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or Lapidary recorded, ever so rudely, the symbol of his tribe or nation, graven “with an iron pen upon the rocks." Whether, then, he may have been “ saint or savage, bond or free," "the “ tree has rested where it feil ;” and it must have fallen there, amid the dead silence of those extended shades before the great sea invaded his native forest, which there is the clearest evidence that it has done, but no record whatever of the time when : the wind, ever the mighty precursor of Neptune in the march of destruction, here raised by his sweeping power the barrier of sandhills to check the sea's progress for the time, but the march of destruction is uniform and constant.
Let us then see what can be collected concerning our race from those "Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man" which, within these few years, have formed the subject of enquiry amongst the most learned investigators of the creation. The first opening of this subject, as it is treated of by modern writers, nearly takes away one's breath, Until lately the learned were contented with the belief that Adam himself did not live more remotely from our present period than about sixty centuries or 6,000 years; but the deep researches of Sir Charles Lyell and the imaginative theories of the school of Bunsen would appear to force upon our credulity that this globe has been inhabited for fifty or perhaps a hundred thousand years. I do not presume to enter upon such debateable ground, nor to claim for my skeleton any participation in it. The old Bible Chronology is enough for my purpose. I do not, however, understand from Sir Charles Lyell's book that the most learned Philosophers or expert Geologists have as yet advanced in their facts further than to shew that the bones of man have been found in juxta-position with those of animals both recent and extinct in caverns and corners of considerable antiquity; and that works of man's industry, similar in nature and design with those of existing savage tribes in Australia and elsewhere, have been discovered in the
same caves and mounds in which human bones have been discovered. I believe, however, that complete skeletons, either human or animal, have never been met with in these caverns, and that what have been found therein have in most cases been odds and ends of bones of men and animals all heaped together confusedly in fissures of the earth in which they could never have lived and in which it is as far from probable that they could have died together. It seems, to my common understanding, that these conglomerations could only have been accumulated by the action of torrents or inundations or by some convulsion of nature, and that they can scarcely be admitted upon any principles of judicial evidence to have been bones of men and animals consorted together in the same company.
The only complete skeletons of man appear to have been met with in peat mosses or in peat shores, in some respects similar to the resting place of our own pre-historic man, in foreign lands, but I do not think that they, even, advance his story, for they have been found for the most part in mosses thirty feet deep, such mosses being surmised, by some, to be self-creating substances which increase by growth, whereas the peat of the sub-marine forest in our district is pure vegetable deposit. Sir C. Lyell remarks that “all the land and fresh water "shells, and all the mammalia, and all the plants, whose “ remains occur buried in the Danish peat, are of recent
species," and that " all the quadrupeds belong to species “known to have inhabited Europe within the memory of
man,” so that these discoveries render little assistance to our enquiry, and I think we may conclude that it is not from Geology that we can derive any data on which to calculate the probable period when our skeleton lived in the flesh, excepting that he must have lived and died in what is termed the recent period.
But there must have been some time or another in the
world's history when the wandering, enterprising savages of the continent first penetrated into the virgin solitudes of Britain : they may have come from the North or from the South—no matter whence—but on their first arrival they must have been too sparse for war and therefore need not have had weapons of offence; and they may have been too rude and uninformed to apply their ingenuity or industry to such implements of the chase or of cultivating the earth as have been found elsewhere constructed of enduring stone or metal. Men of this period must probably have at the first lived together in pairs or families, feeding upon the fruits of the earth before even any art of his industry was required to have been invented.
Nature first made man
He could only be occupied during such & period in ministering to the daily requirements of his appetites by hunting or fishing or climbing" from tree to tree" like the squirrels of our local adage. We may well imagine that he wandered from forest to forest and from land to land with the same infirmity of purpose as marks, in our own day, the Savage and the Monkey. In the wild waste he could have nothing to quarrel about for he could move at pleasure from one place to another. In the skull of our skeleton the teeth were remarkably fast-set and sound, but very much worn, shewing that they have been used in masticating very hard substances, such as bones of animals, or roots of the earth, or the stones of fruits, on which it is probable he subsisted. To such a period (as it appears to me) this pre-historic, aboriginal Briton may with good reason be considered to have belonged. He is found among other denizens of the same great forest which we know from their bones must have been numerous about him. In passing, it may be stated, as a report, not very well authenticated, that there has been
found in Wallasey Pool the skull of one other individual of
While the Briton may thus have been nearly last in the
dry bones" remain around us to testify that while the animals of the lower creation have existed or have passed away or have changed considerably their form and magnitude, Man has ever remained the same in his form and structure as he first came fresh from the hands of his Maker.
THE ART OF WRITING; A CHAPTER IN THE
HISTORY OF HUMAN PROGRESS.
By John Newton Esq., M.R.C.S.
(READ 10TH DECEMBER, 1863.)
A VERY common subject for essays and papers at Literary Societies used to be this—“ On the difference between Instinct
and Reason;" and the human animal, painting his own portrait, drew it all couleur de rose. What they called “ instinct” was allotted to the brutes, and glorious “ reason to man alone. Man was ever being drawn upwards--the beast drawn downwards : they had scarcely a single point of contact.
But we have changed all that ; and the tendency of scientific inquiry is just now to the opposite extreme. Man is elbowed out of his exclusiveness and requested to shake hands with the ourang and the gorilla, as his next of kin. If he vaunt his affection for his young ones or his home, he is told of many a bird and beast which might enter into successful rivalry with him. If he point to his artificially constructed dwellings, divided into compartments and protected from enemies by various devices, how many a bird and beast, aye, and even insect, can match him! Nay, the common building ant of Texas constructs granaries with much art, clears the land, sows grain, gathers in the harvest, windows and separates the chaff, dries and lays up the corn in store for the winter. Certainly the starting point of the human race is low indeed ; and it seems to us, looking back from our lofty stand-point, a strange thing that