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easily imagine that an ulterior condensation has produced, in a similar way, the satellites revolving round the planets.'
The above is La Place's theory of the formation of the solar system. Dr. Buckland begins where the French philosopher ends, and supposes the earth, when first it assumed a spheroidal form, to have been an incandescent mass, in a semi-fluid state, encircled with a dense atmosphere of vapor, consisting mostly of steam. In process of time, as the surface began to cool, from the radiation of heat into space, an external crust gradually formed, composed of oxydated metals and metalloids, constituting rocks of the granite series, around a nucleus of melted matter, such as now forms the compact lava. That crystallization can be produced by the agency of heat, we know, from the researches of Professor Kersten, who found crystals of felspar on the walls of a furnace where copper ore had been melted; which discovery proves the igneous origin of the crystalline rocks. By degrees, as the earth cooled, the surrounding vapor became condensed, and was converted into water, which seeking its own level, took the shape of oceans and seas. Thither the first detritus of the dry lands would naturally be carried, and would have formed immense beds of mud, sand, and gravel, at the bottom of the seas, had not other forces been employed to raise them into dry land. These forces must have been the expansive powers of steam, which caused the elevation of the primitive rocks to the tops of the highest mountains, and which are still exerted in producing the phenomena of volcanoes. These convulsions at the present day are very reasonably accounted for, by supposing fissures to have been made, during the process of cooling, in the external crust of the earth, which would let the waters of the ocean pass through and come in contact with the great mass of melted matter beneath. The imniense force of the elastic vapor thus suddenly generated, would be sufficient to lift the bed of the ocean far above its surface, and change its lowest depths to the greatest elevations. This explains satisfactorily the phenomenon of marine shells on lofty mountains, and accounts for the various degrees of inclination of the strata of rocks, which give evidence of the great force of the internal power that has upheaved them from their primitive horizontal position. It is to the agency of this power, also, that we are to attribute the immense repositories of coal, which, in the form of dense, luxuriant forests, flourished on the earth, until, overwhelmed by masses of earth and rock, it was converted into a mine of wealth and comfort to man, to be discovered after the lapse of ages.
We have thus far confined ourselves to the changes which inorganic matter may be supposed to have undergone, since the formation of the earth. We now come to speak of the systems of organic life which are shown to have existed, by their fossil remains. When the earth had cooled sufficiently to permit the condensation of the surrounding vapor into water, and as soon as this became reduced in temperature to a tepid state, we can conceive of the existence of the Mollusca, which were the first organized beings of whose being we have any evidence. We find many and various forms of these, mixed with numerous remains of articulated and radiated animals, in the lowest and most ancient strata that contain any traces of organic life. This is in strict accordance with what might well be supposed, since animals of the lowest order, and simplest formation, would naturally precede those of a higher grade, and more complex structure. Next in order, are the fishes and the amphibious animals of the Saurian family, which made them their food.
During the ages which the author significantly terms the age of reptiles,' none of the more perfect Mammalia had begun to appear; bat the most formidable inhabitants, both of land and water, were crocodiles and lizards, of various forms, and often of gigantic size, which are embraced under the general appellation of Saurians, fitted to endure the turbulence and continual convulsions of the troubled surface of our new world. VOL. IX.
These are remarkable for their capacious jaws, armed with rows of teeth, and their Alippers, or paddles, resembling those of a turtle, which gave them great speed in the water, and enabled them to wage a devastating war against their finny prey. Among these, geologists rank a singular animal, called the Plerodactyle, an extinct genus of the family of Saurians, adapted, by a peculiarity of structure, to fly in the air; which Cuvier considers the most exiraordinary of the animals that have come under his view. Imagine a large lizard, with wings, and we may have a faint idea of the appearance of this remarkable animal. The earth, at the period when the Saurians most abounded, was probably for the greater part a marsh, with islands here and there, and covered with rank, luxuriant vegetation. When the great convulsions which so much changed its external appearance, took place, the Saurians, being no longer needed, became extinct, and were buried among the upheaving strata.
Next to the Saurians, we find the fossil remains of more perfect animals, occupying a yet higher rank in the scale of being. Among them the Dinotherium, the largest of terrestrial Mammalia, and the M gatherium, are foremost in importance. These immense animals have deposited their gigantic frames in every quarter of the globe; since hardly a museum or repository of the sciences, throughout the world, is without some fragment of their skeletons. They are supposed to have immediately preceded man, in the epoch of their existence, and, from the structure of their teeth and feet, subsisted upon roots and shrubs. When the earth was untenanted by man, they were enabled to find subsistence in the abundant vegetation which covered its surface; but as soon as the human race began to occupy it, they seem to have been withdrawn by a wise Providence, as being no longer a useful link in the chain of animal being.
The author has a very interesting chapter to show that the appointment of death, by the agency of carnivorous animals, is a dispensation of divine benevolence; and we think he supports his position by weighty arguments. In another chapter, he shows incontestably, that had it not been for the agency of subterranean heat, the earth would have been one unvaried mass of granite and lava, and that, bound around as it would have been with concentric coverings, like an onion, it would have been impossible ever to have reached the internal treasures of limestone, coal, salt, and the metals, which contribute so much to the comfort of civilized life.
A long chapter on the consistency of geological discoveries with the Mosaic account of the creation, is at the head of this work. We do not profess to be able to criticize the doctor's arguments; but we must say that they seem to us Procrustean and refined, to an extreme. He closes with a chapter on the geological proof of a Deity, which alone is well worth the price of the work. Toward the close, he observes:''If I understand geology aright,' says Professor Hitchcock, (a correspondent of this Magazine, whom our author frequently quotes, with high approbation,) it only.larges our conception of the Deity; and when men shall cease to regard it with jealousy and narrow-minded prejudices, they will find that it opens fields of research and contemplation as wide and as grand as astronomy itself.' And Dr. Buckland adds, that the result of his researches has been to fix more steadily, and to exalt more highly, the conviction of the immensity of the Creator's might, majesty, wisdom, goodness, and sustaining providence, and to penetrate him with a profound and sensible perception of the high veneration man's intellect owes to God. In conclusion, we would remark, that we consider this treatise as one of the most convincing and powerful efforts of reason we have ever read, and as such recommend it to our readers. The plates which fill the second volume are exceedingly well executed, and the typography of the work is equally creditable to the publishers.
Nick OF THE Woods, OR THE JIBBENAINOSAY! A Tale of Kentucky. By the Author
of 'Calavar,' "The Infidel,' etc. In two volumes. 12mo. Philadelphia : CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD. New-York : WILEY AND PUTNAM,
The author of Calavar' has won new laurels in this work, which it is no slight praise to say, is a decided improvement upon the best of his previous efforts. The scene is laid in Kentucky, at the time of its earliest settlement; and the principal personages, as will readily be supposed, are brought into frequent contact with the belligerent 'abbregynes,' as Roaring Ralph would term them, who then inhabited that primeval and pleasant region. Of the two principal characters for such we must consider Bloody Nathan and Roaring Ralph — we can scarcely speak in too exalted
No creation of any modern American novelist can lay claim to the originality, the strictly sui generis qualities, of the Quaker of the Woods; while Ralph Stackpole, as a Kentucky backwoods hero — a'ring-tailed roarer' in every sensestands equally unrivalled.
The conception of the character of' Bloody Nathan' is a bold one, but throughout the volumes the execution is every way successful.
His whole career is one of intense interest; and when, in the developments at its close, which have been adroitly hidden from the impatient reader, we lose sight of him, it is with a feeling of deep regret.
Roaring Ralph, the mal àppropos, the horse-stealer, the brave, swaggering Stackpole, will convulse the sides of every reader. He is himself alone - tarnal death to him, if he is n't;' and although sorely pressed for room, we must afford the reader a slight touch of his quality. He is here just liberated from an animated gallows to which he had been noosed, in pursuance of a decision of Judge Lynch — by the hero, at the intercession of the heroine:
“'Cut the tug, the buffalo-tug!' shouted the culprit, thrusting his arms as far from his back as he could, and displaying the thong of bison-skin, which his struggles had almost buried in his flesh. A single touch of the steel, rewarded by such a yell of transport as was never before heard in those savage retreats, sufficed to sever the bond; and Stackpole, leaping on the earth, began to testify his joy in modes as novel as they were frantic, His first act was to fing his arms round the neck of his steed, which he hugged and kissed with the most rapturous affection, doubtless in requital of the docility it had shown when docility was so necessary to its rider's life; his second, to leap half a dozen times into the air, feeling his neck all the time, and uttering the most singular and vociferous cries, as if to make double trial of the condition of his wind-pipe; his third, to bawl aloud, directing the important question to the soldier, How many days has it been since they hanged me? War it to-day, or yesterday, or the day before ? or war it a whole year ago? For may I be next hung to the horn of a buffalo, instead of the linıb of a beech-tree, if I did n'i feel as if I had been squeaking thar ever since the beginning of creation! Cock-a-doodle-doo! him that ar’nt born to be hanged, won't be hanged, no-how!' Then running to Edith, who sat watching his proceedings with silent amazement, he Aung himself on his knees, seized the hem of her riding-habit
, which he kissed with the fervor of an adorer, exclaiming with a vehement sincerity, that made the whole action still more strangely ludicrous, 'Oh! you splendiferous creatur'! you anngeliferous anngel! here am I, Ralph Stackpole the Screamer, that can whip all Kentucky, white, black, mixed, and Injun; and I'm the man to go with you to the ends of the 'arth, to fight, die, work, beg, and steal hosses for you! I am, and you may make a little dog of me; you may, or a niggur, or a hoss, or a door-post, or a back-log, or a dinner, —'tarnal death to me but you may eat me! I'm the man to feel a favor, partickelarly when it comes to helping me out of a halter; and so jist say the word who I shall lick to begin on; for I'ın your slave jist as much as that niggur, to go with you, as I said afore, to the ends of ihe 'arth, and the length of Kentucky over!
“Away with you, you scoundrel and jackanapes,' said Roland, for to this ardent expression of gratitude Edith was herself too much frightened to reply.
k"Strannger!' cried the offended horse-thief, 'you cut the tug, and you cut the halter ; and so, though you did it only on hard axing, I'd take as many hard words of you as you can pick ont of a dictionary - I will, 'tarnal death to me. But as for ma. dam thar, the anngel, she saved my life, and I go my death in her sarvice; and now 's the time io show sarvice, for thar 's danger abroad in the forest.'
"Danger ! echoed Roland, his anxiety banishing the disgust with which he was so much inclined to regard the worthy horse-thief; ' what makes you say that ?'
"• Strannger,' replied Ralph, with a lengthened visage and a gravity somewhat surprising for him, 'I seed the Jibbenainosay! 'tarnal death to me, but I seed him as plain as ever I seed old Salt! I war a-hanging thar, and squeaking and cussing, and talking soft nonsense to the pony, to keep him out of his tantrums, when whai should I see but a great crittur' come tramping through the forest, right off yander by the fallen oak, with a big b'ar before him
"Pish!' said the soldier, 'what has this to do with danger ?'
"Beca’se and because,' said Ralph, when you see the Jibbenainosay, thar's always abbregynes in the cover. I never seed the crittur before, but I reckon it war be, for thar 's nothing like him in natur'. And so I'm for cutting out of the forest jist on the track of a streak of lightning — now h’yar, now thar, but on a full run without stopping. And so, if anngeliferuus madam is willing, thump me round the ’arth with a crab-apple, if I do n't holp her out of the bushes, and do all her fighting into the bargain - I will, 'tarnal death to me!'
"You may go about your business,' said Roland, with as much sternness as con. tempt. We will have none of your base conipany.'
"Whoop! whoo, whoo, whoo! do n't rifle me, for I'm danngerous !' yelled the demibarbarian, springing on his stolen horse, and riding up to Edith : Say the word, marm,' he cried ; * for I'll fight for you, or run for you, take scalp or cut stick, shake fist or show leg, any thing in reason or out of reason. Strannger, thar 's as brash as a new hound in a b'ar fight, or a young hoss in a cornfield, and no safe friend in a forest. Say the word, marm – or if you think it ar’nt manners to speak to a strannger, jist shake your little finger, and I 'll follow like a dog, and do you dog's sarvice. Or if you do n't like me, say the word, or shake t'other finger, and 'tarnal death to nie, bui I 'll be off like an elk of the prairies!'
The power of vivid description, which the reader will remember we pointed out, in our notice of · Calavar' in these pages, as a striking merit in our author, is still more forcibly displayed in the volumes under notice. The following extract, which explains itself, will prove the justice of our encomiums:
"What is the matter?' cried Roland, riding to her assistance. Are we in enchanted land, that our horses must be frightened, as well as ourselves?'
" "He smells the war-paint,' said Telie, with a trembling voice; "there are Indians near us!
“ Nonsense!' said Roland, looking around, and seeing, with the exception of the copse just passed, nothing but an open forest, without shelter or harbor for an ambushed foe. But at that momeni Edith caught him by the arm, and turned upon him a countenance more wan with fear than that she had exhibited upon first hearing the cries of Stackpole. It expressed, indeed, more than alarm - it was the highest degree of terror, and the feeling was so overpowering, that her lips, though moving as in the act of speech, gave forth no sound whatever. But what her lips refused to tell, her finger, though shaking in the ague that convulsed every fibre of her frame, pointed out: and Roland, following it with his eyes, beheld the object that had excited so much emotion. He started himself, as his gaze fell upon a naked Indian stretched under a tree hard by, and sheltered from view only by a dead bough lately fallen from its trunk, yet lying so still and motionless, that he night easily have been passed by without observation in the growing dusk and twilight of the woods, had it not been for the instinctive terrors of the pony, which, like other horses, and, indeed, all other domestic beasts in the settlements, often thus pointed out to their masters the presence of an enemy.
“The rifle of the soldier was in an instant cocked and at his shoulder, while the pedlar and Emperor, as it happened, were too much discomposed at the spectacle to make any such show of battle. They gazed blankly upon the leader, whose piece settling down into an aim that must have been fatal, suddenly wavered, and then, to their surprise, was withdrawn.
“ The slayer has been here before us,' he exclaimed – 'the man is dead and scalped already!
“With these words he advanced to the tree, and the others following, they beheld with horror, the body of a savage of vast and noble proportions, lying on its face across the roots of the tree, and glued, it might almost he said, to the earth by a mass of coagulated blood, that had issued from the scalped and axe-cloven skull." The fragments of a rifle, shattered, as it seemed, hy a violent blow against the tree under which he lay, were scattered at his side, with a broken powder born, a splintered knife, the helve of a tomahawk, and other equipments of a warrior, all in like manner shivered to pieces by the unknown assassin. The warrior seemed to have perished only after a fearful struggle; the earth was torn where he lay, and his hands, yet grasping the soil, were died a double red in the blood of his antagonist, or perhaps in his own.
" While Roland gazed upon the spectacle, amazed, and wondering in what manner the wretched being had mei his death, which must have happened very recently, and whilst his party was within the sound of a rifle-shot, he observed a shudder to creep over the apparently lifeless frame; the fingers relaxed their grasp of the earth, and then clutched it again with violence; a broken, strangling rattle came from the throat; and a spasm of convulsion seizing upon every limb, it was suddenly raised a little upon one arm, so as to display the countenance, covered with blood, the eyes retroverted into their orbits, and glaring with the sightless whites. It was a horrible spectacle - the last convulsion of many that had shaken the wretched and insensible, yet still suffering clay, since it had received its death-stroke. The spasm was the last and but momen. tary; yet it sufficed to raise the body of the mangled barbarian so far that, when the pang that excited it suddenly ceased, and with it, the life of the sufferer, the body rolled over on the back, and thus lay, exposing to the eyes of the lookers-on iwo gashes wide and gory on the breast, traced by a sharp knife and a powerful hand, and, as it seemed, in the mere wantonness of a malice and lust of blood which even death could not satisfy. The sight of these gashes answered the question Roland had asked of his own imagination; they were in the form of a cross ; and as the legend, so long derided, of the forest fiend recurred to his memory, he responded, almost with a feeling of superstitious awe, to the trembling cry of Telie Doe :
"' It is the Jibbenainosay!' she exclaimed, staring upon the corse with mingled horror and wonder; 'Nick of the Woods is up again in the forest !'”
The high-minded Virginian who sustains the important character of the hero, although he is made in reality rather a minor personage, and the noble-spirited yet gentle Edith, are well drawn and well sustained; while the subordinate creations are conceived and managed with judgment. The writer is no friend to the Indian, and has made him act a part accordingly; indeed, to our taste, there is quite too much of the extra-sanguinary in his pages. His canvass, however, is not generally over, crowded ; and, save a little extravagance of scene and adventure, in two or three instan, ces, the events are naturally and effectively wrought out. This is a great merit, and one which some of our more popular native authors would do well to emulate. It has become quite too common to interpolate a string of unconnected events upon a pre-conceived nucleus, with no bearing on the main plot, but which are introduced for the mere purpose of bringing in characters and conversations, which only serve to distract the attention, and lessen the interest, of the reader. With these remarks, we commend · Nick of the Woods,' with confidence, to the public, and are willing 19 stake our critical reputation upon its entire success.
GLEANINGS IN Evrope: BY AN AMERICAN. In two volumes, 12mo. Philadelphia :
CAREY, LEA and BLANCHARD. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM, and G. AND C.
Tuis is one of the most interesting and instructive books of travels that we remember to have read for many a long year. Mr. Cooper spent about eight years in Englani, and upon the continent, and from the duration of his stay, was enabled to make much more just and accurate observations upon the social and political system of France than any of our travelling writers have hitherto done. He carried with him the spirit of a true American; not that which characterizes so many of our inditers of letters from beyond the seas, which seeks constantly for subjects by the discussion of which our country may be made to appear advantageously at the expense of another; but a heart whose patriotism did not carry it to the lengths of extravagant prejudice, and which could appreciate and speak of the excellence which any foreign country has attained, in any department of science or the arts, that we might be spurred to emulation by the recital, and not be left in a mist of ignorance and conceit by a servile silence respecting the very matters which it most behooves us to know. We regret that our limits will not allow us to extract, in this connection,