Слике страница
PDF
ePub

of the aqueous fluids that constitute our present oceanic and fluviatile waters. A long, long period must have passed ere the crust of the earth became cool enough for these permanent aqueous depositions. The gradual series of chrystalline formations are the result of fire and of pressure. We know that chalk, under heat and pressure, can be converted into chrystalline limestone and dolomite, from the valuable experiments of Sir James Hall.

Secondly. When the condensed waters found their way through the fissures of the primitive crust, new layers of oxyded metalloids would be added by subterranean convulsions, attended with earthquakes and violent disturbances, through many successive series of ages, and in various and distant parts of the earth.

Thirdly. The deluges occasioned by the upheavings of the strata, by the explosion of gases and the conversion of water into steam, would gradually wear down the already formed strata exposed to their action, into psammitic and traumatic debris; forming the sandy strata and the grauwackes necessary to the growth and support of vegetables.

Fourthly. During this time the ocean appears to have become gradually filled with the more simple forms of shell-fish, now found imbedded in the transition strata.

Fifthly. The earth in spots became covered with the simple forms of vegetables; these being again inundated and carbonized under water, formed the anthracite coal.

Sixthly. Another numerous series of disruptions of strata, submersions and traumatic cataclysms took place : until after the deposition of the old red sandstone, and the upheaving of the mountain limestone, another more numerous growth of vegetables found foot-hold; which a series of subsequent inundations have converted into the independent or bituminous coal formation of Werner.

Seventhly, Came the numerous inundations whose deposits have been the rock-salt and Jura limestone formations ; filling some of the valleys between the Alps and the Jura, with conglomerate a thousand feet deep, and leaving the Alpine boulders on the ridges of the Jura.

Eighthly. Now began vertebral fish to inhabit the waters, and the oviparous, amphibious sausians occupied both the water and the land.

Ninth period, produced the formation of herbivorous animals, after a long repose had filled the earth with food for their sustenance. These are the enormous animals, the admiration of

modern geology; of whom, the Iguanodon, discovered by Mr. Mantell, is the most extraordinary.

Tenth period, is the formation of carnivorous animals, when, by the great multiplication of herbivorous animals, food sufficient was supplied for the carnivorous class of the animal race.

Eleventhly, came the last series of deluges, to which, perhaps, may be ascribed the change of climate; the ceasing of tropical warmth in the northern regions; the submersion of so many animal species now unknown, and of many whose progeny appear now to be living; the formation of mountainous masses; the change of the oceanic bed; and the fitting of the earth for the last of the carnivorous race, man.

In the detritus that forms the sand, the clay, and the gravel beds, that geologists have consented to call diluvium, no remains of the animal, man, have hitherto been discovered. The Guadaloupe specimen, imbedded in a calcareous rock, has been thus enveloped, evidently on the same principle with the calcareous, medallic impressions, so common in Italy, by the subsidence of limestone from the drippings saturated with super-carbonat of lime, and which, when evaporated, leaves the finer particles of limestone deposited.

The particulars and details which render these conclusions plausible, and, as we think, probable, we recommend as among the most interesting inquiries that can, at present, occupy the attention of men who love and value science.

Art. III.-Mémoires historiques et secrets de l'Impératrice Jo

sephine Marie-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, premiere epouse de Napoléon Bonaparte; ouvrage ornê de huit gravures, portrait et fac simile, plus, l'interieur de la main de l'homme extraordinaire, &c. Par Mlle. M. A. Le NORMAND, auteur des Souvenirs prophétiques; des oracles Sybillins; de l'Anniversaire de la mort de l'Impératrice Josephine; de la Sybille au tombeau de Louis XVI. ; de la Sybille au Congrés d'Aix-la-Chapelle, suivi d'un coup-d'œil sur celui de Carlsbad ; des souvenirs de la Belgique ou le Procès memorable ; de l'Ange Protecteur de la France au tombeau de Louis XVIII; de l'ombre de Catharine Il. au tombeau de

Alexander Ter. Seonde édition, augmentee de plus de 300 notes inedites, et suivie des derniers souvenirs de Napoleon Bonaparte à l'ile Ste-Helène. Paris.

We have copied, with much perseverance, the above list of some of the numberless publications of Miss Le Normand, in order to indulge our curious readers with a peep into her fearful character. She has not only the skill to write volume upon volume, but she can dive into futurity. To her the book of fate is open! She is an astrologer and fortune-teller, and, we beJieve, a witch!

" and one so strong She can control the Moon."

We feel the peril of intermeddling with the work of a professor of the black art. But as she has partly promised to use only our own weapon, we will not shrink from the contest. Her threat is in these words~"L'historien de ces mémoires ne pouvait pas tirer l'epee, mais on s'aperçut bien qu'il savait manier la plume."

The work then consists of three well printed volumes, with notes and notes thereon, and some stiff French engravings, very little creditable to the artist. It is dedicated, in a hyperbolical strain, to the Emperor of all the Russias, the late Alexander, who, in consideration, presented the author with a diamond ring, and a complimentary letter, under the signature of Le Prince de Valkonski; all which are duly set forth by the historien, notwithstanding the death of the Emperor preceded this edition. The book met with favour on the continent, and a second edition was demanded. The first, fortunately, subjected the lady to a prosecution, by which its fame was extended; and the second, revised with care and much increased in bulk, will, she says, "without doubt, awaken prejudice, sear the eyeballs of the timid, and, perhaps, draw down upon her own head new persecutions.” But what renders it interesting is, that the greater part of it purports to be written by Josephine herselfthe beginning and end, with inost of the notes, are by Mademoiselle Le Normand, who is the humble adorer of the subject of her work. After a careful and suspicious perusal, (humbly admitting our want of the critical sagacity of Mr. Walsh in detecting French forgeries) we have, perhaps rashly, made up our minds that the facts, as detailed in these Memoirs, are, in the main, authentic; though we think, we not unfrequently discover that they have a mendacious colouring. Still there is truth enough left unvarnished to reward the reader, as we shall en

deavour to show in our sketch of the life of the graceful, interesting and benevolent Josephine.

But the extravagance and affected sensibility of Miss Le Normand are almost beyond the conception of 'sober-minded people. For instance, after she concluded her labours she became so inflated with their excellence that she caused a copy to be magnificently printed on vellum, and proceeded to have it solemnly deposited on the coffin of the ex-empress! The Mayor of Ruel, who had charge of the tomb, refused to suffer it to be opened for that purpose, and the copy has been retained with a view to the sanie destination, whenever the body shall bave been removed to the cemetery prepared for it by her children ; which we understand has been done since the reign of Charles X. and by his special license.

As a specimen of the author's absurdity and bad taste, we offer our readers her solemn invocation to what she calls the celestial shade of Josephine.

“Oui, je t'invoque, ombre céleste, qui habites le palais du maître de l'univers; ah! daigne me soutenir dans la route que je vais parcourir : prête a mes chants cette harmonie et cette énergique éloquence qui caractérisent les bons ouvrages; embellis non récit des agrémens qui te furent si familiers; daigne, en un mot, me découvrir les événemens les plus secret du régne de Bonaparte, me nommer les contrées où cet homme trop célèbre promena son char triomphal pour trouver ce talisman merveilleux au moyen duquel il enchaîna toutes les puissances inferieures et supérieures. Ombre immortelle, je le répète encore, viens me dicter une partie de cet ouvrage, et lui communiquer le charme de ton style enchanteur; ma plume est prête a t'obeir.”

The celestial shade, we are grieved to say, appears to have turned a deaf ear to her supplications.

We shall endeavour to place before our readers the contents of these volumes, by making an abstract of the life of Josephine, with such extracts as we may deem worthy of notice. To see a woman, in whose veins revelled no royal blood, take her seat upon a throne, was not an ordinary occurrence until the age of Bonaparte : and he, in a great measure, destroyed its interest by rendering it common. It is not, therefore, the mere elevation of such a person that, of itself, is worthy of notice, but, in the present instance, it is the character of the individual herself, and its influence on all around her, that demands our attention. It is universally acknowledged that she often exerted a beneficent control over her despotic husband—that her heart always softened at the distresses even of her enemies, and her hand was prompt to relieve them, even at the peril of her own safety. Her life too had many vicissitudes; and towards its

close, it presents a pleasing picture of the purest conjugal affection triumphing over ill usage and abandonment.

Josephine was born on the 24th June, 1763, at Trois-Ilets, in the island of Martinique. Her father, M. de Tascher de la Pagerie, Captain of the Royal Navy, was of a respectable French descent, and her mother, whose name was De Sanois, was a native creole. Josephine, says her Sybilline biographer, was born with “her forehead encircled with a transparent crown," which, in plain English, signifies a caul, “an infallible sign of prosperity, and one that opened to her the career of happiness!" By the silly fondness of her parents, she soon became a spoiled child, and would have been utterly ruined but for a timely change in her mother's conduct. She was allowed to play with the little negroes, and of course became proud and overbeuting, though being naturally just and tender-hearted, she took the part of those who behaved best. Her picture, when a child, is thus given :

“ C'etait dans ses traits que l'on démêlait le melange heureux d'une douce langueur et d'une vivacité singuliere ; mais son excessive timidité la privait quelquefois des avantages qu’un esprit cultivé et des talens remarquables auraient dû lui assurer. Sa santé etait délicate; le son de sa voix avait un charme inexprimable, une harmonie enehantresse ; son cæur vrai ne connut jamais l'imposture ; le sourire de la bienfaisance etait sur ses lèvres. Vêtue ordinairement d'un leger voile de mousseline adopté dans ces climats, elle ne paraissait que plus libre dans tous ses mouvemens. Les talens agréables allumaient tour a tour sa noble émulation; mais ce qui l'affectait surtout jusqu'a l'affliger reellement, c'était la preference que les habitans de la colonie lui accordaient sur sa scur ainée, qui, cependant, etait plus jolie qu'elle : ils caressaient son amour-propre et affligeaient son cæur. On ne la nomnait que la belle Créole. Ce titre produisait sur elle la plus vive impression: ou vantait sans cesse les charmes de sa figure ; les couleurs da la rose embellissaient son teint, et Josephine ignorait alors qu'une femme aimable pût employer l'empire de l'art pour ajouter au pouvoir de ses attraits." Vol. i. p. 52.

Our grandiloquent Mademoiselle proceeds, “Josepbine had not yet numbered two lustres, when Terpsichore became the object of her especial regard ;" which, we presume, means that she loved dancing before she was ten years of age-no very extraordinary predilection at that time of life. She was also fond of singing and solitude, and had a timidity that she never lost till after she lived in France. She could not bear confinement; she ran, and jumped and danced, and at the same time received her education, for she seemed to read and write in play, and every thing she ever knew, was taught her by way of amuse

« ПретходнаНастави »