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the distaff and the spinning wheel, which have gone, will be followed in time by the hand loom and all its allied implements. - The pillion and pack-saddle, too, are now unknown in England; the recollection of the basket, full of parcels and chained at the rear of our stage-coaches, is only kept up by a hind boot carved and painted in imitation of basket work, on some of the North roads; but basket, coach, and all, (and some say even the horses,) will disappear, by and by, in clouds of steam and railway smoke.

In few departments have so many changes taken place as those in connexion with warlike implements. The club of the savage has mouldered into dust, but his stone maul remains to this day. The bows of the mighty have literally been broken, their arrows scattered, and their quivers cast away :-and though archery is interwoven with the history of many of England's proudest victories, few now-a-days could tell the difference between a shaft and a bolt, could explain the respective duties of a bowyer, a stringer, and a fletcher. The shaft of the spear rots beside the shield; but the point and socket of the one and the umbo of the other indicate, like skeletons, something of their original size. As for the broadsword and buckler, they were once legally wedded : but they were divorced in the celebrated action of James Fitz James versus Roderick Dhu, and the latter of the parties is since dead. Armstrong and Whitworth laugh us to scorn if we only speak of a chambered cannon or a linstock; and a beardless young rifleman stares as if we were talking Sanskrit, when the simplest remark is dropped respecting a matchlock, a fuse, a rest, or a buff and bandoliers. Even the flint-maker of a few years ago is erased from the list of armourers, (unless indeed we include Flint Jack,*) and every bare-headed urchin who can get hold of a


* Alias Edward Simpson, Edward Jackson, John Wilson, Jemmy Taylor, Fossil Willy, Cockney Bill, &c., &c., &c.

pistol, talks learnedly of caps.” Who, in these circumstances, will dare to predict twelve months in advance, what species of firearm will be in use by any of the nations of Europe ?

And alas for the thimble and the needle ! Their obscurity cannot shelter them, nor their usefulness preserve them. Their death-note has sounded throughout the land. Wheeler and Wilson, Grover and Baker, Singer Thomas and Simpson are now the accepted candidates for public favour. Redditch, which recently boasted of its twenty-two stages in the manufacture of a needle, adapts its machinery to the production of the new automatic implements, and "worships “the rising sun;" while, almost as we write, the Song of the Shirt takes rank as a Historical ballad, illustrating the social habits of England in the olden time. But why should we grieve over trifles, when the "wooden walls of Old England” are softened and rotted in the “ sludge” of an obscure dock ; and a monster with iron sides treads the paths of old ocean alone, exulting in her giant power whether to attack or defend. And our island home, for centuries the nursery of naval heroes, now pierces the ears even of Neptune with the clang of kitchen operations ;-coking, stoking, poking, coaling, boiling, steaming. Sic transit gloria mundi.

It is but as it were yesterday, that the writers of History have descended from their stilts to give us information either of general interest or of any practical value. Their volumes were filled with biographies of Kings and Queens, and with the records of successive battles, and garments rolled in blood ; as if nothing could interest mankind but the contemplation of royalty, or exulting in the shouts of victory, or brooding over the horrors of war. But thanks to the minute and specific inquiries of archæologists, in many departments of their general field of labour, we have now glimpses of the manners and customs of peoples, so that the dry bones of

the past have become instinct with life and reality. AS one of many pilgrims in pursuit of useful knowledge, I throw my little stone upon the cairn, and thankfully pass on.

I have not thought it an unworthy employment for my very limited leisure hours, to illustrate in a new way what Hutchinson regards as the line of beauty, “uniformity amid variety," and to shew that not merely one, but many touches of nature, contribute from day to day to make the whole world kin. In spite of all that has been said about the inherent tendencies of races, (and far be it from me to depreciate the researches of Ethnologists, which have already given us a rich harvest of results,) both individuals and communities differ from each other less than is supposed. Our little world is, as Bishop Hall would say, Mundus alter et idem. And however the reader may feel, who takes the trouble to peruse this paper, I can assure him that to myself it has been at once pleasant and instructive, to compare the condition of distant strangers of to-day, with the past, both recent and remote, among ourselves. Even if some omissions or errors or both be noticed, I shall regard the fact as of small importance, though I have used reasonable pains to avoid them ; because, while the remarks made are intended to convey information, they will yet serve another prominent end for which they were written, viz., -to be suggestive.

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As this paper will be read by many who will not have seen the previous one, just referred to, and as facts of interest have occurred since that was written, the following explanation is necessary.

Mr. John Harrison, a resider Liverpool, transcribe from the copy of Leland's Itinerary in the Athenean Library, (as he supposed with accuracy,) an account of an eruption of turf bog and foul water, occurring more than three centures ago, at the highest part of Chat Moss. This he handed to Mr. Joseph Boult, another townsman; who at once made this simple narrative the foundation for a most extraordinary hypothesis, or rather a series of them; at the same time claiming for them the position of theories highly probable. His paper, before our local Polytechnic Society, was a direct attack upon a portion of my book Ancient Meols; and some of the principles which he tried to establish were substantially the following.

1. That there never was a local Submarine Forest,” and that there is not such a thing on the adjoining coasts of Lancashire and Cheshire. [This involves the assertion that the learned have been under a mistake for generations; and that the remains of forests, both here and elsewhere, are not in situ.]

2. That an area of about twenty square miles—he afterwards in. creased it to twenty-four-had been burst up and carried down to the sea. [This involved the subordinate fact that it had been floated down a rivulet only a few yards wide; but besides, the whole area of Chat Moss at the time was only ten and a half square miles !]

3. That this enormous land slip or non-volcanic earthquake, carried down to the sea trees standing and fallen, of which “many thousands existed a century later. [Of course they were conveyed safely through all the narrow and intricate convolutions of the upper Mersey.]

4. That the Roman people occupied a position near Warrington ; and therefore that the fibulæ, &c., found beneath the tide, near Hoylake, were probably dropped on Chat Moss and floated down also. [Thé existence of prehistoric, British, Danish, Saxon, and mediæval objects was not explained.]

5. That if there be a submerged burying ground on the Cheshire coast, it must have been floated down in like manuer. [He did not think it necessary to explain how the burial ground came to occupy

the site of Chat Moss; nor how the skeletons came to be ranged in an east and west direction after their perilous voyage.]

6. That if one such enormous disruption and flotation of turf-bog had occurred, [only 129 per cent. larger than the entire bog; see No. 2], who could deny the possibility of several such? Who? indeed! Hence the explanation was easy why successive beds of turf-bog were formed, deposits of sand with silt and blue clay intervening. The latter marked the interval between successive bog-slips.

7. That the coal formations of this neighbourhood, can also be accounted for in the simplest way. Successive layers of turf-bog from Chat Moss, with earthy matter of various kinds intermixed, had only to undergo a slight compression. [The learned author was not aware

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that some of the most important coal beds in Lancashire lie directly under Chat Moss itself; nor did he explain how the new red sandstone was so equally placed over this imaginary stratification.]

8. It was shown to him, for the first time, (as he did not know it before,) that both in Lancashire and Cheshire there is a very large area of subterranean forest, the edge of which is merely exposed where it meets the tide, and lowered by being undermined till it becomes submarine. A further hypothesis was then propounded, that several of the huge pieces of turf-bog floated down from time to time, had been deposited side by side, (like the breadths of a carpet.]

Surely, the force of floating could no further go. I will not quote Byron's remark about Southey and his "readers too;” nor will I apologise for putting this summary on record. Unless the reader is very stupid, the amusement afforded by the perusal must be at least equal to the astonishment excited.

A slight examination showed the source of the error; and how from less than a mole hill it had attained the dimensions of Ossa and Pelion jointly. Mr. Harrison had not extracted the passage correctly, but had made important omissions and alterations which quite changed the sense. Mr. Boult again, had not been able to understand what was written, a point which he omits to state in his explanation: and.thus drew upon his imagination for his facts. The actual eruption was shown by me, to have been in the bed of a rivulet, the position of which was identified; the matter floated down was stinking water” and “ roulling mosse; and the bed of the rivulet appeared afterwards with twigs in the bottom, as it had done before the accumulation of the moss, or the hydraulic clearance. Mr. Boult had mistaken the dimensions of Chat Moss for those of the eruption, exaggerating even these : and had thus invoked a demon “from the vasty deep” which he could not control. There are such things as Historic Parallels ;” and one is reminded by these occurrences of the fact, that twenty years ago, the Fellows of a learned society meeting at Somerset House, used to say of their two Secretaries, that one could not write and the other could not read.

The bubble was burst of course. The Society which had admitted the original paper into its Transactions saved itself from ridicule or blame, by afterwards printing the actual facts and explanations in minute detail :-and here of course the matter ended. However, quem deus vult—but the quotation is somewhat hackneyed.

Mr. Boult read a second paper in which every one of the eight positions just stated, except the first which is negative, is abandoned; thus virtually pleading guilty, and letting the case go against him by default. He enumerates four propositions as embodying the opinions which he now enunciates, only two of which are relevant to the present inquiry; viz.

(1) That all the remains of forests and peat are like the sand and clay alluvial." (2) That the ancient remains found associated with the peat are appurtenant to the original localities from which the peat is derived, “and may furnish a clue to identify those localities wherever they may

“ be.”

I do not intend to follow him farther; but it is impossible to overlook a few points connected with this latter paper.

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