Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

up to 360 feet? But this is not all. There are terraces covered by the sea.

This introduces to us a new element in the computation, namely, that the movements have been downwards as well as upwards, and increases indefinitely the already almost inconceivable vastness of the time necessary for these processes; and yet this is but the modern period, and in reference to the preceding eras of geology, may be said to be but of yesterday.

In reference to this point, Mr. Smith, of Jordan Hill, has made the following remarks :

* At an elevation of about forty feet, there has been observed upon many parts of our coasts a series of raised beaches and terraces, which, by their magnitude, indicate the prodigious length of time at which the sea-level must have been stationary at this height ; and if we may judge of its duration by the relative size of the ancient terraces with those now forming, it must have exceeded the recent period, of which 2,000 years is but a part by an immense amount. But this is but one of the epochs in the history of this formation. Between the great terrace and the sea, several subordinate ones and beaches have been observed, each of them marking long continued periods of repose ; whilst a sudden deepening, two or three fathoms below low water-mark, is probably caused by another line of terraces, now covered by the sea.

The following table of the classification of the different formations of this, the pleistocene or glacial period of geology, is constructed from Mr. Smith's papers, and may help us to form an idea, or rather to lose ourselves in the attempt to form an idea of the extent of time necessary for its production.

1. Elevated marine beds. Ancient beaches.
2. Submarine forests.
3. Alluvial beds, most likely marine, but affording as yet no

organic remains.
4. Upper Diluvium or Till. The most recent deposit of the Till.

Has yielded bones of the fossil elephant, and water worn

shells. “Cyprina Islandica," " A balanus," &c. 5. Marine beds in the Till, affording shells. Occurs at Airdrie

500 feet above the sea level. A bed of “ Tellina proxima."

In site under No. 4, and above No. 6. 6. Lower Diluvium, Till, or Boulder Clay. 7. Stratified Alluvium, consisting of sands, gravels, and clays,

without organic remains. Resting in the Clyde district, immediately upon the upper members of the carboniferous system.

I have divided the Diluvium or Till into two members, as certain recent discoveries, lately laid by Mr. Smith before the Geological Society, have shown it to have been deposited at two periods, with quiet waters intervening; and this also adds indefinitely to the already very extended length of time required for the development of these beds.

Perhaps we will not be far wrong if we conclude that there was once a time when the valley of the Clyde was an arm of the sea, and that its waters eddied around the various eminences which mark the physical geography of Glasgow. Far prior this must have been to the era when the receding waters left the lower reaches of the river, winding through low swampy plains, the broader lagoons and channels of which floated the canoe fleet of the aborigines, afterwards to be embedded on their reedy banks. Equally distant on the other hand must it have been from those still earlier days, when waters, whose bounds were full 500 feet higher than the present margin of the sea, supported the arctic “ Tellina proxima,” whose remains the Airdrie clays have yielded to modern researches.

What of the still more ancient epochs, when the luxuriant vegetation of the coal measures was waving on all the central strath of Scotland, from Forth to Clyde, hemmed in on either side by the dark red rocks of the old red sandstone, which had arisen at a still more remote date from the profound depths of ocean.

And when those rugged crags of conglomerate, with their water-worn boulders, were strewed at the bottom of ocean, there was an older land. In the words of Playfair, “ Revolutions still more remote appear in the distance of this extraordinary perspective. The mind seems to grow giddy with looking so far into the abyss of time; we become sensible how much farther reason may sometimes go than imagination can venture to follow.” I feel constrained to repeat a remark which I have ventured before to make, that the indefiniteness of time, which geology requires, is only equalled by the indefiniteness of space which astronomy demands ; and the twain only surpassed by the infinity of Him who fills them both with the evidence of His presence and His perfections.

EXTRAORDINARY MEETING.

ROYAL INSTITUTION.—March 4, 1854.

JOSEPH DICKINSON, M.D., F.L.S., &c., PRESIDENT, in the Chair.

The SECRETARY read letters from the Rev. J. S. Howson and Mr. J. HARTNUP, expressing their inability to attend the Meeting, but approving of the principle of Union.

Upon the motion of Mr. J. Boult, the “Report of the Delegates from the four Learned Societies of Liverpool, which publish Transactions, on the subject of Union," was considered as read to the Meeting.

The SECRETARY read the following communication from the Conncil, namely, “ Provided the title Literary and Philosophical Society be retained, a union of the Learned Societies is desirable.”

Moved by Dr. D. P. THOMSON, and seconded by Dr. W. IHNE: “ That the recommendation of the Council be adopted.”

Amendment moved by Mr. E. HEATH, seconded by Mr. J. A. Picton, and carried :

“That the words • Provided the title of Literary and Philosophical Society be retained' be left out.”

It was moved by Mr. ALFRED HIGGINSON, “That the Report be referred back to the Delegates for further consideration." This motion not having been seconded fell to the ground.

Moved by Mr. EDWARD HIGGIN, seconded by the Rev. H. HAMPTON, and carried :

" That the Report be adopted, with the exception of the clause, that the Committee think it premature to suggest a name for the enlarged Society ; but they strongly recommend the avoidance of all the names of the uniting societies'—which is reserved for further consideration."

Moved by the Rev. Dr. HUME, seconded by Mr. J. FORSHAW, and unanimously carried :

“That the thanks of the Society be given to the Delegates ; also to Mr. BRAKELL, for his liberality in printing gratuitously 1,000 copies of the Report of the Delegates."

It was moved by Mr. J. Boult, seconded by Mr. T. Sanson, and carried :

** That this Meeting be adjourned until Monday next, for the purpose of appointing Delegates."

ADJOURNED EXTRAORDINARY MEETING.

ROYAL INSTITUTION.—March 6, 1854.

ROBERT MANDREW, Esq., F.R.S., VICE-PRESIDENT, in the Chair.

It was moved by Mr. JOSEPH Boult, seconded by Mr. EDWARD Higgin, and carried unanimously :

“ That EDWARD HEATH, Thomas Sansom, John HARTNUP, J. P. G. SMITH, Esqrs., and Dr. W. Ihne, be re-elected as Delegates, in order to carry out further arrangements for the proposed Amalgamation with one or more of the other Learned Societies, and report thereon, with a sketch of amended laws."

TENTH MEETING.

ROYAL INSTITUTION.—March 6, 1854.

ROBERT McANDREW, Esq., F.R.S., VICE-PRESIDENT, in the Chair.

The Rev. Dr. HUME announced that the valuable Collection of Saxon Antiquities, made by the late Bryan Faussett, had been purchased by Mr. Mayer.

Mr. FRANCIS ARCHER exhibited a Pebble Basalt, found at the Giant's Causeway.

Mr. Sansom read extracts from a letter, received by him from Mr. RICHARD SPRUCE, dated San Carlos, del Rio Negro Venezuela, 27th August, 1853, detailing his progress in the investigation of the Botany of the Amazon, particularly as regards the Musci and Hepaticæ.

Mr. F. W. BLOXAm read a Paper

ON THE MINOR POETS OF THE DAY.

After contending for an increasing taste for and love of Poetry at the present time, and its beneficial influence in civilizing and refining society, he took a rapid survey of what he deemed the distinctive phases of the minor Poetry of the earlier and later Stuart and Hanoverian reigns. Passing to the verses of our own times, he claimed for them a marked and special purpose in the illustration of social kindliness; in the correction of public and political errors and abuses ; and in the aspiration for a purer, a juster, and a more satisfying era.

Adverting to the peculiar beauties and defects of the best American poets, Longfellow, Whittier, and Poe, he devoted the remainder of his Paper to a minute criticism of the works of those whom he considered the leading exemplars, or otherwise, of the modern English school, viz.: Tennyson, and his chief disciple, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Alexander Smith, Matthew Arnold, and others.

Alluding to Tennyson's great Poem, “In Memoriam,” he animadverted upon the unfairness and want of discrimination with which it had been reviewed in certain high quarters, and contended that a due attention to the context would generally unlock his alleged obscurity of meaning and mysticism; the poetry of mysticism, however so much excepted against, he regarded as but a state of transition to a clearer atmosphere, agreeing with a modern eloquent writer, “That when the long passionate wail of Byronism had died away, there came an age whose motto was •Work,'” but now, by degrees, we are beginning to feel that even work is not all our being needs, and therefore has been born what has been called the Poetry of Mysticism. For just as the reaction from the age of Formalism was the Poetry of Passion, so the reaction from the age of Science is the Poetry of Mysticism.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »