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"junkettings” and “goings-on” during the “ long vacation.” My was calculated to give me, I have seen me turn out on a solitary wife is an excellent creature; but all (say, if not all, the greater walk, and dreaming about a fortune being left me by some portion) of young London folks are fond of “ seeing some life"'- unlooked-for and mysterious means; and bow, when I got it, I ay, and many of the older folks too. So we ran to Vauxhall, and would astonish, dazzle, or at least command the respect of some Astley's, visited the theatres, had supper parties, and sometimes a who were looking coldly or contemptuously on me. And at this dinner party, and took excursions into the country. A couple of time another baby was born to me, and my awkward brother called, children was but a trifling check upon the buoyancy of our out-of- in his greasy jacket, and put a sovereign into its little hand-we door habits. We kept, of course, a servant; and “ mother” came had only a few coppers, not amounting to a sixpence, in the house, of an evening, to take care of the young ones when we went out. before we received the welcome gold coin.
My employer suddenly sickened and died. A brain fever cut My wife suggested that I should try something out of the law, if him off in the flower of his manhood--at the very time when he I could not get something to do in it. What can I do out of the could exclaim, “ It is well with me, and it is well with the world!" law, I asked, “* Bless my heart!” she exclaimed, with more veI was too much stunned to feel the sorrow I have since felt. Be- hemence than she was in the habit of using, “ London is a large sides, his relations called on me to wind up his affairs. I did so; place !" Some farther conversation followed ; we grew warm; and, in a few months, the chambers where I had spent some busy she accused me of being a useless, incapable fellow, who, when one and some pleasant hours, were taken possession of by another bur- mode of .subsistence failed, could not turn himself with facility to rister and another clerk. Truly, man dies, but society lives. The another. I retorted, that she was idle, and might do something death of a man in the prime of life, and in active business, is just herself towards the maintenance of the family, (what a cruel insult as if one threw a stone into the ocean: it causes an agitation and towards a woman with two young children and a baby, and she, a swell in the neighbourhood for a moment, and then the surface is too, whom I had taught never to do anything but attend to the the same as ever!
children!)-high words followed, I stormed, she wept and I could have got a situation immediately afterwards. But the upbraided, we mutually wished we had never been married, and at salary offered was very small; and I had received fifty pounds from last, in a furious passion, I rushed out of the house. my late employer's relations, as an acknowledgment of my ser- I had parted with the silver chain, as well as some other omavices. So, scorning to "shelf" myself, as I called it, I resolved ments previously, but the ring kept its place on my little finger. to wait till something worth my acceptance presented itself. I do This I now took off, sold for a few shillings, and went and got not know how it was, but I spent three or four busy months idling drunk, like a mean-spirited hound, with the money. Staggering about. I waited on this person and that person ; spoke of my about the streets, and covered with mud from a fall, I was met by capabilities and my wants ; tried for two or three situations, and the kind barrister, who had not lost his interest in me, and who, began to feel what I had never properly felt before, that the frater- but for the circumstance of his having an excellent clerk, would nity I belong to, like that of our employers, is a numerous one
have taken me. He was accompanied by another barrister, who their name is Legion, for they are many.
had just discharged his clerk for drunkenness and embezzlement, One day, in the street, I met a barrister who had been one of and the empty place had been reserved for me it was a very good the personal friends of my late employer. “Oh, Turner," he one. They both knew me, both spoke to me, and I answered said, “I wanted to see you-come with me." I went with him them with a hiccuping bravado, which, as I learned next morning, to the chambers of a well-known conveyancer. After being duly under a head-ache and a heart-ache, lost me the situation. introduced, I was desired to wait, and the kind barrister, doubtless The next night was one of the dreariest I ever spent in my life. thinking he had effectually served me, went away. Some time I slipped out while my wife was asleep, and began to ramble abɔut afterwards, I was called into the sanctum. Well, Mr. Turner, the streets to cool the fever of body and mind. ** London is indeed Turner is, I think, your name, is it not?" said he, in a voice a large place,” thought I. There are hundreds in it, ay, thousands, that made me think him as musty and precise as an old title who, if they knew my condition, would pour a sufficiency for the deed. I bowed. “With whom did you say you were last, Mr. present distress into the lap of my family—yet a bold, bad, Turner?"! I mentioned the name. "Ah! poor fellow, he died begging-letter impostor, by working on the feelings of the charias he was getting into a very good business,—did he not, table, can sometimes gather pounds while I am destitute of pence. Mr. Turner ?" I replied, of course, in the affirmative. “But you And there are hundreds of situations, requiring po greater ability were with a conveyancer before you were with him, were you not, than what I possess, which supply what I would term affluence to Mr. Turner ?" I said, No-but that was sure I would soon get their possessors, while I am wandering about like a vagabond, no into the routine of the business. “Ah! well, I am busy now, man offering me aught to do. But the previous night's adienture Mr. Turner, but leave me your address, and I will send for you came back to my recollection, and I knew I was solacing myself when I want you." I pulled out my card, which the conveyancer with a lie. It was a bitter night of murmuring, repining, selftold me to put down on the table. Next day the situation was accusation, and reproach of the arrangements of Providence. I filled up, but not by me.
forgot how much of my present condition was owing to my own I next applied for the head clerkship in an attorney's office, but wilful misspending of the time of my youth, and the money acquirea the attorney wanted an erperienced man, and I was amongst the in a comfortable situation. rejected candidates. I heard one night of a vacancy in a barrister's During that night's ramble, I saw two or three destitute creaclerkship, and was waiting at the chambers next morning before tures, men and boys, wandering the streets like myself, and a the barrister appeared himself, amongst half-a-dozen young men, young lad, who was sitting huddled up on the steps of a door, told who mutually guessed each other's purpose—but the barrister had me his story, which, if it was not true, was told in a very truth-like been suited the night before. The question began to occur to me way. It was a pitiable story of destitution, and made me ashamed -what can I do? Here was 1, the father of a family, a grown of my want of spirit. There was a penny in my pocket, remaining member of an overstocked profession, and all I can really do to from my previous night's debauch ; I gave it to him with hearty earn my family's subsistence is the copying of legal documents good will, and returning home, found my wife up, and weeping at an art that a boy of fourteen can perform as well as a man of the alarming thought of my having abandoned her, but determined. forty. Yet, forsooth! my shabby gentility must be kept up-dig as she said with great spirit
, to "scrub her nails off" to earn a subI cannot, and to beg I am ashamed. In the first impulse of the sistence for herself and the children. moment, I resolved to sell off all that I had, and emigrate to the I now thought of trying for a situation in the Post Office, Backwoods of Canada. And pray, said I to myself, as I cooled a Accordingly, I set to work-got up a memorial, and had
signed little, what can you do in the Backwoods of Canada? You can by a number who knew me, and by a number who did not-and neither handle the axe, nor the saw, nor the hammer; hardly know sent letters along with it to the Postmaster-General and the how to plant a cabbage-and can barely tell the difference between Secretary. My hopes rose high about the success of this scheme wheat and oats!
for the letters were nicely written, nicely folded, and nicely sealed. My father had oeen ailing, and was at last called away, and I, 1 allowed at least ten days for an answer, and did not become impa. heretofore the great man of the family, could do nothing towards tient till the third week. Then I began to sit each morning at the laying him in his quiet grave. A brother, by trade a blacksmith, window, watching the postman, and biting my nails as he passed. one whom I had ridiculed for the awkward homeliness of his man. The oldness of the maxim has not abated one jot of its truth, that
, ners, and whom I have more than once avoided in the street, de. hope deferred maketh the heart sick." The third week passed, frayed the expenses of the funeral, and, being unmarried, charged and the fourth, and no answer came. In the fifth week, unable to himself with the maintenance of my mother. Yes, the tables were bear the agony of suspense, I sent a note, entreating an answer; turned. Yet even amid the bitterness of heart which every thing and gently binting that my application might have been overlooked
in the burry of business. A few days afterwards I got an answer. and broke the official seal with a trembling hand and a beating
JOHN LAW OF LAURISTON, AND THE MISSISSIPPI heart. The inclosure was a note, intimating, in dry, but civil
SYSTEM. terms, that my application had been laid before the PostmasterGeneral, but that his list was so full as to prevent all possibility of any hope of employment being held out to me.
In pursuance of the plan devised by Mr. Law, and noticed in a Next day I got, by what appeared almost a mere chance, the former paper, a commercial conipany was erected in August, 1717, situation of clerk to a barrister, with a salary of 501. a year. I had by letters patent, under the name of the Company of the West. been offered the same sum, with a chance of picking up some fees, The whole province of Louisiana was granted to them; and this immediately after my former employer died, but I was too saucy country, being watered throughout its whole extent by the great at that time to take it. Now, however, the tone of my spirit was
river Mississippi, the subsequent operations of the company came lowered a little. My new employer bad scarcely any business, This company was divided into 200,000 actions, or shares, of 500
to be known under the general title of The MissisSIPPI SYSTEM. and but small chance of augmenting it—for though not lacking livres each, to be paid in billets d'état. These were in such dis, ability, he wanted the “turo'-the manner, or what you choose to call it
, which helps a man along in the crowded walks of the law. credit, from the bad payment of interest, that 500 livres nominal Bat I had not been long with him, when he began to throw out
value were not worth more than 150 or 160 in the market. The hints about his prospects, and his connexions. ie was very well company took them at their full value, and became creditors of connected, and was industriously grubbing about for the roots of the King to the amount of 100 millions of livres, the interest of an official appointment. He distinctly gave me to understand that which was fixed at four per cent. he should provide for me as soon as he was provided for himself.
Of this Company of the West, Mr. Law (who had now advanced I dare say he would have fulfilled his promise, if nothing had inter
so high in the Regent's favour, that the whole ministerial power rened. I was serviceable to him ; and though a considerable nister for foreign affairs, and M. d'Argenson, keeper of the seals,?
was reckoned to be divided among him, the Abbé Du Bois, miamount of pride still subsisted in my heart, I brought myself to act as a valet, as well as a clerk, to a man who I could not but after ; Louisiana having been represented as a region abounding in
was named director general. The actions were eagerly sought see was proud, poor, mean, and ungenerous. After two years' service with him, he got an appointment in one of the colonies, and gold and silver, of a fertile soil, capable of every sort of cultivation. having one or two relations to provide for, I could not be consi- that country were sold for 30,000 livres the square league, at which
Such was the rage for speculation, that the unimproved parts of dered in his “arrangements." "He had not the courage or the bonesty to tell me the real cause, but said that my family was the parations were made for fitting out vessels, to transport thither
rate many purchased to the extent of 600,000 livres; vigorous preobstacle in the way.
I now longed for an opportunity to “ cut the law, and would labourers and workmen of every kind; and the demand for hare given all I ever had in the world to any man who would have billets d'état, in order to purchase shares, occasioned the former to endowed me with a faculty of earning my family's subsistence dif- rise to their full nominal value. ferent from that of copying a legal document, and making a flourish
The farm of tobacco, the charter and effects of the Senegal at the bottom of the page. A little shop was to be let in my neigh- Company, and the exclusive privilege of trading to the East Indies, bourhood—a kind of compound shop, in which the goods sold came
China, and the South Seas, together with the possessions and under the class of huckster and green-grocer.
effects belonging to the China and India Companies, were made about buying and selling: but better late than never, thought I, debts of these companies, now dissolved. The Company of the
over to the new company, on condition of paying the lawful and I resolved to make the experiment. The price of fixtures and good will was only thirty pounds, but where was I to get thirty Indies. Fifty thousand new shares were ordered to be constituted,
West assumed on this occasion the title of the Company of the pounds ? My worthy blacksmith brother came to my aid. He rated at 550 livres each, payable in coin, to be employed partly in lent me a few pounds he had saved, and he borrowed a few morej satisfying the creditors of the old companies, and partly in building to me, and who had learned that I was not an habitual drunkard, vessels and in other preparations for carrying on the trade. The presented me with ten pounds; and one way or another I raised the price of actions quickly rose to one thousand livres ; the hopes of thirty pounds, though with a desperate struggle. So I entered on
the public being raised by the favourable prospects of possessing a the possession of my little shop; and it required a good laughing very lucrative branch of commerce. face to hide the scantiness of the stock, and the awkwardness of
On the 25th July, 1719, the Mint was made over to the Com. my motions. My wife, indeed, has served me excellently well; pany of the Indies, for a consideration of fifty millions of livres, to only for her handy cleverness the shop would have been shut up shares, rated at one thousand livres each, were directed to be
be paid to the King within fifteen months ; and fifty thousand new long ago. We are doing pretty well in it, not making a fortune, but eking out a livelihood." Meantime I have got another situation issued, in order to raise that sum. On the 27th August following, with a Chancery barrister, in which I do not get more than about the Regent took the great farms out of the hands of the farmers. 186. a week, but where the work is light, and I do not require to general, and made over the lease to the Company of the Indies, go out of town. My wife attends to the shop during
the day, and thus relieving the people from the exactions of that powerful body,
on their agreeing to pay 3,500,000 livres additional rent for them; at night too : but if the custom of the shop should increase, so as to enable us to maintain our family by it, I will “ cut" the law under whose management the taxes became quite intolerable,—not altogether; and acting on my father's maxim, bring up my them. On the 31st of the same month, the Company obtained
so much from their own weight as the oppressive mode of levying children to honest” trades, instead of learning them a shabby the general receipt of other branches of the King's revenue
. gentility, which may make them more helpless in a great city than a Spitalfields ora Paisley weaver.
When they had acquired all these grants, and had thus concentred in themselves the whole foreign trade and possessions of
France, and the collection and management of all the royal reveIn connexion with industry, children should be taught to take nues of that kingdom, they promised an annual dividend of two care of property. They should find that labour is the source of hundred livres on every share; the consequence of whick was, that property, and that property, carefully preserved and diligently the price of actions instantly rose in the market to five thousand improved, rapidly accumulates. This may be done in such a way livres; the public ran upon the last creation of fifty thousand with as not to excite a mercenary spirit, but to stimulate a spirit of such eagerness, that nearly double the requisite sum was subhonest independence. Let them see that comfort and respectabi- scribed for, and the greatest interest was exerted, and every strality are the result of honest industry and perseverance ; accustom tagem put in practice, to secure places in that subscription. them to raise their standard of the comforts and decencies of life The Company now came under an obligation to lend the King, higher than that of the filthy half-furnished hovels in which, per- in order that he might pay off his creditors, the suin of 1500 mil. haps, some of them have passed their infancy; show them the neat, lions of livres, at the rate of three per cent. per annum; and to clean, and well-built cottage which is occupied by some industrious this rate the interest of the 100 millions formerly lent to his couple, who have only their own labour and its results on which to Majesty (in billets d'état) was also reduced : the King, consedepend ; tell them how their prosperity began-perhaps in some quently, had to pay them in all forty-eight millions a year. To childish act of industry and frugality,—the produce turned round raise this sum of 1500 millions, there were, in the months of Sep
tember and October, 1719, 300,000 new actions created ; and round, each time upon a larger scale, until they were able to maintain themselves, and have gradually risen to the state of subscriptions for which were fixed at five thousand livres each. comfort and sufficiency which they now enjoy.
The actions were thus brought to the full number of 600,000 (but
FORETHOUGHT AND INDEPENDENCE.
24,000 more were fabricated on the 4th of October, 1719, by the thirty-five millions of other duties extinguished during the regency. private orders of the Regent, but afterwards suppressed); and, to This plenty sunk the rate of interest ; crushed the usurer ; carried answer the dividends upon these, the Company had, according to the value of lands up to eighty or one hundred years' purchase ; some, the following annual revenue, viz.
raised up stately edifices, both in town and country ; repaired the Interest paid by the King to the Company, 48,000,000
old houses which were falling to ruin ; improved the soil ; gave au Profits upon the Great Farms
additional relish to every fruit produced by the earth. Plenty Dirto upon the Mint
recalled those citizens whom misery had forced to seek their liveDitio upon the farm of Tobacco
lihood abroad. In a word, riches flowed in from every quarter : Ditto upon the general receipt of Taxes 1,500,000 gold, silver, precious stones, ornaments of every kind which con. Ditto upon their Trade
10,000,000 tribute to luxury and magnificence, came to us from every country -making a total of 80,500,000 livres, open to be improved by the in Europe. Whether these prodigies or marvellous effects were extension of their commerce abroad, and by a good administration produced by art, by confidence, by fear, or by whim, they produced at home. Other writers on the subject, however, computed the have produced. Thus far the system has produced nothing but
all these realities which the ancient administration neve could annual revenue of this great Company at no less than 131 millions, good ? everything was commendable and worthy of admiration. "* viz. 48 millions from the King, 39 millions profits upon the Farms, the Mint, and the receipt him in no way inferior to the King and Regent; the mob being ac
Mr. Law was perfectly idolised by the people, who looked upon of Taxes; and
customed to cry out, whenever he appeared in public, “ Long live 44 millions profits upon their Trade :
Mr. Law!" He made a public profession (with his son and in which case they could well afford a dividend of even more than duughter) of his conversion to the catholic faith ; and, every two hundred livres on every share.
obstacle being now removed, he was, on the 5th January, 1720, The cupidity which these prospects of immense profit in some declared comptroller-general of the finances of France. measure, but principally the prodigious fortunes acquired by the Thus the admiring world beheld an obscure foreigner, by the original proprietors, excited among all ranks, was such as no
mere force of extraordinary genius and abilities, rise, in the course nation had ever witnessed. A universal infatuation for the acqui- of a few months, from a private condition to the high station of sition of shares in the India Company now seemed to occupy the prime minister to the politest nation of Europe, which he governed whole kingdom, from the lowest of the people up to magistrates, for some time with almost absolute power. It must be mentioned prelates, and princes. This infatuation, of which at the present to his honour, that he voluntarily gave up the whole perquisites, day we can scarcely form a conception, increased in proportion to as well as the salary annexed to his nffice; and he was so little ade the difficulty of succeeding in that view ; for the whole 300,000 dicted to luxury and extravagance as to take care that the most actions of the last fabrication being, by a particular agreement, regular order and strictest propriety should be ooserved in the ma. kept up, in order to be sold to the Regent (who had also got pos- nagement of his household; while at the same time his dress was session of 100,000 of those merly issued), no more than 200,000 remarkable for its plainness and simplicity. remained in the hands of the public; and only a part thereof, The credit of the Bank was now at its acmé, but fears began to quite inadequate to the demand, was now brought to market. I be entertained by those behind the scenes. A constant drain of The frenzy prevailed so far, that the whole nation, clergy and specie from the bank was going on, caused chiefly by hoarding laity, peers and plebeians, statesmen, princes, nay even ladies, and remittances abroad, and the immense quantities of plate who had or could procure money for that purpose, turned stock. manufactured for the rich Mississippians. Several edicts were in jubbers, outbidding each other with such avidity that, in November consequence issued, limiting the payment in specic ; and at length 1719, the price of shares rose, after some fluctuations, to above
a decree was issued, on the 27th February, 1720, prohibiting indi. ten thousand livres each ; more than sixty times the sum they viduals from having in their possession more than five hundred originally sold for, when the discredit of the billets d'état is taken livres in specie. The Royal Bank and the Company were incorpointo the account.
rated together, and the issue of notes was pushed to an enormous M. de la Mothe and the Abbé Terasson, two of the ablest extent, for the payment of the public creditors. On the 1st of scholars in France, conversing together on the madness of the May, 1720, notes to the amount of 2000 millions of livres were in Mississippi adventurers, congratulated themselves on their supe circulation, whilst the whole specie in the kingdom, at the equitariority over all weaknesses of that nature, and indulged themselves ble rate of sixty-five livres to the marc, was estimated at only one in ridiculing the folly of the votaries of the fickle goddess. But half that amount. It was now debated in council whether it were it so happened that they met, not long afterwards, face to face in
not necessary to equalise the value of the notes and the specie ; a the rue Quinquempoix* : at first, they endeavoured to avoid each proposal which was strongly opposed by Law, who urged the other, but, finding that impracticable, put the best look possible absolute necessity of suffering inatters to remain as they were. on the matter, rallied each other, and separated ia order to make Although he well knew that the issues had been excessive, and far the most advantageous bargains they could. The courtiers, ac. beyond what a healthy state of circulation required, he knew that cording to their usual custom of following implicitly the royal the credit of the Bank and Company was well founded, and that example, engaged so deeply in this business, that it was said only any interference would ruin every thing. His advice was disrefive persons of that description (the Maréchaux de Villeroi and de garded. An arbitrary and dishonest edict was issued, after a long Villars, the Ducs de St. Simon and de la Rochefoucault, and the discussion upon the question whether the shares should be depre. Chancellor) had kept free from the contagion. The Maréchal ciated or the nominal value of the coin raised. The shares of the Duc de Richelieu relates that those who did not embark in the Company were reduced from 8000 livres to 5000 livres, by grada. Missisippi scbeme were looked upon as no better than cowards or tions of 500 livres a month; and the bank-notes, by like gradafools.
tions, were reduced one half. In consequence of a murder which took place in the rue Quin
It is needless to say what was the effect of this measure, which quempoix, the stock-market was first transferred to the Place
was a barefaced robbery of the people, and was particularly iniqui. Vendôme, and business was carried on in tents pitched in the area tous. Popular commotions ensued, which were with difficulty to the gardens of the Hotel Soissons ; where and afterwards busi- quieted. The Bank stopped payment, under pretence of examinness was transacted in tents pitched among the trees, which tents ing into certain alleged frauds. Various efforts were made to the brokers were obliged to make use of.
restore public confidence, but in vain. At length the affairs of the The situation of France in November 1719 is thus described by Bank and Company were arranged, but in such a manner as to a contemporary writer :-" The bank-notes were just so much cause the ruin of thousands, and to relieve the King from about real value which credit and confidence had created in favour of the forty millions of livres, which were justly due to public creditors.
Upon their appearance, Plenty immediately displayed Such was the end of the Missisippi system, which was a great hersclf through all the towns and all the country; she relieved our attempt, originated by a powerful mind, to establish a sound paper citizens and labourers from the oppression of debts which indi- currency in France ; and which, but for the arbitrary interference gence, had obliged them to contract; she enabled the King to of a despotic government, would have made Law, its author, to be liberate himself from great part of his debts, and to make over to regarded as a benefactor, instead of being cursed as a destroyer. his subjects more than fifty-two millions of livres of taxes, which
The great farms, Mint, and Royal Revenues were taken out of had been imposed in the years preceding 1719; and more than • A little dirty street where the stock-jobbing was carried on.
• Reflexions Politiques sur la Finance et le Comairce ; par M. du Tol
tom. ii. 330,
the hands of the Company, who were thus reduced to a mere accessible ; forests engulfed in ages long gone by have been contrading body, and continued to flourish for a long time.
verted into coal for the comfort and advantage of men ; and in the The people being extremely irritated against Law, attributing to rich deposites which England has of this and other minerals, we may him all the evils they suffered, he obtained permission from the infer the superintendence of a mind which prepared not merely the Regent to quit France, and left the kingdom on the 14th or 15th earth for the hunan race, but a small portion of that earth for the of December, 1720, accompanied by his son. Lady Catherine habitation of a small portion of the race, who were intended to play Law remained in Paris, under the protection of the Duke de an important part in ihe civilisation of their fellow.men. Geology, Vendôme, until she had discharged all her husband's debts. as well as astronomy, supplies us with striking and astonishing After travelling through Italy he went to England, where he was proots of His existence, who " throned in His own unfathomable very well received. For some time he entertained hopes of re- essence, fills all space and all time, and without beginning and covering part of the property which he possessed in France, both without end, unites in His wondrous Being the extremes of in land and in shares of the India Company; but the whole was eternity.” confiscated, and he never recovered any part of it. The Regent All who believe in the Bible as a Divine revelation, believe that entertained an idea at one time of recalling Law; but at his death the narrative of the creation in the first chapter of Genesis, was this scheme was no longer thought of, and the pension which written under the direction of the same mind that thus watched Lax had hitherto received from the French government was no over the early history of the world; and poor, indeed, would be the longer paid. He was thus thrown into such difficulties that he de spirit of the man who, even in the very act of denying the account terinined to leave England, which he accordingly did in 1725, and to be a revelation, did not, at least, admit the beautiful brevity and fixed bis residence at Venice; where he died, in a state but little simplicity of this most ancient narrative. “The geology of Moses removed from indigence, on the 21st May, 1729, in the fifty has come down to us out of a period of remote antiquity before the eighth year of his age; and he lies buried in one of the churches light of human science arose : for, to suppose that it was borrowed in that city, where a monument to his memory is yet to be seen. from or possessed by any other people than the remarkable race to
Mr. Law married Lady Catherine Knollys, third daughter of which Moses himself belonged, involves us on all hands in the most Nicholas Earl of Banbury, who died in 1747; by whom he had a inextricable difficulties and palpable absurdities. Of that race it son, John Law, a cornet of the regiment of Nassau Friesland, has been long since justly remarked, that while in religion they who died of the small-pox at Maestricht, February 1734, aged were men, in human learning and science they were children ; and about thirty-one, and unmarried ; and a daughter, Mary Catherine if we find in their records any system of an extensive and difficult Law, who married, 4th July, 1734, her first cousin, William science, we know that they did not obtain it by the regular proViscount Wallingfurd, major in the first troop of Horse Guards, cesses of observation and induction, which, in the hands of eldest son of Charles fourth Earl of Banbury. She died a widow, European philosophers, have led to a high degree of perfection in at her house in Park-street, Grosvenor-square, 14th October, many sciences. ... It is very possible that Moses had no geolo1790.
gical knowledge beyond the order of time in the creation which his
history exhibits. It is very probable that fossil and entombed THE SIX DAYS OF CREATION.
organized remains and fragmentary rocks, and indeed most of the
facts which geology has developed, were unknown to him; and that, DURING the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, scientific men as he told a story for mankind at large, he told it in the same spirit were perplexed and startled by the occasional ideas which resulted and with the same understanding with which it has been commonly from a consideration of the phenomena presented in the crust of received." the earth. Now and again a powerful mind would obtain a glimpse But how are we to reconcile what we know of geology with the of some of the truths which geology teaches : but all was darkness narrative of the creation, as delivered to us by Moses? Geology and confusion, for the sciences of chemistry and astronomy were leads us to conjecture that perhaps the original state of the only in progress of formation, and until they were shaped and esta materials of our globe was that of gaseous expansion-a nebu. blisbed, the science of gcology could make little progress. It was, lous body, similar, probably, to the nebulæ observed in the heavens. however, generally believed, that the fossil shells and other organic “Of the original state of the materials of our planet, as first remains found everywhere, even on the tops of mountains, were formed by the Creator, we know nothing. It is, however, proofs of the general prevalence of the deluge ; it was said that the in the highest degree improbable, that the innumerable crys. interior of the earth was a vast abyss vf water; that the “ breaking tals of so many different substances and forms, which we find up of the fountains of the great deep” was a disruption of the in the earth, were originally created as we now see them. Crys. crust which enclosed this abyss ; and that, when the waters abated, tallisation, by natural laws, is constantly going on around us, they retired into this abyss once more. “ Whiston, who was better and we can, at pleasure, form crystals of many substances ; in some versed in physical science than any of his contemporaries, intro. cases, we produce those that never have been discovered in nature, duced, in addition, the notion of extraneous force ; he brought a and in others we can surpass them in size and beauty. Although, comet to envelop the earth in its misty tail, to cause violent rains, as already remarked, it is possible that crystals might have been ihe to raise vast tides in the internal abyss, and thus effectually destroy first forms of mineral matter, it is in the highest degree impro. the external crust of the planet.” Sober-minded Christians, who bable ; it is far more reasonable and philosophical to admit, that considered that the Bible taught that the earth was only about six wherever we find a crystal in the earth, it has been formed by the thousand years old, were offended by theories or opinions which laws of crystallisation operating upon the crude materials; and there were thrown out from time to time impugning their belief; and, is no reason to doubt that we could always imitate natural crystals, in the language of Cowper, they indignantly asked,
provided we could command the powers and circumstances which " If He who made it, and revealed its date
operated in the original crystallisation of mineral bodies. In all the To Moses, were mistaken in its age ?"
geological epochs, after the primitive, there is decisive evidence of But, towards the end of last century, light began to illuminate the great mechanical changes * operating first on the primitive the darkness : Smith, in England, established the fundamental rocks, to produce the materials for the derivative rocks, which truth of geology, that there were distinct periods in the formation often exhibit unquestionable proofs of mechanical destruction and of the crust of the earth, each period being marked by its peculiar mechanical formation ; in a word, of changes from the pristine organic remains ; and Cuvier, in France, may be said to have state of the materials in the primitive rocks, greater than crystalbreathed life into the dry bones, clothed them with flesh and muscle, lisation implies in relation to the constituent or integrant particles, and showed us wonderful creatures of a!l kinds, who swam, and which we may presume to have been originally created. flew, and walked, in ages long prior to the existence of man.
" As to the proximate causes of crystallisation among minerals, Geology at once rose into the rank of a science, worthy of the it can be referred only to two agents, heat and solution. The only ardent devotion of minds of the first order.
powers with which we are acquainted, that are at all equal to the What object, it was asked, is apparent in this existence of the effect, are water and fire, aided by various acid, alkaline, saline, earth, with its animals and vegetables, so long prior to the existence and other energetic and chemical agents, which, in large quantities, of man, the lord of creation ? If no object had been apparent, it
we now find actually entering into the constitution of the rocks, would not invalidate the fact. But the question has been beauti- and which were, therefore, originally provided in the grand storefully and eloquently answered. The crust of the earth has been house of created materials. long in preparation for the existence of man ; the tremendous con
• The solution theory, once almost universally prevalent, has vulsions it has undergone have all a visible reason ; they gave to " . Among the primitive rocks, mochanical forco is exhibited in fraothe earth its mountains and valleys, and rendered its rich treasures tures, elevations, &c."
now giren way to the igneous, which, not stopping with actual or masses of colossal and beautiful architecture, answering no purextinct volcanoes, or with trap, porphyry, or pitchstone, has taken pose, except to gratify curiosity, and to awaken a sublime and possession of the granite mountains, and of the very centre of the pathetic moral feeling ;-it is, rather, like modern Rome, replete earth. It undoubtedly explains with great felicity the appearances indeed with the ruins of the ancient city, in part re-arranged for of granite veins, and of many other phenomena, although neither purposes of utility and ornament, but also covered by the regular the igneous nor any other theory has explained every feature of and perfect constructions of subsequent centuries. the planet.
“ This theory, if it provide at all for the primitive rocks, must “It is allowed by nearly all geologists, that the ocean has for a assign their crystallization and consolidation to a period of indeti. long time occupied all countries. It is now evident, also, that nite geological antiquity, and it must also admit that they hare igoition and fusion have always existed in the earth on a great undergone more recent modifications, particularly in being upscale, and this is admitted by all, whether they believe in the fusion heaved by subterranean force, and thus elevating, not only them. of the central nucleus or not. Internal fire still prevails to a great selves, but the superincumbent strata. extent in the interior of our planet, and its effects appear to have “ The hypothesis has, however, great merit, inasmuch as it been the greatest, and the most extensive, in the earliest periods. admits, in the long-gone-by ages, of just such events and succes. Volcanic mountains and islands are known to have risen, even in sions as geology has proved to have taken place ; but it adds a modern times, from the bosom of the ocean, and islands are still general catastrophe, which has not happened, and it implies a reexisting, where in former ages the sea raged uncontrolled. The construction of the crust of the planet, entirely out of its own sub-marine volcanoes also occasionally project flames, smoke, and ruins, a supposition which is inconsistent with the state of facts. red-hot stones, through the ocean, and thus inform us, that water
“ 2. The present crust of the planel has been regularly formed cannot always subdue fire ; that even now, there are strata at the between the first creation in the beginning,'* and the commencebottom of the sea, where exteme ignition and extreme hydrostatic ment of the first day. pressure operate conjointly upon the firm materials ; and that
" It appears to be admitted by critics, that the period alluded both, aided by the principal chemical agents which we know to to in the first verse of Genesis, in the beginning,' is not neces. exist in the constitution of our globe, may unite to produce results sarily connected with the first day. It may, therefore, be regarded of which our trifling experiments can give us but a feeble concep- as standing by itself, and as it is not limited, it admits of any tion. An attempt, for instance, to dissolve granite by boiling it extension backward in time which the facts may require. in water, is just as rational as an attempt to melt it in a common “ By asserting that there was a beginning, it is declared that the fire ; neither experiment can possibly succeed; but the former world is not eternal, and the declaration that God made the heavens would not prove that granite was never dissolved, nor the latter, and the earth, is a bar, equally, against atheism and materialism. that granite was never melted; because, the circumstances which | The world was, therefore, made in time by the omnipotent Creator. may have operated in the interior of the earth are not under our “ The creation of the planet, was, no doubt, instantaneous, as control, and our experiments are, therefore, nugatory.
regards the materials; but the arrangement, at least of the crust, " The earliest condition of the surface of the planet appears to was gradual. As a subject either of moral or physical contempla. have been that of a dark abyss of waters, of unknown depth and tion, we can say nothing better, than that it was the good pleasure continuance, which repressed the deep-seated forces of internal of God that this world should be called into existence; but, it was fires.
also his pleasure, that the arrangement, by which it was to become “ The structure of the crust of the planet affords decisive evi. a fit habitation for man, should be progressive. dence of a long series of events, in relation both to the formation “This is in strict analogy with the regular course of things in the of rocks, and to the creation and succession of organized bodies, physical, moral, and intellectual world. Everything except God of which many of them contain such astonishing quantities. has a beginning, and everything else is progressive. The human
"Time and order of time, event, succession, and revolution, are mind, the bodily powers, the inception and growth of the animal plainly recorded in the earth ; and sacred history expressly states and vegetable races, the seasons, seed-time, and harvest, science that the events involved both time and order of time.
and arts, wealth, civilization, national power, and character, and Geology cannot decide on the amount of time, rut it assures a thousand things more, evince that progression is stamped upon us that there was enough to cover all the events connected with everything, and that nothing reaches its perfection by a single leap. the formation of the mineral masses, and with the succession of
“ The gradual preparation of this planet for its ultimate destini. the generations of living beings, whose remains are found preserved tion, presents, therefore, no anomaly, and need not excite our in the strata."
" It is of no importance to us, whether our home was in a course “The question then recurs—How can the amount of time be of preparation, during days or ages, for the moral dispensations of found, consistently with the Mosaic history? for the order of time God to man could not begin until his creation. is the same. The solution of this difficulty has been attempted in “ The abyss of waters, which existed at an early unknown the following modes :
period before the time of the final arrangement of the surface, “1. The present earth was formed from the ruins and fragments which preceded the creation of man, and continued, we may supof an earlier world, rearranged and set in order during the six pose, for an unlimited time, is just such a state of things, in days of the creation.
coincidence with the operation of internal fire, as is demanded for “This explanation has been given by men of powerful minds, the formation of the central rocks, and for their elevation, as far as strongly impressed with the overwhelming evidence which the facts may justify us in supposing that it took place so early. carth presents of innumerable events, and of progressive develop- “The supposition now before us is equally consistent with both ment through successive ages. It therefore bonestly meets the the igneous and aqueous theory of the earth; and, indeed, it would difficulty, and fully grants the necessity of allowing sufficient time be impossible to account for the appearance of things, without the for the series of geological formations. It is, however, unsatis. conjoined agency of internal fire, and of an incumbent ocean ; the factory; because it does not provide at all for the regular succes
latter repressing the expansive and explosive power of the former, sion of entombed animal and vegetable races, and for the progres causing its heat greatly to accumulate, even to the fusion of the sive consolidation, often in long-continued tranquillity, of the
most refractory materials ; preventing the escape of gaseous strata which are formed around the organic bodies, and also for matter, as, for instance, of carbonic acid gas from the limestones, the numerous alternations and repetitions of these strata, fre- and by its pressure and slow cooling, from the small conducting quently, as in the coal-fields, in a regular order. All this demands power of water, preventing melted rocks from assuming the time, and seasons of protracted repose, interrupted indeed by appearance of volcanic cinders, slags, scoriæ, and other inflated occasional elevations, subsidences, and other convulsions and catastrophes. In order that the solution above stated may prove
"The incumbent ocean is, therefore, indispensable to the correct satisfactory, it is necessary that the earth should be, what it deductions of the theoretical geologist, even if he believe in the actually is not, a confused pile of ruins, not only of loose fragments, igneous origin of the primitive rocks; still more, if he attribute such as are now found on its surface, but they must be consolidated, these rocks to dissolving agencies. to form all its mountains and strata. Ruins, the mountains and
“ With these views, then, the historical record happily agrees, strata do, indeed, in many places, contain, but they form only a and geology has no quarrel with the sacred history. portion of a vast structure, in which ruins have no part.
***. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are “ The earth is unlike Memphis, Thebes, Persepolis, Babylon, the work of thy hands.' Ps. cii. 25. • And thou, Lurd, in the beginning, Balbec or Palmyra, which present merely confused and mutilated hast laid the foundation of the earth. Heb. i. 10.".