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those perforations which gave passage to
broken out in the same place, from a ledge the tube which connected the whole series loosened by the severest frosts of winter. of chambers together. The remains of In a museum of Egyptian relics but this pipe are still perceptible, not, as in three thousand years old, we are surpristhe recent nautilus, piercing the partitions ed at the apparently close relation of the near their centres, but at their edges, and past with the present, as shown by furnilying close within the rounded back of ture and garments bearing so great a rethe shell. The innermost cells, those semblance to those now in use, and human penetralia to which the earthy sediment remains not yet quite resolved into their could not gain admittance, are filled with elements. But what comparison bear the black calcareous spar, which must have famous forty centuries invoked at the batpercolated in solution with the water tle of the Pyramids to the cycles which through the pores of the shell, and crys have crept away since these courses of tallized in its interior. The entire or masonry were laid over this relic, and it ganism is greatly changed from its origi
was luft nal condition, yet it is unaltered in all its
for over to endure, more characteristic features. Its analogy
Itself its monument? is complete with the pearly nautilus which navigates the Indian Ocean, and it bears Two other varieties of nautili occur in a still closer resemblance to the umbili the same layer, one a little species not cated nautilus, as witnesses one of the larger than a half dollar, in which (as in latter from the shores of New Zealand, the pearly nautilus) every whorl enfolds which lies amicably in the same drawer and entirely conceals those within it; to illustrate our best specimens from the another much larger, in which the sucrocks of Central New York. Still they cessive volutions lie unobscured, merely are by no means identical, and in this as in contact with each other, and ornamentin other instances, the ancient fossil is ed along their outer edges with a series connected with its modern representative of knobs or bosses. by a series of perhaps a hundred more Equally abundant with the nautili, are or less varying species.
some shells of a very peculiar form, quite The abundance of these relics is re unknown among living families, though markable. In a block of three or four every where common in the lower and square
may osten be seen the remains older layers of the Great Cemetery. They of as many of these graceful shells. A are perhaps two inches in diameter, two mass from this very ledge, containing four feet long, tapering to a point, and divided nautili from four to ten inches in diam by internal partitions into a succession of eter, lies on the floor in that chilly apart chambers or cells. At first sight they ment of the old State Hall at Albany, appear entirely unlike any thing else, but which, appropriated to the State collec on close examination prove to have pretion of fossils, is consigned to dust and cisely the structure of a nautilus, differneglect ; while the attention of visitors to ing only in being extended in a straight the State Museum is mainly directed to line instead of being coiled up. the inspection of bullets from old battle We have remarked that these shells fields, "horned frogs," rattlesnakes, and
occur in so great abundance, that a square bead embroidered Indian leggins, and to yard of the rock may be estimated to conthe inscription of their valuable auto tain on an average not less than three, graphs in a register kept for that purpose, lying within a thin layer of but a few inafter the manner of hotels.
ches. At this estimate an acre of this The disinterment of relics of such evi cemetery must contain more than fourdent and unquestionable character from a teen thousand of these stony skeletons, ledge of the hardest rock, two hundred and more than nine millions are buried miles inlaud and nearly a thousand feet under each square mile. above the sea level, is a fact to fix the at The fact that the ocean bottom was so tention of the most careless observer. To thickly strewed with these remains of the informed and thoughtful mind it con animals which, being carnivorous and of nects with wonderful freshness and reality wandering habits, could not have existed the two almost infinitely remote eras, that in very dense numbers at any moment, of the nautilus sailing gayly
proves that their accumulation must have
been the work of a very long period of "--In sun and breoze,
time. It has occurred to us that a vague On the new oreated seas,"
estimate of this period may be made. in this very latitude, 43° North, 760 If, in a district supporting a human West, and that when the same shell is population of a thousand persons, the or
dinary annual mortality among whom duration for species of shellfish yet existwould be perhaps twenty, we should find ing. When the Niagara poured over the the burying ground to contain a thousand bluff at Lewistown, its waters left layers graves, it would be reasonable to conclude of sand and clay filled with the shells that half a century had elapsed while this which then inhabited its waters. Since average population had existed.
that time, it has worn its slow way backNow, before applying this reasoning to wards, forming a ravine six or seven miles the old cemetery of the nautili, we need long, which at a reasonable estimate of two facts by way of data ; first the ave the rapidity of its recession, must have rage density of their population, secondly, occupied from one hundred to three huntheir average duration of life. We have dred centuries. Yet the same shellfish, little means of obtaining practical evidence undistinguishable in any particular, inof either. But, being large floating shell habit the shores of Goat Island and fish of a high grade of organization, and Chippewa to-day! If they have been in of carnivorous habits, they are not likely the full vigor of existence for from ten to to have been very abundant; and if we thirty thousand years, how long a period assume that an average of ten may at may we reasonably suppose to have comonce have been living on each acre, or six prehended the entire duration of these thousand four hundred on each square mile, races of nautili and the deposition of that it will perhaps be a reasonable estimate. rocky sepulchre which entombs them If we then suppose the usual longevity of all ? a nautilus to have been ten years, it fol If such deductions in Geology lack the lows that to each acre of the cemetery at accuracy and numerical certainty which the sea-bottom there would be added one are found in the conclusions of its sister dead shell annually, so that more than
science of the stars, they are, at least, sugfourteen thousand years would elapse be gestive thoughts. The actual evidence of fore such an accumulation of them as we vast duration is ample, and the very infind in this rock could be formed.
definiteness and vagueness which hang This is a mere speculation, perhaps an
around it, heighten the impression which extravagant one, founded on data assumed it produces, of the majestic slowness with without much authority. But whatever which the progress of earth's changes has allowance may be made for error, there gone on, and still goes on, remains evidence of a very long period
“ While the stars burn, the moons increase, during which this rock was being deposit
And the great ages onward roll." ed, and even our largest estimate seems to be supported by arguments of a differ Yet other and stranger relics of life lie ent character. For within this thin layer hidden in this layer. Rude black caris comprehended all that remains of four bonaceous patches occur, which to the or five very marked and conspicuous unpractised observer present no signs of forms of life. Their whole period of ex interest. On these, however, the keen istence seems to have left no other record eye of such an explorer_as Agassiz or than is contained in this foot of hardened Hall fastens instantly. Th black spot sea-slime. They are not found above or shows an organic texture, in which the below, they did not exist before its de microscope reveals the perfect structure posit commenced; they became extinct of bone. Further search brings to light before it was completed. Now what du better specimens, showing bony plates ration may we allot to such a group of united at their edges like a mosaic pavespecies?
ment, and marked on their surface with Human observation has detected no ap starlike tubercles. It is clearly a fragpreciable change among the living forms ment of one of those strange fossil fishes of earth during the period of history. described by Hugh Miller, which had The mummied animals of Egypt are pre their bones mainly external, and, like the cisely identical with modern species. Ex tortoise, were clad in their own skeletons cept when exterminated by man, no spe as in plate armor. The starlike markings cies is known to have disappeared. We identify it as a species of Asterolepis, a have no knowledge of the appearance, or near relative to that which the author of extinction from natural causes, of a single “ The Old Red Sandstone” found in the form.
hills of Orkney, and which is the foundaAnd though this is merely negative tion of his volume, “The Footprints of evidence of little value, inasmuch as accu the Creator.” We have a bony plate rate observations in natural history are found in this rock, once belonging to the but of modern date, there are natural lower jaw of one of these mailed crea" records which prové a very protracted tures, which must have rejoiced in an en
tire length of four or five feet; while a effects of its long burial and rough disinfragment of a spine which grew on the terment. As one would not choose his back of another, nearly an inch broad, penny of Alfred, or medal of Vespasian, and showing little diminution in size in its quite free from the rust and corrosion of length of four or five, indicates one of much ages, untarnished and perfect as a new greater size, at the sight of whose dark, dollar, no more would we have our shell, shadowy form, as he swam about in the preserved in its rocky sarcophagus from clear brine, the sailing nautili may have the early epochs of time, as bright and shrunk back into their shells, and sought fresh as one dredged up last year off the the bottom, with as much dread as their coast of Amboyna. We love them somemodern successors before the shark of the what as Desdemona did Othello, " for Indian sea.
These fragmentary relics are the perils they have passed ;” and a reathe only evidence we yet have of the sonable crack or scar out of their symforms to which they belonged. On a metrical forms, does not diminish their sea-bottom filling so slowly and imper value in our eyes. They lie in our cabiceptibly, every articulation must have net drawers by the half dozen, some alyielded to decay, and each bone fallen most perfect, some sadly dilapidated, some from its fellow, long before they were in fragments,-casts of separate chamburied up in the sediinent. It is there bers, thin pieces of striated shell, little fore hardly to be expected, that future coils which were once the central beginspecimens should be met with, still re nings of large nautili, black plates of taining the natural connection of their bone, broken spines; in short, scraps of parts, or the general outline of their form; ancient mortality of all sizes and degrees though in other strata of different charac of incompleteness. Every one has its ter, and more rapidly deposited, such for reminiscence of the day, the spot, the tunate instances are not uncommon.
associate with whom we labored. As we We must, therefore, be content to re look them over on some stormy, snowy; store these vanished forms from such drifting February day, the time and place scattered fragments as may remain, aided of their discovery recur vividly to memby such hints as we may glean from the ory. It is again June: there is the high structure of their nearest living ana grassy brow of the hill,—the deep valley, logues, and the more entire remains of with its winding stream far below,—the similar species found in rocks which have opposite slope, a mile in gradual ascent, kept their organic treasures in more per patched with forest, grainfield, and meafect condition. Every day spent in search dow,—the broad, wooded lowland, spreading this ledge, however, brings to light ing away from the mouth of the valley, some additional scrap or fragment; now like the sea from the entrance of a bay, å spine, now a bony plate, now a few to the far, sharp horizon, where show scales, or a tooth, all which, when united, dimly, through fifty miles of atmosphere, like the fragments of a shivered statue, or a few serrated peaks, which lie in the the chips of a broken mosaic, may yet re wilderness of Hamilton county. In the produce with considerable completeness middle distance spreads the long gleaming the general form from which they were Oneida, recalling to mind the forest-tales detached. In the hourly hope of such of Cooper, legends of woodland exploragradual discoveries, days of laborious ex tion a hundred years ago, and the history ploration pass rapidly away.
of the campaigns of Brant and St. Leger. No rock in New York with which we We again seem to sit hammering at the are acquainted, contains within a narrow ledge, to hear the clink of the crowbar, space a more striking collection of relics, and the dull report of the blast shaking than is found in this thin ledge of lime up the rock, and summoning us to look stone imbedded between its barren slates, eagerly for new revelations among the and few pleasanter days are within our shattered masses. memory, than those spent in its examina The momentary reverie fades,---we are tion. Much labor is necessary to force standing at our window, specimen in hand, open the grasp in which its contents are clouds of drift obscuring the dreary snowheld, and no little patience and care are fields before us; but we mentally resolve, afterwards required to chisel away the as soon as the earth is green and the enveloping stone from each fossil, or to skies are mild, again to draw from their reunite its fragments into a perfect whole. dusty winter corner, hammer and basket, Not one in five is extricated in a condi sledge and drill, and to ransack with new tion approaching completeness. But the zeal this wonderful repository of the pridifficulty enhances the interest, and the relic is not the worse for showing some
The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte ; Free. ly Translated and Condensed by HARRIET MAR
2 vols. T is some ten or twelve years since
entering the bookstore of Wiley & Putnam, in Broadway, we took from the shelves four large and dingy volumes, printed in French, and bound with coarse, rose-colored paper, purporting to be a treatise on the entire circle of the sciences. The first page we opened upon contained a statement of the imperfections of analytical geometry, and we said, " Here is a conceited fellow, who believes himself capable of reforming the mathematics.” But on reading further, we discovered that he was an earnest partisan of mathematics, carrying his respect for them, indeed, so far as to assert, when he came to speak of the progress of their astronomical applications, that “the heavens declare the glory”—not of God, as the good old Bible says, but “of Hipparchus, Kepler, and Newton.” An audacious thinker, at any rate, we thought to ourselves, and strove to penetrate a little deeper into his book. Repulse at first by the novelty and boldness of his remarks, we were at the same time held fast by a certain assurance of movement, as he passed along the dizzy heights of the most adventurous speculation ; we were convinced that no ordinary thinker held us in his hands; and when, towards the close of the work, we came full-face
the announcement of a wholly new science, for which all other sciences were but preparatives—the Science of society-the fact jumped in too nicely with the tenor of our own previous researches and hopes, to allow any dictates of economy to hinder us froin becoming the owner of those shabby-looking volumes.
We read them, not with avidity, because they were written quite too much in “the dry-light," as Bacon calls it, for that, and yet with a deep though forced attention. It seemed, from the very outset, that the author was no ordinary thinker, his great instrument of a mind moving with the regularity, though by no means the velocity of a machine, and impressing one, as it drew him along, with a feeling that he might be supposed to have when caught up by the gearing of some monster corn-mill or cotton factory. No pleasant episodes of the imagination adorned the way; no scintillations of fancy sparkled like fire-flies around it;
no gentle play of the affections warmed it, and no beacons of hope illuminated the bleak distance. A stem and relentless Intellect, marching remorselessly along its path, was treading down our dearest hopes, and crushing out the noblest and sweetest sensibilities, and, in the midst of all our reluctance and horror, dragging us with it to its infernal goal.
As we became more familiar with our supposed demon, however, we found that he was not altogether so bad as he seemed; a silver lining of humanity vras now and then turned from out the folds of his dark frown; he was clearly very much in earnest, and had an unquestionable love for the truth. IIe spoke ill of nobody, threatened nobody, and pursued his own silent and impassive way, among the stars, and through the depths of the earth, and amid the busy haunts of men, intent only on his purpose, which, the more it was pondered, appeared to be more and more dignified, noble and benevolent. We finally dismissed all fears of our guide, and honestly set to work to discover what he was at. When we add, that those volumes were the “ Positive Philosophy of Comte, a most original, profound. and comprehensive philosopher, the intelligent reader of this day will need no further explanation of our experience.
It was a momentous discovery for us, – this of a new and really great thinker, — of a man who discussed with consummate familiarity and ease, many of the highest problems of science; and we naturally turned to the Records to see what the world had made of him,—to ascertain his whereabouts, as well as to compare our secluded estimate of his rank, with that of the accredited standards of opinion and criticism. Alas! we searched in vain for any notice of him. The reviews of France and England, though noisy enough in their praises and dispraises of the little tadpoles of literature, had no word for him
the learned societies the world over, eager as they always are to rescue their insignificance from utter oblivion, by blazoning the name of whoever has won imperishable glory in deciphering the wrappages on an old mummy, or discovering a nation in Africa one degree nearer the monkey than any before known, were unconscious of his name; and, in private circles, few persons whom we met had ever heard, or, if they had
heard, knew any thing definite of, the ences, even if they had been unskilfully star which had risen with quite portentous accomplished, were attempts that deserved light upon our small horizon. At last, the most serious attention.
It was no however, we did find in the Edinburgh disposition, then, we were persuaded, to Review of 1838—sixteen years after pooh-pooh Comte out of sight, which had Comte's first book was published, and Test him to obscurity. Nor was it, again, eight after the completion of the last-a the offensive nature of his conclusions; notice of the Positive Philosophy, said to for, hostile as these were to existing prebe written by Sir David Brewster, which judices and creeds, they were still no showed plainly enough that Sir David had more so than the systems of Fichte, failed to get even a glimpse of the pecu Schelling, and Hegel, whose speculations liarity of the system. When Whewell, have gone the circuit of the globe. If he too, published his “ Philosophy of the In was atheistical, they were pantheistical ; ductive Sciences,” it was evident that he and we had yet to learn that the one was had read Comte, but was either afraid or more acceptable to orthodoxy than the not honest enough to own it; and the other. Meanwhile, it was to be observed, first public recognition of him, of any im
that the theories of Comte, though proportance, we found in the Logic of Mills, found and comprehensive, and marked by who borrows largely from him, but with great logical severity, were not difficult of out the meanness of concealinent. Indeed, apprehension. They could scarcely be no attempt, as we are aware, has yet been called abstruse; they contained no nemade towards an elaborate and impartial ologisms, did not abound in hard words, judgment of Comte, save in a series of while in their general aims they were adable articles published in the Methodist dressed to what is said to be a prevailing Quarterly Review of this city, where the characteristic of the present era,—its phywriter, disagreeing with many of his con sical or materializing tendency. There clusions, frankly and admiringly con was, then, more reason, or at least as fesses his merits. Morell's “ Philosophy much reason, why Comte should have of the Nineteenth Century," has a super been well known, as Cousin, Hegel, or ficial account of Comte's system, and Pro Kant. fessor De Saisset has written something In the end, two considerations occurred to about him, in the Revue des Deux us, as better explanatory of the little attenMondes, which we have not seen.
tion he had received. The first was, the This uniform neglect of Comte, during acknowledged indisposition of scientific the quarter of a century in which he had men to enter into large or general views, been laboriously working out his views, absorbed as they are in the study of destruck us as strange, particularly as con tails, and distrustful as they are of all aptemporary literature and science con plications of the inductive method, save tained not a few direct appropriations of the most elementary and simple. The his labors. We tried to account for it, on habit of petty analysis, which has been one or more of three several suppositions : so “victorious” in physics, has finally suceither that his works were intrinsically ceeded in conquering its masters, so that unworthy of study, or that their depar- your natural philosopher is quite as much tures from the accepted and reigning opin afraid of deserting it, for higher and synions were so flagrant as to excite a silent thetic generalizations, as a slave is to rise contempt for them, or that the range and against his keeper. He looks upon the comprehensiveness of their topics lifted theorizer,” consequently, as a monster, them quite above the ordinary apprehen and is glad to get quit of him as soon as sions and intellectual sympathies of the possible. Comte could expect no hospiage.
tality from this class. But among those But, on reflection, we soon saw that capable of general views, a second reaneither of these solutions could be entire son for the neglect of him, was, that the ly satisfactory. It was obvious, at a reigning science could not, in consistency glance, that those works were worthy of with its own principles, deny the validity study, as their masterly originality and his method, while to admit his conclupower, their logical coherence
, their dig- sions, was to fly directly into the face of nity of manner, and the importance of the the reigning theology. Thus there was a results at which they aimed, abundantly double allegiance to be maintained : one proved. A rational and consistent classi of consistency, and the other of respectafication of the sciences, on the basis of bility; and we can readily understand nature, and the construction of a new sci why it was thought best, in the dilemma, ence, destined to take its place as the to say as little as need be about Comte's queen and crowning glory of all other sci inferences, lest the secret sympathy of