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times, renders such a supposed coincidence of little or no value; and yet upon such vague arguments as these is the exact length of the sojourn laid down, and the definite statement in Scripture set aside.
M. Bunsen's scheme of Biblical Chronology before the time of Abraham rests
upon still more unsubstantial grounds. He claims for the period of the Deluge about ten thousand years before the Christian era, and he places the creation of man about another ten thousand years before the Deluge. These extraordinary statements depend entirely upon the author's theory of the growth of language; but, even if this theory were more probable than it appears to be, it is impossible to believe that it can-at least in the present state of philological knowledge—supply us with historical data. * However, since the publication of the German edition of his work, M. Bunsen has obtained an apparently scientific corroboration of his views, which he adduces with unhesitating confidence in the preface to the English translation of the third volume. This supposed discovery presents at first sight something more tangible than his linguistic theory. It is contained in a paper read before the Royal Society in 1858, giving an account of the explorations prosecuted near Cairo by direction of Mr. Leonard Horner, in order to discover the general depth of the alluvial land of Egypt, and, by calculations founded upon its annual rate of increase, to connect geological with historical time. Mr. Horner infers, from finding a piece of pottery in the Nile sediment, and at a certain depth below the surface of the soil, that man existed in Egypt more than 11,000 years before the Christian era ; and not merely existed, but had advanced in civilization so far as to know and practise the art of forming vessels of clay, and hardening them by fire. Mr. Horner arrives at this conclusion in the following manner. Taking the colossal statue of Rameses II., in the area of the ancient Memphis, as the basis of his calculation, he found the depth of the Nile sediment, from the present surface of the ground to the upper level of the platform upon which the statue had stood, to be 9 feet 4 inches. Then adopting the date of Lepsius for the reign of Rameses II. (B.c. 1394-1328), and supposing the statue to have been erected in B.C. 1361, Mr. Horner obtains, between that time and 1854—the date of his excava
* The most eminent Semitic scholars have rejected M. Bunsen's theory of the growth of language. Our readers will find some valuable remarks upon this subject in M. Renan's Histoire générale et Système comparé des Langues Sémitiques, and in The Genesis of the Earth and of Man, London, 1856, a work which deserves the attentive consideration of Biblical students, though we are far from endorsing all its opinions.
tions-a period of 3215 years for the accumulation of 9 feet 4 inches of sediment; and accordingly he concludes that the mean rate of increase has been, within a small fraction, 3} inches in a century. Hence, says Mr. Horner, 'it gives for the lowest part deposited an age of 10,285 years before the middle of the reign of Rameses II., 11,646 years before Christ, and 13,500 years before 1854,'
M. Bunsen, after quoting Mr. Horner's words, adds:
"The operation performed, and the result obtained, are historical, not geological. The soil which has been penetrated is exclusively historical soil, coeval with mankind, and underlies a monument the date of which can be fixed with all desirable certainty. It is a soil accumulated at the same spot, by the same uninterrupted, regular, infallible agency of that river, which, like the whole country through which it flows, is a perfect chronometer. It is an agency evidently undisturbed by any other agency, during these more than a hundred centuries, by flood or by deluge, by elevation or by depression. The fertilizing sediment is found in its place throughout. Under these circumstances, it would seem reasonable to suppose that there is no material difference in the rate of secular increase; but that if there be any, the lower strata would require an inch or half an inch less to represent the growth of a century.'- vol. iii. Preface, p. xxvi.
Now, the first question which naturally arises is, can we depend upon the accuracy
of the facts as thus stated ? Mr. Horner is both a sound geologist and a man of honour, and he certainly would not intentionally deceive us; but, unfortunately, his testimony in this case is of little or no value, as he is not an independent witness, but simply a reporter of the observations of others. If he had been personally present, and had seen with his own eyes the boring-instrument bring up from a depth of thirtynine feet of Nile-deposit a piece of pottery, we should have had the testimony of a trustworthy and competent witness; but his mere belief of the alleged fact, without personal observation, is of no value whatever in a scientific point of view. Before accepting such a statement as an undoubted fact, we should require information upon many points, as to which we are at present entirely in the dark. We know nothing of the credibility or competency of the person or persons who made the discovery; but we do know that, in all such cases, whatever is wanted is always found. tleman in this country has the misfortune to fancy that he has coal or copper on his estate, and directs borings to be made, the instrument almost invariably brings up the desired specimen, though the practical geologist is aware, from the nature of the strata, that the existence of either copper or coal is a physical impossibility. So notoriously is this the case, that all who have Vol. 105.-No. 210.
If a gen
had experience in these matters attach no importance to such specimens, unless the alleged discoverer is a scientific observer, of whose character and competency there can be no question. When, therefore, Mr. Horner gave special instructions to his agents to attend to the following point, among others :- If any fragments of human art be found in the soils passed through ; and, unless they be brick or other rude material, to preserve
them? our experience of similar excavations would lead us to expect that such fragments of human art would be sure to be forthcoming. But, even if this be not the case, and the pieces of pottery were actually found in the places indicated, there are several circumstances which render Mr. Horner's inference respecting their extreme antiquity extremely doubtful,
If we adopt a date of the first colonization of the country consistent with the chronology of the Septuagint, and admit the correctness of Mr. Horner's estimate of the mean rate of the increase of the alluvial soil, we may fairly calculate that at that time the general surface of the plain of Memphis was at least thirteen feet below its present level, and that the bed of the Nile was in the same place much more than twenty-six feet below its banks—that is, much more than thirty-nine feet below the general surface of the plain; for the bed of the river rises at the same rate as the bordering land, and is in this part of Egypt at least twenty-six feet below the land in most of the shallower parts. Now, according to an ancient tradition,* Menes (that is, one of the earliest kings of Egypt), when he founded Memphis, is related to have diverted the course of the Nile eastwards, by a dam about 100 stadia (about twelve miles) south of the city, and thus to have dried up the old bed. If so, many years must have elapsed before the old bed became filled up by the annual deposits of the inundation ; and the piece of pottery may have been dropped into it long after the time of this early king, for we do not know the course of the old bed, and the statue may stand upon it. Or the piece of pottery may have fallen into one of the fissures into which the dry land is rent in summer, and which are so deep that many of them cannot be fathomed even by a palm-branch. Or, at the spot where the statue stood, there may have been formerly one of the innumerable wells or pits, from which water was raised by means of earthen pots.
Again: we know from the testimony of Makrîzî that, less than a thousand years ago, the Nile flowed close by the present western limits of Cairo, from which it is now separated by a plain extending to the width of more than a mile.
In this plain,
See Herod. ii, 99,
therefore, 2 F 2
therefore, one might now dig to the depth of twenty feet or more, and then find plenty of fragments of pottery and other remains less than a thousand years old! Natural changes in the course of the Nile similar to that which we have here mentioned, and some of them, doubtless, much greater, have taken place in almost every part of its passage through Egypt.
Thus far we have adapted our remarks to Mr. Horner's estimate of the mean rate of the increase of the alluvial soil. But this estimate is founded upon a grave mistake: that is, upon
the assumption that the upper surface of the platform, on which the colossal statue stood, was scarcely higher than the general surface of the plain. The temple which contained the colossal statue
one of the buildings of Memphis; and according to Mr. Horner's assumption, it is a necessary consequence that both the city and the temple must have been for many days in every year, to the depth of some feet, under the surface of the inundation! This is quite incredible; and we may therefore feel certain that the Nile-deposit did not begin to accumulate at the base of the statue till Memphis bad fallen into ruins about the fifth century of our era.
These considerations, and many others which we might urge, tend to show that Mr. Horner's pottery is no more likely than M. Bunsen's chronology, to compel us to abandon our faith in the old Hebrew records. But one fact, mentioned by Mr. Horner himself, settles the question. He tells us that “fragments of burnt brick and of pottery have been found at even greater depths [than thirty-nine feet] in localities near the banks of the river, and that in the boring at Sigiul, “fragments of burnt brick and pottery were found in the sediment brought up from between the fortieth and fiftieth foot from the surface. Now, if a coin of Trajan or Diocletian had been discovered in these spots, even Mr. Horner would have been obliged to admit that he had made a fatal mistake in his conclusions; but a piece of burnt brick found beneath the soil tells the same tale that a Roman coin would tell under the same circumstances. Mr. Horner and M. Bunsen have, we believe, never been in Egypt; and we therefore take the liberty to inform them that there is not a single known structure of burnt brick from one end of Egypt to the other earlier than the period of the Roman dominion. These' fragments of burnt brick,' therefore, have been deposited after the Christian era, and, instead of establishing the existence of man in Egypt more than 13,000 years, supply a convincing proof of the worthlessness of Mr. Horner's theory.
ART. V.-1. Bibliotheca Devoniensis : a Catalogue of the Printed
Books relating to the County of Devon. By James Davidson,
Exeter. 1852. 2. Monasticon Diæcesis Exoniensis. By George Oliver, D.D.
Exeter and London. 1846. 3. Transactions of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society.
Vols, I.-VI. Exeter. 1843-1858. 4. A Perambulation of the Ancient and Royal Forest of Dartmoor.
By Samuel Rowe, M.A., late Vicar of Crediton, Devon. 2nd
edition. London and Plymouth. 1856. 5. The Anglo-Saxon Episcopate of Cornwall, with some Account of
the Bishops of Crediton. By E. H. Pedler, Esq. London.
1856. WI HEN the learned Jean Bodin, toward the end of the six
teenth century, published his famous treatise ·De Republicâ,' there was one among his many critics whose name, at least from the men of Devonshire and Cornwall, deserves to be redeemed from the complete oblivion into which it has fallen. This is Nathaniel Carpenter, whose father was rector of Hatherleigh, near Oakhampton, and who was himself a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, where he seems to have been one of the most remarkable men of his time. In his Geographie delineated forth,'—the first complete treatise on the subject published in English-he replies at considerable length to Bodin, who is over peremptorie in overmuch censuring all mountainous people of blockishnesse and barbarisme, against the opinion of Averroes, a great writer, who, finding these people nearer heaven, suspected in them a more heavenlie nature.' Carpenter proceeds accordingly to 'checke Mr. Bodin's bold conjecture ? by an express
reference to our mountainous countries of Dævon and Cornwall,' and by a display of choice flowres cropt from that Hesperian garden':
It cannot be styled,” he asserts, our reproach, but glorie, to draw our offspring from such an aire, which produceth witts as eminent as the mountains, approaching far nearer to heaven in excellency, than the other in height transcend the valleys. Wherein can any province of Great Britain challenge precedency before us? Should any deny us the reputation of arts and learning, the pious ghosts of Jewell, Raynolds, and Hooker would rise up in opposition.'
A long string of names follows, setting forth the riches of the • sweete hive and receptacle of our western wittes’ in statesmen, soldiers, seamen, philosophers, poets, and in many inferior faculties wherein our Dævon hath displayed her abilities,' and whatever the hills and rocky tors of our Dævon’ may have had