferous rocks of 
the counties Wicklow and Wexford, caused by the protrusion through 
them of the granites, is one wherein the component parts of the beds 
have been so acted upon, that crystals of andalusite are abundantly 
formed amid micaceous slates, themselves altered argillaceous slates. 
The crystals of this mineral, sometimes of large size, occur in mul- 
titudes, crossing each other in all directions. Among these, Profes- 
sor Oldham discovered some which had themselves been again re- 
placed by mica, the latter occupying the space once filled by the 
matter of the andalusite, and its cleavage planes usually running 
across the principal axis of the original crystal, though sometimes 
occurring' in planes perpendicular to every surface of it. This Aove- 

Geological Societi/ of Ireland for 1847. 313 

ment of the particles of matter, taking place at different times, with- 
out the bedded or laminated structure of the original rock being lost, 
in consequence of actual fusion by contact with the adjacent molten 
mass of granite, is one of no small geological importance when the 
laminated crystalline rocks, forming whole regions in some parts 
of the world, are under consideration. Prof. Oldham points out 
that Mr Weaver had, many years since, remarked, respecting the 
rocks of this part of Ireland, that "the character of this andalusite 
is altered by a more or less intimate mixture of mica." 

Prof. Allman read a paper on erratic blocks of greenstone, found 
scattered over carboniferous slate, in the vicinity of Bandon, county 
Cork. As is well known, Ireland is, in many districts, covered by 
gravels and sands, occasionally mingled with blocks of large rocks, all 
of a comparatively recent geological date. If these be sea-borne, we 
should require the submergence of the land, and generally with its 
present physical features, to a depth of more than 1000 feet beneath 
the present level of its shores. The mode in which thousands of large 
blocks of gi'anite are scattered over the flanks of mountains and over 
districts, facing great valleys, in the counties of Wicklow and Wex- 
ford, are often highly instructive. This " drift," as it is frequently 
termed, most materially influences the agricultural character of large 
districts in Ireland. 

The communication of Prof. Allman was followed by another from 
Mr Mallet, in which the latter endeavours to shew that the trans- 
port of boulders or erratic blocks may be accounted for by the slow, 
or occasionally rapid movement of semi-fluid masses of mud, sand, 
gravel and blocks, forming the bed of the sea (and either of sufficient 
depth and mass alone, or resting upon a base of rock or other mate- 
rials of very moderate slope), combined with the sorting and trans- 
porting power of the tidal streams upon the finer materials of the 
whole mass. Mr Mallet considers that the mass of a loose sea-bot- 
tom may be constantly sliding outwards, forming a kind of mud- 
glacier, as he terms it, the whole reduced to nearly one-third of its 
weight in air by immersion in water, and moving gradually over 
slopes of three or four degrees, and even less. In this manner, he 
observes, we may account for the grooving, furrowing, and scratch- 
ing, so commonly remarked among these accumulations of gravels 
and blocks, pebbles and great fragments of rock being held firmly 
in tlie under part of the moving mass, and grating against the bot- 
tom. These scratches, now so commonly found on the surface of 
rocks in the northern parts of the earth, and which may be equally 
so in the southern, allowing for the difference of area there occu- 
pied by land, have been long pointed out by Dr Buckland and 
others in the British islands, and have of late been frequently, as 
is well known, adduced as evidences of the former existence of gla- 
ciers upon the districts where such scratches are found. Mr Mallet 

314 Account of the Proceedings of the 

points to this view, and observes that the explanation he proposes 
will apply equally to the facts seen. Whatever hypothesis we may 
adopt, in order to approach the truth in this matter, we must 
certainly bear in mind the scratches often so common among the 
pebbles themselves, as well as those upon the rocks beneath the 
gravel and blocks, as if there had sometimes been a grating of 
the harder parts of the mass upon each other, after its general de- 
posit. This accumulation is often in distinct layers, its parts some- 
times arranged in the manner observable upon beaches, while at the 
same time it is obvious that any rolling about of the pebbles, by 
breaker action, would speedily obhterate the scratches both on the 
pebbles and the rocks beneath. While this is true in some districts, 
and is more particularly worthy of attention over great flats, or floors 
of subjacent rock, sloping in various directions at exceedingly small 
ano-les, as is to be seen over the great central plain of Ireland, at 
other times we find huge blocks of rock perched about upon mountain- 
summits, with scratches beneath and adjacent to them, as if we saw 
the very instruments which made them. These blocks, however, 
occur in situations which appear to shew that they have been brought 
across deep valleys, as if ice-borne, and when the relative level of sea 
and land was very different from that which it now is, though we 
have only to look to comparatively recent geological times for their 

A memoir was communicated by Professor Oldham, bearing upon 
the later geological changes which have been effected upon the area 
occupied by the British islands, as also upon the climate of the time. 
He announced the discovery of the undoubted remains of the reindeer 
(Cervus tarandus), in peat, marl, and clay, near Kiltiernan, in the 
county of Dublin, in company with numerous antlers of the Irish elk 
(Mcgaceros). The evidence on this head is valuable, more particu- 
larly when added to the inference of Professor Owen, in his Report 
on British Fossil Mammalia, that these animals once existed in our 
islands, and to the statement of Dr Mantell respecting the remains 
of reindeer found in the Isle of Wight. Two other Irish specimens, 
in bad preservation, had previously been under the notice of Mr Ball 
of Dublin. The value of this undoubted occurrence of the reindeer 
in Ireland will be at once apparent to those who remember the views 
taken by Professor Edward Forbes, and published in the Memoirs of 
the Geological Survey, respecting the comparatively recent separation 
of the British islands, by elevation of the mass and subsequent sea 
action, from the main continent, thus cutting off the animals and 
plants which emanated thence from the remains of the parent stock. 
And this disco verv is of the more value, when we connect it with the 
inferences to be drawn from the mixture of the reindeer-bones with 
those of the Megaceros. 

Mr Mallet stated, in another memoir, that, having been struck with 

Geological Society of Ireland for 1847. 315 

the unusual appearance of stalagtites and stalagmites discovered in the 
Cave of Dunniore, county Kilkenny, he found, upon examination, that 
they contained phosphoric acid, probably in combination with lime. 
He referi'ed to the researches of M. Dumas respecting the extreme 
solubility of phosphate of lime in water charged with carbonic acid, 
so that bones or ivory-shavings immersed for a few hours in Seltzer 
water are softened, and have many of their phosphates removed, 
pointing out that the phosphates in this case must have been derived 
from the dolomitic and limestone beds surmounting and including 
the Cave of Dunmore. The late labours of chemists have shewn us 
that the phosphates, so important for the growth of cereals, are far 
more diffused through rocks than was at one time supposed, and this 
discovery of phosphoric acid, even in the stalagtites and stalagmites 
of a limestone cave, is another proof of this diffusion. 

In another communication to the Geological Society of Ii-eland, 
Mr Mallet brought under its notice some views as to the circum- 
stances under which the quartz rocks and slates of Wicklow have 
been arranged, with some remarks upon a peculiarity of lamination 
in the finer-grained and micaceous slates. His object was to shew 
that the component deposits were all due to the sorting and trans- 
porting power of water in motion, the cleaner-washed sand and pebbles 
having formed the base of the present quartz rocks. He referred to 
the different conditions under which deposits were now being effected 
in the upper lake of Glendalough, in the county of Wicklow, as a good 
illustration of the sorting and arrangement of deposits at different 
depths. Regarding the ridges and furrows resulting from the fric- 
tion of water upon loose sands, Mr Mallet points to their occurrence 
in the lake beneath shallow waters, and while remarking upon the 
supposed accumulation of certain Silurian deposits in deep water, 
directs attention to the ripple-marks found so frequently among them, 
observing that these must either be confined to shallow waters, or to 
situations where streams of water moving with sufficient rapidity can 
produce them. 

That the quartz rocks of the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, and 
Wexford, are but clean sands or quartz pebbles, agglutinated by silica, 
which, while in solution, probably often by the aid of an alkali, not 
unfrequently dissolved the outer edges of the siliceous sands and 
pebbles, appears very probable, indeed is now well understood, and 
the quartz rocks in the districts above mentioned afford good illustra- 
tions of this view. Eespecting the " ripple-marks," as they have been 
commonly termed, — a bad name, inasmuch as they may readily be 
produced at any depths where a current of water can move with suf- 
ficient velocity, — we would direct the attention of observers to a 
study of those really made by the to-and-fro motion of waves in shal- 
low water, or where tides drain off extensive flats, and to those really 
due to a constant friction of water in a given direction, in order duly 

316 Geological Society of Ireland. 

to appreciate their differences in form. Such a study readily leads 
to a knowledge of the different arrangements of the grains of sand or 
silt, according to the forces acting upon them ; a knowledge very 
material when the i-idged and furrowed surfaces of various beds (and 
we find them amongst our oldest accumulations) are brought under 
our notice. 

Considering it a duty on the part of the Geological Survey to aid 
the protrress of the Geological Society of Ireland, Mr Du Noyer read 
papers on the sections observed on the Dublin and Drogheda Rail- 
way, and Pi'ofessor Edward Forbes made a communication respecting 
the probable geological age and British equivalents of the Silurian 
rocks of the hills commonly known from one in particular, — the Chair 
of Kildare. Having, with Professor Oldham, examined, during the 
last autumn, the succession of rocks there seen, and ascertained that 
they constituted a thick series of older accumulations, in which vol- 
canic ashes or detrital matter derived from igneous rocks, as well as 
molten masses of the latter, were mingled with common sands and 
mud, forming its lower part, I have little doubt of the true relative 
position of the limestone, in which the organic remains are chiefly 
found. Indeed, the whole group of these hills seems little else than 
an old island of pala30zoic rocks of the date to which allusion has 
been previously made, on the shores of which conglomerates and other 
rocks of the old red sandstone were accumulated. These, again, were 
covered up by the beds of the great carboniferous limestone, one of 
the most marked accumulations of the British series, especially for 
the evidence it affords of general similar conditions having existed 
over a large area at the same period, the modifications of these con- 
ditions being very gradual, though at the same time very marked, in 
different parts of that area. 

It is probable that, like the Mendip Hills at a subsequent geolo- 
gical period, this island-land became covered up, as it was depressed 
beneath the sea, by the accumulations of the old i-ed sandstone and 
the carboniferous limestone ; — these accumulations again to be in a 
great measure removed by those extensive denudations which we 
have abundant evidence to shew took place over this region. 

Reposing on the part of the series in which the igneous rocks oc- 
cur, and beneath a thick accumulation, chiefly arenaceous, the beds 
of limestone are found in which the fossils noticed by Professor E. 
Forbes were discovered. Many of the fossils from the Chair of Kil- 
dare had previously been obtained by members of the Geological So- 
ciety of Ireland, and are to be found in the collections of Mr Griffith, 
where they have been described by Mr M'Coy. Availing himself 
of all the sources of information presented. Professor E. Forbes, 
takincr zoological evidence for his guide, considers that these lime- 
stones of the Chair of Kildare are not only referable to the Lower 
Silurian series, but members of the lowest part of it, and equivalent 
to the Bala limestones and their associated beds in North Wales. A 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 317 

comparison of the fossils from the Chair of Kildare with those ob- 
tained from the limestone of Courtown, county Wexford, leads Pro- 
fessor E. Forbes to regard it as highly probable that the limestones 
are equivalents, and that both are representatives in Ireland of the 
Bala limestones, a point of much importance as regards the accumu- 
lations during the same time in the British area. 

Contributions to Geology, by the late Voyages of Discovery 
and Survey. — The publication during the past year of three voyages 
of our countrymen has added to our knowledge of the geological 
structure of the earth's surface in distant places. The voyage of 
Sir James Boss to the Antarctic regions has proved, not only the 
great extent of a mass of land in the South Polar regions, but also 
that volcanic forces are still in full activity there. A mountain esti- 
mated to rise 12,000 feet above the sea, and named Mount Erebus, is 
described as throwing out jets of dense smoke to the height of 1500 
and 2000 feet, the diameter of the jets being estimated at 200 to 
300 feet. Even streams of lava were thought by some persons to be 
ejected. Not far from Mount Erebus another mountain, named Mount 
Terror, exhibited a form leading to the inference that it was an ex- 
tinct volcano, and crater-like hillocks were observable on its sides. 

An icy barrier for the most part prevented access to the land, but 
wherever a landing was effected igneous rocks alone were found, and 
all the fragments or pebbles obtained from icebergs, and by sound- 
ings, were of the same character, granitic rocks being discovered 
among them. 

It is not a little interesting to consider the different conditions 
under which rocks would be placed in a region like that of Victoria 
Land, and in those parts of the world where snow never falls and 
frost is not felt, as also in those exposed alternately to the cold of 
winter and the heats of summer. On the Antarctic land no great 
river appears to bear detritus into the sea, and decomposition from 
the action of many atmospheric influences, such as aid the disinte- 
gration of rocks in temperate and tropical regions, can be little felt. 
As far as was seen by our navigators a great mantle of snow covers 
all, with the exception of some bare spots, probably either too pre- 
cipitous to be thus enveloped, except by sufficient accumulation 
around them, or still too warm, after flowing as lava currents, to 
permit a covering of snow. 

Though wo can look to little else, for the wearing away of the 
land, than the action of the breakers upon the portions of the coast, 
which may for a time be free from ice, with such aid as any marked 
difference of temperature, during a very short period in the summer 
of these re^ons can give, by detaching pieces of rock from the cliffs, 
yet the volcanoes may throw mineral matter into the sea, to be dis- 
tributed by tidal streams or oceanic currents. There is no reason 
to suppose that lofty volcanoes, like Mount Erebus, do not occa- 

VOIi. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTORKK 1848. Y 

318 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

sionally eject ashes and cinders in the manner of numerous other 
great volcanic vents, scattering the finer ash around, much of it borne 
by the winds to great distances. The form itself of the mountain 
points to the ejection of such substances, its conical shape being the 
result of their accumulation immediately around the chief vent. 

By consulting the notices of soundings obtained by Sir James Ross 
off this land, we find a green mud frequently mentioned. For about 
450 miles this green, muddy bottom seems common from Victoria 
Land along the great icy bariier. The same kind of bottom extends 
beyond it, and some detached portions of the icy barrier are men- 
tioned as aground upon it in 1560 feet of water, 60 miles from the 
edge of the barrier, and 200 miles from the land. When we consider 
that the fine detritus so commonly borne down by great rivers in the 
temperate and tropical regions cannot be so transported here, the 
presence of this green mud over so considerable a submarine area 
may possibly be in some measure due to the ejection of fine volcanic 
ashes during a long period of time, these ashes mingling with such 
fine detritus as can be ground off the coast by the breakers, or carried 
outwards by icebergs. 

Glaciers are mentioned as descending from a range of mountains 
(the Admiralty Range) varying from 7000 to 10,000 feet in height, 
and projecting in many places several miles into the sea. As bare 
rocks were seen in a few localities, such glaciers may be the means of 
transporting masses of rock to the sea, a portion of them to be after- 
wards borne by ice into more temperate climates, supposing the 
glaciers to have a movement outwards, however modified this move- 
ment may be by the climate of Victoria Land. 

Although the great icy barrier of these desolate regions extends 
far out beyond the land, and beyond where it can be aground, some 
portions rest on the bottom. Icobei'gs which have so rested upon 
the ground seem often to be turned bottom upwards, the previously 
lower portions bearing to the surface mud, sand, and stones, some of 
which may thus become transported considerable distances ; more 
particularly should the icebergs not again capsize, since the mud, 
sand and stones, would be borne on the higher parts of the icebergs. 
Sir James Ross mentions one remarkable instance of the appearance 
of the mud-and-stone-covered bottom of an iceberg, which capsized 
off Victoria Land so suddenly, that it was for the moment supposed 
to be an island not before observed. 

The amount of mineral matter borne away from this region by ice 
during the lapse of centuries, must tend to cover the bottom of the 
southern ocean not only with fragments of large size, but also with 
the finest mud, and this over extensive areas where no other means 
are apparent, under existing conditions, for the distribution and ac- 
cunmlation of such detritus. An iceberg was noticed in latitude 
66° S., nearly covered by mud and stones. One large block of vol- 
canic rock was estimated to weigh many tons. We may expect 
that not only angular but rounded blocks would sometimes be thus 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 319 

transported ; for the beaches upon which the surf breaks in summer 
would be frozen in winter, and worn masses might occasionally be 
caught up in the ice, removing away from the shore, and be car- 
ried within the power of some iceberg to pick them up, and, by cap- 
sizino-, bring them to the surface and transport them. Occasionally 
also we may anticipate that a part of the barrier itself, previously 
attached to, and partly covering a beach, formed before the ice ad- 
hered to that part of the land, may from local causes break away 
and be carried northwards. In all cases the mineral matter borne 
away by the icebergs would cover all inequalities in the bottom of 
the ocean which it may fall upon, and thus the resulting accumula- 
tion may be a mixture of large and small fragments, angular and 
rounded (some perhaps scratched), mingled with mud and sand, the 
whole arrano-ed in the most irregular manner, large masses of rock 
strewed over and scattered througli clay. 

With respect to the turning-up of blocks of large size by the cap- 
sizing of the icebero-s off these southei-n lands. Captain Wilkes, of the 
United States Exploring Expedition, which descended into the Ant- 
arctic regions in 1840, considers that he landed upon an upturned 
icebercr, part of the icy barrier weathered by storms, about eight 
miles distant from the main land, in latitude 65" 59' 40" S. On 
this he found boulders, gravel, sand, and mud or clay, the larger spe- 
cimens beinor described as of red sandstone and basalt. There was 
also a kind of icy conglomerate, the matter cementing the stones 
being formed of hard compact ice. One piece of rock imbedded in 
it was estimated at about five or six feet in diameter. The same 
navigator also mentions many icebergs discoloured by earth. Indeed 
the evidence of the frequent overturn in these regions of icebergs 
which had been aground, bearing the mud, gravel, and fragments of 
rock on the bottom upwai*ds, appears complete, and is very important 
as regards the distribution of detritus by means of icebergs. 

As not without its geological bearing, we may here glance at the 
formation of the barrier itself. All the drawings made and informa- 
tion received point to its accumulation in layers, in at least that part 
of it projecting beyond the land into the ocean. The portion above 
water is generally described as from 150 or 180, to 200 or 210 feet. 
Captain Wilkes refers the formation of the ice in the first place to 
ordinary field ice, upon which layers accumulate, varying from 6 inches 
to 4 feet in thickness, from rain, snow, and even fog, so that the 
mass descending by the increasing weight, part takes the ground, and 
the other portions run out to sea over deeper water. 

The layers are proofs of successive accumulations, and as they vary 
in their texture, they would point to modifications in the conditions 
of the deposit at different times. We may assume that similar ac- 
cumulations are effected on the land, disturbed only by volcanic out- 
bursts and the showering of ashes and lapilli from volcanic vents for 
the time in a sufficient state of activity, such showers extending as 

320 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

well over any portions of the icy barrier within rench, as over the 
snows of the land. The uniform, or nearly uniform height of the 
barrier, when covering various depths of water, and not aground, 
would apparently indicate some countei'acting cause, preventing such 
an accumulation of laysrs of ice, as by giving a total increased thick- 
ness should enable a greater height to rise above M'ator in the deeper 
situations. It is here assumed, that the thickness of the barrier is 
not increasing, and remains generally the same, a fact which may per- 
haps be thought not as yet sufficiently proved. Nevertheless, when 
we consider that the sea-water beneath the icy barrier is not exposed 
to that great depression of temperature, to which, when directly in 
contact with the atmosphere, it is subject, and that beneath the lower 
part of the barrier, deep as that lower part is, it would be only water 
of greater specific gravity than that above, which could there find 
its way, the experiments of Sir James Ross lead us to suppose that 
after a certain depth the ice would cease, the temperature being too 
high for its continuance. Upon this hypothesis, the general thick- 
ness of the barrier would be the same as long as there was a suffi- 
cient depth of water to secure the needful temperature, the accu- 
mulation of snow and ice above being met by the melting of the ice 

We should expect the rise and fall of the tide to act upon the bar- 
rier, tending to break off portions at its outer edge, where, if the 
lower part plunge into water of sufficiently high temperature, a melt- 
ing beneath would assist in detaching fragments. The needful sup- 
port, by the proper amount of submersion, being thus to a certain 
extent withdrawn, tlie masses would strive to rend themselves off and 
adjust themselves in the water, relatively to the floatation-line now 
become proper to them. It is evident, by the upsetting of the ice- 
bergs, so often observed, that their centres of gravity become changed, 
so that the masses take a new floating position relatively to them. 
In regions where the cold of the atmosphere is so great that little 
general change is produced upon the upper part of the icebergs com- 
pared with that which is experienced beneath by plunging into water 
above the ireezing point, we should expect such changes in position 
frequently to happen, any load of mud or stones of the remaining 
portion beneath being comparatively of little importance. 

Great tabular masses, varying in size, some even several cubic miles 
in volume, float away from the parent barrier, the tidal streams and 
ocean currents sweeping them onwards. And it should be borne in 
mind, that the solid barrier presents a submarine cliiF of ice, by the 
side of which a large volume of water would readily pass without the 
interruptions usually produced by land. According to the seasons 
so must the icebergs float, little altered in general form, to different 
distances from the barriei's, many of them capsized, with their load 
of mud, sand, gravel, and blocks uppermost. A lai-ge tabular mass 
of ice, about three-quarters of a mile in circumference, was seen float- 

Voijages of Discovery and Survey. 321 

ing, 130 feet above the water, in about latitude 58° 36' S. As the 
icebergs passed into regions where the decay, in the atmosphere, of 
the higher portions of them became more considerable than of those 
beneath, they would cease to upset, and would carry their loads of mud 
and stones uppermost or below, according as they may have been 
upset more than once by remaining a sufficient time within the need- 
ful conditions. 

Whenever opportunities occurred. Sir James Ross was indefati- 
gable in trying for soundings and the temperature of the sea at dif- 
ferent depths. The results are highly valuable. He was enabled 
to ascertain that a belt of sea of uniform temperature, from its sur- 
face to the greatest depths, extends round the southern regions in a 
mean latitude of about 56° 26'. Though this may be the mean, it 
was found to vary in position from 58° 36' in longitude 101° 40' W. 
to 54° 41' in longitude 55° 12' W., being a difference of 3° 55' of 
latitude. Such variations are to be expected from local causes, and 
even in the same locality from modifications due to great changes of 
seasons. Sir James Ross points out that this belt forms a barrier 
between two great thermic basins, the temperature of 39°'5 (that of 
the most dense sea-water, according to the observations made durino- 
this voyage), descending on the north of it to the depth of 3600 feet 
in latitude 45° S., and in the tropical and equatorial regions to that 
of 7200 feet, the surface temperature being 78°, while in latitude 
70° S. the line of uniform temperature descends to 4500 feet, the 
surface temperature being 30°. 

When we compare the distances with the depth of uniform tem- 
perature here noticed, and assume, for the sake of easy illustration, 
a level plain from the equator to latitude 70° S., we find that from 
the surface belt of 39"' 5, the inclination of this line of temperature 
would be to the equator on the one side about 1 in 1723, and to 
latitude 70° about 1 in 1136 on the other. Thus the slopes would 
be most gradual, and the depressions on the north and south so slight, 
compared with the distances, that a tulerably long section would shew 
these two thermic basins as slight depressions, and in a section less 
long, as scarcely distinguishable from a thick line. 

With such a section before us, we experience little surprise that 
the tendency to occupy the same relative level, from the greatest 
density, should be greatly modified by the atmospheric influences on 
the surface of the ocean. 

These observations respecting a belt of uniform temperature in the 
ocean in the southern heiuisphere, would lead us to anticipate that, 
similar causes l>eing in action in the northern hemisphere, similar 
results would be found there, though no doubt modified by the pre- 
valence of land in the north as compared with the south. The tem- 
perature of 39°"5, obtained by Sir James Ross for the apparent 
greatest density of water in the ocean, is not that which experiments 
ill the cabinet would have led us to expect. Dr Marcet found that 

322 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

sea-water decreased in volume until it reached 22°, when it expanded 
a little, and continued to do so down to a temperature of between 
19° and 18°, when it expanded suddenly, and became ice with a 
temperature of 28°. According to M. Erman, salt-water of the 
specific gravity of 1'027 diminishes in volume down to 25° Fahr., 
not reaching its maximum density until congelation. The tempera- 
ture of the most dense sea-water observed so constantly by Sir James 
Ross, is about that which numerous experiments shew as that of the 
greatest density of fresh water. Dr Hope and Pi'ofessor Moll found 
the latter to be between 39°'5 and 40° Fahr., and Professor Hall- 
strom states it to be 39°"394 Fahr. The observations of Sir James 
Ross would shew that the temperature of the ocean-waters, which 
may be considered to vary in specific gravity from about 1'027 to 
1-028, is the same with fresh water, and the mass of evidence he 
adduces, supposing no instrumental errors, would prove that the 
temperature of 39°'5 is that of the most dense water of the sea, and 
if not corresponding with experiments in the cabinet, shews either 
that there is some modifying cause beneath the waters of the ocean, 
producing a higher temperature than should otherwise be, or that 
there were sources of error in the cabinet experiments not observed. 

It did not escape the Commander of this voyage, that the uniform 
temperature of so much of the ocean might be favourable for the 
passage of marine animals from northern to southern regions, if the 
animals were such as to disregard the pressure of water under the 
equator and in the tropics. He observes that arctic marine creatures 
might pass to antarctic regions with only a difference in temperature 
of 5°, and a pressure of 2000 feet of water in the tropics. 

In the region of Victoria Land we see a striking example of the 
extension of marine life, and of aquatic mammalia and birds dependent 
upon it, beyond terrestrial vegeiable life and the animals consuming 
it. To this, no doubt, the equal temperature of the mass of waters 
beneath certain depths gives great aid ; and, as a whole, these tempe- 
ratures]! are less variable in the sea, and fall less low than in the 
atmosphere, the covering of ice protecting the waters from the in- 
tensity of cold to which they would be otherwise subject. 

Live Corals were taken up from the depth of 1620 and 1800 feet, 
off Victoria Land, and from the same situations Chitons and other 
molluscs, with >SVrj3MZ« adhering to stones and shells, were obtained.* 
Looking at the temperature of the sea obtained off Victoria Land by 
Sir James Ross, and the probable changes efl'ected during the winter 

* These corals were examined by ilr Charles Stokes, who found them to con- 
sist of three species of Lepralia, lietepora cellulosa, Hornera frondiculata (Lamou- 
rouxj, Primnoa liossii, Melitoca Australis, and Madrepora fissurata. He remarks 
that Primnoa lepadifera is found in from 150 to 300 fathoms, off the coast of 
Norway, and Professor Forbes is given as authority for a species of Primnoa in 
278 fathoms olT Stateu Land. 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 323 

months, due allowance being made for an ice-covering, these animals 
would appear exposed to very moderate changes of temperature. 
The marine creatures mentioned as obtained from the depth of 6000 
feet wei-e within the range of uniform temperature (39 ■ 5), and 
therefore would not be exposed to any change in that respect. 

The existence of live corals and molluscs at these depths in the 
cold reoions of the (jlobe, beyond the range where life, based on the 

O O ' ./ O •II" 

consumption of terrestrial plants, is found, has a geological bearing 
of much value, since we might infer that no part of the sea-bottom, 
viewing the subject as a whole, is deprived of animal life. It might 
as well extend to the south pole as to the latitude of the seas visited 
off Victoria Land, if the depths be not so considerable as to inter- 
fere with its existence by a pressure too great, or by an absence of 
vegetable food upon which the marine life is based. 

While corals abstract carbonate of lime from the sources around, 
and add, after death, to the sea-bottom by the accumulation of their 
harder and calcareous parts, a multitude of infusoria obtain and 
accumulate silica in the same manner. They not only appear to 
swarm in the muddy bottoms off Victoria Land, but were also seen 
in such numbers on the pack ice itself as to stain it of a yellowish 
tint. Thus in these remote and desolate regions, as regards terres- 
trial vegetation and the animal life feeding upon it, where the ordi- 
nary decomposing and degrading effects of atmospheric influences are 
checked, and to a certain extent unfelt, no running waters conveying 
detritus or saline solutions to the sea, we find marine animal life busy 
in obtaining and leaving solid carbonate of lime and silica. So that 
the forms given to these substances mingling with the inorganic 
matter otherwise accumulating, here, as elsewhere, in the temperate 
and tropical regions, records are preserved of the life now existing 
on the face of the globe. 

Among the islands visited during this voyage, v stay was made 
at Kergulen's Land, sufficiently long to permit a slight insight 
into its geological structure. Though, like so many of the ocean 
islands, it presents us with igneous products, we here find detrital 
matter mingled with them, with coal also and fossil wood. Mr 
M'Cormick describes basalt, columnar and horizontal, amygda- 
loidal rocks, greenstones and porphyries, as also slates termed 
arenaceous, with veins of basalt and hornstone traversing the igne- 
ous rocks. We seem to have the latter so mingled with detrital 
matter as to shew that the mass of the island may have been ele- 
vated since the accumulations were effected, volcanic ashes having 
assisted in forming with the ordinary detritus from greenstones, 
porphyries, or other igneous rocks, the sedimentary deposits pointed 
out. However this may be, we have coal and fossil wood in a loca- 
lity where now the most scanty vegetation is alone found, leading Dr 
Hooker, who accompanied the expedition, to remark, that the con- 
ditions for the growth of plants must have been far more favourable 

32-4 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

than at present prior to the entombment of the vegetation forming 
the coal and the fossil trees (one of which, dug out at Christmas 
Harbour, was seven feet in circumference). The coal of the same 
harbour was in a horizontal bed, four feet thick, requiring no small 
amount of vegetable matter to form it, and another coal-bed was 
found in Cumberland Bay. Fossil wood is also noticed as scattered 
through the igneous rocks. How far some of these rocks may be 
consolidated ashes does not appear, but it might well happen, that 
not only lava-currents may have flowed over a mass of vegetation, 
perhaps sometimes a thick peat-bog, but also that a body of ashes 
may have been vomited over them from a neighbouring crater. 
Whether enveloped by ashes, subsequently consolidated, or by mol- 
ten rock, the conditions for silicification of some of the wood remind 
us of those in Tasmania. The prevalence of the remains of a vege- 
tion now no longer found, is a fact of much geological interest ; for we 
can scarcely doubt, from their mode of occurrence, that the plants 
entombed grew on the spot. Here, therefoi'e, upon a small point of 
land, projecting through the waters of the southern ocean, far remote 
from continents (that of Victoria Land being probably the nearest), 
we have evidence of changed conditions I'Cgarding the growth of 
plants. The mere chance of such an investigation as could be given 
affords the remains of a tree seven feet in circumferences, in a region 
where small plants only can at present grow ; and we are left to infer 
that when such trees flourished a milder climate reigned over this 
land, now so desolate. 

Mr Beete Jukes has, in his Account of the Voyage of the " Fly" to 
Torres' Straits and Australia, furnished us with much valuable in- 
formation respecting that coral accumulation known as the Great 
Barrier Reef, which extends for about 1000 miles in length, with 
about 30 in mean breadth, from Breaksea Spit, off the eastern coast 
of Australia, in lat. 24° 30' S., to Bristow Island, oft" the coast of 
New Guinea, in lat. 9° 15' S. During the needful examinations by 
Captain Blackwood, in command of the surveying expedition, Mr 
Beete Jukes lost no apportunity of studying this interesting mass of 
matter, due to the power of myriads of polyps to obtain from the sea 
and secrete carbonate of lime. He divides the accumulation into, 
\st, linear reefs, forming the outer edge or actual barrier ; 2d, de- 
tached I'eefs, outside the main barrier ; and 3d!, inner reefs between 
the shore and the barrier. The linear reefs vary from half a mile 
to 15 miles in length ; the detached reefs take more or less the cir- 
cular or oval form, with lagoons inside, to which Mr Darwin has as- 
signed the name of atolls, and the outlines of the inner reefs are no- 
ticed as of diftcrent shapes. On the outer side of this great mass of 
coral accumulations, or of matter derived from them, the sea sud- 
denly becomes deep, while on tlie inside it is comparatively shallow. 
The edges gradually slope, or are rounded to the depth of 12 or 2-4 
feet, after which tliey plunge with equal slopes suddenly into 120 to 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 325 

1200 feet, as the case may be. On the weather or more exposed 
side of the reef, great blocks of coral, six to nine feet across, are de- 
tached by the force of the breakers from the main mass, and the sur- 
face of the reef is described as having the appearance of a great flat 
of sandstone. Loose slabs lie about, with here and there an accumu- 
lation of dead coral branches, or banks of white sand, and the whole 
is checkered with holes and hollows, in which living corals are grow- 
ing. Coarse sand occurs inside the barrier, and near the reefs, while 
finer matter is found more towards the mainland. 

We have here, upon a great scale, occupying an area which may 
be roughly estimated at 30,000 square miles, that variable mixture 
of organic, mechanical, and chemical accumulations which has been 
so oi'ten remarked among coral reefs and islands, and of which Mr 
Darwin has given so valuable a summary, illustrated with such im- 
portant original reasoning, in his work on Coral Islands. Although 
it would be out of place here to enter into the interesting details 
afforded by Mr Beete Jukes, it is important to notice that he found 
corals able to sustain life when left by the tide several inches out of 
the sea. He observed living Astrsese, the tops of which were 18 
inches above water, and he believes that an exposure to the sun and 
air for two or three hours will not kill many coral polyps, the cells 
retaining moisture so long as they are in a position of growth. 

When we consider the accunmlations of the great barrier reef as a 
mass of matter obtained by animal life for its uses, having formed the 
hard parts needful to it (including the shells of molluscs, the spines 
and coatings of echinoderms, and the like), before it became sand, and 
furnished the materials for chalky and calcareous mud, or crystallised 
out in fitting situations, and under the proper conditions, we are 
forcibly struck with the means by which the same matter has pro- 
bably passed from the solid form (often perhaps from the fossil re- 
mains of pre-existing life), into solution, whence it vias abstracted by 
the coral polyps, molluscs, and other creatures for their wants, again 
to be accumulated in a solid form, partly in that given to it by ani- 
mal life, partly as sand and fine mud, and partly in a crystalline 
state. Mr Darwin has pointed out the mixture of organic and me- 
chanical matter forming coral islands, the gi'owth of the reef-making 
corals outwards, their abrasion in part by the breakers, and the ac- 
cunmlation of an outside talus at a high angle, over which the living 
corals gradually extend, and cover the fragments and worn portions 
by masses of their calcareous secretions. The observations of Mr 
Beete Jukes would confii-m these general views, but, at the same 
time, he remarks on the possibility of corals, with whose habits wo 
may still remain unacquainted, laying the foundation of reefs and 
islands in deeper water than is assigned to the existence of the known 
reef-constructing corals, which flourish from near the surface of the 
sea to the depth of twenty or thirty fathoms. 

326 Voyayes of Discovery and Survey. 

In the examination of Heron Island, the coral beds, 1 to 2 feet 
thick, were observed by Hr Beete Jukes to have a tendency to split 
into slabs, and joints were found to cross each other at right angles, 
parallel to the dip* and strike respectively, dividing up the- coral 
rock into blocks of 1 or 2 feet in the side. This jointing of an ac- 
cumulation, forming as it were under the eye, has no small geological 

It is interesting to consider the accumulations now collecting for 
1000 miles inside the outer ridge of the great barrier reef. The 
surf-loving corals probably extend over broken or triturated coral out- 
wards, slowly advancing the main mass. While great depths bound 
the outer edge, the inside becomes filled up by a multitude of corals, 
which can thei-e adjust themselves to the needful conditions ; and by 
coral sand-banks, which Mr Beetes Jukes shews are but " the wash- 
ino-s of broken coral, swept by tides and winds towards the lee-side 
of the reef, until that is made the shallowest." " When this is dry 
at low-water, the sand is piled up by the wind into a heap, with a 
sloping bank, till it is at last reared above high-water mark." 

Amid these corals and sand-banks, numbers of molluscs, radiata, 
and fishes live, and at death leave a large proportion of their harder 
parts, adding to the general accumulation, and often doubtless in a 
stratiform manner. Nor are these the only classes of animal life, 
the remains of which aid in increasing the general mass. Turtles 
frequent the reefs, banks, and islets, where their skeletons and bones 
are found scattered, and the conditions are such that these remains 
can scarcely but be entombed amid the calcareous sands and coral 
growth. Their eggs are known to be so imbedded. The bones of 
birds also may propably be enveloped, for immense flights of them 
are seen on the islets. Raine's Islet, mentioned as not more than 
1000 yards long and 500 yards wide, and only 20 feet above the 
sea, was found covered with them. 

The conditions for the solution and chemical deposit of carbonate 
of lime would often arise, and a slight to-and-fro motion from a rip- 
ple in sheltered situations, where carbonate of lime was being thrown 
down from solution, would so roll about fine grains that they became 
covered by concentric concretions, forming oolites. Mr Beete Jukes 
found such upon Raine's Islet. Where circumstances were favour- 
able the crystalline aiTangement would be upon a larger scale, and 
definite forms would be presented. Our author found drusy cavities 
in coral rock containing crystals of carbonate of lime, as also some of 
sulphate of lime. 

While this order of accumulation was progressing from the clean 
sea and outward reefs inwards, different conditions would obtain along 
the shore of the mainland. It is well known to those who have 

* The dip was from 8° to 10°. 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 327 

studied coral reefs that most coral polyps cannot support life where 
the waters are charged witli muddy matter or fine detritus. We 
have often had occasion to observe this fact around Jamaica, As 
the Australian coast is approached, notwithstanding that it is pro- 
tected from the ocean breakers by the outer reefs, there is still 
enough abrasion by the sea to produce detritus, adding to that which 
may "be brought down by the rivers. These are known to be of so 
little importance that water is scarce along the whole coast bounded 
by the coral barrier. Indeed if it were otherwise the barrier would 
be broken through, or rather would never have been formed where 
the muddy waters of large rivers interfered with the coral growth. 

Towards the coast, therefore, there would be conditions antagonist 
to the growth of the reef-making corals, which would gradually cease 
towards the clear water out.ide the reefs. Though interfering with 
coral life, they would necessarily have no influence on the extension 
of the coral pebbles, sands, and finer calcareous mud towards the 
shore, where all such would be sorted and deposited in the usual 
manner. Detritus from the land would mingle with the calcareous 
sediments towards the coast, and especially when any was forced out 
of river-mouths, where, and in other sheltered situations, those de- 
tritus-collecting plants, the mangrove-trees, appear to be, from the 
descriptions of Mr Beete Jukes, very common. 

Respecting the volume of this accumulation, including any detritus 
obtained from the shores, chiefly, it would appear, granitic, and even 
supposing it to repose on a sea-bottom gradually sloping to the great 
depths fo^und immediately outside the great barrier reef, we have to 
measure it by no small amount of cubic miles. If to this we add the 
mass of similarly -formed matter now constituting the atolls or lagoon- 
islands, the encircling reefs and the shore reefs of the Indian and 
Pacific Oceans, and now constanly increasing, the various coral and 
other germs settling and flourishing wherever they find the conditions 
suited to them, we have an immense mass of carbonate of lime 
transformed from a state of solution to that of a solid by the agency 
of animal life, adding most materially to the rocks now accumulating 
in the tropical regions of our globe. 

When we consider that heavy breakers are favourable to, and do 
not impede, the growth of certain corals, indeed such situations must 
prevent the attacks of many coral-feeding animals which would other- 
wise crop down the polyps and their fragile cells ; and that the germs 
of the surf-loving corals are floating about ready to settle wherever 
the sea is clear enough, and the temperature and other general con- 
ditions are suited to their growth, there seems little limit to their 
extension where such conditions obtain. These existing, a reef is 
formed, and the mechanical destruction of portions of it follow. If 
the power of the polyps to secrete their harder parts be as a whole 
greater than that of the surf to break them ofl',— the parts which can 
bo broken off falling into deep water beyond the range of surf, and 

328 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

part ground down within its influence into sand, the general mass 

The reason why the great barrier reef is interrupted off the 
southern coast of New Guinea, — for the coral conditions, and with 
them the coral reefs, again obtain on its western shores, — would ap- 
pear to be made apparent by the voyage of the " Fly." A bottom 
of mud, the sediment from some great river or rivers flowing into 
the sea out of this part of New Guinea, extends over the ground 
which we can scarcely doubt would be occupied by coral reefs, if the 
waters were clear. These muddy waters, every gale of wind stir- 
ring up the bottom for a long distance out, eflfLctually keep off the 
coral growth ; and clays, by the accumulation of the mud where it 
can find sufficient repose, represent in geological time the calcareous 
accumulations on each side, any difference which such conditions 
make being impressed upon the animal life, the remains of which are 
being entombed in the different parts of the general sea-bottom. 

Mr Beete Jukes shews that at Erroob and the Murray Islands, 
there has probably been igneous action during at least the formation 
of a part of the Eastern Australian and Torres' Straits' coral accu- 
mulations. Volcanic substances are mingled with white limestone, 
some of the pieces of the latter and of lava even shewing that they 
have been rounded. In Erroob, rocks that have been in a molten 
state are seen to cover the sandstones and conglomerates. These 
volcanic vents at the northern part of the great barrier reef are sup- 
posed to form part of a great belt of volcanic operations, ranging at 
no sreat distance to the northward and eastward along the north 
coast of New Guinea into the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides, and 
New Zealand. 

As connected with the formation of the present reefs off Eastern 
Australia by slow depression of the land, thus causing the corals to 
raise the reefs in proportion as the general mass of land and the 
neighbouring shore sank down, in the manner by which Mr Darwin 
accounts for the atolls and barrier reefs round many islands, our 
author points out a fact of nmch importance. There are flats of 
coral conglomerate, half a mile wide, frequent on the north-eastern 
coast of Australia, in and upon which, and upon other flats of the 
same coast, pumice pebbles are abundantly scattered, about ten feet 
above the present high-water mark. Indeed these pumice pebbles 
are found at the same elevation for nearly 2000 miles along the 
eastern coast. Hence Mr Beete Jukes infers the coast to have been 
equally affected as regards elevation or depression since these pebbles 
were accumulated, and that it has been slightly elevated, or at least 
has not suffered any depression during a long period of time. He 
allows for the piling action of breakers, which no doubt during the 
heaviest gales of wind throw pebbles on shore far beyond the usual 
average of high water, and would readily force before them such 
light bodies as pumice pebbles ; and during such times, no doubt. 

Voyages of 'Discovery and Survey. 329 

they could be easily floated over extensive flats covered by the sea. 
It would appear that these pumice pebbles are mingled with the coral 
conglomei'ates, and were noticed in the coral rock of Raine''s Island, 
The accumulation of pumice at one time moi-e than at another 
would depend upon the nature of the supply, and would last no 
longer than the eruptions continued which produced it in some situa- 
tion whence it could be drifted to the Australian coast and be ground 
into pebbles. That there has been elevation and depression of the 
land and adjacent sea-bottoms in many localities in different parts of 
the world, producing the effects connected with coral reefs which 
have been pointed out by Mr Darwin, is exceedingly probable : in- 
deed, respecting the elevation of coral reefs we have abundant proofs, 
and therefore there is little reason to doubt depression, which the 
accumulation of rocks of all geological ages shews to have been very 
common and often very extensive. Upon such points the geologist 
can have little doubt, but he may sometimes doubt the application of 
depression to every case of a barrier reef, seeing the power of exten- 
sion, through long-continued time, of the reefs outward into deep 
water. The study of reef-making corals shews us how they seek 
clean water and the surf, and the manner in which they avoid waters 
charged with mineral matter in mechanical suspension. Hence we 
commonly find them either attached to, or at a distance from, the 
shore, according to the clearness of the water, though certainly here 
and there they seem to struggle hard with adverse conditions in this 
respect. Where by their inci-ease the surf fails them, they seem to 
be soon covered by other corals and Nulliporse ; the latter Mr Dar- 
win points out as especially creeping over them towards the surf. 
When we consider that many a volcanic island rises through the sea 
by accumulating erupted masses of ashes, cinders, and molten rock, 
and that the permanency of its continuance above the sea-level de- 
pends upon its power to resist the cutting and levelling action of 
the breakers, we perceive that such an accumulation may be either 
cut down entirely by this action, as that of Graham Island, which 
came through the waters of the Mediterranean in 1831, and now re- 
mains a shoal, or be notched by it, if the mass be sufficiently hard 
to resist entire removal. When partly cut back, the matter removed 
is distributed over the talus of the general volcanic protuberance, not 
very materially increasing its angle of slope, since it would be piled 
over the talus much in the same manner as the detrital coral is accu- 
mulated in front of the coral reefs. The island, reduced to a shoal, 
would have the matter distributed over the flanks of the latter in 
the same manner, considering the accumulation to have been conical, 
though moie flat than the cones formed in the air. Supposing no 
subsidence, and this is iiy no means necessary, such a volcanic mass 
as Graham Island might be reduced to a shoal, the depth of which, 
beneath the surface, would cori'espond with the power of the waves 
during heavy gales of wind to remove ash and cinders from the top 

330 Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 

and scatter them over the sides, and we have the foundation for a co- 
ral reef. From the edge of a continuous or nearly continuous notch, 
due allowance being made for the effects of prevailing winds and 
breakers round a volcanic island, keeping its main mass above the 
sea, there would be shallow water to the cliff or new shore, havino- a 
breadth depending upon the time the breakers have been employed 
in cutting it back, and upon the power of the rocks to resist this 
abrading force. In the case of the shoal there might be a coral 
reef having a round or oval form, or some modification of this form, 
according to circumstances, the habits of the reef-making corals 
causing them to work outwards, so that a sort of lagoon might bo 
inside, especially if the old crater should permit a hollow to remain. 
In the case of the notched islands, the abrasion of the coast, and 
the readiness with which detritus from it would be raised in me- 
chanical suspension by heavy gales, would cause the reef-making 
corals to keep the outer edge, where the proximity of the deep sea 
would give them clear water. Here once established they would 
form a barrier, and working outwards would form a slope with their 
debris, and gradually rising would protect the island coasts from the 
heavy action of the breakers, which would then fall upon the coral 
reefs. These would correspond with the old shape of the island, and 
therefore would probably differ little from its shores, round which 
they would form an outer rampart with shallow water inside, better 
fitted for the presence of other corals and of molluscs and marine ani- 
mals loving quiet and clearer water, than could have been found over 
the same shallow ground while heavy seas rolled over it. As regards 
both the shoals and the notched sides of conical accumulations, the 
outside of the barrier or atoll reefs would plunge into deep water. 
In making these remarks we by no means doubt the correctness of 
Mr Darwin's reasoning respecting the effects of depression in the 
formation of coral lagoon islands and barrier reefs ; on the contrary, 
we coincide with his views, the application of which can scarcely but 
be correct in so many instances. The foregoing appeared to us, 
however, to be conditions which might often obtain, and that there- 
fore they were deservmg of considei'ation, to be taken, with other con- 
ditions, for what they might be worth ; it being so desirable that in 
questions of this kind the subject should be regarded from all points, 
and that the various probable causes should be considered in our 
pursuit of that truth which it ought to be our constant endeavour to 

In the account of the voyage of the Samarang, under the com- 
mand of Sir E. iJelcher, there are several scattered notices respect- 
ing the rocks observed at different places, such as the I'aised coralline 
limestone of the west side of Abayat, near Batan, between Formosa 
and the Philippines, the basaltic character of Hoa-pin-san, the igne- 
ous rocks of Quelpart and the Korean Islands, and others. Nume- 
rous remarks upon the habits of various marine animals, which by 

Voyages of Discovery and Survey. 331 

application may have geological value, are given by Mr Adams, who 
accompanied the expedition. Sir E. Belcher notices banks of mud, 
at the Sabanon mouth of the Balungan River, east coast of Borneo, 
covered by a living pavement of oysters, their hinges in the mud, 
and their mouths upwards. 

In lat. 6° 14' S. and long. 4° 41' W., bottom was struck at 9690 
feet ; four days previously no bottom was found with a line of 
18,390 feet. It is very desirable that soundings in the ocean should 
be multiplied. No doubt very deep soundings require calm weather 
and a considerable expenditure of time, as was necessary when Sir 
James Ross took his deep soundings in lat. 15° 3' S., and long. 23 
14' W., 27,600 feet of line having been run out without finding bot- 
tom ; but tliis would be amply compensated by the knowledge which 
might be thus obtained of the inequalities of the ocean-floor. 

Two visits were made to Labuan, now a British possession, not 
only important for its geographical position, but also for the coal dis- 
covered in it. From communications made to the Museum of Prac- 
tical Geology, chiefly from the Admiralty, we are enabled to state that 
the coal observed on the north-east coast of Labuan by Mr Brooke (the 
Rajah of Sarawak), Captain Bethune and Mr Wise, in March 1845, 
and a specimen of which, weighing 280 lbs., was brought by Mr Wise 
to this country, and presented to the Museum of Practical Geology, is 
now found, by Lieut. Gordon and othei'S, to form part of a nine-feet 
bed, extending from the N£. point in a WSW. direction for about 
four and a half miles, and dipping about 24° to the SSE. This coal 
rests upon a clay-bed, and is noticed as containing a quantity of small 
lumps, described as resin, which were not found in the specimen above 
mentioned. The coal of Labuan is merely a ^Jortion of a mass of 
associated sandstones and shales, apparently intermingled with many 
seams and beds of coal, varying in thickness, and which form a por- 
tion of the adjacent mainland of Borneo, extending to, and more 
inland than, the town of Brunai. The most considerable bed yet no- 
ticed is up a stream named the Kiangi, tributary to the Brunai river, 
and not far from the town, where it occurs eleven feet thick, and in 
a highly-inclined position. Close to it is another bed, three feet thick. 
From the statements of Mr Hiram Williams, who was sent by the 
Admiralty to examine this coal-district in 1845, it has evidently 
been much disturbed and contorted. Its relations to other accunm- 
lations (limestones, igneous rocks, and others) in this part of Borneo, 
is as yet not clearly determined, but subsequently to its contortion 
this coal-bearing deposit has been subjected to denuding action, and 
the edges of the beds left are covered by others containing shells simi- 
lar to those in the adjacent seas. The coal-beds vary much in com- 
position, as may be seen by the following analyses, made for the Ad- 
miralty at the Laboratory of the Museum of Practical Geology. 

332 On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula. 
Labuan. Kiangi. 

Carbon 64-52 

Hydrogen ••• 4' 74 

Nitrogen.... 0-80 

Oxygen 20-75 

Ash 7-74 

Sulphur 1-45 

ll-feet bed. 

3-feet bed 











100-00 100-00 10000 

It shonld he observed that several hundred tons of the Labuan 
coal have been raised, and that the bed is now worked. The steamers 
which have used this coal, though it more approaches the character 
of candle or canncl coal, than the ordinary bituminous varieties, report 
well of it. — (tS'ir //. De la Beche's Anniversary Discourse for 1847.) 

On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula. 

Metals. — The tendency to the production of metalliferous ores at 
and near the junction of plutonic and sedimentary rocks, whicli has 
been observed in many countries, might have led us to anticipate a 
large share of metallic riches for the Peninsula. In reality, it pro- 
baljly abounds in some ores far beyond conception. 

Iron-ores are everywhere found, and in the south they exist in 
vast profusion. In some places the strata have been completely 
saturated with iron ; and here the bare surface of the ground, strewed 
with blackish scoriform gravel and blocks, presents a strange contrast 
to the exuberant vegetation of surrounding tracts, appearing as if it 
had been burned and blasted by subterranean fires. Much of the 
ordinary forms of iron-marked rocks, which are so common, and so 
little i-cgarded for their metallic contents, that in Singapore they are 
used to macadamize the roads, contain often nearly 60 per cent, of 
pure metal. 

The whole length and breadth of the Peninsula, there can be little 
doubt, abounds in tin-ore. The uniformity, we might almost say 
unity, of its plutonic character, warrants the inference, that ores found 
plentifully in many different and distant localities, where they have 
been sought for, exist also in the intermediate tracts which have not 
yet been examined. At the two extremities of the peninsular zone 
of elevation, Junk-Ceylon and Bunka, tin-sand is diffused in such 
quantity, that its collection has never had any other limit than the 
number of persons employed in it. In Junk-Ceylon and Phunga, 
under a barbarous government, about 13,000 piculs* are annually dug 

* A picul is equal to ISSJ pounds. 

On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula. 333 

out of the soil. In Banka, under a European government, but 
without any improvement on the usual Chinese modes of excavating, 
washing, and smelting, the production has increased from 25,000 
piculs in 1812, when it was a British possession, to 60,000 piculs.* 

•At numerous intermediate localities throughout the Peninsula tin 
is obtained ; and when we consider the despotic, rapacious, and too 
often remorseless, character of the native governments, the consequent 
failure of all attempts to introduce European or Chinese capital and 
system into the tin mining, and the robberies and massacres which, 
from time to time, terrify and scatter the little communities of needy 
Chinese in whose hands it has remained, the wonder is, that so much 
metal should find its way to the market. In the Siamese countries 
north of Kedah, and in Kedah itself, which has been so long in a 
state of anarchy, it is sparingly extracted. From Perak 9000 piculs 
per annum were formerly exported ; but the produce has now greatly 
diminished, owing to the miserable state of the country. Selangor 
and the adjacent inland states yield about 9000 piculs. The eastern 
countries, from Kalantan to Pahang, yield about 11,000 piculs. The 
present produce of the whole Peninsula, including Sinkep and Linga, 
the only two islands of the Johore Archipelago where it is now sought 
for, is probably above 40,000 piculs. The produce for many years 
past has ranged between that quantity and 30,000. The peninsular 
range, therefore, including Banka, yields upwards of 100,000 piculs ; 
so that it equals or exceeds that of Cornwall (6000 tons), and may 
be expected to increase steadily. 

Seeing that tin is procured in all parts of the Peninsula where it 
is sought for, and in proportion to the enterprise and labour which 
are devoted to the search, we may consider the entire zone as a great 
magazine of tin. It is, in fact, incomparably the greatest on the globe. 
Johore might have seemed to offer an exception to the apparent uni- 
versality of the distribution of oxide of tin, if its geological affinity 
to Banka, the fact of tin having, from time to time, been found in 
several places, and for many years having been got in considerable 
quantity in Malacca, had not afforded the strongest presumption that 
its want of inhabitants and government was the cause of its unpro- 
ductiveness. The last eighteen months, however, have placed the 
matter beyond doubt, and given a striking proof at once of the metallic 
fertility of the country, and of the little attention which this branch 
of industry has hitherto met with in the British settlements. In 
1845, Malacca, an integral part of Johore, and having the same 
geology as the rest of the country, produced about 450 piculs of tin. 
In the succeeding year the interest of some Chinese of capital was 
excited in the subject, and more vigorous and extensive operations 
were commenced. In 1846 above 1400 piculs were procured, the 

* l)r Kpp, Schilderingen aus Ostindiens Archipel., p. 183. 
VOL. XliV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. Z 

334 On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula. 

greater part from thirty-nine pits in one valley. In 1847, the pro- 
duce appears to have been from 4000 to 5000 piculs. In 1848 
it will probably rise to between 5000 and 7000 piculs, for the go- 
vernment tithe upon it for the year has been rented for the unpre- 
cedented sum of 8190 Sp. dollars, the revenue from this source 
having been, in the two preceding years, 51020 and 53344 respec- 

Nothing can better shew how entirely the metalliferous character 
of the Peninsula has escaped the mining enterprise of private Eu- 
ropean capitalists, than the fact, that, in the island of Singapore, 
where we have a line of junction between plutonic and sedimentary 
rocks of above 20 miles in length, where tin was found in former 
years in at least two localities, and where the same iron-ore with 
which it is associated in Banka, abounds both in the igneous and 
aqueous rocks, no interest has ever been awakened in the subject. 

In the Peninsula and Banka, tin has hitherto been procured by 
digging pits in alluvial ti'acts where the ore is found generally in- 
termixed with quartz particles, in a state resembling sand, varying 
from fine to coarse.* We have large specimens with the ore ad- 

* In most cases it appears to be properly stream-ore, i. e., the fragments and 
particles of disintegrated rock that have been borne to lower levels by rain, tor- 
rents, and streams. We think, however, that there are both tin and gold pits 
in which the rock has been decomposed and disintegrated in situ, and a careful 
examination would probably prove that there are many such. The clays in 
our Peninsular valleys are not always alluvial, and in the higher appear most 
often to mark the decomposition of the subjacent rock. In a recent excellent 
geological work, by Professor Ansted (Geology, Introductory, Descriptive, and 
Practical, vol. ii., p. 281), it is erroneously stated that in Banka the ores of 
tin are entirely obtained by sifting the gravel and sand of rivers. In Banka 
and the Peninsula, the beds of streams are seldom resorted to, save to obtain in- 
dications of the probable abundance of '' tin-sand" in the vicinity. One of 
the narrow valleys between the parallel ranges or branches of the low hills is 
selected, and, if tin be found, pits from ten to sixty feet in depth are dug, and 
carried regularly up the valley, a new one being opened as soon as the last is 
exhausted. In this way the entire breadth of a valley is sometimes excavated by 
successive pits throughout a length of two or three miles, if the tin-sand be found 

In Malacca the tin-sand is generally found at the bottom of a series of allu- 
vial layers. This is also the case in Cornwall, where it appears to be attri- 
buted to diluvial action. In the Malacca valleys, there is no evidence of dilu- 
vial action. The accumulation of the tin-ore in the bottom of the valley may 
be explained, in some cases, by the decomposition of the rock, and washing 
away of the clayey and lighter siliceous particles ; the tin-ore and associated 
quartz remaining by their gravity. In other cases it may probably be ex- 
plained by the consideration that, in the earliest ages of the valleys, the disinte- 
gration must have been more rapid, and the fall of the valleys greater. The tor- 
rents in rains wouid have a considerable impetus, and carry forward the dis- 
integrated fragments of the rugged and naked ravines. In the course of time 
these would be smoothed into gentle slopes covered with vegetation, and the 
slopes of the bottoms of the valleys would gradually decrease as their mouths 
became choked with mud-flats and sand-banks, and the alluvial deposit spread 
back, raising the level of the valleys. 

We have dwelt at some length on tin, because it is the principal natural pro- 

On the Metalliferous Deposits of the Malay Peninsula. 335 

hering to, and partially invested with quartz. We are not aware 
that it has ever been actually seen in the solid rock in the Peninsula ; 
but in Banka it is found associated with iron-ore in veins in the gra- 
nite. A Dutch writer also describes whole layers as occurrintr in 
some mountains which consist partly of granite, but in the centre 
principally of layers of sandstone and quartz, in which iron-ore also 
appears. In the more purely granitic mountains it seems to have 
been observed in quartz at the junction of the granite with the iron- 
veined sandstone strata. In the isthmus of Kra it has also been 
found at the junction of sandstone and granite.* In Cornwall it ap- 
pears to be dependent on granite. 

The finest ore of Banka yields as much as 80 per cent, of metal, 
the common sorts from 40 to 60. The quality of the Peninsular 
ores has not been ascertained so carefully. We are not aware that 
more than 70 per cent, has ever been obtained. 

Gold is found in the Peninsula, but, whether fi'om inferiority of 
enterprise or natural deficiency, not in such abundance as in those 
parts of the adjacent countries of Sumatra and Boi-neo, where it is 
systematically dug for. The present annual produce is probably 
about 20,000 ounces. In all the larger specimens which we possess 
or have seen, it is disseminated in small pai'ticles and streaks in 
quartz. Like the tin-ore, it has not been seen in the undisintegrated 

Copper, silver, and arsenic, have been detected in Banka, but ap- 
parently in small quantities. — (The Journal of the Indian Archi- 
pelago and Eastern Asia, vol. ii., No. 2, p. 102.) 

duction of the Peninsula, which derives, from the fact of its being the greatest 
stanniferous tract in the world, an importance economically which has never 
been sufficiently appreciated. We are able to state confidently that the geolo- 
gical conditions which seem to be necessary for the production of tin in this 
part of the world are found in the Peninsula as fully developed as in Banka. 
Both portions of the zone have been equally affected by, and have indeed ori- 
ginated in, one and the same igneous action, of which one of the phenomena 
has been the formation of tin-ore. The existence of tin in Banka was unknown 
till 1709, when it was accidentally discovered. Now its produce doubles that 
of the Peninsula, although the latter has a surface eighteen times larger. The 
reason is not a mineralogical one. It is because in Banka the Chinese are sti- 
mulated, furthered, and protected, by a strong Government, which directly in- 
terests itself in their operations. 

* " Granite, or its modification, elvan, occurs near or at all the localities 
where tin and copper ores so abound as to be worked, and produce good mines." 
— De la Heche. 

( 336 ) 

Anniversary Address, for 1848, to the Ethnological Society of 
London, on the recent Progress of Ethnology. By the Presi- 
dent, James Cowles Peicuard, M.D., F.R.S., Corre- 
sponding Member of the Institute of France. (Communi- 
cated by the Society.) 

In addressing the members of the Ethnological Society on 
the occasion of another Anniversary Meeting, I may venture 
to assure them, that the studies which it is the purpose of 
their Association to promote, continue year after year to gain 
a more extensive place in the public attention. I do not 
found this remark on the mere probability of the assertion ; 
though there can hardly be room for doubt, that, in the ge- 
neral increase of knowledge, and when the energies of the 
human mind are awakened to every species of inquiry which 
it is endowed with faculties to pursue, the history of our own 
species will cease to be neglected. I make the observation 
on the evidence of facts. The-most obvious of them is, the 
establishment, in various places, of associations expressly 
devoted to the cultivation of Ethnology. In the next place 
may be noted, the great number of memoirs, connected with 
ethnological inquiries, which have been read during the last 
four years, before societies in which the subjects of discus- 
sion are not so limited ; and, I may add, that these inquiries 
have engaged the attention of persons eminent for learning 
and ability, whose example and authority give an impulse 
to the pursuits of ordinary men. I may also advert to the 
frequent appearance of new works, — some of them periodical 
publications, — designed to illustrate the history of nations 
and of the human race. Such works now issue from the press 
in various parts of the world, where, some time ago, we should 
not have expected to find anything of a similar description. 
I shall only allude at present to an excellent journal of scien- 
tific and historical information published at the Cape of Good 
Hope, and to a new periodical work which makes it appear- 
ance at Singapoi'e, in the Malayan peninsula, and is intended 
for the collection of information connected with the ethno- 
logy of the Indian Archipelago. I may also allude to a pe- 
riodical publication which now regularly comprises ethno- 
logical articles, printed by the Missionaries of the London 

Anniversary Address to the Ethnological Society. 337 

Society in the Samoan Islands. A still more encouraging 
token of the general diffusion of knowledge on this svibject, 
and of the beneficial results likely to arise from associations 
like our own, is to be traced in the works of maritime ex- 
plorators, or of persons who have either been sent out by 
Government, or induced by motives of individual enterprise, 
to embark on voyages of discovery to distant countries. In 
-the reports which have been published of late years by per- 
sons returning from such expeditions, we do not find, as here- 
tofore, mei'e extracts from log-books, interspersed with such 
occasional remarks on the countries visited and their inhabi- 
tants, as were fitted only to display the ignorance of the 
writer on all subjects beyond the sphere of his technical pur- 
suit. Many of the late voyagers (and especially of those ap- 
pointed on Government expeditions), who have been induced 
to publish an account of their discoveries, have proved them- 
selves to be persons highly informed in the various depart- 
ments of science, and competent to the task of extending the 
sphere of our knowledge as to the history of human races 
and languages. I shall only advert, by way of proof, to the 
publications of Captain Fitzroy and Mr Darwin, to those of 
Captain Gray, and to the narrative of my late excellent and 
much-lamented friend, Mr G. W. Earle, who, if he had sur- 
vived the voyage on which, to the deep grief of his friends, 
and great loss to the cause of science, he has lately perished, 
would have added much to what he has already contributed 
towards the history of the native races of the Austral Seas. 

Ethnology does not, however, owe its late rapid extension 
to those only who have cultivated it for its own sake, but is 
perhaps still more indebted to the attention which has been 
given by learned men and learned societies to correlative in- 
([uiries, bearing more or less directly on the history of the 
human race. In order to form a correct idea of the present 
state of ethnology, and the prospect of its future extension, 
we must for a brief space direct our notice to the progress 
of these investigations, and to the results obtained by them. 

New light has been thrown of late on the history of na- 
tions, and particularly on the history of those nations which 
are supposed to be the most anciently civilised, by researches 

338 Dr Prichai'd's Anniversary Address 

into Palseography. This term, which is fortunately well un- 
derstood, includes all that relates to ancient inscriptions, the 
records of the early history of mankind, written during the 
first ages of the world on rocks and monuments of various 
kinds, which the present generation is now everywhere learn- 
ing to read. There are at least two other parallel roads of 
archfeological research, which lead us into the same remote 
regions of human histoi'y, but which are not yet designated 
by convenient and definite terms. They might be entitled, 
according to strict etymological rules, Palselexia and Palse- 
taphia. Palselexia means the archeeology of languages. It is 
what German writers call " Sprachenkunde." A learned mem- 
ber of this society, who has contributed greatly to its exten- 
sion, has proposed to term it " Ethnographical Philology." 
To this I have only to object, that the study in question is 
not ethnographical, but ethnological. If any one dislikes the 
new name which I have proposed, I shall be satisfied with 
the expression, Archaeology of Languages. 

The most able, and altogether the most remarkable, at- 
tempt to carry forward the explorations made on this path 
into new regions, that we have witnessed of late years, is the 
discourse delivered at the Ethnological Section of the British 
Association, during the last meeting of that learned body at 
Oxford. I term it the most able attempt, without fear of 
contradiction from anybody who heard it or will read it. 
How far it is successful, I am not competent, and shall not 
venture, to determine. The title of this memoir has a parti- 
cular reference to the language of the ancient Egyptians, 
but its purport is in reality much more extensive. It takes 
a comprehensive survey of the history of languages in gene- 
ral, and of the great divisions of mankind which are founded 
on their classification. In depth of research and extent of 
philological investigation, this memoir can only be compared 
with the celebrated dissertation prefixed by Baron William 
Von Humboldt to his treatise on the " Kawi Sprache." But 
the Chevalier Bunsen has gone further than his countryman 
and predecessor into questions relating to the historical de- 
velopement of nations and languages. For this he had the 
advantage of later and more extended reseai'ch, in several 


to the Ethnological Society of London. 339 

branches of the subject, and particularly in the history of 
the ancient Egyptian idiom, and the relation in which it 
stands to the comparatively modern Coptic. He begins with 
a sui'vey of the history of philological researches, in which 
he reviews all that has been done, with any remai4iable suc- 
cess, to advance this study, from the Cratylus of Plato to the 
age of Adelung, who first set forth a systematic outline of the 
" Sprachenkunde;" and again from that time to the era when 
it was destined to assume the character of a new science in 
the hands of Frederick Schlegel, Bopp, Grimm, and William 
Von Humboldt. The investigations of these writers are car- 
ried on by the Chevalier Bunsen to their ulterior results, so 
far as these can be reached or anticipated by the most pene- 
trating foresight. The languages of the Old Continent are 
divided by him into three classes, which indicate, in a certain 
point of view, so many successive stages of developement. 
Two of these are the well-known Indo-European groupe, which 
the author terms, with Schlotzer and others, the Japhetic 
idioms, and the Semitic, Shemite, or Syro-Arabian lan- 
guages. To each of these great stems are assigned geogra- 
phical centres, as well as chronological periods of develope- 
ment. A third and more ancient phasis of human language 
is now revealed to our view, for the first time, by the author 
of this memoir. It is represented by him as a more rudi- . 
mental and imperfect organisation of articulate speech, but 
as constituting the primitive material, as well as the common 
groundwork, of both the later developements. It is termed by 
the author, the Chamite system ; and it is said to be exempli- 
fied or represented by the ancient Egyptian language. By 
this it is not meant that Egypt was in reality the local centre 
of its formation, but that the type of this earlier formation 
has been longer preserved, like other remains of a remote an- 
tiquity, in Egypt than elsewhere. These are the principal fea- 
tures of the Chevalier Bunsen's theory, stripped of the magni- 
ficent covering which the immense learning and the discur- 
sive genius of the author has thrown round them. The same 
volume of the Transactions of the British Association, in 
which the Chevalier Bunsen's essay has just now appeared, 
contains others read before the Section of Ethnology, some of 

340 Dr Prichard's Anniversart/ Address 

which are very able and elaborate compositions. Among 
these is a memoir on the Classification of the Languages of 
Africa, by Dr Latham, a paper which is announced as form- 
ing the commencement of a series of similar memoirs, des- 
tined to comprise all the known languages of the woi"ld. 
There is likewise a learned essay on the Celtic Languages, by 
Dr Meyer, who is well known to have studied, with remark- 
able success, the literature of the Celtic nations, and to whom 
both England and Germany look for a further elucidation of 
their history. I shall presently have occasion to mention 
some other papers of great interest that were read on the 
same occasion. 

I must now endeavour to take a brief survey of the late ex- 
plorations of ancient history on another path, that of Palaeo- 

The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, 
as well as some of the most celebrated periodical publica- 
tions which make their appearance in Germany, have been 
of late much occupied by a series of investigations relating 
to the Cuneiform Inscriptions. In the short anniversary 
address^read before this Society in the course of the last 
year, I took occasion briefly to allude to the Cuneiform In- 
scriptions ; and as every year witnesses some considerable 
advancement in these researches, and the last year and a half 
have been the period of some remarkable discoveries, I shall 
now attempt to point out, in a very summary manner, the re- 
sults which the eff'orts of learned men have yet obtained in this 
path, so far as they tend to elucidate ancient ethnology. It is 
well known that the inscriptions in characters termed CMwei- 
/£>/7Mor-^/'/"o/i'-/<ertrfefl?, are pieces of writings inscribed on rocks, 
monuments of stone, and masses of bi'ick, and cat in charac- 
ters which are composed of cuneifoi*m or wedge-shaped strokes 
or arrow-headed lines, differently grouped and disposed. 
These inscriptions do not consist of merely a few lines or brief 
sentences, like the " Runes" of Northern Europe, which are 
mostly short epitaphs. They are in many instances long com- 
positions, covering a large space, which, since some of them 
have been decyphered and read, have been found to contain 
historical memorials of the most celebrated nations of the east. 

to the Ethnological Society of London. 341 

and notices of important revolutions in the early history of 
mankind, and pai'ticularly of those celebrated dynasties who 
divided between them, or held successively, the dominion of 
Asia. The longest and most extensive of these inscriptions 
as yet known, is, as I believe, that of Behistun or Baghistan, 
of which our illustrious countryman, Major Rawlinson, has 
given a full description in one of the last volumes of the 
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain. This 
inscription covers the surface of a smooth, perpendicular rock, 
1700 feet in height, situated on the western frontier of Me- 
dia, on the high-road from Babylonia. Like many other in- 
scriptions of the same sort, which were engraved under the 
dominion of the ancient kings of Persia, it is trilinguar, con- 
sisting of three separate insci'iptions in three different lan- 
guages. All of them are inscribed in lettei'S consisting of 
cuneiform lines grouped together, but the grouping and the 
characters are different in the several inscriptions, and form 
different alphabets belonging to separate languages. The 
some import seems to have been repeated in each of the in- 
scriptions ; and it has been conjectured, with great pi-oba- 
bility, that the three languages were the popular idioms of 
the great nations of the Persian empire, viz., the empire 
of Darius Hystaspes, whose exploits the inscription re- 
cords. The legend of one of the inscriptions, which, as I 
have observed, seems to be repeated on the two othei's, has 
been almost completely decyphered and read and explained 
by Major Rawlinson, with wonderful ingenuity and unques- 
tionable success. The language is that of the ancient Per- 
sians, the subjects of Cyrus and Darius. It is fortunately so 
near the classical Sanskrit, that the words are explicable, 
through the medium of that language, with some assistance 
from the Zend. 

The character as well as the language of one of these 
triple inscriptions having been satisfactorily elucidated, at- 
tempts were soon made to decypher the other two forms. 
These are supposed to be Median and Babylonian, these 
two nations being, as it is supposed, next to the Persians, 
the principal races subject to the empire of the Achieme- 

342 Dr Prichard's Anniversary Address 

The second, termed conjecturally the Median form, has 
not been as yet so much studied as either of the others. Pro- 
fessor Westergaard, who has bestowed more labour upon it 
than any other person, attempted at first to ascertain the 
groupes of characters which corresponded to the proper names 
occurring in the Persian inscription which had been read by 
Major Rawlinson. Among them were the names of Darius 
Hystaspes, Cyi'us, and Xerxes. Thisledtothe discovery of va- 
rious groupes of cuneiform lines representing letters, and fur- 
nished a clue which enabled the ingenious interpreter gradually 
to make out an alphabet. The alphabet was found to consist 
of about 100 elements, each represented by a small groupe 
or congeries of wedge-shaped lines. Many of the gramma- 
tical forms of the language have since been discovered ; and 
the result is curious and unexpected, so far as the relationship 
of this language is concerned. It is believed by Professor 
Westergaai'd, as well as by Major Rawlinson, that the idiom 
of the second class of cuneiform inscriptions, which they term 
the Median, is associated by its grammatical forms, not with 
the Persian, to which the Median language has always been 
believed to be nearly related, but to the idioms of High Asia, 
or that class of languages to which the Turkish and Tartar 
dialects belong, and to which the names of Ugro-Tartarian 
and Turanian have been affixed. If this opinion should be 
finally established, it will bring us to a very curious and unex- 
pected result, namely, that the races of people who divided 
between them the territory of Iran, in the days of Astyages, 
were nearly the same as those who now inhabit it. The old 
Persians, whose language was an Arian dialect, nearly akin 
to the Sanskrit, and who were a part of the same race which 
passed the Indus, and occupied Northern India, — these Arian 
Persians are represented by the modern Tajiks, who are the 
native Persian people of towns and cultivated districts, while 
the Iliyahs, or the roving and nomadic tribes, who form the 
equestrian and military part of the population of Persia, and 
to whom the nobles and the royal caste belong, being of a 
Turkish descent and northern oi'igin, must be considered as 
allied to the race of the ancient Medes, though they are de- 
scended from hordes who have migrated from High Asia, 

to the Ethnological Society of London. 343 

and have passed the Oxus and Jaxartes, long since the time 
of the Medes, and even subsequently to the reign of the last 
Sassanian Yezdejird. It must be allowed that this conclu- 
sion is against all antecedent probability, and that if w^e were 
to judge from all that ancient historians have left us, we 
should conclude the Medes and Persians to have been only 
branches of one people. 

The thii'd kind of cuneiform inscriptions is more interest- 
ing than either of the former, inasmuch as it promises to 
lead our researches to periods of much greater antiquity. 
This is called by Major Rawlinson the Babylonian writing. 
He says, " Tlie Babylonian is unquestionably the most ancient 
of the three great classes of cuneiform writing. It is well 
known that legends in this character are stamped upon the 
bricks which are excavated from the foundations of all the 
buildings in Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Chaldfea." " It 
is, therefore, hardly extravagant,'' as Major Rawlinson ob- 
serves, " to assign its invention to the primitive race which 
settled in the plains of Shinar." The inscriptions which are 
considered as belonging to this third kind of cuneiform writ- 
ing display greater variation in the forms and groupings of 
the letters than what are found in the other two kinds. 
There are four varieties, which are distinguished as follow : 
First, the characters called the primitive Babylonian are dis- 
covered in the ruins of Babylon, at Erek, Accad, and Calneh. 
The characters found in the third column of the Behistun and 
other trilinguar inscriptions in Persia, differ, in some parti- 
culars, from these old Babylonian letters, and they are sup- 
posed, by Major Rawlinson and others, to be a slight modi- 
fication of the most ancient form, adapted to the custom of 
later times, when the Babylonians were subjects of the Per- 
sian empire. These last characters are termed the Acha3- 
menian-Babylonian, as having been used under the Achse- 
menide kings, or the successors of Cyrus. The third variety 
of the third kind of cuneiform letters are the Assyrian. This 
is the form used in the inscriptions found lately at Khorsa- 
bad, Nimroud, and Nineveh, in the ancient Assyria. The last 
variety is that termed, by Major Rawlinson, Elymscan. It has 
been traced at Mai-Amir in the ancient Elymais. 

344 J)v Prichard's Anniversary Address 

It appears that the Babylonian and Assyrian writing was 
susceptible of further modifications. A memoir has just been 
printed on the cuneiform inscriptions of Van in Armenia, 
written by Dr Hincks of Dublin, whose attention has long 
been directed to this investigation. These inscriptions were 
copied in Armenia by the unfortunate Schultz, about twenty 
years ago. The alphabet used in these inscriptions belongs 
to the third kind, but differs in some respects from the Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian varieties. The language is decidedly 
different from that of the inscriptions at Babylon and Nine- 
veh. Dr Hincks thinks it closely allied to the Sanskrit. An- 
tecedent probability would lead us to expect to find it Arme- 
nian, an idiom which, though of the Indo-European stock, is 
but very remotely allied to the Sanskrit. 

The investigation of this third sort of cuneiform writing, 
I mean the Babylonian and Assyrian, is likely to tend 
hereafter to more important results than have yet been ob- 
tained ; and it is the more interesting, as the region through 
which it prevails is the scene of the wondei'ful explorations 
of M. Botta, and Mr Layard, at Khorsabad, and Nim- 
roud. The discoveries of Mr Layard are likely soon to be 
published under the auspices of the curators of the British 
Museum. Those of M. Botta at Khorsabad are now, as I 
understand, under the investigation of the learned M. Eugene 
Burnouf, already well known to have contributed greatly to 
the eaidiest discovei'ies in cuneiform writing, and the author 
of a great work on the Ya9na, the litany of the ancient 
Magi, a portion of the Zendavesta. M. Botta, who explored 
the remains of art at Khorsabad, supposed to be the ancient 
Nineveh, has long been employed in preparing a great work 
on his discoveries, the appearance of which would doubtless 
have been assisted by the French government, if the late de- 
plorable events had not thrown the Continent into anarchy, 
and arrested the progress of social improvement in the world. 
Some letters from the author to M. Mohl have been published, 
with 55 plates of sculptures, statues, and inscriptions. M. 
Botta penetrated into the interior of a vast mound, contain- 
ing a series of halls and chambers, covered with reliefs and 
paintings displaying historical events, and representing the 

to the Ethnological Society of London. 345 

manners and customs of the old Assyrians. The style of 
their sculptui'es is said to exhibit a higher state of ai-t, than 
the monuments of Egypt. The excavations of Mr Layard at 
Nimroud (supposed to be the city of Nimrod), are much more 
extensive. The drawings of the sculptures there discovered, 
are wonderful for the perfection of art which they display, 
as well as for the state of preservation. These remains be- 
long to the ancient dynasty of Assyrian kings, who reigned 
at Nineveh before the age of Sardanapalus, and whose very 
existence has long been doubted, though it rested partly on 
scriptural record, and in part on the testimony of Greek 

The ethnological fact of greatest moment that may be 
inferred from these discoveries, supposing the opinions which 
I have cited as to the language of the Median writings to be 
correct, and supposing also that the Assj'rian inscriptions 
are in a Syro- Arabian dialect, which there is reason to be- 
lieve, is the almost juxtaposition, or the existence in adjoin- 
ing districts, during the earliest epoch of history, of the three 
greatest Asiatic families of nations. Sir William Jones, in 
his Historical Essays which at the time when they were 
written, seemed to throw a new light on the history of eastern 
nations, thought he found traces, which concentrated, or 
brought near to one common point, the principal races of 
men. He sought indications of the existence of the Indo- 
European race, the Shemite or Assyrian orSyro-Arabian race, 
and the Tartar or High Asiatic nations in some part of 
the ancient Iran. But proof was at that time wanting, and 
he was obliged to eke out a few plausible arguments by 
abundance of conjectures. Now, however, we have the fact 
as it is alleged before our eyes. We have long inscriptions 
in the language of the Japhetic or Arian race of ancient 
Persia, in the country where they were governed by their 
native kings of the Achacmenian or Caianian dynasty. To 
the northward is the adjoining region of Media, where it is 
supposed that the language read by Westergaard was spoken, 
and this, as we are told, was a Turanian or Tartar speech ; 
while, at no great distance, on the western side of i\\Q Tigris, 
liuman language had undergone a different culture, and that 

346 M. Amedee Burat on the 

remarkable dissyllabic idiom had been developed of which 
the Hebrew, the Syrian, and Phoenician were varieties. Thus, 
in accordance, as I have said, with the speculations of Sir 
William Jones, the three greatest dynasties of Asiatic lan- 
guage are brought almost into juxtaposition, and that in 
reference to a chronological period, which coincides with the 
eai'liest dawnings of history. 

In these remarks, I have stated the opinions of the 
most leai-ned men who have investigated the cuneiform in- 
scriptions. I do not pretend to have an opinion of my own ; 
but if I am entitled to form one, I must confess that it would 
be opposite to that of MM. Westergaard and Raxvlinson. 
I should not believe, without absolute proof, that the Median 
was not an Indo-European language.* 

{To he continued in our next number.) 

On the Continuity/ of Metalliferous depositories in Depth. 
By M. Amedee Burat. 

If we examine the conditions of mines in a state of activity 
in the metalliferous districts, we will perceive that, by tak- 
ing the year 1815, for example, as the point of departui'e 
(that being a period at which their situation was pretty well 
known), new discoveries have had but little influence on the 
production of metals, with the exception of iron. The in- 
crease of production has taken place principally in the coun- 
tries of mines already wrought, either by the gradual exten- 
sion of the works previously undertaken, or by the re-opening 
of mines already commenced, and abandoned for a longer or 
shorter time. 

* If one of the three languages of the Behistun and other Persian inscriptions 
is really in a Tartar or Northern xVsiatic language, it might be conjectured 
that the introduction of such an idiom took place through the medium of the 
Chaldeans, or the Chasdim, and that this people was a northern and foreign 
race, who came into Upper Asia, at a late period, according to the hypothesis 
of Schlotzer, Michaelis, and others. 

Continuity of Metalliferous Bepositories in Depth. 347 

The only prominent facts which may be cited as dis- 
coveries of the nineteenth century, ai'e, 1^^, The washing of 
the auriferous sands of the Oural, w^hich have increased to 
an annual produce of more than 10,000 kilogrammes of 
gold.* 2d, The copper-mines w^-ought in the island of Cuba, 
in the neighbourhood of Santiago, which were opened in 1833, 
on the old works, and now send 40,000 tons of the mineral 
to Swansea, with the mean title of 16p. 0/0, that is to say, 
6,400,000 kilogrammes of copper. Zd, The Calamine mines 
of Belgium and Rhenish Prussia, which, from a produce 
scarcely w^orth naming, now yield 12,000,000 kilogrammes 
of zinc. 4/A, The lead-mines of Missom-i and Illinois, the 
importance of which is not yet appreciated, but which, it is 
said, would produce 30,000,000 kilogrammes of lead. 5M, 
The copper-mines of Lake Superior, the working of which is 
projected on a large scale. t 

These achievements of the nineteenth centiu'y are import- 
ant ; but they would not have been sufficient to meet the in- 
creased consumption, if the metallifei'ous districts previously 
known and wrought, had not been managed in such a manner 
as likewise to increase their productiveness. The mines of 
Cornwall have been conducted with such skill that it has 
continued in the first rank for the production of copper, and 
divides the monopoly of tin only with Banca and Malacca ; 
the mines of Derbyshire, Cumberland, and Siei'ra de Gador, 
continue to be the most important for lead ; those of Ger- 
many have preserved their superiority for argentiferous leads, 
and for the treatment of minerals mingled with silver, arsenic, 
lead, nickel, cobalt, &c. Silesia has ahvays continued first 
in the fabrication of zinc ; Almaden in that of mercury. The 
mines of Mexico are always the principal source of the silver 
employed in commerce. 

It is, therefore, always the same metalliferous district? 
which constitute the mineral riches of the globe. If we ex- 
amine the progress followed by the subterranean works in 
these districts, we perceive that a considerable extension has 

* Kilogram equal to 21b. 3oz. avoirdupois. 

t We may add to the above tiie very productive mines of red copper-ore and 
green and blue malachite of Hurra-lJurra, in Australia. Kd. 

348 M. Amedee Burat on the 

taken place in their depth. If we take a glance at the future, 
we may indeed expect that some new centre of production 
will be discovered ; but it is evident that the principal re- 
source must always be in the depth of the mines already known 
and wrought. 

It is of great interest, therefore, to appreciate the theoreti- 
cal principles which lead us to expect the continuation of 
minerals in depth, and to examine the facts elicited in con- 
sequence of the increasing depth of excavation already exe- 
cuted. Such is the object of this memoir. 

What are the theoretical principles on which we may rest, 
and what is the value of these principles \ Geology is the 
only guide for the working of mines ; but we find in geology 
numerous instances of arbitrary and abandoned theories. We 
propose, in the first place, to shew that the theoretical views 
cari'ied into operation in mines have been established by 
practical observations, and that they are supported by facts 
which cannot be questioned, owing to their number and 

The application of geology to the woi'king of mines goes 
no further back than the year 1775, the time when Werner 
beffan his lectures at the School of Mines in Freiberg. Six 
or seven centuries of mining operations in the mines of 
Saxony and the Hartz had, in some measure, prepared the 
lectures of the illustrious Professor, and placed at his dis- 
posal an enormous accumulation of practical observations. 

The neighbourhood of Freiberg alone presents many hun- 
dred metalliferous veins, which can be studied by means both 
of subterranean and superficial works ; the two declivities of 
the Erzgebirge, from Altenberg and Zinnwald, as far as 
Joachimsthal, Schneeberg and Bleistadt, furnish a still 
vaster and more varied field of observation. In the Hartz, 
four collections of extensive veins have been wrought in the 
vicinity of Clausthal and Zellerfeld, and the complex net- 
work of veins at Andreasberg has long been diligently 
mined. These riches of the high regions of the Hartz over- 
look a circle having numerous works scattered round its cir- 
cumference, among which we distinguish the mines of Ram- 
melsberg, Elbingerode, Ilefeld, Lauterberg, &c. We may 

Continuity of Metalliferous JRepositories in Depth. 349 

also reckon, in the domain which the German School has 
explored, the veins in the countries traversed by the Fulda, the 
Werra, and the Weser, from the Thuringerwald to Minden ; 
those of the circle of Siegen, Taunus, Westervvald and 
Hundsriick, veins almost innumerable, then in full activity, 
the plans and minute descriptions of which were ready for 
the service of the new science. 

It was on the union of all these materials that the genius 
of Werner founded his ti'eatise on the Formation of Veins. 
The immense reputation of his lectures was owing, less to 
his hypothetical theories, than to tlie practical doctrines and 
principles which he deduced from this extensive collection of 
documents ; they were a synopsis of the studies of entire Ger- 
many for eight centuries. 

The savants who continued Wei'ner's investigations, natu- 
rally took the countries which had formed the basis of his 
studies as their point of departure ; and if the purely theo- 
retical hypotheses of the founder have been modified, his 
works of observation have been so precise, that all succeed- 
ing investigations, and the gradual extension of mining, have 
only tended to confirm them. As the field of the science be- 
came enlarged, new facts were grouped around those that 
had been observed by Werner ; and it was to the continued 
cultivation of this science, and the confidence inspired by its 
established principles, that the mines of the whole of Ger- 
many owe the classical security and perfection of their works. 
The authority of Werner's name has been increased by those 
of Schmidt, Zimmerman, Hausmann, Friesleben, De Beust, 
De Weissenbach, Naumann, Gotta, as well as by tbat of Hum- 
boldt, who, on more than one occasion, has shewn the gene- 
ral application of the principles established by Werner. 

In France, we have successively seen MM. Brochant de 
Villiers, Dufrenoy, and Elie de Beaumont, give the support 
of their observations and instructions to the works which 
M. Heron de Villefosse had rendered popular in France. 
Those who have exclusively directed their studies to the ap- 
plications of geology, MM. Fournet, Daubree, Paillette, De 
Hennezel, kc, have continued the labours of the German 

VOL. XliV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. 2 A 

350 M. Amedee Bui-at oti the 

school, by adding numerous important facts drawn from 
other countries. 

A School of Mines, recently founded in Madrid, has fol- 
lowed the same principles, and confirmed them by remark- 
able observations, among which we may mention those of 
MM. Ezquerra del Bayo, Don Luis de la Escosura, Pellico. 

The miners of Cornwall and Devonshire, who have in some 
measure established their practical doctrines by their own 
unaided observations, have come to an almost literal repeti- 
tion of the German views. These principles, carried by them 
to the mines of the New World, have thus become universal, 
and the names of De la Beche, Jackson, Fox, and Henwood, 
have given them additional authority. 

Let us give a short account of these great principles, which 
all these observers and practical men have sanctioned by 
their labours. 

Metalliferous repositories belong to two distinct classes, 
which are the regular repositories, and the irregular. 

Regular repositories comprehend all the veins which re- 
sult from fractures posterior to the inclosing formations, and 
filled after their formation by special gangues and minerals, 
to which the debris of the roof and walls are added. These 
repositories are essentially independent of the inclosing for- 
mations : they abound in transition formations, and have been 
found in the trias and Jurassic formations, and even in those 
of the upper chalk ; in like manner, they form furrows in gra- 
nites, porphyries, and trap rocks. In all these positions, the 
veins affect characters of allure* conformable to their origin ; 
they are modified according to the conditions of the fractured 
rocks, and to the more or less easy cleavages of the forma- 
tion ; but they preserve, in their mode of progress, the re- 
gularity and continuity which justify their definition. 

The ii'regular repositories, on the contrary, cannot be 
bi'ought under any general definition of foi'm and allure. In 
every locality, they have characteristics altogether special ; 
but all are geognostically connected, in a gi"eater or less de- 
gree, with the formations which inclose them. Whether they 

* ^Wio-e signifies the direction, inclination, and widtli, of a mineral repositor)'. 

Continuiti/ of Metalliferous Hepositories in Depth. 351 

be found immediately subordinate to the eruptive rocks, or con- 
tained in the sedimentary beds, they follow a rule of contact 
very different from the eruptive masses, and follow each other 
irregularly in certain seams of stratification and cleavage. 

In these two classes of repositories, theory points out to 
us the metalliferous substances as posterior to the inclosing 
formations, except in those cases where they are integral 
parts of the eruptive rocks, or vphere they have been strati- 
fied along with the sedimentary deposits, by the effect of 
a contemporaneous metamorphism. Moi'cover, a great num- 
ber of observations authorise us to conclude, that the me- 
talliferous substances originate in subterranean phenomena, 
the seat of which must be below the solid crust of the 

Such are the general principles which geology applies to 
mines, and which may be considered as demonstrated. In 
every metalliferous district, these principles are influenced 
by local considerations which often determine the particular 
rules, but these rules always remain subordinate to the gene- 
ral principles. 

This theory of metalliferous repositories, the constant and 
often bold applications of which secure a kind of classical 
superiority to the mines of Cornwall and Germany, may like- 
wise become the occasion of very unfortunate results, by be- 
ing improperly understood. The first condition, for example, 
is to establish clearly the distinction between regular and ir- 
regular repositories. The individual who, disregarding all 
the works of his predecessors, would expect to find the rules 
that apply to veins applicable to irregular repositories, such 
as those of Sierra de Gador, would necessarily be led to dis- 
pute these rules ; to maintain that in mines, every thing is the 
effect of chance ; in a word, to envelope the whole doctrine of 
geology in the consequences of his own error. Let us sup- 
pose, on the contrary, that these same repositories of Sierra 
de Gador were examined by an experienced miner, such as 
MM. Paillette or Gomez de Salazar, they would be charac- 
terised at once as irregular ; then the interpretation of the 
circumstances of their irregularity and disposition would 
shew that they succeed each other according to certain 

352 M. Amedee Burat on the 

rules ; and that the works, by being conformable to these 
rules of allure and disposition, would have in their favour, 
not indeed the certainty which may be attained in regard to 
regular veins, but the maximum of chances that may be cal- 
culated on by the theory. 

Those who have attacked the general principles of geology 
as applied to mining, have never attacked them in the locality 
where they have been established. To this immense mass of 
facts derived from nine centuries of operations, they oppose 
some particular facts observed in a single mining operation. 
Most frequently they have opposed some abnormal veins to 
this multitude of regular veins, without ever suspecting that 
the apparent insufficiency of the theory may have no other 
cause than the insufficiency of their own works and interpre- 

Let us admit, for example, that the veins of Poullaouen 
and Huelgoat in Bretagne have gradually become poorer 
in depth, and that numerous attempts have been unsuc- 
cessful in finding the minerals at a certain level. Can 
we conclude from this that it is generally injudicious to 
seek veins at greater depths, and that the great princi- 
ples of the science lead only to deception ? Will it not 
occur to every one, however little conversant with the art of 
mining, that the researches into greater depths may have 
been ill conducted, or rather that they have not been suffi- 
ciently developed, since in Saxony, the Hartz, and Cornwall, 
many veins are found to be rich at a much more considerable 
depth than that of the mines of Bretagne % 

In order to discuss the probable conditions which regulate 
veins in regard to their depth, in the double relation of their 
allure and thickness and composition, let us first apply the 
theoretical ideas, and then consider the facts in connection 
with the estimates which we may be led to form. 

The continuity of veins, according to their direction, has 
been generally ascertained and measured, and these measure- 
ments may guide us in our hypotheses respecting their con- 
tinuity, according to the inclination. These veins being, in 
fact, fractures produced in the crust of the globe by subter- 
ranean causes, there must exist a certain connection between 

Continuity of Metalliferous depositories in Depth. 353 

the dimensions in two senses. Besides this, the fractures 
have experienced a certain difficulty in extending their direc- 
tion, because the formations are possessed of a greater or 
less degree of flexibility ; but the causes of these fractures 
being subterranean, they must have admitted of a much 
easier propagation in regard to depth. The further we de- 
scend in veins, the nearer we come to the seat of the action 
which has determined their formation. 

Veins of 500 metres of continuity or length are small veins, 
and we can refer to a much greater number, which exceed 
1000 metres. The veins of Freiberg afford frequent ex- 
amples of 4000 meti-es of ascertained length ; those of the 
Hartz from 4000 to 8000 metres ; 6000 metres at least are 
assigned to Holzappel ; lastly, some veins attain to a length 
of 12,000 metres and upwards. 

Let us see how our theoretical hypothesis of a greater 
continuity in depth applies in those mines where the works 
are most extensive. The Samson vein at Andreasberg has 
been traced only for a length of 700 metres ; now this vein 
is at present excavated to the depth of 800 metres, and no 
alteration in its allure indicates any approach to a termi- 

Here then is an example of a vein vv^hose continuity, ac- 
cording to the inclination, greatly exceeds the continuity in 
direction. But the Samson vein is only a fissure in the 
ground, of 0™-60 mean deviation. If this small fissure pre- 
sent such marks of continuity, what notion may we form 
respecting the continuity in depth of the Hartz veins, which 
are 10 metres of medium vs^idth, and 8000 metres in length. 
The neighbourhood of Andreasberg aff'ords us many instances 
of veins explored to depths nearly as great as their continuity 
in direction or length ; there are othei's at Joachimthal ; 
others in Cornwall, where the mines of Dolcoath, for ex- 
ample, have been followed to 600 metres of veins which 
presented no variation of allure, although their dii-ection 
or length was only from 800 to 1000 metres. 

But fewer objections ai'e made to the continuity of the 
fractures tiian to that of the minei'als. Let us examine this 
second point. 

354 M. Amedee Buriit on the 

Theory rests here only on a single principle : the origin of 
minerals is owing to subterranean actions. Admitting that 
the depths to which we can descend by subterranean works 
are inconsiderable, compared with the distance which exists 
between the surface and the igneous source of metalliferous 
emanations, we shall be always led to believe that there is 
no general reason why the veins should be modified in their 
mean composition, in proportion as our works become deeper. 
Let us look at the facts : 

The Clausthal and Zellerfeld group of veins in the Hartz 
has presented, from the first, concentrations of minerals on 
the most ramified points of allure. At these points the 
most productive mines were opened, some of which, such as 
the Dorothea, the Caroline, &c., were still in high repute at 
the time of M. Hei'on de Villefosse's administration (1812), 
and had reached the depth of 400 metres. Since that period 
they have been deepened to 600 metres, and these same 
mines have always sustained their pi-oductiveness ; so that it 
has been admitted that the minerals which, considered in re- 
gard to their direction, are interrupted by considerable bar- 
ren zones, have much greater continuity according to the 
inclination. The actual depth of the mines of Clausthal is 
640 metres. 

The veins of the circle of Andreasberg, so difi^erent in the 
conditions of their allure from the veins of Clausthal, aflbrd 
us a no less striking example of the continuity of minerals 
in depth. These veins having been explored in 1812 to a 
maximum depth of 510 metres, the mineral was there found 
in ribbon-like stripes interrupted in all directions, being from 
15 to 30 metres at most in continuity. At 660 metres, one of 
the finest ribbon forms was seen, and the whole of the exca- 
vations have been deepened to a maximum of 800 metres, 
without any disturbance in the general conditions of the ap- 
pearance of the minerals. 

We also find appearances in Saxony not less valuable and 
instructive than those of the Hartz. The productiveness 
has there been continued since 1815 by a general deepening 
of the mines. Eut in the neighbourhood of Freiberg, the 

Conlinuity of Metalliferous Bepositories in Depth. 355 

mines, which had reached a depth of between 300 and 400 
metres, being nearly worn out while the meclianical means 
employed for draining off the water could not be carried 
further, it became necessary to provide for future deepening 
by means of new works. It was proposed to drive a level 
from the valley of the Elbe, which was greatly to surpass 
the works of the same kind undertaken in the Hartz or in 
Hungary, and to carry the mean level of the excavations to 
600 metres, and even beyond that depth. 

On this occasion, M. de Beust published a great work, in 
which he shewed that the various systems of veins being 
cut across in depth, must, according to all the data both of 
theory and pi*actice, present a vast field for mining. The 
continuity of the minerals in depth was not doubted ; and 
M. de Beust's opinion, supported as it was by all mining en- 
gineers, by the powerful authority of M. de Humboldt, and, 
finally, it may be affirmed, by the unanimous opinion of prac- 
tical men and the mining population, was adopted by the 
Saxon government. This decision was come to with absolute 
confidence, and the works were begun in accordance with it 
in 1844, not a single voice being I'aised against this bold ap- 
plication of the great principles of the art. If an opinion 
contrary to the continuity of the richness of veins in depth 
had existed among the practical miners of Saxony, it would 
assuredly have appeared on this occasion, for nowhere has 
the richness been more variable. The mines of Himmelfiirst 
which, in the time of Heron de Villefosse, were in the most 
productive state, are now in a very indifferent condition; while 
those of Himmerfahrt, which were but little valued, have 
become the richest : but these variations have not occasioned 
doubt as to the future produce, because experience has de- 
monstrated that, by embracing a large field of operations, 
the productiveness may be kept up and increased. The only 
fact which has been discussed was the substitution of the 
methods of deepening employed in Cornwall, that is to say, 
the employment of powerful steam-engines instead of a 
draining level. 

In Cornwall, the mines deepen in a more general and ra- 
pid manner, by the application of steam-engines on a very 

356 M. Amedee Burat on the 

large scale ; and the produce of the mines goes on continually 
developing, in consequence of these operations, The cap- 
tains of the mines in that district are unquestionably the 
boldest practical men — the sterility of the affleuremcnts does 
not alarm them — and many veins, which in the upper part 
yielded only barren gossan, have been productive in zones of 
from 200 to 400 metres. It was at first supposed that the 
richness diminished a little bej'ond 400 metres, but now 
many mines have been successfully extended to 500 and 600 

In this country, as in all metalliferous districts, many 
mines now in great activity have been re-opened after the 
first works had proved unproductive. The last example of 
the mines of Wheal Maria in Devonshire deserves to be men- 
tioned. They consist of a vein near Tavistock, which had 
been anciently mined, and which was again opened without 
success in 1843, after being abandoned for thirty-five years. 
Researches recommenced under the direction of Mr Hitchens, 
an experienced miner, and were attended with the most 
brilliant success of which the annals of Cornwall can furnish 
any account. 

Such instances of veins pronounced exhausted in regard 
to depth, abandoned, and afterwards successfully resumed, 
when the works received an energetic and judicious impulse, 
are to be met with in all metalliferous districts. The follow- 
ing is one of the most recent : — • 

The vein of cupriferous quartz at Rheinbreitenbach is of a 
classical character in the country of the Rhine, and celebrated 
among us for its beautiful specimens of phosphate of copper 
and lamellated malachite. In its deepest parts, the normal 
mineral of this vein consisted of variously-coloured copper ore, 
which forms ribbons or chaplet-shaped agglomerations, and 
the mining had been carried on by means of a gallery 1000 
metres in length. After a long period of productiveness, the 
works descended below the level of this gallery, and were 
abandoned for the ordinary reasons, which affirm that a repo- 
sitory becomes impoverished and limited in depth. The pro- 
duce had become moderate, the waters caused interruption, and 
accidents had limited the field of operations. It was com- 

Continuity of Metalliferous liepositories in Depth. 357 

pletely abandoned, when, in 1840, MM. Rhodius, assisted by 
the advice of tlie skilful M. de Dechen, resumed tlie works, 
conducting them by the aid of a steam-engine. The minerals 
have again been reached, and this mine has recovered, in 
productiveness, the rank which it never would have lost, if 
the first miners had placed more confidence in theoretical 

In a class of veins less regular in character, namely, veins 
of contact, we find some fine examples of richness continued, 
and even further developed, as we increase in depth. 

At Almaden, the cinnabriferous veins are explored to 300 
metres ; the richness is always perfectly kept up, and the 
Spanish engineers have entire confidence in the works even at 
the bottom. 

The beautiful vein of Monte-Catini, in Tuscany, was 
wrought for nine years by the honourable M. Porte, whose 
life was so laboriously spent in re-opening the mhies of that 
country. The produce had always been moderate ; and M. 
Porte' s confidence was shaken, when the companv that 
succeeded him found, at 80 metres, and below the first 
level, one of the finest accumulations of variegated and 
pyriteous copper that can be mentioned in the history of 
mines. For ten years the works have been carried down- 
wai'ds, without any impoverishment, and tlie miners have 
confidently undertaken very extensive works (among others 
a level of 1400 metres), directed by tlie engineer Schneider, 
which must secure a considerable increase of depth. 

Such examples shew the generality of the principle of the 
continuity of minerals in depth ; we shall further mention a 
few others to prove that, in a great number of localities, the 
distribution of minerals has been much more constant ac- 
cording to the inclination than according to the direction. 
Thus, many veins present in direction some rich zones, sepa- 
rated by poor or barren zones usually much more important ; 
by following the veins, according to their inclination, it has 
been found tliat these zones were continuous, that they re- 
peated themselves with tlie same characters in the lower 
stages, even to considerable depths, so that the metalliferous 
parts formed a kind of columns or chimneys ascending from 

358 M. Amedee Burat on the 

below, which were but little interrupted except by contrac- 

Such is the structure, as has been mentioned, of the veins 
of Clausthal in the Hartz : such is likewise that of the great 
argentiferous veins of Mexico. It is a, practical rule much 
followed in Cornwall, to seek for minerals always below rich 
parts already known. In Algeria, considerable works have 
been undertaken on veins of grey copper, veins altogether 
vii'gin, in which this law has been first rendered evident. 
"Works opened for some years in the veins near Villefranche, 
have shewn that the minerals there constituted rather nar- 
row zones, but that they were continuous according to the 
depth. In some veins of Nassau, these zones were oblique, 
that is to say, followed a diagonal between the direction and 
the inclination. 

Do all these facts prove that works carried on to a great 
depth are to be regarded as infallible ^ Certainly not ; these 
works remain subject to the accidents of mines, in which no- 
thing is absolutely certain. They demonstrate, however, that 
the great principles of continuity in depth ai'e founded on ex- 
perience. They also demonstrate that, in the case of an un- 
successful attempt, we must not pronounce absolutely, but 
examine whether the vein we suppose to be terminated in 
depth, has not merely undergone one of those accidents which 
the theoretical and practical study of the science make known 
to us. 

The veins of Holzappel were for a long time considered as 
closed in depth, at a certain part of their course. A more 
attentive study shewed that these veins had merely under- 
gone a lateral displacement of from 10 to 15 metres, thus 
passing from one cleavage to another, and that the two pai'ts 
were united in such a manner as to escape notice on the 
first examination. This example, so well described by M. 
Bauer, has removed the only solid objection made to con- 
tinuity, and the existence of minerals again met with below 
these changes of allure, strengthens, by another additional 
fact, great geological principles. 

Let us now examine the conditions of allure in some irregu- 
lar repositories, and we shall witness the principle of the 

Continuity of Metalliferous Repositories in Depth. 359 

continuity of minerals in depth, assuming, it is true, very 
capricious forms, but supported by new observations. 

The zone of anthraxiferous limestone which appears in the 
valley of the Meuse, from Huy as far as Chockier, continues 
from Liege to Aix la-Chapelle and Eschweiler, disappears 
towai'ds Duron under the alluviums of the Rhine, then reap- 
pears beyond Dusseldorf, at Iserlohn and Brilon ; this zone 
presents, towards its line of contact with the coal-forma- 
tion slates and psammites, with which the limestone alternates, 
a series of irregular repositories lying between the strata. 
These repositories are filled with oxides of iron, carbonates 
and silicates of zinc, blende, and galena ; those of Huy, 
Engis, Moresnet, Verviers, Stolberg, have given rise to the 
extensive fabrication of zinc in Belgium and Prussia. 

These calaminary repositories were still regarded, a few 
years ago, as superficial remblais accumulated in pre-existing 
cavities. This opinion resulted from some unprofitable works 
undertaken in the expectation of finding the superficial mass 
continued downwards ; then, upon the works being caiTied 
on in a rational plan, it was found that the superficial masses 
continued, not according to the seams of the stratification 
of the formation, but by ramifications which were often com- 
plex, sinuous, and of very variable section. The generality 
of this continuity, established by the works of Engis and 
Verviei's, is completely acknowledged by MM. d'Omalius 
de Halloy and numerous practical men, among whom I may 
mention M. Simon, director of the mining operations of 
Nouvelle-Montagne, and M. Goschler, mining engineer at 

The continuation of these subterranean canals in depth, 
is effected by movements sometimes so irregular and unex- 
pected, that we thus readily explain how the first works, 
undertaken to determine this, have remained unprofitable. 
Thus, for example, the continuity of the celebrated reposi- 
tory of Moresnet (la Vieille-Montagne) has not yet been 
ascertained, although many works on a sound principle have 
been undertaken with this view ; but can we thence infer 
that it is questionable \ Undoubtedly not ; and the engineers 
who have studied the subteiTanean works of Engis, Verviers, 

360 M. Amedee Burat on the 

Stolberg, &c., ascribe this want of success only to the insuf- 
ficiency of the works, and not to any defect in the principle. 

Besides all this, subterranean investigations are now suf- 
ficiently advanced to authorise us to suppose that, at consi- 
derable depths, the oxides and metalliferous carbonates which 
constitute these repositories, must be transformed into sul- 
phurets. These superficial masses, consequently, could only 
be the highly-developed yossaw of subterranean repositories, 
composed of pyrites, blende, and galena. Modern metallurgy 
can treat blende as well as calamine, insomuch that we may 
consider the continuation of the mineral as certain ; but, ten 
years ago, this change of nature would alone have been 
sufficient to make us declare the mineral limited in depth. 

Such, in fact, is the history of the pacos and colorados of 
the New World. Many of these repositories have been con- 
sidered exhausted, solely because the metallurgic resources 
of these countries could not derive, from the sulphurets found 
at great depths, the same portion as from the oxides of the 

Irregular repositories, which have performed so important 
a part in tiie production of metals, long remained in an aban- 
doned state, for this reason, that they were the first that 
were mined. The ancients had removed the upper parts, 
and were arrested by the difficulties of deepening ; for, in 
these repositories, sterility often succeeds the utmost pro- 
ductiveness. These ancient mining woi^ks now only appear 
as superficial depressions caused by the falling in of the 
subterranean works, or irregular empty spaces, partly rem- 
hlayes, communicating with each other by narrow and sinu- 
ous conduits, the walls of which were completely stripped of 
minerals. The re-opening of these mines is often very hazard- 
ous, for the rules that regulate veins cannot be applied ; and it 
is often very difficult to explain the law according to which the 
minerals are distributed. Many attempts, however, have 
proved fortunate ; and the mines of Santiago de Cuba, accord- 
ing to documents which have been communicated to me by M. 
Arrieta, appear to furnish one of the most interesting argu- 
ments for the principle of continuity in deptli, applied to ir- 
regular repositories. 

Continuitij of Metalliferous Repositories hi Depth. 361 

The repositories of Santiago are repositories of contact, 
lying under highly-developed amphibolites, which exhibit all 
the characters of the Dillenburg greenstones, and which ap- 
pear to follow the seams of stratification in the upheaved 
slates. One of them, the Isabelita, presents the section of a 
semicircle, and, according to the expression of the miners, 
sinks like a nail into the interior of the ground. This repo- 
sitory has been already followed for upwards of 200 metres, 
with varied success, no doubt, but with great confidence on 
the part of the miners in the principle of continuity. 

Thus, the operation of mining is pursued in all countries 
of the globe, in regular as well as irregular repositories, in 
virtue of this great principle of continuity in depth, a prin- 
ciple established by geological theories. 

The denial of this theory would be the annihilation of the 
engineer's art, and of the production of metals. 

If some anomalies exist ; if, for example, the irregular re- 
positories of Sierra de Gador have occasioned some unprofit- 
able works ; if the veins of Paullaouen and Huelgoat shew 
some symptoms of impoverishment, we would invite to more 
extensive means of research. To such as allege that the ap- 
plication of the theories of science may lead to deception, we 
would reply that mining is, and will always be, a hazardous 
branch of industry ; that deception is possible, considering 
the slowness and difftculties of the works, but that the re- 
jection of theories must necessarily lead to inefficiency and 
ruin. One exception, even were it established, would not 
overthrow the great principles of the art ; and we think that 
we express the opinion of all practical men, when we main- 
tain those principles which were laid down by the Academy 
of Freiberg, developed and modified by seventy years' ob- 
servation in all parts of the world. — {Annales des Mines, 
Quatrieme Serie, tome xi., p. 27.) 

( 362 ) 

On the Vegetation of the Carboniferoua Period, as compared 
with that of the present day. By Dr HoOKER, Botanist to 
tlie Geological Survey of the United Kingdom. 

There are few persons who have devoted any time to the study 
of fossil 'plants, especially those of the coal- formation, and have not 
been particularly interrogated on the value of their results, compared 
with those derivable from the investigation of animal remains. What 
that value may be, is daily asked of the naturalist, while in the field, 
by the uninitiated yet cuiious looker-on, who eageily offers his aid as 
a collector, in exchange for information upon the materials he gives or 
offers to procure. It is no less frequently proposed by the young 
geologist, who, though skilled in seizing the characters presented by 
a comparatively indestructible shell or bone, is at a loss to appreciate 
those afforded by the always compressed and more or less nmtilated 
fragments of what were originally perishable plants. 

It is with a view of instructing such inquirers that the following 
introductory observations are thrown together. Relating exclusively 
to the more obvious features of that formation which conspicuously 
abounds in fossil vegetables, to their most prominent characters, and 
to the botanical value of those features only, they can have no claim 
upon the attention of the experienced palaeontologist. They are 
little more than the first impressions received by a naturalist, who, 
having been almost exclusively occupied with an existing Flora, is 
called upon to contrast with it the fragmentary remains of another 
Flora, whose species are, without an exception, different from those 
now livino-, which represent in part the vegetation of a period inde- 
finitely antecedent to the present, and have been succeeded by still 
other plants, equally diverse from both, and which have likewise 

From the very outset it must be borne in mind, that, whatever 
lio-ht future investigations of hitherto-unexplored coal-fields may 
throw upon this most difficult subject, we can never hope thereby to 
arrive at any great amount of precision in determining the species 
of veofetable remains, nor to ascertain the degree of value due to the 
presence or absence of certain forms, such as the animal kingdom 
so conspicuously affords. Still less can we expect that they will 
prove equally appreciable indices of the climate and other physical 
features of tliat portion of the surface of the globe upon which they 
once flourished. 

The great extent of the vegetable kingdom is hardly to be appre- 
ciated except by the pi-ofessed botanist; and he must be an ad- 
vanced student who knows as much of its main features as he may 
acquire of the animal creation during the course of an ordinary edu- 
cation. Every one, for example, is familiar with the divisions of the 

On (he Vegetation of the Carboniferous Period. 363 

class Animalia into beasts, birds, fish, reptiles, shells, &c., but much 
study is required to attain an equal amount of acquaintance with the 
parallel divisions of plants into exogenous, endogenous, &c. The 
technical terms, too, employed in the one case are, very many of 
them, universally intelligible ; whilst the majority of those applied 
to the more conspicuous organs of plants must be acquired by a spe- 
cial study. Lastly, the external organs of vegetables, and, espe- 
cially such as are generally available in the fossil state, are not the 
same guides to the affinity of the objects themselves, to their habits, 
or to the nature of the area they occupied, which the similarly con- 
spicuous organs of animals are. Thus, were fossil vegetables much 
more perfect than they are, the information to be derived from 
their study will never hold a rank of equal importance to the geolo- 
gist with that afforded by animal remains. 

It is partly owing to these circumstances that the study has been 
comparatively neglected, partly also because a far more comprehen- 
sive knowledge of the existing forms of plants is required to make 
any progress in fossil botany, than of recent zoology to advance 
equally in palseontology ; for, whilst an acquaintance with a single 
class of animals (the shells, for instance) enables the student to 
understand and distinguish whole formations, he cannot, without 
being somewhat conversant with all classes of living plants, appre- 
ciate the value of the most perfect series of them in a fossil state. 

Turning from this discouraging view of fossil botany in general to 
that of the particular formation to whose consideration the remainder 
of these pages will be devoted, it is satisfactory to find that it pre- 
sents facilities for the investioation of its vegetable remains such as 
is afforded by no other. This is mainly due to the vast accumula- 
tion of specimens, and to many of them being presented under very 
different conditions in the under clay, in the shales, in nodules of 
ironstone, and in sandstone. Had it not been for these favourable 
circumstarices, the study of coal-fossils would have been apparently 
hopeless ; for, whilst the clays, and ironstone, and sandstones, 
scarcely ever contain more than one large class (ferns) in a fit state 
for determination, the shales preserve only the outlines of another 
(Sigillarice and Lepidodendrons^, whose affinities could hardly be 
guessed without a microscopical examination of their hiternal tissues, 
as these are preserved in the ironstones and sandstones. Consider- 
ing of how exceedingly lax and compressible a tissue the coal-plants 
were composed, it is not wonderful that instructive specimens are 
rare ; but to appreciate to its full extent how universal is the com- 
pression, and how complete the mutilation of almost every individual, 
it is necessary to study the whole bed or deposit in situ. 'J'hus will 
be seen a layer of mineralised organic matter, exceeding in bulk and 
in ai'ea whatever any other formation may present in equal purity ; 
for, throughout the whole mass of the coal, there will not bo found 
one pebble, or even one grain of sand. It is a deposit of vegetable 

364 On the Vegetation of the Carboniferous Period, 

matter, so homogeneous that not a trace remains of the outward form 
of that incalculable number of species and specimens of plants to 
whose decay it owes its existence. 

Plants, whose tissues are so lax as to be convertible after death 
into a mass of such uniform structtire as coal, evidently would not 
retain tlieir characters well during fossiiization, under whatever fa- 
vourable circumstances that operation may be conducted. We con- 
sequently find that (evi specimens are available for scientific pui-- 
poses. Of the ferns, whose remains preponderate in the carbonife- 
rous flora, only one surface of the leaves or fronds (and that inva- 
riably the least important, botanically speaking) is exposed to view ; 
and their mutilation is so great, that the identification of contiguous 
specimens is frequently impossible, much more so of those from dif- 
ferent parts of the same or from otiier coal-fields. Were the species 
and genera identical with those now in existence, this difficulty would 
be lessened ; for we should then know the variations in form which 
the individuals might be likely to assume, or at any rate, what dissi- 
milarity between tlie isolated fragments was due to their belonging to 
different parts of the same plant. The naturalist is thus hampered 
in the outset by his inability to answer questions relatinp- to system- 
atic and specific botany. And, when he turns to a general review 
of the whole, and seeks to reclothe the globe with the vegetation to 
whose decomposition we are indebted for coal, he labours under no 
lighter difficulties ; the most casual inspection of such a wreck suf- 
fices to shew that the number of species, genera, and even orders, of 
which scarce a trace remains, must far outnumber those which are 
recognisable. Of the latter, again, but a small per-centage is known 
in a tolerably complete state, only the larger and better preserved 
specimens retaining those organs and appendages which the most 
skilful botanist requires to examine in the living vegetable, before 
he can pronounce decidedly on its affinities. The female flowers or 
fruit are distinguishable in very few cases, and they are so rare, that, 
but one genus of coal-plants has thereby been referred with any cer- 
tainty to its proper position in the natural system. They occur in 
the form of cones (aggregations of seed- vessels j, or of isolated seed- 
vessels. Their form alone is generally preserved, their interior hav- 
ing been wholly destroyed, or presenting a crushed and shapeless 
mass of disorganized tissue. The solitary nuts, again, may have 
grown in cones or separately : they have never been found attached, 
nor in a position relatively to any leaf, branch, or cone, that would 
justify their having belonged with certainty to either. Of male 
flowers, no traces remain. Leaves and scales occur abundantly, but 
almost invariably detached, as is generally the bark of the stems or 
trunks, so that the very outline of the vegetable is frequently lost. 
Hence, arises the necessity, in the infancy of this science, of describ- 
ing the different portions, perhaps of one plant, as species, and of 

as compared ivith thai of the present day. 365 

arranging them provisionally into genera ; the word genus signify- 
ing, not a natural group of species, but a set of organs : and being 
synonymous in many cases with a shorter and more expressive Latin 
word, long in use and better understood. As an example, the genera 
Sti'obilites and Lepidostrobus may be cited, whose species are various 
cones (strobili), in some cases of Lepidodendron, in others, possibly 
of other plants, widely different ; even the order to which they be- 
long being distinct from that including Lepidodendron. 

This arrangement of portions of specimens under various genera, 
is highly detrimental to the progiess of systematic botany, but is not 
equally disadvantageous to the geologist, whose object it is to deter- 
mine the relationship of strata, by means of a comparison of their 
contained species without so particular a reference to their affinities. 
The identification of these, is always open to question, from the 
errors into which the imperfection of the specimens necessarily leads. 
Two specimens of one plant, the one more perfect than the other, are 
frequently described as different ; this is eminently the case in the 
Sigillarice, the markings upon the surface of whose bark differ from 
those on the similar surface exposed by the removal of that bark, 
while, in many specimens, it is exceedingly difficult to determine 
whether the latter be present or not. The markings also vary ex- 
tremely in different parts of the same trunk, insomuch, that frag- 
ments which had been regarded as characteristic of six or eight sepa- 
rate species, have been more recently found to belong to one, that 
one presenting a surface equal to those six or eight fragments col- 
lectively, whereon the supposed species- were founded. Again, as the 
specific characters used in dividing this genus are drawn from what 
are considered very unimportant features in recent plants, namely, 
the scars left by the fallen leaves, it is evident, that several distinct 
species may be merged into one, in the absence of other distinctions 
beyond that solitary character which does not suffice to recognize 
analogously-marked living vegetables. 

The last obstacle which demands a passing allusion, because tend- 
ing to retard our knowledge of coal fossils, is, that they cannot be 
investigated independently. Representing the earliest known flora, 
the individuals composing it are, as might be expected, more unlike 
those now living, than what any subsequent formation contains. The 
succeeding beds present us with plants which occupy, in point of orga- 
nization, as in date of creation, a middle position ; and it is in many 
cases, through the investigation of these alone that a clue can be 
gained to the relationship existing between the earliest known and 
the now living vegetable forms. It is not so to an equal extent in 
the animal kingdom. A knowledge of recent shells, for instance, can be 
brought to bear upon those of the Silurian formation (independently of 
any study of their allies in the more modern strata), far more effec- 
tually than an equal acquaintance with living plants can, upon those 
preserved in our coal-fields. Many and sufficiently obvious are the 
VOL XLV. NO. Xt'. — OCTOBER 1848. 2 B 

366 On the Vegetation of the Carboniferous Period, 

reasons for this ; the Silurian rocks contain but one or few orders of 
animals, the carboniferous many of plants. There is a greater ex- 
ternal siniilai'ity between the shells of all periods ; they are better 
preserved, and their external characters afford surer indications of 
their affinities, habits, and localities. 

An examination of the coal vegetation being merely a comparison 
of its tribes of plants with those we are more familiar with, the first 
object of the naturalist is, to reduce all the strange individual forms 
he here for the first time sees to the same classes and orders with 
existing ones. When their affinities cannot be traced, he seeks to 
ally them to living analogues ; and thus, reproducing the whole flora, 
he regards it as probably characteristic of such physical features of 
soil, surface, and climate, as accompany what he has determined to 
be the existing types of the bygone Flora. The general laws now 
affecting vegetable life are the only ones available in this compari- 
son, and, therefore, are adopted as correct ; but to appreciate the 
extent of their application, a very comprehensive knowledge of the 
distribution of plants is necessary. Slight local causes may very 
materially modify the operation of these laws ; and so plastic is ve- 
getation under their influence, that we find what appear to be entirely 
analogous positions with regard to heat, light, soil, and moisture, 
tenanted by whole genera, and even orders of plants, of very oppo- 
site botanical characters, and that such localities present a greater 
disparity of vegetation than do other countries more remote in geo- 
graphical position, and with less similarity in their conditions. 

It is the case with very many species of existing plants, that they 
vary so considei'ably at various parts of the area over which they are 
dispersed, as to draw all but those who know the intermediate links, 
which may be comparatively scarce, into a belief that the extreme 
varieties are specifically distinct. This is eminently true of ferns, 
which have very wide ranges, and are exceedingly sportive. If the 
difficulty be great with living plants, of which complete specimens 
or whole individuals are procurable, it must be far more so with 
fragmentary fossils ; and the coal formation being characterised by 
ferns to a very remarkable degree, it follows, that, with only imper- 
fect specimens, all attempts towards determining the species and 
limiting them must be rery vague. The amount of variation also is 
fluctuating, and it bears no necessary reference to botanical affinity ; 
for, whilst nine species of a genus may be constant to their charac- 
ters wherever they occur, a tenth may vary so widely that its ex- 
tremes will appear far more dissimilar than are any two of the other 

The knowledge of recent botany, which is needful to throw light 
upon the study of fossil plants and the origin of coal, must be both 
varied and extended, though a profound acquaintance with any par- 
ticular branch is not required to make a very considerable progress. 
Those points with which the student should -be most familiar are 

as compared with that of the present day. 367 

some of them purely botanical, whilst others are more general, and 
refer to the dependence of vegetation upon the condition of the area 
it covers. 

Some acquaintance with systematic botany is the first requisite : 
through this alone can any approximation to the living affinities of 
the fossil be obtained. It should embrace not only a knowledge of 
the principal groupes or natural order under which all plants are ar- 
ranged, but a familiarity with vegetable anatomy ; for when the 
stem or trunk alone is preserved, which is often the case, a minute 
examination of its tissues is the sole method of determining its posi- 
tion in the natural series. 

A solution of the difficulties which this special knowledge will 
tend to remove is of the highest interest to botanists, though com- 
paratively preliminary to the object of the geologist, whose inquiry 
is, what were the general features of such a vegetation as has affected 
the formation of a seam of coal, both as regards quantity and kind ; 
as regards quantity, inasmuch as the growth was either wonderfully 
rapid or more tardy, but prolonged under uniform conditions ; and, 
as regards kind, from certain species, genera, or orders, being parti- 
cularly adapted by their quick growth, their gregarious habits, and 
their continued appropriation of certain areas to produce those vast 
accumulations, the explanation of whose origin is still an unsolved 
problem. Other questions, which a study of living plants alone can 
answer, refer to the sorts of plants best calculated to thrive in such 
a uniform soil as the underclay upon which each bed of coal rests, 
and into which some of the vegetables have certainly been rooted. 
What form of surface is best fitted to retain so mobile a mass of 
debris as the coal was previous to its compression and hardening ? 
What degree of dryness would be most favourable to such an accu- 
mulation, consistently with an energetic growth of vegetation \ 

The above considerations presuppose some general ideas of the ve- 
getations both of the tropics and cooler latitudes, of mountain-chains, 
table-lands, valleys, and estuaries ; moi'e especially of countries cha- 
racterised by equable or by excessive or extreme climates, as com- 
pared with continents, and of humid and desert districts ; in short, 
of all the complex associations with, or dependence of botanical cha- 
racter upon, surface, soil, and climate, which the globe presents. 

The want of this kind of information amongst many naturalists, 
and the neglect of its application by others, have caused those utterly 
contradictory opinions which have been expressed regarding the ori- 
gin of coal,* and unnecessarily complicated the subject. The botanist 

* The looseness of the speculations hitherto advanced on the relationship of 
the coal flora to such physical conditions as climate, cannot be better illustrated 
than by the fact that the Sigillarise (wliich have undoubtedly contributed 
largely to the formation of coal) are considered by some naturalists to be allied 

368 On the Vegetation of the Carboniferous Period^ 

must not seek to force a plant into a natural order, the habits of 
whose existing species are incompatible with those conditions under 
which a more comprehensive view of the coal formation may assure 
him it must have vegetated ; nor can the geologist put forward any 
theory which will explain the features of that formation, if it be 
grounded on views opposed to those few certain data, which a study 
of the botany of the period in question has afforded. 

There is another branch of this investigation of equal importance 
to the geologist and botanist, namely, the identification and compa- 
rison of the species from different and sometimes remote coal-fields, 
or from the various strata of the same field. This is as difficult as 
any of the points which occupy the botanist ; and all questions con- 
nected with the geographical distribution of the plants of that pe- 
riod being dependent on the results thus obtained, it is one which 
requires extreme caution in the working. The obvious tendency in 
the student is to regard as identical the similar fossils in the various 
strata exposed in one mine, and as different the plants from remote 
coal-fields. From recent observations, it appears that subsequent 
movements may have isolated portions of what once formed a conti- 
nuous bed of coal, characterised by a uniform vegetation throughout, 
and that hence a slight dissimilarity between the plants of each por- 
tion may be attributable to a difference in the conditions to which it 
was exposed in each. On the other hand, it must be borne in mind, 
that at the present day a change in position is almost surely accom- 
panied by a very considerable change in vegetation. The labour of 
identification, too, is not confined to the comparison of specimens, 
but includes the determination of their names when previously de- 
scribed. This is often all but impossible, from the nature of the 
specimens, and the difficulty of presenting them, in an available form, 
without plates. Hence it happens that the labour of individual ob- 
servers is overlooked. It is, perhaps, impossible to employ similar 
materials to better purpose than has the author of the " Flore Fos- 
sile" those upon which he laboured; and yet the difficulty of naming 
the species by that work is very great, and must be so ; for the spe- 
cimens to be compared are, like originals, mere fragments, and the 
genera of Ferns adopted are far from being properly defined, though 
as judiciously as the materials would permit. On the contrary, 
many of these are not supported by the examination of living ana- 
logues; whilst others are unavoidably founded on isolated portions of 
plants, whose appeai*ances, whilst living, and affinities are alike un- 
known, whether amongst their contemporaries by which the world 

to the order Eupliorhiacece , by others to Cacti, and by the majority to Ferna. 
The necessary conclusion to which those who place them in the first two orders 
would lead us is, that they were inhabitants of singularly aiid and desert coun- 
tries; whilst, if ferns, they are characteristic of diametrically opposite condi- 
tions, — a moist soil and a humid atmosphere. 

as compared with that of the present day. 3G9 

was then inhabited, or those hitherto unrecognised alUes that may 
now surround us. 

The foregoing remarks admit of illustration, to a certain extent, 
by particular instances. This may be useful, because indicating to 
the student those errors into which he is most liable to fall. Since, 
however, he may not be aware how closely the course of investiga- 
tion pursued in the examination of a living flora ought to be followed 
in studying a fossil one, it is, perhaps, well to enumerate those steps 
by which a knowledge of both can be obtained. 

{To he concluded in our next Number.) 

On the Coal- Formation recently found in the Maremma of Tus- 
cany. (^Extract from a Notice of M. PiLLA, Professor in the 
University of Pisa.) By M. L. Frapolli. 

The geologist who visits for the first time that vast space 
of the Italian coast called the Maremma, is at once struck 
with the singular nature of the formations he meets with. 
He continues in a state of uncertainty, and dare not pro- 
nounce an opinion, on witnessing the marks of great modifi- 
cations presented by a surface in appearance so flat and uni- 
form, whose sti'ata, shaken and altered in their nature, indi- 
cate the force of plutonic causes, and the manner in which 
the massive rocks and metallic substances with which this 
territory abounds have been brought into view. It is to 
these same causes that we must ascribe the actual appear- 
ance of the organic substances met with in the midst of these 
mineral beds, and which are a real treasure in a country 
where forests are rare, and where, up to the present time, 
all researches with the view of supplying the want of them 
have been unsuccessful. 

The qualities of the combustible substance found in the 
Maremmas at Monte Massi and Mont Bamboli, the nature 
of the formation in which it is contained, and the chances of 
success in mining it, are the subjects which M. Pilla treats 
of in his notice. 

It is but a short time since an industrial society belonging 
to Livorno, caused a pit to be dug at Monte Bamboli, in the 
territory of Massi, in search of coal. At a small depth this 

370 On tlie Coal-Formation 

pit crossed two beds of mineral coal, the exterior appearance 
of which in all respects resembles that of the English or 
Flanders coal. Its texture is foliated or laminar ; its frac- 
ture even or conchoidal ; its colour black and shining ; the 
division imperfectly prismatic, occasioned by contraction, is 
often observed in it ; the offensive odour of sulpho-hydric acid 
is developed in it by rubbing. On the surface of the laminae 
we find a fibrous substance, friable, black with a silky lustre, 
called by Werner, mineral charcoal {mineralische holzkohle) 
and which is very frequently met with in the coal of other 
countries. Pyrites disseminated throughout it, and often in- 
visible, also minute veins of calcareous spar, are among the 
number of its accessory elements. It is speedily kindled by 
the flame of a torch, becomes extinguished as soon as that is 
withdrawn, in this respect differing from the lignites. Its 
mean density is 1-35 according to M. Matteucci. 

An immediate analysis has been given by M. Pilla, for 100 
parts of sea-coal : 

Coke 58 to 62-00 

Sulphur 3-20 

Other volatile substances, 30'00 

Ashes 6-88 

According to mediate analysis, nearly two-thirds of the 
sulphur was not found in it in the state of pyrites. With re- 
gard to the coke which resulted from distillation, it is pretty 
compact and not very vesicular ; heated in a retort, it gave out 
a very distinct odour of sulphuric acid. 

Compared with the principal coals of England, analyses of 
which have been given by M. Thomson, the coal of Monte 
Bamboli nearly approaches in composition the scaly coal of 
Glasgow, which contains, 

Carbon 55-23 

Volatile substances 35'27 

Ashes 9-50 


To these scientific particulars, M. Pilla adds the result of 
numerous experiments made with the view of determining 

recently found in the Maremma of Tuscany. 371 

the fitness of this combustible for steam-boats. According 
to trials made in the packet-boats, Eurotas, Captain Lescau- 
da, and in the Lycm'gus, Captain Lavasseur, as well as those 
made in an establishment of steam-mills at Livorno, it appears 
that the coal of Monte Bamboli possesses all the properties 
of true coal; and that, whether with regard to its calorific power, 
the manner in which it kindles and burns, or the quantity of 
steam it produces in a given time, this coal bears comparison 
with the English coals of middling quality, and may conve- 
niently supply the wants of navigation. Almost all who have 
made trial of it bear testimony to its good quality, finding only 
a single fault, that of running together a little, and leaving 
much cinder ; but at the same time they express the opinion 
that grates of larger size than usual may greatly favour its 
combustion, especially when the workmen have learned to 
dig it out in large pieces, and when a regular system of min- 
ing will allow them to separate the parts of the roof and the 
slaty veins which were mingled with the coal furnished for 
these trials. 

The learned Professor concludes from all this, that the 
substance found at Monte Bamboli is a true coal ; which, in- 
deed, had been previously determined by other disting-uished 
geologists, such as M. Paolo Savi,* and M. de Collegno.t 

But although the combustible of Monte Bamboli ofi'ers no 
diflPerence, mineralogically speaking, from the English coals, 
its geological relations are essentially different. The car- 
boniferous beds of the Maremma evidently belong to the sedi- 
mentary formations, and more especially to the miochie for- 

What is remarkable, is the analogy which exists between 
this formation and the true coal-formation, such as it appears 
in England ; for not only is the identity of the rocks, their 
structure and disposition striking, but the analogy of their 
origin is unquestionable. In the English formations we per- 
ceive a mixture of marine and fresh-water shells, and the re- 
mains of terrestrial vegetation ; here we likeviise find marine 
fossils (^psammobia, buccinum, mytilus, ostred) and fresh-water 

* Meraoria per Bcrvire alio studio della costituzione fisica Jella Toscana, 
p. 119. 

t Siur le metamorphisniu dcs roches dc Sediment, p. IS). 

372 On the Coal- Formation 

shells (jjlanorhis) along with the fruits of coniferse, willow- 
leaves, &c. The two deposits, although belonging to very 
different ages, have, therefore, been produced in similar cir- 
cumstances, and very probably in shallow bays, or a kind of 
estuaries, either at the mouth of some great river, or in places 
overflown with enormous peat-bogs. 

We see, therefore, that the same causes can act in an ana- 
logous manner at epochs very remote from each other, and 
that true coal may be produced in a more recent forma- 
tion. To this fact M. Pilla had formerly drawn attention, at 
an extraordinary meeting of the Geological Society of France, 
in 1839, at Boulogne-sur-Mer,* and of which we have ex- 
amples in the Jurassic formation of Obernkircken, in Hesse, 
which for ages has furnished coal to the whole of Northern 
Germany, as well as in the Jurassic formations and green 
sandstones of Entrevernes, Bottingen, Gersten in Austria, 
Carpona in Istria, &c.t 

Besides, the aspect and properties of the coal-formation are 
far from being an anomaly confined to the combustible of the 
Maremma. These characters, forms, and the nature of the 
rocks, which remind us of the more ancient formations, are the 
ordinary phenomena everywhere observed in the structure of 
Italy, and it is only to add a new fact to all these, which 
prove to us the great diifer6nces in composition, arrange- 
ment, and, in a word, general appearance, between the con- 
temporaneous formations of the two sides of the Alps. It is 
because the subterranean fires, which, in the north, have acted 
only on the inferior part of the earth's crust, have here ex- 
erted their power even to the highest stages. 

The coal of Monte Bamboli is, therefore, a new fact in 
science, and one of great importance ; for it shews us that 
this combustible may be pi'oduced in formations greatly supe- 
rior to the true coal formations, which is in opposition to the 
opinions generally held on this subject. But this fact is not 
of less importance, since the minei'alogical and chemical pro- 
perties are absolutely the same as those of coal ; the dispo- 
sition and geological aspect of the formation is the same. 

If we consider that coal has no other probable origin than 

* Bulletin Je la Soc. Geol. de Prance, t. x., p. 419. 

t Boue, Guide du Geologue Voyageur, t. i., 3d partie, ch. i. § 11. 

recently found in the Maremma of Tuscany. 373 

our peats, and that it has probably passed into this state 
only in consequence of the slow and molecular modifications 
produced on it by the action of the central heat, the tempe- 
rature of which, in remote times, manifested itself at the sur- 
face of the globe much more powerfully and uniformly than 
in our days, we will perceive that it is sufficient that, in cer- 
tain countries, the action of subterranean fires should be pi'o- 
longed more than in others, in order that true coal should 
be formed in positions hitherto regarded as abnormal. And 
this is quite conformable to the laws of nature, for we still 
see, in many countries, and particularly in many parts of 
Italy, the efiFects of an actively- existing igneous action ; and, 
to refer to no other than the territory of Maremma, we plainly 
perceive that it has been severely plutonised in times pretty 
recent, insomuch that the influence of internal heat is still 
more sensible there in our times than in any other country. 
This also appeared from M. Pilla's observations, who, by de- 
scendino- the pit at Monte Massi, found that the temperature 
increased with astonishing rapidity. 

It is not, therefore, extraordinary that the territory of Ma- 
remma should be found, in the time of the miocene era, in 
the particular conditions wdiich subjected it to a temperature 
analogous to that of the coal-formation era. It is to this 
cause, altogether of a local kind, that M. Pilla, along with 
M. Elie de Beaumont, Savi and Collegno, ascribes the reduc- 
tion into coal of a combustible which, in other cotemporary 
deposits, is met with in the state of stipites, lignites, or even 
of peat. 

The mining of such a repository of combustible matter ought 
not, therefore, to be more difficult than that of any other 
coal-mine ; and the probability of success is so much greater 
from the deposit appearing to be of very considerable extent. 
It is henceforth with coal as with granite, which at first 
was believed to be the lowest and most ancient of all the for- 
mations ; afterwai'ds its emersion was proved to be posterior 
to the existence of organised beings, and a granite has been 
found even contemporary with the tertiary epoch. Perhaps 
the coal of Monte Bamboli is destined to produce a similar 
revolution in our geological opinions. — {Annates dcs Mines, 
Quatrieme Serie, tome xii., p. 361.) 


Meteorology of Whitehaven. 


8. & SW. 






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Meteorology of Whitehaven. 



Mean Air- 



Mean Wet- 

Mean Dew- 

Mean Dew- 

Mean Com- 
plement of 

January, . 










April, . . 
May, . . 






June, . 






July, . . 






August, . 






October, . 


























48-56 Mea 

n of, observed from May. | 

Radiation to the Sky, ^c.f 

Absolute Minima. 

Tebbestbial Radiation. 

In Sun's Rats. 


4 feet. 








Mean from 
Daily Ob- 





January . 



















April . . 
May . . 
June . . 













July . . 
August . 
October . 













12, 16 





























1 18/ 

















32-87 22 06 




34-45 27- ! 7-45 



* These observations were made twice daily, viz. at 10'' 30™ a.m. and 3'' p.m. In 
deducing the dew-point from the wet and dry bulb thermometer, Mr Oluisher's va- 
luable hygrometrical tables liave been used. The dew-point apparatus, and wet and 
dry bulb thermometers, have both been compared with Mr Oluisher's standard. 

t In 1846, the naked thermometers were placed on a flat piece of cork, in cloudy 
and wet weather, but on clear nights they were exposed in wicker baskets, contain- 
ing a layer of raw wool. In 1847 the cork only was used. 

376 Meteorology of Whitehaven. 

Remarks on the year 1847. 

January/. — A fine, dry month, but with little sun, and a stagnant at- 
mosphere. Mean temperature 2°'02 under the average. 

February. — Similar to January, Mean temperature 2°'7l under the 
average. The complement of the dew-point is 2^"31 above the mean, 
shewing a very dry state of the atmosphere for the season. The evapo- 
ration, and also the rain, are both below an average quantity. 

On the night of the 4th, the radiation was 21°, being the greatest I 
have recorded ; the night was not particularly clear, but very calm. 

On the night between the 11th and 12th, the thermometer at Green- 
wich fell to 6°, or 18°' 5 below the minimum at Whitehaven. At 3 p. m. 
on the 7th, the dew-point had fallen 8^ since morning, and 26° in the 
preceding twenty-four hours. 

March. — A dull but dry month, and free from the piercing winds which 
usually characterise it. The sun has been very sparing of his beams, 
and a perfectly clear day or night has long been a rarity. Mean tempe- 
rature 1°'S0 above the average. The air has been unusually dry, the 
complement of the dew-point being 2°'7l above the mean of the five pre- 
vious years. The evaporation is the same as the average, and it exceeds 
the fall of rain by 0"45 inch. 

The average quantity of rain during the first quarter of the year (Jan. 
to March) is 11-79 inches; but the fall in that period of 1847 only 
amounts to 5'07 inches. Notwithstanding the deficiency of rain, we have 
had little sun, and the sky has been generally overcast during the nights, 
and most unfavourable for astronomical observations. The mean tempe- 
rature of the quarter ending March 31 is 0°'97 under the average of ten 
years. The mortality in this town is 100 per cent., and for the whole 
Union it is 97 per cent, above the average of the corresponding quarter 
in the previous eight years. According to the Registrar-General's re- 
port, the deaths throughout England are 6035 above the corrected ave- 
rage for the quarter. 

April The coldest April in the last fourteen years, except in 1837 

and 1838 ; the mean temperature is 2°"87 under the average. 

On the 1st April, at Liverpool, heavy snow fell from 1 a.m. to 8 p.m., 
and, though much melted as it fell, the ground was covered to the depth 
of four inches, and on the roofs of the houses it was eight inches deep. 
So dark and gloomy was the atmosphere, that artificial light was rendered 
necessary at mid-day. At Whitehaven we had some snow in the morn- 
ing, amounting to '035 inch, but it did not lie at all upon the ground ; 
the afternoon and evening were fine and sunny. 

Liverpool is frequently visited with heavy falls of snow, when we have 
little or none as this place. Indeed, Whitehaven seems to be singularly 
exempted from snow-storms, particularly of late years. 

May. — The month of May, usually the driest of the twelve, has, this 
year, been damp aad wet ; the mean quantity of rain is 1'82 inch ; but 
in May 1847, the fall is 3-42 inches, or about an inch and a half above 
the average. The mean temperature is 0^'48 above the average, and the 
mean complement of the dew-point is 1°'66 below the mean ; and in con- 
sequence of the unusual dampness of the air, the evaporation is also be- 
low the average quantity by 1'38 inch. 

Meteorology of Whitehaven. 377 

On the night of the lOth-llth, there occurred a violent thunder-storm, 
attended with some peculiar circumstances. The electrical disturbance 
appears to have been confined to the immediate neighbourhood of this 

Cuckoo heard, and first swallow seen at Whitehaven on the 6th, much 
later than usual. In the country, these spring visitors made their ap- 
pearance towards the latter end of AprU. 

Heard the corncrake about the 20th. 

June. — A fine dry, month ; the mean temperature is 1°'21 under the 
average. The difference of the dew-point and air temperatures, and the 
amount of evaporation, are nearly coincident with their respective ave- 
rages. The radiation of heat from the earth's surface at night, has been 
greatly impeded by the intervention of clouds, both in this and in the 
previous month; in May and June 1546, the mean radiation is 8°"o2 
and 9'"07 ; in the corresponding months of 1847 it is represented respec- 
tively by o°-ll and 4^' 70. Hail showers on 8th and 14th. 

The mean temperature of the quarter ending June 30th is l°-20 under 
the average of 10 years. The mortality in this town is 80 per cent., 
and for the whole Union it is 79 per cent., above the average for the 
quarter in the previous eight years. 

The deaths throughout England are 6745 above the corrected quar- 
terly average. 

July. — The driest and the hottest July I have recorded. The mean 
temperature is 2"^ -74 above the average. The fall of rain slightly exceeds 
three-fourths of an inch, and the quantity received by the steeple-gauge, 
at 80 feet above the ground, is rather more than was measured in the 
garden, near the surface — a somewhat rare exception to the general law 
of condensation. The evaporation and the complement of the dew-point 
are both above the average, the former by '595 inch, the latter by 1°'14. 
The amount of terrestrial radiation is small, being exactly the same as 
in the corresponding month of last year, when 9 inches of rain fell ; 
hence we may infer that the earth has retained through the night most 
of the heat absorbed during the day. 

August. — Mean temperature 1"'10 under the average. The comple- 
ment of the dew-point and the evaporation are both above the average 
for the month ; the former by l'"&6, and the latter by 0'.51 inch. 

Hail on the 8th and 23d. Multitudes of shooting stars and several 
bright meteors, almost every clear night between the 2d and 20th. The 
grain harvest commenced in this neighbourhood about the 17th. The 
yield was good, and the crops secured in excellent condition. 

SKptcinher. — Mean temperature 2" '87 under the average. The com- 
plement of the dew-point is 1°'67 above the average, and the evapora- 
is 0*56 under tlie mean quantity. Fine aurorse on the 26th and 29th. 
A magnificent arch begirt the sky from W. to E. on the evening of the 

The mean temperature of the quarter ending September 30th is 0-°41 
under the average ; the complement of the dew-iwint and the evapora- 
tion are both above the average, the former by l'°55, the latter by 0"18 

The deaths throughout the Union during the quarter, exceed the average 
number by 87, or 54 per cent. ; in the town of Whitehaven, the mortality 
is 45 per cent, above the quarterly average. 

378 Meteorology of Whitehaven. 

The deaths throughout England are more, by 7007, than the corrected 
quarterly average from 1838 to 1846. 

October. — Mild, with occasional heavy rains. The mean temperature 
and complement of the dew-point are both in excess, the former by 1°"11, 
the latter by 0°-87. 

About 7 P.M. on the evening of the 12th, there was a splendid auroral 
arch, stretching quite across the sky, and passing nearly through the 
zenith. It disappeared in a few minutes after it was first noticed. 
There was an aurora with streamers on the following evening. 

The large eclipse of the sun, which took place on the morning of the 
9th, was very favourably seen from this place, though, from the clouded 
state of the atmosphere, it was invisible to most parts of England. Some 
particulars of this eclipse, as observed at Whitehaven, may be found in 
the " Whitehaven Herald" of the 16th, and the " Illustrated London 
News" of the 23d of the month. 

November. — A very mild but excessively wet month. The mean tem- 
perature is 2"°69 in excess. 

At Cockermouth, on the night of the 26th, there were several loud 
peals of thunder, with heavy rain and hailstones of a very large size. 
An observer near Cockermouth informs me, that from 8'' 30'" to 11'' 
P.M., and subsequently, a magnificent aurora extended over nearly 90° 
of the northern horizon, at one time displaying two concentric arches. 
The centre of the higher arch was elevated about 25° or 30°, and was 
bounded internally by clouds of the densest black, which contrasted 
beautifully with the brilliant light above. 

December. — Very wet to the 19th ; afterwards fair to the end, except 
a heavy fall of snow (yielding 0-858 of water) on the 29th. Tempera- 
ture 0'85 below the average. 

On the 6th, the barometer fell to 28-01, being yl^ths of an inch higher 
than the reading on January 13, 1843. It was followed by a heavy 
gale and a great quantity of hail, the storm commencing after the mer- 
cury had begun to rise. 

The mean temperature of the quarter ending December 31st is 1° 
above the average. The complement of the dew-point is also l°-67 in 

The deaths throughout the Union during the quarter are 247, or 40 
per cent, nearly above the average of 8 years, which is 178. 

In the town only, the number is 116, or 27 per cent, above the average, 
which is 91. In the corresponding quarter of 1846, the deaths in the 
Union were 310, and in the town 158, whilst in 1845 the numbers were 
only 156 and 73 respectively. According to the Registrar-General's Re- 
port, the excess of deaths throughout England in this quarter above the 
calculated average, is 11,376; in 1845 they were 5670 below the 

The chief peculiarity connected with the meteorology of the past 
year, is the very unequal distribution of rain in the difierent seasons ; — 
the excessive wetness of the fourth, and the remarkable dryness of the 
first three quarters. In the first quarter, we had 5-070 inches ; in the 
second 8-900 inches ; in the third 9-010 inches, and in the last quarter 
19*941 inches. From the 1st of January to the 30th September, there 
fell 22-98 inches, and from the IstOctober to the 31st December 19-941 

Meteorology of Whitehaven. 379 

inches, so that the first nine months only received three inches more 
rain than the last three months of the year. 

In the Lake Districts the disproportion was still greater. 

In 1847, there "have been five days in vrhich the quantity of rain was 
between 1 and 2 inches, viz., one day in August, one in September, two 
in November, and one in December ; and one day (in November) in 
which the fall exceeded 2 inches. 

The mean temperature of 1847 is y^ths of a degree below the average 
for this place. 

The driest days in 1847 were the 9th and 15th of March ; on the 9th, 
the difference between the dew-point and air temperature was 21"; on 
the loth at 10 a.m., it was 21°, and at 3 p.m. 27°. 

In the past 3ear, there have been 534 deaths in the town of White- 
haven, the average number in the previous 8 years being 331 ; the mor- 
tality is consequently 62 per cent, in excess. In 1839, the deaths in 
this town were 313; in 1840, 260; in 1841, 316; in 1842, 303; in 
1843, 337 ; in 1844, 309 ; in 1845, 287 ; in 1846, b'22 ; and in 1847, 

This summary, which I have just made from authentic data in my 
possession, shews a frighful increase in the mortality of the town of 
Whitehaven during the last two years ; it must be borne in mind, how- 
ever, that this excess has been general over the kingdom, though pro- 
bably not to an equal extent. 

John Fletcher Miller. 
AVhitehaven, August 1848. 

On the Asteriadce found Fossil in British Strata. By EDWARD 
Forbes, Esq., F.K.S., Professor of Botany in King's Col- 
lege, London, Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey of 
the United Kingdom. 

During the course of the researches of the Geological Survey of 
Britain many remarkable fossil Kadiata have been brought to light, 
some of which involve important considerations, both geological and 
zoological. Not long ago. and until within a very few years past, it 
was supposed that true star-fishes were animals whose appearance in 
the earth's seas dated from the oolitic period at earliest. The few fossil 
species on record had been observed in secondary formations. Their 
relations with existing forms were uninvestigated, and, indeed, the 
scientific study of the latter had scarcely commenced. Within the 
last ten years, however, the attention of zoologists has been strongly 
directed towards the Echinodermata, and numerous memoirs, both 
physiological and systematic, have been published upon this interest- 
ing order of Radiata. 

The structure, liabits, and sources of character, generic and speci- 

380 Professor Edwards Forbes on the Asteriadce 

fie, of the existing star-fislies having been lately extensively investi- 
gated, and a good basis for comparison attained, it is time to inquire 
into the history and generic relations of their fossil allies ; the more 
so, as notices of not a few species are scattered through geological 
memoirs. Numerous undescribed species exist in collections, and 
good specimens of many recorded forms, of which slight fragments 
only have been described or figured. The inquiry is one of great 
interest ; for through it we may hope to attain a knowledge of the 
earliest features of this important section of radiated animals ; to as- 
certain whether the order, as a whole, has undergone material changes 
durincf its progression in time ; whether the earlier forms were rudi- 
mentary or equal in perfection of organization with those now living ; 
and whether we can obtain information respecting the conditions of 
climate or depth under which they lived in the several geological 
epochs. The last point is especially important ; for as we know that 
the forms of existing Echinodermata have a distribution highly cha- 
racteristic of regions and conditions in space, we may hope to find an 
analogical distribution of the fossil species in time. Whilst a great 
part of the extinct zoophyte closely approximate existing types, a 
larsre proportion even of the palaeozoic species bearing no small re- 
semblance to existing forms the majority of the higher Radiata 
which have been preserved exhibit generic, and even sectional differ- 
ences, separating them from their living allies. These differences 
are especially conspicuous among the Echinidre and Crinoidese. The 
older genera, and even tribes of the last-named group, became ex- 
tinct before the epoch of the secondary rocks commenced ; and in ex- 
isting seas there are but few members of the crinoidal type. The 
group is essentially chronomorphic. The Echinidse are doubtfully 
indicated as yet among palaeozoic forms ; but those of secondary for- 
mations frequently belong to genera which have become extinct, and 
the development of which had an evident relation to points in time ; 
for we find groupes of species, presenting peculiar combinations ot 
characters, limited entirely to a few consecutive formations. This 
centralization of a number of generic types in time among the Echi- 
nidaj, whilst the members of others range indifferently through vast 
epochs, is exactly analogous to the present distribution of sea-urchins, 
many of the genera of which are confined to limited zoological pro- 
vinces, whilst the members of others are distributed all over the 

The knowledge of these facts, and an erroneous and too hasty in- 
terpretation of them, led palaeontologists to believe that the distribu- 
tion of the star-fishes in time was very limited, and had relation only 
to recent epochs. They were supposed to have been entirely absent 
during the palaeozoic epoch, an absence which, if true, would have 
formed one among the many remarkable negative characters which 
it apparently presents ; but which, it seems to me, have been laid 
far too much stress upon, when we consider the slight acquaintance 

found fossil in British Strata. 381 

we have as yet with comparative geology. But a small portion of 
the earth's surface has as yet been examined with that minuteness 
which the palasontologist should require before he infers sweeping 
conclusions from negative facts. As well might the zoologist or bo- 
tanist, having thoroughly explored one province, or even a con- 
nected group of provinces of distribution, draw from his researches 
general conclusions respecting the presence or absence of like beings 
with those which he has examined on other parts of the earth's sur- 
face before they had been explored by competent persons. If many 
distant points be thoroughly examined, we may hope to come to 
tolerably correct inferences respecting the phenomena of life in the 
interspaces, and this is as true in time- investigations as in space-in- 
vestigations ; but in geology, until lately, our knowlege of the fossil 
faunas and floras of distant regions has been, and indeed is still, ex- 
tremely limited ; for the parts of the world best examined, viz., 
Europe and North America, have evidently, in a natural history 
point of view, been portions of one province only ; vast, no doubt, 
but not vaster than some existing provinces of distribution recognised 
by those naturalists who have studied that important subject. ° Yet, 
this not having been borne in mind, speculations, presented as infer- 
ences from extensive series of facts, respecting the universal diffusion 
of species during the older epochs of the world's history; the evidence 
they afforded of a universal climate ; the progression of organisation 
in time ; the development of higher forms from lower ; the absence 
of great classes of organised beings ; and the causes of that absence 
dependent on the existence of pecuHar atmospheric or terrestrial con- 
ditions, have been rife in geology ; and though probably partially 
true, yet, as the logical process by which many of them were ar- 
rived at is not quite clear, whilst the premises were often evidently 
insuflicient, have led many able men, unacquainted with the certain- 
ties of our science, too hastily to regard geology as in great part a 
philosophical romance. 

When we consider the enormous lapse of time which has rolled 
away since the earlier formations were deposited ; the changes which 
have taken place on the earth's surface during the interval ; the 
wear and tear which the hardest rocks must have undergone during 
their upheavals and depressions ; the little that is preserved to us of 
sea-beds which have been extensively exposed during comparatively 
recent times, — the wonder is, not that we can find no traces of tho 
former existence of numerous tribes of creatures, members of which 
now live upon our earth and its seas ; but that so many types of 
forms, simulating existing organisms, should be preserved at all as 
evidences of the most ancient past. It is from positive, and not from 
negative evidences, then, that the palaeontologist should draw his con- 
clusions, unless when well-established laws, arrived at by naturalists 
from the careful study of the full and unmutilated chapter of tho 
VOL. XLV. NO. XC. — OCTOBER 1848. 2 C 

382 Professor Edward Forbes on the Asteriadce 

present, have evidently so strong a relationship of analogy with the 
phenomena of the past, as to warrant their safe application. 

Oro-anic remains make their first appearance in British strata 
abundantly, and in considerable variety, about the parallel of the 
Bala limestone, and sandstones and shales associated with it. Much 
below that geological horizon, fossils occur, the oldest known forms 
appearing to be LingultB, members of a genus of brachiopodous mol- 
luscs, still represented by species which do not vary much in form 
from their most ancient allies and predecessors. But before the de- 
position of the Bala rocks, the evidences of life within our own area 
are comparatively scant. In America, corresponding palaeozoic phe- 
nomena have been described. 

The first traces of the appearance of Asteriadee, occur in rocks of 
the Bala series, or even lower in the geological scale. They were 
first noticed by Professor Sedgwick, who found them in beds of cor- 
responding age in Cumberland, where they were also observed by Mr 
Daniel Sharpe. The researches of the Geological Survey have brought 
to light similar fossils in the Bala rocks, near Bala, and in the ashy 
slates at Drumcannon, near Waterford, where they were found by 
Captain James. These latter beds probably correspond in age with 
the former. It is very remarkable that forms of star-fishes strikingly 
similar, have been discovered in the Lower Silurian strata of the 
United States. 

The Cumberland, Welsh, and Irish star-fishes all belong to one 
genus. After a very careful examination of all the specimens I have 
been able to procure (and, through the kindness of Professor Sedg- 
wick and Mr D. Sharpe, every facility has been afforded), I am in- 
duced to refer them to the existing genus Uraster (^Asteracanthion 
of Muller and Troschel), members of which are at the present day 
the most abundant star-fishes in the British seas, and throughout 
the North Atlantic. The general aspect of the palaeozoic star-fishes 
must have been strikingly similar to that of the Urasterice now 
living. Indeed, impressions taken from the latter in clay would so 
closely resemble those which we find in ancient rocks, that the cri- 
tical eye of a naturalist would be required for the definition of their 
specific distinctness. Nor does this arise through the obscurity or 
imperfections of such impressions, for the external characters, so far 
as contour and sculpture of surface, and even many points of struc- 
ture, are very completely indicated in them, rude as they may seem. 

As yet, with the exception of the instances already referred to, 
only one other instance of the discovery of a palaeozoic asteriad has 
come to my knowledge, namely, that of a well-preserved species, ap- 
parently also belonging to the genus Uraster, by M. Thorent, in the 
" Terrains Anthraxiferes," of the department of Aisne. It is pro- 
bable, however, that the progress of research will bring many more 
to light. In the older secondary strata, not a few have been found, 
both in Bi'itain and abi'oad. A doubtful form (Asterias obtusa) has 

found Fossil in British Strata. 383 

been figui-ed by Goldfuss from the Muschelkalk, who has also made 
known a true Asterias, or Astropecten, from the lias of Wurtemberg. 
Several species oi Astropecten have been observed in the oolites of 
Yorkshire ; and similar forms in corresponding beds in Germany, 
where JJrasterice have also been found. A single example of a 
fossil Luidia has been made known from the marlstone of Yorkshire, 
and a Goniaster from oolitic beds in Germany. In the upper se- 
condary (cretaceous) rocks, numerous fossil star-fishes have occurred, 
especially of the genus Goniaster. Representatives of Oreaster, As- 
tropecten, Asterina, and Arthraster (n. g.) are also present in the 
cretaceous series. The few older tertiary star-fishes with which we 
are acquainted, belong to the genus Astropecten. Arguing from the 
analogy of their associates, there can be no question that star-fishes 
were abundant in the tertiary seas. Yet how very rare are the traces 
of their existence ! In the later tertiary strata, the only evidence 
as yet procured of their presence during the deposition of those beds 
consists in a few minute fragmentary osslcula of Urasterice. Yet, 
when we consider the gregarious habits of those star-fishes, espe- 
cially of the species to which the ossicula pi'eserved in all probability 
belonged, it is very wonderful to mark the almost total disappear- 
ance of their exuviae ; and the fact should serve as a caution to those 
who would unhesitatingly infer the absence of a tribe of organised 
beings, especially of such as present few facilities for preservation, 
from the absence of their fossil remains. Even now, when dredg- 
ing, we very I'arely bring up any remains of dead star-fishes, whilst 
the living animals are not only present in the locality explored, but 
often so abundant as to fill the bag of the dredge, to the exclusion of 
all other creatures. 

We refer our readers to the concluding part of Professor E. For- 
bes's interesting memoir, from which the above is extracted, for de- 
scriptions of the fossil Asteriadte. (^Vide vol. ii. o[ Memoirs of the 
Geological Survey of Great Britain, p. 461.) 

Miscellaneous Observations on the Centipede {Scolopendra mor- 
sitans), and on the large Land Snail of the West Indies 
{Helix oblonga). By JOHN Davv, M.D., F.E..S. London 
and Edinburgh ; Inspector- General of Ai'my Hospitals. 
Communicated by the Author. 

In a former communication, published in the Philosophical 
Journal, I gave an account of the urinary excretion of the 
centipede, how it consisted chiefly of lithate of ammonia. 
Then, I had obtained no certain information respecting its 

384 Dr Davy's Observations on the Centipede. 

food. Since, I have had an opportunity of observing one in 
the act of eating, and of ascertaining that its food is insects. 
The one I allude to was caught without being injured, and 
confined under a glass vessel, a common drinking-glass, in- 
verted on a porcelain plate. It was under observation a 
month, when it eifected its escape. During the whole of this 
time it exhibited a voracious appetite. The first day of its 
captivity it ate two house-flies ; and each day after, this num- 
ber or more. One day it devoured nine. It ate the flies 
piece-meal, leaving nothing but portions of the wings. So 
intent was it on the act, that it did not relinquish its prey 
even when somewhat roughly touched, appearing, when so 
engaged, passive and indiff'erent to everything else. And 
commonly after eating it seemed listless and disinclined to 
move, almost as if torpid or asleep. The excrementitious mat- 
ter it voided was abundant, not unlike that of small lizards, — 
being in little cylindrical masses, in part neai'ly white, con- 
sisting of lithate of ammonia, and in part of a darker hue, 
the latter alvine, formed chiefly of the wings and other undi- 
gested parts of the flies it had consumed. This centipede 
weighed 24-46 grains (weighed in a thin glass tube). The 
trial was made after it had been two days in my possession, 
and when it had ate nine flies. The excrement voided in 
the same time, after having become dry from exposure to the 
air, weighed "44 of a grain. The larger portion of it was 
lithate of ammonia, as it always was. It did not diminish 
in quantity with the confinement of the centipede, but seemed 
rather proportionally to increase, — being in accordance nearly 
with the quantity of food used ; and it was observed that com- 
monly after devouring a fly a small excrementitious mass 
was discharged. Between the 12th and the 25th of July the 
matter voided was found equal to 2-55 grains, weighed when 

I am induced to give these particulars, thus minutely, for 
two reasons, — one, the difiiculty there is in procuring a cen- 
tipede uninjured, so as to be fit for such observations as I 
have made ; the other, on account of the observations them- 
selves, denoting, as they seem to do, a great activity of the 
digestive and assimilating power of the animal, and the I'apid 

Dr Davy's Observations on the Centipede. 385 

formation, and in abundant quantity, of lithate of ammo- 
nia. This activity of functions, I believe, was connected with 
the growth of the centipede ; for at the end of the month it 
appeared decidedly increased in size. Had it not escaped, 
this would have been determined with precision by weigh- 

The snail, which, in the heading of this notice I have called 
the large snail of the West Indies, is, I believe, identical 
with Helix ohlonga of Linnseus. It is very common in the 
island of Tobago, less so in St Vincent, and is not met with 
in Barbadoes. The specimens I have seen have been about 
four inches in length, and about two in width. It burrows, 
hiding itself under ground during the dry season. There, 
too, it deposits its eggs. It appears abroad in damp nights, 
and by day in rainy or showery weather. It is believed to 
feed entirely on vegetables. 

Its eggs, those I have seen, have been about two inches 
long and about six-tenths of an inch in their short diameter. 
They have a brittle, semi-transparent shell, which, I find, is 
composed of carbonate of lime, with a little animal matter, 
and a just perceptible trace of phosphate of lime. Their 
contents, in their early stage, judging from one that I have 
examined, are a viscid fluid of uniform colour, white, with a 
just perceptible tinge of yellow. There was no appearance 
of yolk. The white was found to be of specific gravity 1060, 
carefull} weighed. It was coagulated by heat, and was ren- 
dered opaque by corrosive sublimate and nitric acid, much 
in the same manner as the albumen ovi of the common fowl ; 
but the coagulum was less firm, — yet, as firmed by heat, suf- 
ficiently so, to bear the inversion of ^the vessel without its 

The excrement which this snail voids is large in quantity, 
in consolidated cylindrical masses, — casts seemingly of the 
tube from whence they are discharged. What I have ex- 
amined I have found to consist chiefly of two kinds of mat- 
ter, viz., one, the chief portion, of a dark olive-green, formed 
principally of the debris of the vegetable food, as was indi- 
cated by its appearance under the microscope ; the other, 
almost white, soft when voided, of uniform appearance and 

S86 Dr Davy's Observatio?is on (he Centipede. 

consistence, and, as seen under the microscope, composed of 
globules chiefly mixed with a few epithelium scales. The 
globules were about 2 lyVo of an inch in diameter. Acted on 
by nitric acid and heat, I have found them to contain lithic 
acid, which is probably in the form of lithate of ammonia, 
and probably also combined with some animal matter. That 
it is so combined, I infer both from the comparatively large 
size of the globules, and from the purple colour, the result of 
the action of the acid and heat, being less intense than in 
the instance of pure lithate of ammonia similarly tested. A 
third kind of matter is occasionally met with, of a grey colour 
or nearly white, which, chemically examined, appears to con- 
sist chiefly of earthy substances, carbonate of lime and sili- 
ceous sand ; and which, it may be inferred, has been taken 
in with the food, either intentionally — instinctively, as the 
like matter is swallowed by fowls to afford material for the 
formation of the shell of the egg, — or accidentally, adhering 
to what is eaten, still serving in part the same purpose. 
This matter occurs mixed with the dark, olive-green intesti- 
nal excrement. The white globular matter, containing lithic 
acid, and which it may be concluded is a secretion of the 
urinary kind, is not mixed with the intestinal matter, but is 
merely attached to it, much in the same manner as in the 
instance of the mixed excrement of the centipede ; but the 
urinary part is in greatly smaller proportion, the secretion, 
indeed, is in very minute quantity compared with the excre- 
tion ; that is, the urinary with the alvine. 

As it is probable, reasoning from analogy, that the excre- 
ment of all snails and slugs is similar in composition, and 
contains lithic acid, it may be inferred that their casts are 
even more useful, considered as a natural manure, than has 
commonly been supposed ; storing up nitrogen, in lithate of 
ammonia, and by the slow decomposition of this compound, 
restoring it, and affording an element of support for growing 
plants, the nitrogen so stored up being an excess over that 
required for the growth and sustenance of the animals, and 
itself probably derived from vegetables. 

As this large snail appeared to me a good subject for mak- 
ing trials on its temperature, I instituted a few, the results 

Dr Davy's Observations on the Centipede. 387 

of which I shall give. It may be premised that the two 
snails, on which the observations were made, were brought 
from Tobago to Barbadoes ; had been several days fasting 
(leaves were given them, which they did not eat), and that 
they were kept under a glass vessel to which air had freely 
access, in a well-ventilated room ; and farther, that, at the 
same time, their temperature was ascertained by introdu- 
cing a delicate thermometer with a projecting bulb, so as to 
be covered with their soft parts, the temperature of the air 
of the room was likewise ascertained ; and also, except on 
the first day, that of a bottle of water standing by, for com- 
parison : — 

Time of Temperature 
Observation. of Air of Room. 

Of Water. 

Of one Snail. 

Of another. 

July 27, 3 P.M. 

9|^ P.M. 





••• 28, 6 A.M. 





3^ P.M. 





... 29,6 A.M. 





••• 30, 3i P.M. 





These results seem to shew that these snails had a tem- 
perature, commonly exceeding a little that of the atmosphere 
in which they were. 

The two snails were found equal in volume to 10 cubic 
inches. On the second of August, they were put wnder a jar 
of the capacity of 240 cubic inches, full of atmospheric air, 
and water was poured on the stand so as to cut off all com- 
munication with the atmosphere. In this moist air, moist in- 
deed to perfect saturation, the snails the first day were very 
active, in constant motion ; on the second day they were less 
so ; on the third day they were found dead. The air now on 
examination was found to be largely vitiated with carbonic 
acid gas. 32 cubic inches of this gas were absorbed by cream 
of lime, leaving 198 cubic inches, 10 cubic inches having been 
displaced by the volume of the snails. Hence it appears, 
that nearly two-thirds of the oxygen had been consumed, con- 
verted into carbonic acid gas, which may tolerably account 
for the temperature of the snails being, as denoted in the 
observations recorded, a little higher than that of the air. 

Tlie comparatively short time that the snails lived in a 

388 Oxydation of the Diamond in the Liquid TFay. 

confined moist atmosphere, I am disposed to connect with 
their activity, favoured, and it may be excited, by the humi- 
dity of the air, in other circumstances, when free, congenial 
to their nature and habits ; suflFering thus, somewhat in the 
same manner as certain hybernating animals soon become 
victims to a low temperature, if unduly stimulated to exer- 
tion, roused from their safe dormant state ; or, as certain 
plants seem to perish rapidly, if supplied with water, and that 
be allowed td stagnate, the water in the first instance bring- 
ing their vegetating powers into great activity, and the exer- 
cise of them soon exhausting the water of its oxygen, in con- 
sequence of which, results analogous to suffocation take place 
fatal to the plants. 

Barbadoes, August 7, 1848. 

Oxydation of the Diamond in the Liquid Way. By Professor