The elders send two or three small boys, to purchase a male or female sheep. The sex of the sheep depends on whether the avenging spirit is male or female. Again, a black hen and a cock are also purchased. If the avenging spirit is of a wife who died unhappy because of ill treatment, the animal to be slaughtered on the ritual day of the ceremony should be a wild animal such as the Reebok caught alive in the bush. No beer is brewed in such as ceremony, and only the members of the clan haunted by the avenging spirit partake.
Neighbours and other people in the particular village are not allowed to know about the ceremony even at its preparation stage. Once the sheep, hen and cock are acquired, they are tied in a hidden place for the whole day waiting for nightfall. During the evening, around twelve midnight, all the children and members of the clan involved gather at a secret place where the sheep, hen and a cock were tied.
All the married daughters of the concerned clan were invited a day before the ritual. Their mothers were 1. All individuals taking part in the ritual were allowed to bring along two sets of clothes. Elders herded the sheep while the great aunt of the clan held the hen and cock. No one was allowed to look back at the place of the ceremony. The rod was shaped like a tail of a horse. Starting with the eldest member, he immersed them one by one, for some seconds, in the water.
Stay calm in this river and feed on fish and crabs. All members of the clan feasted on the meat without seasoning it with salt. They were nevertheless allowed to dip the cooked meat in the bile from the sheep as a substitute for salt. Some meat was kept for those family members who were not present. They also collected water from the river using empty bottles. The water too was going to be offered to members of the clan who were absent during the ritual in order for them to add it to their bathing water. Names of family members who could not attend the ceremony were called out, and the avenging spirit was admonished not to haunt them.
They dumped the bones from the ceremonial feast in the river, while shouting out the name of the avenging spirit. After finishing the meat, 1. The hen and the cock were then released on the banks of the river. All the participants were then instructed to walk in a single file going back to their homesteads. They instructed not to glance back until they reached their homes.
At home each father of the family instructed his children not to go back again to the ceremonial place until the river filled again in the next rainy season. The following evening, some ceremonial pegs were placed on the doorsteps of each house and hut. The ZCC healing rite of the avenging spirit The healing rite of the avenging spirit in the ZCC is captured and transmitted in a plethora of myths and one of the popular myths is the mapumhangozi.
This will be done in order to show the relationship between myths and rituals, which I think most researchers in the field of rituals, tend to ignore. These myths are recounted to render prayers of their members efficacious. Help me Lord, as I am a person of the flesh. I ask you for your power. Let your spirit come upon me as when you did for Samuel Mutendi, giving him the holy stuff to ward off all the powers of this world.
However, when he was on his way back to Zimbabwe, accompanied by two females and three men, the group came across two hungry lions. Mutendi and his colleagues climbed the nearby mukwa tree. One of the lions attempted to climb after them, releasing a fearsome roar. At that juncture, Mutendi started praying and speaking in tongues. He sprinkled holy water on the lions patrolling the tree. He pointed his holy stuff at the lions like a soldier aiming a gun, and shouted in the name of the God of Engenas Lekganyane.
He then dropped his rod to the ground. In a blink of an eye, the rod changed to a cobra mhungu. The snake fought the lions, spitting venom, and finally biting both of them. Eventually, the lions ran away and disappeared into the bush nearby. Mutendi and his colleagues climbed down the tree and started to praise the Lord, singing a song they composed at that instant. The song went as follows: Did you see the miracle of Jesus? Did you see the miracle of Zion?
Did you see the miracle of Engenas? Come and see what Jesus does, Come and see what Mutendi performs, Come and witness, you from the east; you from the west, Come and observe what Zion does. You with epilepsy come and be healed, You, attacked by the avenging spirit, come and be liberated. Come and see what Mutendi does, Come and witness the powers of God through his holy stuff. Come and see what Christ does. Come and see what Zion does. From that day on Samuel Mutendi named his holy stuff mapumhangozi.
This was because it was through the rod that their lives were spared. In every society the lion is regarded as one of the most formidable, dangerous, and most feared animals. When he reached Zimbabwe, Mutendi asked Murozvi, one of the carpenters in Masvingo, to make miniature replicas of his stuff, or tsimbo diki, using the mukwa tree.
These were to be used by office bearers in the ZCC to cure diseases and dispel evil spirits from the possessed. The mukwa is the tree where Mutendi and his colleagues were spared from the lions. Because of the incident with the lions, Mutendi totally believed that Engenas was a true messenger of God. As a result, he recognized the healing power that was endowed to Engenas.
Mutendi, using his holy stuff, prevented a natural disaster of a heavy storm at Mandamabwe, in the Chivi district. But Mutendi first pointed mapumhangozi, his stuff, in the direction of the storm and then draws a big circle where they were sitting. Dogs, cats, birds and other wild animals died that night, but Mutendi and his colleagues were spared. From that day, all the people who were with Mutendi recognized the power, which was associated with the holy stuff, and it was likened to the stuff of Moses, which was very powerful Zion Christian Church Rungano. Unpublished booklet.
When a prophet diagnoses that there is an avenging spirit that haunting a certain family, a ritual day of exorcism is arranged. In most cases the day is on a CHISI that is, a day set aside by traditional leaders of a particular district where they respect the spirit of the land. Sometimes the ritual is conducted on a Saturday in preparation of a Sunday. Church elders usually consult a number of prophets to serve as presiding officers on the ritual day. It is also the role of church elders to inform other members of the family of the person haunted by an avenging spirit, although they are not members of the church.
The senior prophet will inform them about the danger that might happen if they failed to participate in the ritual of exorcism. Before the ritual day all the ritual participants are given holy water, which they are instructed to dilute with their bathing water. They are allowed to use their bathing soap. Bathing with the holy water makes it easy for the prophet to see whether there is any danger in conducting an exorcising ritual. All the members of the family who wish to participate in the ritual are suppose to bring a pint of fresh milk, a packet of tanganda tea and coffee. All the ritual participants are not allowed to eat anything that day in preparation of the event.
The ritual is performed secretly and therefore takes place at a secret place. They handed gifts such as milk, tanganda tea, coffee, and sometimes money, to the church minister. There was no gender discrimination. Therefore, the wives of family members participating in the ritual were allowed to partake fully in the ritual. All ritual participants brought two sets of clothes in order to use them on the last day of the ritual, during baptism.
One elder of the church, apparently a deacon, told people to confess their sins in preparation of the prayer before 1. In this case the prophets will urge all people to confess their sins from birth up to the present. Those who passed the gates were sprinkled with holy water and waited for the others to embark on their journey to an unknown place. The songs were like the one sang by Mutendi and his colleagues when they were liberated from the lions. People started praying while they were kneeling down.
The church minister then announced the direction where they were supposes to go. Only church office bearers knew the exact destination where the group would end. When they entered the bush or crossed a river they prayed. On the foot of the mountain, all people were ordered to confess their sins in order to make the climbing of the mountain easier. After this procession, members of the family attacked by the ngozi spirit were ordered to confess completely their sins. The prophets then urged ritual participants to be serious in issues regarding their faith. Some of the members of the family who were not ZCC believers were encouraged to be members but were not forced to do so.
They reached a hidden place in the mountain where they set fire. A clay pot of tanganda tea and coffee were prepared while people were singing and dancing. The singing and dancing was then followed by some short sermons chronicling how Mutendi used to heal people with different spiritual challenges. The sacred mapumhangozi story was repeated time and again by all preachers.
Saturday night was a day filled with prayers and worship up to midnight.
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The boiled tanganda tea mixed with milk was brought in and all ritual participants were directed to drink it. Drinking the coffee with milk was followed with the drinking of the tanganda tea. There was a lot of vomiting by ritual participants. The ritual was done until the ngozi spirit possesses one of the members of the family. That person was then steamed by burnt newspaper and hot water mixed with the tanganda and coffee. The mapumhangozi stuff was then used to bless the water by pointing and steering it. This was done in order to force the avenging spirit to talk what it wants in order not to continue causing a lot of suffering to the members of the family.
All members of the family entered into a queue for the steaming process. The steaming was done through burning of the newspapers and boiled water mixed with lemon fruit also. As a result of this the ngozi spirit then possessed one of the ritual participants. The prophet then took the salt solution and sprinkled the possessed person in order for the spirit to communicate what it wants. The prophet took the fats from the tail of a sheep and burnt it so that the smoke will get in contact with the possessed person. The prophet then recommended the spirit to go to the wilderness where there is no water.
The ritual participants were not allowed to share what they saw until they reached the river. Again, members of the family haunted by the ngozi spirit were not allowed to look back at the mountain or hill. The prophets and senior church ministers entered the water at the river, and then prayed while they were stirring the water with the sacred rod or mapumhangozi into the water. They also poured holy water mixed with milk and salt into the river. The church minister then held a mapumhangozi and then called the ritual participants into the pool one after 1.
He then immersed each one of them seven times in the water, to baptize them. Following the baptism, each of the church elders with small rods laid their hands on every ritual participant.. They then cast out the avenging spirit using the small rod. One of the church-leader sprinkled ritual participants with a mixture of water and milk, and directed them to remove the clothes they wearing when baptized.
He then gave them to one of the senior church officials, who dumped them all into the running river. There was an incident of the avenging spirit possessing one of the ritual participants while he was baptized. He was then tied with fetters. We can permit you to go and live in the wilderness until the Day of Judgment.
They were also instructed not to look back until they reached their homes. At home, each father instructed his children not to go back again to the ceremonial place until the river flooded again in the next rainy season.
Once they were home, church elders endowed with healing powers, or vemaoko, visited homesteads of individuals who participated in the mountain and river ceremonies, and conducted a ritualistic sprinkling of water in the rooms and around the yards. The ritual was conducted before sunrise. All members of the clan who participated in this ritual were given a bottle full of holy water and some newspapers, which they used for healing as curative medicine at their homes every evening before retiring to sleep. These members were encouraged to attend church services, although they were not pressured to join the church of Mutendi.
However, they were warned to refrain from eating pork, smoking tobacco, and drinking beer, failing which, the avenging spirit would resurface in full force and would be irreversible and untreatable at all. Phenomenological analysis of the ritual 1. In the story the snake symbolizes cunning and dangerousness, and it is more dangerous than the lions themselves. In this case the stuff of Mutendi was going to be more powerful, destroying any form of evil.
As a result the story provides all ZCC believers with a picture of the sacred. The mapumhangozi myth relate the origins of the sacredness of the stuff used in the ZCC as well as the sacredness of the mukwa tree that is used to make the small stuff used by other office bearers in this church.
We also see that the mapumhangozi stuff is used in healing ritual. Myths related to the mapumhangozi and the birth and death of Mutendi, as well as miraculous healings, are recounted in order to make the ZCC healing rituals and prayers efficacious. Lastly, we can see that the mapumhangozi myth used local stories in its use of the snake, and the divine powers of the divinities Cox, The relationship between the ZCC healing rites of the avenging spirit and the Karanga traditionalists Rituals are the major aspect of healing in the Karanga traditional religion and the ZCC.
Rituals in these two institutions have their personal and communal importance since they bring the picture of the sacred to life. In doing so myths use the local stories, divinities and events to bring the believer into the presence of the universal. Following the way in which the ZCC and the Karanga perform the healing rite of the avenging spirit we can see that all these people are much concerned about total liberation of humanity from all forms of suffering.
Both groups regard salvation as a state of wholeness, and it is deliverance of man from evil spirit forces, which affect the health and well being of people. The ZCC and Karanga people consider ngozi as one of the most dangerous spirits, which can threaten spiritual, physical and psychological health. For the Karanga, the healing rite of the avenging spirit takes place outside the houses of the people haunted by the avenging spirit.
For the ZCC, the ritual takes place at the mountain and then the river. For the Karanga they started the ritual in the wilderness or bush and later on visited the river. This clearly indicates that a ritual like this does not take place in a normal living space, but outside where the ordinary affairs of the household are conducted.
According to Nolte-Schamm it is in fact a space set apart. The wilderness and the mountain are regarded as sacred in both African and traditional Christianity. They are regarded as places where people meet their God and ancestors. Like wise the river is also sacred and it signifies washing away of sins and all evil spirits. The idea here is that the flowing water could carry away the avenging spirit and sins of a people. In both rituals, the role of elders as ritual leaders or sacred practitioners is very important. Their presence as experts of conducting rituals actually makes the place where ritual is taking place qualitatively different from other places.
They are there to choose, prepare and sanctify the ritual place. In this case they controlled and stylised the manipulation of words, gestures and substances of the ritual Nolte-Schamm The sprinkling of water in the ZCC and the spreading of the snuff on the ground in the Karanga ritual contribute to creation of a holy space.
Thus, water and snuff as ritual symbols connect all ritual participants with the unseen or sacred. Two very distinguished physiologists share the main honors of dis- covery in regard to the function of digestion— the Abbe Spallanzani, of the University of Uavia, Italy, and John Hunter, of England. It is a curious commentary on the crude notions of me- chanics of previous generations that it should have been necessary to prove by experiment that the thin, almost membranous stomach of a mammal has not the power to pulverize, by mere attrition, the foods that are taken into it.
However, the proof was now for the first time forth- coming, and the question of the general character of the function of digestion was forever set at rest. To clear up the mysteries of respiration was a task that fell to the lot of chemistry. The solution of tiie problem followed almost as a matter of course upon the advances of that science in the latter part of the century. The great Boerhaave had supposed that respiration is chiefly important as an aid to the circulation of the blood ; his great pupil, Haller, ijad believed to the day of his death in that the main purpose of the function is to form the voice.
Priesticw, as usual, being in the vail. Such vague, unavailing half-knowledge is often the fore- runner of fruitful discovery. Neither, considered as a perfected method, was it in any sense an accident. It was a triumph of experimental science; how great a triumph it is difficult now to understand, for we of to-day can only vaguely realize what a ruthless and over-[ rosent scourge small-pox had been to all previous generations of men since history began. Despite all efforts to check it by medication and by direct inocula- tion, it swept now and then over the earth as an all- devastating pestilence, and year by year it claimed one- tentli of all the beings in Christendom by death as its average quota of victims.
A pitted face was almost as much a matter of course a hundred years ago as a smooth one is to-day. Tlie first vaccination was made in 1Y Before the close of the century the method was practised everywhere in Christendom. Rich and poor, high and low, sought succor in vaccination, and blessed the name of their deliverer.
Of all the great names that were be- fore the world in the closing days of the century, there was perhaps no other one at once so widely known and so uniformly reverenced as that of the Eng- lish physician Edward Jenner. Surely there was no other one that should be recalled with greater gratitude by posterity. On tlie evening of Janna. Hut a. Thus two planets were found where only one was expected. The existence of the supernumerary was a puzzle, but Olbors solved it for the moment by suggesting that!
Other similar fragments, he ventured to predict, would bo found wlnm searched for. William Iferschel sanctioned this theory, and suggested the name asteroids for the tiny planets. Tlie explosion theory was supported by the discovery of another asteroid, by Harding, of Lilienthal, in , and it seemed clinched when Olbers himself found a fourth in From then on the finding of asteroids be- came a commonplace.
Latterly, with the aid of pho- tography, the list has been extended to al ove four hun- dred, and as yet there seems no dearth in the supply, though doubtless all the larger members have bc'en w,- vealed. Even these arc but a few hundreds of mihjs in diameter, while the smaller ones are too tiny for meas- urement. The combined bulk of these minor planets is believed to be but a fraction of that of the earth. As we have seen, the discovery of the first asteroid confirmed a conjecture ; the other important planetary discovery of our century fulfilled a prediction.
Nep- tune was found through scientific prophecy. No one suspected the existence of a trans-Uranian planet till Uranus itself, by hair-breadth departures from its pre- dicted orbit, gave out the secret. No one saw the dis- turbing planet till the pencil of the mathematician, with almost occult divination, had pointed out its place in the heavens. The general predication of a trans- Uranian planet was made by Hessel, the great Konigs- berg astronomer, in ; the analysis that revealed its exact location was undertaken, half a decade later, by two independent workers — Jolin Couch Adams, just graduated senior wrangler at Cambridge, England, and U.
Liiverrier, the leading French mathematician of his g meration. Hut it had one radical defect — it was the work of a young and untried man. One of them is poised only boot miles from Mars, and whirls about him almost four times as fast as he revolves, secmiing thus, as viewed by the Martian, to rise in the west and set in the east, and making the month only one-fourth as long as the day.
Laplace, like his predecessors, supposed these rings to be solid, and explained their stability as due to certain irregularities of contour which Ilerschel Iiad pointed out. I3ut about Professor Peirce of Harvard showed the untenability of this conclusion, proving that were the rings such as Laplace thought them, they must fall of their own weight.
Then Pro- fessor J. That seemingly staid body was long ago discovered to have a propensity to gain a little on the earth, appearing at eclipses an infinitesimal moment ahead of time. Tliis was a momentous discrepancy, which at first no one could explain. Again the earth was shown to bo at fault, but this time the moon could not be exonerated, while the esti- mated stability of our system, instead of being re-estab- lished, was quite upset.
For the tidal retardation is not an oscillatory change which will presently correct itself, like the orbital wobble, but a perpetual change, acting always in one direction. Unless fully counteracted by some opposing reaction, therefore as it seems not to be , the effect must be cumulative, the ultimate consequences disastrous. The exact character of these consequences was first estimated by Professor G. Darwin, in He showed that tidal friction in retarding the earth must also push the moon out from the parent planet on a spiral orbit.
Plainly, then, the moon must formerly have been nearer the earth than at present. At some very remote period it must have actually touched the 51 THE STORY OF ninp:teenth-century science earth ; must, in other words, have been thrown off from the then plastic mass of the earth, as a polyp buds out from its parent l olyp. At that time the earth was spin- ning about in a day of from two to four hours. The same rogress of events must continue, till, at some re- mote period in the future, the day has come to equal the month, lunar tidal action lias ceased, and one face of the earth looks jut always at the moon, with that same fixed stare which even now the moon has been brought to assume towards her parent orb.
Hut even though imagination pause far short of this direful culmination, it still is clear that modern calcula- tions, based on inexorable tidal friction, suffice to revo- lutionize the views formerly current as to the stability of the planetary system. The eighteenth-century math- ematician looked upon this system as a vast celestial machine which had been in existence about six thousand years, and which was destined to run on forever.
Hut there is another inhabitant of the skies whose purposes havt' not been similarly free from popuhtr susi ici n. Time out of mind these wanderers have been sup- posed to presage war, famine, pestilence, perhaps the destruction of the world. And little wonder. Proved thus to bow to natural law, the celestial messenger could no longer fully sustain its role.
It re- mained for our own century to completely unmask the pretender, and show how egregiously our foi'ebears had been deceived. The unmasking began early in the century, when l r. This luminous sug- gestion was held more or less in abeyance for half a cen- tury. Then it was elaborated by Zdllner, and ] articu- larly by Hredichin, of tlie Moscow observatory, into what has since been regarded as the most plausible of cometary theories. It is held that comets and the sun are similarly clectrilied, and hence mutually repulsive. From study of atomic weights, and estimates of the velocity of thrust of cometary tails, Hredichin concluded that the chief components of the various kinds of tails are hydrogen, hydrocarbons, and the vapor of iron; and spectroscopic analysis goes far towards sustaining these assumptions.
Twice during our century the earth has actually plunged directly through one of these threatening appendages, in , and again in ISdl, once being immersed to a depth of some , miles in its substance. Y"et nothing dread- ful ha] pened to us. There was a peculiar glow in the atmosphere, so the more imaginative observers thought, and that was all. After such fiascoes, the cometary train could never again pose as a woild-destroyer. Such a fate has actually befallen a mul- titude of comets, which Jupiter and the other outlying planets have dragged into our system, and lielped the sun to hold captive here.
Many of these tailless comets were known to the eighteenth-century astronomers, but no on i at that time? Shortly afterwards another comet, revolving in a period of about six years, was dis- covered by Biela, and given his name. Only two more of these short-period comets were discovered during our first half-century, but latterly they have been shown to be a numerous family. Nearly twenty are known which the giant Jupiter holds so close that the utmost reach of their elliptical tether does not let them go beyond the orbit of Saturn.
These aforetime wanderers have adapt- ed themselves wonderfully to planetary customs, for all of them revolve in the same direction with the planets, and in planes not wide of the ecliptic. Checked in their proud hyperbolic sweep, made cap- tive in a planetary net, deprived of their trains, these quondam free lances of the heavens are now mere shadows of their former selves.
Considered as to mere bulk, they are very substantial shadows, their extent be- ing measured in hundreds of thousands of miles; but their actual mass is so slight that they are quite at the mercy of the gravitation pulls of their captors. And worse is in store for them. So persistently do sun and planets tug at them that they are doomed presently to be torn into shreds.
Such a fate has already overtaken one of them, under the very eyes of the astronomers, within the relatively short period during wliich these ill-fated comets have been observed. It did no greater harm than that, of course, and passed on its way as usual. The very next time it came within telescopic hail it was se6n to have broken into two fragments. It had been completely shattered. What had become of the fragments? At that time no one positively knew. But the question was to be answered presently. It chanced that just at this period astronomers were paying much attention to a class of Imdies which they had hitherto somewhat neglected, the familiar shooting-stars or meteors.
The studies of Pro- fessor Newton of Yale and Professor Adams of Cam- bridge with particular reference to the great meteor- shower of November, , which Professor Newton had predicted, and shown to be recurrent at intervals of thirty-three years, showed that meteors are not mere sporadic swarms of matter flying at random, but exist in isolated swarms, and sweep about the sun in regular elliptical orbits.
Presently it was shown by the Italian astronomer Schiaparelli that one of these meteor swarms moves in the orbit of a previously observed comet, and other coincidences of the kind were soon forthcoming. The conviction grew that meteor swarms are really the debris of comets ; and this conviction became a prac- tical certainty when, in November, , the earth crossed the orbit of the ill-starred Biela, and a shower of meteors came whizzing into our atmosphere in lieu of the lost comet.
And so at last the full secret was out. The awe-inspir- ing comet, instead of being the planetary body it had all along been regarded, is really nothing more nor less than a great aggregation of meteoric particles, which have become clustered together out in space somewhere. What a story it tells of the myriads of cometa. Fickersgill, K. Even to the trained mind such distances are only vaguely imaginable. Y"et the astronomer of our centuiy has reached out across this unthinkable void and brought back many a secret which our predecessors thouglit forever beyond human grasp.
A tentative assault upon this stronghold of the stars was being made by llerschel at the beginning of the century. Hitherto it had been sup- posed that double stars were mere optical elTects. Here was another shift of place, hith- erto quite unsuspected, to be reckoned with by the as- tronomer in fathoming sidereal secrets. His studies, in which at first he lyid the collaboration of Mr.
Janies South, brought to light scores of hitherto uni'eQOgnized pairs, and gave fresh data for the dilculalion of the orbits of those lono-er known. Struve, the enthusiastic observer of the famous Russian observatory at the university of Dorpat, and subse uently at Rulkowa. Utilizing data gathered by these observers, M.
And the more carefully the motions ot the stars are studied, the more evident it becomes that widely sepa- rated stars are linked together into infinitely complex systems, as yet but little understood. Burnham, of late years the most enthusi- astic and successful of double -star pursuers, added a thousand new discoveries while he was still an amateur in astronomy, and by profession the stenographer of a Chicago court. Clearly the actual number of multiple stars is beyond all present estimate. The expectation was not fulfilled.
So the problem of star distance allured and eluded him to the end, and he died in without see- ing it even in prospect of solution. Just about this time, however, a great optician came to the aid of the astronomers. In S Bessel announced from the Konigsberg observatory that he had succeeded, after montljs of effort, in detecting and measuring the parallax of a star.
Similar claims had been made often enough before, always to prove fallacious when put to further test ; but this time the announcement carried the authority of one of the greatest astronomers of the age, and scepticism was silenced. Indeed, as so often happens in fields of discov- ery, two other workers had almost simultaneously solved the same problem — Struve at Pulkowa, where the great Kussian observatory, which so long held the palm over all others, had now been established; and Thomas Henderson, then working at tlie Cape of Good Hope, but afterwards the Astronomer Royal of Scotland.
Yet even this nearest star is more than , times as re- mote from us as the sun. The information derived from the ] arallax of a star by no means halts with the disclosure of the distance of that body. Distance known, the proper motion of the s ar, hitherto only to be reckoned as so manv seconds of ;irc, may readily bo translated into actual spccal of prog- r? As to actual bulk, of which ajiparent lustre furnishes no adequate test, some stars are smaller than the sun, while others exccicd him hun- dreds or perhaps thousands of times.
All this seems wonderful enough, but even greater things were in store. In the spectroscope came upon the scene, perfected by Kirchhoff and Bunsen, along lines pointed out by Fraunhofer almost lialf a c intury before. That marvellous instrument, by reveal- ing the telltale lines sprinkled across a prismatic spec- trum, discloses the chemical nature and physical condi- tion of any substance whose light is submitted to it, telling its story equally well, provided the light be strong enough, whether the luminous substance be near or far — in the same room or at the confines of space.
Clearly such an instrument must prove a veritable magic wand in the hands of the astronomer. Very soon eager astronomers all over the world were putting tlie spectroscope to the test. Kirchhoff himself led the way, and IJonati and Father Secchi in Italy, lluggins and Miller in England, and Rutherfurd in America, were the chief of his immediate followers. The results exceeded the dreams of the most visionary. At the very outset, in 18 30, it was shown that such common terrestriid substances as sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium, nickel, barium, copper, and zinc exist in the form of glowing vapors in the sun, and very soon the stars gave up a corresponding secret.
Only last year two new terrestrial elements were discovered ; but one of these had for years been known to the astronomer as a solar and suspected as a stellar element, and named helium because of its abundance in the sun. There is hardly a more picturesque fact than that in the entire history of science. It was seen that sun and stars, lar from being the cool, earthlike, habitable bodies that Ilerscliel thought them surrounded by glowing clouds, and protected from undue heat by other clouds , are in truth seething caldrons of fiery liquid, or gas made viscid by condensation, with lurid envelopes of belching flames.
It was soon made clear, also, par- ticularly by the studies of liutherfurd and of Secchi, that stars differ among themselves in exact constitution or condition. In accordance with the theory of Helmholtz, the chief supply of solar energy is held to be contraction of the solar mass itself, and plainly this must have its limits. Therefore, unless some means as yet unrecognized is restoring the lost energy to the stellar bodies, each of them must gradually lose its lus- tre, and come to a condition of solidification, seeming sterility, and frigid darkness.
In the case of our own particular star, according to the estimate of Lord Kel- vin, such a culmination appears likely to occur within a period of five or six million years.
But by far the strongest support of such a forecast as this is furnished by those stellar bodies which even now appear to have cooled to the final stage of star develop- ment and ceased to shine. One of the most surprising accomplishments of that instrument is the power to record the flight of a luminous object directly in the line of vision. If the luminous body approaches swiftly, its Fraunhofer lines are shifted from their normal position towards the violet end of the spectrum; if it recedes, the lines shift in the opposite direction.
The actual motion of stars whoso distance is unknown may be measured in this way. But in certain cases the liglit lines are seen to oscillate on the spectrum at regular intervals. Obviously the star sending such light is alternately approaching and receding, and the inference tliat it is revolving about a companion is una- voidable. From this extraordinary test the orbital dis- tance, relative mass, and actual speed of revolution of the absolutely invisible body may be determined. Thus the spectroscope, wliich deals only with liglit, makes ] aradoxical excursions into the realm of the invisible.
IV But tlie spectroscope is not alone in this audacious assault upon the strongholds of nature. It has a worthy companion and assistant in the photographic film, whose ellicient aid has been invoked by the astronomer even more recently. Henry Draper, at Hastings-on-the-Hudson, made the first successful photograph of a nebula. Soon after, Dr. David Gill, at the Cape observatory, made fine photographs of a comet, and the flecks of starlight on liis plates first suggested the possibilities of this method in charting the heavens. Since then star-charting with the film has come to virtually supersede the old method.
A concerted effort is being made by astronomers in various parts of the world to make a complete chart of the heavens, and before the close of our century this work will be accomplished, some fifty or sixty millions of visible stars being placed on record with a degrep of accuracy hitherto unapproach- able. Moreover, other millions of stars are brought to light by the negative which are too distant or dim to be visible with any telescopic powers yet attained — a fact which wholly discredits all previous inferences as to the limits of our sidereal system.
Hence, notwithstanding the wonderful instrumental advances of our century, knowledge of the exact form and extent of our universe seems more unattainable than it seemed a century ago. Yet the new instruments, while leaving so much untold, have revealed some vastly important secrets of cosmic structure. In particular, they have set at rest the long-standing doubts as to the real structure and position of the mysterious nebulm — those hazy masses, only two or three of them visible to the unaided eye, which the telescope reveals in almost limitless abundance, scattered everywhere among the stars, but grouped in particular about the poles of the stellar stream or disk which we call the Milky Way.
But the inference was wrong; for when the spectro- scope was first applied to a nebula in , by Dr. Hug- gins, it clearly showed the spectrum not of discrete stars, but of a great mass of glowing gases, hydrogen among others. More extended studies showed, it is true, that some nebuljD give the continuous spectrum of solids or liquids, but the different types intermingle and grade into one another.
Also, the closest affinity is shown be- tween nebuhe and stars. The familiar stars of the Pleiades cluster, for example, appear on the negative immersed in a hazy blur of light. August 0, , of Messier 5. Libra, showing variations of brightnes in cerium stars indicated by the arrows. And these vast clouds of world-stuff have been found by Professor Keeler, of the Lick Observatory, to be floating through space at the starlike speed of from ten to thirty-eight miles per second.
But the nebulae have other affinities not until recently suspected; for the spectra of some of them are practically identical with the spectra of certain comets. The conclusion seems warranted that comets are in point of fact minor nebu- lae that are drawn into our system ; or, putting it other- wise, that the telescopic nebulae are simply gigantic dis- tant comets. Following up the suprising clews thus suggested, Mr. Norman Lockyer, of London, has in recent years elaborated what is perphaps the most comprehensive cosmogonic guess that has ever been attempted.
Neb- ulie arc vast cometary clouds, with particles more or less widely separated, giving olf gases through meteoric collisions, internal or external, and perhaps glowing also with elect!
Gravity eventu- ally brings the nebular particles into closer aggregations, and increased collisions finally vaporize the entire mass, forming planetary nebulm and gaseous stars. Contin- ued condensation may make the stellnr muss hotter and more luminous for a time, but eventually leads to its liquefaction, and ultimate consolidation — the aforetime nebuhe becoming in the end a dark or planetary star. The exact correlation which Mr. Lockyer attein] ts to j oiut out between successive stages of meteoric con- densation and the various typos of observed stellar bod- ies does not me 5t with unanimous acceptance.
All this, clearly, is but an amplification of that nebu- lar hy] otliesis which, long before the spectroscope gave us warrant to accurately judge our sidereal neighbors, had boldly imagined the develo] ment of stars out of nebular and of planets out of stars.
But Mr. For the dark star, though its molecular activities liave come to relative stability and impotence, still retains tlie enormous potentialities of molar motion; and clearly. Sooner or later, in its ceaseless flight through space, the dark star must col- lide with some other stellar body, as Dr. Then without question the mutual impact must shatter both colliding bodies into vapor, or vapor combined with meteoric fragments; in short, into a veritable nebula, the matrix oE future worlds.
Thus the dark star, which is the last term of one series of cosmic changes, becomes the first term of another series — at once a post-nebular and a pre- nebular condition ; and the nebular hypothesis, thus am- plilied, ceases to be a mere linear scale, and is rounded out to connote an unending series of cosmic cycles, more nearly satisfying the imagination.
In this extended view, nebuhe and luminous stars are but the infantile and adolescent stages of the life his- tory of the cosmic individual ; the dark star, its adult stage, or time of true virility. Or we may think of the shrunken dark star as the germ-cell, the pollen-grain, of the cosmic organism. Reduced in size, as becomes a germ-cell, to a mere fraction of the nebular body from which it sprang, it yet retains within its seemingly non- vital body all the potentialities of the original organism, and requires only to blend with a fellow-cell to bring a new generation into being.
Uefore this image could be corrected it was necessary that a man should appear who could see without prejudice, and apply sound common-sense to wliat he saw. And sucli a man did appear towards tlie close of the century in the person of William Smith, the English surveyor.
Hy exercising these faculties, rare as they are homely, he led the way to a science which was destined, in its later develoinnents, to shake the structure of established thought to its foundations. Nor, indeed, was there anything of such appareut revo- lutionary character in the facts which ho unearthed; yet in their implications these facts were the most dis- concerting of any that had been revealed since the day of Copernicus and Galileo.
Moreover, a fossil once having disappeared never reappears in any later stratum. From these novel facts Smith drew the common-sense inference that the earth had had successive populations of creatures, each of which in its turn had become extinct. He partially verified this inference by comparing the fossil shells with existing species of similar orders, and found that such as occur in older strata of the rocks had no counterparts among living species. But on the whole, being eminently a practical man. Smith troubled himself but little about the inferences that might be drawn from his facts, lie was chiefly concerned in using the key he had discovered as an aid to the construction of the first geological map of England ever attempted, and he left to others the untangling of any snarls of thought that might seem to arise from his discovery of the succession of var3nng forms of life on the globe.
The Baobabs: Pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia
It must not for a moment be supposed, however, that his contention regarding the succession of strata met with immediate or general ac- ceptance. On the contrary, it was most bitterly an- tagonized. Just how the numberless successive strata could have been laid down in orderly sequence to the depth of several miles in one such fell cataclysm was indeed puzzling, especially after it came to be admitted that the heaviest fossils were not found always at the bottom ; but to doubt that this had been done in some way was rank heresy in the early days of our century. II But once discovered, William SmitlPs unique facts as to the succession of forms in the rocks would not down.
There was one most vital point, however, regarding which the inferences that seem to follow from these facts needed verification — the question, namely, whether the disappearance of a fauna from the register in the rocks really implies the extinction of that fauna. Every- thing really depended upon the answer to that question, and none but an accomplished naturalist could answer it with authority. It was the anatomical studies that led him into the realm of fossils. Some bones dug out of the rocks by workmen in a quarry were brought to his notice, and at once his trained eye told him that they were different from anything he had seen before.
Cuvier soon showed that neither giants nor angels were in question, but ele- phants of an unrecognized species. Continuing his studies, particularly with material gathered from gyp- sum beds near Paris, he had accumulated, by the begin- ning of our century, bones of about twent3"-live species of animals that he believed to be different from any now living on the globe.
Among other things of great popular interest the book contained the lirst authorita- tive description of the hairy elephant, named by Cuvier the mammoth, the remains of which had been found embedded in a mass of ice in Siberia in , so wonder- fully preserved that the dogs of the Tungusian lisher- men actually ate its flesh. Hones of the same sjrecies had been found in Siberia several year's before by the naturalist Pallas, who had also found the carcass of a rhinoceros there, frmen in a mud bank ; but no one then suspected that these were members of an extinct popula- tion — they were supposed to be merely transported relics of the flood.
He maintained that all of these creatures had actually lived in Britain, and that the caves in which their bones were found had been the dens of hyenas. The claim was hotly disputed as a matter of course. That they were found in solid rocks or in caves offered no difficulty, at least not to the fertile imagination of Granville Penn, the leader of the conservatives, who clung to the old idea of Woodward and Cattcut that the deluged ha dissolved the entire crust of the earth to a paste, into which the relics now called fossils had settled.
The caves, said Mr. Penn, are merely the result of gases given off by the carcasses during decomposition — great air-bubbles, so to speak, in the pasty mass becoming caverns when the waters receded and the paste hardened to rocky consistency. But these and such like fanciful views were doomed even in the day of their utterance.
As these tacts came to be generally known, and as it came to be understood in addition that the very matrix of the rock ifi which fossils arc embedded is in many cases itselC one gigantic fossil, com[ osed of the remains of microsco] ic forms of life, common-sense, which, after all, is the linal tribunal, came to the aid of belabored science. It was conceded that the only tenable inter- pretation of the record in tiie rocks is that numerous populations of creatures, distinct from one another and from present forms, have risen and passed away ; ami that the geologic ages in which tliese creatures lived were of inconceivable length.
ITT And now a new question pressed for solution. That question, however, seemed to present no dilliculties. It was answered out of hand by the application of an old idea. These ancient hosts, it was said, have been exterminated at intervals of odd millions of years by the recurrence of catastrophes of which the Mosaic deluge is the latest, but perhaps not the last.
This expljination had fullest warrant of scientific au- thority. For the moment science and tradition were at one, and there was a truce to controversy, except indeed in those outlying skirmish-lines of thought whither news from headquarters does not permeate till it has become ancient history at its source. The truce, liowever, was not for long. This iconoclast was Charles Lyell, the Scotchman, who was soon to be famous as the greatest geologist of his time.
As a young man he had become imbued with the force of the Iluttonian proposition, that present causes are one witli those that produced the ] ast changes ol the globe, and he carried that idea to wheat he conceived to be its logical conclusion. To his mind this excluded the thought of catastrophic changes in either inorganic or organic worlds. Needless to say such revolu- tion could not be effected without a long contest. For a score of years the matter was argued pro and con, often with most unscientific ardor.
A mere outline of the controversy would fill a volume ; yet the essential facts with which Lyell at last established his proposi- tion, in its bearings on the organic world, may be epito- mized in few words. The evidence which seems to tell of past revolutions is the apparently sudden change of fossils from one stratum to another of the rocks.
But Lyell showed that this change is not always com- plete. Some species live on from one alleged epoch into the next. By no means all the contemporaries of the mammoth are extinct, and numerous marine forms vastly more ancient still have living represent- atives. Moreover, the blanks between strata in any particular vertical series are amply filled in with records in the form of thick strata in some geographically distant series.
For example, in some regions Silurian rocks are directly overlaid by the coal measures ; but elsewhere this sudden break is filled in with the Devonian rocks that tell of a great age of fishes. The causes which have brought about such gradual exterminations, and in the long lapse of ages have resulted in rotations of popula- tion, are the same natural causes that are still in opera- tion. Past and present causes are one — natural law is changeless and eternal.
Such was the essence of the Iluttonian doctrine, which Lyell adopted and extended, and Avith which his name will always be associated. Largely through his elTorts, though of course not without the aid of many other workers after a time, this idea — the doctrine of uniform- itarianism, it came to be called — became the accepted dogma of the geologic world not long after the middle of our century.
The catastrophists, after clinging madly to their phantom for a generation, at last capitulated without terms: the old heresy becaine the new ortlio- doxy, and the way was paved for a fresh controversy. IV The fresh controversy followed quite as a matter of course. For the idea of catastrophism had not con- cerned the destruction of species merely, but their intro- duction as well. Then may not the new species of a later geological epoch be the modified lineal descendants of the extinct population of an earlier epoch? The idea that such might be the case Avas not new.
Of course such a thought as this was hopelessly mis- placed in a generation that doubted the existence of ex- tinct species, and hardly less so in the generation that accepted catastrophism ; but it had been kept alive by here and there an advocate like Geoffrey St.
In its place Lyell put forward a modified hypothesis of special creation. He assumed that from time to time, as the extirpation of a species had left room, so to speak, for a new species, such new species had been created de novo ; and lie supposed that such intermittent, spasmodic impulses of creation mani- fest tliemselves nowadays quite as frequently as at any time in the past. And that theory, let it be noted, Avas not the theory of Lyell alone, but of nearly all his associates in the geologic world. There is perhaps no other fact that will bring home to one so vividly the advance in thought of our own generation as the recollection that so crude, so almost unthinkable a conception could have been the current doctrine of sci- ence less than half a century ago.
It may be doubted whether even Lyell himself fully realized it. If he did, he saw no escape from the dilemma, for it seemed to him that the record in the rocks clearly disproved the alternative Lamarckian hy- pothesis. And almost with one accord the paleontolo- gists of the time sustained the verdict. Owen, Agassiz, Falconer, Barrande, Pictet, Forbes, reputliated the idea as unqualifiedly as their great predecessor Cuvier had done in the earlier generation.
Some of them did, in- deed, come to believe that there is evidence of a pro- gressive development of life in the successive ages, but no such graded series of fossils had been discovered as would give countenance to the idea that one species had ever been transformed into another. But now in appeared a book which, though not dealing primarily with paleontology, yet contained a chapter that revealed the geological record in an alto- gether new light.
Of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. COPE been preserved, and of each page only here and there a few lines. In the clariiied view now pos- sible old facts took on a new meaning. It was recalled that Cuvier had been obliged to establish a new order for some of the first fossil creatures he examined, and that Buckland had noted that the nondescript forms were intermediate in structure between allied existiim orders. Many observers had noted that recent strata everywhere show a fossil fauna more nearly like the existing one than do more ancient strata; and that fossils from any two consecutive strata are far more closely related to each other than are tlie fossils of two remote formations, the fauna of each geological formation being, indeed, in a wide view, intermediate between preceding and succeeding faunas.
Not all paleontologists could follow him at once, of course ; the proof was not yet sutficiently demonstative tor that ; but all were shaken in the seeming security of their former position, which is always a necessary stage in the progress of thought. And popular inter- est in the matter was raised to wliite heat in a twin- kling. So, for the third time in this first century of its ex- istence, paleontology was called upon to play a leading role in a controversy whose interest extended far be- yond the bounds of staid truth-seeking science.
The question had implications far beyond the bounds of paleontology, of course. Tlie main evidence yet p? In Dr.
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These reports had to do with the alleged finding of Hint implements, clearly the work of man, in undisturbed gravel beds, in the midst of fossil remains of the mammoth and other extinct animals. Falconer was so much impressed with what he saw tliat lie urged his countiymen Pro- fessor Prestwich to go to Abbeville and thoroughly in- vestigate the subject.
Professor Prestwich complied, with the collaboration of Mr. John Evans, and tlie re- port which these paleontologists made of their investi- gation brought the subject of the very significanthuman fossils at Abbeville prominently before the public; whereas the publications of the original discoverer, Boucher des Perthes, bearing date of , iiad been al- together ignored. A new aspect was thus given to the current controversy. As Dr.
Falconer remarked, geology was now passing througli the same ordeal that astronomy passed in the age of Galileo. Eager searchers were turning the leaves with renewed zeal everywhere, and with no small meas- ure of success. In 2 articular, interest attaclied just at this time to a human skull which Ur. Like others of the same ty] e since discovered at Spy, it is singularly Simian in character — low-arched, with receding forehead and enormous protuberant eyebrows.
Wlien it was first ex- hibited to the scientists at Herlin by Dr. Fuhlrott, in , its human character was doubted by some of the witnesses ; of that, liowever, there is no present question. Tournal and fiiristol had made independent discoveries ol' what they believed to be human fossils in the caves of the south of France ; and in Dr.
Schmerling had found in the cave of Engis, in Westphalia, fossil bones of even greater significance. At Engis he had found human bones, including skulls, in- termingled with those of extinct mainnials of the mam- moth period in a way that left no doubt in his mind that all dated from the same geological opocli.
But at that time, as it chanced, human fossils were un- der a ban as elfijctualas any ever pronounced by canonical index, though of far different origin. The oracular voice of Cuvier had declared against the authenticity of all hu- man fossils. Some of the bones brought him for exam- ination the great anatomist had pettishly pitched out of the Avindow, declaring them fit only for a cemetery, and that had settled the matter for a generation : the evi- dence gathered by lesser workers could avail nothing against the decision rendered at the Delphi of Science.
MAKSlt Neanderthal the cold shoulder. Nor were all of the geol- ogists quite agreed that the contemporaneity of these hu- man fossils with the animals Avhose remains had been mingled with them had been fully establislied. But even this small measure of security was soon to be denied them, for in two as- sociated workers, M. Edouard Lartet and Mr. Henry Christy, in exploring the caves of Dordogne, unearthed a bit of evidence against whicli no such objtiction could be urged. This momentous exhibit was a bit of ivory, a fragment of the tusk of a mainmotli, on wliicli was scratched a rude but unmistakable outline portrait of the mammoth itself.
VI Coincidently with the discovery of these highly sug- gestive pages of the geologic story, other still more in- structive chapters were being brought to light in Amer- ica. It was found that in the Rocky Mountain region, in strata found in ancient lake beds, records of the tertiary period, or age of mammals, had been made and preserved with fulness not approached in any other legion hitherto geologically explored. Tliese records were made known mainly by Professors Joseiih Leidy, O.
Marsli, and E. The profusion of vertebrate remains thus brought to light cpiite beggars all previous exhibits in point of mere numbers. Professor Marsh, for example, who was first in the field, found new tertiary species between the years and G. Here are reptiles with bat-like wings, and others with bird-like pelves and legs adapted for bipedal locomotion. Here are birds with teeth and other rep- tilian characters. In short, what with reptilian birds and bird-like reptiles, the gap between modern reptiles and birds is quite bridged over.
In a similar way, vari- ous diverse mammalian forms, as the tapir, the rhinoc- eros, and the horse, are linked together by fossil pro- genitors. And most important of all. Professor Marsh has discovered a series of mammalian remains, occurring in successive geological epochs, which are held to repre- sent beyond cavil the actual line of descent of the modern horse ; tracing the lineage of our one-toed species back through two and three toed forms, to an ancestor in the eocene or early tertiary that had four functional toes and the rudiment of a fifth.
These and such like revelations have come to light in our own time; are, indeed, still being disclosed. Need- less to say, no Index of any sort now attempts to con- ceal them; yet something has been accomplished towards the same end by the publication of the discoveries in Smithsonian bulletins, and in technical memoirs of government surveys. Fortunately, however, the results have been rescued from that partial oblivion by such inter[ reters as Professors Huxley and Cope, so the un- scientific public has been allowed to gain at least an inkling of the wonderful progress of paleontology in our generation.
In he admitted candidly that the paleon- tological record as then known, so far as it bears on the doctrine of progressive development, negatives that doc- trine. And in the Connecticut River Valley near relatives of the great reptiles which Professor Marsli and others have found in such profusion in the West left their tracks on the mud flats — since turned to sandstone; and a few skeletons also have been found. The bodies of a race of great reptiles that were the lords of creation of their day have been dissipated to their elements, wliile the chance indentations of their feet as they raced along the shores, mere footprints on the sands, have been pre- served among the most imperishable of the memory- tablets of the world.
Of the other vertebrate fossils that liave been found in the eastern portions of America, among tluj most abundant and interesting are the skeletons of masto- dons. Of these one of the largest and most complete is that which was unearthed in the bed of a drained lake near Newburg, New York, in This speciinen was larger than the existing elephants, and had tusks eleven feet in length.
It was mounted and described by Dr. John C. From records hero unearthed the racial evolution of many mammals has in the past few years been made out in greater or less detail. It is tliought that the descendants of this creature, a. The titanotheres, or brontotheridm, for ex- ample, a gigantic tribe, olfshoots of the same stock which produced the horse and rliinoceros, represented the culmination of a line of descent.
The very latest bit of paleontological evidence bear- ing on the question of the introduction of species is that presented by i r. Wortman in connection with tlie fossil lineage of the edentates. All these and a multitude of other recent observations that cannot bo even outlined here tell the same story With one accord paleontologists of our time regard the question of the introduction of new species as solved.
But does this really mean that a full synopsis of the story of paleontology has been told? Or do we only await the comipg of the twentieth-century Lamarck or Darwin, who shall attack the fortified knowledge of to-day with the batteries of a new generalization? Werner affirmed that all rocks, of whatever char- acter, had been formed by precipitation from tliis sea, as the waters cooled; that even veins have originated in this way; and that mountains are gigantic crystals, , not upheaved masses.
In a word, he practically ignored volcanic action, and denied in toto the theory of meta- morphosis of rocks through the agency of heat. Fact and theory, how- ever, were too closely linked to be thus divorced. The brunt of the controversy settled about the un- stratified rocks— granites and their allies — which the Plutonists claimed as of igneous origin. This contention had the theoretical support of the nebular hypothesis, then gaining ground, which supposed the earth to be a cooling globe.
The Plutonists laid great stress, too, on the observed fact that the temperature of the earth in- creases at a pretty constant ratio as descent towards its centre is made in mines. But in particular they ap- pealed to the phenomena of volcanoes. The evidence from this source was gathered and elaborated by Mr. The Neptunists stoutly contended for the aqueous origin of volcanic as of other mountains. Such, for example, to cite familiar illustrations, are Mount Holyoke, in Massachu- setts, and the well-known formation of the Palisades along the Hudson.
Most geologists then came to think of the earth as a molten mass, on which the crust rests as a mere film. Some, indeed, with Lyell, preferred to believe that the molten areas exist only as lakes in a solid crust, heated to melting, perhaps, by electrical or chemical action, as Davy suggested.
II If molten matter exists beneath the crust of the earth, it must contract an cooling, and in so doing it must dis- turb the level of the portion of the crust already solidi- fied. So a plausible explanation of the uplieaval of continents and mountains was sup] lied by the Plutonian theory, as Hutton had from the first alleged. But now an important difference of opinion arose as to the exact rationale of such upheavals. Hutton himself, and practically every one else who accepted his theory, had supposed that there are long periods of relative repose.
The making of continents and mountains, he said, is going on as rapidly to-day as at any time in the past. There have been no gigantic cataclysmic upheavals at any time, but all clianges in level of the strata jxs a whole have been gradual, by slow oscillation, or at most by repeated earthquake shocks such as a! In support of this very startling contention Lyell gathered a mass of evidence of the recent changes in level of continental areas.
Jle corroborated by personal inspection the claim which had been made by Playfair in , and by von Buch in , that the coastline of Sweden is rising at the rate of from a few inches to sev- eral feet in a century. Proof as to sudden changes of level of several feet, over large areas, due to earthquakes, was brought forward in abundance. Cumulative evidence left it no longer open to question that such oscillatory changes of level, either upward or downward, are quite the rule, and it could not be denied that these observed changes, if continued long enough in one direction, would produce the highest elevations.
The possibility that the making of even the highest ranges of mountains had been accomplished without exaggerated catastrophic action came to be freely admitted. These slow oscillations of land surfaces being under- stood, many geological enigmas were made clear — such as the alternation of marine and fresh-water formations in a vertical series, which Cuvier and Brongniart had observed near Paris; or the sandwiching of layers of coal, of subaerial formation, between layers of subaque- ous clay or sandstone, which may be observed every- where in the coal measures.
In particular, the extreme thickness of the sedimentary strata as a whole, many times exceeding the depth of the deepest known sea, was for the first time explicable when it was under- stood that such strata had formed in slowly sinking ocean-beds. All doubt as to the mode of origin of stratified rocks being thus removed, the way was opened for a more favorable consideration of that other ILuttonian doc- trine of the extremely slow denudation of land surfaces.
The enormous amount of land erosion will be patent to any one who uses his eyes intelligently in a mountain district. It will be evident in any region where the strata are tilted — as, for example, the Alleghanies — that great folds of strata which must once have risen miles in height have in many cases been worn entirely away, so that now a valley marks the location of the former eminence. And even long after that, it was combated by such men as Miircliison, Di- rector-General of tlic Geological Survey of Great Brit- ain, then accounted the foremost field-geologist of Ids time, who continued to believe that the existing valleys owe their main features to subterranean forces of up- heaval.
Even Murchison, however, made some recession from tlie belief of the Continental authorities, filie de Beaumont and Leopold von Buch, who contended that tlie mountains liad sprung up like veritable jacks-in-the- box. Von Buch, whom his friend and fellow-pupil von Humboldt considered the foremost geologist of the time, died in , still firm in his early faith that the erratic bowlders found high on the Jura had been hurled there, like cannon-balls, across the valley of Genova by the sudden upheaval of a neighboring mountain range.
Ill The bowlders whose presence on the crags of the Jura the old German accounted for in a manner so theatrical had long been a source of contention among geologists. The early geologists accounted for them, as for nearly everything else, with their supposititious Deluge. But of course the uniform itarian faith permit- ted no such explanation, nor could it countenance the projection idea; so Lyell was bound to find some other means of transportation for the puzzling erratics.
Icebergs, said Lyell, are observed to carry all manner of debris, and deposit it in the sea-bottoms. Present land surfaces have often been submerged beneath the sea. During the latest of these submergences icebergs deposited the bowlders now scattered here and there over the land. Nothing could be simpler or more clearly uniformitarian. And even the catastrophists, though they met Lyell amicably on almost no other theoretical ground, were inclined to ad- mit the plausibility of his theory of erratics.