Page images

fore it.

press and the entire public sentiment of the north, as favorable to man-stealing, and all its kindred vices, or at least, as shamefully apathetic in regard to the evils of slavery. If the author of this book will take a little more pains to acquire accurate information, she will find, that from the era of the revolution to this hour, the question of slavery has occupied as large a share of public attention, as any other one standing question, political or moral. She will find, that since that era, slavery has been gradually abolished, or its abolition decided by enactments, in all the states from Massachusetts to Maryland. She will find, that the pulpit and the press have borne a steady testimony, and on the whole, a testimony steadily increasing in clearness and strength, against all involuntary servitude, except of minors, or for crimes. She will find, that again and again the discussion of questions about slaves or slavery, in the balls of congress, has agitated the whole nation, and filled the land from north to south, and from the Atlantic to the wilderness, with Gery excitement. And what is of some consequence to herself, she will find, that an author is better qualified to write a book on the subject, after such an investigation, than be

It is to be set down to the credit of this book, that it says very little about " immediate emancipation.” Indeed we do not recollect that the phrase occurs but once ; and then it does not occur in such a connection as would imply, that the author approves of the word or the thing. Nay more, she makes such concessions as the following. “There are hearts at the south, sincerely desirous of doing right in this cause ; but their generous impulses are checked by the laws of their respective states, and the strong disapprobation of their neighbors.” “Of such slave-owners, we cannot speak with too much respect and tenderness.” “ It is a duty to give all our sympathy to them." Yet, as we remarked at the beginning, this book, so deficient in respect to the great principle of immediate abolition, and expressly conceding, that a man may be a slave- . owner without the guilt of man-stealing, is adopted as one of the standard books of immediate-abolitionism. Why is this? Can it be explained, except by saying, that a strong political rancor against the south, a dislike to the Colonization Society, and an admiration of Mr. Garrison, together with a readiness to misunderstand and misreport the public sentiment of the north, are all that is essential to a full fraternization with their party.

Have we forgotten that this book carries on its title-page the name of a lady, as its author? Have we contradicted the lady's erroneous statements, and exposed her false reasonings, just as

as if the book had been written by the lady's husband ? Why should we not? In the dusty arena of controversy, sex has

If Pallas in ber armor rushies in where blows are


no privilege.

given and received, to strike with the foremost, what does she expect, but that her sex and her divinity will be forgotten? The privilege of woman is, to stand aloof from such conflicts. If she goes into the battle, as doubtless she may, if she chooses, then she goes to quit herself like a man, and like a man, to submit to the chances and the laws of war.


(Concluded from p. 308.] RESUMING the article commenced in the previous number, we propose to present some additional notices of the labors of Cuvier, and such a view of his private character, as the materials within our reach may furnish.

It is by no means easy, at this period of diffused intelligence, to appreciate the value of those discoveries wbich have so completely illustrated the subject of FOSSIL ANATOMY. The remains of large animals deeply inhumed in the earth's strata, had from the earliest times engaged the attention of mankind. In many instances, they had been regarded as the scattered members of giants : and accordingly, we find in the works of Pliny, and of writers down to the middle ages, frequent allusions to the discovered tombs of giants, and the bones of a herculean race, once believed to bave swayed the empire of the earth. Indeed, the standing desideratum of modern times,—the anthropolite, entombed by the deluge of Noah, it would appear, was then no very extraordinary production. A learned physician quite near our own days, wrote a dissertation upon some animal remains found imbedded in slate, a few leagues from the lake of Constance, entitled “L'Homme Témoin du Deluge;" in which he declares, that “it is not to be refuted, here is the half or nearly the whole of the skeleton of a man, even the substance of the bones, and what is more, the flesh, and parts still softer than the flesh, incorporated with the stone. In short,” says he, “it is one of the rarest relics we possess, of that cursed race which was buried under the waters." It was reserved for the eye of Cuvier to recognize in this vaunted fossil, the frame-work of a salamander, now no longer existing alive upon

the globe.

As early as the year 1796, Cuvier's attention was devoted to these surprising relics of a former world,-a branch of anatomical research for which his familiarity with living animals eminently fitted him, and one in which he took the deepest interest, in consequence of the elucidations which he perceived it would afford 10 the science of geology. He sought every opportunity of ascer taining the families of animals to which these remains' belonged,

by an inspection of all the fragments found, and an examination of the deposits in which they occurred. Alluding to the difficulties of the undertaking, he says, in the preliminary discourse of the Fossil Remains: “ Antiquary of a new species, I have been obliged at once to learn how to restore these monuments of past times, and to decipher their meaning. I have been obliged to collect and bring together the fragments which compose them, into their primitive order; to re-construct these ancient beings; to re-produce them, with their proportions and characters; and lastly, to compare them with those which now live on the surface of the globe."

The remains of the Russian mammoth, found by thousands from Spain to the borders of Siberia, and more recently in North America, he early declared to belong to a species of elephant no longer existing upon the earth. Its height was sometimes at least eighteen feet

, and its tusks more powerful than the elephant of India, from which it differed most remarkably also, in being clad with a covering of coarse red wool, and long, black, bristly hairs, forming a mane upon its back. The huge American mastodon, a species still larger than the preceding, was likewise subjected to his researches. This animal, -entombed for hundreds of human generations, and of whose history tradition afforded only the idle fiction of the Indian, that it was exterminated by the Great Spirit, for the preservation of man-Cuvier, by means of the nicest osteological deductions, as it were restored to life, and has left us the most satisfactory details relating to its food and leading habits.

But the immediate vicinity of Paris principally afforded bim the materials for these labors. Speaking of them himself, in the Fossil Remains, he says :

This rich collection of the bones and skeletons of the animals of a former world, is doubtless an enviable possession. It has been amassed by nature in the quarries which environ our city, as is reserved by her for the researches and instruction of the present age. Each day we discover some new relic ; each day adds to our astonishment, by demonstrating more and more, that nothing which then peopled this part of the globe has been preserved on its present surface; and these proofs will doubtless multiply in proportion as our interest in them is increased, and we are consequently induced to give them more of our attention. There is scarcely a block of gypsum, in certain strata, which does not contain bones. How many millions of these bones have been already destroyed in working these quarries for the purposes of building ! How many are destroyed by negligence ! and how many escape the most attentive workman, from the minuteness of their size !!

Lest any thing of value should escape bis notice, he maintained a superintendent at his private cost, to watch the working of the quarties of Montmartre ; and he was in the habit of rewarding any



of the common laborers with the greatest liberality, who brought him fragments of bones. In the prosecution of the same object, also, he visited many deposits of fossil bones in foreign countries; while the learned throughout the world vied with each other in presenting him the results of their observations, as a merited tribute to his superior sagacity.

These valuable labors are detailed in five quarto volumes, entitled Recherches sur les Ussemens Fossiles,(edition of 1817,) the preliminary essay to which has been published by itself, in nearly every European language, and is well known under the title of A discourse on the Revolutions of the surface of the Globe ;" – a volume abounding in condensed views of discoveries in geology and zoology, and replete with the characteristic eloquence of its author. In this great work, we are made acquainted with one hundred and sixty-eight extinct species of vertebrated animals, which find their places in fifty genera, of which fifteen are wholly new. These animals belong to every order of Cuvier's system, excepting that of quadrumana, of which, as well as of the human race, not a single relic has yet been found in the fossil state. He informs us of all their localities, the circumstances of their development, and the collections in which they are still preserved; discusses their congenerous families among the existing races ; restores to view the scene of activity, when each played its part on the stage of life ; and depicts the catastrophes by which they were finally overwhelmed.

As a summary statement of the causes which swept from the world so many species of animals,* we give the words of Cuvier :

I think with M. M. De Luc, and Dolomieu, that if there be any thing positive in geology, it is, that the surface of our globe bas been the victim of a great and sudden revolution, the date of which caonet be carried back farther than from five to six thousand years; that this revolution has buried, and caused the disappearance of countries formerly inhabited by man, and animals which are now known; and on the other hand, has exposed the bottom of the water, and has formed from that the countries now inhabited. * * * But these countries, which are

* It should be mentioned, that the author, in these remarks, alludes to fossil animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate, of which the latter are vastly more numerous than the former.

Since the publication of the Fossil Remains, great accessions have been made to the catalogues of discovered fossils; and we here subjoin the most recent lisi, As contained in the Naturgeschichte des Erdkorpers, by Keferstein, for the pure pose of creating in the reader's mind that impression wbich the subject deseriei Mammalia, 86 genera and 270 species; birds, 19 genera; amphibia, 36 genere and 120 species ; fishes, 88 genera and 287 species; insects, 152 genera and 247 species; malacostraca, 51 genera and 202 epecies; mollusca, 332 genera and this species; annelides, 4 genera and 102 species ; echinodermata, 36 genera and 411 specios; polypi, 113 genera and 907 species ; planış, 131 genera and 807 sperles.

now dry, had already been inhabited, if not by man, at least by terrestrial animals ; consequently one preceding revolution, at least, must have covered them with water, and if we may judge by the different orders of animals of which we find the remains, they had, perhaps, been submitted to two or three irruptions of the sea; and these irruptions, these repeated retreats, have not all been slow or gradual. The greater number of the catastrophes which brought them about, have been sudden ; a fact easily proved by the last of all, the traces of which are most manifest, and which has still left in the north the bodies of large quadrupeds seized by the ice, and by it preserved, even to our own times, with their skin, their fur, and their flesh. Had they not been frozen as soon as killed, putrefaction would have decomposed them; and this eternal frost has only prevailed over the places inhabited by them, in consequence of the same castastrophe which has destroyed them; the cause, therefore, has been as sudden as the effect it produced.'

Nor is it just to accuse Cuvier, as has been done, of involving us, by these conclusions, in a dilemma from which it is possible to extricate ourselves only at the expense of the scripture account of the creation of animals. For, he provides a satisfactory explanation of the re-establishment of animals upon continents which had been inundated, without resorting to a new creation.

of several

'When I maintain,' says he, 'that stony strata contain the bones

genera, and movable earths those of several species which no longer exist, I do not pretend, that a new creation has been neces. sary to produce the existing species. I merely say, that they did not exist in the places where we now see them, and that they have come from elsewhere. For example, let us suppose that a great irruption of the sea shall now cover the continent of New-Holland with a mass of send, or other debris; the bodies of kangaroos, wombats, dasguri, perancles, Aying phalangistæ, echidna, and ornithorynchi, will be buried under it, and it will entirely destroy every species of these genera, since none of them now exist in other countries. Let this same revolution dry up the sea which covers the numerous straits between NewHolland and the continent of Asia : it will open the way for the elephant, the rhinoceros, the buffalo, the horse, the camel, the tiger, and all other Asiatic quadrupeds, who will people a country where they were hitherto unknown. A naturalist afterwards living among them, and by chance searching into the depths of the soil on which this new nature lives, will find the remains of beings wholly different. That which NewHolland would be, in the above case, Europe, Siberia, and a great part

are now; and perhaps when other countries, and NewHolland itself, shall be examined, we shall find, that they have all undergone similar revolutions, I could almost say, a mutual exchange of productions ; for, carrying the supposition still farther, after this transportation of Asiatic animals into New-Holland, let us imagine a second ferolution, which shall destroy Asia, their primitive country; those who afterwards see them in New-Holland, their second country, will be as

of America,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »