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has had the same object in view with his philosophical predea cessors; but professes, and with some justice, to follow a very different, and furer, though more humble route. Instead of speculative inquiries, in the closet, into the manner in which
the Creator might have formed the world, had he fo pleased ;* he examines this world itself, and particularly it's external form; and then descends into its bowels, in quest of data, from which he may draw just or probable inferences, and acquire an insight into the real laws by which the Supreme Being chose to form the world. His examination of the mines in Derbyshire, in particular, presented him with many appearances well adapted to throw light on some of the principal subjects of his inquiry ; and he has accordingly availed himself of the many data with which a personal and accurate inspection of them could not fail to furnish him.
Notwithstanding the proper method of investigation which the Author has followed, by founding his history of the early state of the earch on an actual view and consideration of the general arrangement and occasional dislocations of it's strata, and on the materials furnished by history and philosophy; some parts of it ftill are, and necessarily mult be, hypothetical.' His is a fober and fubftantial system, however, when compared with the vifions of some world makers ; particularly that of the great French naturalist, who instead of groping in the bowels of the earth, begins his inquiry with a fight into the planetary regions. The result of so hopeful an excursion is well known. His infant world (together wịth its fifteen fellows) is ufbered into existence, in a white heat, and in the guise of a ball of melted matter, dashed off from the parent fun, by the shock of a blundering comet rushing against it! The following regular though imperfect epitome of the present system, will at least thew that our Theorist has not indulged himself in any such splendid reveries,
The Author lays the principal foundation of his theory on that great natural datum discovered by the fagacity of Newton, and since verified by astronomical observations, and trigonometrical operations :-we mean the spheroidical figure of the earth, or the excess of its equatorial above its polar diameter, acquired by its diurnal revolution on its axis. From this fact the Author concludes that this globe must have been originally in a state of fluidity; as it could not otherwise have yielded to the centrifugal power, so as to have acquired this elevation at the equator.-In this state, its component parts, folids and Auids, were uniformly blended together, and thus composed one general mass or pulp, of equal consistence and fameness in every part, from its surface to its center.'
The heterogeneous principles, however, of which this chaos confifted, yielding to the universal law of gravitation, and at the
fame time exercising their respective affinities on each other; the uniform suspension of the component parts of the pulpy mass was destroyed. The folid particles, such as the calcareous, argillaceous, metallic, or other earths, for example, respectively combined with each other, and formed ftrata of lime stone, clay, metals, &c. while the particles of air united likewise with those of air ; and those of water with their kindred particles, so that, after the separation and subsidence of all the solid parts, the whole globe was covered with this last mentioned element. The
first lands that appeared were islands, of no great extent or elevation; and for the formation of which the Author naturally enough accounts, by the action of the moon; which raising the water unequally in different places, while the solid particles were coalescing and subfiding, would produce protuberances which would afterwards become firm, and adapted to the support of animal and vegetable life: in the same manner as fand banks are formed in the present fea, by the flux and reflux of the tides. At the close of this account, the Author marks the coincidence between his theory and the Mosaical hätory of the Creation. On many other occasions, where they coincide, the. Author does not fail to remind us of this coincidence. Nevertheless, in some few instances, Mofes may perhaps be thought to hang nearly as heavy on our Theorist, as he lately did on the neck of the Canon Recupero *.
In the times prior to the formation of these primitive islands, it is to be observed that the waters were peopled with their marine inhabitants, from pole to pole. But, while the islands were forming and increasing in extent, many of these animals, particularly the shell fish, as the most fationary and the least active, muft neceffarily become inveloped and buried in the semifluid mud, by means of the Aux and reflux of the waters above-mentioned. This mud, likewise, afterwards acquired firmness, and became folid clay, limestone, &c.
As the sea originally covered the whole earth, and was every where inhabited, it follows that many of its inhabitants must have been thus buried in all parts of the ocean, from pole to pole. Now modern observations Ihew that, in all the regions of the world which have been properly explored ; on the highest mountains, and parts most remote from the present fea, the exuvia of marine animals have been found : particularly their bones, teeth, and shells, imbedded in the substance of stone, chalk, clay, &c. and that the fragments of thells are much more numerous than the bones or teeth of other fish, who could more easily elude the action of the waters.
* See M. R. Vol. xlix. July 1773, page 29.
: On this occafion the Author has made an useful collection, from various writers, of the most striking appearances of this kind observed in different parts of the world. Many of these instances prove that the teeth and shells, in particular, thus found, had actually heretofore belonged to living animals. The former exhibit marks of their having been worn by use: and the shells are frequently found with holes in them, bored by the pholades who prey on the contained fifh. Several beds of sea fhells have been lately discovered near Stableford, the seat of the Earl of Harborough, which still retain their native marine matter, though much decayed.-In Sir Afhton Lever's excellent Museum, are two curious fpecimens of the Cornu Ammonis, with their native shelly matter remaining: but in the lime stone strata in Derbyshire, examined by the Author, the various marine exuviæ, consisting of cockles, corals, entrochi, &c. and found at a depth of two hundred fathoms, the teftaceous matter has been changed to a stony substance. In all these instances, the marine animals to which these exuvia belonged, and some of which are now natives of very different climates, are supposed to have lived and died in the very beds where they are now found.
From these and various other confiderations it appears, according to the Author, that the sea wholly covered the Antediluvian earth : and that marine animals were created, and those whose exuvie are now found, were entombed, before terrestrial animals could have any footing on this globe. Accordingly Mr. W. obferves, that no terrestrial animals or vegetables are found inveloped in the lime stone strata of Derbyshire, which contain the marine productions: nor are any remains of marine animals ever found in the argillaceous strata, which contain the vegetable impressions. And it is further to be observed, that the argillaceous firata are incumbent on the lime stone or calcareous beds.'
The world however which we have hitherto been describing, is not the prefent world. The former, or the Antediluvian earth; consisted only of small islands gradually rising from the decp, or of smooth, even, and uniform elevations; whereas the world on: which we tread at present confifts of immense continents and mountains, of steep or impending fores, craggy rocks, immense vallies and caverns. Our marine exuviæ for merly lay at the bottom of the ocean of the Author's primitive world; whereas many of them are now fituated near the tops of those immense mountains, the Alps and the Andes, and at great diftances from the sea. Some powerful agent is required to effect so great a revolution, and this agent the Author attempts to afcertain, by collecting together the many instances which history, and even that of our own times, affords us of ftupendous changes that have been produced on the surface and in the bowels of the present earth.
• We learn from Pliny and other natural historians, that the sur perficial parts of the earth have suffered great alterations, at different periods of time, viz.
. 1. That many mountains have been raised, and others deprested, or totally swallowed, with cities, and large districts of land; and thať navigable lakes have appeared in the places of them.
2. That many mouritains have likewise been shivered to pieces, and their fragments thrown into their adjacent vallies, and even to the distance of ten or hfteen miles.
3. That great clefts or fiffures have been frequently produced, from whence rivers of water and melted matter have flowed, and deluged the adjacent countries; and likewise that great agitations of the sea, and also rivers, and lakes in the inland countries, have fre-, quently accompanied these tremendous convulsions of nature.'
The Author collects several of the more striking instances of the rising of islands, such as Santorini, Hiera, &c. from the bottom of the sea, attended with eruptions of fire. He enumerates several islands and mountains having volcanic appearances, and which may accordingly be likewise supposed to owe their origin to the same cause, in times anterior to all history. Such are Iceland, Fyal, &c. in the Northern sea; St. Helena and Alcension islands, between Africa and Brazil; Easter' or Davis's illand, Otaheite, &c. in the Southern ocean; several of the Moluccas in the Indian fea; Madeira, several of the Azores and the Antilles, &c. in the Atlantic ocean; the Lipari islands, Ischai, &c. in the Mediterranean fea.
After collecting many instances of mountains formed, and large districts of land swallowed up, shattered, and rent afunder by earthquakes, and particularly by volcanos; he observes that as we may, from analogy, be justified in inferring that all fimilar appearances may have been the effects of the same cause
e; and though vestiges of volcanos are not every where visible, the earth presents us with indications of their having existed in fo many different regions, that there is reason to suppose that subterraneous fire must at different times have existed universally in its bowels. He then proceeds to fhew that this cause, acting on a larger scale, produced, at the same time, the immenfe continents and mountains in the present globe, and the universal deluge.
When the Author afcribes these great phenomena to fire, it must be understood that he means, in general, the united action of fire and water; or the expanfive power of the latter when converted into Ream, or an elastic vapour, by means of heat :-a force which is indeed enormous, and which has been lately calculated, from actual experiments, to exceed even that of gunpowder, in the proportion of fourteen thousand to five hundred.
On this occasion, we scarce need to remind our Readers of Mr: Michel's happy application of this principle, in his paper on the cause of earthquakes, published in the Philosophical Transactions.
Fire, at first acting alone, and with an intensity gradually increasing on the superincumbent strata, is supposed by the Author to have gradually distended and elevated those parts most, on which the Antediluvian occan refted; as the primitive islands, by their additional weight of solid and heavy inatter, opposed a greater resistance. The waters thus raised would naturally flow towards the now less elevated solid parts; or antediluvian islands; and would finally cover them, so as to produce an universal deluge.
The expansion caused by fire still increafing, till its force becamc superior to the gravity, and cohesion, or tenacity of the incumbent jrata; the latter would at length burst, and through the fissures a communication would be opened between the water and the ignited melted matter below. By the ficam thus suddenly generated, explosions must ensue, which must destroy the uniformity of the globe, hatter it into fragments, produce immense mountains, and extensive and deep subterraneous caverns; into which last the waters would afterwards descend, and leave the various continents, mountains, &c. in the same state nearly in which we now view them; and containing the same shells and other marine exuvia which they brought up with them from the bottom of the sea. But we shall here leave the Author to speak for himself.
• The terraqueous globe being thus burft into millions of fragments, and from a cause apparently seated nearer to its center than its surface, must certainly be thrown into frange heaps of ruins : for the fragments of the Arata thus blown up, could not possibly fall together again into their primitive order and regularity: therefore an infinite number of subterraneous caverns must have been formed, probably many miles, or many hundreds of miles, below the bottom of the antediluvian fea.
• Now it is eafy to conceive, when a body of such an immense magni. tude as the earth was thus reduced to an heap of ruins, that its ir. cumbent water would immediately descend into the caverns and interstices thereof; and by approaching fo much nearer towards the center, than in its antediluvian Itate, much of the terrestrial surface would be left naked and exposed, with all its horrid golphs, craggy rocks, mountains, and other disorderly appearances.
• Thus the primitive fate of the earth seems to have been totally metamorphosed by the first convulsion of nature, at the time of the. deluge; its firata broken, and chrown into every poflible degree of confusion and disorder. Thus, those mighty eminences the Alps, the Andes, the Pyrenean mountains, &c. were brought from beneath the great deep-the sea retired from those vast tracts of land, the continents--become fathomless; environed with craggy rocks, cliffs, and