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tains its balance above the tumult of the New Continent, corresponds exactly to that of waters—

the European race. Why not the race and

habits and productions of man, then, without “Like hope upon a death-bed : and unworn

assuming a unity of origin ?] The unorganic

envelope of the globe is nearly independent Its steady dyes, while all around is torn," &c.

of the influence of climate : whether it is

that the rocky formation had taken place beas sings the philosophic poet-painter of fore the establishment of climatory diversity, Velino.

or that the mass of the earth in hardening and Respecting the tumult—which is thus giving out caloric, has generated its temperaswelled rather by a multitude of obstacles ture of itself, instead of receiving it extrathan the height of the falls-Humboldt neously. Thus all the sorts of rock are adds a remark, of general and interesting affect every where the same form. Every

common to all the countries in the world, and application. “During the five days," says where the basaltic species towers into twin he," that we passed in the vicinity of the mountains, with truncated summits. Every cataract, we marked with surprise that the where the trap porphyry appears in quaintly crash of the falls was three times louder conglomerated masses, and the granite, with by day than by night. In Europe, the gently rounded outlines. So too do similar same singularity is observed at all the species of plants, such as the pine and the waterfalls. What can be the cause here, and those of the most southern meridian of

oak, crown alike the mountains of Sweden in the midst of a desert where nothing Mexico ; still, notwithstanding this correbreaks the silence of nature ? It should spondence of form and similitude of partial probably be sought in the ascending cur- details, the collective aspect of their grouprent of heated air which, by day, arrests ings presents a character entirely different. the lateral propagation of sound, and which “The knowledge of fossils does not differ ceases, during the night, when the surface more from the knowledge of the earth than of the earth is cooled.” 'This explanation, does from the general description of the phy.

the individual description of natural objects it will be noted, coalesces with, and con- siognomy of nature. George Foster, in his firms, the author's previous account of the voyages and various writings; Goethe, in the absence of rain or dew in the sandy species portraitures presented by several of his imof desert. We will close this head by mortal works; Herder, Buffon, Bernardin de suggesting, as in the subject of deserts, Saint-Pierre, and Chateaubriand have traced the following classification of cataracts with inimitable truth the vegetable character First and principal, the fall cataract, such kind are not only proper to procure the mind

of particular climates. Delineations of this as Niagara ; second, the forked cataract; a fund of enjoyment of the noblest order: and third, the stair cataract, or raudal. they do more than this; an acquaintance

The PHYSIOGNOMY OF Plants, we must with the character of nature in the different dismiss very summarily. The following regions of the globe is entwined in the most finely philosophical extract will best indi- intimate manner with the history of man and cate the purpose of the author and the of civilization. For if the commencement of interest of the subject :

this civilization be not determined solely by physical relations, at least its direction, the

character of nations, and their dispositions, "That which the painter designates by gay or grave, depend almost entirely on the Swiss naturalness, by Italian skies, &c., has influence of climate. How much have not its principle in the confused sentiment of a the skies of Greece had to do with the temperlocality of character in nature. The azure ament of its inhabitants? The populations of the firmament, the light, the vapors repo- early settled in those beautiful and blissful sing in the distance, the shape of the animals, régions closed by the Onus, the Tigris and the the vigor of the vegetation, the richness of Egean sea, how should they not have been the foliage, the outline of the mountains, all the first to attain to amenity of manners and these partial elements go to determine the delicacy of sentiment? Did not our own anparticular impression produced by the totality cestors return more refined from those deliof a landscape. In fact, beneath every zone, cious valleys, when to Europe, relapsed into the same species of mountains are found to barbarism, the enthusiasm of religion threw form groups of rock of resembling physiog- open the sacred East? The poetical componomy. The diabisite rocks of South America sitions of the Greeks, the rude songs of the and Mexico are similar to those of the Euga- primitive populations of the north, owe their nean mountains; even as, amongst animals

, character almost entirely to the configuration the shape of the alco or primitive dog of the of the animals and plants the poet was in the


habit of seeing, to the valleys which sur- passage, where he recognizes the result of rounded him, to the air which he respired. those influences in the resemblance not And to mention objects more familiar to us; only of the vegetable productions, but even who does not feel himself differently disposed of the inorganic bodies, of corresponding beneath the gloomy shade of the beech, upon climates; while he argues repeatedly, as knolls adorned with scattered firs, or reclined upon a mossy couch where the zephyr is before shown, upon the preposterous asmurmuring through the tremulous leaves of sumption that man alone is excluded from the poplar? The respective shapes of these these universal laws. We have insisted plants of our country often inspire us with upon these strictures the more, in order to images gay, serious, or melancholy: The satisfy, that the judgment which was intiral—that reciprocal and mysterious action of mated at the outset respecting the prothe material upon the immaterial—imparts to fundity of this otherwise estimable philothe study of nature, when contemplated from sopher, had not been ventured without an elevated point of view, a peculiar attrac- grounds. tion as yet too little known.”

Having thus represented, in its qualities

and defects, his theory of climatory influPerfectly true, as to the neglect of the ences in general, it will be proper to add influence. But only partially, we think, the ground upon which he claims a preëmas to the quantity. Humboldt seems to inence of efficacy for the particular section repeat the exaggerations of Montesquieu, of plants :-“But if the characters of the respecting climate. Greece and Asia Mi- different countries depend upon the aggrenor have the same climate at this day, for gate of their external appearances; if the example ; but where are the arts, or ame- contour of the mountains ; if the physiognities, or other national characteristics of nomy of the plants and animals; if the old?' But the doctrine has been already azure of the firmament, the proportion of repeated over and over. Still was it, we the clouds, and the purity of the atmosrepeat, no less a shadow cast before the phere, have each their several influences coming recognition of a magnificent truth, upon the impression produced by the whole; namely: the co-operation, not of climate, yet it cannot be denied, that the principal or scene, or soil, or of all together, but of cause of this impression lies in the mass of the diversity and adversity of these con- the vegetable element. The animal speditions collectively, in the progressive ci- cies are too sparse ; and the mobility of the vilization of mankind. It was but natural individuals too often sequesters them from that their influence should at first be dis- our view. The vegetables, on the contrary, cerned severally, and made each to stand, act upon our imagination, by their very as usual, for the whole and sole cause. It immobility and grandeur. Their size is was also necessary that the effects should an index of their age, and it is the privilege begin with being appreciated in the simpler of plants alone to unite with age the imand positive instance of national character, pression of a vigor which is rejuvenated inbefore embracing the more abstract con- cessantly. The gigantic dragon-tree which siderations of society and history. That I have seen in the Canary Islands, has a was, accordingly, the stage of Montesquieu, diameter of sixteen feet, and enjoying a and remained still the point of view of perpetual youth, is still in full bearing of Humboldt in this book. The latter would flowers and fruit. When the French bucseem, indeed, by the expression italicised caneers, in the sixteenth century, made the in the passage just cited and elsewhere, to conquest of the Fortunate Islands, the have had some glimpses of the maturer dragon-tree of Orotavaw, -as sacred to the extension. But they must have been ex- native islanders as the olive of the citadel tremely imperfect and unsteady. We had of Athens or the elm of Ephesus,-was of a signal proof of this in his omission, dimensions quite as colossal as at this day. above noted, to allow at all for the influ- In the torrid zone, a forest of Coesulpinea ences in question, where most decisively and Hymenia is perhaps a monument of no developed; to perceive the agency of the less than a thousand years." steppe-desert, in the constitution or the con- The multitudinous species of plants, altinuation of the pastoral or shepherd state. ready estimated by de Candolle at some There is another evidence of it in the same | 56,000, may, according to Humboldt, be classed under sixteen principal forms, for That these combinations of volcanoes, the purposes of this physiognomical en- by groups and longitudinal bands, evince quiry. Such a division, it will be observed, the action, not of petty causes adjacent to has nothing in common with the systems of the surface, but have their origin, their inthe botanist. The latter is conversant with tercommunication deep in the interior of individuals, and considers these in only the the earth, is abundantly proved by the folmost diminutive of their parts, the lowing statements. All the eastern region flower and fruit. The physiognomical of the American continent, poor in metals, botanist contemplates vegetables, like the is in its present state without a burning painter, in the concrete and comprehensive mountain, without masses of trachyte, grouping of a landscape. The author pro- probably even without basalt. All the ceeds to characterize the sixteen types of volcanoes of America are found in the of these groups, commencing with the palm chain of the Andes, situated in the part of and the banana. But his descriptions, the continent opposite to Asia, and extendthough no doubt exact, do not appear to ing in the direction of the meridian over a indicate much talent for the line of obser- length of 1800 leagues. The whole tablevation he is recommending.

land of Quito, of which Rehincha, CotoWe have space but for a word on the paxi, and Tunguragua form the summits, third head of volcanoes. This term is is one volcanic furnace. The subterrapopularly applied to all igneous eruptions neous fire issues now by one, again by from the entrails of the earth, whether ac- another, of these outlets, which are wont cidental as by an earthquake, or perma- to be regarded as individual volcanoes. nent. The latter class alone, however, The progressive march of the fiery emanashould receive the name of volcano. The tion is here, for three centuries back, from exterior form of this phenomenon is gene- north to south. Even the very earthrally that of an isolated elevation, of a quakes, which cause such terrible ravages conical shape, such as Ætna, Vesuvius, in this part of the world, offer equally reCotopaxi. But these formations, which markable proofs of the existence of subare found of all altitudes from a hillock to terraneous communications, not only with the highest mountains, ought perhaps to be countries destitute of volcanoes—a fact considered scientifically as but one among long known already—but also between fire several orifices common to the same sub- emitting mountains, far remote from each terraneous action. From this point of view other. Thus in 1797 the volcano of Pasto the volcanic mountains of the globe might sent forth continually, during three months, be reduced into a three-fold classification. a tall column of smoke. This column disThe first description would consist of clus appeared at the very instant when, at a ters or extended systems of mountains, hav- distance of sixty leagues, the great earthing craters and currents of lava, such as the quake of Riobamba, and the muddy erupAzores and Canary Islands. The second, tion of the Moya proved fatal to nearly of similar groups, but without permanent forty thousand Indians. The sudden aporifices or currents of lava, properly so pearance of the island of Sabrina, in the called. In the third class, the mountains east of the Azores group, the 30th Januaare arranged into lines by single or double ry, 1811, was the signal of that awful file, and extending to the length of several earthquake which, from May 1811 to June hundred miles, the ranks running some- 1812, rocked almost without interruption, times parallel to the axle of the mountain first the Antilles, then the plains of Ohio chain, as in Guatemala, Java, and Peru, and Mississippi ; finally the coasts of Venesometimes intersecting it rectangularly, as zuela, situated on the opposite coast. in the country of the Aztecs. By this Thirty days after the total destruction of comparative mode of viewing the external the city of Caraccas, occurred the explomanifestations may we alone hope to com- sion of the volcano of St. Vincent, an prehend the mysterious causes of volcanoes, island of the Lesser Antilles, at 130 leagues and through them, perhaps, the internal distance. At the same moment when this condition of the globe. But Humboldt ad eruption took place, the 30th April, 1811, duces a number of confirmatory facts, there was heard a strange subterraneous which may be cited in preference to all ar- noise, which spread terror throughout the gument on the subject.

whole extent of a country of 2200 square leagues. The inhabitants of the banks of prove that even at a small depth the heat the Apuré, at the confluence of the Rio- of the earth is much higher than the mean Nula, as well as those of the maritime temperature of the atmosphere at the surcoast, compared this noise to that produced face. This remarkable fact is entirely by the discharge of heavy pieces of artil- consonant with what we are taught by vollery. But from the junction of the Rio- canic phenomena. La Place has even atNula and the Apuré to the volcano of St. tempted to determine the depth at which Vincent, the distance is computed at 157 the earth might be regarded as a molten leagues in a direct line. This sound, mass.


Whatever doubt, notwithstanding, which certainly was not propagated by the due to so great a name, may be enterair, must have had its origin very far with- tained respecting the numerical certainty in the recesses of the earth. Its intensity of such a calculation, it is not the less prowas scarce more considerable on the coast bable that all volcanic phenomena proceed of the Antilles immediately near the vol- from a single cause, which is, the commucano, in full eruption, than it was in the nication, constant or transient, between the interior of the country. It is unnecessary interior and the exterior of our planet. to multiply these examples. But to men- Elastic gases press outwards, through deep tion a phenomenon which, to Europe, has fissures, the various substances which are acquired an historical importance, the list in a state of fusion, and in process of oximay be closed with the famous earthquake dation. Volcanoes are, so to say, the inof Lisbon. It occurred the 1st November, termittent springs of these terrene sub1755; not only the waters of the Swiss stances : the fluid mixture of metals, alkalakes and the sea along the coasts of Swe- lies, and earths, which are condensed into den, were violently agitated, but also those currents of lava, flow softly and tranquilly, of the ocean around the eastern Antilles. as soon as, hoisted to the surface, they have At Martinique, at Antigua, at Barbadoes, found an issue. It was even so, according where the tide does not usually rise to a to the Phædon of Plato, that the ancients height of more than eighteen inches, it used to imagine all volcanic eruptions to be rose, on this occasion, suddenly to twenty emanations from the infernal torrent of feet. All these phenomena go to prove Periphlegethon.” that the subterraneous forces are manifested We have thus endeavored to present the either dynamically by earthquakes, or chem- reader with a faithful summary of the most ieally by volcanic eruptions. They further interesting questions, either solved or sugshew that the action of these forces does gested in this book. The facts and obsernot take place superficially in the outer vations will be still found of value to the crust of the earth, but passes at immense philosopher, if only surveyed from the point depths in the interior of our planet, and is of view attained by physical science since propagated through crevices and veins not their original publication. For the work filled up, which conducts to points of the is some forty years old; although that surface the most remote asunder.” conscionable fraternity, the publishers

Another extract, and we dismiss this anxious, no doubt, like other fraternities, to book of interesting topics : “ The ques- deceive the people for their good-seem to tion has,” says the author,“ been often be passing it, in England as well as here, agitated: What is it that burns in vol- | in connexion with the late translation, as a

What is it produces the heat by production fresh from the octogenarian pen which the earth and metallic ores are fused of the author. Of this English version we and mingled together? Modern chemistry have made no use ourselves in the passages replies: That which burns is the earth, cited, which are translated from the the metals, the

alkalies ; that is to say, French one, executed soon after the Gerthe metalloids of those substances. The man edition, and under Humboldt's own solid crust, already oxidized, of the earth inspection. Nor can we commend it to separates the atmosphere, rich in oxygen, the reader for anything better than the from the inflammable principles not oxidiz- usual presentations of German philosophy ed, which reside in the interior of our planet. in English style. Certain observations which have been made It was not difficult, however, to do under every zone, in mines and caverns, justice to the style of Humboldt, and


it needed no

more than justice to be to most of the authors named by the mere clear and consecutive. His manner, in plodding of their own countrymen. Nathis respect, like his maturer education, tional jealousy had much to do with this indeed, is much less German than French. criticism, no doubt. Still, it is not the less This we should have perhaps enumerated probable that Humboldt, in eschewing the among the elements of his popularity as a metaphysical visions of his native philosowriter. Humboldt is, in general philoso- phy, would swing over into the man of phy, what Goethe was in poetry, Lysing facts, and measures, and multifarious inin criticism, and Savigny in jurisprudence. quiries, that we ventured to characterize In their several modes of style and state- him at the commencement of these pages. ment, these have well been Frenchified The lack of profundity there imputed Germans. Notwithstanding the improve- would thus be explained, without derogament in respect of manner, it may, how- tion to the natural abilities of the venerable ever, be questioned whether this alien and author. For, in any case, in any country, imitative direction is equally favorable to it is only intellects of the highest order that genuineness or profundity of thought. A can operate fully, freely, under a foreign defect of the latter qualities, and on ground system, whether of doctrine or method. of the cause suggested, is known to have But a German, in particular, is nothing, if been, in fact, a standing imputation made I not mystical.

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