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zen, Justin Martyr, Basil, Origen, Theodoret, &c.; and in more modern times by Calvin, Bishop Patrick, and others.*
It must, we think, have occurred to any one who is familiar with Mr Lyell's former works, that in nothing is he more successful than in applying to the elucidation of former geological periods, illustrations drawn from the natural changes which are now in progress. With two examples of his peculiar talent in this department we shall conclude our notice. In the Bay of Fundy large tracts of land are in course of being formed by the deposition of alluvial matter from the waters. The plains of red mud, which are exposed during the neap tides, exhibited, when our author visited them, small cavities or pits, exactly similar to those depressions which are seen on many of the more ancient rocks; e.g. the new red sandstone. These, Mr Lyell was informed, were due to a shower of rain which had fallen eight or ten days before, when the mud was still soft. The conclusion was irresistible. On the same beds there were numerous impressions of the footsteps of birds, exactly resembling those which are still to be seen on the strata of the older rocks. The mud had become so hard that he carried away several large slabs bearing these impressions. On splitting one of these, an under surface was laid open, which exhibited the same impressions in relief; these being casts taken from the footmarks which had been made in the layer of mud previously deposited.
The great swamps which occur in the Southern States throw considerable light upon the origin of coal. Through one of the largest of these, forty miles by twenty-three in extent, Mr Lyell travelled, and we shall give the result of his observations.
“ It is one enormous quagmire, soft and muddy, except where the surface is rendered partially firm by a covering of vegetables and their matted roots; yet, strange to say, instead of being lower than the level of the surrounding country, it is actually higher than nearly all the firm and dry land which encompasses it, and, to make the anomaly complete and in spite of the semi-fluid character, it is higher in the interior than towards its margin.
“ The only exceptions to both these statements is found on the western side, where, for the distance of about twelve or fifteen miles, the streams flow from slightly elevated but higher land, and supply all its abundant and overflowing water. Towards the north, the east, and the south, the waters flow from the swamp to different rivers, which give abundant evidence, by the rate of their descent, that the Great Dismal is higher than the surrounding firm ground. Upon the whole, the centre of the morass seems to lie more than twelve feet above the flat country round it. If the streams which now flow in from the west, had for ages been bringing down black fluid mire, instead of water, over the firm subsoil, we might suppose the ground so inundated to have acquired its present configuration. Some small ridges, however, of land must bave existed in the original plain or basin, for these now rise like low islands in various places above the general surface. But the streams to the westward do not bring down liquid mire, and are not charged with any sediment. The soil of the swamp is formed of vegetable matter, usually without any admixture of earthy particles. We have here, in fact, a deposit of peat from tèn to fifteen feet in thickness, in a latitude where, owing to the heat of the sun, and length of the summer, no peat-mosses like those of Europe would be looked for under ordinary circumstances.
* See an able article on this subject in the Biblical Review for February 1846.
" In countries like Scotland and Ireland, where the climate is damp, and the summer short and cool, the natural vegetation of one year does not rot away during the next in moist situations. If water flows into such land, it is absorbed, and promotes the vigorous growth of mosses and other aquatic plants, and when they die, the same water arrests their putrefaction. But as a general rule, no such accumulation of peat can take place in a country like that of Virginia, where the summer's heat causes annually as large a quantity of dead plants to decay as is equal in amount to the vegetable matter produced in one year
“ It has been already stated that there are many trees and shrubs in the region of the Pine Barrens, which, like our willows, flourish luxuriantly in water. The juniper trees, or white cedar, stand firmly in the softest part of the quagmire, supported by their long tap-roots, and afford, with many other evergreens, a dark shade, under which a multitude of ferns, reeds, and shrubs, from nine to eighteen feet high, and a thick carpet of mosses, four or five inches high, spring up and are protected from the rays of the sun. When these are most powerful, the largé cedar and many other deciduous trees are in full leaf. The black soil formed beneath this shade, to which the mosses and the leaves make annual additions, does not perfectly resemble the peat of Europe, most of the plants being so decayed as to leave little more than soft black mud, without any traces of organization. This loose soil is called sponge by the labourers; and it has been ascertained that, when exposed to the sun, and thrown out on the bank of a canal, where clearings have been made, it rots entirely away. Hence it is evident that it owes its preservation in the swamp to moisture and the shade of the dense foliage. The evaporation continually going on in the wet spongy soil during summer cools the air, and generates a temperature resembling that of a more northern climate, or a region more elevated above the level of the sea.
“ Numerous trunks of large and tall trees lie buried in the black mire of the morass. In so loose a soil they are easily overthrown by winds, and nearly as many have been found lying beneath the surface of the peaty soil as standing erect upon it. When thrown down, they are soon covered by water, and keeping wet they never decompose, except the sap wood, which is less than an inch thick. Much of the timber is obtained by sounding a foot or two below the surface, and it is sawn into planks while half under water.
“The Great Dismal has been described as being highest towards its
centre. Here, however, there is an extensive lake of an oval form, seven miles long, and more than five wide, the depth, where greatest, fifteen feet; and its bottom, consisting of mud like the swamp, but sometimes with a pure white sand, a foot deep, covering the mud. The water is transparent, though tinged of a pale brown colour, like that of our peatmosses, and contains abundance of fish. This sheet of water is usually even with its banks, on which a thick and tall forest grows. There is no beach, for the bank sinks perpendicularly, so that if the waters are lowered several feet it makes no alteration in the breadth of the lake.
“ Much timber has been cut down and carried out from the swamp by means of canals, which are perfectly straight for long distances, with the trees on each side arching over and almost joining their branches across, so that they throw a dark shade on the water, which of itself looks black, being coloured as before mentioned. When the boats emerge from the gloom of these avenues into the lake, the scene is said to be as beautiful as fairy land!
“ That the ancient seams of coal were produced for the most part by terrestrial plants of all sizes, not drifted, but growing on the spot, is a theory more and more generally adopted in modern times, and the growth of what is called sponge in such a swamp, and in such a climate as the Great Dismal, already covering so many square miles of a low level region bordering the sea, and capable of spreading itself indefinitely over the adjacent country, helps us greatly to conceive the manner in which the coal of the ancient Carboniferous rocks may have been formed. The heat, perhaps, may not have been excessive when the coal measures originated, but the entire absence of frost, with a warm and damp atmosphere may have enabled tropical forms to flourish in latitudes far distant from the line. Huge swamps in a rainy climate, standing above the level of the surrounding firm land, and supporting a dense forest, may have spread far and wide, invading the plains, like some European peatmosses when they burst; and the frequent submergence of these masses of vegetable matter beneath seas or estuaries, as often as the land sunk down during subterranean movements, may have given rise to the deposition of strata of mud, sand, or limestone, immediately upon the vegetable matter. The conversion of successive surfaces into dry land, where other swamps supporting trees may have formed, might give origin to a continued series of coal-measures of great thickness. In some kinds of coal, the vegetable texture is apparent throughout under the microscope; in others, it has only partially disappeared; but even in this coal the flattened trunks of trees of the genera Lepidodendron, Sigillaria, and others, converted into pure coal, are occasionally met with, and erect fossil trees are observed in the overlying strata, terminating downwards in seams of coal. The chemical processes by which vegetable matter buried in the earth is gradually turned into coal and anthracite has been already explained." Vol. I. pp. 143-149.
The extracts we have given from this work, though they may convey some idea of its interesting character, yet must present a very inadequate view of the mass of information contained in it,
and of the pleasant manner in which that information is imparted. Technical terms are almost entirely avoided, and the reader finds himself, before he is aware, grappling with the deeper mysteries of Geology. We ought not to omit, that, besides a number of interesting sections, these volumes contain a coloured geological map of North America, which is of itself exceedingly valuable.
ART. V.-Memorandum on the subject of the Sunday Sailing of the
Continental Steam Packets, addressed to the Chairman of the South-Eastern and Continental Steam Packet Company. By ALEXANDER Swan, Superintendent of Machinery. Folkesstone; 1846.
MR Swan is entitled to speak with authority ou the subject he canvasses in the above “Memorandum,” from the position he occupies as “superintendent of machinery” to one of our great Continental steam-packet companies; and on the strength of his own experience, he pronounces Sabbath desecration, in all its forms and degrees, to be an absolute evil, without compensation
“ I do not speak at random when I speak of the blundering results of Sunday working, or the equally blundering fashion and tortoise-like speed at which the Sunday workers and Sunday pleasure-takers contrive to sidle through their work on a Monday morning. Put it in my power to apply such a preventive and such a cure. Give me the Sabbathday, not only for myself and the factory hands, but also for the engine crews, and in due time, with the help of the various engineers, I will give you a very different set of stokers, and that, perhaps, without changing three hands out of the twenty.”
" Whilst I do not intend to propound a recipe to enable any one to extract the maximum quantity of work from his servants, I will tell you plainly how to get the least possible, and that done with the greatest grudge. Just keep them at it, Saturday and Sunday, from March to October, and Sunday and Saturday from October to March, and if you do not succeed very completely in damping the spirits, marring the efficiency, and destroying the energy
of the best men in the service, and rendering thoroughly useless the worst, you will at least have the satisfaction of having done what you
could." “ Mainly to the effect of Sunday sailing do I attribute the circumstance that I have had occasion to part, in one way or other, in the last few months, with not fewer than eighteen stokers and coal trimmers, some of them first rate hands, being equal, in point of number, to the entire complement."
“By not systematically depriving men of the rest which the human constitution so peremptorily requires, as the law of God demands, you would be so much better served that it
would be equivalent to getting another boat upon the station. By exacting seven days' work you get less than six days' labour. This is a truth that has been widely verified, and the recent appreciation of it has led, I am informed, to the abolishing of Sunday working in the public works of France."
“I have not arrived hastily at the conclusion that there is scarcely a man in the Company's employ whose services are much worth retaining, who does not heartily detest the Sunday sailing and Sunday working."
“By carrying passengers on Sunday you increase your week's receipts one hundredth, and your disbursements (in case of conveyance) one-seventh, or, in other words, it costs fourteen times as much to carry over the increased number of passengers that travel on Sunday as it does to carry them on week days.”. " According to my estimate, the expediency view of the balance sheet runs thus-Resting the Sabbath-day-Creditor- First, a greater amount of effective service accomplished, with a not greater number of steamers ; because there would be, secondly, better men, better conduct, better disciplineless smuggling, less tippling, less shifting of hands, greater satisfaction with the service, greater spirit, zeal, and interest in it, greater bodily vigour and capability of enduring fatigue, less waste of fuel, less risk of burning or blowing up the boilers, or of setting the ship on fire, less anxiety and uneasiness, and vague apprehension of disaster, less likelihood of shedding innocent blood."
This is pointed evidence, and from a competent witness. No doubt Mr Swan is a partizan on the Sabbath question, because he holds a deep conviction as to its authority and advantages. But withdrawing from his document all religious views and theological reasoning, and confining ourselves rigidly to the experience which he records, we say advisedly, that it is not possible for us to understand the process by which even the keenest advocate for Sabbath trade and Sabbath travelling can either neutralize his premises, or escape from his conclusions. A part altogether from the Bible principles which run throughout his entire paper, the statistics of Sabbath-breaking and Sabbath-keeping are brought out so vividly by Mr Swan, that they must compel the most prejudiced to admit that “in the keeping of the fourth commandment there is a great reward;” and it is a powerful testimony to the strength of its positions, that but a few days elapsed after " the Memorandum" was in circulation, when the practice against which it pleads was discontinued by the directors, as inexpedient at all events, whether it be lawful or not.
It is to steam-packets, and their sailing on the Sabbath, that Mr Swan more especially objects, and to which, indeed, he limits his reasoning. But a mind of any inductiveness or candour must at once perceive, that the whole train of remark which he pursues
in support of his more immediate object, is applicable with tenfold cogency, mutatis mutandis, to the Sabbath working of railways, and should go far to settle the question that is now
VOL. XX. NO, I.