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Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, [1885], at

p. 83



Ver Iliad erat, ver magnus agebat Orbis.—Vergil.

One of the most startling and important of the scientific discoveries of the last twenty years has been that of the relics of a luxuriant Miocene flora in various parts of the Arctic regions. It is a discovery which was totally unexpected, and is even now considered by many men of science to be completely unintelligible, but it is so thoroughly established, and it has such an important bearing on the subjects we are discussing in the present volume, that it is necessary to lay a tolerably complete outline of the facts before our readers.—A. R. Wallace 1880).

Thus far, then, we have found theoretical geogony demanding a location at the Pole for the first country presenting conditions of Eden life; we have found the requisite astronomical conditions to give it an abundance of light; we have found the geologists attesting the former existence of such a country; we must now interrogate Prehistoric Climatology, and ascertain whether this lost land ever enjoyed a temperature which admits of the supposition that here was the primitive abode of man. The answer to our question comes, not from one, but from several sources. 1

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First, geogony gives us an almost irresistible antecedent probability. For if the earth from its earliest consolidation has been steadily cooling, it is hardly possible to conceive of a method by which any region once too hot for human residence can have become at length too cold except by passing through all the intermediate stages of temperature, some of which must have been precisely adapted to human comfort.

Again, paleontological botany shows that in Europe in Tertiary times this hypothetical cooling of the earth was going on, and going on in the steady and regular way postulated by theoretic geogony. 1 But if a telluric process as essentially universal as this was going on in Europe, there is no reason why it should not have been going on in all countries, whether to the north, or to the south, or to the east, or to the west of Europe.

But we are not left to inferences of this sort. It is now admitted by all scientific authorities that at one time the regions within the Arctic Circle enjoyed a tropical or nearly tropical climate. Professor

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[paragraph continues] Nicholson uses the following language: "In the early Tertiary period the climate of the northern hemisphere, as shown by the Eocene animals and plants, was very much hotter than it is at present; partaking, indeed, of a sub-tropical character. In the Middle Tertiary or Miocene period the temperature, though not high, was still much warmer than that now enjoyed by the northern hemisphere; and we know that the plants of the temperate regions at that time flourished within the Arctic Circle." 1

Mr. Grant Allen says, "One thing at least is certain, that till a very recent period, geologically speaking, our earth enjoyed a warm and genial climate up to the actual poles themselves, and that all its vegetation was everywhere evergreen, of much the same type as that which now prevails in the modern tropics." 2

Alluding to those distant ages, M. le Marquis de Nadaillac remarks: "Under these conditions, life spread freely even to the Pole." 3 Similar is the language of Croll: "The Arctic regions, probably up to the North Pole, were not only free from ice, but were covered with a rich and luxuriant vegetation." 4 Keerl holds that at the very Pole it was then warmer than now at the equator. 5 Professor Oswald Heer's calculations would possibly modify Keerl's estimate to a slight degree, but only enough to make the circumpolar climate of that far-off age a

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little more Edenic than is that of the hottest portions of our present earth. 1

Sir Charles Lyell, who in the discussion of this subject is characteristically cautious and "uniformitarian," does not hesitate to say, "The result, then, of our examination, in this and in the preceding chapter, of the organic and inorganic evidence as to the state of the climate of former geological periods is in favor of the opinion that the heat was generally in excess of what it now is. In the greater part of the Miocene and preceding Eocene epochs the fauna and flora of Central Europe were sub-tropical, and a vegetation resembling that now seen in Northern Europe extended into the Arctic regions as far as they have yet been explored, and probably reached the Pole itself. In the Mesozoic ages the predominance of reptile life and the general character of the fossil types of that great class of vertebrata indicate a warm climate and an absence of frost between the 40th parallel of latitude and the Pole, a large ichthyosaurus having been found in lat. 77° 16´ N." 2

Averaging the above views and estimates of scientific authorities, we have at the Pole, in the age of the first appearance of the human race, a temperature the most equable and delightful possible; and with this we may well be content.


83:1 We have no use here for mere fancy sketches, like the following, which appeared on the 10th of May, 1884, in The Norwood Review and Crystal Palace Reporter (Eng.), and which looks very much like an unacknowledged loan from Captain Hall, of Arctic fame: "We do not admit that there is ice up to the Pole. No one has been nearer that point than 464 miles. Once inside the great ice-barrier, a new world breaks upon the explorer; a climate first mild like that of England, and afterwards balmy as that of the Greek Isles, awaits the hardy adventurer who first beholds those wonderful shores. Wonderful, indeed; for he will be greeted by a branch of the human race p. 84 cut off from the rest of humanity by that change of climate which came over Northern Europe about 2,000 years ago, but surrounded by a profusion of life bewildering in the extreme."

Speculations or fancies of this sort have ever clustered about this mysterious region of the Pole. As we shall hereafter see, they abounded in remote antiquity. Even the singular fancy known to the public as "Symmes’ Hole" antedates Symmes, and may be found in much more attractive form in Klopstock's Messiah. (K.'s Sämmtliche Werke. Leipsic, 1854: vol. i., pp. 24, 25.)

84:1 "L’étude des flores nous démontre que le climat de l’Europe, pendant les temps tertiaires, est toujours allé en se refroidissant d’une manière continue et regulière."—Le Préhistorique. Antiquité de l’Homme. Par Gabriel de Mortillet, Professeur d’anthropologie préhistorique à l’École d’Anthropologie de Paris. Paris, 1883: p 113.

85:1 The Life-History of the Globe, p. 335.

85:2 Knowledge. London, Nov. 30, 1883: p. 327.

85:3 Les Premiers Hommes et les Temps Préhistoriques. Paris, 1881: tom. ii., p. 391.

85:4 Climate and Time. Am. ed., 1875: p. 7.

85:5 Die Schöpfungsgeschichte und Lehre vom Paradies. Basel, 1861: Abth. I., p. 634.

86:1 Flora Fossilis Arctica. Zurich, 1868: Bd. i., pp. 60-77. See also Alfred Russel Wallace, Island Life. London, 1880: ch. ix., pp. 163-202. Well, therefore, sings a rollicking rhymster of the age,—

"When the sea rolled its fathomless billows
   Across the broad plains of Nebraska;
 When around the North Pole grew bananas and willows,
 And mastodons fought with the great armadillos
   For the pine-apples grown in Alaska."

86:2 Principles of Geology, eleventh ed., vol. i., p. 231.

Next: Chapter V. The Testimony of Paleontological Botany