« 이전계속 »
These are the two questions at issue. The latter theory is consistent with all known facts, and with the history of the race. It satisfactorily accounts for the rapid progress of civilization, in certain primitive centers, and for its subsequent lapse,—from adverse causes,-in these same centers, leaving behind monuments to attest its previous existence. It also satisfactorily explains the origin and long continuance of barbarism in those tribes which had become separated from these centers, and accounts for those relics which record their imperfect attempts to recover a lost civilization. This theory is taught and explained by a Book, the authenticity of which, as a Divine revelation, is capable of verification, and the testimony of which, thus verified, is decisive.
The other and opposite theory is maintained by our author, and by those who advocate the fanciful views of Darwin and Huxley. It requires the admission of great improbabilities, not to say impossibilities ; it rests chiefly on opinions, assumptions, and unwarrantable generalizations of isolated facts, and is supported solely by a few obscure relics of a barbarous antiquity, which are much more rationally accounted for by the opposite theory, than by the hypothesis which is proposed as a substitute. It demands, as a necsssary element, an immense antiquity for man, and this demand Sir Charles Lyell attempts to supply from the geological record.
He brings to bear on this point, with tiresome profusion, all the opinions, assumptions and speculaticns of others, as suggestive, approximate or decisive, to which he very quietly adds, without proof or argument, his own opinions, in the way of correction, modification or confirmation. The evidence of the Danish peat and shell mounds, is summed up in the following words :
“How many generations of each species of tree flourished in succession before the pine was supplanted by the oak, and the oak by the beech, can be but vaguely conjectured; but the minimum of time required for the formation of so much peat, must, according to the estimate of Steenstrup and other good authorities, have amounted to at least 4000 years; and there is nothing in the observed rate of tho growth of the peat opposed to the conclusion that the number of centuries may not have been four times as great, even though the signs of man's existence have not yet been traced down to the lowest or amorphous stratum. As to the "shell mounds," they correspond in date to the older portion of the peaty record, or to the earliest part of the age of stone as known in Denmark.”—p. 17.
In other words, according to Mr. Steenstrup, the flint instrument "taken out with his own hands” from a peat bog, must be at least 4,000 years old ; but our author thinks it might have been 16,000 years old, and that other still older signs of man's existence might be traced still farther down in the peat. He quietly assumes that the “shell mounds” are as old as the oldest part of the peat, and belong to the earliest part of the assumed Danish stone age.
In another part of the volume, he assumes a far greater antiquity for an implement found in peat; advancing, in proof, the opinion of a French archæologist, whose ideas in regard to the formation of this substance are not so liberal as Mr. Steenstrup's. To say nothing of the great liability of stone and metal tools to sink in the soft muck of a peat bog, there are conclusive reasons for setting aside all the evidence of man's antiquity drawn from peat deposits, upon which our author, in different parts of his book, lays great stress.
So varying are the conditions which modify the rate of growth of peat, and so various are the accidents which attend its accumulation, or deposit in “hollows," that no reliable indication of age can be derived from the quantity or depth of this deposit. Many facts corroborative of this statement, might be produced from the previous works of Sir Charles Lyell, and from other authors. But to show how perfectly unreliable is the above calculation, which is based on the depth at which a flint instrument was found in these Danish “hollows,” we need only quote the words of our author used elsewhere :
• “The depth of overlying peat affords no safe criterion for calculating the age of the cabin or village, for I have shown in the Principles of Geology' (Cb. XLVI.)* that both in England and Ireland, within historical times, bogs have burst and sent forth great volumes of black mud, which has been known to creep over the country at a slow pace, flowing somewhat at the rate of ordinary lava currents, and
* See Book III., Chap. XIII., first Am. Edition, 1837.
sometimes overwhelming woods and cottages, and leaving a deposit upon them of bog earth fifteen feet thick.”
The well known account of the bursting of Solway Moss, in 1772, caused by rains, the like of which had not occurred for 200 years, and by reason of which its peaty matter flowed into the valley of the Esk, overwhelming farms and hamlets, explains how the relics of man may be found in ancient peat deposits, accumulated in “hollows,” without attributing to these deposits any great previous antiquity.
In regard, also, to the time necessary for the formation of peat, there is a remarkable fact on record, which proves the unreliableness of Lyell’s estimates of antiquity, drawn from this source. In 1711, George, Earl of Cromartie, at the age of eighty years, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, a very valuable paper on this subject. He states that in 1651, in passing through the parish of Lochbrun, he carefully noticed a wood of very ancient fir trees, standing firm on a little plain of half a mile round, midway on the slope of a very high hill. On visiting this locality fifteen years afterwards, he was surprised to find in the place of this wood, a level surface of moss, with not a vestige of a tree to be seen. Upon inquiry, he was informed that the wood had been prostrated by winds, and that their interlaced trunks, arresting the moisture from the declivity above, had caused the whole to be overgrown by 6 a green moss or bog," which was unsafe to cross. Doubting the fact, he made the attempt, and immediately sank in the bog up to his arm-pits, before he could be withdrawn. He goes on to state, that in 1699, “ the whole piece of ground was turned into a common moss, where the country people were digging turf and peats, and still continue so to do."
Here we see that forty-eight years sufficed for the formation, on firm land, of a peat deposit of such thickness as would denote, according to Lyell’s estimate, an antiquity greater than that assigned to Adam. In the absence of this record, had he found, as he doubtless might, some relic of human art in the soil under this deposit, he would, as in other cases, have advanced it as an incontestable proof of a pre-Adamite man. Our author next proceeds to consider the “Swiss Lake Dwellings,” built on piles, near the shores of Lake Geneva and other small neighboring lakes. There is nothing in the presence or construction of these rude dwellings to indicate any very remote antiquity, for Herodotus informs us that the Pæonians built just such lake dwellings, to escape the attacks of Xerxes. But our author finds in some of them “implements of stone, horn and bone, but none of metal," and these he refers to the stone period of the world. In others he finds some tools and weapons of bronze, and these he attributes to the “bronze period,” at which time arts had begun to arise among men. He makes a nice point of the fact, that the huts of the bronze period were situated more westerly, showing the westward march of civilization, in this little confined lake district. He states, that “the tools, ornaments and pottery of the bronze period, in Switzerland, bear a close resemblance to those of the corresponding age in Denmark, attesting the wide spread of a uniform civilization over central Europe, at that era ;”—a very sweeping generalization, based on forty rude metal hatchets, dredged up in Lake Geneva. In some few of these aquatic stations, as well as in other places on land, he finds a mixture of bronze and iron implements, and works of art, “including coins, and metals of bronze and silver, struck at Marseilles, and of Greek manufacture, belonging to the first and pre-Roman division of the age of iron.”
He speculates largely in regard to numerous fragments of bones of wild and domestic animals, found in or near the foundations of these dwellings, and he conjectures, as in the case of those found in Danish refuse heaps, that “the greater number, if not all these animals, served for food.” They amount to fifty-four species ; and he ingeniously distributes them, with the help of Rutimeyer, among these three assumed and remote ages of man; they are all, however, animals now living in Europe, except the Bos primigenius, which existed in the time of Cæsar. We notice among those allotted to the bronze period, the ox, sheep, goat, hog, a large hunting dog, “and with it a small horse, of which genus very few traces have been detected in the earlier settlements,-a single tooth, for example, at Wangen, and only one or two bones at two or three other places.” He thinks, that in the earliest age of stone, when the habits of the hunter state predominated over those of the pastoral, venison or the flesh of the stag and roe was more eaten than the flesh of the domestic cattle and sheep.” But the great mass of animals constructed out of these disjecta membra, were common to all those far distant epochs of man's existence, within the narrow limits of these Swiss lakes, and were precisely the same animals which now inhabit the country. In addition to the common fishes, wild fowl and reptiles, he enumerates all the present wild mammalia, such as “the bear, the badger, the common marten, the polecat, the ermine, the weasel, the otter wolf, fox, wild cat, hedgehog, squirrel, field mouse, &c.," the greater part or all of which he tells us served for food. Not a very inviting bill of fare, certainly. Perhaps, however, these unsavory animals were killed for their skins ; the assumption that they were used for food, is entirely gratuitous.
While the bones of the fox occur every where in great abundance, he tells us that only “a single fragment of the bone of a hare has been found at Moosseedorf.” He assumes, backed by the authority of Rutimeyer, that this fact proves a universal preference of fox to bare, on the part of the lake-dwellers of the stone period, and “establishes a singular contrast between their tastes “and ours.” This is a very astonishing deduction from a single fact, and is based, also, on a gratuitous assumption. This solitary fragment of bone might be good evidence that hares were scarce where foxes were plenty ; but who, except a savant, would ever have dreamed that this solitary bone could be proof of a universal preference of foxmeat to hare, and establish such a singular contrast of tastes between the gourmands of the Swiss stone period and the British age of iron ? To an unsophisticated mind, such generalizations would seem to manifest more imagination than common sense.
He also informs us, that, “amidst all this profusion of animal remains” which served for food to men belonging to different ages of the world, during three long chronological ages,