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to set them aside by facts and arguments, he has chosen to make an attack on us; imagining, it would scem, that a blow

a at our reputation would be more effective to the end he had in view than any refutation of our reasonings that lay within the scope of his powers. His whole object accordingly is by imputations of ignorance of the properties and laws of matter, and charges of disgraceful blunders in regard to processes with which the most uncultured are familiar-to convince his readers that we are incompetent to treat the subject with accuracy; and he doubtless flatters himself that he has overwhelmed us with a torrent of discredit that must divest us of the power to inflict any further damage on his favorite theory.

This is not the course, however, we think, which either a thorough master of the subject or a judicious controvertist would take. So far from it, it is precisely the method

. which an incompetent, baffled, and unscrupulous antagonist might be likely to choose, who had no legitimate means of defending his speculations. It is that class of writers, who find misrepresentations more efficacious for their purposes than facts, and vituperations than reasonings. If Mr. Blake is able to refute the leading objections we allege against the current geological theory, on which the controversy turns, why did he not do it? If he is able, for example, to convict the first and most fundamental of our allegations of error; namely, that the theory is founded not on facts, but on a mere hypothesis respecting the forces or processes by which the strata were formed; and is not therefore demonstrated : why did he not confute that allegation? That would have settled the question, and left him under no necessity of resorting to misstatements or abuse. Or if he could answer our objections to the theory that the earth was created in a state of fusion; that a granite crust was formed on the surface of the molten ocean; that that crust was at length thrown up into continents and mountains; and that it was from those mountains and continents, gradually disintegrated, that the materials out of which the strata were formed were borne into the ocean ;-why did he not answer those objections ? There was a fine field for the display of his scientific knowledge, his powers of logic, his love of truth, VOL. XIII. —NO. III.


and the taste and dignity of a gentleman. He admits that that field is wholly unoccupied; that no one has before attempted to enter it. Had he fairly and effectively vindicated the theory from our allegations, he would not only have won a crown from the cultivators of natural science, and applause from the literary world, but even we should, we persuade ourselves, have been ready to pay him the homage due to an honorable victor in such a discussion. Why, then, did he not take that course? Why did he leave all the main points of our arguments untouched, and content himself with the office of a petty objector to subordinate and secondary things-mere words, omissions of words, or forms of expression? If it did not spring from an incompetence, we think our readers will agree with ns, it was a very unfortunate misjudgment. On the supposition that we fell here and there into a mistake, it would not follow that all our allegations against the theory we assailed are groundless, and our reasonings in confirmation of them withont force. Readers at all acquainted with the history of the natural sciences, are not so unjust, or unwise, as to reject the whole of a writer's statements and arguments, simply because they now and then meet an expression, an opinion, or a conrse of reasoning which they think mistaken. Were that the rule of judgment, there is not a volume on the subject of geology, or any other branch of natural science, from the pen even of the most learned and faultless, that would not be rejected as unworthy of reliance.

Are Mr. Blake's accusations, however, such as they are, founded in truth? Has he convicted us of the errors ; has he alleged any proofs of the ignorance and incompetence which he charges on us? Or are his imputations unjust and groundless; the work of a weak, ill-furnished, prejudiced, and malevolent mind? His review, we answer, is throughont a tissue of bold and senseless misrepresentations ; indicating, on the one side, not only a singular inacquaintance with the subject, but an inability to grasp it, or to anticipate the impressions his method of criticism must naturally make on the intelligent and candid; and, on the other, a measure of vanity, pertness, and arrogance, that bespeak the blusterer and charlatan, rather than the sober inquirer after truth.

These characteristics appear in his first allegation:

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“Without attempting now to examine in detail the fundamental principles involved in any one (of the discussions in the Journal), let us glance for a moment at some of the outlines of a single example. While reviewing Dr. Hitchcock's Religion of Geology, in the fifth volume of the Journal, our author takes up his arguments upon the primary condition of our globe, and disposes of its successive links as follows:

“ In the first place, says Mr. L., the earth could not have been created either gaseous or molten, ‘in a state of fusion from heat;' for that would be a contradiction to nature. over the philosophy of this case, and interpret its force by the aid of an illustration, it amounts to this : that God could not have created water or aqueous vapor without doing violence to the laws he prescribes to himself in the conduct of nature ; for no one need be told that water is ice in a state of fusion from heat.' This simple illustration is sufficient for the present.”— P. 539.

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In these few sentences Mr. Blake has the misfortune, first, totally to misrepresent the objection we alleged against Dr. Hitchcock's theory; next, to show that he has no coinprehension of the principle of that objection, nor its bearing on the theory; and, thirdly, to attempt to confute it by the aid of an illustration which is not a parallel, and which, moreover, if legitimate, confutes himself and the theory he advocates, and overturns the whole fabric of speculative geology. The passage on which he founds his charge is the follow


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“The supposition that the earth was created in a state of fusion from heat is a contradiction to nature. For, as we have shown in a former article, fusion is a condition of matter that results from an action of its particles or elements on each other, as in many chemical processes, and in combustion, by which heat that had before been latent in it is developed. It implies the previous existence, therefore, of its elements in a different state. To suppose the world to have been created in a state of fusion, is as solecistical as it were to suppose a person created with a memory of some mental process of which he had not been the subject, or to conceive of persons as born the children of individuals who are not their parents, which is against the laws of nature. It is a gross self-contradiction to suppose anything to be pro duced by a creative fiat in a state which, according to the established constitution of matter, can only result from a previous existence in a different condition.Journal, vol. v. p. 367.

Our objection to “ the suppositionthat the earth was created in a state of “fusion from heat” thus is, that it ascribes to a creative fiat a species of effect, which, according to the established constitution of matter, is the result of a process; in order to which, therefore, the matter which is the subject of that process, and of the fusion that results from it, must have previously existed in a different state; and could not therefore have been created molten-as the theory in question maintains.

Mr. Blake accordingly, in the first place, totally misrepresents us. For, instead of that objection, he exhibits us as denying that God could create matter in a state of fusion from heat, because, according to the constitution he has given it, its fusion now can only be the result of a process. But that is not what we alleged, nor has it any resemblance to it. We uttered not a syllable in regard to the possibility to God—if he pleased-of creating matter in a state of fusion from heat, nor on the relation such a creative fiat would bear to the law he has established, by which fusion now can result only from a process. We said nothing in regard to God's exerting such an act if he chose. Our objection was to man's supposing that he created the world in a state of fusion by heat-on the ground that it is ascribing that to a creative fiat, which, according to the nature of matter, is now the result, and only the result of a process; and we objected to that ascription, becanse it is unphilosophical ; inasmuch as in a branch of knowledge, the very aim of which is to account for effects by the forces that belong to the constitution of nature, it undertakes to account for a supposed effect of that species, not by those forces, but by a creative act of the Almighty. In other words, we rejected that supposition, because it is in contradiction to the laws of matter by which fusion is produced; and because it is in contravention of the principle on which geology proceeds ; namely, that the effects for which it is to account are the product of the forces of nature, aud therefore took place after nature itself was created.

Mr. Blake's misrepresentation is thus absolute-turning

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ur rejection of the supposition in question on the ground that it is inconsistent with the laws of matter and the principles of geology, into a denial that God can have created the world in a state of fusion, on the ground that it would have been a violation by him of “the laws which he prescribed to himself in the conduct of nature.” What grosser blunder or more unfortunate for his reputation as a critic, could Mr. B. hare committed? What acquaintance can he have with the subject, or what capacity to comprehend it, if unable to see the difference between points so heavenwide apart? His must be a confused vision truly, to whom it is possible, in so plain a, case, to mistake a proposition of one kind in reference to man, for a proposition-not uttered nor suggested—of a wholly different kind in relation to God.

In the next place, our objection, to the supposition that the world was created in a state of fusion is legitimate and unanswerable. The fusion of matter by heat is indubitably, so far as is known, not its original, but a secondary state. All instances that fall within the sphere of observation are known to be the result of a process; and there is no process known by which that condition of matter can be produced, except a process of chemical action. No chemist or geologist will deny that such is the fact. And such being the fact, it is clear that it is wholly illegitimate and self-confuting in chemists or geologists to assume that any known or supposed case of the fusion of matter by heat is not the effect of the forces of nature, but of a divine creative act; inasmuch as, first, it is to quit the proper sphere of chemists and geologists—whose professed and only business is to account for effects that have been wrought by the forces of nature; and next, it is to overturn the whole fabric of geology as a knowledge or speculation ; inasmuch as it proceeds on an admission or assumption, that, if allowed, is equally allowable in regard to every other fact in the sphere of geology, and that nullifies therefore, at a stroke, the whole office which that science professes to fill; namely, an explanation of the changes that have taken place in the condition of the crust of the globe, through the action of the forces of nature. If geologists assume that one set of effects-real or supposed—of a class that, according to the established laws of

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