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has had the fame object in view with his philofophical predeceffors; but profeffes, and with fome juftice, to follow a very different, and furer, though more humble route. Inftead of fpeculative inquiries, in the clofet, into the manner in which

the Creator might have formed the world, had he fo pleafed;" he examines this world itfelf, and particularly it's external form; and then defcends into its bowels, in queft of data, from which he may draw juft or probable inferences, and acquire an insight into the real laws by which the Supreme Being chofe to form the world.' His examination of the mines in Derbyshire, in particular, prefented him with many appearances well adapted to throw light on fome of the principal fubjects 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.

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Notwithstanding the proper method of investigation which the Author has followed, by founding his hiftory of the early ftate of the earth on an actual view and confideration of the general arrangement and occafional diflocations of it's ftrata, and on the materials furnished by history and philofophy; fome parts of it ftill are, and neceffarily muft be, hypothetical. His is a fober and fubftantial fyftem, however, when compared with the vifions of fome world makers; particularly that of the great French naturalift, who inftead of groping in the bowels of the earth, begins his inquiry with a flight into the planetary regions. The refult of fo hopeful an excurfion is well known. His infant world (together with its fifteen fellows) is ufhered into exiftence, in a white heat, and in the guise of a ball of melted matter, dafhed off from the parent fun, by the fhock of a blundering comet rufhing against it! The following regular though imperfect epitome of the prefent fyftem, will at leaft fhew that our Theorift has not indulged himself in any fuch fplendid reveries.

The Author lays the principal foundation of his theory on that great natural datum difcovered by the fagacity of Newton, and fince verified by aftronomical obfervations, and trigonometrical operations :-we mean the fpheroidical 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 otherwife have yielded to the centrifugal power, fo as to have acquired this elevation at the equator.-In this ftate, its component parts, folids and fluids, were uniformly blended together, and thus compofed one general mass or pulp, of equal confiftence and fameness in every part, from its furface to its center.'

The heterogeneous principles, however, of which this chaos confifted, yielding to the univerfal law of gravitation, and at the

fame

fame time exercifing their refpective affinities on each other; the uniform fufpenfion of the component parts of the pulpy mafs was deftroyed. The folid particles, fuch as the calcareous, argillaceous, metallic, or other earths, for example, refpectively combined with each other, and formed ftrata of lime ftone, clay, metals, &c. while the particles of air united likewife with those of air; and thofe of water with their kindred particles; fo that, after the feparation and fubfidence of all the folid parts, the whole globe was covered with this laft mentioned element.

The firft 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 raifing the water unequally in different places, while the folid particles were coalefcing and fubfiding, would produce protuberances which would afterwards become firm, and adapted to the support of animal and vegetable life: in the fame manner as fand banks are formed in the prefent 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 Mofaical hiftory of the Creation. On many other occafions, where they coincide, the Author does not fail to remind us of this coincidence. Nevertheless, in fome few inftances, Mofes may perhaps be thought to hang nearly as heavy on our Theorift, as he lately did on the neck of the Canon Recupero *.

In the times prior to the formation of thefe primitive iflands, 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 increafing in extent, many of these animals, particularly the fhell fifh, as the moft ftationary and the least active, muft neceffarily become inveloped and buried in the femifluid mud, by means of the flux and reflux of the waters above-mentioned. This mud, likewife, afterwards acquired firmness, and became folid clay, limeftone, &c.

As the fea 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 fhew that, in all the regions of the world which have been properly explored; on the highest mountains, and parts moft remote from the present fea, the exuvia of marine animals have been found: particularly their bones, teeth, and fhells, imbedded in the fubftance of stone, chalk, clay, &c. and that the fragments of fhells are much more numerous than the bones or teeth of other fish, who could more eafily elude the action of the waters.

* Sce M. R. Vol. xlix. July 1773, page 29.

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; On this occafion the Author has made an ufeful collection, from various writers, of the most ftriking appearances of this kind obferved in different parts of the world. Many of these inftances 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 fhells are frequently found with holes in them, bored by the pholades who prey on the contained fifh. Several beds of fea fhells have been lately difcovered near Stableford, the feat 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 fhelly matter remaining: but in the lime ftone ftrata in Derbyshire, examined by the Author, the various marine exuvia, confifting of cockles, corals, entrochi, &c. and found at a depth of two hundred fathoms, the teftaceous matter has been changed to a ftony fubftance. In all thefe inftances, the marine animals to which these exuvia belonged, and some of which are now natives of very different climates, are fuppofed to have lived and died in the very beds where they are now found.

From thefe and various other confiderations it appears, according to the Author, that the fea wholly covered the Antediluvian earth and that marine animals were created, and those whose exuvia are now found, were entombed, before terreftrial animals could have any footing on this globe. Accordingly Mr. W. obferves, that no terreftrial animals or vegetables are found inveloped in the lime ftone ftrata of Derbyshire, which contain the marine productions: nor are any remains of marine animals ever found in the argillaceous ftrata, which contain the vege table impreffions. And it is further to be observed, that the argillaceous firata are incumbent on the lime ftone or calcareous

beds.'

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The world however which we have hitherto been defcribing, is not the present world. The former, or the Antediluvian earth, confifted only of fmall islands gradually rifing from the decp, or of fmooth, even, and uniform elevations; whereas the world on which we tread at present confifts of immenfe continents and mountains, of fteep or impending fhores, craggy rocks, immenfe vallies and caverns. Our marine exuvia formerly lay at the bottom of the ocean of the Author's primitive world; whereas many of them are now fituated near the tops of thofe immenfe mountains, the Alps and the Andes, and at great diftances from the fea. Some powerful agent is required to effect fo great a revolution; and this agent the Author attempts to ascertain, by collecting together the many inftances which hiftory, and even that of our own times, affords us of ftupendous changes

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that have been produced on the furface and in the bowels of the prefent earth.

• We learn from Pliny and other natural hiftorians, that the fu perficial parts of the earth have fuffered great alterations, at different periods of time, viz.

1. That many mountains have been raifed, and others depreffed, or totally fwallowed, with cities, and large diftricts of land; and that navigable lakes have appeared in the places of them.

2. That many mountains have likewife been fhivered to pieces, and their fragments thrown into their adjacent vallies, and even to the distance of ten or fifteen miles.

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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 likewife that great agitations of the fea, and also rivers, and lakes in the inland countries, have fre quently accompanied thefe tremendous convulfions of nature.'

The Author collects feveral of the more ftriking inftances of the rifing of islands, fuch as Santorini, Hiera, &c. from the bottom of the fea, attended with eruptions of fire. He enumerates feveral islands and mountains having volcanic appearances, and which may accordingly be likewife fuppofed to owe their origin to the fame caufe, in times anterior to all hiftory. Such are Iceland, Fyal, &c. in the Northern fea; St. Helena and Afcenfion iflands, between Africa and Brazil; Eafter or Davis's inland, Otaheite, &c. in the Southern ocean; feveral of the Moluccas in the Indian fea; Madeira, feveral of the Azores and the Antilles, &c. in the Atlantic ocean; the Lipari iflands, Ifchai, &c. in the Mediterranean fea.

After collecting many inftances of mountains formed, and large diftricts of land fwallowed up, fhattered, and rent afunder by earthquakes, and particularly by volcanos; he observes that as we may, from analogy, be juftified in inferring that all fimilar appearances may have been the effects of the fame caufe; and though veftiges of volcanos are not every where vifible, the earth prefents us with indications of their having exifted in fo many different regions, that there is reafon to fuppofe that fubterraneous fire muft at different times have exifted univerfally in its bowels. He then proceeds to fhew that this caufe, acting on a larger scale, produced, at the fame 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 fieam, 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

On this occafion, we scarce need to remind our Readers of Mr. Michel's happy application of this principle, in his paper on the caufe of earthquakes, publifhed in the Philofophical Tranf

actions.

Fire, at first acting alone, and with an intensity gradually increafing on the fuperincumbent ftrata, is fuppofed by the Author to have gradually diftended and elevated thofe parts most, on which the Antediluvian ocean refted; as the primitive islands, by their additional weight of folid and heavy matter, oppofed a greater refiftance. The waters thus raifed would naturally flow towards the now lefs elevated folid parts, or antediluvian islands; and would finally cover them, fo as to produce an univerfal deluge.

The expanfion caufed by fire ftill increafing, till its force became fuperior to the gravity, and cohefion, or tenacity of the incumbent firata; the latter would at length burft, and through the fiffures a communication would be opened between the water and the ignited melted matter below. By the fteam thus fuddenly generated, explofions must enfue, which must destroy the uniformity of the globe, fhatter it into fragments, produce immenfe mountains, and extenfive and deep fubterraneous caverns; into which last the waters would afterwards defcend, and leave the various continents, mountains, &c. in the fame ftate nearly in which we now view them; and containing the fame fhells and other marine exuvia which they brought up with them from the bottom of the fea.-But we shall here leave the Author to speak for himself.

The terraqueous globe being thus burft into millions of fragments, and from a caufe apparently feated nearer to its center than its furface, muft certainly be thrown into ftrange heaps of ruins : for the fragments of the ftrata thus blown up, could not poffibly fall together again into their primitive order and regularity: therefore an infinite number of fubterraneous 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 fuch an immenfe magnitude as the earth was thus reduced to an heap of ruins, that its in cumbent water would immediately defcend into the caverns and interftices thereof; and by approaching fo much nearer towards the center, than in its antediluvian ftate, much of the terrestrial surface would be left naked and expofed, with all its horrid gulphs, craggy rocks, mountains, and other diforderly appearances.

Thus the primitive ftate of the earth feems to have been totally metamorphofed by the first convulfion of nature, at the time of the. deluge; its firata broken, and thrown into every poffible degree of confufion and diforder. Thus, thofe mighty eminences the Alps, the Andes, the Pyrenean mountains, &c. were brought from beneath the great deep-the fea retired from thofe vaft tracts of land, the continents become fathomlefs; environed with craggy rocks, cliffs, and

impending

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