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´╗┐Title: Consolations in Travel - or, the Last Days of a Philosopher
Author: Davy, Humphry, Sir, 1778-1829
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1889 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email


CONSOLATIONS IN TRAVEL;
OR, THE LAST DAYS OF A PHILOSOPHER.


BY SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, BART.,
_Late President of the Royal Society_.

CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED:
_LONDON, PARIS, NEW YORK & MELBOURNE_. 1889



INTRODUCTION.


Humphry Davy was born at Penzance, in Cornwall, on the 17th of December,
1778, and died at Geneva on the 29th of May, 1829, at the age of fifty.
He was a philosopher who turned knowledge to wisdom; he was one of the
foremost of our English men of science; and this book, written when he
was dying, which makes Reason the companion of Faith, shows how he passed
through the light of earth into the light of heaven.

His father had a small patrimony at Varfell, in Ludgvan.  His mother had
lost in early childhood both her parents within a few hours of each
other, and had been adopted by John Tonkin, an eminent surgeon in
Penzance, to whom, therefore, so to speak, Humphry Davy became grandson
by adoption.  There were five such grandchildren--Humphry, the elder of
two boys, the other boy being named John, and three girls.

At a preparatory school and at the Penzance Grammar School Humphry Davy
was a noticeable boy.  He read eagerly and showed great quickness of
imagination, delighted in legends, when eight years old told stories to
his companions, and as a boy wrote verse.  There was a Quaker saddler who
made for himself an electrical machine and mechanical models, in which
young Davy took keen interest, and from that saddler, Robert Dunkin, came
the first impulse towards experiments in science.  At fifteen Davy was
placed for further education at a school in Truro.  A year later his
father died, and John Tonkin apprenticed him, on the 10th of February,
1795, to Dr. Borlase, a surgeon in large practice at Penzance.  Medical
practitioners in those days dispensed their own medicines, and the
inquiring mind of this young apprentice being let loose upon a store-room
of chemicals, experimental chemistry became his favourite pursuit.  His
grandfather, by adoption, allowed him to fit up a garret as a laboratory,
notwithstanding the fears of the household that "This boy, Humphry, will
blow us all into the air."

Activity and originality of mind, with a persistent habit of inquiry and
experiment, brought Davy friends who could appreciate and help him.  When
Dr. Beddoes, of Bristol, was examining the Cornish coast, in 1798, he
came upon young Humphry Davy, was told of researches made by him, and
urged to engage him as laboratory assistant in a Pneumatic Institution
that he was then establishing in Bristol.  Davy went in October, 1798,
then in his twentieth year; but his good friend, and grandfather by
adoption, had set his heart upon Humphry's becoming an eminent burgeon,
and even altered his will when his boy yielded to the temptation of a
laboratory for research.  Men also know something of the trouble of the
hen who has a chance duckling in her brood, and sees that contumacious
chicken run into the water deaf to all the warnings of her love.

At Bristol Humphry Davy came into companionship with Coleridge and
Southey, who were then also at the outset of their career, and there are
poems of his in the Poetical Anthology then published by Southey.  But at
the same time Davy contributed papers on "Heat, Light, and the
Combinations of Light," on "Phos-Oxygen and its Combinations," and on
"The Theory of Respiration," to a volume of West Country Collections,
that filled more than half the volume.  He was experimenting then on
gases and on galvanism, and one day by experiment upon himself, in the
breathing of carburetted hydrogen, he almost put an end to his life.

In 1799 Count Rumford was founding the Royal Institution, and its home in
Albemarle Street was then bought for it.  The first lecturer appointed
was in bad health, and in 1801 he was obliged to resign.  Young Davy was
now known to men of science for the number and freshness of his
experiments, and for the substantial value of his chemical discoveries.
It was resolved by the managers, in July, 1801, that Humphry Davy be
appointed Assistant-Lecturer in Chemistry, Director of the Chemical
Laboratory, and assistant-editor of the journals of the Royal
Institution.  His first remuneration was a room in the house, coals and
candles, and 100 pounds a year.  Count Rumford held out the prospect of a
professorship with 300 pounds a year, and the certainty of full support
in the use of the laboratory for his own private research.  His age then
was twenty-three.  He at once satisfied men of science and amused people
of fashion.  His energy was unbounded; there was a fascination in his
personal character and manner.  He was a genial and delightful lecturer,
and his inventive genius was continually finding something new.  A first
suggestion of the process of photography was dropped incidentally among
the records of researches that attracted more attention.  Davy had been
little more than a year at the Royal Institution when he was made its
Professor of Chemistry.  After another year he was made a Fellow.  Dr.
Paris, his biographer, says that "the enthusiastic admiration which his
lectures obtained is at this period scarcely to be imagined.  Men of the
first rank and talent--the literary and the scientific, the practical,
the theoretical--blue-stockings and women of fashion, the old and the
young, all crowded--eagerly crowded--the lecture-room."  At the beginning
of the year 1805 his salary was raised to 400 pounds a year.  In May of
that year the Royal Society awarded to him the Copley Medal.  Within the
next two years he was elected Secretary of the Royal Society.  Since 1800
he had been advancing knowledge by experiments with galvanism.  The Royal
Institution raised a special fund to place at his disposal a more
powerful galvanic battery than any that had been constructed.  The fame
of his discoveries spread over Europe.

The Institute of France gave Davy the Napoleon Prize of three thousand
francs for the best experiments in galvanism.  Dublin, in 1810, paid Davy
four hundred guineas for some lectures upon his discoveries.  The Farming
Society of Ireland gave him 750 pounds for six lectures on chemistry
applied to agriculture.  In the following year he received more than a
thousand pounds for two courses of lectures at Dublin, and was sent home
with the honorary degree of LL.D.  In April, 1812, he was knighted,
resigned his professorship at the Royal Institution, and "in order more
strongly to mark the high sense of his merits" he was elected Honorary
Professor of Chemistry.  In the same month Davy married a young and rich
widow, who had charmed all Edinburgh by her beauty and her wit.  Two
months after marriage Sir Humphry Davy dedicated to his wife his
"Elements of Chemical Philosophy."  In March, 1813, he published his
"Elements of Agricultural Chemistry."  He travelled abroad, and was
received with honour by the chief men of science in all places that he
visited.  When, at Pavia, he first met Volta: he found that Volta had put
on full-dress to receive him.

In August, 1815, Davy's attention was drawn to the loss of life by
explosions of fire-damp, and by the end of the year he had devised his
safety-lamp.  The coal owners subscribed 1,500 pounds for a testimonial,
gave him also a dinner and a service of plate.  In October, 1818, he was
made a baronet.  In November, 1820, he was elected President of the Royal
Society.

His next researches were chiefly on electro-magnetism and the protection
of the copper sheathing on ships' bottoms.  At the end of 1826 his health
failed seriously.  He went to Italy; resigned, in July, 1827, the
Presidency of the Royal Society; came back to England, longing for "the
fresh air of the mountains;" wrote and published his "Salmonia, or Days
of Fly-fishing."  In the spring of 1828 he left England again.  He was at
Rome in the winter of 1829, still engaged in quiet research, and it was
then that he wrote his "Consolations in Travel; or, the Last Days of a
Philosopher."  His wife, who shone in London society, did not go with him
upon this last journey, but travelled day and night to reach him when
word came to her and to his brother John, who was a physician, that he
had again been struck with palsy and was dying.  That stroke of palsy
followed immediately upon the finishing of the book now in the reader's
hand.  Davy lived to see again his wife and brother, rallied enough to
leave Rome with them, and had got as far as Geneva on the 28th of May,
1829.  He died in the next night.

H. M.



A NOTE,


_Prefixed to the First Edition, by Sir Humphry Davy's Brother_.

As is stated in the Preface which follows, this work was composed during
a period of bodily indisposition;--it was concluded at the very moment of
the invasion of the Author's last illness.  Had his life been prolonged,
it is probable that some additions and some changes would have been made.
The editor does not consider himself warranted to do more than give to
the world a faithful copy, making only a few omissions and a few verbal
alterations.  The characters of the persons of the dialogue were intended
to be ideal, at least in great part such they should be considered by the
reader; and, it is to be hoped, that the incidents introduced, as well as
the persons, will be viewed only as subordinate and subservient to the
sentiments and doctrines.  The dedication, it may be specially noticed,
is the author's own, and in the very words dictated by him, at a time
when he had lost the power of writing except with extreme difficulty,
owing to the paralytic attack, although he retained in a very remarkable
manner all his mental faculties unimpaired and unclouded.

JOHN DAVY.
_London_,
_January 6th_, 1830.

TO THOMAS POOLE, ESQ. OF NETHER STOWEY
IN REMEMBRANCE OF
THIRTY YEARS OF CONTINUED AND FAITHFUL
FRIENDSHIP.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE.


Salmonia was written during the time of a partial recovery from a long
and dangerous illness.  The present work was composed immediately after,
under the same unfavourable and painful circumstances, and at a period
when the constitution of the Author suffered from new attacks.  He has
derived some pleasure and some consolation, when most other sources of
consolation and pleasure were closed to him, from this exercise of his
mind; and he ventures to hope that these hours of sickness may be not
altogether unprofitable to persons in perfect health.

_Rome_,
_February_ 21, 1829.



DIALOGUE THE FIRST.  THE VISION.


I passed the autumn and the early winter of the years 18-- and 18-- at
Rome.  The society was, as is usual in that metropolis of the old
Christian world, numerous and diversified.  In it there were found many
intellectual foreigners and amongst them some distinguished Britons, who
had a higher object in making this city their residence than mere
idleness or vague curiosity.  Amongst these my countrymen, there were two
gentlemen with whom I formed a particular intimacy and who were my
frequent companions in the visits which I made to the monuments of the
grandeur of the old Romans and to the masterpieces of ancient and modern
art.  One of them I shall call Ambrosio: he was a man of highly
cultivated taste, great classical erudition, and minute historical
knowledge.  In religion he was of the Roman Catholic persuasion; but a
Catholic of the most liberal school, who in another age might have been
secretary to Ganganelli.  His views upon the subjects of politics and
religion were enlarged; but his leaning was rather to the power of a
single magistrate than to the authority of a democracy or even of an
oligarchy.  The other friend, whom I shall call Onuphrio, was a man of a
very different character.  Belonging to the English aristocracy, he had
some of the prejudices usually attached to birth and rank; but his
manners were gentle, his temper good, and his disposition amiable.  Having
been partly educated at a northern university in Britain, he had adopted
views in religion which went even beyond toleration and which might be
regarded as entering the verge of scepticism.  For a patrician he was
very liberal in his political views.  His imagination was poetical and
discursive, his taste good and his tact extremely fine, so exquisite,
indeed, that it sometimes approached to morbid sensibility, and disgusted
him with slight defects and made him keenly sensible of small perfections
to which common minds would have been indifferent.

In the beginning of October on a very fine afternoon I drove with these
two friends to the Colosaeum, a monument which, for the hundredth time
even, I had viewed with a new admiration; my friends partook of my
sentiments.  I shall give the conversation which occurred there in their
own words.  Onuphrio said, "How impressive are those ruins!--what a
character do they give us of the ancient Romans, what magnificence of
design, what grandeur of execution!  Had we not historical documents to
inform us of the period when this structure was raised and of the
purposes for which it was designed, it might be imagined the work of a
race of giants, a Council Chamber for those Titans fabled to have warred
against the gods of the pagan mythology.  The size of the masses of
travertine of which it is composed is in harmony with the immense
magnitude of the building.  It is hardly to be wondered at that a people
which constructed such works for their daily sports, for their usual
amusements, should have possessed strength, enduring energy, and
perseverance sufficient to enable them to conquer the world.  They appear
always to have formed their plans and made their combinations as if their
power were beyond the reach of chance, independent of the influence of
time, and founded for unlimited duration--for eternity!"

Ambrosio took up the discourse of Onuphrio, and said, "The aspect of this
wonderful heap of ruins is so picturesque that it is impossible to regret
its decay; and at this season of the year the colours of the vegetation
are in harmony with those of the falling ruins, and how perfectly the
whole landscape is in tone!  The remains of the palace of the Caesars and
of the golden halls of Nero appear in the distance, their gray and
tottering turrets and their moss-stained arches reposing, as it were,
upon the decaying vegetation: and there is nothing that marks the
existence of life except the few pious devotees, who wander from station
to station in the arena below, kneeling before the cross, and
demonstrating the triumph of a religion, which received in this very spot
in the early period of its existence one of its most severe persecutions,
and which, nevertheless, has preserved what remains of that building,
where attempts were made to stifle it almost at its birth; for, without
the influence of Christianity, these majestic ruins would have been
dispersed or levelled to the dust.  Plundered of their lead and iron by
the barbarians, Goths, and Vandals, and robbed even of their stones by
Roman princes, the Barberini, they owe what remains of their relics to
the sanctifying influence of that faith which has preserved for the world
all that was worth preserving, not merely arts and literature but
likewise that which constitutes the progressive nature of intellect and
the institutions which afford to us happiness in this world and hopes of
a blessed immortality in the next.  And, being of the faith of Rome, I
may say, that the preservation of this pile by the sanctifying effect of
a few crosses planted round it, is almost a miraculous event.  And what a
contrast the present application of this building, connected with holy
feelings and exalted hopes, is to that of the ancient one, when it was
used for exhibiting to the Roman people the destruction of men by wild
beasts, or of men, more savage than wild beasts, by each other, to
gratify a horrible appetite for cruelty, founded upon a still more
detestable lust, that of universal domination!  And who would have
supposed, in the time of Titus, that a faith, despised in its
insignificant origin, and persecuted from the supposed obscurity of its
founder and its principles, should have reared a dome to the memory of
one of its humblest teachers, more glorious than was ever framed for
Jupiter or Apollo in the ancient world, and have preserved even the ruins
of the temples of the pagan deities, and have burst forth in splendour
and majesty, consecrating truth amidst the shrines of error, employing
the idols of the Roman superstition for the most holy purposes and rising
a bright and constant light amidst the dark and starless night which
followed the destruction of the Roman empire!"

Onuphrio now resumed the discourse.  He said, "I have not the same
exalted views on the subject which our friend Ambrosio has so eloquently
expressed.  Some little of the perfect state in which these ruins exist
may have been owing to causes which he has described; but these causes
have only lately begun to operate, and the mischief was done before
Christianity was established at Rome.  Feeling differently on these
subjects, I admire this venerable ruin rather as a record of the
destruction of the power of the greatest people that ever existed, than
as a proof of the triumph of Christianity; and I am carried forward in
melancholy anticipation to the period when even the magnificent dome of
St. Peter's will be in a similar state to that in which the Colosaeum now
is, and when its ruins may be preserved by the sanctifying influence of
some new and unknown faith; when, perhaps, the statue of Jupiter, which
at present receives the kiss of the devotee, as the image of St. Peter,
may be employed for another holy use, as the personification of a future
saint or divinity; and when the monuments of the papal magnificence shall
be mixed with the same dust as that which now covers the tombs of the
Caesars.  Such, I am sorry to say, is the general history of all the
works and institutions belonging to humanity.  They rise, flourish, and
then decay and fall; and the period of their decline is generally
proportional to that of their elevation.  In ancient Thebes or Memphis
the peculiar genius of the people has left us monuments from which we can
judge of their arts, though we cannot understand the nature of their
superstitions.  Of Babylon and of Troy the remains are almost extinct;
and what we know of these famous cities is almost entirely derived from
literary records.  Ancient Greece and Rome we view in the few remains of
their monuments; and the time will arrive when modern Rome shall be what
ancient Rome now is; and ancient Rome and Athens will be what Tyre or
Carthage now are, known only by coloured dust in the desert, or coloured
sand, containing the fragments of bricks or glass, washed up by the wave
of a stormy sea.  I might pursue these thoughts still further, and show
that the wood of the cross, or the bronze of the statue, decay as quickly
as if they had not been sanctified; and I think I could show that their
influence is owing to the imagination, which, when infinite time is
considered, or the course of ages even, is null and its effect
imperceptible; and similar results occur, whether the faith be that of
Osiris, of Jupiter, of Jehovah, or of Jesus."

To this Ambrosio replied, his countenance and the tones of his voice
expressing some emotion: "I do not think, Onuphrio, that you consider
this question with your usual sagacity or acuteness; indeed, I never hear
you on the subject of religion without pain and without a feeling of
regret that you have not applied your powerful understanding to a more
minute and correct examination of the evidences of revealed religion.  You
would then, I think, have seen, in the origin, progress, elevation,
decline and fall of the empires of antiquity, proofs that they were
intended for a definite end in the scheme of human redemption; you would
have found prophecies which have been amply verified; and the foundation
or the ruin of a kingdom, which appears in civil history so great an
event, in the history of man, in his religious institutions, as
comparatively of small moment; you would have found the establishment of
the worship of one God amongst a despised and contemned people as the
most important circumstance in the history of the early world; you would
have found the Christian dispensation naturally arising out of the
Jewish, and the doctrines of the pagan nations all preparatory to the
triumph and final establishment of a creed fitted for the most
enlightened state of the human mind and equally adapted to every climate
and every people."

To this animated appeal of Ambrosio, Onuphrio replied in the most
tranquil manner and with the air of an unmoved philosopher:--"You mistake
me, Ambrosio, if you consider me as hostile to Christianity.  I am not of
the school of the French Encyclopaedists, or of the English infidels.  I
consider religion as essential to man, and belonging to the human mind in
the same manner as instincts belong to the brute creation, a light, if
you please of revelation to guide him through the darkness of this life,
and to keep alive his undying hope of immortality: but pardon me if I
consider this instinct as equally useful in all its different forms, and
still a divine light through whatever medium or cloud of human passion or
prejudice it passes.  I reverence it in the followers of Brahmah, in the
disciple of Mahomet, and I wonder at in all the variety of forms it
adopts in the Christian world.  You must not be angry with me that I do
not allow infallibility to your Church, having been myself brought up by
Protestant parents, who were rigidly attached to the doctrines of
Calvin."

I saw Ambrosio's countenance kindle at Onuphrio's explanation of his
opinions, and he appeared to be meditating an angry reply.  I endeavoured
to change the conversation to the state of the Colosaeum, with which it
had begun.  "These ruins," I said, "as you have both observed, are highly
impressive; yet when I saw them six years ago they had a stronger effect
on my imagination; whether it was the charm of novelty, or that my mind
was fresher, or that the circumstances under which I saw them were
peculiar, I know not, but probably all these causes operated in affecting
my mind.  It was a still and beautiful evening in the end of May; the
last sunbeams were dying away in the western sky and the first moonbeams
shining in the eastern; the bright orange tints lighted up the ruins and
as it were kindled the snows that still remained on the distant
Apennines, which were visible from the highest accessible part of the
amphitheatre.  In this glow of colouring, the green of advanced spring
softened the grey and yellow tints of the decaying stones, and as the
lights gradually became fainter, the masses appeared grander and more
gigantic; and when the twilight had entirely disappeared, the contrast of
light and shade in the beams of the full moon and beneath a sky of the
brightest sapphire, but so highly illuminated that only Jupiter and a few
stars of the first magnitude were visible, gave a solemnity and
magnificence to the scene which awakened the highest degree of that
emotion which is so properly termed the sublime.  The beauty and the
permanency of the heavens and the principle of conservation belonging to
the system of the universe, the works of the Eternal and Divine
Architect, were finely opposed to the perishing and degraded works of man
in his most active and powerful state.  And at this moment so humble
appeared to me the condition of the most exalted beings belonging to the
earth, so feeble their combinations, so minute the point of space, and so
limited the period of time in which they act, that I could hardly avoid
comparing the generations of man, and the effects of his genius and
power, to the swarms of luceoli or fire-flies which were dancing around
me and that appeared flitting and sparkling amidst the gloom and darkness
of the ruins, but which were no longer visible when they rose above the
horizon, their feeble light being lost and utterly obscured in the
brightness of the moonbeams in the heavens."

Onuphrio said: "I am not sorry that you have changed the conversation.
You have given us the history of a most interesting recollection and well
expressed a solemn though humiliating feeling.  In such moments and among
such scenes it is impossible not to be struck with the nothingness of
human glory and the transiency of human works.  This, one of the greatest
monuments on the face of the earth, was raised by a people, then its
masters, only seventeen centuries ago; in a few ages more it will be but
as dust, and of all the testimonials of the vanity or power of man,
whether raised to immortalise his name, or to contain his decaying bones
without a name, no one is known to have a duration beyond what is
measured by the existence of a hundred generations; and it is only to
multiply centuple for instance the period of time, and the memorials of a
village and the monuments of a country churchyard may be compared with
those of an empire and the remains of the world."

Ambrosio, to whom the conversation seemed disagreeable, put us in mind of
an engagement we had made to spend the evening at the conversazione of a
celebrated lady, and proposed to call the carriage.  The reflections
which the conversation and the scene had left in my mind little disposed
me for general society.  I requested them to keep their engagement, and
said I was resolved to spend an hour amidst the solitude of the ruins,
and desired them to send back the carriage for me.  They left me,
expressing a hope that my poetical or melancholy fancy might not be the
occasion of a cold, and wished me the company of some of the spectres of
the ancient Romans.

When I was left alone, I seated myself in the moonshine, on one of the
steps leading to the seats supposed to have been occupied by the
patricians in the Colosaeum at the time of the public games.  The train
of ideas in which I had indulged before my friends left me continued to
flow with a vividness and force increased by the stillness and solitude
of the scene; and the full moon has always a peculiar effect on these
moods of feeling in my mind, giving to them a wildness and a kind of
indefinite sensation, such as I suppose belong at all times to the true
poetical temperament.  It must be so, I thought to myself; no new city
will rise again out of the double ruins of this; no new empire will be
founded upon these colossal remains of that of the old Romans.  The
world, like the individual, flourishes in youth, rises to strength in
manhood, falls into decay in age; and the ruins of an empire are like the
decrepit frame of an individual, except that they have some tints of
beauty which nature bestows upon them.  The sun of civilisation arose in
the East, advanced towards the West, and is now at its meridian; in a few
centuries more it will probably be seen sinking below the horizon even in
the new world, and there will be left darkness only where there is a
bright light, deserts of sand where there were populous cities, and
stagnant morasses where the green meadow or the bright cornfield once
appeared.  I called up images of this kind in my imagination.  "Time," I
said, "which purifies, and as it were sanctifies the mind, destroys and
brings into utter decay the body; and, even in nature, its influence
seems always degrading.  She is represented by the poets as eternal in
her youth, but amongst these ruins she appears to me eternal in her age,
and here no traces of renovation appear in the ancient of days."  I had
scarcely concluded this ideal sentence when my reverie became deeper, the
ruins surrounding me appeared to vanish from my sight, the light of the
moon became more intense, and the orb itself seemed to expand in a flood
of splendour.  At the same time that my visual organs appeared so
singularly affected, the most melodious sounds filled my ear, softer yet
at the same time deeper and fuller than I had ever heard in the most
harmonious and perfect concert.  It appeared to me that I had entered a
new state of existence, and I was so perfectly lost in the new kind of
sensation which I experienced that I had no recollections and no
perceptions of identity.  On a sudden the music ceased, but the brilliant
light still continued to surround me, and I heard a low but extremely
distinct and sweet voice, which appeared to issue from the centre of it.
The sounds were at first musical like those of a harp, but they soon
became articulate, as if a prelude to some piece of sublime poetical
composition.  "You, like all your brethren," said the voice, "are
entirely ignorant of every thing belonging to yourselves, the world you
inhabit, your future destinies, and the scheme of the universe; and yet
you have the folly to believe you are acquainted with the past, the
present, and the future.  I am an intelligence somewhat superior to you,
though there are millions of beings as much above me in power and in
intellect as man is above the meanest and weakest reptile that crawls
beneath his feet; yet something I can teach you: yield your mind wholly
to the influence which I shall exert upon it, and you shall be undeceived
in your views of the history of the world, and of the system you
inhabit."  At this moment the bright light disappeared, the sweet and
harmonious voice, which was the only proof of the presence of a superior
intelligence, ceased; I was in utter darkness and silence, and seemed to
myself to be carried rapidly upon a stream of air, without any other
sensation than that of moving quickly through space.  Whilst I was still
in motion, a dim and hazy light, which seemed like that of twilight in a
rainy morning, broke upon my sight, and gradually a country displayed
itself to my view covered with forests and marshes.  I saw wild animals
grazing in large savannahs, and carnivorous beasts, such as lions and
tigers, occasionally disturbing and destroying them; I saw naked savages
feeding upon wild fruits, or devouring shell-fish, or fighting with clubs
for the remains of a whale which had been thrown upon the shore.  I
observed that they had no habitations, that they concealed themselves in
caves, or under the shelter of palm trees, and that the only delicious
food which nature seemed to have given to them was the date and the cocoa-
nut, and these were in very small quantities and the object of
contention.  I saw that some few of these wretched human beings that
inhabited the wide waste before my eyes, had weapons pointed with flint
or fish-bone, which they made use of for destroying birds, quadrupeds, or
fishes, that they fed upon raw; but their greatest delicacy appeared to
be a maggot or worm, which they sought for with great perseverance in the
buds of the palm.  When I had cast my eyes on the varied features of this
melancholy scene, which was now lighted by a rising sun, I heard again
the same voice which had astonished me in the Colosaeum, and which
said,--"See the birth of Time!  Look at man in his newly created state,
full of youth and vigour.  Do you see aught in this state to admire or
envy?"  As the last words fell on my ear, I was again, as before, rapidly
put in motion, and I seemed again resistless to be hurried upon a stream
of air, and again in perfect darkness.  In a moment, an indistinct light
again appeared before my eyes and a country opened upon my view which
appeared partly wild and partly cultivated; there were fewer woods and
morasses than in the scene which I had just before seen; I beheld men who
were covered with the skins of animals, and who were driving cattle to
enclosed pastures; I saw others who were reaping and collecting corn,
others who were making it into bread; I saw cottages furnished with many
of the conveniences of life, and a people in that state of agricultural
and pastoral improvement which has been imagined by the poets as
belonging to the golden age.  The same voice, which I shall call that of
the Genius, said, "Look at these groups of men who are escaped from the
state of infancy: they owe their improvement to a few superior minds
still amongst them.  That aged man whom you see with a crowd around him
taught them to build cottages; from that other they learnt to domesticate
cattle; from others to collect and sow corn and seeds of fruit.  And
these arts will never be lost; another generation will see them more
perfect; the houses, in a century more, will be larger and more
convenient; the flocks of cattle more numerous; the corn-fields more
extensive; the morasses will be drained, the number of fruit-trees
increased.  You shall be shown other visions of the passages of time, but
as you are carried along the stream which flows from the period of
creation to the present moment, I shall only arrest your transit to make
you observe some circumstances which will demonstrate the truths I wish
you to know, and which will explain to you the little it is permitted me
to understand of the scheme of the universe."  I again found myself in
darkness and in motion, and I was again arrested by the opening of a new
scene upon my eyes.  I shall describe this scene and the others in the
succession in which they appeared before me, and the observations by
which they were accompanied in the voice of the wonderful being who
appeared as my intellectual guide.  In the scene which followed that of
the agricultural or pastoral people, I saw a great extent of cultivated
plains, large cities on the sea-shore, palaces--forums and temples
ornamenting them; men associated in groups, mounted on horses, and
performing military exercises; galleys moved by oars on the ocean; roads
intersecting the country covered with travellers and containing carriages
moved by men or horses.  The Genius now said, "You see the early state of
civilisation of man; the cottages of the last race you beheld have become
improved into stately dwellings, palaces, and temples, in which use is
combined with ornament.  The few men to whom, as I said before, the
foundations of these improvements were owing, have had divine honours
paid to their memory.  But look at the instruments belonging to this
generation, and you will find that they are only of brass.  You see men
who are talking to crowds around them, and others who are apparently
amusing listening groups by a kind of song or recitation; these are the
earliest bards and orators; but all their signs of thought are oral, for
written language does not yet exist."  The next scene which appeared was
one of varied business and imagery.  I saw a man, who bore in his hands
the same instruments as our modern smiths, presenting a vase, which
appeared to be made of iron, amidst the acclamations of an assembled
multitude engaged in triumphal procession before the altars dignified by
the name of Apollo at Delphi; and I saw in the same place men who carried
rolls of papyrus in their hands and wrote upon them with reeds containing
ink made from the soot of wood mixed with a solution of glue.  "See," the
Genius said, "an immense change produced in the condition of society by
the two arts of which you here see the origin; the one, that of rendering
iron malleable, which is owing to a single individual, an obscure Greek;
the other, that of making thought permanent in written characters, an art
which has gradually arisen from the hieroglyphics which you may observe
on yonder pyramids.  You will now see human life more replete with power
and activity."  Again, another scene broke upon my vision.  I saw the
bronze instruments, which had belonged to the former state of society,
thrown away; malleable iron converted into hard steel, this steel applied
to a thousand purposes of civilised life; I saw bands of men who made use
of it for defensive armour and for offensive weapons; I saw these iron-
clad men, in small numbers subduing thousands of savages, and
establishing amongst them their arts and institutions; I saw a few men on
the eastern shores of Europe, resisting, with the same materials, the
united forces of Asia; I saw a chosen band die in defence of their
country, destroyed by an army a thousand times as numerous; and I saw
this same army, in its turn, caused to disappear, and destroyed or driven
from the shores of Europe by the brethren of that band of martyred
patriots; I saw bodies of these men traversing the sea, founding
colonies, building cities, and wherever they established themselves,
carrying with them their peculiar arts.  Towns and temples arose
containing schools, and libraries filled with the rolls of the papyrus.
The same steel, such a tremendous instrument of power in the hands of the
warrior, I saw applied, by the genius of the artist, to strike forms even
more perfect than those of life out of the rude marble; and I saw the
walls of the palaces and temples covered with pictures, in which
historical events were portrayed with the truth of nature and the poetry
of mind.  The voice now awakened my attention by saying, "You have now
before you the vision of that state of society which is an object of
admiration to the youth of modern times, and the recollections of which,
and the precepts founded on these recollections, constitute an important
part of your education.  Your maxims of war and policy, your taste in
letters and the arts, are derived from models left by that people, or by
their immediate imitators, whom you shall now see."  I opened my eyes,
and recognised the very spot in which I was sitting when the vision
commenced.  I was on the top of an arcade under a silken canopy, looking
down upon the tens of thousands of people who were crowded in the seats
of the Colosaeum, ornamented with all the spoils that the wealth of a
world can give; I saw in the arena below animals of the most
extraordinary kind, and which have rarely been seen living in modern
Europe--the giraffe, the zebra, the rhinoceros, and the ostrich from the
deserts of Africa beyond the Niger, the hippopotamus from the Upper Nile,
and the royal tiger and the gnu from the banks of the Ganges.  Looking
over Rome, which, in its majesty of palaces and temples, and in its
colossal aqueducts bringing water even from the snows of the distant
Apennines, seemed more like the creation of a supernatural power than the
work of human hands; looking over Rome to the distant landscape, I saw
the whole face, as it were, of the ancient world adorned with miniature
images of this splendid metropolis.  Where the Roman conquered, there he
civilised; where he carried his arms, there he fixed likewise his
household gods; and from the deserts of Arabia to the mountains of
Caledonia there appeared but one people, having the same arts, language,
and letters--all of Grecian origin.  I looked again, and saw an entire
change in the brilliant aspect of this Roman world--the people of
conquerors and heroes was no longer visible; the cities were filled with
an idle and luxurious population; those farms which had been cultivated
by warriors, who left the plough to take the command of armies, were now
in the hands of slaves; and the militia of freemen were supplanted by
bands of mercenaries, who sold the empire to the highest bidder.  I saw
immense masses of warriors collecting in the north and east, carrying
with them no other proofs of cultivation but their horses and steel arms;
I saw these savages everywhere attacking this mighty empire, plundering
cities, destroying the monuments of arts and literature, and, like wild
beasts devouring a noble animal, tearing into pieces and destroying the
Roman power.  Ruin, desolation, and darkness were before me, and I closed
my eyes to avoid the melancholy scene.  "See," said the Genius, "the
melancholy termination of a power believed by its founders invincible,
and intended to be eternal.  But you will find, though the glory and
greatness belonging to its military genius have passed away, yet those
belonging to the arts and institutions, by which it adorned and dignified
life, will again arise in another state of society."  I opened my eyes
again, and I saw Italy recovering from her desolation--towns arising with
governments almost upon the model of ancient Athens and Rome, and these
different small states rivals in arts and arms; I saw the remains of
libraries, which had been preserved in monasteries and churches by a holy
influence which even the Goth and Vandal respected, again opened to the
people; I saw Rome rising from her ashes, the fragments of statues found
amidst the ruins of her palaces and imperial villas becoming the models
for the regeneration of art; I saw magnificent temples raised in this
city become the metropolis of a new and Christian world, and ornamented
with the most brilliant masterpieces of the arts of design; I saw a
Tuscan city, as it were, contending with Rome for pre-eminence in the
productions of genius, and the spirit awakened in Italy spreading its
influence from the South to the North.  "Now," the Genius said, "society
has taken its modern and permanent aspect.  Consider for a moment its
relations to letters and to arms as contrasted with those of the ancient
world."  I looked, and saw, that in the place of the rolls of papyrus,
libraries were now filled with books.  "Behold," the Genius said, "the
printing-press; by the invention of Faust the productions of genius are,
as it were, made imperishable, capable of indefinite multiplication, and
rendered an unalienable heritage of the human mind.  By this art,
apparently so humble, the progress of society is secured, and man is
spared the humiliation of witnessing again scenes like those which
followed the destruction of the Roman Empire.  Now look to the warriors
of modern times; you see the spear, the javelin, the shield, and the
cuirass are changed for the musket and the light artillery.  The German
monk who discovered gunpowder did not meanly affect the destinies of
mankind; wars are become less bloody by becoming less personal; mere
brutal strength is rendered of comparatively little avail; all the
resources of civilisation are required to maintain and move a large army;
wealth, ingenuity, and perseverance become the principal elements of
success; civilised man is rendered in consequence infinitely superior to
the savage, and gunpowder gives permanence to his triumph, and secures
the cultivated nations from ever being again overrun by the inroads of
millions of barbarians.  There is so much identity of feature in the
character of the two or three centuries that are just passed, that I wish
you only to take a very transient view of the political and military
events belonging to them.  You will find attempts made by the chiefs of
certain great nations to acquire predominance and empire; you will see
those attempts, after being partially successful, resisted by other
nations, and the balance of power, apparently for a moment broken, again
restored.  Amongst the rival nations that may be considered as forming
the republic of modern Europe, you will see one pre-eminent for her
maritime strength and colonial and commercial enterprise, and you will
find she retains her superiority only because it is favourable to the
liberty of mankind.  But you must not yet suffer the vision of modern
Europe to pass from your eyes without viewing some other results of the
efforts of men of genius, which, like those of gunpowder and the press,
illustrate the times to which they belong, and form brilliant epochs in
the history of the world.  If you look back into the schools of
regenerated Italy, you will see in them the works of the Greek masters of
philosophy; and if you attend to the science taught in them, you will
find it vague, obscure, and full of erroneous notions.  You will find in
this early period of improvement branches of philosophy even applied to
purposes of delusion; the most sublime of the departments of human
knowledge--astronomy--abused by impostors, who from the aspect of the
planetary world pretended to predict the fortunes and destinies of
individuals.  You will see in the laboratories alchemists searching for a
universal medicine, an elixir of life, and for the philosopher's stone,
or a method of converting all metals into gold; but unexpected and useful
discoveries you will find, even in this age, arise amidst the clouds of
deception and the smoke of the furnace.  Delusion and error vanish and
pass away, and truths seized upon by a few superior men become permanent,
and the property of an enlightening world.  Amongst the personages who
belong to this early period, there are two whom I must request you to
notice--one an Englishman, who pointed out the paths to the discovery of
scientific truths, and the other a Tuscan, who afforded the happiest
experimental illustrations of the speculative views of his brother in
science.  You will see academies formed a century later in Italy, France,
and Britain, in which the sciences are enlarged by new and varied
experiments, and the true system of the universe developed by an
illustrious Englishman taught and explained.  The practical results of
the progress of physics, chemistry, and mechanics, are of the most
marvellous kind, and to make them all distinct would require a comparison
of ancient and modern states: ships that were moved by human labour in
the ancient world are transported by the winds; and a piece of steel,
touched by the magnet, points to the mariner his unerring course from the
old to the new world; and by the exertions of one man of genius, aided by
the resources of chemistry, a power, which by the old philosophers could
hardly have been imagined, has been generated and applied to almost all
the machinery of active life; the steam-engine performs not only the
labour of horses, but of man, by combinations which appear almost
possessed of intelligence; waggons are moved by it, constructions made,
vessels caused to perform voyages in opposition to wind and tide, and a
power placed in human hands which seems almost unlimited.  To these novel
and still extending improvements may be added others, whish, though of a
secondary kind, yet materially affect the comforts of life, the
collecting from fossil materials the elements of combustion, and applying
them so as to illuminate, by a single operation, houses, streets, and
even cities.  If you look to the results of chemical arts you will find
new substances of the most extraordinary nature applied to various novel
purposes; you will find a few experiments in electricity leading to the
marvellous result of disarming the thunder-cloud of its terrors, and you
will see new instruments created by human ingenuity, possessing the same
powers as the electrical organs of living animals.  To whatever part of
the vision of modern times you cast your eyes you will find marks of
superiority and improvement, and I wish to impress upon you the
conviction that the results of intellectual labour or of scientific
genius are permanent and incapable of being lost.  Monarchs change their
plans, governments their objects, a fleet or an army effect their purpose
and then pass away; but a piece of steel toached by the magnet preserves
its character for ever, and secures to man the dominion of the trackless
ocean.  A new period of society may send armies from the shores of the
Baltic to those of the Euxine, and the empire of the followers of Mahomet
may be broken in pieces by a northern people, and the dominion of the
Britons in Asia may share the fate of that of Tamerlane or Zengiskhan;
but the steam-boat which ascends the Delaware or the St. Lawrence will be
continued to be used, and will carry the civilisation of an improved
people into the deserts of North America and into the wilds of Canada.  In
the common history of the world, as compiled by authors in general,
almost all the great changes of nations are confounded with changes in
their dynasties, and events are usually referred either to sovereigns,
chiefs, heroes, or their armies, which do, in fact, originate from
entirely different causes, either of an intellectual or moral nature.
Governments depend far more than is generally supposed upon the opinion
of the people and the spirit of the age and nation.  It sometimes happens
that a gigantic mind possesses supreme power and rises superior to the
age in which he is born, such was Alfred in England and Peter in Russia,
but such instances are very rare; and, in general, it is neither amongst
sovereigns nor the higher classes of society that the great improvers or
benefactors of mankind are to be found.  The works of the most
illustrious names were little valued at the times when they were
produced, and their authors either despised or neglected; and great,
indeed, must have been the pure and abstract pleasure resulting from the
exertion of intellectual superiority and the discovery of truth and the
bestowing benefits and blessings upon society, which induced men to
sacrifice all their common enjoyments and all their privileges as
citizens to these exertions.  Anaxagoras, Archimedes, Roger Bacon,
Galileo Galilei, in their deaths or their imprisonments, offer instances
of this kind, and nothing can be more striking than what appears to have
been the ingratitude of men towards their greatest benefactors; but
hereafter, when you understand more of the scheme of the universe, you
will see the cause and the effect of this, and you will find the whole
system governed by principles of immutable justice.  I have said that in
the progress of society all great and real improvements are perpetuated;
the same corn which four thousand years ago was raised from an improved
grass by an inventor worshipped for two thousand years in the ancient
world under the name of Ceres, still forms the principal food of mankind;
and the potato, perhaps the greatest benefit that the Old has derived
from the New World, is spreading over Europe, and will continue to
nourish an extensive population when the name of the race by whom it was
first cultivated in South America is forgotten.

"I will now call your attention to some remarkable laws belonging to the
history of society, and from the consideration of which you will be able
gradually to develop the higher and more exalted principles of being.
There appears nothing more accidental than the sex of an infant, yet take
any great city or any province and you will find that the relations of
males and females are unalterable.  Again, a part of the pure air of the
atmosphere is continually consumed in combustion and respiration; living
vegetables emit this principle during their growth; nothing appears more
accidental than the proportion of vegetable to animal life on the surface
of the earth, yet they are perfectly equivalent, and the balance of the
sexes, like the constitution of the atmosphere, depends upon the
principles of an unerring intelligence.  You saw in the decline of the
Roman empire a people enfeebled by luxury, worn out by excess, overrun by
rude warriors; you saw the giants of the North and East mixing with the
pigmies of the South and West.  An empire was destroyed, but the seeds of
moral and physical improvement in the new race were sown; the new
population resulting from the alliances of the men of the North with the
women, of the South was more vigorous, more full of physical power, and
more capable of intellectual exertion than their apparently ill-suited
progenitors; and the moral effects or final causes of the migration of
races, the plans of conquest and ambition which have led to revolutions
and changes of kingdoms designed by man for such different objects have
been the same in their ultimate results--that of improving by mixture the
different families of men.  An Alaric or an Attila, who marches with
legions of barbarians for some gross view of plunder or ambition, is an
instrument of divine power to effect a purpose of which he is wholly
unconscious--he is carrying a strong race to improve a weak one, and
giving energy to a debilitated population; and the deserts he makes in
his passage will become in another age cultivated fields, and the
solitude he produces will be succeeded by a powerful and healthy
population.  The results of these events in the moral and political world
may be compared to those produced in the vegetable kingdom by the storms
and heavy gales so usual at the vernal equinox, the time of the formation
of the seed; the pollen or farina of one flower is thrown upon the pistil
of another, and the crossing of varieties of plants so essential to the
perfection of the vegetable world produced.  In man moral causes and
physical ones modify each other; the transmission of hereditary qualities
to offspring is distinct in the animal world, and in the case of
disposition to disease it is sufficiently obvious in the human being.  But
it is likewise a general principle that powers or habits acquired by
cultivation are transmitted to the next generation and exalted or
perpetuated; the history of particular races of men affords distinct
proofs of this.  The Caucasian stock has always preserved its
superiority, whilst the negro or flat-nosed race has always been marked
for want of intellectual power and capacity for the arts of life.  This
last race, in fact, has never been cultivated, and a hundred generations,
successively improved, would be required to bring it to the state in
which the Caucasian race was at the time of the formation of the Greek
republics.  The principle of the improvement of the character of races by
the transmission of hereditary qualities has not escaped the observations
of the legislators of the ancient people.  By the divine law of Moses the
Israelites were enjoined to preserve the purity of their blood, and there
was no higher crime than that of forming alliances with the idolatrous
nations surrounding them.  The Brahmins of Hindostan have established
upon the same principle the law of caste, by which certain professions
were made hereditary.  In this warm climate, where labour is so
oppressive, to secure perfection in any series of operations it seems
essential to strengthen the powers by the forces acquired from this
principle of hereditary descent.  It will at first perhaps strike your
mind that the mixing or blending of races is in direct opposition to this
principle of perfection; but here I must require you to pause and
consider the nature of the qualities belonging to the human being.  Excess
of a particular power, which in itself is a perfection, becomes a defect;
the organs of touch may be so refined as to show a diseased sensibility;
the ear may become so exquisitely sensitive as to be more susceptible to
the uneasiness produced by discords than to the pleasures of harmony.  In
the nations which have been long civilised the defects are generally
those dependent on excess of sensibility--defects which are cured in the
next generation by the strength and power belonging to a ruder tribe.  In
looking back upon the vision of ancient history, you will find that there
never has been an instance of a migration to any extent of any race but
the Caucasian, and they have usually passed from the North to the South.
The negro race has always been driven before these conquerors of the
world; and the red men, the aborigines of America, are constantly
diminishing in number, and it is probable that in a few centuries more
their pure blood will be entirely extinct.  In the population of the
world, the great object is evidently to produce organised frames most
capable of the happy and intellectual enjoyment of life--to raise man
above the mere animal state.  To perpetuate the advantages of
civilisation, the races most capable of these advantages are preserved
and extended, and no considerable improvement made by an individual is
ever lost to society.  You see living forms perpetuated in the series of
ages, and apparently the quantity of life increased.  In comparing the
population of the globe as it now is with what it was centuries ago, you
would find it considerably greater; and if the quantity of life is
increased, the quantity of happiness, particularly that resulting from
the exercise of intellectual power, is increased in a still higher ratio.
Now, you will say, 'Is mind generated, is spiritual power created; or are
those results dependent upon the organisation of matter, upon new
perfections given to the machinery upon which thought and motion depend?'
I proclaim to you," said the Genius, raising his voice from its low and
sweet tone to one of ineffable majesty, "neither of these opinions is
true.  Listen, whilst I reveal to you the mysteries of spiritual natures,
but I almost fear that with the mortal veil of your senses surrounding
you, these mysteries can never be made perfectly intelligible to your
mind.  Spiritual natures are eternal and indivisible, but their modes of
being are as infinitely varied as the forms of matter.  They have no
relation to space, and, in their transitions, no dependence upon time, so
that they can pass from one part of the universe to another by laws
entirely independent of their motion.  The quantity, or the number of
spiritual essences, like the quantity or number of the atoms of the
material world, are always the same; but their arrangements, like those
of the materials which they are destined to guide or govern, are
infinitely diversified; they are, in fact, parts more or less inferior of
the infinite mind, and in the planetary systems, to one of which this
globe you inhabit belongs, are in a state of probation, continually
aiming at, and generally rising to a higher state of existence.  Were it
permitted me to extend your vision to the fates of individual existences,
I could show you the same spirit, which in the form of Socrates developed
the foundations of moral and social virtue, in the Czar Peter possessed
of supreme power and enjoying exalted felicity in improving a rude
people.  I could show you the monad or spirit, which with the organs of
Newton displayed an intelligence almost above humanity, now in a higher
and better state of planetary existence drinking intellectual light from
a purer source and approaching nearer to the infinite and divine Mind.
But prepare your mind, and you shall at least catch a glimpse of those
states which the highest intellectual beings that have belonged to the
earth enjoy after death in their transition to now and more exalted
natures."  The voice ceased, and I appeared in a dark, deep, and cold
cave, of which the walls of the Colosaeum formed the boundary.  From
above a bright and rosy light broke into this cave, so that whilst below
all was dark, above all was bright and illuminated with glory.  I seemed
possessed at this moment of a new sense, and felt that the light brought
with it a genial warmth; odours like those of the most balmy flowers
appeared to fill the air, and the sweetest sounds of music absorbed my
sense of hearing; my limbs had a new lightness given to them, so that I
seemed to rise from the earth, and gradually mounted into the bright
luminous air, leaving behind me the dark and cold cavern, and the ruins
with which it was strewed.  Language is inadequate to describe what I
felt in rising continually upwards through this bright and luminous
atmosphere.  I had not, as is generally the case with persons in dreams
of this kind, imagined to myself wings; but I rose gradually and securely
as if I were myself a part of the ascending column of light.  By degrees
this luminous atmosphere, which was diffused over the whole of space,
became more circumscribed, and extended only to a limited spot around me.
I saw through it the bright blue sky, the moon and stars, and I passed by
them as if it were in my power to touch them with my hand.  I beheld
Jupiter and Saturn as they appear through our best telescopes, but still
more magnified, all the moons and belts of Jupiter being perfectly
distinct, and the double ring of Saturn appearing in that state in which
I have heard Herschel often express a wish he could see it.  It seemed as
if I was on the verge of the solar system, and my moving sphere of light
now appeared to pause.  I again heard the low and sweet voice of the
Genius, which said, "You are now on the verge of your own system: will
you go further, or return to the earth?"  I replied, "I have left an
abode which is damp, dreary, dark and cold; I am now in a place where all
is life, light, and enjoyment; show me, at least before I return, the
glimpse which you promised me of those superior intellectual natures and
the modes of their being and their enjoyments."  "There are creatures far
superior," said the Genius, "to any idea your imagination can form in
that part of the system now before you, comprehending Saturn, his moons
and rings.  I will carry you to the verge of the immense atmosphere of
this planet.  In that space you will see sufficient to wonder at, and far
more than with your present organisation it would be possible for me to
make you understand."  I was again in motion, and again almost as
suddenly at rest.  I saw below me a surface infinitely diversified,
something like that of an immense glacier covered with large columnar
masses, which appeared as if formed of glass, and from which were
suspended rounded forms of various sizes, which, if they had not been
transparent, I might have supposed to be fruit.  From what appeared to me
to be analogous to masses of bright blue ice, streams of the richest tint
of rose-colour or purple burst forth and flowed into basins, forming
lakes or seas of the same colour.  Looking through the atmosphere towards
the heavens, I saw brilliant opaque clouds of an azure colour that
reflected the light of the sun, which had to my eyes an entirely new
aspect, and appeared smaller, as if seen through a dense blue mist.  I
saw moving on the surface below me immense masses, the forms of which I
find it impossible to describe; they had systems for locomotion similar
to those of the morse or sea-horse, but I saw with great surprise that
they moved from place to place by six extremely thin membranes, which
they used as wings.  Their colours were varied and beautiful, but
principally azure and rose-colour.  I saw numerous convolutions of tubes,
more analogous to the trunk of the elephant than to anything else I can
imagine, occupying what I supposed to be the upper parts of the body, and
my feeling of astonishment almost became one of disgust, from the
peculiar character of the organs of these singular beings; and it was
with a species of terror that I saw one of them mounting upwards,
apparently flying towards those opaque clouds which I have before
mentioned.  "I know what your feelings are," said the Genius; "you want
analogies and all the elements of knowledge to comprehend the scene
before you.  You are in the same state in which a fly would be whose
microscopic eye was changed for one similar to that of man; and you are
wholly unable to associate what you now see with your former knowledge.
But those beings who are before you, and who appear to you almost as
imperfect in their functions as the zoophytes of the Polar Sea, to which
they are not unlike in their apparent organisation to your eyes, have a
sphere of sensibility and intellectual enjoyment far superior to that of
the inhabitants of your earth.  Each of those tubes which appears like
the trunk of an elephant is an organ of peculiar motion or sensation.
They have many modes of perception of which you are wholly ignorant, at
the same time that their sphere of vision is infinitely more extended
than yours, and their organs of touch far more perfect and exquisite.  It
would be useless for me to attempt to explain their organisation, which
you could never understand; but of their intellectual objects of pursuit
I may perhaps give you some notion.  They have used, modified, and
applied the material world in a manner analogous to man; but with far
superior powers they have gained superior results.  Their atmosphere
being much denser than yours and the specific gravity of their planet
less, they have been enabled to determine the laws belonging to the solar
system with far more accuracy than you can possibly conceive, and any one
of those beings could show you what is now the situation and appearance
of your moon with a precision that would induce you to believe that he
saw it, though his knowledge is merely the result of calculation.  Their
sources of pleasure are of the highest intellectual nature; with the
magnificent spectacle of their own rings and moons revolving round them,
with the various combinations required to understand and predict the
relations of these wonderful phenomena their minds are in unceasing
activity and this activity is a perpetual source of enjoyment.  Your view
of the solar system is bounded by Uranus, and the laws of this planet
form the ultimatum of your mathematical results; but these beings catch a
sight of planets belonging to another system and even reason on the
phenomena presented by another sun.  Those comets, of which your
astronomical history is so imperfect, are to them perfectly familiar, and
in their ephemerides their places are shown with as much accurateness as
those of Jupiter or Venus in your almanacks; the parallax of the fixed
stars nearest them is as well understood as that of their own sun, and
they possess a magnificent history of the changes taking place in the
heavens and which are governed by laws that it would be vain for me to
attempt to give you an idea of.  They are acquainted with the revolutions
and uses of comets; they understand the system of those meteoric
formations of stones which have so much astonished you on earth; and they
have histories in which the gradual changes of nebulas in their progress
towards systems have been registered, so that they can predict their
future changes.  And their astronomical records are not like yours which
go back only twenty centuries to the time of Hipparchus; they embrace a
period a hundred times as long, and their civil history for the same time
is as correct as their astronomical one.  As I cannot describe to you the
organs of these wonderful beings, so neither can I show to you their
modes of life; but as their highest pleasures depend upon intellectual
pursuits, so you may conclude that those modes of life bear the strictest
analogy to that which on the earth you would call exalted virtue.  I will
tell you however that they have no wars, and that the objects of their
ambition are entirely those of intellectual greatness, and that the only
passion that they feel in which comparisons with each other can be
instituted are those dependent upon a love of glory of the purest kind.
If I were to show you the different parts of the surface of this planet,
you would see marvellous results of the powers possessed by these highly
intellectual beings and of the wonderful manner in which they have
applied and modified matter.  Those columnar masses, which seem to you as
if arising out of a mass of ice below, are results of art, and processes
are going on in them connected with the formation and perfection of their
food.  The brilliant coloured fluids are the results of such operations
as on the earth would be performed in your laboratories, or more properly
in your refined culinary apparatus, for they are connected with their
system of nourishment.  Those opaque azure clouds, to which you saw a few
minutes ago one of those beings directing his course, are works of art
and places in which they move through different regions of their
atmosphere and command the temperature and the quantity of light most
fitted for their philosophical researches, or most convenient for the
purposes of life.  On the verge of the visible horizon which we perceive
around us, you may see in the east a very dark spot or shadow, in which
the light of the sun seems entirely absorbed; this is the border of an
immense mass of liquid analogous to your ocean, but unlike your sea it is
inhabited by a race of intellectual beings inferior indeed to those
belonging to the atmosphere of Saturn, but yet possessed of an extensive
range of sensations and endowed with extraordinary power and
intelligence.  I could transport you to the different planets and show
you in each peculiar intellectual beings bearing analogies to each other,
but yet all different in power and essence.  In Jupiter you would see
creatures similar to those in Saturn, but with different powers of
locomotion; in Mars and Venus you would find races of created forms more
analogous to those belonging to the earth; but in every part of the
planetary system you would find one character peculiar to all intelligent
natures, a sense of receiving impressions from light by various organs of
vision, and towards this result you cannot but perceive that all the
arrangements and motions of the planetary bodies, their satellites and
atmospheres are subservient.  The spiritual natures therefore that pass
from system to system in progression towards power and knowledge preserve
at least this one invariable character, and their intellectual life may
be said to depend more or less upon the influence of light.  As far as my
knowledge extends, even in other parts of the universe the more perfect
organised systems still possess this source of sensation and enjoyment;
but with higher natures, finer and more ethereal kinds of matter are
employed in organisation, substances that bear the same analogy to common
matter that the refined or most subtle gases do to common solids and
fluids.  The universe is everywhere full of life, but the modes of this
life are infinitely diversified, and yet every form of it must be enjoyed
and known by every spiritual nature before the consummation of all
things.  You have seen the comet moving with its immense train of light
through the sky; this likewise has a system supplied with living beings
and their existence derives its enjoyment from the diversity of
circumstances to which they are exposed; passing as it were through the
infinity of space they are continually gratified by the sight of new
systems and worlds, and you can imagine the unbounded nature of the
circle of their knowledge.  My power extends so far as to afford you a
glimpse of the nature of a cometary world."  I was again in rapid motion,
again passing with the utmost velocity through the bright blue sky, and I
saw Jupiter and his satellites and Saturn and his ring behind me, and
before me the sun, no longer appearing as through a blue mist but in
bright and unsupportable splendour, towards which I seemed moving with
the utmost velocity; in a limited sphere of vision, in a kind of red hazy
light similar to that which first broke in upon me in the Colosaeum, I
saw moving round me globes which appeared composed of different kinds of
flame and of different colours.  In some of these globes I recognised
figures which put me in mind of the human countenance, but the
resemblance was so awful and unnatural that I endeavoured to withdraw my
view from them.  "You are now," said the Genius, "in a cometary system;
those globes of light surrounding you are material forms, such as in one
of your systems of religious faith have been attributed to seraphs; they
live in that element which to you would be destruction; they communicate
by powers which would convert your organised frame into ashes; they are
now in the height of their enjoyment, being about to enter into the blaze
of the solar atmosphere.  These beings so grand, so glorious, with
functions to you incomprehensible, once belonged to the earth; their
spiritual natures have risen through different stages of planetary life,
leaving their dust behind them, carrying with them only their
intellectual power.  You ask me if they have any knowledge or
reminiscence of their transitions; tell me of your own recollections in
the womb of your mother and I will answer you.  It is the law of divine
wisdom that no spirit carries with it into another state and being any
habit or mental qualities except those which may be connected with its
new wants or enjoyments; and knowledge relating to the earth would be no
more useful to these glorified beings than their earthly system of
organised dust, which would be instantly resolved into its ultimate atoms
at such a temperature; even on the earth the butterfly does not transport
with it into the air the organs or the appetites of the crawling worm
from which it sprung.  There is, however, one sentiment or passion which
the monad or spiritual essence carries with it into all its stages of
being, and which in these happy and elevated creatures is continually
exalted; the love of knowledge or of intellectual power, which is, in
fact, in its ultimate and most perfect development the love of infinite
wisdom and unbounded power, or the love of God.  Even in the imperfect
life that belongs to the earth this passion exists in a considerable
degree, increases even with age, outlives the perfection of the corporeal
faculties, and at the moment of death is felt by the conscious being, and
its future destinies depend upon the manner in which it has been
exercised and exalted.  When it has been misapplied and assumed the forms
of vague curiosity, restless ambition, vain glory, pride or oppression,
the being is degraded, it sinks in the scale of existence and still
belongs to the earth or an inferior system, till its errors are corrected
by painful discipline.  When, on the contrary, the love of intellectual
power has been exercised on its noblest objects, in discovering and in
contemplating the properties of created forms and in applying them to
useful and benevolent purposes, in developing and admiring the laws of
the eternal Intelligence, the destinies of the sentient principle are of
a nobler kind, it rises to a higher planetary world.  From the height to
which you have been lifted I could carry you downwards and show you
intellectual natures even inferior to those belonging to the earth, in
your own moon and in the lower planets, and I could demonstrate to you
the effects of pain or moral evil in assisting in the great plan of the
exaltation of spiritual natures; but I will not destroy the brightness of
your present idea of the scheme of the universe by degrading pictures of
the effects of bad passions and of the manner in which evil is corrected
and destroyed.  Your vision must end with the glorious view of the
inhabitants of the cometary worlds; I cannot show you the beings of the
system to which I, myself, belong, that of the sun; your organs would
perish before our brightness, and I am only permitted to be present to
you as a sound or intellectual voice.  _We_ are likewise in progression,
but we see and know something of the plans of infinite wisdom; we feel
the personal presence of that supreme Deity which you only imagine; to
you belongs faith, to us knowledge; and our greatest delight results from
the conviction that we are lights kindled by His light and that we belong
to His substance.  To obey, to love, to wonder and adore, form our
relations to the infinite Intelligence.  We feel His laws are those of
eternal justice and that they govern all things from the most glorious
intellectual natures belonging to the sun and fixed stars to the meanest
spark of life animating an atom crawling in the dust of your earth.  We
know all things begin from and end in His everlasting essence, the cause
of causes, the power of powers."

The low and sweet voice ceased; it appeared as if I had fallen suddenly
upon the earth, but there was a bright light before me and I heard my
name loudly called; the voice was not of my intellectual guide--the
genius before me was my servant bearing a flambeau in his hand.  He told
me he had been searching me in vain amongst the ruins, that the carriage
had been waiting for me above an hour, and that he had left a large party
of my friends assembled in the Palazzo F---.



DIALOGUE THE SECOND.  DISCUSSIONS CONNECTED WITH THE VISION IN THE
COLOSAEUM.


The same friends, Ambrosio and Onuphrio, who were my companions at Rome
in the winter, accompanied me in the spring to Naples.  Many
conversations occurred in the course of our journey which were often to
me peculiarly instructive, and from the difference of their opinions
generally animated and often entertaining.  I shall detail one of these
conversations, which took place in the evening on the summit of Vesuvius,
and the remembrance of which from its connection with my vision in the
Colosaeum has always a peculiar interest for me.  We had reached with
some labour the edge of the crater and were admiring the wonderful scene
around us.  I shall give the conversation in the words of the persons of
the drama.

_Philalethes_.--It is difficult to say whether there is more of sublimity
or beauty in the scene around us.  Nature appears at once smiling and
frowning, in activity and repose.  How tremendous is the volcano, how
magnificent this great laboratory of Nature in its unceasing fire, its
subterraneous lightnings and thunder, its volumes of smoke, its showers
of stones and its rivers of ignited lava!  How contrasted the darkness of
the scoriae, the ruins and the desolation round the crater with the scene
below!  There we see the rich field covered with flax, or maize, or
millet, and intersected by rows of trees which support the green and
graceful festoons of the vine; the orange and lemon tree covered with
golden fruit appear in the sheltered glens; the olive trees cover the
lower hills; islands purple in the beams of the setting sun are scattered
over the sea in the west, and the sky is tinted with red softening into
the brightest and purest azure; the distant mountains still retain a part
of the snows of winter, but they are rapidly melting and they absolutely
seem to melt reflecting the beams of the setting sun, glowing as if on
fire.  And man appears emulous of Nature, for the city below is full of
activity; the nearest part of the bay is covered with boats, busy
multitudes crowd the strand, and at the same time may be seen a number of
the arts belonging to civilised society in operation--house-building,
ship-building, rope-making, the manipulations of the smith and of the
agriculturist, and not only the useful arts, but even the amusements and
luxuries of a great metropolis may be witnessed from the spot in which we
stand; that motley crowd is collected round a policinello, and those
smaller groups that surround the stalls are employed in enjoying the
favourite food and drink of the lazzaroni.

_Ambrosio_.--We see not only the power and activity of man, as existing
at present, and of which the highest example may be represented by the
steam-boat which is now departing for Palermo, but we may likewise view
scenes which carry us into the very bosom of antiquity, and, as it were,
make us live with the generations of past ages.  Those small square
buildings, scarcely visible in the distance, are the tombs of
distinguished men amongst the early Greek colonists of the country; and
those rows of houses, without roofs, which appear as if newly erecting,
constitute a Roman town restored from its ashes, that remained for
centuries as if it had been swept from the face of the earth.  When you
study it in detail you will hardly avoid the illusion that it is a rising
city; you will almost be tempted to ask where are the workmen, so perfect
art the walls of the houses, so bright and uninjured the painting upon
them.  Hardly anything is wanting to make this scene a magnificent
epitome of all that is most worthy of admiration in Nature and art; had
there been in addition to the other objects a fine river and a waterfall
the epitome would, I think, have been absolutely perfect.

_Phil_.--You are most unreasonable in imagining additions to a scene
which it is impossible to embrace in one view, and which presents so many
objects to the senses, the memory, and to the imagination; yet there is a
river in the valley between Naples and Castel del Mare; you may see its
silver thread and the white foam of its torrents in the distance, and if
you were geologists you would find a number of sources of interest, which
have not been mentioned, in the scenery surrounding us.  Somma which is
before us, for instance, affords a wonderful example of a mountain formed
of marine deposits, and which has been raised by subterraneous fire, and
those large and singular veins which you see at the base and rising
through the substance of the strata are composed of volcanic porphyry,
and offer a most striking and beautiful example of the generation and
structure of rocks and mineral formations.

_Onuphrio_.--As we passed through Portici, on the road to the base of
Vesuvius, it appeared to me that I saw a stone which had an ancient Roman
inscription upon it, and which occupied the place of a portal in the
modern palace of the Barberini.

_Phil_.--This is not an uncommon circumstance: Most of the stones used in
the palaces of Portici had been employed more than two thousand years
before in structures raised by the ancient Romans or Greek colonists; and
it is not a little remarkable that the buildings of Herculaneum, a town
covered with ashes, tufa, and lava, from the first recorded eruption of
Vesuvius more than seventeen hundred years ago, should have been
constructed of volcanic materials produced by some antecedent igneous
action of the mountain in times beyond the reach of history; and it is
still more remarkable that men should have gone on for so many ages
making erections in spots where their works have been so often destroyed,
inattentive to the voice of time or the warnings of nature.

_Onu_.--This last fact recalls to my recollection an idea which
Philalethes started in the remarkable dream which he would have us
believe occurred to him in the Colosaeum, namely--that no important facts
which can be useful to society are ever lost; and that, like these
stones, which though covered with ashes or hidden amongst ruins, they are
sure to be brought forward again and made use of in some new form.

_Amb_.--I do not see the justness of the analogy to which Onuphrio
refers; but there are many parts of that vision on which I should wish to
hear the explanations of Philalethes.  I consider it in fact as a sort of
poetical epitome of his philosophical opinions, and I regard this vision
or dream as a mere web of his imagination in which he intended to catch
us, his summer-flies and travelling companions.

_Phil_.--There, Ambrosio, you do me wrong.  I will acknowledge, if you
please, that the vision in the Colosaeum is a fiction; but the most
important parts of it really occurred to me in sleep, particularly that
in which I seemed to leave the earth and launch into the infinity of
space under the guidance of a tutelary genius.  And the origin and
progress of civil society form likewise parts of another dream which I
had many years ago, and it was in the reverie which happened when you
quitted me in the Colosaeum that I wove all these thoughts together, and
gave them the form in which I narrated them to you.

_Amb_.--Of course we may consider them as an accurate representation of
your waking thoughts.

_Phil_.--I do not say that they strictly are so, for I am not quite
convinced that dreams are always representations of the state of the mind
modified by organic diseases or by associations.  There are certainly no
absolutely new ideas produced in sleep, yet I have had more than one
instance, in the course of my life, of most extraordinary combinations
occurring in this state, which have had considerable influence on my
feelings, my imagination, and my health.

_Onu_.--Why Philalethes, you are becoming a visionary, a dreamer of
dreams.  We shall perhaps set you down by the side of Jacob Behmen or of
Emanuel Swedenbourg, and in an earlier age you might have been a prophet,
and have ranked perhaps with Mahomet.  But pray give us one of these
instances in which such a marvellous influence was produced on your
imagination and your health by a dream that we may form some judgment of
the nature of your second sight or inspirations; and whether they have
any foundation, or whether they are not, as I believe, really unfounded,
inventions of the fancy, dreams respecting dreams.

_Phil_.--I anticipate unbelief, and I expose myself to your ridicule in
the statement I am about to make, yet I shall mention nothing but a
simple fact.  Almost a quarter of a century ago, as you know, I
contracted that terrible form of typhus-fever known by the name of gaol-
fever, I may say, not from any imprudence of my own, but whilst engaged
in putting in execution a plan for ventilating one of the great prisons
of the metropolis.  My illness was severe and dangerous.  As long as the
fever continued, my dreams or delirium were most painful and oppressive;
but when the weakness consequent to exhaustion came on, and when the
probability of death seemed to my physicians greater than that of life,
there was an entire change in all my ideal combinations.  I remained in
an apparently senseless or lethargic state, but in fact my mind was
peculiarly active; there was always before me the form of a beautiful
woman, with whom I was engaged in the most interesting and intellectual
conversation.

_Amb_.--The figure of a lady with whom you were in love.

_Phil_.--No such thing; I was passionately in love at the time, but the
object of my admiration was a lady with black hair, dark eyes, and pale
complexion; this spirit of my vision, on the contrary, had brown hair,
blue eyes, and a bright rosy complexion, and was, as far as I can
recollect, unlike any of the amatory forms which in early youth had so
often haunted my imagination.  Her figure for many days was so distinct
in my mind, as to form almost a visual image.  As I gained strength, the
visits of my good angel (for so I called it) became less frequent, and
when I was restored to health they were altogether discontinued.

_Onu_.--I see nothing very strange in this--a mere reaction of the mind
after severe pain--and, to a young man of twenty-five, there are few more
pleasurable images than that of a beautiful maiden with blue eyes,
blooming cheeks, and long nut-brown hair.

_Phil_.--But all my feelings and all my conversations with this visionary
maiden were of an intellectual and refined nature.

_Onu_.--Yes, I suppose, as long as you were ill.

_Phil_.--I will not allow you to treat me with ridicule on this point
till you have heard the second part of my tale.  Ten years after I had
recovered from the fever, and when I had almost lost the recollection of
the vision, it was recalled to my memory by a very blooming and graceful
maiden, fourteen or fifteen years old, that I accidentally met during my
travels in Illyria; but I cannot say that the impression made upon my
mind by this female was very strong.  Now comes the extraordinary part of
the narrative.  Ten years after, twenty years after my first illness, at
a time when I was exceedingly weak from a severe and dangerous malady,
which for many weeks threatened my life, and when my mind was almost in a
desponding state, being in a course of travels ordered by my medical
advisers, I again met the person who was the representative of my
visionary female, and to her kindness and care I believe I owe what
remains to me of existence.  My despondency gradually disappeared, and
though my health still continued weak, life began to possess charms for
me which I had thought were for ever gone; and I could not help
identifying the living angel with the vision which appeared as my
guardian genius during the illness of my youth.

_Onu_.--I really see nothing at all in this fact, whether the first or
the second part of the narrative be considered, beyond the influence of
an imagination excited by disease.  From youth, even to age, women are
our guardian angels, our comforters; and I dare say any other handsome
young female, who had been your nurse in your last illness, would have
coincided with your remembrance of the vision, even though her eyes had
been hazel and her hair flaxen.  Nothing can be more loose than the
images represented in dreams following a fever, and with the nervous
susceptibility produced by your last illness, almost any agreeable form
would have become the representative of your imaginary guardian genius.
Thus it is, that by the power of fancy, material forms are clothed in
supernatural attributes; and in the same manner imaginary divinities have
all the forms of mortality bestowed upon them.  The gods of the pagan
mythology were in all their characters and attributes exalted human
beings; the demon of the coward, and the angelic form that appears in the
dream of some maid smitten by devotion, and who, having lost her earthly
lover, fixes her thoughts on heaven, are clothed in the character and
vestments of humanity changed by the dreaminess of passion.

_Amb_.--With such a tendency, Philalethes, as you have shown to believe
in something like a supernatural or divine influence on the human mind, I
am astonished there should be so much scepticism belonging to your vision
in the Colosaeum.  And your view of the early state of man, after his
first creation, is not only incompatible with revelation, but likewise
with reason and everything that we know respecting the history or
traditions of the early nations of antiquity.

_Phil_.--Be more distinct and detailed in your statements, Ambrosio, that
I may be able to reply to them; and whilst we are waiting for the sunrise
we may discuss the subject, and for this, let us seat ourselves on these
stones, where we shall be warmed by the vicinity of the current of lava.

_Amb_.--You consider man, in his early or first created state, a savage,
like those who now inhabit New Holland or New Zealand, acquiring by the
little use that they make of a feeble reason the power of supporting and
extending life.  Now, I contend, that if man had been so created, he must
inevitably have been destroyed by the elements or devoured by savage
beasts, so infinitely his superiors in physical force.  He must,
therefore, have been formed with various instinctive faculties and
propensities, with a perfection of form and use of organs fitting him to
become the master of the earth; and, it appears to me, that the account
given in Genesis of the first parents of mankind having been placed in a
garden fitted with everything necessary to their existence and enjoyment,
and ordered to increase and multiply there, is strictly in harmony with
reason, and accordant with all just metaphysical views of the human mind.
Man as he now exists can only be raised with great care and difficulty
from the infant to the mature state; all his motions are at first
automatic, and become voluntary by association; he has to learn
everything by slow and difficult processes, many months elapse before he
is able to stand, and many years before he is able to provide for the
common wants of life.  Without the mother or the nurse in his infant
state, he would die in a few hours; and without the laborious discipline
of instruction and example, he would remain idiotic and inferior to most
other animals.  His reason is only acquired gradually, and when in its
highest perfection is often uncertain in its results.  He must,
therefore, have been created with instincts that for a long while
supplied the want of reason, and which enabled him from the first moment
of his existence to provide for his wants, to gratify his desires, and
enjoy the power and the activity of life.

_Phil_.--I acknowledge that your objection has some weight, but not so
much as you would attribute to it.  I will suppose that the first created
man or men had certain powers or instincts, such as now belong to the
rudest savages of the southern hemisphere; I will suppose them created
with the use of their organs for defence and offence and with passions
and propensities enabling them to supply their own wants.  And I oppose
the fact of races who are now actually in this state to your vague
historical or traditionary records; and their gradual progress or
improvement from this early state of society to that of the highest state
of civilisation or refinement may, I think, be easily deduced from the
exertions of reason assisted by the influence of the moral powers and of
physical circumstances.  Accident, I conceive, must have had some
influence in laying the foundations of certain arts; and a climate in
which labour was not too oppressive, and in which the exertion of
industry was required to provide for the wants of life must have fixed
the character of the activity of the early improving people; where nature
is too kind a mother, man is generally a spoiled child; where she is
severe, and a stepmother, his powers are usually withered and destroyed.
The people of the south and the north and those between the tropics
offer, even at this day, proof of the truth of this principle; and it is
even possible now to find on the surface of the earth, all the different
gradations of the states of society, from that in which man is scarcely
removed above the brute, to that in which he appears approaching in his
nature to a divine intelligence.  Besides, reason being the noblest gift
of God to man, I can hardly suppose that an infinitely powerful and all-
wise Creator would bestow upon the early inhabitants of the globe a
greater proportion of instinct than was at first necessary to preserve
their existence, and that he would not leave the great progress of their
improvement to the development and exaltation of their reasoning powers.

_Amb_.--You appear to me in your argument to have forgotten the influence
that any civilised race must possess over savages; and many of the
nations which you consider as in their original state, may have descended
from nations formerly civilised; and, it is quite as easy to trace the
retrograde steps of a people as their advances; the savage hordes who now
inhabit the northern coast of Africa are probably descended from the
opulent, commercial, and ingenious Carthaginians who once contended with
Rome for the empire of the world; and even nearer home, we might find in
Southern Italy and her islands, proofs of a degradation not much
inferior.  What I contend for is the civilisation of the first
patriarchal races who peopled the East, and who passed into Europe from
Armenia, in which paradise is supposed to have been placed.  The early
civilisation of this race could only have been in consequence of their
powers and instincts having been of a higher character than those of
savages.  They appear to have been small families--a state not at all
fitted for the discovery of arts by the exercise of the mind; and they
professed the most sublime form of religion, the worship of one Supreme
Intelligence--a truth which, after a thousand years of civilisation, was
with difficulty attained by the most powerful efforts of reasoning by the
Greek sages.  It appears to me, that in the history of the Jews, nothing
can be more in conformity to our ideas of just analogy than this series
of events.  Our first parents were created with everything necessary for
their wants and their happiness; they had only one duty to perform, by
their obedience to prove their love and devotion to their Creator.  In
this they failed, and death--or the fear of death--became a curse upon
their race; but the father of mankind repented, and his instinctive or
intellectual powers given by revelation were transmitted to his offspring
more or less modified by their reason, which they had gained as the fruit
of their disobedience.  One branch of his offspring, however, in whom
faith shone forth above reason, retained their peculiar powers and
institutions and preserved the worship of Jehovah pure, whilst many of
the races sprung from their brethren became idolatrous, and the clear
light of heaven was lost through the mist of the senses; and that Being,
worshipped by the Israelites only as a mysterious word, was forgotten by
many of the nations who lived in the neighbouring countries, and men,
beasts, the parts of the visible universe, and even stocks and stones,
were set up as objects of adoration.  The difficulty which the divine
legislators of the Jewish people had to preserve the purity of their
religion amongst the idolatrous nations by whom they were surrounded,
proves the natural evil tendency of the human mind after the fall of man.
And, whoever will consider the nature of the Mosaical or ceremonial law
and the manner in which it was suspended before the end of the Roman
Empire, the expiatory sacrifice of the Messiah, the fear of death
destroyed by the blessed hopes of immortality established by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and
the triumphs of Christianity over paganism in the time of Constantine,
can I think, hardly fail to acknowledge the reasonableness of the truth
of revealed religion as founded upon the early history of man; and
whoever acknowledges this reasonableness and this truth, must I think be
dissatisfied with the view which Philalethes or his genius has given of
the progress of society, and will find in it one instance, amongst many
others that might be discovered, of the vague and erring results of his
so much boasted human reason.

_Onu_.--I fear I shall shock Ambrosio, but I cannot help vindicating a
little the philosophical results of human reason, which it must be
allowed are entirely hostile to his ideas.  I agree with Philalethes that
it is the noblest gift of God to man; and I cannot think that Ambrosio's
view of the paradisaical condition and the fall of man and the progress
of society is at all in conformity with the ideas we ought to form of the
institutions of an infinitely wise and powerful Being.  Besides, Ambrosio
speaks of the reasonableness of his own opinions; of course his notions
of reason must be different from mine, or we have adopted different forms
of logic.  I do not find in the biblical history any idea of the supreme
Intelligence conformable to those of the Greek philosophers; on the
contrary, I find Jehovah everywhere described as a powerful material
being, endowed with organs, feelings, and passions similar to those of a
great and exalted human agent.  He is described as making man in His own
image, as walking in the garden in the cool of the evening, as being
pleased with sacrificial offerings, as angry with Adam and Eve, as
personally cursing Cain for his crime of fratricide, and even as
providing our first parents with garments to hide their nakedness; then
He appears a material form in the midst of flames, thunder and lightning,
and was regarded by the Levites as having a fixed residence in the Ark.
He is contrasted throughout the whole of the Old Testament with the gods
of the heathens, only as being more powerful; and in the strange scene
which took place in Pharaoh's court He seemed to have measured His
abilities with those of certain seers or magicians, and to have proved
His superiority only by producing greater and more tremendous plagues.  In
all the early history of the Jewish nation there is no conception
approaching to the sublimity of that of Anaxagoras, who called God the
Intelligence or [Greek text].  He appears always, on the contrary, like
the genii of Arabian romance, living in clouds, descending on mountains,
urging His chosen people to commit the most atrocious crimes, to destroy
all the races not professing the same worship, and to exterminate even
the child and the unborn infant.  Then, I find in the Old Testament no
promise of a spiritual Messiah, but only of a temporal king, who, as the
Jews believe, is yet to come.  The serpent in Genesis has no connection
with the spirit of evil, but is described only as the most subtle beast
of the field, and, having injured man, there was to be a perpetual enmity
between their races--the serpent when able was to bite the heel of the
man, and the man when an opportunity occurred was to bruise the head of
the serpent.  I will allow, if you please, that an instinct of religion
or superstition belongs to the human mind, and that the different forms
which this instinct assumes depend upon various circumstances and
accidents of history and climate; but I am not sure that the religion of
the Jews was superior to that of the Sabaeans who worshipped the stars,
or the ancient Persians who adored the sun as the visible symbol of
divine power, or the eastern nations who in the various forms of the
visible universe worshipped the powers and energies of the Divinity.  I
feel like the ancient Romans with respect to toleration; I would give a
place to all the gods in my Pantheon, but I would not allow the followers
of Brahmah or of Christ to quarrel about the modes of incarnation or the
superiority of the attributes of their trien God.

_Amb_.--You have mistaken me, Onuphrio, if you think I am shocked by your
opinions; I have seen too much of the wanderings of human reason ever to
be surprised by them, and the views you have adopted are not uncommon
amongst young men of very superior talents, who have only slightly
examined the evidences of revealed religion.  But I am glad to find that
you have not adopted the code of infidelity of many of the French
revolutionists and of an English school of sceptics, who find in the
ancient astronomy all the germs of the worship of the Hebrews, who
identify the labours of Hercules with those of the Jewish heroes, and who
find the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah in the history of
the solar day.  You, at least, allow the existence of a peculiar
religious instinct, or, as you are pleased to call it, superstition,
belonging to the human mind, and I have hopes that upon this foundation
you will ultimately build up a system of faith not unworthy a philosopher
and a Christian.  Man, with whatever religious instincts he was created,
was intended to communicate with the visible universe by sensations and
act upon it by his organs, and in the earliest state of society he was
more particularly influenced by his gross senses.  Allowing the existence
of a supreme Intelligence and His beneficent intentions towards man, the
ideas of His presence which He might think fit to impress upon the mind,
either for the purpose of veneration, or of love, of hope or fear, must
have been in harmony with the general train of His sensations--I am not
sure that I make myself intelligible.  The same infinite power which in
an instant could create a universe, could of course so modify the ideas
of an intellectual being as to give them that form and character most
fitted for his existence; and I suppose in the early state of created man
he imagined that he enjoyed the actual presence of the Divinity and heard
His voice.  I take this to be the first and simplest result of religious
instinct.  In early times amongst the patriarchs I suppose these ideas
were so vivid as to be confounded with impressions; but as religious
instinct probably became feebler in their posterity, the vividness of the
impressions diminished, and they then became visions or dreams, which
with the prophets seem to have constituted inspiration.  I do not suppose
that the Supreme Being ever made Himself known to man by a real change in
the order of Nature, but that the sensations of men were so modified by
their instincts as to induce the belief in His presence.  That there was
a divine intelligence continually acting upon the race of Seth as his
chosen people, is, I think, clearly proved by the events of their
history, and also that the early opinions of a small tribe in Judaea were
designed for the foundation of the religion of the most active and
civilised and powerful nations of the world, and that after a lapse of
three thousand years.  The manner in which Christianity spread over the
world with a few obscure mechanics or fishermen for its promulgators; the
mode in which it triumphed over paganism even when professed and
supported by the power and philosophy of a Julian; the martyrs who
subscribed to the truth of Christianity by shedding their blood for the
faith; the exalted nature of those intellectual men by whom it has been
professed who had examined all the depths of nature and exercised the
profoundest faculties of thought, such as Newton, Locke, and Hartley, all
appear to me strong arguments in favour of revealed religion.  I prefer
rather founding my creed upon the fitness of its doctrines than upon
historical evidences or the nature of its miracles.  The Divine
Intelligence chooses that men should be convinced according to the
ordinary train of their sensations, and on all occasions it appears to me
more natural that a change should take place in the human mind than in
the order of nature.  The popular opinion of the people of Judaea was
that certain diseases were occasioned by devils taking possession of a
human being; the disease was cured by our Saviour, and this in the Gospel
is expressed by his casting out devils.  But without entering into
explanations respecting the historical miracles belonging to
Christianity, it is sufficient to say that its truth is attested by a
constantly existing miracle, the present state of the Jews, which was
predicted by Jesus; their temple and city were destroyed, and all
attempts made to rebuild it have been vain, and they remain the despised
and outcasts of the world.

_Onu_.--But you have not answered my objections with respect to the
cruelties exercised by the Jews under the command of Jehovah, which
appear to me in opposition to all our views of divine justice.

_Amb_.--I think even Philalethes will allow that physical and moral
diseases are hereditary, and that to destroy a pernicious unbelief or
demoniacal worship it was necessary to destroy the whole race root and
branch.  As an example, I will imagine a certain contagions disease which
is transmitted by parents to children, and which, like the plague, is
communicated to sound persons by contact; to destroy a family of men who
would spread this disease over the whole earth would unquestionably be a
mercy.  Besides, I believe in the immortality of the sentient principle
in man; destruction of life is only a change of existence, and supposing
the new existence a superior one it is a gain.  To the Supreme
Intelligence the death of a million of human beings is the mere
circumstance of so many spiritual essences changing their habitations,
and is analogous to the myriad millions of larvae that leave their coats
and shells behind them and rise into the atmosphere, as flies in a summer
day.  When man measures the works of the Divine Mind by his own feeble
combinations, he must wander in gross error; the infinite can never be
understood by the finite.

_Onu_.--As far as I can comprehend your reasoning, the priests of
Juggernaut might make the same defence for their idol, and find in such
views a fair apology for the destruction of thousands of voluntary
victims crushed to pieces by the feet of the sacred elephant.

_Amb_.--Undoubtedly they might, and I should allow the justness of their
defence if I saw in their religion any germs of a divine institution
fitted to become, like the religion of Jehovah, the faith of the whole
civilised world, embracing the most perfect form of theism and the most
refined and exalted morality.  I consider the early acts of the Jewish
nation as the lowest and rudest steps of a temple raised by the Supreme
Being to contain the altar of sacrifice to His glory.  In the early
periods of society rude and uncultivated men could only be acted upon by
gross and temporal rewards and punishments; severe rites and heavy
discipline were required to keep the mind in order, and the punishment of
the idolatrous nation served as an example for the Jews.  When
Christianity took the place of Judaism the ideas of the Supreme Being
became more pure and abstracted, and the visible attributes of Jehovah
and His angels appear to have been less frequently presented to the mind;
yet even for many ages it seemed as if the grossness of our material
senses required some assistance from the eye in fixing or perpetuating
the character of religious instinct, and the Church to which I belong,
and I may say the whole Christian Church in early times, allowed visible
images, pictures, statues, and relics as the means of awakening the
stronger devotional feelings.  We have been accused of worshipping merely
inanimate objects, but this is a very false notion of the nature of our
faith; we regard them merely as vivid characters representing spiritual
existences and we no more worship them than the Protestant does his Bible
when he kisses it under a solemn religious adjuration.  The past, the
present, and the future being the same to the infinite and divine
Intelligence, and man being created in love for the purposes of
happiness, the moral and religious discipline to which he was submitted
was in strict conformity to his progressive faculties and to the primary
laws of his nature.  It is but a rude analogy, yet it is the only one I
can find, that of comparing the Supreme Being to a wise and good father
who, to secure the well-being of his offspring, is obliged to adopt a
system of rewards and punishments in which the senses at first and
afterwards the imagination and reason are concerned; he terrifies them by
the example of others, awakens their love of glory by pointing out the
distinction and the happiness gained by superior men by adopting a
particular line of conduct; he uses at first the rod, and gradually
substitutes for it the fear of immediate shame; and having awakened the
fear of shame and the love of praise or honour with respect to temporary
and immediate actions he extends them to the conduct of the whole of
life, and makes what was a momentary feeling a permanent and immutable
principle.  And obedience in the child to the will of such a parent may
be compared to faith in and obedience to the will of the Supreme Being;
and a wayward and disobedient child who reasons upon and doubts the
utility of the discipline of such a father is much in the same state in
which the adult man is who doubts if there be good in the decrees of
Providence and who questions the harmony of the plan of the moral
universe.

_Onu_.--Allowing the perfection of your moral scheme of religion and its
fitness for the nature of man, I find it impossible to believe the
primary doctrines on which this scheme is founded.  You make the Divine
Mind, the creator of infinite worlds, enter into the form of a man born
of a virgin, you make the eternal and immortal God the victim of shameful
punishment and suffering death on the cross, recovering His life after
three days, and carrying His maimed and lacerated body into the heaven of
heavens.

_Amb_.--You, like all other sceptics, make your own interpretations of
the Scriptures and set up a standard for divine power in human reason.
The infinite and eternal mind, as I said before, fits the doctrines of
religion to the minds by which they are to be embraced.  I see no
improbability in the idea that an integrant part of His essence may have
animated a human form; there can be no doubt that this belief has existed
in the human mind, and the belief constitutes the vital part of the
religion.  We know nothing of the generation of the human being in the
ordinary course of nature; how absurd then to attempt to reason upon the
acts of the Divine Mind! nor is there more difficulty in imagining the
event of a divine conception than of a divine creation.  To God the
infinite, little and great, as measured by human powers, are equal; a
creature of this earth, however humble and insignificant, may have the
same weight with millions of superior beings inhabiting higher systems.
But I consider all the miraculous parts of our religion as effected by
changes in the sensations or ideas of the human mind, and not by physical
changes in the order of nature; a man who has to repair a piece of
machinery, as a clock, must take it to pieces, and, in fact, re-make it,
but to infinite wisdom and power a change in the intellectual state of
the human being may be the result of a momentary will, and the mere act
of faith may produce the change.  How great the powers of imagination
are, even in ordinary life, is shown by many striking facts, and nothing
seems impossible to this imagination when acted upon by divine influence.
To attempt to answer all the objections which may be derived from the
want of conformity in the doctrines of Christianity to the usual order of
events would be an interminable labour.  My first principle is, that
religion has nothing to do with the common order of events; it is a pure
and divine instinct intended to give results to man which he cannot
obtain by the common use of his reason, and which at first view often
appear contradictory to it, but which when examined by the most refined
tests, and considered in the most extensive and profound relations, are,
in fact, in conformity with the most exalted intellectual knowledge, so
that, indeed, the results of pure reason ultimately become the same with
those of faith--the tree of knowledge is grafted upon the tree of life,
and that fruit which brought the fear of death into the world, budding on
an immortal stock, becomes the fruit of the promise of immortality.

_Onu_.--You derive Christianity from Judaism; I cannot see their
connection, and it appears to me that the religion of Mahomet is more
naturally a scion from the stock of Moses.  Christ was a Jew, and was
circumcised; this rite was continued by Mahomet, and is to this day
adopted by his disciples, though rejected by the Christians; and the
doctrines of Mahomet appear to me to have a higher claim to divine origin
than those of Jesus; his morality is as pure, his theism purer, and his
system of rewards and punishments after death as much in conformity with
our ideas of eternal justice.

_Amb_.--I will willingly make the decision of the general question
dependent upon the decision of this particular one.  No attempts have
been made by the Mahometans to find any predictions respecting their
founder in the Old Testament, and they have never pretended even that he
was the Messiah; therefore, as far as prophecy is concerned, there is no
ground for admitting the truth of the religion of Mahomet.  It has been
the fashion with a particular sect of infidels to praise the morality of
the Mahometans, but I think unjustly; they are said to be honest in their
dealings and charitable to those of their own persuasion; but they allow
polygamy and a plurality of women, and are despisers and persecutors of
the nations professing a different faith.  And what a contrast does this
morality present to that of the Gospel which inculcates charity to all
mankind, and orders benevolent actions to be performed even to enemies!
and the purity and simplicity of the infant is held up by Christ as the
model of imitation for His followers.  Then, in the rewards and
punishments of the future state of the Mahometans, how gross are all the
ideas, how unlike the promises of a divine and spiritual being; their
paradise is a mere earthly garden of sensual pleasure, and their Houris
represent the ladies of their own harems rather than glorified angelic
natures.  How different is the Christian heaven, how sublime in its idea,
indefinite, yet well suited to a being of intellectual and progressive
faculties; "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into
the heart of man to conceive the joys that He hath prepared for those who
love Him."

_Onu_.--I confess your answer to my last argument is a triumphant one;
but I cannot allow a question of such extent and of such a variety of
bearings to be decided by so slight an advantage as that which you have
gained by this answer.  I will now offer another difficulty to you.  The
law of the Jews, you will allow, was established by God Himself and
delivered to Moses from the seat of His glory amongst storms, thunder,
and lightnings, on Mount Sinai; why should this law, if pure and divine,
have been overturned by the same Being who established it?  And all the
ceremonies of the Hebrews have been abolished by the first Christians.

_Amb_.--I deny that the divine law of Moses was abolished by Christ, who
Himself says, "I came to confirm the law, not to destroy it."  And the
Ten Commandments form the vital parts of the foundation of the creed of
the true Christian.  It appears that the religion of Christ was the same
pure theism with that of the patriarchs; and the rites and ceremonies
established by Moses seem to have been only adjuncts to the spiritual
religion intended to suit a particular climate and a particular state of
the Jewish nation, rather a dress or clothing of the religion than
forming a constituent part of it, a system of discipline of life and
manners rather than an essential part of doctrine.  The rites of
circumcision and ablution were necessary to the health and perhaps even
to the existence of a people living on the hottest part of the shores of
the Mediterranean.  And in the sacrifices made of the first fruits and of
the chosen of the flock, we may see a design not merely connected with
the religious faith of the people but even with their political economy.
To offer their choicest and best property as a proof of their gratitude
to the Supreme Being was a kind of test of devotedness and obedience to
the theocracy; and these sacrifices by obliging them to raise more
produce and provide more cattle than were essential to their ordinary
support, preserved them from the danger of famine, as in case of a dearth
it was easy for the priests under the divine permission to apply those
offerings to the necessities of the people.  All the pure parts of the
faith which had descended from Abraham to David were preserved by Jesus
Christ; but the ceremonial religion was fitted only for a particular
nation and a particular country; Christianity, on the contrary, was to be
the religion of the world and of a civilised and improving world.  And it
appears to me to be an additional proof of its divine nature and origin,
that it is exactly in conformity to the principles of the improvement and
perfection of the human mind.  When given to a particular race fixed in a
peculiar climate, its objects were sensible, its discipline was severe,
and its rites and ceremonies numerous and imposing, fitted to act upon
weak, ignorant, and consequently obstinate men.  In its gradual
development it threw off its local character and its particular forms,
and adopted ceremonies more fitted for mankind in general; and in its
ultimate views, it preserves only pure, spiritual, and I may say
philosophical doctrines, the unity of the divine nature and a future
state, embracing a system of rewards and punishments suited to an
accountable and immortal being.

_Phil_.--I have been attentively listening to your discussion.  The views
which Ambrosio has taken of Christianity certainly throw a light over it
perfectly new to me; and, I must say in candour, that I am disposed to
adopt his notion of the early state of society rather than that of my
Genius.  I have always been accustomed to consider religious feeling as
instinctive; but Ambrosio's arguments have given me something approaching
to a definite faith for an obscure and indefinite notion.  I am willing
to allow that man was created, not a savage, as he is represented in my
vision, but perfect in his faculties and with a variety of instinctive
powers and knowledge; that he transmitted these powers and knowledge to
his offspring; but that by an improper use of reason in disobedience to
the divine will, the instinctive faculties of most of his descendants
became deteriorated and at last lost, but that these faculties were
preserved in the race of Abraham and David, and the full power again
bestowed upon or recovered by Christ.  I am ready to allow the importance
of religion in cultivating and improving the world; and Ambrosio's view
appears to me capable of being referred to a general law of our nature;
and revelation may be regarded not as a partial interference but as a
constant principle belonging to the mind of man, and the belief in
supernatural forms and agency, the results of prophecies and the
miracles, as one only of the necessary consequences of it.  Man, as a
reasoning animal, must always have doubted of his immortality and plan of
conduct; in all the results of faith, there is immediate submission to a
divine will, which we are sure is good.  We may compare the destiny of
man in this respect to that of a migratory bird; if a slow flying bird,
as a landrail in the Orkneys in autumn, had reason and could use it as to
the probability of his finding his way over deserts, across seas, and of
securing his food in passing to a warm climate 3,000 miles off, he would
undoubtedly starve in Europe; under the direction of his instinct he
securely arrives there in good condition.  I have allowed the force of
your objections to that part of my vision relating to the origin of
society, but I hope you will admit that the conclusion of it is not
inconsistent with the ideas derived from revelation respecting the future
state of the human being.

_Amb_.--Revelation has not disclosed to us the nature of this state, but
only fixed its certainty.  We are sure from geological facts, as well as
from sacred history, that man is a recent animal on the globe, and that
this globe has undergone one considerable revolution, since the creation,
by water; and we are taught that it is to undergo another, by fire,
preparatory to a new and glorified state of existence of man; but this is
all we are permitted to know, and as this state is to be entirely
different from the present one of misery and probation, any knowledge
respecting it would be useless and indeed almost impossible.

_Phil_.--My Genius has placed the more exalted spiritual natures in
cometary worlds, and this last fiery revolution may be produced by the
appulse of a comet.

_Amb_.--Human fancy may imagine a thousand manners in which it may be
produced, but upon such notions it is absurd to dwell.  I will not allow
your Genius the slightest approach to inspiration, and I can admit no
verisimility in a reverie which is fixed on a foundation you now allow to
be so weak.  But see, the twilight is beginning to appear in the orient
sky, and there are some dark clouds on the horizon opposite to the crater
of Vesuvius, the lower edges of which transmit a bright light, showing
the sun is already risen in the country beneath them.  I would say that
they may serve as an image of the hopes of immortality derived from
revelation; for we are sure from the light reflected in those clouds that
the lands below us are in the brightest sunshine, but we are entirely
ignorant of the surface and the scenery; so, by revelation, the light of
an imperishable and glorious world is disclosed to us; but it is in
eternity, and its objects cannot be seen by mortal eye or imaged by
mortal imagination.

_Phil_.--I am not so well read in the Scriptures as I hope I shall be at
no very distant time; but I believe the pleasures of heaven are mentioned
more distinctly than you allow in the sacred writings.  I think I
remember that the saints are said to be crowned with palms and amaranths,
and that they are described as perpetually hymning and praising God.

_Amb_.--This is evidently only metaphorical; music is the sensual
pleasure which approaches nearest to an intellectual one, and probably
may represent the delight resulting from the perception of the harmony of
things and of truth seen in God.  The palm as an evergreen tree and the
amaranth a perdurable flower are emblems of immortality.  If I am allowed
to give a metaphorical allusion to the future state of the blest, I
should image it by the orange grove in that sheltered glen, on which the
sun is now beginning to shine, and of which the trees are at the same
time loaded with sweet golden fruit and balmy silver flowers.  Such
objects may well portray a state in which hope and fruition become one
eternal feeling.

_Onu_.--This glorious sunrise seems to have made you both poetical.
Though with the darkest and most gloomy mind of the party I cannot help
feeling its influence, I cannot help believing with you that the night of
death will be succeeded by a bright morning; but, as in the scene below
us, the objects are nearly the same as they were last evening, with more
of brightness and brilliancy, with a fairer prospect in the east and more
mist in the west, so I cannot help believing that our new state of
existence must bear an analogy to the present one, and that the order of
events will not be entirely different.

_Amb_.--Your view is not an unnatural one; but I am rejoiced to find some
symptoms of a change in your opinions.

_Onu_.--I wish with all my heart they were stronger; I begin to feel my
reason a weight and my scepticism a very heavy load.  Your discussions
have made me a Philo-Christian, but I cannot understand nor embrace all
the views you have developed, though I really wish to do so.

_Amb_.--Your wish, if sincere, I doubt not will be gratified.  Fix your
powerful mind upon the harmony of the moral world, as you have been long
accustomed to do upon the order of the physical universe, and you will
see the scheme of the eternal intelligence developing itself alike in
both.  Think of the goodness and mercy of omnipotence, and aid your
contemplation by devotional feelings and mental prayer and aspirations to
the source of all knowledge, and wait with humility for the light which I
doubt not will be so produced in your mind.

_Onu_.--You again perplex me; I cannot believe that the adorations or
offerings of so feeble a creature can influence the decrees of
omnipotence.

_Amb_.--You mistake me: as to their influencing or affecting the supreme
mind it is out of the question, but they affect your own mind, they
perpetuate a habit of gratitude and of obedience which may gradually end
in perfect faith, they discipline the affections and keep the heart in a
state of preparation to receive and preserve all good and pious feelings.
Whoever passes from utter darkness into bright sunshine finds that he
cannot at first distinguish objects better in one than in the other, but
in a feeble light he acquires gradually the power of bearing a brighter
one, and gains at last the habit not only of supporting it, but of
receiving delight as well as instruction from it.  In the pious
contemplations that I recommend to you there is the twilight or sober
dawn of faith which will ultimately enable you to support the brightness
of its meridian sun.

_Onu_.--I understand you, but your metaphor is more poetical than just;
your discipline, however, I have no doubt, is better fitted to enable me
to bear the light than to contemplate it through the smoked or coloured
glasses of scepticism.

_Amb_.--Yes, for they not only diminish its brightness but alter its
nature.



DIALOGUE THE THIRD.  THE UNKNOWN.


The same persons accompanied me in many journeys by land and water to
different parts of the Phlegraean fields, and we enjoyed in a most
delightful season, the beginning of May, the beauties of the glorious
country which encloses the Bay of Naples, so rich, so ornamented with the
gifts of nature, so interesting from the monuments it contains and the
recollections it awakens.  One excursion, the last we made in southern
Italy, the most important both from the extraordinary personage with whom
it made me acquainted and his influence upon my future life, merits a
particular detail which I shall now deliver to paper.

It was on the 16th of May, 18-- that we left Naples at three in the
morning for the purpose of visiting the remains of the temples of Paestum,
and having provided relays of horses we found ourselves at about half-
past one o'clock descending the hill of Eboli towards the plain which
contains these stupendous monuments of antiquity.  Were my existence to
be prolonged through ten centuries, I think I could never forget the
pleasure I received on that delicious spot.  We alighted from our
carriage to take some refreshment, and we reposed upon the herbage under
the shade of a magnificent pine contemplating the view around and below
us.  On the right were the green hills covered with trees stretching
towards Salerno; beyond them were the marble cliffs which form the
southern extremity of the Bay of Sorento; immediately below our feet was
a rich and cultivated country filled with vineyards and abounding in
villas, in the gardens of which were seen the olive and the cypress tree
connected as if to memorialise how near to each other are life and death,
joy and sorrow; the distant mountains stretching beyond the plain of
Paestum were in the full luxuriance of vernal vegetation; and in the
extreme distance, as if in the midst of a desert, we saw the white
temples glittering in the sunshine.  The blue Tyrrhene sea filled up the
outline of this scene, which, though so beautiful, was not calm; there
was a heavy breeze which blew full from the southwest; it was literally a
zephyr, and its freshness and strength in the middle of the day were
peculiarly balmy and delightful; it seemed a breath stolen by the spring
from the summer.  I never saw a deeper, brighter azure than that of the
waves which rolled towards the shore, and which was rendered more
striking by the pure whiteness of their foam.  The agitation of nature
seemed to be one of breathing and awakening life; the noise made by the
waving of the branches of the pine above our heads and by the rattling of
its cones was overpowered by the music of a multitude of birds which sung
everywhere in the trees that surrounded us, and the cooing of the turtle-
doves was heard even more distinctly than the murmuring of the waves or
the whistling of the winds, so that in the strife of nature the voice of
love was predominant.  With our hearts touched by this extraordinary
scene we descended to the ruins, and having taken at a farmhouse a person
who acted as guide or cicerone, we began to examine those wonderful
remains which have outlived even the name of the people by whom they were
raised, and which continue almost perfect whilst a Roman and a Saracen
city since raised have been destroyed.  We had been walking for half an
hour round the temples in the sunshine when our guide represented to us
the danger that there was of suffering from the effects of malaria, for
which, as is well known, this place is notorious, and advised us to
retire into the interior of the temple of Neptune.  We followed his
advice, and my companions began to employ themselves in measuring the
circumference of one of the Doric columns, when they suddenly called my
attention to a stranger who was sitting on a camp-stool behind it.  The
appearance of any person in this place at this time was sufficiently
remarkable, but the man who was before us from his dress and appearance
would have been remarkable anywhere.  He was employed in writing in a
memorandum book when we first saw him, but he immediately rose and
saluted us by bending the head slightly though gracefully; and this
enabled me to see distinctly his person and dress.  He was rather above
the middle stature, slender, but with well-turned limbs; his countenance
was remarkably intelligent, his eye hazel but full and strong, his front
was smooth and unwrinkled, and but for some grey hairs, which appeared
silvering his brown and curly locks, he might have been supposed to have
hardly reached the middle age; his nose was aquiline, the expression of
the lower part of his countenance remarkably sweet, and when he spoke to
our guide, which he did with uncommon fluency in the Neapolitan dialect,
I thought I had never heard a more agreeable voice, sonorous yet gentle
and silver-sounded.  His dress was very peculiar, almost like that of an
ecclesiastic, but coarse and light; and there was a large soiled white
hat on the ground beside him, on which was fastened a pilgrim's cockle
shell, and there was suspended round his neck a long antique blue
enamelled phial, like those found in the Greek tombs, and it was attached
to a rosary of coarse beads.  He took up his hat, and appeared to be
retiring to another part of the building, when I apologised for the
interruption we had given to his studies, begged him to resume them, and
assured him that our stay in the building would be only momentary, for I
saw that there was a cloud over the sun, the brightness of which was the
cause of our retiring.  I spoke in Italian; he replied in English,
observing that he supposed the fear of contracting the malaria fever had
induced us to seek the shelter of the shade: but it is too early in the
season to have much reasonable fear of this insidious enemy; yet, he
added, this bottle which you may have observed here at my breast, I carry
about with me, as a supposed preventive of the effects of malaria, and as
far as my experience, a very limited one, however, has gone, it is
effectual.  I ventured to ask him what the bottle might contain, as such
a benefit ought to be made known to the world.  He replied, "It is a
mixture which slowly produces the substance called by chemists chlorine,
which is well known to be generally destructive to contagious matters;
and a friend of mine who has lived for many years in Italy, and who has
made a number of experiments with it, by exposing himself to the danger
of fever in the worst seasons and in the worst places, believes that it
is a secure preventive.  I am not convinced of this; but it can do no
harm; and in waiting for more evidence of its utility, I employ it
without putting the least confidence in its power; nor do I expose myself
to the same danger as my friend has done for the sake of an experiment."
I said, "I believe several scientific persons--Brocchi amongst
others--have doubted the existence of any specific matter in the
atmosphere producing intermittent fevers in marshy countries and hot
climates; and have been more disposed to attribute the disease to
physical causes, dependent upon the great differences of temperature
between day and night and to the refrigerating effects of the dense fogs
common in such situations in the evening and morning; and, on this
hypothesis, they have recommended warm woollen clothing and fires at
night as the best preventives against these destructive diseases, so
fatal to the peasants who remain in the summer and autumn in the
neighbourhood of the maremme of Rome, Tuscany, or Naples."  The stranger
said, "I am acquainted with the opinions of the gentlemen, and they
undoubtedly have weight; but that a specific matter of contagion has not
been detected by chemical means in the atmosphere of marshes does not
prove its non-existence.  We know so little of those agents that affect
the human constitution, that it is of no use to reason on this subject.
There can be no doubt that the line of malaria above the Pontine marshes
is marked by a dense fog morning and evening, and most of the old Roman
towns were placed upon eminences out of the reach of this fog.  I have
myself experienced a peculiar effect upon the organs of smell in the
neighbourhood of marshes in the evening after a very hot day; and the
instances in which people have been seized with intermittents by a single
exposure in a place infested by malaria in the season of fevers gives, I
think, a strong support to something like a poisonous material existing
in the atmosphere in such spots; but I merely offer doubts.  I hope the
progress of physiology and of chemistry will at no very distant time
solve this important problem."  Ambrosio now came forward, and bowing to
the stranger, said he took the liberty, as he saw from his familiarity
with the cicerone that he was well acquainted with Paestum, of asking him
whether the masses of travertine, of which the Cyclopean walls and the
temples were formed, were really produced by aqueous deposition from the
River Silaro, as he had often heard reported.  The stranger replied,
"that they were certainly produced by deposition from water; and such
deposits are made by the Silaro.  But I rather believe," he said, "that a
lake in the immediate neighbourhood of the city furnished the quarry from
which these stones were excavated; and, in half an hour, if you like,
after you have finished your examinations of the temples with your guide,
I will accompany you to the spot from which it is evident that large
masses of the travertine, marmor tiburtinum, or calcareous tufa, have
been raised."  We thanked him for his attention, accepted his invitation,
took the usual walk round the temples, and returned to our new
acquaintance, who led the way through the gate of the city to the banks
of a pool or lake a short distance off.  We walked to the borders on a
mass of calcareous tufa, and we saw that this substance had even
encrusted the reeds on the shore.  There was something peculiarly
melancholy in the character of this water; all the herbs around it were
grey, as if encrusted with marble; a few buffaloes were slaking their
thirst in it, which ran wildly away on our approach, and appeared to
retire into a rocky excavation or quarry at the end of the lake; there
were a number of birds, which, on examination, I found were sea swallows,
flitting on the surface and busily employed with the libella or dragon-
fly in destroying the myriads of gnats which rose from the bottom and
were beginning to be very troublesome by their bites to us.  "There,"
said the stranger, "is what I believe to be the source of those large and
durable stones which you see in the plain before you.  This water rapidly
deposits calcareous matter, and even if you throw a stick into it, a few
hours is sufficient to give it a coating of this substance.  Whichever
way you turn your eyes you see masses of this recently-produced marble,
the consequence of the overflowing of the lake during the winter floods,
and in that large excavation where you saw the buffaloes disappear you
may observe that immense masses have been removed, as if by the hand of
art and in remote times.  The marble that remains in the quarry is of the
same texture and character as that which you see in the ruins of Paestum,
and I think it is scarcely possible to doubt that the builders of those
extraordinary structures derived a part of their materials from this
spot."  Ambrosio gave his assent to this opinion of the stranger; and I
took the liberty of asking him as to the quantity of calcareous matter
contained in solution in the lake, saying that it appeared to me, for so
rapid and considerable an effect of deposition, there must be an unusual
quantity of solid matter dissolved by the water or some peculiar
circumstance of solution.  The stranger replied, "This water is like
many, I may say most of the sources which rise at the foot of the
Apennines: it holds carbonic acid in solution which has dissolved a
portion of the calcareous matter of the rock through which it has passed.
This carbonic acid is dissipated in the atmosphere, and the marble,
slowly thrown down, assumes a crystalline form and produces coherent
stones.  The lake before us is not particularly rich in the quantity of
calcareous matter that it contains, for, as I have found by experience, a
pint of it does not afford more than five or six grains; but the quantity
of fluid and the length of time are sufficient to account for the immense
quantities of tufa and rock which in the course of ages have accumulated
in this situation."  Onuphrio's curiosity was excited by this statement
of the stranger, and he said, "May I take the liberty of asking if you
have any idea as to the cause of the large quantity of carbonic acid
which you have been so good as to inform us exists in most of the waters
in this country?"  The stranger replied, "I certainly have formed an
opinion on this subject, which I willingly state to you.  It can, I
think, be scarcely doubted that there is a source of volcanic fire at no
great distance from the surface in the whole of southern Italy; and, this
fire acting upon the calcareous rocks of which the Apennines are
composed, must constantly detach from them carbonic acid, which rising to
the sources of the springs, deposited from the waters of the atmosphere,
must give them their impregnation and enable them to dissolve calcareous
matter.  I need not dwell upon Etna, Vesuvius, or the Lipari Islands to
prove that volcanic fires are still in existence; and there can be no
doubt that in earlier periods almost the whole of Italy was ravaged by
them; oven Rome itself, the eternal city, rests upon the craters of
extinct volcanoes; and I imagine that the traditional and fabulous record
of the destruction made by the conflagration of Phaeton in the chariot of
the sun and his falling into the Po had reference to a great and
tremendous igneous volcanic eruption, which extended over Italy and
ceased only near the Po at the foot of the Alps.  Be this as it may, the
sources of carbonic acid are numerous, not merely in the Neapolitan, but
likewise in the Roman and Tuscan states.  The most magnificent waterfall
in Europe, that of the Velino, near Terni, is partly fed by a stream
containing calcareous matter dissolved by carbonic acid, and it deposits
marble, which crystallises even in the midst of its thundering descent
and foam in the bed in which it falls.  The Anio or Teverone, which
almost approaches in beauty to the Velino in the number and variety of
its falls and cascatelle, is likewise a calcareous water; and there is
still a more remarkable one which empties itself into this river below
Tivoli, and which you have probably seen in your excursions in the
campagna of Rome, called the lacus Albula or the lake of the Solfatara."
Ambrosio said, "We remember it well, we saw it this very spring; we were
carried there to examine some ancient Roman baths, and we were struck by
the blue milkiness of the water, by the magnitude of the source, and by
the disagreeable smell of sulphuretted hydrogen which everywhere
surrounded the lake."  The stranger said, "When you return to Latium I
advise you to pay another visit to a spot which is interesting from a
number of causes, some of which I will take the liberty of mentioning to
you.  You have only seen one lake, that where the ancient Romans erected
their baths, but there is another a few yards above it, surrounded by
very high rushes, and almost hidden by them from the sight.  This lake
sends down a considerable stream of tepid water to the larger lake, but
this water is less strongly impregnated with carbonic acid; the largest
lake is actually a saturated solution of this gas, which escapes from it
in such quantities in some parts of its surface that it has the
appearance of being actually in ebullition.  I have found by experiment
that the water taken from the most tranquil part of the lake, even after
being agitated and exposed to the air, contained in solution more than
its own volume of carbonic acid gas with a very small quantity of
sulphuretted hydrogen, to the presence of which, I conclude, its ancient
use in curing cutaneous disorders may be referred.  Its temperature, I
ascertained, was in the winter in the warmest parts above 80 degrees of
Fahrenheit, and it appears to be pretty constant, for I have found it
differ a few degrees only, in the ascending source, in January, March,
May, and the beginning of June; it is therefore supplied with heat from a
subterraneous source, being nearly twenty degrees above the mean
temperature of the atmosphere.  Kircher has detailed in his "Mundus
Subterraneus" various wonders respecting this lake, most of which are
unfounded, such as that it is unfathomable, that it has at the bottom the
heat of boiling water, and that floating islands rise from the gulf which
emits it.  It must certainly be very difficult, or even impossible, to
fathom a source which rises with so much violence from a subterraneous
excavation, and, at a time when chemistry had made small progress, it was
easy to mistake the disengagement of carbonic acid for an actual
ebullition.  The floating islands are real, but neither the Jesuit nor
any of the writers who have since described this lake had a correct idea
of their origin, which is exceedingly curious.  The high temperature of
this water, and the quantity of carbonic acid that it contains, render it
peculiarly fitted to afford a pabulum or nourishment to vegetable life.
The banks of travertine are everywhere covered with reeds, lichens,
confervae, and various kinds of aquatic vegetables, and, at the same time
that the process of vegetable life is going on, the crystallisations of
the calcareous matter, which is everywhere deposited in consequence of
the escape of carbonic acid, likewise proceed, giving a constant
milkiness to what, from its tint, would otherwise be a blue fluid.  So
rapid is the vegetation, owing to the decomposition of the carbonic acid,
that, even in winter, masses of confervae and lichens, mixed with
deposited travertine, are constantly detached by the currents of water
from the bank and float down the stream, which being a considerable river
is never without many of these small islands on its surface; they are
sometimes only a few inches in size, and composed merely of dark-green
confervae or purple or yellow lichens, but they are sometimes even of
some feet in diameter, and contain seeds and various species of common
water-plants, which are usually more or less encrusted with marble.  There
is, I believe, no place in the world where there is a more striking
example of the opposition or contrast of the laws of animate and
inanimate Nature, of the forces of inorganic chemical affinity and those
of the powers of life.  Vegetables in such a temperature, and everywhere
surrounded by food, are produced with a wonderful rapidity, but the
crystallisations are formed with equal quickness, and they are no sooner
produced than they are destroyed together.  Notwithstanding the
sulphureous exhalations from the lake, the quantity of vegetable matter
generated there and its heat make it the resort of an infinite variety of
insect tribes, and even in the coldest days in winter numbers of flies
may be observed on the vegetables surrounding its banks or on its
floating island's, and a quantity of their larvae may be seen there
sometimes encrusted and entirely destroyed by calcareous matter, which is
likewise often the fate of the insects themselves, as well as of various
species of shell-fish that are found amongst the vegetables, which grow
and are destroyed in the travertine on its banks.  Snipes, ducks, and
various water-birds, often visit those lakes, probably attracted by the
temperature and the quantity of food in which they abound; but they
usually confine themselves to the banks, as the carbonic acid disengaged
from the surface would be fatal to them if they ventured to swim upon it
when tranquil.  In May, 18--, I fixed a stick on a mass of travertine
covered by the water, and I examined it in the beginning of the April
following for the purpose of determining the nature of the depositions.
The water was lower at this time, yet I had some difficulty, by means of
a sharp-pointed hammer, in breaking the mass which adhered to the bottom
of the stick; it was several inches in thickness.  The upper part was a
mixture of light tufa and the leaves of confervae; below this was a
darker and more solid travertine, containing black and decomposed masses
of confervae; in the inferior part the travertine was more solid and of a
grey colour, but with cavities which I have no doubt were produced by the
decomposition of vegetable matter.  I have passed many hours, I may say
many days, in studying the phenomena of this wonderful lake; it has
brought many trains of thought into my mind connected with the early
changes of our globe, and I have sometimes reasoned from the forms of
plants and animals preserved in marble in this warm source to the grander
depositions in the secondary rocks, where the zoophytes or coral insects
have worked upon a grand scale, and where palms, and vegetables now
unknown are preserved with the remains of crocodiles, turtles, and
gigantic extinct animals of the _sauri genus_, and which appear to have
belonged to a period when the whole globe possessed a much higher
temperature.  I have, likewise, often been led, from the remarkable
phenomena surrounding me in that spot, to compare the works of man with
those of Nature.  The baths, erected there nearly twenty centuries ago,
present only heaps of ruins, and even the bricks of which they were
built, though hardened by fire, are crumbled into dust, whilst the masses
of travertine around it, though formed by a variable source from the most
perishable materials, have hardened by time, and the most perfect remains
of the greatest ruins in the eternal city, such as the triumphal arches
and the Colosaeum, owe their duration to this source.  Then, from all we
know, this lake, except in some change in its dimensions, continues
nearly in the same state in which it was described 1,700 years ago by
Pliny, and I have no doubt contains the same kinds of floating islands,
the same plants, and the same insects.  During the fifteen years that I
have known it it has appeared precisely identical in these respects, and
yet it has the character of an accidental phenomenon depending upon
subterraneous fire.  How marvellous then are those laws by which even the
humblest types of organic existence are preserved though born amidst the
sources of their destruction, and by which a species of immortality is
given to generations floating, as it were, like evanescent bubbles, on a
stream raised from the deepest caverns of the earth, and instantly losing
what may be called its spirit in the atmosphere."  These last
observations of the stranger recalled to my recollection some phenomena
which I had observed many years ago, and of which I could then give no
satisfactory explanation.  I was shooting in the marshes which surround
the ruins of Gabia, and where there are still remains supposed to be of
the Alexandrine aqueduct; I observed a small insulated hill, apparently
entirely composed of travertine, and from its summit there were
formations of tufa which had evidently been produced by running water,
but the whole mass was now perfectly dry and encrusted by vegetables.  At
first I suspected that this little mountain had been formed by a jet of
calcareous water, a kind of small fountain analogous to the Geiser, which
had deposited travertine and continued to rise through the basin flowing
from a higher level; but the irregular form of the eminence did not
correspond to this idea, and I remained perplexed with the fact and
unable to satisfy myself as to its cause.  The views of the stranger
appeared to me now to make it probable that the calcareous water had
issued from ancient leaks in the aqueduct and formed a hillock that had
encased the bricks of the erection, which in other parts, where not
encrusted by travertine, had become entirely decayed, degraded, and
removed from the soil.  I mentioned the circumstance and my suspicion of
its nature.  The stranger said: "You are perfectly correct in your idea.
I know the spot well, and if you had not mentioned it I should probably
have quoted it as an instance in which the works of art are preserved, as
it were, by the accidents of Nature.  I was so struck by this appearance
last year that I had the travertine partially removed by some workmen,
and I found beneath it the canal of the aqueduct in a perfect state, and
the bricks of the arches as uninjured as if freshly laid."  The stranger
had hardly concluded this sentence when he was interrupted by Onuphrio,
who said, "I have always supposed that in every geological system water
is considered as the cause of the destruction or degradation of the
surface, but in all the instances that you have mentioned it appears
rather as a conservative power, not destroying but rather producing."  "It
is the general vice of philosophical systems," replied the stranger,
"that they are usually founded upon a few facts, which they well explain,
and are extended by the human fancy to all the phenomena of Nature, to
many of which they must be contradictory.  The human intellectual powers
are so feeble that they can with difficulty embrace a single series of
phenomena, and they consequently must fail when extended to the whole of
Nature.  Water by its common operation, as poured down from the
atmosphere in rain and torrents, tends to level and degrade the surface,
and carries the material of the land into the bosom of the ocean.  Fire,
on the contrary, in volcanic eruptions usually raises mountains, exalts
the surface, and creates islands even in the midst of the sea.  But these
laws are not invariable, as the instances to which we have just referred
prove, and parts of the surface of the globe are sometimes destroyed even
by fire, of which examples may be seen in the Phlegraean fields, and
islands raised by one volcanic eruption have been immerged in the sea by
another.  There are, in fact, no accidents in Nature; what we call
accidents are the results of general laws in particular operation, but we
cannot deduce these laws from the particular operation or the general
order from the partial result."  Ambrosio said to the stranger: "You
appear, sir, to have paid so much attention to physical phenomena that
few things would give us more pleasure than to know your opinion
respecting the early changes and physical history of the globe, for I
perceive you do not belong to the modern geological schools."  The
stranger said, "I have certainly formed opinions or rather speculations
on these subjects, but I fear they are hardly worth communicating; they
have sometimes amused me in hours of idleness, but I doubt if they will
amuse others."  I said, "The observations which you have already been so
kind as to communicate to us, on the formation of the travertine, lead us
not only to expect amusement but likewise instruction."

_The Stranger_.--On these matters I had facts to communicate; on the
geological scheme of the early history of the globe there are only
analogies to guide us, which different minds may apply and interpret in
different ways; but I will not trifle with a long preliminary discourse.
Astronomical deductions and actual measures by triangulation prove that
the globe is an oblate spheroid flattened at the poles, and this form we
know, by strict mathematical demonstrations, is precisely the one which a
fluid body revolving round its axis, and become solid at its surface by
the slow dissipation of its heat or other causes, would assume.  I
suppose, therefore, that the globe, in the first state in which the
imagination can venture to consider it, was a fluid mass with an immense
atmosphere revolving in space round the sun, and that by its cooling a
portion of its atmosphere was condensed in water which occupied a part of
the surface.  In this state no forms of life such as now belong to our
system could have inhabited it; and, I suppose, the crystalline rocks
(or, as they are called by geologists, the primary rocks), which contain
no vestiges of a former order of things, were the results of the first
consolidation on its surface.  Upon the further cooling the water which
more or less had covered it contracted, depositions took place, shell-
fish and coral insects of the first creation began their labours, and
islands appeared in the midst of the ocean raised from the deep by the
productive energies of millions of zoophytes.  Those islands became
covered with vegetables fitted to bear a high temperature, such as palms
and various species of plants similar to those which now exist in the
hottest parts of the world; and the submarine rocks or shores of these
new formations of land became covered with aquatic vegetables, on which
various species of shell-fish and common fishes found their nourishment.
The fluids of the globe in cooling deposited a large quantity of the
materials they held in solution, and these deposits agglutinating
together the sand, the immense masses of coral rocks, and some of the
remains of the shells and fishes found round the shores of the primitive
lands, produced the first order of secondary rocks.  As the temperature
of the globe became lower, species of the oviparous reptiles were created
to inhabit it; and the turtle, crocodile, and various gigantic animals of
the sauri kind, seem to have haunted the bays and waters of the primitive
lands.  But in this state of things there was no order of events similar
to the present; the crust of the globe was exceedingly slender, and the
source of fire a small distance from the surface.  In consequence of
contraction in one part of the mass, cavities were opened, which caused
the entrance of water, and immense volcanic explosions took place,
raising one part of the surface, depressing another, producing mountains,
and causing new and extensive depositions from the primitive ocean.
Changes of this kind must have been extremely frequent in the early
epochas of nature, and the only living forms of which the remains are
found in the strata that are the monuments of these changes, are those of
plants, fishes, birds, and oviparous reptiles, which seem most fitted to
exist in such a war of the elements.  When these revolutions became less
frequent, and the globe became still more cooled, and the inequalities of
its temperature preserved by the mountain chains, more perfect animals
became its inhabitants, many of which, such as the mammoth, megalonix,
megatherium, and gigantic hyena, are now extinct.  At this period the
temperature of the ocean seems to have been not much higher than it is at
present, and the changes produced by occasional eruptions of it have left
no consolidated rocks.  Yet one of these eruptions appears to have been
of great extent and some duration, and seems to have been the cause of
those immense quantities of water-worn stones, gravel and sand, which are
usually called diluvian remains; and it is probable that this effect was
connected with the elevation of a new continent in the southern
hemisphere by volcanic fire.  When the system of things became so
permanent that the tremendous revolutions depending upon the destruction
of the equilibrium between the heating and cooling agencies were no
longer to be dreaded, the creation of man took place; and since that
period there has been little alteration in the physical circumstances of
our globe.  Volcanoes sometimes occasion the rise of new islands,
portions of the old continent are constantly washed by rivers into the
sea; but these changes are too insignificant to affect the destinies of
man, or the nature of the physical circumstances of things.  On the
hypothesis that I have adopted, however, it must be remembered that the
present surface of the globe is merely a thin crust surrounding a nucleus
of fluid ignited matter, and consequently we can hardly be considered as
actually safe from the danger of a catastrophe by fire.

Onuphrio said: "From the view you have taken, I conclude that you
consider volcanic eruptions as owing to the central fire; indeed, their
existence offers, I think, an argument for believing that the interior of
the globe is fluid."  The stranger answered: "I beg you to consider the
views I have been developing as merely hypothetical, one of the many
resting places that may be taken by the imagination in considering this
subject.  There are, however, distinct facts in favour of the idea that
the interior of the globe has a higher temperature than the surface; the
heat increasing in mines the deeper we penetrate, and the number of warm
sources which rise from great depths in almost all countries, are
certainly favourable to the idea.  The opinion that volcanoes are owing
to this general and simple cause is, I think, likewise more agreeable to
the analogies of things than to suppose them dependent upon partial
chemical changes, such as the action of air and water upon the
combustible bases of the earths and alkalies, though it is extremely
probable that these substances may exist beneath the surface, and may
occasion some results of volcanic fire; and on this subject my notion
may, perhaps, be more trusted, as for a long while I thought volcanic
eruptions were owing to chemical agencies of the newly discovered metals
of the earths and alkalies, and I made many, and some dangerous,
experiments in the hope of confirming this notion, but in vain."

_Amb_.--We are very much obliged to you for your geological
illustrations; but they remind me a little of some of the ideas of our
friend Philalethes in his remarkable vision, and with which we may at
some time amuse you in return for your geology should we be honoured with
more of your company.  You are obliged to have recourse to creations for
all the living beings in your philosophical romance.  I do not see why
you should not suppose creations or arrangements of dead matter by the
same laws of infinite wisdom, and why our globe should not rise at once a
divine work fitted for all the objects of living and intelligent natures.

The stranger replied: "I have merely attempted a philosophical history
founded upon the facts known respecting rocks and strata and the remains
they contain.  I begin with what may be considered a creation, a fluid
globe supplied with an immense atmosphere, and the series of phenomena
which I imagine consequent to the creation, I supposed produced by powers
impressed upon matter by Omnipotence."

Ambrosio said: "There is this verisimility in your history, that it is
not contradictory to the little we are informed by Revelation as to the
origin of the globe, the order produced in the chaotic state, and the
succession of living forms generated in the days of creation, which may
be what philosophers call the 'epochas of nature,' for a day with
Omnipotence is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

"I must object," Onuphrio said, "to your interpretation of the scientific
view of our new acquaintance, and to your disposition to blend them with
the cosmogony of Moses.  Allowing the divine origin of the Book of
Genesis, you must admit that it was not intended to teach the Jews
systems of philosophy, but the laws of life and morals; and a great man
and an exalted Christian raised his voice two centuries ago against this
mode of applying and of often wresting the sense of the Scriptures to
make them conformable to human fancies; 'from which,' says Lord Bacon,
'arise not only false and fantastical philosophies, but likewise
heretical religions.'  If the Scriptures are to be literally interpreted
and systems of science found in them, Gallileo Gallilei merited his
persecution, and we ought still to believe that the sun turns round the
earth."

_Amb_.--You mistake my view, Onuphrio, if you imagine I am desirous of
raising a system of geology on the Book of Genesis.  It cannot be doubted
that the first man was created with a great variety of instinctive or
inspired knowledge, which must have been likewise enjoyed by his
descendants; and some of this knowledge could hardly fail to have related
to the globe which he inhabited, and to the objects which surrounded him.
It would have been impossible for the human mind to have embraced the
mysteries of creation, or to have followed the history of the moving
atoms from their chaotic disorder into their arrangement in the visible
universe, to have seen dead matter assuming the forms of life and
animation, and light and power arising out of death and sleep.  The ideas
therefore transmitted to or presented by Moses respecting the origin of
the world and of man were of the most simple kind, and such as suited the
early state of society; but, though general and simple truths, they were
divine truths, yet clothed in a language and suited to the ideas of a
rude and uninstructed people.  And, when I state my satisfaction in
finding that they are not contradicted by the refined researches of
modern geologists, I do not mean to deduce from them a system of science.
I believe that light was the creation of an act of the Divine will; but I
do not mean to say that the words, "Let there be light, and there was
light," were orally spoken by the Deity, nor do I mean to imply that the
modern discoveries respecting light are at all connected with this
sublime and magnificent passage.

_Onu_.--Having resided for a long time in Edinburgh, and having heard a
number of discussions on the theory of Dr. Hutton, or the plutonic theory
of geology, and having been exceedingly struck both by its simplicity and
beauty, its harmony with existing facts, and the proofs afforded to it by
some beautiful chemical experiments, I do not feel disposed immediately
to renounce it for the views which I have just heard explained; for the
principal facts which our new acquaintance has stated are, I think, not
inconsistent with the refined philosophical systems of Professor Playfair
and Sir James Hall.

_The Unknown_.--I have no objection to the refined plutonic view, as
capable of explaining many existing phenomena; indeed, you must be aware
that I have myself had recourse to it.  What I contend against is, its
application to explain the formations of the secondary rocks, which I
think clearly belong to an order of facts not at all embraced by it.  In
the plutonic system there is one simple and constant order assumed, which
may be supposed eternal.  The surface is constantly imagined to be
disintegrated, destroyed, degraded, and washed into the bosom of the
ocean by water, and as constantly consolidated, elevated, and regenerated
by fire, and the ruins of the old form the foundations of the new world.
It is supposed that there are always the same types, both of dead and
living matter; that the remains of rocks, of vegetables, and animals of
one age are found embedded in rocks raised from the bottom of the ocean
in another.  Now, to support this view, not only the remains of living
beings which at present people the globe might be expected to be found in
the oldest secondary strata, but even those of the arts of man, the most
powerful and populous of its inhabitants, which is well known not to be
the case.  On the contrary, each stratum of the secondary rocks contains
remains of peculiar and mostly now unknown species of vegetables and
animals.  In those strata which are deepest, and which must consequently
be supposed to be the earliest deposited, forms even of vegetable life
are rare; shells and vegetable remains are found in the next order; the
bones of fishes and oviparous reptiles exist in the following class; the
remains of birds, with those of the same genera mentioned before, in the
next order; those of quadrupeds of extinct species, in a still more
recent class; and it is only in the loose and slightly consolidated
strata of gravel and sand, and which are usually called diluvian
formations, that the remains of animals such as now people the globe are
found, with others belonging to extinct species.  But in none of these
formations, whether called secondary, tertiary, or diluvial, have the
remains of man or any of his works been discovered.  It is, I think,
impossible to consider the organic remains found in any of the earlier
secondary strata, the lias-limestone and its congenerous formations for
instance, without being convinced that the beings, whose organs they
formed, belonged to an order of things entirely different from the
present.  Gigantic vegetables, more nearly allied to the palms of the
equatorial countries than to any other plants, can only be imagined to
have lived in a very high temperature; and the immense reptiles, the
megalosauri with paddles instead of legs and clothed in mail, in size
equal or even superior to the whale; and the great amphibia,
plethiosauri, with bodies like turtles, but furnished with necks longer
than their bodies, probably to enable them to feed on vegetables growing
in the shallows of the primitive ocean, seem to show a state in which low
lands or extensive shores rose above an immense calm sea, and when there
were no great mountain, chains to produce inequalities of temperature,
tempests, or storms.  Were the surface of the earth now to be carried
down into the depths of the ocean, or were some great revolution of the
waters to cover the existing land, and it was again to be elevated by
fire, covered with consolidated depositions of sand or mud, how entirely
different would it be in its characters from any of the secondary strata.
Its great features would undoubtedly be the works of man--hewn stones,
and statues of bronze and marble, and tools of iron--and human remains
would be more common than those of animals on the greatest part of the
surface; the columns of Paestum or of Agrigentum, or the immense iron and
granite bridges of the Thames, would offer a striking contrast to the
bones of the crocodiles or sauri in the older rocks, or even to those of
the mammoth or elephas primogenius in the diluvial strata.  And whoever
dwells upon this subject must be convinced that the present order of
things, and the comparatively recent existence of man as the master of
the globe, is as certain as the destruction of a former and a different
order and the extinction of a number of living forms which have now no
types in being, and which have left their remains wonderful monuments of
the revolutions of Nature.

_Onu_.--I am not quite convinced by your arguments.  Supposing the lands
of New Holland were to be washed into the depths of the ocean, and to be
raised according to the Huttonian view, as a secondary stratum, by
subterraneous fire, they would contain the remains of both vegetables and
animals entirely different from any found in the strata of the old
continents; and may not those peculiar formations to which you have
referred be, as it were, accidents of Nature belonging to peculiar parts
of the globe?  And you speak of a diluvian formation, which I conclude
you would identify with that belonging to the catastrophe described in
the sacred writings, in which no human remains are found.  Now, you
surely will not deny that man existed at the time of this catastrophe,
and he consequently may have existed at the period of the other
revolutions, which are supposed to be produced in the Huttonian views by
subterraneous fire.

_The Unknown_.--I have made use of the term "diluvian," because it has
been adopted by geologists, but without meaning to identify the cause of
the formations with the deluge described in the sacred writings.  I apply
the term merely to signify loose and water-worn strata not at all
consolidated, and deposited by an inundation of water, and in these
countries which they have covered man certainly did not exist.  With
respect to your argument derived from New Holland, it appears to me to be
without weight.  In a variety of climates, and in very distant parts of
the globe, secondary strata of the same order are found, and they contain
always the same kind of organic remains, which are entirely different
from any of those now afforded by beings belonging to the existing order
of things.  The catastrophes which produced the secondary strata and
diluvian depositions could not have been local and partial phenomena, but
must have extended over the whole, or a great part of the surface, of the
globe.  The remains of similar shell-fishes are found in the limestones
of the old and new continents; the teeth of the mammoth are not uncommon
in various parts of Europe; entire skeletons have been found in America,
and even the skin covered with hair and the entire body of one of these
enormous extinct animals has been discovered in Siberia preserved in a
mass of ice.  In the oldest secondary strata there are no remains of such
animals as now belong to the surface; and in the rocks which may be
regarded as more recently deposited, these remains occur but rarely, and
with abundance of extinct species.  There seems, as it were, a gradual
approach to the present system of things, and a succession of
destructions and creations preparatory to the existence of man.  It will
be useless to push these arguments farther.  You must allow that it is
impossible to defend the proposition, that the present order of things is
the ancient and constant order of Nature, only modified by existing laws,
and, consequently, the view which you have supported must be abandoned.
The monuments of extinct generations of animals are as perfect as those
of extinct nations; and it would be more reasonable to suppose that the
pillars and temples of Palmyra were raised by the wandering Arabs of the
desert, than to imagine that the vestiges of peculiar animated forms in
the strata beneath the surface belonged to the early and infant families
of the beings that at present inhabit it.

_Onu_.--I am convinced.  I shall push my arguments no further, for I will
not support the sophisms of that school which supposes that living nature
has undergone gradual changes by the effects of its irritabilities and
appetencies; that the fish has in millions of generations ripened into
the quadruped, and the quadruped into the man; and that the system of
life by its own inherent powers has fitted itself to the physical changes
in the system of the universe.  To this absurd, vague, atheistical
doctrine, I prefer even the dream of plastic powers, or that other more
modern dream, that the secondary strata were created, filled with
remains, as it were, of animal life, to confound the speculations of our
geological reasoners.

_The Unknown_.--I am glad you have not retreated into the desert and
defenceless wilderness of scepticism, or of false and feeble philosophy.
I should not have thought it worth my while to have followed you there; I
should as soon think of arguing with the peasant who informs me that the
basaltic columns of Antrim or of Staffa were the works of human art and
raised by the giant Finmacoul.

At this moment, one of our servants came to inform me that a dinner which
had been preparing for us at the farmhouse was ready; we asked the
stranger to do us the honour to partake of our repast; he assented, and
the following conversation took place at table.

_Phil_.--In reflecting upon our discussions this morning, I cannot help
being a little surprised at their nature; we have been talking only of
geological systems, when a more natural subject for our conversation
would have been these magnificent temples, and an inquiry into the race
by whom they were raised and the gods to whom they wore dedicated.  We
are now treading on a spot which contains the bones of a highly civilised
and powerful people; yet we are almost ignorant of the names they bore,
and the period of their greatness is lost in the obscurity of time.

_Amb_.--There can be no doubt that the early inhabitants of this city
were Grecians and a maritime and commercial people; they have been
supposed to belong to the Sybarite race, and the roses producing flowers
twice a year in the spring and autumn in ancient times here, might
sanction the idea that this balmy spot was chosen by a colony who carried
luxury and refinement to the highest pitch.

_Onu_.--To attempt to form any opinion with respect to the people that
anciently inhabited these now deserted plains is useless and a vain
labour.  In the geological conversation which took place before dinner,
some series of interesting facts were presented to us; and the monuments
of Nature, though they do not speak a distinct language, yet speak an
intelligible one; but with respect to Paestum, there is neither history
nor tradition to guide us; and we shall do wisely to resume our
philosophical inquiries, if we have not already exhausted the patience of
our new guest by doubts or objections to his views.

_The Stranger_.--One of you referred in our conversation this morning to
a vision, which had some relation to the subject of our discussion, and I
was promised some information on this matter.

I immediately gave a sketch of my vision, and of the opinions which had
been expressed by Ambrosio on the early history of man, and the
termination of our discussions on religion.

_The Stranger_.--I agree with Ambrosio in opinion on the subjects you
have just mentioned.  In my youth, I was a sceptic; and this I believe is
usually the case with young persons given to general and discursive
reading, and accustomed to adopt something like a mathematical form in
their reasonings; and it was in considering the nature of the
intellectual faculties of brutes, as compared with those of man, and in
examining the nature of instinctive powers, that I became a believer.
After I had formed the idea that Revelation was to man in the place of an
instinct, my faith constantly became stronger; and it was exalted by many
circumstances I had occasion to witness in a journey that I made through
Egypt and a part of Asia Minor, and by no one more than by a very
remarkable dream which occurred to me in Palestine, and which, as we are
now almost at the hour of the siesta, I will relate to you, though
perhaps you will be asleep before I have finished it.  I was walking
along that deserted shore which contains the ruins of Ptolemais, one of
the most ancient ports of Judaea.  It was evening; the sun was sinking in
the sea; I seated myself on a rock, lost in melancholy contemplations on
the destinies of a spot once so famous in the history of man.  The calm
Mediterranean, bright in the glowing light of the west, was the only
object before me.  "These waves," I said to myself, "once bore the ships
of the monarch of Jerusalem which were freighted with the riches of the
East to adorn and honour the sanctuary of Jehovah; here are now no
remains of greatness or of commerce; a few red stones and broken bricks
only mark what might have been once a flourishing port, and the citadel
above, raised by the Saracens, is filled with Turkish soldiers."  The
janissary, who was my guide, and my servant, were preparing some food for
me in a tent which had been raised for the purpose, and whilst waiting
for their summons to my repast, I continued my reveries, which must
gradually have ended in slumber.  I saw a man approaching towards me,
whom, at first, I took for my janissary, but as he came nearer I found a
very different figure.  He was a very old man with a beard as white as
snow; his countenance was dark but paler than that of an Arab, and his
features stern, wild, and with a peculiar savage expression; his form was
gigantic, but his arms were withered and there was a large scar on the
left side of his face which seemed to have deprived him of an eye.  He
wore a black turban and black flowing robes, and there was a large chain
round his waist which clanked as he moved.  It occurred to me that he was
one of the santons or sacred madmen so common in the East, and I retired
as he approached towards me.  He called out: "Fly not, stranger; fear me
not, I will not harm you.  You shall hear my story, it may be useful to
you."  He spoke in Arabic but in a peculiar dialect and to me new, yet I
understood every word.  "You see before you," he said, "a man who was
educated a Christian, but who renounced the worship of the one supreme
God for the superstitions of the pagans.  I became an apostate in the
reign of the Emperor Julian, and I was employed by that Sovereign to
superintend the re-erection of the temple of Jerusalem, by which it was
intended to belie the prophecies and give the deathblow to the holy
religion.  History has informed you of the result: my assistants were
most of them destroyed in a tremendous storm, I was blasted by lightning
from heaven (he raised his withered hand to his face and eye), but
suffered to live and expiate my crime in the flesh.  My life has been
spent in constant and severe penance, and in that suffering of the spirit
produced by guilt, and is to be continued as long as any part of the
temple of Jupiter, in which I renounced my faith, remains in this place.
I have lived through fifteen tedious centuries, but I trust in the
mercies of Omnipotence, and I hope my atonement is completed.  I now
stand in the dust of the pagan temple.  You have just thrown the last
fragment of it over the rock.  My time is arrived, I come!"  As he spake
the last words, he rushed towards the sea, threw himself from the rock
and disappeared.  I heard no struggling, and saw nothing but a gleam of
light from the wave that closed above him.  I was now roused by the cries
of my servant and of the janissary, who were shaking my arm, and who
informed me that my sleep was so sound that they were alarmed for me.
When I looked on the sea, there was the same light, and I seemed to see
the very spot in the wave where the old man had sunk.  I was so struck by
the vision, that I asked if they had not seen something dash into the
wave, and if they had not heard somebody speaking to me as they arrived.
Of course their answers were negative.  In passing through Jerusalem and
in coasting the Dead Sea I had been exceedingly struck by the present
state of Judaea and the conformity of the fate of the Jewish nation to
the predictions of our Saviour; I had likewise been reading Gibbon's
eulogy of Julian, and his account of the attempts made by that Emperor to
rebuild the temple: so that the dream at such a time and in such a place
was not an unnatural occurrence.  Yet it was so vivid, and the image of
the subject of it so peculiar, that it long affected my imagination, and
whenever I recurred to it, strengthened my faith.

_Onu_.--I believe all the narratives of apparitions and ghost stories are
founded upon dreams of the same kind as that which occurred to you: an
ideal representation of events in the local situation, in which the
person is at the moment, and when the imaginary picture of the place in
sleep exactly coincides with its reality in waking.

_The Stranger_.--I agree with you in your opinion.  If my servant had not
been with me, and my dream had been a little less improbable, it would
have been difficult to have persuaded me that I had not been visited by
an apparition.

I mentioned the dream of Brutus, and said, "His supposed evil genius
appeared in his tent; had the philosophical hero dreamt that his genius
had appeared to him in Rome, there could have been no delusion."  I cited
the similar vision, recorded of Dion before his death, by Plutarch, of a
gigantic female, one of the fates or furies, who was supposed to have
been seen by him when reposing in the portico of his palace.  I referred
likewise to my own vision of the beautiful female, the guardian angel of
my recovery, who always seemed to me to be present at my bedside.

_Amb_.--In confirmation of this opinion of Onuphrio, I can mention many
instances.  I once dreamt that my door had been forced, that there were
robbers in my room, and that one of them was actually putting his hand
before my mouth to ascertain if I was sleeping naturally.  I awoke at
this moment, and was some minutes before I could be sure whether it was a
dream or a reality.  I felt the pressure of the bedclothes on my lips,
and still in the fear of being murdered continued to keep my eyes closed
and to breathe slowly, till, hearing nothing and finding no motion, I
ventured to open my eyes; but even then, when I saw nothing, I was not
sure that my impression was a dream till I had risen from my bed and
ascertained that the door was still locked.

_Onu_.--I am the only one of the party unable to record any dreams of the
vivid and peculiar nature you mention from my own experience; I conclude
it is owing to the dulness of my imagination.  I suppose the more intense
power of reverie is a symptom of the poetical temperament; and perhaps,
if I possessed more enthusiasm, I should always have possessed more of
the religious instinct.  To adopt the idea of Philalethes of hereditary
character, I fear my forefathers have not been correct in their faith.

_Amb_.--Your glory will be greater in establishing a new character, and I
trust even the conversation of this day has given you an additional
reason to adopt _our_ faith.

Ambrosio spoke these words with an earnestness unusual in him, and with
something of a tone which marked a zeal for proselytism, and at the same
time he cast his eyes on the rosary which was suspended round the neck of
the stranger, and said, "I hope I am not indiscreet in saying _our_
faith."

_The Stranger_.--I was educated in the ritual of the church of England; I
belong to the Church of Christ; the rosary which you see suspended round
my neck is a memorial of sympathy and respect for an illustrious man.  I
will, if you will allow me, give you the history of it, which, I think
from the circumstances with which it is connected, you will not find
devoid of interest.  I was passing through France in the reign of
Napoleon, by the peculiar privilege granted to a scavan, on my road into
Italy.  I had just returned from the Holy Land, and had in my possession
two or three of the rosaries which are sold to pilgrims at Jerusalem as
having been suspended in the Holy Sepulchre.  Pius VII. was then in
imprisonment at Fontainebleau.  By a special favour, on the plea of my
return from the Holy Land, I obtained permission to see this venerable
and illustrious Pontiff.  I carried with me one of my rosaries.  He
received me with great kindness.  I tendered my services to execute any
commissions, not political ones, he might think fit to entrust me with in
Italy, informing him that I was an Englishman.  He expressed his thanks,
but declined troubling me.  I told him I was just returned from the Holy
Land, and bowing with great humility, offered to him my rosary from the
Holy Sepulchre.  He received it with a smile, touched it with his lips,
gave his benediction over it, and returned it into my hands, supposing,
of course, that I was a Roman Catholic.  I had meant to present it to his
Holiness, but the blessing he had bestowed upon it and the touch of his
lips, made it a precious relic to me and I restored it to my neck, round
which it has ever since been suspended.  He asked me some unimportant
questions respecting the state of the Christians at Jerusalem; and on a
sudden, turned the subject, much to my surprise, to the destruction of
the French in Russia, and in an exceedingly low tone of voice, as if
afraid of being overheard, he said, "The _nefas_ has long been triumphant
over the _fas_, but I do not doubt that the balance of things is even now
restoring; that God will vindicate his Church, clear his polluted altars,
and establish society upon its permanent basis of justice and faith.  We
shall meet again.  Adieu!" and he gave me his paternal blessing.  It was
eighteen months after this interview, that I went out with almost the
whole population of Rome, to receive and welcome the triumphal entry of
this illustrious father of the Church into his capital.  He was borne on
the shoulders of the most distinguished artists, headed by Canova; and
never shall I forget the enthusiasm with which he was received--it is
impossible to describe the shouts of triumph and of rapture sent up to
heaven by every voice.  And when he gave his benediction to the people,
there was an universal prostration, a sobbing and marks of emotions of
joy almost like the bursting of the heart.  I heard, everywhere around
me, cries of "The holy Father!  The most holy Father!  His restoration is
the work of God!"  I saw tears streaming from the eyes of almost all the
women about me, many of them were sobbing hysterically, and old men were
weeping as if they had been children.  I pressed my rosary to my breast
on this occasion, and repeatedly touched with my lips that part of it
which had received the kiss of the most venerable Pontiff.  I preserve it
with a kind of hallowed feeling, as the memorial of a man whose sanctity,
firmness, meekness and benevolence are an honour to his Church and to
human nature; and it has not only been useful to me, by its influence
upon my own mind, but it has enabled me to give pleasure to others, and
has, I believe, been sometimes beneficial in insuring my personal safety.
I have often gratified the peasants of Apulia and Calabria by presenting
them to kiss a rosary from the Holy Sepulchre which had been hallowed by
the touch of the lips and benediction of the Pope; and it has been even
respected by and procured me a safe passage through a party of brigands
who once stopped me in the passes of the Apennines.

_Onu_.--The use you have made of this relic puts me in mind of a device
of a very ingenious geological philosopher now living.  He was on Etna
and busily employed in making a collection of the lavas formed from the
igneous currents of that mountain; the peasants were often troublesome to
him, suspecting that he was searching for treasures.  It occurred to him
to make the following speech to them: "I have been a great sinner in my
youth and, as a penance, I have made a vow to carry away with me pieces
of every kind of stone found upon the mountain; permit me quietly to
perform my pious duty, that I may receive absolution for my sins."  The
speech produced the desired effect; the peasants shouted, "The holy man!
The saint!" and gave him every assistance in their power to enable him to
carry off his burthen, and he made his ample collections with the utmost
security and in the most agreeable manner.

_The Stranger_.--I do not approve of pious frauds even for philosophical
purposes; my rosary excited in others the same kind of feeling which it
excited in my own bosom, and which I hold to be perfectly justifiable,
and of which I shall never be ashamed.

_Amb_.--You must have travelled in Italy in very dangerous times; have
you always been secure?

_The Stranger_.--Always; I have owed my security, partly, as I have said,
to my rosary, but more to my dress and my acquaintance with the dialect
of the natives.  I have always carried with me a peasant as a guide, who
has been intrusted with the small sums of money I wanted for my immediate
purposes, and my baggage has been little more than a Cynic philosopher
would have carried with him; and when I have been unable to walk, I have
trusted myself to the conduct of a vetturino, a native of the province,
with his single mule and caratella.

The sun was now setting and the temple of Neptune was glowing with its
last purple rays.  We were informed that our horses were waiting, and
that it was time for us to depart to our lodgings at Eboli.  I asked the
stranger to be our companion and to do us the honour to accept of a seat
in our carriage.  He declined the invitation, and said: "My bed is
prepared in the casina here for this night, and to-morrow I proceed on a
journey connected with scientific objects in the parts of Calabria the
scene of the terrible earthquakes of 1783."  I held out my hand to him in
parting; he gave it a strong and warm pressure, and said, "Adieu! we
shall meet again."



DIALOGUE THE FOURTH.  THE PROTEUS, OR IMMORTALITY.


The impression made upon my mind by the stranger with whom we became
acquainted at Paestum was of the strongest and most extraordinary kind.
The memory of his person, his dress, his manners, the accents of his
voice, and the tone of his philosophy, for a long while haunted my
imagination in a most unaccountable manner, and even formed a part of my
dreams.  It often occurred to me that this was not the first time that I
had seen him; and I endeavoured, but in vain, to find some type or image
of him in former scenes of my life.  I continually made inquiries
respecting him amongst my acquaintance, but I could never be sure that
any of them knew him, or even had seen him.  So great were his
peculiarities, that he must have escaped observation altogether; for, had
he entered the world at all, he must have made some noise in it.  I
expressed so much interest on this subject, that at last it became a
source of ridicule amongst my acquaintance, who often asked me if I had
not yet obtained news of my spirit-friend or ghost-seer.

After my return from Naples to Rome, I was almost immediately recalled to
England by a melancholy event--the death of a very near and dear
relation--and I left my two friends, Ambrosio and Onuphrio, to pursue
their travels, which were intended to be of some extent and duration.

In my youth, and through the prime of manhood, I never entered London
without feelings of pleasure and hope.  It was to me as the grand theatre
of intellectual activity, the field of every species of enterprise and
exertion, the metropolis of the world of business, thought, and action.
There I was sure to find the friends and companions of my youth, to hear
the voice of encouragement and praise.  There, society of the most
refined kind offered daily its banquets to the mind with such variety
that satiety had no place in them, and new objects of interest and
ambition were constantly exciting attention either in politics,
literature, or science.

I now entered this great city in a very different tone of mind--one of
settled melancholy; not merely produced by the mournful event which
recalled me to my country, but owing, likewise, to an entire change in
the condition of my physical, moral, and intellectual being.  My health
was gone, my ambition was satisfied, I was no longer excited by the
desire of distinction; what I regarded most tenderly was in the grave,
and, to take a metaphor derived from the change produced by time in the
juice of the grape, my cup of life was no longer sparkling, sweet, and
effervescent;--it had lost its sweetness without losing its power, and it
had become bitter.

After passing a few months in England and enjoying (as much as I could
enjoy anything) the society of the few friends who still remained alive,
the desire of travel again seized me.  I had preserved amidst the wreck
of time one feeling strong and unbroken: the love of natural scenery; and
this, in advanced life, formed a principal motive for my plans of conduct
and action.  Of all the climates of Europe, England seems to me most
fitted for the activity of the mind, and the least suited to repose.  The
alterations of a climate so various and rapid continually awake new
sensations; and the changes in the sky from dryness to moisture, from the
blue ethereal to cloudiness and fogs, seem to keep the nervous system in
a constant state of disturbance.  In the mild climate of Nice, Naples, or
Sicily, where even in winter it is possible to enjoy the warmth of the
sunshine in the open air, beneath palm trees or amidst evergreen groves
of orange trees covered with odorous fruit and sweet-scented leaves, mere
existence is a pleasure, and even the pains of disease are sometimes
forgotten amidst the balmy influence of nature, and a series of agreeable
and uninterrupted sensations invite to repose and oblivion.  But in the
changeful and tumultuous atmosphere of England, to be tranquil is a
labour, and employment is necessary to ward off the attacks of ennui.  The
English as a nation is pre-eminently active, and the natives of no other
country follow their objects with so much force, fire, and constancy.
And, as human powers are limited, there are few examples of very
distinguished men living in this country to old age: they usually fail,
droop, and die before they have attained the period naturally marked for
the end of human existence.  The lives of our statesmen, warriors, poets,
and even philosophers offer abundant proofs of the truth of this opinion;
whatever burns, consumes--ashes remain.  Before the period of youth is
passed, grey hairs usually cover those brows which are adorned with the
civic oak or the laurel; and in the luxurious and exciting life of the
man of pleasure, their tints are not even preserved by the myrtle wreath
or the garland of roses from the premature winter of time.

In selecting the scenes for my new journey I was guided by my former
experience.  I know no country more beautiful than that which may be
called the Alpine country of Austria, including the Alps of the southern
Tyrol, those of Illyria, the Noric and the Julian Alps, and the Alps of
Styria and Salzburg.  The variety of the scenery, the verdure of the
meadows and trees, the depths of the valleys, the altitude of the
mountains, the clearness and grandeur of the rivers and lakes give it, I
think, a decided superiority over Switzerland; and the people are far
more agreeable.  Various in their costumes and manners, Illyrians,
Italians, or Germans, they have all the same simplicity of character, and
are all distinguished by their love of their country, their devotion to
their sovereign, the warmth and purity of their faith, their honesty, and
(with very few exceptions) I may say their great civility and courtesy to
strangers.

In the prime of life I had visited this region in a society which
afforded me the pleasures of intellectual friendship and the delights of
refined affection; later I had left the burning summer of Italy and the
violence of an unhealthy passion, and had found coolness, shade, repose,
and tranquillity there; in a still more advanced period I had sought for
and found consolation, and partly recovered my health after a dangerous
illness, the consequence of labour and mental agitation; there I had
found the spirit of my early vision.  I was desirous, therefore, of again
passing some time in these scenes in the hope of re-establishing a broken
constitution; and though this hope was a feeble one, yet at least I
expected to spend a few of the last days of life more tranquilly and more
agreeably than in the metropolis of my own country.  Nature never
deceives us.  The rocks, the mountains, the streams always speak the same
language.  A shower of snow may hide the verdant woods in spring, a
thunderstorm may render the blue limpid streams foul and turbulent; but
these effects are rare and transient: in a few hours or at least days all
the sources of beauty are renovated.  And Nature affords no continued
trains of misfortunes and miseries, such as depend upon the constitution
of humanity; no hopes for ever blighted in the bud; no beings full of
life, beauty, and promise taken from us in the prime of youth.  Her
fruits are all balmy, bright, and sweet; she affords none of those
blighted ones so common in the life of man and so like the fabled apples
of the Dead Sea--fresh and beautiful to the sight, but when tasted full
of bitterness and ashes.  I have already mentioned the strong effect
produced on my mind by the stranger whom I had met so accidentally at
Paestum; the hope of seeing him again was another of my motives for
wishing to leave England, and (why, I know not) I had a decided
presentiment that I was more likely to meet him in the Austrian states
than in England, his own country.

For this journey I had one companion, an early friend and medical
adviser.  He had lived much in the world, had acquired a considerable
fortune, had given up his profession, was now retired, and sought, like
myself, in this journey repose of mind and the pleasures derived from
natural scenery.  He was a man of a very powerful and acute
understanding, but had less of the poetical temperament than any person
whom I had ever known with similar vivacity of mind.  He was a severe
thinker, with great variety of information, an excellent physiologist,
and an accomplished naturalist.  In his reasonings he adopted the
precision of a geometer, and was always upon his guard against the
influence of imagination.  He had passed the meridian of life, and his
health was weak, like my own, so that we were well suited as travelling
companions, moving always slowly from place to place without hurry or
fatigue.  I shall call this friend Eubathes.  I will say nothing of the
progress of our journey through France and Germany; I shall dwell only
upon that part of it which has still a strong interest for me, and where
events occurred that I shall never forget.  We passed into the Alpine
country of Austria by Lintz, on the Danube, and followed the course of
the Traun to Gmunden, on the Traun See or lake of the Traun, where we
halted for some days.  If I were disposed to indulge in minute
picturesque descriptions I might occupy hours with details of the various
characters of the enchanting scenery in this neighbourhood.  The vales
have that pastoral beauty and constant verdure which is so familiar to us
in England, with similar enclosures and hedge-rows and fruit and forest
trees.  Above are noble hills planted with beeches and oaks.  Mountains
bound the view, here covered with pines and larches, there raising their
marble crests capped with eternal snows above the clouds.  The lower part
of the Traun See is always, even in the most rainy season, perfectly
pellucid; and the Traun pours out of it over ledges of rocks a large and
magnificent river, beautifully clear and of the purest tint of the beryl.
The fall of the Traun, about ten miles below Gmunden, was one of our
favourite haunts.  It is a cataract which, when the river is full, may be
almost compared to that of Schaffhausen for magnitude, and possesses the
same peculiar characters of grandeur in the precipitous rush of its awful
and overpowering waters, and of beauty in the tints of its streams and
foam, and in the forms of the rocks over which it falls, and the cliffs
and woods by which it is overhung.  In this spot an accident, which had
nearly been fatal to me, occasioned the renewal of my acquaintance in an
extraordinary manner with the mysterious unknown stranger.  Eubathes, who
was very fond of fly-fishing, was amusing himself by catching graylings
for our dinner in the stream above the fall.  I took one of the boats
which are used for descending the canal or lock artificially cut in the
rock by the side of the fall, on which salt and wood are usually
transported from Upper Austria to the Danube; and I desired two of the
peasants to assist my servant in permitting the boat to descend by a rope
to the level of the river below.  My intention was to amuse myself by
this rapid species of locomotion along the descending sluice.  For some
moments the boat glided gently along the smooth current, and I enjoyed
the beauty of the moving scene around me, and had my eye fixed upon the
bright rainbow seen upon the spray of the cataract above my head; when I
was suddenly roused by a shout of alarm from my servant, and, looking
round, I saw that the piece of wood to which the rope had been attached
had given way, and the boat was floating down the river at the mercy of
the stream.  I was not at first alarmed, for I saw that my assistants
were procuring long poles with which it appeared easy to arrest the boat
before it entered the rapidly descending water of the sluice, and I
called out to them to use their united force to reach the longest pole
across the water that I might be able to catch the end of it in my hand.
And at this moment I felt perfect security; but a breeze of wind suddenly
came down the valley and blew from the nearest bank, the boat was turned
by it out of the side current and thrown nearer to the middle of the
river, and I soon saw that I was likely to be precipitated over the
cataract.  My servant and the boatmen rushed into the water, but it was
too deep to enable them to reach the boat; I was soon in the white water
of the descending stream, and my danger was inevitable.  I had presence
of mind enough to consider whether my chance of safety would be greater
by throwing myself out of the boat or by remaining in it, and I preferred
the latter expedient.  I looked from the rainbow upon the bright sun
above my head, as if taking leave for ever of that glorious luminary; I
raised one pious aspiration to the divine source of light and life; I was
immediately stunned by the thunder of the fall, and my eyes were closed
in darkness.  How long I remained insensible I know not.  My first
recollections after this accident were of a bright light shining above
me, of warmth and pressure in different parts of my body, and of the
noise of the rushing cataract sounding in my ears.  I seemed awakened by
the light from a sound sleep, and endeavoured to recall my scattered
thoughts, but in vain; I soon fell again into slumber.  From this second
sleep I was awakened by a voice which seemed not altogether unknown to
me, and looking upwards I saw the bright eye and noble countenance of the
Unknown Stranger whom I had met at Paestum.  I faintly articulated: "I am
in another world."  "No," said the stranger, "you are safe in this; you
are a little bruised by your fall, but you will soon be well; be tranquil
and compose yourself.  Your friend is here, and you will want no other
assistance than he can easily give you."  He then took one of my hands,
and I recognised the same strong and warm pressure which I had felt from
his parting salute at Paestum.  Eubathes, whom I now saw with an
expression of joy and of warmth unusual to him, gave a hearty shake to
the other hand, and they both said, "You must repose a few hours longer."
After a sound sleep till the evening, I was able to take some
refreshment, and found little inconvenience from the accident except some
bruises on the lower part of the body and a slight swimming in the head.
The next day I was able to return to Gmunden, where I learnt from the
Unknown the history of my escape, which seemed almost miraculous to me.
He said that he was often in the habit of combining pursuits of natural
history with the amusements derived from rural sports and was fishing the
day that my accident happened below the fall of the Traun for that
peculiar species of the large _salmo_ of the Danube which, fortunately
for me, is only to be caught by very strong tackle.  He saw, to his very
great astonishment and alarm, the boat and my body precipitated by the
fall, and was so fortunate as to entangle his hooks in a part of my dress
when I had been scarcely more than a minute under water, and by the
assistance of his servant, who was armed with the gaff or curved hook for
landing large fish, I was safely conveyed to the shore, undressed, put
into a warm bed, and by the modes of restoring suspended animation, which
were familiar to him, I soon recovered my sensibility and consciousness.
I was desirous of reasoning with him and Eubathes upon the state of
annihilation of power and transient death which I had suffered when in
the water; but they both requested me to defer those inquiries, which
required too profound an exertion of thought, till the effects of the
shock on my weak constitution were over and my strength was somewhat re-
established: and I was the more contented to comply with their request as
the Unknown said it was his intention to be our companion for at least
some days longer, and that his objects of pursuit lay in the very country
in which we were making our summer tour.  It was some weeks before I was
sufficiently strong to proceed on our journey, for my frame was little
fitted to bear such a trial as that which it had experienced; and,
considering the weak state of my body when I was immerged in the water, I
could hardly avoid regarding my recovery as providential, and the
presence and assistance of the Stranger as in some way connected with the
future destiny and utility of my life.  In the middle of August we
pursued our plans of travel.  We first visited those romantic lakes,
Hallsstadt, Aussee, and Toplitz See, which collect the melted snows of
the higher mountains of Styria to supply the unfailing sources of the
Traun.  We visited that elevated region of the Tyrol which forms the
crest of the Pusterthal, and where the same chains of glaciers send down
streams to the Drave and the Adige, to the Black Sea and to the Adriatic.
We remained for many days in those two magnificent valleys which afford
the sources of the Save, where that glorious and abundant river rises, as
it were, in the very bosom of beauty, leaping from its subterraneous
reservoirs in the snowy mountains of Terglou and Manhardt in thundering
cataracts amongst cliffs and woods into the pure and deep cerulean lakes
of Wochain and Wurzen, and pursuing its course amidst pastoral meadows so
ornamented with plants and trees as to look the garden of Nature.  The
subsoil or strata of this part of Illyria are entirely calcareous and
full of subterranean caverns, so that in every declivity large funnel-
shaped cavities, like the craters of volcanoes, may be seen, in which the
waters that fall from the atmosphere are lost: and almost every lake or
rives has a subterraneous source, and often a subterraneous exit.  The
Laibach river rises twice from the limestone rock, and is twice again
swallowed up by the earth before it makes its final appearance and is
lost in the Save.  The Zirknitz See or Lake is a mass of water entirely
filled and emptied by subterraneous sources, and its natural history,
though singular, has in it nothing of either prodigy, mystery, or wonder.
The Grotto of the Maddalena at Adelsberg occupied more of our attention
than the Zirknitz See.  I shall give the conversation that took place in
that extraordinary cavern entire, as well as I can remember it, in the
words used by my companions.

_Eub_.--We must be many hundred feet below the surface, yet the
temperature of this cavern is fresh and agreeable.

_The Unknown_.--This cavern has the mean temperature of the atmosphere,
which is the case with all subterraneous cavities removed from the
influence of the solar light and heat; and, in so hot a day in August as
this, I know no more agreeable or salutary manner of taking a cold bath
than in descending to a part of the atmosphere out of the influence of
those causes which occasion its elevated temperature.

_Eub_.--Have you, sir, been in this country before?

_The Unknown_.--This is the third summer that I have made it the scene of
an annual visit.  Independently of the natural beauties found in Illyria,
and the various sources of amusement which a traveller fond of natural
history may find in this region, it has had a peculiar object of interest
for me in the extraordinary animals which are found in the bottom of its
subterraneous cavities: I allude to the Proteus anguinus, a far greater
wonder of nature than any of those which the Baron Valvasa detailed to
the Royal Society a century and half ago as belonging to Carniola, with
far too romantic an air for a philosopher.

_Phil_.--I have seen these animals in passing through this country
before; but I should be very glad to be better acquainted with their
natural history.

_The Unknown_.--We shall soon be in that part of the grotto where they
are found, and I shall willingly communicate the little that I have been
able to learn respecting their natural characters and habits.

_Eub_.--The grotto now becomes really magnificent; I have seen no
subterraneous cavity with so many traits of beauty and of grandeur.  The
irregularity of its surface, the magnitude of the masses broken in pieces
which compose its sides, and which seem torn from the bosom of the
mountain by some great convulsion of nature, their dark colours and deep
shades form a singular contrast with the beauty, uniformity, I may say,
order and grace of the white stalactical concretions which hang from the
canopy above, and where the light of our torches reflected from the
brilliant or transparent calcareous gems create a scene which almost
looks like one produced by enchantment.

_Phil_.--If the awful chasms of dark masses of rock surrounding us appear
like the work of demons who might be imagined to have risen from the
centre of the earth, the beautiful works of Nature above our heads may be
compared to a scenic representation of a temple or banquet hall for
fairies or genii, such as those fabled in the Arabian romances.

_The Unknown_.--A poet might certainly place here the palace of the King
of the Gnomes, and might find marks of his creative power in the small
lake close by on which the flame of the torch is now falling, for there
it is that I expect to find the extraordinary animals which have been so
long the objects of my attention.

_Eub_.--I see three or four creatures, like slender fish, moving on the
mud below the water.

_The Unknown_.--I see them; they are the Protei.  Now I have them in my
fishing-net, and now they are safe in the pitcher of water.  At first
view you might suppose this animal to be a lizard, but it has the motions
of a fish.  Its head and the lower part of its body and its tail bear a
strong resemblance to those of the eel; but it has no fins, and its
curious bronchial organs are not like the gills of fishes: they form a
singular vascular structure, as you see, almost like a crest, round the
throat, which may be removed without occasioning the death of the animal,
which is likewise furnished with lungs.  With this double apparatus for
supplying air to the blood, it can live either below or above the surface
of the water.  Its fore-feet resemble hands, but they have only three
claws or fingers, and are too feeble to be of use in grasping or
supporting the weight of the animal; the hinder feet have only two claws
or toes, and in the larger specimens are found so imperfect as to be
almost obliterated.  It has small points in place of eyes, as if to
preserve the analogy of Nature.  It is of a fleshy whiteness and
transparency in its natural state; but when exposed to light, its skin
gradually becomes darker, and at last gains an olive tint.  Its nasal
organs appear large, and it is abundantly furnished with teeth: from
which it may be concluded that it is an animal of prey; yet in its
confined state it has never been known to eat, and it has been kept alive
for many years by occasionally changing the water in which it was placed.

_Eub_.--Is this the only place in Carniola where these animals are found?

_The Unknown_.--They were first discovered here by the late Baron Zois;
but they have since been found, though rarely, at Sittich, about thirty
miles distant, thrown up by water from a subterraneous cavity; and I have
lately heard it reported that some individuals of the same species have
been recognised in the calcareous strata in Sicily.

_Eub_.--This lake in which we have seen these animals is a very small
one.  Do you suppose they are bred here?

_The Unknown_.--Certainly not.  In dry seasons they are seldom found
here, but after great rains they are often abundant.  I think it cannot
be doubted that their natural residence is in an extensile deep
subterranean lake, from which in great floods they sometimes are forced
through the crevices of the rocks into this place where they are found;
and it does not appear to me impossible, when the peculiar nature of the
country in which we are is considered, that the same great cavity may
furnish the individuals which have been found at Adelsberg and at
Sittich.

_Eub_.--This is a very extraordinary view of the subject.  Is it not
possible that it may be the larva of some large unknown animal inhabiting
these limestone cavities?  Its feet are not in harmony with the rest of
its organisation; and were they removed, it would have all the characters
of a fish.

_The Unknown_.--I cannot suppose that they are larvae.  There is, I
believe, in Nature no instance of a transition by this species of
metamorphosis from a more perfect to a less perfect animal.  The tadpole
has a resemblance to a fish before it becomes a frog; the caterpillar and
the maggot gain not only more perfect powers of motion on the earth in
their new state, but acquire organs by which they inhabit a new element.
This animal, I dare say, is much larger than we now see it when mature in
its native place; but its comparative anatomy is exceedingly hostile to
the idea that it is an animal in a state of transition.  It has been
found of various sizes, from that of the thickness of a quill to that of
the thumb, but its form of organs has been always the same.  It is surely
a perfect animal of a peculiar species.  And it adds one instance more to
the number already known of the wonderful manner in which life is
produced and perpetuated in every part of our globe, even in places which
seem the least suited to organised existences.  And the same infinite
power and wisdom which has fitted the camel and the ostrich for the
deserts of Africa, the swallow that secretes its own nest for the caves
of Java, the whale for the Polar seas, and the morse and white bear for
the Arctic ice, has given the proteus to the deep and dark subterraneous
lakes of Illyria--an animal to whom the presence of light is not
essential, and who can live indifferently in air and in water, on the
surface of the rock, or in the depths of the mud.

_Phil_.--It is now ten years since I first visited this spot.  I was
exceedingly anxious to see the proteus, and came here with the guide in
the evening of the day I arrived at Adelsberg; but though we examined the
bottom of the cave with the greatest care, we could find no specimens.  We
returned the next morning and were more fortunate, for we discovered five
close to the bank on the mud covering the bottom of the lake; the mud was
smooth and perfectly undisturbed, and the water quite clear.  This fact
of their appearance during the night seemed to me so extraordinary, that
I could hardly avoid the fancy that they were new creations.  I saw no
cavities through which they could have entered, and the undisturbed state
of the lake seemed to give weight to my notion.  My reveries became
discursive; I was carried in imagination back to the primitive state of
the globe, when the great animals of the sauri kind were created under
the pressure of a heavy atmosphere; and my notion on this subject was not
destroyed when I heard from a celebrated anatomist, to whom I sent the
specimens I had collected, that the organisation of the spine of the
proteus was analogous to that of one of the sauri, the remains of which
are found in the older secondary strata.  It was said at this time that
no organs of reproduction had been discovered in any of the specimens
examined by physiologists, and this lent a weight to my opinion of the
possibility of their being actually new creations, which I suppose you
will condemn as wholly visionary and unphilosophical.

_Eub_.--From the tone in which you make your statements, I think you
yourself consider them as unworthy of discussion.  On such ground eels
might be considered new creations, for their mature ovaria have not yet
been discovered, and they come from the sea into rivers under
circumstances when it is difficult to trace their course.

_The Unknown_.--The problem of the reproduction of the proteus, like that
of the common eel, is not yet solved; but ovaria have been discovered in
animals of both species, and in this instance, as in all others belonging
to the existing order of things, Harvey's maxim of "omne vivum ab ovo"
will apply.

_Eub_.--You just now said that this animal has been long an object of
attention to you; have you studied it as a comparative anatomist, in
search of the solution of the problem of its reproduction?

_The Unknown_.--No; this inquiry has been pursued by much abler
investigators: by Schreiber and Configliachi; my researches were made
upon its respiration and the changes occasioned in water by its bronchia.

_Eub_.--I hope they have been satisfactory.

_The Unknown_.--They proved to me, at least, that not merely the oxygen
dissolved in water, but likewise a part of the azote, was absorbed in the
respiration of this animal.

_Eub_.--So that your researches confirm those of the French savants and
Alexander von Humboldt, that in the respiration of animals which separate
air from water, both principles of the atmosphere are absorbed.

_Phil_.--I have heard so many and such various opinions on the nature of
the function of respiration during my education and since, that I should
like to know what is the modern doctrine on this subject.  I can hardly
refer to better authority than yourself, and I have an additional reason
for wishing for some accurate knowledge on this matter, having, as you
well know, been the subject of an experiment in relation to it which, but
for your kind and active assistance, must have terminated fatally.

_The Unknown_.--I shall gladly state what I know, which is very little.
In physics and in chemistry, the science of dead matter, we possess many
facts and a few principles or laws; but whenever the functions of life
are considered, though the facts are numerous, yet there is, as yet,
scarcely any approach to general laws, and we must usually end where we
begin by confessing our entire ignorance.

_Eub_.--I will not allow this ignorance to be entire.  Something,
undoubtedly, has been gained by the knowledge of the circulation of the
blood and its aeration in the lungs--these, if not laws, are at least
fundamental principles.

_The Unknown_.--I speak only of the functions in their connection with
life.  We are still ignorant of the source of animal heat, though half a
century ago the chemists thought they had proved it was owing to a sort
of combustion of the carbon of the blood.

_Phil_.--As we return to our inn I hope you will both be so good as give
me your views of the nature of this function, so important to all living
things; tell me what you _know_, or what you _believe_, or what others
_imagine they know_.

_The Unknown_.--The powers of the organic system depend upon a continued
state of change.  The waste of the body produced in muscular action,
perspiration, and various secretions, is made up for by the constant
supply of nutritive matter to the blood by the absorbents, and by the
action of the heart the blood is preserved in perpetual motion through
every part of the body.  In the lungs, or bronchia, the venous blood is
exposed to the influence of air and undergoes a remarkable change, being
converted into arterial blood.  The obvious chemical alteration of the
air is sufficiently simple in this process: a certain quantity of carbon
only is added to it, and it receives an addition of heat or vapour; the
volumes of elastic fluid inspired and expired (making allowance for
change of temperature) are the same, and if ponderable agents only were
to be regarded it would appear as if the only use of respiration were to
free the blood from a certain quantity of carbonaceous matter.  But it is
probable that this is only a secondary object, and that the change
produced by respiration upon the blood is of a much more important kind.
Oxygen, in its elastic state, has properties which are very
characteristic: it gives out light by compression, which is not certainly
known to be the case with any other elastic fluid except those with which
oxygen has entered without undergoing combustion; and from the fire it
produces in certain processes, and from the manner in which it is
separated by positive electricity in the gaseous state from its
combinations, it is not easy to avoid the supposition that it contains,
besides its ponderable elements, some very subtle matter which is capable
of assuming the form of heat and light.  My idea is that the common air
inspired enters into the venous blood entire, in a state of dissolution,
carrying with it its subtle or ethereal part, which in ordinary cases of
chemical change is given off; that it expels from the blood carbonic acid
gas and azote; and that in the course of the circulation its ethereal
part and its ponderable part undergo changes which belong to laws that
cannot be considered as chemical--the ethereal part probably producing
animal heat and other effects, and the ponderable part contributing to
form carbonic acid and other products.  The arterial blood is necessary
to all the functions of life, and it is no less connected with the
irritability of the muscles and the sensibility of the nerves than with
the performance of all the secretions.

_Eub_.--No one can be more convinced than I am of the very limited extent
of our knowledge in chemical physiology, and when I say that, having been
a disciple and friend of Dr. Black, I am still disposed to prefer his
ancient view to your new one, I wish merely to induce you to pause and to
hear my reasons; they may appear insufficient to you, but I am anxious to
explain them.  First, then, in all known chemical changes in which oxygen
gas is absorbed and carbonic acid gas formed, heat is produced.  I could
mention a thousand instances, from the combustion of wood or spirits of
wine to the fermentation of fruit or the putrefaction of animal matter.
This general fact, which may be almost called a law, is in favour of the
view of Dr. Black.  Another circumstance in favour of it is, that those
animals which possess the highest temperature consume the greatest
quantity of air, and, under different circumstances of action and repose,
the heat is in great measure proportional to the quantity of oxygen
consumed.  Then those animals which absorb the smallest quantity of air
are cold-blooded.  Another argument in favour of Dr. Black's opinion is
the change of colour of blood from black to red, which seems to show that
it loses carbon.

_The Unknown_.--With the highest respect for the memory of Dr. Black, and
for the opinion of his disciple, I shall answer the arguments I have just
heard.  I will not allow any facts or laws from the action of dead matter
to apply to living structures; the blood is a living fluid, and of this
we are sure that it does not burn in respiration.  The terms warmth and
cold, as applied to the blood of animals, are improper in the sense in
which they have been just used; all animals are, in fact, warm-blooded,
and the degrees of their temperature are fitted to the circumstances
under which they live, and those animals, the life of which is most
active, possess most heat, which may be the result of general actions,
and not a particular effect of respiration.  Besides, a distinguished
physiologist has rendered it probable that the animal heat depends more
upon the functions of the nerves than upon any result of respiration.  The
argument derived from change of colour is perfectly delusive; it would
not follow if carbon were liberated from the blood that it must
necessarily become brighter; sulphur combining with charcoal becomes a
clear fluid, and a black oxide of copper becomes red in uniting with a
substance which abounds in carbon.  No change in sensible qualities can
ever indicate with precision the nature of chemical change.  I shall
resume my view, which I cannot be said to have fully developed.  When I
stated that carbonic acid was formed in the venous blood in the processes
of life, I meant merely to say that this blood, in consequence of certain
changes, became capable of giving off carbon and oxygen in union with
each other, for the moment inorganic matter enters into the composition
of living organs it obeys new laws.  The action of the gastric juice is
chemical, and it will only dissolve dead matters, and it dissolves them
when they are in tubes of metal as well as in the stomach, but it has no
action upon living matter.  Respiration is no more a chemical process
than the absorption of chyle; and the changes that take place in the
lungs, though they appear so simple, may be very complicated; it is as
little philosophical to consider them as a mere combustion of carbon as
to consider the formation of muscle from the arterial blood as
crystallisation.  There can be no doubt that all the powers and agencies
of matter are employed in the purposes of organisation, but the phenomena
of organisation can no more be referred to chemistry than those of
chemistry to mechanics.  As oxygen stands in that electrical relation to
the other elements of animal matter which has been called
electropositive, it may be supposed that some electrical function is
exercised by oxygen in the blood; but this is a mere hypothesis.  An
attempt has been made founded on experiments on the decomposition of
bodies by electricity to explain secretion by weak electrical powers, and
to suppose the glands electrical organs, and even to imagine the action
of the nerves dependent upon electricity; these, like all other notions
of the same kind, appear to me very little refined.  If electrical
effects be the exhibition of certain powers belonging to matter, which is
a fair supposition, then no change can take place without their being
more or less concerned; but to imagine the presence of electricity to
solve phenomena the cause of which is unknown is merely to substitute one
undefined word for another.  In some animals electrical organs are found,
but then they furnish the artillery of the animal and means of seizing
its prey and of its defence.  And speculations of this kind must be
ranked with those belonging to some of the more superficial followers of
the Newtonian philosophy, who explained the properties of animated nature
by mechanical powers, and muscular action by the expansion and
contraction of elastic bladders; man, in this state of vague
philosophical inquiry, was supposed a species of hydraulic machine.  And
when the pneumatic chemistry was invented, organic structures were soon
imagined to be laboratories in which combinations and decompositions
produced all the effects of living actions; then muscular contractions
were supposed to depend upon explosions like those of the detonating
compounds, and the formation of blood from chyle was considered as a pure
chemical solution.  And, now that the progress of science has opened new
and extraordinary views in electricity, these views are not unnaturally
applied by speculative reasoners to solve some of the mysterious and
recondite phenomena of organised beings.  But the analogy is too remote
and incorrect; the sources of life cannot be grasped by such machinery;
to look for them in the powers of electro-chemistry is seeking the living
among the dead: that which touches will not be felt, that which sees will
not be visible, that which commands sensations will not be their subject.

_Phil_.--I conclude, from what you last said, that though you are
inclined to believe that some unknown subtle matter is added to the
organised system by respiration, yet you would not have us believe that
this is electricity, or that there is any reason to suppose that
electricity has a peculiar and special share in producing the functions
of life.

_The Unknown_.--I wish to guard you against the adoption of any
hypothesis on this recondite and abstruse subject.  But however difficult
it may be to define the exact nature of respiration, yet the effect of it
and its connexions with the functions of the body are sufficiently
striking.  By the action of air on the blood it is fitted for the
purposes of life, and from the moment that animation is marked by
sensation or volition, this function is performed, the punctum saliens in
the ovum seems to receive as it were the breath of life in the influence
of air.  In the economy of the reproduction of the species of animals,
one of the most important circumstances is the aeration of the ovum, and
when this is not performed, from the blood of the mother as in the
mammalia by the placenta, there is a system for aerating as in the
oviparous reptiles or fishes, which enables the air freely to pass
through the receptacles in which the eggs are deposited, or the egg
itself is aerated out of the body through its coats or shell, and when
air is excluded, incubation or artificial heat has no effect.  Fishes
which deposit their eggs in water that contains only a limited portion of
air, make combinations which would seem almost the result of scientific
knowledge or reason, though depending upon a more unerring principle,
their instinct for preserving their offspring.  Those fishes that spawn
in spring or the beginning of summer and winch inhabit deep and still
waters, as the carp, bream, pike, tench, &c., deposit their eggs upon
aquatic vegetables, which by the influence of the solar light constantly
preserve the water in a state of aeration.  The trout, salmon, hucho, and
others of the Salmo genus, which spawn in the beginning or end of winter,
and which inhabit rivers fed by cold and rapid streams which descend from
the mountains, deposit their eggs in shallows on heaps of gravel, as near
as possible to the source of the stream where the water is fully combined
with air; and to accomplish this purpose they travel for hundreds of
miles against the current, and leap over cataracts and dams: thus the
Salmo salar ascends by the Rhone and the Aar to the glaciers of
Switzerland, the hucho by the Danube, the Isar, and the Save, passing
through the lakes of the Tyrol and Styria to the highest torrents of the
Noric and Julian Alps.

_Phil_.--My own experience proves in the strongest manner the immediate
connection of sensibility with respiration; all that I can remember in my
accident was a certain violent and painful sensation of oppression in the
chest, which must have been immediately succeeded by loss of sense.

_Eub_.--I have no doubt that all your suffering was over at the moment
you describe; as far as sensibility is concerned, you were inanimate when
your friend raised you from the bottom.  This distinct connection of
sensibility with the absorption of air by the blood is, I think, in
favour of the idea advanced by our friend, that some subtle and ethereal
matter is supplied to the system in the elastic air which may be the
cause of vitality.

_The Unknown_.--Softly, if you please; I must not allow you to mistake my
view.  I think it probable that some subtle matter is derived from the
atmosphere connected with the functions of life; but nothing can be more
remote from my opinion than to suppose it the cause of vitality.

_Phil_.--This might have been fully inferred from the whole tenor of your
conversation, and particularly from that expression, "that which commands
sensation will not be their subject."  I think I shall not mistake your
views when I say that you do not consider vitality dependent upon any
material cause or principle.

_The Unknown_.--You do not.  We are entirely ignorant on this subject,
and I confess in the utmost humility my ignorance.  I know there have
been distinguished physiologists who have imagined that by organisation
powers not naturally possessed by matter were developed, and that
sensibility was a property belonging to some unknown combination of
unknown ethereal elements.  But such notions appear to me
unphilosophical, and the mere substitution of unknown words for unknown
things.  I can never believe that any division, or refinement, or
subtilisation, or juxtaposition, or arrangement of the particles of
matter, can give to them sensibility; or that intelligence can result
from combinations of insensate and brute atoms.  I can as easily imagine
that the planets are moving by their will or design round the sun, or
that a cannon ball is reasoning in making its parabolic curve.  The
materialists have quoted a passage of Locke in favour of their doctrine,
who seemed to doubt "whether it might not have pleased God to bestow a
power of thinking on matter."  But with the highest veneration for this
great reasoner, the founder of modern philosophical logic, I think there
is little of his usual strength of mind in this doubt.  It appears to me
that he might as well have asked whether it might not have pleased God to
make a house its own tenant.

_Eub_.--I am not a professed materialist; but I think you treat rather
too lightly the modest doubts of Locke on this subject.  And without
considering me as a partisan, you will, I hope, allow me to state some of
the reasons which I have heard good physiologists advance in favour of
that opinion to which you are so hostile.  In the first accretion of the
parts of animated beings they appear almost like the crystallised matter,
with the simplest kind of life, scarcely sensitive.  The gradual
operations by which they acquire new organs and new powers, corresponding
to these organs, till they arrive at full maturity, forcibly strikes the
mind with the idea that the powers of life reside in the arrangement by
which the organs are produced.  Then, as there is a gradual increase of
power corresponding to the increase of perfection of the organisation, so
there is a gradual diminution of it connected with the decay of the body.
As the imbecility of infancy corresponds to the weakness of organisation,
so the energy of youth and the power of manhood are marked by its
strength; and the feebleness and dotage of old age are in the direct
ratio of the decline of the perfection of the organisation, and the
mental powers in extreme old age seem destroyed at the same time with the
corporeal ones, till the ultimate dissolution of the frame, when the
elements are again restored to that dead nature from which they were
originally derived.  Then, there was a period when the greatest
philosopher, statesman, or hero, that ever existed was a mere living
atom, an organised form with the sole power of perception; and the
combinations that a Newton formed before birth or immediately after
cannot be imagined to have possessed the slightest intellectual
character.  If a peculiar principle be supposed necessary to
intelligence, it must exist throughout animated nature.  The elephant
approaches nearer to man in intellectual power than the oyster does to
the elephant; and a link of sensitive nature may be traced from the
polypus to the philosopher.  Now, in the polypus the sentient principle
is divisible, and from one polypus or one earthworm may be formed two or
three, all of which become perfect animals, and have perception and
volition; therefore, at least, the sentient principle has this property
in common with matter, that it is divisible.  Then to these difficulties
add the dependence of all the higher faculties of the mind upon the state
of the brain; remember that not only all the intellectual powers, but
even sensibility is destroyed by the pressure of a little blood upon the
cerebellum, and the difficulties increase.  Call to mind likewise the
suspension of animation in cases similar to that of our friend, when
there are no signs of life and when animation returns only with the
return of organic action.  Surely in all these instances everything which
you consider as belonging to spirit appears in intimate dependence upon
the arrangements and properties of matter.

_The Unknown_.--The arguments you have used are those which are generally
employed by physiologists.  They have weight in appearance, but not in
reality.  They prove that a certain perfection of the machinery of the
body is essential to the exercise of the powers of the mind, but they do
not prove that the machine is the mind.  Without the eye there can be no
sensations of vision, and without the brain there could be no recollected
visible ideas; but neither the optic nerve nor the brain can be
considered as the percipient principle--they are but the instruments of a
power which has nothing in common with them.  What may be said of the
nervous system may be applied to a different part of the frame; stop the
motion of the heart, and sensibility and life cease, yet the living
principle is not in the heart, nor in the arterial blood which it sends
to every part of the system.  A savage who saw the operation of a number
of power-looms weaving stockings cease at once on the stopping of the
motion of a wheel, might well imagine that the motive force was in the
wheel; he could not divine that it more immediately depended upon the
steam, and ultimately upon a fire below a concealed boiler.  The
philosopher sees the fire which is the cause of the motion of this
complicated machinery, so unintelligible to the savage; but both are
equally ignorant of the divine fire which is the cause of the mechanism
of organised structures.  Profoundly ignorant on this subject, all that
we can do is to give a history of our own minds.  The external world or
matter is to us in fact nothing but a heap or cluster of sensations; and,
in looking back to the memory of our own being, we find one principle,
which may be called the _monad_, or _self_, constantly present,
intimately associated with a particular class of sensations, which we
call our own body or organs.  These organs are connected with other
sensations, and move, as it were, with them in circles of existence,
quitting for a time some trains of sensation to return to others; but the
monad is always present.  We can fix no beginning to its operations; we
can place no limit to them.  We sometimes, in sleep, lose the beginning
and end of a dream, and recollect the middle of it, and one dream has no
connection with another; and yet we are conscious of an infinite variety
of dreams, and there is a strong analogy for believing in an infinity of
past existences, which must have had connection; and human life may be
regarded as a type of infinite and immortal life, and its succession of
sleep and dreams as a type of the changes of death and birth to which
from its nature it is liable.  That the ideas belonging to the mind were
originally gained from those classes of sensations called organs it is
impossible to deny, as it is impossible to deny that mathematical truths
depend upon the signs which express them; but these signs are not
themselves the truths, nor are the organs the mind.  The whole history of
intellect is a history of change according to a certain law; and we
retain the memory only of those changes which may be useful to us--the
child forgets what happened to it in the womb; the recollections of the
infant likewise before two years are soon lost, yet many of the habits
acquired in that age are retained through life.  The sentient principle
gains thoughts by material instruments, and its sensations change as
those instruments change; and, in old age, the mind, as it were, falls
asleep to awake to a new existence.  With its present organisation, the
intellect of man is naturally limited and imperfect, but this depends
upon its material machinery; and in a higher organised form, it may be
imagined to possess infinitely higher powers.  Were man to be immortal
with his present corporeal frame, this immortality would only belong to
the machinery; and with respect to acquisitions of mind, he would
virtually die every two or three hundred years--that is to say, a certain
quantity of ideas only could be remembered, and the supposed immortal
being would be, with respect to what had happened a thousand years ago,
as the adult now is with respect to what happened in the first year of
his life.  To attempt to reason upon the manner in which the organs are
connected with sensation would be useless; the nerves and brain have some
immediate relation to these vital functions, but how they act it is
impossible to say.  From the rapidity and infinite variety of the
phenomena of perception, it seems extremely probable that there must be
in the brain and nerves matter of a nature far more subtle and refined
than anything discovered in them by observation and experiment, and that
the immediate connection between the sentient principle and the body may
be established by kinds of ethereal matter, which can never be evident to
the senses, and which may bear the same relations to heat, light, and
electricity that these refined forms or modes of existence of matter bear
to the gases.  Motion is most easily produced by the lighter species of
matter; and yet imponderable agents, such as electricity, possess force
sufficient to overturn the weightiest structures.  Nothing can be farther
from my meaning than to attempt any definition on this subject, nor would
I ever embrace or give authority to that idea of Newton, who supposes
that the immediate cause of sensation may be in undulations of an
ethereal medium.  It does not, however, appear improbable to me that some
of the more refined machinery of thought may adhere, even in another
state, to the sentient principle; for, though the organs of gross
sensation--the nerves and brain--are destroyed by death, yet something of
the more ethereal nature, which I have supposed, may be less
destructible.  And I sometimes imagine that many of those powers, which
have been called instinctive, belong to the more refined clothing of the
spirit; conscience, indeed, seems to have some undefined source, and may
bear relation to a former state of being.

_Eub_.--All your notions are merely ingenious speculations.  Revelation
gives no authority to your ideas of spiritual nature; the Christian
immortality is founded upon the resurrection of the body.

_The Unknown_.--This I will not allow.  Even in the Mosaic history of the
creation of man his frame is made in the image of God--that is, capable
of intelligence; and the Creator breathes into it the breath of life, His
own essence.  Then our Saviour has said, "of the God of Abraham, of
Isaac, and of Jacob."  "He is not the God of the dead, but of the
living."  St. Paul has described the clothing of the spirit in a new and
glorious body, taking the analogy from the living germ in the seed of the
plant, which is not quickened till after apparent death; and the
catastrophe of our planet, which, it is revealed, is to be destroyed and
purified by fire before it is fitted for the habitation of the blest, is
in perfect harmony with the view I have ventured to suggest.

_Eub_.--I cannot make your notions coincide with what I have been
accustomed to consider the meaning of Holy Writ.  You allow everything
belonging to the material life to be dependent upon the organisation of
the body, and yet you imagine the spirit after death clothed with a new
body; and, in the system of rewards and punishments, this body is
rendered happy or miserable for actions committed by another and extinct
frame.  A particular organisation may impel to improper and immoral
gratification; it does not appear to me, according to the principles of
eternal justice, that the body of the resurrection should be punished for
crimes dependent upon a conformation now dissolved and destroyed.

_The Unknown_.--Nothing is more absurd, I may say more impious, than for
man, with a ken surrounded by the dense mists of sense, to reason
respecting the decrees of eternal justice.  You adopt here the same
limited view that you embraced in reasoning against the indestructibility
of the sentient principle in man from the apparent division of the living
principle in the polypus, not recollecting that to prove a quality can be
increased or exalted does not prove that it can be annihilated.  If there
be, which I think cannot be doubted, a consciousness of good and evil
constantly belonging to the sentient principle in man, then rewards and
punishments naturally belong to acts of this consciousness, to obedience,
or disobedience; and the indestructibility of the sentient being is
necessary to the decrees of eternal justice.  On your view, even in this
life, just punishments for crimes would be almost impossible; for the
materials of which human beings are composed change rapidly, and in a few
years probably not an atom of the primitive structure remains yet even
the materialist is obliged in old age to do penance for the sins of his
youth, and does not complain of the injustice of his decrepit body,
entirely changed and made stiff by time, suffering for the intemperance
of his youthful flexible frame.  On my idea, conscience is the frame of
the mind, fitted for its probation in mortality.  And this is in exact
accordance with the foundations of our religion, the Divine origin of
which is marked no less by its history than its harmony with the
principles of our nature.  Obedience to its precepts not only prepares
for a better state of existence in another world, but is likewise
calculated to make us happy here.  We are constantly taught to renounce
sensual pleasure and selfish gratifications, to forget our body and
sensible organs, to associate our pleasures with mind, to fix our
affections upon the great ideal generalisation of intelligence in the one
Supreme Being.  And that we are capable of forming to ourselves an
imperfect idea even of the infinite mind is, I think, a strong
presumption of our own immortality, and of the distinct relation which
our finite knowledge bears to eternal wisdom.

_Phil_.--I am pleased with your views; they coincide with those I had
formed at the time my imagination was employed upon the vision of the
Colosaeum, which I repeated to you, and are not in opposition with the
opinions that the cool judgment and sound and humble faith of Ambrosio
have led me since to embrace.  The doctrine of the materialists was
always, even in my youth, a cold, heavy, dull, and insupportable doctrine
to me, and necessarily tending to Atheism.  When I had heard, with
disgust, in the dissecting-rooms the plan of the physiologist of the
gradual accretion of matter, and its becoming endowed with irritability,
ripening into sensibility and acquiring such organs as were necessary, by
its own inherent forces, and at last rising into intellectual existence,
a walk into the green fields or woods by the banks of rivers brought back
my feelings from nature to God; I saw in all the powers of matter the
instruments of the Deity; the sunbeams, the breath of the zephyr,
awakened animation in forms prepared by Divine intelligence to receive
it; the insensate seed, the slumbering egg, which were to be vivified,
appeared like the new-born animal, works of a Divine mind; I saw love as
the creative principle in the material world, and this love only as a
Divine attribute.  Then, my own mind, I felt connected with new
sensations and indefinite hopes, a thirst for immortality; the great
names of other ages and of distant nations appeared to me to be still
living around me; and, even in the funeral monuments of the heroic and
the great, I saw, as it were, the decree of the indestructibility of
mind.  These feelings, though generally considered as poetical, yet, I
think, offer a sound philosophical argument in favour of the immortality
of the soul.  In all the habits and instincts of young animals their
feelings or movements may be traced in intimate relation to their
improved perfect state; their sports have always affinities to their
modes of hunting or catching their food, and young birds, even in the
nest, show marks of fondness which, when their frames are developed,
become signs of actions necessary to the reproduction and preservation of
the species.  The desire of glory, of honour, of immortal fame, and of
constant knowledge, so usual in young persons of well-constituted minds,
cannot, I think, be other than symptoms of the infinite and progressive
nature of intellect--hopes which, as they cannot be gratified here,
belong to a frame of mind suited to a nobler state of existence.

_The Unknown_.--Religion, whether natural or revealed, has always the
same beneficial influence on the mind.  In youth, in health, and
prosperity, it awakens feelings of gratitude and sublime love, and
purifies at the same time that it exalts; but it is in misfortune, in
sickness, in age, that its effects are most truly and beneficially felt;
when submission in faith and humble trust in the Divine will, from duties
become pleasures, undecaying sources of consolation; then it creates
powers which were believed to be extinct, and gives a freshness to the
mind which was supposed to have passed away for ever, but which is now
renovated as an immortal hope; then it is the Pharos, guiding the wave-
tost mariner to his home, as the calm and beautiful still basins or
fiords, surrounded by tranquil groves and pastoral meadows, to the
Norwegian pilot escaping from a heavy storm in the north sea, or as the
green and dewy spot gushing with fountains to the exhausted and thirsty
traveller in the midst of the desert.  Its influence outlives all earthly
enjoyments, and becomes stronger as the organs decay and the frame
dissolves; it appears as that evening star of light in the horizon of
life, which, we are sure, is to become in another season a morning star,
and it throws its radiance through the gloom and shadow of death.



DIALOGUE THE FIFTH.  THE CHEMICAL PHILOSOPHER.


I had been made religious by the conversations of Ambrosio in Italy; my
faith was strengthened and exalted by the opinions of the Unknown, for
whom I had not merely that veneration awakened by exalted talents, but a
strong affection founded upon the essential benefit of the preservation
of my life owing to him.  I ventured, the evening after our visit to the
cave of Adelsberg, to ask him some questions relating to his history and
adventures.  He said, "To attempt to give you any idea of the formation
of my character would lead me into the history of my youth, which almost
approaches to a tale of romance.  The source of the little information
and intelligence I possess I must refer to a restless activity of spirit,
a love of glory which ever belonged to my infancy, and a sensibility
easily excited and not easily conquered.  My parentage was humble, yet I
can believe a traditional history of my paternal grandmother, that the
origin of our family was from an old Norman stock; I found this belief
upon certain feelings which I can only refer to an hereditary source, a
pride of decorum, a tact and refinement even in boyhood, and which are
contradictory to the idea of an origin from a race of peasants.  Accident
opened to me in early youth a philosophical career, which I pursued with
success.  In manhood fortune smiled upon me and made me independent; I
then really became a philosopher, and pursued my travels with the object
of instructing myself and of benefiting mankind.  I have seen most parts
of Europe, and conversed, I believe, with all the illustrious men of
science belonging to them.  My life has not been unlike that of the
ancient Greek sages.  I have added some little to the quantity of human
knowledge, and I have endeavoured to add something to the quantity of
human happiness.  In my early life I was a sceptic; I have informed you
how I became a believer, and I constantly bless the Supreme Intelligence
for the favour of some gleams of Divine light which have been vouchsafed
to me in this our state of darkness and doubt."

_Phil_.--I am surprised that with your powers you did not enter into a
professional career either of law or politics; you would have gained the
highest honours and distinctions.

_The Unknown_.--To me there never has been a higher source of honour or
distinction than that connected with advances in science.  I have not
possessed enough of the eagle in my character to make a direct flight to
the loftiest altitudes in the social world, and I certainly never
endeavoured to reach those heights by using the creeping powers of the
reptile who, in ascending, generally chooses the dirtiest path, because
it is the easiest.

_Eub_.--I have often wondered that men of fortune and of rank do not
apply themselves more to philosophical pursuits; they offer a delightful
and enviable road to distinction, one founded upon the blessings and
benefits conferred on our fellow-creatures; they do not supply the same
sources of temporary popularity as successes in the senate or at the bar,
but the glory resulting from them is permanent and independent of vulgar
taste or caprice.  In looking back to the history of the last five reigns
in England, we find Boyles, Cavendishes, and Howards, who rendered those
great names more illustrious by their scientific honours; but we may in
vain search the aristocracy now for philosophers, and there are very few
persons who pursue science with true dignity; it is followed more as
connected with objects of profit than those of fame, and there are fifty
persons who take out patents for supposed inventions for one who makes a
real discovery.

_Phil_.--The information we have already received from you proves to me
that chemistry has been your favourite pursuit.  I am surprised at this.
The higher-mathematics and pure physics appear to me to offer much more
noble objects of contemplation and fields of discovery, and, practically
considered, the results of the chemist are much more humble, belonging
principally to the apothecary's shop and the kitchen.

_Eub_.--I feel disposed to join you in attacking this favourite study of
our friend, but merely to provoke him to defend it.  I wish our attack
would induce him to vindicate his science, and that we might enjoy a
little of the sport of literary gladiators, at least, in order to call
forth his skill and awaken his eloquence.

_The Unknown_.--I have no objection.  Let there be a fair discussion;
remember we fight only with foils, and the point of mine shall be covered
with velvet.  In your attack upon chemistry, Philalethes, you limited the
use of it to the apothecary's shop and the kitchen.  The first is an
equivocal use; by introducing it into the kitchen you make it an art
fundamental to all others.  But if what you had stated had really meant
to be serious, it would not have deserved a reply; as it is in mere
playfulness, it shall not be thrown away.  I want eloquence, however, to
adorn my subject, yet it is sufficiently exciting even to awaken feeling.
Persons in general look at the magnificent fabric of civilized society as
the result of the accumulated labour, ingenuity, and enterprise of man
through a long course of ages, without attempting to define what has been
owing to the different branches of human industry and science; and
usually attribute to politicians, statesmen, and warriors a much greater
share than really belongs to them in the work: what they have done is in
reality little.  The beginning of civilization is the discovery of some
useful arts by which men acquire property, comforts, or luxuries.  The
necessity or desire of preserving them leads to laws and social
institutions.  The discovery of peculiar arts gives superiority to
particular nations; and the love of power induces them to employ this
superiority to subjugate other nations, who learn their arts, and
ultimately adopt their manners; so that in reality the origin, as well as
the progress and improvement, of civil society is founded in mechanical
and chemical inventions.  No people have ever arrived at any degree of
perfection in their institutions who have not possessed in a high degree
the useful and refined arts.  The comparison of savage and civilized man,
in fact, demonstrates the triumph of chemical and mechanical philosophy
as the causes not only of the physical, but ultimately even of moral
improvement.  Look at the condition of man in the lowest state in which
we are acquainted with him.  Take the native of New Holland, advanced
only a few steps above the animal creation, and that principally by the
use of fire; naked, defending himself against wild beasts or killing them
for food only by weapons made of wood hardened in the fire, or pointed
with stones or fish bones; living only in holes dug out of the earth, or
in huts rudely constructed of a few branches of trees covered with grass;
having no approach to the enjoyment of luxuries or even comforts; unable
to provide for his most pressing wants; having a language scarcely
articulate, relating only to the great objects of nature, or to his most
pressing necessities or desires, and living solitary or in single
families, unacquainted with religion, government, or laws, submitted to
the mercy of nature or the elements.  How different is man in his highest
state of cultivation; every part of his body covered with the products of
different chemical and mechanical arts made not only useful in protecting
him from the inclemency of the seasons but combined in forms of beauty
and variety; creating out of the dust of the earth from the clay under
his feet instruments of use and ornament; extracting metals from the rude
ore and giving to them a hundred different shapes for a thousand
different purposes; selecting and improving the vegetable productions
with which he covers the earth; not only subduing but taming and
domesticating the wildest, the fleetest, and the strongest inhabitants of
the wood, the mountain, and the air; making the winds carry him on every
part of the immense ocean; and compelling the elements of air, water, and
even fire as it were to labour for him; concentrating in small space
materials which act as the thunderbolt, and directing their energies so
as to destroy at immense distances; blasting the rock, removing the
mountain, carrying water from the valley to the hill; perpetuating
thought in imperishable words, rendering immortal the exertion of genius,
and presenting them as common property to all awakening minds, becoming
as it were the true image of divine intelligence receiving and bestowing
the breath of life in the influence of civilization.

_Eub_.--Really you are in the poetical, not the chemical chair, or rather
on the tripod.  We claim from you some accuracy of detail, some minute
information, some proofs of what you assert.  What you attribute to the
chemical and mechanical arts, we might with the same propriety attribute
to the fine arts, to letters, to political improvement, and to those
inventions of which Minerva and Apollo and not Vulcan are the patrons.

_The Unknown_.--I will be more minute.  You will allow that the rendering
skins insoluble in water by combining with them the astringent principle
of certain vegetables is a chemical invention, and that without leather,
our shoes, our carriages, our equipages would be very ill made; you will
permit me to say, that the bleaching and dying of wool and silk, cotton,
and flax, are chemical processes, and that the conversion of them into
different clothes is a mechanical invention; that the working of iron,
copper, tin, and lead, and the other metals, and the combining them in
different alloys by which almost all the instruments necessary for the
turner, the joiner, the stone-mason, the ship-builder, and the smith are
made, are chemical inventions; even the press, to the influence of which
I am disposed to attribute as much as you can do, could not have existed
in any state of perfection without a metallic alloy; the combining of
alkali and sand, and certain clays and flints together to form glass and
porcelain is a chemical process; the colours which the artist employs to
frame resemblances of natural objects, or to create combinations more
beautiful than ever existed in Nature, are derived from chemistry; in
short, in every branch of the common and fine arts, in every department
of human industry, the influence of this science is felt, and we may find
in the fable of Prometheus taking the flame from heaven to animate his
man of clay an emblem of the effects of fire in its application to
chemical purposes in creating the activity and almost the life of civil
society.

_Phil_.--It appears to me that you attribute to science what in many
cases has been the result of accident.  The processes of most of the
useful arts, which you call chemical, have been invented and improved
without any refined views, without any general system of knowledge.
Lucretius attributes to accident the discovery of the fusion of the
metals; a person in touching a shell-fish observes that it emits a purple
liquid as a dye, hence the Tyrian purple; clay is observed to harden in
the fire, and hence the invention of bricks, which could hardly fail
ultimately to lead to the discovery of porcelain; oven glass, the most
perfect and beautiful of those manufactures you call chemical, is said to
have been discovered by accident; Theophrastus states that some merchants
who were cooking on lumps of soda or natron, near the mouth of the river
Belus, observed that a hard and vitreous substance was formed where the
fused natron ran into the sand.

_The Unknown_.--I will readily allow that accident has had much to do
with the origin of the arts as with the progress of the sciences.  But it
has been by scientific processes and experiments that these accidental
results have been rendered really applicable to the purposes of common
life.  Besides, it requires a certain degree of knowledge and scientific
combination to understand and seize upon the facts which have originated
in accident.  It is certain that in all fires alkaline substances and
sand are fused together, and clay hardened; yet for ages after this
discovery of fire, glass and porcelain were unknown till some men of
genius profited by scientific combination often observed but never
applied.  It suits the indolence of those minds which never attempt
anything, and which probably if they did attempt anything would not
succeed, to refer to accident that which belongs to genius.  It is
sometimes said by such persons, that the discovery of the law of
gravitation was owing to accident: and a ridiculous story is told of the
falling of an apple as the cause of this discovery.  As well might the
invention of fluxions or the architectural wonders of the dome of St.
Peter's, or the miracles of art the St. John of Raphael or the Apollo
Belvidere, be supposed to be owing to accidental combinations.  In the
progress of an art, from its rudest to its more perfect state, the whole
process depends upon experiments.  Science is in fact nothing more than
the refinement of common sense making use of facts already known to
acquire new facts.  Clays which are yellow are known to burn red;
calcareous earth renders flint fusible--the persons who have improved
earthenware made their selections accordingly.  Iron was discovered at
least one thousand years before it was rendered malleable; and from what
Herodotus says of this discovery, there can be little doubt that it was
developed by a scientific worker in metals.  Vitruvius tells us that the
ceruleum, a colour made of copper, which exists in perfection in all the
old paintings of the Greeks and Romans and on the mummies of the
Egyptians, was discovered by an Egyptian king; there is therefore every
reason to believe that it was not the result of accidental combination,
but of experiments made for producing or improving colours.  Amongst the
ancient philosophers, many discoveries are attributed to Democritus and
Anaxagoras; and, connected with chemical arts, the narrative of the
inventions of Archimedes alone, by Plutarch, would seem to show how great
is the effect of science in creating power.  In modern times, the
refining of sugar, the preparation of nitre, the manufacturing of acids,
salts, &c., are all results of pure chemistry.  Take gunpowder as a
specimen; no person but a man infinitely diversifying his processes and
guided by analogy could have made such a discovery.  Look into the books
of the alchemists, and some idea may be formed of the effects of
experiments.  It is true, these persons were guided by false views, yet
they made most useful researches; and Lord Bacon has justly compared them
to the husbandman who, searching for an imaginary treasure, fertilised
the soil.  They might likewise be compared to persons who, looking for
gold, discover the fragments of beautiful statues, which separately are
of no value, and which appear of little value to the persons who found
them; but which, when selected and put together by artists and their
defective parts supplied, are found to be wonderfully perfect and worthy
of conservation.  Look to the progress of the arts since they have been
enlightened by a system of science, and observe with what rapidity they
have advanced.  Again, the steam-engine in its rudest form was the result
of a chemical experiment; in its refined state it required the
combinations of all the most recondite principles of chemistry and
mechanics, and that excellent philosopher who has given this wonderful
instrument of power to civil society was led to the great improvements he
made by the discoveries of a kindred genius on the heat absorbed when
water becomes steam, and of the heat evolved when steam becomes water.
Even the most superficial observer must allow in this case a triumph of
science, for what a wonderful impulse has this invention given to the
progress of the arts and manufactories in our country, how much has it
diminished labour, how much has it increased the real strength of the
country!  Acting as it were with a thousand hands, it has multiplied our
active population; and receiving its elements of activity from the bowels
of the earth, it performs operations which formerly were painful,
oppressive, and unhealthy to the labourers, with regularity and
constancy, and gives security and precision to the efforts of the
manufacturer.  And the inventions connected with the steam-engine, at the
same time that they have greatly diminished labour of body, have tended
to increase power of mind and intellectual resources.  Adam Smith well
observes that manufacturers are always more ingenious than husbandmen;
and manufacturers who use machinery will probably always be found more
ingenious than handicraft manufacturers.  You spoke of porcelain as a
result of accident; the improvements invented in this country, as well as
those made in Germany and France, have been entirely the result of
chemical experiments; the Dresden and the Sevres manufactories have been
the work of men of science, and it was by multiplying his chemical
researches that Wedgewood was enabled to produce at so cheap a rate those
beautiful imitations which while they surpass the ancient vases in
solidity and perfection of material, equal them in elegance, variety, and
tasteful arrangement of their forms.  In another department, the use of
the electrical conductor was a pure scientific combination, and the
sublimity of the discovery of the American philosopher was only equalled
by the happy application he immediately made of it.  In our own times it
would be easy to point out numerous instances in which great improvements
and beneficial results connected with the comforts, the happiness, and
even life of our fellow creatures have been the results of scientific
combinations; but I cannot do this without constituting myself a judge of
the works of philosophers who are still alive, whose researches are
known, whose labours are respected, and who will receive from posterity
praises that their contemporaries hardly dare to bestow upon them.

_Eub_.--We will allow that you have shown in many cases the utility of
scientific investigation as connected with the progress of the useful
arts.  But, in general, both the principles of chemistry are followed,
and series of experiments performed without any view to utility; and a
great noise is made if a new metal or a new substance is discovered, or
if some abstracted law is made known relating to the phenomena of nature;
yet, amongst the variety of new substances, few have been applied to any
trifling use even, and the greater number have had no application at all.
And with respect to the general views of the science, it would be
difficult to show that any real good had resulted from the discovery or
extension of them.  It does not add much to the dignity of a pursuit that
those persons who have followed it for profit have really been most
useful, and that the mere artisan or chemical manufacturer has done more
for society than the chemical philosopher.  Besides, it has always
appeared to me that it is in the nature of this science to encourage
mediocrity and to attach importance to insignificant things; very slight
chemical labours seem to give persons a claim to the title of
philosopher--to have dissolved a few grains of chalk in an acid, to have
shown that a very useless stone contains certain known ingredients, or
that the colouring matter of a flower is soluble in acid and not in
alkali, is thought by some a foundation for chemical celebrity.  I once
began to attend a course of chemical lectures and to read the journals
containing the ephemeral productions of this science; I was dissatisfied
with the nature of the evidence which the professor adopted in his
demonstrations, and disgusted with the series of observations and
experiments which were brought forward one month to be overturned the
next.  In November there was a Zingeberic acid, which in January was
shown to have no existence; one year there was a vegetable acid, which
the next was shown to be the same as an acid known thirty years ago; to-
day a man was celebrated for having discovered a new metal or a new
alkali, and they flourished like the scenes in a new pantomime only to
disappear.  Then, the great object of the hundred triflers in the science
appeared to be to destroy the reputation of the three or four great men
whose labours were really useful, and had in them something of dignity.
And, there not being enough of trifling results or false experiments to
fill up the pages of the monthly journals, the deficiency was supplied by
some crude theories or speculations of unknown persons, or by some ill-
judged censure or partial praise of the editor.

_The Unknown_.--I deny _in toto_ the accuracy of what you are advancing.
I have already shown that real philosophers, not labouring for profit,
have done much by their own inventions for the useful arts; and, amongst
the new substances discovered, many have had immediate and very important
applications.  The chlorine, or oxymuriatic gas of Scheele, was scarcely
known before it was applied by Berthollet to bleaching; scarcely was
muriatic acid gas discovered by Priestley, when Guyton de Morveau used it
for destroying contagion.  Consider the varied and diversified
applications of platinum, which has owed its existence as a useful metal
entirely to the labours of an illustrious chemical philosopher; look at
the beautiful yellow afforded by one of the new metals, chrome; consider
the medical effects of iodine in some of the most painful and disgusting
maladies belonging to human nature, and remember how short a time
investigations have been made for applying the new substances.  Besides,
the mechanical or chemical manufacturer has rarely discovered anything;
he has merely applied what the philosopher has made known, he has merely
worked upon the materials furnished to him.  We have no history of the
manner in which iron was rendered malleable; but we know that platinum
could only have been worked by a person of the most refined chemical
resources, who made multiplied experiments upon it after the most
ingenious and profound views.  But, waiving all common utility, all
vulgar applications, there is something in knowing and understanding the
operation of Nature, some pleasure in contemplating the order and harmony
of the arrangements belonging to the terrestrial system of things.  There
is no absolute utility in poetry, but it gives pleasure, refines and
exalts the mind.  Philosophic pursuits have likewise a noble and
independent use of this kind, and there is a double reason offered for
pursuing them, for whilst in their sublime speculations they reach to the
heavens, in their application they belong to the earth; whilst they exalt
the intellect, they provide food for our common wants, and likewise
minister to the noblest appetites and most exalted views belonging to our
nature.  The results of this science are not like the temples of the
ancients, in which statues of the gods were placed, where incense was
offered and sacrifices were performed, and which were presented to the
adoration of the multitude founded upon superstitious feelings; but they
are rather like the palaces of the moderns, to be admired and used, and
where the statues, which in the ancients raised feelings of adoration and
awe, now produce only feelings of pleasure, and gratify a refined taste.
It is surely a pure delight to know how and by what processes this earth
is clothed with verdure and life, how the clouds, mists, and rain are
formed, what causes all the changes of this terrestrial system of things,
and by what divine laws order is preserved amidst apparent confusion.  It
is a sublime occupation to investigate the cause of the tempest and the
volcano, and to point out their use in the economy of things, to bring
the lightning from the clouds and make it subservient to our experiments,
to produce, as it were, a microcosm in the laboratory of art, and to
measure and weigh those invisible atoms which, by their motions and
changes according to laws impressed upon them by the Divine Intelligence,
constitute the universe of things.  The true chemical philosopher sees
good in all the diversified forms of the external world.  Whilst he
investigates the operations of infinite power guided by infinite wisdom,
all low prejudices, all mean superstitions, disappear from his mind.  He
sees man an atom amidst atoms fixed upon a point in space, and yet
modifying the laws that are around him by understanding them, and
gaining, as it were, a kind of dominion over time and an empire in
material space, and exerting on a scale infinitely small a power seeming
a sort of shadow or reflection of a creative energy, and which entitles
him to the distinction of being made in the image of God and animated by
a spark of the Divine Mind.  Whilst chemical pursuits exalt the
understanding, they do not depress the imagination or weaken genuine
feeling; whilst they give the mind habits of accuracy by obliging it to
attend to facts, they likewise extend its analogies, and though
conversant with the minute forms of things, they have for their ultimate
end the great and magnificent objects of Nature.  They regard the
formation of a crystal, the structure of a pebble, the nature of a clay
or earth; and they apply to the causes of the diversity of our mountain
chains, the appearances of the winds, thunderstorms, meteors, the
earthquake, the volcano, and all those phenomena which offer the most
striking images to the poet and the painter.  They keep alive that
inextinguishable thirst after knowledge which is one of the greatest
characteristics of our nature, for every discovery opens a new field for
investigation of facts, shows us the imperfection of our theories.  It
has justly been said that the greater the circle of light, the greater
the boundary of darkness by which it is surrounded.  This strictly
applies to chemical inquiries, and hence they are wonderfully suited to
the progressive nature of the human intellect, which by its increasing
efforts to acquire a higher kind of wisdom, and a state in which truth is
fully and brightly revealed, seems, as it were, to demonstrate its
birthright to immortality.

_Eub_.--I am glad that our opposition has led you to so complete a
vindication of your favourite science.  I want no further proof of its
utility.  I regret that I have not before made it a particular object of
study.

_Phil_.--As our friend has so fully convinced us of the importance of
chemistry, I hope he will descend to some particulars as to its real
nature, its objects, its instruments.  I would willingly have a
definition of chemistry and some idea of the qualifications necessary to
become a chemist, and of the apparatus essential for understanding what
has been already done in the science, and for pursuing new inquiries.

_The Unknown_.--There is nothing more difficult than a good definition,
for it is scarcely possible to express in a few words the abstracted view
of an infinite variety of facts.  Dr. Black has defined chemistry to be
that science which treats of the changes produced in bodies by motions of
their ultimate particles or atoms, but this definition is hypothetical,
for the ultimate particles or atoms are mere creations of the
imagination.  I will give you a definition, which will have the merit of
novelty and which is probably general in its application.  Chemistry
relates to those operations by which the intimate nature of bodies is
changed, or by which they acquire new properties.  This definition will
not only apply to the effects of mixture, but to the phenomena of
electricity, and, in short, to all the changes which do not merely depend
upon the motion or division of masses of matter.  However difficult it
may have been to have given you a definition of chemistry, it is still
more difficult to give you a detail of all the qualities necessary for a
chemical philosopher.  I will not name as many as Athenaeus has named for
a cook, who, he says, ought to be a mathematician, a theoretical
musician, a natural philosopher, a natural historian, &c., though you had
a disposition just now to make chemistry merely subservient to the uses
of the kitchen.  But I will seriously mention some of the studies
fundamental to the higher departments of this science; a man may be a
good practical chemist perhaps without possessing them, but he never can
become a great chemical philosopher.  The person who wishes to understand
the higher departments of chemistry, or to pursue them in their most
interesting relations to the economy of Nature, ought to be well-grounded
in elementary mathematics; he will oftener have to refer to arithmetic
than algebra, and to algebra than to geometry.  But all these sciences
lend their aid to chemistry; arithmetic, in determining the proportions
of analytical results and the relative weights of the elements of bodies;
algebra, in ascertaining the laws of the pressure of elastic fluids, the
force of vapour as dependent upon temperature, and the effects of masses
and surfaces on the communication and radiation of heat; the applications
of geometry are principally limited to the determination of the
crystalline forms of bodies, which constitute the most important type of
their nature, and often offer useful hints for analytical researches
respecting their composition.  The first principles of natural philosophy
or general physics ought not to be entirely unknown to the chemist.  As
the most active agents are fluids, elastic fluids, heat, light, and
electricity, he ought to have a general knowledge of mechanics,
hydrodynamics, pneumatics, optics, and electricity.  Latin and Greek
among the dead and French among the modern languages are necessary, and,
as the most important after French, German and Italian.  In natural
history and in literature what belongs to a liberal education, such as
that of our universities, is all that is required; indeed, a young man
who has performed the ordinary course of college studies which are
supposed fitted for common life and for refined society, has all the
preliminary knowledge necessary to commence the study of chemistry.  The
apparatus essential to the modern chemical philosopher is much less bulky
and expensive than that used by the ancients.  An air pump, an electrical
machine, a voltaic battery (all of which may be upon a small scale), a
blow-pipe apparatus, a bellows and forge, a mercurial and water-gas
apparatus, cups and basins of platinum and glass, and the common reagents
of chemistry, are what are required.  All the implements absolutely
necessary may be carried in a small trunk, and some of the best and most
refined researches of modern chemists have been made by means of an
apparatus which might with ease be contained in a small travelling
carriage, and the expense of which is only a few pounds.  The facility
with which chemical inquiries are carried on, and the simplicity of the
apparatus, offer additional reasons, to those I have already given, for
the pursuit of this science.  It is not injurious to the health; the
modern chemist is not like the ancient one, who passed the greater part
of his time exposed to the heat and smoke of a furnace and the
unwholesome vapours of acids and alkalies and other menstrua, of which,
for a single experiment, he consumed several pounds.  His processes may
be carried on in the drawing-room, and some of them are no less beautiful
in appearance than satisfactory in their results.  It was said, by an
author belonging to the last century, of alchemy, "that its beginning was
deceit, its progress labour, and its end beggary."  It may be said of
modern chemistry, that its beginning is pleasure, its progress knowledge,
and its objects truth and utility.  I have spoken of the scientific
attainments necessary for the chemical philosopher; I will say a few
words of the intellectual qualities necessary for discovery or for the
advancement of the science.  Amongst them patience, industry, and
neatness in manipulation, and accuracy and minuteness in observing and
registering the phenomena which occur, are essential.  A steady hand and
a quick eye are most useful auxiliaries; but there have been very few
great chemists who have preserved these advantages through life; for the
business of the laboratory is often a service of danger, and the
elements, like the refractory spirits of romance, though the obedient
slave of the magician, yet sometimes escape the influence of his talisman
and endanger his person.  Both the hands and eyes of others, however, may
be sometimes advantageously made use of.  By often repeating a process or
an observation, the errors connected with hasty operations or imperfect
views are annihilated; and, provided the assistant has no preconceived
notions of his own, and is ignorant of the object of his employer in
making the experiment, his simple and bare detail of facts will often be
the best foundation for an opinion.  With respect to the higher qualities
of intellect necessary for understanding and developing the general laws
of the science, the same talents I believe are required as for making
advancement in every other department of human knowledge; I need not be
very minute.  The imagination must be active and brilliant in seeking
analogies; yet entirely under the influence of the judgment in applying
them.  The memory must be extensive and profound; rather, however,
calling up general views of things than minute trains of thought.  The
mind must not be, like an encyclopedia, a burthen of knowledge, but
rather a critical dictionary which abounds in generalities, and points
out where more minute information may be obtained.  In detailing the
results of experiments and in giving them to the world, the chemical
philosopher should adopt the simplest style and manner; he will avoid all
ornaments as something injurious to his subject, and should bear in mind
the saying of the first king of Great Britain respecting a sermon which
was excellent in doctrine but overcharged with poetical allusions and
figurative language, "that the tropes and metaphors of the speaker were
like the brilliant wild flowers in a field of corn--very pretty, but
which did very much hurt the corn."  In announcing even the greatest and
most important discoveries, the true philosopher will communicate his
details with modesty and reserve; he will rather be a useful servant of
the public, bringing forth a light from under his cloak when it is needed
in darkness, than a charlatan exhibiting fireworks and having a trumpeter
to announce their magnificence.  I see you are smiling, and think what I
am saying in bad taste; yet, notwithstanding, I will provoke your smiles
still further by saying a word or two on his other moral qualities.  That
he should be humble-minded, you will readily allow, and a diligent
searcher after truth, and neither diverted from this great object by the
love of transient glory or temporary popularity, looking rather to the
opinion of ages than to that of a day, and seeking to be remembered and
named rather in the epochas of historians than in the columns of
newspaper writers or journalists.  He should resemble the modern
geometricians in the greatness of his views and the profoundness of his
researches, and the ancient alchemists in industry and piety.  I do not
mean that he should affix written prayers and inscriptions of
recommendations of his processes to Providence, as was the custom of
Peter Wolfe, and who was alive in my early days, but his mind should
always be awake to devotional feeling, and in contemplating the variety
and the beauty of the external world, and developing its scientific
wonders, he will always refer to that infinite wisdom through whose
beneficence he is permitted to enjoy knowledge; and, in becoming wiser,
he will become better, he will rise at once in the scale of intellectual
and moral existence, his increased sagacity will be subservient to a more
exalted faith, and in proportion as the veil becomes thinner through
which he sees the causes of things he will admire more the brightness of
the divine light by which they are rendered visible.



DIALOGUE THE SIXTH.  POLA, OR TIME.


During our stay in Illyria, I made an excursion by water with the
Unknown, my preserver, now become my friend, and Eubathes, to Pola, in
Istria.  We entered the harbour of Pola in a felucca when the sun was
setting; and I know no scene more splendid than the amphitheatre seen
from the sea in this light.  It appears not as a building in ruins, but
like a newly erected work, and the reflection of the colours of its
brilliant marble and beautiful forms seen upon the calm surface of the
waters gave to it a double effect--that of a glorious production of art
and of a magnificent picture.  We examined with pleasure the remains of
the arch of Augustus and the temple, very perfect monuments of imperial
grandeur.  But the splendid exterior of the amphitheatre was not in
harmony with the bare and naked walls of the interior; there were none of
those durable and grand seats of marble, such as adorn the amphitheatre
of Verona, from which it is probable that the whole of the arena and
conveniences for the spectators had been constructed of wood.  Their
total disappearance led us to reflect upon the causes of the destruction
of so many of the works of the older nations.  I said, in our
metaphysical abstractions, we refer the changes, the destruction of
material forms, to time, but there must be physical laws in Nature by
which they are produced; and I begged our new friend to give us some
ideas on this subject in his character of chemical philosopher.  If human
science, I said, has discovered the principle of the decay of things, it
is possible that human art may supply means of conservation, and bestow
immortality on some of the works which appear destined by their
perfection for future ages.

_The Unknown_.--I shall willingly communicate to you my views of the
operation of time, philosophically considered.  A great philosopher has
said, man can in no other way command Nature but in obeying her laws;
and, in these laws, the principle of change is a principle of life;
without decay, there can be no reproduction; and everything belonging to
the earth, whether in its primitive state, or modified by human hands, is
submitted to certain and immutable laws of destruction, as permanent and
universal as those which produce the planetary motions.  The property
which, as far as our experience extends, universally belongs to matter,
gravitation, is the first and most general cause of change in our
terrestrial system; and, whilst it preserves the great mass of the globe
in a uniform state, its influence is continually producing alterations
upon the surface.  The water, raised in vapour by the solar heat, is
precipitated by the cool air in the atmosphere; it is carried down by
gravitation to the surface, and gains its mechanical force from this law.
Whatever is elevated above the superfices by the powers of vegetation or
animal life, or by the efforts of man, by gravitation constantly tends to
the common centre of attraction; and the great reason of the duration of
the pyramid above all other forms is, that it is most fitted to resist
the force of gravitation.  The arch, the pillar, and all perpendicular
constructions, are liable to fall when a degradation from chemical or
mechanical causes takes place in their inferior parts.  The forms upon
the surface of the globe are preserved from the influence of gravitation
by the attraction of cohesion, or by chemical attraction; but if their
parts had freedom of motion, they would all be levelled by this power,
gravitation, and the globe would appear as a plane and smooth oblate
spheroid, flattened at the poles.  The attraction of cohesion or chemical
attraction, in its most energetic state, is not liable to be destroyed by
gravitation; this power only assists the agencies of other causes of
degradation.  Attraction, of whatever kind, tends, as it were, to produce
rest--a sort of eternal sleep in Nature.  The great antagonist power is
heat.  By the influence of the sun the globe is exposed to great
varieties of temperature; an addition of heat expands bodies, and an
abstraction of heat causes them to contract; by variation of heat,
certain kinds of matter are rendered fluid, or elastic, and changes from
fluids into solids, or from solids or fluids into elastic substances, and
_vice versa_, are produced; and all these phenomena are connected with
alterations tending to the decay or destruction of bodies.  It is not
probable that the mere contraction or expansion of a solid, from the
subtraction or addition of heat, tends to loosen its parts; but if water
exists in these parts, then its expansion, either in becoming vapour or
ice, tends not only to diminish their cohesion, but to break them into
fragments.  There is, you know, a very remarkable property of water--its
expansion by cooling, and at the time of becoming ice--and this is a
great cause of destruction in the northern climates; for where ice forms
in the crevices or cavities of stones, or when water which has penetrated
into cement freezes, its expansion acts with the force of the lever or
the screw in destroying or separating the parts of bodies.  The
mechanical powers of water, as rain, hail, or snow, in descending from
the atmosphere, are not entirely without effect; for in acting upon the
projections of solids, drops of water or particles of snow, and still
more of hail, have a power of abrasion, and a very soft substance, from
its mass assisting gravitation, may break a much harder one.  The
glacier, by its motion, grinds into powder the surface of the granite
rock; and the Alpine torrents, that have their origin under glaciers, are
always turbid, from the destruction of the rocks on which the glacier is
formed.  The effect of a torrent in deepening its bed will explain the
mechanical agency of fluid-water, though this effect is infinitely
increased, and sometimes almost entirely dependent, upon the solid
matters which are carried down by it.  An angular fragment of stone in
the course of ages moved in the cavity of a rock makes a deep round
excavation, and is worn itself into a spherical form.  A torrent of rain
flowing down the side of a building carries with it the silicious dust,
or sand, or matter which the wind has deposited there, and acts upon a
scale infinitely more minute, but according to the same law.  The
buildings of ancient Rome have not only been liable to the constant
operation of the rain-courses, or minute torrents produced by rains, but
even the Tiber, swollen with floods of the Sabine mountains and the
Apennines, has often entered into the city, and a winter seldom passes
away in which the area of the Pantheon has not been filled with water,
and the reflection of the cupola seen in a smooth lake below.  The
monuments of Egypt are perhaps the most ancient and permanent of those
belonging to the earth, and in that country rain is almost unknown.  And
all the causes of degradation connected with the agency of water act more
in the temperate climates than in the hot ones, and most of all in those
countries where the inequalities of temperature are greatest.  The
mechanical effects of air are principally in the action of winds in
assisting the operation of gravitation, and in abrading by dust, sand,
stones, and atmospheric water.  These effects, unless it be in the case
of a building blown down by a tempest, are imperceptible in days, or even
years; yet a gentle current of air carrying the silicious sand of the
desert, or the dust of a road for ages against the face of a structure,
must ultimately tend to injure it, for with infinite or unlimited
duration, an extremely small cause will produce a very great effect.  The
mechanical agency of electricity is very limited; the effects of
lightning have, however, been witnessed, even in some of the great
monuments of antiquity, the Colosaeum at Rome, for instance; and only
last year, in a violent thunderstorm, some of the marble, I have been
informed, was struck from the top of one of the arches in this building,
and a perpendicular rent made, of some feet in diameter.  But the
chemical effects of electricity, though excessively slow and gradual, yet
are much more efficient in the great work of destruction.  It is to the
general chemical doctrines of the changes produced by this powerful agent
that I must now direct your especial attention.

_Eub_.--Would not the consideration of the subject have been more
distinct, and your explanations of the phenomena more simple, had you
commenced by dividing the causes of change into mechanical and chemical;
if you had first considered them separately, and then their joint
effects?

_The Unknown_.--The order I have adopted is not very remote from this.
But I was perhaps wrong in treating first of the agency of gravitation,
which owes almost all its powers to the operation of other causes.  In
consequence of your hint, I shall alter my plan a little, and consider
first the chemical agency of water, then that of air, and lastly that of
electricity.  In every species of chemical change, temperature is
concerned.  But unless the results of volcanoes and earthquakes be
directly referred to this power, it has no chemical effect in relation to
the changes ascribed to time simply considered as heat, but its
operations, which are the most important belonging to the terrestrial
cycle of changes, are blended with, or bring into activity, those of
other agents.  One of the most distinct and destructive agencies of water
depends upon its solvent powers, which are usually greatest when its
temperature is highest.  Water is capable of dissolving, in larger or
smaller proportions, most compound bodies, and the calcareous and
alkaline elements of stones are particularly liable to this kind of
operation.  When water holds in solution carbonic acid, which is always
the case when it is precipitated from the atmosphere, its power of
dissolving carbonate of lime is very much increased, and in the
neighbourhood of great cities, where the atmosphere contains a large
proportion of this principle, the solvent powers of rain upon the marble
exposed to it must be greatest.  Whoever examines the marble statues in
the British Museum, which have been removed from the exterior of the
Parthenon, will be convinced that they have suffered from this agency;
and an effect distinct in the pure atmosphere and temperate climate of
Athens, must be upon a higher scale in the vicinity of other great
European cities, where the consumption of fuel produces carbonic acid in
large quantities.  Metallic substances, such as iron, copper, bronze,
brass, tin, and lead, whether they exist in stones, or are used for
support or connection in buildings, are liable to be corroded by water
holding in solution the principles of the atmosphere; and the rust and
corrosion, which are made, poetically, qualities of time, depend upon the
oxidating powers of water, which by supplying oxygen in a dissolved or
condensed state enables the metals to form new combinations.  All the
vegetable substances, exposed to water and air, are liable to decay, and
even the vapour in the air, attracted by wood, gradually reacts upon its
fibres and assists decomposition, or enables its elements to take new
arrangements.  Hence it is that none of the roofs of ancient buildings
more than a thousand years old remain, unless it be such as are
constructed of stone, as those of the Pantheon of Rome and the tomb of
Theodoric at Ravenna, the cupola of which is composed of a single block
of marble.  The pictures of the Greek masters, which were painted on the
wood of the abies, or pine of the Mediterranean, likewise, as we are
informed by Pliny, owed their destruction not to a change in the colours,
not to the alteration of the calcareous ground on which they were
painted, but to the decay of the tablets of wood on which the intonaco or
stucco was laid.  Amongst the substances employed in building, wood,
iron, tin, and lead, are most liable to decay from the operation of
water, then marble, when exposed to its influence in the fluid form;
brass, copper, granite, sienite, and porphyry are more durable.  But in
stones, much depends upon the peculiar nature of their constituent parts;
when the feldspar of the granite rocks contains little alkali or
calcareous earth, it is a very permanent stone; but, when in granite,
porphyry, or sienite, either the feldspar contains much alkaline matter,
or the mica, schorl, or hornblende much protoxide of iron, the action of
water containing oxygen and carbonic acid on the ferruginous elements
tends to produce the disintegration of the stone.  The red granite, black
sienite, and red porphyry of Egypt, which are seen at Rome in obelisks,
columns, and sarcophagi, are amongst the most durable compound stones;
but the grey granites of Corsica and Elba are extremely liable to undergo
alteration: the feldspar contains much alkaline matter; and the mica and
schorl, much protoxide of iron.  A remarkable instance of the decay of
granite may be seen in the Hanging Tower of Pisa; whilst the marble
pillars in the basement remain scarcely altered, the granite ones have
lost a considerable portion of their surface, which falls off continually
in scales, and exhibits everywhere stains from the formation of peroxide
of iron.  The kaolin, or clay, used in most countries for the manufacture
of fine porcelain or china, is generally produced from the feldspar of
decomposing granite, in which the cause of decay is the dissolution and
separation of the alkaline ingredients.

_Eub_.--I have seen serpentines, basalts, and lavas which internally were
dark, and which from their weight, I should suppose, must contain oxide
of iron, superficially brown or red, and decomposing.  Undoubtedly this
was from the action of water impregnated with air upon their ferruginous
elements.

_The Unknown_.--You are perfectly right.  There are few compound stones,
possessing a considerable specific gravity, which are not liable to
change from this cause; and oxide of iron amongst the metallic substances
anciently known, is the most generally diffused in nature, and most
concerned in the changes which take place on the surface of the globe.
The chemical action of carbonic acid is so much connected with that of
water, that it is scarcely possible to speak of them separately, as must
be evident from what I have before said; but the same action which is
exerted by the acid dissolved in water is likewise exerted by it in its
elastic state, and in this case the facility with which the quantity is
changed makes up for the difference of the degree of condensation.  There
is no reason to believe that the azote of the atmosphere has any
considerable action in producing changes of the nature we are studying on
the surface; the aqueous vapour, the oxygen and the carbonic acid gas,
are, however, constantly in combined activity, and above all the oxygen.
And, whilst water, uniting its effects with those of carbonic acid, tends
to disintegrate the parts of stones, the oxygen acts upon vegetable
matter.  And this great chemical agent is at once necessary, in all the
processes of life and in all those of decay, in which Nature, as it were,
takes again to herself those instruments, organs, and powers, which had
for a while been borrowed and employed for the purpose or the wants of
the living principle.  Almost everything effected by rapid combinations
in combustion may also be effected gradually by the slow absorption of
oxygen; and though the productions of the animal and vegetable kingdom
are much more submitted to the power of atmospheric agents than those of
the mineral kingdom, yet, as in the instances which have just been
mentioned, oxygen gradually destroys the equilibrium of the elements of
stones, and tends to reduce into powder, to render fit for soils, even
the hardest aggregates belonging to our globe.  Electricity, as a
chemical agent, may be considered not only as directly producing an
infinite variety of changes, but likewise as influencing almost all which
take place.  There are not two substances on the surface of the globe
that are not in different electrical relations to each other; and
chemical attraction itself seems to be a peculiar form of the exhibition
of electrical attraction; and wherever the atmosphere, or water, or any
part of the surface of the earth gains accumulated electricity of a
different kind from the contiguous surfaces, the tendency of this
electricity is to produce new arrangements of the parts of these
surfaces; thus a positively electrified cloud, acting even at a great
distance on a moistened stone, tends to attract its oxygenous, or
acidiform or acid, ingredients, and a negatively electrified cloud has
the same effect upon its earthy, alkaline, or metallic matter.  And the
silent and slow operation of electricity is much more important in the
economy of Nature than its grand and impressive operation in lightning
and thunder.  The chemical agencies of water and air are assisted by
those of electricity; and their joint effects combined with those of
gravitation and the mechanical ones I first described are sufficient to
account for the results of time.  But the physical powers of Nature in
producing decay are assisted likewise by certain agencies or energies of
organised beings.  A polished surface of a building or a statue is no
sooner made rough from the causes that have been mentioned than the seeds
of lichens and mosses, which are constantly floating in our atmosphere,
make it a place of repose, grow, and increase, and from their death,
their decay, and decomposition carbonaceous matter is produced, and at
length a soil is formed, in which grass can fix its roots.  In the
crevices of walls, where this soil is washed down, even the seeds of
trees grow, and, gradually as a building becomes more ruined, ivy and
other parasitical plants cover it.  Even the animal creation lends its
aid in the process of destruction when man no longer labours for the
conservation of his works.  The fox burrows amongst ruins, bats and birds
nestle in the cavities in walls, the snake and the lizard likewise make
them their habitation.  Insects act upon a smaller scale, but by their
united energies sometimes produce great effect; the ant, by establishing
her colony and forming her magazines, often saps the foundations of the
strongest buildings, and the most insignificant creatures triumph, as it
were, over the grandest works of man.  Add to these sure and slow
operations the devastations of war, the effects of the destructive zeal
of bigotry, the predatory fury of barbarians seeking for concealed wealth
under the foundations of buildings, and tearing from them every metallic
substance, and it is rather to be wondered that any of the works of the
great nations of antiquity are still in existence.

_Phil_.--Your view of the causes of devastation really is a melancholy
one.  Nor do I see any remedy; the most important causes will always
operate.  Yet, supposing the constant existence of a highly civilised
people, the ravages of time might be repaired, and by defending the
finest works of art from the external atmosphere, their changes would be
scarcely perceptible.

_Eub_.--I doubt much whether it is for the interests of a people that its
public works should be of a durable kind.  One of the great causes of the
decline of the Roman Empire was that the people of the Republic and of
the first empire left nothing for their posterity to do; aqueducts,
temples, forums, everything was supplied, and there were no objects to
awaken activity, no necessity to stimulate their inventive faculties, and
hardly any wants to call forth their industry.

_The Unknown_.--At least, you must allow the importance of preserving
objects of the fine arts.  Almost everything we have worthy of admiration
is owing to what has been preserved from the Greek school, and the
nations who have not possessed these works or models have made little or
no progress towards perfection.  Nor does it seem that a mere imitation
of Nature is sufficient to produce the beautiful or perfect; but the
climate, the manners, customs, and dress of the people, its genius and
taste, all co-operate.  Such principles of conservation as Philalethes
has referred to are obvious.  No works of excellence ought to be exposed
to the atmosphere, and it is a great object to preserve them in
apartments of equable temperature and extremely dry.  The roofs of
magnificent buildings should be of materials not likely to be dissolved
by water or changed by air.  Many electrical conductors should be placed
so as to prevent the slow or the rapid effects of atmospheric
electricity.  In painting, lapis lazuli or coloured hard glasses, in
which the oxides are not liable to change, should be used, and should be
laid on marble or stucco encased in stone, and no animal or vegetable
substances, except pure carbonaceous matter, should be used in the
pigments, and none should be mixed with the varnishes.

_Eub_.--Yet, when all is done that can be done in the work of
conservation, it is only producing a difference in the degree of
duration.  And from the statements that our friend has made it is evident
that none of the works of a mortal being can be eternal, as none of the
combinations of a limited intellect can be infinite.  The operations of
Nature, when slow, are no less sure; however man may for a time usurp
dominion over her, she is certain of recovering her empire.  He converts
her rocks, her stones, her trees, into forms of palaces, houses, and
ships; he employs the metals found in the bosom of the earth as
instruments of power, and the sands and clays which constitute its
surface as ornaments and resources of luxury; he imprisons air by water,
and tortures water by fire to change or modify or destroy the natural
forms of things.  But, in some lustrums his works begin to change, and in
a few centuries they decay and are in ruins; and his mighty temples,
framed as it were for immortal and divine purposes, and his bridges
formed of granite and ribbed with iron, and his walls for defence, and
the splendid monuments by which he has endeavoured to give eternity even
to his perishable remains, are gradually destroyed; and these structures,
which have resisted the waves of the ocean, the tempests of the sky, and
the stroke of the lightning, shall yield to the operation of the dews of
heaven, of frost, rain, vapour, and imperceptible atmospheric influences;
and, as the worm devours the lineaments of his mortal beauty, so the
lichens and the moss and the most insignificant plants shall feed upon
his columns and his pyramids, and the most humble and insignificant
insects shall undermine and sap the foundations of his colossal works,
and make their habitations amongst the ruins of his palaces and the
falling seats of his earthly glory.

_Phil_.--Your history of the laws of the inevitable destruction of
material forms recalls to my memory our discussion at Adelsberg.  The
changes of the material universe are in harmony with those which belong
to the human body, and which you suppose to be the frame or machinery of
the sentient principle.  May we not venture to imagine that the visible
and tangible world, with which we are acquainted by our sensations, bears
the same relation to the Divine and Infinite Intelligence that our organs
bear to our mind, with this only difference, that in the changes of the
divine system there is no decay, there being in the order of things a
perfect unity, and all the powers springing from one will and being a
consequence of that will, are perfectly and unalterably balanced.  Newton
seemed to apprehend, that in the laws of the planetary motions there was
a principle which would ultimately be the cause of the destruction of the
system.  Laplace, by pursuing and refining the principles of our great
philosopher, has proved that what appeared sources of disorder are, in
fact, the perfecting machinery of the system, and that the principle of
conservation is as eternal as that of motion.

_The Unknown_.--I dare not offer any speculations on this grand and awful
subject.  We can hardly comprehend the cause of a simple atmospheric
phenomenon, such as the fall of a heavy body from a meteor; we cannot
even embrace in one view the millionth part of the objects surrounding
us, and yet we have the presumption to reason upon the infinite universe
and the eternal mind by which it was created and is governed.  On these
subjects I have no confidence in reason, I trust only to faith; and, as
far as we ought to inquire, we have no other guide but revelation.

_Phil_.--I agree with you that whenever we attempt metaphysical
speculations, we must begin with a foundation of faith.  And being sure
from revelation that God is omnipotent and omnipresent, it appears to me
no improper use of our faculties to trace even in the natural universe
the acts of His power and the results of His wisdom, and to draw
parallels from the infinite to the finite mind.  Remember, we are taught
that man was created in the image of God, and, I think, it cannot be
doubted that in the progress of society man has been made a great
instrument by his energies and labours for improving the moral universe.
Compare the Greeks and Romans with the Assyrians and Babylonians, and the
ancient Greeks and Romans with the nations of modern Christendom, and it
cannot, I think, be questioned that there has been a great superiority in
the latter nations, and that their improvements have been subservient to
a more exalted state of intellectual and religious existence.  If this
little globe has been so modified by its powerful and active inhabitants,
I cannot help thinking that in other systems beings of a superior nature,
under the influence of a divine will, may act nobler parts.  We know from
the sacred writings that there are intelligences of a higher nature than
man, and I cannot help sometimes referring to my vision in the Colosaeum,
and in supposing some acts of power of those genii or seraphs similar to
those which I have imagined in the higher planetary systems.  There is
much reason to infer from astronomical observations that great changes
take place in the system of the fixed stars: Sir William Herschel,
indeed, seems to have believed that he saw nebulous or luminous matter in
the process of forming suns, and there are some astronomers who believe
that stars have been extinct; but it is more probable that they have
disappeared from peculiar motions.  It is, perhaps, rather a poetical
than a philosophical idea, yet I cannot help forming the opinion that
genii or seraphic intelligences may inhabit these systems and may be the
ministers of the eternal mind in producing changes in them similar to
those which have taken place on the earth.  Time is almost a human word
and change entirely a human idea; in the system of Nature we should
rather say progress than change.  The sun appears to sink in the ocean in
darkness, but it rises in another hemisphere; the ruins of a city fall,
but they are often used to form more magnificent structures as at Rome;
but, even when they are destroyed, so as to produce only dust, Nature
asserts her empire over them, and the vegetable world rises in constant
youth, and--in a period of annual successions, by the labours of man
providing food--vitality, and beauty upon the wrecks of monuments, which
were once raised for purposes of glory, but which are now applied to
objects of utility.





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