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(1) Chat Moss is not once alluded to in his new propositions !
(2) He might almost as well have said that the remains of forests, &c., are pluvial as “ alluvial ;” for they neither came from the districts near the sources of the Mersey, nor from the clouds. The fundamental proposition is quite erroneous again; but it is expressed in obscure and indefinite terms.
(3) The title of the paper declares that it is “ in reply to Dr. Hume's Communication” (the italics are Mr. Bcult's.) How a paper which avoids EVERY leading principle in controversy can be a “ reply,” except in the sense of being the last word,” I am unable to see. Perhaps Mr. Boult will be able to show that the expression is not inexact” as the French politely say.
In short, this second paper was designed to be merely a parachute, to let the author gently down to earth again, from the fragments of his burst and collapsed balloon. He is good enough to say as on the first occasion, “when I charge those who differ from me with exaggeration "and mis-statement, 1 do not wish to accuse them of dishonesty,”extent of charity for which about thirty men of science are profoundly grateful
In a note appended, Mr. Boult tries to bring me in guilty of somewhat more than an inconsistency. A local newspaper had recorded 10th November, 1865, that I undertook to “prove that no such eruption
or translation as alleged had ever taken place from Chat Moss; ” and Mr. Boult adds that on the 13th of March, 1866, I“ denied having "given this pledge.” [The quotation and dates are Mr. Boult's, but I accept them as correct.]
The reply is very simple. (1) I no doubt made the undertaking referred to in the newspaper,—at all events I accept the expression now as the expression of my sentiments,—and it will be admitted that I have much more than fulfilled my promise. (2) But Mr. Boult's further assertion is in direct antagonism with the fact. He attributed to me the promise that I would prove there had been no eruption, an interpretation which obviously my words quoted do not bear; and in point of fact I showed from Leland's narrative that there had been a trifling eruption.
It appears then that Mr. Boult did not see (and apparently he is not yet aware) that he was mixing up unconsciously two propositions very distinct,—the one false and the other true, viz. :
(1) “ That no such eruption or translation as alleged, had ever, &c.” This is true; I asserted it: and now repeat that assertion.
“That no eruption whatever had taken place.” This is false : Mr. Boult attributed it to me: and I denied it then as I do now.
Sydney Smith speaks of persons who cannot be made to understand a joke, by any process short of trepanning: and experience shows that there are persons, almost if not quite, as inaccessible to common sense. It is fortunate that Mr. Boult has recently taken to the study of local nomenclature; for it is most desirable that a gentleman who is so fond of writing, should attain to such eminence in the knowledge of language, if possible, as to be able at least to understand plain English!
The following are additional facts, respecting the subsidences of land near the sea coast; producing either actual “Submarine Forests" or phenomena of a similar kind.
1. Ireland.-In Ireland, subterranean forests are well known, not merely underlying turf-bogs—though that is where they are chiefly found—but also underneath arable soil. Sir William R. Wilde only states a fact widely known and acknowledged, when he says that "far down “ beneath the surface of our oldest and deepest bogs, we find traces of “the hazel, and trees of the oak, the yew, and the pine, of stupendous
size, and bearing evidence of being the growth perhaps of centuries, “either broken off in the stem, or uprooted and prostrated by the tem
pests and the floods which swept over these localities. This was “ before the mosses heaths rushes and grasses bad collected round “ them, and in lapse of years had formed by compression, what is de“ nominated • turf.'”* He adds in a note, “ One of the most interesting “discoveries, connected with the ancient forests of Ireland, made of “late years, is that by Dr. Charles Farran, the eminent conchologist. "Upon the Waterford coast, at Clonea, near Dungarvan, he found, “after one of the highest tides remembered in this county, the remains “of an ancient pine forest, miles in length, and which is ordinarily “covered with many fathoms of water. The sea has evidently en“ croached on the land at that point, probably by the subsidence of the “ latter.”+
Facts of the foregoing kind might have been suggested by what has occurred at Ardmore Bay in the same county, and about twelve miles to the west of this point. There, a considerable subsidence of the land has taken place, within modern times; and the newspapers of the last few weeks recorded a further subsidence still more to the west, and within the borders of the County of Cork. It was said that part of the road was rendered impassable; and the chief agent was said to be hidden springs. May the fact not have been, as in this neighbourhood, owing to the tidal action washing out the subjacent sand ?
* Catatogue, &c., p. 198.
+ Ib., 199, n. On the night of the 9th of December, 1868, several perches of the new railway between Huddersfield and Meltham sunk through the agency of water. I passed by the place a few hours both before and after the event.
2. Somersetshire.-Facts of the same general kind have been noticed on the north-west coast of Somerset ; within the Bristol Channel.
Mr. Godwin-Austen has described a remarkable subsidence at Porlock Bay, near Minehead, in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. There are large submerged forest beds, and at low tides immense numbers of stumps of trees may be seen in situ, or occupying the spots where they grow respectively. They are chiefly, but not exclusively, oak; and though covered at times, the action of the sea again lays them bare. There is the tenacious blue mud, similar to that which is found on the Lancashire and Cheshire shores; but it is associated with an angular shingle which we do not possess.
3. Devonshire.—At the International Congress of Pre-Historic Archæology,* attention was drawn by several speakers to a well known submarine forest, a few miles distant from that just noticed, near Barnstaple. About three hundred yards from the pebble beach, and on some patches of peat which were only exposed to view occasionally, Mr. Ellis found a few manufactured flints, and at the depth of about eighteen inches there were thousands ;-flakes, cores, with bones, teeth, and oyster shells. All these were within a superficial space of a few yards. After a storm, the trunks of large trees are observed beneath the surface. It is generally well known that the sea is encroaching there ; and it is only by adopting artificial means, that the inhabitants can bope to save the land, which is being rapidly washed away. The Rev. R. Kirwan traced certain oak stakes to three feet below the surface; he also found that the stratum of peat, about twelve inches thick, rested on blue clay, and was covered by a bed of sand three or four inches thick. Most of the bones had been broken, as it was supposed for the marrow : they were, however, identified by Mr. Busk, as those of the ox, stag, rein-deer, and other more common animals.
4. Lancashire.-Pilling Moss, in the neighbourhood of Fleetwoodon-the-Wyre, was once so large that a common proverb said it was "endless like God's grace.” It is now, however, broken up by cultivation into numerous fragments, like Chat Moss,—some of which bear the names of the townships within whose boundaries they lie. History, tradition, and local etymology concur in shewing that an area at least equal to the size of the original moss was at one time a forest. On the south side, there are still found numerous trunks of oak, yew and alder, some of immense size ; and there is evidence that fire was one of
* At Norwich, August 23rd, 1868.
the agents in its destruction. But in this case we have a former submarine forest now above the tide : as a large portion of the forest was destroyed by an irruption of the sea, and covered by a deep bed of sea shells, sand and gravel. The sea water is now excluded; but its former course is apparent, in a broad and deep circuitous channel, some portions of which are now five miles from high-water mark. Numerous forest remains are found beneath the marine deposit; and antiquities of various kinds are not uncommon in the immediate vicinity.*
5. Other Localities.-At the Congress of Prehistoric Archæology, attention was drawn by John Evans, Esq., F.R.S., to the mounds known in Denmark as Kjökken Möddin (kitchen middens) consisting of the refuse of previous inhabitants, piled up. In England, some of these are found between high and low water mark, clearly showing that there has been a subsidence of the land. Another gentleman had found one of these heaps on the shore, at a spot where a geological
fault” occurs; with a rock on each side, but no rock at this spot, to the depth of fifty or sixty yards. The land has subsided ; so that where there has been a large forest, now lost, it is necessary to restrain the tide by an embankment.-It appeared during the same discussion, that similar heaps are found on the shores of British North America ; but subsidences have not been noticed at any of them.
* Paper by the Rev. W. Thornber, in the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lanc, and Chesh., vol. iii, p. 119.
T. BRAKELL, PRINTER, COOK STREET, LIVERPOOL.