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النشر الإلكتروني


JUNE, 1831.


(With an Engraving.)

THIS is a name given, in the county of Antrim, on the north coast of Ireland, to a vast quantity of that kind of basaltes which stands in columns, and runs out a great way into the sea.

The ignorance of the vulgar as to the nature of this stone, has occasioned this great pile of it to be supposed artificial, and the work of giants, once inhabitants there. But whoever considers this amazing series of columns, will be soon convinced, that no human hands could have formed them, and will find an accuracy in their figures greater than could have been expected from the most curious hand. The length of the several columns, and their joints so regularly placed in series, and the niceness of their articulations, by which no space or vacuity is left between, are wonderful.

This causeway forms a kind of mole, or quay, projecting from the base of a steep promontory some hundred feet into the sea; and the perpendicular columns of which it is formed, exhibit an appearance not unlike a solid honeycomb. The single columns are irregular prisms of from four to eight sides; but the pentagonal and hexagonal are by far the most numerous, and, when examined, they are found just such as must necessarily be required in the places where they stand to fill up between others, so as to leave no vacuity. Each of these columns is separable into a series of joints, each of which is so well fitted to the place, that the joining appears only a crack or crevice in the stone yet these are regularly articulated, there being always a convexity on one part, and a socket in the other to receive it, so that the joints cannot slip off from one another; besides which, the angles of one frequently shoot over those of the other, so that they are completely locked together, and can rarely be separated without a fracture of some of their parts. The depth of the concavity is generally about three or four inches.

These hollows are of great use to the neighbouring poor, for they make a kind of salt pans of them, and thus very easily procure themselves a kind of bay-salt in summer. They fill these little basons with sea-water at high tides, and the heat of the sun and of the stone contributing greatly to the evaporation, as well as the shallowness of the bason, the whole humidity is found evaporated in the time of four tides, and they take out the salt ready for use. The length of those joints is various; they are from eight to four and twenty inches long, and for the most part longer towards the bottom of the column; they are generally from fifteen to twenty inches in diameter.

The triangular and square columns are fewer in number than the others, but they stand principally in the inner part of the large series, and are seldom seen, unless searched after by a curious eye.

The regular figure of the stone, composing this causeway, is not more wonderful than its quantity; the whole country for many miles being full of it, and a vast mass running far into the sea: for, besides what vulgarly goes by the name of the Giants' Causeway, which is itself of vast extent, there are great numbers of the same pillars at distances in other places. 2D. SERIES, NO. 6.-VOL. I.

2 I

150.-VOL. XIII.

There are two smaller and imperfect causeways to the left hand of the great one; and farther in the sea, a great number of rocks shew themselves at low water, which appear plainly all to consist of the same sort of columns.

In going up the hill from the causeway there are found, in different places, a vast number of the same columns; but these do not stand erect, but are laid slanting upwards in different angles and directions. Beyond this hill, eastward also, at several distances, there stand a great number of the same pillars, placed straight and erect, and in clusters of different sizes. These are seen scattered, as it were, over the several parts of the hills.

One parcel of them is much admired, and called by the country people the looms of the organs. It stands in an elegant form, and faces the bottom of the hill. The columns, of which this cluster consists, are about fifty in number, and they are so nicely put together, that the tallest stand in the middle, and the shorter gradually on each side of it to the end, so that they look like the pipes of a church organ viewed from the front. The tallest one of all these, which stands exactly in the centre, is forty feet high, and consists of forty-four distinct joints.

What is emphatically called the Giants' Causeway is, in fact, a small portion of that basaltic area, of which the promontories of Bengore and Fairhead consist, and which extends over a great part of the neighbouring country. These two great promontories, which have been examined by Hamilton, and lately by Dr. Richardson, stand at the distance of eight miles from each other, and are the leading features of the whole coast of Antrim.

Of the different varieties observable in the columns that compose the Giants' Causeway, and those of the other parts of the coast, the following comparative view has been given by Mr. Hamilton.

1. With respect to form and magnitude: the pillars of the Causeway are comparatively small, not very much exceeding one foot in breadth and thirty in length; sharply defined, neat in the articulation, with convex or concave terminations to each joint. In many of the capes and hills they are of larger size, more imperfect and irregular in their figure and articulations, having often flat terminations to their joints. At Fairhead they are of a gigantic magnitude, sometimes exceeding five feet in breadth and one hundred in length; often apparently destitute of joints altogether.

2. With respect to situation: the pillars of the Giants' Causeway stand on the level of the beach, from whence they may be traced, through all degrees of elevation, to the summit of the highest grounds in the neighbourhood, as at the old fort of Dunmull, and on the top of Croaghmore, six hundred feet at least above the level of the sea.

3. With respect to disposition and arrangement: at the causeway, and in most other places, they stand perpendicular to the horizon; and in some of the capes, and particularly near Ushet harbour, in the isle of Raghery, they lie in an oblique position; at Doon-point, in the same island, and along the Ballintoy shore, they form a variety of regular curves.

4. With regard to colour and grain: the Giants' Causeway basaltes is blackish, close, and uniform; its varieties of colour, are blue, reddish, gray; and of grain, all that can be supposed from extreme fineness to the coarse granulated appearance of a stone, which resembles imperfect granite abounding in crystals of shorl, chiefly black, though sometimes of various colours.

5. With respect to texture: though the Giants' Causeway basaltes be in general compact and homogeneous, yet the upper joint of each pillar, where it can with certainty be ascertained, is always rudely formed and cellular. The gross pillars also, in the capes and mountains, frequently abound in these

[blocks in formation]

air-holes through all their parts, which sometimes contain fine clay and other apparently foreign bodies: and the irregular basaltes beginning where the pillars cease, or lying over them, is, in general, extremely honeycombed, containing in its cells crystals of zeolite, little morsels of fine brown clay, sometimes very pure steatite, and in a few instances bits of agate.

The inland pillars, upon the whole, differ from those which run into the sea, and are called the causeway, only in the following particulars: some of the inland pillars are much larger than those of the causeway, being two feet and a half in diameter; and among these there are only found such as have three, four, five, and six sides, none of them having yet been found to have seven or eight sides, as many of those of the causeway itself have. And, finally, these inland pillars, though composed of as many joints as those of the causeway, yet have not that curious articulation of the ball and socket, but are only joined by the laying one smooth surface on another; so that a joint of a single column may be slipped off from the rest, by a considerable force pressing against it. There is something like this observable also in some of the columns of the causeway itself; for among the numbers which are jointed by the ball and socket, there are some which only adhere by being applied surface to surface. This is found only in a few of the columns, however, and they always stand within the clusters, and are composed of less than seven sides. In these also the joint is not made by the application of two horizontal planes, but by such as slant, so that it looks very like the breaking of an entrochus or asteria.

The joints, as we see the pillars above the surface, are usually as many in number as the pillar is feet high; but they are not regularly each of a foot long, for they are shortest at the upper part of the columns, and run gradually longer and longer as they approach the base. This is observed both in the inland columns, and in those of the causeway; but though the length of the joints differs, their convexities and hollows are much the same in all parts of the column.

There are other basaltic columns, similar to those above described, in our own island; particularly the cave of Fingal at Staffa, one of the western islands of Scotland; in the mountain of Cader-idris, near Dolgelly, in Merionethshire; where they probably form a group, as in other places.

The mineralogical substance called basaltes is known to exist in many parts of Europe. It is found near Etna in Sicily; in the Hartz Mountains; in Iceland; in the isle of Bourbon; and frequently in the vicinity of extinct volcanoes. The basaltes of Sicily is formed into clustered columns enclosing, generally, one column of greater diameter than the rest, in the centre. At Castel d'Iaci, at the base of Etna, the pillars are mostly hollow cylinders, the diameter varying from six inches to twenty feet. A large cluster of this species was set up in the Temple of Peace by the Emperor Vespasian, consisting of one vast central column, surrounded by sixteen minor ones, and intended to represent the god Nilus, with his children sporting around him.

Mr. Strange has given an account of two groups of prismatic basaltine columns, which he discovered in the Venetian state in Italy; one in Monte Rosso, about seven miles nearly south from Padua, and the other in Monte del Diavolo, near San Giovanni Illarime, about ten miles north-west of Vicenza. The form of the latter is nearly circular, resembling that of the Giants' Causeway; that of the former approaching more to an oblong or oval figure: the columns of San Giovanni are much about the same size, and measure about a foot in diameter; those of Monte Rosso are very

unequal, some being a foot, while others scarcely exceed three inches in diameter: those of both these Venetian groups manifest all the varieties of prismatic forms observable in the Giants' Causeway, and other such groups; but they have commonly five, six, or seven sides, and the hexagonal form seems mostly to prevail. The texture of the former sort is solid and uniform, the surface smooth, and the internal parts of a dark iron-gray colour; those of Monte Rosso have a rough and knotty surface; and, when broken, manifest a variegated colour, and unequal texture of parts; resembling an inferior sort of granite, of which the mountain is formed, and which serves as a base for this range of columns. Other groups of articulated basaltine columns have also been observed in the provinces of Velay and Auvergne, in France; particularly by M. De Varennes, at Blaud, near Langeac, and by M. Desmarets, near le Mont d'Or; and M. Sage mentions another, near St. Alcon, in the same province. Kircher has long ago described a group of the same columns near Viterbo in Italy. And Mr. Strange mentions another at Castel Nuovo, in the Euganean hills, about four miles south-west of that of Monte Rosso.

The cliff on the right in the plate represents the joints dislodged from their original and natural position, and strewn in independent blocks; the second headland exposes the most elevated stratum of the regularly columnarized species; the third is marked by fine detached columns, nick-named "the chimney tops," said to have been mistaken, by the heroes of the invincible Armada, for the columns of some building, and their present shattered appearance is attributed to the artillery of that great armament. portion of the basaltic field, which is designated the Causeway, occupies the centre of the view; and the culmination observable there, is called "the Honeycomb." The number of sides vary from three to nine, but the hexagonal form is most prevalent.


To the architect and mathematician, these columns present subjects both for wonder and admiration, and the mind, duly impressed with these sublimities and beauties, will "look through nature up to nature's God." Those, on the contrary, who have never courted the smiles of learning, or been enlightened with the beams of science, will hug with invincible tenacity the giants and their works. Traditionary legends say, that the Causeway was formed by these Irish Anakims, as a quay on which to land their merchandise. To their art and ingenuity is also ascribed a little crystal fountain, which gushes up between some of the columns, where no wider interstice can be perceived than in other joints. The figures in the foreground mark the relative position of this last specimen of gigantic labour.

To the impartial investigations of sober inquiry, nothing, however, appears to induce a belief, that these curious pillars were ever erected by human hands. Innumerable circumstances, on the contrary, forbid the supposition, and direct us to resolve the whole into the operation of natural causes, under given laws impressed on the torpid mass by the almighty power of God.

From the nature of these basaltic rocks, the inhabitants of the British empire might find in them solid materials for repairing their old roads, and forming new ones, and the using of them for this purpose would give to the starving peasantry permanent employment. There can be little doubt that broken basaltes would be found far more durable than the materials commonly used, and, as a natural consequence, would leave a much smaller proportion of dust and mud. In the vicinity of London, the Giants' Causeway might be considered as a mine of wealth; and the expense of carriage, by sea, would not be so great as to prohibit importation to the British metropolis.




"Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this

AFTER THE DEATH OF THE BODY, IS NOT people," Jer. xv. 1. Some commentators


(Continued from p. 218.)

THAT the soul, immediately after the death of the body, is not in a state of insensibility," is evident-1. from visions; 2. from metaphors; 3. from particular doctrines; and, 4. from positive declarations contained in the sacred writings.

1. From visions. By visions is meant a supernatural appearance. In this way, the Almighty frequently manifested himself to the old testament patriarchs and prophets; and to many of the new testament saints and apostles. At the inauguration of Moses, we have, in the memorable address to him, the following words, "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," Exod. iii. 6. An infallible commentary upon these words, by an infallible teacher, is found in Matth. xxii. 22, 23; from which he infers, first, the existence of the soul after the death of the body; secondly, the resurrection of the body.

The doctrine which we now advocate is proved from the above passage, by sound syllogistic reasoning.

God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. But He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; therefore, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are living.

Men can only be said to live, when their souls and bodies are capable of acting: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are living; but their bodies are long since dead and buried; therefore, it is not their bodies but their souls which act.

Nothing acts when in a state of sleep, or insensibility but the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, act; therefore, they are not in a state of sleep, or insensibility.

It may be laid down as a theological axiom, that, wherever the scriptures speak of the dead, as in a state of existence, it is to inform us either directly or indirectly of the soul being in state of active existence. The perverse construction which Dr. Priestley puts upon the passage which has just been quoted and illustrated, is a lamentable instance of prejudice clouding the brightest intellect. Had the doctor recollected that our Lord, when quoting the words in question, was addressing the Sadducees, who denied the separate existence of the soul from the body, as well as the resurrection of the body; he would have perceived a sufficiency of force in the argument to overcome the Sadducean heresy.

say, that this passage refers to the successful intercession of Moses with the Almighty, when the Israelites had been guilty of worshipping the golden calf; and to that of Samuel praying so successfully, that the Lord delivered Israel from the hands of the Philistines. The passage implies that the souls of Moses and Samuel were in a separate state of existence; and that there was a possibility of their making their appearance, as mediators between God and the offending Jews.

"Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, (the land) they should but deliver their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord," Ezek. xiv. 14. Daniel and Ezekiel were contemporaries; and, according to our common chronology, Daniel was in captivity when these words were spoken. To inform us that the spirits of the two others are in a separate state of existence, they are classed with the living prophet.

"After six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John, his brother, and bringeth them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And behold there appeared unto them, Moses and Elias talking with him," Matth. xvii. 1, 2, 3. How they could distinguish these two noted men, whether by the concordance of their appearance with the scriptural account of them, or by supernatural influence, is not now the inquiry. It is sufficient to observe, that the one had been dead about fourteen hundred years; and the other had been caught bodily up to heaven, about nine hundred years previous to their appearance on the mount. The circumstance of Elijah passing out of this world, without travelling by the way of the valley of the shadow of death, adds weight to the arguments on the behalf of the separate existence of the soul after death. For as Moses accompanied him on the present occasion, it is implied that they are together in a state of existence.

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation; and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," Rev. vii. 13, 14. Though commentators differ in their opinions concerning the precise application of this vision, yet they all agree that the

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