Puslapio vaizdai

appealed to facts. It appealed to the nebulæ fact. But members of the group, through which the passage from now it appears that this was no fiet whatever-and only sauroid fishes to true saurians takes place, but belonged a mistake. So it may fire with lír. Bestick’s facts, per- It seenis clear, therefore, that, while progression and a

to a bigher form, and to a complicated type of that form. haps. They may be resolved, just as Earl Rosse's teles- general advance in point of organization is in one sense, cope resolved the nebulm.

a method observed by Nature, still th re is not such a It is not the theory regarding the age of the world— regular gradation, that an animal of lun er orzanization that is, respecting the existence of the earth in some

can be supposed to be employed as the agent in intro

ducing a higher group ; this view, however plausible, not form, under some organization, previous to its present being borne out by obscrvation, but, on the other hand, era—that those who believe in the literal interpretation of being distinctly contradicted by the results of geological scriptural statements consider to be objectionable ; but and palæontological investigation. those grave, yet incidental fancies, unconnected with the Professor Ansted's work tenches geology under 3 new main theory, that are thrown into the bargain-fancies and fascinating forin. It assumes to be a history of the so extravagant as the existence and prosperity of the world, previous to the changes that occurred in what are Egyptians more than six thousand years since.

styled the various epochs of creation. The material of Mr. Beswick's creed we understand to be what he this history is not to be found in records or libraries. styles “the orbital theory;” and he believes that a long The historian must examine one museum—but it is the while ago, more than eight hundred thousand years-world. He must trace hicroglyphics—but they are writfor that period has been occupied, he thinks, by our tran- ten on mountains and valleys by the Creator. He must sitions—this globe was dashed off in a chaotis form, and inquire into the origin of matter, so far as an answer to at a high degree of temperature-very hot indeed. Since inquiries can be obtained. The rescarch is of the most then it has been occupied in cooling, and spinning itself interesting character, but we maintain that it has only into the orbital form. In that respect it has been mak- commenced. Its history cannot yet be authentically proing progress, and in the lapse of ages will become per- duced. Still, even if hereafter other and great disfect as to shape, and, in consequence, perfect as to many coveries may appear to change the nature of our evidences, other matters—such as the regularity of seasons; but, this volume will continue to be an interesting illustration unfortunately, it is threatened with another partial de- of the progress attained by the present generation of luge, almost as the consequence of its perfection, though, geologists. Meanwhile, if we can suppose that what are as this will only occur six thousand to twelve thousand now styled “ facts” can be overthrown by subsequent years hence, our readers, in general, are perfectly safe inquirers, still we have an addition to the stock of most from its consequences. Mr. Beswick will, we hope, ob- readable books, for Professor Ansted's volume is not serve that this theory also contradicts another distinct excelled by any other romance. We may explain thus statement of Scripture, and illustrates our previous posi- much, that by the term “ facts,” in its use in the previous tion--that it is not the leading geological statements, sentence, we mean rather “deductions'' from “ facts." but the fancies of speculators, based on no foundation Certain things appear in a particular form, under specistronger than the theorist's imagination, that are obnoxi-fied circumstances. These are facts which cannot be ous to the charge mentioned by this writer.

overthrown. Deductions are formed from these preThe geological writers and lecturers who build too ra- mises, presumed to be facts, and called, although they pidly a theory on an observance, and not on a fact, are are merely opinions, resting, as we believe, often on a themselves liable to the charge of bringing scientific pur- narrow basis, too narow for the superstructure reared. suits into disrepute. Rashly-formed theories from partial We are quite prepared to find these deductions greatly and incomplete inquiries are susceptible to the most pro- modified, by the application of closer reasoning to our found objections. They have been made, supported, present knowledge than we have yet observed, or by the prored, as it was thought; and they vanished one after extension of that knowledge. another, until we have enjoyed a very regular succession This history is divided into three periods ; the first of errors. This experience might teach caution in afirm- current from a time antecedent to the introduction of ing any opinion as not merely probable but certain, until life down to the appearance of land; the second, from its evidenco were found to be more conclusive than those the formation of the new red sandstone to the termination statements on which a deluge, ten thousand years hence, of the middle epoch, which, according to this author, is or so, can be predicted ; or even the opinion, that it is not clearly marked; the third, from the introduction of just cight hundred thousand years since the world was in land animals. a chaotic state ; or 1,700,300 years since it was a comet, Without endeavouring to trace this long history in its and in a state of vapour, can be maintained.

various stages, which would be a task equivalent to reEvea the unlearned amongst us can perecive that this writing the work, we shall quote the author's statements looseness in the supply of proof, and facility in ac- regarding one or two particular periods. The entire tencepting possibility, or even probability for evidence, dis- i dency of the work is to disprove the idea of progressionfigure works that display much anxious research on topics that is, the opinion that organization proceeded step by of the highest interest; and this pamphlet is one of these

step from a low to a higher development, until, finally, men works.

sprang from monkeys. This theory, which scarcely We referred to the “Vestiges of Creation” in passing; merited a minute refutation, because it might bave been and in the second work we are noticing, Mr. Austed's successfully dealt with in a shorter, “ Ancient World, or Picturesque Sketches of Creation,” thoroughly inconsistent with facts,

and with the frequent we find at page 102 the following notice of “ the theory appearance of superior pre-existi; of progression :''.

view of the remains in deposits has to be found in several “ The reptiles thus appearing were not, however, ' passages, and we extract one fro

was, is shown to be

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But the great reptilian fish were not the only inhabi- The basis on which Professor Ansted constructs his tants of the sea during this period, nor were they even history may be understood from a very brief extract :-the only ones of large size and possessed of great strength “There are no means whatever by which we can at and voracity. Not less than sixty species belonging to present determine how long a time elapsed between the various genera, all nearly allied to the shark tribe, and conclusion of the first great series of deposits in England, some of them of very large proportions, are indicated by and the commencement of the next; nor is it for us to

assert that the wild and chaotic confusion resulting in all the remains of teeth discovered various localities in those violent dislocations of the hardest strata, which we limestones, sandstones, and shales of the carboniferous

so readily observe, was in any way inconsistent with the series; and thirty-three species have been determined existence of life in many other parts of the world, now, from fragments of fins and detached vertebrae from the perhaps, covered with hundreds of fathoms of salt water.

But I would not dwell on this possibility, for I wish only same beds. Now, as there are no more than seren spe

to speak of what is known ; nor can it be necessary to cies of shark-like animals determined from the fossils of wander into the field of conjecture or romance, in order the old red sandstone, even including two which may be to obtain a striking picture of a former state of existence identical with some of the other fire, it seems that a

which shall exhibit all the charm of novelty, both in the

outline and colouring. Without any such conjectures, of great and important change had taken place in the intro

one thing, at least, we are certain, that during this interduction of a large number of species of this class, which val, whatever it may have been, and however it may have was very imperfectly represented at first, but which con- been occupied in various parts of tho world, every species tinued important for a very long time, and still forms a

of animal, and almost erery vegetable, seems to have been

replaced by some new one, not differing much, perhaps, group performing a distinct part in the economy of crea from the former, or performing another office, but yet tion."

different, exhibiting an instance of the rich variety of na

ture, and an effect of that law of universal dissolution "The numerous rays, or bony spines, called Ichthyoloru- allotting to each its appointed time, and causing each to

which appears to influence species, as well as individuals, lites, so often found fossil in these and newer strata, pass through the different phases of imperfect developseem to be identical with the bony spine with which the ment, full growth and vigour, and their gradual but corPort Jackson shark is provided, and which being move

tain decay and death." able, and attached to a fin, enables the animal to turn The interval referred to is from the first to the second itself readily on its back whilo swimming. These spines perio!--probably, as we should understand it, from the are variously marked, according to the species or genus completion of the first to the commencement of the to which they belong. They will be described at greater second great change, if it be supposed that these stages length in a futuro chapter when treating of lias fossils. had any permanent platform, and were not a perpetual

“See then the great and striking change that had super- succession of universal agitations. There is an assumpvened towards the close of this carbon ferous period. tion in the third sentence of the last extract which breaks The corals and the encrinites remained with little altera- the bargain made with us in the second. That bargain tion of general form ; the trilobites were nearly extinct, was, that we were to have no conjectures—that we were and scein but scantily replaced by other crustaceans; the only to hear of what is known”-an important brachiopoda had assumed new forms, which some of them feature, certainly, in a history, but not long maintained, retained long afterwards, and which are even handed for at once we have a conjecture served up as a fact down to the present day; the ordinary bivalve and uni- known, or at least as something very apparent--namely, valve shells were gradually increasing; and the prevail that some law influences all species, securing their graing cephalopoda, retaining up to this period the elongated dual but certain decay and death. This is a favourite asstraight form of orthoceratites, were also developed in sumption with geologists ; but in and through material the spiral form seen in goniatites, and afterward con- science it never has been, and it cannot be demonstrated. tinued in ammonites, a form better fitted perhaps for the That certain species of animals have been created, and altered conditions of the sea, and the greater stir of life have disappeared, may be conceded, although we are not that was about to succeed. But the fishes present the so fully conversant with the globe, and the denizens of earth newest and most striking appearances. The minute, but and water, as to hold that to be clearly proved; but probably tierce and voracious species which first marked if it were proved, still the rule might only be of partial the introduction of this class of animals, had been suc- application, and arising from no fatality or decaying ceeded by a comparatively clumsy and awkward race, energy in the species, but from tho increasing power of coarse feeders, of small size, and indifferent swimmers, its foes. There once wcro herls of wolves in Britain ; but covered cither with strong plaited armour, or with and we presume that there is not now an individual of fine coats of mail, and apparently very abundantly distri- the species in a wild state ; but their destruction was buted. These listed for a time, but then gave way to the caused, not by inherent decay, but the increase of exteradvance of other and higher groups. Innumerable shuks

Their enemies multiplieil, discovered now of all sizes, and perhaps of many forms, rapid and powerful swimmers, fiercely and insatiably carnivorous, were

agencies of destruction, and extirpated them, although the associated with huge monstrous fishies, more resembling last of the race may have possessed all the vigour and reptiles than any of their own class at the present day, power that characterised bis carliest progenitor Toand incredibly powerful and voracious. The fishes at

wards the close of the first opoch, Professor Ansted afthis time had attained, it would seem, their maximum of fords the following sketch of the state of society : development in point of vigour, and in some respects (though in some respects only, and by analogy) in struc- “ We pass on now from the consideration of this chapture; and it is not a little interesting to find, that at this ter in the world's history. We have seen, first of all, point, so far as we can tell, the true reptiles were actu- how the earth lay buried in the dark obscurity of its early ally introduced (the remains of that class being indicated state, when the only rocks of mechanical origin consisted in the coal measures, and actually found in the inagnesian of huge masses of decomposed and pounded granite, brolimestone associated with carboniferous species of iishes).” I ken into fragments by the disruption of the first thin shell

nal power.

of solid matier; and in these deposits no evidence has yet I instances are rare and exceptional; and although we been obtained of any created thing having existed, eitlier Inay be certain that the land was not far off, yet its animal or regetable. We have traced the history from exact position, and whether it was a continent or an this time throurh the period when a few worms crawled island, or a group of islands, whether it extended southon the mud and sand of the newly-made shores of the wards or northwards, whether it occupied what is nor occati, when to these were added other lower forms of th:c Atlantic Ocean, or was shaped like Europe, and reanimal existence, and when marine vegetables first con- presented the two north-caster'll continents, we cannot tributed to the subsistence of its inhabitants. We have satisfactorily determine. Perhaps the most probable watched the appeararce of its denizens, as they, one after opinion is, that an extensive archipelago, like that near another cr in groups present themselves, and have seen the eastern shores of Asia, was the remnant of a sinking hew different were these from the present tenants of the sea, tract throughout a great part of the north temperate and yet how like them, and how evidently and admirably zone; tiiat portions of that tract, now forming parts of adapted to perform the part assigned them; and we have England and Central Europe, remained thus for a long thus gazrd upon the first doubtful and misty appearance of time in shallow water, the recipients of many deposits ; light and life, as they have bec me visible in tlie morning of but that during this time the other tracts were too deeply creation by slow degrees, an! through a long twilight. submerged, and too far from land, to receive such addi

Trilobites, brachiopods, shell fish of various kinds are seen tions."
to abound; and the cuttle fish or creatures neariy allied,
and not so highly organized, reign for a time undisputed

It is difñcult to form anything out of these guesses that lords of the sea. At length their reign terminated; other merits even to be ranked as a respectable theory. We animals, of higher and more complicated functions succeed

are told by geologists, at one time, that boulders, broken el, and the waters, after long preparation, became fit for from granite cliffs, were conveyed by a flood of water the presence of fishes. These at first of small size and comparatively powerless, soon increased rapidly, buth in from the north-eastern districts of Europe to the number and dimensions, and encased in impenetrable South American continent. We are told by other armour, seem to have delighted in the troubled ocean, geologists that " the vegetation which formed the where the coarse conglomerate of the old red sandstone coal deposits, we may be certain, was produced from was being accumulated ; and for a long while these less perfect species of the class were predominant. In time, land not far off from its present position ;” that, farther, however, other fishes sprung up, the old ones were dis- some tracts were too deeply submerged and too far placed, and a new, vigorous, and powerful group of from land to receive such additions." To us it would animals came into the field, endowed with exuberant

seem that depth of submersion might be a valid objection lifo, and darting with speed and almost irresistible force through the water. Land, also, richly clothed with to the deposit of vegetable matter, but distance from the vegetation, even to the water's edge, contributed to land where it was produced could not stand in the way support this abundant flow of life ; and some few land since granite boulders are said to have been floated from animals of high organization appear to have been associated with the insects and the fresh-water animals whose

the north-east of Europe to Southern America. This remains have been preserved. But few, indeed, were pre-supposes No. 1, the miracle of the creation of granite : the tenants of the land, so far as we can judge, when No. 2, of a convulsion to chip it into boulders : No. compared with those of the ocean; and while we have in 3, of a very terrible flood to float them away fire 80 many parts of the world a rich supply of the vegetable

or six thousand miles. The old-fashioned way of remains of that period, there are only to be quoted the fragments of a scorpion, one or two foot-marks, and such accounting for these things, namely, that they were like indications that nature was not inactive, though the created near the spot where they are found, if less satisconditions for preserving any terrestrial animal remains factory, is simpler than the scientific mode. We are inwere so eminently unfavourable, that there is only just clined to guess that the vegetation of the coal deposits is sufficient evidence to satisfy us of the fact."

to be explained on this priuciple. We do not think it is In commencing his account of the second cpoch the

far travelled. We believe it grew near by the spots world's earliest history, the author states that a com; lete

whence it is dug. There are closely analogical cases in change occurred in the nature and character of the animals by whom it was inhabited. Unlike Mr. Beswick, imbedded in moss where there are no living trees, and

the present state of the earth's surface. We find trees he does not attempt to calculate the lapse of time requi- in districts of the country where no similar species site for these changes, and the epochs, or periods, which is now found ; and we know that the production of he describes, are not measured by time, but by the rem

these trees is within the limits of written and accrenants of organization yet to be found in the various dited history. We see, also, that the common peat strata of the earth's surface. " The close of the first and turf, when sufficiently compressed under machines epoch,” he says, “was marked by great subsidencies of of considerable power, are resolved into a substance not the land by the swallowing up of continents and islands differing greatly in its nature from coal, but of finer into the sea, and by accompanying violent disloca- quality. At the same time there is reason to beliere tions of these fractured materials of strata.” Such is that the vegetation of which they are composed grew on the common opinion of geologists. It is to be accepted the site of the present nurses ; but if it had been comsimply as an opinion formed by those who have given the pressed by a very powerful flood of water, casting over greatest thought and research to this subject. Still it is it heavy strata, especially under atmospherical influences not a demonstration. The looseness of the proof may be that we cannot realise-even if it had merely been combest observed from our next extract:

pressed by a sufficiently powerful weight of matterit “Wo have seen that, even up to the very close of the would have been resolved into one species of coal. earlier epoch, there is no distinct and unquestionable evidence of the nature and position of the land on which

Our space does not permit us to pursue this subject grew the vast forests from which coal was elaborated. further; but we are anxious to copy a few additional er. Here and there it has seemed that the trees of which we tracts from Professor Ansted's delightful book. The second find fragments must have grown on the spot where broken epoch of the earth's history he regards as the age of trunks are now apparently attached to their roots, the roots and trunks being buried together in the very soil

reptiles :from which they obtained their nourishment. But these • Of all the ancient lines of sea coast that have yet been introduced to our notice, there is none more interesting / would swim at once boldly and dirvctly to the attack. Its than that of the new red sandstone sca, for we find there enormous neck stretched out to its full length, and its not only marks of worms and the ripple of the water, but tail acting as a rudder, the powerful and frequent strokes almost every other marking that can be imagined likely of its four large paddles would it once give it an impulse, to have been made under such circumstances ; and sending it through the water at a very rapid rate. When among these are distinct traces of the passage of numer- within reach of its prey wo may almost fincy that we sce ous four-footed animals of various different kinds. Every it drawing back its long neck as it depressed its body in one will remember the astonishment which Robinson the water, until the strength of the muscular apparatus Crusoe is represented to have felt at the sight of a human with which this neck was provided, and the great audifoot-print on the island which he thought deserted ; and tional impetus given by the rapid advance of the animal, scarcely less surprising or interesting was the first dis- would combine to produce a stroke from the pointed head covery of these indications of animal existence in a rock which few living animals could resist. The fishes--includso barren of fossils as the new reil sandstone, and in a ing, perhaps, even the sharks--the larger cuttle-fisli, and formation in which, till then, there had been no suis- innumerable inhabitants of the sca, would fall an casy prey picion of the existence of any animals more highly to this monster. organized than fishes. Nothing, however, can be more But now let us see what goas on in the deeper abruges certain than that such fot-prints do occur ; and although of the oc an, wliero a free space is given for the operations very little is to be determined from the mere form of the of that fiercely carnivorous marine reptile the Ichthyosauextremity, still even that little is of the greatest possible rus. Prowling about at a great depth, where the reptilian interest, when, as in the case before us, it is nearly the structure of its lungs and the bony apparatus of the ribs, whole extent of our information. It is especially in- would allow it to remain for a long time without coining teresting to find that the foot-marks exhibic indications to the air to breathe, wo may fancy we see this strange of some animals entirely different from those whose animal, with its enormous cyes directed upwards, and actual remains occur in the bed, and of some which pre- glaring like globes of fire; its length is some thirty or sent only faint and distant analogies with modern species, torty feet, its head being six or eight fuet long; and but which are yet made out by studying the peculiarities | it has paddles and a tail like a shark. Its whole enerindicated in tho rarest and most interesting of the gies are fixed on what is going on above, where tho Plefossils.

siosturus, or somo giant shark, is seen devouring its Of all the reptiles at present found on the carth, the prey. Suldenly striking with its short but compact frogs, both in their young state as tadpoles, and in many paddles, and obtaining a powerful impetus by Aapping its peculiarities of structure, seem to form the nearest con- large tail, the monster darts through the water at a rato necting link with the fishes ; and since there are few dis- which the eye can scarcely follow, towards the surface. tinct analogies between recent species of reptiles and The vast jaw3, lined with formidable rows of teeth, soon either birds or quadrupeds, the whole order Reptilia open wide to their full extent; the object of attack is now forms an imperfect and isolated group, better approached--is overtaken. With a motion quicker than adapted, it has been suggested, for a planet in an earlier thought the jaws are snapped together, and the work is stage of its existence, than for one pcopled as our earth is done. The monster, becoming gorged, fonts languidly at present.

near the surface, with a portion of the top of its head and The secondary, or middle period of the earth's history, its nostrils visible, liko an island covered with black mud, however, as made known to us by the study of fossils, above the water. may be looked upon as the age during which reptiles pre- * Such scenes as these must have been crery day cnacted ponderated. and we shall find anongst the organic re- during the many ages when the waters of ocean were spread mains of this period a great number of forms tending to over what is now land in the castern hemisphere, and give considerable insight into the plan of creation with when the land then adjacent provided the calcareous mud reference to this important department of zoology." now forming the lias. The “horrors" of that period were happily over before

! But a description of such scenes of horror and carnage, ment, as it would be to call in question the mutual adap- , cinders, which, howerer, occupied a good deal of time; tation of each part in the great seheme of creation. No and, in my eagerness to penetrate into the strange seene one who examines nature for himself, however superfi- before me, I did not reflect that the day must be passing. cially, can doubt the latter; and no one, certainly, who At last, a lurid glare penetrating from amongst the duly considers the laws ordained for the general govern- smoke, and the increased proximity and brilliancy of the ment of the world, can believe it possible for these laws flashes of lightning, accompınied by a noise like that of to have acted without a system of compensation, accord- the burning of an immense furnace, showed my near aping to which the vital energies of one tribe serve to prepare proach to the grand centre of th: volcano. I slowly food for the development of higher powers in another." proceeded towards it, but at last feeling exhausted by my We have never read a scientific work with greater inte exertions, I sat down on a bloek of lava and began to eat

enacted at former periods of the earth's history, may perman came upon the stage. The earth has been filled with baps induce some of my readers to question the wisdom deceit, and crime, and bloodshed, and oppression, since

that permitted, nay, enacted them, and conclude rashly our race took possession. We are bad : the reptiles, that they are opposed to the ideas we are encouraged our ancestors, according to the “Vestiges,” were clearly to form of the goodness of that Being, the neces

sary action of whose laws, enforced on all living be

ings, gives rise to them. By no means, however, is “ There were then, perhaps, existing, on or near the

this the case. These very risults are perfectly comland, some of those reptiles which I shall describe in the patible with the greatest wisdom and goodness, and, next chapter ; and with them were associated some true cren according to our limited views of the course crocodelians, not much unlike the fresh-water garial in- of nature, they may be shown not to involve any needless habiting the Ganges. These, perhaps, might occasionally suffering to us men, constituted as we are, and looking swim out to sea, and be found in the neighbouring upon death as a punishment which must be endured, preshoals.

mature and violent destruction seems to involve unneces“ But these shoals were alive with myriads of inverte-sary pain. But such is not the law of nature as it relates brated animals ; and crowds of sharks hovered about. to animal life in general. The very exuberance and abunfeeding upon the larger forms. There were also numer

dance of life is at once obtained and kept within proper ous other animals, belonging to those remarkable groups bounds by this rapacity of some great tribes. A lingerwhich I have attempted to describe in some detail. ing death-a natural decay of those powers which alono Imagine, then, one of these monstrous animals, a cnable the animal to enjoy life, would, on the contrary, Plesiosaurus, some sixteen or twenty feet long, with a be a inost miserable arrangement for beings not endowed small wedge-shaped crocodeli:ın head, a long arched with reason, and not assisting one another. It would be serpent-like neck, a short compact body, provided with cruelty, because it would involve great and hopeless sutfour large and powerful paddles, almost developed into tering. Death by violence is to all unreasoning creatures hands; an animal not covered with brilliant scales, but the easiest death, for it is the most instantaneous, and with a black slimy skin. Imagine for a moment this therefore, no doubt, it has been ordained that, throughout creature slowly emerging from the muddy banks, and large classes, there should be an almost indefinite rate of half walking, half creeping along, making its way increase, accompanied by destruction, rapid and complete, towards the nearest water, Arrived at the water, we in a corresponding degree, since in this way only the can understand from its structure that it was likely greatest amount of happiness is ensured, and the pain to exhibit greater energy. Unlike the crocodile and misery ot' sloir decay of the vital powers prevented. tribe, however, in all its proportions, it must have all nature, both living and extinct, avounds with tacts been equally dissimilar in habit. Perhaps, in proving the truth of this view, and it would be as unrecstead of concealing itself in mud or among rushes, it sonable to doubt the wisdom and goodness of this arrangea

worse :

a piece of bread I carried in my pocket; but I was rest. The history may be true or fulse. The author roused by a tremendous explosion, louder than any thunrather offers it as his impressions, or deductions from his der I ever heard ; an immense lurid flame rose from the obscrvations; but that scarcely detracts from the interest crater, the intense light of which seemed to penetrate the of his speculations regarding the period when the carth ground felt as if sinking below mo.

smoke and illuminate all the neighbouring country. The

I felt myseil thrown was without form, and void ; when neither reason nor re- with violenco among the ashes, and lay for some time sponsibility was to be found amid its darkness.

stunned with the noise, and blinded with the light. Wher, after a little, I recovered my observation, I heard the

smothered roar of the volcano near, but faiut, and sa Travels in Central America. By Robert Glasgow

the smoke slowly rising from the crater; the rocking of

the ground had ceased, and the eruption seemed to hare Dunlop, Esq. London : Longman & Co.

passed over; here and there a twinkling star appeared The author of this work is now beyond the reach of through the vapour, and the moon was for a moment criticism, having died, as we learn, when the last sheet lemnity of the scene might make an impression on the

seen, now and then, through the smoke. The dread soof it had passed through the press. The work itself least sentimental. I sat still some time, as it were bereflects very high credit on its departed author, and wildered, looking at the red glare of the crater, which affords evidence of the loss that has been sustained by appeared like a huge furnace. I then attempted to aphis early death.

proach its edge, but the heat and suffocating vapours pre

vented my reaching it within about twenty or thirty The object aimed at in this volume, as stated in the

yards.'' preface, is to furnish the Englishı reader with some cor

At the close of his brief, but instructive sketch of the rect and trustworthy information respecting a portion of

history of the Republic of Central America, our author the world which is very little known in this country. Ac

observes thatcordingly, we are furnished with a minute and interesting description of the principal cities and localities visited

“Little hope can be entertained of any permanent imby the author. A brief history is also given of the re- ability shall unite the States and form a central govern.

provement in Central America, till some man of decided public of Central America, from its origin down to the ment capable of making itself feared and respected by all present time. Notice is likewise taken of its climate, parties, or till it shall fall under the dominion of some productions, commerce, customs, animals, geology, vol- foreign power capable of forming a firm and powerful

government of a nature suited to the country, overawing canoes, &c. ; while its population, religion, and education the factious, and affording ample protection to the indusreceive a proper share of the author's attention. Alto- trious and well-disposed. It is to be hoped that one or gether, the work will be found to contain a large amount other of these events may soen occur to rescue this deof useful information, being the result of much minute place it in the elevated rank in which it would undoubt

Tightful country from its present anarchy, and gradually inquiry and extensive observation ; and it is likewise edly hold under an enlightened goverment.” written in a very correct, vigorous, and pleasing style.

From the following observations it would appear that If Central America has, bitherto, been little known, it ignorance and immorality are fearfully prevalent among nceds not be so any longer, now that, in this interesting the population of Central America. work, we have been furnished with so full and accurate a representation of it. We give a few extracts from the Central America are probably hardly to be equalled in

" The ignorance, vice, and superstition prevailing in work itself.

any other part of the world, unless it may be in the inThe author resolved to ascend the volcano of Tor-terior of Africa or the East India islands. In the towns, mentos, and the following is his account of the scene :

not one in ten can read or write, and in many parts of

the country, not one in a thousand. In many villages, We commenced the ascent amidst broken and charred containing some thousand inhabitauts, no person is to be rocks, intermixed with cinders and broken pieces of found who can read, and when a traveller is compelled to lava. After two hours of hard toil, we approached the show his passport to the alcade, who is the first civil and part of the mountain which is covered with smoke, and criminal judge, he is generally requested to read it. the discordant noises we heard as we approached it be- Morality is at the lowest ebb among all classes, especially came loud and terrific, while the ground shook, as with the whites anu creoles ; indeed, I could never find, that one continued earthquake. Of a sudden, we were enve- among them any disgrace was attached to any sort of lopeu amidst the smoke, and heard a loud explosion, which crime except petty larceny. Murder, perjury, forgery, scattered ashes all around. My guide exclaimed, *0! and swindling of all sorts are considered as quite venial. santissima Maria, somus perdidos' (Oh! most holy Mary, The priests (Roman Catholic) are, for the most part, we are lost), and called out to me, “For God's sake, let blind leaders of the blind ; and the better educated merely us return, if it be possible ;' but I felt so strong a curios consider themselves as actors, whose business it is to eas sity to go on that I would not be deterred, so I answered, tort money by acting the part which will please the • Go back if you like, nothing shall prevent my going for- ple. Forms and religious parade are carefully keralup, ward.' Scrambling up like a cat among the cinders, but no one thinks of inculcating private morality which were in some places so hot as to burn my shoes, decency. The marriago ceremony is, also, as ne se and guiding myself by the flashes of lightning which expected, considered merely as a form to keepbe a played about the volcano, and the direction from which decency, and both man and wife act in pri the loudest noises proceeded, as the smoke entirely ob: picase. scured the vision I slowly ascended among the lara and "I have never found any native of Caat have you

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