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Zetetic Astronomy, by 'Parallax' (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), [1881], at

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IT has been demonstrated that the earth is a plane, the surface-centre of which is immediately underneath the star called "Polaris," and the extremities of which are bounded by a vast region of ice and water and irregular masses of land, which bear evidence of Plutonic or fiery action and origin.

"In the geological structure of extreme northern regions, the sedimentary strata are abundant and of vast extent; while the constitution of Antarctic strata seems, on the contrary, as far as yet examined, entirely igneous." 1

The whole terminates in fog and darkness, where snow and driving hail, piercing sleet and boisterous winds, howling storms, madly-mounting waves, and clashing icebergs, are almost constant.

"The waves rise like mountains in height; ships are heaved up to the clouds, and apparently precipitated by circling whirlpools to the bed of the ocean. The winds are piercing cold, and so boisterous that the pilot's voice can seldom be heard, whilst a dismal and almost continual darkness adds greatly to the danger." 2

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"The sea quickly rising to a fearful height, breaking over the loftiest bergs. . . . Our ships were involved in an ocean of rolling fragments of ice, hard as floating rocks of granite, which were dashed against them by the waves with so much violence that their masts quivered as if they would fall at every successive blow. The rudders were destroyed, and nearly torn away from the stern-posts. . . . Hour passed away after hour, without the least mitigation of the awful circumstances in which we were placed. . . . The loud crashing noise of the straining and working of the timbers and decks, as she was driven against some of the heavier pieces, was sufficient to fill the stoutest heart with dismay. . . . Our ships still rolling and groaning amidst the heavy fragments of crushing bergs, over which the ocean rolled its mountainous waves, throwing huge masses one upon another, and then again burying them deep beneath its foaming waters, dashing and grinding them together with fearful violence. The awful grandeur of such a scene can neither be imagined nor described, far less can the feelings of those who witnessed it be understood. . . . The ships were so close together that when the 'Terror' rose to the top of one wave, the 'Erebus' was on the top of that next to leeward of her; the deep chasm between them filled with heavy rolling masses; and as the ships descended into the hollow between the waves, the main-top-sail-yard of each could be seen just level with the crest of the intervening wave from the deck of the other. Night cast its gloomy mantle over the scene, rendering our condition, if possible, more hopeless and helpless than before." 1

The cold was severe, and every spray that touched the ship was immediately converted into ice. . . . The gale was

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awful. . . . A seaman, in endeavouring to execute the order to furl, got on the lee yard-arm, remained there some time, and was almost frozen to death. Several of the best seamen were completely exhausted with cold, fatigue, and excitement, and were sent below. . . . All was now still, except the distant roar of the wild storm that was raging behind, before, and above us; the sea was in great agitation, and both officers and men were in the highest degree excited." 1

So great had been the sufferings of the crew, that the ward-room officers joined the medical officers in petitioning the commander of the expedition not to continue the voyage on account of the "extreme hardships and exposure they had undergone during the last gales of wind."

"The general health of the crew is decidedly affected. . . . We feel ourselves obliged to report that, in our opinion, a few days more of such exposure as they have already undergone would reduce the number of the crew by sickness to such an extent as to hazard the safety of the ship and the lives of all on board." 2

How far in the gloom and darkness of the south this wilderness of storm and battling elements extends there is at present no evidence. All we can say is that man, with all his mightiest daring and power of endurance, has only succeeded in reaching the threshold of this restless, dark, and forbidding region of the material world.

The earth rests upon and within the waters of the "great deep." It is a vast "floating island," buoyed up by the waters, and held in its place by long "spurs" of

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land shooting into the icy barriers of the southern circumference. Geological researches demonstrate that it was originally a stratified structure, definite and regular in form and extent, and that all the confused and irregular formations observable in almost every part have resulted from internal convulsions.

Chemical analysis proves to us the important fact that the great bulk of the earth--meaning thereby the land, as distinct from the waters--is composed of metallic oxides, or metals in combination with oxygen, and also with sulphur, chlorine, carbon, and other elements. When means are taken to remove the oxygen, it is found that many of these metallic bases are highly combustible.. Experiments with electric and other subtle powers of Nature, render it obvious that all the elements of the earth were originally in a state of gaseous solution, or dissolved in the great menstruum of the material world--electricity. That by a sudden abstraction of this great and universal solvent, the elements were liberated; and owing to the different affinities and relative densities which had been attached to them, combination, precipitation, stratification, crystallization, and concretion, successively occurred, giving rise to all the rocks, minerals, ores, deposits, and strata, which now constitute the material habitable world. That by the action of unconcrete or gaseous unprecipitated elements, and free electric and actinic forces upon pre-existing germs, all the numerous forms of animal and vegetable life were brought into being, and are now maintained.

However great such operations may seem to the mind

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of present man, all the vast structure of the physical world, and its innumerable myriads of organic beings, were the work of only a few hours. It is easily demonstrable that so rapid and intense were the processes and chemical changes, that a few days--such as we now understand by the word--were ample time to bring out of invisible, imponderable chaos, all the tangible and varied elements which now exist, and to develope every possible form of beauty and elegance, and every condition of happiness and wisdom. All opinions to the contrary which are held by philosophers of the present day, are the result of insufficient perception of the whole subject, which insufficient perception is again the result of self-imposed hypotheses, which bias the judgment and confuse the understanding. No man, however learned and accomplished he may be, is able to understand the simple processes of creative effort unless he is himself a simple and humble observer of phenomena, free from the prejudices of education, and anxious only for a knowledge of the truth as it exists in reality, and not in desire and imagination.

Not only is it readily demonstrable that the material world was brought into being rapidly, perfect in structure, and fully sufficient in all its conditions--but that only a few thousand years have elapsed since it began to change in form and character. Mental and moral confusion, followed by decomposition and chemical and electric action, sufficient to ignite a great portion of the earth, and to reduce it to a molten, incandescent state. Hence, for ages the earth has been on fire. The volatile products of this internal fire being forcibly eliminated, and occasionally

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accumulating and exploding, have broken up the stratified formations, and produced the irregular confused condition which we now observe. Hence have arisen earthquakes, volcanoes, and other convulsions of Nature. The products of volcanic action enable us to ascertain the character of the internal fire, and what are the elements concerned in the combustion. Some of these products are of a poisonous character, and being thrown out in immense volumes from craters in various parts of the earth, are dispersed by the winds, and diffused through the atmosphere, often in such proportions as to act as deadly poison on both animal and vegetable life. Hence, blight and pestilence in various forms, destroying crops and inferior animals, and affecting numbers of human beings to suffering and death.

That the internal parts of the earth are still on fire is. evident from the following facts:--

"At the depth of 50 feet from the sea-level, the temperature of the earth is the same winter and summer. . . . At the Killingworth coal mine, the mean annual temperature at 400 yards below the surface is 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and at 300. yards, 70 degrees; while at the surface it is but 48 degrees, being about one degree of increase for every 15 yards. Hence, at 3300 yards, the heat would be equal to boiling water, taking 20 yards to a degree. This explains the origin of hot springs. The heat of the Bath waters is 116 degrees; hence they would appear to rise from a depth of 1320 yards. By experiments made at the Observatory at Paris, for ascertaining the increase of temperature from the surface of the earth towards the interior, 51 feet, or 17 yards, correspond to the increase of one degree Fahrenheit's thermometer. Hence the temperature of boiling

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water would be at 8212 feet, or about one and a half English miles, under Paris." 1

The greatest depth below the surface of the sea that has yet been obtained is probably that of the salt-works of New Salzwerk, near Minden, in Prussia. This was 1993 feet. . . . The temperature of water at the bottom was 90.8 Fahrenheit, giving a mean increase of one degree Fahrenheit for every 53.8 feet." 2

The coal mine at Rosebridge, near Wigan, is now the deepest in England, having a depth of 808 yards; and it was stated by Mr. Hall, before the Royal Society, in January 1870, that the average temperature at the bottom of the shaft was 93½ degrees.

Sir Charles Lyell, in his address to the British Association at Bath, in September, 1864, speaking of hot springs generally, said:

"An increase of heat is always experienced as we descend into the interior of the earth. . . . The estimate deduced by Mr. Hopkins from an accurate series of observations made in the Monkwearmouth shaft, near Durham, and in the Dukenfield shaft, near Manchester, each of them 2000 feet in depth. In these shafts the temperature was found to rise at the rate of 1 degree Fahrenheit for every increase of depth of from 65 to 70 feet."

"The observations made by M. Arago, in 1821, that the deepest Artesian wells are the warmest, threw great light on the origin of thermal springs, and on the establishment of the law

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that terrestrial heat increases with increasing depth. It is a remarkable fact, which has but recently been noticed, that at the close of the third century, St. Patricius, probably Bishop of Partusa, was led to adopt very correct views regarding the phenomenon of the hot springs at Carthage. On being asked what was the cause of boiling water bursting from the earth, he replied: 'Fire is nourished in the clouds, and in the interior of the earth, as Ætna and other mountains near Naples may teach you. The subterranean waters rise as if through syphons. The cause of hot springs is this: Waters which are more remote from the subterranean fire are colder, whilst those which rise nearer the fire are heated by it, and bring with them to the surface which we inhabit an insupportable degree of heat.'" 1

Professor Silliman, in the American "Journal of Science," says:--

"In boring the Artesian wells in Paris, the temperature increased at the rate of one degree for every 50 feet downwards; and, reasoning from causes known to exist, the whole of the interior part of the earth, or, at least, a great part of it, is an ocean of melted rock, agitated by violent winds."

"The uppermost strata of the soil share in all the variations of temperature which depend upon the seasons, and this influence is exerted to a depth which, although it varies with the latitude, is never very great. Beyond this point the temperature rises in proportion as we descend to greater depths; and it has been shown by numerous and often-repeated experiments that the increase of temperature is on an average one degree (Fahrenheit) for about every 54.5 feet. Hence it results that, at a depth of

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about 12 miles from the surface, we shall be on the verge of an incandescent mass." 1

"So great is the heat within the earth, that in Switzerland and other countries where the springs of water are very deep, they bring to the surface the warm mineral waters so much used for baths and medicine for the sick; and it is said that if you were to dig very deep down into the earth, the temperature would increase at the rate of one degree of the thermometer for, every 100 feet; so that at the depth of 7000 feet, or one and a half miles, all the water that you found would be boiling; and at the depth of about 10 miles, all the rocks would be melted.

. . A day will yet come when this earth will be burned up by the fire. There is fire, as you have heard, within it, ready to burst forth at any moment. . . . This earth, although covered all round with a solid crust, is all on fire within. Its interior is supposed to be a burning mass of melted, glowing metals, fiery gas, and boiling lava. . . . The solid crust which covers this inward fire is supposed not to be much more than from 9 to 12 miles in thickness. Whenever this crust breaks open, or is cleft in any place, there rush out lava, fire, melted rocks, fiery gases, and ashes, sometimes in such floods as to bury whole cities. From time to time we read of the earth quaking, trembling, and sometimes opening, and of mountains and small islands (which are mountains in the sea) being thrown up in a day." 2

"The conclusion is inevitable that the general distribution all over the earth of volcanic vents, their similarity of action and products, their enormous power and seeming inexhaustibility, their extensiveness of action in their respective sites, the continuance of their energies during countless years, and the

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incessant burning day and night, from year to year, of such craters as Stromboli; and lastly the apparent inefficiency of external circumstances in controlling their operations, eruptions happening beneath the sea as beneath the land, in the frigid as in the torrid zone--for these and many less striking phenomena, we must seek for some great and general cause, such only as the central heat of the earth affords us." 1

"It is a fact well ascertained by scientific researches, that the whole inside of the earth is one mass of fire, and what we call terra firma nothing more than a crust or rind by which that mass of fire is inclosed. It is certain that by the action of this central fire the earth's crust is perforated in many places with large conduits, which act as chimneys to the internal furnace. Of these chimneys as many as seven hundred have been actually counted; and out of these three hundred are at this time in active operation, emitting not only smoke and vapour, but at intervals masses of burning liquefied matter. How many more there may be in unexplored regions of the dry land, and how many more beneath the hundred and eleven millions of square miles of water which form the ocean, it is impossible to say.

"Besides these regular outlets, the number and condition of which is subject to constant changes--some falling in and ceasing to act, while new ones are forming elsewhere--the action of the central fire manifests itself in the rocking motion imparted from time to time to large portions of the crust, which are tossed up and down, as it were, by the angry billows of the molten sea beneath them. In numerous instances the crust is broken altogether, vast fissures being made in its surface; while at. other times large tracts are literally swallowed up by the yawning gulph, the surface closing over them after their disappearance,

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or submerged by the sea which rushes in to cover the. void that has been created." 1

"The earth contains within it a mass of heated material;, nay, it is a heated and incandescent body, habitable only because surrounded with a cool crust, the crust being to it a mere shell, within which the vast internal fires are securely inclosed--and yet not securely perhaps, unless such vents existed as those to which we apply the term volcanoes. Every volcano is a safety valve, ready to relieve the pressure from within when that pressure rises to a certain degree of intensity; or permanently serving for the escape of conflagrations which, if not so provided with escape, might rend the habitable crust to pieces." 2

The investigations which have been made, and the evidence which has been brought together, render its undeniable that the lower and inner parts of the earth are on fire. Of the intensity of the combustion no practical idea can be formed; it is fearful beyond comparison. The lava thrown out from a volcano in Mexico "was so hot that it continued to smoke for twenty years, and after three years and a half a piece of wood took fire in it, at a distance of five miles from the crater." In different parts. of the world islands of various magnitudes have been thrown up from the depths of the sea, in a red-hot glowing condition, and so intensely heated, that after being forced through many fathoms of salt water, and standing in the: midst of it, exposed to wind and rain for several months, have not been sufficiently cooled for persons to approach and remain upon them." Cotopaxi threw its fiery rockets

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[paragraph continues] 3000 feet above its crater; the blazing mass roared like a furnace, so that its awful voice was heard at a distance of 600 miles. Tanguragun flung out torrents of mud which dammed up rivers, opened new lakes, and in valleys of 1000 feet wide made deposits 600 feet deep. Vesuvius has thrown out more than forty millions, and Etna nearly one hundred millions of cubic feet of solid matter; some of it was not thoroughly cooled and consolidated ten years after the event. A block 100 cubic yards in volume has been projected a distance of 9 miles, and Sumbawa, in 1815, sent its ashes as far as Java, a distance of 300 miles." 1

"During the eruption of Timboro Mountain, in 1814, Mr. Crawford witnessed some of the effects. At a distance of 300 miles it was pitch dark for three days. The ashes were carried by the monsoon to a distance of 1200 miles from the mountain, and for ten days he was obliged to write by candle light." 2

Thus it is certain from the phenomena connected with earthquakes, submarine and inland volcanoes, which exist in every part of the earth, from the frozen to the tropical regions, hot and boiling springs, fountains of mud and steam, lakes of burning sulphur and other substances, jets and blasts of combustible destructive gases, the choke and fire-damps of our coal mines--that at only a few miles below the surface of the earth there exists an extensive region of combustion; a vast fiery gulph extending in all directions for thousands of miles: and the intensity and power of the chemical and electric action going on in this almost boundless

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subterranean furnace are utterly indescribable, and cannot be compared with anything within the range of human experience. This condition of the earth is represented in diagram 69, which may be called a sectional

Fig. 69.
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Fig. 69.

view, supposing it to be cut through the centre of its whole length, and the water in the front cleared away. N, the northern centre, S. S. the usual sea level, and the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, representing volcanic craters, or outlets of the great fiery gulph below.

Having shown that the earth is a large and irregular floating mass, having within it a vast region of fire burning with a fierceness and intensity utterly immeasurable, we have now to inquire respecting its position in relation to the rest of the Universe.

FIRST. The earth floats on the waters of the "great deep."

That it thus floats is concluded from the fact that it is surrounded with water, in which it fluctuates; and that if limited in extent, water could not surround it without also gathering underneath it. If not limited in extent, then it extends downwards for ever. If so, it could not fluctuate in a limited mass of water. It does fluctuate, therefore it floats, and hence there must be "waters under the earth."

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SECONDLY. What supports the waters?

If the waters are limited in extent there must be some-thing below them; if not limited in extent then they extend downwards for ever. Then indeed would the "great deep" be the "mighty deep," the "fathomless deep" the "great abyss of waters," the "illimitable depths;" and further inquiry would be useless, for the earth simply floats on the surface of the illimitable fathomless deep. It is in fact and literally

"Founded on the seas, and
Established on the floods."

Just as at present we fail to learn anything respecting the lateral extent of the south; we only know that frost, destroying storm, and darkness, bar the progress of the most daring navigators, so are we incapable, by direct inquiry, of knowing anything as to the downward extent of the "great deep." Does it extend southwards and downwards ad infinitum? Is it, in fact, a mighty, an infinite world of waters, an aqueous "world without end?" Or is "the cloud the garment thereof; and thick darkness its swaddling band?"

As "with all our getting to get understanding" is one of our greatest privileges, we may, with advantage and satisfaction, seek to know that which at first sight may seem an impossibility. The Zetetic process will never fail us if we can gather sufficient facts to form, as it were, a fulcrum, or resting place for the lever of investigation and logical induction. The following facts will help us to an answer:--

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1st. Sea water consists of chlorides of sodium, potassium and magnesium; carbonates of lime and magnesia; sulphates of lime, magnesia and potash; bromides and iodides of sodium, &c., &c.

2nd. Immense volumes of sulphuretted hydrogen gas abound in many parts of the ocean, extending for hundreds of miles, which cannot be traced to local causes.

3rd. The water nearest the beds of different seas contains more saline matter than that of the surface.

4th. The water of open seas is not saturated with saline ingredients.

5th. The chlorine, sulphur, iodine, and bromine, found in combination with magnesia, potash, soda, lime, &c., are not found, except in mere traces, in our atmosphere, nor, in a free state, in the compounds of which the earth is formed, nor to any extent in the numerous elements detected in the sun and stars by the beautiful and delicate process of spectrum analysis; hence we are driven to seek for their source, not in the luminaries of our firmament, nor in the higher, or middle, or lower regions of the air, nor in the sea itself--the compounds only of these elements entering into the composition of sea water.

6th. The union of chlorine, sulphur, iodine, and bromine, with oxygen, hydrogen, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, would of necessity constitute intense pyrogenous or fiery action.

7th. Such action is not to be found in the atmosphere, nor in the earth--not even in the volcanic combustion which exists in almost every part of it--nor in the sea. It is not above, nor upon, nor within, but still it exists.

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[paragraph continues] Where? Above, upon, within, and below, are all that can possibly exist; but since it is not above, nor upon, nor within, below only remains. Therefore it exists below the lowest depths of the great stratum of waters which constitute the "foundations of the earth." This terrible subaqueous world of fire, acting upon the under surface of the water, decomposes or separates its elements, fixing its oxygen, and liberating its hydrogen, which holding in solution sulphur and other elements, forming sulphuretted hydrogen, permeates the waters, and in many parts of the world escape into the atmosphere, thus rendering vast regions, otherwise fertile and agreeable, unfit for the habitation of man.

8th. When chemical action is so intense as to constitute combustion, it is repulsive to aqueous compounds, water in bulk cannot come in direct contact with it--partial decomposition and volatilisation will occur. And thus below the ocean there must be a stratum of watery vapour, and oxygen and hydrogen gases, holding in solution and combination the elements which are seeking to unite, and which are afterwards found in combination, and dissolved as the constituents of ordinary sea water.

A simple experiment will convey an idea of the manner of the sea's suspension over a region of elemental fire. Partially fill a long glass tube with water, and invert the open end over an intense fire; the water will trickle down the tube, but as it approaches the fire it will be converted into steam and thrown upwards, where it will again con-dense, again descend, and again volatilise, as long as the experiment is continued. There will always be a given

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space, between the upper stratum of water and the fire, filled with watery vapour.

Another illustration is furnished by the large smelting furnaces in action during rain. The drops of rain, snow, or hail, as they approach the fire suddenly boil away, with loud explosive sounds, and are driven back in the form of steam; or if, on account of the rain being unusually heavy, any portion of it reaches the flames, it is quickly decomposed, and its elements--its oxygen and hydrogen gases, instead of diminishing--greatly increase the intensity of the combustion.

During a great conflagration also it is often observed that a small supply of water instead of extinguishing the fire is partly driven off as steam, and in part decomposed, and, as well known to firemen, its oxygen and hydrogen increase the combustion.

If we are anxious to inquire into the nature of the region above the earth, we find sufficient evidence to force us to definite conclusions. As we ascend we find the atmosphere becoming more and more attenuated, caloric decreasing, and cold rapidly increasing; moisture gradually diminishing, and absolute dryness prevailing; sound becomes more intense, and as we ascend higher and higher positive electricity is more and more abundant.

As there is no heat and no moisture, everything remains in a state of preservation, decomposition and decay cannot take place. Electricity more and more prevailing, all bodies at a great altitude are imponderable; and as the sun and other luminaries are constantly eliminating metallic and other elements in a state of electric solution, it is evident

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that every object in the higher regions, peculiar conditions excepted, must glow with electric many-coloured light, as shown by metallic spectra, and by the variable and brilliantly-coloured stars which shine so beautifully in every part of the firmament.

"By the aid of the telescope, have been discovered in the starry vault, in the celestial fields which light traverses, as in the corollas of our flowering plants, and in the metallic oxides, almost every gradation of prismatic colour, between the two extremes of refrangibility. . . . In a cluster near the Southern Cross, above a hundred small stars of different colours--red, green, blue, and blueish green--appear in large telescopes like gems of many colours, like a superb piece of fancy jewellery." 1

As the sun and moon, as well as comets and stars of every kind, can be proved by direct trigonometrical processes, to be within a few hundred miles of the earth's surface, and, as we have seen, in such a region bodies must be without gravity self-luminous and self-sustaining; we cannot refrain from asking "How far above the earth, and laterally, does such a region extend?" So also in reference to the region of fire below the earth and ocean, the same question must obtrude itself. The only answer, however, which can here be given is, that whereas the region above may and must, for aught man can at present prove to the contrary, extend upwards and laterally without end; so must the region below extend downwards and laterally ad infinitum. Can the earth and the southern external or outer cold and darkness stretch out for ever like an endless diaphragm between the infinitely extending worlds above and below?

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The actual position of the earth in the universe, as evolved by the Zetetic process of investigation, is represented in the following diagram, fig. 70.

Fig. 70.
Click to enlarge

Fig. 70.

Were it not that this work is avowedly astronomical and philosophical, it could easily be shown here that far above the sun, moon, and stars, and beyond the region of electric, magnetic, and other active subtleties, there is a fountain, an infinite conservatory of realities, as much more subtle than electric and magnetic entities, as these are than, the solid elements of the earth; and from which man receives all that makes him better than a demon, and enables and helps him to a god-like existence, whilst below the concrete

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world of earth and water, a region of fiery decomposition and destruction exists, and whence originate realities--subtleties more subtle than gaseous and electric elements, and which pollute and ruin the great bulk of humanity. The author is inexpressibly sorry to leave this mighty subject undeveloped in the pages of this work. 1 He has entered upon a scientific disquisition, and as scientific men in general have allowed themselves to sink down to the idea that science and philosophy have only to do with the dead and beggarly elements of the world, and that all inquiries into the nature and source of the quickening, ennobling, and perfecting subtleties, which can be proved to exist, are but the dictates of superstition, he will not pursue the subject further--in these pages at least--lest the scientific critics who dread the advent of true and vivifying philosophy should charge him with inconsistency or unwarrantable digression.

Having shown that this earth is but a stage, a platform of concrete, precipitated, ponderable elements between infinity above and infinity below, the subject demands, and is incomplete without an inquiry as to its possible and probable duration. That its origin is comparatively recent is deducible from the fact that all its constituent elements are in a secondary state, that is, thrown out of solution in the all-pervading subtlety which we have agreed to call electricity; and that the processes of precipitation, concretion, and stratification, must of necessity have been rapid and symmetrical, and all the confused conditions now visible to us quickly subsequent to and sequent upon

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abnormal changes, is evident from the manner in which we can experimentally imitate such changes by urging the electric and chemical forces with which every philosopher is or ought to be familiar. The comparative sluggishness of growth, development, and change of elementary conditions which now exists, is not to guide us in our judgments of the intensity of the forces and processes of the past.

When we consider the composition of the earth, and its aqueous foundations--that it is a vast structure of metallic oxides, sulphurets, and chlorides, intermingled with immense strata of compounds of carbon and hydrogen; and that, as we have already shown, a great portion of the lower parts of the earth is in a molten incandescent state, the earth itself an extended plane, resting in and upon the waters of the "great deep," fitly comparable to a large vessel or ship floating at anchor, with its hold or lower compartments beneath the water-line filled with burning materials, our knowledge of the nature and action of fire does not enable us to understand in what way the combustion can be prevented from extending when these burning materials are known to be surrounded with highly inflammable substances. Wherever a fire is surrounded with heterogeneous materials--some highly combustible and others partially or indirectly so--it is not possible, in the ordinary course of nature, for it to remain continually in the same condition, nor to diminish in extent and intensity, it must necessarily increase and extend itself. That this is the case is corroborated by many phenomena. The total of volcanic action is greater than it has ever been

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since man commenced to observe and record his observations.

"In the caves beneath the Paris observatory, during the last seventeen years, the thermometer standing there has risen. very nearly 0°·4." 1

"Bonssingault found in 1823 that the thermal. springs of Las Trincheras (Venezuela) had risen 12° during the twenty-three years that had intervened since my travels in 1800." 2

"The perpetual fire in or near Deliktash, in Lycia, was recently found to be as brilliant as ever, and even somewhat increased." 3

"The Paris papers state that the temperature of the waters flowing from the great Artesian wells at Grenelle and Passy, has increased from 82° to 85° Fahrenheit." 4

The millions of gallons of petroleum "struck" and drawn from numerous places, indicating increasing heat and therefore increasing distillation of solid carbonaceous matter into combustible oils, and the fearful and increasing explosions in our coal mines also indicate increased and advancing combustion in the earth, giving rise to greater quantities of "choke" and "fire-damps," and the lamentable increase in the loss of life which has occurred within the last few years.

That the fire in the earth is increasing is evident; and that it is surrounded with inflammable materials is matter of certainty. The hundreds of millions of tons of coals which are known to exist in England, America, India,

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[paragraph continues] China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and many other parts of the earth, the vast quantities of peat, turf, mineral oils, rock tar, pitch, asphalte, bitumen, petroleum, mineral naptha, and numerous other hydro-carbons to be found in all directions, and the great bulk of these combustible carbon compounds existing far down below the earth's surface, prove this condition to exist. The immense volumes of carbon in combination with hydrogen and with oxygen, forming carbonic acid, carbonic oxide, and carburetted hydrogen gases which escape during volcanic action, prove also that these carbon compounds are already in a state of intense combustion.

As the fire is gradually increasing and creeping upwards towards the thousands of miles of veins and strata filled with carbonaceous fuel, it is not possible, unless the "course of nature" is arrested by some special interference, for the earth to remain in its present concrete condition. The day is not far distant, nay, even now at any moment some sudden convulsive upheaving of the fiery gulph below, until it reaches and lays bare some of the lower beds of hydro-carbon, which "dip" at various angles from the general strata, may set them on fire. The flames would then rapidly extend; and the fiery action swiftly run along the various and innumerable veins of combustible matter which ramify in every direction throughout the whole earth.

Should such an action once commence, knowing as we do that the rocks and minerals and general constituents of the earth are only oxides of inflammable bases, or of substances directly combustible, and that the affinities of these are greatly altered in the presence of highly-heated

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carbon and hydrogen, we see clearly that such a chemical action or fire would rapidly increase in intensity, and fiercely rush in all directions, until the whole earth, with everything entering into its composition and dwelling upon and within it, would perish, decompose and volatilise, and burst into one vast indescribable annihilating conflagration; the elements "burning with fervent heat" again dissolving in the great solvent medium, electricity, there to remain until some creative mandate shall liberate, and again precipitate and stratify them for the formation of another world--perhaps less discordant, and more enduring than the present.

"If we saw a number of persons on some huge raft, tossed up and down on the surface of the ocean, we should naturally feel alarmed for their safety. And if we were told that so far from being apprehensive of danger they fancied their position one of eminent security, that they pointed with pride to the thickness and solidity of the timber under their feet, laughing to scorn every suggestion that their footing might by-and-bye prove less sound than they imagine, we should conclude that their minds must be strangely constituted. Does it not seem extraordinary then that so little should be thought of a position far more perilous, in which all the inhabitants of the earth are continually placed? . . Their position resembles, more nearly than we most of us think, that of persons floating on the surface of the sea--on a raft of great strength and thickness it is true, but yet not proof against the fury of the waves, and liable to sudden disruption of its parts. The only difference is that the sea on which we are floating is a sea of liquid fire, the molten elements of the main substance of the earth." 1



177:1 "Polar Exploration;" p. 2. By W. Locke, of the Royal Dublin Society.

177:2 "Voyage to the South." By Vasco de Gama.

178:1 "Antarctic Voyages." By Sir James Clarke Ross.

179:1 "Exploring Expedition." By Commander Wilkes, U.S.N.

179:2 Ibid, p. 142.

183:1 "Million of Facts." By Sir Richard Phillips.

183:2 "Analysis of Newton's Principia," p. 175. By Henry Lord Brougham, F.R.S.

184:1 Humboldt's "Cosmos," p. 220.

185:1 "Rambles of a Naturalist." By M. de Quatrefages.

185:2 "The World's Birthday," p. 42. By Professor Gaussen. Geneva.

186:1 "Recreative Science," article "Volcanoes."

187:1 "The Quiver," for October 5, 1861.

187:2 "Recreative Science," article "Volcanoes."

188:1 "Recreative Science," article "Volcanoes."

188:2 "Times" newspaper, June 10, 1863.

194:1 Humboldt.

196:1 See his work on the "Life of Christ Zetetically Considered," which is preparing for publication.

198:1 Humboldt's "Cosmos," p. 166.

198:2 Ibid., p. 219.

198:3 Ibid., p. 220.

198:4 "English Mechanic," January 4, 1867.

200:1 "The Quiver," October 5, 1861.

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