Page images

tell how far. And then, by the progressive motion of the waters, they must have been carried to an unknown length over the land, and there deposited when the motion ceased.

This circumstance itself will account for the appearance of vast numbers. of shells, and other marine productions, on land. But there is another which must be taken along with it, and will, undoubtedly, add greatly to its force. The unfathomable depths of the ocean, it seems, are not the proper habitations of fish : they are only found on shoals, or near the sea coasts. At the time of the deluge, therefore, great numbers of the marine animals must have exchanged their ancient habitations, for those where the water was more shallow ; and of consequence must have abounded on the tops of mountains, and other elevated places. Whether those animals, whose exuviæ are most plentifully met with on land. have any loco-motive power when full grown or not, they are certainly of such minute sizes, when young, that they may he floated to any distance by water. Thus, therefore, any kind of shell-fish may have reached any place in the globe; and we know that they can arrive at their full maturity in less than a year; as the beds which have been exhausted one year, are found to be replenished the next. Now the flood, according to the Scripture account, continued long enough to allow time for their increase from spawn to their full size. It arrived at its full height in 40 days, and continued stationary for five months. It then began to decrease; but so gradually, that it was not till the first day of the tenth month that the tops of the mountains began to appear above the surface of the water; and it was not till towards the end of the eleventh, that the tops of trees began to emerge. Here then, we have time for beds of shell-fish to grow, live, and afterwards be left by the water ; which, in their mature state, they could not follow, and thus to die in the places where they were generated.

Thus far we may safely argue with regard to the exi tence of large beds of shells on the surface of the earth; and it bas already been shewn, how the earth would naturally cover and swallow them up to a considerable depth. But to account for the great depths at which we sometimes find them buried, seyeral other things must be taken into consideration. One is, that the earth, by the continual rains at the time of the deluge, as well as by the issuing of the waters tery where through its substance, must have been exceeding soft, and easily penetrated. The helpless animals, therefore, brought along with the ocean, at its first eruption over land, would be deep buried in the mud. And when we take into our account the pressure of a column of water four miles derp, it is impossible to say what effects this cause might have produced. They might, besides, have been accamulated in clefts of rocks, in hollows, vallies, and caves; and have been there consolidated by petrifaction, and the growth of calcareous matter over them. And that something familiar to this happens in fact, we are very certain. Mr. Whitehurst informs us, that “the springs of Matlock, in Derbyshire, though extremely pellucid and friendly to the human constitution, are, nevertheless, plentifully saturated with calcareous matter, which readily adheres to vegetables, and other substances immersed in the stream; and thus, by a constant accretion, large masses of stone are gradually formed. The banks on wbich the bath houses stand,

and likewise the buildings themselves, are mostly composed of such materials”—Now had these waters directed their course over a bed of shells, through a burying-place, or over a field of battle, it is evident, that they would have enclosed a great number of shells, human and horse bones, heads of lances, swords, or even the more modern weapons of guns and pistols; which to a curious naturalist, might have surnished an argument for the antiquity of these latter weapons. If, therefore, we see at this day that bodies may be so easily imbedded in stone, why should we pretend to set bounds to the petrifactions which may have happened in the course of more than 4000 years ? A period far beyond the reach of our most ancient histories.

It was not meant; by what we observed in our last Number, to explain all the appearances of fossil shells, or bones, &c. from the Deluge as the general cause. This cannot be done unless we knew all the circumstances. The following facts, however, may be looked upon as authenticated. 1. That when the water overwhelmed the land, great numbers of marine animals were carried along with it. 2. That, during its continuance, most of those which have any loco-motive power would choose rather to dwell over land, where the water was comparatively shallow, than in places which had formerly been their residence. 3. That while the waters remained on the earth, all kinds of marine animals would breed over land, in their natural way; and such as could not follow the waters in their retreat, would be left to die on dry land, which must have been the case particularly with shell-fish. 4. These impotent animals, which have little or no power of loco-motion, would, by the pressure of a column of water four miles high, be buried to depths unknown. 5. After the retreat of the waters, those which had been lodged in hollows or clefts, or perhaps diffused thro' the substance of many soft strata, might by some petrifying quality in the stratum, be so consolidated along with it as afterwards to form one entire rock. This is evident, not only from the example of the Matlock springs, but more so from that of the pins


found in the stone at Redruth in Cornwall, from the petrified skull mentioned by Dr. Plott, and many others; of which we shall mention the following from Mr. Whitehurst. The strata of limestone, in Derbyshire, and in many other parts of England, abound with the exuviæ of marine animals, or the impressions of them in the solid substance of the stone; and we have likewise several instances, related by authors, of the bones of terrestrial animals, and also of wood, having been found enveloped in strata of stone. A complete human skeleton, with British beads, chains, iron rings, brass bits of bridles, was dug up in a stone quarry near the earl of Widdrington's seat at Blanknay in Lincolnshire. Human bones and armour, with Roman coins, fibulæ, &c. were found in a stone pit in the park at Hustanton in Norfolk, supposed to bave been buried after a battle. In the mountain of Canne, half a league from Maestricht, were found the remains of a crocodile well preserved in a stratum of sand stone. The remains of a crocodile were also found in a stratum of stone at Blenheim. The beds of argillaceous stone, &c. incumbent on coal, also contains a great variety of figured fossils representing different parts of the vegetable creation.

From these examples, it is plain, that the lapidescent power, which the earth possesses, is capable of incrusting bodies with stone to an unknown thickness. In whatever situation, therefore, we find those fossil bodies, we have no reason to say that the Deluge is not ultimately the cause of their being there ; because its power in overspreading the earth with them, in burying them in it, or forcing them into clefts and caverns, is altogether unknown: And before it is denied that the Deluge could be the cause of such appearances, it is necessary to show all that it really could do, which is evidently impossible ; so that here our speculations must ultimately rest.

We shall only add one other fact which must certainly have taken place at the deluge. At that time the world is generally thought to have been very full of inbabitants. These as well as all the inferior animals, would naturally flee from the approaching danger. This would assemble them in great numbers in such places as appeared to afford security ; and here they would all perish together. This will account for the vast heaps of bones found in certain parts of the world, as in the rock of Gibraltar, Dalmatia, &c. and the natural petrifactive power of the earth may account for their consolidation. The slaughters which mankind have made of one another may indeed account for many of these appearances. When we read in history of 40,000, 50,000, or 100,000 men killed in a battle, we never think of the space their bones would occupy when thrown into a heap ; nevertheless, we are assured that the bulk of these remains must be very great. Tamerlane, with an army of 800,000 men filled up the harbour of Smyrna, by causing each of his soldiers to throw one stone into it; and when Marius defeated the Cimbri, the bones of the slain were so numerous, that they were used, for a long time, as fences for vineyards. Had these been collected into one heap, and afterwards consolidated by petrifactive matter, they would undoubtedly have occupied a very considerable space. What then, must have been the case, wben every man, nay every other terrestrial creature died at once? Taking all these things into consideration, it must surprise us that the collection of fossil bones are not more numerous than we really find them.

Altho' Buffon intimates that the earth is in a perishing state, that the hills will be levelled, and the Ocean at last cover the whole face of the earth, there does not seem the smallest foundation in nature for these imaginations. The earth, no doubt, will remain nearly as it is till it shall please God to destroy it by fire. The mountains have continued what they were from the earliest accounts of time, without any signs of decay. Moudt Ætna, besides the waste common to it with other mountains, hath been exhausting itself by throwing out incredible quantities of its own substance; yet it still seems to be what it was called by Pindar 2,200 years ago, the pillar of heaven. It seems extremely probable, therefore, that there are powers in the System of Nature, which tend to preserve, and are capable of counteracting those which tend to destroy, the mountains; and perhaps the late discovery concerning the attraction of mountains may, sometime or other, throw some light on the nature of those powers.

The like may be said of the Isthmuses, or narrow necks of lands which, in some parts of the world join different countries together; such as the isthmus of Darien, of Suez, the Morea, &c. Tho' the Ocean seems to beat on these with great violence, they are never diminished in bulk, nor washed away, as one might suppose they would be. It seems there must be some power in nature by which these narrow necks of land are preserved from the fury of the Ocean; for history does not afford one instance of any neck of land of this kind being broken down by the sea. Just so, it seems impossible to solve the difficulties with regard to the strata and shells by any other means than supposing that there are in the terrestrial matter several distinct powers, by which the strata of any particular kind, are occasionally transformed into others; and that the shells and other marine bodies, were originally deposited upon the surface by the Deluge.

Narrative of Mr. John Bartram's Providential escape from be

ing murdered by an Indian in the woods of Georgia.

*[Arminian Magazine.] In 1773, Mr. Bartram being in the Western Parts of Georgia, and having passed the utmost frontier of the white settlements on that border, one evening met with the following adventure :

" It was drawing on towards the close of the day, the skies serene and calm, the air temperately cool, and gentle zephyrs breathing through the fragrant pines; the prospect around enchantinly varied and beautiful; endless green savannas, chequered with coppices of fragrant shrubs, filled the air with the richest perfume. The gaily attired plants which enamalled the green had begun to imbibe the pearly dew of evening; nature seemed silent, and nothing appeared to rufile the happy moments of evening contemplation : when, on a sudden, an Indian appeared crossing the patis, at a considerable distance before me. On perceiving that he was armed with a rifle, the first sight of him startled me, and I endeavoured to elude his sight by stopping my pace, and keeping large trees between us; but he espied me, and turning short about, set spurs to his horse, and came up on full gallop. I never before this was afraid at the sight of an Indian, but at this time, I must own that my spirits were very much agitated ; I saw at once that being unarmed, I was in his power; and having now but a few moments to prepare, I resigned myself entirely to the will of the Almighty, trusting to his mercies for my preservation : my mind then became tranquil, and I resolved to meet the dreadful foe with resoJution and cheerful confidence. The intrepid Siminole stopped suddenly, three or four yards before me, and silently viewed me, liis countenance angry and fierce, shifting his rifle from shoulder to shoulder, and looking about instantly on all sides. I advanced towards him, and with an air of confidence offered him my hand, hailing him, brother ; at this he hastily jerked back his arm, with a look of malice, rage, and disdain, seeming every way discontented ; when again looking at me more attentively, he instantly spurred up to me, and with dignity in his look and action, gave me his hand. Possibly the silent language of bis soul during the moment of suspense, (for I believe his design was to kill me, when he first came up) was after this manner : “White man, thou art my enemy, and thou and thy brethren may bave killed mine ; yet it may not be so, and even were that the case, thou art now alone, and in my power. Live; the

« PreviousContinue »