Page images

There is no dearth of readers in Nor-churches stand in lonely symbolism, apart way; for education is widely spread. from the people's working-day life--often Every sea-side town has its resident not to be reached for several weeks toschoolmaster, and each mountain farm is gether, on account of distance and weavisited by some itinerant teacher; so that ther-often shut up for successive Sun. a young person unable to read and write days; (as where one pastor serves four at least, is rarely met with. Then the churches, divided by distances of thirty long labors of that zealous revivalist, or forty miles from each other ;) and where Hange, sometimes called the John Wesley throughout large districts no dissenting of Norway, have not been without result chapel offers a resource to worshipers who in an awakening to religious inquiry and would fain go to church, but can not, nor hope; although that result is not so posi- serves as a focus for the collection and tive and marked i 'sha might have been, radiation of Gospel light in any of the had circumstances favored the suitable Church's dark days; how doubly urgent embodiment and expression of a reviving is the need of a Bible for every man, and spirituality.

how ceaseless should be the efforts of a In a country of few villages, but of Protestant clergy to secure this boon to a many scattered homesteads; where the prepared and reading people !

From the British Quarterly.


MORE than once we have had occasion pared for the reception of man. How to write of Mr. Gosse as an eminent na- are we to deal with these two assertions ? turalist. Here we must view him in a Mr. Gosse is of opinion that the reputed somewhat different capacity. He now antiquity of the globe is a mere figment, comes forward as a fanciful theorist, bear- and that therefore the Mosaic week was ing in his hand a book which, had it been the literal limit of the Creator's exertions. published anonymously, we should almost But admitting, as he does, all the evihave been inclined to regard as an elabor- dences of physical age which the rocks ate jeu d'esprit. Not having any right, present, he phantomizes them, if we may however, to assume that a gentleman like so speak, by a process of reasoning which Mr. Gosse would commit å post octavo would have gladdened the heart of a joke, or indulge in a solemn piece of wag- Berkeley. The theory is not wholly new. gery involging 376 pages of letter-press, It has been promulgated in other prowe are compelled to conclude that he is ductions as well. Mr. Gosse, however, in good earnest in his attempt to solve has endeavored to invest it with an air of the problem of the pre-Adamite world. dignity by drawing up an array of facts What that problem is we need scarcely which would appear very formidable if state. Scripture tells us, apparently, that they only possessed the merit of reaching the earth was created with all its physical and overlapping the question in dispute. furniture in the short space of six days. The idea is this. In creating an animal The geologist tells us, on the testimony it was necessary to commence at some of the great stone-book, that this planet given point. Take a modern cow and must have served an apprenticeship of trace her history: A couple of years she millions of years before it was fully pre-was a heifer-prior to that she figured as

a helpless calf. Before her birth she was * Omphalos : an Attempt to Untie the Geological a mere fætus ; that fætus, reckoning reKnot. By PHILIP HENRY GOSSE, F.R.S. With 56 Illustrations on Wood. London: Van Voorst, trogressively, had formerly been an em1857. Pp. 376.

bryo, an embryonic cell, a germinal dot;

and then, first of all, an ovum. But that Such seem to be Mr. Gosse's views. ovum, origin as it may seem of her individ. Perhaps the first question a reader will uality, belonged to, and was once part of ask will be this—why might not the globe à precedent cow. Tracking the latter have been called into being without these through similar phases of existence, the lying geological appartenances? We can process must be continued until we reach imagine it to exist without the red sandthe founder of the vaccine line—the Eve stone fishes as well as with them. We can . of Cows—and find a resting place in the not see the smallest reason why the iguanfact of creation. But what is creation ? odon and the megalosaurus should have A beginning ? Yes—in chronology, but laid their bones where they are now not in physiology; for Mr. Gosse defines found, if their appearance is purely deluit as the " sudden bursting into a circle.” sive. Indeed, before we can entertain Perhaps we shall facilitate the readers Mr. Gosse's proposits for a moment, we conceptions if we suppose that a watch must put down allhaman reason-his could be made at a stroke by a human ar- own as well--and adopt a supposition tisan. In that case the hands must point which is just as monstrous as if some to some particular hour and moment of learned antiquary were to argue that the day-say twenty minutes past twelve. Pompeii and Herculaneum were perfect A spectator seeing the fingers in motion, hoaxes-mere mineral freaks-since, inand hearing the apparatus tick-tack, after stead of having flourished for years, these the fashion of a regularly constructed towns were produced at a stroke, and time-piece, would conclude that those constituted necessary ingredients in the fingers had run through many previous soil! Mr. Gosse does indeed go so far as hours at least. It would be a great mistake, to make the astounding assertion, that if however. The watch had no existence at the Almighty had seen fit to postpone the nineteen minutes past twelve.

creation of the world until the present This consequence, therefore, follows-century, he would have brought it forth that every created thing, when first pro- with all its towns, railways, shipping, and duced, must have been produced with inhabitants, just as it stands !" Shall we certain physical attributes of antiquity, err in saying that such desperate supposifrom which an observer, ignorant of the tions are worthier of the Academy of circumstances, would naturally assume Lagado than of the British scientific that it had existed for a considerable press ? period before. Thus, Adam must have It will be seen, in fact, that Mr. Gosse exhibited precisely the same evidences of assumes the chief points on which he age in his person as if he had been alive wishes to rest his argument. It is enough, for the exact number of years he appeared for example, to ask him how he knows to represent. He must had a navel- that Adam had a navel, and you put his hence the title of the book--though no whole volume hors de combat at a blow. umbilical cord was really required in the His reply must really resolve itself into case of one who never issued from this: "İ, Philip Henry Gosse, am of woman's womb. So an exogenous tree, opinion that such was the case. The auif created this moment, must needs pre- thor of Tenby must excuse us if we desent a series of rings expressive of many cline to take a mere surmise as the basis years of previous vitality. So, again, as of a book. Plainly there was no call for Chateaubriand asserts—and we commend such a physiological feature in the first the illustration to Mr. Gosse's attention- man of our race. Why, therefore, should even the first oaks at the moment of their he possess what was perfectly useless ? It creation would be adorned with old does not help the matter to assert that crearavens, nests, and young, unfledged doves. tion is “ bursting into a circle.” This is And if this were the case, why should not another assumption, in so far as it requires the earth be subject to the same neces- that life must be commenced with the sity? Why should not all its various precise paraphernalia of being which strata-all its fossil relics, all its petrified would be appropriate to a creature traproofs of antiquity—be the mere accom- veling to the same stage of existence by paniments of the creative act—things in the ordinary modes of progression. What serted where they now appear, simply be- this irruption into a circle can mean with cause, without them, the planet could not regard to a planet, we can hardly combe just what it now happens to be? prehend; but granting that the view

possessed any scientific solidity, it must, stern necessity, which would not permit of course, involve a continued advance of him to make the world in any other way the globe through certain states, with pe- than the one Mr. Gosse has suggested : riodical returns to the same points. The ship-carpenter mentioned in one of Cap “We have passed in review before us the tain Marryat's novels, was not, therefore, whole organic world; and the result is uniform, such a bad philosopher when he laid down that no example can be selected from the vast the theory that, after a given cycle every vegetable kingdom, nor from the vast animal thing would be restored to its present kingdom, which did not, at the instant of its condition, and that he would be seen saw- previous history. This is not put forth as a

creation, present indubitable evidence of a ing the same plank and driving the same hypothesis, but as a necessity. I do not say it nails, just as Mr. Gosse will probably be was probably so, but that it was certainly so ; writing the same work, and we expressing not that it may have been thus, but that it our surprise that it should have been grave- could not be otherwise." ly produced. Circles, like whirlpools, are most inconvenient things to enter, and we Surely the same supernatural power really should like to know how Mr. Gosse which could in an instant arrange a mass of would do justice to his own invention. Will rocks in regular layers, and endow them he gallantly assert that this planet, after with a myriad evidences of age, could running through certain stages of growth have made the first man without a navel, and decay, must return in its own person, or the oolite formation without a bed of or in the person of its young earths, to its Kimmeridge clay? Imagine that whilst molten or granitic condition, and then standing before a fine mansion, Mr. Gosse pass through all the fossil phases exhibit- were to say: "Sir, you doubtless suppose ed in its sedimentary rocks? The very that this house took many weeks to erect? phantomizing of such tremendous geologi. Nothing of the kind; it was reared in an cal periods implies that they must be made instant. It is the work of one of the good either on the existing globe or on genii. The layers of stone and mortar some of its posterity.

appear to have been laid in the regular It is impossible, however, to deal argu- way, but, in truth, the uppermost stratum mentatively with a theory which starts was contemporaneous with the lowest. with a miracle, and draws upon that The roof was in its place as soon as the miracle for an answer to all your ob- floor, and the chimneys are of the same jections. The only course in such a case date to a second as the cellars. It was is to put the theorist in direct hostility to ready for occupation at once, fires burning, himself. The sole ground, then, upon tables and chairs all arranged, the cloth which Mr. Gosse's views can be admitted spread for dinner, and the dinner-bell in is the assumption that the Almighty could, the act of ringing, as if the tenant had alif he thought proper, and in the exercise ready arrived." “Truly, then,” we exof His Omnipotence, make the world in claim, “the Genius was a being of miracuan instant, with all its fallacious fossil lous powers ?” “Why, not exactly,” reequipment, as it now appears. Let the plies Mr. Gosse; "he could make the idea be granted for the time. We say house in a moment, but he could not nothing as to the contradictions which make it in a month.” “Could not, Mr. such a concession involves; nor do we Gosse ?” we rejoin; "you mean, would ask whether we may have any warrant for not?” “No,” says that gentleman, “I supposing that the Almighty would do mean just what I say. He was under this simply because he could do it. But some nameless compulsion. It was imwhat will be the reader's surprise to learn possible for him to spread course after that after resorting to a miracle, Mr. course, like a human mason, or to wait Gosse proceeds to lay that miracle under till his walls were raised before he put on certain physical restrictions, that after ap- his rafters. This was his only way of pealing to omnipotent resources, he pro- doing business. It is not a mere fashion ceeds to cripple those resources; and that the Genii have, but an absolute necessity whilst availing himself of boundless creat- with them.” ive power as the first condition of his We have too frequently had occasion to theory, and for the purpose of mastering admire the pious and reverent spirit in all difficulties, the second condition is, which Mr. Gosse's productions are written that the Almighty was placed under a' to suppose, for an instant, that he advo

cates any disrespectful qualifications of the Few fancies, indeed, have been better Divine power. We assume him to speak adorned in this respect; but to make it of its exercise under what the author will truly valuable, we are afraid that Mr. deem purely philosophical exigencies. Gosse must omit his theory in a future Let us simply add, that the work contains edition, and leave out his Hamlet without a large amount of interesting matter. I compunction.

From Fraser's Magazine.



The subject upon which I have under-dence-a vast and harmonious system, taken to address you is the influence of worked out with consummate skill, and women on the progress of knowledge, un- from which we derive our purest and doubtedly one of the most interesting largest notions of civil law. Yet this, questions that could be submitted to any which, not to mention the immense sway audience. Indeed, it is not only very in- it still exercises in France and Germany, teresting, it is also extremely important. has taught to our most enlightened lawWhen we see how knowledge has civilized yers, their best lessons; and wbich enmankind; when we see how every great abled Bracton among the earlier jurists, step in the march and advance of nations Somers, Hardwicke, Mansfield, and Stowell has been invariably preceded by a corre- among the later, to soften by its refinesponding step in their knowledge; when ment the rude maxims of our Saxon anwe moreover see, what is assuredly true, cestors, and adjust the coarser principles that women are constantly growing more of the old Common Law to the actual exinfluential, it becomes a matter of great igencies of life; this imperishable specimen moment that we should endeavor to as- of human sagacity is, strange to say, so certain the relation between their influ- grossly unjust towards women, that a ence and our knowledge. On every side, great writer upon that code has well obin all social phenomena, in the education served, that in it women are regarded not of children, in the tone and spirit of litera- as persons, but as things; so completely ture, in the forms and usages of life; nay, were they stripped of all their rights, and even in the proceedings of legislatures, held in subjection by their proud and imin the history of statute-books, and in the perious masters. As to the other great decisions of magistrates, we find manifold nation of antiquity, we have only to open proofs that women are gradually making the literature of the ancient Greeks to see their way, and slowly but surely winning with what airs of superiority, with what for themselves a position superior to any serene and lofty contempt, and sometimes they have hitherto attained. This is one with what mocking and biting scorn, of many peculiarities which distinguish women were treated by that lively and modern civilization, and which show how ingenious people. Instead of valuing them essentially the most advanced countries as companions, they looked on them as are different from those that formerly toys. How little part women really took flourished. Among the most celebrated in the development of Greek civilization nations of antiquity, women held a very may be illustrated by the singular fact, subordinate place. The most splendid that their influence, scanty as it was, did and durable monument of the Roman em- not reach its height in the most civilized pire, and the noblest gift Rome has be- times, or in the most civilized regions. In queathed to posterity, is her jurispru- modern Europe, the influence of women

and the spread of civilization have been * A Discourse delivered at the Royal Institution, nearly commensurate, both advancing on Friday, the 19th of March, 1858.

with almost equal speed. But if you

eompare the picture of Greek life in Ho-vorable her circumstances may have been, mer with that to be found in Plato and has made a discovery sufficiently importhis cotemporaries, you will be struck by a ant to mark an epoch in the annals of the totally opposite circumstance. Between human mind. These are facts which can Plato and Homer there intervened, ac- not be contested, and from them a very cording to the common reckoning, a pe-stringent and peremptory inference has riod of at least four centuries, during been drawn. From them it has been inwhich the Greeks made many notable ferred, and it is openly stated by eminent improvements in the arts of life, and in writers, that women have no concern with various branches of speculative and prae- the highest forms of knowledge; that such tical knowledge. So far, however, from matters are altogether out of their reach; women participating in this movement, that they should confine themselves to we find that, in the state of society exhi- practical, moral, and domestic life, which bited by Plato and his cotemporaries, it is their province to exalt and to beautithey had evidently lost ground; their in- fy ; but that they can exercise no influfluence being less than it was in the earlier ence, direct or indirect, over the progress and more barbarous period depicted by of knowledge, and that if they seek to Homer. This fact illustrates the question exercise such influence, they will not only in regard to time; another fact illustrates fail in their object, but will restrict the it in regard to place. In Sparta, women field of their really useful and legitimate possessed more influence than they did in activity. Athens; although the Spartans were rude Now, I may as well state at once, and and ignorant, the Athenians polite and at the outset, that I have come here toaccomplished. The causes of these incon- night with the intention of combating sistencies would form a curious object for this proposition, which I hold to be uninvestigation ; but it is enough to call your philosophical and dangerous ; false in attention to them as one of many proofs theory and pernicious in practice. I bethat the boasted civilizations of antiquity lieve, and I hope before we separate to were eminently one-sided, and that they convince you, that so far from women exfell because society did not advance in all ercising little or no influence over the proits parts, but sacrificed some of its con- gress of knowledge, they are capable of exstituents in order to secure the progress ercising and haveactually exercised an enorof others.

mous influence; that this influence, is, in In modern European society we have fact, so great that it is hardly possible to happily no instance of this sort; and if assign limits to it; and that great as it is, we now inquire what the influence of it may with advantage be still further inwomen has been upon that society, every creased. I hope, moreover, to convince one will allow that on the whole it has you that this influence has been exhibited been extremely beneficial. Their influ- not merely from time to time in rare, ence has prevented life from being too ex- sudden, and transitory ebullitions, but clusively practical and selfish, and has that it acts by virtue of certain laws insaved it from degenerating into a dull l herent to human nature; and that aland monotonous routine, by infusing into though it works as an under-current beit an ideal and romantic element. It has low the surface, and is therefore invisible softened the violence of men; it has im- to hasty observers, it has already proproved their manners; it has lessened duced the most important results, and has their cruelty. Thus far, the gain is com- affected the shape, the character, and the plete and undeniable. But if we ask amount of our knowledge. what their influence has been, not on the To clear up this matter, we must first general interests of society, but on one of of all understand what knowledge is. those interests, namely, the progress of Some men who pride themselves on their knowledge, the answer is not so obvious. common-sense — and whenever a man For, to state the matter candidly, it must boasts much about that, you may be be confessed that none of the greatest pretty sure that he has very little sense, works which instruct and delight man either common or uncommon-such men kind, have been composed by women. In there are who will tell you that all knowpoetry, in painting, int sculpture, in music, ledge consists of facts, that every thing the most exquisite productions are the else is mere talk and theory, and that work of men. No woman, however fa- nothing has any value except facts. Those

« PreviousContinue »