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by volcanic forces that water is thrown up from beneath the unstratified rocks. Without soils and strata, therefore, by which rains could be absorbed as they fell, and thence gradually drained again, there could be no permanent rivers like those which now bear a tide of earthy and vegetable matter from the hills and plains to the seas. From such a vast floor of impermeable granite the waters, wherever there. was a descent, would have run as they fell, and the rivulets and streams to which they gave rise, vanished on the discontinuance of rain. The rains of a monsoon on ranges like the Andes, the Himalaya, or the mountains of Abyssinia, instead of saturating the surface with a mass of water, which, slowly emerging again, should supply permanent streams like the Amazon and Orinoco, the Ganges and Indus, the Nile and Niger, that roll without intermission to the sea, would have swept to the ocean with the rapidity of torrents, and immediately left their channels dry, till renewed by the return of another season of storms. But such torrents and floods acting on the surface only at intervals, or during a few days of the year, could never have disintegrated such granitic masses and borne their ruins to the ocean on a scale at all commensurate to the representations of the theory. Myriads of ages would have been almost as inadequate to such a process as so many days or hours. The cause, through whatever period con
tinued, would have been wholly unequal to the effect. This consideration, which again evinces the error of their views, has been altogether overlooked by geologists. Notwithstanding they so expressly represent the continents to which they refer the materials of the strata as consisting exclusively of granite, they in fact treat them, in most of their reasonings, as though they were covered, like the present mountains and plains, with vast masses of loose earth and easily disintegrated strata, that were everywhere moistened by rains and traversed by streams and rivers, and they found their estimate of the rates at which the strata were deposited on the quantities of matter that are now borne down the great rivers to the sea, and deposited in the deltas at their mouths.
But the present action of rain and rivers on the soil and strata can only be taken as a measure of their agency at former periods on surfaces of the same kinds. It is no criterion of the action of similar volumes of water on continents composed exclusively of granite, from which the strata of the present are held to be derived. To reason thus, from one world to another of a wholly different nature, is an extraordinary method of establishing a scientific induction according to“ the strictest rules of the Baconian philosophy." Nearly the whole of their reasoning, accordingly, on this topic is irrelevant and deceptive.
They have thus had the misfortune to unite a sin
gular complication of impracticable conditions in their theory; first selecting as the only source from which the materials of the strata were derived, continents and islands of granite that, from its solid and impervious nature, is generally almost insusceptible of disintegration by the most powerful agents that act on it; next, elevating those indestructible mountains to such a stupendous height that if vapor ever reached them, not a drop could descend on them, except in a state of the intensest congelation, nor a particle of the vast masses of snow, in which they must have become enveloped, ever melted, so as to exert its disintegrating power on their surface; and finally, employing only occasional and insufficient agents to exert a destroying force on their unyielding masses, and only occasional and transient agents to bear the slight spoils that might have been drawn from them to the distant sea ! Admirable architects truly of the world! Who can wonder at the haughty disdain with which soʻmany of them are accustomed to repel the criticism of their theory by any except of their own profession, as an infringement of their rights and an impeachment of their infallibility!
Have geologists any certainty of the existence of granite continents, like those from which they represent the materials of the strata as having been derived ? Does Professor Phillips admit that their
existence is merely conjectural, or assumed ? Does the fact that the strata were formed beneath the ocean, prove that the materials of which they were constructed were drawn from granite continents ? Does Sir C. Lyell indicate that he cannot tell where the continent was situated from which he supposes some of the strata of Great Britain were formed ? Does Mr. Macculloch make a similar admission ? How many sets of continents and mountains does he hold have existed on the earth? Do other writers maintain that no traces now remain of the continents from which they hold the materials of the strata were derived ? If no traces of them now remain, is it not clear that there are no evidences of their once having existed ? If there are no traces of such continents, is it not possible that the strata were derived from some other source? And if they may have been drawn from some other quarter, is it not to beg the question to assume that they were derived from them? Do some geologists seem to suppose that a large part of the materials of the strata were derived from the present mountains of the globe ? What fact proves that supposition to be erroneous ? Are most of the present mountains covered in a measure with the tertiary or latest great division of the strata ? Is that universally admitted by geologists? Is it true of the Alps, and other mountains of Europe ? Cite the proofs of it from Bakewell, Phillips, De la Beche, and Lyell. Is it true of the Appalachians and Andes of this country ? Cite the proofs of it. Are these great ranges of recent origin, compared with the older strata ? Is it held by geologists that the ranges of granite instead of being older than the main groups of the strata, have been thrown up since the strata were deposited, and reached the surface by being driven through them? Cite the testimony of Professor Phillips to that fact. Is it true also of the great mountains of Asia as well as of this continent and Europe ? Is not the fact that these mountains were not in existence when the strata were formed, sufficient proof that the strata were not constructed of detritus drawn from them? Is not this consideration fatal to their theory? Is not the assumption of the existence of continents and mountains of which they have no proof, against their fourth axiom,
also, which probibits their assuming any geological facts, the reality of which they are not able to demonstrate ?
But let it be supposed that such continents as they imagine, existed, would it in any measure relieve the advocates of the theory from their difficulties? Would the height of those mountains be an obstacle to their furnishing materials for the strata ? How is it apparent that they would have been of an immense height ? Must they not have continued as long as rivers ran from them and carried down materials for the strata, to be at as great an elevation above the ocean as the present continents and mountains are? How else could rivers have run from them with sufficient force to carry any amount of detritus to the ocean? If then the present strata were drawn from 'them, must they not originally have been as much higher than our present continents, as a quantity of materials equal to those of the strata, superimposed on them would make them ? As then the strata are eight or ten miles in thickness, must not those continents and mountains have been eight, ten, twelve, or more miles in elevation? But could mountains of such a height have furnished materials for the formation of the strata ? Is it sure that vapors would have ascended to such a height as to have fallen on them in rain or snow ? If snow fell on them, would not the cold that would have reigned there bave kept them bound in perpetual frost, and prevented the disintegration of their surface, and the descent from them of rivers? Could any species of either animals or vegetables have subsisted on them? Can a grosser contradiction to the laws of matter and of life be imagined, than that the materials of the strata which abound with animals and vegetables that were inhabitants of temperate climes, were drawn from such frozen regions ?
“Let it be supposed, however, that those imagined continents and mountains were no higher than those of the present earth, could they then have filled the office which geologists assign them? Why could there be no permanent springs and rivers there? Is there any reason to believe that the mere action of the air-changes of temperature and occasional moisture, would ever disintegrate whole continents