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will place this melancholy truth in a stronger light, than any observations of ours can possibly do. Botta's History of the American Revolution is well known in this country; and the translation of it has passed through two editions under the sanction of American copy-right. The French translator, also, was liberally rewarded for his labors by the publishers of Paris. In Italy, the editions of the original text have been multiplied in every part of the country; and have proved in every form, a fruitful source of gain to the editors. What in the mean while was the reward of the author? He had drawn upon his scanty patrimony in order to defray the expenses of the original publication ; for no bookseller could be found in Paris willing to undertake it at his own risk. While the Italian reprints and the French translation were obtaining an unexampled circulation, the copies of the first edition were lying a dead weight upon the hands of the author ; and he was at last constrained to sell six hundred of them, at the price of waste paper, for a few sous a pound, in order to purchase for his wife ihe privilege of dying in her native land.
What then can induce the Italian to renounce the ease of a life of indolence, or the advantages of commerce, for the cares and anxieties, and in speaking of Italy we must add, the dangers, of literature? We know of but two causes at all adequate to such a result. The love of literature for itself; and the thirst for a durable reputation. To these should be added, but as acting with them, rather than as a separate cause, the hope of doing something towards the regeneration of his fellow citizens.
That the love of letters does exist in Italy, if not in perfect purity, at least free from the corruptions by which it is tarnished in other countries, would seem to be sufficiently evident from what has already been stated with regard to the situation of its votaries. And in fact, when, on the one hand, we consider the obstacles which obstruct the path of the man of letters, in this unhappy land; his sacrifice of peace and of domestic quiet; the alternative to which so many are reduced of choosing between a prison and an exile, and the meagre and uncertain rewards wbich attend the most successful exertions ; and, upon the other, contemplate the ardor with which the best talent of the land consecrates itself to literature, and the unwavering devotion, with which it meets every sacrifice and hardship that its choice imposes ; we are struck with an admiown hand, by his authority. It is as distinct trachyte with crystals of selspar and vesicular cavities, as was ever found in a volcanic region. The slaty structure and somewhat vitreous lustre are the only characters which give it any resemblance to argillaceous schist.
In the description of the island of St. Mary's, we are told, that it had been supposed to be primitive, or to contain primitive rocks. Where this piece of information was picked up, we are unable to say. We have seen portions of granite' which were ejected from the extinct volcanoes of one of the Azores but little changed, yet still exhibiting proofs of having been subjected to a very high temperature; but we never before heard of the occurrence of primitive rocks in St. Mary's. This island, but a few miles from St. Michael's, and in plain sight, is conceived by the Danish geologist to be a fragment of Madeira, at least a thousand miles distant. The reasons for this belief will we fear not be quite so satisfactory to others. They are, the similarity of stratification of what he terms the basalt, the presence of the same species of conglomerate and tuffa, the same “calcareous element,” in superficial layers, &c. So too the remains of forests on the opposite sides of Porto Santo and Madeira, the occurrence of the same rocks, the symmetry of the basaltic layers, and the presence of basaltic veins in both, are adduced by Count Vargas as proofs of the original connexion of those two islands. The same reasoning, carried a little way further, might have been made to prove the original connexion of St. Mary's with Iceland and Desolation Island, with all the intervening dry land, with the Moluccas, and the Giant's Causeway. It is true, as stated by Count Vargas, that limestone occurs in the island of St. Mary's, but it is of most obvious recent formation. It is quite hard indeed, but full of fossil marine shells, and impressions, with many fragments of lava, tuff, and obsidian, and perfect crystals of augite. If this limestone had been of anterior formation to the lava, it must have been subjected to enormous pressure, otherwise its carbonic acid must have been driven off. The absence of such pressure is not only indicated by the limestone itself, but also by the cellular appearance of the fragments of lava enclosed in it.
As regards the clays met with in several of the islands, so far from having been originally deposited in their present state, they have originated from the action of the acid vapors and
gases upon the felspathic rocks, the trachytes and porphyries in their vicinity; and it is a process which is to be seen going on at this very moment, not only here, but in all solfaterras. When the escape of these gases and vapors shall have ceased, the vast quantities of argillaceous matter, now soft and nearly liquid, will probably become dry and hard, and put on the same appearance as the clays of St. Mary's.
We have remarked, that while the views of geologists as to the changes to which these islands may have been subjected, will of course differ, as to their volcanic origin there can be but one opinion. The questions, for instance, whether their lavas have been all ejected under or above the waters, and whether certain parts have been elevated and others depressed, will admit of discussion. But we shall leave these points, and endeavour to present our readers with some of the results of the observations of geologists, who have preceded the author of the “ Resumo.
Madeira was several years ago described by Von Buch, as consisting of beds which have been elevated above the level of the ocean by elastic fluids ; but he did not notice any distinct craters. Mr. Bennet found two craters, one on the eastern, and the other on the western side of the island, * the largest being about four English miles in circumference. Mr. Scrope, in his ingenious and valuable work on volcanoes, quotes Madeira as one of the many examples of islands coinposed chiefly of volcanic products, which have risen from below the sea, solely by subterranean expansion, without having been since augmented in height or bulk by the products of external ejections. t Mr. Bowdich's account leaves no doubt of the volcanic origin of Madeira, and he has described the tuff, scoriæ, pumice, and other volcanic products of which it consists. He found the tuff and scoriæ repeatedly alternating with a cellular basalt (lava ?), forming a bed or current, the direction of which was indicated by that of the oval or elongated cells. He also describes a compact and columnar variety of basalt, in many places covering the other strata, and itself here and there covered by fragments cemented by a yellow tuffa. In the centre of the island this was seen immediately incumbent on limestone, which Mr. Bowdich considers as the fundamental rock, and the thickness of which is seven
Geological Transactions, London, Vol. I.
392. † Scrope on Volcanoes, London, 1825, p. 183.
hundred feet. This limestone he refers to the transition series. Both this and all the other rocks are traversed by very numerous dykes of basalt. An elliptical funnel-shaped depression was observed about eighty feet above the sea, which was probably a crater of elevation. From Mr. Bowdich's account, it presents every appearance of having been formed by a minor volcanic heave, which threw up vast blocks of the rock it rent from beneath the ocean, but did not eject any lava or contents of its own.
The island of Porto Santo appeared to the same observer to consist of tertiary sandstone and limestone, alternating with the volcanic strata. The lowest visible deposit is a calcareous tuffa, reaching to the height of sixteen hundred feet, and traversed by vertical dykes of basalt. The sandstone Mr. Bowdich considered as of more recent origin than the volcanic deposit; and in the neighbouring island of Basco he saw the calcareous tuffa covered with beds of limestone a hundred feet above the level of the sea. Count Vargas professes his belief that the calcareous rock and basalt are contemporaneous. But the limestone abounds in shells, which, together with the relative position of the two rocks and other geological appearances, lead to the probable inference of the limestone being of more recent origin. The horizontality of the strata, both in this and some of the other islands, is opposed to the theory of elevation by violent volcanic action beneath a limited area ; but the facts which have within a few years been brought to light, have relieved us from the necessity of resorting to this explanation. Our views in regard to volcanic action have been greatly modified, and we have been taught, that a gradual rise of land over a great extent of country has been and is going on. We think that evidence exists of such change in some of these islands, and little or none of that subsidence and submersion of which the Count was apparently so well satisfied.
The curious and highly interesting circumstances in regard to the elevation of the solid strata of the North of Europe, and in South America, are now familiar to geologists, but may be less so to some of our readers, and certainly do not appear to have been known to our author. There is now no doubt of the rise of land on the coast of Chili in 1822, and again in 1835 to the height of ten feet in some places. Indeed Mr. Darwin observed evidence of a rise of fourteen feet about
Of late years, we have seen much attention directed towards the obscurer portions of English literature, for the purpose of bringing whatever was valuable into notice again ; and in addition to this, the lives of many celebrated writers have been diligently investigated to recover the smallest relic, or to find grounds for some new argument or construction, that might render our idea of the men more precise and just. This zeal is for the most part to be taken as a sign of literary activity and love of truth ; though at times it may betray an unreasonable distrust of old reports and opinions, and an officious readiness to disturb long-received impressions. The effect has certainly been, that writers, whose fixture in the world's memory seemed immovable, have been brought before us for judgment as if they were but of yesterday, and have occupied a place in journals and in conversation, which seems most proper for those of our own time, and whose pretensions are not yet determined. And if we look to the result of these and similar inquiries into the characters of distinguished men, we shall probably find that the unfavorable judgments of them, which we had inherited from their contemporaries, have gradually been mitigated; while those who have been remembered chiefly for their good or great qualities stand just where they did in common opinion, notwithstanding the discovery of serious flaws in their characters, and the novel and powerful arguments that have been employed to give fresh pungency to their known faults, and thus unsettle their dominion.
The moral aspects of this result are important; but we must pass them by. One effect of such investigations, though it be not always contemplated, may be noticed as somewhat to our purpose. It is, that our interest is increased in many an established writer, whose claims, as we have never dreamed of disputing or defending them, may have less place in our thoughts than they should. This interest is likely to be effective and practical, by drawing general attention to the past and present condition of literature and authors, and the influences that operate upon them. So that, to instance but in one particular, if in the lapse of years false habits of thought or corposition have crept in, and productions marked most of all by VOL. XLVI. — NO. 9.